Author Topic: Delta IV-H - Parker Solar Probe (aka Solar Probe Plus) - SLC-37 - July 31, 2018  (Read 21176 times)

Offline Chris Bergin

March 18, 2015
NASA Awards Launch Services Contract for Solar Probe Plus Mission

NASA has selected United Launch Services, LLC, of Centennial, Colorado, to provide launch services for the agency’s Solar Probe Plus (SPP) mission.

The SPP spacecraft will launch aboard a Delta IV Heavy rocket from Space Launch Complex 37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Launch is targeted for July 31, 2018, at the opening of a 20-day launch period. The total contract award amount for launch services is $389.1 million.

SPP will be the first mission to fly through the sun’s outer atmosphere -- the solar corona -- to examine two fundamental aspects of solar physics: why the corona is so much hotter than the sun’s surface, and what accelerates the solar wind that affects Earth and our solar system. Understanding these fundamental phenomena has been a top-priority science goal for more than five decades. SPP will orbit the sun 24 times, closing to within 3.9 million miles of its surface with the help of seven Venus flybys.

The Launch Services Program at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida is responsible for management and oversight of the Delta IV Heavy launch services for SPP. The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory is designing and building the spacecraft for NASA’s Living with a Star Program, managed by the agency’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.

For more information about NASA programs and missions, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/
« Last Edit: 05/31/2017 03:41 PM by ChrisGebhardt »


Offline Star One

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Delta IV-H - Solar Probe Plus (SPP) - SLC-37 - July 31, 2018
« Reply #2 on: 03/19/2015 06:43 AM »
Oh so they did go for the Delta IV-H in the end. Did think Falcon 9H was unlikely because of its newness as a launcher also the lack of relevant upper stage needed due to high energy needs of this launch. As a general point it will be good to see the Heavy on another rare civilian launch.

@Chris good article.:)
« Last Edit: 03/19/2015 06:47 AM by Star One »

Offline newpylong

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They can't sign a contract now for something that may or may not be available or certified for launch.
« Last Edit: 03/19/2015 11:58 AM by newpylong »

Offline Kim Keller

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They can't sign a contract now for something that may or may not be available or certified for launch.

Actually, yes, they can. SpaceX/JASON-3, Atlas V/MRO (401) & Pluto New Horizons (551), and OSC/OCO are perfect examples. All three four missions were contracted before certification.
« Last Edit: 03/19/2015 01:22 PM by Kim Keller »

Offline Star One

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They can't sign a contract now for something that may or may not be available or certified for launch.

Actually, yes, they can. SpaceX/JASON-3, Atlas V/MRO & Pluto New Horizons, and OSC/OCO are perfect examples. All three were contracted before certification.

Thanks I thought that was the case & the poster above was incorrect in their interpretation on this.

Offline AS_501

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Interesting that so much propulsive energy will be needed to take the probe near the Sun, given that it will be falling into the Sun's gravity well.  Was the same true for Messenger?

Offline Kim Keller

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Interesting that so much propulsive energy will be needed to take the probe near the Sun, given that it will be falling into the Sun's gravity well.  Was the same true for Messenger?

Yes. Messenger made a total of 6 planetary flybys in order to decelerate enough for Mercury orbit insertion.

Offline PahTo

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Good stuff and good article.  Wow, a Star-48 on a D-IVH--that's noteworthy in itself.  Is the need for such a big LV due to the mass of the spacecraft?  I imagine to fly through the corona will require plenty of shielding/mass.

Online Skyrocket

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I presume, the Star-48 will be a Star-48BV version. The development of the Star-48GXV, which was to be used with Solar Probe on the originally planned Atlas-V(551), has been stopped to to high costs.
« Last Edit: 03/19/2015 02:26 PM by Skyrocket »

Online ugordan

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Wow, a Star-48 on a D-IVH--that's noteworthy in itself.  Is the need for such a big LV due to the mass of the spacecraft?

It's a lightweight spacecraft. It's just that the delta-V requirement is huge and is enough to bring *any* chemical propulsion system down to its knees.

Offline baldusi

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Delta IV Heavy + Star-48 and they still need seven Venus flybys? Wow, that's a lot of delta-v.
BTW, now ULA will be able to say "from the Sun to Pluto, we can launch your payload". You do have to give them that.
But I still wonder if there was a developed SEP stage if it wouldn't work better for inner solar system missions (like a Mercury lander or a polar solar probe.

Offline AS_501

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My guess is that shielding will be essential not only for high temperatures, but to protect against charged particles from Solar flares/CMEs, gamma and x-rays, etc.  If the Sun can rattle the electronic nerves of a geostationary satellite 93 million miles away, imagine what it could do to a much closer spacecraft.

Offline Sam Ho

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NASA is beginning the process of procuring a launch vehicle for solar probe plus: https://www.fbo.gov/?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=3060e9441252d36ffceae289a1fef314&tab=core&_cview=0 . The mass is 685 kg and the C3 is 154 km^2/s^2. I believe this is beyond what Falcon 9 can handle, even with a kick stage. The solicitation requires "at least one successful flight of the common launch vehicle configuration...prior to the proposal due date, which is anticipated to be September 2014," and Falcon Heavy isn't expected to launch until 2015, so it looks like SpaceX will not be eligible to bid. Presumably an Atlas will win.

It wouldn't be an Atlas because such a solicitation is not needed to buy an Atlas. Atlas is already on the NLS II contract.

Here's where the solicitation for this launch was discussed.

Offline Jim

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The Star-48 is part of the spacecraft and not the launch vehicle.

Offline Sam Ho

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I find, so I share:

https://dnnpro.outer.jhuapl.edu/Portals/35/ISSFD24_Paper_Release/ISSFD24_Paper_S6-2_Guo.pdf

Quote
The launch energy is much higher than most interplanetary missions and requires a powerful three-stage launch system. The maximum launch C3 over the 20-day launch period is 154 km2/s2. The baseline launch system is an EELV (Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle) Delta IV Heavy class launch vehicle with a standard Star 48 BV upper stage. During the Phase B development, an EELV Atlas V 551 launch vehicle was assumed. The recent switch to the more powerful Delta IV Heavy class launch vehicle will allow for more launch mass and increase spacecraft mass margin for the Phase C development.

They were playing around with an enhanced Star-48 at one point (trying to keep it on Atlas).

Also from the SPP thread, the D4H with Star 48BV just selected has been the baseline vehicle throughout Phase C work.

Offline zubenelgenubi

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I presume, the Star-48 will be a Star-48BV version. The development of the Star-48GXV, which was to be used with Solar Probe on the originally planned Atlas-V(551), has been stopped to to high costs.
Has there been any news or explanation as to why the Star-48GXV development became too expensive?
And how expensive is too expensive?

My (limited) understanding is that Star-48 motors are mature technology.

Curious,
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Offline Jim

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I presume, the Star-48 will be a Star-48BV version. The development of the Star-48GXV, which was to be used with Solar Probe on the originally planned Atlas-V(551), has been stopped to to high costs.
Has there been any news or explanation as to why the Star-48GXV development became too expensive?
And how expensive is too expensive?

My (limited) understanding is that Star-48 motors are mature technology.


Only Star-48's with fixed nozzles are mature.

Online Skyrocket

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I presume, the Star-48 will be a Star-48BV version. The development of the Star-48GXV, which was to be used with Solar Probe on the originally planned Atlas-V(551), has been stopped to to high costs.
Has there been any news or explanation as to why the Star-48GXV development became too expensive?
And how expensive is too expensive?

My (limited) understanding is that Star-48 motors are mature technology.


Only Star-48's with fixed nozzles are mature.

And the Star-48GXV is more or less a completely new motor, with graphite composite case, a lightweight carbon-carbon exit cone and a new consumable igniter.

Offline ZachS09

Has the Star-48BV ever flown before? Or is the 48B the only flown variant?
"Liftoff of Falcon 9: the world's first reflight of an orbital class rocket."

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