Author Topic: Kistler/Orbital divorce  (Read 12929 times)

Offline aero313

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Kistler/Orbital divorce
« on: 09/26/2006 01:33 AM »
I'm surprised no one else has started a thread on this.  Space News is reporting that Orbital is terminating it's relationship with Kistler for COTS.  I had heard similar rumors last week, but now it's public.  

Quote
“We haven’t been able to agree on all the elements of the business plan so we will not be part of the program going forward,” Orbital Sciences spokesman Barron Beneski said Sept. 25. “And of course as a result we will not be investing the $10 million.”

More surprising, Kistler has dumped something like $600M into K1 to date and according to the article expects to need ANOTHER $600M ($207M from NASA and twice that much from investors) to execute COTS.  WOW!  I'll say they can't agree on the business plan!

Offline NotGncDude

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RE: Kistler/Orbital divorce
« Reply #1 on: 09/26/2006 02:01 AM »
Quote
aero313
- 25/9/2006 9:16 PM
More surprising, Kistler has dumped something like $600M into K1 to
date and according to the article expects to need ANOTHER $600M ($207M
from NASA and twice
that much from investors) to execute COTS.
Is this new $600M figure from Kistler or is it an estimate from a 3rd
party ? They were bought by Rocketplane so you'd think that the new
management would be more careful about costs.

Offline Jim

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Re: Kistler/Orbital divorce
« Reply #2 on: 09/26/2006 02:24 AM »
It is a Kistler estimate.   Rocketplane management has nothing to do with it, their main subs are LM, NG and Aerojet.  Basically Kistler doesn't build anything, they pay people to build things.

Offline Chris Bergin

RE: Kistler/Orbital divorce
« Reply #3 on: 09/26/2006 02:30 AM »
Quote
aero313 - 26/9/2006  2:16 AM

I'm surprised no one else has started a thread on this.

We're more vehicles and engineering news media here, than we are business news media, but I appreciate the thread being started.

Offline guidanceisgo

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Re: Kistler/Orbital divorce
« Reply #4 on: 09/26/2006 04:51 AM »
Maybe we should move this thread to the private spaceflight area.  COTS is big news in the private world.  RPK doesn't seem to get the same press as Spacex.  Maybe its a good think in this instance!

Offline NotGncDude

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Re: Kistler/Orbital divorce
« Reply #5 on: 09/26/2006 01:31 PM »
Quote
Jim - 25/9/2006  10:07 PM

It is a Kistler estimate.   Rocketplane management has nothing to do with it, their main subs are LM, NG and Aerojet.  Basically Kistler doesn't build anything, they pay people to build things.

And Draper Lab...

Offline Chris Bergin

Re: Kistler/Orbital divorce
« Reply #6 on: 09/26/2006 01:33 PM »
Quote
guidanceisgo - 26/9/2006  5:34 AM

Maybe we should move this thread to the private spaceflight area.  COTS is big news in the private world.  RPK doesn't seem to get the same press as Spacex.  Maybe its a good think in this instance!

Done.

Offline vt_hokie

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Re: Kistler/Orbital divorce
« Reply #7 on: 09/26/2006 09:30 PM »
Quote
ianmga - 26/9/2006  9:14 AM

And Draper Lab...

Is Honeywell involved in any way at this point?

Offline NotGncDude

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Re: Kistler/Orbital divorce
« Reply #8 on: 04/30/2007 04:21 AM »
Just saw this. I believe Honeywell is involved in supplying the IMU's.

Offline JIS

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Re: Kistler/Orbital divorce
« Reply #9 on: 04/30/2007 09:28 AM »
It looks like next bankruptcy is very close.
'Old age and treachery will overcome youth and skill' - Old Greek experience

Offline simonbp

Re: Kistler/Orbital divorce
« Reply #10 on: 04/30/2007 12:32 PM »
Quote
JIS - 30/4/2007  4:28 AM

It looks like next bankruptcy is very close.

Or a buyout by ATK...

Simon ;)

Offline space_dreamer

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Re: Kistler/Orbital divorce
« Reply #11 on: 04/30/2007 01:11 PM »
I’ve always thought that Kistler was a really bad choice for cots. They already spent $500 million with out a single fight! What a sick joke! If only the ordinal $500 million had been invested into Xcor, Armadillo, Bristol Spaceplanes, Starchaser, Spacedev etc…

The second COTS prize (after SpaceX) should have gone to Spacedev or Tspace.

Offline Jim

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Re: Kistler/Orbital divorce
« Reply #12 on: 04/30/2007 01:17 PM »
Quote
space_dreamer - 30/4/2007  9:11 AM

I’ve always thought that Kistler was a really bad choice for cots. They already spent $500 million with out a single fight! What a sick joke! If only the ordinal $500 million had been invested into Xcor, Armadillo, Bristol Spaceplanes, Starchaser, Spacedev etc…

The second COTS prize (after SpaceX) should have gone to Spacedev or Tspace.

Xcor, Armadillo, Bristol Spaceplanes, Starchaser, T-space etc..  None of these had viable options

Offline space_dreamer

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Re: Kistler/Orbital divorce
« Reply #13 on: 04/30/2007 08:27 PM »
I meant for the investment that Kistler got before COTS. What was wrong with Tspace cots entry?

Offline wannamoonbase

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Re: Kistler/Orbital divorce
« Reply #14 on: 04/30/2007 09:05 PM »
Quote
space_dreamer - 30/4/2007  4:27 PM

I meant for the investment that Kistler got before COTS. What was wrong with Tspace cots entry?

It was private money, not tax payer.  So what does it matter to any of us?  

The fact that they were able to raise that much money, design a vehicle, acquire engines and partially build the K1 says a million percent more than any of those other guys with glossy pictures and grand schemes only.  

The others might be possible but certainly not close and if they were cheap why not build them on their own?

I wish SpaceX and Kistler both the best of luck and I hope both succeed, as that could change the industry more than anything else.
Excited to be finally into the first Falcon Heavy flow, we are getting so close!

Offline docmordrid

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RE: Kistler/Orbital divorce
« Reply #15 on: 05/01/2007 12:56 AM »
This was resolved shortly after the original story;

http://www.space.com/news/060926_cots_rocketplane.html

Quote
Rocketplane Kistler Says It Has New Strategic Partner in the Wings

WASHINGTON - Rocketplane Kistler President Randy Brinkley said Sept. 25 that the Oklahoma City-based company already has found another firm willing to replace Orbital Sciences Corp. as prime contractor for the K-1 reusable launch vehicle.

"We're very comfortable with the new partner and think it's a good fit," Brinkley said.

Brinkley declined to identify Rocketplane Kistler's new partner but said that the unnamed U.S. company would take over Orbital Sciences' systems engineering and integration role on the K-1 and make a strategic investment "equal to or greater" than the $10 million Orbital had planned to bring to the table.

http://hobbyspace.com/nucleus/index.php?itemid=2741

Quote
Rocketplane Kistler and ATK Announce Agreement for K-1 Launch Vehicle and COTS Program

ATK Will Lead Vehicle Development, Vehicle Assembly, Integration and Test, and Launch and Landing Site Operations

Oklahoma City and Salt Lake City, November 8, 2006 – Rocketplane Kistler (RpK) and Alliant Techsystems (NYSE: ATK) announced today that ATK will become the lead contractor for RpK’s K-1 launch vehicle, which was recently awarded a Space Act Agreement by NASA for the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program. The K-1 is a fully reusable space transportation system designed to provide cost-effective and reliable transport of cargo and science payloads to and from the International Space Station (ISS).
DM

Offline Jim

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Re: Kistler/Orbital divorce
« Reply #16 on: 05/01/2007 01:29 AM »
LM has taken over the vehicle assembly

Offline Christine

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Re: Kistler/Orbital divorce
« Reply #17 on: 05/01/2007 02:00 AM »
Somehow, all I suspect that they've taken over are the first round COTS payments...

Offline NotGncDude

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Re: Kistler/Orbital divorce
« Reply #18 on: 05/01/2007 02:04 AM »
Would it make sense for ATK to buy Kistler from Rocketplane and take over the development the vehicle? It would seem that it would give them an entry into this segment. I'm open to flame, as I'm clueless about these business issues.

Offline NotGncDude

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Re: Kistler/Orbital divorce
« Reply #19 on: 05/01/2007 02:21 AM »
Quote
Christine - 30/4/2007  10:00 PM

Somehow, all I suspect that they've taken over are the first round COTS payments...

This ain't no joke. There is a lot of people working hard for the K1 to flight. Sadly, those people cost money.

Offline simonbp

Re: Kistler/Orbital divorce
« Reply #20 on: 05/01/2007 10:30 AM »
Quote
ianmga - 30/4/2007  9:04 PM

Would it make sense for ATK to buy Kistler from Rocketplane and take over the development the vehicle? It would seem that it would give them an entry into this segment. I'm open to flame, as I'm clueless about these business issues.

It wouldn't make sense yet, with zero flights of a radical new design. Instead, ATK is doing what NASA is doing: giving RpK a bit of money/help, and seeing what they can do with it. If the K-1 flies successfully (and it's still an if), then it would make much sense for ATK to snap it up...

Simon ;)

Offline marsavian

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RE: Kistler/Orbital divorce
« Reply #21 on: 05/01/2007 11:18 AM »
Quote
docmordrid - 30/4/2007  7:56 PM

This was resolved shortly after the original story;

http://www.space.com/news/060926_cots_rocketplane.html

Quote
Rocketplane Kistler Says It Has New Strategic Partner in the Wings

WASHINGTON - Rocketplane Kistler President Randy Brinkley said Sept. 25 that the Oklahoma City-based company already has found another firm willing to replace Orbital Sciences Corp. as prime contractor for the K-1 reusable launch vehicle.

"We're very comfortable with the new partner and think it's a good fit," Brinkley said.

Brinkley declined to identify Rocketplane Kistler's new partner but said that the unnamed U.S. company would take over Orbital Sciences' systems engineering and integration role on the K-1 and make a strategic investment "equal to or greater" than the $10 million Orbital had planned to bring to the table.

http://hobbyspace.com/nucleus/index.php?itemid=2741

Quote
Rocketplane Kistler and ATK Announce Agreement for K-1 Launch Vehicle and COTS Program

ATK Will Lead Vehicle Development, Vehicle Assembly, Integration and Test, and Launch and Landing Site Operations

Oklahoma City and Salt Lake City, November 8, 2006 – Rocketplane Kistler (RpK) and Alliant Techsystems (NYSE: ATK) announced today that ATK will become the lead contractor for RpK’s K-1 launch vehicle, which was recently awarded a Space Act Agreement by NASA for the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program. The K-1 is a fully reusable space transportation system designed to provide cost-effective and reliable transport of cargo and science payloads to and from the International Space Station (ISS).

Andrews Space was the partner suggested in the first link while ATK is building the final design.

http://www.andrewsspace.com/news.php?subsection=MjIw


Offline Jim

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Re: Kistler/Orbital divorce
« Reply #22 on: 05/01/2007 11:46 AM »
Andrews Space is supply the spacecraft and is performing mission planning and ops.  ATK is responsible for system engineering and launch ops

Offline NotGncDude

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Re: Kistler/Orbital divorce
« Reply #23 on: 05/01/2007 03:18 PM »
Andrews is also doing the aerodynamics analysis

Offline Christine

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Re: Kistler/Orbital divorce
« Reply #24 on: 05/01/2007 11:57 PM »
Quote
ianmga - 30/4/2007  9:21 PM
This ain't no joke. There is a lot of people working hard for the K1 to flight. Sadly, those people cost money.

And I sincerely hope they get the investors they need to employ them. But with their only likely customer now showing their true colours and buying ISS cargo through a no-bid contract with russia, I wouldn't let my capital touch them with a 40ft bargepole.

The only other major buyer I can think of for K-1 launch services is Globalstar 2, but they'll probably end up buying Soyuz.

Offline wannamoonbase

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Re: Kistler/Orbital divorce
« Reply #25 on: 05/02/2007 12:47 AM »
Quote
Christine - 1/5/2007  7:57 PM

Quote
ianmga - 30/4/2007  9:21 PM
This ain't no joke. There is a lot of people working hard for the K1 to flight. Sadly, those people cost money.

And I sincerely hope they get the investors they need to employ them. But with their only likely customer now showing their true colours and buying ISS cargo through a no-bid contract with russia, I wouldn't let my capital touch them with a 40ft bargepole.

The only other major buyer I can think of for K-1 launch services is Globalstar 2, but they'll probably end up buying Soyuz.

I am sure no one is more uncomfortable with depending on Russian cargo launches than NASA and certainly if SpaceX and/or Kistler can provide a domestic Cargo service then NASA will buy all they need.

A question I have is where did the ATK interest in Kistler come from?  Is it strictly business a job to make money on or to develop integration experience for future vehicles such as the Ares V or the EDS.  Or did the ATK NASA good ol' boys network ask for help to make the K1 viable?
Excited to be finally into the first Falcon Heavy flow, we are getting so close!

Offline yinzer

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Re: Kistler/Orbital divorce
« Reply #26 on: 05/02/2007 01:17 AM »
ATK could also think that if in the near future it starts looking like COTS has no chance of providing access to the ISS, people might start looking at something involving EELVs and an HTV- or ATV-style spacecraft.  That would have the potential to be very, very bad for the Ares I.  Bad enough that it may be worth kicking in some money to keep RpK looking viable until the Ares I makes it a little further down the design process.
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Offline aero313

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Re: Kistler/Orbital divorce
« Reply #27 on: 05/02/2007 02:22 AM »
Quote
wannamoonbase - 1/5/2007  8:47 PM
A question I have is where did the ATK interest in Kistler come from?  

ATK is currently printing money.   They manufacture something like 80% of the ammunition purchased by all federal and state organizations.  That's where the money for Swales came from.  That's where the money for their small launch vehicle came from.  That's where the money to buy Microcraft and GASL came from.  Couple this with the rapidly dwindling market for solid propellant systems, and ATK is smart to be looking for alternate business areas.  Whether they can successfully become a prime is a different question.  The have not demonstrated that ability to date.  Integrating the diverse companies they've bought is a major problem.  Lockmart, Boeing, and Orbital have not fully done it yet, and it's what, ten years since the LockMart merger?

Offline Danderman

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Re: Kistler/Orbital divorce
« Reply #28 on: 06/02/2007 05:21 PM »
So, is the RpK plan to launch the K1 next year still on track?

Offline NotGncDude

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Re: Kistler/Orbital divorce
« Reply #29 on: 06/02/2007 09:50 PM »
I think they've been scheduled for 2009 for quite some time. In any case I am sure the funding shortage will push back the schedule. I am pretty sure there will be no flights in 2008.

Offline Antares

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Re: Kistler/Orbital divorce
« Reply #30 on: 06/02/2007 10:53 PM »
The integrated NASA program schedule still shows them in 2008.  I agree that's not realistic, but that's what their Space Act Agreement called out.
If I like something on NSF, it's probably because I know it to be accurate.  Every once in a while, it's just something I agree with.  Facts generally receive the former.

Offline wannamoonbase

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Re: Kistler/Orbital divorce
« Reply #31 on: 06/03/2007 02:58 AM »
Given that we are just about 50% through 07 I would bet that neither SpaceX or Kistler launch a vehicle before the end of 08, in fact getting one on a pad would be very impressive.
Excited to be finally into the first Falcon Heavy flow, we are getting so close!

Offline MKremer

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Re: Kistler/Orbital divorce
« Reply #32 on: 06/03/2007 07:27 AM »
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wannamoonbase - 2/6/2007  9:58 PM

Given that we are just about 50% through 07 I would bet that neither SpaceX or Kistler launch a vehicle before the end of 08, in fact getting one on a pad would be very impressive.

Just wondering how that will affect their contracts, and if so, could Congressional space committees get involved and hold hearings.
(Congressional hearings concerning private contractors failing to meet fairly expensive contracts - especially if they're involving NASA - aren't considered very good PR no matter how corporate spokespeople and executives try to spin them.)

Offline Jim

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Re: Kistler/Orbital divorce
« Reply #33 on: 06/03/2007 09:08 AM »
They technically don't have contracts, just an agreement.  The agreement says they get pay for certain milestones at certain times.  If they don't meet them, they don't get the money

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