Author Topic: Blue Origin remains on course for 2020 debut of New Glenn heavy lift rocket  (Read 4719 times)


Offline Kasponaut

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Great article as always :-)
But the new lengths for NG is 86 meters and 99 meters. Not 82 meters and 95 meters stated ;-)
And maybe the articles headline picture should be changed to sport the updated 7 meter payload fairing?
It shows the Ďoldí 5 meter fairing.
« Last Edit: 11/10/2017 02:32 PM by Kasponaut »

Online TrevorMonty

Great article. With all buildings and infrastructure its huge outlay, nice boost to local economy.

Offline Johnnyhinbos

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Will the NG boosters be able to be transported via road from the factory to LC-36? And from the port to the refurb building?
John Hanzl. Author, action / adventure www.johnhanzl.com

Offline Lar

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Gotta give them props for going all in on reusability. 1200 launches from 12 boosters is an ambitious goal.
"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

Offline HIP2BSQRE

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Great article.  Now we have to see the effect of reusability on the market.  :-)  I think that ULA is going to get put in a tight spot after 2021+.  In my mind -- A6 is also going to have to compete more on price.  A6--I do not think will be in the market more than 5 years.

Offline MarekCyzio

Will the NG boosters be able to be transported via road from the factory to LC-36? And from the port to the refurb building?

Yeah, but using the "long" route - VAB, LC-39A, LC-41, LC-40, LC-37A, LZ-1 and finally LC-11/LC-36.

Offline Star One

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Great article.  Now we have to see the effect of reusability on the market.  :-)  I think that ULA is going to get put in a tight spot after 2021+.  In my mind -- A6 is also going to have to compete more on price.  A6--I do not think will be in the market more than 5 years.

I suspect thatís why there is already seemingly plans for A7.

Offline oldAtlas_Eguy

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12 boosters and 1200 flight capability is at 50 flights per year a period of 24 years. A BTW 50 flights of a 40mt LEO HLV is 2,000mt/yr of capability.

A BTW current LEO tonnage launch of 80 launches/yr capability equivalent worldwide is < 1,600mt/yr.

This vehicle will be more of a shock to the launch industry than even the F9 has been because of it's reuse capability and it's HLV payload capability.

Even if the price per launch expendable is $200M the reuse Price where the booster is 60% of the total the fact that it can be used 100 times the Price reduces to $85M or $2,125/kg. If they manage costs well the Price per flight is likely to be less than that $85M putting it's $/kg price equal or less than SpaceX's reusable prices for FH.

Offline Robotbeat

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Yup. That's why BFR is not optional for SpaceX. Blue Origin could eat their lunch if SpaceX just stayed with Falcon 9 and Heavy. Especially because New Glenn will eventually be fully reusable (to LEO at least).

New Glenn is a BFD.
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Offline GWH

Yup. That's why BFR is not optional for SpaceX. Blue Origin could eat their lunch if SpaceX just stayed with Falcon 9 and Heavy. Especially because New Glenn will eventually be fully reusable (to LEO at least).

New Glenn is a BFD.

I beg to disagree, however maybe there is a better thread to do so in?

Offline Johnnyhinbos

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Um - New Glenn is a paper rocket (at this point). Please people - walk it back a step. I do have faith the thing will fly - but when successfully and with what reusability is a huge unknown - not to mention the continuing parallel development of its competitors (er) while itís happening.

No one is going to eat anyone elseís lunch quite yet. Breathe. Whew - thatís it. Good. Now repeat after me - ďsuborbital is not orbital, suborbital is NOT orbital...Ē

Itíll be ok. Just letís not get ahead of ourselves...
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Online Coastal Ron

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Um - New Glenn is a paper rocket (at this point). Please people - walk it back a step. I do have faith the thing will fly - but when successfully and with what reusability is a huge unknown - not to mention the continuing parallel development of its competitors (er) while itís happening.

As a SpaceX fan though I'm already dreaming about the possibilities that the BFR brings, and it is no more real than New Glenn. So I have no problem getting excited about New Glenn even though it will be a while until it shows up, and it may show up late.

Plus, the thing with commercial companies making big promises that they are late in keeping - it's not my money! Unlike certain government transportation programs that I feel are wastes of my taxpayer money, I can sit back and enjoy what other people are doing with other peoples money.

Quote
Itíll be ok. Just letís not get ahead of ourselves...

Too late. I'm already planning to rely on them as one of the transportation systems I need for space domination...  ;)
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

Offline Robotbeat

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I hate the term "paper rocket" as it paints WAY too broad a brush. New Glenn is happening. I'd bet any of you 10:1 odds that it'll be flying successfully by, say, 2024.

10:1 odds by 2024. And most likely years before then.

Sea Dragon was a paper rocket. Nova was a paper rocket (a whole bunch of them). New Glenn is /happening/ (as is BFR).
« Last Edit: 11/11/2017 03:50 AM by Robotbeat »
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Offline Star One

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I hate the term "paper rocket" as it paints WAY too broad a brush. New Glenn is happening. I'd bet any of you 10:1 odds that it'll be flying successfully by, say, 2024.

10:1 odds by 2024. And most likely years before then.

Sea Dragon was a paper rocket. Nova was a paper rocket (a whole bunch of them). New Glenn is /happening/ (as is BFR).

Applying the term paper rocket to New Glenn is ridiculous, especially as I suspect somewhere in Blue Origin actual some New Glenn hardware probably exists knowing how long the lead time is on done items.

Offline Lar

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I agree. NG and BFR (... and Vulcan, Tory tweeted a picture of the first Vulcan part recently) are no more paper rockets than SLS is.
"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

Offline Johnnyhinbos

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Perhaps people are getting hung up on a word. Can we agree that thereís a huge difference between developing an orbital launch system and successfully flying one? Thereís a huge learning curve in there and a whole host of uncertainties. What Iím getting at is perhaps people shouldnít talk about a future system as if itís already flying and reliable. I wouldnít even do that with FH, and thatís a damn sight further along in development than what BO has...
John Hanzl. Author, action / adventure www.johnhanzl.com

Offline DreamyPickle

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Yup. That's why BFR is not optional for SpaceX. Blue Origin could eat their lunch if SpaceX just stayed with Falcon 9 and Heavy. Especially because New Glenn will eventually be fully reusable (to LEO at least).

The New Glenn seems to have the same basic architecture as the Falcon 9 except it is larger and I don't think that's an advantage. A smaller rocket that does more flights can take advantage of economies of scale and be much cheaper. By the time New Glenn flies SpaceX will have a history of 100-150 missions, plenty of time to streamline operations and S2 manufacturing. SpaceX also plans to do fairing recovery and RTLS means cheaper recovery for common low-energy missions.

New Glenn's 3-stage version doesn't make sense for the commercial market. The 2-stage version is already oversized for GTO and if F9H can execute the DOD's direct GEO missions then so can New Glenn. It would only really be useful for very heavy launches to the Moon and Mars, going up directly against the SLS. I don't think this configuration is going to actually get built.

What Blue Origin needs in order to compete with SpaceX is a fully reusable second stage. They definitely have the excess performance for it, unlike F9. I've seen claims that they plan to reuse the second stage but nothing concrete, does anyone have more info? I'm afraid that this might be little more than a bullet point on a wishlist.

Still, it's exciting to think that this will put downward pressure on Falcon 9 prices.

Online TrevorMonty

Perhaps people are getting hung up on a word. Can we agree that thereís a huge difference between developing an orbital launch system and successfully flying one? Thereís a huge learning curve in there and a whole host of uncertainties. What Iím getting at is perhaps people shouldnít talk about a future system as if itís already flying and reliable. I wouldnít even do that with FH, and thatís a damn sight further along in development than what BO has...
So we can add FH, BFR, Vulcan, Ariane6, SLS, XS1, OA NGLV and host of small LVs from start ups to that list.
The small LVs aside as lot will never fly, most due to lack of $$$. All the other major LVs are being developed by experienced LV companies with decent funding. Funding is not an issue for Blues.  As a company they've successfully developed and flown a suborbital RLV. Their staff on other hand would've help develop and fly the current crop of successful operational LVs eg Atlas, Delta, F9 and Ariane 6.

Will NG fly?. I'd give it 95% chance, with 5% for unforeseen events.

Offline GWH

Yup. That's why BFR is not optional for SpaceX. Blue Origin could eat their lunch if SpaceX just stayed with Falcon 9 and Heavy. Especially because New Glenn will eventually be fully reusable (to LEO at least).

The New Glenn seems to have the same basic architecture as the Falcon 9 except it is larger and I don't think that's an advantage. A smaller rocket that does more flights can take advantage of economies of scale and be much cheaper. By the time New Glenn flies SpaceX will have a history of 100-150 missions, plenty of time to streamline operations and S2 manufacturing. SpaceX also plans to do fairing recovery and RTLS means cheaper recovery for common low-energy missions.

New Glenn's 3-stage version doesn't make sense for the commercial market. The 2-stage version is already oversized for GTO and if F9H can execute the DOD's direct GEO missions then so can New Glenn. It would only really be useful for very heavy launches to the Moon and Mars, going up directly against the SLS. I don't think this configuration is going to actually get built.

What Blue Origin needs in order to compete with SpaceX is a fully reusable second stage. They definitely have the excess performance for it, unlike F9. I've seen claims that they plan to reuse the second stage but nothing concrete, does anyone have more info? I'm afraid that this might be little more than a bullet point on a wishlist.

Still, it's exciting to think that this will put downward pressure on Falcon 9 prices.
I guess this thread is now the place to discuss this then? ;)
Agreed with the above but will add a few points.

For Blue Origin I think they have several obvious advantages over the F9/FH:
- Very large fairing for deploying large monolithic payloads, constellations or 2 or more GTO comsats. Much easier to max out the lift of the rocket with 7m diameter and considerable length in the fairing. New markets in high width satellites could emerge to take advantage of this.
- Greater lift with booster reuse than Falcon Heavy.
- Simpler integration and (debatable) simpler recovery operations than Falcon Heavy when FH is downrange landing center core.
- 3 stage variant appears able to perform high energy missions that are out of reach of FH, while recovering the booster. This is pretty foggy however as cost and detailed performance is unknown (perhaps used FH cores could be competitive).
- An owner willing to invest significant amounts of funding with any near term expectations of return. I don't mean to sound snarky there, however if development costs aren't expected to be recouped this is not insignificant in any way. This isn't a given however, and I feel is best left out of the conversation when discussing the merits of the different LV's.

All the above advantages however I think are dependent co-manifesting multiple payloads, or markets that are just emerging or purely speculative (BEO, private stations etc). $/kg of actual payload is the most important metric. New Glenn is no doubt an incredible rocket, but to truly "eat SpaceX's lunch" Blue Origin needs to compete on the merits of the entire business, not raw capabilities.

We have yet to see SpaceX drop its prices for reuse, as they are said to be trying to "pay back investments in reuse" and waiting on Block 5, Falcon Heavy and fairing reuse. All this should be in place by the time New Glenn flies, meaning that today's prices for F9/FH are liekely much higher than what they will be in 2020.

For disadvantages I see the following (in addition to what DreamyPickle covered above):
- Launch cadence will determine economies of scale, any company that can spread their overhead & other fixed costs across the highest number of launches will have a competitive advantage. I see SpaceX having the advantage as shown in their current launch rate.
- With Blue being currently limited to one site (I assume they can't practically do polar from the cape) limits their market share, meaning lower launch cadence.
- Reduces access to market in low mass satellites to LEO and no ISS contracts.  Again smaller market share meaning lower overall launch cadence. I think with the very relatively gentle recovery of F9 RTLS and simple operations we will see tiered pricing emerge where F9 will go after these flights at a more aggressive price point, taking an even bigger share of the market then they do nowl
- The much larger barge no doubt means not just higher capital costs initially but very likely higher operational costs. The ASDS and tugboat is very much an application of the bare minimum requirement of down range stage recovery IMO.
- Only planning on downrange landings seems like it would put a limit on cadence based on the ships transit times, say this is 2 weeks? The gliding reentry profile of New Glenn may increase this.
- Dependence on co-manifested payloads. I doubt many customers would choose this over a dedicated flight without an incentive in cost savings - making for smaller margins for Blue.
- Expended hardware per flight: larger 2nd stage and fairing(?). Throwing away a BE-4 and the larger stage will no doubt mean Blue cannot be as competitive on a per flight basis, and more dependent on utilizing capacity. Is Blue making plans to recover fairings? High cost per flight disadvantage if they don't.
- Finally operations: SpaceX has a very large comparative advantage here not just in the technical aspects of rocket reuse but aligning their operations to achieve this with efficiency. On a per flight basis costs to SpaceX would likely be much lower, however this is a temporary advantage however.


None of the above is meant to be disparaging to Blue Origin - I am extremely excited to see New Glenn fly and think it will add significant value to spaceflight as a whole. I just don't agree with statements or have seen anything to convince me that New Glenn is a disruptive threat to SpaceX's F9/FH business at the moment, or that BFR is a response to New Glenn.
« Last Edit: 11/11/2017 04:13 PM by GWH »

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