Author Topic: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)  (Read 76965 times)

Offline edkyle99

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Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« on: 03/03/2012 03:38 PM »
L
« Last Edit: 03/22/2013 01:29 AM by edkyle99 »

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #1 on: 03/03/2012 03:45 PM »
Umm..... has LM found any customers for Athena yet?  ::)

It's probably not that surprising for LM to dust off the Athena 3 proposals: with the loss of Delta 2 and the Antares failing to attract any non-Cygnus customers, maybe the Athena have a chance of capturing that part of the American launch market?
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Offline Ronsmytheiii

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #2 on: 03/03/2012 09:10 PM »
maybe the Athena have a chance of capturing that part of the American launch market?

With an all solid design, Athena will exacerbate the upperstage issues of Antares.

Offline Antares

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #3 on: 03/04/2012 12:11 AM »
Athena 3 is not cost competitive with Delta 2 costs (real) or Falcon (paper, ie no launch service performed yet) or Antares (paper). It's just an annoying diversion.
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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #4 on: 03/04/2012 03:54 AM »
Have they published estimated costs yet?
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Offline Ben the Space Brit

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #5 on: 03/04/2012 01:18 PM »
A question on the matter of the Athena-II/-III family.

As matters stand (if I understand it correctly), Athena is an ATK product that Lockheed Martin is looking to operate.  ULA is a Lockheed/Boeing joint venture and operates three (now essentially two) launch vehicles, the Atlas-V, the Delta-II (retired although some vehicles remain unflown) and Delta-IV.

Is  there any reason whatsoever (legal, commercial or political) why LM could not spin off their license to operate Athena-II/-III to ULA as a direct replacement for Delta-II? It would strike me as good business sense for a company not to lose a whole payload envelope just because one old LV family is being retired.
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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #6 on: 03/04/2012 01:42 PM »

Is  there any reason whatsoever (legal, commercial or political) why LM could not spin off their license to operate Athena-II/-III to ULA as a direct replacement for Delta-II?

Yes.    LM keeps all the revenue from operating Athena-II/-III itself.  If it were part of ULA, it splits the money with Boeing.

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #7 on: 03/04/2012 03:52 PM »

Is  there any reason whatsoever (legal, commercial or political) why LM could not spin off their license to operate Athena-II/-III to ULA as a direct replacement for Delta-II?

Yes.    LM keeps all the revenue from operating Athena-II/-III itself.  If it were part of ULA, it splits the money with Boeing.

Is it possible Boeing wants out of the launch business? 
The end result being LM owning all of ULA.

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Offline Jim

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #8 on: 03/04/2012 04:06 PM »

Is  there any reason whatsoever (legal, commercial or political) why LM could not spin off their license to operate Athena-II/-III to ULA as a direct replacement for Delta-II?

Yes.    LM keeps all the revenue from operating Athena-II/-III itself.  If it were part of ULA, it splits the money with Boeing.

Is it possible Boeing wants out of the launch business? 
The end result being LM owning all of ULA.


Delta goes with it.

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #9 on: 03/05/2012 12:23 AM »
Re: Antares comment:  I don't regard free market capitalism as annoying.

Agree 100%.  Press releases on a vehicle that can't compete (and whose companies have a history of using influence to gain contracts rather than technical merits and best value) are annoying.
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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #10 on: 03/05/2012 03:56 PM »
Because there have been unsold Athena 1s and 2s sitting around for years.  Nothing has changed with the cost drivers.  For the A3, it would require infrastructure spending for a launch pad and processing facilities.  Without guaranteed contracts, there's insufficient ROI.
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Offline Zed_Noir

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #11 on: 03/05/2012 07:50 PM »
Looks like the Athena 3 will launched from Kodiak with a new pad that was already in the works.

http://www.satnews.com/cgi-bin/story.cgi?number=325065887

After all Kodiak was initiated for the original Athena rocket.

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #12 on: 03/06/2012 12:31 PM »
I just noticed, on reading about X-37B, that Athena 3 could lift that spacecraft mass to orbit from an East Coast pad.

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Offline Ben the Space Brit

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #13 on: 03/06/2012 12:41 PM »
Purely FWIW -

If I were to nominate a possible HSF application for the Athena family, it would be to launch a quick-reaction crew rescue vehicle - Basically an uncrewed CST-100 that would be flown up to rendezvous with an imperilled spacecraft to allow the crew to transfer over and fly it back down.

Being all-solid, Athena has the advantage of a very short reaction time compared to any liquid-fuelled booster.  You'd need to have a good automatic flight control system for the rescue vehicle itself and it would need to be checked regularly to ensure it is still flight-worthy but the only launch constraint would really be phasing - launching close enough to the target vehicle's next over-pass so that it can catch up quickly.
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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #14 on: 03/06/2012 12:52 PM »
Purely FWIW -

If I were to nominate a possible HSF application for the Athena family, it would be to launch a quick-reaction crew rescue vehicle - Basically an uncrewed CST-100 that would be flown up to rendezvous with an imperilled spacecraft to allow the crew to transfer over and fly it back down.

Being all-solid, Athena has the advantage of a very short reaction time compared to any liquid-fuelled booster.  You'd need to have a good automatic flight control system for the rescue vehicle itself and it would need to be checked regularly to ensure it is still flight-worthy but the only launch constraint would really be phasing - launching close enough to the target vehicle's next over-pass so that it can catch up quickly.

Quick reaction time only if it is pre-stacked and squatting on a pad, sized correctly, solids do not have a "restart" capability, and I do not think Athena III has the Minute Man thrust termination system for fine tuning the final trajectory. The "CST-100" is going to have to do a fair amount of the orbital adjustments. But that's just software and we know software can be written very quickly ;)
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Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #15 on: 03/06/2012 03:37 PM »
Purely FWIW -

If I were to nominate a possible HSF application for the Athena family, it would be to launch a quick-reaction crew rescue vehicle - Basically an uncrewed CST-100 that would be flown up to rendezvous with an imperilled spacecraft to allow the crew to transfer over and fly it back down.

Being all-solid, Athena has the advantage of a very short reaction time compared to any liquid-fuelled booster.  You'd need to have a good automatic flight control system for the rescue vehicle itself and it would need to be checked regularly to ensure it is still flight-worthy but the only launch constraint would really be phasing - launching close enough to the target vehicle's next over-pass so that it can catch up quickly.

Quick reaction time only if it is pre-stacked and squatting on a pad, sized correctly, solids do not have a "restart" capability, and I do not think Athena III has the Minute Man thrust termination system for fine tuning the final trajectory. The "CST-100" is going to have to do a fair amount of the orbital adjustments. But that's just software and we know software can be written very quickly ;)
I know you were being sarcastic, but of course software can be written quickly. It's the qualification that takes time (a lot of it).
« Last Edit: 03/06/2012 04:19 PM by Robotbeat »
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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #16 on: 03/06/2012 04:03 PM »
Falcon 9 and Antares are going to be busy with COTS/CRS.

Are the 8 CRS flights in the next several years really enough to call Antares busy? Too busy to get additional launch contracts? If not, where are those contracts and why should Athena be expected to win them over a practically existing vehicle now?

Offline Zed_Noir

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #17 on: 03/06/2012 04:53 PM »
So anyone got a guess at how much for an Athena 3 launch out of Kodiak at annual flight rates of 2, 3 or 4 annually?

Also would the Athena 3 replace the Minotaur LV family? So that  customers other than US government entities can be using it.

Offline A_M_Swallow

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #18 on: 03/06/2012 08:17 PM »

Quick reaction time only if it is pre-stacked and squatting on a pad, sized correctly, solids do not have a "restart" capability, and I do not think Athena III has the Minute Man thrust termination system for fine tuning the final trajectory. The "CST-100" is going to have to do a fair amount of the orbital adjustments. But that's just software and we know software can be written very quickly ;)

Design modification to software may be difficult but, within a pre-set range, changing the destination should be no harder than changing the destination on a car's GPS navigation system.

Offline Jim

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #19 on: 03/06/2012 08:24 PM »
wrong, not even remotely close to what reality is.  That is not how launch vehicle trajectories are designed nor is it applicable to rendezvous mission design.

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #20 on: 03/06/2012 08:27 PM »
wrong, not even remotely close to what reality is.  That is not how launch vehicle trajectories are designed nor is it applicable to rendezvous mission design.

Then bring rocket design into the 21st century.

Offline GClark

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #21 on: 03/06/2012 08:55 PM »
AFAICT, this would seem to be a shot at Orbitals' Taurus and Antares.

The release specifically mentions Athena II & III, but not I.  This would seem to indicate that LM doesn't consider it competitive with Pegasus or Minotaur I (that or market saturation in that class - pick your poison).

Given the following:

a) Athena II splits the difference in performance between the Taurus 3xxx & Minotaur IV,
b) the recent back-to-back failures of aforesaid Taurus,
c) the length of time it is taking Orbital to bring the Antares to market, and
d) Athena III is roughly in Antares' performance class (Thanks, Ed!),

I would guess that LM sees an opportunity to squeeze Orbital out of the West Coast market.  If they can get Athena III up and running before Orbital can get a West Coast pad built (Has Orbital announced a West Coast Antares pad yet?)...

They may also be trying to tie up Kodiak like Orbital has tied up Wallops.

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #22 on: 03/06/2012 09:53 PM »
They may also be trying to tie up Kodiak like Orbital has tied up Wallops.

??? Kodiak isn't set up for liquid fueled LVs. AFAIK only solid motor  LVs have launch from Kodiak.

Some pad in VAFB is the most likely Antares West coast facility. Maybe refurbishing one of the old Delta II pad.

Offline Patchouli

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #23 on: 03/06/2012 09:57 PM »
As bad as many aspects of solids are they do have one big advantage they need very little in the way of pad support structure.

As for cost it can't be that bad the entire Lunar Prospector mission was only $62.8 Million.
« Last Edit: 03/06/2012 09:57 PM by Patchouli »

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #24 on: 03/07/2012 02:23 AM »
Jim and Swallow: this discussion of whether or not launch trajectory design could be automated presumably belongs in another thread.

Offline simonbp

Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #25 on: 03/07/2012 02:41 AM »
IMHO, the reason for continued discussion of Athena 3 is related to Liberty. If Liberty finds customers, then Athena 3 becomes a lot more economically feasible. If it doesn't, the case for Athena 3 is much harder.

I'm not saying that either Liberty or Athena 3 is likely, just that that might be the thinking in LM and ATK.

Offline Ben the Space Brit

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #26 on: 03/07/2012 10:03 AM »
@ simonbp

Purely IMHO, I think that there is definate room for the Athena and smaller rockets but only if the launch service providers are willing to invest in them.

Look at Falcon-1e.  It was a perfectly viable idea and already had a contract in place but SpaceX had to make a commercial decision to down-select one of its LVs and the Falcon-1 family was it.  Right now, no matter how much potential micro- and nano-sat business there is hypothetically available, the real big money is in the medium-lift business.  Frankly, only companies with pockets as deep as LM and Arianespace can afford to invest in smaller-sized LVs.
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Offline GClark

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #27 on: 03/07/2012 11:02 AM »
They may also be trying to tie up Kodiak like Orbital has tied up Wallops.

??? Kodiak isn't set up for liquid fueled LVs. AFAIK only solid motor  LVs have launch from Kodiak.

Some pad in VAFB is the most likely Antares West coast facility. Maybe refurbishing one of the old Delta II pad.

Very aware of the above.  By tied up I meant anchor tenant/lead customer.  As the primary user, over time the facility will modify the way it operates to accomodate them etc.

And just to head this one off, obviously not all of Wallops.  Specifically MARS.

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #28 on: 03/08/2012 01:47 PM »
I just noticed, on reading about X-37B, that Athena 3 could lift that spacecraft mass to orbit from an East Coast pad.

- Ed Kyle

With or without a fairing?

There is about 1 tonne payload mass margin if a 1.3 tonne fairing is assumed, but that is about 3 tonnes short of the Atlas 5 X-37B payload fairing mass.  So, this is likely iffy on that basis.  But close!

 - Ed Kyle

Would an X-37B gain anything from a launch from Kodiak?

Edit: a brainstorm ?
« Last Edit: 03/08/2012 01:51 PM by Prober »
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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #29 on: 03/08/2012 01:51 PM »
I just noticed, on reading about X-37B, that Athena 3 could lift that spacecraft mass to orbit from an East Coast pad.

- Ed Kyle

With or without a fairing?

There is about 1 tonne payload mass margin if a 1.3 tonne fairing is assumed, but that is about 3 tonnes short of the Atlas 5 X-37B payload fairing mass.  So, this is likely iffy on that basis.  But close!

 - Ed Kyle

Would an X-37B gain anything from a launch from Kodiak?

It depends on the mission.  Earth surface imaging reconnaissance, no matter the wavelength, needs polar.  Interception and rendezvous with 'red team' spacecraft would depend on the target vehicle's orbit.  Support of HSF would require launch from CCAFS or some other Eastern Range site.
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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #30 on: 03/08/2012 02:04 PM »
I just noticed, on reading about X-37B, that Athena 3 could lift that spacecraft mass to orbit from an East Coast pad.

- Ed Kyle

With or without a fairing?

There is about 1 tonne payload mass margin if a 1.3 tonne fairing is assumed, but that is about 3 tonnes short of the Atlas 5 X-37B payload fairing mass.  So, this is likely iffy on that basis.  But close!

 - Ed Kyle

Would an X-37B gain anything from a launch from Kodiak?



No

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #31 on: 03/08/2012 03:07 PM »
Quote
Would an X-37B gain anything from a launch from Kodiak?
No

For Polar Orbits using the same rocket compared to Vandenberg, the rocket would gain some payload due to having less of penalty from the earths rotation, and the need to do a dogleg out of Vandenberg.

That is nice on paper, but the actual payload is limited by the X-37 and not the rocket. Most likely any rocket that can launch from Kodiak will also be able to place the X-37 payload in a polar orbit from Vandenberg. So you have a whole lot more logistics for a not so big paper gain.
« Last Edit: 03/08/2012 04:16 PM by kevin-rf »
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Offline Jim

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #32 on: 03/08/2012 03:25 PM »
the need to do a dogleg out of Vandenberg.


That depends on the launch pad.

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #33 on: 03/08/2012 03:30 PM »
the need to do a dogleg out of Vandenberg.


That depends on the launch pad.

What's happening to the West Coast Delta-II pad? Could Athena fly from the beach-side pad they use for Taurus-XL?
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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #34 on: 03/08/2012 04:16 PM »
Delta II flights dogleg
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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #35 on: 03/08/2012 10:03 PM »
For Polar Orbits using the same rocket compared to Vandenberg, the rocket would gain some payload due to having less of penalty from the earths rotation, and the need to do a dogleg out of Vandenberg.

No.

This idea has been raised in this forum repeatedly and proven false repeatedly.

Launch to 51.6 degrees from Kourou or Baikonur for identical rockets provides the identical payload mass.



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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #36 on: 03/09/2012 12:14 AM »
Since when are we talking HSF, we where talking about flying the X-37 on an Athena III to a polar orbit, not ISS. There is no reason for the X-37 to fly to ISS.
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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #37 on: 03/09/2012 12:51 AM »
btw. The earths rotation speed at Kodiak at ~57 north is about 570 mph, and at Vandenberg at ~24 north is 950 mph. For polar that must be overcome and you have about a 380 mph (170 meters per second). That plus any dogleg that Jim pointed out may not be needed is the penalty. It shows up on paper, but is very small.

Honestly, the part that falls apart with all this is dragging the rocket out to Kodiak, for an insignificant paper gain. It really sounds like selection of Kodiak was tossed against the wall with out much thought to the logistics. Vandenberg does make much more sense from a logistics and payload processing standpoint.

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Offline Prober

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #38 on: 03/09/2012 01:49 AM »
Honestly, the part that falls apart with all this is dragging the rocket out to Kodiak, for an insignificant paper gain.

I understand your good points. 

Would you say the same of the ESA?   Everything is shipped to South America and they have made it work with still losses.

Do the paper gains work that much differently than launching from say France?
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Offline Jim

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #39 on: 03/09/2012 01:59 AM »

Do the paper gains work that much differently than launching from say France?


Yes, because something always works better than nothing, hence there are no losses. There are no viable launch sites in France or Europe, so that's why South America is used.

Same would be true of Kodiak if there was no Vandenberg.  But since VAFB exists, it trumps Kodiak
« Last Edit: 03/09/2012 02:03 AM by Jim »

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #40 on: 03/09/2012 02:53 PM »
But since VAFB exists, it trumps Kodiak

Still, there must be something driving these companies away from places like the Cape and Vandenberg to places like Wallops and Kodiak.

That something is green with numbers on it, I suspect, provided by local governments.

 - Ed Kyle

that was the case with Wallops.  I have heard that OSC somewhat regrets its decision

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #41 on: 03/09/2012 04:21 PM »
Can I ask why it needs a new pad? Does the Athena III not fit inside the Launch Service Structure at Pad 1?
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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #42 on: 03/09/2012 04:26 PM »
Think I have my answer, the Athena III is ~170' in height, the Launch Service Structure has a hook height of 152' and can only lift 75 tons.
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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #43 on: 03/09/2012 05:20 PM »
btw. The earths rotation speed at Kodiak at ~57 north is about 570 mph, and at Vandenberg at ~24 north is 950 mph. For polar that must be overcome and you have about a 380 mph (170 meters per second).


You are wrong.

The required delta-v to fly from Vandenberg or Kodiak to any "polar" orbit is the same, ignoring any doglegs required due to local obstacles.  For example, the delta-V to fly to 98 degrees from Vandenberg is the same as from Kodiak.



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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #44 on: 03/09/2012 05:45 PM »
You're telling me that the delta-v into a retrograde orbit is the same from the Equator as from the Pole?
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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #46 on: 03/09/2012 06:38 PM »
Honestly, the part that falls apart with all this is dragging the rocket out to Kodiak, for an insignificant paper gain.

I understand your good points. 

Would you say the same of the ESA?   Everything is shipped to South America and they have made it work with still losses.

Do the paper gains work that much differently than launching from say France?
Earth rotation differences are small. Plane change isn't. Having a clear flight path and drop zones are more important considerations than Earth rotation, too. Even existing range and processing infrastructure is more important than the delta-v difference. Thus, Kourou is king of launch site, at least until (and if) Alcantara fully develops.

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #47 on: 03/09/2012 06:51 PM »
Thus, Kourou is king of launch site, at least until (and if) Alcantara fully develops.

Nah, peak of mt. Everest ;)
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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #48 on: 03/09/2012 08:54 PM »
Thus, Kourou is king of launch site, at least until (and if) Alcantara fully develops.

Nah, peak of mt. Everest ;)

I was thinking the top of the Chimborazo Volcano
http://http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chimborazo_(volcano)

but (to at least flirt with staying on topic) the year-round weekly barge service from Seattle to Kodiak probably makes logistics to KLC better

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #49 on: 03/10/2012 05:35 AM »
I did not realize that Kodiak, having lost anti-missile test work...

 - Ed Kyle

There may be some remorse on this point.  The OSP-3 Sample Mission 1.4 Suborbital Launch/Ballistic Target is baselined for launch from Kodiak.

Edit: The MRD gives the mission two different names.
« Last Edit: 03/10/2012 05:47 AM by GClark »

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #50 on: 04/10/2012 10:22 PM »
What no Payload Fairing size?

Your slipping Ed...heheh
 
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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #51 on: 04/13/2012 01:28 AM »
Well if we are going down this route, how about an Antares with a Castor-120 second stage along with the Castor 30XL 3rd stage?

Edit: to get back on topic, Athena I & II never really had a high flight rate, how will the redux and Athena III fare better?
« Last Edit: 04/13/2012 01:44 AM by Ronsmytheiii »

Offline GClark

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #52 on: 04/13/2012 05:53 AM »
It may be that they are working off a series of not-so-out-there assumptions.

If one assumes that:

A) SLS flys twice a year,
B) Liberty gets built and flys twice a year, and
C) All SRM segments will use the same propellant grain and geometry,

then that's a minimum of 30 segments getting manufactured per year.  At some point economies of scale start to kick in.  4 - 6 additional segments shouldn't cost that much more to manufacture.  I do realise that there will be some performance loss due to the non-optimized nature of the first stage segments, but LM/ATK may be rationalizing that the cost savings will out weigh.

Truth in advertising:  Not an engineer.  YMMV applies in all cases. Just my .02

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #53 on: 04/13/2012 01:38 PM »
If there's a darth of options in its performance bracket, few will chance to baseline a payload for a new rocket. Even if proven, which would take a while, would still leave out anything critical, since those usually require a backup launch vehicle. I simply don't quite see a business case. At least not if CRS is successful.

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #54 on: 04/13/2012 05:02 PM »

That means business for smaller, cheaper launch vehicles. 

 - Ed Kyle

It also means cheaper payloads, since you no longer have all that extra plumbing and related costs.
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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #55 on: 04/13/2012 05:05 PM »
C) All SRM segments will use the same propellant grain and geometry,

Not a good assumption.  Geometry is tailored to the desired trajectory.  STS flew PBAN propellant, but the more energetic HTPB is preferred for unmanned, aside from the other knobs that can be turned on solid fuel (coarse/fine, etc).
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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #56 on: 04/13/2012 05:22 PM »

That means business for smaller, cheaper launch vehicles. 

 - Ed Kyle

It also means cheaper payloads, since you no longer have all that extra plumbing and related costs.
Inert Xenon versus incredibly toxic hydrazine. Big win there, IMHO.
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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #57 on: 04/13/2012 09:06 PM »

That means business for smaller, cheaper launch vehicles. 

 - Ed Kyle

It also means cheaper payloads, since you no longer have all that extra plumbing and related costs.
Inert Xenon versus incredibly toxic hydrazine. Big win there, IMHO.

Isn't there a looming Xenon shortage due to increase usage and no increase in global production?

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #58 on: 04/13/2012 09:07 PM »
... so Kodiak Athena would have thinner competition than a theoretical East Coast Athena.

 - Ed Kyle

(cough)
What about the Avians from VAFB? IIRC their launch cost is cheaper than the Athena 3 with easier logistics.

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #59 on: 04/13/2012 09:26 PM »

That means business for smaller, cheaper launch vehicles. 

 - Ed Kyle

It also means cheaper payloads, since you no longer have all that extra plumbing and related costs.
Inert Xenon versus incredibly toxic hydrazine. Big win there, IMHO.

Isn't there a looming Xenon shortage due to increase usage and no increase in global production?
Nope! :) Xenon is produced by fractional distillation of air. As long as there's air, we'll be able to get Xenon. (Argon is also a good fuel and is a lot cheaper, but doesn't make as much sense until you get to VERY high Isp and specific power levels.)

You are thinking of helium, which is still very cheap (considering). That's produced generally by separating it out from natural gas wells. The US has/had a strategic reserve of helium, which is now being privatized/sold-off (by Congressional demand). This suppression of the price of helium leads to pretty wasteful uses and also makes companies a lot less likely to extract the helium. I think we should stop auctioning off the strategic reserve at very least (if not start to fill it again) since this would cause private natural gas producers to be a lot more likely to separate it out, which would cause our existing helium supplies to last much longer. (Helium can be produced by fractional distillation of the air, but the yield from that is FAR too little to meet existing demand... and it would cost far more.)

And actually, helium is used for pressurization in traditional hypergolic spacecraft propulsion, so moving to Xenon electric propulsion would actually save helium.
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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #60 on: 04/14/2012 12:46 AM »
A sizeable part of Antares's business case is replacement for NASA Delta II earth science missions.  A polar/SSO capability must be in the works.
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Offline baldusi

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #61 on: 04/14/2012 04:46 AM »
In the Antares presentation OSC clearly show either Kodiak or VAFB as possibilities. And they have leased some offices in VAFB.
In any case, the issue are payloads. Antares might have three flights under its belt as early as middle 2013. Which would allow them to start the NASA certification process. Not to mention the Falcon 9 family which is actually building a pad at VAFB and are going to do the block 2 debut flight from there by the end of 2013.
Nasa (by extension I assume NOAA) nor DoD can procure a LV without certification. If you can have the Antares and/or the Falcon 9 (I'm assuming EELV is too big/expensive), would you pay a bit more (Falcon 9), risk a new pad for an existing LV (Antares), or a new pad plus a new vehicle (Athena 3)?

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #62 on: 04/14/2012 04:55 AM »
I see no evidence that Athena 3 would be cheaper than Falcon 9.
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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #63 on: 04/14/2012 04:57 AM »
Various good points to address there:

1) At what point are Antares and Athena 3 not viable wrt Falcon cost/reliability trade-offs?  If SpaceX develops a cadence and stable price, Antares and Athena 3 are done.  How big that IF is, is not worthy of discussion because no one has a clear crystal ball.

2) Payload projects are free to procure launch services if they can get DoD Major Commands or other NASA HQ Directorates to concur with their risk tolerance and procurement strategy.  Those are both debatable and unpredictable.
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Offline baldusi

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #64 on: 04/14/2012 06:14 AM »
What I'm stating here, is that I can't recall no significant LV that didn't had a main "tenant" for actual development. Delta II had GPS, EELV had DoD, Falcon 9 and Antares had CRS, etc. Similar cases can be made about Soyuz, Proton, Long March 2/3/4, H-IIB, Ariane 1/2/3/4/5, etc. Even Zenit-2 had it's it "clients", namely Energyia, and was to replace the Soyuz, too.
In that sense Athena 3 and Liberty are in the same limbo, viable technical project, might even have a successful business with some heavy investment and luck, but too much risk to actually put that money into the project.

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #65 on: 04/14/2012 07:13 AM »
After considering some reasonable Athena 3 concepts, I've played with a few high energy upper stage ideas.  These aren't meant to be "real" (the Lego (TM) thing), but give an idea of payloads for various propellant combinations.  Obviously they cross deep into Atlas 5 territory, which Lockheed would not do unless it had a very good reason.  (And yes, Jim, I should draw a big fairing around these Centaurs, because they can't support the payload otherwise.)  The last concept is Liberty-esque, but assumes a composite case booster, etc, so is presented just to show a max-payload range.

I've found that a bigger-than Castor 120 second stage would improve performance.  Something about 1.5 times heavier would work.  ATK has been burning Castor 120-diameter motors for the Air Force, but I'm not sure that anything longer than Castor 120 itself has been tested or considered.

 - Ed Kyle

Since this is a fantasy Lego configuration discussion. Sort of.  ;D

My Athena 3X proposal is to replace the Castor 120 solid motor with the Falcon 9 upper stage on top of a 2.5 segments RSRM as a 2 stage rocket.

Amusingly, the mass of the current Merlin Vac powered F9 upper stage is roughly that of the Castor 120. The diameters of the RSRM and F9 upper stage is also roughly the same.

The chances of SpaceX let anyone else use their upper stage is next to zilch. But how would my Athena 3X configuration compare in performance?

edit for spelling
« Last Edit: 04/14/2012 06:19 PM by Zed_Noir »

Offline baldusi

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #66 on: 04/14/2012 08:49 PM »
First, the Antares launch pad at Wallops has been a long time coming and must have cost someone a pretty penny.  An Athena 3 pad might be more straightforward.
And it wasn't OSC fault. They went to Wallops because the state would pick the tab. And the state mismanaged the pad construction and certification. So much that the person in charge was sacked.
BTW, both LM and OSC have launched from Kodiak, so they know it very well. And OSC will knows exactly what it needs to launch Antares, from it's operational experience in Wallops. LM might need some development. But Antares would need an HIF, the RP-1, LOX infrastructure and such. I guess Adapting Kodiak for Antares would be really expensive wrt Athena 3.
I only see it happening if Alaska picks the tab. Which they might if the other option is closing Kodiak.

Quote
Second, both Orbital and Lockheed Martin manufacture traditional satellites.  SpaceX does not.

Which doesn't matter the least. The concept of payload and launch solution has not been very popular lately. In fact, the last example was the OCO-1/2. I don't think anybody will try it for the next few years. And, in any case, we're talking about sunsynchronous and polar launches. Very few of those that are commercial (GeoEye and DigitalGlobe) mean about three to four launches per decade! So, again, you are going after the small polar launches of NASA/NOAA/DoD. Those need certification. That's the problem.
The other issue are the five Delta II that ULA and NASA want to use from VAFB. That will eat all the "good" projects for the next five to seven years.
I simply don't see how Athena could win more than one flight each other year for the next seven years. I simply don't see it.

Quote
Third, SpaceX is talking about three launch complexes, creating more infrastructure than either Orbital or Lockheed-Athena.  Either they are going to perform three times as many launches as Antares or Athena, or their fixed costs are going to be higher.
Talking is cheap. They've closed down Omelek, KSC is paid by the CRS contract, and they hope to pay for VAFB with Iridium, Orbcomm, CONAE, NSPO and whatever they could get from DoD. In other words, they do have the clients on manifest to actually pay for the pad. No clients to justify the pad, no rocket no pad. Look the case of Omelek and F1e, not enough manifest, the clients where moved to F9, LV was suspended and the pad closed down.

Quote
Fourth, Athena 3 would expose payloads to the highest g-forces of the three (I think).
Which is a problem, not an advantage. The launch environment of the Antares, Falcon 9 and Delta II were sort of similar. By the time Athena 3 would be available, all three will have at least Cat 3/C certification. Hopefully more. But the case is that if the client baselines for Falcon 9 or Antares, it won't be much different. You could move your payload from one to the other (and if the performance is enough). Moving to the Athena means a different baseline. When you start to compete you have to use what everybody else is using. Look at SpaceX's VAFB facilities, and how they are going to have to offer vertical payload integration because of DoD. Thus, Athena 3 would have to be compatible with the Antares/Falcon 9 environment, not the other way around.

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #67 on: 04/15/2012 04:28 AM »
I generally agree with baldusi's posts, but there's a whole lot wrong with that first part.

Orbital is the ultimate user of the pad at Wallops.  It doesn't matter who is in charge of building it.  Orbital selected the pad and orchestrated the business arrangement.  Orbital is responsible for putting its trust in an unworthy partner.

Orbital is way out of its element with this vehicle.  Orbital has never launched a liquid-fueled rocket before.  Orbital has never had to deal with fluid commodities on launch day.  Such support systems are non-trivial.
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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #68 on: 04/16/2012 12:40 PM »
Ed, the hypothetical 3 composite segment 110t LH2 Athena-X, the performance of that configuration is better then Liberty or Ares I. Is the performance of the composite solid what makes the difference there? In other words is a three segment composite that much better then a five segment steel case solid?

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #69 on: 04/16/2012 04:15 PM »
Ed, the hypothetical 3 composite segment 110t LH2 Athena-X, the performance of that configuration is better then Liberty or Ares I. Is the performance of the composite solid what makes the difference there? In other words is a three segment composite that much better then a five segment steel case solid?

According to my guesstimate the much improved propellant mass fraction of the first stage makes the difference.  But, of course, the real implementation would be unlikely to match my guesses.  No matter the details, composite case can provide substantial improvement.  Look at the Castor and Orion motors for examples.

 - Ed Kyle
Yes, solid rocket motors are essentially pressure-fed, thus tank mass is a HUGE factor in limiting performance because of the very high dry mass. And a lot of the reason you would have 3 or 4 (or more!) stages for an all-solid launch vehicle instead of 1.5 or 2 for a liquid, pump-fed rocket (ala original Atlas, Shuttle, Atlas V 401, etc).
« Last Edit: 04/16/2012 04:17 PM by Robotbeat »
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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #70 on: 04/16/2012 06:53 PM »
Ed, my point was that lowering the tank mass can make a pretty big difference for a pressure-fed vehicle like an Athena 3, since that's such a limiting factor in its performance. I was agreeing with you! :)
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Offline Ronsmytheiii

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #71 on: 05/10/2012 01:07 AM »
Bump for its larger sibling Linerty news.

Offline baldusi

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #72 on: 05/10/2012 08:51 PM »
Bump for its larger sibling Linerty news.

I'm not yet sure they're directly related.  Liberty is ATK/EADS.  Athena, including Athena 3 if it is ever developed, is Lockheed Martin. 

Of course ATK would pour motors for both rockets.

 - Ed Kyle
Who does the avionics and GNC of the Liberty?

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #73 on: 05/29/2012 03:18 PM »
Athena II as the upper stage.  Hmmm.  Actually stacking two Castor 120s and a Castor 30 on top of "another ATK solid rocket motor" could lift more than 5.9 tonnes to LEO from Florida.  A lot more.  I figure better than 10 tonnes.
 - Ed Kyle

4 Solid stages? whelp  :D

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #74 on: 05/30/2012 03:13 AM »
This is interesting.
http://www.lockheedmartin.com/us/news/press-releases/2012/april/0417-ss-cls.html
Athena II as the upper stage.  Hmmm.  Actually stacking two Castor 120s and a Castor 30 on top of "another ATK solid rocket motor" could lift more than 5.9 tonnes to LEO from Florida.  A lot more.  I figure better than 10 tonnes.

 - Ed Kyle

Hmmm

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=28839.0

Offline Antares

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #75 on: 05/30/2012 05:44 AM »
How many segments are you assuming in your calcs, Ed?  That might be the difference.
If I like something on NSF, it's probably because I know it to be accurate.  Every once in a while, it's just something I agree with.  Facts generally receive the former.

Offline Calphor

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #76 on: 05/30/2012 06:04 AM »
How many segments are you assuming in your calcs, Ed?  That might be the difference.

This made me think of the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch...



Fast forward to 1:23.  ;)

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #77 on: 05/30/2012 12:51 PM »
This is interesting.
http://www.lockheedmartin.com/us/news/press-releases/2012/april/0417-ss-cls.html
"The company recently selected KLC as its dedicated West Coast launch facility as it looks to expand launch capability with Athena III for commercial and government customers.  Utilizing the Athena I and II as the upper stages and another ATK solid rocket motor as the first stage, Athena III will be capable of launching satellites weighing 4,600 kg (10,150 lbs.) from Alaska and 5,900 kg (13, 000 lbs.) from the Florida space coast."

Athena II as the upper stage.  Hmmm.  Actually stacking two Castor 120s and a Castor 30 on top of "another ATK solid rocket motor" could lift more than 5.9 tonnes to LEO from Florida.  A lot more.  I figure better than 10 tonnes.

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How tall a launcher are we talking about ?
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Offline GClark

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #78 on: 05/31/2012 01:00 PM »
Have they indicated whether they will they go to the trouble of developing/testing optimised segments for the Athena III or just take the performance hit?

Offline spectre9

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #79 on: 07/14/2012 11:13 PM »
Any updates?

I noticed some discussion in the Liberty thread so came to have a look here and to give this a bump.

I'm just reading this now.

http://www.alaskajournal.com/Alaska-Journal-of-Commerce/July-Issue-3-2012/Kodiak-complex-gets-boost-from-Lockheed/

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #80 on: 07/16/2012 01:34 AM »
The proposed Kodiak launch site photo appears to show a mobile service tower (a building really) pulled back from a rocket that looks to me like something with only one Castor 120 and a Castor 30 type on top of an SRB segment type first stage.

Do you mean this (attached) artwork? I don't see indication the building moves.
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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #81 on: 07/16/2012 01:34 PM »
The proposed Kodiak launch site photo appears to show a mobile service tower (a building really) pulled back from a rocket that looks to me like something with only one Castor 120 and a Castor 30 type on top of an SRB segment type first stage.

Do you mean this (attached) artwork? I don't see indication the building moves.

know what Ed is talking about as the other building had a circle type door, this is a different setup.
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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #82 on: 07/24/2012 09:50 PM »
Yes, the building moves on rails.  We are calling it the Vehicle Processing Facility.  It will have a 225-250 ton bridge crane that will stack the vehicle on the pad and then retract ~400 feet for launch.

The EA for this project should be released to the public next month.  Construction time depends on when the Athena III makes its first sale.

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #83 on: 07/24/2012 09:58 PM »
Yes, the building moves on rails.  We are calling it the Vehicle Processing Facility.  It will have a 225-250 ton bridge crane that will stack the vehicle on the pad and then retract ~400 feet for launch.

The EA for this project should be released to the public next month.  Construction time depends on when the Athena III makes its first sale.
Awesome, thanks for the info.
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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #84 on: 07/27/2012 01:14 AM »
There was some mention that Alaska wanted to be able to "share" the same facilites between the Athena and Orbital's Antares. Of course, Antares needs to book some west coast flights on it's manifest first, but how realistic is it for Athena and Antares to share the same launch facilities ?


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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #85 on: 07/27/2012 05:00 PM »
There was some mention that Alaska wanted to be able to "share" the same facilites between the Athena and Orbital's Antares. Of course, Antares needs to book some west coast flights on it's manifest first, but how realistic is it for Athena and Antares to share the same launch facilities ?
I just don't see it. Antares need an HIF, Athena a movable VPF that goes over the pad. Antares needs an RP-1 infrastructure, Athena needs none. If you use the same pad, should OSC wait on the HIF while the Athena is integrated on the pad? I simply don't see it.

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #86 on: 08/02/2012 05:52 AM »
There was some mention that Alaska wanted to be able to "share" the same facilites between the Athena and Orbital's Antares. Of course, Antares needs to book some west coast flights on it's manifest first, but how realistic is it for Athena and Antares to share the same launch facilities ?
I just don't see it. Antares need an HIF, Athena a movable VPF that goes over the pad. Antares needs an RP-1 infrastructure, Athena needs none. If you use the same pad, should OSC wait on the HIF while the Athena is integrated on the pad? I simply don't see it.
You are correct about the different infrastructure requirements.  On top of that, I do not know of any launch pad anywhere that is dual use for liquid and solid LVs.  We have designs for a liquid pad and a solid pad.  It may not be possible, or even operationally effective, to try to integrate the two dissimilar designs.  We are still brain storming concepts, because we don't have the $$ to build two pads simultaneously.  It is a moot point until there is a formal commitment from Orbital about their West Coast site.

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #87 on: 08/02/2012 01:11 PM »

 On top of that, I do not know of any launch pad anywhere that is dual use for liquid and solid LVs. 

Cough, Cough,

Ares I test flight from the shuttle pad.
Early Athena flights from Slick 6 (Former MOL then Shuttle pad, now the Delta IV pad)

That said, liquid rockets require a fair amount of GSE that is not needed for a solid vehicle. I also suspect solids are tougher on the pad, who can forget a few years back the Shuttle SRB's tearing up the flame trench.
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Offline Lurker Steve

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #88 on: 08/02/2012 01:22 PM »
There was some mention that Alaska wanted to be able to "share" the same facilites between the Athena and Orbital's Antares. Of course, Antares needs to book some west coast flights on it's manifest first, but how realistic is it for Athena and Antares to share the same launch facilities ?
I just don't see it. Antares need an HIF, Athena a movable VPF that goes over the pad. Antares needs an RP-1 infrastructure, Athena needs none. If you use the same pad, should OSC wait on the HIF while the Athena is integrated on the pad? I simply don't see it.
You are correct about the different infrastructure requirements.  On top of that, I do not know of any launch pad anywhere that is dual use for liquid and solid LVs.  We have designs for a liquid pad and a solid pad.  It may not be possible, or even operationally effective, to try to integrate the two dissimilar designs.  We are still brain storming concepts, because we don't have the $$ to build two pads simultaneously.  It is a moot point until there is a formal commitment from Orbital about their West Coast site.

Just find someone more competent than the folks building the Antares pad at Wallops.

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #89 on: 08/02/2012 04:50 PM »
There was some mention that Alaska wanted to be able to "share" the same facilites between the Athena and Orbital's Antares. Of course, Antares needs to book some west coast flights on it's manifest first, but how realistic is it for Athena and Antares to share the same launch facilities ?
I just don't see it. Antares need an HIF, Athena a movable VPF that goes over the pad. Antares needs an RP-1 infrastructure, Athena needs none. If you use the same pad, should OSC wait on the HIF while the Athena is integrated on the pad? I simply don't see it.
You are correct about the different infrastructure requirements.  On top of that, I do not know of any launch pad anywhere that is dual use for liquid and solid LVs.  We have designs for a liquid pad and a solid pad.  It may not be possible, or even operationally effective, to try to integrate the two dissimilar designs.  We are still brain storming concepts, because we don't have the $$ to build two pads simultaneously.  It is a moot point until there is a formal commitment from Orbital about their West Coast site.
You can put a solid LV on a liquid rocket launch pad, with a mobile platform, like Ares I or Liberty would do on LC-39. But you get a more expensive pad, and little or no synergies.
I mean, the particularly case of Antares and Athena III are so dissimilar, that's sort of a moot point. Something like Atlas V, instead, would be much easier, since it's more similar to a Liberty like solution. But Antares is only comparable to Zenit-2 or Falcon 9.
May be the solution would be to try to squeeze the solids on one pad and Antares in the other.
From a pure orbital mechanics pov Kodiak is great, but how's the rest of the support infrastructure at Kodiak? Could you handle a 3.7m satellite? Have you multiple integration facilities? Is it easy to transport a 4m fairing? Can you handle cryogenic payloads (you know what I mean)?

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #90 on: 08/09/2012 12:36 AM »
The Kodiak facilities are pretty good.  Our PPF looks like a min-AstroTech with two bays that can handle a 4m fairing.  We only have one integration facility, because we only have one orbital pad (the suborbital pad is 500' away, so no simultaneous use).  Range safety and telemetry is GPS metric tracking- only requires 18 people (that includes the off-axis site).  And logistics; direct barge service from Seattle and six flights a day.  That's my 10 second sales pitch.

The dissimilarity between the Athena III and the Antares is significant.  Like you said, it is a moot point until we get launch contracts for both.  If that happens, we will have to start a new KLC thread to keep people up to date.

By the way, we are submitting the draft EA to the FAA tomorrow.  Not sure when they will post it for comments.  I'm out of town for a few weeks- talk to you later.

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #92 on: 09/24/2012 12:05 AM »
http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/lockheed-considers-viability-of-resurrected-athena-small-satellite-launcher-programme-376581/

Just saw this.

Possibly not good news?  :-\

from the Flightglobal article:
Quote
a price point of around $70 million for an Athena II...

Roughly slight more than the cost of a Falcon 9 launch. So it doesn't look good for Athena resurrection.

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #93 on: 09/24/2012 01:35 PM »
You don't have to compete with a rocket that doesn't launch.

Backup contracts to SpaceX payloads are where the market is at right now.

Everybody that has huge backlogs with SpaceX is only popping one sat off the front of the campaign at a time as the Falcon 9 launches don't materialise.

There's a first in best dressed situation here for low cost launch of small payloads that aren't making their parent company any money sitting on the ground.

Athena II/III could swoop in.. if not something else will or the payloads will go to non-USA launch providers.

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #96 on: 02/01/2013 05:05 PM »
I'm writing a short article on Athena. It discusses its history, launches, and current plans.

Here's a question that I haven't been able to answer: why did they name it "Athena"?

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #97 on: 02/01/2013 05:42 PM »
I'm writing a short article on Athena. It discusses its history, launches, and current plans.

Here's a question that I haven't been able to answer: why did they name it "Athena"?

Likely because the original designations "LLV" ("Lockheed Launch Vehicle") and "LMLV" ("Lockheed Martin Launch Vehicle") were not so well suited for marketing as a traditional mythological name.

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #98 on: 02/01/2013 06:11 PM »
I'm writing a short article on Athena. It discusses its history, launches, and current plans.

Here's a question that I haven't been able to answer: why did they name it "Athena"?

Likely because the original designations "LLV" ("Lockheed Launch Vehicle") and "LMLV" ("Lockheed Martin Launch Vehicle") were not so well suited for marketing as a traditional mythological name.

I got that. But why specifically "Athena"?

Lockheed had previously built the Agena, and the company had a history of naming its aircraft after stars and constellations.

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #99 on: 02/03/2013 07:21 PM »
That also leads me to the flipside of that question: why the heck did they name it LLV-1 in the first place? You would think that from a marketing standpoint that's a lousy name. Not catchy, doesn't evoke anything. If you're trying to sell a rocket, you give it an interesting name, right?

Offline Proponent

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #100 on: 02/04/2013 12:06 PM »
Or maybe an unpronounceable abbreviation like "LLV" sounds good to people who've spent too many years selling to DoD and NASA, both of which seem to love such things.

Offline simonbp

Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #101 on: 02/07/2013 06:22 AM »
Meanwhile, Orbital Sciences cobbled together a rocket and named it "Taurus".  What the heck is a Taurus?  Who builds it and what does it do?  Is it a car or something?

It's a constellation, specifically the most promenent one adjacent to Orion, and also near to Gemini. The stages used to create Taurus were named Castor (a star in Gemini) and Orion. It also provides a nice contrast with Pegasus (graceful winged horse vs. brute-force Taurus the bull).

Offline edkyle99

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #102 on: 02/07/2013 05:52 PM »
Meanwhile, Orbital Sciences cobbled together a rocket and named it "Taurus".  What the heck is a Taurus?  Who builds it and what does it do?  Is it a car or something?

It's a constellation, specifically the most promenent one adjacent to Orion, and also near to Gemini. The stages used to create Taurus were named Castor (a star in Gemini) and Orion. It also provides a nice contrast with Pegasus (graceful winged horse vs. brute-force Taurus the bull).
Right.  A constellation, and I understand the reasoning, but what I'm wondering is whether a name like "Taurus" or "Atlas" or "Delta", etc., would really ever be selected by a real marketing brand naming guru in a true commercial setting.  I'm out of my element when it comes to advertising and brand-naming, but if I weren't a space history geek, would I have any idea what an "Atlas" did?  (Is it a map?)  "Lockheed Launch Vehicle" is, at least, self explanatory. 

If I were a start-up in this business, I would probably pick a name like "Reliable Rocket" (TM ;) ) or "Satellite Launcher" ("SatLaunch"?) or some-such.  But then again, I buy "Tide" without wondering when the water will rise.

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 02/07/2013 06:50 PM by edkyle99 »

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #103 on: 02/07/2013 07:04 PM »
  I'm out of my element when it comes to advertising and brand-naming, but if I weren't a space history geek, would I have any idea what an "Atlas" did?  (Is it a map?)  "Lockheed Launch Vehicle" is, at least, self explanatory. 

What about Mustang, Lightning, Phantom, Thunderbolt, Spitfire, Sabre, Corsair, etc?  None of those names are self explanatory.  They are just that, names.   P-51 or P-51 fighter is too abstract, and so names were assigned.  XB-65, SM-65, HGM-16, LV-3, LV-3C, SLV-3C, SLC-3D, etc are not good "names" either. The nomenclature used was SM-65 Atlas missile.

Look in mainstream websites and publications, Atlas is followed by rocket or launch vehicle.


Atlas was also the name of the corporation that once owned Convair.
« Last Edit: 02/07/2013 07:08 PM by Jim »

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #104 on: 02/07/2013 07:09 PM »
Right.  A constellation, and I understand the reasoning, but what I'm wondering is whether a name like "Taurus" or "Atlas" or "Delta", etc., would really ever be selected by a real marketing brand naming guru in a true commercial setting.

Well, the market leader is Arianne. What does that say as a name?

Just as an aside, the Europeans chose "Atlas" as the name for its A400M cargo plane, too.

Offline simonbp

Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #105 on: 02/08/2013 02:21 AM »
Ah, but the origin of the Atlas name for the ICBM has a very different meaning; it was a subtle reference to Atlas Corp, the holding company that bought Convair after the war (before selling it to GD). IIRC, it kicked off the mythological-name rocket thing in the US.

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #106 on: 02/11/2013 03:31 PM »
My latest, on the Athena rocket. This is a shorter version of an article in process for Spaceflight. I decided to hang out a hook and line and see if I can catch any more information:

http://thespacereview.com/article/2234/1

Athena rising?
by Dwayne Day

In December, the US Air Force took what many considered to be the first step in breaking the United Launch Alliance’s monopoly on launching national security satellites into orbit. The Air Force announced that Space Exploration Technologies—better known as SpaceX—had received a contract to launch the DSCOVR solar storm warning spacecraft in 2014 atop a Falcon 9 rocket, and the Space Test Program-2 satellite atop a Falcon Heavy rocket in 2015. But almost completely ignored in the Air Force announcement was that the military would also now allow Lockheed Martin to make its Athena rocket available for launching small national security payloads.

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #107 on: 02/11/2013 04:04 PM »

... what I'm wondering is whether a name like "Taurus" or "Atlas" or "Delta", etc., would really ever be selected by a real marketing brand naming guru in a true commercial setting.  I'm out of my element when it comes to advertising and brand-naming, but if I weren't a space history geek, would I have any idea what an "Atlas" did?  (Is it a map?) 


OK, for those who *didn't* pay attention in school, a little remedial mythology:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atlas_(mythology)

;)

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #108 on: 02/11/2013 05:27 PM »
Loved it, especially the plug at the end:

Quote
Dwayne Day is working on a longer article on the history of the Athena and is interested in hearing from anybody with more information on the rocket’s development and its operational history, including the SLC-6 “curse” events. He can be reached at xxxxxxxxxx@xxx.xxx.
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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #109 on: 02/11/2013 07:34 PM »
Loved it, especially the plug at the end:

I wrote the article and was about to send it to my editor when I realized that several things that I mentioned in passing probably have more detail behind them, such as the payload fairing separation issue and the events concerning the "removal of the curse" at SLC-6.* So I cut a chunk out of the article (mostly stuff on the individual launches) and sent it to TSR with the hook at the end. I'll add in my original material, anything new I get, and use some great photos that I have of the launches and hardware.




*(Hey, look! A footnote!) For those who don't know, SLC-6 was initially built in the late 1960s, then mothballed, then rebuilt for shuttle in the 1980s, then mothballed again. During the shuttle construction, there were a lot of problems and people started to gossip that maybe the place was cursed. The rumors circulated that it was built on an "Indian burial ground." Now this was a convenient way to explain shoddy workmanship, bad management, and simple bad luck (weather) on the local Indians who had long ago been kicked off their land. But after several failures associated with the Athena launches at SLC-6 (two launch failures and one payload failing in orbit), some people brought in somebody to "remove the curse." This offended some of the local Chumash tribe members. I've written about this subject in several places, but I know that there's far more to the story than I am aware of.

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #110 on: 02/11/2013 07:50 PM »
Don't forget the two, three failed attempts to use the pad...

First MOL, cancelled and mothballed.
Second Shuttle, pad cancelled and mothballed.
Third(?) I believe it was seriously considered for Titan IV.
Fourth, after first successful launch, Athena was kicked out to be revamped for Delta IV.

When repeating the curse to others, I always like to throw that in. Now that an Athena and several Delta IV's have successfully flown from the pad, it's kinda losing it's campfire story spookyness.
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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #111 on: 03/21/2013 06:18 PM »
Loved it, especially the plug at the end:

I wrote the article and was about to send it to my editor when I realized that several things that I mentioned in passing probably have more detail behind them, such as the payload fairing separation issue and the events concerning the "removal of the curse" at SLC-6.* So I cut a chunk out of the article (mostly stuff on the individual launches) and sent it to TSR with the hook at the end. I'll add in my original material, anything new I get, and use some great photos that I have of the launches

Here's a tidbit related to the LLV-1. It's from my admittedly rusty memory, so don't treat it as gospel truth. Someone from the LLV program itself would have to verify for you.

But my memory is based on the work I was doing in the early 90's as a propulsion engineer at Orbital on the Transfer Orbit Stage (TOS). We, and subcontractor Lockheed Martin, were developing TOS as a low-cost upper stage. We built two vehicles, one for the Mars Observer mission and one for the ACTS/Shuttle mission. TOS used the Orbus 21 motor developed for IUS, and we were buying two of the motors from UT/CSD.

 Unfortunately, a CSD crane operator pulled the wrong lever when moving one of the loaded motor cases, and the composite case swung against a protruding bolt which gouged the case. There was a big failure investigation, and CSD did analysis that said the case was still good to fly, but our customer NASA would not accept the gouged motor for flight, even with an overwrap repair. So CSD had to give us a different (ungouged) Orbus 21, but they still had the gouged motor to unload. (This happened around 1992, I think.)

My recollection is that CSD wrapped that Orbus 21 case and sold it to Lockheed for the LLV-1 demo flight. So the first LLV-1 flew with a stage 2 motor that was originally slated for either the Mars Observer mission on Titan III, or the ACTS mission on Shuttle (I don't remember which but I suspect it was the one slated for ACTS...I seem to recall a debate about the possible effects of the motor exploding on ignition too close to the Shuttle...).

As I said, I'm not positive about how CSD disposed of the motor, but my recollection is they did pawn it off on LLV...
« Last Edit: 03/21/2013 06:41 PM by Kabloona »

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #112 on: 04/18/2013 04:36 AM »
First flight of the 2nd generation Athena set for 2015: http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/resurrected-athena-launch-vehicle-set-for-2015-flight-384614

Frankly speaking I don't think it will hold much chance of staying in the market - no way this can be cheap enough to attract any commercial customers (it has to fight against Vega, Rockot, Dnepr, PSLV, Long March 4 series, Taurus etc, not to mention the future Soyuz 2-1v/Long March 6), and US government launches are currently held by Minotaur IV/V. I am already discounting Stratolaunch et al....

At least I can give them credit for trying......  :-\
Chinese spaceflight is a cosmic riddle wrapped in a galactic mystery inside an orbital enigma... - (not) Winston Churchill

Offline quasar

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #113 on: 04/18/2013 06:46 AM »
That still leaves NASA as a potential customer.

Offline edkyle99

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #114 on: 04/18/2013 09:31 PM »
Frankly speaking I don't think it will hold much chance of staying in the market - no way this can be cheap enough to attract any commercial customers (it has to fight against Vega, Rockot, Dnepr, PSLV, Long March 4 series, Taurus etc, not to mention the future Soyuz 2-1v/Long March 6), and US government launches are currently held by Minotaur IV/V. I am already discounting Stratolaunch et al....

At least I can give them credit for trying......  :-\
During the 2010-2012 period, Rokot, PSLV, Taurus, Minotaur 1&4, Dnepr, and CZ-2D (a better Long March match for Athena 2c) performed 25 launches altogether - an average of only one launch per year per rocket.  Only one boosted a satellite not funded by governments, and that might be fairly considered pseudo-commercial since governments would be its most likely customer.

Taurus and Dnepr are likely going bye-bye, but none of these rockets really compete much against one another.  There will likely be a few government payloads for an Athena.  The key will be whether the program can survive on the almost-certain low flight rate.

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 04/18/2013 09:33 PM by edkyle99 »

Offline Blackstar

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #115 on: 04/26/2013 03:02 AM »
I was talking to the CEO of a space company that is trying to fly on Dnepr and he said that there's a fight within Russia right now over the future of that rocket. Seems that Dnepr is owned by the military, so when they fly, the money goes to the military. The companies that build other rockets are crying foul and saying that it is unfair that they are losing contracts to the government.

Does any of this sound tiresomely familiar?

On another note, I was at the Space Symposium a few weeks ago and picked up the Athena II literature at the Lockheed Martin booth. I just noticed that it has new performance graphs for the Athena IIc compared to the original Athena II. I'll have to scan and post that. Considering that I just published an article on the Athena in the current issue of Spaceflight, I'm sorta bummed that I did not have this graph before.
« Last Edit: 04/26/2013 03:31 PM by Blackstar »

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #116 on: 04/30/2013 10:42 PM »
Here is the Athena brochure with the new data.

Offline edkyle99

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #117 on: 05/03/2013 03:38 PM »
Here is the Athena brochure with the new data.
Lockheed Martin has a link to a full-up 2012 Athena Ic/IIc Mission Planners Guide on the following page.

http://www.lockheedmartin.com/us/products/athena.html

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 05/03/2013 03:38 PM by edkyle99 »

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #118 on: 05/03/2013 05:23 PM »
Here is the Athena brochure with the new data.
Lockheed Martin has a link to a full-up 2012 Athena Ic/IIc Mission Planners Guide on the following page.

http://www.lockheedmartin.com/us/products/athena.html

 - Ed Kyle
I found and reported to LM the several errors I found such as Athena still actively using and planning to fly its west coast flights out VAFB SLC-6. So I am not sure what is old and what is newly updated.

Offline edkyle99

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #119 on: 08/15/2013 02:19 PM »
Lockheed Martin Announces Cubesat payload integrators for Athena.

http://www.lockheedmartin.com/us/news/press-releases/2013/august/0814-ss-athena.html

 - Ed Kyle

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #120 on: 10/26/2013 06:12 AM »
Lockheed Martin Announces Cubesat payload integrators for Athena.

http://www.lockheedmartin.com/us/news/press-releases/2013/august/0814-ss-athena.html

 - Ed Kyle

From that
Quote
In addition, Athena RideShare missions planned for 2015 and 2016 from Kodiak Launch Complex can accommodate 24 P-PODs or a mix of 3U, 6U and 12U CubeSat containerized payloads, vastly expanding launch opportunities for these very small satellites to sun synchronous orbits.

So there are Athena launches planned in 2015 and 2016?

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #121 on: 10/26/2013 08:16 PM »

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #122 on: 10/26/2013 09:27 PM »
Everyone here are the updated 2013 PDFs for the Athena Modular Family:
Athena Rideshare (http://www.lockheedmartin.com/content/dam/lockheed/data/space/documents/athena/Athena%20RideShare.pdf)
Athena Fact Sheet (http://www.lockheedmartin.com/content/dam/lockheed/data/space/documents/athena/Athena%20Fact%20Sheet%20Review%20vers%204.pdf)
Athena User Guide (Coming Soon)
Athena Modular Family (http://www.lockheedmartin.com/content/dam/lockheed/data/space/documents/athena/Athena_Modular_Family_2013_WBG.pdf)
First official look at Athena III.  But also Athena IIcS with strap on motors.  Orion 50SXLG strap on motors no less.  Surprise!

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 10/26/2013 09:35 PM by edkyle99 »

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #123 on: 10/26/2013 11:31 PM »
First official look at Athena III.  But also Athena IIcS with strap on motors.  Orion 50SXLG strap on motors no less.  Surprise!

 - Ed Kyle

Athena IIcS is just the reincarnation of the original Athena-3 with the Castor-IVA boosters replaced with Pegasus-heritage Orion-50SXLGs.

Offline a_langwich

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #124 on: 10/27/2013 01:34 AM »

Okay, see if I'm understanding this correctly.  LM is planning to launch an Athena "Ride Share" each fall, starting in 2014, sort of like a scheduled train that leaves no matter how many people are on board?  Try to fill it with as many small payloads as possible.

Anybody willing to hazard a ball-park guess as to the costs of an Athena I, II, IIcS, or III flight?  What about a ballpark for Minotaur flights?  How many more Minotaur flights can Orbital do before the Peacekeeper motors available to them are exhausted?  ISTM that would help Athena's case.  Have Minotaurs flown out of Vandenberg?

Do Athenas jump off the pad like the Minotaurs?  The Minotaur gets out of town in a big hurry.

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #125 on: 10/27/2013 02:13 AM »
12 components arranged in 14 combinations - proof that rockets are Lego (if they are designed that way)  :D

A few thoughts/questions:

I doubt that most options will ever fly, which will be the most popular and why?

The "Ride Share" flights every autumn seem a good idea, there is no shortage of small/micro/nano sats looking for rides at present, a dedicated flight is likely to be better than hitching a ride. A flight a year means that they can keep the engineering team together performing actual flights.

The stages look like they will be pretty cheap, but integration costs are likely to be relatively high. Fixed costs look like they will be relatively low.

There is potentially lots of competition at the low end with the various air launched proposals.

At the high end Antares (and a fully reusable F9) would be potential domestic competitors. Internationally there are lots more.

Offline edkyle99

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #126 on: 10/27/2013 04:12 AM »
Athena IIcS is just the reincarnation of the original Athena-3 with the Castor-IVA boosters replaced with Pegasus-heritage Orion-50SXLGs.
Yes, but with substantially more powerful boosters to create a substantial rocket using nothing but existing motors.  Athena 2cS with six boosters would lift 4.19 tonnes to a 500 km x 28.5 deg LEO, versus a maximum of 3.6 tonnes for the originally proposed Castor 4A version.  That's more than any version of Minotaur, more than Dnepr, more than the old Titan 23G.   It is a number that bumps up close to Delta 2 and Antares capability.  It is more than CZ-2D and CZ-4B/C, rockets that handle a majority of China's launches of late.

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 10/27/2013 04:13 AM by edkyle99 »

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #127 on: 10/27/2013 02:02 PM »
Unless you do ISS, LEO means SSO. And 3 tonnes covers everything commercial, NASA and a good fraction of DoD. It's right sized as is. I simply don't see the III market. Should be awfully expensive for the limited extra performance.

Offline edkyle99

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #128 on: 10/27/2013 04:32 PM »
Unless you do ISS, LEO means SSO. And 3 tonnes covers everything commercial, NASA and a good fraction of DoD. It's right sized as is. I simply don't see the III market. Should be awfully expensive for the limited extra performance.
With the revelation about Athena 2cS, I agree about Athena 3.  Unless the Athena 3 so far revealed is only an initial stepping stone to something more capable.

I also found very interesting the little note about a new "Castor 120XL" option. 

 - Ed Kyle 

« Last Edit: 10/27/2013 05:00 PM by edkyle99 »

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #129 on: 10/27/2013 05:53 PM »
Unless you do ISS, LEO means SSO. And 3 tonnes covers everything commercial, NASA and a good fraction of DoD. It's right sized as is. I simply don't see the III market. Should be awfully expensive for the limited extra performance.
With the revelation about Athena 2cS, I agree about Athena 3.  Unless the Athena 3 so far revealed is only an initial stepping stone to something more capable.

I also found very interesting the little note about a new "Castor 120XL" option. 

 - Ed Kyle
LM has said that Athena IIcS was designed with max number of Strap-On SRMs not exceeding 8 and before Athena III came along as well as to this day these Athena IIcS Strap-On SRMs are can be of stretched lengths with a length not exceeding that of Castor-120. In other words Orion 50SXLG SRMs were available at longer lengths. I have also seen a graphic of a proposed Athena IV and V that are one and two segments longer than the Three Segment Castor  900 used by Athena III. I will find and upload graphic later.

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #130 on: 10/28/2013 03:03 PM »
Athena IIcS6 is interesting. In the middle Delta II range. I bet it'd be significantly cheaper than Athena III at low launch rates since the component masses would be much lighter.
« Last Edit: 10/28/2013 03:04 PM by Robotbeat »
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Offline edkyle99

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #131 on: 10/28/2013 03:49 PM »
Athena IIcS6 is interesting. In the middle Delta II range. I bet it'd be significantly cheaper than Athena III at low launch rates since the component masses would be much lighter.
And far cheaper to develop.  All of the Athena 2cS motors already exist while the Athena 3 first stage would have to be developed.  Presumably Athena 2cS would fly from existing pads, while Athena 3 would need new pads.  And so on.

 - Ed Kyle

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #132 on: 10/28/2013 04:29 PM »
Athena IIcS6 is interesting. In the middle Delta II range. I bet it'd be significantly cheaper than Athena III at low launch rates since the component masses would be much lighter.
And far cheaper to develop.  All of the Athena 2cS motors already exist while the Athena 3 first stage would have to be developed.  Presumably Athena 2cS would fly from existing pads, while Athena 3 would need new pads.  And so on.

 - Ed Kyle
I think Athena III could fly from LC-39, possibly. Or, I'm pretty sure it's been considered.
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Offline Lars_J

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #133 on: 10/28/2013 07:48 PM »
That "Castor 900" stage - would that be the same diameter as a shuttle SRB?

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #134 on: 10/28/2013 08:41 PM »
That "Castor 900" stage - would that be the same diameter as a shuttle SRB?
Yes design requirements for Castor 900 are taken from RSRMV programme. The Castor 900 Designation is new and is designation for three segment version of RSRMV. RSRM Specific info is listed in the latest ATK SRM Catalog

Offline edkyle99

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #135 on: 10/29/2013 11:16 PM »
That "Castor 900" stage - would that be the same diameter as a shuttle SRB?
Yes design requirements for Castor 900 are taken from RSRMV programme. The Castor 900 Designation is new and is designation for three segment version of RSRMV. RSRM Specific info is listed in the latest ATK SRM Catalog
I thought it was 2.5 segments for Athena 3.

 - Ed Kyle

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #136 on: 10/29/2013 11:40 PM »
That "Castor 900" stage - would that be the same diameter as a shuttle SRB?
Yes design requirements for Castor 900 are taken from RSRMV programme. The Castor 900 Designation is new and is designation for three segment version of RSRMV. RSRM Specific info is listed in the latest ATK SRM Catalog
I thought it was 2.5 segments for Athena 3.

 - Ed Kyle
yes indeed that is what i meant I going by some ATK document at a glance.

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #137 on: 01/29/2014 01:29 PM »
Will all vehicles have an option to fly with a star engine on top of the orbital adjust module?

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #138 on: 01/29/2014 02:53 PM »
Will all vehicles have an option to fly with a star engine on top of the orbital adjust module?
The user's guide described use of a Star 37FM fifth stage on Athena 2c for GTO and escape missions, but did not mention it for Athena 1c.  The smaller rocket would likely only be used for LEO missions.  Star 37FM weighs more than the mass that Athena 1c can lift to LEO.   

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 01/29/2014 05:20 PM by edkyle99 »

Offline fatjohn1408

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #139 on: 01/30/2014 07:58 AM »
Will all vehicles have an option to fly with a star engine on top of the orbital adjust module?
The user's guide described use of a Star 37FM fifth stage on Athena 2c for GTO and escape missions, but did not mention it for Athena 1c.  The smaller rocket would likely only be used for LEO missions.  Star 37FM weighs more than the mass that Athena 1c can lift to LEO.   

 - Ed Kyle

So all IIcS versions will have that option as well presumably. Athena III perhaps as well but also might have a more powerfull kick stage.

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #140 on: 02/03/2014 06:38 PM »
Will all vehicles have an option to fly with a star engine on top of the orbital adjust module?
The user's guide described use of a Star 37FM fifth stage on Athena 2c for GTO and escape missions, but did not mention it for Athena 1c.  The smaller rocket would likely only be used for LEO missions.  Star 37FM weighs more than the mass that Athena 1c can lift to LEO.   

 - Ed Kyle
I am told that more updated and slightly more detailed documentation from both ATK and LM to be released sometime during the first half of 2014. No release dates given beyond what i just stated have been found yet.

Offline Lurker Steve

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #141 on: 03/13/2014 11:22 PM »
Question :
The Castor 120 from ATK isn't significantly different from the PeaceKeeper / Minuteman motors that Orbital is reusing, right ? In fact, isn't Orbital replacing the old ICBM motor with a Castor 120 in the Minotaur-C rocket ?
 
So, what makes the Lockheed stack of ATK motors significantly different from the Orbital stack of ATK motors, other than the vendor-specific flight computers of course ?
 

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #142 on: 03/13/2014 11:24 PM »
Upperstages are different

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #143 on: 03/14/2014 03:31 AM »
Upperstages are different
Here's a visual comparison to illustrate.

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 03/14/2014 03:32 AM by edkyle99 »

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #144 on: 03/14/2014 12:06 PM »
Other than the Castor 120, has any other first stage been used as an upper stage?

The only ones I can think of are WAC-Corpral's launched off V-2's in the BUMPER program, and the air lighting of the Titan III/IV first stages.
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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #145 on: 03/14/2014 12:10 PM »
Vanguard/Viking
« Last Edit: 03/14/2014 12:10 PM by pippin »

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #146 on: 03/14/2014 12:11 PM »

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #147 on: 03/14/2014 12:14 PM »
Many stages used for sounding rockets have flown as first stages as well as upper stages:

e.g.:

Nike
Terrier
Castor
Sergeant
Honest John (a.k.a. Taurus)
Orion
Malemute
Deacon / Cajun / Apache
Black Brant
...

Offline pippin

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #148 on: 03/14/2014 12:15 PM »
Vanguard/Viking
No.
Ah, I see. Somehow I had thought delta was the 3rd stage, not the 2nd.

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #149 on: 03/14/2014 12:38 PM »
Upperstages are different
Here's a visual comparison to illustrate.

 - Ed Kyle

I was looking at the ATK catalog not too long ago when the Minotaur-C was announced to look at the various motor stages. The Orion 50 and the Castor 30 motors seem to put out about the same total thrust, just the burn time is about twice as long for one of the them.

It's interesting how 2 vendors are competing for the low end government launches with such similar designs.

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #150 on: 03/16/2014 01:53 PM »
I was looking at the ATK catalog not too long ago when the Minotaur-C was announced to look at the various motor stages. The Orion 50 and the Castor 30 motors seem to put out about the same total thrust, just the burn time is about twice as long for one of the them.

It's interesting how 2 vendors are competing for the low end government launches with such similar designs.
They're working from the same catalog!  The catalog - and it is really the only such catalog in the U.S. - has its origin in U.S. missile program needs.  Castor 120 was derived from the Peacekeeper missile first stage.  The Orion 50 series motors were, I believe, "inspired" by the Small ICBM program. 

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 03/16/2014 02:06 PM by edkyle99 »

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #151 on: 08/20/2014 12:59 PM »
So....is Lockheed Martin still pressing ahead with the Athena many MIRV cubesat launch next year? I have not seen any reports of a cubesat/microsat taking a seat on that flight.....  ::)
Chinese spaceflight is a cosmic riddle wrapped in a galactic mystery inside an orbital enigma... - (not) Winston Churchill

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #152 on: 08/21/2014 11:04 PM »
So....is Lockheed Martin still pressing ahead with the Athena many MIRV cubesat launch next year? I have not seen any reports of a cubesat/microsat taking a seat on that flight.....  ::)
There Investor relations site still lists a launch next year no updates at this time.

Offline Zed_Noir

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #153 on: 08/22/2014 12:38 AM »
So....is Lockheed Martin still pressing ahead with the Athena many MIRV cubesat launch next year? I have not seen any reports of a cubesat/microsat taking a seat on that flight.....  ::)
I call it a canister cubsat bus :D like a canister tank cannon round.

IIRC cubsat generally don't have active maneuvering systems.

Offline edkyle99

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #154 on: 09/05/2014 08:34 PM »
I just found this article from June, which had some updated information.  It said that the first multiple cubesat Athena would not fly until 2016 at the earliest, because Lockheed Martin was still fishing for customers and it takes up to 24 months to prepare a launch after a contract is signed.  Meanwhile, Athena 1 and 2 launches are planned for NASA and USAF, but no dates were given.  Athena 3 and the Athena 2cS variants with strap-on boosters are still not for sale, being evaluated, etc.

http://www.satellitetoday.com/launch/2014/06/12/lockheed-martin-targets-smallsats-with-athena-rockets-aims-for-12-launches-a-year/

 - Ed Kyle

Offline rusty

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #155 on: 12/13/2014 12:21 AM »
Alaska Aerospace Corp. has selected Lockheed Martin to use a renovated launch pad at the Kodiak Launch Complex for the company’s Athena 2S launch vehicle, the state-owned corporation announced Dec. 12
http://spacenews.com/alaska-aerospace-selects-lockheed-martin-for-kodiak-launches/
...
Lockheed Martin has yet to announce any customers for the Athena 2S, a version of the company’s Athena 2 solid-propellant launch vehicle that adds up to six strap-on boosters to place payloads weighing up to 3,000 kilograms into sun-synchronous orbits. The first launches from Kodiak would take place in late 2016 or early 2017, according to the company. ...

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #156 on: 12/13/2014 03:39 AM »
Alaska Aerospace Corp. has selected Lockheed Martin to use a renovated launch pad at the Kodiak Launch Complex for the company’s Athena 2S launch vehicle, the state-owned corporation announced Dec. 12
http://spacenews.com/alaska-aerospace-selects-lockheed-martin-for-kodiak-launches/
...
Lockheed Martin has yet to announce any customers for the Athena 2S, a version of the company’s Athena 2 solid-propellant launch vehicle that adds up to six strap-on boosters to place payloads weighing up to 3,000 kilograms into sun-synchronous orbits. The first launches from Kodiak would take place in late 2016 or early 2017, according to the company. ...

I wonder who will win in this OSC vs LockMart battle for the few payloads in this class against international competitors. Maybe it will be neither?  :P
Chinese spaceflight is a cosmic riddle wrapped in a galactic mystery inside an orbital enigma... - (not) Winston Churchill

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #157 on: 12/13/2014 11:35 AM »
Quote from: Galactic Penguin SST
I wonder who will win in this OSC vs LockMart battle for the few payloads in this class against international competitors. Maybe it will be neither?  :P
ATK ;) Post merger, even if Lockheed wins, Orbital will still win.
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Offline edkyle99

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #158 on: 12/14/2014 03:52 PM »
Alaska Aerospace Corp. has selected Lockheed Martin to use a renovated launch pad at the Kodiak Launch Complex for the company’s Athena 2S launch vehicle, the state-owned corporation announced Dec. 12
http://spacenews.com/alaska-aerospace-selects-lockheed-martin-for-kodiak-launches/
...
Lockheed Martin has yet to announce any customers for the Athena 2S, a version of the company’s Athena 2 solid-propellant launch vehicle that adds up to six strap-on boosters to place payloads weighing up to 3,000 kilograms into sun-synchronous orbits. The first launches from Kodiak would take place in late 2016 or early 2017, according to the company. ...
To me, this sounds like a death knell of sorts for "Athena 3", since Alaska Aerospace is taking advantage of the launch failure to make the repaired existing pad "Athena 2cS capable" rather than building the new "Athena 3" class pad it originally envisioned.   As noted, however, there are no current plans to fly Athena 2cS. 

Athena 2cS could be a potent little machine, able to lift in its most powerful form more than 3 tonnes to a 700 km sun synchronous orbit (equivalent to nearly 4.2 tonnes to a 500 km x 28.5 deg orbit from Cape Canaveral).  That's more than any Minotaur.  More than Titan 23G.  Probably more than Titan 34B.  More than any "Delta 2 Lite" (7320 and 7420 series).

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 12/14/2014 03:56 PM by edkyle99 »

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #159 on: 12/15/2014 04:14 PM »
Lockheed Martin has released this conceptual image of Athena II(c)S at the to-be-rebuilt Kodiak launch pad.  Note that the company now seems to call this simply "Athena IIS", rather than the original "Athena IIcS".
http://www.lockheedmartin.com/us/news/press-releases/2014/december/alaska-athena.html

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 12/15/2014 04:27 PM by edkyle99 »

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #160 on: 12/15/2014 11:00 PM »
Did it strike anyone else as bass-ackwards to say the launch complex has selected a launch vehicle as its launch vehicle of choice?  That seems a bit different from the usual process.

I suppose, given the target market is entirely polar orbit satellites, AAC may be a reasonable choice.  Given the millions of dollars in seed money, they may be an absolute lock.

Didn't the USAF ORS program get $20 million unasked-for again this year?  Perhaps they could put together some of that money plus pull some from other places (maybe write a few checks from the USAF "assured access" fund  ;) ) to send up an Athena.

Aren't some of the Minotaurs actually surplus motors from de-commissioned ICBMs?  Or are they now just using new-build motors to that spec?  (Can they build new motors like those, or do they have to change the propellant down to less energetic compounds?)

Anyway, it seems to me USAF has an interest in increasing the volume of missile-motor-like launches--if it can find some small, unaccounted-for payloads with all the block-buy and competed-for and now mandated-by-Congress-that-we-launch-SOMETHING going on.  As the volume of solids being used goes up, Athena and Minotaur (all of Orbital's launch vehicles actually) and Stratolaunch and even ULA solids on boosters all get better economics.  A la Vega.

Offline rusty

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #161 on: 12/15/2014 11:25 PM »
Did it strike anyone else as bass-ackwards to say the launch complex has selected a launch vehicle as its launch vehicle of choice? ...
No. If you read the article; The site is being rebuilt on insurance dime after a previous launch failure. The new design will allow, but not exclusively launch, Athena 2S (Athena 2 with up to six boosters). Kodiak will continue launching a variety of rockets with this rebuild adding Athena 2S to the list.

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #162 on: 12/20/2014 05:04 AM »
Yes Minotaur stages are surplus Minuteman II/III/Peacekeeper stages. Makeup of vehicle configuration determines which suplus stages are employed to achieve the putforth requirements outlined by the mission team.y

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #163 on: 12/28/2014 08:36 PM »
http://www.parabolicarc.com/2014/12/28/kodiak-launch-complex-upgrade-caught-spending-freeze/

Kodiak Launch Complex Upgrade Caught in Spending Freeze
by Doug Messier
on December 28, 2014, at 10:02 am

Facing a $3.5 billion budget shortfall due to the falling cost of oil, Alaska Gov. Bill Walker has ordered work stopped on a handful of major construction projects.

SNIP

The upgrades to the launch paid would accommodate Lockheed Martin’s medium-lift Athena IIS rocket.

Offline edkyle99

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #164 on: 12/29/2014 05:26 PM »
http://www.parabolicarc.com/2014/12/28/kodiak-launch-complex-upgrade-caught-spending-freeze/

Kodiak Launch Complex Upgrade Caught in Spending Freeze
by Doug Messier
on December 28, 2014, at 10:02 am

Facing a $3.5 billion budget shortfall due to the falling cost of oil, Alaska Gov. Bill Walker has ordered work stopped on a handful of major construction projects.

SNIP

The upgrades to the launch paid would accommodate Lockheed Martin’s medium-lift Athena IIS rocket.
I presume this is upgrade, rather than flat-out repair, money? 

Are both Kodiak and Wallops MARS examples of something wrong with how launch pads are "insured"?

 - Ed Kyle

Offline arachnitect

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #165 on: 12/29/2014 11:38 PM »

Are both Kodiak and Wallops MARS examples of something wrong with how launch pads are "insured"?

 - Ed Kyle

More an issue of states getting in over their heads, I say.

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #166 on: 12/30/2014 04:45 AM »
A bad year for U.S. launch pads.  There were maybe a dozen or so active or sort-of active orbital launch pads in the U.S. at the start of 2014.  Now there are ten or so, along with two wrecked sites.

If Kodiak does not rebuild, will that be the end of Athena?

 - Ed Kyle

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #167 on: 01/21/2015 07:08 PM »
Can the Athena still launch from Cape Canaveral's Launch Complex 46? An example was the Lunar Prospector in 1998 and the FORMOSAT 1 Satellite in 1999.
"Falcon 9 has landed. Landing operators, move into Procedure 11.100 on Recovery Net."

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #168 on: 01/21/2015 08:25 PM »
Can the Athena still launch from Cape Canaveral's Launch Complex 46? An example was the Lunar Prospector in 1998 and the FORMOSAT 1 Satellite in 1999.
The site is still available, though it was placed in mothball status and would need work to reenter service.  The launch stand was removed, for example.

 - Ed Kyle

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #169 on: 01/21/2015 10:00 PM »
I see. With that said, is Wallops Island LP-0B, Vandenberg SLC-8, or Vandenberg LC-576E available?

LP-0B is where the Minotaurs launched from the East Coast
SLC-8 was where the Minotaur launches began from
LC-576E was the home of the Taurus aka Minotaur-C
"Falcon 9 has landed. Landing operators, move into Procedure 11.100 on Recovery Net."

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #170 on: 01/22/2015 12:10 AM »
I see. With that said, is Wallops Island LP-0B, Vandenberg SLC-8, or Vandenberg LC-576E available?

LP-0B is where the Minotaurs launched from the East Coast
SLC-8 was where the Minotaur launches began from
LC-576E was the home of the Taurus aka Minotaur-C
To begin, I would like to emphasize that SLC 46 is not that far from being returnable to service.  The launch stand is stored nearby, for example, and the service tower is still there, but the place has been collecting dust and rust for 15 years.

Of those you listed, I would expect SLC 8 and Pad 0B to be more compatible with Athena than SLC 576E.  Athena and Minotaur (and Taurus) use mobile launch support equipment, designed from the outset to be setup and torn down.  576E used scaffolding rather than a fixed service tower, if I'm remembering correctly.  Thus 8 and 0B and 46 should all be compatible.  They all have service towers that look Athena capable.  Work required of course.  (SLC 8 hasn't seen a launch since 2011 I think.)

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 01/22/2015 12:13 AM by edkyle99 »

Offline arachnitect

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #171 on: 01/22/2015 02:46 AM »
I see. With that said, is Wallops Island LP-0B, Vandenberg SLC-8, or Vandenberg LC-576E available?

LP-0B is where the Minotaurs launched from the East Coast
SLC-8 was where the Minotaur launches began from
LC-576E was the home of the Taurus aka Minotaur-C
To begin, I would like to emphasize that SLC 46 is not that far from being returnable to service.  The launch stand is stored nearby, for example, and the service tower is still there, but the place has been collecting dust and rust for 15 years.

Of those you listed, I would expect SLC 8 and Pad 0B to be more compatible with Athena than SLC 576E.  Athena and Minotaur (and Taurus) use mobile launch support equipment, designed from the outset to be setup and torn down.  576E used scaffolding rather than a fixed service tower, if I'm remembering correctly.  Thus 8 and 0B and 46 should all be compatible.  They all have service towers that look Athena capable.  Work required of course.  (SLC 8 hasn't seen a launch since 2011 I think.)

 - Ed Kyle

Looks like people were working on it last year:
http://www.spaceflightinsider.com/space-centers/ccafs/space-florida-taps-atk-finish-slc-46-communications-systems-upgrade/

Maybe more about supporting Orion Abort test than Athena though.

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Re: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)
« Reply #172 on: 01/22/2015 01:36 PM »
You're correct: SLC-8 has not supported a launch since August 11, 2011, at 7:45:00 AM Pacific Daylight Time, when a Minotaur IV Lite launched the Hypersonic Technology Vehicle 2b on a suborbital trajectory but lost contact with controllers nine minutes after launch.
"Falcon 9 has landed. Landing operators, move into Procedure 11.100 on Recovery Net."

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