Author Topic: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION  (Read 17165 times)

Offline corneliussulla

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #40 on: 05/16/2017 10:20 AM »
So there are 5 vehicles with an estimated LEO payload capacity of >30,000 kg actively being developed in the US right now?

SpaceX, Falcon Heavy
ULA, Vulcan/Aces
Blue Origin, New Glenn
Orbital ATK, NGL 500 XL
and, obviously SLS.

Strange times.

Six...

SpaceX, BFR

ZWell really this is a paper rocket that will get built if the government gives them the money, why on earth would they do that SX have alternatives and BO is also spending its own money to make something with similar capabilities. Nothing about congress would surprise me but funding development of this thing would seem like madness.

Offline edkyle99

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #41 on: 05/16/2017 01:51 PM »
ZWell really this is a paper rocket that will get built if the government gives them the money, why on earth would they do that SX have alternatives and BO is also spending its own money to make something with similar capabilities. Nothing about congress would surprise me but funding development of this thing would seem like madness.
Can't the same be said for some of the others?  Vulcan ACES is as much paper as NGL.  New Glenn is no further along than NGL.  Etc.

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 05/16/2017 01:52 PM by edkyle99 »

Online envy887

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #42 on: 05/16/2017 04:16 PM »
ZWell really this is a paper rocket that will get built if the government gives them the money, why on earth would they do that SX have alternatives and BO is also spending its own money to make something with similar capabilities. Nothing about congress would surprise me but funding development of this thing would seem like madness.
Can't the same be said for some of the others?  Vulcan ACES is as much paper as NGL.  New Glenn is no further along than NGL.  Etc.

 - Ed Kyle

They are all well past the paper stage as they are all building and testing primary propulsion - except NGL, which is still heavily based on built and tested STS/SLS hardware.

I think the point above was more about the money. Of the six US heavy or super-heavy lift vehicles in development, only NGL and SLS are primarily dependent on USG funding for development and missions. Vulcan is at least trying to be commercially viable, and its dev funding is primarily from ULA.

FH, NG, and ITS are almost entirely privately funded through development and don't need USG payloads to make development worthwhile.

Offline edkyle99

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #43 on: 05/16/2017 05:09 PM »
ZWell really this is a paper rocket that will get built if the government gives them the money, why on earth would they do that SX have alternatives and BO is also spending its own money to make something with similar capabilities. Nothing about congress would surprise me but funding development of this thing would seem like madness.
Can't the same be said for some of the others?  Vulcan ACES is as much paper as NGL.  New Glenn is no further along than NGL.  Etc.

 - Ed Kyle

They are all well past the paper stage as they are all building and testing primary propulsion - except NGL, which is still heavily based on built and tested STS/SLS hardware.
Orbital ATK has fabricated composite Common Booster Segment casings.  ULA has fabricated some Vulcan core test panels.  Orbital ATK has not yet test fired a CBS motor, but then again BE-4 has also not yet been test fired.  NGL's upper stage motor is (most likely) derived from BE-3.  The ACES upper stage motor has not yet been selected, but BE-3 is a candidate.  It seems to me that there are similarities in state-of-progress.
Quote

I think the point above was more about the money. Of the six US heavy or super-heavy lift vehicles in development, only NGL and SLS are primarily dependent on USG funding for development and missions. Vulcan is at least trying to be commercially viable, and its dev funding is primarily from ULA.

FH, NG, and ITS are almost entirely privately funded through development and don't need USG payloads to make development worthwhile.
If the Pentagon passes on Vulcan, ULA will drop it in an instant.  Just like Orbital ATK, ULA is getting some money from the government for this early development work.  Falcon Heavy is being developed to compete for EELV work, and yes, SpaceX is also getting a piece of Pentagon funding help.  (I would be surprised to see FH continue to fly if it were to lose the EELV competition.)  This is all part of the funding allotted after RD-180 became a political football.  There are at least three contenders, but plans call for only two winners in the end.     
http://www.americaspace.com/2016/03/03/air-force-funds-both-ar1-and-be-4-rocket-engine-development-to-replace-ulas-russian-rd-180/
http://www.defensenews.com/articles/as-rd-180-ban-looms-space-companies-make-steady-progress-on-new-launch-technologies

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 05/16/2017 05:17 PM by edkyle99 »

Online envy887

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #44 on: 05/16/2017 08:30 PM »
...  It seems to me that there are similarities in state-of-progress.
That was indeed my point.


Quote
If the Pentagon passes on Vulcan, ULA will drop it in an instant. Just like Orbital ATK, ULA is getting some money from the government for this early development work.  Falcon Heavy is being developed to compete for EELV work, and yes, SpaceX is also getting a piece of Pentagon funding help.  (I would be surprised to see FH continue to fly if it were to lose the EELV competition.)

Vulcan should be at least marginally competitive in the commercial market. It wouldn't be a viable project without USG funding and payloads, but it should be able to win some commercial customers.

NGL doesn't seem to be going anywhere unless the majority of development is USG funded, and several USG payloads per year guaranteed. It doesn't sound like it will be competitive commercially, and even moving Cygnus missions to NGL and canning Antares wouldn't be enough to keep it alive.

SLS is pretty much in the same boat as NGL - a USG built launcher for USG purposes.

FH is commercially viable for large commsats and HSF, and has paying customers for both. Add in SpaceX's internal needs and I'd be highly surprised to see it canceled. They can't even delay it much more, since they have to stop improving F9. I haven't seen any indication that FH is specifically getting USG funding. Raptor is partially funded by the USAF, notionally for F9/FH, but Raptor seems rather unlikely to fly until some version of ITS.
« Last Edit: 05/16/2017 08:32 PM by envy887 »

Offline edkyle99

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #45 on: 05/17/2017 12:15 AM »
SLS is pretty much in the same boat as NGL - a USG built launcher for USG purposes.
SLS is a NASA design, with NASA serving as the oversight general contractor in a way.  NGL is an Orbital ATK project and design.  It is not all government funded, so erase that fallacy from your mind.  The current development efforts are proceeding on a cost-sharing basis, just like the comparable ULA and SpaceX efforts.  And don't kid yourself about Vulcan being commercially competitive.  If Vulcan does not win a Pentagon contract, it won't get built, in my opinion.  The same is true of NGL and, I believe, Falcon Heavy.

Falcon Heavy only has two or three commercial contracts, and only a handful of total planned launches at present.  It could very well prosper, but that is not a certainty.  I see NGL as part of an "all hands on deck" effort to replace RD-180.   Multiple efforts are underway.  Not all will succeed.  I'm not willing to bet for or against any of these efforts at this time.

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 05/17/2017 12:17 AM by edkyle99 »

Online envy887

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #46 on: 05/17/2017 01:48 AM »
SLS is pretty much in the same boat as NGL - a USG built launcher for USG purposes.
SLS is a NASA design, with NASA serving as the oversight general contractor in a way.  NGL is an Orbital ATK project and design.  It is not all government funded, so erase that fallacy from your mind.  The current development efforts are proceeding on a cost-sharing basis, just like the comparable ULA and SpaceX efforts.  And don't kid yourself about Vulcan being commercially competitive.  If Vulcan does not win a Pentagon contract, it won't get built, in my opinion.  The same is true of NGL and, I believe, Falcon Heavy.

Falcon Heavy only has two or three commercial contracts, and only a handful of total planned launches at present.  It could very well prosper, but that is not a certainty.  I see NGL as part of an "all hands on deck" effort to replace RD-180.   Multiple efforts are underway.  Not all will succeed.  I'm not willing to bet for or against any of these efforts at this time.

 - Ed Kyle

While technically "commercial" I don't think NGL has any commercial launch business case, and it has been primarily funded by the USAF contributing $180M while Orbital chipped in $135M to develop propulsion [1]. The USAF also paid $200M to develop BE-4, but ULA is paying $135M and Blue a "sizable but proprietary" amount [2]. The USAF only paid "up to" $60M to SpaceX for Raptor, contingent on SpaceX contributing twice that amount [3].

I don't doubt ULA will drop Vulcan (and likely close shop) if it doesn't win a EELV spot. But that doesn't mean they won't sell a decent number of commercial launches on teh side if they win. Probably not enough to support the business, but far more than NGL. And Vulcan can also launch Starliner which is technically commercial and potentially rather profitable.

So while SLS is solely funded by NASA for NASA launches, NGL is just mostly funded by the DOD, mostly for DOD launches. Neither is an enviable position from my view.

[1] http://www.space.com/36362-orbital-atk-new-rocket-family.html
[2] http://www.americaspace.com/2016/03/03/air-force-funds-both-ar1-and-be-4-rocket-engine-development-to-replace-ulas-russian-rd-180/
[3] http://www.parabolicarc.com/2016/01/18/spacex-air-force-funding-infusion-raptor-engine/

Offline spacenut

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #47 on: 05/17/2017 02:30 AM »
From what I've seen from the last SpaceX launch, it was 6 tons to GTO.  Their website says 5.5 tons.  So, they have improved the F9 to the point it can cut out some FH launches.  IF, big IF, they develop a Raptor based 2nd stage, F9 could very well get 28-30 tons to LEO expendible.  They may not need FH except to compete with SLS or New Glenn with a Raptor based upper stage. 

If Orbital can use existing solid segments to make a 3 stage EELV, that would give some competition to SpaceX and ULA especially for government launches. 

ULA may be hurt if they don't get Vulcan with ACES built, it depends on it's parents.   

Offline GWH

Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #48 on: 05/17/2017 02:34 AM »
From what I've seen from the last SpaceX launch, it was 6 tons to GTO.  Their website says 5.5 tons.  So, they have improved the F9 to the point it can cut out some FH launches.

That is the recoverable capacity...

Offline baldusi

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #49 on: 05/17/2017 01:31 PM »
SpaceX has just demonstrated Proton-M/Zenith performance with expendable less-than-Block5 Falcon 9. I don't know what's the price point of expendable Falcon 9, but if they can do 6 tonnes and recover the first stage, NGL would need one huge business case to compete. And I'm assuming failure of New Glenn and Vulcan to match that price point.
CRS2 might be it. A CRS-like contract to a future Moon neighborhood station might be it. But without an Advanced SRB contract for SLS, I don't see the minimum scale of economics.

Offline Proponent

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #50 on: 05/19/2017 04:46 PM »
So while SLS is solely funded by NASA for NASA launches, NGL is just mostly funded by the DOD, mostly for DOD launches. Neither is an enviable position from my view.

I'll bet that DoD will look favorably on NGL, despite iffy economics, simply because it will keep the US solid-motor industry turning over.
« Last Edit: 05/19/2017 06:06 PM by Proponent »

Online Navier–Stokes

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #51 on: 06/28/2017 01:30 AM »
Yet another attempt to restrict Air Force funding to the the development of first-stage rocket engines only:
The “chairman’s mark” version of the [fiscal year 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA)], released by the committee June 26, includes a section restricting Air Force funding of vehicle development under the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle program. Under that provision, the Air Force would be limited to funding new engines, integration of those engines with vehicles, and related capabilities to support national security launches.

The section includes a specific prohibition against funding “the development of new launch vehicles under such program.” It also specifically defines a “rocket propulsion system” that can be funded as a first-stage rocket engine or motor. “The term does not include a launch vehicle, an upper stage, a strap-on motor, or related infrastructure,” it states.

The Defense Department opposes that language in the bill. In a document submitted to the committee and obtained by SpaceNews, it warned that the language would force it to abandon some ongoing vehicle development efforts and rely primarily on ULA’s Delta 4 and SpaceX’s Falcon 9.

[...]“Section 1615 appears to force the Department to end the more than $300 [million] investment in the industry-developed systems and instead use a modernized Delta IV launch vehicle and/or the Falcon 9,” it stated, referring to the section of the NDAA that contains the funding restriction. The Falcon 9, it noted, cannot handle many national security missions, while the Delta 4 is significantly more expensive than alternative existing vehicles.
Edit: cross-posted from ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle - General Discussion as it is also relevant to NGL.
« Last Edit: 06/28/2017 01:42 AM by Navier–Stokes »

Offline spacenut

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #52 on: 06/29/2017 01:52 PM »
It seems as if the NGL rocket already has the "components" to make one from existing boosters and developments.  How long if they started today, could they have a complete rocket ready to test and launch?  Could it beat Vulcan or New Glenn to the launch pad?

Offline edkyle99

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #53 on: 06/29/2017 02:21 PM »
It seems as if the NGL rocket already has the "components" to make one from existing boosters and developments.  How long if they started today, could they have a complete rocket ready to test and launch?  Could it beat Vulcan or New Glenn to the launch pad?
Vulcan Centaur and 2-Stage New Glenn are both claiming operational dates that precede Orbital ATK's planned NGL-5XX date by a year or two, but I take all of these claims - all of them - with a grain of salt.  Vulcan ACES, 3-Stage New Glenn, and NGL-5XX-XL are all currently aiming for the same year (2023), but, again, salt.

 - Ed Kyle

Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #54 on: 06/29/2017 02:44 PM »
It seems as if the NGL rocket already has the "components" to make one from existing boosters and developments.  How long if they started today, could they have a complete rocket ready to test and launch?  Could it beat Vulcan or New Glenn to the launch pad?

Building the 'components" of the NGL are not the hard part, since they have internal experience with that.

Building a team to be responsible for the entire rocket, building the launch infrastructure, building a launch team, and making it all work is going to take time. And they don't have experience being a launch provider.

Plus, I don't see the company funding a full-up launch unless they have a clear path towards at least breaking even on this, which means either a commitment from the U.S. Government or they find private sector customers that want to use them - which I would not believe is possible.

EDIT: Yep, I goofed on that one. Orbital has launch experience with small and medium rockets. I guess I was thinking of just ATK.

Thanks for pointing that out.
« Last Edit: 06/30/2017 01:17 AM by Coastal Ron »
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

Online douglas100

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #55 on: 06/29/2017 02:53 PM »

... And they don't have experience being a launch provider....

Pegasus. Taurus. Minotaur. Antares.

Offline Zed_Noir

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #56 on: 06/29/2017 11:16 PM »

... And they don't have experience being a launch provider....

Pegasus. Taurus. Minotaur. Antares.

But all of them except for Antares are assemble with parts derived from various US solid fueled strategic missiles for small to medium payloads. Even the Antares in both incarnation have a large solid upper stage that restricted beyond LEO performance. I take @Coastal Ron's comment to meant that O-ATK don't have much experience launching medium to large commercial comsats to GEO.

edited to add "derived"

@jim is correct. Only the Minotaur uses ex-USAF missile parts.
« Last Edit: 06/30/2017 12:39 AM by Zed_Noir »

Offline Jim

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #57 on: 06/29/2017 11:39 PM »
No, only Minotaur uses ICBM motors. Taurus and Pegasus use new motors

Online TrevorMonty

Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #58 on: 06/30/2017 12:21 AM »
The Be3U powered US would be the most challenging for OA as they don't have LH experience. Nothing poaching engineers from ULA or Blue couldn't fix. Blue may even offer help if it results in BE3 sales.

Offline Lars-J

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #59 on: 06/30/2017 12:27 AM »

... And they don't have experience being a launch provider....

Pegasus. Taurus. Minotaur. Antares.

It all depends on on how silo'd (separated) off the Orbital and ATK parts of the company are. OATK hasn't exactly warmly embraced Antares until perhaps recently. Also, past history of an organization is no guarantee that the current employees have retained that skill-set. There are lots of examples of that.

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