Author Topic: Saturn 1B vs. Saturn V-B Price Comparison  (Read 1548 times)

Offline Lobo

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Saturn 1B vs. Saturn V-B Price Comparison
« on: 03/28/2018 06:37 PM »
These two Saturn Legacy LV's were obviously two candidates that were being looked at before the Shuttle decisions was made in the late 60's.

To me, they seem like two of the better candidates being considered.   I've always really like the Saturn V-B concept, and thought it would be a pretty practical and pragmatic booster to have retained and developed.  (And the MLP's were already set up to service it right on the mount, so that's handy.).

But I thought I remember someone saying once that the 8 H-1 engines on the S-1B cost less than one F-1 engine.  Not sure if I'm remember that correctly, but it does beg the question, had NASA went this route rather than with the Shuttle decision, would the Saturn 1B have been the more cost effective booster to retain of the two?
S-1D would get 4 of those F-1's back after each launch, but not sure how much refurbishment they'd need between uses after a dunking in the ocean?  The Shuttle SRB's didn't really gain any cost advantage by fishing them out of the ocean and reusing them, nor did the RS-25's without even a dunk in the ocean.  But the S-1D would get rid of a stage, and seems pretty efficient on paper.  And both would have had some degree if cost reduction and streamlining with time if they'd been put into permanent production.

The S-1D had more LEO performance than the Saturn 1B, so there is that.  One might consider something like the Saturn INT-14 to get apples to apples on performance.  (The INT-14 seems like a pretty inexpensive upgrade for Saturn 1B, compared with some of the other possible Saturn 1B INT concepts)

Which would have likely been the more inexpensive booster for NASA to operate?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saturn_V-B

http://www.astronautix.com/s/saturnint-14.html

Offline IanThePineapple

Re: Saturn 1B vs. Saturn V-B Price Comparison
« Reply #1 on: 03/28/2018 07:06 PM »
I think I heard somewhere that the H-1 engines were designed to be able to be exposed to salt water and still be reused with minor refurbishment needed. I don't think something similar was done with the F-1 engines in anticipation of the Saturn V-B potentially flying, but I could be wrong.

I think the F-1 could be redesigned to be resistant to salt-water corrosion, but that could take a long time and a good bit of money to develop. I think that would only be done if they were committed to at least trying to fly the V-B.

It's tough to figure out the most inexpensive booster for NASA to fly out of these two choices. The V-B would likely require few pad modifications if it was just a S-IC with only interior changes. They might want an extra swing arm on the Mobile Launcher to fuel and power the payload in the fairing, but that would pretty much be it. I think the largest changes needed on the ground support side would be retooling the S-IC production line at Michoud and adding another arm to the ML. Development and testing would be quite a challenge, especially making the F-1 resistant to salt water and making it reusable. Could it have been done? Almost certainly, if NASA saw a need for it that couldn't be achieved more easily somewhere else, and had the money to do so.

The Saturn IB INT-14 would likely be a larger challenge on the ground support side, and likely a little less of a challenge on the development and testing side. The S-IB would be lengthened, requiring changes to its Mobile Launcher (If it used the 39 pads), and moving every umbilical arm upward that are above the S-IB. The flame trenches might need to be modified to handle the increased thrust of the Minuteman boosters, but if they used the 39 pads that would likely be unnecessary, given that the trenches are designed to handle Saturn V thrust. Since the boosters are angled out quite a bit, the ML deck would need to be strengthened or have additional flame trenches actually on it to direct away their exhaust. The design wouldn't really be radically changed, just making the fuel tanks in the S-IB stronger and adding attachment points for the boosters.

So if NASA was forced to pick between these two, they would need to consider if they want to do more development or more ground support/assembly line modifications.

Phew, that took a long time.
« Last Edit: 03/28/2018 07:06 PM by IanThePineapple »

Offline Lobo

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Re: Saturn 1B vs. Saturn V-B Price Comparison
« Reply #2 on: 03/28/2018 10:02 PM »
I think I heard somewhere that the H-1 engines were designed to be able to be exposed to salt water and still be reused with minor refurbishment needed. I don't think something similar was done with the F-1 engines in anticipation of the Saturn V-B potentially flying, but I could be wrong.

I'm not sure if they were designed for it, but they did some salt water exposure testing in the 60's, and as I understand, they held up pretty well.  Which makes one think that maybe with some upgrades, the S-1B could have landed under parachute and perhaps been refurbished and reused as a whole stage?  Or perhaps upgraded so that it's main propulsion boat tail came off and parachuted down for water landing and recover?  Although the Saturn V-B touted that ability, it seems like actually doing it with a reasonable expectation of reuse in the nearer term may have been more likely with the Saturn 1B?  The clustered stage itself seems like it would possibly had more structural integrity than a typical mono core stage.  A lot more tank wall structures to resist compression and bending loads if hitting the water and bobbing in the ocean.  The configuration that usually considered a drawback for the S-1B stage could be an advantage in that case actually.

I think the F-1 could be redesigned to be resistant to salt-water corrosion, but that could take a long time and a good bit of money to develop. I think that would only be done if they were committed to at least trying to fly the V-B.

Agreed.  I'd have to assume it would be doable, as Boeing was touting this LV at the time.  So they probably knew something about the F-1 that it could be adapted for it.  Then again, maybe they were just guessing and assuming, to try to land a contract and be the one piece of Saturn that survived the cancellation of Apollo?
I don't know enough about the F-1's to know if they would resist salt water as built as good as the H-1's seemed to, or they'd need some major upgrades to do it?  That would certainly be a factor in comparing the two LV's. If major upgrades would be needed, it could be better just to do the F-1A upgrade (which was mostly already done during that time as I understand) and then treat it like a big 1.5 stage Atlas.  And not worry about going after the engine ring?

It's tough to figure out the most inexpensive booster for NASA to fly out of these two choices. The V-B would likely require few pad modifications if it was just a S-IC with only interior changes. They might want an extra swing arm on the Mobile Launcher to fuel and power the payload in the fairing, but that would pretty much be it. I think the largest changes needed on the ground support side would be retooling the S-IC production line at Michoud and adding another arm to the ML.

It'd still be just a small fraction of the cost of the changes needed at KSC to switch over to STS, so it's all relative.   ;)
And I'd imagine the changes would be much more minor than the changes needed to adapt KSC to handle Titan IIIM, which was one of the other options being considered at the time.  Titan would have the benefit of commonality with USAF and the Titan ICBM fleet, but there would be a considerable investment needed to adapt KSC to handle them.  Not quite as bad as STS (no RSS's needed, as USAF would operate Titan form their own pads, and not need on pad change out as they needed the Shuttle pads to have), but still substantial compared with either Saturn V-B or Saturn 1B/INT-14.


The Saturn IB INT-14 would likely be a larger challenge on the ground support side, and likely a little less of a challenge on the development and testing side. The S-IB would be lengthened, requiring changes to its Mobile Launcher (If it used the 39 pads), and moving every umbilical arm upward that are above the S-IB. The flame trenches might need to be modified to handle the increased thrust of the Minuteman boosters, but if they used the 39 pads that would likely be unnecessary, given that the trenches are designed to handle Saturn V thrust. Since the boosters are angled out quite a bit, the ML deck would need to be strengthened or have additional flame trenches actually on it to direct away their exhaust. The design wouldn't really be radically changed, just making the fuel tanks in the S-IB stronger and adding attachment points for the boosters.

Why a larger challenge on the ground support side?

The true INT-14 had a lengthened core, but that's actually probably not something needed right away.  They could upgrade the S-1B to mount the Minuteman small SRB's (maybe 2, 4, 6 or 8, not unlike EELV configurations).  And then maybe a tank stretch later.  Although, if they were adding support at the base for the SRB's, I suppose they could do a stretch then at the same time.
and I don't know that you need to move every umbilical arm up, so much as to chop out the bottom of the UT.  No need to launch the Saturn 1B off the milkstool if it would be the new program of record LV.  That was really just so NASA could launch Saturn 1B's for Skylab from KSC rather than reactivate LC-34 or 37.
If Saturn 1B was the PoR LV, then I'd imagine they'd set things up permanently at KSC for it.  Remove the milkstool, and chop the bottom of the UT down accordingly.  Whereas if Saturn V-B was chosen, they'd go the other way and chop the middle part of a Saturn V UT out, so there's just the S-1C arms and the spacecraft and crew arms.  And then reconfigure the platforms in the VAB for either one accordingly.

Since the flame trench could handle the full S-1C, I would think it could handle a small SRB augmented S-1B stage ok. Maybe a few changes if the solid exhaust would corrode it or something.

And I never did understand why those Minuteman SRB's were angled out that much.  EELV and Delta II solids are straight up and down.  So maybe had that been chosen, they'd have ended up straight up and down?

Adding the small Minuteman SRB's always seemed like the most simple INT upgrade to me, as opposed to the big Titan solids in some of the INT variants of Saturn 1B.  And they should have been relatively inexpensive as the Minuteman's were replacing the Titan's in the ICBM fleet, so they'd gain some cost sharing there.  Which is why I mentioned it as perhaps a more apples-to-apples version of the Saturn 1B to close the performance gap between the stock Saturn 1B and the Saturn V-B.
« Last Edit: 03/28/2018 10:10 PM by Lobo »

Offline Proponent

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Re: Saturn 1B vs. Saturn V-B Price Comparison
« Reply #3 on: 03/29/2018 03:12 AM »
The paper on Saturn V derivatives by Scott & Corcoran (attached to this post) covers the economics of the Saturns V-A, -B, -C and -D.  I think it's pretty clear that the V-B made sense only if other Saturn V variants were being produced in substantial numbers (three 3-stage Saturns per year are assumed).  Otherwise, the fixed costs would have bitten hard.

As to direct comparison of H-1 and F-1 costs, papers about Saturn IB upgrades indicate that the S-IB and S-IVB stages were comparable in cost, the details depending on how many Saturn V's were being produced (since that kept unit costs for the S-IVB down).  It seems likely that eight H-1's didn't cost much more than a single J-2 (though, again, it depends on production rate).  I would guess that, at plausible production rates, a J-2 was cheaper than an F-1.

P.S.  Re engine costs, I'd forgotten about this.  Note that what's plotted is cost per pound of thrust and that the vertical axis is logarithmic:  the H-1 was really cheap.
« Last Edit: 03/29/2018 12:47 PM by Proponent »

Offline Archibald

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Re: Saturn 1B vs. Saturn V-B Price Comparison
« Reply #4 on: 03/29/2018 01:59 PM »
the real missed opportunity was the INT-20, the one with the S-IVB sitting ontop of the S-IC. It would have made ton of sense, even more with a Space Shuttle derived from it - let's say a flyback S-IC with a drop tank orbiter (either the familiar LOX/LH2 big tank or LH2-only smaller dual tanks).

A six step path toward a Space Shuttle

1 - Develop the INT-20 to launch an Apollo CSM and Skylab-derived 22 ft space station modules

2 - Upgrade the S-IVB into a S-IVC with either a XLR-129 or a different SSME that can start in flight

3 - Once the new engine thoroughly tested in expendable mode, introduce the drop tank orbiter and replace Apollo CSM

4 - That orbiter can use either an expendable S-IC (in the beginning)

5 - ...or the flyback S-IC  - piloted (ALT flight test program) or later unpiloted (autoland / GPS)

6 - And finally, replace the drop tank Shuttle with a kind of Venture Star
(except not a SSTO, since there is the unpiloted flyback S-IC booster)

You could also create a mixed vehicle (partially reusable a bit like the Falcon 9R) - by mating the flyback S-IC with the expendable S-IVC.  This can also launch Apollo if the orbiter gets delayed.

It might also be possible to vary the S-IC number of F-1 between 3, 4 and 5, according to flyback or expendable mode.

In the end it makes for an entire family of flexible launch vehicles.
« Last Edit: 03/29/2018 02:15 PM by Archibald »
... that ackward moment when you realize that Jeff Bezos personal fortune is far above NASA annual budget... 115 billion to 18 billion...

Offline Archibald

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Re: Saturn 1B vs. Saturn V-B Price Comparison
« Reply #5 on: 03/29/2018 02:19 PM »
Another alternative is a cluster of Titan 7-seg SRM with a S-IVB ontop.

This is flexible (vary the number of SRMs from 2 to 5, and their lengths, 5-seg or 7-seg - there are all kind of combinations and payloads), and dirt cheap if the S-IVB is produced in large numbers. Also solid rocket motors don't cost much, and can even be dunked in the sea for partial reuse.

Of course with all the o-rings in the clustered Titan SRMs it might be quite dangerous for manned flight. The acceleration might be horrific to a crew, and max-Q should be fun, too.

Such rocket should be called the SATAN, which is a portemanteau of SAturn and TiTAN and also reflect the fact that this launch vehicle would be quite a beast to fly for the astronauts.  (lame puns 100% and shamelessly assumed)
« Last Edit: 03/29/2018 02:22 PM by Archibald »
... that ackward moment when you realize that Jeff Bezos personal fortune is far above NASA annual budget... 115 billion to 18 billion...

Offline Lobo

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Re: Saturn 1B vs. Saturn V-B Price Comparison
« Reply #6 on: 03/29/2018 06:00 PM »
The paper on Saturn V derivatives by Scott & Corcoran (attached to this post) covers the economics of the Saturns V-A, -B, -C and -D.  I think it's pretty clear that the V-B made sense only if other Saturn V variants were being produced in substantial numbers (three 3-stage Saturns per year are assumed).  Otherwise, the fixed costs would have bitten hard.

As to direct comparison of H-1 and F-1 costs, papers about Saturn IB upgrades indicate that the S-IB and S-IVB stages were comparable in cost, the details depending on how many Saturn V's were being produced (since that kept unit costs for the S-IVB down).  It seems likely that eight H-1's didn't cost much more than a single J-2 (though, again, it depends on production rate).  I would guess that, at plausible production rates, a J-2 was cheaper than an F-1.

P.S.  Re engine costs, I'd forgotten about this.  Note that what's plotted is cost per pound of thrust and that the vertical axis is logarithmic:  the H-1 was really cheap.

Interesting Proponent.  Thanks for that info.  I'll read through that 15 page paper when I get some time.

A couple of thoughts.

1)  Even without the full Saturn V being produced, if the V-B were the only part of Saturn to survive, and it was the new NASA PoR launcher, there would be several of them produce per year, I would think.  To launch Space Station modules unmanned (assumed that would be the mission if there'd been no Shuttle), and to launch whatever sort of crew ship NASA went with (reusable mini-shuttle, Apollo CSM, new reusable capsule, etc).   So Boeing should have had perhaps 3-6 orders for them per year, depending on how often they were sending up Space station modules, and how often they sent up new crews and supplies. that would be 15-30 F1 engines if all were expended.  Less if they could be effectively recovered and refurbished and reused...(although that could have created an STS scenario where the production line produced so few new ones, and refurbishment was so expensive, that there really ended up being nothing gained by reuse)
But...would the fixed costs for Boeing to produce just one stage in decent quantities, on a restarted production line that already existed, and was on standby, still bitten so hard?

2)  For Saturn 1B, The Saturn V would have helped keep S-IVB costs down, but if the Saturn 1B had been chosen as the NASA PoR LV, then they'd have been produced in decent quantities to service the 3-6 or so launcher per year that they may have done.  Both Chrylser and Douglas would likely streamline and staff to meet expected production demand.  They weren't building S-IVB for both SAturn V and Saturn 1B, but they'd be building for more Saturn 1B's going indefinitely into the future.  Plus the S-IVB would be getting the J2S, which as I understand would have been significantly less expensive than the the J2 was.  As I understand.  So maybe the ratio of cost of H-1 to J2S would have been better than H-1 to J2?

But, you seem to confirm that the H-1 was super cheap.  And able to upgrade to 250,000lbs of thrust with the H-1C
http://www.astronautix.com/h/h-1c.html
And it was made into a vacuum version with the RS-27A, so it sort of seems like the economics would have favored the Saturn 1B.  And it actually was tested for dunking in the ocean and seemed to do ok, so we don't know about the F-1, but the H-1 seemingly had possibility for water recovery and reuse.
Seems like it would have made for a great 1970's version of the Falcon 9, with all the same benefits and economics and production scale The F9 used with simple, cheap, mass produced GG kerolox engines.  Pretty great little engine actually!  And versatile.

Perhaps the optimal answer here is the mix of the two?  Retain the S-1C stage, upgrade it to the V-B, but use a cluster of H-1 engines instead?  After all, the H-1 was evolved into the MA-5A cluser for Atlas II.  Which had both droppable booster nozzles and a sustainer nozzle.  (not until the late 80's though)
Really the Saturn VB would have been pretty overpowered at take off for the 23mt of payload on top (I think it would have used F-1A engines that could throttle to compensate), considering how much more mass the S-1C was lifting with the whole Saturn V stack.  So an S-1C stage probably could get by with much less thrust at take off than the 5 F-1's had.  Honestly, probably something like 10 or 11 250,000lbs H-1's would do it.  You wouldn't need 30 of them or anything like that...I don't think.

Put like 8 of them in a droppable engine ring around the outside, with 2-3 in the center as sustainer engines.
Close down the S-IVB production, the J2 production, and the F-1 production.  Make just the S-1D-H-1 stage and the really cheap H-1 engine, all kerolox.  Since Boeing would have to modify the S-1C to turn it into the V-B with the droppable engine ring, switching from F-1's to H-1's at that point seems like it wouldn't be much of an issue, with all the plumbing and mounts needing to be changed anyway.

Should have made for a pretty dirt cheap LV that could have gotten around 20-25mt to LEO with the correct booster/sustainer engine mix, with a very volumous payload area.  A big version of Atlas, in effect.
Hmmm...seems almost too good to be true.  What am I missing here?


« Last Edit: 03/29/2018 06:09 PM by Lobo »

Offline RanulfC

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Re: Saturn 1B vs. Saturn V-B Price Comparison
« Reply #7 on: 04/12/2018 02:35 AM »
Sorry for the late reply, it seems the "Internet Saturn-1" signal is down ;)

Lobo wrote:
Quote
These two Saturn Legacy LV's were obviously two candidates that were being looked at before the Shuttle decisions was made in the late 60's.

To me, they seem like two of the better candidates being considered. I've always really like the Saturn V-B concept, and thought it would be a pretty practical and pragmatic booster to have retained and developed. (And the MLP's were already set up to service it right on the mount, so that's handy.).

But I thought I remember someone saying once that the 8 H-1 engines on the S-1B cost less than one F-1 engine. Not sure if I'm remember that correctly, but it does beg the question, had NASA went this route rather than with the Shuttle decision, would the Saturn 1B have been the more cost effective booster to retain of the two?
S-1D would get 4 of those F-1's back after each launch, but not sure how much refurbishment they'd need between uses after a dunking in the ocean? The Shuttle SRB's didn't really gain any cost advantage by fishing them out of the ocean and reusing them, nor did the RS-25's without even a dunk in the ocean. But the S-1D would get rid of a stage, and seems pretty efficient on paper. And both would have had some degree if cost reduction and streamlining with time if they'd been put into permanent production.

The S-1D had more LEO performance than the Saturn 1B, so there is that. One might consider something like the Saturn INT-14 to get apples to apples on performance. (The INT-14 seems like a pretty inexpensive upgrade for Saturn 1B, compared with some of the other possible Saturn 1B INT concepts)

Which would have likely been the more inexpensive booster for NASA to operate?

Going to take a 'contrary' position to "normal" for me and point out that there was in fact a 'third' option:

A fully recoverable and reusable Saturn-V "S1C-ish" design, sometimes called the "Saturn-V-R" (other times "Saturn-VM)or a variant of the NEXUS concept. It wasn't an SSTO but specifically designed as a recoverable, reusable "Saturn-Class" booster vehicle using F1/F1A engines and kerolox propellants in a fully recoverable 'package' design.

(It's from a 1963 AIAA paper "NEXUS- Concept of a Large Reusable Launch Vehicle", a summer with some illustrations I downloaded from someplace apparently :) )
Mentioned/Shown here:
https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=41585.0
https://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php?topic=7757.0;all
https://arc.aiaa.org/doi/book/10.2514/MSM63
https://ntrs.nasa.gov/search.jsp?R=19650028434

Though my search-fu has failed to find either the illustrations I have nor the 'article' which is obviously far less than the paper. But in essence the 'normal' S1C Stage is rebuilt into a squat 65ft by 65ft stage (reduces down to around 50ft at the front end) with a oblate spherical LOX tank and 'sectionalized' torroid fuel tank with a forward 'heat-shield', aerodynamic 'flaps' and recovery 'retro-rockets' to ease it down into the ocean for recovery. (Mention is made of 'parachutes' being in the design but no clue where or how they deploy though I suspect it lands 'engines-up' ) In the concept art the S-II stage is also reduced to a similar configuration but shows no indication of a 'recovery' system though I suppose it could be done. While being large in diameter the 'up-side' is the vehicles based on this stage can still fit in the VAB with minimumal work where as 'raising' the roof would be a major effort.

Interestingly you can 'NEXUS' a Saturn-1 stage too if you want to go that way :)

Thing is even though NEXUS was always supposed to be the (literally) "Next Big Thing" in boosters it's pretty clear the idea was there that it 'might' not be a viable concept (program wise) in the long run.

Randy
From The Amazing Catstronaut on the Black Arrow LV:
British physics, old chap. It's undignified to belch flames and effluvia all over the pad, what. A true gentlemen's orbital conveyance lifts itself into the air unostentatiously, with the minimum of spectacle and a modicum of grace. Not like our American cousins' launch vehicles, eh?

Offline Michel Van

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Re: Saturn 1B vs. Saturn V-B Price Comparison
« Reply #8 on: 04/15/2018 09:44 AM »
on Saturn V-B

Boeing made paper called "Saturn Mission Payload Versatility"
from October 11, 1967

It next the S-IC & S-IVB (Int-20) they go in detail about S-ID concept aka Saturn V-B
They study jettison of four F-1 engines (can't get into orbit)
staged thrust structure with four F-1 with standard S-IC tank or lengthened tank
the two last models only reach orbit with payload of 51160 to 64830 Lbs.

Boeing proposed to use S-ID for payloads to 51160 Lbs.
and Saturn V-C with S-ID first stage and S-IVB, also use of S-ID  for Saturn V first stage.

Recovery systems of thrust structure with four F-1, would only take for 1/2% of total mass.
sadly the Document give not Launch cost for S-ID version

but there is indication about production cost of S-IC in a Graphic
Boeing say around $50 million in 1967 they could drop the productions cost
down to $35~$38 million over period of 10 years (with 3 vehicles build/year = 30 S-IC build)
sadly the document not give any information about additional cost on S-ID stage
only that take around 36 months to modify the S-IC into S-ID

Offline Lobo

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Re: Saturn 1B vs. Saturn V-B Price Comparison
« Reply #9 on: 04/16/2018 05:35 PM »
Going to take a 'contrary' position to "normal" for me and point out that there was in fact a 'third' option:


Not really contrary.  :)
I guess I should have prefaced this by saying these were two of the most obvious candidates, in my opinion.   There were lots of candidate though.  That Helios concept is interesting, I wasn't aware of that.  Goes with that 1.5 stage concept, like S-1D.  Atlas proved that that concept was certainly viable in that area.  So nothing really out of the box there.

I like the S-1D as it took a stage that was already developed, and that the KSC facilities was already setup for, and just did some relatively small upgrades.  Trying to keep things simple, like retaining the Saturn 1B, maybe with some minor upgrades like adding the small Minuteman booster options to it, or stretching the tanks on the S-1B stage. Not as much of a departure from what was already built and flight tested as some of the other concepts.  Radical departures is what lead to STS, and in this thread, it's looking at the most cost effective Saturn hardware to retain instead of going with STS or something similarly far away.

Offline Proponent

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Re: Saturn 1B vs. Saturn V-B Price Comparison
« Reply #10 on: 04/16/2018 07:37 PM »
Interestingly you can 'NEXUS' a Saturn-1 stage too if you want to go that way :)

I would think the concept would not scale down well, because the mass ratio is so critical.  Especially given the S-IB's high structure fraction.

Offline RanulfC

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Re: Saturn 1B vs. Saturn V-B Price Comparison
« Reply #11 on: 04/18/2018 12:31 AM »
Lobo wrote:
Quote
Not really contrary. :)

Yes it is! (Being contrary of course ;) )

Quote
I guess I should have prefaced this by saying these were two of the most obvious candidates, in my opinion.

Well of course you entitled to your (obviously wrong) opinion... ;)

Quote
There were lots of candidate though.

And boy howdy weren't there :)

Quote
That Helios ( you mean NEXUS?) concept is interesting, I wasn't aware of that.

Neither was I but that kinda proves the point as the 'focus' of the entire "Post-Saturn" architecture was based on the idea of out-doing Saturn and specifically the Saturn V! The stuff from the paper LITTERALLY 'tosses-off' the idea of using such a design for the Saturn-V (or Saturn 1 for that matter) as an afterthought or more like "you could but why would you want to when you can have THIS!" idea.

This also shows where NASA and the contractors 'heads' were at the time, (1963) and how much the "Lunar" program had/was skewing the thinking.

Quote
Goes with that 1.5 stage concept, like S-1D. Atlas proved that that concept was certainly viable in that area. So nothing really out of the box there.

Not 'out-of-the-box' no, but definitely a huge step away from the automatic consideration of "expendable" over "reusable" as an initial design.
(A note: The paper consistently use the acronym of "ELV" which confused me till I found that here at least it wasn't "Expendable" but "Earth" as in Earth Launch Vehicle which as the designation of all the designs)

Keep in mind the S-1D WAS a 'mostly' expendable design whereas the Saturn-NEXUS stage was fully reusable AND included a second (S-II) stage that was also fully reusable from the start. It also was a deliberate step away from the assumption that only a 'fly-back' stage that returned as close as possible, (if not directly to) the launch site was the definition of 'reusable' launch vehicle.

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I like the S-1D as it took a stage that was already developed, and that the KSC facilities was already setup for, and just did some relatively small upgrades.

Well 'small' if you only make modest changes AND the vehicle remains 100% 'expendable' as the requirements, (pointed out by MV) show the actual changes are pretty significant to get an effective even partially reusable vehicle. As is the Saturn-NEXUS booster will take some modifications of vehicle itself and the construction, transportation, processing and launch facilities. Probably somewhat on par with those needed for the STS but in return you get a fully reusable booster out of it. The next question would be does it have a 'similar' flexibility as the S-1D? Oddly enough from what I'm seeing the answer is probably pretty close to 'yes' since it looks like it could (with larger tanks which admittedly are bit harder to do than a simple 'stretch' but can be designed in from the start) do SSTO with around the same payload. (A bit less since it has to drag the other four engines all the way to orbit BUT with less processing and recovery not having to bring back and stack two separate items)

More so if you add a 'second' stage and allow the booster to do a 'once-around' back to near the Cape instead of a distant recovery and transportation option.

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Trying to keep things simple, like retaining the Saturn 1B, maybe with some minor upgrades like adding the small Minuteman booster options to it, or stretching the tanks on the S-1B stage. Not as much of a departure from what was already built and flight tested as some of the other concepts. Radical departures is what lead to STS, and in this thread, it's looking at the most cost effective Saturn hardware to retain instead of going with STS or something similarly far away.

Being honest while those 'upgrades' are minor and probably cost effective in the short run to get to full reusability you are going to have to either get into larger and more expensive modifications, (especially as you payload needs increase) where you'll reach and eventually exceed the costs and effort of such a 'departure' from current operations. While it might LOOK "better" to do incremental modifications and upgrades and can be justified to someone "in-charge" on economic and political grounds (and as I keep pointing out if you want to keep the Saturn-1 in any form you're main "POD" from OLT is never being given the option of having the Saturn-V or anything like OTL-Apollo/Lunar program, OUT Saturn-1 was a study in innovation with OTS components and "cheap" thinking and design) in the end if you're going to actually 'do' something with the program you are likely going to have to suggest and support a significant 'departure' from Saturn/Apollo methods and systems.

I still think you can eventually get a fully reusable system from the Saturn-1 and if the "Moon" is still on the table, (and keep in mind that OTL such an option was in the minds of NASA management and Congress ALSO an explicit approval for 'beyond-the-Moon' planning and spending) you can probably make a case for 'modifications' to the Saturn-V in a similar fashion.

But that was before I even considered (or knew of) something like the Saturn-NEXUS. The main drawback of the concept is it would be difficult to 'upgrade' or modify it as time went on since adding tankage would require rebuilding and adding 'boosters' would be problematic. (But that tends to be an issue with any 'non-standard-cylindrical' booster set up) But that in and of itself requires careful consideration of what you need now AND in future efforts. While this WAS done OTL it was more often than not in the context of finding a specific answer to a leading question. (aka-OTL Saturn-V and STS)

Randy
From The Amazing Catstronaut on the Black Arrow LV:
British physics, old chap. It's undignified to belch flames and effluvia all over the pad, what. A true gentlemen's orbital conveyance lifts itself into the air unostentatiously, with the minimum of spectacle and a modicum of grace. Not like our American cousins' launch vehicles, eh?

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