Author Topic: NASA and AFRL to accelerate Commercial Reusable Launch Vehicles development  (Read 7512 times)

Online Robotbeat

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 28046
  • Minnesota
  • Liked: 7856
  • Likes Given: 5231
http://commercialspaceinitiatives.arc.nasa.gov

Quote
Commercial Reusable Launch Vehicle Technology Roadmap Study

Sponsored by the NASA Innovative Partnership Program
And in Collaboration with the Air Force Research Laboratory

Objective: This study will focus on identifying technologies and assessing their relative utility for enabling future space access capabilities, with the primary goal of accelerating development of Commercial Reusable Launch Vehicles (CRLV’s) that have significantly lower cost, and improved reliability, availability, launch turn-time, and robustness compared to current launch systems.

Approach: Four categories of space access vehicles for consideration are:

   1. Reusable, sub-orbital vehicles
   2. Expendable and partially reusable, orbital vehicles
   3. Reusable, two-stage orbital vehicles
   4. Advanced vehicle concepts, such as single stage to orbit, air-breathing systems, in-flight refueling, and tethered upper stage
...

And in Ohio, the Commercial and Responsive Access to Space Technology Exchange:
Quote
Introduction

NASA and AFRL have initiated a Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV) technology road mapping effort to identify technologies with the potential for the largest impact for enabling future space access capabilities. The primary goal of NASA and AFRL is to accelerate development of Commercial Reusable Launch Vehicles (CRLV's) that have significantly lower cost, improved reliability, availability, and robustness compared to current launch systems.

Commercial space organizations attending the Commercial and Responsive Access to Space Technology Exchange (CRASTE 2009) have the opportunity to provide inputs and recommendations to the government team during one-on-one, closed-door discussions. These inputs will be compiled by the government and used to make recommendations of technology tasks and milestones to support commercial space.

Please contact Cathy Griffith or Nancy Johnson to schedule a one-on-one, 30-minute meeting. While every effort will be made to accommodate your requests, time slots will be assigned on a first-come, first-served basis.

Roadmap discussion meetings will occur on the days and during the times shown below:
 
Monday, 26 October     4:30 pm -     9:00 pm
Tuesday, 27 October     6:30 pm -     9:00 pm
Wednesday, 28 October     4:00 pm -     9:00 pm
Thursday, 29 October     5:00 pm -     9:00 pm
Friday, 30 October     8:00 am -     12:00 pm
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Online Robotbeat

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 28046
  • Minnesota
  • Liked: 7856
  • Likes Given: 5231
As a big reusable launch vehicle fanboi, this makes me very happy.

(I think they are taking paper submissions, BTW.)
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Offline Retired Downrange

  • Member
  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 941
  • Turks & Caicos Islands
  • Liked: 78
  • Likes Given: 124

http://www.usasymposium.com/craste/agenda.htm

2009 Commercial and Government Responsive Access to Space Technology Exchange (CRASTE) Agenda

The final day - Thursday, 29 October 2009

has presentations by:
   
Armadillo Scaled Composites,
Mr. Neil Milburn
     
Space X,
Mr. Mike Bender
     
XCor,
Speaker TBA

...wish I could be there.

Offline hop

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3307
  • Liked: 447
  • Likes Given: 797
Armadillo Scaled Composites,
Mr. Neil Milburn
That is quite peculiar. AFAIK Mr Milburn is with Armadillo, not scaled.
« Last Edit: 10/14/2009 01:09 AM by hop »

Offline Antares

  • ABO^2
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5201
  • Done arguing with amateurs
  • Liked: 368
  • Likes Given: 226
Why the H is this at Ames?  Hella launch vehicle experience there.
If I like something on NSF, it's probably because I know it to be accurate.  Every once in a while, it's just something I agree with.  Facts generally receive the former.

Offline SpacexULA

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1756
  • Liked: 46
  • Likes Given: 73
That is quite peculiar. AFAIK Mr Milburn is with Armadillo, not scaled.

That got my attention also, How strange a world would it be if Scaled invested in Armadillo.

Would make SS2 more interesting though.
No Bucks no Buck Rogers, but at least Flexible path gets you Twiki.

Offline Antares

  • ABO^2
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5201
  • Done arguing with amateurs
  • Liked: 368
  • Likes Given: 226
And don't forget that NorGrum owns Scaled.
If I like something on NSF, it's probably because I know it to be accurate.  Every once in a while, it's just something I agree with.  Facts generally receive the former.

Offline meiza

  • Expert
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3069
  • Where Be Dragons
  • Liked: 3
  • Likes Given: 3
And NG funded part of the X-Prize...

But if you read this, it's quite sensible in many parts!

Development should be done at small scale at first. That way you can try many more things for the same money.

Look through how many vehicles Armadillo has gone through to finally find configurations and infrastructure that they can operate reliably and on demand.

When you're working at a small scale, you can quickly build new stuff just to test it. You don't have to get everything right on the first or even the second time. This leads to progress as stuff doesn't have to be ultraconservative. Design space exploration.

Of course all the proposed suborbital RLV:s are applying quite basic technology.

And it's actually conceivable even orbital TSTO RLV:s don't require much. We don't know yet. Atlas and Titan were almost SSTO ELV:s with fifties technology. It's just that there have not been that much RLV tries. Just like how civilian airplanes benefited from bomber technology, orbital RLV:s might spring from the suborbital ones...

Offline Danny Dot

  • Rocket Scientist, NOT Retired
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2791
  • Houston, Texas
  • Liked: 15
  • Likes Given: 1
Why the H is this at Ames?  Hella launch vehicle experience there.

We need higher ISP engines than are possible today, lighter structures than are possible, higher temp structures than are possible, center of gravity control that is not possible, Mach 25 air-breathing engines that are not possible today.

This looks like the intent is technology development, not dumping billions into a big project that is doomed to fail.  This is the way NASA is supposed to work.  Develop the "impossible" technology for the rest of the world to use.  I think Ames is the perfect center to do this badly needed technology development.

I vote for someone developing the impossible to develop Mach 25 air breathing engines  ;) 

Danny Deger
Danny Deger

Offline kkattula

  • Member
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2508
  • Melbourne, Australia
  • Liked: 10
  • Likes Given: 3
Why the H is this at Ames?  Hella launch vehicle experience there.

We need higher ISP engines than are possible today, lighter structures than are possible, higher temp structures than are possible, center of gravity control that is not possible, Mach 25 air-breathing engines that are not possible today.

This looks like the intent is technology development, not dumping billions into a big project that is doomed to fail.  This is the way NASA is supposed to work.  Develop the "impossible" technology for the rest of the world to use.  I think Ames is the perfect center to do this badly needed technology development.

I vote for someone developing the impossible to develop Mach 25 air breathing engines  ;) 

Danny Deger

What's the point of Mach 25 air breathing engines?

In order to use them, you have to stay lower in the atmosphere for most of the flight. Which means much higher drag losses. Then you still need a pure rocket engine to pull up to orbital altitude and circularize your orbit.

Delta v ends up 30% to 50% higher than for a pure rocket, which just kills your mass ratio no matter what the Isp.

Offline Danny Dot

  • Rocket Scientist, NOT Retired
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2791
  • Houston, Texas
  • Liked: 15
  • Likes Given: 1
Why the H is this at Ames?  Hella launch vehicle experience there.

We need higher ISP engines than are possible today, lighter structures than are possible, higher temp structures than are possible, center of gravity control that is not possible, Mach 25 air-breathing engines that are not possible today.

This looks like the intent is technology development, not dumping billions into a big project that is doomed to fail.  This is the way NASA is supposed to work.  Develop the "impossible" technology for the rest of the world to use.  I think Ames is the perfect center to do this badly needed technology development.

I vote for someone developing the impossible to develop Mach 25 air breathing engines  ;) 

Danny Deger

What's the point of Mach 25 air breathing engines?

In order to use them, you have to stay lower in the atmosphere for most of the flight. Which means much higher drag losses. Then you still need a pure rocket engine to pull up to orbital altitude and circularize your orbit.

Delta v ends up 30% to 50% higher than for a pure rocket, which just kills your mass ratio no matter what the Isp.


Is the higher delta V to fight drag?  I have never cranked the number on how bad it is to fight drag.

The point is to not have to carry the oxidizer, which is most of the mass of the propellant.  But you have an excellent point.  Even a Mach 25 air breathing engine might not make reusable possible due to drag.  Someone needs to quantify a conceptual design that works, then spend money developing the needed technology.  Unfortunately, in today's world you can't trust NASA to not do something like "Oh I forgot there was going to be drag!!"  Or, "Well we had an unfunded risk plan to somehow get to the needed Mach 3 for starting the engine.  It was future work we forgot to mention when we asked for billions to develop the engine."

And, you probably need something like the shuttle's OMS engines to get to orbit from high altitude Mach 25 flight.  Maybe a little more propellant, but not a lot.   Mach 25 is orbit velocity.

Danny Deger
Danny Deger

Offline Takalok

  • Member
  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 146
  • Liked: 0
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: Mach 25 Engine
« Reply #11 on: 10/16/2009 03:05 PM »
Not to hijack the topic, but I fail to see the point of a Mach 25 engine either. 

If my factoids are correct, it takes about 35 times the energy to reach 330 km (ISS) as it does to reach 100 km (space - roughly).  Reaching 100 km doesn't seem to me to be that big a deal, but getting to the ISS, well, that's big time.

So you'd still need to carry all the oxidizer. 

Personally, I don't understand why throw-away hardware generates such angst.  It's cheap (relatively), effective and gets the job done. 

Dixie cups forever  ;)
Life is what happens while you're waiting for tomorrow.

Offline Danny Dot

  • Rocket Scientist, NOT Retired
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2791
  • Houston, Texas
  • Liked: 15
  • Likes Given: 1
Re: Mach 25 Engine
« Reply #12 on: 10/16/2009 03:42 PM »
Not to hijack the topic, but I fail to see the point of a Mach 25 engine either. 

If my factoids are correct, it takes about 35 times the energy to reach 330 km (ISS) as it does to reach 100 km (space - roughly).  Reaching 100 km doesn't seem to me to be that big a deal, but getting to the ISS, well, that's big time.

So you'd still need to carry all the oxidizer. 

Personally, I don't understand why throw-away hardware generates such angst.  It's cheap (relatively), effective and gets the job done. 

Dixie cups forever  ;)

The big thing is speed, not altitude.  Mach 25 is orbital speed.  Some oxidizer is needed to raise the perigee out of the atmosphere, but not a huge amount.

I like the Dixie Cup analogy. 

Danny Deger
Danny Deger

Online Robotbeat

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 28046
  • Minnesota
  • Liked: 7856
  • Likes Given: 5231
The angst against throw-away hardware is that it isn't cheap. Expendable rockets cost the same per-kg ($500/kg) of dry mass as reusable 747 hardware. If we had plastic drop tanks, then sure, expendable is dirt cheap. But we're designing full aerospace quality hardware and then just throwing it away. It's great for weapons (ICBMs, etc) since they blow up anyway, but horrible for launch services. The angst is also that people watch airplanes fly around them all the time, but expendables will never get to anywhere close to that sort of price range. And people want to dream, realistic or not, that space is the future of humanity and there's no way that that sort of future can be accomplished with the prices that expendables give us.
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Offline Takalok

  • Member
  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 146
  • Liked: 0
  • Likes Given: 0
The angst against throw-away hardware is that it isn't cheap. Expendable rockets cost the same per-kg ($500/kg) of dry mass as reusable 747 hardware. If we had plastic drop tanks, then sure, expendable is dirt cheap.

"Cheap" is a relative term.  A new car to me is big money, but to the government - it's a throw-away item.

If you look at some rough figures Ed Kyle put together on Soyuz:
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=13441.0

it's pretty revealing.  A Soyuz is a pretty darn cheap rocket.  Yes - $50 to $100 million is real bucks - I'd sure like to have it - but in context it's cheap - and it gets the job done.

Although I think Shuttle was worth a shot, it really cost us.  I so wish the U.S. had also pursued the incremental approach the Soviet's did.  40 years ago we had the Constellation capabilities we're spending untold billions to recapture.  Tell me that's not a waste.

So I'm all for research, but in terms of getting to space, simple is better and rockets are best and cheap. 
 
(modified for typos)
« Last Edit: 10/16/2009 05:53 PM by Takalok »
Life is what happens while you're waiting for tomorrow.