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John_Cillis

Single Stage to Orbit - Xplane11

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I found this cool little Spacecraft that can take off from a runway and soar into orbit at hypersonic speeds...  My flight this afternoon was beautiful, taking off from the Shuttle runway at Cape Canaveral (needing almost all 15000 feet of it) then turning to the southeast, over the Bermuda Triangle and on towards the coast of Africa.  I find Xplane11 models the atmosphere to orbital transition very well, hitting the threshold of space around 250,000 feet, as the wind and thrust noise reduces to zero.  Once in orbit it is a slow ride over the globe, the goal is to reach about 17,500 mph, orbital speed.  I was longing for something to fill the niche of a single stage to orbit aircraft, making Xplane11 an all purpose flightsim, as I have aircraft from a 20 mph powered parachute on up to this little bird.  The aircraft can be found at Xplane.org in their download section, it was just added in December.  Granted Xplane11's high altitude scenery is rather bland, but you still get an idea of the speed of orbital flight and the serene beauty of space.

Cactus521

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Very interesting, especially the last shot of the Earth.

Just curious, John, how do you keep track of the climb to orbital altitude here, which is 250K feet...what's the instrumentation provided with this Spacecraft...Thanks.

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2 hours ago, P_7878 said:

Very interesting, especially the last shot of the Earth.

Just curious, John, how do you keep track of the climb to orbital altitude here, which is 250K feet...what's the instrumentation provided with this Spacecraft...Thanks.

The aircraft has a simple 2d panel.  Only the Hud displays the actual altitude and airspeed.  The craft has an OMS, one has to be careful entering orbit because if you hit orbit at too steep an angle, the aircraft will spin, too shallow, it will not orbit.  I had to practice with it a bit, my first flight was the best, getting me all the way to Africa, on another flight I soared way too far into space.  It's fun because it is rare that a sim can model these phases of flight so well.  I juiced up the Shuttle with extra fuel but it does not do as well in terms of stability. This aircraft is the only SSTO that I have found that works as one might anticipate our skunkworks people might have.

John

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Thanks, John. So, there is a HUD for speed and altitude...that you can use here...

Yes, I would think it would be rather "touchy" in the SIM to make it do what it should do for it to stay the course in orbit. It sounds like fun, though. I do recall years ago there was a SIM for the Space Shuttle....

And, of course, the "Skunkworks" Pros make it all look so easy...

 

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