Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Fauxrianne 6

I'll often read the astronomy and rocket related stories that hit the news and this one about Arianne 6 was no exception. (Register Link)

Arianne 5's a good, powerful rocket but costs a bit too much per launch to compete with the new pretenders coming in from the private market. Arianne 6 is less ambitious in terms of what it can carry but should be much cheaper. That's because it's using solid rockets more than liquid rockets.

Too much tech already !

Solid = cheap & simple
Liquid = higher power but more complex and expensive

So while Arianne 5 did its stuff with a solid first stage with the second and third being liquid, Arianne 6 will do it by having solid first and second stages with the third being liquid.

My instant thought ? Gotta try this in Kerbal Space Program. I bet there's tonnes of Fauxrianne 6 videos coming right now ... I thought about seeing if I could prep one but to be honest, it's too darn hot right now to investigate all I'd need to do to set up recording and investigate publishing one for the first time.

Gratuitous hangar shot :
Yes. It looks like a certain appendage again. Rockets have a habit of doing that. Give thanks that I put the side boosters on front to back on that shadow instead of right to left.

The box at the top is Kerbal Engineer which tells you how fast and how far your rocket is likely to go. You need a Thrust to Weight ratio of above 1, or the rocket doesn't get off the ground. 2.6 and 2.4 for the first stages looked promising.

What's the staging ?
1st stage - 3x solid BACC boosters
2nd stage - 1x solid BACC booster
3rd stage - the thinner fuel tank plus the nuclear engine
(chosen because it's the same diameter as the boosters)
Oh and a parachute at the top.

Launch time - early stages ? Promising :
Decent speed at a low height and it was going straight up.

But wait ... this is Kerbal Space Program :
Something went horribly wrong. The rocket was too heavy and was slowing down (possibly because of a decoupler being in the way) and was sliding out of control ... Oops. Once a solid rocket is lit, it's max power all the way baby. No stopping it once it's sparking.

I actually got it under control again but had to junk that rogue second stage :
And under control at an acceptable speed again :
I didn't think there was much point in continuing from here, the nuclear engine goes forever but isn't too powerful. I may have been able to get the rocket out of the atmosphere but probably not into orbit. So it's over to the last stage which is the parachute :
I hope the first flight of Arianne 6 goes much better than my first flight with Fauxrianne 6 !!!

And look at Jebediah in those screenies. Loving it all the way up, all the way sideways, all the way down and that definitely looks like a dreaming of next time "ahhhh" in the last one.

PS Click screenies for bigger, they will hopefully give 1080p goodness with a big enough window :-)

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