Author Topic: DARPA Experimental Spaceplane 1 (XS-1) Program  (Read 379845 times)

Offline john smith 19

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Re: DARPA Experimental Spaceplane 1 (XS-1) Program
« Reply #920 on: 02/02/2020 12:57 pm »

Fully RLV in XS1 class is not that practical, payload penalty is too high. Reuseable boosters is best we can hope for in small LV class.
And by "small" for a VTO TSTO vehicle that means below 20 tonnes and possibly more.  :(

But if people insist on such an approach they will have to go bigger for a full RLV.

F9 wasn't big enough.

Let's see if SH/SS can do it this time.
« Last Edit: 02/02/2020 01:35 pm by john smith 19 »
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Online TrevorMonty

Re: DARPA Experimental Spaceplane 1 (XS-1) Program
« Reply #921 on: 02/02/2020 03:35 pm »

Fully RLV in XS1 class is not that practical, payload penalty is too high. Reuseable boosters is best we can hope for in small LV class.
And by "small" for a VTO TSTO vehicle that means below 20 tonnes and possibly more.  :(

But if people insist on such an approach they will have to go bigger for a full RLV.

F9 wasn't big enough.

Let's see if SH/SS can do it this time.
Fully reuseable F9R would OK for LEO and SSO but not GTO. Not sure if Dragon2 could work with it.

NG is better size, should be able get around  25- 30t to LEO. Really need fuel depots and OTVs to deliver payloads to other orbits.


Offline john smith 19

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Re: DARPA Experimental Spaceplane 1 (XS-1) Program
« Reply #922 on: 02/02/2020 04:59 pm »
Fully reuseable F9R would OK for LEO and SSO but not GTO. Not sure if Dragon2 could work with it.
Only SX couldn't get US reuse to work economically (if at all?)

Fully reusable architectures can support delivery to GTO or even GEO itself. Just not the VTOL kind.

Quote from: TrevorMonty
NG is better size, should be able get around  25- 30t to LEO. Really need fuel depots and OTVs to deliver payloads to other orbits.
I look forward to its first launch with an actual payload to orbit with great excitement.
MCT ITS BFR SS. The worlds first Methane fueled FFSC engined CFRP SS structure A380 sized aerospaceplane tail sitter capable of Earth & Mars atmospheric flight.First flight to Mars by end of 2022. Forward looking statements. T&C apply. "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof" R. Simberg."Competitve" means cheaper ¬cheap

Offline envy887

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Re: DARPA Experimental Spaceplane 1 (XS-1) Program
« Reply #923 on: 02/02/2020 05:55 pm »
Fully reuseable F9R would OK for LEO and SSO but not GTO. Not sure if Dragon2 could work with it.
Only SX couldn't get US reuse to work economically (if at all?)

Because GTO is a large part of Falcon's economic proposition, and F9R is already marginal in performance for 5000 kg GTO missions.

1500 kg to LEO is a totally different market. Maybe someone could make it work.

Offline Comga

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Re: DARPA Experimental Spaceplane 1 (XS-1) Program
« Reply #924 on: 02/04/2020 12:34 am »
Since you can't get a pony, there is no harm in wishing for a rainbow unicorn.

Can we stick to what XS-1 was supposed to be, a reusable smallsat first stage, which still appears to be beyond DARPA's ability to fund to success?

Is there ANY downside for Boeing? 
Looks like they pulled in a chunk of money, covering a bunch of engineers and facilities, and kept some nebulous potential competition at bay.  If they lost some money it would hardly show in 2019.
Why not do this again at the next opportunity?
What kind of wastrels would dump a perfectly good booster in the ocean after just one use?

Offline ChrisWilson68

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Re: DARPA Experimental Spaceplane 1 (XS-1) Program
« Reply #925 on: 02/04/2020 01:39 am »
Is there ANY downside for Boeing? 
Looks like they pulled in a chunk of money, covering a bunch of engineers and facilities, and kept some nebulous potential competition at bay.  If they lost some money it would hardly show in 2019.
Why not do this again at the next opportunity?

I would really like to know the actual financial effect on Boeing of the XS-1 program.

On the one hand, it sounds plausible to me that what you said here is true and that Boeing only benefitted from it and gamed the system.

On the other hand, it also sounds plausible to me that Boeing actually did spend some of their own resources on this and ended up losing more than they gained.

Sadly, we'll probably never really know which it is.

What I do think this uncertainty underlines is that the government needs to be very careful in its contracting to make sure companies are properly incentivized.  The contracts should make sure that if the companies are supposed to contribute some of their own resources that the accounting is airtight.  And there should be substantial enough penalties for withdrawing from the contract to make sure it's not in a company's interest to sign up for a contract, get some of the benefits, then bail and leave the government hanging.

Offline ChrisWilson68

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Re: DARPA Experimental Spaceplane 1 (XS-1) Program
« Reply #926 on: 02/04/2020 01:45 am »
Maybe the government should start wargaming contracting.

Do some games where a "red" team from the government plays the part of contractors and goes up against the actual people who write government contracts.  The goal of the red team is to rip off the government.  Go through a game version of the contracting process, and then when it's done have the red team tell the government side how they would take advantage of the contract (or not if the contract is airtight).

The same red team could go around from one government contracting group to another to help teach each group how they can be taken advantage of and how to avoid that.

Offline su27k

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Re: DARPA Experimental Spaceplane 1 (XS-1) Program
« Reply #927 on: 02/04/2020 01:49 am »
Or the government can always down-select to two providers instead of one, so that if one went away the whole program won't go belly up.

Offline HeartofGold2030

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Re: DARPA Experimental Spaceplane 1 (XS-1) Program
« Reply #928 on: 02/04/2020 07:29 pm »
DARPA does seem to have a problem incentivising contractors for it’s space programs: Maxar dropped out of their satellite servicing program for “business and financial reasons”, Virgin Orbit dropped out of their Launch Challenge because “the company would have made less on launches being performed for the competition than those under contract to existing customers” and now Boeing has dropped out of the XS-1 program because their in the midst of a financial crunch and didn’t believe the company funds (which are now limited) they were investing in the project were worth it’s potential payoff. The common/recurring theme in all these failed partnerships is that DARPA are asking for too much, whilst offering too little in incentives for development e.g. DARPA are asking contractors to invest large amounts of their own money, to develop technologies which have questionable commercial viability. Therefore, I believe the failure of XS-1 isn’t a case isolated to Boeing, but a symptom of the wider issue of DARPA’s problematic approach to contracting for their space programs.

Offline whitelancer64

Re: DARPA Experimental Spaceplane 1 (XS-1) Program
« Reply #929 on: 02/05/2020 10:09 pm »
DARPA does seem to have a problem incentivising contractors for it’s space programs: Maxar dropped out of their satellite servicing program for “business and financial reasons”, Virgin Orbit dropped out of their Launch Challenge because “the company would have made less on launches being performed for the competition than those under contract to existing customers” and now Boeing has dropped out of the XS-1 program because their in the midst of a financial crunch and didn’t believe the company funds (which are now limited) they were investing in the project were worth it’s potential payoff. The common/recurring theme in all these failed partnerships is that DARPA are asking for too much, whilst offering too little in incentives for development e.g. DARPA are asking contractors to invest large amounts of their own money, to develop technologies which have questionable commercial viability. Therefore, I believe the failure of XS-1 isn’t a case isolated to Boeing, but a symptom of the wider issue of DARPA’s problematic approach to contracting for their space programs.

That's kind of DARPA's thing, though. They spend a (relatively) small amount of money in the short term in hopes of kicking off a big payoff in the long term.

This does mean that DARPA has a pretty big graveyard of failed programs, but their projects that pan out, they do so big time.
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Offline su27k

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Re: DARPA Experimental Spaceplane 1 (XS-1) Program
« Reply #930 on: 02/07/2020 01:59 am »
DARPA does seem to have a problem incentivising contractors for it’s space programs: Maxar dropped out of their satellite servicing program for “business and financial reasons”, Virgin Orbit dropped out of their Launch Challenge because “the company would have made less on launches being performed for the competition than those under contract to existing customers” and now Boeing has dropped out of the XS-1 program because their in the midst of a financial crunch and didn’t believe the company funds (which are now limited) they were investing in the project were worth it’s potential payoff.

None of these are DARPA's fault though. Maxar dropped out because they're facing financial difficulty due to the downturn in GEO commsat business. I don't know why Virgin entered the competition in the first place if they feel the money is not enough, it's not like the payoff is a secret or anything, they participated knowing very well what they can get. As for Boeing, if they're truly dropping out due to financial crunch, then DARPA can hardly be responsible for what Boeing brought on to itself via 737MAX.

Re: DARPA Experimental Spaceplane 1 (XS-1) Program
« Reply #931 on: 03/11/2020 03:16 am »
I believe there is a general agreement that the biggest accomplishment of this program was firing the AR-22 10 times in 10 days, so I was wondering what applications there are for that capability, and exactly how replicable that capability is. What circumstance might a rapidly reusable RS-25 be useful for, and is the AR-22 different enough from a standard RS-25 that it should be considered a new engine?
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Offline brickmack

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Re: DARPA Experimental Spaceplane 1 (XS-1) Program
« Reply #932 on: 03/11/2020 03:48 am »
I believe there is a general agreement that the biggest accomplishment of this program was firing the AR-22 10 times in 10 days, so I was wondering what applications there are for that capability, and exactly how replicable that capability is. What circumstance might a rapidly reusable RS-25 be useful for, and is the AR-22 different enough from a standard RS-25 that it should be considered a new engine?

Well, if someone else wants to do basically a non-Boeing repeat of Phantom Express (or a scaled up version. I've seen basically the same concept scaled up to at least 9 RS-25s before), it'd be useful. Any RS-25-powered vehicle will have to use either winged recovery, or a parachute (probably limited to just an engine pod in that case), since its not restartable in flight.

Should be very replicable. AR-22 is just cobbled together from obsolete RS-25 parts, plus a modern controller. RS-25D should be even more highly reusable, and (though branded as "expendable") most of the design changes for RS-25E trace back to the RS-25 Block III program, which had higher-still reusability targets. I have little doubt that it could be converted back to a reusable configuration, and should do a lot better than AR-22 on both speed of reuse and overall longevity (and AR-22 itself exceeded the turnaround time requirement by a factor of 3)

IMO the only way for SLS to remain viable is through engine section reusability. Cuts marginal cost by ~1/3 immediately, plus potential savings from higher volume production since its now possible to do 6+ flights a year instead of 1 or 2, spreads fixed costs more for the same reason, allows a high enough flightrate to actually do useful stuff, minimal performance impact, etc. Rapid reusability certainly isn't necessary for that role (Shuttle already demonstrated sufficient reusability), but lessons from AR-22 could help make that reusability even cheaper. Biggest thing probably is that it torpedoes the tired argument that RS-25 doesn't make sense to reuse, that it took months and tens of millions of dollars to rebuild between flights and its really just better to build expendable engines for 74 million dollars a piece and toss them in the ocean. We now have empirical proof of what engineers had been saying for decades, that RS-25 is a highly reusable engine limited only by the vehicle its attached to.

Offline freddo411

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Re: DARPA Experimental Spaceplane 1 (XS-1) Program
« Reply #933 on: 03/11/2020 05:02 am »
DARPA does seem to have a problem incentivising contractors for it’s space programs: Maxar dropped out of their satellite servicing program for “business and financial reasons”, Virgin Orbit dropped out of their Launch Challenge because “the company would have made less on launches being performed for the competition than those under contract to existing customers” and now Boeing has dropped out of the XS-1 program because their in the midst of a financial crunch and didn’t believe the company funds (which are now limited) they were investing in the project were worth it’s potential payoff. The common/recurring theme in all these failed partnerships is that DARPA are asking for too much, whilst offering too little in incentives for development e.g. DARPA are asking contractors to invest large amounts of their own money, to develop technologies which have questionable commercial viability. Therefore, I believe the failure of XS-1 isn’t a case isolated to Boeing, but a symptom of the wider issue of DARPA’s problematic approach to contracting for their space programs.

That sounds plausible but I have a question:

If DARPA's contract terms weren't workable, why did Boeing,VirginOrbit, Maxar sign up for them in the first place?   Were these companies capturing funds without ever intending to produce much if anything?  That seems to be the outcome.

Sound to me like the contracts and their implementations were flawed.   Perhaps penalties for contract termination were not appropriately sized.


Offline jongoff

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Re: DARPA Experimental Spaceplane 1 (XS-1) Program
« Reply #934 on: 03/17/2020 09:33 pm »
DARPA does seem to have a problem incentivising contractors for it’s space programs: Maxar dropped out of their satellite servicing program for “business and financial reasons”, Virgin Orbit dropped out of their Launch Challenge because “the company would have made less on launches being performed for the competition than those under contract to existing customers” and now Boeing has dropped out of the XS-1 program because their in the midst of a financial crunch and didn’t believe the company funds (which are now limited) they were investing in the project were worth it’s potential payoff. The common/recurring theme in all these failed partnerships is that DARPA are asking for too much, whilst offering too little in incentives for development e.g. DARPA are asking contractors to invest large amounts of their own money, to develop technologies which have questionable commercial viability. Therefore, I believe the failure of XS-1 isn’t a case isolated to Boeing, but a symptom of the wider issue of DARPA’s problematic approach to contracting for their space programs.

That sounds plausible but I have a question:

If DARPA's contract terms weren't workable, why did Boeing,VirginOrbit, Maxar sign up for them in the first place?   Were these companies capturing funds without ever intending to produce much if anything?  That seems to be the outcome.

Sound to me like the contracts and their implementations were flawed.   Perhaps penalties for contract termination were not appropriately sized.

In Maxar's case, their economic situation as a company changed dramatically when they lost that Worldview satellite last January. That loss alone wiped out most of their planned profit for the next several years, so they literally had no way they could fund their part of the PPP contract. That happens. I believe the term of art is Force Majeure.

In VO's case, they were competing in a prize, and as they got further into it they realized it wasn't worth continuing to compete. A prize isn't exactly a contract. So, no harm, no foul there.

In Boeing's case, I think they signed the contract as much to prevent a competitor from getting it as for any hope of actually delivering on it.

~Jon

Offline Danderman

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Re: DARPA Experimental Spaceplane 1 (XS-1) Program
« Reply #935 on: 11/07/2020 10:43 am »
And then there was the Bantam launcher program, which people took very seriously 20 years ago.

And Rascal.

This is like a TV show that is perpetually in reruns, but people don't remember seeing the show before.

Offline su27k

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Re: DARPA Experimental Spaceplane 1 (XS-1) Program
« Reply #936 on: 02/04/2022 12:14 pm »
https://twitter.com/BoeingSpace/status/1489319423848685572

Quote
Our team built this cryogenic fuel tank that withstood 3.75 times its intended operational pressures in recent testing. Check out the video of the tank being manufactured.


https://twitter.com/Alexphysics13/status/1489322293348245507

Quote
This tank was scheduled for Phantom Express, their cancelled spaceplane for DARPA. I wonder if they could pitch this to make an enhanced upper stage for SLS

Re: DARPA Experimental Spaceplane 1 (XS-1) Program
« Reply #937 on: 02/04/2022 05:56 pm »
Is it the LOX or the H2 tank? Both are cryogenic, and both would be impressive, but a composite LOX tank has been done before several times now, and I don't think a composite H2 tank has been done at all.
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Offline russianhalo117

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Re: DARPA Experimental Spaceplane 1 (XS-1) Program
« Reply #938 on: 02/04/2022 07:29 pm »
It is already apart of the proposed SLS EUS upgrades path and builds off of previous NASA joint procjects. Note the Saturn family test article in the background from the mothballed MSFC test stand it was removed from and borken over to its horizontal storage position.

https://boeing.mediaroom.com/news-releases-statements?item=130996
« Last Edit: 02/04/2022 07:53 pm by russianhalo117 »

Offline russianhalo117

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Re: DARPA Experimental Spaceplane 1 (XS-1) Program
« Reply #939 on: 02/04/2022 07:35 pm »
Is it the LOX or the H2 tank? Both are cryogenic, and both would be impressive, but a composite LOX tank has been done before several times now, and I don't think a composite H2 tank has been done at all.
This latest test tank was representative of a 4.3m diameter ICPS LOX tank. The previous NASA project tested 2.4m prospective subscale tank. In 2014 a representative 5.5m diameter ICPS LH2 tank was tested. The next test tank will be a representative 8.4m diameter EUS LH2 tank.

2012 tank
https://www.nasa.gov/topics/technology/features/cryotank.html

2014 tank:
https://www.nasa.gov/content/game-changing-cryotank
« Last Edit: 02/04/2022 07:52 pm by russianhalo117 »

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