Author Topic: Antares launch capabilities compared to other vehicles in its class?  (Read 12834 times)

Offline Star One

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Is there much known about how its payload to LEO & GTO stacks up in comparsion to other rockets in the same launch class as it?

All it gives on Wiki for it is a very rough figure to LEO of 5,000Kg & nothing else.

Offline Prober

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Is there much known about how its payload to LEO & GTO stacks up in comparsion to other rockets in the same launch class as it?

All it gives on Wiki for it is a very rough figure to LEO of 5,000Kg & nothing else.

comparable to a Delta II class

we need to see the first launch to see how everything pans out.
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Offline strangequark

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Is there much known about how its payload to LEO & GTO stacks up in comparsion to other rockets in the same launch class as it?

All it gives on Wiki for it is a very rough figure to LEO of 5,000Kg & nothing else.

http://www.orbital.com/NewsInfo/Publications/Antares_Brochure.pdf

Page 6.

Offline Star One

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Is there much known about how its payload to LEO & GTO stacks up in comparsion to other rockets in the same launch class as it?

All it gives on Wiki for it is a very rough figure to LEO of 5,000Kg & nothing else.

http://www.orbital.com/NewsInfo/Publications/Antares_Brochure.pdf

Page 6.

Thanks for that link.

Maybe I am reading this wrong but it does compare that equally to its commercial rival the Falcon 9 going by this.

http://www.spacex.com/Falcon9UsersGuide_2009.pdf

Offline strangequark

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Is there much known about how its payload to LEO & GTO stacks up in comparsion to other rockets in the same launch class as it?

All it gives on Wiki for it is a very rough figure to LEO of 5,000Kg & nothing else.

http://www.orbital.com/NewsInfo/Publications/Antares_Brochure.pdf

Page 6.

Thanks for that link.

Maybe I am reading this wrong but it does compare that equally to its commercial rival the Falcon 9 going by this.

http://www.spacex.com/Falcon9UsersGuide_2009.pdf

I'm not sure I understand your comment. Antares in its current configuration is a Delta-II comparable. Falcon 9 is more like an Atlas V 401.

Offline Star One

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Is there much known about how its payload to LEO & GTO stacks up in comparsion to other rockets in the same launch class as it?

All it gives on Wiki for it is a very rough figure to LEO of 5,000Kg & nothing else.

http://www.orbital.com/NewsInfo/Publications/Antares_Brochure.pdf

Page 6.

Thanks for that link.

Maybe I am reading this wrong but it does compare that equally to its commercial rival the Falcon 9 going by this.

http://www.spacex.com/Falcon9UsersGuide_2009.pdf

I'm not sure I understand your comment. Antares in its current configuration is a Delta-II comparable. Falcon 9 is more like an Atlas V 401.

My fault here was I had made the assumption before I saw the figures on this that the two launchers picked for the commercial cargo contract by NASA would be similiar in performance. But obviously my assumption was incorrect as they are not comparable at all and not the same class of vehicle.

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But obviously my assumption was incorrect as they are not comparable at all and not the same class of vehicle.

Antares and F9 1.1 are not in the same class, but I wonder if the same holds true for the current F9 1.0.

I've been eagerly waiting for the NASA ELV page to finally include Antares performance data after the vehicle was included in the NLS-II contract.

Offline Star One

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But obviously my assumption was incorrect as they are not comparable at all and not the same class of vehicle.

Antares and F9 1.1 are not in the same class, but I wonder if the same holds true for the current F9 1.0.

I've been eagerly waiting for the NASA ELV page to finally include Antares performance data after the vehicle was included in the NLS-II contract.

Subconsciously maybe this is what had steered me in the direction of thinking that they were the same or a similar class of vehicle.
« Last Edit: 10/07/2012 08:04 PM by Star One »

Offline sdsds

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Has Orbital talked much recently about the potential performance of Antares with a liquid second stage? They're doing the "right thing" with their focus on meeting NASA's CRS mission requirements using Castor-30 variants. But would Antares performance jump much closer to Atlas V 401 if it used something more like a Centaur?
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Offline strangequark

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Has Orbital talked much recently about the potential performance of Antares with a liquid second stage? They're doing the "right thing" with their focus on meeting NASA's CRS mission requirements using Castor-30 variants. But would Antares performance jump much closer to Atlas V 401 if it used something more like a Centaur?

Depends on the path taken. Speaking in a completely unofficial capacity, I've gotten Antares with liquid upper stage to throw upwards of 10000kg with kerosene, doing back-of-the-spreadsheet calculations. So, yeah, with an optimal upper stage, it's probably Atlas class.

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Has Orbital talked much recently about the potential performance of Antares with a liquid second stage? They're doing the "right thing" with their focus on meeting NASA's CRS mission requirements using Castor-30 variants. But would Antares performance jump much closer to Atlas V 401 if it used something more like a Centaur?

Depends on the path taken. Speaking in a completely unofficial capacity, I've gotten Antares with liquid upper stage to throw upwards of 10000kg with kerosene, doing back-of-the-spreadsheet calculations. So, yeah, with an optimal upper stage, it's probably Atlas class.
Awesome. I know Dr. Elias has mentioned here on NSF that he kind of regrets not being able to go with a liquid upper for Taurus II Antares. But nothing says you couldn't do it in the future!
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Offline strangequark

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Awesome. I know Dr. Elias has mentioned here on NSF that he kind of regrets not being able to go with a liquid upper for Taurus II Antares. But nothing says you couldn't do it in the future!

Yeah, I would love to hear his opinion on XCOR's piston engines. Granted, they're still strolling in the gentle foothills of the mountain range of qualifying an engine as flight hardware.
« Last Edit: 10/08/2012 07:22 PM by strangequark »

Online Robotbeat

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Awesome. I know Dr. Elias has mentioned here on NSF that he kind of regrets not being able to go with a liquid upper for Taurus II Antares. But nothing says you couldn't do it in the future!

Yeah, I would love to hear his opinion on XCOR's piston engines. Granted, they're still strolling in the gentle foothills of the mountain range of qualifying an engine as flight hardware.
Yeah, I was thinking the same thing.
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Offline Star One

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Has Orbital talked much recently about the potential performance of Antares with a liquid second stage? They're doing the "right thing" with their focus on meeting NASA's CRS mission requirements using Castor-30 variants. But would Antares performance jump much closer to Atlas V 401 if it used something more like a Centaur?

Depends on the path taken. Speaking in a completely unofficial capacity, I've gotten Antares with liquid upper stage to throw upwards of 10000kg with kerosene, doing back-of-the-spreadsheet calculations. So, yeah, with an optimal upper stage, it's probably Atlas class.
Awesome. I know Dr. Elias has mentioned here on NSF that he kind of regrets not being able to go with a liquid upper for Taurus II Antares. But nothing says you couldn't do it in the future!

What are the reasons they have gone with a solid upper stage, why not something like an off the shelf Centaur instead? Wouldn't a liquid upper stage bring a big boost in performance?

Offline Jim

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What are the reasons they have gone with a solid upper stage, why not something like an off the shelf Centaur instead?

Because there is no such thing.  ULA is not going help them become a competitor.

Offline strangequark

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What are the reasons they have gone with a solid upper stage, why not something like an off the shelf Centaur instead?

Because there is no such thing.  ULA is not going help them become a competitor.

Haha, indeed. It'd be a cold day in hell. Centaur is also quite expensive, even if it were available. Castor 30XL was a much easier proposition. As to the future, it depends on how well Antares goes.

EDIT: Come to think of it, wouldn't ULA be forbidden from selling Centaurs without going through Lockheed, even if they wanted to do so?
« Last Edit: 10/09/2012 04:05 AM by strangequark »

Offline sdsds

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What are the reasons they have gone with a solid upper stage

The short answer is, "Because they could." Or perhaps, "Because they didn't want to bite off more than they could chew." But since those aren't really helpful, here are my somewhat educated guesses at factors that contributed to the decision:

1) Orbital has a lot of experience with solid upper stages.
2) Orbital has a lot of experience with Castor motors.
3) Castor 30 was seen as a "safe" evolution of e.g. Castor 120.
4) Another potential customer of Castor 30 (USAF) was already contributing towards its development, and contributing its expertise in assuring the stage will function properly.
5) Solids require less plumbing at the launch pad.

All of those contribute to reducing Antares schedule risk.

6) Antares with Castor 30 meets the NASA CRS requirement. (Here I wave away considerations of 30A, 30B, 30XL, extended super-Cygnus, etc.)
7) Adding an Antares configuration with a liquid upper stage would be a relatively straightforward upgrade of the pad and vehicle. When the time comes they might well be tempted to borrow the SpaceX phrase, "We designed from the start for this." (Maybe to use Jim's term the pad is already "scarred" for it?)
8) The cost of developing a liquid stage could become unpredictably large.
9) A solid stage was available from a U.S. source.
10) For missions where a liquid vehicle would restart the upper stage, adding a third stage can sometimes meet the same requirement.
« Last Edit: 10/09/2012 04:52 AM by sdsds »
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Offline baldusi

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Let me point out that the Antares first stage is roughly 85% of an Atlas V first stage (both thrust and mass). So it wouldn't sound too difficult to get in the ball park of performance. Particularly for LEO. My only question is: is there a market for it?
If Falcon 9 becomes a reliable work horse, and adapts to DoD's needs, then there will be a surplus of rocket models between EELV and F9/FH. And that's just for the US. Then you have Angara and LM-5 also entering the market. I simply don't see much space for them.

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Let me point out that the Antares first stage is roughly 85% of an Atlas V first stage (both thrust and mass). So it wouldn't sound too difficult to get in the ball park of performance. Particularly for LEO. My only question is: is there a market for it?
If Falcon 9 becomes a reliable work horse, and adapts to DoD's needs, then there will be a surplus of rocket models between EELV and F9/FH. And that's just for the US. Then you have Angara and LM-5 also entering the market. I simply don't see much space for them.
Orbital can only hope for such a scenario. They make their dough on satellites. They pretty much developed Antares in order to have a good domestic vehicle to launch their birds into orbit that's cheaper than Atlas V. They wanted a cheap Delta II replacement.

If SpaceX wins like you said, so does Orbital. But SpaceX hasn't won, yet. And we don't know for sure that it will.
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Offline baldusi

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I never said SpaceX would have "won". I only stated that both in the domestic and international market there's a trend that points to "oversupply". I know Dr Elias specifically said they would make a killing if they had cheap domestic LV. But the question of bringing the Antares to EELV class is very difficult to answer positively from both current and prospective competition.
Antares could get a place in the science LEO market, but it would need a new pad (to SSO). And for GTO and planetary missions it would need a new upper stage. So, as an economist, I don't think they have the most promising business case, save for the COTS program. Of course I would love them to make it cheaper than a Falcon 9, or at least cheaper and almost as capable as an Atlas V 401 if SpaceX fails. But I just think that it's too early and they are not in the most promising position.
Luckily, they don't need to, apparently. I've even wondered if they could contract Aliena for a 4.4m pressure vessel for Cyygnus and launch on Atlas 521 for the COTS 2 program. It would be expensive but have an amazing payload capability.

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