Author Topic: Rumors that Russia may block the export of RD-180 to the US  (Read 232504 times)

Offline rcoppola

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Re: Rumors that Russia may block the export of RD-180 to the US
« Reply #400 on: 05/23/2014 12:43 AM »
Thanks for the post jongoff, really interesting what we start to learn when we talk to the people who actually know.
But I fear the damage is done and whatever happens, the AF will be directed to start a new completely domestic engine program.
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Offline jongoff

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Re: Rumors that Russia may block the export of RD-180 to the US
« Reply #401 on: 05/23/2014 04:56 AM »
Also of the $1B to setup local production, how much of that is in building and testing the crap out of a bunch of engines? Are any demo flights factored into that? What fraction of that cost is actually due to manufacturing, and how much do to other things?
J2-X program costs were $1.2B without test flights, with the same organization going through the same process, i dont think $1B would be far off the mark.

There's a huge difference between J-2X, which was a new engine development based loosely off of an engine that was out of production for decades, and an RD-180 project that would be derived from an existing, in-production engine. It is true the same company is involved, but hopefully being run as a DoD project there's a slightly higher chance of success than a NASA engine project.

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Offline jongoff

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Re: Rumors that Russia may block the export of RD-180 to the US
« Reply #402 on: 05/23/2014 04:59 AM »
Thanks for the post jongoff, really interesting what we start to learn when we talk to the people who actually know.
But I fear the damage is done and whatever happens, the AF will be directed to start a new completely domestic engine program.

In some ways I wonder how heartbroken exactly Aerojet is that the new conventional wisdom is that an RD-180 domestic production program would be so expensive that we may as well do a whole new clean-sheet engine. I'm kind of skeptical that a domestic RD-180 development would be as expensive and time consuming as all that, but am not surprised that Aerojet isn't working very hard to dispel that rumor. My guess is they'll make more money off of a new clean-sheet engine then they would've from a domestic RD-180.

~Jon

Offline savuporo

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Re: Rumors that Russia may block the export of RD-180 to the US
« Reply #403 on: 05/23/2014 05:09 AM »
My guess is they'll make more money off of a new clean-sheet engine then they would've from a domestic RD-180.
Plus they are pretty much free to use everything that they have learned from RD-180 anyway - and i dont mean copying parts. Doing a "new" one is a win in every way for them - assuming traditional contracting and effectively no competitive pressure.
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Offline baldusi

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Rumors that Russia may block the export of RD-180 to the US
« Reply #404 on: 05/23/2014 01:29 PM »
As Jon said, RD-180 is designed with a different mindset. Is like maintaining a piece of software written with different structure and coding standards. Besides, they have their AJ-1E6 which, while leveraging on their NK-33 knowledge, is designed by them to their own standards and tooling.
What if making an RD-180 factory requires new tooling and process validation, while the AJ-1E6 can use existing ones and just needs finishing?
BTW, RD AMROSS, still belongs to UTC. And if the RD-180 contract is interrupted, I don't think that they'll ever get the approval of the Russian government to transfer the shares to GenCorp. So if the US government ask, AJR clearly will prefer to design their own, since the alternative is to get a new local competitor.
« Last Edit: 05/23/2014 01:35 PM by baldusi »

Offline Prober

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Re: Rumors that Russia may block the export of RD-180 to the US
« Reply #405 on: 05/23/2014 01:41 PM »
Thanks for the post jongoff, really interesting what we start to learn when we talk to the people who actually know.
But I fear the damage is done and whatever happens, the AF will be directed to start a new completely domestic engine program.

In some ways I wonder how heartbroken exactly Aerojet is that the new conventional wisdom is that an RD-180 domestic production program would be so expensive that we may as well do a whole new clean-sheet engine. I'm kind of skeptical that a domestic RD-180 development would be as expensive and time consuming as all that, but am not surprised that Aerojet isn't working very hard to dispel that rumor. My guess is they'll make more money off of a new clean-sheet engine then they would've from a domestic RD-180.

~Jon

The report comes away differently for me.....Its not about the money.  Its where Co production monies might go.  Could even be one of those knee jerk reactions.

The waters have be muddied by "the Russian engine"
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Offline PahTo

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Re: Rumors that Russia may block the export of RD-180 to the US
« Reply #406 on: 05/23/2014 04:03 PM »

It sounds as though the mechanics of a US produced RD-180 are better understood/do-able, but what of the license issue?  Many have expressed concern that by the time such US production was in place, there'd be "only a few years at best" before the license expires and we're right back at square one.  True?

Offline anonymous

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Re: Rumors that Russia may block the export of RD-180 to the US
« Reply #407 on: 05/23/2014 04:05 PM »
The RD-180 co-production licence expires in 2022. After that, it would be pirated, which could be embarrassing given the US's criticism of other countries for not respecting intellectual property rights.
« Last Edit: 05/23/2014 04:06 PM by anonymous »

Offline muomega0

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Re: Rumors that Russia may block the export of RD-180 to the US
« Reply #408 on: 05/23/2014 04:13 PM »
RD-180 certainly provided focus to an area with excess and expensive capacity. 
Also of the $1B to setup local production, how much of that is in building and testing the crap out of a bunch of engines? Are any demo flights factored into that? What fraction of that cost is actually due to manufacturing, and how much do to other things?
J2-X program costs were $1.2B without test flights, with the same organization going through the same process, i dont think $1B would be far off the mark.

There's a huge difference between J-2X, which was a new engine development based loosely off of an engine that was out of production for decades, and an RD-180 project that would be derived from an existing, in-production engine. It is true the same company is involved, but hopefully being run as a DoD project there's a slightly higher chance of success than a NASA engine project.
~Jon
The RD-180 was developed and qualified in 42 months at a much lower cost than past U.S. booster engine developments because of the strong flight-proven RD-170 heritage.

The 2022 completion date make the ~1B price tag unlikely, not even considering the NASA and DOD "wraps".

A few of the key considerations/standards:
 - the ability for reuse
 - the mT range of the LV suite - 20 to 50 mT (vs NASA's imaginary 70 and 130 mT-end of SLS?)
 - domestically available (vs other suppliers not expected)
 - 2022 completion
 - cost competitive (vs need 2 LVs and no other suppliers expected, reduction of multiple production lines)
 - depot capability

Having DOD run the project hopefully provides common product lines brings the fleet down to the 20 mT range rather than the >120mT range.   Will have to see how the Congressional Design Teams respond ("food fights")

Offline savuporo

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Re: Rumors that Russia may block the export of RD-180 to the US
« Reply #409 on: 05/24/2014 02:04 AM »
TR107 has been brought up in another thread, here are the scarce technical bits that have not been posted

( from http://www.alternatewars.com/BBOW/Space_Engines/TRW_Engines.htm )
http://www.alternatewars.com/BBOW/Space_Engines/TR-107.png
http://www.alternatewars.com/BBOW/Space_Engines/FS-2002-09-141-MSFC.pdf
http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a445014.pdf

The illustration is from this book:
http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=11780&page=146

And, a full PDF link of that book:
http://www.dtic.mil/get-tr-doc/pdf?AD=ADA471183
Take a look at page 167 for an especially sad table ..
« Last Edit: 05/24/2014 02:23 AM by savuporo »
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Offline Patchouli

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Re: Rumors that Russia may block the export of RD-180 to the US
« Reply #410 on: 05/24/2014 02:18 AM »
I wonder could the F-1B be a good choice for a replacement engine esp considering they have gotten rid of a lot of the parts that made it expensive.
It's a fairly low pressure GG cycle engine so qualifying it should be much easier and faster.

http://www.thespacereview.com/article/2410/1
« Last Edit: 05/24/2014 02:18 AM by Patchouli »

Offline TomH

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Re: Rumors that Russia may block the export of RD-180 to the US
« Reply #411 on: 05/24/2014 03:57 AM »
I wonder could the F-1B be a good choice for a replacement engine esp considering they have gotten rid of a lot of the parts that made it expensive.
It's a fairly low pressure GG cycle engine so qualifying it should be much easier and faster.

http://www.thespacereview.com/article/2410/1

clongton has suggested F-1B also, but it's fairly close to double the thrust. G loads would be high. Could AV's structure withstand them? In that today's mission specialist astronauts are not required to withstand high G loads (Mercury/Atlas hit 11G at MECO), F-1B on AV might be too powerful for CST-100 and DC. Also is the issue of Max Q with this much acceleration.
« Last Edit: 05/24/2014 04:07 AM by TomH »

Offline savuporo

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Re: Rumors that Russia may block the export of RD-180 to the US
« Reply #412 on: 05/24/2014 04:42 AM »
Another two links that sort of summarize where things are and were wrt domestic engine alternatives

"AFRL - Hydrocarbon Boost Technology for Future Spacelift , 15 Feb 2012"
http://www4.nationalacademies.org/xpedio/idcplg?IdcService=GET_FILE&dDocName=DEPS_068003&RevisionSelectionMethod=Latest

"Overview of United States propulsion technology"  As of 2006 - ( sorry cannot post a direct PDF link on this )
http://en.calameo.com/read/0024863132af964a9db13?sid=336b7fd464f17c964aa85370256d1659

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Offline AncientU

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Re: Rumors that Russia may block the export of RD-180 to the US
« Reply #413 on: 05/24/2014 05:59 PM »

And, a full PDF link of that book:
http://www.dtic.mil/get-tr-doc/pdf?AD=ADA471183
Take a look at page 167 for an especially sad table ..

Sad? Pathetic is closer to the mark.

A few additional quotes from reference:
Quote
In the last three decades, only one new U.S. government-sponsored booster engine, the SSME, has
been developed and gone through flight certification. Some significant upgrades have been incorporated
into the SSME since its original certification for flight in the 1970s. These upgrades increased reliability
and safety and somewhat increased mean time between engine refurbishment. They did not appreciably
advance rocket engine technology.

Quote
Since 1980 only one new first-stage rocket engine has been developed in the United States. [Now two with Merlin] This engine, the RS-68, was funded primarily by Boeing Rocketdyne Propulsion and Power. It was developed as a low-cost expendable booster engine for the Delta IV EELV. Engine performance of the RS-68 is
poorer than that of the 1960s-era Saturn V second- and third-stage J-2 engines, both of which were simple
open-cycle, gas-generator-powered designs. However, important advancements in engineering
methodology and capability were made by the developer through incorporation of comprehensive
modeling, computer-aided design/manufacturing, and advanced manufacturing technologies

Quote
While the United States has developed almost no new booster rocket technology during the last 30
years or more, the new spacefaring nations of Europe, Asia (including India), and the Middle East have
been developing their own new vehicle and propulsion systems to catch up. They, along with the former
Soviet Union, are believed to have developed 40 to 50 new engines using several propellant combinations
in addition to LOx/LH2. Many of these engines can now be considered to be today’s state of the art.

Does the US really have the expertise any more -- to bring a new engine to full flight qualification?  Thirty years is a career... individuals who have actually launched a new design are scarce at best.  This is a 2006 report; another decade has slipped away...
« Last Edit: 05/24/2014 06:00 PM by AncientU »
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Offline savuporo

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Re: Rumors that Russia may block the export of RD-180 to the US
« Reply #414 on: 05/24/2014 06:05 PM »
Does the US really have the expertise any more -- to bring a new engine to full flight qualification? 
Yes, J2-X, Merlins demonstrate it. What US doesn't have is a healthy competitive environment that would foster more independent innovation. Note that the industry consolidated down to one engine builder, and only new entrants like SpaceX, XCOR, BO have stepped up to diversify things a bit again.
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Offline AncientU

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Re: Rumors that Russia may block the export of RD-180 to the US
« Reply #415 on: 05/24/2014 06:14 PM »
Does the US really have the expertise any more -- to bring a new engine to full flight qualification? 
Yes, J2-X, Merlins demonstrate it. What US doesn't have is a healthy competitive environment that would foster more independent innovation. Note that the industry consolidated down to one engine builder, and only new entrants like SpaceX, XCOR, BO have stepped up to diversify things a bit again.
I hope you are right. 
The J2-X is Saturn V technology (not sure how much upgraded).
And basically, isn't it too expensive to fly (will it ever fly?)?
Clean-sheet wise, we're back to Merlins and RS-68 series.
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Offline savuporo

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Re: Rumors that Russia may block the export of RD-180 to the US
« Reply #416 on: 05/25/2014 03:15 AM »
Deserves a cross-post here too
http://m.aviationweek.com/space/support-grows-new-us-rocket-engine

All the recent sound bites compiled, plus some interesting verbiage at the very end ..
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Offline RocketEconomist327

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Re: Rumors that Russia may block the export of RD-180 to the US
« Reply #417 on: 05/25/2014 03:45 AM »
Deserves a cross-post here too
http://m.aviationweek.com/space/support-grows-new-us-rocket-engine

All the recent sound bites compiled, plus some interesting verbiage at the very end ..

Completely agree.  This lines up with what some of us heard last week.  Atlas V is in deep trouble. 

Asking around, everyone agrees that you build a new rocket to match a new engine.  I do not believe the TR-107 is nearly as mature as some claim.  Maybe I will be proven wrong and will admit so. 

What I am saying is that Atlas V dies with the RD-180.  You slap something else underneath it and its an Atlas VI.

Atlas V is fine tuned to support the RD-180 TWR, harmonics, ect.  A new engine will cause things to act differently on the vehicle.  And if you want to switch to methane... forget about it.

VR
RE327
You can talk about all the great things you can do, or want to do, in space; but unless the rocket scientists get a sound understanding of economics (and quickly), the US space program will never achieve the greatness it should.

Putting my money where my mouth is.

Offline ArbitraryConstant

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Re: Rumors that Russia may block the export of RD-180 to the US
« Reply #418 on: 05/25/2014 12:28 PM »
I wonder could the F-1B be a good choice for a replacement engine esp considering they have gotten rid of a lot of the parts that made it expensive.
It's a fine engine but a poor substitute. It would require a new launcher.
« Last Edit: 05/25/2014 12:28 PM by ArbitraryConstant »

Offline jongoff

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Re: Rumors that Russia may block the export of RD-180 to the US
« Reply #419 on: 05/26/2014 02:38 PM »
I forgot to provide a link to the paper I was given at the Space Symposium re: RD-180 domestic production:

http://arc.aiaa.org/doi/abs/10.2514/6.2007-5487

Very fascinating read. Basically talking about how they were working with the Russians to build the pre-burner/stator section of the RD-180 using US produced materials, parts, coatings, and manufacturing processes. It's not said in the paper, but the reason they picked these two pieces was because out of all the materials and manufacturing processes on RD-180, the preburner/stator assembly had something like 8/10 of the high-risk, Russia-unique manufacturing processes, and a good fraction of the high-risk, Russia-unique materials.

The paper talks you through all the materials science work they did in duplicating Russian alloys, braze alloys, and weld filler materials. It talks about the process they used to build up domestic welding and brazing expertise in the areas that used very non-Western welding/brazing design/practices. They started with geometrically non-representative test coupons, worked up to more geometrically representative coupons, moved on to welds on Russian-produced parts, and finally to welding on US sourced equivalent parts.

Similar discussion about brazing, coatings, and vibration hardening.

Long story short, they were working towards building a full pre-burner/stator segment that was going to be retrofitted into a production RD-180 and test fired on the Russian hot fire stand (after having been fired using all Russian components so they have a way of comparing the two). The paper was written about a year before that point when they were just starting to fabricate the assembly from entirely US-sourced parts, materials, coatings, and using the welding/brazing techniques they had developed. So, I don't know for sure if the test firing ever happened. But if it did, I would agree with them that they retired the key risks for the RD-180 co-production.

For any of you out there who are manufacturing engineers (that was my bachelor's degree), you'll geek out like crazy on this paper. :-)

~Jon

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