NASASpaceFlight.com Forum

Commercial and US Government Launch Vehicles => NGIS (Formerly Orbital ATK) - Antares/Cygnus Section => Topic started by: dcporter on 09/21/2013 01:07 PM

Title: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: dcporter on 09/21/2013 01:07 PM
Looked down the first couple of pages and didn't find a discussion thread for the rocket that wasn't time-limited, which is weird, so if I got it wrong mods please feel free to move.

Quote from the ORB-D update thread:

A little bit off thread, but here it comes:

Taurus, Minotaur and Antares all use a Hardware AND SOFTWARE architecture Orbital calls MACH (Modular Avionics something or other, pardon me, I have little patience for that stuff...) made up of about a dozen types of "slices" (computer, I/O, power supply, ordnance drives, etc. etc.) that can be stacked up in an enclosureless-type way (i.e. each slice has its own peripheral enclosure and the ends are closed up by plates) I've seen MACH stacks as small as 5 slices and as large as 11, IIRC.  Intra-slice connections are built into the "sides" of each slice, and external connectors are on one of the sides of each slice.  The result looks a lot like a loaf of sliced brad.

Each of the above-mentioned launch vehicles has a number of differently-configured MACH "stacks" acting as the central avionics, stage remote I/O, engine controller, etc.  Slices (and stacks) communicate via Ethernet.  Indeed, a MACH stack is used in the Antares launch pad both to communicate with the rocket AND control the pad (e.g. TEL retraction after ignition.)

Pegasus used an older design but is slowly converting to the MACH architecture (the last two Pegasi flew a MAC stack as its flight computer - the resulting change in software made NASA pause and take a deep breath, but it was the right thing to do and it worked.)

More important, other Orbital products (e.g. targets) also use this architecture; the result is a) lots and lots of experience (dozens of MACH stacks and socres of MACH slices are flown every year) and b) non-trivial cost reductions.  Similar benefit with software: the amount of NEW software needed for Antares was focused on the liquid propellant elements while, for instance, the basic GN&C has long heritage (yes, even the variable-azimuth feature!...)

The MACH architecture is uniquely designed for Launch Vehicles and is not intended to be used on spacecraft, BTW.

Can anyone in the industry discuss the benefits of doing MACH as (apparently) a literal stack of hardware components rather than a modular software stack loaded into a single machine? Are the data ports required for each rocket different enough that the modular design is actually more about them than the software?
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: kevin-rf on 09/21/2013 01:18 PM
Most likely it has to do with different I/O and Sensor components. Each rocket most likely has different requirements  and interface to different components and sensors (Accelerometers, Laser Ring Gyro's, GPS, ect...). I would be willing to bet that there is a CPU module and a standard bus and each additional board plugs into that bus. Each board is responsible for different parts of the I/O.

I would be curious if some of those boards contained gyro's and accellerometers or if they just interfaced to ones placed elsewhere in the rocket.

Like i said in the other thread, seems to be very PC-104 like...
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Jim on 09/21/2013 01:58 PM

Can anyone in the industry discuss the benefits of doing MACH as (apparently) a literal stack of hardware components rather than a modular software stack loaded into a single machine? Are the data ports required for each rocket different enough that the modular design is actually more about them than the software?

It is the interface with the different stages and different types of stages.

The functional modules from which the MACH stacks are created include power transfer, ordnance initiation, booster interface,communication, and telemetry processing.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Antares on 09/21/2013 08:45 PM
I would be curious if some of those boards contained gyro's and accellerometers or if they just interfaced to ones placed elsewhere in the rocket.

IIRC, Orbital tweets from the first launch mentioned SIGI alignment steps, so it sounds like there's a separate sensor unit.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: baldusi on 09/21/2013 11:25 PM
What's the general need of the NK-33 of extra chill down on the TP? I heard that it needed subcooled LOX or that it needs sub LOX temperature conditioning before starting. Can anybody elaborate a bit on this?
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: antonioe on 09/21/2013 11:32 PM
Originally (N-1 days) to increase the volumetric efficiency of the Oxydizer system (LOX itself and tanks). However, the NK33 LOX pump bearings take advantage of the properties of the apparently superior lubricating properties of sub cooled LOX so we're stuck.

Pre-chill is a common requirement for any cryo system, sub-cooled or boiling-point.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: baldusi on 09/24/2013 06:33 PM
Originally (N-1 days) to increase the volumetric efficiency of the Oxydizer system (LOX itself and tanks). However, the NK33 LOX pump bearings take advantage of the properties of the apparently superior lubricating properties of sub cooled LOX so we're stuck.

Pre-chill is a common requirement for any cryo system, sub-cooled or boiling-point.
So, Antares uses sub-cooler LOX, right?
During flight, doesn't the LOX heats up to boiling point? Or do you lower the boiling point by lowering the pressure? Am I asking too much?
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: kevin-rf on 09/24/2013 11:38 PM
Can you heat that thermal mass of LOX quickly enough to reach the boiling point before MECO?
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Prober on 12/24/2013 11:45 PM
This Russian video I think fits here: НК-33 - ЗАПУСК "АНТАРЕСА"
NC-33 - Launch of "Antares"   
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Il8_OsDrHxE (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Il8_OsDrHxE)

 [youtube]Il8_OsDrHxE[/youtube]
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: StephenB on 01/09/2014 04:03 PM
Can someone please post a link to the Antares launch stream? Thanks.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Prober on 01/09/2014 04:05 PM
http://www.ustream.tv/channel/nasa-tv-wallops
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: edkyle99 on 01/16/2014 12:32 AM
Nice review of soon to appear planned upgrades to Antares and Cygnus today over at that other site.
http://www.spaceflightnow.com/news/n1401/14orbital/#.Utc2Gvt0lpE

Cygnus, already carrying more up cargo than Dragon, will soon carry substantially more - and Orbital wants to start planning for post-2016 ISS missions soon.  Also some hints about an increasingly dim future for NK-33/AJ-26.

 - Ed Kyle
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: TrevorMonty on 01/16/2014 01:17 AM
I wonder if the Antares could handle 6- 7 Merlins.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: baldusi on 01/16/2014 01:36 AM
I wonder if the Antares could handle 6- 7 Merlins.
The core is wider than the Falcon 9, so physically yes. But it doesn't have enough isp, the piping, control and avionics would have to be redone. So it doesn't really makes much economic sense. Dual RD-191 or even an AJ-1E6 would give a much better performance with little engineering effort.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: arachnitect on 01/16/2014 02:43 AM
I wonder if the Antares could handle 6- 7 Merlins.
The core is wider than the Falcon 9, so physically yes. But it doesn't have enough isp, the piping, control and avionics would have to be redone. So it doesn't really makes much economic sense. Dual RD-191 or even an AJ-1E6 would give a much better performance with little engineering effort.

My understanding is that O/F ratio is different, so that's another big modification to the stage. I doubt SpaceX is interested in selling engines to its natural competitor for cargo resupply anyways.

The sentence that caught my attention was Culbertson saying Orbital would stick with a liquid first stage.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Robotbeat on 01/16/2014 05:37 AM
I wonder if the Antares could handle 6- 7 Merlins.
Just launch Cygnus on Falcon 9 if you're going that route. If you're talking just bulky cargo upmass, Cygnus is simply better than Dragon for the same mass.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: kevin-rf on 01/16/2014 11:54 AM
Not having a down mass capability is part of why it has the better up mass.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: baldusi on 01/16/2014 12:09 PM
Not having a down mass capability is part of why it has the better up mass.
Yep, if they were to launch on an F9, they could increase the pressure vessel to MLPM size and carry (guess) upto 5tonnes (about the average of Shuttle's MLPM).
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Prober on 01/16/2014 02:36 PM
Nice review of soon to appear planned upgrades to Antares and Cygnus today over at that other site.
http://www.spaceflightnow.com/news/n1401/14orbital/#.Utc2Gvt0lpE

Cygnus, already carrying more up cargo than Dragon, will soon carry substantially more - and Orbital wants to start planning for post-2016 ISS missions soon.  Also some hints about an increasingly dim future for NK-33/AJ-26.

 - Ed Kyle

thx for the link

Found this interesting: " Antares rocket's more powerful Castor 30XL upper stage motor provided by ATK. The Castor 30XL is a lengthened version of the Antares rocket's flight-proven Castor 30 motor, boosting the launcher's maximum load to the space station by more than 1,000 pounds."

Something to be said for the simple design.
 
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: AnalogMan on 01/16/2014 04:22 PM
Nice review of soon to appear planned upgrades to Antares and Cygnus today over at that other site.
http://www.spaceflightnow.com/news/n1401/14orbital/#.Utc2Gvt0lpE (http://www.spaceflightnow.com/news/n1401/14orbital/#.Utc2Gvt0lpE)

Cygnus, already carrying more up cargo than Dragon, will soon carry substantially more - and Orbital wants to start planning for post-2016 ISS missions soon.  Also some hints about an increasingly dim future for NK-33/AJ-26.

 - Ed Kyle

thx for the link

Found this interesting: " Antares rocket's more powerful Castor 30XL upper stage motor provided by ATK. The Castor 30XL is a lengthened version of the Antares rocket's flight-proven Castor 30 motor, boosting the launcher's maximum load to the space station by more than 1,000 pounds."

Something to be said for the simple design.
 

See also this article on the Castor 30XL:
http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2013/03/castor-30xl-prepares-static-fire-antares-boost/ (http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2013/03/castor-30xl-prepares-static-fire-antares-boost/)
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: baldusi on 01/16/2014 04:46 PM
Found this interesting: " Antares rocket's more powerful Castor 30XL upper stage motor provided by ATK. The Castor 30XL is a lengthened version of the Antares rocket's flight-proven Castor 30 motor, boosting the launcher's maximum load to the space station by more than 1,000 pounds."

Something to be said for the simple design.
Castor 30XL is sort of the performance limit of the solid US. If you look at high energy performance, they use the 121/2, because the Antares first stage has little T/W, and thus the gravity losses of carring the XL are greater than the extra impulse. So, for LEO the XL wins but for escape, the smaller B is a better choice.
Remember that the Antares is supposed to be used for small missions. And the "heavy" to LEO was only needed for CRS.
BTW, the core has little T/W because the that way you'd need no changes for a better propulsion (like RD-180 or AJ-1E6) to get extra performance. Ditto with a liquid upper stage.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: edkyle99 on 01/17/2014 04:36 AM
Castor 30XL is sort of the performance limit of the solid US. If you look at high energy performance, they use the 121/2, because the Antares first stage has little T/W, and thus the gravity losses of carring the XL are greater than the extra impulse. So, for LEO the XL wins but for escape, the smaller B is a better choice.
Remember that the Antares is supposed to be used for small missions. And the "heavy" to LEO was only needed for CRS.
BTW, the core has little T/W because the that way you'd need no changes for a better propulsion (like RD-180 or AJ-1E6) to get extra performance. Ditto with a liquid upper stage.
The Antares User's Guide seems to show that the 130 series boosts more payload to both LEO and escape than the 120 series.  The difference between the two does seem to narrow substantially for the higher energy missions.  One factor may be that both use the same Star 48BV third stage.

 - Ed Kyle
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: woods170 on 01/17/2014 07:06 AM
Not having a down mass capability is part of why it has the better up mass.
Bingo!  And people should remember there is no 'contest'  between Orbital and SpaceX with regards to upmass. Check the CRS contracts. It has been clear from the very beginning that Orbital was to deliver substantially more upmass than SpaceX. They can do so, because the shape of their pressurized compartment is optimal for upmass. But only SpaceX Dragon can provide downmass. Comparing them on upmass capabilities is apples-to-oranges.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 01/17/2014 09:35 AM
FWIW, I'd still love to see an ORB/SpaceX demonstrator mission with a ECLSS-equipped Cygnus as a long-duration hab module for low-frills commercial passenger flights.

It could neatly pre-empt Bigelow and I bet Space Adventures have enough clients lined up that they'd enjoy having an alternate provider/destination than Soyuz and the ISS. So long as it has a couple of large view-ports and multi-role power/cooling ports for passenger equipment and personal experiments, it should be fine!
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Lurker Steve on 01/17/2014 02:13 PM
FWIW, I'd still love to see an ORB/SpaceX demonstrator mission with a ECLSS-equipped Cygnus as a long-duration hab module for low-frills commercial passenger flights.

It could neatly pre-empt Bigelow and I bet Space Adventures have enough clients lined up that they'd enjoy having an alternate provider/destination than Soyuz and the ISS. So long as it has a couple of large view-ports and multi-role power/cooling ports for passenger equipment and personal experiments, it should be fine!

What you will see first is Cygnus flying as a standalone craft, flying experiments in LEO after it's ISS supply mission has completed. There is no rush to perform the destructive re-entry, and there is power and communication to operate as a free-flier for quite a long while. No ECLSS required since no humans are on board.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Lar on 01/17/2014 03:03 PM
FWIW, I'd still love to see an ORB/SpaceX demonstrator mission with a ECLSS-equipped Cygnus as a long-duration hab module for low-frills commercial passenger flights.

It could neatly pre-empt Bigelow and I bet Space Adventures have enough clients lined up that they'd enjoy having an alternate provider/destination than Soyuz and the ISS. So long as it has a couple of large view-ports and multi-role power/cooling ports for passenger equipment and personal experiments, it should be fine!

What you will see first is Cygnus flying as a standalone craft, flying experiments in LEO after it's ISS supply mission has completed. There is no rush to perform the destructive re-entry, and there is power and communication to operate as a free-flier for quite a long while. No ECLSS required since no humans are on board.
That sounds awesome, do you have any links with more info for those interested?
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: baldusi on 01/17/2014 03:19 PM
FWIW, I'd still love to see an ORB/SpaceX demonstrator mission with a ECLSS-equipped Cygnus as a long-duration hab module for low-frills commercial passenger flights.

It could neatly pre-empt Bigelow and I bet Space Adventures have enough clients lined up that they'd enjoy having an alternate provider/destination than Soyuz and the ISS. So long as it has a couple of large view-ports and multi-role power/cooling ports for passenger equipment and personal experiments, it should be fine!

What you will see first is Cygnus flying as a standalone craft, flying experiments in LEO after it's ISS supply mission has completed. There is no rush to perform the destructive re-entry, and there is power and communication to operate as a free-flier for quite a long while. No ECLSS required since no humans are on board.
Actually, not for long term, that why we have the ISS. But ORB-2, I think, will have an Internal Fire experiment. They'll basically set the pressure vessel on fire and film it just before reentry. That way they'll have a much better understanding of fire propagation inside any module.
So as a platform for experiments too dangerous to do un the ISS its already being used.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: fatjohn1408 on 01/17/2014 04:38 PM
Castor 30XL is sort of the performance limit of the solid US. If you look at high energy performance, they use the 121/2, because the Antares first stage has little T/W, and thus the gravity losses of carring the XL are greater than the extra impulse. So, for LEO the XL wins but for escape, the smaller B is a better choice.
Remember that the Antares is supposed to be used for small missions. And the "heavy" to LEO was only needed for CRS.
BTW, the core has little T/W because the that way you'd need no changes for a better propulsion (like RD-180 or AJ-1E6) to get extra performance. Ditto with a liquid upper stage.
The Antares User's Guide seems to show that the 130 series boosts more payload to both LEO and escape than the 120 series.  The difference between the two does seem to narrow substantially for the higher energy missions.  One factor may be that both use the same Star 48BV third stage.

 - Ed Kyle

Yes the brochure can be found here btw: http://www.orbital.com/Newsinfo/Publications/Antares_Brochure.pdf

A question what is Antares its GTO capacity? can you just assume that it can bring the same payload to GTO as it can to a -8.2 km^2/s^2 C3 orbit? Thus being around 1.5t for the 132 version?

I would expect the first and the second stage to be a bit more capable than just bringing the Star 48 (2t) and 1.5t payload into LEO, therefore the GTO insertion burn (with the star 48) must be done from an already quite elliptical LEO orbit.

Where would the burn be done? At perigee, to efficiently raise the orbit apogee or at apogee to efficiently change the inclination plane?
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: arachnitect on 01/17/2014 05:12 PM
Castor 30XL is sort of the performance limit of the solid US. If you look at high energy performance, they use the 121/2, because the Antares first stage has little T/W, and thus the gravity losses of carring the XL are greater than the extra impulse. So, for LEO the XL wins but for escape, the smaller B is a better choice.
Remember that the Antares is supposed to be used for small missions. And the "heavy" to LEO was only needed for CRS.
BTW, the core has little T/W because the that way you'd need no changes for a better propulsion (like RD-180 or AJ-1E6) to get extra performance. Ditto with a liquid upper stage.
The Antares User's Guide seems to show that the 130 series boosts more payload to both LEO and escape than the 120 series.  The difference between the two does seem to narrow substantially for the higher energy missions.  One factor may be that both use the same Star 48BV third stage.

 - Ed Kyle

132 has more performance than 122 up to about 1500kg where its curve stops. My SWAG is that, with less than 1500kg, second stage acceleration gets too high: see the second image. 122 does well above 6.5g, but only during the Star48 burn.

You could add another stage (Star 27H?) if you wanted to send a cubesat to Neptune or something.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: edkyle99 on 01/17/2014 07:33 PM
132 has more performance than 122 up to about 1500kg where its curve stops. My SWAG is that, with less than 1500kg, second stage acceleration gets too high: see the second image. 122 does well above 6.5g, but only during the Star48 burn.
I wondered about that.  The 2012 version of the brochure showed the curve continuing past 1,500 kg.

 - Ed Kyle
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: edkyle99 on 01/17/2014 08:06 PM
A question what is Antares its GTO capacity? can you just assume that it can bring the same payload to GTO as it can to a -8.2 km^2/s^2 C3 orbit? Thus being around 1.5t for the 132 version?
Something along those lines, but I'm not certain of the precise delta-v difference.  One reference gives 700 m/s delta-v between C3=0 and GTO.  Based on that, my guesstimate is better than 1.4 tonnes to GTO for 122 and more than 1.7 tonnes for 132, but as you mentioned energy management for these all-solid upper stage setups would be an issue.  The post-Castor 30(XL) parking orbit would have to be elliptical. 

 - Ed Kyle
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: jongoff on 01/18/2014 10:42 PM
I wonder if the Antares could handle 6- 7 Merlins.
Just launch Cygnus on Falcon 9 if you're going that route. If you're talking just bulky cargo upmass, Cygnus is simply better than Dragon for the same mass.

Exactly. Cygnus and Dragon both fill important niches and have different and complementary capabilities. Dragon could theoretically launch up to 6000kg of cargo, but with how small its pressurized volume is, it would need cargo with an effective density of over 500kg/m^3 to max out its mass capacity. Admittedly, Dragon on a F9 with reusable first stage would likely be a lot better matched between available volume and net cargo mass capacity.

But yeah, I'm glad we've got both vehicles flying.

~Jon
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: fatjohn1408 on 01/20/2014 07:39 AM
Castor 30XL is sort of the performance limit of the solid US. If you look at high energy performance, they use the 121/2, because the Antares first stage has little T/W, and thus the gravity losses of carring the XL are greater than the extra impulse. So, for LEO the XL wins but for escape, the smaller B is a better choice.
Remember that the Antares is supposed to be used for small missions. And the "heavy" to LEO was only needed for CRS.
BTW, the core has little T/W because the that way you'd need no changes for a better propulsion (like RD-180 or AJ-1E6) to get extra performance. Ditto with a liquid upper stage.
The Antares User's Guide seems to show that the 130 series boosts more payload to both LEO and escape than the 120 series.  The difference between the two does seem to narrow substantially for the higher energy missions.  One factor may be that both use the same Star 48BV third stage.

 - Ed Kyle

132 has more performance than 122 up to about 1500kg where its curve stops. My SWAG is that, with less than 1500kg, second stage acceleration gets too high: see the second image. 122 does well above 6.5g, but only during the Star48 burn.

You could add another stage (Star 27H?) if you wanted to send a cubesat to Neptune or something.

Huh? You posted the 132 and there the 3rd stage (Star 48) did not even get to 4g. the 2nd stage got high g's
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: arachnitect on 01/20/2014 07:08 PM
Castor 30XL is sort of the performance limit of the solid US. If you look at high energy performance, they use the 121/2, because the Antares first stage has little T/W, and thus the gravity losses of carring the XL are greater than the extra impulse. So, for LEO the XL wins but for escape, the smaller B is a better choice.
Remember that the Antares is supposed to be used for small missions. And the "heavy" to LEO was only needed for CRS.
BTW, the core has little T/W because the that way you'd need no changes for a better propulsion (like RD-180 or AJ-1E6) to get extra performance. Ditto with a liquid upper stage.
The Antares User's Guide seems to show that the 130 series boosts more payload to both LEO and escape than the 120 series.  The difference between the two does seem to narrow substantially for the higher energy missions.  One factor may be that both use the same Star 48BV third stage.

 - Ed Kyle

132 has more performance than 122 up to about 1500kg where its curve stops. My SWAG is that, with less than 1500kg, second stage acceleration gets too high: see the second image. 122 does well above 6.5g, but only during the Star48 burn.

You could add another stage (Star 27H?) if you wanted to send a cubesat to Neptune or something.

Huh? You posted the 132 and there the 3rd stage (Star 48) did not even get to 4g. the 2nd stage got high g's

Here, I fix:

Quote
132 has more performance than 122 up to about 1500kg where its curve stops. My SWAG is that, with less than 1500kg, second stage acceleration gets too high: see the 132 graph attached to my previous post, where second stage acceleration can be as high as 6.5g. If you look at the corresponding graph for the 122 (attached), you can see that it has higher acceleration -but only during the Star48 burn.

The question is "why can't the 132 turn it's payload advantage into higher C3?" and I think the answer is that the second stage burn acceleration is too high with smaller payloads.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Chris Bergin on 02/13/2014 02:58 PM
Not sure which thread to ask this in, but this seems close.

Orbital have announced their 2013 financial figures and outlook. Interesting enough for an article, but how do I search their past 12 months on their stock price? I want to see if there's been a rise in the price reflecting their successes.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Helodriver on 02/13/2014 03:05 PM
Judging from their chart, the last year has been good for them.


http://finance.yahoo.com/echarts?s=ORB+Interactive#symbol=orb;range=1y;compare=;indicator=volume;charttype=area;crosshair=on;ohlcvalues=0;logscale=off;source=; (http://finance.yahoo.com/echarts?s=ORB+Interactive#symbol=orb;range=1y;compare=;indicator=volume;charttype=area;crosshair=on;ohlcvalues=0;logscale=off;source=;)
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Lurker Steve on 02/13/2014 03:18 PM
Not sure which thread to ask this in, but this seems close.

Orbital have announced their 2013 financial figures and outlook. Interesting enough for an article, but how do I search their past 12 months on their stock price? I want to see if there's been a rise in the price reflecting their successes.

Pretty much all of the major portals (yahoo, google, etc)  have some sort of stock quote service available, and they all come with charts. I'm sure you could even access quotes via eTrade without logging into with an account.

If you are going to watch the stock price, you should check the rate of increase pre-Antares and post-Antares, if you are writing an Antares / Cyngus related article. I assume the rest of their business lines are doing fairly well.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Chris Bergin on 02/13/2014 03:30 PM
Thanks guys, that's perfect!
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Avron on 03/02/2014 11:33 PM
I wonder how come there is no activity here.. with engine needs and what the supply line looks like going forward
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: arachnitect on 03/02/2014 11:50 PM
I wonder how come there is no activity here.. with engine needs and what the supply line looks like going forward

What's there to say? No news from an engineering perspective. The politics needs to stay in the politics section.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: rusty on 03/05/2014 01:53 AM
I wonder how come there is no activity here.. with engine needs and what the supply line looks like going forward
What's there to say? No news from an engineering perspective. The politics needs to stay in the politics section.
Really, nothing to say? I'll ask anyways -
"If", a big if, there are no more Ukrainian tanks coming, what affect would that have on schedule? If the decades-old engines being rebuilt need spares, are they accounted for or will there be one less engine as it's turned into parts? How "fixed" is the contract for the Italian SV and off-the-shelf solid uppers, specifically could they be delayed or cancelled if there's nothing to put them on? Could this be a catalyst for turning this imported and assembled rocket into a domestically produced one?
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: edkyle99 on 03/05/2014 02:22 AM
"If", a big if, there are no more Ukrainian tanks coming, what affect would that have on schedule? If the decades-old engines being rebuilt need spares, are they accounted for or will there be one less engine as it's turned into parts? How "fixed" is the contract for the Italian SV and off-the-shelf solid uppers, specifically could they be delayed or cancelled if there's nothing to put them on? Could this be a catalyst for turning this imported and assembled rocket into a domestically produced one?
I see the engines as a bigger limitation than the first stage production.  Yuzhnoye is still in business.  Russia and the U.S. both buy its products.  There aren't going to be sanctions against Ukraine, so the stages should continue to ship.  It is my understanding that Orbital has an inventory of several of these stages stored in Virginia.

The engines are a limit because the current stock will run out in a few years.  Orbital wants RD-180 [*] as a replacement, if its massive lawsuit against ULA is an indicator.  The outcome of that lawsuit will likely decide much about the future of Antares.   I'll also note here that two of the three known Commercial Crew competitors also depend on RD-180.   

[*] The U.S. can't impose sanctions that affect RD-180, because the Pentagon uses it to launch defense satellites.  The open question is whether Russia might cut off deliveries in retaliation for other sanctions.  That, in turn, could trigger U.S. production of RD-180.

 - Ed Kyle
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Skyrocket on 03/05/2014 05:58 AM
Orbital Sciences Examining 2-3 Russian Alternatives to Antares’ AJ-26 Engine

http://www.spacenews.com/article/launch-report/39715orbital-sciences-examining-2-3-russian-alternatives-to-antares%E2%80%99-aj-26
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: arachnitect on 03/05/2014 08:29 PM
Orbital Sciences Examining 2-3 Russian Alternatives to Antares’ AJ-26 Engine

http://www.spacenews.com/article/launch-report/39715orbital-sciences-examining-2-3-russian-alternatives-to-antares%E2%80%99-aj-26

Ruling out AJ-1e6?

I like to picture OSC executives, during a long painful meeting with their lawyers, idly paging through an ATK solid motor catalog, making little notes in the margins and sighing heavily.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: mlindner on 03/08/2014 08:36 AM
Just went on a trip to interview at Orbital with Launch Systems Group. Got to see the avionics flight units with the avionics ring for a couple of the upcoming Antares flights. Surprised they let me just walk around (with accompaniment) all the flight hardware being assembled. No clean room either. Was really cool. No pictures of course, they take away your cell phone upon entering.

Also, apparently there isn't much worry about the Ukraine situation yet (at least among the lower level people that I talked to).

And I'll leave it at that as not sure what I'm allowed to repeat (without risking possible employment).
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Robotbeat on 03/10/2014 08:42 PM
Just went on a trip to interview at Orbital with Launch Systems Group. Got to see the avionics flight units with the avionics ring for a couple of the upcoming Antares flights. Surprised they let me just walk around (with accompaniment) all the flight hardware being assembled. No clean room either. Was really cool. No pictures of course, they take away your cell phone upon entering.

Also, apparently there isn't much worry about the Ukraine situation yet (at least among the lower level people that I talked to).

And I'll leave it at that as not sure what I'm allowed to repeat (without risking possible employment).
Good luck! Orbital is a great company. I applied there, too. (but got another, better offer...)
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Ronsmytheiii on 03/20/2014 09:25 PM
Orbital has dropped litigation for now against ULA, but further litigation may occur if they don't get access to the RD-180.

http://www.spacenews.com/article/launch-report/39926orbital-drops-antitrust-lawsuit-against-ula
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Jim on 03/20/2014 09:36 PM
ULA maybe woke up and realized that having another user for the engine may help the business case for domestic production.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: a_langwich on 03/20/2014 10:22 PM
ULA maybe woke up and realized that having another user for the engine may help the business case for domestic production.

If the cost to open a domestic production line approaches a billion dollars, is there a workable business case?  (I'd guess so, maybe quasi-political business case, since ULA would be propped by USAF in the short term and Orbital is already accepted as higher-priced bidder for cargo.)  Would ULA and Orbital try to get the government to fund this?  (Possible answer: why not?  no downside to trying.)

Would domestic production look as identical to the RD-180 as possible, or a mix of RD-180 / AJ-26 (hasn't Aerojet already been making the electronics for AJ-26, or is it just the gimballing system?), or some blend of RD-180/AJ-26/AJ-1E6 (ie, throwing in new technology and manufacturing techniques, just striving to maintain the same interfaces as an RD-180)?
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Space Ghost 1962 on 03/20/2014 11:20 PM
The litigation is about restraint of trade. Nothing to do with production, or right of production/license.

Jim's right here. ULA might have a different take after events. Both ULA and Orbital are dependant on Russian kerolox SC engines.

Can't take it further than that at the moment.

Note that the RD-170, from which the RD-180 was derived, shares heritage with the RD-171M used in the Yuzhnoye Zenit, constructed in East Ukraine, where also the Antares first stage is manufactured by Yuzhnoye. Thus considered "non-indigeneous" to Russia. Spawning another engine and launcher for all indigenous supply.

NK-33 and NK-33A don't have gimbals - NK-33A as used on Soyuz 2.1v has a separate RD0110P steering engine. As reissued AJ-26, a two plane gimballed engine is provided by Aerojet - which does not mean that there is a production line for SC kerolox engines in the US.

Two potential uses of AJ-1E6 have been mentioned as Antares and SLS advanced booster. And while the O/F of all of these are similar, one would need to "evolve" Atlas V incrementally to consider it as a third use.

Certainly, if you go back to make indigenous kerolox SC with a $1-2B paydown, having a potential flyout schedule of 30-70 engines in 5 years is more attractive to take to the hill, than 15-24 ...

There was another rumoured use of AJ-1E6 too ...

edit: typos, missed sentence.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Lurker Steve on 04/21/2014 02:42 PM
This article from Space News says they have bids from 3 companies for new engines for Antares. After reading the article, I assume at least 1 of the bids is newly manufactured NK-33s/ AJ-26 engines. They have 2 other bids, one Russian and one from the US, both of which would be an improvement over the current engines.

Any guesses as to which engines those are ?

http://spacenews.com/article/financial-report/40254orbital-evaluating-three-bids-for-antares-engine-says-amazonas-4a
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: baldusi on 04/21/2014 03:48 PM
I understand the one is NPO Energomash with either dual RD-193 or RD-181, and probably AeroJet AJ-1E6. At least those are the two logical choices.
And there was an NPO Energomash powerpoint which showed an RD-181 and under it stated flatly Antares.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Halidon on 04/21/2014 10:32 PM
What about the stage itself? If they choose a US-built motor, are they still going to source the stage from Ukraine? What if the factory ends up annexed by Russia?
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: baldusi on 04/22/2014 02:03 AM

What about the stage itself? If they choose a US-built motor, are they still going to source the stage from Ukraine? What if the factory ends up annexed by Russia?
This is a purely commercial rocket that barely makes the US built percentage. If Yuzhnoye is annexed by Russia, they'd be happy since that would give them immediate access to the Russian government market. And keeping the tooling working would probably make them keep a very special price for Orbital. Of course that's always the chance that some of the SLS tank researches (one is even RP-1/LOX composite out of autoclave common bulkhead) might be offered. But of course that would be an Antares II. And for that they would need an actual demand for such a rocket. As it is, they have something like one year to actually get all the necessary tanks for the CRS-1 contract.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: simonbp on 04/22/2014 03:04 AM
What I think would be awesome (but extremely unlikely) is new-build LR-87s. It was originally designed for RP-1 (and used as such in Titan 1), and if you up the chamber pressure a bit, it would have just the right amount of thrust.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: TrevorMonty on 04/22/2014 07:02 AM
I suspect the Russian engines will be cheaper but politics may come into play in the selection process.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Lurker Steve on 04/22/2014 12:32 PM

What about the stage itself? If they choose a US-built motor, are they still going to source the stage from Ukraine? What if the factory ends up annexed by Russia?
This is a purely commercial rocket that barely makes the US built percentage. If Yuzhnoye is annexed by Russia, they'd be happy since that would give them immediate access to the Russian government market. And keeping the tooling working would probably make them keep a very special price for Orbital. Of course that's always the chance that some of the SLS tank researches (one is even RP-1/LOX composite out of autoclave common bulkhead) might be offered. But of course that would be an Antares II. And for that they would need an actual demand for such a rocket. As it is, they have something like one year to actually get all the necessary tanks for the CRS-1 contract.

I forgot the fact that the engines were counted as "American content" due to the work Aerojet did to convert them from NK-33 to AJ-26.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: baldusi on 04/22/2014 02:26 PM
Please don't forget T/W and isp. Antares relies on a 130:1 T/W and SC isp. You can't use gas generators and get the same performance. Not even a scaled Merlin 1D.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Lars_J on 04/22/2014 05:47 PM
Please don't forget T/W and isp. Antares relies on a 130:1 T/W and SC isp. You can't use gas generators and get the same performance. Not even a scaled Merlin 1D.

Don't fall into the "isp uber alles" philosophy. Of course a different engine could be used. Just add power, and stretch the tanks. The primary performance that actually matters is how much payload is put in the desired orbit. Isp and T/W are secondary to that.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: baldusi on 04/22/2014 06:24 PM
Please don't forget T/W and isp. Antares relies on a 130:1 T/W and SC isp. You can't use gas generators and get the same performance. Not even a scaled Merlin 1D.

Don't fall into the "isp uber alles" philosophy. Of course a different engine could be used. Just add power, and stretch the tanks. The primary performance that actually matters is how much payload is put in the desired orbit. Isp and T/W are secondary to that.

And then you are talking about Antares 2. I find it simplistic when I said both high T/W and isp that you only mentioned isp. Not to mention O/F ratios. Sure, you could put an F-1B, use a  bigger tank, and it will probably have even better performance. And be bigger and a completely new first stage. The point is that OSC wants to pay just 30M on the re-engine program (but is willing to pay more for each individual engine). That means same tank, mostly same GSE and physical interfaces.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Lurker Steve on 04/22/2014 06:30 PM
And, please no changes that require any rework to the pad.

We waited long enough for the state to finish construction. We don't want to go there again.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: USFdon on 04/22/2014 06:42 PM
Has there been any definitive info on Aerojet starting production of domestic AJ-26's? I know there were comments about an agreement made with Teledyne Brown concerning stateside production and that Aerojet has been fiddling with the NK-33's since the 1990's (including getting a license / documentation). The NK-33 / AJ-26 is a simpler engine than the RD-170 family so presumably it would be easier to produce here. Or was this more hand-waving, PowerPoint studies?
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: a_langwich on 04/22/2014 09:47 PM
Has there been any definitive info on Aerojet starting production of domestic AJ-26's? I know there were comments about an agreement made with Teledyne Brown concerning stateside production and that Aerojet has been fiddling with the NK-33's since the 1990's (including getting a license / documentation). The NK-33 / AJ-26 is a simpler engine than the RD-170 family so presumably it would be easier to produce here. Or was this more hand-waving, PowerPoint studies?

I think "definitive info" on any of the options may wait until Orbital announces its decision.  I doubt either Aerojet or NK Engines would announce a new production line without a firm order in hand.

I agree that the three choices are likely NK Engines, Aerojet Rocketdyne, and NPO Energomash.  But I wonder if Aerojet pitched an AJ-26 production, AJ-500 or AJ-1E6, or a domestic RD-180.  And similarly, I wonder if NPO Energomash pitched an RD-181 or an RD-180 (the differences might be vanishingly small here, as I suspect the RD-181 would share as much of the RD-180 production as possible--in fact, it might share all but the nameplate ;) ).

I would think the only way Orbital would get US production for the up-front investment they listed ($30M) would be if both Orbital and ULA committed to a long-term buy of a jointly used engine (ie domestic RD-180).  Doesn't seem likely without a Congressional thumb on the scales, or some other event that would break the existing ULA contract to RD AMROSS -> NPO Energomash.

Of the two Russian companies, probably NPO Energomash would need the least investment to reach production.  But bid prices don't always sort in the same order as company costs.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Lars_J on 04/22/2014 10:08 PM
Please don't forget T/W and isp. Antares relies on a 130:1 T/W and SC isp. You can't use gas generators and get the same performance. Not even a scaled Merlin 1D.

Don't fall into the "isp uber alles" philosophy. Of course a different engine could be used. Just add power, and stretch the tanks. The primary performance that actually matters is how much payload is put in the desired orbit. Isp and T/W are secondary to that.

And then you are talking about Antares 2. I find it simplistic when I said both high T/W and isp that you only mentioned isp. Not to mention O/F ratios. Sure, you could put an F-1B, use a  bigger tank, and it will probably have even better performance. And be bigger and a completely new first stage. The point is that OSC wants to pay just 30M on the re-engine program (but is willing to pay more for each individual engine). That means same tank, mostly same GSE and physical interfaces.

Given the lack of an exact replica engine, anything you do will be a "Antares II", no matter what you do. This is why I'm suggesting that excluding engines that don't have the same thrust, isp, or T/W ratio is a pointless thought experiment anyway. So why not widen the possibilities? If Orbital truly believes in the future of Antares (or derivatives thereof), they should be examined.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: USFdon on 04/22/2014 11:26 PM
Sort of like Ed Kyle's concept for an GG Atlas V with stretched RP-1 tanks and twin MA-5D (?) / RS-X engines? Rocketdyne has resurrected the MA-5 and RS-27/H-1 families in the past, so I guess it's possible*. I don't see a Kerolox LR-87 coming back though... that's been out of production for half a century.

*Though with the shuttering of Canoga Park and Santa Susana, it could be difficult
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Avron on 04/22/2014 11:35 PM
Why not go to ATK for the boost stage?
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: arachnitect on 04/23/2014 12:11 AM
Please don't forget T/W and isp. Antares relies on a 130:1 T/W and SC isp. You can't use gas generators and get the same performance. Not even a scaled Merlin 1D.

Don't fall into the "isp uber alles" philosophy. Of course a different engine could be used. Just add power, and stretch the tanks. The primary performance that actually matters is how much payload is put in the desired orbit. Isp and T/W are secondary to that.

And then you are talking about Antares 2. I find it simplistic when I said both high T/W and isp that you only mentioned isp. Not to mention O/F ratios. Sure, you could put an F-1B, use a  bigger tank, and it will probably have even better performance. And be bigger and a completely new first stage. The point is that OSC wants to pay just 30M on the re-engine program (but is willing to pay more for each individual engine). That means same tank, mostly same GSE and physical interfaces.

Given the lack of an exact replica engine, anything you do will be a "Antares II", no matter what you do. This is why I'm suggesting that excluding engines that don't have the same thrust, isp, or T/W ratio is a pointless thought experiment anyway. So why not widen the possibilities? If Orbital truly believes in the future of Antares (or derivatives thereof), they should be examined.

The cost to move to larger tankage is an issue. Would the existing Yuzhnoye tooling still work? What about all the GSE, shipping fixtures, etc. Is the HIF big enough? Can the TEL handle it? Do they have to take a jackhammer to the launch mount?

They really want to bolt on a different engine and be done with it. Some extra thrust would be nice.

Does the subcooled LOX imply tank changes if they go to RD-180?

Why not go to ATK for the boost stage?

Culbertson said it's going to stay liquid, but I'm sure more than one person at Orbital has thought about the solid possibilities.

2.5 or 3 segment RSRM + Castor 120 + Castor 30? Basically Athena III.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: ChrisWilson68 on 04/23/2014 06:40 AM

What about the stage itself? If they choose a US-built motor, are they still going to source the stage from Ukraine? What if the factory ends up annexed by Russia?
This is a purely commercial rocket that barely makes the US built percentage. If Yuzhnoye is annexed by Russia, they'd be happy since that would give them immediate access to the Russian government market. And keeping the tooling working would probably make them keep a very special price for Orbital. Of course that's always the chance that some of the SLS tank researches (one is even RP-1/LOX composite out of autoclave common bulkhead) might be offered. But of course that would be an Antares II. And for that they would need an actual demand for such a rocket. As it is, they have something like one year to actually get all the necessary tanks for the CRS-1 contract.

I think it highly unlikely anyone at Orbital would be happy to see that factory annexed by Russia.  If that happens, there will almost certainly be serious sanctions and counter-sanctions between Russia and the West.  Russia might outright ban sales of rocket components to the U.S. or the U.S. Congress might ban such purchases from Russia, or, more specifically, from occupied Ukrainian territory.  Even if there isn't an outright ban, there will be a lot of political sentiment against depending on such production, and since most of the business for this rocket comes from the U.S. government, it would put Orbital in a very uncomfortable position.

And the idea you suggest that Orbital could get Russian government business sounds like fantasy to me.  Russia has lots of its own launch providers to support, there's no way they would go to Orbital even if the whole Ukraine conflict hadn't happened.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: john smith 19 on 04/23/2014 07:22 AM
Orbital have stated they want to get into the market segment of the old Delta II.

There was always a limited number of NK33's and while they were enough for the COTS programme (I think there were about 50 made so 25 launches possible).

Then the new Soyuz started using them.

If Orbital really want a slice of that Delta II sized market (that ran for 30+ years and 100s of launches) either an NK33 restart or a new engine has to happen.

The ideal drop in replacement for the AJ26 is of course another AJ26. IMHO the trade range is roughly.


AJ26< engine with same specs < Engine with same Isp <Nearest match US engine <Nearest match foreign engine.

My instinct is there is no way Orbital can get a new engine for the same money as the old. The question is how big a knock on effect will the mismatch have on the stage design? At some point on the Isp/T:W range Orbital will have to scrap the whole vehicle and start over. That cost is why I think a better fit Russian engine would win over a not as good US engine.

US engine mfg is good. Near drop in performance is better.  :(

Or maybe there is a US engine design with better than NK33 specs for Isp and T:W? Merlin 1d is claimed better T:W but (I think) Isp is the killer for triggering stage re-design, rather than the thrust transfer structure (awkward but relatively localized).

Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: baldusi on 04/23/2014 12:19 PM


What about the stage itself? If they choose a US-built motor, are they still going to source the stage from Ukraine? What if the factory ends up annexed by Russia?
This is a purely commercial rocket that barely makes the US built percentage. If Yuzhnoye is annexed by Russia, they'd be happy since that would give them immediate access to the Russian government market. And keeping the tooling working would probably make them keep a very special price for Orbital. Of course that's always the chance that some of the SLS tank researches (one is even RP-1/LOX composite out of autoclave common bulkhead) might be offered. But of course that would be an Antares II. And for that they would need an actual demand for such a rocket. As it is, they have something like one year to actually get all the necessary tanks for the CRS-1 contract.

I think it highly unlikely anyone at Orbital would be happy to see that factory annexed by Russia.  If that happens, there will almost certainly be serious sanctions and counter-sanctions between Russia and the West.  Russia might outright ban sales of rocket components to the U.S. or the U.S. Congress might ban such purchases from Russia, or, more specifically, from occupied Ukrainian territory.  Even if there isn't an outright ban, there will be a lot of political sentiment against depending on such production, and since most of the business for this rocket comes from the U.S. government, it would put Orbital in a very uncomfortable position.

And the idea you suggest that Orbital could get Russian government business sounds like fantasy to me.  Russia has lots of its own launch providers to support, there's no way they would go to Orbital even if the whole Ukraine conflict hadn't happened.
Please re-read my sentence. The subject is Yuzhnoye. I meant that Yuzhnoye would be happy. They have been losing business like crazy for not being Russian.
It would be a complication for Orbital. But as I stated above, they are very close to receiving their full manifest of CSR-1 tanks.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Lurker Steve on 04/23/2014 01:44 PM


What about the stage itself? If they choose a US-built motor, are they still going to source the stage from Ukraine? What if the factory ends up annexed by Russia?
This is a purely commercial rocket that barely makes the US built percentage. If Yuzhnoye is annexed by Russia, they'd be happy since that would give them immediate access to the Russian government market. And keeping the tooling working would probably make them keep a very special price for Orbital. Of course that's always the chance that some of the SLS tank researches (one is even RP-1/LOX composite out of autoclave common bulkhead) might be offered. But of course that would be an Antares II. And for that they would need an actual demand for such a rocket. As it is, they have something like one year to actually get all the necessary tanks for the CRS-1 contract.

I think it highly unlikely anyone at Orbital would be happy to see that factory annexed by Russia.  If that happens, there will almost certainly be serious sanctions and counter-sanctions between Russia and the West.  Russia might outright ban sales of rocket components to the U.S. or the U.S. Congress might ban such purchases from Russia, or, more specifically, from occupied Ukrainian territory.  Even if there isn't an outright ban, there will be a lot of political sentiment against depending on such production, and since most of the business for this rocket comes from the U.S. government, it would put Orbital in a very uncomfortable position.

And the idea you suggest that Orbital could get Russian government business sounds like fantasy to me.  Russia has lots of its own launch providers to support, there's no way they would go to Orbital even if the whole Ukraine conflict hadn't happened.
Please re-read my sentence. The subject is Yuzhnoye. I meant that Yuzhnoye would be happy. They have been losing business like crazy for not being Russian.
It would be a complication for Orbital. But as I stated above, they are very close to receiving their full manifest of CSR-1 tanks.

How much commonality is there between the Antares, Vega, and Zenit first stages, all built by the same factory ?
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: baldusi on 04/23/2014 02:54 PM
How much commonality is there between the Antares, Vega, and Zenit first stages, all built by the same factory ?
Vega first stage (P80) is done in Italy. You might mean the AVUM? That's a tiny stage, not unlike a mini Fregat.
Antares and Zenit use the same tank tooling. And since Yuzhnove does tanks and pressurization system, my guess is that's just a shortened Zenit stage. There's the "little" issue that Antares uses subcooled LOX, so it might not be that straight. But my guess is that it has a lot of commonality in manufacturing.
If they use the same pressurization system, that might mean same valves, regulators, He tanks, heat exchangers, etc. The thrust structure would be different. And the TVC of the AJ-26 and the RD-171M are very different. Probably pad interfaces are conceptually similar but totally custom (like using US made connectors and such). And let's not forget that Zenit is certified for RG-1 and Antares for RP-1.
The other launcher that Yuzhnove currently manufactures is the Cyclon-4, which is a completely different tooling and design. It has different propulsion, diameter, propellant, avionics, fairing, etc.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: baldusi on 04/23/2014 03:12 PM
Please don't forget T/W and isp. Antares relies on a 130:1 T/W and SC isp. You can't use gas generators and get the same performance. Not even a scaled Merlin 1D.

Don't fall into the "isp uber alles" philosophy. Of course a different engine could be used. Just add power, and stretch the tanks. The primary performance that actually matters is how much payload is put in the desired orbit. Isp and T/W are secondary to that.

And then you are talking about Antares 2. I find it simplistic when I said both high T/W and isp that you only mentioned isp. Not to mention O/F ratios. Sure, you could put an F-1B, use a  bigger tank, and it will probably have even better performance. And be bigger and a completely new first stage. The point is that OSC wants to pay just 30M on the re-engine program (but is willing to pay more for each individual engine). That means same tank, mostly same GSE and physical interfaces.

Given the lack of an exact replica engine, anything you do will be a "Antares II", no matter what you do. This is why I'm suggesting that excluding engines that don't have the same thrust, isp, or T/W ratio is a pointless thought experiment anyway. So why not widen the possibilities? If Orbital truly believes in the future of Antares (or derivatives thereof), they should be examined.
In my book new engine means new stage. But it's more like a v1.1 or a v2.0 version.
Gas Generator RP-1/LOX engines usually have an O/F around 2.35, while ORSC use around 2.65. Antares as is has limited T/W, thus, you can't really go lower. But a 130% throttle might be perfectly manageable. The structure and avionics are designed fro two nozzles. If you put a single one you'd have to add some roll control mechanism. How is the fuel and oxidizer plumbing? How difficult is to adapt the thrust structure and plumbing? What about working fluids? Is the TVC electromechanical or hydraulic? Does it uses fuel as working fluid or another thing? There's a very long list of things to take care of that make it a simple drop-in or an almost new design effort.
I know that on this very site an Orbital propulsion engineer said that either dual RD-193 or a single RD-180 would be an almost drop in and improve performance significantly.
The dual AJ-26 (called MES in in the Antares) has a thrust in vac of 3,630kN and 301s/332s of isp and weights 4,825kg. An RD-180 has 3,830kN, isp of 311s/338s and weights 5,480kg. It's not exactly the same but it's so close that's almost made for it. Dual RD-193 is around that, too. And a RD-181 would probably be done to improve thrust structure, plumbing and fluid compatibility.
Now, an AJ-1E6 might be a bit different. But it's done by the same company that adapted the NK-33 into the AJ-26, thus things like ECU, TVC and fluids are bound to be similar. And it uses an evolved thrust chamber of the NK-33, so it shouldn't be that much different. Overall, we are talking about extremely close engines. Everything withing a 20% of the other. That's a far cry from five Merlin 1D o a single F-1B or RS-27B.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: newpylong on 04/23/2014 08:24 PM
Please don't forget T/W and isp. Antares relies on a 130:1 T/W and SC isp. You can't use gas generators and get the same performance. Not even a scaled Merlin 1D.

Don't fall into the "isp uber alles" philosophy. Of course a different engine could be used. Just add power, and stretch the tanks. The primary performance that actually matters is how much payload is put in the desired orbit. Isp and T/W are secondary to that.

And then you are talking about Antares 2. I find it simplistic when I said both high T/W and isp that you only mentioned isp. Not to mention O/F ratios. Sure, you could put an F-1B, use a  bigger tank, and it will probably have even better performance. And be bigger and a completely new first stage. The point is that OSC wants to pay just 30M on the re-engine program (but is willing to pay more for each individual engine). That means same tank, mostly same GSE and physical interfaces.

Given the lack of an exact replica engine, anything you do will be a "Antares II", no matter what you do. This is why I'm suggesting that excluding engines that don't have the same thrust, isp, or T/W ratio is a pointless thought experiment anyway. So why not widen the possibilities? If Orbital truly believes in the future of Antares (or derivatives thereof), they should be examined.

The future of Antares highly revolves around cost. If they can't find a drop in replacement and have to start major modifications to the first stage, GSE, transportation, etc and so on, any possibility of being able to offer what they can now is lost and they might as well call it quits after the last CRS flight.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: edkyle99 on 04/25/2014 08:14 PM
Reviewing the Antares engine story today, it has occurred to me interesting, given the timing of the new Antares engine procurement process, that Orbital dropped its RD-180 lawsuit against ULA a couple of months ago.  When the suit was dropped, Orbital said that it was seeking a business resolution of the dispute. 

I can imagine all kinds of "business resolutions" for this matter.  Money would be one.  An agreement to support and use and participate in domestic RD-180 production could be another.  Or, perhaps, an agreement to support an RD-180 replacement that would serve both rockets.  Cost sharing, to the benefit of both.

But I'm only guessing.  We'll have more insight by August it appears, when the new engine contract is announced.

 - Ed Kyle
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: baldusi on 04/25/2014 08:46 PM
I concur with Ed. They've got something. And specially in current climate an indigenous replacement can't be ruled out. Specially with those 550klbf thrust chambers that Aerojet is demonstrating for SLS. A high isp/high T/W 1.1Mlbf AJ-1E6 might do wonders. Specially if it allows ULA to both solve the Russian dependence issue AND consolidate the fleet. I didn't do the numbers, but it might happen that they could use less or no solids for the Atlas 400, specially if HED pays for the dual Centaur.
And Antares would greatly benefit too. My only worry is isp, since the AJ-1E6 will be based on the technology of the AJ-26 and it only has 302/332s vs 311s/338s of the RD-180. Can they increase the isp a bit more so when coupled with the increased thrust (933klbf vs 1100klbf) have the same performance? Can they increase performance and let ULA consolidate with less versions?
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Lars_J on 04/25/2014 10:35 PM
A high isp/high T/W 1.1Mlbf AJ-1E6 might do wonders. Specially if it allows ULA to both solve the Russian dependence issue AND consolidate the fleet. I didn't do the numbers, but it might happen that they could use less or no solids for the Atlas 400, specially if HED pays for the dual Centaur.
And Antares would greatly benefit too. My only worry is isp, since the AJ-1E6 will be based on the technology of the AJ-26 and it only has 302/332s vs 311s/338s of the RD-180.

How does it solve the Russia dependence problem? AJ-26 is not an American engine. Is AeroJet Rocketdyne any closer to domestically producing an NK-33 variant than they are to producing a domesic RD-180?
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: USFdon on 04/25/2014 10:49 PM
How does it solve the Russia dependence problem? AJ-26 is not an American engine. Is AeroJet Rocketdyne any closer to domestically producing an NK-33 variant than they are to producing a domesic RD-180?

A part of their Advanced Booster Contract is to begin working on parts of the AJ-1E6. This coupled with their continuing work in the Air Force HCB program makes it seem, at least to me, that Aerojet is further along this path than meets the eye.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: baldusi on 04/26/2014 08:11 PM

A high isp/high T/W 1.1Mlbf AJ-1E6 might do wonders. Specially if it allows ULA to both solve the Russian dependence issue AND consolidate the fleet. I didn't do the numbers, but it might happen that they could use less or no solids for the Atlas 400, specially if HED pays for the dual Centaur.
And Antares would greatly benefit too. My only worry is isp, since the AJ-1E6 will be based on the technology of the AJ-26 and it only has 302/332s vs 311s/338s of the RD-180.

How does it solve the Russia dependence problem? AJ-26 is not an American engine. Is AeroJet Rocketdyne any closer to domestically producing an NK-33 variant than they are to producing a domesic RD-180?
The fact that the AJ-1E6 thrust chamber uses some of the technology on the NK-33 doesn't makes it less American. It's 100% designed and built in the US.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Lars_J on 04/26/2014 10:18 PM

The fact that the AJ-1E6 thrust chamber uses some of the technology on the NK-33 doesn't makes it less American. It's 100% designed and built in the US.

It doesn't exist yet, so we'll see. But it could be.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: simonbp on 04/27/2014 11:45 PM
Yeah, and if AJ-1E6 inherits the NK-33's reusability, then it could make a good choice.

Either way, if OSC is going to go to effort of redesigning Antares, I find it hard to believe that it won't be with a path to reusability. Antares as-is is designed to be profitable at a very low flight rate. It would only be worth the effort to redesign if they want to give SpaceX a run on the reusable first stage game. Otherwise, Antares has a very limited future.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: kevin-rf on 04/28/2014 12:06 AM
Or are hedging bets against SpaceX being able to do what it claims with cost, flight rate, and re-usability.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Lar on 04/28/2014 12:18 AM
Nod...

Anyone doing a new (or essentially new, as in this case if the engine differs at all...) first stage that isn't at least designing not to preclude reuse is on a fools errand at this point. IMHO of course.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: arachnitect on 04/28/2014 01:06 AM
Yeah, and if AJ-1E6 inherits the NK-33's reusability, then it could make a good choice.

Either way, if OSC is going to go to effort of redesigning Antares, I find it hard to believe that it won't be with a path to reusability. Antares as-is is designed to be profitable at a very low flight rate. It would only be worth the effort to redesign if they want to give SpaceX a run on the reusable first stage game. Otherwise, Antares has a very limited future.

They say it will cost no more than $30M in redesign work to switch to new engines.

Antares can't take the performance hit to go reusable.

Suddenly everyone needs to be making reusable rockets? Spacex is the only one working on reuse. Spacex is the outlier.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: simonbp on 04/28/2014 01:10 AM
Or are hedging bets against SpaceX being able to do what it claims with cost, flight rate, and re-usability.

Maybe, but I kinda doubt it. Antares only makes sense at the current very low flight rate. You could only add a few more flights without some serious changes. They could try to scoop up a few NASA/DoD science flights, like a larger Pegasus. But Antares is neither sized nor priced for commercial launches.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: kevin-rf on 04/28/2014 03:09 AM
Taurus II ANTARES was sized and priced for payloads that are required to fly on US built launchers but to small to make economic sense on an EELV . It was also designed to provide economic rides for Orbital's smaller family of GSO satellites. This was a time when cheaper Delta II launches where being pushed to more expensive EELV's and SpaceX was far from a sure thing.

While SpaceX has only launched Orbital built GSO built satellites, it does not mean Orbital should throw up its hands and go home. SpaceX still has hurdles to overcome.  No need for Orbital to pack up and go home because the group think on NSF is if it is not an RLV they should. They have a rocket they spent good money developing,  they needed to now market it and make money with it.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: TrevorMonty on 04/28/2014 04:51 AM
Antares was built for ISS resupply missions and I can't see Orbital losing that business anytime soon. Definitely not to SpaceX no matter how cheap they are, as NASA wants at least 2 separate suppliers. A few extra commercial or DOD launches would be bonus.

If they take on to many extra launches then they would have to invest heavily into more launch facilities.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: LouScheffer on 04/28/2014 05:31 PM

If they take on too many extra launches then they would have to invest heavily into more launch facilities.
Why is that? One flight per facility every two months is not a breakneck pace, and quite a bit more than they are launching now...
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: newpylong on 04/28/2014 06:01 PM
I think they can handle an increase. Right now the components are either sitting at MARS integrated or in pieces for quite a long time waiting for launch.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: simonbp on 04/28/2014 07:19 PM
Taurus II ANTARES was sized and priced for payloads that are required to fly on US built launchers but to small to make economic sense on an EELV . It was also designed to provide economic rides for Orbital's smaller family of GSO satellites. This was a time when cheaper Delta II launches where being pushed to more expensive EELV's and SpaceX was far from a sure thing.

You are right about the original Taurus II. However, when the bottom fell out of the commercial market in circa-2009, Orbital decided to refocus the vehicle on CRS, since that was a much more stable funding source. Originally, Taurus II was to have an optional liquid upper stage scaled for GTO launches of its GeoSTAR bus, but that has since fallen away. They are now trying to sell it with a Star 48 third stage, targeted at NASA escape velocity (planetary) missions.

Quote
While SpaceX has only launched Orbital built GSO built satellites, it does not mean Orbital should throw up its hands and go home. SpaceX still has hurdles to overcome.  No need for Orbital to pack up and go home because the group think on NSF is if it is not an RLV they should. They have a rocket they spent good money developing,  they needed to now market it and make money with it.

These days, no amount of marketing is going to sell a rocket built in eastern Ukraine. Sad, but that's the reality. No corporate lawyer is going to approve spending money on a launch that depends on the future political stability of area that is currently in civil war.

I serious doubt Orbital will "pack up and go home" on the orbital launch business! However, they are very much a for-profit company, and if SpaceX starts to make a profit with a reusable first stage, they will respond with their own reusable first stage. The question is how much it will resemble Antares; I would guess it would have a new first stage and engines, but the current Antares second stage and payload faring.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: baldusi on 04/28/2014 07:53 PM
Or, they might get an arrangement to use the StratoLauncher service for CRS-2 while the Ukranian crisis settles. The StartoLauncher would also giver a bit more performance (between 1 and 2tonnes to LEO), increase launch windows and allow for a wider and cheaper (if designed for) pressurized module. The reason is that current Cygnus pressurized module reuses the European ATV and Columbus technology that's designed for 20year of life.
The two relevant articles are here  (http://www.spacenews.com/article/financial-report/40319orbital-hopes-to-parlay-stratolaunch-work-into-more-capable-antares)and here (http://www.spacenews.com/article/civil-space/39934thales-alenia-space-exec-identifies-ways-to-save-on-next-cygnus-order).
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: USFdon on 04/28/2014 11:13 PM
Or, they might get an arrangement to use the StratoLauncher service for CRS-2 while the Ukranian crisis settles. The StartoLauncher would also giver a bit more performance (between 1 and 2tonnes to LEO), increase launch windows and allow for a wider and cheaper (if designed for) pressurized module. The reason is that current Cygnus pressurized module reuses the European ATV and Columbus technology that's designed for 20year of life.
The two relevant articles are here  (http://www.spacenews.com/article/financial-report/40319orbital-hopes-to-parlay-stratolaunch-work-into-more-capable-antares)and here (http://www.spacenews.com/article/civil-space/39934thales-alenia-space-exec-identifies-ways-to-save-on-next-cygnus-order).

Going with the StratoLauncher as a backup makes sense. In other news, when did it become a possibility to have Antares air launched! I though that it was going to be a solid rocket like Pegasus? This coupled with the photo showing 4 engines* on the bottom of the rocket makes that an interesting article.

Or is  this an old pic from when it was a Falcon 5 derivative?
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: bubbagret on 04/28/2014 11:20 PM
Old picture. Note the Dragon at the front.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: baldusi on 04/29/2014 12:15 AM
The StartoLauncher will have double solids as first stage and an hydrolox as upper stage. It's designed by orbital but owned by StratoLauncher. Thus, it's a bit a third party vehicle a bit an own vehicle. IAUI, Orbital can't use the parts for themselves. But they will probably get some revenue and work out of each launch.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: TrevorMonty on 04/29/2014 12:51 AM
The heavier CRS-2 payload requirements may be deciding factor in Antares engine selection.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Zed_Noir on 04/29/2014 01:21 AM
The StartoLauncher will have double solids as first stage and an hydrolox as upper stage. It's designed by orbital but owned by StratoLauncher. Thus, it's a bit a third party vehicle a bit an own vehicle. IAUI, Orbital can't use the parts for themselves. But they will probably get some revenue and work out of each launch.

This Spacenews article (http://www.spacenews.com/article/financial-report/40319orbital-hopes-to-parlay-stratolaunch-work-into-more-capable-antares) muddles things up a bit. From the Spacenews article dated April 23rd, the Stratolaunch LV configuration is still in flux.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Lars_J on 04/29/2014 04:54 PM
Given today's ATK merger announcement, how would an all-solid "Antares II" look? (if that is what they do)

It would have to become a 3-stage rocket, right? Or use something like a 5 segment SRB as a first stage - but would that even be sufficient?
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: arachnitect on 04/29/2014 05:16 PM
Given today's ATK merger announcement, how would an all-solid "Antares II" look? (if that is what they do)

It would have to become a 3-stage rocket, right? Or use something like a 5 segment SRB as a first stage - but would that even be sufficient?

For a 3 stage design 3 segment or maybe even 2.5 should be sufficient.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: PahTo on 04/29/2014 05:47 PM

Sounds like Athena (III).
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: baldusi on 04/29/2014 05:59 PM
Doesn't those segments belong to NASA? I believe they'd rather use some form of new solids. In particular, those developed for StratoLauncher might be extended a bit. Or, alternatively, they might partner with StratoLaunch and be done with it.
The proposed extension to Cygnus (the one with four segments, 3.7tonnes of cargo and 33m³ of volume) would need about 6tonnes to a 51.6deg x 300km orbit. That's 1 tonne more than an Antares 130. The StratoLauncher is supposed to get 6 tonnes, and the cross range of the plane might enable some very wide launch windows, which is a considerable advantage for late-load cargo.
In fact, I don't see how they would handle Antares and StartoLauncher without overstepping all the time.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: edkyle99 on 04/29/2014 06:00 PM
Given today's ATK merger announcement, how would an all-solid "Antares II" look? (if that is what they do)

It would have to become a 3-stage rocket, right? Or use something like a 5 segment SRB as a first stage - but would that even be sufficient?
My guess is that it would spring from the Stratolaunch development effort, which is creating two brand new big composite case motors for Stages 1 and 2.  An Antares would need two big solid stages to replace the NK-33 liquid stage, though the precise details (thrust, length, propellant loading) would likely differ from what Statrolaunch needs.

Forget about Athena III and the old SRB steel motor cases.  That is ancient technology now.

 - Ed Kyle
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: USFdon on 04/29/2014 06:04 PM
Resurrection of the PlanetSpace COTS proposal?

I also didn't know that ATK actually made a mockup. Maybe this could be created rather quickly.
(http://www.flightglobal.com/assets/getasset.aspx?itemid=21170)
flightglobal.com
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Prober on 04/29/2014 06:08 PM
Has there been any definitive info on Aerojet starting production of domestic AJ-26's? I know there were comments about an agreement made with Teledyne Brown concerning stateside production and that Aerojet has been fiddling with the NK-33's since the 1990's (including getting a license / documentation). The NK-33 / AJ-26 is a simpler engine than the RD-170 family so presumably it would be easier to produce here. Or was this more hand-waving, PowerPoint studies?


I would think the only way Orbital would get US production for the up-front investment they listed ($30M) would be if both Orbital and ULA committed to a long-term buy of a jointly used engine (ie domestic RD-180).

Have a link to that "up-front investment they listed ($30M)"    Might be interesting to run some numbers....think their up front costs a few mil low.....but I'm running this from a pure "manufacturing" view. Not a Rocket engine manufacture view.   They should be able to get 3-4 US companies to "manufacture" the engine.

Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Galactic Penguin SST on 04/29/2014 06:34 PM
So......how do you launch an all-solid Antares II from Wallops? (or should it move to the Cape, read LC-39B?)  ;)
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: arachnitect on 04/29/2014 06:45 PM
Has there been any definitive info on Aerojet starting production of domestic AJ-26's? I know there were comments about an agreement made with Teledyne Brown concerning stateside production and that Aerojet has been fiddling with the NK-33's since the 1990's (including getting a license / documentation). The NK-33 / AJ-26 is a simpler engine than the RD-170 family so presumably it would be easier to produce here. Or was this more hand-waving, PowerPoint studies?


I would think the only way Orbital would get US production for the up-front investment they listed ($30M) would be if both Orbital and ULA committed to a long-term buy of a jointly used engine (ie domestic RD-180).

Have a link to that "up-front investment they listed ($30M)"    Might be interesting to run some numbers....think their up front costs a few mil low.....but I'm running this from a pure "manufacturing" view. Not a Rocket engine manufacture view.   They should be able to get 3-4 US companies to "manufacture" the engine.

$30M is Orbital's investment in changes to Antares. Orbital says they won't pay upfront to establish production... they expect those costs to be in the engine unit price.

http://spaceflightnow.com/news/n1404/25antares/
Quote
Orbital does not plan on funding research and development of the engines themselves, Thompson said, only the cost of accommodating a new engine on the Antares first stage structure.

Of course there's the question of whether today's announcement changes all that.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Avron on 04/29/2014 06:49 PM
""after analyzing the sanctions against our space industry I suggest the US delivers its astronauts to the ISS with a trampoline."" - Rogozin

I guess he will not be far wrong with all solids
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: yg1968 on 04/29/2014 07:55 PM
The StartoLauncher will have double solids as first stage and an hydrolox as upper stage. It's designed by orbital but owned by StratoLauncher. Thus, it's a bit a third party vehicle a bit an own vehicle. IAUI, Orbital can't use the parts for themselves. But they will probably get some revenue and work out of each launch.

This Spacenews article (http://www.spacenews.com/article/financial-report/40319orbital-hopes-to-parlay-stratolaunch-work-into-more-capable-antares) muddles things up a bit. From the Spacenews article dated April 23rd, the Stratolaunch LV configuration is still in flux.

From the article:
Quote
But as a precaution, he said Orbital is considering an all-U.S.-built Antares first stage, for both the engine and the airframe, as it weighs a long-term contract. Thompson told investors on April 17 that Orbital is weighing offers from three companies for the Antares first-stage engine. Two are from Russia, including the current supplier, and one is from the United States.

If that one U.S. company is ATK, that could change their plans.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Halidon on 04/29/2014 11:57 PM
Not to get too wacky, how feasible would it be Antares II-B first stage and the Liberty second stage became the same core?
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: arachnitect on 04/30/2014 02:03 AM
Not to get too wacky, how feasible would it be Antares II-B first stage and the Liberty second stage became the same core?

Need more thrust. Would need LH2 infrastructure. Upperstage was all EADS anyways, so the ATK merger doesn't really change anything.

The stick is dead, so Antares would carry all the costs.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Prober on 04/30/2014 03:25 AM
Not to get too wacky, how feasible would it be Antares II-B first stage and the Liberty second stage became the same core?

Need more thrust. Would need LH2 infrastructure. Upperstage was all EADS anyways, so the ATK merger doesn't really change anything.

The stick is dead, so Antares would carry all the costs.

The stick might be dead but what about using the Upper stage from EADS on the Antares?
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Lars_J on 04/30/2014 03:39 AM
Not to get too wacky, how feasible would it be Antares II-B first stage and the Liberty second stage became the same core?

Need more thrust. Would need LH2 infrastructure. Upperstage was all EADS anyways, so the ATK merger doesn't really change anything.

The stick is dead, so Antares would carry all the costs.

The stick might be dead but what about using the Upper stage from EADS on the Antares?


Eh.. Why? It would be massively oversized. I don't think the current Antares 1st stage could lift it off the pad. Do you not recall how massive it is? It is the same size as the Ariane V core stage.

It's dead. (the stick - and its upper stage)
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: arachnitect on 04/30/2014 04:51 AM
Not to get too wacky, how feasible would it be Antares II-B first stage and the Liberty second stage became the same core?

Need more thrust. Would need LH2 infrastructure. Upperstage was all EADS anyways, so the ATK merger doesn't really change anything.

The stick is dead, so Antares would carry all the costs.

The stick might be dead but what about using the Upper stage from EADS on the Antares?


Eh.. Why? It would be massively oversized. I don't think the current Antares 1st stage could lift it off the pad. Do you not recall how massive it is? It is the same size as the Ariane V core stage.

It's dead. (the stick - and its upper stage)

I think Prober's talking about using one of the Ariane 5 upper stages (EPS or ESC).

Maybe?

Keep in mind Orbital now makes their current solid upperstages in house. There's also whatever comes out of the Stratolaunch program. I really don't think they need to go to Europe for an upperstage. They could make a storable propellant stage with an AJ-10 family engine. Or they stick to the script and fly 30B/30XL stages with transfer stage or Star-48 when necessary.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Lars_J on 04/30/2014 05:12 AM
I think Prober's talking about using one of the Ariane 5 upper stages (EPS or ESC).

Maybe?

Oh, that might make more sense  - but those are 5m diameter stages.

But with the ATK merger, I don't see the upper stage changing.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: edkyle99 on 04/30/2014 04:41 PM
Here's a guess at what a solid motor Antares might look like.  In this case, I've conjured up a design meant to replicate the current Antares 130 performance (5.5 tonnes to LEO x 51.6 deg)

Two composite case monolithic solid motors would replace the current liquid stage.  Both would be about the same diameter as an SRB (3.71 meters), only slightly skinnier than the current 3.9 meter stage.  The Castor 30XL would be retained as a third stage, as would the guidance systems, interstage, payload fairing, etc..

The first stage would weigh about 173 tonnes, including 160 tonnes of propellant.  It would have an average ISP of about 263 seconds and would need to produce about 400 tonnes or more of liftoff thrust. 

The second stage would weigh about 95 tonnes with about 88 tonnes of propellant with a vacuum ISP of 290 seconds and around 200 tonnes of thrust maximum.

Castor 30XL is assumed to weigh 25 tonnes with 23 tonnes of propellant, an ISP of 301 seconds, and a maximum thrust of about 50 tonnes.

With a 1 tonne payload fairing, this combination can generate 9,440 m/s ideal delta-v with a 5.5 tonne payload, which I believe is roughly needed to reach a 51.6 deg LEO from Wallops.

This rocket would weigh about 300 tonnes - only 10 tonnes or so more than an Antares 130 - and would stand shorter then an Antares by 5 meters or more.  It would produce 20% or more thrust than Antares, so it should be able to use the existing Antares pad, with modifications.

A key limiting factor is the mass of the first stage.  The SRB segments weighed about 150 tonnes loaded and were moved by rail, truck, crane, etc.  Plans for Ariane 6 call for monolithic segments loaded with 150 tonnes of propellant or more.  Thus a monolithic first stage loaded with 160 tonnes of propellant seems possible, though I'm not quite sure how the Wallops infrastructure would handle a motor of this size.

Obviously, more payload - probably 7-8 tonnes or more - is needed to meet the NASA standards for future CRS work.

 - Ed Kyle
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Lars_J on 04/30/2014 04:51 PM
Very interesting - but I don't see how that would work with the pad.

A key limiting factor is the mass of the first stage.  The SRB segments weighed about 150 tonnes loaded and were moved by rail, truck, crane, etc.  Plans for Ariane 6 call for monolithic segments loaded with 150 tonnes of propellant or more.  Thus a monolithic first stage loaded with 160 tonnes of propellant seems possible, though I'm not quite sure how the Wallops infrastructure would handle a motor of this size.

Yes, there is a reason that the rockets with heavy solid boosters or first stages are usually stacked on the pad - Or moved using a very heavy duty mover. Moving the whole rocket out to the pad (as currently done at Wallops) would not be practical using any of the existing infrastructure there.

It would seem likely that they might want to build a new pad at Wallops for this (if that is what they do) - which would also allow the existing pad to be used until Antares II would be ready.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: TrevorMonty on 05/07/2014 04:59 AM
Orbital is not the only company interested in AJ 26 engine both Kistler and Kelly Space specify it for their RLVs. Kistler website says they are back in business after coming out of bankruptcy!!.


Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Lobo on 05/07/2014 05:31 PM
Very interesting - but I don't see how that would work with the pad.

A key limiting factor is the mass of the first stage.  The SRB segments weighed about 150 tonnes loaded and were moved by rail, truck, crane, etc.  Plans for Ariane 6 call for monolithic segments loaded with 150 tonnes of propellant or more.  Thus a monolithic first stage loaded with 160 tonnes of propellant seems possible, though I'm not quite sure how the Wallops infrastructure would handle a motor of this size.

Yes, there is a reason that the rockets with heavy solid boosters or first stages are usually stacked on the pad - Or moved using a very heavy duty mover. Moving the whole rocket out to the pad (as currently done at Wallops) would not be practical using any of the existing infrastructure there.

It would seem likely that they might want to build a new pad at Wallops for this (if that is what they do) - which would also allow the existing pad to be used until Antares II would be ready.

Could/would OSC/ATK rent a high-bay at the VAB and convert an old MLP for use at 39B?  NASA trying to get other users.  Liberty was kicked around as a potential customer, but maybe an "Antares II" (or Athena III) would be what actually ends up using it?  KSC is already set up to receive and process big heavy solid rocket segments of this type, and will be doing that for SLS anyway.  Antares II with an intial Castor 30XL 3rd stage would require minimal on-pad support, as it's all solid.  Just whatever the payload needs.

Maybe that would be a better option than Wallops?  NASA would probably make an attractive offer, as they are realy wanting to make KSC a "multi user" facility.  And the MLP modifications would be pretty minor, as it's SRB flame ports would be able to be used as is, as the solid would be of the same diameter as the old STS SRB's and Ares 1-X.    Just need a simple umbilical tower for the payload umbilicals added to it.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: sdsds on 05/16/2014 03:27 AM
I am not sure if this is news or rumor or still unsettled.
http://en.itar-tass.com/non-political/731768
"USA to purchase Russia's Energomash rocket engines after 2016"
May 15, 18:05 UTC+4

But the article concludes: "Orbital Science’s technical specialists will visit Energomash next week to negotiate RD-181 purchases." That somewhat implies RD-181 is or was under consideration, not that it has been selected.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: arachnitect on 05/16/2014 03:40 AM
Even if they don't select ATK's proposal for a solid first stage, I do hope we see what they put together.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: edkyle99 on 05/16/2014 05:33 PM
I am not sure if this is news or rumor or still unsettled.
http://en.itar-tass.com/non-political/731768
"USA to purchase Russia's Energomash rocket engines after 2016"
May 15, 18:05 UTC+4

But the article concludes: "Orbital Science’s technical specialists will visit Energomash next week to negotiate RD-181 purchases." That somewhat implies RD-181 is or was under consideration, not that it has been selected.
Ha!  A bureaucratic solution to the RD-180 "ban".  Ship RD-181 instead!

 - Ed Kyle
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: yg1968 on 05/17/2014 01:59 AM
This was an interesting panel on commercial launches and featured Dr. Antonio Elias from Orbital (along with SpaceX and SNC):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HiFVmcgge4s
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Lar on 05/17/2014 03:46 AM
I found it interesting (neat!) that OSC sent their biggest rocket scientist, the other two sent sales people :)
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Halidon on 05/18/2014 02:16 AM
When in doubt, find another Russian engine? Oy vey.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Lobo on 05/18/2014 02:54 PM
I am not sure if this is news or rumor or still unsettled.
http://en.itar-tass.com/non-political/731768
"USA to purchase Russia's Energomash rocket engines after 2016"
May 15, 18:05 UTC+4

But the article concludes: "Orbital Science’s technical specialists will visit Energomash next week to negotiate RD-181 purchases." That somewhat implies RD-181 is or was under consideration, not that it has been selected.
Ha!  A bureaucratic solution to the RD-180 "ban".  Ship RD-181 instead!

 - Ed Kyle

What are the differences between the RD-180 and 181?  I couldn't find much on the 181 on line.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: R7 on 05/18/2014 04:15 PM
What are the differences between the RD-180 and 181?  I couldn't find much on the 181 on line.

2 * RD-181 = RD-180 ? It looks (http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=32141.msg1072223#msg1072223) like RD-180 sawed in half.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: InfraNut2 on 05/18/2014 05:43 PM
What are the differences between the RD-180 and 181?  I couldn't find much on the 181 on line.

2 * RD-181 = RD-180 ? It looks (http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=32141.msg1072223#msg1072223) like RD-180 sawed in half.

Lobo: Why search the rest of the on-line world, when we have the one of the best non-russian sources of information here in this forum?

There is a already at least one thread with more info on RD-181 (http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=32141.0). It seems it is not completely developed yet. It seems to be based on RD-191 with many modernizations and improvements, plus some adaptations for Antares and similar uses. (RD-191 is a 1-chamber engine in the same family as RD-180 (2-ch) and used for Angara). Another improved RD-191-based engine may also be adopted as a replacement for NK-33 on Soyuz 2-1v if production of the original is not restarted instead.

R7: It is not surprising RD-180 and RD-181 looks similar (apart from the number of chambers+nozzles), They are derived from the same roots, and both are modern, "americanized"/"export" variants, only RD-181 is newer and with more extensive improvements.

Also, like sdsds,  I will not take the RD-181 selection as a fact unless confirmed. Russians have a long "tradition" of presenting proposed solutions/deals as if they were chosen solutions or agreed deals. The mention of upcoming negotiations hint that that may well be the case here also. I take it ONLY as confirmation that RD-181 is one of the Antares engine candidates for the next batch after the engines stockpiled at Aerojet run out.

edit: added minor clarifications
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Jim on 05/18/2014 08:26 PM
What are the differences between the RD-180 and 181?  I couldn't find much on the 181 on line.

2 * RD-181 = RD-180 ? It looks (http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=32141.msg1072223#msg1072223) like RD-180 sawed in half.

No, the 191 is 1/2 the 180
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: edkyle99 on 05/19/2014 03:20 AM
What are the differences between the RD-180 and 181?  I couldn't find much on the 181 on line.

2 * RD-181 = RD-180 ? It looks (http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=32141.msg1072223#msg1072223) like RD-180 sawed in half.

No, the 191 is 1/2 the 180
And RD-193 seems like one-half of an RD-181.  Maybe.

 - Ed Kyle
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: USFdon on 05/19/2014 04:17 AM
That does not gimbal
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Danderman on 05/19/2014 05:10 AM
In all cases, Orbital would be smart to produce an updated Antares that also support GEO launches for Orbital built comsats.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: R7 on 05/19/2014 05:22 AM
The RD-181 numbering seems confusing because it certainly looks like single chamber engine and thought 18x denotes dual and 19x single chamber designs. Looks like 18x series is for any post-USSR export models and 19x for post-USSR domestic use.

edit:

http://www.b14643.de/ has nice RD-170 family tree (http://www.b14643.de/Spacerockets_2/Diverse/Energomash_RD-170/family.jpg). It shows RD-181 branching from RD-180 but Russianspaceweb (http://www.russianspaceweb.com/rd193.html) says RD-181 could be developed from RD-193.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Lobo on 05/19/2014 04:40 PM

Lobo: Why search the rest of the on-line world, when we have the one of the best non-russian sources of information here in this forum?


Maybe because I wasn't aware of that thread??


There is a already at least one thread with more info on RD-181 (http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=32141.0). It seems it is not completely developed yet. It seems to be based on RD-191 with many modernizations and improvements, plus some adaptations for Antares and similar uses. (RD-191 is a 1-chamber engine in the same family as RD-180 (2-ch) and used for Angara). Another improved RD-191-based engine may also be adopted as a replacement for NK-33 on Soyuz 2-1v if production of the original is not restarted instead.


I'll go review that thread.  Thanks.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Lobo on 05/20/2014 03:21 PM
I am not sure if this is news or rumor or still unsettled.
http://en.itar-tass.com/non-political/731768
"USA to purchase Russia's Energomash rocket engines after 2016"
May 15, 18:05 UTC+4

But the article concludes: "Orbital Science’s technical specialists will visit Energomash next week to negotiate RD-181 purchases." That somewhat implies RD-181 is or was under consideration, not that it has been selected.
Ha!  A bureaucratic solution to the RD-180 "ban".  Ship RD-181 instead!

 - Ed Kyle

Wouldn't that then open up OSC/ATK the the same problems they are ULA are now facing again down the road?

Seems like it would be unwise given recent events to risk that again down the road, even if things get sorted out now for the time being.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: dkovacic on 05/22/2014 09:48 AM
D-180 "ban".  Ship RD-181 instead!

 - Ed Kyle

Wouldn't that then open up OSC/ATK the the same problems they are ULA are now facing again down the road?

Seems like it would be unwise given recent events to risk that again down the road, even if things get sorted out now for the time being.

It would - that is why I think replacing the 1st stage with solid engines is a way to go. Otherwise OSC/ATK merger does not make sense. Orbital has long argued that is better to have more small missions - and solids can address that part of the market.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Prober on 05/22/2014 03:24 PM
think this is the right place for this post ..if not move it.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-05-22/the-musk-show-in-washington-roils-rivals-as-fans-applaud.html

Musk has suggested that Orbital Sciences Corp. deserves fewer missions to supply the space station. Unlike SpaceX, Dulles, Virginia-based Orbital delivers cargo to the station using a one-way spacecraft that burns up on its return.

“They take up less than we do and they take nothing down, and they get paid twice as much per mission as we do,” Musk said in an April presentation at the U.S. Export-Import Bank’s annual conference in Washington.

Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Lobo on 05/22/2014 04:01 PM
think this is the right place for this post ..if not move it.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-05-22/the-musk-show-in-washington-roils-rivals-as-fans-applaud.html

Musk has suggested that Orbital Sciences Corp. deserves fewer missions to supply the space station. Unlike SpaceX, Dulles, Virginia-based Orbital delivers cargo to the station using a one-way spacecraft that burns up on its return.

“They take up less than we do and they take nothing down, and they get paid twice as much per mission as we do,” Musk said in an April presentation at the U.S. Export-Import Bank’s annual conference in Washington.

Ahhh...the plot thickens...

They do offer more pressurized volume though, especially when the enhanced Cygnus flies.  However, he has a point.  Why is OSC getting twice as much per mission as SpaceX does?  That doesn't seem right.  They should both be getting similar money for similar services I'd think.

And good for McCain and some others for standing up against the "business as usual" with government and traditional government contractors.  Too few politicians will do that.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Lobo on 05/22/2014 04:41 PM
D-180 "ban".  Ship RD-181 instead!

 - Ed Kyle

Wouldn't that then open up OSC/ATK the the same problems they are ULA are now facing again down the road?

Seems like it would be unwise given recent events to risk that again down the road, even if things get sorted out now for the time being.

It would - that is why I think replacing the 1st stage with solid engines is a way to go. Otherwise OSC/ATK merger does not make sense. Orbital has long argued that is better to have more small missions - and solids can address that part of the market.

Hence why I think that's the way they'll end up going with Antares.   They won't have to depend on unreliable Russian suppliers, and they just merged with a company that already makes rocket boosters...just solid rather than liquid.  I'd be pretty surprised if they don't go that ways, but they'll have to sleep in the bed they make if they switch to a Russian supplied engine like RD-181's.

I'm guessing the talk about Russian engine options is just to cover their options before they do a major overhaul of Antares.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: edkyle99 on 05/22/2014 05:09 PM
They won't have to depend on unreliable Russian suppliers ...
Let's not blame the suppliers.  The Russian suppliers themselves, Energomash, etc., have been quite dependable and reliable.  The problem is entirely political, and it cuts both ways.  It was a U.S. judge that first stopped RD-180 imports (briefly).  It is Russia's Deputy Prime Minister who subsequently threatened a cut-off, apparently in response to U.S. sanctions that themselves were a political response to Ukraine.  Energomash/RD-AMROSS itself has never stopped supporting its U.S. customer.

 - Ed Kyle
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: JasonAW3 on 05/22/2014 05:15 PM
I wonder if the Antares could handle 6- 7 Merlins.
Just launch Cygnus on Falcon 9 if you're going that route. If you're talking just bulky cargo upmass, Cygnus is simply better than Dragon for the same mass.

Exactly. Cygnus and Dragon both fill important niches and have different and complementary capabilities. Dragon could theoretically launch up to 6000kg of cargo, but with how small its pressurized volume is, it would need cargo with an effective density of over 500kg/m^3 to max out its mass capacity. Admittedly, Dragon on a F9 with reusable first stage would likely be a lot better matched between available volume and net cargo mass capacity.

But yeah, I'm glad we've got both vehicles flying.

~Jon

If you add in cargo that DOESN'T require pressurization, I'm fairly certain that they could easily max out the 6,000Kg cargo capacity.  I suspect though, Elon has something else up his sleeve.  Possibly an extended Dragon?

It's always bothered me that they included the "Trunk" as part of their spacecraft systems.  While it IS a convient place to mount the solar arrays, I've always had a hunch that he has plans to use that additional space and mass that could be added there for something...Interesting.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: kevin-rf on 05/22/2014 05:23 PM
think this is the right place for this post ..if not move it.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-05-22/the-musk-show-in-washington-roils-rivals-as-fans-applaud.html

Musk has suggested that Orbital Sciences Corp. deserves fewer missions to supply the space station. Unlike SpaceX, Dulles, Virginia-based Orbital delivers cargo to the station using a one-way spacecraft that burns up on its return.

“They take up less than we do and they take nothing down, and they get paid twice as much per mission as we do,” Musk said in an April presentation at the U.S. Export-Import Bank’s annual conference in Washington.

Ahhh...the plot thickens...

They do offer more pressurized volume though, especially when the enhanced Cygnus flies.  However, he has a point.  Why is OSC getting twice as much per mission as SpaceX does?  That doesn't seem right.  They should both be getting similar money for similar services I'd think.

And good for McCain and some others for standing up against the "business as usual" with government and traditional government contractors.  Too few politicians will do that.

No offense, but Musk is getting paid less, because he asked for less... He left money on the table trying to get his foot in the door. Now he is crying about about it?
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Prober on 05/22/2014 06:13 PM
think this is the right place for this post ..if not move it.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-05-22/the-musk-show-in-washington-roils-rivals-as-fans-applaud.html

Musk has suggested that Orbital Sciences Corp. deserves fewer missions to supply the space station. Unlike SpaceX, Dulles, Virginia-based Orbital delivers cargo to the station using a one-way spacecraft that burns up on its return.

“They take up less than we do and they take nothing down, and they get paid twice as much per mission as we do,” Musk said in an April presentation at the U.S. Export-Import Bank’s annual conference in Washington.

Ahhh...the plot thickens...

They do offer more pressurized volume though, especially when the enhanced Cygnus flies.  However, he has a point.  Why is OSC getting twice as much per mission as SpaceX does?  That doesn't seem right.  They should both be getting similar money for similar services I'd think.

And good for McCain and some others for standing up against the "business as usual" with government and traditional government contractors.  Too few politicians will do that.

No offense, but Musk is getting paid less, because he asked for less... He left money on the table trying to get his foot in the door. Now he is crying about about it?

no this is about competition, and one party wants it all.  >:(
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Lars_J on 05/22/2014 06:16 PM
no this is about competition, and one party wants it all.  >:(

How un-american! ;)
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: ChrisWilson68 on 05/22/2014 06:37 PM
think this is the right place for this post ..if not move it.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-05-22/the-musk-show-in-washington-roils-rivals-as-fans-applaud.html

Musk has suggested that Orbital Sciences Corp. deserves fewer missions to supply the space station. Unlike SpaceX, Dulles, Virginia-based Orbital delivers cargo to the station using a one-way spacecraft that burns up on its return.

“They take up less than we do and they take nothing down, and they get paid twice as much per mission as we do,” Musk said in an April presentation at the U.S. Export-Import Bank’s annual conference in Washington.

Ahhh...the plot thickens...

They do offer more pressurized volume though, especially when the enhanced Cygnus flies.  However, he has a point.  Why is OSC getting twice as much per mission as SpaceX does?  That doesn't seem right.  They should both be getting similar money for similar services I'd think.

And good for McCain and some others for standing up against the "business as usual" with government and traditional government contractors.  Too few politicians will do that.

No offense, but Musk is getting paid less, because he asked for less... He left money on the table trying to get his foot in the door. Now he is crying about about it?

He's not complaining that he should be paid more, he's complaining that his customer should buy more of his product.  Big difference.  And he has a very good point.  Musk offers more for less, yet the U.S. government decided to spend more on his competitor than on him.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: kevin-rf on 05/22/2014 06:45 PM

He's not complaining that he should be paid more, he's complaining that his customer should buy more of his product.  Big difference.  And he has a very good point.  Musk offers more for less, yet the U.S. government decided to spend more on his competitor than on him.


But does he offer more for less? Dragon has half the pressurized volume of Cygnus for half the cost. Sounds like a level playing field to me ;)
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: ChrisWilson68 on 05/22/2014 06:55 PM

He's not complaining that he should be paid more, he's complaining that his customer should buy more of his product.  Big difference.  And he has a very good point.  Musk offers more for less, yet the U.S. government decided to spend more on his competitor than on him.


But does he offer more for less? Dragon has half the pressurized volume of Cygnus for half the cost. Sounds like a level playing field to me ;)

That's a legitimate point -- Cygnus may have an advantage over Dragon, and if that's the reason the government chose to give some business to Cygnus instead of Dragon, that's a legitimate critique of Musk's statement.

However, I was responding to a different critique of Musk's statement.  The critique of Musk's statement I was responding to was that he doesn't have a right to complain because he chose to offer his services for less money.  That critique is not valid.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Jim on 05/22/2014 07:01 PM
  The critique of Musk's statement I was responding to was that he doesn't have a right to complain because he chose to offer his services for less money.  That critique is not valid.


It is very valid.  The contract wasn't winner take all.  He doesn't have a right to complain because it is his fault that he didn't charge more.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: dror on 05/22/2014 07:03 PM


He's not complaining that he should be paid more, he's complaining that his customer should buy more of his product.  Big difference.  And he has a very good point.  Musk offers more for less, yet the U.S. government decided to spend more on his competitor than on him.


He's not complaining, he's showing off.
That's advertising😉
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: kevin-rf on 05/22/2014 07:12 PM
That's not completely correct. When the original contracts was signed, it was a down select to two from multiple bidders. It was not a winner take all. NASA wanted to reduce risk and assure access by contracting two companies.

Actually, the first two selected companies where SpaceX and Rocket Plane/Kistler. Only after the Rocket Plane contract was terminated did Orbital get the contract.

Orbit bid what they felt was a fair price, and NASA accepted it. Since it was a competition, that should be the end of the story.

While trying to eat your competitors pie is nothing new, if he is not content with the contracts he currently has, then he should have bid differently. When these contracts where let, many felt that SpaceX low balled it. I really hope this isn't sour grapes because they need to pick up additional contracts to become profitable.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: ChrisWilson68 on 05/22/2014 07:23 PM
That's not completely correct. When the original contracts was signed, it was a down select to two from multiple bidders. It was not a winner take all. NASA wanted to reduce risk and assure access by contracting two companies.

Actually, the first two selected companies where SpaceX and Rocket Plane/Kistler. Only after the Rocket Plane contract was terminated did Orbital get the contract.

Orbit bid what they felt was a fair price, and NASA accepted it. Since it was a competition, that should be the end of the story.

While trying to eat your competitors pie is nothing new, if he is not content with the contracts he currently has, then he should have bid differently. When these contracts where let, many felt that SpaceX low balled it. I really hope this isn't sour grapes because they need to pick up additional contracts to become profitable.

You're confusing COTS and CRS.  COTS was the development contract, and it was a down-select to two from multiple bidders.  That's what RpK was in originally, and what Orbital replaced them in.

Musk was talking about CRS, the follow-on contract for services.  It was up to NASA whether to reduce it from two to one provider, and how to distribute the awards between the two winners if there were two.

Musk wasn't suggesting he should get more per flight.  He was suggesting he get more flights.  NASA could have given Orbital 4 flights instead of 8, for example.

More to the point, I think Musk was looking to the future, suggesting that SpaceX be given a bigger slice of the pie, or perhaps the whole pie, going forward.

The suggestions Musk was foolish not to ask for more per flight implies that the government would buy the same number of flights from SpaceX whether they charged more or less.  To me, that suggests foolishness on the part of the government, not foolishness on the part of SpaceX.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: bad_astra on 05/22/2014 07:24 PM
Orbital doesn't offer downmass, either. Is the cost of returning cargo a separate billable item? It should be.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Lars_J on 05/22/2014 07:25 PM
NASA were also pretty desperate to get a 2nd provider on-board at that time, if I remember right. Local government also paid for the launch pad (or a significant portion thereof). Their horizontal assembly building, built for Taurus II/Antares was built by NASA for them. (There's a huge NASA logo on the building)

So NASA really bent over for them, and Orbital took the opportunity. I can't blame them for doing it.

But it will make the bid process for CRS-2 veeery interesting.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: ChrisWilson68 on 05/22/2014 07:35 PM
NASA were also pretty desperate to get a 2nd provider on-board at that time, if I remember right. Local government also paid for the launch pad (or a significant portion thereof). Their horizontal assembly building, built for Taurus II/Antares was built by NASA for them. (There's a huge NASA logo on the building)

So NASA really bent over for them, and Orbital took the opportunity. I can't blame them for doing it.

But it will make the bid process for CRS-2 veeery interesting.

Yeah, I don't blame Orbital for taking advantage of the situation.  If there's anyone to blame, it's the government.  If they just wanted a second provider, they could have given Orbital 4 missions and SpaceX 18 instead of Orbital 8 and SpaceX 12 and gotten more missions, more upmass, more downmass, and all for less money, while still keeping the redundancy of two providers.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: baldusi on 05/22/2014 07:52 PM
If I recall correctly, it was more a riposte to a comment by OSC management regarding their and SpaceX launch cadence to the ISS. Which compared exactly the transition between v1.0 and v1.1 and made exactly after the delay of CRS-3.
But in general terms, the COST/CRS contract structure was such of a Dutch Auction. Basically you bid as low as you can and thus the client get's the two lowest quotes. It's not exactly like that, but because of the intrinsic differences of the solutions, and the pick up of a runner up, that's how it ended up.
In particular, up to now every single Dragon launch has been volume limited, and thus, even on a USD/kg metric, they might be on par with Cygnus. But let's remember that they get paid for each kilo brought down in excess of the 23tonnes contracted (20tonnes up and 3tonnes down). So I don't think Elon should get too much into an argument here.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: pathfinder_01 on 05/22/2014 07:56 PM


Yeah, I don't blame Orbital for taking advantage of the situation.  If there's anyone to blame, it's the government.  If they just wanted a second provider, they could have given Orbital 4 missions and SpaceX 18 instead of Orbital 8 and SpaceX 12 and gotten more missions, more upmass, more downmass, and all for less money, while still keeping the redundancy of two providers.

Life support and the things that the station need are more bulky than heavy so Orbital's greater volume is very useful and getting rid of the trash is also extremely important so you probably don't need as much down mass as up mass. I like Dragon, but would prefer that no one company has too much businesses.  Having them spaced out also can reduce issues with delays(they might not cascade so bad.).
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Antares on 05/22/2014 08:36 PM
Local government also paid for the launch pad (or a significant portion thereof). Their horizontal assembly building, built for Taurus II/Antares was built by NASA for them. (There's a huge NASA logo on the building)

So NASA really bent over for them, and Orbital took the opportunity. I can't blame them for doing it.

But it will make the bid process for CRS-2 veeery interesting.

That was a Mikulski earmark, due to lobbying by Orbital.  NASA had no choice.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: MP99 on 05/22/2014 08:36 PM

He's not complaining that he should be paid more, he's complaining that his customer should buy more of his product.  Big difference.  And he has a very good point.  Musk offers more for less, yet the U.S. government decided to spend more on his competitor than on him.


But does he offer more for less? Dragon has half the pressurized volume of Cygnus for half the cost. Sounds like a level playing field to me ;)

That's a legitimate point -- Cygnus may have an advantage over Dragon, and if that's the reason the government chose to give some business to Cygnus instead of Dragon, that's a legitimate critique of Musk's statement.

However, I was responding to a different critique of Musk's statement.  The critique of Musk's statement I was responding to was that he doesn't have a right to complain because he chose to offer his services for less money.  That critique is not valid.

NASA recognises a value in getting deliveries with the minimum amount of disruption from having to dock yet another VV.

Larger capacity per vehicle has a direct value to them, in allowing more science to be done.

Cheers, Martin
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Lobo on 05/22/2014 08:41 PM
They won't have to depend on unreliable Russian suppliers ...
Let's not blame the suppliers.  The Russian suppliers themselves, Energomash, etc., have been quite dependable and reliable.  The problem is entirely political, and it cuts both ways.  It was a U.S. judge that first stopped RD-180 imports (briefly).  It is Russia's Deputy Prime Minister who subsequently threatened a cut-off, apparently in response to U.S. sanctions that themselves were a political response to Ukraine.  Energomash/RD-AMROSS itself has never stopped supporting its U.S. customer.

 - Ed Kyle

Sorry.  Let me rephrase.  That way they won't valve to depend on an potentially unreliable supply of Russian engines.
:-)

Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: GClark on 05/23/2014 06:50 AM
A thought made me chuckle...

The possibility exists that Orbital will end up selecting the RD-181 for Antares and ULA selecting AJ-1-E6 for Atlas V.  The two vehicles would trade engines/engine contractors.

Mildly amusing...

V/R,

Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Lar on 05/23/2014 12:32 PM
VV relative cargo volume is veering off topic.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: rayleighscatter on 06/11/2014 09:04 PM
Came across an interesting video yesterday by accident. Has some good Antares imagery I hadn't seen before.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ewBJ2FBJfSM
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: MP99 on 06/14/2014 09:09 AM
Came across an interesting video yesterday by accident. Has some good Antares imagery I hadn't seen before.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ewBJ2FBJfSM
Orbital do seem to have a better PQ on their on-vehicle video than SpaceX.

Cheers, Martin
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: rayleighscatter on 06/21/2014 01:46 AM
From the WSJ:
Quote
Dulles, Va.-based Orbital Sciences is considering the RD-180 alongside the existing Russian AJ-26 booster used on its Antares rocket, and a third engine produced by Alliant Techsystems Inc., Orbital Sciences’ merger partner.
...
People familiar with the situation said Orbital Sciences is in direct talks with NPO Energomash rather than with RD Amross.
http://stream.wsj.com/story/latest-headlines/SS-2-63399/SS-2-561093/

Still seem to be expecting a final decision in August.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: wannamoonbase on 07/08/2014 12:06 PM
Orbital has a difficult problem to solve finding additional engines.  Restarting production of the NK-33/AJ26 is the simplistic. 

Not to be a SpaceX fan boy, but if the US doesn't develop a booster engine and if (I'd say when) relations with Russia tank anytime in the future then the Delta 4 and SpaceX are the only rides in town.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: russianhalo117 on 07/08/2014 01:18 PM
An Aerojet Rocketdyne representative mentioned that the corporation plans to formally propose the AR-1 LRE package to OSC in the event that OSC chooses to continue on the LRE path, yet might want to go with a fully domestic LRE.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: spacetech on 07/13/2014 05:52 PM
During launch coverage, they didn't announce the downrange distances, only altitude and velocity

Does anyone know the downrange distances for a CRS mission to the ISS?
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: su27k on 07/15/2014 11:58 AM
So does anyone know why there's no rocket cam for recent Antares launches? They used to have it in test flights, but seems to disappeared for CRS launches. Just watched ORB-2 and Orbcomm OG2 videos back to back, the live rocket cam footage makes the latter much more interesting to watch.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: edkyle99 on 07/15/2014 02:23 PM
So does anyone know why there's no rocket cam for recent Antares launches? They used to have it in test flights, but seems to disappeared for CRS launches. Just watched ORB-2 and Orbcomm OG2 videos back to back, the live rocket cam footage makes the latter much more interesting to watch.
My guess is that it was originally provided for engineering assessment, but is now deemed unnecessary.  It adds a little bit of weight and a certain amount of cost.  This was the heaviest payload for Antares to date, so margins may have been slim.  There's a chance the cameras may reappear for the next flight since that will be the first Antares 130 with a Castor 30XL, but we'll have to see. 

 - Ed Kyle
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: kevin-rf on 07/15/2014 06:11 PM
Also, don't forget the bandwidth for the cam is not free.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: arachnitect on 07/19/2014 02:25 AM
http://spacenews.com/article/financial-report/41291orbital-sciences-books-first-geostar-3-orders-nears-antares-engine (http://spacenews.com/article/financial-report/41291orbital-sciences-books-first-geostar-3-orders-nears-antares-engine)
Quote
[during July 17th conference call] Orbital Sciences Chief Executive David W. Thompson said a decision has just about been made on a long-term supplier for the Antares first-stage propulsion system, and that a formal announcement was imminent.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: LouScheffer on 07/19/2014 11:57 PM
http://spacenews.com/article/financial-report/41291orbital-sciences-books-first-geostar-3-orders-nears-antares-engine (http://spacenews.com/article/financial-report/41291orbital-sciences-books-first-geostar-3-orders-nears-antares-engine)
Quote
[during July 17th conference call] Orbital Sciences Chief Executive David W. Thompson said a decision has just about been made on a long-term supplier for the Antares first-stage propulsion system, and that a formal announcement was imminent.
Given that (a) they are not waiting for the situation in the Ukraine to settle, and (b) counting on a new USA engine as a direct replacement would be very risky for the next re-supply contract, and (c) they just bought a solid rocket company, I'd be astonished of the answer was not to replace the first stage with an in-house solid.

Of course, I've been astonished before....
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: edkyle99 on 07/20/2014 12:44 AM
Given that (a) they are not waiting for the situation in the Ukraine to settle, and (b) counting on a new USA engine as a direct replacement would be very risky for the next re-supply contract, and (c) they just bought a solid rocket company, I'd be astonished of the answer was not to replace the first stage with an in-house solid.

Of course, I've been astonished before....
This will be an important announcement, and not just for Orbital.  I have no idea about the answer.  There are so many secrets in the space business these days.

 - Ed Kyle
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: TrevorMonty on 07/20/2014 01:03 AM
They don't time to wait for new engine to be developed and foreign engines supply lines are risky. That leave 2 options
1) solid
 2) liquid using a current domestic engine. The only 2 I can think of are the BE3(not proven) and Merlin( may not be for SALE).
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: MATTBLAK on 07/20/2014 01:10 AM
Is the RS-27 engine as used on the Delta 2 still available for production? And if so, could it be adopted for upper stage use if the new first stage was a solid?
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: JazzFan on 07/20/2014 01:26 AM
It has been out of production for some time and converting RS-27 to a second stage engine sounds like too much work.  Those additional changes will not be cost effective and yield no ROI as compared to selecting another engine that is already more closely optimized to meeting the requirements.  Also, does the alternate engine need to meet current requirements or any expected requirements of future needs?  Meeting current requirements has a finite date based on the current COTS contract. 
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: MATTBLAK on 07/20/2014 01:37 AM
Oh, believe me; I suspected your answers were to be the case. Other than Space X, is it only Russia that has hydrocarbon engines for upper stages at the moment? Buying Russian engines pretty much is the question at the moment. And I don't think there are any high-thrust hypergolic engines in U.S. service right now, are there? In the 80 to 90,000lb thrust class I mean. With the recent ATK/Orbital merger, I can forsee an all-solid beast with a 'Liberty' based first stage (3 or 4 segment?) and the current Castor 30XL for the upper stage. Would such a launcher give us the dreaded 'thrust oscillation'? Or would a 3-segment version avoid this issue?
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: arachnitect on 07/20/2014 01:47 AM
I have no idea about the answer.  There are so many secrets in the space business these days.

 - Ed Kyle

Well I'd be shocked if the Kuznetzov restart happens. Beyond that... no idea.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Antares on 07/20/2014 03:40 AM
My handicap, based on the chatter from my sources in recent weeks, not what I thought it would've been:

Win (60%): RD-191/151
Place (30%): AR-1e6
distant Show (10%): ATK solid
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: PahTo on 07/20/2014 08:53 PM
My handicap, based on the chatter from my sources in recent weeks, not what I thought it would've been:

Win (60%): RD-191/151
Place (30%): AR-1e6
distant Show (10%): ATK solid

No doubt, that.  Given the recent merger (or whatever you call it), I would have put domestic solid fuel as the leader by a long shot.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: LouScheffer on 07/20/2014 09:12 PM
My handicap, based on the chatter from my sources in recent weeks, not what I thought it would've been:

Win (60%): RD-191/151
Place (30%): AR-1e6
distant Show (10%): ATK solid
Of course you are closer to the problem than I, but from appearances your list is ordered by technical merit, whereas my conclusion is dominated by business issues.  It will be interesting how this shakes out...
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: rayleighscatter on 07/20/2014 10:03 PM
I could see Orbital attempting to maintain the Antares as a liquid first stage. They already have a robust offering of solids and if they're looking to expand their capabilities a desire to keep using a liquid rocket has its merits. There's even a possibility that a combined Orb/ATK may want to get in on development or contract manufacturing of liquid engines. If they wanted to build a contract copy of a RD-180 they could use it in Antares and I could think of another possible customer of an American built RD-180. All supposition of course.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: sdsds on 07/20/2014 11:39 PM
In some manufacturing situations it is possible to "dual source" a component. The manufacturer has two suppliers, each of which is qualified to provide parts which meet the specification.

Is there any possibility Orbital/ATK will dual-source Antares engines? Rather than placing an order of (say) 16 engines from a single supplier, could they order 8 engines from each of two suppliers?
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Antares on 07/21/2014 03:57 AM
How close would the specs be on those two sources?  Thrust and Isp would have to be within spitting distance of each other or else the integration gets complicated.  Thrust within 10%, Isp within 3%, and similar induced environments.  Right now there are obviously not two sources for any rocket engine.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Kabloona on 07/21/2014 03:44 PM
Furthermore, dual sourcing increases unit cost because it reduces production volume of each type of system, and increases the LV integrator's cost in systems engineering, procurement, etc, so I don't see that as an option. Pick a horse and ride it.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: baldusi on 07/21/2014 04:28 PM
Btw, I would expect dual RD-193, since they already have the dual engine TVC adaptor. And I believe the RD-191 has a bleed somewhere that wouldn't be necessary here.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Lobo on 07/22/2014 12:09 AM
My handicap, based on the chatter from my sources in recent weeks, not what I thought it would've been:

Win (60%): RD-191/151
Place (30%): AR-1e6
distant Show (10%): ATK solid

Interesting.

I wonder what happens the next time there's political tensions between the US and Russia and OrbATK gets heat for launching USAF/DoD payloads (assuming they follow through with their words and go for that and get some) on Russian engines?  Or some Russian politicians decide to start using deliveries as a political tool?

Seems like with everything that's been going on recently, that wouldn't be the 1st choice.  But, they know far more than we do, so they must be seeing the possibility of assurances that there won't be supply problems form Russian or Ukrane (core). 

I agree, that's not what I thought it would have been.

Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: wannamoonbase on 07/22/2014 12:55 AM
If the NK-33 production doesn't get started up again, I'd put replacing the stage with an all solid vehicle in a favorite position.

ATK loves loves loves solids.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: sdsds on 07/22/2014 02:58 AM
SAMARA, July 21 (RIA Novosti)
[...]
“At present, the sales of engines for Atlas and Antares rockets in the United States favor Russia as the profits go directly for technological modernization of [Russian] enterprises [producing the engines],” {Rogozin} said.

http://en.ria.ru/military_news/20140721/191083393/Russia-to-Continue-Space-Rocket-Engines-Deliveries-to-US.html

This strongly implies an ongoing transfer of engines from Russia to the U.S. for Antares.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: docmordrid on 07/22/2014 03:59 AM
But that depends on US sanctions not being strengthened, which appears in the cards given the MH17 shoot down.  Even if US sanctions don't hit the engines sector it could change Russia's calculus.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: manboy on 07/22/2014 08:02 AM
SAMARA, July 21 (RIA Novosti)
[...]
“At present, the sales of engines for Atlas and Antares rockets in the United States favor Russia as the profits go directly for technological modernization of [Russian] enterprises [producing the engines],” {Rogozin} said.

http://en.ria.ru/military_news/20140721/191083393/Russia-to-Continue-Space-Rocket-Engines-Deliveries-to-US.html

This strongly implies an ongoing transfer of engines from Russia to the U.S. for Antares.
Unless Rogozin is misinformed.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Lobo on 07/22/2014 05:56 PM
SAMARA, July 21 (RIA Novosti)
[...]
“At present, the sales of engines for Atlas and Antares rockets in the United States favor Russia as the profits go directly for technological modernization of [Russian] enterprises [producing the engines],” {Rogozin} said.

http://en.ria.ru/military_news/20140721/191083393/Russia-to-Continue-Space-Rocket-Engines-Deliveries-to-US.html

This strongly implies an ongoing transfer of engines from Russia to the U.S. for Antares.

I guess I was under the impression that Aerojet bought up all of the NK33's found in that warehouse cache in the late 1990's.  This statement implies that Russian is currently supplying NK33's to Aerojet.  So now I'm confused.  The Russians aren't making NK33's, so how are they currently supplying them to Aerojet?
Or did Aerojet only buy a limited number of that cashe, with the option to buy more of them, or something?
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Space Ghost 1962 on 07/22/2014 07:25 PM
He claims 150 total:
150 Engines That Roar  (http://promfire.blogspot.com/2010/03/150-engines-that-roar.html)

I saw and counted 28. Some were NK-43's. That was like two decades ago.

I was told that 58 was the number on the deal. And that there was at least 100. Each N1 first stage required 30, the second stage required 8.

Don't know how many became NK-33A.

At least four countries and 14 vehicles desired to use them.

Watch closely the French ship case regarding sale to the Russians. It's a bellweatherer for how things may play out with any Russian LRE's. Perhaps Brazil/India/China might be markets in the future?
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: baldusi on 07/22/2014 07:26 PM
SAMARA, July 21 (RIA Novosti)
[...]
“At present, the sales of engines for Atlas and Antares rockets in the United States favor Russia as the profits go directly for technological modernization of [Russian] enterprises [producing the engines],” {Rogozin} said.

http://en.ria.ru/military_news/20140721/191083393/Russia-to-Continue-Space-Rocket-Engines-Deliveries-to-US.html

This strongly implies an ongoing transfer of engines from Russia to the U.S. for Antares.

I guess I was under the impression that Aerojet bought up all of the NK33's found in that warehouse cache in the late 1990's.  This statement implies that Russian is currently supplying NK33's to Aerojet.  So now I'm confused.  The Russians aren't making NK33's, so how are they currently supplying them to Aerojet?
Or did Aerojet only buy a limited number of that cache, with the option to buy more of them, or something?
I understand that they had a cache of 40 or so, and the Russians kept about a similar amount. The fact is that there were also NK43, which had the bigger extension and were air lit. So I the total amounts might have been higher.
In any case they might have been planning on selling their remaining NK-33, and moving the Soyuz-2.1v to RD-193. If they could do that, the CRS contract continuation might actually be paying for the swap. And NPO Energomash might be mutating into a full engine production company. They only produced the RD-180 and RD-171M, and only because the Zenith Project didn't went into full Soyuz replacement.
Now with the Angara's production kept in house, plus whatever they might keep selling outside, they had to install some more serious capacity.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Proponent on 08/01/2014 12:06 PM
It has been out of production for some time and converting RS-27 to a second stage engine sounds like too much work.  Those additional changes will not be cost effective and yield no ROI as compared to selecting another engine that is already more closely optimized to meeting the requirements.  Also, does the alternate engine need to meet current requirements or any expected requirements of future needs?  Meeting current requirements has a finite date based on the current COTS contract. 

And, being very old, it's not a great engine by modern standards.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Scylla on 08/22/2014 09:41 PM
All-solid Antares Would Require Changes to Wallops Pad, Safety Rules
http://www.spacenews.com/article/launch-report/41642all-solid-antares-would-require-changes-to-wallops-pad-safety-rules

Quote
WASHINGTON — Should Orbital Sciences Corp. convert its Antares rocket into an all-solid-fuel vehicle, the company will have to overhaul its launch infrastructure on Virginia’s eastern shore and figure out how to comply with a NASA launch safety rule written to protect area bystanders from broken glass

Quote
According to two people familiar with recent discussions between Orbital and NASA, a midflight explosion of a solid-fueled rocket the size of Antares could shatter windows — and thus pose a safety risk — so far from the vehicle’s flight path that the agency would sooner prohibit its launch than undertake the effort required to evacuate buildings in the affected area.

Quote
Orbital Chief Executive David W. Thompson said recently that a decision on the future Antares first stage is imminent.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Space Ghost 1962 on 08/26/2014 09:19 PM
Overpressure on flight termination makes Wallops unsuitable for all solid Antares launch.

Ups the ante for such. No surprise.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: watermod on 09/09/2014 12:25 AM
Watch closely the French ship case regarding sale to the Russians. It's a bellweatherer for how things may play out with any Russian LRE's. Perhaps Brazil/India/China might be markets in the future?

http://fortune.com/2014/09/04/france-suspends-sale-of-warships-to-russia-as-putin-fails-to-convince/ (http://fortune.com/2014/09/04/france-suspends-sale-of-warships-to-russia-as-putin-fails-to-convince/) France suspends sale of warships to Russia as Putin fails to convince

Quote
Unimpressed by reports of progress towards a ceasefire agreement, and by a seven-point peace plan released later Wednesday by the Kremlin, France suspended the planned delivery of a state-0f-the-art warship to Russia.

A statement on President Francois Hollande’s website said that “the recent actions by Russia in eastern Ukraine are contrary to the basic notions of security in Europe,” and said “the conditions that will allow France to authorize the delivery of the first amphibious landing ship have so far not been met.”
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Space Ghost 1962 on 09/09/2014 07:06 PM
Current geopolitics is about forms/means of economic competition, by (in increasing desperation):
 a) effectiveness/advantage (say a EU or an eurasian economic federation)
 b) coercion/intimidation/alliances/breaking agreements (because you can't obtain what you desire otherwise)
 c) outright war (because you just take it anyway).

When you claim by definition that you're doing item b when by all appearances its actually images / effect / proof of item c,  might you dance over the line? Since you can do too many unfair things under item c in the short term, possibly to compensate for a poor overall bargaining position over the long term, the long term risks of competition may become unstable.

A cynical ("realpolitik") view is that everything is temporary and there are no bounds at all, no limits. Afterwards, you just 'reset'.  Nations have to put up with each other perpetually anyway, even if unfair. How many before none? Brinkmanship. Diplomats / military / munitions / ships / engines / ...

Relax. Nobody ever over plays. And is caught by it.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: sdsds on 09/10/2014 02:05 AM
When the Antares pad was designed, was consideration given to the possibility of launching a vehicle using an RD-171 engine on a Zenit-sized first stage?
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: russianhalo117 on 09/11/2014 03:17 PM
When the Antares pad was designed, was consideration given to the possibility of launching a vehicle using an RD-171 engine on a Zenit-sized first stage?
Well the mounting hole is round but the adaptor for the launcher is a rounded rectangle. As for other functions I'm not sure.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: StarLifter on 09/12/2014 08:21 PM
Maybe this news release from Aerojet, On the (AR-1), with funds from the USAF being combined with NASA for a quick replacement of the RD-180 for the Atlas V could turn out be a major factor in helping Orbital Science's Antares. With the AR-1, There shouldn't be any major launch pad or facility reconstruction needed. Nor any other kind of threat to local population.  http://aviationweek.com/space/engine-makers-pushing-am-other-technologies-rd-180-replacement?NL=AW-05&Issue=AW-05_20140912_AW-05_973&YM_RID=%27email%27&YM_MID=%27mmid%27&sfvc4enews=42&cl=article_3
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: arachnitect on 09/12/2014 08:48 PM
Maybe this news release from Aerojet, On the (AR-1), with funds from the USAF being combined with NASA for a quick replacement of the RD-180 for the Atlas V could turn out be a major factor in helping Orbital Science's Antares. With the AR-1, There shouldn't be any major launch pad or facility reconstruction needed. Nor any other kind of threat to local population.  http://aviationweek.com/space/engine-makers-pushing-am-other-technologies-rd-180-replacement?NL=AW-05&Issue=AW-05_20140912_AW-05_973&YM_RID=%27email%27&YM_MID=%27mmid%27&sfvc4enews=42&cl=article_3

2.5 years to get AR-1 on a test stand. Not terrible, but still cutting it too close for Antares.

RD-181 looks more likely every day.

welcome to the forum, btw
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Prober on 09/15/2014 01:37 PM
Maybe this news release from Aerojet, On the (AR-1), with funds from the USAF being combined with NASA for a quick replacement of the RD-180 for the Atlas V could turn out be a major factor in helping Orbital Science's Antares. With the AR-1, There shouldn't be any major launch pad or facility reconstruction needed. Nor any other kind of threat to local population.  http://aviationweek.com/space/engine-makers-pushing-am-other-technologies-rd-180-replacement?NL=AW-05&Issue=AW-05_20140912_AW-05_973&YM_RID=%27email%27&YM_MID=%27mmid%27&sfvc4enews=42&cl=article_3

2.5 years to get AR-1 on a test stand. Not terrible, but still cutting it too close for Antares.

RD-181 looks more likely every day.

welcome to the forum, btw

like this comment left on that article  :D
"Four Years" my foot! Bet somebody could have something runable off the shelf in nine months or less ... if they were properly motivated.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: edkyle99 on 09/15/2014 03:09 PM
like this comment left on that article  :D
"Four Years" my foot! Bet somebody could have something runable off the shelf in nine months or less ... if they were properly motivated.
The commenter you mention is obviously not aware of the process to certify a high pressure staged combustion engine.  It took Glushko/Energomash nine years to get RD-170 from concept to flight (on a Zenit initially) and eleven years to fly it on Energia.  Eleven years passed from the start of SSME development to first flight.  Kuznetzov needed the better part of a decade to create NK-15.  And so on.

 - Ed Kyle
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Space Ghost 1962 on 09/15/2014 06:54 PM
Indeed. What is described currently would be the way to aggressively pursue a replacement, which also would have significant advantages in "future proofing", testing, and cost effective manufacturing.

It also would mitigate other concerns with these engines, as well as explain the very different diagrams shown of the engine, which are far different than past ones.

It's exactly the best way to go forward in this area I could think of. But please don't confuse it with SpaceX approach at all - more of an ultimate "arsenal system full court press". When they can get going, they can do amazing things. That is their strength after all.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: TrevorMonty on 09/17/2014 07:08 PM
BO say the new BE will be available commercially to other companies once developed,  will this be available to Orbital?

http://www.blueorigin.com/media/press_release/united-launch-alliance-and-blue-origin-announce-partnership-to-develop-new
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Kryten on 09/17/2014 07:47 PM
BO say the new BE will be available commercially to other companies once developed,  will this be available to Orbital?

http://www.blueorigin.com/media/press_release/united-launch-alliance-and-blue-origin-announce-partnership-to-develop-new
BO are looking into developing their own launcher with BE-4; would a third launcher with the same engine in the same size class really be viable?
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: yg1968 on 09/17/2014 10:59 PM
BO say the new BE will be available commercially to other companies once developed,  will this be available to Orbital?

http://www.blueorigin.com/media/press_release/united-launch-alliance-and-blue-origin-announce-partnership-to-develop-new

I doubt it. Orbital needs a new engine for CRS2 which starts in 2017.   
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Space Ghost 1962 on 09/23/2014 12:25 AM
RD-193 might not be as much of an issue as RD-180. In the near term it might be overlooked given its lack of greater consequence.

Shutting down a CRS-2 / Delta II class LV right now would primarily injure ISS and favor other CRS-2 bidders.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: arachnitect on 09/30/2014 09:34 PM
http://www.spacenews.com/article/launch-report/42041orbital-to-make-decision-on-new-antares-engine-by-november

Quote
Orbital Sciences Corp. will make a decision on replacing the engine used in the first stage of its Antares rocket before submitting a proposal to NASA in November for a follow-on international space station cargo contract, a company official said Sept. 30.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: sdsds on 09/30/2014 10:22 PM
Specifically:
Quote
Frank Culbertson said the engine decision is linked to the company’s [CRS2] proposal [...] due Nov. 14. “We’ll make sure we’ll have a decision on that before we submit the proposal.”

He didn't exactly say the decision would be made public at that time. Is that implicit in a CRS2 proposal, or will the public need to wait for the NASA selection decision before knowing the proposal details?
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: yg1968 on 10/03/2014 03:40 AM
This part of the article is interesting too:
Quote
There are enough AJ-26 engines in stock, Culbertson said, for Orbital to perform the remaining six missions in its current CRS contract with NASA, as well as some additional launches. The existing cargo contract could be extended as a bridge until the CRS2 contracts begin. “We’ll sign it as soon as NASA offers it,” he said of a potential CRS contract extension.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: a_langwich on 10/05/2014 04:57 AM
This part of the article is interesting too:
Quote
There are enough AJ-26 engines in stock, Culbertson said, for Orbital to perform the remaining six missions in its current CRS contract with NASA, as well as some additional launches. The existing cargo contract could be extended as a bridge until the CRS2 contracts begin. “We’ll sign it as soon as NASA offers it,” he said of a potential CRS contract extension.

I suspect that means Orbital would really, really prefer a contract extension, because they can do the additional flights with the existing engines and design and continue to "amortize" their design investment.  There's nothing better than continuing to make money off existing production lines.

For CRS-2, things get really ugly for them, it seems.  Perhaps they can get an RD-181-ish engine and minimize the design changes, but there may still need to be a confidence flight, and there's no way any new engines can be as cheap as the "free to a good home!" NK-33s were.  AR-1 is too expensive and too late.  BE-4 is too late.  And, on top of that, they will have to compete with CST-100 and Dream Chaser and possibly others, and there's no guarantee their new price structure can give them the win.  Assuming that solids rule out launching from their existing pad, I don't see a way to make a solid-rocket AJ-26 replacement fit into a CRS-2 bid.

I hope they can pull something out, because I really like the way they've executed with Antares and Cygnus, and continued to improve it. 

A Russian engine is much lower risk for them than ULA, I think, because civilian NASA supply runs are obviously non-threatening, and cutting them off would not give any negotiating leverage to the Russian government (unlike threatening to cut off the engines for the primary DOD LV).
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Zed_Noir on 10/05/2014 11:06 AM
One way I see for OrbitalATK to do CRS-2 is to fly the Cygnus on top of a F9R from LC-40 and/or LC-39A, sub-contracting SpaceX as LV provider. So no additional engine or LV development required if OrbitalATK & SpaceX strikes a deal. After all there was the surprising merger between ATK & Orbital.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Jim on 10/05/2014 05:39 PM
One way I see for OrbitalATK to do CRS-2 is to fly the Cygnus on top of a F9R from LC-40 and/or LC-39A, sub-contracting SpaceX as LV provider. So no additional engine or LV development required if OrbitalATK & SpaceX strikes a deal. After all there was the surprising merger between ATK & Orbital.

No, the same thing
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Space Ghost 1962 on 10/05/2014 06:30 PM
OK. Reading some tea leaves here to posit ways that Cygnus CRS missions keep flying.

It is interesting to consider how far to take existing Antares (w/o modification). It is possible to extend the existing contract for the stretched Cygnus using all available NK33/43 engines, fed through AR to become AJ-26's. This would work for governments and existing contracts for many, many reasons I don't wish to get into. In fact, it is the most sensible way of postponing this issue indefinitely. The net effect of such would mean that CRS-2 would deal with the remainder of need, which would fit with Dragon 1 and commercial crew offerings for such additional need, which would be somewhat less than if CRS-1 concluded entirely before CRS-2 would come on. Also, Antares re engining would likely also be postponed.

As to Falcon 9 launching of Cygnus, it is true that both companies work together on other payloads already. This might be a fall back for the above coming off as well. But the idea of the CRS contracts is as a full up bid of vehicle(s) as a service that is supplied. Beyond contingency, things get screwed up as an economical business decision for both. Which is why it wouldn't happen for CRS-2.

A different way to read the tea leaves.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: LouScheffer on 10/06/2014 02:18 PM
I've heard three technical objections to a solid-fuel Antares.   Each makes sense, but we need to keep costs in perspective.

First, a new (or expanded) pad would be needed.  The last time they built a pad, it was $90 million.  A pad for solids seems simpler (though bigger) so I guess the cost should be comparable.

Next, there would need to be some way to stack rather large and heavy stages.  However, commercial cranes that can let 200 tons are readily available, so this is hardly unexplored territory.  Maybe another $100 million for a custom solution (building + crane(s)).

Finally, there is the concern that termination overpressure might shower people with broken window glass.  Rather than prohibit solids, maybe the right thing to do is fix the windows.  They could be replaced with safety glass, or there are films designed for just this purpose. 
http://solutions.3m.com/wps/portal/3M/en_US/Window_Film/Solutions/Markets-Products/Residential/Safety-Security_Window_Films/ that could be used to retrofit existing windows.   If you needed to retrofit 100,000 windows (which seems really high) at $100 each, that is still only $10 million.

Overall, it seems you could solve the technical problems of a solid Antares from Wallops for a few hundred million.   Compared to the savings from bringing motor production in-house, or the costs of a new liquid stage, this seems entirely reasonable.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Jim on 10/06/2014 02:31 PM

Finally, there is the concern that termination overpressure might shower people with broken window glass.  Rather than prohibit solids, maybe the right thing to do is fix the windows.  They could be replaced with safety glass, or there are films designed for just this purpose. 
http://solutions.3m.com/wps/portal/3M/en_US/Window_Film/Solutions/Markets-Products/Residential/Safety-Security_Window_Films/ that could be used to retrofit existing windows.   If you needed to retrofit 100,000 windows (which seems really high) at $100 each, that is still only $10 million.


Not feasible.  This constraint is for the surrounding communities.  They are not for the launch site to fix nor to maintain.  The range has no way of ensuring that every window is in compliance.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: kevin-rf on 10/06/2014 02:36 PM
Finally, there is the concern that termination overpressure might shower people with broken window glass.  Rather than prohibit solids, maybe the right thing to do is fix the windows.  They could be replaced with safety glass, or there are films designed for just this purpose. 
http://solutions.3m.com/wps/portal/3M/en_US/Window_Film/Solutions/Markets-Products/Residential/Safety-Security_Window_Films/ that could be used to retrofit existing windows.   If you needed to retrofit 100,000 windows (which seems really high) at $100 each, that is still only $10 million.

Have you tried to replace replacement windows recently? $100 will get you a chuckle.

The window issue affects not only the launch facility, but nearby private property.

People will not accept less than an energy efficient window replacement that is as good as if not better than the existing windows. Those are not cheap. My brother inlaw just replaced two windows in his NYC apartment to the tune of $4000 per window. The few times I've had them quoted I choked on the quote. The window replacement market is big business.

Plus you have to convince the residents that they need these windows. There are people who will refuse new windows, especial if they live in a very old house with very old glass.

And what does that say to Joe public about the safety of launches from Wallops?
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: arachnitect on 10/06/2014 04:25 PM
http://www.spacenews.com/article/launch-report/41642all-solid-antares-would-require-changes-to-wallops-pad-safety-rules

How large is the worst case overpressure area? This article says only "many kilometers"
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: MP99 on 10/06/2014 04:48 PM
Finally, there is the concern that termination overpressure might shower people with broken window glass.  Rather than prohibit solids, maybe the right thing to do is fix the windows.  They could be replaced with safety glass, or there are films designed for just this purpose. 
http://solutions.3m.com/wps/portal/3M/en_US/Window_Film/Solutions/Markets-Products/Residential/Safety-Security_Window_Films/ that could be used to retrofit existing windows.   If you needed to retrofit 100,000 windows (which seems really high) at $100 each, that is still only $10 million.

Have you tried to replace replacement windows recently? $100 will get you a chuckle.

The window issue affects not only the launch facility, but nearby private property.

People will not accept less than an energy efficient window replacement that is as good as if not better than the existing windows. Those are not cheap. My brother inlaw just replaced two windows in his NYC apartment to the tune of $4000 per window. The few times I've had them quoted I choked on the quote. The window replacement market is big business.

Plus you have to convince the residents that they need these windows. There are people who will refuse new windows, especial if they live in a very old house with very old glass.

And what does that say to Joe public about the safety of launches from Wallops?
$100 dollars per window is just to apply a plastic film over the glass, to stop shards flying in the event of an explosion.

The last office building I worked in had the sheets retrofitted onto every window shortly after 9/11 (or it might have been after 7/7).

Cheers, Martin
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: LouScheffer on 10/06/2014 05:29 PM

Finally, there is the concern that termination overpressure might shower people with broken window glass.  Rather than prohibit solids, maybe the right thing to do is fix the windows.  They could be replaced with safety glass, or there are films designed for just this purpose. 
http://solutions.3m.com/wps/portal/3M/en_US/Window_Film/Solutions/Markets-Products/Residential/Safety-Security_Window_Films/ that could be used to retrofit existing windows.   If you needed to retrofit 100,000 windows (which seems really high) at $100 each, that is still only $10 million.


Not feasible.  This constraint is for the surrounding communities.  They are not for the launch site to fix nor to maintain.  The range has no way of ensuring that every window is in compliance.

Everyone within 20,000 feet can already be forced to evacuate.  From
http://www.accomackcojlus.com/Images/TAC%20Meeting%20Summary-11-7-13.pdf page 3:
Quote
Josh then explained the buffer zones for launches, including protection from debris (non‐essential personnel and vehicles must be removed) for the 10,000‐foot hazard zone. Controlled roadblocks are typically required. The 20,000‐foot hazard zone has to do with toxic gases for launch day specific risks and could require residents within the zone to stay in their houses, or perhaps, even leave the premises for the event. A risk analysis is conducted for every launch, including people, houses and window counts
I suspect if you told them "If you let us replace/film your windows, you won't need to evacuate for every launch" then a lot of them would take you up.  The others would need to be evacuated, as they can be now.

http://www.spacenews.com/article/launch-report/41642all-solid-antares-would-require-changes-to-wallops-pad-safety-rules

How large is the worst case overpressure area? This article says only "many kilometers"
Good question.  The largest overpressure distance to date was LADEE at 2.7 km (9000 feet).

A map (on page 62 of the document above) shows that NASA field verified every structure within 5 km (~16400 feet), showing it on the map as a purple dot.  It would appear there are less than 100 of them, almost all farms.   Retrofitting these does not seem an expensive project.  It also shows the 20,000 foot (6.1 km) radius in which people can already be required to evacuate.   This appears to contain (by rough count) perhaps 300 structures.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Jim on 10/06/2014 05:46 PM

Everyone within 20,000 feet can already be forced to evacuate. 

 I suspect if you told them "If you let us replace/film your windows, you won't need to evacuate for every launch" then a lot of them would take you up.  The others would need to be evacuated, as they can be now.


Not the same boundary.  Blast zone is larger than launch danger zone.  Titusville is not evacuated for launches, yet there have been range no-gos for blast. 
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Jim on 10/06/2014 05:48 PM

Finally, there is the concern that termination overpressure might shower people with broken window glass.  Rather than prohibit solids, maybe the right thing to do is fix the windows.  They could be replaced with safety glass, or there are films designed for just this purpose. 
http://solutions.3m.com/wps/portal/3M/en_US/Window_Film/Solutions/Markets-Products/Residential/Safety-Security_Window_Films/ that could be used to retrofit existing windows.   If you needed to retrofit 100,000 windows (which seems really high) at $100 each, that is still only $10 million.


Not feasible.  This constraint is for the surrounding communities.  They are not for the launch site to fix nor to maintain.  The range has no way of ensuring that every window is in compliance.

Everyone within 20,000 feet can already be forced to evacuate.  From
http://www.accomackcojlus.com/Images/TAC%20Meeting%20Summary-11-7-13.pdf page 3:
Quote
Josh then explained the buffer zones for launches, including protection from debris (non‐essential personnel and vehicles must be removed) for the 10,000‐foot hazard zone. Controlled roadblocks are typically required. The 20,000‐foot hazard zone has to do with toxic gases for launch day specific risks and could require residents within the zone to stay in their houses, or perhaps, even leave the premises for the event. A risk analysis is conducted for every launch, including people, houses and window counts
I suspect if you told them "If you let us replace/film your windows, you won't need to evacuate for every launch" then a lot of them would take you up.  The others would need to be evacuated, as they can be now.

http://www.spacenews.com/article/launch-report/41642all-solid-antares-would-require-changes-to-wallops-pad-safety-rules

How large is the worst case overpressure area? This article says only "many kilometers"
Good question.  The largest overpressure distance to date was LADEE at 2.7 km (9000 feet).

A map (on page 62 of the document above) shows that NASA field verified every structure within 5 km (~16400 feet), showing it on the map as a purple dot.  It would appear there are less than 100 of them, almost all farms.   Retrofitting these does not seem an expensive project.  It also shows the 20,000 foot (6.1 km) radius in which people can already be required to evacuate.   This appears to contain (by rough count) perhaps 300 structures.

Not the same boundaries.  Blast zone is larger than launch danger zone.  Titusville is not evacuated for launches, yet there have been range no-gos for blast.   

Simply not feasible.  The range has no way of ensuring that every window is in compliance even if they are replaced, there are other factors in play.  There is no "configuration control".   
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: gospacex on 10/06/2014 07:42 PM
like this comment left on that article  :D
"Four Years" my foot! Bet somebody could have something runable off the shelf in nine months or less ... if they were properly motivated.
The commenter you mention is obviously not aware of the process to certify a high pressure staged combustion engine.  It took Glushko/Energomash nine years to get RD-170 from concept to flight (on a Zenit initially) and eleven years to fly it on Energia.

AJ doesn't need to develop a new engine from scratch. They need to only reimplement NK-33 with modern manufacturing techniques. Big difference.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: baldusi on 10/06/2014 08:25 PM
like this comment left on that article  :D
"Four Years" my foot! Bet somebody could have something runable off the shelf in nine months or less ... if they were properly motivated.
The commenter you mention is obviously not aware of the process to certify a high pressure staged combustion engine.  It took Glushko/Energomash nine years to get RD-170 from concept to flight (on a Zenit initially) and eleven years to fly it on Energia.

AJ doesn't need to develop a new engine from scratch. They need to only reimplement NK-33 with modern manufacturing techniques. Big difference.
Doing that means a whole new certification process. But above all, it requires a new factory with modern tooling. AJ doesn't has anything like what's needed for making a new version of the NK-33. They would need a new factory. Part of the wonderful performance of the NK-33 is the corrugated metal construction of the nozzle and combustion chamber. It requires an extremely big and heavy press, with extremely expensive dies. Since the N-1 project required hundreds of engines, the manufacturing method was reasonable for the Soviets. I don't think it would be economical for Antare's needs.
BTW, you have to compare the certification of RD-180, since they already have the RD-191 done to base of the RD-181. It took 42 months from start to finish. And now the the RD-181 or RD-193 could be done much rapidly since the tooling at NPO Energomash is readily available, the test stands are there and certified and they would need just to adapt existing designs.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: LouScheffer on 10/06/2014 08:31 PM

Simply not feasible.  The range has no way of ensuring that every window is in compliance even if they are replaced, there are other factors in play.  There is no "configuration control".   
On  the contrary, there *is* "configuration control" for civilian structures.  They are called "building codes".  With the cooperation of the local community, the building codes could be modified to state "every building within five (5) km of an active launch complex must employ non-shattering windows".   Then after an initial inspection, it's the owner's job to ensure this.

This is exactly how safety critical stuff like smoke alarms and fire doors are implemented.  If I, or a contractor, change something in my house it's our responsibility for following the rules.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Jim on 10/06/2014 08:33 PM

On  the contrary, there *is* "configuration control" for civilian structures.  They are called "building codes".  With the cooperation of the local community, the building codes could be modified to state "every building within five (5) km of an active launch complex must employ non-shattering windows".   Then after an initial inspection, it's the owner's job to ensure this.


Wrong, that is not "configuration control".  There is no way to ensure all buildings are up to code.  Building codes are not backwards enforceable.  Municipal inspectors do not make regular visits to private homes.  Codes only come into effect during new construction or sale of the property.

Also, cooperation of the local communities is not a given.   Nor would NASA or range impose such requirements.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: LouScheffer on 10/06/2014 08:40 PM
Titusville is not evacuated for launches, yet there have been range no-gos for blast.   

Sure, but how often does this happen, compared to other weather holds?  For Wallops, presumably the procedure would be to establish some fixed limit (it looks like NASA was contemplating 5 km, based on their map).   Then the question would be how often the overpressure zone exceeds this limit.  A delay every so often might be more acceptable than having to move the whole operation to a more isolated area.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Jim on 10/06/2014 08:46 PM
Doing that means a whole new certification process.

What certification?  The vehicle has yet to go through any process for NASA or USAF.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Jim on 10/06/2014 08:50 PM
Titusville is not evacuated for launches, yet there have been range no-gos for blast.   

Sure, but how often does this happen, compared to other weather holds?  For Wallops, presumably the procedure would be to establish some fixed limit (it looks like NASA was contemplating 5 km, based on their map).   Then the question would be how often the overpressure zone exceeds this limit.  A delay every so often might be more acceptable than having to move the whole operation to a more isolated area.

That was my point.  Trades will have to be done on the launch commit criteria and pad location.   For Wallops, there will be a vehicle size limit due to the limited areas for pads and the close proximity of occupied residences.

 Instituting a window upgrade is not in the trade space. 
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: LouScheffer on 10/06/2014 09:31 PM
Also, cooperation of the local communities is not a given.   Nor would NASA or range impose such requirements.
Have you been to a city council meeting lately?  Where I live, if Orbital came to the meeting and said 500 jobs were contingent on some minor modification to building codes,  that the change would affect at most 100 voters, that they would pay for the required changes, and perhaps some extra to the property owners for their trouble, then the ink on the changes would be dry long before the end of the meeting.  And of course if this was needed, Orbital would make sure the changes were enacted before they signed any big contract.

Quote
Wrong, that is not "configuration control".  There is no way to ensure all buildings are up to code.  Building codes are not backwards enforceable.  Municipal inspectors do not make regular visits to private homes.  Codes only come into effect during new construction or sale of the property.
Although configuration control and building codes are different, they achieve the same objective - to make sure certain safety requirements are implemented and obeyed.  There is nothing that prevents the city/county from making the changes backwards enforceable and subject to inspection for businesses (see smoke detectors or handicap accessibility for examples).  Private homes that have not changed hands are typically unaffected by code changes, but this number should be small enough that negotiation, or even purchase, may be practical.  And any holdouts that refuse retrofits can simply be evacuated, as they can be now.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: baldusi on 10/06/2014 09:33 PM

Doing that means a whole new certification process.

What certification?  The vehicle has yet to go through any process for NASA or USAF.
I was talking about the engine certification. Aerojet had to certify the AJ-26 for OSC. If they did a new version, they would have to redo it. Incremental, but new none the less.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Antares on 10/07/2014 03:12 AM
Man, telling people they have to retrofit their houses, even not at their expense, is the most statist thing I've read on NSF.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: gospacex on 10/07/2014 09:36 AM
like this comment left on that article  :D
"Four Years" my foot! Bet somebody could have something runable off the shelf in nine months or less ... if they were properly motivated.
The commenter you mention is obviously not aware of the process to certify a high pressure staged combustion engine.  It took Glushko/Energomash nine years to get RD-170 from concept to flight (on a Zenit initially) and eleven years to fly it on Energia.

AJ doesn't need to develop a new engine from scratch. They need to only reimplement NK-33 with modern manufacturing techniques. Big difference.
Doing that means a whole new certification process. But above all, it requires a new factory with modern tooling. AJ doesn't has anything like what's needed for making a new version of the NK-33. They would need a new factory. Part of the wonderful performance of the NK-33 is the corrugated metal construction of the nozzle and combustion chamber. It requires an extremely big and heavy press, with extremely expensive dies.

Still, this doesn't require 5 years. It requires "only" money.

I did read the history of RD-170 development. It was so long because for a very long time, the engine prototypes they designed and tested, simply did not work. They experienced failure after failure. At some point, some engineers lose faith that it can ever be made to work.

AJ's situation is *far* easier. They *know* the engine can be made - they have a working example before their eyes.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: baldusi on 10/07/2014 03:53 PM
like this comment left on that article  :D
"Four Years" my foot! Bet somebody could have something runable off the shelf in nine months or less ... if they were properly motivated.
The commenter you mention is obviously not aware of the process to certify a high pressure staged combustion engine.  It took Glushko/Energomash nine years to get RD-170 from concept to flight (on a Zenit initially) and eleven years to fly it on Energia.

AJ doesn't need to develop a new engine from scratch. They need to only reimplement NK-33 with modern manufacturing techniques. Big difference.
Doing that means a whole new certification process. But above all, it requires a new factory with modern tooling. AJ doesn't has anything like what's needed for making a new version of the NK-33. They would need a new factory. Part of the wonderful performance of the NK-33 is the corrugated metal construction of the nozzle and combustion chamber. It requires an extremely big and heavy press, with extremely expensive dies.

Still, this doesn't require 5 years. It requires "only" money.

I did read the history of RD-170 development. It was so long because for a very long time, the engine prototypes they designed and tested, simply did not work. They experienced failure after failure. At some point, some engineers lose faith that it can ever be made to work.

AJ's situation is *far* easier. They *know* the engine can be made - they have a working example before their eyes.
Time and money. It still, at best, a four years project. They have to specify, design, approve, build, install and commission a whole new factory. How long do you thing it would take? And first they have to know what they need. Which pieces can be 3D printed? Which pieces simplified? Which parts ar too expensive to do in small batched and have to be replaced with other construction version? Which materials are available in the US? Which test stands will they use for prototype development? The prototype engines are horrid test stand queens. And you still need to keep testing those AJ-26, and repairing the stand when one of those goes kaboom. Can you share it for burp tests, and stability tests?
Look at the RD-180 project. They had the preburner and thrust chamber done. They just needed to develop a new turbopump. With the factory that was already tooled and all the flow working. Aerojet doesn't have that. They only have the RS-68, RL-10 and (may be) the RS-25D/E line. How much of it can be applied without being a new development?
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Lars-J on 10/07/2014 04:01 PM
Yep, rebuilding a rocket engine to match an existing one is not an easy thing. Manufacturing differences alone will make it difficult. Then you have the "why don't we improve it this way" feature creep - see J-2X.

No, I fully expect O-ATK to select a solid replacement of the first stage.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: edkyle99 on 10/07/2014 04:21 PM
Man, telling people they have to retrofit their houses, even not at their expense, is the most statist thing I've read on NSF.
Agreed.  The glass thing is about preventing someone from being killed by flying glass in the event of an explosion.  No one is going to sign off on a local ordinance or code that allows people to live under such conditions and requirements.  Either NASA buys the surrounding properties and moves everyone out, or a big solid thing doesn't fly from Wallops.  And why should it?  KSC already has the site for such motors and it isn't being used much right now.  Then again, I suspect Orbital is soon going to announce a liquid engine plan for future Antares.

 - Ed Kyle
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Space Ghost 1962 on 10/08/2014 05:19 PM
OK. Reading some tea leaves here to posit ways that Cygnus CRS missions keep flying.

It is interesting to consider how far to take existing Antares (w/o modification). It is possible to extend the existing contract for the stretched Cygnus using all available NK33/43 engines, fed through AR to become AJ-26's. This would work for governments and existing contracts for many, many reasons I don't wish to get into. In fact, it is the most sensible way of postponing this issue indefinitely. The net effect of such would mean that CRS-2 would deal with the remainder of need, which would fit with Dragon 1 and commercial crew offerings for such additional need, which would be somewhat less than if CRS-1 concluded entirely before CRS-2 would come on. Also, Antares re engining would likely also be postponed.

As to Falcon 9 launching of Cygnus, it is true that both companies work together on other payloads already. This might be a fall back for the above coming off as well. But the idea of the CRS contracts is as a full up bid of vehicle(s) as a service that is supplied. Beyond contingency, things get screwed up as an economical business decision for both. Which is why it wouldn't happen for CRS-2.

A different way to read the tea leaves.
I think the original plan was either a) the Russians backed down geopolitically and things went back to the way they were before, or they didn't and you got special dispensation for flying a bigger solid stack off 0B at WFF.

Neither happened. Which is why I mentioned the above post. A way of temporizing the issue away.

There is no way to conveniently deal with launch facilities for solids that suit economic and timeline issues, either at WFF or CCAFS. The ATK EELV solid "option" is simply a disguised means to open up an avenue to press this issue hard.

There is no way to domestically re engine Antares in time for a CRS 2 bid, as well as other potential launch services. Best you can do is one big "salvage" deal to get all the NK-33ish you can in one spurt and stretch "what appears to work" as long as possible.

Which might explain why the imminent announcement of this from Orbital keeps getting put off. In the large scheme of things, it doesn't matter. To the degree that it does matter, one stretches the "old" deal, past the breaking point.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Skyrocket on 10/16/2014 03:50 PM
Apparently Orbital made a decission, but does not tell for now. The re-engined Antares will be ready in late 2016 or early 2017 and will have a performance improvement.

https://twitter.com/StephenClark1/status/522746147522109441
https://twitter.com/StephenClark1/status/522746399637528576
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: arachnitect on 10/16/2014 03:59 PM
Why so coy Orbital?

Smart money still on RD-181
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: kevin-rf on 10/16/2014 05:46 PM
Why so coy Orbital?

Smart money still on RD-181

Why tip ones hand so your competitors know your next move and counter it?

I just hope they managed to resurrect and fit 5 modernized F-1's on a wide body Antares ;)
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: TrevorMonty on 10/16/2014 05:56 PM
A RD 181 would give them the option to fly crew vehicles.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Lobo on 10/16/2014 06:01 PM
Apparently Orbital made a decission, but does not tell for now. The re-engined Antares will be ready in late 2016 or early 2017 and will have a performance improvement.

https://twitter.com/StephenClark1/status/522746147522109441
https://twitter.com/StephenClark1/status/522746399637528576

Very interesting.

If ready that soon, then likely not AR-1.

And while ATK could probably have a 3.71m wide composite solid rocket motor ready in that time frame (they got Caster 30XL developed very quickly), that time frame is probably too short for the kind of launch infrastructure changes needed for big solids, as they'd need to move to the Cape build a new pad at and old pad location, or modify an old shuttle MLP and launch from 39B.  It seems pretty unlikely they could adapt Wallops to it as has been discussed.

So yea, seems like in that time frame it would be a kerolox engine of similar performance to AJ26, with perhaps just a stretched core as more performance is mentioned.  So one RD-181, or perhaps two RD-191's or RD-193's on a stretched core seems like a pretty likely option given everything.  RD-191 would share production with Angara and RD-193 would in the near future share production with Soyuz-2-1v.
About the only thing I can think of that is feasible in 2-2.5 years from a booster modificationa and launch facility standpoint.

Seems like OrbATK would be inviting some potential future issues with Russian/US politics.  The issue that ULA seems to be moving away from.




Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Zed_Noir on 10/16/2014 06:49 PM
After reading the tweets from Stephan Clark. My WAG that Orbital will sub-contracted the propulsion stuff to SpaceX is still in play.

@Lobo, the time frame to integrate any new Russian engine to a variant of the current Antares core seems very tight.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Space Ghost 1962 on 10/16/2014 07:20 PM
Apparently Orbital made a decission, but does not tell for now. The re-engined Antares will be ready in late 2016 or early 2017 and will have a performance improvement.

https://twitter.com/StephenClark1/status/522746147522109441
https://twitter.com/StephenClark1/status/522746399637528576

If ready that soon, then likely not AR-1.
Correct. For AR-1 to be an option, need obvious billion dollar infusion soon. House last year voted a measly $2M in Ebola funding,  12.5x just came in from Zuckerberg alone, not hearing any increase either way. Testing would have to start in 6 months for this.

And while ATK could probably have a 3.71m wide composite solid rocket motor ready in that time frame (they got Caster 30XL developed very quickly), that time frame is probably too short for the kind of launch infrastructure changes needed for big solids, as they'd need to move to the Cape build a new pad at and old pad location, or modify an old shuttle MLP and launch from 39B.  It seems pretty unlikely they could adapt Wallops to it as has been discussed.
Fast path for this would be another VIF at LC41, which would totally annoy ULA. Perhaps 9 months start for facilities, 3 month start for stage prototypes.

So yea, seems like in that time frame it would be a kerolox engine of similar performance to AJ26, with perhaps just a stretched core as more performance is mentioned.
The question to ask is how much performance increase? How does it affect other missions besides CRS payload increases? Does it affect the rest of the stack? Any increase in C3? These will tell the rest of the story.

But if it is a re-engine, then no more NK-33ish to export from Russia? That's interesting right there. By my count a few hundred engines including NK43's are then to be unflown. Why?

So one RD-181, or perhaps two RD-191's or RD-193's on a stretched core seems like a pretty likely option given everything.  RD-191 would share production with Angara and RD-193 would in the near future share production with Soyuz-2-1v.
About the only thing I can think of that is feasible in 2-2.5 years from a booster modification and launch facility standpoint.
Yup.

Seems like OrbATK would be inviting some potential future issues with Russian/US politics.  The issue that ULA seems to be moving away from.
Orbital is not in it from a strategic point of view (yet). They are coldly calculated players at LV economics. They will work up CRS, then additional missions, then a second launch site, well before they can afford to take on things that impinge on the politics. Just look at the fun ULA and SpaceX are having right now together. A three-way legal brawl with national security implications would make the geopolitical stuff all the more exciting.

Keep in mind its not just engines, its the outsourcing to Ukraine as well. Watch closely Sea Launch as well for hints as to how that is going - the more games you hear, the longer, less definite the plans are.

ULA's done an excellent job of communicating a rational way out. But they had to. And it means that no matter the "geometry" of frozen conflicts in the future, they can adapt.

As to the frozen conflicts, watch cash flows closely. The kleptocracy's weak spot is cash on hand. Even the Chinese are extremely wary of fronting cash no matter what they get in return. Hand to mouth means slooow chaaaange ...

After reading the tweets from Stephan Clark. My WAG that Orbital will sub-contracted the propulsion stuff to SpaceX is still in play.

@Lobo, the time frame to integrate any new Russian engine to a variant of the current Antares core seems very tight.
Ok, the two "far out" ways would be acquiring from BO or SpaceX. They are indigenous. Why would either of these come off? BO's busy with ULA, has no time, doesn't need money. SpaceX sells launch services, why fund a competitor? None of this makes any sense whatsoever.

More likely getting Europe/Japan partners for engines. Not much hydrocarbon boost to be had there ...
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Zed_Noir on 10/16/2014 07:48 PM
...
After reading the tweets from Stephan Clark. My WAG that Orbital will sub-contracted the propulsion stuff to SpaceX is still in play.

...
Ok, the two "far out" ways would be acquiring from BO or SpaceX. They are indigenous. Why would either of these come off? BO's busy with ULA, has no time, doesn't need money. SpaceX sells launch services, why fund a competitor? None of this makes any sense whatsoever.
...
Exactly. Orbital buys launch service from SpaceX and exits the launch business. Yes, it's far out and unlikely to happen.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: kevin-rf on 10/16/2014 08:02 PM
Remember part of the reason they started Antares was they no longer had a domestic vehicle to launch Delta II class payloads they built in a cost effective manor. The falcon has filled that niche, and has flown payloads built by Orbital. So it is not to far out.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: TrevorMonty on 10/16/2014 08:03 PM
Given time frame the mostly likely candidate is a Russian engine. SpaceX might sell them Merlins, at least they would still be make money off a competitor's launch..

Pad modifications seems to rule out solids.

The BE4 is definitely not an option. The BE3 is available but would require a totally new LV.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Zed_Noir on 10/16/2014 08:35 PM
...
 SpaceX might sell them Merlins, at least they would still be make money off a competitor's launch..
...
To clarified . Orbital buys the F9 and the use of LC-40 pad to launch the Cygnus to LEO. They don't spend any money adopting the Merlin or any other engine to their Ukrainian core if they exit the launch business. Just stick the Cygnus inside the F9 payload fairing.  ;)
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Space Ghost 1962 on 10/16/2014 08:44 PM
...
After reading the tweets from Stephan Clark. My WAG that Orbital will sub-contracted the propulsion stuff to SpaceX is still in play.

...
Ok, the two "far out" ways would be acquiring from BO or SpaceX. They are indigenous. Why would either of these come off? BO's busy with ULA, has no time, doesn't need money. SpaceX sells launch services, why fund a competitor? None of this makes any sense whatsoever.
...
Exactly. Orbital buys launch service from SpaceX and exits the launch business. Yes, it's far out and unlikely to happen.

Except that doesn't fit for why they did/do the launch business in the first place, as a means to secure a stream of sats to orbit independent of provider(s). Additionally, why acquire ATK, which is mostly propulsion for weapons and sats ...

Remember part of the reason they started Antares was they no longer had a domestic vehicle to launch Delta II class payloads they built in a cost effective manor. The falcon has filled that niche, and has flown payloads built by Orbital. So it is not to far out.
Correct about Delta II being addressed.

But note that the launch economics of F9 1.1 exceed this. They've taken on ULA/Atlas/AF. Costs are rising. Unless reuse lowers costs significantly, we've again got a problem if ELV costs rise closer to Atlas levels, and Atlas droops lower (bit of a fantasy, but, hey, one likes to dream ...).

So if F9R does what Musk claims, yup, they own the Delta II slot forever. Note - they still don't do all of the vehicle capabilities - some are still missing. And if FHR comes on hot and heavy, about 90% of current EELV.

But then, does this mean that OrbATK is back to flying solids out of WFF as a fallback? Can't see how that could work out.

The only WFF LRE LV's look like the obvious ones.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Jim on 10/16/2014 08:55 PM

Fast path for this would be another VIF at LC41, which would totally annoy ULA. Perhaps 9 months start for facilities, 3 month start for stage prototypes.


Huh?  OSC can't stick their vehicle in there and use SLC-41.  It is ULA's exclusive use.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Jim on 10/16/2014 08:57 PM

To clarified . Orbital buys the F9 and the use of LC-40 pad to launch the Cygnus to LEO. They don't spend any money adopting the Merlin or any other engine to their Ukrainian core if they exit the launch business. Just stick the Cygnus inside the F9 payload fairing.  ;)

Not worth the effort. 
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: kevin-rf on 10/16/2014 11:38 PM

Fast path for this would be another VIF at LC41, which would totally annoy ULA. Perhaps 9 months start for facilities, 3 month start for stage prototypes.


Huh?  OSC can't stick their vehicle in there and use SLC-41.  It is ULA's exclusive use.

Maybe it was part of the ULA Orbital anti-trust settlement ;) (Yes I am making it up)
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Space Ghost 1962 on 10/17/2014 12:02 AM

Fast path for this would be another VIF at LC41, which would totally annoy ULA. Perhaps 9 months start for facilities, 3 month start for stage prototypes.


Huh?  OSC can't stick their vehicle in there and use SLC-41.  It is ULA's exclusive use.
Maybe it was part of the ULA Orbital anti-trust settlement ;) (Yes I am making it up)

The govt giveth, and the govt takes away ;)

Hey, they still can fly, and even add another VIF for say a 5 meter Atlas work alike!

Think of it as facilities utilization ... Boy would that be a pain!
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: kevin-rf on 10/17/2014 12:09 AM
Didn't I read somewhere that the site only has room for three VIF's?

They are better sticking with Wallops and coming up with a good upper stage with multiple restarts. That way they could do decent polar and GTO.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Space Ghost 1962 on 10/17/2014 12:23 AM
Didn't I read somewhere that the site only has room for three VIF's?

They are better sticking with Wallops and coming up with a good upper stage with multiple restarts. That way they could do decent polar and GTO.
Itching to do nat sec birds. Either/both CCAFS/ Vandenberg. Not a chance WFF for this stuff.

Anyways, they have problems with LRE first stage. And you want them to do a LRE US, which BTW they wanted a Russian engine for that originally as well?

But yeah, a HE US, if they still could fly more Antares LV besides CRS, would really make for a nice launch service provider business.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Patchouli on 10/17/2014 05:57 AM
Why so coy Orbital?

Smart money still on RD-181

Why tip ones hand so your competitors know your next move and counter it?

I just hope they managed to resurrect and fit 5 modernized F-1's on a wide body Antares ;)

Maybe a single simplified F-1 on a Zenit sized core but most likely I think it's the RD-193 or RD-181.

Despite having a lower ISP a single F-1 with appropriately sized tanks would offer a massive increase in performance.
Though this would be unlikely to be ready by 2016 though it would be faster to get ready for flight then the AR-1.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Lars-J on 10/17/2014 06:47 AM

Maybe a single simplified F-1 on a Zenit sized core but most likely I think it's the RD-193 or RD-181.

Despite having a lower ISP a single F-1 with appropriately sized tanks would offer a massive increase in performance.
Though this would be unlikely to be ready by 2016 though it would be faster to get ready for flight then the AR-1.

An F-1 engine ready faster than AR-1? Surely you are kidding. Neither will happen, though.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Patchouli on 10/17/2014 06:55 AM



An F-1 engine ready faster than AR-1? Surely you are kidding. Neither will happen, though.

It's a low pressure engine that doesn't push the limits of it's construction materials as much and would be mostly based on technology the industry is familiar with so design and testing should go faster.
It's similar to how building a large displacement big block V8 for a hotrod is a lot easier then building a formula one engine.

But yes both are unlikely considering the 2016 date so the RD-193 or RD-181 are probably the most likely candidates as they'd require the least amount of rework.

Second most likely candidate is a SRB stage from ATK though this would likely have to be two stages to offer then same performance of the present first stage.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: MP99 on 10/17/2014 07:42 AM


So yea, seems like in that time frame it would be a kerolox engine of similar performance to AJ26, with perhaps just a stretched core as more performance is mentioned.
The question to ask is how much performance increase? How does it affect other missions besides CRS payload increases? Does it affect the rest of the stack? Any increase in C3? These will tell the rest of the story.

But if it is a re-engine, then no more NK-33ish to export from Russia? That's interesting right there. By my count a few hundred engines including NK43's are then to be unflown. Why?

I thought the whole reason for this issue in the first place was coming to the end of supply of NK-33?

Cheers, Martin
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Lobo on 10/17/2014 07:17 PM
...
After reading the tweets from Stephan Clark. My WAG that Orbital will sub-contracted the propulsion stuff to SpaceX is still in play.

...
Ok, the two "far out" ways would be acquiring from BO or SpaceX. They are indigenous. Why would either of these come off? BO's busy with ULA, has no time, doesn't need money. SpaceX sells launch services, why fund a competitor? None of this makes any sense whatsoever.
...
Exactly. Orbital buys launch service from SpaceX and exits the launch business. Yes, it's far out and unlikely to happen.

I believe the tweets said a reengined Antares.  Why do that if just planning to retire Antares and fly on SpaceX.  Just try to procure enough NK-33 engines to finish out the CRS contract and retire Antares and call it a day and save the investment of re-engineing their LV.

So that doesn't seem too likely, IMHO.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Lobo on 10/17/2014 07:20 PM

Fast path for this would be another VIF at LC41, which would totally annoy ULA. Perhaps 9 months start for facilities, 3 month start for stage prototypes.


Huh?  OSC can't stick their vehicle in there and use SLC-41.  It is ULA's exclusive use.

Yea, I was going to ask about that...
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Lobo on 10/17/2014 07:21 PM
Didn't I read somewhere that the site only has room for three VIF's?

They are better sticking with Wallops and coming up with a good upper stage with multiple restarts. That way they could do decent polar and GTO.

They won't have one in that time frame.  But they could come up with one later after the booster is re-engined.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: TrevorMonty on 10/17/2014 07:36 PM
Another article on this.

We will have to wait till CRS2 contract has been submitted in Nov.

http://www.spacenews.com/article/launch-report/42223orbital-says-it-has-selected-future-antares-engine-but-offers-no
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Lobo on 10/17/2014 07:37 PM



An F-1 engine ready faster than AR-1? Surely you are kidding. Neither will happen, though.

It's a low pressure engine that doesn't push the limits of it's construction materials as much and would be mostly based on technology the industry is familiar with so design and testing should go faster.
It's similar to how building a large displacement big block V8 for a hotrod is a lot easier then building a formula one engine.

But yes both are unlikely considering the 2016 date so the RD-193 or RD-181 are probably the most likely candidates as they'd require the least amount of rework.

Second most likely candidate is a SRB stage from ATK though this would likely have to be two stages to offer then same performance of the present first stage.

Yea.  Which I think ATK could do.  As Ed Kyle did some numbers, two equal sized motors, while not being optimal, could replace Antares's core dV, with Castor 30XL on top, if I remember correctly.  That means just one new motor to develop, and I think they did Castor 30XL in about a year?  So that's feasible.

The larger issue there I think is where to launch it from?  Many have said Wallops is not really an option for several reasons.  Jim has said there's no way they'd launch from KSC, but that they would have to launch from the Cape to compete for government contracts.  So I guess that would leave OrbATK to purchase/lease an old pad from SpaceFlorida or the USAF itself (as I believe SpaceX is doing for LC-40?)
And then build a new pad there, which could accomodate vertical solid segment stacking on the pad, like is done with Minotaur, but on a larger scale.  Could such a new pad be constructed at the Cape within the 2-2.5 years tweeted about?  That's what I think might be difficult. 
SpaceX razed and rebuilt LC-40 and SLC-4E I think in around 2 years each?  (someone correct me on that).  But Those would be more simple in the horizontal integration buildings and simple strongback construction.  A solid Antares would need some sort of MSS with a heavy duty gantry to lift the big solid segments onto the pad and stack them.  And while they are at that, they'd probably need some sort of vertical payload integration room as they probably can't integrate horizontally and erect the stack on the pad as Antares is currently done.  So it would be a more expensive/complex pad I would think than the SpaceX pads.  Could that be built in that time frame?  I'm thinking that'd be pretty tight.

Although...one thing of note.  The Tweet talked about a 6 month overlap between a re-engined Antares and the last AJ26's.  Do they just mean they'd have the first new core ready 6 months before the last current core flies?  Or do they mean they plan to have a new LV on a new pad 6 months before the last AJ26 Antares flies from Wallops?
I would think the former, but it's not quite clear from the Tweet.

PS:  One other thing of note.  If anything comes out of the new Pegasus II/Stratolaunch/Scaled Dreamchaser information, that would mean that ATK would have those 3.71m wide composite casings anyway.  Pegasus II would use shorter motors probably, but a longer Antares motor could use the same casings, and samle nozzles and TVC.  If they have figured out a launch solution for such a solid booster, it would offer some interesting benefits to OrbATK to do it.  Railoads capable of carrying the motors already run from ATK-Utah to the Cape.  And they'd need to launch from the Cape -anyway- if they ever want to try to get some government contracts like they publically stated they do.
I still think Russian engines are more likely on a stretched Antares core launching from the existing Wallops facility...at least as the first step...is the most likely.  But it'll be interesting to see when they release more info later.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Zed_Noir on 10/17/2014 10:09 PM
@Lobo OrbitalATK could refit LC-36 LC-46 at CCAFS for a solid core. However the time frame is tight for the GSE and some sort of MSS.

correction: oops. I meant the old Trident pad at LC-46.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Ronsmytheiii on 10/18/2014 12:52 AM
@Lobo OrbitalATK could refit LC-36 at CCAFS for a solid core. However the time frame is tight for the GSE and some sort of MSS.

And by refit you mean build a new pad where LC-36 used to be, as both pads were raised to the ground.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: MP99 on 10/18/2014 08:45 AM
@Lobo OrbitalATK could refit LC-36 at CCAFS for a solid core. However the time frame is tight for the GSE and some sort of MSS.

And by refit you mean build a new pad where LC-36 used to be, as both pads were raised to the ground.
Ares I was to stack in the VAB, and launch from an MLP from 39B.

Why can't a solid Antares do the same?

VAB has the cranes & other infrastructure, ML can carry that weight without breaking into a sweat, 39B & its flame trench is designed to cope with a much more powerful solid(s).

There may be hassles & costs to sharing VAB with SLS, but this seems to minimise up-front capital investments, and cut lead times dramatically, vs a new pad.

Cheers, Martin
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Zed_Noir on 10/18/2014 02:21 PM
@Lobo OrbitalATK could refit LC-36 at CCAFS for a solid core. However the time frame is tight for the GSE and some sort of MSS.

And by refit you mean build a new pad where LC-36 used to be, as both pads were raised to the ground.
Oops I goof. Was supposes to be the old Trident pad at LC-46.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: edkyle99 on 10/18/2014 02:51 PM
Ares I was to stack in the VAB, and launch from an MLP from 39B.

Why can't a solid Antares do the same?

VAB has the cranes & other infrastructure, ML can carry that weight without breaking into a sweat, 39B & its flame trench is designed to cope with a much more powerful solid(s).

There may be hassles & costs to sharing VAB with SLS, but this seems to minimise up-front capital investments, and cut lead times dramatically, vs a new pad.

Cheers, Martin
I agree, but I also suspect that Orbital doesn't want to walk away from the substantial ground infrastructure that has been created for Antares at Wallops.  Since big solids aren't going to fly from Wallops, the only remaining unknown seems to be which liquid engine will replace the current NK-33/AJ-26.  Given the time frame, the answer seems more and more apparent. 

 - Ed Kyle
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: edkyle99 on 10/18/2014 03:04 PM
@Lobo OrbitalATK could refit LC-36 at CCAFS for a solid core. However the time frame is tight for the GSE and some sort of MSS.

And by refit you mean build a new pad where LC-36 used to be, as both pads were raised to the ground.
Oops I goof. Was supposes to be the old Trident pad at LC-46.
SLC 46 is limited to smaller solid motors, like Trident II and Castor 120, etc.  It used a launch stand on a flat pad, if I recall correctly.  The site cannot be modified extensively because the Navy is still holding it in reserve in case it needs to resume land-based Trident II missile testing.  Space Florida's Operator's License has actually expired for SLC 46 since nothing has flown from there in 15 years.

 - Ed  Kyle
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Lobo on 10/18/2014 04:08 PM
Ares I was to stack in the VAB, and launch from an MLP from 39B.

Why can't a solid Antares do the same?

VAB has the cranes & other infrastructure, ML can carry that weight without breaking into a sweat, 39B & its flame trench is designed to cope with a much more powerful solid(s).

There may be hassles & costs to sharing VAB with SLS, but this seems to minimise up-front capital investments, and cut lead times dramatically, vs a new pad.

Cheers, Martin
I agree, but I also suspect that Orbital doesn't want to walk away from the substantial ground infrastructure that has been created for Antares at Wallops.  Since big solids aren't going to fly from Wallops, the only remaining unknown seems to be which liquid engine will replace the current NK-33/AJ-26.  Given the time frame, the answer seems more and more apparent. 

 - Ed Kyle

Yup.  This is why I suspect liquid engines despite the several advantages orkATK would have with their own in house solid motors. 
Also Jim has mentioned in his cryptic way that nothing besides SLS will launch from the VAB and 39B despite NASA wanting other launchers to share it and the infrastructure for handling big solid motors already there.  So I'm sure he has some insight into that. 
That leaves liquid engines flying from Wallops or a new pad somewhere at the Cape.  The latter seems like a reach given the time line Tweeted.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: kevin-rf on 10/18/2014 08:55 PM
I may be wrong, but the having to share the VAB overhead might put a significant dent in ones pocket.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: AncientU on 10/19/2014 01:51 PM
Does their launch rate (even optimistically projected) justify two launch pads?
The investment in Wallops and the freedom it allows seems to be a big draw for staying put and finding a compatible propulsion solution.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Jim on 10/19/2014 05:41 PM
Does their launch rate (even optimistically projected) justify two launch pads?
The investment in Wallops and the freedom it allows seems to be a big draw for staying put and finding a compatible propulsion solution.

There is no "freedom" in Wallops and a very limited mission subset that it can do.  Only ISS resupply and some sun synchronous, no GSO comsat and limited planetary and no DOD.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Zed_Noir on 10/19/2014 05:58 PM
Does their launch rate (even optimistically projected) justify two launch pads?
The investment in Wallops and the freedom it allows seems to be a big draw for staying put and finding a compatible propulsion solution.

There is no "freedom" in Wallops and a very limited mission subset that it can do.  Only ISS resupply and some sun synchronous, no GSO comsat and limited planetary and no DOD.

IIRC the state of Virginia foot a lot of the pad expansion cost.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: kevin-rf on 10/20/2014 01:53 AM
Does their launch rate (even optimistically projected) justify two launch pads?
The investment in Wallops and the freedom it allows seems to be a big draw for staying put and finding a compatible propulsion solution.

There is no "freedom" in Wallops and a very limited mission subset that it can do.  Only ISS resupply and some sun synchronous, no GSO comsat and limited planetary and no DOD.
With the current solid upper stages no GSO, but with a restartable upperstage, they could do some of the lower end payloads. 

Though to be honest, for the moment, they seem to be happy with SpaceX for the smaller GSO payloads they build.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: simonbp on 10/20/2014 02:15 AM
For non-LEO missions, they would use a third stage, either a "Bi-Propellant Third Stage" based on the STAR bus kick stage, or a Star-48BV solid rocket (the three-axis stabilized version of the Star-48B).

https://www.orbital.com/LaunchSystems/Publications/Antares_UsersGuide.pdf
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Comga on 10/22/2014 06:11 PM
Another article on this.

We will have to wait till CRS2 contract has been submitted in Nov.

http://www.spacenews.com/article/launch-report/42223orbital-says-it-has-selected-future-antares-engine-but-offers-no (http://www.spacenews.com/article/launch-report/42223orbital-says-it-has-selected-future-antares-engine-but-offers-no)

and another

http://www.satellitetoday.com/launch/2014/10/17/orbital-sciences-antares-to-launch-with-new-engine-in-two-to-three-years/ (http://www.satellitetoday.com/launch/2014/10/17/orbital-sciences-antares-to-launch-with-new-engine-in-two-to-three-years/)

Anyone see any significant different or new information?
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: rayleighscatter on 10/22/2014 08:26 PM
The most interesting thing in that link to me:

Quote
“Orbital continues to assemble a commercial Antares manifest (Orbital submitted its first non-NASA proposal during 1Q) and still expects an inaugural commercial-mission between late 2016 and early 2017,”
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: zaitcev on 10/23/2014 07:46 PM
There is no "freedom" in Wallops and a very limited mission subset that it can do.  Only ISS resupply and some sun synchronous, no GSO comsat and limited planetary and no DOD.

Meanwhile Russians are getting ready to launch to GSO with Angara from Plesetsk. Don't tell me Wallops is further north.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Jim on 10/23/2014 08:02 PM

Meanwhile Russians are getting ready to launch to GSO with Angara from Plesetsk. Don't tell me Wallops is further north.

Angara has multiple configurations and was sized to do GSO from Plesetsk.  Antares is too small to do current comsats.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: arachnitect on 10/23/2014 08:07 PM

Meanwhile Russians are getting ready to launch to GSO with Angara from Plesetsk. Don't tell me Wallops is further north.

Angara has multiple configurations and was sized to do GSO from Plesetsk.  Antares is too small to do current comsats.

Would moving to CCAFS really change that?
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: russianhalo117 on 10/23/2014 08:15 PM

Meanwhile Russians are getting ready to launch to GSO with Angara from Plesetsk. Don't tell me Wallops is further north.

Angara has multiple configurations and was sized to do GSO from Plesetsk.  Antares is too small to do current comsats.

Would moving to CCAFS really change that?
Yes and No as depend on the Launch azimuth and result inclination. That is one reason why Antares flights to ISS are going via Wallops. Higher Energy transfer to the 51.6 inclination on a descending node towards the equator results in more payload lifted for them than a 51.6 ascending node from CCAFS like shuttle and F9. My guess is Cuba is in the way for a 51.6 descending node from CCAFS. Please correct me if I'm wrong.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: kevin-rf on 10/23/2014 10:53 PM

Angara has multiple configurations and was sized to do GSO from Plesetsk.  Antares is too small to do current comsats.
Built by who? Orbital builds small comsats. Just pointing out if they had the correct upperstage, they could launch some of the GSO satellites they build.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Lobo on 10/23/2014 11:11 PM

Meanwhile Russians are getting ready to launch to GSO with Angara from Plesetsk. Don't tell me Wallops is further north.

Angara has multiple configurations and was sized to do GSO from Plesetsk.  Antares is too small to do current comsats.

Would moving to CCAFS really change that?

Would replacing the Castor 30XL with a hydrolox upper stage change that?  Or would it still need to go to CCAFS?

And can Wallops be modified to accomodate USAF/DoD requirements about vertical payload integration and changout?  Or are they completely locked in to their current horizontal pad flow?
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: rayleighscatter on 10/23/2014 11:26 PM

And can Wallops be modified to accomodate USAF/DoD requirements about vertical payload integration and changout?  Or are they completely locked in to their current horizontal pad flow?
USAF/DoD specifically requires CCAFS or Vandenberg (military bases). I'm not even certain if KSC would qualify for those launches (Jim?).
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Comga on 10/24/2014 05:41 AM
snip
 My guess is Cuba is in the way for a 51.6 descending node from CCAFS. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

No. It's the Bahamas and other islands in the Caribbean.

edit: Oops
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: baldusi on 10/24/2014 03:16 PM
Yes and No as depend on the Launch azimuth and result inclination. That is one reason why Antares flights to ISS are going via Wallops. Higher Energy transfer to the 51.6 inclination on a descending node towards the equator results in more payload lifted for them than a 51.6 ascending node from CCAFS like shuttle and F9. [...]
Could you explain me why? I had it understood that the only advantage of latitude (assuming it is less than the orbit's inclination) is the Earth's rotation. Which is a vector with the exact direction of the rotation. Thus, the rocket needs to add the difference.
For example, let's say that orbital speed is 7,500m/s, and inclination is 51.6deg, then the (lat,long) component vector is (4,659m/s, 5,878m/s) for a northward orbit and (4,659m/s, -5,878m/s) of a southward on. So, launching southward or northward should be the same.
Due to the rotation of the Earth, your launch site supplies a (cos(lat)*radius m/s,0m/s) of energy. But you obviously then have to add atmospheric and gravity losses. Thus, if you execute no dogleg, launching from KSC (407m/s help) should actually give better performance than Wallops (365m/s). You'd get better performance from Wallops as you go orbits with higher inclinations than 87 deg or so, since you'd have to actually cancel the Earth rotation supplied by KSC.
But that's how I understand it, and that's clearly a simplistic model. Can you help me understand why southern azimuth give better performance, and also why closer latitude to orbit inclination gives better performance than closer to equator? I'm quite intrigued.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Lobo on 10/24/2014 04:34 PM

And can Wallops be modified to accomodate USAF/DoD requirements about vertical payload integration and changout?  Or are they completely locked in to their current horizontal pad flow?
USAF/DoD specifically requires CCAFS or Vandenberg (military bases). I'm not even certain if KSC would qualify for those launches (Jim?).

It did when military payloads were launched on the Shuttle.  That was the whole reason for the RSS and the ability to install and changout payloads at the pad vertically, as I understand.  So the USAF would help pay for STS.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Jim on 10/24/2014 06:15 PM

USAF/DoD specifically requires CCAFS or Vandenberg (military bases). I'm not even certain if KSC would qualify for those launches (Jim?).

The reason is that the ground infrastructure for processing the payloads already exists at the Cape and VAFB.

KSC would qualify because it is close enough to the Cape. 
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: simonbp on 10/24/2014 07:42 PM
And Shuttle did obviously launch classified payloads from KSC/LC-39.

A commercial launch contract for Antares would be very big news.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: arachnitect on 10/26/2014 08:30 PM
What is the seemingly half assembled (half disassembled?) structure north of the Pad 0A tank farm? In older photos (of 0A being converted for Antares) it has a roof and siding.

image from here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/nasahqphoto/15608404916/
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: rayleighscatter on 10/26/2014 09:35 PM
http://www.rubbusa.com/project-wallops-flight-facility-wallops-island-va-military-project
http://www.nasa.gov/centers/langley/images/content/366324main_MLAS_904.jpg
It's a fabric covered building set on tracks. It was built to support the MLAS (Max Launch Abort System).
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: yg1968 on 10/27/2014 01:17 PM
Quote from: Twitter
Orbital Sciences: We settled our antitrust lawsuit w/ Russian RD-180 engine seller RD Amross & are negotiating an RD-180 access deal w/ ULA.

https://twitter.com/pbdes/status/526721347993759744
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: arachnitect on 10/27/2014 02:02 PM
Quote from: Twitter
Orbital Sciences: We settled our antitrust lawsuit w/ Russian RD-180 engine seller RD Amross & are negotiating an RD-180 access deal w/ ULA.

https://twitter.com/pbdes/status/526721347993759744

Very interesting.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Lars-J on 10/27/2014 03:16 PM
Quote from: Twitter
Orbital Sciences: We settled our antitrust lawsuit w/ Russian RD-180 engine seller RD Amross & are negotiating an RD-180 access deal w/ ULA.

https://twitter.com/pbdes/status/526721347993759744

Here is another tweet: https://twitter.com/pbdes/status/526721627988697089
Quote
Peter B. de Selding ‏@pbdes
Orbital Sciences: If our negs w/ ULA for access to Russian RD-180 engine fail, we can refile our antitrust lawsuit against ULA.

I guess that settles the engine debate. They have decided to use to RD-180, and will re-file lawsuits if necessary to get it.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: baldusi on 10/27/2014 03:58 PM
It's actually the only logical choice. No other equally performing engine is available. And actually it is the only Russian engine with an export license. It was hard to do it on 1998/7, doing it now for the RD-193 or RD-181 would be close to impossible.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Antares on 10/29/2014 03:19 AM
Those NK's must have been reading Twitter and got mad.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 10/29/2014 08:26 AM
Assuming (and that is all it is so far) that the ORB-CRS-3 anomaly is ultimately due to an engine failure this gives NK-33 a failure rate of 1-in-4, as of now, including the two test stand failures. Am I correct?

(Asked not to bash but because I genuinely want the information)
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: baldusi on 10/29/2014 11:31 AM
Assuming (and that is all it is so far) that the ORB-CRS-3 anomaly is ultimately due to an engine failure this gives NK-33 a failure rate of 1-in-4, as of now, including the two test stand failures. Am I correct?

(Asked not to bash but because I genuinely want the information)
You should take then failures/firings. That should include the flown engines test stages. And each Antares fly 2 engines. So it was a 1-in-8 failure in flight, plus at least 2-in-10 in test stand.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: bad_astra on 10/29/2014 02:31 PM
Pegging future hopes to another Russian engine that's already been used as a political asset once in a situation that shows no sign of being resolved. What could go wrong?
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: daveklingler on 10/29/2014 04:10 PM
Yesterday's launch failure drew renewed political debate over Russian engines, whether or not the NK had anything to do with it.  Given the amount of flak ULA has taken over the RD-180, I wonder that they didn't find a way to avoid it.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: asmi on 10/29/2014 04:17 PM
Pegging future hopes to another Russian engine that's already been used as a political asset once in a situation that shows no sign of being resolved. What could go wrong?
Not that anyone would care, but all the talk about banning RD-180 was for military launches only, of which Antares is not (at least atm).
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: edkyle99 on 10/29/2014 07:29 PM
Assuming (and that is all it is so far) that the ORB-CRS-3 anomaly is ultimately due to an engine failure this gives NK-33 a failure rate of 1-in-4, as of now, including the two test stand failures. Am I correct?

(Asked not to bash but because I genuinely want the information)
This was the fifth Antares launch, so at most one in 10 engines have failed in flight assume this was an engine failure.  One additional Antares first stage was used for a static test on the launch pad but was then removed from the launch processing cycle.  I'm not sure how many engines have been tested and not flown, but I do know that engine E18 is currently on Stennis Test Stand E1.

This might not have been an engine failure.  High pressure staged combustion engines of this type are absolutely unforgiving of foreign particle ingestion, for example.

 - Ed Kyle
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: asmi on 10/30/2014 03:09 AM
Hmm...
Quote
Американская компания Orbital Sciences некоторое время назад провела тендер среди мировых производителей двигателей для своей ракеты-носителя Antares. Газета «Известия» со ссылкой на свой источник в Роскосмосе сообщает, что тендер выиграло химкинское НПО «Энергомаш» с двигателем РД-193. По информации издания, официальные результаты конкурса пока не объявляются, так как руководство американской компании ведёт консультации относительно гарантий поставок этих двигателей в условиях введённых США санкций против России.

Оригинал статьи: http://russian.rt.com/article/56923#ixzz3Hb71wgwk
My translation:
Quote
American company Orbital Science organized a tender among world engine manufacturers for Antares rocket. "Izvestia" newspaper reports from their source in Roscosmos that NPO "Energomash" won this tender with its RD-193 engine. According to their source, official results are not yet publicized since company management is trying to secure guarantees that engines will be delivered despite US sanctions against Russia.
I would just add that RD-193 engine has been designed to be a drop-in replacement for NK-33 for Soyuz-2.1v LV, it's got fixed nozzle so it will have to rely on suspension for gimbal (just like original NK-33).
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Antares on 10/30/2014 03:12 AM
And someone in the government of Russia leaks that info on the day after a failure because without that engine, the Ukrainians (and Americans) have nothing to attach to the stage.  The 1980s called....
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: asmi on 10/30/2014 03:19 AM
And someone in the government of Russia leaks that info on the day after a failure because without that engine, the Ukrainians (and Americans) have nothing to attach to the stage.  The 1980s called....
Yea, but leaving politics aside this actually makes sense - since the engine has been specifically designed to replace NK-33, re-engining Antares to that engine should be the easiest way among other options.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: SkipMorrow on 10/30/2014 12:16 PM
Very slight tangential question. With all the discussion here about different engine possibilities for OSC, it occurred to me that the reality is, there aren't a huge number of different engines available in the modern world. It's not like the number of different kinds of cars. Or car engines for that matter. Is there a site that lists all of the engines in use today and what capabilities/characteristics they have? I'm going to guess that there are what, maybe 30 different engines in use today??? I'm not interested in older, historic engines (although, they ARE *interesting*, but not really germane to the issues of today)
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: asmi on 10/30/2014 12:24 PM
Very slight tangential question. With all the discussion here about different engine possibilities for OSC, it occurred to me that the reality is, there aren't a huge number of different engines available in the modern world. It's not like the number of different kinds of cars. Or car engines for that matter. Is there a site that lists all of the engines in use today and what capabilities/characteristics they have? I'm going to guess that there are what, maybe 30 different engines in use today??? I'm not interested in older, historic engines (although, they ARE *interesting*, but not really germane to the issues of today)
You can just look at the vehicles that are currently flying. There are only a handful of them.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: baldusi on 10/30/2014 12:55 PM
And someone in the government of Russia leaks that info on the day after a failure because without that engine, the Ukrainians (and Americans) have nothing to attach to the stage.  The 1980s called....
Yea, but leaving politics aside this actually makes sense - since the engine has been specifically designed to replace NK-33, re-engining Antares to that engine should be the easiest way among other options.
It's designed to replace the NK-33A flying on the Soyuz-2.1v, this engine has a new Russian controller, for example. And since it uses the RD-0110 vernier engine, it doesn't need any TVC. The AJ-26 uses an AeroJet developed TVC, ECU, APU and they even moved around the piping a bit. So it might or might not be such a drop in. But the Antares has all the propulsion subsystem abstracted into the Main Engine System (MES), which includes the two AJ-26, the TVC, APU, start up and even thrust transfer structures. So, swapping the AJ-26 for either 2 x RD-181, 2 x RD-191, 2 x RD-193 or 1 x RD-180 would be relatively easy. Probably the easiest would be the RD-180 which already has everything needed in on package.
No other existing engines in the world are so close in thrust, isp, O/F, structure and nozzle numbers as those.
If they are in a hurry, it is RD-180 or nothing. I don't know if I wrote about it here, but anything that needs a new export license from the Russian version of ITAR, i snot less than three years away, if you are lucky.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: asmi on 10/30/2014 01:18 PM
It's designed to replace the NK-33A flying on the Soyuz-2.1v, this engine has a new Russian controller, for example. And since it uses the RD-0110 vernier engine, it doesn't need any TVC. The AJ-26 uses an AeroJet developed TVC, ECU, APU and they even moved around the piping a bit.
As far as I understand, gimbal system on AJ-26 moves the engine as whole, not just nozzle like most engines with "built-in" gimbal capability.
No other existing engines in the world are so close in thrust, isp, O/F, structure and nozzle numbers as those.
If they are in a hurry, it is RD-180 or nothing. I don't know if I wrote about it here, but anything that needs a new export license from the Russian version of ITAR, i snot less than three years away, if you are lucky.
Orignal article in "Izvestia" newspaper (http://izvestia.ru/news/578744#ixzz3HbDtPA1X in Russian) noted that Russian govt will not block a deal, according to their source. There are some more details in that article:
- tender has been held at the end of 2013, so not in any way related to the failure
- AeroJet and Kuznetsov participated as well, as well as other companies (ATK Aerospace is also mentioned)
- Kuznetsov's CEO is disappointed that Energomash undercut them, and is saying that their bid is no longer under consideration for the Antares project

Energomash and Orbital declined to comment on the matter until results of the tender are officially announced.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: rusty on 11/05/2014 02:39 AM
Hmm...
Quote
American company Orbital Science organized a tender among world engine manufacturers for Antares rocket. "Izvestia" newspaper reports from their source in Roscosmos that NPO "Energomash" won this tender with its RD-193 engine. According to their source, official results are not yet publicized since company management is trying to secure guarantees that engines will be delivered despite US sanctions against Russia.
I would just add that RD-193 engine has been designed to be a drop-in replacement for NK-33 for Soyuz-2.1v LV, it's got fixed nozzle so it will have to rely on suspension for gimbal (just like original NK-33).
That's one route, swapping a refurbished Soviet engine for a new Russian engine. Another would be using ATK's ties to launch AthenaII or an Orbital-equivalent dual-Castor 120 "Taurus II".
-snips- ... Athena 2cS with six boosters would lift 4.19 tonnes to a 500 km x 28.5 deg LEO ... It is a number that bumps up close to Delta 2 and Antares capability. ...
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: TrevorMonty on 11/05/2014 02:44 AM
Would any Russian engines still need to be tested and handled by Aerojet? or can OrbitalATK do this themselves.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Galactic Penguin SST on 11/05/2014 01:19 PM
Well with today's announcement....the words of Valentin Glushko about the Kuznetsov engines in 1974 rings to mind:

“You can't build a lunar base using rotten engines.”

(Boris Chertok, Rockets and People, Volume IV: The Moon Race, NASA SP-2011-4110 P.525)

:-X
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: woods170 on 11/05/2014 01:22 PM
Would any Russian engines still need to be tested and handled by Aerojet? or can OrbitalATK do this themselves.
Given todays statement by Orbital this question is now moot.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: baldusi on 11/05/2014 01:28 PM
Would any Russian engines still need to be tested and handled by Aerojet? or can OrbitalATK do this themselves.
Given todays statement by Orbital this question is now moot.
Why? Due to ITAR and the Russian equivalents, RD-180 are bench tested by NPO Energomash on Russia, but received, stored, and supported in the US by RD AMROSS with US engineers. Basically, ULA still needs the US engineering and support. That's the biggest issue with the RD-193, unless they can get RD AMROSS to handle it. Else, they will have to duplicate the US structure for much less engines.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Norm38 on 11/05/2014 01:47 PM
I heard on the radio on the drive to work that Orbital announced (today?) that they will most likely NOT be using the AJ-26 engines for any further Antares flights.  That says to me that they have no confidence in an ability to inspect/approve the AJ-26 with respect to the turbopumps.  Due to whatever factors, the engine has been deemed unreliable and is shelved.

So Antares is grounded for the foreseeable future.  There will be no quick return to flight, they need a complete redesign with a whole new engine and a whole new test flight regime.  Assuming they can just "drop in" the RD-180 RD-193, what's the down time for that?  A year?
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: MattMason on 11/05/2014 03:02 PM
I heard on the radio on the drive to work that Orbital announced (today?) that they will most likely NOT be using the AJ-26 engines for any further Antares flights.  That says to me that they have no confidence in an ability to inspect/approve the AJ-26 with respect to the turbopumps.  Due to whatever factors, the engine has been deemed unreliable and is shelved.

So Antares is grounded for the foreseeable future.  There will be no quick return to flight, they need a complete redesign with a whole new engine and a whole new test flight regime.  Assuming they can just "drop in" the RD-180, what's the down time for that?  A year?

That's almost right. Orbital and NASA just announced their plans, abandoning the AJ-26 and stepping up work for the replacement engines already on the drawing board, with MARS repaired in the coming year. Doing that time, one or two Cygnus flights will go using "non-Antares" vehicles.

The Antares/ORB-3 Failure Discussion Thread is all over this speculation of probable vehicles for those one or two flights. Atlas V is the general consensus since Falcon launches are pretty booked and NASA would be putting more eggs in one basket by overloading SpaceX with two cargo modes.

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=35950.510 (http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=35950.510)
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Prober on 11/05/2014 03:46 PM
Would any Russian engines still need to be tested and handled by Aerojet? or can OrbitalATK do this themselves.
Given todays statement by Orbital this question is now moot.

and the big looser today is AJR, they are stuck with an inventory of engines.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: A12 on 11/05/2014 05:02 PM
What is not clear to me is in which way the first eight engines worked flawlessly and only now the NK-33 became untrustworthy.
Is it possible that they did select the best eight engines for the earlier  launches ?
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Prober on 11/05/2014 06:56 PM
What is not clear to me is in which way the first eight engines worked flawlessly and only now the NK-33 became untrustworthy.
Is it possible that they did select the best eight engines for the earlier  launches ?

think your reading it wrong; its more of a schedule issue
1) Mars pad needs to be rebuilt
2) Orbital tried many times to obtain newly manufactured Kuznetzov engines for long term launches.  When the finite supply of AJ-26's runs out Antares is out of the launch business.
3) Orbital could rebuild Mars and finish out the AJ-26's.  But in a short time Antares & Mars would both need to be rebuilt.  Best to take advantage of the downtime and do this one time not two.

Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: woods170 on 11/05/2014 07:07 PM
What is not clear to me is in which way the first eight engines worked flawlessly and only now the NK-33 became untrustworthy.
Pardon me? Teststand failures of AJ-26's in 2011 and 2014. That does not sound like a reliable - let alone trustworthy - engine.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: A12 on 11/05/2014 07:12 PM
What is not clear to me is in which way the first eight engines worked flawlessly and only now the NK-33 became untrustworthy.
Pardon me? Teststand failures of AJ-26's in 2011 and 2014. That does not sound like a reliable - let alone trustworthy - engine.

And so, they was just tempting fate launching again with the same not so reliable engine  ?
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: PahTo on 11/05/2014 07:12 PM

Cross-posting from the failure argument--er, I mean thread.  :)  This is probably a better place for it anyway...

btw, nobody has bothered to mention the implications for ATK (ORB/ATK) in that the Castor 30XL is now a second stage without a passenger, at least for the next few years.  How many have been produced (if any) and will they be certified for the "new" Antares LV after being stored for x years?  (I assume they will be used in conjunction with the "new" Antares).
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: arachnitect on 11/05/2014 07:15 PM
What is not clear to me is in which way the first eight engines worked flawlessly and only now the NK-33 became untrustworthy.
Pardon me? Teststand failures of AJ-26's in 2011 and 2014. That does not sound like a reliable - let alone trustworthy - engine.

It is possible that they were hand picking engines and the "best" ones went first. I guess the exact number of engines in stockpile was never precisely defined partly because as the program went on it started to become clear not all of them could be flight worthy.

This was the heaviest Antares yet to launch, but I doubt that contributed.


Cross-posting from the failure argument--er, I mean thread.  :)  This is probably a better place for it anyway...

btw, nobody has bothered to mention the implications for ATK (ORB/ATK) in that the Castor 30XL is now a second stage without a passenger, at least for the next few years.  How many have been produced (if any) and will they be certified for the "new" Antares LV after being stored for x years?  (I assume they will be used in conjunction with the "new" Antares).

I don't really know but I doubt it would be a huge problem for a few motors to sit around until 2016 or so. How old are the Peacekeeper motors that end up in Minotaur rockets?
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: russianhalo117 on 11/05/2014 07:18 PM
Assuming (and that is all it is so far) that the ORB-CRS-3 anomaly is ultimately due to an engine failure this gives NK-33 a failure rate of 1-in-4, as of now, including the two test stand failures. Am I correct?

(Asked not to bash but because I genuinely want the information)
You should take then failures/firings. That should include the flown engines test stages. And each Antares fly 2 engines. So it was a 1-in-8 failure in flight, plus at least 2-in-10 in test stand.
there were 5 NK-33 tests at Stennis in 1995/96. other than that for AJ-26.62 version you are correct. Overall NK-33 test programme for Soyuz-2.1v has also had three ground test failures since 2003 with two caused by turbopump/line contamination due to age and one destroyed Soyuz Core stage ground firing article due to overpressure of the enigine feed to sterring engines and failure to abort.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: woods170 on 11/05/2014 07:31 PM
What is not clear to me is in which way the first eight engines worked flawlessly and only now the NK-33 became untrustworthy.
Pardon me? Teststand failures of AJ-26's in 2011 and 2014. That does not sound like a reliable - let alone trustworthy - engine.

And so, they was just tempting fate launching again with the same not so reliable engine  ?

IMO yes.
Lesson to be learned from all this: don't use 40 year old hardware that spent the first 20 years in storage in less-than-ideal conditions. You basically don't know what happened to the hardware for a very substantial amount of time.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Pelorat on 11/05/2014 08:11 PM
Would this be the turbo pump in question?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t3J61QaVaOU

Seems to be quite a complex beast, definitely not a KISS design to the armchair engineer inside of me. But if you take into account that this thing was designed and built at the peak of the space race many decades ago, it really comes across as quite an accomplishment.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: russianhalo117 on 11/05/2014 08:59 PM
Would this be the turbo pump in question?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t3J61QaVaOU

Seems to be quite a complex beast, definitely not a KISS design to the armchair engineer inside of me. But if you take into account that this thing was designed and built at the peak of the space race many decades ago, it really comes across as quite an accomplishment.
That looks like it to me. NK-33 uses a unified turbpump shaft for both fuel and oxidizer. Not sure if this is of the original NK-33 series or the new turbopump developed for NK-33A.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: R7 on 11/05/2014 09:34 PM
Seems to be quite a complex beast

It is, and the video does not clearly illustrate the whole complexity. Fuel and oxidizer inducers (the distinctive large screws) are on hollow shafts and run at slower speeds than coaxial main shaft. Fuel inducer is geared down while another gear makes small fuel kick impeller rotate faster than main shaft. The oxidizer inducer can rotate freely and is driven by hydraulic turbine.

See more info on LPRE.de (http://lpre.de/sntk/NK-33/index.htm)

Fuel side:

grey: main shaft
orange: inducer + 1st stage
green: idler wheel
blue: kick stage

(http://lpre.de/sntk/NK-33/img/tna_g1.gif)

Oxidizer side:

green: main shaft
blue: inducer + 1st stage

(http://lpre.de/sntk/NK-33/img/tna_o.gif)
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Remes on 11/05/2014 10:36 PM
Seems to be quite a complex beast, definitely not a KISS design
I don't think that there is much which could be made simpler nowadays. The NK-33 turbopump integrates fuel+oxidizer pump, fuel+oxidizer pre-pump, preburner, turbine, Fuel-boost pump and starter cartridge/turbine into one assembly. That are really a lot of functions. Very compact.

Really amazing, what was created back then. Without cfd, fem and cad. (Okay, they didn't have to fight powerpoint-heros...)
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: R7 on 11/05/2014 10:52 PM
I don't think that there is much which could be made simpler nowadays.

It was made simpler back in 70s/early 80s: RD-170 and descendants. Reduced five shafts to three shafts and omitted all gearing.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Zed_Noir on 11/06/2014 05:23 AM
Might this be the end of the line for the Antares in any configuration?

If the interim launcher (my guess is Falcon 9) is cheaper than the re-engine Antares, not even factoring in development cost. Might OSC just farm out the launch service to SpaceX (or LM) and just be a mission integrator. That also means shutting down facilities for the procurement of the Antares . Which would boost the bottom line in a cold-blooded corporate manner.
 
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Remes on 11/06/2014 08:10 AM
I don't think that there is much which could be made simpler nowadays.

It was made simpler back in 70s/early 80s: RD-170 and descendants. Reduced five shafts to three shafts and omitted all gearing.
how do we count?

NK-33:
- 2 piece rotor
- 2 Impeller
- Fuel Boost Pump shaft

RD-170
- 2 piece rotor
- 2 external prepumps (still shafts) driven by oxygen rich gas and fuel

The fuelpump is now a two-stage pump and doesn't require gearing. The pre-pumps are driven by fluids and don't require gearing, but require piping and turbines.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Prober on 11/06/2014 04:28 PM
Well someone is not treating the hardware like 45 year old junk as many in the press are reporting.   Looks like training in this recent video.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Il8_OsDrHxE

Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: woods170 on 11/06/2014 05:16 PM
Well someone is not treating the hardware like 45 year old junk as many in the press are reporting.   Looks like training in this recent video.

<snip video, you can view it above>

They may not be treating it as 45 year old junk, but fact is that this stuff is four decades old. And the first half of those four decades the stuff was not treated at all (including TLC).
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: matthewkantar on 11/06/2014 05:28 PM
Cool video, but I am experiencing some difficulties with the subtitles.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Kabloona on 11/06/2014 05:31 PM
Might this be the end of the line for the Antares in any configuration?

If the interim launcher (my guess is Falcon 9) is cheaper than the re-engine Antares, not even factoring in development cost. Might OSC just farm out the launch service to SpaceX (or LM) and just be a mission integrator. That also means shutting down facilities for the procurement of the Antares . Which would boost the bottom line in a cold-blooded corporate manner.

I find that doubtful. Orbital has huge investment in Antares development. And they want to be able to launch their own birds. Plus Wallops pad was built specifically for Antares. Antares is a key long-range part of their business plan that they will not pull the plug on, IMO.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: newpylong on 11/06/2014 05:55 PM
Might this be the end of the line for the Antares in any configuration?

If the interim launcher (my guess is Falcon 9) is cheaper than the re-engine Antares, not even factoring in development cost. Might OSC just farm out the launch service to SpaceX (or LM) and just be a mission integrator. That also means shutting down facilities for the procurement of the Antares . Which would boost the bottom line in a cold-blooded corporate manner.

No.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: GalacticIntruder on 11/06/2014 06:05 PM
Might as well ask what was the whole point of CRS contracts to Orbital if they are just going to farm out the Cygnus to SpaceX or ULA? How much time and money was spent by NASA and Orbital to certify the Antares, and now they want to kick it to the curb?

If it was a great idea not to use Antares, and it probably is, they should have done that from day one.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Cherokee43v6 on 11/06/2014 06:10 PM
Might as well ask what was the whole point of CRS contracts to Orbital if they are just going to farm out the Cygnus to SpaceX or ULA? How much time and money was spent by NASA and Orbital to certify the Antares, and now they want to kick it to the curb?

If it was a great idea not to use Antares, and it probably is, they should have done that from day one.

The contract was for 'delivery service' not 'delivery equipment'.  Therefore, if Orbital can fly the Cygnus on another booster successfully, then they are meeting the letter AND spirit of the agreement. 

The Antares was merely their choice of launch vehicle for Cygnus.  Will it cost Orbital more to fly on someone else's rocket?  Most likely.  However, it will also prove the robustness of their selection if they can do so, since by not being locked to a single LV, they provide assured access baring any failures of the Cygnus vehicle.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Lars-J on 11/06/2014 06:24 PM
Might as well ask what was the whole point of CRS contracts to Orbital if they are just going to farm out the Cygnus to SpaceX or ULA? How much time and money was spent by NASA and Orbital to certify the Antares, and now they want to kick it to the curb?

If it was a great idea not to use Antares, and it probably is, they should have done that from day one.

This was not the plan, it will just be a temporary occurrence for one or two launches. Meanwhile they are accelerating the timeline for the Antares engine replacement. What more do you want?
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: R7 on 11/06/2014 06:50 PM
how do we count?

NK-33:
- 2 piece rotor
- 2 Impeller
- Fuel Boost Pump shaft

RD-170
- 2 piece rotor
- 2 external prepumps (still shafts) driven by oxygen rich gas and fuel

The fuelpump is now a two-stage pump and doesn't require gearing. The pre-pumps are driven by fluids and don't require gearing, but require piping and turbines.

It's a matter of opinion whether one counts the main shaft as one with flexible middle or as two shaft connected by a spring. I chose the former. Your NK-33 list lacks the idler wheel shaft. RD-180 has proven the gearless approach with turbine driven boost pumps quite robust.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: R7 on 11/06/2014 06:51 PM
Cool video, but I am experiencing some difficulties with the subtitles.

Somehow you have activated the subtitles for hybrid engines.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Kim Keller on 11/06/2014 06:57 PM
How much time and money was spent by NASA and Orbital to certify the Antares, and now they want to kick it to the curb?

NASA did not certify Antares.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Prober on 11/06/2014 06:59 PM
Might as well ask what was the whole point of CRS contracts to Orbital if they are just going to farm out the Cygnus to SpaceX or ULA? How much time and money was spent by NASA and Orbital to certify the Antares, and now they want to kick it to the curb?

If it was a great idea not to use Antares, and it probably is, they should have done that from day one.

This was not the plan, it will just be a temporary occurrence for one or two launches. Meanwhile they are accelerating the timeline for the Antares engine replacement. What more do you want?

Launching on the Falcon was also contracted to be seamless.   This was not the case with the translation from Falcon 1.0 to 1.1 and NASA worked with the contract.

Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: abaddon on 11/06/2014 07:00 PM
Might as well ask what was the whole point of CRS contracts to Orbital if they are just going to farm out the Cygnus to SpaceX or ULA? How much time and money was spent by NASA and Orbital to certify the Antares, and now they want to kick it to the curb?

If it was a great idea not to use Antares, and it probably is, they should have done that from day one.

This was not the plan, it will just be a temporary occurrence for one or two launches. Meanwhile they are accelerating the timeline for the Antares engine replacement. What more do you want?

Jello shots.  For everyone.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Antares on 11/07/2014 02:33 AM
That's almost right. Orbital and NASA just announced their plans, abandoning the AJ-26 and stepping up work for the replacement engines already on the drawing board, with MARS repaired in the coming year. Doing that time, one or two Cygnus flights will go using "non-Antares" vehicles.

I missed the NASA announcement.  Can you point me to it? /sarc
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: sdsds on 11/20/2014 08:20 PM
It's rather neat that with the Orbital ATK merger in progress ATK must provide us (well, must provide investors) an essentially "outside" review of both the mishap and the MIB, since it effects their business plan. In a recent investor Q&A:
Quote
when you combine the assessment of the likelihood of the execution of the recovery plan with the - NASA’s continuing involvement and the interest in affordable innovation and Orbital’s ability to continue to deliver that, those factors came together to allow us to reach the conclusions that we talked about. That we thought there would be limited impact in the go-forward business and the go-forward competition.

(Source: the Nov. 20 filing at: http://phx.corporate-ir.net/phoenix.zhtml?c=81036&p=IROL-sec)

Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: a_langwich on 12/10/2014 01:00 AM
The RD-170 design may be an improvement, but is there any evidence the NK-33 design is bad?  What we've seen is that 40-year-old parts apparently can't be made to be as reliable as newly made engines of other designs.  Who knows whether a 40-year-old RD-170, or RD-180, or RD-181, or any other design, would prove to be even as robust as the NK-33?  They fired an old F-1 gas generator, but that's a tiny test compared to putting two complete engines under an LV and flying all the way to orbit, multiple times.

At this point, I'd characterize what we've learned is "non-destructive evaluation is not sufficient to identify all the problems that may occur with aging/weathering" more than any design problem with the NK-33.  Or, we may have learned "Aerojet wasn't capable of making AJ-26 fully reliable at the price they charged for the engine," whether that is due to limits in our technology (NDE limits), or just flaws in its competencies as a company (like Proton), or limits in its willingness to meet that standard at that price (eg, "our tests indicated we should replace all of ____, but we aren't going to do that because of cost").

The NK-33 should still be considered a towering achievement for its time, a regeneratively cooled oxygen-rich staged combustion engine of surprising efficiency and power-to-weight ratio.  Like most prize fighters, it may have lost its last match, but that shouldn't diminish its achievement:  perhaps the best engine in the world in its day.  Tragically it didn't have the opportunity to prove that in its prime.  Even now, there's no chance to correct problems and produce fixed new engines, because of the lost assembly line.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: kevin-rf on 12/10/2014 02:06 AM
Cough, Soyuz-2-1v... A little early to be writing obituaries. It may be done on Antares, but it may still have some life left in it.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Lars-J on 12/10/2014 05:36 AM
The RD-170 design may be an improvement, but is there any evidence the NK-33 design is bad?  What we've seen is that 40-year-old parts apparently can't be made to be as reliable as newly made engines of other designs.  Who knows whether a 40-year-old RD-170, or RD-180, or RD-181, or any other design, would prove to be even as robust as the NK-33?  They fired an old F-1 gas generator, but that's a tiny test compared to putting two complete engines under an LV and flying all the way to orbit, multiple times.

You could be right - However, since new-build NK-33's are not available, that distinction isn't worth much.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Zed_Noir on 12/10/2014 07:30 AM
Cough, Soyuz-2-1v... A little early to be writing obituaries. It may be done on Antares, but it may still have some life left in it.

IIRC the Russians is only using the NK-33 as an interim measure before switching to RD-193 on the Soyuz 2-1v.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: edkyle99 on 12/10/2014 03:50 PM
Atlas V, the most expensive option but also likely the most reliable option.  I wonder why Falcon 9 didn't make the cut.  Maybe it can't lift as much as claimed, or costs more than claimed?

 - Ed Kyle
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Lars-J on 12/10/2014 04:04 PM
Atlas V, the most expensive option but also likely the most reliable option.  I wonder why Falcon 9 didn't make the cut.  Maybe it can't lift as much as claimed, or costs more than claimed?

 - Ed Kyle

There could also have been pressure (internal & external) to not put all CRS eggs on one launcher.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: edkyle99 on 12/10/2014 04:07 PM
Hard to believe that the new engines are nearly on their way, set to arrive in just a few months if the announced schedule is right, and yet Orbital still has not announced which engines or who will manufacture/deliver them.  Meanwhile, ULA has already announced its engine choice for something that won't fly until 2019!

I wonder why.

 - Ed Kyle
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: a_langwich on 12/10/2014 04:30 PM
The RD-170 design may be an improvement, but is there any evidence the NK-33 design is bad?  What we've seen is that 40-year-old parts apparently can't be made to be as reliable as newly made engines of other designs.  Who knows whether a 40-year-old RD-170, or RD-180, or RD-181, or any other design, would prove to be even as robust as the NK-33?  They fired an old F-1 gas generator, but that's a tiny test compared to putting two complete engines under an LV and flying all the way to orbit, multiple times.

You could be right - However, since new-build NK-33's are not available, that distinction isn't worth much.


It may not matter when choosing whether or not to use the existing supply of old engines.  But it matters a great deal when dismissing the excellent work of designers under great pressure, who hit one out of the park.  Those guys deserve a lot more credit than they ever got. 
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: king1999 on 12/10/2014 04:58 PM
Hard to believe that the new engines are nearly on their way, set to arrive in just a few months if the announced schedule is right, and yet Orbital still has not announced which engines or who will manufacture/deliver them.  Meanwhile, ULA has already announced its engine choice for something that won't fly until 2019!

I wonder why.

 - Ed Kyle

Obviously for political reasons. While the Congress is debating on the budget for next year and beyond, they don't want to add anything controversial at the moment. I suspect that they will wait until the spring when everything is quiet down a bit.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: a_langwich on 12/10/2014 07:04 PM
Hard to believe that the new engines are nearly on their way, set to arrive in just a few months if the announced schedule is right, and yet Orbital still has not announced which engines or who will manufacture/deliver them.  Meanwhile, ULA has already announced its engine choice for something that won't fly until 2019!

I wonder why.

 - Ed Kyle

Yes, I agree, it's curious.
--Do we know if RD-193/RD-181s are approved for export?
--Do we know what corporate entity has the rights to sell the engines abroad?  (Orbital must know, since they seem to have contracted for delivery at least the test engines.)
--Does choosing a Russian engine, in light of the McCain amendments to the 2015 NDAA, limit Orbital's ability to sell launches to the government outside of CRS-2?

Another stray thought:  isn't the first stage tanking Orbital buys very similar to the Zenit first stage?  Doesn't that company also have a license to put an RD-171 on that first stage?  Could Orbital have just bought the whole first stage, engines and tanks?  (Although Zenit's failure rate has been poor.)

Still, despite these questions, it's pretty fantastic the way they've dealt with what seemed like a severe setback:  the loss of confidence in their first stage engines.  Their response to investors seems to me to be pretty honest and straightforward, where many companies seem to push the truth as far as the lawyers will let them.  It remains to be seen what kind of chunk the Atlas purchase will take out of their profitability, but their ability to adroitly handle an LV RUD ought to be a positive factor for their CRS-2 bid.

If history is any guide, Orbital will have the new engines tested and ready to go before the Virginia spaceport people have the pad repaired.  :)  Especially if they are waiting for Congress to pass a bill, in order to get some funding.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: chrisking0997 on 12/10/2014 08:40 PM
Im a little lost on this.  Is this just a case of swapping to a new engine, with minor changes to allow that, or is there significant redesign needed for the change?  A year seems like a pretty fast turnaround.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: butters on 12/10/2014 08:54 PM
Im a little lost on this.  Is this just a case of swapping to a new engine, with minor changes to allow that, or is there significant redesign needed for the change?  A year seems like a pretty fast turnaround.

RD-193 was specifically designed to replace the NK-33, so it should be relatively straightforward compared to other stage re-engine proposals. But one year does seem a little optimistic given Orbital's limited in-house expertise with liquid stages.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: butters on 12/10/2014 09:16 PM
The RD-170 design may be an improvement, but is there any evidence the NK-33 design is bad? 

On the NK-33, the main LOX pump is fed by an inducer pump which is driven by pressurized LOX, forming a positive feedback loop which could *potentially* amplify a transient toward cavitation in the main pump, as the performance of the inducer pump is degraded by the same condition it is supposed to prevent.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: rayleighscatter on 12/10/2014 09:39 PM
Im a little lost on this.  Is this just a case of swapping to a new engine, with minor changes to allow that, or is there significant redesign needed for the change?  A year seems like a pretty fast turnaround.
Orbital knew they were going to have to get a new engine before ORB-3 happened. I'm guessing they already had a start on the replacement program.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Prober on 12/10/2014 10:32 PM
Hard to believe that the new engines are nearly on their way, set to arrive in just a few months if the announced schedule is right, and yet Orbital still has not announced which engines or who will manufacture/deliver them.  Meanwhile, ULA has already announced its engine choice for something that won't fly until 2019!

I wonder why.

 - Ed Kyle

Factor in they are a 1) public company 2) in the middle of the merger.

Any headlines about "Russian engines" at this point in time is a stock drop.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: russianhalo117 on 12/10/2014 10:40 PM
Hard to believe that the new engines are nearly on their way, set to arrive in just a few months if the announced schedule is right, and yet Orbital still has not announced which engines or who will manufacture/deliver them.  Meanwhile, ULA has already announced its engine choice for something that won't fly until 2019!

I wonder why.

 - Ed Kyle
It is my understanding that both enigines are being sent to USA for final Evaluation testing and flight engines will also be fired at Stennis for hotfire testing. Not sure if AJ-26 stands will be used for this.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Mader Levap on 12/10/2014 11:20 PM
Atlas V, the most expensive option but also likely the most reliable option.  I wonder why Falcon 9 didn't make the cut.  Maybe it can't lift as much as claimed, or costs more than claimed?
There could also have been pressure (internal & external) to not put all CRS eggs on one launcher.
Or SpaceX could not fit it in their busy schedule.

Or any combination of above with any degree.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: baldusi on 12/10/2014 11:47 PM
Atlas V, the most expensive option but also likely the most reliable option.  I wonder why Falcon 9 didn't make the cut.  Maybe it can't lift as much as claimed, or costs more than claimed?
There could also have been pressure (internal & external) to not put all CRS eggs on one launcher.
Or SpaceX could not fit it in their busy schedule.

Or any combination of above with any degree.
Or ULA did put a competitive bid. There are contractors that help you go really over budget, like IBM, simply by saying yes to every requirement and then passing the bill, no matter how wasteful it is. But Orbital has to foot the bill and know exactly what to do and how to integrate.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: arachnitect on 12/11/2014 12:19 AM
Atlas V, the most expensive option but also likely the most reliable option.  I wonder why Falcon 9 didn't make the cut.  Maybe it can't lift as much as claimed, or costs more than claimed?

 - Ed Kyle

CRS II is on the line; maybe ULA gave Orbital schedule/upmass assurances that Spacex couldn't match. Saving $40M(?) on one launch wouldn't be too smart if it ended up costing Orbital their shot at another multibillion dollar contract.

Or maybe ULA threw in purchase options on RD-180s to sweeten the deal.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: LouScheffer on 12/11/2014 12:49 AM
Atlas V, the most expensive option but also likely the most reliable option.  I wonder why Falcon 9 didn't make the cut.  Maybe it can't lift as much as claimed, or costs more than claimed?

 - Ed Kyle

There could also have been pressure (internal & external) to not put all CRS eggs on one launcher.
I could very easily see Orbital's board looking at the impact of another failure, and deciding for the most reliable option,  regardless of cost.  The cost difference between launchers can only be a few tens of millions, but the follow-on contract could be worth billions.  There's never a good time for a failure, but there are particularly bad times, and this is one.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Lee Jay on 12/11/2014 12:53 AM
It could also be that Atlas V's lift capacity allowed them to drop the final flight, whereas Falcon 9 would have come up short and required that final flight.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Will on 12/11/2014 01:31 AM
Atlas V, the most expensive option but also likely the most reliable option.  I wonder why Falcon 9 didn't make the cut.  Maybe it can't lift as much as claimed, or costs more than claimed?
There could also have been pressure (internal & external) to not put all CRS eggs on one launcher.
Or SpaceX could not fit it in their busy schedule.

Or any combination of above with any degree.

I suspect that the tight SpaceX manifest was a factor, and a disinclination of SpaceX to assist a company they are competing with directly.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: WindnWar on 12/11/2014 02:27 AM
It could also be that Atlas V's lift capacity allowed them to drop the final flight, whereas Falcon 9 would have come up short and required that final flight.

Unless the specs are way off, Falcon 9 should have almost 3,000 kilos more payload to LEO versus a 401, so I seriously doubt its a capacity issue and given the fairing its definitely not a space issue. I would imagine it has more to do with a schedule issue. 
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: nimbostratus on 12/11/2014 03:12 AM
Atlas V, the most expensive option but also likely the most reliable option.  I wonder why Falcon 9 didn't make the cut.  Maybe it can't lift as much as claimed, or costs more than claimed?
There could also have been pressure (internal & external) to not put all CRS eggs on one launcher.
Or SpaceX could not fit it in their busy schedule.

Or any combination of above with any degree.

I suspect that the tight SpaceX manifest was a factor, and a disinclination of SpaceX to assist a company they are competing with directly.

Competitor?
Spacex ensures OSC make a profit for gap filler launches, while Atlas V costs more than Antares and OSC will hardly make a profit.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: nimbostratus on 12/11/2014 03:37 AM
Hi guys, how about New LV adopts BE-4 too, sharing engines with ULA and BO, to further reduce to cost?

One BE-4 offers a lower thrust than 2 NK-33, but has higher Isp, so seems to offer a similar delivery capacity with current Antares with verniers(to be developed too).
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Will on 12/11/2014 04:11 AM
Atlas V, the most expensive option but also likely the most reliable option.  I wonder why Falcon 9 didn't make the cut.  Maybe it can't lift as much as claimed, or costs more than claimed?
There could also have been pressure (internal & external) to not put all CRS eggs on one launcher.
Or SpaceX could not fit it in their busy schedule.

Or any combination of above with any degree.

I suspect that the tight SpaceX manifest was a factor, and a disinclination of SpaceX to assist a company they are competing with directly.

Competitor?
Spacex ensures OSC make a profit for gap filler launches, while Atlas V costs more than Antares and OSC will hardly make a profit.

But SpaceX has no reason to keep OSC alive. The  best outcome for SpaceX is for OSC to go bankrupt ASAP.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: arachnitect on 12/11/2014 04:29 AM
Atlas V, the most expensive option but also likely the most reliable option.  I wonder why Falcon 9 didn't make the cut.  Maybe it can't lift as much as claimed, or costs more than claimed?
There could also have been pressure (internal & external) to not put all CRS eggs on one launcher.
Or SpaceX could not fit it in their busy schedule.

Or any combination of above with any degree.

I suspect that the tight SpaceX manifest was a factor, and a disinclination of SpaceX to assist a company they are competing with directly.

Competitor?
Spacex ensures OSC make a profit for gap filler launches, while Atlas V costs more than Antares and OSC will hardly make a profit.

But SpaceX has no reason to keep OSC alive. The  best outcome for SpaceX is for OSC to go bankrupt ASAP.

Complementary businesses, don't really compete much. Even their CRS products don't really compete directly.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: arachnitect on 12/11/2014 04:32 AM
Hi guys, how about New LV adopts BE-4 too, sharing engines with ULA and BO, to further reduce to cost?

One BE-4 offers a lower thrust than 2 NK-33, but has higher Isp, so seems to offer a similar delivery capacity with current Antares with verniers(to be developed too).

Goldilocks problem: 1x BE-4 is too little thrust, 2x BE-4 is too much. Either way means big first stage changes.

OSC needs a new engine yesterday. BE-4 won't be ready in time.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: sdsds on 12/11/2014 04:51 AM
It is my understanding that both enigines are being sent to USA for final Evaluation testing and flight engines will also be fired at Stennis for hotfire testing. Not sure if AJ-26 stands will be used for this.

Evaluation testing by ... whom? AJR presumably could use the same stand as was previously used for AJ-26. Does anyone else have an appropriate test stand (and test expertise) available?
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: nimbostratus on 12/11/2014 04:52 AM
Hi guys, how about New LV adopts BE-4 too, sharing engines with ULA and BO, to further reduce to cost?

One BE-4 offers a lower thrust than 2 NK-33, but has higher Isp, so seems to offer a similar delivery capacity with current Antares with verniers(to be developed too).

Goldilocks problem: 1x BE-4 is too little thrust, 2x BE-4 is too much. Either way means big first stage changes.

OSC needs a new engine yesterday. BE-4 won't be ready in time.
What matters is not only thrust, but also Isp, a LV with lower thrust and lower liftoff weight can also deliver the same payload, just as the case of Atlas V and Delta IV(of course, it is a extreme case).
Also, perhaps verniers are needed(not neccesary if rcs is available).
And still more, the verniers can be developed into second stage engine, which means even higher delivery capacity.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: arachnitect on 12/11/2014 05:42 AM
Hi guys, how about New LV adopts BE-4 too, sharing engines with ULA and BO, to further reduce to cost?

One BE-4 offers a lower thrust than 2 NK-33, but has higher Isp, so seems to offer a similar delivery capacity with current Antares with verniers(to be developed too).

Goldilocks problem: 1x BE-4 is too little thrust, 2x BE-4 is too much. Either way means big first stage changes.

OSC needs a new engine yesterday. BE-4 won't be ready in time.
What matters is not only thrust, but also Isp, a LV with lower thrust and lower liftoff weight can also deliver the same payload, just as the case of Atlas V and Delta IV(of course, it is a extreme case).
Also, perhaps verniers are needed(not neccesary if rcs is available).
And still more, the verniers can be developed into second stage engine, which means even higher delivery capacity.


Maybe someday they could have a vehicle built around a single BE-4. Possibly using SRMs to keep it in the same payload range (Delta II redux?). But it would be years away at this point, and wouldn't really be "Antares" anymore.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: kevin-rf on 12/11/2014 12:25 PM
But SpaceX has no reason to keep OSC alive. The  best outcome for SpaceX is for OSC to go bankrupt ASAP.
No, the best outcome is they are well positioned to get the majority/all of the launches for the small GEO birds Orbital builds. Orbital goes away, those launches go away.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: notsorandom on 12/11/2014 01:04 PM
But SpaceX has no reason to keep OSC alive. The  best outcome for SpaceX is for OSC to go bankrupt ASAP.
No, the best outcome is they are well positioned to get the majority/all of the launches for the small GEO birds Orbital builds. Orbital goes away, those launches go away.
Indeed, look at SpaceX's previous satellite launches. Most of them have been built by OSC. Besides I bet that SpaceX doesn't really view Antares as serious competition.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Jim on 12/11/2014 01:12 PM

Spacex ensures OSC make a profit for gap filler launches, while Atlas V costs more than Antares and OSC will hardly make a profit.

You don't know that
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Prober on 12/11/2014 01:51 PM
http://www.bizjournals.com/washington/blog/fedbiz_daily/2014/12/elon-musks-spacex-wont-be-saving-orbital-but.html?page=2

"The first new propulsion systems are expected to arrive at the Antares final assembly facility at Wallops Island, Virginia, in mid-2015 for integration and testing."

Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: guckyfan on 12/11/2014 02:24 PM
I understand they expect higher performance from the upgraded launch vehicle. Where does that come from? Higher ISP? More thrust and a bigger upper stage? Or am I wrong? That's ssuming the first stage tank is the same, or will it be stretched?

Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: nimbostratus on 12/11/2014 02:30 PM

Spacex ensures OSC make a profit for gap filler launches, while Atlas V costs more than Antares and OSC will hardly make a profit.

You don't know that
What? The insides?
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: nimbostratus on 12/11/2014 02:35 PM
I understand they expect higher performance from the upgraded launch vehicle. Where does that come from? Higher ISP? More thrust and a bigger upper stage? Or am I wrong? That's ssuming the first stage tank is the same, or will it be stretched?

Higher thrust allows for heavier second stage(if the 1st stage structure permts) and thus heavier payload.

And what have I missed for the new engine? What is the new engine? RD193? I get no news upgrade.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: aga on 12/11/2014 02:45 PM
I understand they expect higher performance from the upgraded launch vehicle. Where does that come from? Higher ISP? More thrust and a bigger upper stage? Or am I wrong? That's ssuming the first stage tank is the same, or will it be stretched?

iirc - both better isp and higher thrust... if with talk about rd-193
SL Isp is 309 vs 297 s (rd-193 vs nk-33)... the SL thrust should be slightly higher as well (cca 1,9 MN vs 1,6 MN)...
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: baldusi on 12/11/2014 04:43 PM
I understand they expect higher performance from the upgraded launch vehicle. Where does that come from? Higher ISP? More thrust and a bigger upper stage? Or am I wrong? That's ssuming the first stage tank is the same, or will it be stretched?

iirc - both better isp and higher thrust... if with talk about rd-193
SL Isp is 309 vs 297 s (rd-193 vs nk-33)... the SL thrust should be slightly higher as well (cca 1,9 MN vs 1,6 MN)...
Well, the Antares propulsion module, has a T/W of 77. If the RD-193 has more thrust, it would improve the T/W of the overall stack, without needing new upper stage. Just by the reduction of gravity losses you get better performance.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Antares on 12/14/2014 12:40 AM
It is my understanding that both enigines are being sent to USA for final Evaluation testing and flight engines will also be fired at Stennis for hotfire testing. Not sure if AJ-26 stands will be used for this.

Interesting.  Why wouldn't they just test them at Energomash?  I would think it would be more risk to train American operators and add in an extra shipping step.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Robotbeat on 12/15/2014 12:14 PM
Because American quality control is /ostensibly/ better.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: edkyle99 on 12/15/2014 03:19 PM
Because American quality control is /ostensibly/ better.
Because American quality control is /ostensibly/ better.
American quality control tested and delivered the faulty AJ-26 engine.

Perhaps some type of systems integration test is needed, which might explain Stennis. 

 - Ed Kyle
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Prober on 12/16/2014 01:14 AM
Because American quality control is /ostensibly/ better.
Because American quality control is /ostensibly/ better.
American quality control tested and delivered the faulty AJ-26 engine.

Perhaps some type of systems integration test is needed, which might explain Stennis. 

 - Ed Kyle

would also add we don't have an "official" news release from Orbital on the selected engine.  Hold on friends, we could have a surprise. :-X
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: abaddon on 12/16/2014 01:53 PM
I'm wondering if the real loser in the "no Russian engines" bill is going to be Orbital.  It seems ULA will be largely unaffected since they have a large stockpile/orders for the RD-180 and are already planning to transition to the BO engine.

Orbital, on the other hand, has talked about bidding for USAF/DOD payloads in the future, but they would not be able to do so if they in fact have chosen the RD-193.  Maybe they will content themselves with CRS payloads and any commercial contracts they can win... or maybe they are going in a different direction.  But there aren't really many non-Russian options out there that would work very well for them, so my guess is they will in fact choose the RD-193 and quietly let any talk about USAF/DOD certification die out.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: woods170 on 12/16/2014 01:58 PM
Because American quality control is /ostensibly/ better.
Because American quality control is /ostensibly/ better.
American quality control tested and delivered the faulty AJ-26 engine.

Perhaps some type of systems integration test is needed, which might explain Stennis. 

 - Ed Kyle

would also add we don't have an "official" news release from Orbital on the selected engine.  Hold on friends, we could have a surprise. :-X
Just about any available candidate has passed speculation here multiple times. What ever engine finally appears from behind the curtain, it won't be a surprise. At least not to the regulars here.
And might I add you really should stop using the 'lips sealed' smiley. You don't actually know more than anyone else here (despite that crystal ball of yours), so stop suggesting otherwise.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Prober on 12/16/2014 04:08 PM
I'm wondering if the real loser in the "no Russian engines" bill is going to be Orbital.  It seems ULA will be largely unaffected since they have a large stockpile/orders for the RD-180 and are already planning to transition to the BO engine.

Orbital, on the other hand, has talked about bidding for USAF/DOD payloads in the future, but they would not be able to do so if they in fact have chosen the RD-193. Maybe they will content themselves with CRS payloads and any commercial contracts they can win... or maybe they are going in a different direction.  But there aren't really many non-Russian options out there that would work very well for them, so my guess is they will in fact choose the RD-193 and quietly let any talk about USAF/DOD certification die out.

had the same thoughts.....
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: puhnitor on 12/16/2014 09:49 PM
Orbital confirms selection of RD-181 for Antares.

http://aviationweek.com/space/antares-upgrade-will-use-rd-181s-direct-buy-energomash

https://twitter.com/OrbitalSciences/status/544985478169370624
Quote
We can confirm the @AviationWeek article http://aviationweek.com/space/antares-upgrade-will-use-rd-181s-direct-buy-energomash … RD-181 engine meets schedule and technical requirements. No other options do

https://twitter.com/OrbitalSciences/status/544987248454668288
Quote
First deliveries of the newly-built #RD181 engines in mid-2015 to be ready for next #Antares flight in early 2016.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Ronsmytheiii on 12/16/2014 10:44 PM


http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=15457.1545#quickreply
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Tomness on 12/16/2014 11:24 PM
https://twitter.com/OrbitalSciences/status/544985478169370624
Quote
We can confirm the @AviationWeek article http://aviationweek.com/space/antares-upgrade-will-use-rd-181s-direct-buy-energomash … RD-181 engine meets schedule and technical requirements. No other options do

https://twitter.com/OrbitalSciences/status/544987248454668288
Quote
First deliveries of the newly-built #RD181 engines in mid-2015 to be ready for next #Antares flight in early 2016.
[/quote]

Sounds like Orbital called in their settlement with ULA for RD181. ULA gets one to two launch options next year. Begs the question if there is anything really different vs RD180vsRD181 if Orbital gets to piggy pack off the 30 orders ULA just closed. Either way win - win for everybody. Good Job Orbital & ULA
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: ugordan on 12/16/2014 11:27 PM
Sounds like Orbital called in their settlement with ULA for RD181. ULA gets one to two launch options next year. Begs the question if there is anything really different vs RD180vsRD181

Different engines. The small, last digit difference is misleading.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Kryten on 12/16/2014 11:34 PM
Begs the question if there is anything really different vs RD180vsRD181 if Orbital gets to piggy pack off the 30 orders ULA just closed. Either way win - win for everybody. Good Job Orbital & ULA
Note the article specifies RD-181 being used 'in shipsets of two'. This strongly suggests it's a a redesignated RD-193, rather than a lightly modified RD-180.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: rayleighscatter on 12/17/2014 12:09 AM
I wonder if they also optioned the possibility of producing licensed copies in the US.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Will on 12/17/2014 12:17 AM
Begs the question if there is anything really different vs RD180vsRD181 if Orbital gets to piggy pack off the 30 orders ULA just closed. Either way win - win for everybody. Good Job Orbital & ULA
Note the article specifies RD-181 being used 'in shipsets of two'. This strongly suggests it's a a redesignated RD-193, rather than a lightly modified RD-180.

http://www.russianspaceweb.com/rd193.html
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: TrevorMonty on 12/17/2014 01:53 AM
Now all Antares needs is a hydrogen upper stage to compete in commercial GEO market.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Prober on 12/17/2014 11:01 AM
https://twitter.com/OrbitalSciences/status/544985478169370624
Quote
We can confirm the @AviationWeek article http://aviationweek.com/space/antares-upgrade-will-use-rd-181s-direct-buy-energomash … RD-181 engine meets schedule and technical requirements. No other options do

https://twitter.com/OrbitalSciences/status/544987248454668288
Quote
First deliveries of the newly-built #RD181 engines in mid-2015 to be ready for next #Antares flight in early 2016.

Sounds like Orbital called in their settlement with ULA for RD181. ULA gets one to two launch options next year. Begs the question if there is anything really different vs RD180vsRD181 if Orbital gets to piggy pack off the 30 orders ULA just closed. Either way win - win for everybody. Good Job Orbital & ULA
[/quote]

Sorry but no "official" news release from Orbital.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Jim on 12/17/2014 11:46 AM
There is no contractual relationship between ULA and OSC in regard to the RD-181
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: ChrisWilson68 on 12/17/2014 12:03 PM
Sorry but no "official" news release from Orbital.

What are you talking about?  The message you replied to (and messed up the quotes in your reply, by the way), quoted the official Twitter feed of Orbital.

It's 2014.  Companies communicate over Twitter these days.  It's no less official if it's on the company's Twitter feed than if it's on PRNewsWire.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: LouScheffer on 12/17/2014 03:01 PM
The cost of these engines, at least the first few, seems high.  From http://rt.com/news/215063-antares-russian-rocket-engines/
Quote
Russian Space Agency (Roscosmos) officials meanwhile confirmed the deal to Russian Izvestia Daily, saying that 20 rocket engines have so far been inked on paper, for a sum close to $1 billion.

“There is now a firm contract for 20 engines, the realization of which we have already begun, as the first two engines will have to be delivered in June next year. Plus there are two options in the contract, each for 20 pieces,” Izvestia cites the source as saying. The sum of the contract allegedly includes a number of services including, flight training, engine installation and testing.
So this sounds like $1 billion for the first 20 engines, or $50M each, or $100M for each Antares rocket.  The options for additional engines would need to be *much* cheaper for this to make sense.  This of course will depend on how much of the first contract is non-recurring, which is not specified.

The recent currency crisis should be raise the engine profit dramatically, since they almost surely get paid in dollars, but buy their raw materials and labor in rubles.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: baldusi on 12/17/2014 03:34 PM
Or may be 1B is the value if the two further options are exercised, which would make each engine about 17B, or 34M in propulsion, which seems a much more reasonable price. The RD-180 was renegotiated to something like 25M, I seem to recall. And this will use the same production line as the RD-191, and they might get the RD-193 on the Soyuz-2.1v, so they should be able to get excellent economies of scale at NPO Energomash. At least until Angara's propulsion actually gets moved to Pyosk.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: abaddon on 12/17/2014 05:22 PM
Orbital really needs to win a CRS2 contract, doesn't it?  I can't imagine them making enough hay in the commercial arena (not to say they can't win some contracts), and this will exclude them from consideration for USAF/DOD contracts.

That said, I think they have an excellent chance of winning a CRS2 contract, and given the constraints they are facing, this seems like the only reasonable move they can make if they want to stay in the medium+ launcher business.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Prober on 12/17/2014 06:33 PM
Sorry but no "official" news release from Orbital.

What are you talking about?  The message you replied to (and messed up the quotes in your reply, by the way), quoted the official Twitter feed of Orbital.

It's 2014.  Companies communicate over Twitter these days.  It's no less official if it's on the company's Twitter feed than if it's on PRNewsWire.

Don't forget Orbital is a Publicly traded company.   Must follow the rules.  http://www.orbital.com/NewsInfo/
They do have social on that page, but if you notice its not being used for major company announcements.

Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: LouScheffer on 12/17/2014 07:16 PM
Or may be 1B is the value if the two further options are exercised, which would make each engine about 17B, or 34M in propulsion, which seems a much more reasonable price. The RD-180 was renegotiated to something like 25M, I seem to recall. And this will use the same production line as the RD-191, and they might get the RD-193 on the Soyuz-2.1v, so they should be able to get excellent economies of scale at NPO Energomash. At least until Angara's propulsion actually gets moved to Pyosk.
This seems to be the right interpretation.  From http://spacenews.com/orbital-sciences-orders-rd-181-engines-for-antares-rocket/
Quote
Beneski said the $1 billion contract value being quoted in Moscow is incorrect.

“If all the options under the contract were exercised, the total value would be significantly less than $1 billion,” Beneski added in an email to SpaceNews. “I can’t be more precise than that.”
If we assume $100M is significant, then the cost would be about $900M/60 = $15M/engine.  Not cheap, but not crazy.  However, surely the first batch of 20 will be more expensive per engine.

Another way to look at this is to compare to possible USA development.  This was usually estimated at about $1B.  For the same cost here, you get development + engines for 30 missions.  By that comparison it seems a real bargain.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: edkyle99 on 12/17/2014 07:19 PM
Or may be 1B is the value if the two further options are exercised, which would make each engine about 17B, or 34M in propulsion, which seems a much more reasonable price. The RD-180 was renegotiated to something like 25M, I seem to recall. And this will use the same production line as the RD-191, and they might get the RD-193 on the Soyuz-2.1v, so they should be able to get excellent economies of scale at NPO Energomash. At least until Angara's propulsion actually gets moved to Pyosk.
The contract includes more than just engine delivery.  Energomash crews, it appears, will be at Wallops installing, testing, and supporting the engines. 

This can't pay off, obviously, unless Orbital wins a lot more work for Antares.

A killer for Aerojet-Rocketdyne.  Some of those funds were originally headed for California.  Now they're Russia-bound.  I shed no tears, however,  because it is the U.S. company's own fault.

 - Ed Kyle
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: woods170 on 12/17/2014 08:26 PM
A killer for Aerojet-Rocketdyne.  Some of those funds were originally headed for California.  Now they're Russia-bound.  I shed no tears, however,  because it is the U.S. company's own fault.

 - Ed Kyle
That's a fact. Aerojet and/or Rocketdyne should have gotten off their respective *sses years ago and should have started developing engine(s) to compete with the stuff from Russia. The fact that they didn't is now taking significant bites out of their business.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: TrevorMonty on 12/17/2014 08:43 PM
A killer for Aerojet-Rocketdyne.  Some of those funds were originally headed for California.  Now they're Russia-bound.  I shed no tears, however,  because it is the U.S. company's own fault.

 - Ed Kyle
That's a fact. Aerojet and/or Rocketdyne should have gotten off their respective *sses years ago and should have started developing engine(s) to compete with the stuff from Russia. The fact that they didn't is now taking significant bites out of their business.
If they don't come up with a low cost RL10 replacement, ULA/XCOR will and they can kiss goodbye to that business.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: baldusi on 12/17/2014 09:01 PM
A killer for Aerojet-Rocketdyne.  Some of those funds were originally headed for California.  Now they're Russia-bound.  I shed no tears, however,  because it is the U.S. company's own fault.

 - Ed Kyle
That's a fact. Aerojet and/or Rocketdyne should have gotten off their respective *sses years ago and should have started developing engine(s) to compete with the stuff from Russia. The fact that they didn't is now taking significant bites out of their business.
If they don't come up with a low cost RL10 replacement, ULA/XCOR will and they can kiss goodbye to that business.
The J-2X contract is finished. Blue Origin have just eaten their RS-68 and RD-180 breakfast. SpaceX is eating it indirectly. NPO Energomash have just eliminated the middle man. ATK appears to have eaten their SLS booster contracts. What do they have left? RS-25, which will go on for a long time (apparently, if SpaceX doesn't actually delivers their BFR). And the RL10, which have at least Blue Origin and XCOR, with SNC/Orbitec as hungry wolves close by. The Stratolauncher concept might well end up as full OrbitalATK. And let's remember that they didn't helped Antares in the least bit. And again, the RL10 contract will suffer from SpaceX competition.
I'm saddened because those companies carry the torch of the Apollo program. But the way they went into comfortable public-money supported easy life, is really shameful.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: arachnitect on 12/17/2014 09:19 PM
Orbital finally confirmed RD-181 the same day the TESS launch contract was announced.

Did OSC bid Antares for TESS?
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Remes on 12/17/2014 10:45 PM
That's a fact. Aerojet and/or Rocketdyne should have gotten off their respective *sses years ago and should have started developing engine(s) to compete with the stuff from Russia.
How was that supposed to work? Before the political crisis everyone was perfectly happy, but you think that back then Aerojet or Rocketdyne should have designed a highly complex rocket engine for ULA or Orbital, just in case something would go wrong and someone would need an engine? I think no one can expect to develop an engine like an RD180 or RD181 on own money just in case it is needed.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Lars-J on 12/17/2014 11:59 PM
That's a fact. Aerojet and/or Rocketdyne should have gotten off their respective *sses years ago and should have started developing engine(s) to compete with the stuff from Russia.
How was that supposed to work? Before the political crisis everyone was perfectly happy, but you think that back then Aerojet or Rocketdyne should have designed a highly complex rocket engine for ULA or Orbital, just in case something would go wrong and someone would need an engine? I think no one can expect to develop an engine like an RD180 or RD181 on own money just in case it is needed.

By that argument SpaceX wouln't even have started. But they did. And developed their own engine. NOTHING stopped Aerojet or Rocketdyne from doing the same.

In real life (not government subsidized lala land), commercial companies self fund research and development ALL the time.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Kabloona on 12/18/2014 12:34 AM
That's a fact. Aerojet and/or Rocketdyne should have gotten off their respective *sses years ago and should have started developing engine(s) to compete with the stuff from Russia.
How was that supposed to work? Before the political crisis everyone was perfectly happy, but you think that back then Aerojet or Rocketdyne should have designed a highly complex rocket engine for ULA or Orbital, just in case something would go wrong and someone would need an engine? I think no one can expect to develop an engine like an RD180 or RD181 on own money just in case it is needed.

No, not everyone was perfectly happy. Many in Congress, and probably in the Pentagon too, have been unhappy for years about sending national security dollars to Russia but were unable to force ULA to develop an alternative engine.

Meanwhile ULA raked in their profits and was happy with the status quo as long as the defense budget kept raining dollars. No one should be shedding tears for them now that they have to break the piggy bank and spend a few hundred million to develop a new engine.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Prober on 12/18/2014 01:08 AM
That's a fact. Aerojet and/or Rocketdyne should have gotten off their respective *sses years ago and should have started developing engine(s) to compete with the stuff from Russia.
How was that supposed to work? Before the political crisis everyone was perfectly happy, but you think that back then Aerojet or Rocketdyne should have designed a highly complex rocket engine for ULA or Orbital, just in case something would go wrong and someone would need an engine? I think no one can expect to develop an engine like an RD180 or RD181 on own money just in case it is needed.

No, not everyone was perfectly happy. Many in Congress, and probably in the Pentagon too, have been unhappy for years about sending national security dollars to Russia but were unable to force ULA to develop an alternative engine.


Huh?  pure nonsense please go read the history at the end of the Soviet Union.  It was the US Government that promoted the purchase of Russian engines.   It's all there in black and white.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: QuantumG on 12/18/2014 01:28 AM
Huh?  pure nonsense please go read the history at the end of the Soviet Union.  It was the US Government that promoted the purchase of Russian engines.   It's all there in black and white.

Please refrain from rendering judgement on other member's opinions.

The US government isn't a single opinion. There are many voices. Some have felt strongly about using Russian engines (one way or the other) and some have not. This is an opportunity for the nahs to get their ways.

Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Prober on 12/18/2014 01:45 AM
Huh?  pure nonsense please go read the history at the end of the Soviet Union.  It was the US Government that promoted the purchase of Russian engines.   It's all there in black and white.

Please refrain from rendering judgement on other member's opinions.

The US government isn't a single opinion. There are many voices. Some have felt strongly about using Russian engines (one way or the other) and some have not. This is an opportunity for the nahs to get their ways.

Major difference between historical fact and opinion.   Opinions should be respected, however when opinions are used to try and rewrite historical fact, that's a no go.  8)
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: baldusi on 12/18/2014 02:33 AM

That's a fact. Aerojet and/or Rocketdyne should have gotten off their respective *sses years ago and should have started developing engine(s) to compete with the stuff from Russia.
How was that supposed to work? Before the political crisis everyone was perfectly happy, but you think that back then Aerojet or Rocketdyne should have designed a highly complex rocket engine for ULA or Orbital, just in case something would go wrong and someone would need an engine? I think no one can expect to develop an engine like an RD180 or RD181 on own money just in case it is needed.
NPO Energomash did that (both RD-193 and RD-181), SpaceX did that, Blue Origin did that, Orbitec did that, XCOR did that, SNC did that. After the COTS program was done! Did Aerojet invested on a replacement for the NK-33? No, they went for SLS money. They got their TAN patent and never implemented on anything. Did Rocketdyne planned products after the Shuttle program was given a deadline? Nope, they lobbied for J-2X, RS-25E and they had the RS-68A money. Did they develop a replacement for the RL10, or did developed a channel wall version? Nope, decided to use the NGE DoD money and when that dried up they left it there. Or did they pushed to have have the RD-180 built locally? Nope, they were happy to leave manufacturing to the Russians and have a "free" 15% through RD AMROSS.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Robotbeat on 12/18/2014 04:15 AM
A killer for Aerojet-Rocketdyne.  Some of those funds were originally headed for California.  Now they're Russia-bound.  I shed no tears, however,  because it is the U.S. company's own fault.

 - Ed Kyle
That's a fact. Aerojet and/or Rocketdyne should have gotten off their respective *sses years ago and should have started developing engine(s) to compete with the stuff from Russia. The fact that they didn't is now taking significant bites out of their business.
This.

I'm kind of appalled at Aerojet/Rocketdyne's unwillingness to compete. Even ULA is basically doing everything they can to get engines from someone else. Doesn't Aerojet/Rocketdyne have ANY will to survive??! It's like they won't lift a finger of real, hardcore engineering work without someone else totally footing the bill. I see some news bites of 3d printing some rocket thruster (old news, others have done it years ago, now), but nothing real.

And it's a shame! They make great engines! But I doubt they'll exist in 10 years without a huge change in strategy.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: WindnWar on 12/18/2014 04:54 AM
So from what I've read, they will operate the engine in a reduced throttle mode equivalent to the AJ-26 output on the existing Antares tanks until they can redesign the thrust structure to handle the extra thrust. Any ideas on how that will impact the performance, isp?

Won't this also limit them increasing the amount of cargo Cygnus can carry to what the Antares could do with the AJ-26 until they have a new thrust structure? I assume there is probably some extra margin in the existing structure for a modest increase in output but if they have to keep it close to what the AJ-26 could do until its redesigned I'm curious what the impact is on performance.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: asmi on 12/18/2014 05:41 AM
I wonder if they will perform another test flight after the upgrade is implemented.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Remes on 12/18/2014 05:49 AM
NPO Energomash did that (both RD-193 and RD-181)
These are not new developments. All going back on RD-170, on RD-180. RD-193 hat clearly Soyuz as a customer and potentially Antares (even before the Antares mishap).

I think we all agree there is a big difference between changing existing high power oxidizer rich engines and developing one from scratch just because of an vage assumption who might be a potential customer.

Quote
Blue Origin
Bezoz was a week or two ago in the news, because his companies are making no profits. Next to "government subsidized lala land" we have now also "venture capital lala land".

Quote
XCOR
New entrant, willing to invest money, willing to wait years for profit. I don't follow their work, but Wikipedia tells me they having nothing remotely compared to RD-193. That are really different worlds.

Quote
Or did they pushed to have have the RD-180 built locally? Nope, they were happy to leave manufacturing to the Russians and have a "free" 15% through RD AMROSS.
I think some russians at RDAMROSS get a "handling fee" for RD-180 and ULA has a "handling fee", too. Nothing for anybody else (if I'm not mistaken).
https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=32675.msg1293272#msg1293272

Aside from that: We know, why the RD-180 was not produced in the US. It wouldn't add value (before the crisis) and it would have been more expensive. Plus all the risk associated with taking the same engine + all parts beeing produced/assembled/tested by different companies.

I really don't see that under anything close to "free market rules" (beeing able to earn money and pay the workers) one could have made a RD-181 like engine from scratch without government funding.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Prober on 12/18/2014 12:21 PM
A killer for Aerojet-Rocketdyne.  Some of those funds were originally headed for California.  Now they're Russia-bound.  I shed no tears, however,  because it is the U.S. company's own fault.

 - Ed Kyle
That's a fact. Aerojet and/or Rocketdyne should have gotten off their respective *sses years ago and should have started developing engine(s) to compete with the stuff from Russia. The fact that they didn't is now taking significant bites out of their business.
This.

I'm kind of appalled at Aerojet/Rocketdyne's unwillingness to compete. Even ULA is basically doing everything they can to get engines from someone else. Doesn't Aerojet/Rocketdyne have ANY will to survive??! It's like they won't lift a finger of real, hardcore engineering work without someone else totally footing the bill. I see some news bites of 3d printing some rocket thruster (old news, others have done it years ago, now), but nothing real.

And it's a shame! They make great engines! But I doubt they'll exist in 10 years without a huge change in strategy.

Not really AR fault why do you think Rocketdyne was sold off?   Low launch rates, and the company lives or dies by Government programs.   Even the mighty SpaceX is going corporate.  Read some of the employee reports if you don't wish to believe it.   But the fact is SpaceX needs the government money too.

I've been pushing for sometime that AR made a major mistake when they did the merger.  They should have made two divisions within the company and cleaned the government stuff away from a clean "commercial" type company.  The company still needs this to survive IMHO.
 
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: edkyle99 on 12/18/2014 01:53 PM
So from what I've read, they will operate the engine in a reduced throttle mode equivalent to the AJ-26 output on the existing Antares tanks until they can redesign the thrust structure to handle the extra thrust. Any ideas on how that will impact the performance, isp?

Won't this also limit them increasing the amount of cargo Cygnus can carry to what the Antares could do with the AJ-26 until they have a new thrust structure? I assume there is probably some extra margin in the existing structure for a modest increase in output but if they have to keep it close to what the AJ-26 could do until its redesigned I'm curious what the impact is on performance.
I suspect that the future first stage modifications would go beyond just modifying the thrust structure.  When extra thrust is available, it can't be fully exploited unless more propellant is carried.  More propellant means longer tanks.

 - Ed Kyle
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: asmi on 12/18/2014 02:01 PM
Not necessarily - remember it will get more thrust AND better Isp. Higher TWR will reduce gravity losses too.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: edkyle99 on 12/18/2014 02:07 PM
Huh?  pure nonsense please go read the history at the end of the Soviet Union.  It was the US Government that promoted the purchase of Russian engines.   It's all there in black and white.
Congress went along with the plan, but it was approved on the understanding that U.S. production of RD-180 would be established.  Also recall that Rocketdyne was bidding for the Atlas IIAR propulsion contract (using a pair of RS-X engines), but pulled out of the competition, conceding the contract to Russia.  Lockheed Martin lobbied hard for RD-180.

 - Ed Kyle
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: edkyle99 on 12/18/2014 02:10 PM
Not necessarily - remember it will get more thrust AND better Isp. Higher TWR will reduce gravity losses too.
True, but these are marginal improvements.  An extra 50 tonnes of propellant could result in a substantial performance improvement.

 - Ed Kyle
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Oli on 12/18/2014 02:32 PM
I'm kind of appalled at Aerojet/Rocketdyne's unwillingness to compete. Even ULA is basically doing everything they can to get engines from someone else. Doesn't Aerojet/Rocketdyne have ANY will to survive??! It's like they won't lift a finger of real, hardcore engineering work without someone else totally footing the bill. I see some news bites of 3d printing some rocket thruster (old news, others have done it years ago, now), but nothing real.

And it's a shame! They make great engines! But I doubt they'll exist in 10 years without a huge change in strategy.

Blue Origin exists since 2000. They will have developed 2 engines by 2019 and not earned a single dime. How is Aerojet supposed to compete with that?

My advice to them: Search for a 'visionary' billionaire who is willing to fund a new engine regardless of economic considerations.

Either way, employees and knowhow will transfer form Aerojet to Blue Origin and SpaceX, as I'm sure it already has. Nothing is really lost.

Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: baldusi on 12/18/2014 02:59 PM
Not necessarily - remember it will get more thrust AND better Isp. Higher TWR will reduce gravity losses too.
True, but these are marginal improvements.  An extra 50 tonnes of propellant could result in a substantial performance improvement.

 - Ed Kyle
Isn't Antares-130 T/W close to 1.1. Just putting a bit more thrust will help things significantly. I'd guess that the extra propellant will help. And they might now do away with densified LOX. But will lose a few percents of performance due to propellant density and propellant ration might be slightly affected.
I guess they will try to retrofit the under rated engines to their existing tanks but they already have a design for the new tanks (more propellant, correct O/F and non densified LOX) in Ukraine. I really trust the structural engineers at Yuzhnoye (the QC guys at Yuzhmash... not so much).
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: woods170 on 12/18/2014 04:33 PM
That's a fact. Aerojet and/or Rocketdyne should have gotten off their respective *sses years ago and should have started developing engine(s) to compete with the stuff from Russia.
How was that supposed to work? Before the political crisis everyone was perfectly happy, but you think that back then Aerojet or Rocketdyne should have designed a highly complex rocket engine for ULA or Orbital, just in case something would go wrong and someone would need an engine? I think no one can expect to develop an engine like an RD180 or RD181 on own money just in case it is needed.
Oh yes they can. A good number of the established US aerospace companies have enough money in the bank to do an all out engine development program and still make a profit on their other activities. The fact that they don't is that most of those aerospace companies are stuck in the past: when something new is required, they look to the US government to pay for the development. Well guess what: CRS, and other service-oriented programs totally changed that situation. The only companies to fully understand this are new-space: Blue and SpaceX.

The US government is no longer requiring engines to be developed: RS-68 and J-2X are IMO the final two engines ever developed under full US government authority. And yes, that implies that IMO I don't see the Congressionally mandated new-engine development program going anywhere.

These days the various agencies of the US government that 'do' space require services, not hardware. The hardware needed to provide such services is now the responsibility of industry. Aerojet and Rocketdyne could have jumped on that band-wagon. But they didn't and they are now about to miss the boat alltogether. Energomash is laughing it's socks off over Aerojet-Rocketdyne's lack of insight into the future.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: edkyle99 on 12/18/2014 05:16 PM
Isn't Antares-130 T/W close to 1.1. Just putting a bit more thrust will help things significantly.
Just increasing the thrust to weight ratio to reduce gravity losses might boost LEO payload by 100 or 150 kg, but increasing the first stage propellant load could increase LEO payload by 500 kg, or, if the extra propellant mass were divided between the two stages, perhaps 700 kg more, or between three stages (assuming a small hydrazine maneuvering third stage) up to 1,500 kg more.

 - Ed Kyle
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Lars-J on 12/18/2014 06:41 PM
A killer for Aerojet-Rocketdyne.  Some of those funds were originally headed for California.  Now they're Russia-bound.  I shed no tears, however,  because it is the U.S. company's own fault.

 - Ed Kyle
That's a fact. Aerojet and/or Rocketdyne should have gotten off their respective *sses years ago and should have started developing engine(s) to compete with the stuff from Russia. The fact that they didn't is now taking significant bites out of their business.
This.

I'm kind of appalled at Aerojet/Rocketdyne's unwillingness to compete. Even ULA is basically doing everything they can to get engines from someone else. Doesn't Aerojet/Rocketdyne have ANY will to survive??! It's like they won't lift a finger of real, hardcore engineering work without someone else totally footing the bill. I see some news bites of 3d printing some rocket thruster (old news, others have done it years ago, now), but nothing real.

And it's a shame! They make great engines! But I doubt they'll exist in 10 years without a huge change in strategy.

Not really AR fault why do you think Rocketdyne was sold off?   Low launch rates, and the company lives or dies by Government programs.   Even the mighty SpaceX is going corporate.  Read some of the employee reports if you don't wish to believe it.   But the fact is SpaceX needs the government money too.

I've been pushing for sometime that AR made a major mistake when they did the merger.  They should have made two divisions within the company and cleaned the government stuff away from a clean "commercial" type company.  The company still needs this to survive IMHO.

You are misunderstanding the core problem. It has NOTHING to do with having government or commercial contracts. The core issue for AR is a fundamental unwillingness to use income (from any contract) and feed that back into internal research and development of new products. The source of that income does not matter.

Now the shareholders are mostly to blame for this - but they are reaping the seeds too now - but there is a "no development without government earmark" sickness that has permeated the aerospace community for too long.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Lobo on 12/18/2014 07:38 PM
A killer for Aerojet-Rocketdyne.  Some of those funds were originally headed for California.  Now they're Russia-bound.  I shed no tears, however,  because it is the U.S. company's own fault.

 - Ed Kyle
That's a fact. Aerojet and/or Rocketdyne should have gotten off their respective *sses years ago and should have started developing engine(s) to compete with the stuff from Russia. The fact that they didn't is now taking significant bites out of their business.
This.

I'm kind of appalled at Aerojet/Rocketdyne's unwillingness to compete. Even ULA is basically doing everything they can to get engines from someone else. Doesn't Aerojet/Rocketdyne have ANY will to survive??! It's like they won't lift a finger of real, hardcore engineering work without someone else totally footing the bill. I see some news bites of 3d printing some rocket thruster (old news, others have done it years ago, now), but nothing real.

And it's a shame! They make great engines! But I doubt they'll exist in 10 years without a huge change in strategy.

Not really AR fault why do you think Rocketdyne was sold off?   Low launch rates, and the company lives or dies by Government programs.   Even the mighty SpaceX is going corporate.  Read some of the employee reports if you don't wish to believe it.   But the fact is SpaceX needs the government money too.

I've been pushing for sometime that AR made a major mistake when they did the merger.  They should have made two divisions within the company and cleaned the government stuff away from a clean "commercial" type company.  The company still needs this to survive IMHO.

Well, it would seem the RD-181 was probably the only real choice for a "plug and play" engine that could be adapted to Antares within a time frame that didn't kill Antares entirely, so I see why they did that.

AS to PWR and AJ (prior to the merger) , on the surface it would appear that they didn't really give proper thought to future needs/demands and invest capital and business plans accordingly.  There's really no reason PWR couldn't have at least had a US-built RD-180 in the works with an eye on making it streamlined and affordable enough to be comparable to the Russian built one.  Especially once OSC got the COTS contract, as that would be a 2nd US LV's that would be using a very similar type and class of engine.  (2XNK-33 and a single RD-180).  A 2nd potential customer for such an engine there, especially as there could be issues with a decades old engine, and if not, then there'd always be the issue of a limited stock of those enignes.  Not sure when the merger was in the mix, but as soon as it was starting behind the scenes (I would guess it was in the works for a year or more before it actually happened?),  seems like there might have been a pretty good time there to start talking to ULA and OSC and see if they could hammer out some commitments for a US-built replacement enigne that could be adapted to both LV's.  So that both LV's would get a current, modern, US-supplied booster engine.  As long as the price was in the ballpark I'd think both ULA and OSC would be interested in such an engine.   AR-1 came along a little late.  If it was part way through development/testing right now,  that could have but Rocketdyne into a good position right now to be the supplier for US built booster engines, instead of being boxed out.

Regardless of all of that, I think SpaceX probably thinks this is all very good news.  They'll be the only (affordable) US LV supplier using US-made engines.  That fact has different levels of importance to different customers.  But it has more importantce to government when US-Russian politics flair up.  (less when they are good).  Commercial customers probably care less, but they do care if there are supply problems, real or imagined.  ULA is being forced to develop a new LV using new engines (which ultimately may end up being very good for ULA, but in the interim, it requires some big money and big changes.)  And OSC is forced to move from their current Soviet-era repurposed Russian engines to new Russian engines because it's the only engine available in the short term.  OSC still has the spectre of Russian supply hanging over it's head, which ULA is now moving away from.  They may have to move again in the future if they want to be a long term player in the commercial and government launch market.

SpaceX is not dealing with any of those issues, which allows them to streamline and expland and tinker with things like reusability.  They have no issue with supply of any major component to Falcon, and if there were some sort of engine problem, F9 can tolerate an enigne out.  I believe a probably like Antares had on their las launch to one of the 9 Merlin engines wouldn't have resulted in LOM.  (please correct me if that's wrong). 
And I don't mean that in any sort of SpaceX Fanboy way, just mean they probably view AJR apparently dropping the ball on adapting to future rocket engine needs, and OSC needing to then go to the RUssians for their engines as good news for them.  It means OSC will take longer before it could be any sort of legitimate commercial LV competator to SpaceX, and it means they'll always have Atlas V issues with politics to contend with. 


Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: arachnitect on 12/18/2014 09:06 PM
Isn't Antares-130 T/W close to 1.1. Just putting a bit more thrust will help things significantly.
Just increasing the thrust to weight ratio to reduce gravity losses might boost LEO payload by 100 or 150 kg, but increasing the first stage propellant load could increase LEO payload by 500 kg, or, if the extra propellant mass were divided between the two stages, perhaps 700 kg more, or between three stages (assuming a small hydrazine maneuvering third stage) up to 1,500 kg more.

 - Ed Kyle

Well 500kg is roughly the increase Orbital is promising for future Antares CRS flights. So more propellant or a third stage? The possibility of future CRS missions using a third stage was brought up at one point. I'd still bet against it, but I'd no longer say it's impossible.

Edit: For what it's worth I also finally found this ancient gold I'd been looking for:
There are less then 100 engines.

believe the USA received in the 20"s and Russia has in the 40's left?


There's 30-ish here, some healthier than others. New production capability in Samara, and Aerojet is working on it.
Based purely on personal calculation and speculation, and unendorsed in any official capacity by anyone, the RD-191 does miracles for the performance numbers on Antares. Once the current crop of engines runs out, who knows?
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: asmi on 12/18/2014 09:28 PM
I think if Orbital is serious about increasing payload they should develop liquid second stage. This alone would increase payload way more than anything else.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Prober on 12/18/2014 09:28 PM
A killer for Aerojet-Rocketdyne.  Some of those funds were originally headed for California.  Now they're Russia-bound.  I shed no tears, however,  because it is the U.S. company's own fault.

 - Ed Kyle
That's a fact. Aerojet and/or Rocketdyne should have gotten off their respective *sses years ago and should have started developing engine(s) to compete with the stuff from Russia. The fact that they didn't is now taking significant bites out of their business.
This.

I'm kind of appalled at Aerojet/Rocketdyne's unwillingness to compete. Even ULA is basically doing everything they can to get engines from someone else. Doesn't Aerojet/Rocketdyne have ANY will to survive??! It's like they won't lift a finger of real, hardcore engineering work without someone else totally footing the bill. I see some news bites of 3d printing some rocket thruster (old news, others have done it years ago, now), but nothing real.

And it's a shame! They make great engines! But I doubt they'll exist in 10 years without a huge change in strategy.

Not really AR fault why do you think Rocketdyne was sold off?   Low launch rates, and the company lives or dies by Government programs.   Even the mighty SpaceX is going corporate.  Read some of the employee reports if you don't wish to believe it.   But the fact is SpaceX needs the government money too.

I've been pushing for sometime that AR made a major mistake when they did the merger.  They should have made two divisions within the company and cleaned the government stuff away from a clean "commercial" type company.  The company still needs this to survive IMHO.

You are misunderstanding the core problem. It has NOTHING to do with having government or commercial contracts. The core issue for AR is a fundamental unwillingness to use income (from any contract) and feed that back into internal research and development of new products. The source of that income does not matter.

Now the shareholders are mostly to blame for this - but they are reaping the seeds too now - but there is a "no development without government earmark" sickness that has permeated the aerospace community for too long.

Disagree with you on the "core problem"  Aerojet on its own spent a ton of cash on the AJ-26, and the next model replacement.   Until Orbital they got no income on that investment i.e. the low launch rate I talked about.

Companies have to make money back on their investments (ROI).  Remember another item, AR combined has a lot of overhead.  Not sure the number of people, but they had test stands to maintain etc.  Not cheap stuff at all.  The company is not in the launch business, they are basically the rocket engine manufacturer for government launches.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Lars-J on 12/18/2014 09:34 PM
You are misunderstanding the core problem. It has NOTHING to do with having government or commercial contracts. The core issue for AR is a fundamental unwillingness to use income (from any contract) and feed that back into internal research and development of new products. The source of that income does not matter.

Now the shareholders are mostly to blame for this - but they are reaping the seeds too now - but there is a "no development without government earmark" sickness that has permeated the aerospace community for too long.

Disagree with you on the "core problem"  Aerojet on its own spent a ton of cash on the AJ-26, and the next model replacement.   Until Orbital they got no income on that investment i.e. the low launch rate I talked about.

Companies have to make money back on their investments (ROI).  Remember another item, AR combined has a lot of overhead.  Not sure the number of people, but they had test stands to maintain etc.  Not cheap stuff at all.  The company is not in the launch business, they are basically the rocket engine manufacturer for government launches.

About the overhead... If two companies merge and you need to maintain the overhead. Then they are doing it wrong! (merging, that is) - You merge to REDUCE overhead.  :) You merge to combine facilities, not maintain all of them.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Prober on 12/18/2014 09:38 PM
You are misunderstanding the core problem. It has NOTHING to do with having government or commercial contracts. The core issue for AR is a fundamental unwillingness to use income (from any contract) and feed that back into internal research and development of new products. The source of that income does not matter.

Now the shareholders are mostly to blame for this - but they are reaping the seeds too now - but there is a "no development without government earmark" sickness that has permeated the aerospace community for too long.

Disagree with you on the "core problem"  Aerojet on its own spent a ton of cash on the AJ-26, and the next model replacement.   Until Orbital they got no income on that investment i.e. the low launch rate I talked about.

Companies have to make money back on their investments (ROI).  Remember another item, AR combined has a lot of overhead.  Not sure the number of people, but they had test stands to maintain etc.  Not cheap stuff at all.  The company is not in the launch business, they are basically the rocket engine manufacturer for government launches.

About the overhead... If two companies merge and you need to maintain the overhead. Then they are doing it wrong! (merging, that is) - You merge to REDUCE overhead.  :) You merge to combine facilities, not maintain all of them.

I agree, and maybe Ed can address this better but the company has a lot of assets they are trying to get rid of.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: woods170 on 12/19/2014 06:33 AM
Disagree with you on the "core problem"  Aerojet on its own spent a ton of cash on the AJ-26, and the next model replacement.   Until Orbital they got no income on that investment i.e. the low launch rate I talked about.
Not surprisingly I disagree with you on this. Aerojet spent a few RELATIVE nickels and dimes to get an old engine flying. That was in fact much cheaper than doing an all-out new engine development.
And in hindsight the nickels and dimes spent were spent in a pretty bad way too.
A major lesson of the AJ-26 program is this: don't try to do rocket engines 'on the cheap' by cutting corners. Because in the end it will cost you dearly and you still don't have a good product.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Prober on 12/19/2014 02:47 PM
Disagree with you on the "core problem"  Aerojet on its own spent a ton of cash on the AJ-26, and the next model replacement.   Until Orbital they got no income on that investment i.e. the low launch rate I talked about.
Not surprisingly I disagree with you on this. Aerojet spent a few RELATIVE nickels and dimes to get an old engine flying. That was in fact much cheaper than doing an all-out new engine development.
And in hindsight the nickels and dimes spent were spent in a pretty bad way too.
A major lesson of the AJ-26 program is this: don't try to do rocket engines 'on the cheap' by cutting corners. Because in the end it will cost you dearly and you still don't have a good product.

Can understand why you think millions of US dollars are relative nickels and dimes.  You live in governmental spending, your funding values are much different.    Aerojet was a non-governmental company they spent real money.

Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: woods170 on 12/19/2014 03:44 PM
Disagree with you on the "core problem"  Aerojet on its own spent a ton of cash on the AJ-26, and the next model replacement.   Until Orbital they got no income on that investment i.e. the low launch rate I talked about.
Not surprisingly I disagree with you on this. Aerojet spent a few RELATIVE nickels and dimes to get an old engine flying. That was in fact much cheaper than doing an all-out new engine development.
And in hindsight the nickels and dimes spent were spent in a pretty bad way too.
A major lesson of the AJ-26 program is this: don't try to do rocket engines 'on the cheap' by cutting corners. Because in the end it will cost you dearly and you still don't have a good product.

Can understand why you think millions of US dollars are relative nickels and dimes.  You live in governmental spending, your funding values are much different.    Aerojet was a non-governmental company they spent real money.
Yes, they spent real money. And had they done a proper all-out new engine development, in stead of doing AJ-26, they would have spent a helluvalot more. My 'on the cheap' comment stands.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: abaddon on 12/19/2014 04:11 PM
Yes, they spent real money. And had they done a proper all-out new engine development, in stead of doing AJ-26, they would have spent a helluvalot more. My 'on the cheap' comment stands.

I have to agree with Prober here.  I don't know any engine company that spends a billion dollars without a contract for an engine.  The vast majority of companies that are developing engines are developing them for rockets they are also making, or are doing it on a contract.

I think there's a lot of smug attitude around here that is really unfortunate.  Things have not worked out for Aerojet, but all of this "they deserve it because they were lazy and stupid" type of second-guessing after the fact is really unwarranted and off-putting to me.

All of that said, the subject of Aerojet in an Antares thread is rather peripheral at this point, I don't know if there are Aerojet threads anywhere, but I would suggest that a continuing discussion of Aerojet probably belongs somewhere else.  Antares is headed to a bright new future that does not include Aerojet, after all...


Just my $0.02.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: fast on 12/19/2014 04:37 PM
Yes, they spent real money. And had they done a proper all-out new engine development, in stead of doing AJ-26, they would have spent a helluvalot more. My 'on the cheap' comment stands.

I have to agree with Prober here.  I don't know any engine company that spends a billion dollars without a contract for an engine.  The vast majority of companies that are developing engines are developing them for rockets they are also making, or are doing it on a contract.

I think there's a lot of smug attitude around here that is really unfortunate.  Things have not worked out for Aerojet, but all of this "they deserve it because they were lazy and stupid" type of second-guessing after the fact is really unwarranted and off-putting to me.

All of that said, the subject of Aerojet in an Antares thread is rather peripheral at this point, I don't know if there are Aerojet threads anywhere, but I would suggest that a continuing discussion of Aerojet probably belongs somewhere else.  Antares is headed to a bright new future that does not include Aerojet, after all...

OSC game on Antares engines was purely "lets get cheapest" and they unfortunately pulled in to it miserable shortsighted Aerojet. Now game is over. They paying both for being too greedy. And OSC's Antares bright future remains to be seen.

Talking about bright future of Antares and current Atlas, I really do not understand those comments that everything was fine until shit hit the fan... How come that it is ok for US to buy engines for its main space busters from other country, especially from such unreliable?!

 
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Lobo on 12/19/2014 05:48 PM
I have to agree with Prober here.  I don't know any engine company that spends a billion dollars without a contract for an engine.  The vast majority of companies that are developing engines are developing them for rockets they are also making, or are doing it on a contract.

I think there's a lot of smug attitude around here that is really unfortunate.  Things have not worked out for Aerojet, but all of this "they deserve it because they were lazy and stupid" type of second-guessing after the fact is really unwarranted and off-putting to me.


A few things.  The smug attitude is basically supporters of the US space industry who are dissapointed that such a major and historic space company like Rocketdyne seems to have allowed themselves to start being shut out of the US LV market.  I imagine all of those "smug" attitudes are people who'd love to have seen Rocketdyne be a major player now and going forward. 

Part of why they seems to be loosing out is what you started by saying.  You don't know any engine company that spends a billion dollars without a contract for an engine?  Probably true.
First, why is it a billion dollars?  How much did the Merlin cost to develop?  I think it was like a few hundred million.
Now SpaceX developed that for an LV they were also making, so that's a little apples and oranges.  But my point is why so much do develop a new engine that could be used on Atlas or Antares?
PWR had the plans and license to make a US made RD-180.  They also had the RS-84 a good deal into develop over a decade ago.  It's not like they'd be starting from scratch like SpaceX essentially did.  They could take up an engine and very quickly be well into development my utilizing the info they already had.  It probably shouldn't have needed to be a multi billion dollar deal.  That's old space.
PWR could also have lobbied congress to get some politicians who -did- care that Atlas was using a Russian engine to start making waves about it.  Certainly some politicians do care (especially when lobbied hard0.  We see it now and Elon is banging that drum with some success.  But PWR could have done that awhile ago to create a customer who would sign a contract to buy engines that -they- produced in the US, rather than this vague fall back option of having a license to do it if needed.  They should have went and helped to -make- it needed...and make it price competative with RD-180.  I honestly cannot imagine Congress members and USAF -not- telling ULA they much reengine Atlas with a US made equivalent engine if it was similar in cost. 

Ditto with Aerojet prior to mergin with Rocketdyne.  They had NK-33's and a new LV that would use them.  That supply was limited to stock purchased from Russia.  A replacement was obviously known to be needed.  Maybe the AR-1 was that replacement, but it came along a little late in the game.  Aerojet should have been discussing that with OSC right from the start to get a modern, current, US-made and affordable engine to replace NK-33's in the near term as soon as practicable.

When Aeroget bought Rocketdyne, then the two projects in development could have merged into a single engine which could be configured to use for both Atlas and Antares.

I think lost opportunities like that are what people are dissappointed about around here.  I have yet to hear anyone on the forums state that they -prefer- Atlas and Antares being dependant on Russian supplies engines.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: woods170 on 12/19/2014 06:53 PM
I have to agree with Prober here.  I don't know any engine company that spends a billion dollars without a contract for an engine. 

There is your problem. Spending a billion dollars on a new engine is typical for government-style projects. Doing a new engine fully commercially does not require a billion dollars (unless you want something that is way beyond the scope of what is needed for Antares). Not having all the money in the world forces a company to do things smart and efficiently. And that is exactly what a good number of old-space, government-dependent companies such as Aerojet and Rocketdyne cannot do currently. They simply don't have the required mind-set anymore, after having been spoiled by a near-continues influx of government money for 3-plus decades.
A (partial) exception is ATK. On the one hand they blow all the money (and time!) in the world on developing the SLS boosters for NASA. On the other hand they also managed to do fast development of Castor 30 AND Castor 30XL on a relative nickel-and-dime for Orbital. People may not like ATK but at least they always remembered that government-business alone is not going to keep them alive forever.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Oli on 12/19/2014 07:49 PM
I have to agree with Prober here.  I don't know any engine company that spends a billion dollars without a contract for an engine. 

There is your problem. Spending a billion dollars on a new engine is typical for government-style projects.

Why? Do you know how much Blue Origin will spend on its engine?
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Prober on 12/19/2014 08:27 PM
I have to agree with Prober here.  I don't know any engine company that spends a billion dollars without a contract for an engine. 

There is your problem. Spending a billion dollars on a new engine is typical for government-style projects. Doing a new engine fully commercially does not require a billion dollars (unless you want something that is way beyond the scope of what is needed for Antares). Not having all the money in the world forces a company to do things smart and efficiently. And that is exactly what a good number of old-space, government-dependent companies such as Aerojet and Rocketdyne cannot do currently. They simply don't have the required mind-set anymore, after having been spoiled by a near-continues influx of government money for 3-plus decades.
A (partial) exception is ATK. On the one hand they blow all the money (and time!) in the world on developing the SLS boosters for NASA. On the other hand they also managed to do fast development of Castor 30 AND Castor 30XL on a relative nickel-and-dime for Orbital. People may not like ATK but at least they always remembered that government-business alone is not going to keep them alive forever.

The more I read these posts it comes closer to pointing the disappointment in the direction of Rocketdyne.  It's Rocketdyne that ran itself into the ground so much so it got sold several times in its history.   Aerojet was more of a commercial interest with its AJ-26.  Look at how many years of go's and no go's of small companies that would use these engines.  Those small companies are no longer in business, Aerojet is still around. 

The AR merger is going to take years to digest.  But many revenue streams that could fund new product are in trouble.  Many were outside of AR's control.   Take the RL-10; don't believe AR will sell any new RL-10's for use on Atlas for a while.  ULA has a stockpile from the Delta IV program.  AR has done some rework of the engine and will have some revenue from that but not new engines.   Can those crying about non development come along and say AR should have spent millions on a new RL-10 out of its own pocket when it knew no sales would be forthcoming ?  Get real guys this is business 101

Same is happening in Europe look up the engine manufacturer in Italy.
I could say Europe has invested its money in Russia, in China etc. while the engine company in Italy has problems.  But I just don't know the facts, and would be wrong to start throwing out those claims.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: sdsds on 12/19/2014 08:45 PM
AJR wasn't going to be able to sell a comparable engine made in the United States at a price lower than Energomash would sell one made in Khimki. AJR costs didn't allow effective competition on price, so they would have had to compete by adding "value" in some other way.

They could do that if the were very innovative in their design or manufacturing technologies, and the benefits of that innovation were made available to the customer, for example.

But they quite apparently didn't make an offer of added value that was compelling to Orbital.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Remes on 12/19/2014 11:41 PM
You don't know any engine company that spends a billion dollars without a contract for an engine?  Probably true.
First, why is it a billion dollars?  How much did the Merlin cost to develop?  I think it was like a few hundred million.

You say it took SpaceX a few hundred million for a simple gas generator 690kN engine.

Now make out of the 690kN e.g. 4MN (like an RD-180).
Now add a highly complex und to the US currently unknown oxydizer-rich preburner process.
Increase the chamber pressure from xxxx to 26MPa.

And I think you end up at a billion.

(to be fair: SpaceX engines contains all the electronics onbaord the engine, RD-180 just comes with sensors and no hw/sw).

...smug...
..."smug"...
And it would be nice if we could exchange our arguments without questioning each others personality.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Jim on 12/20/2014 02:03 AM

(to be fair: SpaceX engines contains all the electronics onbaord the engine, RD-180 just comes with sensors and no hw/sw).


Quite wrong.  There is an engine controller
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Lars-J on 12/20/2014 06:30 AM
You don't know any engine company that spends a billion dollars without a contract for an engine?  Probably true.
First, why is it a billion dollars?  How much did the Merlin cost to develop?  I think it was like a few hundred million.

You say it took SpaceX a few hundred million for a simple gas generator 690kN engine.

Now make out of the 690kN e.g. 4MN (like an RD-180).
Now add a highly complex und to the US currently unknown oxydizer-rich preburner process.
Increase the chamber pressure from xxxx to 26MPa.

And I think you end up at a billion.

Perhaps - But only if you make the (IMO mistaken) assumption that a new engine HAS TO equal RD-180 in every aspect. But SpaceX has clearly proven that a compelling alternative can be made by clustering 2,4,5, even 9 (gasp!) :) cheaper engines to do the same work.

Nor does a competing engine need to be equal in Isp or chamber pressure to offer a compelling alternative. Merlin has proven that.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Remes on 12/20/2014 07:12 AM

(to be fair: SpaceX engines contains all the electronics onbaord the engine, RD-180 just comes with sensors and no hw/sw).


Quite wrong.  There is an engine controller

Of course there is an engine controller. But afaik the controller on Atlas V is not developed/delivered by Energomash. So if we compare development costs, this should be taken into account.

Perhaps - But only if you make the (IMO mistaken) assumption that a new engine HAS TO equal RD-180 in every aspect.
The topic of conversation, as I get it, was about why did US-companies miss to develop a competetive RD-180/nk-33 replacement for xyz $.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: baldusi on 12/20/2014 10:57 AM

(to be fair: SpaceX engines contains all the electronics onbaord the engine, RD-180 just comes with sensors and no hw/sw).


Quite wrong.  There is an engine controller

Of course there is an engine controller. But afaik the controller on Atlas V is not developed/delivered by Energomash. So if we compare development costs, this should be taken into account.
Its made in Russia and NPO Energomash got the contract to do the crewed rated version.

Quote
Perhaps - But only if you make the (IMO mistaken) assumption that a new engine HAS TO equal RD-180 in every aspect.
The topic of conversation, as I get it, was about why did US-companies miss to develop a competetive RD-180/nk-33 replacement for xyz $.
Nope, originally it was about how OSC had to look for solutions outside the US because none was available in time for them to complete their CRS-1 obligations. It then went into how the merged entity that conglomerates all significant liquid rocket manufacturers haven't been able to do a single competitive kerolox engine. In fact, the main critique was that they ended in that situation because they were quite comfortable to stay only in big government contracts. Now the companies that brought men to the moon can't compete on anything but already existing government designs.
Orbital would have loved to have a TR-107, RS-86 or even a modernized RS-27 as an option. Something like a throttleable GG on the 1MN range, or even 800kN 15 years ago could have been an Atlas replacement and might have work for OSC in the COTS proposal. Just to put an example.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Prober on 12/20/2014 11:00 AM

(to be fair: SpaceX engines contains all the electronics onbaord the engine, RD-180 just comes with sensors and no hw/sw).


Quite wrong.  There is an engine controller

Of course there is an engine controller. But afaik the controller on Atlas V is not developed/delivered by Energomash. So if we compare development costs, this should be taken into account.
Its made in Russia and NPO Energomash got the contract to do the crewed rated version.

Quote
Perhaps - But only if you make the (IMO mistaken) assumption that a new engine HAS TO equal RD-180 in every aspect.
The topic of conversation, as I get it, was about why did US-companies miss to develop a competetive RD-180/nk-33 replacement for xyz $.
Nope, originally it was about how OSC had to look for solutions outside the US because none was available in time for them to complete their CRS-1 obligations. It then went into how the merged entity that conglomerates all significant liquid rocket manufacturers haven't been able to do a single competitive kerolox engine. In fact, the main critique was that they ended in that situation because they were quite comfortable to stay only in big government contracts. Now the companies that brought men to the moon can't compete on anything but already existing government designs.
Orbital would have loved to have a TR-107, RS-86 or even a modernized RS-27 as an option. Something like a throttleable GG on the 1MN range, or even 800kN 15 years ago could have been an Atlas replacement and might have work for OSC in the COTS proposal. Just to put an example.

Orbital would be very happy with a supply of RD-180's if they could have gotten them. 
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Jim on 12/20/2014 12:40 PM

Of course there is an engine controller. But afaik the controller on Atlas V is not developed/delivered by Energomash. So if we compare development costs, this should be taken into account.

It is part of the RD-180 and not delivered separately.  The Atlas avionics send commands to it for thrust level and TVC.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Remes on 12/20/2014 05:10 PM
Of course there is an engine controller. But afaik the controller on Atlas V is not developed/delivered by Energomash. So if we compare development costs, this should be taken into account.
It is part of the RD-180 and not delivered separately.  The Atlas avionics send commands to it for thrust level and TVC.
Its made in Russia and NPO Energomash got the contract to do the crewed rated version.

Wow. That's amazing. Is anything publicly known what kind of system it is? Discrete digital/processor? Does it talk 1553 or something else?
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: russianhalo117 on 12/20/2014 09:25 PM
Antares LV 200 Series fact sheet: http://www.orbital.com/LaunchSystems/Publications/Antares_factsheet.pdf
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Lars-J on 12/20/2014 09:30 PM

Perhaps - But only if you make the (IMO mistaken) assumption that a new engine HAS TO equal RD-180 in every aspect.
The topic of conversation, as I get it, was about why did US-companies miss to develop a competetive RD-180/nk-33 replacement for xyz $.

My point was merely that the concept of what a RD-180 or NK-33 replacement can be should be widened. It doesn't have to be a 1-1 replacement. Smaller engines (cheaper) can be clustered.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: arachnitect on 12/21/2014 12:48 AM
Antares LV 200 Series fact sheet: http://www.orbital.com/LaunchSystems/Publications/Antares_factsheet.pdf

Well I hope "Antares 200 series" sticks. I don't think I can handle another Orbital rocket name change.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: rayleighscatter on 12/21/2014 01:09 AM
Antares LV 200 Series fact sheet: http://www.orbital.com/LaunchSystems/Publications/Antares_factsheet.pdf

Here's the closest I could pull in comparison to the 100 series.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: a_langwich on 12/21/2014 02:34 AM
Antares LV 200 Series fact sheet: http://www.orbital.com/LaunchSystems/Publications/Antares_factsheet.pdf

The CASTOR 30B is the baseline, with 30XL as an option?  Interesting.  Makes me wonder about the price difference.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: baldusi on 12/21/2014 04:31 AM
Yet all performance curves are with 23x series.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Antares on 12/21/2014 05:04 AM
Orbital would be very happy with a supply of RD-180's if they could have gotten them.

Except the RD-180 was offered to Orbital in 2008 and noses were thumbed.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Antares on 12/21/2014 05:06 AM
Well I hope "Antares 200 series" sticks. I don't think I can handle another Orbital rocket name change.

Achilles?
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Jim on 12/21/2014 11:37 AM

Wow. That's amazing. Is anything publicly known what kind of system it is? Discrete digital/processor? Does it talk 1553 or something else?

? that is how it has always work.  Don't know want the surprise is about.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: baldusi on 12/21/2014 01:26 PM
Antares LV 200 Series fact sheet: http://www.orbital.com/LaunchSystems/Publications/Antares_factsheet.pdf

Here's the closest I could pull in comparison to the 100 series.
Ok, playing with the PDF and scalling the graphs (as vectors) I've been able to put together this comparison.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Remes on 12/22/2014 08:26 PM
? that is how it has always work.  Don't know want the surprise is about.

Russian chip industry is a little bit behind. Less density in the integrated circuits, requires more chips, more soldering points, more PCB, more connections. Automatically this gets less reliable (not saying it is unreliable, it is less reliable: somewhere behind the dot in 99.99xxx something changes). As the IC structures are older there is more heating, therefore more hassle with environmental conditions for the electronic. There is still a lot of manual labor (in western aerospace products flex circuits are more and more used which require less connectors/soldering/cabling/... and have a lot of benefits in regards to thermal stress and others.)

My surprise is that russian electronics made it into a US-launcher.

For the ISS the guidance computer hardware were developed in Europe. Software was written in Russia. I always thought it was somehow similar for Atlas. Or maybe the control algorithms were handed over to someone in the US.

As only russians have the knowledge about the control of closed cycle oxygen rich engines, they could have written software on US space rated control equipment. But now, as I have learned I was wrong and I start to think about it: in this business software must be tested on the final hardware, and it would have been impossible to send engine controllers to Russia.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Jim on 12/23/2014 03:51 AM


As only russians have the knowledge about the control of closed cycle oxygen rich engines, they could have written software on US space rated control equipment. But now, as I have learned I was wrong and I start to think about it: in this business software must be tested on the final hardware, and it would have been impossible to send engine controllers to Russia.

Not quite that way.  The RD-180 comes as an integrated package, TVC included.  The Atlas just sends start, shutdown, throttle level and thrust vector signals.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: kevin-rf on 12/23/2014 12:51 PM
How was health monitoring for man rating going to be done then? Just curious.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: ugordan on 12/23/2014 12:58 PM
RD-180 is a direct descendant of the man-rated RD-170, does it not already have sufficient health monitoring? Stuff that's currently just telemetered to the ground and for a human-rated Atlas would be one of the inputs into the EDS box?
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: kevin-rf on 12/23/2014 01:43 PM
My point was, health monitoring alone requires more complexity than the simple picture of the interface Jim painted. There has to be two way communications, there isn't just a simple line that flags the abort system to go when it goes to TTL high.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Remes on 12/23/2014 03:10 PM
My point was, health monitoring alone requires more complexity than the simple picture of the interface Jim painted. There has to be two way communications, there isn't just a simple line that flags the abort system to go when it goes to TTL high.
you will find most answers here (page 10, chapter II.C):
http://www.ulalaunch.com/uploads/docs/Published_Papers/Supporting_Technologies/Incorporation_of_RD-180_Failure_Response_Features_in_the_Atlas_V_Booster_Emergency_Detection_System_2011.pdf
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: ArbitraryConstant on 12/23/2014 06:27 PM
Bezoz was a week or two ago in the news, because his companies are making no profits.
Amazon has been in a position to flip a switch and be profitable for probably a decade or more, but they prefer to reinvest.

Next to "government subsidized lala land" we have now also "venture capital lala land".
For these startups building engines, the work is done with low headcount and an extremely efficient cost structure. It's the business equivalent of an Oberth maneuver.

I really don't see that under anything close to "free market rules" (beeing able to earn money and pay the workers) one could have made a RD-181 like engine from scratch without government funding.
I don't think your definition of "free market rules" is sufficiently broad. Companies have a prerogative to anticipate and mitigate risks, and take on risks by making investments that may not pay off.

Some may disagree, but here we are with AJR's potentially exiting the market because they didn't invest, while Blue Origin was Johnny-on-the-spot with a half-completed engine because they did.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: sdsds on 12/23/2014 08:31 PM
here we are with AJR's potentially exiting the market because they didn't invest, while Blue Origin was Johnny-on-the-spot with a half-completed engine because they did.

I don't disagree, but have two questions. 1. Where do we get the idea that AJR is potentially exiting the market? 2. Where do we get the idea that the Blue engine is "half-completed"? (Or did you mean "half" as a colloquialism for "partially"?)
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: edkyle99 on 12/24/2014 05:28 AM
1. Where do we get the idea that AJR is potentially exiting the market? 2. Where do we get the idea that the Blue engine is "half-completed"? (Or did you mean "half" as a colloquialism for "partially"?)
Since BE-4 will replace RD-180 and RS-68, and since Orbital just shelved AJ26, Aerojet Rocketdyne stands to lose all of its currently-active liquid booster propulsion business.  It will still make smaller engines, like RL-10, RS-88 and the like.

The "half-completed" talk came from the ULA/Blue press conference, which suggested that BE-4 is already "well under way", some three years into development with four more years to go.

 - Ed Kyle
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: ArbitraryConstant on 12/24/2014 06:06 AM
1. Where do we get the idea that AJR is potentially exiting the market?
Just run the current situation forward a few years. I think the chance any of their LREs still having a customer in 10 years is poor.

2. Where do we get the idea that the Blue engine is "half-completed"? (Or did you mean "half" as a colloquialism for "partially"?)
Something around half the time required for development had already elapsed, hence the time to the engine being available is cut by an important amount.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: ArbitraryConstant on 12/24/2014 06:19 AM
Since BE-4 will replace RD-180 and RS-68, and since Orbital just shelved AJ26, Aerojet Rocketdyne stands to lose all of its currently-active liquid booster propulsion business.
Yes.

It will still make smaller engines, like RL-10, RS-88 and the like.
ULA is being relatively low key about its plans and schedule to replace RL-10 but those plans don't seem that far behind the first stage.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: TrevorMonty on 12/24/2014 08:46 AM
1. Where do we get the idea that AJR is potentially exiting the market? 2. Where do we get the idea that the Blue engine is "half-completed"? (Or did you mean "half" as a colloquialism for "partially"?)
Since BE-4 will replace RD-180 and RS-68, and since Orbital just shelved AJ26, Aerojet Rocketdyne stands to lose all of its currently-active liquid booster propulsion business.  It will still make smaller engines, like RL-10, RS-88 and the like.

The "half-completed" talk came from the ULA/Blue press conference, which suggested that BE-4 is already "well under way", some three years into development with four more years to go.

 - Ed Kyle
They expect BE4 to be flight ready in 2017.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Prober on 12/27/2014 03:20 PM
1. Where do we get the idea that AJR is potentially exiting the market? 2. Where do we get the idea that the Blue engine is "half-completed"? (Or did you mean "half" as a colloquialism for "partially"?)
Since BE-4 will replace RD-180 and RS-68, and since Orbital just shelved AJ26, Aerojet Rocketdyne stands to lose all of its currently-active liquid booster propulsion business.  It will still make smaller engines, like RL-10, RS-88 and the like.

The "half-completed" talk came from the ULA/Blue press conference, which suggested that BE-4 is already "well under way", some three years into development with four more years to go.

 - Ed Kyle

you have "insight" Ed....agree with you.

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=36387.msg1306565#msg1306565
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: newpylong on 02/03/2015 02:51 PM
Implications for Antares with Russia ending Zenit program?
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: kevin-rf on 02/03/2015 03:37 PM
Just a WAG, but considering Zenit's low launch rate in recent years, it shouldn't have much of an impact on tank costs.

1 in 2014
2 in 2013
3 in 2012
5 in 2011
0 in 2010

I think a bigger worry should be the tank factory being "damaged" by the current unrest.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: kevin-rf on 02/03/2015 03:42 PM
Not to show geo/political ignorance, but are not the tanks produced in Dnipropetrovsk? Which is inside the eastern Ukraine area of conflict?

More a question, does Orbital have a tank plan B?
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: edkyle99 on 02/03/2015 04:53 PM
Not to show geo/political ignorance, but are not the tanks produced in Dnipropetrovsk? Which is inside the eastern Ukraine area of conflict?
It is well within the Kiev controlled zone currently.  But of more importance is the possibility of the Ukrainian company shutting itself down, as it is reportedly on the verge of bankruptcy, etc.  Yuzhmash is reportedly shut down right now, its workers, who say they haven't been paid since June, sent home until March at least.  (Of course these reports could be propaganda, since you would expect a company like this to be producing arms for Kiev right now.)

 - Ed Kyle
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Lobo on 02/03/2015 05:44 PM
Not to show geo/political ignorance, but are not the tanks produced in Dnipropetrovsk? Which is inside the eastern Ukraine area of conflict?
It is well within the Kiev controlled zone currently.  But of more importance is the possibility of the Ukrainian company shutting itself down, as it is reportedly on the verge of bankruptcy, etc.  Yuzhmash is reportedly shut down right now, its workers, who say they haven't been paid since June, sent home until March at least.  (Of course these reports could be propaganda, since you would expect a company like this to be producing arms for Kiev right now.)

 - Ed Kyle

So what are the implications for the Antares cores?  Not good, I'd imagine.  Can OSC order enough cores from them to keep them in business?
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: notsorandom on 02/03/2015 05:56 PM
Two scenarios seem likely now. One is that the plant closes down due to bankruptcy, the current conflict, etc. In that case Orbital must find a new way to make the tanks or Antares is no more. The other case is that the factory keeps its doors open yet looses Russia as a market and revenue stream. Which would mean to keep afloat they have to put more of the overhead on the remaining products. Orbital would have to pay more, possibly quite a bit more, for the Antares tanks. One of the reasons Antares is profitable at a low flight rate is that much of the overhead is shared with their supplier's other customers.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Lobo on 02/03/2015 11:32 PM
Two scenarios seem likely now. One is that the plant closes down due to bankruptcy, the current conflict, etc. In that case Orbital must find a new way to make the tanks or Antares is no more. The other case is that the factory keeps its doors open yet looses Russia as a market and revenue stream. Which would mean to keep afloat they have to put more of the overhead on the remaining products. Orbital would have to pay more, possibly quite a bit more, for the Antares tanks. One of the reasons Antares is profitable at a low flight rate is that much of the overhead is shared with their supplier's other customers.

This would seem problematic ofr OrbATK.  Make me wonder if pursuing the wide body composite Solid booster might have been better after the Antares explosion.  Investment would have to be made in infrastructure changes, but they they'd have had essentially both the engine, and core, in house.  Now they have to invest at least into reengineing the boosters stage, and may either need to invest in a new booster stage, or pay a lot more to keep their existing one.

It wouldn't have been ready quickly but may have been better (for them) in the long run.

Are there other domestic (or foreign) rocket core options?
Dynetics was working on a 5m wide SLS booster core, and had put together part of a pathfinder tank or something as I recall.  As that's probably not going anywhere now, could Dynetics produce a core for Antares?
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Ikarie XB-1 on 02/12/2015 12:00 AM
I wouldn't want to be in Orbital's shoes right now. Half way through a major NASA contract, having lost a bird, having to quickly re-engine (RD-181 must cost more than leftover AJ-26) while paying for contingency flights on Atlas and now in real danger of loosing their tank manufacture - or having to pay a lot more for it. Meanwhile, F9R is inching closer to reality (as an actual RLV), which might make it cheaper to fly Delta II/Antares payloads than using Orbital's own vehicle. I wonder if we'll ever see Orbital doing CRS2? If so, I wonder if we'll ever see a commercial Antares sat launch?

Anyone know the number of tanks already delivered or at least manufactured in support of CRS1? If - god forbid - things turn for the worst in Ukraine, will Orbital be able to at least conduct the remaining CRS1 launches without relying on further core production?
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: baldusi on 02/12/2015 04:14 AM
Actually, OrbitalATK can simply keep using the Atlas V. With a slight stretch (the super Cygnus 5-segment would have 33m³)  they might be able to cover their contract in just 3 launches (could do 5,000kg/launch if it was dense enough). Since they were receiving 280M per launch on CRS-1 for 2,500kg per launch, and I would guess that an Atlas V 401 would cost them less than 130M, they could very well do a very handsome profit none the less. And with commercial crew launching on Av that would mean some 12 to 14 AV per year. That should get them a nice price.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: jimvela on 02/12/2015 04:32 AM
Actually, OrbitalATK can simply keep using the Atlas V.

Well, other than the fact that AV is getting re-engined as well...

How many are actually available for such use given the need to provide assured access to space for the primary EELV customers?
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: butters on 02/12/2015 05:10 AM
I think OrbAtk should focus on solids. There's always going to be a market for those. In liquids it's going to be SpaceX vs. ULA (and their new-space engine partners). The Orbital side brings the satellite bus expertise and they should also focus on that. Solids and satellites.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: baldusi on 02/12/2015 12:42 PM
Actually, OrbitalATK can simply keep using the Atlas V.

Well, other than the fact that AV is getting re-engined as well...

How many are actually available for such use given the need to provide assured access to space for the primary EELV customers?
As many as required. NPO Energomash is more than happy to sell as many RD-180 as requested. And the Russian Government has no problem for ISS runs. Besides, you have to look at how new cores are deployed. If they have their inaugural flight in 2019, then they'll have a couple of launches in 2020, four or five in 2021 and probably move all non paranoiac customers to new core by 2022/3. So it's not really a problem for the CRS-2 contract, since it's close to the expected life of the ISS.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Lobo on 02/12/2015 04:08 PM
Actually, OrbitalATK can simply keep using the Atlas V.

Well, other than the fact that AV is getting re-engined as well...

How many are actually available for such use given the need to provide assured access to space for the primary EELV customers?

Yea, I'd think before they signed the contract for the RD-181's is the time to have decided to keep flying on Atlas. 

I think there's two separate issues here.

1)  Fulfilling NASA's CRS contract.

2)  OrbATK becoming a playing in the commercial and USG payload market (as they've said they intended to)

For the first, they may have determined repairing the pad and what are probably fairly minor modifications to mount the RD-181 engines won't be that expensive.  The temporary move to Atlas is likely more an issue of time than money.  Once Antares is flying again, they won't need Atlas for that, And Antares is likely cheaper for them, and they really only need enough Antares cores and RD-181 pairs to complete the CRS contract.  (not sure how many that is).

The second issue becomes more sticky.  Antares isn't a great launcher BLEO because of the lack of a high energy upper stage, and most payloads are going BLEO for comsats and USG sats.  Wallops is not a good location for those orbits, and Jim has said before that USG won't launch their payloads on an LV that's not launching out of CCAFS for East Coast launches.  It also sounds like the pad at Wallops would not be easily modified for vertical payload integration which USG would require.
To compete for USG payloads, OrbATK will also need a West Coast Pad, as I understand.  So they'll need a pad at VAFB, or perhaps Kodiak?
And even with a high energy hydrolox upper stage it would probably have performance similar to Atlas V-401.  Good for most commercial sats, but I think Antares might need the capability to lift more than that for USG payloads.  ULA has the heavier Atlas and Delta variants.  SpaceX will have FH.  What will OrbATK do?  Can they just compete for the smaller payloads or does USAF require they can cover their full payload range?  Not sure how that works, but that's a potential issue there.  Maybe that means an Antares Heavy, or can the Antares core be adapted to mount ATK GEM-60's?  (can they contractually use them for any LV other than Delta?)

So, if I understand correctly, if they really want to compete for USG payloads, OrbATK will need a CCCAFS pad, a West Coast pad, both with vertical payload integration.  And perhaps heavier variants to cover the larger USAF/DoD payloads?
I think it's this aspect which really makes relying on the Ukrakian cores in the long run become problematic I think.  As well as the Russian engines for reasons ULA is seeing.

A stockpile of cores and the Russian RD-181 contract can get them through the CRS contract flying from Wallops as a short term (and relatively inexpensive) fix for that contract.  But beyond that there's a lot of questions with the engine, core, and launch site.

This is where I think boosters using the 3.7m wide composite solids, along with a new hydrolox upper stage could still be in the mix.  Wallops couldn't handle that but that would be a moot point as OrbATK would need a CCAFS pad anyway.  They can build the new pad to accommodate the large solid motors.  And obviously there's rail accommodations to the cape from Utah for such segments.  That puts the engines and cores all in-house at OrbATK.  As well as upper stage motors that already exist in-house like Castor 120 adn Castor 30XL.  Pretty much everything but a new hydrolox upper stage/engines.  They’d have options for heavier payloads such as putting three 1st stage motors in a parallel “heavy” configuration, or ringing the single booster motor with GEM-60’s like a Delta II.
And well...ATK has always been fond of such an LV.  (Athena III, Liberty)
Regardless of that, I think it has a lot of benefit for OrbATK in the long run.  Particularly if SLS survives long enough for NASA to start ordering Advanced solid boosters as they'd use the same casing tooling and propellants.
But this wouldn't be available to quickly get Cygnus launches back in-house to fulfill the CRS contract.  They'd be reliant on someone else for several years.  So -maybe- the re-engined Antares is more like an interim step using an existing alternate engine on their existing (repaired) pad?
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Lobo on 02/12/2015 04:09 PM
I think OrbAtk should focus on solids. There's always going to be a market for those. In liquids it's going to be SpaceX vs. ULA (and their new-space engine partners). The Orbital side brings the satellite bus expertise and they should also focus on that. Solids and satellites.

Agreed.  For the reasons I just listed above.  :-)
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: JazzFan on 02/12/2015 10:31 PM
I have seen far worse business models than focus on what you do best.   I just wonder if OrgATK's goal is to maintain market share or to expand?  Is Antares envisioned as a stepping stone for long term gains with a true planned programmatic expansion and development or just designed and reacting to meet current demand?
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: rayleighscatter on 02/12/2015 11:17 PM
Wallops is not a good location for those orbits, and Jim has said before that USG won't launch their payloads on an LV that's not launching out of CCAFS for East Coast launches.  It also sounds like the pad at Wallops would not be easily modified for vertical payload integration which USG would require.
Technically these are DoD requirements. NASA isn't quite as picky, hence the LADEE mission from Wallops about a year and a half ago.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Ikarie XB-1 on 02/13/2015 01:52 AM
I have seen far worse business models than focus on what you do best.   I just wonder if OrgATK's goal is to maintain market share or to expand?  Is Antares envisioned as a stepping stone for long term gains with a true planned programmatic expansion and development or just designed and reacting to meet current demand?

From reading the NASA historian interview with Orbital's Antares managers, I understand Orbital's payloads often went on Delta IIs, yet they knew the vehicle is going away soon. They were studying Taurus II as a replacement but never could really close the business case for building it. Then CRS presented an opportunity to cover the development costs and so they finally went for it. I don't think there was/is any plan to compete with ULA, rather to fill the void left by Delta II and be able to offer a complete package for the payloads they build including launch. Now that ATK is in the picture, plans may have changed though.

Obviously if it's no longer cool to launch DoD birds on RD-180 powered vehicle, neither it's on RD-181 powered Antares. Developing a radically new booster may not make sense for the same reason building Taurus II didn't - if the money doesn't come from outside. And considering the only such source would be CRS-2, for which the proposals were already submitted and for all we know will no longer include development support and even if it did it would likely be too late anyway. I think they either fly liquid or don't fly at all. And the liquid can only come from Yuzmash. Now that Yuzmash's tooling is no longer serving other needs, perhaps they could buy it off of Ukraine and establish production somewhere less turbulent?
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Space Ghost 1962 on 02/13/2015 07:49 PM
From reading the NASA historian interview with Orbital's Antares managers, I understand Orbital's payloads often went on Delta IIs, yet they knew the vehicle is going away soon. They were studying Taurus II as a replacement but never could really close the business case for building it. Then CRS presented an opportunity to cover the development costs and so they finally went for it. I don't think there was/is any plan to compete with ULA, rather to fill the void left by Delta II and be able to offer a complete package for the payloads they build including launch. Now that ATK is in the picture, plans may have changed though.
Accurate.

Obviously if it's no longer cool to launch DoD birds on RD-180 powered vehicle, neither it's on RD-181 powered Antares. Developing a radically new booster may not make sense for the same reason building Taurus II didn't - if the money doesn't come from outside. And considering the only such source would be CRS-2, for which the proposals were already submitted and for all we know will no longer include development support and even if it did it would likely be too late anyway. I think they either fly liquid or don't fly at all.
And the reason for RD-181 is ... the smallest investment to return Antares to flight. Which may continue to be held hostage in various ways to the obvious.

And the liquid can only come from Yuzmash. Now that Yuzmash's tooling is no longer serving other needs, perhaps they could buy it off of Ukraine and establish production somewhere less turbulent?
It's not just the tooling, its the full industry base and it's highly skilled labor/experience that's hard to get elsewhere at the same cost, like with Russia, absent the very obvious contest of powers underway. In these, among the first victims are commerce, truth and transparency.

Not to show geo/political ignorance, but are not the tanks produced in Dnipropetrovsk? Which is inside the eastern Ukraine area of conflict?
It is well within the Kiev controlled zone currently.  But of more importance is the possibility of the Ukrainian company shutting itself down, as it is reportedly on the verge of bankruptcy, etc.  Yuzhmash is reportedly shut down right now, its workers, who say they haven't been paid since June, sent home until March at least.  (Of course these reports could be propaganda, since you would expect a company like this to be producing arms for Kiev right now.)

 - Ed Kyle
And is interdependent on Russian interests (industrial, finance, other) to operate. Companies aren't assembled like LEGOs either ...

Holding Ukraine in the Russian economic influence appears to be what this conflict is all about.  And that is why Antares is at risk and will continue to be.

Wallops is not a good location for those orbits, and Jim has said before that USG won't launch their payloads on an LV that's not launching out of CCAFS for East Coast launches.  It also sounds like the pad at Wallops would not be easily modified for vertical payload integration which USG would require.
Technically these are DoD requirements. NASA isn't quite as picky, hence the LADEE mission from Wallops about a year and a half ago.
Absolutely.  And the choice of WFF/MARS was more under the theory of bootstrapping a low capital outlay Delta II replacement (many other choices to this as well), that could in the long term provide independence from providers in putting in house sats in orbit.

All American launches are about coupling sat programs to launch services, now even SpaceX is doing that as well.

The odd one here is ULA, in that it supplies the two biggest and longest (Boeing and Lockheed) sat suppliers with a higher end, higher cost, higher reliability means to fly those birds.

They all work/compete the same way. You want to streamline all elements of the mission from concept to on orbit operation. In the case of launch services, not to have a sat sitting on the ground gathering dust because someone else gets your slot for launch. You want to be paid for on orbit so that you can offer/accept new as soon as possible.

I have seen far worse business models than focus on what you do best.   I just wonder if OrgATK's goal is to maintain market share or to expand?  Is Antares envisioned as a stepping stone for long term gains with a true planned programmatic expansion and development or just designed and reacting to meet current demand?
Orbital hedged/hedges its bets with ULA and SpaceX launch services. The point of Antares is independence.

What this means is it does not need to be a "frequent flyer", but a "gap filler".

Perhaps a small cache of RD-181's and Ukrainian assembled stages is a "good enough" strategy to fill enough gaps for the interim, and you do your volume of launches through SpaceX/ULA? Sounds good enough to me.

As to ATK solids - here's the problem in a nutshell. Orbital did Antares amazingly cost effectively, using every cost leveraging trick in the book. They had to! Wall Street would hurt them otherwise! And .. even with set backs (MARS), they made the thing work a few times. But that luck ran out.

Now, tell me any solid strategy that fits the same "use of capital" strategy. The big solids are right out, because they run counter to rational capital structures from the start, because they were/are done under government fiat (e.g. done for a "soft power" reason not a capital use reason). Everything about them drives up launch costs, costs that will never be recovered under any reasonable expectation of use, especially bad as a "gap filler".

So we're left with Ed Kyle's adequate 2x stacked solids, or my poor performance, absurd "liquid solid solid", which
attempted to reuse much of Antares marginal industry base . Even in these reduced cases, the business case comes no where near closing.

Perhaps, if SLS were flying, OrbATK could find a way of leveraging the solids, but no way would that please Wall Street, in the same way that PWR RS68 and SSME kind of propped things up like two playing cards pushed together, until one fell.

And this is why things are the way they are. You may now return to the regularly scheduled fantasy LV discussions.

edit:typos galore
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: MattMason on 02/15/2015 01:50 AM
Not sure if this has been posted, but fallout at Aerojet has begun.

Aerojet Rocketdyne Company Replaces President

http://www.astrowatch.net/2015/02/aerojet-rocketdyne-company-replaces.html (http://www.astrowatch.net/2015/02/aerojet-rocketdyne-company-replaces.html)
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: ngilmore on 02/15/2015 02:07 AM
also covered here:

"Aerojet Rocketdyne president leaves post; GenCorp CEO takes over"
http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-aerojet-rocketdyne-ceo-resigns-20150214-story.html (http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-aerojet-rocketdyne-ceo-resigns-20150214-story.html)
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: rayleighscatter on 02/15/2015 03:13 PM
If OrbitalATK ever wanted to get into the liquid business I bet they could buy Aerojet-Rocketdyne from GenCorp and finish the AR-1 cheaper than starting a brand new project. It wouldn't be a bad long-term solution for the Antares. It's unlikely though, at least this soon on the heels of the merger.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: MattMason on 02/15/2015 04:24 PM
If OrbitalATK ever wanted to get into the liquid business I bet they could buy Aerojet-Rocketdyne from GenCorp and finish the AR-1 cheaper than starting a brand new project. It wouldn't be a bad long-term solution for the Antares. It's unlikely though, at least this soon on the heels of the merger.

The engines aren't the real problem, as others might have noted, but the possibility of losing their LV maker in war-embattled Ukraine.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: TrevorMonty on 02/15/2015 05:04 PM
If OrbitalATK ever wanted to get into the liquid business I bet they could buy Aerojet-Rocketdyne from GenCorp and finish the AR-1 cheaper than starting a brand new project. It wouldn't be a bad long-term solution for the Antares. It's unlikely though, at least this soon on the heels of the merger.
They should have the money as there is not debit from the merger. After seeking losses from Antares failure,  Aerojet shares may not be worth much.

At very least Aerojet owes Orbital for any down payments on any unflown engines.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: rayleighscatter on 02/15/2015 05:49 PM

The engines aren't the real problem, as others might have noted, but the possibility of losing their LV maker in war-embattled Ukraine.
Engines are by far more complex to manufacture than the core. Nearly any major contractor could probably tool up to build it in relatively short notice. ATK's side likely could, although for now Ukraine is still probably cheaper both in labor and having an established production line.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: edkyle99 on 02/15/2015 08:02 PM
If OrbitalATK ever wanted to get into the liquid business I bet they could buy Aerojet-Rocketdyne from GenCorp ....
That's not going to happen.  Too many antitrust hangups, since these are the two primary solid motor manufacturers in the U.S.

 - Ed Kyle
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Space Ghost 1962 on 02/15/2015 09:24 PM
Indeed. As well as a host of other complications as well.

The companies mentioned are all fairly health, they have gotten into strategic "dead ends", mostly because the judgement calls behind past M&A's was about short term revenue optimization that never resulted in any reason for long overdue reinvestment in certain areas of their business.

Which is why many predict continued decline of them, well justified.

Think the current AR exec who just departed can't make ends meet. When you are run by a larger holding company, you accept their strategy and execute tactically within the "box". So either/both he or they screwed up, and that's it.

My perspective is Gencorp naively pursued "business as in the past" strategy, and were ill positioned when a bunch of unexpected changes hit them, so likely he's rightly mad at them for being chosen to lead a disaster of a plan. I did notice that the PW transfer of R to A to form AR was "setup for failure" in numerous ways, and certain things had to happen quickly that didn't, to elide those "land mines". Sometimes in these deals they think they won't go off in the immediate future, then some global event happens that shortens the fuse.

The biggest issue here is that of an unclear kerolox program at AR. Which is not new to any of us since the hydrolox ascendency decades back. The situation is made worse by AJ-26 failures, not only in flight but on the test stand. It makes AR look like it did not have the competence to qualify a large kerolox engine for use.

Measuring against SpaceX (and not ULA/Lockheed given the different, unique path for RD-180), both Aerojet and Orbital appear to not take ground test of engines/vehicles as seriously. If SpaceX had Aerojet & Orbital's approach, I don't think Falcon 9 would have survived and done as well as it has.

But that costs considerably. At a minimum, for domestic kerolox, either in-house or separate vendor, you'll have to pay for this if you want reliability. Neither Aerojet or Orbital does. Thus the RD-181, where it is done as a part of the deal.

So, if you put a rope around "kerolox in AR", and have ANY way of running it - as a product group at AR, a propulsion part of OrbATK, or a privately financed spin out of AR - the above still has to happen that was too costly before. What makes it affordable now?

I think AR expected a multibillion govt deal to do kerolox, not unlike past hydrolox deals. Didn't happen.

They may be able to get $0.3-05B to get closer to putting a test engine on a stand. Perhaps with a small, tight team and judiciously supplied facilities/other, a spin-out might just pull off a capable engine on a test stand and create an assembly line for it. That in turn might be acquired by a launch services company for an in-house vehicle. But this would be a long shot.

As to first stage assembly in America, there's an excellent one in Decatur, and there was one in Colorado. Wouldn't be anything like Yuzhnoye did or cost.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Ikarie XB-1 on 02/15/2015 11:32 PM
How about getting URM-1 complete with RD-191 from Russia and flank it with a handful of ATK solids a la Delta II? Faster, cheaper and partially in-house...
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: baldusi on 02/16/2015 01:57 AM
GenCorp earned money because they are going to redevelop Canoga Park. It was actually a real estate transaction. The removal of the president has probably to do with normal business issues. The ULA NGLV propulsion loss might have had a lot more to do with it. They still have SLS's RS-25D.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Lars-J on 02/16/2015 06:33 AM

GenCorp earned money because they are going to redevelop Canoga Park. It was actually a real estate transaction. The removal of the president has probably to do with normal business issues. The ULA NGLV propulsion loss might have had a lot more to do with it. They still have SLS's RS-25D.
... And the RS-25 will only be about 2 engines per year, at best. Even at inflated prices, that's not a lot to run your business on. And doesn't ULA currently have a stockpile of RL-10's they are going through. Not a lot of business at the moment.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: notsorandom on 02/16/2015 03:30 PM
How about getting URM-1 complete with RD-191 from Russia and flank it with a handful of ATK solids a la Delta II? Faster, cheaper and partially in-house...
That was actually similar to a very early concept for the Antares (aka Taurus II back then). The idea was to use one AJ-26, the Ukrainian first stage and solid boosters. However that lost the trades to just using the two AJ-26s without the solids.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Thorny on 02/16/2015 04:00 PM
That was actually similar to a very early concept for the Antares (aka Taurus II back then). The idea was to use one AJ-26, the Ukrainian first stage and solid boosters. However that lost the trades to just using the two AJ-26s without the solids.

But was that because AJ-26 was bought at "fire sale" prices? Now that they're having to buy new engines at presumably much higher prices, would this be worthwhile to reconsider?
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: arachnitect on 02/16/2015 05:00 PM
That was actually similar to a very early concept for the Antares (aka Taurus II back then). The idea was to use one AJ-26, the Ukrainian first stage and solid boosters. However that lost the trades to just using the two AJ-26s without the solids.

But was that because AJ-26 was bought at "fire sale" prices? Now that they're having to buy new engines at presumably much higher prices, would this be worthwhile to reconsider?

Not in the short run. The launch pad and ground processing isn't setup for SRMs. They would also need a different roll control solution. Still buying one Russian engine, major tank changes, etc. Not worth the effort.

Sadly, I think Antares as we know it is a dead end and it will go away at the end of CRS.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Lobo on 02/16/2015 05:30 PM

So we're left with Ed Kyle's adequate 2x stacked solids, or my poor performance, absurd "liquid solid solid", which
attempted to reuse much of Antares marginal industry base . Even in these reduced cases, the business case comes no where near closing.

Perhaps, if SLS were flying, OrbATK could find a way of leveraging the solids, but no way would that please Wall Street, in the same way that PWR RS68 and SSME kind of propped things up like two playing cards pushed together, until one fell.

And this is why things are the way they are. You may now return to the regularly scheduled fantasy LV discussions.

edit:typos galore

A good analysis as always Space Ghost.  But I think you hit on it there about 3.7m wide new composite solids.  Unless and until SLS is cancelled, it seems like ATK Advanced solids are going to be a given for SLS after the first couple of launches.  That means NASA money flowing into OrbATK to develop them.  A big booster segment will be different than a stand along monolithic 3.7m wide booster for an Antares replacement.  But the NASA money would pay for the tooling required to make those 3.7m wide casings, and after that tooling exists, they really wouldn't be dependant on NASA so not sure that Wallstreet would care much.
Then it's just a matter of getting the propellant pour and throat correct to make a monolithic booster out of those segment lengths.  Should be much easier than a mult-segment configuration I'd imagine.
As you said, RD-181 gets Antares flying again with the least amount of investment and the fastest time.  But it's hard to see a long term business model for that for OrbATK especially if they want USAF/DoD business as they say they do. 
Big solids solve both the Russian engine issue and the Ukrainian core issue, -and- brings it all in-house which SpaceX has shown is advantageous.  And the infrastructure to get them to CCAFS is already in place.  (unsure about VAFB, but obviously they had a way to get STS solid segments there back in the 80's, so there must be rail access from Utah to there?)

As Ed has referenced in the past, a two SLS booster segment sized monolithic motors stacked on each other with a large hydrolox upper stage.  The BE-3 actually would be a pretty good engine for that because of it's high thrust (and likely affordable cost).  I'd think you'd not need as much dV supplied by the solids before a big upper stage with one of those engines could take it from there.  Unlike smaller upper stages with lower thrust RL-10's.  I'd think between ATK and OSC, they could develop their own upper stage in-house, if they have an engine for it.
For heavier payloads, three 1st stage solid motors are put together in parallell.  (This all assumes new CCAFS and VAFB pads anyway, they'd build them to handle a tri-core configuration)

Otherwise, I don't see much of a long term business model for them with Antares launching from only Wallops as arachnitect said.  Maybe limited commercial comsat business assuming there's no interruptions in Russian engines and Ukrainian cores would be about all they could compete for aside from CRS I believe?
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Antares on 02/17/2015 05:02 AM
Lots of random thoughts:

The military will always need solid motors due to the launch immediately requirement.  How much of space launch should/could take advantage of that requirement?  A sober business analysis would be good here.

Is there any way at all that Antares in its current, as antonioe called it, upside down Isp configuration can compete with Falcon 9 for cost and reliability?  I think its days are numbered.  My consideration of an all-solid version would only be negligibly more sanguine.

I'm not sure I agree with throwing all of AR under the "no LOX/RP competence bus."  Canoga entered the stage long after Sacramento and Dulles made that dubious decision.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: edkyle99 on 02/17/2015 05:17 AM
Here's the thing about Antares.  When it returns to flight, it will have the highest performing hydrocarbon engine in the U.S., and will be the newest engine in the U.S..  The engine will share production overhead costs with Russia's new primary rocket, Angara, so it will be both "low cost" and will benefit from Angara development and flight experience.  It will be topped by the newest, most efficient high thrust solid motor in the U.S., produced in-house by Orbital ATK, so it will be "low cost" in that regard.  It will occupy a payload category all by itself.  It will continue to be conservatively run by one of the better managed companies in this business, while its competitors are all spending aggressively right now to develop new systems. 

I wouldn't count Antares out. 

 - Ed Kyle
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: woods170 on 02/17/2015 06:23 AM
Here's the thing about Antares.  When it returns to flight, it will have the highest performing hydrocarbon engine in the U.S., and will be the newest engine in the U.S..  The engine will share production overhead costs with Russia's new primary rocket, Angara, so it will be both "low cost" and will benefit from Angara development and flight experience.  It will be topped by the newest, most efficient high thrust solid motor in the U.S., produced in-house by Orbital ATK, so it will be "low cost" in that regard.  It will occupy a payload category all by itself.  It will continue to be conservatively run by one of the better managed companies in this business, while its competitors are all spending aggressively right now to develop new systems. 

I wouldn't count Antares out. 

 - Ed Kyle
The flight-rate of Antares, at least for the near term, will be higher than that of Angara. If anything, Antares will not benefit from Angara related flight experience for RD-181. It will be the other way around: The RD-191 of Angara will benefit from the Antares related flight experience of RD-181. I can see why Energomash was so anxious to sell RD-181 to Orbital.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: tobi453 on 02/17/2015 05:15 PM
It will continue to be conservatively run by one of the better managed companies in this business, while its competitors are all spending aggressively right now to develop new systems. 

I wouldn't count Antares out. 

 - Ed Kyle

Orbital and good management? When you look at the results of Orbital and SpaceX, the difference is obvious! Both of them started their rocket developments with COTS and what did they archieve?

Falcon 9 - 15 performed launches, 1 semi failure, lots of commercial/government payloads waiting to be launched
Antares - 5 performed launches, 1 failure, no non-CRS launch contracts so far...
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: arachnitect on 02/17/2015 05:21 PM
Here's the thing about Antares.  When it returns to flight, it will have the highest performing hydrocarbon engine in the U.S., and will be the newest engine in the U.S..  The engine will share production overhead costs with Russia's new primary rocket, Angara, so it will be both "low cost" and will benefit from Angara development and flight experience.  It will be topped by the newest, most efficient high thrust solid motor in the U.S., produced in-house by Orbital ATK, so it will be "low cost" in that regard.  It will occupy a payload category all by itself.  It will continue to be conservatively run by one of the better managed companies in this business, while its competitors are all spending aggressively right now to develop new systems. 

I wouldn't count Antares out. 

 - Ed Kyle

It has that payload class to itself but with severe limitations.

-To anything other than a low inclination LEO orbit they need one of their third stages.
-They have some options to high inclination and SSO from Wallops, but it's severely limited.
-Wallops doesn't have the same support infrastructure as Florida and VAFB.
-Can't launch DoD payloads due to Russian engines.

Having the Medium market to themselves is great, but Spacex is selling Falcons for ~$80M. I don't know if Orbital can beat that. Antares 200 has $34M tied up in first stage propulsion alone. If that's not enough, they also have to compete with Soyuz from Kourou.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: TrevorMonty on 02/17/2015 05:39 PM

SpaceX is LV provider only at present, while launch services only account for a 3rd of Orbital's business, they don't' need to go head to head with SpaceX and ULA to be profitable or survive. If their profitable CRS business disappears they will not go out of business.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: rayleighscatter on 02/17/2015 05:48 PM
Orbital and good management? When you look at the results of Orbital and SpaceX, the difference is obvious! Both of them started their rocket developments with COTS and what did they archieve?

Falcon 9 - 15 performed launches, 1 semi failure, lots of commercial/government payloads waiting to be launched
Antares - 5 performed launches, 1 failure, no non-CRS launch contracts so far...
A more correct take on it is that the Antares started development 5 years later than Falcon 9.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: newpylong on 02/17/2015 06:08 PM
It will continue to be conservatively run by one of the better managed companies in this business, while its competitors are all spending aggressively right now to develop new systems. 

I wouldn't count Antares out. 

 - Ed Kyle

Orbital and good management? When you look at the results of Orbital and SpaceX, the difference is obvious! Both of them started their rocket developments with COTS and what did they archieve?

Falcon 9 - 15 performed launches, 1 semi failure, lots of commercial/government payloads waiting to be launched
Antares - 5 performed launches, 1 failure, no non-CRS launch contracts so far...

Apples to Oranges. There is much more to Orbital than Antares.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: newpylong on 02/17/2015 06:15 PM

GenCorp earned money because they are going to redevelop Canoga Park. It was actually a real estate transaction. The removal of the president has probably to do with normal business issues. The ULA NGLV propulsion loss might have had a lot more to do with it. They still have SLS's RS-25D.
... And the RS-25 will only be about 2 engines per year, at best. Even at inflated prices, that's not a lot to run your business on. And doesn't ULA currently have a stockpile of RL-10's they are going through. Not a lot of business at the moment.

Current plan is 4 RS-25s per year once production starts again.

Yes, some RL-10s exist but the majority are being converted to RL-10C so that is some revenue. More will be needed for the SLS EUS and most likely ULA's new upper stage.

Still probably not enough orders after losing RS-68 eventually though.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Space Ghost 1962 on 02/17/2015 09:44 PM
A good analysis as always Space Ghost.  But I think you hit on it there about 3.7m wide new composite solids.  Unless and until SLS is cancelled, it seems like ATK Advanced solids are going to be a given for SLS after the first couple of launches.  That means NASA money flowing into OrbATK to develop them.  A big booster segment will be different than a stand along monolithic 3.7m wide booster for an Antares replacement.  But the NASA money would pay for the tooling required to make those 3.7m wide casings, and after that tooling exists, they really wouldn't be dependant on NASA so not sure that Wallstreet would care much.

Thank you Lobo. Rare to hear any encouragement here to speak more about anything.

Yes big solids are on "keep alive" with SLS, but as with any politically "too big to fail", fiat driven product of the arsenal system, they drag along baggage with the benefit of funding. You see, once you turn down the path of such development, things creep in, either as expedients "to make it go" somehow (but not for the right reason), or as "acceptants" (good enough for govt work but not acceptable fora business). Once in, they are difficult and tedious to remove.

The greatness of the EELV program was to weed out many of these, and transition to an almost rational business. (Aside, think that competition from SpaceX is reinvigorating what had become a stolid pace or retreat from same - hope for a committed, stable, balanced, evolving, multiple launch service provider market).

Lobo, I know you've really wanted to see something "useful" come out of the big solids side. Hate to rain on that parade, but the time for that was during STS and it past. And I can't bring it up again here, because the same abject blindness is omnipresent. If you want to understand this area more, study Europe's large solids in detail - they have gone further than America in rational economics for big solids, but are hobbled by political division, funding, and geo return.

Yes SLS can underwrite a "fast start" and parallel funding. But even with that, the incremental part of fixed costs is more than Antares. And, any threat to SLS, or postponement of developments/launches/missions would cause short selling and "death watch" mania that no rational business wants.

Then it's just a matter of getting the propellant pour and throat correct to make a monolithic booster out of those segment lengths.  Should be much easier than a mult-segment configuration I'd imagine.
As long as the transport and handling costs are mitigated, yes. But they have never been for STS, so won't be for SLS, where govt would rather spend the money elsewhere, because the improvement to a "infrequent flyer" makes no sense to them - see above.

As you said, RD-181 gets Antares flying again with the least amount of investment and the fastest time.  But it's hard to see a long term business model for that for OrbATK especially if they want USAF/DoD business as they say they do. 
Agreed. It's a pipe dream OrbATK doing nat sec launches.

Big solids solve both the Russian engine issue and the Ukrainian core issue, -and- brings it all in-house which SpaceX has shown is advantageous.  And the infrastructure to get them to CCAFS is already in place.  (unsure about VAFB, but obviously they had a way to get STS solid segments there back in the 80's, so there must be rail access from Utah to there?)
It can be brought back, but since it's been gone for far longer, much more costly. May be better ways to do so, but these (and this) are irrelevant to govt interests like discussed above.

As Ed has referenced in the past, a two SLS booster segment sized monolithic motors stacked on each other with a large hydrolox upper stage. ... I'd think between ATK and OSC, they could develop their own upper stage in-house, if they have an engine for it.
He was talking about lower incremental cost solids derived from existing projects, in the same theme as how the second stage was done - ATK's best area.

They have done work on LRE second stages, but Orb is hesitant about too much change too fast. It would appear that history proved Antares 130 was apparently that.

For heavier payloads, three 1st stage solid motors are put together in parallell.  (This all assumes new CCAFS and VAFB pads anyway, they'd build them to handle a tri-core configuration)
Who underwrites the pad like MARS was? Who is trusted not to screw it up again in like kind?

Otherwise, I don't see much of a long term business model for them with Antares launching from only Wallops as arachnitect said.  Maybe limited commercial comsat business assuming there's no interruptions in Russian engines and Ukrainian cores would be about all they could compete for aside from CRS I believe?
Antares was to be a Delta-II replacement. WFF is fine for that. As a "gap filler". F9/AV are in contrast "frequent flyers".

But F9 is getting the Delta II payloads now. To survive, Antares 2 will have to steal payloads. It will be seen as an unproven LV, and they cannot afford to test LV/LRE like F9, so they may not have the reliability of AV or F9.
The military will always need solid motors due to the launch immediately requirement.  How much of space launch should/could take advantage of that requirement?  A sober business analysis would be good here.
The next platform for the military will either/both be hypersonic cruise missiles (see Russian treaty violations), or son of Midgetman - from where we get the GEM line of Delta solids (actually the GEMS are much bigger). Super Strypi is an example of a single launch LV platform from same. The analysis currently accepted, which has a rather large thumb on the scale, does not look promising (turnover rate of weapons upgrade is too little, dev sched too long as well). Typical impedance mismatch between use models for each application.

Is there any way at all that Antares in its current, as antonioe called it, upside down Isp configuration can compete with Falcon 9 for cost and reliability?  I think its days are numbered.  My consideration of an all-solid version would only be negligibly more sanguine.
Original choices were to minimize cost and amount of novel propulsion systems. Next investment was meant to be uprating the second stage.

Too much needs to change and be new, thus cost/risk doesn't have the prior platform(s) to leverage off of.

Too much of a miracle to pull off, at a point when rivals are better proven.

I'm not sure I agree with throwing all of AR under the "no LOX/RP competence bus."  Canoga entered the stage long after Sacramento and Dulles made that dubious decision.
Didn't mean that. Meant they have to prove themselves now, can't ride on past laurels as before.

They can do a kerolox LRE. But then, they should have done more of a kerolox LRE already. "Put up or shut up" time?

Here's the thing about Antares.  When it returns to flight, it will have the highest performing hydrocarbon engine in the U.S., and will be the newest engine in the U.S..
Lovely aerospace romanticism Ed.

Unproven LV. And the payload/performance benefits delivered by that engine to the LV against more proven competition aren't significant enough to matter.

It will occupy a payload category all by itself.
F9R? Might likely be reflown by that time. What if its economic? What if you've been wrong all along and too pessimistic on reuse? We both know they'd get creamed.

It will continue to be conservatively run by one of the better managed companies in this business, while its competitors are all spending aggressively right now to develop new systems. 
That is yet to be seen in regards to LV. Want to talk about OCO and other sins?

...The engine will share production overhead costs with Russia's new primary rocket, Angara, so it will be both "low cost" and will benefit from Angara development and flight experience.
The flight-rate of Antares, at least for the near term, will be higher than that of Angara. If anything, Antares will not benefit from Angara related flight experience for RD-181. It will be the other way around: The RD-191 of Angara will benefit from the Antares related flight experience of RD-181. I can see why Energomash was so anxious to sell RD-181 to Orbital.
Absolutely. And am not keen on the means to prove this LV given current experience. Nor in the geopolitical environment hastening this process.

Orbital and good management? When you look at the results of Orbital and SpaceX, the difference is obvious! Both of them started their rocket developments with COTS and what did they archieve?

Falcon 9 - 15 performed launches, 1 semi failure, lots of commercial/government payloads waiting to be launched
Antares - 5 performed launches, 1 failure, no non-CRS launch contracts so far...
A more correct take on it is that the Antares started development 5 years later than Falcon 9.
Pardon me, but Orbital has done more LV's, and over a much longer time. Expect more from them as well as shorter time to prove a new LV. Also, company has been around much, much longer.

Same is even more true for ULA.


GenCorp earned money because they are going to redevelop Canoga Park. It was actually a real estate transaction. The removal of the president has probably to do with normal business issues. The ULA NGLV propulsion loss might have had a lot more to do with it. They still have SLS's RS-25D.
... And the RS-25 will only be about 2 engines per year, at best. Even at inflated prices, that's not a lot to run your business on. And doesn't ULA currently have a stockpile of RL-10's they are going through. Not a lot of business at the moment.

Current plan is 4 RS-25s per year once production starts again.
Not yet authorized. Clouds on the horizon.

Yes, some RL-10s exist but the majority are being converted to RL-10C so that is some revenue. More will be needed for the SLS EUS and most likely ULA's new upper stage.
I am skeptical.

Still probably not enough orders after losing RS-68 eventually though.
Absolutely.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: rayleighscatter on 02/17/2015 10:54 PM

Pardon me, but Orbital has done more LV's, and over a much longer time. Expect more from them as well as shorter time to prove a new LV. Also, company has been around much, much longer.
And SpaceX has been working on liquid rockets much longer.

It's like comparing apples to orange juice.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Space Ghost 1962 on 02/17/2015 11:27 PM

Pardon me, but Orbital has done more LV's, and over a much longer time. Expect more from them as well as shorter time to prove a new LV. Also, company has been around much, much longer.
And SpaceX has been working on liquid rockets much longer.

It's like comparing apples to orange juice.
Hypers? I think Orbital beats SpaceX by more than a decade along there.

You could use that style of argument to make all LV providers/sources different for less than significant reasons.

I'd wish to challenge that with any that become a launch services provider, they've had to make the whole set of choices to do so. In this process, they have to become experts in all relevant propulsion choices (as well as others) to have the experience to make the decision.

Let me get this straight, everyone in this industry has the knowledge for these decisions as far as I see it. Am not saying otherwise. My issue I am leaning upon here is not that, but in justifying those decisions as they played out.

And a critical eye to that as they revisit such decisions. Because it is warranted. So what if its hard nosed.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: rayleighscatter on 02/17/2015 11:40 PM
everyone in this industry has the knowledge for these decisions as far as I see it.
Hence my earlier point about how SpaceX had a 5 year head start on their LV. The longevity of the companies and prior work being irrelevant as both had the knowledge for those decisions.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Space Ghost 1962 on 02/18/2015 12:04 AM
everyone in this industry has the knowledge for these decisions as far as I see it.
Hence my earlier point about how SpaceX had a 5 year head start on their LV. The longevity of the companies and prior work being irrelevant as both had the knowledge for those decisions.
And I was referring to past LV designs prior to the existence of SpaceX. What makes you think only of the most recent or public? Or that SpaceX has somehow been anticipating Orbital, and been able to evade Orbitals 33 year history?

Sorry, doesn't wash. Please don't strain so hard. You are better than that.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: rayleighscatter on 02/18/2015 12:53 AM
And I'm still referring to the Antares having a development cycle five years shorter than F9.

As this discussion seems to be going in tight little circles here I'm bowing out.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: edkyle99 on 02/18/2015 02:23 AM
Orbital and good management? When you look at the results of Orbital and SpaceX, the difference is obvious! Both of them started their rocket developments with COTS and what did they archieve?
Orbital ATK had $5.14 billion in revenues during the past year. 

What did SpaceX bring in?  Six launches at $70 million plus a bit more for the Dragons, maybe half a billion?  Certainly less than $1 billion.

Orbital ATK had $322 million in earnings last year.  SpaceX?  Did it spend less or more than it brought in? 

Consider those Falcon 9 v1.1 launches of Orbital-built satellites last year.  Who made more money on each of those flights - Space X or Orbital?

I'm hoping SpaceX turns out to be as successful as Orbital ATK, but I'm wondering after reading about Tesla's most recent quarterly.

 - Ed Kyle
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Space Ghost 1962 on 02/18/2015 04:01 AM
SpaceX and Tesla are disruptors, like PayPal was. And Google.

Disruption is not a business growth activity. It's a active destroyer of business, especially business as usual. Perhaps it ends with something better. Not always true, just that it works by different rules eventually.

Journalism and media were among the earliest to be disrupted, and the disruption continues with no certain end in sight. It is wise to be wary of disruption. But, its a potential built out of pent up change, often due to structural issues deeply embedded in an industry. IMHO, a perfect storm when communications technologies cause exponential change to a world population.

Expect  revenues to decline across the board, maybe even drastically. Again, its irrelevant, because you can't run the metrics to "improve" until the economics shift enough and steady out. At the macroeconomic level, as it shifts, the reliance on, say component providers, is extremely short lived, because it is an interim step to the next interim step indefinitely. When things settle out, then you can see the macroeconomics firming up, and the metrics (automated) help tell you how to survive growth in the next stage to stability. The rest comes on afterwards.

Back to aerospace - its tremendously labor intensive. Start-up in silicon valley reduced the time to design, integrate, test, and revise ... all the way to on orbit - as a productivity improvement. Another in Colorado does ultrarapid, highest reliability flight software for spacecraft. The big change is big data and data science integrated in such a way that  you need 4-5 labor hours instead of 1,000's. Much is in flux.

So its not just SpaceX - they just bootstrapped the disruption. Lots to come.

Back to OrbATK - it's not going away. But that doesn't mean that Antares is going anywhere either. They've gotten a one year "timeout" on launch, and hundreds of millions in losses, at a time when rivals for launch services are potentially rewriting the rules, and building up a record of launch successes.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: tobi453 on 02/18/2015 07:40 AM
Orbital and good management? When you look at the results of Orbital and SpaceX, the difference is obvious! Both of them started their rocket developments with COTS and what did they archieve?
Orbital ATK had $5.14 billion in revenues during the past year. 

What did SpaceX bring in?  Six launches at $70 million plus a bit more for the Dragons, maybe half a billion?  Certainly less than $1 billion.

Orbital ATK had $322 million in earnings last year.  SpaceX?  Did it spend less or more than it brought in? 

Consider those Falcon 9 v1.1 launches of Orbital-built satellites last year.  Who made more money on each of those flights - Space X or Orbital?

I'm hoping SpaceX turns out to be as successful as Orbital ATK, but I'm wondering after reading about Tesla's most recent quarterly.

 - Ed Kyle

Those 5 billion come from other businesses like satellite building and military stuff. I was specifically speaking about Orbital's launch business.

You also forgot to mention SpaceX's commercial crew contract from NASA. Because Orbital selected a conservative Cygnus and Antares design, they couldn't build on it for their commercial crew bid. A lost opportunity.

You also need to look at the future. SpaceX got contracts for nine commercial launch contracts last year according to SpaceNews, the same as the market leader Arianespace. So which commercial satellite company wants to launch with Antares? No one so far, because the launcher design is not competitive. Another lost opportunity.

Finally, I wonder why Google invested close to a billion in SpaceX in order to build the internet constellation. Why didn't they go to Orbital Sciences, which is the more experienced satellite builder? Will OneWeb select Orbital as their satellite partner? I guess we will find out soon...
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: woods170 on 02/18/2015 09:02 AM
Orbital and good management? When you look at the results of Orbital and SpaceX, the difference is obvious! Both of them started their rocket developments with COTS and what did they archieve?

Falcon 9 - 15 performed launches, 1 semi failure, lots of commercial/government payloads waiting to be launched
Antares - 5 performed launches, 1 failure, no non-CRS launch contracts so far...
A more correct take on it is that the Antares started development 5 years later than Falcon 9.
Incorrect. SpaceX started development of F9 v1.0 in 2005. Orbital began development of Taurus II (now known as Antares) in 2007. There was only a two year difference, not five.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: baldusi on 02/18/2015 11:57 AM
Here's the thing about Antares.  When it returns to flight, it will have the highest performing hydrocarbon engine in the U.S., and will be the newest engine in the U.S..  The engine will share production overhead costs with Russia's new primary rocket, Angara, so it will be both "low cost" and will benefit from Angara development and flight experience.  It will be topped by the newest, most efficient high thrust solid motor in the U.S., produced in-house by Orbital ATK, so it will be "low cost" in that regard.  It will occupy a payload category all by itself.  It will continue to be conservatively run by one of the better managed companies in this business, while its competitors are all spending aggressively right now to develop new systems. 

I wouldn't count Antares out. 

 - Ed Kyle
The flight-rate of Antares, at least for the near term, will be higher than that of Angara. If anything, Antares will not benefit from Angara related flight experience for RD-181. It will be the other way around: The RD-191 of Angara will benefit from the Antares related flight experience of RD-181. I can see why Energomash was so anxious to sell RD-181 to Orbital.
And both share their production line with RD-170 and RD-180. The former is is closing down, but RD-180 are being produced as fast as they can build them. Of course this efficiencies will only be there until 2018. But Angara should be ramping up by then.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: newpylong on 02/18/2015 01:12 PM

Current plan is 4 RS-25s per year once production starts again.

Not yet authorized. Clouds on the horizon.

Negative - 6 ordered.

Yes, some RL-10s exist but the majority are being converted to RL-10C so that is some revenue. More will be needed for the SLS EUS and most likely ULA's new upper stage.

I am skeptical.

They have already begun converting them. EUS is happening, as is ULA ACES.

Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: bunker9603 on 02/18/2015 04:52 PM
Orbital and good management? When you look at the results of Orbital and SpaceX, the difference is obvious! Both of them started their rocket developments with COTS and what did they archieve?

Falcon 9 - 15 performed launches, 1 semi failure, lots of commercial/government payloads waiting to be launched
Antares - 5 performed launches, 1 failure, no non-CRS launch contracts so far...
A more correct take on it is that the Antares started development 5 years later than Falcon 9.
Incorrect. SpaceX started development of F9 v1.0 in 2005. Orbital began development of Taurus II (now known as Antares) in 2007. There was only a two year difference, not five.

The Falcon 9 v1.1 started development in 2010 with the first flight in 2013, with 10 successful flights since.

Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: rayleighscatter on 02/18/2015 08:22 PM
Incorrect. SpaceX started development of F9 v1.0 in 2005. Orbital began development of Taurus II (now known as Antares) in 2007. There was only a two year difference, not five.
Musk announced in 2003 the rocket that would later be named the Falcon 9.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Lars-J on 02/18/2015 08:32 PM
Incorrect. SpaceX started development of F9 v1.0 in 2005. Orbital began development of Taurus II (now known as Antares) in 2007. There was only a two year difference, not five.
Musk announced in 2003 the rocket that would later be named the Falcon 9.

You are thinking of Falcon 5. Not the same. But this is just going round and round. Soon someone will claim that F9 development started before SpaceX was founded...
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: rayleighscatter on 02/18/2015 08:39 PM

You are thinking of Falcon 5. Not the same. But this is just going round and round. Soon someone will claim that F9 development started before SpaceX was founded...
In 2003 he announced the Falcon 5 which could launch 4.2 tons. He also announced a second unnamed rocket which could launch 9 tons.

There's plenty of SpaceX forums on the board these discussions could be taken to.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: bunker9603 on 02/18/2015 11:03 PM
Incorrect. SpaceX started development of F9 v1.0 in 2005. Orbital began development of Taurus II (now known as Antares) in 2007. There was only a two year difference, not five.
Musk announced in 2003 the rocket that would later be named the Falcon 9.

SpaceX announces Falcon 9/September 8, 2005:

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=454.0
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Patchouli on 02/19/2015 02:14 AM
How about getting URM-1 complete with RD-191 from Russia and flank it with a handful of ATK solids a la Delta II? Faster, cheaper and partially in-house...

Technically workable but a large solid from the ATK side might be better politically and not really that expensive since the production for the large SRB is already funded by SLS.

There would be pad integration issues but any significant change to the LV configuration is going to require pad work anyway so not much advantage in going to an URM-1.

Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Jim on 02/19/2015 02:19 AM

Technically workable but a large solid from the ATK side might be better politically and not really that expensive since the production for the large SRB is already funded by SLS.


No, not technically workable.  Can't get it to wallops, HIF siting likely doesn't allow for the size, transporter and erector can't handle it, and hence be more expensive. Need I say more
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: arachnitect on 02/19/2015 03:49 AM

Technically workable but a large solid from the ATK side might be better politically and not really that expensive since the production for the large SRB is already funded by SLS.


No, not technically workable.  Can't get it to wallops, HIF siting likely doesn't allow for the size, transporter and erector can't handle it, and hence be more expensive. Need I say more

With enough money such things might have been solved. I think the real showstopper was blast overpressure.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: woods170 on 02/19/2015 06:57 AM
Incorrect. SpaceX started development of F9 v1.0 in 2005. Orbital began development of Taurus II (now known as Antares) in 2007. There was only a two year difference, not five.
Musk announced in 2003 the rocket that would later be named the Falcon 9.
That was Falcon 5. It was abandoned in 2005 and replaced with the development of Falcon 9. Although the development of Falcon 9 took benefit from the Falcon 5 efforts, it does not mean that Falcon 9 development began in 2003. Falcon 5 does not equal Falcon 9.
That's a similar situation to the development of Taurus II. Although development of Taurus II started in 2007, it took benefit from earlier work done on Zenit. Development of Zenit began in the 1980's, but no one here will claim that development of Taurus II began in the 1980's, for obvious reasons.

So, I suggest you drop the unsupported notion that development of Falcon 9 started 4-to-5 years before Antares. The facts say two years.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: woods170 on 02/19/2015 07:02 AM

Technically workable but a large solid from the ATK side might be better politically and not really that expensive since the production for the large SRB is already funded by SLS.


No, not technically workable.  Can't get it to wallops, HIF siting likely doesn't allow for the size, transporter and erector can't handle it, and hence be more expensive. Need I say more

With enough money such things might have been solved. I think the real showstopper was blast overpressure.
IMO, the first-and-foremost showstopper is the money involved in changing all that infrastructure to  support a solid first stage. That money simply isn't there and will not be provided for a vehicle that has no real future beyond CRS (and possibly CRS-2).
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: arachnitect on 02/19/2015 02:53 PM
@pbdes, @SpcPlcyOnline, others are covering an OrbATK conference call.

-5 cores in production in Ukraine, 3 complete, 2 nearly. OrbATK has people over there, also have a backup plan.

-They have a signed CRS-1 extension, won't disclose details.

-First Antares 200 aiming for March 2016
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Lobo on 02/19/2015 03:52 PM

Technically workable but a large solid from the ATK side might be better politically and not really that expensive since the production for the large SRB is already funded by SLS.


No, not technically workable.  Can't get it to wallops, HIF siting likely doesn't allow for the size, transporter and erector can't handle it, and hence be more expensive. Need I say more

With enough money such things might have been solved. I think the real showstopper was blast overpressure.
IMO, the first-and-foremost showstopper is the money involved in changing all that infrastructure to  support a solid first stage. That money simply isn't there and will not be provided for a vehicle that has no real future beyond CRS (and possibly CRS-2).

Really depends on how bad OrbATK wants to go after government payloads as well as broader commercial payloads.  If they are going to, as they've said, they will need to pony up the money for a pad at CCAFS regardless, as Wallops isn't really an option for those goals.  launching from the Cape means large solids segments -can- be shipped there, so that solves that problem if they opted to go that route.
If they want to do anything besides CRS contracts for the ISS, they'll need to front that investment.  If not, they'll just fullfill their CRS contracts with no new investment beyond what they are having to do right now.
They could keep Antares as is, and just add a new liquid upper stage and vertical integration at a new pad at the cape, if they want to risk future supply problems of engines and cores.  And perhpas modify the existing core to mount ATK GEM-60 SRB's for heavier lift augmentation.
 
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Kim Keller on 02/19/2015 04:20 PM
That was Falcon 5. It was abandoned in 2005 and replaced with the development of Falcon 9. Although the development of Falcon 9 took benefit from the Falcon 5 efforts, it does not mean that Falcon 9 development began in 2003. Falcon 5 does not equal Falcon 9.
That's a similar situation to the development of Taurus II. Although development of Taurus II started in 2007, it took benefit from earlier work done on Zenit. Development of Zenit began in the 1980's, but no one here will claim that development of Taurus II began in the 1980's, for obvious reasons.

So, I suggest you drop the unsupported notion that development of Falcon 9 started 4-to-5 years before Antares. The facts say two years.

Sorry to keep this Falcon discussion going, but you're wrong on a few points. NASA visited SX in 2006. At that time NASA was briefed on both the F5 and F9, including pricing data. Development of the -5 & -9 were concurrent, and F5 did equal F9 to a very, very large extent. I do not know when F5 was shelved, but it was at a date beyond August 2006. Charts presented at the briefing indicated availability in 2008 for both vehicles.  At the time of the visit F9 tooling was basically complete, with engines, structure and avionics already in fabrication.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Lobo on 02/19/2015 04:25 PM

Thank you Lobo. Rare to hear any encouragement here to speak more about anything.


You are welcome.  Even if I don’t quite agree, I always learn a lot from you and others with a lot of background in this.  :-)


Yes big solids are on "keep alive" with SLS, but as with any politically "too big to fail", fiat driven product of the arsenal system, they drag along baggage with the benefit of funding. You see, once you turn down the path of such development, things creep in, either as expedients "to make it go" somehow (but not for the right reason), or as "acceptants" (good enough for govt work but not acceptable fora business). Once in, they are difficult and tedious to remove.

The greatness of the EELV program was to weed out many of these, and transition to an almost rational business. (Aside, think that competition from SpaceX is reinvigorating what had become a stolid pace or retreat from same - hope for a committed, stable, balanced, evolving, multiple launch service provider market).

Lobo, I know you've really wanted to see something "useful" come out of the big solids side. Hate to rain on that parade, but the time for that was during STS and it past. And I can't bring it up again here, because the same abject blindness is omnipresent. If you want to understand this area more, study Europe's large solids in detail - they have gone further than America in rational economics for big solids, but are hobbled by political division, funding, and geo return.

Yes SLS can underwrite a "fast start" and parallel funding. But even with that, the incremental part of fixed costs is more than Antares. And, any threat to SLS, or postponement of developments/launches/missions would cause short selling and "death watch" mania that no rational business wants.

I guess I see it a little different.  It’s not that I wan to see something useful come out of the bid solids (although, in a way I do), but it’s more due to the merger of OSC and ATK.  That now means that big solid boosters are an “in-house” item, not something to need to be outsourced.  A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, so to speak.  The more you have in-house, the more control of your costs you have.  You can streamline, downsize, optimize, or cost-share as necessarily to get price points you want.  You can’t do that when you are buying everything from someone else.  SpaceX has shown a very good model in that respect.  So that merger has changed Antares’ options now.  If not for that, I wouldn’t be even talking about OSC buying solids from ATK.  I’d think they’d be better off building the core themselves and then perhaps pursuing AR-1 as a future new engine to replace RD-181 as soon as is feasible for the long term Antares business model.   But big solids are now in-house, and with them, you have both the “engine” and the “core”.  If OrbATK wants to do anything but just CRS launches, they’ll almost certainly need to move to the Cape.  Especially if they want government payloads too.  That might be a pipe dream as you say, but they –did- state they want to.  I’m taking them at their word and speculating ways to do that.  Moving to the Cape then also means access for those 3.7m wide solid motors from Utah which Wallops doesn’t have.  So they’ll need to make that investment if they want to do anything but  CRS contracts.
Besides the advantage of being in-house, the fact the 3.7m wide composite solid tooling will be underwritten by SLS helps a lot cost wise.  They’d still have to develop the monolithic motors out of that 3.7m tooling, but again, given how fast and inexpensively they developed Castor 30XL, I just don’t think that would be a major expense.  And they already have their own facilities for testing such new motors.
Finally, they’d need a new high energy upper stage.  Such a stage was already being looked at for Pegasus II.  OrbATK probably has the expertise and ability to manufacture such a stage themselves if they had an engine.  RL-10 would have been used for Pegasus II.  BE-3 would be an option too…and probably a better one cost and performance wise.   So I don’t really know that the stage itself would be a big deal for a company like OrbATK, but it would depend on getting an engine.

I’m certainly no expert in how all of this work, so I’m not saying this is likely or anything.  But from my limited knowledge, it does seem fairly plausible though –if- OrbATK wants to become a player in the commercial and government markets as they’ve said.  If they abandon that, then they’ll probably just stockpile RD-181 engines and Ukrainian cores and launch CRS missions until there are no more contracts, and then they’ll retire Antares all together.



As long as the transport and handling costs are mitigated, yes. But they have never been for STS, so won't be for SLS, where govt would rather spend the money elsewhere, because the improvement to a "infrequent flyer" makes no sense to them - see above.


I think it would be a different paradigm than STS.  STS boosters required very exotic processes to make the steel casings in such a way that they could survive more than one burn.  Going to composite SLS segments means the tooling [theoretically] will be vastly cheaper to operate and maintain.  It’s a very different thing to spin composites than forge exotic steel.  Then the segments don’t need to be recovered from the ocean, transported back to the Cape, de-stacked, and transported back to Utah.  As I understand, along with the high cost of maintaining the steel casing forging tooling (which did nothing besides make new STS casings occasionally) the cost of de-mating the segments and shipping everything back to Utah was all involved in making it so expensive.
SLS will have segments transported form Utah to the Cape and then get mated together.  So there will be that.  A solid Antares would use monolithic motors which would be stacked (rather than mated like segmented motors).  As I understand that’s a much easier thing.   Stacking rocket stage essentially, like how Castor 30XL is stacked on the Antares core, or the segments of Minotaur or Athena.  Just larger.

So I think it could be a very different structure than STS was, even thought they’d be the same diameter.  With a plausible chance of being cost effective.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: edkyle99 on 02/19/2015 05:20 PM
Those 5 billion come from other businesses like satellite building and military stuff. I was specifically speaking about Orbital's launch business.
This diversity is why OA is prosperous.  SpaceX is aiming for the same, with its spacecraft, and now satellite, production and plans.
Quote
You also forgot to mention SpaceX's commercial crew contract from NASA. Because Orbital selected a conservative Cygnus and Antares design, they couldn't build on it for their commercial crew bid. A lost opportunity.
It could be that Orbital, having lost previous crewed spacecraft bids, saw the writing on the wall and aimed for its area of expertise.  Thus they have a Cygnus rather than a costly, shut-down Dream Chaser type program.
Quote
You also need to look at the future. SpaceX got contracts for nine commercial launch contracts last year according to SpaceNews, the same as the market leader Arianespace. So which commercial satellite company wants to launch with Antares? No one so far, because the launcher design is not competitive. Another lost opportunity.
It could be that Orbital wasn't interested in losing money.  It might be that there's little, or no, profit to be gained launching commercial satellites, given the Non-laissez-faire market at work in that business segment.  Going after that handful of payloads are SpaceX, Arianespace, and ILS/Proton, and soon others.  (Arianespace recently beat SpaceX in winning two payloads, after it slashed its prices.)  All are supported or outright subsidized in some way by government funds, overtly or otherwise.

Antares was wisely built from the outset to break even at a low launch rate.  That required an initial focus on the NASA customer and its mission, and is why Antares is such an "international" rocket.  Later, perhaps, we will see more capability, but only if it pays.

 - Ed Kyle
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: TrevorMonty on 02/19/2015 06:21 PM


Those 5 billion come from other businesses like satellite building and military stuff. I was specifically speaking about Orbital's launch business.
This diversity is why OA is prosperous.  SpaceX is aiming for the same, with its spacecraft, and now satellite, production and plans.
Quote
You also forgot to mention SpaceX's commercial crew contract from NASA. Because Orbital selected a conservative Cygnus and Antares design, they couldn't build on it for their commercial crew bid. A lost opportunity.
It could be that Orbital, having lost previous crewed spacecraft bids, saw the writing on the wall and aimed for its area of expertise.  Thus they have a Cygnus rather than a costly, shut-down Dream Chaser type program

 - Ed Kyle

The Cygnus design was a good choice, they have a capable vehicle with no direct competition. It uses their existing satellite bus, has capability to support BEO HSF missions, is not LV dependent. Can easily increase size and there are plenty of good ideas on how to use it for other things.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: MGB542 on 02/19/2015 06:28 PM
...like, perhaps, building one into a new service module for ISS, in case we find ourselves in need in the near political future?
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Space Ghost 1962 on 02/19/2015 06:31 PM
That was Falcon 5. It was abandoned in 2005 and replaced with the development of Falcon 9. Although the development of Falcon 9 took benefit from the Falcon 5 efforts, it does not mean that Falcon 9 development began in 2003. Falcon 5 does not equal Falcon 9.
That's a similar situation to the development of Taurus II. Although development of Taurus II started in 2007, it took benefit from earlier work done on Zenit. Development of Zenit began in the 1980's, but no one here will claim that development of Taurus II began in the 1980's, for obvious reasons.

So, I suggest you drop the unsupported notion that development of Falcon 9 started 4-to-5 years before Antares. The facts say two years.

Sorry to keep this Falcon discussion going, but you're wrong on a few points. NASA visited SX in 2006. At that time NASA was briefed on both the F5 and F9, including pricing data.
Yes, but. At a certain risk of turning an OA thread into a SX thread, let me finish off this.

You are right in fact. woods170 is right in intent.

In similar sense, F1 persisted (as F1E in part) while F9 "phased in". I believe the tooling is around for past Falcons,  perhaps this is more of the time where business case is reassessed as one refines "going forward".

My read is that once one gets enough flight data to support business decisions, the result of intent becomes position. They never had enough flight data for Falcon 1, and the launch service contracts for Falcon 5/9 dominated other considerations, so the issues are quite different between Falcon 1/5 departing the scene.

Development of the -5 & -9 were concurrent, and F5 did equal F9 to a very, very large extent. I do not know when F5 was shelved, but it was at a date beyond August 2006. Charts presented at the briefing indicated availability in 2008 for both vehicles.  At the time of the visit F9 tooling was basically complete, with engines, structure and avionics already in fabrication.
Yes. Also, the recovery/reuse strategies radically changed, as well as engine performance considerations. Perhaps the statistics began to add up as to what to do. A clear consideration would be prospective "winnable" contracts, and the character of how competitive response was provoked.

IMHO SX expected a much smaller, slower story, with little/no competitive response, sort of like Beal. When the story changed, they found it easier to go "bigger" than stay small, so they went from "undercutting" on the low-end to flat out "disruption" as a business model. This parallels what happened to PayPal almost identically.

As opposed to OA, whose model all along has been "good enough". For completeness here, ULA's model has been "relentless". If you think about it, these express the emotional context of the advocates for each of these firms in one way or another as fans - because that's what one values the most.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: JasonAW3 on 02/19/2015 06:36 PM
The question I have is simple.  How much trouble and how expensive would it be to outfit a Cygnes pressurized cargo module as the core of a Cygnus based Space Station?
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: TrevorMonty on 02/19/2015 06:41 PM
The question I have is simple.  How much trouble and how expensive would it be to outfit a Cygnes pressurized cargo module as the core of a Cygnus based Space Station?
See this thread.

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=28481.0
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Space Ghost 1962 on 02/19/2015 07:36 PM

Thank you Lobo. Rare to hear any encouragement here to speak more about anything.


You are welcome.  Even if I don’t quite agree, I always learn a lot from you and others with a lot of background in this.  :-)
Indeed. The challenge of thinking about this out loud is interesting as signal. The noise of "message discipline" and/or romanticism/exceptionalism boors me, especially given decades of dead ends in aerospace.


Yes big solids are on "keep alive" with SLS, but as with any politically "too big to fail", fiat driven product of the arsenal system, they drag along baggage with the benefit of funding. You see, once you turn down the path of such development, things creep in, either as expedients "to make it go" somehow (but not for the right reason), or as "acceptants" (good enough for govt work but not acceptable fora business). Once in, they are difficult and tedious to remove.

The greatness of the EELV program was to weed out many of these, and transition to an almost rational business. (Aside, think that competition from SpaceX is reinvigorating what had become a stolid pace or retreat from same - hope for a committed, stable, balanced, evolving, multiple launch service provider market).

Lobo, I know you've really wanted to see something "useful" come out of the big solids side. Hate to rain on that parade, but the time for that was during STS and it past. And I can't bring it up again here, because the same abject blindness is omnipresent. If you want to understand this area more, study Europe's large solids in detail - they have gone further than America in rational economics for big solids, but are hobbled by political division, funding, and geo return.

Yes SLS can underwrite a "fast start" and parallel funding. But even with that, the incremental part of fixed costs is more than Antares. And, any threat to SLS, or postponement of developments/launches/missions would cause short selling and "death watch" mania that no rational business wants.

I guess I see it a little different.  It’s not that I wan to see something useful come out of the bid solids (although, in a way I do), but it’s more due to the merger of OSC and ATK.  That now means that big solid boosters are an “in-house” item, not something to need to be outsourced.  A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, so to speak.  The more you have in-house, the more control of your costs you have.  You can streamline, downsize, optimize, or cost-share as necessarily to get price points you want.  You can’t do that when you are buying everything from someone else.
I can appreciate that. I've looked for it as well. And while in a massively unpleasant global situation I could see it as a necessary expedient in an extremely rare situation, I can't make the numbers work for this - my hitch with this.

I'd like you to think of something else. Not everything has to do with SpaceX. They may be going down a dead-end (don't think so, but it's possible since we don't see the full story). So what else could the merger be about?

Plenty. From a business perspective, ATK's other businesses fit against Orbital's in a way that the revenues "smooth out" the ability to justify to shareholders gradual revenue growth, and growth is hard here. It's a more effective diversification then ATK was trying by itself. It is more likely that this is the point of the merger than LV fallback. So your presumption may not be justified - not solids against LRE's.

You can do solids as competitors to LRE LV's. Absolutely. But they don't compete well apples to apples, to use another fine poster's aphorism. Solids you use more like munitions/ammunition, practically like artillery shells. They are the ultimate in disposables, of a certain caliber. LRE's might be used in reusables (we'll see). They can be used in exotic disposables to certain economic limits. And anything can be used uneconomically as a sledgehammer if you can afford to whack it as big as you want :)

  SpaceX has shown a very good model in that respect.  So that merger has changed Antares’ options now.  If not for that, I wouldn’t be even talking about OSC buying solids from ATK.  I’d think they’d be better off building the core themselves and then perhaps pursuing AR-1 as a future new engine to replace RD-181 as soon as is feasible for the long term Antares business model.   But big solids are now in-house, and with them, you have both the “engine” and the “core”.
How specifically has it changed Antare's options? To me there is no change. Because the economics have not shifted enough to accommodate use, even if they are in house.

The best of ATK is in doing custom solids like Antares second stage - but "what's next" like this?

Actually, buying BE-4's if they are "real" would be better, because more volume of consumption. I think the BE-4 / AR-1 gambit is all about if King Stork or King Log can make it to the test stand first and with conviction (my issue about BO/Bezos is lack of conviction, like with his dumb smartphone).

"Engine" and "core"? Nope - that's "LRE thinking". I see it as infrequent, costly "ammo" for a one-off "super gun", in the solids vernacular. Not unlike the Minotaurs - special purpose fireworks of a useful kind. To make them work, you need the logical equivalent of a "revolver", "automatic/cartridge", or "machine/belt" to sequence launches such that the economics of "ammo" full consumption work. The bigger the rounds, the tougher.

If OrbATK wants to do anything but just CRS launches, they’ll almost certainly need to move to the Cape.  Especially if they want government payloads too.  That might be a pipe dream as you say, but they –did- state they want to.  I’m taking them at their word and speculating ways to do that.  Moving to the Cape then also means access for those 3.7m wide solid motors from Utah which Wallops doesn’t have.  So they’ll need to make that investment if they want to do anything but  CRS contracts.
They want it, but they don't risk more than they can get. And frankly they risked too much on Nk-33/AJ-26. The good - they got into the medium LV Delta II business. The bad - they couldn't maintain reliable propulsion for it.

What does a new pad at CCAFS/KSC get them? More expense, but greater launch azimuths/energy, DoD payloads, access to SC integration facilities, HSF potential. Vandenberg gets you DoD/polar for the expense. But to win those launches, you need to meet the requirements.

Keep in mind, they will never get cheaper than WFF for their immediate needs. To do those 3.7M solids, the expenses go up drastically. That first expense step up is a doozey! "Oh, excuse me Mr Shareholder, my just exploded LV, with that $0.5B pad/services, is now going to take 10 years instead of 5 to break even, my bad!".

And its not just CRS for WFF, you can do NASA/other institutional missions that you build the sats for. You just aren't going to do AF/NRO/etc, and those are already hard to get into, as SX is finding.

Besides the advantage of being in-house, the fact the 3.7m wide composite solid tooling will be underwritten by SLS helps a lot cost wise.  They’d still have to develop the monolithic motors out of that 3.7m tooling, but again, given how fast and inexpensively they developed Castor 30XL, I just don’t think that would be a major expense. 
That's the cheap part. Now to the 30XL - I'll grant you it's competitive. But you don't need a new pad to displace from, say a kerolox US. So your fixed costs aren't rising. Mess with the first/boosters, and you've got acoustics/overpressure/handling issues that are an issue. Also, 30XL may be at the limit for such an US - an rare ideal case from which others don't follow.

For big solids, its the transport/handling/integration/pad that are among the killers (low iSP too). We tend to forget about them with LRE because the opposite is true for them.

And they already have their own facilities for testing such new motors.
Finally, they’d need a new high energy upper stage.  Such a stage was already being looked at for Pegasus II.  OrbATK probably has the expertise and ability to manufacture such a stage themselves if they had an engine.  RL-10 would have been used for Pegasus II.  BE-3 would be an option too…and probably a better one cost and performance wise.   So I don’t really know that the stage itself would be a big deal for a company like OrbATK, but it would depend on getting an engine.
So they don't upgrade US - why? Could it perhaps be a "costing trap", e.g. you get used to "too cheap", where the next step up costs too much, because too much needs to change for that increment? Does this sound familiar?

Answer is "it depends on the requirements to be competitive", and the use of capital to get there. The only way I can get your big solid LV is if govt special pleading underwrites many costs. Like with SLS. SX and ULA would both want in on the same handouts in that case.

I’m certainly no expert in how all of this work, so I’m not saying this is likely or anything.  But from my limited knowledge, it does seem fairly plausible though –if- OrbATK wants to become a player in the commercial and government markets as they’ve said.  If they abandon that, then they’ll probably just stockpile RD-181 engines and Ukrainian cores and launch CRS missions until there are no more contracts, and then they’ll retire Antares all together.
Yup, likely.




As long as the transport and handling costs are mitigated, yes. But they have never been for STS, so won't be for SLS, where govt would rather spend the money elsewhere, because the improvement to a "infrequent flyer" makes no sense to them - see above.


I think it would be a different paradigm than STS.  STS boosters required very exotic processes to make the steel casings in such a way that they could survive more than one burn.  Going to composite SLS segments means the tooling [theoretically] will be vastly cheaper to operate and maintain.  It’s a very different thing to spin composites than forge exotic steel.  Then the segments don’t need to be recovered from the ocean, transported back to the Cape, de-stacked, and transported back to Utah.  As I understand, along with the high cost of maintaining the steel casing forging tooling (which did nothing besides make new STS casings occasionally) the cost of de-mating the segments and shipping everything back to Utah was all involved in making it so expensive.
SLS will have segments transported form Utah to the Cape and then get mated together.  So there will be that.  A solid Antares would use monolithic motors which would be stacked (rather than mated like segmented motors).  As I understand that’s a much easier thing.   Stacking rocket stage essentially, like how Castor 30XL is stacked on the Antares core, or the segments of Minotaur or Athena.  Just larger.

So I think it could be a very different structure than STS was, even thought they’d be the same diameter.  With a plausible chance of being cost effective.
Could you explain your last sentence more? See, that's the part I can't get myself. And I've been trying to do exactly that for much of my life, so I'm a bit familiar with the various attempts to do so. Note the word "attempts".
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Lobo on 02/23/2015 05:22 PM
Well, I was going to explain my last sentance more...but the thread got locked.  Hmmm...didn't think it'd gotten contentious or OT.  I wonder why it was locked?

EDIT:  Chris said it appeared to be locked by mistake.

Could you explain your last sentence more? See, that's the part I can't get myself. And I've been trying to do exactly that for much of my life, so I'm a bit familiar with the various attempts to do so. Note the word "attempts".

What I mean is that the logistics cycle for the Shuttle SRB's was very different than an Antares with two stacked monolithic 3.7m composite motors would be.  A huge amount of the overhead of STS would not be applicable.  Really the only thing similar would be their external dimensions.  They'd be more like GEM-60's, Atlas SRB's, or Castor 30XL's.  From what I understand, it wasn't just the long round trip and the mating and demating of the segments that made the STS SRB's expensive, it was the cost of maintaining the facilities that could forge new segments.  They didn't make new ones very often, but they had like two seprate dedicated facilities that had to be kept online year round for just that purpose.  I'm not expert in composites, but as far as I know, there's not much different in making small diameter casings vs. big ones.  There's larger scale tooling needed, but it could be housed in the same facility that makes the composite GEM-60's.  I worked on a project where we sold air compressors into the BMW composite facility up here in Moses Lake, WA and know they have rooms where they make the fibers and then areas where they form the parts.  I would think the big 3.7m composite tooling could sit right beside the 60" diameter GEM-60 tooling, and the same people could use either depending on what needs to be made. 
Again, this is a simplistic view...the big motors might not be able to ship out of the GEM-60 facility due to size.   But my point is with composites, they shouldn't need extra faciliteis fully staffed and sitting on hot stand by so they can forge new casings when the rare call came in (I think for shuttle, they had to keep the forge tooling hot all the time becuse if it cooled, it couldn't be restarted.  Which isn't the case at all for expendable composites.)

Then once the new tooling was in place, the paradigm would be more like GEM-60 than STS segments.

Quote
What does a new pad at CCAFS/KSC get them? More expense, but greater launch azimuths/energy, DoD payloads, access to SC integration facilities, HSF potential. Vandenberg gets you DoD/polar for the expense. But to win those launches, you need to meet the requirements.

Keep in mind, they will never get cheaper than WFF for their immediate needs. To do those 3.7M solids, the expenses go up drastically. That first expense step up is a doozey! "Oh, excuse me Mr Shareholder, my just exploded LV, with that $0.5B pad/services, is now going to take 10 years instead of 5 to break even, my bad!".


Well my main point here is not that a new pad at the Cape would be cheaper than WFF.  You are right, they will never get cheaper than WFF and it meets their CRS needs.  But that's about all it will ever do.   SpaceX opted for a pad in a location where they could fulfill their CRS...-and- that investment could be applied to other applications.  OSC now finds themself in a bit of a pickle for their lack of forsight.  Although WFF was probably cheaper than setting up Antares at the Cape, they will pay the price for those savings if they want to do other payloads.  Ditto for the low cost solid upper stage.

My point is that, if they want to pursue other payloads than CRS (and they've said they do), they'll most likely have to move to the Cape.  Even if they keep Antares as is, they'd need to redo everything they have at WFF at a location at the Cape.  If they want USAF/DoD paylaods, they'll need a way to vertically integrate the payload.  That means some sort of MSS on the pad is it looks like SpaceX will do, or an Atlas or Titan like VIF.  Once you are in to it to that extent...if you wanted to switch to a different engine/core, then would be the time.  Wouldn't you agree?  At the Cape, large solid motor deliveries are then feasible, and those motors could be made in house.  So that's what I mean by it changes the future options for Antares.  Now that's not to say that's the best/most inexpensive way forward for OrbATK...just that it's plausible where it really isn't at WFF.  But OSC has operating a solid booster before, and ATK has wanted to since they conceived Liberty.  So you know they are thinking about it.  ;-)
Heck the OSC main guy said straight up they were evaluting two liquid options for Antares and one solid option.  Any doubt that solid option was 3.7m wide composite solid motors?  RD-181 was the other option and the fastest and cheapest to impliment and was the selection, and the other liquid option was probably RD-180. 
Anything but CRS means a move to the Cape, a move to the Cape means a whole new pad, and a whole new pad at the Cape means large solids are a plausible option.  IMHO anyway. 
Again, that's just from a simpistic aerial view.  Obviously they'd look at all options and make decisions based on WAY more info than I have.  :-)
And your skeptism could be very well founded in the overall calculus.

Been a fun and educations discussion either way though.  Thanks!.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: MP99 on 02/23/2015 05:43 PM
If OrbATK wants to do anything but just CRS launches, they’ll almost certainly need to move to the Cape.  Especially if they want government payloads too.  That might be a pipe dream as you say, but they –did- state they want to.  I’m taking them at their word and speculating ways to do that.  Moving to the Cape then also means access for those 3.7m wide solid motors from Utah which Wallops doesn’t have.  So they’ll need to make that investment if they want to do anything but  CRS contracts.
They want it, but they don't risk more than they can get. And frankly they risked too much on Nk-33/AJ-26. The good - they got into the medium LV Delta II business. The bad - they couldn't maintain reliable propulsion for it.

What does a new pad at CCAFS/KSC get them? More expense, but greater launch azimuths/energy, DoD payloads, access to SC integration facilities, HSF potential. Vandenberg gets you DoD/polar for the expense. But to win those launches, you need to meet the requirements.

Keep in mind, they will never get cheaper than WFF for their immediate needs. To do those 3.7M solids, the expenses go up drastically. That first expense step up is a doozey! "Oh, excuse me Mr Shareholder, my just exploded LV, with that $0.5B pad/services, is now going to take 10 years instead of 5 to break even, my bad!".

And its not just CRS for WFF, you can do NASA/other institutional missions that you build the sats for. You just aren't going to do AF/NRO/etc, and those are already hard to get into, as SX is finding.

Besides the advantage of being in-house, the fact the 3.7m wide composite solid tooling will be underwritten by SLS helps a lot cost wise.  They’d still have to develop the monolithic motors out of that 3.7m tooling, but again, given how fast and inexpensively they developed Castor 30XL, I just don’t think that would be a major expense. 
That's the cheap part. Now to the 30XL - I'll grant you it's competitive. But you don't need a new pad to displace from, say a kerolox US. So your fixed costs aren't rising. Mess with the first/boosters, and you've got acoustics/overpressure/handling issues that are an issue. Also, 30XL may be at the limit for such an US - an rare ideal case from which others don't follow.

For big solids, its the transport/handling/integration/pad that are among the killers (low iSP too). We tend to forget about them with LRE because the opposite is true for them.

Specifically on the subject of Shuttle-heritage SRB segments (sizes) and "What does a new pad at CCAFS/KSC get them?"

Is there the chance to do what Ares I was doing - trains to KSC, stack in the VAB, crawler to 39B, launch from one of the (now SLS) SRB mounts over the existing SRB trench?

Basically, a mini Ares I. And I believe NASA has said they'd like to share 39B if they could.

These are facilities that NASA maintains for eventual SLS use. If Antares had to take a lion's share of those costs during SLS development, that would be a big issue. I guess it would only work on a "well, they're there anyway" basis.

And even then, I appreciate SRBs are not cheap. But there was a general cost sharing when NASA was still buying RS-25s and supporting the infrastructure that went away with the Shuttle. I guess I'm thinking of something similar for OATK and segmented SRBs: cost- and facility- sharing with SLS.

cheers, Martin
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Lars-J on 02/23/2015 07:58 PM
Fix yer' quotes!
-------------

I have not seen this discussed here, but Doug Messier on Parabolic arc wrote a story a few days ago with the following headline:
Orbital Says It Won’t Conduct Demo Flight of Upgraded Antares Rocket  http://www.parabolicarc.com/2015/02/20/orbital-wont-conduct-demo-flight-upgraded-antares-rocket/#sthash.KS339U0P.dpuf

The linked article in his piece does not mention this development, but I thought it should be noted here. Is it correct?
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Space Ghost 1962 on 02/23/2015 08:05 PM
If OrbATK wants to do anything but just CRS launches, they’ll almost certainly need to move to the Cape.  Especially if they want government payloads too.  That might be a pipe dream as you say, but they –did- state they want to.  I’m taking them at their word and speculating ways to do that.  Moving to the Cape then also means access for those 3.7m wide solid motors from Utah which Wallops doesn’t have.  So they’ll need to make that investment if they want to do anything but  CRS contracts.
They want it, but they don't risk more than they can get. And frankly they risked too much on Nk-33/AJ-26. The good - they got into the medium LV Delta II business. The bad - they couldn't maintain reliable propulsion for it.

What does a new pad at CCAFS/KSC get them? More expense, but greater launch azimuths/energy, DoD payloads, access to SC integration facilities, HSF potential. Vandenberg gets you DoD/polar for the expense. But to win those launches, you need to meet the requirements.

Keep in mind, they will never get cheaper than WFF for their immediate needs. To do those 3.7M solids, the expenses go up drastically. That first expense step up is a doozey! "Oh, excuse me Mr Shareholder, my just exploded LV, with that $0.5B pad/services, is now going to take 10 years instead of 5 to break even, my bad!".

And its not just CRS for WFF, you can do NASA/other institutional missions that you build the sats for. You just aren't going to do AF/NRO/etc, and those are already hard to get into, as SX is finding.

Besides the advantage of being in-house, the fact the 3.7m wide composite solid tooling will be underwritten by SLS helps a lot cost wise.  They’d still have to develop the monolithic motors out of that 3.7m tooling, but again, given how fast and inexpensively they developed Castor 30XL, I just don’t think that would be a major expense. 
That's the cheap part. Now to the 30XL - I'll grant you it's competitive. But you don't need a new pad to displace from, say a kerolox US. So your fixed costs aren't rising. Mess with the first/boosters, and you've got acoustics/overpressure/handling issues that are an issue. Also, 30XL may be at the limit for such an US - an rare ideal case from which others don't follow.

For big solids, its the transport/handling/integration/pad that are among the killers (low iSP too). We tend to forget about them with LRE because the opposite is true for them.

Specifically on the subject of Shuttle-heritage SRB segments (sizes) and "What does a new pad at CCAFS/KSC get them?"

Is there the chance to do what Ares I was doing - trains to KSC, stack in the VAB, crawler to 39B, launch from one of the (now SLS) SRB mounts over the existing SRB trench?

As long as they pay for it, in theory yes.

Quote


Basically, a mini Ares I. And I believe NASA has said they'd like to share 39B if they could.

These are facilities that NASA maintains for eventual SLS use. If Antares had to take a lion's share of those costs during SLS development, that would be a big issue. I guess it would only work on a "well, they're there anyway" basis.

In theory when SLS doesn't need it.

Quote
And even then, I appreciate SRBs are not cheap. But there was a general cost sharing when NASA was still buying RS-25s and supporting the infrastructure that went away with the Shuttle. I guess I'm thinking of something similar for OATK and segmented SRBs: cost- and facility- sharing with SLS.

cheers, Martin
Keep in mind all of it is expensive and never designed to function cost effective in that capacity.

Also, such hybrid govt/"commercial" will compromise operations/logistics/other. So if a trillion dollar govt program gets any risk/threat from a fraction of a billion "commercial" "launchpad share", how do you think that works out? Govt goes first. Same is true on the economic decisions.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: rayleighscatter on 02/23/2015 08:33 PM
Orbital ATK announced recently that a hotfire would likely take place in January 2016, and a launch in March 2016.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Lobo on 02/24/2015 07:57 PM
 


What I mean is that the logistics cycle for the Shuttle SRB's was very different than an Antares with two stacked monolithic 3.7m composite motors would be.
Keep in mind the separate use cases are very different. The burn profile, sidemount vs inline, handling, segment lifetime (humidity). It is not easy repurposing solid segments for one with the other. Also the timelines for launch campaigns for both are very different.


Well, this whole concept is predicated on the idea that the STS Advanced booster casings would be suitable for use as monolithics without any major changes.  Otherwise the whole concept sort of falls apart.  Although, I suppose it really depends on how hard it is to make different length composite casings with possibly different wall thicknesses, once the SLS contract paid for the equipment needed to make the 3.7m wide casings.  Could be that once that is in place, making 3.7m wide casings of various lengths or thicknesses  would be a minor thing.  I don’t know enough about it to know if making them any different than the exact SLS booster spec would be notable cost or not.


I'm not expert in composites, but as far as I know, there's not much different in making small diameter casings vs. big ones. 
Not quite true. BTW Kabloona is an expert in this area. If, however, you suggest to him "playing with the recipe" in any way for solids, he'll dig in his heels and fight you to the bitter end.

The "recipe" can affect reliability. Experts don't want to risk wrecking this. Among other things, it undercuts their expertise, not unlike AJ-26 exploding makes Aerojet look bad.


Well, the way I imagine it would be that SLS pays for the equipment to mold composites into 3.7m wide casings, the propellant mix (I think they are still playing with that?), and whatever is used to “pour” the propellant into the casings and cure it. 
If wanting to make a monolithic motor out of such a case, I don’t know that you are playing with the “recipe”.  You’d use the same mix of propellants, but have a different “pour” to get it’s burn profile, thrust, etc where you’d want them for a Solid Antares.  Whatever is different about that (which I don’t really know) would be what OrbATK would pick up out of pocket.  As well as testing that motor separately.  I can’t see that that would be as large as an expense for OrbATK as domestically sourcing a liquid core and engine.  If they plan to use the Ukrainian core and Russian engine indefinitely, that’s obviously not going to require any new development, but then Antares will be always subject to the political winds of Russian and Ukraine, the former which has finally gotten ULA to make a change of action.  Antares will need a high energy upper stage if they want to play in the EELV/BLEO market.  So that’s a push whether they went solid or stayed Ukrainian/Russian liquid. 


Well my main point here is not that a new pad at the Cape would be cheaper than WFF.  You are right, they will never get cheaper than WFF and it meets their CRS needs.  But that's about all it will ever do.

Not true - listen to my past posts on this specifically.

They can do "good enough" SSO / GTO, even limited deep space for NASA, NOAA, etc, as well as commercial. They can't do DoD / NRO, but then neither can SpaceX or anyone else for that matter.


Ahhh.  Ok, that would make more sense to stay liquid then if they decided not to compete in DoD/NRO at all, and just upgraded Antares enough to better do SSO/GTO for other customers.   Like I think SpaceX’s original business plan was with Falcon 5 and Falcon 9. 
It didn’t realize WFF was “good enough”.

But, if OA does want to go after DoD/NRO as they said…if they are serious about it…they’ll need to move to the Cape, and need a new pad there.  At which time maybe a solid booster gets looked at.  Especially if in the mean time they were to develop a hydrolox upper stage for Antares that could be then used for a solid Antares. 
They pretty much need a hydrolox upper stage if they want to do non DoD SSO/STO out of WFF, don’t they?



My point is that, if they want to pursue other payloads than CRS (and they've said they do), they'll most likely have to move to the Cape.  Even if they keep Antares as is, they'd need to redo everything they have at WFF at a location at the Cape.  If they want USAF/DoD payloads, they'll need a way to vertically integrate the payload.  That means some sort of MSS on the pad is it looks like SpaceX will do, or an Atlas or Titan like VIF.  Once you are in to it to that extent...if you wanted to switch to a different engine/core, then would be the time.  Wouldn't you agree?
To all yes. I think the plan was to get into Delta II alongside F9 1.0 . Then after CRS and a few NASA/"commercial", rebuild a former Delta II LC at CCAFS and VBG.


Hmmm…But I thought the Delta II LC at CCAFS was slated to be retired and not activated again due to it’s proximity to populace to the south there?  Could they have gotten into the Delta II LC there?
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Lobo on 02/24/2015 09:48 PM
Orbital ATK announced recently that a hotfire would likely take place in January 2016, and a launch in March 2016.

That's pretty quick.  Hopefully all goes well for them so they can get Cygnus back on their own bird.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: russianhalo117 on 02/25/2015 05:18 PM


What I mean is that the logistics cycle for the Shuttle SRB's was very different than an Antares with two stacked monolithic 3.7m composite motors would be.
Keep in mind the separate use cases are very different. The burn profile, sidemount vs inline, handling, segment lifetime (humidity). It is not easy repurposing solid segments for one with the other. Also the timelines for launch campaigns for both are very different.


Well, this whole concept is predicated on the idea that the STS Advanced booster casings would be suitable for use as monolithics without any major changes.  Otherwise the whole concept sort of falls apart.  Although, I suppose it really depends on how hard it is to make different length composite casings with possibly different wall thicknesses, once the SLS contract paid for the equipment needed to make the 3.7m wide casings.  Could be that once that is in place, making 3.7m wide casings of various lengths or thicknesses  would be a minor thing.  I don’t know enough about it to know if making them any different than the exact SLS booster spec would be notable cost or not.


I'm not expert in composites, but as far as I know, there's not much different in making small diameter casings vs. big ones. 
Not quite true. BTW Kabloona is an expert in this area. If, however, you suggest to him "playing with the recipe" in any way for solids, he'll dig in his heels and fight you to the bitter end.

The "recipe" can affect reliability. Experts don't want to risk wrecking this. Among other things, it undercuts their expertise, not unlike AJ-26 exploding makes Aerojet look bad.


Well, the way I imagine it would be that SLS pays for the equipment to mold composites into 3.7m wide casings, the propellant mix (I think they are still playing with that?), and whatever is used to “pour” the propellant into the casings and cure it. 
If wanting to make a monolithic motor out of such a case, I don’t know that you are playing with the “recipe”.  You’d use the same mix of propellants, but have a different “pour” to get it’s burn profile, thrust, etc where you’d want them for a Solid Antares.  Whatever is different about that (which I don’t really know) would be what OrbATK would pick up out of pocket.  As well as testing that motor separately.  I can’t see that that would be as large as an expense for OrbATK as domestically sourcing a liquid core and engine.  If they plan to use the Ukrainian core and Russian engine indefinitely, that’s obviously not going to require any new development, but then Antares will be always subject to the political winds of Russian and Ukraine, the former which has finally gotten ULA to make a change of action.  Antares will need a high energy upper stage if they want to play in the EELV/BLEO market.  So that’s a push whether they went solid or stayed Ukrainian/Russian liquid. 


Well my main point here is not that a new pad at the Cape would be cheaper than WFF.  You are right, they will never get cheaper than WFF and it meets their CRS needs.  But that's about all it will ever do.

Not true - listen to my past posts on this specifically.

They can do "good enough" SSO / GTO, even limited deep space for NASA, NOAA, etc, as well as commercial. They can't do DoD / NRO, but then neither can SpaceX or anyone else for that matter.


Ahhh.  Ok, that would make more sense to stay liquid then if they decided not to compete in DoD/NRO at all, and just upgraded Antares enough to better do SSO/GTO for other customers.   Like I think SpaceX’s original business plan was with Falcon 5 and Falcon 9. 
It didn’t realize WFF was “good enough”.

But, if OA does want to go after DoD/NRO as they said…if they are serious about it…they’ll need to move to the Cape, and need a new pad there.  At which time maybe a solid booster gets looked at.  Especially if in the mean time they were to develop a hydrolox upper stage for Antares that could be then used for a solid Antares. 
They pretty much need a hydrolox upper stage if they want to do non DoD SSO/STO out of WFF, don’t they?



My point is that, if they want to pursue other payloads than CRS (and they've said they do), they'll most likely have to move to the Cape.  Even if they keep Antares as is, they'd need to redo everything they have at WFF at a location at the Cape.  If they want USAF/DoD payloads, they'll need a way to vertically integrate the payload.  That means some sort of MSS on the pad is it looks like SpaceX will do, or an Atlas or Titan like VIF.  Once you are in to it to that extent...if you wanted to switch to a different engine/core, then would be the time.  Wouldn't you agree?
To all yes. I think the plan was to get into Delta II alongside F9 1.0 . Then after CRS and a few NASA/"commercial", rebuild a former Delta II LC at CCAFS and VBG.


Hmmm…But I thought the Delta II LC at CCAFS was slated to be retired and not activated again due to it’s proximity to populace to the south there?  Could they have gotten into the Delta II LC there?

yes to the latter two questions at the end.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Space Ghost 1962 on 02/25/2015 07:08 PM
Orbital ATK announced recently that a hotfire would likely take place in January 2016, and a launch in March 2016.

That's pretty quick.  Hopefully all goes well for them so they can get Cygnus back on their own bird.

RD-193 is a "plug compatible" for NK-33. RD-181 is almost the same for 2x AJ-26 "for export only" product.

Now the real question you should be asking is ... does hotfire at WFF pad constitute adequate testing prior to first flight? Or are we ... perish the thought ... into "launch fever'.  Nah - only happens to them upstarts - don't they know they're not part of the club ...
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: arachnitect on 02/25/2015 07:11 PM
Orbital ATK announced recently that a hotfire would likely take place in January 2016, and a launch in March 2016.

That's pretty quick.  Hopefully all goes well for them so they can get Cygnus back on their own bird.

RD-193 is a "plug compatible" for NK-33. RD-181 is almost the same for 2x AJ-26 "for export only" product.

Now the real question you should be asking is ... does hotfire at WFF pad constitute adequate testing prior to first flight? Or are we ... perish the thought ... into "launch fever'.  Nah - only happens to them upstarts - don't they know they're not part of the club ...

Engines will be test fired in Russia.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Space Ghost 1962 on 02/25/2015 07:15 PM
Orbital ATK announced recently that a hotfire would likely take place in January 2016, and a launch in March 2016.

That's pretty quick.  Hopefully all goes well for them so they can get Cygnus back on their own bird.

RD-193 is a "plug compatible" for NK-33. RD-181 is almost the same for 2x AJ-26 "for export only" product.

Now the real question you should be asking is ... does hotfire at WFF pad constitute adequate testing prior to first flight? Or are we ... perish the thought ... into "launch fever'.  Nah - only happens to them upstarts - don't they know they're not part of the club ...

Engines will be test fired in Russia.
Like the NK-33's were. And the "AJ-26" was at Stennis.  Which failed in some cases. As did Antares 130. Oops.

add:
If I have to be pedantic again to appear to get the point across to wishful thinkers of both old/young, experienced/not ... the issue here is that there is a longstanding issue of potentially insufficient "due care", "diligence", or  "attention to duty" - depending on which walk of life you'd roll it up under.

From what I've seen, there's a lot of issues being caught at the stage level in Texas, and the level of testing necessary to prove engine/stage reliability, as well as explaining past failures bugs me.

It also bothers me that there's a lack of attention to detail across the board for various reasons, and in these environments we don't look issues face on - which leads to repeats. This is true for all providers equally.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Kim Keller on 02/25/2015 07:28 PM
Hmmm…But I thought the Delta II LC at CCAFS was slated to be retired and not activated again due to it’s proximity to populace to the south there?  Could they have gotten into the Delta II LC there?

yes to the latter two questions at the end.

The range facilities maps I've seen indicate that anything south of SLC-36 and -46 is a keep-out zone - no more active launch complexes.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: arachnitect on 02/25/2015 07:29 PM
Orbital ATK announced recently that a hotfire would likely take place in January 2016, and a launch in March 2016.

That's pretty quick.  Hopefully all goes well for them so they can get Cygnus back on their own bird.

RD-193 is a "plug compatible" for NK-33. RD-181 is almost the same for 2x AJ-26 "for export only" product.

Now the real question you should be asking is ... does hotfire at WFF pad constitute adequate testing prior to first flight? Or are we ... perish the thought ... into "launch fever'.  Nah - only happens to them upstarts - don't they know they're not part of the club ...

Engines will be test fired in Russia.
Like the NK-33's were. And the "AJ-26" was at Stennis.  Which failed in some cases. As did Antares 130. Oops.

So what are you proposing they should do? The divergent fortunes of RD-180 and AJ-26 suggest that inspecting and test firing engines in the US is the opposite of helpful.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Space Ghost 1962 on 02/25/2015 07:59 PM
Orbital ATK announced recently that a hotfire would likely take place in January 2016, and a launch in March 2016.

That's pretty quick.  Hopefully all goes well for them so they can get Cygnus back on their own bird.

RD-193 is a "plug compatible" for NK-33. RD-181 is almost the same for 2x AJ-26 "for export only" product.

Now the real question you should be asking is ... does hotfire at WFF pad constitute adequate testing prior to first flight? Or are we ... perish the thought ... into "launch fever'.  Nah - only happens to them upstarts - don't they know they're not part of the club ...

Engines will be test fired in Russia.
Like the NK-33's were. And the "AJ-26" was at Stennis.  Which failed in some cases. As did Antares 130. Oops.

So what are you proposing they should do? The divergent fortunes of RD-180 and AJ-26 suggest that inspecting and test firing engines in the US is the opposite of helpful.

Full up, full duration stage test.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: baldusi on 02/25/2015 08:48 PM
Like the NK-33's were. And the "AJ-26" was at Stennis.  Which failed in some cases. As did Antares 130. Oops.

add:
If I have to be pedantic again to appear to get the point across to wishful thinkers of both old/young, experienced/not ... the issue here is that there is a longstanding issue of potentially insufficient "due care", "diligence", or  "attention to duty" - depending on which walk of life you'd roll it up under.

From what I've seen, there's a lot of issues being caught at the stage level in Texas, and the level of testing necessary to prove engine/stage reliability, as well as explaining past failures bugs me.

It also bothers me that there's a lack of attention to detail across the board for various reasons, and in these environments we don't look issues face on - which leads to repeats. This is true for all providers equally.
NK-33 were the second rocket of an aircraft turbine manufacturer, and the first reusable one (the NK-15 was single use, i.e. you couldn't test accept them), designed and built in the early 70s with basically no one alive that had designed them. The RD-181 is the latest in the line of the RD-170/180/191/193 family, with a lot of experience, modern design techniques, cohesive team and its an underrated version of more powerful engines. NPO Energomash might be many things, but right now, they are probably the top rocket engine designed in the world. In the kerosene camp, they have no contestant.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Space Ghost 1962 on 02/25/2015 11:15 PM
Like the NK-33's were. And the "AJ-26" was at Stennis.  Which failed in some cases. As did Antares 130. Oops.

add:
If I have to be pedantic again to appear to get the point across to wishful thinkers of both old/young, experienced/not ... the issue here is that there is a longstanding issue of potentially insufficient "due care", "diligence", or  "attention to duty" - depending on which walk of life you'd roll it up under.

From what I've seen, there's a lot of issues being caught at the stage level in Texas, and the level of testing necessary to prove engine/stage reliability, as well as explaining past failures bugs me.

It also bothers me that there's a lack of attention to detail across the board for various reasons, and in these environments we don't look issues face on - which leads to repeats. This is true for all providers equally.
NK-33 were the second rocket engine of an aircraft turbine manufacturer, and the first reusable one (the NK-15 was single use, i.e. you couldn't test accept them), designed and built in the early 70s with basically no one alive that had designed them.

They were still alive in the 90's when Kistler selected them. Well aware of them (and chain of custody so to speak).
Biggest issue from the beginning has been testing and understanding results. ORSC is always "on the edge".

The RD-181 is the latest in the line of the RD-170/180/191/193 family, with a lot of experience, modern design techniques, cohesive team and its an underrated version of more powerful engines. NPO Energomash might be many things, but right now, they are probably the top rocket engine designed in the world. In the kerosene camp, they have no contestant.

I'm skeptical of this claim for a very technical reason. You need a minimum number of engines tested & flown to maintain "proficiency" for ORSC. A significant advantage for Energomash has been the RD-171/RD-180 consumption path, which may be dropping with lack of Zenit/Atlas launches. It is unclear to me that for RD-191/RD-181/RD-193 this is applicable, for specific dependencies and going forward post RD-180 conclusion.

So never impugning Energomash or implying a better source. Simply respecting the unique charms of this application of coatings to allow ORSC, and its process limitations.

And its more than just engine test, but integration into the stage, and test of the stage as a system. Am skeptical of accepted Russian/other practice of flight test in place of stage test on test stand. With a stage on a test stand, you can more fully instrument a test article to prove propulsion for the lifetime of the stage.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Antares on 02/27/2015 04:02 PM
Stage test does nothing for engines.  If you're concerned about engines, run them on a test stand.  Stage test is about verifying structural, thermal and fluid analysis.  Duration does nothing for that as long as it's long enough to cover the operating box.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Space Ghost 1962 on 02/27/2015 05:41 PM
Stage test does nothing for engines.  If you're concerned about engines, run them on a test stand.  Stage test is about verifying structural, thermal and fluid analysis. 
Concern regarding engine nothing to do with stage test - purely limits as stated.

Concern about stage test has to do with provoking failure in use case, by effectively synthesizing more "launches" with instrumented vehicle, which may result also in engine failures, which all of this you know so I don't understand why I am even having to say this. Clearly the Antares failure justifies this.

The advantage of a stage test over a launch, naturally, is to have the instruments "bounds check" the process, so that you can shut down the test BEFORE it goes wrong, unlike at launch. This is also SUPPOSED TO BE TRUE for engine tests, like an AJ-26 at Stennis - you're not supposed to have the kind of accidents that have happened.

But these engines are very unique in how they function. Very temperamental thoroughbreds, with very particular traits.

The problems with stage tests are that it isn't flight, and that it requires a costly facility.

By the way, its not just Antares I'm on about here. SX should be testing US in a vacuum test facility too. And NGLV also needs a stage test too.

Quote
Duration does nothing for that as long as it's long enough to cover the operating box.

Duration and repetition allow you to catch things not in the box. If things are failing, either the box is wrong and needs to be fixed, or we need to discover more to find the right box - however you wish to semantically address it.

My top level issue is that we have a gap in testing across the board.  Am I communicating?

add: missed a point in my frustration to reply.

add:

Also I've been watching the effects of stage testing with F9 iterations catch issues. Have always felt we've been too close to the edge in this area. What I've like about this latest exploration of stage reuse phase is that we are discovering more about component and system failures of propulsion.

Perhaps we were too narrow to predict accurately the effectiveness of our designs.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Robotbeat on 03/01/2015 02:34 AM
...
It could be that Orbital wasn't interested in losing money.  It might be that there's little, or no, profit to be gained launching commercial satellites, given the Non-laissez-faire market at work in that business segment.  Going after that handful of payloads are SpaceX, Arianespace, and ILS/Proton, and soon others.  (Arianespace recently beat SpaceX in winning two payloads, after it slashed its prices.)  All are supported or outright subsidized in some way by government funds, overtly or otherwise....
I agree with you until that point. Launching government payloads doesn't automatically mean you're "supported" by government funds (the implication being that it's a kind of subsidy). By that argument, just about every business is gov't supported because the govt buys products from them.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: John-H on 03/01/2015 04:29 AM
...
It could be that Orbital wasn't interested in losing money.  It might be that there's little, or no, profit to be gained launching commercial satellites, given the Non-laissez-faire market at work in that business segment.  Going after that handful of payloads are SpaceX, Arianespace, and ILS/Proton, and soon others.  (Arianespace recently beat SpaceX in winning two payloads, after it slashed its prices.)  All are supported or outright subsidized in some way by government funds, overtly or otherwise....
I agree with you until that point. Launching government payloads doesn't automatically mean you're "supported" by government funds (the implication being that it's a kind of subsidy). By that argument, just about every business is gov't supported because the govt buys products from them.

In any business where your costs go down with volume, having more customers can decrease your prices and "support" the business. This doesn't even consider the case where one customer provides a lot of the volume, or where one customer pays higher prices.

John
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: rayleighscatter on 03/03/2015 08:45 PM
Testing of the RD-181 next month. First engines expected to be delivered for assembly in June.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: spacenut on 03/10/2015 06:36 PM
So what is the orbital LEO payload ability of two stacked composite solid sections for first stage, with the existing solid upper stage to replace Antares?  I know it might not happen unless the infrastructure is built, but anything can happen.  Just wondering if the capability would be good enough to go head to head with ULA and SpaceX. 
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Lobo on 03/10/2015 08:57 PM
So what is the orbital LEO payload ability of two stacked composite solid sections for first stage, with the existing solid upper stage to replace Antares?  I know it might not happen unless the infrastructure is built, but anything can happen.  Just wondering if the capability would be good enough to go head to head with ULA and SpaceX.

Ed Kyle ran some numbers here:

http://www.spacelaunchreport.com/santares.html

And here back up thread:

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=32903.msg1191231#msg1191231

He did another somewhere that I think has info for two identical SLS composite segments stacked on top of each other as individual motors, but I can't find where it is at the moment.

Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: quanthasaquality on 03/11/2015 01:33 AM
I liked the idea of the Antares rocket using less proven and reliable rocket engines, like the nk-33, to send cheap payloads to the ISS. The rd-181 comes from a well established rocket engine family. I'd like to see Antares use the new kerosene staged combustion engine from China, an early BE-4 engine, Ukrainian rd-120k, a South Korean, or an Iranian rocket engine. Yes, the Indian Vikas engine is now too proven.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: ChrisWilson68 on 03/11/2015 06:01 AM
I liked the idea of the Antares rocket using less proven and reliable rocket engines, like the nk-33, to send cheap payloads to the ISS. The rd-181 comes from a well established rocket engine family. I'd like to see Antares use the new kerosene staged combustion engine from China, an early BE-4 engine, Ukrainian rd-120k, a South Korean, or an Iranian rocket engine. Yes, the Indian Vikas engine is now too proven.

That would be good for China, Blue Origin, Ukraine, South Korea, Iran, and India, respectively, but not good for OrbitalATK.  I'm also really curious why you would like to see supplies to the ISS get less reliable in order for Iran get better at making rocket engines.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: notsorandom on 03/11/2015 12:10 PM
Yes, the Indian Vikas engine is now too proven.
Certainly, and it has heritage from the very successful Viking engines of the Ariane 1-4. Likely the most relyable engine you listed. However it is a gas generator engine using the hypergolic combination of  N2O4/UH 25. Were Antares to be modified to use it would need four of the engines, and suffer a large performance loss. The whole first stage would need a significant redesign to use the different fuel and oxidizer. At this point it would basically be a new rocket. There would also be the issue of using toxic propellants, especially now since the last one blew up right over the pad.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: baldusi on 03/11/2015 01:00 PM
I liked the idea of the Antares rocket using less proven and reliable rocket engines, like the nk-33, to send cheap payloads to the ISS. The rd-181 comes from a well established rocket engine family. I'd like to see Antares use the new kerosene staged combustion engine from China, an early BE-4 engine, Ukrainian rd-120k, a South Korean, or an Iranian rocket engine. Yes, the Indian Vikas engine is now too proven.
RD-120K is an NPO Energomash development (the same designer of the RD-170/180). The RD-120 is also designed by NPO Energomash but built under license by the Ukranian Yuzhmash. They did had a project to develop a new engines based on that same technology, the RD-801 (http://www.yuzhnoye.com/en/technique/rocket-engines/marching/rd-801/) and RD-810 (http://www.yuzhnoye.com/en/technique/rocket-engines/marching/rd-810/) projects.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: gongora on 05/04/2015 10:03 PM
So Spaceflight Now added Orb-5 to the launch schedule, and it says the launch site is Baikonur.  I'd assume that's a typo?
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Kabloona on 05/04/2015 10:41 PM
So Spaceflight Now added Orb-5 to the launch schedule, and it says the launch site is Baikonur.  I'd assume that's a typo?

Must be a cut/paste error. The rest of the info seems correct.

Quote
The rocket will fly in the Antares 230 configuration, with two RD-181 first stage engines and a Castor 30XL second stage.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: a_langwich on 05/17/2015 05:17 AM
This has probably previously been discussed somewhere, but what if OrbATK were to design attachment points for solids on the Antares first stage?  Say, six of them, and say, about the size of the Atlas V solids...would the Antares first stage be about as capable as an Atlas V first stage, or approach Vulcan first stage numbers?

OrbATK could probably find some personnel who knew a thing or two about solids.

If SpaceX is pushing Dragons, Dragons, Everywhere as landers, then it seems OrbitalATK would like to push Cygnus, Cygnus Everywhere as in-space habitation and exploration and delivery modules.  And beyond LEO, it would be nice if Antares had more heft.  Even in LEO, it would be nice if Antares could support some beefier Cygnus variants.

Antares' upper stage doesn't really have the Isp for higher energy destinations, but it seems likely that if ULA down-selects between Aerojet Rocketdyne, Xcor, and Blue Origin for Vulcan's upper stage engine, that leaves two upper stage engine designs looking for a home...
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Zed_Noir on 05/17/2015 02:27 PM
This has probably previously been discussed somewhere, but what if OrbATK were to design attachment points for solids on the Antares first stage?  Say, six of them, and say, about the size of the Atlas V solids...would the Antares first stage be about as capable as an Atlas V first stage, or approach Vulcan first stage numbers?

OrbATK could probably find some personnel who knew a thing or two about solids.

If SpaceX is pushing Dragons, Dragons, Everywhere as landers, then it seems OrbitalATK would like to push Cygnus, Cygnus Everywhere as in-space habitation and exploration and delivery modules.  And beyond LEO, it would be nice if Antares had more heft.  Even in LEO, it would be nice if Antares could support some beefier Cygnus variants.

Antares' upper stage doesn't really have the Isp for higher energy destinations, but it seems likely that if ULA down-selects between Aerojet Rocketdyne, Xcor, and Blue Origin for Vulcan's upper stage engine, that leaves two upper stage engine designs looking for a home...

Since OrbitalATK get their Zenit heritage cores from Ukraine. AIUI the Antares core is not design for any attached solid boosters. You need to redesign and re-certified a new core with strapped-on solid boosters option along with new manufacturing processes and vertical vehicle integration.
 
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: notsorandom on 05/18/2015 03:12 PM
The original concept design for Antares had one AJ-26 with SRBs but the two engine design offered better performance and cost. The core doesn't have the ability to mount boosters and I am not sure if the pad can handle them. There is a little bit of uncertainty with the Ukrainian built tanks. The Zenit programs and other rockets the factory produced have been canceled leaving an uncertain financial outlook. OrbATK has stated that they have a domestically produced backup plan. If that ends up being used then they might do a bit of a redesign to include SRBs. However nothing is known about the back up plan other than that it exists. It may never be needed either.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: edkyle99 on 05/18/2015 03:29 PM
The original concept design for Antares had one AJ-26 with SRBs but the two engine design offered better performance and cost.
I've never heard that.  Antonio told us it was two NK-33 type engines from the outset, although I'm sure that Orbital evaluated many alternatives before making that choice.

 - Ed Kyle
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: baldusi on 05/18/2015 04:25 PM
The original concept design for Antares had one AJ-26 with SRBs but the two engine design offered better performance and cost.
I've never heard that.  Antonio told us it was two NK-33 type engines from the outset, although I'm sure that Orbital evaluated many alternatives before making that choice.

 - Ed Kyle
Let me put my OrbitalATK hat for a while. They have this running line for GEM-60. And they didn't had any reason to go with solids before, but now this means an extra revenue source. So it does looks nice. But here comes the kicker: current Antares pad flow (and pad!) are incompatible with solids. So, if they ever plan for a new LV, they will have the incentives to go that route. But for now, RD-181 is the only first stage propulsion. What I would expect them to do is a Castor 30XLB. That should enable them to squeeze a bit more performance out of the enlarged first stage. And they might move the fairing production in house.
The only issue I see is that apparently, NASA is thinking of trying to keep cargo missions "small", rather than big. The logistic pains of a failure of a big cargo shipment is apparently quite high. And in that sense, it hits Cygnus (and Jupiter) hardest. The nice thing of Cygnus is its very ample volume, and with the right vehicle, it could handle a lot of cargo. A SuperCygnus on a 401 should be able to do 4 tonnes of cargo easily, if not 5. But such a loss whould entail one third of the yearly USOS shipment.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: notsorandom on 05/18/2015 05:09 PM
The original concept design for Antares had one AJ-26 with SRBs but the two engine design offered better performance and cost.
I've never heard that.  Antonio told us it was two NK-33 type engines from the outset, although I'm sure that Orbital evaluated many alternatives before making that choice.

 - Ed Kyle
Found it! I remember reading this way back when. Also speaks to the viability pad wise.

That is currently the plan.  Yes, 0B will require a lot of mods, but so will any pad at CCASF or VAFB... we checked them all!  Liquid propellant sotrage tanks being the simgle biggest mod everywhere.

While, yes, Taurus II has more thrust than anything that has been launched from it (by the way, the Ray Crough picture I posted in the posting above is precisely at pad 0B!!!) the mods are less violent that the ones that would have been required had we gone with the original T II "single NK-33/at least two SRB's" configuration due to a) the wider "stance" of the 2-SRB configuration and b) the more energetic and damaging plume of the solids.  However, adapting the transporter-erector to the 01B geometry is actually harder than is the case for the CCAFS and VAFB pads.  You can't win everything...
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: rayleighscatter on 06/01/2015 04:46 PM
First two flight engines complete. First engine has gone through 7 test firings in 2 months completing acceptance testing, second engine starts testing this week.

Pad work expected to be complete in September

First stage modifications on existing cores on schedule

March 2016 expected date of first launch with one month existing schedule margin.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: FutureSpaceTourist on 06/02/2015 03:31 PM
Spaceflightnow write up of the current status of RD-181 development:

http://spaceflightnow.com/2015/06/01/rd-181-engines-prepared-for-shipment-to-u-s/ (http://spaceflightnow.com/2015/06/01/rd-181-engines-prepared-for-shipment-to-u-s/)

Quote
The first pair of RD-181 rocket engines set to launch on Orbital ATK’s redesigned Antares rocket are in the final stages of acceptance testing in Russia ahead of their export to the United States in early July, officials said.

The RD-181 engine completed its certification program May 7 with the last of seven hotfire tests in Russia, according to NPO Energomash of Khimki, Russia, the engine’s manufacturer.

[...]
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Lars-J on 06/11/2015 11:55 PM
First two flight engines complete. First engine has gone through 7 test firings in 2 months completing acceptance testing, second engine starts testing this week.

Pad work expected to be complete in September

First stage modifications on existing cores on schedule

March 2016 expected date of first launch with one month existing schedule margin.

Are they going to test fire these engines themselves at Stennis? Or simply accept then as-is?
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Kabloona on 06/12/2015 12:05 AM
First two flight engines complete. First engine has gone through 7 test firings in 2 months completing acceptance testing, second engine starts testing this week.

Pad work expected to be complete in September

First stage modifications on existing cores on schedule

March 2016 expected date of first launch with one month existing schedule margin.

Are they going to test fire these engines themselves at Stennis? Or simply accept then as-is?

Energomash is doing the acceptance test firings, after which the engines will be shipped to the States and integrated with the vehicle.

Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: arachnitect on 06/12/2015 03:27 AM
First two flight engines complete. First engine has gone through 7 test firings in 2 months completing acceptance testing, second engine starts testing this week.

Pad work expected to be complete in September

First stage modifications on existing cores on schedule

March 2016 expected date of first launch with one month existing schedule margin.

Are they going to test fire these engines themselves at Stennis? Or simply accept then as-is?

Energomash is doing the acceptance test firings, after which the engines will be shipped to the States and integrated with the vehicle.



At one point they were talking about doing a hot fire on the pad. Don't know if that's still planned.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: rayleighscatter on 06/12/2015 03:56 AM
Talk of a January hot-fire on the pad still turns up.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: quanthasaquality on 06/25/2015 03:10 AM
Copy the nk-33 engine, and use the copy on several flights of the Antares rocket, before using it on an 'Atlas VI' rocket. The nk-33's predecessor, the nk-15, recieved lots of development for the N-1 moon rocket. The Antares supply missions to the ISS are a good way to flight test a rocket engine. If an engine fails, the cost of failure is low. The Antares launch pad is cheap to fix. The first stage tanks are cheap. The ATK solid upper stage is cheap. The supplies to the ISS are cheap.

The uprated nk-33s, will produce ~333 tons of thrust sl, versus the ~400 tons of thrust of the rd-180. It will also have a lower isp, 297 nk-33, vs 311 rd-180. But, solid rocket boosters can compensate for lower performance.

I argue that the nk-33 engine is easier to build, for a nation inexperienced in oxygen rich hydrocarbon staged combustion engines, than the rd-180. The upgraded nk-33 has a lower chamber pressure around ~155 bar, versus the ~250 bar of the rd-180. The rd-170 also took a decade for the Soviet Union to develop, in spite of already having the experience of developing the nk-33.

Aerojet has looked at the nk-33 for over a decade, with 4 successful flights, and analyzing the Antares failure will reveal even more about the nk-33. The United States still has over 20 nk-33s in stock. Even more engines remain in Russian hands. Gradually, different nk-33 parts could be developed, and flown, until an engine made entirely from American parts is flown. Saddam followed that strategy in copying the s2.720 engine.

I don't know how much of a copy the AR-1 is of the NK-33.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: arachnitect on 06/25/2015 07:01 PM
Copy the nk-33 engine, and use the copy on several flights of the Antares rocket, before using it on an 'Atlas VI' rocket. The nk-33's predecessor, the nk-15, recieved lots of development for the N-1 moon rocket. The Antares supply missions to the ISS are a good way to flight test a rocket engine. If an engine fails, the cost of failure is low. The Antares launch pad is cheap to fix. The first stage tanks are cheap. The ATK solid upper stage is cheap. The supplies to the ISS are cheap.

The uprated nk-33s, will produce ~333 tons of thrust sl, versus the ~400 tons of thrust of the rd-180. It will also have a lower isp, 297 nk-33, vs 311 rd-180. But, solid rocket boosters can compensate for lower performance.

I argue that the nk-33 engine is easier to build, for a nation inexperienced in oxygen rich hydrocarbon staged combustion engines, than the rd-180. The upgraded nk-33 has a lower chamber pressure around ~155 bar, versus the ~250 bar of the rd-180. The rd-170 also took a decade for the Soviet Union to develop, in spite of already having the experience of developing the nk-33.

Aerojet has looked at the nk-33 for over a decade, with 4 successful flights, and analyzing the Antares failure will reveal even more about the nk-33. The United States still has over 20 nk-33s in stock. Even more engines remain in Russian hands. Gradually, different nk-33 parts could be developed, and flown, until an engine made entirely from American parts is flown. Saddam followed that strategy in copying the s2.720 engine.

I don't know how much of a copy the AR-1 is of the NK-33.

I think any proposal to take an NK engine and run it closer to the margins is going to be a tough sell these days.

OrbATK maintains that the NK designs have been shown to be fundamentally unreliable.

Don't know exactly how AR-1 is setup, but I think it's actually closer to the RD series than the NK engines.

Interesting point about chamber pressures though, I don't know what the targets are for AR-1, BE-4, etc.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: edkyle99 on 06/25/2015 07:19 PM
Copy the nk-33 engine ...
Unlicensed copy invites giant international lawsuit.  Gencorp won't.

 - Ed Kyle
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: quanthasaquality on 06/26/2015 04:06 AM

I think any proposal to take an NK engine and run it closer to the margins is going to be a tough sell these days.

OrbATK maintains that the NK designs have been shown to be fundamentally unreliable.

Don't know exactly how AR-1 is setup, but I think it's actually closer to the RD series than the NK engines.

Interesting point about chamber pressures though, I don't know what the targets are for AR-1, BE-4, etc.

I figure nk-33 copy would gradually have its chamber pressure, and thrust, increased, like the Merlin 1 engine has been.

Some stories have mentioned cracking from age. In fact: 
http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2014/05/antares-aj-26-engine-fails-stennis-testing/
I figured it was age of the engines, and maybe Soviet workmanship...

I wonder if the N-1 rocket could have become a reliable rocket if the Soviet Union had put in more time and money.

As for lawsuits, how is Russia going to collect money from a refusing United States? I could see a royalty of a few million dollars per engine negotiated. Besides, the war in the Ukraine probably costs millions of dollars a day. All those Ukrainians and Russians, whom could be building rockets instead...
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: hkultala on 06/26/2015 04:52 AM

I think any proposal to take an NK engine and run it closer to the margins is going to be a tough sell these days.

OrbATK maintains that the NK designs have been shown to be fundamentally unreliable.

Don't know exactly how AR-1 is setup, but I think it's actually closer to the RD series than the NK engines.

Interesting point about chamber pressures though, I don't know what the targets are for AR-1, BE-4, etc.

I figure nk-33 copy would gradually have its chamber pressure, and thrust, increased, like the Merlin 1 engine has been.


Merlin 1 was built with huger margins, the starting point was a very low-performance engine.

NK-33 was built with much smaller margins, the starting point was a high-performance engine.

Or actually, the starting point was the NK-15 and NK-33 is the version with the thrust and pressure already increased.

Quote
Some stories have mentioned cracking from age. In fact: 
http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2014/05/antares-aj-26-engine-fails-stennis-testing/
I figured it was age of the engines, and maybe Soviet workmanship...

What about juts because of the margins whre thin to make it worlds highest-performance kerosine engine?

Quote
I wonder if the N-1 rocket could have become a reliable rocket if the Soviet Union had put in more time and money.

No, Steering by throttling and the complexity of the piping made it unreliable by design.

Steering by throttling prevented effective engine-out capasity, and with such huge number of engines the reliability would have to based on engine-out capasity.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: quanthasaquality on 06/26/2015 08:42 AM
late night message.

There was talk to build an rd-180 factory in the United States. Someone has said the rd-180 is labor intensive to manufacture, something that is acceptable in Russia, but the US has high wages. If having expertise in staged combustion kerolox engines is not important to the US govt. Why not build a rd-191 factory in Mexico? Mexican wages are lower than the United States, and Mexico has some high skilled workers. I imagine the Mexican workers will get paid significantly more than the Russians, and many United States workers, but less than an equivalent United States rd-191 factory employee. Russia will provide the intellectual knowledge on to keep the factory working properly. The United States will not have to maintain expertise on how a staged combustion kerolox engine is manufactured. This would go against John McCain trying to hurt Russian rocket industry.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: arachnitect on 06/27/2015 09:25 PM
From the 6/26/15 HASC hearing: http://docs.house.gov/meetings/AS/AS29/20150626/103668/HHRG-114-AS29-Wstate-CulbertsonF-20150626.pdf

Quote from: Frank Culbertson
As both a launch vehicle builder and a propulsion system supplier, Orbital ATK is uniquely positioned to support the Air Force RPS Prototype Program. Orbital ATK has proposed both solid and liquid propulsion developments that will support a new all-American launch vehicle family that meets all the specified national security launch needs. Our new systems will be developed in a public/private partnership with significant private investment supplementing government funding. We are confident that our alternatives will be ready to support first flights by early 2019. For our vehicles and propulsion systems, we will combine advanced solid rocket motor and liquid engine technologies to create a modular family of highly affordable and commercially competitive launch vehicles. Beyond their contribution to assured and affordable access to space, these new systems will also strengthen our country's technology base and increase its industrial utilization to benefit the U.S. Navy and Air Force's strategic missile, MDA's missile defense and NASA's human space flight programs as well.
Quote
While the United States is the world's undisputed leader in development and production of solid rocket motors, the same cannot be said for our current position related to large liquid rocket engines. Fortunately, this deficiency is now being addressed by the progress being made by Blue Origin in its BE-3 and BE-4 liquid hydrogen and methane engine programs which are being developed with private investment. Based on the progress thus far, the BE-3/BE-4 engines have the potential to advance United States liquid rocket engines far ahead of what is currently being produced overseas. And like the solid propulsion technology we are developing internally, we believe the BE engines can be available for operational use by 2019 and will be offered at commercially attractive prices.
Quote
[recommendation 3] Encourage the Air Force to expand its EELV Phase 2 program to include consideration of medium-lift vehicles in addition to intermediate- and heavy-lift launchers.

So... a modular vehicle family including advanced solid motors and some kind of liquid engine technology. Starts at medium-class vehicle. Hints of Blue Origin Engines being involved? Intended for DOD operations, so no engines designed or built in Russia...

Any guesses? Something that looks like Titan? Or the abandoned Ariane 6 PPH proposals? Return of "the stick"?
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: rayleighscatter on 06/28/2015 12:05 AM
A couple dates that popped up in a public power point presentation:
Pad Hotfire- 2/1/2016
ORB 5- 4/1/2016
ORB 6- 9/25/2014 (I suspect they meant 2016).
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: TrevorMonty on 06/28/2015 06:33 AM
From the 6/26/15 HASC hearing: http://docs.house.gov/meetings/AS/AS29/20150626/103668/HHRG-114-AS29-Wstate-CulbertsonF-20150626.pdf

Quote from: Frank Culbertson
As both a launch vehicle builder and a propulsion system supplier, Orbital ATK is uniquely positioned to support the Air Force RPS Prototype Program. Orbital ATK has proposed both solid and liquid propulsion developments that will support a new all-American launch vehicle family that meets all the specified national security launch needs. Our new systems will be developed in a public/private partnership with significant private investment supplementing government funding. We are confident that our alternatives will be ready to support first flights by early 2019. For our vehicles and propulsion systems, we will combine advanced solid rocket motor and liquid engine technologies to create a modular family of highly affordable and commercially competitive launch vehicles. Beyond their contribution to assured and affordable access to space, these new systems will also strengthen our country's technology base and increase its industrial utilization to benefit the U.S. Navy and Air Force's strategic missile, MDA's missile defense and NASA's human space flight programs as well.
Quote
While the United States is the world's undisputed leader in development and production of solid rocket motors, the same cannot be said for our current position related to large liquid rocket engines. Fortunately, this deficiency is now being addressed by the progress being made by Blue Origin in its BE-3 and BE-4 liquid hydrogen and methane engine programs which are being developed with private investment. Based on the progress thus far, the BE-3/BE-4 engines have the potential to advance United States liquid rocket engines far ahead of what is currently being produced overseas. And like the solid propulsion technology we are developing internally, we believe the BE engines can be available for operational use by 2019 and will be offered at commercially attractive prices.
Quote
[recommendation 3] Encourage the Air Force to expand its EELV Phase 2 program to include consideration of medium-lift vehicles in addition to intermediate- and heavy-lift launchers.

So... a modular vehicle family including advanced solid motors and some kind of liquid engine technology. Starts at medium-class vehicle. Hints of Blue Origin Engines being involved? Intended for DOD operations, so no engines designed or built in Russia...

Any guesses? Something that looks like Titan? Or the abandoned Ariane 6 PPH proposals? Return of "the stick"?

I'm picking solid booster and BE3 upper stage. The upper stage may happen sooner as RD181 Antares and BE3 upper would allow Orbital to go after commercial and NASA GEO missions. A RD181 Antares with BE3 upper would be ideal for SNC crewed DC.



Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: sdsds on 06/28/2015 06:50 AM
I don't believe Culbertson's comments pertain to a future Antares. He wants Congress to focus on "merchant" rather than "captive" propulsion systems providers. That's just what the USAF wants, too. Coercing USAF to support AR-1 specifically for use under AV doesn't fit that picture. (And is certainly not in the interests of Orbital/ATK.)
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Patchouli on 06/28/2015 06:00 PM


I'm picking solid booster and BE3 upper stage. The upper stage may happen sooner as RD181 Antares and BE3 upper would allow Orbital to go after commercial and NASA GEO missions. A RD181 Antares with BE3 upper would be ideal for SNC crewed DC.



I figure you'd need two solid stages to do a drop in replacement of the kerolox stage.
Probably a 3 segment first stage and a 1 or 1.5 segment second stage.

But the problem with that is handling of the heavy segments at Wallops not a show stopper but would be a significant added cost.
They'd likely would have to go from horizontal to vertical integration.
But the ATK part probably does want to market the solids they're building for SLS in other markets since the R&D is mostly paid for and it means one less thing to buy from an outside contractor.
Having vertical integration and mostly domestically produce LV would allow them to go after some DOD payloads.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Zed_Noir on 06/28/2015 06:05 PM


I'm picking solid booster and BE3 upper stage. The upper stage may happen sooner as RD181 Antares and BE3 upper would allow Orbital to go after commercial and NASA GEO missions. A RD181 Antares with BE3 upper would be ideal for SNC crewed DC.



I figure you'd need two solid stages to do a drop in replacement of the kerolox stage.
Probably a 3 segment first stage and a 1 or 1.5 segment second stage.

But the problem with that is handling of the heavy segments at Wallops not a show stopper but would be a significant added cost.
But the ATK part probably does want to market the solids they're building for SLS in other markets since the R&D is mostly paid for and it means one less thing to buy from an outside contractor.

If you are thinking STS SRBs, than the only current pad capable of handling it would be LC-39B plus you will need a new MLP.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Patchouli on 06/28/2015 11:45 PM

If you are thinking STS SRBs, than the only current pad capable of handling it would be LC-39B plus you will need a new MLP.

Those are the only kind that have the performance to replace the Antares first stage.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: TrevorMonty on 06/29/2015 03:24 AM
For commercial and DOD GEO missions, launching from cape makes more sense than Wallops due to lower DV.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: russianhalo117 on 06/29/2015 11:27 PM
These discussions belong in a different thread.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: DanseMacabre on 08/06/2015 02:28 PM
http://www.richmond.com/article_bd8a0f94-597b-580d-9d56-ae3b469075ca.html

Some information on renegotiation of Orbital ATK's usage of Wallops.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: jacqmans on 08/12/2015 07:02 PM
Two RD-181 Engines
 
Two RD-181 engines that arrived in July are being integrated with the Antares first stage air frame at the Wallops Island, Virginia Horizontal Integration Facility (HIF). A “hot fire” test on Pad 0A is scheduled for late 2015 or early 2016. Photo credit: NASA/ Terry Zaperach
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: baldusi on 08/12/2015 08:06 PM
I've noticed that the article did mentioned the 230 and 330 cores. I understand that the 230 are the old cores, retrofitted with an under throttled RD-181. And the 330 are the full thrust cores. I would hazard a guess and assume that the 230 do use sub-cooled LOX to keep the propellant capacity, but the 330 will do away with it completely.
For those not informed, the N-1 used sub-cooled LOX as a propellant densification technique. Thus, the NK-33 requires sub-cooled LOX for lubrication purposes. OrbitalATK's Dr. Elias has stated that he would love to go back to normal LOX.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: MP99 on 08/16/2015 05:06 PM
I've noticed that the article did mentioned the 230 and 330 cores. I understand that the 230 are the old cores, retrofitted with an under throttled RD-181. And the 330 are the full thrust cores.

Playing the "rocket lego" game...

RD-181 is throttled because the S1 tanks are too small to carry the optimum prop load.

As an alternative to stretching the tanks, how would the performance compare if another solid stage (another Castor 30?) was added instead? Would anything in OATK's current inventory be close to optimal?

(Stretched tank makes all sort of sense, but I'm just interested.)

Cheers, Martin
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Space Ghost 1962 on 08/16/2015 08:33 PM
Nope, no appropriate Lego.

The 30XL does what the prior Antares needed, and the next Antares to fly won't be able to better it.

Further down the road with the 300 series, you could stretch to an "XXL" of some sort, but it would be likely that the trades won't buy all that much, the limitation being the iSP of such stages. Which is unfortunate as the ATK side of OrbATK could use such a project about now.

Orbital desired a hydrolox second stage, much like Atlas/Vulcan does, for the same reasons. Look to the sources of these, and the cost of such stage development/deployment being recovered by current manifest flyout as the limitation for uprating to a LRE higher iSP second stage. Somehow, acquiring by similar means LRE second stage as they did/do first stage, might be quick but add additional liabilities they might not want at the moment.

Nice to see they are mounting actual flight hardware with that pic. Seems like an aggressive posture for RTF that they need about now. The only way they could have ever done this so fast was by merchant supply of a LRE, and the Russians have a lock on the market for ones of that scale right now. It is unclear to me if that is going to change any time soon, even with the dread pirate Bezos involved ;)
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: baldusi on 08/16/2015 09:28 PM
[...]
Nice to see they are mounting actual flight hardware with that pic. Seems like an aggressive posture for RTF that they need about now. The only way they could have ever done this so fast was by merchant supply of a LRE, and the Russians have a lock on the market for ones of that scale right now. It is unclear to me if that is going to change any time soon, even with the dread pirate Bezos involved ;)
You mean that the Russians were the only ones to keep investing in new staged combustion engines in a somewhat constant manner. But the Indians are six to eight months from starting test firing of an equivalent engine, the SCE-200.
Regarding the Antares 300 series, it will be conditional on Orbital getting the CRs-2 contract. A new solid upper stage will probably enable them to get 4,000kg to the station if stretch a bit the Cygnus or widen it a bit more. But their current fairing is only 3.9m, whith 3.5m internal diameter. Still 20cm narrower than the 3.7m industry standard for 4m fairing. So a new fairing (done by ATK) and a new solid upper stage would be a low risk, revenue intergating move that would be self payed by the CRS-2 contract.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: MP99 on 08/16/2015 10:46 PM
Nope, no appropriate Lego.

The 30XL does what the prior Antares needed, and the next Antares to fly won't be able to better it.

Further down the road with the 300 series, you could stretch to an "XXL" of some sort, but it would be likely that the trades won't buy all that much, the limitation being the iSP of such stages. Which is unfortunate as the ATK side of OrbATK could use such a project about now.

RD-181 is de-rated on 2xx. They can turn the engines up to 11 on the 3xx because they'll add more mass to S1.

I was just wondering what performance you'd get if you retained the 200 S1, but assigned the extra GTOW to an additional solid stage. Yes, it has a lower Isp, but it also stages a lot of mass away.

I realise this isn't a practical suggestion - more expensive, more complicated, greater risk. Just NSF legos.

Cheers, Martin
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: TrevorMonty on 08/16/2015 11:36 PM
For future CRS-2 missions the 300 with Castor 30XL is probably all that is needed. If Orbital want to go after commercial GTO launches or NASA BLEO missions the Antares 300 will need a LHx upper stage.

For DOD missions they will need the LHx US plus a domestically powered booster. A solid booster (ATK Liberty) is not an option for Wallops according to our resident experts. The BE4 would also not be an option given ULA are helping fund it. The AR1 is a possibility but anything using it will not fly to around 2020-21.

The Ariane 6 configuration may work for Wallops.
2-3 x BE3 booster with 2-4 SRBs. This would utilise ATK SRB capabilities. There are no prices for BE3 but <$5M is probably realistic due its extensive use of additive manufacturing.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: baldusi on 08/17/2015 05:36 PM
[...]
RD-181 is de-rated on 2xx. They can turn the engines up to 11 on the 3xx because they'll add more mass to S1.

I was just wondering what performance you'd get if you retained the 200 S1, but assigned the extra GTOW to an additional solid stage. Yes, it has a lower Isp, but it also stages a lot of mass away.
[...]
From what I understand, 100 cores were designed for certain stresses. Increasing the thrust 30% and adding more weight on top, increasses the compression stress by 30%+proportion of weight increase in upper stage/payload. Then you have things that a higher T/W means a higher MaxQ. And you have to do the dynamic (i.e. POGO) analysis. I've heard that on the 200 they tried to keep the fly profile as close to the 100 as possible. That's why I believe that any big changes will happen on the 300. If I'm counting right, they will have just 1 200 core left after the current CRS-1 finishes (if they get no further extensions).
So, Antares 300 IFF CRS-2. Is that simple. And if they do, I've seen a presentation of Orbital for a four segment Cygnus, which had 33m³. So, if they can get the fill efficiency of an Enhanced Cygnus (130kg/m³), then they could carry 4,250kg per mission if they could lift it. Since I estimate Super Cygnus to mass 350kg over the Enhanced, I would guess that they would need 1,400kg over the Antares 230 to max out the performance. That's almost a 30% extra performance required of 330 to 230. I don't believe they could achieve that without a new upper stage.
But if they do, they could get 8.5tonnes in just two launches per year. If they went with a very low price of 70,000 USD/kg (SpaceX CRS-1 price was 80,000), they would still get almost 300M per flight or 600M per year. In five years they would have a revenue of 3B. I believe that's quite a penny and they will bid very aggressively.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Zed_Noir on 08/18/2015 05:39 AM
@baldusi

Maybe OrbATK can take a page from SpaceX. Offer Boeing a test flight of the Atlas V 402 lifting a 4 segment Cygnus to the ISS. In exchange for a reduced price Atlas V 402 launcher.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: baldusi on 08/18/2015 06:20 PM
@baldusi

Maybe OrbATK can take a page from SpaceX. Offer Boeing a test flight of the Atlas V 402 lifting a 4 segment Cygnus to the ISS. In exchange for a reduced price Atlas V 402 launcher.
Boeing will validate the Atlas V 422 with the unmanned demonstration flight. And an Atlas V discount would have to be given by LM launch services. So it just doesn't makes much sense. It is true, though, that a 4 segment Cygnus would need a 5m fairing in the Atlas V, which will be a bit more expensive (I'd guess 15M to 20M extra for a 511 vs a 401). But the payload differential would probably more than make up for it.
In any case, OA apparently prefers to use its own launcher. If they wanted to play it safe, they would probably buy another Atlas V, launch first a 330, then the Atlas V, then the last remaining 230, and only then keep churning 330. Alternately, if 330 schedule is the riskiest part, they could launch 230, Atlas V, 330.
There's no point in validating the 4 segment Cygnus. They are very good at spacecrafts. But I remember that Thales Alenia had stated that they had used too much human rated requirements on the PCM that could be done away with (which would save mass and cost) if they had a big order. So I would expect a new PCM for CRS-2 anyways. How different? I don't know, but I couldn't discard a four segment.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Space Ghost 1962 on 08/18/2015 08:13 PM
Note that:
a) four segment allows larger, less dense payloads to ISS irrespective of substantial mass increase
b) optional nature of 300 series payload increase means a choice against lowering cost AV/Vulcan
c) 300 series increase due to beyond NK-33/AJ-26 engine performance (both thrust and duration) can have follow-on complement with second stage upgrade increments
d) OA has not done enough missions (nor has SX) yet for spacecraft business to rely entirely on a sole LV.
e) OA has been attempting to "sell" exploration capabilities/missions based exactly on those Thales Alena human rated requirements supposedly to be abandoned.

There is a lot more here then appears on the surface. Also, there are underutilized parts of OA (and other firms) that can play into this too.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: TrevorMonty on 08/18/2015 08:56 PM
Cygnus would need to be man rated especially when it is berthed with ISS.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: sdsds on 08/18/2015 09:38 PM
Cygnus would need to be man rated especially when it is berthed with ISS.

Sorry, did I miss a memo or something? I would have written:

"We know Cygnus is already human rated because it has been berthed at ISS."

Note that:
e) OA has been attempting to "sell" exploration capabilities/missions based exactly on those Thales Alena human rated requirements supposedly to be abandoned.

Again, to what does this refer please? Has there been a report of someone abandoning human rating requirements?
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Sam Ho on 08/18/2015 11:47 PM
But I remember that Thales Alenia had stated that they had used too much human rated requirements on the PCM that could be done away with (which would save mass and cost) if they had a big order. So I would expect a new PCM for CRS-2 anyways. How different? I don't know, but I couldn't discard a four segment.

The comments I recall from Thales Alenia said that they could reduce the cost of the PCM for a big CRS-2 order, but it wasn't due to relaxing human rating.  Rather, it was from reducing on-orbit lifetime.

Quote
But with a little advance planning and a sizable order, Quaglino said, a CRS 2 batch could do without some of the cabling and other components that were required for units that would spend years attached to the space station.

http://spacenews.com/39934thales-alenia-space-exec-identifies-ways-to-save-on-next-cygnus-order
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Space Ghost 1962 on 08/19/2015 02:19 AM
Note that:
e) OA has been attempting to "sell" exploration capabilities/missions based exactly on those Thales Alena human rated requirements supposedly to be abandoned.

Again, to what does this refer please? Has there been a report of someone abandoning human rating requirements?

As Sam Ho above mentions, time on orbit.

In a nutshell, ISS components have a much greater set of requirements for lifetime on orbit beyond visiting vehicles.

The point I was raising, was that, say if you were going to do a longer "mini space station", or say part of the L1/2 Gateway, you'd have to meet such requirements.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Zed_Noir on 08/19/2015 06:57 AM
@baldusi

Maybe OrbATK can take a page from SpaceX. Offer Boeing a test flight of the Atlas V 402 lifting a 4 segment Cygnus to the ISS. In exchange for a reduced price Atlas V 402 launcher.
Boeing will validate the Atlas V 422 with the unmanned demonstration flight. And an Atlas V discount would have to be given by LM launch services. So it just doesn't makes much sense. It is true, though, that a 4 segment Cygnus would need a 5m fairing in the Atlas V, which will be a bit more expensive (I'd guess 15M to 20M extra for a 511 vs a 401). But the payload differential would probably more than make up for it.

...

There's no point in validating the 4 segment Cygnus. They are very good at spacecrafts. But I remember that Thales Alenia had stated that they had used too much human rated requirements on the PCM that could be done away with (which would save mass and cost) if they had a big order. So I would expect a new PCM for CRS-2 anyways. How different? I don't know, but I couldn't discard a four segment.

There seems to be a misunderstanding. My point is that you sent up a dual engine Centaur with the 4 segment Cygnus to the ISS. As precursor to the Atlas V 422 flight with the much more expensive CST-100. To validate the new unflown dual engine Centaur design, not the Thales Alenia PCM. Which I agree with you, needs no new validation. Maybe we will get a full size CBM hatch on top of the 4 segment PCM.

Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: russianhalo117 on 08/20/2015 12:18 AM
@baldusi

Maybe OrbATK can take a page from SpaceX. Offer Boeing a test flight of the Atlas V 402 lifting a 4 segment Cygnus to the ISS. In exchange for a reduced price Atlas V 402 launcher.
Boeing will validate the Atlas V 422 with the unmanned demonstration flight. And an Atlas V discount would have to be given by LM launch services. So it just doesn't makes much sense. It is true, though, that a 4 segment Cygnus would need a 5m fairing in the Atlas V, which will be a bit more expensive (I'd guess 15M to 20M extra for a 511 vs a 401). But the payload differential would probably more than make up for it.

...

There's no point in validating the 4 segment Cygnus. They are very good at spacecrafts. But I remember that Thales Alenia had stated that they had used too much human rated requirements on the PCM that could be done away with (which would save mass and cost) if they had a big order. So I would expect a new PCM for CRS-2 anyways. How different? I don't know, but I couldn't discard a four segment.

There seems to be a misunderstanding. My point is that you sent up a dual engine Centaur with the 4 segment Cygnus to the ISS. As precursor to the Atlas V 422 flight with the much more expensive CST-100. To validate the new unflown dual engine Centaur design, not the Thales Alenia PCM. Which I agree with you, needs no new validation. Maybe we will get a full size CBM hatch on top of the 4 segment PCM.


DEC has flown on select misisons of Atlas III anf V Families. They build one DEC every year to facilitate training on DEC config and buildup. DEC is then disassembled and rebuilt back to the standard SEC config. First DEC assembly with RL10C-1 is planned for validation and other testing this and next year
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Zed_Noir on 08/20/2015 02:03 AM

There seems to be a misunderstanding. My point is that you sent up a dual engine Centaur with the 4 segment Cygnus to the ISS. As precursor to the Atlas V 422 flight with the much more expensive CST-100. To validate the new unflown dual engine Centaur design, not the Thales Alenia PCM. Which I agree with you, needs no new validation. Maybe we will get a full size CBM hatch on top of the 4 segment PCM.
DEC has flown on select misisons of Atlas III anf V Families. They build one DEC every year to facilitate training on DEC config and buildup. DEC is then disassembled and rebuilt back to the standard SEC config. First DEC assembly with RL10C-1 is planned for validation and other testing this and next year

AFAIK the DEC have not flown on any Atlas V mission so far. There are hardware changes between the Atlas II/Atlas III and the Atlas V versions of the DEC AIUI. So the forthcoming DEC design with the RL-10C have no flight history.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: russianhalo117 on 08/20/2015 02:51 AM

There seems to be a misunderstanding. My point is that you sent up a dual engine Centaur with the 4 segment Cygnus to the ISS. As precursor to the Atlas V 422 flight with the much more expensive CST-100. To validate the new unflown dual engine Centaur design, not the Thales Alenia PCM. Which I agree with you, needs no new validation. Maybe we will get a full size CBM hatch on top of the 4 segment PCM.
DEC has flown on select misisons of Atlas III anf V Families. They build one DEC every year to facilitate training on DEC config and buildup. DEC is then disassembled and rebuilt back to the standard SEC config. First DEC assembly with RL10C-1 is planned for validation and other testing this and next year

AFAIK the DEC have not flown on any Atlas V mission so far. There are hardware changes between the Atlas II/Atlas III and the Atlas V versions of the DEC AIUI. So the forthcoming DEC design with the RL-10C have no flight history.
Last was in 2003 and was a flight test of the Atlas V DEC version. PDR was in 2013 and CDR was in 2014. Firing tests for CCP are to be checked off this year.160+ DEC flights to date
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: ArbitraryConstant on 08/21/2015 07:14 PM
Orbital desired a hydrolox second stage, much like Atlas/Vulcan does, for the same reasons. Look to the sources of these, and the cost of such stage development/deployment being recovered by current manifest flyout as the limitation for uprating to a LRE higher iSP second stage. Somehow, acquiring by similar means LRE second stage as they did/do first stage, might be quick but add additional liabilities they might not want at the moment.
This could get interesting over the next few years, the manufacturing technology now allows 3D printing the entire combustion chamber for smaller sized engines, and I'd expect this to promote engine development.

I don't expect any of the pressure fed or electric fed examples to show amazingly high performance but 3D printing the entire combustion chamber with integrated cooling channels sounds like a dream for someone wanting to do expander. Also methane should be able to do FRSC, the Russians have several extremely good SC engines for upper stages that have served them very well.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: wtrix on 09/03/2015 11:16 AM
Ukraine is proposing to push russians completely out of renewed Antares project:

Original story: http://news.liga.net/news/politics/6557086-ukraina_i_ssha_sozdadut_kosmicheskuyu_raketu_bez_privlecheniya_rossii.htm

Google Translate. http://translate.google.com/translate?u=http%3A//news.liga.net/news/politics/6557086-ukraina_i_ssha_sozdadut_kosmicheskuyu_raketu_bez_privlecheniya_rossii.htm&hl=et&langpair=auto|en&tbb=1&ie=UTF-8
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Mader Levap on 09/05/2015 05:43 PM
Not surprising, considering these two countries have de facto undeclared war with each other.

Feasibility of their proposition is, of course, different story.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Patchouli on 09/07/2015 03:34 PM
Ukraine is proposing to push russians completely out of renewed Antares project:

Original story: http://news.liga.net/news/politics/6557086-ukraina_i_ssha_sozdadut_kosmicheskuyu_raketu_bez_privlecheniya_rossii.htm

Google Translate. http://translate.google.com/translate?u=http%3A//news.liga.net/news/politics/6557086-ukraina_i_ssha_sozdadut_kosmicheskuyu_raketu_bez_privlecheniya_rossii.htm&hl=et&langpair=auto|en&tbb=1&ie=UTF-8

Not sure how they propose doing that as they lack an engine capable of doing the mission.
The only replacement and the RD-181 is the AR-1 which is a  few years away from being ready for flight.

The other option an all solid Antares launching from the cape but they wouldn't get much out of that deal as those parts would be sourced from the ATK branch.

Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: baldusi on 09/07/2015 04:56 PM
Ukraine is proposing to push russians completely out of renewed Antares project:

Original story: http://news.liga.net/news/politics/6557086-ukraina_i_ssha_sozdadut_kosmicheskuyu_raketu_bez_privlecheniya_rossii.htm

Google Translate. http://translate.google.com/translate?u=http%3A//news.liga.net/news/politics/6557086-ukraina_i_ssha_sozdadut_kosmicheskuyu_raketu_bez_privlecheniya_rossii.htm&hl=et&langpair=auto|en&tbb=1&ie=UTF-8

Not sure how they propose doing that as they lack an engine capable of doing the mission.
The only replacement and the RD-181 is the AR-1 which is a  few years away from being ready for flight.

The other option an all solid Antares launching from the cape but they wouldn't get much out of that deal as those parts would be sourced from the ATK branch.
The Indian SCE-200 is actually based on the completed RD-810. The Ukrainians lacked the money to actually build it and test it, but if they somehow got the money, they could easily produce it. And I'm pretty sure that if ISRO actually starts bench testing the SCE-200 in 2016, they could have it ready by 2019 at Indian low price.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Prober on 09/17/2015 06:00 PM
This is not looking good.

Report: Orbital faces risks in resuming space station runs
http://finance.yahoo.com/news/report-orbital-faces-risks-resuming-160305210.html

"The space agency's inspector general said Thursday that Orbital Sciences Corp. faces significant risks in its effort to recover from last October's launch explosion."

Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: spacenut on 09/17/2015 06:13 PM
Then SpaceX should get on the ball and get back to launching.  Also, Orbital went with the Russian engines, from Aerojet.  Aerojet wasted a lot of time not developing their own engines.  Politics and foreign suppliers cannot be depended on. 
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Prober on 09/17/2015 07:20 PM
Bumped into the Full Report

https://oig.nasa.gov/audits/reports/FY15/IG-15-023.pdf

https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=198&v=vh9vWeIIfOc

NASA’s Response to Orbital’s October 2014 Launch Failure: Impacts on Commercial Resupply of the International Space Station
The Office of Inspector General examined NASA’s management of commercial resupply contracts for cargo delivery to the International Space Station in light of Orbital’s October 2014 launch failure.


Edit: add video & text
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: a_langwich on 09/17/2015 07:53 PM
This is not looking good.

Report: Orbital faces risks in resuming space station runs
http://finance.yahoo.com/news/report-orbital-faces-risks-resuming-160305210.html

"The space agency's inspector general said Thursday that Orbital Sciences Corp. faces significant risks in its effort to recover from last October's launch explosion."



The actual report
https://oig.nasa.gov/audits/reports/FY15/IG-15-023.pdf

The risks are already well known: 
- Orbital has "risks" in adapting Cygnus to Atlas V and verifying it will work.  Yes, there's a risk (see:  Progress and Soyuz 2.1), but since it was already designed to make that switch, it's more of a caution thing ("let's make sure we get this right") than a I-don't-know-if-they-can-make-this-work thing.

- Orbital has a very tight schedule to integrate the new RD-181s, and won't conduct a non-cargo test flight first.  Yes, yes they do, and no, indeed they won't have a test flight.  I think those risks are understood and have been accepted by NASA. 

- NASA has not conducted a detailed technical evaluation of the modified Antares and its proposed qualification testing program.  (This, IMO, is likely to be a CYA warning from the lawyer:  NASA your backside is exposed here, you need to better formally document your scrutiny, and perhaps increase the level of scrutiny.)

- The IG thinks ISS may be "disadvantaged" by the loss of one Orbital mission.


Some of the things that irk me about Inspector General reports can be found here.  For example, their opinion the ISS program will be disadvantaged by one fewer Cygnus flight is plausible, but they interviewed the relevant ISS personnel and were told that in fact the newer Cygnus configurations will be more helpful to ISS (more space, more mass).  So persisting in their opinion that it's a net problem either indicates the IG's office feels like they understand ISS cargo needs better than the ISS personnel, or they feel the ISS personnel were dishonest and not forthright in saying the changes were positive.  Which is it?
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: edkyle99 on 09/18/2015 12:43 AM
Some of the things that irk me about Inspector General reports can be found here.  For example, their opinion the ISS program will be disadvantaged by one fewer Cygnus flight is plausible, but they interviewed the relevant ISS personnel and were told that in fact the newer Cygnus configurations will be more helpful to ISS (more space, more mass).  So persisting in their opinion that it's a net problem either indicates the IG's office feels like they understand ISS cargo needs better than the ISS personnel, or they feel the ISS personnel were dishonest and not forthright in saying the changes were positive.  Which is it?
I think that NASA IG has a right to write a big complain-y report about the Antares and Falcon 9 failures (the latter report is still to come).  After all, the Agency's contractors failed in very big fashion here.  They failed to deliver and failed to meet schedule.  These companies deserve to be publicly called out like this, at a bare minimum.  The contractors may redeem themselves in coming months.  We'll see.

 - Ed Kyle
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: grythumn on 09/18/2015 04:08 PM
From OrbitalATK's twitter:

@OrbitalATK

ICYMI: Progress continues on Antares return to flight, 2 RD-181’s already integrated with first stage at Wallops

Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: rcoppola on 09/18/2015 09:34 PM
This is not looking good.

Report: Orbital faces risks in resuming space station runs
http://finance.yahoo.com/news/report-orbital-faces-risks-resuming-160305210.html

"The space agency's inspector general said Thursday that Orbital Sciences Corp. faces significant risks in its effort to recover from last October's launch explosion."



The actual report
https://oig.nasa.gov/audits/reports/FY15/IG-15-023.pdf

.........{Snip}

- The IG thinks ISS may be "disadvantaged" by the loss of one Orbital mission.


Some of the things that irk me about Inspector General reports can be found here.  For example, their opinion the ISS program will be disadvantaged by one fewer Cygnus flight is plausible, but they interviewed the relevant ISS personnel and were told that in fact the newer Cygnus configurations will be more helpful to ISS (more space, more mass).  So persisting in their opinion that it's a net problem either indicates the IG's office feels like they understand ISS cargo needs better than the ISS personnel, or they feel the ISS personnel were dishonest and not forthright in saying the changes were positive.  Which is it?
I agree it's plausible, perhaps even probable. But I don't think anyone is calling NASA dishonest. It's not a dictate, just some watchouts that should be considered.

The larger point of the ISS being potentially disadvantaged by one fewer Cygnus flight seems valid on a number levels.

A few relevant points from the report that are not unreasonable:

-Although Orbital has added cargo containers in multiple locations in the Enhanced Cygnus, most of these containers are smaller than the containers in the original storage areas.

-NASA will have access to fewer "large" containers than it would have under the original five-flight plan, which affects the type of goods that can be transported to the ISS.

-In our judgment, the cancellation of Orb-8 results in decreased flexibility in the type and size of cargo that can be transported.

-Our concerns are compounded by the fact that with the exception of Orb-3, both Orbital and SpaceX resupply missions have generally not carried the maximum required upmass due in part to volumetric constraints.

And add the fact that for their RTF, NASA will not be placing any Mission Critical cargo on this flight, they now only have 3 more flights to do so.

So anyways, all doable but I find the details interesting and worth mentioning. IMO.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: MarcAlain on 09/24/2015 07:01 PM
Aerojet to pay Orbital $50 million over Antares rocket accident
http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/09/24/aerojet-orbital-atk-settlement-idUSL1N11U1L520150924

Quote
Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings Inc will pay Orbital ATK $50 million to settle a dispute stemming from an Antares rocket launch accident last year that destroyed a load of cargo bound for the International Space Station, Aerojet said on Thursday.

The company also said it would take title to 10 AJ-26 rocket engines previously earmarked for Orbital, one of two companies hired by NASA to fly cargo to the station after the agency retired its space shuttles.

Orbital successfully flew two of eight planned missions under its original $1.9 billion contract with NASA before the Oct. 28, 2014, accident from Wallops Island, Virginia.

A final report on the botched mission is pending, though the companies have publicly disagreed about whether an engine manufacturing problem by Aerojet and/or mishandling of the engine during processing by Orbital triggered the explosion.

Aerojet declined to release any details about the settlement.

"All the data related to the analysis is proprietary," Aerojet spokesman Glenn Mahone told Reuters.

Orbital did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

An undisclosed part of the one-time, $50 million payment will be covered by insurance, Mahone said, adding that the money will be paid by Sept. 30.

The settlement formally ends Aerojet's involvement in the Antares rocket program. Orbital last year decided to speed up a previously planned engine replacement program and is working toward a March 2016 debut of the revamped rocket.

Orbital also has purchased two Atlas rocket launches from United Launch Alliance, a partnership of Lockheed Martin and Boeing to fly a pair of Cygnus cargo ships to the station to help bridge the gap.

NASA's second cargo line, operated by privately owned SpaceX, also is temporarily grounded due to an unrelated accident of its Falcon 9 rocket in June.

The station, a $100 billion research laboratory that flies about 250 miles (400 km) above Earth, is also serviced by Russian and Japanese freighters.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Prober on 09/24/2015 08:13 PM
same basic story out of Sacramento

Aerojet agrees to multi-million dollar settlement with key partner

http://www.bizjournals.com/sacramento/news/2015/09/24/aerojet-agrees-to-multi-million-dollar-settlement.html?ana=yahoo

Love this line in the story...."Orbital will give back title to Aerojet for 10 engines scheduled for delivery under the previous deal."

Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Kansan52 on 09/24/2015 08:55 PM
"Orbital will give back title to Aerojet for 10 engines scheduled for delivery under the previous deal."

This confuses me. It seems to say the titles were signed over to Orbital at no cost and now will be signed back to AJ, also for no money.  Is transferring titles for no money a common practice?
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: TrevorMonty on 09/24/2015 09:02 PM
The accident must have be an engine failure and not due to debris in fuel tanks, which ARJ stated at one time.

Anybody want to buy a rocket engine for garden ornament.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: edkyle99 on 09/24/2015 11:28 PM
The accident must have be an engine failure and not due to debris in fuel tanks, which ARJ stated at one time.
I don't think that this conclusion can be reached based on the agreement.  The Sacramento story says that "[t]he SEC filing shows the two companies essentially agreed to disagree over what caused the October accident".  The agreement simply means that there won't be a messy protracted legal battle about what seems to be an undecided root cause.

 - Ed Kyle
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: woods170 on 09/25/2015 09:20 AM
The accident must have be an engine failure and not due to debris in fuel tanks, which ARJ stated at one time.
I don't think that this conclusion can be reached based on the agreement.  The Sacramento story says that "[t]he SEC filing shows the two companies essentially agreed to disagree over what caused the October accident".  The agreement simply means that there won't be a messy protracted legal battle about what seems to be an undecided root cause.

 - Ed Kyle
Emphasis mine.
That is also a conclusion that cannot be reached based on the little information that has leaked out so far.
Pot meet kettle.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: edkyle99 on 09/25/2015 02:21 PM
The accident must have be an engine failure and not due to debris in fuel tanks, which ARJ stated at one time.
I don't think that this conclusion can be reached based on the agreement.  The Sacramento story says that "[t]he SEC filing shows the two companies essentially agreed to disagree over what caused the October accident".  The agreement simply means that there won't be a messy protracted legal battle about what seems to be an undecided root cause.

 - Ed Kyle
Emphasis mine.
That is also a conclusion that cannot be reached based on the little information that has leaked out so far.
Pot meet kettle.
If the primary contractors involved, those who know the hardware better than anyone, do not agree on a cause, then there is no agreement on a cause.  The result has to be "undetermined" with regard to the root, root cause.

 - Ed Kyle
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: starchasercowboy on 09/28/2015 02:38 PM
$50 million partly covered by insurance??  AJR is taking a big hit on there next quarterly financials!
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Space Ghost 1962 on 09/28/2015 05:20 PM
"Orbital will give back title to Aerojet for 10 engines scheduled for delivery under the previous deal."

This confuses me. It seems to say the titles were signed over to Orbital at no cost and now will be signed back to AJ, also for no money.  Is transferring titles for no money a common practice?
More about revenue recognition issues in no financial change between corporations triggering SEC/IRS here. The value of such items of a deal may be placed differently then you'd think, for accounting reasons.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: rayleighscatter on 09/28/2015 09:04 PM
"Orbital will give back title to Aerojet for 10 engines scheduled for delivery under the previous deal."

This confuses me. It seems to say the titles were signed over to Orbital at no cost and now will be signed back to AJ, also for no money.  Is transferring titles for no money a common practice?
Although I'm not privy to the contract it probably works a bit like an option, or very simplistically, a promise. Even if they hadn't paid for each engine yet Orbital wouldn't want to build a rocket and find AJ decided to sell the engines they were planning to use to some other party, so they were essentially signed over to (likely) be paid for before delivery of each unit.

Now that the engines aren't going to be used Orbital can surrender their "ownership" to avoid actually paying for those other engines they will never take possession of.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: cdleonard on 09/29/2015 12:02 AM
"Orbital will give back title to Aerojet for 10 engines scheduled for delivery under the previous deal."

This confuses me. It seems to say the titles were signed over to Orbital at no cost and now will be signed back to AJ, also for no money.  Is transferring titles for no money a common practice?
Although I'm not privy to the contract it probably works a bit like an option, or very simplistically, a promise. Even if they hadn't paid for each engine yet Orbital wouldn't want to build a rocket and find AJ decided to sell the engines they were planning to use to some other party, so they were essentially signed over to (likely) be paid for before delivery of each unit.

Now that the engines aren't going to be used Orbital can surrender their "ownership" to avoid actually paying for those other engines they will never take possession of.

Did Aerojet already pay the russians for the engines? It seems they got screwed pretty hard, they are now stuck with some old engines in inventory that are known to fail.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: edkyle99 on 09/29/2015 01:48 AM
Did Aerojet already pay the russians for the engines? It seems they got screwed pretty hard, they are now stuck with some old engines in inventory that are known to fail.
Without an investigation conclusion, all that is "known" is that a turbopump failed on one of ten AJ-26 engines that flew.  The failure may or may not have been caused by the engine itself.

Aerojet itself had "an exclusive license for NK-33 and AJ26 in the U.S." and was "responsible for U.S. marketing and sale of the engines, modifying the NK-33 into the AJ26, and support of these engines on vehicles launched from the U.S."  It has never been clear to me that Aerojet actually "owned" the engines.  Russia's United Engine Corporation might have actually owned them, with Aerojet serving as a licensed distributor or some-such.

 - Ed Kyle
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Space Ghost 1962 on 09/29/2015 09:07 PM
Did Aerojet already pay the russians for the engines? It seems they got screwed pretty hard, they are now stuck with some old engines in inventory that are known to fail.
Without an investigation conclusion, all that is "known" is that a turbopump failed on one of ten AJ-26 engines that flew.  The failure may or may not have been caused by the engine itself.

Oh, I think there's a glaring root cause that's present but unadmitted. And I think it jives with the test stand explosion too. Not happy about the lack of transparency on failures, but can also see the point about the leakage of data including proprietary/other information. Both firms have had a less than spectacular history of communicating failures. Not that all of it needs to be public either, but it doesn't add confidence to either the way this thing is left hanging. Both actually need a better appearance in the public eye, currently looks more like a "shiner". Both neglect this.

Quote
Aerojet itself had "an exclusive license for NK-33 and AJ26 in the U.S." and was "responsible for U.S. marketing and sale of the engines, modifying the NK-33 into the AJ26, and support of these engines on vehicles launched from the U.S."  It has never been clear to me that Aerojet actually "owned" the engines.  Russia's United Engine Corporation might have actually owned them, with Aerojet serving as a licensed distributor or some-such.

So called "pass thru" ownership/title, where a broker/agent never takes title. Also done in order to handle securitization / "chain of custody" issues.

Then there is foreign IP handling, which often depends on an agreed upon process as well.

The most interesting part of this is who has ended up with the engines, and who payed who in settlement. Looks like they won't be repatriated, as Soyuz 2.1v is now the only vehicle that in theory could make use of them (but in fact likely will not). "Green weenie", anyone?
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: edkyle99 on 09/29/2015 09:57 PM
Oh, I think there's a glaring root cause that's present but unadmitted. And I think it jives with the test stand explosion too. Not happy about the lack of transparency on failures, but can also see the point about the leakage of data including proprietary/other information. ...
Should we trust a company that apparently can't find the cause of its last failure (*) with more public funding for more launches?

(*) If it won't announce a root cause, what else can we assume?

 - Ed Kyle
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Prober on 09/30/2015 02:58 AM
Did Aerojet already pay the russians for the engines? It seems they got screwed pretty hard, they are now stuck with some old engines in inventory that are known to fail.
Without an investigation conclusion, all that is "known" is that a turbopump failed on one of ten AJ-26 engines that flew.  The failure may or may not have been caused by the engine itself.

Aerojet itself had "an exclusive license for NK-33 and AJ26 in the U.S." and was "responsible for U.S. marketing and sale of the engines, modifying the NK-33 into the AJ26, and support of these engines on vehicles launched from the U.S."  It has never been clear to me that Aerojet actually "owned" the engines.  Russia's United Engine Corporation might have actually owned them, with Aerojet serving as a licensed distributor or some-such.

 - Ed Kyle

Was under the impression that Kistler had made some purchases with Aerojet handling refurb and upgrade.  But don't have the paperwork to prove it.  Then when Kistler ran into money problems they sold/transferred to Aerojet?

Even if you watch that video "in from the cold" you see this story.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: sdsds on 09/30/2015 05:21 AM
"Orbital will give back title to Aerojet for 10 engines scheduled for delivery under the previous deal."

It would only take three of those to power a fully reusable Kistler K-1 first stage. Astronautix says staging was to have been, "at an altitude of 43.2 km and a velocity of 1.22 km/sec." Is that within the envelope SpaceX has demonstrated? If so, K-1 may have simply been ahead of its time....
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Jim on 09/30/2015 12:49 PM

Should we trust a company that apparently can't find the cause of its last failure (*) with more public funding for more launches?

(*) If it won't announce a root cause, what else can we assume?

 - Ed Kyle

We is not applicable.  It is the company's customers that make the call.   NASA and the DOD are the US gov't agents (and by default, the US public's also) for dealing with this company.  They make the call. 

This is no different than any other case where propriety or restricted data is involved.  The landscape has changed.  NASA is a user and not an operator.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Space Ghost 1962 on 09/30/2015 03:54 PM
Its understandable part of our "new world". However not addressing root cause transparently means that choosing a launch provider becomes less transparent and open to misuse/bias/conflict. Don't think it helps healthy competition either.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Lars-J on 09/30/2015 04:34 PM
Its understandable part of our "new world". However not addressing root cause transparently means that choosing a launch provider becomes less transparent and open to misuse/bias/conflict. Don't think it helps healthy competition either.

You'll just have to get used to it. Just because we are a customer (indirectly) does not give us complete access to everything.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Space Ghost 1962 on 09/30/2015 04:42 PM
Its understandable part of our "new world". However not addressing root cause transparently means that choosing a launch provider becomes less transparent and open to misuse/bias/conflict. Don't think it helps healthy competition either.

You'll just have to get used to it. Just because we are a customer (indirectly) does not give us complete access to everything.

You sound like woods170 when he complains about my constant harping on the transparency of BE-4 program becoming visible.

It would appear that I have a lot of things to get used to. Next it will be Jim complaining about my comments on the RD180 ban, insisting that  it will be eventually be undone by invisible, unmentionable, tireless forces...

I apologize for always being ... inconvienent ...
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Lars-J on 09/30/2015 04:55 PM
No need to apologize, I have the same talent.  ;D But an overall re-calibration of our expectations are in order, and it is something I'm trying to get used to as well.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: arachnitect on 09/30/2015 05:08 PM
I want more than we're getting, and I don't think that's unreasonable.

I doubt the investigation actually contains anything sensitive*, but even if that's the case I at least want somebody to sit in front of a microphone and say that the investigation is complete, parties cannot agree on root cause, but agree on corrective actions, etc.

"Saving face" has no place in engineering.

*there's almost nothing secret about AJ-26, except why it blows up repeatedly.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Lars-J on 09/30/2015 05:28 PM
I want more than we're getting, and I don't think that's unreasonable.

Do you make the same demand for corporations in every other field? Or is it just aerospace (or more specifically launch providers) that need to show everything to you?
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: woods170 on 09/30/2015 05:45 PM
Its understandable part of our "new world". However not addressing root cause transparently means that choosing a launch provider becomes less transparent and open to misuse/bias/conflict. Don't think it helps healthy competition either.

Welcome to the wonderful world of proprietary. Indeed, it is a logical consequence of government agencies becoming customers in stead of operators. Root cause transparency is the least of the worries for NASA and DoD.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: woods170 on 09/30/2015 05:55 PM
Its understandable part of our "new world". However not addressing root cause transparently means that choosing a launch provider becomes less transparent and open to misuse/bias/conflict. Don't think it helps healthy competition either.

You'll just have to get used to it. Just because we are a customer (indirectly) does not give us complete access to everything.

You sound like woods170 when he complains about my constant harping on the transparency of BE-4 program becoming visible.

It would appear that I have a lot of things to get used to. Next it will be Jim complaining about my comments on the RD180 ban, insisting that  it will be eventually be undone by invisible, unmentionable, tireless forces...

I apologize for always being ... inconvienent ...
Being inconvenient is not the problem. In fact, it is a good thing to be inconvenient to other folks every now and then. Keeps everyone on it's toes.
That said: the world is constantly changing. So is the spaceflight landscape. Contrary to what some folks believe this is not necessarily a bad thing. You may be right now, but completely wrong tomorrow. Has happened before, will happen again.

With regards to some folks' opinions on the RD-180 ban (or lifting of said ban): politics is not even remotely similar to working hardware for spaceflights.

Naturally, everyone is entitled to an opinion. But some folks are well advised to not expect their opinion to be always correct. In fact, that little property is exactly why an opinion is called an opinion.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Space Ghost 1962 on 09/30/2015 06:02 PM
I doubt the investigation actually contains anything sensitive*,
*there's almost nothing secret about AJ-26, except why it blows up repeatedly.

It's called "information leakage". So lets say you somehow get the two to say something in agreement, that's "low level". Clearly what you asked for.

Then a reporter (or other) takes engineer (or other) out for beer, they ask how X low level item can be. Answers elliptically (without breaching agreements). Those get bounced off of a SR exec at a briefing, who either looks like at total boob by deflecting, or has to take it down a notch. This leaks a bit of data that can be used to back calculate other things that are sensitive. A "camel's nose entering the tent". You prevent these by not even letting them start. Thus, no information - where we are. Everything is proprietary.

Apart from corporate embarrassment - which is also proprietary. You'll remember the AR leaks about this earlier this year as to residue in TP bearings. We all know that the engine uses subcooled LOX as a lubricant. So the most likely root cause is contamination of the lubricant (FOD) leading to excessive wear. Which they are not saying, even though the assumed contention is between leaving a dessicant in the tank vs line debris as a source ('finger pointing"). Manufacturing vs integration/operation. Probably the "touchy stuff". Might even be both.

The payoff suggests that AR somehow breached a duty, or that contract terms rolled up responsibility to them to insure something like possibly FOD (e.g. doesn't matter source). Don't know how either would work.

If you were the customer under non disclosure, all you'd do is hold the parties to the failed duties equally, and in future you'd examine processes/procedures/qualifications such that both kinds of FOD could not happen as before. If the vendor couldn't show that, then that would rule out the vendor.

So externally we can see in subsequent bids what unrevealed items were present, by how/which vendors are awarded future launch contracts. That's about it.

Its understandable part of our "new world". However not addressing root cause transparently means that choosing a launch provider becomes less transparent and open to misuse/bias/conflict. Don't think it helps healthy competition either.

Welcome to the wonderful world of proprietary. Indeed, it is a logical consequence of government agencies becoming customers in stead of operators. Root cause transparency is the least of the worries for NASA and DoD.

Precisely my point in all the above.

Its understandable part of our "new world". However not addressing root cause transparently means that choosing a launch provider becomes less transparent and open to misuse/bias/conflict. Don't think it helps healthy competition either.

You'll just have to get used to it. Just because we are a customer (indirectly) does not give us complete access to everything.

You sound like woods170 when he complains about my constant harping on the transparency of BE-4 program becoming visible.

It would appear that I have a lot of things to get used to. Next it will be Jim complaining about my comments on the RD180 ban, insisting that  it will be eventually be undone by invisible, unmentionable, tireless forces...

I apologize for always being ... inconvienent ...
Being inconvenient is not the problem. In fact, it is a good thing to be inconvenient to other folks every now and then. Keeps everyone on it's toes.
That said: the world is constantly changing. So is the spaceflight landscape. Contrary to what some folks believe this is not necessarily a bad thing. You may be right now, but completely wrong tomorrow. Has happened before, will happen again.

"May you live in interesting times." How chinese.

Quote
With regards to some folks' opinions on the RD-180 ban (or lifting of said ban): politics is not even remotely similar to working hardware for spaceflights.

Yet still necessary to get to those missions in the first place ...

Quote
Naturally, everyone is entitled to an opinion. But some folks are well advised to not expect their opinion to be always correct. In fact, that little property is exactly why an opinion is called an opinion.
I think you mean "proprietary" here. But point taken.

Not to be needlessly pedantic, but its kind of nice to have a square, concrete, provable answer every now and then.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: woods170 on 10/01/2015 08:05 AM
Welcome to the wonderful world of proprietary. Indeed, it is a logical consequence of government agencies becoming customers in stead of operators. Root cause transparency is the least of the worries for NASA and DoD.
Precisely my point in all the above.
Yes, and my reply served only to confirm my similar opinion.


Being inconvenient is not the problem. In fact, it is a good thing to be inconvenient to other folks every now and then. Keeps everyone on it's toes.
That said: the world is constantly changing. So is the spaceflight landscape. Contrary to what some folks believe this is not necessarily a bad thing. You may be right now, but completely wrong tomorrow. Has happened before, will happen again.
"May you live in interesting times." How chinese.
Indeed. Some of those ancient Chinese folks were very interesting, and at times very wise, characters. Fortunately, in Europe we are not as opposed to working with the Chinese as some folks in the US are. We even learn a-thing-or-two from them.


With regards to some folks' opinions on the RD-180 ban (or lifting of said ban): politics is not even remotely similar to working hardware for spaceflights.
Yet still necessary to get to those missions in the first place ...
Ah, I notice you didn't miss the obvious jab I was taking at Jim.


Naturally, everyone is entitled to an opinion. But some folks are well advised to not expect their opinion to be always correct. In fact, that little property is exactly why an opinion is called an opinion.
I think you mean "proprietary" here. But point taken.

Not to be needlessly pedantic, but its kind of nice to have a square, concrete, provable answer every now and then.
Agreed, but I've learned, particularly from the types of business I work in, that square, concrete, provable answers are generally in decline.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Star One on 10/01/2015 02:48 PM

Welcome to the wonderful world of proprietary. Indeed, it is a logical consequence of government agencies becoming customers in stead of operators. Root cause transparency is the least of the worries for NASA and DoD.
Precisely my point in all the above.
Yes, and my reply served only to confirm my similar opinion.


Being inconvenient is not the problem. In fact, it is a good thing to be inconvenient to other folks every now and then. Keeps everyone on it's toes.
That said: the world is constantly changing. So is the spaceflight landscape. Contrary to what some folks believe this is not necessarily a bad thing. You may be right now, but completely wrong tomorrow. Has happened before, will happen again.
"May you live in interesting times." How chinese.
Indeed. Some of those ancient Chinese folks were very interesting, and at times very wise, characters. Fortunately, in Europe we are not as opposed to working with the Chinese as some folks in the US are. We even learn a-thing-or-two from them.


With regards to some folks' opinions on the RD-180 ban (or lifting of said ban): politics is not even remotely similar to working hardware for spaceflights.
Yet still necessary to get to those missions in the first place ...
Ah, I notice you didn't miss the obvious jab I was taking at Jim.


Naturally, everyone is entitled to an opinion. But some folks are well advised to not expect their opinion to be always correct. In fact, that little property is exactly why an opinion is called an opinion.
I think you mean "proprietary" here. But point taken.

Not to be needlessly pedantic, but its kind of nice to have a square, concrete, provable answer every now and then.
Agreed, but I've learned, particularly from the types of business I work in, that square, concrete, provable answers are generally in decline.

Maybe that's because such answers don't always occur in real life but only in an idealised state.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: woods170 on 10/01/2015 03:00 PM
Maybe that's because such answers don't always occur in real life but only in an idealised state.

Concur. Reality s*cks.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: arachnitect on 10/01/2015 05:29 PM
I want more than we're getting, and I don't think that's unreasonable.

Do you make the same demand for corporations in every other field? Or is it just aerospace (or more specifically launch providers) that need to show everything to you?

I didn't say I need to see "everything." 

I would like for there to be increased transparency in most industries, but aerospace is especially intertwined with government, so yes, I think extra attention is warranted in this case.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: pathfinder_01 on 10/01/2015 06:58 PM

Should we trust a company that apparently can't find the cause of its last failure (*) with more public funding for more launches?

(*) If it won't announce a root cause, what else can we assume?

 - Ed Kyle

It found what it believes is the root cause of the failure. It just does not have to make it public and NASA is not paying for launches. It is paying for commercial resupply of the station. It is more should they get more public funding for cargo delivery. Antares to my knowledge had no launch contracts so far.

This is more akin to cargo being lost in transit(i.e. Container falling off cargo ship, cargo plane crash) than to (passenger plane crash, cargo plane crew hurt/killed). I don't get to find out that the reason why my stuff didn't arrive is that the brakes failed on the delivery truck and it crashed into something. Or at least not without an law suit.  And that information is not helpful to me(I don't care why it didn't get there, it didn't get there!).

Anyway the root cause has been eliminated for now(next two flights are on Atlas) and the rocket is being redesigned with new engines.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: edkyle99 on 10/01/2015 08:42 PM

Should we trust a company that apparently can't find the cause of its last failure (*) with more public funding for more launches?

(*) If it won't announce a root cause, what else can we assume?

 - Ed Kyle

It found what it believes is the root cause of the failure.
Did it?  How do you know?  You must have access to information not available to the rest of us.

 - Ed Kyle
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: robertross on 10/01/2015 10:20 PM
This is not looking good.

Report: Orbital faces risks in resuming space station runs
http://finance.yahoo.com/news/report-orbital-faces-risks-resuming-160305210.html

"The space agency's inspector general said Thursday that Orbital Sciences Corp. faces significant risks in its effort to recover from last October's launch explosion."



The actual report
https://oig.nasa.gov/audits/reports/FY15/IG-15-023.pdf
...


I find the financial issues quite disheartening.

The whole point is to reduce cost, right?
So what does NASA do? They elect to keep dishing out money.

I'm all for Orbital, but this plays out like political interference (from other programs) to keep the money rolling to the corporations. It really needs to stop. I hope the IG's recommendations will be followed (but I'm not holding my breath), because as noted: it took money away from other areas, and NASA has a habit of always needing more money.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: a_langwich on 10/02/2015 03:01 AM
This is not looking good.

Report: Orbital faces risks in resuming space station runs
http://finance.yahoo.com/news/report-orbital-faces-risks-resuming-160305210.html

"The space agency's inspector general said Thursday that Orbital Sciences Corp. faces significant risks in its effort to recover from last October's launch explosion."



The actual report
https://oig.nasa.gov/audits/reports/FY15/IG-15-023.pdf
...


I find the financial issues quite disheartening.

The whole point is to reduce cost, right?
So what does NASA do? They elect to keep dishing out money.

I'm all for Orbital, but this plays out like political interference (from other programs) to keep the money rolling to the corporations. It really needs to stop. I hope the IG's recommendations will be followed (but I'm not holding my breath), because as noted: it took money away from other areas, and NASA has a habit of always needing more money.

What took money from other areas?  NASA's contract with Orbital-ATK was fixed price, and they are staying inside of that fixed price, as the OIG acknowledges.

The point is to reduce cost, but the fair and honest way is to do that through the bid/contract mechanism.  One of the cost measures the OIG was recommending was to switch from payments calculated by trip to payments calculated per pound.  This apparently is possible within the terms of the contract, but would represent a break with the practice followed throughout the contract, and probably contravene a substantial amount of communication between NASA and Orbital-ATK. 

The only reason for doing it would be to essentially screw Orbital-ATK out of a small bit of money.  IF you were dissatisfied with Orbital-ATK's plans to purchase flights from a competing LV to make things good, and source a new propulsion source at no cost to you, and work up a new version of their LV at no cost to you, and re-work the schedule to allow this to happen albeit at a frantic pace; then screw away.  But, realize this, and this is why these beancounter arguments infuriate me:  the screw you apply to others will be applied back to you, with interest.  Penny wise, pound foolish.   

Compare what Orbital is doing with transitioning away from the AJ-26 engine, to ULA transitioning from the RD-180 engine.  AJR is asking for a billion dollars of government money and four years minimum for a new engine.  ULA is planning on spending about a billion dollars and four years, and at least one major board member is lobbying to get the government to pay for that in multiple ways.  Orbital-ATK has asked for NO additional government money, and is working to get its replacement engine and partially redesigned rocket orbiting payloads inside of one year.  On top of that, they've bought two commercial flights to help meet their contract.  Now, I'm not suggesting these are directly comparable; Atlas -> Vulcan is a far more extensive change, AR-1 would be developed from scratch, national security EELV flights vs Tang and toilet paper, yada yada yada.  What I'm suggesting is that Orbital-ATK is busting its past to give the government great service after a failure, and looking at the Atlas V/RD-180 transition illustrates how fast they are moving, and how a commercial fixed-price contract is saving the government enormous amounts of money. 
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: robertross on 10/03/2015 01:33 AM
This is not looking good.

Report: Orbital faces risks in resuming space station runs
http://finance.yahoo.com/news/report-orbital-faces-risks-resuming-160305210.html

"The space agency's inspector general said Thursday that Orbital Sciences Corp. faces significant risks in its effort to recover from last October's launch explosion."



The actual report
https://oig.nasa.gov/audits/reports/FY15/IG-15-023.pdf
...


I find the financial issues quite disheartening.

The whole point is to reduce cost, right?
So what does NASA do? They elect to keep dishing out money.

I'm all for Orbital, but this plays out like political interference (from other programs) to keep the money rolling to the corporations. It really needs to stop. I hope the IG's recommendations will be followed (but I'm not holding my breath), because as noted: it took money away from other areas, and NASA has a habit of always needing more money.

What took money from other areas?  NASA's contract with Orbital-ATK was fixed price, and they are staying inside of that fixed price, as the OIG acknowledges.


"Further, the Space Act Agreement between NASA and VCSFA specified that VCSFA was required to obtain insurance at no cost to NASA to cover claims for liability and damage to NASA property, have insurance for its own property, and waive all claims against the Government for any damage arising under the Agreement. However, although NASA officials stated that VCSFA intended to self-insure for damages resulting from launch operations, it is not clear from correspondence between VCSFA and NASA that this issue was understood or agreed upon by both parties. As a result, $5 million of NASA funds intended for other space operations projects were used to help fund the repairs."
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: robertross on 10/03/2015 01:48 AM
This is not looking good.

Report: Orbital faces risks in resuming space station runs
http://finance.yahoo.com/news/report-orbital-faces-risks-resuming-160305210.html

"The space agency's inspector general said Thursday that Orbital Sciences Corp. faces significant risks in its effort to recover from last October's launch explosion."



The actual report
https://oig.nasa.gov/audits/reports/FY15/IG-15-023.pdf
...


I find the financial issues quite disheartening.

The whole point is to reduce cost, right?
So what does NASA do? They elect to keep dishing out money.

I'm all for Orbital, but this plays out like political interference (from other programs) to keep the money rolling to the corporations. It really needs to stop. I hope the IG's recommendations will be followed (but I'm not holding my breath), because as noted: it took money away from other areas, and NASA has a habit of always needing more money.

The point is to reduce cost, but the fair and honest way is to do that through the bid/contract mechanism.  One of the cost measures the OIG was recommending was to switch from payments calculated by trip to payments calculated per pound.  This apparently is possible within the terms of the contract, but would represent a break with the practice followed throughout the contract, and probably contravene a substantial amount of communication between NASA and Orbital-ATK. 


And to this point, the IG said this:

"In addition, although NASA will not pay Orbital more than the fixed price of $1.9 billion agreed to for the original eight flights, the Agency did not take advantage of provisions in the contract that could have reduced its costs by up to $84 million.  Specifically, when flight schedules slipped such that Orbital was making multiple flights in a year, NASA did not invoke a contract provision allowing for an adjustment to the mission pricing worth as much as $21 million, but 1 On June 28, 2015, a mission by NASA’s other commercial cargo provider, Space Exploration Technologies Corporation, exploded shortly after takeoff.  This report does not examine the impact of that loss, which occurred after we had completed our audit work; however, we plan to conduct a similar audit on NASA’s response to this loss. WHY WE PERFORMED THIS REVIEW WHAT WE FOUND instead received other nonmonetary considerations with an assessed value of only $2 million.

"Agency officials contend that invoking this provision may have reopened negotiations on pricing and potentially given Orbital the opportunity to press for higher prices, which could have resulted in the Agency ultimately paying more.  However, negotiations and modifications to the contract were already underway as a result of the schedule delays, and we believe it would have been in NASA’s interest to at least broach the issue with Orbital. Further, when calculating the cost to NASA for the remaining four flights, Orbital did not use the per- kilogram pricing in the original contract and instead divided the price for the cancelled eighth mission by its contractual upmass requirement to arrive at a revised price per- kilogram. By accepting this pricing structure, NASA committed to paying $65million more for these missions than the Agency would have paid if the original pricing had been used. While Orbital offered NASA some consideration in exchange for the adjustments made in its Return to Flight Plan, we question the value of these services. In addition, NASA recently took actions that will limit its ability to slow milestone payments caused by schedule delays for future cargo resupply missions, effectively increasing the Agency’s financial risk for its follow- on commercial resupply contract."

NASA had a chance to save some money. But no, mustn't put any additional burden on a space provider...

Again, I'm not anti-Orbital. I'm a big supporter of them, and SpaceX, and JAXA, and ESA, and so on (and to an extent - Boeing, for Commercial Crew). I believe all in the space community have something to gain from the great unknown.

However, if the whole point is to save money, then damn it do it! This is taxpayer money - your money (I'm Canadian). If don't have to spend additional monies for the same result, you can use that money for other things (or more of the same, IE: more spaceflight). But I have the same beliefs north of the border, so it's not just for you. These companies are in business to make money, and to do that they will ensure their own interests are met to make that happen. To provide additional incentives when none are required is foolish.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: ChrisWilson68 on 10/03/2015 01:51 AM
This is not looking good.

Report: Orbital faces risks in resuming space station runs
http://finance.yahoo.com/news/report-orbital-faces-risks-resuming-160305210.html

"The space agency's inspector general said Thursday that Orbital Sciences Corp. faces significant risks in its effort to recover from last October's launch explosion."



The actual report
https://oig.nasa.gov/audits/reports/FY15/IG-15-023.pdf
...


I find the financial issues quite disheartening.

The whole point is to reduce cost, right?
So what does NASA do? They elect to keep dishing out money.

I'm all for Orbital, but this plays out like political interference (from other programs) to keep the money rolling to the corporations. It really needs to stop. I hope the IG's recommendations will be followed (but I'm not holding my breath), because as noted: it took money away from other areas, and NASA has a habit of always needing more money.

What took money from other areas?  NASA's contract with Orbital-ATK was fixed price, and they are staying inside of that fixed price, as the OIG acknowledges.


"Further, the Space Act Agreement between NASA and VCSFA specified that VCSFA was required to obtain insurance at no cost to NASA to cover claims for liability and damage to NASA property, have insurance for its own property, and waive all claims against the Government for any damage arising under the Agreement. However, although NASA officials stated that VCSFA intended to self-insure for damages resulting from launch operations, it is not clear from correspondence between VCSFA and NASA that this issue was understood or agreed upon by both parties. As a result, $5 million of NASA funds intended for other space operations projects were used to help fund the repairs."

First you said "I'm all for Orbital, but this plays out like political interference (from other programs) to keep the money rolling to the corporations. It really needs to stop."  In reply, a_langwich pointed out OrbitalATK's contract is fixed cost and the government is spending no additional money on it.  But then you replied about money NASA is paying because Virginia didn't self-insure and NASA decided to cover the costs Virginia was supposed to cover.

NASA covering Virginia has nothing to do with Orbital ATK or any other company.  So your point about "money rolling to corporations" is invalid and a_langwich rightly points that out.

Edit: I agree with your points in your subsequent post that there were other ways in which NASA was too lenient with Orbital ATK and wasted taxpayer money to help Orbital ATK.  My comment is limited to your point about the money NASA spent on the Virginia spaceport, which helped the spaceport authority, not Orbital ATK or any other company.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: rayleighscatter on 10/03/2015 12:29 PM
As a result, $5 million of NASA funds intended for other space operations projects were used to help fund the repairs."
Wait, IG said that? Congress specifically appropriated an additional 20 Million in windfall for Wallops, that money didn't come out of any other NASA fund. Not only did NASA not spend 5 million out of pocket, but they had an additional 15 million in free cash afterwards.
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: robertross on 10/03/2015 01:05 PM
...

First you said "I'm all for Orbital, but this plays out like political interference (from other programs) to keep the money rolling to the corporations. It really needs to stop."  In reply, a_langwich pointed out OrbitalATK's contract is fixed cost and the government is spending no additional money on it.  But then you replied about money NASA is paying because Virginia didn't self-insure and NASA decided to cover the costs Virginia was supposed to cover.

NASA covering Virginia has nothing to do with Orbital ATK or any other company.  So your point about "money rolling to corporations" is invalid and a_langwich rightly points that out.

Edit: I agree with your points in your subsequent post that there were other ways in which NASA was too lenient with Orbital ATK and wasted taxpayer money to help Orbital ATK.  My comment is limited to your point about the money NASA spent on the Virginia spaceport, which helped the spaceport authority, not Orbital ATK or any other company.


I guess my comments were misinterpreted by my mixed-up wording.

I apologize for that.
However the basic fact is that attempts to reduce costs for spaceflight by using commercial entities is not being fully or properly handled.

Again, I hope the IG's report will affect change, but I'm not holding my breath. (plus there's too much money being sunk in other non-commercial areas of spaceflight that also needs fixing, but that's OT).
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: rayleighscatter on 10/28/2015 10:02 PM
OA made an update recently about Antares return to flight.

Pad repairs complete

100% Hotfire still scheduled for January

Antares modified over summer for RD-181: New thrust adapter structure, modified core tanks, modified control avionics, new propellant feedlines

Hardware now being received for return flight. Next set of engines expected to reach Wallops in December
Title: Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
Post by: Lars-J on 10/28/2015 10:41 PM
OA made an update recently about Antares return to flight.

Pad repairs complete

100% Hotfire still scheduled for January

Antares modified over summer for RD-181: New thrust adapter structure, modified core tanks, modified control avionics, new propellant feedlines

Hardware now being received for return flight. Next set of engines expected to reach Wallops in December

And then there is this: http://spacenews.com/space-profit-soars-at-orbital-atk/
Spa