Author Topic: DARPA Launch Challenge  (Read 17558 times)

Offline AlexA

  • Member
  • Posts: 48
  • UK
  • Liked: 22
  • Likes Given: 11
DARPA Launch Challenge
« on: 04/19/2018 03:24 pm »
http://www.darpalaunchchallenge.org/default.aspx#challenge

Quote
DARPA Launch Challenge

Anywhere. Anytime. The DARPA Launch Challenge aims to demonstrate flexible and responsive launch capabilities in days, not years, for our nation’s defense
 
WHY A CHALLENGE? 

Our nation’s space architecture is built around a limited number of exquisite systems. Typical developments span up to 10 years to build, test, and launch spacecraft.

DARPA wants to demonstrate the ability to launch payloads to orbit on extremely short notice, with no prior knowledge of the payload, destination orbit or launch site, and do it not just once, but twice, in a matter of days.

The commercial industry has embraced advances in manufacturing, microtechnologies, and autonomous launch/range infrastructure, and DARPA seeks to leverage this expertise to transform space system development.


WHAT IS RESPONSIVE LAUNCH?

The launch environment of the future will more closely resemble airline operations — with frequent launches from myriad locations worldwide. DARPA seeks to accelerate capabilities that are unconstrained to allow for flexibility and resilience, rather than one-of-a-kind, fixed infrastructure.

Challenge

Teams will be receive days' notice to first launch site. After successfully delivering their payload to low Earth orbit (LEO), teams will get information about the second launch site. Teams again will be given days to successfully deliver their second payload to LEO.
...

EDIT: Attaching the guidelines (pdf)
« Last Edit: 04/20/2018 11:46 am by AlexA »

Offline whitelancer64

Re: DARPA Launch Challenge
« Reply #1 on: 04/19/2018 03:39 pm »
From the website:

"TIMELINE
At the end of 2019, teams will rapidly launch a payload into two orbits, with minimal notification, from different launch sites – one just days after the other – for an opportunity to win the $10M first prize."

From the downloadable PDF:

"Competitors will receive information about the launch sites with less than 30 days prior to each launch. Once launch sites are announced, competitors will transport their launch vehicles, equipment, and necessary infrastructure to the locations in an expedient and safe manner.

Teams will receive further requirements for each launch less than 14 days prior to the launch – including specific launch pad, payload and orbit details, as well as the physical payloads to be launched. This is intended to be reflective of future needs for tactical use of space, where the details of the launch requirements are not known until they are dictated by mission needs."

and

"Payloads
To best exercise the performance capabilities of all teams, initial details (including interfaces) of the payload will be released in the launch rules in early 2019."

and

"For initial planning purposes, teams should plan to show calculations at their maximum launch capability for a maximum extent of inclinations from each prospective launch site.
DARPA will work with the FAA to issue further guidance regarding inputs for license applications for the planned orbit and launch trajectories."
"One bit of advice: it is important to view knowledge as sort of a semantic tree -- make sure you understand the fundamental principles, ie the trunk and big branches, before you get into the leaves/details or there is nothing for them to hang on to." - Elon Musk
"There are lies, damned lies, and launch schedules." - Larry J

Offline Markstark

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 341
  • Liked: 434
  • Likes Given: 83
Re: DARPA Launch Challenge
« Reply #2 on: 04/19/2018 04:37 pm »
Who would possible be participants in this challenge? I would think Vector, Virgin Orbit and that’s about it. Will anyone else have this type of capability (i.e. launch on demand from various sites,) in the near term?

Offline whitelancer64

Re: DARPA Launch Challenge
« Reply #3 on: 04/19/2018 04:51 pm »
Who would possible be participants in this challenge? I would think Vector, Virgin Orbit and that’s about it. Will anyone else have this type of capability (i.e. launch on demand from various sites,) in the near term?

Rocket Crafters, with their Intrepid launch vehicle.
Stealth Space, aka Astra Space, with the mysterious Astra rocket.
Firefly Aerospace, with Firefly Alpha.
Vector, with Vector-R or Vector-H.
Virgin Orbit, with LauncherOne
Rocket Lab, with its Electron rocket, could use this as an excuse to get its US launch sites established.
Orbital ATK, with the Pegasus, or Minotaur I, IV, or C.
"One bit of advice: it is important to view knowledge as sort of a semantic tree -- make sure you understand the fundamental principles, ie the trunk and big branches, before you get into the leaves/details or there is nothing for them to hang on to." - Elon Musk
"There are lies, damned lies, and launch schedules." - Larry J

Offline Markstark

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 341
  • Liked: 434
  • Likes Given: 83
DARPA Launch Challenge
« Reply #4 on: 04/19/2018 05:02 pm »
Who would possible be participants in this challenge? I would think Vector, Virgin Orbit and that’s about it. Will anyone else have this type of capability (i.e. launch on demand from various sites,) in the near term?

Rocket Crafters, with their Intrepid launch vehicle.
Stealth Space, aka Astra Space, with the mysterious Astra rocket.
Firefly Aerospace, with Firefly Alpha.
Vector, with Vector-R or Vector-H.
Virgin Orbit, with LauncherOne
Rocket Lab, with its Electron rocket, could use this as an excuse to get its US launch sites established.
Orbital ATK, with the Pegasus, or Minotaur I, IV, or C.


Would the “no prior knowledge of the.... launch site” part exclude the companies that require substantial fixed infrastructure such as Rocket Lab?

Thanks for the reply btw.
« Last Edit: 04/19/2018 05:02 pm by Markstark »

Offline whitelancer64

Re: DARPA Launch Challenge
« Reply #5 on: 04/19/2018 05:42 pm »
Who would possible be participants in this challenge? I would think Vector, Virgin Orbit and that’s about it. Will anyone else have this type of capability (i.e. launch on demand from various sites,) in the near term?

Rocket Crafters, with their Intrepid launch vehicle.
Stealth Space, aka Astra Space, with the mysterious Astra rocket.
Firefly Aerospace, with Firefly Alpha.
Vector, with Vector-R or Vector-H.
Virgin Orbit, with LauncherOne
Rocket Lab, with its Electron rocket, could use this as an excuse to get its US launch sites established.
Orbital ATK, with the Pegasus, or Minotaur I, IV, or C.


Would the “no prior knowledge of the.... launch site” part exclude the companies that require substantial fixed infrastructure such as Rocket Lab?

Thanks for the reply btw.

No, it just means they don't know what launch site they will need to use until less than a month before the launch.

So their launch sites would need to be built and ready to go well before the end of 2019.
"One bit of advice: it is important to view knowledge as sort of a semantic tree -- make sure you understand the fundamental principles, ie the trunk and big branches, before you get into the leaves/details or there is nothing for them to hang on to." - Elon Musk
"There are lies, damned lies, and launch schedules." - Larry J

Offline Markstark

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 341
  • Liked: 434
  • Likes Given: 83
Re: DARPA Launch Challenge
« Reply #6 on: 04/19/2018 05:42 pm »
Who would possible be participants in this challenge? I would think Vector, Virgin Orbit and that’s about it. Will anyone else have this type of capability (i.e. launch on demand from various sites,) in the near term?

Rocket Crafters, with their Intrepid launch vehicle.
Stealth Space, aka Astra Space, with the mysterious Astra rocket.
Firefly Aerospace, with Firefly Alpha.
Vector, with Vector-R or Vector-H.
Virgin Orbit, with LauncherOne
Rocket Lab, with its Electron rocket, could use this as an excuse to get its US launch sites established.
Orbital ATK, with the Pegasus, or Minotaur I, IV, or C.


Would the “no prior knowledge of the.... launch site” part exclude the companies that require substantial fixed infrastructure such as Rocket Lab?

Thanks for the reply btw.

No, it just means they don't know what launch site they will need to use until less than a month before the launch.

So their launch sites would need to be built and ready to go well before the end of 2019.

Okay. That makes a lot more sense to me now. Thanks!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro

Offline butters

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2344
  • Liked: 1552
  • Likes Given: 531
Re: DARPA Launch Challenge
« Reply #7 on: 04/19/2018 06:15 pm »
Peter Beck has commented based on his experiences, however, that "if anyone is thinking about building own pad, I advise against it." So perhaps Rocket Lab would not be so enthusiastic about building new launch sites.

Offline whitelancer64

Re: DARPA Launch Challenge
« Reply #8 on: 04/19/2018 06:18 pm »
Peter Beck has commented based on his experiences, however, that "if anyone is thinking about building own pad, I advise against it." So perhaps Rocket Lab would not be so enthusiastic about building new launch sites.

RocketLab is already planning on launch sites in Kodiak, Alaska, and Cape Canaveral, Florida.

*edit* and that quote is about building a launch 'range,' not a launch site at an existing range.

"The launch site, and coordination with local officials to clear airspace and seas for the launch, worked as planned, but Beck said in the media teleconference it took a “huge effort” to get everything in place. “If anybody has ever contemplated building a launch range, I’d advise against it, because it’s certainly a lot more involved than even we, four years ago, thought it would be,” he said."

http://spacenews.com/rocket-lab-reaches-space-but-not-orbit-on-first-electron-launch/
« Last Edit: 04/19/2018 06:23 pm by whitelancer64 »
"One bit of advice: it is important to view knowledge as sort of a semantic tree -- make sure you understand the fundamental principles, ie the trunk and big branches, before you get into the leaves/details or there is nothing for them to hang on to." - Elon Musk
"There are lies, damned lies, and launch schedules." - Larry J

Offline john smith 19

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 9847
  • Everyplaceelse
  • Liked: 2287
  • Likes Given: 12726
Re: DARPA Launch Challenge
« Reply #9 on: 04/19/2018 07:47 pm »
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 deruch

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2422
  • California
  • Liked: 2006
  • Likes Given: 5634
Re: DARPA Launch Challenge
« Reply #10 on: 04/19/2018 09:21 pm »
Frankly, $12.4M (total winnings for 1st place) seems too low a prize for this.  2 launches plus all the work to be able to support launching from multiple sites on short notice.  For some (many?) of the potential participants that works out to average less per launch than they will likely end up selling launches for without all the hassle of the short notice nonsense.  If DARPA was really serious about seeing this demonstrated, they should offer something like $30M.  Or smaller prize awards on top of the company's launch prices with maybe a total amount cap so the cheaper launchers potentially get a bigger bonus.  I'd hate for some company to make a risky try for this only to have it hurt their chances of staying viable because they counted on winning for it to pay off.
« Last Edit: 04/19/2018 09:24 pm by deruch »
Shouldn't reality posts be in "Advanced concepts"?  --Nomadd

Offline whitelancer64

Re: DARPA Launch Challenge
« Reply #11 on: 04/19/2018 10:40 pm »
Vector is targeting for a launch cost of about $3 million for its larger Vector-H rocket. Winning first place would net it about $6 million.
"One bit of advice: it is important to view knowledge as sort of a semantic tree -- make sure you understand the fundamental principles, ie the trunk and big branches, before you get into the leaves/details or there is nothing for them to hang on to." - Elon Musk
"There are lies, damned lies, and launch schedules." - Larry J

Offline RDoc

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 514
  • Liked: 123
  • Likes Given: 12
Re: DARPA Launch Challenge
« Reply #12 on: 04/20/2018 02:50 am »
I must say, this seems absurd to me. Actually, it looks like cheap camouflage to hide some other goal, e.g. a baked in award to a favored vendor.

Offline deruch

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2422
  • California
  • Liked: 2006
  • Likes Given: 5634
Re: DARPA Launch Challenge
« Reply #13 on: 04/20/2018 04:04 am »
Vector is targeting for a launch cost of about $3 million for its larger Vector-H rocket. Winning first place would net it about $6 million.

I don't believe any of the current crop of small launch companies capable of launching from multiple locations will end up routinely selling launches for less than $5M/launch.  I'm willing to be surprised, but am still very doubtful.  (NB- I said routinely.  Early adopter prices don't count)

What's more, it looks like the period of completion is just 1 year, i.e. launches occurring in April 2019.  That will really limit who is capable of competing.
Shouldn't reality posts be in "Advanced concepts"?  --Nomadd

Offline ThePhugoid

  • Member
  • Posts: 39
  • Liked: 7
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: DARPA Launch Challenge
« Reply #14 on: 04/20/2018 05:10 am »
I must say, this seems absurd to me. Actually, it looks like cheap camouflage to hide some other goal, e.g. a baked in award to a favored vendor.

Aptly put. Agreed.

Offline Lars-J

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6714
  • California
  • Liked: 8140
  • Likes Given: 5184
Re: DARPA Launch Challenge
« Reply #15 on: 04/20/2018 05:25 am »
I must say, this seems absurd to me. Actually, it looks like cheap camouflage to hide some other goal, e.g. a baked in award to a favored vendor.

Aptly put. Agreed.

Just like XS-1. Pretty clear in retrospect. Nothing real & usable will come from XS-1, nothing will come from this. Just funds to certain pockets.

Offline ringsider

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 665
  • Liked: 454
  • Likes Given: 95
Re: DARPA Launch Challenge
« Reply #16 on: 04/20/2018 05:57 am »
I must say, this seems absurd to me. Actually, it looks like cheap camouflage to hide some other goal, e.g. a baked in award to a favored vendor.

I just had a look at the terms on the website. To qualify, teams have to have an FAA license application accepted by 14 December 2018.

So you can rule out ABL, Relativity, maybe Firefly - they probably won't be ready. Also none of the overseas guys like Expace, Orbex, Gilmour have a shot, too complex / not allowed to bring their gear to the USA.

So that leaves only Rocket Lab, Virgin Orbit and maybe Vector and Astra at a pinch, but I would say that is an outside chance based on recent performance. Of that group I would guess only Rocket Lab and Virgin have a real shot, but they have bigger fish to fry in that time frame, and Rocket Lab has little to prove. Vector and Astra would seem like the clear candidates with something to gain (if they can get anything into space by then).

Orbital ATK wouldn't bother - it would cost them more to do a single launch than they would gain from the prize.

Offline john smith 19

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 9847
  • Everyplaceelse
  • Liked: 2287
  • Likes Given: 12726
Re: DARPA Launch Challenge
« Reply #17 on: 04/20/2018 06:23 am »
So you can rule out ABL, Relativity, maybe Firefly - they probably won't be ready. Also none of the overseas guys like Expace, Orbex, Gilmour have a shot, too complex / not allowed to bring their gear to the USA.
They'd be allowed to bring their gear to the US.

It's taking it home again (or ITAR contaminating their IPR and stopping them launching whoever they want) that's the problem afterward.  :(
« Last Edit: 04/20/2018 06:24 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 speedevil

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4406
  • Fife
  • Liked: 2761
  • Likes Given: 3369
Re: DARPA Launch Challenge
« Reply #18 on: 04/20/2018 06:26 am »
So that leaves only Rocket Lab, Virgin Orbit and maybe Vector and Astra at a pinch, but I would say that is an outside chance based on recent performance. Of that group I would guess only Rocket Lab and Virgin have a real shot, but they have bigger fish to fry in that time frame, and Rocket Lab has little to prove. Vector and Astra would seem like the clear candidates with something to gain (if they can get anything into space by then).

Orbital ATK wouldn't bother - it would cost them more to do a single launch than they would gain from the prize.
BFS - SSTO!
It sort of could, if they have indeed stretched it a bit, and early tests worked well.( I consider this vanishingly unlikely.)

This is indeed very odd.
I could see RL doing it, if the comment about 'setting up a range' was not around required technical aspects, but legislative - which DARPA would presumably deal with, especially if they thought it would lead to more contracts.


The electron is not actually very large - I could not actually find the above for sale - just a Scud launcher which is rather too small.



The rocketlabs infrastructure just isn't that large, with the base of the launchpad being some 3.5*3.5*2.5m or so.
It's in the range that you could consider moving it by road in one lump.


Offline ringsider

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 665
  • Liked: 454
  • Likes Given: 95
Re: DARPA Launch Challenge
« Reply #19 on: 04/20/2018 09:19 am »
So you can rule out ABL, Relativity, maybe Firefly - they probably won't be ready. Also none of the overseas guys like Expace, Orbex, Gilmour have a shot, too complex / not allowed to bring their gear to the USA.
They'd be allowed to bring their gear to the US.

It's taking it home again (or ITAR contaminating their IPR and stopping them launching whoever they want) that's the problem afterward.  :(

Europe has the same regulations for export control as ITAR, in reverse, called EC428/2009 - it is basically exactly the same list as ITAR for dual use / military items, but for movement from Europe to somewhere outside Europe. Europe has some secret tech too apparently:-

http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2009:134:0001:0269:en:PDF

So European companies like PLD Space or Ripple or Orbex wishing to export e.g. rocket engines, tanks, GNC, composite vehicles from Europe to e.g. America need an export permit just like American companies need an export permit under ITAR/EAR. To the USA they would probably be granted  a license, but it is a paperwork hassle, then they would have to jump through FAA hoops on launch licensing.

As an MTCR signatory Australia has similar regulations, the DSGL list:

https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/F2016C00970

Japan the same, so that applies to e.g. Interstellar.

http://www.meti.go.jp/policy/anpo/englishpage.html

All these ECL control lists are basically the same, controlling movement of potentially dangerous goods from one country to another.

For China, no idea, but I imagine it would be almost impossible to move a Chinese launcher to the USA...
« Last Edit: 04/20/2018 09:32 am by ringsider »

Tags:
 

Advertisement NovaTech
Advertisement SkyTale Software GmbH
Advertisement Northrop Grumman
Advertisement
Advertisement Brady Kenniston
Advertisement NextSpaceflight
Advertisement Nathan Barker Photography
0