Author Topic: USAF EELV/NSSL Phase 2 Launch Service Procurement (Winners Announced)  (Read 136302 times)

Offline rcoppola

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I'm confused by the reporting on the RD-180 issue.  I've seen 12 engines still available mentioned.  That's enough to fly the last Phase 1A contract and a 40% share of Phase 2 on Atlas V.  That hardly seems like an urgent situation.
But what if you wanted a 60% share to ensure your survival since you have too few commercial launches? Then you'd ensure that it's written into the RFP that you can offer one vehicle Atlas V, until your second vehicle is certified, Vulcan, which will then take over the next 20%. Then restrict the contract to 2 winners, throw in dissimilar redundancy for good measure and hey, what the hell, weight Price dead last on your list...and..there you have it.

Edit: ULA is the child of two of the largest and most powerful defense contractors on the planet. They will get 60% of this contract. (I'm not saying I think that's a good or bad idea, just that's how this has already been decided) We'll see if Mr. Smith on behalf of Mr. Bezos can alter that equation.
« Last Edit: 04/01/2019 02:49 pm by rcoppola »
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Online gongora

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Conspiracy theories on how the upcoming contracts have already been fixed don't belong in this thread.

Offline rcoppola

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Well that's a first. Never been accused of being a conspiracy theorist before.

It's not a conspiracy, it's called politics. And it is what it is. Personally, with the importance of what we need to launch, I'm perfectly happy with ULA and SpaceX. But I think it prudent to on-board New Glenn as it starts to prove itself.

Edit: Think of it this way gongora: This particular RFP is like being a lawyer in court...you never ask a question, you don't already know the answer to.
« Last Edit: 04/01/2019 03:25 pm by rcoppola »
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Offline PM3

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I'm confused by the reporting on the RD-180 issue.  I've seen 12 engines still available mentioned.  That's enough to fly the last Phase 1A contract and a 40% share of Phase 2 on Atlas V.  That hardly seems like an urgent situation.

"Congress has set Dec. 31, 2022 as the end date for use of the RD-180 engine, which is manufactured in Russia." (defensenews.com)
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Online gongora

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I'm confused by the reporting on the RD-180 issue.  I've seen 12 engines still available mentioned.  That's enough to fly the last Phase 1A contract and a 40% share of Phase 2 on Atlas V.  That hardly seems like an urgent situation.

"Congress has set Dec. 31, 2022 as the end date for use of the RD-180 engine, which is manufactured in Russia." (defensenews.com)

That's not correct.  It is the end date for giving out contracts that will use the RD-180.

https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/senate-bill/2943/text
Quote
    ``(2) Contracts that are awarded during the period beginning
        on the date of the enactment of the National Defense
        Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017 and ending December 31,
        2022, for the procurement of property or services for space
        launch activities that include the use of a total of 18 rocket
        engines designed or manufactured in the Russian Federation, in
        addition to the Russian-designed or Russian-manufactured engines
        to which paragraph (1) applies.''.

Offline smoliarm

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I'm confused by the reporting on the RD-180 issue. I've seen 12 engines still available mentioned. That's enough to fly the last Phase 1A contract and a 40% share of Phase 2 on Atlas V.  That hardly seems like an urgent situation.

"Congress has set Dec. 31, 2022 as the end date for use of the RD-180 engine, which is manufactured in Russia." (defensenews.com)

That's not correct.  It is the end date for giving out contracts that will use the RD-180.

https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/senate-bill/2943/text
Quote
    ``(2) Contracts that are awarded during the period beginning
        on the date of the enactment of the National Defense
        Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017 and ending December 31,
        2022, for the procurement of property or services for space
        launch activities that include the use of a total of 18 rocket
        engines designed or manufactured in the Russian Federation, in
        addition to the Russian-designed or Russian-manufactured engines
        to which paragraph (1) applies.''.

As I understand, these 12 engines are already in ULA's inventory.
Last summer there was info at Roskosmos site about additional contact for 6 more engines.
So, if simple math works here, the total inventory is going to be 18 RD-180.

Online gongora

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As I understand, these 12 engines are already in ULA's inventory.
Last summer there was info at Roskosmos site about additional contact for 6 more engines.
So, if simple math works here, the total inventory is going to be 18 RD-180.

Only the 12 would be eligible for NSSL missions (unless they change the law again).  The rest could be used for NASA and commercial launches.

Offline rcoppola

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An editorial from Tory:

https://www.defensenews.com/opinion/2019/04/02/ula-head-anti-satellite-weapons-require-america-keep-its-focus-in-space/


*Also: I'd like to ask to have the "EELV" removed from the thread title as that's not the name of the program anymore. And anyone interested won't need EELV in the name to find this. Thanks.
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Online gongora

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*Also: I'd like to ask to have the "EELV" removed from the thread title as that's not the name of the program anymore. And anyone interested won't need EELV in the name to find this. Thanks.

It was EELV Phase 2 for years.  I'm leaving both for now.

Offline edkyle99

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After watching the ULA Space Symposium panel, and contemplating Blue Origin's request for a one-year delay, I'm starting to see Blue Origin more likely as an NSSL propulsion subcontractor than as a prime.  Aerojet Rocketdyne would be another, either via. ULA Vulcan Centaur or Northrop Grumman Omega.  Northrop Grumman itself would be a winning subcontractor if ULA won, via. GEM-63XL.  I don't know what to think about SpaceX, except that they'll have to add vertical payload integration to win.

Basically, Vulcan and Omega bring in more propulsion subcontractors than New Glenn and Falcon.  Vulcan has more subs than any other competitor, evidenced by all of the speakers scrunched together during yesterday's panel session.  I'm not sure which approach will appeal to the decision makers.

 - Ed Kyle     
« Last Edit: 04/10/2019 05:23 pm by edkyle99 »

Offline HeartofGold2030

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Basically, Vulcan and Omega bring in more propulsion subcontractors than New Glenn and Falcon.  Vulcan has more subs than any other competitor, evidenced by all of the speakers scrunched together during yesterday's panel session.  I'm not sure which approach will appeal to the decision makers.

 - Ed Kyle   

It's pretty obvious what will appeal to the decision makers imo, it will be SpaceX and Vulcan. Why? let's break it down:

With Vulcan you have...
-ULA's experience, stellar reliability record and close working relationship with the military.
-A relatively grounded and un-ambitious design (withholding ACES and SMART) which likely means a comparatively smoother road to operational capability than the more ambitious and unorthodox designs of New Glenn and OmegA
-Pre-tested components on the Atlas e.g. Centaur, fairing, GEM-63 XL, avionics which means the only unknown factor is the BE-4
-Cheaper than existing ULA launchers whilst being able to match their performance e.g. most powerful configuration is on par with the D4H

With SpaceX you have...
-Soon to be two proven launch vehicles
-Some national security experience, with more launches in the pipeline
-Cheapest prices in the industry, likely to undercut all upcoming launch vehicles
-Impressive launch cadence which would allow them to launch lots of military payloads annually
-Provides guaranteed access to space, the USAF still have SpaceX as an option if the development of the upcoming LVs runs into problems
-Doesn't use BE-4, RL-10 or NG solid boosters so if any of the other vehicles have a launch failure, SpaceX will not be impacted due to lack of commonality
-FH provides unparalleled capability direct to GEO and could launch very heavy payloads with just a fairing upgrade


Offline Steven Pietrobon

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-FH provides unparalleled capability direct to GEO and could launch very heavy payloads with just a fairing upgrade

You'd only need a fairing upgrade if the payload volume was bigger than the current fairing. The Payload Attach Fitting (PAF) will need to be upgraded as that can only handle a payload up to 11 t. The second stage might also need to be beefed up to handle the greater loads from a heavy payload.
Akin's Laws of Spacecraft Design #1:  Engineering is done with numbers.  Analysis without numbers is only an opinion.

Offline Lars-J

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-FH provides unparalleled capability direct to GEO and could launch very heavy payloads with just a fairing upgrade

You'd only need a fairing upgrade if the payload volume was bigger than the current fairing. The Payload Attach Fitting (PAF) will need to be upgraded as that can only handle a payload up to 11 t. The second stage might also need to be beefed up to handle the greater loads from a heavy payload.

Yes but all much simpler problems to solve than fielding a new launch vehicle.

Offline woods170

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-FH provides unparalleled capability direct to GEO and could launch very heavy payloads with just a fairing upgrade

You'd only need a fairing upgrade if the payload volume was bigger than the current fairing. The Payload Attach Fitting (PAF) will need to be upgraded as that can only handle a payload up to 11 t. The second stage might also need to be beefed up to handle the greater loads from a heavy payload.

Upgraded PAF for FH is already is in SpaceX's inventory. But hasn't been needed on any flight so far. Also isn't carried on regular F9 missions due to eating into available mass-to-orbit margins.

Offline envy887

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-FH provides unparalleled capability direct to GEO and could launch very heavy payloads with just a fairing upgrade

You'd only need a fairing upgrade if the payload volume was bigger than the current fairing. The Payload Attach Fitting (PAF) will need to be upgraded as that can only handle a payload up to 11 t. The second stage might also need to be beefed up to handle the greater loads from a heavy payload.

Upgraded PAF for FH is already is in SpaceX's inventory. But hasn't been needed on any flight so far. Also isn't carried on regular F9 missions due to eating into available mass-to-orbit margins.

Didn't SpaceX also confirm that the upper stage can indeed support 50+ ton payloads?

Offline spacenut

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How is SpaceX going to vertically integrate?  No equipment at any of their launch pads. 

Offline HeartofGold2030

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How is SpaceX going to vertically integrate?  No equipment at any of their launch pads.

Install a crane on 39A...

Offline spacenut

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Did the Air Force approve a crane?  Also, are some Air Force payloads designed such as to have to be vertical? 

Online gongora

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Did the Air Force approve a crane?  Also, are some Air Force payloads designed such as to have to be vertical?

SpaceX has been doing a multi-phase vertical integration study for the Air Force over the past couple years.  The USAF is well aware by now of how SpaceX intends to do vertical integration.  None of that information has been publicly released (at least not that I've seen).  Yes, some Air Force payloads require vertical integration.

Offline PM3

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The fight between ULA and Blue Origin lobby still goes on, and Air Force still uses the same faulty reasoning:

Quote
[Air Force Secretary Heather] Wilson wrote back on April 25, explaining that the Phase 2 Launch Service Procurement (LSP) must get underway immediately, and that any further delays would prevent the Air Force from fulfilling a congressional mandate to stop using rockets that have the Russian RD-180 engine.

...

Congress set a Dec. 31, 2022, for the Air Force to stop using the Atlas 5 which has the RD-180. As long as contracts are awarded before that date, the missions could be flown in 2023 or 2024.

Pushback continues as Air Force prepares to request bids for space launch services
"Never, never be afraid of the truth." -- Jim Bridenstine

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