3 posts • joined 13 Aug 2007
The fleet of F1-B's aren't supersonic. That capability was ditched in the B1-A to B1-B redesign of various things, including the engine inlets. While they might make booms in a dive, the test flight isn't going to.
So, the headline is, um, wrong.
I'm wrong, wrong, wrong!
Bollocks -- I'm wrong. The B1-A does have modest supersonic capability, M1.25 at altitude. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B-1_Lancer
"Unlike the B-1A, the B-1B made no attempt at Mach 2+ speeds. Its maximum speed at altitude is Mach 1.25 (about 950 mph or 1,530 km/h), but its low-level speed increased to Mach 0.92 (700 mph, 1,130 km/h). Technically, the current version of the aircraft can exceed its speed restriction, but not without risking potential damage to its structure and air intakes."
Saturn V shed too
Scads of ice chunks fell off the Saturn V at launch -- they just weren't moving very fast. The SV didn't have quite the cryo problem the shuttle has because it was using kerosene, not liquid hydrogen as the propellant. It wasn't extensively insulated to the degree needed by an LH system.
Putting the payload on top of the part that sheds, leaks, vents or conflagrates is a really good idea. Failure to do that with the shuttle because it was so frikkin big they couldn't fit it in the VAB or on the pad if it was on top is perhaps the worst of all the compromises that were made in it's serve-all-masters design.
As far as I'm concerned, if one wants to dredge the past, some Saturn 1s would be more useful than SVs, which many nostalgia fans think would be fun to build. The SV really was too too big for other uses.
However, the best idea really does look like one of those mothership B52/Rutan concepts. Maybe that's something to do with a few of those big Airbus A380s.