Author Topic: Athena News (Athena 3 Still Kicking)  (Read 83394 times)

Offline A_M_Swallow

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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.

Online Zed_Noir

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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 »

Offline deltaV

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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.

Offline Prober

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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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Offline Ben the Space Brit

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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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Offline Jim

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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

Offline kevin-rf

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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.

Offline Ben the Space Brit

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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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Offline kevin-rf

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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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Offline Danderman

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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.



Offline kevin-rf

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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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Offline kevin-rf

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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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