Author Topic: Air Force reveals plan for up to 48 launches per year from Cape Canaveral  (Read 9180 times)

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 »

Offline 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?

Online 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.
"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 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.
"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 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).   


Online 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.


Online 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).

Online 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 »

Offline ChrisGebhardt

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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 »

Online 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.

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