Author Topic: Proposed Orbital ATK Solid Rocket  (Read 64525 times)

Offline rayleighscatter

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Proposed Orbital ATK Solid Rocket
« on: 01/14/2016 09:18 PM »
So Orbital ATK has hinted in the past few years of a larger solid rocket in the 2020 timeframe. With the recent USAF contract providing seed money for a rocket with a Common Booster Segment first stage, GEM strap on boosters, and a BE3 upper-stage there seems to be more meat to the proposals.

Visiting Wallops Flight Facility earlier this summer I got pictures of these and was a little confused why they might be there. They are too small for Minotaur/Antares and too large for any of the sounding rockets. I now wonder if they may have been brought up for possible use at one point now with this now proposed unnammed rocket.

Online DaveS

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Re: Proposed Orbital ATK Solid Rocket
« Reply #1 on: 01/14/2016 09:30 PM »
Based on the stencil in the second photo, I'm thinking these are just retired Delta II GEM transportation hardware. Also based on this photo of one of the GEM-46s for the SMAP Delta II, I'm definitively convinced that this is just old discarded Delta II GSE.
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"We're rolling in the wrong direction but for the right reasons"
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Offline rayleighscatter

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Re: Proposed Orbital ATK Solid Rocket
« Reply #2 on: 01/14/2016 09:34 PM »
Based on the stencil in the second photo, I'm thinking these are just retired Delta II GEM transportation hardware. Also based on this photo of one of the GEM-46s for the SMAP Delta II, I'm definitively convinced that this is just old discarded Delta II GSE.
It is old Delta II GSE but I'm not sure about discarded. If it was set for disposal they could have saved a lot of money and done that down in Florida. And if they were just destined for storage they would have gone to an Orbital ATK facility (they have a lot of nice empty desert to spare). For it all to come to Virginia it must have (at least at one point) been considered for actual use.

Online DaveS

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Re: Proposed Orbital ATK Solid Rocket
« Reply #3 on: 01/14/2016 09:37 PM »
Based on the stencil in the second photo, I'm thinking these are just retired Delta II GEM transportation hardware. Also based on this photo of one of the GEM-46s for the SMAP Delta II, I'm definitively convinced that this is just old discarded Delta II GSE.
It is old Delta II GSE but I'm not sure about discarded. If it was set for disposal they could have saved a lot of money and done that down in Florida. And if they were just destined for storage they would have gone to an Orbital ATK facility (they have a lot of nice empty desert to spare). For it all to come to Virginia it must have (at least at one point) been considered for actual use.
The problem of reusing it the GSE is that it was manufactured for a specific size flight hardware, in this case the Delta II GEM-46. It won't fit anything else unless it is also 46" in diameter.
"For Sardines, space is no problem!"
-1996 Astronaut class slogan

"We're rolling in the wrong direction but for the right reasons"
-USA engineer about the rollback of Discovery prior to the STS-114 Return To Flight mission

Offline rayleighscatter

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Re: Proposed Orbital ATK Solid Rocket
« Reply #4 on: 01/14/2016 09:42 PM »
Which is what I was getting at in the original post. I wonder if they were originally thinking of using GEM-46 boosters in this future rocket. They've obviously gone with a larger booster now but there had been hints of a smaller solid rocket (like the all solid Antares) that could have used them. I wonder if the proposal has just evolved larger in the last year or two.

Offline arachnitect

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Re: Proposed Orbital ATK Solid Rocket
« Reply #5 on: 01/14/2016 11:05 PM »
I'm thinking these are for GEM-40 not GEM-46.

Either way, probably not big enough for OrbATK's "common booster segment"

As for what this stuff is doing at WIFF? No idea. (Conestoga II?)

Offline russianhalo117

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Re: Proposed Orbital ATK Solid Rocket
« Reply #6 on: 01/15/2016 12:58 AM »
I'm thinking these are for GEM-40 not GEM-46.

Either way, probably not big enough for OrbATK's "common booster segment"

As for what this stuff is doing at WIFF? No idea. (Conestoga II?)
the trailers from Japan as well as the ones assigned to CCAFS were to my knowledge sent back to ATK following the decommissioning of those launch sites and processing facilities. These particular ones match the hardware used by ULA at CCAFS. The VAFB ones are currently in use in there processing hanger. The chocks would be the processing stand and the trailers are what takes the GEMs to the pad. Now the GSE S/Ns are visible and if we had the corresponding data we could determine the Launch Site and GEM model. AFAIR, the Chock and trailers for GEM-46 would have said Delta IIH, not Delta II, so that means these are for GEM 40 or an earlier DII SRM
« Last Edit: 01/15/2016 01:04 AM by russianhalo117 »

Offline Proponent

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Re: Proposed Orbital ATK Solid Rocket
« Reply #7 on: 01/18/2016 10:50 AM »
From Parabolic Arc: "Orbital ATK Pursuing New Solid Fuel Launch Vehicle".  The GEM 63X and a Blue Origin BE-4U are mentioned, though it's not exactly stated how they fit in.

Offline daveklingler

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Re: Proposed Orbital ATK Solid Rocket
« Reply #8 on: 01/20/2016 02:14 AM »
Does a "Common Booster Segment" first stage denote an Ares I or Liberty Rocket 2.0, only the extra boosters give the second stage enough delta vee to compete favorably with Delta IV?

It's interesting that the BE-3U gives ATK the missing piece it needs to enter the EELV launch market.  Development money for the BE-3U might also give it both the near-term availability and pricing to accelerate its use in the Vulcan, as well.  Effectively the existing contractors combine forces with Jeff Bezos and government money to create competition for SpaceX, except that then the government throws in some sugar to help SpaceX compete right back.

I'm pounding my forehead to try to wrap my mind around all of this.  Great Beal's Ghost!

Offline Rik ISS-fan

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Re: Proposed Orbital ATK Solid Rocket
« Reply #9 on: 02/25/2016 10:24 AM »
I think the CBS (Common Booster Segment) is a carbonfiber-epoxy filament wound replacement for the RSRM (Reusable Solid Rocket Motor) rocket segments. From what I've read about the Brazilian VLS and VLM rockets, carbonfiber filament wound booster casings are much faster and cheaper to fabricate than metal (steel) casings. The investment in the development of these expendable composite solid rocket segments could have a very fast return on investment. (possibly one SLS mission)
Most likely the SLS solids will be replaced from 5segment RSRM's to 5 (or less, because they are larger) segment CBS engines. And I think Orbital ATK will use 2,5 (or less possibly 1 or 1,5) segment CBS as Castor 900 on Athena III (Athena is LM & ATK's commercial equivalent offer to the Minotaur rocket family. It uses Castor engines instead of military surplus Minuteman and Peacekeeper stages [surplus= stages that are close to or past their storage time]).

I do want to note that ATK could also have made these changes within the developement of the Five segment RSRM's. But SLS is a cost plus, old space Jobs program.  ::)

Edit: Could the LC-43 launch site location be a good location for the Athena III, it is on the launch site 46 the Minotaur and Athena launch site at Cape Canaveral. A new launch site has to be build. For possible liquid upper-stages on the Athena family the facilities at LC-17 (Delta II) or LC-36 (BlueOrigin) could be used.
I've added a map I picked from a document about commercial development on the Cape, and I've edited it. 
And a links to Info about Athena III from 2007, 2013 and a presentation from 2014.

@Kraisee, sorry I used your picture.
Have I put it correctly now?
« Last Edit: 02/25/2016 08:48 PM by Rik ISS-fan »

Offline Sam Ho

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Re: Proposed Orbital ATK Solid Rocket
« Reply #10 on: 02/25/2016 02:53 PM »
I think the CBS (Common Booster Segment) is a carbonfiber-epoxy filament wound replacement for the RSRM (Reusable Solid Rocket Motor) rocket segments. From what I've read about the Brazilian VLS and VLM rockets, carbonfiber filament wound booster casings are much faster and cheaper to fabricate than metal (steel) casings. The investment in the development of these expendable composite solid rocket segments could have a very fast return on investment. (possibly one SLS mission)
Most likely the SLS solids will be replaced from 5segment RSRM's to 5 (or less, because they are larger) segment CBS engines. And I think Orbital ATK will use 2,5 (or less possibly 1 or 1,5) segment CBS as Castor 900 on Athena III (Athena is LM & ATK's commercial variant of the Minotaur rocket family. It uses Castor engines instead of military surplus Minuteman and Peacekeeper stages [stages that are close to or past their storage time]).

I do want to note that ATK could also have made these changes within the developement of the Five segment RSRM's. But SLS is a cost plus, old space Jobs program.  ::)

Edit: Could the LC-43 launch site location be a good location for the Athena III, it is on the launch site 46 the Minotaur and Athena launch site at Cape Canaveral. A new launch site has to be build. For possible liquid upper-stages on the Athena family the facilities at LC-17 (Delta II) or LC-36 (BlueOrigin) could be used.
I've added a map I picked from a document about commercial development on the Cape, and I've edited it. 
And a links to Info about Athena III from 2007, 2013 and a presentation from 2014.
Back in the Shuttle days, ATK developed a Filament wound Composite SRM.  It never flew, though, as it was intended for polar Shuttle missions.  I believe a set is now on display with the Pathfinder Shuttle mockup in Huntsville.

ATK did propose filament wound cases for SLS, in the form of the Dark Knight Advanced Booster.  I could certainly imagine some connection between Dark Knight and CBS.  Dark Knight is supposedly 40% less expensive and 24% more reliable than RSRM.  In the near term, though, it will be a while before they fly out the existing supply of RSRM cases.

I wouldn't call Athena the commercial variant of the Minotaur.  The Minotaur-C is the commercial variant of the Minotaur.  They both use the Castor 120, which is based on the Peacekeeper stage, though.  None of the Athenas have any connection to Minuteman.

Athena III is a paper rocket in search of a market right now.  DoD did say there might be additional contracts with other offerors, so I suppose LM might get some money for Athena III from that.

http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2013/01/the-dark-knights-atks-advanced-booster-revealed-for-sls/

Offline edkyle99

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Re: Proposed Orbital ATK Solid Rocket
« Reply #11 on: 02/25/2016 03:04 PM »
Edit: Could the LC-43 launch site location be a good location for the Athena III, it is on the launch site 46 the Minotaur and Athena launch site at Cape Canaveral. A new launch site has to be build. For possible liquid upper-stages on the Athena family the facilities at LC-17 (Delta II) or LC-36 (BlueOrigin) could be used.
I've added a map I picked from a document about commercial development on the Cape, and I've edited it. 
And a links to Info about Athena III from 2007, 2013 and a presentation from 2014.
I agree about the potential synergy between an SLS booster and a potential smaller, EELV class launch vehicle.  This R&D "Common Booster Segment" program may be a way to start developing the improved SLS booster.

If it does develop its EELV class rocket, however, Orbital-ATK will not name it "Athena". 

"Athena" is a Lockheed Martin launcher family that seems to be forever two years from service.    Lockheed Martin has plans for Athena 1/2 launches, but only from Kodiak.  Athena 3 was last reported to only be "under study" by Lockheed Martin several years back.

Plans have been made by Orbital ATK to launch a Minotaur IV from Cape Canaveral SLC 46.  If it develops an EELV-class rocket, SLC 46 won't suffice, as you observed.  LC 39B is one possibility.  SLC 37B might be vacant in a few years, along with SLC 6 on the west coast.  Etc. 

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 02/25/2016 03:19 PM by edkyle99 »

Offline Rik ISS-fan

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Re: Proposed Orbital ATK Solid Rocket
« Reply #12 on: 02/25/2016 06:23 PM »
I think Minotaur IV; V and VI are comparable to Athena Ic and IIc. Indeed Minotaur 1 is not comparable; Orbitals Pegasus has the same capability. Wasn't Athena form Lockheed Martin and ATK. link
In this presentation on page 3, it is shows clearly that Minotaur IV;V are comparable to Athena IIc.
« Last Edit: 02/25/2016 06:38 PM by Rik ISS-fan »

Offline edkyle99

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Re: Proposed Orbital ATK Solid Rocket
« Reply #13 on: 02/25/2016 07:00 PM »
I think Minotaur IV; V and VI are comparable to Athena Ic and IIc. Indeed Minotaur 1 is not comparable; Orbitals Pegasus has the same capability. Wasn't Athena form Lockheed Martin and ATK. link
In this presentation on page 3, it is shows clearly that Minotaur IV;V are comparable to Athena IIc.
"Comparable" in the broad sense that they aim for the same general payload ranges, but there are many detail differences and they are "owned" by different companies.

Minotaur 4 through 6 use, or propose to use excess Peacekeeper missile motors (SR-118, SR-119, SR-120) topped by smaller commercial motors (Orion 38, Star 48, Star 37, etc.).  Orbital-ATK has the contract to prepare and launch these Minotaurs, which I believe are constrained to government use.

The Athenas used Castor 120, a commercial derivative of SR-118 though with many changes.  The new Athenas will also use Castor 30, which was not used on the old Athena launch vehicles.  Lockheed developed the original Athena and Lockheed Martin is working on the re-development.  ATK had the contract to sell Castor motors to Lockheed Martin for its Athena launch vehicles, which made it a sub-contractor.  Athena is meant to handle commercial payloads.

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 02/25/2016 07:01 PM by edkyle99 »

Offline Rik ISS-fan

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Re: Proposed Orbital ATK Solid Rocket
« Reply #14 on: 02/25/2016 07:20 PM »
I agree edkyle
Minotaur rockets (accept for Minotaur-C's) are US government only. I think launching an ICBM that is going to expire it's shelf live, is the cheapest method to get rid of it. Especially when a useful payload is carried/ launched.   
« Last Edit: 02/25/2016 07:21 PM by Rik ISS-fan »

Offline Sam Ho

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Re: Proposed Orbital ATK Solid Rocket
« Reply #15 on: 02/25/2016 07:49 PM »
I agree edkyle
Minotaur rockets (accept for Minotaur-C's) are US government only. I think launching an ICBM that is going to expire it's shelf live, is the cheapest method to get rid of it. Especially when a useful payload is carried/ launched.   

ATK was a supplier of motors to both Orbital (directly and via the US Government) and LM, but Minotaur and Athena should not be called variants of each other.  They are two separate vehicle families in about the same payload range that share some motors.  Later, Orbital and ATK merged, but that does not change the relationship of the vehicles.

Here's a scorecard:
SR-118: used in Peacekeeper, Minotaur.
Castor 120: derived from SR-118 design, used in Minotaur-C, Athena.
Castor 30: derived from Castor 120 design, used in Antares, new Athena

Offline Rik ISS-fan

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Re: Proposed Orbital ATK Solid Rocket
« Reply #16 on: 02/25/2016 09:18 PM »
Is it true that there are four different RSRM segments: the top segment with closed top and pyrogen igniter, full and half middel segments and segments with nozzle? Should these same four segment have to be developed for CBM, or is it beter to not develop the half segment?

Offline baldusi

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Re: Proposed Orbital ATK Solid Rocket
« Reply #17 on: 02/25/2016 10:02 PM »
IIRC, the advanced composite replaced the five segment steel booster with just three segments. An interesting possibility is to use just top and bottom, and customize the thrust law by the middle geometry. This would reduce the differences for different applications: two segments for EELV Medium, three segments for Heavy and three segment for SLS. And you would need just four solid geometries.

Offline okan170

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Re: Proposed Orbital ATK Solid Rocket
« Reply #18 on: 03/03/2016 05:27 PM »
Someone on Reddit uploaded a pdf with General Greaves' EELV talking points.  Included in the pdf was an (unfortunately small) image which may provide a look at the Orb-ATK proposal.

Offline Space Ghost 1962

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Re: Proposed Orbital ATK Solid Rocket
« Reply #19 on: 03/03/2016 05:40 PM »
Someone on Reddit uploaded a pdf with General Greaves' EELV talking points.  Included in the pdf was an (unfortunately small) image which may provide a look at the Orb-ATK proposal.
An NSS "family picture" of currently paper rockets ... note all in pic have "smallish" US ... and that in theory any of the "large" US related, funded proposals, could make use of any of them in a pinch.
« Last Edit: 03/03/2016 05:41 PM by Space Ghost 1962 »

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