Author Topic: RD-180 vs RD-181 on Antares  (Read 77320 times)

Offline zaitcev

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RD-180 vs RD-181 on Antares
« on: 06/14/2013 07:35 PM »
I am a little surprised that I cannot find a thread about this, and I hope I'm not missing some forum rule, but here goes. According to Reuters (at e.g. Yahoo), Orbital wanted RD-180:

Quote
Industry sources said the FTC investigation follows repeated unsuccessful efforts by Orbital to buy the RD-180 engines for its new medium-lift Antares rocket . . . To be a viable competitor in the future, industry sources say Orbital needs access to the RD-180 engine . . .

This is  surprising because in the infamous preso of May 2012, Energomash slated RD-181 for Antares (as was mentioned previously, it's the 2-chamber engine using the core of RD-193 -- a lighter, cheaper engine than RD-191). So, suppose Orbital wanted to put RD-180 on Taurus II back then, fine. But now all that is immaterial already... unless RD-180 still cofers certain advantages over RD-181.

I cannot see what those advantages might be. Of course, strictly speaking, RD-181 is vapour, but the pathfinder of RD-193 was already tested. So it's not like it's a purely paper project.

Is it possible that RD AMROSS has exclusive rights not only for RD-180, but for any kind of Energomash engine in U.S.?

Offline zaitcev

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Re: RD-180 vs RD-181 on Antares
« Reply #1 on: 06/14/2013 07:47 PM »
Sorry to reply to myself, but it occured to me that it's pointless to talk about this without knowing what RD-181 can do.

An article at NK (main site, not forums) claims that RD-193 is 300 kg lighter than RD-191 and 0.76m shorter. I expect similar weight savings for RD-181.

Nobody knows what Isp is.

According to Brugge, dry mass of RD-180 is 5330 kg.

Offline baldusi

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Re: RD-180 vs RD-181 on Antares
« Reply #2 on: 06/14/2013 09:03 PM »
Sorry to reply to myself, but it occured to me that it's pointless to talk about this without knowing what RD-181 can do.

An article at NK (main site, not forums) claims that RD-193 is 300 kg lighter than RD-191 and 0.76m shorter. I expect similar weight savings for RD-181.

Nobody knows what Isp is.

According to Brugge, dry mass of RD-180 is 5330 kg.
Isn't the RD-193 lighter because it doesn't need the TVC of the RD-191 since it would use the RD-0110R on the Soyuz-2-1v?

Offline zaitcev

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Re: RD-180 vs RD-181 on Antares
« Reply #3 on: 06/15/2013 12:15 AM »
Isn't the RD-193 lighter because it doesn't need the TVC of the RD-191 since it would use the RD-0110R on the Soyuz-2-1v?

Supposedly some Energomash officials insisted that TVC is included and RD-0110R is not longer necessary (with roll control provided by pressurization bleed). I do not have a quote in hand, however.

Offline Antares

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Re: RD-180 vs RD-181 on Antares
« Reply #4 on: 06/15/2013 09:30 PM »
I think you're reading too much into the Reuters story.  They probably don't have the slightest idea there's an RD-181.
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 edkyle99

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Re: RD-180 vs RD-181 on Antares
« Reply #5 on: 06/19/2013 05:05 AM »
Aerojet buys PWR to create a near monopoly U.S. rocket engine company and, as its first order of business, dives in to negotiations to buy more Russian rocket engines.  It is trading Energomash off of the potential NK-33 maker to get a deal.  (Forget about building a U.S. engine.)

Sheesh.

 - Ed Kyle

Offline baldusi

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Re: RD-180 vs RD-181 on Antares
« Reply #6 on: 06/19/2013 02:09 PM »
actually, it was GEnCom that bought PWR. And they are in the real estate business. I think Canoga Park is a premium property, right?

Offline fregate

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Re: RD-180 vs RD-181 on Antares
« Reply #7 on: 06/20/2013 04:11 AM »
Not sure about ANTARES LV, but according to NK Magazine news feed (in Russian) - all works on man-rated LRE version of RD-180 (whatever they call it in Glushko "ENERGOMASH") had been stopped due to cancellation of Rus M LV project in end of 2011.
It seems to be that there were at least four modifications of this engine: 
- current RD-180 for unmanned Atlas-V;
- RD-180 modernization for Atlas-V man-rated version (IMHO it had been certified);
- RD-180M man-rated LRE for Rus-M stage I blocks (Internal edition, not for export)   
- version for Antares (no need after of Rocketdyne acquisition by Aerojet).
« Last Edit: 06/20/2013 04:14 AM by fregate »
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Offline Prober

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Re: RD-180 vs RD-181 on Antares
« Reply #8 on: 06/23/2013 01:59 PM »
Aerojet buys PWR to create a near monopoly U.S. rocket engine company and, as its first order of business, dives in to negotiations to buy more Russian rocket engines.  It is trading Energomash off of the potential NK-33 maker to get a deal.  (Forget about building a U.S. engine.)

Sheesh.

 - Ed Kyle


More complex then that Ed.   I cross my fingers that Aerojet hasn't bitten off more then they can handle.
 
The firm now has to handle investment as a whole business unit.
 
 
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I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work. ~ by Thomas Alva Edison

Offline spectre9

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Re: RD-180 vs RD-181 on Antares
« Reply #9 on: 06/23/2013 04:10 PM »
So is that to say short term profits are now more important than the U.S. built rocket engine manufacturing industry?

Isn't getting away from paying the Russians royalties a good thing?

Not when they do the work for peanuts I guess.

Offline zaitcev

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Re: RD-180 vs RD-181 on Antares
« Reply #10 on: 06/24/2013 07:11 PM »
According to interview of Michael Hamel, "(Orbital's) senior vice president of corporate strategy and development", by Amy Butler of AvWeek my main puzzlement is answered thus:

Quote
Officials are already reviewing alternatives, though the only viable option is currently the RD-180, Hamel says. Orbital has also looked at the RD-181, RD-191 and RD-193. These are either still in development, or not yet approved for export. The RD-191 is the propulsion system being developed for Russia's Angara rocket.

http://www.aviationweek.com/Article.aspx?id=/article-xml/AW_06_24_2013_p32-590271.xml&p=2

I never doubted that Antonio's colleagues understand the difference between RD-180/RD-191 branch and RD-181/RD-193 branch of RD-170 family tree. But apparently they do not believe Energomash will be ready in time and/or the story with the denial of export of RD-0124 soured them on the perspectives of applying for new export licenses.
« Last Edit: 06/24/2013 07:14 PM by zaitcev »

Offline a_langwich

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Re: RD-180 vs RD-181 on Antares
« Reply #11 on: 06/25/2013 10:05 PM »
According to interview of Michael Hamel, "(Orbital's) senior vice president of corporate strategy and development", by Amy Butler of AvWeek my main puzzlement is answered thus:

Quote
Officials are already reviewing alternatives, though the only viable option is currently the RD-180, Hamel says. Orbital has also looked at the RD-181, RD-191 and RD-193. These are either still in development, or not yet approved for export. The RD-191 is the propulsion system being developed for Russia's Angara rocket.

http://www.aviationweek.com/Article.aspx?id=/article-xml/AW_06_24_2013_p32-590271.xml&p=2

I never doubted that Antonio's colleagues understand the difference between RD-180/RD-191 branch and RD-181/RD-193 branch of RD-170 family tree. But apparently they do not believe Energomash will be ready in time and/or the story with the denial of export of RD-0124 soured them on the perspectives of applying for new export licenses.

Ah, that's too bad.  I suspect the Energomash solution was a very pragmatic one (just make a slightly different version under a slightly different name, exclusivity problems gone).  As a bonus, it seems Orbital might have gotten a better engine. 

I wonder, too, if the problems with export licenses aren't about the particular engine, but about the general political climate.  A great many business options from the 90's aren't on the table anymore.  Still, putting Russian engines on American LVs seems like good PR for Russia to me.

The crazy thing, to me, is that all these options seem to poison Orbital's case about ULA monopolizing engine options.  There are tons of options, and Orbital's position seems to be a temporary squeeze of its own making.  And, to some extent, its own unwillingness to pay similar costs to what Lockheed paid back when--costs in both time to get export/import approval and a new engine variant tested, and money to pay for production and joint ventures, etc.

Offline joek

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Re: RD-180 vs RD-181 on Antares
« Reply #12 on: 06/26/2013 01:27 AM »
The crazy thing, to me, is that all these options seem to poison Orbital's case about ULA monopolizing engine options.  There are tons of options, and Orbital's position seems to be a temporary squeeze of its own making.  And, to some extent, its own unwillingness to pay similar costs to what Lockheed paid back when--costs in both time to get export/import approval and a new engine variant tested, and money to pay for production and joint ventures, etc.

OSC's case stems from actions 2009 and prior.  That other options may be available today is irrelevant.  Nor is there any indication that OSC was unwilling to pay the costs, only that RD AMROSS was unwilling to sell.

Offline asmi

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Re: RD-180 vs RD-181 on Antares
« Reply #13 on: 06/26/2013 02:18 PM »
I think it's quite possible that this story with OSC and RD-0124 might also be connected to AJ. I remember reading somewhere that there is some sort of agreement (either formal or informal) that Russian engines can only go to US via AJ, so the denial may very well be just a convenient excuse.

Offline Patchouli

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Re: RD-180 vs RD-181 on Antares
« Reply #14 on: 06/29/2013 12:11 AM »
Is Northrop Grumman still in the rocket engine business?
They had an engine the TR-107 that was similar in performance to the RD-180 in the early 2000s that got very close to production.

It's a little oversized but still fairly close to what two AJ-26-500s would offer.
« Last Edit: 06/29/2013 12:13 AM by Patchouli »

Offline Excession

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Re: RD-180 vs RD-181 on Antares
« Reply #15 on: 07/02/2013 02:37 AM »
What exactly is the RD-181? I haven't been able to find any information online.

Offline Kabloona

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Re: RD-180 vs RD-181 on Antares
« Reply #16 on: 07/02/2013 02:25 PM »
What exactly is the RD-181? I haven't been able to find any information online.

Because it doesn't exist yet...

http://www.parabolicarc.com/2012/10/25/energomash-test-fires-new-rd-193-engine/

http://www.russianspaceweb.com/rd193.html


Offline a_langwich

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Re: RD-180 vs RD-181 on Antares
« Reply #17 on: 07/09/2013 06:30 AM »

I guess the key questions for RD-181 would be:

1)  is it likely to get export approval in a timely manner?

2)  will development be finished in a timely manner?

3)  what are the costs associated with putting it into production (plus the costs of 1 and 2 especially the "timely" parts)

I suppose if it really is a nice, more produceable, lighter-weight version of the RD-191, ULA ought to consider the cost/benefit of migrating to RD-181/RD-193 for Atlas.  Which makes one wonder how different the two are--did they find weight savings in just a few parts (and thus could transition RD-180 -> RD-181), or if it involves tweaks to many different parts?

It's ironic, one of the drawbacks to ULA's great success and reliability is that they don't have any payloads for which customers have a high tolerance for trying new design wrinkles.

Offline 360-180

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Re: RD-180 vs RD-181 on Antares
« Reply #18 on: 07/09/2013 07:30 AM »

Offline zaitcev

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Re: RD-180 vs RD-181 on Antares
« Reply #19 on: 08/27/2013 06:01 PM »
Oh goodie, the prohibition on the sales of RD-180 was entered into official agenda of Security Council of Russian Federation.

  http://izvestia.ru/news/556096

In effect the space industry is being punished for the Magnitsky law.

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