Re: a total Roton reversal, with apologies

Michael M. Butler (
Tue, 11 Aug 1998 22:01:21 -0700

Spike said:

>secondly, i failed to realize that the roton system not only obviates the
>cryopumps, it also eliminates the need for thrust vector control. i never
>did see this stated anywhere, but a roton would be inherently stable due
>to the gyroscopic rotor. much weight is saved by using fixed nozzles.

Well, you still need to turn the vehicle in flight. And there's the possibility of bad force coupling at some points in the flight profile due to precession.
But yes, a spun-up Roton won't tend to topple.

>for being a classical thinking rocket scientist, who considers *only
>ignoring cost and complication, well, i guess i am the poster child. {8-]

And I apologize if any of my posts seemed patronizing. I wasn't aiming at you. :)

> amateur
>groups never
>deal with liquid rockets: cryopumps and thrust vector control cannot
>really be done at a reasonable cost.

Well, "never" is a big word. Hybrids have never been more active in the amateur community.

>i would suggest those who would sell the
>concept should emphasize its real strengths. it is sold as a possible
>body: i still have serious doubts about that. however, if a launcher is
>and cheap enough, why worry about getting it back? sell it as a means of
>lifting raw materials to orbit very cheaply, in the form of rotons.
>perhaps a
>manufacturing facility could be set up in orbit, and the raw materials
>be obtained by taking rotons apart, that were launched into orbit just for
>that purpose. spike

Yep. In fact, there is a wild man in the Midwest experimenting with a radically simple Roton-inspired design that (at least at first) is just intended to throw hulls into orbit for use as raw material (and to get him cred).

Small ones, something like a hundred kilograms at most.

And he *is* getting the hang of working with LOX (preparatory to building a LOX/kerosene hi-rev Roton. Kind of looks like an open-combustor jet turbine, with O2 assist for when the air gets thin.

He's also willing to accept a high catastrophic failure rate, at least at first. No payload, no pilot...


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