Poll

Which upcoming new 25+MT launcher puts cargo in LEO or beyond first and Why?

SLS
9 (7.3%)
Super Heavy+Starship
84 (68.3%)
New Glenn
10 (8.1%)
Vulcan
9 (7.3%)
Nothing Anytime Soon (before Jan 1 2022)
10 (8.1%)
Other vehicle (describe in comments)
1 (0.8%)

Total Members Voted: 123

Voting closed: 03/31/2019 06:29 pm


Author Topic: Which new heavy/superheavy LV is first to reach orbit?  (Read 21491 times)

Offline envy887

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7992
  • Liked: 6532
  • Likes Given: 2927
Re: Which new heavy/superheavy LV is first to reach orbit?
« Reply #40 on: 04/08/2019 01:29 pm »

I don't think it's implausible that Starship could SSTO 25 t to LEO by burning its landing fuel on ascent.

Pixel measuring the ITS 2016 presentation delta-v/payload map suggests not even ITS could do it on paper which was much larger.

Why are all ITS/BFR/SS threadsp polluted by this offtopic-SSTO madness?


Having 9.3km/s of delta-v does not guarantee ability to SSTO. The 2016 version definitely could not SSTO because of it did not have enough atmospheric engines to take off safely with any reasonable amount of fuel. it would had had to used only partially filled tanks, having maybe only about 7km/s of delta-v with fuel if could lift with, and it would still had had terrible gravity losses.

Because SpaceX has explicitly said that they will fly Starship as a single stage on a high energy trajectory to test the heatshield at orbital heat loading. It's a fairly small leap from there to flying "cargo" to LEO which is the topic of this thread.

Offline intrepidpursuit

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 713
  • Orlando, FL
  • Liked: 556
  • Likes Given: 396
Re: Which new heavy/superheavy LV is first to reach orbit?
« Reply #41 on: 04/08/2019 06:10 pm »
I think Blue will fly to orbit first. They don't tell us ANYTHING about what is going on, but they do have a factory and are building an operational launch pad and are selling flights, so on paper they are ahead of Starship. They also have a lot more money available to work toward the goal. If Starship reaches orbit before New Glenn then I'm not sure Blue has a future.

Offline Lar

  • Fan boy at large
  • Global Moderator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 13438
  • Saw Gemini live on TV
  • A large LEGO storage facility ... in Michigan
  • Liked: 11808
  • Likes Given: 11015
Re: Which new heavy/superheavy LV is first to reach orbit?
« Reply #42 on: 04/08/2019 08:46 pm »
I think Blue will fly to orbit first. They don't tell us ANYTHING about what is going on, but they do have a factory and are building an operational launch pad and are selling flights, so on paper they are ahead of Starship. They also have a lot more money available to work toward the goal. If Starship reaches orbit before New Glenn then I'm not sure Blue has a future.
There are many who feel Blue has a place in the game because of the desire to preserve competition, but who knows... it may come down to whether they can get New Glenn operational before Vulcan.
"I think it would be great to be born on Earth and to die on Mars. Just hopefully not at the point of impact." -Elon Musk
"We're a little bit like the dog who caught the bus" - Musk after CRS-8 S1 successfully landed on ASDS OCISLY

Offline kevinof

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1487
  • Somewhere on the boat
  • Liked: 1727
  • Likes Given: 1194
Re: Which new heavy/superheavy LV is first to reach orbit?
« Reply #43 on: 04/08/2019 09:21 pm »
Ok so I'd love SS/SH to get there first , if only because it's such a radical departure from the past. Then again if it comes in second or third, I still think it will go on to be a huge success.

BO could go either way because they are so secretive. Either they have nothing or have a full stack built in their shed and are now finishing off the painting and putting the stickers on. We just don't know.

I think BO will/should get there first but it will be a close run thing with SS.

Offline high road

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1677
  • Europe
  • Liked: 826
  • Likes Given: 151
Re: Which new heavy/superheavy LV is first to reach orbit?
« Reply #44 on: 04/09/2019 07:11 am »

Nothing before 2022. SLS will be years away from flying for years to come. Once Vulcan is 6 months away from flying, it will continue to be 6 months away from flying for quite a long time as well. New Glenn, having inexhaustible funding and thus lacking the drive to move fast, will continue to muddle along while giving Bezos the chance to troll the companies actually launching hardware with the intended cargo at a high pace. Until the first superheavy class vehicle launches and Bezos decides that New Armstrong is the real game changer and New Glenn fizzles. Rinse and repeat. And SpaceX, well, 01/01/2022 is not that far away. They'll have a lot of tweeking to do, and much less pressure/opportunity to do so on the fly as they had with F9.

That's about all the cynicism I had in me for today. Hope to be proven wrong.

Offline speedevil

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4406
  • Fife
  • Liked: 2761
  • Likes Given: 3369
Re: Which new heavy/superheavy LV is first to reach orbit?
« Reply #45 on: 04/09/2019 10:16 pm »
I voted SS/SH because their build rate is a new flight vehicle is one every 6 months in serial production. The first full SS orbital version prototype will be flight ready ~ July 2019. It will likely incorporate lessons learned almost all of which is software but some mechanical/structural possibly as well from the Starhopper #1 flight tests. What this all portends is a full orbital reaching SS flight vehicle ready by #3 by Jan 2020. Add a SH hopper #1 test vehicle followed in ~6 months by a operational SH vehicle #2  by around July 2020 that can carry the SS #3 then this stack would be doing its first orbital demo around October 2020. (Expect a 3 month timeframe to work out processing and integration.)
Does it count if you could launch to orbit, but choose not to?
It seems likely to me that SS/SH have a damn good chance of hitting orbit first time you launch them.
If you delay till you're certain you can land both halves, and do not treat it as expendable, two sets of RCS, thermal protection systems, aero reentry, landing guidance systems, ... all have to work and be debugged flawlessly.

If SpaceXs Raptor production line gets ahead of their SS/SH test flow, and they do not hit major structural problems with SH/SS that would preclude an attempt, they could have the ability to do a ~300 ton class expendable launch considerably before reusable is working.

It could also be a way of funding risky tests.
If they think they have SH or SS working well enough for an expendable launch, and they're ramping the production of starlink satellites hard, throwing a hundred and fifty tons of them up at once could accelerate things nicely and pay off by not having to launch 10 F9 missions.
Even if you only have ~50% chance of pulling it off, you just moved your timeline (on average) a lot to the left, and saved a lot of money that can directly go into your SS program.

Offline dlapine

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 350
  • University of Illinois
  • Liked: 208
  • Likes Given: 293
Re: Which new heavy/superheavy LV is first to reach orbit?
« Reply #46 on: 10/08/2019 10:00 pm »
It's 6 months later, and SpaceX doesn't yet have an orbital prototype, Boeing hasn't yet started attaching engines to the first SLS (that we know of), no New Glenn updates. It does seem to favor SS a bit, with raptors having done test flights with a hopper at this point.
Any updates on your thoughts here without re-doing the poll?

Online jongoff

  • Recovering Rocket Plumber/Space Entrepreneur
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6638
  • Lafayette/Broomfield, CO
  • Liked: 3449
  • Likes Given: 1258
Re: Which new heavy/superheavy LV is first to reach orbit?
« Reply #47 on: 10/09/2019 01:27 am »
It's 6 months later, and SpaceX doesn't yet have an orbital prototype, Boeing hasn't yet started attaching engines to the first SLS (that we know of), no New Glenn updates. It does seem to favor SS a bit, with raptors having done test flights with a hopper at this point.
Any updates on your thoughts here without re-doing the poll?

I still think there's a decent chance Vulcan beats Starship to orbit, but if it does it might not be by much. I'm really skeptical of
Elon's 6 month claim, and highly doubt they'll get a successful orbital flight by the end of 2020, but Vulcan is late enough in 2021 that there's a chance Starship could win, especially if you count a non-reuse-capable Starship stunt. I wouldn't bet on either NG or SLS beating Starship though.

~Jon

Offline Billium

  • Member
  • Posts: 86
  • Winnipeg Canada
  • Liked: 71
  • Likes Given: 43
Re: Which new heavy/superheavy LV is first to reach orbit?
« Reply #48 on: 10/09/2019 02:57 am »
I voted that none will fly before Jan 1, 2022, although I hope I'm wrong. It is possible that any might have an orbital launch prior to that date, and I think it is likely that some or all will by Jan 1, 2023, but I think schedules are going to slip so we won't see it in the time allowed in the poll.

SLS will slip... because it's SLS. Vulcan will slip because it doesn't need to slip that much, Blue takes things slow and this will be their first orbital vehicle, I think the SpaceX vehicle has extra technology that has to be proved out, ie. tranpirational cooling, and this is not a given and I don't think they will launch without it. Also I'm not sure if Spacex will have sufficient internal or external funding for this project within the time available.

As an update to my prediction, I think Elon has taken some of the technical risk out of SH/SS with the new design and seems to pushing really hard. If I could go back in time I would change my vote to SH/SS instead of none. Maybe they can make it to orbit by the end of next year.

Offline dlapine

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 350
  • University of Illinois
  • Liked: 208
  • Likes Given: 293
Re: Which new heavy/superheavy LV is first to reach orbit?
« Reply #49 on: 10/09/2019 04:06 pm »
It's 6 months later, and SpaceX doesn't yet have an orbital prototype, Boeing hasn't yet started attaching engines to the first SLS (that we know of), no New Glenn updates. It does seem to favor SS a bit, with raptors having done test flights with a hopper at this point.
Any updates on your thoughts here without re-doing the poll?

I still think there's a decent chance Vulcan beats Starship to orbit, but if it does it might not be by much. I'm really skeptical of
Elon's 6 month claim, and highly doubt they'll get a successful orbital flight by the end of 2020, but Vulcan is late enough in 2021 that there's a chance Starship could win, especially if you count a non-reuse-capable Starship stunt. I wouldn't bet on either NG or SLS beating Starship though.

~Jon

Is there any info that ULA has received any of the BE-4's for Vulcan yet? That would go a long way towards pushing them ahead of SS.

It is easy to track SpaceX progress through their public events; reasonably so for ULA, and almost not at all for Blue Origin development efforts.

Offline whitelancer64

It's 6 months later, and SpaceX doesn't yet have an orbital prototype, Boeing hasn't yet started attaching engines to the first SLS (that we know of), no New Glenn updates. It does seem to favor SS a bit, with raptors having done test flights with a hopper at this point.
Any updates on your thoughts here without re-doing the poll?

I still think there's a decent chance Vulcan beats Starship to orbit, but if it does it might not be by much. I'm really skeptical of
Elon's 6 month claim, and highly doubt they'll get a successful orbital flight by the end of 2020, but Vulcan is late enough in 2021 that there's a chance Starship could win, especially if you count a non-reuse-capable Starship stunt. I wouldn't bet on either NG or SLS beating Starship though.

~Jon

I agree, if that turns out to be the case it definitely won't be by too much. I still think Starship / SH will be the first, but we could very well see all of these rockets launching within a few months of eachother.
"One bit of advice: it is important to view knowledge as sort of a semantic tree -- make sure you understand the fundamental principles, ie the trunk and big branches, before you get into the leaves/details or there is nothing for them to hang on to." - Elon Musk
"There are lies, damned lies, and launch schedules." - Larry J

Offline Paul451

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3226
  • Australia
  • Liked: 2278
  • Likes Given: 1936
Re: Which new heavy/superheavy LV is first to reach orbit?
« Reply #51 on: 10/22/2019 09:02 am »
This is an odd thread/poll. SLS/NG/Vulc and LM9 (if we include the latter as the "other") are in the same class as Falcon Heavy, which is already flying. But to be "fair" to the others, we have to pretend they are in a "race" with Starship.

If Starship launches before the others, SpaceX won't have just won the race, it means they've won on the first race course, packed up, moved to the next race course, unpacked and set up, and then also run that race before the other competitors have crossed the line at the previous course.

[edit: Pronoun ambiguity]
« Last Edit: 10/25/2019 04:37 am by Paul451 »

Offline dlapine

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 350
  • University of Illinois
  • Liked: 208
  • Likes Given: 293
Re: Which new heavy/superheavy LV is first to reach orbit?
« Reply #52 on: 10/22/2019 10:03 pm »
This is an odd thread/poll. SLS/NG/Vulc and LM9 (if we include the latter as the "other") are in the same class as Falcon Heavy, which is already flying. But to be "fair" to the others, we have to pretend they are in a "race" with Starship.

If Starship launches before the others, they won't have just won the race, it means they've won on the first race course, packed up, moved to the next race course, unpacked and set up, and then also run that race before the other competitors have crossed the line at the previous course.

I don't disagree mostly, but if SLS were flying now, it would have better LEO/TLI performance and better support for larger volumes with the 10m fairings. Would that be worth the extra $10B (SLS only) in development costs? Probably not.

Part of the other issue is that NASA and the DOD seem to be acting as if the FH were not already available as a heavy option. at least with respect to block buys. With Starship or any of the other wide-bodies in putting payload into orbit, perceptions change.

Offline envy887

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7992
  • Liked: 6532
  • Likes Given: 2927
Re: Which new heavy/superheavy LV is first to reach orbit?
« Reply #53 on: 10/22/2019 11:40 pm »
This is an odd thread/poll. SLS/NG/Vulc and LM9 (if we include the latter as the "other") are in the same class as Falcon Heavy, which is already flying. But to be "fair" to the others, we have to pretend they are in a "race" with Starship.

If Starship launches before the others, they won't have just won the race, it means they've won on the first race course, packed up, moved to the next race course, unpacked and set up, and then also run that race before the other competitors have crossed the line at the previous course.

I don't disagree mostly, but if SLS were flying now, it would have better LEO/TLI performance and better support for larger volumes with the 10m fairings. Would that be worth the extra $10B (SLS only) in development costs? Probably not.

Part of the other issue is that NASA and the DOD seem to be acting as if the FH were not already available as a heavy option. at least with respect to block buys. With Starship or any of the other wide-bodies in putting payload into orbit, perceptions change.

What 10 m fairing? The only fairing available for SLS in any near-term scenario is the 5 m Delta IV fairing.

The 8.4 m fairing requires EUS and isn't going to be operationally available before 2025.

The 10 m fairing requires Block 2 and isn't going to be operationally available before 2028, if ever.
« Last Edit: 10/23/2019 01:21 pm by envy887 »

Offline dlapine

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 350
  • University of Illinois
  • Liked: 208
  • Likes Given: 293
Re: Which new heavy/superheavy LV is first to reach orbit?
« Reply #54 on: 10/24/2019 03:58 am »

I don't disagree mostly, but if SLS were flying now, it would have better LEO/TLI performance and better support for larger volumes with the 10m fairings. Would that be worth the extra $10B (SLS only) in development costs? Probably not.

Part of the other issue is that NASA and the DOD seem to be acting as if the FH were not already available as a heavy option. at least with respect to block buys. With Starship or any of the other wide-bodies in putting payload into orbit, perceptions change.

What 10 m fairing? The only fairing available for SLS in any near-term scenario is the 5 m Delta IV fairing.

The 8.4 m fairing requires EUS and isn't going to be operationally available before 2025.

The 10 m fairing requires Block 2 and isn't going to be operationally available before 2028, if ever.

Good point. I was trying to see an upside for SLS, but I forgot that it won't have the additional volume from 10M until Block 2, or the 8.4M volume from EUS, and neither of those are in this timeframe.

Offline Paul451

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3226
  • Australia
  • Liked: 2278
  • Likes Given: 1936
Re: Which new heavy/superheavy LV is first to reach orbit?
« Reply #55 on: 10/25/2019 04:55 am »
I was trying to see an upside for SLS, but

People keep doing that. I don't think it is a good habit to defend a bad thing because you can sort-of, from a certain angle, if you turn your head and squint the right way, kind of see that it isn't completely worthless, if it existed, and if you ignore everything else about it.

Suppose SLS did have a 10m fairing available on day one. Would that make it worth the cost? No.

Look at the programs that could take advantage of that, would they save the tens of $billions required to develop SLS by using that wide fairing? Take an extreme example, JWST. On current projections, $9+b total cost. And say that a big part of the cost is the complexity of the unfolding origami of the sun-shade. Not a realistic assumption, since the sun-shade apparently isn't the biggest cost item. How much could you possibly save by launching with a less complex sun-shade (3-5 folds instead of 50+). Hubble was proposed at $1b and cost $2.7b. JWST was proposed at $3b and will cost upwards of $9b. Say we could save $6b. Is that worth SLS? Or even part of SLS? Were there other solutions that could have been cheaper, had NASA and contractor management been more honest about JWST or SLS?

It's the same as other standard defence, SLS's much vaunted BLEO "performance".

The current plan is that most or all the hardware will be launched commercially, support will be launched commercially. The only thing that will use SLS is Orion and crew. And the limits of SLS's performance, the limits introduced by insisting on that central requirement means that everything else is more difficult. Virtually any other alternative (even excluding SH/SS) to replicating that capability would be cheaper (and given better program flexibility)*.

Capability doesn't exist in isolation**. If it costs you so much to develop that capability that it destroys the capacity to benefit from the capability, then it is a net negative.


* (For eg, if you ran a refuellable orbital tug development program as badly as commercial crew, it would still be cheaper than SLS. It would also give you a general purpose capability that vastly exceeds SLS in flexibility and future capability. It would also energise a new generation of tech development.)

** (For eg, people are quick to point out that FH being able to launch 50-60T into LEO doesn't mean anything if your "heavy" payload clients need GEO and beyond, or need slightly larger fairings.)
« Last Edit: 10/25/2019 04:59 am by Paul451 »

Offline Hog

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2677
  • Woodstock
  • Liked: 1559
  • Likes Given: 5861
Re: Which new heavy/superheavy LV is first to reach orbit?
« Reply #56 on: 10/25/2019 03:25 pm »
It's 6 months later, and SpaceX doesn't yet have an orbital prototype, Boeing hasn't yet started attaching engines to the first SLS (that we know of), no New Glenn updates. It does seem to favor SS a bit, with raptors having done test flights with a hopper at this point.
Any updates on your thoughts here without re-doing the poll?
We've got engines installed on SLS/Artemis Core Stage#1.

Attachments
1) This pic was taken in the 60's at Michoud Asembly Facility and shows a lineup of  at least 2 Saturn V SI-C 1st stages.  There is an L2 pic showing SLS Core Stage #1 with a RS-25 "Adaptation" (ME-2056 with 9 STS missions flown) engine installed in the #2 Engine Position(upper Left engine position).
2) Engine Position Assignments for SLS Core Stage Main Engines and the Core Stage orientations during Engine Section Mate and the orientation used during Engine Install
3) Engine Assignments for Artemis-1 through 4-note the engine cluster for Artemis-2 is using the 2 RS-25 engines that have yet to be flown. ME-2062(built in 2010) and 2063 circa 2014 have only recently even been hotfired.
Paul

Offline whitelancer64

It's 6 months later, and SpaceX doesn't yet have an orbital prototype, Boeing hasn't yet started attaching engines to the first SLS (that we know of), no New Glenn updates. It does seem to favor SS a bit, with raptors having done test flights with a hopper at this point.
Any updates on your thoughts here without re-doing the poll?
We've got engines installed on SLS/Artemis Core Stage#1.

*snip*
There is an L2 pic showing SLS Core Stage #1 with a RS-25 "Adaptation" (ME-2056 with 9 STS missions flown) engine installed in the #2 Engine Position(upper Left engine position).
*snip*

The pictures with the first engine installed are public.

https://twitter.com/NASA_SLS/status/1186730199343419392

https://twitter.com/NASA_SLS/status/1187372029068152832
"One bit of advice: it is important to view knowledge as sort of a semantic tree -- make sure you understand the fundamental principles, ie the trunk and big branches, before you get into the leaves/details or there is nothing for them to hang on to." - Elon Musk
"There are lies, damned lies, and launch schedules." - Larry J

Offline Hog

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2677
  • Woodstock
  • Liked: 1559
  • Likes Given: 5861
Re: Which new heavy/superheavy LV is first to reach orbit?
« Reply #58 on: 10/25/2019 04:03 pm »
It's 6 months later, and SpaceX doesn't yet have an orbital prototype, Boeing hasn't yet started attaching engines to the first SLS (that we know of), no New Glenn updates. It does seem to favor SS a bit, with raptors having done test flights with a hopper at this point.
Any updates on your thoughts here without re-doing the poll?
We've got engines installed on SLS/Artemis Core Stage#1.

*snip*
There is an L2 pic showing SLS Core Stage #1 with a RS-25 "Adaptation" (ME-2056 with 9 STS missions flown) engine installed in the #2 Engine Position(upper Left engine position).
*snip*

The pictures with the first engine installed are public.
The ones in tweet form are public, the ones tweezed from those tweets are not, yet.  When I say public I mean, in regards to free vs. pay here at NSF. The tweezed pics are so far confined to L-2, which is why I dint post them here.  I just tend to err on the side of caution with such things.  The guys here at NSF.com have treated me most excellently, this site does provide income for certain people here.


Paul

Offline dlapine

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 350
  • University of Illinois
  • Liked: 208
  • Likes Given: 293
Re: Which new heavy/superheavy LV is first to reach orbit?
« Reply #59 on: 10/25/2019 08:08 pm »
It's 6 months later, and SpaceX doesn't yet have an orbital prototype, Boeing hasn't yet started attaching engines to the first SLS (that we know of), no New Glenn updates. It does seem to favor SS a bit, with raptors having done test flights with a hopper at this point.
Any updates on your thoughts here without re-doing the poll?
We've got engines installed on SLS/Artemis Core Stage#1.


At the time I posted the update (08 October), the engines weren't installed, which is why I included it.

Does the recent engine installation change the launch timeframe for the first SLS in your mind?

 

Advertisement NovaTech
Advertisement SkyTale Software GmbH
Advertisement Northrop Grumman
Advertisement
Advertisement Brady Kenniston
Advertisement NextSpaceflight
Advertisement Nathan Barker Photography
1