Author Topic: Aerojet Rocketdyne's proposed RD-180 replacement - the AR-1 (aka AJ-1E6)  (Read 160124 times)

Offline Patchouli

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4366
  • Liked: 167
  • Likes Given: 295
More of a decision for AJR than a decision for ULA.


Ironically, that was why AR-1 would have had to have been developed to undercut RD-180 and Merlin 1C(!) long ago, which would have caused a drop in the then Aerojet revenues for a half decade, but then that risk might have paid off in a broad base (big assumption that you could get many rival LV providers to eat the same dog food). Then you could have had a different story. Note the similarities/risks - you have to do it before things like booster reuse actually happen.


I wonder if a gas generator engine maybe a scaled down F-1B or an up scale of the RS-27 would have been a better route than trying to copy the RD-180?
Blue got a bid on Vulcan with an engine that not only had a different OF ratio but used different fuel.

Offline woods170

  • IRAS fan
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8109
  • IRAS fan
  • The Netherlands
  • Liked: 4205
  • Likes Given: 1287
I suppose Congress could write a law banning non indigenous LRE's.
Congress tried with a partial ban first. And that failed when the "in-effect" date was shifted backwards several years. By the time the new "in-effect" data approaches and indigenous LRE's are not available US Congress will simply shift the date to the right again.

Online WindnWar

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 469
  • South Carolina
  • Liked: 244
  • Likes Given: 1311
They are, as Sowers describes, professional leeches. That is in fact what they were designed to be by circumstance, as an outgrowth of decision from the Nixon administration's forced acqusitions in aerospace.


So when people talk of using AR-1 with yet another government program, it doesn't necessarily do AJR the kind of favor it really needs to remedy its root issues. It just gives the leach another artery to temporarily avoid the necessary reinvention. This does not make a firm better. And that idiot Casper Wienberger, while not directly complicit in this situation, did create this, one of many, by a colossal idiocy that caused many of these, ironically to "make Amercian aerospace great again".  ::)

I'm thinking of the analogy that AJR is like a virus that infects ULA. Raising it's prices is like raising the temperature of the body. Sooner or later either the body overcomes the virus or the body dies.  :(

They are both a product of the USG's absolute desire to maintain access to space at all times, regardless of a level of price inflation that sometimes seems to outsiders a lot like extortion.  :(

With the Centaurus 5 needing multiple (3-4?) RL-10s, or a single BE-EU (>110,000klbf) -- and Vulcan needing to cost half as much as Atlas V -- hasn't price inflation at AJR essentially killed use of RL-10 on Vulcan/Centaurus 5?

The other question on this is, how much of the RL-10 stockpile that ULA has is currently remaining? They were converting them to the RL-10C for use on both Atlas and Delta, but I've never been able to find how many of those engines were left, just that Boeing had bought a large number of the engines for Delta. Depending on how many are left that might be what powers the initial Vulcan Centaurs until they are used up. Anyone have an actual count of how many are left?

Offline brickmack

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 415
  • USA
  • Liked: 146
  • Likes Given: 10
Boeing ordered 100 RL10Bs, IIRC. 35 have been used on Delta IV. RL10C first flew on Atlas in December 2013. I know theres been at least one RL10A mission since then, probably more, but ballpark theres been about 20 flown since then. So >half used up. Theres still ~10 Deltas planned to fly, and at least 21 Atlases (probably much more), though not all future Atlases will use them (DEC missions must use RL10A). So with the known future manifest, thats only about 15 engines left to play with. Seems pointless to use them on Vulcan and have to redesign both upper stages once the supply runs out. Burn through them on the final Atlas V flights

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6105
  • UK
    • Plan 28
  • Liked: 5545
  • Likes Given: 1569
Not great news for AR-1 funding by USAF:

Good article by Eric Berger on the NDAA funding language and thus the flexibility it does, and does not, give the USAF:

https://arstechnica.com/science/2017/11/a-new-law-gives-air-force-some-wiggle-room-in-picking-its-new-rockets/

Two crucial quotes:

Quote
Further, the bill defines “rocket propulsion system” as a main booster, first-stage rocket engine, or motor. The term does not include a launch vehicle, an upper stage, a strap-on motor, or related infrastructure.

Quote
Another provision in the bill relates to the engines under development for Vulcan. This language states that the Air Force may terminate funding for other rocket propulsion systems when “the Secretary of the Air Force certifies to the congressional defense committees that a successful full-scale test of a domestic rocket engine has occurred.”

So first stage funding is fine, but not second or other stages, and AR-1 funding can be dropped once BE-4 achieves a 'full-scale test'.

Suggest following up in original (space policy) thread.

Offline Rik ISS-fan

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 835
  • the Netherlands
  • Liked: 183
  • Likes Given: 71
This wording also allows USAF to fund CASTOR 300, 600 & 1200 development by OrbitalATK.
Indeed bad news for Rocketdyne and AR-1 development funding.

Offline john smith 19

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7318
  • Everyplaceelse
  • Liked: 1071
  • Likes Given: 7185
This wording also allows USAF to fund CASTOR 300, 600 & 1200 development by OrbitalATK.
Indeed bad news for Rocketdyne and AR-1 development funding.
I think ULA might like to keep AR-1 around a bit longer just to give Blue the possibility they could be dropped if they don't deliver on time.

It depends on how keen Congress is on finishing funding to AJR.  They could continue to fund even after a successful all up engine test for Blue, even after they ran it for the full time IE a full stages worth of propellant.  :(
BFS. The worlds first Methane fueled FFORSC engined CFRP structured A380 sized aerospaceplane tail sitter capable of flying in Earth and Mars atmospheres. BFR. The worlds biggest Methane fueled FFORSC engined CFRP structured booster for BFS. First flight to Mars by end of 2022. Forward looking statements. T&C Apply So, you are going to Mars to start a better life? Picture it in your mind. Now say what it is out loud.

Offline Darkseraph

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 572
  • Liked: 266
  • Likes Given: 116
There's a possibility Aerojet Rocketdyne, alone or partnering with another aerospace firm, submits a proposal for the EELV contract that uses AR-1. Extremely unlikely, but stranger things have happened! 
"For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled." R.P.Feynman

Offline john smith 19

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7318
  • Everyplaceelse
  • Liked: 1071
  • Likes Given: 7185
There's a possibility Aerojet Rocketdyne, alone or partnering with another aerospace firm, submits a proposal for the EELV contract that uses AR-1. Extremely unlikely, but stranger things have happened!

Indeed.

As anyone who remembers the ATK "Liberty" launcher proposal knows.  :(
BFS. The worlds first Methane fueled FFORSC engined CFRP structured A380 sized aerospaceplane tail sitter capable of flying in Earth and Mars atmospheres. BFR. The worlds biggest Methane fueled FFORSC engined CFRP structured booster for BFS. First flight to Mars by end of 2022. Forward looking statements. T&C Apply So, you are going to Mars to start a better life? Picture it in your mind. Now say what it is out loud.

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6105
  • UK
    • Plan 28
  • Liked: 5545
  • Likes Given: 1569
Quote
Air Force and Aerojet Rocketdyne renegotiating AR1 agreement
by Jeff Foust — February 16, 2018

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Air Force and Aerojet Rocketdyne are working to revise an agreement to support development of the company’s AR1 rocket engine, as questions continue about the engine’s long-term future.

In a Feb. 14 response to questions submitted by SpaceNews, the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) confirmed that Aerojet Rocketdyne is seeking to revise the Rocket Propulsion System (RPS) award the company received in 2016 to reduce the fraction of development costs the company has to pay.

http://spacenews.com/air-force-and-aerojet-rocketdyne-renegotiating-ar1-agreement/

Online russianhalo117

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4355
  • AR USA / Berlin, DE / Moscow, RF
  • Liked: 989
  • Likes Given: 558
Quote
Air Force and Aerojet Rocketdyne renegotiating AR1 agreement
by Jeff Foust — February 16, 2018

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Air Force and Aerojet Rocketdyne are working to revise an agreement to support development of the company’s AR1 rocket engine, as questions continue about the engine’s long-term future.

In a Feb. 14 response to questions submitted by SpaceNews, the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) confirmed that Aerojet Rocketdyne is seeking to revise the Rocket Propulsion System (RPS) award the company received in 2016 to reduce the fraction of development costs the company has to pay.

http://spacenews.com/air-force-and-aerojet-rocketdyne-renegotiating-ar1-agreement/
Renegotiating Aerojet Rocketdynes share of AR1 dev cost from 1/3rd to no greater than 1/6th total development cost (AR's preference goal is 1/9th cost share per other articles with with 1/6th cost share being AR's offered all or nothing compromise solution):  https://arstechnica.com/science/2018/02/aerojet-wants-more-money-for-rocket-engine-the-government-may-not-need/

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6105
  • UK
    • Plan 28
  • Liked: 5545
  • Likes Given: 1569
A follow-up by Eric Berger:

Quote
Financial documents raise questions about AR1 engine’s readiness
"We are committed to delivering an engine in 2019," the company said.

Eric Berger - 2/28/2018, 2:11 PM

Publicly, the venerable US rocket engine company Aerojet Rocketdyne maintains that it is committed to finishing development of its powerful new AR1 engine by 2019. By meeting this deadline, company officials say, they will provide an all-American engine in time for use by United Launch Alliance's next-generation rocket.

However, a review of recent financial US Securities and Exchange Commission filings by Aerojet reveals that, even as it says progress is being made toward completing the AR1 rocket engine, the company is spending substantially less money developing it.

https://arstechnica.com/science/2018/02/aerojet-has-dramatically-cut-internal-funding-for-its-ar1-rocket-engine/

Not much room for doubt about the ultimate fate of AR-1.

Online IanThePineapple

A follow-up by Eric Berger:

Quote
Financial documents raise questions about AR1 engine’s readiness
"We are committed to delivering an engine in 2019," the company said.

Eric Berger - 2/28/2018, 2:11 PM

Publicly, the venerable US rocket engine company Aerojet Rocketdyne maintains that it is committed to finishing development of its powerful new AR1 engine by 2019. By meeting this deadline, company officials say, they will provide an all-American engine in time for use by United Launch Alliance's next-generation rocket.

However, a review of recent financial US Securities and Exchange Commission filings by Aerojet reveals that, even as it says progress is being made toward completing the AR1 rocket engine, the company is spending substantially less money developing it.

https://arstechnica.com/science/2018/02/aerojet-has-dramatically-cut-internal-funding-for-its-ar1-rocket-engine/

Not much room for doubt about the ultimate fate of AR-1.

Yeah, and ULA seemingly preferring the BE-4 doesn't help it...

Also, AFAIK no one is currently building a heavy-lift vehicle and don't have an engine yet, so I'd say AR-1 is likely dead/shelved.

Tags: