November 05, 2003


Rocket Man profiles TGV Rockets and their X-Prize entrant, the MICHELLE-B.

This is an interesting concept vehicle, and reminds me a bit of a cross between Roton and the DC-X, but with an aerobrake (think: upside down parachute) instead of rotors to slow the craft's reentry.

Rocket Man analyzes the design trade-offs, and particularly critiques the weight penalty of six separate propulsion and fuel systems for what he perceives to be the minimal added value of "graceful degradation." But he does have kind words for the aerobraking concept and the craft's planned method of powered landing after the manner of the DC-X. Rocket Man notes that he "would love to see a continuation of [the DC-X style of landing] testing with the MICHELLE-B." I'm sure he knows that the Japanese JAXA is in fact currently conducting experiments much like the DC-X in their reusable vehicle testing campaign.

TGV Rockets only has blueprints at this point, but they have a business plan and hint at funding to continue development of the MICHELLE-B even if another team wins the X-Prize.

Posted by JohnL at November 5, 2003 10:52 PM
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