Author Topic: XCOR and the Lynx rocket  (Read 391905 times)

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
« Reply #1160 on: 07/10/2017 03:54 PM »
Would ULA buy the IP and carry on the development inhouse?.

Offline Katana

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Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
« Reply #1161 on: 07/10/2017 04:12 PM »
Would ULA buy the IP and carry on the development inhouse?.
Kill XCOR for IP?
Apart from any moral/legal considerations, ULA could save little on an engine already dirt cheap.

BTW, which engine has ULA chosen instead? BE-3U is too massive for RL-10 replacements.

Offline Lars-J

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Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
« Reply #1162 on: 07/10/2017 05:56 PM »
Would ULA buy the IP and carry on the development inhouse?.

The assumption by many seems to be that this engine technology was the "next great thing". What if it wasn't, and it just wasn't working out? If so, why should they feel compelled to buy the IP?

Offline Lars-J

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Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
« Reply #1163 on: 07/10/2017 05:58 PM »
Would ULA buy the IP and carry on the development inhouse?.
Kill XCOR for IP?
Apart from any moral/legal considerations, ULA could save little on an engine already dirt cheap.

BTW, which engine has ULA chosen instead? BE-3U is too massive for RL-10 replacements.

Not for ACES, which is what they engine choice is for. (They will be clustering many RL-10's or a single/dual BE-3U) And just because RL-10 has pretty anemic thrust doesn't mean that this is the most optimal solution. Isp is not everything.
« Last Edit: 07/10/2017 05:59 PM by Lars-J »

Online Elmar Moelzer

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Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
« Reply #1164 on: 07/12/2017 10:01 PM »
And sometimes founders have no clue about the business, or their ideas don't work out. It's convenient to blame the XCOR problems on those darn investors, but I would suggest that the majority of the problems with XCOR came from the founders.

Every company at some points is handed off from the founders to new leadership. If that hand off is not successful, that tends to indicate that the company is run more off the force of personality of the founders rather than a sound business model.

I don't know the exact details of what happened here, but this idea that XCOR was running fine and the villainous investors sabotaged the good company that the good saint Greason founded is not a credible one. The truth is somewhere in between.
As I said, founders often are overly optimistic with their estimates for schedules and cost and that leads to conflict with investors. I am not saying that it is all the fault of the investors, just that it is (pretty much) never a good sign when founders leave a company or worse are forced to leave it. I said that when it happened at XCOR and it happened pretty much exactly as I predicted.

Offline john smith 19

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Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
« Reply #1165 on: 07/15/2017 09:10 AM »
As many have said, knowledgeable individuals can be more important than the IP. But XCOR did have promising IP - their composite LOX tanks and piston pumps. Similarily Armadillo (now EXOS) has no people left, but their flight control IP remains relevant and valuable. Not sure if Firefly had any worthwhile IP, just people.
I'd forgotten about their composite LOX tank tech.

They didn't go into too many details publicly but it sounded pretty good.  I was a bit more doubtful on large piston pumps as John Whiteheads team reckoned above 5000lb turbines were better, and of course 5 axis CNC is now much more widely available than it used to be. 
"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.

Online FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
« Reply #1166 on: 07/19/2017 11:49 AM »
Quote
Former XCOR CEO blames company problems on lost contract
by Jeff Foust — July 19, 2017

WASHINGTON — The former chief executive of XCOR Aerospace told a Senate committee July 18 that the company’s recent financial problems, which led to a layoff of all of its employees last month, could be blamed on a terminated engine development contract. [...]

spacenews.com/former-xcor-ceo-blames-company-problems-on-lost-contract/

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
« Reply #1167 on: 07/19/2017 03:37 PM »
With all their eggs in one basket they were vunerable. As CEO for two years he had plenty of time to find other revenue streams using his company's skilled workforce.


Online QuantumG

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Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
« Reply #1168 on: 07/20/2017 12:13 AM »
With all their eggs in one basket they were vunerable. As CEO for two years he had plenty of time to find other revenue streams using his company's skilled workforce.

Heh, they laid off everyone except the team working on that one project.
Jeff Bezos has billions to spend on rockets and can go at whatever pace he likes! Wow! What pace is he going at? Well... have you heard of Zeno's paradox?

Online FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
« Reply #1169 on: 07/25/2017 06:31 AM »

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
« Reply #1170 on: 07/26/2017 03:20 AM »
Are they selling XCOR for really cheap? Maybe we could buy them now. Jeff Greason's vision was always the purest space geek vision (all employees get opportunity to fly in space! WHAT??), IMHO. It's just that moving to Midland, Texas is the kiss of death for aerospace startups, apparently.

Can we buy them?
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 Lars-J

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Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
« Reply #1171 on: 07/26/2017 06:25 AM »
We? (?)
And why do you think it would be a wise investment? They never got that far on Lynx. Nothing of real value remains of XCOR. They said they would keep core employees on a contract basis, but Doug Jones wasn't even a part of that mythical group. It's dead, Jim.

Online FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
« Reply #1172 on: 10/20/2017 01:44 PM »
Quote
XCOR running out of time to find investor
by Jeff Foust — October 20, 2017

WASHINGTON — XCOR Aerospace, a company forced to lay off its staff earlier this year when it ran into financial problems, has only weeks left to find an investor willing to rebuild the company or else face liquidation, the company’s chief executive says.

http://spacenews.com/xcor-running-out-of-time-to-find-investor/

Offline Katana

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Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
« Reply #1173 on: 10/20/2017 02:36 PM »
We? (?)
And why do you think it would be a wise investment? They never got that far on Lynx. Nothing of real value remains of XCOR. They said they would keep core employees on a contract basis, but Doug Jones wasn't even a part of that mythical group. It's dead, Jim.
Real value of XCOR is technology of piston pump engines, however surpassed by today's 3D printed turbopumps.

Offline john smith 19

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Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
« Reply #1174 on: 10/20/2017 07:46 PM »
We? (?)
And why do you think it would be a wise investment? They never got that far on Lynx. Nothing of real value remains of XCOR. They said they would keep core employees on a contract basis, but Doug Jones wasn't even a part of that mythical group. It's dead, Jim.
Real value of XCOR is technology of piston pump engines, however surpassed by today's 3D printed turbopumps.
Depends. 3d turbo pumps are
a) Very complex shapes.
b). Likely to need quite a lot of post processing to get the surface finish to a standard that keeps losses low and avoids stress concentrators being formed (doing so during the latter part of the MIT Micro-rocket engine project raised the maximum safe chamber pressure from 12 to 19atm, or about 58%
c)The Whitehead team at Sandia found losses rise a lot for turbo pumps below about 5 000lb. While the analysis is > 20 years old the fluid properties haven't changed.
So yes piston pumps do still score at the right level of size and are frankly a damm sight easier to build (drilling machines, lathes and hand tools, not 5-axis CNC milling machines).

Besides any XCOR patents will have some years to run, while the original Sandia ones have already expired.

The really unique IP they do have is the "unburnium" composite for LOX storage.

AFAIK there is nothing quite like it anywhere.
 
"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 Katana

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Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
« Reply #1175 on: 10/21/2017 11:53 AM »
We? (?)
And why do you think it would be a wise investment? They never got that far on Lynx. Nothing of real value remains of XCOR. They said they would keep core employees on a contract basis, but Doug Jones wasn't even a part of that mythical group. It's dead, Jim.
Real value of XCOR is technology of piston pump engines, however surpassed by today's 3D printed turbopumps.
Depends. 3d turbo pumps are
a) Very complex shapes.
b). Likely to need quite a lot of post processing to get the surface finish to a standard that keeps losses low and avoids stress concentrators being formed (doing so during the latter part of the MIT Micro-rocket engine project raised the maximum safe chamber pressure from 12 to 19atm, or about 58%
c)The Whitehead team at Sandia found losses rise a lot for turbo pumps below about 5 000lb. While the analysis is > 20 years old the fluid properties haven't changed.
So yes piston pumps do still score at the right level of size and are frankly a damm sight easier to build (drilling machines, lathes and hand tools, not 5-axis CNC milling machines).

Besides any XCOR patents will have some years to run, while the original Sandia ones have already expired.

The really unique IP they do have is the "unburnium" composite for LOX storage.

AFAIK there is nothing quite like it anywhere.
Turbopump is not THAT easy, but yet much easier today than 10 years ago, when no space startups could do it. SpaceX bought pumps from Barber Nichols untill full production of F9.

Small turbopumps are inefficient, but not too bad. I print turbopump parts from my desktop printer and cast them into metal. Preliminary tests with toy grade clearances (0.5~1mm) develops only 5~10% efficiency, yet means 220s potential isp capability. For pistons, 1mm clearances would be impossible to use.

LOX compatible composites have been reported since years,  they are only marginally beneficial.

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
« Reply #1176 on: 10/21/2017 07:17 PM »
XCOR wouldve potentially had a cheap microlaunch platform in the form of Lynx Mark 3. They'd give the rest of the microlaunchers a run for their money.
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 john smith 19

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Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
« Reply #1177 on: 10/21/2017 09:36 PM »
Turbopump is not THAT easy, but yet much easier today than 10 years ago, when no space startups could do it. SpaceX bought pumps from Barber Nichols untill full production of F9.
Quote from: Katana
Small turbopumps are inefficient, but not too bad. I print turbopump parts from my desktop printer and cast them into metal. Preliminary tests with toy grade clearances (0.5~1mm) develops only 5~10% efficiency, yet means 220s potential isp capability. For pistons, 1mm clearances would be impossible to use.
The problem, like in making IC's, is the scaling laws. The MIT micro gas turbine project was looking at rotational speeds of 1-1.2 million RPM. Boundary layer effects are another major effect, because they don't scale down very well. A 5 thou BL on a 2 foot turbine is nothing. But when the turbine is a 1/4 of an inch..

In contrast positive displacement pumps run 10-100s of cycles a second, tolerances are set by piston fit into a cylinder (a very well understood problem in the automotive world) and pressure defined by the area ratios of the drive and pump pistons.

 I think the geometry of PD pumps is a poor fit for 3d printing, but that's more a mfg issue than the design.

Quote from: Katana
LOX compatible composites have been reported since years,  they are only marginally beneficial.
Maybe because they were only marginally compatible?

The point about XCOR product was not that it was "compatible" it was it did not burn at all.
"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 Gliderflyer

Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
« Reply #1178 on: 10/22/2017 12:06 AM »
We? (?)
And why do you think it would be a wise investment? They never got that far on Lynx. Nothing of real value remains of XCOR. They said they would keep core employees on a contract basis, but Doug Jones wasn't even a part of that mythical group. It's dead, Jim.
Real value of XCOR is technology of piston pump engines, however surpassed by today's 3D printed turbopumps.
Depends. 3d turbo pumps are
a) Very complex shapes.
b). Likely to need quite a lot of post processing to get the surface finish to a standard that keeps losses low and avoids stress concentrators being formed (doing so during the latter part of the MIT Micro-rocket engine project raised the maximum safe chamber pressure from 12 to 19atm, or about 58%
c)The Whitehead team at Sandia found losses rise a lot for turbo pumps below about 5 000lb. While the analysis is > 20 years old the fluid properties haven't changed.
So yes piston pumps do still score at the right level of size and are frankly a damm sight easier to build (drilling machines, lathes and hand tools, not 5-axis CNC milling machines).

Besides any XCOR patents will have some years to run, while the original Sandia ones have already expired.

The really unique IP they do have is the "unburnium" composite for LOX storage.

AFAIK there is nothing quite like it anywhere.
Turbopump is not THAT easy, but yet much easier today than 10 years ago, when no space startups could do it. SpaceX bought pumps from Barber Nichols untill full production of F9.

Small turbopumps are inefficient, but not too bad. I print turbopump parts from my desktop printer and cast them into metal. Preliminary tests with toy grade clearances (0.5~1mm) develops only 5~10% efficiency, yet means 220s potential isp capability. For pistons, 1mm clearances would be impossible to use.

LOX compatible composites have been reported since years,  they are only marginally beneficial.

From what little I understand of turbopumps, one of their main issues with reusability is bearing life. While 3D printing may make casting easier, it isn't going to make the bearings last longer, which is the important part.
I tried it at home

Offline Patchouli

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Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
« Reply #1179 on: 10/22/2017 12:17 AM »

From what little I understand of turbopumps, one of their main issues with reusability is bearing life. While 3D printing may make casting easier, it isn't going to make the bearings last longer, which is the important part.

Another issue is metal fatigue in the turbine blades.


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