Author Topic: Discussion/Comparison of the new generation of American heavy lift launchers  (Read 9360 times)

Offline Paul451

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Just out of curiosity and I might already know the answer but why is ITS not included? I am assuming because it has no set timeline yet per say.

Just for pedantry, it's "per se". Latin.

Here is the latest timeline I was able to find:

Even converting Mars Musk years into ordinary Earth years, that would still be pretty extraordinary.

Offline envy887

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Just out of curiosity and I might already know the answer but why is ITS not included?

I am assuming because it has no set timeline yet per say.

This is actually a very good question.

ITS is in about the same stage of development as NG and Vulcan-ACES, with main propulsion testing and structural development, and is currently planned for first flight around the same time.

Ed?

Online gongora

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Just out of curiosity and I might already know the answer but why is ITS not included?

I am assuming because it has no set timeline yet per say.

This is actually a very good question.

ITS is in about the same stage of development as NG and Vulcan-ACES, with main propulsion testing and structural development, and is currently planned for first flight around the same time.

Ed?

Musk has said that the design has been refined and new details would be released in a few months.  Probably not much point in showing the design from last September, better to just wait for the new one. 

Online watermod

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With the 1.5X increase in T(*) stock price since the beginning of the year Musk should have more money available to plow into ITS development.
 

Offline envy887

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For the record, in it's current design my estimate for ITS is 141,000 kg to TMI and 172,500 kg to TLI per launch including tanker launches.


I'm counting landing fuel and the propulsion section of the ITS ship as useful payload, because, well, it is useful payload (and anything SLS throws at Mars or the Moon will certainly have the same functionality counted as payload).

Offline raketa

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Seriously, Elon Musk worth is 17 billion. With Model 3 production could easily achieve over 50 billion and you are saying ITS is not funded. He is crazy about Mars for 20 years and risked everything that he owned to build Spacex. ITS first wave will cost under ~10 billion, in 10 years with SpaceX yearly profit and Tesla stock, he could easy to achieve first stage build camp and infrastructure to return ITS back to Earth.Why you underestimated him for 20 years.He was and is only hope that I will see Mars landing in my lifetime. Why so much space enthusiast hope he will fail. Do you understand he is beating company in most competitive branch auto industry?Space launch industry is mostly still 60ies.

Offline MATTBLAK

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With Vulcan, New Glenn, Falcon Heavy and eventually ITS; I'm failing to see the relevance of SLS more and more - despite it's obvious Shuttle heritage of magnificence :(  I know we constantly refer to the phrase 'Rockets Aren't Legos' so often - it's a phrase that humbly grounds me and irritates me in equal measure!! I prefer to look upon the tradition of upgrades that happens to nearly every rocket launcher - from the original Atlas & Titans, to the Saturn V, even the Shuttle stack to the Delta IV, Ariane V and even the humble Soyuz rocket. All of these incredible machines have had performance and reliability upgrades over their careers.

We don't know yet what upgrades and 'tweaks' Blue Origin will introduce to the New Glenn over time. How would the Falcon Heavy perform with an upgraded upper stage? Will Ariane 6 end up being 'beefed up' over it's career? Will Japan give us an impressive boost to it's beautiful family of H-II rockets? Will ULA end up upgrading Vulcan/ACES by making an 8x GEM-63XL version with upgraded corestage engines and a stretched, higher-thrust ACES upper stage?

I personally think that such a version of Vulcan, using distributed launch could send pretty good-sized payloads to the Moon and Mars. I'd love a qualified person to write a paper/Powerpoint about doing an updated Zubrin's 'Mars Direct' using a launcher like that! Or New Glenn... The possibilities are multitude.
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Online cppetrie

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Seriously, Elon Musk worth is 17 billion. With Model 3 production could easily achieve over 50 billion and you are saying ITS is not funded. He is crazy about Mars for 20 years and risked everything that he owned to build Spacex. ITS first wave will cost under ~10 billion, in 10 years with SpaceX yearly profit and Tesla stock, he could easy to achieve first stage build camp and infrastructure to return ITS back to Earth.Why you underestimated him for 20 years.He was and is only hope that I will see Mars landing in my lifetime. Why so much space enthusiast hope he will fail. Do you understand he is beating company in most competitive branch auto industry?Space launch industry is mostly still 60ies.
If his net worth is mostly tied up in company ownership (i.e. stocks) then that wealth is only useful for funding R&D if he liquidates it, and consequently that leaves him with less ownership and control in said companies. That is a road he doesn't seem interested in traveling down at present for what I think are fairly obvious reasons.

Edit: typo
« Last Edit: 06/16/2017 04:38 AM by cppetrie »

Offline raketa

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Elon major passion is Mars. He sad that major reason for collecting worth is to fund Mars mission.He will depart from Tesla if necessary, to fulfill his dream. He will sell to some company, that ensure future of electric cars.Could be Apple, Google,... But honestly, yearly profit from SpaceX and some little help 1B /yeer from Tesla stock, will be enough to fund the first phase.

Offline hkultala

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Just out of curiosity and I might already know the answer but why is ITS not included?

I am assuming because it has no set timeline yet per say.

This is actually a very good question.

ITS is in about the same stage of development as NG and Vulcan-ACES, with main propulsion testing and structural development, and is currently planned for first flight around the same time.

Ed?

No, it's not.

Elon was talking about the most optimistic possible schedule, not the realistic schedule.

The "raptor" engine being tested is said to be subscale mode, not the actual engine.

And absolutely NOTHING has yet been done for launch, manufacturing or testing sites of BFR/ITS. Manufacturing ITS/BFR at Hawthorne would be very problematic due logistics, and they have no pad that they can use for BRF/ITS in the near future. (LC-39A is not an option for many years even though it's in the video)

BO has LC-36 and a new manufacturing facility is being constructed near it.

Offline su27k

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Just out of curiosity and I might already know the answer but why is ITS not included?

I am assuming because it has no set timeline yet per say.

This is actually a very good question.

ITS is in about the same stage of development as NG and Vulcan-ACES, with main propulsion testing and structural development, and is currently planned for first flight around the same time.

Ed?
ITS was an interesting presentation.  I don't see it as a funded development effort at this point, while the others on my list are serious, funded development efforts as near as I can determine.  Musk himself said that major government funding was needed for the ITS as it was presented.

Personally I have no problem with excluding ITS since as presented it's not really a launch vehicle but a space transportation system that we have no word to describe yet. But your criteria is flawed, for example as far as I know SLS Blk 2 is not funded, and while NGL has some funding, its existence is entirely dependent on guaranteed government missions. Also we have no idea how serious Blue Origin is about 3 stage version of NG, I would be surprised they're doing serious work on it yet.

Offline edkyle99

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Some more information on SLS payload capacity released today. Doesn't look like Block 2 will hit 50 tonnes to TLI or 40 tonnes to Mars. SLS Block 2 should be listed as 37,600 kg to TMI and 45,000 kg to TLI. Block 1B estimates appear to be pretty accurate though...
Note that the Block 2 numbers are given as "minimums".   Actual payload capabilities would likely exceed.


==============================================================
Vehicle          1st Flt   TransLunar   TransMars      GTO   
==============================================================
Falcon 9 Blk 5     2017?    ~3,000 kg?   ~2,500 kg?   5,500 kg
Falcon 9 Blk 5-X   2017?    ~5,500 kg     4,020 kg    8,300 kg
Falcon Heavy       2018?    ~5,500 kg    ~4,900 kg    8,000 kg
Falcon Heavy-X     2018?   ~20,500 kg    16,800 kg   26,700 kg
SLS Blk 1          2019?    24,500 kg    19,500 kg      N/A
Vulcan Centaur 56x 2019?    ~8,300 kg    ~6,200 kg   10,200 kg
New Glenn 2 Stg    2020?    ~7,500 kg?   ~3,000 kg?  13,000 kg
NGL-5xx            2021?    ~6,000 kg    ~4,700 kg    8,500 kg
SLS Blk 1B         2021?    39,000 kg    32,000 kg      N/A
Vulcan ACES 56x    2023?    14,000 kg    10,500 kg   17,200 kg
NGL-5xx-XL         2023?   ~10,300 kg    ~8,200 kg?  14,700 kg
New Glenn 3 Stg    2025?   ~25,000 kg?  ~20,000 kg? ~30,000 kg?
SLS Blk 2          2028?   >45,000 kg   >37,600 kg      N/A
==============================================================
"X" Denotes Expendable Version

Updated 06-16-17


 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 06/16/2017 08:19 PM by edkyle99 »

Offline envy887

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ITS was an interesting presentation.  I don't see it as a funded development effort at this point

It's partially funded, to the tune of 5% of SpaceX resources. But only F9, FH, SLS Block 1 and NG 2-stage are fully funded.

Quote
while the others on my list are serious, funded development efforts as near as I can determine.
Vucan isn't fully funded, funds for it are approved quarterly. Neither is ACES, nor NGL, nor SLS Block 1B, or SLS Block 2. NG 3-stage might not be fully funded, Bezos hasn't made a definitive statement on the matter. If you preclude partially funded efforts, half the list is gone.

I don't know how you can doubt that SpaceX is serious about ITS (or something very similar). This is the very goal Musk et al have been struggling towards for the 15 years... They have invested enormous effort and aren't going to stop with this goal already in sight.

Quote
Musk himself said that major government funding was needed for the ITS as it was presented.

No, he did not say that. What he said was:

Quote from: Elon Musk
There are also many people in the private sector who are interested in helping to fund a base on Mars, and perhaps there will be interest on the government sector side to do that too. Ultimately, this is going to be a huge public–private partnership.

The BASE will perhaps be partly or largely government funded; that is the part he needs help with. But the transport system he is willing to build himself. Government funds would be welcomed, but not at all strictly necessary:

Quote from: Elon Musk
I should also add that the main reason I am personally accumulating assets is in order to fund this. I really do not have any other motivation for personally accumulating assets except to be able to make the biggest contribution I can to making life multi-planetary.

Obviously "this" starts with the rocket to get there. Musk's net worth has been pointed out elsewhere, and based on his published statement he is willing to spend every cent he can get his hands on to move this project forward. And if you doubt his veracity, consider he has already done so, spending literally his last cent on it in the early days of SpaceX.

Offline envy887

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Some more information on SLS payload capacity released today. Doesn't look like Block 2 will hit 50 tonnes to TLI or 40 tonnes to Mars. SLS Block 2 should be listed as 37,600 kg to TMI and 45,000 kg to TLI. Block 1B estimates appear to be pretty accurate though...
Note that the Block 2 numbers are given as "minimums".   Actual payload capabilities would likely exceed.
They likely would be higher with liquid boosters; the user guide assumes advanced SRBs (Black Knight?).

Offline envy887

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Elon was talking about the most optimistic possible schedule, not the realistic schedule.

True. And Ed is adjusting schedules in his list to fit likely dates. None of the schedules are set in stone: the closest such thing is SLS, which was supposed to begin operational flights in 2016, but now likely won't until 2023.

Just adjust for Elon time dilation as necessary

Quote
The "raptor" engine being tested is said to be subscale mode, not the actual engine.

Also true. But it was successfully all-up fired 9 months ago, while NG and Vulcan are still waiting on an engine that has only done powerpack testing so far, and is likely at least a year behind the sub-scale Raptor. Full-scale Raptor could easily be only a year behind BE-4 (meaning they would be doing full-scale powerpack testing right now) and on a nominal track to hit a 2020 first flight.

Quote
And absolutely NOTHING has yet been done for launch, manufacturing or testing sites of BFR/ITS. Manufacturing ITS/BFR at Hawthorne would be very problematic due logistics, and they have no pad that they can use for BRF/ITS in the near future.

This is easily the best point to how far out ITS is, though I wouldn't say "nothing". They can obviously build and test components, but assembling and testing whole stages is a major issue, and 39A clearly has other priorities for the next few years. Right now ITS facilities are at least a year behind NG with a growing gap. But NG is still planning a test launch in 2019, so a 2020 ITS test launch isn't entirely impossible.

Quote
(LC-39A is not an option for many years even though it's in the video)

BO has LC-36 and a new manufacturing facility is being constructed near it.

Maybe. People keep saying this about 39A, but

Quote from: Elon Musk
The thrust level is enormous. We are talking about a lift-off thrust of 13,000
tons, so it will be quite tectonic when it takes off. However, it does fit on Pad 39A, which NASA has been kind enough to allow us to use because they oversized the pad in doing Saturn V. As a result, we can use a much larger vehicle on that same launchpad.

I seriously doubt you know more about the subject than he does. And he says it three times in a row, so there's no possible alternative explanation except that he's flat out wrong. Which is certainly possible, but I have yet to see one shred of actual evidence supporting that explanation.

Edit: fix quotes
« Last Edit: 06/17/2017 02:42 AM by envy887 »

Online gongora

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Here's a direct quote for you:
Elon Musk, June 16 2017: "Major changes to the plan coming soon."  Can we please just stop the arguing about whether last September's ITS vehicle belongs on the list until after we hear Elon's update?

Offline envy887

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Here's a direct quote for you:
Elon Musk, June 16 2017: "Major changes to the plan coming soon."  Can we please just stop the arguing about whether last September's ITS vehicle belongs on the list until after we hear Elon's update?

https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/875770056323420160

Quote
Mars V2 plan coming soon, which I think addresses the most fundamental flaw in V1: how to pay for development & operation of giant rockets

Considering the "giant rockets" part, I don't see any plausible interpretation of these statement that indicates the plan is anything other than a "new generation of American heavy lift launcher". Even if the details of the ITS implementation change somewhat, its discussion here is still relevant, on topic, and constructive not to mention interesting and generally quite civil. That's more than you can say for most threads around here :D

After all, the exact details of most (all?) these vehicles are still in considerable flux and most are educated guesses at best (notice all the question marks...). I think a set of placeholder values for ITS is appropriate.

Offline rsdavis9

After all, the exact details of most (all?) these vehicles are still in considerable flux and most are educated guesses at best (notice all the question marks...). I think a set of placeholder values for ITS is appropriate.
After SpaceX provides more information in (presumably) September.

 - Ed Kyle
https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/875913504451985411
Tweet says:

Quote
So soon you wont believe it
bob

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