Author Topic: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION  (Read 59381 times)

Offline rayleighscatter

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Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« on: 04/04/2017 12:12 AM »
With more solid information about the rocket starting to come it was about time the Next Generation Launch (NGL) System had it's own thread as opposed to continuing the past highly speculative thread. (https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=39322.0)

500 Series
Stage 1: Castor 600
Stage 2: Castor 300
Stage 3: Cryogenic
Fairing: 5x15m
Payload: 4,900 - 10,100kg GTO

500XL
Stage 1: Castor 1200
Stage 2: Castor 300
Stage 3: Cryogenic
Fairing: 5x15m or 5x20m
Payload: 5,250 - 7,800kg GEO

Here's the information from Orbital ATK's Press Release today:
Quote
Company’s Partnership with U. S. Air Force Focused on New Intermediate- and Large-Class Space Launch Vehicles

New Launchers to Use Company’s Industry-Leading Solid Rocket Propulsion Technology and Other Modular Elements


Dulles, Virginia 3 April 2017 – Orbital ATK (NYSE: OA), a global leader in aerospace and defense technologies, today announced that it has made important progress over the past 18 months in developing advanced solid rocket propulsion and other technologies to be used in a new generation of intermediate- and large-class space launch vehicles. Through a combination of internal investment and government funding from an Air Force contract awarded in late 2015 by the Space and Missile Systems Center’s Launch Systems Directorate, the company’s Flight Systems Group recently completed design reviews, facility upgrades and tooling fabrication, and has now begun early production of development hardware for its Next Generation Launch (NGL) system.
 
The company’s modular NGL rocket family will be capable of launching a wide variety of national security payloads, as well as science and commercial satellites that are too large to be launched by its current fleet of Pegasus, Minotaur and Antares space launch vehicles.  The NGL vehicles will operate from both east and west coast launch facilities and will share common propulsion, structures and avionics systems with other company programs, including its smaller space launch vehicles as well as missile defense interceptors, target vehicles and strategic missile systems.

“The NGL program is a great example of how industry and government can work together to develop an American launch system to support national security space launch requirements,” said Scott Lehr, President of Orbital ATK’s Flight Systems Group. “Orbital ATK is well-positioned to introduce an intermediate- and large-class family of launch vehicles by leveraging the strengths of the merged company to achieve low-cost assured space access for current and future national security payloads and other satellites.”

Through commonality of hardware and other economies of scale, Orbital ATK’s proposed launch system will also reduce the cost of other U.S. Government rocket and missile programs managed by the Air Force, Navy, NASA and Missile Defense Agency, saving taxpayers up to $600 million on these programs over a ten-year period.

Over the past 18 months, Orbital ATK has successfully completed critical design reviews for major elements of the company’s solid propulsion stages, along with preliminary vehicle-level and launch site infrastructure reviews. The company has also refurbished a 60,000-square-foot production building, including installation of automated tooling, cranes and other equipment to enable the manufacture of large-diameter composite-case rocket motors. Recently, the company completed the manufacturing of prototype motor test articles to be used in verification activities this summer.

“The Orbital ATK NGL team, which now numbers several hundred engineers and technicians, has made tremendous progress since late 2015.  Building on this work, we are looking forward to providing the Air Force and other customers with a highly-reliable and cost-effective launch system within the next four years,” said Lehr.

The next phase of the program is expected to commence when the Air Force awards Launch Services Agreements in early 2018, which would entail full vehicle and launch site development, with work taking place at company facilities in Promontory and Magna, Utah; Iuka, Mississippi; Chandler, Arizona; and Kennedy Space Center, Florida.

About Orbital ATK

Orbital ATK is a global leader in aerospace and defense technologies. The company designs, builds and delivers space, defense and aviation systems for customers around the world, both as a prime contractor and merchant supplier. Its main products include launch vehicles and related propulsion systems; missile products, subsystems and defense electronics; precision weapons, armament systems and ammunition; satellites and associated space components and services; and advanced aerospace structures. Headquartered in Dulles, Virginia, Orbital ATK employs approximately 12,500 people in 18 states across the U.S. and in several international locations. For more information, visit www.orbitalatk.com.

Attached is also OA's NGL fact sheet.

Edits will be made to this post as more information becomes available.

BR17001_3862 NGL_Final and Approved.pdf - Fact Sheet (April, 2017)
NGL_Factsheet 3-18.pdf - Fact Sheet (March, 2018)
« Last Edit: 03/31/2018 01:00 PM by rayleighscatter »

Online IanThePineapple

Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #1 on: 04/04/2017 12:26 AM »
from a distance the bottom pic looks like an Atlas V 521 on 39B

Offline Lars-J

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #2 on: 04/04/2017 12:33 AM »
from a distance the bottom pic looks like an Atlas V 521 on 39B

Yep. I'm curious what Vandenberg pad they are hoping to use, though. There is no Shuttle heritage infrastructure left there.

Offline GWH

Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #3 on: 04/04/2017 12:36 AM »
Really curious what the LEO payload would be - not the intended market I know but still.

Offline Space Ghost 1962

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #4 on: 04/04/2017 02:59 AM »
Really curious what the LEO payload would be - not the intended market I know but still.
Super 4 Segment Cygnus?

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #5 on: 04/04/2017 03:15 AM »
Even more interesting is ability to deliver payloads direct to GEO, something only ULA have offered and will be with ACES.

This long lived US may also be capable of delivering payloads direct to DSG.

Not stated but US is likely to be BE3U powered with possibility Blue will build complete stage.

Offline edkyle99

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #6 on: 04/04/2017 04:22 AM »
from a distance the bottom pic looks like an Atlas V 521 on 39B

Yep. I'm curious what Vandenberg pad they are hoping to use, though. There is no Shuttle heritage infrastructure left there.
In his story last year, Stephen Clark said that Orbital ATK was looking at rebuilding SLC 2.
https://spaceflightnow.com/2016/05/27/details-of-orbital-atks-proposed-heavy-launcher-revealed/

 - Ed Kyle

Offline Dante80

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #7 on: 04/04/2017 07:19 AM »
Not stated but US is likely to be BE3U powered with possibility Blue will build complete stage.

We do know that BE-3U is definitely the engine. OA is developing an extendable vacuum nozzle for it.

Judging from the fact that OA has not dabbled in hydrolox yet, it is very possible indeed that Blue will be the contractor for the US as a whole.
« Last Edit: 04/04/2017 07:21 AM by Dante80 »

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #8 on: 04/04/2017 10:04 AM »
Blue may not be launching DOD missions but their engines will be, whether it is ULA or OA LV.

Offline GWH

Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #9 on: 04/04/2017 03:58 PM »
Really curious what the LEO payload would be - not the intended market I know but still.
Super 4 Segment Cygnus?

HA! Why limit it at 4 segments when they could fit 6  ;)
Was more thinking about potential for heavy lift for the not-yet-existent prop depot market.

Even more interesting is ability to deliver payloads direct to GEO, something only ULA have offered and will be with ACES.

In it's largest configuration 250kg more payload to GEO than Delta-IV Heavy.  If they are competitive on price could be very lucrative contracts.

While my speculation is baseless I wonder if they are looking at direct to GEO capabilities as an extension to their satellite servicing being developed.  A type of rapid response repair service.

This long lived US may also be capable of delivering payloads direct to DSG. 

Less dV required than direct to GEO.  Would be very capable at delivery of Cygnus flown cargo or station modules (see Deep Space Habitat Proposal) to DSG.

Offline brickmack

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #10 on: 04/04/2017 05:25 PM »
Neat, bigger than DIVH then it looks like (for the XL version). Not a big fan of expendable solids, but maybe this could be a good stopgap for the next few years until reuse becomes a requirement for competitiveness

Super 4 Segment Cygnus?

At these sizes, probably makes more sense to design a totally new PCM (ATV/MPLM sized?). More mass efficient per volume, and at a certain point lengthening it more will probably cause SSRMS reach issues since the grapple fixtures are on the SM.

Offline baldusi

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #11 on: 04/04/2017 05:32 PM »
Really curious what the LEO payload would be - not the intended market I know but still.
It's usually between 2.5X~3X GTO performance. So this should be somewhere between 15 and 25 tonnes. The big uncertainty is due to the GTO undertainty. But yes, a 4.2m diameter evolution of the Cygnus could very well do up to something equivalent to the ATV performance (~20tonnes of cargo).

Offline GWH

Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #12 on: 04/04/2017 05:49 PM »
Really curious what the LEO payload would be - not the intended market I know but still.
It's usually between 2.5X~3X GTO performance. So this should be somewhere between 15 and 25 tonnes. The big uncertainty is due to the GTO undertainty. But yes, a 4.2m diameter evolution of the Cygnus could very well do up to something equivalent to the ATV performance (~20tonnes of cargo).

That is for the 500 series though right?

For the 500XL series, comparing the relative performance of Detla IV Heavy to GTO (14,700kg) & GEO performance (6750kg) & a taking WAG from the 7000kg max to GEO to approximate LEO performance would estimate from 35,000 kg to 44,000 kg. 
That's a lot more than the Delta IV heavy, but from my understanding the single RL-10 is really limited for LEO by gravity losses?  The BE-3U with over 4x the trust of an RL-10 should have a lot better performance there.

Offline kingfisherb90

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #13 on: 04/04/2017 08:07 PM »
I am also highly interested in the LEO and DRO payloads.
I would love to see an set of trades on an OATK Deep Space Gateway.

Course i'd also like to see trades on an "All of the above" Commercial DSG.

Offline baldusi

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #14 on: 04/04/2017 08:19 PM »
I am also highly interested in the LEO and DRO payloads.
I would love to see an set of trades on an OATK Deep Space Gateway.

Course i'd also like to see trades on an "All of the above" Commercial DSG.

AIUI, TLI is less than GEO. For example, DIVH does 6.75 tonnes to GEO but 10.57 to TLI (C3=-2km²/s²). Atlas V 551 does 3.9 and 6.3 respectively. Thus, a 500XL should do anywhere between 8.4 and 10.8 tonnes to TLI. The payload would then need propellant to move from and away from the DRO. So a 500XL could very comfortably enable SuperCygnus cargo to DRO.

Offline Kosmos2001

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #15 on: 04/04/2017 09:08 PM »
Orbital ATK just tweeted a pic with a model of the launcher:

Orbital ATK@OrbitalATK
 Come by and talk with our Orbital ATK space & launch teams at the Space Symposium (booth #750) & check out our NGL launch system #EELV #33SS

Offline edkyle99

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #16 on: 04/04/2017 09:48 PM »
Bigger version.

 - Ed Kyle

Offline JH

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #17 on: 04/05/2017 06:57 AM »
So there are 5 vehicles with an estimated LEO payload capacity of >30,000 kg actively being developed in the US right now?

SpaceX, Falcon Heavy
ULA, Vulcan/Aces
Blue Origin, New Glenn
Orbital ATK, NGL 500 XL
and, obviously SLS.

Strange times.

Offline arachnitect

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #18 on: 04/05/2017 07:00 AM »
https://spaceflightnow.com/2016/05/27/details-of-orbital-atks-proposed-heavy-launcher-revealed/

Quote
Orbital ATK’s business case requires five or six launches of the rocket per year for the military, NASA, or commercial customers, he said.

uh. that's worse than I thought.

I figured the selling point for this project was going to be viability at a glacial launch rate. Like 2 or 3 launches per year.

Offline woods170

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #19 on: 04/05/2017 09:53 AM »
https://spaceflightnow.com/2016/05/27/details-of-orbital-atks-proposed-heavy-launcher-revealed/

Quote
Orbital ATK’s business case requires five or six launches of the rocket per year for the military, NASA, or commercial customers, he said.

uh. that's worse than I thought.

I figured the selling point for this project was going to be viability at a glacial launch rate. Like 2 or 3 launches per year.
My thoughts exactly. Given that the capacity of all those new/existing launch systems far exceeds the long-term capacity predictions I don't see NGL progressing significantly beyond the Powerpoint-and-models stage.
« Last Edit: 04/05/2017 01:05 PM by woods170 »

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #20 on: 04/05/2017 10:22 AM »
May not be cheaper than F9R but should be competitive with Ariane 6 and Vulcan.

Offline baldusi

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #21 on: 04/05/2017 11:33 AM »
https://spaceflightnow.com/2016/05/27/details-of-orbital-atks-proposed-heavy-launcher-revealed/

Quote
Orbital ATK’s business case requires five or six launches of the rocket per year for the military, NASA, or commercial customers, he said.

uh. that's worse than I thought.

I figured the selling point for this project was going to be viability at a glacial launch rate. Like 2 or 3 launches per year.

I think this will show the limitations of big solids. Unless they get the SLS Block 2 boostr contract and leverage the government payed infrastructure.

Offline JPK

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #22 on: 04/05/2017 12:03 PM »
possible typothe paylode for the castor 1200 is given as less than the 600. Is this a typo?

Offline edkyle99

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #23 on: 04/05/2017 01:54 PM »
Given that the capacity of all those new/existing launch systems far exceeds the long-term capacity predictions I don't see NGL progressing significantly beyond the Powerpoint-and-models stage.
I would say the same for several of the other proposed launch vehicles.   Much depends on what happens, likely this year, when the button is finally pressed for BE-4 and Falcon Heavy.   Orbital ATK's decision point comes after those events are planned.

 - Ed Kyle

Offline notsorandom

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #24 on: 04/05/2017 03:05 PM »
https://spaceflightnow.com/2016/05/27/details-of-orbital-atks-proposed-heavy-launcher-revealed/

Quote
Orbital ATK’s business case requires five or six launches of the rocket per year for the military, NASA, or commercial customers, he said.

uh. that's worse than I thought.

I figured the selling point for this project was going to be viability at a glacial launch rate. Like 2 or 3 launches per year.

I think this will show the limitations of big solids. Unless they get the SLS Block 2 boostr contract and leverage the government payed infrastructure.
This rocket will already make use of a lot of shared costs. It will share the BE-3 and potentially the upper stage with Blue. It will share the strap on SRMs with ULA. It will use LC-39B and potentially the VAB. The fairing is likely to be built by a company already supplying another launch provider. The government has already paid for the a lot of the development of those big solids.

If they retire Antares and launch Cygnus on this rocket then they only have to get a few extra launches to be viable. It is interesting that they didn't use the liquid core from Antares instead of the big solids as the core of this rocket. I wonder what the cost and performance would have been if they upgraded Antares with the SRMs and the BE-3 upper stage.

Offline StarryKnight

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #25 on: 04/05/2017 04:26 PM »
possible typothe paylode for the castor 1200 is given as less than the 600. Is this a typo?

The payload weights for the two vehicle types reference different types of orbits (GTO vs.  direct to GEO), so not an apples to apples comparison.
In satellite operations, schedules are governed by the laws of physics and bounded by the limits of technology.

Offline Lars-J

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #26 on: 04/05/2017 04:56 PM »
Bigger version.

 - Ed Kyle

Does this more detailed model give us more clues about the stages involved in this rocket? It appears at a brief glance be a 2 stage and booster setup, but one single large solid first stage would not seem to have sufficient performance with the small liquid upper stage (in fairing) to match Delta IV Heavy...

Offline edkyle99

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #27 on: 04/05/2017 05:03 PM »
Bigger version.

 - Ed Kyle

Does this more detailed model give us more clues about the stages involved in this rocket? It appears at a brief glance be a 2 stage and booster setup, but one single large solid first stage would not seem to have sufficient performance with the small liquid upper stage (in fairing) to match Delta IV Heavy...
It seems at first glance consistent with last year's presentation slide, which showed or discussed two in-line solid motors topped by an LH2/LOX third stage.  If you look real close, you'll see a break in the cable conduit on the side of the solids about where the interstage should be located.  I think we're looking at a two-segment first stage topped by a one-segment second stage.  These are likely the new composite common booster segments rather than the SRB segments to which we are accustomed.

(I hope OATK releases a better copy of that slide.)

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 04/05/2017 05:09 PM by edkyle99 »

Offline Kosmos2001

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #28 on: 04/05/2017 05:44 PM »
From an appearance point of view I personally like it.

Offline Kryten

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #29 on: 04/05/2017 07:22 PM »
Attached is an Orbital fact sheet on NGL, with new renders for 500 and 500XL. I'm not sure exactly how old it is, but it's recent.

Offline Space Ghost 1962

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #30 on: 04/05/2017 08:49 PM »
May not be cheaper than F9R but should be competitive with Ariane 6 and Vulcan.
It should be.

Earlier concept for Ariane 6 was a PPH like this was to be. However, OA could make it work where Airbus Safran couldn't in part due to more cost sharing ...

It will share the BE-3 and potentially the upper stage with Blue. It will share the strap on SRMs with ULA. It will use LC-39B and potentially the VAB. The fairing is likely to be built by a company already supplying another launch provider. The government has already paid for the a lot of the development of those big solids.
Indeed. As Ed remarked in previous thread. They only need to qualify the Black Knights IIRC.

Quote
If they retire Antares and launch Cygnus on this rocket then they only have to get a few extra launches to be viable.
Not so sure. Depends on the trade-offs for this vehicle.

Remember that configuration for a solids vehicle is quite different than a LRE one.

Quote
It is interesting that they didn't use the liquid core from Antares instead of the big solids as the core of this rocket. I wonder what the cost and performance would have been if they upgraded Antares with the SRMs and the BE-3 upper stage.
Remember where the liquid core originates - from Ukraine. And the engines - Russia.

I think this will show the limitations of big solids. Unless they get the SLS Block 2 booster contract and leverage the government paid infrastructure.
It does.

And the problems with the booster contract is that SLS may be imperiled overall, and that even with the Black Knights you may not be able to make a compelling case for Block 2 as it is too small, given ITS/NA on the horizon.

Musk and Bezos are already having an effect on that front (cf my remarks on AR-1 thread).

If you look real close, you'll see a break in the cable conduit on the side of the solids about where the interstage should be located.  I think we're looking at a two-segment first stage topped by a one-segment second stage.  These are likely the new composite common booster segments rather than the SRB segments to which we are accustomed.
Thank you Ed, that was bothering me, glad you explained it.

That would allow them to field a vehicle sooner and for less upfront costs/risks.

Also might explain aspects of a Vandenberg pad cost/timing that could work on such a schedule.

I'm still reading this as a "SX or BE4 screw-up" opportunity for them. E.g. longshot.

But its a good proposal. Far better than the Liberty nonsense, and much more capable than Athena was.

Offline Rik ISS-fan

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #31 on: 04/06/2017 11:26 AM »
Wow OATK accually started manufacturing hardware for NGL, that's a big commitment.
In my view a solid rocket consists of five parts. The insuladed casing, the igniter, the fuel grain, the nozzle and the nozzle actuation system. The new part is the insulated casing, all other parts have a STS legacy.

OATK states that they need 5 to 6 launches annually. Assuming this are NGL500 launches, this corresponds with 15 to 24 casing segments, and grains to cast. And 10 to 12 igniters, nozzles and actuation systems. I assume OATK outsources the liquid upper-stage productions (5 to 6).
My guess is that one casing production station can produce up to 12 to 24 segments annually (1 month - 2 weeks production time).

A NGL500 requires three segments for it's two Solid stages,
a NGL 500XL requires 5 segments for it's two Solid stages.
And an SLS launch most likely requires 8 or 10 segments for the two SRB's.
I guess the business case closes with an anual production of 24 casings and grains and 8 igniters, nozzles and actuation systems.

For Ariane 6 it is rumoured that a single P120c (ESR/P142) will cost about 15mln euro.
I guess the Castor 300 will cost about the same in dollars. A Castor600 could cost 25mln and a Castor1200 45mln. So I guss NGL could be really price compatible.

As writen by others, Antares will have to be faced out for the same reason Atlas V has to be replaced by Vulcan. The real rockets that support the ICBM/ BMD production are;
Pegasus, Minotour and Athena. I think LM dropped off the Athena program, and I hope OATK will bring it to market eventually.
 

Offline GClark

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #32 on: 04/06/2017 12:04 PM »
a) I think LM dropped off the Athena program

b) I hope OATK will bring it to market eventually

a) They did.

b) OATK won't.  It directly competes with Pegasus and Taurus err, Minotaur-C.  IMNSHO, of course.

Offline edkyle99

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #33 on: 04/06/2017 01:41 PM »
Some bits of news in today's Defense News article. First, Orbital ATK believes NGL can be profitable on "three to four missions [per] year".  Second, C300 and C600 motors have completed CDR and will be static test fired in 2019.  Third, Orbital ATK will "select its [third stage] engine supplier as early as a month from now".  Finally, the third stage "tank assembly" will be "homegrown" (built by Orbital ATK).

http://www.defensenews.com/articles/commonality-key-for-orbital-atks-bid-to-win-air-force-launch-vehicle-program

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 04/06/2017 01:42 PM by edkyle99 »

Offline envy887

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #34 on: 04/06/2017 01:45 PM »
Some bits of news in today's Defense News article. First, Orbital ATK believes NGL can be profitable on "three to four missions [per] year".  Second, C300 and C600 motors have completed CDR and will be static test fired in 2019.  Third, Orbital ATK will "select its [third stage] engine supplier as early as a month from now".  Finally, the third stage "tank assembly" will be "homegrown" (built by Orbital ATK).

http://www.defensenews.com/articles/commonality-key-for-orbital-atks-bid-to-win-air-force-launch-vehicle-program

 - Ed Kyle

So could it be profitable launching just Cygnus? Or with one other launch a year?

Offline edkyle99

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #35 on: 04/06/2017 02:00 PM »
Some bits of news in today's Defense News article. First, Orbital ATK believes NGL can be profitable on "three to four missions [per] year".  Second, C300 and C600 motors have completed CDR and will be static test fired in 2019.  Third, Orbital ATK will "select its [third stage] engine supplier as early as a month from now".  Finally, the third stage "tank assembly" will be "homegrown" (built by Orbital ATK).

http://www.defensenews.com/articles/commonality-key-for-orbital-atks-bid-to-win-air-force-launch-vehicle-program

 - Ed Kyle

So could it be profitable launching just Cygnus? Or with one other launch a year?
It isn't being designed for Cygnus (it is Antares times two capability, roughly speaking).  NGL is vying for EELV work, primarily.  The idea is to win a core number of EELV launches and then augment those with NASA work.  It could presumably orbited an enlarged, much heavier Cygnus.  The XL version might also launch a Cygnus type spacecraft to a lunar outpost, etc. 

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 04/06/2017 02:33 PM by edkyle99 »

Offline AncientU

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #36 on: 04/06/2017 02:46 PM »
So there are 5 vehicles with an estimated LEO payload capacity of >30,000 kg actively being developed in the US right now?

SpaceX, Falcon Heavy
ULA, Vulcan/Aces
Blue Origin, New Glenn
Orbital ATK, NGL 500 XL
and, obviously SLS.

Strange times.

Six...

SpaceX, BFR
« Last Edit: 04/06/2017 02:47 PM by AncientU »
"If we shared everything [we are working on] people would think we are insane!"
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Offline TrevorMonty

Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #37 on: 04/06/2017 06:17 PM »
Building 3rd stage inhouse means they are not dependant on Blue, can always switch to RL10s if need be.

Avionics can come from Antares.
SRBs lend themselves to robotic assembly, case and fuel loading especially.

Offline Space Ghost 1962

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #38 on: 04/06/2017 08:46 PM »
Building 3rd stage inhouse means they are not dependant on Blue, can always switch to RL10s if need be.

Avionics can come from Antares.
SRBs lend themselves to robotic assembly, case and fuel loading especially.
All not true.

Solids have significant handling issues too.

Likely they are caught in a choice between what they should do and what they can do.

Once they know what their opening is viz Vulcan/FH "issues", then they can chose US strategy to match.

The signal about tanks internal is that they'll be responsible for most of the stage for cost reasons.
« Last Edit: 04/06/2017 10:28 PM by Space Ghost 1962 »

Offline JH

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #39 on: 04/07/2017 12:48 AM »
So there are 5 vehicles with an estimated LEO payload capacity of >30,000 kg actively being developed in the US right now?

SpaceX, Falcon Heavy
ULA, Vulcan/Aces
Blue Origin, New Glenn
Orbital ATK, NGL 500 XL
and, obviously SLS.

Strange times.

Six...

SpaceX, BFR

Yeah, I had listed ITS but then decided that it was a bit too nebulous at the moment with Musk recently hinting at "refinements" to be revealed in the near future.

Offline corneliussulla

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #40 on: 05/16/2017 10:20 AM »
So there are 5 vehicles with an estimated LEO payload capacity of >30,000 kg actively being developed in the US right now?

SpaceX, Falcon Heavy
ULA, Vulcan/Aces
Blue Origin, New Glenn
Orbital ATK, NGL 500 XL
and, obviously SLS.

Strange times.

Six...

SpaceX, BFR

ZWell really this is a paper rocket that will get built if the government gives them the money, why on earth would they do that SX have alternatives and BO is also spending its own money to make something with similar capabilities. Nothing about congress would surprise me but funding development of this thing would seem like madness.

Offline edkyle99

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #41 on: 05/16/2017 01:51 PM »
ZWell really this is a paper rocket that will get built if the government gives them the money, why on earth would they do that SX have alternatives and BO is also spending its own money to make something with similar capabilities. Nothing about congress would surprise me but funding development of this thing would seem like madness.
Can't the same be said for some of the others?  Vulcan ACES is as much paper as NGL.  New Glenn is no further along than NGL.  Etc.

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 05/16/2017 01:52 PM by edkyle99 »

Offline envy887

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #42 on: 05/16/2017 04:16 PM »
ZWell really this is a paper rocket that will get built if the government gives them the money, why on earth would they do that SX have alternatives and BO is also spending its own money to make something with similar capabilities. Nothing about congress would surprise me but funding development of this thing would seem like madness.
Can't the same be said for some of the others?  Vulcan ACES is as much paper as NGL.  New Glenn is no further along than NGL.  Etc.

 - Ed Kyle

They are all well past the paper stage as they are all building and testing primary propulsion - except NGL, which is still heavily based on built and tested STS/SLS hardware.

I think the point above was more about the money. Of the six US heavy or super-heavy lift vehicles in development, only NGL and SLS are primarily dependent on USG funding for development and missions. Vulcan is at least trying to be commercially viable, and its dev funding is primarily from ULA.

FH, NG, and ITS are almost entirely privately funded through development and don't need USG payloads to make development worthwhile.

Offline edkyle99

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #43 on: 05/16/2017 05:09 PM »
ZWell really this is a paper rocket that will get built if the government gives them the money, why on earth would they do that SX have alternatives and BO is also spending its own money to make something with similar capabilities. Nothing about congress would surprise me but funding development of this thing would seem like madness.
Can't the same be said for some of the others?  Vulcan ACES is as much paper as NGL.  New Glenn is no further along than NGL.  Etc.

 - Ed Kyle

They are all well past the paper stage as they are all building and testing primary propulsion - except NGL, which is still heavily based on built and tested STS/SLS hardware.
Orbital ATK has fabricated composite Common Booster Segment casings.  ULA has fabricated some Vulcan core test panels.  Orbital ATK has not yet test fired a CBS motor, but then again BE-4 has also not yet been test fired.  NGL's upper stage motor is (most likely) derived from BE-3.  The ACES upper stage motor has not yet been selected, but BE-3 is a candidate.  It seems to me that there are similarities in state-of-progress.
Quote

I think the point above was more about the money. Of the six US heavy or super-heavy lift vehicles in development, only NGL and SLS are primarily dependent on USG funding for development and missions. Vulcan is at least trying to be commercially viable, and its dev funding is primarily from ULA.

FH, NG, and ITS are almost entirely privately funded through development and don't need USG payloads to make development worthwhile.
If the Pentagon passes on Vulcan, ULA will drop it in an instant.  Just like Orbital ATK, ULA is getting some money from the government for this early development work.  Falcon Heavy is being developed to compete for EELV work, and yes, SpaceX is also getting a piece of Pentagon funding help.  (I would be surprised to see FH continue to fly if it were to lose the EELV competition.)  This is all part of the funding allotted after RD-180 became a political football.  There are at least three contenders, but plans call for only two winners in the end.     
http://www.americaspace.com/2016/03/03/air-force-funds-both-ar1-and-be-4-rocket-engine-development-to-replace-ulas-russian-rd-180/
http://www.defensenews.com/articles/as-rd-180-ban-looms-space-companies-make-steady-progress-on-new-launch-technologies

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 05/16/2017 05:17 PM by edkyle99 »

Offline envy887

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #44 on: 05/16/2017 08:30 PM »
...  It seems to me that there are similarities in state-of-progress.
That was indeed my point.


Quote
If the Pentagon passes on Vulcan, ULA will drop it in an instant. Just like Orbital ATK, ULA is getting some money from the government for this early development work.  Falcon Heavy is being developed to compete for EELV work, and yes, SpaceX is also getting a piece of Pentagon funding help.  (I would be surprised to see FH continue to fly if it were to lose the EELV competition.)

Vulcan should be at least marginally competitive in the commercial market. It wouldn't be a viable project without USG funding and payloads, but it should be able to win some commercial customers.

NGL doesn't seem to be going anywhere unless the majority of development is USG funded, and several USG payloads per year guaranteed. It doesn't sound like it will be competitive commercially, and even moving Cygnus missions to NGL and canning Antares wouldn't be enough to keep it alive.

SLS is pretty much in the same boat as NGL - a USG built launcher for USG purposes.

FH is commercially viable for large commsats and HSF, and has paying customers for both. Add in SpaceX's internal needs and I'd be highly surprised to see it canceled. They can't even delay it much more, since they have to stop improving F9. I haven't seen any indication that FH is specifically getting USG funding. Raptor is partially funded by the USAF, notionally for F9/FH, but Raptor seems rather unlikely to fly until some version of ITS.
« Last Edit: 05/16/2017 08:32 PM by envy887 »

Offline edkyle99

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #45 on: 05/17/2017 12:15 AM »
SLS is pretty much in the same boat as NGL - a USG built launcher for USG purposes.
SLS is a NASA design, with NASA serving as the oversight general contractor in a way.  NGL is an Orbital ATK project and design.  It is not all government funded, so erase that fallacy from your mind.  The current development efforts are proceeding on a cost-sharing basis, just like the comparable ULA and SpaceX efforts.  And don't kid yourself about Vulcan being commercially competitive.  If Vulcan does not win a Pentagon contract, it won't get built, in my opinion.  The same is true of NGL and, I believe, Falcon Heavy.

Falcon Heavy only has two or three commercial contracts, and only a handful of total planned launches at present.  It could very well prosper, but that is not a certainty.  I see NGL as part of an "all hands on deck" effort to replace RD-180.   Multiple efforts are underway.  Not all will succeed.  I'm not willing to bet for or against any of these efforts at this time.

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 05/17/2017 12:17 AM by edkyle99 »

Offline envy887

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #46 on: 05/17/2017 01:48 AM »
SLS is pretty much in the same boat as NGL - a USG built launcher for USG purposes.
SLS is a NASA design, with NASA serving as the oversight general contractor in a way.  NGL is an Orbital ATK project and design.  It is not all government funded, so erase that fallacy from your mind.  The current development efforts are proceeding on a cost-sharing basis, just like the comparable ULA and SpaceX efforts.  And don't kid yourself about Vulcan being commercially competitive.  If Vulcan does not win a Pentagon contract, it won't get built, in my opinion.  The same is true of NGL and, I believe, Falcon Heavy.

Falcon Heavy only has two or three commercial contracts, and only a handful of total planned launches at present.  It could very well prosper, but that is not a certainty.  I see NGL as part of an "all hands on deck" effort to replace RD-180.   Multiple efforts are underway.  Not all will succeed.  I'm not willing to bet for or against any of these efforts at this time.

 - Ed Kyle

While technically "commercial" I don't think NGL has any commercial launch business case, and it has been primarily funded by the USAF contributing $180M while Orbital chipped in $135M to develop propulsion [1]. The USAF also paid $200M to develop BE-4, but ULA is paying $135M and Blue a "sizable but proprietary" amount [2]. The USAF only paid "up to" $60M to SpaceX for Raptor, contingent on SpaceX contributing twice that amount [3].

I don't doubt ULA will drop Vulcan (and likely close shop) if it doesn't win a EELV spot. But that doesn't mean they won't sell a decent number of commercial launches on teh side if they win. Probably not enough to support the business, but far more than NGL. And Vulcan can also launch Starliner which is technically commercial and potentially rather profitable.

So while SLS is solely funded by NASA for NASA launches, NGL is just mostly funded by the DOD, mostly for DOD launches. Neither is an enviable position from my view.

[1] http://www.space.com/36362-orbital-atk-new-rocket-family.html
[2] http://www.americaspace.com/2016/03/03/air-force-funds-both-ar1-and-be-4-rocket-engine-development-to-replace-ulas-russian-rd-180/
[3] http://www.parabolicarc.com/2016/01/18/spacex-air-force-funding-infusion-raptor-engine/

Offline spacenut

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #47 on: 05/17/2017 02:30 AM »
From what I've seen from the last SpaceX launch, it was 6 tons to GTO.  Their website says 5.5 tons.  So, they have improved the F9 to the point it can cut out some FH launches.  IF, big IF, they develop a Raptor based 2nd stage, F9 could very well get 28-30 tons to LEO expendible.  They may not need FH except to compete with SLS or New Glenn with a Raptor based upper stage. 

If Orbital can use existing solid segments to make a 3 stage EELV, that would give some competition to SpaceX and ULA especially for government launches. 

ULA may be hurt if they don't get Vulcan with ACES built, it depends on it's parents.   

Offline GWH

Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #48 on: 05/17/2017 02:34 AM »
From what I've seen from the last SpaceX launch, it was 6 tons to GTO.  Their website says 5.5 tons.  So, they have improved the F9 to the point it can cut out some FH launches.

That is the recoverable capacity...

Offline baldusi

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #49 on: 05/17/2017 01:31 PM »
SpaceX has just demonstrated Proton-M/Zenith performance with expendable less-than-Block5 Falcon 9. I don't know what's the price point of expendable Falcon 9, but if they can do 6 tonnes and recover the first stage, NGL would need one huge business case to compete. And I'm assuming failure of New Glenn and Vulcan to match that price point.
CRS2 might be it. A CRS-like contract to a future Moon neighborhood station might be it. But without an Advanced SRB contract for SLS, I don't see the minimum scale of economics.

Offline Proponent

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #50 on: 05/19/2017 04:46 PM »
So while SLS is solely funded by NASA for NASA launches, NGL is just mostly funded by the DOD, mostly for DOD launches. Neither is an enviable position from my view.

I'll bet that DoD will look favorably on NGL, despite iffy economics, simply because it will keep the US solid-motor industry turning over.
« Last Edit: 05/19/2017 06:06 PM by Proponent »

Offline Navier–Stokes

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #51 on: 06/28/2017 01:30 AM »
Yet another attempt to restrict Air Force funding to the the development of first-stage rocket engines only:
The “chairman’s mark” version of the [fiscal year 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA)], released by the committee June 26, includes a section restricting Air Force funding of vehicle development under the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle program. Under that provision, the Air Force would be limited to funding new engines, integration of those engines with vehicles, and related capabilities to support national security launches.

The section includes a specific prohibition against funding “the development of new launch vehicles under such program.” It also specifically defines a “rocket propulsion system” that can be funded as a first-stage rocket engine or motor. “The term does not include a launch vehicle, an upper stage, a strap-on motor, or related infrastructure,” it states.

The Defense Department opposes that language in the bill. In a document submitted to the committee and obtained by SpaceNews, it warned that the language would force it to abandon some ongoing vehicle development efforts and rely primarily on ULA’s Delta 4 and SpaceX’s Falcon 9.

[...]“Section 1615 appears to force the Department to end the more than $300 [million] investment in the industry-developed systems and instead use a modernized Delta IV launch vehicle and/or the Falcon 9,” it stated, referring to the section of the NDAA that contains the funding restriction. The Falcon 9, it noted, cannot handle many national security missions, while the Delta 4 is significantly more expensive than alternative existing vehicles.
Edit: cross-posted from ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle - General Discussion as it is also relevant to NGL.
« Last Edit: 06/28/2017 01:42 AM by Navier–Stokes »

Offline spacenut

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #52 on: 06/29/2017 01:52 PM »
It seems as if the NGL rocket already has the "components" to make one from existing boosters and developments.  How long if they started today, could they have a complete rocket ready to test and launch?  Could it beat Vulcan or New Glenn to the launch pad?

Offline edkyle99

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #53 on: 06/29/2017 02:21 PM »
It seems as if the NGL rocket already has the "components" to make one from existing boosters and developments.  How long if they started today, could they have a complete rocket ready to test and launch?  Could it beat Vulcan or New Glenn to the launch pad?
Vulcan Centaur and 2-Stage New Glenn are both claiming operational dates that precede Orbital ATK's planned NGL-5XX date by a year or two, but I take all of these claims - all of them - with a grain of salt.  Vulcan ACES, 3-Stage New Glenn, and NGL-5XX-XL are all currently aiming for the same year (2023), but, again, salt.

 - Ed Kyle

Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #54 on: 06/29/2017 02:44 PM »
It seems as if the NGL rocket already has the "components" to make one from existing boosters and developments.  How long if they started today, could they have a complete rocket ready to test and launch?  Could it beat Vulcan or New Glenn to the launch pad?

Building the 'components" of the NGL are not the hard part, since they have internal experience with that.

Building a team to be responsible for the entire rocket, building the launch infrastructure, building a launch team, and making it all work is going to take time. And they don't have experience being a launch provider.

Plus, I don't see the company funding a full-up launch unless they have a clear path towards at least breaking even on this, which means either a commitment from the U.S. Government or they find private sector customers that want to use them - which I would not believe is possible.

EDIT: Yep, I goofed on that one. Orbital has launch experience with small and medium rockets. I guess I was thinking of just ATK.

Thanks for pointing that out.
« Last Edit: 06/30/2017 01:17 AM by Coastal Ron »
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

Offline douglas100

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #55 on: 06/29/2017 02:53 PM »

... And they don't have experience being a launch provider....

Pegasus. Taurus. Minotaur. Antares.

Offline Zed_Noir

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #56 on: 06/29/2017 11:16 PM »

... And they don't have experience being a launch provider....

Pegasus. Taurus. Minotaur. Antares.

But all of them except for Antares are assemble with parts derived from various US solid fueled strategic missiles for small to medium payloads. Even the Antares in both incarnation have a large solid upper stage that restricted beyond LEO performance. I take @Coastal Ron's comment to meant that O-ATK don't have much experience launching medium to large commercial comsats to GEO.

edited to add "derived"

@jim is correct. Only the Minotaur uses ex-USAF missile parts.
« Last Edit: 06/30/2017 12:39 AM by Zed_Noir »

Offline Jim

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #57 on: 06/29/2017 11:39 PM »
No, only Minotaur uses ICBM motors. Taurus and Pegasus use new motors

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #58 on: 06/30/2017 12:21 AM »
The Be3U powered US would be the most challenging for OA as they don't have LH experience. Nothing poaching engineers from ULA or Blue couldn't fix. Blue may even offer help if it results in BE3 sales.

Offline Lars-J

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #59 on: 06/30/2017 12:27 AM »

... And they don't have experience being a launch provider....

Pegasus. Taurus. Minotaur. Antares.

It all depends on on how silo'd (separated) off the Orbital and ATK parts of the company are. OATK hasn't exactly warmly embraced Antares until perhaps recently. Also, past history of an organization is no guarantee that the current employees have retained that skill-set. There are lots of examples of that.

Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #60 on: 06/30/2017 01:19 AM »

... And they don't have experience being a launch provider....

Pegasus. Taurus. Minotaur. Antares.

Thanks for pointing that out, and I've edited my post to correct my oversight. I think I was only thinking of the ATK part of Orbital ATK.
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

Offline douglas100

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #61 on: 06/30/2017 09:49 AM »
You're welcome. I don't think there's any doubt they could do NGL technically and operationally. It's the business case that's problematic.
Douglas Clark

Offline Kabloona

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #62 on: 06/30/2017 10:29 PM »
It all depends on on how silo'd (separated) off the Orbital and ATK parts of the company are. OATK hasn't exactly warmly embraced Antares until perhaps recently. Also, past history of an organization is no guarantee that the current employees have retained that skill-set. There are lots of examples of that.
David Thompson, Orbital co-founder, is at the helm of this merged company.  He moved Scott Lehr, from the ATK side of the house, into the lead of Orbital ATK’s Flight Systems Group, which is developing NGL (and operating Antares, Pegasus, Minotaur, etc.).  It seems to me to have been a purposeful move designed to help tear down the old walls.

No guarantees, but this merger seems to me to have many synergies.  Motor builder joins company that uses motors. 

 - Ed Kyle

The merger can also be seen as the next logical step after the "joint venture" model that Orbital and Hercules used to develop Pegasus, in which the companies shared development costs/responsibilities and profits, IIRC.

So if Pegasus was the fruit of a liaison between Orbital and Hercules, NGL will/would be the fruit of a real marriage of Orbital and ATK.

I guess Dave Thompson et al figured the Pegasus joint venture experience was positive enough the take the plunge with ATK.

Offline Archibald

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #63 on: 07/01/2017 10:26 AM »
I keep reading "LNG rocket" hence a rocket running on liquid natural gas (refueled and launched from a LNG ship ?)  ;D
« Last Edit: 07/01/2017 10:27 AM by Archibald »
...you have been found guilty by the elders of the forum of a (imaginary) vendetta against Saint Elon - BLAAASPHEMER !

Offline Rik ISS-fan

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #64 on: 07/03/2017 05:26 AM »
I keep reading "LNG rocket" hence a rocket running on liquid natural gas (refueled and launched from a LNG ship ?)  ;D

What do you think about a expendable TSTO with BE-4U engine upper-stage? (Instead of Castor300+BE-3UEN 3th stage)
Could LOx and LNG alu or plastic COPV propallent tanks be produced using the same tooling as for the Castor X00 solid casings?
« Last Edit: 07/03/2017 05:40 AM by Rik ISS-fan »

Offline Ronsmytheiii

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #65 on: 07/04/2017 10:59 AM »
The Be3U powered US would be the most challenging for OA as they don't have LH experience. Nothing poaching engineers from ULA or Blue couldn't fix. Blue may even offer help if it results in BE3 sales.

They might not even need to poach guys from ULA, there is a lot of talent being let go in ULA's downsizing efforts that can be scooped up easily (and cheaply).
And this is a good reminder that just because one of your fellow space enthusiasts occasionally voices doubts about the SpaceX schedule announcements or is cautious about believing SpaceX has licked a problem before actually seeing proof that's true, it doesn't mean they hate SpaceX.

Offline edkyle99

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #66 on: 07/07/2017 07:11 PM »
Systems Engineering position (among several) for ULA Vulcan and Orbital ATK Next Generation Launcher (NGL) USAF New Entrant Certification in Los Angeles, CA.  This is likely a job for a contractor working for the Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) in El Segundo, CA at Los Angeles Air Force Base.
https://www.linkedin.com/jobs/view/388507126

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 07/07/2017 07:14 PM by edkyle99 »

Offline russianhalo117

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #67 on: 07/07/2017 11:17 PM »
Systems Engineering position (among several) for ULA Vulcan and Orbital ATK Next Generation Launcher (NGL) USAF New Entrant Certification in Los Angeles, CA.  This is likely a job for a contractor working for the Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) in El Segundo, CA at Los Angeles Air Force Base.
https://www.linkedin.com/jobs/view/388507126

 - Ed Kyle
My cousin whom works at LAAFB says the position is based out of LAAFB but is a mobile position with varying job sites/locations. My cousin says that security clearance would likely be needed, but to check for the job listing in USAJobs for details (https://dod.usajobs.gov/ and http://godefense.cpms.osd.mil/).

Offline envy887

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #68 on: 07/17/2017 12:45 PM »
Dates for static fire testing and operation of the heavy version:

Quote
Orbital ATK plans to compete its proposed NGL intermediate- and heavy-lift rockets in future Air Force competitions. So far, the company has passed crucial design reviews and is working toward a static fire of its four-segment heavy-lift booster in about 2022. The company expects that rocket to be operational in 2024.

Orbital ATK sees NGL as a natural progression from its smaller rockets, such as Pegasus and Antares. Antares currently delivers supplies for NASA to the International Space Station.

“We have made very incremental steps in improving our capability,” said Mark Pieczynski, vice president of business development and strategy for Orbital ATK’s flight systems group. “We’re now ready to move into the intermediate and heavy class.”

Orbital ATK and the Air Force together are investing more than $200 million to develop the launch system.

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-heavy-lift-rockets-20170716-htmlstory.html

Offline envy887

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #69 on: 07/17/2017 12:56 PM »
I keep reading "LNG rocket" hence a rocket running on liquid natural gas (refueled and launched from a LNG ship ?)  ;D

What do you think about a expendable TSTO with BE-4U engine upper-stage? (Instead of Castor300+BE-3UEN 3th stage)
Could LOx and LNG alu or plastic COPV propallent tanks be produced using the same tooling as for the Castor X00 solid casings?

That would be great for LEO, slightly better than the 3-stage in fact. But the heavy, low impulse upper stage hurts high energy performance. With BE-4 upper the NGL 500 XL would get about 8,000 kg to GTO, while the Castor 300 + BE-3U upper stage pair would get 12,000 kg.

Offline Rebel44

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #70 on: 07/30/2017 09:45 PM »
IMO:

OATKs business plan for NGLV is to hope for competitor(s) to fail - otherwise there wont be enough launches to make money on NGLV.

US DoD wants 2 providers and based on LVs in development (or already operational) we will likely see LVs from:
SpaceX
ULA
OATK
Blue Origin (if they decide to go for for these payloads)

DoD/NRO would have no objections to having more than 2 options, but they wont save 3rd or 4th player if/when they get into trouble, so IMO business plan for NGLV is very weak.

Online FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #71 on: 08/03/2017 01:43 PM »
Quote
Jeff Foust‏ @jeff_foust 2m2 minutes ago

[Orbital ATK's David] Thompson: expecting joint go/no-go decision with the Air Force late this year or early next year on next phase of Next Generation Launcher.

https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/893104270689611776

Offline envy887

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #72 on: 08/03/2017 02:54 PM »
Is there a reason the Ares 1 vibration issues won't also be a problem on NGL? The XL version is pretty similar in design.

Offline russianhalo117

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #73 on: 08/03/2017 04:31 PM »
Is there a reason the Ares 1 vibration issues won't also be a problem on NGL? The XL version is pretty similar in design.

Different stage lengths for starters.

Offline envy887

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #74 on: 08/03/2017 07:25 PM »
Is there a reason the Ares 1 vibration issues won't also be a problem on NGL? The XL version is pretty similar in design.

Different stage lengths for starters.

The NGL 500 XL has the same size motors as the STS SRBs, which experienced significant thrust oscillation that was largely damped by the stiffness ET thrust beam and the mass of the ET. NGL doesn't have a ET or a thrust beam.

It is also the same size as the Ares 1-X booster, which apparently didn't have any significant problems related to thrust oscillation.

Offline russianhalo117

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #75 on: 08/03/2017 11:18 PM »
Is there a reason the Ares 1 vibration issues won't also be a problem on NGL? The XL version is pretty similar in design.

Different stage lengths for starters.

The NGL 500 XL has the same size motors as the STS SRBs, which experienced significant thrust oscillation that was largely damped by the stiffness ET thrust beam and the mass of the ET. NGL doesn't have a ET or a thrust beam.

It is also the same size as the Ares 1-X booster, which apparently didn't have any significant problems related to thrust oscillation.
Boosters being used have the Lessons learned from Constellation and other changes from SLS booster tests. OA 2016 Motor catalog refers to Castor 300, 600, 900, 1200 as versions available and other documents and presentations reference 3 of the 4 configurations with the programme..

Offline Sam Ho

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #76 on: 08/04/2017 12:42 AM »
From the earnings call today:
Quote
In our flight systems segment, the company and the Air Force are now in the second year of what may well be a thought year, jointly funded program to create a new intermediate and large class launch vehicle.

As I mentioned before, our objective, our joint objective is to develop a family of vehicles capable of launching both defense as well as commercial and scientific satellites that are larger heavier than those that can be accommodated by our current Antares rocket and have those new launchers ready for initial flights in 2020 or 2021.

Our investments last year and this year together with those of the Air Force that covered the preliminary phases of design and facility expansion, we're expecting a joint go no go between the Air Force and Orbital ATK late this year or early next year concerning the next phase to actually move into full-scale development and testing of these vehicles in advance of commencing production and launch operations around the end of the decade.
https://seekingalpha.com/article/4094384-orbital-atks-oa-ceo-dave-thompson-q2-2017-results-earnings-call-transcript

Offline Mike Jones

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #77 on: 08/11/2017 05:49 PM »
Did Orbital-ATK select their cryogenic upper stage supplier ? Blue Origin or aerojet-rocketdyne (+ a partner for the rest of the stage) ?

Offline rayleighscatter

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #78 on: 11/07/2017 10:35 PM »
And pictures of the segment.


Offline Rik ISS-fan

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #79 on: 11/07/2017 10:42 PM »
From the new NGL Development milestone topic, we can conclude that OATK (NG) is really developing NGL. They have completed a load test and are going to cast and test a inert stage early 2018.

I assume that OATK/NG will use up their supply of Angara tank structures and RS-181 engines, and after that terminate the Antares program. Most likely a version of NGL will take over the role of Antares.
AFAIK NGL 500 is lot heavier rocket than Antares. So to replace Antares a smaller rocket is required.
OATK/NG has multiple solid stage families: Orion50" (32", 38", 48", 75" & 92") GEM40", -48" -60" and -63", Castor 120(XL) 60, -30(B/XL) [92" / 92.1"] and Castor 1200, -600 & -300. With these stages they have developed multiple solid rockets for multiple purposes. Which stages will a NGL replacement for Antares utilize?

I think a Castor 600 + Cryogenic second stage won't work because of to high acceleration forces. 
Possibly a Castor 300 with flat burn profile can work!? (I know: this is a different stage than the Castor 300 second stage!)
A third option is a NGL with Castor 300 2x + Cryogenic 3th stage. NGL 300?
A forth option is a >3 stage full solid rocket. This could be:
- Castor 600 + Castor 300 + Castor 30(XL)
- Castor 300 (s.l. optimized) + Castor 300 + Castor 30(XL)
- Castor 300 + Castor 120 + Castor 30(XL)
Which of the options matches best with the Cygnus ISS resupply missions in your opinion?

OATK/NG also have the Minotaur and Pegasus series of rockets. Earlier I've stated in the Surplus ICBM topic; that I think US small satellite developers and Venture class launch providers could benefit when new upper-stages are developed for the Minotaur rockets. This could be the future for the MARS launch pads, and PSCA)
I'm sorry to point to this, but US small and nano satellite developers can't find US rockets to launch their payloads on. So they rely on PSLV, Soyuz, and Nanoracks deployment form the ISS (only good US launch service).
{off topic} I also criticize Arianespace for their lack of providing a good launch service for small and micro satellites, but they are working on it.{/off topic}
How do you think about using engine developed for Venture class rockets to power liquid upper-stages for NGL and Minotaur rockets?
Which rocket configuration with venture class derived upper-stage could replace Antares?

The CastorX00 family is far beter than the RSRB family in my oppinion. STS and Ariane 4/5 have proven that reusable solids are more expansive than expendable once. Refurbishment of solids is far to dangerous (toxic) and hand labor intensive. The CFRP-casings can be manufactured on automated lines, and all the facilities are already present in Utah.
The 200mln development cost is remarkably low in my opinion. That will have a very good return on investment if the NGL rockets and SLS will use the Castor x00 segments. (makes nearly all missiles cheaper as well)
« Last Edit: 11/08/2017 09:04 AM by Rik ISS-fan »

Offline Patchouli

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #80 on: 11/08/2017 06:04 AM »
A BE-3 based upper stage with enough propellant may only need the first stage SRB for LEO missions.
A Castor 1200 with a two BE-3U upper stage should be good for around 10,000kg.
 I made a lot of conservative assumptions based on the shuttle RSRM and S-IVB mass fractions and assumed the BE 3-U has an ISP of around 435 though the engine can probably do better than this so in reality it probably would be better.
« Last Edit: 11/08/2017 06:12 AM by Patchouli »

Offline hkultala

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #81 on: 11/08/2017 06:17 AM »
A BE-3 based upper stage with enough propellant may only need the first stage SRB for LEO missions.
A Castor 1200 with a two BE-3U upper stage should be good for around 10,000kg on the low end I made a lot of conservative assumptions based on the shuttle RSRM and S-IVB mass fractions and assumed the BE 3-U has an ISP of around 435 though the engine can probably do better than this.
Everything sized around the Castor 600 would be about 5tons.

Something being possible and something being economical and smart thing to do are two totally different things.

Your hyphotherical 2*BE-3 upper stage would need huge tanks and would weight a lot. It would be a terrible upper stage for HEO missions due the very high inert mass.

And having two separate liquid-fueled upper stages for different missions would raise costs.

OATK wants to use their own solids as much as possible, not want to buy liquid engines from other companies just because it's possible.


What might make sense is to always have solid first and second stage. Then have two different third stages, solid for LEO and (single) BE-3U based for HEO.
« Last Edit: 11/08/2017 06:22 AM by hkultala »

Offline Patchouli

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #82 on: 11/08/2017 06:55 AM »
Though even a single BE-3U is oversized for a small upper stage.
« Last Edit: 11/08/2017 07:27 AM by Patchouli »

Offline Rik ISS-fan

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #83 on: 11/08/2017 09:30 AM »
There have been several DLR studies for expendable rockets with a solid first stage and cryogenic upperstage. One of the studies: VENUS (VEga New Upper Stage) studied multiple configurations for future vega rockets. The VEGA-F configuration used a P120-P160 first stage and a Vince powered upperstage. The conclusion with that configuration was that the acceleration levels would be very high, because the 2th stage + payload & fairing are very light (<40mT).
That's why I don't think a configuration with Castor600 or Castor1200 and a cryogenic upper-stage would work.
Because BE-3U (530kN [120k lbf] in vacuum) is roughly 3x as powerful as Vince (180kN [40 470 lbf], the cryogenic upper-stage could be much larger and heavier. Thus I think that a Castor 300 + enlarged Cryostage could work, but the cryo stage wouldn't be the same stage as for the other NGL configurations.

OATK wants to use their own solids as much as possible, not want to buy liquid engines from other companies just because it's possible.

What might make sense is to always have solid first and second stage. Then have two different third stages, solid for LEO and (single) BE-3U based for HEO.
I agree with this, with the side note that two different liquid upper-stages; deep cryo (LOX LH2) and soft cryo (LOx RP-1), could also bring benefits. (A LOxLCH4 / LOxLC3H8 cryo stage would be even beter).
I think that two different lengths of cryogenic stages could work economically. But OATK want's to use their solids.
« Last Edit: 11/08/2017 09:45 AM by Rik ISS-fan »

Online jacqmans

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #84 on: 11/08/2017 10:07 AM »
Orbital ATK Successfully Tests First Motor Case for Next Generation Launch Vehicle

NGL System Achieves Critical Milestone with Completion of Structural Acceptance Test

Dulles, Virginia 7 November 2017 – Orbital ATK (NYSE: OA), a global leader in aerospace and defense technologies, announced it has successfully completed an important milestone in developing advanced solid rocket propulsion and other technologies to be used in a new generation of intermediate- and large-class space launch vehicles. The company is in early production of development hardware for its Next Generation Launch (NGL) system, and on October 27 successfully completed the structural acceptance test on the first motor high-strength composite case for this program.

The applied structural loads during the test demonstrated over 110 percent of maximum expected motor operating pressure and 110 percent of operational/flight and pre-launch compressive/tensile line loads. This full-scale motor case segment will be cast with inert solid rocket propellant in early 2018 and shipped to the launch site for check-out of ground operations.

“NGL is one of Orbital ATK’s top growth initiatives,” said Scott Lehr, President of Orbital ATK’s Flight Systems Group. “This milestone clearly shows the progress being made by the hundreds of engineers and technicians in Utah and Arizona who are developing the NGL system.”
 
Orbital ATK’s NGL rocket family will be capable of launching the entire spectrum of national security payloads, as well as science and commercial satellites that are too large to be launched by the company’s current Pegasus®, Minotaur and AntaresTM space launch vehicles. The NGL vehicles will share common propulsion, structures and avionics systems with other company programs, including smaller space launch vehicles as well as missile defense interceptors, target vehicles and strategic missile systems.

“By sharing a skilled workforce, facilities and subsystems across multiple programs, we’ve designed NGL to be affordable and reliable,” said Lehr. “For example, NGL uses common avionics that have flown on more than 100 missions with 100 percent success.”

The next phase of the program is expected to begin when the Air Force awards the Launch Services Agreement in mid-2018, which would entail full vehicle and launch site development, with work taking place at company facilities in Promontory and Magna, Utah; Iuka, Mississippi; Chandler, Arizona; Kennedy Space Center, Florida; and Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.

Offline Patchouli

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #85 on: 11/08/2017 05:12 PM »
There have been several DLR studies for expendable rockets with a solid first stage and cryogenic upperstage. One of the studies: VENUS (VEga New Upper Stage) studied multiple configurations for future vega rockets. The VEGA-F configuration used a P120-P160 first stage and a Vince powered upperstage. The conclusion with that configuration was that the acceleration levels would be very high, because the 2th stage + payload & fairing are very light (<40mT).
That's why I don't think a configuration with Castor600 or Castor1200 and a cryogenic upper-stage would work.
Because BE-3U (530kN [120k lbf] in vacuum) is roughly 3x as powerful as Vince (180kN [40 470 lbf], the cryogenic upper-stage could be much larger and heavier. Thus I think that a Castor 300 + enlarged Cryostage could work, but the cryo stage wouldn't be the same stage as for the other NGL configurations.

OATK wants to use their own solids as much as possible, not want to buy liquid engines from other companies just because it's possible.

What might make sense is to always have solid first and second stage. Then have two different third stages, solid for LEO and (single) BE-3U based for HEO.
I agree with this, with the side note that two different liquid upper-stages; deep cryo (LOX LH2) and soft cryo (LOx RP-1), could also bring benefits. (A LOxLCH4 / LOxLC3H8 cryo stage would be even beter).
I think that two different lengths of cryogenic stages could work economically. But OATK want's to use their solids.

An upper stage properly sized for the BE3-U would be about 60% the size of a S-IVB but it can throttle deeply so in theory could be made to work on a smaller stage but you'd have a high mass penalty of a too large engine.
The RL-10 or Vinci looks like the best option though I wonder could a couple of Rutherfords  work for a third stage?
« Last Edit: 11/08/2017 05:13 PM by Patchouli »

Offline gongora

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #86 on: 12/14/2017 01:53 AM »
Surprising news!

OrbitalATK is considering the AerojetRocketdyne RL10 or ArianeGroup Vinci rocket engine for its Next Generation Launcher upper stage after rejecting Blueorigin's BE-3U. Decision expected in Q1 2018.

http://aviationweek.com/awinspace/orbital-atk-pick-upper-stage-engine-ngl

Offline AncientU

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #87 on: 12/14/2017 02:22 AM »
There have been several DLR studies for expendable rockets with a solid first stage and cryogenic upperstage. One of the studies: VENUS (VEga New Upper Stage) studied multiple configurations for future vega rockets. The VEGA-F configuration used a P120-P160 first stage and a Vince powered upperstage. The conclusion with that configuration was that the acceleration levels would be very high, because the 2th stage + payload & fairing are very light (<40mT).
That's why I don't think a configuration with Castor600 or Castor1200 and a cryogenic upper-stage would work.
Because BE-3U (530kN [120k lbf] in vacuum) is roughly 3x as powerful as Vince (180kN [40 470 lbf], the cryogenic upper-stage could be much larger and heavier. Thus I think that a Castor 300 + enlarged Cryostage could work, but the cryo stage wouldn't be the same stage as for the other NGL configurations.

OATK wants to use their own solids as much as possible, not want to buy liquid engines from other companies just because it's possible.

What might make sense is to always have solid first and second stage. Then have two different third stages, solid for LEO and (single) BE-3U based for HEO.
I agree with this, with the side note that two different liquid upper-stages; deep cryo (LOX LH2) and soft cryo (LOx RP-1), could also bring benefits. (A LOxLCH4 / LOxLC3H8 cryo stage would be even beter).
I think that two different lengths of cryogenic stages could work economically. But OATK want's to use their solids.

An upper stage properly sized for the BE3-U would be about 60% the size of a S-IVB but it can throttle deeply so in theory could be made to work on a smaller stage but you'd have a high mass penalty of a too large engine.
The RL-10 or Vinci looks like the best option though I wonder could a couple of Rutherfords  work for a third stage?

Nice call.
"If we shared everything [we are working on] people would think we are insane!"
-- SpaceX friend of mlindner

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #88 on: 12/14/2017 03:52 AM »
The Vinci option maybe there as bargaining chip against AJR. Has good reliability record and built by allies so DoD certification may not be big issue.

The NGLV will be competing with Ariane 6 for commercial launches, not sure how Ariane Aerospace view that.

Offline Chasm

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #89 on: 12/14/2017 04:54 AM »
Rutherfords are not exactly Hydrolox engines. At least so far.

An argument for Vinci over RL10 would be to offer a dissimilar engine that is flying a lot (with someone else). Taking the backup launcher idea and running with it.

Offline woods170

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #90 on: 12/14/2017 09:50 AM »
The Vinci option maybe there as bargaining chip against AJR. Has good reliability record and built by allies so DoD certification may not be big issue.

The NGLV will be competing with Ariane 6 for commercial launches, not sure how Ariane Aerospace view that.

The fact that Vinci is built by allies of the USA does exactly nothing to aid certification for US NSS use: from a USA point-of-view it is a foreign-designed, -built and -tested engine.
What also won't help is that Vinci is developed exclusively with ESA money. ESA might object to Vinci being used on a US launcher for US NSS purposes.

Quote from: ESA Director General
The ESA itself is not a civilian agency. It is an agency for peaceful purposes and may have programmes with a security component. If and when Europe needs space as an enabling tool for its security and defence policy, ESA will be prepared to develop the required programmes.”

Additionally: NASA was initially interested in using Vinci on the EUS for SLS (2014). But that plan went nowhere when NASA and ESA couldn't agree on the specific terms-of-use and the general certification requirements for Vinci.
So, what makes people think that the certifying agencies for US NSS launches will be able to come to an agreement with ESA?
« Last Edit: 12/14/2017 09:57 AM by woods170 »

Offline woods170

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #91 on: 12/14/2017 10:02 AM »
Rutherfords are not exactly Hydrolox engines. At least so far.

An argument for Vinci over RL10 would be to offer a dissimilar engine that is flying a lot (with someone else). Taking the backup launcher idea and running with it.

Vinci is still in development and won't start flying until 2020 (on Ariane 6). Also, it won't fly often; just 8 to 12 times per year on A6.
On the other hand: RL10 (derivatives) have been flying for 4+ decades and consistently launch a dozen times per year (or more) on NSS-certified launch vehicles already.
My bet is on OATK down-selecting to RL10. It fits "build American, fly American".
« Last Edit: 12/14/2017 10:03 AM by woods170 »

Offline john smith 19

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #92 on: 12/14/2017 11:14 AM »
Reposted:
Surprising news!

OrbitalATK is considering the AerojetRocketdyne RL10 or ArianeGroup Vinci rocket engine for its Next Generation Launcher upper stage after rejecting Blueorigin's BE-3U. Decision expected in Q1 2018.

http://aviationweek.com/awinspace/orbital-atk-pick-upper-stage-engine-ngl

Wonder what Orbital saw in Blue's engine that they didn't like?  Does this reduce Blue's chances on Vulcan, too?
This is like Liberty Launcher Lite?

How real is this thing anyway?

BTW IIRC neither BE-3 or Vince has any flight history.
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 TrevorMonty

Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #93 on: 12/14/2017 12:41 PM »
The Vinci option maybe there as bargaining chip against AJR. Has good reliability record and built by allies so DoD certification may not be big issue.

The NGLV will be competing with Ariane 6 for commercial launches, not sure how Ariane Aerospace view that.

The fact that Vinci is built by allies of the USA does exactly nothing to aid certification for US NSS use: from a USA point-of-view it is a foreign-designed, -built and -tested engine.
What also won't help is that Vinci is developed exclusively with ESA money. ESA might object to Vinci being used on a US launcher for US NSS purposes.

Quote from: ESA Director General
The ESA itself is not a civilian agency. It is an agency for peaceful purposes and may have programmes with a security component. If and when Europe needs space as an enabling tool for its security and defence policy, ESA will be prepared to develop the required programmes.”

Additionally: NASA was initially interested in using Vinci on the EUS for SLS (2014). But that plan went nowhere when NASA and ESA couldn't agree on the specific terms-of-use and the general certification requirements for Vinci.
So, what makes people think that the certifying agencies for US NSS launches will be able to come to an agreement with ESA?
OA wouldn't even consider Vinci if they didn't think there was good chance both parties would approve it. They went though same process with Liberty before it was shelved.

Still think OA will end up with RL10 same as Vulcan, in both cases it will be a newer lower cost version. The plus side for all three companies is higher production rate should help lower build cost.

Online ethan829

Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #94 on: 12/14/2017 12:49 PM »
BTW IIRC neither BE-3 or Vince has any flight history.

No flight history, true, but Vinci has gone through extensive test firings and flight-ready engines are in production now.

Offline woods170

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #95 on: 12/14/2017 01:19 PM »
So, what makes people think that the certifying agencies for US NSS launches will be able to come to an agreement with ESA?

OA wouldn't even consider Vinci if they didn't think there was good chance both parties would approve it. They went though same process with Liberty before it was shelved.

Not quite. Liberty was about modding the existing and operational Ariane 5 EPC into an upper stage for Liberty.
The main difference here is that Vinci is far from operational with ESA still coughing up money for its development. The latter was not the case when the A5 EPC was considered as US for Liberty.

That is a big difference because ESA right now has a lot to say about Vinci development whereas that is no longer the case for the A5 EPC.

The way ESA and Arianespace operate is that ESA is responsible for space technology during its development. That goes for funding as well as all other aspects of development. This still applies for Vinci given the way it was inherited from the A5 ME program.
Only when development is fully done is ownership and responsibility of a program transferred from ESA to Ariane group. This happened a long time ago for Ariane 5 EPC but is yet to happen for Vinci.

Offline woods170

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #96 on: 12/14/2017 01:45 PM »
BTW IIRC neither BE-3 or Vince has any flight history.

No flight history, true, but Vinci has gone through extensive test firings and flight-ready engines are in production now.
That is over-stating it. Production of flight combustion chambers has begun. But production of flight-versions of many other Vinci components is yet to start. For example, the nozzle design is still being worked-on given that it required a near-complete re-design from A5 to A6 (full fixed nozzle in stead of an extendible one).

Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #97 on: 12/14/2017 02:23 PM »
My bet is on OATK down-selecting to RL10. It fits "build American, fly American".

I would tend to agree. NASA also decided to go for the RL-10 over the Vinci, so I doubt OATK won't as well. The only thing that gives me pause is just how much better the Vinci is. The RL-10 is getting old. Perhaps OATK and ULA will convince AJR to start working on a replacement for next decade.

Anyone want to take a shot at the performance of Vinci and RL-10 NGLs? Oh and if someone would like to try their hand at a Rutherford Version, I'm certainly curious.
« Last Edit: 12/14/2017 02:38 PM by JEF_300 »

Offline brickmack

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #98 on: 12/14/2017 03:51 PM »
This is like Liberty Launcher Lite?

Liberty Heavy more like. Similar sized first stage, slightly smaller liquid upper stage, but with a solid second stage sandwiched in between, strapon boosters, and composite instead of steel casings. Its a real beast, if only it was developed 20 years ago it might have been a nice system...

Offline envy887

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #99 on: 12/14/2017 03:56 PM »
My guess is that the reason for this engine change is the same reason that drove ULA toward Centaur 5.  The NGL design team, preparing to respond to the EELV RFP, found that BE-3U didn't pass muster.

 - Ed Kyle

Has Blue test-fired the vacuum version yet? Seems like that version is behind both the new RL-10 and Vinci in development. That timing could be an issue for NGL.

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #100 on: 12/14/2017 04:42 PM »


My bet is on OATK down-selecting to RL10. It fits "build American, fly American".


Anyone want to take a shot at the performance of Vinci and RL-10 NGLs? Oh and if someone would like to try their hand at a Rutherford Version, I'm certainly curious.

A Rutherford or electric pump engine wouldn't scale to RL10 class engine. An engine developer on a podcast I listened to said 5klbs is about it.

Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #101 on: 12/14/2017 05:55 PM »
A Rutherford or electric pump engine wouldn't scale to RL10 class engine. An engine developer on a podcast I listened to said 5klbs is about it.

The idea was to use a couple vacuum optimized Rutherford engines bought straight from Rocket Lab for the Upper Stage rather than make a RL-10 scale electric pump engine. It probably wouldn't happen, but it seems at least two of us are mildly curious about what that would look like.

Ignoring money for the moment, the RL-10 is plainly superior to even 3 Rutherfords. 66kn vs 110kn, and Isp of 333s vs 465s.

But with Rocket Lab claiming $5mil per launch, even if the upper stage engine was half the launch cost, 3 would probably still be notably cheaper than a RL-10. It also means OATK can use it's technical expertise with Kerolox. To my knowledge, OATK has never worked with Hydrolox before.

Just a fun idea that will never come to be

Offline Chasm

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #102 on: 12/14/2017 07:04 PM »
My bet is on OATK down-selecting to RL10. It fits "build American, fly American".

Mine btw. too.  8)

I think talking publicly about Vinci is first and foremost a strong message to ARJ that the rejection of BE-3U did not make RL10 the inevitable choice. Certainly not at any cost.

Offline envy887

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #103 on: 12/14/2017 08:08 PM »
Anyone know if Broadsword was ever seriously considered for NGL?

Offline woods170

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #104 on: 12/15/2017 06:49 AM »
My bet is on OATK down-selecting to RL10. It fits "build American, fly American".

Mine btw. too.  8)

I think talking publicly about Vinci is first and foremost a strong message to ARJ that the rejection of BE-3U did not make RL10 the inevitable choice. Certainly not at any cost.
I'm not so sure.  Remember, Orbital ATK is the company flying the least-American orbital rocket currently flying from U.S. soil, with a Ukrainian built first stage powered by Russian engines, boosting a largely Italian-built payload.  Vinci is, or will be, more efficient than RL10.  For all we know it might also cost less.

 - Ed Kyle

On that last phrase I can assure you: it won't.
That is: not until they bring down the parts number significantly and streamline production. Remember, the basic design of Vinci is almost 20 years old, before the time of "econonomic viability" and "additive manufacturing". Plus it is being constructed in Europe where production of aerospace products is almost as expensive as it is in the USA due to the relatively large number of sub-contractors involved.
« Last Edit: 12/15/2017 06:53 AM by woods170 »

Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #105 on: 12/15/2017 02:46 PM »
Anyone know if Broadsword was ever seriously considered for NGL?

I do not, but it would make alot of sense. I always forget how good the broadsword looks on paper

Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #106 on: 12/15/2017 08:07 PM »
Vinci is, or will be, more efficient than RL10.  For all we know it might also cost less.

On that last phrase I can assure you: it won't.
That is: not until they bring down the parts number significantly and streamline production. Remember, the basic design of Vinci is almost 20 years old, before the time of "econonomic viability" and "additive manufacturing". Plus it is being constructed in Europe where production of aerospace products is almost as expensive as it is in the USA due to the relatively large number of sub-contractors involved.
Vinci is a youngster compared to RL10.  RL10 first flew in 1961 and was firing on test stands a year or two earlier, when Eisenhower was U.S. President!

It's not the number of years per se, but the engineering & manufacturing generation it was created in.

For instance products created before high volume 3D printing became practical for rocket engine parts may not be able to be redesigned to take advantage of the cost and time savings that 3D printing can provide. Which would put the Vinci engine in the same situation as the RL-10.

Quote
You may be right about the cost comparison, but Aerojet Rocketdyne costs have skyrocketed in recent years, so I'll withhold judgement.  It will be an interesting decision.

AR may not be inexpensive, but where have you heard that their costs have "skyrocketed in recent years"?
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

Offline calapine

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #107 on: 12/15/2017 08:46 PM »

It's not the number of years per se, but the engineering & manufacturing generation it was created in.

For instance products created before high volume 3D printing became practical for rocket engine parts may not be able to be redesigned to take advantage of the cost and time savings that 3D printing can provide. Which would put the Vinci engine in the same situation as the RL-10.

Vinci manufacturing processes aren't that old:

Arianegroup:

Quote
The economic challenge is one of our main concerns today. The Vinci engine is purpose-designed to cost requirements. That is why we chose an "Expander" cycle. This technology sidesteps specific gas generators, as opposed to our other engines. We have also packed many technological breakthroughs into this engine, including powder metallurgy and additive manufacturing, to optimize operating cost-efficiency even further.
https://www.safran-group.com/media/20131120_vinci-one-engine-two-ariane-launchers
« Last Edit: 12/15/2017 08:47 PM by calapine »

Offline GWH

Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #108 on: 12/18/2017 07:41 PM »
Happening in 20 minutes:

"Join us on Facebook today as we talk with Steven Roebke, an engineer on our Next Generation Launch (NGL) System. Tune in Live at 4 p.m. EST."

https://twitter.com/OrbitalATK/status/942848822102974464

https://www.facebook.com/OrbitalATK/

Offline GWH

Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #109 on: 12/18/2017 08:18 PM »
Announcement on the upper stage to come in a few weeks. My question on BE-3U wasn't answered  ;)

Very short Q&A, lots of background noise.

EDIT: The complete video and all comments are now posted on their Facebook page.
« Last Edit: 12/18/2017 09:21 PM by GWH »

Offline whitelancer64

Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #110 on: 12/18/2017 08:32 PM »
I'm glad they answered my question about customers, but disappointing that it seems like only the Air Force at this time.
"One bit of advice: it is important to view knowledge as sort of a semantic tree -- make sure you understand the fundamental principles, ie the trunk and big branches, before you get into the leaves/details or there is nothing for them to hang on to." - Elon Musk
"There are lies, damned lies, and launch schedules." - Larry J

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #111 on: 12/19/2017 07:57 AM »
I can see them offering complete build and launch package for their satellites. The women presenter kind of hinted at this when asked about customers. Even if launch is priced at cost OA would still make nice profit from satellite, while keeping they production line ticking over.

They did cover reuseability question, answer it is ELV. No surprises there given it is mostly solids. This may yet be competitive LV especially against Ariane 6 and Vulcan. Unlike these competitors OA are building most of the NGLV inhouse, only US engine will be external. With ULA most components are outsourced, engines, SRBs, fairing. Even more importantly OA only need few (3?) launches a year for it to be viable.






Offline woods170

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #112 on: 12/19/2017 09:50 AM »

It's not the number of years per se, but the engineering & manufacturing generation it was created in.

For instance products created before high volume 3D printing became practical for rocket engine parts may not be able to be redesigned to take advantage of the cost and time savings that 3D printing can provide. Which would put the Vinci engine in the same situation as the RL-10.

Vinci manufacturing processes aren't that old:

Arianegroup:

Quote
The economic challenge is one of our main concerns today. The Vinci engine is purpose-designed to cost requirements. That is why we chose an "Expander" cycle. This technology sidesteps specific gas generators, as opposed to our other engines. We have also packed many technological breakthroughs into this engine, including powder metallurgy and additive manufacturing, to optimize operating cost-efficiency even further.
https://www.safran-group.com/media/20131120_vinci-one-engine-two-ariane-launchers

Yes, I'm aware of those changes (in bold) and they are limited in nature (injector mostly). You also have to consider the time-frame when to changes were inserted: over 5 years ago. Back then they may have been intended to reduce cost but those cost-savings have been overtaken by reality.

The part about being "purpose-designed to cost requirements" is an empty statement given that those cost-requirements date back to Ariane 5 ME (over a decade ago). A decade ago ESA and Arianespace didn't have to worry about SpaceX disrupting the market.

Calapine, you really have to learn that statements, such as the above one by Safran Group, are purely spin PR. "Cost-effectiveness" in particular is a phrase coined by contractors to hide the fact their products are still horrendously expensive.

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #113 on: 01/02/2018 08:00 PM »
Liberty relied on Ariane supplied US, while NGLV US will be built inhouse with engine outsource. Should be lot cheaper to build plus they have access to all of Orbitals avionics and systems.

Online jacqmans

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #114 on: 01/05/2018 10:01 AM »
Orbital ATK Signs Cooperative Agreement with U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center

Research and Development Agreement Enables Certification of Orbital ATK’s Next Generation Launch System


Dulles, Virginia 04 January 2018 – Orbital ATK (NYSE: OA), a global leader in aerospace and defense technologies, today announced it has signed a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with the U.S. Air Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC). The CRADA provides the framework and plan for data exchanges needed to certify Orbital ATK’s Next Generation Launch (NGL) system to carry National Security Space missions.

“Under this CRADA, Orbital ATK is better able to support SMC in being the guardians of assured access to space,” said Scott Lehr, President of Orbital ATK’s Flight Systems Group. “We look forward to certifying NGL to launch National Security Space Missions.”

Orbital ATK is currently in early production of development hardware for NGL. To date, the company has jointly invested with the Air Force more than $200 million to develop the NGL rocket family.

In addition to launching the entire spectrum of national security payloads, the NGL family of vehicles will be capable of launching science and commercial satellites that are too large to be launched by Orbital ATK’s current Pegasus®, Minotaur and AntaresTM space launch vehicles. The NGL vehicles will share common propulsion, structures and avionics systems with other company programs, including smaller space launch vehicles as well as missile defense interceptors, target vehicles and strategic missile systems.

The next phase of the NGL program is expected to begin when the Air Force awards Launch Services Agreements in mid-2018, which would entail full vehicle and launch site development, with work taking place at company facilities in Promontory and Magna, Utah; Iuka, Mississippi; Chandler, Arizona; Kennedy Space Center, Florida, and Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.

Offline Ronsmytheiii

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #115 on: 01/06/2018 09:49 AM »
Quote
Signed Cooperative Research and Development Agreement with @AF_SMC enables certification of NGL to carry National Security Space missions bit.ly/2lU1pcw
And this is a good reminder that just because one of your fellow space enthusiasts occasionally voices doubts about the SpaceX schedule announcements or is cautious about believing SpaceX has licked a problem before actually seeing proof that's true, it doesn't mean they hate SpaceX.

Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #116 on: 01/25/2018 05:57 PM »
Maybe I'm going crazy, but this upper stage is sounding more and more like the 4 meter DCSS. Surely there's some obvious difference I'm just blanking on.

And for fun either way, how well would the Delta upper stage work on top of NGL?
« Last Edit: 01/25/2018 06:05 PM by JEF_300 »

Offline Patchouli

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #117 on: 01/26/2018 01:52 AM »
Maybe I'm going crazy, but this upper stage is sounding more and more like the 4 meter DCSS. Surely there's some obvious difference I'm just blanking on.

And for fun either way, how well would the Delta upper stage work on top of NGL?

Seeing as NGL has two main solid stages it would not need an upper stage much larger than DCSS.
Though you couldn't use it as is since the two solids stages probably would have higher vibration and higher G accelerations than a CBC.
« Last Edit: 01/27/2018 06:02 PM by Patchouli »

Offline brickmack

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #118 on: 01/26/2018 08:15 PM »
Maybe I'm going crazy, but this upper stage is sounding more and more like the 4 meter DCSS. Surely there's some obvious difference I'm just blanking on.

And for fun either way, how well would the Delta upper stage work on top of NGL?

Why 4 meter? NGLs fairing is 5.25 meters wide. Should be able to support a pretty heavy upper stage too

Offline catdlr

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #119 on: 02/27/2018 08:59 PM »
In Production: Orbital ATK’s Next Generation Launch System


Orbital ATK
Published on Feb 27, 2018


Get an inside look at Orbital ATK’s Next Generation Launch System with engineer Katie Qian. We are currently developing the NGL family of rockets for the U.S. Air Force’s Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) program.

Learn more about NGL here: bit.ly/2f8mkWo.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z0i7WL9OBgc?t=001

Tony De La Rosa

Offline russianhalo117

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #120 on: 03/09/2018 12:54 AM »
LINK: https://www.orbitalatk.com/news-room/feature-stories/VR-Rocket-Development/default.aspx
Designing the Future: Virtual Reality and Rocket Development
 

During a recent design review for Orbital ATK’s Next Generation Launch (NGL) system—a new low-risk, low-cost rocket capable of launching intermediate and heavy payloads into space—the team responded to questions from the customer by walking through the design element using virtual reality (VR).

One of the design questions was whether a technician could safely remove the thermal batteries from the rocket through a small access door. The batteries and their attachment system weigh around 25 pounds and if a launch were to be aborted right before liftoff, they would have to be removed and replaced to support a second attempt.

With the customer watching closely, the Orbital ATK engineer put on his VR headset, walked up to the virtual first stage of the rocket, opened the access door and reached for the thermal batteries. To simulate the mass of the batteries, the engineer tried to maneuver a 25 pound weight thru the virtual access door.

“We quickly learned that the batteries were just too heavy to lift out the access door, and the heavy weight could become a potential safety issue for the operator,” said Todd Warne, Orbital ATK's lead electrical engineer on NGL. “Using VR enables us to verify the design is safe and functional, and to develop rapid solutions if needed—all before building actual hardware.”

Having identified an area for improvement, the design team developed a tool that enables the technicians to safely and easily extract thermal batteries. VR helped the team ensure all safety parameters are met to protect personnel and flight hardware early in the design process.

“The saying ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’ can now be changed to ‘a 3-D VR image can save hundreds of thousands in time and money,’” said Warne. “Being able to engage with the customer in real-time and physically walk them through the design provides a new avenue to validate our designs.”

Orbital ATK began developing next-generation VR technologies in 2015 and now has an advanced Immersive Visualization Lab at the company’s Promontory, Utah, facility that is being used for design, process and customer reviews. VR is proving to be a significant benefit in designing and developing new products, tools and processes.

Orbital ATK has already made significant progress on NGL, including upgrading facilities, building first stage hardware, conducting structure testing and working the full system design. The NGL system leverages mature, flight-proven technology from the company’s lineup of small- to medium-class rockets including Pegasus, Minotaur, and Antares.

NGL is one of Orbital ATK’s top growth initiatives, and the company has committed to investing in the development of the rocket. To date, Orbital ATK and the U.S. Air Force have invested more than $200 million. Currently, there are 200 employees working on the program, with an additional 600 planned to start in the next 24 months. The program is led out of Orbital ATK’s Chandler, Arizona, facility, with additional work being completed in company facilities across the country. Today, Orbital ATK remains on track for a ground test of NGL’s first stage propulsion in 2019, and the first certification launch scheduled for 2021.

Offline russianhalo117

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #121 on: 03/09/2018 01:03 AM »

Offline Zed_Noir

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #122 on: 03/09/2018 08:25 AM »
Anyone have a guess to where they can launch the NGL on the West Coast?

Offline ZachS09

Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #123 on: 03/09/2018 02:01 PM »
Anyone have a guess to where they can launch the NGL on the West Coast?

NGL’s West Coast site is SLC-2W, which is where the Delta II launches from during its own West Coast flights.
Because the Falcon Heavy Test Flight was successful, it has inspired thousands of people to consider changing the future of space travel.

Offline russianhalo117

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #124 on: 03/09/2018 03:36 PM »
Anyone have a guess to where they can launch the NGL on the West Coast?

NGL’s West Coast site is SLC-2W, which is where the Delta II launches from during its own West Coast flights.
Actually AFAIU both SLC-2W and SLC-2E would be ripped out and be rebuilt as a single SLC-2 Launch pad.

Offline Zed_Noir

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #125 on: 03/10/2018 09:29 PM »
Anyone have a guess to where they can launch the NGL on the West Coast?

NGL’s West Coast site is SLC-2W, which is where the Delta II launches from during its own West Coast flights.
Actually AFAIU both SLC-2W and SLC-2E would be ripped out and be rebuilt as a single SLC-2 Launch pad.
It that new SLC-2 pad notional or there is actual budget for the transformation?

Offline russianhalo117

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #126 on: 03/11/2018 12:34 AM »
Anyone have a guess to where they can launch the NGL on the West Coast?

NGL’s West Coast site is SLC-2W, which is where the Delta II launches from during its own West Coast flights.
Actually AFAIU both SLC-2W and SLC-2E would be ripped out and be rebuilt as a single SLC-2 Launch pad.
It that new SLC-2 pad notional or there is actual budget for the transformation?
nothing beyond talk and paper at this point.

Offline russianhalo117

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #127 on: 03/13/2018 12:28 AM »
View inside OATK Chandler:

Cory's Corner: Orbital ATK
FOX 10 Phoenix
Published on 12 Mar 2018

FOX 10's Cory McCloskey checks out Orbital ATK! More info: www.orbitalatk.com

« Last Edit: 03/13/2018 12:34 AM by russianhalo117 »

Online Chris Bergin

Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #128 on: 03/30/2018 09:35 PM »
FEATURE ARTICLE: Orbital ATK preparing for next phase of NGL rocket development -

https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2018/03/orbital-atk-next-phase-ngl-rocket-development/

- By Chris Gebhardt

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #129 on: 03/31/2018 02:20 AM »
Hydrolox engine selected for US will be made public 16April.

Offline rayleighscatter

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #130 on: 03/31/2018 12:43 PM »
Updated 2018 OATK NGL Factsheet: https://www.orbitalatk.com/flight-systems/space-launch-vehicles/NGL/docs/NGL_Factsheet.pdf

This does incidentally change the capabilities from the original fact sheet.
Original to GTO: 5,500kg - 8,500kg
Current to GTO: 4,900kg - 10,100kg

Original to GEO: 5,250kg - 7,000kg
Current to GEO: 5,250kg - 7,800kg

Online rockets4life97

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #131 on: 03/31/2018 12:45 PM »
Hydrolox engine selected for US will be made public 16April.

What engines are the contenders?

Offline rayleighscatter

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #132 on: 03/31/2018 01:06 PM »
Hydrolox engine selected for US will be made public 16April.

What engines are the contenders?
I'd assume they've probably looked at every cryogenic upper stage engine that can be bought (RL-10, Vinci, BE-3, LE-5, etc.)
« Last Edit: 03/31/2018 01:06 PM by rayleighscatter »

Offline ZachS09

Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #133 on: 03/31/2018 01:47 PM »
In my humble opinion, I'm guessing that on the day of the announcement, Orbital ATK will say that the third stage will consist of a cluster of RL-10C-1 engines (two or three).
Because the Falcon Heavy Test Flight was successful, it has inspired thousands of people to consider changing the future of space travel.

Offline Tomness

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #134 on: 03/31/2018 01:58 PM »
Hydrolox engine selected for US will be made public 16April.

What engines are the contenders?

BE-3U
Vinci
RL-10

Throwing it out there Raptor, but with Blue indicating they are going for BE-3U, than that might be strong contender for NGL

Offline ZachS09

Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #135 on: 03/31/2018 02:15 PM »
Orbital ATK said that the BE-3U is not one of the third stage engine candidates.
Because the Falcon Heavy Test Flight was successful, it has inspired thousands of people to consider changing the future of space travel.

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #136 on: 03/31/2018 02:28 PM »
Orbital ATK said that the BE-3U is not one of the third stage engine candidates.
I remember reading that somewhere as well.

RL10 is the only other domestic option unless there is one from startup we've not heard of.
« Last Edit: 03/31/2018 02:28 PM by TrevorMonty »

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #137 on: 03/31/2018 04:08 PM »
Domestic is not a requirement. The same announcement which dropped BE-3U also confirmed that Vinci is in the running

Offline russianhalo117

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #138 on: 03/31/2018 04:58 PM »
Hydrolox engine selected for US will be made public 16April.

What engines are the contenders?

BE-3U
Vinci
RL-10

Throwing it out there Raptor, but with Blue indicating they are going for BE-3U, than that might be strong contender for NGL
Just the following: RL-10C-1/RL-10C-2, Vinci (JAXA/MHI: did provide data for the MB-60, but is not in the primary running).
« Last Edit: 03/31/2018 07:00 PM by russianhalo117 »

Offline Lars-J

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #139 on: 03/31/2018 07:21 PM »
Domestic is not a requirement. The same announcement which dropped BE-3U also confirmed that Vinci is in the running

It is if they expect to get much EELV contract action. Otherwise ULA would rightfully cry foul over the Atlas V.

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #140 on: 03/31/2018 07:53 PM »
Domestic is not a requirement. The same announcement which dropped BE-3U also confirmed that Vinci is in the running

It is if they expect to get much EELV contract action. Otherwise ULA would rightfully cry foul over the Atlas V.
Even if Vinci was accepted today for EELV, there is nothing stopping lawmakers making it illegal in future. Domestic engine is future proof.

Offline AnalogMan

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #141 on: 03/31/2018 10:13 PM »
This is a no brainer.  Vinci is newer.  It makes more thrust at a higher specific impulse than RL10C-1.  It likely costs less to boot.  Congress is not going to arbitrarily ban a rocket component produced in Germany.  SLS, after all, uses German-built core tank walls.

 - Ed Kyle 

I thought AMRO Fabricating Corp. manufactured all the SLS core tank panels.

http://amrofab.com/

https://www.nasa.gov/exploration/systems/sls/multimedia/AMRO-fabricating-corp-lining-up-panels-for-sls.html
« Last Edit: 03/31/2018 10:14 PM by AnalogMan »

Offline AnalogMan

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #142 on: 04/01/2018 12:10 AM »
I thought AMRO Fabricating Corp. manufactured all the SLS core tank panels.

http://amrofab.com/

https://www.nasa.gov/exploration/systems/sls/multimedia/AMRO-fabricating-corp-lining-up-panels-for-sls.html
Germany's MT Aerospace provides panels.  These may be for the tank domes.
http://www.mt-aerospace.de/news-details-en/items/nasa-space-launch-system-mt-aerospace-awarded-further-contracts-by-boeing.html

 - Ed Kyle

Ah, you are right - MT Aerospace fabricate the gores for the tank domes.

Offline brickmack

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #143 on: 04/01/2018 04:04 AM »
It is if they expect to get much EELV contract action. Otherwise ULA would rightfully cry foul over the Atlas V.

Foreign parts are not and never have been banned, beyond simply requiring that a particular percentage of the cost of the vehicle be made by American companies. RD-180 is being banned because its from Russia specifically. America and the EU are on great terms.

Offline Sknowball

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #144 on: 04/01/2018 09:02 AM »
Foreign parts are not and never have been banned, beyond simply requiring that a particular percentage of the cost of the vehicle be made by American companies. RD-180 is being banned because its from Russia specifically. America and the EU are on great terms.

And in 1995 America and Russia were on pretty good terms to.

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #145 on: 04/01/2018 02:33 PM »
Foreign parts are not and never have been banned, beyond simply requiring that a particular percentage of the cost of the vehicle be made by American companies. RD-180 is being banned because its from Russia specifically. America and the EU are on great terms.

And in 1995 America and Russia were on pretty good terms to.

If “pretty good terms” means “thousands of nuclear missiles pointed at each other”, then sure – pretty good terms. But don’t confuse relatively good with pretty good.

Offline Steven Pietrobon

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #146 on: 04/02/2018 07:40 AM »
FEATURE ARTICLE: Orbital ATK preparing for next phase of NGL rocket development -

https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2018/03/orbital-atk-next-phase-ngl-rocket-development/

- By Chris Gebhardt

The rocketline graphic should also have Falcon 9 and Delta IV Heavy. New Glenn is shown with the old 5 m fairing which is no longer planned. Possibly too late to be incorporated, the New Glenn second stage will be longer as it is now using hydrolox instead of methalox. Possibly more interesting than height, would be the vehicle payload into LEO.
« Last Edit: 04/02/2018 07:41 AM by Steven Pietrobon »
Akin's Laws of Spacecraft Design #1:  Engineering is done with numbers.  Analysis without numbers is only an opinion.

Offline Kasponaut

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #147 on: 04/02/2018 09:05 AM »
FEATURE ARTICLE: Orbital ATK preparing for next phase of NGL rocket development -

https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2018/03/orbital-atk-next-phase-ngl-rocket-development/

- By Chris Gebhardt

The rocketline graphic should also have Falcon 9 and Delta IV Heavy. New Glenn is shown with the old 5 m fairing which is no longer planned. Possibly too late to be incorporated, the New Glenn second stage will be longer as it is now using hydrolox instead of methalox. Possibly more interesting than height, would be the vehicle payload into LEO.

I completely agree! Details like these are important and should be fixed - this is NasaSpaceFlight.com

Offline AncientU

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #148 on: 04/02/2018 11:48 AM »
Orbital ATK said that the BE-3U is not one of the third stage engine candidates.

Reason given was BE-3U wouldn't be ready in time. 
Blue has just announced going with BE-3U for first flight in 2021.
Maybe Blue has accelerated the engine development to satisfy all* potential users...

* SLS is also looking at BE-3U for EUS.
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Offline Steven Pietrobon

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #149 on: 04/03/2018 04:44 AM »
I completely agree! Details like these are important and should be fixed - this is NasaSpaceFlight.com

This is not the fault of NSF. The graphic is from Orbital-ATK!
Akin's Laws of Spacecraft Design #1:  Engineering is done with numbers.  Analysis without numbers is only an opinion.

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #150 on: 04/03/2018 09:35 AM »
I completely agree! Details like these are important and should be fixed - this is NasaSpaceFlight.com

This is not the fault of NSF. The graphic is from Orbital-ATK!

Maybe so, but information - like this graphic - when shown on NSF should be up to date and correct no matter where it is from.

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #151 on: 04/13/2018 05:43 PM »
OA will most likely use it for their MEV launches plus offer satellite build and launch as one bundle.

Offline envy887

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #152 on: 04/13/2018 06:49 PM »
Stephen Clark story today titled "Orbital ATK confident new rocket will win Air Force support".

https://spaceflightnow.com/2018/04/12/orbital-atk-confident-new-rocket-will-win-air-force-support/

Orbital ATK has the solids, the crucial avionics, the fairing, and the launch site essentially in-hand.  A no-nonsense rocket design with no unnecessary, costly, performance-robbing fancy stuff like landing legs.  The key will be that mystery upper stage.

 - Ed Kyle

Says "all with U.S.-supplied propulsion systems", is Vinci out?

I don't know that I'd call the fairings or launch sites in hand. They haven't built anything yet, as far as I can tell. The LP and VAB bays needs significant modification. The VAFB pads are still being used by other rockets.

However, I don't think there are any major technical risks. The VAB should work fine for VI. None of the technologies really break any new ground. The costs and timelines should be reasonably well understood. There is little reason they should miss a 2021 first launch date.

Offline brickmack

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #153 on: 04/13/2018 11:33 PM »

Says "all with U.S.-supplied propulsion systems", is Vinci out?

That exact quote never appears in the article, it says "all with U.S.-supplied booster propulsion systems." Vinci is not a booster engine.

Offline Space Ghost 1962

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #154 on: 04/14/2018 12:34 AM »
Stephen Clark story today titled "Orbital ATK confident new rocket will win Air Force support".

https://spaceflightnow.com/2018/04/12/orbital-atk-confident-new-rocket-will-win-air-force-support/
Composite wound segmented solids are the whole point here. Once assembled, they have a limited shelf life in humid Florida.

Quote
Orbital ATK has the solids, the crucial avionics, the fairing, and the launch site essentially in-hand.
AFAIK, the launch site is a launch mount yet to be built with a contract yet to be finalized, to be mounted on a MLP with a crawler yet to be made available, to be temporarily operated off of 39B when unused by SLS.

And this is "in hand"?  ::) And boy that must be cheap to operate/maintain as a sole operator.

Quote
A no-nonsense rocket design with no unnecessary, costly, performance-robbing fancy stuff like landing legs.
Reminds of the expression, "as useless as tits on a bull".

Somewhat inappropriate and lessens the professionalism of the writer, but not unexpected.

Prompting the obligatory - yes, and waiting for the multiple flights from the same vehicle, might be a bit of a wait. And I thought Musk time dilation was annoying ...

Perhaps NGL, like a match, can "burn twice"?  ;D You can touch it Ed, am not going near it.

Quote
The key will be that mystery upper stage.
No, I'd guess a hundred keys or so, leading up to doing a restartable hydrolox stage with adequate on orbit duration. So simple. What could go wrong?

IIRC that was desired for Antares but considered too much to bring off. How many Antares flights have we seen now? I think one can count them on a single hand. Perhaps, if they fall behind, they can stack a few more solids and a HAPS? Good enough.

At least SX doesn't have to resort to burning stone, which is certainly performance robbing compared to kerolox ... <snort>

Offline envy887

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #155 on: 04/14/2018 02:34 AM »

Says "all with U.S.-supplied propulsion systems", is Vinci out?

That exact quote never appears in the article, it says "all with U.S.-supplied booster propulsion systems." Vinci is not a booster engine.

It used to say that exact quote. The article was updated, which I guess answers my question. Vinci is not out.

Offline Lars-J

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #156 on: 04/14/2018 06:14 AM »
So this thing is getting the official unveiling on Monday, right?

Ok... With ATKs penchant for over-the-top patriotic names for their products (Liberty anyone?), what will the name of NGL be?
 - Liberty (why not try again?)
 - Freedom
 - Patriot
 - America
 - Rebublic
 - Democracy
 - Constitution
 - Washington

Any other suggestions?  :)
« Last Edit: 04/14/2018 06:17 AM by Lars-J »

Offline russianhalo117

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #157 on: 04/14/2018 07:10 AM »
So this thing is getting the official unveiling on Monday, right?

Ok... With ATKs penchant for over-the-top patriotic names for their products (Liberty anyone?), what will the name of NGL be?
 - Liberty (why not try again?)
 - Freedom
 - Patriot
 - America
 - Rebublic
 - Democracy
 - Constitution
 - Washington

Any other suggestions?  :)
AFAIK, the name is expected to be in line with their (Orbital - Pre ATK merger) existing naming system.

Offline deruch

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #158 on: 04/14/2018 07:32 AM »
So this thing is getting the official unveiling on Monday, right?

Ok... With ATKs penchant for over-the-top patriotic names for their products (Liberty anyone?), what will the name of NGL be?
 - Liberty (why not try again?)
 - Freedom
 - Patriot
 - America
 - Rebublic
 - Democracy
 - Constitution
 - Washington

Any other suggestions?  :)
AFAIK, the name is expected to be in line with their (Orbital - Pre ATK merger) existing naming system.

"Cretan Bull"?
Shouldn't reality posts be in "Advanced concepts"?  --Nomadd

Offline Star One

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Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #159 on: 04/14/2018 08:23 AM »
I read that SF article about Orbital’s ATK NGL launcher and it seemed so divorced from the reality of the launcher market now that it didn’t seem worth posting here. Do they expect by giving it an OTT patriotic name at its unveiling that suddenly the taxpayers money will come flowing in.
« Last Edit: 04/14/2018 08:26 AM by Star One »

Offline AncientU

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #160 on: 04/14/2018 11:45 AM »
An interesting bit in the article was the low number of NSS flights needed to close the business case:
Quote
“Right now, we’re planning on about three to four missions per year to close our business case,” Laidley said. “A couple of those could come from the Air Force and a couple of those could come from either our internal needs or the commercial community. We can close our business case with a fairly low launch rate, and that’s primarily due to the diversity of our business base, and the fact that right now we’ve got a number of other large programs in our launch vehicle division, along with the propulsion systems division and aerospace structures.”

The 40% share of the Phase 2 competition should be right in that range... they have zero chance of getting the winning (60%) share.  Being viable with 2-3 USAF launches per year could be a significant selling point.
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Offline Star One

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #161 on: 04/14/2018 12:57 PM »
An interesting bit in the article was the low number of NSS flights needed to close the business case:
Quote
“Right now, we’re planning on about three to four missions per year to close our business case,” Laidley said. “A couple of those could come from the Air Force and a couple of those could come from either our internal needs or the commercial community. We can close our business case with a fairly low launch rate, and that’s primarily due to the diversity of our business base, and the fact that right now we’ve got a number of other large programs in our launch vehicle division, along with the propulsion systems division and aerospace structures.”

The 40% share of the Phase 2 competition should be right in that range... they have zero chance of getting the winning (60%) share.  Being viable with 2-3 USAF launches per year could be a significant selling point.

I still don’t think the AF will bite. Can a fully disposable system in the US ever compete on price these days?

Online LouScheffer

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #162 on: 04/14/2018 02:11 PM »
The SFN article quotes the Orbital/ATK spokesman as saying:
Quote
We took a hard look at what those missions have sold for historically, and we can be competitive in that marketplace.
This would seem a fundamental flaw in their business plan.  Historically national security missions have sold for very high prices, so being competitive with that is a pretty low bar.  What they need instead is to be competitive with what prices will be in the 2020s.  It's not obvious to me that this architecture can do that...

Offline ChrisWilson68

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #163 on: 04/14/2018 02:57 PM »
I still don’t think the AF will bite. Can a fully disposable system in the US ever compete on price these days?
Apparently.  Six of the last seven Falcon 9's were fully expended.  There is still no evidence that stage recovery reduces cost, given the fact that SpaceX charges the same price for both new and used rockets.

Right.  Just like there's no evidence reusing a 737 reduces costs over throwing it away, given that Southwest airlines charges the same price for a flight on a new 737 that it charges on a used 737 and even on a 737 it's about to retire.  No evidence at all.

Online LouScheffer

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #164 on: 04/14/2018 03:13 PM »
I still don’t think the AF will bite. Can a fully disposable system in the US ever compete on price these days?
Apparently.  Six of the last seven Falcon 9's were fully expended.  There is still no evidence that stage recovery reduces cost, given the fact that SpaceX charges the same price for both new and used rockets.

Let's make a wager, to see if you really believe this.  How about every time a Block 5 booster is expended (on purpose or by accident), I'll send you $10.  In return, every time one is recovered, you send me $10.

I'm willing to bet $100 you won't take this bet.  If you do, I'll get my money back soon enough.

Offline dror

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #165 on: 04/14/2018 03:30 PM »
I still don’t think the AF will bite. Can a fully disposable system in the US ever compete on price these days?
Apparently.  Six of the last seven Falcon 9's were fully expended.  There is still no evidence that stage recovery reduces cost, given the fact that SpaceX charges the same price for both new and used rockets.

Let's make a wager, to see if you really believe this.  How about every time a Block 5 booster is expended (on purpose or by accident), I'll send you $10.  In return, every time one is recovered, you send me $10.

I'm willing to bet $100 you won't take this bet.  If you do, I'll get my money back soon enough.

That's not at all in line with Ed's statement.
The bet that you need to offer is 100$ if Spacex reduce their F9 prices when block5 is operational.

Edit: oops, this is not a Spacex thread  ;)
« Last Edit: 04/14/2018 03:36 PM by dror »
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Offline ChrisWilson68

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #166 on: 04/14/2018 04:38 PM »
Meanwhile, there's no guarantee that SpaceX prices will stay low, given the massive expenditures currently planned by the company.  https://www.reuters.com/article/us-spacex-funding/spacex-looks-to-raise-507-million-in-a-new-funding-round-filing-idUSKBN1HJ3D8

No company, unless it's run by people who don't understand the most basic fundamentals of business, would ever raise its prices based on capital spending.

Any sanely run company bases its costs only on a combination of what the market will pay and what its marginal costs are to produce its product.  That maximizes the cash flow from operations.

The calculation is the same independent of capital spending.  If SpaceX could raise their prices and it would increase their cash flow from operations to help pay for their new capital costs, then they were foolish in the past not to have raised their prices.

If SpaceX were that foolish, they would have been out of business years ago.

Offline Star One

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #167 on: 04/14/2018 05:09 PM »
I still don’t think the AF will bite. Can a fully disposable system in the US ever compete on price these days?
Apparently.  Six of the last seven Falcon 9's were fully expended.  There is still no evidence that stage recovery reduces cost, given the fact that SpaceX charges the same price for both new and used rockets.

SpaceX prices are lower because the company developed a great engine and a highly efficient production line.  There's no reason that Orbital ATK and others can't do the same.  Meanwhile, there's no guarantee that SpaceX prices will stay low, given the massive expenditures currently planned by the company.  https://www.reuters.com/article/us-spacex-funding/spacex-looks-to-raise-507-million-in-a-new-funding-round-filing-idUSKBN1HJ3D8

 - Ed Kyle

But doesn’t an all solid rocket also incur additional costs such as isn’t it the case that solids cause additional impact on launchpads, meaning more costly maintenance between flights.

Offline Rebel44

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #168 on: 04/14/2018 07:28 PM »
An interesting bit in the article was the low number of NSS flights needed to close the business case:
Quote
“Right now, we’re planning on about three to four missions per year to close our business case,” Laidley said. “A couple of those could come from the Air Force and a couple of those could come from either our internal needs or the commercial community. We can close our business case with a fairly low launch rate, and that’s primarily due to the diversity of our business base, and the fact that right now we’ve got a number of other large programs in our launch vehicle division, along with the propulsion systems division and aerospace structures.”

The 40% share of the Phase 2 competition should be right in that range... they have zero chance of getting the winning (60%) share.  Being viable with 2-3 USAF launches per year could be a significant selling point.

In the early 20s, we can expect both relatively low number of US gov. launches and 4 EELV class launchers (not counting BFR) - Falcon 9/Heavy, Vulcan, New Glenn and NGL. Since IMO NGL is unlikely to be price competitive with Falcon 9, I doubt that even accounting for "managed competition" they will get more than 1 US gov. launch per year. In the commercial market, NGL will compete with them as well and not only is price more important there, compared to gov. contracts, Falcon 9 should also have 100+ launches, while Vulcan, New Glenn, and NGL will be starting with no launch history.

So, I don't think the market will be able to support 4 US LVs - and non-reusable ones will be most likely to fail.
« Last Edit: 04/14/2018 08:11 PM by Rebel44 »

Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #169 on: 04/14/2018 07:49 PM »
In the early 20s, we can expect both relatively low number of US gov. launches and 4 EELV class launchers (not counting BFR)

That truly will be interesting.

Quote
...Vulkan, New Glen...

Should be "Vulcan, New Glenn".

Quote
Since IMO NGL is unlikely to be price competitive with Falcon 9, I doubt that even accounting for "managed competition" they will get more than 1 US gov. launch per year.

Depends on what the Air Force has committed to, but "competition" does not mean they will certify far more providers than they need.

When SpaceX went through the Air Force certification process it required three successful launches of the Falcon 9 on the part of SpaceX,  and for the Air Force they spent more than $60M and had 150 people dedicated to the process. That is a lot of significant resources, and it only merits committing to that if they think they will need a provider. If NGL is the last of the four ready to get certified, there is a chance the Air Force may not do it right away until they see how having three providers works.

Quote
In the commercial market, NGL will compete with them as well and not only is price more important there, compared to gov. contracts, Falcon 9 should also have 100+ launches, while Vulkan, New Glen, and NGL will be starting with no launch history.

As we've seen with SpaceX and Blue Origin, commercial customers are willing to take risks on new launch vehicles if the price point merits it. So NGL will have to compete on price, not "hardware legacy" in order to get customers early on.

Quote
So, I don't think the market will be able to support 4 US LVs - and non-reusable ones will be most likely to fail.

I agree. It's really difficult to see how expendable launch providers can compete long-term with reusable launch providers. Especially if reusability does cause the customer market to change their behavior so that they start depending on low cost reusable launches to enable new business models.
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

Offline Space Ghost 1962

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #170 on: 04/14/2018 10:20 PM »
Watch closely as Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Ball Aerospace all eyeball the packaged government sat delivered on orbit, or, like with Zuma, consider operations thrown in the mix as "Satellite as a Service" (SAAS?  ::) ).

Its about how you offer to your customer a "whole value" proposition, as well as how to pay for it, either "all upfront", "on operation", or "pay as you go" / "pay for results". Secured either by in-house dedicated means, or by some kind of exclusivity / priority / guarantee.

In some of these cases, low launch rate can be compensated for, either statistically or sporadically. The rub for these is where they don't properly account for costs for federal bid contracts (so they can be qualified or accepted), or where longer term they don't account for cost burden and net profit suffers, either forcing them from the business.

One way you can "have your cake and eat it too" is to allow for multiple paths to guarantee results, thus even an in house provider might not get the launch. It is very likely that "launch volume leaders" will serve this function, where the in house is used to clinch the deal, but it actually flies after the fact on a different one. (Some might think of this as a form of "bait and switch", but that seems to be acceptable in this situation.) In these cases, it's more about the appearance of the "contracted firm" for the former, and the efficacy of execution for the latter.

Suggest this is a form of "bargaining" as the market evolves, and a new set of premium launch services that surround vendors emerge and secure new market silos, likely dominating provider flows. As the market stabilizes (relatively), the need for low frequency LV's will dry up, as cost and unprovable reliability makes them unattractive, and they fall out of the market.

Those like the AF can't determine this - no crystal ball. Thus they'd like a wealth of qualified providers. Then to bid them, and sift through the multiple bids critically. Then to score launch effectiveness on how the awards worked out. Then to repeat this until 2-3 vendors get enough business to continue to bid. This is what will happen.

At the moment there is a transient condition, where ULA's monopoly on launch has vanished, and new vendors are flying payloads. Since Atlas V at some point won't be allowed, this open, ambiguous period of time allows the marginal theory of a market to be present, but it isn't rational because there are too few payloads with too exotic needs on too erratic a schedule. All this while aggregate launch frequency is rising.

Suggest a bimodal distribution will emerge of  "large" and "small" "bumps". Irrespective of the prior "high end" and "low end" launch as before, where NSS was an improper subset of "high end". Most commercial and NSS will somehow make it into the "large" bump. The "small" bump will be "specialty launch", and will be bid sporadically, eventually only by high launch frequency vendors.

The correct question to ask isn't "how few launches?" for something like NGL, but  "can a launch system have enough launches to be considered a high enough frequency to compare with rivals?". At the moment the number appears to be about 6/yr, but in a few years it could be 18/yr.

So NGL currently helps Northrop Grumman sell sats, but perhaps more of a challenge longer term.
« Last Edit: 04/15/2018 12:29 AM by Space Ghost 1962 »

Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #171 on: 04/14/2018 10:33 PM »
...Northrup Grumman...

It's Northrop. No "u" in Northrop.

It's amazing how often it is misspelled in the media too...  ;)
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

Offline rayleighscatter

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #172 on: 04/14/2018 11:01 PM »
An interesting bit in the article was the low number of NSS flights needed to close the business case:
Quote
“Right now, we’re planning on about three to four missions per year to close our business case,” Laidley said. “A couple of those could come from the Air Force and a couple of those could come from either our internal needs or the commercial community. We can close our business case with a fairly low launch rate, and that’s primarily due to the diversity of our business base, and the fact that right now we’ve got a number of other large programs in our launch vehicle division, along with the propulsion systems division and aerospace structures.”

The 40% share of the Phase 2 competition should be right in that range... they have zero chance of getting the winning (60%) share.  Being viable with 2-3 USAF launches per year could be a significant selling point.

I still don’t think the AF will bite. Can a fully disposable system in the US ever compete on price these days?

Sure they could. USAF has been getting flak for funding components when they were instructed to fund complete systems. Indications are they will select two proposals for further funding and it sounds as if there's only two complete systems competing (Vulcan and NGL).

Offline AncientU

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #173 on: 04/15/2018 12:10 AM »
And New Glenn.
"If we shared everything [we are working on] people would think we are insane!"
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Offline rayleighscatter

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #174 on: 04/15/2018 12:25 AM »
And New Glenn.
At the risk of derailing a bit. I thought they weren't involved in the USAF competition?

Offline su27k

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #175 on: 04/15/2018 02:54 AM »
And New Glenn.
At the risk of derailing a bit. I thought they weren't involved in the USAF competition?

New Glenn is in the competition: https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=43998.msg1810304#msg1810304

I bet BFR is in it too.

Offline Kabloona

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #176 on: 04/15/2018 03:23 AM »
In the discussion of whether or not NGL will be competitive as a mostly-solid launch vehicle, one other factor to keep in mind is DoD's ongoing desire to keep the solid propellant industry from withering in the absence of large contracts like Shuttle SRM. The solids industry tends to be cyclical between big procurements for new ICBM's and SLBM's, and in between it makes DoD nervous if capabilities and institutional knowledge are lost.

So, in the background, there is always an underlying Gov't interest in keeping the solids industry healthy. I expect that played a role in the solids component of SLS, but as it becomes clear SLS is a budget-busting dinosaur, other more cost-effective solids users like NGL will at least help keep the solids industry tooled up. That is of at least some motivation to the Air Force to see NGL succeed, regardless of cost comparisons to F9, FH, New Glenn, et al.
« Last Edit: 04/15/2018 03:27 AM by Kabloona »

Offline su27k

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #177 on: 04/15/2018 03:44 AM »
In the discussion of whether or not NGL will be competitive as a mostly-solid launch vehicle, one other factor to keep in mind is DoD's ongoing desire to keep the solid propellant industry from withering in the absence of large contracts like Shuttle SRM. The solids industry tends to be cyclical between big procurements for new ICBM's and SLBM's, and in between it makes DoD nervous if capabilities and institutional knowledge are lost.

So, in the background, there is always an underlying Gov't interest in keeping the solids industry healthy. I expect that played a role in the solids component of SLS, but as it becomes clear SLS is a budget-busting dinosaur, other more cost-effective solids users like NGL will at least help keep the solids industry tooled up. That is of at least some motivation to the Air Force to see NGL succeed, regardless of cost comparisons to F9, FH, New Glenn, et al.

But if AF didn't write this desire into the RFP, wouldn't they open themselves to protest if they try to move the scale towards NGL?

Also how much money is really needed to preserve the solid propellant industry? Last time I checked, the AP production company only needs $65M revenue per year to be profitable, that's pittance comparing the money AF can save by choosing the right EELV2, how about AF just use the saved money from EELV2 to buy solid propellant and dump it somewhere? That would be more economical than any favor towards NGL.

Offline Kabloona

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #178 on: 04/15/2018 04:06 AM »
In the discussion of whether or not NGL will be competitive as a mostly-solid launch vehicle, one other factor to keep in mind is DoD's ongoing desire to keep the solid propellant industry from withering in the absence of large contracts like Shuttle SRM. The solids industry tends to be cyclical between big procurements for new ICBM's and SLBM's, and in between it makes DoD nervous if capabilities and institutional knowledge are lost.

So, in the background, there is always an underlying Gov't interest in keeping the solids industry healthy. I expect that played a role in the solids component of SLS, but as it becomes clear SLS is a budget-busting dinosaur, other more cost-effective solids users like NGL will at least help keep the solids industry tooled up. That is of at least some motivation to the Air Force to see NGL succeed, regardless of cost comparisons to F9, FH, New Glenn, et al.

But if AF didn't write this desire into the RFP, wouldn't they open themselves to protest if they try to move the scale towards NGL?

Also how much money is really needed to preserve the solid propellant industry? Last time I checked, the AP production company only needs $65M revenue per year to be profitable, that's pittance comparing the money AF can save by choosing the right EELV2, how about AF just use the saved money from EELV2 to buy solid propellant and dump it somewhere? That would be more economical than any favor towards NGL.

No, of course that can't and won't be written into the RFP, and I'm not suggesting the Air Force could or would do anything to weight the scales in an open competition. I am saying it is one of the Air Force's strategic objectives to keep the solids industry healthy, and their monetary contribution to NGL development so far helps further that objective. Whether or not NGL can be competitive remains to be seen, but from the Air Force's PoV, they would hope to see NGL succeed in order to help keep the solids industrial base well funded and advancing the technology.

Dollars flowing to the solids industry keep incremental improvements happening in areas like composite case winding, case insulation, ablative nozzle design and manufacturing, propellant formulation and processing, etc, and these incremental imrovements then become available for programs the Air Force really cares about, like next gen ICBM's. And virtually none of the EELV $$ spent on liquids advances these technologies.

So no, the Air Force couldn't and wouldn't explicltly favor solids for EELV2, but they would surely be happier if the solids industry got at least some of the pie instead of being shut out entirely by liquids.
« Last Edit: 04/15/2018 04:49 AM by Kabloona »

Offline su27k

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #179 on: 04/15/2018 06:12 AM »
Dollars flowing to the solids industry keep incremental improvements happening in areas like composite case winding, case insulation, ablative nozzle design and manufacturing, propellant formulation and processing, etc, and these incremental imrovements then become available for programs the Air Force really cares about, like next gen ICBM's. And virtually none of the EELV $$ spent on liquids advances these technologies.

I think this is moving the goal post though. AF is already funding these non-recurring engineering for solids in their smaller missile programs. The talking point for NGL (and SLS) is that those smaller missile programs do not consume enough propellant, thus the need for big solids. But I question the economics of this, I think it would be much cheaper to solve this issue by giving a direct subsidy to solid propellant industry.

Also I'm not sure how much NRE done for the big solids can really be transferred to ICBM, given ICBM is 1/10th of the size of a SRB, and no ICBM uses segmented booster. The whole idea of a segmented booster is a kluge invented to fit Shuttle's budget, I think it's long past time to retire it.
« Last Edit: 04/15/2018 06:13 AM by su27k »

Offline russianhalo117

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #180 on: 04/15/2018 09:18 AM »
I still don’t think the AF will bite. Can a fully disposable system in the US ever compete on price these days?
Apparently.  Six of the last seven Falcon 9's were fully expended.  There is still no evidence that stage recovery reduces cost, given the fact that SpaceX charges the same price for both new and used rockets.

Right.  Just like there's no evidence reusing a 737 reduces costs over throwing it away, given that Southwest airlines charges the same price for a flight on a new 737 that it charges on a used 737 and even on a 737 it's about to retire.  No evidence at all.

The ticket price in your regard is the share per passenger plus other factors spread across the fleet regardless of age. An aircraft is typically retired from service when it can no longer meet and still satisfy the defined fleet share.

Offline Kabloona

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #181 on: 04/15/2018 02:23 PM »
Dollars flowing to the solids industry keep incremental improvements happening in areas like composite case winding, case insulation, ablative nozzle design and manufacturing, propellant formulation and processing, etc, and these incremental imrovements then become available for programs the Air Force really cares about, like next gen ICBM's. And virtually none of the EELV $$ spent on liquids advances these technologies.

I think this is moving the goal post though. AF is already funding these non-recurring engineering for solids in their smaller missile programs. The talking point for NGL (and SLS) is that those smaller missile programs do not consume enough propellant, thus the need for big solids. But I question the economics of this, I think it would be much cheaper to solve this issue by giving a direct subsidy to solid propellant industry.

You could make that argument, but that's not how the system works at the moment, and arguing for a direct subsidy to the solids industry is like arguing for ULA's ELC contract, which has long been criticized as a subsidy favoring one player.

The reality is that DoD tries to keep the solids industry healthy by directing funds into it through a variety of missile and rocket contracts, and NGL is one such program.

The OATK NGL web page even makes oblique reference to the industrial base issue by touting the commonality of facilities, personnel, etc, with other programs, with resulting cost savings to the Gov't (ie, the busier you keep these people and facilities, the lower your unit costs can be over multiple programs.)

Quote
Like other Evolvable Expendable Launch Vehicles (EELVs), NGL will operate from both east and west coast launch facilities. NGL will share common propulsion, structures and avionics systems with current and future programs. In addition, NGL will leverage current in-production programs that already are staffed with a skilled and highly experienced workforce, and will use existing facilities, supplier relationships and available subsystems for the new launch system’s development and production. Because NGL shares so many common elements with other programs, the system is affordable for the Air Force while also providing savings of approximately $600 million to other government agencies over 10 years.

Again, I'm not arguing that this state of affairs is better than, say, a direct subsidy to the solids industry as you suggest. But this is how the system works today, and I'm simply pointing that out as one aspect of NGL that does figure into DoD's view of the program, rightly or wrongly.
« Last Edit: 04/15/2018 03:02 PM by Kabloona »

Offline gongora

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #182 on: 04/15/2018 03:39 PM »
I still don’t think the AF will bite. Can a fully disposable system in the US ever compete on price these days?

Sure they could. USAF has been getting flak for funding components when they were instructed to fund complete systems. Indications are they will select two proposals for further funding and it sounds as if there's only two complete systems competing (Vulcan and NGL).

Actually USAF has been getting flak for wanting to fund complete systems when they were instructed to fund components.  There are at least four systems competing, and three of them get further funding in the next round.

Offline Space Ghost 1962

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Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #183 on: 04/15/2018 04:44 PM »
The solids industry tends to be cyclical between big procurements for new ICBM's and SLBM's, and in between it makes DoD nervous if capabilities and institutional knowledge are lost.
Agree with the need. Not the history or manner to deal with this need.

However there are other solutions beyond burdening space launch systems with this cost. Suggest it was never an advantage for space launch but a lesser burden at the start, because the infrequency of launch and cost of other components/aspects of launch  made it indistinguishable, especially when it was cheaper (some like Ed Kyle wish to hold on to the notion of expendable launch to the bitter end, from these origins). This grew into a long term dependence, and that "addiction" doomed many programs long term including Shuttle. EELV was originally to avoid this, but also is doomed by it long term. See no need to add to this toll.

(If Ed is right and reusable vehicles don't pan out, it is possible that solids can be made considerably cheaper as the next best thing to boost with, but in the industry I haven't found a single propulsion engineer to bet against reuse at 100:1 odds.)

Antares uses a solid US, and solids are used in space (Star series, even at one point SX offered it for payload assist). And so far only the boost phase has much demonstrated  reuse (with the notable exception of  Shuttle SSME ascent).

But the root issue is in how we budget weapons delivery development and contract bids - which is going off topic for this thread. Because we have to delve into the arsenal system, history, biases/choices, and rational resolution of irrational practices that got us here - which I'm not going to do in this post.

Bottom line - you don't wrap IR&D and sustainment into space launch as it wrecks both, you budget outright your weapons systems (like most other countries do). (Europe is learning this to the hard way now.) The history was wrong, it wasn't an American advantage, but a stupid cheap scam with a hidden backfire that burned us.

And ... from the standpoint of government bidding and acquisition, what I said upthread is exactly all that will happen. (Political forces can try and craft special funding to resurrect history not withstanding, but right now that won't be easy.)

And the roots of the problem aren't in the solids industry, but in the mediocre politics that surround the arsenal system funding.

Thank you SX snf BO for finally cutting the solids industry apart from its backward dependence, now it's up to policy makers to catch up with 40+ years of not properly funding solids because they found a way to avoid doing the work and getting it right from the start.

Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #184 on: 04/17/2018 12:17 AM »
Quote
This heavy-class rocket will have a payload capacity of up to 10,100 kg to Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO) and up to 7,800 kg to Geostationary Equatorial Orbit (GEO) #OmegaRocket

https://twitter.com/OrbitalATK/status/986031910504796161

Online Chris Bergin

Re: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION
« Reply #185 on: 04/17/2018 12:18 AM »
Let's start a new thread, starting with the naming....

https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=45488.0

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