Saturday, January 11, 2014
Yep. Getting civilized people to be ruthless is about as funny as this movie.
Disconcerting, it says.
Let's see. The unemployment rate drops while the labor participation rate drops too. Now we can see the end game. Labor force participation reaches zero and so does the unemployment rate. Yippee!!! All our troubles is over.
The typical "the media is biased" whinefest. Look, the media IS biased. Find a way to beat them despite their propaganda, and for the love of God, stop whining.
Here's one suggestion: Insist upon an "Unfairness Doctrine". The "Unfairness Doctrine" means that the left is going to catch absolute hell when the GOP wins again. It means that the liberal media will be forced to shut down. Yes, forced. That means going out doors feet first if that's what it takes. Say it, loud and clear. Be prepared to back it up, too. Come to think of it, it may not even require an election.
The advancement of civilization comes at too steep a price if that price includes an inability to survive. It's a tough world out there. Being too soft is dangerous to your health. Advanced civilizations had better understand this or face an uncertain future at best.
I've dropped the speculation alert because there will no more thought given to making the thing work. It already works, that's the point. Nuclear thermal rocketry has been proven in the lab. No need to speculate about its space worthiness.
No, the problem is risk and how we react to it. The risk of an accident that will spread radiation hither and yon is the stumbling block to using nuclear thermal rockets. This attitude is unreasonable and counter productive. How long will we be subject to this unreasoned fear? Perhaps forever.
Anyway, I spent a good deal of time contemplating upon how it might be done and finally I'm giving up on it. Because I suddenly realized that it is all completely NUTS. You cannot make a completely safe world. In the real world, where people have to do real things, the adult thing to do is to simply resign yourself to the reality that risks are unavoidable and then go out there and do what needs to be done. It can be done now, all that is necessary is the will--- and yes, the maturity-- to do it. It is simply not feasible nor mature to go into a fetal position and suck your thumb. It's time to grow up and do what it is needed.
Friday, January 10, 2014
There wouldn't be any political motivations now would there?
"Cornball" Cornyn may be ahead in the polls, but the last one I saw had him at 50%, which is in the trouble zone for an incumbent.
A cornball is a phony, as I understand it. Hence "cornball" Cornyn.
There's actually a test to see how white you are. I scored 28%. Where's my fried chicken and watermelon?
Oops! That may have been premature. There's another test for blackness. Well, I do use the phrase "mofo" a lot.
Renewable energy is a fairy tale told to little children who need to grow up.
Between Iran getting nukes, a supervolcano in Yellowstone or elsewhere on the planet, and robotics ruling the world, we may see Judgment Day soon. Yikes.
A list of links that pulls together some ideas from recent posts.
This post started with the idea of safety. Along that line of thinking, one should like to use the Dragon's safety features in case of a massive failure of the main rocket package. The Dragon can fly off to safety in case of a major failure mode.
At the moment though, I am having second thoughts. Actually, I am confused. I thought that it was necessary to always have a thrust ratio of (the vehicle's weight to thrust) greater than one. This is what led to the Mea culpa redux post. That's because I noticed that the NTR in Dewar's book doesn't have a ratio greater than one.
So, I played around with the idea of using multiple engines, ( an idea obtained from the topmost link above ) which led to the idea of an engine out capability for this NTR configuration. For example, if you were to lose an engine on the Falcon 9, it could still get to orbit. But with a single engine in this NTR rocket, you would not be able to get to orbit if it failed. Let's say that one uses 3 smaller engines for the NTR instead. With a loss of one, perhaps you could still get to orbit. That's an important safety feature. You can control events even if you can't get to orbit. The nuclear reactor need not go down where you don't want it to.
But to do this, you have to sacrifice something. In this case, you'd have to sacrifice the Dragon and cut the weight drastically. Maybe you can't have everything, and certain priorities have to be chosen. A greater risk for the crew and a lower risk for everybody else.
Perhaps the radiation issue can go with crew safety thoughts that I've been having. At what point does the insistence upon complete safety become counter productive? Has society become phobic about radiation? A comparison with the psychology of phobias may be helpful in illustrating the irrational fears in general and the fear of radiation in particular. I'm thinking of the movie Vertigo as an example.
The character played by Jimmy Stewart was handicapped by his fear of heights. It made it impossible for his continuance in his job as a police officer and ended the career that he expected to have. As the character Scotty's life was ruined by his disability, so could it be that the fear of radiation in society has ruined our capability to use this source of energy to advance society to a higher level? Scotty's fear was irrational as the video below illustrates. He is in no danger as he looks out the window, but he faints from fright.
In comparison with a phobic reaction as illustrated above, can it be truly said that this culture has developed a radiation phobia which is harming our interests? How much of a real risk is involved in the nuclear power industry? Hasn't it all been overblown to the extent that it surpasses all real risks that would taken if the technology was developed to its full potential?
In other words, would it be worth it to society to overcome this fear and move forward? There may be no real good alternatives. Not for society as a whole nor the space program in particular.
The J-2 rocket on the S-IVB third stage of the Saturn V rocket was capable of 220k lbs thrust. There was only one of these engines onboard. That means that you don't need a thrust weight ratio greater than 1 for the entire trip to orbit. Since the S-IVB carried not only itself, but also 100k lbs to go to the moon and back, it was lifting far in excess of its own weight.
What that means is that with a 3 engine NTR, you could probably still get to orbit in the event of an engine failure. The only question now is can you get the weight down and make it all work?
Thursday, January 9, 2014
In my opinion, pointing to the recent cold as evidence of no global warming is just as dumb as pointing to a hot spell as evidence of global warming. You cannot push forward the idea of a cold snap as no evidence and then say that a warm spell is no evidence either! It's the same argument in reverse. You are playing the climate alarmists game when you do that.
The GOP and conservatives need a better argument. There are those out there trying to provide them with one. Wake the fuck up.
Rep. Peter DeFazio urged Congress to tackle climate change in 2014. He called it one of the "biggest challenges of our time."
DeFazio probably doesn't know about China's development of molten-salt reactor technology first proven in the laboratory in the good 'ol USA. ( We gave it away to them. wtf )
No, the Chinese are not going to "destroy the climate". They are going to kill us with this technology because we were too dumb to develop it ourselves.
The Chinese pollution "problem" will be solved. We will be compelled to buy back our own tech because the Chinese will own the intellectual property.
DeFazio and the left are damned fools.
A paraphrasing of a quote reminds me of what DeFazio is doing
When the facts are on your side, pound the facts.
When the law is on your side, pound the law.
When neither the facts nor the law are on your side, pound the table.
By using an innovative test facility at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., researchers are able to use non-nuclear materials to simulate nuclear thermal rocket fuels -- ones capable of propelling bold new exploration missions to the Red Planet and beyond.[emphasis added]
It's better than nothing, but it is still not the "real thing". The type of testing will allow for the development of materials that could withstand the rigors of this type of activity. The results of the testing can give a greater confidence level to what will work and what won't work. But there still needs to be testing done with real materials that are---gasp--- radioactive.
There's a lot of fear out there about radioactivity. I think it is largely due to ignorance. Therefore, it is correctable, but only so if there is the will to do the necessary teaching. Such will does not exist. Quite the contrary. I suspect the powers-that-be have decided that fear is useful and are allowing the fear to continue to inhibit further development of this type of technology. The leadership is making a big mistake, in my opinion.
More here at Gizmag ( lots more details ).
Including this quote from the article mentioned at the beginning of this post. It is interesting to note that the reactor isn't "dangerous" until it is turned on, with the plan of turning it on taking place when safely into space. What if you light it up just above the Karman line, which means that you are already in space, but not into orbit? That's kind of the idea behind using an airbreathing booster to get up to the velocity needed to break through the Karman line and thus reach space, even though it isn't into orbit yet.
A nuclear cryogenic upper stage -- its liquid-hydrogen propellant chilled to super-cold temperatures for launch -- would be designed to be safe during all mission phases and would not be started until the spacecraft had reached a safe orbit and was ready to begin its journey to a distant destination. Prior to startup in a safe orbit, the nuclear system would be cold, with no fission products generated from nuclear operations, and with radiation below significant levels.
Wednesday, January 8, 2014
A list of links that pulls together some ideas from recent posts.
- Dragon inside X 33 ( Or Gemini for that matter. )
- Project Timberwind article ---nuclear thermal rocket research during SDI "Star Wars" Era
- Mea culpa A couple mistakes I made with my speculations. At least the ones I think I know about.
As for Project Timberwind, there seemed to be some doubts that I recall reading about the claims that were made for it. Thrust to weight ratios were questioned. However, if you can reach the 1000 ISP numbers, the rest can be pretty much the same calculations as before.
If the claims can be made good, some mass savings can be generated. That would be welcome news. I did some calculations that showed that once you deploy from the 747, it will take 17 lbs to get pound of payload to orbit. If you save 2000 lbs for example, that's 34k lbs of stuff that doesn't have to be launched.
So, there's is a chance for some optimization. Frankly, if the whole thing can be made to work with masses indicated so far, it would be a real ass-kicker.
As for the last bulleted item, mistakes are inevitable. That's why it requires a speculation alert.
This one was put on YouTube in 2008. It's a better video, but did it miss the mark? That was an election year. Will the people ever learn?
Dick Morris asked if the far left will take over the Democrat party. A better question: How will the GOP handle the failure of Obama?
Let's all blame the big corporations, huh? Well, the corporations supported Barack Obama and leftist causes. So, how did that all work out for those who supported Obama? How will that work out for these leftist supporting CEOs?
The GOP needs a positive program for economic growth. To contrast with the Democrats, who will just serve up some more bread and circuses. The bread and circuses are to keep the people pacified until the wreckers finish destroying the people's future. By then, it will be too late to do anything about a new Allentown.
So who's Frank Luntz? I didn't know. In his own words:
"I am nothing if not human," he says, breaking into a grin. "I'm super-human. I'm a human-and-one-fifth. My God, if I'm not careful, I'll have to go not to the big and tall but the big and bigger store!"The guy lives and breathes politics. His job is to get the political pulse of the nation. He's the
political consultant and TV fixture whose word has been law in Republican circles since he helped write the 1994 Contract With AmericaThat's the guy.
What he's hearing out there is bugging him. He believes that America is broken, and Obama had something to do with it. People have been let into the candy store and they don't want to come out. ( my words) America is spoiled rotten. ( my words again) Americans don't want to listen. ( I know, I've mentioned this before in connection to the Mahablog. )
Yeah, but it probably preceded Obama. The reason is that Obama had to get elected first before he could do damage. If the country wasn't already broken, he doesn't get elected.
I think it has been a long process. Bill Clinton couldn't have been elected president in an earlier time because he was a draft dodger and a philanderer. Something broke in the country back then, too.
It goes back at least to 1968, which I wrote about here. The country peaked at that time and hasn't returned to that level since.
Luntz tells politicians what they should tell the people because Luntz has got his finger on the pulse of what the people want to hear. Politicians seek his advice. But that implies that politicians only tell us what we want to hear, not what we need to hear. There's a difference between being a politician and being a leader. There is no leadership.
The fear is that a real leader will not be heard. But when a real leader is disregarded and found to be correct, the people will turn to him. That's what happened with Winston Churchill.
Politics isn't a cure for a lack of guts.
A little more on this at Ace.
Tuesday, January 7, 2014
Good, but we can do better.
What if , in the movie The Terminator, The Terminator had been successful in murdering Sarah Connor? Wouldn't that have created a paradox in which the machines would have had no reason to send a Terminator back into history to kill someone who didn't even exist? In that case, how to explain the Terminator's existence?
Another mistake. It probably won't be useful to use methane in a nuclear thermal rocket. Better to stick with hydrogen.
His prediction stands at 3.5 over / under for the GOP. That means that the GOP can take 3 or 4 Senate seats net gain. His bet would be on the over, he says, so it is most likely 4.
A plus 4 won't be enough to take control over the Senate. That means the GOP has an uphill battle to retake the Senate.
His predictions on the House is that it will remain under GOP control.
Somehow, the status quo doesn't quite match the feeling that seems to be out there. I'd say his prediction is a bit too conservative, unless something drastic happens that hurts the GOP's chances.
An application for this is a heads up display when you are driving a car. If all the information about your surroundings can be put in front of you, it seems that this would be a big advantage to a driver. Using a mirror requires moving your head around. What if you wanted a rear view and side view and everything superimposed upon the view directly in front? You would have a continual complete picture that you could never get from a conventional system.
It always seems to be a problem to me out there with "the other guy" when you don't know where they are or what they may be doing next. Such a system could help you be a better driver.
To illustrate: let's start with a hypothetical. Say one guy punches another guy so hard that he knocks out some teeth. Then he says to his victim, "Hey, I didn't mean to hit you that hard! Sorry!" The correct response from the guy who just lost some teeth, shouldn't be: "Oh, okay, that's all right! A missing tooth here and there, what does that matter between friends?" At the very least, the guy just brutalized shouldn't pretend that he is dealing with a friend. He shouldn't minimize what was done to him, either. On the other hand, he shouldn't shoot the bad guy, but if he had left the bad guy with the impression that he could and would under the right circumstances, it might have prevented the brutality.
There just seems to be some unwritten rule amongst the GOP that they have to be so damned nice about everything all the time. New rules are in order.
A list of links for the on the road posts yesterday.
About the link to mount the X-37/NTR rocket stack backwards. A clarification is in order. The X-37C will still point forward, so it will be mounted backwards on top of the rocket casing for the NTR. Now that that is cleared up, how do you get it pointed forward again? Two options: First do a docking procedure in which you back up into the rocket casing and lock it down. Or secondly, have the X-37C crawl and pivot on a device that is like a railroad on top of the rocket stack. In that second process, the docking procedure requires no piloting, or even an expense of fuel. It would entail using an electric motor to move the X-37C into the proper position while in space and while waiting for the NTR to light up. This should be done expeditiously, as there is no thrust during this time.
Finally, with respect to yesterday's on the road posts, it wasn't mentioned, but I had an idea to use the ammonia in the NTR. If you split off the nitrogen in the laughing gas, maybe you could use that in the NTR for reaction mass, but ammonia is out.
The big brainstorm there in using nitrogen as opposed to hydrogen ( once in orbit ), is that you can keep the NTR casing in space and fill it with liquid nitrogen for a trip elsewhere. Provided that the ISP is good enough and the NTR equipment can handle it, it could serve as an Earth Departure Stage ( EDS). The worry is that nitrogen may be reactive at high temperatures in the NTR and may be corrosive. If it isn't, then you could collect the stuff in quantity and use if for a reaction mass.
Since the NTR rocket casing is 288 cubic meters, the same volume could hold a whopping 232704 kg of liquid nitrogen. The NTR core could handle a lot more than just the 10 minutes or so of operation in order to get to orbit. In other words, as long as it doesn't corrode the core, the nitrogen could provide a lot of reaction mass for an NTR. Enough to go to the Moon or to Deimos. Now, that's a thought.
Methane is a possibility for a reaction mass in an NTR. Don't know how to calculate the ISP, but the mass possible in the tank is a considerable 121715 kg. If the ISP is no less than for burning methane with oxygen, we may have a winner for a mission to the Moon or Deimos. But to fully fill up a tank like this could take 40 missions. Yet, you couldn't beat the price. Imagine a trip to Deimos for less than a billion bucks round trip.
Monday, January 6, 2014
But there's no ruling on that, just a stay.
Yet another idea here. Assuming all this works, what did you do with it? I was thinking about cargo, turns out that you can send up ammonium carbonate and make fuel with it. Ammonium carbonate will easily decompose into ammonia and carbon dioxide. You can make methane with the hydrogen obtained from the ammonia. May be able to make nitrous oxide from the nitrogen and the oxygen. You want to use everything since it takes four hundred dollars to deliver a pound cargo if the X 33 system works.
Here's another idea. Your load in the NTR rocket into the X 33 backwards. That means the NTR nozzle is towards the front of the X 33. You would locate the X 37 C towards the back end of the X 33 to where you have the rudders. This may be a bad idea, but I'm hoping that it would make a more stable ride on top of the 747. When you get to the release point, the two pieces will have to mate with each other in a kind of dance of death. Its a dance of death because the NTR is heating up so that it can be fired for full power. When it is doing this it's increasingly becoming radioactive. You have to be careful to protect any crew.
Could we get by with just one SABRE engine? The engine might have to stick out the back. There isn't any room put it inside the x33 aeroshell. You could run air inlet down the center and adjacent to the rocket casing for the nuclear thermal rocket. It would have to be very well insulated, of course.
Now we consider the internal layout of the X-33. Since the X-37C will be mounted outside, that should leave even more room. Will all of the fuel fit inside, or do we need a bigger bird? Let's do some calculations to answer that question.
An earlier calculation gave 1000 cubic meters as the internal volume of the bird. The NTR rocket casing should take up about 300 cubic meters of it. From the spreadsheet in an earlier post, it can be deduced that the LH2 tank will have to contain 22k kg of hydrogen. How much volume for such a tank? Eyeballing the NTR's tank, we can see that this is roughly equivalent to that. In other words, about 300 cubic meters. Set aside 1/2 of that for each side and you've got 150 cubic meter tanks that would be roughly about half the size of the NTR's tank.
What about the oxygen tanks? Once again from the spreadsheet, it looks like 32k kg for that. From the Wikepedia page on oxygen, we see that the ratio in density equals the ratio between atomic weights. What a surprise! Well, the ratio of volume should be the same as well. If it isn't, I don't have time to look it up. Assuming that to be correct, then an quick estimate yields the following: 150 cubic meters for hydrogen calculated above gives 11k mass if it were hydrogen. Multiply it by 3 to give 33k mass which is close to the mass of the oxygen. Now, if it were hydrogen that would be 450 cubic meters, but since it is oxygen, divide that by 16 in order to yield the size of the oxygen tank in cubic meters--- 28 cubic meters.
These calculation yield a total for the tanks and the NTR casing of 628 cubic meters. That leaves plenty of space for equipment and other things.
A consideration for where we would be mounting the engines comes into play. Since there is so much volume available inside the X-33 aeroshell, we can mount the engines inside it. This means that the final appearance of the X-33 will be essentially the same as in the pics. We won't need a bigger bird.
There may be some refinements in later posts, but that's all for now. I just got an idea that may make the thing ride better in the atmosphere--- you would have it on a ladder device that allows the X-37C to crawl forward along the rocket's casing until it is better position in space. More on that in a later post.
Sunday, January 5, 2014
This article truly flabbergasts me. It's chock full of unwarranted assertions and premises. One such premise is in the title of the piece--- viz. growth harms the planet.
Does it really? What about the proposition that you can grow the economy with cheaper energy prices, but with actually less pollution? Not possible? You certainly haven't been reading this blog.
The economy really isn't growing, as the author contends. Another flawed premise.
The author mentions the "filth" that economic growth produces. But what is filth? Filth isn't anything that wasn't already there in some other form. With enough energy, the form can be changed back again into something useful. After all, matter doesn't go anywhere. Matter can be rearranged into various compounds from here to eternity. If the compound is harmful and inconvenient, it can certainly be rendered harmless with an application of sufficient energy.
But not if energy isn't allowed to be utilized on the basis of some flawed premise of limited energy.
The author asserts that national policy since WWII has been towards the fastest possible economic growth. This is simply not true. Since the environmentalist movement began in the seventies, economic growth has taken a back seat. It is not a priority in this administration regardless of what the official policy states. If that were the case, and economic growth was a priority, there would certainly be more economic growth. In order to make the economy grow, one must have pro-growth policies. Duh! There really isn't any in this administration. It is a reflection of the radical environmentalist influence upon today's politics that has rendered a pro-growth policy problematical.
The author is incredulous that some people ( like me ) contend that economic growth can lead to a cleaner environment. The author certainly doesn't read history. Pittsburgh's air was filthy 100 years ago. It was made much cleaner even before the environmentalists started "fixing" it. It became possible to clean it because people had more wealth and knowledge of how to clean it. Not because growth was stymied because of some faulty notion that poverty would help clean it up.
The author points to someone in Berkeley is claiming that she's not be allowed to talk about this. But haven't we heard about this endlessly? I mean, what is this article about anyway? Nobody is stopping anybody from talking about anything, unless it is the left wanting to shut down conservatives.
The author seems to be of the mind that only the Earth can regenerate resources. Any attempt by man is invalid. The premise is false. With sufficient energy, all matter used can be recycled infinitely. The trick is to master nuclear energy. Unfortunately, for these people, nuclear energy is just a dirty word. What they don't realize, or can't understand is that nuclear energy will enable them to do the very things they claim that they want to do, which is to clean up the planet.
The author advocates capping economic growth and employing carbon taxes. Here we have the nut of their case---people must be punished. We have it too good. We must be made to feel guilty for the harm we are doing to the planet. Phooey!
People must do with less, according to this way of thinking. The environment can be saved this way. Wrong again. None of these ideas will really help save the environment. It will only spread the pain around, and enrich their sponsors.
They want to raise taxes so as to clean up the environment. But doesn't Europe have a carbon tax? And hasn't America made more progress towards less carbon emissions that Europe has? Higher taxes hasn't produced the results being produced here. But people in Europe do pay higher prices for their energy. Europe is certainly being punished even if they aren't quite as wealthy as Americans are.
I've noted that a lot of this is self serving for the left. All of these "solutions" only help leftists increase their power and control. Their programs don't help anybody but themselves.
Due to an error of omission, there has to be a rethinking of this launch system. Since the X-37C won't fit inside of the X-33 aeroshell, there are two choices:
- Put the X-37C inline with the X-33 or,
- Put the X-37C on top of the X-33
Actually the idea of riding on top of the X-33 shell occurred to me, but I still thought that the darned thing could fit inside.
Now the 747 would be carrying two birds on top, the X-33 and the X-37C on top of the X-33. A triple decker, or is it a double decker?
The ride on top of the NTR isn't too bad. It reminds me of the Space Shuttle and the ET. It may affect drag, though. How much I don't know.
Also don't know how it would ride on top of the 747. It may be too hard to control.
Here's a pic of the X-37C with some dimensions:
The revised X-33 would have the NTR's fuel tank in the same place, but would lift off of it and leave a bit hole in the fuselage. I'm thinking this could be filled in after the release of the NTR/X-37C so as to keep its aerodynamic shape. A form could be raised by inflating it into position. This could also be used as a force to separate the two craft from each other so that the NTR could go to space.
Try to imagine the whole thing now: The 747 with a X-33 atop of it, plus an X-37C on top of all of it.
The X-33/X37-C combo might stand 20 feet or more above the fuselage of the 747. The X-33 would still be about the same size as before, which is 69 feet long. Thus, it would be smaller than the Shuttle. It would probably ride a little higher. I'm a little worried about stability.
Now, assuming the entire proposition hasn't been made impractical, we go on to consider the layout of the X-33 in the next post.
This is about an Article V convention to amend the US Constitution.
Since the beginning of the blog, I have favored an Article V. There is indeed a risk that such an event won't go as hoped for, but the risk may have to be taken. It's a runaway federal government that's a sure thing and a runaway convention that isn't necessarily a sure thing. The greater risk is to do nothing.
My wish list for such a convention?
- Limitations on the Presidency.
- Limitations on the Courts.
- Limitations on Congress.
- Habeus corpus should not be suspended as easily as it is now.
- The Courts should not make decisions that are cultural in nature, such as abortion and same sex marriage.
- Congress should not be able to amend the Constitution without going through the amendment process.
Perhaps the states can step in under certain circumstances that will enable these branches of the government to be checked and balanced off against federal power.
The actual wording of the amendments aren't going to be covered here. At the moment, I am thinking of a state veto. Let's say a certain number of states object to a certain action of the federal government. If the veto event occurs, the federal action is invalidated.
Calculation for volume of the NTR rocket casing in the configuration outlined in the most recent post in the series.
there's 1 million cc in cubic meter, and
liquid density of hydrogen at boiling point is 0.07099 g·cm−3, this gives
70990 g hydrogen per cubic meter, or
70.99 kg hydrogen per cubic meter.
We'll need 288.1 cubic meters volume to contain the H2 for NTR rocket based upon 45k pounds LH2 per Dewar's model. Will it will fit inside of X-33 aeroshell?
X-33 is 21.2 meters long, 23.7 meters wide
Let's propose a rectangular tank 20 meters long by sqrt 15 or
3.87 square base by 20 meters long. Since 3.87 meters times 3.25 feet in a meter, we know that the X-33 aeroshell will have to be at least 12.58 feet thick. Since the tank fits inside of the X-33, then the X-33 aeroshell will have to be at least this thick.
How much volume in the aeroshell?
Given the formula for the area of triangle 1/2 b*h, so for the X-33
.5*23.7*21.2 equals 251.22 sq meter times 3.87 meters above gives approx 4, so an estimate for volume here of the X-33 aeroshell --- 1000 cubic meters.
So, a less than 300 cubic meter tank to fit inside 1000 cubic meter volume. Looks good so far.
I figure it will fit down the center of the X-33. The nose cap can lift up to allow the now cylindrical rocket stack to exit at the Karman line. The nose cap then comes down and the X-33 flies back to base.
The X-37C/NTR rocket stack massing at 91k lbs can fly up towards orbit.
Forgot about the X-37C itself. It is nearly 30 feet long in its current X-37B configuration. It will get bigger when/if it is upgraded to an X-37C.
That means it won't fit in the X-33 aeroshell. It looks like nearly all of it will have to be mounted outside of the aeroshell.
Even so, the complete package still is shorter than the Space Shuttle which rode atop the 747.