Author Topic: Antares General Discussion Thread  (Read 195932 times)

Offline rusty

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Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
« Reply #40 on: 03/05/2014 01:53 AM »
I wonder how come there is no activity here.. with engine needs and what the supply line looks like going forward
What's there to say? No news from an engineering perspective. The politics needs to stay in the politics section.
Really, nothing to say? I'll ask anyways -
"If", a big if, there are no more Ukrainian tanks coming, what affect would that have on schedule? If the decades-old engines being rebuilt need spares, are they accounted for or will there be one less engine as it's turned into parts? How "fixed" is the contract for the Italian SV and off-the-shelf solid uppers, specifically could they be delayed or cancelled if there's nothing to put them on? Could this be a catalyst for turning this imported and assembled rocket into a domestically produced one?
« Last Edit: 03/05/2014 01:54 AM by rusty »

Offline edkyle99

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Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
« Reply #41 on: 03/05/2014 02:22 AM »
"If", a big if, there are no more Ukrainian tanks coming, what affect would that have on schedule? If the decades-old engines being rebuilt need spares, are they accounted for or will there be one less engine as it's turned into parts? How "fixed" is the contract for the Italian SV and off-the-shelf solid uppers, specifically could they be delayed or cancelled if there's nothing to put them on? Could this be a catalyst for turning this imported and assembled rocket into a domestically produced one?
I see the engines as a bigger limitation than the first stage production.  Yuzhnoye is still in business.  Russia and the U.S. both buy its products.  There aren't going to be sanctions against Ukraine, so the stages should continue to ship.  It is my understanding that Orbital has an inventory of several of these stages stored in Virginia.

The engines are a limit because the current stock will run out in a few years.  Orbital wants RD-180 [*] as a replacement, if its massive lawsuit against ULA is an indicator.  The outcome of that lawsuit will likely decide much about the future of Antares.   I'll also note here that two of the three known Commercial Crew competitors also depend on RD-180.   

[*] The U.S. can't impose sanctions that affect RD-180, because the Pentagon uses it to launch defense satellites.  The open question is whether Russia might cut off deliveries in retaliation for other sanctions.  That, in turn, could trigger U.S. production of RD-180.

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 03/05/2014 02:46 AM by edkyle99 »

Offline Skyrocket

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Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
« Reply #42 on: 03/05/2014 05:58 AM »

Offline arachnitect

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Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
« Reply #43 on: 03/05/2014 08:29 PM »
Orbital Sciences Examining 2-3 Russian Alternatives to Antares’ AJ-26 Engine

http://www.spacenews.com/article/launch-report/39715orbital-sciences-examining-2-3-russian-alternatives-to-antares%E2%80%99-aj-26

Ruling out AJ-1e6?

I like to picture OSC executives, during a long painful meeting with their lawyers, idly paging through an ATK solid motor catalog, making little notes in the margins and sighing heavily.

Offline mlindner

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Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
« Reply #44 on: 03/08/2014 08:36 AM »
Just went on a trip to interview at Orbital with Launch Systems Group. Got to see the avionics flight units with the avionics ring for a couple of the upcoming Antares flights. Surprised they let me just walk around (with accompaniment) all the flight hardware being assembled. No clean room either. Was really cool. No pictures of course, they take away your cell phone upon entering.

Also, apparently there isn't much worry about the Ukraine situation yet (at least among the lower level people that I talked to).

And I'll leave it at that as not sure what I'm allowed to repeat (without risking possible employment).
« Last Edit: 03/08/2014 08:40 AM by mlindner »
Internal combustion engine in space. It's just a Bad Idea.TM - Robotbeat

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
« Reply #45 on: 03/10/2014 08:42 PM »
Just went on a trip to interview at Orbital with Launch Systems Group. Got to see the avionics flight units with the avionics ring for a couple of the upcoming Antares flights. Surprised they let me just walk around (with accompaniment) all the flight hardware being assembled. No clean room either. Was really cool. No pictures of course, they take away your cell phone upon entering.

Also, apparently there isn't much worry about the Ukraine situation yet (at least among the lower level people that I talked to).

And I'll leave it at that as not sure what I'm allowed to repeat (without risking possible employment).
Good luck! Orbital is a great company. I applied there, too. (but got another, better offer...)
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Online Ronsmytheiii

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Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
« Reply #46 on: 03/20/2014 09:25 PM »
Orbital has dropped litigation for now against ULA, but further litigation may occur if they don't get access to the RD-180.

http://www.spacenews.com/article/launch-report/39926orbital-drops-antitrust-lawsuit-against-ula

Offline Jim

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Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
« Reply #47 on: 03/20/2014 09:36 PM »
ULA maybe woke up and realized that having another user for the engine may help the business case for domestic production.

Offline a_langwich

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Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
« Reply #48 on: 03/20/2014 10:22 PM »
ULA maybe woke up and realized that having another user for the engine may help the business case for domestic production.

If the cost to open a domestic production line approaches a billion dollars, is there a workable business case?  (I'd guess so, maybe quasi-political business case, since ULA would be propped by USAF in the short term and Orbital is already accepted as higher-priced bidder for cargo.)  Would ULA and Orbital try to get the government to fund this?  (Possible answer: why not?  no downside to trying.)

Would domestic production look as identical to the RD-180 as possible, or a mix of RD-180 / AJ-26 (hasn't Aerojet already been making the electronics for AJ-26, or is it just the gimballing system?), or some blend of RD-180/AJ-26/AJ-1E6 (ie, throwing in new technology and manufacturing techniques, just striving to maintain the same interfaces as an RD-180)?

Online Space Ghost 1962

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Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
« Reply #49 on: 03/20/2014 11:20 PM »
The litigation is about restraint of trade. Nothing to do with production, or right of production/license.

Jim's right here. ULA might have a different take after events. Both ULA and Orbital are dependant on Russian kerolox SC engines.

Can't take it further than that at the moment.

Note that the RD-170, from which the RD-180 was derived, shares heritage with the RD-171M used in the Yuzhnoye Zenit, constructed in East Ukraine, where also the Antares first stage is manufactured by Yuzhnoye. Thus considered "non-indigeneous" to Russia. Spawning another engine and launcher for all indigenous supply.

NK-33 and NK-33A don't have gimbals - NK-33A as used on Soyuz 2.1v has a separate RD0110P steering engine. As reissued AJ-26, a two plane gimballed engine is provided by Aerojet - which does not mean that there is a production line for SC kerolox engines in the US.

Two potential uses of AJ-1E6 have been mentioned as Antares and SLS advanced booster. And while the O/F of all of these are similar, one would need to "evolve" Atlas V incrementally to consider it as a third use.

Certainly, if you go back to make indigenous kerolox SC with a $1-2B paydown, having a potential flyout schedule of 30-70 engines in 5 years is more attractive to take to the hill, than 15-24 ...

There was another rumoured use of AJ-1E6 too ...

edit: typos, missed sentence.
« Last Edit: 03/20/2014 11:25 PM by Space Ghost 1962 »

Offline Lurker Steve

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Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
« Reply #50 on: 04/21/2014 02:42 PM »
This article from Space News says they have bids from 3 companies for new engines for Antares. After reading the article, I assume at least 1 of the bids is newly manufactured NK-33s/ AJ-26 engines. They have 2 other bids, one Russian and one from the US, both of which would be an improvement over the current engines.

Any guesses as to which engines those are ?

http://spacenews.com/article/financial-report/40254orbital-evaluating-three-bids-for-antares-engine-says-amazonas-4a

Offline baldusi

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Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
« Reply #51 on: 04/21/2014 03:48 PM »
I understand the one is NPO Energomash with either dual RD-193 or RD-181, and probably AeroJet AJ-1E6. At least those are the two logical choices.
And there was an NPO Energomash powerpoint which showed an RD-181 and under it stated flatly Antares.
« Last Edit: 04/21/2014 03:50 PM by baldusi »

Offline Halidon

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Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
« Reply #52 on: 04/21/2014 10:32 PM »
What about the stage itself? If they choose a US-built motor, are they still going to source the stage from Ukraine? What if the factory ends up annexed by Russia?

Offline baldusi

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Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
« Reply #53 on: 04/22/2014 02:03 AM »

What about the stage itself? If they choose a US-built motor, are they still going to source the stage from Ukraine? What if the factory ends up annexed by Russia?
This is a purely commercial rocket that barely makes the US built percentage. If Yuzhnoye is annexed by Russia, they'd be happy since that would give them immediate access to the Russian government market. And keeping the tooling working would probably make them keep a very special price for Orbital. Of course that's always the chance that some of the SLS tank researches (one is even RP-1/LOX composite out of autoclave common bulkhead) might be offered. But of course that would be an Antares II. And for that they would need an actual demand for such a rocket. As it is, they have something like one year to actually get all the necessary tanks for the CRS-1 contract.

Offline simonbp

Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
« Reply #54 on: 04/22/2014 03:04 AM »
What I think would be awesome (but extremely unlikely) is new-build LR-87s. It was originally designed for RP-1 (and used as such in Titan 1), and if you up the chamber pressure a bit, it would have just the right amount of thrust.

Online TrevorMonty

Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
« Reply #55 on: 04/22/2014 07:02 AM »
I suspect the Russian engines will be cheaper but politics may come into play in the selection process.

Offline Lurker Steve

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Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
« Reply #56 on: 04/22/2014 12:32 PM »

What about the stage itself? If they choose a US-built motor, are they still going to source the stage from Ukraine? What if the factory ends up annexed by Russia?
This is a purely commercial rocket that barely makes the US built percentage. If Yuzhnoye is annexed by Russia, they'd be happy since that would give them immediate access to the Russian government market. And keeping the tooling working would probably make them keep a very special price for Orbital. Of course that's always the chance that some of the SLS tank researches (one is even RP-1/LOX composite out of autoclave common bulkhead) might be offered. But of course that would be an Antares II. And for that they would need an actual demand for such a rocket. As it is, they have something like one year to actually get all the necessary tanks for the CRS-1 contract.

I forgot the fact that the engines were counted as "American content" due to the work Aerojet did to convert them from NK-33 to AJ-26.

Offline baldusi

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Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
« Reply #57 on: 04/22/2014 02:26 PM »
Please don't forget T/W and isp. Antares relies on a 130:1 T/W and SC isp. You can't use gas generators and get the same performance. Not even a scaled Merlin 1D.

Offline Lars_J

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Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
« Reply #58 on: 04/22/2014 05:47 PM »
Please don't forget T/W and isp. Antares relies on a 130:1 T/W and SC isp. You can't use gas generators and get the same performance. Not even a scaled Merlin 1D.

Don't fall into the "isp uber alles" philosophy. Of course a different engine could be used. Just add power, and stretch the tanks. The primary performance that actually matters is how much payload is put in the desired orbit. Isp and T/W are secondary to that.

Offline baldusi

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Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
« Reply #59 on: 04/22/2014 06:24 PM »
Please don't forget T/W and isp. Antares relies on a 130:1 T/W and SC isp. You can't use gas generators and get the same performance. Not even a scaled Merlin 1D.

Don't fall into the "isp uber alles" philosophy. Of course a different engine could be used. Just add power, and stretch the tanks. The primary performance that actually matters is how much payload is put in the desired orbit. Isp and T/W are secondary to that.

And then you are talking about Antares 2. I find it simplistic when I said both high T/W and isp that you only mentioned isp. Not to mention O/F ratios. Sure, you could put an F-1B, use a  bigger tank, and it will probably have even better performance. And be bigger and a completely new first stage. The point is that OSC wants to pay just 30M on the re-engine program (but is willing to pay more for each individual engine). That means same tank, mostly same GSE and physical interfaces.

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