Bill Holmes - Innovations - Tri-Cone
Concerned with the cost of space transportation, particularly Earth to
orbit, I imagined that mass-producing essentially the same structure
for the boosters and the orbiter would accomplish that end. I also
wanted to improve the poor cross-range performance of lifting bodies.
One of the most simple high-volume and low-drag structures is a cone,
so during the
second summer in Advanced Design, NASA, Edwards, I built my
Tri-cone lifting body as one-third of a cone. Along the flat surfaces
are delta wings the
pivot out on demand.
During launch, three Tri-Cones are bound together. Two
consist entirely of fuel and engines. They are the boosters.
The third, the orbiter has less or no fuel and engines, or it may have
engines fed from the tanks of the boosters.
Immediately after the boosters have exhausted their fuel, they separate
from the orbiter and each other, re-enter as a lifting body, and then
a sufficiently low altitude and speed, the wings deploy to
increase the lift performance of the vehicle during its glide back to
earth, and conventional landing under autonomous or remote control.
The orbitor performs its mission, and then re-enters as above.
It may have a human crew and pilot.
The model flew well from the
roof of NASA, Edwards.
The facility submitted a patent in my name, but I heard nothing about
it after the application was submitted.
| W.T. Holmes | Innovations |