Author Topic: SUSIE, (Smart Upper Stage for Innovative Exploration) concept from ARIANE  (Read 24619 times)

Offline woods170

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All the errors of Hermes, repeated 40 years later. The managers and system engineers of Hermes are still around, these guys should have talked to them.

Sorry, but most of them are in fact no longer around. That is: a lot of them have retired or moved on to other businesses. And industries like Airbus et al. do not make a habit of asking the opinion of their retired engineers and managers before launching (pun intended) another bad idea.

But I fully agree with you that SUSIE is repeating all the errors of Hermes. Starting with the unrealistic wet mass of just 25 metric tons for a vehicle that is 5 meters in diameter, is 12 meters long, has a crew compartment for 7 AND also having a 40 cubic meter payload bay AND a 7 metric ton payload capacity. That does not add up. Throw in a multi-ton propellant load and engines strong enough to land the entire thing propulsively and it does not add up AT ALL. Much like the numbers never added up for the initial 10 development iterations of Hermes. And when they finally DID start to add up for Hermes, the vehicle had lost most of its originally promised capabilities.

If SUSIE remains marrried to a 25-ton-to-LEO launcher, than it will start losing capabilities and capacities fast, once they start to seriously develop this contraption.


This book should be required reading for everyone who works in the European spaceflight industry: https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-3-319-44472-7

« Last Edit: 09/19/2022 12:58 pm by woods170 »

Offline hektor

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When I was saying still around, I meant not dead.

The two Hermes project managers which I know for a fact are still around are significantly younger than Bill Nelson (to give a benchmark), they are still able to have a technical discussion and they know their turf, if you allow me this judgement.
« Last Edit: 09/19/2022 12:57 pm by hektor »

Offline woods170

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When I was saying still around, I meant not dead.

The two Hermes project managers which I know for a fact are still around are significantly younger than Bill Nelson (to give a benchmark), they are still able to have a technical discussion and they know their turf, if you allow me this judgement.

Oh, I agree fully with you: the Hermes veterans absolutely know their turf. They have been there, for the entire painful learning experience that was Hermes. The result was that the next big project (ATV) was much more rooted in reality.

I already figured you meant "not dead", which is why I noted that Airbus et al. are not in the habit of consulting with their retired engineers first. They might still be around physically, but their knowledge is effectively lost to the European spaceflight industry, courtesy of no longer working there.

I can imagine that quite a few of the Hermes era (see what I did there...) engineers and managers are scratching their heads in disbelief over the current SUSIE proposal.

Offline Try_NBS

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I think SUSIE is a good idea from ArianeGroup, but it's a little ambitious, we seen what result that give us with Hermes...

SUSIE can be product, the company has all the technology to making it. They just mustn't to do the same errors. We know the reliability of Ariane 5, and all the products of ArianeGroup. In Europe they know how to make a lifting body vehicle, with the IXV experience. 

And, this time, I think they can do it. Good luck A-G.

Online Rondaz

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Arianespace unveils 'Susie' - Reusable spacecraft for crew and cargo missions


Offline Robotbeat

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Arianespace unveils 'Susie' - Reusable spacecraft for crew and cargo missions


Well that looks like a combination of Dragon and Starship.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that. But the Ariane 6 booster with its solids and full expendability looks very out of place. Ariane Next would make a lot more sense.

I mean:
« Last Edit: 09/19/2022 05:01 pm by Robotbeat »
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Offline Try_NBS

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Effectively, if SUSIE is approved by minister's council, it will be in the same delays than Ariane NEXT. But I don't know if Ariane NEXT will be capable to launch a 25T spaceship. I have see on an Arianespace document the maximum payload will be about 20T.

Offline Try_NBS

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This is the document. We can see only 8,3T maximum in GTO. So I think the LEO payload is about 20-21T.

Offline Robotbeat

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Effectively, if SUSIE is approved by minister's council, it will be in the same delays than Ariane NEXT. But I don't know if Ariane NEXT will be capable to launch a 25T spaceship. I have see on an Arianespace document the maximum payload will be about 20T.
SUSIE has some of its own propulsion, right? It could do the circularization burn.

Prometheus is slightly less thrust than Aeon R, but there may be up to 9 engines on Ariane NEXT vs 7 for Terran-R. They both use methalox. So Ariane NEXT should have about the same performance as Terran-R. Terran-R plans at least 20t of fully reusable launch capacity to LEO, so Ariane NEXT almost certainly could do SUSIE to LEO if partially expendable or if SUSIE provides assistance in getting to orbit.
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Offline Alpha_Centauri

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I'm not sure how heavy SUSIE would be, but I bet that it's more than the Ariane 64 payload to LEO, so I bet it actually does need to use it's own fuel to get to orbit. So it would be a reusable upper stage, it's just it's a 3rd stage, not a 2nd.

Its mass is given in the press release as 25 t. The press release says this is the payload mass of Ariane 64, but the Arianespace web site only gives a 21.6 t LEO payload mass! If Susie acts as a third stage, then the 25 t could be the payload put into a suborbital trajectory, with Susie then using some of the extra 3.4 t of propellant to get into LEO.

"Ariane 6 compatibility was defined in terms of Susie’s geometry (length 12 meters and width 5 meters to fit the diameter of the launcher) and its mass (25 tons, corresponding to Ariane 64’s low Earth orbit (LEO) performance)."

https://www.arianespace.com/vehicle/ariane-6/

"Ariane 64, with four boosters, can place up to 11.5 tons into GTO in dual launch configuration, and up to 21.6 tons into LEO."

You are forgetting there are already plans to boost Ariane 6's payload mass beyond the baseline.

There will be a new P120C+ solid motor to launch Amazon's Project Kuiper. It has been quoted to add up to 2 t to Ariane 64's LEO payload. So with that you are almost there.

Avio talk about a P160 replacement for P120 too, but from the little that has been released I can't work out if that is just another name for the above or if this is a parallel development.

So with those and other tweaks to improve performance, by the time this ever flies I expect Ariane 64 will be able to lift 25 t.
« Last Edit: 09/19/2022 07:24 pm by Alpha_Centauri »

Offline Try_NBS

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Yes effectively with this evolution, that can be possible. I just have a little question... Did we know the type of the SUSIE's motors? An architecture with many engines like the ESM, or just a single Prometheus?

Yes effectively with this evolution, that can be possible. I just have a little question... Did we know the type of the SUSIE's motors? An architecture with many engines like the ESM, or just a single Prometheus?

In the video it looks, to me, like a lot of engines. I think I counted at least 8 plumes at one point.
Wait, ∆V? This site will accept the ∆ symbol? How many times have I written out the word "delta" for no reason?

Offline hektor

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Mmmm basing a new vehicle on the maximum performance of a future variant of a launcher which has not flown yet is really the receipe for success.
« Last Edit: 09/19/2022 06:37 pm by hektor »

Offline Try_NBS

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Same idea for the SLS. ;). If the SUSIE's propulsion system is based on the Dragon's one, A-G IST just CTRL+C Space X, because they have better systems.

Offline Robotbeat

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Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Offline Rik ISS-fan

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Maybe learn to walk before attempting to run a marathon.
I see a lot of resemblance of the Expert Reentry demonstrator that has been dusting away for nearly a decade.
This SUSIE will have a development timeline of over a decade.
It could be a future development, phase A study nothing more for this ministerial.
A microlauncher is needed to launch Expert and Shefex and execute those test.
They should experiment with a lander / reusable suborbital rocket (microlauncher first stage).
This shouldn't be on the table at this ministerial!

Online Zed_Noir

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Maybe learn to walk before attempting to run a marathon.
I see a lot of resemblance of the Expert Reentry demonstrator that has been dusting away for nearly a decade.
This SUSIE will have a development timeline of over a decade.
It could be a future development, phase A study nothing more for this ministerial.
A microlauncher is needed to launch Expert and Shefex and execute those test.
They should experiment with a lander / reusable suborbital rocket (microlauncher first stage).
This shouldn't be on the table at this ministerial!
There is no point in a sub-orbital micro launcher/lander combination. Unless the goal is a sub-orbital launcher.

The SUSIE concept could start by experimenting with vehicle recovery after delivering payloads without crew. 

Offline beb

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All the errors of Hermes, repeated 40 years later. The managers and system engineers of Hermes are still around, these guys should have talked to them.

Sorry, but most of them are in fact no longer around. That is: a lot of them have retired or moved on to other businesses. And industries like Airbus et al. do not make a habit of asking the opinion of their retired engineers and managers before launching (pun intended) another bad idea.

But I fully agree with you that SUSIE is repeating all the errors of Hermes. Starting with the unrealistic wet mass of just 25 metric tons for a vehicle that is 5 meters in diameter, is 12 meters long, has a crew compartment for 7 AND also having a 40 cubic meter payload bay AND a 7 metric ton payload capacity. That does not add up. Throw in a multi-ton propellant load and engines strong enough to land the entire thing propulsively and it does not add up AT ALL. Much like the numbers never added up for the initial 10 development iterations of Hermes. And when they finally DID start to add up for Hermes, the vehicle had lost most of its originally promised capabilities.

If SUSIE remains marrried to a 25-ton-to-LEO launcher, than it will start losing capabilities and capacities fast, once they start to seriously develop this contraption.


This book should be required reading for everyone who works in the European spaceflight industry: https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-3-319-44472-7

From my reading of the press release SUSIE would be either crew or cargo but not both, which makes it sound a lot like Dragon2. Also the press release said 5 crew not 7. The video showed a kick stage thus answering how a 25 t craft could be launched on Ariane 6. I am curious how SUSIE will do a propulsive landing, though.

Offline Robotbeat

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The strongest benefit of a reusable upper stage being VTVL is it also can work with landing on Mars or the Moon and can do aerocapture maneuvers.

If you give it a small 300m/s delta-v or so, it can land on Earth and the Moon (with the help of a crasher stage) or Mars. That’s basically propulsive Dragon capability that Dragon could have but gave up on except for abort purposes.


With 2-3km/s, it can land on the Moon (with the help of a crasher stage) and then launch back to orbit (all the way to NHRO or even back to Earth, on the high end). At 4km/s it can do that trick on Mars (no need for crasher stage due to the atmosphere). At 5-6km/s it can do a round trip from C3=0 to the Moon’s surface and back to Earth without a crasher stage, it can launch direct from Mars to either high Mars orbit or maybe even all the way back to Earth, and it can act as a nice reusable upper stage for a TSTO RLV.

What kind of delta-v is SUSIE planned for?

If 4-6km/s, this would be an impressive capability that would beat anything short of full Starship. And would allow Europe to compete or cooperate as equals to the Moon or Mars.
« Last Edit: 09/20/2022 12:22 am by Robotbeat »
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Offline two.scan

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Looking at Ariane 6 development (which is an evolution of Ariane 5) approved at ESA Council at Ministry in 2014 ..so 9 years … would mean if approved this year NET 2031…but taking into account only European real experience on reentry is ixv .. adding complexity of propulsive landing… would mean NET 2035

Ok…
« Last Edit: 09/20/2022 01:47 am by two.scan »

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