Author Topic: Taurus II and availability of the NK33  (Read 76689 times)

Offline antonioe

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Re: Taurus II and availability of the NK33
« Reply #20 on: 01/28/2008 02:21 AM »

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tnphysics - 27/1/2008 8:59 PM What about a larger and/or bipropellant second stage?

(*sigh*)... using what engine?  The D-II Upper Stage (a.k.a. "Delta K") using the AJ-10 is about all the biprop gear you can find in the US today...

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Or Atlas I style balloon tanks?

Atlas I balloon tanks were wonderful (the lowest structural mass fraction of any launch vehicle stage EVER), but I'm afraid the art has been lost.  I remember seeing a picture in Popular Mechanics of the gigantic lathes at the San Diego Convair plant that were used to turn the Atlas fuselages to the proper thickness... This was 1961 or so; I was 12 (and lusting after rockets)... I guess one could use chem milling today, but I'm afraid we don't have the money and the time to develop that capability...

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Offline Sid454

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RE: Taurus II and availability of the NK33
« Reply #21 on: 01/28/2008 02:51 AM »
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Jim - 25/1/2008  6:52 AM

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Sid454 - 24/1/2008  12:14 AM


The real issue is can production be ramped up before the 50 remaining NK-33s are used up?


All depends on the flight rate and you are forgetting the 40 that are in the US.
45 flights or so, that is many years, 5 minimum

5 years should be more then enough time round up as many of the old SSME assembly line workers as they can hire tool up to ready production and test the new batch of engines.

Though the single core configuration may not be the only configuration they have in mind for this vehicle.

Other things I'm interested in upper stage options .

Replacing the solid upper stage with just about anything else the same mass could increase payload by 25% or more.

A centaur derived stage could make it a real performer able to match vehicles like soyuz and falcon 9 on equal terms maybe even allow them to launch an X34 derived vehicle or offer spacedev a lower cost vehicle for dream chaser.

Offline tnphysics

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Re: Taurus II and availability of the NK33
« Reply #22 on: 01/28/2008 03:16 AM »
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antonioe - 27/1/2008  10:21 PM

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tnphysics - 27/1/2008 8:59 PM What about a larger and/or bipropellant second stage?

(*sigh*)... using what engine?  The D-II Upper Stage (a.k.a. "Delta K") using the AJ-10 is about all the biprop gear you can find in the US today...

Quote
Or Atlas I style balloon tanks?

Atlas I balloon tanks were wonderful (the lowest structural mass fraction of any launch vehicle stage EVER), but I'm afraid the art has been lost.  I remember seeing a picture in Popular Mechanics of the gigantic lathes at the San Diego Convair plant that were used to turn the Atlas fuselages to the proper thickness... This was 1961 or so; I was 12 (and lusting after rockets)... I guess one could use chem milling today, but I'm afraid we don't have the money and the time to develop that capability...




What about multiple AJ-10s?

I brought up the balloon tanks because they would allow stage 1 to be almost SSTO. Thus Stage 2 could be small.

Offline Sid454

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Re: Taurus II and availability of the NK33
« Reply #23 on: 01/28/2008 03:19 AM »
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antonioe - 27/1/2008  9:21 PM

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tnphysics - 27/1/2008 8:59 PM What about a larger and/or bipropellant second stage?

(*sigh*)... using what engine?  The D-II Upper Stage (a.k.a. "Delta K") using the AJ-10 is about all the biprop gear you can find in the US today...

Quote
Or Atlas I style balloon tanks?

Atlas I balloon tanks were wonderful (the lowest structural mass fraction of any launch vehicle stage EVER), but I'm afraid the art has been lost.  I remember seeing a picture in Popular Mechanics of the gigantic lathes at the San Diego Convair plant that were used to turn the Atlas fuselages to the proper thickness... This was 1961 or so; I was 12 (and lusting after rockets)... I guess one could use chem milling today, but I'm afraid we don't have the money and the time to develop that capability...


The old atlas I balloon tanks did have issues with ground handling and require a jig to support them and the vehicle must be pressurized before moving it and kept pressurized while on the pad.

They were very prone to accidental damage while being handled which is partly why they switched to an isogrid .

The isogrid being stiffer eliminated an oscillation mode from the vehicle that occurred late in the burn as the first stage tanks emptied.

The change also allowed strap on SRBs and heavier upper stages which allowed the payload to grow from 3000lbs to over 22,000lbs today.

This is also why spacex went with a hybrid balloon/isogrid tank setup over a pure balloon tank on falcon 1 and falcon 9.

Balloon tanks are still used on the centaur high energy upper stage so the art of making the tanks is not lost.


Offline Jim

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RE: Taurus II and availability of the NK33
« Reply #24 on: 01/28/2008 10:35 AM »
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Sid454 - 27/1/2008  10:51 PM

5 years should be more then enough time round up as many of the old SSME assembly line workers as they can hire tool up to ready production and test the new batch of engines.

.

Incorrect.  If you would read the responses to your other posts, you would know that SSME production has already ended and most of the workers are on RS-68.  Also who says Aerojet is going to hire them

Offline Jim

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Re: Taurus II and availability of the NK33
« Reply #25 on: 01/28/2008 10:39 AM »
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Sid454 - 27/1/2008  11:19 PM

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antonioe - 27/1/2008  9:21 PM

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tnphysics - 27/1/2008 8:59 PM What about a larger and/or bipropellant second stage?

(*sigh*)... using what engine?  The D-II Upper Stage (a.k.a. "Delta K") using the AJ-10 is about all the biprop gear you can find in the US today...

Quote
Or Atlas I style balloon tanks?

Atlas I balloon tanks were wonderful (the lowest structural mass fraction of any launch vehicle stage EVER), but I'm afraid the art has been lost.  I remember seeing a picture in Popular Mechanics of the gigantic lathes at the San Diego Convair plant that were used to turn the Atlas fuselages to the proper thickness... This was 1961 or so; I was 12 (and lusting after rockets)... I guess one could use chem milling today, but I'm afraid we don't have the money and the time to develop that capability...


The old atlas I balloon tanks did have issues with ground handling and require a jig to support them and the vehicle must be pressurized before moving it and kept pressurized while on the pad.

They were very prone to accidental damage while being handled which is partly why they switched to an isogrid .

The isogrid being stiffer eliminated an oscillation mode from the vehicle that occurred late in the burn as the first stage tanks emptied.

The change also allowed strap on SRBs and heavier upper stages which allowed the payload to grow from 3000lbs to over 22,000lbs today.

This is also why spacex went with a hybrid balloon/isogrid tank setup over a pure balloon tank on falcon 1 and falcon 9.

Balloon tanks are still used on the centaur high energy upper stage so the art of making the tanks is not lost.


You don't need to give a history lesson or regurgitate what has been said on many threads.  Everyone knows that info.  Especially, antonioe, who is Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias

Offline antonioe

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Re: Taurus II and availability of the NK33
« Reply #26 on: 01/28/2008 12:56 PM »

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Jim - 28/1/2008 5:39 AM Everyone knows that info. Especially, antonioe, who is Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias

Jim, I know this will come as a shock to you, but EVEN *I* don't know everything...

By the way, if my memory serves me right, there WAS a difference between the original Atlas I tanks and the latter Atlas and Centaur pressure-stabilized ones, precisely in the direction of increasing its buckling stiffness.  I don't know this for sure, but I infer it from a number of data, especially the worse structural mass fractions of the latter units.  Can anyone confirm?

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Offline TrueGrit

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Re: Taurus II and availability of the NK33
« Reply #27 on: 01/28/2008 07:42 PM »
Things don't always make sense until you think it out...  I was surprised that the T-II stage 1 has greater than D-II 79XX total impluse and yet if you were to put identical upperstages on it would have less capability.  D-II does gets a benifit by dropping the solids, and the MECO stage 1 "dry" weight is much less... obvious considering D-II is a 8ft stage, while T-II is a 3.9m stage...  I'ts starting to makes sense.  So it looks like a Hypergol stage looks to be out.

As for the change to a LOx/LH2 upperstage...  As I've said your talking about someting at least 5x the cost of the proposed Castor 30 in recurring costs.  The empty stage alone would be about the same cost as the Castor, then you'd need to add an engine (at least 2x), and then propellant and increased processing labor.  You'd also have to add signifcant launch site infrastructure: new propellant storage and transfer system, new cryo swing arms, etc...  Delta III was done with internal money alone and cost $800-mil.  That included a first stage mod and development of the GEM-46s, but the vast majority was for the new cryo stage.

Offline tnphysics

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Re: Taurus II and availability of the NK33
« Reply #28 on: 01/28/2008 09:34 PM »
What about a large (30 tonne) hypergol second stage with multiple AJ-10 engines, or a new, cheaply developed engine a la LM landing engine?

Offline Jim

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Re: Taurus II and availability of the NK33
« Reply #29 on: 01/28/2008 09:36 PM »
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tnphysics - 28/1/2008  5:34 PM
a new, cheaply developed engine
?

No such thing

Offline antonioe

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Re: Taurus II and availability of the NK33
« Reply #30 on: 01/28/2008 10:49 PM »

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tnphysics - 28/1/2008 4:34 PM What about a large (30 tonne) hypergol second stage with multiple AJ-10 engines, or a new, cheaply developed engine a la LM landing engine?

Ouch!  You're starting to get to the liftoff thrust limit of the NK-33's... no, the cat's meow would be an RL-10 stage that weighs about the same as the C-30, but at RL-10 Isp's and restartable... and for $29.95, of course... anybody's got P&W's phone number? ;)

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Offline Lampyridae

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Re: Taurus II and availability of the NK33
« Reply #31 on: 01/28/2008 11:12 PM »
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Jim - 28/1/2008  8:39 PM
You don't need to give a history lesson or regurgitate what has been said on many threads.  Everyone knows that info.  Especially, antonioe, who is Pegasus Designer Dr. Antonio Elias

Hey, I didn't know about the Atlas I balloon tanks...
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Offline CFE

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Re: Taurus II and availability of the NK33
« Reply #32 on: 01/28/2008 11:36 PM »
"Taurus II" is looking more and more impressive by the day.  When can we expect Orbital to make a firm commitment to the program?  For that matter, will Orbital have a better name than "Taurus II" by the time the program is approved?

I assume that the Stage 1 structure will be contracted out, rather than done in-house at Orbital.  Obviously, Orbital has to be tight-lipped about who the subcontractors might be at this point in time.  

Lastly, is there any chance of buying additional NK-33's from RpK at this point in time?  It might be a good idea to stock up now, but I'd assume there's plenty of bad blood between Orbital and RpK which might prevent such a deal from going through.  Then again, RpK will need the cash to get their suborbital program flying.  Selling off the K-1 assets would seem like a fiscally-sound plan.
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Offline Lampyridae

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Re: Taurus II and availability of the NK33
« Reply #33 on: 01/29/2008 03:07 AM »
I was wondering about your overhead costs for launches - like you say, when customers went telemetry etc. with their side order of booster fries and a lox shake. These must consume a fair whack of what you charge for a launch. Does Taurus II make some kind of saving here? (Of course these are trade secrets, but I'd just settle for an idea, being an armchair rocket enthusiast...)

Even if you had flight rates that justified reusability - say weekly flights to a Bigelow hab, then how would you cut down on all those other factors? Some sort of standardised launch telemetry service, for example? "Containerisation" of payloads?

SpaceX's projected costs seem to be creeping ever upwards - I suppose yours did initially as well. Do you think it's partly because of a growing realisation of all the extra costs associated with a launch?
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Offline antonioe

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Re: Taurus II and availability of the NK33
« Reply #34 on: 01/29/2008 03:42 AM »

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CFE - 28/1/2008 6:36 PM "Taurus II" ... When can we expect Orbital to make a firm commitment to the program?

Please allow me to take a rain check on that one.  Things are looking good from a cost, schedule and technical standpoint, but we're far from the hard part of program yet...  I promise to inform this forum as soon as I'm able.

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For that matter, will Orbital have a better name than "Taurus II" by the time the program is approved?

(Quadruple *SIGH*) I'm afraid Taurus II has become quite cast in concrete... Cygnus and all other names seem to have faded away... at least we will follow a long tradition of misnaming:  Titan -> Titan II, Delta II -> Delta IV, Ariane 4 -> Ariane 5... 

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 I assume that the Stage 1 structure will be contracted out, rather than done in-house at Orbital.

Good assumption: Orbital does NOT manufacture flight structures in-house either for our rockets or our spacecraft: for example, the Pegasus wing (and fins) are manufactured by Scaled Composites (Burt also designed the structure: I only gave him the outer mold line, the hook pin interfaces, and the loads).  We assemble the fairings from major parts that various houses build to print for us.  Ditto for spacecraft parts: main core barrel, structural panels, solar panel substrates, etc.  We do all the finishing work, such as applying the TPS to the Pegasus wings, attaching the separation joint and hardware to the fairing parts, and all the clips and pucks to the spacecraft panels.

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is there any chance of buying additional NK-33's from RpK at this point in time?

I was unaware that RpK owned any NK-33's.

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 I'd assume there's plenty of bad blood between Orbital and RpK

Bad assumption.  I was at the Long Beach conference last year when Alan L. announced officially that RpK had been sent the "warning letter", and when Randy Brinkely had the amazing courage to participate in the panel he had committed to months before.  It takes real guts to do what Randy did.  I swear I cried. 

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Offline antonioe

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Re: Taurus II and availability of the NK33
« Reply #35 on: 01/29/2008 04:18 AM »

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Lampyridae - 28/1/2008 10:07 PM I was wondering about your overhead costs for launches - like you say, when customers went telemetry etc. with their side order of booster fries and a lox shake. These must consume a fair whack of what you charge for a launch.

They typically range between $800K to about $1.5M depending on a lot of things: range involved, trajectory and amount of coverage needed (e.g., do you need to rent a P3 from the Navy to "see" spacecraft separation? Also, the first downrange station - for example McMurdo or IOS - is sometimes considered a launch cost, sometimes a spacecraft operations cost). 

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Does Taurus II make some kind of saving here?

Unfortunately, there is nothing on the Taurus II design that significantly change the range costs one way or another, but the choice of range can.  We've had very good luck launching Pegasi and "Minotauri" (???) from Wallops; the guys (and gals) there are very efficient, work amazingly fast, and they bend over backwards to accomodate any reasonable request.  Also, because of our relatively large number of new large rocket developments (5 in 18 years... wow! Fasten your seatbelts  :laugh:  ),  Orbital has become quite efficient in preparing range documentation, flight safety analysis, etc (essentially one team does it for Pegasus, Taurus, the Minotaurs and the large suborbitals, thus spreading the cost and keeping up proficiency.  It helps a lot when the range knows and trusts you!!!)

On the other hand, the Taurus II design details (such as lack of SRB's, use of a liquid stage 1, etc.) DO save a bundle in fixed infrastructure cost, especially compared with Delta II, but it can't get to the incredible level of simplicity of Taurus where, a week after a launch, you can't tell there had been a space launch there!

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 Even if you had flight rates that justified reusability - say weekly flights to a Bigelow hab, then how would you cut down on all those other factors? Some sort of standardised launch telemetry service, for example?

Well, yes, I guess that if we had six flights a year TO THE SAME ORBIT and with similar payloads (e.g., no surprise plutonium-powered RTGs... ;)  ) the range costs per flight could be halved.

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SpaceX's projected costs seem to be creeping ever upwards - I suppose yours did initially as well. Do you think it's partly because of a growing realisation of all the extra costs associated with a launch?

Well, as I reported elsewhere, we nailed the Pegasus development cost amazingly well ($42M actuals vs. $40M predicted) and we blew the recurring costs ($12M actuals vs, $6M predicted) right at the first flight.  We did have some cost increases after that  But what we REALLY blew were our 1987 predictions of launch rate: 15/year predicted AVERAGE vs. 38 launches in 18 years actual.  Which means we had to charge an even greater price than we thought in order to recoup the $42M (I'm embarassed to admit how late we reached the breakeven point...)  We're a lot smarter (and older, too) now; that's why we are designing the Taurus II system to survive on 2-3 flights/year.

I know nothing about SpaceX's costs.  All I can say is that, knowing what I learned from Pegasus, Taurus and Minotaur, I never understood the logic behind their predictions of price.

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Offline antonioe

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Re: Taurus II and availability of the NK33
« Reply #36 on: 01/29/2008 04:22 AM »
Ooops... I mis-spelled Randy Brinkley's name, and I realized it too late to edit it... sorry, Randy...
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Offline antonioe

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Re: Taurus II and availability of the NK33
« Reply #37 on: 01/29/2008 05:34 AM »

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TrueGrit - 28/1/2008 2:42 PM Things don't always make sense until you think it out... I was surprised that the T-II stage 1 has greater than D-II 79XX total impluse and yet if you were to put identical upperstages on it would have less capability.

I don't think that's what edkyle99 meant - he was not comparing a 79XX with a Delta K on top versus a T-II with a Delta K on top.  He was comparing a T-II with a Delta K on top with a T-II with a Castor-30 on top!

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Offline CFE

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Re: Taurus II and availability of the NK33
« Reply #38 on: 01/29/2008 06:27 AM »
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antonioe - 28/1/2008  9:42 PM

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is there any chance of buying additional NK-33's from RpK at this point in time?

I was unaware that RpK owned any NK-33's.

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I'd assume there's plenty of bad blood between Orbital and RpK

Bad assumption.  I was at the Long Beach conference last year when Alan L. announced officially that RpK had been sent the "warning letter", and when Randy Brinkely had the amazing courage to participate in the panel he had committed to months before.  It takes real guts to do what Randy did.  I swear I cried.


Looks like I'm eating crow now.  I assumed that RpK did have NK-33's in-house for the partly-complete K-1, but that might not be a valid assumption.  I also thought that ill-will might exist from the failed negotiations between Orbital and RpK earlier in COTS, but apparently that was a bad assumption too.
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Offline kevin-rf

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Re: Taurus II and availability of the NK33
« Reply #39 on: 01/29/2008 12:02 PM »
Once the Taurus II  is proven, is there any chance of it being able to up the flight rate by picking up some of the GPS launches that are now flying on EELV's?
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