Author Topic: New Glenn: Blue Origin Announcement of Orbital Rocket Plan  (Read 124952 times)

Offline Navier–Stokes

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Re: New Glenn: Blue Origin Announcement of Orbital Rocket Plan
« Reply #740 on: 04/14/2017 06:57 PM »
There's also the performance shortfall to deal with. Right now, SpaceX is not only claiming twice the payload to GTO of New Glenn for FH, but also 3t more payload to Mars than New Glenn can put in GTO. Admittedly, those are paper numbers for FH, but New Glenn is in the same boat (worse off even as we don't even have a single engine firing yet).
Keep in mind that you are comparing expendable Falcon Heavy numbers to reusable New Glenn numbers. A standard reusable Falcon Heavy is up to 8.0 mT to GTO (vs. 13 mT for New Glenn).

Edit: The standard reusable Falcon Heavy is three core RTLS. The most appropriate comparison would probably be center core ASDS.
« Last Edit: 04/14/2017 07:12 PM by Navier–Stokes »

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: New Glenn: Blue Origin Announcement of Orbital Rocket Plan
« Reply #741 on: 04/15/2017 02:31 AM »
We don't yet know what 8mT may mean. It could even mean FULLY reusable for FH. SpaceX wanted to have margin to play with for its own purposes (perhaps secondary payloads) while also giving them the opportunity to charge more for larger payloads.

It doesn't mean it's the limit of RTLS or whatever.
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Online su27k

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Re: New Glenn: Blue Origin Announcement of Orbital Rocket Plan
« Reply #742 on: 04/15/2017 05:30 AM »
There's also the performance shortfall to deal with. Right now, SpaceX is not only claiming twice the payload to GTO of New Glenn for FH, but also 3t more payload to Mars than New Glenn can put in GTO. Admittedly, those are paper numbers for FH, but New Glenn is in the same boat (worse off even as we don't even have a single engine firing yet).
Keep in mind that you are comparing expendable Falcon Heavy numbers to reusable New Glenn numbers. A standard reusable Falcon Heavy is up to 8.0 mT to GTO (vs. 13 mT for New Glenn).

Also the latest FH number already included projected performance upgrade from Block 5, while NG still have performance margins they have yet to release. I wouldn't be surprised if NG's performance ends up being quite a bit higher than FH.

Offline Lars-J

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Re: New Glenn: Blue Origin Announcement of Orbital Rocket Plan
« Reply #743 on: 04/15/2017 06:49 AM »
Even taking into account extra margin for reusability, New Glenn seems oversized. (see image below, from another thread) However... It will likely have enough margin from the start to lift a reusable second stage. I would NOT be surprised if Bezos plan is to surprise his competitors by adding it much sooner than we think.

Even if he is not planning to do so very soon, the first stage is more than capable of lifting such a reusable stage when it is ready.

Online FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: New Glenn: Blue Origin Announcement of Orbital Rocket Plan
« Reply #744 on: 04/15/2017 07:13 AM »
Even taking into account extra margin for reusability, New Glenn seems oversized.

Jeff Bezos has been explicit about it being a medium performance variant of a high performance architecture (to improve resilience for re-use).  F9 / FH seem to be pushed more to the limits of what their architectures can achieve (e.g. M1D thrust ratings, super-cooled propellants etc).

So to what extent are F9/FH 'too small' rather than NG 'too big'?

Offline Lars-J

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Re: New Glenn: Blue Origin Announcement of Orbital Rocket Plan
« Reply #745 on: 04/15/2017 07:45 AM »
So to what extent are F9/FH 'too small' rather than NG 'too big'?

It's not complicated. F9 is well sized to deliver most payloads with an expendable upper stage.

NG has far more margin with an expendable upper stage. But that margin can be used  to deliver most payloads with a *reusable* upper stage. And suddenly the sizing of the rocket makes a lot more sense.

But again, this is just my own thoughts and speculation. Bezos may well have a 45mt payload class in mind. Or he is future proofing it. Or both.  :)
« Last Edit: 04/15/2017 07:46 AM by Lars-J »

Offline GWH

There's also the performance shortfall to deal with. Right now, SpaceX is not only claiming twice the payload to GTO of New Glenn for FH, but also 3t more payload to Mars than New Glenn can put in GTO. Admittedly, those are paper numbers for FH, but New Glenn is in the same boat (worse off even as we don't even have a single engine firing yet).
Keep in mind that you are comparing expendable Falcon Heavy numbers to reusable New Glenn numbers. A standard reusable Falcon Heavy is up to 8.0 mT to GTO (vs. 13 mT for New Glenn).

Edit: The standard reusable Falcon Heavy is three core RTLS. The most appropriate comparison would probably be center core ASDS.

The more important question here is when was the last time a commercial payload >8mT was flown? Not including stacked payloads like Ariane 5+SYLDA.

Referencing Ed Kyle's website Space Launch Report and searching back to 2010 I found a whopping ZERO flights that would make use of capacity above the FH numbers without dual payloads.

So if F9/FH can handle all commercial payloads as separate flights, either single stick to Drone ship or 3 core RTLS then Blue is going to have to find a way to compete despite a VERY large autonomous landing ship, larger ground infrastructure with a lower flight rate, and a much larger and more expensive single engine upper stage that is initially expendable.  Blue has sated that they can be competitive on a $/kg basis but per actual payloads I think they have a steep hill to climb*.

Or they just give the flights away because they are Bezos rich.

Offline mme

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Re: New Glenn: Blue Origin Announcement of Orbital Rocket Plan
« Reply #747 on: 04/15/2017 07:49 PM »
There's also the performance shortfall to deal with. Right now, SpaceX is not only claiming twice the payload to GTO of New Glenn for FH, but also 3t more payload to Mars than New Glenn can put in GTO. Admittedly, those are paper numbers for FH, but New Glenn is in the same boat (worse off even as we don't even have a single engine firing yet).
Keep in mind that you are comparing expendable Falcon Heavy numbers to reusable New Glenn numbers. A standard reusable Falcon Heavy is up to 8.0 mT to GTO (vs. 13 mT for New Glenn).

Edit: The standard reusable Falcon Heavy is three core RTLS. The most appropriate comparison would probably be center core ASDS.

The more important question here is when was the last time a commercial payload >8mT was flown? Not including stacked payloads like Ariane 5+SYLDA.

Referencing Ed Kyle's website Space Launch Report and searching back to 2010 I found a whopping ZERO flights that would make use of capacity above the FH numbers without dual payloads.

So if F9/FH can handle all commercial payloads as separate flights, either single stick to Drone ship or 3 core RTLS then Blue is going to have to find a way to compete despite a VERY large autonomous landing ship, larger ground infrastructure with a lower flight rate, and a much larger and more expensive single engine upper stage that is initially expendable.  Blue has sated that they can be competitive on a $/kg basis but per actual payloads I think they have a steep hill to climb*.

Or they just give the flights away because they are Bezos rich.
I agree but don't see how these are arguments against New Glenn having a serious impact over the next decade or two.

TLDR - I think New Glenn can be "too big" for the next 20 years, undercut the competition, fly up to the stated 24 missions per year and wait until a market (hopefully) appears to utilize it to build habitats, launch deep space HSF or whatever.

TMI - I think Bezos' approach is largely "build it and they will come."  They are talking about ramping up to 24 flights a year in three years (so by 2024 if they make their announced schedules) which is not a low flight rate by any recent standard.  They are also claiming they intend to be the lowest $/kg launch service.

I actually have very mixed feelings about Blue. I want reusability to succeed (more to the point, I want greatly expanded access to spaceflight for humanity.)  Therefore, I want SpaceX *and* Blue to succeed.  I want to see a competitive market developed.

I think Bezos is smart and driven, I don't doubt his willingness to spend down his fortune over the remainder of his life.  As my signature expresses, I don't think market forces in spaceflight "naturally" lead to monopolies.  I think any sufficiently funded group of driven and intelligent aerospace engineers can (eventually) compete with SpaceX.

Bezos has always set off my "predator" alarm. So the question for me isn't whether Blue will succeed with New Glenn. The question is if they succeed, will Bezos "play nice" or will he use his money to run at a loss indefinitely.

For people shrugging off the value and power of Bezos' money and thinking in terms of needing investors and a business model that supports them, let me put his wealth in context.  His personal wealth exceeds the combined value of the top 3 IPOs in history.  Blue would have access to *less* money if they IPOd rather than staying privately held. Barring AMZN losing it's dominance in the market or a total collapse of the world economy, Blue doesn't have to make a profit in Bezos' lifetime.  I doubt they will go public (unless the employees force it like they did with MSFT.  I doubt Bezos has been promising people riches so they probably don't have that lever.)
Space is not Highlander.  There can, and will, be more than one.

Offline baldusi

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Re: New Glenn: Blue Origin Announcement of Orbital Rocket Plan
« Reply #748 on: 04/15/2017 10:48 PM »
BTW, EELV has used something close to 13 tonnes to GTO. Look up NROL-15. But it's more the exception than the rule.

Online meekGee

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Re: New Glenn: Blue Origin Announcement of Orbital Rocket Plan
« Reply #749 on: 04/15/2017 11:02 PM »
So to what extent are F9/FH 'too small' rather than NG 'too big'?

It's not complicated. F9 is well sized to deliver most payloads with an expendable upper stage.

NG has far more margin with an expendable upper stage. But that margin can be used  to deliver most payloads with a *reusable* upper stage. And suddenly the sizing of the rocket makes a lot more sense.

But again, this is just my own thoughts and speculation. Bezos may well have a 45mt payload class in mind. Or he is future proofing it. Or both.  :)

F9 sizing is capped by decisions made 10 years ago.

What seemed large then is cramped now.

However, F9's overwhelming role, moving forward, is LEO constellation deployment with a reusable upper stage, and I think it is sized well for that.  (a bit on the small size, but still ok)

I bet that if SpaceX were to re-do F9 now, it'd be about 50% more capable.

F9/H are not trying to complete with NG's grand goals.  ITS is for that, and ITS seems large enough (though who knows, let's talk again in 10 years)

NG meanwhile is just a tad oversized for a (competing) constellation work.
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Offline GWH

BTW, EELV has used something close to 13 tonnes to GTO. Look up NROL-15. But it's more the exception than the rule.

Exception indeed! Speculation on stealth sattelite and decoys,  crazy.

Offline edkyle99

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Re: New Glenn: Blue Origin Announcement of Orbital Rocket Plan
« Reply #751 on: 04/16/2017 02:54 AM »
BTW, EELV has used something close to 13 tonnes to GTO. Look up NROL-15. But it's more the exception than the rule.
NROL 15 went to GEO by most accounts, which means it had to have weighed less than about 6 tonnes.

 - Ed Kyle

Offline guckyfan

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Re: New Glenn: Blue Origin Announcement of Orbital Rocket Plan
« Reply #752 on: 04/16/2017 06:50 AM »
NG meanwhile is just a tad oversized for a (competing) constellation work.

Add a reusable upper stage and it may not be too oversized. Though if BE-4 and NGs capababilities rise like the Falcon capabilities did -  a reasonable assumption -  yes it would be somewhat oversized.

Online meekGee

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Re: New Glenn: Blue Origin Announcement of Orbital Rocket Plan
« Reply #753 on: 04/16/2017 08:58 AM »
NG meanwhile is just a tad oversized for a (competing) constellation work.

Add a reusable upper stage and it may not be too oversized. Though if BE-4 and NGs capababilities rise like the Falcon capabilities did -  a reasonable assumption -  yes it would be somewhat oversized.
Yup.  And like others, I think NG will end up with a reusable upper stage right from the start.

It's not like BO has an expendable stage (or even detailed design) they are committed to.

They should make use of the current lull in launches :) to up their plan...
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Offline baldusi

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Re: New Glenn: Blue Origin Announcement of Orbital Rocket Plan
« Reply #754 on: 04/16/2017 01:54 PM »
BTW, EELV has used something close to 13 tonnes to GTO. Look up NROL-15. But it's more the exception than the rule.
NROL 15 went to GEO by most accounts, which means it had to have weighed less than about 6 tonnes.

 - Ed Kyle
Equivalent performance. And they were the first to use RS-68A because it needed the extra performance.

Offline GWH

By the way I purposefully didn't list direct to GEO payloads because that isn't a described capability of New Glenn. I also suspect that GEO performance on New Glenn as a 2 stage would be fairly  poor due to a high mass upper stage as evident by the dramatically lower GTO vs LEO performance. NG GTO payload is 0.29 x LEO. Falcon Heavy is 0.42, F9 is 0.36.

Offline Navier–Stokes

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Re: New Glenn: Blue Origin Announcement of Orbital Rocket Plan
« Reply #756 on: 04/16/2017 02:32 PM »
By the way I purposefully didn't list direct to GEO payloads because that isn't a described capability of New Glenn. I also suspect that GEO performance on New Glenn as a 2 stage would be fairly  poor due to a high mass upper stage as evident by the dramatically lower GTO vs LEO performance. NG GTO payload is 0.29 x LEO. Falcon Heavy is 0.42, F9 is 0.36.
You are comparing expendable payload capacity to reusable payload capacity. If you compare the wrong numbers, of course you are going to find a "performance gap"; re-usability has a higher impact on GTO payload than LEO payload. Falcon 9 ASDS has ~0.30 GTO to LEO performance ratio which is practically identical to New Glenn's 0.29.

Offline Chasm

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Re: New Glenn: Blue Origin Announcement of Orbital Rocket Plan
« Reply #757 on: 04/16/2017 02:33 PM »
Why should they list GEO performance, even if they can? Their line is that they don't want to do EELV missions.
Easier to let others deal with all that hassle if you can simply and truthfully say that you can't meet most of the required capabilities.


Too much performance. True, upper stage reusability will eat payload real fast. Heat shield, landing gear, landing engine(s) and propellant. Everything comes directly out of the payload.
Can it be made to work? Sure. Does it make financial sense? That is not so clear at this time. If you can sell or auction off the payload difference for the cost of a new stage and pocket recovery&refurbishment cost there is no no reason whatsoever to reuse.

The AWS side of Amazon was and still is extremely good at finding out what real costs are. Not what everyone industry thinks the costs are, not what everyone knows the costs are but the actual costs. They are the money printing division of Amazon, no reason that Blue is not tapping into their methods.


A change I would try to make is how the service is sold. No offers of new vs. reused rockets. Not even single vs. multiple launch. Your box form A to B for x amount of money. Size, weight, environment, destination, launch date.

Offline GWH

By the way I purposefully didn't list direct to GEO payloads because that isn't a described capability of New Glenn. I also suspect that GEO performance on New Glenn as a 2 stage would be fairly  poor due to a high mass upper stage as evident by the dramatically lower GTO vs LEO performance. NG GTO payload is 0.29 x LEO. Falcon Heavy is 0.42, F9 is 0.36.
You are comparing expendable payload capacity to reusable payload capacity. If you compare the wrong numbers, of course you are going to find a "performance gap"; re-usability has a higher impact on GTO payload than LEO payload. Falcon 9 ASDS has ~0.30 GTO to LEO performance ratio which is practically identical to New Glenn's 0.29.
The LEO payloads in that thread don't seem to be much more than a guess.

EDIT:  I went and did my own estimate of reusable F9 payload to LEO by calculating total dV of upper stage at 5500 kg to GTO (ASDS recovery) then removed 2.5km/s from that number to determine max payload to LEO including looking that the decrease in dV of the booster from heavier payload.  It is a rough approximation but came up with 16,850 kg to LEO. 
That ratio for reusable payload to GTO vs LEO with that is 0.33.  Closer to the Blue ratio, but still better.
« Last Edit: 04/16/2017 08:59 PM by GWH »

Offline envy887

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Re: New Glenn: Blue Origin Announcement of Orbital Rocket Plan
« Reply #759 on: 04/16/2017 09:42 PM »
By the way I purposefully didn't list direct to GEO payloads because that isn't a described capability of New Glenn. I also suspect that GEO performance on New Glenn as a 2 stage would be fairly  poor due to a high mass upper stage as evident by the dramatically lower GTO vs LEO performance. NG GTO payload is 0.29 x LEO. Falcon Heavy is 0.42, F9 is 0.36.
You are comparing expendable payload capacity to reusable payload capacity. If you compare the wrong numbers, of course you are going to find a "performance gap"; re-usability has a higher impact on GTO payload than LEO payload. Falcon 9 ASDS has ~0.30 GTO to LEO performance ratio which is practically identical to New Glenn's 0.29.
The LEO payloads in that thread don't seem to be much more than a guess.

EDIT:  I went and did my own estimate of reusable F9 payload to LEO by calculating total dV of upper stage at 5500 kg to GTO (ASDS recovery) then removed 2.5km/s from that number to determine max payload to LEO including looking that the decrease in dV of the booster from heavier payload.  It is a rough approximation but came up with 16,850 kg to LEO. 
That ratio for reusable payload to GTO vs LEO with that is 0.33.  Closer to the Blue ratio, but still better.

The 15% LEO payload hit for F9 with ASDS recovery isn't a guess, it's a direct quote from Musk.

BO's estimates for New Glenn are still notional, and by their own admittance quite conservative. They will likely manage a better GTO ratio in practice.

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