The Western Lines

October 11, 2008

F-111 as Space Launcher

Filed under: Ralph Buttigieg — ralphbuttigieg @ 3:58 am

I originally only posted the article below on my personal blog as I thought it was too parochial for Discovery Enterprise but I’m interested in any feedback so I have decided to post it here too.


Australia has successfully built small satellites like Fedsat but has completely kept out of building orbital rockets. Could that be changed? There’s considerable interest in rapid response launchers by the military and civilian users. The French are looking into using a Rafale jet fighter to launch micro satellites. See below.

Now the RAAF will be replacing the F-111 in 2010. Why not let the private sector convert de-fanged versions of the old jets into space launchers? It would be a supersonic first stage that could quickly launch microsats into any latitude from just about anywhere. The system would service both civilian and military markets including the US. The government would need to be involved to cut through ITAR restrictions so some sort of private-public partnership would be required but we would have a have a very useful capability.



  1. I think Im not understanding very well, why this jets are a good option? what altitude can they achieve? at what cost? how can we use them as space launchers?

    Comment by Lobo7922 — October 11, 2008 @ 4:53 pm | Reply

  2. G’day,Advantages of air launch:The carrier aircraft is effectively a reusable first stage. It does away with the need of a specific space port.The as the rocket can be flown to any location for launch ie Equator for equatorial launches, remote sites for polar etc.The rocket fires way above most of the atmosphere-less drag.The velocity of the aircraft is added to the launch.Perhaps I should do a proper post on air launched rockets.taRalph

    Comment by Ralph Buttigieg — October 13, 2008 @ 10:55 am | Reply

  3. This video is awsome.If anyone have no idea about how satellite is launched from earth tl low orbit, this what he/she has to see.I know this is one kind of satelite launch but the video is superb. It gives full knowledge about everything one has to get.Congratulatio to the creators and thanks to Ralph for posting it.I am realy got interested into it.

    Comment by Kailash — October 14, 2008 @ 4:03 am | Reply

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