Author Topic: Bloostar nanosat rockoon launcher  (Read 7147 times)

Offline Asteroza

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Bloostar nanosat rockoon launcher
« on: 10/24/2014 12:31 AM »
Spanish startup working on nanosat payload class rockoon launcher. Apparently have done some testing of tanks at altitude?

http://www.bloostar.com/

Certainly an interesting arrangement, if nothing else. I wonder if they will partner with JP Aerospace for the balloon part?


Offline Comga

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Re: Bloostar nanosat rockoon launcher
« Reply #1 on: 10/24/2014 01:31 AM »
Certainly an interesting arrangement, if nothing else.
Nine engines?  That's a lot of parts and controls.
Toroidal tanks?  Much more surface area than sphere or cylinders
Multiple engine starts during free-fall or while hanging?  How is stability maintained before thrust builds?

Quote
I wonder if they will partner with JP Aerospace for the balloon part?
This they answer: No. They actually HAVE experience with and capabilities in stratospheric balloons.

The conjecture that they save a large fraction of the energy needed to get to orbit by being in thin air at high altitude (from an atmospheric pressure standpoint) is at least an exaggeration. 
« Last Edit: 10/24/2014 01:32 AM by Comga »
What kind of wastrels would dump a perfectly good booster in the ocean after just one use?

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: Bloostar nanosat rockoon launcher
« Reply #2 on: 10/24/2014 01:51 AM »
Toroidal fuel tanks are easy to produce with 3D printing as Planetary Resources and MoonExpress have proven.

Unlike Rocket lab and SpaceX these engines are all identical vacuum engines. Given the toroidal fuel tanks they may be using RP1 and Hydrogen peroxide same MoonExpress.

All the smarts can be in the upper stage, 1st and 2nd stages only need engine management controllers.

Nice to see somebody thinking outside the box when it comes to launch systems.

Offline kevin-rf

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Re: Bloostar nanosat rockoon launcher
« Reply #3 on: 10/24/2014 01:18 PM »
The art work has all nine engines firing at the same time and plumbing between stages. I would vote that they are planning to start with all 9 engines and use cross feed to maximize the T/W.
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Re: Bloostar nanosat rockoon launcher
« Reply #4 on: 10/24/2014 01:32 PM »
The art work has all nine engines firing at the same time and plumbing between stages. I would vote that they are planning to start with all 9 engines and use cross feed to maximize the T/W.

The reason for MatroshkaDonutTM staging was stated to be the ability to fire all engines from the start. Paraller staging with simpler tanks would do the same ... but it wouldn't look so cool in artistic renderings.

There's not much hard numbers to chew on but the amount of nozzle area per tank volume looks staggering.

10 points for visuals, yay!

Wondering if anything will be reusable.
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Offline Burninate

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Re: Bloostar nanosat rockoon launcher
« Reply #5 on: 10/27/2014 12:55 AM »
The conjecture that they save a large fraction of the energy needed to get to orbit by being in thin air at high altitude (from an atmospheric pressure standpoint) is at least an exaggeration.
It's an exaggeration for normal launch vehicles;  For 1-3kg payload nanosat launchers, there's quite a bit of impulse lost to air resistance in the lower atmosphere.  Rockoons don't make much sense for larger payloads, but smaller payloads have not been ground-launched up to this point in part because of excessive air drag.

For vertical rocket launch, the smallest operational LVs seem to target around 100kg payload for 50-100T launch mass.  The payload mass fraction is only going to get smaller for smaller vehicles.
« Last Edit: 10/27/2014 01:16 AM by Burninate »

Offline ChrisWilson68

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Re: Bloostar nanosat rockoon launcher
« Reply #6 on: 11/24/2016 09:19 PM »
I saw a video ad for Bloostar today on Facebook.  So, apparently, they have a marketing budget.

Their web site is pretty slick.

I noticed on this thread that there was speculation they would use RP1 and hydrogen peroxide.  But an article on Parabolic Arc from 2015 (after the last post in this thread before today) says they'll use methane and LOX:

http://www.parabolicarc.com/2015/10/16/update-bloostart-launch-system/

Another interesting tidbit from the Parabolic Arc story is that the price for a launch is projected to be $4 million.  The orbits are 125 kg to 400 km at 27 degrees or 75 kg to 600 km SSO.

Rocket Lab is projecting 150 kg to 500 km SSO for $4.9 million, with an earlier launch date.  Since Rocket Lab's customers seem to be shared launches of lots of cubesats, I think Bloostar is in trouble if both Rocket Lab and Bloostar meet their targets.

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: Bloostar nanosat rockoon launcher
« Reply #7 on: 11/24/2016 11:11 PM »
Website says pressure fed Methane engines. Firefly said they had problems with pressure fed methane hence switch to RP1.


Not sure if balloon s using H or He. H is considerably cheaper and offers better lift, safety shouldn't be issue as it is unmanned.
« Last Edit: 11/24/2016 11:15 PM by TrevorMonty »

Online ringsider

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Re: Bloostar nanosat rockoon launcher
« Reply #8 on: 12/04/2016 09:03 AM »
Have these guys actually built anything like the diagrams or is it just more hot air (hahahahah)?

Offline Stan-1967

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Re: Bloostar nanosat rockoon launcher
« Reply #9 on: 12/04/2016 10:19 AM »

Great looking concept if they can pull off the engineering problems. I loved the opening of the fairing/shroud.  It looked like a big eyeball opening up.  A very "out of the box" approach.

I do see a bunch of challenges:
1.  Video shows the solar arrays deployed while the upper stage engine is still firing?  Must be some strong arrays.

2.  How feasible is it to launch a high altitude He balloon from a ship at sea, given that the launches I have seen online of He balloons require near zero wind.  I'm guessing the boat will have to match velocity to the surface winds? Still sound precarious. 

3.  How difficult will starting up the multi engine configuration be when it will need to bring up thrust in all engines within a very tight time period to avoid torquing the spacecraft with asymetrical thrust?   


After watching the video a few times, I'm thinking it also makes for an interesting Mars ascent vehicle concept.

Online savuporo

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Re: Bloostar nanosat rockoon launcher
« Reply #10 on: 01/24/2017 06:34 AM »
« Last Edit: 01/24/2017 06:35 AM by savuporo »
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« Last Edit: 03/14/2017 04:40 AM by savuporo »
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Re: Bloostar nanosat rockoon launcher
« Reply #12 on: 03/14/2017 05:04 AM »
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Offline TrevorMonty

Re: Bloostar nanosat rockoon launcher
« Reply #13 on: 03/14/2017 06:39 AM »
All engines can be vacuum engines due to high altitude launch.

Other possibilities for this design:
1) As Savuporo suggested Mars ascent stage.
2) Lunar lander with middle being ascent stage, use middle engine (ascent stage) for final touch down.

Offline tp1024

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Re: Bloostar nanosat rockoon launcher
« Reply #14 on: 03/14/2017 08:18 AM »
After reading the user guide of their rocket:
https://docsend.com/view/5bjtiy6

I'm struck by their claim, that the pressure fed methane/lox engine they use have a chamber pressure of 10 bar, but an ISP of  345s (1st stage) and 355s (2nd and 3rd stage). With expansion ratios of 60 and 80.

I'd expect something on the order of 310s.

Offline Skyrocket

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Re: Bloostar nanosat rockoon launcher
« Reply #15 on: 03/14/2017 08:44 AM »

I do see a bunch of challenges:
...

2.  How feasible is it to launch a high altitude He balloon from a ship at sea, given that the launches I have seen online of He balloons require near zero wind.  I'm guessing the boat will have to match velocity to the surface winds? Still sound precarious. 


At least this has been demonstrated in the past. Skyhook and Genetrix high altitude balloons were launched from ships.

Online savuporo

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Re: Bloostar nanosat rockoon launcher
« Reply #16 on: 03/14/2017 02:53 PM »
All engines can be vacuum engines due to high altitude launch.
Except as per picture, the engine firing clearly isn't any sort of vacuum engine ;) More likely, its not an engine but a motor.
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Offline RonM

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Re: Bloostar nanosat rockoon launcher
« Reply #17 on: 03/14/2017 04:42 PM »
All engines can be vacuum engines due to high altitude launch.
Except as per picture, the engine firing clearly isn't any sort of vacuum engine ;) More likely, its not an engine but a motor.

It's was a good idea to test their balloon launch platform before building the actual rocket.

Online Svetoslav

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Re: Bloostar nanosat rockoon launcher
« Reply #18 on: 03/14/2017 04:57 PM »
The baloon from the video also looks quite unstable... Spinning around all the time. I'd suggest adding thrusters for stabilization.
« Last Edit: 03/14/2017 04:58 PM by Svetoslav »

Online savuporo

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Re: Bloostar nanosat rockoon launcher
« Reply #19 on: 03/14/2017 05:08 PM »
The baloon from the video also looks quite unstable... Spinning around all the time. I'd suggest adding thrusters for stabilization.
A single reaction wheel maybe ? Probably less weight than thrusters, and no issues running out of propellant. Are any other high altitude balloons stabilized somehow, i.e. meteo probes etc ?

EDIT: like https://seelio.com/w/1hho/high-altitude-balloon-reaction-wheel-stabilization
« Last Edit: 03/14/2017 05:09 PM by savuporo »
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Offline gosnold

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Re: Bloostar nanosat rockoon launcher
« Reply #20 on: 03/15/2017 06:13 PM »
I'm really curious about the range availability for that thing... It seems to be very fragile, and you have no way of getting you rocket back if you decide to abort.

Offline whitelancer64

Re: Bloostar nanosat rockoon launcher
« Reply #21 on: 03/15/2017 06:34 PM »
I'm really curious about the range availability for that thing... It seems to be very fragile, and you have no way of getting you rocket back if you decide to abort.
I would presume whatever rig they use to drop the rocket with is recovered via parachute, so perhaps it's possible to recover the rocket that way if it doesn't launch.
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Online savuporo

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Re: Bloostar nanosat rockoon launcher
« Reply #22 on: 03/24/2017 05:34 AM »
Some of the recent questions asked here were answered in the TMRO interview :

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=teOq5yIX5vs?t=1175
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Offline TrevorMonty

Re: Bloostar nanosat rockoon launcher
« Reply #23 on: 04/10/2017 07:18 PM »
A more informative interview on

https://theorbitalmechanics.com

Episode 103.

This design allows them to feed 2nd and 3rd stage engines from 1st stage tank. After 1st separation, 3rd feeds from 2nd stage tank.  All engines are a used, so reduced engine count on 1st stage plus more efficient as 1st stage is not lifting mass of 2nd/3rd engines.

 Pressure fed, lower development cost, more reliable than turbo. Lower efficiency is counted by using all engines and them being vacuum versions.

Sea launch means no expensive launch facility with restricted flight paths. Operate off small ship, which can sail with wind so balloon is launching in still air.

Considerably lower launch forces on payload.

Not stated but the payload fairing can be light construction due to thin atmosphere.

The only area I wonder about is boil off of LOX and methane on the balloon flight.

Also working on balloon launched  capsule for tourists. Issue I have with this is they are small not well funded company, need to pick one project and see it through to revenue earning stage.  This is one area RL shine, laser focused on one thing.

Offline acsawdey

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Re: Bloostar nanosat rockoon launcher
« Reply #24 on: 04/10/2017 08:23 PM »
Pressure fed, lower development cost, more reliable than turbo. Lower efficiency is counted by using all engines and them being vacuum versions.

He made a good point, which is that if you are at near vacuum ambient pressure, you can get a large expansion ratio from low Pc, you just need a large bell nozzle. If I remember correctly he said their tank pressure was going to be 10 bar (~150 psi). That's also enough that you can do some testing at sea level with a small nozzle. It's also low enough that CF tanks are going to be pretty light. Issue might be, how big can you make the nozzles before they get too heavy?

Offline CameronD

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Re: Bloostar nanosat rockoon launcher
« Reply #25 on: 04/11/2017 12:20 AM »
Sea launch means no expensive launch facility with restricted flight paths. Operate off small ship, which can sail with wind so balloon is launching in still air.

I'm not sure which planet he is on with this bit.  Ignoring the non-trivial effects of salt water on the vehicle for the short-ish time it's exposed, to operate away from "restricted flight paths" they'd need to travel quite a distance from land - probably into international waters.

Not only is it rare to find "still air" aloft away from the protection of terra firma (ask any airline pilot), but forecasting calm patches of ocean is tricky also.  They do exist in the "horse latitudes" at certain times of the year, but not for long and probably not often enough for any kind of useful or reliable launch schedule.  ..and since the calm occurs before the storm, I do hope their "small ship" is robust enough to handle a spot of nasty weather lest their entire operation be sunk.

« Last Edit: 04/11/2017 04:49 AM by CameronD »
With sufficient thrust, pigs fly just fine - however, this is not necessarily a good idea. It is hard to be sure where they are
going to land, and it could be dangerous sitting under them as they fly overhead.

Offline Katana

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Re: Bloostar nanosat rockoon launcher
« Reply #26 on: 04/13/2017 02:52 AM »
I'm really curious about the range availability for that thing... It seems to be very fragile, and you have no way of getting you rocket back if you decide to abort.
Unpredictable drifting launch position and much serious range safty problems.

Re: Bloostar nanosat rockoon launcher
« Reply #27 on: 08/05/2017 11:40 PM »
A new marketing video  :o


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