Author Topic: European new micro launchers  (Read 10096 times)

Offline Rik ISS-fan

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Re: Arianespace's new "micro launcher"
« Reply #20 on: 10/02/2017 09:45 PM »
I just realised only Vega L and other launchers Arianespace is going to offer are on topic.
May I sugest to change the subject of this topic into "European new micro launchers".

I don't expect any new Arianespace launchers before 2024, after the Vega-C and Ariane 6 have been introduced. 2024 is the aimed introduction date for Vega-E (is in study phase). There was also a presentation about Vega-E; VUS with Myra engine, and VEnUS solar electric orbit raising stage, during IAC.
Possibly Vega-L will be introduced earlier.

Vega-L is a proposal from AVIO/ELV. The press release talked about two configurations. I think that Arianegroup /France might also be interested in one of these configurations. This is the configuration that could be introduced earlier. Let me explain by discribing what I expect for the two versions of Vega-L.

The most capable version is most likely derived from Vega-E. This is a two stage launcher, with a first stage derived from Z40 (or M51 1th stage) and VUS as 2th stage. Optionally VEnUS could be added as 3th stage. (Configuration P40-VUS / P36-C10)
The second version I expect to be a derivative of Vega-C or M51, this would be a 3stage launcher. The first stage is most likely also derived from Z40 or M51 1th. The second stage could be Z9A or M51 2th. AVUM+ would be the 3th stage for this Vega-L version. (Configuration P36-P9/Z9-AVUM+/S0,75).
I've used the French launcher configuration nomenclature.
I think Arianegroup might be very interested in the second configuration. Because they also produce the M51. This version of Vega-L might utilize the factory where M51's are produced, when there is no demand from France.

Now a side topic; Vega and Vega-C, I call these Small launchers.
The resent order of 6 Vega and 4 Vega-C launchers indicate that Arianespace will use Vega and Vega-C at the same time. If the configuration of vega doesn't change, this means that AVIO/ELV have to produce 7 different stages at the same time. (P120C, P80, Z40, Z23, Z9A, AVUM and AVUM+)
If Vega-L gets added to the launch offering, a P40 will be added, but this is most likely nearly identical to Z40. I expect that these 10 Vega(-C) launchers will be used in 2019 and 2020, so 5 launches annually.
Does Avio wants to streamline it's production proces after 2020?

If Vega-E gets developed, Z9A and AVUM(+) will be replaced by the VUS stage. This reduces the ammount of stage configurations by three. (P120C,  P80, Z40/P40, VUS (& VEnUS)).
In this scenario P80 will be produced at a low rate <4x/y. Z40/P40 @ 6-10/Y and P120C @~35x/Y. Could P80 be replaced by a stage simular to Z40/P40 or a longer version of P40, aka P50-P75. The launch capability for this launcher (Vega+) should be 1,5mT to 700km SSO. This would eliminate the requirement for the 3m diameter P80 mandrel.  Only the P120C 3,4m and Z40/P40 2,36m remain.
Possibly a expendable Prometheus powered first stage and VUS could also replace Vega. Or if Callisto is a succes: Multiple Myra-VUS.

I expect MT Aerospace will produce two different solid stage sizes: P120C (3,4m) and S50 (1,45m).
Possibly the 1,45m diameter is interasting for a H2O2-HC storable in orbit stage that could replace AVUM on the small Vega-L, and supplement VEnUS (more dV in orbit stage).
This 1,45m might also be interesting for a rideshare adapter like ESPA or Sherpa.
« Last Edit: 10/03/2017 02:31 PM by Rik ISS-fan »

Offline bolun

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Re: Arianespace's new "micro launcher"
« Reply #21 on: 10/03/2017 09:07 AM »
May I sugest to change the subject of this topic into "European new micro launchers".

Done  ;)

Online gongora

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Re: European new micro launchers
« Reply #22 on: 10/03/2017 03:37 PM »
We already have the Countdown to new smallsat launchers thread for new commercial smallsat launchers, and individual threads for many of the companies also.  I'm not sure we really need a separate thread for European commercial smallsat launchers.  It might be better to keep this one focused on Arianespace and ESA launchers.

Offline Rik ISS-fan

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Re: European new micro launchers
« Reply #23 on: 10/03/2017 04:30 PM »
gongora; I disagree with you. In Europe a space company without institutional backing won't make it.
All companies that do sereaus development are involved in ESA or EU Horizon 2020 programs. PLD Space is mostly funded by the government of Spain. And all UK initiatives also rely on government backing.
So which company succeeds it's launcher development, depends on political decisions in my opinion.
I hope it's clear I'm skeptical about commercial enterprises (startups) developing a launch service, especially in the EU/Europe.

There are four or five possible orbital launch sites: CSG (France Guiana); SSC (Sweden); ASC (Norway); CEDEA (Spain) and multiple possible sites in the UK. The authorities for these launch sites, decide which launcher is allowed to launch from the launch site and which regulations apply. 
My opinion is that ASC is the best location for orbital micro launchers. Next is CSG and then the UK (but is the UK Europe?). SSC is located inland, and CEDEA requires south-westward launches.
Smile studied launchers from ASC; Rainbow/Small sat Express from SSC and Altair from a huge UAV. PLD Space intents to launch from CEDEA. The UK is and rightfully has a topic of it's own. CSG means Arianespace launch service, I've written about that.

Offline gosnold

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Re: European new micro launchers
« Reply #24 on: 10/03/2017 05:48 PM »
I don't think P80 will be kept in production, I think the recent order for baseline Vegas will be the last one, then it will be full Vega C/E.
Regarding M-51, I don't think the French MoD is interested in maintaining a continuous production of M51. It is interesting in the industrial base for solids, but that can be accomplished by having a specifically civilian solid stage in production or design. No need to have a common military/civilian design. Besides, ICBM are purchased in batches (roughly 1 batch per submarine), and then the production stops, so keeping a low-rate production for civilian use is not optimal.
So Vega-L will most likely have aZ40 1st stage, with a VUS or Z9 on top.

Offline Rik ISS-fan

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Re: European new micro launchers
« Reply #25 on: 10/03/2017 08:59 PM »
Regarding M-51, I don't think the French MoD is interested in maintaining a continuous production of M51. It is interesting in the industrial base for solids, but that can be accomplished by having a specifically civilian solid stage in production or design. No need to have a common military/civilian design. Besides, ICBM are purchased in batches (roughly 1 batch per submarine), and then the production stops, so keeping a low-rate production for civilian use is not optimal.
So Vega-L will most likely have aZ40 1st stage, with a VUS or Z9 on top.

Z40 doesn't work as first stage. It's nozzle has a expansion ratio for higher altitudes. And the grain geometry is optimized for a second stage, thus it has a flat thrust curve. A first stage needs an increased thrust during the first couple of seconds of it's burn. So Z40 as first stage isn't an option.
M51 1th is sea level optimized, but designed to be started submerged.  I also don't think that M51 1th could be applied directly.
That's why I wrote "derived from", and I really mean that Avio or Arianegroup have to develop a new solid stage. They could reuse a casing and possibly the nozzle of M51 1th and other systems. But the grain geometry has to be redesigned for Vega-L.
I expect that Z9A or M51 2th can be applied directly in the less capable version of Vega-L.
As replacement for Vega a launcher with the P40-Z40-Z9A-AVUM+ or P40-Z40-VUS. This P40 isn't the same as the first stage of Vega-L, because of the heavier payload (payload+stages) it has to deliver more thrust. So even when the casing is the same for the two P40 versions and Z40, the grain geometry and most likely nozzles have to be different.
I think a longer casing with the 2,36m diameter of Z40; to replace P80, might be an interesting idea.
But Arianegroup most likely prefers a vega replacement that uses Myra, Prometheus and or callisto technology.

Solids have a limited stowage live (from ~a year to several decades). Longer stowage live make a solid stage more expansive. So possibly France is interested in selling the stages that near their end of service live. This could be used on a version Vega-L with AVUM.
« Last Edit: 10/03/2017 09:20 PM by Rik ISS-fan »

Offline Rik ISS-fan

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Re: European new micro launchers
« Reply #26 on: 10/04/2017 10:02 AM »
I just discovered that there is a German-led Mini launcher development under the ESA FLPP program.
It's a 10mln Euro program, mainly funded by Germany. I found this in the OHB half year 2017 presentation.
Another program under FLPP backed during MC2016 is the VEnUS Electric (xenon) Upperstage development. OHB Italy is the lead, It's part of Vega-E and it's a 13mln project.
Both projects are most likely technology maturation studies. For realization more expansive project need to follow.

For the VLM launcher project (DLR & IAE) OHB; MT Aerospace will develop the S50 casing under the CaSSiS IMC project. Production of the first test article started in Juli. The structural test plan should be finished in October / november. The Test Rediness Review (TRR) is planned for March 2018.

I think there are two options for the mini launcher developed under FLPP:
1) VLM with a green Stowable upper stage (HTP mono, HTP-HC or HTP-HTPB [Hypergeo])
2) A LOx-HC launcher, also studied under SMILE (Aldebaran CATS or Infinity)
« Last Edit: 10/04/2017 10:12 AM by Rik ISS-fan »

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