Author Topic: Blue Origin's New Glenn Payload/Capsule Speculation  (Read 18910 times)

Offline edkyle99

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Re: Blue Origin's New Glenn Payload/Capsule Speculation
« Reply #20 on: 09/14/2016 01:49 AM »
So Robert Zubrin quickly tweeted this after Blue's announcement:
[...]

So he's saying the regular 2-stage New Glenn will send 70 tons to LEO, and the 3-stage version will send just over 20 tons to Trans-Mars Injection.


And I'm not sure he takes into account the margins needed for reusability. (at least there is no mention of it) I suspect his numbers are on the optimistic side, but I haven't run any numbers myself.
Seems very optimistic to me.  ULA says the ISP of BE-4 will not quite reach RD-180 levels, which are 311 at sea level and 338 in vacuum.  Zubrin is using numbers that are much higher, so the payload will be quite a bit lower if the ULA numbers are correct - and since they are designing a rocket around the engine, surely they have realistic numbers.
I agree.  I'm guesstimating 40-45 tonnes LEO (2 stage) and up to 25 tonnes GTO (3 stage) for New Glenn, making it Falcon Heavy class.

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 09/14/2016 01:50 AM by edkyle99 »

Offline GWH

I'm guesstimating 40-45 tonnes LEO (2 stage) and up to 25 tonnes GTO (3 stage) for New Glenn, making it Falcon Heavy class.

 - Ed Kyle

Fully expendable or with booster reuse margins?

Online Robotbeat

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Re: Blue Origin's New Glenn Payload/Capsule Speculation
« Reply #22 on: 09/14/2016 03:06 AM »
The 3-stager should be able to put a Dragon or CST-100 or whatever around the Moon. Orion will need dual-launch, though.
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Offline ArbitraryConstant

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Re: Blue Origin's New Glenn Payload/Capsule Speculation
« Reply #23 on: 09/14/2016 03:20 AM »
I agree.  I'm guesstimating 40-45 tonnes LEO (2 stage) and up to 25 tonnes GTO (3 stage) for New Glenn, making it Falcon Heavy class.
I am curious what you think the 2 stage GTO number would be. Or 3 stage direct injection (assuming for the sake of argument it would have the lifetime for it).

Offline GWH

Thinking more on this I think they will go with #3.
Start flying passengers with a station module  and "transit hab" underneath to start building out a LEO station.  Of course this is a massive step up from simply flying tourists in an LEO capsule in a smaller rocket- but the potential in that market is already limited with Dragon & Starliner should anyone choose to persue those.
So a 7m module based off the New Glenn tooling, the preliminary images of Blue Origin's biconic capsule would work well with that with it's rearward docking port not requiring re-docking on orbit to access the modules when used in transit.  Allows Blue Origin to start building up LEO infrastructure immediately while paying tourists cover a portion of the launch costs and ops.

Co manifesting payloads in a cargo module underneath the capsule could also be an option with fast transits to a Blue Origin station, but here a system of in space tugs would be required (enter ULA & ACES).  And yes I think transporting propellant to LEO will be a major element of their business model.

The image attached is from Space.com - is several years old and internal configuration is speculative.  But I think would work well for the capsule/station modules.

« Last Edit: 09/14/2016 03:38 PM by GWH »

Offline mfck

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Re: Blue Origin's New Glenn Payload/Capsule Speculation
« Reply #25 on: 09/14/2016 09:39 PM »
The seats in the slide must be in reentry position, not suitable for ascent?

What are their positions for liftoff and how is the change from one position to another performed?

Online brickmack

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Re: Blue Origin's New Glenn Payload/Capsule Speculation
« Reply #26 on: 09/15/2016 12:13 AM »
The seats in the slide must be in reentry position, not suitable for ascent?

What are their positions for liftoff and how is the change from one position to another performed?

The seating arrangement graphic shown there is NOT from Blue Origin, its from a European proposal from the 90s, the "Blunt Biconic Crew Return Vehicle". It wasn't intended to ever launch manned, it would only be used as a contingency landing vehicle from the space station (and maybe cargo), so ascent seating wasn't a concern

Offline Oli

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Re: Blue Origin's New Glenn Payload/Capsule Speculation
« Reply #27 on: 09/15/2016 12:19 AM »
Orion will need dual-launch, though.

An expendable first stage should do it. I don't think New Glenn will fly often enough to justify the reuse of the first stage.

So a 7m module based off the New Glenn tooling, the preliminary images of Blue Origin's biconic capsule would work well with that with it's rearward docking port not requiring re-docking on orbit to access the modules when used in transit.  Allows Blue Origin to start building up LEO infrastructure immediately while paying tourists cover a portion of the launch costs and ops.

Developing a crewed vehicle is very expensive. Just look at what SpaceX or Boeing will spend on their reentry capsules in total.

Online Robotbeat

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Re: Blue Origin's New Glenn Payload/Capsule Speculation
« Reply #28 on: 09/15/2016 02:55 AM »
Orion will need dual-launch, though.

An expendable first stage should do it. I don't think New Glenn will fly often enough to justify the reuse of the first stage.
...
It doesn't appear that New Glenn is designed to operate expendably, but I'll take your bait:

Your comment (that New Glenn will be hungry for payloads) is the best support for my thesis that New Glenn, if it's successful, will end up competing for some of the same stuff ULA is competing for (remember ULA is hoping to do more commercial launch, too...).
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To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Offline GWH

Regarding comments on whether Blue Origin will develop a capsule, here is what is known:

1. From Blue's website:
ORBITAL SPACEFLIGHT
We’ve designed our suborbital vehicle to feed directly into our orbital program. With every suborbital launch, we’re reaching toward orbital spaceflight.

How it will work
The New Glenn family of orbital launch vehicles will carry astronauts and payloads to low-Earth orbit destinations and beyond. Similar to our suborbital vehicle, the first stage booster will separate and land back on Earth. Expendable second and third stages will propel the capsule into orbit, toward scientific research and exploration. At the completion of its flight, the capsule will reenter Earth’s atmosphere and land under parachutes, enabling reuse, improved reliability and lower cost access to space.

https://www.blueorigin.com/technology

2. Space act agreements with NASA:
https://www.nasa.gov/content/commercial-crew-program-the-essentials/#.V9vsYcup7qA

If you click the amount that Blue has been funded for in either CCDev1 or CCDev2 it opens a PDF of the contract, for brevity I've taken an excerpt out of that starting at the appendices focusing on the summary and milestones (attached).

In summary the CCDev1 contract focused on Blue Origin's conceptual follow up to their Sub-Orbital New Shepard system with a composite biconic capsule with a solid motor pusher escape system initially launching on an Atlas 402.  Funded milestones were for the escape system motor and composite crew cabin.

The CCDev2 contract makes specific mention of Blue transitioning to their own reusable booster after initially flying on an Atlas V.  Mention of a land landing of the capsule is made in this contract.  Further development on the biconic capsule through aerodynamic analysis, testing of the pusher escape motor, and development work on the BE-3 was all part of the contract.  .


Now obviously that leaves a huge gap between then (2011) and now, I haven't tried to find if three is more recent information coming form NASA.  Just on the launch vehicle alone like the one I posted earlier in the thread look like what would expect a 5xBE-3 booster to look like, and then initial rumors coming from ULA suggested BO was working on a 1xBE-4 booster.  Some major changes on their capsule program could be very possible.

Is anyone aware of more recent info that might give some clues as to what they are working on?

Also I'm really unsure how a single centrally mounted pusher escape motor like the one shown by BO for their upcoming test would work with a rear docking capsule. 
« Last Edit: 09/16/2016 02:51 PM by GWH »

Offline Kryten

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Re: Blue Origin's New Glenn Payload/Capsule Speculation
« Reply #30 on: 09/16/2016 03:35 PM »
 There's some info in the launch site application docs (attached); it's pretty sparse, but we can assume it's up-to-date. Launch of the capsule (referred to as the Space Vehicle or SV) is the primary purpose of New Glenn with sat launch a secondary concern; the SV is intended to carry 'participants and/or crew' the SV is intended to land somewhere in Texas via parachute; and the SV is to be refurbished at the same CCAFS complex used for New Glenn launch and booster refurbishment.

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: Blue Origin's New Glenn Payload/Capsule Speculation
« Reply #31 on: 09/16/2016 04:10 PM »
The capsule maybe using a service module like Starliner which also provides LAS. With tunnel in service module the hatch could still be used to access something like a cygnus module.

Alternatively there are a ring of solid or liquid motors inside capsule mounted around hatch. I think this might be better option as there is no expendable service module. Blue is all about reusability to reduce operational costs.

For extended missions ( days), having access to extra accommodation like a Cygnus module would make capsule more versatile. In case of LEO station visits the extra module would carry consumables on way up and rubbish on way down to be burnt up on reentry.
With capsule providing all propulsion and lifesupport , this extra module would be not much more than low cost tin can.

In case BLEO missions an additional propulsion/ service module could be added to Cygnus type module. Giving more DV and life support endurance + redundancy.

Blue has hinted at lunar missions so any capsule they design will need to support crew for typically a week in cislunar space.


« Last Edit: 09/16/2016 04:14 PM by TrevorMonty »

Offline oldAtlas_Eguy

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Re: Blue Origin's New Glenn Payload/Capsule Speculation
« Reply #32 on: 09/16/2016 10:59 PM »
Capsule scaling is interesting.

If you can get 7 people in a capsule that has a 3.66m diameter then enlarge it to 7m while maintaining all aspects the volume for the passengers increases by a factor of 7 such that you could actually house 49 people in that capsule. But here are the caveats:
Although the structural weight of the vehicle increases by only the square of the diameter increase such that a 6mt 3.66m diameter capsule structure would be a 22mt structural weight for a 7m diameter vehicle, the weight added per passenger does not change. This is an estimated .56mt per passenger for the passenger+equipment+supplies. So on a 40mt max payload limited flight the number of passengers is only 32.
This then gives a range of the number of passengers a larger 7m capsule on a NG of 30<[Number of passengers]<49.

Next is what is the cost of a NG and capsule per flight.
Based on the $9M per BE-4 engine price:
- a derived 1st stage manufacture cost of $126M
- a derived second stage manufacture cost of $18M
- a 1st stage refurbishment /flight cost of $10M
- all other launch costs of $20M
- a life of 25 flights
- a profit margin of 20%
Yields a $64M/flight price.

Actually more appropriate would be to express this in a range from this best case to the worse case:
$64M<Flight Price<$100M (As a pure expendable it would be $200M/flight). Interestingly the cost of manufacture of the 1st stage is not the dominating costs for the flight costs but the refurbishment cost. A less expensive to manufacture 1st stage would not effect much change in the per flight price.

This range yields a range of the per seat price to LEO of $1.3M<seat price<$3.4M. But now you must add the costs associated with the capsule. Estimate of manufacture cost of the 7m capsule comes out to 4 times that of the smaller capsule again a function primarily of weight. Making the cost of $200M to $300M. If each is reused 10 times and costs $20M to refurbish between flights this increases the seat price by $.8M to $1.7M giving a final seat price range of $2.1M to $5.1M.

From a business case such a larger capsule to gain a 10x cheaper seat price is in line with BO goals. So this is a viable business case for tourism to LEO vs the >$20M /seat of the CC program.

But that is not the end. The smaller 7 person size capsule very similar to the CC designs but made as a BEO vehicle would be a good starting point for the 3 stage NG. But the per seat price on such flights would be at best about $20M and worse case possible >$50M.

It is a mater of market. The number of customers increase more rapidly than the decrease in price. Such that for every 1 BEO flight of 7 passengers there could be 2 or 3 LEO flights of 30 to 40 passengers.

The remaining item of consideration for the sizing of a larger capsule is that if you make it the correct size that it is a LEO craft on a NG but can be a BEO craft on a NA the advantages is saved engineering development costs is tremendous.



Offline Ludus

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Re: Blue Origin's New Glenn Payload/Capsule Speculation
« Reply #33 on: 09/17/2016 04:01 PM »
Capsule scaling is interesting.

If you can get 7 people in a capsule that has a 3.66m diameter then enlarge it to 7m while maintaining all aspects the volume for the passengers increases by a factor of 7 such that you could actually house 49 people in that capsule. But here are the caveats:
Although the structural weight of the vehicle increases by only the square of the diameter increase such that a 6mt 3.66m diameter capsule structure would be a 22mt structural weight for a 7m diameter vehicle, the weight added per passenger does not change. This is an estimated .56mt per passenger for the passenger+equipment+supplies. So on a 40mt max payload limited flight the number of passengers is only 32.
This then gives a range of the number of passengers a larger 7m capsule on a NG of 30<[Number of passengers]<49.

Next is what is the cost of a NG and capsule per flight.
Based on the $9M per BE-4 engine price:
- a derived 1st stage manufacture cost of $126M
- a derived second stage manufacture cost of $18M
- a 1st stage refurbishment /flight cost of $10M
- all other launch costs of $20M
- a life of 25 flights
- a profit margin of 20%
Yields a $64M/flight price.

Actually more appropriate would be to express this in a range from this best case to the worse case:
$64M<Flight Price<$100M (As a pure expendable it would be $200M/flight). Interestingly the cost of manufacture of the 1st stage is not the dominating costs for the flight costs but the refurbishment cost. A less expensive to manufacture 1st stage would not effect much change in the per flight price.

This range yields a range of the per seat price to LEO of $1.3M<seat price<$3.4M. But now you must add the costs associated with the capsule. Estimate of manufacture cost of the 7m capsule comes out to 4 times that of the smaller capsule again a function primarily of weight. Making the cost of $200M to $300M. If each is reused 10 times and costs $20M to refurbish between flights this increases the seat price by $.8M to $1.7M giving a final seat price range of $2.1M to $5.1M.

From a business case such a larger capsule to gain a 10x cheaper seat price is in line with BO goals. So this is a viable business case for tourism to LEO vs the >$20M /seat of the CC program.

But that is not the end. The smaller 7 person size capsule very similar to the CC designs but made as a BEO vehicle would be a good starting point for the 3 stage NG. But the per seat price on such flights would be at best about $20M and worse case possible >$50M.

It is a mater of market. The number of customers increase more rapidly than the decrease in price. Such that for every 1 BEO flight of 7 passengers there could be 2 or 3 LEO flights of 30 to 40 passengers.

The remaining item of consideration for the sizing of a larger capsule is that if you make it the correct size that it is a LEO craft on a NG but can be a BEO craft on a NA the advantages is saved engineering development costs is tremendous.

The few space tourists on Soyuz were paying on the order of $20M so your estimates are an order of magnitude lower price. That ought to break into more demand if it exists. The only "Minimum Viable Product" test was Virgin Galactic taking several hundred reservations for flights that are another order of magnitude cheaper around $200k and they never tested how firm they were. I don't think it's clear there is much of a market for SpaceTourism at a couple million dollars a ticket. There isn't really any precedent for selling experiences at that price. Your analysis sets up the challenge. Could you sell 30-40 tickets? If you could, how long before you could do it again? I'm kinda skeptical that there is any sustained market for space tourism at the necessary price point.

Offline oldAtlas_Eguy

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Re: Blue Origin's New Glenn Payload/Capsule Speculation
« Reply #34 on: 09/17/2016 05:18 PM »
There is another customer (the US government) that if the number of people and amount of cargo is expanded by a factor of 7 but at the same price as current then a spending of $3B/yr would support a continuous LEO presence of 30 people (2 30(person) CC flights and 4 (10.5mt of supllies) CRS flights per year. That is half of NG's launch rate capability right there.

A follow on commercial LEO station could have 30 government employees in the NG price point scenario. How many other of other nations and corporations even doing Manufacturing-In-Space would there be as well. Enough to keep NG  booked and a competitor as well? A LEO station presence of 100+ persons in the mid to late 2020's? The tourist market may be only a portion of this market at only 30-60 passengers/yr vs the gov/corporate of 120 passengers/yr.

This scenario does not require more spending as now but the same spending from all sources but expanded by  a factor of 10 number of persons from the current 6 to a total of 60 because the price/costs of operations dropped by a factor of 10.

Offline leaflion

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Re: Blue Origin's New Glenn Payload/Capsule Speculation
« Reply #35 on: 09/17/2016 06:13 PM »
A reduction in the cost of human access to space would be revolutionary.  It goes right in line with Blue's stated goals too.

Imagine if New Armstrong is another order of magnitude cheaper than New Glenn!  That starts to become accessible to regular people if they're willing to save up most of they're lives.

Offline oldAtlas_Eguy

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Re: Blue Origin's New Glenn Payload/Capsule Speculation
« Reply #36 on: 09/17/2016 06:33 PM »
A reduction in the cost of human access to space would be revolutionary.  It goes right in line with Blue's stated goals too.

Imagine if New Armstrong is another order of magnitude cheaper than New Glenn!  That starts to become accessible to regular people if they're willing to save up most of they're lives.
As far as the price point for 1yr/person on orbit of LEO current is at $1B dropping to $100M using NG. The use of NA could set the price point for L2  or Lunar surface 1yr/person to <$200M. Remember there is another $3B US budget line for BEO operations as well which could support continuous occupation in BEO of 15 persons at that price point (5 at L2 and 10 on the Lunar surface).

Actually when looked at the nominal stay/rotation of crew time of 6 months the price point is current at $500M and would drop using NG to $50M and for L2 or Lunar surface at ~$100M. How many contries and corporations even could supoort continuous presence at these locations for these prices. Also remember that with the competitor of SpaceX MCT that a second system that is capable of nearly identical services for near identical prices meets the 2 provider viable sustainment rule.

Another look at L2 and Lunar surface is that the NG could support with SpaceX FH the two provider sustainment rule a presence at L2 and Lunar surface. The price point for this would be close to the current LEO of $500M/person for 6 months. Or in other words a continuous presence BEO of 3 people by NASA by mid 2020s. Once MCT and NA start providing BEO services the BEO continuous presence could increase to 15 without an increase of the budget.

Added: Looking at USG as a revenue stream:
BO
     NG to LEO              $800M
            Cargo services $500M
            Crew services  $300M

     NA to BEO              $800M
            Cargo services $500M
            Crew services  $300M
    Total from USG     $1,600M/yr
    Profit at 20%           $320M/yr

SpaceX
     MCT to LEO            $800M
            Cargo services $500M
            Crew services  $300M

     MCT to BEO            $800M
            Cargo services $500M
            Crew services  $300M
    Total from USG     $1,600M/yr
    Profit at 20%          $320M/yr
« Last Edit: 09/17/2016 07:02 PM by oldAtlas_Eguy »

Offline Ludus

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Re: Blue Origin's New Glenn Payload/Capsule Speculation
« Reply #37 on: 09/17/2016 06:59 PM »
I agree there might be a market for those numbers of people in orbit supported by governments, institutions  and corporations. A few million isn't that bad a price to send a researcher up with an experiment. Even before there is a killer app for space manufacturing, that kind of price would encourage a lot of effort to look for it.

Trying to usefully automate experiments is more expensive than sending a human along at those ticket prices.

Offline Ludus

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Re: Blue Origin's New Glenn Payload/Capsule Speculation
« Reply #38 on: 09/17/2016 07:04 PM »
Another selling point occurred to me for space tourism. At first the passenger list would be a who's who of rich tech and investment folk. How much is it worth to have a several day bonding experience with people you'd otherwise kill to get an elevator pitch to? It would be worth it to some people just to hang out with the other tourists.

Offline oldAtlas_Eguy

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Re: Blue Origin's New Glenn Payload/Capsule Speculation
« Reply #39 on: 09/17/2016 07:19 PM »
Yes as a revenue and profit source NASA HSF support for an expanded human presence (10x) BO could be cash positive with NG operations. Then add a few additional flights of support for other countries an a 1 or 2 flights of sat deployment and BO's profit from NG operations could easily reach $500M/yr without creation of new large tourist market. A factor of 10 increase HSF presence in orbit does equate to a 10x increase in science experiments, prototype equipment testing, and manufacturing-in-space. At the moment these are very small but could become the major drivers for additional rapid expansion.

The free market usually will expand to the reasonable level of availability to the point just before where additional expansion causes prices to increase. In the space markets this is a mostly a decreasing cost going from the initial to a 10x expansion but also mostly increase after that making an optimal price point until a new service comes along to change the optimal price point.

The problem is that the HSF market is not operating as a free market yet. CC and CRS will start it but it also needs other in-space infrastructure. Once all elements have a commercial footing the free-market dynamics will start driving expansion or contraction. We hope it will be a rapid expansion. SpaceX and BO does as well.

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