Author Topic: Northrop teams with Firefly  (Read 17656 times)

Offline butters

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Re: Northrop teams with Firefly
« Reply #60 on: 08/11/2022 04:04 pm »
As a person who holds the relatively unpopular opinion that working with ULA has helped Blue Origin's maturation process and not just set them back, I am open to the argument that supplying boosters to Northrop could make Firefly a more capable aerospace company in the future.

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: Northrop teams with Firefly
« Reply #61 on: 08/11/2022 04:07 pm »

Offline jstrotha0975

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Re: Northrop teams with Firefly
« Reply #62 on: 08/11/2022 05:49 pm »
As a person who holds the relatively unpopular opinion that working with ULA has helped Blue Origin's maturation process and not just set them back, I am open to the argument that supplying boosters to Northrop could make Firefly a more capable aerospace company in the future.

Boosters and kick stages.

Offline Solarsail

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Re: Northrop teams with Firefly
« Reply #63 on: 08/11/2022 06:10 pm »
Fantasy space flight mode:
Northrup does have some impressive capabilities for rendezvous and docking between Cygnus and the MEV series.  Perhaps they could use that to build an ACES like upper stage, rather than a cheap expendable?


ACES doesn't use capabilities for rendezvous and docking.  Its technology is how the vehicle uses the main propellants for power, pressurization and attitude control.

Wasn't ACES capable of that specifically to support distributed launch?  And distributed launch involves rendezvous and docking?  Also somewhat close to NG's unflown work on the transfer vehicle for Artemis.  And could make for an upper stage that is not just commodity launch but a distinct service.

Online TrevorMonty

Re: Northrop teams with Firefly
« Reply #64 on: 08/11/2022 06:30 pm »
Fantasy space flight mode:
Northrup does have some impressive capabilities for rendezvous and docking between Cygnus and the MEV series.  Perhaps they could use that to build an ACES like upper stage, rather than a cheap expendable?


ACES doesn't use capabilities for rendezvous and docking.  Its technology is how the vehicle uses the main propellants for power, pressurization and attitude control.

Wasn't ACES capable of that specifically to support distributed launch?  And distributed launch involves rendezvous and docking?  Also somewhat close to NG's unflown work on the transfer vehicle for Artemis.  And could make for an upper stage that is not just commodity launch but a distinct service.
Distributed launch wasn't specific to ACES, was originally designed around Centuar. Google "ULA IVF" you should find a paper on their webpage, checkout DL while there. Lot of ACES technology has found its way into new Centuar V.

Back to NG and Firefly.  NG is expert at large composite structures, the partnership may also involve sharing this technology.
« Last Edit: 08/11/2022 06:31 pm by TrevorMonty »

Offline Robert_the_Doll

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Re: Northrop teams with Firefly
« Reply #65 on: 08/11/2022 08:16 pm »
The idea that both Antares 330 and Firefly Beta could well have their common first stage become recoverable vis-à-vis retropropulsion is a very interesting and attractive prospect.

Offline LH2NHI

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Re: Northrop teams with Firefly
« Reply #66 on: 08/12/2022 01:05 am »
Northrop and Firefly's Antares330 is a very interesting and fun project.

One question is, why did Northrop decide not to use their SRB (the legacy of the now-deceased Omega) and buy Firefly's first stage?
Was a two-stage solid rocket combining Castor-30XL and Castor300(or 600) not good enough?
Sounds like a good time to salvage Omega components from the grave.

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Northrop teams with Firefly
« Reply #67 on: 08/12/2022 01:23 am »
Could be reusable. That’d allow them to compete with F9, Neutron, Terran-R, and New Glenn.
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

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Offline Jim

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Re: Northrop teams with Firefly
« Reply #68 on: 08/12/2022 12:50 pm »
Northrop and Firefly's Antares330 is a very interesting and fun project.

One question is, why did Northrop decide not to use their SRB (the legacy of the now-deceased Omega) and buy Firefly's first stage?
Was a two-stage solid rocket combining Castor-30XL and Castor300(or 600) not good enough?
Sounds like a good time to salvage Omega components from the grave.

It doesn't work at Wallops

And it is never a good time to salvage Omega.

Offline Cottonwood

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Re: Northrop teams with Firefly
« Reply #69 on: 08/12/2022 01:21 pm »
Beta, or whatever the collaboration rocket ends up being called (this is confusing), will absolutely have a recoverable first stage. Markusic has said it in the past, there's been presentations that have said it and included a reusable Beta render (it's in that Scott Manley video), and a seven-engine first stage feels like a telltale that it'll be reusable.

My guess is that Antares 330 will be fully expended though. It seems like Antares is flying considerably faster at stage separation than Falcon 9 (from quick research, 3700 m/s vs. 2200 m/s or so?), and the beefier first stage probably wouldn't help. If they could recover that, it would need to be a downrange landing, which Wallops seems poorly fit to support, and the extra infrastructure might be difficult for Northrop to justify with the low flight rate. Also, Northrop probably just wants it flying without many frills, so that first stage may be stripped back compared to whatever ends up on "Beta".  Maybe they'll use Antares flights for early testing though. "Beta" should have a more Falcon-like flight profile.

Offline edkyle99

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Re: Northrop teams with Firefly
« Reply #70 on: 08/12/2022 01:38 pm »
Northrop and Firefly's Antares330 is a very interesting and fun project.

One question is, why did Northrop decide not to use their SRB (the legacy of the now-deceased Omega) and buy Firefly's first stage?
Was a two-stage solid rocket combining Castor-30XL and Castor300(or 600) not good enough?
Sounds like a good time to salvage Omega components from the grave.
What Jim said, and also in answer to your question, no, a two-stage Castor 300/30XL would not work.  You need a three stage rocket with these motors.  Omega had a liquid hydrogen third stage.  A Castor 600 + Castor 300 + Castor 30XL combination might get 8 or 9 tonnes to LEO x 51.6 (Omega would have lifted more than 20 tonnes), but I'm not sure about the precision of such an all-solid rocket.  I expect that NG considered such options, which would have required a move to KSC.

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 08/12/2022 01:42 pm by edkyle99 »

Offline Hog

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Re: Northrop teams with Firefly
« Reply #71 on: 08/12/2022 05:07 pm »
Do/did/would these solid Castor stages have thrust termination capability included?
Paul

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Northrop teams with Firefly
« Reply #72 on: 08/12/2022 05:27 pm »
Beta, or whatever the collaboration rocket ends up being called (this is confusing), will absolutely have a recoverable first stage. Markusic has said it in the past, there's been presentations that have said it and included a reusable Beta render (it's in that Scott Manley video), and a seven-engine first stage feels like a telltale that it'll be reusable.

My guess is that Antares 330 will be fully expended though. It seems like Antares is flying considerably faster at stage separation than Falcon 9 (from quick research, 3700 m/s vs. 2200 m/s or so?), and the beefier first stage probably wouldn't help. If they could recover that, it would need to be a downrange landing, which Wallops seems poorly fit to support, and the extra infrastructure might be difficult for Northrop to justify with the low flight rate. Also, Northrop probably just wants it flying without many frills, so that first stage may be stripped back compared to whatever ends up on "Beta".  Maybe they'll use Antares flights for early testing though. "Beta" should have a more Falcon-like flight profile.
But it’s massively overbuilt for Antares-like payloads. I suspect it could still handle RTLS for some payload classes (or even Minotaur scale payloads or, with a Star motor, higher energy payloads even with RTLS). Using an existing proven solid stage reduces the scope of developing a F9-like stage from scratch.

Downrange landing would enable much higher performance, and a high energy stage after the first stage is proven could enable F9-like performance or even full reuse.

It’d be pretty shortsighted to start a major cleansheet first stage right now without a plan to evolve it to reuse. Irresponsible use of investor funds, even.
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Offline primer_black

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Re: Northrop teams with Firefly
« Reply #73 on: 08/12/2022 05:55 pm »
Do/did/would these solid Castor stages have thrust termination capability included?
As far as I know (and could be wrong), no thrust termination was planned for the lower stages for Omega. There is generally little drawback from minor first stage overperformance, and the planned RL-10 powered upper stage would be more than capable of tuning the orbit appropriately.

For reference, Orbital's NG's systems that fly solid upper stages (Pegasus, Antares) also don't bother with thrust termination systems, even for pinpoint insertion:

https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2020/12/solid-rocket-stages-and-precise-orbit-insertions/

Online TrevorMonty

Re: Northrop teams with Firefly
« Reply #74 on: 08/12/2022 06:09 pm »
My guess is Cynus will move across to Beta RLV once it is flying reliably which will take few years. The Antares 300 is just a stopgap until then otherwise it would've be a case of buying more F9s.

With move to Antares 300 NG will be dependent on Firefly so don't be surprised if they buy them. Given LV competition Firefly is up against its not bad option for Firefly.

Online TrevorMonty

Re: Northrop teams with Firefly
« Reply #75 on: 08/12/2022 06:22 pm »
Antares and Beta could evolve down two different paths. Beta as RLV only mainly targeted at LEO constellations. Antares as ELV with liquid US and optional SRBs for high performance missions.


Offline jstrotha0975

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Re: Northrop teams with Firefly
« Reply #76 on: 08/12/2022 09:26 pm »
Without reusability to lower costs, Antares will only ever launch Cygnus.

Offline trimeta

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Re: Northrop teams with Firefly
« Reply #77 on: 08/12/2022 10:36 pm »
Without reusability to lower costs, Antares will only ever launch Cygnus.

The question ultimately becomes "does Northrop Grumman want Antares to launch things other than Cygnus (and maybe occasional high-energy government launches)?" Because if Northrop buys Firefly (as many believe is on the agenda), they'll have MLV (née Firefly Beta) for the commercial market.

Offline Redclaws

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Re: Northrop teams with Firefly
« Reply #78 on: 08/12/2022 10:44 pm »
Without reusability to lower costs, Antares will only ever launch Cygnus.

The question ultimately becomes "does Northrop Grumman want Antares to launch things other than Cygnus (and maybe occasional high-energy government launches)?" Because if Northrop buys Firefly (as many believe is on the agenda), they'll have MLV (née Firefly Beta) for the commercial market.

Antares isn’t very high energy, at least not the old version - why would it do a high energy launch?

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Northrop teams with Firefly
« Reply #79 on: 08/12/2022 10:52 pm »
Without reusability to lower costs, Antares will only ever launch Cygnus.

The question ultimately becomes "does Northrop Grumman want Antares to launch things other than Cygnus (and maybe occasional high-energy government launches)?" Because if Northrop buys Firefly (as many believe is on the agenda), they'll have MLV (née Firefly Beta) for the commercial market.

Antares isn’t very high energy, at least not the old version - why would it do a high energy launch?
Theyve long considered upgrading the upper stage to high energy liquid. Your question is like “why would NG want more money?”
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

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