Author Topic: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3  (Read 23021 times)

Offline Chris Bergin

New thread for Vulcan....

Thread 1:
https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=35754.0

Thread 2:
https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=37676.0

ULA Vulcan Rocket Q&A with ULA's Dr. George Sowers:
https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=37295.0

---

For Vulcan's sake, please stay on topic! :)  Please use this thread to discuss the rocket hardware/facilites as actually being designed and built by ULA.

Offline Chasm

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CDR is "Underway and going well"
via Tory Bruno


No public word on engine(s) selection yet.

Offline rcoppola

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What configuration are they doing a CDR against? Very different designs depending upon the Engine selected.
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Offline Sknowball

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What configuration are they doing a CDR against? Very different designs depending upon the Engine selected.

Unfortunately that information has not been released yet.  In addition we do not know if the Centaur V is included in this CDR or if it is undergoing a separate CDR.

Offline Ike17055

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In other words, “keep your Vulcan comments focused on topic!”

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In other words, “keep your Vulcan comments focused on topic!”
Indeed. If you make comments like ''Vulcan should replace the SLS" - there's a good chance your post will be deleted because a Sheldon Cooper type of person probably objected to it ;)
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Offline gongora

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In other words, “keep your Vulcan comments focused on topic!”
Indeed. If you make comments like ''Vulcan should replace the SLS" - there's a good chance your post will be deleted because a Sheldon Cooper type of person probably objected to it ;)

I don't think it's unreasonable to have a thread for a new launch vehicle that actually focuses on that launch vehicle instead of being dominated by discussions about their competitors.

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That happens almost organically when a controversial program is discussed.
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Online john smith 19

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What configuration are they doing a CDR against? Very different designs depending upon the Engine selected.
Good question. It will also have substantial inputs to the "Centaur V/5" CDR if that's separate.

The cautious option is to do both engine CDR's and the US CDR against both of those.

Note it's not just an engineering issue.

While both versions are in play ULA can tell each booster engine mfg that they could go with the other one and press for a better deal.

The question is wheather or not ULA is in too deep for such negotiating games and wheather it's time to fully commit to Blue or AJR.
I think that depends how well engine tests have been going. I'm betting ULA are much better informed about that than we are.
They really need the whole spec to be delivered before commitment. None of that "it's 90% there and we'll get the rest ready for you by the time the stage flies, honest." Ideally that means a full duration, full power test, a virtual flight to 1st stage MECO. 
Whoever delivers that first should be home and dry. 
Blue look like they are in pole position for this, but maybe AJR will surprise people, given the consequences for them...
"Solids are a branch of fireworks, not rocketry. :-) :-) ", Henry Spencer 1/28/11  Averse to bold? You must be in marketing."It's all in the sequencing" K. Mattingly.  STS-Keeping most of the stakeholders happy most of the time.
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What configuration are they doing a CDR against? Very different designs depending upon the Engine selected.
Good question. It will also have substantial inputs to the "Centaur V/5" CDR if that's separate.

The cautious option is to do both engine CDR's and the US CDR against both of those.


Note it's not just an engineering issue.

While both versions are in play ULA can tell each booster engine mfg that they could go with the other one and press for a better deal.

The question is wheather or not ULA is in too deep for such negotiating games and wheather it's time to fully commit to Blue or AJR.
I think that depends how well engine tests have been going. I'm betting ULA are much better informed about that than we are.
They really need the whole spec to be delivered before commitment. None of that "it's 90% there and we'll get the rest ready for you by the time the stage flies, honest." Ideally that means a full duration, full power test, a virtual flight to 1st stage MECO. 
Whoever delivers that first should be home and dry. 
Blue look like they are in pole position for this, but maybe AJR will surprise people, given the consequences for them...

Seems unlikely they would be doing a CDR unless they had narrowed the engine and configuration choices to single booster vendor and similar for second stage (assuming only a single configuration).  Construction cannot begin if major options/decisions remain.

PDR is usually where the trades on major components are presented and decided...
« Last Edit: 12/09/2017 12:31 PM by AncientU »
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Offline clongton

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Seems unlikely they would be doing a CDR unless they had narrowed the engine and configuration choices to single booster vendor and similar for second stage (assuming only a single configuration).  Construction cannot begin if major options/decisions remain.

PDR is usually where the trades on major components are presented and decided...

Did they do a PDR?
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Offline edkyle99

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That happens almost organically when a controversial program is discussed.
Vulcan is controversial?

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Offline Chasm

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Did they do a PDR?

Completed back in March 2016 for the BE-4 version. [ULA press release]

Maybe it's my reading comprehension again but I cant find a similar release for AR1.

Online john smith 19

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Did they do a PDR?

Completed back in March 2016 for the BE-4 version. [ULA press release]

Maybe it's my reading comprehension again but I cant find a similar release for AR1.
Seems unlikely they would be doing a CDR unless they had narrowed the engine and configuration choices to single booster vendor and similar for second stage (assuming only a single configuration).  Construction cannot begin if major options/decisions remain.

PDR is usually where the trades on major components are presented and decided...

If these views are correct then it looks like it's game over for the AR-1, unless AJR can find someone who needs a big, US designed and built LOX/RP1 engine in the near future. 

No one comes to mind for that and I think it's probably OT for this thread.

Blue for the Booster engines, ULA for the structures Orbital ATK for the SRB's and RUAG for the fairings?

So is AJR still guaranteed business for RL-10s for Centaur 5?

Or could Centaur 5 be like Atlas V? Like previous Atlases except.....
"Solids are a branch of fireworks, not rocketry. :-) :-) ", Henry Spencer 1/28/11  Averse to bold? You must be in marketing."It's all in the sequencing" K. Mattingly.  STS-Keeping most of the stakeholders happy most of the time.
So you're going to Mars to seek a better life. What does that mean to you? Always spot a fanbois by how they react to their idols failures.

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That happens almost organically when a controversial program is discussed.
Vulcan is controversial?

 - Ed Kyle
No Vulcan vs SLS is. Or virtually any mention of SLS that isn't in the form of 'cheerleading'.
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Online AncientU

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...

So is AJR still guaranteed business for RL-10s for Centaur 5?

...

IMO, that is the most loaded question in this CDR string.

Either Centaur V will have 3-4 RL-10s and be twice (?) as expensive as Classic Centaur -- which would make the goal of half-priced Vulcan impossible -- or a non-AJR engine is planned and AJR is out in the cold for future sales to ULA (assuming the existing stockpile can cover remaining D-H and maybe Atlas V flights).
« Last Edit: 12/10/2017 01:22 PM by AncientU »
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Offline Chasm

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If these views are correct then it looks like it's game over for the AR-1, unless AJR can find someone who needs a big, US designed and built LOX/RP1 engine in the near future. 

My guess is still that the final, official & public decision comes with the BE-4 performing well in a full length full power run or two.
ULA can't afford to be slow in the Vulcan development or to spend lots of money on a shadow design. OTOH they really can't afford a repeat of the RS-68 performance problem either.

As long as AR1 is in the run there is leverage. ARJ gets money so they'll play along. Politicians have one more thing to spend money where they want to, no problem either.
Once there are BE4 test stand runs ULA has leverage against both ARJ and politics. Worst case Blue does not deliver and ULA can pivot the engine choice without eating crow.


Blue for the Booster engines, ULA for the structures Orbital ATK for the SRB's and RUAG for the fairings?

So is AJR still guaranteed business for RL-10s for Centaur 5?

Or could Centaur 5 be like Atlas V? Like previous Atlases except.....

L3 for avionics.

Looking at Bigelow and Ixion renderings it seems that RL-10 is alive and strong.
Still can't put my head around the need to increase head pressure for another 2 of them. Feels to me like they were designing the tank to meet the requirements of several engines at the same time. Go with RL-10 for heritage sensitive customers. Keep the option to swap "just" the engine including its thrust structure to cut cost. Another point to exert leverage. ARJ certainly knows if they need more head pressure to prevent cavitation or not.

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They have Atlas v for heritage sensitive customers.
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Offline TrevorMonty

AJR have been doing lot work to modernise RL10 and reduce its build cost. They need to past those savings onto ULA if what a decent production rate of 20-40, otherwise it is only 4 a year for SLS.

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AJR have been doing lot work to modernise RL10 and reduce its build cost. They need to past those savings onto ULA if what a decent production rate of 20-40, otherwise it is only 4 a year for SLS.

Any published target for fractional reduction in price
50% reduction still yields doubled engine costs on Centaur V assuming 4 engines vs. one on Classic Centaur.
75% reduction yields same engine cost; 87.5% reduction yields half cost which is the goal.
50% is what I'm assuming they can achieve... at best; this probably requires volume production.

SLS will need nine RL-10 engines between now and 2025... one per year or so.
« Last Edit: 12/10/2017 03:56 PM by AncientU »
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Online john smith 19

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My guess is still that the final, official & public decision comes with the BE-4 performing well in a full length full power run or two.
ULA can't afford to be slow in the Vulcan development or to spend lots of money on a shadow design. OTOH they really can't afford a repeat of the RS-68 performance problem either.
Yes. IMHO that's the big one. Whoever passes that first has got to be close to being winner take all.
Quote from: Chasm
As long as AR1 is in the run there is leverage. ARJ gets money so they'll play along. Politicians have one more thing to spend money where they want to, no problem either.
I was thinking mostly in terms of leverage between Blue and AJR. I'm sure AJR will continue to develop AR-1 regardless of wheather there's any realistic market for them as long as the cash keeps coming, from whoever.
Quote from: Chasm
Once there are BE4 test stand runs ULA has leverage against both ARJ and politics. Worst case Blue does not deliver and ULA can pivot the engine choice without eating crow.
Absolutely.
Quote from: Chasm
L3 for avionics.

Looking at Bigelow and Ixion renderings it seems that RL-10 is alive and strong.
Still can't put my head around the need to increase head pressure for another 2 of them. Feels to me like they were designing the tank to meet the requirements of several engines at the same time. Go with RL-10 for heritage sensitive customers. Keep the option to swap "just" the engine including its thrust structure to cut cost. Another point to exert leverage. ARJ certainly knows if they need more head pressure to prevent cavitation or not.
Forgot L3.  Good point.

That sounds more like ACES, given XCOR were working on a reciprocating LH2 engine for a US. In  theory "Centaur" means RL-10. 

But Atlas V showed that ULA don't have a problem with quite substantial changes to the baseline. The question would be what to? BE-3 is mentioned but seems a bit big. The Masten "Broadsword" is a dual expander, but both a bit big as a single engine and may have issues shifting to LH2 (whatever ULA goes with I think LH2 is going to stay the fuel. The performance hit is just too great to go with anything else.

AJR have been doing lot work to modernise RL10 and reduce its build cost. They need to pass those savings onto ULA if what a decent production rate of 20-40, otherwise it is only 4 a year for SLS.
Which is frankly well overdue, both in terms of mfg cost and parts costs.  I'm quite sure some parts are well beyond obsolete.
"Solids are a branch of fireworks, not rocketry. :-) :-) ", Henry Spencer 1/28/11  Averse to bold? You must be in marketing."It's all in the sequencing" K. Mattingly.  STS-Keeping most of the stakeholders happy most of the time.
So you're going to Mars to seek a better life. What does that mean to you? Always spot a fanbois by how they react to their idols failures.

Offline brickmack

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50% reduction still yields doubled engine costs on Centaur V assuming 4 engines vs. one on Classic Centaur.
75% reduction yields same engine cost; 87.5% reduction yields half cost which is the goal.
50% is what I'm assuming they can achieve... at best; this probably requires volume production.

The B330 lunar mission announcement specified (despite the video showing otherwise, but thats probably artistic error) a Vulcan 562 (Centaur V) for deployment to LEO. B330 is known to be over 20 tons (launch mass. Will increase after orbital outfitting), making it probably the heaviest payload Vulcan will ever actually fly (other than tanker missions). On Atlas V, that mission would need DEC as well, so the cost savings are the same. Plus, even if they can only break even on the engines, Centaur V has other cost reductions (cheaper tank manufacturing, aft-mounted avionics), even more for ACES (IVF).

Online AncientU

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...Centaur V has other cost reductions (cheaper tank manufacturing, aft-mounted avionics), even more for ACES (IVF).

The baseline that has to beaten (by reduction of 50%) is the Classic Centaur.
1. 3.08m vs 5.4m
2. 1 RL-10 to 3-4 RL-10s
3. 20t payload vs. payload up to 30t plus dynamic loads of fairing on ascent
4. Additional helium volume/tankage to pressurize 3-4x volume

So, lots more requirements on Centaur V ... maybe 'cheaper tank manufacturing' could cut cost of Classic in half, but they're no longer building Classic.  The requirements have been increased dramatically (doubled?).   Are they going to get all these cost reductions from 'aft-mounted avionics'?

I'm not seeing where they reduce vehicle cost by 50% as advertised.
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Online john smith 19

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The baseline that has to beaten (by reduction of 50%) is the Classic Centaur.
1. 3.08m vs 5.4m
2. 1 RL-10 to 3-4 RL-10s
3. 20t payload vs. payload up to 30t plus dynamic loads of fairing on ascent
4. Additional helium volume/tankage to pressurize 3-4x volume

So, lots more requirements on Centaur V ... maybe 'cheaper tank manufacturing' could cut cost of Classic in half, but they're no longer building Classic.  The requirements have been increased dramatically (doubled?).   Are they going to get all these cost reductions from 'aft-mounted avionics'?

I'm not seeing where they reduce vehicle cost by 50% as advertised.
Well it depends how the costing works out between the engines and the structures and of course how much AJR have really managed to cut the price of their RL-10s.

It's been know for decades that certainly some of their mfg methods were very labor and time intensive.

I'm betting there is a lot that could have been done, but stability was always viewed as more important and no one was prepared to pay for doing the work (heaven forbid AJR actually reinvest some of their profits to this, like a normal mfg business would).

An interesting question would be if Centaur 5 is so much bigger than previous Centaurs is a baseline engine a bit bigger than an RL10 the way to go?
"Solids are a branch of fireworks, not rocketry. :-) :-) ", Henry Spencer 1/28/11  Averse to bold? You must be in marketing."It's all in the sequencing" K. Mattingly.  STS-Keeping most of the stakeholders happy most of the time.
So you're going to Mars to seek a better life. What does that mean to you? Always spot a fanbois by how they react to their idols failures.

Offline deruch

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I'm not seeing where they reduce vehicle cost by 50% as advertised.

Maybe that's just accountant speak and not about actual dollars spent to buy/build an upper stage?
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Offline Patchouli

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AJR have been doing lot work to modernise RL10 and reduce its build cost. They need to past those savings onto ULA if what a decent production rate of 20-40, otherwise it is only 4 a year for SLS.
There is a lot ARJ could do to make it cheaper and easier to manufacture.
As it is the RL-10 is pretty hard to beat as far as ISP and reliability go.
I wonder what impact getting rid of the hand assembled tube wall construction for channel wall would have on it or can assembly of the old design be automated in some way?
« Last Edit: 12/11/2017 12:06 AM by Patchouli »

Offline TrevorMonty



AJR have been doing lot work to modernise RL10 and reduce its build cost. They need to past those savings onto ULA if what a decent production rate of 20-40, otherwise it is only 4 a year for SLS.
There is a lot ARJ could do to make it cheaper and easier to manufacture.
As it is the RL-10 is pretty hard to beat as far as ISP and reliability go.
I wonder what impact getting rid of the hand assembled tube wall construction for channel wall would have on it or can assembly of the old design be automated in some way?

They have successful tested fired a 3D printed version that eliminates hand assembled tube wall construction.

Offline Chasm

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Previously someone dug up that some jet engines of the same era used similar tubular construction and that it got automated before it was superseded in later designs.

Today 3d printing is the way to go. Only question seems to be how much additional work outside the printer like plating is acceptable.

As far as the high but elusive RL10 price goes I wonder how much of the cost is compound interest on the lot buy engines and what is added by the ongoing support and update/modification work. Also how many totally new RL10 engines get build instead of modified from existing engines or parts.

Online john smith 19

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There is a lot ARJ could do to make it cheaper and easier to manufacture.
As it is the RL-10 is pretty hard to beat as far as ISP and reliability go.
Actually that's doubtful, given that AFAIK the pump design parameters haven't had any major changes since it was designed for the "Suntan" M3 surveillance aircraft in the mid 50's.  Design techniques and propellant properties knowledge have advanced considerably since then.
Quote from: Patchouli
I wonder what impact getting rid of the hand assembled tube wall construction for channel wall would have on it or can assembly of the old design be automated in some way?
It wasn't just the hand assembly.

They were also "flattened" by hand so the tubes would have flattish surfaces to press against each other.


They have successful tested fired a 3D printed version that eliminates hand assembled tube wall construction.
I'm weary of 3d printing as a panacea for everything, especially where supercritical H2 is concerned.

That said if the metal quality is good enough that would eliminate a lot of work. I know NASA has done work on LO2/LH2 3d printed engines that have radically cut part counts. Every welded joint that's eliminated also eliminates all the weld testing processes that go with it.

Likewise merging the piping with say a valve body (done on the NASA project) reduces all the assembly and jigging needed to position those parts and join them.

My instinct is also that there is a lot that could be done to simplify and improve the design. I liked the fact the nozzle was on a motor powered extension, but making the interstage longer eliminates this hardware and the critical events (nozzle extension and locking) it was responsible for.

While the basics haven't changed seal and valve technology (and the tools to make those parts) have advanced radically since the 1960's, as have the tools to plan assembly tasks.

 So lots of improvement seems possible. It's a question of how much it will cost and what price AJR want to charge.
"Solids are a branch of fireworks, not rocketry. :-) :-) ", Henry Spencer 1/28/11  Averse to bold? You must be in marketing."It's all in the sequencing" K. Mattingly.  STS-Keeping most of the stakeholders happy most of the time.
So you're going to Mars to seek a better life. What does that mean to you? Always spot a fanbois by how they react to their idols failures.

Offline Chasm

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Some news on Centaur V, PDR complete. [via Tory on reddit]

That should answer the question if the Vulcan CDR was for both or not. :)

Online john smith 19

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Some news on Centaur V, PDR complete. [via Tory on reddit]

That should answer the question if the Vulcan CDR was for both or not. :)
that does suggest the booster CDR  either covered both options or they have already made their decision.

I'm not sure if it was known for sure if they had split the process into 2 tracks, one for the booster and one for the US. Clearly they have.
"Solids are a branch of fireworks, not rocketry. :-) :-) ", Henry Spencer 1/28/11  Averse to bold? You must be in marketing."It's all in the sequencing" K. Mattingly.  STS-Keeping most of the stakeholders happy most of the time.
So you're going to Mars to seek a better life. What does that mean to you? Always spot a fanbois by how they react to their idols failures.

Offline PahTo

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Concur on the two tracks, but clearly one informs the other.  That is, going to 5.4m diameter didn't happen in a vacuum for one or the other.

Online AncientU

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Reposted:
Surprising news!

OrbitalATK is considering the AerojetRocketdyne RL10 or ArianeGroup Vinci rocket engine for its Next Generation Launcher upper stage after rejecting Blueorigin's BE-3U. Decision expected in Q1 2018.

http://aviationweek.com/awinspace/orbital-atk-pick-upper-stage-engine-ngl

Wonder what Orbital saw in Blue's engine that they didn't like?  Does this reduce Blue's chances on Vulcan, too?
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Online AncientU

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Reposted:
Surprising news!

OrbitalATK is considering the AerojetRocketdyne RL10 or ArianeGroup Vinci rocket engine for its Next Generation Launcher upper stage after rejecting Blueorigin's BE-3U. Decision expected in Q1 2018.

http://aviationweek.com/awinspace/orbital-atk-pick-upper-stage-engine-ngl

Wonder what Orbital saw in Blue's engine that they didn't like?  Does this reduce Blue's chances on Vulcan, too?
Perhaps ... timing?

Qualifying a US engine might be a "long pole" ... what if it's too far "downstream" for BO ... remember they only need BE-3U for a third stage vehicle. They might want others to foot the bill/take the risk, ahead of that. Unacceptable for NSS use.

That also might cause ULA grief as well ... so they postpone the down-select perhaps?

Vinci will/must be qualified for NSS use. RL10 already is.

Could it be that ULA has an exclusive on BE-4 and 3U?  CDR completion might have triggered such an agreement if Blue's engines were chosen.
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Offline TrevorMonty

I just realised we've been discussing the NGLV engine choice on wrong thread. Best place any future comments in OA NGLV thread.

edit/gongora:  Moved some of the non-ULA related posts to the NGL thread.
« Last Edit: 12/14/2017 08:18 PM by gongora »

Offline brickmack

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(It would not surprise me if Centaur 3 is used on Vulcan/Atlas for near term payloads as before. And that Centaur V will phase in with 2/4/1 engine configurations, with a "lower cost configuration" not involving an RL10 longer term - possibly a shorter variant?)

Tory Bruno said he expected the change to Centaur V to delay the deployment of Vulcan by a couple months. Sounds like they aren't planning to use Centaur III on it ever (which probably helps keep costs down, fewer extra components need to be kept in production). And theres been no indication of an intermediate stage between Centaur V and ACES (which is what a Centaur V with resized tanks and/or a new engine would be)

Online john smith 19

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The baseline that has to beaten (by reduction of 50%) is the Classic Centaur.
1. 3.08m vs 5.4m
2. 1 RL-10 to 3-4 RL-10s
3. 20t payload vs. payload up to 30t plus dynamic loads of fairing on ascent
4. Additional helium volume/tankage to pressurize 3-4x volume

So, lots more requirements on Centaur V ... maybe 'cheaper tank manufacturing' could cut cost of Classic in half, but they're no longer building Classic.  The requirements have been increased dramatically (doubled?).   Are they going to get all these cost reductions from 'aft-mounted avionics'?

I'm not seeing where they reduce vehicle cost by 50% as advertised.
If they are going to cover the full spectrum of launch profiles, right up to Delta IV Heavy, from the off then going IVF from the start seems a pretty good move.

ULA have said going IVF on Centaur would increase their payload capability by 500Kg but I'd bet it does quite a lot for their costs as well.

Right now stage building involves a lot of people attaching a lot of separate bits to the stage. Tanks, thrusters, plumbing, valving, batteries.  IVF dumps most (all?) the tanks (both HP and Hypergol), a lot of plumbing and a lot of valving for 2 packages built off line and just bolted to the stage.

That means a)Fewer bought in parts b)Simpler assembly and testing c)Simpler fitting d)No hypergol handling costs

If one Full Time Equivalent member of the workforce costs $1/8milllion how many can be eliminated throughout the organization?

That's before considering a replacement to the RL10.
"Solids are a branch of fireworks, not rocketry. :-) :-) ", Henry Spencer 1/28/11  Averse to bold? You must be in marketing."It's all in the sequencing" K. Mattingly.  STS-Keeping most of the stakeholders happy most of the time.
So you're going to Mars to seek a better life. What does that mean to you? Always spot a fanbois by how they react to their idols failures.

Offline envy887

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(It would not surprise me if Centaur 3 is used on Vulcan/Atlas for near term payloads as before. And that Centaur V will phase in with 2/4/1 engine configurations, with a "lower cost configuration" not involving an RL10 longer term - possibly a shorter variant?)

Tory Bruno said he expected the change to Centaur V to delay the deployment of Vulcan by a couple months. Sounds like they aren't planning to use Centaur III on it ever (which probably helps keep costs down, fewer extra components need to be kept in production). And theres been no indication of an intermediate stage between Centaur V and ACES (which is what a Centaur V with resized tanks and/or a new engine would be)

I don't see how the 5 can be cheaper than the 3. We know the majority of the Centaur cost is the RL-10, and the Centaur 5 will need 1 to 3 more RL-10s than Centaur 3. Even if RL-10 cost is halved, that would simple make the Centaur 3 that much cheaper.

They have to keep the Centaur 3 around until Atlas V is retired anyway, right?

Online john smith 19

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I don't see how the 5 can be cheaper than the 3. We know the majority of the Centaur cost is the RL-10, and the Centaur 5 will need 1 to 3 more RL-10s than Centaur 3. Even if RL-10 cost is halved, that would simple make the Centaur 3 that much cheaper.
Wellllll...
They could double the thrust of a single RL-10 maybe.

Otherwise the only way this works is that people have seriously seriously underestimated AJR's capacity to lower the RL10 price

But that only works if they can actually make RL10's cheaply enough to the kind of profit AJR are used to making on RL10's at the current price.

Quote from: envy887
They have to keep the Centaur 3 around until Atlas V is retired anyway, right?
ULA don't seem to have a problem with putting rockets in long term storage awaiting customers.

I can't remember the last time Delta II launches were in anyway common, but someone wanted to use their last one and they did it.
"Solids are a branch of fireworks, not rocketry. :-) :-) ", Henry Spencer 1/28/11  Averse to bold? You must be in marketing."It's all in the sequencing" K. Mattingly.  STS-Keeping most of the stakeholders happy most of the time.
So you're going to Mars to seek a better life. What does that mean to you? Always spot a fanbois by how they react to their idols failures.

Offline envy887

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I don't see how the 5 can be cheaper than the 3. We know the majority of the Centaur cost is the RL-10, and the Centaur 5 will need 1 to 3 more RL-10s than Centaur 3. Even if RL-10 cost is halved, that would simple make the Centaur 3 that much cheaper.
Wellllll...
They could double the thrust of a single RL-10 maybe.

Otherwise the only way this works is that people have seriously seriously underestimated AJR's capacity to lower the RL10 price

But that only works if they can actually make RL10's cheaply enough to the kind of profit AJR are used to making on RL10's at the current price.

Quote from: envy887
They have to keep the Centaur 3 around until Atlas V is retired anyway, right?
ULA don't seem to have a problem with putting rockets in long term storage awaiting customers.

I can't remember the last time Delta II launches were in anyway common, but someone wanted to use their last one and they did it.

But lowering the cost of RL-10 also lowers the cost of Centaur 3. AJR would have to pay ULA to fly RL-10 before Centaur 5 could be cheaper than Centaur 3.

That of course ignores the costs of operating two production lines, but if they need to keep building the 3 for Atlas, that cost is sunk anyway. Unless they can build enough 3's to fly out Atlas before Vulcan flies... but what if they switch everything over and then Vulcan takes 3 years longer to certify than expected? Lot of risk there.

Offline TrevorMonty

We know AJR have been doing lot of work on reducing build cost of RL10. Those significant modifications will result in a new engine with all certification issues that go with it. I expect Centuar V will fly new cheaper RL10 but will also be new unproven engine with no flight history.

Going to new US and engines increases risk of LV failure in first few missions, but gets them to DOD certified LV sooner.

Online john smith 19

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We know AJR have been doing lot of work on reducing build cost of RL10. Those significant modifications will result in a new engine with all certification issues that go with it. I expect Centuar V will fly new cheaper RL10 but will also be new unproven engine with no flight history.

Going to new US and engines increases risk of LV failure in first few missions, but gets them to DOD certified LV sooner.
In theory true, but ULA's track record in switching designs has been pretty good, and the expander cycle is pretty rugged and the RL10 engine would be the least risky option.

All change is risky.

For ULA no change is not an option if they want to have a business left.
"Solids are a branch of fireworks, not rocketry. :-) :-) ", Henry Spencer 1/28/11  Averse to bold? You must be in marketing."It's all in the sequencing" K. Mattingly.  STS-Keeping most of the stakeholders happy most of the time.
So you're going to Mars to seek a better life. What does that mean to you? Always spot a fanbois by how they react to their idols failures.

Offline russianhalo117

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We know AJR have been doing lot of work on reducing build cost of RL10. Those significant modifications will result in a new engine with all certification issues that go with it. I expect Centuar V will fly new cheaper RL10 but will also be new unproven engine with no flight history.

Going to new US and engines increases risk of LV failure in first few missions, but gets them to DOD certified LV sooner.
Centaur-5 variant may use the either the larger RL10C-2 or RL10C-3 Variants versus the C-1 variant. The C-2 variant was developed and was to be/may still fly on DCSS and The C-3 variant is being developed for SLS EUS Block-1B.
« Last Edit: 12/23/2017 01:55 AM by russianhalo117 »

Online john smith 19

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We know AJR have been doing lot of work on reducing build cost of RL10. Those significant modifications will result in a new engine with all certification issues that go with it. I expect Centuar V will fly new cheaper RL10 but will also be new unproven engine with no flight history.

Going to new US and engines increases risk of LV failure in first few missions, but gets them to DOD certified LV sooner.
Centaur-5 variant may use the either the larger RL10C-2 or RL10C-3 Variants versus the C-1 variant. The C-2 variant was developed and was to be/may still fly on DCSS and The C-3 variant is being developed for SLS EUS Block-1B.
Is this the one?

http://www.astronautix.com/r/rl-10c.html

They're saying that's 35 000lb thrust. Would that be equal to a SEC and a DEC Centaur stage?
A pair of them would give the equivalent of 4 RL10-A's or B's?
"Solids are a branch of fireworks, not rocketry. :-) :-) ", Henry Spencer 1/28/11  Averse to bold? You must be in marketing."It's all in the sequencing" K. Mattingly.  STS-Keeping most of the stakeholders happy most of the time.
So you're going to Mars to seek a better life. What does that mean to you? Always spot a fanbois by how they react to their idols failures.

Offline russianhalo117

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We know AJR have been doing lot of work on reducing build cost of RL10. Those significant modifications will result in a new engine with all certification issues that go with it. I expect Centuar V will fly new cheaper RL10 but will also be new unproven engine with no flight history.

Going to new US and engines increases risk of LV failure in first few missions, but gets them to DOD certified LV sooner.
Centaur-5 variant may use the either the larger RL10C-2 or RL10C-3 Variants versus the C-1 variant. The C-2 variant was developed and was to be/may still fly on DCSS and The C-3 variant is being developed for SLS EUS Block-1B.
Is this the one?

http://www.astronautix.com/r/rl-10c.html

They're saying that's 35 000lb thrust. Would that be equal to a SEC and a DEC Centaur stage?
A pair of them would give the equivalent of 4 RL10-A's or B's?
Sort of but no.
The following is from 2013 (http://www.ulalaunch.com/uploads/docs/Launch_Vehicles/Delta_IV_Users_Guide_June_2013.pdf) but their aren ew CAD files and information in existence, but I would have to search my computer for it. The latest info probably exists in a ULA thread on here.
Quote
8.2.1 RL10C-2 2nd Stage Engine Upgrade
To improve commonality between the Atlas and Delta launch vehicles, ULA and Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne (PWR) are currently developing the RL10C-1 engine for the Centaur upper stage of the Atlas launch vehicle. This engine uses similar chamber and nozzle configuration as the RL10B-2 engine currently used on Delta. Use of this common engine allows for future upgrades to the RL10B-2 engine, to be called the RL10C-2 (Figure 8-2).
The RL10C-2 engine will incorporate all improvements from the RL10C-1, including an upgraded redundant ignition system to improve reliability, changes to the engine plumbing to improve starting operations, a propellant valve design update, and a number of improvements previously qualified under the Assured Access to Space program including a revised gear train and seal improvements.
The RL10C-2 development will be managed through the RL10 Sustainment and Modernization Program. This program is intended to incorporate improved manufacturing methods for turbomachinery, propellant valves, and injector hardware, revised large plumbing to reduce weight, and more robust solenoid valves. Additionally, the RL10C-2 is intended to be qualified to operate with active Mixture Ratio control, a capability available on Atlas/Centaur missions dating back to 1965. This feature, enabled on Delta IV by the addition of Common Avionics (Section 8.3.2), could result in a performance improvement of up to 200 lb for certain Delta missions. The RL10C-2 will continue to use the 3-segment extendible nozzle currently used on the RL10B-2. The C-2 will look virtually the same as an RL10B-2, with slight changes to the Ignition and Engine Instrumentation Boxes and realignment of some of the large plumbing.
Changes incorporated as part of the Sustainment and Modernization effort will be qualified for both the RL10C-1 for Atlas and the RL10C-2 for Delta at the same time, using the same common core engine. The end result will be an engine that can be built and acceptance tested using a common bill of material and test program, and then configured as necessary with bolt-on hardware to support either Atlas V or Delta IV vehicles.
Figure 8-2. RL10C-2 Engine

Online john smith 19

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Sort of but no.
The following is from 2013 (http://www.ulalaunch.com/uploads/docs/Launch_Vehicles/Delta_IV_Users_Guide_June_2013.pdf) but their aren ew CAD files and information in existence, but I would have to search my computer for it. The latest info probably exists in a ULA thread on here.
Quote
8.2.1 RL10C-2 2nd Stage Engine Upgrade
To improve commonality between the Atlas and Delta launch vehicles, ULA and Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne (PWR) are currently developing the RL10C-1 engine for the Centaur upper stage of the Atlas launch vehicle. This engine uses similar chamber and nozzle configuration as the RL10B-2 engine currently used on Delta. Use of this common engine allows for future upgrades to the RL10B-2 engine, to be called the RL10C-2 (Figure 8-2).
The RL10C-2 engine will incorporate all improvements from the RL10C-1, including an upgraded redundant ignition system to improve reliability, changes to the engine plumbing to improve starting operations, a propellant valve design update, and a number of improvements previously qualified under the Assured Access to Space program including a revised gear train and seal improvements.
The RL10C-2 development will be managed through the RL10 Sustainment and Modernization Program. This program is intended to incorporate improved manufacturing methods for turbomachinery, propellant valves, and injector hardware, revised large plumbing to reduce weight, and more robust solenoid valves. Additionally, the RL10C-2 is intended to be qualified to operate with active Mixture Ratio control, a capability available on Atlas/Centaur missions dating back to 1965. This feature, enabled on Delta IV by the addition of Common Avionics (Section 8.3.2), could result in a performance improvement of up to 200 lb for certain Delta missions. The RL10C-2 will continue to use the 3-segment extendible nozzle currently used on the RL10B-2. The C-2 will look virtually the same as an RL10B-2, with slight changes to the Ignition and Engine Instrumentation Boxes and realignment of some of the large plumbing.
Changes incorporated as part of the Sustainment and Modernization effort will be qualified for both the RL10C-1 for Atlas and the RL10C-2 for Delta at the same time, using the same common core engine. The end result will be an engine that can be built and acceptance tested using a common bill of material and test program, and then configured as necessary with bolt-on hardware to support either Atlas V or Delta IV vehicles.
Figure 8-2. RL10C-2 Engine
That's odd. I'd thought they were going with a fixed nozzle and making the inter stage longer? That would eliminate the seals and actuators with their costs and reliability issues. You end up with a longer inter stage, but with the development cost spread over the whole Vulcan production run.
 
One option would be to make the nozzle segments a trade option, letting the customer trade Isp and engine mass. Minimum engine mass (but maximum payload mass) gives minimum Isp. That may be acceptable in certain circumstances.  Maximum Isp needs all 3 segments bolted on and give maximum engine weight.

I think ACES is meant to go up to the equivalent of 4 RL10-B's so around 68-92 000 lb?

A good question would be what's the performance hit of throttling down a bigger engine to give lower thrust?  Could you get by with just 1 engine and run it at 50% power with acceptable performance?
"Solids are a branch of fireworks, not rocketry. :-) :-) ", Henry Spencer 1/28/11  Averse to bold? You must be in marketing."It's all in the sequencing" K. Mattingly.  STS-Keeping most of the stakeholders happy most of the time.
So you're going to Mars to seek a better life. What does that mean to you? Always spot a fanbois by how they react to their idols failures.

Offline jongoff

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I don't see how the 5 can be cheaper than the 3. We know the majority of the Centaur cost is the RL-10, and the Centaur 5 will need 1 to 3 more RL-10s than Centaur 3. Even if RL-10 cost is halved, that would simple make the Centaur 3 that much cheaper.
Wellllll...
They could double the thrust of a single RL-10 maybe.

Otherwise the only way this works is that people have seriously seriously underestimated AJR's capacity to lower the RL10 price

But that only works if they can actually make RL10's cheaply enough to the kind of profit AJR are used to making on RL10's at the current price.

Quote from: envy887
They have to keep the Centaur 3 around until Atlas V is retired anyway, right?
ULA don't seem to have a problem with putting rockets in long term storage awaiting customers.

I can't remember the last time Delta II launches were in anyway common, but someone wanted to use their last one and they did it.

But lowering the cost of RL-10 also lowers the cost of Centaur 3. AJR would have to pay ULA to fly RL-10 before Centaur 5 could be cheaper than Centaur 3.

That of course ignores the costs of operating two production lines, but if they need to keep building the 3 for Atlas, that cost is sunk anyway. Unless they can build enough 3's to fly out Atlas before Vulcan flies... but what if they switch everything over and then Vulcan takes 3 years longer to certify than expected? Lot of risk there.

One thought on this (not sure if anyone else has made this point yet), but I wonder if engines suffer from a similar fixed cost vs marginal cost relationship to what launch vehicles do. Basically, there's probably a healthy minimum fixed cost for a given production/development system, in addition to the marginal costs associated with building the engines. RL-10s are not that big or complex as far as engines go (they're smaller than Merlin, and possibly less complex), so I wonder if a lot of the high costs we've been seeing has been a consequence of operating down in the production rate where fixed costs dominate. With Delta-IV having stockpiled a bunch of RL-10s, that would mean that RL-10 production was probably down in the 6-8 engines per year range for Atlas V (plus a little for redoing some of the Delta-IV RL-10s for use on Atlas going forward).

Fast forward to Centaur V and ACES where you may be talking 2-4 RL-10 class engines per launch, and you're also consolidating down to one vehicle, and you may be talking as many as 24-48 RL-10s per year (ie 4-8x the current rate). That alone would move you to the "marginal cost dominated" part of the curve, where just by the virtue of being able to spread fixed costs around more the engines could be dramatically cheaper per engine. Combine that with manufacturability improvements that AJR is finally being forced to make, and I could see a situation where a Centaur V/ACES stage is getting down near the cost of a current Centaur III.

The interesting thing is that if my hunch is right, you'd only see a lot of that per-engine cost decrease if you were ordering large numbers for use on Centaur V/ACES--if you were making less engines, the marginal costs would go down, but the fixed costs wouldn't. Of course, while the per engine cost would be going down, the overall cost would be going up, but Centaur V/ACES would likely mean being able to a) completely replace Atlas V and Delta IV so they can consolidate to one booster (big savings), b) avoid using as many strapons for a given mission, saving some non-trivial money there, and c) enable more missions to do direct to GEO insertion or things like that that are more valuable.

Food for thought.

~Jon

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One thought on this (not sure if anyone else has made this point yet), but I wonder if engines suffer from a similar fixed cost vs marginal cost relationship to what launch vehicles do. Basically, there's probably a healthy minimum fixed cost for a given production/development system, in addition to the marginal costs associated with building the engines. RL-10s are not that big or complex as far as engines go (they're smaller than Merlin, and possibly less complex), so I wonder if a lot of the high costs we've been seeing has been a consequence of operating down in the production rate where fixed costs dominate. With Delta-IV having stockpiled a bunch of RL-10s, that would mean that RL-10 production was probably down in the 6-8 engines per year range for Atlas V (plus a little for redoing some of the Delta-IV RL-10s for use on Atlas going forward).


My first job out of college as a manufacturing engineer was at P&W, sometimes working on the RL-10, decades ago (small cog on a large machine).  You're correct in that they're not very complex, but the touch labor for each one is ludicrous.  Tooling was surprisingly simple.  You might be onto something about fixed vs variable costs, but it's not like the tooling expense would be that high, unless maybe they were doing something like maintaining brazing furnaces just for that one product. The other possibility (and I don't have any insight into how things are currently being run) is that they're trying to maintain a workforce for the sake of experience, even if they're excess to current production requirements - there was a "touch" to many of the operations of making that engine, particularly shaping the tubes.  That would drive up per-engine costs if production was low (turning labor to a fixed cost, instead of variable). BTW, I thought they were still producing them in the West Palm Beach facility, and I don't know if they own that anymore (the RL-10 production used to be a small portion of a much larger P&W facility that worked on both jet and rocket engines), and if they are renting at a fixed rate, that might be a significant fixed cost.

SpaceX has spent a great deal of effort in reducing Merlin costs, between relentlessly figuring out how to make the channel wall construction in a more cost effective manner, and coming up with a simpler-to-produce injector (the RL-10 injectors had so much detail work in them).  I would think that, if AJR focused on changing the production method of the chamber and injector, possibly with 3D printing, there would be some considerable savings, while keeping much of the existing plumbing and pumpworks.  I never had any insight to the cost and those were completed somewhere else, but the pumps and plumbing never looked like they'd be especially expensive to fabricate, even if a lot of design effort originally went into them.  No gas generator or preburner, obviously, and nothing that had to face especially high temperatures.  I always assumed, just from looking at the thing and watching them be built, that most of the cost was in that chamber and injector.
« Last Edit: 12/25/2017 10:07 PM by skater »

Offline jongoff

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One thought on this (not sure if anyone else has made this point yet), but I wonder if engines suffer from a similar fixed cost vs marginal cost relationship to what launch vehicles do. Basically, there's probably a healthy minimum fixed cost for a given production/development system, in addition to the marginal costs associated with building the engines. RL-10s are not that big or complex as far as engines go (they're smaller than Merlin, and possibly less complex), so I wonder if a lot of the high costs we've been seeing has been a consequence of operating down in the production rate where fixed costs dominate. With Delta-IV having stockpiled a bunch of RL-10s, that would mean that RL-10 production was probably down in the 6-8 engines per year range for Atlas V (plus a little for redoing some of the Delta-IV RL-10s for use on Atlas going forward).


My first job out of college as a manufacturing engineer was at P&W, sometimes working on the RL-10, decades ago (small cog on a large machine).  You're correct in that they're not very complex, but the touch labor for each one is ludicrous.  Tooling was surprisingly simple.  You might be onto something about fixed vs variable costs, but it's not like the tooling expense would be that high, unless maybe they were doing something like maintaining brazing furnaces just for that one product. The other possibility (and I don't have any insight into how things are currently being run) is that they're trying to maintain a workforce for the sake of experience, even if they're excess to current production requirements - there was a "touch" to many of the operations of making that engine, particularly shaping the tubes.  That would drive up per-engine costs if production was low (turning labor to a fixed cost, instead of variable). BTW, I thought they were still producing them in the West Palm Beach facility, and I don't know if they own that anymore (the RL-10 production used to be a small portion of a much larger P&W facility that worked on both jet and rocket engines), and if they are renting at a fixed rate, that might be a significant fixed cost.

SpaceX has spent a great deal of effort in reducing Merlin costs, between relentlessly figuring out how to make the channel wall construction in a more cost effective manner, and coming up with a simpler-to-produce injector (the RL-10 injectors had so much detail work in them).  I would think that, if AJR focused on changing the production method of the chamber and injector, possibly with 3D printing, there would be some considerable savings, while keeping much of the existing plumbing and pumpworks.  I never had any insight to the cost and those were completed somewhere else, but the pumps and plumbing never looked like they'd be especially expensive to fabricate, even if a lot of design effort originally went into them.  No gas generator or preburner, obviously, and nothing that had to face especially high temperatures.  I always assumed, just from looking at the thing and watching them be built, that most of the cost was in that chamber and injector.

Skater,

Yeah, when I was talking about fixed costs, I was thinking more of the minimum headcount involved in making even one or two engines per year than tooling and shop floor space. I don't see any reason why RL-10 couldn't be made a lot less touch labor intensive. After all it was some of the very same manufacturing challenges (labor intensiveness of tube-wall nozzles and such) that drove the original development of the M1D at SpaceX.

Though one interesting point is that driving down the touch labor and complexity of an engine like RL-10 probably reduces both the fixed and marginal cost--meaning that once you've sunk the development cost not only is the cost curve lower, but it should be somewhat flatter, since you have less fixed cost that has to be amortized over the year's engine production rate.

~Jon

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More fundamentally, can AJR afford to be in the low cost engine business?  If they reduced costs to say 10% of current, wouldn't they have to close shop or drastically reduce workforce/shop space so as to become unrecognizable?  Seems to me they are in the business of selling extremely high-priced, low volume engines to established entities... RS-25Es to NASA, for instance, for $1.15B for six engines over eight years.
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Offline envy887

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More fundamentally, can AJR afford to be in the low cost engine business?  If they reduced costs to say 10% of current, wouldn't they have to close shop or drastically reduce workforce/shop space so as to become unrecognizable?  Seems to me they are in the business of selling extremely high-priced, low volume engines to established entities... RS-25Es to NASA, for instance, for $1.15B for six engines over eight years.

If they can sell more RL-10s at a lower cost each, then AJRD can make the same total revenue - or potentially even more. AJRD isn't providing SRBs for Vulcan, so if ULA can save money by replacing an SRB with an upper stage engine the only company losing revenue is Orbital ATK on the GEM-63s.

Online AncientU

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More fundamentally, can AJR afford to be in the low cost engine business?  If they reduced costs to say 10% of current, wouldn't they have to close shop or drastically reduce workforce/shop space so as to become unrecognizable?  Seems to me they are in the business of selling extremely high-priced, low volume engines to established entities... RS-25Es to NASA, for instance, for $1.15B for six engines over eight years.

If they can sell more RL-10s at a lower cost each, then AJRD can make the same total revenue - or potentially even more. AJRD isn't providing SRBs for Vulcan, so if ULA can save money by replacing an SRB with an upper stage engine the only company losing revenue is Orbital ATK on the GEM-63s.

Understand where you are going, but is AJR selling to anyone who is increasing flight rate and can be the demand source for these increases?  ULA is looking at a shrinking launch rate and trying to halve the cost of each launch.  (The other customer, SLS, is destined for a minimal launch rate and short service life.)

Where is AJR getting the volume?  Doesn't seem to be in their DNA to become a low-cost engine supplier.
« Last Edit: 12/26/2017 03:58 PM by AncientU »
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Offline russianhalo117

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More fundamentally, can AJR afford to be in the low cost engine business?  If they reduced costs to say 10% of current, wouldn't they have to close shop or drastically reduce workforce/shop space so as to become unrecognizable?  Seems to me they are in the business of selling extremely high-priced, low volume engines to established entities... RS-25Es to NASA, for instance, for $1.15B for six engines over eight years.

If they can sell more RL-10s at a lower cost each, then AJRD can make the same total revenue - or potentially even more. AJRD isn't providing SRBs for Vulcan, so if ULA can save money by replacing an SRB with an upper stage engine the only company losing revenue is Orbital ATK on the GEM-63s.

Understand where you are going, but is AJR selling to anyone who is increasing flight rate and can be the demand source for these increases?  ULA is looking at a shrinking launch rate and trying to halve the cost of each launch.  (The other customer, SLS, is destined for a minimal launch rate and short service life.)

Where is AJR getting the volume?  Doesn't seem to be in their DNA to become a low-cost engine supplier.
Per L2 change is in the air for AJR. Cant say yet if the information is positive or negative
L2 Link 1: https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=34793.msg1764315#msg1764315
L2 Link 2: https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=42173.msg1764317#msg1764317

Offline TrevorMonty

More fundamentally, can AJR afford to be in the low cost engine business?  If they reduced costs to say 10% of current, wouldn't they have to close shop or drastically reduce workforce/shop space so as to become unrecognizable?  Seems to me they are in the business of selling extremely high-priced, low volume engines to established entities... RS-25Es to NASA, for instance, for $1.15B for six engines over eight years.

If they can sell more RL-10s at a lower cost each, then AJRD can make the same total revenue - or potentially even more. AJRD isn't providing SRBs for Vulcan, so if ULA can save money by replacing an SRB with an upper stage engine the only company losing revenue is Orbital ATK on the GEM-63s.

Understand where you are going, but is AJR selling to anyone who is increasing flight rate and can be the demand source for these increases?  ULA is looking at a shrinking launch rate and trying to halve the cost of each launch.  (The other customer, SLS, is destined for a minimal launch rate and short service life.)

Where is AJR getting the volume?  Doesn't seem to be in their DNA to become a low-cost engine supplier.
OA are also looking RL10 for NGLV, may only be 3 launches are year but another 6 (x2 ? for US) engines can only help bring engine costs down.

Offline russianhalo117

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More fundamentally, can AJR afford to be in the low cost engine business?  If they reduced costs to say 10% of current, wouldn't they have to close shop or drastically reduce workforce/shop space so as to become unrecognizable?  Seems to me they are in the business of selling extremely high-priced, low volume engines to established entities... RS-25Es to NASA, for instance, for $1.15B for six engines over eight years.

If they can sell more RL-10s at a lower cost each, then AJRD can make the same total revenue - or potentially even more. AJRD isn't providing SRBs for Vulcan, so if ULA can save money by replacing an SRB with an upper stage engine the only company losing revenue is Orbital ATK on the GEM-63s.

Understand where you are going, but is AJR selling to anyone who is increasing flight rate and can be the demand source for these increases?  ULA is looking at a shrinking launch rate and trying to halve the cost of each launch.  (The other customer, SLS, is destined for a minimal launch rate and short service life.)

Where is AJR getting the volume?  Doesn't seem to be in their DNA to become a low-cost engine supplier.
OA are also looking RL10 for NGLV, may only be 3 launches are year but another 6 (x2 ? for US) engines can only help bring engine costs down.
With OA merging into NG, I would expect TRW engine options awakening from their sleepy lair real soon.

Offline Space Ghost 1962

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More fundamentally, can AJR afford to be in the low cost engine business?  If they reduced costs to say 10% of current, wouldn't they have to close shop or drastically reduce workforce/shop space so as to become unrecognizable?  Seems to me they are in the business of selling extremely high-priced, low volume engines to established entities... RS-25Es to NASA, for instance, for $1.15B for six engines over eight years.

If they can sell more RL-10s at a lower cost each, then AJRD can make the same total revenue - or potentially even more. AJRD isn't providing SRBs for Vulcan, so if ULA can save money by replacing an SRB with an upper stage engine the only company losing revenue is Orbital ATK on the GEM-63s.

Understand where you are going, but is AJR selling to anyone who is increasing flight rate and can be the demand source for these increases?  ULA is looking at a shrinking launch rate and trying to halve the cost of each launch.  (The other customer, SLS, is destined for a minimal launch rate and short service life.)

Where is AJR getting the volume?  Doesn't seem to be in their DNA to become a low-cost engine supplier.
OA are also looking RL10 for NGLV, may only be 3 launches are year but another 6 (x2 ? for US) engines can only help bring engine costs down.
With OA merging into NG, I would expect TRW engine options awakening from their sleepy lair real soon.
That's rather optimistic. Time, cost, and need for flight history strongly argue against it. And ... suggest you ask Tom Mueller about its likelihood. He might have a thing or to to contribute to that.

Offline Steven Pietrobon

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Per L2 change is in the air for AJR. Cant say yet if the information is positive or negative
L2 Link 1: https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=34793.msg1764315#msg1764315
L2 Link 2: https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=42173.msg1764317#msg1764317

I don't know what the L2 links say, but I was thinking last night of possible options for ULA. Hoping that SpaceX and Blue Origin don't pull the rug from under them is not a good plan. To take charge of your future, perhaps ULA could buy AJR. This reduces the overhead on the RL-10. Also, use the AR-1 in a fully reusable first stage with seven or nine engines. That way, ULA is in control of their future and should be able to compete toe to toe with SpaceX and Blue Origin.
Akin's Laws of Spacecraft Design #1:  Engineering is done with numbers.  Analysis without numbers is only an opinion.

Offline woods170

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Per L2 change is in the air for AJR. Cant say yet if the information is positive or negative
L2 Link 1: https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=34793.msg1764315#msg1764315
L2 Link 2: https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=42173.msg1764317#msg1764317

I don't know what the L2 links say, but I was thinking last night of possible options for ULA. Hoping that SpaceX and Blue Origin don't pull the rug from under them is not a good plan. To take charge of your future, perhaps ULA could buy AJR. This reduces the overhead on the RL-10. Also, use the AR-1 in a fully reusable first stage with seven or nine engines. That way, ULA is in control of their future and should be able to compete toe to toe with SpaceX and Blue Origin.
More like Blue now having a chance to pull even more rug from under ARJ. But I'll leave it to Chris to reveal the all-telling details.

Online AncientU

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Per L2 change is in the air for AJR. Cant say yet if the information is positive or negative
L2 Link 1: https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=34793.msg1764315#msg1764315
L2 Link 2: https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=42173.msg1764317#msg1764317

I don't know what the L2 links say, but I was thinking last night of possible options for ULA. Hoping that SpaceX and Blue Origin don't pull the rug from under them is not a good plan. To take charge of your future, perhaps ULA could buy AJR. This reduces the overhead on the RL-10. Also, use the AR-1 in a fully reusable first stage with seven or nine engines. That way, ULA is in control of their future and should be able to compete toe to toe with SpaceX and Blue Origin.

Don't think ULA plus AJR is competitive.  Neither has adjusted to the realities of today's and tomorrow's market; both are only viable in a high cost niche markets.  Together, they'd likely sink more rapidly than either could achieve alone.  Also, Boeing and Lockmart aren't likely to toss lots of new money into a market where they are not competitive.  (They have been rumored to be seeking buyers for ULA.)

But sure, ULA would be taking control of its future as you say.
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Offline the_other_Doug

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Per L2 change is in the air for AJR. Cant say yet if the information is positive or negative
L2 Link 1: https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=34793.msg1764315#msg1764315
L2 Link 2: https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=42173.msg1764317#msg1764317

I don't know what the L2 links say, but I was thinking last night of possible options for ULA. Hoping that SpaceX and Blue Origin don't pull the rug from under them is not a good plan. To take charge of your future, perhaps ULA could buy AJR. This reduces the overhead on the RL-10. Also, use the AR-1 in a fully reusable first stage with seven or nine engines. That way, ULA is in control of their future and should be able to compete toe to toe with SpaceX and Blue Origin.

Don't think ULA plus AJR is competitive.  Neither has adjusted to the realities of today's and tomorrow's market; both are only viable in a high cost niche markets.  Together, they'd likely sink more rapidly than either could achieve alone.  Also, Boeing and Lockmart aren't likely to toss lots of new money into a market where they are not competitive.  (They have been rumored to be seeking buyers for ULA.)

But sure, ULA would be taking control of its future as you say.

I find myself agreeing -- it would be one company, rooted into a failing dependency on dwindling ultra-high-cost niche contracts, acquiring another company that is in the exact same situation.

Companies which have changed the business model by offering much lower-cost launch services through re-use are taking over the future of a vast majority of the world's launch business.  It's hard to see how ULA acquiring AJR would make them more competitive in such a future.  It would be the Consolidation of the Dinosaurs.

If SpaceX was willing to sell just their engines to other rocket manufacturers, I predict you would see the next generation of launchers operating with Merlin and Raptor engines almost exclusively.  As it is, ULA's strong interest in BE engines illustrate that, even if AJR wins its next couple of rounds of competition with the new space companies, their dinosaur status is becoming more and more obvious to more and more of their potential customers.

All I will say is, dinosaurs consolidate at the risk of hurrying their extinction, all the while shouting, in pain and bewilderment, "What did we do wrong?  We only did what we have always succeeded with!  How could that have failed?".......
-Doug  (With my shield, not yet upon it)

Online john smith 19

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If SpaceX was willing to sell just their engines to other rocket manufacturers, I predict you would see the next generation of launchers operating with Merlin and Raptor engines almost exclusively.  As it is, ULA's strong interest in BE engines illustrate that, even if AJR wins its next couple of rounds of competition with the new space companies, their dinosaur status is becoming more and more obvious to more and more of their potential customers.

All I will say is, dinosaurs consolidate at the risk of hurrying their extinction, all the while shouting, in pain and bewilderment, "What did we do wrong?  We only did what we have always succeeded with!  How could that have failed?".......
Bruno does at least seem to be trying to work toward a solution that keeps ULA as a viable payload launching entity.  I'm not sure the same can be said for AJR's efforts, which basically seem to be "Please give us more money (because we didn't spend a dime on researching anything new)," but perhaps that reading is a little harsh.

But whenever people say things like "They're are dinosaurs," I remember one little fact.

Dinosaurs were the dominant animal type on Earth for 70 000 000 years.

Under the right environmental conditions a species can last a very long time. Something to keep in mind.
"Solids are a branch of fireworks, not rocketry. :-) :-) ", Henry Spencer 1/28/11  Averse to bold? You must be in marketing."It's all in the sequencing" K. Mattingly.  STS-Keeping most of the stakeholders happy most of the time.
So you're going to Mars to seek a better life. What does that mean to you? Always spot a fanbois by how they react to their idols failures.

Offline Jim

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Don't think ULA plus AJR is competitive.  Neither has adjusted to the realities of today's and tomorrow's market

No, people are just over hyping the "realities of today's and tomorrow's market".  Most don't know what they are talking about and just repost the same unsupported biased opinions.
« Last Edit: 12/28/2017 04:39 PM by Jim »

Offline rockets4life97

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How many more Delta IV single stick rockets does ULA plan to fly before they are retired?

Offline ethan829

How many more Delta IV single stick rockets does ULA plan to fly before they are retired?

Three. NROL-47, GPS-III, and WGS-10. If all fly as currently scheduled, 2018 will be the last year for the single-stick Delta IV.

Online john smith 19

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How many more Delta IV single stick rockets does ULA plan to fly before they are retired?

Three. NROL-47, GPS-III, and WGS-10. If all fly as currently scheduled, 2018 will be the last year for the single-stick Delta IV.
Is that "Unless someone places another order for one" or they are no longer accepting new orders for them at all?
"Solids are a branch of fireworks, not rocketry. :-) :-) ", Henry Spencer 1/28/11  Averse to bold? You must be in marketing."It's all in the sequencing" K. Mattingly.  STS-Keeping most of the stakeholders happy most of the time.
So you're going to Mars to seek a better life. What does that mean to you? Always spot a fanbois by how they react to their idols failures.

Offline ZachS09

How many more Delta IV single stick rockets does ULA plan to fly before they are retired?

Three. NROL-47, GPS-III, and WGS-10. If all fly as currently scheduled, 2018 will be the last year for the single-stick Delta IV.
Is that "Unless someone places another order for one" or they are no longer accepting new orders for them at all?

The second option you listed. In other words, ULA wants to retire the single-stick version no matter what happens.
« Last Edit: 01/08/2018 05:08 PM by ZachS09 »
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Offline russianhalo117

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How many more Delta IV single stick rockets does ULA plan to fly before they are retired?

Three. NROL-47, GPS-III, and WGS-10. If all fly as currently scheduled, 2018 will be the last year for the single-stick Delta IV.
Is that "Unless someone places another order for one" or they are no longer accepting new orders for them at all?
Only orders can be placed for the Atlas V and DIVH. Vulcan orders should begin this year for the opening launches.

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Only orders can be placed for the Atlas V and DIVH. Vulcan orders should begin this year for the opening launches.
That sounds pretty definite.  They are starting to pivot the company.

The joker is if they can design in the hooks for DIVH performance in Vulcan from the beginning, which they seem to be moving toward.
"Solids are a branch of fireworks, not rocketry. :-) :-) ", Henry Spencer 1/28/11  Averse to bold? You must be in marketing."It's all in the sequencing" K. Mattingly.  STS-Keeping most of the stakeholders happy most of the time.
So you're going to Mars to seek a better life. What does that mean to you? Always spot a fanbois by how they react to their idols failures.

Offline Zed_Noir

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<snip>
Only orders can be placed for the Atlas V and DIVH. Vulcan orders should begin this year for the opening launches.

Seriously,  what is the cut off date for ordering a DIVH?

Like will 2018 be the last year that you can order a DIVH.

Offline woods170

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<snip>
Only orders can be placed for the Atlas V and DIVH. Vulcan orders should begin this year for the opening launches.

Seriously,  what is the cut off date for ordering a DIVH?

Like will 2018 be the last year that you can order a DIVH.


No date given. ULA stated that Delta IVH will be terminated only after it is no longer needed for NSS missions.

Online john smith 19

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<snip>
Only orders can be placed for the Atlas V and DIVH. Vulcan orders should begin this year for the opening launches.

Seriously,  what is the cut off date for ordering a DIVH?

Like will 2018 be the last year that you can order a DIVH.


No date given. ULA stated that Delta IVH will be terminated only after it is no longer needed for NSS missions.
This is why the announcement that Vulcan with the Centaur 5/V/not ACES/Whatever-it's-called US will have (in principle) DIVH lift capability from first launch is very important.

Provided they can convince the DoD Vulcan is anywhere close to that (ideally even before the first Vulcan launches) they can start in on shutting down the DIVH line as well. I'm guessing by that time Atlas V will be long gone by then as well.
"Solids are a branch of fireworks, not rocketry. :-) :-) ", Henry Spencer 1/28/11  Averse to bold? You must be in marketing."It's all in the sequencing" K. Mattingly.  STS-Keeping most of the stakeholders happy most of the time.
So you're going to Mars to seek a better life. What does that mean to you? Always spot a fanbois by how they react to their idols failures.

Offline Chasm

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Not really, Vulcan will be produced on modified Delta IV tooling.
The have (had?) a final round of orders for Delta IV Heavy. Those will be (were?) build and stored until use.

The big difference is that there won't be a gap in bidding specific launches for ULA. As I understand they really needed to go into the next EELV selection with the capability to service all launch requirements from day one.
Another thing is that Centaur V will accumulate flight time from the first Vulcan launch. That should make the decision to put the really expensive payloads on it easier.

Offline yokem55

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Not really, Vulcan will be produced on modified Delta IV tooling.
The have (had?) a final round of orders for Delta IV Heavy. Those will be (were?) build and stored until use.

The big difference is that there won't be a gap in bidding specific launches for ULA. As I understand they really needed to go into the next EELV selection with the capability to service all launch requirements from day one.
Another thing is that Centaur V will accumulate flight time from the first Vulcan launch. That should make the decision to put the really expensive payloads on it easier.
What about converting some of those DH contracts to Vulcan? Maintaining the pad at Vandenberg isn't cheap. If they can fly those contracts on Vulcan instead, I'm betting they would prefer that.

Offline russianhalo117

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Not really, Vulcan will be produced on modified Delta IV tooling.
The have (had?) a final round of orders for Delta IV Heavy. Those will be (were?) build and stored until use.

The big difference is that there won't be a gap in bidding specific launches for ULA. As I understand they really needed to go into the next EELV selection with the capability to service all launch requirements from day one.
Another thing is that Centaur V will accumulate flight time from the first Vulcan launch. That should make the decision to put the really expensive payloads on it easier.
What about converting some of those DH contracts to Vulcan? Maintaining the pad at Vandenberg isn't cheap. If they can fly those contracts on Vulcan instead, I'm betting they would prefer that.
NSS contracts don't work that way DIVH will be maintained until the USG certifies Vulcan and executes the transition plan. DIVH is being built and stockpiled so there is bound to be some unflown launchers just like Titan-IVB and Atlas-IIAS and others.

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The big difference is that there won't be a gap in bidding specific launches for ULA. As I understand they really needed to go into the next EELV selection with the capability to service all launch requirements from day one.
Another thing is that Centaur V will accumulate flight time from the first Vulcan launch. That should make the decision to put the really expensive payloads on it easier.
Going with full capability from first launch, rather than needing a 2nd US design later, just makes a lot more sense. As you say it starts racking up launch reliability data to speed up the retiring of DIVH.

Now if they can just get IVF moving. 
"Solids are a branch of fireworks, not rocketry. :-) :-) ", Henry Spencer 1/28/11  Averse to bold? You must be in marketing."It's all in the sequencing" K. Mattingly.  STS-Keeping most of the stakeholders happy most of the time.
So you're going to Mars to seek a better life. What does that mean to you? Always spot a fanbois by how they react to their idols failures.

Offline Chasm

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I think they will fly the Delta IV Heavy out.
The required support infrastructure and staff is expensive but that is something the customer pays for. As far as we know NRO is the only final order customer. Launch is supposed to be a rounding error for their major satellite programs. On the plus side they can have high confidence that the launch will work.

Perhaps ULA can even fly the one spare they want to build. I'd certainly try to find a customer to fly ASAP after the last preorder. For cheap, even auction it of. Some restrictions apply, payload has to be at AstroTech checked out and ready for launch when the last campaign is scheduled. Free transfer to a RapidLaunch Vulcan in case the spare is required for the NRO.

If in doubt I'd stick a propellant depot on it and launch that. Got to get experience with them somehow.
But then I also liked the idea to launch a mini ACES on the (non existing) final Delta II spare in order to get some flight time. Testing a least the HIAD part of SMART recovery in the same launch. Must have some payload after all. ;)

Online AncientU

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The big difference is that there won't be a gap in bidding specific launches for ULA. As I understand they really needed to go into the next EELV selection with the capability to service all launch requirements from day one.
Another thing is that Centaur V will accumulate flight time from the first Vulcan launch. That should make the decision to put the really expensive payloads on it easier.
Going with full capability from first launch, rather than needing a 2nd US design later, just makes a lot more sense. As you say it starts racking up launch reliability data to speed up the retiring of DIVH.

Now if they can just get IVF moving.

But what about all that excess, wasted capacity when launching the predominant 401 payloads?
Building it* but not using it, and then dumping it in the ocean is expensive... 

* Especially if the Centaur V has 3-4 RL-10s on it.
« Last Edit: 01/11/2018 12:33 PM by AncientU »
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Offline Jim

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The big difference is that there won't be a gap in bidding specific launches for ULA. As I understand they really needed to go into the next EELV selection with the capability to service all launch requirements from day one.
Another thing is that Centaur V will accumulate flight time from the first Vulcan launch. That should make the decision to put the really expensive payloads on it easier.
Going with full capability from first launch, rather than needing a 2nd US design later, just makes a lot more sense. As you say it starts racking up launch reliability data to speed up the retiring of DIVH.

Now if they can just get IVF moving.

But what about all that excess, wasted capacity when launching the predominant 401 payloads?
Building it but not using it, and then dumping it in the ocean is expensive...

No different than using excess performance to return a booster and not reuse it

Online AncientU

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The big difference is that there won't be a gap in bidding specific launches for ULA. As I understand they really needed to go into the next EELV selection with the capability to service all launch requirements from day one.
Another thing is that Centaur V will accumulate flight time from the first Vulcan launch. That should make the decision to put the really expensive payloads on it easier.
Going with full capability from first launch, rather than needing a 2nd US design later, just makes a lot more sense. As you say it starts racking up launch reliability data to speed up the retiring of DIVH.

Now if they can just get IVF moving.

But what about all that excess, wasted capacity when launching the predominant 401 payloads?
Building it but not using it, and then dumping it in the ocean is expensive...

No different than using excess performance to return a booster and not reuse it

Exactly.
All who are complaining about this should be complaining about Vulcan -- especially since they are definitely dumping it in the ocean.

So Jim, Ed, etc., let's hear why this excess capacity being planned for Vulcan/Centaur V is such a crappy idea.
« Last Edit: 01/11/2018 01:29 PM by AncientU »
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Offline envy887

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The big difference is that there won't be a gap in bidding specific launches for ULA. As I understand they really needed to go into the next EELV selection with the capability to service all launch requirements from day one.
Another thing is that Centaur V will accumulate flight time from the first Vulcan launch. That should make the decision to put the really expensive payloads on it easier.
Going with full capability from first launch, rather than needing a 2nd US design later, just makes a lot more sense. As you say it starts racking up launch reliability data to speed up the retiring of DIVH.

Now if they can just get IVF moving.

But what about all that excess, wasted capacity when launching the predominant 401 payloads?
Building it but not using it, and then dumping it in the ocean is expensive...

No different than using excess performance to return a booster and not reuse it

Exactly.
All who are complaining about this should be complaining about Vulcan -- especially since they are definitely dumping it in the ocean.

So Jim, Ed, etc., let's hear why this excess capacity being planned for Vulcan/Centaur V is such a crappy idea.

It is different though. The potential engineering value of returning a booster for inspection is extremely high, since it can result in fixing a failure mode that saves a future billion dollar payload or prevent a stand-down and RTF costing hundreds of millions.

Excess margin is also valuable in case of an anomaly. A multi-engine upper stage would have engine-out redundancy and extra delta-v to insure against booster shortfalls like the DIVH first flight failure and OA-6 close call. Landing margins for a booster provide the same thing, but is also different because it can also enable reuse (the choice to reuse or not reuse isn't necessarily made before the flight).

Offline TrevorMonty

 ULA will use rideshare to make extra money from spare capacity. Depending on mission may add SRBs because of rideshare. In 2019 Astrobotics will fly as secondary on Atlas/Cynus mission, centuar does earth departure burn.

Giving rideshares to lunar robotic missions could be nice sideline. A more capable Centuar might even have endurance for TLI, giving nice boost to landed payload.

More capable US more options there are for using spare capacity.

Online AncientU

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ULA will use rideshare to make extra money from spare capacity. Depending on mission may add SRBs because of rideshare. In 2019 Astrobotics will fly as secondary on Atlas/Cynus mission, centuar does earth departure burn.

Giving rideshares to lunar robotic missions could be nice sideline. A more capable Centuar might even have endurance for TLI, giving nice boost to landed payload.

More capable US more options there are for using spare capacity.

Nice rationalization.
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Offline Sknowball

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Not really a surprise after the announced additional 6 months Centaur V adds to Vulcan development, but Tory Bruno did confirm that Vulcan Initial Launch Capability has slipped into 2020.

Quote
The current Vulcan ILC is mid 2020. It will fly with an American engine, replacing Atlas’ RD180
https://www.reddit.com/r/BlueOrigin/comments/7pavyi/blue_origins_latest_footage_of_the_be4_engine/dsitdej/

He also provided a small update on the Vulcan CDR.

Quote
@wehavemeco: any update on Vulcan’s CDR? Anxiously awaiting.
@torybruno: 2 parts. First part complete and successful
https://twitter.com/torybruno/status/951271568218320896

Offline woods170

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Not really a surprise after the announced additional 6 months Centaur V adds to Vulcan development, but Tory Bruno did confirm that Vulcan Initial Launch Capability has slipped into 2020.

Quote
The current Vulcan ILC is mid 2020. It will fly with an American engine, replacing Atlas’ RD180
https://www.reddit.com/r/BlueOrigin/comments/7pavyi/blue_origins_latest_footage_of_the_be4_engine/dsitdej/

He also provided a small update on the Vulcan CDR.

Quote
@wehavemeco: any update on Vulcan’s CDR? Anxiously awaiting.
@torybruno: 2 parts. First part complete and successful
https://twitter.com/torybruno/status/951271568218320896

People constantly castigate "that other company from Hawthorne" for having delays. But here is ULA having a six-month delay and things are are (almost eery) quiet.

Offline Jim

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People constantly castigate "that other company from Hawthorne" for having delays. But here is ULA having a six-month delay and things are are (almost eery) quiet.

Because there is enough ULA castigation on the rest of the forum

Offline woods170

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People constantly castigate "that other company from Hawthorne" for having delays. But here is ULA having a six-month delay and things are are (almost eery) quiet.

Because there is enough ULA castigation on the rest of the forum
Nice try Jim. That is castigation aimed at ULA mostly for not going for reusability whereas that other company is castigated over just about everything they do.
« Last Edit: 01/12/2018 11:13 AM by woods170 »

Offline edkyle99

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People constantly castigate "that other company from Hawthorne" for having delays. But here is ULA having a six-month delay and things are are (almost eery) quiet.
That's because we already knew about the delay.  Tory Bruno announced the trade - Centaur 5 for six months time - on twitter a month or two ago.

 - Ed Kyle

Offline envy887

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People constantly castigate "that other company from Hawthorne" for having delays. But here is ULA having a six-month delay and things are are (almost eery) quiet.
That's because we already knew about the delay.  Tory Bruno announced the trade - Centaur 5 for six months time - on twitter a month or two ago.

 - Ed Kyle

Was Vulcan late 2019? I don't recall seeing a date, just the year.

They started working with Blue on BE-4 in late 2014, and unveiled the vehicle design in early 2015. 5 years and some months seems pretty typical for a mostly new LV development program.
« Last Edit: 01/12/2018 03:16 PM by envy887 »

Offline oldAtlas_Eguy

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People constantly castigate "that other company from Hawthorne" for having delays. But here is ULA having a six-month delay and things are are (almost eery) quiet.
That's because we already knew about the delay.  Tory Bruno announced the trade - Centaur 5 for six months time - on twitter a month or two ago.

 - Ed Kyle

Was Vulcan late 2019? I don't recall seeing a date, just the year.

They started working with Blue on BE-4 in late 2014, and unveiled the vehicle design in early 2015. 5 years and some months seems pretty typical for a mostly new LV development program.
5+ years is the new typical development program period for a new commercial medium/heavy (20mt+) LV. SpaceX's is the one push this lower but not by much and as the vehicle SpaceX is design increases in complexity and size so do the development period. Vulcan/Centaur V is not that complex of a system. And in fact will probably have less complexity than the Atlas/Centaur. So a 5 year development is what one would expect. Also they should not have much schedule slippage for that same reason. They announce almost 2 years ago a 2019 first launch so a 6 month slip after 2 years of design work and some significant plan changes in the developemnt is quite good schedule management. ULA has always been excellent in their ability to manage their schedules and to predict highly accurate planning dates.

Offline clongton

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Was Vulcan late 2019? I don't recall seeing a date, just the year.

When Vulcan was first announced, ULA said first flight was NET 2019 - no quarter given.
« Last Edit: 01/12/2018 07:50 PM by clongton »
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Offline TrevorMonty

ULA are at mercy of engine designers Blue  or AJR, which are totally out of ULA control.
They can't start bending metal on booster till engine us picked and its performance proven.

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@torybruno are you afraid that the constant rate of success will be hauled with the introduction of a whole new rocket not entirely based in Lockheed/Boeing...
https://twitter.com/astro_zach/status/951995804297949186

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Yes, but the rocket is only half of the equation
https://twitter.com/torybruno/status/951998937975566336

Online AncientU

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Don't think ULA plus AJR is competitive.  Neither has adjusted to the realities of today's and tomorrow's market

No, people are just over hyping the "realities of today's and tomorrow's market".  Most don't know what they are talking about and just repost the same unsupported biased opinions.

Stephane Isreal, for instance...
https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=31484.msg1771157#msg1771157
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Offline Jim

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Don't think ULA plus AJR is competitive.  Neither has adjusted to the realities of today's and tomorrow's market

No, people are just over hyping the "realities of today's and tomorrow's market".  Most don't know what they are talking about and just repost the same unsupported biased opinions.

Stephane Isreal, for instance...
https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=31484.msg1771157#msg1771157

No, just you

Online john smith 19

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It is different though. The potential engineering value of returning a booster for inspection is extremely high, since it can result in fixing a failure mode that saves a future billion dollar payload or prevent a stand-down and RTF costing hundreds of millions.

Excess margin is also valuable in case of an anomaly. A multi-engine upper stage would have engine-out redundancy and extra delta-v to insure against booster shortfalls like the DIVH first flight failure and OA-6 close call. Landing margins for a booster provide the same thing, but is also different because it can also enable reuse (the choice to reuse or not reuse isn't necessarily made before the flight).
True.

And yet, apart from earlier versions of Centaur, I know of no multi engine upper stage currently flying. :(

Needless to say that complicates any planning for recovery and reuse quite a bit, given the mass changes between fully loaded and nearly empty.
"Solids are a branch of fireworks, not rocketry. :-) :-) ", Henry Spencer 1/28/11  Averse to bold? You must be in marketing."It's all in the sequencing" K. Mattingly.  STS-Keeping most of the stakeholders happy most of the time.
So you're going to Mars to seek a better life. What does that mean to you? Always spot a fanbois by how they react to their idols failures.

Online john smith 19

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Was Vulcan late 2019? I don't recall seeing a date, just the year.

When Vulcan was first announced, ULA said first flight was NET 2019 - no quarter given.
And they were right.  :(

Not Earlier Than 2019 is indeed 2020.

Admittedly there is more of a sense of urgency with ULA's financial position WRT the parents, but that seems quite a well scheduled programme.

IMHO The Joker in this pack is the funding,  and wheather the parents are still forcing them to do Q to Q requests. If they'd gone to a less piecemeal approach I imagine there would have some kind of formal announcement by now, as it would suggest a big increase in confidence of ULA's plans to execute.

Or there was and I missed it?
"Solids are a branch of fireworks, not rocketry. :-) :-) ", Henry Spencer 1/28/11  Averse to bold? You must be in marketing."It's all in the sequencing" K. Mattingly.  STS-Keeping most of the stakeholders happy most of the time.
So you're going to Mars to seek a better life. What does that mean to you? Always spot a fanbois by how they react to their idols failures.

Online meekGee

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Not really a surprise after the announced additional 6 months Centaur V adds to Vulcan development, but Tory Bruno did confirm that Vulcan Initial Launch Capability has slipped into 2020.

Quote
The current Vulcan ILC is mid 2020. It will fly with an American engine, replacing Atlas’ RD180
https://www.reddit.com/r/BlueOrigin/comments/7pavyi/blue_origins_latest_footage_of_the_be4_engine/dsitdej/

He also provided a small update on the Vulcan CDR.

Quote
@wehavemeco: any update on Vulcan’s CDR? Anxiously awaiting.
@torybruno: 2 parts. First part complete and successful
https://twitter.com/torybruno/status/951271568218320896

People constantly castigate "that other company from Hawthorne" for having delays. But here is ULA having a six-month delay and things are are (almost eery) quiet.
Just look at what the three "nextgen" programs bring to the table, and it's pretty obvious:

An EELV (with an uncertain path to partial reusability), a large "mostly reusable" rocket with some path to full reusability, and a fully reusable launch system + spaceship.

The EELV is simply less interesting to most observers, and so 6 months here or there generate a lot less excitement.
ABCD - Always Be Counting Down

Offline Jim

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The EELV is simply less interesting to most observers, and so 6 months here or there generate a lot less excitement.

They fly more interesting missions than GTO comsats or station resupply.   

Too many people are caught up in the means with the ends are more important.  I don't care how I get my packages.

Online meekGee

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The EELV is simply less interesting to most observers, and so 6 months here or there generate a lot less excitement.

They fly more interesting missions than GTO comsats or station resupply.   

Too many people are caught up in the means with the ends are more important.  I don't care how I get my packages.
You're comparing today's EELV to F9.

I'm comparing Vulcan to NG to BFS, and the interest level they generate. 

BFS will fly some pretty interesting missions...
ABCD - Always Be Counting Down

Offline clongton

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The EELV is simply less interesting to most observers, and so 6 months here or there generate a lot less excitement.

There's no such thing as a less interesting EELV. Customers are interested in whatever launch vehicle best fits their need for a specific launch. They don't care how many engines it has, what color it's painted, who makes the vehicle or if it has 2 or 5 stages. They are only interested in an appropriate launch service and whatever EELV fits their needs becomes the choice.
« Last Edit: 01/13/2018 08:08 PM by clongton »
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I started my career on the Saturn-V F-1A engine

Online meekGee

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The EELV is simply less interesting to most observers, and so 6 months here or there generate a lot less excitement.

There's no such thing as a less interesting EELV. Customers are interested in whatever launch vehicle best fits their need for a specific launch. They don't care how many engines it has, what color it's painted, who makes the vehicle or if it has 2 or 5 stages. They are only interested in an appropriate launch service and whatever EELV fits their needs becomes the choice.
This exchange started when someone asked why delays in the Vulcan program generate less reaction from observers, compared with slips in other nextGen schedules.

I was simply comparing what those nextGen programs were, and showing a correlation.
ABCD - Always Be Counting Down

Online AncientU

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The EELV is simply less interesting to most observers, and so 6 months here or there generate a lot less excitement.

They fly more interesting missions than GTO comsats or station resupply.   

Too many people are caught up in the means with the ends are more important.  I don't care how I get my packages.

When there are no winning arguments about the launch vehicle, the goal posts move to 'more interesting missions.'
Vulcan's competition will win on that field, too.
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Offline Jim

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When there are no winning arguments about the launch vehicle, the goal posts move to 'more interesting missions.'

It was never about the launch vehicles, it was always about the missions.  It has been the fan boys that have made about the launch vehicles, first it was shuttle, then it was Direct and now it is Falcon 9.

NROL, Juno, MSL, STSS Demo, X-37, MRO, SBIRS, etc are all more interesting than F9 comsat launch. 

There are parallels with train foamers and Spacex fans.
« Last Edit: 01/13/2018 08:38 PM by Jim »

Offline Chris Bergin

For Jim's next birthday I'm going to give him moderator powers for 24 hours. Then you're all running for the hills! ;D

Let's keep this on Vulcan. Some of you may realize it, but we actually cover SpaceX a bit here and have a few threads somewhere on the forum.

;D

--

One member didn't listen. That member has lost his post.

Offline Chasm

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The power pack oops and consequent silence made it quite clear that Vulcan would be affected too. So the 6 month announcement was already old news and not too interesting to observers. Centaur V however was entirely new and good reasoning.

I think the reasoning why ULA decided to eat a 6 month delay twofold.
ULA needed the Centaur V for the EELV bid. Going into the bid with a "to be developed in the future" capability for some reference orbits would be a disadvantage.
The RD-180 engine replacement obviously got delayed. The engineers might as well work on something else instead of just waiting on the next BE-4 (or even AR-1) milestone.

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I think the reasoning why ULA decided to eat a 6 month delay twofold.
ULA needed the Centaur V for the EELV bid. Going into the bid with a "to be developed in the future" capability for some reference orbits would be a disadvantage.
I think this is the big event.  It telescopes 2 US development cycles (which was inevitable if they wanted to cover the full range of DoD orbits and payloads) into one.
Quote from: Chasm
The RD-180 engine replacement obviously got delayed. The engineers might as well work on something else instead of just waiting on the next BE-4 (or even AR-1) milestone.
Depends on the delay. My impression is AR-1 is so far behind the only way AJR has a shot is if they promise to deliver an engine that can do a full duration burn (equal to a booster stage flight to MECO) by the end of the delay (likewise for Blue).

Schedule for Vulcan deployment is everything. The faster they transition the fewer mfg lines they have to run and the faster they lower their costs.
"Solids are a branch of fireworks, not rocketry. :-) :-) ", Henry Spencer 1/28/11  Averse to bold? You must be in marketing."It's all in the sequencing" K. Mattingly.  STS-Keeping most of the stakeholders happy most of the time.
So you're going to Mars to seek a better life. What does that mean to you? Always spot a fanbois by how they react to their idols failures.

Offline envy887

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Too many people are caught up in the means with the ends are more important.  I don't care how I get my packages.

You have multiple competitors offering trivially cheap prices to deliver your packages. When orbital delivery has the same, the means will attract far less attention. But Vulcan ... isn't really a step in that direction. ACES is, but it's constantly 10 years away.

Offline oldAtlas_Eguy

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Too many people are caught up in the means with the ends are more important.  I don't care how I get my packages.

You have multiple competitors offering trivially cheap prices to deliver your packages. When orbital delivery has the same, the means will attract far less attention. But Vulcan ... isn't really a step in that direction. ACES is, but it's constantly 10 years away.
ACES use to be 10 years away the in the future nature has now shifted to 5 years away.

Once you get to some of the features of ACES namely IVF, then the others are small incremental improvements such as in-orbit refueling which only involves tubing and valves and the most important item for in-orbit refueling the low to zero force cryo prop connectors that can be remotely released/engaged. It is this last item that is the item slowing down in-orbit cryo refueling and the general depot/distributed launch concepts.

If you have Centaur V's IVF then you have possibility to test docking and the transfer of prop between Centaur V's  without payloads or even any use of the prop that is transferred. These tests would occur on Centaur V's that the next step is disposal.

So with Centaur V and IVF that gets to with testing and incremental improvements the full ACES.

Offline Lar

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When there are no winning arguments about the launch vehicle, the goal posts move to 'more interesting missions.'

It was never about the launch vehicles, it was always about the missions.  It has been the fan boys that have made about the launch vehicles, first it was shuttle, then it was Direct and now it is Falcon 9.

NROL, Juno, MSL, STSS Demo, X-37, MRO, SBIRS, etc are all more interesting than F9 comsat launch. 

There are parallels with train foamers and Spacex fans.

I'm a train fan (but not a foamer)[1] and a SpaceX fan. (probably not a foamer)[2].

That said while individual spacecraft are interesting, and all those non comsat spacecraft are more interesting than comsats, I would suggest that what is MOST interesting is how the market is changing. And why. Because I think it is... reduction in launch cost is just starting and the changes MAY be of epic proportions.. Not the vehicles, not the payloads, the market as a whole, that's where the really interesting stuff is.

ULA and Vulcan may be too timid in their response, we'll see.  Or maybe this is just a flash in the pan and ULA will hit the sweet spot with just the right amount of change.   Not the way to bet, but maybe.

1 - by analogy, I think 3 unit and 5 unit well cars (articulated container cars) are interesting, but why railways switched to articulated container cars is far more interesting.
2 - but when Jim has mod, for those 24 hours, he may edit this to say differently
« Last Edit: 01/16/2018 04:23 PM by Lar »
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Offline spacenut

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What is the difference between ACES and the Centaur V?  Size? Engines? Common Bulkhead?  Capabilities?

Offline TrevorMonty

What is the difference between ACES and the Centaur V?  Size? Engines? Common Bulkhead?  Capabilities?
Size, ACES about 70t, Centuar V we think 40-50t. Both use 5m tanks. Don't know if IVF is being used, but suspect so. Engines unknown but most likely RL10.

Offline brickmack

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Engines are RL10. Source on 40-50 tons propellant instead of 70? Tank size looks to be pretty much identical in the renders released

Offline edkyle99

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Engines are RL10. Source on 40-50 tons propellant instead of 70? Tank size looks to be pretty much identical in the renders released
It is a guesstimate, based on the performance needed to meet the EELV requirements.  The lower propellant number also seems to me likely to be able to be boosted by only two RL10s.  Since a two-engine Centaur is already being developed for Commercial Crew, it makes sense that this would still be a "Centaur", though with a fatter tank.  But these are guesses.  ULA could surprise.

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 01/16/2018 04:54 PM by edkyle99 »

Offline spacenut

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Could the Centaur V evolve into ACES?  Or are the two incompatible? 

Offline envy887

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Could the Centaur V evolve into ACES?  Or are the two incompatible?

ACES is basically a bigger Centaur, so yes. A tank stretch plus some IVF hardware upgrades (and maybe more engines) would probably be the only difference between Centaur V and ACES.

Offline spacenut

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So Centaur V would have common bulkhead and basically the same engine(s).  Seems like one BE-3U with variable thrust would be the ideal.  Thrust would depend on weight or mass plus orbit or deep space applications.  Only one engine to deal with. 

So could Centaur V be a good upper stage for SLS?  Especially for deep space probes and lunar applications? 

Offline edkyle99

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So Centaur V would have common bulkhead and basically the same engine(s).  Seems like one BE-3U with variable thrust would be the ideal.  Thrust would depend on weight or mass plus orbit or deep space applications.  Only one engine to deal with. 

So could Centaur V be a good upper stage for SLS?  Especially for deep space probes and lunar applications? 
EUS is probably going to carry 120+ tonnes of propellant, a much bigger stage than Centaur 5.  I doubt BE-3U would be a good match for Centaur 5. Too much thrust, really, and probably lower specific impulse than RL10.  There's a reason that Orbital ATK dropped it from the NGL upper stage.  EUS, on the other hand, needs more thrust ...

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 01/16/2018 06:15 PM by edkyle99 »

Offline Lars-J

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Could the Centaur V evolve into ACES?  Or are the two incompatible?

ACES is basically a bigger Centaur, so yes. A tank stretch plus some IVF hardware upgrades (and maybe more engines) would probably be the only difference between Centaur V and ACES.

Right, Centaur V is basically proto-ACES. It will become ACES, once additional features are added.

Offline spacenut

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How much capability does Centaur V have over the existing Centaur they were originally going to use?

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EUS is probably going to carry 120+ tonnes of propellant, a much bigger stage than Centaur 5.

EUS also has a pretty low mass ratio, due to the separate bulkheads, huge truss structure, hypergolic RCS, etc. With a 40 ton payload (the mass SLS 1B is notionally supposed to deliver to TLI), ACES should be able to complete a delta v of 4170 m/s, while EUS can deliver the same payload mass to 5050 m/s. So its weaker, but not hugely so. And this difference will probably be mostly made up for (and maybe exceeded) by SLS's boosters/core stage having to lift ~50 tons less to the staging point, and by ACES having near-zero boiloff (EUS loses considerable propellant mass just sitting around waiting for TLI). The zero-boiloff capability also means that ACES could be used to directly insert the payload at lunar orbit, which helps a lot of Orion/DSG's performance problems. And if you allow for ACES to be refueled in LEO first (SLS only being necessary because the mass of the payload itself is too high for any other launcher even to get to LEO), it can deliver upwards of 60 tons to TLI, better than even the most optimistic targets for Block 2. Big downside though would be the small fairing diameter, so it'd depend on how volumetrically large the needed payloads actually are.

Main upside though would be cost/schedule. ACES is pretty close in external dimensions to iCPS, might be possible to fit it with much smaller upgrades to the ML, which could shave years off the schedule. And development and manufacturing cost would be covered/shared by ULA, saving probably billions on development and tens of millions per flight on hardware. Even if there was some performance loss, I think thats worth it.

Offline Sknowball

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Engines are RL10. Source on 40-50 tons propellant instead of 70? Tank size looks to be pretty much identical in the renders released
It is a guesstimate, based on the performance needed to meet the EELV requirements.  The lower propellant number also seems to me likely to be able to be boosted by only two RL10s.  Since a two-engine Centaur is already being developed for Commercial Crew, it makes sense that this would still be a "Centaur", though with a fatter tank.  But these are guesses.  ULA could surprise.

 - Ed Kyle

I get where 40-50 tons of prop makes sense (and respect the work you do Ed) from the perspective of meeting minimum EELV, but given that ULA has focused a lot of effort on minimize ground support changes for Vulcan does producing a squat Centaur (given that ACES was always listed as the same height as Centaur III) make sense from this perspective?  The only hard facts I have heard on Centaur V were the  various confirmations of 5.4m diameter and Jon Goff's statement regarding Centaur V based Ixion being 310m3.  Given that the Ixion mission module, according to Mike Johnson (minutes 30-37), started with the ARCTUS concept(and used it's dimensions in the initial proposal) could be fun exercise to try and figure out how much of that 310m3 is Centaur V and how much is everything else (assuming the mission module has not evolved beyond the initial proposal volume).

Quote
With up to 310 m3 habitable volume Ixion is the largest single element station since SkyLab

How do you get this number, isn't the Centaur relatively small? Some of the volume would be in the "mission module" but that looks small. Are you counting an additional cygnus-like module on top?

Hydrolox density is about 360 kg/m so the current centaur with 23 ton of propellant would have ~60 m3 of volume. 310 m3 volume would hold more than 100 tons of hydrolox.

That number is based on the Centaur V stage, and associated mission module and docking tunnel. You are correct that the Centaur III version is much smaller.

~Jon

Offline Sknowball

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Could the Centaur V evolve into ACES?  Or are the two incompatible?

ACES is basically a bigger Centaur, so yes. A tank stretch plus some IVF hardware upgrades (and maybe more engines) would probably be the only difference between Centaur V and ACES.

I suspect MLI will also be an ACES enhancement.

Quote
1) As you observed, ACES has been updated to an inline design. Tank pressure requirements to satisfy ascent structure are similar to that required to prevent engine cavitation, thus ACES will still achieve the high mass fraction.

2) Yes, we will use a common docking interface for both the Distributed Launch propellant tanks and the B330.

3) ACES will be encapsulated in MLI (multi-layer insulation) to reduce the LH2 & LO2 boil off. MLI that can survive ascent aerodynamic forces is one of the many innovations being incorporated into ACES to enable refueling, long mission durations and numerous burns.

Bernard Kutter ULA Chief Scientist
https://www.reddit.com/r/ula/comments/76ysr9/bigelow_aerospace_and_united_launch_alliance/doova5k/

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EUS also has a pretty low mass ratio, due to the separate bulkheads, huge truss structure, hypergolic RCS, etc.
IIRC SLS is going to test a version of IVF.

Does anyone know if that will be on the first flight? If so it would do a lot to raise the TRL level for fitting it on Centaur 5 sooner rather than later.

I think IVF is a major enabler of lower internal costs for ULA (and it's a really neat hack which should be applicable to nearly any system, given how Titan did its tank pressurization).  It also opens up the options for using a ULA US for trajectory changes, post Earth departure
« Last Edit: 01/16/2018 11:23 PM by john smith 19 »
"Solids are a branch of fireworks, not rocketry. :-) :-) ", Henry Spencer 1/28/11  Averse to bold? You must be in marketing."It's all in the sequencing" K. Mattingly.  STS-Keeping most of the stakeholders happy most of the time.
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EUS also has a pretty low mass ratio, due to the separate bulkheads, huge truss structure, hypergolic RCS, etc.
IIRC SLS is going to test a version of IVF.

Does anyone know if that will be on the first flight? If so it would do a lot to raise the TRL level for fitting it on Centaur 5 sooner rather than later.

I think IVF is a major enabler of lower internal costs for ULA (and it's a really neat hack which should be applicable to nearly any system, given how Titan did its tank pressurization).  It also opens up the options for using a ULA US for trajectory changes, post Earth departure

The IVF study for SLS was on integrating it into the EUS(so EM-2 or later), last update on this was at the NASA NAC TI&E meeting in July when the study was reported as complete.  Slide 15 https://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/atoms/files/nac_july2017_flores_tdm_irma_tagged.pdf

Outside of this document a NTRS report was published on numerical modeling of the IVF system in October
https://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/20170008954.pdf

I get the feeling that as we have not heard anything since the study was completed that they opted not to included it in EUS.
« Last Edit: 01/17/2018 12:16 AM by Sknowball »

Offline edkyle99

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EUS is probably going to carry 120+ tonnes of propellant, a much bigger stage than Centaur 5.
EUS also has a pretty low mass ratio, due to the separate bulkheads, huge truss structure, hypergolic RCS, etc. W
0.90 versus 0.91 maybe.  Not that much different. The "huge truss structure" is carbon composite.  Centaur may have a "common bulkhead", but it still consists of two steel parts separated by a vacuum insulation barrier as I understand things. 

 - Ed Kyle

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When there are no winning arguments about the launch vehicle, the goal posts move to 'more interesting missions.'

It was never about the launch vehicles, it was always about the missions.  It has been the fan boys that have made about the launch vehicles, first it was shuttle, then it was Direct and now it is Falcon 9.

NROL, Juno, MSL, STSS Demo, X-37, MRO, SBIRS, etc are all more interesting than F9 comsat launch.


Tell that to the owners of comsats. Those are generally very interested in the launch of their comsats but couldn't care less about a random X-37 launch.

Whether or not a mission is interesting is a matter of personal opinion. Jim just tried to generalize his personal opinion with his "It was never about the launch vehicles, it was always about the missions" remark.

Based on Jim's comment above we now understand that he finds the highlighted missions more interesting than comsat launches. Fine, that is his personal opinion and he is entitled to have on.

Personally I find all orbital launches equally interesting, because I don't look at what is being launched but at the outcome of the launch.
« Last Edit: 01/17/2018 09:20 AM by woods170 »

Offline TrevorMonty

A 30-40t topup of EUS in LEO would give SLS 1B equivalent of block 2 performance.  If ULA are already doing DL then all NASA needs to do is upgrade EUS to flight proven systems and pay for fuel launch. NB topups are not limited to 30-40t, more fuel more capability.

 TDM paper also reported on HIAD, a commercial interests wanted to speed things up and possibly include Mid Air Recovery. No company mentioned but its good bet that commercial interest is ULA.
« Last Edit: 01/17/2018 07:28 AM by TrevorMonty »

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A 30-40t topup of EUS in LEO would give SLS 1B equivalent of block 2 performance.  If ULA are already doing DL then all NASA needs to do is upgrade EUS to flight proven systems and pay for fuel launch. NB topups are not limited to 30-40t, more fuel more capability.

 TDM paper also reported on HIAD, a commercial interests wanted to speed things up and possibly include Mid Air Recovery. No company mentioned but its good bet that commercial interest is ULA.

EUS isn't being designed to be refueled AFAIK, which is shortsighted.
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The IVF study for SLS was on integrating it into the EUS(so EM-2 or later), last update on this was at the NASA NAC TI&E meeting in July when the study was reported as complete.  Slide 15 https://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/atoms/files/nac_july2017_flores_tdm_irma_tagged.pdf

Outside of this document a NTRS report was published on numerical modeling of the IVF system in October
https://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/20170008954.pdf

I get the feeling that as we have not heard anything since the study was completed that they opted not to included it in EUS.
Thanks for those references.  The numeric modelling was particularly interesting.  It looks like they are either at, or close to, flight hardware.

ULA have talked about an IVF flight test this year, which is looking like the earliest possible. If  that happens (and it works out well) that suggests they could launch Centaur 5 with IVF. That would "front load" most (all?) the new tech into the design. This sounds quite risky (by ULA standards) but dramatically shortens the development schedule

IIRC some of the IVF work suggested that just routing the flow from the pressurization pumps to a separate thrust chamber could generate 12000lb of thrust, without starting the RL10.
"Solids are a branch of fireworks, not rocketry. :-) :-) ", Henry Spencer 1/28/11  Averse to bold? You must be in marketing."It's all in the sequencing" K. Mattingly.  STS-Keeping most of the stakeholders happy most of the time.
So you're going to Mars to seek a better life. What does that mean to you? Always spot a fanbois by how they react to their idols failures.

Offline TrevorMonty

I thought ICE driven pumps are good for 1200lbs LH/LOX engine not 12000lbs. The IVF package also 300lbs gas thrusters plus smaller ones.

There is no 1200lbs engine fitted but could be low cost option instead of RL10s in some situations eg OTV where gravity losses aren't an issue.

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I thought ICE driven pumps are good for 1200lbs LH/LOX engine not 12000lbs. The IVF package also 300lbs gas thrusters plus smaller ones.

There is no 1200lbs engine fitted but could be low cost option instead of RL10s in some situations eg OTV where gravity losses aren't an issue.
You may be right, it sounds high and I'm depending on my memory rather than routing out the reference.  :(

TBH I wasn't quite sure where they were going with the idea, it seemed too low for use on Earth and too high for conventional orientation, prop settling or docking.

Landing a loaded stage on the Moon under Lunar gravity?
"Solids are a branch of fireworks, not rocketry. :-) :-) ", Henry Spencer 1/28/11  Averse to bold? You must be in marketing."It's all in the sequencing" K. Mattingly.  STS-Keeping most of the stakeholders happy most of the time.
So you're going to Mars to seek a better life. What does that mean to you? Always spot a fanbois by how they react to their idols failures.

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Quote
[Tom] Tshudy [ULA]: no downselect yet on Vulcan engine, but anticipate it “this year.”

https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/954065403449364486

Offline Space Ghost 1962

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EUS also has a pretty low mass ratio, due to the separate bulkheads, huge truss structure, hypergolic RCS, etc.
IIRC SLS is going to test a version of IVF.

Does anyone know if that will be on the first flight? If so it would do a lot to raise the TRL level for fitting it on Centaur 5 sooner rather than later.

I think IVF is a major enabler of lower internal costs for ULA (and it's a really neat hack which should be applicable to nearly any system, given how Titan did its tank pressurization).  It also opens up the options for using a ULA US for trajectory changes, post Earth departure

The IVF study for SLS was on integrating it into the EUS(so EM-2 or later), last update on this was at the NASA NAC TI&E meeting in July when the study was reported as complete.  Slide 15 https://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/atoms/files/nac_july2017_flores_tdm_irma_tagged.pdf

Outside of this document a NTRS report was published on numerical modeling of the IVF system in October
https://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/20170008954.pdf

I get the feeling that as we have not heard anything since the study was completed that they opted not to included it in EUS.
Another interpretation is possible.

IVF and potentially docking could give both Vulcan and SLS an advantage if they needed it. Consider ACES being built to allow on-orbit refueling of EUS, where a larger SLS payload could be lofted to LEO with an ACES (or more) with tank extension for refuel.

This would be one way to keep to block 1b LV why allowing exploration flights to inject massive payloads to C3 destinations. It would also flesh out Vulcan manifest considerably

It's the kind of "last minute addition" one could keep as a card to toss out should SLS ever appear in jeopardy.

Also, a long duration EUS, like ACES, might consider such propellant depot activity in EML/LLO/NRO/other locations to support exploration as well.

SLS "hamburger helper"?

add:

"Anything BFS can do ... Vulcan could do better. Vulcan can do anything better than it. No it can. Yes it won't ..."

With apologies to:

« Last Edit: 01/18/2018 07:40 PM by Space Ghost 1962 »

Online john smith 19

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Another interpretation is possible.

IVF and potentially docking could give both Vulcan and SLS an advantage if they needed it. Consider ACES being built to allow on-orbit refueling of EUS, where a larger SLS payload could be lofted to LEO with an ACES (or more) with tank extension for refuel.

This would be one way to keep to block 1b LV why allowing exploration flights to inject massive payloads to C3 destinations. It would also flesh out Vulcan manifest considerably

It's the kind of "last minute addition" one could keep as a card to toss out should SLS ever appear in jeopardy.

Also, a long duration EUS, like ACES, might consider such propellant depot activity in EML/LLO/NRO/other locations to support exploration as well.

SLS "hamburger helper"?

add:

"Anything BFS can do ... Vulcan could do better. Vulcan can do anything better than it. No it can. Yes it won't ..."

With apologies to:


That's sounds unusually upbeat for you on SLS.
"Solids are a branch of fireworks, not rocketry. :-) :-) ", Henry Spencer 1/28/11  Averse to bold? You must be in marketing."It's all in the sequencing" K. Mattingly.  STS-Keeping most of the stakeholders happy most of the time.
So you're going to Mars to seek a better life. What does that mean to you? Always spot a fanbois by how they react to their idols failures.

Offline Space Ghost 1962

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Another interpretation is possible.

IVF and potentially docking could give both Vulcan and SLS an advantage if they needed it. Consider ACES being built to allow on-orbit refueling of EUS, where a larger SLS payload could be lofted to LEO with an ACES (or more) with tank extension for refuel.

This would be one way to keep to block 1b LV why allowing exploration flights to inject massive payloads to C3 destinations. It would also flesh out Vulcan manifest considerably

It's the kind of "last minute addition" one could keep as a card to toss out should SLS ever appear in jeopardy.

Also, a long duration EUS, like ACES, might consider such propellant depot activity in EML/LLO/NRO/other locations to support exploration as well.

SLS "hamburger helper"?

add:

"Anything BFS can do ... Vulcan could do better. Vulcan can do anything better than it. No it can. Yes it won't ..."

With apologies to:


That's sounds unusually upbeat for you on SLS.
Misread. Explaining options, not into it for "team sports" like many here. All such teams have interesting "plays" possible.

If there is an agenda, just one of seeing the best in all possible, as a means of avoiding the worst in each.

And, there is a certain humor present in this instance of "strange bedfellows". Usually SLS is at odds with anything new, or commercial space. They've certainly defeated both commercial space (ULA) and propellant depots before.

Perhaps a desperate refuge if needed? One reason you'd leave it silently present, as a hidden fallback?

In any event it would work. It would also be a graceful way of leaving the government launcher program, by first getting out of the "even bigger" LV game.

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[Tom] Tshudy [ULA]: no downselect yet on Vulcan engine, but anticipate it “this year.”

https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/954065403449364486
I was expecting/hoping for something more like this quarter.
Space is not Highlander.  There can, and will, be more than one.

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New published paper on ULA website from the AIAA SciTech Conference earlier this month.  Presentation was by Bernard Kutter titled:
"Transportation Enabling a Robust Space Economy"

Some slides we had seen previously, gives some updated numbers for Vulcan/ACES lift both single launch and distributed launch.

Launch MethodEarth EscapeGSO/Lunar OrbitLunar Surface
Single Launch14mT10mT3.8mT
Distributed Launch30mT24mT12mT

Offline Space Ghost 1962

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[Tom] Tshudy [ULA]: no downselect yet on Vulcan engine, but anticipate it “this year.”

https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/954065403449364486
I was expecting/hoping for something more like this quarter.
Me too.

Sounds like BO has its hands full taming the beast, and that will proceed "gradatim".

Doesn't present an opening for AR-1 (as they are not progressing all that fast either), but no means to accelerate Vulcan also.

Things will become more drawn out. Becoming more clear why Centaur V was added to the picture - the timing allowed it, the means to answer govt procurement with a singular vehicle with "dial-a-rocket" solids, the overlap with DIVH/FH, and ULA/SX costing to lockout Northrup Grumman NGL as a new entrant.

Offline oldAtlas_Eguy

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New published paper on ULA website from the AIAA SciTech Conference earlier this month.  Presentation was by Bernard Kutter titled:
"Transportation Enabling a Robust Space Economy"

Some slides we had seen previously, gives some updated numbers for Vulcan/ACES lift both single launch and distributed launch.

Launch MethodEarth EscapeGSO/Lunar OrbitLunar Surface
Single Launch14mT10mT3.8mT
Distributed Launch30mT24mT12mT
The Apollo Lunar Module was 15.5mt. I think a slight mass shrinkage could be done such that Vulcan/ACES DL could be a system that supports manned Lunar operations.

Offline GWH

The Apollo Lunar Module was 15.5mt. I think a slight mass shrinkage could be done such that Vulcan/ACES DL could be a system that supports manned Lunar operations.

No mass shrinkage needed* - that's the fully fueled LM launch mass.  All one would need is the empty Ascent Module, and at 2.15mt the ACES could land and return to LLO 2 of them, plus change.

*For the landed mass with distributed launch.  Fully fueled Lunar Ascent Module was 4.7mt, a little shy of the landed mass of a single launch ACES.
« Last Edit: 01/19/2018 09:43 PM by GWH »

Offline TrevorMonty

2 x launches to deliver 24mt fuel to LLO for Xeus human lander.
1 or 2 tanker launches to topup OTV.
1 x launch of crew to LEO in starliner, where crew board OTV ie ACES with habitat module for LLO round trip.

Return to LEO on OTV (propulsive LEO entry) and transfer to Starliner.

Setup missions
2 x launches for Bigelow BA330.
1 x OTV to LEO.
1x Xeus to LLO.

ULA and its owners could do this. Big ticket item is crew lander. OTV can reuse Orions systems.
Lunar fuel would eventually reduce number of launches to 1 crew launch.
« Last Edit: 01/19/2018 11:26 PM by TrevorMonty »

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The Apollo Lunar Module was 15.5mt. I think a slight mass shrinkage could be done such that Vulcan/ACES DL could be a system that supports manned Lunar operations.
I'd expect the lander to do substantially better, if they use either Methalox or Hydralox for the ascent/descent fuel. Both have substantially better Isp. I know it's a cliche, and other systems don't have the scope for weight reduction, but the Apollo Guidance Computer was 90lbs. A machine with equal capacity would be in ounces.  I think batteries would also be better, but I don't have numbers. JPL have also done a lot of work for radically smaller hardware for probes that use the DSN for comms, which I presume this would.
"Solids are a branch of fireworks, not rocketry. :-) :-) ", Henry Spencer 1/28/11  Averse to bold? You must be in marketing."It's all in the sequencing" K. Mattingly.  STS-Keeping most of the stakeholders happy most of the time.
So you're going to Mars to seek a better life. What does that mean to you? Always spot a fanbois by how they react to their idols failures.

Offline WindnWar

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The Apollo Lunar Module was 15.5mt. I think a slight mass shrinkage could be done such that Vulcan/ACES DL could be a system that supports manned Lunar operations.
I'd expect the lander to do substantially better, if they use either Methalox or Hydralox for the ascent/descent fuel. Both have substantially better Isp. I know it's a cliche, and other systems don't have the scope for weight reduction, but the Apollo Guidance Computer was 90lbs. A machine with equal capacity would be in ounces.  I think batteries would also be better, but I don't have numbers. JPL have also done a lot of work for radically smaller hardware for probes that use the DSN for comms, which I presume this would.

Given the batteries used were Silver-Zinc, the energy density of the best lithium cells is only equal or slightly better, however they can be recharged multiple times unlike the Silver-Zinc batteries. Add solar arrays to recharge with and more power efficient systems and you could lighten the weight by needing fewer batteries due to recharge capability and less power draw. That's your best option for weight reduction of the power systems, since the LEM had no ability to recharge during it's stay. The LEM had a 28 volt DC system with just shy of 2700 amp hours of capacity which is 75 kilowatt hours of power in 920 pounds of batteries.
« Last Edit: Today at 03:25 AM by WindnWar »

Offline Llian Rhydderch

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That said while individual spacecraft are interesting, and all those non comsat spacecraft are more interesting than comsats, I would suggest that what is MOST interesting is how the market is changing. And why. Because I think it is... reduction in launch cost is just starting and the changes MAY be of epic proportions.. Not the vehicles, not the payloads, the market as a whole, that's where the really interesting stuff is.


Indeed; it is the market that is changing.

Now, economic drivers--rather than the political incentives that drove much of the US space industrial complex procurement for the first five decades of humans possessing spaceflight technology--are what matters.

It is not about whose rocket is cool with this or that engine or vehicle technology; in the end, it's all about the competition that is finally being seen in the launch market.

Edit:  fixed typo
« Last Edit: Today at 04:22 AM by Llian Rhydderch »
Re arguments from authority on NSF:  "no one is exempt from error, and errors of authority are usually the worst kind.  Taking your word for things without question is no different than a bracket design not being tested because the designer was an old hand."
"You would actually save yourself time and effort if you were to use evidence and logic to make your points instead of wrapping yourself in the royal mantle of authority.  The approach only works on sheep, not inquisitive, intelligent people."

Offline TrevorMonty


That said while individual spacecraft are interesting, and all those non comsat spacecraft are more interesting than comsats, I would suggest that what is MOST interesting is how the market is changing. And why. Because I think it is... reduction in launch cost is just starting and the changes MAY be of epic proportions.. Not the vehicles, not the payloads, the market as a whole, that's where the really interesting stuff is.


Indeed; it is the market that is changing.

Now, economic drivers--rather than the political incentives that drove much of the US space industrial complex procurement for the first five decades of humans possessing spaceflight technology--are what matters.

It is not about whose rocket is cool with this or that engine or vehicle technology; in the end, it's all about the competition that is finally being seen in the launch market.

Edit:  fixed typo
One idea for lander is to use Centuar stage with IVF for landing a storable propellant ascent stage. While on surface surplus  Hydralox provides power, water and oxygen for crew.

While more complex it solves fuel storage issue for weeks plus Ascent stage doubles as LAS during descent.

If ISRU fuel is available then descent stage could do ascent as well, saving ascent stage fuel for emergencies only.


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