Author Topic: Ariane 6 Discussion Thread: Place Your Ariane 6 Discussions Here  (Read 751916 times)

Offline woods170

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"Solids it is"  ;D

"But liquids are better"  ???

"Who cares?"  ::)

Where have I heard this story before?  :P

Nice recap! Basically says it all.

Offline woods170

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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.

Hmmm, not entirely convinced by this reasoning. You see, ESA and CNES started orienting themselves towards a new launcher as early as 2004, with the kick-off of the FLPP. It's customary to start looking towards future vehicles while your current vehicle has only just begun to fly. For instance: the first outlooks for Ariane 5 were developed when ESA had only barely begun to fly Ariane 2 and Ariane 3.

And then there is the other thing: development time. I'll give an example. Just suppose you postpone development of Ariane 6 for 5 years to see where the market is going. And just suppose you then choose a heavy launcher because satellites stay big and heavy. OK, you then begin development of a heavy launcher. By the time it becomes operational (7 to 10 years after start of development) it turns out the market has changed and now every commsat manufacturer has switched to electric propulsion and satellite weight is steadily going down.

In this example (and an example it is) ESA would still wind up with the wrong launch vehicle. Point is: development times for agency-developed launch vehicles are so long, that there is no guarantee that the resulting vehicle will 'fit' the market. Regardless of it being solid or liquid, or it having been developed now or 5 years from now.

Offline pippin

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Well, as I said: you will never be able to completely avoid uncertainty.
But right now, during the next 3 or 4 years we will see whether there are more fundamental changes in the business model in the market place. I'm not talking about comsat sizes but the question whether SpaceX and the other NewSpace entrants really find ways to change the cost structure by a factor of more than, say, 1/5th or so.

I doubt it, but if they succeed you will definitely want to learn some lessons from them, also on the processes side (for example, it might result in even more payloads being able to be horizontally integrated; yes, I know most comsats already allow that....). It might also have an impact on payload sizes.

And if they don't succeed, well, then you didn't lose anything else because you just stay competitive.

That you have already started thinking about a new launcher a few years ago doesn't change the fact that right now is a bad moment for decisions.

And here again: regarding development times I believe everybody has already seen that in _this_ respect NewSpace is not faster than everybody else but maybe even slower so that doesn't add any hurry, A5ME will be competitive for quite a while.
« Last Edit: 05/31/2013 02:23 pm by pippin »

Offline Zed_Noir

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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?

Offline kch

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"Solids it is"  ;D

"But liquids are better"  ???

"Who cares?"  ::)

Where have I heard this story before?  :P

Nice recap! Basically says it all.

'Twere ever thus ...


... you will never be able to completely avoid uncertainty.

That much is certain.   ;)

Offline pippin

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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?

It has been more or less a complete non-issue so far in German media. On the technical side, the Germans traditionally haven't been much in favor of solids.

Regarding the funding: all funds going to ESA have to be approved per purpose so yes, each parliament in countries paying for this will have to agree.

Offline floss

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The French will probably foot half the bill so they can call it a French rocket.

Otherwise it is up to the commissioners.

Offline Oli

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Attached is an interesting new document I found. To quote from the intro:

"..concept dubbed ANGELA (A New GEneration LAuncher) is a study financed with funds of the German Ministry of Economics and managed by the DLR Space Administration. The project, which started in the summer of 2012 aims at designing a low cost versatile launcher able to place payloads between 2 and 5 tons into GTO."

There are 3 concepts (numbers denote mass in tons), upper stage with Vinci:

H110 with 2-6 P36 - H29
Core stage with two Vulcain 2 and up to 6 boosters attached.

H90 with 2-6 P34 - H24
Core stage with new 1800kN (vac) staged combustion engine and up to 6 boosters.

2-3 P120 - P120 - H23
Resembles the CNES Ariane 6 design, but P120 instead of P135. Just like in the CNES design, solids will be "strictly identical" (which was new to me, I thought they may have different nozzles and/or thrust profiles).


« Last Edit: 06/01/2013 10:51 pm by Oli »

Offline pippin

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What a ridiculous name

Offline Zed_Noir

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What a ridiculous name

The current German Chancellor might be in favor of the name.

Offline pippin

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She's a scientist, I'm pretty sure she'll find that kind of "naming for compliments" ridiculous, too.

Offline Oli

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Must be german humor, at least they didn't name it Adolf.

Offline pippin

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THAT would have been English humor then, nowadays ;)
And Germans don't have any humor.
« Last Edit: 06/02/2013 06:14 pm by pippin »

Offline floss

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The 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

Thanks Ed KYLE that was just my point bet the same engineers worked on both.

Offline Oli

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So I looked at the H-IIA design and I find that quite interesting actually.

The first stage SC engine could be replaced with a scaled down Vulcain 2 engine, hopefully at lower cost.

The boosters could be scaled down P80s from vega.

The upper stage would be powered by vinci, naturally.

Offline cheesybagel

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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.

The other option is to do like the Japanese and work on expander-bleed cycle engines for the first stage. Those should also have fairly good reusability characteristics and high ISP.

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.
« Last Edit: 06/03/2013 02:31 am by cheesybagel »

Offline floss

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With Vega to prototype solid rocket improvements cost effectively Ariane 6 makes a lot of sense . Ariane 5 would need a lot of money to progress any further .
A launcher launching 15 to 20 times a year is a lot more cost effective than than one launching 6 times a year.(As mentioned here years ago).

Offline woods170

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You are at it again. Your post is full of incorrect. I'll attempt to enlighten you.

So basically the head of Arianespace hopes Ariane 6 will have less than half the cost per launch of Ariane 5.
Mr. Le Gall is no longer the head of Arianespace. He has been promoted and is now the head of CNES (the French space agency)

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.
Emphasis mine. That's not any different from Ariane 5 and the previous versions. You do not need to highlight that set of costs. They are sunk and not entered in the launch cost. R&D cost, along with infrastructure creation costs have never been factored into the launch price for Ariane. That money is coughed up by ESA member states and is considered sunk by the time the vehicle starts flying.

If there is one constant in this sector is that the launch costs are never as cheap as originally advertised.
Everybody knows that. Why kick in the wide open door?

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?
It's not that black and white. A number of reasons is listed for terminating Ariane 5 use past 2025. Dual-launch (or the impending impossibility thereof) is only one of them. Other reasons are parts obsolescence, aging technology, decreasing competitiveness and the need for constant subsidies. Indeed, one of reasons heavily pushed by ESA and CNES is their 'displeasure' with the fact that Ariane 5 cannot fly with a profit below 7 launches per year.
Ariane 6 will be single-payload launches, meaning it could potentially fly twice as often given the same market numbers. That makes for increased economy-of-scale for the rocket components. The 6.5 ton performance number provides adequate performance margin, that will actually grow as comsats become lighter. But the latter is an (expected) future development, and it is not clear just how strong this development will be by the time Ariane 6 is set to fly for the first time.

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.
Soyuz has only just begun to fly from Kourou. Why would you wanna do away with it so soon? And Vega would have to be scaled up very substantially to be able to replace Soyuz. It would be an altogether completely new rocket. Such an effort would be a waste of money right now.
RLV? As in Reusable Launch Vehicle? Ahum... ESA and CNES don't do RLV's. First ol' Elon will have to show that RLV's will do anything to revolutionize the launcher market. Not until after that might ESA and CNES do something with RLV's. Every effort right now is on expendable launchers.

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.
For someone who has never spoken to mr. Le Gall in person you seem to have a remarkable insight into his mistakes.  ::)
Ariane 5 was designed in the early 1990's. Naturally it's stage construction techniques are not as advanced as those employed by SpaceX. And staged combustion engines were not in fashion either when ESA developed Vulcain and Vulcain 2. Linking the technology choices of SpaceX and Orbital to Ariane en then calling the technology behind Ariane 5 antiquated is ridiculous. You are again kicking open a wide open door. Ariane 5 has been flying for 15 years. Falcon 9 and Antares have only just begun. What is even more ridiculous is blaming the current head of CNES for it. Was he supposed to have some magic crystal ball 25 years ago, to see into the present what is being done today? Nuts!


Offline baldusi

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BTW, SpaceX didn't used significantly more advanced techniques, since Ariane 5 already uses FSW. And they even changed the F9 v1.1 construction method to use the same techniques as the rest. And upto the Merlin 1C, they still used tube wall for the rocket and nozzle, low temperature gas generator and a pintle injector. Everything no more sophisticated than a Vulcain or H7B, but with way easier fuel and some 15 to 20 years later.
In the Antares case, they used a 40 years old Russian engine. You appear to forget that the Ariane program requires it to be developed in Europe. There must be a reason why not everybody uses stage combustion. Specially if you wanted to make your first human rated vehicle. The failure mores of the SC engines are quick and nasty. Gas generator is much better behaved. Not to mention that you don't want to mix first handling of a fuel like H2 with your first staged combustion development.
Have you even read a little about Ariane to make this blanket statements?

Offline floss

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Have you even read a little about Ariane to make this blanket statements?
[/quote]

Please tell could you give some good English book references I would greatly appreciate it.

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