Author Topic: New (Smaller) REUSABLE Booster Instead of SLS  (Read 1564 times)

Offline robert_d

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New (Smaller) REUSABLE Booster Instead of SLS
« on: 05/18/2017 02:11 AM »
We do not have the payloads to justify the SLS. It is obsolete in the sense that none of it is reusable; and wasteful in the sense that it throws away the most expensive portion that actually was intended to be re-used - the RS-25D. It has already cost way too much. Cancel SLS.

Since it was pointed out to me that a restartable RS-25 would mean a drastic redesign, I was at a loss how to get them back for reuse. Then it dawned on me that the new BE-3 is restartable, and it exists today.  So:

Epsilon.
Put out a new contract to build a bigger Hydrolox rocket. In my mind ULA would build and manage this vehicle. It would not be so big that the other launch providers cannot compete for payloads. Keep NASA (yes I know it's Boeing) out of the booster building business and get them building payloads.

Epsilon would use the 27.5 ft tank tooling at Michoud, but shrink it back to a capacity more similar to the Shuttle ET. Big enough to run the following for the same 2.4 minutes that has become the sweetspot for booster return: 6 RS-25D's, surrounding 10 BE-3's. The 10 BE-3's in the center would do the boostback and re-entry burns, while four BE-3's would finish off the landing burn. Total thrust would approximate 3,500,000 lbs. at liftoff. Second stage would be powered by 4 BE-3's, vacuum optimized of course. I would like to see a common bulkhead for weight and compactness, possibly allowing a future reusable 2nd stage.

While mixing engine types, I think today's avionics would be able to handle this combination, especially because of the highly independent RS-25 controllers. This would allow one to be built now for test and shakedown (see my Delta 5 post for how the other RS-25's could be reused on an EELV class vehicle).
Then, if found viable, the production line for these engines could be restarted. 

We could have 3 totally different technology vehicles, ie New Glenn, Falcon Heavy and Epsilon each contributing to a Fuel-depot-centric system that might actually be sustainable.
« Last Edit: 05/18/2017 03:14 AM by robert_d »

Online spacenut

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Re: New (Smaller) REUSABLE Booster Instead of SLS
« Reply #1 on: 05/18/2017 02:26 AM »
Seems like a better solution would be 9 BE-3's on first stage, with one BE-3 vacuum for second stage.  All hydrolox, all the same engine, and reusable like the Falcon 9, it would be the Delta 9. 

Offline envy887

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Re: New (Smaller) REUSABLE Booster Instead of SLS
« Reply #2 on: 05/18/2017 02:49 AM »
9 BE-3 would only be slightly bigger than Delta IV Medium. Not remotely close to Falcon 9, nevermind FH or New Glenn.

Hydrogen makes a poor booster without solids. If you're going to ditch the solids on SLS, it's a lot easier and more efficient to move the bulkheads and switch to hydrocarbons. BE-4, Raptor, or AR-1 will all be available soon.

But I don't think a shuttle derived vehicle without the solid is politically viable.

Offline robert_d

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Re: New (Smaller) REUSABLE Booster Instead of SLS
« Reply #3 on: 05/18/2017 03:11 AM »
Seems like a better solution would be 9 BE-3's on first stage, with one BE-3 vacuum for second stage.  All hydrolox, all the same engine, and reusable like the Falcon 9, it would be the Delta 9.

Not big enough. Not in this HLV section anyway. Looking for something bigger than is flying now, but reusable. Big enough hopefully to get Orion up to LEO with margin. I had another post proposing using 2 RS-25 plus 3 BE-3's (for boostback) as my human rated Hydrolox EELV class vehicle.



Offline M_Puckett

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Re: New (Smaller) REUSABLE Booster Instead of SLS
« Reply #4 on: 05/18/2017 03:14 AM »
How about 7 BE-4 engines on a 7M diameter first stage?  Reusable of course, a Vac optimized BE-4 on the second and a BE-3 third stage for when you need that extra ommph for deep space missions?

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: New (Smaller) REUSABLE Booster Instead of SLS
« Reply #5 on: 05/18/2017 03:21 AM »
How about 7 BE-4 engines on a 7M diameter first stage?  Reusable of course, a Vac optimized BE-4 on the second and a BE-3 third stage for when you need that extra ommph for deep space missions?
About New Glenn as name.

Offline RocketmanUS

Re: New (Smaller) REUSABLE Booster Instead of SLS
« Reply #6 on: 05/18/2017 04:13 AM »
@robert_d  You got the cancellation part right for SLS. However the funding would be better spent on ACES and in-space propellant transfer. The new smaller vehicle is called New Glenn ( private company ) and the first stage is planned for reuse. Once there is propellant transfer to refuel the upper stages and lander ( Lunar , Mars, NEA ) space could be open to humanity.

F9, F9R, New Glenn, and Vulcan can do all we will need in the near future. No need for to add in another vehicle.

Mars and beyond, human exploration
The grass is always greener on the other side. When you stand on top of the hill you see both sides!

Offline su27k

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Re: New (Smaller) REUSABLE Booster Instead of SLS
« Reply #7 on: 05/18/2017 05:08 AM »
Yeah the industry already has multiple heavy lift launchers lined up, there's really no need for government to fund another (except may be NGL, as a consolation prize for cancelling SLS). What we need is the payloads that can utilize these launchers.

Offline Lars-J

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Re: New (Smaller) REUSABLE Booster Instead of SLS
« Reply #8 on: 05/18/2017 05:27 AM »
How about 7 BE-4 engines on a 7M diameter first stage?  Reusable of course, a Vac optimized BE-4 on the second and a BE-3 third stage for when you need that extra ommph for deep space missions?
About New Glenn as name.

I assumed that was M_Puckett's point, that such a vehicle is already being built, so no need to frankenstein something similar.  ;)

Offline gospacex

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Re: New (Smaller) REUSABLE Booster Instead of SLS
« Reply #9 on: 05/18/2017 06:13 AM »
We do not have the payloads to justify the SLS. It is obsolete in the sense that none of it is reusable; and wasteful in the sense that it throws away the most expensive portion that actually was intended to be re-used - the RS-25D. It has already cost way too much. Cancel SLS.

Since it was pointed out to me that a restartable RS-25 would mean a drastic redesign, I was at a loss how to get them back for reuse. Then it dawned on me that the new BE-3 is restartable, and it exists today.  So:

Epsilon.
Put out a new contract to build a bigger Hydrolox rocket. In my mind ULA would build and manage this vehicle. It would not be so big that the other launch providers cannot compete for payloads. Keep NASA (yes I know it's Boeing) out of the booster building business and get them building payloads.

Epsilon would use the 27.5 ft tank tooling at Michoud, but shrink it back to a capacity more similar to the Shuttle ET. Big enough to run the following for the same 2.4 minutes that has become the sweetspot for booster return: 6 RS-25D's, surrounding 10 BE-3's.

If you propose to put out a contract to build a LV, why do you specify its design? You should specify what performance and price you require.

Offline woods170

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Re: New (Smaller) REUSABLE Booster Instead of SLS
« Reply #10 on: 05/18/2017 12:12 PM »
We do not have the payloads to justify the SLS. It is obsolete in the sense that none of it is reusable; and wasteful in the sense that it throws away the most expensive portion that actually was intended to be re-used - the RS-25D. It has already cost way too much. Cancel SLS.

Since it was pointed out to me that a restartable RS-25 would mean a drastic redesign, I was at a loss how to get them back for reuse. Then it dawned on me that the new BE-3 is restartable, and it exists today.  So:

Epsilon.
Put out a new contract to build a bigger Hydrolox rocket. In my mind ULA would build and manage this vehicle. It would not be so big that the other launch providers cannot compete for payloads. Keep NASA (yes I know it's Boeing) out of the booster building business and get them building payloads.

Epsilon would use the 27.5 ft tank tooling at Michoud, but shrink it back to a capacity more similar to the Shuttle ET. Big enough to run the following for the same 2.4 minutes that has become the sweetspot for booster return: 6 RS-25D's, surrounding 10 BE-3's.

If you propose to put out a contract to build a LV, why do you specify its design? You should specify what performance and price you require.
Exactly. Specifiying what hardware it should use is the same mistake the US Senate made with SLS. It did not get the alternative name "Senate Launch System" for nothing.
« Last Edit: 05/18/2017 12:13 PM by woods170 »

Offline envy887

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Re: New (Smaller) REUSABLE Booster Instead of SLS
« Reply #11 on: 05/18/2017 12:58 PM »
Seems like a better solution would be 9 BE-3's on first stage, with one BE-3 vacuum for second stage.  All hydrolox, all the same engine, and reusable like the Falcon 9, it would be the Delta 9.

Not big enough. Not in this HLV section anyway. Looking for something bigger than is flying now, but reusable. Big enough hopefully to get Orion up to LEO with margin. I had another post proposing using 2 RS-25 plus 3 BE-3's (for boostback) as my human rated Hydrolox EELV class vehicle.

If the goal is just to get a fully fueled Orion into LEO with margins, an upgraded Delta IV Heavy (with RS-68B and/or 6 SRBs), Falcon Heavy, Vulcan-ACES, Vulcan Heavy, or New Glenn could all do it.

If you must have a reusable SSME-powered vehicle to do this task, it could be much smaller than you described. A booster with 4 RS-25, 3 BE-3, and a common bulkhead tank slightly smaller than the SWLT LH2 tank will do, with a dry mass about 50t and wet mass about 500t. With the EUS having the 4 RL-10s swapped for 4 BE-3Us, this would put ~41t to LEO with core stage RTLS, more than enough for Orion and its accessories (LAS, stage adapter, etc).

Online spacenut

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Re: New (Smaller) REUSABLE Booster Instead of SLS
« Reply #12 on: 05/18/2017 01:41 PM »
Well, one could take the existing tank diameter, add 9 AR-1 engines, then add a second stage with say 5 BE-3 vacuum engines.  That would do about what Falcon heavy could do.  Then add the solids back, and you get probably about 150 tons to LEO.  The core tank with 9 AR-1's could probably land on a ship in the ocean.  With light payloads, the 5 BE-3 second stage may could land, with heavy payloads or deep space payloads, it would have to be expendible.

I would guess with the solids and 9 AR-1 engines on core, with the 5 BE-3 second stage it would probably get at least 150 tons to LEO, maybe more.  Less to the moon or Mars. 

My question, what would be the cost?  Are solids the main cost driving force?  Why didn't they at least plumb for 5 RS-25's on the core for future heavier lift, with a J2X upper stage to get 150 tons? 

Rocket legos are fun what if's. 

I say cancel SLS, divy up the money equally for Vulcan/ACES, Orbital/ATK's 3 stage solid, Raptor upper stage for Falcon Heavy.  Blue Origins New Glenn could be thrown in plus they will be getting engine sales to ULA. Then spend the money on payloads for these rockets to assemble a NautilusX type vehicle or vehicles for Mars and or Moon trips. 

Also, Mars is serious, a Martian satellite communication system would need to be in place, not only orbiting Mars, but between earth and Mars for year round communications when Mars is on the other side of the sun.  Also, drilling probes, and more rovers, ground penetrating radar, etc, to choose landing sites for return fuel production, water accessibility, and mineral accessibility.  Add to the mix large SEP tugs for cargo flights to Mars, then all of this is going to cost some money. 

With $1 to $2 billion a year spent in ISS, vs getting the heavy rocket on line while designing payloads, etc. with the money from then on, serious in space construction can begin.  Therefore, with Vulcan/ACEs or even a Vulcan heavy with ACES, New Glenn, and Falcon Heavy with Raptor upper, we are talking 40-70 ton payloads to LEO for serious NautilusX construction vs 20 ton modules on ISS.   

Offline Proponent

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Re: New (Smaller) REUSABLE Booster Instead of SLS
« Reply #13 on: 05/18/2017 03:25 PM »
If you propose to put out a contract to build a LV, why do you specify its design? You should specify what performance and price you require.

Yes, and what reason is there to believe that Epsilon is needed anyway?  Is there something it would do that other vehicles, either existing or in development, can't do or can't do as well?

Offline IRobot

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Re: New (Smaller) REUSABLE Booster Instead of SLS
« Reply #14 on: 05/18/2017 03:34 PM »
If you propose to put out a contract to build a LV, why do you specify its design? You should specify what performance and price you require.
Exactly. Specifiying what hardware it should use is the same mistake the US Senate made with SLS. It did not get the alternative name "Senate Launch System" for nothing.
A project is lost when requirements dictate the design.

Apollo had a very simple top-level requirement: put a man on the Moon. Not to make Saturn V.
That is what is missing for NASA: one or two top level requirements. The rest is engineering and budget.
« Last Edit: 05/18/2017 03:36 PM by IRobot »

Offline mike robel

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Re: New (Smaller) REUSABLE Booster Instead of SLS
« Reply #15 on: 05/18/2017 03:52 PM »
Well, let's just resurrect Jarvis.  SLS/ET size stage.  1st stage Two F-1s, 2nd stage 1 J-2.

http://www.astronautix.com/j/jarvislaunchvehicle.html

So long as we're what iffing, I am sure the 1st stage could have been made recoverable.

Offline Proponent

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Re: New (Smaller) REUSABLE Booster Instead of SLS
« Reply #16 on: 05/18/2017 04:00 PM »
A project is lost when requirements dictate the design.

Don't you mean that the other way around, i.e., a project is lost when design dictates requirements?

As you say, Apollo had a simple top-level requirement.  The politicians did their proper job in specifying it, then pretty much left the engineers to study the hardware alternatives, the famous Apollo mode debate.  The engineers' decision was reviewed by the White House in late 1962 and could conceivably have been overturned but wasn't.

With Orion/SLS, the politicians have inserted themselves into the engineering process by specifying design.

Offline Space Ghost 1962

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Re: New (Smaller) REUSABLE Booster Instead of SLS
« Reply #17 on: 05/18/2017 04:04 PM »
But I don't think a shuttle derived vehicle without the solid is politically viable.
No, it isn't.

And barring everything else, it's one thing that will kill any more govt launch vehicles.

This may also be true elsewhere as well.

The concept of govt building something is all about use of fiat, not cost effectiveness, being operational, or even sensible.

The point is to use overwhelming resource of fiat to turn the corner on history. Landing crew on the moon, reusable crew flight to orbit. And next landing crew on Mars.

The problem is not that SLS is too big or not reusable. The problem is that it is too small a piece of the solution.

And ... to make it a larger piece of the solution, you need to abandon parts that don't allow you to scale to a solution.

Among these are use of the solids - they are too small/ineffective no matter the architecture, can't grow.

And yet they are politically required.

Worse, there are more things too like that.

So smaller and reusable by themselves do nothing for application of government fiat.

You are barking up the wrong tree.
« Last Edit: 05/18/2017 04:05 PM by Space Ghost 1962 »

Offline corneliussulla

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Re: New (Smaller) REUSABLE Booster Instead of SLS
« Reply #18 on: 05/19/2017 07:41 AM »
If you propose to put out a contract to build a LV, why do you specify its design? You should specify what performance and price you require.
Exactly. Specifiying what hardware it should use is the same mistake the US Senate made with SLS. It did not get the alternative name "Senate Launch System" for nothing.
A project is lost when requirements dictate the design.

Apollo had a very simple top-level requirement: put a man on the Moon. Not to make Saturn V.
That is what is missing for NASA: one or two top level requirements. The rest is engineering and budget.

Exactly, if NASA put out a RFP stating fixed price for delivering 10 humans to MArs surface and successfully return them by 2030, I expect they would have a proposal on there desk within a month costing probably less than $20 billion. Unfortunately that would mean NASA changing to a results based organisation rather than a means for congressman to pass out Pork. Now we have SLS/Orion mission to empty space for $50 billion, sad.

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