Author Topic: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias  (Read 199057 times)

Offline yinzer

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Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
« Reply #20 on: 08/20/2006 04:25 AM »
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antonioe - 19/8/2006  6:54 PM
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“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...

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“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.
California 2008 - taking rights from people and giving rights to chickens.

Offline Skyrocket

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Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
« Reply #21 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

Offline Seattle Dave

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Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
« Reply #22 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?

Offline Jim

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Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
« Reply #23 on: 08/21/2006 12:16 PM »
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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.

Offline braddock

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Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
« Reply #24 on: 08/24/2006 01:58 PM »
Antonio,
How did the Pegasus project get started?  Sitting in a diner, sketching on napkins?

Offline Jim

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Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
« Reply #25 on: 08/24/2006 02:06 PM »
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Jim - 21/8/2006  8:03 AM

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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.

Offline Mark Max Q

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Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
« Reply #26 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?

Offline Jim

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Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
« Reply #27 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.

Offline yinzer

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Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
« Reply #28 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.
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Offline Jim

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Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
« Reply #29 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

Offline vt_hokie

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Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
« Reply #30 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?

Offline Jim

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Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
« Reply #31 on: 08/28/2006 06:55 PM »
Got it cheap

Offline aero313

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Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
« Reply #32 on: 08/28/2006 10:26 PM »
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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.

Offline vt_hokie

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Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
« Reply #33 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!

Offline antonioe

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Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
« Reply #34 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.

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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.

 

ARS LONGA, VITA BREVIS...

Offline astrobrian

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Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
« Reply #35 on: 08/29/2006 03:07 AM »
Great story, enjoyed it alot :)

Offline antonioe

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Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
« Reply #36 on: 08/29/2006 04:03 AM »
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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?

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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.
ARS LONGA, VITA BREVIS...

Offline vt_hokie

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Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
« Reply #37 on: 08/29/2006 03:38 PM »
Wow, talk about luck!  Very interesting indeed!

Offline braddock

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Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
« Reply #38 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....

Offline Chris Bergin

Re: Q&A: Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias
« Reply #39 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 :)

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