|NASA's Roto-Capsule concept|
NASA put out the news report entitled Engineers Test Rotor Landings for Capsules. Apparently the Roto-Capsule (I just made it up), uses auto-rotation like an autogyro does. They also want to figure out how to get the rotors to start spinning. In old and small autogyros, you hand start the rotor spin. Yep you have to use those mittens, and don't stand up too tall or you might get whacked by a blade. The larger and enclosed autogyros use a bendable drive train from the engine to the rotor hub. I suppose NASA could start the rotation of the Roto-Capsule's rotors with simple thrusters or even with an electric motor. I'm sure they can come up with better ideas than I can. They do have to figure out what the best solution is, what is the lowest weight for a system, how strong is it, and what are the operational costs to it. Looking at the picture, I can't help but wonder if this is an excuse to get scientific data form the engineers propeller beanies.
In my own muses, I thought if we can air launch a rocket to orbit with a plane, then why not with a rotary wing craft? The craft would have to be very large though. It would have to be custom made to lift vertically to altitude. It would have to be a separate vehicle from the rocket. I imagined it being large enough to fit the rocket in the middle of it and launch at altitude in a vertical attitude. The savings would come with launching from altitude in a vertical position. It does seem superfluous though. Stratolaunch is making the largest plane to launch a medium size rocket from altitude. The plane will probably need the biggest of runways. That's where my rotary wing craft could come in; in scaling up. I wouldn't need a runway, just a pad. That's less ground infrastructure than a plane. These are just muses though; ideas of runaway imaginations. Rarely does a dream come to life. I'm glad of that, cause I've had some nightmares.
So we looked at a couple of projects that involved rotary wings and space craft, and then one of my imaginations. That's what your going to get when you read my stuff. I just scrape things off the wall. Is it really a good idea to mix rotors and spacecraft? Maybe, but also maybe later. We still have a lot to learn about launching stuff into orbit on a shoestring budget.