Author Topic: Korolev's revenge, part II: Antares-XL with Russian Red Incorrect Wings  (Read 8045 times)

Online Galactic Penguin SST

This is part II of the three-part Korolev's revenge trilogy, all stemmed from one single discussion thread at the Russian Novosti-Kosmonavtiki forums (thanks to NSF member Salo for opening the discussion here: http://novosti-kosmonavtiki.ru/forum/forum13/topic11360/), and this part deals with growing Orbital's flagship launcher, the yet-to-fly Antares.

Firstly, an old quote from Dr. Elias.....

Quote from: several posters
...After looking at this, I'm believing that the Enhanced stage does not use RL10 or liquid hydrogen.  The performance described seems to mesh better with an upper stage working at 330-340 sec specific impulse and 10 to 20 tonnes thrust.  Something like half of an RD-0110 (LOX/kerosene), or some type of pump-fed hypergolic engine.  In other words, no existing U.S. engine - though it would make sense for Aerojet to be involved in this somehow...

...May be two RD-58M or two 11D33?...

...How about AJ-10, it is an engine with substantial flight history and powers the delta II upper stage right now plus it is an artojet engine...

...Here's an idea: LR-91...

There has been considerable discussion on what liquid engine we would select for the Enhanced configuration liquid upper stage.  Having lost my own personal battle for an RL10-based upper stage (probably for good reason...) I am happy to report that we are negotiation with the Russian government for usage approval of the RD-0124, the current (relatively new) Soyuz upper stage engine.  The bad news is that it is yet another non-U.S. engine (the rest of the stage, however, is U.S. manufacture, with final assembly in Chandler).  The good news is that it has the perfect packaging aspect ratio for Taurus II, and it's performance kicks a$$!!!

Initially it will not have restart capability, so it's definitely ISS-oriented.  With restart capability (to be developed later) it has some serious mid-class GTO capability.

Now Taurus II ("II E"?) has an easy time lifting a three-person capsule!

This was apparently the plan for growing the Antares..... err the Taurus II back in 2010, until the market demand went so bad that the "high-energy upper stage" had to be reduced to a stretched Castor 30. But that puts it out of the "classic Delta II"/Soyuz/F9 market - no wonder the orders has yet to kick in!

But remember the RD-0124 can't re-start (it, after all, is an evolution of the Soyuz's upper stage engine......), and it would need another stage to do BLEO (or even high SSO) missions. So, what if we swap out the Castor 30/RD-0124....

....

.... and replace it with a stock Block DM? Well now we have a re-start-able kerolox upper stage, eliminating the need for a third stage. What's more, it would probably be lighter than even the sum of mass of a Castor 30 + a Star 48! And with the Zenit still flying around (plus the occasional use on the Proton, not to mention the wildest dreams of putting them on the Atlas/the-rocket-whom-must-not-be-named). The Russians claims that the stock Antares-DM can do more than 6 tonnes to LEO and 1.7 tonnes to GTO (very close to the Delta II 79XX), all with a total of three propulsion units using one single propellant mixture! And with that, maybe Orbital can use the slogan "Three engines for Cheap Lift"....  ;)

OK, I am actually skeptical of such a Lego rocket (TM), mainly because we now have a Russian rocket flying from Wallops, as if another one flying from the Cape and Lompoc is not enough. But again, we have the freedom to play with Lego rockets at NSF, so let's discuss!  :D

GPS

P.S. The diagram below shows the RKK Energia proposal of the "Aurora-L.SK", something that looked incredibly similar to the "Antares-DM".

P.P.S. The final part of the Korolev's revenge trilogy will feature the what-if scenario of Russian involvement on "the-rocket-whom-must-not-be-named", which should made for a one-week late, pretty good NSF Halloween horror story. Stay tuned later today for the climax of "The Return of the N-1"!  ;D
« Last Edit: 11/06/2012 11:30 AM by Galactic Penguin SST »
Chinese spaceflight is a cosmic riddle wrapped in a galactic mystery inside an orbital enigma... - (not) Winston Churchill

Offline Proponent

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Why does the diagram contain the non-Cyrillic letters 'L' and 'S'?

Offline Salo

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The work on the rocket and space system based on medium-class LV Aurora was performed by the Corporation using the usual subcontractors for Soyuz LV under a contract with the Asia-Pacific Space Center of Australia, but was suspended in 2002 because the customer had problems with the funding. However, technical capabilities found in the course of the work under the Aurora project, and an inventory of the already built components for such a rocket , as well as the design documentation, the established network of subcontractors and the developed technologies make it feasible to develop on this basis a light-class LV system with the payload capacity of up to 1.5-2 tons to low Earth orbit.    

 It is proposed that this system, which was given designation Aurora-L.SK, just as the launch vehicle of the same designation, should be developed within three years, using the traditional network of subcontractors proven over decades in many projects, which includes such world-renowned Russian rocket developers as TsSKB-Progress, V.P.Glushko NPO Energomash, N.A.Pilyugin NPTs AP, V.P.Barmin KBOM, V.I.Kuznetsov SNTK, RNII KP and others.

http://www.energia.ru/english/energia/launchers/history.html
« Last Edit: 11/06/2012 01:28 PM by Salo »

Offline Salo

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Ukrainian project Mayak LV:

http://www.picatom.com/27/mayak-2.html

Offline zaitcev

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Why does the diagram contain the non-Cyrillic letters 'L' and 'S'?
If that bothers you, its successor is going to blow your mind. Its name is ДМ-SLБ. The SL was developed for Sea Launch, and the 'B' version for Land Launch. Clear as mud, isn't it?

Offline Hyperion5

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If Korolev is going to wreak revenge beyond the grave, it'll be on Glushko ahead of anyone else.  If Antares uses the AJ-1-E6 and it is also used by the SLS, we'd pretty much get the ultimate "Korolev's revenge" moment.  Also, there's a real possibility at the AJ-1 replacing the RD-180 in the US fleet. 

My only concern with the AJ-1 is I have not yet heard definitively, one way or the other, whether it would fit into the Antares' engine bay.  If it did Orbital's got themselves an Atlas V-killer, especially with a liquid engine upper stage.  :) 

Offline Jim

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.  If it did Orbital's got themselves an Atlas V-killer, especially with a liquid engine upper stage.  :) 

Not really.  Need the non existent liquid upperstage. Need west coast and KSC pad.  Need more performance than Atlas with 2 solids.  Need 5m fairing.

Offline Hyperion5

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.  If it did Orbital's got themselves an Atlas V-killer, especially with a liquid engine upper stage.  :) 

Not really.  Need the non existent liquid upperstage. Need west coast and KSC pad.  Need more performance than Atlas with 2 solids.  Need 5m fairing.

Given the Antares is 3.9 m in diameter, it's not going to be hard to produce a 5 meter fairing.  The solid booster issue is also not that hard to overcome--a little engineering work and I'd bet you could fit the same solid boosters onto Antares.  The only real difficulty is going to be building a new pad at Cape Canaveral or Vandenberg.  Of course, since the VAB is being built to handle just about any rocket type now, Orbital could always just use the shuttle pads as a way around the new pad requirement. 

Offline Jim

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a.  Given the Antares is 3.9 m in diameter, it's not going to be hard to produce a 5 meter fairing.

1.    The solid booster issue is also not that hard to overcome--a little engineering work and I'd bet you could fit the same solid boosters onto Antares. 

2.   Of course, since the VAB is being built to handle just about any rocket type now, Orbital could always just use the shuttle pads as a way around the new pad requirement. 

a.  What experience does OSC have with a large fairings?

1.  Those are for Atlas and not others

2.  No, it is not.  It is only being stripped so it can be.  There is no program coming forward to pay for the mods.  Also, use of the VAB and pads and label of "Atlas Killer" are mutually exclusive.  The costs with using LC-39 would negate any advantage.

Your point has been discredited.
« Last Edit: 11/14/2012 03:47 PM by Jim »

Offline strangequark

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If Korolev is going to wreak revenge beyond the grave, it'll be on Glushko ahead of anyone else.  If Antares uses the AJ-1-E6 and it is also used by the SLS, we'd pretty much get the ultimate "Korolev's revenge" moment.  Also, there's a real possibility at the AJ-1 replacing the RD-180 in the US fleet. 

My only concern with the AJ-1 is I have not yet heard definitively, one way or the other, whether it would fit into the Antares' engine bay.  If it did Orbital's got themselves an Atlas V-killer, especially with a liquid engine upper stage.  :) 

You could probably fit one AJ-1M. You'd need a hell of a lot bigger upper stage than has been considered. We were looking at RD-0124, which is ~60 klbf. A 15% first stage stretch, the biggest upper stage you could lift and still keep a 1.1 T/W, with a 250 klbf engine would get you to about 13mT, based on my BOTE. And Jim makes some pretty valid points too, per usual.

Something using Antares as a base could get to the Atlas V's range, but it would be a big development, and the market segment's not exactly empty.
Don't flippantly discount the old rules of this industry. Behind each one lies a painful lesson learned from broken, twisted hardware. Learn those lessons, and respect the knowledge gained from them. Only then, see if you can write new rules that will meet those challenges.

Offline Hyperion5

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a.  Given the Antares is 3.9 m in diameter, it's not going to be hard to produce a 5 meter fairing.

1.    The solid booster issue is also not that hard to overcome--a little engineering work and I'd bet you could fit the same solid boosters onto Antares. 

2.   Of course, since the VAB is being built to handle just about any rocket type now, Orbital could always just use the shuttle pads as a way around the new pad requirement. 

a.  What experience does OSC have with a large fairings?

1.  Those are for Atlas and not others

2.  No, it is not.  It is only being stripped so it can be.  There is no program coming forward to pay for the mods.  Also, use of the VAB and pads and label of "Atlas Killer" are mutually exclusive.  The costs with using LC-39 would negate any advantage.

Your point has been discredited.

Jim, take it easy there. :) I was probably using a bit too much hyperbole with  "Atlas Killer", but the point was that an upgraded Antares would be an excellent competitor for the Atlas V.  You see Motorola use the same kind of terms with regards to taking on the iPhone with the latest Razr.  Have they actually killed any iPhone?  No, but they still like using the term.  :D So could Orbital make an upgraded Antares?  I think the answer is absolutely. 

Fairings) Orbital might not have the experience with large fairings, but then again, ULA doesn't build their own fairings for the Atlas V (that's RUAG Space).  Orbital contracting with either the same firm that builds the Atlas V fairings OR another firm is not an impossibility.  I should also note that you can always acquire large fairing experience, as Spacex is planning on demonstrating.  Given Orbital has outsourced much of the design work anyways, I don't think Orbital's experience is going to matter as much as the subcontractor's. 

SRBs) SRBs are cheap, ubiquitous and made by at least two firms for US-launched rockets.  If Orbital put out the call for SRBs tailored to their rocket, the fuel and basic architecture is going to be very similar to the SRBs used on an Atlas V.  I'm fairly confident if Aerojet or ATK were told Orbital was looking into SRBs for the Antares, that they would not exactly turn down the opportunity. 

Pads and money for mods) If Spacex believes they can build an all-new launch pad in Texas or elsewhere on the cheap, why can't Orbital?  It's not like Orbital is a tiny firm without the cash for this.  If they want to turn the Antares into an EELV competitor, they've got the cash and profits to do it.  Will they do it?  I'm not sure.  But their finances suggest an upgraded Antares is well within reach of their pocketbook if they don't rush it. 

Just look at their financials:

    Increase US$1.35 billion (FY 2011)[1]
Operating income    Increase US$79.80 million (FY 2011)[1]
Net income    Increase US$67.39 million (FY 2011)[1]
Total assets    Increase US$1,130 million (FY 2011)[1]
Total equity    Increase US$643.3 million (FY 2009)[1]

All of those results were improvements on 2010 (excepting for the out-of-date equity category), and all of this happened while Orbital was burning cash to get the Antares ready to launch. 

Offline Jim

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1.   Orbital contracting with either the same firm that builds the Atlas V fairings OR another firm is not an impossibility.

2.  SRBs) SRBs are cheap, ubiquitous and made by at least two firms for US-launched rockets.  If Orbital put out the call for SRBs tailored to their rocket, the fuel and basic architecture is going to be very similar to the SRBs used on an Atlas V.  I'm fairly confident if Aerojet or ATK were told Orbital was looking into SRBs for the Antares, that they would not exactly turn down the opportunity. 

3.  Pads and money for mods) If Spacex believes they can build an all-new launch pad in Texas or elsewhere on the cheap, why can't Orbital?  It's not like Orbital is a tiny firm without the cash for this.  If they want to turn the Antares into an EELV competitor,


1.  There are agreements where companies don't allow subcontractor to supply the same hardware to competitors.

2.  No, new developments are not cheap.  And the point was the "same" boosters.  Additionally, Antares ground processing flow would preclude many SRM attachment configurations.

3.  If the pads are not located at CCAFS or VAFB, then the vehicle is not an EELV competitor.
« Last Edit: 11/14/2012 06:51 PM by Jim »

Offline mmeijeri

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Haha, our old friend auto-incorrect strikes again. "Red Incorrect", brilliant!
We will be vic-toooooo-ri-ous!!!

Offline baldusi

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Hyperion5,
  The Antares is not designed to take the SRB loads. In fact, the core designers, Yuzhnoye, have zero experience. So you can't just retrofit SRBs.
  Second, SRB alignment requirements are such that only vertical integration is possible. Antares was designed specifically to be horizontally integrated, and not using the SRBs was traded off. So forget about SRBs without a complete redesign.
  But the core issue is that just in the DoD market, you have the EELV and the Falcon 9/Falcon Heavy family, but nothing but Antares in the Delta II category. Orbital likes to fill niche markets, not to compete with the big guns. That's why they are masters of outsourcing. So Antares won't compete with EELV because they want a different niche.
  And in any case, the ATK US are really cheap, something like 13M each (given the published contract cost). That might be cheaper than a single RL10 engine. And a liquid US would put them extremely close to the EELV/Falcon9. It's very tough to compete if you have 90% of the performance for 90% of the price, a 10% is well within the margins of a normal mission. But if you have 65% of the performance for 65% of the price, you are an interesting option for a smaller mission. You'd need a 50% more expensive mission to justify an EELV/Falcon 9.

Offline Ronsmytheiii

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1.   Orbital contracting with either the same firm that builds the Atlas V fairings OR another firm is not an impossibility.


1.  There are agreements where companies don't allow subcontractor to supply the same hardware to competitors.

Doesn't the Atlas V use the same 5 meter fairing as Ariane 5? Not that I am advocating an Antares evolution to EELV range, think it is just fine in its eventual Delta II to Atlas III range.
"Every vision is a joke until the first man accomplishes it; once realized, it becomes commonplace." - Robert Goddard

Offline baldusi

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1.   Orbital contracting with either the same firm that builds the Atlas V fairings OR another firm is not an impossibility.


1.  There are agreements where companies don't allow subcontractor to supply the same hardware to competitors.

Doesn't the Atlas V use the same 5 meter fairing as Ariane 5? Not that I am advocating an Antares evolution to EELV range, think it is just fine in its eventual Delta II to Atlas III range.
I'm sure RUAG could supply a fairing, which would have to be a custom design anyways. I don't see why Applied Aerospace Structures can't make a bigger fairing, either. And Boeing makes the 4.1m fairing of Sea Launch, whose core is made by the same manufacturer. So they could make one for Antares, I guess.

Offline Hyperion5

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1.   Orbital contracting with either the same firm that builds the Atlas V fairings OR another firm is not an impossibility.

2.  SRBs) SRBs are cheap, ubiquitous and made by at least two firms for US-launched rockets.  If Orbital put out the call for SRBs tailored to their rocket, the fuel and basic architecture is going to be very similar to the SRBs used on an Atlas V.  I'm fairly confident if Aerojet or ATK were told Orbital was looking into SRBs for the Antares, that they would not exactly turn down the opportunity. 

3.  Pads and money for mods) If Spacex believes they can build an all-new launch pad in Texas or elsewhere on the cheap, why can't Orbital?  It's not like Orbital is a tiny firm without the cash for this.  If they want to turn the Antares into an EELV competitor,


1.  There are agreements where companies don't allow subcontractor to supply the same hardware to competitors.

True, but I also pointed out there are other fairing manufacturers they could go to, whom Baldusi specifically lists.  Given Boeing's experience with a core of this size, they may be able to simply ask Boeing.  The fairings issue was always something they could work around. 

2.  No, new developments are not cheap.  And the point was the "same" boosters.  Additionally, Antares ground processing flow would preclude many SRM attachment configurations.

Jim, I appreciate you going back to the original point, but I'm not so wedded to the original position that I'm worthy of the following tribute:

"The greatest thing about this man is he's steady. You know where he stands. He believes the same thing Wednesday that he believed on Monday, no matter what happened Tuesday. Events can change; this man's beliefs never will. "  :D

Unlike Stephen Colbert's comedic praise of George W. Bush, my beliefs, shockingly enough, are not totally constant.  If I realize you cannot simply modify Atlas V boosters for Antares, I'm not going to sit around married to that position.  I adjust and try to come up with something more practical.  I see this site more as an exercise in learning than internet debate team. 

With that in mind, let's for a moment assume Antares was to be upgraded with a new AJ-1M and a liquid fuel US.  I would hazard a guess that if Orbital wanted EELV modularity with SRBs, modifying the design would happen all at once (liquids and solids) rather than having it redone first for the new engines and second for the solids. 

3.  If the pads are not located at CCAFS or VAFB, then the vehicle is not an EELV competitor.

I don't believe I specifically stated Orbital's new pad's location.  I was referencing the possible Spacex pad in Texas to point out that the expense must be reasonable.  After all, Spacex is setting up a launchpad in an area, correct me if I'm wrong, does not have any prior launch sites or related infrastructure.  Given how CCAFS and VAFB have much of the needed infrastructure already there, Orbital could probably take over an old, unused launchpad site and renovate or demolish/build anew.  It's not going to be cheap, but if they were convinced the return on investment was there I don't see their finances precluding this. 

A new pad would also let Orbital deal with the ground handling issues of multiple SRBs if facilities were tailored for it. 

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