Author Topic: SUSIE, (Smart Upper Stage for Innovative Exploration) concept from ARIANE  (Read 24512 times)

Offline baldusi

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Europe isn't tying anything. Arianegroup made a proposal so they can waist billions of taxpayer money.
Apologies. Arainegroup. Question still stands...

Monetary waistlines aside... ;) Lol
If you say Europe, you mean a political will (and thus the required budgets). If you talk about Ariane's proposal, that's just a company asking for a lot of money. Talk is cheap, but if actual money is invested, then you have an actual decision. A huge government contractor asking for billions to develops "the next big thing" is just another Thursday.

Offline AstroWare

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Europe isn't tying anything. Arianegroup made a proposal so they can waist billions of taxpayer money.
Apologies. Arainegroup. Question still stands...

Monetary waistlines aside... ;) Lol
If you say Europe, you mean a political will (and thus the required budgets). If you talk about Ariane's proposal, that's just a company asking for a lot of money. Talk is cheap, but if actual money is invested, then you have an actual decision. A huge government contractor asking for billions to develops "the next big thing" is just another Thursday.
The question is neither. Please forgive this engineer... I'm asking technically - why would this proposal suggest* to develop a vertical landing crew vehicle for Europe's** first crewed vehicle?

I get that Arainegroup proposed the idea, and I get they would expect to be paid to develop the concept. But just saying, "to get money to develop it" isn't a good reason to explain why vertical landing. They could have proposed any number of landing methods and expected to get paid!

*Got it - it's just a proposal. Not finalized or approved. Not the point
**Got it - this needs politics to get approved, not the point.

Online edzieba

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Europe isn't tying anything. Arianegroup made a proposal so they can waist billions of taxpayer money.
Apologies. Arainegroup. Question still stands...

Monetary waistlines aside... ;) Lol
If you say Europe, you mean a political will (and thus the required budgets). If you talk about Ariane's proposal, that's just a company asking for a lot of money. Talk is cheap, but if actual money is invested, then you have an actual decision. A huge government contractor asking for billions to develops "the next big thing" is just another Thursday.
The question is neither. Please forgive this engineer... I'm asking technically - why would this proposal suggest* to develop a vertical landing crew vehicle for Europe's** first crewed vehicle?
If propellant for a vertical landing has less mass than the wings needed for sufficient lift for a horizontal landing, it trades better. Particularly if you intend to already mount the needed engines for in-orbit use.

Offline Rik ISS-fan

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I think Arianegroup made the SUSIE concept for a Ariane 6 follow-on evolution vision. That vision is shown in this video from Arianegroup.


I think the idea behind SUSIE is that it should stand out from other vehicles.
The norm is parachute or airfoil landing. Propulsive landing enables landing on other planetary bodies (Moon/ Mars/ Venus). I think scientific payloads are the main purpose for SUSIE. Propulsive landing with humans is very risky.

The shape of SUSIE is as close as possible to the payload fairing. They use the aerodynamic flaps tested with IXV for aerodynamic control.

Afaik in Europe, no free flight rocket propelled flight test has occured. The Callisto demonstrator might be the vehicle to achieve this. This is a part of what I call learn to walk.
I think its at least half a decade to early to consider developing a system like SUSIE.

Somehow Arianegroup and European industry are over a year behind with getting Ariane6 operational  I haven't read a propper reason for the delay that was funded with >€4billion tax money.
In development are: Ariane 6, ASTRIS kick-stage, Icarus, P120+/P160, EL3 (lunar lander), Space Rider, Callisto, Themis ....
SUSIE is an addition to this already very long list. I think Arianegroup is at least half a decade to early with the SUSIE concept.

Arianegroup should focus on getting Ariane 6 operational (with Astris). Next a lander for lunar an martian science.

!!! Because of Arianegroups fuck-up (Ariane6 development); European independent access to space is japerdized.
Arianegroup get your act together, and deliver what you promised. Possibly after that it's time to consider other developments.

Offline baldusi

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Some people thought that 2020's Ariane 6 was too little too late. 2023 is too little really late. But compare that to the four solids proposal that CNES was pushing, and ArianeGroup got their act together saving the whole Ariane program from the French unexplainable love for solids. Now, they should have been at least four years into an F9 like reusable launcher, and they are just proposing Maļa. So again very late.
With SUSIE they finally are trying to match Starship recoverable upper stage AND getting a crewed spaceship (again, quite like a mini Starship concept) and we say they are too early. I personally think they are trying to fish for study money, but have to give them props for actually trying to actually think how to get ahead of the competition instead of replicating last decade systems.

Offline Asteroza

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Some people thought that 2020's Ariane 6 was too little too late. 2023 is too little really late. But compare that to the four solids proposal that CNES was pushing, and ArianeGroup got their act together saving the whole Ariane program from the French unexplainable love for solids. Now, they should have been at least four years into an F9 like reusable launcher, and they are just proposing Maļa. So again very late.
With SUSIE they finally are trying to match Starship recoverable upper stage AND getting a crewed spaceship (again, quite like a mini Starship concept) and we say they are too early. I personally think they are trying to fish for study money, but have to give them props for actually trying to actually think how to get ahead of the competition instead of replicating last decade systems.

The french wanted continuing large scale solid use to exercise their SLBM military industrial base. People sometimes forget France is a nuclear power operating missile submarines. Ariane 5 P80 solids share some commonality with France's currently deployed M51 SLBM's. Of note, the new wider P120 solids for Ariane 6 and Vega probably won't fit in the missile tubes of the french SNLE 3G SSBN submarine that will start construction soon.

Offline volker2020

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I personally see another reason for this. Say it frankly Ariane 6 is a launcher without payload. Even though it is cheaper than Ariane 5, the advances in reusable rockets make it obsolete for commercial missions. This is a rocket, destined to be retired soon after the start of the program.

To keep it alive they need a reason, and human space flight with a sexy space craft might work to make a flag ship program, that will keep running even though it is economically unsound.

Europe want independent access to space. That is a political goal. But if they do, they have either carry the high cost of using an commercially obsolete system, create a commercially viable system or buy one.

I for one, would start to get into discussions with SpaceX to buy a launch tower and 6 Starships.

Offline woods170

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I personally see another reason for this. Say it frankly Ariane 6 is a launcher without payload. Even though it is cheaper than Ariane 5, the advances in reusable rockets make it obsolete for commercial missions. This is a rocket, destined to be retired soon after the start of the program.

To keep it alive they need a reason, and human space flight with a sexy space craft might work to make a flag ship program, that will keep running even though it is economically unsound.

Europe want independent access to space. That is a political goal. But if they do, they have either carry the high cost of using an commercially obsolete system, create a commercially viable system or buy one.

I for one, would start to get into discussions with SpaceX to buy a launch tower and 6 Starships.

Emphasis mine.

These two things are mutually exclusive. "Independent access to space" is defined, at the political level, as an all-European system to provide access to space. Which is what Ariane and Vega have been, and still are, all about.

"Buying one" does not accomplish that. Particularly not when you buy it from a non-European company like SpaceX.

Offline woods170

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Some people thought that 2020's Ariane 6 was too little too late. 2023 is too little really late. But compare that to the four solids proposal that CNES was pushing, and ArianeGroup got their act together saving the whole Ariane program from the French unexplainable love for solids. Now, they should have been at least four years into an F9 like reusable launcher, and they are just proposing Maļa. So again very late.
With SUSIE they finally are trying to match Starship recoverable upper stage AND getting a crewed spaceship (again, quite like a mini Starship concept) and we say they are too early. I personally think they are trying to fish for study money, but have to give them props for actually trying to actually think how to get ahead of the competition instead of replicating last decade systems.

ArianeGroup is to be commended for thinking out of the box on this one. But they are to be reprimanded for making the same mistake that their predecessors made with Hermes: not having their key figures (such as mass, performance, etc.) lined up along the slide ruler of reality.
« Last Edit: 09/28/2022 03:58 pm by woods170 »

Offline Hobbes-22

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The french wanted continuing large scale solid use to exercise their SLBM military industrial base. People sometimes forget France is a nuclear power operating missile submarines. Ariane 5 P80 solids share some commonality with France's currently deployed M51 SLBM's. Of note, the new wider P120 solids for Ariane 6 and Vega probably won't fit in the missile tubes of the french SNLE 3G SSBN submarine that will start construction soon.

The P120 solids are produced in Italy, I don't see the French subcontracting out their SLBM production to Avio.

Offline john smith 19

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I for one, would start to get into discussions with SpaceX to buy a launch tower and 6 Starships.

Unfortunately that's unlikely to work due to US ITAR laws, although as of right now SX is in pole position to deliver a fully reusable launch system, which is pretty much what you need to turn space access into a product, not a ticket.  :(

In my ideal world French TPS combines with German cryogenics, British engine technology (with the turbo pumps from france or Belgium perhaps) and European Investment Bank funding to launch the world's most advanced RLV out of Kourou with an Italian build reusable stage 2 for GTO and eventually an Italian/German astronaut carrier (50% of the ISS was not built in either the US or Russia, but in Turin). 

But more advanced than it's technology is it's business model.

Because if you want you can buy your own one of these, book a runway slot and launch what you want, when you want it. *

You can't use it on Mars, but it would revolutionise space access on Earth.

Of course since it doesn't sit on top of an expendable rocket Ariane Group are unlikely to go anywhere near it.  :(

But if people are talking about an actual compelling vision for future space access I'd say that would be it.

*If a Kourou runway slot is 2 hrs long and they only allow launch during week days with an 8 hour work day 48 weeks of the year that's 960 slots. Things will have to get quite busy before people have to wait their turn.
« Last Edit: 09/29/2022 11:51 am by john smith 19 »
MCT ITS BFR SS. The worlds first Methane fueled FFSC engined CFRP SS structure A380 sized aerospaceplane tail sitter capable of Earth & Mars atmospheric flight.First flight to Mars by end of 2022. Forward looking statements. T&C apply. "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof" R. Simberg."Competitve" means cheaper ¬cheap

Offline TheRadicalModerate

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Has anybody done the computation on whether a refueled Ariane 6 upper stage could take a SUSIE to NRHO, and whether the SUSIE could generate the 550ish m/s needed to get back to EDL?

It might be a pretty interesting Gateway resupply (or crew transfer) platform if the numbers work out.  But it does require upper stage refueling.
« Last Edit: 09/29/2022 04:21 am by TheRadicalModerate »

Offline john smith 19

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With SUSIE they finally are trying to match Starship recoverable upper stage AND getting a crewed spaceship (again, quite like a mini Starship concept) and we say they are too early. I personally think they are trying to fish for study money, but have to give them props for actually trying to actually think how to get ahead of the competition instead of replicating last decade systems.
This really is nothing like StarShip. It's an "upper stage" in the sense of Buran, X37b, the Pegasus XL 4th stage or the Vega liquid fuelled stage or RL Photon.

Of these it most resembles Buran, or the X37b human carrying upgrade (there is an AiAA paper). Good for at most a few 100 m/s of delat V, but not a substantial contribution to orbit.
MCT ITS BFR SS. The worlds first Methane fueled FFSC engined CFRP SS structure A380 sized aerospaceplane tail sitter capable of Earth & Mars atmospheric flight.First flight to Mars by end of 2022. Forward looking statements. T&C apply. "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof" R. Simberg."Competitve" means cheaper ¬cheap

Offline TheRadicalModerate

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If SUSIE is really going to be 25t wet, then we ought to be able to estimate the amount of prop it has to carry if we can roughly compute the total delta-v that an A64 needs to expend to get its current 21.5t payload to LEO.

But we have to be able to do the A64 numbers in some amount of detail.  Does anybody have a good roll-up of the most recent estimates for various Ariane 6 components?  (There are Wikipedia numbers, but I suspect that they're stale):

P120C
Prop Mass:
Dry Mass:
Thrust SL:
Isp SL:

P120C+
Prop Mass:
Dry Mass:

LLPM
Prop Mass:
Dry Mass:

Vulcain 2.1
Thrust SL:
Thrust Vac:
Isp SL:
Isp Vac:
Mixture:

ULPM
Prop Mass:
Dry Mass:

Vinci
Thrust Vac:
Isp Vac:
Mixture:

PHOEBUS/Icarus info would be nice, too.

It's possible that they're really planning SUSIE for an A64 with the P120C+ and Icarus, which may be able to take 25t to LEO all by itself.  If that's the case, then SUSIE may just be a fairly robust capsule, with only enough prop to do deployment maneuvers or an RPOD, de-orbit, and a propulsive landing.

Offline Rik ISS-fan

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Sorry, I don't see the use of doing calculations with estimated numbers at best.
The aerospace engineers at Arianegoup have their schedule full with.
- getting Ariane 6 operational
- Astris development and getting into operation.
- Icarus (Light weight A6 ULPM) development and getting into operation.
- developing and operating EL3 (Lunar lander)
- developing a lander for the Rosalin Franklin (ExoMars) rover.
- developing and serial production of the nozzle for P120C+/P160
- developing and testing Prometheus.
Etz. There aren' t manhours available to develop SUZIE. At most a phase A/B1 study, but more is for the 2025 ESA ministerial.

With the P120C production, Avio in Italy makes the casings. Nammo from Norway make the igniters. The grain is cast and the motor is assembled in France Guiana. Arianegroup has a production line in France for the nozzles for P120c.
The initial plan was that the casings would be produced by Avio (Italy) and OHB (Germany). The companies involved in the fabrication of EAP (Ariane 5 booster) casings.
 To streamline production and benefits from (serial) production scale. OHB didn't set up a P120c casing production line.
The funds from the German government went into the development of Icarus, light weight ULPM with composite tanks.

AFAIK the first stage of the M51 is similar in size as the Zefiro40 (Vega C second stage).
I do not at all like Themis, with three ~1MN engines. I think a reusable stage with 7 to 9 500-600kN (Avio M60) engines would be a better replacement for P120C(+).
For Themis they should stay smaller than Zefiro40. Use one of the european micro-launcher first stages. With engines less powerfully then Vince. And plan for loss of vehicle.

I think SUSIE could become a reusable 2th stage when powered by multiple M10 or M60 engines. The down side of a reusable upperstage is that the system mass directly trades with payload mass.
« Last Edit: 10/01/2022 11:16 am by Rik ISS-fan »

Offline baldusi

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If they never start to work on this, at least in a serious way, they will again go about doing a thousand studies about "how to copy SpaceX without it being too obvious". The Californian company will have done trades on Starship for ten years by the time they start work on something similar. Of course they will have to copy if they don't put years of effort on designing, testing, redesigning, etc. As much as I think SUSIE as proposed is a bad design, with imaginary numbers of margin, it is their design. I would rather have Europe think out their own solution for a reusable upperstage/spaceship to get something different.
Not unlike how RocketLab designed Neutron: a one for one competitor with F9 with absolutely different technological solutions in every possible way. Europe needs to do something like that. So I think SUSIE is a good place to start the thinking. But for God's sake, don't try to deliver as presented.

Offline john smith 19

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If they never start to work on this, at least in a serious way, they will again go about doing a thousand studies about "how to copy SpaceX without it being too obvious". The Californian company will have done trades on Starship for ten years by the time they start work on something similar. Of course they will have to copy if they don't put years of effort on designing, testing, redesigning, etc. As much as I think SUSIE as proposed is a bad design, with imaginary numbers of margin, it is their design. I would rather have Europe think out their own solution for a reusable upperstage/spaceship to get something different.
Not unlike how RocketLab designed Neutron: a one for one competitor with F9 with absolutely different technological solutions in every possible way. Europe needs to do something like that. So I think SUSIE is a good place to start the thinking. But for God's sake, don't try to deliver as presented.
Not even that. It's basically Hermes V2.0 with vertical landing. And it's not a stage, in the sense that StarShip is a stage. It's more like Dragon. 

"Europe" has done something like ask. A competitve design that is nothing like F9.

In fact CNES did such a study.

But it uses HTOL, and has wings.  :(
MCT ITS BFR SS. The worlds first Methane fueled FFSC engined CFRP SS structure A380 sized aerospaceplane tail sitter capable of Earth & Mars atmospheric flight.First flight to Mars by end of 2022. Forward looking statements. T&C apply. "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof" R. Simberg."Competitve" means cheaper ¬cheap

Offline libra

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I would dare to suggest that "P120" by name means "120 tons of solid fuel" - that's how the french have named their rocket stages since 1960 at least.
"H" stands for "Hydrogen"
"P" for "poudre" - closest english word is "powder" but "solid fuel" is a far better translation
"L" for "liquid" - as in storable / hypergolics (little love for kerolox on the french side).
And the number is for the propellant mass.

"L17" was for Diamant, 17 tons of storables. "L140" was Ariane similar but much bigger stage. Rinse, repeat.

From "P120" a wild guess could be made related to specific impulse and mass fraction, for example 290 seconds and 0.95 but I can understand "official" numbers are much preferable than wild guesses...
« Last Edit: 10/02/2022 10:08 am by libra »

Offline Rik ISS-fan

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If they never start to work on this, at least in a serious way, they will again go about doing a thousand studies about "how to copy SpaceX without it being too obvious". The Californian company will have done trades on Starship for ten years by the time they start work on something similar. Of course they will have to copy if they don't put years of effort on designing, testing, redesigning, etc. As much as I think SUSIE as proposed is a bad design, with imaginary numbers of margin, it is their design. I would rather have Europe think out their own solution for a reusable upperstage/spaceship to get something different.
Not unlike how RocketLab designed Neutron: a one for one competitor with F9 with absolutely different technological solutions in every possible way. Europe needs to do something like that. So I think SUSIE is a good place to start the thinking. But for God's sake, don't try to deliver as presented.

Does Europe have to develop a reusable launcher, or is Ariane 6 fine for the launch demand Europe has.
In Europe politicians are destroying their own economy for Environmental misconceptions. There are more than a 1000 more important things to develop than reusable rockets. Engines can't be tested because of the environmental misconceptions. A lot of testing has to take place, to figure out what reuse method works best. Smaller systems use less fuel and 'pollute' less. So they should test on smaller vehicles.
So beter do a test of a 50% scale SUSIE on Vega C/D/E than on Ariane 6, or on a even smaller vehicle.

I don't want promotion of piss pore performance on the development of Ariane 6; by awarding follow on development contracts before Ariane 6 is operational. Arianegroup should deliver what they promise otherwise as they did with Ariane 6 development, they destroy the whole European launch industry.
I think the real reason for Ariane 6 development delays haven't be published, because the company at fold will be held accountable for 1.5years without production demand on all dedicated Ariane 6 production assets. That will be a huge claim. 

Offline Hobbes-22

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I would dare to suggest that "P120" by name means "120 tons of solid fuel" - that's how the french have named their rocket stages since 1960 at least.
"H" stands for "Hydrogen"
"P" for "poudre" - closest english word is "powder" but "solid fuel" is a far better translation
"L" for "liquid" - as in storable / hypergolics (little love for kerolox on the french side).
And the number is for the propellant mass.

"L17" was for Diamant, 17 tons of storables. "L140" was Ariane similar but much bigger stage. Rinse, repeat.

From "P120" a wild guess could be made related to specific impulse and mass fraction, for example 290 seconds and 0.95 but I can understand "official" numbers are much preferable than wild guesses...

That's usually correct, but the P120 is an exception.
For Vega C, the propellant mass of a P120 is 143.6 tons. Empty mass is 11t.

P120+ has a propellant mass of 157.6t.

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