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Commercial and US Government Launch Vehicles => Orbital ATK - Antares/Cygnus Mission Section => Topic started by: braddock on 08/19/2006 01:19 PM

Title: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: braddock on 08/19/2006 01:19 PM
We are honored to have had Dr. Antonio Elias, the chief designer of the Pegasus and former VP and current GM of Advanced Programs at Orbital, join the forum.  

Antonio (I'm told we're not to call him "Dr") is happy to take questions - in fact, he has already fielded a couple on the Musk interview thread at http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/forums/thread-view.asp?tid=3550&start=25
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: braddock on 08/19/2006 01:49 PM
Antonio,
In the other thread you mentioned "there is NO WAY OF REDUCING THE COST OF LAUNCH BY TECHNOLGY", and that automated manufacturing or reusability doesn't give cost gains until the market volume goes up, and that the only other option was to pay people less.

Clearly Orbital is at or near the lower cost bound for a small payload US launcher.  

Do you also think the larger EELV-class launch vehicles are already at the lower bound of profitable price as well?  Or is there more room for innovation in process, overhead, and construction for the larger payload market?
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: Spiff on 08/19/2006 01:56 PM
Antonio,

I noticed this remark you made in the other thread:

Quote
those that throw the rocket off the aft end of an aircraft and fire it vertically loose a lot, probably half, of the DV advantages of air launch

This approach is the way that t-space intends to go in their air launches. Any idea why they chose this approach if it loses them half their air launch advantage?

Thanks in advance!
Spiff

P.S. I know this question is not specific to Pegasus, I'm just wondering because it seems like a strange approach.
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: SimonShuttle on 08/19/2006 02:05 PM
Antonio.

What do you think of the ESAS/VSE vehicles, especially the "5 seg Stick" which is going through major problems in the design cycles. Many engineers think the CLV is a bad design, but what do you think and do you have a prefered configuration?
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: Chris Bergin on 08/19/2006 07:12 PM
Allow me to place this higher up the forum (I can move it back into this section when completed). I want to give it more exposure.

I would urge people to aim to keep their questions on the Pegasus, as opposed to going too far off topic.
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: Jim on 08/19/2006 07:19 PM
Great idea.  Also concur wrt limiting questions but do have a suggestion that the topic includes all of OSC's LV's and or products.
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: Zond on 08/19/2006 07:43 PM
Antonio,
if i understand it correctly, you will be in charge of the Kistler K-1 program, so congratulations on getting a COTS space act agreement. This also leads me to my first question. In the other thread you said:
Quote
Well, we could reuse them... problem is, NASA calculated in 1970 that a reusable (multistage, not SSTO!) launch vehicle becomes cheaper than an expendable around 50-60 flights a year... no problem! Shuttle will fly *100* times a year!!! (cough, cough...) Around 2000, NASA paid six companies (Orbital amongst them) several millions of $$$ to research "Seconf Generations RLV's" and they found out that RLV's become cheaper than ELV's at the rate of... are you ready?... 50-60 flights/year! Why? Isp amd mass fraction are the same today as they were in 1970.
You seem sceptical of RLV's, so why did you accept to manage what may become the first orbital RLV: the Kistler K-1?
Orbital has a lot of success in producing small GEO comsats. The K-1 could be used as a launch platform for these sats, was this one of the reasons Orbital decided to invest in Kistler?
I once read a comment that said that the payload that is gained by the lift provided by the wings of the Pegasus is cancelled out by the weight of the wings. So a wingless Pegasus would put up the same payload as winged Pegasus. Do you believe this to be true? If yes, why did you put (and keep) the wings on the Pegasus?
The major customers for the Pegasus are the DOD and NASA. The only commercial launches of the Pegasus were bought by Orbital. Do you think there will be other commercial payloads on the Pegasus in the future? And do you think there is (or will be) commercial demand for launchers in the Pegasus payload class?

Thanks in advance!
(And i hope you will return in the future to answer questions concering the K-1)
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: antonioe on 08/19/2006 08:18 PM
Whoa... whoa... one at a time...! (... what did I get myself into... Bergin, I'll get you for this!...)

Seriously: I'll try my best to answer each and every question, please be patient with me.  I'll also try to be as objective as I can, but please forgive me in advance, 'cause, like Zaphod Beeblebrox's great-grandfather, I tend to pontificate a lot.

"What can be done to EELV's" - Not much, I'm afraid.  Let me start by stating that both Atlas V and the Delta IV families are fine rockets.  Their track record is impressive: as of April/May 2006, the Atlast V is 8 for 8 and the Delta IV is 6 for 6, although one launch was a little rocky.  When Doug Stanley was directing Orbital's Space Transportation Architecture Studies (STAS) and started advocating the use of EELV's for human LEO transportation, we looked closely at the two rockets. [Historical note: we thought it would be "cute" to put up some posters of Doug's work - including a picture of the BLB3 vehicle on top of a Delta IV heavy -  on display inside the L-1011 on occasion of the X-34 rollout at Dryden, which Dan Goldin attended.  When Dan saw the picture, he hit the ceiling and chewed poor Doug really bad, proclaiming that "this country will NEVER again send an astronaut on an expendable vehicle..."] From a purely engineering standpoint I like the Atlas V a little more.

The problem of EELV cost has, IMHO, two major elements:

1.- The existing EELV infrastructure has the capacity to produce, test and launch probably 12 to 18 vehicles a year.  Given that there are two different manufacturers and two different launch ranges, I don't hink you could come up with anything less.  But the 14 launches from August 2002 to May 2006 average about 3.5 launches/year!  The government has come to grips with the reality that this town ain't big enough for two EELV;s and, since they cannot in all fairness select one company vs. the other, they have told them to merge, like NASA did on Shuttle operations.  United Launch Alliance will ameliorate, but not totally eliminate this problem.

2.- The so-called “bureaucratic overhead” (some of which is honest procedural thoroughness and rigor) is inevitable: launch is but a fraction of the cost of a commercial or military space project; if you have a $75M satellite riding on a $16M Pegasus (as NASA does very frequently), and Orbital comes to you and sez “I can save you $2M if you don’t ask me to prepare all those pedigree and launch readiness reviews you ask me for – and don’t worry, they don’t really add anything to the launch reliability” – what would you do?  What is the impact of saving $2M on a program that spends $75+$16M+probably $20M more for science and flight operations?  What if YOUR launch were to fail?  You would say “thanks, but no, thanks”.

That’s what’s maddening: given the boundary conditions they have to operate within, THEY ARE MAKING RATIONAL DECISIONS!  SO, you must either ask them to behave irrationally, or change the boundary conditions.

I’ll be back after making myself a cappuccino.
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: antonioe on 08/19/2006 08:34 PM
“Any idea why t/Space intends to drop their rocket from an aircraft so it lights vertically even if it reduces the DV advantage of air-launch?”

Well, to begin with, it would be presumptuous of me to speculate on why t/Space, or anybody else, chooses a specific design or another.  I can speculate on why *I* would choose that approach, instead of the one I chose on Pegasus.

Near-vertical launch loses the forward velocity and gravity losses of wing-assisted horizontal drop, but retains almost all of the pressure advantages of the altitude start.  In particular, it would allow me to use a pressure-fed first stage, whereas a pressure-fed first stage at sea level would be the kiss of death.

Also, I could use relatively unmodified military cargo aircraft using a rear-ramp extraction method; if I had to launch 6 air-dropped rockets within 10 minutes, 6 C-17's would do the trick.

There is also the issue of the Orbital Pegasus patent, which covers the wing, although I’m sure Orbital would be glad to license it at a very reasonable rate to anyone foolish enough to think there’s a market there for another Pegasus-class vehicle… we barely make a living out of it…
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: antonioe on 08/19/2006 08:40 PM
"What do you think of the ESAS/VSE vehicles".

I haven't paid much attention to them, except through the work we did on the Launch Abort System (LAS) for the Crew Exploration vehicle (CEV) so I can't comment.  Only a thought on the use of solids for a crew-carrying vehicle: hard to get out of their way with their large thrust levels and difficulty of thrust termination.
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: antonioe on 08/19/2006 09:11 PM
“You seem sceptical of RLV's, so why did you accept to manage what may become the first orbital RLV: the Kistler K-1?”

First, Orbital is NOT going to manage the K-1 effort: we will supply RpK with systems engineering and several other high-skill resources (which, admittedly will include management, such as G. David).  But RpK will be clearly in control.

I’m not “skeptical”: I only point out that you need a lot of traffic (50-60/year) for RLV’s to compete with ELV’s.  Unless, of course, you only have to pay back half of the investment, which is the situation with Kistler.

Finally, of ALL the RLV configurations I’ve seen, George Mueller’s K-1 seems to me the most likely to succeed, specifically because of its configuration is such that the necessary high mass fractions may be achievable, especially on the critical upper stage (“Orbital Vehicle”).

It remains to be seen if the NASA COTS funding survives future budget battles, Shuttle/ISS/Constellation overruns, gulf coast hurricanes and changes in administration…
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: yinzer on 08/19/2006 09:35 PM
I would like to say that I'm impressed with what Orbital has accomplished.  They were the first people to make commercial space work.

Three questions:

Surely the Pegasus wing patent has expired by now?

As someone with experience in the business side of launch operations, can you comment on just how much flight rate affects ELV pricing?  Would we come out ahead if we doubled/tripled the EELV flight rate by moving all Delta II size payloads onto it and ditching Delta II entirely?

Do you feel that the laws preventing the use of surplus ICBM hardware for space launch are wise in retrospect?  With 50 Peacekeepers left over, it seems like the payload side of the low-cost space problem could get a big boost from those being made available.
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: aero313 on 08/19/2006 11:39 PM
Quote
antonioe - 19/8/2006  4:21 PM

“Any idea why t/Space intends to drop their rocket from an aircraft so it lights vertically even if it reduces the DV advantage of air-launch?”

Near-vertical launch loses the forward velocity and gravity losses of wing-assisted horizontal drop, but retains almost all of the pressure advantages of the altitude start.  In particular, it would allow me to use a pressure-fed first stage, whereas a pressure-fed first stage at sea level would be the kiss of death.

Actually, not much of the forward velocity is lost.  Keep in mind that the AirLaunch LLC (not t/Space) system does not use the parachutes and pallet the way SRALT/LRALT do.  Ignition takes place when the rocket has pitched up to nearly vertical, but there is still significant forward velocity.  Of course, the low thrust to weight of a liquid results in the vehicle continuing to fall for several seconds and the 90 deg AOA is not a normal launch vehicle design case.

Quote
Also, I could use relatively unmodified military cargo aircraft using a rear-ramp extraction method; if I had to launch 6 air-dropped rockets within 10 minutes, 6 C-17's would do the trick.

Actually, the DARPA surge requirement was 16 in 24 hours, or something like that.  Additionally, AirLaunch only pays for the marginal cost of flight hours - for some reason they don't want to own a dedicated aircraft...  

Also, since DARPA/Falcon is a DoD system, stealth is a consideration.  To an observer it looks just like any other C-17 taking off.

Quote
There is also the issue of the Orbital Pegasus patent, which covers the wing, although I’m sure Orbital would be glad to license it at a very reasonable rate to anyone foolish enough to think there’s a market there for another Pegasus-class vehicle… we barely make a living out of it…

Actually, the wing wouldn't fit very well inside the C-17.  Also, with the low thrust/weight of a liquid, the carrier aircraft gets further away faster with the near vertical initial ascent than with a belly-mount horizontal drop.

By the way, congrats on COTS.
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: antonioe on 08/20/2006 01:41 AM
“I once read a comment that said that the payload that is gained by the lift provided by the wings of the Pegasus is cancelled out by the weight of the wings. So a wingless Pegasus would put up the same payload as winged Pegasus. Do you believe this to be true? If yes, why did you put (and keep) the wings on the Pegasus?”

Answer , Page I (having trouble fitting the entire answer into one submission):

Rather than argue about it, why don’t we calculate it? Open an Excel window and paste the following spreadsheet table to it:


                     S1   S2/BF  S2/AF     S3
Payload, Kg        5,729  3,657  1,299    341
Inert, Kg          2,241    169    455    180
Final, Kg          7,970  3,826  1,754    521
Propellant, Kg    15,180  1,903  1,903    777
Initial, Kg       23,150  5,729  3,657  1,299

Isp, sec          290.21 289.40 289.40 287.25
Delivered DV, m/s  3,035  1,146  2,085  2,571

Total Delivered DV, m/s 8,837
Vcirc @ 875 Km, m/s     7,413
DV Losses, m/s          1,424


Now, turn the “Final” and “Initial” mass cells into formulas (“Final” = “Payload + Inert” for each stage, “Initial” = “Final + Propellant”)

Next, turn the “Delivered DV” cells into formulas with the rocket equation in them: DV =9.8 * Isp * LN(Initial/Final)

Don’t forget also to replace the Total DV cell with the sum of each stage’s DV (“S2/BF” = stage 2 burn before fairing sep, “S2/AF” = after staging sep. I arbitrarily assumed the fairing is kicked off halfway into the S2 burn).

You will know you have the correct formulas when your numbers match mine.
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: antonioe on 08/20/2006 01:49 AM
Answer, Part II:

Now do this: reduce the S1 inert by 454 Kg (1,000 lb), and lower the payload to 249 Kg. You should get a delivered DV of 9,414 m/s, which is 1,270 f/s more than the baseline Pegasus flight (770 from the aircraft groundspeed which you don't get if you fire vertically, about 500 from conservatively estimated increased gravity losses):

                      S1    S2/BF  S2/AF     S3
Payload, Kg         5,637   3,565  1,207    249
Inert, Kg           1,787     169    455    180
Final, Kg           7,424   3,734  1,662    430
Propellant, Kg     15,180   1,903  1,903    777
Initial, Kg        22,604   5,637  3,565  1,207

Isp, sec           290.21  289.40 289.40 287.25
Delivered DV, m/s   3,169   1,169  2,166  2,911

Total Delivered DV, m/s 9,414
Vcirc @ 875 Km, m/s     7,413
DV Losses, m/s          2,001

This is what a wingless, air-launched Pegasus would do. So, getting rid of the wing saves 1,000 lbs of S1 mass, but the net result is a reduction in payload from 341 Kg to 211 Kg. Gets worse if you ground-launch it (pressure losses; try reducing the payload further to achieve an additional 1,000 fps or so;)
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: antonioe on 08/20/2006 02:07 AM
Quote
I would like to say that I'm impressed with what Orbital has accomplished. They were the first people to make commercial space work.

Thanks for the kudos, but the first people that made commercial space work were the Geocom guys.  They are still the only serious commrcial business in space.

Quote
“Surely the Pegasus wing patent has expired by now?”

Hmm... lemme look at my copy…. Pat No. 4,901,949… Feb. 20, 1990… how long do patents last?  17 years for design patents applied for before June 8, 1995 (or something like that?)

Quote
“how much flight rate affects ELV pricing?”

As I mentioned in an early posting, I think you could launch 12-18 EELV’s a year for little more than the present 3.5/year.  To be conservative, say that launching 12 EELVs/year can easily half the cost per launch (not the total bill!)

Quote
“Would we come out ahead if we doubled/tripled the EELV flight rate by moving all Delta II size payloads onto it and ditching Delta II entirely?”

Ouch!  Argh!  “Vade retro, Satana!”… if you do that, you will kill most of NASA science, DoD experiments such as MiTEx, etc. etc.  You will cause grave damage to the aerospace community by “condemning” missions to start their life at the EELV size… plus, if magically you could put all 3-4 Delta II missions a year in the same orbit, you would only add ONE EELV flight…, so PLEASE DON’T EVEN SUGGEST IT!!!

Quote
”laws preventing the use of surplus ICBM hardware for space launch are wise?”

First, I believe it’s not a law, it’s a policy, and, Second, it DOES allow their use for US government-sponsored launches (including DoD, NASA and educational/research uses; all you need is a nod from the Dep of Defense).

Quote
“With 50 Peacekeepers left over, it seems like the payload side of the low-cost space problem could get a big boost from those being made available”

Actually, there are over 60 useable PK shipsets… I think we add something like  $12-$15M per launch to turn a PK motorset into a Minotaur (including new avionics, fairing, payload interface, launch ops, range, etc.)  So far, I believe we may have only one firm and one tentative taker… shows how inelastic the market is.

Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: antonioe on 08/20/2006 02:11 AM
Quote
Actually, not much of the forward velocity is lost. Keep in mind that the AirLaunch LLC (not t/Space) system does not use the parachutes and pallet the way SRALT/LRALT do. Ignition takes place when the rocket has pitched up to nearly vertical, but there is still significant forward velocity. Of course, the low thrust to weight of a liquid results in the vehicle continuing to fall for several seconds and the 90 deg AOA is not a normal launch vehicle design case.

How long does a rocket flying at 90 deg AOA take to slow down?  I don't think there would be much groundspeed left... also, how do you maneuver a non-thrusting rocket to 90 deg AOA???
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: antonioe on 08/20/2006 02:32 AM
OK, guys... my fingers (and my brain) are starting to ache... I'm on my way to a Naval Studies Board meeting in... Honolulu (last year it was Norfolk, VA, so no snickering!) and will be there all week, with NO LAPTOP AND NO CELL PHONE!!!!!!!!!

SO, I will not check this excellent forum until then.

And until them, happy liftoffs!

- ae
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: braddock on 08/20/2006 02:42 AM
Pegasus DV spreadsheet, with some minor rounding errors...
Oh...and I forgot to update the DV Losses field in the Pegasus w/o wings.  Should read 2,001.

Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: antonioe on 08/20/2006 02:50 AM
Wow!  that was fast!!!  By the way, up from beginning to end of burn and right from first to last stage is the spreadsheet format I used when I gave a course on LV design at U of MD a few years ago (except I have a gazillion VBasic Excel macros to do hohman transfers, Vcirc, rocket equation in seven languages, etc.)

A reminder that the numbers in the example are for a high-inclination orbit (85 deg, I believe) where you don't get much assist from earth rotation rate.

Speaking of the rocket equation:  why is it that we call the airplane equivalent the "Breguet equation", but we don't call the rocket one by it's creator name?  Is it because it's hard to pronounce (and spell) "Tsiolkovsky", or is it because when rocketry was flourishing in the good 'ol US of A all Russkys were bad dubbies?

I propose that we call DV=g0 Isp Ln(Finit/Ffinal) the "Tsiolkovsky equation", or, if you think it's a mouthful, "The T-equation"
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: yinzer on 08/20/2006 04:25 AM
Quote
antonioe - 19/8/2006  6:54 PM
Quote
“how much flight rate affects ELV pricing?”

As I mentioned in an early posting, I think you could launch 12-18 EELV’s a year for little more than the present 3.5/year.  To be conservative, say that launching 12 EELVs/year can easily half the cost per launch (not the total bill!)

Wow.  That's a fairly big difference.  Which leads to...

Quote
Quote
“Would we come out ahead if we doubled/tripled the EELV flight rate by moving all Delta II size payloads onto it and ditching Delta II entirely?”

Ouch!  Argh!  “Vade retro, Satana!”… if you do that, you will kill most of NASA science, DoD experiments such as MiTEx, etc. etc.  You will cause grave damage to the aerospace community by “condemning” missions to start their life at the EELV size… plus, if magically you could put all 3-4 Delta II missions a year in the same orbit, you would only add ONE EELV flight…, so PLEASE DON’T EVEN SUGGEST IT!!!

Sorry... I was unclear.  If Delta IIs at their current flight rate now cost about $80-90M a pop, and if adding an Atlas 401 to the manifest in any given year costs $50M... consider an Atlas 401 Economy Special.  Remove the nozzle extension from the Centaur, replace the fancy integrally machined payload adapter with one made out of mild steel that weighs 2,000 pounds more and has a Delta II style interface on it, add ballast, whatever you need to do to get the payload down to that of the Delta 7925.  Then take your satellite off of the Delta II and put it on top of the Atlas 401-ES.  Lockheed charges you $60M, pockets $10, and you come out $20M ahead.

This is more or less what Boeing did with the Med-Lite Delta IIs, as near as I can tell - removing 5 solid boosters reduced the cost (to Boeing) by maybe 10% and halved the payload.
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: Skyrocket on 08/20/2006 05:11 AM
Concerning winged and wing-less Pegasus versions:

http://www.orbital.com/Template.php?Section=News&NavMenuID=32&template=PressReleaseDisplay.php&PressReleaseID=506

Is these Pegasus derivates still an active program? I have not heard anything on the Raptor-LV since this press release. What are the differences of the winged version to the Pegasus-XL?

Gunter
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: Seattle Dave on 08/21/2006 05:43 AM
One for when you return....ST-5 was a good example of the potential of the Pegasus launch system being used for micro satellite delievery. Should this industry become an increasing area of the satellite market, what advantages do you feel Orbital has over competitors?
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: Jim on 08/21/2006 12:16 PM
Quote
yinzer - 20/8/2006  12:12 AM

Ouch!  Argh!  “Vade retro, Satana!”… if you do that, you will kill most of NASA science, DoD experiments such as MiTEx, etc. etc.  You will cause grave damage to the aerospace community by “condemning” missions to start their life at the EELV size… plus, if magically you could put all 3-4 Delta II missions a year in the same orbit, you would only add ONE EELV flight…, so PLEASE DON’T EVEN SUGGEST IT!!!

Sorry... I was unclear.  If Delta IIs at their current flight rate now cost about $80-90M a pop, and if adding an Atlas 401 to the manifest in any given year costs $50M... consider an Atlas 401 Economy Special.  Remove the nozzle extension from the Centaur, replace the fancy integrally machined payload adapter with one made out of mild steel that weighs 2,000 pounds more and has a Delta II style interface on it, add ballast, whatever you need to do to get the payload down to that of the Delta 7925.  Then take your satellite off of the Delta II and put it on top of the Atlas 401-ES.  Lockheed charges you $60M, pockets $10, and you come out $20M ahead.

This is more or less what Boeing did with the Med-Lite Delta IIs, as near as I can tell - removing 5 solid boosters reduced the cost (to Boeing) by maybe 10% and halved the payload.[/QUOTE]

Delta II's are less than that.   Delta-lites were cheaper than 10% and it made the payload cheaper.
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: braddock on 08/24/2006 01:58 PM
Antonio,
How did the Pegasus project get started?  Sitting in a diner, sketching on napkins?
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: Jim on 08/24/2006 02:06 PM
Quote
Jim - 21/8/2006  8:03 AM

Quote
yinzer - 20/8/2006  12:12 AM

Ouch!  Argh!  “Vade retro, Satana!”… if you do that, you will kill most of NASA science, DoD experiments such as MiTEx, etc. etc.  You will cause grave damage to the aerospace community by “condemning” missions to start their life at the EELV size… plus, if magically you could put all 3-4 Delta II missions a year in the same orbit, you would only add ONE EELV flight…, so PLEASE DON’T EVEN SUGGEST IT!!!

Sorry... I was unclear.  If Delta IIs at their current flight rate now cost about $80-90M a pop, and if adding an Atlas 401 to the manifest in any given year costs $50M... consider an Atlas 401 Economy Special.  Remove the nozzle extension from the Centaur, replace the fancy integrally machined payload adapter with one made out of mild steel that weighs 2,000 pounds more and has a Delta II style interface on it, add ballast, whatever you need to do to get the payload down to that of the Delta 7925.  Then take your satellite off of the Delta II and put it on top of the Atlas 401-ES.  Lockheed charges you $60M, pockets $10, and you come out $20M ahead.

This is more or less what Boeing did with the Med-Lite Delta IIs, as near as I can tell - removing 5 solid boosters reduced the cost (to Boeing) by maybe 10% and halved the payload.
[/QUOTE]

Delta II's are less than that.   Delta-lites were cheaper than 10% and it made the payload cheaper.
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: Mark Max Q on 08/28/2006 04:34 PM
I have a question, which might be so simple anyone could answer it, but given the weather problems with the Shuttle. What are the restrictive issues with Orbital's scheduled launches? Is there a specific drop area for the Pegasus to launch away from the aircraft? If there's a Hurricane etc. Do you fly over it, thus not a problem, or do you have other alternative areas you could fly to for continuing with the scheduled mission?
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: Jim on 08/28/2006 04:57 PM
I am going to answer for the good Dr.  For each mission, there is a specific drop zone, which means they are affected by weather both at the aircraft runway and the drop zone.
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: yinzer on 08/28/2006 05:53 PM
Delta II isn't less than that anymore, at least as near as I could tell by looking at the Discovery Program document library.  If you poke around for the launch services information, you'll see that they're looking at slightly over $100M for a Delta 7925-H or whatever it is.  I also thought that Delta-Lite never came to be after it looked like the number of payloads wasn't going to be big enough, so they did the 7300/7400 series instead.
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: Jim on 08/28/2006 06:02 PM
That is a Delta II Heavy.  Also Launch service costs include the processing facility, mission unique mods, telemetry, etc
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: vt_hokie on 08/28/2006 06:43 PM
This is not a question so much about the launch vehicle itself, so please forgive me if I'm venturing too far off topic, but I was always curious as to how/why Orbital acquired an L-1011 at a time when most airlines were phasing out the Tristar in favor of newer, more efficient twin engine aircraft.  Was it simply a matter of getting a good deal on the airplane, or does the L-1011 offer specific performance characteristics that made it the aircraft of choice?
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: Jim on 08/28/2006 06:55 PM
Got it cheap
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: aero313 on 08/28/2006 10:26 PM
Quote
vt_hokie - 28/8/2006  2:30 PM

This is not a question so much about the launch vehicle itself, so please forgive me if I'm venturing too far off topic, but I was always curious as to how/why Orbital acquired an L-1011 at a time when most airlines were phasing out the Tristar in favor of newer, more efficient twin engine aircraft.  Was it simply a matter of getting a good deal on the airplane, or does the L-1011 offer specific performance characteristics that made it the aircraft of choice?

Jim's right - I was there at the time.  The L-1011 was cheap and given the low number of hours required to support Pegasus missions, fuel efficiency was not an issue.
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: vt_hokie on 08/29/2006 12:09 AM
Thanks, that's what I figured.  The Tristar was always one of my favorite aircraft...it's a shame that the Rolls Royce RB211 delays denied it a fair shot against the DC-10.  I'm glad to see a few of 'em still flying!
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: antonioe on 08/29/2006 02:56 AM

Hi, guys (and gals, I hope!) I'm back from exotic Honolulu after serving Country and Navy (boy, was that tough...) I'll again try to answer as many q. as I can, just be patient.

Quote
braddock - 24/8/2006 8:45 AM

Antonio,
How did the Pegasus project get started? Sitting in a diner, sketching on napkins?

Boy! Sit down, grab a Coke and relax, 'cause the story is a long one:

The Pegasus story, Part I The "Camarillo Incident"

In late '86, NASA's Bob Lovell joined Orbital bringing with him what he thought was "the last cookie left" in the cupboard of space-based communications: short messages to monitor and control devices such as pipeline cathodic protection circuits (that must by regulation be checked every X days). The idea was to use a constellation of small (10-15 Kg) LEO satellites and very low cost ground transceivers (do you recognize the origins of ORBCOMM? - and don't bring up Iridium yet - we're in 1986!)

Pursuing that idea, DWT sent me in early 1987 on a shopping spree to look for inexpensive launch options: we looked at piggybacking on somebody's launch (wrong orbit, wrong timing and, the worse, the big customer imposed on you the same type of reliability requirements he had, to make sure YOU didn't mess HIS launch - no dice). We looked at Scout, not too expensive per launch, but it spun (yuck!), had very little performance (we wanted to launch 12 sats at 10-20 Kg each per launch... ORBCOMM on Pegasus eventually came out a little bit different) and LTV could only sell it to NASA, which owned the design and all the GSE.  The last stop was in Camarillo, CA, where a young, "New Space" company called American Rocket - AMROC for short - was developing a... are you ready?... SMALL PRIVATELY DEVELOPED LOW COST LAUNCHER!!!

The entrepreneur and overall boss was George Koopman, who - somebody told me, was financing the venture with family money (rumor, possibly not true: his grandmother owned the Sherman Oaks Galleria). In February of that year, Dick Bergen, who was our USAF/L.A. rep, and I visited AMROC.  Koopman gave us an appointment for, I believe, 1 pm. Dick and I show up around 12:45. We are ushered into a large conference room. Fifteen minutes later, someone shows up, says "hi" and sits down. I later found out that was George French. Ten minutes later somebody ELSE shows up, same routine. I later found out he was Bill Claybough. Five minutes later, somebody else I didn't know then but who later joined Orbital, and now works at NASA (a certain Mike Griffin). A few more minutes, and Bevin McKinney (who, again, I did not know at the time) enters. Total wait, about an hour - nobody says a word, waiting for the boss.  Then the door slams open and Koopman whirlwinds into the room shouting: "OK, what do you want?" I (timidly) "W.. well.. er.. we.. we are looking for an inexpensive launch vehicle for a project, and would like to know what you have to offer?"

"It has a 1,000 lb payload, will cost $6M" (yes, boys and girls, he said $6M!) "and will be ready in eight months. Anything else?"

"Uh... can... can you give us some more details?"

"That's all you need to know. Good day" - and he storms out of the room. None of the others said boo.

Dick and I looked at each other wondering what had just happened, but we smiled at the audience, who looked a bit embarrassed, said goodbye and left. Dick dropped me at LAX.  We were so cash-strapped that we always took red-eyes from the West Coast (well, we were also 20 years younger...) When I walked into DWT's office next morning to report, he started laughing and asked me "What did you do to George Koopman?"

"What did *WE* do to him? *HE* threw us out of his office, that's what he did! Why?"

"He called me five minutes after you left and demanded to know what I was trying to do sending my SPIES to snoop on him!"

Months later, Koopman and I smoked the peace pipe while being the only two (lonely) American presenters at a "Small Space" symposium in Frascati, Italy, where George talked about AMROC, I talked about Pegasus, the Italian moderator reminded me that the air-launch concept was invented by Bepi Colombo (!), and a new Italian small launcher project, called Vega, was unveiled (that was late summer 1988, not the "official" 1998 starting date of the Vega program; check the web for the latest on Vega!)

A year later, George died when his BMW 630 went off the twisty road between Lancaster and Lompoc (I remember somebody saying he was talking on his "cellular telephone" - a novelty then - when he crashed). I was at Vandenberg when AMROC tried to launch the SET-1, renamed the "Koopman Express"; the LOX valve got stuck in mid-position, the motor never developed enough thrust to lift, but enough heat to start a small fire which, weakening the structure, caused the rocket to topple over. I remember seeing in the newspaper a picture of George's widow and daughter looking distraught at the smoldering rocket. What I didn't know at the time was that the rocket was carrying George's ashes. George was a good man.

The significance of the "Camarillo incident" is this: If George had not have given us the boot, but rather said "here, sit down - can I get you a cup of coffee? - let me show you the great features of our magnificent rocket" Pegasus would probably never been developed (not to say that AMROC's hybrid-rocket design would have been successful - but I didn't know as much about rockets then as I do now). How ironic.

Next installment: Solwind is dead, long live Pegasus.

 

Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: astrobrian on 08/29/2006 03:07 AM
Great story, enjoyed it alot :)
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: antonioe on 08/29/2006 04:03 AM
Quote
vt_hokie - 28/8/2006 1:30 PM

This is not a question so much about the launch vehicle itself, so please forgive me if I'm venturing too far off topic, but I was always curious as to how/why Orbital acquired an L-1011 at a time when most airlines were phasing out the Tristar in favor of newer, more efficient twin engine aircraft. Was it simply a matter of getting a good deal on the airplane, or does the L-1011 offer specific performance characteristics that made it the aircraft of choice?

Quote
Jim - 28/8/2006 1:42 PM

Got it cheap

You've got that right! NASA told us we could not use the B-52 after the early flights for DARPA, because they did not want to be associated with non-government launches (a decision they later regretted when they could not find enough support to keep the B-52 flying). The B-757, with that long undecarriage, "looked" right to haul a Pegasus under its belly, but it was then a relatively brand spanking new airliner commanding a hefty price and with a relatively long waiting list. We thought of a wide-body; the DC-10's were still in service and thus had economic value. The L-1011's were being phased out (Delta was the only major carrier still using them) and thus cheaper.

I asked Dan Raymer, who had recently left Lockheed (I guess he was still consulting for them) to help us with some preliminary performance estimations. I think it was Dan who got us in touch with the last L-1011 Chief Engineer who, in turn, helped us locate an outfit that could engineer and fabricate the necessary mods (Marshall's of Cambridge, now Marshall Aerospace, in Cambridge, U.K.) and a U.S. company that could help us with the necessary FAA paperwork. He found us a good airframe with a reasonable price tag but all the key flightworthiness mods.  Finally, he got us in touch with the legendary Bill Weaver of SR-71 bailout fame (Tony LeVier's successor as Lockheed Chief Test Pilot!) who put together the crew.

We paid Air Canada $10.5M to buy L-1011 S/N 1062. A few years later, you could buy an L-1011 for under $5M. Oh, well... I have lot of stories about the purchase of the L-1011, acceptance flight at Marana Air Park and the subsequent flight over the Atlantic to Cambridge with Bill Weaver on the left seat and John Lear (yes! Bill Lear's son!) on the right seat. Maybe someday you can twist my arm into writing THAT story.

What we did NOT know when we chose the L-1011 is how PERFECT the L-1011 was going to be for that application! For example, while all other transport aircraft I am aware of have a single keel longeron at the 6 o'clock position in the fuselage, the L-1011 has TWO parallel "keelsons", separated by the ideal distance to attach the Pegasus hooks, designed four years earlier!!! Similarly, there is an unpressurized "hydraulic service center" about 14 ft long by 8 ft tall by 5 feet wide between the main landing gear wells that normally contained the hydraulic valves, accumulators, etc.  By cleverly moving them from the center of the compartment to the bulkheads, we got more than enough room for the "doghouse" into which the Pegasus vertical tail fits like a glove!!!  And, again, because of the dual keelson, we had no trouble cutting a slot on the skin for the vertical tail (that would have been heroic on a single-keel fuselage.)  About the only complain I have on the L-1011 is its lower altitude performance with respect to the B-52.  Fuel efficiency is not a problem for an aircraft that flies 50 hours a year.  Flying only 50 hours a year IS a problem.
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: vt_hokie on 08/29/2006 03:38 PM
Wow, talk about luck!  Very interesting indeed!
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: braddock on 08/30/2006 10:17 PM
These are fascinating tid-bits, Antonio.

Do you think there is more potential for small satellite constellations to replace the roles of the larger birds?  

I'm still waiting for my global teledesic-class communications system.  DoD is hurting now in the mid-east because they don't have a teledesic network, but they still seem stuck on large expensive birds with laser comms for their next generation..I guess lasers sound more macho or something, because god knows it ain't due to the proliferation of commodity hand-held laser-phones....
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: Chris Bergin on 08/30/2006 10:21 PM
I can smell a book in the offering from the good Dr, if these stories are anything to go by :)
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: antonioe on 08/31/2006 12:50 AM
Quote
Chris Bergin - 30/8/2006  5:08 PM

I can smell a book in the offering from the good Dr, if these stories are anything to go by :)

Yeah, as if stories about keelsons and hydraulic service centers are going to make the New York Times bestseller lists... no, I'd much rather share these tidbits with the few aficionados like you that can get excited from reading them.  Be patient, the story spans abour three years, and I'll be lucky if I can cover six months each evening I can afford to log in...

Space Cadets of the World, Unite!
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: Pete at Edwards on 08/31/2006 01:23 AM
And we appreciate reading them!
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: Rob in KC on 08/31/2006 01:49 AM
Quote
Pete at Edwards - 30/8/2006  8:10 PM

And we appreciate reading them!

Absolutely. When is the next Pegasus launch and will it be a live event on this site?
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: Chris Bergin on 08/31/2006 01:56 AM
I second that motion....and the interest is obviously there, given there's 1,400 reads of this thread already. We really appreciate you spending time on here.

Quote
Rob in KC - 31/8/2006  2:36 AM

Absolutely. When is the next Pegasus launch and will it be a live event on this site?

Absolutely. We covered the ST5 launch as a live event, from the point of the L-1011 in final checks on the runway, to the deployment of the three microsats: http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/forums/thread-view.asp?tid=1921&start=1

Got my head in CEV stuff right now, so I'll leave the next mission info to someone else.

Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: Jim on 08/31/2006 02:23 AM
Quote
Rob in KC - 30/8/2006  9:36 PM

Quote
Pete at Edwards - 30/8/2006  8:10 PM

And we appreciate reading them!

Absolutely. When is the next Pegasus launch and will it be a live event on this site?

NASA has one in Mar 07
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: antonioe on 08/31/2006 02:47 AM

The Pegasus story, Part II Solwind is dead, long live Pegasus.

I guess I have to explain how I got embroiled with DWT and the orbital gang.  Even though we both attended MIT as undergrads, DWT was a few years younger than me, and by the time he was there I had disappeared as a Research Assistant into the Black Hole of Calcutta's Cambridge branch, a.k.a. Draper Lab.  SO we really didn't meet at MIT (that we can remember).  In early '86 two life-changing events things happened: The Challenger accident, and I failed to get tenure at MIT.

Orbital had been started by DWT, Scott Webster and Bruce Ferguson in '82 to commercialize space.  Their lead product was a privately financed and developed upper stage that would allow the Shuttle to orbit commercial communication satellites larger than those that a PAM (Payload Assist Module) could boost into GTO, but at a fraction of the cost of the larger IUS (both developed with gov. money).  They raised $50M thanks to, among other instruments, one of the last "Limited R&D Partnerships" allowed under U.S. tax law.  Then-hungry Martin Marietta (whose Titan line of ELV's was being driven out of business by the Shuttle), under the leadership of a young and aggressive vice-president named Pete Teets agreed to be the actual developer and builder of the "Transfer Orbit Stage" or TOS, under contract to Orbital Sciences Corporation, or "OSC" (Note: the OSC logo was designed by Scott Webster to look very similar to the NASA "worm", and many people thought it read "CSC" - we are now, very wisely, known simply as "Orbital").

After the Challenger accident, the government decided not to offer commercial launches with the Shuttle (and the USAF decided to go back to the ELV business).  This spelled the doom of the TOS product  line - a total of 2 were sold, both to... NASA!, and one did not even fly on the Shuttle, but on a Titan 34D.  A large number of people left OSC, creating the need for, among others, a "Chief Engineer".  MIT's Jack Kerrebrock was an OSC board member at the time, and he suggested to DWT to contact the soon-to-be-unemployed Assistant Professor (Third Class) Antonio Elias.  I walked into the hallowed halls of OSC's Fair Lakes offices September 2, 1986.  There were twenty of us there, including the three founders, the receptionist, and me.  Because of attrition, though, my employee number was 40.  After Ray Palladino retired, I believe that only four of those twenty still work at Orbital: DWT (Employee #1), Linda Buhl (probably #26 or so), Jim Utter (#39, joined the day before I did) and me.

My job was to supposedly direct (technically - John Mehoves was the PM) the TOS program, although, frankly, the Martin Marietta guys were doing pretty well by themselves; hire a couple dozen more engineers; and help the rest of the gang figure out what to do after TOS.  Here's where the Bob Lovell smallsat idea and the "Camarillo Incident" happened.  After that fiasco (see Part I of this exciting mini-series), I suggested once or twice that perhaps we could develop a small LV ourselves.  DWT's response, having seen Bob Truax and others try and fail was, and I quote; "Antonio, the battlefield of small launch vehicles is littered with corpses."

One sunny day in 1987, Bob Lindberg, Bruce Ferguson and I attended a meeting convened by the Commonwealth of Virginia's Center for Innovative Technology (CIT) and a couple of universities for the purposes of planning the establishment of a CCDS ("Center for the Commercial Development of Space") a NASA creation whereby NASA would match privately-raised funds for such a beast, on the condition that it involved a local government (as in CIT), academia, and industry.  The venue was the hotel on Route 28 (then a two-lane road!) midways between the Dulles access road and RT 50 which is now a Hilton (it was something else then).  Unfortunately the meeting was extraordinarily disorganized, down to the starting time, the agenda, the meeting room, and the speakers.  The net result was that we had a lot of free time, even when we were finally directed to a room with the inevitable tacky white tablecloths, ice water pitchers, yellow ruled paper pads and cheap hotel-logo-embossed #2 pencils.

In the resulting boredom and gentle spring afternoon sleepiness (years later Bob Lindberg claimed to remember it was April the 8th) my mind stared wandering.  I remembered a conversation a few days or weeks before where someone - I wish I could remember who - mentioned the uproar that the F-15 ASAT test carried out in late '85 (September 13, to be precise) had caused because a) the non-proliferation gurus were upset at the resulting arms race escalation it would engender and b) a "perfectly good gamma-ray spectroscopy satellite" (P78-1, a.k.a. "Solwind") was the target and was destroyed.  I lazily drew a rather clumsy 3-D sketch of an F-15 flying at about 80 deg flight path angle and dropping a small rocket; its nose had a small cutaway section that revealed a small, Vanguard-looking satellite.  Without even thinking about the Camarillo Incident, I passed the drawing to Bob Lindberg, who raised an eyebrow and passed it to Bruce Ferguson, who also raised an eyebrow, and we started chatting about how cool it would be to build and fly such small satellites, and how inexpensive it would be, since the F-15 obviously would give the vehicle a big initial kick.

After 30 minutes of chatting the meeting still had not started, so we decided it was a lot more interesting to return to Fair Lakes and show the gang the drawing and simply walked out.  At the office we found DWT and Dave Rossi talking in the corridor.  Bob Lindberg shouted something like "hey, guys, Antonio has a cool idea".  From that point on, we all caught air-launch fever, except poor John Mehoves, who was trying to keep the TOS program on budget and on schedule (it ended up both on budget and on schedule!!!)

Unfortunately I lost the yellow ruled paper where I drew that first sketch.  The earliest sketch I have is dated May 27; it shows two rockets: a 20,000 lb "C-141 pylon-launched" with a 38" diameter fuselage, and a smaller, 6,000 lb with a 26.75" diameter.  Both are three-stage solids with a very small, almost vestigial unswept wing mounted below the motor casings (see "oops" below).  The payload for the 20,000-ponder is jotted down as "387 lbs" (not a bad guess after the real Pegasus was built and flown).  There is a crude CG calculation.  The original drawing, as well as the manually-coded 3-D simulation runs I did on my 12MHz (!) MS-DOS PC, one of two PC's owned by OSC (the other one was Jim Utter's where he crunched TOS financials) did not have a wing.  The rocket would drop from the carrier aircraft at or near zero alpha, ignite, use TVC to turn at no more than 45 degrees angle of attack until near vertical, and fly to orbit.  DWT used to come by my office (every 2 hours or so, it seemed) to check on the progress; each time he suggested I add a wing.  My standard answer was that a wing would add drag and mass without doing anything useful - just look cool.

After about the third time DWT repeated the wing mantra, I wondered if he could have a point there.  The rocket was using a significant fraction of its burn time simply canceling the descent rate and climbing back to the drop altitude.  Its turning losses were double: rotating from level flight to almost 90 deg, and then back to a low flight path angle for the second stage burn and coast.  I moused the simulation by adding a very, very crude and conservative wing lift and drag model.  As if by magic, the losses dropped by, I seem to remember, something like 2,000 feet per second.  The 27 May drawing must have been made shortly after that epiphany.

We employed at OSC a very, very talented artist by the name of Paul Hudson, whose drawings and paintings were of Bob McCall quality or even better.  Not having a CAD system, I asked him to make some better-looking sketches.  After verbally describing the vehicle, he produced, in about 30 minutes, a beautiful pen rendering.  I started showing it to the other people when somebody, I think Dave Rossi, pointed out that the mid-mounted wing's spar appeared to cross cleanly right though the solid rocket motor case!!!  I was so happy with the quality of Paul's drawing that I had failed to notice it!!!  I quickly directed Paul to a) mount the wing on TOP of the rocket, b) make it a 45-degree delta (based on minimizing the travel of the center of pressure with Mach number) and c) make the nose fairing smooth, rather than his original drawing's pointy or the classical bi-conical (I worried about local separation at large angles of attack).  It still had four fins (I'll explain that later.)

Sorry, no paper napkin - it was a hotel-supplied yellow ruled paper pad.  An the original, as far as I know, is lost...

Next installment: A pilgrimage to the desert.

 

Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: Carl G on 08/31/2006 03:33 AM
Check it out! Love these stories and the 101 in a rocket's conception. Sorry I don't have anything interesting to ask, but gotta say these stories are great!
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: kraisee on 08/31/2006 06:05 AM
The stories have been fantastic reading, and I'd like to add my thanks to Dr. Elais for taking the time to contribute them.

I do have a question though...

Where does the Pegasus system go from here?

Is there a bigger, newer version being conceived of?   Are there concepts you're looking into?

Thanks for your time,

Ross B Tierney.
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: josh_simonson on 08/31/2006 08:10 AM
Indeed, the tarus is alot cheaper than pegasus/lb.  If you guys could repeat those performance gains with another size iteration you'd be competitive with Delta 2 and EELV in $/lb.  Perhaps 3 castor 120s under or around a taurus without the pegasus-3 motor?
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: aero313 on 08/31/2006 03:12 PM
Quote
josh_simonson - 31/8/2006  3:57 AM

Indeed, the tarus is alot cheaper than pegasus/lb.  If you guys could repeat those performance gains with another size iteration you'd be competitive with Delta 2 and EELV in $/lb.  Perhaps 3 castor 120s under or around a taurus without the pegasus-3 motor?

I think that's called an Athena 3... (sorry Antonio)

Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: antonioe on 08/31/2006 04:59 PM

Unfortunately, the economics of large solids aren't that good (e.g., what ATK chargers for a GT-120 these days). Now, if we had a source of free (or at least cheap) Peacekeeper motors...

BTW, a little personal brag about the GT-120.  Shortly after Pegasus first flew, while we and others were competing for the DARPA program that eventually begot Taurus, Thiokol (now ATK) was struggling with the decision to develop a commercial version of the TU-901, their Peacekeeper first stage motor (sans its nuclear-bomb-proof - literally! - features).  One of their executives called me, as one of the potential customers, and asked what what I thought should be the ideal size for the commercial version (the TU-901 is about 108,000 lb.)  In real time, and not much thought over "it should be a little bigger", I answered "120,000 lb" - hence the name "Castor 120", later renamed to "GT-120".  (Frankly, perhaps the Lockheed people also told him 120,000 lb - great minds think alike.) The actual Castor-120 ended up a bit under 120,000lbs.

Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: antonioe on 08/31/2006 05:15 PM
Quote
kraisee - 31/8/2006 12:52 AM

The stories have been fantastic reading, and I'd like to add my thanks to Dr. Elais for taking the time to contribute them.

I do have a question though...

Where does the Pegasus system go from here?

Is there a bigger, newer version being conceived of? Are there concepts you're looking into?

Thanks for your time,

Ross B Tierney.
Quote
josh_simonson - 31/8/2006 2:57 AM

Indeed, the tarus is alot cheaper than pegasus/lb. If you guys could repeat those performance gains with another size iteration you'd be competitive with Delta 2 and EELV in $/lb. Perhaps 3 castor 120s under or around a taurus without the pegasus-3 motor?

Well, what you are observing is simple the dis-economies of scale of small launchers (a "zero payload" launcher will still weight about 10,000 lbs). The reason air-launch is such a big deal for small rockets is precisely because they operate at very high G/P's (G=Gross Mass, P=Payload Mass) where the modest reduction in DV caused by air launch makes a huge difference.. The plot of G/P vs. rocket size is very enlightening - just leave the Shuttle off the graph!

Back in '92 (I seem to remember) there was an odd "off site" at our Dryden trailers: we invited Max Faget, C.C. Johnson and Burt Rutan to a "brain session" on precisely that tought: where to go with air-launch. If my memory is correct, we concluded that:

a) The next size up would be similar to an Atlas II or Delta II in size and payload
b) It would be a two- stage LOX-kerosene (again, shades of Atlas and delta) and.
c) It would require a custom-build odd-looking aircraft with a twin tail and a four-point undercarriage.

The latter was driven by the desire of fuel, main LG, engines and payload all to cluster around the aircraft's CG. Burt and I came up with a design Burt nicknamed "Grasshopper" (I still have Burt's scketches at home). Interestingly enough, some ten years later, Burt unveils a (roughly) 1/3 scale version called "White Knight".

I guess it's time to visit Burt and ask him how much for the full scale one... Also, a x3 set of Pegasus wings and fins... I wonder where I can get some surplus Atlas fuselages (a single NK-43 engine would pe perfect!)
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: Spiff on 08/31/2006 07:05 PM
Quote
antonioe - 31/8/2006  7:02 PM

Interestingly enough, some ten years later, Burt unveils a (roughly) 1/3 scale version called "White Knight"

And now we know (or at least Antonio knows) what White Knight 2 will look like. ;)

Sorry for jumping to conclusions. Couldn't resist. :P
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: kraisee on 08/31/2006 07:41 PM
Actually Spiff, that's a good point.

Rutan is building a next-generation of White Knight anyway, so it's going to be a customised carrier aircraft for dropping air-launch payloads, available "off the shelf".

Antonio, assuming it has sufficient carrying capacity, would the Pegasus team consider possibly using a White Knight 2 "off the shelf" and designing a booster specifically to suit it's load capacity?

Ross.

Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: Captain Scarlet on 09/01/2006 09:13 AM
Quote
antonioe - 30/8/2006  9:34 PM
Sorry, no paper napkin - it was a hotel-supplied yellow ruled paper pad.  An the original, as far as I know, is lost...

Next installment: A pilgrimage to the desert.


This remind me a little too much of Superman III where the guy designs a super computer on the back of cigarette packets :)
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: Thomas ESA on 09/02/2006 05:43 AM
Dr Elias. You mentioned how the Shuttle was leading the market, by your example of Titan ELV losing out. Had Challenger disaster not occured, how do you think the launch business could have eventually played out?
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: astrobrian on 09/02/2006 01:45 PM

Quote
kraisee - 31/8/2006  2:28 PM  Actually Spiff, that's a good point.  Rutan is building a next-generation of White Knight anyway, so it's going to be a customised carrier aircraft for dropping air-launch payloads, available "off the shelf".  Antonio, assuming it has sufficient carrying capacity, would the Pegasus team consider possibly using a White Knight 2 "off the shelf" and designing a booster specifically to suit it's load capacity?  Ross.  

 

Heres a Rutan design for T-Space. Would that be of the right scale to pop off something of that size??? 

Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: aero313 on 09/02/2006 02:06 PM
Quote
antonioe - 31/8/2006  12:46 PM

I answered "120,000 lb" - hence the name "Castor 120", later renamed to "GT-120".  (Frankly, perhaps the Lockheed people also told him 120,000 lb - great minds think alike.)


Sorry, Antonio, but the sizing of the Castor 120 was a function of using the existing production facilities that Thiokol already had in place (and that had been paid for by the Air Force) for the PK first stage.  The 120 uses the existing casting pit, case winding machine, and handling tooling as the PK motor.  Anything much larger than the current 120 would have required a significant additional investment on the part of Thiokol (who admittedly invested over $30M in the development of the 120 as it is).
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: SimonShuttle on 09/02/2006 03:33 PM
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astrobrian - 2/9/2006  8:32 AM

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kraisee - 31/8/2006  2:28 PM  Actually Spiff, that's a good point.  Rutan is building a next-generation of White Knight anyway, so it's going to be a customised carrier aircraft for dropping air-launch payloads, available "off the shelf".  Antonio, assuming it has sufficient carrying capacity, would the Pegasus team consider possibly using a White Knight 2 "off the shelf" and designing a booster specifically to suit it's load capacity?  Ross.  

Heres a Rutan design for T-Space. Would that be of the right scale to pop off something of that size???


That looks a bit like the Air Launch system on L2. Hope I'm ok moving one of the images here:

Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: astrobrian on 09/02/2006 03:39 PM
I can't deny how close they look to each other in design. Primary thing that jumps out to me is that the VLA seems to have a cockpit area designed into it whereas this does not, but very similiar either way
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: hop on 09/02/2006 10:13 PM
They don't look that similar to me. If you are building a custom airlaunch vehicle it makes sense to suspend the payload in the middle, which dictates some kind of outriggers for the landing gear.

Another take on the idea: http://www.buran.ru/htm/mol-1000.htm
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: meiza on 09/03/2006 12:31 PM
And then there's http://www.luft46.com/db/dbbombc.html. Look at the wing shape from the front.
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: sbt on 09/03/2006 03:25 PM

Yes, these illustrations had me thinking of the M-1000 as well.

BTW, the reason Marshalls had the skills to modify Tristars is that one of the last operators is the Royal Air Force (In the Transport and Air Tanker roles) and Marshalls do their mods and, IIRC, deep maintenance.

http://www.raf.mod.uk/equipment/tristar.html

Rick
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: antonioe on 09/04/2006 01:35 AM
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aero313 - 2/9/2006  8:53 AM

Quote
antonioe - 31/8/2006  12:46 PM

I answered "120,000 lb" - hence the name "Castor 120", later renamed to "GT-120".  (Frankly, perhaps the Lockheed people also told him 120,000 lb - great minds think alike.)


Sorry, Antonio, but the sizing of the Castor 120 was a function of using the existing production facilities that Thiokol already had in place (and that had been paid for by the Air Force) for the PK first stage.  The 120 uses the existing casting pit, case winding machine, and handling tooling as the PK motor.  Anything much larger than the current 120 would have required a significant additional investment on the part of Thiokol (who admittedly invested over $30M in the development of the 120 as it is).

Well, the diameter was quite set, but the length (therefore the gross mass) could be moused up or down by quite a bit.  I just remember the phone call (can't remember WHO it was that called, thought.  Thiokol was a competitor to Hercules at the time.)
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: David AF on 09/04/2006 07:36 PM
Really enjoying the stories.

On the Pegasus, I noticed during the coverage on here of ST5 that the vehicle appears to have a very good RCS system, orinating several times for each of the three deployments. Is this system adopted from another other vehicle?
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: antonioe on 09/04/2006 08:08 PM
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David AF - 4/9/2006  2:23 PM

Really enjoying the stories.

On the Pegasus, I noticed during the coverage on here of ST5 that the vehicle appears to have a very good RCS system, orinating several times for each of the three deployments. Is this system adopted from another other vehicle?

No, it's just a bunch of little solenoid-controlled cold gas jets.  I can't remember if the valves had any ancestry (I'll ask around if anybody remebers and report back).  Other than cleverly being able to adapt to large longitudinal changes in CG location, (i.e., software) I don't think the Pegasus RCS system is particularly noteworthy.

On Flight 2, we reoriented seven times, one for each of the 25- kg DARPA Miscrosats (not to be confused with the 43-kg ORBCOMM MicroStars, the way www.astronautix, unfortunately, did).
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: Terry Rocket on 09/23/2006 10:34 PM
In the film Under Siege 2 with Steve Segal, the guys at the Pentagon needed to "shoot down" a rouge satellite that had come under the control of the usual madman type in the film. They mentioned that they could air launch a Pegasus to take it out.

Now you don't really get to see it, but it looks a bit like the right size, although it seems to be launches by a Stealth Bomber, but could Pegasus be used that way?!?

I know it's Hollywood, but worth asking, and they certainly said Pegasus! :)
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: Carl G on 09/25/2006 12:04 AM
I can't think of a need to take out a satellite.
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: antonioe on 09/25/2006 12:15 AM
Didn't see the movie... did they really call it a "Pegasus"?  I know Dale Brown ("Flight of the Intruder") wrote a book with a fictional "hero" somwhat between David W. Thompson and Elan Musk (by the way, years before the latter entered the space entrepreneurial arena - I guess Dale is a clairvoyant) and featuring an airline-dropped launch vehicle... can't quite remember the title of the book.

As for "why would anybody want to take out a satellite", I certainly don't see a need for *US* taking out an enemy satellite (although the idea for Pegasus was indeed seeded by the U.S. ASAT test)... I would rather worry about *OTHERS* taking out *OUR* satellites... *WE* are more dependent on our sats that any adversary could be on theirs - well, actuallky I think many of our current adversaries could very well be dependent on *OUR* (or friendly nation's) sats for nav and com!!!

I've been a bit busy these days with CEV and the like... I will resume the "brief history of Pegasus" as soon as I can.  At some point. I'd like to post a list I put together around 1993 or so listing the design elements of Pegasus that did and did not make it into the final design...it's, as Mr. Spock would say, "fascinating"...
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: Chris Bergin on 09/25/2006 12:29 AM
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antonioe - 25/9/2006  12:58 AM

Didn't see the movie... did they really call it a "Pegasus"?


I've seen this film and they certainly do call it a Pegasus. Looked more like an oversized AGM-129 Advanced Cruise Missile (thanks Google) off a B-2 Stealth. From memory it didn't seem to be big enough to represent a real Pegasus, but it was a while ago since I've seen that film. Usual Hollywood goings on with the fireball in space and the *boom* noise ;)

Quote
I've been a bit busy these days with CEV and the like... I will resume the "brief history of Pegasus" as soon as I can.  At some point. I'd like to post a list I put together around 1993 or so listing the design elements of Pegasus that did and did not make it into the final design...it's, as Mr. Spock would say, "fascinating"...

Excellent. Had a lot of PMs asking where the good Dr has been with his next installment! :)
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: Terry Rocket on 09/25/2006 01:38 PM
Sure was the Pegasus by name!
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: TyMoore on 09/25/2006 02:45 PM
I would imagine that any vehicle capable of lofting a payload to the same height as a satellite could be used to deliver a hit-to-kill device. Pegasus obviously is capable of delivering a significant payload to orbit--so a suborbital kinetic kill vehicle is not out of the question. I would imagine that it is primarily a sensor, trajectory prediction, attitude correction problem--not insurmountable, just difficult. The range rate is the tricky thing--getting the launch aircraft into the correct launch window (which is very, very narrow!) is the really hard part. That, and creating a smart interceptor that has the required tracking telescope/radar device, RCS thrusters and propellant quantity, and an onboard computer and command and control telemetry that can integrate all the data together in real time--its a tall order, but I'd bet there are some SDI prototypes on a shelf somewhere that could do the job. And they're certainly small enough to be lofted by Pegasus.

By the way, Pegasus is a nifty bit of rocket engineering. Kudos to you, Dr. Elias!
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: Jim on 09/25/2006 02:59 PM
This has already been done with the air launched ASAT that flew on an F-15, which the Pegasus was derived from
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: antonioe on 09/26/2006 03:20 AM

Well, perhaps to say that Pegasus was derived from the LTV ASAT is carrying the analogy a bit too far (the two vehicles are vastly different in size, number of stages, delivered DV, avionics, RCS, etc.)    It is true, though, that the idea of an air-launched orbital rocket came to me after reminiscing of the ASAT test.  Interestingly, there is an LTV ASAT and a Pegasus next to each other at the Smithsonian Udvar-Hazy museum - I wonder how many visitors realize the connection; also, the hotel where the Pegasus-genearating "booring meeting" took place is ACROSS THE STREET from the Udvar-Hazy!!!)

That said, Pegasus - or, for a matter of fact, any orbital launch vehicle - is a vast overkill as a weapon against a LOW ORBITING satellite.  Air-launch does simplify the intercept problem a bit, since you can reduce, by smartly flying the carrier aircraft, the cross range that the ASAT missile might to cover to kill a satellite on a given pass.

Killing a high-altitude satellite (a GEO, for example) is a different matter.  Here. merely climbing to the orbital altitude and essentially "getting hit" by the satellite (à la 1985 test) won't work.  You have to enter a Hohmanesque transfer and hit the satellite with the difference between the sat's circular velocity and the interceptor's (lower) apogee velocity.  In other words, the interceptor has itself to be a satellite with several hour's (as opposed to minutes) operating life, and you need a launch vehicle to launch the interceptor...

Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: meiza on 09/26/2006 11:39 AM
One stranger question. :)

Did you ever think about making the Pegasus first stage reusable? It already has wings, but how does the first stage actually behave now after staging?
Reusability would have probably meant liquid pressure-fed first stage and launch from a specific site so you can land / ditch it in an appropriate place. But it'd be cheap to operate, just reloading the propellants.
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: Pete at Edwards on 09/28/2006 03:08 AM
How does Pegasus/Orbital stack up against Falcon/SpaceX on cost per lb right now? I am taking into account that SpaceX is unproven as of yet.
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: antonioe on 10/03/2006 11:30 PM
Alas!  Space launch is not a commodity yet - so, like buying a car, you must be very careful to call out what "accessories" are (or are not) included.  Do you want Range Safety with that launch?  How about telemetry all the way to spacecraft separation? (that can add quite a few $$$s...)  Will you take care of FAA launch permits, or shall we do it for you?  Is it the same orbit you flew to last month, or do you want us to calculate a new launch trajectory (inclusive of stage drop points, range safety lines, etc.)  Do you want a coupled modes analysis with your spacecraft, or will you take your chances?  Do you need any mods to the fairing, like access doors, RF transparent windows, or special "bumps" into the dynamic envelope?  Venting for you solid hydrogen cooler? How about data passthroughs from the spacecraft to your ground support equipment while waiting for launch? Collision avoidance maneuver?  Would you like a specific sun-relative spin at release (that depends on the exact time of launch, by the way...) And so on and so forth...  each little thingy costs a few hundred K$'s but it soon adds up.  Makes real launch vehicles look more expensive than paper ones.

 

Like cars, you can buy a basic model, or you can buy a "loaded" one.  Current real customers simply don't buy stripped-down launches.  Apparently, when they spend $50M for a satellite bus, $50M for scientific instruments, and another $50M for the science mission, it simply does not seem balanced to skimp too much on the launch.  Same logic applies to commercial comm sats (when it comes to mission assurance and the like, SES/Americom makes JPL look like a bunch of Vegas gamblers).

 

Are there any Yugo customers?  I don't think so.  So before you compare dollars per pound, make sure you are including the same elements on both sides of the ledger.  And you can't just say "well, the customer does not need all that useless stuff".  They do.  They want it.  The customer is always right.  If you don't offer them those "thingies", they will not buy a launch from you.  At least not the customers with money.  I've been there.

 

Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: vt_hokie on 10/04/2006 12:00 AM
A very interesting explanation once again!  A few hundred thousand here and there, and soon you're talking about real money!   ;)
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: NASA_Twix_JSC on 10/04/2006 12:04 AM
Quote
antonioe - 3/10/2006  6:13 PM

Alas!  Space launch is not a commodity yet - so, like buying a car, you must be very careful to call out what "accessories" are (or are not) included.  Do you want Range Safety with that launch?  How about telemetry all the way to spacecraft separation? (that can add quite a few $$$s...)  Will you take care of FAA launch permits, or shall we do it for you?  Is it the same orbit you flew to last month, or do you want us to calculate a new launch trajectory (inclusive of stage drop points, range safety lines, etc.)  Do you want a coupled modes analysis with your spacecraft, or will you take your chances?  Do you need any mods to the fairing, like access doors, RF transparent windows, or special "bumps" into the dynamic envelope?  Venting for you solid hydrogen cooler? How about data passthroughs from the spacecraft to your ground support equipment while waiting for launch? Collision avoidance maneuver?  Would you like a specific sun-relative spin at release (that depends on the exact time of launch, by the way...) And so on and so forth...  each little thingy costs a few hundred K$'s but it soon adds up.  Makes real launch vehicles look more expensive than paper ones.

Like cars, you can buy a basic model, or you can buy a "loaded" one.  Current real customers simply don't buy stripped-down launches.  Apparently, when they spend $50M for a satellite bus, $50M for scientific instruments, and another $50M for the science mission, it simply does not seem balanced to skimp too much on the launch.  Same logic applies to commercial comm sats (when it comes to mission assurance and the like, SES/Americom makes JPL look like a bunch of Vegas gamblers).

Are there any Yugo customers?  I don't think so.  So before you compare dollars per pound, make sure you are including the same elements on both sides of the ledger.  And you can't just say "well, the customer does not need all that useless stuff".  They do.  They want it.  The customer is always right.  If you don't offer them those "thingies", they will not buy a launch from you.  At least not the customers with money.  I've been there.


That's a brilliant explanation.
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: braddock on 10/05/2006 06:38 PM
I must say, I was rather hoping for an equally sophisticated answer from Musk when I asked him about some of these "extra" costs in one of the interviews.
He insisted that the Falcon quoted prices were "all inclusive"...mostly.  The range fees had been higher than expected; they had developed some "non-trivial" small satellite analysis capability; but he only seemed to talk about what they had encountered so far.

Musk: "But if someone has sort of a normal satellite, and it doesn't have any special requirements, and isn't gonna put a mission assurance process burden on the launch, then it's an all inclusive price."

http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/content/?cid=4705
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: antonioe on 10/08/2006 02:46 AM

Quote
meiza - 26/9/2006 6:22 AM

One stranger question. :)

Did you ever think about making the Pegasus first stage reusable? It already has wings, but how does the first stage actually behave now after staging?
Reusability would have probably meant liquid pressure-fed first stage and launch from a specific site so you can land / ditch it in an appropriate place. But it'd be cheap to operate, just reloading the propellants.

Yeah, we did once (although not changing it into a liquid, but refilling the case à la Shuttle SRBs); but between the resulting loss in payload (parachutes, flotation gear, reentry tps, etc) and the cost of fishing the stage and refurbishing it, it very, very clearly did NOT pay off.

We also looked at putting some "simple" (ha!) turbojets in the wing's "armpits" to increase the effective Isp between drop and, say, M=3, and it also did not work out (BTW, that idea came from a respected professor of Aeronautics that shall remain unnamed from a prestigious university that shall remain equally unnamed... Dave Thompson INSISTED that we look into it.  We did, and did not like what we saw; if I get off my #ss and buy a scanner this weekend, I'll scan and post some pictures of that design... looks cool and doesn't work, like many other ideas...).

Working on the next installment... be patient!!!

Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: Chris Bergin on 10/08/2006 05:14 PM
Quote
antonioe - 8/10/2006  3:29 AM

Working on the next installment... be patient!!!


Looking forward to it :)
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: antonioe on 10/09/2006 11:32 PM

The Pegasus story, Part III A pilgrimage to the desert.

One of the first decisions we had to make was what size exactly to shoot for: a Scout replacement?  Well, that was the only real small launcher around in mid-1987, with 98 launches in its various forms, from the original "Scout-X" first launched in December 1960 (Ohmygod, I was 11 years old then!) to the then-current, and eventually final configuration, the Scout G-1 (Scout went on to fly 5 more times before the first Pegasus flight, then 6 more after that, with the last Scout - number 109! - on May 9, 1994.  Scout was an amazing rocket, some day I have to write a bit about it!)


At the time, however, we did not want to compete with Scout.  Actually, we thought we could find a niche below the Scout G's 200 or so kg of payload to LEO - therefore the 20klb and 6klb sizes mentioned in "Part II".  So we started looking at what aircraft we could use to launch "it".


"It", by the way, was not called Pegasus.  That name came by later.  I initially called it "SALVO" (Small Air-Launched Vehicle to Orbit"), and somewhere I have a notebook which I called the "Design Binder" countaining the evolving informal baseline.  The "Design Binder" described (again, very informally, but very descriptively) the vehicle, the trajectory, the flight operations (at least conceptually), the ground support equipment (a very important part of the "system"), etc. etc.  It never grew over 15 or 20 pages, and was labeled simply "SALVO Design Binder".  There was exactly ONE copy that we all shared.  The team, however, thought "SALVO" was a little too... baroque?  So we simplified it to "ALV".  And so it was called until Frank Bellinger and I – independently – came up with the name “Pegasus”.


Back to the launch aircraft; I did a quick and dirty trade between launch speed (essentially subsonic and two flavors of supersonic: Mach 2 for an F-15 class aircraft, and Mach 3 for an SR-71) and sheer size.  Almost effortlessly, sheer size won (considerably reducing the anxiety about supersonic separation... we had very much in mind the problems the SR-71 had with the D-21 drone, and had visions of the SR-71 people's reaction to our proposal: "you want to do WHAT???!!!...)

We looked first at the C-130, specifically, at the Hercs modified to carry "Firebee"-type UAV's.  Although most of the versions of the venerable Ryan drone family were in the 2,000-4,000 lbs category (four could be carried by a Herc on pylons rated for about 5,000 lbs each), there were, apparently, a couple Hercs with only two 10,000-lb capable pylons.  Paul Hudson sketched it (see below).

Soon it became apparent that 20,000 lbs was probably the smallest size we would be willing to approach for a very simple reason: the smaller the vehicle, the more sensitive its payload becomes to small errors in, say, structural mass, aerodynamic drag, engine performance, etc.  Years later I attempted to quantify this effect by introducing the notion of "G/P" (ratio of gross mass to payload mass) for a launch vehicle, and a formula that relates G/P to the structural mass fraction s of a stage and the stage's final to initial mass ratio r (itself related to the specific impulse and the DV required - but I digress).

Next to be analyzed was the C-141.  Although C-141s has now been retired, at the time they were very desirable military transports, read hard to get your hands on.  (see Paul's sketch below).

I've also included two VuGraphs from the 8 September 1987 presentation to the USAF and Aerospace Corporation (more about that day later)  which summarize the aircraft trades; as one of the VuGraphs claim, we had a "verbal agreement" with NASA Dryden that they would support "the first 10 launches".


Sometime in the late spring or early summer of 1987 Bob Lovell, Bob Lindberg and I visited NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center (DFRC) then headed by former first-generation CIA U-2 pilot Marty Knutson ("it could have been me rather than Gary...").  We met with the Director, Flight Operations Engineer Bill Albrecht (the voice of "NASA-1") and somebody else whose name - sorry - I don't remember.  They listened to us very politely and, when we finished out presentation, and much to our amazement, they said: "that sounds like a very interesting idea; would you like to take a look at the aircraft?"  I remember almost passing out - I had half expected to be laughed out of the place.  Instead, Bob Lindberg and I went down to the ramp with Bill Albrecht and proceeded to look at NB-52-008, the second of the two B-52's that the USAF had consigned to NASA for the X-15 program (that's right: 0008 means it was the eight production aircraft... the "older" one, by then mothballed at Davis-Monthan, was S/N 3!!!).


By this time it was the mid-afternoon; we crawled through the rather hot interior of the fuselage and were amazed at how old it looked.  A Sony Trinitron monitor that seemed to belong to somebody's living room was installed at the launch Panel Operator (LPO) station in the back of the top deck of the cabin (more about that monitor in a later chapter).  Yes, the cabin has two decks, but, amazing as it may sound, the fuselage is narrow enough for me to be able to touch both sidewalls with my outstretched arms.  And, oh, yes, we found why B-52 pilots wear helmets: you always bang your head against the edge of the entry hatch getting in.
Back outside, Bob and I tried to estimate the height between the X-15 pylon and the ground by my standing under it and Bob pacing back to use my (short) height as a rough visual "ruler": "hmm... seems to me about 1.8 Antonios..."  We then started pacing the shadow of the slot cut in the trailing edge of the wing for the X-15 vertical tail when Bill Albrecht took pity on us and produced, seemingly out of nowhere, a small 8 foot measuring tape.  In the excitement of the day I forgot to return the tape to Bill.  Today, nineteen years later, I still have Bill's tape - one of my most prized mementos of those glorious days (Bill, if you ever read this, yes, you can have your tape back...).  I included a picture I just made of that historic artifact.


When Bill told us that he was the guy on the radio that controlled the Dryden missions ("NASA-1") I told him I wanted *BADLY* to be the first Launch Panel Operator (LPO), and that, if I pulled that miracle off, I wanted a deal with him:  If the first flight were to make it to orbit, he was to call me on the radio: "NASA-1 to LPO, Pegasus is in orbit", to which I would reply, using my coolest Tom Wolf "Right Stuff" voice, "uhh... Roger that".

We had our launch aircraft; now, we needed a rocket.

Next installment: Run silent, run deep.

 

Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: George CA on 10/10/2006 12:30 AM
This is really interesting and we appreciate the historical value to your reccolations of the early years of this great launch system!
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: Carl G on 10/10/2006 03:14 AM
Quote
antonioe - 9/10/2006  6:15 PM
In the excitement of the day I forgot to return the tape to Bill.  Today, nineteen years later, I still have Bill's tape - one of my most prized mementos of those glorious days (Bill, if you ever read this, yes, you can have your tape back...).  I included a picture I just made of that historic artifact.

These stories are great. Physical items like that tape make it all real (thanks for the picture).

It's hard to imagine that because of how the Pegasus works, but thanks for emphazing the point of needing to get the right carrier aircraft.
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: SRBseparama on 10/10/2006 03:19 AM
"hmm... seems to me about 1.8 Antonios..." :)

Was there a time where you thought Pegasus wouldn't get off the drawing board and at what point did that happen?
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: SimonShuttle on 10/23/2006 05:36 PM
Relevant, and potentially a smile generating release for the good Dr:

http://www.orbital.com/Template.php?Section=News&NavMenuID=32&template=PressReleaseDisplay.php&PressReleaseID=577
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: josh_simonson on 10/24/2006 12:01 AM

Did you investigate ramjets as well?  They're well suited to being dropped at speed as well as being simpler than turbojets.  I suspect though that pegasus starts to run out of atmosphere soon enough that an air-breathing system wouldn't have much chance to earn it's keep in added cost per added pounds to orbit.

 

>We also looked at putting some "simple" (ha!) turbojets in the wing's "armpits" to increase the effective Isp between drop and, say, M=3, and it also did not work out (BTW, that idea came from a respected professor of Aeronautics that shall remain unnamed from a prestigious university that shall remain equally unnamed... Dave Thompson INSISTED that we look into it.  We did, and did not like what we saw; if I get off my #ss and buy a scanner this weekend, I'll scan and post some pictures of that design... looks cool and doesn't work, like many other ideas...).

Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: BFRC on 11/06/2006 02:33 AM
Antonio,

Why can't the pegasus use the aircraft power for its elevon sweep test at L-5 seconds. It squibs the batteries to perform this test thus forcing a longer turn-around time if the test is unsuccessful (have to swap the batteries out). Seems like you could verify a frozen pin with aircraft power and have a quicker turnaround on the ground.

Second Question: with regard to drag and nozzle control authority, does the wing really help?


Thanks
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: antonioe on 11/07/2006 02:55 AM

(Various throat-clearing sounds...) well... the original purpose of the fin sweep test was to test EVERYTHING associated with the fins, including the thermal battery - not just the pins.  As a matter of fact, the main original purpose of the test was PRECISELY to make sure the thermal batteries didn't have a "false start" (voltage OK but not enough current capacity under load - I can't remember the chemistry of why that could happen).  These are pretty high voltage batteries (about 95 volts, if I remember correctly?)

In reality, they have a humongous margin (battery manufacturers are NOTORIOUSLY conservative in their specs) so we probably could squib them a lot earlier and still have margin. But so far, it has not been worth trying to experiment with that.

As for your second question, I'm not sure I understand it correctly: the wing does indeed increase drag, but that is a small price to pay for the reduction in gravity losses and the ability to take advantage of the entire forward speed of the carrier aircraft.  I'm not sure what you mean by nozzle control authority.



Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: antonioe on 11/07/2006 03:01 AM
Quote
josh_simonson - 23/10/2006 6:44 PM

Did you investigate ramjets as well?.


Same problem as with turbojets: you can design them with a modest efficiency at ONE Mach number, but as soon as you are a little bit slower or a little bit faster, their efficienty goes to pot.  At least, with the turbojet (note: NOT turbofan!!!) you can get decent thrust right after drop, subsonically.
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: antonioe on 11/07/2006 03:28 AM
Was there a time???!!!  I was running scared ALL the time... that we would run out of money, that the performance would degrade to nothing, that we had made a design mistake, an assembly mistake, that the first stage motor would explode right after ignition... all sort of horrible things went through my mind!  Eeevery day felt like taking a deep breath, closing your eyes and jumping off the 5-meter diving board!

A related question is: was there a point when that feeling disappeared?  Because indeed, there was one (here I'm stealing the thunder from the last installement):  about two weeks before the first flight, I decided to concentrate on flight operations - I had talked my way into begin the first Launch Panel Operator, and true to the test pilots's prayer ("God, please don't let me  f--- up!") I "disconnect" from everything else that was going on around me - even the "Rovner Incident" that I will talk about!  All of sudden I felt a great peace, as if the outcome of the launch was totally unimportant... that sense of detachment lasted through the flight, through the press conference, the party that night, the dunking in the hotel pool... I guess nobody noticed my behavior because they were too excited themselves, but looking backwards I surely must have appeared a bit detached.

I "woke up" three days later when we received the fax from NORAD with the TLE's... all of suddent it hit me that we made it, that there was something in orbit out there that we had made with our own hands... I simply cannot describe the adrenaline rush I got that instant!


Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: Jonesy STS on 11/07/2006 07:53 PM
Brilliant stories! Keep em coming!
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: BFRC on 11/09/2006 03:48 AM
Sir, thank you for the reply. The purpose of the question regarding control authority with the 1st stage nozzle was to ask if you had enough (without a wing) to overcome the horizontal orientation from aircraft sep. I guess you wouldn't get to take full advantage of the aircraft's forward velocity but the question remains: If you dropped a pegasus (no wing) from the L-1011, could the 1st stage provide enough thrust vectoring to overcome the horizontal orientation . If it could overcome the orientation, how much does the wing actually buy you considering the drag tradeoff?
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: meiza on 11/09/2006 11:08 AM
bfrc, the whole question has been analyzed in depth in this thread with spreadsheets and all provided.
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: Chris Bergin on 11/09/2006 04:19 PM
Quote
antonioe - 7/11/2006  4:11 AM

Was there a time???!!!  I was running scared ALL the time... that we would run out of money, that the performance would degrade to nothing, that we had made a design mistake, an assembly mistake, that the first stage motor would explode right after ignition... all sort of horrible things went through my mind!  Eeevery day felt like taking a deep breath, closing your eyes and jumping off the 5-meter diving board!

A related question is: was there a point when that feeling disappeared?  Because indeed, there was one (here I'm stealing the thunder from the last installement):  about two weeks before the first flight, I decided to concentrate on flight operations - I had talked my way into begin the first Launch Panel Operator, and true to the test pilots's prayer ("God, please don't let me  f--- up!") I "disconnect" from everything else that was going on around me - even the "Rovner Incident" that I will talk about!  All of sudden I felt a great peace, as if the outcome of the launch was totally unimportant... that sense of detachment lasted through the flight, through the press conference, the party that night, the dunking in the hotel pool... I guess nobody noticed my behavior because they were too excited themselves, but looking backwards I surely must have appeared a bit detached.

I "woke up" three days later when we received the fax from NORAD with the TLE's... all of suddent it hit me that we made it, that there was something in orbit out there that we had made with our own hands... I simply cannot describe the adrenaline rush I got that instant!



Heh, that's brilliant.
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: Doug Stanley on 11/14/2006 06:32 PM
Quote
Chris Bergin - 9/11/2006  11:02 AM

Quote
antonioe - 7/11/2006  4:11 AM

Was there a time???!!!  I was running scared ALL the time... that we would run out of money, that the performance would degrade to nothing, that we had made a design mistake, an assembly mistake, that the first stage motor would explode right after ignition... all sort of horrible things went through my mind!  Eeevery day felt like taking a deep breath, closing your eyes and jumping off the 5-meter diving board!

A related question is: was there a point when that feeling disappeared?  Because indeed, there was one (here I'm stealing the thunder from the last installement):  about two weeks before the first flight, I decided to concentrate on flight operations - I had talked my way into begin the first Launch Panel Operator, and true to the test pilots's prayer ("God, please don't let me  f--- up!") I "disconnect" from everything else that was going on around me - even the "Rovner Incident" that I will talk about!  All of sudden I felt a great peace, as if the outcome of the launch was totally unimportant... that sense of detachment lasted through the flight, through the press conference, the party that night, the dunking in the hotel pool... I guess nobody noticed my behavior because they were too excited themselves, but looking backwards I surely must have appeared a bit detached.

I "woke up" three days later when we received the fax from NORAD with the TLE's... all of suddent it hit me that we made it, that there was something in orbit out there that we had made with our own hands... I simply cannot describe the adrenaline rush I got that instant!



Heh, that's brilliant.

Now you all know why I decided to abandon my 12 year NASA career one sunny October morning in 1998 to go work for Antonio and Mike Griffin at Orbital...It was worth it for the entertainment value alone!!  

Hi Antonio!

Doug
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: antonioe on 11/16/2006 06:47 AM
Hi Doug!  I see you have been grilled about the ESAS... did you tell them about your "incident" with Dan G. the day of the X-34 rollout?... you had just finished the CRV Phase I study.... you had a picture of the CRV on top of an EELV (Delta-IV - I still have the original in my office) in an exhibit inside "Stargazer"... Dan G. sees it, hits the ceiling, grabs you by the throat and swears that this country would never, never, ever fly an astronaut on an ELV again and that YOU, Doug Stanley, is doing a GREAT DISSERVICE to NASA and the space program by pushing such a foolish and unsafe idea...

Stanley: 1, Goldin: 0
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: Peter NASA on 11/16/2006 03:29 PM
Quote
antonioe - 16/11/2006  1:30 AM

Hi Doug!  I see you have been grilled about the ESAS... did you tell them about your "incident" with Dan G. the day of the X-34 rollout?... you had just finished the CRV Phase I study.... you had a picture of the CRV on top of an EELV (Delta-IV - I still have the original in my office) in an exhibit inside "Stargazer"... Dan G. sees it, hits the ceiling, grabs you by the throat and swears that this country would never, never, ever fly an astronaut on an ELV again and that YOU, Doug Stanley, is doing a GREAT DISSERVICE to NASA and the space program by pushing such a foolish and unsafe idea...

Stanley: 1, Goldin: 0

Dan Goldin, now that was one scary administrator!
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: vt_hokie on 11/16/2006 06:24 PM
Speaking of X-34, what ever happened to the vehicle after the program was cancelled?  Unlike X-33, wasn't X-34 more or less ready to fly?
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: jimvela on 11/16/2006 06:34 PM
Quote
antonioe - 16/11/2006  12:30 AM

(snip)  Dan G. sees it, hits the ceiling, grabs you by the throat and swears that this country would never, never, ever fly an astronaut on an ELV again and that YOU, Doug Stanley, is doing a GREAT DISSERVICE to NASA and the space program by pushing such a foolish and unsafe idea...

Stanley: 1, Goldin: 0

Goldin:  Better, faster, cheaper, and, thankfully, GONE!

Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: Chris Bergin on 11/16/2006 07:08 PM
Quote
vt_hokie - 16/11/2006  7:07 PM

Speaking of X-34, what ever happened to the vehicle after the program was cancelled?  Unlike X-33, wasn't X-34 more or less ready to fly?

Might be worth starting a new thread in Historical on that...like we did for everyone's favourite SSTO :( ..... http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/forums/thread-view.asp?tid=1184&start=1
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: Doug Stanley on 11/17/2006 01:00 PM
Quote
antonioe - 16/11/2006  1:30 AM

Hi Doug!  I see you have been grilled about the ESAS... did you tell them about your "incident" with Dan G. the day of the X-34 rollout?... you had just finished the CRV Phase I study.... you had a picture of the CRV on top of an EELV (Delta-IV - I still have the original in my office) in an exhibit inside "Stargazer"... Dan G. sees it, hits the ceiling, grabs you by the throat and swears that this country would never, never, ever fly an astronaut on an ELV again and that YOU, Doug Stanley, is doing a GREAT DISSERVICE to NASA and the space program by pushing such a foolish and unsafe idea...

Stanley: 1, Goldin: 0

No I did not share that...Many of the EELV-advocates on this site would never believe that I have advocated solutions that have humans launching on them when the requirements led me to that approach.  Since the ESAS requirements led us towards a single stick, they see me as some biased, dyed-in-wool "Shuttle Hugger". You are ruining my reputation...
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: Chris SF on 11/18/2006 11:55 AM
I'm enjoying reading the stories, and I can only imagine how cool it would be to have the three doctoreers of DS, AE and MG with the Pegasus. Mike Griffin sure gets around!
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: Carl G on 11/19/2006 02:29 AM
Quote
Doug Stanley - 17/11/2006  7:43 AM

Quote
antonioe - 16/11/2006  1:30 AM

Hi Doug!  I see you have been grilled about the ESAS... did you tell them about your "incident" with Dan G. the day of the X-34 rollout?... you had just finished the CRV Phase I study.... you had a picture of the CRV on top of an EELV (Delta-IV - I still have the original in my office) in an exhibit inside "Stargazer"... Dan G. sees it, hits the ceiling, grabs you by the throat and swears that this country would never, never, ever fly an astronaut on an ELV again and that YOU, Doug Stanley, is doing a GREAT DISSERVICE to NASA and the space program by pushing such a foolish and unsafe idea...

Stanley: 1, Goldin: 0

No I did not share that...Many of the EELV-advocates on this site would never believe that I have advocated solutions that have humans launching on them when the requirements led me to that approach.  Since the ESAS requirements led us towards a single stick, they see me as some biased, dyed-in-wool "Shuttle Hugger". You are ruining my reputation...

That is interesting about your previous work with EELV, but while no one has ever given you personally a hard time about ESAS (most think it's great, vocal minority remember) I don't think anyone could call you a Shuttle hugger, seen as Ares I keeps moving towards more of a S-IVB. So maybe a Saturn hugger, which is no bad thing to be called!
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: SRBseparama on 11/19/2006 02:54 AM
Quote
Doug Stanley - 14/11/2006  1:15 PM

Now you all know why I decided to abandon my 12 year NASA career one sunny October morning in 1998 to go work for Antonio and Mike Griffin at Orbital...It was worth it for the entertainment value alone!!  

Hi Antonio!

Doug

Wow, I had no idea Orbital had all three of you working there! Space industry is really interesting in this way as I always thought one started as say an engineer at NASA and worked your way up to the Wayne Hale level and then on to administrator.

I, probably like a lot of people on here, came here cause we liked Shuttles and then found out about ELVs and Pegasus etc. from this site. Had no idea Orbital once had the current boss of NASA and the guy that has designed our way back to the moon. How cool is that! :)
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: Peter NASA on 11/27/2006 02:23 PM
Worth bumping as an active Q and A ;)
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: SRBseparama on 12/21/2006 04:46 AM
Quote
Peter NASA - 27/11/2006  9:06 AM

Worth bumping as an active Q and A ;)

And one more time, as Dr. Antonio can't get away from us that easily ;) If not, this is still a superb thread and a great read back.
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: FransonUK on 01/07/2007 11:58 AM
Maybe "one" more time ;)
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: Andy L on 02/14/2007 12:52 PM
Has Pegasus ever suffered a failure, like most other vehicles appear to have?
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: Jim on 02/14/2007 03:07 PM
2 partial and 2-3 total failures depending on how the first X-43 flight  is counted
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: antonioe on 08/27/2007 03:15 AM

The Pegasus story - Not over yet!

I've been a little busy lately (something to do with a Delta II replacement) so I have neglected my promise to slowly but surely tell the Pegasus story to the gentle readers of this fine forum.  I hope to resume my garbled storytelling soon, but until then here is, as kind of a peace offering, a graphic sentimental souvenir: the fax from NORAD (via NASA GSFC) of the first TLE (two-line element) for the first Pegasus launch on April 5, 1990 (three days short of three years after that first sketch, according to Bob Lindberg, who was present at both events.)  I mentioned the effect of receiving that fax earlier.

Here's a translation into the President's english of that FAX:

Semi major axis = 6787.70 km.
Eccentricity = 0.004892
Inclination = 94.10 deg.
RAAN = 218.81 deg.
Argument of perigee = 269.21 deg.
True anomaly = 90.906 deg.

Apogee altitude = 442.77 km.
Perigee altitude = 376.35 km.
Orbit period = 92.75 min.
Mean anomaly = 90.34 deg.
Orbit number = 40631
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: Orbiter Obvious on 08/27/2007 03:21 AM
Quote
antonioe - 26/8/2007  10:15 PM

The Pegasus story - Not over yet!

I've been a little busy lately (something to do with a Delta II replacement) so I have neglected my promise to slowly but surely tell the Pegasus story to the gentle readers of this fine forum.  


Huzzah!! Welcome back, I like your stories a lot!

Wow, three years from the sketch to the first launch.
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: Davie OPF on 08/27/2007 04:09 AM
Welcome back sir. This is a great Q&A.

Interested to hear what you meant by a Delta II replacement?  We know there's moves to Delta IVs for commonality of ULA DOD launch service contracts, but a 'new' vehicle? A beefed up Pegasus? Do tell more if you can, sounds intriguing.
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: antonioe on 08/27/2007 04:15 AM
Oh! I forgot to mention: the handwritten notes on my copy of the Fax are Dave Steffy's.

Dave, ex-MIT XVI, ex-Hughes Space and Com, was the Vehicle Engineer on the first Pegasus.  He went on to become the principal designer and Program Manager of the ORBCOMM constellation, Tech VP of Orbital's GeoComm line for several years (so, between ORBCOMMS and StarBuses he has probably built and flown more satellites - over 40 - that all of us put together), and is now the Program Director of the Delta II replacement program.

When we got the Fax Dave was the only one in the room that remembered the meaning of each field in the TLEs!!!! I don't think he remembers that today...

When Dave left Hughes in 1988 he had the choice of joining Orbital or starting his own company to produce digital electronics for sailboats.  From a purely financial standpoint, he probably made the wrong choice; from a personal satisfaction standpoint...
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: antonioe on 08/27/2007 05:24 AM
Quote
Davie OPF - 26/8/2007 11:09 PM

Welcome back sir. This is a great Q&A.

Interested to hear what you meant by a Delta II replacement? We know there's moves to Delta IVs for commonality of ULA DOD launch service contracts, but a 'new' vehicle? A beefed up Pegasus? Do tell more if you can, sounds intriguing.
Orbital's US Government satellite products (NASA and some Defense/Intelligence) are slowly but steadily growing from Pegasus/Minotaur II class to the Minotaur IV/Delta II class. Orbital's market share in this class is, or was, growing.

The demise of Delta II threatens this growth. Much like what happened to us in 1987 (we had the idea for what became ORBCOMM, but not a suitable launch option, so we decided to start what became Pegasus) we have started what could become "son of Delta II" (some pundits suggest we call it Epsilon - the next letter in the greek alphabet, but DWT nixed that for obvious reasons.) Orbital is funding this effort at risk - like with Pegasus and Taurus, we do not have any contract or sponsorship to develop it - not even a COTS agreement!

Having said all this, I expect a torrent of questions pertaining to its configuration, propulsion technology, etc. The honest answer is that we are still trading options. We are spending several megadollars to proceed to CDR late this year (and, believe me, that buys a LOT of design at Orbital!); if we pass a number of hurdles, we will proceed to CDR in the fall of 2008 for a possible first launch in mid-2010. Now, here's the rub:

Any fool can design a profitable EXPENDABLE rocket if it is guaranteed to fly 12-20 times a year (50-60 for a reusable). Any fool can design an UNprofitable rocket that flies 2-3 times a year (well, even so it's not as easy as that, but you get the point.) The hard part is to design a launch product that will BREAK EVEN at 2-3 launches/year!!!

Unfortunately, the word "launch product" here includes the industrial infrastructure required to produce all its parts, inventory vs. quantity purchases vs. Letters-of-agreement games, fixed infrastructures, perhaps in more than one location, and possibly within 500 yeards of a vicious, rust-causing salt-saturated moist air, the perhaps small but irreducible number of engineers and technicians who have to be "current" in assembly and flight operations, government permits and customers' expectations of insight and flight assurance, reliability of supply lines that may not have any other customers... OH DEAR! OH MY!! Wouldn't it be wonderful it all that mattered was specific impulse, structural mass fraction, bending modes, lift and drag, shock propagation, acoustic levels and all that?

SO: we are NOT ready to unveil a configuration; we are not even ready to assure that come December's PDR we WILL continue the program - we will only do so if we are convinced we can do it for the non-recurring and recurring costs necessary to make it work.  It's not a matter of funding; as stated in another forum, Orbital has plenty of cash - more, indeed, than it would be PRUDENT to spend in this development. We are working very, very hard to make the cost numbers work; but is IS hard!

I CAN, though, say that the same people that designed, built and flow 52 Pegasus, Tauruses and Minotaurs are going to give it a hell of a try. We have been able to maintain a viable small launch vehicle product line for 17 years with an average of 3 flights/year (see enclosed chart, which only goes to 2006), so if anybody has a chance to pull this off, it's probably us.

We are targeting the same payload vs. altitude vs. inclination characteristics of the Delta 7920, it has a liquid (LOX/Kerosene) core and it has a 4 meter diameter fairing. As soon as it is prudent, I will share with you all the vehicle and operational details that ITAR would allow me to post in this forum, including sketches. No yellow ruled paper, though - we use IDEAS.

And please, PLEASE, don't call me "sir" (or "Dr.") - reminds me of my age! One of the advantages of having a name like Antonio is that you can be THE Antonio (you know, as in THE Donald?... ) so, if you call me "sir" again, YOU'RE FIRED®!!!
-----
Will design rockets for food
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: jimvela on 08/27/2007 06:47 AM

Quote
antonioe - 26/8/2007  11:24 PM
And please, PLEASE, don't call me "sir" (or "Dr.") - reminds me of my age! One of the advantages of having a name like Antonio is that you can be THE Antonio (you know, as in THE Donald?... ) so, if you call me "sir" again, YOU'RE FIRED®!!!

 

Well, you can't actually fire ME, but since you've asked really, really nicely, I'll try to remember to drop the prefix "Dr.".  Forgive me if I fail from time to time.  :)   See, I've been taught to properly regard and address others with respect for the accomplishments that they've made, and that little prefix is not trivial.  :bleh:

 

I can't wait to see more details if a DII replacement vehicle comes to pass, and here's hoping that the present chaos in US Space policy doesn't kill off most robotic exploration.  There's got to be room for both the serious science of the robotic missions as well as the exploration and stature of landing  boots.

 

Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: Chris Bergin on 08/27/2007 12:46 PM
Quote
antonioe - 27/8/2007  6:24 AM

We are targeting the same payload vs. altitude vs. inclination characteristics of the Delta 7920, it has a liquid (LOX/Kerosene) core and it has a 4 meter diameter fairing. As soon as it is prudent, I will share with you all the vehicle and operational details that ITAR would allow me to post in this forum, including sketches.

Welcome back Antonio!

Fascinating. Certainly had heard some rumors, but nothing documented, thus nothing newsworthy for media like us which work only on documented information (although you can bet some less savvy media are going to read that post and paraphrase an "according to reports, OSC are..." article *rolls eyes*).

"Will design rockets for food"  :laugh:
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: kevin-rf on 08/27/2007 01:45 PM
Welcome back.

May I be so bold as to start with a simple question or two ;)

    Is man rating for something like COTS fit into the equation or will the new Delta 7920 class vehicle G loads be to high at this point in the trades?

    Is the plan an LEO only vehicle that matches the Delta 7920 or are you also talking higher orbits and maybe Mars bound payloads?

Best of luck with the trades,
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: JIS on 08/27/2007 03:13 PM
Quote
antonioe - 27/8/2007  6:24 AM
if we pass a number of hurdles, we will proceed to CDR in the fall of 2008 for a possible first launch in mid-2010.

Interresting. It should be in the same frame as Falcon 9.
I'm sure Orbital would be able to build some resupply ship too.
We could have another COTS 2 competitor.
Is Orbital able to build LOX/kerosene engine inhouse?
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: Jim on 08/27/2007 04:17 PM
There is no mention of Orbital doing COTS
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: meiza on 08/27/2007 06:16 PM
How did you get your price input for the design? Ie do you aim for the same price as Delta II charges now?
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: antonioe on 08/27/2007 07:16 PM

Quote
kevin-rf - 27/8/2007 8:45 AM

Is man rating for something like COTS fit into the equation or will the new Delta 7920 class vehicle G loads be to high at this point in the trades?
No, the cold business numbers, unfortunately, do not support the cost of manrating it (I wish... I'd buy the first ticket...)

Quote
Is the plan an LEO only vehicle that matches the Delta 7920 or are you also talking higher orbits and maybe Mars bound payloads?
Notice I said "7920", not "7925" - giving a smaller payload mass a higher ΔV usually means you want to use an additional stage.  Like Delta, we'll probably offer an additional stage for these missions (which, unfortunately, will increase the cost.) We are trying to avoid spinning at all costs, though.

Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: antonioe on 08/27/2007 07:19 PM
Quote
jimvela - 27/8/2007  1:47 AM
Well, you can't actually fire ME
Plus, THE Donald would sue me...

Quote
here's hoping that the present chaos in US Space policy doesn't kill off most robotic exploration.  There's got to be room for both the serious science of the robotic missions as well as the exploration and stature of landing  boots.
AMEN!!!!
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: antonioe on 08/27/2007 08:00 PM

Quote
JIS - 27/8/2007 10:13 AM

Quote
antonioe - 27/8/2007 6:24 AM
if we pass a number of hurdles, we will proceed to CDR in the fall of 2008 for a possible first launch in mid-2010.

Interresting. It should be in the same frame as Falcon 9.

I don't think it's fair to SpaceX to put Falcon 9 on a first flight race with our new launcher, which at 3,000 Kg payload to 675 Km sun-synch is only a factor of 3 higher than a Taurus - operational since 1994 - whereas Falcon 9, if my numbers are right, would be 20 times the size of a Falcon 1, which is still in development.

On the other hand, SpaceX's financial flexibiliy is vastly superior to ours, since they probably don't have to show a return on Mr. Musk's investment, the $95M they must have already received from NASA on the COTS agreement, or the $100M or so they will receive before their first flight, according to the COTS Phase I Space Act Agreements (if you read that document, you will notice that RpK's payment milestones included rather demanding financial, hardware delivery and hardware test events, whereas SpaceX gets $198M before the first hardware- or test-related milestone.)

Quote
Is Orbital able to build LOX/kerosene engine inhouse?
No.

Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: kevin-rf on 08/27/2007 08:15 PM
Quote
antonioe - 27/8/2007  3:16 PM
No, the cold business numbers, unfortunately, do not support the cost of manrating it (I wish... I'd buy the first ticket...)


Now that is what I call faith in ones product... Do you get an employee discount ;)

Quote
Notice I said "7920", not "7925" - giving a smaller payload mass a higher ?V usually means you want to use an additional stage.  Like Delta, we'll probably offer an additional stage for these missions (which, unfortunately, will increase the cost.) We are trying to avoid spinning at all costs, though.


Does that imply an "extra" solid stage that has roll control? Very interesting, care to coment on roll control with solids ?
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: antonioe on 08/27/2007 08:26 PM

Quote
meiza - 27/8/2007 1:16 PM

How did you get your price input for the design? Ie do you aim for the same price as Delta II charges now?

Actually, we're aiming for the prices Delta II charged 2-3 years ago (adjusted for inflation,) but at a much lower average flight rate (2 to 3 a year) than Delta II ever had. At that time (2004 - before the USAF and then NASA pulled their support for the program) Delta II's approximately $50M cost to a program was quite reasonable. Notice that a typical space mission has five cost components of about equal value (very roughly - don't take me too literally):

  1. Spacecraft bus
  2. Instrument(s) or mission payloads
  3. Launch
  4. Ground system and mission ops
  5. Overall Systems Engineering/Science/Program management and other "glue"

In other words, the launch "should" be about one-fifth the cost of a "balanced" mission.  This very simplistic model makes a $50M Delta II consistent with a $250M mission and a $140M Delta II (or Delta-IV Medium - they seem to be about equally priced) consistent with a $700M or so mission, which is not quite in Orbital's "sweet spot".

Also, as I pointed out in a previous posting, you have to be very careful how you define the cost; when we sell a Pegasus to NASA, we provide everything (we even pay for the range) - it's a turnkey launch service.  With the USAF, on the other hand, we come close to selling just a rocket, and they provide the range, payload integration, etc.  The price paid to Orbital in the latter case is lower, but the total cost to the taxpayer, IMHO, is lower in the former case.

Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: antonioe on 08/27/2007 08:32 PM

Quote
kevin-rf - 27/8/2007 3:15 PM

Quote
antonioe - 27/8/2007 3:16 PM
No, the cold business numbers, unfortunately, do not support the cost of manrating it (I wish... I'd buy the first ticket...)


Now that is what I call faith in ones product... Do you get an employee discount ;)

Hey, why do you think I did the B-52 separation and ignition safety analysis personally?  It was my ticket to the Launch Panel Operator seat on the first Pegasus drop!!!

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Does that imply an "extra" solid stage that has roll control? Very interesting, care to coment on roll control with solids ?

Actually, roll control is a cinch (Pegasus does it with a simple cold gas system); it's TVC that you can avoid if you spin.  Once upon a time (when the Delta II was developed) the weight of a TVC system for a  small solid motor made it prohibitive from a performance standpoint.  Today, the cost and mission risk associated with the spin-up turntable and separation system (not to mention the pain of having to balance the spacecraft and design it to withstand the spin) make TVC preferable.

Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: simonbp on 08/27/2007 10:41 PM
With respect to the rolling upper stage, even spacecraft that are required to roll (like MPF, MER, MSL, Cassini, etc) roll at significantly slower rate than a spinning solid. MPF and MER used yo-yos to slown down to ~2 rpm (Corona-era tech), while MSL has roll-control thrusters...

Simon ;)
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: meiza on 08/29/2007 01:11 AM
So, can you tell anything about engines then? Will they be US made? Multiple? RS-27?
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: antonioe on 08/29/2007 01:23 AM
Ahhh... hang on a little longer.  We are in business negotiations still.
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: kevin-rf on 08/29/2007 01:02 PM
Would you care to elaborate on how the fixed costs for a solid based solution compare to the fixed costs differ when you have a low flight rate?
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: CFE on 08/29/2007 11:22 PM
How is OSC going to adapt to flying a LOX-Kerosene rocket?  The transition should be interesting, because of OSC's historical involvement with solids.  I don't suppose that the experience with the Pegasus HAPS is very relevant here.  I'd assume that OSC would start looking to hire people with Atlas and Delta II experience if Epsilon/Taurus-2 moves ahead.
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: antonioe on 08/30/2007 12:30 AM

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kevin-rf - 29/8/2007 8:02 AM Would you care to elaborate on how the fixed costs for a solid based solution compare to the fixed costs differ when you have a low flight rate?

Uh, could you repeat (rather, rephrase) the question?

Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: antonioe on 08/30/2007 12:38 AM

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CFE - 29/8/2007 6:22 PM How is OSC going to adapt to flying a LOX-Kerosene rocket?

Veeery carefully...

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The transition should be interesting, because of OSC's historical involvement with solids. I don't suppose that the experience with the Pegasus HAPS is very relevant here.

Not HAPS (small, monoprop), but the StarBus class GeoComs have rather large (more than 50% of the satellite mass) bipropellant systems (that have to last for 16 years).  We build, integrate and test them at the Dulles SMF.  Not a big stretch for a biprop upper stage or semi-stage.  A lot of us at Orbital - Dave Steffy being the canonical example - have (literally) one foot in the rocket camp and the other in the satellite camp.

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I'd assume that OSC would start looking to hire people with Atlas and Delta II experience if Epsilon/Taurus-2 moves ahead.

YES!!!

Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: tnphysics on 08/30/2007 01:00 AM
If SpaceX succeeds, you're priced out of the market unless you can make a profit charging $17 million per mission.

Do you have a contingency for that case?
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: antonioe on 08/30/2007 01:09 AM

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tnphysics - 29/8/2007 8:00 PM If SpaceX succeeds, you're priced out of the market unless you can make a profit charging $17 million per mission. Do you have a contingency for that case?

I don't want to be "cute" but, how would you answer that question?

Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: tnphysics on 08/30/2007 01:28 AM
no
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: Chris Bergin on 08/30/2007 02:35 AM
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tnphysics - 30/8/2007  2:28 AM

no

Don't strain anything with a response like that ;)

At least explain your reasoning behind the "no." Especially when it's on the basis of IF SpaceX is going to achieve certain milestones and IF SpaceX's quoted figures are accurate, noting that competition issues denote that's usually not always the case.
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: tnphysics on 08/30/2007 03:13 AM
Sorry Chris,

My reasoning was that a Falcon 9 launch costs $35 million. A Pegasus launch costs about the same amount. But the Falcon 9 is much more powerful. I think that the Delta II class launcher will cost more than Pegasus. If this is correct, the conclusion follows.
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: Chris Bergin on 08/30/2007 03:14 AM
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tnphysics - 30/8/2007  4:13 AM

Sorry Chris,

My reasoning was that a Falcon 9 launch costs $35 million. A Pegasus launch costs about the same amount. But the Falcon 9 is much more powerful. I think that the Delta II class launcher will cost more than Pegasus. If this is correct, the conclusion follows.

Thanks for expanding on that.
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: Jim on 08/30/2007 11:43 AM
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tnphysics - 29/8/2007  11:13 PM

My reasoning was that a Falcon 9 launch costs $35 million.

That is not proven yet
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: antonioe on 08/30/2007 07:53 PM

Look, guys:  It boils down to a matter of confidence in the future.  If we were confident that SpaceX would be able to provide a Delta II class service (with whatever size vehicle) for around $50M, with 90%-95% reliability, in the 2010-2012 time frame, we would be very happy to save our money and concentrate on developing and selling to NASA and the DoD Mid-class missions with its accompanying spacecraft, ground systems, some special instruments we build, etc.  We certainly were happy to have MDAC/Boeing/ULA provide $50M Delta II's (we flew on one last June 21; DAWN, our first deep-space spacecraft, will also launch on a Delta II, hopefully on September 26).

Problem is: given a) SpaceX's Falcon 1 performance to date b) the leap that Falcon 9 represents over Falcon 1 c) our own experience developing, building and launching low-cost (or at least as low as we know how to) launch vehicles and d) our complete ignorance of the methodology that SpaceX uses to achieve their advertised pricing, we simply cannot rely on SpaceX being able to deliver.

In a previous posting I related how Pegasus was started, in part, by the cool reception that George Koopman (founder of AMROC) gave to our bona fide inquiries as a potential customer.  If he had tried, even so slightly, to sell us his LV, we would not only not developed Pegasus, but would have signed up as the anchor customer for HIS rocket!!! (we are a little more savvy now - had we done that, and given what happened to AMROC, Orbital would probably have been bankrupt by the early 90's).  Point is, we had no confidence that we would find launch services for our ORBCOMM system.

Similarly, if the Delta II service would have continued to be offered at $50M - $70M, we would NEVER dream of competing with it.

I wish, I really wish, that Elon could build a 10MT launch vehicle and sell it, at a reasonable profit, for $35M.  (actually, I'd prefer that he sell a 5MT service for $17M - no need to help the big guys' markets with cheap EELV's!)  I just don't see how.  I look at his industrial infrastructure, which is starting to rival Orbital's - but we build almost $1B worth of spacecraft and rockets a year with it!  I look at his vertical integration, which means he has to fund and capitalize (and then amortize) a very large number of resources that suppliers may already possess.  I read somewhere that he now has an 11-acre plant (bigger that our Chandler facility, although ours is filled to the brim and his may be a little empty at the moment) and 350 employees - more than Orbital employs on its Pegasus, Taurus and Minotaur programs PUT TOGETHER.  We developed Pegasus with a team that PEAKED at around 45-50 people (including yours truly) - the largest Orbital launcher development team, Taurus, peaked around 75 (aero313 - is my memory correct?  You were the PM...)

If they need over four years, hundreds of people and over $100M before the first sucessful launch of a Pegasus-class LV (we spent $42M in 1990 $'s to get to a sucessful two-satellite first flight in less than three years), how many people and how much money will they need to keep a Falcon 9 line going?  Who is going to pay for that marching army?  12 launches per year?  Now, don't tell me that lower costs will cause dozens of customers to come out of the woodwork magically - I'd rather believe in a "late 2008" Falcon 9 first flight.

Launch demand is very inelastic in an "absolute demand" sense (i.e., a 10% reduction in average supply cost increases total market demand by a lot less than 10%) even if is it "competitively elastic" (a launch service which is $1 cheaper than an identical service gets all the market) - the sale of 52 flights to half a dozen customers, and the sale of two dozen commercial GeoComs to another half a dozen customers (and participating in their buy of Ariane, Soyuz and Zenit launch services) backs this statement.

Then, for a privately-funded development such as Pegasus, Taurus or the new Delta-II class one we are developing, there is the small issue of amortizing the development costs.  Admittedly, SpaceX may not have to pay back Mr. Musk's $100M rumored investment and the $270M no-strings-attached NASA COTS money (or at least the $198M of it that is only attached by VUgraphs).  But what of the additional, outside investors?  the NASA/SpaceX COTS Space Act Agreement mentions :"financing milestones" - I assume they are not exclusively's Mr. Musk's money.

I sincerely mean no disrespect for SpaceX or Mr. Musk.  I admire and salute what they are trying to do.  Our business would benefit from their success.  But, given my 20 years and 52 launches experience trying to develop, build and fly LVs on the cheap, I don't see, I simply cannot see how they can do it. 

Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: jimvela on 08/30/2007 09:40 PM
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antonioe - 30/8/2007  1:53 PM
 Admittedly, SpaceX may not have to pay back Mr. Musk's $100M rumored investment and the $270M no-strings-attached NASA COTS money (or at least the $198M of it that is only attached by VUgraphs).  

There's the root of my issue with COTS I.  How much launch vehicle development could you have done with a couple of hundred million bones?

At least SpaceX has some credibility in that they've built and flown two F1, whereas the other COTS I finalist has done nothing well except for end up bankrupt-  and they've historically been pretty good at doing that.   I don't expect that vehicle to ever fly.

I'd far rather the money go to reasonably viable providers.  [Disclaimer: My employer bid as a teamed partner on  COTS I].

With respect to a D-II replacement, I agree that $35M isn't a realistic price point for an F9.  I'm thinking it'll be more like $85M when it all shakes out.  Power to SpaceX if they succeed, my interest is in getting payloads like the ones my employer builds into space.  Viable but inexpensive  launchers are really good for me....
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: antonioe on 08/30/2007 10:13 PM

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jimvela - 30/8/2007 4:40 PM At least SpaceX has some credibility in that they've built and flown two F1

Yes, but SpaceX has to

  1. make it to orbit
  2. grow the launch vehicle by a factor of 20
  3. develop a 5 to 7 MT spacecraft with a human-rated interior volume (including micrometeorid shielding, etc)
  4. make that spacecraft dock with ISS passing all of JSC's safety hurdles and
  5. make said spacecraft reenter intact (COTS Capabilities A through C)
  6. do 1 through 4 (only, if I read the agreement correctly) before the end of 2010.

At least the NASA/SpaceX COTS agreement does not require SpaceX to demonstrate capability D, thank God.  My estimate to do all of the above is at least $500M - quite a challenge!  On the other hand, the agreement specifies that SpaceX will receive $198M just by holding design reviews and passing "financial milestones" - that is, before the first hardware milestone or test, so they have a good chance of getting that money without having to spend a lot on the more advanced capabilities.  That allows them to concentrate on the LV if they so choose.

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$35M isn't a realistic price point for an F9. I'm thinking it'll be more like $85M when it all shakes out

A 10MT LV for any number under $100M would be a very fine and worthwhile acheivement, indeed!!!

Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: STS Tony on 08/31/2007 05:32 PM
Is OSC interested in taking on Sea Launch market? This new vehicle sounds like it's in that sort of payload range?

I say that as they unfortunatly seem to be in a fair amount of uncertainty until they are a few flights into return to flight and it may take years for customers to trust them.

Sorry if that's a dumb question, I know the obvious payload range is taking over what is missing when Delta II goes, but just trying to understand the market.
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: antonioe on 08/31/2007 10:29 PM

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STS Tony - 31/8/2007 12:32 PM Is OSC interested in taking on Sea Launch market?

Whoa!  Hold your horses!  Now, you're talking about a BIG step from our current LV offerings!  Plus, although it's true that Ariane has had some economic difficulties, and that the Russian situation is, to say the least, muddy (and the mud is splattering the poor Ukranians,) Zenit and Ariane are still two formidable competitors.

ON THE OTHER HAND... One of Orbital's great unsung success stories, our taking the under-5KW GeoCom market by storm, opens up the possibility of extending our Delta II-class LV not to the Sea Launch class, but to something just a bit north of Soyuz and just a bit south of Land Launch, i.e., about 3MT into GTO.  This would require, of course, something like a full cryo upper stage, which is something we're not ready to bite into, although it would be a good PPI for our MLV.

Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: meiza on 08/31/2007 10:39 PM
Will the design of the new booster be done in imperial or SI units? :)
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: bigdog on 09/01/2007 01:52 AM
Thanks Dr. Elias for that terrific explanation of how the SpaceX prices really don't make sense.

I really wonder if Musks prices are based on the big picture.  I think it's based on only the cost to build and in small part launch an F1 or F9.  I really doubt he's accounting for all the costs of the buildings, salaries, launch site, etc. etc. costs.  His personal financial support hides much of the true cost I think.

I mean think about the cost of salaries.  If he gets to the 600 employees he talks about the payroll is huge.  If the average salary is 50K (I think I'm low there) that's 30Mil a year.  That's a couple F1's alone.  His new building will rack up big energy bills being in California and maintenance on SLC-40 won't be cheap either.  I think the cost for a F9 will get to at least 100mil which still not being full EELV class is no bargan.

There just aren't enough payloads out there and they sure can't be ready to launch fast enough to support the rate he'll need to keep prices anywhere near what he's talking now.
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: Carl G on 09/01/2007 04:10 AM
Changing tacts, what was it that got you interested in designing space vehicles, Antonio? I know it'd need a load of qualifications, but something must have driven you to want to take that route before that.

Would find that interesting to know, as we're all a bunch of armchair engineers on here, apart from the big group of actual USA and NASA engineers etc here.

But I'm sure you and maybe Dr Stanley are the only ones here who are at the sharp end of thinking vehicles up, with your story sounding rather like Richard Prior drawing his plans for a super computer in Superman III  :cool:  (Funnily, an evil Pegasus was featured in that movie! ;) )
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: pippin on 09/01/2007 10:04 PM
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bigdog - 1/9/2007  3:52 AM

Thanks Dr. Elias for that terrific explanation of how the SpaceX prices really don't make sense.

I really wonder if Musks prices are based on the big picture.  I think it's based on only the cost to build and in small part launch an F1 or F9.  I really doubt he's accounting for all the costs of the buildings, salaries, launch site, etc. etc. costs.  His personal financial support hides much of the true cost I think.

I mean think about the cost of salaries.  If he gets to the 600 employees he talks about the payroll is huge.  If the average salary is 50K (I think I'm low there) that's 30Mil a year.  That's a couple F1's alone.  His new building will rack up big energy bills being in California and maintenance on SLC-40 won't be cheap either.  I think the cost for a F9 will get to at least 100mil which still not being full EELV class is no bargan.

There just aren't enough payloads out there and they sure can't be ready to launch fast enough to support the rate he'll need to keep prices anywhere near what he's talking now.

Mr. Musk has run a business or two, he didn't get his money thrown at him, so I'm pretty sure he knows how to calculate costs, especially regarding such simple things.

Whether his assumptions about market growth etc. hold true  is a different story, however...
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: Andy L on 09/01/2007 11:37 PM
Is SpaceX OSC's biggest rival (potentially)? Some of the OSC guys aren't very nice about SpaceX on their threads here.
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: antonioe on 09/02/2007 03:14 AM

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Andy L - 1/9/2007 6:37 PM Is SpaceX OSC's biggest rival (potentially)?

I wish... but no - only 8% of Orbital's revenue last year came from space launches. 27% came from Commercial GeoComm spacecraft, 22% from MDA through Boeing, 17% from NASA and DoD scientific and research satellites and, of course, the Orion program.  Our main competitors are Alcatel and Lockheed-Martin Newtown in the GeoCom market (Loral is waaay above our market in size and Boeing-ex-Hughes has essentially abandoned the market), nobody in the missile defense interceptor market (Lockheed used to be, no longer,) Lockheed-Martin Denver in the DoD spacecraft market (also, coincidentally, one of our biggest customers through Orion) and, of course, Ball and Spectr... I mean,  GD.  As far as I know, SpaceX is not a player in 92% of our market.  To put things in perspective, I'm enclosing a picture of our Satellite Manufacturing Facility in Dulles, VA, showing five - count 'em, five! - GeoComs in various stages of assembly; over $300M worth of satellites.  They are BIG!  You could camp comfortably for a week inside one of them.  And they have to last for 15-16 years! 

It's nice to work on rockets and satellites at the same time.  They are very, VERY different beasts indeed.  By building both, you gain a better appreciation of both sides of the "space thingy".

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 Some of the OSC guys aren't very nice about SpaceX on their threads here.

Well, shame on us.  If anybody from Orbital has been "not nice" with SpaceX or anybody else, I apologyze in Orbital's name.  There is no need to be un-nice to anyone, friend or foe, and, specifically, I don't consider SpaceX our foe, even if I don't understand some of the things they do and say.  You may not agree with someone, but you can disagree politely.

BTW, we were once know by the initials "OSC", but it's been years since we changed our nickname to "Orbital" (for better or worse - at least we shed that horrible NASA-worm-like logo that everybody thought spelled "CSC":)

Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: antonioe on 09/02/2007 03:24 AM

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bigdog - 31/8/2007 8:52 PMIf he gets to the 600 employees he talks about the payroll is huge. If the average salary is 50K (I think I'm low there) that's 30Mil a year.

*SIGH* well, let be disabuse you; the average aerospace engineer salary in the L.A. area is probably closer to $100K/year - but that's only half of the story.  The cost to a company of a $100K employee must also include insurance, vacation time (hmm... vacation... the word sounds familiar, but I can't quite place the meaning...) and other costs that add anywhere between 80% and 120% to the basic salary, depending on the company, location, etc.  So I would not be surprised if the average cost per labor-year in the SpaceX case is closer to $150K than $50K.  By the way, this figure is historically one of the most guarded secrets of aerospace companies - I don't know why, since it's quite easy to reverse-engineer (I lie - yes, I know why: many "classical" Cost-plus government contracts are won or lost based on these "fully loaded" labor rates.)

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I think the cost for a F9 will get to at least 100mil which still not being full EELV class is no bargan.

I disagree - if a 10MT-payload F9 demonstrates a better than 90% reliability and can be bought at $100M/launch, I would consider it a real bargain.

Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: antonioe on 09/02/2007 03:42 AM

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Carl G - 31/8/2007 11:10 PM what was it that got you interested in designing space vehicles, Antonio?

As long as I can remember I've been in love with flying and airplanes (not space!)  Thank goodness for my poor vision, or else I would have become a professional pilot... but I could not, and ended up an undergrad at MIT's Aero&Astro Dept.  Then one day around 1970 a fellow by the name of John McCarthy ("Big John" - former North American Aviation executive, later Director of NASA's Lewis Research Center) gave a lecture at the Dept. on this fascinating new project called the "Space Shuttle".  Two things happened to me that day:  First, I was for the first time exposed to these things called "Viewgraphs" - and with lots of engineering data in them, the likes of which I had never seen!!!  Second,  I began to be interested in space vehicles... look, some of them have WINGS!... :laugh:

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we're all a bunch of armchair engineers on here

So was I until a certain David W. Thompson called me on the phone one fine spring day in 1986.  The fact that he did, and hired me, shows how desperate he was.  How I managed, with NO hardware experience at all - all I had done professionally at that point was design guidance equations at Draper - to pull together the Pegasus team still amazes me (well, I had lots of help).  That's why I'm so leery of pre-judging people that attempt to build a launch vehicle with no previous experience.  I'm probably much wiser and experienced now, but I certainly was neither then.

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But I'm sure you and maybe Dr Stanley are the only ones here who are at the sharp end of thinking vehicles up

Reserve your judgement until you see a picture of Taurus II - it will appear extremely dull to you.  But underneath that dull-looking skin, there's not 20 years, but more like 50 calendar years of experience by a lot of people much smarter than me!...

Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: antonioe on 09/02/2007 04:25 AM
Ohmygod!... I just realized... I joined Orbital 30 years after Sputnik... and that was TWENTY years ago... look what was accomplished in the first 30 years... and what was done in the last 20... how depressing... pardon me while I go to a corner to sulk...
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: antonioe on 09/02/2007 01:40 PM
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Andy L - 1/9/2007  6:37 PMSome of the OSC guys aren't very nice about SpaceX on their threads here.

*DOUBLE SIGH* - I found this in another thread (notice the signature line):

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pad rat - 8/3/2007 11:07 AM "Some"?!!! Falcon 9 is an EELV-class booster with over 30% more capacity than a 7920H to a reference LEO! That's why we were disappointed to hear about the Falcon 5 being shelved. It did a good job of hitting the Delta II sweet spot and competed with the K-1 for a lot of Delta II-class missions.
My sentiments exactly. It would seem that F9 superceded F5 (first F5 evolved to a wider tankage that could be stretched for F9, then it was dropped entirely.) I assume that SpaceX could develop F5 if somebody wanted to pony up the dough, but the development costs wouldn't be worth it. Elon wants to make his money off COTS & Bigelow, and F9 is the way he's going to do it. Then again, Elon is very wise to say "The way to make a small fortune in the launch business is to start with a large fortune." Hopefully he will prove himself wrong by the time he's ready to cash out at SpaceX.

-----
Minotaur, f**k yeah!

BTW, the individual with that signature line seems to be somebody in New Mexico NOT associated with SpaceX.

Look, guys, we all have enough problems already...
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: Seer on 09/02/2007 02:30 PM
Hi Antonio, great to hear your plans for Taurus 2 and your thoughts on Spacex.

I was also mysterified about spacex's pricing, as Spacex is leaving over $50 million on the table for some geo launches compared to Ariane 5.  $80 million a launch would probably put Ariane out of business. So either Elon is feeling really generous toward the satellite makers or he is going to raise prices later on. But why publish a set of prices now if your only going to raise them later?
But you prompted me to realize that those low prices are detering potential competitiers from developing vehicles. I don't think Elon had you in mind, but it can't have helped Kistler win over investors for the k1.
Low prices for falcon 9 must have been a factor for NASA choosing Spacex for COTS. Kistler was a shoein for one of the places because they were the furthest along in development, and promised the most bang for buck: the first fully reusable vehicle. That left Spacex to fight it out with the rest of the proposals, including all the proposals that included using existing boosters, such as the Atlas 5, to launch a capsule. Using an existing booster would mean less development  risk and quicker deployment. To beat that Spacex needed to make its booster much cheaper than anything else.
However, that price of $35 million to leo only holds for government launches - spacex can charge as much as it likes for commercial contracts to leo and geo. Thats a market of well over a $1 billion, most of which is profit. All Spacex loses out on is the money it could have charged NASA and the DoD for Atlas 5 and Delta 2 class missions. How much is that? Half a dozen launches a year? Perhaps $300 - $400 million dollars profit. That assumes both the delta 4 and atlas 5 lines are shut down, which probably wouldn't happen.
All in all, it shows what a shrewd businessman Elon is.










Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: Jim on 09/02/2007 03:17 PM
"But you prompted me to realize that those low prices are detering potential competitiers from developing vehicles."

Not true, the glut of available LV's is detering development of new ones
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: Seer on 09/02/2007 04:14 PM
err...Jim, why then is Antonio thinking of developing a new vehicle?

Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: antonioe on 09/02/2007 04:25 PM
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antonioe - 2/9/2007  8:40 AMBTW, the individual with that signature line seems to be somebody in New Mexico NOT associated with SpaceX.

Look, guys, we all have enough problems already...
Apparently I interpreted the gentleman in question 180 degrees out of phase... he was actually cheering Minotaur... I'm getting senile...
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: Chris Bergin on 09/02/2007 04:30 PM
Yes, that signature is homage to the film "Team America" - and positive.

Good opportunity to request posters on here keep off SpaceX if they can help it. This is about Antonio, Orbital, Pegasus etc.

We have a number of active SpaceX threads, plus Elon is a member of this site (and a really good guy) so as always, everyone please be respectful.

Carry on...
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: antonioe on 09/02/2007 04:37 PM
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Jim - 2/9/2007  10:17 AM"But you prompted me to realize that those low prices are detering potential competitiers from developing vehicles."Not true, the glut of available LV's is detering development of new ones
1-2 years ago, that would be an unqualified statement; with the demises of Titan SLV, Atlas II and now Delta II, it no longer applies to the very narrowly defined segment of "U.S. medium-class" LVs.

Also, when is a "glut" a "glut"?  The maddening situation in the U.S. is that we have a glut of >10MT LVs (EELV) production capacity, but the prices do NOT come down.  It's not a monopoly, it's a monopsomy!!!

Let's face it: the problem with space business is not supply, it's demand!
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: Seer on 09/02/2007 04:45 PM
Antonio, you said earlier that you were in negotiations over a kero/lox engine - take it's not with SpaceX  :laugh:
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: yinzer on 09/02/2007 06:27 PM
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antonioe - 2/9/2007  9:37 AM

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Jim - 2/9/2007  10:17 AM"But you prompted me to realize that those low prices are detering potential competitiers from developing vehicles."Not true, the glut of available LV's is detering development of new ones
1-2 years ago, that would be an unqualified statement; with the demises of Titan SLV, Atlas II and now Delta II, it no longer applies to the very narrowly defined segment of "U.S. medium-class" LVs.

Also, when is a "glut" a "glut"?  The maddening situation in the U.S. is that we have a glut of >10MT LVs (EELV) production capacity, but the prices do NOT come down.  It's not a monopoly, it's a monopsomy!!!

Let's face it: the problem with space business is not supply, it's demand!

Everything I've read said that prices for GTO launch did indeed go way down in the late 90s and early 00s with the introduction of the EELVs and the drying up of the satellite market, but have since rebounded nicely.  You, of course, would know better.

As for the ability of Boeing and LM to shake down the government with the threat of job losses and I assume the threat of making the Air Force admit that the "leverage the booming commercial market to save us lots of money" plan turned out to be a colossal mistake, well...  

Also, never underestimate the sexiness of the smoke, flame, and noise involved in rocketry vs. the comparative boringness of solar panels and transponders and cameras involved in payloads.
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: simonbp on 09/02/2007 08:57 PM
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antonioe - 1/9/2007  8:14 PM
You could camp comfortably for a week inside one of them [GeoComms].  And they have to last for 15-16 years!

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antonioe - 2/9/2007  9:37 AM
Let's face it: the problem with space business is not supply, it's demand!

Hmmm... Ever think about increasing the demand by breaking into the bargain-basement discount space tourism industry? Just make sure they pay in advance... :)

Simon ;)
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: antonioe on 09/02/2007 10:22 PM
Quote
Chris Bergin - 2/9/2007 11:30 AM
Yes, that signature is homage to the film "Team America" - and positive.Carry on...
Oops!... I just branded myself a geek totally out of touch with Pop culture... please, oh, please don't let my children know... I'll never hear the end of it...
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: antonioe on 09/02/2007 10:23 PM

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Seer - 2/9/2007 11:45 AM Antonio, you said earlier that you were in negotiations over a kero/lox engine - take it's not with SpaceX :laugh:

And why not?

Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: antonioe on 09/02/2007 10:29 PM

Quote
yinzer - 2/9/2007 1:27 PM

never underestimate the sexiness of the smoke, flame, and noise involved in rocketry vs. the comparative boringness of solar panels and transponders and cameras involved in payloads.

Ahhh!... Touché!... (or, as Mike Griffin likes to say when he pretends he's a hick with no French, "Toush")

Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: Seer on 09/02/2007 10:40 PM
Antonio, after the last few pages of this thread the price of those kestrels has just doubled! Just kidding, of course.

 No, after thinking about it, an upperstage with a pair of kestrels might well make sense for that payload range, but why would Elon want to help a competitor?

Just remembered, this is a liquid first stage too. So perhaps the Merlin too? Is the Taurus 2 really a falcon 1 in disguise? ;)

P.S my message above should've had a smiley rather than the :laugh: that is there. And now the : laugh: comes out as a smiley!
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: CFE on 09/03/2007 08:08 PM
Antonio, are you going to comment either way on the rumors we've seen in "Space News" over the last few months?  "Space News" readers should have some idea of what engine is (allegedly) under consideration, but that's not to say that "Space News" isn't firing half-cocked with rumors that may not be true.
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: antonioe on 09/03/2007 10:34 PM

Hmmm... "rumors"?  What I remember (I may have missed something - I'm not good at reading EVERY issue of SN, Aviation Leak and all that stuff) is that DWT mentioned "a new launch vehicle" at an investor's phone call (that media is invited to listen to), and a few more comments along the line:

  1. Orbital is spending some of its own money doing PD on a "Delta II" replacement for a "mid 2010" IOC.
  2. No, we don't have a customer yet.
  3. We're not even sure we will go beyond PDR (I'm 80%-90% sure, though).  The key hurdle is to get the development and recurring costs below certain thresholds.  We know how to build a rocket.  We're not so sure we know how to build a rocket cheap inexpensively enough.  We will find out around December ("we" being Orbital and its supply chain).
  4. DWT calls it "Taurus II" but we are feverishly searching for a name (hey, guys, any ideas?)  Some pundits claim that since we're trying to continue the Delta tradition, it shuld be named after the next letter in the Greek alphabet... not a good choice, unfortunately.

I can tell you:

  1. The first stage is LOX/Kerosene with an approx diameter of 4m, as is the fairing.
  2. The last stage does not spin.
  3. Its payload/altitude/inclination performance curves match those of Delta 7920 (gosh!  You can reverse-engineer the configuration from this piece of data alone!!!)
  4. We are designing the GSE/launch hardware at the same time as we are trading vehicle options.
  5. We will reuse a lot of the avionics, ordnance, etc. from OBV, Taurus, etc.
  6. Other than that, it will look quite plain (no wing, rotors, landing gear, universal joints or dilithium crystals).  We will make public the configuration as soon as a) we know it ourselves and b) we have the necessary agreements with our partners/suppliers.  Be warned!  It will look boooring... (beauty is more than just skin-deep!)

The irony is that when we developed Pegasus in 1987-1990, we barely had enough money to pay for it (the first flight, all told, it cost $42M in 1990 dollars, but our partner Hercules ponyed up half of it, so we only had to raise $20M or so).  Now, thanks to GeoComs, OBV's and flying coach class (even DWT flies coach! At least we don't do those horrible LAX-IAD red eyes that we used to take in the late 80's to save money) we have more money than we think should be spent on it!!!  If by PDR we cannot convince ourselves that we can do it for a certain amount, we won't even try.

Here's a piece of trivia: Minotaur IV (the "orbital Peacekeeper", for which we have four real orders) is a factor of three, both in payload and mass at ignition, bigger than the first Pegasus.  Taurus II (or whatever we end up calling it) will be a factor of three, roughly, bigger than Minotaur IV in both payload and ignition mass.  I find that somehow symmetric.

Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: tnphysics on 09/03/2007 10:38 PM
Does it use SRBs?
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: antonioe on 09/03/2007 10:43 PM

No.

Here's a Trivial Pursuit question: Orbital's HQ's address is officially 21839 Atlantic Blvd. in Dulles, VA.  But there is a street that runs down the center of the campus.  What is the name of the street (Orbital employees: no cheating!!! That also goes for you, aero313!!!)

 

Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: bobthemonkey on 09/03/2007 10:47 PM
Would I be right in saying that while the engine being considered is of an operational family, used on a number of vehicles, it hasn't flown itself. ;)
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: Rocket Girl on 09/03/2007 10:49 PM
That's an easy one,  Warp Drive.
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: antonioe on 09/03/2007 10:51 PM
Your interest touches me, but I really should stop here; I don't want to play "forty questions".  I think we should be ready to talk about the config in a few weeks.
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: antonioe on 09/03/2007 10:52 PM

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Rocket Girl - 3/9/2007 5:49 PM That's an easy one, Warp Drive.

Darn!!! Six minutes!!! I though I could milk that one for a day or two!

Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: bobthemonkey on 09/03/2007 10:54 PM
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antonioe - 3/9/2007  11:51 PM

Your interest touches me, but I really should stop here; I don't want to play "forty questions".  I think we should be ready to talk about the config in a few weeks.

Sorry about that. After I posted I realised it was getting a into the realms of the 'unable to comment.'
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: antonioe on 09/04/2007 12:23 AM

"I refuse to answer that question on the grounds that I don't know the answer" (Douglas Adams)

Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: CFE on 09/04/2007 05:11 AM
Space News also claims that the engine will be an NK-33 (presumably two or three.)  I won't ask you to confirm or deny.

For the new rocket, I'd like to suggest the name "Leonidas," in homage to the Spartan king who led his army of 300 against the god-king Xerxes and his horde of thousands.  I'm sure that Orbital felt like Leonidas during its initial push to build Pegasus and compete with the bigger aerospace firms.

Quote
antonioe - 2/9/2007  4:22 PM

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Chris Bergin - 2/9/2007 11:30 AM
Yes, that signature is homage to the film "Team America" - and positive.Carry on...
Oops!... I just branded myself a geek totally out of touch with Pop culture... please, oh, please don't let my children know... I'll never hear the end of it...

I actually have penned the lyrics to an entire Minotaur theme song, based on the earlier song from "Team America."  Perhaps I'll have the song recorded and submitted to NASA PAO for the next Minotaur launch :)
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: antonioe on 09/04/2007 11:28 AM

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CFE - 3/9/2007 12:11 AM Space News also claims that the engine will be an NK-33

I missed that one.  Is that article on-line?  If so, sould you post a reference to it? 

Quote
 For the new rocket, I'd like to suggest the name "Leonidas," in homage to the Spartan king who led his army of 300 against the god-king Xerxes and his horde of thousands. I'm sure that Orbital felt like Leonidas during its initial push to build Pegasus

Good allusion, although we STILL feel that way (see message number  182483).  Unfortunately, the name has too may syllables (4) - three is considered the maximum for the linguistically-challenged U.S. public :angry: .   "Leonid" would match that criterion but, of course, messes up the reference.

We are also avoiding "Neptune", "Triton" and all other names that have to do with the Sea. :laugh:

Seriously, I'll submit to the team (and to DWT, who, as you can image, HAS the last word on this subject) all the names you propose, including "Leonidas".

Quote
I actually have penned the lyrics to an entire Minotaur theme song, based on the earlier song from "Team America." Perhaps I'll have the song recorded and submitted to NASA PAO for the next Minotaur launch :)

Never mind NASA PAO... why don't you post the mp3 on the Athena/Minotaur thread? Maybe some magic pixie could make it find its way to the next Minotaur webcast...

Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: Skyrocket on 09/04/2007 11:37 AM
Concerning vehicle names, i have also wondered for a while, why the Pegasus-derived OBV has not got a "real" name. I think "Orbital Boost Vehicle" is a little bit misleading for a suborbital vehicle ;)

Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: meiza on 09/04/2007 03:04 PM
Sphinx? Griffon/Griffin/Gryphon? All animal hybrids in the Pegasus and Minotaur vein... :) Though the Gryphon has already been used by Rolls-Royce engines, but that didn't hurt Pegasus.

The possible small trouble with all these mythical creatures is that they have been used before in other ventures. :)
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: jimvela on 09/04/2007 05:51 PM
I could only think up one name.
I took DELTA TAURUS and looked for anagrams...  Only one fell out...
How about Tetra?

Of no particular signifigance, a small sample of anagrams for DELTA TAURUS:
Dual Tetra Us
Laud Tetra Us
Dual Sat True
Ultra Sat Due
Star Tau Duel

Some odd ones:
A Dual Utters
A Salute Turd
Atlas Due Rut
Dual Treat Us
A La Turd Suet
A Tau Red Slut (!!)

Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: kevin-rf on 09/04/2007 07:46 PM
How about something other than mythology...

... There where so many pioneers and characters bigger than life in wild west days of american history.

How about the Revere or the Tea Party or Valley Forge or John Henry or even an Indian Tribe or Chief.

When selling to the US goverment nothing says apple pie more than a good historic american name ;)
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: meiza on 09/04/2007 08:23 PM
Pocahontas, since you're in Virginia? Though when googling it appears to be a name of a town there.
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: vt_hokie on 09/04/2007 10:13 PM
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antonioe - 1/9/2007  11:14 PM

To put things in perspective, I'm enclosing a picture of our Satellite Manufacturing Facility in Dulles, VA, showing five - count 'em, five! - GeoComs in various stages of assembly; over $300M worth of satellites.  They are BIG!  You could camp comfortably for a week inside one of them.  And they have to last for 15-16 years! 

Very cool!  Do you foresee more demand for smaller comm sats in the future than for the larger high power satellites?
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: antonioe on 09/04/2007 11:20 PM
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Skyrocket - 4/9/2007  6:37 AM  Concerning vehicle names, i have also wondered for a while, why the Pegasus-derived OBV has not got a "real" name. I think "Orbital Boost Vehicle" is a little bit misleading for a suborbital vehicle ;)

The "Orbital" in "OBV" refers to the company, not to the performance of the booster.  The OBV was once upon a time the "alternative" or "backup" to Boeings "BV" (Boost vehicle), hence the "Orbital" BV to differentiate it from the "Official" BV.

The BV was Boeing's ONLY hardware contribution to the GMD program, and apparently (secondhand knowledge, I "wasn't there") ran into serious problems.  Under pressure from MDA, Boeing set up a competition for an "alternate boost vehicle" in case the problems with the BV could not be solved.  Orbital and Lockheed-Martin sumbitted proposals to Boeing.  I think Orbital won, partly, due to the fact that our candidate design was a "de-rated" Space Launch Vehicle whereas Lockheed's was a "souped-up" suborbital rocket.

  Then Boeing decided - wisely - to get out of the GMD hardware business entirely to concentrate on being the GMD "super prime".  As a "consolation prize" Boeing gave Lockheed the doubtful privilege of building the baseline Boost Vehicle (some prize: a bag of parts and a "good luck!").  Since it was obvious that the Orbital BV had a lot more performance than the BV, L-M decided to soup it up, morphing it into the "BV Plus" - hence the name.

Orbital flew the first - flawless - demo OBV 13 months after contract award (not a very hard feat IMHO, since it is essentially a Pegasus without wings, except Boeing has spent several times that number of months trying to fix BV).

  After 5 sucessful OBV launches, and since the OBV still had more performance than BV Plus (see http://www.missilethreat.com/missiledefensesystems/id.23/system_detail.asp) Boeing decided to swap roles and make OBV the prime booster and BV Plus the "risk reduction alternate".  A few months ago, Boeing dropped the BV Plus alternate entirely and cancelled L-M's effort (our business is a small world indeed: the BV Plus PM is now Lockheed-Martin's COTAR for the Orbital-supplied Orion Launch Abort System - much to his credit, he does NOT bear us a grudge!!!)
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: antonioe on 09/04/2007 11:22 PM
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meiza - 4/9/2007  10:04 AMSphinx? Griffon/Griffin/Gryphon?

You are not seriously suggesting that we sell NASA a Launch Vehicle called "GRIFFIN", are you?
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: antonioe on 09/04/2007 11:24 PM
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jimvela - 4/9/2007  12:51 PMI could only think up one name.I took DELTA TAURUS and looked for anagrams...  Only one fell out... How about Tetra?Of no particular signifigance, a small sample of anagrams for DELTA TAURUS:Dual Tetra UsLaud Tetra UsDual Sat TrueUltra Sat DueStar Tau DuelSome odd ones:A Dual UttersA Salute TurdAtlas Due RutDual Treat UsA La Turd SuetA Tau Red Slut (!!)

Please tell me you used a program to come up with these anagrams!!!
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: antonioe on 09/04/2007 11:38 PM
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vt_hokie - 4/9/2007  5:13 PM  Very cool!  Do you foresee more demand for smaller comm sats in the future than for the larger high power satellites?

We're not quite there, but coming closer every day.  While the "Battlestar Galacticas" do, indeed, have economies of scale on a brute force watts-per-kilogram standpoint, the "small", under 5KW class GeoComs have some advantages (everything is relative; a 5 KW ComSat would have been considered "enormous" in the days of the good 'ol Hughes 376):

1.-Smaller "quantum" of incremental service for not-so-dense markets.
2.- Ability to pander to "specialty" markets (e.g., direct TV in a geographically small but highly populated market like Japan)
3.- Higher probability of maintaining a satellite's "full occupancy" in a changing market that can make a big satellite technically obsolete overnight
4.-Tremendous diseconomies of scale in the insurance premiums (to insure $500M costs much more than twice what it costs to insure $250M)
5.- Smaller launch risk quantum.

What is really amazing is not as much the increasing popularity of that size product, but Orbital's success in capturing essentially 50% of the market in less than 10 years, against well-established incumbents such as Hughes, Loral, Lockheed, Alenia, Marconi (now Alcatel), etc.

 Quite honestly, this has taken even DWT by surprise, and he's facing the "Coca Cola President's dilemma" ("Why is Coca Cola so successful?  If I, the head of Coca Cola, can't answer that question, how do I know that my product won't become a failure tomorrow?").  He's spending a lot time these days trying to quantify exactly why we are beating the competition to shreds... it's not that obvious - my guess is that it's due to not just ONE cause, but a number of them: recent technology, small industrial footprint, the fall of the dollar w.r.t the Euro, etc. etc.
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: jimvela on 09/04/2007 11:48 PM
Quote
antonioe - 4/9/2007  5:24 PM
Please tell me you used a program to come up with these anagrams!!!

Yes, I did.   :bleh:

Tetra made some sense to me as if I recall correctly you have three 'families' of orbit-capable launcher: Pegasus/Taurus/Minotaur, so this being the 4th orbit-capable launcher it is indeed Tetra.  Delta II plus Taurus two equals four, etc...

I suppose that in reality Minotaur and Minotaur IV are essentially whole different vehicles given that they use 1st stages from different decommissioned ICBMs, so in reality this would be the 5th or 6th (or possibly more) iteration of your launcher family.

At any rate, I fear if you were to paint one of them red, I'd die laughing based on that last anagram on the list. :-)

And, BTW, that first Minotaur IV will be launching SBSS, so I'll be hoping for 100% success on your first go.  Ball rooting for Orbital, small world indeed.   :cool:
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: antonioe on 09/05/2007 12:34 AM

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jimvela - 4/9/2007 6:48 PM  Tetra made some sense to me

Yeah, sombody within Orbital suggested "Tetris" for similar reasons.

Quote
that first Minotaur IV will be launching SBSS, so I'll be hoping for 100% success on your first go. Ball rooting for Orbital, small world indeed. :cool:

Glad to help.  And not just with LV's!

Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: guidanceisgo on 09/05/2007 04:00 AM
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antonioe - 4/9/2007  6:20 PM

Orbital flew the first - flawless - demo OBV 13 months after contract award (not a very hard feat IMHO, since it is essentially a Pegasus without wings, except Boeing has spent several times that number of months trying to fix BV)

Antonio
Pegasus without wings is not really true.  Lets see what was new on the Demo flight
1) New flight code, completely different autopilot structure, and a different flight simulation
2) New Aerodynamics
3) Stage 1 has a flex seal nozzle with TVC
just to name a few.

The actually OBV is even less like Pegasus.  Of course , they share some ATK motors!




Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: Skyrocket on 09/05/2007 05:43 AM
Quote
antonioe - 5/9/2007  1:20 AM
Orbital flew the first - flawless - demo OBV 13 months after contract award (not a very hard feat IMHO, since it is essentially a Pegasus without wings, except Boeing has spent several times that number of months trying to fix BV).

Was the Taurus launch pad used for this first demonstration launch ("Taurus-Lite")? I have not seen any on-pad photos of this vehicle, only in flight images.

Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: antonioe on 09/05/2007 09:53 PM

Quote
guidanceisgo - 4/9/2007 11:00 PM
Quote
antonioe - 4/9/2007 6:20 PM Orbital flew the first - flawless - demo OBV 13 months after contract award (not a very hard feat IMHO, since it is essentially a Pegasus without wings, except Boeing has spent several times that number of months trying to fix BV)
Antonio Pegasus without wings is not really true. Lets see what was new on the Demo flight 1) New flight code, completely different autopilot structure, and a different flight simulation 2) New Aerodynamics 3) Stage 1 has a flex seal nozzle with TVC just to name a few. The actually OBV is even less like Pegasus. Of course , they share some ATK motors!

My apologies - I did not want to diminish the accomplishments of the OBV Demo team; I was just trying to be "corporately modest".

Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: NotGncDude on 09/06/2007 12:52 AM
Was one of your theses on a huge blimp? I think I may have looked at it.
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: Seer on 09/06/2007 12:58 AM
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GncDude - 5/9/2007  7:52 PM

Was one of your theses on a huge blimp? I think I may have looked at it.


Sounds intriguing. Do tell. (Isn't one of those hybrid airship thingies is it?)
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: antonioe on 09/06/2007 06:16 AM

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GncDude - 5/9/2007 7:52 PM Was one of your theses on a huge blimp? I think I may have looked at it.

Ohmygod!... at first I hadn't realized what you were talking about... you must have access to the Aero&Astro library at MIT... talk about a skeleton in the closet...

Back in 1975 I was looking aimlessly for a thesis topic (I had a Research Assistanship at Draper at the time).  Don Frazer had been pestered by some guys at the Navy's development center in Warmister PA that were fooling around with a concept called the "Aerocrane"... a combination BALLOON AND HELICOPTER if you think such as thing can be possible... I guess a retired Navy captain (who, if my memory serves me right, had once CO'd an aircraft carrier - at the time that impressed the daylights out of me...) was pushing it - I think he worked for Dover or some similar outfit with lighter-than-air products.

Well, Don F. conned me into looking at the controls aspect of that beast, and I fell for it - no money in it, I still had to work on the Shuttle program to pay for my R.A.

True to  the adage "he who can analyzes, he who cannot simulates" (my apologies to G. Bernard Shaw) I started by attempting to build a 6-DOF sim for that beast (I'll be glad to explain how something can be a hybrid of a ballon and helicopter if you press me).  Unfortunately, there were no aero coefficients - heck, there were even no equations of motion - suitable for that beast, so I started from "first principles" (ha!)  and wrote a sim that essentially calculated aero forces "on the fly" :bleh: almost from f=ma.

I then realized that the beast lacked control authority - somebody (Don Frazer?  Ted Edelbaum?  Dick Battin?  One of these three, I can't remember which one any more...) told me that decades before somebody had invented something called the "cyclogyro" and that its principle could be of use there.

So I incorporated the cyclogyro approach to provide lateral maneuvering to the beast, wrote a set of control laws for it, at had a fun time flying it through wind shear, turbulence, etc.

A minor problem was that it had a max airspeed of about 36 knots, so it had a minor problem getting anywhere in even moderate winds... (nothing to do with power - it was an "advance ratio" problem for those of you that dabble in helicopters).

Also cool was an oscilatory mode that traded altitude for rotational speed - I called it the "yo-yo" mode...

Nothing came out of that thesis (except my Masters/EAA degrees, so I should be happy after all), but I learned a lot about helicopter aerodynamics (which I had NOT studied in a class) and I gained tremendous respect for Glauert, Al Gessow (who passed away a few years ago), Mayers, Ham, and all those guys.  What they were able to model analytically - no computers, thank you very much - was simply mindboggling.  For a minute there I almost got the analytical bug myself by coming up with an extension of Glauert's model for flow through a rotor disk that worked for any angle of attack and flow direction (fortunately, a cold shower took care of that).

If I can find a copy of that thesis, I'll post a picture (it's OK Chris, I'm the copyright holder... plus I'm sure the copyright has more than expired since then...)

Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: Chris Bergin on 09/06/2007 09:37 PM
I think everyone missed the above post due to the Proton going wrong last night. Fascinating stuff  :cool:

Quote
antonioe - 6/9/2007  7:16 AM

If I can find a copy of that thesis, I'll post a picture (it's OK Chris, I'm the copyright holder... plus I'm sure the copyright has more than expired since then...)


Sounds good!
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: simonbp on 09/06/2007 11:52 PM
Quote
antonioe - 5/9/2007  11:16 PM
Don Frazer had been pestered by some guys at the Navy's development center in Warmister PA that were fooling around with a concept called the "Aerocrane"... a combination BALLOON AND HELICOPTER if you think such as thing can be possible...

I can recall seeing such a design in Popular Science or Mechanics a few years ago; basically a few large helicopters bolted to the side of a rigid airship. I guess the idea hasn't died yet...

Simon ;)
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: simonbp on 09/07/2007 12:05 AM
Quote
antonioe - 3/9/2007  3:34 PM
DWT calls it "Taurus II" but we are feverishly searching for a name (hey, guys, any ideas?)

Megatron. Seriously, how can you beat a name like that? :)

Astronomically, the constellations next to Taurus are Perseus, Aries, Cetus, Eridanus, Orion, Gemini, and Auriga. A few of those might be confusing (the Aries rocket), but how about Perseus? Rider of Pegasus, slayer of Medusa, and not the name of any rocket I know of...

Simon ;)
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: antonioe on 09/07/2007 12:14 AM

Quote
simonbp - 6/9/2007 6:52 PM basically a few large helicopters bolted to the side of a rigid airship. I guess the idea hasn't died yet...Simon ;)

No! Actually, that one was the Aerocrane's "competition" (don't laugh!) I'll try to find some time over the weekend to find a copy of my thesis and scan some graphics; I may even have a picture of the four H-53's attached to a rigid frame, two on each side of what apperas to be a very large blimp (I can't remember how it was called then... the PS article, which I remember, came much, much later)The basic thought behind both the aerocrane and the other concept what that what made dirigibles impractical was the ratio of the "controllable forces" to the "uncontrollable forces", the latter being buoyancy or wing lift and the former thrust or the ability to (quickly) vary lift. That ratio, which for a conventional airplane is in the "1 G" category - several G's for a fighter or aerobatic airplane - is something like 0.04 G's for the Hindenburg... (about 10 tons of variable thrust controlling a 250 ton lift balloon).

More later.-

Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: antonioe on 09/07/2007 12:16 AM

Quote
Chris Bergin - 6/9/2007 4:37 PM I think everyone missed the above post due to the Proton going wrong last night.

That failure has a bunch of people here at Orbital scurrying around like stepped-on ants... the next commercial Proton flight is (was?) supposed to be ours...

 

Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: Jim on 09/07/2007 01:13 AM
HELI-STAT HEAVY VERTICAL AIRLIFTER
http://www.piasecki.com/pa-97.htm

Downfall was that it used agricultural pipes for the structure
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: antonioe on 09/07/2007 01:49 AM

That's it!!! That the Aerocrane's "competition": The Helistat!!  And now that my old neurones have been rattled, the Aerocrane was being promoted by a company called "All American Engineering" (eat your heart out, Karl Rove) from Wilmington, DE.

I found this, unfortunately without pictures.

Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: antonioe on 09/07/2007 01:54 AM

While surfing the web for references to the "All American Engineering Aerocrane", I found this on the Cyclogyro.  The large picture, as well as some of the photos, are identical to ones I found, back in 1974, in some obscure library after weeks of searching.  God save the Internet and its creator, the Al of Gore!

The connection between the cyclogyro and the Aerocrane will become obvious as soon as I find my thesis and post a picture of the Aerocrane.

Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: meiza on 09/07/2007 02:24 AM
Reminds me of certain vertical axis wind turbines as well as a harbor tug propulsion system.
But a paddle wheel style model aircraft has known, don't remember was it Dutch or Swedish perhaps, they had some fancy name for the wing. It was low speed high lift.
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: vt_hokie on 09/07/2007 04:00 AM
Quote
antonioe - 6/9/2007  9:54 PM

While surfing the web for references to the "All American Engineering Aerocrane", I found this on the Cyclogyro. 


Wow, I don't think I've ever seen anything quite like that before!
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: NotGncDude on 09/07/2007 04:20 AM
Quote
antonioe - 6/9/2007  2:16 AM

Quote
GncDude - 5/9/2007 7:52 PM Was one of your theses on a huge blimp? I think I may have looked at it.

Ohmygod!... at first I hadn't realized what you were talking about... you must have access to the Aero&Astro library at MIT... talk about a skeleton in the closet...

hahaha. Surprised huh? Well I did have access when I was a student. I was just trying to answer the question "so what did a guy that ended up designing rockets do for a thesis?" so... well... so I could do something like it! I mean, don't we all here want to end up designing rockets?

Quote

Back in 1975 I was looking aimlessly for a thesis topic (I had a Research Assistanship at Draper at the time).


Hey I have a question about that. Don't want you to get into any thorny subjects here so feel free not to answer but I am curious, would you still be working there if it weren't by Orbital? Is it a fun place to work?

Quote
Don Frazer had been pestered by some guys at the Navy's development center in Warmister PA that were fooling around with a concept called the "Aerocrane"... a combination BALLOON AND HELICOPTER if you think such as thing can be possible... I guess a retired Navy captain (who, if my memory serves me right, had once CO'd an aircraft carrier - at the time that impressed the daylights out of me...) was pushing it - I think he worked for Dover or some similar outfit with lighter-than-air products.

Well, Don F. conned me into looking at the controls aspect of that beast, and I fell for it - no money in it, I still
had to work on the Shuttle program to pay for my R.A.

True to  the adage "he who can analyzes, he who cannot simulates"



Hah! I can relate to that :) Well, if good ole' Dick Hamming can say "The purpose of computation is insight, not numbers" then I think I'm fine.

I remember looking at the thesis and wondering "huh? and how is THIS related to a winged rocket?" I'm glad I asked this. I enjoyed your response very much.
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: pippin on 09/07/2007 08:12 AM
Quote
antonioe - 7/9/2007  3:54 AM

While surfing the web for references to the "All American Engineering Aerocrane", I found this on the Cyclogyro.  The large picture, as well as some of the photos, are identical to ones I found, back in 1974, in some obscure library after weeks of searching.  God save the Internet and its creator, the Al of Gore!

The connection between the cyclogyro and the Aerocrane will become obvious as soon as I find my thesis and post a picture of the Aerocrane.


I love the phrase "Very few prototypes were built, and those that were constructed were completely unsuccessful."
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: antonioe on 09/07/2007 11:52 AM
Quote
GncDude - 6/9/2007 11:20 PM
Quote
antonioe - 6/9/2007 2:16 AM

Back in 1975 I was looking aimlessly for a thesis topic (I had a Research Assistanship at Draper at the time).

Hey I have a question about that. Don't want you to get into any thorny subjects here so feel free not to answer but I am curious, would you still be working there if it weren't by Orbital? Is it a fun place to work?

I may have already answered that question... I owe A LOT to Draper Lab.  I grew up professionally there - talk about a REAL "Alma Mater"! I worked alongside (well, a few respectful steps behind) giants like Dick Battin and Hal Lanning and Ted Edelbaum.  I actually met Charles Stark Draper in person, touched his green Morgan with the license plate "MIT-IL".  Touched the Apollo Guidance Computer that, in a world of 400 hours MTBF computers was operating continuously and without a single failure 24/7 since I-don't-know-when (something like 1965... and this was 1971!)... I was an RA at Draper from 1972 to 1978, then became a full "member of the technical staff".

But by 1980, having been at CSDL for about 18 months, I was getting ants in my pants.  Interviewed with a 400-person "consulting" outfit in Reading MA called "The Analytical Sciences Corporation" and with the old Grumman Aircraft in Bethpage, Long Island for work on a funny swept-forward research aircraft called the "X-29".  Out of the blue came an offer from the Department itself for an Assistant Professorship (Jack Kerrebrock made me the offer; he mentioned the salary and when I said "of course I accept" he audibly drew a deep breath.  It was about 20% less than what I was making at Draper).  It was six years later, AFTER MIT decided NOT to give me tenure that I got the call from DWT.  Funny, had I accepted the offers from either TASC or Grumman, today I would have ended working for the same company...

But back to Draper.  I loved the place, still do.  The ultimate Ivory Tower, and I say that with the utmost respect and admiration.  Eli Gai and I were classmates.  Vince Vitto was my "boss" thirty years later at the Naval Studies Board of the National Academy.

I was shocked when Orbital became bigger than Draper.  Would I have gone back to Draper?  Very probably yes.  On the other hand, every two months or so I actually have a nightmare about going back to MIT and to the dog-eat-dog competitive world of untenured junior faculty, and having to prepare for classes and grade homework and find money and research grants, find summer and consulting jobs to make up for a meager salary with three young kinds to feed and clothe, and publish, publish or perish...  And I wake up in a sweat, and I thank the rising dawn for being alive.

Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: antonioe on 09/07/2007 12:14 PM

Quote
simonbp - 6/9/2007 7:05 PM

Astronomically, the constellations next to Taurus are Perseus, Aries, Cetus, Eridanus, Orion, Gemini, and Auriga. A few of those might be confusing (the Aries rocket), but how about Perseus? Rider of Pegasus, slayer of Medusa, and not the name of any rocket I know of... Simon ;)

How can a Pegasus fan reject Perseus?... it has fewer than four syllables, has not been used, has nothing to do with the sea...  unfortunately, its pronounciation is a bit awkward.

Now, Auriga!  The chariot!  hmm... let me try it on DWT...

Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: Skyrocket on 09/07/2007 12:23 PM
Quote
antonioe - 7/9/2007  2:14 PM

Quote
simonbp - 6/9/2007 7:05 PM

Astronomically, the constellations next to Taurus are Perseus, Aries, Cetus, Eridanus, Orion, Gemini, and Auriga. A few of those might be confusing (the Aries rocket), but how about Perseus? Rider of Pegasus, slayer of Medusa, and not the name of any rocket I know of... Simon ;)

How can a Pegasus fan reject Perseus?... it has fewer than four syllables, has not been used, has nothing to do with the sea...  unfortunately, its pronounciation is a bit awkward.

Now, Auriga!  The chariot!  hmm... let me try it on DWT...


Just a little bit of nitpicking: Perseus was not the rider of Pegasus in greek mythology (that imagination was created much later by renaissance artists). In greek mythology the rider of Pegasus was Bellerophon.

But in a way Perseus created Pegasus, as Pegasus was born from the blood of the Medusa, which was beheaded by Perseus.

Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: pippin on 09/07/2007 01:21 PM
Medusa actually would make a good name for a rocket family....
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: edkyle99 on 09/10/2007 08:27 PM
Quote
CFE - 3/9/2007  12:11 AM

Space News also claims that the engine will be an NK-33 (presumably two or three.)  


It looks like someone may be having a fire sale on a few spare NK-33 (AJ26) engines before too long.

http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/generic/story.jsp?id=news/rocketplane091007.xml&headline=RpK's%20COTS%20Contract%20Terminated%20&channel=space

Two of those on a first stage, plus one high-altitude NK-43 version (throttled down) on a second stage, would roughly duplicate the performance of a Delta 7920.  A third stage sized something like the Delta II second stage, or even smaller, could allow duplication of Delta 7925 GTO performance.  That's one way to do it, FWIW.

 - Ed Kyle
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: meiza on 09/10/2007 11:55 PM
And since it's for a low flight rate, those engines will last for a while, though what happens when you run out?
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: antonioe on 09/11/2007 12:39 AM

Quote
edkyle99 - 10/9/2007 3:27 PM
Quote
CFE - 3/9/2007 12:11 AM Space News also claims that the engine will be an NK-33 (presumably two or three.)
It looks like someone may be having a fire sale on a few spare NK-33 (AJ26) engines before too long. http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/generic/story.jsp?id=news/rocketplane091007.xml&headline=RpK's%20COTS%20Contract%20Terminated%20&channel=space Two of those on a first stage, plus one high-altitude NK-43 version (throttled down) on a second stage, would roughly duplicate the performance of a Delta 7920. A third stage sized something like the Delta II second stage, or even smaller, could allow duplication of Delta 7925 GTO performance. That's one way to do it, FWIW. - Ed Kyle

Quote
meiza - 10/9/2007 6:55 PM And since it's for a low flight rate, those engines will last for a while, though what happens when you run out?

Those are two excellent ideas; how many NK-33/AJ-26's would you use on the first stage?  How much do you think setting up a production line in the US would cost (considering they are 1970's technology, unlike the RD's)?  How long would it take to certify a U.S.-produced NK-33?  Would you do it in one step, or would you progressively "Americanize" the current supply of NK-33's?  (Note: there are about 40 NK-33's in-country and another 30 full sets of parts or so in Samara, not counting the NK-43's)

Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: edkyle99 on 09/11/2007 02:41 AM
Quote
antonioe - 10/9/2007  7:39 PM

Quote
edkyle99 - 10/9/2007 3:27 PM
Quote
CFE - 3/9/2007 12:11 AM Space News also claims that the engine will be an NK-33 (presumably two or three.)
It looks like someone may be having a fire sale on a few spare NK-33 (AJ26) engines before too long. http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/generic/story.jsp?id=news/rocketplane091007.xml&headline=RpK's%20COTS%20Contract%20Terminated%20&channel=space Two of those on a first stage, plus one high-altitude NK-43 version (throttled down) on a second stage, would roughly duplicate the performance of a Delta 7920. A third stage sized something like the Delta II second stage, or even smaller, could allow duplication of Delta 7925 GTO performance. That's one way to do it, FWIW. - Ed Kyle

Quote
meiza - 10/9/2007 6:55 PM And since it's for a low flight rate, those engines will last for a while, though what happens when you run out?

Those are two excellent ideas; how many NK-33/AJ-26's would you use on the first stage?  How much do you think setting up a production line in the US would cost (considering they are 1970's technology, unlike the RD's)?  How long would it take to certify a U.S.-produced NK-33?  Would you do it in one step, or would you progressively "Americanize" the current supply of NK-33's?  (Note: there are about 40 NK-33's in-country and another 30 full sets of parts or so in Samara, not counting the NK-43's)


I would try really, really hard to use just two NK-33s on the first stage, to minimize costs, but I'm not sure I would be able to pull it off.  One problem with an all-liquid design of this type is that the second stage would be a little on the light side to be powered by an NK-43.  I suppose that I'm thinking of something that would act like a souped up Titan II, except with LOX/kerosene.  It would also be possible, I would guess, to use solid upper stages (bits and pieces of Taurus/Pegasus, for example) but that might push the first stage toward three NK-33s (guessing without calculating on the latter thought).

I wouldn't dare begin to guess at the costs.  Aerojet had apparently done some preliminary work toward "Americanizing" the engine, but that was a dozen years ago.  But what alternatives to NK-33 would be available?  I suppose that the lowest cost option would be to use an existing engine that was in full production for use on an already existing launch vehicle or missile system, but I'm having trouble thinking where one could find such an engine for the first stage.  On the other hand, this line of thinking makes the use of existing solid motors for the upper stages seem like a sensible idea.

 - Ed Kyle
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: yinzer on 09/11/2007 05:57 AM
I'm intrigued by the idea of what one might be able to do with only one NK-33 on the first stage.  For the second stage, use something similar to the first stage of the IUS.  If you load it up to a liftoff T/W of 1.15, you might be able to get 7500 pounds to LEO.

While this isn't as much as a Delta 792x it's a bit more than the Delta 73/4xx, and those composed a full third of the non-GPS Delta II manifest since 2000.  Giving the 79xx market to the EELVs, this still leaves you a couple flights a year.  At that rate, you can just use the ones that are in the US until they're gone and then decide whether to figure out how to produce some more or to call it a day and count your money.

You could look at offloading a bit of propellant from the first stage and then sticking a Centaur on top to get back to Delta II-level payload, but I'd have to question whether the hassle of doing so (ground handling, etc) is really worth it.  Using a solid second stage seems to open the door to much simpler Minotaur/Taurus style ground processing, while a liquid second stage requires more complex and probably fixed umbilical towers and such.
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: antonioe on 09/11/2007 05:58 AM

I agree - it sounds very, VERY sensible.  A drawback is that in the absence of a suitable restartable second stage engine (liquid), the use of a solid requires a "super-HAPS" of some kind to match the Delta II payload vs. altitude trade line.  SO now you are talking of THREE stages.  The redeeming fact is that you could get by with a much lower thrust (therefore, small engine(s)) than a true upper stage, so it's really a "quasi-stage" ("vestigial stage"?)

Another price to pay is that now you have a configuration with all three classical combinations: LOX/Kerosene for S1, a heavy S2 (although not as heavy as, say, a Castor 120), and a "vestigial" S3 with a few thousand lbs of pressure-fed  bi-propellant in it (pressure fed is OK as long as you are in a vacuum and do not require large amounts of thrust), relatively good Isp; in other words, a souped-up GeoCom Apogee propulsion system!

The solid S2 has the drawback of being perhaps the heaviest item in the stack, and that will drive the size and capabilities of the launch pad ground support equipment.  On the other hand, a bi-prop with a few thousand lbs of propellant could probably be handled just like a large spacecraft, i.e. very limited pad support required.  Remember, when you are launching just a few units a year, the cost of building and maintaining the ground support equipment becomes quite significant!

Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: antonioe on 09/11/2007 06:08 AM

Quote
Skyrocket - 7/9/2007 7:23 AM 

 Just a little bit of nitpicking: Perseus was not the rider of Pegasus in greek mythology (that imagination was created much later by renaissance artists). In greek mythology the rider of Pegasus was Bellerophon. But in a way Perseus created Pegasus, as Pegasus was born from the blood of the Medusa, which was beheaded by Perseus.

Right you are!  The name Pegasus, by the way, comes from the greek word for "stream" (Πεγε, I may be missing an accent somewhere), having something to do with the winged horse being sent by Zeus to kick some sense into a presumptuous mountain that wanted to grow up to Zeus' height, causing a stream to flow from where the hoofs hit it (I think this comes from Herodotus).

I am desperately looking for a copy of a "technical memo"  :laugh:  that I wrote in late 1989 explaining to DWT the minute details of the various Pegasus legends... rats, where did I put it?

In the meanwhile, here's a Pegasus Trivial Pursuit question than only an European may be able to answer: what is the connection between the Pegasus air-launched rocket, and engine that powered the majority of the airplanes used by the allies in WW I (a.k.a.  "The European War", 1914-1918)___

Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: yinzer on 09/11/2007 06:13 AM
One thing that may be of interest or inspiration when considering ground handling is Curtiss-Wright's RAST system.  It's used to help land helicopters on ships in bad sea conditions; a cable is lowered, a guy runs out and grabs it and attaches it to a winch, and the helicopter is then slowly pulled down to the deck.  Something similar might buy you a couple extra m/s of allowable wind during stacking.
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: antonioe on 09/11/2007 11:34 AM
Uhhh... I don't quite get it... could you elaborate?  Tnx.
Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
Post by: A_M_Swallow on 09/11/2007 07:16 PM
Quote
antonioe - 3/9/2007  11:34 PM
  • DWT calls it "Taurus II" but we are feverishly searching for a name (hey, guys, any ideas?)  Some pundits claim that since we're trying to continue the Delta tradition, it shuld be named after the next letter in the Greek alphabet... not a good choice, unfortunately.

  • Name that follows D for a sexy round object that lifts, hmm - Double D      ;)
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: meiza on 09/11/2007 11:50 PM
    Is any RS-27 variant from Delta II still manufactured / how is the tooling? It's about 900 kN. You'd need quite many of them on the first stage if you avoided solids... But still not as many as Merlin-1C:s, 400 kN. :)
    In Europe there is no hydrocarbon engine, neither in China, India or Japan. Russians have the RD-180 but that is quite big, 4000 kN... Or then you'd use a solid upper stage with that. You're not planning an SSTO now are you? ;)
    Then there are the hydrocarbon engines used for Soyuz. Interesting. They should be quite damn cheap, although have low ISP. Broadly similar to the RS-27, about 900 kN again. You could use three, two booster RD-117:s and one sustainer RD-118. That'd be a bit like a half-Soyuz, a three-fifths to count properly. :) It should be light empty, and parallel staging reduces height, meaning possibly easier access to payload. Hmm. There are many Russian upper stage engines to pick from or you could use something else like Kestrels or a Merlin.
    On the other hand, the footprint is big and the integration might be tedious otherwise too, and you'd have to balance engine thrust carefully.

    (The NK-33 was 1500 kN.)
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: Jim on 09/12/2007 12:09 AM
    Quote
    meiza - 11/9/2007  7:50 PM

    Is any RS-27 variant from Delta II still manufactured

    Nope, production is done
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: maskims on 09/12/2007 11:29 AM
    Quote
    simonbp - 7/9/2007  2:05 AM

    how about Perseus? Rider of Pegasus, slayer of Medusa, and not the name of any rocket I know of...

    Simon ;)

    If I may, PERSEUS is the name of a French nano launcher project, to be developped mainly through student work. At the rate it's going I doubt it'll fly before tetris/megatron/you-name-it, but having worked on it, I felt obligated to mention its existence !

    http://www.cnes.fr/web/3982-perseus.php
    (in French)
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: pippin on 09/12/2007 11:38 AM
    On names: Why always mythology and ships.
    How about just names, "Angelina", for example, sounds nice.
    If you choose a womans' name, typically a lot of songs will be available for promotion as well ;-)
    If your doing BDB, you could also name it "George" or something.
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: edkyle99 on 09/12/2007 05:08 PM
    Quote
    antonioe - 11/9/2007  12:58 AM

    I agree - it sounds very, VERY sensible.  A drawback is that in the absence of a suitable restartable second stage engine (liquid), the use of a solid requires a "super-HAPS" of some kind to match the Delta II payload vs. altitude trade line.  SO now you are talking of THREE stages.  The redeeming fact is that you could get by with a much lower thrust (therefore, small engine(s)) than a true upper stage, so it's really a "quasi-stage" ("vestigial stage"?)

    Another price to pay is that now you have a configuration with all three classical combinations: LOX/Kerosene for S1, a heavy S2 (although not as heavy as, say, a Castor 120), and a "vestigial" S3 with a few thousand lbs of pressure-fed  bi-propellant in it (pressure fed is OK as long as you are in a vacuum and do not require large amounts of thrust), relatively good Isp; in other words, a souped-up GeoCom Apogee propulsion system!

    The solid S2 has the drawback of being perhaps the heaviest item in the stack, and that will drive the size and capabilities of the launch pad ground support equipment.  On the other hand, a bi-prop with a few thousand lbs of propellant could probably be handled just like a large spacecraft, i.e. very limited pad support required.  Remember, when you are launching just a few units a year, the cost of building and maintaining the ground support equipment becomes quite significant!


    After looking at this a bit more, it does appear that two NK-33 engines would be enough for both LEO and GTO missions.  This creates a launch vehicle that could have a liftoff mass, including payload, of as much as 260 tonnes if the minimum Atlas V thrust-to-weight ratio were allowable on liftoff.  

    Various upper stage combinations are possible, but a third stage appears necessary for GTO missions regardless of second stage type, unless liquid hydrogen were in the picture.  A mini-Castor 120 (maybe 38 tonnes gross) with a bipropellant pressure fed  third stage (4 or 5 tonnes gross) would be able to do LEO and GTO missions.  

    I'm pretty sure, too, that it might be possible to work out  an all-solid motor upper stage combination, using Pegasus upper stages, but I can see how this could be a much less flexible design than one that uses a restartable upper stage.  Much cheaper development though, and would be able to use existing Taurus/Pegasus/Minotaur assets.  

    An all liquid design would also need three stages unless liquid hydrogen were in the cards.  Something like a Merlin 1C with a nozzle extension looks, on paper, like the ideal non-hydrogen liquid second stage engine.  A two-stage design with a Merlin 1C second stage can almost, but not quite as near as I can determine, get 1.84 tonnes to GTO.  

    SpaceX probably isn't selling Merlins, though!  But where else could one find a 50 tonne thrust second stage bipropellant engine?    


    BUT THERE IS ANOTHER WAY, and it just now occurred to me - a real "OMYGOSH" moment.


    Lets go ahead and use that liquid hydrogen upper stage.  RL10 are in production for two other U.S. launch vehicle programs, which promises to minimize engine development and production cost.  Put one of those terrific engines on our second stage.  The stage itself will obviously cost a chunk of change, but so would any bipropellant liquid upper stage.

    Suddenly, the gross liftoff mass of our launch vehicle plummets, massively.  Now we need ONLY ONE NK-33 on a first stage topped by only ONE upper stage.  We've doubled the lifetime of the available NK-33 inventory.  Perhaps it won't be necessary to build new ones, since those already built might last for a decade or more!  This machine would be able to trump Delta II big time.  It could weigh less than 120 tonnes at liftoff - only roughly half the liftoff mass of a Delta 7920/25.  It would be a real lightweight on the ground, weighing perhaps less than 8 tonnes dry for the two stages (less than half the dry weight of an Atlas V and many times less mass to erect at the launch pad than with Delta II).        

    All manner of possibilities.

     - Ed Kyle
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: Nate_Trost on 09/12/2007 06:01 PM
    Wouldn't adding LH2 to the mix increase the cost of the ground infrastructure?

    In regard to an upper-stage Merlin, why wouldn't SpaceX want to sell engines for a vehicle that isn't a direct competitor to their line up? More flight heritage on the engines only helps them.
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: edkyle99 on 09/12/2007 06:15 PM
    Quote
    Nate_Trost - 12/9/2007  1:01 PM

    Wouldn't adding LH2 to the mix increase the cost of the ground infrastructure?

    Yes, but in return the first stage propulsion cost (and gross liftoff weight - another cost indicator) would be halved, a return that would accrue with each launch.  I suspect that the savings would quickly pay for the extra ground infrastructure.

    Quote
    In regard to an upper-stage Merlin, why wouldn't SpaceX want to sell engines for a vehicle that isn't a direct competitor to their line up? More flight heritage on the engines only helps them.

    I agree, partly because I think that Merlin is the only sale-able product that SpaceX might ultimately end up with.

    But the truth is that this NK-33/RL10 launch vehicle that I described, and the other "Taurus II" ideas, might actually nip at the heels of the basic two-stage Falcon 9 capabilities - not the capabilities that SpaceX has published but the real ones that appear when you sit down with the rocket equation for a few minutes.

     - Ed Kyle
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: bobthemonkey on 09/12/2007 06:19 PM
    Answer to the trivia question (I think). The WW1 aircraft used RR engines, as does the the Tristar which carries Pegasus.
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: Seer on 09/12/2007 06:54 PM
    Quote
    edkyle99 - 12/9/2007  1:15 PM

    Quote
    Nate_Trost - 12/9/2007  1:01 PM

    Wouldn't adding LH2 to the mix increase the cost of the ground infrastructure?

    Yes, but in return the first stage propulsion cost (and gross liftoff weight - another cost indicator) would be halved, a return that would accrue with each launch.  I suspect that the savings would quickly pay for the extra ground infrastructure.

    Quote
    In regard to an upper-stage Merlin, why wouldn't SpaceX want to sell engines for a vehicle that isn't a direct competitor to their line up? More flight heritage on the engines only helps them.

    I agree, partly because I think that Merlin is the only sale-able product that SpaceX might ultimately end up with.

    But the truth is that this NK-33/RL10 launch vehicle that I described, and the other "Taurus II" ideas, might actually nip at the heels of the basic two-stage Falcon 9 capabilities - not the capabilities that SpaceX has published but the real ones that appear when you sit down with the rocket equation for a few minutes.

     - Ed Kyle

    I've wondered about the payload projection for the falcon 9, as well. It's higher than the payload fraction of the Atlas 5, even though the Atlas has a hydrogen upperstage. On the other hand the merlin is a more efficient first stage engine than the equivalant on the Atlas.
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: edkyle99 on 09/12/2007 07:14 PM
    Quote
    Seer - 12/9/2007  1:54 PM

    I've wondered about the payload projection for the falcon 9, as well. It's higher than the payload fraction of the Atlas 5, even though the Atlas has a hydrogen upperstage. On the other hand the merlin is a more efficient first stage engine than the equivalant on the Atlas.

    Merlin might be ever so slightly more efficient than the old Rocketdyne MA-5A Atlas engines, but it is not anywhere close to being as efficient as the current Atlas V RD-180 engine.

     - Ed Kyle
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: tnphysics on 09/12/2007 08:05 PM
    Quote
    Seer - 12/9/2007  2:54 PM
    Quote
    edkyle99 - 12/9/2007  1:15 PM
    Quote
    Nate_Trost - 12/9/2007  1:01 PMWouldn't adding LH2 to the mix increase the cost of the ground infrastructure?
    Yes, but in return the first stage propulsion cost (and gross liftoff weight - another cost indicator) would be halved, a return that would accrue with each launch.  I suspect that the savings would quickly pay for the extra ground infrastructure.
    Quote
    In regard to an upper-stage Merlin, why wouldn't SpaceX want to sell engines for a vehicle that isn't a direct competitor to their line up? More flight heritage on the engines only helps them.
    I agree, partly because I think that Merlin is the only sale-able product that SpaceX might ultimately end up with.But the truth is that this NK-33/RL10 launch vehicle that I described, and the other "Taurus II" ideas, might actually nip at the heels of the basic two-stage Falcon 9 capabilities - not the capabilities that SpaceX has published but the real ones that appear when you sit down with the rocket equation for a few minutes. - Ed Kyle
    I've wondered about the payload projection for the falcon 9, as well. It's higher than the payload fraction of the Atlas 5, even though the Atlas has a hydrogen upperstage. On the other hand the merlin is a more efficient first stage engine than the equivalant on the Atlas.
    The reason is that the Falcon 9 upper stage is so much larger that the first stage dry mass is negligible in comparison. This puts it much closer to the optimum delta-V split. On the other hand, the delta-V split of the Atlas V is skewed towards the first stage doing too much work. The CCB is almost as heavy as the Centaur.
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: Seer on 09/12/2007 09:45 PM
    Yes, my mistake on the merlin engine compared to the rd-180.
     Why was the delta v split between the stages chosen that way?
    I also noticed that the delta 4 payload fraction is similar to the falcon 9, despite both stages being hydrogen on the delta 4. Is the poor performance because of the same reason as on the Atlas?
     I'd thought that having a large upperstage would be a problem for gto payloads, so how can the Falcon 9 have such a large payload (as large as the Atlas 5) to gto? One has to optimise for one or the other, right? Afterall, you can't have your cake and eat it.

    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: Chris Bergin on 09/12/2007 10:13 PM
    Remember, this is the Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias thread, so let's not take it off track from actual questions.
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: antonioe on 09/13/2007 12:02 AM

    Quote
    edkyle99 - 12/9/2007 12:08 PM

    THERE IS ANOTHER WAY, and it just now occurred to me - a real "OMYGOSH" moment. Lets go ahead and use that liquid hydrogen upper stage. RL10 are in production for two other U.S. launch vehicle programs, which promises to minimize engine development and production cost. Put one of those terrific engines on our second stage. The stage itself will obviously cost a chunk of change, but so would any bipropellant liquid upper stage. Suddenly, the gross liftoff mass of our launch vehicle plummets, massively. Now we need ONLY ONE NK-33 on a first stage topped by only ONE upper stage. We've doubled the lifetime of the available NK-33 inventory. Perhaps it won't be necessary to build new ones, since those already built might last for a decade or more! This machine would be able to trump Delta II big time. It could weigh less than 120 tonnes at liftoff - only roughly half the liftoff mass of a Delta 7920/25. It would be a real lightweight on the ground, weighing perhaps less than 8 tonnes dry for the two stages (less than half the dry weight of an Atlas V and many times less mass to erect at the launch pad than with Delta II). All manner of possibilities. - Ed Kyle

    Congratulations! - You've almost described my preferred configuration for Taurus II.  Unfortunately, there are other factors that prevent me from convincing my colleagues of that config... who know, I have until Dec. 5 to change their mind...

    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: antonioe on 09/13/2007 12:05 AM

    Quote
    Chris Bergin - 12/9/2007 5:13 PM Remember, this is the Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias thread, so let's not take it off track from actual questions.

    Aw, c'mon, Chris! I'm enjoying this immensely!...  It's a pure joy to see intelligent people discussing an issue close to your heart in a civilized way!

    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: tnphysics on 09/13/2007 12:21 AM
    Could Russia restart NK-33 production?

    Why not a dual (or triple) RL-10 upper stage? It would lead to a 50% improvement in the LEO payload.

    You get an LV with 56+%, instead of 37%, of the Atlas V payload to LEO, as well as engine out capability on the upper stage.
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: antonioe on 09/13/2007 12:51 AM

    Quote
    bobthemonkey - 12/9/2007 1:19 PM Answer to the trivia question (I think). The WW1 aircraft used RR engines, as does the the Tristar which carries Pegasus.

    Wow!  You're right!  I hadn't thought of that connection!... Mine was a little more tortuous, although much more personal.  21-year old Swiss engineer Marc Birkigt emigrated to Spain at the turn of the century (that's 1900, not 2000!) and in partnership with a series of spaniards (first La Cuadra, then Castro and finally Mateu) created three companies with names similar to "La Hispano-Suiza, Fábrica de Automóviles S.A."  Just before WW 1 (pardon me... the "European War"...) Birkigt designs a gem of an aero engine which Hispano-Suiza produces in France due to the much larger industrial support base and skilled labor force available across the border.  After a tumultuous lawsuit from the French government having to do with taxing a Spanish corporation doing business in France (finally arbitrated by the president of... Switzerland!) and after becoming automakers to Royalty during the 20's, Hispano-Suiza finally went bankrupt in 1946, with its remaining assets, especially a very large factory in Barcelona, going to a newly-formed state-sponsored truck manufacturer called ENASA, whose trade mark was... "Pegaso".

    ENASA's Mark Birkigt was a spaniard by the name of Wifredo Ricart who as a 20-year old had been shop foreman at a Hispano dealership(!) and who, during WWII worked in Italy at Alfa Romeo where he was both colleague and competitor with an Italian about his age called Enzo Ferrari (in 1940 the Spaniard Ricart was named head of R&D at Alfa over the Italian Ferrari, who bore him a grudge all his life). 

    At ENASA, Ricart decided, part as a personal whim, part as P.R. (emphasizing some mythical descendance from Hispano), to develop a super sports car with a  (mechanically) supercharged 2.5L V8 steel tube frame and aluminum body by prestigious coachworks like Saoutchick.  A total of 125 units were manufactured between 1951 and 1957, although only 86 were completely assembled and delivered.  Needless to say, today a "Pegaso" fetches around $1M on the rare car market.

    In 1959 yours truly was a very impressionable 10-year old living in Madrid (although born in Galveston, TX!) and gawking at rare sightings of a Z-102 or Z-103 (pictures here).

    Soo... when we started looking for a name for a winged rocket,  I immediately thought of the car I had lusted after as a kid, but thought it would be rather improper for me to propose it.  So when Frank Bellinger proposed it (he may not have been the only one - the association was obvious) I immediately jumped on it and told DWT: "It has to be Pegasus".

    When in 1995 we sold a Pegasus to INTA, the Spanish space agency, and flew the rocket under the L-1011 first to INTA's center in Torrejon, then to Gando AFB in the Canaries for the actual launch, I tried to locate a real Pegaso car to have it pose for a photograph next to the Pegasus rocket.  Unfortunately I was too busy to pursue the caper, and a historical photo was never taken...

    Perhaps a little more obscure relationship than RR, but a lot more fun to tell, don't you think?

    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: antonioe on 09/13/2007 01:07 AM

    Quote
    tnphysics - 12/9/2007 7:21 PM Could Russia restart NK-33 production?

    Not likely, given what's happening over there.  They are having touble delivering engines to Yushmash for the Zenit!!!

    Quote
    Why not a dual (or triple) RL-10 upper stage? It would lead to a 50% improvement in the LEO payload. You get an LV with 56+%, instead of 37%, of the Atlas V payload to LEO, as well as engine out capability on the upper stage.

    Bigger is not necessarily better, IMHO.  We are looking for a Delta II replacement, not a competitor to EELV.

    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: edkyle99 on 09/13/2007 01:14 AM
    Quote
    antonioe - 12/9/2007  7:02 PM

    Quote
    edkyle99 - 12/9/2007 12:08 PM

    THERE IS ANOTHER WAY, and it just now occurred to me - a real "OMYGOSH" moment. Lets go ahead and use that liquid hydrogen upper stage. RL10 are in production for two other U.S. launch vehicle programs, which promises to minimize engine development and production cost. Put one of those terrific engines on our second stage. The stage itself will obviously cost a chunk of change, but so would any bipropellant liquid upper stage. Suddenly, the gross liftoff mass of our launch vehicle plummets, massively. Now we need ONLY ONE NK-33 on a first stage topped by only ONE upper stage. We've doubled the lifetime of the available NK-33 inventory. Perhaps it won't be necessary to build new ones, since those already built might last for a decade or more! This machine would be able to trump Delta II big time. It could weigh less than 120 tonnes at liftoff - only roughly half the liftoff mass of a Delta 7920/25. It would be a real lightweight on the ground, weighing perhaps less than 8 tonnes dry for the two stages (less than half the dry weight of an Atlas V and many times less mass to erect at the launch pad than with Delta II). All manner of possibilities. - Ed Kyle

    Congratulations! - You've almost described my preferred configuration for Taurus II.  Unfortunately, there are other factors that prevent me from convincing my colleagues of that config... who know, I have until Dec. 5 to change their mind...


    Gosh, I hope you get to build it - or that *someone* gets to build it.  It is too beautiful to ignore.

    Buckminster Fuller once said:  "When I'm working on a problem, I never think about beauty. I think only how to solve the problem. But when I have finished, if the solution is not beautiful, I know it is wrong."

     - Ed Kyle
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: simonbp on 09/13/2007 03:58 AM
    Quote
    edkyle99 - 12/9/2007  10:08 AM
    BUT THERE IS ANOTHER WAY, and it just now occurred to me - a real "OMYGOSH" moment.
    Lets go ahead and use that liquid hydrogen upper stage.  RL10 are in production for two other U.S. launch vehicle programs, which promises to minimize engine development and production cost.  Put one of those terrific engines on our second stage.  The stage itself will obviously cost a chunk of change, but so would any bipropellant liquid upper stage.

    Hmmm....

    Sounds familiar, but I just can't place it...

    Simon ;)
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: antonioe on 09/13/2007 04:33 AM

    Q: What's wrong with this picture?

    A: 2.44m diameter core, a gazillion Pegasus-sized SRB's, OOTW hammerhead ratio, low S1 core thrust.  Typical "end of the line" for a noble and worthy breed.

    P.S. I'm not sure an Orbital guy can criticize other's hammerhead ratio with a straight face... oh, well, do as I say, not as I do...

    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: Seer on 09/13/2007 01:32 PM
    Antonio, do you know if Orbital is going to going to compete for the new COTS contract, and if so can you give us a hint as to what it is?
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: Chris Bergin on 09/13/2007 02:12 PM
    Quote
    antonioe - 13/9/2007  1:05 AM

    Quote
    Chris Bergin - 12/9/2007 5:13 PM Remember, this is the Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias thread, so let's not take it off track from actual questions.

    Aw, c'mon, Chris! I'm enjoying this immensely!...  It's a pure joy to see intelligent people discussing an issue close to your heart in a civilized way!


    *Heads back to Shuttleland with his tail between his legs* ;)
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: meiza on 09/13/2007 02:46 PM
    There just aren't that many RP-1 engines around anymore so the design options are quite limited. Merlin is the only one in the US, and it's quite small for a first stage.
    Russians have many engines but they have problems too: RD-180 is too big, RD-107/8 derivatives need hydrogen peroxide, RD-0124 as a second stage engine is even smaller than Merlin.
    I'm scratching my head at what you could do. RD-191 is not yet ready, or at least has not flown and would need development money.

    Maybe I'd go with RD-180 although at approximately 10 million dollars it's already a fifth of the 50 million launch price. I also don't know if they can provide enough of them, and with the current dollar course the price could be higher. With a Merlin second stage it would be almost exactly like a half Zenit. (RD-120 has double the Merlin thrust and probably higher ISP since it's a staged combustion engine.) For the GTO mission third stage you could use a pressure fed hypergolic engine. The Zenit 2 SLB (two stages) can put approximately 12 t to LEO from Tyuratam and the Zenit 3 SL 6 t to GTO from the equator, so there is plenty of performance margin to compensate for the lower ISP:s of the upper stages. :)
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: antonioe on 09/13/2007 03:42 PM

    Quote
    Seer - 13/9/2007 8:32 AM Antonio, do you know if Orbital is going to going to compete for the new COTS contract, and if so can you give us a hint as to what it is?

    New COTS contract?  What new COTS contract?  You don't mean CSTS, do you?

    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: sammie on 09/13/2007 04:06 PM
    Quote
    Maybe I'd go with RD-180 although at approximately 10 million dollars it's already a fifth of the 50 million launch price. I also don't know if they can provide enough of them, and with the current dollar course the price could be higher. With a Merlin second stage it would be almost exactly like a half Zenit.

    What you described there is awful close to the an Atlas III or Japanese G-X (albeit different upperstage). The Atlas of course used the RL-10 while the Japanese inisited on going for LNG upperstage, causing a major headache. It does give you the wanted performance. I'm not use whether it's feasable or desirable to have an American Launch Vehicle using solely Russian engines. I'm quite impressed by the RD-0124 engine however, for RP-1/LOX engine it's quite impressive. But doubt it's of any use as an upperstage.
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: Seer on 09/13/2007 04:56 PM
    Quote
    antonioe - 13/9/2007  10:42 AM

    Quote
    Seer - 13/9/2007 8:32 AM Antonio, do you know if Orbital is going to going to compete for the new COTS contract, and if so can you give us a hint as to what it is?

    New COTS contract?  What new COTS contract?  You don't mean CSTS, do you?


    I'm wondering whether Orbital will go after RpK's spare $175M. But what's CSTS?
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: edkyle99 on 09/13/2007 05:08 PM
    Quote
    simonbp - 12/9/2007  10:58 PM

    Quote
    edkyle99 - 12/9/2007  10:08 AM
    BUT THERE IS ANOTHER WAY, and it just now occurred to me - a real "OMYGOSH" moment.
    Lets go ahead and use that liquid hydrogen upper stage.  RL10 are in production for two other U.S. launch vehicle programs, which promises to minimize engine development and production cost.  Put one of those terrific engines on our second stage.  The stage itself will obviously cost a chunk of change, but so would any bipropellant liquid upper stage.

    Hmmm....

    Sounds familiar, but I just can't place it...

    [shows photo of Delta 3]

    Simon ;)

    Big differences though.  Delta III preparation involved the erection of nearly 183 tonnes of hardware, not including payload, involving 13 or 14 major lift operations.  The hypothetical "Taurus II" that we've been discussing would only involve perhaps 8-10 tonnes lifted (including payload fairing but not payload), which could be lifted in four or five operations.  Delta III weighed more than 300 tonnes at liftoff, nearly three times as much as this Taurus II concept.  Heck, it should  be possible to erect the whole vehicle in one step, Soyuz-style, if desired.

     - Ed Kyle
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: edkyle99 on 09/13/2007 05:26 PM
    Quote
    antonioe - 12/9/2007  8:07 PM

    Quote
    tnphysics - 12/9/2007 7:21 PM Could Russia restart NK-33 production?

    Not likely, given what's happening over there.  They are having touble delivering engines to Yushmash for the Zenit!!!

    [/QUOTE]
    An alternative might be to use two RS-27A type engines on the first stage.  It would provide nearly the same performance as the one NK-33 plus one RL10 concept.  The production line would have to be restarted, however, which would entail costs that apparently were part of the reason for shutting down Delta II.  And two RS-27A type engines are going to cost a lot more than one NK-33, I would guess.

     - Ed Kyle
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: antonioe on 09/13/2007 06:10 PM

    Quote
    edkyle99 - 13/9/2007 12:08 PM

     The hypothetical "Taurus II" that we've been discussing would only involve perhaps 8-10 tonnes lifted (including payload fairing but not payload), which could be lifted in four or five operations. Delta III weighed more than 300 tonnes at liftoff, nearly three times as much as this Taurus II concept. Heck, it should be possible to erect the whole vehicle in one step, Soyuz-style, if desired. - Ed Kyle

    Bingo!  Or Zenit-style (3 hours from hangar to ignition, including fueling!)

    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: Analyst on 09/13/2007 07:17 PM
    If this Delta II replacement can and will be done by a US company, today, with the performance and reliability of Delta II, cost effective with only 3-4 launches per year, hats up!! I hope you will be successful, whatever the exact configuration will be.

    Analyst
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: antonioe on 09/13/2007 09:05 PM

    Thanks.  As you pointed out, it's not easy.  We (the Taurus II Development team) have been given the funds to proceed to PDR, which will happen sometime in December.  At that time we must have:

    The configuration pinned down.

    1. Agreements with partners and suppliers ready to sign (that is the main reason we are being coy with the specifics of the configuration).
    2. The development plan, schedule and budget pinned down with a reasonable accuracy
    3. The recurring cost at the 3-4 launches/year solidly established (that, experience has shown us, is a lot harder than predicting the R&D costs)

    1 is a prerequisite for 2 and 3.  2 and 3 then are combined with what we think the price could be, then the whole mess cranked through a financial analysis.

    If it shows that we have a low probability of losing our shirts (notice: that is a quite different goal than trying to make a bundle of money) we will go ahead - we will make our money on the spacecraft and systems we will be able to offer based on the availability of a medium LV at the agreed-to price.

    If not, we will admit we could not do it and figure out what next.  Personally, I rate our chances of meeting our own standards and proceeding to CDR at about 80%.

     

    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: vt_hokie on 09/13/2007 10:33 PM
    I hope this isn't too far off topic, but I've been trying to dig up some information on the X-34 program.  From what I can gather, there were to be three vehicles, with the first being used only for the captive carry tests with Orbital's L-1011.  Were the next two vehicles already being constructed when the program was terminated?  

    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: simonbp on 09/13/2007 11:35 PM
    Quote
    edkyle99 - 13/9/2007  10:08 AM

    Big differences though.  Delta III preparation involved the erection of nearly 183 tonnes of hardware, not including payload, involving 13 or 14 major lift operations.  The hypothetical "Taurus II" that we've been discussing would only involve perhaps 8-10 tonnes lifted (including payload fairing but not payload), which could be lifted in four or five operations.  Delta III weighed more than 300 tonnes at liftoff, nearly three times as much as this Taurus II concept.  Heck, it should  be possible to erect the whole vehicle in one step, Soyuz-style, if desired.

    Right, but get rid of the SRBs, lob a few feet off the first stage, and resize the tanks on the upper stage, et voila! A Delta II replacement with a cryo upper stage. The multitude of SRBs and enclosed upper stage incurred most of the assembly complexity...

    It's weird to think that only four models of RP-1 engine are in production today, and one (RD-180) is a derivative of the another (RD-170)...

    Simon ;)
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: meiza on 09/13/2007 11:46 PM
    Four models?
    -Merlin 1/variants (Falcon 1 1st)
    -RD-107/108/modernizations (Soyuz 1st/2nd)
    -RD-171 (Zenit 1st)
    -RD-180 (Atlas V 1st)

    But there are also upper stage engines:
    -RD-0124 (Soyuz 3rd)
    -RD-120 (Zenit 2nd)
    -RD-58M (Zenit 3rd)
    -Kestrel (Falcon 1 2nd) although pressure fed...

    +RS-27/variants (Delta II 1st) is not in production anymore.
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: antonioe on 09/14/2007 12:25 AM

    O.K., gang, here we go:

    Ron Grabe, who heads our Launch Systems Group (LSG) was conned into participating in an panel at the AIAA Space 2007 meeting next week in Long Beach (LSG currently produces Pegasus, Taurus and the various Minotaurs, and will produce and fly Taurus II after the first five or six flights which will be built and flown by our development organization, the APG, which is where I work).

    Ron's panel is on "existing launch vehicles" (is that what you guys call "old.space"?  I still remember the 1990 WSJ article that called DWT, Scott and Bruce "three space nuts" for thinking they could develop a space rocket with... gasp... private funding! - see enclosed Washinton Post article about the incident - Chris, am I violating the Washington Post copyright for posting this image?  If so, go ahead and delete it, but note that the article itself is truncated, and it's from 1990!!!).

    He was warned by the moderator to expect a deluge of questions on Taurus II, so he asked me for support.  With DWT's approval, I decided to give him a viewgraph with the first ever sketch of Taurus II to be release by Orbital.  Also, I promised Brian Berger of SN the first pix, so I will give him until Monday the 24th to publish it in SN before reproducing it here - remember, it's a very rought sketch, don;t expect sexy 3-D CAD art.  I gave Ron a couple of VUGraphs and he's thinking about it.  I told him I'll be in the audience in case he gets questions he doesn't want to answer ("ask that guy there in the corner, yes, the one with the trenchcoat, fedora and dark glasses.. hey, Antonio, yes, I'm talking to you...")

    The picture shows T II next to the lineup of Orbital's space and large subspace rockets, approximately at the same relative scale.  T II has a 3.9 m constant-diameter airframe with no strap-ons (yet... remember Thor?).  The sketch shows about 8 calibers length, but the length has not been pinned down yet due to:

    1. The configuration of the upper stage stack is being traded still, and
    2. The length of the 3.9m diameter fairing is also being traded; we want to be able to fit the largest of our StaBus spacecraft, but then we would have too much volume for our main current customers (read: NASA Science).

    Yes, it shows two AJ-26/NK-33's.  You guys were right all along.  And, yes, you need two.  We are negotiating with Aerojet the precise details on how much and how long (and where!) to get the AJ-26 production line started, but in the meanwhile we'll use the 60 or so units that exists between Sacramento and Samara.

    Program director is Dave Steffy, who was the vehicle engineer on Pegasus F1, then became the ORBCOMM chief designer and PM, then the architect of the modern StarBus line, and one of the most versatile rocket/satellite line straddlers I've ever met (also, we went to the same small technical school in the Northeast).

    Assisting him are Kurt Eberly, who built more Pegasus at Vandenberg than anybody else at Orbital, and Mike Dorsch, who was Pegasus Chief Engineer for a long while (after I was kicked upstairs) and a sizeable bunch of Belerophones (Pegasus tamers) and Matadores (Taurus experts) too numerous to acknowledge individually today (later, I will).  Brian Winters, who was the propulsion lead on the LOX/Kerosene powered X-34 is responsible for Stage 1 development and initial production.  MACH-3 avionics (what a corny acronim... oh, well) courtesy of the GDP program, fairing courtesy of Taurus/Minotaur (except for the increased diameter).

    Bob Richards, who was Launch Panel Operator on the second Pegasus flight (yours truly was the first) is the LSG Executive that "owns" the product line (read: sell it to NASA).

    We had our SRR on July 17th and 18th and the CDR is tentatively scheduled for December 5,6 and 7th.  Wish us luck!

    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: Seer on 09/14/2007 12:45 AM
    Wow, I didn't know about a cancelled stock sale. There are a lot of similarities between Orbital and Spacex, though I bet Elon has noted the fact that Orbital tried to IPO before first launch.
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: antonioe on 09/14/2007 12:50 AM

    Quote
    vt_hokie - 13/9/2007 5:33 PM I hope this isn't too far off topic, but I've been trying to dig up some information on the X-34 program. From what I can gather, there were to be three vehicles, with the first being used only for the captive carry tests with Orbital's L-1011. Were the next two vehicles already being constructed when the program was terminated?

    Well... the fog of war, or at least, of history, is starting to make the past fuzzy, even if it was only 7 or 8 years ago... yes, we were going to build two airframes initially, of which only the second would receive the "Fastrack" engine... then we were told to start building parts for a third airframe... only the first two were completed... they are now languishing inside the old SR71 wooden hangar at North Base, waiting for the right fire to burn up the old hangar and its contents, accumulating several cms of rich natural guano in the meanwhile... pardon me while I dry a tear in my eye...

     

    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: Chris Bergin on 09/14/2007 12:56 AM
    Will certainly have to speak to you about T II as it deserves an article rather than just a forum post (note to other media not to go stealing those comments off here!)

    X-34!! Sigh. I followed that closely as it was around the same time as the X-33 (double sigh).
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: antonioe on 09/14/2007 12:59 AM

    Quote
    Chris Bergin - 13/9/2007 7:56 PM  X-34!! Sigh. I followed that closely as it was around the same time as the X-33 (double sigh).

    Small world.  Cleon Lacefield was my "competitor" in the X-33/X-34 days, now he's my customer on the Orion LAS.  Proves the old adage than enjoins us to thread lightly, 'cause the foot we step on today may be wearing the boot we have to lick tomorrow.

    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: antonioe on 09/14/2007 01:07 AM

    Quote
    Seer - 13/9/2007 7:45 PM Wow, I didn't know about a cancelled stock sale. There are a lot of similarities between Orbital and Spacex, though I bet Elon has noted the fact that Orbital tried to IPO before first launch.

    We had to; DWT, Scott Webster and Bruce Ferguson did not have a dime to their name when they started Orbital on April 2, 1982 (their first office was Dave and Catherine's garage in Thousand Oaks).  Elon had a slightly healthier financial head start.

    I'm a few installments away from the "Big WSJ Disaster" episode in my contiiiiinuing saga of the development of Pegasus (those of you old enough to remember the Muppets Show's will get the quote), but when I get a round tooit I'll give you all the sordid details; meanwhile, try to read the snippets of the Wash Post article in the figure.

    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: sammie on 09/14/2007 01:20 AM
    Antonio, you already mentioned building TII mainly because other US mid-range launch vehicles (Atlas II and Delta II) are being retired, and you needed a launch vehicle to place your mid-range satellites in orbit. This has kept me wondering though, why aren't foreign options in the same range not viable options (Land Launch, Soyuz/Fregat, Ariane-5 2nd place position)? Is this because of ITAR or costumer demands?  Have you considered cooperation with other companies developing similar vehicles, such as the Japanese GX?

    Thanks a lot for your responses so far, highly interesting!
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: vt_hokie on 09/14/2007 01:28 AM
    Wow, thanks for that photograph!  Surely they deserve a better home than that!  Of course, if I had my way, they'd be getting prepared for flight!  :)
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: antonioe on 09/14/2007 02:31 AM

    Quote
    sammie - 13/9/2007 8:20 PM why aren't foreign options in the same range not viable options

    Yes, we are talking NASA/DoD missions that we want to build satellites for, in our "sweet spot" size.

    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: Pete at Edwards on 09/14/2007 02:35 AM
    Quote
    antonioe - 13/9/2007  7:50 PM

    Quote
    vt_hokie - 13/9/2007 5:33 PM I hope this isn't too far off topic, but I've been trying to dig up some information on the X-34 program. From what I can gather, there were to be three vehicles, with the first being used only for the captive carry tests with Orbital's L-1011. Were the next two vehicles already being constructed when the program was terminated?

    Well... the fog of war, or at least, of history, is starting to make the past fuzzy, even if it was only 7 or 8 years ago... yes, we were going to build two airframes initially, of which only the second would receive the "Fastrack" engine... then we were told to start building parts for a third airframe... only the first two were completed... they are now languishing inside the old SR71 wooden hangar at North Base, waiting for the right fire to burn up the old hangar and its contents, accumulating several cms of rich natural guano in the meanwhile... pardon me while I dry a tear in my eye...


    At least they aren't under even more crap like the X-33 at Edwards. So much so I couldn't even get to take a decent photo.
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: tnphysics on 09/14/2007 03:44 AM
    Was the X-33 ever finished? If so, we MUST get it out of its shed and fly it!
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: Jim on 09/14/2007 03:46 AM
    no
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: antonioe on 09/14/2007 02:45 PM
    Anybody has a decent picture of X-33 in its most advance state of integration?
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: Crispy on 09/14/2007 02:51 PM
    The pictures I've seen just look like a big blob of scaffolding - not very illuminating.
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: Chris Bergin on 09/14/2007 02:59 PM
    Quote
    antonioe - 14/9/2007  3:45 PM

    Anybody has a decent picture of X-33 in its most advance state of integration?

    Yep, that was my baby, rushing to an internet cafe after Uni to see if they had updated the webcams...sigh.

    Article: http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/content/?cid=4180

    Associated threads with images, videos and people that worked on it etc: http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/forums/thread-view.asp?tid=1184&start=1
    http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/forums/thread-view.asp?tid=347&start=1

    The image below was one of the last webcam shots, but it did get further down the line with integration.
    Now excuse me while I go for a weep ;)
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: Tim S on 09/14/2007 06:16 PM
    I shed a tear going past the display model of the XRS-2200 Linear Aerospike.
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: Norm Hartnett on 09/14/2007 06:40 PM
    That is a great article Chris.

    Do we know what, if any, roll Richard J. Gilbrech played in the questionable management decisions of this project? Since he was the Project Manager for X-33 I am wondering just how much impact he could have on Constellation.

    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: Andy L on 09/15/2007 03:00 PM
    Well we know why the X-33 was cancelled, but why was the X-34 cancelled? That story doesn't seem clear at all.
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: Flometrics on 09/15/2007 04:34 PM
    The Fastrac engine was over budget and never finished. It ran, but the performance was not up to specifications. As a suborbital unmanned program, X-34 was never very sexy, so there was not a lot of political will to keep it going. Canceling it before flight test was a good way to avoid a potentially embarrassing failure. (If failure is not an option, then do nothing)  
    Apparently Orbital recommended a Russian engine as a backup plan, but that would have been embarrassing as well.
    However the money was not completely wasted, the SpaceX Merlin engine Turbopump was based on the Fastrac design. It still took SpaceX 2.5 years to get it to work properly.

    Steve

    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: meiza on 09/15/2007 06:17 PM
    What was wrong with Fastrac?
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: cpt palmer on 09/15/2007 10:17 PM
    nothing.it needs some fine tuning thats all.
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: antonioe on 09/16/2007 02:05 AM

    Well... maybe more than just "some fine tuning";  the program was cancelled way before any of the key thermal balance and propellant mix excursion measurements could be done.  While it is true that MSFC had devised a way to "super instrument" the engine so that what would have taken many static firings in the past could be obtained in fewer tests, FasTrac was kicked out of the test stand at Stennis (to make room for RS-68 tests) after just a few (4, I believe) multi-10's of seconds test firings (the initial start-up transient tests of 2-3 seconds duration each where done "in the lab").  The original plan included some 75-80 test firings.  This link shows a video of one of these tests (I was there for this one).  Notice that the railing that you see overlooks a 20-story drop.  From the ground you can barely make out the engine itself without binoculars: the test stand is big enough to swallow a Saturn-V FIRST STAGE!!! (it is also strong enough to survive the complete "unintended dissasembly" of a said stage fully fueled!!!!!!!!)

    There was an attempt to resume the testing at the old Santa Susana GOCO (owned by the government, operated by Rocketdyne) test area, but I think by then it was environmentally impossible.  When the Stennis test stand became available again, FasTrac and X-34 had been terminated by Mr. Goldin.  Art Stevenson "took one for the boss" and claimed in his phone call to DWT that he was the one that terminated the programs, but I will die believing it was a personal decision by Mr. Goldin.  Danny Davis was the FasTrac Program Manager, and he poured his heart on it (MSFC kind of compensated him by awarding him a Program Management award for that work... but I'm sure he would have rather seen the engine fly... now he's the Ares Upper Stage manager).

    Detractors nicknamed the program the "Side Trak" engine, but I think that's very unfair to the team that worked on it.  While not a super-high performance engine (for example, its T/W was never much above 30), it did prove that a much, much smaller team that was considered possible could design and build a new LOX/Kerosene engine.  I also believe that its recurring cost would have been "very reasonable".  FasTrac was never intended to be used as an operational engine.  It was a test unit, specifically designed to meet the X-34 program goals.  For example, the unusual angle at which the test unit was mounted on the stand was determined by the acceleration vector that the engine and tank system would have seen on an X-34 drop.

    Comparisons with the NK-39 (the "russian engine" mentioned above), a higher performance, fully developed almost-operational engine, are not fair.

    Also, comparisons between X-33 and X-34 are totally inappropriate: X-33 was meant to demonstrate the feasibility of SSTO (or put a final nail on its coffin - that would have been a very useful result). X-34 was meant to measure the cost of reuseability of a reuseable first stage (in terms of parts to be replaced, labor required for turnaround, degree of inspection and retesting required, etc.)  Vital data to validate the non-mass-fraction costs of reusability for which there is still only ONE data point.

    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: meiza on 09/16/2007 02:31 AM
    Fascinating to hear this story and the details!
    What about the vehicle? What kind of design choices turned up?
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: antonioe on 09/16/2007 03:49 AM
    Which vehicle?  X-34?
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: antonioe on 09/16/2007 03:57 AM

    Quote
    Seer - 13/9/2007 11:56 AM [I'm wondering whether Orbital will go after RpK's spare $175M. But what's CSTS?

    Read the NASA August 7 RFI CAREFULLY...

    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: meiza on 09/16/2007 03:53 PM
    Quote
    antonioe - 16/9/2007  4:49 AM

    Which vehicle?  X-34?

    Yeah, that. :)
    I'm a big reusable first stage fan myself, and there isn't that much hardware that has been built for that anywhere, ever. :)
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: CFE on 09/17/2007 05:45 AM
    I also weep in thinking about the potential that was wasted when X-34 was cancelled.  It would have greatly expanded our knowledge of how to build and operate a truly reusable first stage for an RLV.

    When the X-34 program first started, I recall a lot of controversy over the engine selection process.  After the program was scaled back and refocused (a wise decision, IMHO,) Fastrac became a part of the X-34 program.  It appears that Fastrac became the critical path item on the X-34 schedule.  While some would dispute the idea of designing a brand-new engine for X-34, the truth is that the existing engines would have been overkill.  Unless somebody is audacious enough to propose taking the XLR-99's out of museums, I'm really not aware of any existing engine that could have put out similar performance to the Fastrac.

    There was some speculation that X-34 would be resurrected for the AReS/Hybrid Launch Vehicle effort.  If that ever happened, would the booster have been very similar to the X-34, or would it be drastically changed by the time it was adapted to the AReS/HLV mission?

    I don't lose much sleep over the X-33 (aside from the money that was wasted) because SSTO is an impractical fantasy.  I still have no clue how such an absurd idea could have gotten the go-ahead.  While X-33 didn't purport to be an SSTO, and would have demonstrated useful technologies that could be applied to more practical TSTO vehicles, the program was far too complex and brought aboard too many untested technologies despite the ambitious schedule.
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: antonioe on 09/18/2007 06:49 PM

    The "Camarillo Incident" corrected.

    Quote
    antonioe - 28/8/2006 7:56 PM

    In February of that year, Dick Bergen, who was our USAF/L.A. rep, and I visited AMROC.  Koopman gave us an appointment for, I believe, 1 pm. Dick and I show up around 12:45. We are ushered into a large conference room. Fifteen minutes later, someone shows up, says "hi" and sits down. I later found out that was George French. Ten minutes later somebody ELSE shows up, same routine. I later found out he was Bill Claybough. Five minutes later, somebody else I didn't know then but who later joined Orbital, and now works at NASA (a certain Mike Griffin). A few more minutes, and Bevin McKinney (who, again, I did not know at the time) enters.


    One of the above-mentioned individuals (whose identity I will protect) reminds me that the French in question was JIM French, not GEORGE French (I had been dealing with George sometime before I wrote that text, and my poor overworked brain got confused). Also, since there are TWO Jim French's in our industry, let me be specific: "California" Jim, not "Florida" Jim (Actually, "California" Jim now lives in N.M., and "Florida" Jim now lives in Huntsville... c'est la vie...) "California" Jim French is the co-author, with Mike G., of the AIAA book on Space Mission Design.

    Quote
    A year later, George died when his BMW 630 went off the twisty road between Lancaster and Lompoc

    Actually, he was on his way to the Rocket Lab (East of Edwards), not VAFB (
    Lompoc), so I had the wrong road. Air Force Captain Bob Jones (who appears later in the Pegasus story) had an accident on the Lompoc-to-Lancaster road years later involving an 18-wheeler and a large bull (yes, a male cow - seriously!). I had the two confused.

    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: kevin-rf on 09/19/2007 01:28 PM
    antonioe,

    Any thought on ULA's answer to the Delta-II class vehicle problem in the just released ULA responce to COTS-2? (For those that did not read it they are talking an Atlas V with a Delta-II upperstage).

    If they really build the vehicle, would orbital still proceed with a new Delta-II class vehicle or just buy from ULA? You think they would be able to fly it for the old Delta-II $50 million price (ooops almost typed $500 million ;) ?
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: Rocket Girl on 09/20/2007 05:38 PM
    Antonio:

    (Ahem!) My arm is getting tired of holding my coffee cup waiting for your next installement of the "Saga of the Pegasus".  I am now beginning to tap my foot (politely).
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: antonioe on 09/28/2007 04:05 PM

    My apologies to all for the long pause in resuming my story - I've been a bit busy with Taurus II (hopefully soon to be renamed "Cygnus", a name proposed by one of you).  I will work on the next installement this weekend.

    In the menawhile - Aerojet has assigned a designation for the version of the AJ26's that will be used on Cygnus/T 2: it's the "-62" (the Kistler Stage 1 version was "-58" and it included, among other things, restart capability).

    The -62 will have the appropriate interfaces for the OBV-derived avionics as well as a heat exchanger for the helium.

    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: Skyrocket on 09/28/2007 04:11 PM
    Quote
    antonioe - 28/9/2007  6:05 PM

    My apologies to all for the long pause in resuming my story - I've been a bit busy with Taurus II (hopefully soon to be renamed "Cygnus", a name proposed by one of you).


    If i remember correctly, in the early 90ies 'Cygnus' was also the name of a proposed ground launched, wingless Pegasus.

    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: antonioe on 09/28/2007 07:18 PM

    Quote
    Skyrocket - 28/9/2007 11:11 AM

     If i remember correctly, in the early 90ies 'Cygnus' was also the name of a proposed ground launched, wingless Pegasus.

    From Orbital???!!!

    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: NotGncDude on 09/28/2007 07:47 PM
    Now that you mention the Kistler stage 1, what were the differences between the K1 first stage and the expendable replacement that Orbital proposed to them? (Or is that under wraps?)
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: JIS on 09/28/2007 09:12 PM
    Quote
    antonioe - 28/9/2007  5:05 PM

    My apologies to all for the long pause in resuming my story - I've been a bit busy with Taurus II (hopefully soon to be renamed "Cygnus", a name proposed by one of you).  I will work on the next installement this weekend.

    In the menawhile - Aerojet has assigned a designation for the version of the AJ26's that will be used on Cygnus/T 2: it's the "-62" (the Kistler Stage 1 version was "-58" and it included, among other things, restart capability).

    The -62 will have the appropriate interfaces for the OBV-derived avionics as well as a heat exchanger for the helium.


    So what is the latest config of Cygnus?
    -2x AJ26-62 (Russian NK-33) for the 1st stage
    -what engine for the 2nd stage? Is LOX/LHX RL-10 still the top candidate?
    -or is there 2nd and 3rd stage with alternative engines?
    -are you also considering AJ-10 or solid props stages from other Orbital launchers?
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: tnphysics on 09/28/2007 10:30 PM
    Sounds like EELV (8mt to LEO) class.
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: Skyrocket on 09/28/2007 10:44 PM
    Quote
    antonioe - 28/9/2007  9:18 PM

    Quote
    Skyrocket - 28/9/2007 11:11 AM

    If i remember correctly, in the early 90ies 'Cygnus' was also the name of a proposed ground launched, wingless Pegasus.

    From Orbital???!!!

    I remember reading a report in (i think) Flight International at this time about OSC planning a wingless Pegasus version. Unfortunately i do not have a copy of it. Never heared about it again, but the report mentioned about half of the Pegasus payload performance and the Name Cygnus.

    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: antonioe on 09/29/2007 12:01 AM

    Quote
    JIS - 28/9/2007 4:12 PM 

    So what is the latest config of Cygnus? -2x AJ26-62 (Russian NK-33) for the 1st stage -what engine for the 2nd stage? Is LOX/LHX RL-10 still the top candidate?

    I wish - my favorite config.  But DWT and others think that the jump from a 20 MT X-34 to a 200 MT LOX-Kerosene stage is enough of a jump for little Orbital without the added challenge of a cryo US, and I'm afraid I must agree with that thinking, no matter how much I like the RL-10 solution.  X-34 was a good start, and we learned a lot about LOX/Kerosene in the process of making it work in an air-dropped, horizontal-start configuration (e.g., huge anti-slosh baffles and one-way flapper valves in the main tanks, super-efficient insulation to avoid having to top off the LOX from the L-1011, etc).

    But for T 2/Cygnus we're paying somebody to teach us the fine details of large LOX/Kerosene boosters: the subtle design trades, how to load, start and operate them (e.g., how to make the prop management system REALLY work), all the neat little tricks of the trade you only get after 60 launches and 20 years of experience.   No high-tech here, just a lot of tradecraft.

    Quote
     -or is there 2nd and 3rd stage with alternative engines? -are you also considering AJ-10

    No, the AJ-10 fell off the trade sometime in August due to burn duration issues, the large amounts of "nasty" stuff it would require and the cost to modify it to use straight hydrazine (instead of Aerozyne-50) and to modify the ablative throat to increase the max burn time; but we carried this option until then!

    Quote
     or solid props stages from other Orbital launchers?

    (*TRIPLE SIGH*) yes, we will end up there, with a Super-HAPS to provide both final burn trim as well as circularization to higher altitude orbits, where the solid component of S2 is used as part of the main burn (no significant performance advantage at lower altitudes).

    From a recurring cost and performance standpoint, it gets us to our target payload mass and payload environmental conditions (acceleration, acoustics, shock, vibration, etc.) From an operational standpoint, it is not pretty: you have to get the safety permits, etc. for LOX/Kerosene, solids, and the same amount of N2O4/Hydrazine as a StarBus for the Super-HAPS.  Fortunately, we've done the latter two in the past, and the former promises to be easier.  The expected QD for this stack, by the way, is smaller than a Minotaur IV!!! (and a lot easier to handle!)

    As far as I'm concerned, this is a temporary upper stage until we get the experience, guts, market demand and revenue to buy a decent RL-10 based "mini centaur".  On the other hand, ULA/Boeing/L-M may be interested in sharing a "mini-centaur" with us which we would use as the T 2/Cygnus Stage 2 (no need for a HAPS, then), and they could use as a Stage 3 for EELV high ΔV-low payload mass missions if the ever get one like that... (e.g. another JWST-like thingy or a lunar lander).

    Everybody tells me that working with LH2, once you pay the basic penalties for vacuum-jacketed GSE lines, prechill, recirc, etc. it is actually a breeze.  But that will be a PPI.

    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: antonioe on 09/29/2007 12:06 AM

    Quote
    tnphysics - 28/9/2007 5:30 PM Sounds like EELV (8mt to LEO) class.

    Not with the current US.  More like 5.5 MT to 250 km 28.5 degrees (classical "marketing"orbit).  Clearly meets the Delta 7920 payload performance lines for all practical inclinations and altitudes (not the 7925's for high ΔV/low mass missions, though - but neither does the 7920!)

    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: CFE on 09/29/2007 12:26 AM
    Do you put any credence in the studies which show cost savings from using the same propellants in all stages of your launch vehicle?  I tend to think that a LOX-Kero first stage with solid upper stages would achieve most of the operational cost benefits of an all-LOX/Kero vehicle, because the upper stages won't need to be fueled at the launch site.

    I assume that a solid upper stage would be a new development, assuming a 4-meter constant diameter.
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: antonioe on 09/29/2007 04:34 AM

    Quote
    CFE - 28/9/2007 7:26 PM Do you put any credence in the studies which show cost savings from using the same propellants in all stages of your launch vehicle?

    Sure!  Ceteris paribus, indeed it is (you have all the necessary infrastructure there already, empty LOX/Kerosene stages are relatively light, performance is not too shabby, etc. etc.).   Problem is, we could not find a suitable engine (using a rather extensive set of criteria for "suitable", some of which I am not at liberty to express until after PDR, but which will eventually become obvious).

    That is the main problem with "theoretical" dictums: they are O.K. as long as all the other variables are kept constant.  In the real world, muda happens and you end up having to do "suboptimal" things.  But I love that - that's why I'm an engineer and not a scientist.

    Quote
     I tend to think that a LOX-Kero first stage with solid upper stages would achieve most of the operational cost benefits of an all-LOX/Kero vehicle, because the upper stages won't need to be fueled at the launch site.

    Yes, but on the other hand, they are heavier to handle, have a lower Isp (but reasonable mass fractions and oodles of thrust!) and the recurring cost can be surprisingly steep. There is another, perhaps more esthetical, reason to use the same technology on all stages: the design is "balanced" in terms of performance... now, there are many sucessful counter-examples, but I believe in Von Karman's dictum that if it looks right, it probably IS right (he was thinking about aircraft aerodynamics when he said that, but I think it applies to almost anything.)

    Anyway, here I am with a LOX/Kerosene S1, begging for a Cryo US, and most likely ending up having to have a solid... so much for theoretical considerations... RATS!

    Quote
     I assume that a solid upper stage would be a new development, assuming a 4-meter constant diameter.

    As in the Pegasus Stage 3, it could have a smaller outer diameter than the airframe without necessarily requiring a neckdown (it costs a few Kg, though).    A 4 m diameter solid upper stage with the right amount of propellant mass would be too flat (as in "pancake") to be practical, anyway (not impossible, just impractical).  A more important issue is "is there a solid out there with the right amount of propellant"?

    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: Skyrocket on 10/01/2007 03:46 PM
    As i just got the latest Orbital press release on the successful flight of an OBV vehicle some questions arose:

    Is the OBV supposed to get a "real" name sometimes or will it just retain the three letter acronym? All other of your major vehicles have nice mythological.

    By the way: how did the first OBV prototype mission ("Taurus-Lite") differ from the operational OBV vehicle. The images i have seen on the MDA site look like a OBV with Pegasus payload shroud.

    Was "Taurus-Lite" the launch vehicle name or was it a OBV, which flew a mission called "Taurus-Lite"?


    ( http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/forums/thread-view.asp?tid=10010&posts=1&start=1 - James Lowe)
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: JIS on 10/01/2007 04:09 PM
    Regarding current talk about Ares 1 1stg thrust oscillations I'm wondering how serious this effect is on Orbital launchers. Is a ride on the single solid motor much more “rough” than on the liquid stage? Also what are the requirements for the roll control? Are the roll torques the same every flight or do they differ significantly? I've heard that the roll control doesn't scale with motor length but rather with diameter. Also bigger motors tend to be more stable in roll. Could you provide sime insight into this problem dear Dr. Elias?  
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: antonioe on 10/02/2007 12:38 AM

    Quote
    Skyrocket - 1/10/2007 10:46 AM As i just got the latest Orbital press release on the successful flight of an OBV vehicle some questions arose: Is the OBV supposed to get a "real" name sometimes or will it just retain the three letter acronym?

    Yes, it is an acronym.  "In the beginning" (as the HHGTTG would say) GMD (Ground-based Missile Defense) Prime Contractor Boeing created (with a little prodding from Orbital's friends in high places) a competition for "Alternative Boost Vehicle" just in case (ahem!) the baseline Boeing-built Boost Vehicle (the "BV") ran into... well... "additional trouble".

    Two companies bid the ABV competition: Lockheed and Orbital.  And Boeing giveth them names,  and the Lockheed offering he nameth the "Lockheed Boost Vehicle" (LBV) and the Orbital he nameth... well... the "Orbital Boost Vehicle" (OBV)... Duh!

    And Boeign evaluateth the Orbital proposal, and saw that it was good.  And Boeing then sayeth upon Lockheed: "Oh good and faithful bidder: although ye have lost the Alternative Boost Vehicle competition, Lo!  I shall completely forgo the manufacturing of any hardware element of the GMD system, and I shall entrust to you the task of finishing the development of the baseline BV, which thou shall improve in performance and reliability.  Take the sacred paper bag of parts, be fruitful and add, and it shall be called the "BV Plus".

    But the OBV kept outperforming the BV, even in its "plus" version, and Boeing decideth that the OBV shall be the PRIME Boost Vehicle, and BV Plus the BACKUP.  Then, after a number of test flights, it became apparent that since the OBV was delivering as promised, there was little point in keeping two boost vehicle programs running, and Boeing terminated BV Plus (Gunther: you still carry the OBV as the "alternate" in your site... well, the "primary" does not exists any more!)

    I doubt the OBV will ever be recognized as an individual vehicle: it's part of the GMD interceptor (add the kill vehicle); maybe the entire combo (OBV + KV) will one day have a nickname... "Falcon"?  (everything seems to be called "Falcon" these days... F-16, DARPA's ORS rocket effort, SpaceX's rockets, other things...)

    Quote
    how did the first OBV prototype mission ("Taurus-Lite") differ from the operational OBV vehicle. The images i have seen on the MDA site look like a OBV with Pegasus payload shroud

    OBV was to be the penultimate "Pegasus without wings".  But, in addition to removing the wings, OBV had to differ from Pegasus is many other respects, such as ground- (and eventually, silo-) launch.  So we proposed to quickly modify a Pegasus to a ground-launch configuration and launch it from a surface position to demonstrate its performance, etc. before embarking on additional mods; and frankly, also to prove to Boeing and MDS that little Orbital could make all these changes in a short time - indeed, "Taurus-lite" flew something like 13 months after contract award.  And, believe me, going from an air-launch to a ground launch is not a trivial change!  (environments, sea-level ignition of Stage 1, aero and mechanical loads, ground support equipment, software, etc. etc!....)

    Since the prototype OBV used the TVC-ed version of the pegasus S1 motor that Taurus used, it was dubbed "Taurus-lite", even though it used a conventional Pegasus fairing.  Only one was built.

    Trivial pursuit question #17: Why does the Pegasus fairing have a rounded shape, when all other Orbital LV's (and most other LV's, by the way) seem to have a bi-conic or poly-conic shape?  (Note: answering "because it's air launched" is not enough... you have to explain why).

    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: antonioe on 10/02/2007 12:51 AM

    Quote
    JIS - 1/10/2007 11:09 AM Regarding current talk about Ares 1 1stg thrust oscillations I'm wondering how serious this effect is on Orbital launchers.

    I'm not an expert on this subject but I have not heard anybody loose any sleep about it. 

    Quote
     Is a ride on the single solid motor much more “rough” than on the liquid stage?

    Yes, esp. ground acoustics.  Before we launched our first Taurus, nobody had ever ground-launched a Peackeeper Stage 1, and that worried everybody.  The larger solids (e.g. the Shuttle SRB's) use some form of pad acoustics suppression system (e.g., water deluge).  Taurus does not, but has other methods of tackling vibration that I cannot disclose in a public site.

    Quote
    Also what are the requirements for the roll control? Are the roll torques the same every flight or do they differ significantly? I've heard that the roll control doesn't scale with motor length but rather with diameter. Also bigger motors tend to be more stable in roll. Could you provide sime insight into this problem dear Dr. Elias?

    It stands to reason from f=ma that larger diameter rockets

    1. Have a much larger roll moment of inertia (goes as the SQUARE of the radius, therefore of the diameter), thus react more slowly to roll disturbances, and
    2. A roll control RCS has a larger moment arm, therefore more effectiveness.

    Yes, this is textbook physics; I can't go any further without asking our ITAR people to check it, and I'm too lazy to do so, so please don't dig too deep into technical details, please.  I'll be glad to exchange e-mails on unclassified detailed technical subjects with anyone I can prove is a US citizen.

    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: yinzer on 10/02/2007 02:22 AM
    Quote
    antonioe - 1/10/2007  5:38 PM

    Trivial pursuit question #17: Why does the Pegasus fairing have a rounded shape, when all other Orbital LV's (and most other LV's, by the way) seem to have a bi-conic or poly-conic shape?  (Note: answering "because it's air launched" is not enough... you have to explain why).


    Mach and alpha at max-q?  Estimating based on what's in the mission planner's guides, the Atlas V 552 sees 900 psf at about Mach 1.3, while the Pegasus sees 1500 psf at nearly Mach 4.  Atlas also flies a load relief trajectory while Pegasus is pulling up.

    So I'd guess some combination of better heating characteristics due to the detached shock, reduced lift forces at non-zero angles of attack, maybe better acoustics.  I would say sacrificing transonic drag for supersonic drag, but don't know enough to back that up.  I'm almost certain it's due to the difference in conditions at max-q though.
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: antonioe on 10/02/2007 02:28 AM
    warm... warm...
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: yinzer on 10/02/2007 02:41 AM
    The only other things I can think of are small size and the various square-cube laws that go with it such as the tradeoff between skin friction drag and wave drag, and maybe the shape of the dynamic pressure vs. time curve (longer and smoother rather than the big peak and sharp drop common to ground launched vehicles).

    But at this point, I'll let other people guess.
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: pippin on 10/02/2007 08:13 AM
    Less drag and less disturbancees at low speeds (around ignition) to keep it controllable before, at and shortly after ignition?
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: JIS on 10/02/2007 10:36 AM
    Quote
    antonioe - 2/10/2007  1:38 AM

     #17: Why does the Pegasus fairing have a rounded shape, when all other Orbital LV's (and most other LV's, by the way) seem to have a bi-conic or poly-conic shape?  (Note: answering "because it's air launched" is not enough... you have to explain why).
    What about interaction with mother aircraft?
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: JIS on 10/02/2007 11:38 AM
    Quote
    antonioe - 2/10/2007  1:51 AM

    p>Yes, this is textbook physics; I can't go any further without asking our ITAR people to check it, and I'm too lazy to do so, so please don't dig too deep into technical details, please.  I'll be glad to exchange e-mails on unclassified detailed technical subjects with anyone I can prove is a US citizen.


    Thanks for answer. I'm happy with general discussion.
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: simonbp on 10/02/2007 10:45 PM
    Higher dynamic pressure -> needs a structurally stronger nose -> a hemisphere is stronger than a biconic per unit mass?

    Simon ;)
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: antonioe on 10/04/2007 03:03 AM

    Thanks for playing "Pegasus trivial pursuit".  Jack came closest to the original design intent, although he did use a little bit of a "shotgun technique" at the end:

    Quote
    yinzer - 1/10/2007 9:22 PM Mach and alpha at max-q?

    YES!  (at least the alpha part).  When I started flying Pegasus trajectories, first on my modest 3DOF sim written in Microsoft C, then on PC-POST (1987!!!) I started seeing q-alphas (product of dynamic pressure times angle of attach) of 20,000 psf-degrees or so.  Holy Reynolds Number, Batman!  That means that even if the vehicle is aerodynamically stable, small perturbations in the airflow can cause significant aerodynamic moments, even if they are eventually counterbalanced by, say, the moment from the tail that tends to stabilize the motion.

    Now, a biconic shape has much lower drag at zero alpha, and is inmensely easier to construct.  But my fear was that at the very high q-α's, a small flow detachment would cause a major transient in the vehicle's attitude.  Also, when attached to the airplane, the rocket would NOT be at zero alpha, and the slope of the alpha/lift curve for a biconic nose shape is higher than a spherical nose, and so is its drag (that's why subsonic airliner noses are round, not pointy) so a rounded-nose Pegasus would twist the B-52's rather flexible wing less than a biconic-nose one.  And Pegasus, with is low Aspect Ratio wing, pretty lousy drag charateristics anyway (the reduced gravity losses from the wing's lift more than offsets that, though...)

    In practice, we never flew Pegasus at such ridiculous q-α's, so it  would probably have been OK if it had a biconic nose.  However, the round nose works, and you know the cardinal rule in rocketry: if it works, leave it alone!

    As it turns out, the round nose also reduces significantly the aerodynamically induce noise, esp, at high q-α's.  That, and the air launch, makes Pegasus one of the acoustically quietest, if not THE most quiet ride to space (well, I have not compared user's guides... now somebody is going to do just that and call me a liar...)  Also, it's quite volumetrically efficient...

    Now, for the shotgun part:

    Quote
    So I'd guess some combination of better heating characteristics due to the detached shock

    Oh, come on!  the benefits of detached shocks start becoming significant at high Mach numbers,  say, 10 and above!  Remember Chapman's equation... v cubed!!!

    Quote
    reduced lift forces at non-zero angles of attack,
    Yes...

    Quote
     maybe better acoustics.
    Yes, another hit...

    Quote
     I would say sacrificing transonic drag for supersonic drag
    Hmmm... yes, but mostly under the aircraft - not in free flight - and due to the non-zero alpha condition there...

    You missed "it looks cool"...

    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: Propforce on 10/04/2007 05:07 AM
    Antonio,

    A curious question on the Pegasus wing.  I appologize if you've covered this in this thread but I have not gone through the entire 20 pages of posts.  

    Why the need for delta-wing design?  Is it needed to stabilize the rocket after separation from the L1011 and before the SRM light?  I've actually hear rumor that the wing was needed for NATO treaty reason but not for technical reason.   ;)
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: yinzer on 10/04/2007 08:01 AM
    Hah!  A couple of hits from the shotgun technique isn't so bad.  Had no idea what chapman's equation was, but thanks to your mention the next time the shotgun blast will be even more accurate.

    I think I've said it before, but I think it's great that you come here and answer questions and talk about this stuff.  I learn a lot and I'm sure others do too.  I hope you keep coming back and wish you the best success in all your endeavors, especially the Taurus II or whatever it ends up being called.  LDCM is paying $124M - you gotta be able to undercut that.
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: Jim on 10/04/2007 11:35 AM
    Quote
    Propforce - 4/10/2007  1:07 AM

    Antonio,

    A curious question on the Pegasus wing.  I appologize if you've covered this in this thread but I have not gone through the entire 20 pages of posts.  

    Why the need for delta-wing design?  Is it needed to stabilize the rocket after separation from the L1011 and before the SRM light?  I've actually hear rumor that the wing was needed for NATO treaty reason but not for technical reason.   ;)

    it is for the pullup
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: antonioe on 10/04/2007 02:54 PM

    Quote
    pad rat - 4/10/2007 9:25 AM Yeah, I was told by one of our flight controls geniuses that the wing's sole purpose is to serve as the fulcrum on which the tail fins act to pitch the vehicle up.

    Oh, nonononono.... the wing is there for one thing and one thing only; LIFT.  As a matter of fact, as I mentioned earlier, the original design did NOT have one; it earned its way into the design!  That lift does two inordinately important things for Pegasus:

    It rotates the flight path angle up (or, conversely, it prevents it from going further negative after drop).  Otherwise, you would have to use rocket thrust to do that, and that would both consume a lot of precious ΔV ("turning loss") and would require a scary (over 45 degrees at significant dynamic pressure) angle of attack to accomplish it.

    Even a simple 3DOF trajectory sim will convince you that even a wing with pitiful L/D as Pegasus', if properly sized (about 0.4 g's of lift at separation conditions and reasonable alpha) more than pays for its weight and drag costs.

    I know of three alternatives to the wing (there may be others):

    1. Drop vertically (with a 'chute).  You loose a lot of altitude and most, if not all, of the productive, horizontal velocity of the carrier aircraft.
    2. Have the carrier aircraft have sufficient excess thrust to pull up to a high flight path angle before release.  My trade studies show to me that you're better off using the mass that that excess thrust costs you on a heavier rocket.
    3. Fly at scary flight path angles.  Lossy and risky.

    The original (pre-wing) design for Pegasus did (3)

    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: antonioe on 10/04/2007 02:57 PM

    Quote
    yinzer - 4/10/2007 3:01 AM LDCM is paying $124M

    For an EELV?  Actually, I think that's a bargain!!!

    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: Skyrocket on 10/04/2007 03:23 PM
    The wing discussion reminds me on Boeings "AirLaunch System" concept, which surfaced some years ago. (A winged Castor-120/Castor-120/Star-92 stack)

    In this case, the wings served mainly to lift the vehicle from the back of the B-747 carrier aircraft. The whole Wing-and-Fin assembly was to be jettisoned about five seconds after ignition.

    See https://research.maxwell.af.mil/papers/ay2004/afit/AFIT-GAE-ENY-04-M04.pdf
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: Lee Jay on 10/04/2007 04:08 PM
    Quote
    antonioe - 4/10/2007  8:54 AM
    I know of three alternatives to the wing (there may be others):

    1. Drop vertically (with a 'chute).  You loose a lot of altitude and most, if not all, of the productive, horizontal velocity of the carrier aircraft.
    2. Have the carrier aircraft have sufficient excess thrust to pull up to a high flight path angle before release.  My trade studies show to me that you're better off using the mass that that excess thrust costs you on a heavier rocket.
    3. Fly at scary flight path angles.  Lossy and risky.

    The original (pre-wing) design for Pegasus did (3)


    Is a "zoom launch" not possible with the carrier aircraft?
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: aero313 on 10/04/2007 04:22 PM
    Quote
    antonioe - 4/10/2007  10:54 AM

    Quote
    pad rat - 4/10/2007 9:25 AM Yeah, I was told by one of our flight controls geniuses that the wing's sole purpose is to serve as the fulcrum on which the tail fins act to pitch the vehicle up.

    Oh, nonononono.... the wing is there for one thing and one thing only; LIFT.  

    Come on, Antonio.  You and I both know that the wing is there so that every magazine article written after the maiden flight would start out "The distinctive delta-winged Pegasus..."  ;-)
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: antonioe on 10/04/2007 04:50 PM

    Quote
    yinzer - 4/10/2007 3:01 AM Had no idea what chapman's equation was

    Did you find a suitable tutorial on aerodynamic heat modeling?  If not, I can probably locate one for you.

    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: Propforce on 10/04/2007 05:24 PM
    Quote
    antonioe - 4/10/2007  9:50 AM

    Quote
    yinzer - 4/10/2007 3:01 AM Had no idea what chapman's equation was

    Did you find a suitable tutorial on aerodynamic heat modeling?  If not, I can probably locate one for you.


    You mean... you don't use Eckert's equations?  :o
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: Propforce on 10/04/2007 05:28 PM
    Quote
    antonioe - 4/10/2007 7:54 AM

    Oh, nonononono.... the wing is there for one thing and one thing only; LIFT.  As a matter of fact, as I mentioned earlier, the original design did NOT have one; it earned its way into the design!  That lift does two inordinately important things for Pegasus:

    It rotates the flight path angle up (or, conversely, it prevents it from going further negative after drop).  Otherwise, you would have to use rocket thrust to do that, and that would both consume a lot of precious ΔV ("turning loss") and would require a scary (over 45 degrees at significant dynamic pressure) angle of attack to accomplish it

     

    Antonio,

    Thanks for a detailed response.  It's much appreciated.

    How would your design (the Pegasus) be different if you have a supersonic carrier aircraft available?

     Also, why the L1011?  That looks like an awfully big carrier for Pegasus.  Can you do it with a smaller carrier aircraft? 

     

    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: antonioe on 10/04/2007 07:46 PM
    Quote
    aero313 - 4/10/2007 11:22 AM
    Quote
    antonioe - 4/10/2007 10:54 AM

    Quote
    pad rat - 4/10/2007 9:25 AM Yeah, I was told by one of our flight controls geniuses that the wing's sole purpose is to serve as the fulcrum on which the tail fins act to pitch the vehicle up.

    Oh, nonononono.... the wing is there for one thing and one thing only; LIFT.

    Come on, Antonio. You and I both know that the wing is there so that every magazine article written after the maiden flight would start out "The distinctive delta-winged Pegasus..." ;-)

    You remind me of a design meeting in the earlier days of X-34A when Scott Frazier, an ardent "Big Dumb Booster" proponent, accused DWT and me of wanting wings on X-34A just for its "sex appeal".  He then banged his fist on the table and proclaimed:

    "And we're engineers - we're not interested in sex"

    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: Propforce on 10/04/2007 07:51 PM
    Quote
    antonioe - 4/10/2007 12:46 PM

    You remind me of a design meeting in the earlier days of X-34A when Scott Fraser, an ardent "Big Dumb Booster" proponent, accused DWT and me of wanting wings on X-34A just for its "sex appeal".  He then banged his fist on the table and proclaimed:

    "And we're engineers - we're not interested in sex"

    I am from old school, if it doesn't look good, it probably wouldn't fly too well. 

    Also, what was the story on X-34?  I bet you have lots of good story there :cool:

     

    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: antonioe on 10/04/2007 09:44 PM

    To all my friends and colleagues I wish to extend a most sincere Sputnik day greeting.

    Fifty years ago a rocket raised from the Kazakhstan steppes to change history, policy and the very fabric of human culture.  Those of us who have made space an avocation owe a debt of respect and gratitude to those whose efforts made our present (and future) possible, and today's celebration gives us a chance to express this gratitude.

    Antonio Elias

    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: CFE on 10/05/2007 04:24 AM
    Quote
    Propforce - 4/10/2007  11:28 AM

    Quote
    antonioe - 4/10/2007 7:54 AM

    Oh, nonononono.... the wing is there for one thing and one thing only; LIFT.  As a matter of fact, as I mentioned earlier, the original design did NOT have one; it earned its way into the design!  That lift does two inordinately important things for Pegasus:

    It rotates the flight path angle up (or, conversely, it prevents it from going further negative after drop).  Otherwise, you would have to use rocket thrust to do that, and that would both consume a lot of precious ?V ("turning loss") and would require a scary (over 45 degrees at significant dynamic pressure) angle of attack to accomplish it

    Antonio,

    Thanks for a detailed response.  It's much appreciated.

    How would your design (the Pegasus) be different if you have a supersonic carrier aircraft available?

    Also, why the L1011?  That looks like an awfully big carrier for Pegasus.  Can you do it with a smaller carrier aircraft?


    From what I've read, I'm operating under the belief that the L-1011 was chosen by virtue of its tall landing gear, minimizing ground clearance issues.

    In regards to Skyrocket's post about the Boeing AirLaunch (winged Athena-2) proposal, how do you feel about launching a Pegasus-type rocket from the upper surface of the mothership?  My impression is that most engineers are highly leery of this approach.  Even if there's merit to it, I think the crash of the M-21 Blackbird during the D-21 launch is enough to scare them away.
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: Jim on 10/05/2007 12:42 PM
    L-1011 because it was available and cheap
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: Skyrocket on 10/05/2007 12:50 PM
    Quote
    Jim - 5/10/2007  2:42 PM

    L-1011 because it was available and cheap

    and because it has no centerline main undercarriage like the DC-10, MD-10, MD-11, B-747

    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: Jim on 10/05/2007 12:51 PM
    Not all DC-10's had a centerline main undercarriage
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: Skyrocket on 10/05/2007 12:52 PM
    Quote
    CFE - 5/10/2007  6:24 AM
    In regards to Skyrocket's post about the Boeing AirLaunch (winged Athena-2) proposal, how do you feel about launching a Pegasus-type rocket from the upper surface of the mothership?  My impression is that most engineers are highly leery of this approach.  Even if there's merit to it, I think the crash of the M-21 Blackbird during the D-21 launch is enough to scare them away.

    The Shuttle glide tests showed, that a deployment from the upperside is possible (although it is riskier than from the underside)

    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: Jim on 10/05/2007 12:53 PM
    Quote
    CFE - 5/10/2007  12:24 AM
     Even if there's merit to it, I think the crash of the M-21 Blackbird during the D-21 launch is enough to scare them away.

    Not really, remember orbiter-SCA?   M-21/D-21 was due to shock interaction, which is not present on the other concepts
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: Skyrocket on 10/05/2007 12:57 PM
    Quote
    Jim - 5/10/2007  2:51 PM

    Not all DC-10's had a centerline main undercarriage

    You're right. DC-10 without centerline main undercarriage would have been possible like this conversion to fight wildfires shows:
    http://www.air-and-space.com/20050617%20Victorville/DSC_1842%20DC-10-10%20N450AX%20Tanker%20Air%20Carrier%20910%20left%20side%20l.jpg
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: antonioe on 10/05/2007 01:38 PM

    You all had very good insights as to the selection of the L-1011.  By the way, our preferred approach was to continue to use DFRC's B-52, but the Center's management (at the time) made the decision that while they were glad to support "early development and use" of Pegasus they did not feel comfortable supporting "commercial operations" (a decision they would regret a short number of years later when they were struggling to justify replacement of the old B model with an H).

    When we realized we would have to aquire a carrier aircraft (or the services thereof) we let the word out to see if anybody would independently acquire such an aircraft, modify it, and lease or rent it to us, preferably "by the glass".

    We received a very small number of responses; one organization (a wealthy individual, mostly) proposed to buy a B-747SP and install a wing pylon; gave us a detailed tech presento, and it seemed feasible.  One catch though: the business deal, when translated into english, was equivalent to our funding the entire aircraft acquisition and mod through guaranteed usage, leaving him with absolutely zero risk.  What a deal (for him)!

    Dan Raymer, of AIAA design book fame, had just left (or was in the process of leaving) Lockheed Commercial and steered us towards the L-1011, performing the preliminary feasibility studies which centered on aircraft performance.  What was attractive about the L-1011 was that while still being a very capable aircraft, it was being retired in droves, which made its price very attractive.  We ended up buying an ex-Air Canada, ship number 1067, if I remember correctly (Lockheed began the L-1011 serial numbers at 1001, so our ship was the 67th off the line).  We paid $10.5M for it.  I signed the purchase contract for Orbital (the story of the purchase of the L-1011, the fun test flight with the Air Canada crew, my meeting in Murana, AZ our crew, including the legendary Bill Weaver and Johnny Lear - Bill Lear's equally famous son - will soon be an exciting episode of the "Saga of Pegasus", whenever I decide to get off my fat @$$ and resume writing it).

    It was only after we selected the L-1011 that we discovered a large number of coincidental design features that actually made the mod, at least from a structural standpoint, a lot easier than it could have been.  Amongst them was the fact that the L-1011 fuselage did not have a single KEEL LONGERON, the way the DC-10, B-747, etc. have, but TWIN "KEELSONS", that is, two longitudinal members at each side of the centerline, all along the length of the fuselage.

    And, as luck had it, the separation between these keelsons was perfect to hold the four-hook carriage assembly that held Pegasus through four rolling pins, whose separation had been designed years before the L-1011 entered the picture!!!  And I can go on...

    As I always said: the be successful, you need to be smart, work hard, and have luck.  Two out of three are insufficient.

    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: antonioe on 10/05/2007 01:53 PM

    Quote
    Skyrocket - 4/10/2007 10:23 AM The wing discussion reminds me on Boeings "AirLaunch System" concept, which surfaced some years ago.

    The graphic you show was definitely NOT produced by Boeing engineering - it looks more like a Photoshop marketing trick, where they took essentially a Pegasus and a B-747 and put one on top of each other.  Let me prove it:

    1. Pegasus' wing is mounted on the top of the rocket body to share the mechanical attachments to the carrier aircraft pylon.  On a top-mounted version, you would expect the wing to be mounted on the BOTTOM of the rocket body for precisely the same reasons.
    2. The Pegasus wing tips were clipped to fit the 22-ft wingspan limitation caused by the B-52's inboard engine nacelle (what a coincidence!  the X-15 wingspan was... 22 ft!).  On top of the 747 there is no need for that feature, yet the picture shows Pegasus-style clipped wingtips.
    3. One problem with a top mount (not the only one, alas) is that the rocket wing has to generate a LOT more lift that on a drop; in the latter case you can get by with about 0.4 g's of lift; on a top-mount you need at least 0.8 g's, and that assumes that the carrier aircraft performa a rather severe pitch-down simultaneously.  Therefore the wing of a top-mount air-launched rocket would be about twice the size, relatively speaking, of a bottom-drop one.
    4. Similarly, on a top mount, you need the rocket to have a definitely better L/D than the carrier aircraft, even if the latter deploys its gear and put on full flaps and spoilers to "dirty up" its L/D.  That would drive you to choose a much more aerodynamically efficient wing than Pegasus, with a much higher aspect ratio.  The picture's wing looks just too much like a bottom-dropped Pegasus.

    From this I deduce that the picture in question was untouched by Boeing engineering, who knows better (specifically, Dick Cervisi, whom I know and respect and who is no fool.)

    I think I also answered the question "why not mount on the top, where you don't have to mess around with ground clearance, etc".  Oh, there is also the slight complication of attaching, and then working on, a rocket many tens of feet off the ground and around some large obstacls such as wings.  You end up with a structure the size, complexity and cost of the Shuttle's Mate/Demate facility :frown:

    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: meiza on 10/05/2007 02:07 PM
    "to be successful, you need to be smart, work hard, and have luck.  Two out of three are insufficient." Is this original? Can I steal that?
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: Skyrocket on 10/05/2007 02:09 PM
    Yes, the image looks indeed like it was produced by someone, who had a idea how a winged booster (i.e. the Pegasus) looks like and what are the dimensions of a Castor-120/Castor-120 core and applied this to some 3d-Software. BTW, a Pegasus-like supersonic-capable wing would not have been making sense for this vehicle, as the Wing in this concept would have been dropped before going supersonic. A high lift subsonic wing would have been the wing of choice, if this project had been put into reality.

    Aditionally the X-37 payload might have produced some additional aerodynamic trouble.
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: antonioe on 10/05/2007 02:53 PM

    Quote
    meiza - 5/10/2007 9:07 AM "to be successful, you need to be smart, work hard, and have luck. Two out of three are insufficient." Is this original? Can I steal that?

    I think I made it up - at least I haven't heard it from anyone - but I'm willing to bet a chocolate milkshake somebody else said it before me.

    The fee for usage is 0.2 cents/repetition (plus the risk that somebody throws a bookend at you) - see my agent.

    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: antonioe on 10/05/2007 02:55 PM

    Quote
    Skyrocket - 5/10/2007 9:09 AM BTW, a Pegasus-like supersonic-capable wing would not have been making sense for this vehicle, as the Wing in this concept would have been dropped before going supersonic.

    Good catch!

    Quote
    A high lift subsonic wing would have been the wing of choice

    Agree 

    Quote
    Aditionally the X-37 payload might have produced some additional aerodynamic trouble.

    Yeah, shades of X-43... I probably would end up encapsulating it in a fairing... of course the graphic would not have looked as cool...

    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: antonioe on 10/05/2007 08:57 PM
    Quote
    Lee Jay - 4/10/2007 11:08 AM
    Quote
    antonioe - 4/10/2007 8:54 AM I know of three alternatives to the wing (there may be others):

     

    1. Drop vertically (with a 'chute). You loose a lot of altitude and most, if not all, of the productive, horizontal velocity of the carrier aircraft.
    2. Have the carrier aircraft have sufficient excess thrust to pull up to a high flight path angle before release. My trade studies show to me that you're better off using the mass that that excess thrust costs you on a heavier rocket.
    3. Fly at scary flight path angles. Lossy and risky.

    The original (pre-wing) design for Pegasus did (3)

    Is a "zoom launch" not possible with the carrier aircraft?

    Well... in a way that's a form of "excess thrust"... in any case, the flight performance that allows you to do that is better spent on making the rocket bigger, INPE ("In My Professional Experience")

    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: Propforce on 10/06/2007 06:51 AM
    Quote
    antonioe - 5/10/2007 6:38 AM

    Dan Raymer, of AIAA design book fame, had just left (or was in the process of leaving) Lockheed Commercial and steered us towards the L-1011,

    Antonio,

    Dan is teaching a course on how to design rockets now.  He's also designing a rocket (FAST) for Jess @ AFRL.

     

    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: CFE on 10/06/2007 06:54 PM
    Quote
    antonioe - 5/10/2007  8:55 AM

    Quote
    Skyrocket - 5/10/2007 9:09 AM BTW, a Pegasus-like supersonic-capable wing would not have been making sense for this vehicle, as the Wing in this concept would have been dropped before going supersonic.

    Good catch!

    Quote
    A high lift subsonic wing would have been the wing of choice

    Agree

    Quote
    Aditionally the X-37 payload might have produced some additional aerodynamic trouble.

    Yeah, shades of X-43... I probably would end up encapsulating it in a fairing... of course the graphic would not have looked as cool...


    The air-launched Athena 2 concept actually had a page on the Boeing website in the 2002 time frame.  I've got every reason to believe that Boeing studied the concept, but the comments make me suspect that the pictures were generated by Boeing's art department with little consulting of the engineering staff.
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: antonioe on 10/06/2007 10:49 PM
    Quote
    Propforce - 6/10/2007 1:51 AM
    Quote
    antonioe - 5/10/2007 6:38 AM

    Dan Raymer, of AIAA design book fame, had just left (or was in the process of leaving) Lockheed Commercial and steered us towards the L-1011,

    Antonio,

    Dan is teaching a course on how to design rockets now.  He's also designing a rocket (FAST) for Jess @ AFRL.

     

    DAN designing a ROCKET???!!! Gee, perhaps I should start designing aircraft... ;)

    (If you see him, tell him I said "hi")

    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: tnphysics on 10/11/2007 09:59 PM
    Are you considering a cryogenic upper stage for Taurus 2? It would allow EELV-class payloads to be lifted.

    This would replace the solid and storable upper stages.

    Also, would the first stage be SSTO capable?
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: antonioe on 10/12/2007 02:29 AM

    Quote
    tnphysics - 11/10/2007 4:59 PM Are you considering a cryogenic upper stage for Taurus 2?

    I would LOVE to!  A nice, "mini-centaur" based on a single RL-10... yummy! Unfortunately, my peers think it's asking too much for us to go to a large LOX-kerosene CORE AND a cryo US in one step... they are probably right.  So we are currently keeping this idea in the freezer (freezer... cryo.. get it?  get it?) as a "planned (ahem!) product improvement".

    Quote
    It would allow EELV-class payloads to be lifted

    Well... not quite... but it will allow us to launch our own mid-class GeoComs (the so-called "StarBus" class).  Now, whether it would be cost-competitive with Soyuz or Land Launch is another matter...

    Quote
    Also, would the first stage be SSTO capable?

    Not even close.

    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: tnphysics on 10/13/2007 10:57 PM
    Thanks for answering my questions Antonio!

    Will the Taurus 2/Cygnus first stage be reusable?

    Would that be an upgrade?

    Could it launch from CCAFS and land at a airport across the Atlantic; e.g. a TAL site?

    And why did you (OSC) go with a solid upper stage? I would assume it is due to experiance, but I am not sure of that.

    I assume the third stage will use a single AJ-10 engine.
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: Jim on 10/13/2007 11:38 PM
    no, no, no and no to AJ-10
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: antonioe on 10/13/2007 11:43 PM

    Quote
    Jim - 13/10/2007 6:38 PM no, no, no and no to AJ-10

    Correct.  F=1.0 ma (on the first two no's)

    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: CFE on 10/14/2007 05:21 AM
    My biggest concern about Orbital's Cygnus is the pricing strategy.  Assuming that the EELV's ramp up production to meet the demand for launches in the Delta II class, there will likely be a decrease in the EELV prices.  Can Orbital still compete on the basis of cost?

    I believe that Orbital can go toe-to-toe with the EELV's, but it will require Orbital to eat the development costs of Cygnus.  Orbital doesn't have a level playing field here, because the American taxpayers played a big role in subsidizing EELV development.  Cygnus will likely be developed solely on Orbital's own dime.  There's also the risk of the ULA monopoly selling EELV's at a loss, just to keep Cygnus off the market.
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: Jim on 10/14/2007 01:00 PM
    Quote
    CFE - 14/10/2007  1:21 AM

    .  There's also the risk of the ULA monopoly selling EELV's at a loss, just to keep Cygnus off the market.

    This won't happen
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: antonioe on 10/14/2007 05:29 PM

    Quote
    CFE - 14/10/2007 12:21 AM My biggest concern about Orbital's Cygnus is the pricing strategy.

    Well, yes, that's my concern, too... that is why we are working so hard to control the program's fixed cost - so that a couple of years at two launches each doesn't kill us.  We could probably sell 7920-class Cygnuses around $75M and still be a very interesting alternative to the $125M A-V 401, but I consider that our "insurance policy"... better aim for $55-$60M at this point... things always end up costing more than you predict...

    Quote
    Assuming that the EELV's ramp up production to meet the demand for launches in the Delta II class, there will likely be a decrease in the EELV prices.

    That increase would have to be substantial - and if it happens, it would also allow Orbital to decrease its prices - so we all move in parallel.  Now, if Delta II's could still be had for $85m-$90M in the 2011-2012 time frame, Orbital would be ordering Delta II's, not developing Cygnus!!!

    Quote
    Can Orbital still compete on the basis of cost?

    I think that ceteris paribus (i.e., reliability, customer handholding, etc.) we can be a good 20% lower cost than ULA for the same work contents based on our small industrial footprint and sharing of program office, GSE and key suppliers with Orbital's other orbital and suborbital products (even spacecraft - the Orbital Raising Kit - or "ORK" Hey!  I just gave out a new piece of Cygnus data! - is based on the StarBus Apogee Propulsion System).  ULA, in constrast, appears to me to be more of a business "closed control volume".  Also, being able to manufacture EELV-class vehicles (not as trivial as Musk makes it sound) does come at a cost. 

    Quote
    it will require Orbital to eat the development costs of Cygnus.

    Well, hopefully the customers will end up paying it over a number of flights... Orbital is FINANCING the development... although it is true that thanks to the crazyness of GAAP ("Generaly Acceptable Accounting Principles") development costs cannot be capitalized, so they are expensed the year they are incurred... so, as far as our financials are concerned, yes, this cost will show as lower earnings per share in 2007, 2008 and 2009... when the tide turns, every penny of profit is reported as "earnings" by GAAP, even though, in reality, some of it is just making up for your prior investment.  that is why Pegasus appears to be so profitable now.

    It's like "Net Operating Losses" carryover - since we lost our shirts in 1999 and 2000, we haven't been paying a cent (well almost...) in corporate income taxes recently - yet, according to GAAP, we sitll have to pretend that we pay 40% taxes... that's why we seem to have so much cash and so little Retained Earnings...

    To summarize - I can design a rocket - that's easy!  But I cannot understand Generally Acceptable Accounting Principles...

    Quote
     Orbital doesn't have a level playing field here

    -I HOPE SO!... 

    Quote
    because the American taxpayers played a big role in subsidizing EELV development.

    Yes but we are NOT competing with EELV... the $125M that NASA is paying for an A-V 401 is net of that subsidy - it would be very hard for a 401 to go much below this price in the future, or else NASA would be manifesting all of their future Mid-size launches on 401's (a very fine LV, if I may say so!  Mike Gass, John Karas and their team are to be admired and congratulated.)

    Quote
    There's also the risk of the ULA monopoly selling EELV's at a loss, just to keep Cygnus off the market.

    No - that would require ULA to take an enormous risk - once you lower the price to the USG, you're stuck with it even if Orbital/Cygnus goes away.  LM and Boeing already gave A LOT at the EELV blood drive.  I don't think JoAnn and Roger are paid their outrageous salaries to take that kind of risks.  If anybody would benefit from keeping Cygnus "off the market" it would be the poor USAF EELV Program Element Monitors, that have to keep coming back for more...

    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: pippin on 10/15/2007 07:35 AM
    How about a switch to IFRS?
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: kevin-rf on 10/15/2007 11:43 AM
    Quote
    pippin - 15/10/2007  3:35 AM

    How about a switch to IFRS?

    I thought GAAP was a SEC requirement for public companies.
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: pippin on 10/15/2007 12:29 PM
    I thought you have the choice, these days? Or is this one of these "Rest of World except US" things?
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: antonioe on 10/15/2007 10:36 PM

    AFAIK if you are publicly traded in the US the SEC requires you to report annually (Form 10K) and quarterly (form 10K) following the stardards set up by the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB), as codified in the General Aceptable Accounting Principles (GAAP)

    I'm out of my league here, though... anybody out there knows the real answer?

    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: on 10/15/2007 11:28 PM
    Quote
    antonioe - 4/10/2007  9:54 AM ... the wing is there for one thing and one thing only; LIFT.  As a matter of fact, as I mentioned earlier, the original design did NOT have one; it earned its way into the design!  That lift does two inordinately important things for Pegasus:

    It rotates the flight path angle up (or, conversely, it prevents it from going further negative after drop).  Otherwise, you would have to use rocket thrust to do that, and that would both consume a lot of precious ΔV ("turning loss") and would require a scary (over 45 degrees at significant dynamic pressure) angle of attack to accomplish it.

    ... 

    What about AirLaunch LLC's drop method with a strategically placed/sized drogue chute?

    Does the net lift of the wing  generate that much advantage over the vertical thrust necessary to make up for the drop?

    -NofC

    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: on 10/16/2007 12:11 AM
    Quote
    antonioe - 15/10/2007  5:36 PM  

    AFAIK if you are publicly traded in the US the SEC requires you to report annually (Form 10K) and quarterly (form 10K) following the stardards set up by the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB), as codified in the General Aceptable Accounting Principles (GAAP)

    I'm out of my league here, though... anybody out there knows the real answer?

    FASB is the requirement, SOX is the letter of the law, and GAAP is the rhetoric that attempts to explain it.

    Accounting works by peculiar definitions and classifications. In the 70's, so-called "creative accounting"  practices allowed substantial reinterpretation of prior rigid terms. Most top execs decide deals based on how the accounting can be interpreted - they ask their CFO's to "tell the story" of the deal in various acceptable ways, til they find one that works best.

    What you outlined in your prior post depends on how contracts and commitments actually read, just what needs to be capitalized / expensed.  Often the trouble is that you need to know too much of the future to accurately explain the appropriate accounting structures appropriately, which is one of the hallmarks of a great CFO.

    Another observation is that with government incentives (or "subsidies") one has a much wider field of accounting treatments/strategies. The penalty, however, is you are *locked* to said government programs - which may make life difficult for a mid-sized firm (e.g. something smaller than a Lockheed or Boeing). From what I see, Orbital is an excellent performer in its sector, so most of this is at the noise level.

    Wouldn't characterize Orbital's LV business as anything near EELV.  Nor would it be smart to compete with SpaceX F9 - which is a desperation play - either they win or they die. You can't take that kind of risk and be prudent with public shareholders. Yet upgrading LV capabilities is necessary to being competitive, and one can incrementally execute on a long term roadmap  that leads one in the direction of F9/EELV - that's extremely prudent and responsible. Since F1 is being stretched out over years, F9 likely will also, so perhaps in the end by incrementally improving competitively, Orbital does as well in the end while not pissing off the Street.

    Not as sexy as Elon's "frontal attack", but much more attractive to an institutional investor.

    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: Skyrocket on 10/16/2007 06:33 AM
    Quote
    Skyrocket - 29/9/2007  12:44 AM

    Quote
    antonioe - 28/9/2007  9:18 PM

    Quote
    Skyrocket - 28/9/2007 11:11 AM

    If i remember correctly, in the early 90ies 'Cygnus' was also the name of a proposed ground launched, wingless Pegasus.

    From Orbital???!!!

    I remember reading a report in (i think) Flight International at this time about OSC planning a wingless Pegasus version. Unfortunately i do not have a copy of it. Never heared about it again, but the report mentioned about half of the Pegasus payload performance and the Name Cygnus.


    Concerning this earlier incarnation of the Cygnus name for a ground launched Pegasus version, i found a usenet posting citing from a Orbital prospectus from 1992
    http://groups.google.com/group/sci.space/browse_thread/thread/2cdb6ec133f1e90d/4eae6420a7be501f?hl=en&lnk=st&q=osc+pegasus+cygnus#4eae6420a7be501f

    Quote
    During 1989, OSC conducted design and analysis work on another Pegasus-derived
    ground-launched vehicle called Cygnus.  The Company currently expects that
    the Cygnus vehicle will be similar to the Pegasus vehicle, except for the
    elimination of the Pegasus vehicle's wing and certain other minor
    modifications relating to ground-launched capability.  Cygnus is expected
    to use the ground-transportable pad and support equipment being developed
    for Taurus or the Starbird suborbital launch vehicle's permanent ground
    support equipment.  Lacking the air-launched and aerodynamic lift-assisted
    characteristics of Pegasus, Cygnus would provide approximately one-half
    the payload capacity of Pegasus.  However, Cygnus is intended to meet
    requirements of certain scientific and international users whose special
    needs dictate ground-launched vehicle.  Cygnus is in the early design stage,
    no prototype exists and no contracts for Cygnus launch services have
    been obtained to date.
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: aero313 on 10/16/2007 03:09 PM
    Quote
    Skyrocket - 16/10/2007  2:33 AM

    Quote
    Skyrocket - 29/9/2007  12:44 AM

    Quote
    antonioe - 28/9/2007  9:18 PM

    Quote
    Skyrocket - 28/9/2007 11:11 AM

    If i remember correctly, in the early 90ies 'Cygnus' was also the name of a proposed ground launched, wingless Pegasus.

    From Orbital???!!!

    I remember reading a report in (i think) Flight International at this time about OSC planning a wingless Pegasus version. Unfortunately i do not have a copy of it. Never heared about it again, but the report mentioned about half of the Pegasus payload performance and the Name Cygnus.


    Concerning this earlier incarnation of the Cygnus name for a ground launched Pegasus version, i found a usenet posting citing from a Orbital prospectus from 1992
    http://groups.google.com/group/sci.space/browse_thread/thread/2cdb6ec133f1e90d/4eae6420a7be501f?hl=en&lnk=st&q=osc+pegasus+cygnus#4eae6420a7be501f

    Quote
    During 1989, OSC conducted design and analysis work on another Pegasus-derived
    ground-launched vehicle called Cygnus.  The Company currently expects that
    the Cygnus vehicle will be similar to the Pegasus vehicle, except for the
    elimination of the Pegasus vehicle's wing and certain other minor
    modifications relating to ground-launched capability.  Cygnus is expected
    to use the ground-transportable pad and support equipment being developed
    for Taurus or the Starbird suborbital launch vehicle's permanent ground
    support equipment.  Lacking the air-launched and aerodynamic lift-assisted
    characteristics of Pegasus, Cygnus would provide approximately one-half
    the payload capacity of Pegasus.  However, Cygnus is intended to meet
    requirements of certain scientific and international users whose special
    needs dictate ground-launched vehicle.  Cygnus is in the early design stage,
    no prototype exists and no contracts for Cygnus launch services have
    been obtained to date.

    This was a Chandler design.  Performance was something like 100 lbs to LEO.  Ironically, this vehicle became the GMD booster.
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: antonioe on 10/16/2007 07:18 PM
    Quote
    nobodyofconsequence - 15/10/2007 6:28 PM

    What about AirLaunch LLC's drop method with a strategically placed/sized drogue chute?

    Does the net lift of the wing generate that much advantage over the vertical thrust necessary to make up for the drop?

    -NofC

    Early (1987) Pegasus simulation runs said YES in a BIG WAY!!! By the way, this is not obvious.  My first concept used rocket thrust instead of aero lift.  But lift wins even with pretty miserable L/D's like the Pegasus wing's.  Also, including the mass of the wing and wing attachments (partially offset if you need some form of attachments anyway, such as for an external mount).

    If anyone has run simulations that show the opposite trade result, I'd be interested in seeing them.

    The advantages of wing lift over rocket thrust are more pronounced for relatively low T/W configurations (e.g., liquid stage 1), less for higher T/W cofigs, such as Pegasus.  It is worth noting that the wing won even in a Pegasus-style, high T/W configuration!

    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: antonioe on 10/16/2007 07:30 PM
    Quote
    aero313 - 16/10/2007 10:09 AM

    Quote
    Skyrocket - 28/9/2007 11:11 AM

    If i remember correctly, in the early 90ies 'Cygnus' was also the name of a proposed ground launched, wingless Pegasus.

    This was a Chandler design. Performance was something like 100 lbs to LEO. Ironically, this vehicle became the GMD booster.

    Thanks, Joe.  Yes, Chandler in the the early 90's, under Steve F.'s leadership, indeed "marched to the beat of a different drummer" than the rest of Orbital... 

    Quote
    Skyrocket - 16/10/2007 2:33 AM Concerning this earlier incarnation of the Cygnus name for a ground launched Pegasus version, i found a usenet posting citing from a Orbital prospectus from 1992 http://groups.google.com/group/sci.space/browse_thread/thread/2cdb6ec133f1e90d/4eae6420a7be501f?hl=en&lnk=st&q=osc+pegasus+cygnus#4eae6420a7be501f

    Actually, that 1990 (!) thread exposes a unique and nowadays rarely-seen view of Orbital's history.  Those that follow so-called "new space" would be very well advised to read that fascinating thread... they may find some striking paralells with what Musk and others are trying to do today; what happened to Orbital after those days is a lesson for all of us (including those of us at Orbital that lived it - we tend to forget our own lessons...)

    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: simonbp on 10/16/2007 08:12 PM
    In that thread, it mentions "Prometheus", a solar-electric LEO-to-GEO transfer stage; did anything ever come of that?

    Would it even work in practice?

    Simon ;)
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: antonioe on 10/16/2007 08:37 PM

    Quote
    simonbp - 16/10/2007 3:12 PM In that thread, it mentions "Prometheus", a solar-electric LEO-to-GEO transfer stage; did anything ever come of that?

    I'm afraid not.  But we ended up building DAWN, which has a pretty sizeable JPL -designed and -supplied electric propulsion system!!!

    Quote
     Would it even work in practice? Simon ;)

    Technically, yes; for commercial GEOs, the economic trade (recurring cost vs. extra life on station for the same launch mass, vs. increased radiation exposure in the belts, vs. longer time to be placed in service, &tc, &tc) does not work out.

    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: Seer on 10/16/2007 09:16 PM
    Quote
    antonioe - 16/10/2007  3:37 PM

    Quote
    simonbp - 16/10/2007 3:12 PM In that thread, it mentions "Prometheus", a solar-electric LEO-to-GEO transfer stage; did anything ever come of that?

    I'm afraid not.  But we ended up building DAWN, which has a pretty sizeable JPL -designed and -supplied electric propulsion system!!!

    Quote
    Would it even work in practice? Simon ;)

    Technically, yes; for commercial GEOs, the economic trade (recurring cost vs. extra life on station for the same launch mass, vs. increased radiation exposure in the belts, vs. longer time to be placed in service, &tc, &tc) does not work out.


    If you had a reusable LV , say a Kistler K1, would the business case for a Prometheus type system close?
    Or would it still make more sense to use an Orbital Transfer Stage? I.e, an expendible?
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: antonioe on 10/17/2007 12:41 AM

    Quote
    Seer - 16/10/2007 4:16 PM If you had a reusable LV , say a Kistler K1, would the business case for a Prometheus type system close? Or would it still make more sense to use an Orbital Transfer Stage? I.e, an expendible?

    I suspect that from an economic standpoint, the advantages of a high-performance electric transfer stage would still be overcome by the disadvantages I mentioned earlier, irregardless of the type of LV used to place it in parking or near-parking orbit.

    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: NotGncDude on 10/18/2007 01:50 AM
    Quote
    antonioe - 16/10/2007  3:30 PM

    Quote
    aero313 - 16/10/2007 10:09 AM

    Quote
    Skyrocket - 28/9/2007 11:11 AM

    If i remember correctly, in the early 90ies 'Cygnus' was also the name of a proposed ground launched, wingless Pegasus.

    This was a Chandler design. Performance was something like 100 lbs to LEO. Ironically, this vehicle became the GMD booster.

    Thanks, Joe.  Yes, Chandler in the the early 90's, under Steve F.'s leadership, indeed "marched to the beat of a different drummer" than the rest of Orbital... 


    Chandler?
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: tnphysics on 10/18/2007 01:56 AM
    Quote
    antonioe - 11/10/2007  10:29 PM

    Quote
    tnphysics - 11/10/2007 4:59 PM Are you considering a cryogenic upper stage for Taurus 2?

    I would LOVE to!  A nice, "mini-centaur" based on a single RL-10... yummy! Unfortunately, my peers think it's asking too much for us to go to a large LOX-kerosene CORE AND a cryo US in one step... they are probably right.  So we are currently keeping this idea in the freezer (freezer... cryo.. get it?  get it?) as a "planned (ahem!) product improvement".

    Quote
    It would allow EELV-class payloads to be lifted

    Well... not quite... but it will allow us to launch our own mid-class GeoComs (the so-called "StarBus" class).  Now, whether it would be cost-competitive with Soyuz or Land Launch is another matter...

    Quote
    Also, would the first stage be SSTO capable?

    Not even close.


    Land Launch can lift much larger payloads (over 16 metric tons) if the third stage is deleted.
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: Jim on 10/18/2007 11:45 AM
    Quote
    GncDude - 17/10/2007  9:50 PM


    Chandler?

    OSC has a production facility in Chandler, AZ.  It was from the acquisition of Space Vector Corp, I believe
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: on 10/18/2007 04:44 PM
    Quote
    antonioe - 16/10/2007  2:18 PM  
    Quote
    nobodyofconsequence - 15/10/2007 6:28 PM

    What about AirLaunch LLC's drop method with a strategically placed/sized drogue chute?

    Does the net lift of the wing generate that much advantage over the vertical thrust necessary to make up for the drop?

    -NofC

    Early (1987) Pegasus simulation runs said YES in a BIG WAY!!! By the way, this is not obvious....

    I quite agree. Wings on boosters are a peculiar concept. Pegasus is in a very exclusive category. What's ironic about it is that most add wings for recovery ... yet its expendable.

    But getting back to my first question - you didn't have the AirLaunch drop method in your list of alternatives - what about it?

    -NofC

    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: edkyle99 on 10/18/2007 06:20 PM
    Quote
    antonioe - 13/9/2007  7:25 PM

    O.K., gang, here we go:

    Ron Grabe, who heads our Launch Systems Group (LSG) was conned into participating in an panel at the AIAA Space 2007 meeting next week in Long Beach ...
    I gave Ron a couple of VUGraphs ... The picture shows T II next to the lineup of Orbital's space and large subspace rockets, approximately at the same relative scale.  ...


    Seeing drawings of the 1990s-era "Taurus II" proposal, over at:

    http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/forums/thread-view.asp?tid=10279&posts=13&mid=198249#M198249

    has me wondering.  Have any Taurus II/Cygnus sketches made public appearances to date?

     - Ed Kyle
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: antonioe on 10/19/2007 03:07 AM

    Quote
    edkyle99 - 18/10/2007 1:20 PMHave any Taurus II/Cygnus sketches made public appearances to date? - Ed Kyle

    Not yet; among other things, part of the configuration (stage 2/3 details, the all-important ;)  fairing shape) have not been settled yet. Lots of details on Stage 1 guts.  Steffy's team is so focused on hard-core engineering that we are not spending any time of fancy graphics, 3-D renditions, etc.

    We have detailed Stage 1 propellant, valving and pneumatic schematics, but only a very crude configuration sketch!  Brian Winters, the Stage 1 lead (formely the X-34 propulsion lead) must be in pig heaven!  Topic of the day: how to unload all the Stage 1 propellant in less than 40 minutes...

     

     

    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: tnphysics on 10/19/2007 03:11 AM
    Why would that be needed? Emergency?
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: antonioe on 10/19/2007 03:21 AM

    The fast unloading?  No, the idea is not to have access to the upper part of the vehicle when erected (access only at the level of the base).  So if you have to, say, fool around with the payload, you must lower the vehicle and roll it back into the final assembly shed.  Zenit does it in less than three hours.  Payloaders love it: you can work on the satellite at ground level, indoors, without having to worry about "thunderstorms in the vicinity of the launch pad" stuff...

    But to do it, the vehicle must be designed to accomodate those operations... things such as unloading props in 40 minutes (you can't lower the vehicle loaded...)

    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: Cretan126 on 10/25/2007 01:46 AM

    Jim,

    Actually, about 90% of Orbital's Launch Systems Group is based in Chandler - it is a bit more than just a production facility.  It was part of the acquisition, circa 1990, of Space Data Corporation by Orbital (not Space Vector) that Antonio referred to earlier.  Other than Pegasus and Taurus (and Taurus II, apparently), all other launch vehicle programs are run out of Chandler

    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: antonioe on 10/25/2007 02:56 AM
    Quote
    Cretan126 - 24/10/2007 8:46 PM

    Jim,

    Actually, about 90% of Orbital's Launch Systems Group is based in Chandler - it is a bit more than just a production facility.  It was part of the acquisition, circa 1990, of Space Data Corporation by Orbital (not Space Vector) that Antonio referred to earlier.  Other than Pegasus and Taurus (and Taurus II, apparently), all other launch vehicle programs are run out of Chandler

    Right you are - 40%-45% of the Orbital staff work in Chandler - half of them (more or less) "engineers" and "scientists" (the latter being more of a rank or title that a job description - mostly they do what we would call engineering...) about 45%-50% at Dulles, the rest in various other locations, including Maryland (Greenbelt and Wallops I.) and California (VAFB).

    Taurus II/Cygnus (alas! the T II monicker is starting to gell... when General Susan Helms call it "Taurus II" you start wondering...) is being designed by a combined Dulles/Chandler team.

    Program Director Dave Steffy, Chief Engineer Mike Dorsch, Deputy PM Kurt Eberly, Stage 1 Manager Brian Winters and about 10-15 more people are at Dulles (actually at a luxurious off-site location dubbed "COSTCO View Estates" by Dave Steffy).

    Deputy PM Mike Laidley (former Minotaur PM) and his staff of about 10 are at Chandler, responsible for the Upper Stage, Avionics, Structures (including fairing), Ordnance, specialty engineering (e.g., aero) and EGSE.  Needless to say, these numbers will swell to about 50-60 after December.

    MGSE, contracts, sales (Bob Richards, who "owns" the product) and vehicle integration is based at Dulles.  For the first 5 or so flights, the program is managed out of Advanced Programs Group (yours truly), after that, from Launch Systems Group (Ron Grabe).  Similar to what we did with Pegasus 20 years ago.

    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: aero313 on 10/25/2007 09:23 PM
    Quote
    GncDude - 17/10/2007  9:50 PM

    Quote
    antonioe - 16/10/2007  3:30 PM

    Quote
    aero313 - 16/10/2007 10:09 AM

    Quote
    Skyrocket - 28/9/2007 11:11 AM

    If i remember correctly, in the early 90ies 'Cygnus' was also the name of a proposed ground launched, wingless Pegasus.

    This was a Chandler design. Performance was something like 100 lbs to LEO. Ironically, this vehicle became the GMD booster.

    Thanks, Joe.  Yes, Chandler in the the early 90's, under Steve F.'s leadership, indeed "marched to the beat of a different drummer" than the rest of Orbital...


    Chandler?

    Arizona
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: aero313 on 10/25/2007 09:31 PM
    Quote
    antonioe - 24/10/2007  10:56 PM

    Taurus II/Cygnus (alas! the T II monicker is starting to gell... )


    I though Orbital had finally learned the trick of reusing the name of an existing program to simplify the range approval process.  Ask your new Lockmart friends why every Martin Marietta launch vehicle was named "Titan".  For that matter, even the Chandler folks learned that trick when the demo GMD booster was named "Taurus Lite".
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: Skyrocket on 10/25/2007 10:51 PM
    Quote
    aero313 - 25/10/2007  11:31 PM
    Ask your new Lockmart friends why every Martin Marietta launch vehicle was named "Titan".  

    Just nitpicking: this launch vehicle must be a "Titan-2AS" (take a look at the company name)

    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: antonioe on 10/26/2007 03:07 AM
    O.K., O.K. white flag... I give up... how about "Taurus II XL - superAS"????
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: simonbp on 10/27/2007 02:07 AM
    Quote
    Skyrocket - 25/10/2007  3:51 PM

    Quote
    aero313 - 25/10/2007  11:31 PM
    Ask your new Lockmart friends why every Martin Marietta launch vehicle was named "Titan".  

    Just nitpicking: this launch vehicle must be a "Titan-2AS" (take a look at the company name)

    It still applies; Atlas II was basically a completely new rocket, but they kept the same name they'd been using since 1951...

    Simon ;)
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: Jim on 10/27/2007 02:31 PM
    Not really.   It was Atlas III and V
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: tnphysics on 10/27/2007 05:33 PM
    Could Cygnus have a flyback first stage? Will the third stage be used for all missions, or for high energy missions only?
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: antonioe on 10/27/2007 06:36 PM

    Quote
    tnphysics - 27/10/2007 12:33 PM Could Cygnus have a flyback first stage? Will the third stage be used for all missions, or for high energy missions only?

    No, no reuseability of any kind.  As I mentioned in previous pontifications, reuseability only pays off at a launch rate of 50-60 a year (for full reuseability).  We are talking 2 to 5 flights a year here, with luck!

    No, expendables win hands down in this case...

    There isn't a real "third stage" - the second stage has a big solid that gets separated, then a bipropellant low-thrust system takes over for orbital maneuvering, but it has way way less than 1/3 of the total ΔV capability of the stack (a "true" third stage would have about 1/3 of the total ΔV - on Cygnus, the combination of the solid and the biprop has about 1/2 of the total ΔV, so together they form kind of a second stage, except you DO stage the solid... sometimes the realities of what is available makes you do things different from "normal" designs...)

    For missions where the accuracy of the final velocity of the orbital injection does not matter so much because "something else" (such as the the satellite's propulsion system) takes care of the precision, you can eliminate the biprop altogether.  A good example would be an escape (C3 >= 0) mission where a Star 48 replaces the biprop for an added "kick" to a much smaller payload.

    For example, Cygnus is now showing a LEO payload in excess of 5,000 Kg, but only 1,000 Kg payload to C3=10 Km2/sec2, and this requires replacing the biprop with a Star 48.  Now, in THIS case the Star 48 DOES behave like a third stage (its ΔV is closer to being 1/3 of the total).

    "Stagehood is in the eye of the bedesigner"

    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: tnphysics on 10/27/2007 07:14 PM

    Why not use the biprop for a large part of the delta-V? It has better performance than the solid.

    The first stage providing half of the delta-V makes sense because it has the highest Isp.

    What fraction of the delta-V does stage 3 currently provide?

    Which hypergolic propellants are used by stage 3?

    Funny line you created.  :laugh:

    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: tnphysics on 10/27/2007 07:25 PM
    What if you started to run out of NK-33 engines?

    What is/will be the name of the stage engine? Is it new or not?

    What is/will be the name of the stage 2 motor. Is it new?
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: antonioe on 10/28/2007 01:23 PM
    Quote
    tnphysics - 27/10/2007 2:14 PM

    Why not use the biprop for a large part of the delta-V? It has better performance than the solid.

    We can't find a biprop with the thrust and duration needed to do that.

    Quote
    The first stage providing half of the delta-V makes sense because it has the highest Isp.

    The rule of thumb that sez "give the stage with the highest Isp most of the ΔV" works only for "rubber components", i.e., where you can arbitrarily specify the thrust, thrust duration, etc. of the propulsive units.  If you have to work with what's available, you have to break the rules of thumb.

    Quote
    What fraction of the delta-V does stage 3 currently provide?

    As I said before, we don't really have a true "Stage 3".  But if you are asking "what fraction of the ΔV does the biprop subsystem provide", the answer is: for low-altitude, high-payload missions, probably about 10%.  For higher-altitude, low-payload missions, more.

    Quote
    Which hypergolic propellants are used by stage 3?

    We are stealing that system from StarBus, so - N2O4 and Hydrazine;  that's what everybody tries to use these days...

    Quote
    Funny line you created. :laugh:

    Uh? Which one?  I try to create as many funny lines as I can (keeping mental sanity and all that, you know...)

    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: antonioe on 10/28/2007 01:38 PM

    Quote
    tnphysics - 27/10/2007 2:25 PM What if you started to run out of NK-33 engines

    The question is not IF, but WHEN.  The answer is we start building them here in the good 'ol USA.  But we have a few years to get ready for that - if the 60 units or so run out in less than 10 years, we will be swimming in cash.  Reality is, it will take more than 10 years to go through 60 units (30 flights...) so we have plenty of time to get ready.

    It may take as much money to qualify the US-built NK-33's as to develop Taurus II (not because qualifying US-build NK-33's costs a lot, but because we are developing Taurus II with very, VERY little money... about $150M)

    So, in the spirit of "fund a little - develop a little (and wait for customers to buy a little)", we are waiting until we burn about 50% of the NK-33 inventory before funding THAT part. 

    Quote
     What is/will be the name of the stage engine? which stage? Is it new or not?

    Which stage?  You mean the biprop?  It's a Japanese (IHI) unit... we use IHI biprops on all our StarBuses as the Apogee propulsion unit...

    Quote
    What is/will be the name of the stage 2 motor. Is it new?

    Yes, but it's being developed by somebody else, so I can't talk about it until the other party agrees we can do so...

    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: antonioe on 10/28/2007 02:08 PM

    Did I mention that Dan Tani, who is going to be "up there" for a while, worked several years at Orbital?  He worked on the Transfer Orbit Stage (TOS) and was our Test Conductor during the Mars Observer launch on Sep 25, 1992 (a day I remember very well - I was the Orbital senior at our control room at the Cape - I ate a whole jar of Planter's shelled peanuts while on-console and gained 5 lbs - aero313 was the Chief Engineer, if I remember correctly... Joe?).

    The Titan 34D carrying M.O. atop our TOS was the FIRST launch from the newly-refurbished LC-40, sporting the world's heaviest structure to move on land (the Titan-IV sized, 6,000 tons Service Structure!!)  The service structure was so heavy, as a matter of fact, that its motion disturbed the alignement of the TOS IMU, almost causing a scrub!  Also, the Service Structure interfered with the umbilical tower, so the Martin-Marietta guys used a HYDRAULIC JACK to deform the unbilical tower in place!!!  The Titan 34D barely reached two-thirds of the way up...

    That great behemoth is no more.  LC-40 was designed to launch a Titan "every 15 to 19 days"... today, with the great structure gone, LC-40 is a wasteland.

    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: Seer on 10/28/2007 07:12 PM
    Antonio, on a completely unrelated question ...do you think a leo broadband system, like Teledesic, will ever be deployed?
     Or have geo based systems won the day? (I would've thought that globalization would boost the case for leo systems.)


    Also, would Orbital ever get into that business again - operating a constellation, like they did with Orbcomm?

    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: antonioe on 10/29/2007 02:45 AM

    Quote
    Seer - 28/10/2007 3:12 PM Antonio, on a completely unrelated question ...do you think a leo broadband system, like Teledesic, will ever be deployed? Or have geo based systems won the day? (I would've thought that globalization would boost the case for leo systems.)

    Well, recent technical developments include dramatic lowering of the cost of extremely-high-frequency components (thank you, cell phones and WiFi), which could enable much tighter spot beams from "Up high", tilting the playing field towards Geos.  One of the arguments for, say, ORBCOMM was that LEOs allowed the use of smaller, lower frequency, lower power and cheaper user units.  That may not be valid any more (for example, the size of the ANTENNA now becomes a big factor!)

    I think Thuraya is an example on how that thinking has changed.

    Quote
    Also, would Orbital ever get into that business again - operating a constellation, like they did with Orbcomm?

    I don't think so... I can see some Orbital people (even DWT!) leaving Orbital and starting a "spinoff" to do that, but not within the current financial structure... Wall Street abandoned our "dot com" image eight years ago (and rightly so!) so now we are, mostly "the pure play aerospace company that has the highest growth potential".

    I can see, however, Orbital operating a constellation for somebody else!

    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: CFE on 10/30/2007 11:34 PM
    Quote
    antonioe - 28/10/2007  9:08 AM

    That great behemoth is no more.  LC-40 was designed to launch a Titan "every 15 to 19 days"... today, with the great structure gone, LC-40 is a wasteland.

    Now that SpaceX has the site, I hope they can have better luck.  They obviously requested it because it would be beefy enough to handle an F9 Heavy.

    As far as Taurus-2 development costs are concerned, you can count me as being very impressed with the fiscal discipline being practiced at Orbital.  I saw a similar statement in Space News and thought that you guys had to be on to something if you've gone this far down the Taurus-2 development path.  Hopefully the "Taurus-2" moniker will die by this December if the program goes ahead.
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: vt_hokie on 10/30/2007 11:46 PM
    While neither LEO nor GEO, Globalstar is apparently still chugging along and renewing its fleet.  I haven't followed it closely, and I certainly don't know where the money is coming from, but I guess there must be demand from somebody!
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: antonioe on 10/31/2007 12:52 AM

    Quote
    CFE - 30/10/2007 7:34 PM

    Hopefully the "Taurus-2" moniker will die by this December if the program goes ahead.

    Amen, brother!!!  Problem is, it's starting to solidify faster than anybody thought...

    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: antonioe on 10/31/2007 12:55 AM

    Quote
    vt_hokie - 30/10/2007 7:46 PM While neither LEO nor GEO, Globalstar is apparently still chugging along and renewing its fleet. I haven't followed it closely, and I certainly don't know where the money is coming from, but I guess there must be demand from somebody!

    Yeah... exactly what we are wondering... we're keeping an eye on Globalstar and even good 'ol Orbcomm, but it's hard to compete with the Ukranians... not to mention the up-and-coming Indians...

    Indeed, I'm willing to bet a chocolate milkshake (G. David Low's favorite bet) that India will emerge as the leading low-cost international supplier of commercial launches.  They are technologically sophisticated, and their labor costs are low.  Can't beat that!

    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: antonioe on 10/31/2007 01:00 AM

    Quote
    CFE - 30/10/2007 7:34 PM As far as Taurus-2 development costs are concerned, you can count me as being very impressed with the fiscal discipline being practiced at Orbital. I saw a similar statement in Space News and thought that you guys had to be on to something if you've gone this far down the Taurus-2 development path.

    Thanks for the kudos... the team will be pleased to know that somebody out there appreciates their efforts.  If we only had the RocketPlane Kistler money...

    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: CFE on 10/31/2007 01:22 AM
    Quote
    antonioe - 30/10/2007  7:52 PM

    Quote
    CFE - 30/10/2007 7:34 PM

    Hopefully the "Taurus-2" moniker will die by this December if the program goes ahead.

    Amen, brother!!!  Problem is, it's starting to solidify faster than anybody thought...


    Perhaps that could be fixed if somebody from Orbital gave an exclusive interview to "Space News" and used "Cygnus" instead.
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: vt_hokie on 10/31/2007 02:22 AM
    Perhaps I misspoke - I guess Globalstar (http://www.globalstar.com/en/news/pressreleases/press_display.php?pressId=400) is considered "Low Earth Orbit" rather than "Medium Earth Orbit" at roughly 1400 km.


    Quote
    antonioe - 30/10/2007  9:55 PM

    Indeed, I'm willing to bet a chocolate milkshake (G. David Low's favorite bet) that India will emerge as the leading low-cost international supplier of commercial launches.  They are technologically sophisticated, and their labor costs are low.  Can't beat that!


    Hard to argue, though I'd love to see the United States remain competitive in the commercial launch business! (Or should I say become competitive once again!)

    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: simonbp on 10/31/2007 03:00 AM
    Quote
    antonioe - 28/10/2007  7:38 AM

    Yes, but it's {the second stage} being developed by somebody else, so I can't talk about it until the other party agrees we can do so...

    For reference, is it in the similar total impulse range as a 48B, or larger?

    Also, ~1000 kg to C3 means about ~350 kg to the lunar surface; should be enough for a Google rover... :)

    Simon ;)
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: antonioe on 10/31/2007 03:16 AM

    Quote
    simonbp - 30/10/2007 11:00 PM
    Quote
    antonioe - 28/10/2007 7:38 AM Yes, but it's {the second stage} being developed by somebody else, so I can't talk about it until the other party agrees we can do so...
    For reference, is it in the similar total impulse range as a 48B, or larger?

    Patience, young Jedi, patience must you have...

    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: vt_hokie on 11/01/2007 03:50 PM
    I didn't realize just how small the Orbcomm (http://www.orbcomm.com/about/spaceSegment.htm) sats are!  Can you say what the approximate lifespan is on those spacecraft?
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: Skyrocket on 11/01/2007 04:40 PM
    Quote
    vt_hokie - 1/11/2007  6:50 PM

    I didn't realize just how small the Orbcomm (http://www.orbcomm.com/about/spaceSegment.htm) sats are!  Can you say what the approximate lifespan is on those spacecraft?
    Design life was 4 years.
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: Skyrocket on 12/05/2007 04:15 PM
    The new Orbital Quarterly Newsletter shows an illustration of the Taurus II:

    http://www.orbital.com/NewsInfo/Publications/OrbitalQuarterly_Fall07.pdf

    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: vt_hokie on 12/05/2007 04:31 PM
    That's pretty cool that it's made available online!  Thanks for the link!
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: meiza on 12/05/2007 06:16 PM
    4 engines?
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: antonioe on 12/05/2007 08:41 PM
    Two
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: Jamie Young on 12/05/2007 08:45 PM
    Quote
    Skyrocket - 5/12/2007  11:15 AM

    The new Orbital Quarterly Newsletter shows an illustration of the Taurus II:

    http://www.orbital.com/NewsInfo/Publications/OrbitalQuarterly_Fall07.pdf


    Link doesn't work now.
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: Squid.erau on 12/05/2007 09:06 PM
    Slightly off-topic, but on page 3 of the PDF linked above is a picture of the decommissioned Navy Mk 70 booster.  It's the wider aft portion of the coyote SSST.  This is the motor they are talking about using 4 of for the abort test flights of the new MLAS system for Orion.

    Matt
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: edkyle99 on 12/05/2007 10:08 PM
    Constant diameter profile.  Looks to be about 25-30 meters to top of upper stage unit.  Upper stage only looks like it is 4-7 meters tall, which is puzzling.  Assuming that this upper stage consists of an outer shell equipped with a low-thrust N204/MMH bipropellant propulsion system to serve as a trim stage with a jettisonable solid motor "second stage" mounted within, I'm guessing that the solid motor has to be shorter than a standard Castor 120 (which was given as 2.37 x 10.7 meters for Athena), unless this drawing doesn't show the true interior length of the first stage.  The drawing could be hiding a big interstage area above the first stage propellant tanks.  

    Still, since a Castor 120 would be too big and an Orion 50SXL type slightly too small, I'm guessing that the second stage motor must look something like a scaled Castor 120 ("Castor 60"?).  This would give a 200 tonne first stage, a 25-35 tonne second stage motor, and a small trim stage that probably weighs no more than 1-2 tonnes.

    I could be wrong.  I probably am wrong.  I've been wrong before.  Still fun to ponder.

     - Ed Kyle
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: antonioe on 12/06/2007 04:33 AM
    Good detective work... keep going, keep going...
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: CFE on 12/06/2007 04:57 AM
    I would guess that it's a custom-designed second stage.  I would even guess that ATK was the manufacturer (after all, who else is left to tackle a solid rocket this big?)

    As a wild guess, ATK may even be using a single segment from the shuttle's SRB as the basis for the Taurus-II (still hoping to make "Cygnus" official) second stage.
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: Jim on 12/06/2007 11:28 AM
    Quote
    Jamie Young - 5/12/2007  4:45 PM

    Quote
    Skyrocket - 5/12/2007  11:15 AM

    The new Orbital Quarterly Newsletter shows an illustration of the Taurus II:

    http://www.orbital.com/NewsInfo/Publications/OrbitalQuarterly_Fall07.pdf


    Link doesn't work now.

    Same for me, even when truncated to http://www.orbital.com
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: Skyrocket on 12/06/2007 01:14 PM
    For those, who have problems in opening the newsletter, here is a screenshot of the Taurus II
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: Big Al on 12/06/2007 01:37 PM
    From the Dec 3rd issue of Avation Week, Israel is looking to develop an air launch system for small satellites, maybe you could market your whole system world wide, I bet it would be more profitable than just launching rockets.
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: antonioe on 12/06/2007 02:13 PM
    "whole system"?  Could you elaborate?
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: Big Al on 12/06/2007 03:02 PM
    Sell them the rocket design, aircraft and system technology. Let the customer build and launch his own (military) satellites
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: Jim on 12/06/2007 03:04 PM
    Quote
    Big Al - 6/12/2007  11:02 AM

    Sell them the rocket design, aircraft and system technology. Let the customer build and launch his own (military) satellites

    Not possible.  Against many anti proliferation treaties.
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: Jim on 12/06/2007 03:07 PM
    Quote
    Big Al - 6/12/2007  9:37 AM

    From the Dec 3rd issue of Avation Week, Israel is looking to develop an air launch system for small satellites, maybe you could market your whole system world wide, I bet it would be more profitable than just launching rockets.

    Actually, no.  there is always a need to launch satellites.  There is little need to sell the means to do it
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: A_M_Swallow on 12/06/2007 03:19 PM
    Quote
    Skyrocket - 6/12/2007  2:14 PM

    For those, who have problems in opening the newsletter, here is a screenshot of the Taurus II

    The grey pipes on the side of the nozzles made it look like there was a second set behind.
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: Skyrocket on 12/06/2007 03:27 PM
    Quote
    A_M_Swallow - 6/12/2007  5:19 PM

    The grey pipes on the side of the nozzles made it look like there was a second set behind.

    No, these are just the exhaust tubes from the turbo-pumps of the NK-33 engines
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: Big Al on 12/06/2007 05:07 PM
    Another question here, I had read somewhere that because Pegasus is carried in an airplane with people in it ,that it has to be man rated. Any truth to this?
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: edkyle99 on 12/06/2007 05:25 PM
    Quote
    CFE - 5/12/2007  11:57 PM

    I would guess that it's a custom-designed second stage.  I would even guess that ATK was the manufacturer (after all, who else is left to tackle a solid rocket this big?)

    As a wild guess, ATK may even be using a single segment from the shuttle's SRB as the basis for the Taurus-II (still hoping to make "Cygnus" official) second stage.

    I think the SRB segments are much too big for this application.  Taurus II appears to need a second stage motor that weighs somewhere in the 25-35 tonne range.  A single SRB segment contains nearly 125 tonnes of propellant.  

    A Minuteman first stage M55 motor is about the right mass at 23 tonnes, but it is a bit long (7.5 meters almost), probably doesn't have the right thrust profile - and probably isn't available for commercial use at any rate.  

    But what about solid motor clusters?  Four SR19 motors (Minuteman second stage) arranged to fire in parallel would be about right, but again probably wouldn't be available.  An SR19 is 4.12 meters long, 1.33 meters diameter, and weighs about 7 tonnes loaded.  I don't know if any ATK Orion motors could be used this way.  Orion 50XL is a bit too light to work in a set of four.  Orion 50SXL is too heavy to work in a cluster, too light to work by itself, and too long.  

    ATK has been working on modified Orion motors for the missile defense project, but I can't find any details on them.  Maybe something is spinning off from that massive program.

     - Ed Kyle
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: crab nebula2 on 12/06/2007 06:06 PM
    On the Ares I threads there is much discussion of resonat combustion vibration problems with solid propellant rocket motors.  Did Orbital have to deal with this problem in developing Pegasus and Taurus?
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: yinzer on 12/06/2007 07:04 PM
    I know the Taurus had to use devices to isolate the payload from the launch vehicle vibrations.

    As for the second stage, I'd think that the length/diameter ratio of most solid rocket motors designed for first stage applications would result in T/W ratios that were much too high.  What with the earlier talk about much cheaper and more effective thrust vector control systems and the relatively large size of the required Taurus II second stage, I'd suspect it's an all-new motor.

    On the other hand, I remember reading that ATK could vary the length of the Castor 120 by a fair bit while keeping the diameter fixed, and that could pretty easily give you a motor of about the right size and shape.
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: antonioe on 12/07/2007 12:25 AM

    Quote
    crab nebula2 - 6/12/2007 1:06 PM On the Ares I threads there is much discussion of resonat combustion vibration problems with solid propellant rocket motors. Did Orbital have to deal with this problem in developing Pegasus and Taurus?

    Pegasus: no.   Taurus: yes (aero313: do you care to comment?)

     

    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: edkyle99 on 12/07/2007 08:15 PM
    Here is my guess-sketch of Taurus II showing approximately how a 45% shortened Castor 120 might fit into the 4.5 meter long upper stage section.  A 45% Castor 120 would be 4.5 meters long, including about 0.92 meters of nozzle length, and 2.36 meters in diameter.  That leaves 1.54 meters of width inside the second stage shroud, which might accommodate third stage bipropellant tanks and thrusters, etc..  In other words, the trim stage could be built around the Castor motor in the same way that a satellite propulsion bus is built around a kick stage motor.

    A 212 tonne first stage and a 23.7 tonne second stage could put 5.5 tonnes into low earth orbit assuming that a bipropellant trim third stage weighed about 0.5 tonnes at most.  Replacing most of the trim stage mass with a Star 48B provides enough delta-v to put at least 1.84 tonnes (the Delta 7925 GTO rating) into GTO, and possibly as much as 2 tonnes.

    My only concern about this guess is that the Castor motor would provide a real kick in the pants.  Initial thrust to weight would be 2.3-2.6, but this would increase to a fairly high number just prior to motor burnout - unless late-burn thrust can be tailored down sufficiently.

    Note:  Dimensions are my approximations based on scaling from the published Orbital Sciences drawing and on comments in this thread.  

     - Ed Kyle
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: deiter on 12/08/2007 03:09 PM
    The Orbital site shows additional strap on boosters in the artistic concept drawing on the T2 page (http://www.orbital.com/AdvancedSpace/AdvancedLaunchSystems/TaurusII/). Does anyone know if this is planned for T2?
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: antonioe on 12/08/2007 04:08 PM

    The initial design (over a year old by now) had a 3m diameter core, a single AJ-26 and 2 to 4 strapons.  The current design has a 3.9m core, two AJ-26's and no strap-ons (like the original Thor... but you know what eventually happened to that one...)

    That picture is - alas - over a year old... it's there to confuse the casual observer, not eagle-eyed NSF forum participants... :laugh:

    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: antonioe on 12/08/2007 04:16 PM

    Quote
    edkyle99 - 7/12/2007 3:15 PM Here is my guess-sketch of Taurus II...

    You are a meter or two short, but otherwise it's an excellent reverse-engineering job.  Your second stage is a bit heavy and, you are right, unless the design stresses low combustion rate (therefore lower thrust) it could impart too high an acceleration to the upper stack.  But it's amazing what solid motor designers can do to the thrust profile and burn rates!

    By the way, we only recently baselined the actual fairing profile...

    There is a story that when Grumman designed the Gulfstream II (the first jet version of the turboprop Gulfstream) engineering designed the entire aircraft EXCEPT the vertical tail.  They gave the VP marketing a "kit" consisting of the vertical tail area, approximate desired aspect ratio, and approximate desired location of the center of pressure.  Other than that, they said "have at it", in other words, it's purely a MARKETING shape... well, we did something of the same for the fairing... we prepared a "kit" of four fairing shapes that had essentially the same useable volume inside, similar aerodynamic and mass properties, and were about the same cost.  Which one to use is a "marketing" decision...

    We voted.  One individual, of course, had 50.1% of the vote... :laugh:

     

    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: aero313 on 12/08/2007 06:26 PM
    Quote
    antonioe - 6/12/2007  8:25 PM

    Quote
    crab nebula2 - 6/12/2007 1:06 PM On the Ares I threads there is much discussion of resonat combustion vibration problems with solid propellant rocket motors. Did Orbital have to deal with this problem in developing Pegasus and Taurus?

    Pegasus: no.   Taurus: yes (aero313: do you care to comment?)


    I already did in the Ares 1 thread.
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: aero313 on 12/08/2007 06:30 PM
    Quote
    yinzer - 6/12/2007  3:04 PMOn the other hand, I remember reading that ATK could vary the length of the Castor 120 by a fair bit while keeping the diameter fixed, and that could pretty easily give you a motor of about the right size and shape.

    Don't confuse marketing with reality.  Even the relatively small stretch to the Pegasus motors to go from the standard to the XL version resulted in brand new motors, new tooling, new fabrication engineering, and another qual program.  ANYTHING you do to a solid rocket motor results in a brand new motor.
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: CFE on 12/08/2007 09:11 PM
    Will the propellant tanks on the first stage be fabricated in-house, or will they be subcontracted?
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: gospacex on 12/09/2007 05:42 AM
    Pegasus seems to ignite ~5 seconds after drop. By this time it accumulates ~50 m/s of speed in free fall. Why 5 seconds and not, say, 3?
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: sitharus on 12/09/2007 08:05 AM
    Quote
    gospacex - 9/12/2007  6:42 PM

    Pegasus seems to ignite ~5 seconds after drop. By this time it accumulates ~50 m/s of speed in free fall. Why 5 seconds and not, say, 3?

    I've always assumed this was to give aircraft that dropped it time to clear the area. If something goes wrong and the rocket explodes you don't want debris hitting the launcher, especially as it has people on board.
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: antonioe on 12/09/2007 08:34 PM

    Quote
    gospacex - 9/12/2007 12:42 AM Pegasus seems to ignite ~5 seconds after drop. By this time it accumulates ~50 m/s of speed in free fall. Why 5 seconds and not, say, 3?

    You are right about the 5 seconds, but not about the 50 m/s.  Right off the hooks, the wing produces something like 0.15 g's of lift (it has essentially the same angle of attack as the Carrier Aircraft), and a pitch-up maneuver starts immediately after release; by the time stage 1 ignites, the wing is producing over half a g of lift at about 9-10 degrees angle of attack.  Lift increases rapidly after ignition, so that angle of attack has to be reduced (else the trajectory turn upwards excessively).

    Actually, *I* did the safety analysis to compute the safe distance for ignition - it was my ticket to the Launch Panel Operator seat on flight 1!!! ;)   If you simulate the trajectories of debris from a potential failure at start-up, it is easy to observe that the significant forward equivalent airspeed (read: dynamic pressure) distorts the particle paths (relatively to the moving airplane-rocket reference frame).  This effect significantly reduces the probability of a large enough particle hitting the carrier aircraft, so that 100 to 150 m was sufficient to reduce the probability of aircraft-downing damage below my chances of dying of natural causes during the flight.  At zero airspeed, or in vacuum, the safe distance for the B-52 "target size" would have been much larger. Also, part of the separation is caused by the carrier aircraft experiening a slight excess vertical acceleration after drop. The L-1011 is smaller than the B-52, and the dynamic pressure at release higher, but the XL stage 1 motor is larger than the original motor, so we ended up keeping the same distance.

    Actually, the IMU in Pegasus is monitoring the acceleration at separation and the integrated separation distance is one of the "yes" votes that must happen for ignition (the others begin related to attitude, electrical bus health, etc.)

    Without the wing lift, it would indeed fall ballistically (or nearly so); 3 seconds would have resulted in insufficient separation, more than 5 excessive energy loss.  To engineer is to compromise, and "optima" seldom exist.

    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: simonbp on 12/10/2007 11:18 PM
    So, here's the real question: Have you built your own paper model Pegasus and Stargazer? :)





    1:96 scale: http://jleslie48.com/0304sg/

    1:48 scale (just the rocket): http://jleslie48.com/peg_picturemanual.zip

    1:48 scale (with Hyper-X): http://jleslie48.com/pegasus_hyper_x_2.pdf

    There's also a Minotaur available: http://www.ericksmodels.com/paper/models/enhminotaur/enhminotaur.html

    Simon ;)
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: gospacex on 12/11/2007 12:01 AM
    Is Stargazer at "max throttle" at Pegasus launch? (If not, why?) What is the Mach number? Do you dream of having a supersonic carrier aircraft? - for one, it can fly higher, reducing drag losses even further... and a bit of additional speed never hurts!

    Probably stupid idea, but - is it feasible to install some rocket thrusters on the (supersonic) carrier and boost speed (and/or pitch nose up) prior to Pegasus release?
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: vt_hokie on 12/11/2007 12:43 AM
    Quote
    gospacex - 10/12/2007  8:01 PM

    Do you dream of having a supersonic carrier aircraft? - for one, it can fly higher, reducing drag losses even further... and a bit of additional speed never hurts!

    Just gotta avoid this (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FYsMli570K8)!
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: kevin-rf on 12/11/2007 11:56 AM
    Actually, somewhere in the thread Antonio discussed why they did not go with a supersonic carrier aircraft... Have fun rereading the thread :-)
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: deiter on 12/12/2007 02:33 AM
    This is a carry over from the COTS thread, has there been any buzz about an Orbital COTS2 submission?
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: madscientist197 on 12/12/2007 07:48 AM
    Hold on - what's the Campbell's tomato soup doing?! ;)

    Very cool models though.
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: gospacex on 12/13/2007 05:48 AM
    Quote
    kevin-rf - 11/12/2007  6:56 AM
    Actually, somewhere in the thread Antonio discussed why they did not go with a supersonic carrier aircraft... Have fun rereading the thread :-)

    I read it. Basically, there are no big supersonic planes which are even remotely affordable. However, it may change.

    Tupolev_Tu-160 bomber has 15 km ceiling, Mach 2 speed, can take 40 ton payload, has 10 000 km range, and has two 8+ meter weapon bays. Sooner or later it will become obsolete, and then?...

    Theoretically, by how much this kind of carrier plane will help?
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: madscientist197 on 12/13/2007 08:10 AM
    ...and then you can't find spare parts.
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: pippin on 12/13/2007 09:22 AM
    It's more like later...  Isn't Russia building new Tu-160s? And regarding spare parts: More of them have been built so far as of the L1011 and that one has been out of (regular) service for a while, too, hasn't it?
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: Space101 on 12/14/2007 09:49 AM
    And now AndrewsSpace claim to be proposing, in their own words a "cargo logistics system to service NASA and emerging commercial providers, including a low cost launch system to replace the Delta II launch vehicle." How does this affect Orbital's plans? unexpected rival - or to be expected?
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: jimvela on 12/14/2007 03:55 PM
    Quote
    Space101 - 14/12/2007  3:49 AM

    And now AndrewsSpace claim to be proposing, in their own words a "cargo logistics system to service NASA and emerging commercial providers, including a low cost launch system to replace the Delta II launch vehicle." How does this affect Orbital's plans? unexpected rival - or to be expected?

    They're only a rival if they actually fly.  

    I have zero doubt that Orbital will fly D-II class vehicles successfully if the customers show up to buy them.  I have great doubts about any other newcomer except SpaceX successfully flying any launch vehicles anytime soon.

    I doubt Orbital is loosing much sleep over Andrews...
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: vt_hokie on 12/20/2007 09:26 PM
    Quote
    antonioe - 30/10/2007  9:55 PM

    Yeah... exactly what we are wondering... we're keeping an eye on Globalstar and even good 'ol Orbcomm, but it's hard to compete with the Ukranians... not to mention the up-and-coming Indians...

    Indeed, I'm willing to bet a chocolate milkshake (G. David Low's favorite bet) that India will emerge as the leading low-cost international supplier of commercial launches.  They are technologically sophisticated, and their labor costs are low.  Can't beat that!


    I'm curious about how you see that shaping the industry's future.  Could U.S. based launch providers find it impossible to compete in the global marketplace?
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: tnphysics on 02/04/2008 12:40 AM
    antonioe,

    Why do you believe that SpaceX can charge only $35 million for a Falcon 9 and still make a profit?
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: antonioe on 02/04/2008 07:16 AM

    Quote
    tnphysics - 3/2/2008 7:40 PM antonioe, Why do you believe that SpaceX can charge only $35 million for a Falcon 9 and still make a profit?

    Unfortunately, I don´t believe they can do that.  SpaceX has not made public any logic for that claim that I can feel comfortable with.  It would be nice if it happened (it would actually help Orbital´s growing spacecraft niche).  But hoping it will come true doesn´t help in this case.

    BTW, thanks for bumping the thread.  I had not checked it for a while (busy with COTS and LAS) and there are a few questions I should answer).

    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: antonioe on 02/04/2008 07:25 AM

    Quote
    simonbp - 10/12/2007 6:18 PM So, here's the real question: Have you built your own paper model Pegasus and Stargazer? :)

    I can do a lot of things: design (real) rockets, fly (real) airplanes, and so forth.  There are also many things I CAN´T DO.  I can´t touch plants: they die upon contact with my skin.  I can´t water a pot without what´s in it dying.  That´s why, much as I would like one, I don´t have a nice plant in my otherwise nice office. 

    Another thing I can´t do is decent airplane models, paper, plastic or otherwise.  And I´ve tried, since I was 8 or so.  They look like (censored).  Curiously, another thing I simply cannot do is fly RC models.  I have several thousand dollars in broken aircraft, helicopters and dust-covered RC gear to prove it :frown:

    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: antonioe on 02/04/2008 07:41 AM

    Quote
    vt_hokie - 20/12/2007 4:26 PM

    Quote
    antonioe - 30/10/2007 9:55 PM  hard to compete with the Ukranians... not to mention the up-and-coming Indians...  technologically sophisticated, and their labor costs are low.

     I'm curious about how you see that shaping the industry's future. Could U.S. based launch providers find it impossible to compete in the global marketplace?

    If things continue the way they are now, I don´think any US supplier has much of a chance to compete internationally on a pure price basis (policy considerations aside).  On the other hand, conditions, such as relative labor costs or unforseen events could change all that in a jiffy.

    For example, three years ago, if somebody had told me that Delta II was going to disappear, I would refer said individual to Alcoholics Anonymous.  Yet, a "perfect storm" of increasing labor costs, aging infrastructure, dwindling supply chain, corporate mergers and evolution, EELV flight rates and USAF Corporate Policy blended almost perfectly to kill an excelent LV.  Any of these causes, by itself, would not have killed Delta II.  Why, even any THREE of them probably would not!  But six...

    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: JIS on 02/04/2008 01:33 PM
    Quote
    antonioe - 4/2/2008  8:16 AM

    Quote
    tnphysics - 3/2/2008 7:40 PM antonioe, Why do you believe that SpaceX can charge only $35 million for a Falcon 9 and still make a profit?

    Unfortunately, I don´t believe they can do that.  SpaceX has not made public any logic for that claim that I can feel comfortable with. 


    What about using plain sheet with welded-in rods instead of isogrid tank structures? (If I understand correctly what they are doing) Have you considered something similar for TII or is the 1st stage isogrid?  
    Also the gas generator cycle Merlin manufactured in bigger series could help. I'm sure that AeroJet and ATK have high overhead costs with their engines and motors.
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: aero313 on 02/04/2008 02:18 PM
    Quote
    JIS - 4/2/2008  9:33 AM
    What about using plain sheet with welded-in rods instead of isogrid tank structures?

    One of the not-so-obvious things you learn in the aerospace industry is that big machined parts cost less than assembly of lots of little parts.  Once you program the NC mill to make the isogrid, it chugs along fat, dumb, and happy with little human interaction.  On the other hand, assembly of parts requires lots of touch labor, and humans often make mistakes, requiring expensive rework.
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: antonioe on 02/04/2008 02:54 PM

    Quote
    JIS - 4/2/2008 8:33 AM  What about using plain sheet

    plain sheet of what?  Aluminum?  Stainless steel?  Titanium?

    Quote
     with welded-in rods instead of isogrid tank structures?

    Again, what material rods?  What welding process?  Arc?  Tig?  Stir-friction?  Manual?  Robotic?  Using rigid jigs or tack-welded?  Do the welds deform the sheets?  What happens to the welds when you roll the panels into shape?  Remember, in a word of high labor costs, isogrid is a cost-saving process compared with welding.  You DO waste a lot of aluminum, granted.

    Quote
    Have you considered something similar for TII or is the 1st stage isogrid? Also the gas generator cycle Merlin manufactured in bigger series could help. I'm sure that AeroJet and ATK have high overhead costs with their engines and motors.

    IMHO there is a rather wide technological "bathtub" where launch vehicle structural and propulsive efficiencies and hardware manufacturing costs are approximate the same.  You can waste a lot of money if you wander "outside" this bathtub, but within it, costs and efficiency are approximately the same.  From a technology and manufacturing standpoint, Falcon 1/9 and T II are both within this "bathtub": not in the same point, but within the flat range.  The ATK vehicle is a different beast and lives in a different bathroom.  SO major cost differences between F9 and T II have to come from other sources, such as lowering the development, labor and fixed costs.  Spreading costs with similar but separate product lines helps a bit.

    If memory serves me right, the last major LV cost improvement due purely to technology was the change from metallic (usually steel) SOLID MOTOR cases to carbon composites.  Interestingly enough, this improvement was "indirect": the composite case is more expensive than the steel case, but the ensuing increase in payload more than makes up for the increased cost.  Also, the same carbon composites do not help liquid stages (different structural problem).

    Also IMHO, the "high overhead costs of ATK and AeroJet" have to be examined in the right perspective:  If ALL these suppliers produced were the items you buy from them (i.e. they don´t build anything else) then you probably would be better off manufacturing the items yourself.  On the other hand, if these suppliers can use their people, buildings, machinery, etc. for other products and customers, you save big.  It´s the good ´ol "make or buy" decisionmaking which has to be applied wisely (sometimes companies - not just SpaceX! - bias their make/buy decisions in favor of "make" for reasons that have nothing to do with good management; a large aerospace prime recently lost a multi-hundreds of millions contract just because of this.)

    I worry about SpaceX´s "vertical integration" approach:  under different circumstances, it could be the right thing to do; but in their case (expected rates of flight, labor costs, cost of capital), I´m afraid it could be their undoing.  Same goes for how much of their vehicles are "from scratch" designs.  I believe in balance.

    Having said that, let me point out that SpaceX has smartly avoided some of the fundamental mistakes that others - especially the advocates of the "big dumb boosters" - have made, such as pressure-fed sea-level engines (any attempt to use pressure-fed sea-level stages is, alas, doomed to economic failure even it it is acheived technically).  Also, they wisely avoided the need for SRB´s (at least initially).  I still have not made up my mind about clustering more than, say, four or five engines.  It may or may not be a good idea (I can see advantages and disadvantages).  I hope the SpaceX experience will shed some light.

    And, speaking  of engine cycles, if somebody gave me $500M to develop a Delta II class first stage from scratch (i.e., development money were no object) I would probably develop the largest possible expander-cycle LOX-LH2 that can be made (there is a maximum practical size for an expander-cycle engine: probably around 40-50 MT.  Jim French, if you are reading this, can you comment?).

    But my main reply to your question (boy, I´m long-winded, aren´t I?) is that you seem to espouse the premise that the principal cost of launch is materials, manufacturing techniques or some "overhead" of one type or another.  As I said previously, tyhe main cost of launches is labor, labor, labor. What good is to spend $500M reduce the Stage 1 hardware costs from, say $16M to $8M when the rest of the vehicle, launch ops, amortization of R&D, mission-unique analysis, ground infrastruture maintenance, etc. costs another $40M?  Oh, and don´t forget a decent profit, as in 10%.

    India.  We should outsource launch services to India.  They have what it takes to make and operate cheap LV´s.

    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: simonbp on 02/04/2008 03:39 PM
    Well, I guess you answered your own question: SpaceX expects to lower costs though a leaner workforce and smaller overhead from their vertical integration. Having Musk as a sugar-daddy doesn't hurt, either... :)

    Simon ;)
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: JIS on 02/04/2008 04:34 PM
    I based my assumptions on following: The cost of LV is in the engines and tanks.
    Falcon 9 has 10 common engines made in bigger series and two stages using the same (or very similar) manufacturing process. There is also Falcon 1 rocket which shares a lot of expenses.
    Taurus II has more complex engines built in Russia many years ago, but provided by AeroJet who charge some extra cost for maintaining and updating them. I don't know the cost but those two engines could end up being more expensive than 10 Merlins. There are also (two?) upper stages using solid rocket motors which needs to be supplied by vendor with it's own overhead (probably shared whit other projects).

    Now, I agree that the principal cost is a labour. But, using two stages with same diameter, same heads, same technology, just different length could be actually the magic behind the cost. I think they are using the same aluminium friction stir welding for all tanks. Just different numbers of stiffeners. Is it labour effective or not? I don't know. We should ask Mr. Musk.  

    I also agree that lowering the LV manufacturing cost is not always enough to make successful and affordable vehicle. The reliability suffers as can be seen on Falcon 1 failures. However, the loss of cheap test vehicle (what I consider Falcon 1) is not a tragedy.
    The real workhorse is Falcon 9. They still have a chance to succeed with Falcon 9 if they tune-up Falcon 1 to reliable rocket. I think that Falcon 1 was a really smart move which saved them millions on development and a lot of problems with Falcon 9.
    Orbital doesn't have any cheap test bed for TII. On the other side they have the experience in house (and they have to pay for it) or they can hire the experience from contractor (and they have to pay for it).

    Still, I'm not saying Falcon 9 can be much cheaper than TII at the and of the day. But, Musk invested his $100m and NASA's few $100m and he actually doesn't need to get these money back through the launch contracts. If he wants his investment back he can sell SpaceX. All he needs is just reliable Falcon/Dragon and COTS 2 contract to make a personal profit by selling SpaceX. Until then he can charge costumers whatever he considers sufficient.
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: JIS on 02/04/2008 04:49 PM
    Quote
    JIS - 4/2/2008  5:34 PM
    Now, I agree that the principal cost is a labour. But, using two stages with same diameter, same heads, same technology, just different length could be actually the magic behind the cost. I think they are using the same aluminium friction stir welding for all tanks. Just different numbers of stiffeners. Is it labour effective or not? I don't know. We should ask Mr. Musk.  

    I know that your point was that Orbital can buy the tanks from a vendor who build similar tanks all the time. But consider how many lawyers, business men, accountants and managers are involved over the skilled labour actually manufacturing that tank. Musk just needs to buy the welding machine, hire some skilled labour and dump few Falcon 1 rockets into the ocean.
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: antonioe on 02/04/2008 07:02 PM
    You all make good points.  We´ll see.
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: jeff.findley on 02/20/2008 10:01 PM
    Quote
    antonioe - 27/8/2007  1:24 AM

    As soon as it is prudent, I will share with you all the vehicle and operational details that ITAR would allow me to post in this forum, including sketches. No yellow ruled paper, though - we use IDEAS.

    I used to work on I-DEAS CAE software, now I work on NX CAE software.

    Jeff
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: HMXHMX on 02/21/2008 04:09 AM
    antonioe - 4/2/2008  9:54 AM

    "And, speaking  of engine cycles, if somebody gave me $500M to develop a Delta II class first stage from scratch (i.e., development money were no object) I would probably develop the largest possible expander-cycle LOX-LH2 that can be made (there is a maximum practical size for an expander-cycle engine: probably around 40-50 MT. "


    The limit for expander cycle goes higher, probably at least 250K and maybe to 600K or more according to P&W.  See Dick Mulready's book "Advanced engine Development at Pratt & Whitney"

    We see eye to eye on that vehicle propulsion option, by the way.  Nothing beats expander-cycle turbomachinery, if one has to use pumps.

    Gary C Hudson
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: yinzer on 02/21/2008 04:15 AM
    Quote
    HMXHMX - 20/2/2008  9:09 PM
    We see eye to eye on that vehicle propulsion option, by the way.  Nothing beats expander-cycle turbomachinery, if one has to use pumps.

    I'm interested to see what XCOR's expander-like hydrocarbon cycle is once their patent issues.  Anyone have any ideas that they can share?
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: antonioe on 02/21/2008 04:20 AM

    250K? 600K?  What units are you referring to, Gary?  Also, is the practical limit is higher for engines that start at sea level temperature than cold-soaked?

    "When Gary Hudson speaks, Antonio Elias listens!(TM)"

    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: HMXHMX on 02/21/2008 10:28 PM
    Quote
    antonioe - 20/2/2008  11:20 PM

    250K? 600K?  What units are you referring to, Gary?  Also, is the practical limit is higher for engines that start at sea level temperature than cold-soaked?

    "When Gary Hudson speaks, Antonio Elias listens!(TM)"


    I am out learning to be a blacksmith at our Mojave test stands :) and don't have my references with me.  I'll send you something on the weekend.

    "If Antonio is listening, I'll be more care what I say!"
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: HMXHMX on 02/24/2008 03:55 AM
    Antonio,

    As promised, here is what I have at hand concerning higher thrust expander cycle engines.  Quotes are taken from the SAE-published book: Advanced Engine Development at Pratt & Whitney (2001) by Dick Mulready (ISBN 0-7680-0664-3).  There are AIAA papers or RPL reports dealing with higher thrust expanders, but all those I have are boxed away awaiting the time to PDF them, someday.

    In Jan., 1960, NASA asked for a 200K thrust engine proposal (which Rocketdyne would win, i.e., the J-2).  P&W submitted the idea for the RL200.

    p 76-77:  "The engine was named the RL200 (Fig 4.9), and it employed a shunt expander cycle similar to the RL10 but with the addition of separate gear-driven inducer stages for both propellants...  It is a shame that this engine design was slated not to be developed.  It is likely that a  big RL10 would have had a major impact on the future of space."  

    [D'oh.  You think?]

    p 59:  "Another excuse used to discredit our proposal for the 200K engine...was that the expander cycle could be applied only to small engines.  This was grossly untrue, and in the early 1990s, a design was submitted for a 600,000 pound thrust split expander cycle engine, with a turbine inlet approximately at room temperature.  This design employed a thrust chamber fabricated from copper tubes."

    While at Rotary, we looked at a variety of expander cycles (using LOX!) and concluded this was feasible up to Pc of about 1200 or so, as I recall.  I have no memory of what thrust levels.

    Of course, another cycle is the ox-rich NK33-type cycle which can be tuned to deliver close to equivalent results as the tried and true expander, in respect to turbine inlet temps.

    Gary C Hudson

    "If Antonio is listening, I'll be more careful what I say!"
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: tnphysics on 02/27/2008 10:55 AM
    How much will the NK33s for the Taurus II cost?
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: antonioe on 02/28/2008 02:15 AM

    Quote
    tnphysics - 27/2/2008 5:55 AM How much will the NK33s for the Taurus II cost?

    I'd have to ask Aerojet permission to give a numeric answer to that question, but let me just say that we are buying a lot more from Aerojet than the raw NK33s: new gimbal, new TVC (we are supplying them with the engine control computer, but they will have to program it) feed line slip joints, etc. etc.  As far as Aerojet is concerned, the engines are essentially free (to them, that is!)

    Buying/developing/building a rocket engine is a little bit like my story about buying a launch vehicle ("oh, so you want tires/air conditioning/nav/sunroof/CD player with that car?"); the basic rocket is one thing, but after you end up getting all the "accessories' the cost has almost doubled!

    Unfortunately, the mods that Aerojet did many years ago to make them useable in the K1 application (reuseable, air-restartable) do not apply to Taurus II (expendable), hence there will be some additional development cost, too, but a minuscule fraction of what developing a new motor would require, especially a motor with the NK33's performance and test data.

    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: Flometrics on 02/28/2008 06:05 AM
    Do you have any idea what the reliability of the NK-33 engine will be?
    For example, the SSME is expected to cause a loss of vehicle once every 500 or so flights. Reference: AIAA 2002-3758  (SSME)OptionsForTheFutureShuttle.pdf

    The issue being, what is more important, the performance of high pressure staged combustion engines, or the reliability of lower pressure engines. I am guessing the performance was more important in your studies. Or was there no other engine available to trade against?


    Steve

    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: Jim on 02/28/2008 11:21 AM
    Quote
    Flometrics - 28/2/2008  2:05 AM
    Or was there no other engine available to trade against?


    Name an engine to trade against that exists, has good performance and is "cheap"
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: antonioe on 02/28/2008 12:37 PM

    Quote
    Jim - 28/2/2008 6:21 AM
    Quote
    Flometrics - 28/2/2008 2:05 AM Or was there no other engine available to trade against?
    Name an engine to trade against that exists, has good performance and is "cheap"

    Or that has the test time that the NK-33's have...

    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: tnphysics on 02/29/2008 09:57 PM
    RD-180. But that has almost 50% more thrust than 2 NK-33s.
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: Lampyridae on 02/29/2008 10:59 PM
    Quote
    antonioe - 5/2/2008 12:54 AM

    But my main reply to your question (boy, I´m long-winded, aren´t I?) is that you seem to espouse the premise that the principal cost of launch is materials, manufacturing techniques or some "overhead" of one type or another.  As I said previously, tyhe main cost of launches is labor, labor, labor. What good is to spend $500M reduce the Stage 1 hardware costs from, say $16M to $8M when the rest of the vehicle, launch ops, amortization of R&D, mission-unique analysis, ground infrastruture maintenance, etc. costs another $40M?  Oh, and don´t forget a decent profit, as in 10%.

    India.  We should outsource launch services to India.  They have what it takes to make and operate cheap LV´s.

     The Japanese are aiming to cut launch costs by 2/3 as well. They're taking the labour issue head on and trying to work in as much automation and streamlining as possible. I don't think they'll quite get there, but automation and lean design are two areas where they are world leaders. They're starting out simple with solids and then moving the process on to liquid boosters and so on.

    I think the next thing that has to be developed is containerisation of payloads - especially all stuff that can be launched into a common orbit, and maybe processing at the other side, for example at a space station. Otherwise, or maybe together, perhaps some kind of space tug service to take payloads to wherever they need to go.

    The neat thing about COTS is that it is encouraging standardised flights and payloads, as well as payloads other than satellites. If you follow this logic, then eventually a manned space station becomes a lot more cost-effective than several small purpose-designed satellites.

    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: Jim on 02/29/2008 11:16 PM
    Quote
    Lampyridae - 29/2/2008  6:59 PM
    If you follow this logic, then eventually a manned space station becomes a lot more cost-effective than several small purpose-designed satellites.


    That is not where the logic takes you.  Manned station will never be more cost effective than unmannned spacecraft
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: Lampyridae on 03/01/2008 02:34 AM
    Quote
    Jim - 1/3/2008  9:16 AM

    Quote
    Lampyridae - 29/2/2008  6:59 PM
    If you follow this logic, then eventually a manned space station becomes a lot more cost-effective than several small purpose-designed satellites.


    That is not where the logic takes you.  Manned station will never be more cost effective than unmannned spacecraft

    The logic is that of using a station with available resources (RMS, space tug, pallet mounts, humans etc) to minimise what you need design in a satellite and minimise all the custom analyses, launch profiles etc. In effect, the station becomes one big satellite bus for a lot of satellites. (Admittedly the ISS is not a good example of this). This also saves with having to dispose of satellites at the end of their lives.

    You can't replace satellites with stations, perhaps I should have been clearer with that. But whatever doesn't need a specific orbit and environment can be mounted on a station. It's a facility that you can use and leverage off of.

    The station needn't be manned, either. Packages can be installed on one big satellite bus by COTS-type "supply" missions.
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: Solarsail on 03/01/2008 04:39 AM
    Antonio,

          Has Orbital studied using the AJ-10 engine to power a larger third stage on the Taurus II than you've mentioned for LEO missions?  I'm not certain, but using a bi-prop engine may help the payload capacity for GTO and Earth-escape missions, due to the slightly better ISP.  Or are you guys working mostly on the design of the first two stages?



    Thank you in advance
    -Solarsail
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: antonioe on 03/01/2008 11:20 AM

    Quote
    Solarsail - 29/2/2008 11:39 PM Antonio, Has Orbital studied using the AJ-10 engine to power a larger third stage on the Taurus II than you've mentioned for LEO missions? I'm not certain, but using a bi-prop engine may help the payload capacity for GTO and Earth-escape missions, due to the slightly better ISP. Or are you guys working mostly on the design of the first two stages? Thank you in advance -Solarsail

    Michael:

    Yes and yes.  We've been working with P&W for the past two years or so on a possible high-energy upper stage for Taurus II.  At this time, however, we are concentrating our resources on the easier, lower development cost and lower risk (but also lower-performance) solid upper stage version.

    Earlier in the design trades, we had both a 3 meter diameter and a 3.9 meter diameter core.  There were several factors in favor of the larger diameter, one of them being the ease of adapting a LOX/LH2 or a LOX/Methane upper stage.

    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: antonioe on 03/01/2008 11:38 AM

    Quote
    Lampyridae - 29/2/2008 9:34 PM In effect, the station becomes one big satellite bus for a lot of satellites.

    Troy:

    People ask that question very often, and wonder why it isn't done.  Believe me, it is not because people don't think about it!  There are very good reasons:

    The energy required to reach orbital velocity is so high (launching 1 mT to low Earth Orbit requires, for a space of about 15 minutes, enough power to light the entire country of Uganda) that the margins you have to play with in designing a space application are very, very slim.  Therefore it pays to build satellites in a very custom way, as opposed to "general purpose" busses, which by necessity eat up your margins: if your payload only needs 500W Orbit Average Power, why pay for a 5 KW electric power system?  If your ocean surface altimeter only needs about a one degree pointing precision, why carry the mass associated with a 50 milliradian accuracy ACS?  If your mission life is only three years, why pay for redundancy?

    Quote
    But whatever doesn't need a specific orbit and environment can be mounted on a station.

    Every space application needs "a specific orbit", be it in terms of altitude, eccentricity, inclination or, in some cases, RAAN.  That includes extremely low-cost, very requirements-insensitive applications such as amateur radio satellites.  And even if there are a lot of satellites that need the same "class" of orbit, such as commercial geocoms (they are all  in "Geostationary Orbit") or GPS (they are all at the same altitude, eccentricity and inclination) it turns out that have to be in separate positions or separate orbital planes (or both), so you can't co-locate them.

    That said, we are helping Thomas Jefferson HS in Fairfax County to build a satellite (this may be the first satellite built by High-Schoolers, unless anybody knows of another example), and we are also trying to get them a ride to orbit.  they can tolerate almost any orbit but, even then, not any orbit...

    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: tnphysics on 03/01/2008 12:01 PM
    Which ones can't they tolerate?
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: antonioe on 03/01/2008 12:29 PM

    Quote
    tnphysics - 1/3/2008 7:01 AM Which ones can't they tolerate?

    A very important one, because there are usually many free - or "almost free" - rides there: Geo Transfer Orbit (GTO).  AMSAT, the radio amateur satellite organization (by the way, I'm KA1LLM) took advantage of a free Ariane 5 piggyback to launch its OSCAR-40 spacecraft.  GTO is a popular "free ride" because of the frequent Ariane and other GTO launches with large satellites that allow small piggybacks (as long as they don't threaten the mission success of the big, paying payload).

    GTO has some very interesting orbital properties for amateur radio - think of it as a "poor man's Molnya" in that the argument of perigee wanders instead of remaining fixed (if you don't know what that means, I apologize - other readers may appreciate it; if you want an explanation of what that means, please ask and I'll explain).  But in order to communicate from those altitudes, the power and/or antenna directivity of the spacecraft must be just so.

    The Thomas Jefferson cubesat (a bit down that Wikipedia article it claims that "[ I]ts completion will mark the first CubeSat to be successfully launched by highschool students into space"), on the other hand, does not have that power or antenna directivity, so it must remain in LEO.

    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: antonioe on 03/01/2008 12:34 PM

    By the way, I'm having some unusual trouble with Private Messages: I can receive and read them, but I can't either reply or send a new one.  I tried both my regular browser (IE on Windows) as well as Mozilla Firefox on both Windoes and Linux (Ubuntu).  Same problem on all three configurations.  Maybe I've exceeded some quota, maybe I've managed to really tick Chris off :laugh:

    So if you've PM'd me and I have not answered, that's why.  Sorry.

    Feel free to e-mail me at my home address which is on my public profile.

     

    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: jongoff on 03/01/2008 05:13 PM
    Another interesting thought re: high-thrust sea-level expander cycle engines.  They really seem to be some of the best fits with Aerojet's "Thrust Augmented Nozzle" concept that I've talked about occasionally.  Basically, for liftoff you want a really high T/W (unless you're airlaunching, but even then a high T/W doesn't hurt), while once you're above the atmosphere you want a lot less thrust, but a lot more Isp.  So you have an expander cycle (possibly with inducers and maybe even a split expander like you mentioned Gary), with say a 200-300% augmentation ratio.  That means at takeoff, somewhere between 60-75% of your propellant is being injected at a much lower pressure (120 psi for TAN vs 600-1200psi for the main flow), which greatly reduces the required pump power per unit thrust (while actually giving a slight boost in sea level Isp compared to just trying to run a higher chamber pressure).  For instance, if you've got 3 parts TAN for 1 part Core flow, and the pressures are 1200psi in the core and 120psi in the TAN, that engine only consumes 30% more pump power than the core alone, in spite of producing 4x the thrust.

    At least theoretically I don't see why this couldn't allow expanders bigger than the F-1 running at reasonably low chamber pressures.  Unless I'm missing something (which is very possible--all of my real-world experience is with deep-throttleable pressure-fed LOX/alcohol engines).

    ~Jon
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: William Barton on 03/24/2008 10:13 AM
    There was a brief discussion in another thread about getting to the ISS inclination by launching southeastwards, with the general consenus that the problem is overflights of populated territory in the Caribbean and eastern South America. I wonder: Since Wallops Island is about 5 degrees east of Cape Canaveral, would a southeasterly azimuth work from there?
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: edkyle99 on 03/24/2008 02:26 PM
    Quote
    William Barton - 24/3/2008  6:13 AM

    There was a brief discussion in another thread about getting to the ISS inclination by launching southeastwards, with the general consenus that the problem is overflights of populated territory in the Caribbean and eastern South America. I wonder: Since Wallops Island is about 5 degrees east of Cape Canaveral, would a southeasterly azimuth work from there?

    Yes, at least according to:  http://www.marsspaceport.com/space_access.htm

     - Ed Kyle
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: Chris Bergin on 10/19/2008 02:05 PM
    Today is a Pegasus day, so bump :)
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: ikke666 on 12/23/2008 11:13 AM

    Why hasn't used orbital an derivative of the x-34 as a reusable first stage for their 3 stage pegasus?  ???
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: Jim on 12/23/2008 11:55 AM

    Why hasn't used orbital an derivative of the x-34 as a reusable first stage for their 3 stage pegasus?  ???

    Because it isn't needed, the aircraft (L-1011) is much cheaper.  And the next cheaper option is the solid first stage, which combined with Pegasus is Taurus
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: ikke666 on 12/23/2008 03:18 PM

    I didn't mean the alternative stage would replace the aircraft. ;D
    I thought it was more cost effective to replace the first winged solid rocket stage with one who could be reused. ::)
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: Jim on 12/23/2008 03:42 PM

    I didn't mean the alternative stage would replace the aircraft. ;D
    I thought it was more cost effective to replace the first winged solid rocket stage with one who could be reused. ::)

    Pegasus doesn't fly enough to warrant a change in the first stage
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: tnphysics on 01/04/2009 10:14 PM
    If it turns out that the F9 is profitably reusable, then would that be a reason to try to reuse the Taurus 2 Stage 1?
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: jcm on 03/04/2011 01:55 PM
    Antonio - I am sure many of us have the Orbital team in our thoughts on this tough day. Best wishes to all and good luck on the investigation.
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: baldusi on 06/24/2011 02:39 AM
    Dr Elias, in other thread there was some speculation regarding using the Taurus II as a booster. Was there some provision made in the design to be used as such?
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: Robotbeat on 06/24/2011 02:48 AM
    Along those lines... Any thought going towards upgrading Taurus II with the proposed domesticized NK-33 (with reportedly significantly greater thrust) that Aerojet just announced?
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: Galactic Penguin SST on 12/13/2011 08:42 AM
    I wonder if the new name for Taurus II came from this very thread....  ;)
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: Seer on 03/17/2012 08:11 PM
    So, will we see any electric propulsion satellites from Orbital, Antonio?
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: kevin-rf on 03/18/2012 01:32 AM
    So, will we see any electric propulsion satellites from Orbital, Antonio?

    Since Orbital is a publicly traded company I doubt he would reveal anything so much as a millisecond before Orbital officially announced something. A millisecond later, well NSF would have more threads then you can shake a rocket at.

    Though, when you look at the latest aviation week article on the subject, both Loral and Astrium have said they are working on something and will announce something in the near future. That does put pressure on Orbital to announce something. Otherwise it gives the competition something to one up Orbital with. The new 702SP does look to be aimed squarely at Orbital's niche.
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: Seer on 03/18/2012 06:06 AM
    Electric satellites of the 702sp mass would also be able to be launched on Antares.
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: jcm on 06/23/2012 12:38 AM
    If Antonio's still reading this thread:  I realize I always misunderstood the nature of the APEX (Aug 1994) and SEASTAR (Aug 1997) Pegasus launches - the press at the time made it sound like the third stage was part of the Pegastar spacecraft, but now I realize it was just that (some of?)  the third stage
    avionics functions were moved to the spacecraft bus (or something?) but the third stage still separated as usual.

    Can you comment on what was different about the third stage for these missions, and whether there was or was not an advantage to doing whatever was done?

     - Jonathan
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: antonioe on 06/25/2012 04:22 PM
    If Antonio's still reading this thread:  I realize I always misunderstood the nature of the APEX (Aug 1994) and SEASTAR (Aug 1997) Pegasus launches - the press at the time made it sound like the third stage was part of the Pegastar spacecraft, but now I realize it was just that (some of?)  the third stage
    avionics functions were moved to the spacecraft bus (or something?) but the third stage still separated as usual.

    Can you comment on what was different about the third stage for these missions, and whether there was or was not an advantage to doing whatever was done?

     - Jonathan

    APEX incorporated the Pegasus avionics as its own avionics, so the satellite steered the rocket intil it separated from the avionicsless third stage.  That was not the case for SeaStar.

    No, it was not a good idea.  Trust me, it was MY idea!
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: jcm on 06/29/2012 10:14 PM
    If Antonio's still reading this thread:  I realize I always misunderstood the nature of the APEX (Aug 1994) and SEASTAR (Aug 1997) Pegasus launches - the press at the time made it sound like the third stage was part of the Pegastar spacecraft, but now I realize it was just that (some of?)  the third stage
    avionics functions were moved to the spacecraft bus (or something?) but the third stage still separated as usual.

    Can you comment on what was different about the third stage for these missions, and whether there was or was not an advantage to doing whatever was done?

     - Jonathan

    APEX incorporated the Pegasus avionics as its own avionics, so the satellite steered the rocket intil it separated from the avionicsless third stage.  That was not the case for SeaStar.

    No, it was not a good idea.  Trust me, it was MY idea!

    Thanks for the insight!!

    (As it happens, I spent much of today working around the results of an idea I had ten years ago that seemed like a really good one at the time :-))
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: gin455res on 06/30/2012 08:40 AM
    Hi Antonio,

    I read earlier in the thread that you inspected a B52 (one that carried the x15) before settling on the final launch aircraft.

    This was hung off the wing and not underneath.


    Do you know if the size of a rocket-plane suspended from a wing is limited by the asymmetry of this arrangement?

    And if it is, do you know of any air launch concepts where the rocket plane is hung under one wing and a dead mass counter weight is slung under the opposite wing to balance this asymmetry? 

    (I'm assuming hanging two rocket-planes off the opposite wings of a carrier plane, and releasing them at the same time is madness?)
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: antonioe on 07/13/2012 06:48 PM
    We didn't just inspect the B-52, we flew 6 mission with it! (I was the LPO on missions 1 and 4)

    B-52 s/n 0008 (good ol' "balls 8") had a large fuselage tank on the centerline as well as tanks on the the wings (but no tip tanks like later B-52 versions).  Pegasus was hung from the pylon on the starboard (right) wing.

    After towing the Pegasus-carrying trailer under the wing, but before attaching the rocket, we transfered fuel to the starboard wing tanks to lower the starboard wing.

    We then raised the trailer a bit and attached Pegasus to the pylon.

    Next, we transfered fuel to the port side to lift the Pegasus up from the trailer (we also lowered the trailer bed.)

    We then took off with more fuel on the port side to balance the Pegasus on the starboard side, making the B-52 weight-symmetric at takeoff.

    Before drop, we transfered fuel to the starboard side to make the aircraft heavy on the rocket side by about ONE HALF THE ROCKET WEIGHT.

    When the rocket was dropped, the aircraft became instantly port-heavy by the same amount (on-half the rocket weight).  The lateral aerodynamics of the B-52 were more than sufficient to handle these asymmetries.   Also, the left-turning tendency was used by the pilot to acheive lateral separation from the release flight path.

    Before landing, the fuel was equalized so, again, the aircraft was weight-symmetrical.

    Neat, uh?
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: Robotbeat on 07/13/2012 07:18 PM
    Great explanation! Thanks. :)
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: gin455res on 07/29/2012 08:17 PM
    We didn't just inspect the B-52, we flew 6 mission with it! (I was the LPO on missions 1 and 4)

    B-52 s/n 0008 (good ol' "balls 8") had a large fuselage tank on the centerline as well as tanks on the the wings (but no tip tanks like later B-52 versions).  Pegasus was hung from the pylon on the starboard (right) wing.

    After towing the Pegasus-carrying trailer under the wing, but before attaching the rocket, we transfered fuel to the starboard wing tanks to lower the starboard wing.

    We then raised the trailer a bit and attached Pegasus to the pylon.

    Next, we transfered fuel to the port side to lift the Pegasus up from the trailer (we also lowered the trailer bed.)

    We then took off with more fuel on the port side to balance the Pegasus on the starboard side, making the B-52 weight-symmetric at takeoff.

    Before drop, we transfered fuel to the starboard side to make the aircraft heavy on the rocket side by about ONE HALF THE ROCKET WEIGHT.

    When the rocket was dropped, the aircraft became instantly port-heavy by the same amount (on-half the rocket weight).  The lateral aerodynamics of the B-52 were more than sufficient to handle these asymmetries.   Also, the left-turning tendency was used by the pilot to acheive lateral separation from the release flight path.

    Before landing, the fuel was equalized so, again, the aircraft was weight-symmetrical.

    Neat, uh?

    Yes, thanks for answering.

    So the you halved the asymmetry, clever.
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: fatjohn1408 on 08/23/2012 09:24 AM
    Dear Antonio,

    Thank you for this informative thread. I want to ask a general question about subsonic assisted launch. Why are all concepts multi-stage designs?
    It has even been said that the Titan 2 first stage could reach orbit from the ground. In the links provided it gives data indicating a 28 construction mass ratio and a specific impulse of 258.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGM-25C_Titan_II
    http://www.braeunig.us/space/specs/titan.htm

    Adding 300 m/s as assist velocity and 450 due to the rotation of the earth, one gets 9175 m/s of delta-V. Having less drag losses and less gravitational losses than the average launcher.

    Now why didn't you try to optimize a single stage vehicle for assisted air launch? I am asking this question because I am optimising launch assist vehicles for assisted launch and right now my optimisation shows that subsonically assisted launchers can reach orbit with a payload.

    Is the extra payload brought by a multi stage vehicle worth that much more risk and complexety or am i forgetting something and is it actually close to impossible to bring a single stage into orbit from a subsonic assist.

    Thank you.
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: modemeagle on 09/23/2012 02:22 AM
    Antonio,
    Finally ran the Pegasus though my simulator.  Solids are very time consuming to simulate and adding lift from the wing was the hardest part.  The simulator is really designed for one to three stage liquid engines without solids.  I did a lot of these for the Falcon series for SpaceX and did not want to leave Orbital out.  Will try the Antares when more data is released on the system.

    Edit: corrected drag vs angle of attack
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: jcm on 09/26/2012 11:22 PM
    I read an item in Space News this week that took me to an Orbital press release back in August that we seem to have missed on this forum:

    http://www.orbital.com/NewsInfo/release.asp?prid=825

    "Dr. Antonio L. Elias, currently Executive Vice President and General Manager of Orbital’s Advanced Programs Group (APG), will become Executive Vice President and Chief Technical Officer, responsible for the company’s overall technical operations. In this new corporate capacity, Dr. Elias will oversee a 2,600-person functional organization consisting of the company’s engineering, production, supply chain, test and operations staff, as well as its safety and mission assurance professionals, in Virginia, Arizona and other locations."

    Congratulations, Antonio! I hope that comes with a nice pay raise and a swankier office ;-)
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: ugordan on 09/27/2012 02:47 PM
    I read an item in Space News this week that took me to an Orbital press release back in August that we seem to have missed on this forum:

    It wasn't missed: http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=15457.msg947180#msg947180
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: jcm on 09/27/2012 10:58 PM
    I read an item in Space News this week that took me to an Orbital press release back in August that we seem to have missed on this forum:

    It wasn't missed: http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=15457.msg947180#msg947180

    Ah ok ... sorry about that. There is so much stuff on this site and the threads overlap enough that it's really easy to miss important stuff!
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: modemeagle on 10/15/2012 05:22 PM
    Antonio,
    Finally ran the Antares though my simulator. All masses were estimated and excluded from the output to not spread bad information.  Only the payload is shown.  Had some interesting results trying to get a good trajectory and think I may have found how to get more accuracy of insertion using a liquid first stage and a solid second stage.  Being only a 2D simulator I can't use Yaw maneuvers to burn off excess velocity.  Unless ATK publishes a new curve for the Castor 30XL then I won't be able to model the uprated version in a future simulation.
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: Kabloona on 03/24/2013 04:25 AM
    Antonio, when your benevolent overlords give you some free time away from Antares, could you please post your promised next installment "Run Silent, Run Deep," in your story of how Pegasus was developed?

    And thank you for sharing so generously of your time and knowledge on this forum; it's great to hear straight from the horse's mouth, as it were!
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: Galactic Penguin SST on 04/22/2013 12:54 AM
    Bump!

    Quote
    Davie OPF - 26/8/2007 11:09 PM

    Welcome back sir. This is a great Q&A.

    Interested to hear what you meant by a Delta II replacement? We know there's moves to Delta IVs for commonality of ULA DOD launch service contracts, but a 'new' vehicle? A beefed up Pegasus? Do tell more if you can, sounds intriguing.
    Orbital's US Government satellite products (NASA and some Defense/Intelligence) are slowly but steadily growing from Pegasus/Minotaur II class to the Minotaur IV/Delta II class. Orbital's market share in this class is, or was, growing.

    The demise of Delta II threatens this growth. Much like what happened to us in 1987 (we had the idea for what became ORBCOMM, but not a suitable launch option, so we decided to start what became Pegasus) we have started what could become "son of Delta II" (some pundits suggest we call it Epsilon - the next letter in the greek alphabet, but DWT nixed that for obvious reasons.) Orbital is funding this effort at risk - like with Pegasus and Taurus, we do not have any contract or sponsorship to develop it - not even a COTS agreement!

    Having said all this, I expect a torrent of questions pertaining to its configuration, propulsion technology, etc. The honest answer is that we are still trading options. We are spending several megadollars to proceed to CDR late this year (and, believe me, that buys a LOT of design at Orbital!); if we pass a number of hurdles, we will proceed to CDR in the fall of 2008 for a possible first launch in mid-2010. Now, here's the rub:

    Any fool can design a profitable EXPENDABLE rocket if it is guaranteed to fly 12-20 times a year (50-60 for a reusable). Any fool can design an UNprofitable rocket that flies 2-3 times a year (well, even so it's not as easy as that, but you get the point.) The hard part is to design a launch product that will BREAK EVEN at 2-3 launches/year!!!

    Unfortunately, the word "launch product" here includes the industrial infrastructure required to produce all its parts, inventory vs. quantity purchases vs. Letters-of-agreement games, fixed infrastructures, perhaps in more than one location, and possibly within 500 yeards of a vicious, rust-causing salt-saturated moist air, the perhaps small but irreducible number of engineers and technicians who have to be "current" in assembly and flight operations, government permits and customers' expectations of insight and flight assurance, reliability of supply lines that may not have any other customers... OH DEAR! OH MY!! Wouldn't it be wonderful it all that mattered was specific impulse, structural mass fraction, bending modes, lift and drag, shock propagation, acoustic levels and all that?

    SO: we are NOT ready to unveil a configuration; we are not even ready to assure that come December's PDR we WILL continue the program - we will only do so if we are convinced we can do it for the non-recurring and recurring costs necessary to make it work.  It's not a matter of funding; as stated in another forum, Orbital has plenty of cash - more, indeed, than it would be PRUDENT to spend in this development. We are working very, very hard to make the cost numbers work; but is IS hard!

    I CAN, though, say that the same people that designed, built and flow 52 Pegasus, Tauruses and Minotaurs are going to give it a hell of a try. We have been able to maintain a viable small launch vehicle product line for 17 years with an average of 3 flights/year (see enclosed chart, which only goes to 2006), so if anybody has a chance to pull this off, it's probably us.

    We are targeting the same payload vs. altitude vs. inclination characteristics of the Delta 7920, it has a liquid (LOX/Kerosene) core and it has a 4 meter diameter fairing. As soon as it is prudent, I will share with you all the vehicle and operational details that ITAR would allow me to post in this forum, including sketches. No yellow ruled paper, though - we use IDEAS.

    And please, PLEASE, don't call me "sir" (or "Dr.") - reminds me of my age! One of the advantages of having a name like Antonio is that you can be THE Antonio (you know, as in THE Donald?... ) so, if you call me "sir" again, YOU'RE FIRED<sup>®</sup>!!!
    -----
    Will design rockets for food

    2065 days later, this rocket becomes a reality. This is the best time for some food for thought and some food for celebrations!

    Antonio, when your benevolent overlords give you some free time away from Antares, could you please post your promised next installment "Run Silent, Run Deep," in your story of how Pegasus was developed?

    And thank you for sharing so generously of your time and knowledge on this forum; it's great to hear straight from the horse's mouth, as it were!

    Plus one vote for this!
    Title: Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
    Post by: Robotbeat on 09/09/2013 05:48 PM
    What happened to Pegasus-Turbo?