Author Topic: Antares - How much is actually built by Orbital?  (Read 18353 times)

Offline mlindner

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Antares - How much is actually built by Orbital?
« on: 04/16/2013 11:10 PM »
I'm somewhat unfamiliar with the vehicle, but from looking around it doesn't appear that Orbital had much hand in the design of the vehicle.

The engines are NK-33 from the old Soviet N1. The first stage was designed by Yuzhnoye SDO. The second stage is designed by ATK. So from what I'm seeing this is only 1/2 to 1/3 American (depending on how you count stages) and none of it is designed by Orbital? Did they build the avionics package for the first or second stage?
« Last Edit: 04/16/2013 11:11 PM by mlindner »
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Offline arachnitect

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Re: Antares - How much is actually built by Orbital?
« Reply #1 on: 04/17/2013 12:34 AM »
A rocket is more than the sum of its parts.

And yes, the avionics are by Orbital.



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Re: Antares - How much is actually built by Orbital?
« Reply #2 on: 04/17/2013 01:09 AM »
Systems engineering on a project like this is the most difficult, and critical, part of the whole effort, I would argue, and easily overlooked in the "who built what" discussion.

Also, let's not confuse the S2 *motor* which is ATK's with the whole stage...

By reductio ad absurdum you could argue that Orbital didn't design/build much of Pegasus because all the stage motors were designed and built by Hercules. But of course that would ignore all the system design, systems engineering, software, GNC, avionics, GSE, carrier aircraft design mods, launch site integration and test, etc, done by Orbital.


Offline deltaV

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Re: Antares - How much is actually built by Orbital?
« Reply #3 on: 04/17/2013 01:14 AM »
And Chris B. didn't build NSF. At least not unless his day job involves running a semiconductor fab and a hard drive manufacturer and he moonlights as an operating system developer and... :)
« Last Edit: 04/17/2013 01:15 AM by deltaV »

Offline fregate

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Re: Antares - How much is actually built by Orbital?
« Reply #4 on: 04/17/2013 01:32 AM »
I'm somewhat unfamiliar with the vehicle, but from looking around it doesn't appear that Orbital had much hand in the design of the vehicle.

The engines are NK-33 from the old Soviet N1. The first stage was designed by Yuzhnoye SDO. The second stage is designed by ATK. So from what I'm seeing this is only 1/2 to 1/3 American (depending on how you count stages) and none of it is designed by Orbital? Did they build the avionics package for the first or second stage?
FYI NK-33 LREs were intended for Soviet N-1 Launch Vehicle, but had been created later in 70s (NK-33 LRE is derived from the earlier NK-15, 30xNK-15 had been used on first stage of N-1 during 4 unsuccessful launches). 
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Offline strata8

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Re: Antares - How much is actually built by Orbital?
« Reply #5 on: 04/17/2013 01:59 AM »
From Orbital's Antares factsheet:


Orbital Sciences Corporation
- Prime integrator, systems engineering, avionics, primary structure, testing and software
- Overall Stage 1 development and integration

KB Yuzhnoye/Yuzhmash
- Stage 1 core design, production and verification

Aerojet
- Stage 1 engines

ATK
- Stage 2 motor

Even if the majority of the components aren't manufactured by Orbital, there a very not insignificant amount of work that goes into actually assembling the thing.

Offline antonioe

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Re: Antares - How much is actually built by Orbital?
« Reply #6 on: 04/17/2013 02:09 AM »
Forgot: fairing, telemetry, flight termination system, GN&C software, launch pad interface (hold-down, umbilicals, fuel/oxidizer/nitrogen/helium loading and pressurization system) thrust vector control, stage and payload separation systems, upper stage reaction (attitude) control systems, countdown sequencer and ground display/control consoles, propellant and gases loading control and display consoles... just to name a few.

Oh!  And the parts have to fit.  Duck tape not allowed.
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Offline mlindner

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Re: Antares - How much is actually built by Orbital?
« Reply #7 on: 04/17/2013 05:52 AM »
Systems engineering on a project like this is the most difficult, and critical, part of the whole effort, I would argue, and easily overlooked in the "who built what" discussion.

I would agree. Integrating parts from several countries from a multitude of companies that were never designed/intended to work with each other does sound like a complex task.

To everyone else, thanks for all the useful factoids. The whole concept of buying someone else's non-mass produced products or even custom produced products to make something else has always rubbed me the wrong way. The airlines do this as well and it has always bugged me as well.

Anyway, I think the question has been satisfactorily answered now.
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Offline a_langwich

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Re: Antares - How much is actually built by Orbital?
« Reply #8 on: 04/17/2013 07:35 AM »
Forgot: fairing, telemetry, flight termination system, GN&C software, launch pad interface (hold-down, umbilicals, fuel/oxidizer/nitrogen/helium loading and pressurization system) thrust vector control, stage and payload separation systems, upper stage reaction (attitude) control systems, countdown sequencer and ground display/control consoles, propellant and gases loading control and display consoles... just to name a few.

Oh!  And the parts have to fit.  Duck tape not allowed.


Yes.  All these posts have focused on the simple meaning of "built"...there's also the aspect of who had the stones (and money or access to money) to plop down hundreds of millions of dollars, and contract to pay for those other parts, and submit the bids to NASA and respond to their feedback, and attach their name to the venture for good or ill, on what is still a very risky venture. 

Good luck^H^H^H^H...may your stochastic events be favorable.  :)

Offline Lurker Steve

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Re: Antares - How much is actually built by Orbital?
« Reply #9 on: 04/17/2013 01:41 PM »
I was thinking about the first stage this morning. This is Orbital's first LV with a liquid first stage, right ?

Exactly what were the options here :
1. Build out a new factory for creating a liquid first stage. Huge capital investment for a factory that will be under-utilized most of the time.

2. Find someone else to build the stage for us. What domestic options are there ? Who builds liquid first stages in the US that isn't the competition  (ULA, SpaceX) ?

3. Find a global partner with experience in building RP1/LOX stages of this size that has some spare production capacity in their existing factory.

It turns out that #3 happens to be the most logical choice every time.

Offline Lar

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Re: Antares - How much is actually built by Orbital?
« Reply #10 on: 04/17/2013 03:16 PM »

It turns out that #3 happens to be the most logical choice every time.


For the expected volumes I totally agree. SpaceX is betting on higher volumes though, apparently...

Maybe someday soon the market will be big enough that Orbital will revisit this decision because they are flush with business.
« Last Edit: 04/17/2013 03:16 PM by Lar »
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Offline kevin-rf

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Re: Antares - How much is actually built by Orbital?
« Reply #11 on: 04/17/2013 07:35 PM »

Oh!  And the parts have to fit.  Duck tape not allowed.


What about aviation grade Speed Tape ;)
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Re: Antares - How much is actually built by Orbital?
« Reply #12 on: 04/17/2013 09:12 PM »

Oh!  And the parts have to fit.  Duck tape not allowed.


What about aviation grade Speed Tape ;)

Could have used some of that today on the S2 umbilical... :-\

Offline antonioe

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Re: Antares - How much is actually built by Orbital?
« Reply #13 on: 04/19/2013 12:59 AM »

Oh!  And the parts have to fit.  Duck tape not allowed.


What about aviation grade Speed Tape ;)

The folks out at Dryden call it "Mach 3 tape" and have proof of it (SR-71.) :o
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Offline kevin-rf

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Re: Antares - How much is actually built by Orbital?
« Reply #14 on: 04/19/2013 01:15 AM »
So with the disconnect, is Wallops gonna one up them and push it to Mach 25?
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Offline antonioe

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Re: Antares - How much is actually built by Orbital?
« Reply #15 on: 04/19/2013 02:15 AM »
Yeah, but the Q is wimpy...
« Last Edit: 04/19/2013 02:16 AM by antonioe »
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Offline antonioe

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Re: Antares - How much is actually built by Orbital?
« Reply #16 on: 05/08/2013 02:43 PM »
The war of words continues...

Can you spot at least four things wrong with the following sentence (from an <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-04-25/what-spacex-can-teach-us-about-cost-innovation.html> article "about" SpaceX[/url]):

"Another similar space venture is still using fuel-inefficient surplus Russian rocket engines built in the 1960's that cost more to run and maintain over time. Due to their finite number, the company has a limited future unless like SpaceX it develops its own engine."

I find the date the article was issued (April 25) interesting...
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Re: Antares - How much is actually built by Orbital?
« Reply #17 on: 05/08/2013 03:05 PM »
The war of words continues...

Can you spot at least four things wrong with the following sentence (from an <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-04-25/what-spacex-can-teach-us-about-cost-innovation.html> article "about" SpaceX[/url]):

"Another similar space venture is still using fuel-inefficient surplus Russian rocket engines built in the 1960's that cost more to run and maintain over time. Due to their finite number, the company has a limited future unless like SpaceX it develops its own engine."

I find the date the article was issued (April 25) interesting...

OK, I'll bite:

1. Fuel ineffcient??
2. Cost more to run??
3. Finite number?? Umm, yes, until more are built...just like Merlins are finite in number...until more are built...
4. Limited future unless own engine developed??

Ah, the indignities.

Offline randomly

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Re: Antares - How much is actually built by Orbital?
« Reply #18 on: 05/08/2013 03:05 PM »
The profound level of ignorance in that article is stunning. It's rather scary that such stuff is published and read and given credibility in the business world.

Offline jnc

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Re: Antares - How much is actually built by Orbital?
« Reply #19 on: 05/08/2013 03:07 PM »
Can you spot at least four things wrong with the following sentence

Eh, don't you know that reporters management consultants are the smartest people on earth?! A mere rocket scientist, no matter how long and distinguished their career, just doesn't understand as much as they do!

(Speaking of careers in aerospace, my wife and I were just discussing that last night. As a computer science person, I did my most important work in my late 20's, whereas as an aerospace person, she's just now getting to the top of the heap. Very different career trajectories [sic].)

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Offline strangequark

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Re: Antares - How much is actually built by Orbital?
« Reply #20 on: 05/08/2013 03:13 PM »
The war of words continues...

Can you spot at least four things wrong with the following sentence (from an <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-04-25/what-spacex-can-teach-us-about-cost-innovation.html> article "about" SpaceX[/url]):

"Another similar space venture is still using fuel-inefficient surplus Russian rocket engines built in the 1960's that cost more to run and maintain over time. Due to their finite number, the company has a limited future unless like SpaceX it develops its own engine."

I find the date the article was issued (April 25) interesting...

The fuel-inefficient comment is really annoying. May this man be haunted mercilessly by the ghost of Kuznetsov.

Offline Nickolai

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Re: Antares - How much is actually built by Orbital?
« Reply #21 on: 05/08/2013 03:14 PM »
The war of words continues...

Can you spot at least four things wrong with the following sentence (from an <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-04-25/what-spacex-can-teach-us-about-cost-innovation.html> article "about" SpaceX[/url]):

"Another similar space venture is still using fuel-inefficient surplus Russian rocket engines built in the 1960's that cost more to run and maintain over time. Due to their finite number, the company has a limited future unless like SpaceX it develops its own engine."

I find the date the article was issued (April 25) interesting...

OK, I'll bite:

1. Fuel ineffcient??
2. Cost more to run??
3. Finite number?? Umm, yes, until more are built...just like Merlins are finite in number...until more are built...
4. Limited future unless own engine developed??

Ah, the indignities.

3. I think the point is that no more are being built. No more have been built in nearly 40 years, which means the production line has to be created nearly from scratch, which is going to be a capital intensive process. Although IIRC either Aerojet or Orbital has a license to build NK-33's AJ-26's in the US.

And one you missed: NK-33 were built in the 1970's.

Offline strangequark

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Re: Antares - How much is actually built by Orbital?
« Reply #22 on: 05/08/2013 03:30 PM »
3. I think the point is that no more are being built. No more have been built in nearly 40 years, which means the production line has to be created nearly from scratch, which is going to be a capital intensive process. Although IIRC either Aerojet or Orbital has a license to build NK-33's AJ-26's in the US.

And one you missed: NK-33 were built in the 1970's.

It's Aerojet. They've done some of the preliminary footwork for producing in Huntsville in collaboration with Teledyne Brown.

Test NK-33As have been built and fired in Samara in the last few years.
« Last Edit: 05/08/2013 03:34 PM by strangequark »

Offline Lurker Steve

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Re: Antares - How much is actually built by Orbital?
« Reply #23 on: 05/08/2013 04:20 PM »
The war of words continues...

Can you spot at least four things wrong with the following sentence (from an <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-04-25/what-spacex-can-teach-us-about-cost-innovation.html> article "about" SpaceX[/url]):

"Another similar space venture is still using fuel-inefficient surplus Russian rocket engines built in the 1960's that cost more to run and maintain over time. Due to their finite number, the company has a limited future unless like SpaceX it develops its own engine."

I find the date the article was issued (April 25) interesting...

Since you aren't re-using the engines, what is the "maintenance" cost ? Sure, Aerojet needs to test and qualify each engine down at Stennis. These costs might actually be less than SpaceX, since they didn't need to build a complete testing facility and test stands like SpaceX did at McGregor.

How about the assembly cost ? What is easier, attaching 2 larger engines to the thrust structure, or working on complex plumbing and control connections for 9 separate engines ?

Offline edkyle99

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Re: Antares - How much is actually built by Orbital?
« Reply #24 on: 05/08/2013 04:50 PM »
The war of words continues...

Can you spot at least four things wrong with the following sentence (from an <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-04-25/what-spacex-can-teach-us-about-cost-innovation.html> article "about" SpaceX[/url]):

"Another similar space venture is still using fuel-inefficient surplus Russian rocket engines built in the 1960's that cost more to run and maintain over time. Due to their finite number, the company has a limited future unless like SpaceX it develops its own engine."

I find the date the article was issued (April 25) interesting...
So much wrong there.  The author, like so many, wants to write an Antares versus Falcon 9 fight to the death kind of story.  But there is no story.  Antares is in its own class.  SpaceX has decided to battle United Launch Alliance.  That's the story, but for some reason it seems so much less interesting.

 - Ed Kyle

Offline Lurker Steve

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Re: Antares - How much is actually built by Orbital?
« Reply #25 on: 05/08/2013 05:17 PM »
The war of words continues...

Can you spot at least four things wrong with the following sentence (from an <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-04-25/what-spacex-can-teach-us-about-cost-innovation.html> article "about" SpaceX[/url]):

"Another similar space venture is still using fuel-inefficient surplus Russian rocket engines built in the 1960's that cost more to run and maintain over time. Due to their finite number, the company has a limited future unless like SpaceX it develops its own engine."

I find the date the article was issued (April 25) interesting...
So much wrong there.  The author, like so many, wants to write an Antares versus Falcon 9 fight to the death kind of story.  But there is no story.  Antares is in its own class.  SpaceX has decided to battle United Launch Alliance.  That's the story, but for some reason it seems so much less interesting.

 - Ed Kyle

Actually, you could say that Orbital has already won the first "battle" with SpaceX, since the Minotaur and Pegasus have won the market for smaller payloads, thus shutting Falcon 1 out of that market.

Offline kevin-rf

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Re: Antares - How much is actually built by Orbital?
« Reply #26 on: 05/08/2013 05:37 PM »
Well, Luker Steve one error is they have not won, but are still winning ;)
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Offline Lurker Steve

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Re: Antares - How much is actually built by Orbital?
« Reply #27 on: 05/08/2013 05:48 PM »
Well, Luker Steve one error is they have not won, but are still winning ;)

Does the Falcon 1 still exist ?

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Re: Antares - How much is actually built by Orbital?
« Reply #28 on: 05/08/2013 05:50 PM »
I usually don't respond to Elon's jabs, but that one just left me out of breath... the part that hurt me the most was the implication "Another similar space venture [Orbital, I guess - who else?] ... the company has a limited future unless like SpaceX it develops its own engine."

*SIGH*... the company, not the rocket...

Now, I don't think Mr. Agan came up with that one by himself.  But why?  Why is it necessary to sling mud at others to succeed in business?

The whole thing reminds me of Salvor Hardin's favorite maxim...

ARS LONGA, VITA BREVIS...

Offline Lar

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Re: Antares - How much is actually built by Orbital?
« Reply #29 on: 05/08/2013 05:55 PM »
I usually don't respond to Elon's jabs, but that one just left me out of breath... the part that hurt me the most was the implication "Another similar space venture [Orbital, I guess - who else?] ... the company has a limited future unless like SpaceX it develops its own engine."

*SIGH*... the company, not the rocket...

Now, I don't think Mr. Agan came up with that one by himself.  But why?  Why is it necessary to sling mud at others to succeed in business?

The whole thing reminds me of Salvor Hardin's favorite maxim...


I don't think that was Elon. He knows there is plenty of room for both SpaceX and OSC, and for widely diverging paths. It was just a clueless reporter.

Sad thing is that there is some merit in the themes (of innovation, of long range goals, of planning for long term cost reduction) that the article is trying to explore.
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Offline antonioe

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Re: Antares - How much is actually built by Orbital?
« Reply #30 on: 05/08/2013 06:09 PM »
Yes, there is merit in innovation, long-range goals (did I mention there were 20 employees at Orbital when I joined Dave 27 years ago?) and cost reduction, but there is no merit in distorting truth.  By the way, he's a consultant, not a reporter according to his bio (from his own web site):

With over 25 years of experience, Tom has advised many of the world’s leading companies in a diverse range of industries—consumer packaged goods, automotive, financial services, retail, insurance, entertainment, pharmaceuticals, and telecom. He has worked with companies like Red Bull, Kraft, Sainsbury’s, Procter & Gamble, Cisco, GE, Toyota, UBS, The World Bank, and Kmart, to name a few.

Most recently, Tom served as senior vice president and managing director at The Nielsen Company where he oversaw global services for one of the world’s largest consumer packaged goods companies. There he pioneered an innovation best practices study shared around the world. For the first time ever, the study tied variations in new product revenue to differences in processes, culture, organizational structure, senior executive roles, and investment among dozens of global companies. Also at Nielsen, he was a principal for The Cambridge Group, its management consulting arm, where he led innovation and other go-to-market projects for leading companies.

Tom has also held senior positions at Interbrand (as executive director, strategy), Penn, Schoen and Berland (as managing director), Prophet (as senior partner launching and managing Europe, and managing North America), and Kurt Salmon Associates (as a principal). He began his career at Andersen (Accenture).

Agan’s work and expertise have appeared in leading media including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Forbes, Fast Company, BBC, NBC, PBS, Advertising Age, and BrandChannel.com. His white papers have covered a range of topics from micro-targeting to changes in the consulting industry, the latter written for Harvard Business School.

An engaging speaker, Tom has presented at top industry conferences such as the Economist CMO Marketing Summit, National Retail Federation and Sustainable Brands. He was a judge for the 2012 Edison Innovation Awards.

Tom has also served as an Outward Bound instructor in Maine and North Carolina teaching wilderness programs for executives on leadership and personal development and as a VISTA volunteer in Kansas leading community development programs in a poor and working class neighborhood.

Tom holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School and a BS in forestry from Iowa State University.

Tom is based in Chicago and Boston.
« Last Edit: 05/08/2013 06:12 PM by antonioe »
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Offline Jason1701

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Re: Antares - How much is actually built by Orbital?
« Reply #31 on: 05/08/2013 06:10 PM »
"a incorrect in forestry"? :D

Offline Space Pete

Re: Antares - How much is actually built by Orbital?
« Reply #32 on: 05/08/2013 06:11 PM »
I usually don't respond to Elon's jabs, but that one just left me out of breath... the part that hurt me the most was the implication "Another similar space venture [Orbital, I guess - who else?] ... the company has a limited future unless like SpaceX it develops its own engine."

Just ignore him - he's just "feeling the heat" from your AJ-26's. ;)
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Re: Antares - How much is actually built by Orbital?
« Reply #33 on: 05/08/2013 06:13 PM »
Got to love that auto censor filter!

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Re: Antares - How much is actually built by Orbital?
« Reply #34 on: 05/08/2013 06:20 PM »
I'm sorry - you're right.  I apologize.  As a matter of fact, I saw Gwynne last night at the AIAA fellows dinner (she was just elected a fellow) and got up to her "gauntlet" (a long-standing tradition at the AIAA fellows dinner is an "attack" of each newly elected fellow by his/her friends and supporters as they come down from the stage after receiving the award - hence the "gauntlet")
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Offline Lar

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Re: Antares - How much is actually built by Orbital?
« Reply #35 on: 05/08/2013 06:26 PM »
"a incorrect in forestry"? :D
We preferred to call it "Twigonometry" at Michigan Tech...

I'm sorry - you're right.  I apologize.  As a matter of fact, I saw Gwynne last night at the AIAA fellows dinner (she was just elected a fellow) and got up to her "gauntlet" (a long-standing tradition at the AIAA fellows dinner is an "attack" of each newly elected fellow by his/her friends and supporters as they come down from the stage after receiving the award - hence the "gauntlet")

I don't think you have anything to apologise for. The reporter/consultant was confused, and OSC has much to be proud of.
« Last Edit: 05/08/2013 06:27 PM by Lar »
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Offline deltaV

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Re: Antares - How much is actually built by Orbital?
« Reply #36 on: 05/08/2013 11:45 PM »
Elon makes a much bigger deal about the Merlin's T/W than is justified IMHO. The reporter's mistaken fuel efficiency claim sounds like a distorted version of Merlin's record T/W, so Elon is in part responsible for that mistake.

Offline kevin-rf

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Re: Antares - How much is actually built by Orbital?
« Reply #37 on: 05/08/2013 11:57 PM »
Who has a higher ISP again? Kinda hard to top an AJ-26. That is the only measure of fuel efficiency I know.
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Offline Lars_J

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Re: Antares - How much is actually built by Orbital?
« Reply #38 on: 05/08/2013 11:57 PM »
Elon makes a much bigger deal about the Merlin's T/W than is justified IMHO. The reporter's mistaken fuel efficiency claim sounds like a distorted version of Merlin's record T/W, so Elon is in part responsible for that mistake.

How is he to blame? A fact is a fact. Either he is wrong about the T/W record or he isn't.

The issue is that the reporter was unaware (or did not bother to research) that there is more to engine efficiency than just T/W ratio.

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Re: Antares - How much is actually built by Orbital?
« Reply #39 on: 05/09/2013 12:50 AM »
Elon makes a much bigger deal about the Merlin's T/W than is justified IMHO. The reporter's mistaken fuel efficiency claim sounds like a distorted version of Merlin's record T/W, so Elon is in part responsible for that mistake.
The only measure of engine efficiency I know of is Isp, and SpaceX's engines suck big time in this. T/W has nothing to do with engine efficiency.
« Last Edit: 05/09/2013 12:50 AM by asmi »

Offline JBF

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Re: Antares - How much is actually built by Orbital?
« Reply #40 on: 05/09/2013 01:28 AM »
Elon makes a much bigger deal about the Merlin's T/W than is justified IMHO. The reporter's mistaken fuel efficiency claim sounds like a distorted version of Merlin's record T/W, so Elon is in part responsible for that mistake.
The only measure of engine efficiency I know of is Isp, and SpaceX's engines suck big time in this. T/W has nothing to do with engine efficiency.

The Merlin 1D is rated at 310, which isn't bad for RP1/LOX. The RD-180 is 338 which is the best RP1/LOX engine that I'm aware of.
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Re: Antares - How much is actually built by Orbital?
« Reply #41 on: 05/09/2013 01:55 AM »
Elon makes a much bigger deal about the Merlin's T/W than is justified IMHO. The reporter's mistaken fuel efficiency claim sounds like a distorted version of Merlin's record T/W, so Elon is in part responsible for that mistake.
The only measure of engine efficiency I know of is Isp, and SpaceX's engines suck big time in this. T/W has nothing to do with engine efficiency.

What REALLY matters is VEHICLE efficiency. As measured in dollars per pound to destination.

I think both SpaceX and OSC are doing fine at that, so far.
"I think it would be great to be born on Earth and to die on Mars. Just hopefully not at the point of impact." -Elon Musk
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Offline Jim

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Re: Antares - How much is actually built by Orbital?
« Reply #42 on: 05/09/2013 02:43 AM »
Reliability is up there too.

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Re: Antares - How much is actually built by Orbital?
« Reply #43 on: 05/09/2013 03:37 AM »
The Merlin 1D is rated at 310, which isn't bad for RP1/LOX. The RD-180 is 338 which is the best RP1/LOX engine that I'm aware of.
We're talking about first-stage engines, so providing vacuum Isp is irrelevant as majority of burn time is inside atmosphere.
You just can't beat staged combustion when it comes to efficiency. I was actually quite puzzled why SpaceX didn't choose SC approach for their engines as they are totally superior to other designs.
« Last Edit: 05/09/2013 03:40 AM by asmi »

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Re: Antares - How much is actually built by Orbital?
« Reply #44 on: 05/09/2013 03:38 AM »
What REALLY matters is VEHICLE efficiency. As measured in dollars per pound to destination.
The article quotes was talking about "fuel-inefficient engines" which is of course totally wrong.
« Last Edit: 05/09/2013 03:39 AM by asmi »

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Re: Antares - How much is actually built by Orbital?
« Reply #45 on: 05/09/2013 05:12 AM »
I was actually quite puzzled why SpaceX didn't choose SC approach for their engines as they are totally superior to other designs.

I was going to reply, but Lar's pretty much nails it:

What REALLY matters is VEHICLE efficiency. As measured in dollars per pound to destination.

I think both SpaceX and OSC are doing fine at that, so far.

Offline kevin-rf

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Re: Antares - How much is actually built by Orbital?
« Reply #46 on: 05/09/2013 01:17 PM »
Well, the April 27th dead tree issue of New Scientist refers to the launch as "Launch marks loss of Xclusivity" and then goes one to point how Orbital is a up and coming challenge to that other rocket and company.

So not every journalist is lining up to back hand Orbital.
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Re: Antares - How much is actually built by Orbital?
« Reply #47 on: 05/09/2013 01:52 PM »
Orbital is a up and coming challenge to that other rocket and company.

"up and coming"?? Which one has been around longer? Which one has more launches?

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Re: Antares - How much is actually built by Orbital?
« Reply #48 on: 05/09/2013 02:59 PM »
Hey it's a start ... and it is up and coming to the Falcon 9 and resupply to ISS. Thought Antonio once posted about a Pegasus resupply concept.

But yeah...
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Re: Antares - How much is actually built by Orbital?
« Reply #49 on: 05/09/2013 03:09 PM »
Well, at least that piece wasn't as bad as the infamous Wall Street Journal "space nuts" article in 1990 that almost sank Orbital's IPO...and which also predicted a "limited future" if Pegasus failed...

http://www.accessmylibrary.com/article-1G1-9378973/low-blow-did-wall.html
« Last Edit: 05/09/2013 03:37 PM by Kabloona »

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Re: Antares - How much is actually built by Orbital?
« Reply #50 on: 05/10/2013 04:15 PM »
Ohh, yes... I remember... I was described in that article as "the ebullient son of a Spanish Diplomat"... you could almost see me dressed as a bullfighter... a classical "good news are no news" piece of journalism...
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Re: Antares - How much is actually built by Orbital?
« Reply #51 on: 05/10/2013 04:33 PM »
Sometimes I feel like I'm back in high school with how this is all being framed. Although I suppose everyone loves a good A VS. B narrative, even if not factually correct or besides the point.

I think what OSC has and will continue to accomplish is most excellent. As well as SpaceX and ULA. Having all these capabilities will only be a net positive both today and in the future. I mean really, who cares how much of Antares OSC did or didn't build themselves. I use machines all day long I didn't design or build. But I use them to great effect and I have to integrate them into producing content for my clients.

Others like SpaceX take a different approach. And it works for what they are trying to do. And that's great too. Rockets, like people...it takes all kinds.

I say, the more the merrier!
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Re: Antares - How much is actually built by Orbital?
« Reply #52 on: 05/10/2013 11:24 PM »
Sometimes I feel like I'm back in high school with how this is all being framed. Although I suppose everyone loves a good A VS. B narrative, even if not factually correct or besides the point.

I think what OSC has and will continue to accomplish is most excellent. As well as SpaceX and ULA. Having all these capabilities will only be a net positive both today and in the future. I mean really, who cares how much of Antares OSC did or didn't build themselves. I use machines all day long I didn't design or build. But I use them to great effect and I have to integrate them into producing content for my clients.

Others like SpaceX take a different approach. And it works for what they are trying to do. And that's great too. Rockets, like people...it takes all kinds.

I say, the more the merrier!

I agree! Not everyone shares this view, though: see the bottom of page two of the linked interview for an opinion of OSC's approach. 
http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2012/10/ff-elon-musk-qa/

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Re: Antares - How much is actually built by Orbital?
« Reply #53 on: 05/10/2013 11:26 PM »
The irony is, when the "space nuts" article appeared, Orbital was the new upstart underdog. Now SpaceX is the new kid on the block, with an admittedly great story in Elon himself as a brilliant multi-millionaire-entrepreneur-self-taught-aerospace-chief-designer, and Orbital gets bashed as establishment gray-hairs with a "limited future"...

And the wheel goes 'round and 'round...

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Re: Antares - How much is actually built by Orbital?
« Reply #54 on: 05/11/2013 02:03 AM »
Sometimes I feel like I'm back in high school with how this is all being framed. Although I suppose everyone loves a good A VS. B narrative, even if not factually correct or besides the point.
It reminds me a little bit of the Thor versus Jupiter rivalry of around 1955-1958, although obviously Antares has no equivalent competitor in terms of payload class. 

Thor vs. Jupiter was Air Force versus Army.  West Coast versus Middle America.  Ramo versus von Braun.  Modern systems engineering versus Arsenal System.  Build and fly versus analyze and test.  Heat sink versus ablation.  German guidance versus MIT guidance.  There were advertisement wars in trade journals.  There were spies, but they were spying on their own U.S. competition.  Hundreds of millions of dollars, many thousands of jobs, and careers were all at stake.  There were leaked memos and suggestions of impropriety in high places and at least one infamous court martial that featured testimony by the likes of General Medaris and Wernher von Braun.

The media ate it up back then.  That same media is aching for the same type of story today. 

But here's the thing.  Thor versus Jupiter was the wrong story all along, because big breakthroughs behind the scenes allowed the Navy and Lockheed to develop Polaris, the real winner, with little public attention on a schedule that only trailed the well known IRBMs by a few months. 

 - Ed Kyle   
« Last Edit: 05/11/2013 02:11 AM by edkyle99 »

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