Author Topic: Aerojet Rocketdyne's proposed RD-180 replacement - the AR-1 (aka AJ-1E6)  (Read 169855 times)

Offline Patchouli

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More of a decision for AJR than a decision for ULA.


Ironically, that was why AR-1 would have had to have been developed to undercut RD-180 and Merlin 1C(!) long ago, which would have caused a drop in the then Aerojet revenues for a half decade, but then that risk might have paid off in a broad base (big assumption that you could get many rival LV providers to eat the same dog food). Then you could have had a different story. Note the similarities/risks - you have to do it before things like booster reuse actually happen.


I wonder if a gas generator engine maybe a scaled down F-1B or an up scale of the RS-27 would have been a better route than trying to copy the RD-180?
Blue got a bid on Vulcan with an engine that not only had a different OF ratio but used different fuel.

Offline woods170

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I suppose Congress could write a law banning non indigenous LRE's.
Congress tried with a partial ban first. And that failed when the "in-effect" date was shifted backwards several years. By the time the new "in-effect" data approaches and indigenous LRE's are not available US Congress will simply shift the date to the right again.

Offline WindnWar

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They are, as Sowers describes, professional leeches. That is in fact what they were designed to be by circumstance, as an outgrowth of decision from the Nixon administration's forced acqusitions in aerospace.


So when people talk of using AR-1 with yet another government program, it doesn't necessarily do AJR the kind of favor it really needs to remedy its root issues. It just gives the leach another artery to temporarily avoid the necessary reinvention. This does not make a firm better. And that idiot Casper Wienberger, while not directly complicit in this situation, did create this, one of many, by a colossal idiocy that caused many of these, ironically to "make Amercian aerospace great again".  ::)

I'm thinking of the analogy that AJR is like a virus that infects ULA. Raising it's prices is like raising the temperature of the body. Sooner or later either the body overcomes the virus or the body dies.  :(

They are both a product of the USG's absolute desire to maintain access to space at all times, regardless of a level of price inflation that sometimes seems to outsiders a lot like extortion.  :(

With the Centaurus 5 needing multiple (3-4?) RL-10s, or a single BE-EU (>110,000klbf) -- and Vulcan needing to cost half as much as Atlas V -- hasn't price inflation at AJR essentially killed use of RL-10 on Vulcan/Centaurus 5?

The other question on this is, how much of the RL-10 stockpile that ULA has is currently remaining? They were converting them to the RL-10C for use on both Atlas and Delta, but I've never been able to find how many of those engines were left, just that Boeing had bought a large number of the engines for Delta. Depending on how many are left that might be what powers the initial Vulcan Centaurs until they are used up. Anyone have an actual count of how many are left?

Online brickmack

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Boeing ordered 100 RL10Bs, IIRC. 35 have been used on Delta IV. RL10C first flew on Atlas in December 2013. I know theres been at least one RL10A mission since then, probably more, but ballpark theres been about 20 flown since then. So >half used up. Theres still ~10 Deltas planned to fly, and at least 21 Atlases (probably much more), though not all future Atlases will use them (DEC missions must use RL10A). So with the known future manifest, thats only about 15 engines left to play with. Seems pointless to use them on Vulcan and have to redesign both upper stages once the supply runs out. Burn through them on the final Atlas V flights

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Not great news for AR-1 funding by USAF:

Good article by Eric Berger on the NDAA funding language and thus the flexibility it does, and does not, give the USAF:

https://arstechnica.com/science/2017/11/a-new-law-gives-air-force-some-wiggle-room-in-picking-its-new-rockets/

Two crucial quotes:

Quote
Further, the bill defines “rocket propulsion system” as a main booster, first-stage rocket engine, or motor. The term does not include a launch vehicle, an upper stage, a strap-on motor, or related infrastructure.

Quote
Another provision in the bill relates to the engines under development for Vulcan. This language states that the Air Force may terminate funding for other rocket propulsion systems when “the Secretary of the Air Force certifies to the congressional defense committees that a successful full-scale test of a domestic rocket engine has occurred.”

So first stage funding is fine, but not second or other stages, and AR-1 funding can be dropped once BE-4 achieves a 'full-scale test'.

Suggest following up in original (space policy) thread.

Offline Rik ISS-fan

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This wording also allows USAF to fund CASTOR 300, 600 & 1200 development by OrbitalATK.
Indeed bad news for Rocketdyne and AR-1 development funding.

Offline john smith 19

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This wording also allows USAF to fund CASTOR 300, 600 & 1200 development by OrbitalATK.
Indeed bad news for Rocketdyne and AR-1 development funding.
I think ULA might like to keep AR-1 around a bit longer just to give Blue the possibility they could be dropped if they don't deliver on time.

It depends on how keen Congress is on finishing funding to AJR.  They could continue to fund even after a successful all up engine test for Blue, even after they ran it for the full time IE a full stages worth of propellant.  :(
BFS. The worlds first Methane fueled FFORSC engined CFRP structured A380 sized aerospaceplane tail sitter capable of flying in Earth and Mars atmospheres. BFR. The worlds biggest Methane fueled FFORSC engined CFRP structured booster for BFS. First flight to Mars by end of 2022. Forward looking statements. T&C apply. Believe no one. Run your own numbers. So, you are going to Mars to start a better life? Picture it in your mind. Now say what it is out loud.

Offline Darkseraph

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There's a possibility Aerojet Rocketdyne, alone or partnering with another aerospace firm, submits a proposal for the EELV contract that uses AR-1. Extremely unlikely, but stranger things have happened! 
"For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled." R.P.Feynman

Offline john smith 19

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There's a possibility Aerojet Rocketdyne, alone or partnering with another aerospace firm, submits a proposal for the EELV contract that uses AR-1. Extremely unlikely, but stranger things have happened!

Indeed.

As anyone who remembers the ATK "Liberty" launcher proposal knows.  :(
BFS. The worlds first Methane fueled FFORSC engined CFRP structured A380 sized aerospaceplane tail sitter capable of flying in Earth and Mars atmospheres. BFR. The worlds biggest Methane fueled FFORSC engined CFRP structured booster for BFS. First flight to Mars by end of 2022. Forward looking statements. T&C apply. Believe no one. Run your own numbers. So, you are going to Mars to start a better life? Picture it in your mind. Now say what it is out loud.

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Quote
Air Force and Aerojet Rocketdyne renegotiating AR1 agreement
by Jeff Foust — February 16, 2018

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Air Force and Aerojet Rocketdyne are working to revise an agreement to support development of the company’s AR1 rocket engine, as questions continue about the engine’s long-term future.

In a Feb. 14 response to questions submitted by SpaceNews, the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) confirmed that Aerojet Rocketdyne is seeking to revise the Rocket Propulsion System (RPS) award the company received in 2016 to reduce the fraction of development costs the company has to pay.

http://spacenews.com/air-force-and-aerojet-rocketdyne-renegotiating-ar1-agreement/

Online russianhalo117

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Quote
Air Force and Aerojet Rocketdyne renegotiating AR1 agreement
by Jeff Foust — February 16, 2018

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Air Force and Aerojet Rocketdyne are working to revise an agreement to support development of the company’s AR1 rocket engine, as questions continue about the engine’s long-term future.

In a Feb. 14 response to questions submitted by SpaceNews, the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) confirmed that Aerojet Rocketdyne is seeking to revise the Rocket Propulsion System (RPS) award the company received in 2016 to reduce the fraction of development costs the company has to pay.

http://spacenews.com/air-force-and-aerojet-rocketdyne-renegotiating-ar1-agreement/
Renegotiating Aerojet Rocketdynes share of AR1 dev cost from 1/3rd to no greater than 1/6th total development cost (AR's preference goal is 1/9th cost share per other articles with with 1/6th cost share being AR's offered all or nothing compromise solution):  https://arstechnica.com/science/2018/02/aerojet-wants-more-money-for-rocket-engine-the-government-may-not-need/

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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A follow-up by Eric Berger:

Quote
Financial documents raise questions about AR1 engine’s readiness
"We are committed to delivering an engine in 2019," the company said.

Eric Berger - 2/28/2018, 2:11 PM

Publicly, the venerable US rocket engine company Aerojet Rocketdyne maintains that it is committed to finishing development of its powerful new AR1 engine by 2019. By meeting this deadline, company officials say, they will provide an all-American engine in time for use by United Launch Alliance's next-generation rocket.

However, a review of recent financial US Securities and Exchange Commission filings by Aerojet reveals that, even as it says progress is being made toward completing the AR1 rocket engine, the company is spending substantially less money developing it.

https://arstechnica.com/science/2018/02/aerojet-has-dramatically-cut-internal-funding-for-its-ar1-rocket-engine/

Not much room for doubt about the ultimate fate of AR-1.

Online IanThePineapple

A follow-up by Eric Berger:

Quote
Financial documents raise questions about AR1 engine’s readiness
"We are committed to delivering an engine in 2019," the company said.

Eric Berger - 2/28/2018, 2:11 PM

Publicly, the venerable US rocket engine company Aerojet Rocketdyne maintains that it is committed to finishing development of its powerful new AR1 engine by 2019. By meeting this deadline, company officials say, they will provide an all-American engine in time for use by United Launch Alliance's next-generation rocket.

However, a review of recent financial US Securities and Exchange Commission filings by Aerojet reveals that, even as it says progress is being made toward completing the AR1 rocket engine, the company is spending substantially less money developing it.

https://arstechnica.com/science/2018/02/aerojet-has-dramatically-cut-internal-funding-for-its-ar1-rocket-engine/

Not much room for doubt about the ultimate fate of AR-1.

Yeah, and ULA seemingly preferring the BE-4 doesn't help it...

Also, AFAIK no one is currently building a heavy-lift vehicle and don't have an engine yet, so I'd say AR-1 is likely dead/shelved.

Online gongora

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https://www.defense.gov/News/Contracts/Contract-View/Article/1558220//
Quote
Aerojet Rocketdyne, Canoga Park, California, has been awarded a $69,804,323 modification (P00014) to a previously awarded other transaction agreement (FA8811-16-9-0003) for the development of the AR1 booster engine and the RL10CX upper stage engine for the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle program. This action implements Section 1604 of the Carl Levin and Howard P. "Buck" McKeon National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal 2015, which requires the development of a next-generation rocket propulsion system that will transition away from the use of non-allied space launch engines to a domestic alternative for National Security Space launches. Work will be performed in Canoga Park, California; Sacramento, California; Centennial, Colorado; Huntsville, Alabama; Stennis Space Center, Mississippi; West Palm Beach, Florida; and Los Angeles Air Force Base, California. The work on the AR1 is expected to be completed by Dec. 31, 2019, and the work on the RL10CX is expected to be completed by Dec. 31, 2021. Fiscal 2017 research, development, test and evaluation (RDT&E) funds in the amount of $63,014,148; and fiscal 2018 RDT&E funds in the amount of $20,000,000 are being obligated at the time of award. The Launch Systems Enterprise Directorate, Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles AFB, California, is the contracting activity.

https://mainenginecutoff.com/blog/2018/06/another-70-million-for-ar1
Quote
I don’t remember RL10 being part of the previously-awarded EELV propulsion contracts. Wonder if that’s related to the recent announcements that both Vulcan and OmegA will use the RL10 as their upper stage.

Online oldAtlas_Eguy

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The contract scope is rocket engine development.

This allows the add of any engine development work contract modification.

Thus it is likely the contract mod is mainly all focused and funding for the RL10CX work.

Online gongora

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The contract scope is rocket engine development.

This allows the add of any engine development work contract modification.

Thus it is likely the contract mod is mainly all focused and funding for the RL10CX work.

That would probably be a good use for their leftover 2017 funds.

Online oldAtlas_Eguy

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The contract scope is rocket engine development.

This allows the add of any engine development work contract modification.

Thus it is likely the contract mod is mainly all focused and funding for the RL10CX work.

That would probably be a good use for their leftover 2017 funds.
Contract mods can be implemented in 90 days or less. They can only add or delete elements that fall within the primary scope of the contract. Since this contract never included production engines, the mod for adding production engines would not be allowed.

But development work on other engines would be, if there was a mention of the other engine anywhere in the original contract. Also the scope could have been made vague as to development work not on the AR-1 but on development work on AJR rocket engines.
« Last Edit: 06/24/2018 08:52 PM by oldAtlas_Eguy »

Offline johnfwhitesell

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Near as I can figure, the air force has changed it's minds and RL10 funds are included now.
http://spacenews.com/rl10-engine-added-to-air-force-agreement-with-aerojet-rocketdyne/

That would seem to be bad news for AR-1.  The article also seems to mention in passing that the schedule for BE-4 has slipped into 2019 which would seem to be good news for AR-1.  The schedule disadvantage wouldn't be gone but it sure wouldn't be as big as it used to be.

Online russianhalo117

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BUMP For RD-181:
Per likely  strong lobbying efforts via Aerojet Rocketdyne and others Congress adds RD-181 in latest version of Russian engine ban: http://spacenews.com/energomash-raises-alarm-over-u-s-ban-on-russian-rocket-engines/

Online gongora

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BUMP For RD-181:
Per likely  strong lobbying efforts via Aerojet Rocketdyne and others Congress adds RD-181 in latest version of Russian engine ban: http://spacenews.com/energomash-raises-alarm-over-u-s-ban-on-russian-rocket-engines/

RD-181 doesn't have anything to do with AR-1.

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