Author Topic: ULA General Discussion Thread  (Read 207586 times)

Offline niwax

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Re: ULA General Discussion Thread
« Reply #600 on: 01/11/2024 08:49 am »
Does the FH US have the endurance and multi burn capabilities to support all the NSSL mission orbits.

I don't know, but the question reminded me of this unsatisfying article

Quote
In the case of the Jupiter-3 mission, the payload deployment occurred approximately three and a half hours after liftoff, so it was a more challenging flight profile, requiring the “medium-coast” upper stage configuration with the grey stripe, additional batteries and other modifications. We don’t yet know exactly how the “long-coast” version of the stage differs, or whether it has ever been used

It suggests that SpaceX has something they're not keen on advertising publicly - but that could just be because it's a nothingburger

The Falcon Heavy demo had the gray upper stage as a test article and did a 6h GTO-ish coast before the final injection burn. STP-2 then did a complicated multi-orbit deployment over around 6 hours going to 300x860x28.5°, then 720x720x24° and 6000x12000x42° with a disposal burn. That's as long and complicated as a mission around Earth gets unless you want to inject into lunar orbit.
Which booster has the most soot? SpaceX booster launch history! (discussion)

Online LouScheffer

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Re: ULA General Discussion Thread
« Reply #601 on: 01/12/2024 01:01 am »
Bruno: "We service the high energy marketplace [...] important to our nation's security. No one else has a an architecture that can do that."

SpaceX has an architecture that can do it. Legally certified to do it through NSSL.
Here's the plot from NASA Launch services.  FH can lift more to any high energy trajectory than any Vulcan variant.  This FH variant cost $178M for Europa Clipper.

Perhaps worse for ULA, the currently offered lesser FH variant (RTLS sides, expend core) can match VC-4 and easily beat VC-2.  This version cost $117 million for Psyche.

So not only do others have an architecture that can meet high energy security requirement, they are fairly inexpensive.

Offline ZachF

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Re: ULA General Discussion Thread
« Reply #602 on: 01/12/2024 12:56 pm »
That ULA graphic was painfully bad.
artist, so take opinions expressed above with a well-rendered grain of salt...
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Offline woods170

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Re: ULA General Discussion Thread
« Reply #603 on: 01/12/2024 01:07 pm »
Does the FH US have the endurance and multi burn capabilities to support all the NSSL mission orbits.

The fact that SpaceX has been certified for the full range of NSSL mission orbits AND reference missions tells you that YES, the FH US has that endurance and has those multi burn capabilities.

For example, on the ViaSat-3 mission (which is not NSSL by the way, but illustrates FH performance nicely) the FH US performed four burns over a period of 6 hours. Three of those were performed over a period of 4.5 hours for the direct-insertion-into-GEO primary mission, while the fourth-and-final burn was a disposal burn, to get the FH US out of GEO, performed well over an hour after final payload release.
« Last Edit: 01/12/2024 01:12 pm by woods170 »

Offline woods170

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Re: ULA General Discussion Thread
« Reply #604 on: 01/12/2024 01:10 pm »
That ULA graphic was painfully bad.

Agreed, and it makes me wonder why a seemingly nice person such as Tory Bruno allows those easily debunkable graphics to be issued in the first place.
But then again, it wouldn't be the first time that Tory gets caught while pushing an untruth.
« Last Edit: 01/12/2024 01:11 pm by woods170 »

Offline abaddon

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Re: ULA General Discussion Thread
« Reply #605 on: 01/12/2024 02:19 pm »
That ULA graphic was painfully bad.

Agreed, and it makes me wonder why a seemingly nice person such as Tory Bruno allows those easily debunkable graphics to be issued in the first place.
But then again, it wouldn't be the first time that Tory gets caught while pushing an untruth.
From what I have seen it does seem like Tory Bruno is in fact probably a nice person, however he is also a CEO.  He's not your friend, and his job isn't to be "nice", it's to bolster the reputation of his company.  Using half-truths and muddling the picture to make your business look more favorable is Corporate 101.  That's why you should take anything he says (this goes for all of them) with a huge grain of salt.

As far as the "easily debunkable", just a veneer of plausibility can go a long way when setting the stage for your lobbying in winning those juicy government contracts.  If he wasn't doing that he would be failing at his job.  I imagine the basis of his "not certified for all missions" relies on the fact that FH hasn't yet flown the large fairing and doesn't yet have VI capability.  There are some orbits that will only have a small number of playloads that require one or both of these capabilities, thus "not certified for those orbits".  Of course, ULA was saying these things before Vulcan had even flown, and it is yet to be certified for any NSSL mission...

The evenhanded thing would be to say both Vulcan and Falcon are on track to be fully NSSL2 capable, but I wouldn't expect that coming from Tory, because that's not his job.
« Last Edit: 01/12/2024 02:21 pm by abaddon »

Online dglow

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Re: ULA General Discussion Thread
« Reply #606 on: 01/12/2024 03:50 pm »
That ULA graphic was painfully bad.

Agreed, and it makes me wonder why a seemingly nice person such as Tory Bruno allows those easily debunkable graphics to be issued in the first place.
But then again, it wouldn't be the first time that Tory gets caught while pushing an untruth.
From what I have seen it does seem like Tory Bruno is in fact probably a nice person, however he is also a CEO.  He's not your friend, and his job isn't to be "nice", it's to bolster the reputation of his company.
Especially when that company is up for sale, yes.

Offline edzieba

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Re: ULA General Discussion Thread
« Reply #607 on: 01/18/2024 02:23 pm »
That ULA graphic was painfully bad.

Agreed, and it makes me wonder why a seemingly nice person such as Tory Bruno allows those easily debunkable graphics to be issued in the first place.
But then again, it wouldn't be the first time that Tory gets caught while pushing an untruth.
From what I have seen it does seem like Tory Bruno is in fact probably a nice person, however he is also a CEO.  He's not your friend, and his job isn't to be "nice", it's to bolster the reputation of his company.  Using half-truths and muddling the picture to make your business look more favorable is Corporate 101.  That's why you should take anything he says (this goes for all of them) with a huge grain of salt.

As far as the "easily debunkable", just a veneer of plausibility can go a long way when setting the stage for your lobbying in winning those juicy government contracts.  If he wasn't doing that he would be failing at his job.  I imagine the basis of his "not certified for all missions" relies on the fact that FH hasn't yet flown the large fairing and doesn't yet have VI capability.  There are some orbits that will only have a small number of playloads that require one or both of these capabilities, thus "not certified for those orbits".  Of course, ULA was saying these things before Vulcan had even flown, and it is yet to be certified for any NSSL mission...

The evenhanded thing would be to say both Vulcan and Falcon are on track to be fully NSSL2 capable, but I wouldn't expect that coming from Tory, because that's not his job.
And to be extra-charitable: there are a handful of missions that ULA can perform that SpaceX cannot yet perform - those launching nuclear material.
As well as NASA RTGs, there is DRACO and follow-on reactor missions for the DoD. Yes, Vulcan is not yet certified for those, but this is absolutely a niche where ULA has the knowledge, experience, processes, and facilities & equipment to accommodate that sort of mission (and knowhow to be able to accommodate the specific requirements of launching nuclear material from the start of vehicle design) that SpaceX does not. Hardly impossible for SpaceX to acquire that capability, but I suspect the costs of doing so (staff trainup, new facilities, vehicle mods, etc) may just not be worth it for therm.

Online mn

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Re: ULA General Discussion Thread
« Reply #608 on: 01/18/2024 03:05 pm »
That ULA graphic was painfully bad.

Agreed, and it makes me wonder why a seemingly nice person such as Tory Bruno allows those easily debunkable graphics to be issued in the first place.
But then again, it wouldn't be the first time that Tory gets caught while pushing an untruth.
From what I have seen it does seem like Tory Bruno is in fact probably a nice person, however he is also a CEO.  He's not your friend, and his job isn't to be "nice", it's to bolster the reputation of his company.  Using half-truths and muddling the picture to make your business look more favorable is Corporate 101.  That's why you should take anything he says (this goes for all of them) with a huge grain of salt.

As far as the "easily debunkable", just a veneer of plausibility can go a long way when setting the stage for your lobbying in winning those juicy government contracts.  If he wasn't doing that he would be failing at his job.  I imagine the basis of his "not certified for all missions" relies on the fact that FH hasn't yet flown the large fairing and doesn't yet have VI capability.  There are some orbits that will only have a small number of playloads that require one or both of these capabilities, thus "not certified for those orbits".  Of course, ULA was saying these things before Vulcan had even flown, and it is yet to be certified for any NSSL mission...

The evenhanded thing would be to say both Vulcan and Falcon are on track to be fully NSSL2 capable, but I wouldn't expect that coming from Tory, because that's not his job.

All true for PR, but if the people buying contracts fall for the baloney that is just ... not sure what to say.

Same for those considering purchasing ULA, they all [hopefully] know better.

Offline Robert_the_Doll

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Re: ULA General Discussion Thread
« Reply #609 on: 02/12/2024 02:00 pm »
https://twitter.com/SpaceflightNow/status/1757034391430209603

Quote
Just over a month ago, @ulalaunch
 launched its inaugural Vulcan rocket from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.

As ULA prepares for its second certification flight, @w_robinsonsmith spoke with CEO @torybruno about Vulcan and its future for the company.

Offline deltaV

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Re: ULA General Discussion Thread
« Reply #610 on: 02/13/2024 01:30 am »
From that SpaceFlightNow article (https://spaceflightnow.com/2024/02/12/cleanest-first-flight-ula-president-reflects-on-inaugural-vulcan-launch-and-future-of-program/):

Quote
Bruno said the only issue came towards the end of the roughly 320-second first stage burn of the Vulcan booster: it ended about 1.2 seconds early. He described that as a thermal modeling issue where the last bit of propellant that was moving through the feed line was warmer than anticipated, which triggered the shutdown.

...

Bruno said the likely solution will be to adjust the amount of propellant reserve to account for that.

1. I spent a few minutes thinking about how the propellants could be warmer than expected without being a gas since propellants are usually at the boiling point pre-flight (unless subcooling is used which AFAICT Vulcan's first stage doesn't do). My guess is maybe they increase the pressure in the propellant tanks shortly before liftoff, which would increase the boiling point of the propellants and hence leave the propellants a few degrees colder than their new boiling points. Most of the propellant probably doesn't have time to warm up much but the last bit of propellant probably was heated by contact with the hot ullage gas. Warm propellants maybe forced early shutdown because it would cause damaging cavitation in the pumps?

2. If they're doing 3 gees at first stage burnout (a plausible guess) that 1.2 seconds is about 35 m/s of lost delta vee. Now exp(35/(9.8*370)) = 1.0096 so that unusable too-warm propellant probably hurts their payload to orbit capability by order 1%. That's probably not a show stopper since they have margin but presumably quite annoying.

Online sdsds

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Re: ULA General Discussion Thread
« Reply #611 on: 02/13/2024 04:37 am »
Quote from: Tory Bruno
The standard is you order your ride to space two years out.

How far in advance is 'standard' for ordering a vanilla F9 RTLS launch?
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Re: ULA General Discussion Thread
« Reply #612 on: 02/13/2024 08:44 pm »
Quote from: Tory Bruno
The standard is you order your ride to space two years out.

How far in advance is 'standard' for ordering a vanilla F9 RTLS launch?

About the same, 2 years ahead. The limiting factor is having a payload ready to launch. You're unlikely to spend a ton of time and money building a payload without contracting a launch vehicle so you can tailor your payload to the PAF connections and thermal and other conditions in the payload shroud. There are some very specific exceptions, but we're talking the "vanilla" launch process here.

That said, if a completed, pre-qualified payload needed a ride in a hurry, SpaceX could probably shoehorn in a launch within a couple of month's notice.
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Offline Jim

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Re: ULA General Discussion Thread
« Reply #613 on: 02/13/2024 09:14 pm »
My guess is maybe they increase the pressure in the propellant tanks shortly before liftoff,

All cryogenic rockets do that before launch.  They are venting up until the last few minutes, then they close the vents and pressurized the tanks.

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Re: ULA General Discussion Thread
« Reply #614 on: 02/13/2024 09:24 pm »
Quote from: Tory Bruno
The standard is you order your ride to space two years out.

How far in advance is 'standard' for ordering a vanilla F9 RTLS launch?

That said, if a completed, pre-qualified payload needed a ride in a hurry, SpaceX could probably shoehorn in a launch within a couple of month's notice.

Case in point, One Web gave up on Soyuz in March of 2023 and flew same year on LVM3 in October and SpaceX in December,  7 and 9 months respectively.

 

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