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International Space Flight (ESA, Russia, China and others) => ESA Launchers - Ariane, Soyuz at CSG, Vega => Topic started by: LouScheffer on 05/17/2021 01:27 pm

Title: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: LouScheffer on 05/17/2021 01:27 pm
From the 3 May AV week article.  Bold is mine.

Quote
Josef Aschbacher, ESA's new director general recently presented that by 2035,  "ESA has created a completely new, more competitive, and reusable launcher system".  In the near term, "future technology maturation, such as reusability, new engines.."  ESA aims to have a new reusable launcher in service in 2030.

"Reusability and very low cost liquid propulsion are the central themes [...]" states a document authored by France's general secretariat [..] This launcher should have two reusable stages [...].  "Reusability is relevent, even for a low cadence [...]"

So reusability mentioned six times in two paragraphs, including four quotes.   Seems like they got the message.

Title: Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: woods170 on 05/17/2021 01:30 pm
From the 3 May AV week article.  Bold is mine.

Quote
Josef Aschbacher, ESA's new director general recently presented that by 2035,  "ESA has created a completely new, more competitive, and reusable launcher system".  In the near term, "future technology maturation, such as reusability, new engines.."  ESA aims to have a new reusable launcher in service in 2030.

"Reusability and very low cost liquid propulsion are the central themes [...]" states a document authored by France's general secretariat [..] This launcher should have two reusable stages [...].  "Reusability is relevent, even for a low cadence [...]"

So reusability mentioned six times in two paragraphs, including four quotes.   Seems like they got the message.



Yeah.... only eight years late...
Title: Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: Redclaws on 05/17/2021 01:36 pm
From the 3 May AV week article.  Bold is mine.

Quote
Josef Aschbacher, ESA's new director general recently presented that by 2035,  "ESA has created a completely new, more competitive, and reusable launcher system".  In the near term, "future technology maturation, such as reusability, new engines.."  ESA aims to have a new reusable launcher in service in 2030.

"Reusability and very low cost liquid propulsion are the central themes [...]" states a document authored by France's general secretariat [..] This launcher should have two reusable stages [...].  "Reusability is relevent, even for a low cadence [...]"

So reusability mentioned six times in two paragraphs, including four quotes.   Seems like they got the message.

Oh man, by *2030*!  Just *tearing* along then.  Oh dear...
Title: Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: yoram on 05/17/2021 01:42 pm
From the 3 May AV week article.  Bold is mine.

Quote
Josef Aschbacher, ESA's new director general recently presented that by 2035,  "ESA has created a completely new, more competitive, and reusable launcher system".  In the near term, "future technology maturation, such as reusability, new engines.."  ESA aims to have a new reusable launcher in service in 2030.

"Reusability and very low cost liquid propulsion are the central themes [...]" states a document authored by France's general secretariat [..] This launcher should have two reusable stages [...].  "Reusability is relevent, even for a low cadence [...]"

So reusability mentioned six times in two paragraphs, including four quotes.   Seems like they got the message.



Yeah.... only eight years late...

Wish the title used "ArianeSpace" instead of Europe. I would say at least one of the European small launcher startups has a reasonable chance to do it sooner, by going a similar route as Electron.

Title: Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: Pipcard on 05/19/2021 10:20 pm
So reusability mentioned six times in two paragraphs, including four quotes.   Seems like they got the message.
Yeah.... only eight years late...
What do you want, a country in an alternate timeline that does it ten years earlier than SpaceX?
Title: Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: Robotbeat on 05/20/2021 12:00 am
From the 3 May AV week article.  Bold is mine.

Quote
Josef Aschbacher, ESA's new director general recently presented that by 2035,  "ESA has created a completely new, more competitive, and reusable launcher system".  In the near term, "future technology maturation, such as reusability, new engines.."  ESA aims to have a new reusable launcher in service in 2030.

"Reusability and very low cost liquid propulsion are the central themes [...]" states a document authored by France's general secretariat [..] This launcher should have two reusable stages [...].  "Reusability is relevent, even for a low cadence [...]"

So reusability mentioned six times in two paragraphs, including four quotes.   Seems like they got the message.
Oh man, by *2030*!  Just *tearing* along then.  Oh dear...
Well, at least they’re going for full reuse (assuming it’s 2STO). Not sure I’ve heard any date given for commitment to full reuse from anyone else but SpaceX..
Title: Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: jbenton on 05/20/2021 02:05 am
From the 3 May AV week article.  Bold is mine.
Quote
Josef Aschbacher, ESA's new director general recently presented that by 2035,  "ESA has created a completely new, more competitive, and reusable launcher system".  In the near term, "future technology maturation, such as reusability, new engines.."  ESA aims to have a new reusable launcher in service in 2030.

"Reusability and very low cost liquid propulsion are the central themes [...]" states a document authored by France's general secretariat [..] This launcher should have two reusable stages [...].  "Reusability is relevent, even for a low cadence [...]"
So reusability mentioned six times in two paragraphs, including four quotes.   Seems like they got the message.
Yeah.... only eight years late...
They've looked into this before:
https://sites.google.com/site/exosnews/home/rockets/adeline
https://futurism.com/the-byte/europe-reusable-rocket-design-spacex
Title: Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: Pipcard on 05/20/2021 02:58 am
They've looked into this before:
https://sites.google.com/site/exosnews/home/rockets/adeline
https://futurism.com/the-byte/europe-reusable-rocket-design-spacex
No, they've looked into this way before (https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=53245.0).

Ariane-X, reusable VTVL rocket proposed in 1981, planned introduction in 1995.

Title: Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: Steven Pietrobon on 05/20/2021 07:51 am
Wow! There are so many similarities to Falcon 9.

2 Stages
Common engines in first and second stage
Nine engines on first stage (article says 5 engines, but thrust is not sufficient and drawing shows 9)
One engine on second stage
Reusable first stage
Common tank diameters
Propulsive landing

Differences are

Hydrolox instead of kerolox
Uses heat shield in place of re-entry burn
No landing legs, indicating a water landing
No grid fins
No common bulkheads
First stage uses eight propellant tanks
Second stage inside fairing
Title: Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: Hobbes-22 on 05/20/2021 08:22 am

So reusability mentioned six times in two paragraphs, including four quotes.   Seems like they got the message.

ESA has been studying reusability as far back as 2004 as part of the FLPP. (and they considered it even for Ariane 4) Several years ago, they started full-scale engine development (Prometheus, 2017) and stage landing demonstrator projects.
Title: Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: woods170 on 05/20/2021 10:41 am
They've looked into this before:
https://sites.google.com/site/exosnews/home/rockets/adeline
https://futurism.com/the-byte/europe-reusable-rocket-design-spacex
No, they've looked into this way before (https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=53245.0).

Ariane-X, reusable VTVL rocket proposed in 1981, planned introduction in 1995.



And that is precisely the problem. ESA has a tendency to study things to death yet never make them a reality. ESA and Arianespace could have been frontrunners with regards to reusability.
But a lack of will to actually execute is what has them now fininshing in fourth or fifth place.
Title: Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: woods170 on 05/20/2021 10:48 am
So reusability mentioned six times in two paragraphs, including four quotes.   Seems like they got the message.
Yeah.... only eight years late...
What do you want, a country in an alternate timeline that does it ten years earlier than SpaceX?

No, what I want is an ESA and a CNES and an Arianspace that know how to read the writing on the wall. Because they failed to do so in 2014. They had the perfect opportunity to become close followers of SpaceX and thus remain competitive within the global LSP market.

But ESA, CNES and Arianespace failed to read the writing on the wall. And now Europe is stuck with a 'new' launcher which is obsolete by the time it starts flying, having wasted 5 billion Euros and 8 years. Current ESA and CNES efforts for reusability developement are severely being hampered by the money pit that is Ariane 6. Had those Euros been spent on a (partially) reusable launcher eight years ago, than Ariane 6 would be a close follower of Falcon 9, instead of a launcher with no chance of competing.
Title: Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: hektor on 05/20/2021 10:55 am
What is the point of competing for Europe ?

The priority for Europe should be to make sure they can timely launch their own payloads at a reasonable cost without having to beg for a launch from a foreign partner.
Title: Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: TrevorMonty on 05/20/2021 11:05 am
So reusability mentioned six times in two paragraphs, including four quotes.   Seems like they got the message.
Yeah.... only eight years late...
What do you want, a country in an alternate timeline that does it ten years earlier than SpaceX?

No, what I want is an ESA and a CNES and an Arianspace that know how to read the writing on the wall. Because they failed to do so in 2014. They had the perfect opportunity to become close followers of SpaceX and thus remain competitive within the global LSP market.

But ESA, CNES and Arianespace failed to read the writing on the wall. And now Europe is stuck with a 'new' launcher which is obsolete by the time it starts flying, having wasted 5 billion Euros and 8 years. Current ESA and CNES efforts for reusability developement are severely being hampered by the money pit that is Ariane 6. Had those Euros been spent on a (partially) reusable launcher eight years ago, than Ariane 6 would be a close follower of Falcon 9, instead of a launcher with no chance of competing.
They didn't have engines then to do RLV.  A6 was best ELV they could do with what they had and most importantly cheaper and more versatile than A5.


Sent from my SM-G570Y using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: LouScheffer on 05/20/2021 01:37 pm
They didn't have engines then to do RLV.  A6 was best ELV they could do with what they had
They identified engines of the right size, and restartable, in the 1981 proposal above.  Even if they did not take the idea seriously until 2014, the could have had engines by now (7 years is about right for a new engine).  Building a new engine and new rocket in parallel is hardly unprecedented (see Vulcan, Starship, etc.).
Quote
[...] and most importantly cheaper and more versatile than A5.
This to me is the biggest lack of imagination.  Incremental improvement is sometimes not enough to be competitive.

To see this done better, and in Europe, look at Porsche.   They make some of the best gas powered cars, and they saw electric cars as a potential threat.  While other companies incrementally added electric to their existing car lineups, Porsche started a full-scale, multi-year development of a new model optimized for electric propulsion.   As a result, they now have a new car, the Taycan, which competes strongly in the open global market and is already their best selling model in Europe.  While companies with more conservative strategies are endangered, Porsche is in great shape.  This could have been Ariane.
Title: Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: Redclaws on 05/20/2021 02:07 pm
What is the point of competing for Europe ?

The priority for Europe should be to make sure they can timely launch their own payloads at a reasonable cost without having to beg for a launch from a foreign partner.

A few reasons.
1. Historically they’ve been competitive enough to make money.  Ariane 5 managed to be a world leader in some areas of sat launch for quite a while.  This one can obviously be forgone as a nice to have rather than must have.

2. If they get *really* uncompetitive, the greater cost they face will be a problem.  Imagine a future where SpaceX has a fully reusable and fairly quickly launching starship, putting 80-100t in LEO for $10 or $20 million a flight.

Ariane 6 is something like $90 million per launch of 20 tons to LEO.  So that’s $4.5 million/ton, vs SpaceX at, say, $200,000/ton.

So launch for this US company is ~20x cheaper.  Couldn’t this cost difference enable new ways of exploiting space?  (I mean that’s certainly the assumption.). And if it does, those are *potentially* closed to Europe.  (If you’re going to say they’re not closed because Europe and the US are allies, then I’d just point out this invalidates the argument for independent launch anyway.)

Space launch is a national security capability.  That mean it’s probably ok to be cost uncompetitive (look at Japan’s rockets), but only to a point.
Title: Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: baldusi on 05/20/2021 02:10 pm
So reusability mentioned six times in two paragraphs, including four quotes.   Seems like they got the message.
Yeah.... only eight years late...
What do you want, a country in an alternate timeline that does it ten years earlier than SpaceX?

No, what I want is an ESA and a CNES and an Arianspace that know how to read the writing on the wall. Because they failed to do so in 2014. They had the perfect opportunity to become close followers of SpaceX and thus remain competitive within the global LSP market.

But ESA, CNES and Arianespace failed to read the writing on the wall. And now Europe is stuck with a 'new' launcher which is obsolete by the time it starts flying, having wasted 5 billion Euros and 8 years. Current ESA and CNES efforts for reusability developement are severely being hampered by the money pit that is Ariane 6. Had those Euros been spent on a (partially) reusable launcher eight years ago, than Ariane 6 would be a close follower of Falcon 9, instead of a launcher with no chance of competing.

Do you remember the ferocious fight to avoid the all-solid Ariane 6 that CNES was viciously pushing for? I don't think that many failed to read the writings on the wall. It just happened that the one with the biggest wallet was hell bent on subsidizing its own nuclear ICBM and industry fought very hard to get a mostly liquid rocket with a more industry lead approach. I'm pretty sure SAFRAN would have loved to get a juicy contract for a reusable FFSC hydrolox engine. But they were praying to get a liquid engine contract at all.
Title: Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: Pipcard on 05/20/2021 03:04 pm
A few reasons.
1. Historically they’ve been competitive enough to make money.  Ariane 5 managed to be a world leader in some areas of sat launch for quite a while.  This one can obviously be forgone as a nice to have rather than must have.
This may be referred to as the "innovator's dilemma." If you are too successful with what you have been doing so far, you might become complacent when a new disruptive technology is introduced. (Will that apply to SpaceX, too?)
Title: Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: freddo411 on 05/20/2021 04:11 pm
What is the point of competing for Europe ?

The priority for Europe should be to make sure they can timely launch their own payloads at a reasonable cost without having to beg for a launch from a foreign partner.

That's true, but it's the lowest possible achievement.   

Ariane 4 and 5 were the best/most-successful commercial satellite launchers for about 2 decades.

Why not compete again?
Title: Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: ZachF on 05/20/2021 06:06 pm
What is the point of competing for Europe ?

The priority for Europe should be to make sure they can timely launch their own payloads at a reasonable cost without having to beg for a launch from a foreign partner.

Because RLVs are going to change the definition of what it really means to have "independent access".

Does the EU, with ~17% of the world economy, really have "independent access" if it has a 1% share of global launch capability? This is not hyperbole either, Europe will be a rounding error in the global launch market if it doesn't get off it's bum and soon.

A single Starship launch equals or exceeds the entire European annual launch capability. One launch.
Title: Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: Alberto-Girardi on 05/20/2021 07:56 pm
What is the point of competing for Europe ?

The priority for Europe should be to make sure they can timely launch their own payloads at a reasonable cost without having to beg for a launch from a foreign partner.

Because RLVs are going to change the definition of what it really means to have "independent access".

Does the EU, with ~17% of the world economy, really have "independent access" if it has a 1% share of global launch capability? This is not hyperbole either, Europe will be a rounding error in the global launch market if it doesn't get off it's bum and soon.

A single Starship launch equals or exceeds the entire European annual launch capability. One launch.

This is sadly the thruth. The ferocitouse (but totally deserved) rise of SpaceX hitted violently all the other rocket companies. But ULA had a big share of governament, scientific and military payloads, other than starlink competitors.The EU nations don't have a big governament request, due to lower foundings for both scientific and military expense. So EU rocket companies were it more badly. But since the strong relation with the governament they have time to develope a competitive rocket before they fail.
Title: Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: GalacticIntruder on 05/20/2021 08:19 pm
Reminds me of this famous Musk moment. 51 min mark. Nov 2012, Musk warned about the timid A6 proposals.

https://youtu.be/wB3R5Xk2gTY?t=3079 (https://youtu.be/wB3R5Xk2gTY?t=3079)
Title: Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: RedLineTrain on 05/20/2021 08:49 pm
Speaking of videos, it looks like the infamous 2013 CASBAA launch panel video where the Arianespace rep ridicules SpaceX's efforts at reusability is no longer on YouTube.

Sad that that piece of history is lost.

Edit:  Oops.  It was saved somehow, even though AVIA's account doesn't seem to list it anymore.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XZ-7nNw-04Q&list=LL&index=406
Title: Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: Pipcard on 05/20/2021 09:21 pm
What is the point of competing for Europe ?

The priority for Europe should be to make sure they can timely launch their own payloads at a reasonable cost without having to beg for a launch from a foreign partner.

Because RLVs are going to change the definition of what it really means to have "independent access".

Does the EU, with ~17% of the world economy, really have "independent access" if it has a 1% share of global launch capability? This is not hyperbole either, Europe will be a rounding error in the global launch market if it doesn't get off it's bum and soon.

A single Starship launch equals or exceeds the entire European annual launch capability. One launch.
But for the longest time, people in most space industries in the US, Europe, or other countries thought "developing and operating a reusable launch vehicle, especially a fully-reusable super heavy launch vehicle, would cost too much and there is not enough demand for the flight rate to make it worthwhile. So it is best to stick with expendable medium lift launchers."
Title: Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: jbenton on 05/20/2021 09:57 pm
What is the point of competing for Europe ?

The priority for Europe should be to make sure they can timely launch their own payloads at a reasonable cost without having to beg for a launch from a foreign partner.
A few reasons.
1. Historically they’ve been competitive enough to make money.  Ariane 5 managed to be a world leader in some areas of sat launch for quite a while.  This one can obviously be forgone as a nice to have rather than must have.
This may be referred to as the "innovator's dilemma." If you are too successful with what you have been doing so far, you might become complacent when a new disruptive technology is introduced. (Will that apply to SpaceX, too?)

Ariane 4 and 5 were the best/most-successful commercial satellite launchers for about 2 decades.

Why not compete again?

Given that they were the market leader before SpaceX arrived on the scene, reputation alone is reason enough to stay at least somewhat competitive - provided, of course that they maintain reliability.
Title: Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: jbenton on 05/20/2021 10:01 pm
Speaking of videos, it looks like the infamous 2013 CASBAA launch panel video where the Arianespace rep ridicules SpaceX's efforts at reusability is no longer on YouTube.

Sad that that piece of history is lost.

Edit:  Oops.  It was saved somehow, even though AVIA's account doesn't seem to list it anymore.

...

Much as I always liked STS, wasn't America's attempt to rely on it exclusively the whole reason Arianespace became so competitive in the first place? Of course what SpaceX was trying to do with Falcon 9 was inherently cheaper and simpler than STS, but that was still most people's idea of reusable rocket at the time.

But for the longest time, people in most space industries in the US, Europe, or other countries thought "developing and operating a reusable launch vehicle, especially a fully-reusable super heavy launch vehicle, would cost too much and there is not enough demand for the flight rate to make it worthwhile. So it is best to stick with expendable medium lift launchers."

In context, then, the 2013 remarks don't seem that ridiculous. Short sided and maybe arrogant, perhaps, but still reasonable.
Title: Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: Pipcard on 05/21/2021 03:40 am
Much as I always liked STS, wasn't America's attempt to rely on it exclusively the whole reason Arianespace became so competitive in the first place? Of course what SpaceX was trying to do with Falcon 9 was inherently cheaper and simpler than STS, but that was still most people's idea of reusable rocket at the time.

...

In context, then, the 2013 remarks don't seem that ridiculous. Short sided and maybe arrogant, perhaps, but still reasonable.
And people are still saying "but economic reusability still hasn't been proven yet." It will take Starship launching into and returning from orbit, being repaired easily, then flights being sold below the Falcon 9 level before most of the industry starts to adapt.
Title: Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: gosnold on 05/21/2021 11:23 am

Much as I always liked STS, wasn't America's attempt to rely on it exclusively the whole reason Arianespace became so competitive in the first place?

Yes, CNES director of launchers said so much himself.
Title: Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: Oli on 05/21/2021 01:10 pm
But for the longest time, people in most space industries in the US, Europe, or other countries thought "developing and operating a reusable launch vehicle, especially a fully-reusable super heavy launch vehicle, would cost too much and there is not enough demand for the flight rate to make it worthwhile. So it is best to stick with expendable medium lift launchers."

SpaceX creates its own demand. How many launches would SpaceX do at this point without Starlink?
Title: Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: woods170 on 05/21/2021 02:25 pm

Much as I always liked STS, wasn't America's attempt to rely on it exclusively the whole reason Arianespace became so competitive in the first place?

Yes, that is one of the prime drivers behind the succesful rise of Ariane and Arianespace. And although the USA reversed course after Challenger, it was already too late. Europe was flying a fairly affordable and reliable family of launchers by then.

By the time Boeing and LockMart got their EELVs ready to compete, they had become so expensive that they stood no chance against Ariane. Arianespace subsequently enjoyed almost 3 decades of massive market domination.

Delta IV and Atlas V are still horrendously expensive. But the thing is that another US company managed to produce a working reuseable launcher, thus lowering the cost of a launch to such a low level that even Ariane stood no chance.
Full role reversal... Market dominiation is now firmly back in US hands.

And yes, ESA and Arianespace should have sleepless nights over that. Because it makes Ariane 6 unaffordable in both the short and long term. The rocket will never attract as much commercial business as Ariane 5 and Ariane 4 did. Meaning that a disproportionally large part of the cost comes down on the shoulders of ESA and CNES. And the whole point of Ariane 6 was to finally get rid of the need for subsidies for European launchers.

But the flawed development decision from 2014 (go for conventional expendable instead of development of reuse) has had the opposite effect, courtesy of the rise of Falcon 9: Ariane 6 will need much more subsidies than were ever given to Ariane 5.

Short version:
ESA and CNES shot themselves in the foot with their shortsightedness and lack of imagination.
Title: Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: Pipcard on 05/21/2021 03:04 pm
Yes, that is one of the prime drivers behind the succesful rise of Ariane and Arianespace. And although the USA reversed course after Challenger, it was already too late. Europe was flying a fairly affordable and reliable family of launchers by then.
And in the 1990s, attempts in the US to make a reusable launcher cheaper than the Shuttle tended to be bleeding-edge hydrolox SSTOs with very low payload margins. DC-X predated Grasshopper and F9R by two decades but it was meant to be a prototype for an SSTO, and got cancelled in favor of another SSTO which was a wedge-shaped lifting body that also got cancelled.
Title: Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: Redclaws on 05/21/2021 03:16 pm
Yes, that is one of the prime drivers behind the succesful rise of Ariane and Arianespace. And although the USA reversed course after Challenger, it was already too late. Europe was flying a fairly affordable and reliable family of launchers by then.
And in the 1990s, attempts in the US to make something cheaper than the Shuttle tended to be bleeding-edge hydrolox SSTOs with very low payload margins. DC-X predated Grasshopper and F9R by two decades but it was meant to be a prototype for an SSTO, and got cancelled in favor of another SSTO which was a wedge-shaped lifting body that also got cancelled.

In retrospect, this looks *really* silly and seems connected to a (to me) desperate desire to “advance” technologically.  Just a plain old vertical two stage booster?  Yuck, we’ve done that.  Instead we aimed - I think, it seems now - ludicrously high.
Title: Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: ZachF on 05/21/2021 03:24 pm

Much as I always liked STS, wasn't America's attempt to rely on it exclusively the whole reason Arianespace became so competitive in the first place?

Yes, that is one of the prime drivers behind the succesful rise of Ariane and Arianespace. And although the USA reversed course after Challenger, it was already too late. Europe was flying a fairly affordable and reliable family of launchers by then.

By the time Boeing and LockMart got their EELVs ready to compete, they had become so expensive that they stood no chance against Ariane. Arianespace subsequently enjoyed almost 3 decades of massive market domination.

Delta IV and Atlas V are still horrendously expensive. But the thing is that another US company managed to produce a working reuseable launcher, thus lowering the cost of a launch to such a low level that even Ariane stood no chance.
Full role reversal... Market dominiation is now firmly back in US hands.

And yes, ESA and Arianespace should have sleepless nights over that. Because it makes Ariane 6 unaffordable in both the short and long term. The rocket will never attract as much commercial business as Ariane 5 and Ariane 4 did. Meaning that a disproportionally large part of the cost comes down on the shoulders of ESA and CNES. And the whole point of Ariane 6 was to finally get rid of the need for subsidies for European launchers.

But the flawed development decision from 2014 (go for conventional expendable instead of development of reuse) has had the opposite effect, courtesy of the rise of Falcon 9: Ariane 6 will need much more subsidies than were ever given to Ariane 5.

Short version:
ESA and CNES shot themselves in the foot with their shortsightedness and lack of imagination.

Indeed.

I want to express that Europe's collapse in the market share of global launch isn't some far-off hypothetical based on Starship appearing... It's happening right now.

Attached below is the table I put in the SpaceX manifest thread comparing the delta-v adjusted tonnage to orbit of various providers. DV-adjusted payload takes the rocket equation and the ISP of hypergolic orbit raising rockets, and the DV difference in delivered orbit vs LEO to adjust it to a LEO-equivalent standard.

Taking these numbers, Europe's share of global adjusted tonnage to orbit is this:

2014: 22.4%
2015: 20.5%
2016: 21.9%
2017: 19.3%
2018: 16.7%
2019: 14.1%
2020: 8.0%

It looks like Ariane will launch about 3 times each in 2021 and 2022 (Vega is too small to even really make a dent either way). This means that Europe's market share for launch this year will have fallen to ~6%.

Next year, if Starship launches only a few times, this number will drop to 3-4%.... A few years from now it is not hyperbole for Europe to have <1% of global launch market share. one percent...

this year, SpaceX is on track to deliver ~600 adjusted tonnes to orbit. That's equal to Europe's totals in 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 and projected 2021... combined.

They need to move now
Title: Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: RedLineTrain on 05/21/2021 03:35 pm
If we assume that Ariane 6 is a write-off and that decision-making going forward will be perfect, the essential problem is that Arianespace's development cycle is extremely long and extremely costly.  The reality nowadays is a crew-rated fully-reusable super heavy launch vehicle that was developed more or less in a handful years for about the same cost as the Ariane 6.  This includes several variants, high-throughput production, three land-based pads, and at least two mobile platforms.
Title: Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: freddo411 on 05/21/2021 03:45 pm
But for the longest time, people in most space industries in the US, Europe, or other countries thought "developing and operating a reusable launch vehicle, especially a fully-reusable super heavy launch vehicle, would cost too much and there is not enough demand for the flight rate to make it worthwhile. So it is best to stick with expendable medium lift launchers."

SpaceX creates its own demand. How many launches would SpaceX do at this point without Starlink?

Doesn't really matter.

It's important to realize that starlink without reusable F9 (and soon reusable starship) wouldn't close it's business case.   And vice versa, starship wouldn't have a business case without starlink.

So, Ariane and ULA can correctly and proudly and arrogantly talk about how it doesn't make economic sense to build a reusable rocket.   What they are also saying implicitly is that their organizations are not interested in building a larger business case to justify a bigger space economy.     In physics/chemistry terms, they are/were stuck in a local minima.

Ariane and ULA are now antique, boutique, gov't launch providers.   Like IBM providing support for mainframe computers ... they will keep doing it as long as some org writes the checks, but it's a shrinking market.

Title: Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: RedLineTrain on 05/21/2021 03:52 pm
It's important to realize that starlink without reusable F9 (and soon reusable starship) wouldn't close it's business case.   And vice versa, starship wouldn't have a business case without starlink.

While I agree with your overall sentiment (megaconstellations and reusability are meant for each other), what you state here is probably not true.  As one example, I believe that Kuiper is a reasonable investment for Amazon, even launching on ULA.

That said, if there was some way to bring in a reusable Ariane 7 in, let's say, 2026, it could be paired with the proposed European megaconstellation.
Title: Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: volker2020 on 05/21/2021 03:56 pm
It's important to realize that starlink without reusable F9 (and soon reusable starship) wouldn't close it's business case.   And vice versa, starship wouldn't have a business case without starlink.

While I agree with your overall sentiment (megaconstellations and reusability are meant for each other), what you state here is probably not true.  As one example, I believe that Kuiper is a reasonable business for Amazon to be in.

Kuiper like any other major satellite constellation in low orbit, has to be replaced in regular terms. Thus making launch costs one of the major financial parameters. If Amazon has no equally capable launch system like SpaceX, there constellation need to pay for much higher fix costs. I don't think that is viable. So unless they get there own rocket up and running, or in a gesture of generosity, SpaceX allows them to start on there rockets for a good price, I believe there is no business to be made. 
Title: Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: RonM on 05/21/2021 04:01 pm

Much as I always liked STS, wasn't America's attempt to rely on it exclusively the whole reason Arianespace became so competitive in the first place?

Yes, that is one of the prime drivers behind the succesful rise of Ariane and Arianespace. And although the USA reversed course after Challenger, it was already too late. Europe was flying a fairly affordable and reliable family of launchers by then.

By the time Boeing and LockMart got their EELVs ready to compete, they had become so expensive that they stood no chance against Ariane. Arianespace subsequently enjoyed almost 3 decades of massive market domination.

Delta IV and Atlas V are still horrendously expensive. But the thing is that another US company managed to produce a working reuseable launcher, thus lowering the cost of a launch to such a low level that even Ariane stood no chance.
Full role reversal... Market dominiation is now firmly back in US hands.

And yes, ESA and Arianespace should have sleepless nights over that. Because it makes Ariane 6 unaffordable in both the short and long term. The rocket will never attract as much commercial business as Ariane 5 and Ariane 4 did. Meaning that a disproportionally large part of the cost comes down on the shoulders of ESA and CNES. And the whole point of Ariane 6 was to finally get rid of the need for subsidies for European launchers.

But the flawed development decision from 2014 (go for conventional expendable instead of development of reuse) has had the opposite effect, courtesy of the rise of Falcon 9: Ariane 6 will need much more subsidies than were ever given to Ariane 5.

Short version:
ESA and CNES shot themselves in the foot with their shortsightedness and lack of imagination.

Indeed.

I want to express that Europe's collapse in the market share of global launch isn't some far-off hypothetical based on Starship appearing... It's happening right now.

Attached below is the table I put in the SpaceX manifest thread comparing the delta-v adjusted tonnage to orbit of various providers. DV-adjusted payload takes the rocket equation and the ISP of hypergolic orbit raising rockets, and the DV difference in delivered orbit vs LEO to adjust it to a LEO-equivalent standard.

Taking these numbers, Europe's share of global adjusted tonnage to orbit is this:

2014: 22.4%
2015: 20.5%
2016: 21.9%
2017: 19.3%
2018: 16.7%
2019: 14.1%
2020: 8.0%

It looks like Ariane will launch about 3 times each in 2021 and 2022 (Vega is too small to even really make a dent either way). This means that Europe's market share for launch this year will have fallen to ~6%.

Next year, if Starship launches only a few times, this number will drop to 3-4%.... A few years from now it is not hyperbole for Europe to have <1% of global launch market share. one percent...

this year, SpaceX is on track to deliver ~600 adjusted tonnes to orbit. That's equal to Europe's totals in 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 and projected 2021... combined.

They need to move now

What does 2019 and 2020 look like if you don't include Starlink launches? Since those are SpaceX satellites including them in the launch market tonnage skews the numbers. No one else gets to compete for those launches.
Title: Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: RedLineTrain on 05/21/2021 04:02 pm
Sorry, volker2020.  I cross-edited you with some further thoughts.

Kuiper probably can be justified based on AWS alone.  The European megaconstellation may be justified on security grounds alone.  But of course, the earliest introduction of reusability would be highly desired.
Title: Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: Oli on 05/21/2021 07:14 pm
It looks like Ariane will launch about 3 times each in 2021 and 2022 (Vega is too small to even really make a dent either way). This means that Europe's market share for launch this year will have fallen to ~6%.

According to the schedule thread 12 A5/A6 launches are planned for 2022, which would be roughly in line with the launch rate A6 was designed for. Not sure how accurate that is.
Title: Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: ZachF on 05/21/2021 07:53 pm
It looks like Ariane will launch about 3 times each in 2021 and 2022 (Vega is too small to even really make a dent either way). This means that Europe's market share for launch this year will have fallen to ~6%.

According to the schedule thread 12 A5/A6 launches are planned for 2022, which would be roughly in line with the launch rate A6 was designed for. Not sure how accurate that is.

The Ariane schedule thread has been wildly inaccurate for as long as it has existed, and you may be mistaking payloads for launches (remember A5 launches two payloads at a time)

There are only 8 Ariane 5 launches left. After this year it will be 5.

There are NOT going to be several Ariane 6 launches next year.  No new rocket has ever ramped like that... ever. There will be one maybe two if they are lucky, and the 64 probably wont launch until 2023+. The first 62 launch is scheduled for Q2-22, which probably means Q3. And remember, Ariane 62 only lifts about half the tonnage that 5/64 does.

Ariane 6 really isn't selling well, which is why the grumblings about more state subsidies continue to get louder. Unfortunately it's also an especially poor platform for LEO constellation work.
Title: Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: ZachF on 05/21/2021 08:05 pm

Much as I always liked STS, wasn't America's attempt to rely on it exclusively the whole reason Arianespace became so competitive in the first place?

Yes, that is one of the prime drivers behind the succesful rise of Ariane and Arianespace. And although the USA reversed course after Challenger, it was already too late. Europe was flying a fairly affordable and reliable family of launchers by then.

By the time Boeing and LockMart got their EELVs ready to compete, they had become so expensive that they stood no chance against Ariane. Arianespace subsequently enjoyed almost 3 decades of massive market domination.

Delta IV and Atlas V are still horrendously expensive. But the thing is that another US company managed to produce a working reuseable launcher, thus lowering the cost of a launch to such a low level that even Ariane stood no chance.
Full role reversal... Market dominiation is now firmly back in US hands.

And yes, ESA and Arianespace should have sleepless nights over that. Because it makes Ariane 6 unaffordable in both the short and long term. The rocket will never attract as much commercial business as Ariane 5 and Ariane 4 did. Meaning that a disproportionally large part of the cost comes down on the shoulders of ESA and CNES. And the whole point of Ariane 6 was to finally get rid of the need for subsidies for European launchers.

But the flawed development decision from 2014 (go for conventional expendable instead of development of reuse) has had the opposite effect, courtesy of the rise of Falcon 9: Ariane 6 will need much more subsidies than were ever given to Ariane 5.

Short version:
ESA and CNES shot themselves in the foot with their shortsightedness and lack of imagination.

Indeed.

I want to express that Europe's collapse in the market share of global launch isn't some far-off hypothetical based on Starship appearing... It's happening right now.

Attached below is the table I put in the SpaceX manifest thread comparing the delta-v adjusted tonnage to orbit of various providers. DV-adjusted payload takes the rocket equation and the ISP of hypergolic orbit raising rockets, and the DV difference in delivered orbit vs LEO to adjust it to a LEO-equivalent standard.

Taking these numbers, Europe's share of global adjusted tonnage to orbit is this:

2014: 22.4%
2015: 20.5%
2016: 21.9%
2017: 19.3%
2018: 16.7%
2019: 14.1%
2020: 8.0%

It looks like Ariane will launch about 3 times each in 2021 and 2022 (Vega is too small to even really make a dent either way). This means that Europe's market share for launch this year will have fallen to ~6%.

Next year, if Starship launches only a few times, this number will drop to 3-4%.... A few years from now it is not hyperbole for Europe to have <1% of global launch market share. one percent...

this year, SpaceX is on track to deliver ~600 adjusted tonnes to orbit. That's equal to Europe's totals in 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 and projected 2021... combined.

They need to move now

What does 2019 and 2020 look like if you don't include Starlink launches? Since those are SpaceX satellites including them in the launch market tonnage skews the numbers. No one else gets to compete for those launches.

It doesn't make sense to not count Starlink, because the only reason Starlink is possible is the ultra low cost of Falcon 9. OneWeb has already gone bankrupt once using Soyuz.

Ariane 64 could lift ~75 Starlink satellites for $140m. Thats $1.9m in launch costs per satellite.
Ariane 62 is even worse... ~$90m for ~35 satellites... $2.6m each.

SpaceX's cost for F9 is about $28m for 60 satellites... <$500k each.
Title: Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: RonM on 05/21/2021 08:33 pm

Much as I always liked STS, wasn't America's attempt to rely on it exclusively the whole reason Arianespace became so competitive in the first place?

Yes, that is one of the prime drivers behind the succesful rise of Ariane and Arianespace. And although the USA reversed course after Challenger, it was already too late. Europe was flying a fairly affordable and reliable family of launchers by then.

By the time Boeing and LockMart got their EELVs ready to compete, they had become so expensive that they stood no chance against Ariane. Arianespace subsequently enjoyed almost 3 decades of massive market domination.

Delta IV and Atlas V are still horrendously expensive. But the thing is that another US company managed to produce a working reuseable launcher, thus lowering the cost of a launch to such a low level that even Ariane stood no chance.
Full role reversal... Market dominiation is now firmly back in US hands.

And yes, ESA and Arianespace should have sleepless nights over that. Because it makes Ariane 6 unaffordable in both the short and long term. The rocket will never attract as much commercial business as Ariane 5 and Ariane 4 did. Meaning that a disproportionally large part of the cost comes down on the shoulders of ESA and CNES. And the whole point of Ariane 6 was to finally get rid of the need for subsidies for European launchers.

But the flawed development decision from 2014 (go for conventional expendable instead of development of reuse) has had the opposite effect, courtesy of the rise of Falcon 9: Ariane 6 will need much more subsidies than were ever given to Ariane 5.

Short version:
ESA and CNES shot themselves in the foot with their shortsightedness and lack of imagination.

Indeed.

I want to express that Europe's collapse in the market share of global launch isn't some far-off hypothetical based on Starship appearing... It's happening right now.

Attached below is the table I put in the SpaceX manifest thread comparing the delta-v adjusted tonnage to orbit of various providers. DV-adjusted payload takes the rocket equation and the ISP of hypergolic orbit raising rockets, and the DV difference in delivered orbit vs LEO to adjust it to a LEO-equivalent standard.

Taking these numbers, Europe's share of global adjusted tonnage to orbit is this:

2014: 22.4%
2015: 20.5%
2016: 21.9%
2017: 19.3%
2018: 16.7%
2019: 14.1%
2020: 8.0%

It looks like Ariane will launch about 3 times each in 2021 and 2022 (Vega is too small to even really make a dent either way). This means that Europe's market share for launch this year will have fallen to ~6%.

Next year, if Starship launches only a few times, this number will drop to 3-4%.... A few years from now it is not hyperbole for Europe to have <1% of global launch market share. one percent...

this year, SpaceX is on track to deliver ~600 adjusted tonnes to orbit. That's equal to Europe's totals in 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 and projected 2021... combined.

They need to move now

What does 2019 and 2020 look like if you don't include Starlink launches? Since those are SpaceX satellites including them in the launch market tonnage skews the numbers. No one else gets to compete for those launches.

It doesn't make sense to not count Starlink, because the only reason Starlink is possible is the ultra low cost of Falcon 9. OneWeb has already gone bankrupt once using Soyuz.

Ariane 64 could lift ~75 Starlink satellites for $140m. Thats $1.9m in launch costs per satellite.
Ariane 62 is even worse... ~$90m for ~35 satellites... $2.6m each.

SpaceX's cost for F9 is about $28m for 60 satellites... <$500k each.

You're just biasing the numbers to make your point. What's Ariane's percentage of the available market?
Title: Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: joek on 05/21/2021 08:35 pm
What does 2019 and 2020 look like if you don't include Starlink launches? Since those are SpaceX satellites including them in the launch market tonnage skews the numbers. No one else gets to compete for those launches.

Depends on how you define and compare the "addressable" launch market, and whether that is a relevant discriminator for "tonnage" (or whatever metric). If simply comparing raw tonnage launched, addressable market is generally not a discriminator; it is simply the total tonnage launched by provider X or country Y. If you start adding "addressable" as a discriminator, then you need to more precisely define what that means.

If you want an apples-to-apples comparison, then you need to look at the total global addressable launches, and then a rank order by tonnage (or whatever) of each provider. For SpaceX Starlink, you might omit those as non-addressable, as SpaceX has not competed those.  Unfortunately, that requires a bit of work; the FAA use to provide an annual report which broke those out, but the last appears to have been in 2018 (https://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters_offices/ast/media/2018_ast_compendium.pdf), but still work a read as to how to slice-and-dice.
Title: Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: joek on 05/21/2021 08:43 pm
You're just biasing the numbers to make your point. What's Ariane's percentage of the available market?

Sorry, too much hand-waving. You run the numbers and then come back and tell us what you think the numbers mean, and what they are base on.
Title: Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: Robotbeat on 05/21/2021 09:26 pm
But for the longest time, people in most space industries in the US, Europe, or other countries thought "developing and operating a reusable launch vehicle, especially a fully-reusable super heavy launch vehicle, would cost too much and there is not enough demand for the flight rate to make it worthwhile. So it is best to stick with expendable medium lift launchers."

SpaceX creates its own demand. How many launches would SpaceX do at this point without Starlink?
Quite a lot. They would’ve been launching OneWeb satellites, probably Kuiper, too (if that existed) and probably there would’ve been more GSO satellite demand as well if GSO satellites weren’t facing Starlink competition.
Title: Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: RonM on 05/21/2021 09:44 pm
You're just biasing the numbers to make your point. What's Ariane's percentage of the available market?

Sorry, too much hand-waving. You run the numbers and then come back and tell us what you think the numbers mean, and what they are base on.

2019 Starlink launch payload = 15,600 kg. World total 671,350 kg - 15,600 kg = 655,750 kg. Ariane percentage = 93,518 kg / 655,750  kg = 14.2%

2020 Starlink launches payload = 217,382 kg. World total 807,255 kg - 217,382 kg = 589,873 kg. Ariane percentage = 63,709 kg / 589,873 kg = 10.8 %

No Ariane launches in 2021 yet, so zero is still zero.

The 2020 number isn't as bad when you take out the SpaceX Starlink launches (10.8% versus 8.0%), but Ariane's market share is still dropping fast.
Title: Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: jbenton on 05/21/2021 09:49 pm
Taking these numbers, Europe's share of global adjusted tonnage to orbit is this:
...
2020: 8.0%
...
They need to move now
What does 2019 and 2020 look like if you don't include Starlink launches? Since those are SpaceX satellites including them in the launch market tonnage skews the numbers. No one else gets to compete for those launches.
It doesn't make sense to not count Starlink, because the only reason Starlink is possible is the ultra low cost of Falcon 9. OneWeb has already gone bankrupt once using Soyuz.
...
You're just biasing the numbers to make your point. What's Ariane's percentage of the available market?

US gov't launches are also not a part of the available market to Ariane - except in rare instances where NASA asks ESA to pay to arrange the launch for a joint mission.

It doesn't make sense to not count Starlink, because the only reason Starlink is possible is the ultra low cost of Falcon 9. OneWeb has already gone bankrupt once using Soyuz.

Wasn't OneWeb a startup though?
Would OneWeb have gone bankrupt if:
1) They were an established company with the resources of SpaceX or Amazon
2) If their competition didn't move as fast as Starlink - i.e. no faster or slower than Kuiper?

I didn't follow OneWeb's bankruptcy closely, though, so I wouldn't know.
Title: Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: joek on 05/21/2021 10:11 pm
2019 Starlink launch payload = 15,600 kg. World total 671,350 kg - 15,600 kg = 655,750 kg. Ariane percentage = 93,518 kg / 655,750  kg = 14.2%

2020 Starlink launches payload = 217,382 kg. World total 807,255 kg - 217,382 kg = 589,873 kg. Ariane percentage = 63,709 kg / 589,873 kg = 10.8 %
...

Thanks for the numbers, but how much of that tonnage was actually addressable? As in, how much of that tonnage was  launches not competed? If you want an apples-to-apples comparison; need to factor those out. Again, you appear to be conflating "world total" with a fuzzy definition of "addressable".
Title: Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: RonM on 05/21/2021 10:36 pm
2019 Starlink launch payload = 15,600 kg. World total 671,350 kg - 15,600 kg = 655,750 kg. Ariane percentage = 93,518 kg / 655,750  kg = 14.2%

2020 Starlink launches payload = 217,382 kg. World total 807,255 kg - 217,382 kg = 589,873 kg. Ariane percentage = 63,709 kg / 589,873 kg = 10.8 %
...

Thanks for the numbers, but how much of that tonnage was actually addressable? As in, how much of that tonnage was  launches not competed? If you want an apples-to-apples comparison; need to factor those out. Again, you appear to be conflating "world total" with a fuzzy definition of "addressable".

I'm not conflating anything, I'm basing it on the numbers used by ZachF because I was questioning one of his assumptions. Go look at the graphic ZachF posted.
Title: Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: Oli on 05/21/2021 10:43 pm
The Ariane schedule thread has been wildly inaccurate for as long as it has existed, and you may be mistaking payloads for launches (remember A5 launches two payloads at a time)

There are only 8 Ariane 5 launches left. After this year it will be 5.

There are NOT going to be several Ariane 6 launches next year.  No new rocket has ever ramped like that... ever. There will be one maybe two if they are lucky, and the 64 probably wont launch until 2023+. The first 62 launch is scheduled for Q2-22, which probably means Q3. And remember, Ariane 62 only lifts about half the tonnage that 5/64 does.

Ariane 6 really isn't selling well, which is why the grumblings about more state subsidies continue to get louder. Unfortunately it's also an especially poor platform for LEO constellation work.

A6 was delayed and the last A5 order was placed years ago. Hence fewer launches were to be expected. I doubt the lack of demand constrains the launch rate now or in the near future, but if you have source saying so, I wouldn't be surprised either.
Title: Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: floss on 05/28/2021 07:05 pm
One question who will pay for the massive increase in launch mass that space x are offering ?
Title: Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: TrevorMonty on 05/28/2021 11:40 pm
You will have ask SpaceX or their one eyed amazing peoples. amazing peoples think 1000s tonnes per year of payloads a will appear once SS is flying.

Sent from my SM-G570Y using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: joek on 05/28/2021 11:59 pm
You will have ask SpaceX or their one eyed amazing peoples. amazing peoples think 1000s tonnes per year of payloads a will appear once SS is flying.

If the projected Starlink constellation of ~40K sats is achieved, with a life expectancy of ~5yr/sat and ~250kg/sat = ~2000t/yr. SpaceX is making their own LV market.
Title: Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: Robotbeat on 05/29/2021 04:56 am
It’s astounding to me how often that’s repeated and yet how rarely anyone seems to even acknowledge that point.

Starlink’s volume alone is enough to justify reusability.

Why is Starlink so big? Well, it’s just big enough to justify a fully reusable Starship vehicle. As far as I can tell, justifying Starship is one of the key design parameters of the full Starlink constellation.

SpaceX solved the “???” step of the:
1) steal underpants
2) ???
3) profit!
plan.

“Launch Starlink” is the ???. Chicken vs the egg conundrum is solved. And this is pretty much the only way to realistically do it as a pioneer, dear people who complain about SpaceX being so vertically integrated. Otherwise you’d be building an RLV without customers or a constellation too expensive to launch without going bankrupt.
Title: Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: su27k on 05/29/2021 06:24 am
You will have ask SpaceX or their one eyed amazing peoples. amazing peoples think 1000s tonnes per year of payloads a will appear once SS is flying.

If the projected Starlink constellation of ~40K sats is achieved, with a life expectancy of ~5yr/sat and ~250kg/sat = ~2000t/yr. SpaceX is making their own LV market.

Also SpaceX's Starlink based missile warning satellite already weights one metric ton, I expect future generation of Starlink to be a lot heavier than 250kg.

And of course each lunar or Mars mission will require at least 1,200 metric tons of propellant in LEO.
Title: Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: libra on 05/29/2021 07:54 am
Just want to ask one question. Robotbeat certainly has a point - Starlink and its enormous number of satellites feed Starship-BFR at two levels
- massive numbers of things to launch in orbit
- as a cash cow for the Mars project

That's Musk basic plan, really.

But what will happen when the constellation is complete and only replenishment / renewal of the fleet is needed ?

Starlink certainly provides a huge number of satellites to be launched, but Falcon 9 and Starship capabilities are so enormous, they will eat the "Starlink cake" pretty fast.

Then again, it was NASA (risky) bet with the Shuttle: "bring it and they will come" - in the sense of "build the correct vehicle to open the high frontier on the cheap and en masse, and new markets / new payloads will appears ".  In the case of Musk he has, first, $200 billion in his pocket to keep his company running, plus MArs will probably creates, too, its own "launch needs". Plus the "new markets" I mentionned earlier.
Title: Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: ZachF on 05/29/2021 02:08 pm
You will have ask SpaceX or their one eyed amazing peoples. amazing peoples think 1000s tonnes per year of payloads a will appear once SS is flying.


Low quality post.

You will have ask SpaceX or their one eyed amazing peoples. amazing peoples think 1000s tonnes per year of payloads a will appear once SS is flying.

If the projected Starlink constellation of ~40K sats is achieved, with a life expectancy of ~5yr/sat and ~250kg/sat = ~2000t/yr. SpaceX is making their own LV market.

This, plus I think it's likely Starlink sats will grow to 1000-2000kg when Starship comes online.

2000 tonnes a year is about 4x the current global satellite market.

Title: Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: Oli on 05/29/2021 03:12 pm
20 flights per year it arguably at the lower end of what makes a fully reusable vehicle profitable. Starlink isn't guaranteed to succeed on that scale either.

But SpaceX has managed to sell Starship to NASA, so I have no worries about Starship's future.
Title: Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: yoram on 05/29/2021 03:47 pm
Why is Starlink so big? Well, it’s just big enough to justify a fully reusable Starship vehicle. As far as I can tell, justifying Starship is one of the key design parameters of the full Starlink constellation.

I assuming it is planned to just be big enough that they could still launch it on (reusable) F9 if SS didn't work out. But with SS working they'll have a lot more profitability long term, as long at least they are able to offset the SS development costs.

Even though Musk likes to appear in public as if he always does "bet the company" style moves I suspect he usually has a plan B.

Likely there is also some threshold where if they have enough sats they can move from serving only sparsely populated areas to more dense areas, with always enough sats being in sight. I assume they carefully tuned it that they have enough bandwidth for most areas, except perhaps densely populated cities, while F9 can still do the needed replacement rates.

Back to the topic, the interesting question is really how this basic constraint works out for the more expensive launch providers. For example what can ViaSat do with their planned ~300 sats? What can the planned European constellation do?
Title: Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: RedLineTrain on 05/29/2021 03:59 pm
But what will happen when the constellation is complete and only replenishment / renewal of the fleet is needed ?

Musk has proposed a constellation that is always on the investment treadmill.  No spending holidays, unlike what some constellations now enjoy.  So year 6 will have no fewer launches than year 4, for example.

Europe should size its constellation and therefore its completely reusable launch vehicle with that in mind.  A smaller constellation with a partially reusable launch vehicle and 15-year satellite lifetimes may not be competitive.

I'm not fully convinced, but perhaps we should take Gwynne Shotwell at her word -- that the 42,000-satellite figure is more for maximum flexibility than for what they actually intend.  If they can't get the 30,000 satellite Gen2 system approved at the FCC (certainly possible), they will just make the satellite bigger for the original 4,408-satellite constellation.  Regardless, Europe has a total mass figure to shoot for.

I understand that this results in eye-popping total cost figures for Europe to keep up, especially since European industry's spending efficiency is nowhere near SpaceX's.  But that may be just the cost of doing business in this new world. Or Europe could simply choose to sit this out.
Title: Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: Oli on 05/29/2021 04:43 pm
I understand that this results in eye-popping total cost figures for Europe to keep up, especially since European industry's spending efficiency is nowhere near SpaceX's.  But that may be just the cost of doing business in this new world.

Where does this nonsense come from that "Europe" needs a constellation? If satellite operators feel there's a market opportunity, they're free to pursue it. And of course to some extent they are, e.g. SES builds mPower and Eutelsat has invested in Oneweb.

If anything Europeans should drop the government-to-the-rescue attitude.
Title: Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: DreamyPickle on 05/29/2021 05:57 pm
Let's ignore bad decisions of the past. Europe still wants independent access to space and is willing to pay for it.

Historically Ariane mostly competed in the commercial geostationary market but now there is considerable demand for LEO constellation launches that is not being properly served. OneWeb lauches with Soyuz and Amazon lauches with Atlas V, both of those customers would be happy to consider Ariane for future launches.

There is a real opening for a provider that is not SpaceX, and simply copying them as much as possible could be a very successful strategy. The top contender used to be New Glenn but they stumbled badly.

It would even be possible to compete against Starship by simply building a smaller version. Almost any mission could be accomplished by a vehicle 1/3rd the size except for the colonization of Mars.
Title: Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: RedLineTrain on 05/29/2021 07:52 pm
I understand that this results in eye-popping total cost figures for Europe to keep up, especially since European industry's spending efficiency is nowhere near SpaceX's.  But that may be just the cost of doing business in this new world.

Where does this nonsense come from that "Europe" needs a constellation? If satellite operators feel there's a market opportunity, they're free to pursue it. And of course to some extent they are, e.g. SES builds mPower and Eutelsat has invested in Oneweb.

If anything Europeans should drop the government-to-the-rescue attitude.

Agreed that it is nonsense and the Europeans don't need a megaconstellation.  But if you insist on having a reusable rocket (because that is the definition of having an independent launch capability), then it needs to be paired with one or more megaconstellations.
Title: Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: envy887 on 05/29/2021 11:02 pm
What is the point of competing for Europe ?

The priority for Europe should be to make sure they can timely launch their own payloads at a reasonable cost without having to beg for a launch from a foreign partner.

A commercially competitive launcher reduces the public cost of assured access to space by spreading the fixed costs over more launches and more private customers.
Title: Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: envy887 on 05/29/2021 11:12 pm
So reusability mentioned six times in two paragraphs, including four quotes.   Seems like they got the message.
Yeah.... only eight years late...
What do you want, a country in an alternate timeline that does it ten years earlier than SpaceX?

No, what I want is an ESA and a CNES and an Arianspace that know how to read the writing on the wall. Because they failed to do so in 2014. They had the perfect opportunity to become close followers of SpaceX and thus remain competitive within the global LSP market.

But ESA, CNES and Arianespace failed to read the writing on the wall. And now Europe is stuck with a 'new' launcher which is obsolete by the time it starts flying, having wasted 5 billion Euros and 8 years. Current ESA and CNES efforts for reusability developement are severely being hampered by the money pit that is Ariane 6. Had those Euros been spent on a (partially) reusable launcher eight years ago, than Ariane 6 would be a close follower of Falcon 9, instead of a launcher with no chance of competing.
They didn't have engines then to do RLV.  A6 was best ELV they could do with what they had and most importantly cheaper and more versatile than A5.


Sent from my SM-G570Y using Tapatalk

They could have started on Prometheus in 2014.

And they aren't even moving very fast on that now. SpaceX had not just an engine, but an entire stage hotfired 3 years after starting on Merlin. ESA started funding Prometheus 4 years ago. How far are they from firing a stage?
Title: Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: GreenShrike on 05/30/2021 03:56 am
Agreed that it is nonsense and the Europeans don't need a megaconstellation.  But if you insist on having a reusable rocket (because that is the definition of having an independent launch capability), then it needs to be paired with one or more megaconstellations.

Exactly. How can anyone look at a thousand-odd Starlink sats and hundreds of OneWeb sats on orbit, be aware of OneWeb's and Amazon's and Telesat's future plans, and keep thinking "But where will the market demand needed for a reusable launcher come from?"

If Europe/Ariane is now "joining the re-usability bandwagon", then it's about time -- the time to develop a reusable launcher was years ago.

Their Ariane 6 mis-step has done them -- and Starlink's competitors -- no favours. As it stands today, the lack of a non-SpaceX reusable launcher is forcing constellation developers to either award launches to a direct competitor, or pay current non-SpaceX launch prices. Launch may be the "cheapest part of a satellite's cost", but -- as the ex-bankrupt OneWeb knows from experience -- at a mega-constellation's scale the current retail launch costs can be ruinous.

As I pointed out in the OneWeb thread, OneWeb's second gen constellation is 6000+ sats. Assuming a hundred sats per launch, and you're looking at 60 launches.

Unless another reusable launcher comes online, Falcon 9 will continue to lead in pricing. New Glenn might help, but between Kuiper and the Telesat contracts, free slots will likely be difficult to come by as Blue ramps New Glenn's cadence. If SpaceX is to be avoided, then OneWeb is looking at paying the high cost of Ariane 64. Note that A64, a GTO-optimized launcher, isn't great at bulk LEO deliveries, performing between a Falcon 9 Reusable and F9 Expendable.  At maybe something like $125M * 60 launches, that's $7.5B in launch costs alone.

If ArianeNext can reusably lift what Ariane 64 can put into LEO for Falcon 9's ~$50M price rather than A64's ~$125M, that's a $4.5B difference.

Starlink gets rockets at cost; it's obvious any mega-constellation which needs to pay retail for launch will be operating at a major disadvantage.

As such, I'd suggested that Bharti, the Indian co-owner of OneWeb, might partner with ISRO to develop a Falcon 9-class (or bigger) reusable launcher. OneWeb can either pay $7.5B for lift, or pay $4.5B for a reusable launcher and $3B for lift. It's $7.5B either way, but the latter gets them an asset which will reduce their launch costs from then on -- and replenishment of the constellation will give the launcher steady work.

However, such a scheme would work for ArianeGroup, too -- just develop ArianeNext under a Bharti/OneWeb/ArianeGroup partnership. The European taxpayers would get a break, Europe would get its independent access to space at pricing that's actually competitive, and OneWeb would neutralize one of Starlink's biggest advantages.
Title: Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: GalacticIntruder on 05/30/2021 04:14 am
People, politicians, bureaucrats,  fan boys can rationalize anything they want to but it really boils down to ego and honor and  pride.  This matters as much if not more than hyper efficiency and hyper utility of market theory. China, Russia, EU, UK, Jeff Bezos are all intent on wasting money chasing Musk's dreams and fantasies. Reusable rockets, methane engines, SHLV, Sat constellations, even stainless steel.  Everyone wants a Starship now. No one wants SLS copy. Whether or not these space adventures becomes a real product or market or something useful or good is not relevant. 
Title: Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: TrevorMonty on 05/30/2021 09:47 am
A european RLV could compete for Kupier launches. AWS has lot of european servers and customers, would be in their interest to spread these launches around, especially if RLV is competitively priced with other RLVs AWS is using.

Sent from my SM-G570Y using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: Pipcard on 05/30/2021 05:52 pm
Agreed that it is nonsense and the Europeans don't need a megaconstellation.  But if you insist on having a reusable rocket (because that is the definition of having an independent launch capability), then it needs to be paired with one or more megaconstellations.

Exactly. How can anyone look at a thousand-odd Starlink sats and hundreds of OneWeb sats on orbit, be aware of OneWeb's and Amazon's and Telesat's future plans, and keep thinking "But where will the market demand needed for a reusable launcher come from?"

If Europe/Ariane is now "joining the re-usability bandwagon", then it's about time -- the time to develop a reusable launcher was years ago.

This leads me to wonder, how early could a market for megaconstellations + RLVs have happened? There were the failed constellations of the 1990s (like Teledesic), and VTVL reusable rockets have been demonstrated in the 90s with the DC-X.

If a partially reusable Falcon 9-like two-stage rocket was available back then, could those constellations have been more viable from a business perspective? Would an internet megaconstellation and Starship-like vehicle have made sense in the late 2000s with the rise of user-generated streaming video? Or were they destined to fail until the Internet grew in bandwidth and potential userbase, so they could only work starting from the late 2010s/early 2020s?
Title: Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: RedLineTrain on 05/30/2021 06:20 pm
A european RLV could compete for Kupier launches. AWS has lot of european servers and customers, would be in their interest to spread these launches around, especially if RLV is competitively priced with other RLVs AWS is using.

I think we have to shift our thinking from an expendable world.  In a reusable world, it is not in their interest to spread these launches around, since the marginal cost of launch is so low.  It is better to put all of your launches on one rocket and demand a huge price discount for doing so.
Title: Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: groundbound on 05/31/2021 12:39 am
I'm surprised that no one has pointed out one other significant miscalculation that is happening now and applies to launchers/payloads especially in the latter half of this decade.

The cost of launch is going down and the supply of launch is going up fast. We don't even need to talk about who is behind it: it's not important for this issue.

Various charts on these forums have illustrated that space revenue has almost never been dominated by launch. It has always been a fairly small piece of the pie. In an era of falling cost and exploding supply for launch, that is likely to be even more true for a number of years.

So an oversimplification says that throwing money at launchers is a fools game. Anyone is much better off financially in spending money on spacecraft, space businesses, any other larger slices of the space revenue pie. If anyone (Europe or Russia especially) wants to invest in the launch business it should not be in the context of "winning" what looks like a ruinous global competition. Instead it should be in the context of how a self-owned portion of the launch market will facilitate the part of the business that can actually make money. I suspect that even that one US company everyone keeps referring to will lose money on the strictly launch portion of their business in many future years but offset it with insane profits on almost everything else they do.

Now to REALLY go out on a limb, I wonder if Europe has forgotten to seriously revisit the assumptions that originally got Arianegroup started. Relative to back in the day, there are launcher alternatives all over the place. In a business that operates in a world where most parts of the supply chain are in massive global oversupply you do not guarantee assurance of supply by investing in your own assets. You spend a fraction of that money on redundant supply agreements and invest your own money only on things that are or might go into shortage. With ISRO, multiple Chinese entities, Russia, Jaxa, two or three American suppliers, and innumerable startups to choose from, a bombproof assurance to space should be an easy thing to assemble even without your own rocket.
Title: Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: libra on 05/31/2021 07:02 am
Agreed that it is nonsense and the Europeans don't need a megaconstellation.  But if you insist on having a reusable rocket (because that is the definition of having an independent launch capability), then it needs to be paired with one or more megaconstellations.

Exactly. How can anyone look at a thousand-odd Starlink sats and hundreds of OneWeb sats on orbit, be aware of OneWeb's and Amazon's and Telesat's future plans, and keep thinking "But where will the market demand needed for a reusable launcher come from?"

If Europe/Ariane is now "joining the re-usability bandwagon", then it's about time -- the time to develop a reusable launcher was years ago.

This leads me to wonder, how early could a market for megaconstellations + RLVs have happened? There were the failed constellations of the 1990s (like Teledesic), and VTVL reusable rockets have been demonstrated in the 90s with the DC-X.

If a partially reusable Falcon 9-like two-stage rocket was available back then, could those constellations have been more viable from a business perspective? Would an internet megaconstellation and Starship-like vehicle have made sense in the late 2000s with the rise of user-generated streaming video? Or were they destined to fail until the Internet grew in bandwidth and potential userbase, so they could only work starting from the late 2010s/early 2020s?

A very interesting question. Having grown as a teen space nerd in the 90's and remembering that era, I looked for an answer.

The constellations of the 90's were smaller and with a different purpose. Back then the Internet was in infancy with only tiny "band" needs (28K !); smartphones did not existed (before 2007 and Iphone, how far away that sounds... only 14 years !)
- and thus the colossal "broadband everywhere on Earth" requirement did not existed either.

Instead, it was a matter of cell phones and networks.

It was very much a case of two different networks for cell phones battling:
- GSM, ground networks  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GSM
- satellite phones

What happened is the following. GSM negociations started as early as 1982 but got bogged down and thus, ground-based networks with them for the next decade. Nobody was sure GSM (and more generally, ground networks and their many millions antennas needed across the world)  would prevail as it ultimately did, including across different governments and frontiers. It finally did, but not before the mid-90's.

And thus in June 1990 Motorola took their chance with a different approach and disclosed  Iridium (started in 1987), a 77 satellites constellation hence the name (Iridium is element 77 in Mendeleyiev)

The gist of the proposal was to screw the bogged-down GSM & ground networks; going over frontiers through space.  GSM negociations were stalled because the many countries couldn't get over a common standard across their frontiers; the risk was GSM ending like Betamax vs VHS: fractioned rival fiefdoms and very unhappy consumers.

As soon as Motorola started Iridium, a host of satphones constellations apeared: notably Teledesic and Globalstar, and that included Bill Gates one and only, ever space venture: Teledesic:  a mega-constellation before the date, but failed to takeoff.

Just like broadband Internet today, LATENCY ensured GEO global coverage with three satellites (as done since the 60's for TV) was not tolerable for the future consumers.

 Even at the speed of light (300 000 km per second) going up (36000 km) and down (36000 km again) takes two tenth of a second - and yes, when discussing in a mobile phone, that's a PITA.

And thus the satellites had to lower their orbits from GEO to MEO or LEO, getting much smaller latency of course, but also much smaller individual coverage... and the numbers skyrocketed to include global cover. While Iridium stuick with one hundred sats, Teledesic went the full Starlink way, thousands or even ten thousands satellites.

After all Bill Gates was the richest man on Earth in the 90's - before Musk and Bezos come in the 2000's of course, so on paper at least he had the money to make it happen. He instead ended badly burned in 2002.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teledesic

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Globalstar

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iridium_satellite_constellation

With Iridium, Teledesic and Globalstar and a bunch of others in the pipeline, the sleepy rocket launch business crippled by the Shuttle and STS-51L suddenly awoke and RLV concepts were everywhere. NASA started a massive effort: DC-X, X-33, X-34, Bantam... The US military quickly followed, and then the private sector: Roton, Black Horse, Eclipse Astroliner, Kistler K-1, Andrew Beal BA-1 / BA-2  - and a bunch of others. The X-prize was also started by Peter Diamandis in May 1996 - right in the middle of all this, stimulating the launch industry even more. In July, it was NASA X-33 / Venture : hell of a year, very much the peak of all this.

Unfortunately (for satphones, not for us !!) GSM got out of his misery and after a decade, Iridium and the very concept of "satellite phone" went away with the Dot-com boom in 2000. More exactly: it survived on a small niche, where ground networks couldn't go economically or when they were knocked down: Antarctica, natural disasters, Africa... and Thuraya, too. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thuraya

An issue with satphones that doomed them against GSM was that, since the signal come from above, they had difficulties working in, said, New York / Manhattan with all the skyscrappers. People had to go outside to get a better signal !

By 2001 the game was over, and constellations would not return until 2007 with what become OneWeb and Greg Wyler. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greg_Wyler

This time, not for mobile phones (GSM and smartphones had buried the idea): for global broadband internet.


Sorry for the long post, maybe I should open a thread in the "historical" section of the forum.
Title: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: Star One on 05/31/2021 09:49 am
Agreed that it is nonsense and the Europeans don't need a megaconstellation.  But if you insist on having a reusable rocket (because that is the definition of having an independent launch capability), then it needs to be paired with one or more megaconstellations.

Exactly. How can anyone look at a thousand-odd Starlink sats and hundreds of OneWeb sats on orbit, be aware of OneWeb's and Amazon's and Telesat's future plans, and keep thinking "But where will the market demand needed for a reusable launcher come from?"

If Europe/Ariane is now "joining the re-usability bandwagon", then it's about time -- the time to develop a reusable launcher was years ago.

Their Ariane 6 mis-step has done them -- and Starlink's competitors -- no favours. As it stands today, the lack of a non-SpaceX reusable launcher is forcing constellation developers to either award launches to a direct competitor, or pay current non-SpaceX launch prices. Launch may be the "cheapest part of a satellite's cost", but -- as the ex-bankrupt OneWeb knows from experience -- at a mega-constellation's scale the current retail launch costs can be ruinous.

As I pointed out in the OneWeb thread, OneWeb's second gen constellation is 6000+ sats. Assuming a hundred sats per launch, and you're looking at 60 launches.

Unless another reusable launcher comes online, Falcon 9 will continue to lead in pricing. New Glenn might help, but between Kuiper and the Telesat contracts, free slots will likely be difficult to come by as Blue ramps New Glenn's cadence. If SpaceX is to be avoided, then OneWeb is looking at paying the high cost of Ariane 64. Note that A64, a GTO-optimized launcher, isn't great at bulk LEO deliveries, performing between a Falcon 9 Reusable and F9 Expendable.  At maybe something like $125M * 60 launches, that's $7.5B in launch costs alone.

If ArianeNext can reusably lift what Ariane 64 can put into LEO for Falcon 9's ~$50M price rather than A64's ~$125M, that's a $4.5B difference.

Starlink gets rockets at cost; it's obvious any mega-constellation which needs to pay retail for launch will be operating at a major disadvantage.

As such, I'd suggested that Bharti, the Indian co-owner of OneWeb, might partner with ISRO to develop a Falcon 9-class (or bigger) reusable launcher. OneWeb can either pay $7.5B for lift, or pay $4.5B for a reusable launcher and $3B for lift. It's $7.5B either way, but the latter gets them an asset which will reduce their launch costs from then on -- and replenishment of the constellation will give the launcher steady work.

However, such a scheme would work for ArianeGroup, too -- just develop ArianeNext under a Bharti/OneWeb/ArianeGroup partnership. The European taxpayers would get a break, Europe would get its independent access to space at pricing that's actually competitive, and OneWeb would neutralize one of Starlink's biggest advantages.

You seem to be forgetting the other co-owner of One Web is the U.K. government who have also an interest in ESA. I am pretty sure any decision on a future launcher will be one that brings as much business and jobs to the U.K. as possible, or keeps as many such jobs in the U.K. Especially now that our intelligence agencies are starting to invest in it as well they’ll want an according to say over its future direction.
Title: Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: libra on 05/31/2021 12:10 pm
Quote
If a partially reusable Falcon 9-like two-stage rocket was available back then, could those constellations have been more viable from a business perspective?

Two words: "Kistler" and "K-1". 

More words (LOL) 
If there ever was an earlier Falcon 9 in the 90's, it was them (and Beal BA-2, admittedly: that one in the role of the expendable, early Falcon 9 :p  Andrew Beal and Elon Musk perfectly know each others, how surprising !)

Kistler started as early as 1993 and even hired George Mueller, NASA "father of the Space Shuttle". The K-1 was much smaller than Falcon 9, LEO only, Aerojet / Russian / N-1 / Kuznetsov engines, only 10 000 pounds BUT it was to be fully reusable, second stage included: since it only went to LEO, second stage could be recovered via a heatshield, parachutes and airbags either downrange or after a single orbit, in Australia (they planned to launch from Woomera)

The company however was a money pit and black hole and could never finish their first rocket, not even in 2007 when NASA handled them COTS money - they were kicked out by OSC Cygnus and Antares and ended in bankrupcy.

Title: Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: Hobbes-22 on 05/31/2021 12:36 pm

Now to REALLY go out on a limb, I wonder if Europe has forgotten to seriously revisit the assumptions that originally got Arianegroup started. Relative to back in the day, there are launcher alternatives all over the place. In a business that operates in a world where most parts of the supply chain are in massive global oversupply you do not guarantee assurance of supply by investing in your own assets. You spend a fraction of that money on redundant supply agreements and invest your own money only on things that are or might go into shortage. With ISRO, multiple Chinese entities, Russia, Jaxa, two or three American suppliers, and innumerable startups to choose from, a bombproof assurance to space should be an easy thing to assemble even without your own rocket.

US commercial suppliers: no go. They're under the thumb of ITAR.
China, Russia: hostile enough that you don't want to depend on them without an alternative. Soyuz in Kourou is an interesting experiment, but it's one diplomatic spat away from its supply line being cut off.
Startups: the only ones that have a proven launch capability are US-based and under ITAR.

That leaves ISRO and JAXA, and the political quagmire of outsourcing your launch needs to India.
Title: Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: baldusi on 05/31/2021 03:24 pm

Now to REALLY go out on a limb, I wonder if Europe has forgotten to seriously revisit the assumptions that originally got Arianegroup started. Relative to back in the day, there are launcher alternatives all over the place. In a business that operates in a world where most parts of the supply chain are in massive global oversupply you do not guarantee assurance of supply by investing in your own assets. You spend a fraction of that money on redundant supply agreements and invest your own money only on things that are or might go into shortage. With ISRO, multiple Chinese entities, Russia, Jaxa, two or three American suppliers, and innumerable startups to choose from, a bombproof assurance to space should be an easy thing to assemble even without your own rocket.

US commercial suppliers: no go. They're under the thumb of ITAR.
China, Russia: hostile enough that you don't want to depend on them without an alternative. Soyuz in Kourou is an interesting experiment, but it's one diplomatic spat away from its supply line being cut off.
Startups: the only ones that have a proven launch capability are US-based and under ITAR.

That leaves ISRO and JAXA, and the political quagmire of outsourcing your launch needs to India.

I think the US puts a restriction on the resolution of commercial EO satellites. For foreign intelligence payloads, l would guess you'd have to get a special license from DoD to launch on US LV, correct?
Title: Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: envy887 on 06/01/2021 12:17 am
What does 2019 and 2020 look like if you don't include Starlink launches? Since those are SpaceX satellites including them in the launch market tonnage skews the numbers. No one else gets to compete for those launches.

The point of Starlink is to make money. If putting some Starlinks on other LVs helps SpaceX make Starlink profitable, they would do it.

Those LVs would have to be cheaper than the internal cost of F9. The fact that nobody else has a LV that currently does compete with that cost does not mean that it's impossible to beat that cost, or that they couldn't pull some Starlinks off F9 if they did beat that cost.

That's a market segment that is almost entirely captured by price, rather than by politics or national security concerns. It's a market segment a European RLV could compete in, if costs were sufficiently low.
Title: Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: joek on 06/01/2021 01:37 am
I think the US puts a restriction on the resolution of commercial EO satellites. For foreign intelligence payloads, l would guess you'd have to get a special license from DoD to launch on US LV, correct?

The restriction is primarily on what can be observed (and at what spectrum-resolution), and who has access to the data. Expect the blocker would be foreign intelligence services being willing to provide the necessary information, and verifiable safeguards to constrain observation and data. Expect few-none foreign intelligence services would be willing to do either. Not sure about a "special license from DoD "; IIRC that would be covered by other agencies who would consult with DoD, State, etc.
Title: Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: joek on 06/01/2021 01:55 am
What does 2019 and 2020 look like if you don't include Starlink launches? Since those are SpaceX satellites including them in the launch market tonnage skews the numbers. No one else gets to compete for those launches.

Again, as I mentioned upthread, this depends on definition of "addressable" market. For example, US, Russian, Chinese national security launches are not globally competed (not addressable) as they are required to launch on their respective national launchers; no one else gets to compete (at least on a global level).

To the question of how eliding Starlink launches would affect SpaceX 2019-2020 numbers (non-Starlink/Starlink):
2019: 12/1
2020: 13/13

The point of Starlink is to make money. If putting some Starlinks on other LVs helps SpaceX make Starlink profitable, they would do it.

Those LVs would have to be cheaper than the internal cost of F9. The fact that nobody else has a LV that currently does compete with that cost does not mean that it's impossible to beat that cost, or that they couldn't pull some Starlinks off F9 if they did beat that cost.

That's a market segment that is almost entirely captured by price, rather than by politics or national security concerns. It's a market segment a European RLV could compete in, if costs were sufficiently low....

Agree, although think there are national security concerns with some countries (e.g., China).
Title: Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: woods170 on 06/01/2021 08:53 am
I understand that this results in eye-popping total cost figures for Europe to keep up, especially since European industry's spending efficiency is nowhere near SpaceX's.  But that may be just the cost of doing business in this new world.

Where does this nonsense come from that "Europe" needs a constellation? If satellite operators feel there's a market opportunity, they're free to pursue it. And of course to some extent they are, e.g. SES builds mPower and Eutelsat has invested in Oneweb.

If anything Europeans should drop the government-to-the-rescue attitude.

Emphasis mine.

Disagree with that statement. Europe won't drop that until the rest of the world does the same (including the USA).

Having said that I fully agree with you that "Europe" does not need its own internet satellite constellation. Or at least, not one initiated and paid for by European governments.
Title: Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: woods170 on 06/01/2021 08:56 am
What is the point of competing for Europe ?

The priority for Europe should be to make sure they can timely launch their own payloads at a reasonable cost without having to beg for a launch from a foreign partner.

A commercially competitive launcher reduces the public cost of assured access to space by spreading the fixed costs over more launches and more private customers.

Absolutely. The prime driver behind the Ariane series of launchers was assured independent access to space for Europe. However, it was well understood in Europe that for such a launch system to be affordable it would have to pay for itself by attracting as much commercial business as possible, ON TOP OF the purely institutional and government launches.


This has not changed for Ariane 6. Nor will it change for any other future Ariane launcher.
This requirement is exactly why Ariane 6 is already failing. By being expendable it is still too costly to operate and it is already losing business to SpaceX. Despite this being well understood by both ESA and CNES, there is still not a large enough sense of urgency to accelerate the limited reuseability efforts (Themis and Prometheus).
Title: Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: libra on 06/01/2021 11:37 am
Quote
Absolutely. The prime driver behind the Ariane series of launchers was assured independent access to space for Europe. However, it was well understood in Europe that for such a launch system to be affordable it would have to pay for itself by attracting as much commercial business as possible, ON TOP OF the purely institutional and government launches.

In fact in the 1977-79 era this very point nearly sunk the ESA-managed Ariane program and directly led to the creation of Arianespace by a small group of CNES "mavericks" led by Frederic D'Allest.

Short story: back in 1973 and until 1976 Ariane developments and early test flights (the first four or five ones that happened between 1979 and 1982 with two failures along the way)  had been funded by ESA members.
But there were more and more "grunts" about the launcher cost and lack of payloads.
An early success with Intelsat circa 1977 wasn't enough to turn the tide and Ariane was really in trouble past flight 5 or booster 5: there was no way ESA members states united again to grant the money.  Arianespace was thus created to develop the commercial side of the whole thing; and it suceeded tremendously; greatly helped in passing by NASA Shuttle deliberate screwing of the proven and reliable Atlas Centaur.
In the 2000's a retired D'Allest very honestly acknowledged that the Atlas would have otherwise been quite hard to tackle for Intelsat contracts, even with the 1977 success.
Title: Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: libra on 06/01/2021 05:10 pm
What is the point of competing for Europe ?

The priority for Europe should be to make sure they can timely launch their own payloads at a reasonable cost without having to beg for a launch from a foreign partner.

A commercially competitive launcher reduces the public cost of assured access to space by spreading the fixed costs over more launches and more private customers.

Absolutely. The prime driver behind the Ariane series of launchers was assured independent access to space for Europe. However, it was well understood in Europe that for such a launch system to be affordable it would have to pay for itself by attracting as much commercial business as possible, ON TOP OF the purely institutional and government launches.

This has not changed for Ariane 6. Nor will it change for any other future Ariane launcher.
This requirement is exactly why Ariane 6 is already failing. By being expendable it is still too costly to operate and it is already losing business to SpaceX. Despite this being well understood by both ESA and CNES, there is still not a large enough sense of urgency to accelerate the limited reuseability efforts (Themis and Prometheus).

Two things can and must be distinguished, more or less this way

- ESA & CNES independant access to space can't be thrown under a bus
BUT
- Arianespace tremendous commercial success certainly was a "sweetener" that helped the above in many different ways (money, payloads for the flight manifest)

I agree this place Europe in a quandary - basically, the "commercial sweetener bonus" is seriously eroded by SpaceX.

But as long as CNES will keep kicking ESA in its rear end, Ariane rockets will carry on flying. As far as French presidents, past, present and future go, even the worst and dullest of the lot (to you Marine L.P)  basically knows the value of Ariane at many different levels (technology, space job, soft power).

The real worry is, well, what will happen to Arianespace. Note that the russian government did not allowed ILS to die despite the Proton repeated mishaps and Ukraine quagmire. Same for Sea Launch, at least the assets. Although Europe is not Putin, and Arianespace is still far from being a moribund corpse.

Two examples from the past

Giscard, 1974-1981: tried to screw Ariane and put Deltas or Atlas in Kourou instead. by 1977 had turned into an Ariane groupie.

Mitterrand 1981-1995 : watched an Ariane... failure in september 1985 in Kourou. It hurt tremendously, for sure but Mitterrand played the game and Ariane carried on.

Since then, no French president ever dared to threaten Ariane.  But I readily agree Arianespace loosing its vantage market share that brought tons of money, will hurt... "ça va piquer au porte monnaie" ("it's gonna ache the wallet" for sure)
Title: Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: libra on 06/01/2021 05:25 pm
Quote
Having said that I fully agree with you that "Europe" does not need its own internet satellite constellation.

gimme a break... the point of Starlink, Kuiper and others is global broadband Internet access - I mean, for the unfortunate 2 or 3 billion people living in poor countries not rich enough to get the same high broadband Internet via ground networks.

Now if we agree on this point, indeed, Europe has an ultra-dense and up-to-date ground network perfectly able to bring broadband internet into european smartphones anywhere on the continent... no ? for example in france, the 5G certainly goes through updated ground networks - people are even protesting or even going conspiracy nut about it.

Or maybe it is just a matter of not staying behind a potential revolution that are spaceborne megaconstellations (think Concorde or... Ariane or Eutelsat or Galileo) ?
Don't forget Galileo is not only "a GPS for Europe" but also a soft power tool "You don't like America and GPS ? go Galileo !" China is doing the same, they are creating their own GPS (Beidu ? can't remember) just for the technology, the jobs, and soft power.
Does this apply to broadband internet mega-constellations ? Does europe needs a "broadband Internet Galileo or Eutelsat" ?
There is certainly an old tradition of creating an "European matching capability" as far as satellites systems and markets go: Inmarsat (at sea) , Eutelsat (TV), Meteosat (weather), SPOT (remote sensing), Galileo (GPS)... 
Title: Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: woods170 on 06/02/2021 07:35 pm
Quote
Having said that I fully agree with you that "Europe" does not need its own internet satellite constellation.

gimme a break... the point of Starlink, Kuiper and others is global broadband Internet access - I mean, for the unfortunate 2 or 3 billion people living in poor countries not rich enough to get the same high broadband Internet via ground networks.

Now if we agree on this point, indeed, Europe has an ultra-dense and up-to-date ground network perfectly able to bring broadband internet into european smartphones anywhere on the continent... no ? for example in france, the 5G certainly goes through updated ground networks - people are even protesting or even going conspiracy nut about it.

Or maybe it is just a matter of not staying behind a potential revolution that are spaceborne megaconstellations (think Concorde or... Ariane or Eutelsat or Galileo) ?
Don't forget Galileo is not only "a GPS for Europe" but also a soft power tool "You don't like America and GPS ? go Galileo !" China is doing the same, they are creating their own GPS (Beidu ? can't remember) just for the technology, the jobs, and soft power.
Does this apply to broadband internet mega-constellations ? Does europe needs a "broadband Internet Galileo or Eutelsat" ?
There is certainly an old tradition of creating an "European matching capability" as far as satellites systems and markets go: Inmarsat (at sea) , Eutelsat (TV), Meteosat (weather), SPOT (remote sensing), Galileo (GPS)... 

Two things:

- You left out my disclaimer: "Or at least, not one initiated and paid for by European governments."
- All the "European matching capability" stuff you mentioned is government-initiated. Starlink isn't.

European governements initiating Galileo, to match the US goverment-initiated GPS, makes perfect sense.
European governments initiating Meteosat, to match the US government-initiated NOAA sats, makes perfect sense.
European governments initiating SPOT, to match the US government-initiated LandSat, makes perfect sense.

However, European governments initiating a European satellite internet constellation, to match the SpaceX PRIVATELY initiated Starlink constellation, makes no sense at all.

What the EU and ESA are proposing to do, is to compete with a PRIVATE COMPANY instead of other nations. That is silly. Not to mention a downright stupid way to spend European taxpayers' money.
So, if Europe really wants to compete with Starlink....let a private company do it.
Title: Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: gosnold on 06/03/2021 08:08 pm
What the EU and ESA are proposing to do, is to compete with a PRIVATE COMPANY instead of other nations.

Not exactly, the EU constellation seems to have a focus on quantum key distribution, which is targeted towards governments and very large commercial customers, not individuals.
Title: Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: libra on 06/04/2021 06:32 am
We all know sometimes governments start massive projects and investments for good and bad reasons altogether.

Apollo was done for the wrong reasons. And Concorde economic case... sweet jesus. Even the TGV 40 years later remains controversial.

I wouldn't be surprise if an European mega-constellation would be justified through a mixed bag of arguments
- there is a strategic value hidden into that (Gosnold post gives a hint)
- we don't want to be left behind
- we need to fill Ariane manifest
- we want the advanced technologies that goes along mega-constellations
- we want the aerospace jobs

I know those reasons are a mixed bag, don't start me on this...

(hey, by the way - I'm an European taxpayer, too.)
Title: Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: su27k on 06/05/2021 10:31 am
So what is this Ariane Ultimate stuff? Monopropellant with 450s Isp seems too good to be true.

https://twitter.com/stromgade/status/1098676265844920321

Quote
Interesting Ariane Ultimate concept from @CNES's #ArianeWorks
SSTO, using a 450s Isp monopropellant, reusable. It seems to be more of a research roadmap than an actual concept to replace Ariane 6 with. Source is the latest @aerospatium
Title: Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: soyuzu on 06/05/2021 11:08 am
So what is this Ariane Ultimate stuff? Monopropellant with 450s Isp seems too good to be true.

https://twitter.com/stromgade/status/1098676265844920321

Quote
Interesting Ariane Ultimate concept from @CNES's #ArianeWorks
SSTO, using a 450s Isp monopropellant, reusable. It seems to be more of a research roadmap than an actual concept to replace Ariane 6 with. Source is the latest @aerospatium
Pentazole or some other kinds of Pentazenium salt, it seems. It was first synthesized by a Chinese group back in 2017
https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/jccs.201800363
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pentazenium

Though I don’t think bypassing difficulty of RLV design by using very expensive (and potentially dangerous) propellant is a good idea.
Title: Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: envy887 on 06/05/2021 05:31 pm
So what is this Ariane Ultimate stuff? Monopropellant with 450s Isp seems too good to be true.

Quote
Interesting Ariane Ultimate concept from @CNES's #ArianeWorks
SSTO, using a 450s Isp monopropellant, reusable. It seems to be more of a research roadmap than an actual concept to replace Ariane 6 with. Source is the latest @aerospatium

Also, how is that supposed to reenter? Tailfirst with a deployable heatshield in the base?
Title: Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: Steven Pietrobon on 06/06/2021 02:03 am
Its a salt compound with the formula N5+SbF6-. The fluorine is a worry, as it might make this toxic or the exhaust toxic if the fluorine reacts with water in the atmosphere to make HF, which is extremely toxic. It can be reacted with other compounds for example to make  N5+B−.
Title: Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: Michel Van on 06/06/2021 08:55 am
Reading the Twitter about Ariane ULTIMATE
my reaction was:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H6M1OF_E0IA
follow by "what to hell they smoked ?"

Hull tanks and rest build from Carbon Nano tube
a Monopropellant with ISP 450 !

I hope it's not that Nitrogen Hydrogen stuff what is study als new explosive

This here screams: EXTREM EXPENSIVE and DANGEROUS EXPLOSIVE

I prefer SpaceX & ULA approach for cheaper Methane/Lox and reusable Rockets build from Steel

Title: Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: TrevorMonty on 06/06/2021 05:17 pm
Trying to use too many unproven advance technologies in design is asking for failure.  It was demise of Venture star. Cost JSWT lot time budget overruns.

F9R works because SpaceX used tried a true technologies, they just refined engineering. RL plan to use same approach, maybe few surprises on recovery side, but technology for launch isn't likely to be anything new.


Sent from my SM-G570Y using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: Hobbes-22 on 06/06/2021 06:49 pm
A bit more detail on Ariane Ultimate, via Parabolic Arc (http://www.parabolicarc.com/2021/05/22/ariane-ultimate-project-looks-toward-launchers-of-2040/):



Quote
    reflections for the post-2040 are well underway with the Ariane Ultimate project . At this stage, it is still only a concept, that is to say a pool of new technologies which are in an embryonic state but which we want to make mature by this time, in order to develop a launcher that must be carbon neutral, fully reusable and at almost zero marginal launch cost. It is also a question of projecting on the new uses of space in the coming decades as we can imagine them on this horizon: for example the need for high speeds to reach the low orbits which could serve as hubs of exchange towards the Moon or towards Mars.


        Ariane Ultimate will represent a departure from previous generations of launchers. It is about finding the ideas and technologies to meet these objectives and these future uses.

    Cheaper, simpler, more efficient, easier to recover: this type of single-stage launcher would be the holy grail! However, it is not currently possible, especially because the materials we use are too heavy. We must therefore find a way to lighten the structures,” explains Nathalie Girard.

    Initial research is therefore oriented towards the development of new, lighter and extremely resistant materials such as carbon nanotubes, graphene, or architectural materials made possible by 3D manufacturing. Another avenue is to work on propulsion, with new high energy density propellants which would make it possible to drastically reduce the mass and the cost on the launcher. Ariane Ultimate finally incorporates reflections on avionics and software that will benefit from emerging technological advances, such as “many cores” processors or the quantum computer.
Title: Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: Elmar Moelzer on 06/08/2021 08:37 am
In other words, it is a science fiction rocket...
Why wouldn't they go with Skylon instead? That is much closer to being doable and would still be a novel and potentially competitive approach. Also much closer to reality.
Title: Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: ZachF on 06/08/2021 02:45 pm
Messing around with 450isp monoprops seems like a good way to get left completely behind by the US/China
Title: Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: su27k on 06/08/2021 03:07 pm
Why wouldn't they go with Skylon instead?

Not-invented-here syndrome?
Title: Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: DreamyPickle on 06/08/2021 03:37 pm
Skylon is UK based which is no longer part of the EU. ESA can only lose by treating the UK as an adversary but this is what they're going to do: notice recent squabbles over OneWeb.
Title: Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: Welsh Dragon on 06/08/2021 04:20 pm
Skylon is UK based which is no longer part of the EU. ESA can only lose by treating the UK as an adversary but this is what they're going to do: notice recent squabbles over OneWeb.
ESA ≠ EU. UK is still a member of ESA.
Title: Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: Lars-J on 06/08/2021 04:34 pm
In other words, it is a science fiction rocket...
Why wouldn't they go with Skylon instead? That is much closer to being doable and would still be a novel and potentially competitive approach. Also much closer to reality.

That should tell you all you need to know about how feasible/practical Skylon really is. (hint: It is not)
Title: Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: Hobbes-22 on 06/08/2021 04:36 pm
It's worth noting this is an Arianespace study, not ESA.
Title: Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: Alpha_Centauri on 06/08/2021 05:11 pm
While the UK is still a member of ESA, a more relevant point is that it is not currently involved in funding launcher development, neither does it have a stake in Arianespace. So it's hardly surprising that these organisations look for 'European' (a.k.a. French, with a dash of Italian and German) solutions. E.g. the funds for the 'ESA' studies on SABRE/Skylon came from the UK contribution, it didn't imply buy-in from other countries.
Title: Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: zubenelgenubi on 06/10/2021 06:02 pm
Moderator: Thread has veered off-topic, in more than one direction.  Posts deleted.
Title: Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: saliva_sweet on 06/10/2021 09:21 pm
So, if Europe really wants to compete with Starlink....let a private company do it.

But therein lies the rub. Why isn't SpaceX european? You'd think we were in a good position back when Spacex started. Or Facebook or google, Amazon, Microsoft, Apple (I know this one is technically european lol) ... companies that changed the world. US will control the flow of information. Barriers to private enterprize - regulatory, social, mental, are too high here. There is nothing we can do about this unless something fundamental changes in EU. European government led megaconstellation is a Buran project.
Title: Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: rakaydos on 06/11/2021 12:43 pm
So, if Europe really wants to compete with Starlink....let a private company do it.

But therein lies the rub. Why isn't SpaceX european? You'd think we were in a good position back when Spacex started. Or Facebook or google, Amazon, Microsoft, Apple (I know this one is technically european lol) ... companies that changed the world. US will control the flow of information. Barriers to private enterprize - regulatory, social, mental, are too high here. There is nothing we can do about this unless something fundamental changes in EU. European government led megaconstellation is a Buran project.
As someone who lives in the US, you could also say that the barriers to public enterprise is too high here, as seen by the fight over something as basic as infrastructure.
Title: Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: su27k on 06/12/2021 03:25 am
So, if Europe really wants to compete with Starlink....let a private company do it.

But therein lies the rub. Why isn't SpaceX european? You'd think we were in a good position back when Spacex started. Or Facebook or google, Amazon, Microsoft, Apple (I know this one is technically european lol) ... companies that changed the world. US will control the flow of information. Barriers to private enterprize - regulatory, social, mental, are too high here. There is nothing we can do about this unless something fundamental changes in EU. European government led megaconstellation is a Buran project.
As someone who lives in the US, you could also say that the barriers to public enterprise is too high here, as seen by the fight over something as basic as infrastructure.

SLS has entered the chat...

Seriously, the US has its own share of government funded boondoggles, the difference seems to be the US has been able to encourage and support private innovations at the same time (so far at least).
Title: Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: edzieba on 06/18/2021 09:06 am
Quote
Having said that I fully agree with you that "Europe" does not need its own internet satellite constellation.

gimme a break... the point of Starlink, Kuiper and others is global broadband Internet access - I mean, for the unfortunate 2 or 3 billion people living in poor countries not rich enough to get the same high broadband Internet via ground networks.

Now if we agree on this point, indeed, Europe has an ultra-dense and up-to-date ground network perfectly able to bring broadband internet into european smartphones anywhere on the continent... no ? for example in france, the 5G certainly goes through updated ground networks - people are even protesting or even going conspiracy nut about it.

Or maybe it is just a matter of not staying behind a potential revolution that are spaceborne megaconstellations (think Concorde or... Ariane or Eutelsat or Galileo) ?
Don't forget Galileo is not only "a GPS for Europe" but also a soft power tool "You don't like America and GPS ? go Galileo !" China is doing the same, they are creating their own GPS (Beidu ? can't remember) just for the technology, the jobs, and soft power.
Does this apply to broadband internet mega-constellations ? Does europe needs a "broadband Internet Galileo or Eutelsat" ?
There is certainly an old tradition of creating an "European matching capability" as far as satellites systems and markets go: Inmarsat (at sea) , Eutelsat (TV), Meteosat (weather), SPOT (remote sensing), Galileo (GPS)... 

Two things:

- You left out my disclaimer: "Or at least, not one initiated and paid for by European governments."
- All the "European matching capability" stuff you mentioned is government-initiated. Starlink isn't.

European governements initiating Galileo, to match the US goverment-initiated GPS, makes perfect sense.
European governments initiating Meteosat, to match the US government-initiated NOAA sats, makes perfect sense.
European governments initiating SPOT, to match the US government-initiated LandSat, makes perfect sense.

However, European governments initiating a European satellite internet constellation, to match the SpaceX PRIVATELY initiated Starlink constellation, makes no sense at all.

What the EU and ESA are proposing to do, is to compete with a PRIVATE COMPANY instead of other nations. That is silly. Not to mention a downright stupid way to spend European taxpayers' money.
So, if Europe really wants to compete with Starlink....let a private company do it.
The US is very concerned about private and public entities competing. Elsewhere, that isn't often a concern. If something can be done better by a public entity than a private one (in general, public infrastructure is a good example) then just do that. Practicality trumps ideology.

An 'EU megaconstellation' would be more of a shared backbone that individual providers could offer service via, similar to how fixed-line broadband infrastructure is handled outside the US via Local Loop Unbundling - one entity handles building and operating the actual cabling from end users to demark points (and usually to datacentres and to trunk connections too), and other entities are in the business of selling that service to consumers. Those service providers compete with each other, but over a common infrastructure (some private providers also build out their own infrastructure, but usually this will end up being an entity operating a DOCSIS network, and several entities operating over a shared DSL and/or fibre network). Or how some nations organise GSM service: multiple network operators sell service to the public, but in terms of the actual PHY layer everyone gets to talk to everyone else's sites because they use the same standard and interlink (e.g. if I buy service for Provider A, and Provider B is the operator of the nearest cell site, then my device talks to the cell site operated by Provider B and traffic then gets routed back to Provider A for onward carry. Vice versa the other way around) to allow overage without redundant cells and reduced rollout costs. This keeps barrier to entry low and increases consumer choice of provider (and thus competition between providers) while keeping total infrastructure cost across all providers lower than duplicated redundant.

A bit more detail on Ariane Ultimate, via Parabolic Arc (http://www.parabolicarc.com/2021/05/22/ariane-ultimate-project-looks-toward-launchers-of-2040/):



Quote
    reflections for the post-2040 are well underway with the Ariane Ultimate project . At this stage, it is still only a concept, that is to say a pool of new technologies which are in an embryonic state but which we want to make mature by this time, in order to develop a launcher that must be carbon neutral, fully reusable and at almost zero marginal launch cost. It is also a question of projecting on the new uses of space in the coming decades as we can imagine them on this horizon: for example the need for high speeds to reach the low orbits which could serve as hubs of exchange towards the Moon or towards Mars.


        Ariane Ultimate will represent a departure from previous generations of launchers. It is about finding the ideas and technologies to meet these objectives and these future uses.

    Cheaper, simpler, more efficient, easier to recover: this type of single-stage launcher would be the holy grail! However, it is not currently possible, especially because the materials we use are too heavy. We must therefore find a way to lighten the structures,” explains Nathalie Girard.

    Initial research is therefore oriented towards the development of new, lighter and extremely resistant materials such as carbon nanotubes, graphene, or architectural materials made possible by 3D manufacturing. Another avenue is to work on propulsion, with new high energy density propellants which would make it possible to drastically reduce the mass and the cost on the launcher. Ariane Ultimate finally incorporates reflections on avionics and software that will benefit from emerging technological advances, such as “many cores” processors or the quantum computer.
Sounds less like a launcher design and more like a tech dev program: here's 5 impossible things to do before lunch, maybe one of them will turn out to be possible and spin out into useful products.
Title: Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: mupp on 07/07/2021 12:16 am
The EU itself is starting to make moves...


(https://i.imgur.com/yvURK8c.png)

Bit more info at the link.
https://ec.europa.eu/info/funding-tenders/opportunities/portal/screen/opportunities/topic-details/horizon-cl4-2021-space-01-21
Title: Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: su27k on 10/13/2021 04:25 am
https://twitter.com/pbdes/status/1447918860032790532

Quote
French President @EmmanuelMacron: France 2030 goal is a reusable min-launcher by 2026 and a stronger French participation in smallsat constellations. @ESA @defis_eu @CNES.
Title: How should Europe develop re-usable launchers?
Post by: Rik ISS-fan on 06/19/2022 02:30 pm
I think this topic is the right place to discuss a question I've got.
What is the best approach to develop reusable launchers in Europe?

I think Callisto is a right start. But I think Themis as next step is a leap to far. It's to large for a demonstrator, thus to expansive. I also think there are multiple roads to Rome / methods to recover a stage). Thus different recovery methods need to be tested. Parachute recovery, landing legs, landing catch mechanism.
The engine used on the testbed/demonstrator needs to be proven/qualified/certified before the reusable demonstrator can be developed. Otherwise engine reliability risks, harm the reusable stage demonstrator.
Thus developing the engines is the first priority. I think a liquid engine is required.

I think the first stage of Sirius Space Services (https://www.sirius-space.com/en/nos-lanceurs-sirius); Sirius 1 could be a nice step after Callisto. It uses a simple 38kN pressure-feed LOx LNG engine.
Other options are the first stages of micro launchers. I really like the Skyrora XL, but UK ain't EU any longer.
PLD space could us Miura 1 or make a demonstrator with a cluster of Teprel-B (pressure feed) engines.
ISAR could use the first stage of their Spectrum launcher, RFA the first stage of RFA One.
Several Avio M10 engines could be used in a demonstrator, ? Avio / Maia Space?

A reusable first stage could be use for suborbital express (https://suborbitalexpress.com/) (experiments) and as lander demonstrator. (Blue Origin; New Sheppard / Masten; Xogdor).
I think both (Suborbital and Diamond sites) CSG, France Guiana and SSC Esrange, Sweden are launch sites where a reusable suborbital rocket could be operated. I think SSC Esrange LZ-3 is the primary launch site for a reusable stage demonstrator.
Europe also needs to mature (lunar/mars) lander technologies, also for this purpose the launch sites and reusable stages are required. I think a nearly decade long development plan is required.

Another scenario is that P120C(+) production will soon become limiting in launching Vega C/E and Ariane 6. several 1000kN Prometheus or the Avio proposed 6xM10 thrust (600kN ? Romeo) engines could be used on a reusable stage that replaces the P120C. This reusable stage is very similar to the Themis demonstrator.
I think Themis as demonstrator is to large, if higher launch rates is enabled by a affordable liquid booster. They could use it on decent to develop stage recovery. But initially they will likely expend this liquid booster. So it's a development approach with high material costs. 

I'm interested in other views/ thoughts about how Europe can develop reusable stages.

Spacenews Avio Q&A (https://spacenews.com/avio-qa-powering-the-growth-trajectory/)
Quote
...
How else is Europe’s Recovery Plan helping Italy’s space industry?

Another good chunk of money from it is going toward developing rocket technology. We will use this funding to create a demonstrator of a new rocket using our liquid oxygen-methane engine. {A demonstrator stage that uses M10 engines, or the VUS Vega E upperstage  ;D}

And also to develop a new liquid oxygen methane engine that will be six times more powerful. So that paves the road for the next generation launchers that we will likely have in the 2030s.
Title: Re: How should Europe develop re-usable launchers?
Post by: Zed_Noir on 06/20/2022 01:09 am
I think this topic is the right place to discuss a question I've got.
What is the best approach to develop reusable launchers in Europe?
<snip>
I'm interested in other views/ thoughts about how Europe can develop reusable stages.
<snip>

Before hardware considerations. Decide what the reusable launcher is going to be use for and from which launch sites. Also decide if the upper stages is to be recoverable.

Program have to prioritizes less production cost and ease of assembling the launcher. Not a jobs program in other words.

On the propulsion hardware side. Some sort of pump fed semi-cryogenic liquid engine that can landed the booster stage or allows the booster stage to reentry the atmosphere from orbit.

Finally, Europe doesn't have much time to field a reusable launcher before window of opportunity to gain market share in the commercial reusable launch market closes.
Title: Re: How should Europe develop re-usable launchers?
Post by: DanClemmensen on 06/20/2022 02:44 am
I think this topic is the right place to discuss a question I've got.
What is the best approach to develop reusable launchers in Europe?
<snip>
I'm interested in other views/ thoughts about how Europe can develop reusable stages.
<snip>

Before hardware considerations. Decide what the reusable launcher is going to be use for and from which launch sites. Also decide if the upper stages is to be recoverable.

Program have to prioritizes less production cost and ease of assembling the launcher. Not a jobs program in other words.

On the propulsion hardware side. Some sort of pump fed semi-cryogenic liquid engine that can landed the booster stage or allows the booster stage to reentry the atmosphere from orbit.

Finally, Europe doesn't have much time to field a reusable launcher before window of opportunity to gain market share in the commercial reusable launch market closes.
You are describing a competitor to Falcon 9. But Falcon 9 is now a decade old. By the time a new design is operational, Falcon 9 will be used only for legacy missions because it will have been superseded by Starship. Your new design will only serve customers that are forced by policy or law to use it.  In 2022, Falcon 9 will reach its highest launch rate, because half its launches are Starlink and Starlink will migrate to Starship in 2023, and by 2024 F9 will carry only those payloads (Crew dragon, perhaps) that cannot or will not migrate to Starship.
Title: Re: How should Europe develop re-usable launchers?
Post by: Timber Micka on 06/20/2022 03:32 am
I think this topic is the right place to discuss a question I've got.
What is the best approach to develop reusable launchers in Europe?

I think Callisto is a right start. But I think Themis as next step is a leap to far. It's to large for a demonstrator, thus to expansive. I also think there are multiple roads to Rome / methods to recover a stage). Thus different recovery methods need to be tested. Parachute recovery, landing legs, landing catch mechanism.
The engine used on the testbed/demonstrator needs to be proven/qualified/certified before the reusable demonstrator can be developed. Otherwise engine reliability risks, harm the reusable stage demonstrator.
Thus developing the engines is the first priority. I think a liquid engine is required.

I think the first stage of Sirius Space Services (https://www.sirius-space.com/en/nos-lanceurs-sirius); Sirius 1 could be a nice step after Callisto. It uses a simple 38kN pressure-feed LOx LNG engine.
Other options are the first stages of micro launchers. I really like the Skyrora XL, but UK ain't EU any longer.
PLD space could us Miura 1 or make a demonstrator with a cluster of Teprel-B (pressure feed) engines.
ISAR could use the first stage of their Spectrum launcher, RFA the first stage of RFA One.
Several Avio M10 engines could be used in a demonstrator, ? Avio / Maia Space?

A reusable first stage could be use for suborbital express (https://suborbitalexpress.com/) (experiments) and as lander demonstrator. (Blue Origin; New Sheppard / Masten; Xogdor).
I think both (Suborbital and Diamond sites) CSG, France Guiana and SSC Esrange, Sweden are launch sites where a reusable suborbital rocket could be operated. I think SSC Esrange LZ-3 is the primary launch site for a reusable stage demonstrator.
Europe also needs to mature (lunar/mars) lander technologies, also for this purpose the launch sites and reusable stages are required. I think a nearly decade long development plan is required.

Another scenario is that P120C(+) production will soon become limiting in launching Vega C/E and Ariane 6. several 1000kN Prometheus or the Avio proposed 6xM10 thrust (600kN ? Romeo) engines could be used on a reusable stage that replaces the P120C. This reusable stage is very similar to the Themis demonstrator.
I think Themis as demonstrator is to large, if higher launch rates is enabled by a affordable liquid booster. They could use it on decent to develop stage recovery. But initially they will likely expend this liquid booster. So it's a development approach with high material costs. 

I'm interested in other views/ thoughts about how Europe can develop reusable stages.

Spacenews Avio Q&A (https://spacenews.com/avio-qa-powering-the-growth-trajectory/)
Quote
...
How else is Europe’s Recovery Plan helping Italy’s space industry?

Another good chunk of money from it is going toward developing rocket technology. We will use this funding to create a demonstrator of a new rocket using our liquid oxygen-methane engine. {A demonstrator stage that uses M10 engines  ;D}

And also to develop a new liquid oxygen methane engine that will be six times more powerful. So that paves the road for the next generation launchers that we will likely have in the 2030s.

In my opinion, as soon as Ariane 6 is operational, ESA and CNES should immediately begin the active development phase of the Ariane Next reusable LV (which means canceling the development of Ariane 6 upgrades like the Astris upper stage). I also think they should cancel the development of Vega-E except for the M10 engine, which might be useful to them later.

I think that they should skip one of the two demonstrators because having two demonstrators does not seems necessary to me. I understand why they want to have two demonstrators but that's too incremental (and therefore slow) of an approach compared to what SpaceX and China are doing.
In terms of design, I think Ariane Next should be a Falcon 9 clone. They should use the Prometheus engine similarly to the Merlin, with a vacuum-optimized version for the upper stage. It's a tried and tested design that can put around 20 metric tons into low orbit, a payload capacity roughly equivalent to that of Ariane 5 and 6.
If Europe has a Falcon 9 clone by the second half of the decade that would be a major win. Ariane Next could compete with Rocket Lab's Neutron, which will enter service around the same time. (They could also develop a high-energy upper stage based on the M10 engine to compete with ULA's Vulcan Centaur)

The experience gained should allow them to begin the development of a heavy reusable LV in the 2030s (either by slapping 3 Ariane Next cores together Falcon Heavy-style, or by developing a new design from scratch).

That would be an ideal timeline I think, but I'm 100% sure things won't go that way at all IRL.
France has recently ceased to be the main financial contributor to the Ariane 6 program. Germany took that role, and Germany wants Ariane 6 to become ESA's workhorse launcher for the next ten years, so they are pushing for the development of A6 upgrades like the Astris kick stage. The whole Ariane Next/MaiaSpace thing is a French-led effort that's radically different from Germany's vision of the future. Anyway, it will be interesting to see how it all plays out.
Title: Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: floss on 06/20/2022 08:14 am
It would be far better to do something else rather than reinvent the wheel again.
Title: Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: TrevorMonty on 06/20/2022 10:42 am
I think this topic is the right place to discuss a question I've got.
What is the best approach to develop reusable launchers in Europe?

I think Callisto is a right start. But I think Themis as next step is a leap to far. It's to large for a demonstrator, thus to expansive. I also think there are multiple roads to Rome / methods to recover a stage). Thus different recovery methods need to be tested. Parachute recovery, landing legs, landing catch mechanism.
The engine used on the testbed/demonstrator needs to be proven/qualified/certified before the reusable demonstrator can be developed. Otherwise engine reliability risks, harm the reusable stage demonstrator.
Thus developing the engines is the first priority. I think a liquid engine is required.

I think the first stage of Sirius Space Services (https://www.sirius-space.com/en/nos-lanceurs-sirius); Sirius 1 could be a nice step after Callisto. It uses a simple 38kN pressure-feed LOx LNG engine.
Other options are the first stages of micro launchers. I really like the Skyrora XL, but UK ain't EU any longer.
PLD space could us Miura 1 or make a demonstrator with a cluster of Teprel-B (pressure feed) engines.
ISAR could use the first stage of their Spectrum launcher, RFA the first stage of RFA One.
Several Avio M10 engines could be used in a demonstrator, ? Avio / Maia Space?

A reusable first stage could be use for suborbital express (https://suborbitalexpress.com/) (experiments) and as lander demonstrator. (Blue Origin; New Sheppard / Masten; Xogdor).
I think both (Suborbital and Diamond sites) CSG, France Guiana and SSC Esrange, Sweden are launch sites where a reusable suborbital rocket could be operated. I think SSC Esrange LZ-3 is the primary launch site for a reusable stage demonstrator.
Europe also needs to mature (lunar/mars) lander technologies, also for this purpose the launch sites and reusable stages are required. I think a nearly decade long development plan is required.

Another scenario is that P120C(+) production will soon become limiting in launching Vega C/E and Ariane 6. several 1000kN Prometheus or the Avio proposed 6xM10 thrust (600kN ? Romeo) engines could be used on a reusable stage that replaces the P120C. This reusable stage is very similar to the Themis demonstrator.
I think Themis as demonstrator is to large, if higher launch rates is enabled by a affordable liquid booster. They could use it on decent to develop stage recovery. But initially they will likely expend this liquid booster. So it's a development approach with high material costs. 

I'm interested in other views/ thoughts about how Europe can develop reusable stages.

Spacenews Avio Q&amp;A (https://spacenews.com/avio-qa-powering-the-growth-trajectory/)
Quote
...
How else is Europe’s Recovery Plan helping Italy’s space industry?

Another good chunk of money from it is going toward developing rocket technology. We will use this funding to create a demonstrator of a new rocket using our liquid oxygen-methane engine. {A demonstrator stage that uses M10 engines  ;D}

And also to develop a new liquid oxygen methane engine that will be six times more powerful. So that paves the road for the next generation launchers that we will likely have in the 2030s.

In my opinion, as soon as Ariane 6 is operational, ESA and CNES should immediately begin the active development phase of the Ariane Next reusable LV (which means canceling the development of Ariane 6 upgrades like the Astris upper stage). I also think they should cancel the development of Vega-E except for the M10 engine, which might be useful to them later.

I think that they should skip one of the two demonstrators because having two demonstrators does not seems necessary to me. I understand why they want to have two demonstrators but that's too incremental (and therefore slow) of an approach compared to what SpaceX and China are doing.
In terms of design, I think Ariane Next should be a Falcon 9 clone. They should use the Prometheus engine similarly to the Merlin, with a vacuum-optimized version for the upper stage. It's a tried and tested design that can put around 20 metric tons into low orbit, a payload capacity roughly equivalent to that of Ariane 5 and 6.
If Europe has a Falcon 9 clone by the second half of the decade that would be a major win. Ariane Next could compete with Rocket Lab's Neutron, which will enter service around the same time. (They could also develop a high-energy upper stage based on the M10 engine to compete with ULA's Vulcan Centaur)

The experience gained should allow them to begin the development of a heavy reusable LV in the 2030s (either by slapping 3 Ariane Next cores together Falcon Heavy-style, or by developing a new design from scratch).

That would be an ideal timeline I think, but I'm 100% sure things won't go that way at all IRL.
France has recently ceased to be the main financial contributor to the Ariane 6 program. Germany took that role, and Germany wants Ariane 6 to become ESA's workhorse launcher for the next ten years, so they are pushing for the development of A6 upgrades like the Astris kick stage. The whole Ariane Next/MaiaSpace thing is a French-led effort that's radically different from Germany's vision of the future. Anyway, it will be interesting to see how it all plays out.
I'd allow for adding 4 SRBs from A6 for high performance missions which would be expendable.
Title: Re: How should Europe develop re-usable launchers?
Post by: Zed_Noir on 06/20/2022 10:12 pm
I think this topic is the right place to discuss a question I've got.
What is the best approach to develop reusable launchers in Europe?
<snip>
I'm interested in other views/ thoughts about how Europe can develop reusable stages.
<snip>

Before hardware considerations. Decide what the reusable launcher is going to be use for and from which launch sites. Also decide if the upper stages is to be recoverable.

Program have to prioritizes less production cost and ease of assembling the launcher. Not a jobs program in other words.

On the propulsion hardware side. Some sort of pump fed semi-cryogenic liquid engine that can landed the booster stage or allows the booster stage to reentry the atmosphere from orbit.

Finally, Europe doesn't have much time to field a reusable launcher before window of opportunity to gain market share in the commercial reusable launch market closes.
You are describing a competitor to Falcon 9. But Falcon 9 is now a decade old. By the time a new design is operational, Falcon 9 will be used only for legacy missions because it will have been superseded by Starship. Your new design will only serve customers that are forced by policy or law to use it.  In 2022, Falcon 9 will reach its highest launch rate, because half its launches are Starlink and Starlink will migrate to Starship in 2023, and by 2024 F9 will carry only those payloads (Crew dragon, perhaps) that cannot or will not migrate to Starship.
Huh. Where did you get the idea that I was proposing a Falcon 9 clone?

Only stated that Europe don't have much time and couldn't be a decentralized jobs program approach. Europe have to decide the roles to be fulfilled with a reusable or a partially-reusable launcher.

IMO. The Europeans need an interim reusable launcher with limited service life to have some experience before trying to compete with the large reusable launchers from SpaceX and maybe Blue Origin.

Title: Re: How should Europe develop re-usable launchers?
Post by: DanClemmensen on 06/20/2022 10:19 pm
I think this topic is the right place to discuss a question I've got.
What is the best approach to develop reusable launchers in Europe?
<snip>
I'm interested in other views/ thoughts about how Europe can develop reusable stages.
<snip>
Before hardware considerations. Decide what the reusable launcher is going to be use for and from which launch sites. Also decide if the upper stages is to be recoverable.

Program have to prioritizes less production cost and ease of assembling the launcher. Not a jobs program in other words.

On the propulsion hardware side. Some sort of pump fed semi-cryogenic liquid engine that can landed the booster stage or allows the booster stage to reentry the atmosphere from orbit.

Finally, Europe doesn't have much time to field a reusable launcher before window of opportunity to gain market share in the commercial reusable launch market closes.
You are describing a competitor to Falcon 9. But Falcon 9 is now a decade old. By the time a new design is operational, Falcon 9 will be used only for legacy missions because it will have been superseded by Starship. Your new design will only serve customers that are forced by policy or law to use it.  In 2022, Falcon 9 will reach its highest launch rate, because half its launches are Starlink and Starlink will migrate to Starship in 2023, and by 2024 F9 will carry only those payloads (Crew dragon, perhaps) that cannot or will not migrate to Starship.
Huh. Where did you get the idea that I was proposing a Falcon 9 clone?

Only stated that Europe don't have much time and couldn't be a decentralized jobs program approach. Europe have to decide the roles to be fulfilled with a reusable or a partially-reusable launcher.

IMO. The Europeans need an interim reusable launcher with limited service life to have some experience before trying to compete with the large reusable launchers from SpaceX and maybe Blue Origin.
I did not say you proposed an F9 clone. I said you proposed to compete with F9.
Title: Re: How should Europe develop re-usable launchers?
Post by: Zed_Noir on 06/20/2022 11:18 pm
<snip>
Before hardware considerations. Decide what the reusable launcher is going to be use for and from which launch sites. Also decide if the upper stages is to be recoverable.

Program have to prioritizes less production cost and ease of assembling the launcher. Not a jobs program in other words.

On the propulsion hardware side. Some sort of pump fed semi-cryogenic liquid engine that can landed the booster stage or allows the booster stage to reentry the atmosphere from orbit.

Finally, Europe doesn't have much time to field a reusable launcher before window of opportunity to gain market share in the commercial reusable launch market closes.
You are describing a competitor to Falcon 9. But Falcon 9 is now a decade old. By the time a new design is operational, Falcon 9 will be used only for legacy missions because it will have been superseded by Starship. Your new design will only serve customers that are forced by policy or law to use it.  In 2022, Falcon 9 will reach its highest launch rate, because half its launches are Starlink and Starlink will migrate to Starship in 2023, and by 2024 F9 will carry only those payloads (Crew dragon, perhaps) that cannot or will not migrate to Starship.
Huh. Where did you get the idea that I was proposing a Falcon 9 clone?

Only stated that Europe don't have much time and couldn't be a decentralized jobs program approach. Europe have to decide the roles to be fulfilled with a reusable or a partially-reusable launcher.

IMO. The Europeans need an interim reusable launcher with limited service life to have some experience before trying to compete with the large reusable launchers from SpaceX and maybe Blue Origin.
I did not say you proposed an F9 clone. I said you proposed to compete with F9.
You might be right. But the Europeans have to start with baby steps first.

What I proposed could be applicable for a Starship scale reusable launch system as well as a much smaller reusable launch system. IMO.
Title: Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: Solarsail on 08/08/2022 06:09 am
I'm a bit shy on my math here but:

What would be the implications of a (reusable) first stage with a slightly ad-hoc tripropellant combination?  Say, an engine cluster containing both Prometheus and Vulcain engines?  The Prometheus engines can do much of the thrust at the start of flight, light the A5 / A6 do with solids, and then swap to Vulcain only later in the primary flight, improving the specific impulse of the stage over all?  Then use the Prometheus engines for landing, and the boost back and / or re-entry burns, if those exist?  Would this help to reduce the extreme wet mass requirements of re-usability from an all Prometheus stage?  Would using hydrogen in a first stage make it unacceptably high volume?
Title: Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: TrevorMonty on 08/08/2022 10:55 am

I'm a bit shy on my math here but:

What would be the implications of a (reusable) first stage with a slightly ad-hoc tripropellant combination?  Say, an engine cluster containing both Prometheus and Vulcain engines?  The Prometheus engines can do much of the thrust at the start of flight, light the A5 / A6 do with solids, and then swap to Vulcain only later in the primary flight, improving the specific impulse of the stage over all?  Then use the Prometheus engines for landing, and the boost back and / or re-entry burns, if those exist?  Would this help to reduce the extreme wet mass requirements of re-usability from an all Prometheus stage?  Would using hydrogen in a first stage make it unacceptably high volume?

The extra tanks required for LH would add so extra dry mass that any gains from LH higher ISP would be loss. LH is better as US propellant.
Title: Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: Rik ISS-fan on 08/08/2022 06:36 pm
I also think the tripropallent combination is to complicated. I expect a 2.5 stage design beside a two stage design. Ariane 5 and 6 are 2.5 stage designs. The solid boosters could be replaced by (reusable) liquid boosters. I expect only two liquid boosters will be used. This will be a heavy version of the launcher. A lighter version will lift an upperstage and possibly an in-orbit/kick stage.
Let them mess around with Callisto and/or other small demonstrators to develop efficient stage recovery methodes.
SpaceX used landing legs on Falcon 9, but plans to use a catch tower for super heavy and starship. Rocketlab plans parachute recovery with mid-air capture. There are also ideas for wire catch mechanisms in Europe. I think tests on small rockets will have to show what is the best option. They need to plan for the fact they will destroy a couple of vehicles, that's required to figure out the best stage recovery method. If they launch the demonstrator to more than 100km altitude with scientific payloads each launch also has another use. I expect this will cost roughly half a billion euro and take several years.
I think the (first stage of) Sirius1 from Sirius Space Services, could be a succesor to Callisto. Or the first stage of one of the ther European micro launchers. Themis is to large for a technology demonstrator, and it requires the engines to be operational, that delays the stage recovery tests a lot.
The Sirius 1 uses 38kN pressure feed LOx LCH4 engines, simple, thus cheap and reliable.
Title: Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: libra on 08/09/2022 02:55 pm
TAN was an interesting innovation for tripropellant rocketry, unfortunately it seems to be locked at Aerojet...
Title: Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
Post by: Solarsail on 08/09/2022 08:40 pm

I'm a bit shy on my math here but:

What would be the implications of a (reusable) first stage with a slightly ad-hoc tripropellant combination?  Say, an engine cluster containing both Prometheus and Vulcain engines?  The Prometheus engines can do much of the thrust at the start of flight, light the A5 / A6 do with solids, and then swap to Vulcain only later in the primary flight, improving the specific impulse of the stage over all?  Then use the Prometheus engines for landing, and the boost back and / or re-entry burns, if those exist?  Would this help to reduce the extreme wet mass requirements of re-usability from an all Prometheus stage?  Would using hydrogen in a first stage make it unacceptably high volume?

The extra tanks required for LH would add so extra dry mass that any gains from LH higher ISP would be loss. LH is better as US propellant.


I wish I knew how to run the numbers on that.  What struck me was the extreme Δv requirements of accelerating to stage velocity and then braking for reentry within this thread: https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=41330.180  (Maybe I should have posted there instead?  More context..)

The optimum separation velocity leaves a amount of work for the upper stage to do, and needs a huge first stage for it.  Thus my thinking of a stage splitting the differences between Prometheus and Vulcain engines.  You would need a less extreme stage volume than a Delta IV by doing much of the impulse in denser methalox, you would raise the average effective specific impulse for the flight (for a high Δv flight) and have restart / landing capabilities in the less efficient engines.  At least, landing burns look to require fairly little Δv, so the reduced isp is less painful there.  Thus the heterogeneus engine cluster, sitting between low-isp, higher density and higher stage T/W (including tank mass) on some engines and higher isp, lower density, lower stage T/W on the others.  And accomplishing this variable ISP behaviour without needing exotic engine designs.  Admittedly, by adding an exotic cluster of engines.