Author Topic: DARPA Experimental Spaceplane 1 (XS-1) Program  (Read 213672 times)

Offline john smith 19

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Re: DARPA Experimental Spaceplane 1 (XS-1) Program
« Reply #540 on: 07/17/2016 05:41 AM »

But smallsats mean that a relatively small LV can now deploy a LEO constellation in one launch to deliver continuing capability over that area as they rise and set over the regions local horizon, as well as all areas along their orbital track.

No I would not say this is a cost effective solution long term but that's not the point. The goal is quick response to sudden threats which can be resolved and the space assets left to reenter when their job is done.
IIRC when Orbital deployed their 1st generation Orbcomm satellites they launched 8 at a time on 1 Pegasus and relied on orbital drift and some thruster firings to spread them into an orbital ring on one launch.

Not perfect, but fairly quick and not long term stable (although it's lasted pretty well) but good enough to get the job done and part of why Orbcomm is still in business.

No, it can't deploy a constellation.  As I said, just a few spacecraft that will have their first pass of the site.  A constellation requires multiple launches
« Last Edit: 07/17/2016 05:43 AM by john smith 19 »
"Solids are a branch of fireworks, not rocketry. :-) :-) ", Henry Spencer 1/28/11  Averse to bold? You must be in marketing."It's all in the sequencing" K. Mattingly.  STS-Keeping most of the stakeholders happy most of the time.

Offline jongoff

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Re: DARPA Experimental Spaceplane 1 (XS-1) Program
« Reply #541 on: 07/17/2016 06:51 AM »
10 flights in 10 days seem like someone has been reading from Elon's playbook.
You have that backward. Sponable was Project Manager for the DC-X project that demonstrated 2 flights in 26 hours for a M3 capable LH2 fueled vehicle 25 years ago.

As someone on aRocket pointed out. Apparently they actually had the vehicle ready to fly in only 8hrs once, but the White Sands range personnel didn't want to stick around past the end of their formal shift, so they made them come back and fly again the next day.

~Jon

Offline jongoff

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Re: DARPA Experimental Spaceplane 1 (XS-1) Program
« Reply #542 on: 07/17/2016 06:57 AM »

To expound: DARPA is a military think tank. 200 geniuses in an office building doing nothing but thinking of how to win the next big war.

Urban myth.  That is not what DARPA is.  DARPA employees are not doers, they are funders and project managers.  They have other groups do the work.

I actually think both of you have an element of the truth. DARPA tends to select program managers who have a vision that they've pitched to DARPA leadership. Sure, they then work through the mechanism of creating a solicitation and funding companies to do the actual implementation, but having been involved in DARPA Phoenix, I'd say that DARPA PMs still have a lot of influence on the ideas that get tried out in a given program.

~Jon

Offline jongoff

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Re: DARPA Experimental Spaceplane 1 (XS-1) Program
« Reply #543 on: 07/17/2016 07:03 AM »
Great NSF article.  However I'm still scratching my head over this DARPA effort.

Yes, reusable launch systems are good things to pursue, but it really does seem like they are ignoring current events.  For instance, wouldn't it make sense to focus on current technologies to see how far they can go?

I guess what bothers me is that DARPA is being overly specific about what they want, such as the 10 launches in 10 days, and to me fake requirements breed capabilities that don't match reality - which means the systems could end up being unsustainable (i.e. why not 5 in 10 days, or??).  Not unlike the Shuttle, which was supposedly designed for high reusability, yet there wasn't a need for it's full capabilities.

It just seems like DARPA has skipped too far ahead of this issue, and is missing out on surveying WHAT IS POSSIBLE using the technologies that have far less risk.  Especially since they point out that this effort has a TRL of 5, and the X-33 program, which was very challenging, had a TRL of 3.  Plus they don't have much money, which further muddies things.  I think their risk/reward ratio is not right.

As an example, what if instead of focusing on an SSTO that has a low payload capability, that they focused on using existing reusable stage technology, and added a reusable upper stage?  Which is essentially what Elon Musk had originally hoped he could do with the Falcon family, but I think they found such a capability was a lower priority than the various other efforts they were working.

Any who, still watching this with a curious eye...

Ron,

The point of the 10 in 10 requirement is that DARPA wants to push highly reusable first stage technology. Both because a) they feel most of the pieces for first stage technology are mature enough to do XS-1 more as an integration demonstration than as a technology development project, and b) they feel that most of the current reusability efforts, while laudable and definitely pushing the envelope compared to the status quo, are not pushing the envelope far enough. When I went to the Industry Day, Jess explained that the 10 in 10 requirement was because that would force you to build a vehicle meant for high flight rate and low maintenance between flights. If he only asked for say two flights in two days or two flights in a week, you might be able to fake things by just cutting corners, without really developing a vehicle capable of the flight rates they're interested in. But if you really can do 10 flights in 10 days, that means you have something rock solid.

~Jon

Offline john smith 19

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Re: DARPA Experimental Spaceplane 1 (XS-1) Program
« Reply #544 on: 07/18/2016 07:01 PM »
10 flights in 10 days seem like someone has been reading from Elon's playbook.
You have that backward. Sponable was Project Manager for the DC-X project that demonstrated 2 flights in 26 hours for a M3 capable LH2 fueled vehicle 25 years ago.

As someone on aRocket pointed out. Apparently they actually had the vehicle ready to fly in only 8hrs once, but the White Sands range personnel didn't want to stick around past the end of their formal shift, so they made them come back and fly again the next day.

~Jon
This is something that really deserves to be better known. The folklore around LH2 is that it's very maintenance heavy, based on the record of the SSME but this has a lot to do with the staged combustion cycle using the partially combusted propellant to drive the turbines directly.

Avoiding staged combustion, or separating the heating from the turbine driving (like SABRE) radically changes support. issues.
"Solids are a branch of fireworks, not rocketry. :-) :-) ", Henry Spencer 1/28/11  Averse to bold? You must be in marketing."It's all in the sequencing" K. Mattingly.  STS-Keeping most of the stakeholders happy most of the time.

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: DARPA Experimental Spaceplane 1 (XS-1) Program
« Reply #545 on: 07/19/2016 01:15 AM »
It would be nice to see New Sheppard do a 24hr turnaround. Would give the Boeing/Blue XS1 proposal extra bonus points.

Offline strangequark

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Re: DARPA Experimental Spaceplane 1 (XS-1) Program
« Reply #546 on: 07/19/2016 01:28 PM »

This is something that really deserves to be better known. The folklore around LH2 is that it's very maintenance heavy, based on the record of the SSME but this has a lot to do with the staged combustion cycle using the partially combusted propellant to drive the turbines directly.

Avoiding staged combustion, or separating the heating from the turbine driving (like SABRE) radically changes support. issues.

You're not wrong, wrt using combustion products directly as turbine drive gas. Aside from thermal effects, combustion products make for some fun failure modes, even with hydrolox (you have water vapor running through the same machine as cryogens). I will say, however, that a helium HEX loop, or any large use of helium, does negatively affect operability. It's a really nice coolant, but damn does it leak. Of course, so does hydrogen...through single crystal metal.

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: DARPA Experimental Spaceplane 1 (XS-1) Program
« Reply #547 on: 07/19/2016 09:05 PM »
Yeah, the "10 in 10" requirement seems like a good idea because otherwise you'd just be repeating what SpaceX/BlueOrigin/STS have already done (or are likely to do soon). The rapid reusability needs to be rapid, I don't think that requiring the actual demonstration of rapid reuse is at all some arbitrary requirement.
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Offline RDoc

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Re: DARPA Experimental Spaceplane 1 (XS-1) Program
« Reply #548 on: 07/19/2016 10:04 PM »
What I don't see at all is how the funding for this would work. DARPA says they don't have enough money and expect the vendor to partially fund the system, however, is that at all realistic? What non-military use case gets you to a requirement for 10 in 10, or anything like it?

Is DARPA going to hold out some future, currently secret, procurement as a carrot? That sounds pretty illegal to me, but I'm no expert. Failing that, if there isn't a very clear market for such a launch system, why would any company sink a non-trivial amount of their own development money into it?

This all sounds like it's related to the Launch Cost Elasticity discussion, except that AFAICS the rapid turn around isn't even a nice to have requirement.

Offline john smith 19

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Re: DARPA Experimental Spaceplane 1 (XS-1) Program
« Reply #549 on: 07/19/2016 11:17 PM »

You're not wrong, wrt using combustion products directly as turbine drive gas. Aside from thermal effects, combustion products make for some fun failure modes, even with hydrolox (you have water vapor running through the same machine as cryogens). I will say, however, that a helium HEX loop, or any large use of helium, does negatively affect operability. It's a really nice coolant, but damn does it leak. Of course, so does hydrogen...through single crystal metal.
Indeed, with Kerelox the "combustion products" are relatively benign reducing or inert gases, CO2 with some water and partially burned hydrocarbons. Nothing too nasty for metal alloys.

But with H2/O2 the "combustion products (from an SC cycle) are basically Hot H2 and superheated steam.

Both are pretty nasty to metal alloys but each multiplies  the effect of the other.

Helium is difficult to seal but is still larger than Hydrogen so more easy to stop it diffusing. It's also much less chemically reactive.  Decoupling the heating from the rotating machinery drive process pays big dividends in this area.

This all sounds like it's related to the Launch Cost Elasticity discussion, except that AFAICS the rapid turn around isn't even a nice to have requirement.
It is, but consider this.

If you can really pull this off then you can keep a vehicle ready to launch payload within 1 day.

That is launch on demand, not launch-on-whenever-the-launch-services-company-has-a-gap-in-its-schedule.

As a services that is quite attractive.
"Solids are a branch of fireworks, not rocketry. :-) :-) ", Henry Spencer 1/28/11  Averse to bold? You must be in marketing."It's all in the sequencing" K. Mattingly.  STS-Keeping most of the stakeholders happy most of the time.

Offline RDoc

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Re: DARPA Experimental Spaceplane 1 (XS-1) Program
« Reply #550 on: 07/20/2016 03:55 AM »
<snip>

That is launch on demand, not launch-on-whenever-the-launch-services-company-has-a-gap-in-its-schedule.

As a services that is quite attractive.
Quite attractive to whom? I find it very hard to imagine any customer with the possible exception of the military (or NSF etc.) who would have any interest in such a capability.

While this might be something the government could see a need for, it's equally something that likely (hopefully) would never be used. That doesn't sound like a good basis for a company to invest a lot of money to build a system for.

It seems to me analogous to a company spending a lot of its own money on designing Minuteman silos.
« Last Edit: 07/20/2016 02:18 PM by RDoc »

Offline john smith 19

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Re: DARPA Experimental Spaceplane 1 (XS-1) Program
« Reply #551 on: 07/21/2016 06:46 AM »
Quite attractive to whom? I find it very hard to imagine any customer with the possible exception of the military (or NSF etc.) who would have any interest in such a capability.
Please note who is funding this programme.
Quote
While this might be something the government could see a need for, it's equally something that likely (hopefully) would never be used.
No, that would be intercontinental nuclear weapons delivery.  All other tasks, from upgrading sensing or comms capability to "prompt global strike" are tasks the US military (and the armed forces of any country that regularly operates outside it's borders) would like.
Quote
That doesn't sound like a good basis for a company to invest a lot of money to build a system for.

It seems to me analogous to a company spending a lot of its own money on designing Minuteman silos.
That suggests you've spent too long thinking the ELV mindset.

No other transport medium requires you to book a  ticket for a chance to take a trip (given the roughly 1 in 50 failure rate) years in advance of the date of travel.

No other medium stops you from owning the means of transport.  No one buys a rocket, they buy a chance put their payload on a rocket.

« Last Edit: 07/24/2016 08:16 PM by john smith 19 »
"Solids are a branch of fireworks, not rocketry. :-) :-) ", Henry Spencer 1/28/11  Averse to bold? You must be in marketing."It's all in the sequencing" K. Mattingly.  STS-Keeping most of the stakeholders happy most of the time.

Offline PurduesUSAFguy

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Re: DARPA Experimental Spaceplane 1 (XS-1) Program
« Reply #552 on: 08/09/2016 05:34 PM »
Anyone want to make educated guesses on who takes the Phase II contract?

I personally hope Masten wins it, but I think Northrop Grumman taking it is almost a given at this juncture. I think Boeing is unlikely to win since they were publicly uncomfortable with the internal contributions and I think they still have egg on their face in DARPA's eyes from the ALASA debacle.

Offline Jim

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Re: DARPA Experimental Spaceplane 1 (XS-1) Program
« Reply #553 on: 08/09/2016 06:32 PM »

That suggests you've spent too long thinking the ELV mindset.

No other transport medium requires you to book a  ticket for a chance to take a trip (given the roughly 1 in 50 failure rate) years in advance of the date of travel.

No other medium stops you from owning the means of transport.  No one buys a rocket, they buy a chance put their payload on a rocket.


There is no such thing as an ELV mindset.  The issue is those whole think there is an ELV mindset but really don't understand the space launch business.  They keep making non relevant analogies to other mediums.
« Last Edit: 08/09/2016 06:36 PM by Jim »

Offline jongoff

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Re: DARPA Experimental Spaceplane 1 (XS-1) Program
« Reply #554 on: 08/09/2016 09:17 PM »
Anyone want to make educated guesses on who takes the Phase II contract?

I personally hope Masten wins it, but I think Northrop Grumman taking it is almost a given at this juncture. I think Boeing is unlikely to win since they were publicly uncomfortable with the internal contributions and I think they still have egg on their face in DARPA's eyes from the ALASA debacle.

Yeah, I don't give Boeing good odds. Even NG might have issues with the cost share requirement. Masten's biggest challenge would be showing a credible path to raising the required money though. It would be awesome if Masten won it though--I think they've got the best design concept, and I'm also biased since I still own a tiny chunk of the company...

~Jon

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: DARPA Experimental Spaceplane 1 (XS-1) Program
« Reply #555 on: 08/10/2016 12:22 AM »
For technical capability Boeing/Blue would be best assuming they are using BE3. BE3 and its system are flight proven and

Next would be NG, the engine Newton3 has complete test fires but still not flight ready. NG has proven they can do unmanned HL vehicle.

Masten still has way to go with their 60klb engine and flyback booster with high reentry speeds is big jump from their suborbital vehicles. I think can do it but it may take considerably longer than expected.


Offline Elmar Moelzer

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Re: DARPA Experimental Spaceplane 1 (XS-1) Program
« Reply #556 on: 10/04/2016 01:13 AM »
http://defensenews-alert.blogspot.com/2016/09/vector-space-systems-awarded-25m-in.html
Quote
The contract, proposed through Vector's acquired Garvey Spacecraft Corporation subsidiary, complements an earlier SBIR award from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) that addresses the use of the Vector-R first stage as a second stage for the XS-1 Experimental Spaceplane.

Seems to be the only XS-1 related news lately. Anyone got something better?

Offline Danderman

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Re: DARPA Experimental Spaceplane 1 (XS-1) Program
« Reply #557 on: 10/04/2016 03:15 AM »
http://defensenews-alert.blogspot.com/2016/09/vector-space-systems-awarded-25m-in.html
Quote
The contract, proposed through Vector's acquired Garvey Spacecraft Corporation subsidiary, complements an earlier SBIR award from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) that addresses the use of the Vector-R first stage as a second stage for the XS-1 Experimental Spaceplane.

Seems to be the only XS-1 related news lately. Anyone got something better?

Wait, someone bought Garvey Space Corporation?  :O



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Offline john smith 19

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"Solids are a branch of fireworks, not rocketry. :-) :-) ", Henry Spencer 1/28/11  Averse to bold? You must be in marketing."It's all in the sequencing" K. Mattingly.  STS-Keeping most of the stakeholders happy most of the time.

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