Author Topic: NASA releases Request For Information for new Orion Service Module engine  (Read 26452 times)

Offline koraldon

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Hi,
Is there a link to the actual RFI?
Also I think that moog-isp has some hypergolic experience, but not on that scale...

Online AnalogMan

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Offline speedevil

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I'm curious about what you all think could be different and still meet that huge list of specs because they basically printed out the full spec list for the OMS as requirements.  Materials selection (3D print, different alloy, etc...) is my only guess but I would still consider that the same engine.
Do they actually say it has to use the fuel, and a BFS with an attachment to remove fuel safely from the tanks and provide the thrust wouldn't work?

Once you're this deep in the rabbithole, changing the specs just makes everything explode.
They could at least indicate ranges of adaptability which wouldn't be an issue.
« Last Edit: 02/16/2018 01:50 pm by speedevil »

Offline Hog

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Quote
“The specific objective of this RFI is to solicit information that may potentially enhance NASA’s planned approach for an OMS engine replacement, including engine subassembly, nozzle extension, and heat shield assembly, and assist in developing the acquisition strategy,” notes the RFI document.

Moreover, NASA’s RFI also states that “This RFI is not to be construed as a commitment by the Government nor will the Government pay for information solicited.  NASA will use the information obtained as a result of this RFI on a non-attribution basis.  The information received may be used in developing the best approach for fulfilling these requirements, and therefore, may be recognizable to the interested party.”


It’s like the meeting to plan the planning meeting.

So much red tape...
I read it as a clear concise RFI.  We want information, but we wont pay for it, if we use any of "your" supplied info-we wont give your company credit and if you give info-it doesn't mean we will give you the contract, so don't bitch and moan if you see your ideas landing on the Moon. If you cant contain such reactions, please vent them to your lawyers-but remember they will be unable to do anything legally to assuage any perceived tactility to your impending nervous prostration because we told you from the start "I'm just curious, and not looking for anything serious."
Paul

Offline OM72

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Like nobody thought "Hmmm, we have a finite number of these engines, we'll someday run out of them if we keep shooting them out into space and not bringing them back. Do you think that once the program starts, we'll need to redesign replacements for all this legacy stuff? - Nahhhh!"

The thought that this was all sold as being cheaper and faster because you would be using 'off-the-shelf' components is just mind-boggling.

I'm glad they accepted the proposal I made to NASA management back in 2011.  :-)

And it does make sense.  Minimize the amount of development dollars needed at one time by using the assets you have first.  And yeah, the engine will essentially be the same because the prop system on the SM is designed to meet the inlet conditions needed for that engine.  But there are some things that could change, namely materials and manufacturing techniques that would reduce the recurring cost of the engine. 

Offline ulm_atms

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And it does make sense.  Minimize the amount of development dollars needed at one time by using the assets you have first.  And yeah, the engine will essentially be the same because the prop system on the SM is designed to meet the inlet conditions needed for that engine.  But there are some things that could change, namely materials and manufacturing techniques that would reduce the recurring cost of the engine. 

It WOULD make sense if they just basically started making the exact same engine again.  But they won't.  There will be some oh so very slight changes, which will require full on development, then full on testing, then full on certification, and then next thing you know....somewhere in the books will be a line item for Orion Service Module engine re-dev with probably 9 numbers to the left of the decimal place.

Where do I get this from?  The RS-25 engines.  They used them for the same exact reason as the OMS (legacy hardware reuse), woops...we are going to run out so we need to make more....we want costs to go down...lets change it to save money...now we have to re-develop/re-test/re-certify the expendable version...and if it only costs a few million less per engine then the original(complete guess...no soild numbers known!!)... and dev/test/cert...costs say 1 billion for easy math....it would take 500 engines to just break even from the changes made.

For using the same design to save costs...they are sure having to dump a lot of money into the develop/test/recertify part which is where they say they are saving the money in the first place!!  I see no reason to believe the OSM re-engine will not follow the path of lots of money to get it going again.

My problem is not with the money they are having to spend to basically restart the production lines...I have no issues with that...it has to be done.  My problem is with them saying "We are reusing to save costs, but then we are modifying things to be cheaper."  That is creating more dev/test/cert costs that I believe outweigh what they are trying to save by reusing existing hardware in the first place.

If Dev+Test+Cert+New Item < Original Item on costs, then yay..saved money.
But if it's >  (which i believe it will be on quite a few parts)...then boo...wasted money

Time will tell....

Offline AncientU

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Am I the only one that read that as:

"We are asking for information to see who wants to start building the OMS engine again."

The specifics are so specific that the only engine that could replace the OMS is the OMS.

I'm curious about what you all think could be different and still meet that huge list of specs because they basically printed out the full spec list for the OMS as requirements.  Materials selection (3D print, different alloy, etc...) is my only guess but I would still consider that the same engine.

So, is this just another effort to justify starting up an old AJR line at huge expense like the RS-25E 'justification'?
"If we shared everything [we are working on] people would think we are insane!"
-- SpaceX friend of mlindner

Offline speedevil

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So, is this just another effort to justify starting up an old AJR line at huge expense like the RS-25E 'justification'?

On a more serious response.

The SuperDraco, while clearly not fitting, is at least in the ballpark.
I would be very, very surprised if SuperDraco cost $1B to develop, and a third hypergolic engine might be well within their demonstrated capability.

Offline Khadgars

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Ok, this thread has completely de-railed into NASA and SLS/Orion bashing per usual...
Evil triumphs when good men do nothing - Thomas Jefferson

Offline joek

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Ok, this thread has completely de-railed into NASA and SLS/Orion bashing per usual...

No.  This is the AJRD-bashing thread.  The NASA and SLS/Orion bashing thread is the next door down on the left.

Offline ulm_atms

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Ok, this thread has completely de-railed into NASA and SLS/Orion bashing per usual...

Ok, I don't usually call something out....but can you explain how this thread has de-railed to NASA/SLS/ORION/ARJ bashing?

I don't really see anyone going "NASA SUCKS!, SLS SUCKS!, ORION'S A WASTE, etc..."

The RFI really reads to me as: "Who wants to make the OMS engine again." as there requirements are basically the OMS spec sheet.  The other part for me was that they want to re-use to save money which is great, but then make changes to cheapen the final product per unit cost. My issue is that they never re-integrate the dev cost back.  Sure, it's cheaper per item...but the older item actually comes out cheaper per unit then the dev+new unit costs do.  Example(made up numbers for easy math):

1 million per engine built exactly like before + 0 since all dev/test/cert should still be valid.  100 engines needed.  100 Million total
500K per engine built new design + 100 million for all dev/test/cert for that new design.  100 engines needed.  150 Million total

In that regard...the new/cheaper engines cost 50 million more technically.

I actually thought the thread was pretty much on target of discussing what the RFI means and projecting that into the future.

Did I miss something somewhere?

Offline envy887

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Ok, this thread has completely de-railed into NASA and SLS/Orion bashing per usual...

No.  This is the AJRD-bashing thread.  The NASA and SLS/Orion bashing thread is the next door down on the left.


I'm sure we can make it multi-purpose thread and fit some of both in.

So, is this just another effort to justify starting up an old AJR line at huge expense like the RS-25E 'justification'?

On a more serious response.

The SuperDraco, while clearly not fitting, is at least in the ballpark.
I would be very, very surprised if SuperDraco cost $1B to develop, and a third hypergolic engine might be well within their demonstrated capability.

Considering that Dragon 2 in it's entirety only cost around $1 billion to develop, that seems most unlikely.

And it does make sense.  Minimize the amount of development dollars needed at one time by using the assets you have first.  And yeah, the engine will essentially be the same because the prop system on the SM is designed to meet the inlet conditions needed for that engine.  But there are some things that could change, namely materials and manufacturing techniques that would reduce the recurring cost of the engine. 

It WOULD make sense if they just basically started making the exact same engine again.  But they won't.  There will be some oh so very slight changes, which will require full on development, then full on testing, then full on certification, and then next thing you know....somewhere in the books will be a line item for Orion Service Module engine re-dev with probably 9 numbers to the left of the decimal place.

Where do I get this from?  The RS-25 engines.  They used them for the same exact reason as the OMS (legacy hardware reuse), woops...we are going to run out so we need to make more....we want costs to go down...lets change it to save money...now we have to re-develop/re-test/re-certify the expendable version...and if it only costs a few million less per engine then the original(complete guess...no soild numbers known!!)... and dev/test/cert...costs say 1 billion for easy math....it would take 500 engines to just break even from the changes made.

For using the same design to save costs...they are sure having to dump a lot of money into the develop/test/recertify part which is where they say they are saving the money in the first place!!  I see no reason to believe the OSM re-engine will not follow the path of lots of money to get it going again.

My problem is not with the money they are having to spend to basically restart the production lines...I have no issues with that...it has to be done.  My problem is with them saying "We are reusing to save costs, but then we are modifying things to be cheaper."  That is creating more dev/test/cert costs that I believe outweigh what they are trying to save by reusing existing hardware in the first place.

If Dev+Test+Cert+New Item < Original Item on costs, then yay..saved money.
But if it's >  (which i believe it will be on quite a few parts)...then boo...wasted money

Time will tell....


The point of using existing hardware was mostly to fly sooner, as well as being cheaper (and various political motivations not worth discussing here).

I don't think that the timing worked out in the case of RS-25. A new engine program started in late 2010 would certainly have produced a flight-ready engine by mid 2020 for SLS first flight. In fact, they could have started it as late as mid-2015 and still be ready.

I don't think it worked out on cost either. A new booster engine could most likely have been developed for the billion and a half spend restarting RS-25 production plus the money NASA spent redesigning and qualifying the engine controller for the existing RS-25.

Offline Lars-J

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Ok, this thread has completely de-railed into NASA and SLS/Orion bashing per usual...

Until the SLS/Orion program produces some actual good news (besides "we made a weld!"), what do you expect? If you think this is news that needs a more positive spin, then you can help out by explaining it to us.
« Last Edit: 02/17/2018 04:20 am by Lars-J »

Offline CorvusCorax

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SpaceX could completely troll them by proposing a gimbaled version of the superdraco with a nozzle extension. The specs are so specific that it really says "we don't want this particular engine, only one that looks exactly like it"

If I was working for SpaceX I'd take that as an engineering challenge, and set an intern to it to adapt the superdraco specs to match those requirements until the deadline ;)

It uses the same propellants and has enough thrust, it only needs to match the ISP and housing specs.

Offline calapine

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I knew this discussion was familiar somehow.

After some googling...ta...da:

Quote
Meanwhile, in preparation for the potential ISS 2021-2024 contribution deal, European technical studies this year will assess avionics, habitation modules and life support systems for a cislunar habitat and new propulsion options for the Orion service module.

The study of new propulsion options for the service module is being done because the module uses the space shuttle’s orbital maneuvering system (OMS) engine and its supply is limited. “There are propulsion trade-offs for how to enhance [the propulsion system] for the long-term,” Parker said Feb. 3.

Parker expects the first three service modules to use the OMS, which uses the fuel monomethyl hydrazine and the oxidizer, nitrogen tetroxide and produces 6,000 pounds of thrust. ESA is considering four alternate engines, Dettman told SpaceNews in a Feb. 3 interview, but he declined to say which engines. One possible alternate hydrazine engine is the Aerojet Rocketdyne AJ10-118k. It produces a 9,850-pound thrust at altitude and was used for the second stage of United Launch Alliance’s Delta 2 rocket.

Considering ESA is building the ESM this would make Aestus (II) a quite likely contender as well.



Offline calapine

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Let's speculate. The required specs from the RFI:
Quote
Isp (specific impulse) ~ 310 (minimum), standard inlet conditions
Thrust ~ 6000 lbf, standard inlet conditions
MR (mixture ratio) ~ 1.65
Weight ~ 284 lbf (maximum)


310 s ISP min. Aestus 3178 Ns/kg which is 324 s......CHECK
6000 lbf thrust min = 26,7 kN. Aestus has 28,4 kN...CHECK
MR ~1,65. Aestus uses an MR of 2,05......................MAYBE?
284 lbs max = 128,9 kg. Aestus has 111 kg.............CHECK
« Last Edit: 02/17/2018 08:11 pm by calapine »

Offline envy887

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Aestus II / RS-72 would be a interesting option. It's 138 kg, so a bit heavier, but has much better isp (340 s) and thrust (55.4 kN).

I think the extra engine mass could be more than made up with a lighter prop tank and pressurization system.

Offline Eric Hedman

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If a replacement engine goes ahead, who pays for it for each flight, NASA or ESA?

Online Coastal Ron

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If a replacement engine goes ahead, who pays for it for each flight, NASA or ESA?

The Orion is a NASA program, and ESA is doing work on the Orion to offset their partner contribution for the ISS. So from that standpoint it would be NASA that pays for the new engines.
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

Offline Patchouli

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Let's speculate. The required specs from the RFI:


310 s ISP min. Aestus 3178 Ns/kg which is 324 s......CHECK
6000 lbf thrust min = 26,7 kN. Aestus has 28,4 kN...CHECK
MR ~1,65. Aestus uses an MR of 2,05......................MAYBE?
284 lbs max = 128,9 kg. Aestus has 111 kg.............CHECK


Looks like it would be a good choice esp since it's still in production.

The original OME for Orion also would be a logical choice since it was designed for the mission.

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