Poll

Which rockets will achieve orbit by 2027 and continue flying 2030 or later?

Zephyr, Lattitude: 100 kg LEO
0 (0%)
Prime, Orbex: 200 kg LEO
0 (0%)
Electron, Rocket Lab: 300 kg LEO
25 (5.2%)
Skyrora XL, Skyrora: 315 kg LEO
3 (0.6%)
Launcher One, Virgin Orbit: 500 kg LEO
0 (0%)
Minotaur I, Northrop: 580 kg LEO
3 (0.6%)
Rocket 4, Astra: 600 kg LEO
2 (0.4%)
Miura 5, PLD Space: 900 kg LEO
1 (0.2%)
Spectrum, Isar: 1000 kg LEO
1 (0.2%)
Alpha, Firefly: 1030 kg LEO
6 (1.3%)
RS1, ABL: 1350 kg LEO
5 (1%)
Minotaur IV, Northrop: 1745 kg LEO
3 (0.6%)
Vega / Vega C, AVIO: 3300 kg LEO
22 (4.6%)
Neutron, Rocket Lab: 15 ton LEO expended / 13 ton partial reuse
39 (8.1%)
Antares 330 / MLV, Northrop/Firefly: 16 tons  LEO
18 (3.8%)
Falcon 9, SpaceX: 8.3 ton GTO expended, 5.5 ton partial reuse
50 (10.4%)
Terran-R, Relativity: ~9 ton GTO expended, 5.5 ton partial reuse
19 (4%)
Ariane 6, ArianeGroup: 11.5 ton GTO
47 (9.8%)
New Glenn, Blue Origin: 13 ton GTO
49 (10.2%)
Vulcan, ULA: 14.5 ton GTO
51 (10.6%)
Falcon Heavy, SpaceX: 26.7 ton GTO expended, 8-24 ton partial reuse
41 (8.6%)
SLS, NASA: 42 ton TLI
37 (7.7%)
Starship, SpaceX: 150+ ton GTO with refueling, 21 ton without
56 (11.7%)
None of the above (explain)
0 (0%)
RFA One, RFA: 1600kg
1 (0.2%)

Total Members Voted: 62

Voting closed: 06/30/2023 09:44 pm


Author Topic: Which current / near future rockets will survive to still operate in 2030?  (Read 3478 times)

Offline DeimosDream

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With Astra's stock plummeting, Virgin Orbit entering bankruptcy, and Terran-1 cancelled before reaching orbit this seems like a good time to make predictions on which rockets survive the decade and which do not.

Above is a list of North American and Western European rockets either currently flying or who had plans to fly by 2024 as of January. Unfunded proposals (Colibri) and rockets with announced retirements (Atlas V) have been excluded. Small/Medium lift rockets are sorted by LEO payload. Heavy and Super Heavy lift rockets are sorted by GTO/TLI payload.

Which rockets will still be successfully flying payloads 2030 or beyond?
Lets also say new rockets have to achieve orbital attempt no later than 2027 to prove they can survive a longer operational period than LauncherOne's current 2021-2023 record to be called successful.

Edit: Added RFA One.
« Last Edit: 04/23/2023 05:03 am by DeimosDream »

Offline deltaV

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Lets also say new rockets have to achieve orbital attempt no earlier than 2027 to prove they can survive a longer operational period than LauncherOne's current 2021-2023 record to be called successful.
"No earlier than" should be "no later than". Otherwise rockets such as SLS and Falcon 9 have already failed your criteria!

Offline DeimosDream

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Lets also say new rockets have to achieve orbital attempt no earlier than 2027 to prove they can survive a longer operational period than LauncherOne's current 2021-2023 record to be called successful.
"No earlier than" should be "no later than". Otherwise rockets such as SLS and Falcon 9 have already failed your criteria!
Whoops. Poll question correct, opening post  elaboration wrong, now corrected.

Offline Vahe231991

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Whether the Minotaur I and IV will continue operating by the late 2020s is unclear because those SLVs use components from decommissioned ICBMs, but there are a number of Minuteman missiles decommissioned in recent years that probably have had their components re-used for a number of Minotaur rockets under construction.

Offline Robotbeat

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I voted Electron, then every option from Neutron through Starship.

SOME of them will stop by then, but I think most won't. Starship, Falcon 9, and Falcon Heavy will all be still operating in 2030.
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Online AmigaClone

I voted Electron, then every option from Neutron through Starship.

SOME of them will stop by then, but I think most won't. Starship, Falcon 9, and Falcon Heavy will all be still operating in 2030.

I would add Vega to that list of orbital launch vehicles most likely still operating in 2030.

Online trimeta

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I voted Electron, then every option from Neutron through Starship.

SOME of them will stop by then, but I think most won't. Starship, Falcon 9, and Falcon Heavy will all be still operating in 2030.
I have some doubts about Falcon Heavy. While I don't know if Starship is ever intended to have a launch escape system (and thus for crewed missions which demand it, Falcon 9/Dragon will still have a place), if SpaceX builds out vertical integration for Starship and flies it enough times for DoD certification, there's not much use for Falcon Heavy anymore.

Offline ZachS09

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I voted for all except Zephyr, Prime, Skyrora XL, LauncherOne, Minotaurs I & IV, Miura 5, Spectrum, and RFA One.

I don't think LauncherOne will last much longer given Virgin Orbit's state of play.

Regarding the Minotaurs I & IV, NG will probably fly the remaining ones out by the end of the 2020s.

As for Zephyr, Prime, Skyrora XL, Miura 5, Spectrum, and RFA One; I have absolutely no clue what those rockets are, so I don't have a definite answer on their futures.

But one thing's for sure: I have faith in Astra and their Rocket 4.0. They'll find a way to make it into the 2030s.
Liftoff for St. Jude's! Go Dragon, Go Falcon, Godspeed Inspiration4!

Online TrevorMonty




But one thing's for sure: I have faith in Astra and their Rocket 4.0. They'll find a way to make it into the 2030s.
Going need to win lottery or find a billionaire that wants to become millionaire.

Online trimeta

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As for Zephyr, Prime, Skyrora XL, Miura 5, Spectrum, and RFA One; I have absolutely no clue what those rockets are, so I don't have a definite answer on their futures.
I actually did say "yes" to Spectrum and Skyrora XL, largely because I think Germany and the UK (respectively) will have enough interest in sovereign launch capabilities to keep one domestic company alive, and those two rockets represent the most promising companies in those countries. However, I didn't say "yes" to Zephyr, because as far as France is concerned, ArianeSpace is their domestic launch provider, there's no need to back another.

This is of course just my opinion, the costs may ultimately not be worth it for those countries, since they've gotten this far without sovereign launch.

Edit: I remembered the UK's Black Arrow program immediately after posting, no need to remind me about it. I don't think it changes my argument.
« Last Edit: 04/26/2023 02:30 pm by trimeta »

Offline DeimosDream

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As for Zephyr, Prime, Skyrora XL, Miura 5, Spectrum, and RFA One; I have absolutely no clue what those rockets are, so I don't have a definite answer on their futures.

Zephyr, Prime, and Skyrora XL are European Electron wannabes. I'm guessing at least one of them will succeed, and picked Skyrora.

Zephyr is being built be Lattitude, a French company. It looks like a non-electric Electron clone. Same size, same 9:1 common engine, but lower payload. I'm skeptical it is big enough to be viable and the use of foreign launch sites may limit any national bonus support. I'm not really surprised nobody has given them a vote of confidence so far.

Orbex Prime is one of the two leading UK small lift rockets. They've been around longer than Astra, but have been moving slower. One of their gimicks is to have a 'green' rocket powered by bio-fuel propane. I'm a little surprised nobody has given them a vote yet.

Skyrora XL is the other UK small lift rocket in development with decent funding. Its a 3-stage hydrogen-peroxide oxidizer rocket. Peroixide is less efficient so the Firefly-Alpha sized 55+ ton rocket can only lift an Electron sized payload, but being non-cyrogenic should simplify ground handling. The company is currently test launch suborbital sounding rockets to gain experience.

Miura 5, Spectrum, and RFA One are European Firefly Alpha wannabes. I'm guessing at least one of them will succeed and voted Miura and RFA One.

Miura 5 is being built by a Spanish private company PLD Space. They also are starting with a suborbital sounding rocket, Miura 1, which is currently on the pad preparing for a launch.

Isar and RFA are German startups. They are both well funded, but will be facing extremely intense competition internationally with Alpha, RS1, etc, within the EU against Miura, and even for home-field advantage in Germany against each other.

Spectrum by Isar is thought to be the most well funded. I give them very good odds of getting to launch, but thats no guarantee they will still be flying in 2030.

RFA One is the largest of the European startup rockets flying soon, with 1300kg to SSO. They have the ambitious plans to use staged-combustion engines, but if they can solve the technical challenges their slightly larger rocket may help them stand out from the 1-ton crowd.

Offline deltaV

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I voted for Minotaur I and for Minotaur IV through Starship.

Ariane, Minotaur I, Minotaur IV, Vega, and SLS got my vote because they are all government-supported launchers that will probably continue despite not being competitive. No commercial small launchers got my vote because there isn't enough market to support more than a couple small launchers so most inevitably won't survive. I'm guessing Falcon will most likely still be around in 2030 but it's a close call since SpaceX is presumably trying to shut Falcon down as soon as their customers trust Starship. My guess is that 1-2 of the remaining launchers I voted for (i.e. Neutron, Antares, Terran, New Glenn, Vulcan, Starship) will stop before 2030 but I don't know which one(s).

Offline DeimosDream

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I original setup the poll with 60-day, vote-changing allowed. The idea was to give the space enthusiasts on this forum time to look up rockets they were not familiar with and change their mind/vote as more information became available.

Since people were free to see results and change their minds I went ahead and made results available to all. Unfortunately when I edited the poll to add the omitted RFA One the vote-changing flag was lost, and it also appears that viewing results without voting has dampened participation.

So, since vote changing has been lost anyway in an effort to drum up more participation results have now been restricted to after-voting for the last 30 days of the poll. People who want to make predictions on who Starship does/does not drive out of buisness (or who want to predict Starship doesn't make it)... now is your chance to make your opinion heard. Just... please take a few minutes to lookup and consider any rockets you haven't heard of before voting.

Spoiler alert: There are people who think Starship doesn't make it. The only unanimous agreement is on a couple rockets the forum has absolutely no confidence in.

Offline Vahe231991

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I voted for Minotaur I and for Minotaur IV through Starship.

Ariane, Minotaur I, Minotaur IV, Vega, and SLS got my vote because they are all government-supported launchers that will probably continue despite not being competitive. No commercial small launchers got my vote because there isn't enough market to support more than a couple small launchers so most inevitably won't survive. I'm guessing Falcon will most likely still be around in 2030 but it's a close call since SpaceX is presumably trying to shut Falcon down as soon as their customers trust Starship. My guess is that 1-2 of the remaining launchers I voted for (i.e. Neutron, Antares, Terran, New Glenn, Vulcan, Starship) will stop before 2030 but I don't know which one(s).
There are a number of forthcoming Minotaur IV launches, and it'd be interesting to see if the Minotaur rocket family is retired before 2030 because it uses components of decommissioned ICBMs. Although there are four more Antares launches currently scheduled, it remains to be seen if the Antares 330 will be operational by 2030.

 

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