Author Topic: Discussion/Comparison of the new generation of American heavy lift launchers  (Read 31694 times)

Offline Paul451

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Using a third stage inside the payload bay is also something that should be very seriously considered.

A single Raptor-vac based upper-stage with a total wet mass, including payload, maxing out the 150t to LEO, gives you 75 tonnes total mass to GTO. If the upper-stage is a lazy 10% dry mass¹, that gives you 60 tonnes to GTO.

Same stage gives 35t payload to 4km/s. 23t to 5km/s. 15t to 6km/s. Etc.


¹ In order to compete with the cost of just refuelling the BFS², any such expendable upper-stage would have to be cheaply built, trading mass for cost. Or you could spend more once for a reusable/refuellable tug.

² Musk's slides gave about 110 tonnes to GTO for a single refuelling.
« Last Edit: 10/07/2017 03:05 PM by Paul451 »

Online envy887

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I estimate ~73,500 kg per launch to TLI with this architecture (662 tonnes counting lander and ascent stages and propellant over 9 launches). Six tankers stage at 200 km circular LEO, then the last two tankers stage at LEO+550 m/s.
« Last Edit: 10/09/2017 05:47 PM by envy887 »

Online envy887

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I also estimate ~66,000 kg per launch to TMI with 6 LEO refueling launches (462 tonnes injected for 7 total launches, TMI is LEO+3900 m/s).

Online envy887

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How I'd display it:

==============================================================
Vehicle          1st Flt   TransLunar   TransMars      GTO   
==============================================================
...
BFR                2022?         0 kg         0 kg  ~20,000 kg
BFR-R              2022?   ~73,500 kg   ~66,000 kg      ??? kg
...
==============================================================
"X" Denotes Expendable Version
"R" Denotes LEO Refueling, per launch basis
« Last Edit: 10/09/2017 05:46 PM by envy887 »

Online envy887

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Also; the expended core but the two boosters landing downrange on the barges.

There are many theoretical options, but I think Ed wants to concentrate on the practical and more likely options.

With a 2nd East Coast ASDS under construction, this is now a practical and likely option.

Updated with BFR added, based on the attached chart from Elon's September 29, 2017 presentation.

==============================================================
Vehicle          1st Flt   TransLunar   TransMars      GTO   
==============================================================
Falcon 9 Blk 5     2017?    ~3,000 kg?   ~2,500 kg?   5,500 kg
Falcon 9 Blk 5-X   2017?    ~5,500 kg     4,020 kg    8,300 kg
Falcon Heavy       2018?    ~5,500 kg    ~4,900 kg    8,000 kg
Falcon Heavy-X     2018?   ~20,500 kg    16,800 kg   26,700 kg
SLS Blk 1          2019?    24,500 kg    19,500 kg      N/A
Vulcan Centaur 56x 2019?    ~8,300 kg    ~6,200 kg   10,200 kg
New Glenn 2 Stg    2020?    ~7,500 kg?   ~3,000 kg?  13,000 kg
NGL-5xx            2021?    ~6,000 kg    ~4,700 kg    8,500 kg
SLS Blk 1B         2021?    39,000 kg    32,000 kg      N/A
BFR                2022?         0 kg         0 kg  ~20,000 kg
Vulcan ACES 56x    2023?    14,000 kg    10,500 kg   17,200 kg
NGL-5xx-XL         2023?   ~10,300 kg    ~8,200 kg?  14,700 kg
New Glenn 3 Stg    2025?   ~25,000 kg?  ~20,000 kg? ~30,000 kg?
SLS Blk 2          2028?   >45,000 kg   >37,600 kg      N/A
==============================================================
"X" Denotes Expendable Version

Updated 10-06-17{/pre]

 - Ed Kyle

You can take the question mark off the FH date.

FH center expended, boosters ASDS would be a good addition, as we now have well-sourced capability and price estimates (~24,000 kg to GTO, 18,000 kg to TLI, and 15,000 kg to TMI for ~$95M).

Prices in general would be a good addition to this table, since they are just as relevant in any rocket compassion as performance is.

Hopefully the Block 5 data shows up on NASA LSP site soon and we can get better figures.
« Last Edit: 02/13/2018 02:36 AM by envy887 »

Online envy887

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Based on this slide the 2017 BFR/BFS is expected to have a IMLEO of 335 tonnes (250 payload and 85 vehicle dry mass), if both vehicles are fully expended. With the stated vacuum I_sp of 375 sec, this implies a separable payload of 57 tonnes to TLI (LEO+3150 m/s), or 33 tonnes to TMI (LEO+3900 m/s). These both compare favorably to SLS Block IB separable payload to both TLI and TMI.

I'd bet a nickel that the fully expended cost of the stack would be less than SLS Block 1B, too...

Offline speedevil

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Based on this slide the 2017 BFR/BFS is expected to have a IMLEO of 335 tonnes (250 payload and 85 vehicle dry mass), if both vehicles are fully expended.
And of course 'fully expended' in this context means 'second stage can be recovered after a lunar flyby, aerobrake into LEO and one tanker refuel in orbit'.

Musk mentioned 'around twice' the payload expendable at sxsw. This more-or-less tallies with the above estimate, if you assume the 150 tons is including 20 tons of landing fuel. (this is never quite mentioned, 'around' could work with either including or not.).



Online envy887

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Based on this slide the 2017 BFR/BFS is expected to have a IMLEO of 335 tonnes (250 payload and 85 vehicle dry mass), if both vehicles are fully expended.
And of course 'fully expended' in this context means 'second stage can be recovered after a lunar flyby, aerobrake into LEO and one tanker refuel in orbit'.

Musk mentioned 'around twice' the payload expendable at sxsw. This more-or-less tallies with the above estimate, if you assume the 150 tons is including 20 tons of landing fuel. (this is never quite mentioned, 'around' could work with either including or not.).

Fully expended might mean "no TPS", which would preclude a return of any kind. Since it's job would be done after injection and seperation, it could be lightweighted by quite a bit. No solar panels, no TPS, no docking mechanisms, perhaps no landing tanks or plumbing. Possibly no internal insulation. Since the upper stage is relatively massive, with some lightweighting and expending it could potentially double the payload to Mars injection to 60 or even 70 tonnes.

It would be quite expensive, but hardly as useless without refueling as Ed implies.

Offline speedevil

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Fully expended might mean "no TPS", which would preclude a return of any kind.
It makes it notably more annoying.
Catching a stage coming back from the moon at some 3km/s is quite doable with margin with a nominal BFS.

But if you're doing that, you may as well refuel it in orbit as well, and get the whole 250 tons in LLO. (upper stage can manage TEI itself).

For the cost of an expended BFR and ten or so unexpended flights.

The question of course arises if there is much point in doing this over 150 tons, but it's a fun thought exercise.

Online envy887

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Fully expended might mean "no TPS", which would preclude a return of any kind.
It makes it notably more annoying.
Catching a stage coming back from the moon at some 3km/s is quite doable with margin with a nominal BFS.

But if you're doing that, you may as well refuel it in orbit as well, and get the whole 250 tons in LLO. (upper stage can manage TEI itself).

For the cost of an expended BFR and ten or so unexpended flights.

The question of course arises if there is much point in doing this over 150 tons, but it's a fun thought exercise.

I'm more looking at what is possible with a minimal technology set. SpaceX doesn't need refueling to fly LEO or GTO missions, so it's plausible that they would do incremental development development and use only the launch and EDL technology to start making money with BFR before developing and demonstrating refueling on-orbit.

But they do not need refueling to send 50+ tonnes translunar, if someone is willing to pay for expending a stack. I think with a stripped down BFS they could even land 5 tonnes on the Moon in a single launch, which is impressive for a 2-stage methalox rocket/lander. They would need the upper stage mass fraction down around 5.2%, compared to Falcon 9 booster at about 5.8% with landing legs. Saturn V landed 15 tonnes with 2/3 the liftoff mass, but needed 5 stages (with 2 of them hydrolox) to do so.
« Last Edit: 03/20/2018 01:24 PM by envy887 »

Online envy887

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Updated with recent events:
1 - SLS Block 1 is still notionally Dec 2019, but likely moved to NET 2020, Block 1B likely NET 2023
2 - New Glenn is still notionally Q4 2020, but more likely 2021. Updated with estimated data from Ed's site and the Silverbird calculator
3 - Vulcan-Centaur 5 moved from 2019 to mid-2020, Vulcan ACES moved from 2023 to 2024
4 - BFR in now notionally NET 2020 (orbital test flights) moved up from 2022, but likely still NET 2021.
5 - Added theoretical capability of fully expended BFR as described at IAC 2017. Will add refueling capability once a likely date of a refueling flight test is released.
6 - Vulcan Centaur 56x GTO payload updated to 16.3 t per this article
7 - NGL is now Omega, payloads are improved for the medium version to GTO, heavy version flies NET 2024: http://spacenews.com/orbital-atk-selects-aerojet-rocketdynes-rl10c-for-newly-christened-omega-rocket/
8 - SLS Block 1 now 57 klbs to TLI, Block 1B 74 klbs+
https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=38021.msg1828233#msg1828233


==============================================================
Vehicle          1st Flt   TransLunar   TransMars      GTO   
==============================================================
Falcon Heavy       2018     ~5,500 kg    ~4,900 kg    8,000 kg
Falcon 9 Blk 5     2018     ~3,000 kg?   ~2,500 kg?   5,500 kg
Falcon 9 Blk 5-X   2018     ~5,500 kg     4,020 kg    8,300 kg
Falcon Heavy-X     2018    ~20,500 kg    16,800 kg   26,700 kg
SLS Blk 1          2020?    25,900 kg    19,500 kg      N/A
Vulcan Centaur 56x 2020?   ~13,300 kg   ~10,000 kg   16,300 kg
New Glenn 2 Stg    2021?   ~15,980 kg?  ~13,232 kg? ~21,383 kg?
Omega 5xx          2021?    ~6,000 kg?   ~4,700 kg?  10,100 kg
BFR                2021?         0 kg         0 kg  ~20,000 kg
BFR-X              2021?   ~55,000 kg?  ~35,000 kg? ~80,000 kg?
SLS Blk 1B         2024?    39,000 kg    32,000 kg      N/A
Omega 5xxXL        2024?   ~10,300 kg    ~8,200 kg?  14,700 kg?
Vulcan ACES 56x    2024?    14,000 kg    10,500 kg   17,200 kg
New Glenn 3 Stg    2025?   ~23,076 kg?  ~20,227 kg? ~28,627 kg?
SLS Blk 2          2028?   >45,000 kg   >37,600 kg      N/A
==============================================================
"X" Denotes Expendable Version

Updated 06-01-18
« Last Edit: 06/05/2018 07:49 PM by envy887 »

Online GWH

Vulcan Centaur 5 numbers are pessimistically low. I'd suggest either taking Delta Heavy's capacity and adding 30% or start with GTO at 16,300 kg until something more concrete is released.
« Last Edit: 04/07/2018 10:20 PM by GWH »

Online envy887

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Vulcan Centaur 5 numbers are pessimistically low. I'd suggest either taking Delta Heavy's capacity and adding 30% or start with GTO at 16,300 kg until something more concrete is released.

Sounds like the plan is for Centaur 5 and ACES to share tanks and engines, with the only different in the fluid and thermal management systems. Interesting that they would go directly to 36 t to LEO capacity.

I think Ed based the numbers in the list on the minimum size to hit the RFP minimums, which works out to a ~50 tonne gross stage with 2 RL-10, since it wasn't clear what Centaur 5 was.

Offline john smith 19

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Updated with recent events:
1 - SLS Block 1 is still notionally Dec 2019, but likely moved to NET 2020, Block 1B likely NET 2023
2 - New Glenn is still notionally Q4 2020, but more likely 2021. Updated with estimated data from Ed's site and the Silverbird calculator
3 - Vulcan-Centaur 5 moved from 2019 to mid-2020, Vulcan ACES moved from 2023 to 2024
4 - BFR in now notionally NET 2020 (orbital test flights) moved up from 2022, but likely still NET 2021.
5 - Added theoretical capability of fully expended BFR as described at IAC 2017. Will add refueling capability once a likely date of a refueling flight test is released.
6 - Vulcan Centaur 56x GTO payload updated to 16.3 t per this article
7 - NGL is now Omega, payloads are improved for the medium version to GTO, heavy version flies NET 2024: http://spacenews.com/orbital-atk-selects-aerojet-rocketdynes-rl10c-for-newly-christened-omega-rocket/

TBH is "Omega" any more real that Liberty/NGL? 
Big solids are often touted as "Cheap and simple" but I've never seen one that's either, especially if it's segmented.  They do make great ICBM's, but outside of that no one's found a way to safely shut one down and or even throttle a big one (although throttlable solids with a turndown ratio of 10:1 have been built for missiles)

Are ATK just waiting out the time till they get the refurb contract on the motors on the US ICBM fleet?
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 Steven Pietrobon

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TBH is "Omega" any more real that Liberty/NGL?

They are building first stage hardware, so that is pretty real. No so sure on the hydrolox stage.
Akin's Laws of Spacecraft Design #1:  Engineering is done with numbers.  Analysis without numbers is only an opinion.

Offline TrevorMonty

TBH is "Omega" any more real that Liberty/NGL?

They are building first stage hardware, so that is pretty real. No so sure on the hydrolox stage.
They'ev choosen engines ie 2xRL10C so should be heavily into design stage. Medium version to fly 2021-22.

Liberty was always going to be expensive especially Ariane part.
OMEGA benefits from modern SRB manufacturing, avionics comes from Orbital's family of LVs. RL10Cs are probably lot cheaper than people think especially as ARJ has modernise them to lower build cost. Using SLS launch pad also saves huge amount.
« Last Edit: 06/01/2018 10:34 AM by TrevorMonty »

Offline edkyle99

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TBH is "Omega" any more real that Liberty/NGL?

They are building first stage hardware, so that is pretty real. No so sure on the hydrolox stage.
The way I see it, Omega is as real as Vulcan at this point - maybe even more real since Orbital ATK has firmly decided and announced about all of its propulsion options while we're still waiting to hear about BE-4 versus AR-1.  Contract competition will weed out all but two of the three or more competitors in a year or two, but until then it is all real.

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 06/01/2018 05:22 PM by edkyle99 »

Online envy887

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TBH is "Omega" any more real that Liberty/NGL?

They are building first stage hardware, so that is pretty real. No so sure on the hydrolox stage.
The way I see it, Omega is as real as Vulcan at this point - maybe even more real since Orbital ATK has firmly decided and announced about all of its propulsion options while we're still waiting to hear about BE-4 versus AR-1.  Contract competition will weed out all but two of the three or more competitors in a year or two, but until then it is all real.

 - Ed Kyle

Vulcan seems to be ahead in development though, as it's on schedule for a 2020 launch. Has Omega passed CDR? And the cryo upper stage is pretty sketchy. Has Orbital ever built a cryogenic rocket stage, or are they farming that out?

Offline RedLineTrain

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Very skeptical of all of these 2020 stated launch dates.
« Last Edit: 06/01/2018 06:56 PM by RedLineTrain »

Online envy887

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Very skeptical of all of these 2020 stated launch dates.

I think Vulcan is likely to hold in 2020 but slip to H2, while SLS Block 1, New Glenn, and BFR are likely to slip to 2021.

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