Author Topic: ULA - How America’s two greatest rocket companies battled from the beginning  (Read 6754 times)

Offline Space Ghost 1962

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Offline pippin

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Ah ... there’s that claim again
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But finally, in September of that year, SpaceX completed the first orbital launch of a privately funded and developed rocket.
Nope. 18 years too late ...

Offline Lar

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Ah ... there’s that claim again
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But finally, in September of that year, SpaceX completed the first orbital launch of a privately funded and developed rocket.
Nope. 18 years too late ...

This isn't the place to have that debate.
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Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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I wondered where to post this article and I ended-up putting it in the SpaceX competition thread:

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=39688.msg1709232#msg1709232

I do wish the media would consider the difficulty of deciding where to reference such articles on this forum ;D

Offline kevin-rf

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I do wish the media would consider the difficulty of deciding where to reference such articles on this forum ;D
Chris just needs to add a SpaceX vs. ULA section. Problem solved, all he would needsto do is find a couple of dozen moderators to police such a section....
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Offline Jim

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You mean Boeing/MDAC and Lockheed Martin.

Offline Lar

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You mean Boeing/MDAC and Lockheed Martin.
The article referenced identifies ULA and SpaceX as the two companies. You may not agree but this isn't the place to debate that identification. I think the article has a comment section, or you could engage Eric Berger via Twitter?
"I think it would be great to be born on Earth and to die on Mars. Just hopefully not at the point of impact." -Elon Musk
"We're a little bit like the dog who caught the bus" - Musk after CRS-8 S1 successfully landed on ASDS OCISLY

Offline russianhalo117

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You mean Boeing/MDAC and Lockheed Martin.
The article referenced identifies ULA and SpaceX as the two companies. You may not agree but this isn't the place to debate that identification. I think the article has a comment section, or you could engage Eric Berger via Twitter?
Personally I would recommend this be moved to either the http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?board=1.0 or http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?board=58.0 as the article does not pertain to only ULA.

Offline woods170

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Whilst scrolling thru an older thread I ran into this:

https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=23516.msg669857#msg669857

Naturally the prediction turned out to be all wrong but it shows it was not just ULA battling SpaceX from the beginning...  ;)

Offline AncientU

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Whilst scrolling thru an older thread I ran into this:

https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=23516.msg669857#msg669857

Naturally the prediction turned out to be all wrong but it shows it was not just ULA battling SpaceX from the beginning...  ;)

Not only wrong, but defended against all evidence that emerged since... well.up until a year ago(20+ flights ago -- or 3 Atlas V launch years ago), when he and his buddies in launch services procurement were still expecting a launch failure in the next year.
« Last Edit: 03/19/2018 09:40 AM by AncientU »
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Offline Jim

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Not only wrong, but defended against all evidence that emerged since... well.up until a year ago(20+ flights ago -- or 3 Atlas V launch years ago), when he and his buddies in launch services procurement were still expecting a launch failure in the next year.


We didn't get one but two failures.  And other undisclosed close calls.

Offline jabe

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We didn't get one but two failures.  And other undisclosed close calls.

you can't just throw that out there and not do any follow up..it is like teasing the dog..not something one should do. :)
can you give any details??
jb

Offline AncientU

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Not only wrong, but defended against all evidence that emerged since... well.up until a year ago(20+ flights ago -- or 3 Atlas V launch years ago), when he and his buddies in launch services procurement were still expecting a launch failure in the next year.


We didn't get one but two failures.  And other undisclosed close calls.

So, tell us what two failures have occurred over the last year since return to flight in January 2017 (and don't sound so pleased with yourself about 'getting' the failures -- we might start thinking you and your buddies in launch procurement are biased).
"If we shared everything [we are working on] people would think we are insane!"
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Offline Space Ghost 1962

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Prefer to think in many ways we are getting the best of both worlds.

It's really hard to get ULA's launch record, given so many "hard" missions, never under appreciate that. (Ariane Group as well in this regard.)

It's nice to see SX as a goad for the entire global market, although I've heard many a "grump" about it, because its been getting the rest to bedrock (finally getting an American LRE on Atlas replacement that's likely as good or better than the exceptional RD-180).

Don't want to lose the skills we've relied on while we see if we can advance the state of the art aggressively.

Not afraid of what the future could bring with this, but excited to see needed change.

Offline Lar

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Everyone should consider
- not making indirect references that are hard to follow
- not dredging up 8 year old posts to needle people with
- not taking offense at others where practical. Even when "the other guy" started it.
- generally being excellent to each other .

"I think it would be great to be born on Earth and to die on Mars. Just hopefully not at the point of impact." -Elon Musk
"We're a little bit like the dog who caught the bus" - Musk after CRS-8 S1 successfully landed on ASDS OCISLY

Offline su27k

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History is where this site has its strength when comparing to like of reddit, I for one like to read old posts.

And just to show it's not all bad, if you read further in woods170's quoted thread, you'll see Ed predicted SpaceX will use throwback strongback 7 years before it's implemented, now that's something.

Online LouScheffer

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It's really hard to get ULA's launch record, given so many "hard" missions, never under appreciate that. (Ariane Group as well in this regard.)

It's not clear to me that ULA has many "hard" missions.  I've heard stories, for example, that many government missions order an extra SRB above what they think needed, turning a "hard" mission into one with lots of margin.

There is empirical evidence for this, too.  ULA has had three (publicly known, at least) performance shortfalls.  (Leaky valve cut second stage burn short after coast, engine chamber breach on GPS mission, and mixture ratio problem on Atlas).   All were successful though, so you could say (statistically) that 7/8 of ULA missions are "easy", as in not requiring the full performance of the rocket.  And backing the point above, the GPS mission looks easily within the capability of a no-solid Delta, but a solid was used, resulting in huge margins, but at a cost of $10 million or so to the customer.

You could regard this as a plus (customer can order extra margin), or marketing trick (if you want to get the advertised super reliability, you need to pay $10 million more than the listed price for the performance needed).

Offline Jim

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Performance does not define a "hard" mission.

But some clarification.

For GPS missions, Delta IV Medium can't do the mission, Delta IV M+ (4,2) has excess performance. There was no ordering above what was needed.


Offline Newton_V

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Performance does not define a "hard" mission.

But some clarification.

For GPS missions, Delta IV Medium can't do the mission, Delta IV M+ (4,2) has excess performance. There was no ordering above what was needed.

Yeah, I wish people could see a copy of an ICD that had over 1,000 verifiable requirements in it (and also the "will" statements.  For those unfamiliar, those are requirements where a formal process is in place to specify the plan, the evidence, the review process, signoff, etc.).   Performance capability might be 1 or 2 of those requirements.

Online LouScheffer

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For GPS missions, Delta IV Medium can't do the mission, Delta IV M+ (4,2) has excess performance. There was no ordering above what was needed.
This seems odd.   The GPS-2F missions were light, only 1630 kg.  From the Delta user's guide, Figure 2-9, a Delta Medium can put 4400 kg into GTO (delta-V 2461 m/s from parking orbit) and 1270 kg to GEO (delta-V 4265 m/s from parking orbit).  Furthermore, from figure 2-13, Delta 4 medium can put 2600 kg to GEO-1200 m/s, or at least delta-v of 3065 m/s from parking orbit.

Now, how much delta-V do you need from parking orbit to get to GPS orbit (20200 km inclined 55 degrees).  First, GPS missions need a launch azimuth of about 45 degrees from the Cape.  That's a penalty of 120 m/s compared to the due east of GTO/GEO launches.

Next, you need to get from 185 x 185 x 55 degrees to 185 x 20200 x 55.  That takes 2078 m/s.  Then you need to circularize at apogee.  That takes 1437 m/s.  So the total delta V (compared to a GTO parking orbit) is 120+2078+1437 = 3635 m/s.

From the manual (above) , we got 4265 m/s for 1270 kg, and 3065 m/s for 2600 kg.  Interpolate (not exact. but should be close) to get 3940 m/s capability at 1630 kg.  That's 300 m/s more than is needed, more than enough to account for errors in the calculation.

So Delta-4 medium should have been able to put the GPS satellite directly into its GPS orbit without needing any solids, with considerable performance left over.  How did you figure that you needed a bigger model?

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