Author Topic: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle - General Discussion Thread 2  (Read 254713 times)

Online Chris Bergin

We need a new standalone thread for Vulcan, moving away from the previous big thread that became very muddy and had to be locked.

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

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

---

It is very important the quality of this thread remains to standard. The previous thread had many a SpaceX drive by, mixed in with "The Russians!!" and then a few members taking it upon themselves to answer every single post as if it was their personal Q&A. We trimmed most of it out, but it was ruining the thread.

Offline montyrmanley

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Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle - General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1 on: 05/26/2015 05:38 PM »
Here is a recent post from SpaceNews (http://spacenews.com/ula-execs-say-rd-180-engine-ban-blocks-path-to-next-gen-rocket/) on the ULA request to have the RD180 ban lifted.

Offline TrevorMonty

Given this is a new thread about Vulcan I success we keep the discussion of RD180s for Atlas DOD missions out of it.

Offline Kabloona

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Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle - General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #3 on: 05/27/2015 03:14 AM »
Given this is a new thread about Vulcan I success we keep the discussion of RD180s for Atlas DOD missions out of it.

New RD-180 thread for that purpose:

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=37680.msg1380316#msg1380316

Offline Ben the Space Brit

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Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle - General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #4 on: 05/27/2015 11:08 AM »
This is just me, but I would encourage ULA to push to get Vulcan in its final all-5m form flying ASAP.

Use Delta booster tooling; drown Blue Origin and AJR in money to get BE-4 and AR-1 to full flight article test state ASAP. Get the competition for the U/S engine going now (I imagine that it will boil down to RL-10C vs. BE-3 with MB-60 as a very distant outsider).

Why? Because I think that this is one of those occasions where politics and, worse, geopolitics is going to outrun engineering and financial realities very quickly. Atlas-V may not be savable in more than a few years' time. To me, there is no point wishing away the fact that global geopolitical realities may kill your current best product. Once that becomes clear, you should be hurrying to replace it to maintain your revenue stream.

By all means, tell the government what Vulcan will cost them if they really want an all-US medium-heavy to compete with Falcon-9/-Heavy. However, I think that Boeing and Lockheed need to take a risk on this one and not wait for Uncle Sugar to complete the lengthy horse-trading process (which could take several Congressional cycles) to contribute funding.
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Offline john smith 19

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Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle - General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #5 on: 05/27/2015 11:46 AM »
I think the problem is that there are several ways that ULA's parents could extract cash from ULA.

But I suspect Mr Bruno's strategy is the only one that leaves ULA as a USG (and hopefully other customers ) supplier for decades, not years to come.

Unfortunately this probably also means the parents letting ULA keep more of revenue ULA generate for reinvestment and getting Congress to be more reasonable about RD180 purchases in the interim.

These are difficult cases to put and all parties have to be convinced it will work (or at least has a high probability of working) for ULA to get their shot.

Time will tell if he has succeeded (I hope he does).  :(
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Offline MarkM

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Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle - General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #6 on: 05/27/2015 04:03 PM »
Question- Is the first stage a delta-IV CCB modified for the new propellant type or is it a whole new booster that will be constructed using the Delta-IV tooling? 

Follow -on:  How much of the previous certification work for the DELT-IV  CCB help move Vulcan along (if at all)

Offline Newton_V

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Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle - General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #7 on: 05/27/2015 04:08 PM »
Question- Is the first stage a delta-IV CCB modified for the new propellant type or is it a whole new booster that will be constructed using the Delta-IV tooling? 

Whole new booster.

Offline baldusi

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Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle - General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #8 on: 05/27/2015 05:46 PM »
Follow -on:  How much of the previous certification work for the DELT-IV  CCB help move Vulcan along (if at all)
Company and process certification will probably carry over. Everything else will not be Delta IV. Since it will use the Centaur and the Atlas V Common Avionics, and the HIF and probably the same integration process and some GSE, that will probably only need a delta certification. But that's the Atlas V legacy.
From the Q&A thread, they are studying changing the materials, the bulkhead design, the downcomer structure, etc. When the dust settles I only expect it to use the welding, aluminum treatment and LOX tank insulation and applying machines of Delta IV.

Offline AncientU

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Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle - General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #9 on: 05/27/2015 06:17 PM »
Follow -on:  How much of the previous certification work for the DELT-IV  CCB help move Vulcan along (if at all)
Company and process certification will probably carry over. Everything else will not be Delta IV. Since it will use the Centaur and the Atlas V Common Avionics, and the HIF and probably the same integration process and some GSE, that will probably only need a delta certification. But that's the Atlas V legacy.
From the Q&A thread, they are studying changing the materials, the bulkhead design, the downcomer structure, etc. When the dust settles I only expect it to use the welding, aluminum treatment and LOX tank insulation and applying machines of Delta IV.

Stainless steel skin (welding and aluminum changed)
Balloon tank design (insulation may need to change -- not sure)

When so much has changed, it's a new design.
« Last Edit: 05/27/2015 06:18 PM by AncientU »
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Offline Jim

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Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle - General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #10 on: 05/27/2015 06:24 PM »

Stainless steel skin (welding and aluminum changed)
Balloon tank design (insulation may need to change -- not sure)


Delta IV is not a balloon tank and is aluminum.  There is no change in construction.  Vulcan will just use different tank lengths
« Last Edit: 05/27/2015 06:26 PM by Jim »

Offline Oli

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Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle - General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #11 on: 05/28/2015 05:37 AM »

Stainless steel skin (welding and aluminum changed)
Balloon tank design (insulation may need to change -- not sure)


Delta IV is not a balloon tank and is aluminum.  There is no change in construction.  Vulcan will just use different tank lengths

I find that kind of hard to believe. Won't the loads be higher?

Offline arachnitect

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Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle - General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #12 on: 05/28/2015 11:25 AM »

Stainless steel skin (welding and aluminum changed)
Balloon tank design (insulation may need to change -- not sure)


Delta IV is not a balloon tank and is aluminum.  There is no change in construction.  Vulcan will just use different tank lengths

I find that kind of hard to believe. Won't the loads be higher?


They can mill out less material.

Offline AncientU

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Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle - General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #13 on: 05/28/2015 02:25 PM »

Stainless steel skin (welding and aluminum changed)
Balloon tank design (insulation may need to change -- not sure)


Delta IV is not a balloon tank and is aluminum.  There is no change in construction.  Vulcan will just use different tank lengths

My mistake.  Read the SS/balloon tank comment and thought it referred to the first stage.
This quote is definitive:

Dr. Sowers,

Thanks for answering my earlier question on why Stainless for ACES tank. May I take a follow-up one step further?

You indicated that Stainless Balloon tanks had the cost / mass fraction advantage for the upper stage. So what tips the balance towards conventional Al tanks for the first stage? Cost? Ease of handling? Tooling? or will we see a return of a Stainless Balloon tank on the first stage?

Thanks again for taking the time.

I really like the special anodize job in the Vulcan videos and images. Any chance we will see that on the real Vulcan? Or will be the same boring copper coat we see on current Atlas's?

The trade of steel vs Al on the first stage was very close.  Mass fraction is not as important on the booster as it is on the upper stage.  a lot of passionate debate.  But we are staying with Al for Vulcan step 1.
« Last Edit: 05/28/2015 02:26 PM by AncientU »
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Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle - General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #14 on: 05/28/2015 08:02 PM »
This is just me, but I would encourage ULA to push to get Vulcan in its final all-5m form flying ASAP.

ULA wants to do this, however ULA's parents are not convinced of the business case for Vulcan yet.

Regardless the situation with Atlas V (political), Delta IV (price) or even SpaceX (competition), the Air Force is currently forecasting a reduction in launch need from about 10-12/year to 5/year.  ULA has stated that they need 10 launches per year for the business, so I interpret ULA's parents hesitance to their lack of faith that Vulcan will be able to pick up 5+ launches per year from non-USG customers.

Quote
By all means, tell the government what Vulcan will cost them if they really want an all-US medium-heavy to compete with Falcon-9/-Heavy. However, I think that Boeing and Lockheed need to take a risk on this one and not wait for Uncle Sugar to complete the lengthy horse-trading process (which could take several Congressional cycles) to contribute funding.

Even if the U.S. Government were to guarantee ULA some percentage of future USG launches (which makes sense from a redundancy standpoint), it's not enough to make the business case for Vulcan.  They need commercial customers to close the business case, and those won't come easy.

All the stuff going on with Atlas & Delta is really a side show, since it apparently boils down to whether or not they can get engines for 5 Atlas V launches - I'm sure some sort of deal can get worked out for them.  It's the next 10 years after that they don't have clarity into...
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Offline ArbitraryConstant

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Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle - General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #15 on: 05/28/2015 09:47 PM »
They can't. Interferes with what they already told them in past years. Best they can do is "fear monger" about SX monopoly. Cause many in Congress have already bought in to the SX fear, having been sold that for many years.
I will be very surprised if the ban sticks, it's much to easy a way out for all concerned.

They'll be ridiculed for dependence on Russia but that can't be helped, ULA is unsaveable any other way.

While not SX advocates in the slightest, they don't wish to be caught off guard and vulnerable to a sly Putin comment or a irrational bellicose remark in the echo chamber.
Is the fear of giving Musk/others political ammunition that strong?

Offline Brovane

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Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle - General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #16 on: 05/28/2015 10:45 PM »
I think the problem is that there are several ways that ULA's parents could extract cash from ULA.

But I suspect Mr Bruno's strategy is the only one that leaves ULA as a USG (and hopefully other customers ) supplier for decades, not years to come.

Unfortunately this probably also means the parents letting ULA keep more of revenue ULA generate for reinvestment and getting Congress to be more reasonable about RD180 purchases in the interim.

These are difficult cases to put and all parties have to be convinced it will work (or at least has a high probability of working) for ULA to get their shot.

Time will tell if he has succeeded (I hope he does).  :(

If ULA fails to get funding for Vulcan development and Congress doesn't allow anymore RD-180 engines to be used would the US Govt allow ULA to go under? 
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Offline woods170

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Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle - General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #17 on: 05/29/2015 06:30 AM »
I think the problem is that there are several ways that ULA's parents could extract cash from ULA.

But I suspect Mr Bruno's strategy is the only one that leaves ULA as a USG (and hopefully other customers ) supplier for decades, not years to come.

Unfortunately this probably also means the parents letting ULA keep more of revenue ULA generate for reinvestment and getting Congress to be more reasonable about RD180 purchases in the interim.

These are difficult cases to put and all parties have to be convinced it will work (or at least has a high probability of working) for ULA to get their shot.

Time will tell if he has succeeded (I hope he does).  :(

If ULA fails to get funding for Vulcan development and Congress doesn't allow anymore RD-180 engines to be used would the US Govt allow ULA to go under? 

Yes, they would, as long as the parent companies would retain the rockets and keep them flying.

Offline Brovane

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Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle - General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #18 on: 05/29/2015 11:28 AM »
I think the problem is that there are several ways that ULA's parents could extract cash from ULA.

But I suspect Mr Bruno's strategy is the only one that leaves ULA as a USG (and hopefully other customers ) supplier for decades, not years to come.

Unfortunately this probably also means the parents letting ULA keep more of revenue ULA generate for reinvestment and getting Congress to be more reasonable about RD180 purchases in the interim.

These are difficult cases to put and all parties have to be convinced it will work (or at least has a high probability of working) for ULA to get their shot.

Time will tell if he has succeeded (I hope he does).  :(

If ULA fails to get funding for Vulcan development and Congress doesn't allow anymore RD-180 engines to be used would the US Govt allow ULA to go under? 

Yes, they would, as long as the parent companies would retain the rockets and keep them flying.

Well Lockheed Martin couldn't bid the Atlas-V and RD-180 on any national security payloads.  For the Delta-IV Boeing would probably ask for subsidies from the US govt to keep the production line open.  Would the DOD give into Boeing's demands? 
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Offline Ben the Space Brit

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Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle - General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #19 on: 05/29/2015 11:40 AM »
Well Lockheed Martin couldn't bid the Atlas-V and RD-180 on any national security payloads.  For the Delta-IV Boeing would probably ask for subsidies from the US govt to keep the production line open.  Would the DOD give into Boeing's demands?

That is the potentially tens of millions of dollars question.
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