Author Topic: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle - General Discussion Thread 2  (Read 275873 times)

Offline edkyle99

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Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle - General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1240 on: 09/14/2017 03:28 AM »
Only two active U.S. launch services companies currently own their own propulsion:  SpaceX and Orbital ATK.   Blue Origin is attempting to join them.  If this is the winning model for future competition, ULA has a problem. 

 - Ed Kyle

Online spacenut

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Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle - General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1241 on: 09/14/2017 03:47 AM »
Didn't Aerojet get bought by Orbital ATK? 

I don't understand why companies as big as Boeing and Lockheed don't make their own engines. 

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Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle - General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1242 on: 09/14/2017 04:04 AM »
It is out of the question. I believe both Elon and Shotwell have answered this before saying Merlins and Raptors were not for sale and use outside of SpaceX.

Not true. Raptor at the very least, as part of the USAF development contract they agreed to (which implemented a section of that years National Defense Authorization Act requiring this), must be made available for sale to other companies or agencies. And SpaceX has tried selling engines and rockets before (Falcon 9 Air, which ended only because it was not seen as compatible with their internal development goals and wouldn't be competitive enough to justify, and various DARPA reusable launch vehicle/engine RFIs). They just need a customer.

Offline edkyle99

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Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle - General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1243 on: 09/14/2017 04:18 AM »
Didn't Aerojet get bought by Orbital ATK? 

I don't understand why companies as big as Boeing and Lockheed don't make their own engines. 
Aerojet was merged with ex-Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne to create today's Aerojet Rocketdyne.

Orbital Sciences and ATK merged to create today's Orbital ATK.

One reason the "legacy" companies didn't do their own propulsion is that the Pentagon insisted, during the early days of ICBM development, that the missile systems be subdivided into subcontractor tasks.  Thus Convair only had the missile, while Rocketdyne did propulsion, etc.  Convair wasn't happy about that arrangement, BTW.

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« Last Edit: 09/14/2017 01:25 PM by edkyle99 »

Offline woods170

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Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle - General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1244 on: 09/14/2017 06:18 AM »
It is out of the question. I believe both Elon and Shotwell have answered this before saying Merlins and Raptors were not for sale and use outside of SpaceX.

Not true. Raptor at the very least, as part of the USAF development contract they agreed to (which implemented a section of that years National Defense Authorization Act requiring this), must be made available for sale to other companies or agencies. And SpaceX has tried selling engines and rockets before (Falcon 9 Air, which ended only because it was not seen as compatible with their internal development goals and wouldn't be competitive enough to justify, and various DARPA reusable launch vehicle/engine RFIs). They just need a customer.
Which, in practice, comes down to what russianhalo117 has stated. By the time Raptor is ready there will be only one US launch provider that might be in need of third-party supplied propulsion. And that is ULA. However, ULA is not going to buy engines from SpaceX unless hell freezes over. ULA's engine provider will be either Blue or Aerojet-Rocketdyne.
So, Raptor will remain exclusive to SpaceX only. That's why SpaceX could accept the USAF development money without really having to worry about having to make Raptors available to a third party.
« Last Edit: 09/14/2017 06:35 AM by woods170 »

Offline Dante80

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Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle - General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1245 on: 09/14/2017 07:50 AM »
Could Vulcan be designed to use Merlins from SpaceX?  Or is this out of the question?  I figure they could use 5 or 7 with the solids.  They might even be able to stay with the Atlas V diameter.  Air Force or NASA may not want this in order to have more competition.

I really think that - from a feasibility perspective - the possibility of ULA contracting SpaceX for the Vulcan propulsion is as far fetched as one could imagine.

There is an interesting caveat though. Through the USAF program, SpaceX is obligated to end the development and certification of a ~1MN thrust Raptor variant by the end of 2018 (the qualification tests will be done at Stennis, as per the contract).

Although the variant at hand is reported to be an upper stage engine, there is a slight possibility that SpaceX may finish their development work for it before AR-1 or BE-4 are qualified.

By the time they do this of course, ULA would have already downselected to one engine provider and moved on.

Online Rebel44

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Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle - General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1246 on: 09/14/2017 08:24 AM »
Could Vulcan be designed to use Merlins from SpaceX?  Or is this out of the question?  I figure they could use 5 or 7 with the solids.  They might even be able to stay with the Atlas V diameter.  Air Force or NASA may not want this in order to have more competition.

USAF wants 2 disimilar launch vehicles - so using same engine in both SX and ULA LV would not be acceptable

Regarding subscale Raptor (being developed for upper stage), USAF contract said, they have to make it available to others, but it AFAIK doesnt dictate price or availability, so answer could likely be "we dont have any spare capacity right now, so deliveries NET 2022 at cost $10+ per engine...

Online spacenut

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Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle - General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1247 on: 09/14/2017 01:35 PM »
So this separate engine from rocket development must have played over into the planes also.  I know that Pratt and Whitney and GE both make jet engines which are used on Boeing and Lockheed's planes.  From military to civilian jets.  Was and is this still a requirement for planes as well as rockets?  Maybe not because SpaceX makes their own engines. 

Maybe it is a holdover from WWII.  Companies made planes while other companies made engines. 

Seems like whatever works and is the most cost effective should be what government contracts should be made from. 

Offline Thorny

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Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle - General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1248 on: 09/14/2017 02:01 PM »
So this separate engine from rocket development must have played over into the planes also.

No, aircraft are very, very different. Jet engines are enormously more mature than rocket engines, built in enormously greater numbers, and have very, very different operational lives. There was a big push to get two different jet engines for the F-35 Lightning II, the standard GE engine and a backup engine from P&W (partly resulting from experience with the  F100 engine problems on both the F-15 and F-16 in the '70s) but the Pentagon didn't build two different fighters of the F-35's class for dissimilarity.

Online Steven Pietrobon

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Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle - General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1249 on: 09/15/2017 06:20 AM »
USAF wants 2 disimilar launch vehicles - so using same engine in both SX and ULA LV would not be acceptable

Nonsense. Atlas V and Delta IV both use the RL-10 in their upper stages.
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Offline AncientU

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Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle - General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1250 on: 09/15/2017 10:54 AM »
USAF wants 2 disimilar launch vehicles - so using same engine in both SX and ULA LV would not be acceptable

Nonsense. Atlas V and Delta IV both use the RL-10 in their upper stages.

And they are being converted to common avionics (Delta at taxpayers' expense, even though it is being phased out).
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Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle - General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1251 on: 09/15/2017 05:49 PM »
Having Atlas and Delta separate was once the norm for having two competitors.  Now, that is no longer necessary with SpaceX, upcoming BO New Glen rocket, and ATK/Orbital.  The Air Force now has multiple competitors.  ULA doesn't need but one good Rocket to compete with the others. 

Offline S.Paulissen

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Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle - General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1252 on: 09/15/2017 06:17 PM »
Didn't Aerojet get bought by Orbital ATK? 

I don't understand why companies as big as Boeing and Lockheed don't make their own engines. 
Aerojet was merged with ex-Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne to create today's Aerojet Rocketdyne.

Orbital Sciences and ATK merged to create today's Orbital ATK.

One reason the "legacy" companies didn't do their own propulsion is that the Pentagon insisted, during the early days of ICBM development, that the missile systems be subdivided into subcontractor tasks.  Thus Convair only had the missile, while Rocketdyne did propulsion, etc.  Convair wasn't happy about that arrangement, BTW.

 - Ed Kyle

I presume this is/was a security demand. If they are separate then it will take more than one breach to get the full rocket design.
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Offline rayleighscatter

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Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle - General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1253 on: 09/15/2017 09:34 PM »
USAF contract said, they have to make it available to others, but it AFAIK doesnt dictate price or availability
They would have to charge a government contractor close to what they themselves would charge in a contract.

The US government gets involved in its contracts and won't allow big markups from subcontractors.

Offline ethan829

USAF wants 2 disimilar launch vehicles - so using same engine in both SX and ULA LV would not be acceptable

Nonsense. Atlas V and Delta IV both use the RL-10 in their upper stages.

And they are being converted to common avionics (Delta at taxpayers' expense, even though it is being phased out).

Because the legacy avionics literally cannot be purchased anymore and the government wants/needs Delta to stay flying.

Offline Jim

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Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle - General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1255 on: 09/16/2017 06:43 PM »
So this separate engine from rocket development must have played over into the planes also. 

No, it was the other way around.  It came from planes to rockets.

Offline Patchouli

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Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle - General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1256 on: 09/16/2017 09:52 PM »

Because the legacy avionics literally cannot be purchased anymore and the government wants/needs Delta to stay flying.

Anything can still be bought so long as there is someone willing to keep the pay to keep the production line for it open.


« Last Edit: 09/16/2017 09:53 PM by Patchouli »

Offline russianhalo117

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Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle - General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1257 on: 09/18/2017 02:11 AM »

Because the legacy avionics literally cannot be purchased anymore and the government wants/needs Delta to stay flying.

Anything can still be bought so long as there is someone willing to keep the pay to keep the production line for it open.



and supply chain still intact. SR-71 cannot easily be reactivated because supply chain is disintegrated.

Online Space Ghost 1962

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Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle - General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1258 on: 09/18/2017 05:45 PM »

Because the legacy avionics literally cannot be purchased anymore and the government wants/needs Delta to stay flying.

Anything can still be bought so long as there is someone willing to keep the pay to keep the production line for it open.



and supply chain still intact. SR-71 cannot easily be reactivated because supply chain is disintegrated.

The common misconception is that an assembly line is parts, tooling, fixtures, instructions. If you don't need the line, you document the above and discard. When you need it again, take the documents, replicate what you need, and you're instantly back in business. And, that you can whistle up anything you need, by just dangling the appropriate amount of cash.

Even for modern mass consumer items (like say iPhoneX), this is far from the case. (Apple can't meet its demands for about a year, and they have more money than Crassus.) The further you go into the past, the more the mindshare/materials/processes are gone.

When you try to build anything, even something from the past, it is all reinvented. Sometimes the past "informs" on the new thing more/less/none.

And sometimes the "guild secrets" ... are lost forever. Many things are like that. In some cases you can recreate something to serve in kind.

But, as BO is finding, you can have the resources but still be caught in indefinite time anyways. Money does not make you god.

It would seem that even global powers face that quite often as well.  ::)


Online ChrisWilson68

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Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle - General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1259 on: 09/20/2017 01:20 PM »
USAF contract said, they have to make it available to others, but it AFAIK doesnt dictate price or availability
They would have to charge a government contractor close to what they themselves would charge in a contract.

The US government gets involved in its contracts and won't allow big markups from subcontractors.

Where's the evidence that this Air Force contract has any such provision?

I've seen a lot of discussion of this, and all the discussion I've seen indicates that it only requires that the engines be made available for sale, not anything about the price that needs to be charged.  If you have some new information that everyone else missed, please share it.

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