Author Topic: Could ATK and OSC's Merger Mean a new EELV Class Commercial LV?  (Read 83824 times)


Offline baldusi

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7437
  • Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • Liked: 1445
  • Likes Given: 4499
Cygnus on StratoLaunch makes a lot of sense. First, the SuperCygnus (four rings in the pressurized section), plus 3.700kg of cargo would be 6 tonnes. So they could cover their. CRS-2 contract easily. And since they would have 33m3 of volume per launch, they would be kings of low density cargo.
But there are other considerations. They would need just a 3,9m fairing, and this being LEO, they might get away with a Castor 30XL. And being able to launch from the Cape is preferred for NASA since that's where they process the cargo for ISS.

Offline Prober

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10313
  • Save the spin....I'm keeping you honest!
  • Nevada
  • Liked: 701
  • Likes Given: 728

Sorry ,Ed don't think you thinking big enough .....this is the direction they might be going with Antares as the Center core.


Huh?  That is an SLS competitor and not EELV competitor.  They aren't going in that direction

There is always old Stumpy:

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=26476.0

yep, a couple of 3 segment solids with a single Antares core could be a new launcher and revenue stream.
2017 - Everything Old is New Again.
I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work. ~ by Thomas Alva Edison

Offline Jim

  • Night Gator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 32377
  • Cape Canaveral Spaceport
  • Liked: 11063
  • Likes Given: 329

Puts training hat on:   Gives you a rough idea on some of the new ways to do things.  These guys at Dynetics are an impressive lot.
http://arstechnica.com/science/2013/04/new-f-1b-rocket-engine-upgrades-apollo-era-deisgn-with-1-8m-lbs-of-thrust/   
 
Jon you think the F-1 is more complex than the AJ-26 or about even?

Understand and agree with your point on Easy.....no project is really easy.  Hope I didn't give the wrong impression.

Dynetics have Rocketdyne support and AJ-26 is much more complex.

And you are over hyping Dynetics, they aren't that impressive.  Just another HSV local contractor
« Last Edit: 05/02/2014 04:56 PM by Jim »

Offline Jim

  • Night Gator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 32377
  • Cape Canaveral Spaceport
  • Liked: 11063
  • Likes Given: 329

yep, a couple of 3 segment solids with a single Antares core could be a new launcher and revenue stream.


Nope, it won't.  It can't be at wallops.

Offline RocketmanUS

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2226
  • USA
  • Liked: 71
  • Likes Given: 31
I know Pegasus II is intended to be developed for StratoLaunch.

Is there a chance they'll now develop it as Antares replacement (perhaps with a larger 2nd stage), then have a mature LV ready to integrate with the carrier plane when it's ready?

Cheers, Martin

I wondered why they might have two LV's with similar performance.  But given Ed's observations about potential issues with both engines and the Antares core, I'm wondering if the plan is to simply replace Antares with Pegasus II?  They wouldn't need a launch facility for it.  But it sounds like the Statolaunch aircraft won't be ready to fly until 2016?  With the first launch from it not until 2018?  (per wikipedia, for what that's worth).  Are there enough Antares cores and engiens to get to 2018?  Or might they be looking at ground launching Pegasus II from Wallops or somewhere prior to that, to maintain Cygnus until Statolaunch is ready?
http://aviationweek.com/blog/orbital-eying-atk-solid-propulsion-system-antares-first-stage-1?sfvc4enews=42&cl=article_5


Lobo, I think you are right that they could be using a lot of the Pegasus II to make a land launch vehicle to replace Antares. That could be a single solid core version and the solid tri-core version with a liquid US. Land launch single core would have less than 13,500lb to LEO.

The land launch version could be ready sooner than 2018 if funded.

I would expect them to replace the RL-10's at some point with the NGE to lower cost.


yep, a couple of 3 segment solids with a single Antares core could be a new launcher and revenue stream.


Nope, it won't.  It can't be at wallops.
Why not at Wallops?

Offline Lobo

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6753
  • Spokane, WA
  • Liked: 552
  • Likes Given: 347
Hmmm...

I just realized a lot of what was discussed in Chris's article was already discussed on L2.  I've been a little to preoccupied with SpaceX updates and not spending enough time keeping up to date with Orbital apparently.

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=31801.msg1050002#msg1050002

http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2013/05/stratolaunch-orbital-air-launch/

Per Chris's article last year, it looks like the Pegasus II with the 2nd hydrolox upper stage could get 4.5mt to GTO where Wikipedia is saying 2mt to GTO.  I'll go with Chris's numbers. ;-)

So, a 4-stage Pegasus II actually could be knocking at the door of EELV-class to GTO.  Pretty close to a fully expendable F9.  Althoug two hydrolox upper stages with three RL-10's spent seems like it would be rather expensive, even if the Stratolaunch flight and first two solids stages are relatively cheap.  But the OSC guys have a plan I'm sure. 
I also wonder if they could have a single hydrolox upper stage powered by a single RL/MB-60, if NASA opts to go that route with SLS's EUS?  Better ISP and more thrust than two RL-10A's (which Pegasus II's 3rd stage would have to have as the RL-10B's are too big for two of them).

Offline edkyle99

  • Expert
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 12808
    • Space Launch Report
  • Liked: 3787
  • Likes Given: 740
Well, it looks like Pegasus II will get over 6mt to LEO.  That will beat out Antares 5mt to LEO. 
Have to make equal comparisons.  Antares 130 (with Castor 30XL), which will fly this year, is rated for more than 6 tonnes to 200 km x 38 deg.  It can also lift more than 5.5 tonnes to 200 km x 51.6 deg (ISS inclination).  We don't know, I think, what inclination applies to the 6 tonne Stratolauncher number, though a lower than ISS inclination was probably given.  It likely lifts 5 to 5.5 tonne to an ISS inclination orbit.

Also, Antares does 6 tonnes with an existing solid motor upper stage while Stratolaunch requires an RL10 liquid hydrogen upper stage to make that number.  Imagine what Antares could do with an LH2 stage!  Antares can grow.  Stratolaunch can't, due to its air launch platform limited mass.

Quote
So perhaps they intend for Pegasus II to replace Antares if things go south with Antares cores and engines, and if they get a renewed CRS contract, they move Cygnus to Pegasus II? 
No, for the reasons stated above.  The follow-on CRS-2 contract will require even more payload than Antares 130 will provide.  Stratolaunch is already out of the running for that payload.

 - Ed kyle
« Last Edit: 05/02/2014 05:26 PM by edkyle99 »

Offline Lobo

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6753
  • Spokane, WA
  • Liked: 552
  • Likes Given: 347
Lobo, I think you are right that they could be using a lot of the Pegasus II to make a land launch vehicle to replace Antares. That could be a single solid core version and the solid tri-core version with a liquid US. Land launch single core would have less than 13,500lb to LEO.

The land launch version could be ready sooner than 2018 if funded.

I would expect them to replace the RL-10's at some point with the NGE to lower cost.


OSC joining with ATK means assured access to the boosters and being able to do away with having to working with Russians/Ukranians all together.

If Startolaunch won't be ready until 2016 (or possibly later), perhaps there could be a more interim Antares replacement to keep flying Cygnus to service the ISS?

I have to think a new cryo upper stage will take some time to develop, as OSC and ATK don't really have anything to build upon I don't think.  And Statolaunch won't be ready for awhile. 
So, and all-solid "Antares" launching from Wallops to take Enhanced Cygnus to ISS?
Something that could be horizontally integrated at the existing facilities and be able to use the Antares pad and infrastructure.  That rules out a tri-seg booster.  Needs to be single core.
Needs to get 5mt to the ISS.

I think Ed then hits the nail on the head here. 

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=34593.msg1191484#msg1191484

Could one of Ed's concepts here be developed before Antares cores/engines might possibly run out?
« Last Edit: 05/02/2014 05:33 PM by Lobo »

Offline Lobo

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6753
  • Spokane, WA
  • Liked: 552
  • Likes Given: 347
Here's my guess for a composite solid motor Antares, including a growth version for CRS-2 missions.  Replacing the Castor 30XL third stage of the growth version with an equal mass liquid hydrogen stage gets 4.8 tonnes to GTO (GEO-1,500 m/s) or 3.1 tonnes to escape velocity, or maybe more than 12 tonnes to LEO.

For the growth version, I assumed essentially equal motors for the first two stages, similar to Athena 2, Minotaur 6, Shavit-3, etc.

 - Ed Kyle

Ed,
In your concepts here, are your solid boosters based on what Pegasus II will have?  The first being a smaller 2nd stage, and the 2nd concept being two equally sized stages.  Are those the size of Pegasus II 1st stages?  Or are those based on SLS advanced booster segs?  Are those two segments the same size?  Or just the same diameter, but different lengths?

Offline edkyle99

  • Expert
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 12808
    • Space Launch Report
  • Liked: 3787
  • Likes Given: 740
Here's my guess for a composite solid motor Antares, including a growth version for CRS-2 missions.  Replacing the Castor 30XL third stage of the growth version with an equal mass liquid hydrogen stage gets 4.8 tonnes to GTO (GEO-1,500 m/s) or 3.1 tonnes to escape velocity, or maybe more than 12 tonnes to LEO.

For the growth version, I assumed essentially equal motors for the first two stages, similar to Athena 2, Minotaur 6, Shavit-3, etc.

 - Ed Kyle

Ed,
In your concepts here, are your solid boosters based on what Pegasus II will have?  The first being a smaller 2nd stage, and the 2nd concept being two equally sized stages.  Are those the size of Pegasus II 1st stages?  Or are those based on SLS advanced booster segs?  Are those two segments the same size?  Or just the same diameter, but different lengths?
They are the same diameter, case type, and propellant type, etc, but they would likely be longer and heavier than the Stratolaunch motors.  There is a chance that one of the Stratolaunch motors might work as a second stage, but it is important to remember that Stratolaunch is paying for its own rocket.  Orbital can't directly transplant parts from that effort to Antares, but that doesn't prevent ATK from leveraging the synergy of the similar development efforts, not only for Antares but also for SLS. 

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 05/02/2014 05:45 PM by edkyle99 »

Offline Lobo

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6753
  • Spokane, WA
  • Liked: 552
  • Likes Given: 347
Have to make equal comparisons.  Antares 130 (with Castor 30XL), which will fly this year, is rated for more than 6 tonnes to 200 km x 38 deg.  It can also lift more than 5.5 tonnes to 200 km x 51.6 deg (ISS inclination).  We don't know, I think, what inclination applies to the 6 tonne Stratolauncher number, though a lower than ISS inclination was probably given.  It likely lifts 5 to 5.5 tonne to an ISS inclination orbit.

Also, Antares does 6 tonnes with an existing solid motor upper stage while Stratolaunch requires an RL10 liquid hydrogen upper stage to make that number.  Imagine what Antares could do with an LH2 stage!  Antares can grow.  Stratolaunch can't, due to its air launch platform limited mass.


Ahhh, ok, thanks for the clarification.  But do you think Antares could be going away with the Russian/Ukranian issues, and with OSC's access to big solids now?  As you said, could they do an "Antares II" (which would actually look closer to a "Taurus II", ironically) with all solids, as in your concepts, and then develop a common hydrolox upper stage which could be used on Pegasus II or Antares II?

No, for the reasons stated above.  The follow-on CRS-2 contract will require even more payload than Antares 130 will provide.  Stratolaunch is already out of the running for that payload.


I suppose that would beg the question, why do Stratolaunch at all?  Convert the Antares pad to "Antares II".  It'd have growth option as Stratolaunch doesn't.  And probably more simple logistics of a fixed pad vs. a flying one.  Or is launching out of Wallops too big of a penalty for GTO payloads vs Statolaunch which can fly south for better trajectories?


Offline RocketmanUS

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2226
  • USA
  • Liked: 71
  • Likes Given: 31
Have to make equal comparisons.  Antares 130 (with Castor 30XL), which will fly this year, is rated for more than 6 tonnes to 200 km x 38 deg.  It can also lift more than 5.5 tonnes to 200 km x 51.6 deg (ISS inclination).  We don't know, I think, what inclination applies to the 6 tonne Stratolauncher number, though a lower than ISS inclination was probably given.  It likely lifts 5 to 5.5 tonne to an ISS inclination orbit.

Also, Antares does 6 tonnes with an existing solid motor upper stage while Stratolaunch requires an RL10 liquid hydrogen upper stage to make that number.  Imagine what Antares could do with an LH2 stage!  Antares can grow.  Stratolaunch can't, due to its air launch platform limited mass.


Ahhh, ok, thanks for the clarification.  But do you think Antares could be going away with the Russian/Ukranian issues, and with OSC's access to big solids now?  As you said, could they do an "Antares II" (which would actually look closer to a "Taurus II", ironically) with all solids, as in your concepts, and then develop a common hydrolox upper stage which could be used on Pegasus II or Antares II?

No, for the reasons stated above.  The follow-on CRS-2 contract will require even more payload than Antares 130 will provide.  Stratolaunch is already out of the running for that payload.


I suppose that would beg the question, why do Stratolaunch at all?  Convert the Antares pad to "Antares II".  It'd have growth option as Stratolaunch doesn't.  And probably more simple logistics of a fixed pad vs. a flying one.  Or is launching out of Wallops too big of a penalty for GTO payloads vs Statolaunch which can fly south for better trajectories?

1 ) All solids could work for a given performance to LEO. Cygnus I hope has the needed performance then to do the rest to ISS. Solids are fixed and liquids can be shut down once the given velocity has been achieved.

2 ) Keep in mind airlaunch can work around weather, fixed pads have to wait for good weather.

Offline Prober

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10313
  • Save the spin....I'm keeping you honest!
  • Nevada
  • Liked: 701
  • Likes Given: 728

yep, a couple of 3 segment solids with a single Antares core could be a new launcher and revenue stream.


Nope, it won't.  It can't be at wallops.

who said anything about wallops?
2017 - Everything Old is New Again.
I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work. ~ by Thomas Alva Edison

Offline USFdon

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 123
  • SF Bay Area
  • Liked: 9
  • Likes Given: 6
Nope, it won't.  It can't be at wallops.

Does Wallops have the (rail) infrastructure to handle RSRM-sized segments? 

Offline Jim

  • Night Gator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 32377
  • Cape Canaveral Spaceport
  • Liked: 11063
  • Likes Given: 329

yep, a couple of 3 segment solids with a single Antares core could be a new launcher and revenue stream.


Nope, it won't.  It can't be at wallops.

who said anything about wallops?


Anywhere else would not be competitive.

Offline Prober

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10313
  • Save the spin....I'm keeping you honest!
  • Nevada
  • Liked: 701
  • Likes Given: 728
The thing is, they already have this class of LV with Antares and will have with Pegasus II.  So not sure they'd develop another LV in that class, which the two solid concepts LV's would be.
My premise is that Orbital ATK already must develop something to replace the existing Antares first stage, simply due to the limited number of NK-33 engines.
 - Ed Kyle

For throw out the idea Friday... Seems everyone has focused on the AJ-26 - NK-33 and forgotten this gem.

Don't forget the NK-43! 

 " The NK-43 is similar to the NK-33, but is designed for an upper stage, not a first stage. It has a longer nozzle, optimized for operation at altitude, where ambient air pressure is low or perhaps zero. This gives it a higher thrust and specific impulse, but makes it longer and heavier."

This is idea would need development for the 2nd stage (Like the Hawthorne boys) but for Antares. 

 
 
2017 - Everything Old is New Again.
I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work. ~ by Thomas Alva Edison

Offline Prober

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10313
  • Save the spin....I'm keeping you honest!
  • Nevada
  • Liked: 701
  • Likes Given: 728

Puts training hat on:   Gives you a rough idea on some of the new ways to do things.  These guys at Dynetics are an impressive lot.
http://arstechnica.com/science/2013/04/new-f-1b-rocket-engine-upgrades-apollo-era-deisgn-with-1-8m-lbs-of-thrust/   
 
Jon you think the F-1 is more complex than the AJ-26 or about even?

Understand and agree with your point on Easy.....no project is really easy.  Hope I didn't give the wrong impression.

And you are over hyping Dynetics, they aren't that impressive.  Just another HSV local contractor

I hope my posts are taken in the spirit of being " Praised for the work they did".

2017 - Everything Old is New Again.
I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work. ~ by Thomas Alva Edison

Offline Lobo

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6753
  • Spokane, WA
  • Liked: 552
  • Likes Given: 347
The thing is, they already have this class of LV with Antares and will have with Pegasus II.  So not sure they'd develop another LV in that class, which the two solid concepts LV's would be.
My premise is that Orbital ATK already must develop something to replace the existing Antares first stage, simply due to the limited number of NK-33 engines.
 - Ed Kyle

For throw out the idea Friday... Seems everyone has focused on the AJ-26 - NK-33 and forgotten this gem.

Don't forget the NK-43! 

 " The NK-43 is similar to the NK-33, but is designed for an upper stage, not a first stage. It has a longer nozzle, optimized for operation at altitude, where ambient air pressure is low or perhaps zero. This gives it a higher thrust and specific impulse, but makes it longer and heavier."

This is idea would need development for the 2nd stage (Like the Hawthorne boys) but for Antares.

Read back to my initial posts.  I did mention it.  However, it runs into the same issue of supply once their current inventory runs out.  (And they do have a number of them I believe, as part of their purchase of a lot of both NK-33's and NK-43's.


Offline Lobo

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6753
  • Spokane, WA
  • Liked: 552
  • Likes Given: 347
Ahhh....

Well this looks like it addresses some of these questions:

http://aviationweek.com/blog/orbital-eying-atk-solid-propulsion-system-antares-first-stage-1?sfvc4enews=42&cl=article_5


So, it would appear Orbital is indeed considering switching Antares to an ATK solid booster from the liquid one.  Although still looking at other engine options.  With the merger with ATK, think it makes going with solids the most likely option.

According to them, it sounds like it would get up into the EELV class similar to Falcon 9 as well.  So both an all solid version of Antares -AND- and entrance into at least the lower end of the EELV-class market, which is the most common segment of it in the commercial market I think.
But they also state outright their intention to compete for USAF contracts too.  I'm assuming that would need vertical integration and a West Coast Pad.  An all solid rocket could use either VAFB or Kodiak Launch Complex, As Minotaur and Athena already do.  It appears Kodiak has vertical integration already?

There could then be synergy with Pegasus II solids, as Ed mentioned.  And perhaps synergy with a future hydrolox upper stage?  As a growth option for a solid booster Antares.

Interesting...

« Last Edit: 05/02/2014 07:34 PM by Lobo »

Tags: