Author Topic: DARPA Experimental Spaceplane 1 (XS-1) Program  (Read 265630 times)

Offline R7

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Re: DARPA Experimental Spaceplane 1 (XS-1) Program
« Reply #80 on: 09/20/2013 11:46 AM »
Is it that the point of the hypersonic bomber is not to look like an ICBM so you don't get nuked in return?

That's no doubt one of the key reasons. You do NOT want to go do conventional bombing at some insurgent hotspot in a 3rd world country near Russia/China border and accidentally set off nuclear WW3.

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Really, the effect of a hypersonic bomber isn't that much different from the effect of an ICBM except that it's reusable.  If you made an ICBM that could fly back and be reused, would that fill the hypersonic bomber role?


Flyback ICBMs are pretty much technical mission impossible. How do you recover the solid stages, especially the last one? Generals want them solid for storability and deployment speed. ICBM send the RVs to high-arc suborbit to hit the atmosphere in a steep angle. Your last stage and possible post-boost vehicle does the same. Nothing sort of a miracle saves them from being burned up, even bigger miracle needed for RTLS.

There's also political aspect; if you send conventional bombs via ICBM routes ie. through outer space other nations can start complaining in the UN etc that you are weaponizing space, the fact that you aren't technically violating OST could easily be forgotten in the uproar.

Some sort of atmosphere skipping Silvervogel appears to me to be most likely global reach hypersonic bomber. Still failing to see the real need for such though.

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Offline darkbluenine

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Re: DARPA Experimental Spaceplane 1 (XS-1) Program
« Reply #81 on: 09/21/2013 01:44 AM »
AvWeek has a new article:

http://www.aviationweek.com/Article.aspx?id=/article-xml/awx_09_19_2013_p0-618115.xml

I don't think the contractors or personnel involved in X-33 could even be put back together to finish a metal tank for DARPA's budget.

I wasn't suggesting that the original X-33 personnel and team could be reconstructed.  LockMart would basically be starting over from scratch on the workforce.  But most proposers to XS-1 would also be assembling personnel and teams from scratch, too.  So that's not necessarily a mark against X-33.  Designing, building, and installing a couple metal tanks certainly shouldn't be a problem.  It's a question of whether the rest of the vehicle can be finished and meet the XS-1 requirements on a DARPA-type budget.  I saw the vehicle shortly before the project was terminated and the build was very far along.  Various references state 80%+ complete.  I think it's mainly a question of how costly the mods would be for XS-1 requirements.

Just for the record, I'm not an X-33 fan.  I'm just throwing out a couple options that are potentially cheap-and-dirty enough to do the XS-1 job on a DARPA budget.  I actually doubt LockMart would bid X-33 given whatever they were up to with these very small reusable first stage tests back in 2007-8:

http://www.space.com/5276-lockheed-test-flies-space-plane-prototype.html
http://www.space.com/5733-space-plane-prototype-suffers-anomaly-launch-test.html

Still need to alter the design to include a sizable payload bay, with staging from an internal payload bay at high Mach below 100 km (or redesigning it to carry an externable payload, take your pick).

X-33 and VentureStar were often shown with external payloads.  Whether there was any engineering behind that art, I don't know:

http://www.hitechweb.genezis.eu/military_space_plane.files/lockheed_martin_MSP_military_space_plane.jpg
http://www.armaghplanet.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/Image-of-venturestar.jpg

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every part of that design would need some reworking to finish it and alter it to the new specification.

Thatís a pretty extreme statement thatís probably not true, but I agree that the extent and cost of any mods is the question that would have to be answered to consider X-33 for XS-1.

X-33 is not really a valid comparison; this is a first stage, not an SSTO.

X-33 was not an SSTO vehicle; VentureStar was.  X-33 was a subscale, suborbital, Mach 13 demonstrator.

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The requirements [for XS-1] are very different, and much more achievable than an SSTO.

Agreed, which is why Iím postulating that an X-33 downrated with metal tanks could achieve them.

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X-34?  Wikipedia says "Orbital and Rockwell withdrew less than a year after the contract was signed, because they decided the project could not be done for the promised amount.  It never got an engine, never got off the ground."

OSC came back and basically finished the build minus engine installation.  I saw the nearly finished vehicles at OSC's Dulles facility before project termination, and someone brought them out of storage to evaluate for potential flight testing a couple years ago:

http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/photos-nasa-moves-x-34s-out-of-storage-considers-return-to-flight-349997/

Again, I'm not a big X-34 fan.  I'm just throwing out a potentially cheap-and-dirty option to do the XS-1 job on a DARPA budget.  The X-34 vehicle itself probably can't handle Mach 10 or meet the payload requirements.  But it feels about right in terms of the size of the effort that can be expected under a DARPA budget for XS-1.  Something like an overgrown, vertically launched X-34 riding an AJ-26 or a Merlin (or two) might do the trick.

X-34 is a better comparison, but it's important to remember that its failure was largely down to the very ambitious FASTRAC engine, not vehicle itself.

I was pretty close to X-34 at the time of cancellation.  Although Fastrac was an issue, itís not what killed the project.  Dan Goldin got cold feet about conducting Mach 8 tests so close to a population center (Los Angeles) and NASA started levying some beefy safety requirements on OSC very late in the program.  The projected budget tripled as a result, and the program was terminated.

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A modernized (enlarged?) X-34 with a NK-33 could easily fit DARPA's requirements.

Thatís my guess, too.

Just reread the pdf and noticed that GH/F9R style approach might not fit DARPA's long term intents for the XS-1:

The lack of aerosurfaces on a vertical lander wonít offer a whole lot for hypersonic aircraft with global reach.  Hopefully DARPA wonít emphasize that in the evaluation criteria.

I also question whether F9R could meet the XS-1 requirement of getting turned around for flight in a day for ten days in a row.  F9R wonít launch from its landing legs, for example, and itís unclear how long F9R will take to process and fuel when F9R also has to be taken off its legs, its legs retracted, transported back to its pad, and erected again.  But practically all providers face the same issue.  Outside Armadillo/Masten mini-lunar landers, thereís nothing that has met a 24-hour turnaround.  Even DC-XA only got down to 26 hours.

It would be nice if a vertical lander could play in this game, even if SpaceX has other things to do and F9R doesnít exactly fit the operability goal.  Maybe Blue Origin will bring something out of the woodwork or someone will partner with Masten.  Too bad Armadillo has fallen by the wayside.

I liked the idea of the OSC "Upper Stage Flight Experiment" and I never really got what was so classified about it.
AFAIK its never flown so it could be sitting around the AFRL warehouse.


Me, too.  It would be slick if X-42 mated well with XS-1, and OSC could crank out upper stages for an operational reusable booster without too much delay.

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I'll note that HMX has stated that Spacex will sell Merlins and he indicated they would be about $5m each. Not sure if that includes the pressurized fuel TVC actuators though.

Iím not so sure.  I know a sizable company that tried to buy Kestrels for an ALASA proposal, got turned down by SpaceX, and then just asked to pay SpaceX for a license to produce Kestrels, and Musk himself still turned them down, ostensibly because it was a distraction from Muskís Mars goal.  I'd think any licensing revenue for SpaceX would contribute to Musk's Mars goal, but go figureÖ

Offline darkbluenine

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Re: DARPA Experimental Spaceplane 1 (XS-1) Program
« Reply #82 on: 09/21/2013 01:53 AM »
Looking at the requirements in the Proposers' Day notice from DARPA, there's nothing that requires XS-1 to land at the same location it launches from.  There's a bullet about flying ten times in ten days, and there's a bullet about clean pad operations, but not much else.  In fact, the clean pad bullet emphasizes "enabling flight from a wide range of locations".

I'm probably misreading the tea leaves, and who knows what the actual RFP will require.  But if there is no RTLS (return to launch site) requirement, that could really open up the trade space.

FWIW...
 

Offline jongoff

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Re: DARPA Experimental Spaceplane 1 (XS-1) Program
« Reply #83 on: 09/21/2013 04:10 AM »
Looking at the requirements in the Proposers' Day notice from DARPA, there's nothing that requires XS-1 to land at the same location it launches from.  There's a bullet about flying ten times in ten days, and there's a bullet about clean pad operations, but not much else.  In fact, the clean pad bullet emphasizes "enabling flight from a wide range of locations".

I'm probably misreading the tea leaves, and who knows what the actual RFP will require.  But if there is no RTLS (return to launch site) requirement, that could really open up the trade space.

Yeah, but in order to do 10 flights in 10 days properly, you're likely going to need RTLS...I mean, unless they let you game the system by flying back and forth from one pad to another, but I kind of doubt it. They have discretion to ignore proposals that are "too clever by half" like that.

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Offline a_langwich

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Re: DARPA Experimental Spaceplane 1 (XS-1) Program
« Reply #84 on: 09/21/2013 05:01 AM »
Just reread the pdf and noticed that GH/F9R style approach might not fit DARPA's long term intents for the XS-1:

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The long-term intent is for XS-1 technologies to be transitioned to support not only next-generation launch for Government and commercial customers, but also global reach hypersonic and space access aircraft.

And retracting what I said about it being obfuscated hypersonic bomber research. Does not seem obfuscated at all  ::)

Presumably a GH/F9R style approach would be applicable to space access aircraft, although I agree that phrasing suggests very strongly that someone has their head in the clouds and is wanting Buck Rogers for no bucks.  Hopefully the people running the program are grounded in reality, and just included those phrases to satisfy someone higher up.  A thermal protection system might be weakly applicable?  Maybe an autonomous landing system?  A very robust engine, perhaps based on something like XCOR's piston pump designs, might also be transferrable.

I don't think DARPA is thinking hypersonic bomber so much as hypersonic ANYTHING at this point.  They and USAF have done dozens of hypersonic programs--wasn't the last one down to just a cruise missile?  They've also done dozens and dozens of "affordable access" and "quick response" launch vehicle programs, with mixed results. 

If they insist on winged vehicles and Mach 10 where atmospheric heating is a factor, you can kiss goodbye all the money before any possibility of orbit or rapid re-flight is considered.  If your goal is orbit, and long airframe lifetimes, and cheap prices, and fast turnarounds, then that's the wrong approach on every count, and they have reams of past data to support that.

But if the project manager is from the DC-X program, and he has the authority to pursue his instincts, then I have hope that he knows this better than I do.

Offline RigelFive

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Re: DARPA Experimental Spaceplane 1 (XS-1) Program
« Reply #85 on: 09/21/2013 05:44 AM »
For DARPA hard projects, this looks to be one of the more challenging.

If you think of capability now and what they want to incrementally improve to.... I'd start with thinking about launching an x-37 with an Atlas V.  According to wikipedia, an Atlas V launch costs $223 million.  The payload to be delivered is half the weight of a (fuel?) loaded X-37.  The clean pad requirement disqualifies x-37 because (according to Wikipedia) there is hydrazine onboard.  So this project seems like a clean next-gen x-37 w/o the Atlas V.

Only spaceplane concepts (to me) that are in the game are an X-37 variant, an XCor variant and a Skylon variant.  Skylon currently only goes Mach 5.  X-37 redesign would be unaffordable.  Perhaps with an autonomous XCOR Lynx variant? 

The $5 million launch cost seems too hard to meet.  NPV equations would say X-37/Atlas Vs are here to stay.
« Last Edit: 09/21/2013 06:43 AM by RigelFive »

Offline simonbp

Re: DARPA Experimental Spaceplane 1 (XS-1) Program
« Reply #86 on: 09/21/2013 06:36 AM »
Probably none. Xcor will probably propose for this, but they probably won't propose an actual Lynx derivative. Rather, I imagine they'll propose a vehicle with a similar shape (to use the aero data they have/will have from Lynx), but which is completely different on the inside.

Other plausible bidders include Orbital (X-34 legacy), Lockheed Martin (was front runner for the cancelled RBS), and maybe even Northrop/Scaled Composites.
« Last Edit: 09/21/2013 06:37 AM by simonbp »

Offline a_langwich

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Re: DARPA Experimental Spaceplane 1 (XS-1) Program
« Reply #87 on: 09/21/2013 09:47 AM »
AvWeek has a new article:

http://www.aviationweek.com/Article.aspx?id=/article-xml/awx_09_19_2013_p0-618115.xml

Oh dear.  5,000 lb to orbit for $5 million dollars a launch?  Is this serious?

Did Jess Sponable leave AFRL to come to DARPA in the 2012 time frame?  And AFRL cancelled the RBS project in 2012 and now DARPA has started this XS-1 program...coincidence?

It sounds like VTHL approaches were preferred for RBS.  I wonder why?



http://www.space.com/5276-lockheed-test-flies-space-plane-prototype.html
http://www.space.com/5733-space-plane-prototype-suffers-anomaly-launch-test.html

Very interesting, thanks for the links!


Still need to alter the design to include a sizable payload bay, with staging from an internal payload bay at high Mach below 100 km (or redesigning it to carry an externable payload, take your pick).

X-33 and VentureStar were often shown with external payloads.  Whether there was any engineering behind that art, I don't know:

http://www.hitechweb.genezis.eu/military_space_plane.files/lockheed_martin_MSP_military_space_plane.jpg
http://www.armaghplanet.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/Image-of-venturestar.jpg

Those pictures are artist drawings of VentureStar, not X-33, separating a payload outside the atmosphere.  As you know, the X-33 was never intended to reach that operating environment, and was absolutely taxed just meeting the challenges IT faced.  Seems unlikely much time would be spent considering details that would only be applicable to a follow-on (and could only be characterized using the performance achieved by the X-33). 

Funny enough, the AvWeek artwork for XS-1 and some of DARPA's too seem to echo those same pictures.

But why, if you aren't air-breathing and trying to go SSTO, would you use a lifting body and a low heat-soaked trajectory?  Is orbit so easily attained that you want to try with one hand tied behind your back and a knife stuck in one leg?  The wings are hurting your mass fraction, and causing drag losses; and the heating challenges touched every part of the design, and required very expensive construction measures to ensure cooling.  The aircraft shape guarantees that you need to do a fairly extensive re-analysis of the aerodynamics throughout the entire flight envelope when you add or resize an external upper stage and payload.  None of that helps you reach orbit, and it hurts you probably fatally when you try to reach the cost goals, and it's not going to help maintainability or quick turnaround either.  How long do you think it's going to take the beast to cool down from a Mach 10 cruise inside the atmosphere?  And then start chilling it for cryogenics again?

It's a white elephant; if someone handed you the prototype free, you would break the DARPA bank trying to wrestle it into contention.


Again, I'm not a big X-34 fan.  I'm just throwing out a potentially cheap-and-dirty option to do the XS-1 job on a DARPA budget.  The X-34 vehicle itself probably can't handle Mach 10 or meet the payload requirements.  But it feels about right in terms of the size of the effort that can be expected under a DARPA budget for XS-1.  Something like an overgrown, vertically launched X-34 riding an AJ-26 or a Merlin (or two) might do the trick.

Something like a totally unrelated VTHL craft that you designed from scratch, but in a program roughly sized like the X-34 program?  :)  Maybe so.

I'm a little skeptical right now that wings, landing gear, brakes, and all the penalties of the slow-speed flying and landing equipment are less costly than vertical landing, but it would be very interesting to have both small VTHL and VTVL reusable vehicle data points to compare.  I am utterly convinced that a conventional rocket trajectory on the way up is necessary to meet DARPA's goals.


I also question whether F9R could meet the XS-1 requirement of getting turned around for flight in a day for ten days in a row.  F9R wonít launch from its landing legs, for example, and itís unclear how long F9R will take to process and fuel when F9R also has to be taken off its legs, its legs retracted, transported back to its pad, and erected again.  But practically all providers face the same issue.  Outside Armadillo/Masten mini-lunar landers, thereís nothing that has met a 24-hour turnaround.  Even DC-XA only got down to 26 hours.

It would be nice if a vertical lander could play in this game, even if SpaceX has other things to do and F9R doesnít exactly fit the operability goal.  Maybe Blue Origin will bring something out of the woodwork or someone will partner with Masten.  Too bad Armadillo has fallen by the wayside.

On this, I completely agree with you.  The tempo is ferocious, at the scale of an orbital vehicle.

Seems like it might be very helpful for Blue Origin or Masten or XCOR, and I can't help but think the small guys would get much closer to the cost targets. 



Online john smith 19

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Re: DARPA Experimental Spaceplane 1 (XS-1) Program
« Reply #88 on: 09/21/2013 10:04 AM »
For DARPA hard projects, this looks to be one of the more challenging.

If you think of capability now and what they want to incrementally improve to.... I'd start with thinking about launching an x-37 with an Atlas V.  According to wikipedia, an Atlas V launch costs $223 million.  The payload to be delivered is half the weight of a (fuel?) loaded X-37.  The clean pad requirement disqualifies x-37 because (according to Wikipedia) there is hydrazine onboard.  So this project seems like a clean next-gen x-37 w/o the Atlas V.
Except DARPA does not do incremental. They do 2,3 or more fold, or better yet orders of magnitude improvement. Hence my (partly) joking line about the Almost Impossible Mission Force.

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Only spaceplane concepts (to me) that are in the game are an X-37 variant, an XCor variant and a Skylon variant.  Skylon currently only goes Mach 5.  X-37 redesign would be unaffordable.  Perhaps with an autonomous XCOR Lynx variant? 

The $5 million launch cost seems too hard to meet.  NPV equations would say X-37/Atlas Vs are here to stay.
You have a slight misunderstanding about Skylon. It's SSTO. M5+ is the air breathing part before it switches to full rocket mode. However right now REL are in detail design of their ground engine and very far from applying. They are also not a US company which pretty much rules them out anyway.  :(

Technology for  this is going to be tough (that's part of the reason they do these things) but it's the  economics that make it really tough.
Yeah, but in order to do 10 flights in 10 days properly, you're likely going to need RTLS...I mean, unless they let you game the system by flying back and forth from one pad to another, but I kind of doubt it. They have discretion to ignore proposals that are "too clever by half" like that.
I don't think anyone's ever tried that approach.  :) Obviously it limits the sites to somewhere with 2 airfields within a few hundred Km of each other that should not be too strict an issue.

I keep going back to the fact that while they specify up to M10, they don't say if it's horizontal or vertical, or along the flight vector of the vehicle. A VTOL could go "almost" straight up, give the payload some horizontal velocity before separation and (more or less) "fall" back to the launch site.

I think there's enough wiggle room for some very creative solutions but that still leaves a pretty big job for the 2nd stage to do to get to orbit.

That said this does seem like it could be  good fit for the USAF's X42 composite storable green propellant upper stage.

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A modernized (enlarged?) X-34 with a NK-33 could easily fit DARPA's requirements.
Thatís my guess, too.
I wonder how many AJ26's Aerojet has left, and of course what's their cost?
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The lack of aerosurfaces on a vertical lander wonít offer a whole lot for hypersonic aircraft with global reach.  Hopefully DARPA wonít emphasize that in the evaluation criteria.
You can have hypersonic launch or hypersonic cruise, but you can't have both. I don't get why this concept is so difficult to understand. Very bad things happen when you try to get one vehicle to do both.  :( 
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I also question whether F9R could meet the XS-1 requirement of getting turned around for flight in a day for ten days in a row.  F9R wonít launch from its landing legs, for example, and itís unclear how long F9R will take to process and fuel when F9R also has to be taken off its legs, its legs retracted, transported back to its pad, and erected again.  But practically all providers face the same issue.  Outside Armadillo/Masten mini-lunar landers, thereís nothing that has met a 24-hour turnaround.  Even DC-XA only got down to 26 hours.

It would be nice if a vertical lander could play in this game, even if SpaceX has other things to do and F9R doesnít exactly fit the operability goal.  Maybe Blue Origin will bring something out of the woodwork or someone will partner with Masten.  Too bad Armadillo has fallen by the wayside.

I liked the idea of the OSC "Upper Stage Flight Experiment" and I never really got what was so classified about it.
AFAIK its never flown so it could be sitting around the AFRL warehouse.


Me, too.  It would be slick if X-42 mated well with XS-1, and OSC could crank out upper stages for an operational reusable booster without too much delay.

Quote
I'll note that HMX has stated that Spacex will sell Merlins and he indicated they would be about $5m each. Not sure if that includes the pressurized fuel TVC actuators though.

Iím not so sure.  I know a sizable company that tried to buy Kestrels for an ALASA proposal, got turned down by SpaceX, and then just asked to pay SpaceX for a license to produce Kestrels, and Musk himself still turned them down, ostensibly because it was a distraction from Muskís Mars goal.  I'd think any licensing revenue for SpaceX would contribute to Musk's Mars goal, but go figureÖ
Spacex seem very focused on not splitting their efforts. IIRC ALASA was starting as their F1 work was winding down. Unlike a sub contractor they don't keep assembly lines running on the "off chance" someone will need a few extra and being a modern mfg co they do JIT mfg, so if they don't need it there is no pile of old Kestrels in the warehouse to sell off.

A license would imply transferring the whole mfg process to another company, which, given Spacex's tendency to make most of the big bits in house means a lot of work on  their part to transfer processes, possibly major hardware and training of the other co's in house staff.

From Spacex's PoV that's all pain, not much gain.  :( . It might be SOP in most big aerospace companies but not Spacex. Pity as Kestrel sounded pretty neat and I'm not sure there are any other LOX/RP1 upper stage engines available in the West, but Spacex is in the engine business through necessity, not choice.  :(

OTOH an outright sale of a current engine with a continuing production need (either as Merlin 1c or 1d Sl or Vac) is a simple cash deal. You hand them money, they hand you engine (hopefully with some documentation  :) )

Probably none. Xcor will probably propose for this, but they probably won't propose an actual Lynx derivative. Rather, I imagine they'll propose a vehicle with a similar shape (to use the aero data they have/will have from Lynx), but which is completely different on the inside.

Other plausible bidders include Orbital (X-34 legacy), Lockheed Martin (was front runner for the cancelled RBS), and maybe even Northrop/Scaled Composites.
Lynx won't cut it. IIRC they were talking about an upper stage that weighed about 800lb that could put maybe 10Kg into orbit. That's an order of magnitude too small.

Northrop/Scaled are interesting. Current plastics temperature limits are at 250c at least. Extending the thinking of the SS2 TPS might get them to M10 just long enough to do a launch.


« Last Edit: 09/21/2013 10:07 AM by john smith 19 »
BFS. The worlds first Methane fueled FFORSC engined CFRP structured A380 sized aerospaceplane tail sitter capable of flying in Earth and Mars atmospheres. BFR. The worlds biggest Methane fueled FFORSC engined CFRP structured booster for BFS. First flight to Mars by end of 2022. Forward looking statements. T&C apply. Believe no one. Run your own numbers. So, you are going to Mars to start a better life? Picture it in your mind. Now say what it is out loud.

Offline R7

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Re: DARPA Experimental Spaceplane 1 (XS-1) Program
« Reply #89 on: 09/21/2013 10:30 AM »
AvWeek has a new article:

http://www.aviationweek.com/Article.aspx?id=/article-xml/awx_09_19_2013_p0-618115.xml


Quote from: AvW
Ironically, it was at the same conference last year that news emerged of the termination of the Pathfinder project. By that time one of the three contestants, Lockheed Martin, had begun hot fire tests of a rocket engine designed to power its RBS demonstrator. The sub-scale Pathfinder was being developed under the AFRLís RBS Flight and Ground Experiments (RBS-FGE) program. The Pathfinder was expected to lead to a larger-scale demonstrator and, ultimately, a full-scale reusable successor to the current Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) family beyond 2025.

Consisting of a vertically-launched reusable first stage and expendable upper stage, the RBS was designed to cut launch costs by more than 50% compared to conventional Delta IV and Atlas V rockets.

LM was already bending metal towards Atlas V-semiR but that gets canned and replaced by this M10 thing? Where's the proper smiley for this...



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Online john smith 19

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Re: DARPA Experimental Spaceplane 1 (XS-1) Program
« Reply #90 on: 09/21/2013 12:56 PM »
AvWeek has a new article:

http://www.aviationweek.com/Article.aspx?id=/article-xml/awx_09_19_2013_p0-618115.xml


Quote from: AvW
Consisting of a vertically-launched reusable first stage and expendable upper stage, the RBS was designed to cut launch costs by more than 50% compared to conventional Delta IV and Atlas V rockets.

LM was already bending metal towards Atlas V-semiR but that gets canned and replaced by this M10 thing? Where's the proper smiley for this...
Truly the ways of US govt funding are inscrutable.

However a 50% cut on ELV costs to the Pentagon was what prompted the EELV in the first place.
ELV launch cost inflation has IIRC eaten that away to nothing. So 50% of that would bring them back to square one.  :(  :(
That would still give you a about $125m/ launch.
BFS. The worlds first Methane fueled FFORSC engined CFRP structured A380 sized aerospaceplane tail sitter capable of flying in Earth and Mars atmospheres. BFR. The worlds biggest Methane fueled FFORSC engined CFRP structured booster for BFS. First flight to Mars by end of 2022. Forward looking statements. T&C apply. Believe no one. Run your own numbers. So, you are going to Mars to start a better life? Picture it in your mind. Now say what it is out loud.

Offline RigelFive

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Re: DARPA Experimental Spaceplane 1 (XS-1) Program
« Reply #91 on: 09/22/2013 07:01 AM »
Oh dear.  5,000 lb to orbit for $5 million dollars a launch?  Is this serious?

Did Jess Sponable leave AFRL to come to DARPA in the 2012 time frame?  And AFRL cancelled the RBS project in 2012 and now DARPA has started this XS-1 program...coincidence?

It sounds like VTHL approaches were preferred for RBS.  I wonder why?
Wow!!!!  :o

I was not aware of the AFRL RBS program and its eventual demise by committee (the NRC) which included Crippen and a supreme cast of others. 

http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=13534

Yes a 50% reduction was not clear for AFRL RBS in 2012, so why not just swing for the wall with a 95% reduction under DARPA XS-1?  I can hear the cellos begin to groan already.  Definitely a job for the Impossible Mission Force!
« Last Edit: 09/22/2013 09:07 AM by RigelFive »

Online john smith 19

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Re: DARPA Experimental Spaceplane 1 (XS-1) Program
« Reply #92 on: 09/22/2013 02:13 PM »
Wow!!!!  :o

I was not aware of the AFRL RBS program and its eventual demise by committee (the NRC) which included Crippen and a supreme cast of others. 

http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=13534

Yes a 50% reduction was not clear for AFRL RBS in 2012, so why not just swing for the wall with a 95% reduction under DARPA XS-1?  I can hear the cellos begin to groan already.  Definitely a job for the Impossible Mission Force!
Well that's why they are the Almost IMF  :) .

Personally I'd suggest there are 4 numbers that count in any situation like this.

1)Non recurring budget (IE the DDT&E budget)  2) The recurring budget per launch 3) The payload mass 4) The number of days of turnaround.

Everything else should be up to the the bidders.   :(

Once you start specifying how it should be done you start boxing in the design options. Not a good idea given just how tough (that turnaround cost if it includes the cost of the expendable stage for example) this is going to be without constraints.

[edit. Based on the report cited the DoD would like a programme with a 20 yr life that can launch about 10 payloads/yr. They say a $10Bn "life cycle" cost over those 20 yrs and a cost/launch of $30m.

Note this is for a developed launch system supporting an existing EELV class of payloads with at least the same reliability as the existing EELV supplier.

Getting that budget (to go to full scale) out of the Legislature ("You've got EELV's, you want another launch systems?") will be challenging. They also seem to want a US designed and built NK33 in there as well, and the RS25E for the 2nd stage.   :(

If that baggage is carried onto the XS-1 programme I'm fairly confident this will fail.  I really hope it will not be carried  :( ]

« Last Edit: 09/22/2013 02:39 PM by john smith 19 »
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Offline a_langwich

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Re: DARPA Experimental Spaceplane 1 (XS-1) Program
« Reply #93 on: 09/23/2013 06:26 AM »
I was not aware of the AFRL RBS program and its eventual demise by committee (the NRC) which included Crippen and a supreme cast of others. 

http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=13534

Yes a 50% reduction was not clear for AFRL RBS in 2012, so why not just swing for the wall with a 95% reduction under DARPA XS-1?  I can hear the cellos begin to groan already.  Definitely a job for the Impossible Mission Force!

Thanks for the link!
The findings/recommendations of the committee look pretty solid.  They didn't even recommend cancelling the program, and certainly not the Pathfinder part of it.  One recommendation was to have, independently of whether RBS goes or stops, programs to raise the TRL of  1) ORSC hydrocarbon engine, 2) rocketback RTLS, 3) vehicle health management, and 4) adaptive guidance and control.  I'm not sure precisely what is included in the last two, but YES for the first two, for me.  Problem is, aren't most of these at a TRL level where they need to fly to advance it?  Haven't they all been done at the scaled down prototype level?

The AvWeek article mentioned Lockheed Martin had begun hotfire tests of an engine under RBS.  Was that engine an ORSC hydrocarbon engine, does anyone know, and what engine was it?  That sounds very interesting.  And was it for the scaled down Pathfinder, thus hinting there were multiple sizes of this engine planned?


Back to XS-1, I wonder if it is targeting this recommendation:
Quote from: National Research Council
Finding 4:  For RBS to significantly impact Air Force launch operations, it would have to be more responsive than current expendable launch systems.  However, no requirement for RBS responsiveness has been identified that would drive technology development.

The ten-flights-in-ten-days sure takes care of driving responsiveness.

Offline jongoff

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Re: DARPA Experimental Spaceplane 1 (XS-1) Program
« Reply #94 on: 09/23/2013 04:48 PM »
As much fun as all the speculation is, are there any NSFers planning on going to the industry day? IIRC, it's coming up in two weeks out in DC. Should be possible to get a much clearer idea of what they're going after, as I think we're speculating here on pretty ambiguous information about the project.

~Jon

Offline Danderman

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Re: DARPA Experimental Spaceplane 1 (XS-1) Program
« Reply #95 on: 09/23/2013 05:23 PM »
A modernized (enlarged?) X-34 with a NK-33 could easily fit DARPA's requirements.

I should mention that Orbital - at one point in the program - baselined an NK-39 engine for X-34.

Online john smith 19

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Re: DARPA Experimental Spaceplane 1 (XS-1) Program
« Reply #96 on: 09/23/2013 08:02 PM »
As much fun as all the speculation is, are there any NSFers planning on going to the industry day? IIRC, it's coming up in two weeks out in DC. Should be possible to get a much clearer idea of what they're going after, as I think we're speculating here on pretty ambiguous information about the project.
~Jon
True. The RFI and the presentation video put out some quite mixed messages about what is expected.

The Industry Day should answer a lot of questions (and if doesn't I'm not sure anyone could produce a viable entry).

You're not going?
BFS. The worlds first Methane fueled FFORSC engined CFRP structured A380 sized aerospaceplane tail sitter capable of flying in Earth and Mars atmospheres. BFR. The worlds biggest Methane fueled FFORSC engined CFRP structured booster for BFS. First flight to Mars by end of 2022. Forward looking statements. T&C apply. Believe no one. Run your own numbers. So, you are going to Mars to start a better life? Picture it in your mind. Now say what it is out loud.

Offline Oli

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Re: DARPA Experimental Spaceplane 1 (XS-1) Program
« Reply #97 on: 09/23/2013 10:53 PM »
That is interesting. A few remarks.

Mach 10 ist much closer to optimal staging velocity for a first stage than Mach 6, so it makes sense in order to minimize total system mass for a given payload.

Mach 10 practically rules out boost-back. I think in this case we can also rule out downrange landing on an ocean platform or similar, I guess that would not be flexible enough for DARPA.

So my guess is either

- "Traditional" fly-back first stage, vertical or horizontal launch, or
- Air-launched first stage, probably winged, for unpowered landing downrange.
« Last Edit: 09/23/2013 11:00 PM by Oli »

Offline ChrisWilson68

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Re: DARPA Experimental Spaceplane 1 (XS-1) Program
« Reply #98 on: 09/23/2013 11:02 PM »
That is interesting. A few remarks.

Mach 10 ist much closer to optimal staging velocity for a first stage than Mach 6, so it makes sense in order to minimize total system mass for a given payload.

Mach 10 practically rules out boost-back. I think in this case we can also rule out downrange landing on an ocean platform or similar, I guess that would not be flexible enough for DARPA.

So my guess is either

- "Traditional" fly-back first stage, or

If boost back isn't practical, I don't see how a traditional fly-back would be.  Boost back requires extra prop to get back, but it does it outside the atmosphere.  Traditional fly-back also needs prop and also wings and it has to fight atmospheric friction.  Are you suggesting a sub-sonic fly-back with traditional jet engines?  In that case, it has to carry an extra set of engines just to do the flyback.

- Air-launched first stage, probably winged, for unpowered landing downrange.

If an air-launched first stage is allowed to land downrange, why not a F9R-like VTVL vehicle?

Offline Oli

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Re: DARPA Experimental Spaceplane 1 (XS-1) Program
« Reply #99 on: 09/23/2013 11:29 PM »
Quote from: ChrisWilson68
Are you suggesting a sub-sonic fly-back with traditional jet engines?  In that case, it has to carry an extra set of engines just to do the flyback.

Sure. For a Mach 6 fly-back booster additional engine and fuel mass are minimal (I remember the A5 fly-back booster concept needed 3.65t of hydrogen (of 223t GLOW) for 550km fly-back). Not sure how much farther Mach 10 would come down, I heard for expendable F9 its 980 miles, so approx. 3x farther.

Quote from: ChrisWilson68
If an air-launched first stage is allowed to land downrange, why not a F9R-like VTVL vehicle?

With air-launch you can launch wherever you want. So you can basically pick your downrange location.

Edit: I think this is wrong. You'd still have to make sure the trajectory does not go over land, so would need a trajectory that "touches" the land at the downrange location, impossible for different inclinations. Ok then, no air-launch ;).

Edit2: On the other hand, going over land with the second stage after 1000 miles doesn't sound too dangerous. Anybody knows what the regulations say?

« Last Edit: 09/24/2013 02:44 PM by Oli »

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