Author Topic: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion  (Read 25182 times)

Offline sanman

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New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« on: 09/13/2016 06:50 PM »
Quote
...
Our vision is millions of people living and working in space, and New Glenn is a very important step. It won't be the last of course. Up next on our drawing board: New Armstrong. But that's a story for the future.

Gradatim Ferociter!

Jeff Bezos

So if there can be speculative discussion on the as-yet-unseen MCT, then there can likewise be speculative discussion on New Armstrong, the next rocket on Blue Origin's drawing board as tipped by Jeff Bezos himself.

What's the minimum payload mass it should be able to send to the Moon, for economic viability of lunar tourism?

Would NA require any new engines, or could the existing available set of engines meet the needs just fine, howsoever they end up being clustered?

How many stages should it have, with what kind of engine-clustering?

Would downrange recovery be required, perhaps using the barge landing approach which Blue Origin had attempted to get a patent on?

With New Glenn being designed for 25 launches, what kind of service life should New Armstrong be designed for?

Given Blue Origin's approach for building incrementally on past achievements, what features from New Glenn could be expected to be carried over to the New Armstrong vehicle?

What new technologies or innovations would be useful for New Armstrong?

Offline UberNobody

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #1 on: 09/13/2016 07:41 PM »
Well, this is about as speculative as it gets, but here I go anyways:

1: The booster will be BE-4 or BE-4A based, with 15-25 engines and 12-16m in diameter.

2: Combined spaceship and upper stage that travels between the Earth and an L1/L2 commercial space station. *cough* Bigelow *cough*.

3: Separate lunar lander(s) that go back and forth between the surface and L1/L2. 

I chose not to completely duplicate SpaceX here because directly landing on the Moon with your Earth return vehicle is very inefficient, even if you produce fuel on the surface.  No aerobraking on the Moon ;)


Offline link2universe

Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #2 on: 09/13/2016 07:48 PM »
Maybe the kind of rocket you could use to launch a probe twords Planet Nine when it is discovered. If it's at something like 500  UA, maybe we could use this to send a probe to it in a decade time of travel?
I was thinking that other systems my take far too long.

Maybe a 500 kg probe + a lot of probpelant to slow down once there and enter orbit?
« Last Edit: 09/13/2016 07:48 PM by link2universe »
Enjoy the ride

Offline DJPledger

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #3 on: 09/13/2016 08:59 PM »
New Armstrong likely to be SpaceX BFR class. May either use many BE-4's or a smaller no. of an entirely new larger engine of at least F-1 class. Bezos has very deep pockets so he should be able to afford the dev. of a new very large engine which would likely be SC possibly FFSC and maybe LOx/LNG. Going FFSC is the logical next step for BO for a very large engine for New Armstrong. I think that BO is more likely to dev. a new larger engine for New Armstrong than use the BE-4 as I don't think that Bezos wants to dev. his version of the N-1. With a new larger engine New Armstrong may have the same engine configuration as New Glenn.

Offline redliox

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #4 on: 09/13/2016 10:35 PM »
A good question is whether New Armstrong refers to a rocket or a capsule. Armstrong implies a Moon theme but that's not absolute; the same launcher could send payloads to Luna, Mars, or Neptune after all.

I'm going to assume Armstrong refers to a future capsule or lander.
« Last Edit: 09/13/2016 10:36 PM by redliox »
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Offline Darkseraph

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #5 on: 09/13/2016 11:02 PM »
My hunch is that New Armstrong refers to both a launcher and a lander in the same way New Shepard refers to both the booster and the capsule. In a similar vein, New Glenn is being built to work with a biconic manned capsule.

I believe what follows will be an integrated system for Lunar landings, that can also be used for other missions.
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Offline Youronas

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #6 on: 09/13/2016 11:10 PM »
A good question is whether New Armstrong refers to a rocket or a capsule. Armstrong implies a Moon theme but that's not absolute; the same launcher could send payloads to Luna, Mars, or Neptune after all.

I'm going to assume Armstrong refers to a future capsule or lander.

Chris has already mentioned that he received information which indicates that all astronaut-named Blue products will bei launchers.

Quote from: Chris Bergin
New Armstrong is believed to be a BFR deep into the future. Not confirmed, but I'm "told" that the answer to the question is they are only naming rockets after astronauts.

Link: http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=41146.msg1582373#msg1582373
« Last Edit: 09/13/2016 11:11 PM by Youronas »

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #7 on: 09/14/2016 12:42 AM »
NG is big enough with distributed launch for lunar exploration and establishing a small base. To colonise moon will need NA but there no urgency, Blue can take its time developing NA and any new engines it requires.

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Offline Lars-J

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #8 on: 09/14/2016 12:45 AM »
This thread is pointless. All we have is a name. Nothing more.

Offline RonM

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #9 on: 09/14/2016 01:52 AM »
This thread is pointless. All we have is a name. Nothing more.

It's the ultimate speculation thread.

Offline Lar

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #10 on: 09/14/2016 02:24 AM »
Info is pretty thin on the ground, for sure.  Thread's harmless though, at least so far.
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Offline MATTBLAK

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #11 on: 09/14/2016 03:08 AM »
Yes - there's often someone who grumps off to a moderator about some imagined slight or 'pointlessness; let people have their fun or informed speculations for heaven's sake!  ::)
« Last Edit: 09/14/2016 04:49 AM by MATTBLAK »
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Offline MATTBLAK

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #12 on: 09/14/2016 03:14 AM »
Im imagining a three-core heavy, similar in configuration to Falcon or Delta Heavy. Also; a stretched cryogenic stage with 2x BE-3 engines. I'm speculating a 3x core because like Elon and ULA I don't expect multiple sets of tooling for different diameter form factors. And uprated 'full thrust' BE-4 engines, too.
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Offline TrevorMonty

Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #13 on: 09/14/2016 04:12 AM »
Im imagining a three-core heavy, similar in configuration to Falcon or Delta Heavy. Also; a stretched cryogenic stage with 2x BE-3 engines. I'm speculating a 3x core because like Elon and ULA I don't expect multiple sets of tooling for different diameter form factors. And uprated 'full thrust' BE-4 engines, too.
A large single core is better for reuse, only need one barge or landing pad. To benefit most from 3 cores the middle core reaches high velocity making it harder to recover.

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Offline sdsds

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #14 on: 09/14/2016 04:31 AM »
Im imagining a three-core heavy, similar in configuration to Falcon or Delta Heavy. Also; a stretched cryogenic stage with 2x BE-3 engines. I'm speculating a 3x core because like Elon and ULA I don't expect multiple sets of tooling for different diameter form factors. And uprated 'full thrust' BE-4 engines, too.
A large single core is better for reuse, only need one barge or landing pad. To benefit most from 3 cores the middle core reaches high velocity making it harder to recover.

We're still waiting for that other launch service provider that touts reusability to demonstrate recovery of a "center of three" booster core. Blue has the amazingly great option of two methalox boosters strapped to the side of a hydrolox sustainer core that might itself come darn awful close to -- or even reach -- orbit. And that's just with their engines that we know about! :)
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Online ncb1397

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #15 on: 09/14/2016 04:11 PM »
Im imagining a three-core heavy, similar in configuration to Falcon or Delta Heavy. Also; a stretched cryogenic stage with 2x BE-3 engines. I'm speculating a 3x core because like Elon and ULA I don't expect multiple sets of tooling for different diameter form factors. And uprated 'full thrust' BE-4 engines, too.
A large single core is better for reuse, only need one barge or landing pad. To benefit most from 3 cores the middle core reaches high velocity making it harder to recover.

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Maybe it has crossfeed. The center core has a full propellant tank and uses half its propellant to give an extra kick to the upper stages. It then uses half of its propellant to undo what it just did and slow down as much as possible to avoid disintegrating on re-entry.

Offline bad_astra

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #16 on: 09/14/2016 05:09 PM »
The New Glenn can handle most commercial activities as well as crew and resupply flights if they really are interested in setting up orbital habitats.

The only need for a SLS class lifter would be for rare infrastructure work (moonbase if the name is any hint, deep space habs, etc), so to keep their costs down, I might speculate Armstrong would be a three-Glenn first stage core. 2nd stage and beyond, no idea. It does not have to compete with BFR or SLS performance wise, it just has to accomplish whatever goal it is they have, as cheaply as possible.
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Offline Lars-J

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #17 on: 09/14/2016 05:27 PM »
Yes - there's often someone who grumps off to a moderator about some imagined slight or 'pointlessness; let people have their fun or informed speculations for heaven's sake!  ::)

But then we should be honest about it, and rename the thread to "What *I* think Blue should do next".

And let me know when *informed* speculation will be taking place...  ;) Carry on (as if you need the permission of this grumpy old man)

Offline DJPledger

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #18 on: 09/14/2016 06:55 PM »
The New Glenn can handle most commercial activities as well as crew and resupply flights if they really are interested in setting up orbital habitats.

The only need for a SLS class lifter would be for rare infrastructure work (moonbase if the name is any hint, deep space habs, etc), so to keep their costs down, I might speculate Armstrong would be a three-Glenn first stage core. 2nd stage and beyond, no idea. It does not have to compete with BFR or SLS performance wise, it just has to accomplish whatever goal it is they have, as cheaply as possible.
New Armstrong will likely be a single core along the lines of SpaceX BFR with possibly 3-5x the thrust of New Glenn. BO has said that the larger the booster stage the easier it is to land due to the pendulum effect. Also landing a single booster stage is easier than landing three per launch. I don't see BO moving towards any multi core designs.

Offline oldAtlas_Eguy

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #19 on: 09/14/2016 09:18 PM »
I posted this in another thread and it should be here.

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=41146.msg1583335#msg1583335
Quote
Speculation warning  :-*

Possible New Armstrong:
10-11m diameter
14 upgraded BE-4 (750klbf) engines
30% taller 1st stage
2 BE4U engined 2nd stage
Fully reusable 1st and 2nd stage
1 BE-3U engined 3rd stage but twice or more propellant than NG
LEO fully reusable 2 stage ~110-130mt
3 stage LLO or L2 ~40mt
3rd stage a possible Lunar landing and ascent stage with capsule on top (no Lunar orbit rendezvous)

BTW still launchable from 39B. (10.5Mlbf)

Reasoning:
- Single core
- Ability to lift 100+mt to LEO even if both 1st and 2nd stages are reused. Need 100+mt to LEO  to make a viable moon transport system without having a lot of smaller vehicles flights and a lot of on-orbit docking/refueling.
- Fully expendable 200+mt to LEO.
- Need enough room to have engines able to produce the ~10Mlbf thrust to lift the GLOW so diameter must be greater than 10m.
- May be used as a bulk cargo to LEO to support future infrastructure that only needs transport of cargo, prop, and people to LEO. Where cargo and people are then transported by reusable tu"g" to probable L2. Then a reusable lander to the Lunar surface. But initially no infrastructure or very minimal infrastrusture will exist so the system ust be able to do a Lunar mission without much help.
- thrust level at ~10Mlbf still alows the use of 39B (possibly sharing with SLS if it is still flying) without having to build a new pad. Only requires the piping in of LNG and LNG site mass storage. Also new ML's specifically built for NA. With 2 MLs and 2 VAB bays could launch 2x /month. Max rate possible at 39B would be 4/month with 4 MLs and use of 4 VAB bays.

Offline GreenShrike

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #20 on: 09/14/2016 09:25 PM »
Going FFSC is the logical next step for BO for a very large engine for New Armstrong.

FFSC mostly just improves your ISP. SpaceX are going that route because Raptor will be used as their in-space stage and they're going to squeeze every second of ISP out of its methalox design that they can to reduce their propellant usage.

Blue, on the other hand, looks to only be using the methalox BE-4 for booster stages (New Glenn 3-stage), and for heavy LEO launches where they need a high thrust orbital stage (New Glenn 2-stage) so gravity losses don't eat them alive. (Though I believe it's said that the 3-stage version would get even more payload to LEO than the 2-stage, so the 2-stage variant is likely being used solely for cost reasons -- i.e. not enough performance gain to justify the expense of the additional stage.)

Anyway, while boosters are relatively insensitive to their engines' ISP -- witness the success of the Merlin, for example -- in-space stages are another matter. There ISP is most definitely a concern and thrust much less so -- and Blue already has a high ISP solution: their BE-3 hydrolox engine.


Since going to a larger FFSC engine for their boost stage will gain them very little expect much higher R&D and manufacturing costs, I'd expect Blue to tune the BE-4 to its ultimate limit, as SpaceX has done with Merlin 1, glue a crap ton of them onto the bottom of New Armstrong, and then call it a day.


You only invest $1B+ in designing and setting up a manufacturing plant for an F1-class engine if you really need to -- and I don't think Blue does. I've seen no indication that Blue squanders money needlessly, even if Jeff Bezos is almost literally made of money. ;-)


Besides, the more BE-4s they make, the lower their costs will be, and the more proficient they will be at its manufacture. In addition, the BE-4s will have a reams of flight time logged from all the New Glenn missions, so when New Armstrong launches for the first time, the engines at least will be an extremely well known quantity.

I think that BO is more likely to dev. a new larger engine for New Armstrong than use the BE-4 as I don't think that Bezos wants to dev. his version of the N-1.

And about having many engines on a rocket, since you cannot guarantee manufacturing and/or operational perfection, tolerating failure -- and preferably multiple failures -- is really the right way to achieve reliability. Comparing the N1 to any modern rocket is very much a misnomer; no one sane these days would design a rocket engine that you couldn't test fire before integrating it on a stage, nor a stage that you couldn't test fire before launching. Those poor NK-15s were really a relic of their time, and even then their inadequacy was recognized as they were due to be replaced by NK-33s prior to the program's cancellation.
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Online Robotbeat

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #21 on: 09/15/2016 02:57 AM »
...Blue has the amazingly great option of two methalox boosters strapped to the side of a hydrolox sustainer core that might itself come darn awful close to -- or even reach -- orbit. And that's just with their engines that we know about! :)
Single-core is a central advantage of New Glenn over Falcon Heavy, an trait I don't think they'll abandon with New Armstrong.

Also, a SpaceX booster would have no problem reaching orbit by itself and payload. SSTO, though expendable.
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Offline Steven Pietrobon

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #22 on: 09/15/2016 04:33 AM »
The simplest solution would be to permanently strap three NG first stages together, on top of which you strap three NG second stages. KISS. Gets you 150 to 210 t to LEO! The pad can also be used for dual core or single core versions. Extreme case would be to strap seven NGs together for 350 to 490 t!!! That's enough to do a Mars mission in a single launch. :-)
« Last Edit: 09/15/2016 04:34 AM by Steven Pietrobon »
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Online FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #23 on: 09/15/2016 05:28 AM »
Quote
Bezos: Blue has reserved New Armstrong name for future rocket. "As you can imagine it's very large. There will always be a next step."

https://twitter.com/gruss_sn/status/776220487789740032

Offline leaflion

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #24 on: 09/15/2016 06:48 AM »

Also, a SpaceX booster would have no problem reaching orbit by itself and payload. SSTO, though expendable.

SSTO has no point unless you are reusable or really love being inefficient.

Offline MATTBLAK

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #25 on: 09/15/2016 07:13 AM »
Since the New Glenn's are going to be 7 meters in diameter, I noticed that the Vulcan is going to be 5.4 meters and can use in it's most capable configuration 6x GEM-63XL solid boosters. Depending on the external structures and plumbing, I've reasoned that if required to and slightly redesigned that way; New Glenn could accommodate 12x GEM-63XL boosters. That is; from the point of view of being able to fit there. Then, I imagined a stretched third stage powered by 2x BE-3 cryogenic engines.

Someone as smart as Steve Pietrobon might be able to work out what such a rocket - in expendable mode - could place into Low Earth Orbit and send beyond L.E.O.  Such a booster would have about 8.3 million pounds thrust at sea level and about 9.4 million if the BE-4s were uprated. Just saying..... ;)
« Last Edit: 09/15/2016 07:18 AM by MATTBLAK »
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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #26 on: 09/16/2016 02:44 PM »
Going FFSC is the logical next step for BO for a very large engine for New Armstrong.

FFSC mostly just improves your ISP. SpaceX are going that route because Raptor will be used as their in-space stage and they're going to squeeze every second of ISP out of its methalox design that they can to reduce their propellant usage.

umm, how does FFSC improve isp over ORSC or FRSC?

AFAIK FFSC allows running turbines with much lower pressures and temperatures and allows totallys eparate pumps for oxygen and fuel, not needing sel between them.
These are mostly reliability and reusability improvements, not isp improvements.

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #27 on: 09/16/2016 03:17 PM »

Also, a SpaceX booster would have no problem reaching orbit by itself and payload. SSTO, though expendable.

SSTO has no point unless you are reusable or really love being inefficient.
Please don't edit out context when you post a "gotcha."
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Offline baldusi

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #28 on: 09/16/2016 04:33 PM »
Going FFSC is the logical next step for BO for a very large engine for New Armstrong.

FFSC mostly just improves your ISP. SpaceX are going that route because Raptor will be used as their in-space stage and they're going to squeeze every second of ISP out of its methalox design that they can to reduce their propellant usage.

umm, how does FFSC improve isp over ORSC or FRSC?

AFAIK FFSC allows running turbines with much lower pressures and temperatures and allows totallys eparate pumps for oxygen and fuel, not needing sel between them.
These are mostly reliability and reusability improvements, not isp improvements.

FFSC gives you the option either to increase isp or reusability. FFSC, particularly in the CH4/LOX case, means having almost 80% more available power at the turbines, if you keep the same turbine inlet temperature. Due to material limitations, that is currently the main constraint for performance. If you go any hotter in the turbines, you risk melting them.
So, for the same temperature, you can get 80% more power. And thus you can increase outlet pressure (not 80% because of inefficiencies, but a lot). A higher pump pressure translates to higher Pc pressure and that translates to higher isp. Also helps in making the engine smaller for the same thrust.
But you can chose and go in the other direction and reduce the turbine inlet temperature, which increases exponentially your turbine life. So you can do either.

Offline oldAtlas_Eguy

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #29 on: 09/17/2016 02:07 AM »
An item that could give some thought into the sizing of NA.

If an NG large LEO capsule of ~40mt loaded able to transport 30-40 persons is developed then that same capsule adapted as a BEO capsule of same loaded weight ~40mt but with fewer passengers ~20 for transport all the way to L2 or LLO.

Basically the same capsule with 2 configurations a BEO version with more radiation shielding but both when fully loaded about the same weight. So that the NG would still launch the LEO version for the LEO trips and the NA for the BEO trips. There would at that time no longer be reason for a smaller capsule.

240 people to the moon per year. If it cost the same to get the Lunar surface as it will hopefully soon via CC to the ISS ~$20M/person. How many will be going?

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #30 on: 09/17/2016 02:09 AM »
Not millions.

Bezos wants millions, so price has to be cheaper.

Which means I bet New Armstrong will be fully reusable. Otherwise, no real point.
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Offline oldAtlas_Eguy

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #31 on: 09/17/2016 02:19 AM »
Not millions.

Bezos wants millions, so price has to be cheaper.

Which means I bet New Armstrong will be fully reusable. Otherwise, no real point.
A direct competitor in price and payload to the MCT. A 12-15m diameter payload of 100+mt for <$100M per flight.

$500/kg<[NA $/kg to LEO]<$1,000/kg

Offline notsorandom

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #32 on: 09/17/2016 04:37 AM »
Not millions.

Bezos wants millions, so price has to be cheaper.

Which means I bet New Armstrong will be fully reusable. Otherwise, no real point.
In that case they should call it the New Crippen.

Offline dror

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #33 on: 09/17/2016 06:27 AM »
Quote
...
Our vision is millions of people living and working in space, and New Glenn is a very important step. It won't be the last of course. Up next on our drawing board: New Armstrong. But that's a story for the future.

Gradatim Ferociter!

Jeff Bezos

So if there can be speculative discussion on the as-yet-unseen MCT, then there can likewise be speculative discussion on New Armstrong, the next rocket on Blue Origin's drawing board as tipped by Jeff Bezos himself.

...


MCT is SpaceX' next generation rocket (FH being same generation and family of F9) .
New Glen is Blue's next generation system.
New Armstrong is their  next next generation system and as such it will be totally different - fully reusable, maybe different engines, may be air breathing, magneto-shell, we don't know. But it probably won't be just more of the same engines\cores
"If we crave some cosmic purpose, then let us find ourselves a worthy goal. "
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Offline sanman

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #34 on: 09/17/2016 07:02 AM »
Bezos believes in creating the "infrastructure" for outer space on the premise that the existence of this facilitative infrastructure will invite people to create and partake in all sorts of applications that we can't even foresee. His analogy was that when AT&T/Bell created phone telecommunication lines, they had no idea that this would one day become the backbone for the internet, and for all its ancilliary applications with all the revenue they generate.

So it stands to reason that he would try to make New Armstrong as big and as payload-capable as possible - even if it required investing extraordinary amounts of capital to develop it (capital which he does indeed have) - because of the idea of economies of scale.

One would assume that an Airbus A380 ticket is cheaper than a ticket for a Boeing 737, with all other things being equal, because of the former's greater capacity.

So I don't think he'll necessarily try to economize on the tooling by doing a 3-core using New Glenn's core size, because he's got the money to spend, and he wants the lowest ticket price in order to enable a flood of new participants who will create the follow-on "space economy" with all the various applications that neither he nor we can envision. If he has to build the Queen Mary of launch vehicles, then he'll likely do it.

I think that once Bezos really gets the ball rolling, then not only will he be able to outprice Musk's Falcon Heavy, but probably every other launcher in the marketplace. Imagine how many satellites to LEO a single New Armstrong could deliver. Every major city will have their own dedicated geostationary satellite to serve them, never mind just every country.

I don't expect SpaceX to take things lying down, of course - it'll be interesting to see how they respond - and whether MCT somehow gets roped into serving conventional commercial satellite launching.

Offline Ludus

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #35 on: 09/17/2016 07:22 AM »
Not millions.

Bezos wants millions, so price has to be cheaper.

Which means I bet New Armstrong will be fully reusable. Otherwise, no real point.
A direct competitor in price and payload to the MCT. A 12-15m diameter payload of 100+mt for <$100M per flight.

$500/kg<[NA $/kg to LEO]<$1,000/kg

He's one generation behind with New Glenn coming out about the same time as BFR/MCT and New Armstrong after BFR has been launching for several years. He's the tortoise that has plenty of capital without catering to commercial markets he doesn't care for.

If New Armstrong comes with a Lunar Colonial Transport would that be hydrogen/LOX? If it was optimized for Lunar vs Mars ISRU the relative difficulty of finding carbon to make Methane might suggest that.

Offline Hotblack Desiato

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #36 on: 09/17/2016 08:15 AM »
Not millions.

Bezos wants millions, so price has to be cheaper.

Which means I bet New Armstrong will be fully reusable. Otherwise, no real point.
A direct competitor in price and payload to the MCT. A 12-15m diameter payload of 100+mt for <$100M per flight.

$500/kg<[NA $/kg to LEO]<$1,000/kg

He's one generation behind with New Glenn coming out about the same time as BFR/MCT and New Armstrong after BFR has been launching for several years. He's the tortoise that has plenty of capital without catering to commercial markets he doesn't care for.

If New Armstrong comes with a Lunar Colonial Transport would that be hydrogen/LOX? If it was optimized for Lunar vs Mars ISRU the relative difficulty of finding carbon to make Methane might suggest that.

Yet, if he wants to be the only tortoise who has a big rocket, he has to do something. And a simple step would be spending some money on the market the competitor is relying on.

SX offers launches on F9 for $60-100 million (depending on the situation) and if BO can offer launches at a fraction of that price, SX is suddenly in deep troubles. Of course, there will be more satellites to launch, but it will not compensate the income loss.

Yet, having a competitor sometimes is a good thing, just look at Microsoft and Apple in the 90ties. Microsoft had to safe Apple in order to be not split up into several companies, as it once happened to AT&T.

Offline sanman

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #37 on: 09/17/2016 08:31 AM »
He's one generation behind with New Glenn coming out about the same time as BFR/MCT and New Armstrong after BFR has been launching for several years. He's the tortoise that has plenty of capital without catering to commercial markets he doesn't care for.

If New Armstrong comes with a Lunar Colonial Transport would that be hydrogen/LOX? If it was optimized for Lunar vs Mars ISRU the relative difficulty of finding carbon to make Methane might suggest that.

I wonder if there will be any race by Bezos & Co to try and claim larger or more accessible water ice deposits on the Moon, in order to facilitate ISRU there. Whoever gets dibs first might become the "lunar water baron" and hold the upper hand on lunar operations.

Offline sdsds

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #38 on: 09/17/2016 08:43 AM »
So I'm selling my house. Suddenly I have two choices for what to do with the proceeds. Buy a SpaceX ticket to Mars. Or buy a  Blue ticket to the Moon.

Either way I'm happy, because the free market has given me a choice! ;)
« Last Edit: 09/17/2016 08:43 AM by sdsds »
-- sdsds --

Offline Lar

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #39 on: 09/17/2016 10:20 PM »
If New Armstrong comes with a Lunar Colonial Transport would that be hydrogen/LOX? If it was optimized for Lunar vs Mars ISRU the relative difficulty of finding carbon to make Methane might suggest that.
Maybe Methalox first stage (for Earth launches) but Hydrolox everything else (the first stage doesn't go to Luna and doesn't need to be refueled there) ???
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Online Robotbeat

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #40 on: 09/18/2016 04:13 AM »
If New Armstrong comes with a Lunar Colonial Transport would that be hydrogen/LOX? If it was optimized for Lunar vs Mars ISRU the relative difficulty of finding carbon to make Methane might suggest that.
Maybe Methalox first stage (for Earth launches) but Hydrolox everything else (the first stage doesn't go to Luna and doesn't need to be refueled there) ???
There might be plenty of carbon there.
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Online Robotbeat

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #41 on: 09/18/2016 04:15 AM »
Not millions.

Bezos wants millions, so price has to be cheaper.

Which means I bet New Armstrong will be fully reusable. Otherwise, no real point.
A direct competitor in price and payload to the MCT. A 12-15m diameter payload of 100+mt for <$100M per flight.

$500/kg<[NA $/kg to LEO]<$1,000/kg

He's one generation behind with New Glenn coming out about the same time as BFR/MCT and New Armstrong after BFR has been launching for several years. He's the tortoise that has plenty of capital without catering to commercial markets he doesn't care for....
Not sure I agree with this take.

New Glenn is a generation "behind," but it's actually perfectly placed as a vehicle capable of giving Falcon Heavy, Proton, Ariane 5, Ariane 6, etc a run for their money since it's single-core and all-cryogenic with a reusable VTVL first stage and enough performance for an eventual reusable upper stage (if they so desire). In other words, it'd be very competitive in the commercial market.
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

Online AncientU

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #42 on: 09/18/2016 01:18 PM »
Well-placed, yes, but still a generation behind. 

Challenge will be testing orbital launch and recovery with such a large vehicle.  Maybe rockets want to be bigger, but bigger is also more expensive to develop and test.

The competition will have a generation (or several) of experience before NG flies -- this can obviously be overcome, but not automatic no matter how well-placed the vehicle.
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Offline Impaler

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #43 on: 09/18/2016 10:24 PM »
I would expect a future Lunar oriented rocket to consist of a reusable LNG/LOX 1st and 2nd stage of MCT size.  A Lunar lander is likely be be a large bi-conic 12 or more m diameter, powered by Hydro-LOX per the Clipper heritage that many of BO's people carry.  Cargo hold either mid vehicle or in the base to allow unloading on the lunar surface. 

I see a dual launch with the lander on one launch and the other being a giant propellant tank to fill a propellant depot or the lunar vehicle directly.  Once refilled the lander make TMI and direct lands on the moon, then makes a direct Earth return, basically an EOR modality.  Initially all return propellant will be brought from Earth but local propellants may be added to boost outbound cargo mass.

This type of direct single vehicle architecture is one I have been very critical of for Mars and MCT, but it makes sense on the moon due to the lower total DeltaV and most importantly the transit time to the moon is so radically short compared to mars, a 1 week round trip is possible if a vehicle is gas-and-go, even at 2 weeks the vehicle can be amortized 55 times faster then a mars vehicle.

Offline wannamoonbase

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #44 on: 09/19/2016 03:39 PM »
New Shepard - Sub Orbital
New Glenn - Orbital
New Armstrong - My 2 cents, likely lunar transfer and landing

BO is different than SpaceX.  SpaceX is comfortable doing many iterations to evolve a vehicle, and that's working for them.  I don't see BO thinking the same way.

BO could use the New Glenn booster (in reusable mode) to build up lunar capability with many smaller flights. 

And if they establish the capability to make Oxygen on the moon then they have a sellable commodity and reduce their earth based launch needs.


Excited to be finally into the first Falcon Heavy flow, we are getting so close!

Offline Chasm

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #45 on: 09/19/2016 05:40 PM »
My take is the moon / cis-lunar. Certainly a big enough playground.
Hopefully NOT just a bigger rocket.

In several interviews about Blue Origin Jeff said that Amazon was only possible because infrastructure was already in place and that space exploration is missing such infrastructure. I postulate that his goal is to build it.

One side is launching the big stuff, aka infrastructure. The other is transporting people into space, and back.
For a long time one of the infrastructure ideas has been wet workshop. What happens if you commit to it, at scale?

New Glenn 2nd stage has 7m tanks, already in orbit. They are almost big enough that you could stick a Bigalow 330 as a liner into it. (6.7m diameter, inflated) That should help quite a bit with the micrometorite concerns. And why not, clean walls instead of isogrid should help for some uses. Need heaps of hardpoints to mount gear? Use another tank with "tank interior" for that. No way to mount exernal handholds is not longer a problem.


Maybe that is also a solution to the landing the center stage problem if it's a 3 stick configuration. Don't land it! Orbit it. More of an sustainer configuration like Ariane 5. Landing 2 booster should be simpler than 3.

Since the tanks just got promoted to payload, crank the concept another turn and respin the rocket layout?

Hmm....

Offline b0objunior

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #46 on: 09/19/2016 05:55 PM »
Well-placed, yes, but still a generation behind. 

Challenge will be testing orbital launch and recovery with such a large vehicle.  Maybe rockets want to be bigger, but bigger is also more expensive to develop and test.

The competition will have a generation (or several) of experience before NG flies -- this can obviously be overcome, but not automatic no matter how well-placed the vehicle.

You are talking about SpaceX, right?

Offline Ludus

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #47 on: 09/20/2016 08:01 PM »
Well-placed, yes, but still a generation behind. 

Challenge will be testing orbital launch and recovery with such a large vehicle.  Maybe rockets want to be bigger, but bigger is also more expensive to develop and test.

The competition will have a generation (or several) of experience before NG flies -- this can obviously be overcome, but not automatic no matter how well-placed the vehicle.

You are talking about SpaceX, right?
As the competition. There isn't anyone else. ULA and Ariane have plans for rockets that will at best be available after NG, with lower performance and less reusability. Russia, China and the rest have no announced plans to compete.

Offline bad_astra

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #48 on: 09/20/2016 08:19 PM »

Also, a SpaceX booster would have no problem reaching orbit by itself and payload. SSTO, though expendable.

SSTO has no point unless you are reusable or really love being inefficient.


Or you convert the innards to a orbital habitat.
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Offline oldAtlas_Eguy

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #49 on: 09/22/2016 04:27 PM »
As far as habitats go see this thread http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=40454.0 about reusing "containers" that are filled with 100mt of stuff that once removed leaves a habitat that only requires installation "snap in" to the provided fittings (if the items are not already installed). Remember that most of such launches in support of an expanding in-space effort will be bulk cargo [equipment, supplies, etc]. This cargo has to have some way of being packaged for launch. Some of this cargo must be maintained in an Earth like atmosphere and not exposed to vacuum.

Although the thread is in the SpaceX Mars section the concept is not limited to SpaceX or Mars but to having large SHLVs that can lift the containers cheaply. NG and NA fit this category. Unfortunately SLS does not (too expensive per flight).

If NA launches a container to LEO that is then transported via reusable tug to L2 where it then is transported to the Lunar surface base via a large reusable lander, the container becomes an easy dual use item for the supply and expansion of the Lunar Base. These containers would also be usable at L2 for the same purpose as both a supply and as an expansion.

The modification of a prop tank into a habitat would require a lot of equipment (probably shipped in a container) to make it possible. So although it  is a possibility for the future use of assets that would otherwise be discarded it is not something that would be easily supported early on.

Offline Chasm

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #50 on: 09/26/2016 08:23 PM »
I think that some form of dual use is mandatory, at least for the big stuff.
Maybe using tanks works out, maybe not. Maybe it is not worth the effort, maybe it needs more work or very different conditions. I basically hope that someone finally gets moving and tries it. Take the half a century of planning and studies and find out if they align with reality.



Back to New Armstrong.
New Glenn is basically half a Saturn V. Half the tank area, half the thrust on the stages. Very roughly reuse means a third of the payload.
Lets say New Armstrong is full Saturn V payload. Same or more reusability of course.

Many ways to do it, and with each design requirement and design choice things change.
Starting with fundamental things like: Will there be a new engine or just many of them? Doing another N1 is still frowned upon. OTOH 23 is a choice answer in the Lego rocket game. :D So adding another ring of engines could work. (Meh. Another BFR, how original...)

Then there are also various practical considerations. How large can you go on a single stage without being to unwieldy to manufacture and transport? I can think of all kinds of handeling issues, esp. after landing. (A stubby stage like NS might help with that particular aspect.)
7m class now seems to be normal. 10m has been done. Some of the community generated SpaceX BFR designs had much more massive diameters, even in excess the of N1 base. Hopefully we'll get some actual info on that one within the week. Both companies seem to find similar results to their questions. Can't have a spacerace without a STS/Buran repeat. ;)

Above all is probably the question when to stage, or rather how fast can you go and still sucessfully recover the stage. From the environmental permit that someone has digged up it looks like NG will be late with recovery far downrange. (I read that as no boostback, balistic profile.)
The later/faster the better I think. Which is one of the reasons I'd like to finally see a HIAD test. If it works it should(tm) scale and perhaps it is adaptable to slow stages down reducing the need for a reentry burn. Less fuel needed, less cycles on the engines. (Stuff one of them into the top part of the NG skirt?)




One of the more whacky ideas.

Faring reuse, a different take.
They are expensive and heavy, esp. when the rocket gets bigger.  With New Shepard Jeff financed and build a Buck Rogers rocket, why not also something from James Bond? Thinking about You Only Live Twice, Moonraker is more of a destination.

A gigantonormus Black Arrow style fairing on stage 1, encapsulating the rest of the stack.
Very mad approach, but looks are important. Since Jeff seems to be cast as the villian in the Blue vs. SpaceX fight this certainly is a way to gain points on Elon. ;)
Why do it?
- Reuse the fairing obviously
- Fairing loads only on 1st stage, both static and dynamic.
- leading to more fragile upper stages, or rather to stick more fragile insulation (ACES long endurance style) and various unareodynamic and fiddly bits on their exterior for wet workshop ideas. (Handholds, hardpoints, solar, thermal control...)
- Say tri or quad sector fairing. Why so many? Secondary use as drag device. Turning the stage into a really big lawndart. Perhaps something like this to slow down. (But actively held open.) perhaps add in kind of Spaceship One feathering tips.

Well, there I had concers about stack height an now I try to land something real tall...
Hm, actually, not that bad, doing this to NG comes out roughly like F9 fist stage. [Cue one of Bezos laughs.]

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #51 on: 10/01/2016 07:34 PM »
NG should enable Blue to do lunar missions without waiting for NA.

My preferred method is via NASA DSH (I'm assuming it is going to happen). No performance info on NG but 35-40t with expendable 2nd stage seems realistic.
I'm assuming BE3 3rd stage can survive 3-4day and has multiple restart ie ACES capability.

 The 3rd stage plus crew capsule goes direct to DSH, crew board a reusable lander eg ULA/Masten Xeus or Blue equivalent and proceed to moon. A 2nd NG launch with BE3 tanker is used to fill lander at DSH.

For return stage  lander returns to DSH, crew transfer to capsule which uses 3rd stage to provide 700m/s burn back to earth. NB While at DSH 3rd stage surplus/return fuel is offloaded to depot to keep it cool.

For lunar cargo missions the 3rd stage would be an expendable BE3 powered lander. This could deliver >5t direct to moon.

Having second spare lander at DSH as rescue vehicle, would allow crew to be rescued any where in the journey.

Besides ferry lunar passengers to moon, this transport system can also supply DSH.

Once ISRU is up and running, lander can be refuelled on surface, enabling it to go direct between LEO and surface, bypassing DSH.

I think $50m a seat for 6-7 to moon would be realistic.

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #52 on: 10/01/2016 07:41 PM »
To deliver large payloads eg  BA330 to surface, the cargo lander would be launched empty and refuelled in LEO and again at DSH.

Offline Nathan2go

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #53 on: 01/29/2018 03:51 AM »
Now that FH has had a static fire, and first launch is approaching, we should discuss a 3-core New Glenn.

As discussed up-thread, for a given gross mass, single core is more convenient, especially for LEO missions. 

But 3-core has advantages too.  The biggest one is that it has lower cost for development, tooling, and maintenance, when the single-core version is carrying more payloads (very important since initially, there will be very few SLS-class payloads to launch).   The staging efficiency is also higher than for a 2-stage single core; so missions to a deep-space gateway or Lagrange depot are practical without a third stage.  Similarly, the optimal 2nd stage is smaller (thus cheaper) than for a single-stick, which helps for transitional steps that use expendable upper stages.

Probably, all three cores would be identical (except for the nose-cone or inter-stage).  I suspect that FH cores diverged because the extra loads on the center core require thicker/heavier tank walls, and the payload capacity of the single-core F9 already leaves a fair amount of the payload market unserved, so that degrading performance  even more for commonality would be undesirable.  The NG is large enough that this is not as important.

For a fully reusable 2nd stage, I think a tri-propellant design could be good:  one methalox BE-4 (550 klbs thrust) plus three hydralox BE-3s (150 klbs thrust).  The methalox/hydralox combination acts as a booster/sustainer set: all engines light at stage separation, with the methalox engine shutting off before the stage reaches the LEO parking orbit, and only the hydralox engines being re-lit for trans-Lunar injection.  This compromise provides most of the Isp advantage of hydralox, and most of reduced tank volume of methalox, while still offering easy use as a hydralox tanker.  The 2nd stage could land (on Earth) with a set of 9 pressure-fed methalox thrusters.

If the 2nd stage is refueled at a depot and used as a Lunar lander, only hydralox would be used; the methalox engine & tank are dead weight, but the extra thrust is not needed anyway in the Lunar gravity, and they are less massive than extra hydralox engines & tankage would have been.

« Last Edit: 01/29/2018 04:25 AM by Nathan2go »

Offline Darkseraph

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #54 on: 01/29/2018 04:46 AM »
I'd bet strongly against a triple core New Armstrong for two reasons:

1. Their goal is operational re-usability. Complex triple core systems don't help that.
    More complex recovery, more engines, more points of failure etc.

2. Lowering development costs is not as big a concern for Blue Origin.
    They're sufficiently funded by Bezos not to have to cut corners.
    From public comments their business philosophy seems to be
    'Do it right, rather than do it right now'.

Speculating,

New Armstrong will probably be like New Glenn, but scaled up to at least 10 meters with new 'BE-6' engines. The first two stages will be reusable, return to launch site. An optional third stage will be a 'BE-5' powered reusable lunar lander/spaceship that can be refueled from a lunar depot created in the Blue Moon program. The notional BE-5 would be a higher efficiency hydrolox engine to succeed the BE-3. Similarly, BE-6 would be an F1 class full-flow staged combustion methalox engine intended to replace BE-4. Rather than use dozens of engines like BFR, Blue Origin will simply invest adequate resources in developing larger engines.     
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Offline MATTBLAK

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #55 on: 01/29/2018 05:13 AM »
Yes - I doubt we'll ever see a 3-core New Armstrong. Blue Origin would have been paying close attention to the difficulties surrounding Falcon Heavy, not to mention Delta IV-Heavy. If they wanted to upgrade New Armstrong's capabilities we could expect the traditional engine and structural upgrades to achieve better performance.

And if they were ever desperate - redesign the main booster stage to accommodate a cluster of strap-on, expendable solid boosters, such as the Orbital-ATK GEM-60 or 63XL that Vulcan is going to use.
« Last Edit: 01/29/2018 09:28 PM by MATTBLAK »
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Offline TrevorMonty

Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #56 on: 01/29/2018 07:06 AM »
A larger single core LV is not that difficult for Blue, especially if it is scaled version of flight proven NG.

Not sure of engine choices, but there is nothing wrong with using more BE4, especially if they are flight proven. If they mass producing BE4 for Vulcan and NG then maybe cheapest option.
I'd fly with BE4 while working on new larger engine.

I think it will be 3-5 times size and with reuseable 2nd stage.

To truly reduce costs, LEO to BLEO will need fully reuseable OTV that is refuelled in LEO and BLEO destination. Something like ULA ACES.


Offline DJPledger

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #57 on: 01/29/2018 09:41 AM »
I'd bet strongly against a triple core New Armstrong for two reasons:

1. Their goal is operational re-usability. Complex triple core systems don't help that.
    More complex recovery, more engines, more points of failure etc.

2. Lowering development costs is not as big a concern for Blue Origin.
    They're sufficiently funded by Bezos not to have to cut corners.
    From public comments their business philosophy seems to be
    'Do it right, rather than do it right now'.

Speculating,

New Armstrong will probably be like New Glenn, but scaled up to at least 10 meters with new 'BE-6' engines. The first two stages will be reusable, return to launch site. An optional third stage will be a 'BE-5' powered reusable lunar lander/spaceship that can be refueled from a lunar depot created in the Blue Moon program. The notional BE-5 would be a higher efficiency hydrolox engine to succeed the BE-3. Similarly, BE-6 would be an F1 class full-flow staged combustion methalox engine intended to replace BE-4. Rather than use dozens of engines like BFR, Blue Origin will simply invest adequate resources in developing larger engines.     
I agree that BO are unlikely to go down the BFR many engine route for NA as they have the financial resources to dev. F-1 class FFSC engines which SpaceX don't. BFR is an example of HLLV dev. on a shoestring. NA perhaps having 7 BE-6?'s on 1st stage for design heritage from NG. NA 2nd stage having 1 BE-6U?. There has been a rumor of a potential larger engine from BO after BE-4. FFSC is the way to go for NA's main engine as SpaceX have proved it is a much easier cycle to dev. than first thought.

BO will no doubt have been following the difficult and protracted dev. of FH and will avoid complex triple core systems like the plague.
« Last Edit: 01/29/2018 10:02 AM by DJPledger »

Offline DJPledger

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #58 on: 01/29/2018 09:48 AM »
A larger single core LV is not that difficult for Blue, especially if it is scaled version of flight proven NG.

Not sure of engine choices, but there is nothing wrong with using more BE4, especially if they are flight proven. If they mass producing BE4 for Vulcan and NG then maybe cheapest option.
I'd fly with BE4 while working on new larger engine.

I think it will be 3-5 times size and with reuseable 2nd stage.

To truly reduce costs, LEO to BLEO will need fully reuseable OTV that is refuelled in LEO and BLEO destination. Something like ULA ACES.
BE-4 ISP sucks if you want BEO heavy lifting which NA will be designed for. Just go with all new FFSC Methalox engine for NA which will give better ISP and have greater thrust density to keep core dia. reasonable. Perhaps BO should get NASA to partially fund new large FFSC engine dev. by offering it to power Block 2 SLS advanced boosters. New engine for NA 3-5 x thrust of BE-4 to keep engine no. commonality with NG.

Offline DJPledger

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #59 on: 01/29/2018 09:59 AM »
Yes - I doubt we'll ever see a 3-core New Armstrong. Blue Origin would have been paying close attention to the difficulties surrounding Falcon Heavy, not to mention Delta IV-Heavy. If they wanted to upgrade New Armstrong's capabilities we could expect the traditional engine and structural upgrades to achieve better performance.

And if they were ever desperate - redesign the main booster stage to accommodate a cluster of strap-on, expendable solid boosters, such as the Orbital-ATK GEM-60 or 63XL that Vulcan is going to use.
BO like SpaceX will avoid solids like the plague so NA will likely to be a simple single core all liquid fuel design that will be fully reusable.

Offline brickmack

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #60 on: 01/29/2018 04:13 PM »
I agree that BO are unlikely to go down the BFR many engine route for NA as they have the financial resources to dev. F-1 class FFSC engines which SpaceX don't. BFR is an example of HLLV dev. on a shoestring.

SpaceX chose the giant cluster approach because of performance (TWR favors lots of mid-sized engines) and safety (more engine-out capability). In fact they've said already that they expect they could scale Raptor to pretty much any size without any real difficulty, the issue is just getting the FFSC cycle to work at any scale.

Not sure of engine choices, but there is nothing wrong with using more BE4, especially if they are flight proven. If they mass producing BE4 for Vulcan and NG then maybe cheapest option.
I'd fly with BE4 while working on new larger engine.

Then you're designing two distinct rockets. You can't just swap engines like that, especially when the performance difference would be so great, and double especially on a reusable system (unless you want to scrap the whole existing fleet).

To truly reduce costs, LEO to BLEO will need fully reuseable OTV that is refuelled in LEO and BLEO destination. Something like ULA ACES.

Agreed. A New Armstrong-sized ACES clone would be a real monster. Even ACES itself can bring almost 60 tons to Low Lunar Orbit with a single ACES tug plus 1 ACES tanker, and this would probably be a couple times the total mass. Could probably land an entire Saturn V on the moon with a couple trips...

Offline Proxima_Centauri

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #61 on: 01/29/2018 10:49 PM »
A larger single core LV is not that difficult for Blue, especially if it is scaled version of flight proven NG.

Not sure of engine choices, but there is nothing wrong with using more BE4, especially if they are flight proven. If they mass producing BE4 for Vulcan and NG then maybe cheapest option.
I'd fly with BE4 while working on new larger engine.

I think it will be 3-5 times size and with reuseable 2nd stage.

To truly reduce costs, LEO to BLEO will need fully reuseable OTV that is refuelled in LEO and BLEO destination. Something like ULA ACES.
BE-4 ISP sucks if you want BEO heavy lifting which NA will be designed for. Just go with all new FFSC Methalox engine for NA which will give better ISP and have greater thrust density to keep core dia. reasonable. Perhaps BO should get NASA to partially fund new large FFSC engine dev. by offering it to power Block 2 SLS advanced boosters. New engine for NA 3-5 x thrust of BE-4 to keep engine no. commonality with NG.

What is BE-4's ISP?

Offline Rocket Surgeon

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #62 on: 01/30/2018 02:38 AM »
A larger single core LV is not that difficult for Blue, especially if it is scaled version of flight proven NG.

Not sure of engine choices, but there is nothing wrong with using more BE4, especially if they are flight proven. If they mass producing BE4 for Vulcan and NG then maybe cheapest option.
I'd fly with BE4 while working on new larger engine.

I think it will be 3-5 times size and with reuseable 2nd stage.

To truly reduce costs, LEO to BLEO will need fully reuseable OTV that is refuelled in LEO and BLEO destination. Something like ULA ACES.
BE-4 ISP sucks if you want BEO heavy lifting which NA will be designed for. Just go with all new FFSC Methalox engine for NA which will give better ISP and have greater thrust density to keep core dia. reasonable. Perhaps BO should get NASA to partially fund new large FFSC engine dev. by offering it to power Block 2 SLS advanced boosters. New engine for NA 3-5 x thrust of BE-4 to keep engine no. commonality with NG.

What is BE-4's ISP?

Not sure, very little confirmed detail of the engine actually exists, but I remember hearing somewhere that it was going to be at best on par with the RD-180 (due to the much lower chamber pressure, roughly half). I think all we know for sure about it is that:
- Thrust = 2,450,000 N (550,000 lbf)
- Chamber pressure = 13,400,000 Pa
- Fuel is CH4/LOX

From the few photos of the engine I'd also guess the nozzle will be ~2m across, but that last one is just a guess

EDIT: Fun fact, if it is ~2m across, you could fit 14 of them on a 10m diameter core comfortably, and that would give you about the same thrust as 5 F-1's. Same as the Saturn V...
« Last Edit: 01/30/2018 02:44 AM by Rocket Surgeon »

Offline DJPledger

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #63 on: 01/31/2018 09:27 AM »
Perhaps the EIS on LC-49 when it is released may give us an insight to how large NA will be.

Online rockets4life97

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #64 on: 01/31/2018 12:46 PM »
What is the expected time frame for New Armstrong? Is BO developing New Glenn and New Armstrong in parallel? Or is it more like F9 and FH, where both were being worked on, but FH didn't come until F9 was reaching maturity?

If the latter, then New Armstrong is probably closer to 2024/2025 if using the relatively fast SpaceX timeline.

Offline Patchouli

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #65 on: 01/31/2018 08:48 PM »
Yes - I doubt we'll ever see a 3-core New Armstrong. Blue Origin would have been paying close attention to the difficulties surrounding Falcon Heavy, not to mention Delta IV-Heavy. If they wanted to upgrade New Armstrong's capabilities we could expect the traditional engine and structural upgrades to achieve better performance.

And if they were ever desperate - redesign the main booster stage to accommodate a cluster of strap-on, expendable solid boosters, such as the Orbital-ATK GEM-60 or 63XL that Vulcan is going to use.

If they were to use a booster on NG I think a shortened SLS booster would be a closer fit.

A larger single core LV is not that difficult for Blue, especially if it is scaled version of flight proven NG.

Not sure of engine choices, but there is nothing wrong with using more BE4, especially if they are flight proven. If they mass producing BE4 for Vulcan and NG then maybe cheapest option.
I'd fly with BE4 while working on new larger engine.

I think it will be 3-5 times size and with reuseable 2nd stage.

To truly reduce costs, LEO to BLEO will need fully reuseable OTV that is refuelled in LEO and BLEO destination. Something like ULA ACES.
BE-4 ISP sucks if you want BEO heavy lifting which NA will be designed for. Just go with all new FFSC Methalox engine for NA which will give better ISP and have greater thrust density to keep core dia. reasonable. Perhaps BO should get NASA to partially fund new large FFSC engine dev. by offering it to power Block 2 SLS advanced boosters. New engine for NA 3-5 x thrust of BE-4 to keep engine no. commonality with NG.

NA could end up using an all new second stage with a larger hydrogen engine maybe something similar to IPD.
This would not kill reusability or ISRU esp since BO seems more interested in the Moon and asteroids than Mars and there hydrogen makes more sense.
« Last Edit: 01/31/2018 08:50 PM by Patchouli »

Offline DJPledger

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #66 on: 02/01/2018 08:14 AM »
If they were to use a booster on NG I think a shortened SLS booster would be a closer fit.
BO will never use solids in any of their future designs. BO are more likely to offer a liquid fuel engine to power future SLS boosters than use solids themselves. Anyway back to NA which will be all liquid fueled with no solids. No 3 core NG, they will move straight on to NA dev. once NG is in service.

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #67 on: 02/01/2018 08:46 AM »
What payloads will +100t to LEO NA fly?

1)supplying fuel depot.
2)Large LEO crew vehicle.
3) Smaller crew vehicle with 3rd stage for lunar mission.
4)Large space station modules, not high flight rate these.
5)Cargo to GEO for building Solar Space Power Satellites.


Offline brickmack

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #68 on: 02/01/2018 02:58 PM »
2)Large LEO crew vehicle.
3) Smaller crew vehicle with 3rd stage for lunar mission.

If they do go with an enlarged ACES-like upper stage/tug, the payload capacity to the moon may well be in excess of what a single NA launch can deliver to LEO. ACES delivers >40% more to low lunar orbit than Vulcan can to LEO when using a BFR-like high elliptical refueling with propellant delivered from the moon. Would probably use the same crew vehicle, and either use the extra performance as a safety margin, or carry denser cargo to maximize use of the available volume.

Offline DJPledger

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #69 on: 02/11/2018 08:27 PM »
Perhaps BO should offer NA to NASA as an SLS replacement and allow SLS to be cancelled. This would save NASA a lot of money. Cancelling SLS will also allow BO the use of LC-39B as well as the proposed LC-49 for NA. LC-39B would likely have to be modified for NA though. Money saved from SLS cancellation can be spent on expediting NA dev., LC-49 construction, and maybe LC-39B modification.

Offline MATTBLAK

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #70 on: 02/11/2018 09:08 PM »
Yes - I doubt we'll ever see a 3-core New Armstrong. Blue Origin would have been paying close attention to the difficulties surrounding Falcon Heavy, not to mention Delta IV-Heavy. If they wanted to upgrade New Armstrong's capabilities we could expect the traditional engine and structural upgrades to achieve better performance.

And if they were ever desperate - redesign the main booster stage to accommodate a cluster of strap-on, expendable solid boosters, such as the Orbital-ATK GEM-60 or 63XL that Vulcan is going to use.

If they were to use a booster on NG I think a shortened SLS booster would be a closer fit.

A larger single core LV is not that difficult for Blue, especially if it is scaled version of flight proven NG.

Not sure of engine choices, but there is nothing wrong with using more BE4, especially if they are flight proven. If they mass producing BE4 for Vulcan and NG then maybe cheapest option.
I'd fly with BE4 while working on new larger engine.

I think it will be 3-5 times size and with reuseable 2nd stage.

To truly reduce costs, LEO to BLEO will need fully reuseable OTV that is refuelled in LEO and BLEO destination. Something like ULA ACES.
BE-4 ISP sucks if you want BEO heavy lifting which NA will be designed for. Just go with all new FFSC Methalox engine for NA which will give better ISP and have greater thrust density to keep core dia. reasonable. Perhaps BO should get NASA to partially fund new large FFSC engine dev. by offering it to power Block 2 SLS advanced boosters. New engine for NA 3-5 x thrust of BE-4 to keep engine no. commonality with NG.

NA could end up using an all new second stage with a larger hydrogen engine maybe something similar to IPD.
This would not kill reusability or ISRU esp since BO seems more interested in the Moon and asteroids than Mars and there hydrogen makes more sense.
Would cost a lot of money to redesign and retest the SLS SRBs. Better to just buy off-the-shelf SRM's like the GEM-63XL's which produce about 400,000 pounds thrust (1.78 meganewtons) each at liftoff.
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Offline Chasm

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #71 on: 02/11/2018 11:47 PM »
Nobody outside Blue has an idea how fast they they'll follow up on NG.
I think that Blue has a firm idea what they want to achieve with NA and a good understanding of the things have to be in place for that. A big question is if NA requires new technology or "just" more of the same.

The theme for NA is moon rocket. Another BFR would be boring, even if it's original size.
I want to see Blue try something different on NA, or on a NG evolution.

A way to stage the first stage later.
A Black Arrow style fairing fixed to the first stage, encapsulating the rest. Say no to fairing recovery. ;) (Come on. Haircut ✓ Ship ✓ Laugh ✓ Rockets ✓ Just needs cat and volcano. Already got an opponent who gets billed as super hero...)

I'd love the option to stick a tripropellant engine on the 3rd stage. RD-701 was LOX-H2-RP1, LOX-H2-LNG should be possible and slightly easier. H2 or LNG that is. The goal is to refill -on orbit- with the cheapest option available. (Also got to expand on ACES somehow.)

Separation events are not en vogue. Yet everyone using them. I like a somewhat shorter rocket. Hm...

Offline DJPledger

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #72 on: 02/12/2018 05:13 PM »
Would cost a lot of money to redesign and retest the SLS SRBs. Better to just buy off-the-shelf SRM's like the GEM-63XL's which produce about 400,000 pounds thrust (1.78 meganewtons) each at liftoff.
Better still, don't use any solids for NA. BO wants NA to be fully reusable so solids are out of the question.

Offline MATTBLAK

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #73 on: 02/12/2018 07:57 PM »
I did say earlier in the thread that they'd only use solids if they were desperate - and it was in response to someone touting triple core configurations etc. Neither solids nor a triple-core configuration are likely - but not impossible.
« Last Edit: 02/13/2018 09:04 AM by MATTBLAK »
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Offline Pipcard

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #74 on: 02/12/2018 09:52 PM »
The theme for NA is moon rocket. Another BFR would be boring, even if it's original size.
I want to see Blue try something different on NA, or on a NG evolution.
I was thinking of NA vs BFR becoming something like Airbus vs Boeing (though I hope more players join in on the fully reusable super-heavy lift game).
« Last Edit: 02/12/2018 11:40 PM by Pipcard »

Offline Chasm

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #75 on: 02/13/2018 01:34 AM »
Could be, through in that example has its pitfalls. Engine suppliers are a problem. Airbus A3210NEO and the PW1100G anyone?
Bombardier also has engine troubles. Turns out it is quite hard to get paid for planes sitting at the factory when P&W does not deliver...

I do think it is imperative for other nations to join the reuse bandwaggon.
Now that A6 is irrevocably on its way and Falcon Heavy finally launched ESA leadership can -and did- change the tune. Before that they already shortened the transition away from A5 quite a bit. I hope that there is some tangible support behind the announced projects, both financial and political. It will take time and effort but there is no insurmountable problem once Europe has suitable engines.



On the New Armstrong side I still like multi core configurations. If you count full stage length SRB just about everyone has them.  Not going to bet on it though. :)
Even the moon theme does not really help. Is Blue after a single launch moon rocket? Or is it about throwing large mass and/or volume into a convenient orbit and them move on from there after a bit of docking? Is there a large variation in payloads?
Does it have to be full reuse from day one or is partial reuse on some parts feasible?

Offline DJPledger

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #76 on: 02/13/2018 09:06 AM »
On the New Armstrong side I still like multi core configurations. If you count full stage length SRB just about everyone has them.  Not going to bet on it though. :)
Even the moon theme does not really help. Is Blue after a single launch moon rocket? Or is it about throwing large mass and/or volume into a convenient orbit and them move on from there after a bit of docking? Is there a large variation in payloads?
Does it have to be full reuse from day one or is partial reuse on some parts feasible?
I will bet my house on NA being single core as BO have said the larger the booster the easier it is to land due to the pendulum effect. Single core NA will be easier and cheaper to reuse than a multi-core version.

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