Author Topic: USAF RFP for new EELV Launch Service Agreements (2017-10-05)  (Read 29647 times)

Online gongora

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I'm a bit surprised this RFP was released before the Defense spending bill is finalized, you'd think they wouldn't do this unless they're sure of getting the funding?

FA8811-17-9-0001; Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) Launch Service Agreements (LSA) Request for Proposals (RFP)
« Last Edit: 10/06/2017 07:43 PM by gongora »

Offline zubenelgenubi

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I'm a bit surprised this RFP was released before the Defense spending bill is finalized, you'd think they wouldn't do this unless they're sure of getting the funding?
Would not the current Continuing Resolution provide sufficient authority?
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Online gongora

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I'm a bit surprised this RFP was released before the Defense spending bill is finalized, you'd think they wouldn't do this unless they're sure of getting the funding?
Would not the current Continuing Resolution provide sufficient authority?

Possibly to get the process started, but if the final Defense spending bill prohibits funding for it (like the House version of the bill currently does) then they couldn't even award the contracts.

Online russianhalo117

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It's appears Rob a draft RFP and not the final RFP.

Online gongora

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It's appears Rob a draft RFP and not the final RFP.

It is the final RFP.

Offline rocketmantitan

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Gotta love the Air Force using nautical miles in the requirements documents!  Haven't changed in 20 years.   Do any of their industrial base or their Aerospace Corporation technical arm even use those units anymore?  Probably not.  Must be a bit of a pain for industry to rewrite their GNC performance analyses to convert back to nautical miles in order to submit their proposal.

Offline gosnold

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Some interestings tidbits from the RFP:
Quote
Per national policy, the Air Force intends to ensure that there are two reliable sources for all national
security launches

Quote
Offerors may submit no more than two proposals per company. Each proposal shall only include one
proposed EELV Launch System prototype. The prototype can be developed using an incremental
approach, such as achieving the launch capability for Payload Categories A and B prior to achieving
launch capability for Payload Category C. The Government will award a maximum of one agreement
for one EELV Launch System prototype per company
. The Government plans to award a portfolio of
at least three agreements, but reserves the right to award any number of agreements, including none

Quote
3.1.2 Section II: Factor 1 EELV Approach
The Offeror shall describe its approach to develop and qualify a launch system that meets EELV
launch service requirements. The SPRD and SIS are listed in Annex C, Attachment 4. At a minimum,
the Offeror shall address the following topics:
1. The ability to meet all EELV reference orbits defined in Table 10 at the orbital insertion
accuracy required in SPRD 3.2.4
2. The ability to support up to five NSS launches per year
3. The ability of the launch system to meet the payload orientation requirement in SPRD 3.2.7
4. The ability of the launch system to meet the basing requirement in SPRD 3.2.11
5. The ability of the launch system to meet the EELV mated payload protection requirement in
SPRD 3.3.2
6. The ability of the launch system to meet the payload envelope requirement in SIS 3.1.3
7. The proposed mission assurance approach to ensure low risk and high confidence in launching
NSS missions
8. The ability to slow or surge production to accommodate uncertain NSS, commercial, and civil
launch forecasts

So that means SpaceX can get funding for either a Falcon Heavy capable of inserting 7t direct into GEO and with vertical integration, or BFR.

Quote
3.1.6.2 Non-Exclusivity of Rocket Propulsion System (RPS) Sales
The Offeror shall provide a signed letter acknowledging understanding of the FY15 NDAA Section
1604 (E) requirement that any RPSs developed under this LSA will be available for purchase by all
space launch providers of the United States. The implementation of this requirement is addressed in
Article XIX of the Model Agreement (Annex C). If the Offeror is not proposing to develop any
RPSs under this LSA, the Offeror shall provide a letter with that statement.
3.1.6.3 RPS Developed By Not Later Than 2019
The Offeror shall provide a signed letter stating whether or not the RPS(s) developed under this LSA
are scheduled to complete development by 31 December 2019. The letter shall include a reference to
the related tasks in the schedule (Section 3.1.3.2).

Quote
The Government will evaluate the Offeror’s schedule to determine the risk of delayed development
for:
1. Launch system(s) capable of launching Category A and Category B payloads by 1 October
2021 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station/Kennedy Space Center or Vandenberg Air
Force Base

2. Launch system(s) capable of launching Category A and Category B payloads from Vandenberg
Air Force Base by 1 October 2024
3. Launch system(s) capable of launching Category C payloads by 1 October 2024 from
Vandenberg Air Force Base

Also some interesting tables :



Apparently there's an Overhead Persistent Infrared program that's separate from SBIRS, that's news.

And finally the full desired schedule

That is very aggressive.
« Last Edit: 10/08/2017 07:48 PM by gosnold »

Offline Mike Jones

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Deadline for submitting bids is on November 20th.

One can expect at least 4 bidders :
- ULA with Vulcan
- Spacex with BFR and/or Falcon Heavy
- Orbital ATK with NGL
- Blue Origin with New Glenn
 +maybe  a fifth bidder ? Aerojet Rocketdyne with a launcher based on AR1 and RL-10 with solid boosters ?

Offline yg1968

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« Last Edit: 10/09/2017 01:17 AM by yg1968 »

Offline woods170

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Gotta love the Air Force using nautical miles in the requirements documents!  Haven't changed in 20 years.   Do any of their industrial base or their Aerospace Corporation technical arm even use those units anymore?  Probably not.  Must be a bit of a pain for industry to rewrite their GNC performance analyses to convert back to nautical miles in order to submit their proposal.
Hard to believe that the U.S. adopted the metric system in 1866.  Still, nautical miles remain widely used in aeronautics and sailing in the U.S..

 - Ed Kyle
The metric system was adopted, in theory. In practice: not by a long shot.

Offline speedevil

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Am I reading this correctly, in that it is only the rocket engines that, if developed under this agreement must be shared tech. If the rocket engine development is complete by 2019, as at least seems plausible, for some of the vendors, they can use the funding under this agreement to develop the rest of the rocket system, and not need to share technology at a 'commercially reasonable price' with other companies?

Offline rockets4life97

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Has anyone done an analysis of whether the main contenders (Vulcan, New Glenn, BFR) as currently designed can meet the payloads required for each reference orbit?

Online gongora

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Has anyone done an analysis of whether the main contenders (Vulcan, New Glenn, BFR) as currently designed can meet the payloads required for each reference orbit?

I don't think I'd call BFR a main contender for this, the Falcon family would be more likely.  You're also leaving off the O/ATK proposal.

Offline rockets4life97

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I don't think I'd call BFR a main contender for this, the Falcon family would be more likely.

I suppose that depends on how seriously you take Elon Musk's claim to transition in the early 2020s away from the Falcon 9/FH to BFR. It doesn't look like SpaceX needs much development money for Falcon 9/FH.

Online gongora

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I don't think I'd call BFR a main contender for this, the Falcon family would be more likely.

I suppose that depends on how seriously you take Elon Musk's claim to transition in the early 2020s away from the Falcon 9/FH to BFR. It doesn't look like SpaceX needs much development money for Falcon 9/FH.

I don't think anyone is going to count on SpaceX meeting that schedule for BFR flights, and you may be underestimating the amount left to spend on development of vehicles and facilities for the Falcon line to fully meet the DoD requirements.

Offline meberbs

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Gotta love the Air Force using nautical miles in the requirements documents!  Haven't changed in 20 years.   Do any of their industrial base or their Aerospace Corporation technical arm even use those units anymore?  Probably not.  Must be a bit of a pain for industry to rewrite their GNC performance analyses to convert back to nautical miles in order to submit their proposal.
As long as they aren't mixing nautical miles with data miles (a nautical mile rounded to the nearest 1000 ft) it is an improvement from some things I have seen. I have seen a system that at one point had decided that nautical miles and data miles were close enough to be considered the same thing. This was no longer the case, but some user displays still gave numbers in data miles, but labeled nautical miles. Even on the same screen a display could label everything as nautical miles, but half of the numbers were really data miles. Even presentations about the system would sometimes do the same thing.

Online envy887

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I don't think I'd call BFR a main contender for this, the Falcon family would be more likely.

I suppose that depends on how seriously you take Elon Musk's claim to transition in the early 2020s away from the Falcon 9/FH to BFR. It doesn't look like SpaceX needs much development money for Falcon 9/FH.

I don't think anyone is going to count on SpaceX meeting that schedule for BFR flights, and you may be underestimating the amount left to spend on development of vehicles and facilities for the Falcon line to fully meet the DoD requirements.

Specifically, SpaceX needs at least Falcon Heavy flying, vertical integration facilities, a longer fairing, and a heavier PAF.

Offline Rik ISS-fan

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I think there are four companies that can participate in this competition.
BlueOrigin New Glenn (or ...)
Orbital-ATK NGL (If Castor 300; ...600 & ...1200 development is funded)
SpaceX Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy
ULA Delta IV H and Vulcan Centaur (Atlas V is backup)

Could NGL and Vulcan (BE-4 & AR1) use the same upper-stage?

Offline TrevorMonty

Here are those reference payloads in metric units.

The "C" Category missions, especially "GEO2",  are
the "Heavy" missions.  Everything else appears to
be "Medium" type. 

EELV REFERENCE ORBITS

ORBIT                                   MASS      CATEGORY
-----------------------------------------------------------
LEO      926 km x 63.4 deg              6,804 kg    A&B
Polar 1  833 km x 98.2 deg              7,030 kg    A&B
Polar 2  833 km x 98.2 deg             17,010 kg    C
MEO 1    18,177 km x 50 deg             5,330 kg    A&B
MTO 1    1,000 x 20,368 km x 55 deg     4,082 kg    A&B
MEO 2    20,368 km x 55 deg             4,082 kg    A&B
MTO 2    1,000 x 20,368 km x 55 deg     5,080 kg    A&B
GTO      185 x 35,786 km x 27 deg       8,165 kg    A&B
Molniya  1,204 x 39,170 km x 63.4 deg   5,216 kg    A&B
GEO 1    35,786 km x 0 deg              2,268 kg    A&B
GEO 2    35,786 km x 0 deg              6,577 kg    C
---------------------------------------------------------
Categories
A:  4 meter diameter PLF
B:  5 meter diameter PLF
C:  5 meter diameter Extended PLF

I'm going to modify my original statement about Heavy versus Medium type missions.  The "MEO 1" and "MEO 2" look like they might also fit in to the "Heavy" category, or what used to be "Heavy".  These payloads have increased from today's 1.6-ish tonnes to more than 5.3 tonnes - quite a jump. 

My assessment is that Falcon 9, NGL 500, and the lower-end Vulcan-Centaur variants can handle the "Medium" missions.  (Some of the F9 first stages could be recovered, but probably not all).  The "Heavy" missions require Falcon Heavy Recoverable or possibly Falcon 9 expendable, NGL 500XL, or Vulcan with "Enhanced" Centaur.  The crossover point between Falcon 9 expendable and Falcon Heavy Recoverable is uncertain to me.

FWIW, two-stage New Glenn looks capable of handling any of these missions, Medium or Heavy, but that assumes a long-coast to third restart capability is available.

 - Ed Kyle
Blue's NG would most likely require 3rd stage for GEO 2 mission. At 13t to GTO it only has 6t of fuel to deliver 7t payload plus stage dry mass to GEO.

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Offline soltasto

Blue's NG would most likely require 3rd stage for GEO 2 mission. At 13t to GTO it only has 6t of fuel to deliver 7t payload plus stage dry mass to GEO.
After looking at my model in detail, I agree.  New Glenn would need a third stage for GEO and for the two MEO missions.

 - Ed Kyle

New Glenn would also need a launch site for the polar orbit missions. Are there plans for a west coast launch site for New Glenn? Even Orbital has plans to take over Vandenberg SLC-2 (after the last 2018 Delta II mission) for NGL.

May the initial plan be launching from the cape at the highest azimuth to the north and then performing a (quite expensive) orbit inclination change with the third stage?

Online gongora

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New Glenn would also need a launch site for the polar orbit missions. Are there plans for a west coast launch site for New Glenn? Even Orbital has plans to take over Vandenberg SLC-2 (after the last 2018 Delta II mission) for NGL.

May the initial plan be launching from the cape at the highest azimuth to the north and then performing a (quite expensive) orbit inclination change with the third stage?

Vandenberg flights aren't required until a few years into the contract.  Whoever wins will have time to set up a site.

Offline Mike Jones

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So how many bids can we expect on November 20th?
I hope  that every established players and new entrants submit their own bids as Prime contractor to maximize competition:
- ULA with Vulcan centaur (with BE-4 a priori) and then Vulcan ACES (which upper stage engine supplier?)
- SpaceX with Falcon Heavy and then BFR
- Orbital ATK (soon Northrop Grumman) with NGL 500 and then NGL500XL. Who will be their upper stage engine supplier ?
- Blue Origin with new Glenn (2-stage version) and then New Glenn (3-stage)
- Aerojet Rocketdyne with an "Atlas VI" based on AR-1 & RL-10 provided that they should not be part of ULA tea for Vulcan.  But who will be their partner for structures and integration ?

Any ideas ?

Online vaporcobra

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So how many bids can we expect on November 20th?
I hope  that every established players and new entrants submit their own bids as Prime contractor to maximize competition:
- ULA with Vulcan centaur (with BE-4 a priori) and then Vulcan ACES (which upper stage engine supplier?)
- SpaceX with Falcon Heavy and then BFR
- Orbital ATK (soon Northrop Grumman) with NGL 500 and then NGL500XL. Who will be their upper stage engine supplier ?
- Blue Origin with new Glenn (2-stage version) and then New Glenn (3-stage)
- Aerojet Rocketdyne with an "Atlas VI" based on AR-1 & RL-10 provided that they should not be part of ULA tea for Vulcan.  But who will be their partner for structures and integration ?

Any ideas ?

That's a good summary of the field. I think payload requirements in the RFP will push out OATK's NGL 500 and generally point towards SHLV. I would expect Vulcan, BFR/FH, and New Glenn to all receive funds for prototype dev.

I also fully expect the AF to lean towards vehicles that will use propulsion systems they have already partially funded.

Online gongora

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A company can submit up to two proposals, but only one family of vehicles can get chosen according to the documents.  That would mean SpaceX could get funding for either Falcon or BFR family, not both.  I assume the Air Force would lean towards the one that actually exists already.

Online vaporcobra

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A company can submit up to two proposals, but only one family of vehicles can get chosen according to the documents.  That would mean SpaceX could get funding for either Falcon or BFR family, not both.  I assume the Air Force would lean towards the one that actually exists already.

A fair assumption, no doubt.

I'm torn; BFR could be a boon to all  forms of space access, including military space needs. The AF Space Command is downright enamored with reusable rockets at the moment, and SpaceX will almost certainly submit proposals for both the Falcon family and BFR. FH is definitely the obvious choice given its maturity, but it doesn't look like FH can accomplish all the example missions while recovering all three cores.

I'm sure SpaceX is still somewhat open to expendable missions if there is no alternative, but not 100% sure when we're talking about the '20s. I'd love to see some official numbers on payloads with an expendable center core, but there's also the reality that SpaceX would likely rather recover center cores over side cores.

Offline woods170

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Some interestings tidbits from the RFP:

Quote
3.1.2 Section II: Factor 1 EELV Approach
The Offeror shall describe its approach to develop and qualify a launch system that meets EELV
launch service requirements. The SPRD and SIS are listed in Annex C, Attachment 4. At a minimum,
the Offeror shall address the following topics:
1. The ability to meet all EELV reference orbits defined in Table 10 at the orbital insertion
accuracy required in SPRD 3.2.4
<snip>

I can see where that "all EELV reference orbits" came from. It is a requirement to prevent any further "cherry-picking" of NSS missions, such as SpaceX has been doing ever since Falcon 9 became certified for NSS missions.
« Last Edit: 10/24/2017 06:22 AM by woods170 »

Offline Jim

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The AF Space Command is downright enamored with reusable rockets at the moment,


not really

Offline DreamyPickle

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The requirement to also launch "Category C" payloads is potentially very troublesome, but it does make sense. If you're going to fund multiple systems for "assured access to space" you also want to do this for the most expensive missions. It does allow an "incremental approach" of supporting category A/B years before category C so it's not clear it would completely exclude the F9 if applied retroactively because SpaceX has always claimed the Heavy is launching really soon.

This requirement also explains why the Orbital-ATK NGL claims to support direct GEO insertion, they would otherwise be disqualified.

While the Falcon Heavy can already fill all the top requirements it would make sense for SpaceX to propose the BFR and get government funding for it. It almost feels like cheating but seems like it would be allowed.
* They already received money for Raptor so they have a "foot in the door".
* The requirement for direct GEO insertion would probably be met through fuel transfer, developed on DoD money.
* Flights under this agreement begin in 2022 so this actually meshes quite nicely with Elon's statement that the Falcon will be retired.

There is also a recent SpaceNews article with some interesting quotes from the Air Force. It seems that the infamous "Section 1615" could completely block this program in favor of just funding the Aerojet AR1 to replace RD-180. Is this interpretation accurate?
« Last Edit: 11/03/2017 10:54 PM by DreamyPickle »

Online gongora

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If I'm reading the conference report correctly this RFP just died. (Can't copy/paste well on phone, will post the text later tonight if someone else doesn't get to it first.)

Offline Mike Jones

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Really ? can the US Air Force withdraw this RFP so late in the bidding process ? Deadline is in 10 days ...

Online gongora

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Conference Committee Text can be found here

The bill does require a report to be submitted to Congress on the best (most cost effective) way to move forward over the next 5 years, 10 years, and life of the program, so something like this process could possibly still occur after consultations with Congress.

Online vaporcobra

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If I'm reading the conference report correctly this RFP just died. (Can't copy/paste well on phone, will post the text later tonight if someone else doesn't get to it first.)

Looks like it, sadly.

Quote
The amendment would terminate the authority to
develop a domestic rocket propulsion system and to develop the
necessary interfaces of a domestic rocket propulsion system once
the Secretary of the Air Force certifies to the congressional
defense committees that a successful full-scale test of a
domestic rocket engine has occurred.

Not completely clear, but this seems to indicate that Blue's successful test firing would mean that the AF can no longer be involved in RPS development after it's verified. Anyway draw a different conclusion?

Offline rockets4life97

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Is this another way of saying that Congress doesn't want to pay for engine/rocket development for a new EELV when the commercial market has already produced a new option?

Online AncientU

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...

FWIW, two-stage New Glenn looks capable of handling any of these missions, Medium or Heavy, but that assumes a long-coast to third restart capability is available.

 - Ed Kyle

Difficulty would be retiring the development risk and being ready in time -- promising five flights in each of 2020 and 2021 might be a hard sell before a competitor has a qualified engine or ever conducted an orbital launch.  Both Blue and AJR suffer this situation.  Recall that another competitor, with both an engine and a bit of orbital launch experience, was shut out of previous launches. 
« Last Edit: 11/10/2017 01:46 PM by AncientU »
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Offline gosnold

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Quote
The amendment would terminate the authority to
develop a domestic rocket propulsion system and to develop the
necessary interfaces of a domestic rocket propulsion system once
the Secretary of the Air Force certifies to the congressional
defense committees that a successful full-scale test of a
domestic rocket engine has occurred.

This seems to be only about the engine, the RFP is for a launch system so should still stand. Also since Merlin is domestic, wouldn't that terminate the authority right now?

Online gongora

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Quote
The amendment would terminate the authority to
develop a domestic rocket propulsion system and to develop the
necessary interfaces of a domestic rocket propulsion system once
the Secretary of the Air Force certifies to the congressional
defense committees that a successful full-scale test of a
domestic rocket engine has occurred.

This seems to be only about the engine, the RFP is for a launch system so should still stand. Also since Merlin is domestic, wouldn't that terminate the authority right now?

The legislation doesn't provide funding for the program described in the RFP.  It explicitly says that spending money on the program described in the RFP is not allowed in FY18.  The engine they're talking about is the RD-180 replacement.  Merlin is not the RD-180 replacement.

Online AncientU

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Quote
The amendment would terminate the authority to
develop a domestic rocket propulsion system and to develop the
necessary interfaces of a domestic rocket propulsion system once
the Secretary of the Air Force certifies to the congressional
defense committees that a successful full-scale test of a
domestic rocket engine has occurred.

This seems to be only about the engine, the RFP is for a launch system so should still stand. Also since Merlin is domestic, wouldn't that terminate the authority right now?

The legislation doesn't provide funding for the program described in the RFP.  It explicitly says that spending money on the program described in the RFP is not allowed in FY18.  The engine they're talking about is the RD-180 replacement.  Merlin is not the RD-180 replacement.

This entire discussion -- attempting to parse Congressional language -- could easily be solved if Congress just said, "Send* this bag of money to Aerojet and ULA."  End of discussion; problem solved.

*But that would be illegal...
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Offline FinalFrontier

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If I read this correctly, no more money for BE4 development?

Doesn't seem like that would be a problem however, because BE4 is pretty far along anyway. As far as it applies to the Vulcan LV I supposed BO and ULA would have to work out who pays for development costs. But I don't think it would kill the engine.

What does this do to the AJ proposal for vulcan though? Does it make it more or less likely?
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Online gongora

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If I read this correctly, no more money for BE4 development?

Doesn't seem like that would be a problem however, because BE4 is pretty far along anyway. As far as it applies to the Vulcan LV I supposed BO and ULA would have to work out who pays for development costs. But I don't think it would kill the engine.

What does this do to the AJ proposal for vulcan though? Does it make it more or less likely?

So the way I'm reading this, Congress is authorizing money for U.S. industry to develop a replacement for RD-180.  Multiple efforts can be funded until one is finished, but once one of them passes a full scale (and I assume that means full power/full duration of a flight-like engine/motor) test the Air Force will not be able to obligate additional funding to the other competitors.  It will probably be a little while before someone (most likely Blue Origin) does the full scale test, and a while after that before the Secretary of the Air Force certifies to Congress that the test has been completed, so this isn't really instant death for the AJR and O/ATK first stage propulsion programs.

The bill authorizes spending on the interface of the engine to a first stage (and does not say it has to be an existing first stage), so that would cover a lot of plumbing and thrust structure work at the back end of a rocket.  It doesn't allow Air Force spending for the rest of the rocket (tanks, upper stage, avionics, etc.) except...

It still allows the Air Force to spend money to
Quote
"(C) develop capabilities necessary to enable existing or planned commercially available spacelaunch vehicles or infrastructure that are primarily for national security space missions to meet the assured access to space requirements pursuant to section 2273 of title 10, United States Code."
(stuff like long coast, vertical integration, launch pads at both CC and Vandenberg, large fairings, etc.)

Offline gosnold

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It still allows the Air Force to spend money to
Quote
"(C) develop capabilities necessary to enable existing or planned commercially available spacelaunch vehicles or infrastructure that are primarily for national security space missions to meet the assured access to space requirements pursuant to section 2273 of title 10, United States Code."
(stuff like long coast, vertical integration, launch pads at both CC and Vandenberg, large fairings, etc.)

That seems to preclude funding any rocket except ULA's, because they are not primarily for NSS. Vandenberg pads and vertical integration facilities would still be in scope though.

Offline Mike Jones

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Proposals are due on Monday. The outcome is pretty uncertain at this stage on the funding side and for the selection of Primes by USAF: SpaceX vs ULA (which main engine supplier ?) vs Orbital ATK (which upper stage supplier ?) vs Blue Origin.

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Both houses of Congress have now passed the 2018 NDAA (which sets policy but they still need to pass a separate bill to actually fund it).  The NDAA has language that pretty much prohibits awarding contracts for this RFP.

Offline Mike Jones

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When is this last bill supposed to be passed ? Why is this RFP not cancelled or postponed in such context where no funding would be appropriated for launch vehicle development ?
« Last Edit: 11/16/2017 08:10 PM by Mike Jones »

Offline bodhiandphysics

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When is this last bill supposed to be passed ? Why is this RFP not cancelled or postponed in such context where no funding would be appropriated for launch vehicle development ?

Just a guesss... it's not that the NDAA doesn't appropriate funds for the RFP. Rather, it bans the use of discretionary funds appropriated as part of a specific program, the EELV program, except for certain specified ways. Moreover, it only does so for fiscal year 2018.  What happens in 2019 and onward is a whole new discussion.   The air force can issue any RFP that it wants... it then has to find money to pay for them, but those contracts can be structured so as not to run afoul of the law.  For instance, only work on first stages may be funded with EELV money during 2018 (and given that the decision will happen probably in the middle of year, that might not even be an issue).  Also, the air force has other money for development besides EELV money, which isn't effected by the law.

Finally, while congress writes the law, it's the executive branch that interprets it, and 2615, particularly the third section, is extremely vague.  Congress has little power to enforce their interpretation, besides withholding future appropriations.  They could conceivably sue, but unless the air force interprets the law in a way that's patently absurd, such a suit would be quite difficult to win.  As written, section 1 could be plausibly interpreted to allow essentially any work on a first stage, for instance for Vulcan and NGL.  Section 3 can be interpreted to allow any work on the modification of an upper stage that enables a vehicle to satisfy EELV requirements.  That's not  necessarily Mike Lee's interpretation, but the only interpretation that matters is the AFs and maybe a judge's. 

It might be harder for the AF to fund the BFR under section 3 (though they presumably could help fund the first stage under section 1), because the BFR is not "primarily for national security payloads," but this clause seems really meaningless to me.  What does primarily mean? Do companies have to certify that they will not seek commercial business?  That would be ridiculous. Gwen Shotwell has already suggested an argument that BFR *is* primarily for the military. The only organization that might purchase 25 tons to GTO in the current market, is the US govt.  While Spacex themselves might have other plans, they can quite easily argue that for the first few years at the BFR is going to be primarily a military launch vehicle.  While this might be a bit disingenuous, the actual purpose of the BFR, the colonization of mars, is so patently absurd that this might fly :)!
« Last Edit: 11/17/2017 12:43 AM by gongora »

Offline Mike Jones

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Any news on the various bids received by US Air Force ?

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Good article by Eric Berger on the NDAA funding language and thus the flexibility it does, and does not, give the USAF:

https://arstechnica.com/science/2017/11/a-new-law-gives-air-force-some-wiggle-room-in-picking-its-new-rockets/

Two crucial quotes:

Quote
Further, the bill defines “rocket propulsion system” as a main booster, first-stage rocket engine, or motor. The term does not include a launch vehicle, an upper stage, a strap-on motor, or related infrastructure.

Quote
Another provision in the bill relates to the engines under development for Vulcan. This language states that the Air Force may terminate funding for other rocket propulsion systems when “the Secretary of the Air Force certifies to the congressional defense committees that a successful full-scale test of a domestic rocket engine has occurred.”

So first stage funding is fine, but not second or other stages, and AR-1 funding can be dropped once BE-4 achieves a 'full-scale test'.


Online envy887

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Good article by Eric Berger on the NDAA funding language and thus the flexibility it does, and does not, give the USAF:

https://arstechnica.com/science/2017/11/a-new-law-gives-air-force-some-wiggle-room-in-picking-its-new-rockets/

Two crucial quotes:

Quote
Further, the bill defines “rocket propulsion system” as a main booster, first-stage rocket engine, or motor. The term does not include a launch vehicle, an upper stage, a strap-on motor, or related infrastructure.

Quote
Another provision in the bill relates to the engines under development for Vulcan. This language states that the Air Force may terminate funding for other rocket propulsion systems when “the Secretary of the Air Force certifies to the congressional defense committees that a successful full-scale test of a domestic rocket engine has occurred.”

So first stage funding is fine, but not second or other stages, and AR-1 funding can be dropped once BE-4 achieves a 'full-scale test'.

Mr Berger added a comma there. The actual text reads:

Quote
(e) Rocket Propulsion System Defined.—In this section, the term “rocket propulsion system” means, with respect to the development authorized by subsection (a)(1), a main booster, first-stage rocket engine (including such an engine using kerosene or methane-based or other propellant) or motor. The term does not include a launch vehicle, an upper stage, a strap-on motor, or related infrastructure.

So a “rocket propulsion system” is "a main booster, first-stage rocket engine (...) or motor". This reads to me like "main booster" is only modifying the clause "rocket engine or motor". That is, only such engines or motors that are applicable to main boosters are allowed to be funded, while the main boosters themselves are not.

Offline Kabloona

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Mr Berger added a comma there.

Good catch.

I think you're saying the original intent was to specify "a main booster (i.e. first-stage) rocket engine or motor."

Another case of the panda who "Eats, Shoots & Leaves."
« Last Edit: 11/22/2017 12:31 AM by Kabloona »

Offline Rik ISS-fan

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So is the first: "a main booster" the development intent;
  They search for a replacement of the Atlas and Delta booster (core) stages.
and the later the explanation than both Liquid and solid's are allowed?

Online envy887

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Mr Berger added a comma there.

Good catch.

I think you're saying the original intent was to specify "a main booster (i.e. first-stage) rocket engine or motor."

Another case of the panda who "Eats, Shoots & Leaves."

Yes. This is supported by the definition specifically excluding launch vehicle development, which main booster development would fall under.

Offline rockets4life97

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So, is funding for raptor in the same boat as AR-1? In other words, the RFP won't fund engine development after a full-scale engine test (like B-4's)?

Offline Rik ISS-fan

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I think the Raptor engine development contract will remain in place. I think the Raptor development contract involves the use of government owned test facilities, most likely Stand E2 at Stennis. SpaceX has to develop and test the larger preburners and turbo-pumps for the full scale Raptor. At Stennis there are very good facilities for this.
The cost to use these facilities is very little compared to the full engine development cost.
« Last Edit: 11/22/2017 08:45 PM by Rik ISS-fan »

Online gongora

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Not directly related to this RFP, but I ran across this document today and wanted to save it somewhere.

Quote
1.1. Overview:

1.1.1. Prior to 2011, all National Security Space (NSS) payloads were considered as Class A
representing the most critical payloads. Launch vehicles (LVs) that launch Class A payloads
have met the highest level of certification requirements with commensurate demonstrated
reliability and must have the lowest risk tolerance rating. Class B, C and D payloads are
considered more tolerant to risk, and can be flown on LVs with progressively higher risk.

1.1.2. This instruction defines the process on how payload risk classification will be
accomplished and how the resultant risk classifications are incorporated into the overall
launch mission risk classification. It provides the SMC/CC the flexibility to certify flight
worthiness commensurate with payload risk tolerance. Risk Classification will not take
precedence over Joint Capabilities Integration and Development System (JCIDS)
requirements documentation nor affect system design, acquisition, or build methodology
prior to the launch flow decision process. Unlaunched missions over a year from initial
launch capability (ILC) will be reassessed annually, to provide opportunity for updated risk
acceptance decisions. Payloads introduced to an unlaunched mission under a year from ILC
will reviewed on an individual basis for potential changes to launch mission risk
classification. Consistent mission assurance (MA) will preserve operational flexibility in a
Contested, Degraded, or Operationally-limited (CDO) environment.


Online gongora

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The Air Force issued an RFI (Request for Information) dealing with the awarding of launch contracts for EELV Phase 2.  It appears they still intend to go through with the RFP for the LSA's.  The RFI is for the details of how to structure the contract awards after the two providers are chosen.

Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) Launch Service Procurement (LSP) Request for Information (RFI)
Solicitation Number: FA8811-18-R-0002

Offline Mike Jones

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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

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Finally got around to the deliciously tedious task of doing a line-by-line comparison of the original RFP and the Amendment 1 published in late January 2018. Very slight and subtle changes, as far as I can tell, and all are laser-focused on one specific thing: the requirement that potential AF funding is only applied in ways that specifically relate to the development of NSS-relevant capabilities. To quote the two additions I was able to find:

Quote
(Apologies, text was oddly only partially copyable on the updated PDF.)

Quote
3.1.6.4 Primarily NSS Capabilities
In accordance with FY18 NDAA Section 1605, the Offeror shall provide a signed letter certifying that the proposed Government cost share will only be used to develop capabilities necessary to enable existing or planned commercially available space launch vehicles or infrastructure that are primarily for national security space missions.

IMHO, this small addition could be a sign that the RFP was more designed in part to assist SpaceX (among others) in the development of a cryogenic Raptor S2 for Falcon than the development of BFR.

Nevertheless, I'm out of my depth here, and would love to hear opinions on the significance (if any) of this small change.
« Last Edit: 02/04/2018 12:14 AM by vaporcobra »

Offline su27k

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IMHO, this small addition could be a sign that the RFP was more designed in part to assist SpaceX (among others) in the development of a cryogenic Raptor S2 for Falcon than the development of BFR.

Nevertheless, I'm out of my depth here, and would love to hear opinions on the significance (if any) of this small change.

I'm equally clueless but I think the change is made so that the RFP follows the language in FY18 NDAA Section 1605, the change itself has nothing to do with SpaceX or BFR. We can certainly speculate how SpaceX would respond, for example I don't see they go back to Raptor S2 for Falcon. A lot would depend on how everyone involved interpret the text. For example what does "develop capabilities necessary to enable existing or planned commercially available space launch vehicles or infrastructure that are primarily for national security space missions" mean exactly? I'm having trouble parsing this sentence. And what does "development effort necessary to provide the capability to launch Category A/B payloads to NSS reference orbits" cover? Seems to me any work on first or second stage could be argued to be necessary to reach NSS reference orbits.

Online AncientU

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IMHO, this small addition could be a sign that the RFP was more designed in part to assist SpaceX (among others) in the development of a cryogenic Raptor S2 for Falcon than the development of BFR.

Nevertheless, I'm out of my depth here, and would love to hear opinions on the significance (if any) of this small change.

I'm equally clueless but I think the change is made so that the RFP follows the language in FY18 NDAA Section 1605, the change itself has nothing to do with SpaceX or BFR. We can certainly speculate how SpaceX would respond, for example I don't see they go back to Raptor S2 for Falcon. A lot would depend on how everyone involved interpret the text. For example what does "develop capabilities necessary to enable existing or planned commercially available space launch vehicles or infrastructure that are primarily for national security space missions" mean exactly? I'm having trouble parsing this sentence. And what does "development effort necessary to provide the capability to launch Category A/B payloads to NSS reference orbits" cover? Seems to me any work on first or second stage could be argued to be necessary to reach NSS reference orbits.

Add vertical integration
Add long fairings
Add high energy upper stage

F9/FH do not have any of the above and could get funded to develop them to support NSS launches.
Falcon and one day New Glenn are commercially available launch vehicles, the only ones out there, or soon to be out there, that to which this may be applicable.  NGL may also qualify as a planned commercially available launch vehicle that needs these things.
« Last Edit: 02/04/2018 09:55 PM by AncientU »
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Offline AndyE

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It looks like the Air Force has already awarded SpaceX $20 million to develop a vertical integration facility, according to this article just published on teslarati.

https://www.teslarati.com/spacex-20m-us-air-force-contract-spy-satellites/

(Apologies if this is the wrong place to put this. First post!)  :)
Acronyms are the enemy of understanding. Why not spell them out and let everyone understand what you are saying?

Online vaporcobra

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It looks like the Air Force has already awarded SpaceX $20 million to develop a vertical integration facility, according to this article just published on teslarati.

https://www.teslarati.com/spacex-20m-us-air-force-contract-spy-satellites/

(Apologies if this is the wrong place to put this. First post!)  :)

You beat me to it, welcome to NSF! ;D Might even be worth a new thread, although it's been absolutely dead silent in all spheres. Up to the mods.

I was stunned to find ZERO coverage of this. I looked really hard and could have missed something (please let me know if you find previous coverage), but I believe it's the only article on the award itself. $20m is a huge amount for the AF to award SpaceX for a simple "study." For comparison, that's about 25% of what the AF has paid SpaceX for individual launch contracts in the past.

For that sum, I'd expect some real hardware to result from it. Study was supposed to be completed by mid-January, would love to see where SpaceX is three months in...
« Last Edit: 02/20/2018 11:19 PM by vaporcobra »

Online gongora

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$20m is a huge amount for the AF to award SpaceX for a simple "study." For comparison, that's about 25% of what the AF has paid SpaceX for previous launches and contracts.

You made me go look at the SpaceX contracts again (like I didn't have enough to do today, thanks alot).  I see about $600M total in publicly known DoD contracts now, which includes four launches (DSCOVR, STP-2, and 2xGPS) and the Raptor development funds.

Online vaporcobra

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$20m is a huge amount for the AF to award SpaceX for a simple "study." For comparison, that's about 25% of what the AF has paid SpaceX for previous launches and contracts.

You made me go look at the SpaceX contracts again (like I didn't have enough to do today, thanks alot).  I see about $600M total in publicly known DoD contracts now, which includes four launches (DSCOVR, STP-2, and 2xGPS) and the Raptor development funds.

I was messing around with .csv export on the FPDS.gov database, definitely worth a look if you have time. Also if you don't have time! Make time for the wonder that is spreadsheets ;)

I got about the same amount from the DoD, and if I remember correctly about $5.3B of funding/contracts from the federal government as a whole. 
« Last Edit: 02/20/2018 08:32 PM by vaporcobra »

Offline Lar

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I think Vc meant 25% of what the AF paid Sx for*one* launch....

If we get a few more posts we can carve them out to a new thread.... for now I am not sure this isn't the best place?
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Online gongora

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I think Vc meant 25% of what the AF paid Sx for*one* launch....

If we get a few more posts we can carve them out to a new thread.... for now I am not sure this isn't the best place?

FutureSpaceTourist dug up another thread earlier that had been dormant for a while, it doesn't really matter to me which thread gets used: https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=40721.msg1790777#msg1790777

Offline su27k

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http://spacenews.com/air-force-stakes-future-on-privately-funded-launch-vehicles-will-the-gamble-pay-off/

Quote
The Air Force signed cost-sharing partnerships with ULA, SpaceX, Orbital ATK and Aerojet Rocketdyne. The original request for proposals noted the Air Force wants to “leverage commercial launch solutions in order to have at least two domestic, commercial launch service providers.”

The next step is to select three companies this summer to move forward with enginet prototypes.

“We are on schedule to make LSA awards in July 2018,” a spokesman for the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center told SpaceNews.

Offline rockets4life97

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http://spacenews.com/air-force-stakes-future-on-privately-funded-launch-vehicles-will-the-gamble-pay-off/

Quote
The Air Force signed cost-sharing partnerships with ULA, SpaceX, Orbital ATK and Aerojet Rocketdyne. The original request for proposals noted the Air Force wants to “leverage commercial launch solutions in order to have at least two domestic, commercial launch service providers.”

The next step is to select three companies this summer to move forward with enginet prototypes.

“We are on schedule to make LSA awards in July 2018,” a spokesman for the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center told SpaceNews.

If the development of AR-1 is being scaled back (discussion in the ULA thread about the BE-4 vs AR-1 competition), does this indicate the Air Force will continue to fund raptor development?

Online gongora

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http://spacenews.com/air-force-stakes-future-on-privately-funded-launch-vehicles-will-the-gamble-pay-off/

Quote
The Air Force signed cost-sharing partnerships with ULA, SpaceX, Orbital ATK and Aerojet Rocketdyne. The original request for proposals noted the Air Force wants to “leverage commercial launch solutions in order to have at least two domestic, commercial launch service providers.”

The next step is to select three companies this summer to move forward with enginet prototypes.

“We are on schedule to make LSA awards in July 2018,” a spokesman for the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center told SpaceNews.

If the development of AR-1 is being scaled back (discussion in the ULA thread about the BE-4 vs AR-1 competition), does this indicate the Air Force will continue to fund raptor development?

Raptor and AR-1 have absolutely nothing to do with each other.

Online vaporcobra

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http://spacenews.com/air-force-stakes-future-on-privately-funded-launch-vehicles-will-the-gamble-pay-off/

Quote
The Air Force signed cost-sharing partnerships with ULA, SpaceX, Orbital ATK and Aerojet Rocketdyne. The original request for proposals noted the Air Force wants to “leverage commercial launch solutions in order to have at least two domestic, commercial launch service providers.”

The next step is to select three companies this summer to move forward with enginet prototypes.

“We are on schedule to make LSA awards in July 2018,” a spokesman for the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center told SpaceNews.

If the development of AR-1 is being scaled back (discussion in the ULA thread about the BE-4 vs AR-1 competition), does this indicate the Air Force will continue to fund raptor development?

Raptor and AR-1 have absolutely nothing to do with each other.

Well, I wouldn't go quite that far :) the cancellation of one certainly doesn't necessarily mean anything for the others, but both Raptor and AR-1 R&D have cost-share partnerships with the Air Force under the same LSA.

One thing I'm not certain about in the above article, however, is Sandra's comment that "the next step is to select three companies this summer to move forward with enginet prototypes." If I understood this RFP correctly, the AF would actually be looking to fund three EELV prototypes - they've already funded prototypes of propulsion systems, systems now deep into hot-fire testing.

I believe this was where we were anticipating potential proposals for OATK's NGL, Vulcan, FH/BFR/Raptor US, and perhaps even New Glenn.

Online gongora

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One thing I'm not certain about in the above article, however, is Sandra's comment that "the next step is to select three companies this summer to move forward with enginet prototypes." If I understood this RFP correctly, the AF would actually be looking to fund three EELV prototypes - they've already funded prototypes of propulsion systems, systems now deep into hot-fire testing.

I believe this was where we were anticipating potential proposals for OATK's NGL, Vulcan, FH/BFR/Raptor US, and perhaps even New Glenn.

I don't think that article is particularly well-written, it mixes together two separate programs.

Online vaporcobra

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One thing I'm not certain about in the above article, however, is Sandra's comment that "the next step is to select three companies this summer to move forward with enginet prototypes." If I understood this RFP correctly, the AF would actually be looking to fund three EELV prototypes - they've already funded prototypes of propulsion systems, systems now deep into hot-fire testing.

I believe this was where we were anticipating potential proposals for OATK's NGL, Vulcan, FH/BFR/Raptor US, and perhaps even New Glenn.

I don't think that article is particularly well-written, it mixes together two separate programs.

Sandra is typically awesome, but definitely some problems in this particular article. I can sympathize, everyone makes mistakes ;D

Regardless, LSA awards in July for this RFP is extremely exciting.

Offline Space Ghost 1962

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On the political side, specifically funding was written increasingly carefully to channel funds to AR-1 on the behest of lobbyists (and since it was too obvious and also likely that BE-4 would still win out, that was carefully factored in to a limited degree).

It is quite understandable the confusion here, since the AF earlier on used the broadly worded legislation to also allow Raptor/US and solid booster matching funding. Which the annoyed those lobbyists, thus they applied the spurs to the above mentioned politicians.

Who are still rather PO'ed about BE4, Raptor, and NGL, in that order.

(What I've enjoyed about this is being able to use the lobbyists own inept arguments to provide counter incentives. For example, at one point Raptor's early success meant by those arguments that ULA should be compelled by the AF to seek a means to use Raptor, which wasn't what they intended at all but nevertheless what was the obvious implication of what they were saying. At another point, one could also argue for a solid booster for Vulcan (which was not one of the two configurations possible). In part this stupidity amplified the legislative changes which again were even more stupid and craven by the (ir)relevant politicians to force the current situation, which is simply to pass more dollars for doing even less to AJR.)

Looking forward to AR-1 down select to get on with Vulcan BE-4 so all of that stuff can end, at least for Vulcan. (It will still go on, as Ed Kyle will tell you how much more profitable AJR is, and they are, because they are quite good at acquiring "stupid" money (which does not care about returns on outlays), although not so good at getting anything with competitive booster propulsion out of it.)

Offline rockets4life97

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http://spacenews.com/air-force-stakes-future-on-privately-funded-launch-vehicles-will-the-gamble-pay-off/

Quote
The Air Force signed cost-sharing partnerships with ULA, SpaceX, Orbital ATK and Aerojet Rocketdyne. The original request for proposals noted the Air Force wants to “leverage commercial launch solutions in order to have at least two domestic, commercial launch service providers.”

The next step is to select three companies this summer to move forward with enginet prototypes.

“We are on schedule to make LSA awards in July 2018,” a spokesman for the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center told SpaceNews.

If the development of AR-1 is being scaled back (discussion in the ULA thread about the BE-4 vs AR-1 competition), does this indicate the Air Force will continue to fund raptor development?

Raptor and AR-1 have absolutely nothing to do with each other.

Sorry. My mistake. I was reading the comment as the Air Force will select 2 and their are 3 options. If you take one away, you get 2 competitors for 2 options.

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http://spacenews.com/air-force-stakes-future-on-privately-funded-launch-vehicles-will-the-gamble-pay-off/

Quote
The Air Force signed cost-sharing partnerships with ULA, SpaceX, Orbital ATK and Aerojet Rocketdyne. The original request for proposals noted the Air Force wants to “leverage commercial launch solutions in order to have at least two domestic, commercial launch service providers.”

The next step is to select three companies this summer to move forward with enginet prototypes.

“We are on schedule to make LSA awards in July 2018,” a spokesman for the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center told SpaceNews.

If the development of AR-1 is being scaled back (discussion in the ULA thread about the BE-4 vs AR-1 competition), does this indicate the Air Force will continue to fund raptor development?

Raptor and AR-1 have absolutely nothing to do with each other.

Sorry. My mistake. I was reading the comment as the Air Force will select 2 and their are 3 options. If you take one away, you get 2 competitors for 2 options.

This goes back to the article mixing up different programs.  The "select 2 of 3" is from the follow-on program to the earlier propulsion development contracts, which is to develop new launch vehicles (or upgrade existing launch vehicles) to fulfill the DoD launch requirements.  As far as we know this would probably be Falcon, Vulcan, and NGL (and maybe New Glenn).  Raptor might not even factor into that round at all.

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F9 with ASDS to 400 km circular LEO is 15,520 kg according to LSP. Pretty sure LSP still has pre Block 5 numbers, so 11,000 kg is way low. Block 5 with recovery is likely around 18,000 kg to a 200 km reference LEO.

The 2017 presentation also shows 15,000 kg for F9 with booster reuse.

IMO Blue will build New Glenn to service all the EELV requirements without a 3rd stage and with booster reuse, but we'll have to wait for some updated numbers to be sure on that.

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F9 with ASDS to 400 km circular LEO is 15,520 kg according to LSP. Pretty sure LSP still has pre Block 5 numbers, so 11,000 kg is way low.

Ed's table is using a higher LEO orbit.

Online envy887

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F9 with ASDS to 400 km circular LEO is 15,520 kg according to LSP. Pretty sure LSP still has pre Block 5 numbers, so 11,000 kg is way low.

Ed's table is using a higher LEO orbit.

Only for Vulcan Centaur 5.

IMO Blue will build New Glenn to service all the EELV requirements without a 3rd stage and with booster reuse, but we'll have to wait for some updated numbers to be sure on that.
I've tried modeling New Glenn, and have found that the two-stage variant has a struggle trying to achieve the Heavy-class EELV-2 geosynchronous orbit number.  That second stage is a giant thing that cuts into GEO performance.  A small third, kick stage would easily get the job done though.

 - Ed Kyle

Are you assuming the 10% dry mass and 1.0 TWR listed on your site? New Glenn will stage faster than Falcon 9, which only has a TWR of 0.75 at staging. I'm thinking NG will have an upper stage TWR around 0.7, so the stage should mass about 171 tonnes wet. Large LH2 stages get better mass ratios than small ones, so this should be approaching the S-II's 7.2% record. Call it 8%, and the dry mass would be 13.7 t.

The Silverbird calculator shows that getting 8900 kg to GSO:


Offline TrevorMonty

The GSO 6577kg requirement is probably reason for Centuar5 plus possibly NGs BE3U 2nd stage. A 3rd stage wouldn't be issue for Blue just smaller 1xBe3U version of 2nd stage, still use all same systems.

NB FH has demostrated GSO direct capabilities in its maiden flight.


Offline Navier–Stokes

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F9 with ASDS to 400 km circular LEO is 15,520 kg according to LSP. Pretty sure LSP still has pre Block 5 numbers, so 11,000 kg is way low. Block 5 with recovery is likely around 18,000 kg to a 200 km reference LEO.

The 2017 presentation also shows 15,000 kg for F9 with booster reuse.

IMO Blue will build New Glenn to service all the EELV requirements without a 3rd stage and with booster reuse, but we'll have to wait for some updated numbers to be sure on that.
Clay Mowry stated that the 2-stage New Glenn variant will be able to achieve all of the LSA reference orbits:
“If you look at LSA and all those mission profiles, we can serve all of those with a single version of New Glenn with this two-stage architecture,” Mowry said.
Based on Blue Origin's past statements about expendable New Glenn boosters, it seems like a fairly safe assumption that this performance would include booster reuse. Hopefully, we'll get some updated numbers from Blue Origin soon (I'm surprised that we don't already, given that it has been over a month since the redesign went public).
« Last Edit: 05/04/2018 01:41 AM by Navier–Stokes »

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Are you assuming the 10% dry mass and 1.0 TWR listed on your site? New Glenn will stage faster than Falcon 9, which only has a TWR of 0.75 at staging. I'm thinking NG will have an upper stage TWR around 0.7, so the stage should mass about 171 tonnes wet. Large LH2 stages get better mass ratios than small ones, so this should be approaching the S-II's 7.2% record. Call it 8%, and the dry mass would be 13.7 t.
New Glenn second stage would be roughly S-IVB size rather than S-II size.  (S-IVB weighed 120 tonnes give or take, fully fueled.)   S-IVB with IU and residuals only had a 0.88-0.89 propellant mass fraction, so I feel I'm being generous with a 0.9 assumption.

For a GEO mission, the model wants the final stage to weigh less, not more.  The T/W at ignition ends up being higher than 0.75 simply because the stage and GEO payload together end up weighing about the same as the thrust of two BE-3U engines.

 - Ed Kyle

Are you constraining the staging velocity? That shifts more delta-v onto the upper stage, so it has to be bigger relative to the payload.

I highly doubt Blue is going to put 2 tonnes of avionics on a 14 tonne dry mass stage. The S-IVB was also around 8% dry mass without the IU.

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[Space News] Air Force close to selecting next-generation launch vehicles
Quote
The highly anticipated LSA selection was originally scheduled to be announced in July but has slipped to “sometime in August,” a spokeswoman for the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center told SpaceNews.
...
Industry consultant Charles Miller, president of NexGen Space, speculated that ULA may have left the decision up to the Air Force. “My guess is that Tory is basically letting the Air Force choose his engine for him,” Miller told SpaceNews. ULA could have offered two options for Vulcan, one with the Aerojet engine and one with the Blue Origin engine.

Offline OccasionalTraveller

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Air Force soon to announce decision on future launch vehicles

Quote
WASHINGTON — The Air Force is expected to sign deals with three, possibly four, space launch companies as it seeks to capitalize on private investments and fast-moving technology.

Launch Service Agreement (LSA) contracts are projected to be announced in September, according to the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center.

...

None of the companies would comment for this story due to the sensitivity of the competition. The Air Force first planned to announce LSA awards in July. Industry sources told SpaceNews that the decision was delayed as the Air Force needed more time to evaluate Blue Origin’s bid.

Offline GWH

Reading between the lines it seems like the Blue Origin bid showed up quite late, throwing a wrench into the works.
How this plays out regarding Vulcan's engine choice will be interesting, and I expect the source of some hot, hot drama.

Offline speedevil

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Reading between the lines it seems like the Blue Origin bid showed up quite late, throwing a wrench into the works.
How this plays out regarding Vulcan's engine choice will be interesting, and I expect the source of some hot, hot drama.
https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2017/11/blue-origin-2020-debut-new-glenn-rocket/ - is there any progress on a date, other than the above articles 'sometime in 2020' for NG launch?
This would put the first launch very shortly before the first contract awards sometime in 2020, for a launch in Oct 2021.
« Last Edit: 09/01/2018 09:58 AM by speedevil »

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Reading between the lines it seems like the Blue Origin bid showed up quite late, throwing a wrench into the works.
How this plays out regarding Vulcan's engine choice will be interesting, and I expect the source of some hot, hot drama.
https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2017/11/blue-origin-2020-debut-new-glenn-rocket/ - is there any progress on a date, other than the above articles 'sometime in 2020' for NG launch?
This would put the first launch very shortly before the first contract awards sometime in 2020, for a launch in Oct 2021.

There have been a few unofficial but sourced updates. A Reuters author spoke unofficially with employees as well as officially with customers and the general story was a new realistic NET of 2021, potentially 2022.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-space-blueorigin/bezos-throws-cash-engineers-at-rocket-program-as-space-race-accelerates-idUSKBN1KO0HN
« Last Edit: 09/01/2018 10:42 AM by vaporcobra »

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September is all but over, and as far as I can tell, there’s been nothing more.  Anybody heard anything?

Offline rockets4life97

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September is all but over, and as far as I can tell, there’s been nothing more.  Anybody heard anything?

A hint on twitter from Eric Berger to expect more rocket news today. It is possible it refers to this announcement  coming this afternoon.

Offline Lar

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September is all but over, and as far as I can tell, there’s been nothing more.  Anybody heard anything?

A hint on twitter from Eric Berger to expect more rocket news today. It is possible it refers to this announcement  coming this afternoon.
I think not... unless he tweeted that after the SLS stuff?

He did. Wrong I was.

https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/1050132892796502018
« Last Edit: 10/10/2018 09:27 PM by Lar »
"I think it would be great to be born on Earth and to die on Mars. Just hopefully not at the point of impact." -Elon Musk
"We're a little bit like the dog who caught the bus" - Musk after CRS-8 S1 successfully landed on ASDS OCISLY

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A race for second place.
"If we shared everything [we are working on] people would think we are insane!"
-- SpaceX friend of mlindner

Offline TrevorMonty

Thats a surprise SpaceX missing out. I'd assumed SpaceX and ULA were sure thing with Blue and NG fighting for 3rd place.


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Details of the awards

United Launch Services, Centennial, Colorado, has been awarded a $967,000,000 other-transaction agreement for the development of a Launch System Prototype for the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle program.  This award is part of a portfolio of three agreements that leverage commercial launch solutions in order to have at least two domestic, commercial launch service providers that meet National Security Space requirements, including the launch of the heaviest and most complex payloads.  This agreement requires shared cost investment for the development of the Vulcan Centaur launch system.  Work will be performed in Centennial, Colorado; and Decatur, Alabama, with launch facilities at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida; and Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, and is expected to be completed by March 31, 2025.  This award is the result of a full and open competition. This agreement will be incrementally funded with fiscal 2018 through 2024 research, development, test and evaluation funds totaling a maximum of $967,000,000. Fiscal 2018 funds in the amount of $109,000,000 are being obligated at the time of award.  The Launch Systems Enterprise Directorate, Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles Air Force Base, California, is the contracting activity (FA8811-19-9-0003).

Orbital Sciences Corp., Chandler, Arizona, has been awarded a $791,601,015 other-transaction agreement for the development of a Launch System Prototype for the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle program.  This award is part of a portfolio of three agreements that leverage commercial launch solutions in order to have at least two domestic, commercial launch service providers that meet National Security Space requirements, including the launch of the heaviest and most complex payloads. This agreement requires shared cost investment for the development of the OmegA launch system.  Work will be performed in Chandler, Arizona; Magna and Promontory, Utah; Iuka, Mississippi; West Palm Beach, Florida; Sandusky, Ohio; and Michoud, Louisiana, with launch facilities at Kennedy Space Center, Florida; and Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.  The work is expected to be completed by Dec. 31, 2024. This award is the result of a full and open competition. This agreement will be incrementally funded with fiscal 2018 through 2024 research, development, test and evaluation funds totaling a maximum of $791,601,015.  Fiscal 2018 funds in the amount of $109,000,000 are being obligated at the time of award.  The Launch Systems Enterprise Directorate, Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles Air Force Base, California, is the contracting activity (FA8811-19-9-0002). 

Blue Origin LLC, Kent, Washington, has been awarded a $500,000,000 other-transaction agreement for the development of a Launch System Prototype for the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle program.  This award is part of a portfolio of three agreements that leverage commercial launch solutions in order to have at least two domestic, commercial launch service providers that meet National Security Space requirements, including the launch of the heaviest and most complex payloads.  This agreement requires shared cost investment for the development of the New Glenn launch system. Work will be performed in Kent, Washington; Huntsville, Alabama; and Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, with launch facilities at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida; and Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.  The work is expected to be completed by July 31, 2024. This award is the result of a full and open competition. This agreement will be incrementally funded with fiscal 2018 through 2024 research, development, test and evaluation funds totaling a maximum of $500,000,000. Fiscal 2018 funds in the amount of $109,000,000 are being obligated at the time of award.  The Launch Systems Enterprise Directorate, Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles Air Force Base, California, is the contracting activity (FA8811-19-9-0001). 
Best quote heard during an inspection, "I was unaware that I was the only one who was aware."

Offline speedevil

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Thats a surprise SpaceX missing out. I'd assumed SpaceX and ULA were sure thing with Blue and NG fighting for 3rd place.
I wonder if they were unable to bid without compromise and other things being required of them.

BFS almost certainly can't get to GEO without retanking. A requirement to develop a third stage, or ... may be too onerous.
I note that by the time of the first BFS test flights, this contract would only be worth some $200M perhaps.

It would be nice to know if SpaceX put in any sort of bid.

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USAF RFP for new EELV Launch Service Agreements (2017-10-05)
« Reply #91 on: 10/11/2018 12:55 AM »
Thats a surprise SpaceX missing out. I'd assumed SpaceX and ULA were sure thing with Blue and NG fighting for 3rd place.
I wonder if they were unable to bid without compromise and other things being required of them.

BFS almost certainly can't get to GEO without retanking. A requirement to develop a third stage, or ... may be too onerous.
I note that by the time of the first BFS test flights, this contract would only be worth some $200M perhaps.

It would be nice to know if SpaceX put in any sort of bid.

Not a confirmation but something I guess.

https://twitter.com/sciguyspace/status/1050169561444696064
« Last Edit: 10/11/2018 02:48 AM by gongora »

Offline rockets4life97

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If SpaceX bid BFR, which has been my though for awhile (see upthread), it isn't surprising to me that the Air Force didn't fund them. We shouldn't be surprised that the Air Force is funding the institutional players (ULA and Orbital).

Can you imagine the Air Force giving 1B to ULA for an expendable rocket and 500M to SpaceX for a much larger fully re-usable system? The contrast would be striking. BO is unproven and so in a different league that SpaceX.

The question now is whether SpaceX can develop BFR faster than their competitors. If they can that is a game changer. The rockets the Air Force just funded are more akin to FH and then BFR. That means all the competitors are at least a rocket generation behind.

Offline edkyle99

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I'm surprised.  I wonder if this means the end for Falcon Heavy.  This seems to be the Air Force ruling New Glenn a better option than Falcon Heavy.

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 10/11/2018 02:27 AM by edkyle99 »

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I'm surprised.  I wonder if this means the end for Falcon Heavy.  This seems to be the Air Force ruling New Glenn a better option than Falcon Heavy.

 - Ed Kyle

Falcon Heavy is already certified by the USAF for EELV missions, and can already hit all the required reference orbits. Why would the USAF need to pour massive amounts of cash into it for further development? At most it needs a longer fairing and VI, but that's a very minor cost compared to new vehicle development.

Or are you assuming that because Atlas and Delta were not funded, that the USAF is no longer planning on using them for EELV?

The competition for development money was always Vulcan vs Omega vs New Glenn vs BFR. Falcon Heavy doesn't need development money beyond what it's already getting.
« Last Edit: 10/11/2018 02:32 AM by envy887 »

Offline edkyle99

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I'm surprised.  I wonder if this means the end for Falcon Heavy.  This seems to be the Air Force ruling New Glenn a better option than Falcon Heavy.

 - Ed Kyle

Falcon Heavy is already certified by the USAF for EELV missions, and can already hit all the required reference orbits. Why would the USAF need to pour massive amounts of cash into it for further development? At most it needs a longer fairing and VI, but that's a very minor cost compared to new vehicle development.

Or are you assuming that because Atlas and Delta were not funded, that the USAF is no longer planning on using them for EELV?

The competition for development money was always Vulcan vs Omega vs New Glenn vs BFR. Falcon Heavy doesn't need development money beyond what it's already getting.
Yes, of course, this is EELV-2.  Atlas 5 and Delta 4 are being phased out in favor of two alternatives.  It looks like Vulcan, Omega, and New Glenn are the options.

My impression was that Falcon Heavy was built for and proposed for this EELV-2 contract.  But, if it was BFR that SpaceX proposed, I'll restate to say that the decision endangers BFR.   One of them lost big today.

 - Ed Kyle

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Thats a surprise SpaceX missing out. I'd assumed SpaceX and ULA were sure thing with Blue and NG fighting for 3rd place.
I wonder if they were unable to bid without compromise and other things being required of them.

BFS almost certainly can't get to GEO without retanking. A requirement to develop a third stage, or ... may be too onerous.
I note that by the time of the first BFS test flights, this contract would only be worth some $200M perhaps.

It would be nice to know if SpaceX put in any sort of bid.

Direct to GEO is a hard and fast requirement, I believe. BFR can't do that without multiple refuelings or an orbital fuel depot, or an expendable third stage which kind of defeats the purpose since that basically makes it a bigger Falcon Heavy.

Direct to GEO makes no sense if lift to LEO is super cheap and reliable. But the USAF isn't in that world. Yet.
« Last Edit: 10/11/2018 02:42 AM by envy887 »

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I'm surprised.  I wonder if this means the end for Falcon Heavy.  This seems to be the Air Force ruling New Glenn a better option than Falcon Heavy.

 - Ed Kyle

Falcon Heavy is already certified by the USAF for EELV missions, and can already hit all the required reference orbits. Why would the USAF need to pour massive amounts of cash into it for further development? At most it needs a longer fairing and VI, but that's a very minor cost compared to new vehicle development.

Or are you assuming that because Atlas and Delta were not funded, that the USAF is no longer planning on using them for EELV?

The competition for development money was always Vulcan vs Omega vs New Glenn vs BFR. Falcon Heavy doesn't need development money beyond what it's already getting.
Yes, of course, this is EELV-2.  Atlas 5 and Delta 4 are being phased out in favor of two alternatives.  It looks like Vulcan, Omega, and New Glenn are the options.

My impression was that Falcon Heavy was built for and proposed for this EELV-2 contract.  But, if it was BFR that SpaceX proposed, I'll restate to say that the decision endangers BFR.   One of them lost big today.

 - Ed Kyle

Falcon Heavy was built for EELV, not EELV-2. It's in the same boat as Atlas and Delta, though for different reasons: it's going to be superseded by BFR for pretty much everything, including, eventually, USAF launches (in my opinion).

BFR likely lost. It doesn't meet some of the requirements that the USAF was looking for in EELV-2, such as direct insertion and low technical risk (e.g. very high probability of flying by 2022).

There's a reason why "win EELV competition" was never one of the funding ideas that SpaceX threw out there for BFR.
« Last Edit: 10/11/2018 02:45 AM by envy887 »

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These contracts are for vehicle development.  There was supposed to be another round after this to pick a couple winners to split a certain amount of launch contracts around 2020, for which F9/FH should still be eligible to compete.

Online gongora

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Air Force awards launch vehicle development contracts to Blue Origin, Northrop Grumman, ULA
Quote
The Air Force plans to issue a solicitation for phase 2 in 2019 and make its selections in 2020. Only two will be selected to continue to receive OTA funds. Of the three winners of this phase, the one that does not win phase 2 will not be able to get the full amount of OTA funding that the Air Force announced it would commit.

Asked why SpaceX did not make the cut, Will Roper, assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisitions, said the company is an “important member of our launch team” and can choose to bid again in phase 2.

“Not getting LSA funds does not prevent them from competing,” Roper told reporters at a Pentagon news conference.

Offline woods170

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Re: USAF RFP for new EELV Launch Service Agreements (2017-10-05)
« Reply #100 on: 10/11/2018 06:38 AM »
These contracts are for vehicle development.  There was supposed to be another round after this to pick a couple winners to split a certain amount of launch contracts around 2020, for which F9/FH should still be eligible to compete.

In fact, SpaceX IS eligible to compete in Phase 2:

https://spacenews.com/air-force-awards-launch-vehicle-development-contracts-to-blue-origin-northrop-grumman-ula/

Quote from: Sandra Erwin
Asked why SpaceX did not make the cut, Will Roper, assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisitions, said the company is an “important member of our launch team” and can choose to bid again in phase 2.
<snip>
Phase 2 of this competition is “full and open,” he said. “Anyone can come in.”

It also implied that SpaceX didn't make the cut because the vehicles it offered (Falcon 9 and FH) are already mature, and don't need further development:

Quote from: Sandra Erwin
“The goal of this OTA is to make sure we have a competitive industrial base,” Roper said. His comments suggest that SpaceX may have been left out because its rockets are mature and the Air Force preferred to spend OTA dollars on new vehicles to add to the mix.
<snip>
In phase 2, vehicles will be evaluated for their ability to meet requirements and schedule but price also will be a factor, Roper said. “We want to makes sure we have at least three vendors that can can compete.”

Offline Star One

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Re: USAF RFP for new EELV Launch Service Agreements (2017-10-05)
« Reply #101 on: 10/11/2018 06:44 AM »
I note that this program is being renamed next year, guess someone spotted the fact that using the word expendable in it is pretty old fashioned.

Offline speedevil

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Re: USAF RFP for new EELV Launch Service Agreements (2017-10-05)
« Reply #102 on: 10/11/2018 09:36 AM »
Thats a surprise SpaceX missing out. I'd assumed SpaceX and ULA were sure thing with Blue and NG fighting for 3rd place.
I wonder if they were unable to bid without compromise and other things being required of them.

BFS almost certainly can't get to GEO without retanking. A requirement to develop a third stage, or ... may be too onerous.
I note that by the time of the first BFS test flights, this contract would only be worth some $200M perhaps.

It would be nice to know if SpaceX put in any sort of bid.

Direct to GEO is a hard and fast requirement, I believe. BFR can't do that without multiple refuelings or an orbital fuel depot, or an expendable third stage which kind of defeats the purpose since that basically makes it a bigger Falcon Heavy.

Direct to GEO makes no sense if lift to LEO is super cheap and reliable. But the USAF isn't in that world. Yet.

Indeed - hence my (too implicit) wondering if their bid included on-orbit refueling and the use of two vehicles.
Direct to GEO can also in principle be done by expending the first stage.

Offline soltasto

This is probably not the place to discuss this but should currently be the best thread.

Of the 3 new vehicles getting developed, only one has an assigned Vandenberg pad, That is Vulcan which will take the current Atlas V pad, SLC-3E.

I wonder what will be the home of the other 2, New Glenn and OmegA.

SLC-2W should already be taken by Firefly aerospace.

SLC-6 will have to support Delta IV until 2023, so I doubt it will be repurposed for one of the new vehicles.

The twin pads of SLC-3E and SLC-2W, SLC-3W and SLC-2E could be used, but there might be some issues in doing that.

The Taurus/Minotaur pads, SLC-8 and LC-576E, are quite small and have little space foe expansion.

There are some old pads too, SLC-1, SLC-5 and SLC-10.

SLC-10 probably can't be used anymore since it contains the Space and Missile Heritage Center.

SLC-1 is quite close to SLC-2, but could be used after some extensive upgrades. It currently is just some concrete and rusty stuff.

SLC-5 is hardly a pad as it's just an access road and small dirt pad. It would require a lot of dirt work other than construction.

The last option is to create a new Launch Complex somewhere on the base. However I have no knowledge on any plans in this regard.

Would love to know what you think about this.

To the mods, if you feel like a new thread would be better, please move this. Thanks!

Offline Jim

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Re: USAF RFP for new EELV Launch Service Agreements (2017-10-05)
« Reply #104 on: 10/11/2018 01:57 PM »


The twin pads of SLC-3E and SLC-2W, SLC-3W and SLC-2E could be used, but there might be some issues in doing that.



???   SLC-3W is too close to SLC-3E.  And SLC-2W too close to SLC-2E

Offline soltasto



The twin pads of SLC-3E and SLC-2W, SLC-3W and SLC-2E could be used, but there might be some issues in doing that.



???   SLC-3W is too close to SLC-3E.  And SLC-2W too close to SLC-2E

I agree, however Falcon 1 was supposed to fly from SLC-3W right? And if I recall correctly the issue wasn't the vicinity to the Atlas pad but the trajectory over SLC-6. Falcon 1 was a quite different LV classo tho.

Offline GWH

At most it needs a longer fairing and VI, but that's a very minor cost compared to new vehicle development.

There's a lot of people on the webs* complaining SpaceX should have received money for Vertical Integration, but reportedly SpaceX has already received $20M funding to at least study VI back in November 2017.
https://www.teslarati.com/spacex-20m-us-air-force-contract-spy-satellites/
I attempted to find another source or verify the contract, only to find out that the fpds.gov site is a place I never ever want to try and search through again  ???

*Not you specifically envy887, merely quoted this for relevant context.
« Last Edit: 10/12/2018 04:44 PM by GWH »

Online gongora

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Re: USAF RFP for new EELV Launch Service Agreements (2017-10-05)
« Reply #107 on: 10/12/2018 05:05 PM »
I attempted to find another source or verify the contract, only to find out that the fpds.gov site is a place I never ever want to try and search through again  ???

Yeah, I've had that reaction too but you can get a little more used to it over time.  The ad hoc reports are really a pain in the ass.  I can't afford to subscribe to something like govtribe just for my hobby.  My biggest beef with the EZSearch interface is that clicking "View" on an entry doesn't open it in a new tab, that would make things so much easier.

FPDS SpaceX search by date range
(not sure if it will always keep the sorting options from the URL, on the sort options if you set it to Descending and choose "Date Signed" as the field then you'll at least get the most recent entries first)

Offline OccasionalTraveller

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Re: USAF RFP for new EELV Launch Service Agreements (2017-10-05)
« Reply #108 on: 10/13/2018 06:39 PM »
How feasible is it for SpaceX to handle vertical integration by just spot-hiring a mobile crane?

The Fixed Service Structure at LC-39A used to be topped with a hammerhead crane. It dated from the Apollo era. It was removed in December 1994 when hiring a mobile crane, when required, became more cost-effective than maintaining it.

The challenges with using a mobile crane will be in maintaining the clean-room atmosphere within the fairing while lifting it up to the top of the stack, and allowing access for workers to attach the payload attach fitting to the top of Stage 2.

Access to the payload once integrated is also tricky. The Falcon 9 User Guide says that for horizontal integration, the booster would be brought back into the hangar and the payload detached to allow access, so I'd assume that vertically integrated payloads would be craned off the stack if access was required.

This seems a lot simpler than building a lot of infrastructure that would be used very rarely - but is it realistic?

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Online vaporcobra

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Re: USAF RFP for new EELV Launch Service Agreements (2017-10-05)
« Reply #109 on: 10/14/2018 04:06 AM »
I attempted to find another source or verify the contract, only to find out that the fpds.gov site is a place I never ever want to try and search through again  ???

Yeah, I've had that reaction too but you can get a little more used to it over time.  The ad hoc reports are really a pain in the ass.  I can't afford to subscribe to something like govtribe just for my hobby.  My biggest beef with the EZSearch interface is that clicking "View" on an entry doesn't open it in a new tab, that would make things so much easier.

FPDS SpaceX search by date range
(not sure if it will always keep the sorting options from the URL, on the sort options if you set it to Descending and choose "Date Signed" as the field then you'll at least get the most recent entries first)

My elegant solution to that is to get to the point I want to be (usually searching just SpaceX + sorting by date signed) and then copying the URL and opening as many identical tabs of that page as I think I'll need (Ctrl+T, Ctrl+V, Enter, repeat). Then you can just click "view", Ctrl+Tab to jump to the next tab, and repeat until you're caught up.

Offline HIP2BSQRE

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Re: USAF RFP for new EELV Launch Service Agreements (2017-10-05)
« Reply #110 on: 10/14/2018 05:11 AM »
I'm surprised.  I wonder if this means the end for Falcon Heavy.  This seems to be the Air Force ruling New Glenn a better option than Falcon Heavy.

 - Ed Kyle

Falcon Heavy is already certified by the USAF for EELV missions, and can already hit all the required reference orbits. Why would the USAF need to pour massive amounts of cash into it for further development? At most it needs a longer fairing and VI, but that's a very minor cost compared to new vehicle development.

Or are you assuming that because Atlas and Delta were not funded, that the USAF is no longer planning on using them for EELV?

The competition for development money was always Vulcan vs Omega vs New Glenn vs BFR. Falcon Heavy doesn't need development money beyond what it's already getting.
Yes, of course, this is EELV-2.  Atlas 5 and Delta 4 are being phased out in favor of two alternatives.  It looks like Vulcan, Omega, and New Glenn are the options.

My impression was that Falcon Heavy was built for and proposed for this EELV-2 contract.  But, if it was BFR that SpaceX proposed, I'll restate to say that the decision endangers BFR.   One of them lost big today.

 - Ed Kyle

Falcon Heavy was built for EELV, not EELV-2. It's in the same boat as Atlas and Delta, though for different reasons: it's going to be superseded by BFR for pretty much everything, including, eventually, USAF launches (in my opinion).

BFR likely lost. It doesn't meet some of the requirements that the USAF was looking for in EELV-2, such as direct insertion and low technical risk (e.g. very high probability of flying by 2022).

There's a reason why "win EELV competition" was never one of the funding ideas that SpaceX threw out there for BFR.

Does anyone for certain know what SpaceX proposed?  Would this be classified information?  Is some of this information on L2?  I just sent a email request to the Airforce and  waiting to see what they say.  There is always an FOI.    If SpaceX did lose, would the recommendations against them be classified? 

Offline speedevil

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Re: USAF RFP for new EELV Launch Service Agreements (2017-10-05)
« Reply #111 on: 10/14/2018 10:05 AM »
Does anyone for certain know what SpaceX proposed?  Would this be classified information?  Is some of this information on L2?  I just sent a email request to the Airforce and  waiting to see what they say.  There is always an FOI.    If SpaceX did lose, would the recommendations against them be classified?
My limited understanding is this is not secret information, and SpaceX are under no legal compulsion to not release it.
Nor to release it.

There is no information in L2, though speculation based on beliefs of people expressed in tweets that they would have.

It is likely unavailable through FOIA, as that will be viewed as confidential corporate information. You could always try of course, maybe some fraction of it might be. Or, similarly, ask SpaceX directly.

The internal air-force justifications for not accepting a bid might be a little more distant legally, but still informative - not as I understand it classified, but confidential as it pertains to a corporate bid.

I'd love to see the entry. No bid, FH with retanking, BFS with lots of retanking,, full-up BFR+BFS, ...
« Last Edit: 10/14/2018 10:11 AM by speedevil »

Offline Jim

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Re: USAF RFP for new EELV Launch Service Agreements (2017-10-05)
« Reply #112 on: 10/15/2018 02:25 PM »
How feasible is it for SpaceX to handle vertical integration by just spot-hiring a mobile crane


 Access while attached is also required.
« Last Edit: 10/15/2018 02:26 PM by Jim »

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