Author Topic: Renewed Russian Interest in Reusable Rockets  (Read 2578 times)

Offline sanman

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Renewed Russian Interest in Reusable Rockets
« on: 04/05/2017 03:24 AM »
Is there a shift in Russian attitudes towards reusable launch vehicle platforms, in the wake of recent successes from others in this field?

https://arstechnica.com/science/2017/04/after-spacex-launch-russia-now-says-it-is-interested-in-reusable-rockets/


Could we see a Russian reusable launch vehicle from Roscosmos? How far away would that be?

What will such Russian reusable launch platforms look like? What approach are they likely to take?
What heritage will they claim from existing launch vehicles? Or will they be completely clean-sheet designs? What, if any, specific features particular to or predominant in Russian technology are likely to be incorporated in possible future Russian RLVs?


Online Coastal Ron

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Re: Renewed Russian Interest in Reusable Rockets
« Reply #1 on: 04/05/2017 03:45 AM »
Russian engineers used to be very good at developing great solutions to challenging problems, but even copying what SpaceX has done will take good leadership and significant funding - and I know money is an issue in Russia right now.

The key would be the engine development, and off hand I don't know if they have any existing engines they could use as a starting point for a reusable launcher.

But just announcing that they are looking into reusability could help convince all the other expendable launcher entities that they should consider developing the capability too - you wouldn't want to be the last company operating expendable launchers, and you certainly don't want to be the LAST company to have developed an expendable launcher (which Russia currently is with the Angara).
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 TrevorMonty

Re: Renewed Russian Interest in Reusable Rockets
« Reply #2 on: 04/05/2017 03:52 AM »
I think Russian did look at mid air recovery of boosters. They have helicopters for the job.

Offline savuporo

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Re: Renewed Russian Interest in Reusable Rockets
« Reply #3 on: 04/05/2017 05:08 AM »
The key would be the engine development, and off hand I don't know if they have any existing engines they could use as a starting point for a reusable launcher.
Baikal wouldn't need any new engines. And that would be Russian forerunner for reusable booster concepts.
Orion - the first and only manned not-too-deep-space craft

Offline sanman

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Re: Renewed Russian Interest in Reusable Rockets
« Reply #4 on: 04/05/2017 04:33 PM »
Somebody posted this pic of a now-canceled Russian reusable VTVL design by Makeyev Rocket Design Bureau.

I'm wondering if the entire bottom section in blue is a single unit, meant for recovery.



(Unfortunately, I couldn't get Google Translate to translate the Russian text into English)

Given the great depth and breadth of Russian engineering expertise, I'm sure they'll be able to come up with some competitive designs at least. Even if cash is a problem, that would have to be weighed against consideration of the cost savings deriving from reusability.
« Last Edit: 04/05/2017 04:36 PM by sanman »

Offline Welsh Dragon

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Re: Renewed Russian Interest in Reusable Rockets
« Reply #5 on: 04/05/2017 04:58 PM »
This is the image that's always done the rounds of the forums about that. Not sure where it came from.

Offline sanman

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Re: Renewed Russian Interest in Reusable Rockets
« Reply #6 on: 04/09/2017 07:13 AM »
So that flight profile is interesting - looks like it's coming down via powered landing? So if it has a quartet of thrusters on the bottom section that lands, does that imply deep throttlability? Or is it actually a quintet of 5 thrusters, thus allowing the central one to light up alone to power the landing? Hard to tell from the cross-section diagram.

Given the hard landings that F9R booster has had to endure, could a 5-thruster quintet be a better choice?
Also, does the wider cross-sectional area and the squatter aspect-ratio provide better descent dynamics?



« Last Edit: 04/09/2017 07:15 AM by sanman »

Online Steven Pietrobon

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Re: Renewed Russian Interest in Reusable Rockets
« Reply #7 on: 04/09/2017 08:01 AM »
So that flight profile is interesting - looks like it's coming down via powered landing? So if it has a quartet of thrusters on the bottom section that lands, does that imply deep throttlability? Or is it actually a quintet of 5 thrusters, thus allowing the central one to light up alone to power the landing? Hard to tell from the cross-section diagram.

Sanman, the picture that you posted above shows five engines!

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=42672.msg1663888#msg1663888
Akin's Laws of Spacecraft Design #1:  Engineering is done with numbers.  Analysis without numbers is only an opinion.

Offline sanman

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Re: Renewed Russian Interest in Reusable Rockets
« Reply #8 on: 04/09/2017 08:13 AM »
Okay - it was hard to tell whether or not the central one wasn't from the stage above.

Offline mikes

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Re: Renewed Russian Interest in Reusable Rockets
« Reply #9 on: 04/09/2017 08:34 AM »
Energia side-boosters were intended to be reused after recovery by parachute

http://www.buran-energia.com/energia/energia-desc.php

Online ZachS09

Re: Renewed Russian Interest in Reusable Rockets
« Reply #10 on: 04/09/2017 02:03 PM »
Energia side-boosters were intended to be reused after recovery by parachute

http://www.buran-energia.com/energia/energia-desc.php

Another source depicting the Energiya booster recovery: Orbiter 2010 has an add-on, called ENERGY Project, that simulates that scenario.

http://www.orbithangar.com/searchid.php?ID=1036
"Liftoff of Falcon 9: the world's first reflight of an orbital-class rocket."

Offline sanman

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Re: Renewed Russian Interest in Reusable Rockets
« Reply #11 on: 04/11/2017 11:41 PM »
Some people are saying that Russia's geography means land-based landing, and that for anything other than RTLS this would require significant transport network infrastructure upgrades for expedient recovery of a returning vehicle. Since fuel/mass penalties from RTLS would undermine payload fraction, then it would seem down-range recovery is a must.

Couldn't they just try to come up with a big "off-road" transport vehicle? Maybe even like an Aeroscraft;D

Offline ChrisWilson68

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Re: Renewed Russian Interest in Reusable Rockets
« Reply #12 on: 04/12/2017 01:51 AM »
Given the great depth and breadth of Russian engineering expertise, I'm sure they'll be able to come up with some competitive designs at least. Even if cash is a problem, that would have to be weighed against consideration of the cost savings deriving from reusability.

Someone still has to put up the cash now.

Roscosmos's situation is not conducive to that.  With an ordinary company in a Western country, they could go to bankers for this kind of capital investment that would pay off over time.  The bankers would have to be convinced that they'd be likely to be repaid in the future.

But Roscosmos is a state company.  Getting loans repaid by them is not a good bet, even if in the long run it would pay off, because the payoff wouldn't necessarily go to the people providing the funding.  And the Russian government is hurting financially right now, so they're not particularly likely to come up with the cash.

Offline fregate

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Re: Renewed Russian Interest in Reusable Rockets
« Reply #13 on: 04/12/2017 04:04 AM »
Somebody posted this pic of a now-canceled Russian reusable VTVL design by Makeyev Rocket Design Bureau.

I'm wondering if the entire bottom section in blue is a single unit, meant for recovery.



(Unfortunately, I couldn't get Google Translate to translate the Russian text into English)

Given the great depth and breadth of Russian engineering expertise, I'm sure they'll be able to come up with some competitive designs at least. Eve n if cash is a problem, that would have to be weighed against consideration of the cost savings deriving from reusability.
LV ROSSYANKA by Makeyev Design Bureau (circa 2006) - it never had been cancelled. As a matter of fact it never had been funded. Metalox propulsion on Stage I with engines recovery via vertical landing. 
"Selene, the Moon. Selenginsk, an old town in Siberia: moon-rocket  town" Vladimir Nabokov

Offline sanman

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Re: Renewed Russian Interest in Reusable Rockets
« Reply #14 on: 04/12/2017 05:12 AM »
LV ROSSYANKA by Makeyev Design Bureau (circa 2006) - it never had been cancelled. As a matter of fact it never had been funded. Metalox propulsion on Stage I with engines recovery via vertical landing.

Ah, thank you for the name - Google turned this up:

http://archive.is/dYSYy

Quote
The State Rocket Centre, in cooperation with the developers of engines, control system, launch and maintenance complexes (KBKhA, KBKhM, NIIMash, NPOA and KBTM), have designed the ROSSIYANKA space rocket with the reusable first stage.

The key feature of the reusable first stage is application of exclusively standard rocket systems. The performance and number of the engines ensure the stage flight from takeoff to touchdown, including in case of failure of any cruise or control engines, what ensures high reliability of the mission accomplishment.

The stage flies back along a ballistic trajectory with restarting the standard engines.

The ROSSIYANKA capability, when injecting a payload into a low-earth orbit, is 21.5 tons. It can be increased to 35 t depending on the LV dimensions or, for instance, with application of the oxygen-hydrogen second stage. In this case the LV structural arrangement and the pattern of recovery of the reusable first stage remain unchanged.

Takeoff mass, t   750
Payload capability, t   Up to 21.5
Fuel   Liquid oxygen + liquefied natural gas
1-st stage reusability   Up to 25


LV engines
The ROSSIYANKA LV have new-generation reusable, highly reliable liquid-fuel rocket engines burning eco-friendly fuel components “liquid oxygen + liquefied natural gas”. Besides, application of engines on “liquid oxygen + kerosene” is under consideration now.

Control system
The primary investigations showed the possibility of the development of onboard control system equipment (BCSE) with the performance required. The radio inertial BCSE based on that of SOYUZ-2 was adopted as basic for the 1-st and 2-nd stages that will allow to fulfill the requirements for payload injection and 1-st stage recovery with soft landing on a prepared 50х50m site located 3-5km from the LV launch pad. The high recovery accuracy is provided by the GLONASS satellite navigation system and additional onboard navigation equipment.

So landing 3-5km from launch pad is effectively RTLS then.


« Last Edit: 04/12/2017 05:16 AM by sanman »

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