Author Topic: Ariane 6 Discussion Thread: Place Your Ariane 6 Discussions Here.  (Read 573056 times)

Offline GreenShrike

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 167
  • Liked: 151
  • Likes Given: 520
If Ariane 6 with a much higher launch rate and ~45% price reduction is not competitive as you claim, how on earth is Ariane 5? 

It's not.

Quote
This attitude is nonsensical. 

No, what is nonsensical is to waste billions to develop another non-competitive launcher. It would be cheaper to keep flying Ariane 5 until they can create a truely competitive reusable launcher than waste billions to develop Ariane 6 which is a dead-end architecture.

At the risk of bringing math into it, the way that I look at it, A6 will take €2815M, €400M from industry and the rest from government to develop (figures from Wikipedia). There's also the €200M CNES contract for the new ELA-4 launch site, so say the total A6 development costs are €3000M.

If A64 is half the cost of A5 per launch, and A5 costs €150M to launch, then €75M is saved per A64 flight.

It will thus take €3000M / €75M = ~40 A64 flights before A6 has paid back its development costs in savings over A5 flights.

(I'm ignoring A62 flights because it's apparently a Soyuz replacement that doesn't save money over flying Soyuz -- flying it ultimately just helps bring down the cost of A64 flights.)

At 6 flights per year, and assuming that it takes 3 years to develop and start flying A64 exclusively over A5 (which seems unlikely, as there's a phase-in period), it'll take a full decade before ESA can say A64 has saved them any money.

But LM5/6/7, H3 and GSLV Mk3/ULV will all be wanting their own piece of the commercial spaceflight pie (as will, of course, the new American companies) so that decade is potentially longer if ESA can't round up 12 launch contracts per year to fill their 6 dual-launch A64s in the face of renewed world-wide competition -- and possibly never if A64 is retired before accumulating 40-odd launches.

TriOptimum Corporation            Science
                                      Military /_\ Consumer

Offline RedLineTrain

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 727
  • Liked: 436
  • Likes Given: 445
At 6 flights per year, and assuming that it takes 3 years to develop and start flying A64 exclusively over A5 (which seems unlikely, as there's a phase-in period), it'll take a full decade before ESA can say A64 has saved them any money.

Math is good.  More math is better.  The pay-back for A6 is being chased relentlessly by the time value of money.  Musk put 5% for BFR (unrealistically low), but you might consider discounting 7-8% per annum for cost of capital for A6.

Offline Rik ISS-fan

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 921
  • the Netherlands
  • Liked: 229
  • Likes Given: 130
Again read the Answers to Questions of Germany document.
Indeed the investment in Ariane 6 will most likely never return by savings on launch services.
Governments have other motivations and methods to justify the investments made for Ariane 6.
These investments give Europe independent acces to space, and beter control over launch cost and schedule.
The (sub-)contractors for Ariane 6 create high tech jobs in the member-states that have invested in Ariane 6. The employees will spend their money in the countries they live in, stimulating that economy (multiplier effect).
It's the increase in tax incomes that are the second justification for the investment in Ariane 6, next to the guaranteed European acces to space. (again: Expert, PAZ, Sentinel 5P, Sentinel 3B, QB-50, ...)

Governments have very different funding costs than companies. Several European nations have negative intrest rates on short term state loans.
« Last Edit: 12/01/2017 11:03 AM by Rik ISS-fan »

Offline AncientU

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6236
  • Liked: 4057
  • Likes Given: 5570
If Ariane 6 with a much higher launch rate and ~45% price reduction is not competitive as you claim, how on earth is Ariane 5? 

It's not.

Quote
This attitude is nonsensical. 

No, what is nonsensical is to waste billions to develop another non-competitive launcher. It would be cheaper to keep flying Ariane 5 until they can create a truely competitive reusable launcher than waste billions to develop Ariane 6 which is a dead-end architecture.

At the risk of bringing math into it, the way that I look at it, A6 will take €2815M, €400M from industry and the rest from government to develop (figures from Wikipedia). There's also the €200M CNES contract for the new ELA-4 launch site, so say the total A6 development costs are €3000M.

If A64 is half the cost of A5 per launch, and A5 costs €150M to launch, then €75M is saved per A64 flight.

It will thus take €3000M / €75M = ~40 A64 flights before A6 has paid back its development costs in savings over A5 flights.

(I'm ignoring A62 flights because it's apparently a Soyuz replacement that doesn't save money over flying Soyuz -- flying it ultimately just helps bring down the cost of A64 flights.)

At 6 flights per year, and assuming that it takes 3 years to develop and start flying A64 exclusively over A5 (which seems unlikely, as there's a phase-in period), it'll take a full decade before ESA can say A64 has saved them any money.

But LM5/6/7, H3 and GSLV Mk3/ULV will all be wanting their own piece of the commercial spaceflight pie (as will, of course, the new American companies) so that decade is potentially longer if ESA can't round up 12 launch contracts per year to fill their 6 dual-launch A64s in the face of renewed world-wide competition -- and possibly never if A64 is retired before accumulating 40-odd launches.

Numbers quoted are for a 40% savings, A6 over A5.  At $60M per flight, it will take 50 flights for pay back (i.e., never).

As Rik ISS-fan testifies:
Quote
Indeed the investment in Ariane 6 will most likely never return by savings on launch services.
'Most likely never' meaning 'Never'

Quote
These investments give Europe independent acces to space
So does staying with A-5.

Quote
...beter control over launch cost and schedule.
Spending double the funds on development instead of launch is not 'better control'...
Using an existing launcher is better control over schedule than using a newly developing one.

Quote
The (sub-)contractors for Ariane 6 create high tech jobs in the member-states that have invested in Ariane 6. The employees will spend their money in the countries they live in, stimulating that economy (multiplier effect).
So does developing a world-competitive launcher, while continuing to launch the existing systems.

Quote
Governments have very different funding costs than companies. Several European nations have negative intrest rates on short term state loans.
Doesn't justify throwing money at the wrong target, building a system that will be obsolete when it first launches. 

The USA has a very similar horrible habit -- but throws this much cash away each year -- so this isn't Euro-bashing.  Just have difficulty watching yet another intelligent group making the same exact mistake... for most of the same reasons.
« Last Edit: 12/01/2017 06:13 PM by AncientU »
"If we shared everything [we are working on] people would think we are insane!"
-- SpaceX friend of mlindner

Offline Rik ISS-fan

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 921
  • the Netherlands
  • Liked: 229
  • Likes Given: 130
I forgot to and 'institutional' to my statement that the investments won't be earned back with launch cost.
The ~€1 billion additionally invested in development of A6 instead of A5ME will be earned back, by lower launch cost for institutional launches. This will take about a decade (Check the Q2A document).

Arianespace is able to offer it's services at ~40% lower prices with A6 than in could with A5. But the largest benefit is the fact that Ariane 6 can insert payloads into different orbits.
In 2016 Arianespace launched two A5ECA's with a single payload. With Ariane 6 they could offer a A62 instead of A64; and/or offer a increased perogee, thus lower dV and less time to reach GTO.
Ariane 6 is also far more suitable for deploying satellite constelations. Because with A62 half the capability of A64 or a A5ME can be offered.
A5ME wouldn't have had a lower launch price than A5ECA. And the European institutions would still have to rely on non-European  launchers for their satellites.

Arianegroup has doubt there will be enough launch demand for Ariane 6. They want to produce 35x P120c boosters and 11x LLPM, ULPM and Fairings. (Production rate of 1/month)
If launch requirement is lower, thus less has to be produced, the cost of Ariane 6 will increase. This is why they are very sceptical  about reuse.

Offline JMSC

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 109
  • Liked: 31
  • Likes Given: 3
I forgot to and 'institutional' to my statement that the investments won't be earned back with launch cost.
The ~€1 billion additionally invested in development of A6 instead of A5ME will be earned back, by lower launch cost for institutional launches. This will take about a decade (Check the Q2A document).

Arianespace is able to offer it's services at ~40% lower prices with A6 than in could with A5. But the largest benefit is the fact that Ariane 6 can insert payloads into different orbits.


Just my 2 cents but the biggest issue with Ariane 6 at this time seems to be the assumed 40% reduction in prices.  This price is based on the assumption that Ariane 6 retaining Arianespace's current share of the comm sat business in the 2020s, and will have 7 commercial launches plus 5 institutional launches that will largely come from shutting down Soyuz.  But what happens if the 7 commercial launches a year don't materialize as many on this forum and the press currently speculate? After all US, Russian and Chinese companies can plan for a certain base case due to the fact the government in each country controls the majority of the market, for A6 this just isn't the case and they can't plan on fickle commercial providers to continue to support them the same way they have in past decades. 

If A64 does not capture the 7+/- assumed commercial launches each year, the 40% per flight cost reduction will not materialize and Arianespace is in the same spot they would be if Ariane 5 kept flying into the 2020s.  A cost prohibitive launcher, with prices for institutional launches which will be well above the advertised €70 million price for A62 and too expensive for the existing market just as A5 currently is.  Not only will A62 be affected but Vega's cost will become prohibitive as A64 is supposed to be taking the bulk of P120 production.  If A64s commercial flight rates drops to Proton levels, then all cost projections for A6 and Vega can just be thrown out the window.

To put my point in a little more perspective I definitely think Europe needs its own launcher capability, and I would certainly prefer a situation where the US would be buying seats to the ISS from ESA instead of Roscosmos.  However, the current market plan for A6 increasingly looks like a fantasy.  I think ESA and Arianespace need to start planning on not meeting the A64 launch target or their advertised cost goals.  That likely means increasing getting even more than 5 institutional launches per year for A62, and even looking at additional markets beyond the Comm Sat and European Institutional Launch Market.  A restart of ISS resupply flights would be great, along with possible more EU military cooperation on space and other markets.  Other questions are can the A62 be more optimized for the LEO market, can prometheus or lower cost engines be brought on board sooner, and how can a reusable technologies to support ESA's much more modest goals than SpaceX and BO be developed sooner and in parallel with A6.  I just think the sooner the ESA admits that the 7+5 formula for A6 is in trouble and starts working from let's say a more realistic market outlook, the better off they will be in the 2020s.

Offline Rik ISS-fan

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 921
  • the Netherlands
  • Liked: 229
  • Likes Given: 130
JMSC I share this concern, a little bit.
ArianeGroup initially planned for 6x Ariane 62 and 5x Ariane 64 (12+20+3=35x P120C). Some institutional launches will also use A64 launches. The request from Arianegroup was for 5 institutional payloads (A62 launch / A64 payload).
According to this Air-Cosmos article; from 2020-2022 there is an average institutional demand from 7 payloads.
If GEO comsat launch demand is lower, Arianespace could launch them individually on A62, with this method Arianespace will keep A6 launch rate at 11 +/-1.
 
I don't share your worry about the cost for Vega-C/E. I don't have the details about the P120C production sequence. But I expect multiple production-lines are required to produce 35 P120C stages annually. If the demand for P120C stages is lower than expected, less production-lines will be build. I expect the decision how many production-lines are required, will be made between 2020 and 2021. If a production line is used optimally, the P120C cost are low.
Forecasting the future is really difficult, I think Ariane 6 is the best Arianegroup could do at this moment.

Offline TrevorMonty

Again read the Answers to Questions of Germany document.
Indeed the investment in Ariane 6 will most likely never return by savings on launch services.
Governments have other motivations and methods to justify the investments made for Ariane 6.
These investments give Europe independent acces to space, and beter control over launch cost and schedule.
The (sub-)contractors for Ariane 6 create high tech jobs in the member-states that have invested in Ariane 6. The employees will spend their money in the countries they live in, stimulating that economy (multiplier effect).
It's the increase in tax incomes that are the second justification for the investment in Ariane 6, next to the guaranteed European acces to space. (again: Expert, PAZ, Sentinel 5P, Sentinel 3B, QB-50, ...)

Governments have very different funding costs than companies. Several European nations have negative intrest rates on short term state loans.
A lot of new space startups are started by people who have developed their skill set and contacts working on these projects.

Blue and SpaceX have had access to large pool of experienced workers from old space companies, most of which wouldn't exist without large government projects.
In turn Blue and SpaceX workers have gone onto creating new space startups.

Those startups result in large sums of private venture capital going into technology development.


Offline Rik ISS-fan

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 921
  • the Netherlands
  • Liked: 229
  • Likes Given: 130
Let's post several links:
Again: Air-Cosmos
mausonaut at the Mureaux presentation part 3 (lots of images)
France with worries about Ariane 6 competitiveness: Challenges.fr
The Challenges article linked to: institutmontaigne.org; Space: Europe counterattacks?
Peter B. de Selding tweet1 & tweet2
Twitter #PerspectivesSpatiales

Offline floss

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 401
  • Liked: 18
  • Likes Given: 116
Personally I love Ariane 6  because it expands ESA capability and brings the launcher closer to becoming useful for Lunar work .

Offline e of pi

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 679
  • Pittsburgh, PA
  • Liked: 256
  • Likes Given: 339
Lengthy interview by brest.malville.com with Stephane Isreal

The topics discussed - SpaceX, constellations, buy European, etc... - have been raised before, but it's an interesting read nonetheless.

Ariane reste "confiant" devant les ambitions de SpaceX

My attempt at translation is here: https://twitter.com/AuerSusan/status/951750445592121344
Thanks for the translation, calapine! I saw one thing that intrigued me: the interview subject described SpaceX as having an order book "two thirds institutional and one third commercial", and thus that Ariane with it's order book being 2/3 commercial and 1/3 institutional is "infinitely more engaged" in commercial launch. If that's translated correctly, it's a whopper of a misrepresentation by the subject: for instance, last year, SpaceX launched 18 payloads, of which 12 were commercial bid-and-won contracts. That's exactly the "2/3 commercial" ratio the subject is trying to claim SpaceX doesn't have. I get the feeling Ariane still doesn't grasp their situation entirely, or isn't willing to admit it if they have, at least externally.

Offline JH

  • Full Member
  • **
  • Posts: 285
  • Liked: 145
  • Likes Given: 60
I saw one thing that intrigued me: the interview subject described SpaceX as having an order book "two thirds institutional and one third commercial", and thus that Ariane with it's order book being 2/3 commercial and 1/3 institutional is "infinitely more engaged" in commercial launch. If that's translated correctly, it's a whopper of a misrepresentation by the subject: for instance, last year, SpaceX launched 18 payloads, of which 12 were commercial bid-and-won contracts. That's exactly the "2/3 commercial" ratio the subject is trying to claim SpaceX doesn't have.

To be fair, he did say "by value" and SpaceX's government launches tend to cost significantly more than their commercial ones. He might be counting the cost of dragons against Spacex in order to pad out the numbers. He is obviously trying to put a good spin on things.

Also, did you notice his suggestion that Arianespace should get a monopoly on European institutional payloads, as well as block buys? Seeking shelter rather than trying to survive in the real market.

Offline AncientU

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6236
  • Liked: 4057
  • Likes Given: 5570
I saw one thing that intrigued me: the interview subject described SpaceX as having an order book "two thirds institutional and one third commercial", and thus that Ariane with it's order book being 2/3 commercial and 1/3 institutional is "infinitely more engaged" in commercial launch. If that's translated correctly, it's a whopper of a misrepresentation by the subject: for instance, last year, SpaceX launched 18 payloads, of which 12 were commercial bid-and-won contracts. That's exactly the "2/3 commercial" ratio the subject is trying to claim SpaceX doesn't have.

To be fair, he did say "by value" and SpaceX's government launches tend to cost significantly more than their commercial ones. He might be counting the cost of dragons against Spacex in order to pad out the numbers. He is obviously trying to put a good spin on things.

Also, did you notice his suggestion that Arianespace should get a monopoly on European institutional payloads, as well as block buys? Seeking shelter rather than trying to survive in the real market.

The SpaceX manifest has the same one third institutional launches as he claims.  Your point on the Dragons is right on... that is a second line of business that gains revenue for SpaceX.

Current manifest of 70 or so flights, when adjusted by the commercial flights SpaceX will fly to lift its constellation (about half of ArianeSpace launches, by the way, but mostly Soyuz) adds to something like 150 flights between now and 2022, 80% of which are commercial.

Interesting that he also recognizes the competitive position of Blue with New Glenn... and finally talks somewhat seriously about the European answer to reusable vehicles... but only 2030 and beyond.  Ariane 6 sales or lack thereof will challenge that timeline.
"If we shared everything [we are working on] people would think we are insane!"
-- SpaceX friend of mlindner

Offline Rik ISS-fan

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 921
  • the Netherlands
  • Liked: 229
  • Likes Given: 130
First about the behavior in the Ariane 6 Update topic:
I find the comments about Update only way more annoying that a relevant counter question or comment. Please stop posting this these types of comments. Just reply on it on the discussion topic and let moderators (re)move the non-update posts.  Each page of the Ariane 6 update topic contains several of these (non-update) comments).

AFAIK Arianespace isn't allowed to offer the Ariane 6 commercially jet. Most likely this is also the case for Vega C. The Vega C and Ariane 6 launches are institutional ones. I think Arianespace is allowed to offer Ariane 6 after (Maturity Gate) MG7, End of Critical Design, planed for the middle of this year.
Arianespace and ESA are first doing four test launches (FM1-FM4) to qualify the two versions of Ariane 6 (source:  A6 User's Club slide 13.).
The first Gallileo launch is most likely FM2, the second launch is not a test/qualification launch.
From the same presentation (slide 12), we can see that there are already three order blocks planned. I think one has been awarded the QM+FM1 order. This involves ground qualification specimens and the first launch (a A62). (Start of QM Assembly is Maturity Gate 8.1 planned for April.)
The second order block, EIS involves FM2 - FM15, these will be used during the transition phase (2020-2022).
From 2023 Arianespace and industry will most likely have reached FOC (Full Operations Capability), this is the point where the Ariane 6 development projects ends. From 2023 Arianegroup will size production rate to launch demand.
I can't draw conclusions jet on the succes or failure of the Ariane 6 program. I am convinced that the Ariane 6 development was by far the best option ESA/European launcher industry had in 2012/2014.
The satellite and launcher market are changing considerably in the 2010-2020 period. I think there are far more important aspects to the market change than the introduction of Falcon 9 and New Glenn. 

Offline woods170

  • IRAS fan
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8516
  • IRAS fan
  • The Netherlands
  • Liked: 5027
  • Likes Given: 1603
First about the behavior in the Ariane 6 Update topic:
I find the comments about Update only way more annoying that a relevant counter question or comment. Please stop posting this these types of comments. Just reply on it on the discussion topic and let moderators (re)move the non-update posts.  Each page of the Ariane 6 update topic contains several of these (non-update) comments).

The reason those update-only reminders are in the update thread is that quite often non-update posts are posted in the update thread.

The reminder usually has the effect that the offending non-update post is retracted by the poster and placed into the discussion thread.

aka self-moderation, which makes life a little bit easier on the mods. They have their hands full on the busier threads, such as the million+ SpaceX threads.

Offline woods170

  • IRAS fan
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8516
  • IRAS fan
  • The Netherlands
  • Liked: 5027
  • Likes Given: 1603
Nothing goes above Lego!
twitter ArianeGroup
I had a very good laugh.

This proves Jim wrong, once and for all. Rockets really are LEGOs.   ;)

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6558
  • UK
    • Plan 28
  • Liked: 6260
  • Likes Given: 1887
So to summarise Stéphane Israel’s interview wrt SpaceX competition (with help from Google translate):

1. Ariane 6 being 40% cheaper than Ariane 5 is good enough
2. This is due to:
     a. meeting European institutional needs
     b. the market not wanting a monopoly provider
3. Good things (innovations) to come later in the 2020s
4. But need to get those European institutions (more) locked in to buying Ariane

No mention of reuse not being proven economically.

My interpretation: Arianespace thinks 2nd place is the best they can get in the international launch market and they’re ok with that providing Europe buys European.

Offline hektor

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1353
  • Liked: 62
  • Likes Given: 3
Well it works as long as Blue Origin does not materialize as a viable option.

You could have a SpaceX - Blue Origin duopoly which would sideline Arianespace.

So Arianespace sadly enough will have to hope for their competitors to fail.
« Last Edit: 01/14/2018 06:41 PM by hektor »

Offline ChrisWilson68

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3749
  • Sunnyvale, CA
  • Liked: 2358
  • Likes Given: 3040
Here's the problem with Ariane 6:

Quote
Ariane 6 could use reusable Prometheus engine, designer says

LES MUREAUX, France and WASHINGTON — Europe’s upcoming Ariane 6 rocket, though designed to be expendable, could one day sport a reusable engine, according to Patrick Bonguet, head of the Ariane 6 program at ArianeGroup.

Whether or not the rocket would ever use that engine, called Prometheus, depends on whether Ariane 6 manufacturer ArianeGroup, formerly Airbus Safran Launchers, finds enough benefit for the European launch sector. So far, the merits of reusable rockets to ArianeGroup are unclear at best, Bonguet said, but the company is researching the technology to be ready for implementation should it prove worthwhile.

“We could replace Vulcain 2.1 by Prometheus,” Bonguet told SpaceNews. “Or Prometheus can be the first break to build the next generation. We will see where we are in 2025 or 2030, and then decide on the right time whether to go one way or the other.”

http://spacenews.com/ariane-6-could-use-reusable-prometheus-engine-designer-says/

They have a competitor that is already reusing first stages successfully to compete against them and they have technology under development that they could choose to put into a program to develop their next production vehicle.  Instead, though, they're not going to change their plans for Ariane 6, which will not be in production use for five year, and instead "see where we are in 2025 or 2030".

Offline AncientU

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6236
  • Liked: 4057
  • Likes Given: 5570
After selling Ariane 6 and it's not insignificant development tab so hard, and still needing commitments to 'exploitation' of this vehicle for institutional payloads, I can see why everyone is saying it is the only game in town.  Problem is, it isn't...  They best get into development on Ariane Next and then production for a mid-2020s introduction, or they'll never catch up. 

Waiting until 2025 or 2030 to 'see where we are' is crazy talk.
« Last Edit: 01/14/2018 08:34 PM by AncientU »
"If we shared everything [we are working on] people would think we are insane!"
-- SpaceX friend of mlindner

Tags: