Author Topic: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle - General Discussion Thread 2  (Read 391391 times)

Offline john smith 19

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Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle - General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1260 on: 10/01/2017 09:40 PM »
Requiring individual chips to be kept in production is probably over engineering a computing and memory board. Only the interface to the back plane needs keeping. The new board design needs to be able to run the same software and complete the same commissioning tests.

Some specialist boards may need chips keeping in production but those parts were probably made to measure.
The problem is all about traceability of all parts,and how much re-qualification of the system is needed for any given change, basically to leverage all the (very) expensive testing done on the whole chain from the source code down to the wires coming out of the box.

In larger military systems what has happened is the whole package has been removed from its case and replaced by VME rack of new processor board plus interface boards, leaving everything outside the box the same. Since VME is a more common bus standard it's easier to upgrade the proprietary back plane.
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 dchill

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Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle - General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1261 on: 10/02/2017 02:06 AM »
Delta uses, or until recently used, RIFCA, which entered service in 1994.  Though this hardware has recently flown, I bet new sets haven't been manufactured for a very long time.
 - Ed Kyle

Without buying new parts from Honeywell and others, the last RIFCAs must have been manufactured as part of Boeing's final stockpile buy right at the end of the last century (despite what Jim said).


RIFCA is still in production

My bad then.  I thought that when Honeywell was bought by AlliedSignal back in 1999 they had to divest the old Bendix branch to L3.  As I heard the story Boeing requested a very large buy or build (~100?) to stockpile RIFCAs for D-II and D-IVs.  Since L3 hasn't bought any of the parts they'd need to build new RIFCAs from Honeywell and other vendors since 1999, it's kind of been assumed they aren't building new ones.  Maybe they redesigned the RIFCA to only use in-house make parts - so its like a RIFCA-II?

I'd be interested to hear what the manufacture dates were for the last buy of RIFCAs if you can share that.

Offline Jim

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Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle - General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1262 on: 10/02/2017 02:09 AM »
Delta uses, or until recently used, RIFCA, which entered service in 1994.  Though this hardware has recently flown, I bet new sets haven't been manufactured for a very long time.
 - Ed Kyle

Without buying new parts from Honeywell and others, the last RIFCAs must have been manufactured as part of Boeing's final stockpile buy right at the end of the last century (despite what Jim said).


RIFCA is still in production

My bad then.  I thought that when Honeywell was bought by AlliedSignal back in 1999 they had to divest the old Bendix branch to L3.  As I heard the story Boeing requested a very large buy or build (~100?) to stockpile RIFCAs for D-II and D-IVs.  Since L3 hasn't bought any of the parts they'd need to build new RIFCAs from Honeywell and other vendors since 1999, it's kind of been assumed they aren't building new ones.  Maybe they redesigned the RIFCA to only use in-house make parts - so its like a RIFCA-II?

I'd be interested to hear what the manufacture dates were for the last buy of RIFCAs if you can share that.

That would be wrong.

Offline Patchouli

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Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle - General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1263 on: 10/02/2017 02:29 AM »
Requiring individual chips to be kept in production is probably over engineering a computing and memory board. Only the interface to the back plane needs keeping. The new board design needs to be able to run the same software and complete the same commissioning tests.

Some specialist boards may need chips keeping in production but those parts were probably made to measure.

If you still have the blueprints you probably can send them to a fab to make new copies of the chips if needed.
« Last Edit: 10/02/2017 02:31 AM by Patchouli »

Online jebbo

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Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle - General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1264 on: 10/02/2017 07:29 AM »
If you still have the blueprints you probably can send them to a fab to make new copies of the chips if needed.

Not really. Most mask-sets are specific to a particular foundry, and certainly to a geometry. Given we're still shrinking geometries around every ~2 years, any mask set more that about 10 years old is unlikely to still be buildable as the Fabs will have been retooled to a smaller geometry. Also, foundries really don't like making long term guarantees over the availability of a particular geometry.

Hence, end-of-life one time buys are pretty common for products with long lifespans (most notably for automotive, but some avionics too).

[ But this feels like we're straying off topic ]

--- Tony


Online woods170

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Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle - General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1265 on: 10/02/2017 09:25 AM »
Delta uses, or until recently used, RIFCA, which entered service in 1994.  Though this hardware has recently flown, I bet new sets haven't been manufactured for a very long time.
 - Ed Kyle

Without buying new parts from Honeywell and others, the last RIFCAs must have been manufactured as part of Boeing's final stockpile buy right at the end of the last century (despite what Jim said).


RIFCA is still in production

My bad then.  I thought that when Honeywell was bought by AlliedSignal back in 1999 they had to divest the old Bendix branch to L3.  As I heard the story Boeing requested a very large buy or build (~100?) to stockpile RIFCAs for D-II and D-IVs.  Since L3 hasn't bought any of the parts they'd need to build new RIFCAs from Honeywell and other vendors since 1999, it's kind of been assumed they aren't building new ones.  Maybe they redesigned the RIFCA to only use in-house make parts - so its like a RIFCA-II?

I'd be interested to hear what the manufacture dates were for the last buy of RIFCAs if you can share that.

That would be wrong.
Could you clarify? dchill seems to have his quotes screwed up...

Offline dchill

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Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle - General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1266 on: 10/02/2017 01:06 PM »

Could you clarify? dchill seems to have his quotes screwed up...

Maybe somebody from L3 or ULA can finally chime in to settle an 8 year-old disagreement.  :P

(BTW - the 2nd nested quote in my previous post is the long past post from 2008.  It was quoted because it was pertinent.  I wanted to show that Jim was responding to a post of mine back then, but didn't want to distract from the issue by including the contents of my preceding 2008 post.  That can be accessed by clicking back through the link(s).  I should have pointed out that I was cross-linking threads.)

Offline dchill

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Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle - General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1267 on: 10/02/2017 01:56 PM »

Without buying new parts from Honeywell and others, the last RIFCAs must have been manufactured as part of Boeing's final stockpile buy right at the end of the last century (despite what Jim said).

NEW EDIT - Cross-linking a 9 year-old post:

RIFCA is still in production

...

I'd be interested to hear what the manufacture dates were for the last buy of RIFCAs if you can share that.

That would be wrong.

The best way to prove that I'm wrong would be by finding the manufacture dates for the RIFCAs recently flown or still in inventory. 

Notice that I was careful to use the word "manufacture(d)" in both of my posts, since it quite possible (and even likely) that they broke the seal to replace the life limited parts (like the gyros, accels, etc.), thus giving it a new use-by date.  That would be considered "remanufacture(d)".

Offline Rik ISS-fan

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Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle - General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1268 on: 10/06/2017 07:37 PM »
Spacenews wrote the following article Blue Origin shows interest in national security launches.
I think this is really relevant for ULA's Vulcan launcher.

If New Glenn is certified for national security payload's, is there still a demand for Vulcan?
Isn't ULA making a huge mistake by designing Vulcan to replace Atlas V and Delta IV. And I get the impression they optimized the design to replace Delta IVH.
Shouldn't they also replace the capability of Delta II?
 
To replace Delta II; Delta IV(H) and Atlas V, could the step between NS and NG be a good option?
 - A single BE-4 engine first stage, with the New Shepard diameter and the configuration of New Glenn.
 - As second stage a RL-10 or BE-3U powered stage with the same diameter as New Shepard and one like Delta IV.

The Delta IVH could be replaced by New Glenn, or by a heavy version of this launcher (three first stages and a larger (Delta IV diameter) upper stage. (The two side mounted stages could be reusable; the core stage would be expendable or land far offshore.)
A cheaper less capable launcher for smaller ~3mT SSO payloads, could be developed by developing a upper-stage that is powered by a BE-2 or Masten's Broadsword 25 rocket engine. (A F9 or NG configuration with Broadsword 25 engines would be able to orbit about 0.5mT SSO).

Wouldn't this idea be beter able to adapt to the launch requirement of the US government?
The single stick Vulcan would be optimized for smaller payloads, Falcon 9, Vulcan with GEM63XL boosters and Vulcan Heavy replaces the Delta IV-M and Atlas V, and NG and FH replaces DIVH.
« Last Edit: 10/06/2017 07:37 PM by Rik ISS-fan »

Offline cppetrie

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Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle - General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1269 on: 10/06/2017 09:54 PM »
Super-sizing is a huge mistake only if you donít get the vehicle back to use again. Thatís like using a Delta IV Heavy to launch a small GEO sat. Craziness! But if you can recover the whole system then the size of the booster isnít really relevant. Itís the launch cost that matters, which becomes just fuel, ops and the amortized portion of the vehicle.

Offline Patchouli

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Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle - General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1270 on: 10/06/2017 10:13 PM »
Super-sizing is a huge mistake only if you don’t get the vehicle back to use again. That’s like using a Delta IV Heavy to launch a small GEO sat. Craziness! But if you can recover the whole system then the size of the booster isn’t really relevant. It’s the launch cost that matters, which becomes just fuel, ops and the amortized portion of the vehicle.

Even with a RLV booster size would impact costs as you will still have maintenance and ground support costs.
A larger vehicle would need larger ground support hardware and likely larger crews for inspection and maintenance.
« Last Edit: 10/06/2017 10:14 PM by Patchouli »

Offline cppetrie

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Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle - General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1271 on: 10/06/2017 10:36 PM »
Super-sizing is a huge mistake only if you donít get the vehicle back to use again. Thatís like using a Delta IV Heavy to launch a small GEO sat. Craziness! But if you can recover the whole system then the size of the booster isnít really relevant. Itís the launch cost that matters, which becomes just fuel, ops and the amortized portion of the vehicle.

Even with a RLV booster size would impact costs as you will still have maintenance and ground support costs.
A larger vehicle would need larger ground support hardware and likely larger crews for inspection and maintenance.
Larger ground support hardware would be amortized over all launches and likely would be a small component of any single launch cost. There is no indication at this point that crew costs scale directly with booster size but still would be a small fraction of launch costs unless the LV requires lots of refurb which defeats the entire purpose of where NG and BFR are headed. F9 hasnít required that level of refurb and it isnít yet optimized for rapid reuse.

Offline tj

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Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle - General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1272 on: 10/06/2017 11:08 PM »
Vulcan with 6 solids and ACES is more capable than Delta IV H and, less than Falcon Heavy.
Based on application of Delta IV heavy, I might expect New Glen will be a tad too large for present fleet of heavy Space Vehicles.
However, lift cost per kg and multiple satellites per launch may provide an application for New Glen..Heavy DOD, NASA Deep Space (quicker transit time, heavier-Mars return, break Earth/Mars 2+ year launch cycle; NASA 10-20 meter observatories.
Same can be said for Falcon "Big" as alternative to NG.
Will Falcon "Big" be flying commercially before NG?
Vulcan, given use of BE-4, will be the flying test bed for NG
Will Vulcan with ACES be flying before NG?

Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle - General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1273 on: 10/06/2017 11:30 PM »
Based on application of Delta IV heavy, I might expect New Glen will be a tad too large for present fleet of heavy Space Vehicles.

Who cares as long as it costs significantly less than Delta IV Heavy?

In the truck transportation field there is a term called "less than load" (LTL) where a truck carries less than a full load in cargo area or the trailer. Sometimes it just makes no sense to wait to fill up a truck, so lightly loaded trucks go out on deliveries. I imagine the same will happen for future reusable space transportation systems.
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

Offline Rik ISS-fan

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Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle - General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1274 on: 10/06/2017 11:36 PM »
I ment: That it might have been a mistake to not make Vulcan a replacement for Delta II.
I agree Vulcan is small compared to NG and BFR. I agree NG is to large (explanation in BO discussion).
If SpaceX drops Falcon 9, which I find unlikely. (Musk used 'redundant' instead of 'obsolete' / 'replacement' and he's a technical guy.)

But for several payloads Vulcan-Centaur is also a very large rocket. That's why I think it would be smart if ULA would chose a smaller core with a single engine, and hopefully be able to reuse this stage.
For graphic impression; the NG-3 stage, scaled down so the tank diameter is equal to Falcon 9, is the size I envision for my Vulcan proposal. (This is a two stage launcher with a large upper-stage.)
The smaller variant would look like the two stage NG that is scaled down the same way. (Small upper-stage)

Another very interesting option might be to develop LOxLCH4 tap-off cycle engines. (But this is a new engine development, so it would take years.) Then a linear scale down could be done. If I'm not mistaken 600kN engines would provide a replacement for Atlas V and Delta IV-M.
A DIVH replacement could be made by side mounting two 7xTO-engine boosters to a expendable single BE-4 engine core. ACES could be a upper-stage for this launcher.

I expect that NG and Vulcan will be introduced at nearly the same time ~2020. BFR will be years behind that.
(I took 'Big Fat Rocket' but 'Big Falcon Rocket' is even nicer.) If they scaled down to 7x or 9x Raptor ... {stop repeating yourself}

But ULA/ House and Senate most likely doesn't want reusability, because that doesn't create many jobs.
In my view; a reusable launcher business case works at two different launch cadences; very high and very low.
In the 6-15 launches annually it doesn't really work, expendable is beter at this cadence.
I'll explain my reasoning:

Let's assume a launch rate of 12 launches annually, in the US with two providers this is about the current launch rate, correct?
With a expendable TSTO launcher , with single engine first and second stage, and small solid boosters; each month a upper and a lower stage need to be build and possibly several boosters (0-6). This is a nice production rate for a production line. (For a heavy variant additional cores are required; it's possible to produce these on the same line).
Now the scenario where the first stage is reusable, let's assume a low reuse rate of 4 times. In this scenario only three first stages per year are required. With two heavy launches annually this becomes 3,5 cores annually. Such a low production rate makes a continuous production line not-affordable. Most likely even increasing launch cost.
At the <6 rate I assume a batch production when cores need to be replaced. At a higher then 20/y rate a production get's at a rate that a second production line is required. Then reuse improves the situation.

The disadvantage of reusable launchers, is a loss in high paying high skilled jobs. Possibly the talent of the workers can be used for other stuff. But it's also possible the economy shrinks. ULA is backed by the US government because of the jobs they create, and they maintain vital assets.
If you look at the space industry, launch services are only a small part (<5%). The drop in launch cost will only have a markt growth effect if other cost drop a lot to. If launchers stop using solid's, USF missile programs will become a lot more expansive.

I also agree that OATK's NGL will be very attractieve when NG and (F9/) BFR are going to dominate the US orbital launch market. It's funding NGL with ~4 expansive launches or scraping current factories, building new ones and changing the acquisition strategy. I think NGL is favored because it's less risky and cheaper on short term.
But on the long run the second option might be the beter. (~16/y production; 10x test & 6x orbital launch 25y live.)
« Last Edit: 10/06/2017 11:37 PM by Rik ISS-fan »

Offline gongora

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Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle - General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1275 on: 10/06/2017 11:47 PM »
This thread is starting to wander a bit.  It's not about why reusable vehicles might be better.  It's not about what you think Vulcan should have been.  It's about the Vulcan that ULA intends to build.

Offline Lars-J

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Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle - General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1276 on: 10/07/2017 04:53 AM »
If New Glenn is certified for national security payload's, is there still a demand for Vulcan?
Two-stage New Glenn would provide generally the same payload capability as the most souped-up Vulcan-Centaur version, but New Glenn would be a 1,450 tonne rocket competing with a 667 tonne rocket.  Partial recovery versus fully expendable.

Cost is what matters. Size is irrelevant. There is some correlation, but once you go reusable (even partially), a lot of assumptions for cost are in flux until a system actually is in use.

Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle - General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1277 on: 10/07/2017 06:02 AM »
I ment: That it might have been a mistake to not make Vulcan a replacement for Delta II.

Atlas V has a defined end point that ULA can't change because it's caused by political factors, and Delta IV is more expensive than Atlas V so it's a drag on ULA's business. These are the two money makers for ULA, which is why the Vulcan is replacing both of them. And if Vulcan can meet it's cost goals then it can also compete for the market Delta II covered.

Quote
The disadvantage of reusable launchers, is a loss in high paying high skilled jobs.

That's not a disadvantage for commercial companies, which is what ULA is.

Quote
But it's also possible the economy shrinks.

The amount of talent ULA employs is a very small fraction of the aerospace industry, so it won't matter if they switch to reusable rockets or not. SpaceX now has more employees than ULA does, and they are shifting their entire launch offerings to reusable rockets - Elon Musk is not concerned.

Quote
ULA is backed by the US government because of the jobs they create, and they maintain vital assets.

ULA is not "backed". They win contracts from the U.S. Government because of their abilities, some of which only they have. However SpaceX, and soon Blue Origin, are starting to become certified to do the same launches the U.S. Government used to only get from ULA, so ULA's market is getting squeezed.

It is normal for the U.S. Government to go out of it's way to ensure that it can maintain two or more critical suppliers, and now that the U.S. Government is getting more and more competition it would not be a good idea to lose ULA and revert to relying on only one supplier. So the U.S. Government could mandate contract awards for ULA in order to keep them as an option. But if Blue Origin becomes a third provider, then the U.S. Government has less incentive to prop up the most costly of three providers. Which is why ULA needs to consider very carefully what the Vulcan will be able to do.
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

Offline oldAtlas_Eguy

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Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle - General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1278 on: 10/07/2017 09:31 AM »
It is not so much what Vulcan can do, but how much it will cost for what it does!

Offline meekGee

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Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle - General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1279 on: 10/07/2017 08:43 PM »
If New Glenn is certified for national security payload's, is there still a demand for Vulcan?
Two-stage New Glenn would provide generally the same payload capability as the most souped-up Vulcan-Centaur version, but New Glenn would be a 1,450 tonne rocket competing with a 667 tonne rocket.  Partial recovery versus fully expendable.

Cost is what matters. Size is irrelevant. There is some correlation, but once you go reusable (even partially), a lot of assumptions for cost are in flux until a system actually is in use.
ULA tells us its goal for the base Vulcan Centaur is $99 million.  My guess for Vulcan Centaur with 6 GEM63XL boosters is $152 million.  New Glenn will expend a 270 tonne second stage (about 68% of the Vulcan first stage mass) and one BE-4 engine during each flight, and the 54 x 7 meter first stage and its seven staged-combustion BE-4 engines will have recovery/refurbishment costs. 

SpaceX is recovering first stages with simpler gas generator engines but is still apparently charging $62 million, for a less capable (about half the GTO payload) of Vulcan Centaur and New Glenn 2-Stage.  Vulcan versus New Glenn seems like it might be close on costs to me.

 - Ed Kyle

Ed - are you aware that Vulcan and NG are not anywhere close to flying, right?  Neither ULA nor BO are charging anything for them, since they are still paper rockets.

SpaceX will continue to charge comfortably less than the competition, and if the competition continues to do nothing, SpaceX will be happy to keep prices where they want to.

You are one of the few people who continue to harp on "But SpaceX has only flown 3 reused rockets to date".  So why are you comparing today's F9 prices with hypothetical rocket pricing?

By the time Vulcan or NG start looking viable, SpaceX will have a regularly-reflying fleet.  Do you really think they will still be at $62M?
« Last Edit: 10/07/2017 09:11 PM by meekGee »
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