Author Topic: All Solid Motor Antares  (Read 29904 times)

Offline edkyle99

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All Solid Motor Antares
« on: 08/21/2015 02:29 PM »
This past Spring, several news reports indicated that ATK had made a proposal to Orbital (pre-merger) for creating an all-solid motor Antares launch vehicle.  This was an alternative to the ultimate RD-181 choice. 
http://aviationweek.com/blog/orbital-eying-atk-solid-propulsion-system-antares-first-stage-1

I had assumed that the proposal involved two solid motors stacked to replace the existing liquid first stage.  These would have been large, heavy motors, however - heavier even than STS SRB segments with which ATK has experience. 

A recent bit of information has indicated that at least one ATK proposal used three motors to replace the first stage.  These appear to have been roughly SRB diameter (probably a bit fatter than SRB), but likely composite case and a bit shorter than an SRB segment (which actually consisted of two steel segments joined at the factory before propellant loading).  There would have been two roughly equal-size motors for the first and second stages, with a bigger nozzle on the second stage.  The third stage would have been the same diameter, but about half as long.  A Castor 30XL would have been the fourth stage.  The rocket would likely have been about the same height as Antares 200 .

Such a design would have provided lighter weight motors to handle at the launch site.  The biggest motors would have had about as much propellant (perhaps a bit more) as the proposed Ariane 6 P120 motors, and so would have weighed less than an SRB segment.  My guess is that this proposal had some synergy with the proposed Stratolaunch motors.

My guess is that such a rocket would have been able to boost 8 tonnes or more to a 51.6 deg LEO.  My guess is also that the development time needed to create the new motors may have been a reason why the idea was not pursued, even after Orbital merged ATK.

 - Ed Kyle 

Offline hkultala

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Re: All Solid Motor Antares
« Reply #1 on: 08/21/2015 02:53 PM »
All-Solids would also mean no fueling on pad, so the transporter vehicle would have needed to be able to transport much heavier vehicle to the launch pad. Might have meant constructing a totally new launch pad.

Current antares is something close to 50 tonnes when transported to pad?

All-solid would be more than 250 tonnes?


Offline TrevorMonty

Re: All Solid Motor Antares
« Reply #2 on: 08/21/2015 03:11 PM »
A statement Orbital issued about RD180 domestic engine hearing, suggested they would have a domestic powered EELV by 2019. They praised Blue and it's engines in statement.
 My guess is solid 1st stage/ stages with BE3 upper stage. The only issue is large solids at Wallops,  which Jim says is a no go.

The BE3 US may even be supplied by Blue. They already have basis of a US in New Shepard, switch to BE3U and strip out all the reusability parts.

Offline edkyle99

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Re: All Solid Motor Antares
« Reply #3 on: 08/21/2015 09:34 PM »
All-Solids would also mean no fueling on pad, so the transporter vehicle would have needed to be able to transport much heavier vehicle to the launch pad. Might have meant constructing a totally new launch pad.

Current antares is something close to 50 tonnes when transported to pad?

All-solid would be more than 250 tonnes?
My guess is that once fully stacked it would have weighed more than 350 tonnes, maybe even 400-ish tonnes.    Still only 80% or so as heavy as a Falcon 9 v1.1.  It would had to have been stacked on the pad one piece at a time, as Minotaur is, ending the horizontal transport of an entire vehicle. 

 - Ed Kyle 
« Last Edit: 08/21/2015 09:36 PM by edkyle99 »

Offline ArbitraryConstant

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Re: All Solid Motor Antares
« Reply #4 on: 08/21/2015 11:46 PM »
My guess is solid 1st stage/ stages with BE3 upper stage.
Optional depending on launch? They already have the Castor 30.

How would it grow past Atlas V 401 territory?

Offline Space Ghost 1962

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Re: All Solid Motor Antares
« Reply #5 on: 08/22/2015 01:51 AM »
I had assumed that the proposal involved two solid motors stacked to replace the existing liquid first stage.  These would have been large, heavy motors, however - heavier even than STS SRB segments with which ATK has experience.

Why I discounted it when you brought it up, was both due to the launch site requirements (overpressure) and the difficultly in transport/assembly of such solids - the requirements to handle such push the limits of what you can do.

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A recent bit of information has indicated that at least one ATK proposal used three motors to replace the first stage.  These appear to have been roughly SRB diameter (probably a bit fatter than SRB), but likely composite case and a bit shorter than an SRB segment (which actually consisted of two steel segments joined at the factory before propellant loading).  There would have been two roughly equal-size motors for the first and second stages, with a bigger nozzle on the second stage.  The third stage would have been the same diameter, but about half as long

More believable but still difficult to bring off for same reasons. Thanks for bring up the topic though.

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Such a design would have provided lighter weight motors to handle at the launch site.  The biggest motors would have had about as much propellant (perhaps a bit more) as the proposed Ariane 6 P120 motors, and so would have weighed less than an SRB segment.

Please note the P120 motors are to be cast, like other solids (Vega, Ariane), near the launch site. Where would this happen around Wallops/CCAFS/VBG/other?

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My guess is also that the development time needed to create the new motors may have been a reason why the idea was not pursued, even after Orbital merged ATK.

Agreed. Also doubt they would have an easy time explaining to the MARS backers walking away from a still new, state financed LRE pad that would not work for such.

Might have meant constructing a totally new launch pad.

Absolutely. On "hard" ground, not swampland. Give up on horizontal integration too. And most optimal be something like is done for Vega/others/Kodiak. Also, consider transport to launch site.

My guess is that once fully stacked it would have weighed more than 350 tonnes, maybe even 400-ish tonnes.    Still only 80% or so as heavy as a Falcon 9 v1.1.  It would had to have been stacked on the pad one piece at a time, as Minotaur is, ending the horizontal transport of an entire vehicle. 

That light? Was my bottom number. Yes to assembly, and once you've assembled all such,  you might as well integrate the payload as well vertically.

My guess is solid 1st stage/ stages with BE3 upper stage.
Optional depending on launch? They already have the Castor 30.

How would it grow past Atlas V 401 territory?

Yes, the best growth option would be a LRE second stage, both for iSP for GSO/other, restartable for more than LEO, payload growth much like other enhanced US in scale to size of stage increase.

Think of Ariane 6 PPH for growth options / limitations / cost structures.

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: All Solid Motor Antares
« Reply #6 on: 08/22/2015 02:59 AM »
A new Canaveral pad would help with GSO missions plus be able to support solids.

Offline edkyle99

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Re: All Solid Motor Antares
« Reply #7 on: 08/22/2015 03:13 AM »
Please note the P120 motors are to be cast, like other solids (Vega, Ariane), near the launch site. Where would this happen around Wallops/CCAFS/VBG/other?
Motors would likely have been cast in Utah, just like the SRB segments, and Castor 30XL, etc..  They could have been rail transported, then transloaded for road or barge for the final run to the pad. 

Yes, road.  They drive the heavier SRB segments on roads on a special 12-axle transporter in Utah before lifting them onto rail cars. 

Wallops would have needed new infrastructure for this, of course.  It would have been easier if Orbital or ATK had specified KSC as the launch site.

I would still like to see such a rocket.  All-solid for CRS.  Replace Castor 30XL with a high energy stage and it's 6.5 tonnes to GTO.

 - Ed Kyle 
« Last Edit: 08/22/2015 03:20 AM by edkyle99 »

Offline Space Ghost 1962

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Re: All Solid Motor Antares
« Reply #8 on: 08/22/2015 04:00 AM »
Please note the P120 motors are to be cast, like other solids (Vega, Ariane), near the launch site. Where would this happen around Wallops/CCAFS/VBG/other?
Motors would likely have been cast in Utah, just like the SRB segments, and Castor 30XL, etc..  They could have been rail transported, then transloaded for road or barge for the final run to the pad. 

Yes, road.  They drive the heavier SRB segments on roads on a special 12-axle transporter in Utah before lifting them onto rail cars.

Having just been through I-80 in Utah and Wyoming, where its under significant repair/upgrade, I'm sure it won't be by road to Wallops ;)

Not all rail can accept such loads as you know. And you're talking segments not monolithic's. I'm very sure you won't see commercial segmented solids, due the hazards of assembly and health. You can waive these for national imperatives (in some cases just barely), but forget it in the "commercial world". EU has related issues too.

So we still have the weight issue as I see it.
 
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Wallops would have needed new infrastructure for this, of course.  It would have been easier if Orbital or ATK had specified KSC as the launch site.

Unlikely for the reasons Wallops was chosen in the first place.

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I would still like to see such a rocket.  All-solid for CRS.  Replace Castor 30XL with a high energy stage and it's 6.5 tonnes to GTO.

I can understand this. US has significant expertise here. And for any significant use of solids, weapons and unmanned launches make the best sense. All domestic. And with similar rational to Ariane.

Offline Lars-J

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Re: All Solid Motor Antares
« Reply #9 on: 08/22/2015 04:57 AM »
I would still like to see such a rocket.  All-solid for CRS.  Replace Castor 30XL with a high energy stage and it's 6.5 tonnes to GTO.

I can understand this. US has significant expertise here. And for any significant use of solids, weapons and unmanned launches make the best sense. All domestic. And with similar rational to Ariane.

I think a solution such as this only makes sense from a "if all you have is a hammer, every problem is a nail" kind of approach. It is not optimal.

And the US having significant expertise in solids is not the issue. More of it is not needed, if anything the balance should be shifted to developing liquid propulsion expertise. And fortunately such a shift *is* happening, even if OrbitalATK sadly is not a part of it.

Offline john smith 19

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Re: All Solid Motor Antares
« Reply #10 on: 08/22/2015 12:30 PM »
Looking at some of the pros and cons.

If you've already got a solid in the architecture adding a few more seems pretty simple, but then again going the other way sounds ok too.

It retains experience of building large solids which is vital to ICBM work  I asked on another thread about the idea of saving money by block casting SRB boosters in the Utah desert and storing them upright in big holes, ICBM style.  Another poster, who seemed pretty knowledgeable on the subject said that in fact civilian solids have a completely different composition to the ICBM mix and they would "slump." That makes such an argument quite doubtful. It's only a useful argument in Congress,and it does not seem to stand up to close inspection.

Solids can be more flexible than people might think. 10:1 throttling ratios have been demonstrated using a pintle in the nozzle. But they do have much higher vibration than liquids and unless you cast on site (as most of the Ariane segments are, by about 70 local workers) they are a PITA to transport across country.

They do make excellent weapon systems.

But if you're not building a weapon do you want something that's going to bigger and more difficult to move (unless you mfg on site you've moving a big block of explosive across country) than the equivalent stage + propellant for a liquid system unless you can buy it off the shelf and substantially reduce the development budget (but don't think you can eliminated development).
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 edkyle99

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Re: All Solid Motor Antares
« Reply #11 on: 08/22/2015 03:26 PM »
Having just been through I-80 in Utah and Wyoming, where its under significant repair/upgrade, I'm sure it won't be by road to Wallops ;)

Not all rail can accept such loads as you know. And you're talking segments not monolithic's. I'm very sure you won't see commercial segmented solids, due the hazards of assembly and health. You can waive these for national imperatives (in some cases just barely), but forget it in the "commercial world". EU has related issues too.
As I understand things commercial launch vehicle solid motors already are being road-transported.  Castor 120's and probably 30(XL) motors are driven across country, as I expect are other solid motors.  Castor 30(XL) went not just to Wallops, but also to Arnold in Tennessee for development testing.

How do those AJ-60s and GEM-60s get to the Cape and Vandenberg AFB? 

For that matter, how did/do those higher-energy Peacekeeper and Minuteman missile motors get from builder to silo, and from silo to VAFB for test flights?  How do those Navy SLBMs get from their point of manufacture to submarine bases?   I suspect they are driving down our highways.

 - Ed Kyle

Offline Space Ghost 1962

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Re: All Solid Motor Antares
« Reply #12 on: 08/22/2015 06:15 PM »
I think a solution such as this only makes sense from a "if all you have is a hammer, every problem is a nail" kind of approach. It is not optimal.

It certainly isn't the optimal LV from the GTOW or dry mass fraction. It might be after a few hundred ELV launches gross cost optimal if cast on site and launched to order with optimal pad/facilities as a total cost solution where the design/fabrication costs are significantly shared with necessary weapons systems in the same firm.

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And the US having significant expertise in solids is not the issue. More of it is not needed, if anything the balance should be shifted to developing liquid propulsion expertise. And fortunately such a shift *is* happening, even if OrbitalATK sadly is not a part of it.

You are arguing with past doctrine established with the arrival of large solids starting with Titan/Minuteman. Appreciate the opinion but I don't wish to tilt at your windmills here (settled doctrine), find it rather tedious.

Even with Ed's best arguments for medium solids LV, you'll note he constantly evades the above mentioned necessary economic components to make the scheme work, which to me is irrational because it is terminal to the scheme actually functioning. But because he knows it was elided in the past, he can persist in a "non executable" scheme because circumstances (national security) in theory might change to allow such. Just like you, he has his "tilting at windmills", which I find equally tedious.

Worse is the HSF doctrine allowing crew missions on unstoppable solids, which I can't also dismiss, which are incompletely "made safe" by significant additional cost which cannot ever be recovered unlike in theory recoverable LRE stages might now be - a potentially pending doctrine on the edge of happening now that Ed cannot accept.

All the above is as crisp as I can put it without losing essentials. Pragmatics surround any choice of optimal.

It retains experience of building large solids which is vital to ICBM work  I asked on another thread about the idea of saving money by block casting SRB boosters in the Utah desert and storing them upright in big holes, ICBM style.  Another poster, who seemed pretty knowledgeable on the subject said that in fact civilian solids have a completely different composition to the ICBM mix and they would "slump." That makes such an argument quite doubtful. It's only a useful argument in Congress,and it does not seem to stand up to close inspection.

Much more to it than this but yes they are very different. The real cost sharing is off increased frequency of design/qualification/manufacturing/deployment because weapons systems turnover rate is too slow/costly in comparison. There is no cost sharing of inventory/tooling/etc because you cannot use them interchangeably. Its even worse than the uniqueness of spacecraft/launch vehicle design ala "Legos".

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Solids can be more flexible than people might think. 10:1 throttling ratios have been demonstrated using a pintle in the nozzle. But they do have much higher vibration than liquids and unless you cast on site (as most of the Ariane segments are, by about 70 local workers) they are a PITA to transport across country.

Yes, and with Ed I agree that solids beyond weapons systems do have a point. But I don't agree at all about the evasions WRT transport, to allow assembly in Utah. That has always been stark raving nuts to me.

Mind you the environmental issues WRT solids fabrication in French Guiana, which is NOT technically the same as in the EU, is also an evasion as well. But in theory one can have environmentally sound casting of solids, possibly involving automation, could occur, thus allowing component (non segments) transport for monolithic vehicle component local assembly.

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But if you're not building a weapon do you want something that's going to bigger and more difficult to move (unless you mfg on site you've moving a big block of explosive across country) than the equivalent stage + propellant for a liquid system unless you can buy it off the shelf and substantially reduce the development budget (but don't think you can eliminated development).

Not explosive but combustible, extremely hazardous, environmentally unsound to transport (unless monolithic but then limited in size). You'll never buy it off the shelf, doesn't work that way.

Deveiopment et al can be massively improved too.

Having just been through I-80 in Utah and Wyoming, where its under significant repair/upgrade, I'm sure it won't be by road to Wallops ;)

Not all rail can accept such loads as you know. And you're talking segments not monolithic's. I'm very sure you won't see commercial segmented solids, due the hazards of assembly and health. You can waive these for national imperatives (in some cases just barely), but forget it in the "commercial world". EU has related issues too.
As I understand things commercial launch vehicle solid motors already are being road-transported.  Castor 120's and probably 30(XL) motors are driven across country, as I expect are other solid motors.  Castor 30(XL) went not just to Wallops, but also to Arnold in Tennessee for development testing.

As you know Ed monolithic solids/motors. Please don't spar with me when you know the differences between handling of segments vs finished monolithic stages/motors.

Offline edkyle99

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Re: All Solid Motor Antares
« Reply #13 on: 08/22/2015 07:50 PM »
As I understand things commercial launch vehicle solid motors already are being road-transported.  Castor 120's and probably 30(XL) motors are driven across country, as I expect are other solid motors.  Castor 30(XL) went not just to Wallops, but also to Arnold in Tennessee for development testing.

As you know Ed monolithic solids/motors. Please don't spar with me when you know the differences between handling of segments vs finished monolithic stages/motors.
I thought we were talking about monolithic motors, which would have been used for a solid motor Antares. 

At any rate, rail would be cheaper than road transport regardless of motor type, and barge even cheaper.  KSC and VAFB can receive rail or barge directly.  Wallops cannot (the Antares first stage arrives in the Port of Wilmington and must be trucked on a 95 foot carrier trailer slowly down US 13 a distance of some 150-ish miles, in stages, at night probably).  In my opinion, Wallops was a bad idea for this project from the get-go, but that's probably for another thread.

I'm also not sure I understand your cost discussion in the same message.  Motors cast in Utah or where ever - how  is that different, cost-wise, than entire rockets or rocket stages or rocket engines being built in California or Alabama or Ukraine or Russia and then being shipped to one of the U.S. Coasts?

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 08/22/2015 08:42 PM by edkyle99 »

Offline Space Ghost 1962

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Re: All Solid Motor Antares
« Reply #14 on: 08/22/2015 10:30 PM »
...
I thought we were talking about monolithic motors, which would have been used for a solid motor Antares. 

As did I until it seemed you were introducing segments to the discussion to make possible transporting Utah castings to Wallops/CCAFS/VBG. Did I have that wrong? I'm sorry if I did. I hear the evasion often.

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At any rate, rail would be cheaper than road transport regardless of motor type, and barge even cheaper.  KSC and VAFB can receive rail or barge directly.  Wallops cannot (the Antares first stage arrives in the Port of Wilmington and must be trucked on a 95 foot carrier trailer slowly down US 13 a distance of some 150-ish miles, in stages, at night probably).  In my opinion, Wallops was a bad idea for this project from the get-go, but that's probably for another thread.
All agreed.

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I'm also not sure I understand your cost discussion in the same message.  Motors cast in Utah or where ever - how  is that different, cost-wise, than entire rockets or rocket stages or rocket engines being built in California or Alabama or Ukraine or Russia and then being shipped to one of the U.S. Coasts?

So why are the motors cast near launch site for Ariane? BTW, if you recall, Aerojet's proposal for large diameter motors involved casting near launch site. Because you avoid transportation costs and limitations on the scale of monolithics due to the means to integrate LV simply due to weight/bulk. Monolithics are much better behaved otherwise.

Likewise, one can do casting and final assembly near launch site for a monolithic motor, as part of the integration of large stacks like suggested in this thread for an all solid Antares. You scale the short range transport, just as in your above mentioned example for road transport of smaller solids to rail/other destination. This obviates the need to provide for the end to end rail transport of hazardous, heavy, bulky cargo that is atypical of more common rail cargo using the transport. Unlike Russia, the rules on such have greatly changed in thirty years, and the costs/risks are larger, if for no other reason, liability coverage/waivers. Not to mention EIS either.

This increases the costs of large (120t+) monolithic motors. Yes you could ship them by barge. Unfeasible from Utah. And as you just pointed out, unfeasible to Wallops end to end.

So lets say, somewhere other than Utah, likely adjoining a sea/ocean/waterway, you cast and barge to CCAFS/VBG. Your added costs are the new facility + staffing + EIS. Transport costs are negligible increases on top of that. However, OA might find this too much to stomach, although its cheap enough to me.

If you only have one launch site (Wallops), you'd put it nearby - costly, and arrange local transport to launch site with special roadway/transport. Then your issues are environmental and regulatory for Virgina - costly. Optional additional roadway/transport to Port Wilmington (very costly). Look at all the help with MARS from the State of Virginia - this would be more. For a LV that might not be "flyable" given flight risks of the already built up shoreline.

Agreed on Wallops being unsuitable for this in general for various reasons. However, counting on heavy solids at both simultaneously CCAFS/VBG (as they'd likely need to) isn't something I'd want to count on for my commercial LV either.

Offline edkyle99

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Re: All Solid Motor Antares
« Reply #15 on: 08/23/2015 01:23 AM »
...
I thought we were talking about monolithic motors, which would have been used for a solid motor Antares. 

As did I until it seemed you were introducing segments to the discussion to make possible transporting Utah castings to Wallops/CCAFS/VBG. Did I have that wrong? I'm sorry if I did. I hear the evasion often.
Monolithic motors of the proposed size could be transported by rail.  Each complete motor would weigh less than one SRB segment, which was of course rail-transported.  Of course the problem with Wallops would be the final bit from whatever railhead is used (there is a railroad a few miles inland that runs south from Wilmington I think, though it would need upgrading) to the launch pad.

 - Ed Kyle

Offline Space Ghost 1962

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Re: All Solid Motor Antares
« Reply #16 on: 08/23/2015 05:30 PM »
...
I thought we were talking about monolithic motors, which would have been used for a solid motor Antares. 

As did I until it seemed you were introducing segments to the discussion to make possible transporting Utah castings to Wallops/CCAFS/VBG. Did I have that wrong? I'm sorry if I did. I hear the evasion often.
Monolithic motors of the proposed size could be transported by rail.  Each complete motor would weigh less than one SRB segment, which was of course rail-transported.  Of course the problem with Wallops would be the final bit from whatever railhead is used (there is a railroad a few miles inland that runs south from Wilmington I think, though it would need upgrading) to the launch pad.

 - Ed Kyle

Carefully took the time to research this, from the total weight of each stage, to the actual rail passage, to final delivery to the Wallops pad. Turns out you are more right than you know on being able to deliver a complete all solid Antares as described in this thread. I can even tell you how long it will take, and the cost/insurance/waivers you'll need, as well as the routes and stops.

As a means to prove this, you can find ample evidence of other heavy cargo (in this case, M1-A1 Abrams tanks, they are about 70t each, two per car, six per train) across the routes:
Image of 140T Load on route

In short, yes, as long as they are composite not steel cased/supported stages/motors of the kind implied above. So I was wrong.

Also did the work on range safety for such at Wallops. The limiting factor are the linear charges to terminate flight of such a vehicle. It isn't even close.

So the primary issue is cost of a new launch site, facilities, and staff.

Offline Lars-J

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Re: All Solid Motor Antares
« Reply #17 on: 08/24/2015 11:10 PM »
I think a solution such as this only makes sense from a "if all you have is a hammer, every problem is a nail" kind of approach. It is not optimal.

It certainly isn't the optimal LV from the GTOW or dry mass fraction. It might be after a few hundred ELV launches gross cost optimal if cast on site and launched to order with optimal pad/facilities as a total cost solution where the design/fabrication costs are significantly shared with necessary weapons systems in the same firm.

That's a lot of IF's you have there. And if you need hundreds of launches to make it "gross cost optimal" compared to other non-solid or partially solid launchers (which would also presumably be able to lower their costs with hundreds of launches), isn't that already an admission of failure from a cost perspective?

Offline Space Ghost 1962

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Re: All Solid Motor Antares
« Reply #18 on: 08/24/2015 11:46 PM »
Spaceflight is the biggest collection of "if"s" ever.

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: All Solid Motor Antares
« Reply #19 on: 09/22/2015 09:25 PM »
The Ariane6 design maybe a better option for OA as it relies heavily on SRBs but also gets performance benefits of liquid booster.

OA could develop a Ariane 62 (5t GTO) equivalent with BE3 and their SRBs.
Booster would be 2x BE3 plus 4x60t SRBs. Use a BE3 powered upper stage for GTO missions or Castor for Cygnus ISS missions.

 Going to 6 x SRBs could take it to >7t GTO.

Using 60t SRBs makes transporting easier plus they may benefit from new Atlas and Vulcan SRB development.

 There are no prices for BE3 but I would expect it to be well <$5M.

Offline Rummy

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Re: All Solid Motor Antares
« Reply #20 on: 01/14/2016 04:32 PM »
Looks like there's going to be an all solid motor launch vehicle from Orbital ATK.

Offline Zed_Noir

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Re: All Solid Motor Antares
« Reply #21 on: 01/15/2016 02:31 AM »
Looks like there's going to be an all solid motor launch vehicle from Orbital ATK.

Nope. The Stick Lives with BE-3U upper stage. :o Otherwise aka Blue Liberty.

Offline Lars-J

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Re: All Solid Motor Antares
« Reply #22 on: 01/15/2016 05:32 AM »

Looks like there's going to be an all solid motor launch vehicle from Orbital ATK.

Nope. The Stick Lives with BE-3U upper stage. :o Otherwise aka Blue Liberty.

This seems more like an Ariane 6-ish LV (the old solid variant) than Liberty.

Offline edkyle99

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Re: All Solid Motor Antares
« Reply #23 on: 01/15/2016 04:33 PM »
So, will it be like the solid motor Antares design Orbital-ATK was looking at last year, or something more like one of the Ariane 6 proposals?

 - Ed Kyle

Offline arachnitect

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Re: All Solid Motor Antares
« Reply #24 on: 01/15/2016 04:47 PM »
OrbATK says "intermediate to heavy class family of EELVs capable of launching Air Force and other payloads"

Return of the old Alliant Techsystems design?

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=19248.0

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: All Solid Motor Antares
« Reply #25 on: 01/15/2016 05:31 PM »
OrbATK says "intermediate to heavy class family of EELVs capable of launching Air Force and other payloads"

Return of the old Alliant Techsystems design?

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=19248.0
The single stick (13t LEO 5t GTO) would cover most CRS, GTO satellites and DOD missions. The 150klbs BE3U allows for considerably larger US, which may eliminate SRMU-2

Offline Lars-J

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Re: All Solid Motor Antares
« Reply #26 on: 01/15/2016 05:40 PM »
So, will it be like the solid motor Antares design Orbital-ATK was looking at last year, or something more like one of the Ariane 6 proposals?

 - Ed Kyle

Something in between, perhaps? I'm thinking two solid stages topped by a 3rd HydroLox stage, powered by a BE-3U. The "intermediate to heavy class" part makes me think that this core could be flanked by two 1st stages as boosters for the "heavy" variant, thus making it similar to the Ariane 6 concept. But I could be off base.
« Last Edit: 01/15/2016 05:59 PM by Lars-J »

Offline baldusi

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Re: All Solid Motor Antares
« Reply #27 on: 01/15/2016 05:49 PM »
Well, they must have developed some cool tech for the Pegasus II project.

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: All Solid Motor Antares
« Reply #28 on: 01/15/2016 08:19 PM »
So, will it be like the solid motor Antares design Orbital-ATK was looking at last year, or something more like one of the Ariane 6 proposals?

 - Ed Kyle

Something in between, perhaps? I'm thinking two solid stages topped by a 3rd HydroLox stage, powered by a BE-3U. The "intermediate to heavy class" part makes me think that this core could be flanked by two 1st stages as boosters for the "heavy" variant, thus making it similar to the Ariane 6 concept. But I could be off base.

They may use a combination of Ariane 6 P1B and P7C designs. Being able to dial up the performance by using strap on SRBs would allow one design to cover a range of missions from ISS cargo resupply to large GEO satellites.
 
http://aviationweek.com/awin/cnes-asi-favor-solid-rocket-design-ariane-6

Offline Oli

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Re: All Solid Motor Antares
« Reply #29 on: 01/15/2016 08:34 PM »
They may use a combination of Ariane 6 P1B and P7C designs. Being able to dial up the performance by using strap on SRBs would allow one design to cover a range of missions from ISS cargo resupply to large GEO satellites.
 
http://aviationweek.com/awin/cnes-asi-favor-solid-rocket-design-ariane-6

BE-3U would be oversized for such designs though (670kn vs 180kn of Vinci). I guess it could throttle down enough, but if you have such a high-thrust engine (half of Vulcain 2) I guess you could save a solid stage (or make a bigger rocket).
« Last Edit: 01/15/2016 08:44 PM by Oli »

Offline Space Ghost 1962

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Re: All Solid Motor Antares
« Reply #30 on: 01/15/2016 08:39 PM »
So the answer is: "it depends".

Are we competing with Antares, Atlas, Vulcan, Falcon? Ariane?

The reason PPH was desirable was that you could scale modularly the solids, intended (mostly) to be one SRM used in perhaps up to 6 places (4+2). So the potential for high multiples of the same thing.

So why was this ditched for A5 redux? Because the flight frequency did not support the costing. Perhaps if you had more than Ariane 5 flight frequency, and less motor cost, you might make it work. The thorn to that is F9R (if real threat) and your minimum 2 motors.

If the point is competing with Atlas for like payloads, then the point is less about the lower two-three SRM's, and more about the US. Perhaps you'd want Centaur+ capabilities (don't forget the lower iSP of the solids it's launched from), and possibly a reusable stage, something that Tory Bruno seems to be chatting up more lately.

Offline a_langwich

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Re: All Solid Motor Antares
« Reply #31 on: 01/15/2016 10:27 PM »
Solids are often touted as being potentially low cost.  Has there been an example of a low-cost solid LV?  The Minotaurs are cheap because they are secondhand.  Titan wasn't cheap.  Shuttle SRBs aren't cheap.  Liberty's price apparently wasn't compelling.  Pegasus wasn't cheap for its capability level.  The strap-ons for Atlas and Delta don't appear to be all that cheap based on the price increments for them, and they already have more volume production than a launch vehicle would.  What shining examples am I missing?


And how ugly a statement about Orbital-ATK's confidence in the future of the current Antares does this make, to be looking to replace it with a design largely overlapping in performance?

Offline rayleighscatter

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Re: All Solid Motor Antares
« Reply #32 on: 01/15/2016 11:18 PM »
Solids are often touted as being potentially low cost.  Has there been an example of a low-cost solid LV?  The Minotaurs are cheap because they are secondhand.  Titan wasn't cheap.  Shuttle SRBs aren't cheap.  Liberty's price apparently wasn't compelling.  Pegasus wasn't cheap for its capability level.  The strap-ons for Atlas and Delta don't appear to be all that cheap based on the price increments for them, and they already have more volume production than a launch vehicle would.  What shining examples am I missing?


And how ugly a statement about Orbital-ATK's confidence in the future of the current Antares does this make, to be looking to replace it with a design largely overlapping in performance?
Titan and Shuttle aren't exactly shining examples of cheap liquid engines either.

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: All Solid Motor Antares
« Reply #33 on: 01/15/2016 11:45 PM »
So the answer is: "it depends".

Are we competing with Antares, Atlas, Vulcan, Falcon? Ariane?

The reason PPH was desirable was that you could scale modularly the solids, intended (mostly) to be one SRM used in perhaps up to 6 places (4+2). So the potential for high multiples of the same thing.

So why was this ditched for A5 redux? Because the flight frequency did not support the costing. Perhaps if you had more than Ariane 5 flight frequency, and less motor cost, you might make it work. The thorn to that is F9R (if real threat) and your minimum 2 motors.

If the point is competing with Atlas for like payloads, then the point is less about the lower two-three SRM's, and more about the US. Perhaps you'd want Centaur+ capabilities (don't forget the lower iSP of the solids it's launched from), and possibly a reusable stage, something that Tory Bruno seems to be chatting up more lately.

http://spacenews.com/orbital-atk-spacex-win-air-force-propulsion-contracts/
The core will most likely use Common Booster Segment solid rocket motor with additional GEM63XL strap on SRBs that are being developed for Vulcan. Blue to provide BE3U powered US. The cost of GEM63XL will be considerably cheaper for OrbitalATK than ULA. ULA have to pay retail for these SRBs, while OA are getting these SRBs at cost price.  If OA can't make a competitive LV using SRBs then I doubt anybody can.

Reuse of 2nd stage will always cost performance, for some missions it would require additional SRBs. With ULA this trade is marginal at best. In OA case they would be trading internally built SRBs for an externally supplied 2nd stage, making recovery more viable.

 

Offline edkyle99

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Re: All Solid Motor Antares
« Reply #34 on: 01/16/2016 02:26 AM »
Solids are often touted as being potentially low cost.  Has there been an example of a low-cost solid LV?  The Minotaurs are cheap because they are secondhand.  Titan wasn't cheap.  Shuttle SRBs aren't cheap.  Liberty's price apparently wasn't compelling.  Pegasus wasn't cheap for its capability level.  The strap-ons for Atlas and Delta don't appear to be all that cheap based on the price increments for them, and they already have more volume production than a launch vehicle would.  What shining examples am I missing?
"Wasn't cheap" compared to what?  How much would a liquid fueled first stage cost that could make 6.6 million pounds of thrust?  The last such stage (S-IC) was too costly to keep building, apparently.  What would an all-liquid Titan IV look like?  How could it cost less than the vehicle that flew?  What about the alternative to solid-augmented  Atlas 5?  Wouldn't that be an Atlas Heavy?  Surely that would cost more.

I tend to agree with TrevorMonty that we may see a big solid core stage or stages with optional GEM 63XL strap-on motors.  The big questions are whether the core will use a segmented motor or motors, and one or two or three solid motor stages, etc.

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 01/16/2016 02:30 AM by edkyle99 »

Offline Dante80

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Re: All Solid Motor Antares
« Reply #35 on: 01/16/2016 12:52 PM »

I tend to agree with TrevorMonty that we may see a big solid core stage or stages with optional GEM 63XL strap-on motors.  The big questions are whether the core will use a segmented motor or motors, and one or two or three solid motor stages, etc.

 - Ed Kyle

Assuming that they do go for a big hydrolox upper with a BE-3Uen, what would make more sense? I think that either one or two solid stages would be enough, especially if they are planning on adding a flexible amount strap-on SRMs to the core.

I'd be willing to guess one, but it seems that part of the wording in the contract does not point to that. 
« Last Edit: 01/16/2016 12:53 PM by Dante80 »

Offline edkyle99

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Re: All Solid Motor Antares
« Reply #36 on: 01/16/2016 03:32 PM »

I tend to agree with TrevorMonty that we may see a big solid core stage or stages with optional GEM 63XL strap-on motors.  The big questions are whether the core will use a segmented motor or motors, and one or two or three solid motor stages, etc.

 - Ed Kyle

Assuming that they do go for a big hydrolox upper with a BE-3Uen, what would make more sense? I think that either one or two solid stages would be enough, especially if they are planning on adding a flexible amount strap-on SRMs to the core.

I'd be willing to guess one, but it seems that part of the wording in the contract does not point to that. 
Two solid core stages would be better than one in terms of vehicle "balance", lowest GLOW, etc.  I think that the Ariane 6 and Stratolaunch and all-solid Antares concepts provide the template.

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 01/16/2016 03:33 PM by edkyle99 »

Offline Dante80

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Re: All Solid Motor Antares
« Reply #37 on: 01/16/2016 04:14 PM »
Yes, but the addition of the GEM-63XL on the first core makes said tradeoff a little less pronounced. That's a reason for thinking one SRB core could make more sense.

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: All Solid Motor Antares
« Reply #38 on: 01/16/2016 04:38 PM »
The Blue US could be up around 75t of fuel, with a150klbs (440isp?) engine this not an unreasonable size. This is comparable to F9FT at around 100t with 200klbs? (348isp) engine.

The US is likely to use IVF for pressurization and have multiple restarts. Being able to deliver satellites direct to GEO maybe an option.

« Last Edit: 01/16/2016 04:47 PM by TrevorMonty »

Offline Oli

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Re: All Solid Motor Antares
« Reply #39 on: 01/16/2016 07:01 PM »
The spacenews article suggests Delta Heavy class performance.

That would require some huge solids.

They might want to go for a core with BE-3Us instead of a solid second stage.
« Last Edit: 01/16/2016 07:02 PM by Oli »

Offline Dante80

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Re: All Solid Motor Antares
« Reply #40 on: 01/16/2016 07:25 PM »
Lets see.

For D IVH equivalent performance...

S0 2-6 GEM-63XL SRMS
S1 4 or 5 segment SRB
S2 2-4 BE-3UEN hydrolox stage.

Its something like Liberty with SRMs attached?
« Last Edit: 01/16/2016 07:26 PM by Dante80 »

Offline Oli

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Re: All Solid Motor Antares
« Reply #41 on: 01/16/2016 08:19 PM »
Lets see.

For D IVH equivalent performance...

S0 2-6 GEM-63XL SRMS
S1 4 or 5 segment SRB
S2 2-4 BE-3UEN hydrolox stage.

Its something like Liberty with SRMs attached?

More like ~900t solid first stage, ~300t solid second stage and ~80t hydrolox third stage. Or something like that. But yeah, big segmented solids, likely.

But in my little super simplistic (!) cost model a hydrolox second stage would be slightly preferable to a solid second stage. Makes the rocket smaller.

« Last Edit: 01/16/2016 08:27 PM by Oli »

Offline edkyle99

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Re: All Solid Motor Antares
« Reply #42 on: 01/17/2016 04:46 AM »
I don't expect a many-segment SRB-like booster for this one.  It should be possible to use a couple of single-SRB segment-sized ~200 tonne serial motor/stages, topped by a 50-70 tonne BE3U LH2 stage, to get EELV Medium performance.  This assumes composite case motors with better than SRB performance.  Adding multiple GEM63XL strap-ons, or making the first stage a two-segment motor, might get Heavy capabilities.  A Medium rocket might weigh 500 tonnes.  Only a Heavy would need to gross 900 tonnes or more.

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 01/17/2016 04:48 AM by edkyle99 »

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: All Solid Motor Antares
« Reply #43 on: 01/17/2016 08:02 AM »
I don't expect a many-segment SRB-like booster for this one.  It should be possible to use a couple of single-SRB segment-sized ~200 tonne serial motor/stages, topped by a 50-70 tonne BE3U LH2 stage, to get EELV Medium performance.  This assumes composite case motors with better than SRB performance.  Adding multiple GEM63XL strap-ons, or making the first stage a two-segment motor, might get Heavy capabilities.  A Medium rocket might weigh 500 tonnes.  Only a Heavy would need to gross 900 tonnes or more.

 - Ed Kyle
One of articles mention OrbitalATK were going after medium to heavy EELV class so Atlas 401- D4H and maybe a little beyond.

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: All Solid Motor Antares
« Reply #44 on: 01/17/2016 08:12 AM »
ULA have been pushing fact that ACES can deliver satellites direct to GEO. If both OrbitalATK Blue US and SpaceX Raptor US can do this then commercial satellite operators can allow for it in their satellite designs.

Not having to provide propulsion from GTO to GEO saves a considerable mass and can potentially save $10Ms on built price.


Offline arachnitect

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Re: All Solid Motor Antares
« Reply #45 on: 01/17/2016 07:37 PM »
So where would this fly from, especially in 2019 as they claim is possible?

LC-39B? What else is even possible?

At VAFB I assume they'd have to wait for a ULA pad. SLC-2 or SLC-6?

Honestly, it's hard to believe OrbitalATK when they say they want into the EELV market.

Offline rayleighscatter

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Re: All Solid Motor Antares
« Reply #46 on: 01/17/2016 08:00 PM »
SLC-2, SLC-8, LP-0B, LC-39B, LC-36, LC-46, Kwajalean, Kodiak...

There's really not a lack of big concrete slabs for rent.
« Last Edit: 01/17/2016 08:02 PM by rayleighscatter »

Offline edkyle99

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Re: All Solid Motor Antares
« Reply #47 on: 01/18/2016 12:25 AM »
SLC-2, SLC-8, LP-0B, LC-39B, LC-36, LC-46, Kwajalean, Kodiak...

There's really not a lack of big concrete slabs for rent.
Blue Origin has taken SLC 36.  Orbital ATK has already reserved SLC 46 for a Minotaur 4 launch.  Lockheed Martin is planning to launch Athena from Kodiak. 

The only places probably able to handle really big solid motors are probably LC 39B, LC 39A, SLC 40, SLC 41, SLC 4E, and SLC 6, which all already have users.

 - Ed Kyle

Offline rayleighscatter

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Re: All Solid Motor Antares
« Reply #48 on: 01/18/2016 12:33 AM »
SLC-2, SLC-8, LP-0B, LC-39B, LC-36, LC-46, Kwajalean, Kodiak...

There's really not a lack of big concrete slabs for rent.
Blue Origin has taken SLC 36. 
Should make it a good place for BE-3 support.

OA has managed so far without any pads, they've been happy enough to lease them as needed.

Offline RocketGoBoom

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Re: All Solid Motor Antares
« Reply #49 on: 01/18/2016 02:36 AM »
According to the SpaceNews article, the proposed new Orbital ATK rocket would be going after the Air Force EELV launches.

From purely a market share standpoint, it is really difficult to imagine how both ULA and Orbital ATK can survive on such a low launch rate per year. Back in May of 2015 the CEO of ULA said that in future years he expects the launch rate to decline to about 5 or 6 per year. And he said that he expects ULA to win only 2 or 3 per year of that reduced launch rate. Therefore ULA must lower costs and enter the commercial launch market because they cannot survive on 2 or 3 government launches per year. (his quote)

So how would there be enough launches per year for hypothetically three players (ULA, SpaceX and Orbital) going after a total of 5 or 6 Air Force EELV launches per year? SX has a broad mix of customers, they don't care.

I have difficulty seeing a business case for Orbital entering this limited Air Force EELV market.
« Last Edit: 01/18/2016 02:38 AM by RocketGoBoom »

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: All Solid Motor Antares
« Reply #50 on: 01/18/2016 04:01 AM »
Launch is only a part of Orbital ATK business so a low launch rate is not big issue. Having a LV allows them to offer a complete build and launch package for their commercial satellites.


Offline edkyle99

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Re: All Solid Motor Antares
« Reply #51 on: 01/18/2016 02:39 PM »
From purely a market share standpoint, it is really difficult to imagine how both ULA and Orbital ATK can survive on such a low launch rate per year. Back in May of 2015 the CEO of ULA said that in future years he expects the launch rate to decline to about 5 or 6 per year. And he said that he expects ULA to win only 2 or 3 per year of that reduced launch rate. Therefore ULA must lower costs and enter the commercial launch market because they cannot survive on 2 or 3 government launches per year. (his quote)

So how would there be enough launches per year for hypothetically three players (ULA, SpaceX and Orbital) going after a total of 5 or 6 Air Force EELV launches per year? SX has a broad mix of customers, they don't care.
My guess is that Bruno doesn't believe that 5-6 per year is going to the be long-term number.  Government launches run in cycles, with more recently to refurbish the GPS constellation, etc.  There will likely be a soft year or few, but it will inevitably pick up again.  NASA has its own needs for ISS and other things. 

I wonder about the even longer term.  There might be space junk cleanup work.  More importantly there might be a need to defend and replace orbital assets in the event of conflict, cold or hot.  The country with the most delta-v wins.

 - Ed Kyle

Offline abaddon

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Re: All Solid Motor Antares
« Reply #52 on: 01/18/2016 03:48 PM »
Launch is only a part of Orbital ATK business so a low launch rate is not big issue. Having a LV allows them to offer a complete build and launch package for their commercial satellites.
Does OrbitalATK build anything heavy enough to require a Delta IV Heavy equivalent, though?  Seems like Antares-class should cover that pretty adequately, especially with a BE-3 upper stage.

[EDIT] Corrected as I did mean the Heavy variant of the Delta IV
« Last Edit: 01/19/2016 01:40 PM by abaddon »

Online notsorandom

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Re: All Solid Motor Antares
« Reply #53 on: 01/18/2016 06:59 PM »
Launch is only a part of Orbital ATK business so a low launch rate is not big issue. Having a LV allows them to offer a complete build and launch package for their commercial satellites.
Does OrbitalATK build anything heavy enough to require a Delta IV equivalent, though?  Seems like Antares-class should cover that pretty adequately, especially with a BE-3 upper stage.
According to Gunter's page the Antares-232 can lift 2750kg to GTO which is less than some of the satellites OrbitalATK builds. SES-8 which is a an OrbitalATK GEOStar-2.4 satellite has a mass of 3,170kg. Assuming you mean Delta IV heavy then Cygnus might want to spread its wings beyond low Earth orbit one of these days. But aside from big spy satellites there are not many payloads that need the lift capacity of the Delta IV heavy.

Offline Patchouli

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Re: All Solid Motor Antares
« Reply #54 on: 01/19/2016 04:30 AM »
The spacenews article suggests Delta Heavy class performance.

That would require some huge solids.

They might want to go for a core with BE-3Us instead of a solid second stage.

One SRM off SLS plus a high energy upper stage with two BE-3Us could easily get you 20+ metric tons LEO.
« Last Edit: 01/19/2016 04:33 AM by Patchouli »

Offline abaddon

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Re: All Solid Motor Antares
« Reply #55 on: 01/19/2016 01:41 PM »
According to Gunter's page the Antares-232 can lift 2750kg to GTO which is less than some of the satellites OrbitalATK builds. SES-8 which is a an OrbitalATK GEOStar-2.4 satellite has a mass of 3,170kg. Assuming you mean Delta IV heavy then Cygnus might want to spread its wings beyond low Earth orbit one of these days. But aside from big spy satellites there are not many payloads that need the lift capacity of the Delta IV heavy.
Exactly, and I would assume that adding a BE-3 based upper stage to the Antares would allow it to easily cover the satellites you cite.  Going after a very small heavy lift market seems odd to me.  I don't really think there's much possibility in OrbitalATK actually doing that, personally.

Offline baldusi

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Re: All Solid Motor Antares
« Reply #56 on: 01/19/2016 03:25 PM »
Launch is only a part of Orbital ATK business so a low launch rate is not big issue. Having a LV allows them to offer a complete build and launch package for their commercial satellites.
Does OrbitalATK build anything heavy enough to require a Delta IV equivalent, though?  Seems like Antares-class should cover that pretty adequately, especially with a BE-3 upper stage.
According to Gunter's page the Antares-232 can lift 2750kg to GTO which is less than some of the satellites OrbitalATK builds. SES-8 which is a an OrbitalATK GEOStar-2.4 satellite has a mass of 3,170kg. Assuming you mean Delta IV heavy then Cygnus might want to spread its wings beyond low Earth orbit one of these days. But aside from big spy satellites there are not many payloads that need the lift capacity of the Delta IV heavy.
You have to consider that Antares launches from Wallops, which at 37.5 latitude has an extra 9 degrees of penalty to GSO than the Cape. If they are doing a new LV for EELV then they will have to launch from CCAF and VAFB. That's an EELV requirement.

Offline Rummy

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Re: All Solid Motor Antares
« Reply #57 on: 01/19/2016 04:29 PM »
According to Gunter's page the Antares-232 can lift 2750kg to GTO which is less than some of the satellites OrbitalATK builds. SES-8 which is a an OrbitalATK GEOStar-2.4 satellite has a mass of 3,170kg. Assuming you mean Delta IV heavy then Cygnus might want to spread its wings beyond low Earth orbit one of these days. But aside from big spy satellites there are not many payloads that need the lift capacity of the Delta IV heavy.
Exactly, and I would assume that adding a BE-3 based upper stage to the Antares would allow it to easily cover the satellites you cite.  Going after a very small heavy lift market seems odd to me.  I don't really think there's much possibility in OrbitalATK actually doing that, personally.

Why not?  It sure seems like they could be competitive in the EELV market.  Especially when you consider that the AF will pay premium for at least two launch providers.

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: All Solid Motor Antares
« Reply #58 on: 01/19/2016 05:48 PM »
Launch is only a part of Orbital ATK business so a low launch rate is not big issue. Having a LV allows them to offer a complete build and launch package for their commercial satellites.
Does OrbitalATK build anything heavy enough to require a Delta IV equivalent, though?  Seems like Antares-class should cover that pretty adequately, especially with a BE-3 upper stage.
According to Gunter's page the Antares-232 can lift 2750kg to GTO which is less than some of the satellites OrbitalATK builds. SES-8 which is a an OrbitalATK GEOStar-2.4 satellite has a mass of 3,170kg. Assuming you mean Delta IV heavy then Cygnus might want to spread its wings beyond low Earth orbit one of these days. But aside from big spy satellites there are not many payloads that need the lift capacity of the Delta IV heavy.
You have to consider that Antares launches from Wallops, which at 37.5 latitude has an extra 9 degrees of penalty to GSO than the Cape. If they are doing a new LV for EELV then they will have to launch from CCAF and VAFB. That's an EELV requirement.
Jim reckons Wallops can't support large solids, so a new Florida pad looks likely. Does ask question what will become of Wallops and liquid Antares. Orbital would want to rationalize to one LV and ideally one pad.

Offline Burninate

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Re: All Solid Motor Antares
« Reply #59 on: 01/19/2016 06:43 PM »
So, will it be like the solid motor Antares design Orbital-ATK was looking at last year, or something more like one of the Ariane 6 proposals?

 - Ed Kyle

Something in between, perhaps? I'm thinking two solid stages topped by a 3rd HydroLox stage, powered by a BE-3U. The "intermediate to heavy class" part makes me think that this core could be flanked by two 1st stages as boosters for the "heavy" variant, thus making it similar to the Ariane 6 concept. But I could be off base.

Quote
In a Jan. 14 press release, the company said it would develop a “solid rocket propulsion system.”

“All the best features of solid motors, including operational reliability, high lift-off thrust, shorter development schedules and, importantly, affordability have improved over time with the advancement of new technologies,” Charlie Precourt, vice president and general manager of Orbital ATK’s propulsion systems division, said in the release. “This means we can offer the Air Force a low technical risk and very cost-competitive American-made propulsion alternative.”

Specifically, Orbital ATK will combine the Air Force money with at least $31 million, and as much as $124 million, of its own to develop the GEM 63XL strap-on solid rocket motor, the Common Booster Segment solid rocket motor, and an extendable nozzle for Blue Origin’s BE-3U upper stage engine.

Blue Origin uses the BE-3 for its New Shepard suborbital rocket. The BE-3 also is one of three upper-stage engines United Launch Alliance is considering for Vulcan, the Denver company’s next-generation rocket.

The SSRB seems a little heavy (91t structural mass in the 4-seg) to bring it all the way up with a light hydrogen stage, and putting a lot of dV in the hydrogen stage in turn would make for a very large tank.

How about a three-stager combining three propellants:
SSRB: 12,000kN
BE-4 methalox: 2,400kN
BE-3U hydrolox: 490kN
« Last Edit: 01/19/2016 06:49 PM by Burninate »

Offline Space Ghost 1962

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Re: All Solid Motor Antares
« Reply #60 on: 01/19/2016 08:58 PM »
Launch is only a part of Orbital ATK business so a low launch rate is not big issue. Having a LV allows them to offer a complete build and launch package for their commercial satellites.
Does OrbitalATK build anything heavy enough to require a Delta IV equivalent, though?  Seems like Antares-class should cover that pretty adequately, especially with a BE-3 upper stage.
According to Gunter's page the Antares-232 can lift 2750kg to GTO which is less than some of the satellites OrbitalATK builds. SES-8 which is a an OrbitalATK GEOStar-2.4 satellite has a mass of 3,170kg. Assuming you mean Delta IV heavy then Cygnus might want to spread its wings beyond low Earth orbit one of these days. But aside from big spy satellites there are not many payloads that need the lift capacity of the Delta IV heavy.
You have to consider that Antares launches from Wallops, which at 37.5 latitude has an extra 9 degrees of penalty to GSO than the Cape. If they are doing a new LV for EELV then they will have to launch from CCAF and VAFB. That's an EELV requirement.

As well as a requirement for the processing of the required payloads, not just launch azimuths.

The reason for Antares/Wallops was for cost/convenience. Paying for CCAFS/VAFB is one significant stopper.

Another is the crowded market competing for few govt/NSS launch ops, including Antares competition itself.

It's understandable where the funds would come from if, say, SX or ULA suddenly ... stopped. But apart from that, all you are left with is "more capable Antares" - as a rather costly proposition to self fund.

It's understandable cutting another Russian engine deal to keep up COTS commitment. But taking the big step into "Atlas/Ariane territory" is not one that OA's shareholders might wish to stomach quite so easily.

In house propulsion makes sense when you are able to offset development/support of an existing product, especially one currently to be used by another vendor. That way you are in effect increasing flight frequency by in house use.

Alternatively, grabbing for significant market share is the other move as a provider you can do - that's what ULA is claiming to be headed for with Vulcan. But in this market with much potential (reuse) hanging in the air, that's a risky proposition. Again, more would depend on the US competition than the first stage to begin with.

Offline abaddon

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Re: All Solid Motor Antares
« Reply #61 on: 01/19/2016 10:01 PM »
Why not?  It sure seems like they could be competitive in the EELV market.  Especially when you consider that the AF will pay premium for at least two launch providers.
I'm talking about the Delta IV Heavy market.  We're talking well under one payload a year, here...

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: All Solid Motor Antares
« Reply #62 on: 01/19/2016 10:46 PM »
Why not?  It sure seems like they could be competitive in the EELV market.  Especially when you consider that the AF will pay premium for at least two launch providers.
I'm talking about the Delta IV Heavy market.  We're talking well under one payload a year, here...
With flexibility of strap on SRBs, the one LV could cover Cygnus ISS missions right through to D4H payloads. They may even be able to keep Castor 30XL US for Cygnus ISS missions, instead of externally sourced BE3 US.


Offline edkyle99

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Re: All Solid Motor Antares
« Reply #63 on: 01/20/2016 01:50 AM »
The big cost challenge of EELV is covering both "Medium" and "Heavy" categories.  The difference between 3.7 tonnes to GTO and  6+ tonnes directly to GEO is huge.  Two completely different challenges, which should by all rights call for two completely different rockets.  The "common core" idea seems less like a good idea when actually implemented.

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 01/20/2016 01:54 AM by edkyle99 »

Offline daveklingler

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Re: All Solid Motor Antares
« Reply #64 on: 01/20/2016 02:52 AM »
Why not?  It sure seems like they could be competitive in the EELV market.  Especially when you consider that the AF will pay premium for at least two launch providers.
I'm talking about the Delta IV Heavy market.  We're talking well under one payload a year, here...

If the price comes down, maybe the demand will increase.  It's not that different a model from the Falcon Heavy, and I'd expect them to have done a pretty thorough market survey.  Besides, development costs shouldn't be too bad at all.

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: All Solid Motor Antares
« Reply #65 on: 01/20/2016 06:54 AM »
You maybe right Dave in that development could be a lot less than normal for new LV. Government is helping fund some of R&D, while GEM63XL costs are covered by ULA orders.
Blue will most likely base the US on New Shepard plus they need a US for their Orbital LV, tank sizes might change but rest of stage should stay same. This would help keep price of US development and build costs low.

Only core stage would need significant development and that maybe heavily based on SLS SRBs.

Offline daveklingler

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Re: All Solid Motor Antares
« Reply #66 on: 01/20/2016 02:52 PM »
You maybe right Dave in that development could be a lot less than normal for new LV. Government is helping fund some of R&D, while GEM63XL costs are covered by ULA orders.
Blue will most likely base the US on New Shepard plus they need a US for their Orbital LV, tank sizes might change but rest of stage should stay same. This would help keep price of US development and build costs low.

Only core stage would need significant development and that maybe heavily based on SLS SRBs.

That's my take on it.  They're just taking advantage of a nice opportunity to plug together pieces that are being funded by other efforts.  We'll find out whether that's correct when more details are released, I guess.

Offline Rummy

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Re: All Solid Motor Antares
« Reply #67 on: 01/20/2016 05:38 PM »
Why not?  It sure seems like they could be competitive in the EELV market.  Especially when you consider that the AF will pay premium for at least two launch providers.
I'm talking about the Delta IV Heavy market.  We're talking well under one payload a year, here...

Do you have any idea how much those launches cost?  Nabbing a few of them and a few smaller launches seems to be a reasonable and potentially profitable business plan.

Offline abaddon

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Re: All Solid Motor Antares
« Reply #68 on: 01/20/2016 06:36 PM »
Do you have any idea how much those launches cost?  Nabbing a few of them and a few smaller launches seems to be a reasonable and potentially profitable business plan.
I assume a bit north of the $130 million or SpaceX has quoted to launch on an equivalently capable Falcon Heavy.  That's (probably) assuming a fully expendable FH as well, with the booster RTLS center core landing downrange option likely to still be very performant and much cheaper to boot.  Doesn't seem like a lot of margin there to me.

So, yeah, I pretty much disagree completely with anyone who can understand how OrbitalATK could ever think it might be a good idea to try and get into that market.  I am not so sure they are really trying to get into that market, myself.
« Last Edit: 01/20/2016 06:38 PM by abaddon »

Offline Space Ghost 1962

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Re: All Solid Motor Antares
« Reply #69 on: 01/20/2016 06:57 PM »
Do you have any idea how much those launches cost?  Nabbing a few of them and a few smaller launches seems to be a reasonable and potentially profitable business plan.
I assume a bit north of the $133 million or so it would cost for SpaceX to launch on an equivalently capable Falcon Heavy.  Doesn't seem like a lot of margin there to me.

Unless you consider the combination of SC+launch. Then lots. Seems to be where the industry is heading. Never underestimate the draw of "we can build it and launch it ourselves".

Quote
So, yeah, I pretty much disagree completely with anyone who can understand how OrbitalATK could ever think it might be a good idea to try and get into that market.

Tend to agree. Was similarly skeptical about Taurus II / Antares. Not for NK-33/AJ-26 (although we'd been warned) but for payload diversity - "COTS only, really?" Please note also at the moment they can't "build it and launch it themselves". ;)

Its a risky idea to get into that market. Eastwood/"Harry":"Do you feel lucky, punk?"

Quote
I am not so sure they are really trying to get into that market, myself.

Yes they desire it. Ask them. You'll hear it.

Look to Antares ("E" ticket ride), which is a "baby step" following Minotaur/Pegasus steps. Next one is a dozy!

So ask yourself the question - "why?". Only one to suggest - that they'd think ULA/SX in some way "can't" where they "can". Don't see it.

Sort of like the "Atlas first stage solid replacement" they mooted at the start of the RD-180 "crisis".

New form of "old thing"? Wonder.

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: All Solid Motor Antares
« Reply #70 on: 01/20/2016 07:10 PM »
Do you have any idea how much those launches cost?  Nabbing a few of them and a few smaller launches seems to be a reasonable and potentially profitable business plan.
I assume a bit north of the $133 million or so it would cost for SpaceX to launch on an equivalently capable Falcon Heavy.  Doesn't seem like a lot of margin there to me.

Unless you consider the combination of SC+launch. Then lots. Seems to be where the industry is heading. Never underestimate the draw of "we can build it and launch it ourselves".

Quote
So, yeah, I pretty much disagree completely with anyone who can understand how OrbitalATK could ever think it might be a good idea to try and get into that market.

Tend to agree. Was similarly skeptical about Taurus II / Antares. Not for NK-33/AJ-26 (although we'd been warned) but for payload diversity - "COTS only, really?" Please note also at the moment they can't "build it and launch it themselves". ;)

Its a risky idea to get into that market. Eastwood/"Harry":"Do you feel lucky, punk?"

Quote
I am not so sure they are really trying to get into that market, myself.

Yes they desire it. Ask them. You'll hear it.

Look to Antares ("E" ticket ride), which is a "baby step" following Minotaur/Pegasus steps. Next one is a dozy!

So ask yourself the question - "why?". Only one to suggest - that they'd think ULA/SX in some way "can't" where they "can". Don't see it.

Sort of like the "Atlas first stage solid replacement" they mooted at the start of the RD-180 "crisis".

New form of "old thing"? Wonder.
A larger more capable BE3 US and most likely cheaper (than Centuar). Is most likely critical component to making this LV viable.

Offline a_langwich

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Re: All Solid Motor Antares
« Reply #71 on: 01/20/2016 07:11 PM »
Launch is only a part of Orbital ATK business so a low launch rate is not big issue. Having a LV allows them to offer a complete build and launch package for their commercial satellites.




No. 

A low launch rate increases the cost of the vehicle unavoidably.  Higher priced launches are not competitive.  Orbital does not make an issue out of bundling launch services for their LVs with their satellites, because that's a liability not a benefit, to the satellite sales.  They want to be competing on all the other launch vehicles, indeed NEED to be competing mostly on other LVs because they have and will have for the next decade a miniscule slice of the commercial LV market.  Nor can you bid such fat prices in the satellite sale to cover an under-used LV and siphon profit off to it (and why would you develop an LV to do that?  just take the profit from the satellite and stop there, without trying to subsidize an unprofitable launcher).

It simply doesn't work that way.  Even in situations where the same company or group wins both satellite and launch vehicle bids, it's almost invariably because national/proto-national interests drove both bids to domestic manufacturers, not because of some imagined economy within a company.  (eg, Airbus and Ariane because of a desire to buy European; LM or Boeing and ULA for US national security payloads)

For that matter, the satellite business unit and the launch business unit are roughly the same size inside Orbital, or were.  Neither one is large enough to "wag the dog" so to speak.  And both markets are so competitive O-ATK cannot afford to pad a bid to include extra profit for a weak partner in the other business unit.

So either this all-solid launch vehicle stands on its own, or it does not stand at all, and becomes another Liberty, another Agena II, another whatever-the-solid-EELV-candidate-was-called.  Which is what I expect, at about 90% probability from where I sit. 

Offline Space Ghost 1962

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Re: All Solid Motor Antares
« Reply #72 on: 01/20/2016 07:35 PM »
Was talking to a major SC provider exec sales vp last week. Those opinions, not mine!

Oh, and he poo-poo'd the launch business as "tiny" in comparison to the SC business. While lamenting the effects of %40 lower launch costs on his industry(!).

Yeah, didn't quite get it either.

The world is "a changing". To what?

add:

Keep thinking of "kevin rf's" spot-on comment about a half year ago about LV's - that every LV seems start out to be designed to over dominate the payload space, then garners only a fraction and holds onto that as it otherwise starves for launches.

Perhaps SC bus's follow a similar pattern. And the real killer here is that margins in SC shrink before any volume/frequency rise due to substantially lowered launch costs (or, in NSS case, more certain cadence/cost for both SC+launch). E.g. they aren't structured as businesses to adapt to such change.
« Last Edit: 01/20/2016 07:43 PM by Space Ghost 1962 »

Offline arachnitect

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Re: All Solid Motor Antares
« Reply #73 on: 01/20/2016 08:08 PM »
I don't see a place for this rocket if Vulcan is successful.

So sell it to ULA's board.

ULA stops working on Vulcan booster. Keeps working on ACES if they want. Atlas survives on a diet of Commercial Crew/Cargo flights, NASA science, and a few commercial payloads.

OrbATK's latest version of "The Stick" becomes reality and replaces Delta IV. Flies a few times a year as "assured access." NASA and DOD are happy because it keeps the solid motor lines running.

Antares goes away.

Offline a_langwich

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Re: All Solid Motor Antares
« Reply #74 on: 01/20/2016 08:09 PM »
Why not?  It sure seems like they could be competitive in the EELV market.  Especially when you consider that the AF will pay premium for at least two launch providers.
I'm talking about the Delta IV Heavy market.  We're talking well under one payload a year, here...

Do you have any idea how much those launches cost?  Nabbing a few of them and a few smaller launches seems to be a reasonable and potentially profitable business plan.

No, it's not and has not been.  The D4H's were north of $300-350 million, but it's likely at the miniscule launch rate that would not have been enough to keep the Delta assembly facilities going, without ALSO adding in Delta IV Medium launches AND the EELV ELC payments.  I believe Boeing/ULA told the Air Force as much, both in discussions leading up to the creation of ULA, in discussions about the ELC, in decisions about co-locating Atlas assembly in the Delta assembly plant, and in discussions about shifting some payloads to Delta IV Medium.

Whether or not it was profitable (of course it was AFTER adding in the other two very significant supplemental payments, and taking lots of steps to increase commonality with high production stable mates), those prices will not be available for much longer.  Both Falcon Heavy and Vulcan will offer the same capability for very sharply reduced prices, as abaddon indicated in his reply.

The "premium" the AF is willing to pay is likely to be sharply reduced in the coming years, and it does NOT seem likely the AF is going to pay a subsistence payment to any one of three LV manufacturers just because it hasn't won a contract.  To make development of a future LV pay off, that LV will have to essentially completely beat out one of the two current companies.  I find that unlikely.  But USAF was giving away money, so perhaps less likely things get pursued, and perhaps the underpants gnomes "? ? ? ?" step magically gets cleared up by future events.

Offline a_langwich

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Re: All Solid Motor Antares
« Reply #75 on: 01/20/2016 08:16 PM »
So, yeah, I pretty much disagree completely with anyone who can understand how OrbitalATK could ever think it might be a good idea to try and get into that market.  I am not so sure they are really trying to get into that market, myself.

Does the ATK part of Orbital-ATK think it can get into that market?  Yes, I can believe they do, given their past pronouncements about Liberty, et al (the many other solids-based LVs they have fervently touted).  Robert Zubrins of the solid rocket LV goal, perhaps.

I'm a little more skeptical that the Orbital and LV guys (like AntinioE and David Thompson, for example) are true believers.  I would guess they saw the chance to get free USAF money, and put their design engineers to work without using IR&D funds, and decided to give the solids guys a chance to make another case.  But of course they would not make any mental reservations public.

Again, a likely outcome is that Congress, in next year's appropriations process, will be somewhat peeved that its RD-180 replacement money has been peed out all over to support general fertilization of launch ideas.  And will snap the purse shut, and thus all these contracts will NOT be funded to 2018, and prototypes and test firings and all the rest will not happen.  For this contract.  Obviously, SpaceX and ULA and Blue Origin will continue on, as they were doing before the Air Force decided to "make it rain" with Congress's supplemental funds, just a little farther down the road perhaps.

Offline rayleighscatter

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Re: All Solid Motor Antares
« Reply #76 on: 01/20/2016 09:05 PM »
Do you have any idea how much those launches cost?  Nabbing a few of them and a few smaller launches seems to be a reasonable and potentially profitable business plan.
I assume a bit north of the $130 million or SpaceX has quoted to launch on an equivalently capable Falcon Heavy.  That's (probably) assuming a fully expendable FH as well, with the booster RTLS center core landing downrange option likely to still be very performant and much cheaper to boot.  Doesn't seem like a lot of margin there to me.

So, yeah, I pretty much disagree completely with anyone who can understand how OrbitalATK could ever think it might be a good idea to try and get into that market.  I am not so sure they are really trying to get into that market, myself.
That whole argument is based on it being impossible to beat the current paradigm. If SpaceX thinks the same way then they've successfully made the jump to "old space"

Offline a_langwich

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Re: All Solid Motor Antares
« Reply #77 on: 01/20/2016 09:55 PM »
Do you have any idea how much those launches cost?  Nabbing a few of them and a few smaller launches seems to be a reasonable and potentially profitable business plan.
I assume a bit north of the $130 million or SpaceX has quoted to launch on an equivalently capable Falcon Heavy.  That's (probably) assuming a fully expendable FH as well, with the booster RTLS center core landing downrange option likely to still be very performant and much cheaper to boot.  Doesn't seem like a lot of margin there to me.

So, yeah, I pretty much disagree completely with anyone who can understand how OrbitalATK could ever think it might be a good idea to try and get into that market.  I am not so sure they are really trying to get into that market, myself.
That whole argument is based on it being impossible to beat the current paradigm. If SpaceX thinks the same way then they've successfully made the jump to "old space"

Huh?  I'm not sure you've followed "that whole argument."  The question is if Orbital-ATK can produce a "heavy" EELV significantly cheaper than SpaceX's Falcon Heavy, which it will have to do in order to win a competitively bid contract.  abaddon is pointing out that not only is the currently discussed price of Falcon Heavy cheap, MUCH cheaper than the Delta IV Heavy, it seems reasonable SpaceX may be able to reduce prices further.

The Air Force has not felt the need to pay for assured access out at the "EELV Heavy" payload range, so that's pretty much the price target any new contender for heavy lift has to aim for.  But if you ignore that and still shoot for second place, ULA's Vulcan will be a single stick and likely not that far off Falcon Heavy's price, if they are successful in hitting their price targets.

Whether or not it's impossible to beat SpaceX's prices is irrelevant; the question is, can Orbital-ATK do it, with a rocket like this?  At that, I'm dubious.  Though of course I'd be pleased if they figured out a way to dramatically lower the cost of launch using solids, or anything else.  It just seems like they've had ample opportunity to do this in the past, and haven't produced.

Offline Burninate

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Re: All Solid Motor Antares
« Reply #78 on: 01/21/2016 05:56 AM »
So, will it be like the solid motor Antares design Orbital-ATK was looking at last year, or something more like one of the Ariane 6 proposals?

 - Ed Kyle

Something in between, perhaps? I'm thinking two solid stages topped by a 3rd HydroLox stage, powered by a BE-3U. The "intermediate to heavy class" part makes me think that this core could be flanked by two 1st stages as boosters for the "heavy" variant, thus making it similar to the Ariane 6 concept. But I could be off base.

Quote
In a Jan. 14 press release, the company said it would develop a “solid rocket propulsion system.”

“All the best features of solid motors, including operational reliability, high lift-off thrust, shorter development schedules and, importantly, affordability have improved over time with the advancement of new technologies,” Charlie Precourt, vice president and general manager of Orbital ATK’s propulsion systems division, said in the release. “This means we can offer the Air Force a low technical risk and very cost-competitive American-made propulsion alternative.”

Specifically, Orbital ATK will combine the Air Force money with at least $31 million, and as much as $124 million, of its own to develop the GEM 63XL strap-on solid rocket motor, the Common Booster Segment solid rocket motor, and an extendable nozzle for Blue Origin’s BE-3U upper stage engine.

Blue Origin uses the BE-3 for its New Shepard suborbital rocket. The BE-3 also is one of three upper-stage engines United Launch Alliance is considering for Vulcan, the Denver company’s next-generation rocket.

The SSRB seems a little heavy (91t structural mass in the 4-seg) to bring it all the way up with a light hydrogen stage, and putting a lot of dV in the hydrogen stage in turn would make for a very large tank.

How about a three-stager combining three propellants:
SSRB: 12,000kN
BE-4 methalox: 2,400kN
BE-3U hydrolox: 490kN
Following up on this, I'll sketch out the rest of the system for the sake of argument

Most of these numbers are made up, intended to be conservative estimates or assertions;  The Isp in particular is sandbagging other people's idle speculation:

Stage 1:
4-segment SSRB (don't have numbers for 5-seg)
12,000kN thrust
590t gross mass
91t structural mass
255s Isp

Stage 2:
BE-4
2400kn thrust
200t gross mass
14t structural mass (7%)
355s Isp

Stage 3:
BE-3U
490kN thrust
50t gross mass
3.5t structural mass  (7%)
440s Isp

Payload to a 9.5km/s LEO: 34529kg
Payload to a 12km/s GTO: 15398kg

Acceleration Ranges with max payload & max rated thrust:
LEO1: 12.4 - 32m/s^2
LEO2: 8.4 - 24.4m/s^2
LEO3: 5.8 - 12.9m/s^2
GTO1: 12.7 - 33.7m/s^2
GTO2: 9 - 30.2m/s^2
GTO3: 7.5 - 25.9m/s^2
« Last Edit: 01/21/2016 05:58 AM by Burninate »

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: All Solid Motor Antares
« Reply #79 on: 01/21/2016 09:22 AM »
Burninate your 3 stage LV would be very tall. Better to have Ariane 5 design with two large strap on SRBs attached to BE4 stage.
The only issue with using BE4 is that it is one more external cost for Orbital. There is no way around BE3 US but ideally everything else is SRB and built internally.

Offline Lobo

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Re: All Solid Motor Antares
« Reply #80 on: 01/21/2016 06:10 PM »

The reason for Antares/Wallops was for cost/convenience. Paying for CCAFS/VAFB is one significant stopper.


This could depend on if NASA would like to "entice" another user for the VAB and 39B, as SLS will be only launching at a low rate and they've been wanting to make KSC a real spaceport.  If NASA gave them a sweetheart deal, OrbATK may be ok with operating under the overhead/headaches of NASA.  The VAB and SRB processing facilities at KSC could obviously handle large segments based on SLS boosters just fine.  There's a couple of old MLP's available to be repurposed to handle the LV. 

It might not be a show stopper if OrbATK gets some sweet deal.  Which is possible as NASA seems like they would like the optics of more than just an occasional SLS launch going out of KSC. (not counting 39A).

Didn't SpaceX essentially get the lease for 39A for "free", just to take over maintenance and operation of it so it wouldn't be sitting there rotting?

Offline Lars-J

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Re: All Solid Motor Antares
« Reply #81 on: 01/21/2016 06:17 PM »

The reason for Antares/Wallops was for cost/convenience. Paying for CCAFS/VAFB is one significant stopper.


This could depend on if NASA would like to "entice" another user for the VAB and 39B, as SLS will be only launching at a low rate and they've been wanting to make KSC a real spaceport.  If NASA gave them a sweetheart deal, OrbATK may be ok with operating under the overhead/headaches of NASA.  The VAB and SRB processing facilities at KSC could obviously handle large segments based on SLS boosters just fine.  There's a couple of old MLP's available to be repurposed to handle the LV. 

It might not be a show stopper if OrbATK gets some sweet deal.  Which is possible as NASA seems like they would like the optics of more than just an occasional SLS launch going out of KSC. (not counting 39A).

Didn't SpaceX essentially get the lease for 39A for "free", just to take over maintenance and operation of it so it wouldn't be sitting there rotting?

Yes but nobody wants to be in the position to share a pad with SLS. Both for scheduling reasons and the extra overhead of building a launch mount that works with an MLP and pad.

But then again OrbATK is used to getting "freebies" from NASA to entice them to make deals. The whole integration facility at Wallops was built for Orbital by NASA. Perhaps NASA is willing to modify the MLP and VAB for free - but that's the only way I could see it happening.

Offline Space Ghost 1962

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Re: All Solid Motor Antares
« Reply #82 on: 01/21/2016 07:02 PM »
... sell it to ULA's board.

ULA stops working on Vulcan booster. Keeps working on ACES if they want. Atlas survives on a diet of Commercial Crew/Cargo flights, NASA science, and a few commercial payloads.

OrbATK's latest version of "The Stick" becomes reality and replaces Delta IV. Flies a few times a year as "assured access." NASA and DOD are happy because it keeps the solid motor lines running.

Ugly and awkward but unarguable in its brutal simplicity.

Makes a kind of sense. Especially with the SRB contracts OA has just won with ULA taking  away from AJ/R.

Simply answer for when things don't work out either in LRE development/costing/supply - do a solid to replace the LRE need. Then SMART recovery is just used for eventual ACES, and you just dispose of the first stage cheaply.

All that remains would be how does the SC side factor in between LMT/BA/OA going forward. Since BA is laying off those that do low end sats like OA does, and LMT never did them, perhaps no so big a deal to envision.

A much more believable future than BO or AR at the moment. Kudos.

Offline edkyle99

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Re: All Solid Motor Antares
« Reply #83 on: 01/21/2016 09:51 PM »
Here's a notional EELV Medium and Heavy solution, using solid motors that are roughly the size of a 1.5-segment RSRM from ATK's motor catalog. 

Assume for this exercise a 193.5 tonne gross "common booster stage" (CBS), which may or may not comprise one or two "common booster segments".  Assume the following.

CBS has a 0.92 propellant mass fraction. 

CBS has 263 sec average ISP as a sea-level launch stage.

CBS has 290 sec ISP as an air-start stage.

A BE3U-powered LH2/LOX upper stage with a 440 sec ISP and a 0.90 propellant mass fraction.  It would be loaded with around 50 tonnes propellant.

Payload to 11,750 m/s for the in-line vehicle (essentially GTO x 28 deg) would be 6.5 metric tons (tonnes) for a GLOW of 451 tonnes.

A Heavy would be boosted by two side-mounted motors with the center motors both air-lit.  It could do 6 tonnes to GEO for a GLOW of about 870 tonnes. 

The rockets might stand 56 meters (182 feet) plus or minus, generally the same height as Atlas 5 and shorter than Falcon 9 or Delta 4 Heavy.  20 meters shorter than Ares 1.

 - Ed Kyle

 
« Last Edit: 01/21/2016 09:59 PM by edkyle99 »

Offline Space Ghost 1962

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Re: All Solid Motor Antares
« Reply #84 on: 01/21/2016 10:45 PM »
Possibly also a medium plus with two strap-ons??

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: All Solid Motor Antares
« Reply #85 on: 01/21/2016 11:26 PM »
Here's a notional EELV Medium and Heavy solution, using solid motors that are roughly the size of a 1.5-segment RSRM from ATK's motor catalog. 

Assume for this exercise a 193.5 tonne gross "common booster stage" (CBS), which may or may not comprise one or two "common booster segments".  Assume the following.

CBS has a 0.92 propellant mass fraction. 

CBS has 263 sec average ISP as a sea-level launch stage.

CBS has 290 sec ISP as an air-start stage.

A BE3U-powered LH2/LOX upper stage with a 440 sec ISP and a 0.90 propellant mass fraction.  It would be loaded with around 50 tonnes propellant.

Payload to 11,750 m/s for the in-line vehicle (essentially GTO x 28 deg) would be 6.5 metric tons (tonnes) for a GLOW of 451 tonnes.

A Heavy would be boosted by two side-mounted motors with the center motors both air-lit.  It could do 6 tonnes to GEO for a GLOW of about 870 tonnes. 

The rockets might stand 56 meters (182 feet) plus or minus, generally the same height as Atlas 5 and shorter than Falcon 9 or Delta 4 Heavy.  20 meters shorter than Ares 1.

 - Ed Kyle

 
I think you are correct with core, but strap ons will be GEM63XL, assume 6.

Offline edkyle99

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Re: All Solid Motor Antares
« Reply #86 on: 01/22/2016 03:29 AM »
I think you are correct with core, but strap ons will be GEM63XL, assume 6.
Working "backward" from such a Heavy, assuming 50 tonnes gross for each strap-on motor, and assuming that the second and first stages are different, gives a Medium (no strap-on motors) with a 372 tonne first stage, a 240 tonne second stage, and a 56 tonne LH2 third stage (GLOW = 679 tonnes) that can put 9.6 tonnes to GTO or 3.9 tonnes to GEO. 

If eight strap-on motors are assumed for the Heavy, the Medium stages weigh 271/240/56 tonnes (GLOW = 574 tonnes) and the payload is 8.2 tonnes GTO, 3 tonnes GEO. 

I'm not sure that eight GEM63XLs would fit around a 146 inch diameter motor.  Still, even this "Medium" would be a biggie, with something like Atlas 541 capability.

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 01/22/2016 03:46 AM by edkyle99 »

Offline Steven Pietrobon

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Re: All Solid Motor Antares
« Reply #87 on: 01/22/2016 05:34 AM »
Here's some information on the heavy configuration.

http://aviationweek.com/space/orbital-atk-unveils-plan-next-gen-eelv-competitor

"The Orbital ATK concept would incorporate a Common Booster Segment main stage made up of solid motor cores delivering the “liftoff thrust of the RD-180,” Pieczynski says. “To get heavy lift we add one or two more solid cores to the booster and we could strap them on, like the Atlas V,” he adds. The upper-stage would be powered by the BE-3U/EN, a modified version of Blue Origin’s baseline 110,000-lb. thrust liquid oxygen/liquid hydrogen engine."

I'm not sure how they would add one solid core, if its the same size as the booster.
Akin's Laws of Spacecraft Design #1:  Engineering is done with numbers.  Analysis without numbers is only an opinion.

Offline Hauerg

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Re: All Solid Motor Antares
« Reply #88 on: 01/22/2016 05:39 AM »
As long as the thrust can be vectored sufficiently, it might work. But still look weird.

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Re: All Solid Motor Antares
« Reply #89 on: 01/22/2016 05:44 AM »
Where is the demand for this rocket???  Build it and they will come???

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Re: All Solid Motor Antares
« Reply #90 on: 01/22/2016 05:45 AM »
What do people think the price will be for this rocket???

Offline Steven Pietrobon

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Re: All Solid Motor Antares
« Reply #91 on: 01/22/2016 05:49 AM »
Around $100M, like pretty much every other rocket.
Akin's Laws of Spacecraft Design #1:  Engineering is done with numbers.  Analysis without numbers is only an opinion.

Offline Oli

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Re: All Solid Motor Antares
« Reply #92 on: 01/22/2016 06:38 AM »
Here's a notional EELV Medium and Heavy solution, using solid motors that are roughly the size of a 1.5-segment RSRM from ATK's motor catalog. 

Assume for this exercise a 193.5 tonne gross "common booster stage" (CBS), which may or may not comprise one or two "common booster segments".  Assume the following.

CBS has a 0.92 propellant mass fraction. 

CBS has 263 sec average ISP as a sea-level launch stage.

CBS has 290 sec ISP as an air-start stage.

A BE3U-powered LH2/LOX upper stage with a 440 sec ISP and a 0.90 propellant mass fraction.  It would be loaded with around 50 tonnes propellant.

Payload to 11,750 m/s for the in-line vehicle (essentially GTO x 28 deg) would be 6.5 metric tons (tonnes) for a GLOW of 451 tonnes.

A Heavy would be boosted by two side-mounted motors with the center motors both air-lit.  It could do 6 tonnes to GEO for a GLOW of about 870 tonnes. 

The rockets might stand 56 meters (182 feet) plus or minus, generally the same height as Atlas 5 and shorter than Falcon 9 or Delta 4 Heavy.  20 meters shorter than Ares 1.

 - Ed Kyle

Ah, 4 stages for the heavy.

Is 11.75km/s the total delta v for the medium version? I don't quite get to 6.5t with the given specs.
« Last Edit: 01/22/2016 06:38 AM by Oli »

Offline ArbitraryConstant

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Re: All Solid Motor Antares
« Reply #93 on: 01/22/2016 07:39 AM »
It's amazing the renaissance in launch vehicles Blue Origin's LRE technology has triggered.

Where is the demand for this rocket???  Build it and they will come???
My understanding is Orbital ATK's solids technology tends to do well in relatively low launch rates. So maybe they only get a few launches per year but they only need a few. In the upcoming US govt launch drought ULA's cost structure may be a disadvantage.

Until now a credible hydrogen upper bore the cost of RL-10 or developing something else, the BE-3U is huge for opportunities like this.

Offline edkyle99

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Re: All Solid Motor Antares
« Reply #94 on: 01/22/2016 01:27 PM »
Where is the demand for this rocket???  Build it and they will come???
Perhaps Orbital ATK thinks it can compete in a future without Delta 4 Heavy and Atlas 5.  Vulcan is not a given, and the Falcon 9 family has so far only demonstrated Proton-class reliability.

 - Ed Kyle   
« Last Edit: 01/22/2016 01:36 PM by edkyle99 »

Offline edkyle99

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Re: All Solid Motor Antares
« Reply #95 on: 01/22/2016 01:55 PM »
Ah, 4 stages for the heavy.

Is 11.75km/s the total delta v for the medium version? I don't quite get to 6.5t with the given specs.
Yes.  I may have "rounded" the numbers presented.  My spreadsheet numbers were as follows for the Medium.

S1  178.0/193.5 tonnes  ISPavg= 263  Delta-v=1298.9 m/s
S2  178.0/193.5 tonnes  ISPavg= 290  Delta-v=3434.6 m/s
S3  48.8/55.2 tonnes  ISP=440  Delta-v = 7022.3 m/s
Total Delta-v = 11755.8 m/s

I have a 2.5 tonne fairing during the first stage burn.

All wild guesswork, of course!

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 01/22/2016 01:58 PM by edkyle99 »

Offline abaddon

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Re: All Solid Motor Antares
« Reply #96 on: 01/22/2016 02:19 PM »
Where is the demand for this rocket???  Build it and they will come???
ATK has a history of pushing rockets nobody wanted.  The Orbital side is the one that has provided launch services on rockets it developed (Taurus, Pegasus, Antares).  This smells a lot more like ATK than Orbital to me.

In the meantime, OrbitalATK gets development money, and some of the technology being worked on will doubtless benefit their business supplying other launch providers with boosters.
« Last Edit: 01/22/2016 02:20 PM by abaddon »

Offline Oli

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Re: All Solid Motor Antares
« Reply #97 on: 01/22/2016 02:35 PM »
Ah, 4 stages for the heavy.

Is 11.75km/s the total delta v for the medium version? I don't quite get to 6.5t with the given specs.
Yes.  I may have "rounded" the numbers presented.  My spreadsheet numbers were as follows for the Medium.

S1  178.0/193.5 tonnes  ISPavg= 263  Delta-v=1298.9 m/s
S2  178.0/193.5 tonnes  ISPavg= 290  Delta-v=3434.6 m/s
S3  48.8/55.2 tonnes  ISP=440  Delta-v = 7022.3 m/s
Total Delta-v = 11755.8 m/s

I have a 2.5 tonne fairing during the first stage burn.

All wild guesswork, of course!

 - Ed Kyle

Hmm...gives me 5.51t to GTO...

Offline edkyle99

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Re: All Solid Motor Antares
« Reply #98 on: 01/22/2016 04:03 PM »
Ah, 4 stages for the heavy.

Is 11.75km/s the total delta v for the medium version? I don't quite get to 6.5t with the given specs.
Yes.  I may have "rounded" the numbers presented.  My spreadsheet numbers were as follows for the Medium.

S1  178.0/193.5 tonnes  ISPavg= 263  Delta-v=1298.9 m/s
S2  178.0/193.5 tonnes  ISPavg= 290  Delta-v=3434.6 m/s
S3  48.8/55.2 tonnes  ISP=440  Delta-v = 7022.3 m/s
Total Delta-v = 11755.8 m/s

I have a 2.5 tonne fairing during the first stage burn.

All wild guesswork, of course!

 - Ed Kyle

Hmm...gives me 5.51t to GTO...
Step 1 initial/final mass is 452.2/273.26 tonnes
Step 2 is 255.2/76.26 tonnes
Step 3 is 60.7/11.92 tonnes

Used propellant given, so no residuals to add.

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 01/22/2016 04:05 PM by edkyle99 »

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: All Solid Motor Antares
« Reply #99 on: 01/22/2016 07:34 PM »
Great work Ed, do you have estimate of Heavy LEO payload. I was think of it lifting fuel for ULA distributed lift.

 Distributed lift would be easier sell if more than one LV provider was benefitting, plus launches can be days apart not weeks.

Offline Space Ghost 1962

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Re: All Solid Motor Antares
« Reply #100 on: 01/27/2016 03:54 PM »
Suppose McCain were to engineer an immediate block to RD-180 and yank ELC - wouldn't that mean a short term reliance on SX?

Would a "fast" cut-over to a solid first stage replacement to be able to loft Centaur be on the table?

How fast could this take place?

Fast enough to make an appropriations unblock (again) costly for Shelby?

Offline russianhalo117

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Re: All Solid Motor Antares
« Reply #101 on: 01/28/2016 06:59 PM »
Suppose McCain were to engineer an immediate block to RD-180 and yank ELC - wouldn't that mean a short term reliance on SX?

Would a "fast" cut-over to a solid first stage replacement to be able to loft Centaur be on the table?

How fast could this take place?

Fast enough to make an appropriations unblock (again) costly for Shelby?
well theoretically and historically speaking the rapid development rate of early US rockets (ie Delta II) from paper design to launch hardware in a matter of few months compared to next gen launchers which take years to go from paper to metal.

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Re: All Solid Motor Antares
« Reply #102 on: 01/29/2016 01:41 AM »
Suppose McCain were to engineer an immediate block to RD-180 and yank ELC - wouldn't that mean a short term reliance on SX?

Would a "fast" cut-over to a solid first stage replacement to be able to loft Centaur be on the table?

How fast could this take place?

Fast enough to make an appropriations unblock (again) costly for Shelby?
well theoretically and historically speaking the rapid development rate of early US rockets (ie Delta II) from paper design to launch hardware in a matter of few months compared to next gen launchers which take years to go from paper to metal.

So arachnitect's theory of an solid replacement / "alternative", possibly sold through ULA's board, could provide a viable short term option to a "no more" RD180 abrupt cut-off.

McCain thus can force the issue. Irrespective of Vulcan timetable or Atlas operational considerations.

Offline russianhalo117

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Re: All Solid Motor Antares
« Reply #103 on: 01/29/2016 03:23 AM »
Suppose McCain were to engineer an immediate block to RD-180 and yank ELC - wouldn't that mean a short term reliance on SX?

Would a "fast" cut-over to a solid first stage replacement to be able to loft Centaur be on the table?

How fast could this take place?

Fast enough to make an appropriations unblock (again) costly for Shelby?
well theoretically and historically speaking the rapid development rate of early US rockets (ie Delta II) from paper design to launch hardware in a matter of few months compared to next gen launchers which take years to go from paper to metal.

So arachnitect's theory of an solid replacement / "alternative", possibly sold through ULA's board, could provide a viable short term option to a "no more" RD180 abrupt cut-off.

McCain thus can force the issue. Irrespective of Vulcan timetable or Atlas operational considerations.
if using the Challenger accident and the rapid creation and birth of DII (2 year from Paper to first launch) and some other rapidly developed military rockets (Thor IRBM - 50 days in paper and 1 year and 11 month to first successful flight) and short development time of Castor-30 as sources behind my answer then yes. ATK (now OA) and is currently the only example of rapid development in a very short timespan. they are currently the only one I find that does rapid prototyping and development like the old days and for all of that it was mostly private funding. Excluding the new private companies and OA, the other companies (ie ULA) and their suppliers like to use mostly government funding but unlike them in the 50s-70s they drag there feet in a slow paced mostly cost plus funding structure. This method of funding has been whacked on the head more so in the last few years and as such with fixed price or shared price contract they slow down even more.
« Last Edit: 01/29/2016 07:19 PM by russianhalo117 »

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: All Solid Motor Antares
« Reply #104 on: 01/30/2016 02:42 PM »
We already know how cheap launch can be with dumb boosters: not very.  The only hope for greatly reducing launch costs is with reusable boosters.

Dumb boosters have low performance, and performance matters for cost. Reusable boosters suffer from the same problem. I do not believe in some magic formula that will greatly reduce launch costs.

For a cost comparison of liquids/solids see for example the end of that page:
http://www.lr.tudelft.nl/en/organisation/departments/space-engineering/space-systems-engineering/expertise-areas/space-propulsion/system-design/generate-candidates/comparison-of-rockets/

From Ariane 6 thread.

If these costings in table are correct a solid Antares with BE3 US should be competitive. It is up to OA to prove it.
« Last Edit: 01/30/2016 02:43 PM by TrevorMonty »

Offline edkyle99

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Re: All Solid Motor Antares
« Reply #105 on: 03/01/2016 02:01 PM »
Another aspect of a solid motor OATK vehicle that seems enticing this week is less fussy launch campaigns.  Cryos on the upper stage only.  No hang fire post-ignition cutoff aborts ever.

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 03/01/2016 03:47 PM by edkyle99 »

Offline kevin-rf

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Re: All Solid Motor Antares
« Reply #106 on: 03/01/2016 02:35 PM »
Outside of SpaceX I can only think of one Delta II hang fire...
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Re: All Solid Motor Antares
« Reply #107 on: 03/01/2016 03:26 PM »
No hang fire aborts ever.

Why would you say that? Of course you could still have a hang fire.

Offline edkyle99

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Re: All Solid Motor Antares
« Reply #108 on: 03/01/2016 03:41 PM »
No hang fire aborts ever.

Why would you say that? Of course you could still have a hang fire.
You are right!  I've never heard of a big solid motor not starting (it happens with hobby rockets all the time!) but I suppose it could happen.  I was thinking about, and meant to specify, post-ignition, pre-liftoff aborts.  Cutoff aborts, or whatever they are called.  We've seen those on Falcon, Delta 2, Ariane 5, STS, etc.  Early Atlas and Titan suffered them too.

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 03/01/2016 03:45 PM by edkyle99 »

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Re: All Solid Motor Antares
« Reply #109 on: 03/01/2016 04:12 PM »
And how do you deal with a solid hang fire... You now have a solid in a completely unknown state. You wouldn't be able to pay me enough to unstack that one.
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Re: All Solid Motor Antares
« Reply #110 on: 03/01/2016 04:30 PM »
And how do you deal with a solid hang fire... You now have a solid in a completely unknown state. You wouldn't be able to pay me enough to unstack that one.

Upon a hang fire, rotate the safe & arm devices to 'safe' and remove electrical power from the firing chain. The vehicle should then be safe to approach.

Offline Sam Ho

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Re: All Solid Motor Antares
« Reply #111 on: 03/02/2016 09:20 PM »
Dave Thompson had a few details on their EELV-class launcher in the quarterly earnings call:
USAF funding is for early R&D.  Decision point to go to production is about a year from now.  Solid first stage, liquid upper stage.

Quote
In our Flight Systems Group, the company and the US Air Force are in the first phase of a potential four year, jointly funded development program aimed at creating a new all-domestic intermediate and large-class space launch vehicle family.

Our objective is to develop a modular vehicle system capable of launching national security payloads and what is known as the EELV or Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle as well as scientific and commercial satellites and to conduct initial launches using this new system by the end of the decade.

As part of the Defense Department's next-generation launcher program, which started last year, we are combining the world-leading solid rocket propulsion technology from our legacy ATK business with the launch vehicle systems engineering and operations experience from our heritage Orbital unit to compete in a market area that was not directly addressable by either companies prior to last year's merger.

Our investments in 2016, as well as those of the Air Force, will cover the initial phase of design and development work with a decision in the first half of 2017 concerning the remaining activity to actually build and test this new launch vehicle family.
Quote
With regard to the Flight Systems initiative, on the new launch vehicle to be developed jointly with the Air Force, if that goes forward from the decision point next year, then that has the potential to generate revenue, certainly by 2018, possibly by the end of 2017 beginning on how it is structured.

At present, during the first phase of the work, the Air Force and the company are jointly funding early-stage research and development. The Air Force is investing approximately $50 million and the company is investing about $30 million this year. The $50 million from the Air Force though does not generate revenue if it is structured as a co-operative R&D program. If that were to change in the future periods, then we could see revenue generated in that initiative by the second half of 2017, although at present, we do not plan for that to occur.
Quote
There is certainly some important carryover from Ares 1 with regard to the solid rocket propulsion. It also benefits from and in turn provides benefits to NASA's space launch system which is in a sense a descendant of the Ares 1 project and to some other NASA and Defense programs as well. So there is a fair amount of carryover from a prior work that ATK conducted back five years or longer ago.

The design of our system does include in most of its specific configurations a liquid upper stage and we have studied several - I guess, I would say, three engine alternatives for that upper stage. We have a current preferred approach and two alternatives. Again, for competitive reasons, I'd prefer not to get into those just yet. But the system does involve a liquid upper stage.

Well, there has been a great deal of discussion about launch vehicle reusability, particularly over the last six months. I think the it's still too early to say whether in the real world of launch rates and refurbishment cost and payload penalties and so on that relate do reusability, whether it's going to make economic sense to reuse some or large part of the launch vehicle. Well, it maybe intuitively appealing to make references to we don't throw [away] airplanes and so on. Our rockets and airplanes are quite different machines and a past experience with launch vehicle reusability has been mixed at best in terms of achieving sustainable cost reductions. And so, I am a skeptic with regard to many of the claims that have been made for cost reductions related to reusability and in the case of our specific program, we are designing it to be cost competitive with not only the current pricing, but even somewhat lower pricing that may emerge in the future. But, you are correct, our system does not contemplate reusability and we will have to wait and see whether that's a good judgment or not.

Offline russianhalo117

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