Author Topic: NextSpaceFlight lists 10 planned launches for Vulcan in 2023  (Read 20647 times)

Online gongora

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ULA doesn't really have a great need to quickly ramp production on Vulcan for the first couple years.  They'll need a few a year at first, and then they'll need it at full rate when the Atlas V's for Amazon run out.

Offline Comga

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Here's a link to a post I made with a graph of "EELV" launch cadence over the first five years since maiden launch, launch aligned, for HII, Atlas V, Delta IV, Ariane V, and Falcon 9: https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=46338.msg2450278#msg2450278.  I'm reattaching the graph for reference here, as it seems relevant.

According to this terrific graph, in their first years, Atlas V, Delta IV, HII, Ariane 5, and Falcon 9 had a TOTAL of SIX additional launches.
So the proposition is that ULA will launch 1.5X as many Vulcans in the partial year after its debut as the combined track record of all five predecessors.
“Aspirational” is generous.

The fastest “first ten” was Falcon 9 in just under FOUR years.
We will see if ULA, with their “MethaLOX Atlas VI” Vulcan can match that.
What kind of wastrels would dump a perfectly good booster in the ocean after just one use?

Offline DanClemmensen

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ULA doesn't really have a great need to quickly ramp production on Vulcan for the first couple years.  They'll need a few a year at first, and then they'll need it at full rate when the Atlas V's for Amazon run out.
Kuiper needs to launch 1638 satellites by 2026 to meet the FCC deadline. I don't think they can do this on their nine Atlas Vs, so they need those 38 Vulcan launches.

Offline AmigaClone

Here's a link to a post I made with a graph of "EELV" launch cadence over the first five years since maiden launch, launch aligned, for HII, Atlas V, Delta IV, Ariane V, and Falcon 9: https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=46338.msg2450278#msg2450278.  I'm reattaching the graph for reference here, as it seems relevant.

According to this terrific graph, in their first years, Atlas V, Delta IV, HII, Ariane 5, and Falcon 9 had a TOTAL of SIX additional launches.
So the proposition is that ULA will launch 1.5X as many Vulcans in the partial year after its debut as the combined track record of all five predecessors.
“Aspirational” is generous.

The fastest “first ten” was Falcon 9 in just under FOUR years.
We will see if ULA, with their “MethaLOX Atlas VI” Vulcan can match that.

I personally suspect that even if ULA had the ability to quickly ramp up production on Vulcan, they might not be able to accomplish that feat due to lack of BE-4 engines. Vulcan's cadence will likely be set by the twin factors of payloads being ready to launch and the first stage engines.

It actually took just over FOUR years for Falcon 9 to launch it's "first ten". On the other hand, there also was a 15 month gap between the second and third launches of the Falcon 9 V1.0. There also was a major revision to the Falcon 9 between the fifth and sixth launches.

Offline deadman1204

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So, it all comes down to whatever the best production rate BO can manage for their BE-4s. And in the longer term, for both of the affected LVs.
It also comes down to payloads. SN will be lucky to launch once this year. No military launches until the first two launches, all engine qualifications are done, plus a pile of other paperwork.

I'd like to point out the OP's list is complete make believe. NASA has zero of those SN CRS flights scheduled.
« Last Edit: 01/20/2023 06:47 pm by deadman1204 »

Offline DanClemmensen

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It seems that Vulcan is built in Huntsville and then moved to Florida on Rocketship. On the initial shipment, the ship carried one Vulcan. Is this the max? Rocketship takes 8 days on the journey, one way, so probably 18 days round trip including turnaround. That would mean 20 trips per year. I think the ship is also used for Atlas V and will be used for the last Delta IV Heavies.

If Rocketship can carry an average of two or more Vulcans, this will not constrain the launch rate. Is there an alternate means of transport?

How to ULA rockets get to Vandenberg?

Offline Vahe231991

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It seems that Vulcan is built in Huntsville and then moved to Florida on Rocketship. On the initial shipment, the ship carried one Vulcan. Is this the max? Rocketship takes 8 days on the journey, one way, so probably 18 days round trip including turnaround. That would mean 20 trips per year. I think the ship is also used for Atlas V and will be used for the last Delta IV Heavies.

If Rocketship can carry an average of two or more Vulcans, this will not constrain the launch rate. Is there an alternate means of transport?

How to ULA rockets get to Vandenberg?
ULA rockets are transported to Vandenberg SFB by boat from Cape Canaveral by crossing the Panama Canal after sailing across the Gulf of Mexico.

Offline tbellman

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It seems that Vulcan is built in Huntsville and then moved to Florida on Rocketship. On the initial shipment, the ship carried one Vulcan. Is this the max? Rocketship takes 8 days on the journey, one way, so probably 18 days round trip including turnaround. That would mean 20 trips per year. I think the ship is also used for Atlas V and will be used for the last Delta IV Heavies.

If Rocketship can carry an average of two or more Vulcans, this will not constrain the launch rate. Is there an alternate means of transport?

How to ULA rockets get to Vandenberg?

R/S RocketShip can carry an entire Delta IV Heavy rocket, with all three boosters, and including the second stage and payload fairings.  See ULA's page about RocketShip.  (That page says payload, but the image on their Flickr says payload fairing, and the latter makes more sense to me.)  And R/S RocketShip is used for shipping to California as well.

While I believe Vulcan is slightly wider than the Delta IV boosters, based on the photos, it looks like they ought to be able to fit three Vulcan boosters side by side in the cargo hold.  But certainly two, with space to spare.

Whether they can fit two Centaur V second stages and two sets of fairings at the same time, though, I don't know.

Offline Jim

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ULA rockets are transported to Vandenberg SFB by boat from Cape Canaveral by crossing the Panama Canal after sailing across the Gulf of Mexico.

From Decatur
« Last Edit: 01/20/2023 09:00 pm by Jim »

Offline Jim

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We have seen that methane GSE can require some testing and debugging for a large rocket, notably Starship. It's probably easier than Hydrogen a lot easier than hydrogen, but it's still going to be new. If Vulcan needs to roll back a few times we should not be surprised: it's normal and presumably it's in the schedule.


Already been done.

Offline DanClemmensen

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It seems that Vulcan is built in Huntsville and then moved to Florida on Rocketship. On the initial shipment, the ship carried one Vulcan. Is this the max? Rocketship takes 8 days on the journey, one way, so probably 18 days round trip including turnaround. That would mean 20 trips per year. I think the ship is also used for Atlas V and will be used for the last Delta IV Heavies.

If Rocketship can carry an average of two or more Vulcans, this will not constrain the launch rate. Is there an alternate means of transport?

How to ULA rockets get to Vandenberg?
ULA rockets are transported to Vandenberg SFB by boat from Cape Canaveral by crossing the Panama Canal after sailing across the Gulf of Mexico.
Yep, that's what Wikipedia says:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RS_RocketShip
That article says it takes 3 weeks one way. There are no further Atlas V or Delta IV heavy flights from Vandenberg except possibly Kuiper on Atlas V. I have no idea if Kuiper will need Vandenberg launches.

Offline Vahe231991

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It seems that Vulcan is built in Huntsville and then moved to Florida on Rocketship. On the initial shipment, the ship carried one Vulcan. Is this the max? Rocketship takes 8 days on the journey, one way, so probably 18 days round trip including turnaround. That would mean 20 trips per year. I think the ship is also used for Atlas V and will be used for the last Delta IV Heavies.

If Rocketship can carry an average of two or more Vulcans, this will not constrain the launch rate. Is there an alternate means of transport?

How to ULA rockets get to Vandenberg?
ULA rockets are transported to Vandenberg SFB by boat from Cape Canaveral by crossing the Panama Canal after sailing across the Gulf of Mexico.
Yep, that's what Wikipedia says:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RS_RocketShip
That article says it takes 3 weeks one way. There are no further Atlas V or Delta IV heavy flights from Vandenberg except possibly Kuiper on Atlas V. I have no idea if Kuiper will need Vandenberg launches.
Cape Canaveral will be launch site for Atlas V rockets slated to launch Kuiper satellites. The KuiperSat-1 and KuiperSat-2 will be lofted to space as part of the maiden launch of the Vulcan rocket, and Amazon last year won a contract to launch Kuiper satellites aboard 38 Vulcan rockets.

Offline DanClemmensen

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It seems that Vulcan is built in Huntsville and then moved to Florida on Rocketship. On the initial shipment, the ship carried one Vulcan. Is this the max? Rocketship takes 8 days on the journey, one way, so probably 18 days round trip including turnaround. That would mean 20 trips per year. I think the ship is also used for Atlas V and will be used for the last Delta IV Heavies.

If Rocketship can carry an average of two or more Vulcans, this will not constrain the launch rate. Is there an alternate means of transport?

How to ULA rockets get to Vandenberg?
ULA rockets are transported to Vandenberg SFB by boat from Cape Canaveral by crossing the Panama Canal after sailing across the Gulf of Mexico.
Yep, that's what Wikipedia says:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RS_RocketShip
That article says it takes 3 weeks one way. There are no further Atlas V or Delta IV heavy flights from Vandenberg except possibly Kuiper on Atlas V. I have no idea if Kuiper will need Vandenberg launches.
Cape Canaveral will be launch site for Atlas V rockets slated to launch Kuiper satellites. The KuiperSat-1 and KuiperSat-2 will be lofted to space as part of the maiden launch of the Vulcan rocket, and Amazon last year won a contract to launch Kuiper satellites aboard 38 Vulcan rockets.
See:
   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kuiper_Systems
Those two satellites are for an initial test and will fly on the initial test Vulcan Centaur. They were supposed to fly on APBL's RS1, but RS1 is having problems so last month they shifted.  The production Kuiper satellites will fly on multiple different LVs, including nine Atlas V. The other 3 LV types have not flown yet: 38 Vulcan Centaur, 18 Arianne 6, and 16 New Glenn. with additional options on New Glenn. All of these contracts were announced at the same time.

I do not know how to evaluate which launches will occur first, but since new rocket have a record of low cadence in the first few years I suspect the Atlas V launches will happen fairly soon.

As seen by an outside observer, it appears that Kuiper will need to launch on either Chinese launchers or on F9 to meet the FCC deadline, but nontechnical issues make both of these of these unacceptable. It will be interesting to see what happens.

Offline DanClemmensen

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Same pad, but different mobile launch platforms for the different rockets.  They've already done some tanking tests with the Vulcan pathfinder, so not starting from scratch there.

If there is room to stack a Vulcan and an Atlas at the same time, one on each ML, then this might reduce pad "conversion", not increase it.

ULA has rebuilt the SPOC (Spaceflight Processing Operations Center) building into a second vehicle integration facility for Vulcan at their launch site in Florida to essentially double their possible flight rate.

Edit to add:

Vulcan: Launch platform rolls to pad for first time
January 29, 2021

https://blog.ulalaunch.com/blog/vulcan-centaur-launch-platform-rolls-to-pad-for-first-time
...And reasonably enough the professionals are way ahead of me on this. See:
     https://spacenews.com/amazon-signs-multibillion-dollar-project-kuiper-launch-contracts/
As part of the Kuiper deal in April 2022, in addition to the 38 launches the deal covers a second (mobile) Vulcan launch platform so ULA can have two Vulcans undergoing launch prep, effectively doubling the launch cadence. I think this means we are back to the build rate being the constraint, and the BE-4 supply being the constraint on the build rate.

Offline ZachS09

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I think we're going off topic with the discussion of the Kuiper satellite launches and Vulcan contracts. It should be in whichever thread is dedicated to Vulcan launching Kuiper.

These additions on Next Spaceflight are obviously subject to change, and who knows how many Vulcans will be launched this year?
Liftoff for St. Jude's! Go Dragon, Go Falcon, Godspeed Inspiration4!

Offline Vahe231991

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I think we're going off topic with the discussion of the Kuiper satellite launches and Vulcan contracts. It should be in whichever thread is dedicated to Vulcan launching Kuiper.

These additions on Next Spaceflight are obviously subject to change, and who knows how many Vulcans will be launched this year?
The NextSpaceFlight website now lists 11 planned Vulcan launches for 2023 instead of 10. Therefore, the posting of this thread was quite premature, especially the title, because NextSpaceFlight routinely makes changes to expected launch windows for upcoming launches for which no firm date is set.

Offline seb21051

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While we're going off topic to Kuiper launches, (Do we have a Kuiper Constellation Section anywhere?)

It occurs to me that if it takes 83 launches from the various LVs to get half the constellation up by 2026, these same LVs are going to be quite busy launching another 83-odd times to get the balance into orbit by 2029.

At least some with (barely) reusable hardware. Which makes one wonder what the average cost per launch is likely to be. And how many satellites each type of LV would be able to hoist.

Edit: Found the numbers for each LV:

"35 to 40 for Arianespace’s Ariane 6, 61 for Blue Origin’s New Glenn, and 45 for United Launch Alliance’s Vulcan Centaur."

And the cost for the first 83 launches is $5B, which equates to about $50M per launch.
« Last Edit: 01/21/2023 04:07 am by seb21051 »

Offline Alvian@IDN

The NextSpaceFlight website now lists 11 planned Vulcan launches for 2023 instead of 10. Therefore, the posting of this thread was quite premature, especially the title, because NextSpaceFlight routinely makes changes to expected launch windows for upcoming launches for which no firm date is set.

Explanation
First of all, the Demo launch of DreamChaser is missing, which is supposed to be the second launch of the Vulcan rocket.
« Last Edit: 01/22/2023 11:09 am by Alvian@IDN »
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Offline abaddon

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And the cost for the first 83 launches is $5B, which equates to about $50M per launch.
Source?

(5B/83 is $62 million)

Online gongora

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Since when is Dreamchaser doing a demo flight?

 

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