Author Topic: Air Force reveals plan for up to 48 launches per year from Cape Canaveral  (Read 10478 times)


Offline Steve D

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The comment that caught my attention the most was the addition of the AFTS would eliminate 96 people.

“So we came down 96 people that don’t have to be sitting on console.  And the cost to the customer is cut in half.  "

Why did it take 96 people to do the flight termination? What did all 96 of them do?
Steve

Offline Paul Smith

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Great article. Launch coverage here is going to be crazy if they get up to 48 launches!

Offline Jim

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The comment that caught my attention the most was the addition of the AFTS would eliminate 96 people.

“So we came down 96 people that don’t have to be sitting on console.  And the cost to the customer is cut in half.  "

Why did it take 96 people to do the flight termination? What did all 96 of them do?
Steve

Comm, radar, transmitter, receiver, backup power generation, software, tracking cameras, console maintenance, etc  They would be located at the MOCC, JDMTA, Antigua, Cape command  antenna site, camera sites, etc

Offline M.E.T.

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Interesting. But is that really such an ambitious goal?

If SpaceX alone is aiming for 20 or so flights from the Cape this year, and upping that to 30+  the year thereafter (without Boca Chica being online yet), surely a 48 launch limit means that either SpaceX or some of the other launch providers will not be accommodated in any given year.

Offline Hauerg

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The comment that caught my attention the most was the addition of the AFTS would eliminate 96 people.

“So we came down 96 people that don’t have to be sitting on console.  And the cost to the customer is cut in half.  "

Why did it take 96 people to do the flight termination? What did all 96 of them do?
Steve

Comm, radar, transmitter, receiver, backup power generation, software, tracking cameras, console maintenance, etc  They would be located at the MOCC, JDMTA, Antigua, Cape command  antenna site, camera sites, etc

Wow!
Just shows how not any idea of reality I had.  :o

Offline mme

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Looks like we could be in for some exciting times.
Quote
“When pad 40 is up and operating, [it will] give us the capability of launching a Falcon from both pad 39A and pad 40 on the same day,” stated the Brig. Gen.
Space is not Highlander.  There can, and will, be more than one.

Offline M.E.T.

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Looks like we could be in for some exciting times.
Quote
“When pad 40 is up and operating, [it will] give us the capability of launching a Falcon from both pad 39A and pad 40 on the same day,” stated the Brig. Gen.

This is kind of what I'm wondering about. If SpaceX gets the launch cadence down to two weeks turnaround time per pad, that means basically 4 launches a month from 39A and 40 combined. That's 48 launches just from SpaceX.

So I'm wondering if 48 is just an intermediate target, which can be increased as demand increases, or is it some kind of hard limit?

Offline blasphemer

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Awesome news! High launch rate is crucial for lower launch costs.

Offline Lee Jay

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Comm, radar, transmitter, receiver, backup power generation, software, tracking cameras, console maintenance, etc  They would be located at the MOCC, JDMTA, Antigua, Cape command  antenna site, camera sites, etc

How would AFTS eliminate tracking cameras?  I thought those were diagnostic.

Offline ChrisGebhardt

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Comm, radar, transmitter, receiver, backup power generation, software, tracking cameras, console maintenance, etc  They would be located at the MOCC, JDMTA, Antigua, Cape command  antenna site, camera sites, etc

How would AFTS eliminate tracking cameras?  I thought those were diagnostic.

Unless I'm mistaken, tracking cameras for diagnostic was really just a Shuttle thing.  They're not needed in that way for Atlas V, Delta IV, and Falcon 9.
« Last Edit: 03/20/2017 05:50 PM by ChrisGebhardt »

Offline Kansan52

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Congratulations to the Air Force team!

Online Barrie

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Looks like we could be in for some exciting times.
Quote
“When pad 40 is up and operating, [it will] give us the capability of launching a Falcon from both pad 39A and pad 40 on the same day,” stated the Brig. Gen.

This is kind of what I'm wondering about. If SpaceX gets the launch cadence down to two weeks turnaround time per pad, that means basically 4 launches a month from 39A and 40 combined. That's 48 launches just from SpaceX.

So I'm wondering if 48 is just an intermediate target, which can be increased as demand increases, or is it some kind of hard limit?

It's got me wondering if the launch rate could be increased further if there was more standardisation between launch vehicles.

Offline Jim

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How would AFTS eliminate tracking cameras?  I thought those were diagnostic.

Maybe not now, but originally radars couldn't see the vehicle until it was above the ground clutter.  Back in the day, there were observers looking through a wire screens to make sure the rocket didn't go outside of the limits.  It was later replaced with cameras with overlays on the monitor screen.


GPS Metric tracking probably eliminated this.

Offline Jim

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Unless I'm mistaken, tracking cameras for diagnostic was really just a Shuttle thing.  They're not needed in that way for Atlas V, Delta IV, and Falcon 9.

The others still have tracking for diagnostics, just not the level of shuttle.  Spacex even does some of its own.

Offline Jim

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It's got me wondering if the launch rate could be increased further if there was more standardisation between launch vehicles.

What kind of standardization?

Offline whitelancer64

How would AFTS eliminate tracking cameras?  I thought those were diagnostic.

Maybe not now, but originally radars couldn't see the vehicle until it was above the ground clutter.  Back in the day, there were observers looking through a wire screens to make sure the rocket didn't go outside of the limits.  It was later replaced with cameras with overlays on the monitor screen.


GPS Metric tracking probably eliminated this.

My understanding is that there are some range assets that are physically moved between launch sites for launches, is that correct Jim? Would that be the aforementioned tracking cameras and similar equipment?
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Online Barrie

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It's got me wondering if the launch rate could be increased further if there was more standardisation between launch vehicles.

What kind of standardization?

Er, I don't know!  I'm just thinking that if they could launch two F9s on the same day, then they could launch two of anything on the same day if all rockets were alike in whatever ways matter as far as reconfiguring the range goes.

Offline AncientU

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What will the collateral impact be on work in progress at the pads, for instance, if the launch cadence is this high?  Will work have to stop on 39B every time a launch or static fire happens on 39A or 41/40/37?  Going to be tough to avoid schedule impact if this is the case (and the weekly cadence is realized).

By the way, don't know if it was an oversight, but article never mentioned SLS.
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Offline ChrisGebhardt

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It's got me wondering if the launch rate could be increased further if there was more standardisation between launch vehicles.

What kind of standardization?

Er, I don't know!  I'm just thinking that if they could launch two F9s on the same day, then they could launch two of anything on the same day if all rockets were alike in whatever ways matter as far as reconfiguring the range goes.


No.  The only way two Falcons can launch on the same day is because there are two pads (39A and 40).  If there weren't, the AFTS becomes a moot point to this.  It's the combination of AFTS AND two pads that make two launches in same day possible for Falcon 9.

Offline ChrisGebhardt

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What will the collateral impact be on work in progress at the pads, for instance, if the launch cadence is this high?  Will work have to stop on 39B every time a launch or static fire happens on 39A or 41/40/37?  Going to be tough to avoid schedule impact if this is the case (and the weekly cadence is realized).

By the way, don't know if it was an oversight, but article never mentioned SLS.

Depends on which pads.  39A and 39B are linked in that way, yes... as 41 and 39A are for certain activities as well due to proximity.  But 37B might not effect 39A and 39B -- or 41 for that matter.  It depends on what's going on and what pads are being used.
« Last Edit: 03/20/2017 07:03 PM by ChrisGebhardt »

Online Barrie

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It's got me wondering if the launch rate could be increased further if there was more standardisation between launch vehicles.

What kind of standardization?

Er, I don't know!  I'm just thinking that if they could launch two F9s on the same day, then they could launch two of anything on the same day if all rockets were alike in whatever ways matter as far as reconfiguring the range goes.


No.  The only way two Falcons can launch on the same day is because there are two pads (39A and 40).  If there weren't, the AFTS becomes a moot point to this.  It's the combination of AFTS AND two pads that make two launches in same day possible for Falcon 9.

Yes, I get that, but what stops any two rockets with a pad each - say, an F9 and an Atlas 5 - getting off on the same day?

Offline cppetrie

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It's got me wondering if the launch rate could be increased further if there was more standardisation between launch vehicles.

What kind of standardization?

Er, I don't know!  I'm just thinking that if they could launch two F9s on the same day, then they could launch two of anything on the same day if all rockets were alike in whatever ways matter as far as reconfiguring the range goes.


No.  The only way two Falcons can launch on the same day is because there are two pads (39A and 40).  If there weren't, the AFTS becomes a moot point to this.  It's the combination of AFTS AND two pads that make two launches in same day possible for Falcon 9.

Yes, I get that, but what stops any two rockets with a pad each - say, an F9 and an Atlas 5 - getting off on the same day?

At present it is the fact that no other launch provider has an AFTS system operating. In theory an Atlas with AFTS and a Falcon with AFTS could launch on the same day at least as far as I understand it. Unfortunately, ULA has indicated that they are not developing an AFTS for the Atlas or Delta rockets. It will only be on their forthcoming Vulcan rocket.
« Last Edit: 03/20/2017 07:51 PM by cppetrie »

Offline john smith 19

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This is phenomenal

Eliminating 96 staff posts during the launch.

How many operational launch pads does CCAFS have?

I worked out that in principle the US could put 63  tonnes in LEO with a salvo launch of Atlat V, Delta IV, F9 and Antares and Jim said the long pole in the tent was running the speech tests between monitoring sites.

With AFTS now on line I wonder what that would be revised to? F9 FT is up about 6 tonnes over what it was while the Antares 230 Cygnus is 300Kg heavier and the payload 1200Kg heavier. So antares could handle 5 tonnes to LEO.

That suggests  a salvo launch of F9, Antares, Delta IV and Atlas V could (at a minimum) put 70 tonnes in LEO within a week with ELV's in the US inventory right now.
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Offline john smith 19

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This is kind of what I'm wondering about. If SpaceX gets the launch cadence down to two weeks turnaround time per pad, that means basically 4 launches a month from 39A and 40 combined. That's 48 launches just from SpaceX.

So I'm wondering if 48 is just an intermediate target, which can be increased as demand increases, or is it some kind of hard limit?
SX's stated goal is "single digit turnaround" of a single pad. IE ready to launch another vehicle within 10 hours of the last one.

With 2 pads on site that (and assuming SX have the launch team to do so) that's 2 9am launches and 2 launches before 7pm the same night. Assuming only week day launches, and excluding the 4 weeks CCAFS are saying they need for maintenance that's 960 launches a year. I guess that's the kind of scale you've got to be geared up for if you're wanting to launch a 12000 satellite comms network in a reasonable time.

AFTS means SX don't need those USAF staff around to help them do the launches.
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Offline feynmanrules

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It's got me wondering if the launch rate could be increased further if there was more standardisation between launch vehicles.

What kind of standardization?

Standardization which would allow more "independent launch vehicle subsystems designed to enable unmanned range ______ operations"

(taken from this PDF describing Autonomous Flight Termination System: http://www.darpa.mil/attachments/20160429_ALASA_DISTAR_26439.pdf)

Beyond AFTS what other systems are bottlenecks to launch rate?

This PDF describes two other tools beyond the AFTS:

2)
Quote
the Rapid Mission Planning Tool (RMPT) ties
together all the prelaunch mission planning functions required for air launches of small
launch vehicles


3)
Quote
Automated Launch Coordination (ALC) tool being developed through ALASA seeks
to streamline and automate many of the required launch-day interfaces with approving
authorities and service providers

Not sure if these tools are also required to hit 48 launches/year goal, if they would add to rate beyond this, or if they're addressing other issues than speed.  (quality/cost of operations/etc).   


Offline Dante2121

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This seems like a wise incremental improvement. No reason to optimize further until Spacex et al. actually launch more frequently.

Offline Jim

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There is comm, security, offshore clearance, airspace clearance, telemetry, etc

Offline Hobbes-22

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The comment that caught my attention the most was the addition of the AFTS would eliminate 96 people.

“So we came down 96 people that don’t have to be sitting on console.  And the cost to the customer is cut in half.  "

Why did it take 96 people to do the flight termination? What did all 96 of them do?
Steve

Comm, radar, transmitter, receiver, backup power generation, software, tracking cameras, console maintenance, etc  They would be located at the MOCC, JDMTA, Antigua, Cape command  antenna site, camera sites, etc

To an outsider like me, that sounds like a duplication of effort. The owner of the launch vehicle already has a telemetry downlink, and I assume they also use cameras and a position monitoring system (radar or otherwise). Doesn't the LV owner share his data with the Air Force?

Offline Jim

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To an outsider like me, that sounds like a duplication of effort. The owner of the launch vehicle already has a telemetry downlink, and I assume they also use cameras and a position monitoring system (radar or otherwise). Doesn't the LV owner share his data with the Air Force?

The range provides the primary link for the range. 

Offline Zed_Noir

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This is phenomenal

Eliminating 96 staff posts during the launch.

How many operational launch pads does CCAFS have?

I worked out that in principle the US could put 63  tonnes in LEO with a salvo launch of Atlat V, Delta IV, F9 and Antares and Jim said the long pole in the tent was running the speech tests between monitoring sites.

With AFTS now on line I wonder what that would be revised to? F9 FT is up about 6 tonnes over what it was while the Antares 230 Cygnus is 300Kg heavier and the payload 1200Kg heavier. So antares could handle 5 tonnes to LEO.

That suggests  a salvo launch of F9, Antares, Delta IV and Atlas V could (at a minimum) put 70 tonnes in LEO within a week with ELV's in the US inventory right now.

If someone really needs 70+ tonnes to LEO in about a week. Simply salvo 2 Falcon 9 from each pad in the expendable mode. The 4 F9 can supposedly lift about 90 tonnes to LEO in the same orbital inclination.

Hmm, 6 expendable F9 can lift 135 tonnes in 16 days to LEO at the launch rate of 1 per pad every 7 days with a 2 day separation between pads. :o

Presuming LC-40 can process the F9 through quickly with the smaller hangar.


Offline AncientU

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...

At present it is the fact that no other launch provider has an AFTS system operating. In theory an Atlas with AFTS and a Falcon with AFTS could launch on the same day at least as far as I understand it. Unfortunately, ULA has indicated that they are not developing an AFTS for the Atlas or Delta rockets. It will only be on their forthcoming Vulcan rocket.

Why aren't Atlas and Delta already AFTS equipped?  Will SLS have AFTS?

AFTS is more than a decade old (NASA has had a team working on it since 2002)
Quote
The  National  Aeronautics  and  Space Administration  (NASA)  has  maintained  a  multi-center  engineering development  team  for  the  Autonomous  Flight  Safety  System  since  2002  in  an  attempt  to  realize  the  benefits  that such  a  system  could  bring  to  its  launch  operations.    Such  benefits  include  increases  in  public  safety  for  mission profiles that include phases of propulsive flight that cannot be covered or are prohibitively expensive to cover with conventional ground based telemetry and command systems.
https://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/20080044860.pdf
« Last Edit: 03/22/2017 11:24 AM by AncientU »
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Offline ChrisGebhardt

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...

At present it is the fact that no other launch provider has an AFTS system operating. In theory an Atlas with AFTS and a Falcon with AFTS could launch on the same day at least as far as I understand it. Unfortunately, ULA has indicated that they are not developing an AFTS for the Atlas or Delta rockets. It will only be on their forthcoming Vulcan rocket.

Why aren't Atlas and Delta already AFTS equipped?  Will SLS have AFTS?

Cheaper for ULA to introduce AFTS on Vulcan than to spend all the time and money to put it on Delta IV M line (retiring as early as next year) and Atlas V (which will be replaced in the early 2020s by Vulcan).

Offline AncientU

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...

At present it is the fact that no other launch provider has an AFTS system operating. In theory an Atlas with AFTS and a Falcon with AFTS could launch on the same day at least as far as I understand it. Unfortunately, ULA has indicated that they are not developing an AFTS for the Atlas or Delta rockets. It will only be on their forthcoming Vulcan rocket.

Why aren't Atlas and Delta already AFTS equipped?  Will SLS have AFTS?

Cheaper for ULA to introduce AFTS on Vulcan than to spend all the time and money to put it on Delta IV M line (retiring as early as next year) and Atlas V (which will be replaced in the early 2020s by Vulcan).

Atlas V just announced to be around till 2025, and Delta Heavy has payloads through 2023.

They've also been around as long as the effort to do AFTS(in other words, why don't they have it already)... and they are/were going to have common avionics.
« Last Edit: 03/22/2017 11:51 AM by AncientU »
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Offline Jim

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AFTS is more than a decade old (NASA has had a team working on it since 2002)


The range is the one that has to do the work to certify it.  NASA wasn't doing that for the ER and WR.  NASA was just working on the hardware and concept.   AFTS was started for places that had no range.

GPS metric tracking wasn't even certified until a few years ago.
« Last Edit: 03/22/2017 01:50 PM by Chris Bergin »

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Atlas V and Delta IV both debuted in 2002 -- meaning they were in development long before NASA started work on AFTS in 2002.  So, yes, they both predate AFTS efforts.
« Last Edit: 03/22/2017 01:49 PM by Chris Bergin »

Offline cppetrie

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(in other words, why don't they have it already)

Because its use hasn't been mandated by the range and ULA has chosen not to invest in its development for their current generation of rockets. Unless its use becomes mandated by the AF for all launches, ULA, as a private company, can choose to invest their R&D dollars wherever they choose. We might disagree with their decisions, but they aren't ours to make unless of course we buy up controlling interest.

Offline Jim

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They've also been around as long as the effort to do AFTS

wrong

Atlas and Delta?

And if we use your logic, then why didn't F9 have AFTS on its inaugural launch in 2010?


BTW, Atlas V and Delta IV were started in 1995 and as EELV's, they used the same avionics as Delta II and Atlas II
« Last Edit: 03/22/2017 01:18 PM by gongora »

Offline Jim

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and they are/were going to have common avionics.

Does not include the FTS.  Common avionics and FTS are separate independent systems.  They don't interact.
« Last Edit: 03/22/2017 12:32 PM by Jim »

Offline Jim

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It's got me wondering if the launch rate could be increased further if there was more standardisation between launch vehicles.

What kind of standardization?

Standardization which would allow more "independent launch vehicle subsystems designed to enable unmanned range ______ operations"

(taken from this PDF describing Autonomous Flight Termination System: http://www.darpa.mil/attachments/20160429_ALASA_DISTAR_26439.pdf)

Beyond AFTS what other systems are bottlenecks to launch rate?

This PDF describes two other tools beyond the AFTS:

2)
Quote
the Rapid Mission Planning Tool (RMPT) ties
together all the prelaunch mission planning functions required for air launches of small
launch vehicles


3)
Quote
Automated Launch Coordination (ALC) tool being developed through ALASA seeks
to streamline and automate many of the required launch-day interfaces with approving
authorities and service providers

Not sure if these tools are also required to hit 48 launches/year goal, if they would add to rate beyond this, or if they're addressing other issues than speed.  (quality/cost of operations/etc).   



Those are range tools and not launch vehicle related.

Offline john smith 19

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If someone really needs 70+ tonnes to LEO in about a week. Simply salvo 2 Falcon 9 from each pad in the expendable mode. The 4 F9 can supposedly lift about 90 tonnes to LEO in the same orbital inclination.

Hmm, 6 expendable F9 can lift 135 tonnes in 16 days to LEO at the launch rate of 1 per pad every 7 days with a 2 day separation between pads. :o

Presuming LC-40 can process the F9 through quickly with the smaller hangar.
You are aware that one pad is still being rebuilt following the F9 explosion on pad, right? I think that's offline till at least the start of Q317. 

I did not consider the VDB AFB pad as it would have severe difficulties delivering to the same orbit as the others.

"Single digit hour" pad turnaround is an SX stated goal. The quckest figures I found were here

[quote author=edkyle99 link=topic=35674.msg1393533#msg1393533 date=1435165238

Key figure. The best ever has been Ariane 4 (hypergolic fueled) with a launch every 6 days on 1 pad back in the 80's.

So this upgrade gives the US ranges what Arianespace could do in Guyana in the 1980's (and using a hypergol fueled rocket to boot)  IE it's the known state of practice within the industry.

To get to SX's goal of single digit hour turnaround you have to go about 13x better still.

As we've seen with first stage reuse if you set it as a design goal from day one it's a lot easier to do than to do it as a retro fit.

The question of course is wheather the SX staff knew of the A4 history and studied it or if they only looked at US and/or Russian experience in this area.
« Last Edit: 03/22/2017 07:35 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 Thorny

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Key figure. The best ever has been Ariane 4 (hypergolic fueled) with a launch every 6 days on 1 pad back in the 80's.


I'm not sure where Ed got that figure. Ariane 1-4 launched about every one to two months. Maybe that was a typo for "6 weeks", which seems about the average.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Ariane_launches_(1979%E2%80%931989)

Offline whitelancer64

It's incorrect either way, the all-time record for two launches from a single pad is less than 24 hours, between Vostok 3 and Vostok 4, launched on August 11 and August 12, 1962.
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Offline john smith 19

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It's incorrect either way, the all-time record for two launches from a single pad is less than 24 hours, between Vostok 3 and Vostok 4, launched on August 11 and August 12, 1962.
Interesting.

So < 24 hours looks possible, although I'd wonder if that was designed in or not?

At the moment the 1 week turnaround looks like the current SoA in launch ranges. 
"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 pippin

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And... just to nitpick... Ariane 4 was not a completely hypergolic LV, if used LH2/LOX on the 3rd stage

Offline guckyfan

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What happens when the ailing range tech breaks down? Atlas and Delta are grounded?

Tory Bruno replied to a question on SpaceX reddit. He said converting Atlas and Delta is not yet known.

Offline john smith 19

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Note that SX have been involved in AFTS since they carried the 2nd generation prototype on an F1. The F1 failed but the AFTS correctly detected the real failure (it was set to test a simulated flight failure that would have triggered flight termination) and fired it's dummy self destruct package.

The test versions all seem to be based around POWERPC SBC's while  SX use ARM's in their core architecture. It also uses a custom programmed FPGA for some of it's switching functions.

It's not clear to me if LV mfgs will have to buy this exact hardware package to be compliant or if they can host the code on a sufficiently powerful processor and program a compliant FPGA they can keep the hardware in house. 

I think the key idea is that for LV's (as opposed to UAV's and sounding rockets, which this is also designed to support) there must be at least 2 of them and they must be hosted on processors separated from the main GNC computer.

So for SX this would be a couple of separate ARM boxes with a feed from their IMUs and GPS receivers (which I think are already redundant)
"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 Jim

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So for SX this would be a couple of separate ARM boxes with a feed from their IMUs and GPS receivers (which I think are already redundant)

No, AFSS is completely independent, standalone, separate system from the rest of the launch vehicle.   There are batteries, transmitters, receivers, antennas, processors, etc are all dedicated to the AFSS
« Last Edit: 03/23/2017 12:41 PM by Jim »

Offline edkyle99

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Key figure. The best ever has been Ariane 4 (hypergolic fueled) with a launch every 6 days on 1 pad back in the 80's.


I'm not sure where Ed got that figure. Ariane 1-4 launched about every one to two months. Maybe that was a typo for "6 weeks", which seems about the average.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Ariane_launches_(1979%E2%80%931989)

I do not believe that is my quote.  What I said way back in 2015 was "... Ariane 4 during the 1990s, which flew an average of 0.167 times per week from its single launch pad."  That was about once every six weeks.

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 03/23/2017 01:49 PM by edkyle99 »

Offline john smith 19

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So for SX this would be a couple of separate ARM boxes with a feed from their IMUs and GPS receivers (which I think are already redundant)

No, AFSS is completely independent, standalone, separate system from the rest of the launch vehicle.   There are batteries, transmitters, receivers, antennas, processors, etc are all dedicated to the AFSS
Pity. Tapping the feed from the existing GPS and IMU sensors seemed harmless enough.

Fortunately all of this hardware has plummeted in weight so I guess each package does not have to be that heavy, unlike the days of 500lb gas powered IMU on Apollo.

I think the biggest winners for this may be smallsat launchers, as AFTS papers show the total charges for the FTS system add up to about $700k per launch, and these costs seem to be regardless of LV size.
I do not believe that is my quote.  What I said way back in 2015 was "... Ariane 4 during the 1990s, which flew an average of 0.167 times per week from its single launch pad."  That was about once every six weeks.

 - Ed Kyle
That was my mis interpretation. I inverted 0.167 and took the result as days per launch instead of weeks.  :(

That said now I'm thinking that seems a bit low. I keep thinking either Atlas or Delta have done better (3-4 weeks?)  but it's probably my memory playing tricks or ULA launching off multiple pads. I know they've been planning to cut operating pads but I don't recall if they've got round to doing it yet.

This announcement suggests that CCAFS is now the SoA globally in launch range turnaround. 
"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 Thorny

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That said now I'm thinking that seems a bit low. I keep thinking either Atlas or Delta have done better (3-4 weeks?)

Delta had two pads, 17A and B, at the Cape.

Offline Jim

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Pity. Tapping the feed from the existing GPS and IMU sensors seemed harmless enough.


No, it isn't.  They could be in error or at fault.  The whole point is to be independent.  Also, most launch vehicles do not use GPS in their guidance system. 

Offline edkyle99

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"... Ariane 4 during the 1990s, which flew an average of 0.167 times per week from its single launch pad."  That was about once every six weeks.

 - Ed Kyle
That said now I'm thinking that seems a bit low. I keep thinking either Atlas or Delta have done better (3-4 weeks?)  but it's probably my memory playing tricks or ULA launching off multiple pads. I know they've been planning to cut operating pads but I don't recall if they've got round to doing it yet.
I was looking at longer term averages, over many months or years, so there may have been a single fast turnaround here or there, but Delta 2 and Atlas 2 both used two pads at the Cape and one at Vandenberg.  During the 1960s, Atlas and Thor/Delta used even more pads.  The result is that the per-pad average was lower for the U.S. launchers during any era than for Ariane 4 during the 1990s (and for R-7 during the 1980s, which flew even more often than Ariane 4 on a per-pad average).

It is the long-term pad turnaround average that matters rather than the occasional shorter-than-average time.  Pads have to be taken out of service periodically for maintenance, etc.

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 03/23/2017 04:12 PM by edkyle99 »

Offline john smith 19

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No, it isn't.  They could be in error or at fault.  The whole point is to be independent.  Also, most launch vehicles do not use GPS in their guidance system.
Noted.

It still seems like a net win in cost terms for small sat launchers, provided the fact they no longer rely on range assets for FTS is reflected in range charges.

On the more general topic of pad, rather than range turnaround, how ambitious does SX's stated goal of a "single digit hour" turnaround of a pad seem to you?
I was looking at longer term averages, over many months or years, so there may have been a single fast turnaround here or there, but Delta 2 and Atlas 2 both used two pads at the Cape and one at Vandenberg.  During the 1960s, Atlas and Thor/Delta used even more pads. 
I think you mentioned Thor had 6 live pads at one time.
Quote from: edkyle99
The result is that the per-pad average was lower for the U.S. launchers during any era than for Ariane 4 during the 1990s (and for R-7 during the 1980s, which flew even more often than Ariane 4 on a per-pad average).
Clearly once you have multiple pads you can run almost as fast you like, until you run out of fresh pads.
Quote from: edkyle99
It is the long-term pad turnaround average that matters rather than the occasional shorter-than-average time.  Pads have to be taken out of service periodically for maintenance, etc.

 - Ed Kyle
Agreed.  And this announcement talks about the range, not the individual pads using it. But I think creating that capability will encourage new entrants (or new vehicles) to revise their pad layouts for faster turnaround.

I don't have a good sense of how much damage a take off does to a pad. Extremely high (lethal?) noise levels, high temperatures and lots of flame but what does the most damage and what's the toughest to repair? Possibly even more important is anything doing cumulative damage to the pad that the whole structure will have to be replaced?

On that note how ambitious is SX's plan for "single digit hour" pad turnaround? A week between launches off the same pad sounds like a pretty good starting point.



"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 Kansan52

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What happens when the ailing range tech breaks down? Atlas and Delta are grounded?

Guess it depends on the break down. Relying on memory, one of the early Falcon 9 launches was delayed by a fire taking out a radar station.

The range staff worked their tails off and was back in operation in two weeks. Original estimates were for a longer stand down.

A radar problem would stop an FTS launch but not an AFTS.

But those types of problems seem unlikely because the range does so much maintenance.

Offline edkyle99

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I don't have a good sense of how much damage a take off does to a pad. Extremely high (lethal?) noise levels, high temperatures and lots of flame but what does the most damage and what's the toughest to repair? Possibly even more important is anything doing cumulative damage to the pad that the whole structure will have to be replaced?
One area of effort involves repair of flame deflector and flame trench surfaces.  These are eroded by liftoff exhaust, as I understand things, and must be resurfaced.  There may be some type of spray-on high temperature concrete involved.  Other work would include inspection and if necessary repair of umbilicals, testing of GSE, etc. 

 - Ed Kyle

Offline john smith 19

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One area of effort involves repair of flame deflector and flame trench surfaces.  These are eroded by liftoff exhaust, as I understand things, and must be resurfaced.  There may be some type of spray-on high temperature concrete involved.  Other work would include inspection and if necessary repair of umbilicals, testing of GSE, etc. 

 - Ed Kyle
Really? I'd thought those things were good for years and refurbishment was a major (months long) event.

In this regard I liked the sound of the system that was used on the Saturn 1. A pointed rectangular cone. Looked like the thing they used on the V2. All Copper IIRC and uncooled. I guess it didn't scale up too well, hence all the high temp concrete.  :(

It'll be interesting to see how fast SX make good on moving to SDH turnaround, given they now have a fair bit of experience on the actual damage a launch does to their pads. Presumably the rebuild of the explosion damaged pad will incorporate as much of their experience as possible. 
"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 edkyle99

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One area of effort involves repair of flame deflector and flame trench surfaces.  These are eroded by liftoff exhaust, as I understand things, and must be resurfaced.  There may be some type of spray-on high temperature concrete involved.  Other work would include inspection and if necessary repair of umbilicals, testing of GSE, etc. 

 - Ed Kyle
Really? I'd thought those things were good for years and refurbishment was a major (months long) event.

Fondu Fyre, it  is called, a refractory concrete.  A discussion of it and of launch deflector erosion during the Shuttle program, with some nice images, is included in the following document.
https://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/20100031698.pdf

Similar materials may still be used, that have to be inspected after every launch and occasionally or periodically renewed.

It must be closely guarded.  I have yet to see an image of a flame deflector at a Falcon 9 launch site.

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 03/24/2017 01:56 PM by edkyle99 »

Offline Jim

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In this regard I liked the sound of the system that was used on the Saturn 1. A pointed rectangular cone. Looked like the thing they used on the V2. All Copper IIRC and uncooled.


It wasn't a pointed rectangular cone. It wasn't All Copper.  And it wasn't uncooled.
« Last Edit: 03/24/2017 12:49 PM by Jim »

Offline edkyle99

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Jupiter, on the other hand, used a kind of sloped pyramidal base plate.  Redstone used something similar. 

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 03/24/2017 01:04 PM by edkyle99 »

Offline john smith 19

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In this regard I liked the sound of the system that was used on the Saturn 1. A pointed rectangular cone. Looked like the thing they used on the V2. All Copper IIRC and uncooled.


It wasn't a pointed rectangular cone. It wasn't All Copper.  And it wasn't uncooled.
I stand corrected, although I'm surprised. My impression of these things was that the bigger ones were (very) large concrete channels. How do cool something like that?

Jupiter, on the other hand, used a kind of sloped pyramidal base plate.  Redstone used something similar. 

 - Ed Kyle
That's exactly the sort of thing I was thinking about.

Man it's depressing my memory is this untrusworthy.  :(
"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 Jim

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I stand corrected, although I'm surprised. My impression of these things was that the bigger ones were (very) large concrete channels. How do cool something like that?


You can see the water ring here

http://imgur.com/D04kQhf

and the water coming out here


Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Quote
$18.6 million project begins on Cape
CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla. --

The 45th Space Wing’s communication capabilities took a giant step forward with the groundbreaking of the new Range Communications Facility March 16, 2017.

A ceremony was held to signify the start of construction for the Eastern Range’s $18.6 million project, which will replace the former XY communications building, and serve as the new work center for the space launch program for decades to come.

“It is an exciting time to be at the 45th Space Wing as we continue to break barriers and new ground for the next generation of range communications,” said Brig. Gen. Wayne Monteith, 45th Space Wing commander.

The new 32,314-square-foot communications facility will be constructed in the industrial area and will directly support range operations.

In addition to replacing aging equipment and infrastructure, the upgraded building will also resolve other issues, which plagued the old facility to include problems caused by flooding.

“The new facility will alleviate concerns we have every hurricane season resolving structural, mechanical and fire protection problems that the building has experienced over the years. The upgraded facility will now comply with all electrical and telecommunications requirements,” said Robert Elliott, 45th Civil Engineer Squadron project manager.

“As space launch and vehicles evolve, so must the technology and facilities we use to support it,” Monteith said. “This facility is crucial in advancing us toward our drive to 48 and providing ‘assured access to space.”

Once completed, the new facility will house and operate state-of-art communications technology that will decrease operation and maintenance costs and increase long-term reliability, according to William Trump, 45th Range Maintenance Squadron project engineer.

Demolition of the former building at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station was completed February 2017, and the new building is slated for completion in 2018.

“It is our goal to deliver this project on time and on budget and well look forward to seeing everyone at the ribbon cutting,” said Lt. Col. Landon Raby, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Mobile District deputy commander.

http://www.patrick.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/1130459/186-million-project-begins-on-cape

Offline nukie19

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SX's stated goal is "single digit turnaround" of a single pad. IE ready to launch another vehicle within 10 hours of the last one.

With 2 pads on site that (and assuming SX have the launch team to do so) that's 2 9am launches and 2 launches before 7pm the same night. Assuming only week day launches, and excluding the 4 weeks CCAFS are saying they need for maintenance that's 960 launches a year. I guess that's the kind of scale you've got to be geared up for if you're wanting to launch a 12000 satellite comms network in a reasonable time.

AFTS means SX don't need those USAF staff around to help them do the launches.

Wrong.  They still need USAF staff for prelaunch activities and launch support, just a reduced number.  Also, I'm sure you are joking about 960 launches a year, right?  Even if there were that many satellites just sitting around waiting to be launched, you still have to consider the pre-planning work to be done which would never happen with the current number of people working at the ER on that stuff.  And, you'd be essentially shutting down the Port and all the air traffic around the area if you were launching that often.

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