Re: Another mighty initial thrust idea
Magnus seems to think the only thing potentially stabilizing the launcher would be a physical anchoring; this makes me think he or she has not studied dynamics.
The positional stabilization will not be absolute in the sense that a ground-mounted launcher would be, where reaction forces and moments are absorbed by the earth. Rather, the reaction forces will be neutralized at a designed balance point; the mass ratio of the plane and launcher will determine that. As for the moments/torques, those can be controlled by altering the moment of inertia of the launcher — if there is a long boom, then mounting a camera or two on its tip will greatly increase the moment of inertia and thereby reduce gyrations (while giving really neat camera angles).
As far as the boosters go, I seriously doubt a boost-glider engine will suffice. They are designed to supply low thrust and long burn durations, which is the opposite of LOHAN’s initial requirements because she MUST GET MOVING FAST, at least off-the-line, or she will never get momentum at all because she’ll be tumbling; in that case we should skip the rockets entirely and we have a glorified PARIS. Therefore short-duration boosters with beefy gyros which are dropped off on burnout seem like an ideal design.
Here is a plan view of my booster configuration: http://autographic.ca/TheRegister/LOHAN_plan.png [Warning: big fat PNG file]