Author Topic: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion - Thread 2  (Read 37017 times)

Offline Eric Hedman

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion - Thread 2
« Reply #20 on: 11/30/2020 01:30 am »
According to this ex-employee on reddit New Armstrong wasn't ever a real thing.

https://www.reddit.com/r/BlueOrigin/comments/k23bih/comment/gdt5v6t

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New Armstrong is not actually a thing

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I used to work for Blue Origin. It's not a thing. The name was floated internally by employees but it is completely not a thing. 

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No.

Here was the idea: Alan Shepard flew suborbital. Therefore the suborbital rocket was New Shepard. John Glen flew orbital. Therefore the orbital rocket is New Glenn. So logically the lunar vehicle would be New Armstrong, right?

Except with 2 and 3 stages, New Glenn can power a moon landing. Also there will be other iterations of New Shepard. Developing an entirely new vehicle to do the same thing as New Glenn would be a waste of resources.

Furthermore, Blue Origin teamed up with Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and Draper Labs for the Project Artemis Human Landing System to return to the moon, and there is no New Armstrong that is part of that.

I repeat, New Armstrong is not a thing, but if that delusion makes you happy, have at it.
This, if true, is not a shock.  I'm a little surprised.  They can focus on New Glenn and improve it over time.  With a third stage, it should be big enough for the foreseeable future.  Maybe this New Armstrong speculation will just go away.

Offline LouScheffer

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion - Thread 2
« Reply #21 on: 11/30/2020 01:34 am »
According to this ex-employee on reddit New Armstrong wasn't ever a real thing.

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Here was the idea: Alan Shepard flew suborbital. Therefore the suborbital rocket was New Shepard. John Glen flew orbital. Therefore the orbital rocket is New Glenn. So logically the lunar vehicle would be New Armstrong, right?
You can't always extrapolate from the name.   The US government ran a test of the effects a nuclear explosion, using a huge heap (4,700,000 kg) of conventional explosives, the largest non-nuclear blast ever.  The code name for this test was "Minor Scale".  In their press release they said that there were no plans for bigger blasts, and in particular there would be no test "Major Scale".

Offline DJPledger

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion - Thread 2
« Reply #22 on: 11/30/2020 08:27 am »
Perhaps the thread title should be changed to Future LV's after New Glenn Speculation and Discussion.

Offline meekGee

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion - Thread 2
« Reply #23 on: 11/30/2020 12:29 pm »
Yeah, but the purpose of a new LV would not be to go to the moon. It would be to be fully reusable.

They can't keep aiming at beating Falcon. Starship is coming.

So call it what you call it, they absolutely need to be working on a beyond-NG system.

If this guy has the full picture, that's not good news for BO.
« Last Edit: 11/30/2020 01:07 pm by meekGee »
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Online spacenut

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion - Thread 2
« Reply #24 on: 11/30/2020 01:09 pm »
They could do a 3 core New Glenn and do a larger reusable upper stage.  They wouldn't have to develop another booster, just the mods needed like Falcon Heavy. 

Or,

They could develop a 10m-12m core using more BE-4's to compete with Starship/Superheavy, and develop a new reusable upper stage. 

Either would take them 3-5 years minimum after New Glenn becomes operational without crashes or explosions.  We don't have New Glenn operational.  So, I would say if New Armstrong comes along, it will be in the 2030's at least. 

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion - Thread 2
« Reply #25 on: 11/30/2020 01:50 pm »
Why do they need a bigger LV?. NG is fine for commercial market even little actually to big. Can do lunar missions as is with initial missions needing few launches.  Lunar and asteriod propellant in LEO should reduce that to single launch.

Way to open up space is developing technology to extract space resources, large RLVs aren't needed for that.

Offline DreamyPickle

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion - Thread 2
« Reply #26 on: 11/30/2020 01:56 pm »
Starship is already too big and the obsession with "big" vehicles seems counterproductive when cost is more important. If Blue Origin managed to add orbital refueling and eventually reusability to their second stage then the result would be very competitive against Starship.

And unless you're aiming for Mars hydrolox might be a better fuel choice.
« Last Edit: 11/30/2020 02:03 pm by DreamyPickle »

Offline Zed_Noir

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion - Thread 2
« Reply #27 on: 11/30/2020 05:23 pm »
Why do they need a bigger LV?. NG is fine for commercial market even little actually to big. Can do lunar missions as is with initial missions needing few launches.  Lunar and asteriod propellant in LEO should reduce that to single launch.

Way to open up space is developing technology to extract space resources, large RLVs aren't needed for that.

Well if you want to recovered the upper stage. The New Glenn is too small.

BO have to switch to a fully reusable launcher from the New Glenn as soon as possible to compete with Starship.

Offline Eric Hedman

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion - Thread 2
« Reply #28 on: 11/30/2020 05:46 pm »
Why do they need a bigger LV?. NG is fine for commercial market even little actually to big. Can do lunar missions as is with initial missions needing few launches.  Lunar and asteriod propellant in LEO should reduce that to single launch.

Way to open up space is developing technology to extract space resources, large RLVs aren't needed for that.

Well if you want to recovered the upper stage. The New Glenn is too small.

BO have to switch to a fully reusable launcher from the New Glenn as soon as possible to compete with Starship.
Why is New Glenn too small for a reusable upper stage?  What is the minimum size required?

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion - Thread 2
« Reply #29 on: 11/30/2020 06:22 pm »
Why do they need a bigger LV?. NG is fine for commercial market even little actually to big. Can do lunar missions as is with initial missions needing few launches.  Lunar and asteriod propellant in LEO should reduce that to single launch.

Way to open up space is developing technology to extract space resources, large RLVs aren't needed for that.

Well if you want to recovered the upper stage. The New Glenn is too small.

BO have to switch to a fully reusable launcher from the New Glenn as soon as possible to compete with Starship.
Why is New Glenn too small for a reusable upper stage?  What is the minimum size required?
At guess reuseable 2nd stage would bring down to 30t. Can use expendable BE7 3rd stage for BLEO missions eg GEO satellites.


Online Coastal Ron

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion - Thread 2
« Reply #30 on: 11/30/2020 06:37 pm »
Starship is already too big and the obsession with "big" vehicles seems counterproductive when cost is more important. If Blue Origin managed to add orbital refueling and eventually reusability to their second stage then the result would be very competitive against Starship.

And unless you're aiming for Mars hydrolox might be a better fuel choice.

LH2 is not very good for a 1st stage, and if you are building a reusable vehicle then LH2 is not a good choice either due to a number of reasons (i.e. brittleness, handling, etc.).

Environmental concerns aside, RP-1 and methane hit the sweet spot on a number of important technical issues for a 1st stage.
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 meekGee

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion - Thread 2
« Reply #31 on: 11/30/2020 10:50 pm »
Why do they need a bigger LV?. NG is fine for commercial market even little actually to big. Can do lunar missions as is with initial missions needing few launches.  Lunar and asteriod propellant in LEO should reduce that to single launch.

Way to open up space is developing technology to extract space resources, large RLVs aren't needed for that.

Because otherwise what SpaceX will do is take advantage of SS to outpace the market, and that's exactly what JB doesn't want.

For example, experts were telling us that the market doesn't support the launch rate afforded by reusability, so what's the point.  What happened is that it allowed StarLink, so the market was changed because of the rocket.

In the same manner, StarLink will be a success and then will migrate to much larger satellites, in such a way that nobody else can compete since nobody will have SS capabilities.  Again - the rocket will define the market.

Similarly, with a reusable manned launcher, BO will not have the kind of manned presence in orbit that SpaceX will.

So if BO doesn't match SS's capabilities, JB will not have influence in cis-lunar space.
« Last Edit: 12/01/2020 02:16 am by meekGee »
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Offline Seamurda

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion - Thread 2
« Reply #32 on: 12/01/2020 08:42 pm »
Why do they need a bigger LV?. NG is fine for commercial market even little actually to big. Can do lunar missions as is with initial missions needing few launches.  Lunar and asteriod propellant in LEO should reduce that to single launch.

Way to open up space is developing technology to extract space resources, large RLVs aren't needed for that.

Because otherwise what SpaceX will do is take advantage of SS to outpace the market, and that's exactly what JB doesn't want.

For example, experts were telling us that the market doesn't support the launch rate afforded by reusability, so what's the point.  What happened is that it allowed StarLink, so the market was changed because of the rocket.

In the same manner, StarLink will be a success and then will migrate to much larger satellites, in such a way that nobody else can compete since nobody will have SS capabilities.  Again - the rocket will define the market.

Similarly, with a reusable manned launcher, BO will not have the kind of manned presence in orbit that SpaceX will.

So if BO doesn't match SS's capabilities, JB will not have influence in cis-lunar space.

Yes and no:

Currently a Starlink sat is about $250,000 to make and $350,000 to launch, Starship V1 might get that down to more like $35,000.  The cost of launch would now be dominated by the cost of the satellite and the ground terminal and internet band width. BO/Amazon may be able to compete with a partially reusable New Glenn if they can make the satellite lighter or cheaper, or simply if they can make their ground terminal a hundred $ cheaper.

Offline Cheapchips

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion - Thread 2
« Reply #33 on: 12/01/2020 09:17 pm »
BO/Amazon may be able to compete with a partially reusable New Glenn if they can make the satellite lighter or cheaper, or simply if they can make their ground terminal a hundred $ cheaper.

Rajeev Badyal and team were fired off Starlink and before joining Kuiper.  It seems like a longshot that they'd deliver better/cheaper hardware just because they have extra time.  Starlink will be on its umpteenth version before they even launch their first satellite.

Having to eat extra cost because Blue aren't completing with Starship isn't trivial, even for Amazon. They'd want cheaper launch eventually and Blue apparently have nothing on the table.

Offline meekGee

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion - Thread 2
« Reply #34 on: 12/01/2020 09:32 pm »
Why do they need a bigger LV?. NG is fine for commercial market even little actually to big. Can do lunar missions as is with initial missions needing few launches.  Lunar and asteriod propellant in LEO should reduce that to single launch.

Way to open up space is developing technology to extract space resources, large RLVs aren't needed for that.

Because otherwise what SpaceX will do is take advantage of SS to outpace the market, and that's exactly what JB doesn't want.

For example, experts were telling us that the market doesn't support the launch rate afforded by reusability, so what's the point.  What happened is that it allowed StarLink, so the market was changed because of the rocket.

In the same manner, StarLink will be a success and then will migrate to much larger satellites, in such a way that nobody else can compete since nobody will have SS capabilities.  Again - the rocket will define the market.

Similarly, with a reusable manned launcher, BO will not have the kind of manned presence in orbit that SpaceX will.

So if BO doesn't match SS's capabilities, JB will not have influence in cis-lunar space.

Yes and no:

Currently a Starlink sat is about $250,000 to make and $350,000 to launch, Starship V1 might get that down to more like $35,000.  The cost of launch would now be dominated by the cost of the satellite and the ground terminal and internet band width. BO/Amazon may be able to compete with a partially reusable New Glenn if they can make the satellite lighter or cheaper, or simply if they can make their ground terminal a hundred $ cheaper.
It goes beyond cost.

If Starlink droves demand to LEO constellations, the size of the satellites will grow to the point where NG won't be practical - too small a payload, and not fully reusable.

The market will respond to the capabilities offered by the rocket.

So saying "NF is big enough for today's market" is technically true and yet spells exactly how BO fails.
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Offline butters

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion - Thread 2
« Reply #35 on: 12/01/2020 10:03 pm »
Starship is potentially vulnerable to competition from a medium RLV capable of 25-30mT to LEO or ideally 5-7mT to GTO. The New Glenn booster is in the ballpark for that if Blue Origin develops a "mini starship" to stack on top. It could be particularly competitive for lighter LEO missions where the booster could potentially RTLS instead of landing on the downrange ship. Yeah, Starship could initially be a great value even for one-ton payloads, but a smaller fully-reusable launch system should be even less expensive to operate for missions within its performance envelope.

Offline Zed_Noir

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion - Thread 2
« Reply #36 on: 12/01/2020 10:29 pm »
Starship is potentially vulnerable to competition from a medium RLV capable of 25-30mT to LEO or ideally 5-7mT to GTO. The New Glenn booster is in the ballpark for that if Blue Origin develops a "mini starship" to stack on top. It could be particularly competitive for lighter LEO missions where the booster could potentially RTLS instead of landing on the downrange ship. Yeah, Starship could initially be a great value even for one-ton payloads, but a smaller fully-reusable launch system should be even less expensive to operate for missions within its performance envelope.

Presuming someone have non-governmental development budget to build a small RLV. However the time needed to developed the smaller RLV, essentially ceded most of the market to the Starship.

Think the operating cost of the smaller RLV will not be much cheaper than the Starship. Since both have about the same fixed overhead costs except for propellants.

Offline Stan-1967

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion - Thread 2
« Reply #37 on: 12/01/2020 11:09 pm »
Starship is potentially vulnerable to competition from a medium RLV capable of 25-30mT to LEO or ideally 5-7mT to GTO. The New Glenn booster is in the ballpark for that if Blue Origin develops a "mini starship" to stack on top. It could be particularly competitive for lighter LEO missions where the booster could potentially RTLS instead of landing on the downrange ship. Yeah, Starship could initially be a great value even for one-ton payloads, but a smaller fully-reusable launch system should be even less expensive to operate for missions within its performance envelope.

When reuse enters into the rocket lexicon, I think we need to recalibrate common understanding of what words like "medium RLV" mean, as the word "medium" carries some baggage from the world of expendable rockets.  Consider the current primary data point, i.e F9 single stick.  As a partially re-usable F9 vehicle, it drops in class comparable to a Soyuz when doing RTLS, however as an expendable, it compares well against Proton, Ariane V, & Atlas/Delta in heavier configurations.  If F9 single stick was somehow developed into a fully reusable vehicle, it would likely be comparable to Rocketlab Electron on its best day.  If NG was made fully re-usable, it would not be competitive against FH ( lack of capability) & would be competing against F9 reusable/Soyuz/Vega/Firefly Alpha type vehicles.

Point being, we should consider that SS/SH is possibly what a "Medium or Small RLV" looks like.  Performance to GTO is pretty poor, & I don't think SS/SH will be successful if they do not solve propellant transfer & obtain quick turn/high flight rates. SS/SH is exciting in capability because it combines re-use with refueling.  I think it may represent the bare minimum scale that is workable for full re-use of a TSTO vehicle. 

As to the fictional New Armstrong, or any emerging re-use scheme, expect it to have to solve the same issues as SS/SH & end up being comparable in scale. 

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion - Thread 2
« Reply #38 on: 12/02/2020 03:44 am »
...If F9 single stick was somehow developed into a fully reusable vehicle, it would likely be comparable to Rocketlab Electron on its best day.  ...
Your estimate is not even close! Off by over an order of magnitude!
F9 droneship payload is 16 tons IMLEO. The upper stage dry mass is 4.5 tons. Even if recovery hardware doubled the mass of the upper stage (which is questionable), it'd still have 11.5 tons payload. That's nearly double Delta II's payload to LEO, and it's greater IMLEO than the variant of Atlas V that accounted for most of its launches (the version without any SRBs).


And Starship will be successful even if all it does is send Starlink to LEO fully reusably.
« Last Edit: 12/02/2020 03:45 am by Robotbeat »
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Offline Stan-1967

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion - Thread 2
« Reply #39 on: 12/02/2020 07:19 am »
...If F9 single stick was somehow developed into a fully reusable vehicle, it would likely be comparable to Rocketlab Electron on its best day.  ...
Your estimate is not even close! Off by over an order of magnitude!
F9 droneship payload is 16 tons IMLEO. The upper stage dry mass is 4.5 tons. Even if recovery hardware doubled the mass of the upper stage (which is questionable), it'd still have 11.5 tons payload. That's nearly double Delta II's payload to LEO, and it's greater IMLEO than the variant of Atlas V that accounted for most of its launches (the version without any SRBs).


And Starship will be successful even if all it does is send Starlink to LEO fully reusably.

I'll emphasize the main point of my post was to reset the thinking that something like SS/SH or the imaginary New Armstrong ( 12m core) is not necessarily a large re-usable rocket.  The SS/SH is probably at the lower end, size wise, of what is economically viable for a fully re-usable rocket, & even that depends on flight rate goals & prop transfer.

I don't think I'm off by an order of magnitude, but I should have been more precise in my metrics.   By saying it would be comparable, I more specifically think in terms of cost per kg, payload to GTO, &  not just mass to LEO.  I am also recalling E.Musk abandoned the idea precisely due to severe loss of performance & needing to go the bigger BFR for full re-use.

It all comes down to what is ultimately needed to enable reuse of a second stage.  It is much more complicated than just a heatshield.  How will it maneuver & land?  Using the notional propulsive landing technique you need at least the following:
Add another 4.5 ton for heat shield is not unreasonable IMO. (F9-S2 is amazingly light)
*** the second you add a 4.5t heatshield, GTO is no longer a viable destination for a F9 fully reusable. 
Add another ton for aero surfaces
Add another ton for landing legs
Need something to power it all, so maybe .2 ton of batteries, hydraulics, COPV's etc.?  IDK
Can you land it using M-Vac?  Probably not ( too overpowered) so you slap on three Superdraco's with a SL ISP of 235s and that adds maybe another .3 tons.
Dry weight now looks more like 11.5 tons (show me a better guess if you want, I admit this is back of envelope stuff)
This would need to have propellant for around 300m/s DV, which adds another 1.6 tons, & drives the total mass to just over 13 tons. 
So mass to LEO is maybe 3 tons +- whatever errors I made or omitted to add.
LEO mass is maybe around 1 order of magnitude greater than Electron, you were more correct on this, however...

Electron can still get 40 kg Interplanetary or GTO, I don't think an F9 sized rocket fully reusable can get anything much beyond the inner Van Allen belts.
Cost per kg to LEO is probably still likely more favorable to an F9 sized rocket, but I think that calculation gets very fuzzy.  What is the market for 3ton payloads to LEO that would give you an ROI on the cost of enabling S2 re-use?  How would you launch a constellation like Starlink 3tons at a time?  How many launch pads & drone ships are needed & what is the launch frequency you would have to scale to?







 

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