Author Topic: Introducing Firefly Space Systems  (Read 198844 times)

Offline Rabidpanda

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Re: Introducing Firefly Space Systems
« Reply #20 on: 01/09/2014 08:20 PM »
This tweet suggests that it is a ramjet: https://twitter.com/Firefly_Space/status/421130849845661696

Quote
Thanx for all the follows. We're thrilled to have you paying attention as our endeavor kicks off. #aerospike #ramjet #LEO #SSO
Julian

Offline Danderman

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Re: Introducing Firefly Space Systems
« Reply #21 on: 01/09/2014 08:26 PM »

Why rule out Sea Launch? It looks small enough.

Because even a small rocket going "boooooooom" could take out the Sea Launch platform, and insurance against that is expensive. So, it would cost too much to use Sea Launch hardware.

However, for a small launcher, a separate sea platform might not be too expensive. Been done before.

Not that this has anything to do with Firefly, I was just answering a question.

« Last Edit: 01/09/2014 08:27 PM by Danderman »

Offline Stellvia

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Re: Introducing Firefly Space Systems
« Reply #22 on: 01/09/2014 09:31 PM »
Talk of ramjets and aerospikes makes me wonder if they've got a finger in the DARPA XS-1 pie...
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Offline simonbp

Re: Introducing Firefly Space Systems
« Reply #23 on: 01/10/2014 01:58 AM »
That is an excellent point; it does seem about the right size.

Offline MikeAtkinson

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Re: Introducing Firefly Space Systems
« Reply #24 on: 01/10/2014 08:03 AM »
My guess is that the ramjet is more about boostback / flyback and landing than about the launch.

Offline go4mars

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Re: Introducing Firefly Space Systems
« Reply #25 on: 01/10/2014 01:54 PM »
Tom, does this company have any formal relationship with SpaceX or shareholders in common?
« Last Edit: 01/10/2014 01:56 PM by go4mars »
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Re: Introducing Firefly Space Systems
« Reply #26 on: 01/10/2014 03:47 PM »
It's not immediately obvious to me how a ramjet could be useful for boost-back, descent, or landing retropropulsion. It's also not going to be effective at liftoff, so the propulsion system must generate maximum thrust without air breathing (unless it's a combined-cycle turbo-ramjet, but that massively increases the complexity of the system). The ramjet flight regime would cover a relatively small portion of the ascent profile.

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Re: Introducing Firefly Space Systems
« Reply #27 on: 01/10/2014 05:21 PM »

Why rule out Sea Launch? It looks small enough.

Because Sea Launch is not going to let a competitor use its facilities and there are ITAR issues.

I was thinking "SeaLaunch" as more of a method, rather than a the existing SeaLaunch company  making provisions. It seems to me launching at sea, with this relativly small vehicle would enhance the overall program.
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Offline R7

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Re: Introducing Firefly Space Systems
« Reply #28 on: 01/10/2014 05:29 PM »
The ramjet flight regime would cover a relatively small portion of the ascent profile.

Entire ascent profile, yes. First stage ascent profile, I'd respectfully disagree.

If there are landing legs they appear to be hidden really well. If there aren't legs does RTLS make sense anymore?

Wondering the engine cycle, if it's GG you might get some additional efficiency by ducting GG exhaust to the ramjets?
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Offline RanulfC

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Re: Introducing Firefly Space Systems
« Reply #29 on: 01/10/2014 07:13 PM »
This tweet suggests that it is a ramjet: https://twitter.com/Firefly_Space/status/421130849845661696

Quote
Thanx for all the follows. We're thrilled to have you paying attention as our endeavor kicks off. #aerospike #ramjet #LEO #SSO
"Hashtag" if one were to be fully Technical :) However those hashtags are indeed interesting. Aerospike engine, ramjet engine, and what I assume stands for "Single Stage to Orbit" and LEO...

Aerospike allows automatic sea-level to vacuum exhaust expansion

Ramjets are capable of boosting accelleration between speeds of Mach-2 to around Mach-6 (Possibly to Mach-8 but that's rought)

SSO? Looks like at least a TSTO to me and it doesn't strike me as an RLV but an ELV, performance wise I don't see a small launcher having the ability to do RTLS. "Fly-forward" yes.

We just don't have enough information! Dang it! "One of our themes at Firefly will be transparency" my left foot! It has been OVER 24 hours since markusic posted the first time, and we still have no further information! What is this, "Blue Origin light?" Information wants to be free! We demand details! We demand schematics! Blueprints! Icecream!
(Yep now that I think about it we can be a pretty obnoxious bunch can't we :)

Randy :)
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Online HMXHMX

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Re: Introducing Firefly Space Systems
« Reply #30 on: 01/10/2014 07:27 PM »
This tweet suggests that it is a ramjet: https://twitter.com/Firefly_Space/status/421130849845661696

Quote
Thanx for all the follows. We're thrilled to have you paying attention as our endeavor kicks off. #aerospike #ramjet #LEO #SSO
"Hashtag" if one were to be fully Technical :) However those hashtags are indeed interesting. Aerospike engine, ramjet engine, and what I assume stands for "Single Stage to Orbit" and LEO...

Aerospike allows automatic sea-level to vacuum exhaust expansion

Ramjets are capable of boosting accelleration between speeds of Mach-2 to around Mach-6 (Possibly to Mach-8 but that's rought)

SSO? Looks like at least a TSTO to me and it doesn't strike me as an RLV but an ELV, performance wise I don't see a small launcher having the ability to do RTLS. "Fly-forward" yes.

We just don't have enough information! Dang it! "One of our themes at Firefly will be transparency" my left foot! It has been OVER 24 hours since markusic posted the first time, and we still have no further information! What is this, "Blue Origin light?" Information wants to be free! We demand details! We demand schematics! Blueprints! Icecream!
(Yep now that I think about it we can be a pretty obnoxious bunch can't we :)

Randy :)

SSO = Sun synchronous orbit.

Offline cosmonautdjp

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Re: Introducing Firefly Space Systems
« Reply #31 on: 01/10/2014 07:37 PM »
One interesting tidbit from the announcement is that it sounds like they will be focusing on sun-synchronous orbits,  which makes sense for comm sat constellations and downward-looking telescopes, but also means they need a launch site like Vanderburg where they can launch polar, slightly retrograde.

What about Kodiak?  Might be easier for a startup to launch from a non USAF facility.

Offline Jim

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Re: Introducing Firefly Space Systems
« Reply #32 on: 01/10/2014 07:50 PM »

I was thinking "SeaLaunch" as more of a method, rather than a the existing SeaLaunch company  making provisions. It seems to me launching at sea, with this relativly small vehicle would enhance the overall program.

Small doesn't really matter, sea launch is still not off the cuff easy task.  There still is significant logistics involved, such as two ships required. 

Offline Jim

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Re: Introducing Firefly Space Systems
« Reply #33 on: 01/10/2014 07:52 PM »

What about Kodiak?  Might be easier for a startup to launch from a non USAF facility.

No, quite the opposite.  The safety rules are the same as at VAFB and there is more infrastructure and help available and less travel

Offline Danderman

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Re: Introducing Firefly Space Systems
« Reply #34 on: 01/10/2014 07:53 PM »
I don't think that debating launch sites for someone else's company is really appropriate for this thread.

Let's keep this for news about Firefly, and use another thread for how to spend someone else's investment.

Offline RanulfC

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Re: Introducing Firefly Space Systems
« Reply #35 on: 01/10/2014 08:08 PM »
SSO = Sun synchronous orbit.

:::sigh::: Ok that's a relief :)


I was thinking "SeaLaunch" as more of a method, rather than a the existing SeaLaunch company  making provisions. It seems to me launching at sea, with this relativly small vehicle would enhance the overall program.

Small doesn't really matter, sea launch is still not off the cuff easy task.  There still is significant logistics involved, such as two ships required.

Uhm, no? Only one ship is possible. Dolphin only used one ship for both transportation and flight control. Mind you I don't think "surf-launch" (as it's called now because "SeaLaunch" is copyrighted :) ) is compatable with air-breathing at all but the experimentation done shows that sliding a rocket off the aft end of a ship, preping, fueling and launch is actually easier overall than "normal" launch operations. And since there is no way to "damage" the pad either with a normal or failed launch it lends itself very well to high launch rates.

http://www.astronautix.com/lvs/dolphin.htm

http://www.astronautix.com/lvs/seahorse.htm

http://neverworld.net/truax/

Edit, forgot to point out: Sea-Bee the world FIRST RLV that was actually REUSED for multiple flights!
http://neverworld.net/truax/video/SEA_BEE.WMV
http://www.astronautix.com/lvs/seabee.htm
EndEdit

As for Kodiak the Air Force still runs the "range" overall and have you SEEN the route to the pad??? Our drivers get hazard pay for going up the switch-backs to the launch area! :)

Randy
« Last Edit: 01/10/2014 08:13 PM by RanulfC »
From The Amazing Catstronaut on the Black Arrow LV:
British physics, old chap. It's undignified to belch flames and effluvia all over the pad, what. A true gentlemen's orbital conveyance lifts itself into the air unostentatiously, with the minimum of spectacle and a modicum of grace. Not like our American cousins' launch vehicles, eh?

Online meekGee

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Re: Introducing Firefly Space Systems
« Reply #36 on: 01/10/2014 08:15 PM »
My thoughts about this:

There's a perceived trend (which might very well become real) of large constellations of small satellites.  For Earth imaging, for communication, etc.    Iridium never worked out, perhaps because of market and timing, perhaps because of the state of electronics at the time, perhaps because of the cost of launch.  All of these have changed, and so these can be a new breed of constellations.

What they need is a small rapid-reuse launcher that can put many small satellites in many orbital inclinations.

They want to be in orbit within 3 years, while also using experimental propulsion technology. This reinforces the notion that it's a very small rocket.

This is also a good story when raising funds - optimizing for an emerging market for which the existing launchers are overbuilt.

EDIT: Re-wrote it, in English this time.
« Last Edit: 01/11/2014 05:57 AM by meekGee »
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Offline Oli

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Re: Introducing Firefly Space Systems
« Reply #37 on: 01/10/2014 08:40 PM »
Quote from: R7
Entire ascent profile, yes. First stage ascent profile, I'd respectfully disagree.

I think first stages of existing rockets only spend a short time below 30km or so once they have reached Mach 1.

Offline ChrisWilson68

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Re: Introducing Firefly Space Systems
« Reply #38 on: 01/11/2014 05:34 AM »

Why rule out Sea Launch? It looks small enough.

Because Sea Launch is not going to let a competitor use its facilities and there are ITAR issues.

I was thinking "SeaLaunch" as more of a method, rather than a the existing SeaLaunch company  making provisions. It seems to me launching at sea, with this relativly small vehicle would enhance the overall program.

That would be "sea launch", not "Sea Launch".  Capitalization matters.

Offline ChrisWilson68

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Re: Introducing Firefly Space Systems
« Reply #39 on: 01/11/2014 05:37 AM »
Sea-Bee the world FIRST RLV that was actually REUSED for multiple flights!

Sea Bee was sub-orbital.  RLV normally means orbital.  An Estes rocket is an RLV is you don't have an orbital requirement.

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