Author Topic: Q2 2015 Orbital ATK, Inc. Earnings Conference Call Presentation  (Read 3958 times)

Online Chris Bergin

Some stuff covering Antares etc....not as expansive as some of the previous ones, however.

Online Chris Bergin

I'm working, so can't be on the call, but Peter B. de Selding is

‏@pbdes  23m23 minutes ago
Orbital ATK's Thompson: Certification of new Antares rocket engines done, we're on track for early 2016 launch of re-engined vehicle.

Peter B. de Selding ‏@pbdes  11m11 minutes ago
Orbital COO Larson: All remaining new hardware for Antares to arrive at Wallops spaceport by mid-August.

Peter B. de Selding ‏@pbdes  8m8 minutes ago
Orbital: Space Systems booked $260M in orders in Q2 inc 2 new ISS cargo delivery missions for NASA under contract extension & 1 telecom sat.

Peter B. de Selding ‏@pbdes  2m2 minutes ago
Orbital CEO: 2 missions added to ISS cargo resupply contract to occur between mid-2017 and early 2018. So contract now extends to Q2 2018.

Orbital CEO: Atlas launch of our Cygnus ISS cargo vehicle to occur in early December.
« Last Edit: 08/06/2015 01:39 PM by Chris Bergin »

Online Chris Bergin

So - and it was posted on the mission thread - we ran this: http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2015/08/orb-4-cygnus-set-atlas-v-ride-ahead-antares-return/

But for some wacky reason there's a press release, not yet released, but SpaceNews managed to get it (somehow - see below). Not at all happy about that, not least because I frakking asked about how many Atlas Vs for the article. Not a fan of being give a straight arm.

http://spacenews.com/orbital-atk-orders-second-atlas-5-leaves-door-open-for-more/

Clearly points to potential delays to the new Antares, but they want to give that news to the site with Arianespace adverts all over it, heh. Clever, very clever..........*facepalm* for whoever did advance this.

...

Dan notes:
Dan Leone ‏@Leone_SN  11m11 minutes ago
@NASASpaceflight, @OrbitalATK did not distribute the press release ahead of time. Not to me, anyway.

I'm still baffled and not happy with Orbital ATK. I'm sure they'll be bothered about that ;)
« Last Edit: 08/12/2015 01:59 AM by Chris Bergin »

Offline arachnitect

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I wonder if there was pressure from NASA to exercise their second Atlas V option, what with both CRS providers working RTF right now.

At first I was a surprised to see the 2nd Atlas mission, but in retrospect I really shouldn't have been. The Antares 200 schedule was very aggressive, and flying on Atlas seems like a good deal for OrbATK and NASA.

Offline sdsds

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Heh. If they can't even sell Antares 200 launches to themselves, who do they think they will be able to sell them to? Having your launch vehicle sit idle while you purchase launches from someone else doesn't seem like the best way to build confidence in your service offering.
-- sdsds --

Offline a_langwich

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Heh. If they can't even sell Antares 200 launches to themselves, who do they think they will be able to sell them to? Having your launch vehicle sit idle while you purchase launches from someone else doesn't seem like the best way to build confidence in your service offering.

Who said Antares would be sitting idle?  Second Atlas launch for early 2016, when Antares 200 will be finishing up preps for RTF.  They are demonstrating their reliability and commitment to make the customer completely satisfied.  It's the difference between an airline that has mechanical problems and cancels your flight, possibly leaving you delayed or put up in a hotel overnight, and an airline that quickly finds you an alternate flight with a competitor to make sure you reach your destination on time.  I know which one I'd choose in the future.

Whether or not Antares is delayed--the schedule was/is ambitious--Orbital-ATK will have stepped up to cover a critical time period with some big cargo runs.  Furthermore, using Atlas and a loaded Cygnus means NASA can presumably move up important items (eg like the docking adapters and the twice-lost filters) that it might be hesitant to risk on the returns-to-flight of both Orbital-ATK and SpaceX.

It also helps cover the risk that BOTH Antares/Cygnus and Falcon/Dragon may be delayed in returning to flight.  That allows the ISS to recover a little reserve going through the RTFs.  It gives commercial cargo and by extension NASA's entire commercial crew/cargo experiment a positive to report.  If deliveries pick back up with no notable shortages, this becomes a success.  If there are shortages, or ISS is forced to alter staffing or ration or cut back research, that's bad for the private company launch business.

As for the Antares 200, this IS selling it.  Keep your main (only) customer for Antares happy, and hopefully you will get follow-on business.  Give up the revenue in the short term to build customer loyalty.  Not sure how well that works in the world of FAR contracting and bids, but it's a shame if it doesn't. 

To me, this is a fantastic way to handle business.  The way they've done this with no material impact to the bottom line is straight wizardry, though I wonder whether it can last.

Offline sdsds

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We agree this helps keep their cargo spacecraft business alive, and we agree the first Atlas flight was a smart move for exactly the reasons you suggest. I can't see how this second Cygnus flight on Atlas helps their launch vehicle business at all.

As for the docking adapters you mention -- Cygnus can't help with those, can it?
« Last Edit: 08/12/2015 09:31 AM by sdsds »
-- sdsds --


Offline baldusi

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From the presser they want to fly for sure 1 (+1 option) Atlas V plus 2 (or 3) Antares missions on 2016. I would guess that they want to fly 4 Cygnus in 2016 and this is the only way to do it. They could do 2 or 3 Antares in 2016. So they would need at least 1 Atlas V, plus an option for another one. And each of those missions means 3,500kg down their contract. In fact, 3 Atlas V would cover 52.5%  of their original contract with NASA. I wonder what sort of schedule NASA wants SpaceX to push. Three cargo failures in a row have probably meant that the ISS wants to replenish its reserves ASAP.
BTW, four Cygnus in a year, and probably four Dragon, plus one HTV will mean that they will really need that double berthing capability.

Offline starchasercowboy

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Could the new docking adapter be attached to one end of the Cygnus module during attachment to the Atlas V and still fit under the fairing?  Then in space, attach the whole adapter and Cygnus module together to the ISS?

Offline arachnitect

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Could the new docking adapter be attached to one end of the Cygnus module during attachment to the Atlas V and still fit under the fairing?  Then in space, attach the whole adapter and Cygnus module together to the ISS?

they're already using the longest 4m. fairing, so if they could find a way to carry the IDA, it probably wouldn't fit.

Online Chris Bergin

Well they don't know how it leaked and are as unhappy with it as I was....so fair enough. Good news is we're getting some pretty damn good access and we've mobilized Sir Chris of Gebhardt - so articles will be forthcoming! Huzzah! :)
« Last Edit: 08/12/2015 03:31 PM by Chris Bergin »

Online Zed_Noir

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Could the new docking adapter be attached to one end of the Cygnus module during attachment to the Atlas V and still fit under the fairing?  Then in space, attach the whole adapter and Cygnus module together to the ISS?

they're already using the longest 4m. fairing, so if they could find a way to carry the IDA, it probably wouldn't fit.

Also can the Cygnus PCM take the structural stress of having the IDA on top during ascend, Guessing probably not.

Online Galactic Penguin SST

I was actually more surprised in that ULA can squeeze in another Cygnus launch slot on the Atlas V just after the addition of Echostar 19. That makes it, what, up to 12 flights(*) in 2016!?  :o

(*)Other than the 2 listed above, I have these 10 flying on the Atlas V in 2016:

- GPS IIF-12
- InSight
- OSIRIS-Rex
- GOES-R
- MUOS-5
- SBIRS-GEO-3
- AEHF-4
- Worldview 4
- NROL-61
- NROL-79

Is the list correct?
Chinese spaceflight is a cosmic riddle wrapped in a galactic mystery inside an orbital enigma... - (not) Winston Churchill

Offline Jim

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I was actually more surprised in that ULA can squeeze in another Cygnus launch slot on the Atlas V just after the addition of Echostar 19. That makes it, what, up to 12 flights(*) in 2016!?  :o

(*)Other than the 2 listed above, I have these 10 flying on the Atlas V in 2016:

- GPS IIF-12
- InSight
- OSIRIS-Rex
- GOES-R
- MUOS-5
- SBIRS-GEO-3
- AEHF-4
- Worldview 4
- NROL-61
- NROL-79

Is the list correct?

At least three are at Vandenberg

Offline Newton_V

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At least three are at Vandenberg

At "most", 3 are at VAFB. :)

Offline Sesquipedalian

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At least three are at Vandenberg

At "most", 3 are at VAFB. :)

So, exactly 3 then?

Online ngilmore

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Here's a Los Angeles Times article today discussing Orbital's excellent recent profits despite their various failures for NASA.
Despite rocket explosion, aerospace firm Orbital ATK's profits are soaring
http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-orbital-crash-aftermath-20150820-story.html

It definitely draws a line between the failure and Orbital's large profits, and implies that the failure investigations may not be transparent or trustworthy.

e.g.,
Quote from: Melody Petersen
The fiery explosion Oct. 28 cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars in lost cargo, damage to the launch pad and required payments to the firm for the failed mission. It also left NASA scrambling to get needed supplies to astronauts.

Quote from: Melody Petersen
On Aug. 6, Garrett Pierce, Orbital's chief financial officer, told Wall Street analysts that quarterly operating profit in the company's space division, a large portion of which come from NASA, had soared 167% over the same period last year.

"One hundred and sixty-seven percent I'm going to repeat that," Pierce said.

Quote from: Melody Petersen
Barron Beneski, Orbital's vice president of communications, said the company would not release the report to the public because it contained confidential corporate information. And NASA and the FAA said they would not release it either.

The FAA said the company may release a summary of its findings.

Also this article says Orbital actually patched AJ-26 engine cracks with welding, which I don't recall reading anywhere previously:

Quote from: Melody Petersen
In 2011, one of the engines caught fire during a test, showing that the aging metal could crack under pressure. But NASA and Orbital believed that they had successfully addressed the risk by X-raying the engines to find the cracks and then patching them with welding.

edit: add headline of quoted article
« Last Edit: 08/20/2015 07:50 PM by ngilmore »

Offline TrevorMonty

I think Orbital have already purchased/built the Antares 100s for ORB-1-8. The remainder of these are being converted to Antares 200(RD181 powered). The 2 Altas Vs means they have LVs to cover the additional ORB 9-10 plus make up for ORB3 which blew up. NB the Atlas extra lift allow them to combine two loads into one.

Ordering one or two additional Antares 300 is probably not worth while. Assuming they win CRS2 missions then Orbital will order a large run of 300s.

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