Author Topic: Generation Orbit Launch Services Inc.  (Read 13323 times)

Offline Danderman

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Generation Orbit Launch Services Inc.
« on: 01/02/2012 03:21 PM »
http://www.generationorbit.com/

Generation Orbit Launch Services, Inc. (or GO) presents a fast, flexible, and dedicated nanosatellite (1-30 kg) orbital payload delivery service called GO Launcher, utilizing existing high speed jet aircraft and mostly existing rockets.

GO has offices in Atlanta, GA and Washington, DC. GO is privately held.



Offline A_M_Swallow

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Re: Generation Orbit Launch Services Inc.
« Reply #1 on: 01/02/2012 04:00 PM »
Giving a company a common word as a name turns it into a joke.  Rename GO GOrbit.

Offline simonbp

Re: Generation Orbit Launch Services Inc.
« Reply #2 on: 01/02/2012 04:38 PM »
I love how their "Market Projection" plot takes a flat rate of nanosat launches and draws an ascending line through it. Data? Data? We don't need to fit no stinking data!

Also, since when can you buy an F-15 commercially?
« Last Edit: 01/02/2012 04:38 PM by simonbp »

Offline edkyle99

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Re: Generation Orbit Launch Services Inc.
« Reply #3 on: 01/02/2012 05:47 PM »
I love how their "Market Projection" plot takes a flat rate of nanosat launches and draws an ascending line through it. Data? Data? We don't need to fit no stinking data!

Also, since when can you buy an F-15 commercially?
This is an interesting concept that, of course, harkens back to the flight-tested F-15 ASM-135 ASAT of the 1980s. 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:ASM-135_ASAT_5.jpg

One wonders if ASAT is a secondary, or even primary, objective of a proposed orbital effort. 

Their web site discusses other air launch platform possibilities, including an F-4, an SU-27, and a Gulfstream III, but since their primary (proposed) customer already owns many F-15 aircraft, availability might not be a problem!

BTW, given that we're living in the UAV "drone era", the next step should be obvious.

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 01/03/2012 02:49 PM by edkyle99 »

Offline edkyle99

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Re: Generation Orbit Launch Services Inc.
« Reply #4 on: 01/03/2012 02:49 PM »
GO has offices in Atlanta, GA and Washington, DC. GO is privately held.

Note that at least one principal of GO was involved in the DARPA/USAF FALCON project.  Others worked on the recent DARPA/NASA Horizontal Launch Systems study, and/or worked with a team from Japan on a similar launch concept.

 - Ed Kyle

Online kevin-rf

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Re: Generation Orbit Launch Services Inc.
« Reply #5 on: 01/03/2012 05:22 PM »
Why not just use an additional solid to bring the payload up point that it would be release by the jet. Surely that would be cheaper than buying an maintaining a supersonic jet for what looks to me like 20 some odd payloads a year.

Also, considering that the envelope under the jet is more of a constraint than the weight, I wonder if hanging such a vehicle off of the center line of a retired F-14 would provide better clearance and a larger vehicle... The F-14 was designed to carry Phoenix AIM-54 after all.
« Last Edit: 01/03/2012 05:52 PM by kevin-rf »
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Online Robotbeat

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Re: Generation Orbit Launch Services Inc.
« Reply #6 on: 01/03/2012 05:57 PM »
Why not just use an additional solid to bring the payload up point that it would be release by the jet. Surely that would be cheaper than buying an maintaining a supersonic jet for what looks to me like 20 some odd payloads a year.

Also, considering that the envelope under the jet is more of constraint than the weight, I wonder if hanging such a vehicle off of the center line of a retired F-14 would provide better clearance and a larger vehicle... The F-14 was designed to carry Phoenix AIM-54 after all.
A lot of supersonic fighter/bomber type jets that can do Mach 2 or better can be had for cheaper than many corporate jets. If you can get a really good deal ($5 million?) for a used one with a lot of exterior payload capacity (i.e. 5-10 tons), it may well be worth it. How much it costs to service and any modifications required is another matter. It's not the worst idea around, if there's a real market for lots of micro/nanosatellites that need their own launch, as is the whole point of this venture.
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Offline simonbp

Re: Generation Orbit Launch Services Inc.
« Reply #7 on: 01/03/2012 06:52 PM »
A lot of supersonic fighter/bomber type jets that can do Mach 2 or better can be had for cheaper than many corporate jets.

Like what? MiG-25/31 is the only one that springs to mind as potentially commercially available for cheaper than a large-ish private jet...

Online Robotbeat

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Re: Generation Orbit Launch Services Inc.
« Reply #8 on: 01/03/2012 07:05 PM »
A lot of supersonic fighter/bomber type jets that can do Mach 2 or better can be had for cheaper than many corporate jets.

Like what? MiG-25/31 is the only one that springs to mind as potentially commercially available for cheaper than a large-ish private jet...
Corporate jets can go for up to $50 million (like for a Gulfstream G550). That's more than the unit costs for an F-15 (<$30 million in 1998 dollars), and a used F-15 without functional weapons systems may be much less than that. But yeah, I imagine a fighter from anywhere (if you have corporate backing and aren't just a private individual) may be available for this. Won't make it easy, but still doable if there's a business case.
« Last Edit: 01/03/2012 07:06 PM by Robotbeat »
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Offline edkyle99

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Re: Generation Orbit Launch Services Inc.
« Reply #9 on: 01/03/2012 07:14 PM »
Why not just use an additional solid to bring the payload up point that it would be release by the jet. Surely that would be cheaper than buying an maintaining a supersonic jet for what looks to me like 20 some odd payloads a year.

I can think of several answers to this question.

The first answer is that it wouldn't be just one solid, it would be "20-some" (or however many launches) solids.  Per year.  The cost of the aircraft would have to be compared to the total number of solids needed to replace it over the program life, plus any extra costs associated with one or two fixed launch sites, etc..   

The second answer is that a fixed launch site would not be as flexible or "responsive" as an airborne launch, in terms of orbit inclination, etc. 

A third answer would be that, in times of war, an airborne launch system should, or could, be less vulnerable to attack than a fixed ground launch site.

 - Ed Kyle

Online kevin-rf

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Re: Generation Orbit Launch Services Inc.
« Reply #10 on: 01/03/2012 07:43 PM »
I can think of several answers to this question.

The first answer is that it wouldn't be just one solid, it would be "20-some" (or however many launches) solids.  Per year.  The cost of the aircraft would have to be compared to the total number of solids needed to replace it over the program life, plus any extra costs associated with one or two fixed launch sites, etc..   

We are talking a very small launcher here, costs should be of the order of large solid sounding rockets. Unlike liquids, the only additional GSE you will need is a launch rail.

Quote
The second answer is that a fixed launch site would not be as flexible or "responsive" as an airborne launch, in terms of orbit inclination, etc. 

But does the cubesat market need that flexibility? Is the market large enough to cause jams at the launch site?

Quote
A third answer would be that, in times of war, an airborne launch system should, or could, be less vulnerable to attack than a fixed ground launch site.

But can a payload of value to the war fighter be launched on a cubesat? If so, ULA has some splaining to do ;)
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Offline simonbp

Re: Generation Orbit Launch Services Inc.
« Reply #11 on: 01/04/2012 02:32 AM »
But can a payload of value to the war fighter be launched on a cubesat?

The Army seems to think so...

http://www.spacenews.com/military/100806-nanomissile-launch-the-smallest-satellites.html

Online kevin-rf

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Re: Generation Orbit Launch Services Inc.
« Reply #12 on: 01/04/2012 04:09 PM »
I love how their "Market Projection" plot takes a flat rate of nanosat launches and draws an ascending line through it. Data? Data? We don't need to fit no stinking data!

Also, since when can you buy an F-15 commercially?

I think they pulled that graph from here (page 7) :
http://www.sei.aero/eng/papers/uploads/archive/SpaceWorks_NanoMicrosat_Launch_22Nov2011_revA.pdf

Quote
The Army seems to think so...
Other than a few stowaways on the last Falcon 9 flight, how many nano satellites have they actually launched? The concept has not yet been proven.
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Online Robotbeat

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Re: Generation Orbit Launch Services Inc.
« Reply #13 on: 01/04/2012 04:36 PM »
*shrug* I think nano/microsats are far more proven than the orbital space tourism market.

Nano/microsats benefit from continual improvements in electronics, etc. Orbcomm's satellites are only about 40kg (and some of their demo sats were only ~15kg). 44 of them are up there right now (that's just one company), they're planning on adding a bunch more (though the new ones will be more massive), and Orbcomm has about $35-40 million in yearly revenue.

There are other microsatellite constellation companies out there that have plans for many more satellites than Orbcomm's constellation and with higher bandwidth capabilities. COMMStellation is planning for a constellation containing a total of 84 microsatellites, though they're planning on launching them as bunches on conventional launch vehicles. If there was a really cheap nano/microsatellite launcher available, future projects may choose them instead (or even COMMStellation if it gets delayed... especially for launching replacement satellites). At 20 microsatellite launches per year, that's over four years of microsatellite launches just with this one constellation. That's really an opportunity to get the flight rate up to near-RLV ranges, especially if there's a couple of these constellations up there which need replacement or upgrading every 5 or so years.

Now, I think they should go for at least 100-150kg to LEO, since it would allow a lot more revenue options. But even 50kg would be useful (i.e. could orbit the first generation Orbcomm satellites... though they're kind of weirdly shaped for a nano/microsatellite launcher).
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Offline Patchouli

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Re: Generation Orbit Launch Services Inc.
« Reply #14 on: 01/05/2012 01:58 AM »
Corporate jets can go for up to $50 million (like for a Gulfstream G550). That's more than the unit costs for an F-15 (<$30 million in 1998 dollars), and a used F-15 without functional weapons systems may be much less than that. But yeah, I imagine a fighter from anywhere (if you have corporate backing and aren't just a private individual) may be available for this. Won't make it easy, but still doable if there's a business case.

The F-4 also could be a good candidate as it can reach mach 2.23 and has a center line tank mount that could be used to carry a small micro sat launcher.

Another plane that probably could be had for low cost  is the F-111 it has a large payload and a max speed of mach 2.5.


« Last Edit: 01/05/2012 01:59 AM by Patchouli »

Online Robotbeat

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Re: Generation Orbit Launch Services Inc.
« Reply #15 on: 01/05/2012 02:13 AM »
There's going to be pretty strong forces pushing them to want to design for larger payloads... 150kg to orbit allows you to serve some pretty decent markets... Or launch a whole fleet of nanosatellites at once. Pegasus, if it weren't so expensive, is actually a pretty darned good size for something like this.

I'd like to see what sort of payload XCor's microlaunch concept could get to LEO.
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Offline kkattula

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Re: Generation Orbit Launch Services Inc.
« Reply #16 on: 01/05/2012 10:50 AM »
There's going to be pretty strong forces pushing them to want to design for larger payloads... 150kg to orbit allows you to serve some pretty decent markets... Or launch a whole fleet of nanosatellites at once. Pegasus, if it weren't so expensive, is actually a pretty darned good size for something like this.

I'd like to see what sort of payload XCor's microlaunch concept could get to LEO.

Which is a similar concept except it deploys the launcher at Mach 3+ and 120K+ feet, with near zero drag. Plus the carrier plane can also do sub-orbital science & tourist flights.

Online kevin-rf

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Re: Generation Orbit Launch Services Inc.
« Reply #17 on: 01/05/2012 12:41 PM »

Another plane that probably could be had for low cost  is the F-111 it has a large payload and a max speed of mach 2.5.


Anything flown on an F-111 center line will have to be stored internally, the F-111 does not have the necessary ground clearance to fly external stores on the center line. If stored externally it would have to be carried off center on one of the wings.
« Last Edit: 01/05/2012 12:41 PM by kevin-rf »
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Online Robotbeat

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Re: Generation Orbit Launch Services Inc.
« Reply #18 on: 01/05/2012 02:39 PM »
There's going to be pretty strong forces pushing them to want to design for larger payloads... 150kg to orbit allows you to serve some pretty decent markets... Or launch a whole fleet of nanosatellites at once. Pegasus, if it weren't so expensive, is actually a pretty darned good size for something like this.

I'd like to see what sort of payload XCor's microlaunch concept could get to LEO.

Which is a similar concept except it deploys the launcher at Mach 3+ and 120K+ feet, with near zero drag. Plus the carrier plane can also do sub-orbital science & tourist flights.
I'm not sure XCor's concept could get a 30kg microsatellite up, though. And I think that even that may be a little too small.
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Offline simonbp

Re: Generation Orbit Launch Services Inc.
« Reply #19 on: 01/05/2012 03:27 PM »
According to the brochure, Lynx Mk II has an external payload capacity of 650 kg. That should be enough for a >30 kg microsat.

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