Author Topic: Honda Small Rocket Launcher  (Read 3089 times)

Offline Asteroza

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Honda Small Rocket Launcher
« on: 06/28/2021 11:23 pm »
So I missed this announcement back in april, but apparently Honda is also jumping into the small launcher business as well, with a fairly fat budget to boot.

https://news.yahoo.co.jp/byline/akiyamaayano/20210425-00234555/


I bring this up now, because according to rumor, Honda has recently ramped up their active poaching of talent from the japanese domestic space industry, with a focus on startups/newspace. This might be something to watch.

No other details surfacing regarding the type/size of the rocket other than smallsat oriented. There was a small aside in the above article that they were seeking people with diesel engine experience, which might provides some hints on their rocket engine design, though the article author seemingly suggests hypergols due to lack of igniters in diesels...

Coming late to the smallsat launcher party is going to be tough, especially with the the elephant in the room that is SpaceX

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: Honda Small Rocket Launcher
« Reply #1 on: 09/30/2021 03:44 pm »
https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/honda-introduces-initiatives-in-new-areas-taking-on-challenges-in-new-areas-while-leveraging-its-core-technologies-301388448.html

Space part of the PR:

Quote
3. Taking on challenges in the field of space technology

Accelerating Honda research and development in the field of space technologies while viewing it as a place to take on challenges to realize the "dreams" and "potential" of people worldwide while leveraging its core technologies

Building a circulative renewable energy system on the lunar surface by leveraging Honda fuel cell technologies and high differential pressure water electrolysis technologies

Applying Honda's multi-fingered robotic hand, AI-supported remote control function, and highly-responsive torque control technologies to remotely-controlled robots which will perform tasks on the lunar surface

Proposal by young Honda engineers to research and develop a small, reusable rocket by applying Honda's core technologies such as combustion, fluid, control and guidance technologies

Honda views the field of space technologies as a place to take on new challenges to realize the "dreams" and "potential" of people worldwide while leveraging its core technologies.
By leveraging core technologies unique to Honda, such as combustion, guidance, fuel cell and robotics technologies, Honda is pursuing technology development with a goal to create new value in the ultimate environment of outer space.

3-1. Challenges on the lunar surface:

Circulative renewable energy system
Application of Honda technologies to remote-controlled robots

As international momentum for expanding the range of human activities outside the Earth continues to grow, Honda began initiatives to strive for the expansion of human activities and development on the lunar surface. It is said that there is water on the Moon, and various possibilities for the use of water may open up are attracting attention. Honda is conducting a joint research with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) with a goal to build the circulative renewable energy system on the lunar surface by leveraging fuel cell technologies and high differential pressure water electrolysis technologies Honda has amassed to date.

By combining Honda's fuel cell technologies and high differential pressure water electrolysis technologies, and by using electricity from renewable energy sources, the system electrically decomposes water and stores hydrogen and oxygen. Then, using that hydrogen and oxygen, Honda's fuel cell technologies, can generate and supply electricity. The oxygen also can be used for people staying at living quarters on the lunar surface, and the hydrogen also will be used as fuel for rockets. By building such a circulative renewable energy system, Honda will strive to contribute to a wide range of human activities on the lunar surface.

Moreover, for the remotely-controlled robots on the lunar surface, which can minimize the risks astronauts will be exposed to and enable people to virtually enjoy the experience of being on the Moon from Earth, Honda is expecting to apply a number of its core technologies. This includes the multi-fingered robotic hand technology and AI-supported remote control technology being developed for the Honda Avatar Robot and the highly-responsive torque control technology for collision mitigation. These research themes were adopted by the JAXA Space Exploration Innovation Hub and the joint research began in February of this year.

3-2. Reusable small rocket which will apply Honda's core technologies

Honda also is working on the development of small rockets. This rocket development was initiated by the proposal made by young Honda engineers who wanted to build a small rocket by utilizing core technologies, such as combustion and control technologies, that Honda has amassed through the development of various products.

Artificial satellites are indispensable for various purposes including the observation of the global environment, such as global warming and abnormal weather conditions and also to enable wide-area communication, which is an effective means to provide connectivity to mobility products. However, currently, there are not enough rockets available to meet demand for satellite launches. To address this issue, Honda is developing a small rocket with a goal to use it as a launch vehicle for small low-earth orbit satellites. Moreover, Honda is conducting research with an assumption to make its rocket "reusable" by enabling at least some of the rocket components to land back on earth after the launching. For this challenge, Honda will strive to utilize control and guidance technologies Honda has amassed through the development of automated driving technologies.

In addition to a complete commitment to its environmental and safety challenges, Honda will continue pursuing outside-the-box research to leverage its core technologies and take on challenges in new areas to bring about new value that overcomes the constraints of time and space of people.

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Re: Honda Small Rocket Launcher
« Reply #2 on: 09/30/2021 05:35 pm »
Some more info in this Japanese-language news article, including the attached image (which, being an image, couldn't be machine-translated) and a comment about the vehicle launching a "1000 kg class" payload to low Earth orbit. As for development status, "the actual development started at the end of 2019, and it is said that it has reached the stage where the combustion test of the engine can be done in about one and a half years."

Offline Asteroza

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Re: Honda Small Rocket Launcher
« Reply #3 on: 09/30/2021 09:59 pm »
Some more info in this Japanese-language news article, including the attached image (which, being an image, couldn't be machine-translated) and a comment about the vehicle launching a "1000 kg class" payload to low Earth orbit. As for development status, "the actual development started at the end of 2019, and it is said that it has reached the stage where the combustion test of the engine can be done in about one and a half years."

Is 1000kg payload still considered small these days?

The following Yomiuri article states first launch expected in 2029?

https://www.yomiuri.co.jp/economy/20210930-OYT1T50202/


If you have the google translate app on your smartphone, the camera live translation mode isn't horrific for providing a machine translated live overlay of english text on a viewed image...



The design shown seems to take a lot of cues from New Shepard... which might indicate first stage recoverability if those white parts are legs.
« Last Edit: 09/30/2021 10:23 pm by Asteroza »

Offline russianhalo117

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Re: Honda Small Rocket Launcher
« Reply #4 on: 09/30/2021 11:31 pm »
Some more info in this Japanese-language news article, including the attached image (which, being an image, couldn't be machine-translated) and a comment about the vehicle launching a "1000 kg class" payload to low Earth orbit. As for development status, "the actual development started at the end of 2019, and it is said that it has reached the stage where the combustion test of the engine can be done in about one and a half years."

Is 1000kg payload still considered small these days?

The following Yomiuri article states first launch expected in 2029?

https://www.yomiuri.co.jp/economy/20210930-OYT1T50202/


If you have the google translate app on your smartphone, the camera live translation mode isn't horrific for providing a machine translated live overlay of english text on a viewed image...



The design shown seems to take a lot of cues from New Shepard... which might indicate first stage recoverability if those white parts are legs.
They have to start somewhere. Shareholders meetings ultimately led to the selected decision. This is by no means their final rocket. They were approached by JAXA and the Japanese government a few years ago along with Cannon and others to develop and enter the market.
« Last Edit: 09/30/2021 11:31 pm by russianhalo117 »

Offline jstrotha0975

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Re: Honda Small Rocket Launcher
« Reply #5 on: 10/01/2021 05:06 pm »
Will the rocket have i-VTEC?  :D

Offline noogie

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Re: Honda Small Rocket Launcher
« Reply #6 on: 10/04/2021 10:45 pm »
https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/honda-introduces-initiatives-in-new-areas-taking-on-challenges-in-new-areas-while-leveraging-its-core-technologies-301388448.html

I found these 2 snippets in that press release both amusing and fascinating

Quote
Proposal by young Honda engineers to research and develop a small, reusable rocket by applying Honda's core technologies such as combustion, fluid, control and guidance technologies

Quote
Honda also is working on the development of small rockets. This rocket development was initiated by the proposal made by young Honda engineers who wanted to build a small rocket by utilizing core technologies, such as combustion and control technologies, that Honda has amassed through the development of various products.

Maybe there is something up with the translation from Japanese to English but both of these seem to imply that their engineers wanted to develop a rocket and basically lobbied and cajoled management into agreeing?
TBH, if they have free engineering time, I'd rather they fix issues, like with my Honda lawn mower where it doesn't have enough sucking power and leaves too much grass clippings on the ground first before developing yet another small launch rocket ::)
« Last Edit: 10/04/2021 10:52 pm by noogie »

Offline Zed_Noir

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Re: Honda Small Rocket Launcher
« Reply #7 on: 10/04/2021 10:56 pm »
<snip>
Maybe there is something up with the translation from Japanese to English but both of these seem to imply that their engineers wanted to develop a rocket and basically lobbied and cajoled management into agreeing?
<snip>


Honda is leaving the Formula One circuit. So the company have to come up with something to retain the talent. There is a lot commonality between a Formula One racing team and a start up in small rocket launchers.

Offline Danderman

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Re: Honda Small Rocket Launcher
« Reply #8 on: 11/03/2021 05:19 pm »
https://www.space.com/honda-test-fires-engine-new-rocket?utm_campaign=socialflow

The larger question is whether there is any crossover in car manufacturing that applies to rocket manufacturing, apart from the obvious area of engine design.

Offline RedLineTrain

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Re: Honda Small Rocket Launcher
« Reply #9 on: 11/03/2021 05:28 pm »
Honda seems to specialize in introducing products into niche markets.  The HondaJet seems to be doing reasonably well, for instance.  Not a huge moneymaker, but it is successful.  On the order of $100 million in revenue a year.

The engine on the HondaJet is made by a joint venture of Honda and GE.
« Last Edit: 11/03/2021 05:34 pm by RedLineTrain »

Online niwax

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Re: Honda Small Rocket Launcher
« Reply #10 on: 11/03/2021 05:28 pm »
I'm pretty sure this has been mentioned here before.

In Japan and Korea especially, most big companies and industrial conglomerates that do much more than the products you might now at first. H3 is made by Mitsubishi, for instance.

Honda in particular also makes aircraft and robots.
Which booster has the most soot? SpaceX booster launch history! (discussion)

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Re: Honda Small Rocket Launcher
« Reply #11 on: 11/03/2021 05:50 pm »
I'm pretty sure this has been mentioned here before.

There's a thread over in the Japanese Launchers section, but that might not be a place people check as often.

Offline Asteroza

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Re: Honda Small Rocket Launcher
« Reply #12 on: 11/03/2021 09:51 pm »
So apparently they recently had a combustion test for their engine but no pics...

https://www.space.com/honda-test-fires-engine-new-rocket

Offline Mahurora

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Re: Honda Small Rocket Launcher
« Reply #13 on: 11/03/2021 11:02 pm »
I'm pretty sure this has been mentioned here before.

In Japan and Korea especially, most big companies and industrial conglomerates that do much more than the products you might now at first. H3 is made by Mitsubishi, for instance.

Honda in particular also makes aircraft and robots.

That's mostly down to Mitsubishi being heavily involved in Heavy Industries segment, including their gas turbine business. Mitsubishi Group as a whole couldn't care less about automobile manufacturing, as showcased by how Mitsubishi Motors was handled.

On the other hand Honda started as a motorcycle manufacturer and now a company that produce anything consumer related general regarding ICE. Honda Aero on the other hand was more justified since it was Soichiro Honda's dream. I mean, yeah, they've done other wacky stuffs as well such as Asimo but a full blown rocket is... unexpected to come from Honda, to say the least.

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Re: Honda Small Rocket Launcher
« Reply #14 on: 11/03/2021 11:21 pm »
So apparently they recently had a combustion test for their engine but no pics...

https://www.space.com/honda-test-fires-engine-new-rocket

Actually, is this the same combustion test mentioned in this Ars article? Apparently the press did get to see a video of the test firing -- but only in black and white, possibly to make the specific propellants (maybe including engine-rich combustion) harder to discern.

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