Author Topic: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill  (Read 155080 times)

Offline TomH

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So the real question is "Does the United States Air Force want to save the Atlas-V or not"? (Shades of John Holbolt (RIP)) The TR-107 is the only path forward that makes any sense if they do.

PDF on TR-107: http://www.nasa.gov/centers/marshall/pdf/100428main_tr107.pdf

I cannot find Isp of this engine anywhere; anybody have that?

In light of this:

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=34810.0

TR-107 is the only thing that makes sense. The engine is done. It's simple. It's inexpensive. It's all U.S. It's correctly sized for AV. Three or four of them make a perfect SLS advanced booster. I don't get why Northrop Grumman isn't jumping up and down, waving red flags, and yelling, "We already have the engine right here."

Offline Sean Lynch

So the real question is "Does the United States Air Force want to save the Atlas-V or not"? (Shades of John Holbolt (RIP)) The TR-107 is the only path forward that makes any sense if they do.

PDF on TR-107: http://www.nasa.gov/centers/marshall/pdf/100428main_tr107.pdf

I cannot find Isp of this engine anywhere; anybody have that?

In light of this:

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=34810.0

TR-107 is the only thing that makes sense. The engine is done. It's simple. It's inexpensive. It's all U.S. It's correctly sized for AV. Three or four of them make a perfect SLS advanced booster. I don't get why Northrop Grumman isn't jumping up and down, waving red flags, and yelling, "We already have the engine right here."

TR-107
Quote from: wikipedia
Operating on LOX/RP-1 the engine was throttleable and had a thrust of 4,900 kN (1,100,000 lbf) at a chamber pressure of 17.7 megapascals (177 bar), making it one of the most powerful engines ever constructed.

Wikipedia specs for RD-180
I like it, but I'm not a rocket scientist, and don't know if the single chamber vs dual is an issue.

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Offline RocketEconomist327

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No one I know at MSFC, KSC, or JSC has detailed notes readily available about the TR-107.  Well respected people here are throwing out the TR-107 like the end all be all.

Fine.

Someone post some documentation on it so we can run around congress singing its praises.

My "google-fu" is strong and I could not find anything reliable that I would feel comfortable with sitting in front of Senator Nelson or Congressman Smith and saying, "here is your answer Sir."

Educate us.

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 RocketEconomist327

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The TR-107 is ready to go into production?  I do not think so.

Special shout to savuporo (no L2 access) for digging this stuff up on the TR-107.

Link to savuporo's DD: http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=32675.msg1203328#msg1203328

Anyone else have any solid info?

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 Prober

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No one I know at MSFC, KSC, or JSC has detailed notes readily available about the TR-107.  Well respected people here are throwing out the TR-107 like the end all be all.

Fine.

Someone post some documentation on it so we can run around congress singing its praises.

My "google-fu" is strong and I could not find anything reliable that I would feel comfortable with sitting in front of Senator Nelson or Congressman Smith and saying, "here is your answer Sir."

Educate us.

VR
RE327

maybe you can start with the basics with Mr. Nelson.  Educate him that there is no mystery metallurgy.  That Russia, the US, and probably China among others knows how to build SC engines. 

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=34810.msg1203619#msg1203619

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Offline docmordrid

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AvWeek's article quotes an anonymous industry insider who says Atlas V is toast, then goes on at length about possible scenarios,

http://m.aviationweek.com/space/support-grows-new-us-rocket-engine

Quote
>
The Atlas V—always the less expensive of ULA’s fleet (partly owing to the Russian engine sourcing), the most competitive in the commercial market, and the nearest peer to Space Exploration Technologies’ (SpaceX) new Falcon family—is effectively over, an industry source says. This longtime player in the space industry preferred talking on background. The convergence of a Russian threat to cut off RD-180 supply, SpaceX’s impending certification to compete with the Falcon 9v1.1 and the lawsuit filed by SpaceX April 28 claiming ULA’s sole-source deal with the U.S. Air Force was anticompetitive has put so much pressure on the Atlas V that it is unlikely to survive, the source says.
>
DM

Offline butters

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So the USAF appears to prefer methane over kerosene. I wonder how they will avoid selecting Raptor...

I mean, surely the bill was intended to fund AJR, right?

Offline yg1968

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So the USAF appears to prefer methane over kerosene. I wonder how they will avoid selecting Raptor...

I mean, surely the bill was intended to fund AJR, right?

SpaceX would have to offer its Raptor engine to its competitors. I am not sure if they are ready to do that.
« Last Edit: 05/25/2014 03:41 AM by yg1968 »

Offline deltaV

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So the USAF appears to prefer methane over kerosene. I wonder how they will avoid selecting Raptor...

I mean, surely the bill was intended to fund AJR, right?

It would probably be legal for them to explicitly exclude SpaceX from the engine competition on the grounds that the purpose of the engine is to provide independent access to space and avoid a SpaceX monopoly. FAR 6.202:
Quote
6.202  Establishing or maintaining alternative sources.
(a) Agencies may exclude a particular source from a contract action in order to establish or maintain an alternative source or sources for the supplies or services being acquired if the agency head determines that to do so would—
(1) Increase or maintain competition and likely result in reduced overall costs for the acquisition, or for any anticipated acquisition;...
(4) Ensure the continuous availability of a reliable source of supplies or services;

Offline RocketEconomist327

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When was the last time a first stage engine was fully developed under the FAR?

Need an answer...
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 edkyle99

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AvWeek's article quotes an anonymous industry insider who says Atlas V is toast,
I expect to see Atlas 5 flying on for years. 

 - Ed Kyle

Offline butters

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AvWeek's article quotes an anonymous industry insider who says Atlas V is toast,
I expect to see Atlas 5 flying on for years. 

 - Ed Kyle

Yes, but how many years? Two? Three? Five? We're talking about timeframes that are, at best, equivalent to lead times on engine development. Do we really expect Atlas V to persist for 7-10 years against these geopolitical headwinds?

Offline AncientU

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So the USAF appears to prefer methane over kerosene. I wonder how they will avoid selecting Raptor...

I mean, surely the bill was intended to fund AJR, right?

SpaceX would have to offer its Raptor engine to its competitors. I am not sure if they are ready to do that.
And the IP to USG... even more unlikely.
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Offline AncientU

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When was the last time a first stage engine was fully developed under the FAR?

Need an answer...
SSME in 70s per this discussion:
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=32675.msg1203647#msg1203647
Ref provided by savuporo... p168 in book, 194 in pdf.

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 ..

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.


Edit: Note this is a 2006 reference, but don't think there has been anything else in the last eight years.
« Last Edit: 05/25/2014 12:54 PM by AncientU »
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Offline AncientU

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So the USAF appears to prefer methane over kerosene. I wonder how they will avoid selecting Raptor...

I mean, surely the bill was intended to fund AJR, right?

It would probably be legal for them to explicitly exclude SpaceX from the engine competition on the grounds that the purpose of the engine is to provide independent access to space and avoid a SpaceX monopoly. FAR 6.202:
Quote
6.202  Establishing or maintaining alternative sources.
(a) Agencies may exclude a particular source from a contract action in order to establish or maintain an alternative source or sources for the supplies or services being acquired if the agency head determines that to do so would—
(1) Increase or maintain competition and likely result in reduced overall costs for the acquisition, or for any anticipated acquisition;...
(4) Ensure the continuous availability of a reliable source of supplies or services;

A possible way would be to allow Raptor to be funded for an off-the-shelf competitor to the USG developed engine... this way we get two methane engines, two suppliers.  Good news/bad news for NASA in all this is that the depot problem could have just gotten much easier, but their SLS design is committed to other fuels except possibly for advanced boosters.  Methane chosen over Kero/LOX and Hydro/LOX is the real news here IMO.

Quote
“Personally, what I would like to see us pursue is hydrocarbon boost,” Shelton says. “I don’t think LOx/kerosene is the way to go. Certainly LOx/hydrogen is a thing of the past.”

Edit: added above quote
« Last Edit: 05/25/2014 01:11 PM by AncientU »
"If we shared everything [we are working on] people would think we are insane!"
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Offline clongton

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...
Quote
“Personally, what I would like to see us pursue is hydrocarbon boost,” Shelton says. “I don’t think LOx/kerosene is the way to go. Certainly LOx/hydrogen is a thing of the past.”

Bad news for the future of Delta-IV/RS-68?
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Offline deltaV

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It would probably be legal for them to explicitly exclude SpaceX from the engine competition on the grounds that the purpose of the engine is to provide independent access to space and avoid a SpaceX monopoly. FAR 6.202:

On second thought the house bill says:
Quote
(a) SENSE OF CONGRESS.—It is the sense of Congress that the Secretary of Defense should develop a next-generation liquid rocket engine that— ...
 (4) is developed using full and open competition;

That language might preclude explicitly excluding SpaceX.

Offline docmordrid

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So the USAF appears to prefer methane over kerosene. I wonder how they will avoid selecting Raptor...

I mean, surely the bill was intended to fund AJR, right?

SpaceX would have to offer its Raptor engine to its competitors. I am not sure if they are ready to do that.
And the IP to USG... even more unlikely.

Commission recommendations in general have a way of not being implemented. I could see some kind of crosss licensing deal;

USG can have made Raptors of x thrust level by whoever and can use y quantity of them per core. SpaceX can evolve it, retains BFR rights and gets a license to any improvements patented to USG or its assignees.
« Last Edit: 05/25/2014 05:12 PM by docmordrid »
DM

Offline vulture4

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The RS-84 and TR-107 (both developed under the Space Launch Initiative and dropped in 2004) are worth considering, as is the Raptor. Why not a competition between all three? If ULA decides to proceed with US production of the RD-180 I hope they have a permanent license or the problem will simply be postponed.
« Last Edit: 05/26/2014 07:08 AM by vulture4 »

Offline RocketEconomist327

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Bad news for the future of Delta-IV/RS-68?

Unknown.  Depends.  Will cranking out more Delta IV cores every year lower the cost of RS-68s? 

Can the RS-68 be human/nuclear payload certified?

Need a CBA and a study to find out.  We are doing one.
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.

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