Author Topic: Astra Launch System 2 / Rocket 4  (Read 23339 times)

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Astra Launch System 2 / Rocket 4
« Reply #40 on: 07/10/2023 06:35 pm »
The mistake is to think the US government will save the shareholders or the founders. They wonít. Theyíll try to save the defense-related CAPABILITIES, though. The USís bankruptcy laws are pretty efficient when you think about it.
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Re: Astra Launch System 2 / Rocket 4
« Reply #41 on: 07/10/2023 06:50 pm »
So you're suggesting that Astra's equipment and facilities for mass-producing rocket bodies could end up acquired for pennies on the dollar by someone who'll use it for building hypersonic missiles? I guess I can't discount that possibility.

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Astra Launch System 2 / Rocket 4
« Reply #42 on: 07/10/2023 07:00 pm »
So you're suggesting that Astra's equipment and facilities for mass-producing rocket bodies could end up acquired for pennies on the dollar by someone who'll use it for building hypersonic missiles? I guess I can't discount that possibility.
what is HASTE if not a boost missile for hypersonics? Conventional prompt strike missiles typically have an acquisition cost of like $50-60 million or more. Some of that is the warhead, but most is the launch system. So if Rocket 4 can be $1-4 million and RocketLabís Electron can be $8 million, then thereís an opportunity there to get an order of magnitude reduction in cost. Thatís massive. That would make CPS from the continental US cheaper than delivering ordinance from an aircraft carrier using F-35 or Tomohawk missiles from a cruiser.

Itís exactly the sort of long term, asymmetrical advantage thing DARPA is supposed to be enabling.

And simply building out the manufacturing tooling alone is helpful for national security purposes. Between that and the workforce development, Astraís existence is useful for DARPA even if they never achieve product market fit for their orbital product.
« Last Edit: 07/10/2023 07:14 pm by Robotbeat »
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 TrevorMonty

Re: Astra Launch System 2 / Rocket 4
« Reply #43 on: 07/10/2023 08:42 pm »
RL HASTE is only being used to test hypersonic vehicle technologies. Not enough flights a year to sustain Electron if that was its only business. As extra to launch business makes all difference between getting by and making decent profit.

Any developed hypersonic weapons will use storable fuels. The military gave up using kerolox for ballistic missiles decades ago as they were to much hassle.
« Last Edit: 07/10/2023 08:42 pm by TrevorMonty »

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Astra Launch System 2 / Rocket 4
« Reply #44 on: 07/10/2023 09:23 pm »
RL HASTE is only being used to test hypersonic vehicle technologies. Not enough flights a year to sustain Electron if that was its only business. As extra to launch business makes all difference between getting by and making decent profit.

Any developed hypersonic weapons will use storable fuels. The military gave up using kerolox for ballistic missiles decades ago as they were to much hassle.
Draper is basically the storable version of Hadley, being used for Astraís upper stage.
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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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Re: Astra Launch System 2 / Rocket 4
« Reply #45 on: 07/10/2023 10:55 pm »
RL HASTE is only being used to test hypersonic vehicle technologies. Not enough flights a year to sustain Electron if that was its only business. As extra to launch business makes all difference between getting by and making decent profit.

Any developed hypersonic weapons will use storable fuels. The military gave up using kerolox for ballistic missiles decades ago as they were to much hassle.
Draper is basically the storable version of Hadley, being used for Astraís upper stage.
Sure, but that goes to what I was saying earlier about it being a pretty major change: Astra would need to design a whole new vehicle, based around nine Draper engines on the first stage (rather than two Reavers) and a Draper on the second stage (rather than a Hadley, a bit more of a drop-in replacement there), and would also need to redesign the tanks to hold HTP/kerosene instead of LOX/kerosene (which at the very least may imply a different ratio, even if HTP can be stored in tanks originally designed for LOX).

It's probably the case that some of Astra's investments for "build a rapid inexpensive orbital launch vehicle assembly line" would apply towards this radically different vehicle, but IMO it's too late for Astra themselves to pivot towards making such a change. Any missile-manufacturing value in those investments will be realized by whoever buys the assets at a bankruptcy auction.

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Re: Astra Launch System 2 / Rocket 4
« Reply #46 on: 08/14/2023 08:57 pm »
https://twitter.com/stephenclark1/status/1691190340185686018

Quote
In a quarterly earnings call, Astra CEO Chris Kemp says the recent shift of 50 employees from launch services to space engines will delay first test flight of Rocket 4 into 2024. Recent layoff of 25% of Astra's staff was necessary to "manage our cash burn and financial runway."

Re: Astra Launch System 2 / Rocket 4
« Reply #47 on: 08/21/2023 09:53 pm »
Interesting quotes on the first stage engines of Rocket 4.

https://arstechnica.com/space/2023/08/chris-kemp-unplugged-astras-ceo-dishes-on-the-space-companys-struggles/

Quote
We have the first-stage engines. Those are actual flight engines that are in the process of qualification, but those were [engines] that we will fly on the first flight with the final hardware. So weíre in the qualification of the first-stage engine. That engine will have a ton of Astra hardware on it. Itís got an Astra computer, itís got Astra software on it. It has gimbals. It have valves that are all new valves. So itís almost entirely our engine at this point. Those engines are in final qualification.

Quote
ďTheyíre definitely not Reaver engines at this point. I am unable to comment on any contractual relationship that may or may not exist between Astra and Firefly. However, what I will say is that our team has spent a tremendous amount of energy working on an engine and putting in a lot of Astra parts and Astra engineering and Astra testing. The Reaver engine only has one gimbaling axis [for steering]. So obviously this is not a Reaver engine. The Reaver engine does not have the ability to vary its thrust and mixture ratio. The Reaver engine has a very different qualification and testing regime. "I can tell you this: We are not buying Reaver engines and putting them on this rocket. I can tell you several years ago, we started with something that has turned into something which is very much an Astra engine (Astra calls this engine the Chiron). How Firefly has or has not contributed to that effort, I really canít comment on.Ē

Online FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: Astra Launch System 2 / Rocket 4
« Reply #48 on: 08/22/2023 01:24 pm »
https://twitter.com/astra/status/1693978014294692053

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Astra's Rocket Production Line leverages advanced automation inspired by the automotive industry for the production of Rocket 4:

« Last Edit: 08/22/2023 01:27 pm by FutureSpaceTourist »

Online FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: Astra Launch System 2 / Rocket 4
« Reply #49 on: 09/13/2023 07:47 pm »
https://twitter.com/astra/status/1702010927254847725

Quote
Fresh hardware coming off the Rocket Production Line before leaving for testing.

See the full Rocket Production Line in action here:
youtu.be/fenRmzOGKgI
« Last Edit: 09/13/2023 07:47 pm by FutureSpaceTourist »

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