"Solids it is" "But liquids are better" "Who cares?" Where have I heard this story before?
The important part of this call is not the "solid vs. liquid" thing, it's the "wait" aspect.I'm not convinced that that Ariane 6 _design_ is necessarily bad. However, to start the development _now_ is a completely ridiculous move. If they do 5ME (and that looks more or less like a given), they will be fine in the market for the next 10 years.During that time, the market will change, we do already know that now. However, what we don't know is how successful NewSpace will be, what their price point will be and whether they have an impact on payload size growth/non-growth.ESA is in no position to have to immediately react, Arianespace won't lose all market share at and instant and the current portfolio gives them all assured access they could ever want.After the big changes settle down a bit you know what you've got to shoot for and can make an informed decision, they can afford to wait for that.Shooting for a new launcher right now, however, will almost certainly leave you in a situation where, having developed it, you will see that one or the other development has been different than you expected. While you can never completely avoid that, right now looks like an especially bad time to make a decision.SpaceX have had to revise their strategy a few times and are not yet in the market, if and how other entrants follow remains to be seen, this is not the time to start a completely new development.
Quote from: spectre9 on 05/31/2013 09:00 am"Solids it is" "But liquids are better" "Who cares?" Where have I heard this story before? Nice recap! Basically says it all.
... you will never be able to completely avoid uncertainty.
We know the French are in favor of the Ariane 6. What does the Germans think of this new launcher, especially since they will fund most of it. Does the Bundestag get a veto on new launcher development if they refuse to put up the cash?
What a ridiculous name
Quote from: floss on 05/26/2013 04:06 pmThe stick rises again Ariane 6 and Ares I/Liberty are substantially different. The main difference is the use of two serial solid stages rather than only one. That shrinks the required mass of the rocket, and especially of the cryogenic upper stage, reducing upper stage thrust requirements and therefore cost. Other differences include the use of monolithic rather then segmented solid motors, composites rather than steel casings, and more efficient propellant. An Ares I designed like an Ariane 6 would have been a much better rocket. - Ed Kyle
The stick rises again
So basically the head of Arianespace hopes Ariane 6 will have less than half the cost per launch of Ariane 5.
But the thing is Ariane 6 is supposed to have half the payload of Ariane 5. I would be willing to bet Ariane 6 will not cost less per pound than Ariane 5. Quite the opposite. Especially after the R&D costs and launch pad construction costs are included into the price.
If there is one constant in this sector is that the launch costs are never as cheap as originally advertised.
Also their justification for canning Ariane 5 is that dual-launch is no longer possible because comsats are too getting too heavy for dual launch. But for Ariane 6 they claim that 6.5t payload makes sense because comsats will be getting lighter because of solar-electric propulsion. What?
I would just keep the current Ariane 5 improvement program, work on a heavier version of Vega to replace Soyuz, and put the rest of the money into R&D for a staged combustion first-stage engine. This way liquid engine know-how would be supported for the foreseeable future and the technology could eventually be reused for a future RLV.
It seems the head of Arianespace got the wrong idea from SpaceX and Orbital. He seems to think they are not technologically driven. However the reality is that SpaceX uses much more modern stage construction techniques than Ariane 5 while Orbital uses staged-combustion engines in Antares.