Author Topic: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3  (Read 158776 times)

Offline Chris Bergin

New thread for Vulcan....

Thread 1:
https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=35754.0

Thread 2:
https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=37676.0

ULA Vulcan Rocket Q&A with ULA's Dr. George Sowers:
https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=37295.0

---

For Vulcan's sake, please stay on topic! :)  Please use this thread to discuss the rocket hardware/facilites as actually being designed and built by ULA.
« Last Edit: 12/08/2017 03:51 PM by gongora »

Offline Chasm

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CDR is "Underway and going well"
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No public word on engine(s) selection yet.

Offline rcoppola

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What configuration are they doing a CDR against? Very different designs depending upon the Engine selected.
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Offline Sknowball

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What configuration are they doing a CDR against? Very different designs depending upon the Engine selected.

Unfortunately that information has not been released yet.  In addition we do not know if the Centaur V is included in this CDR or if it is undergoing a separate CDR.

Offline Ike17055

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In other words, “keep your Vulcan comments focused on topic!”

Offline MATTBLAK

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In other words, “keep your Vulcan comments focused on topic!”
Indeed. If you make comments like ''Vulcan should replace the SLS" - there's a good chance your post will be deleted because a Sheldon Cooper type of person probably objected to it ;)
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Offline gongora

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In other words, “keep your Vulcan comments focused on topic!”
Indeed. If you make comments like ''Vulcan should replace the SLS" - there's a good chance your post will be deleted because a Sheldon Cooper type of person probably objected to it ;)

I don't think it's unreasonable to have a thread for a new launch vehicle that actually focuses on that launch vehicle instead of being dominated by discussions about their competitors.

Offline MATTBLAK

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That happens almost organically when a controversial program is discussed.
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Offline john smith 19

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What configuration are they doing a CDR against? Very different designs depending upon the Engine selected.
Good question. It will also have substantial inputs to the "Centaur V/5" CDR if that's separate.

The cautious option is to do both engine CDR's and the US CDR against both of those.

Note it's not just an engineering issue.

While both versions are in play ULA can tell each booster engine mfg that they could go with the other one and press for a better deal.

The question is wheather or not ULA is in too deep for such negotiating games and wheather it's time to fully commit to Blue or AJR.
I think that depends how well engine tests have been going. I'm betting ULA are much better informed about that than we are.
They really need the whole spec to be delivered before commitment. None of that "it's 90% there and we'll get the rest ready for you by the time the stage flies, honest." Ideally that means a full duration, full power test, a virtual flight to 1st stage MECO. 
Whoever delivers that first should be home and dry. 
Blue look like they are in pole position for this, but maybe AJR will surprise people, given the consequences for them...
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Offline AncientU

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What configuration are they doing a CDR against? Very different designs depending upon the Engine selected.
Good question. It will also have substantial inputs to the "Centaur V/5" CDR if that's separate.

The cautious option is to do both engine CDR's and the US CDR against both of those.


Note it's not just an engineering issue.

While both versions are in play ULA can tell each booster engine mfg that they could go with the other one and press for a better deal.

The question is wheather or not ULA is in too deep for such negotiating games and wheather it's time to fully commit to Blue or AJR.
I think that depends how well engine tests have been going. I'm betting ULA are much better informed about that than we are.
They really need the whole spec to be delivered before commitment. None of that "it's 90% there and we'll get the rest ready for you by the time the stage flies, honest." Ideally that means a full duration, full power test, a virtual flight to 1st stage MECO. 
Whoever delivers that first should be home and dry. 
Blue look like they are in pole position for this, but maybe AJR will surprise people, given the consequences for them...

Seems unlikely they would be doing a CDR unless they had narrowed the engine and configuration choices to single booster vendor and similar for second stage (assuming only a single configuration).  Construction cannot begin if major options/decisions remain.

PDR is usually where the trades on major components are presented and decided...
« Last Edit: 12/09/2017 12:31 PM by AncientU »
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Offline clongton

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Seems unlikely they would be doing a CDR unless they had narrowed the engine and configuration choices to single booster vendor and similar for second stage (assuming only a single configuration).  Construction cannot begin if major options/decisions remain.

PDR is usually where the trades on major components are presented and decided...

Did they do a PDR?
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Offline Chasm

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Did they do a PDR?

Completed back in March 2016 for the BE-4 version. [ULA press release]

Maybe it's my reading comprehension again but I cant find a similar release for AR1.

Offline john smith 19

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Did they do a PDR?

Completed back in March 2016 for the BE-4 version. [ULA press release]

Maybe it's my reading comprehension again but I cant find a similar release for AR1.
Seems unlikely they would be doing a CDR unless they had narrowed the engine and configuration choices to single booster vendor and similar for second stage (assuming only a single configuration).  Construction cannot begin if major options/decisions remain.

PDR is usually where the trades on major components are presented and decided...

If these views are correct then it looks like it's game over for the AR-1, unless AJR can find someone who needs a big, US designed and built LOX/RP1 engine in the near future. 

No one comes to mind for that and I think it's probably OT for this thread.

Blue for the Booster engines, ULA for the structures Orbital ATK for the SRB's and RUAG for the fairings?

So is AJR still guaranteed business for RL-10s for Centaur 5?

Or could Centaur 5 be like Atlas V? Like previous Atlases except.....
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Offline MATTBLAK

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That happens almost organically when a controversial program is discussed.
Vulcan is controversial?

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No Vulcan vs SLS is. Or virtually any mention of SLS that isn't in the form of 'cheerleading'.
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Offline AncientU

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...

So is AJR still guaranteed business for RL-10s for Centaur 5?

...

IMO, that is the most loaded question in this CDR string.

Either Centaur V will have 3-4 RL-10s and be twice (?) as expensive as Classic Centaur -- which would make the goal of half-priced Vulcan impossible -- or a non-AJR engine is planned and AJR is out in the cold for future sales to ULA (assuming the existing stockpile can cover remaining D-H and maybe Atlas V flights).
« Last Edit: 12/10/2017 01:22 PM by AncientU »
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Offline Chasm

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If these views are correct then it looks like it's game over for the AR-1, unless AJR can find someone who needs a big, US designed and built LOX/RP1 engine in the near future. 

My guess is still that the final, official & public decision comes with the BE-4 performing well in a full length full power run or two.
ULA can't afford to be slow in the Vulcan development or to spend lots of money on a shadow design. OTOH they really can't afford a repeat of the RS-68 performance problem either.

As long as AR1 is in the run there is leverage. ARJ gets money so they'll play along. Politicians have one more thing to spend money where they want to, no problem either.
Once there are BE4 test stand runs ULA has leverage against both ARJ and politics. Worst case Blue does not deliver and ULA can pivot the engine choice without eating crow.


Blue for the Booster engines, ULA for the structures Orbital ATK for the SRB's and RUAG for the fairings?

So is AJR still guaranteed business for RL-10s for Centaur 5?

Or could Centaur 5 be like Atlas V? Like previous Atlases except.....

L3 for avionics.

Looking at Bigelow and Ixion renderings it seems that RL-10 is alive and strong.
Still can't put my head around the need to increase head pressure for another 2 of them. Feels to me like they were designing the tank to meet the requirements of several engines at the same time. Go with RL-10 for heritage sensitive customers. Keep the option to swap "just" the engine including its thrust structure to cut cost. Another point to exert leverage. ARJ certainly knows if they need more head pressure to prevent cavitation or not.

Offline AncientU

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They have Atlas v for heritage sensitive customers.
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AJR have been doing lot work to modernise RL10 and reduce its build cost. They need to past those savings onto ULA if what a decent production rate of 20-40, otherwise it is only 4 a year for SLS.

Offline AncientU

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AJR have been doing lot work to modernise RL10 and reduce its build cost. They need to past those savings onto ULA if what a decent production rate of 20-40, otherwise it is only 4 a year for SLS.

Any published target for fractional reduction in price
50% reduction still yields doubled engine costs on Centaur V assuming 4 engines vs. one on Classic Centaur.
75% reduction yields same engine cost; 87.5% reduction yields half cost which is the goal.
50% is what I'm assuming they can achieve... at best; this probably requires volume production.

SLS will need nine RL-10 engines between now and 2025... one per year or so.
« Last Edit: 12/10/2017 03:56 PM by AncientU »
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Offline john smith 19

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My guess is still that the final, official & public decision comes with the BE-4 performing well in a full length full power run or two.
ULA can't afford to be slow in the Vulcan development or to spend lots of money on a shadow design. OTOH they really can't afford a repeat of the RS-68 performance problem either.
Yes. IMHO that's the big one. Whoever passes that first has got to be close to being winner take all.
Quote from: Chasm
As long as AR1 is in the run there is leverage. ARJ gets money so they'll play along. Politicians have one more thing to spend money where they want to, no problem either.
I was thinking mostly in terms of leverage between Blue and AJR. I'm sure AJR will continue to develop AR-1 regardless of wheather there's any realistic market for them as long as the cash keeps coming, from whoever.
Quote from: Chasm
Once there are BE4 test stand runs ULA has leverage against both ARJ and politics. Worst case Blue does not deliver and ULA can pivot the engine choice without eating crow.
Absolutely.
Quote from: Chasm
L3 for avionics.

Looking at Bigelow and Ixion renderings it seems that RL-10 is alive and strong.
Still can't put my head around the need to increase head pressure for another 2 of them. Feels to me like they were designing the tank to meet the requirements of several engines at the same time. Go with RL-10 for heritage sensitive customers. Keep the option to swap "just" the engine including its thrust structure to cut cost. Another point to exert leverage. ARJ certainly knows if they need more head pressure to prevent cavitation or not.
Forgot L3.  Good point.

That sounds more like ACES, given XCOR were working on a reciprocating LH2 engine for a US. In  theory "Centaur" means RL-10. 

But Atlas V showed that ULA don't have a problem with quite substantial changes to the baseline. The question would be what to? BE-3 is mentioned but seems a bit big. The Masten "Broadsword" is a dual expander, but both a bit big as a single engine and may have issues shifting to LH2 (whatever ULA goes with I think LH2 is going to stay the fuel. The performance hit is just too great to go with anything else.

AJR have been doing lot work to modernise RL10 and reduce its build cost. They need to pass those savings onto ULA if what a decent production rate of 20-40, otherwise it is only 4 a year for SLS.
Which is frankly well overdue, both in terms of mfg cost and parts costs.  I'm quite sure some parts are well beyond obsolete.
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