Author Topic: Delta IV Q&A  (Read 242143 times)

Offline Propforce

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Re: Delta IV Q&A
« Reply #280 on: 01/03/2008 09:07 pm »
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sticksux - 3/1/2008  3:11 AM
We should always think in terms of $$$, not newtons, if we want to have affordable access to space. I am trying to estimate cost of US kerolox engine. Russians build and sell RD-170 for $7.5 million apiece to Ukrainians. They also build "half of RD-170" engine - RD-180 - for $10 million and sell it to ULA. So, it is already sold at approx x3 profit! RS-68 costs $14 million. I'd hazard to guess than American engine in RD-180 ballpark should cost no more than $25 million apiece.
You know, according to your logic we should just out-sourced to the Russians or the Chinese to launch our national security payloads.  It would be a lot cheaper this way.

For commercial payloads, both LM and Boeing steer their commercial customers to their Russian launchers anyway.  



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I very much doubt you can have less insulation on your LH tank that on kerosene tank, as kerosene tank does not need any insulation!
 
Insulations are cheap.  Not a discriminator.  Bigger tanks are minor cost increase.  Also not a discriminator.

Pay someone to develop you a brand new U.S. made staged combustion cycle engine, either RP or LH2.  EXPENSIVE !!!  


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RS-68 costs $14 million
May I ask where does this number come from ?


Offline TrueGrit

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Re: Delta IV Q&A
« Reply #281 on: 01/03/2008 09:10 pm »
Ok lets review again...
LH2 storage/transfer = tank, lines, vaporizor, and valves
RP storage/transfer = tank, lines, pump, and valves

LH2 system only has valves that move vs. RP which will also have a speciality built remote operated pump with associated control unit.

Offline Propforce

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Re: Delta IV Q&A
« Reply #282 on: 01/03/2008 09:11 pm »
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sticksux - 3/1/2008  9:05 AM

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TrueGrit - 3/1/2008  4:24 PM
maintaining large, simple, common LH2 storage/transfer system vs. buying and maintaining a smaller LH2 storage/transfer system aswell as a more complex large RP system.

I don't understand. RP system will be more complex than similarly-sized LH system? Why?

He's saying it's cheaper to  build one common propellant system than building two on the ground.

Offline TrueGrit

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Re: Delta IV Q&A
« Reply #283 on: 01/03/2008 09:28 pm »
Don't know where you got your performance numbers...  But just looking at the ULA COTS RFI they don't come close:
DIV M40 - 8400kg to ISS - 4300kg to GTO - 1100 kg to GEO
AV 401   - 8400kg to ISS - 4900kg to GTO - N/A to GEO
DIV M54 - 12800kg to ISS - 7000kg to GTO - 2700kg to GEO
AV 551   - 16100kg to ISS - 8700kg to GTO - 3900kg to GEO
DIV Hvy - 21500kg to ISS - 12900kg to GTO - 6100kg to GEO

And DIV Heavy is undergoing an engine upgrade that will extend the capability to 27,000 kg to ISS, and once available the upgraded  engine can be applied to the Medium CBCs.

As for costs...  How many times do we have to say it.  You can't simply pull some number off a press release and assume it's a comparible cost.  Each contract is filled with lots of mission specific work in the form of multiple trajectory studies, payload integration, oversight support, and vehilce mission mods that all are signifcant cost factors.

Offline edkyle99

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Re: Delta IV Q&A
« Reply #284 on: 01/04/2008 12:41 am »
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WHAP - 3/1/2008  3:23 PM

$190M (not $180M) was the advertised (by NASA) value of the Juno contract.

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/forums/thread-view.asp?tid=10071&posts=15&start=1

Believe but you will, but if you think ULA would sell a vehicle at a loss, you're mistaken.

The best explanation of true EELV costs was given a couple of years ago by Jim McAleese in the following Space News article.  

http://www.space.com/spacenews/archive05/McAleese_112805.html

In it, Jim wrote that "ultimately each EELV launch has an average unit-procurement cost of $226 million over the 137 total planned EELV launches. The average unit cost is $232 million per launch, once the $834 million of U.S. Air Force research development, testing and evaluation expenses also are allocated over the 137 total planned launches through 2020".

He also noted that "total EELV sustainment payments from 2004-2020 average $818 million per year on a straight-line basis".  The $818 million annual subsidies are "infrastructure sustainment payments".  The launches costs extra.  Note that there were only five EELV launches this year - that's $164 million per launch even before the launch vehicle costs are added!  

Bottom line - there is no way that an Atlas 551 only costs the taxpayers $190 million.  It might only cost NASA $190 million, but not the taxpayers.

 - Ed Kyle

Offline WHAP

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Re: Delta IV Q&A
« Reply #285 on: 01/04/2008 03:00 am »
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edkyle99 - 3/1/2008  6:41 PM

The best explanation of true EELV costs was given a couple of years ago by Jim McAleese in the following Space News article.  

http://www.space.com/spacenews/archive05/McAleese_112805.html

In it, Jim wrote that "ultimately each EELV launch has an average unit-procurement cost of $226 million over the 137 total planned EELV launches. The average unit cost is $232 million per launch, once the $834 million of U.S. Air Force research development, testing and evaluation expenses also are allocated over the 137 total planned launches through 2020".

He also noted that "total EELV sustainment payments from 2004-2020 average $818 million per year on a straight-line basis".  The $818 million annual subsidies are "infrastructure sustainment payments".  The launches costs extra.  Note that there were only five EELV launches this year - that's $164 million per launch even before the launch vehicle costs are added!  

Bottom line - there is no way that an Atlas 551 only costs the taxpayers $190 million.  It might only cost NASA $190 million, but not the taxpayers.

 - Ed Kyle

Define infrastructure.  My understanding is that the sustainment payment includes money to companies like Aerospace, which have huge contracts with the government.  Say what you will, but those costs are not part of the true launch vehicle costs.
I'm struggling with the numbers:  If the government gave $1 billion (total) to LM and BA initially, then $834 million for R&D, plus $818 million per year for 17 years, that totals $15.74 billion.  Over 137 vehicles, I get $115 million per vehicle.  McAleese comes up with a number double that.  Where's my math error?

Of course, none of this is relevant to the original post, which was comparing the price of an Atlas V to a Delta IV.  All of the supposed costs in the article apply to both vehicles.  You may not believe the price numbers, but both vehicles benefit equally from government support.
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Offline WHAP

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Re: Delta IV Q&A
« Reply #286 on: 01/04/2008 03:03 am »
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TrueGrit - 3/1/2008  3:10 PM

Ok lets review again...
LH2 storage/transfer = tank, lines, vaporizor, and valves
RP storage/transfer = tank, lines, pump, and valves

LH2 system only has valves that move vs. RP which will also have a speciality built remote operated pump with associated control unit.

Atlas V has pumps for the RP system, but they're nowhere near as complicated as you make them sound.  The RP system is pretty straightforward, and doesn't require a lot of the maintenance required of the cryo systems.
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Offline tnphysics

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Re: Delta IV Q&A
« Reply #287 on: 01/04/2008 04:02 am »
The RD-180 is an extremely complex engine. Its performance at sea level approaches the theoretical limit. Payload performance requires that it do so.

Because of the higher Isp of LH2/LOX, the RS-68 can be much simpler and thus cheaper.

Offline edkyle99

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Re: Delta IV Q&A
« Reply #288 on: 01/04/2008 04:28 am »
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WHAP - 3/1/2008  10:00 PM

Define infrastructure.  My understanding is that the sustainment payment includes money to companies like Aerospace, which have huge contracts with the government.  Say what you will, but those costs are not part of the true launch vehicle costs.

The article spelled it out quite clearly.

"Specifically, the EELV launch capability contracts include virtually all the costs of launch vehicle development, production and launch, other than materials and direct labor for EELV launch vehicle assembly.

Even day-to-day program management, and actual launch costs themselves, are excluded from the EELV launch service contracts. Instead, all of the recurring overhead costs, plus all infrastructure costs have been consolidated into the sole-source EELV launch capability contracts. The Air Force is funding virtually all of the annual working capital, long-term capital expenditures and recurring overhead for all of United Launch Alliance's EELV launches, including both commercial customers and NASA launches as well."

I don't know what you mean by "true launch vehicle costs".  What matters in the long run is total program costs.  Dividing that by the number of launches gives an average launch vehicle mission cost, which to me is the closest thing one can get to a per-launch cost estimate.

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I'm struggling with the numbers:  If the government gave $1 billion (total) to LM and BA initially, then $834 million for R&D, plus $818 million per year for 17 years, that totals $15.74 billion.  Over 137 vehicles, I get $115 million per vehicle.  McAleese comes up with a number double that.  Where's my math error?

The total program cost is projected to be $31.8 billion for 137 launches, an average of $232.12 million per launch.  Nearly $14 billion of the total is for "launch infrastructure sustainment".  That averages out to about $823 million per year, or $102.2 million per launch if all 137 launches occur during the 17 year period - a rate of 8 per year.  But the EELV program hasn't done better than 5 per year yet.

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Of course, none of this is relevant to the original post, which was comparing the price of an Atlas V to a Delta IV.  All of the supposed costs in the article apply to both vehicles.  You may not believe the price numbers, but both vehicles benefit equally from government support.

Prior to the formation of ULA, Boeing was getting a bigger slice of the "sustainment" money than Lockheed Martin.  Higher fixed costs, presumably.  Delta flies from massive Slick 6 while Atlas will go from much more basic SLC 3E, for example.  The Heavy needs more infrastructure.

 - Ed Kyle

Offline Nick L.

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Re: Delta IV Q&A
« Reply #289 on: 01/04/2008 05:34 am »
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WHAP - 3/1/2008  11:03 PM

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TrueGrit - 3/1/2008  3:10 PM

Ok lets review again...
LH2 storage/transfer = tank, lines, vaporizor, and valves
RP storage/transfer = tank, lines, pump, and valves

LH2 system only has valves that move vs. RP which will also have a speciality built remote operated pump with associated control unit.

Atlas V has pumps for the RP system, but they're nowhere near as complicated as you make them sound.  The RP system is pretty straightforward, and doesn't require a lot of the maintenance required of the cryo systems.

I don't think he's saying that an RP1 system is more complex/more maintenance intensive than a LH2 system. He's saying that with an LH2 first stage you don't need a separate RP1 system at all, you can just have a single LH2 system for the entire vehicle. The combined complexity of having an LH2 system for the second stage and a separate RP1 system for first stage is greater than just having one big LH2 system for the entire thing.
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Offline Antares

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Re: Delta IV Q&A
« Reply #290 on: 01/04/2008 05:35 am »
With apologies to my off-line colleagues:

When was the last time you saw an RP booster lifting off 2/3rds charred?

Anything you don't have to purge with an increasingly scarce commodity and worry about vaporizing into a combustible mixture with the atmosphere sounds like a better plan to me.  For me:
Booster: RP > LH on grounds of usability
Exoatmospheric: LH > all on grounds of performance
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Offline Propforce

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Re: Delta IV Q&A
« Reply #291 on: 01/04/2008 06:01 am »
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Antares - 3/1/2008  10:35 PM

With apologies to my off-line colleagues:

When was the last time you saw an RP booster lifting off 2/3rds charred?

Smoke & Fire baby !!! :laugh:

Isn't it why we're all into rockets?  

Diversity is the mother of all inventions !!!  How boring would it be if we only have same type of rockets?

You have to admit, the poor slobs who have to clean & work on the pad post launch would prefer a H2 first stage.




Offline sticksux

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Re: Delta IV Q&A
« Reply #292 on: 01/04/2008 09:33 am »
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TrueGrit - 3/1/2008  10:28 PM
Don't know where you got your performance numbers...  But just looking at the ULA COTS RFI they don't come close:
DIV M40 - 8400kg to ISS - 4300kg to GTO - 1100 kg to GEO
AV 401   - 8400kg to ISS - 4900kg to GTO - N/A to GEO
DIV M54 - 12800kg to ISS - 7000kg to GTO - 2700kg to GEO
AV 551   - 16100kg to ISS - 8700kg to GTO - 3900kg to GEO
DIV Hvy - 21500kg to ISS - 12900kg to GTO - 6100kg to GEO
As for costs...  How many times do we have to say it.  You can't simply pull some number off a press release and assume it's a comparible cost.

Ok, I am taking above performance figures. If you think my cost figures are wrong, what data do you have on flyaway cost of Atlas and Delta?

Offline sticksux

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Re: Delta IV Q&A
« Reply #293 on: 01/04/2008 09:52 am »
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Propforce - 3/1/2008  10:07 PM
You know, according to your logic we should just out-sourced to the Russians or the Chinese to launch our national security payloads.  It would be a lot cheaper this way.

I am saying that we should make our LVs more competitive, or at least try to. Otherwise we will never be a spacefaring species.

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I very much doubt you can have less insulation on your LH tank that on kerosene tank, as kerosene tank does not need any insulation!
Insulations are cheap.  Not a discriminator.  Bigger tanks are minor cost increase.  Also not a discriminator.

RP: smaller tank with no insulation
LH: bigger tank with insulation.

For me it's obvious that second one costs and weighs more, needs bigger machines to make, bigger barges to transport, insulation requires protection in transportation (danger! woodpeckers!) and on pad (hailstorm?).

Right now, NASA has Shuttle delayed because of cryo-induced problems in LH tank. How much does it cost to have Shuttle delayed by a month?

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Pay someone to develop you a brand new U.S. made staged combustion cycle engine, either RP or LH2. EXPENSIVE!!!

Yes. Something like $1 bn, but it needs to be done only once.

Offline kevin-rf

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Re: Delta IV Q&A
« Reply #294 on: 01/04/2008 10:19 am »
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sticksux - 4/1/2008  5:52 AM

RP: smaller tank with no insulation
LH: bigger tank with insulation.

For me it's obvious that second one costs and weighs more, needs bigger machines to make, bigger barges to transport, insulation requires protection in transportation (danger! woodpeckers!) and on pad (hailstorm?).

Assuming the larger tank tank costs more than using an RP engine instead of an LH engine.

Since the Atlas engine is made in russia and the Delta engine is made in the US we can not do a fair comparison on price.
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Offline edkyle99

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Re: Delta IV Q&A
« Reply #295 on: 01/04/2008 03:01 pm »
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kevin-rf - 4/1/2008  5:19 AM

Since the Atlas engine is made in russia and the Delta engine is made in the US we can not do a fair comparison on price.

Yes we can.  This is the Free Trade era.  Japan makes cars.  China, computers.  Korea, flat screens.  Russia, kerosene rocket engines.

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Offline TrueGrit

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Re: Delta IV Q&A
« Reply #296 on: 01/04/2008 03:39 pm »
There is a very minimal amount of extra cost do to a larger tank...   Material costs aren't a big factor and the majority of costs are in manufacturing.  The processes and time required to manufacture a 5m tank is equivelent to that of a 3m tank.

As for the launch fireball...  That is more of an unintented consequence of how PWR and Delta does the RS-68 start sequence.  Call if a lesson learned...  RS-68 is completely new and you wouldn't expect the first Block to be perfect.  PWR with Delta and NASA assistance have developed start sequence and design changes to mitigate the fireball.  In the end the 5-engined Ares V will have less of a fireball the the 3-engined Shuttle.

Once again, and please listen so I don't have to repeat myself another time... I'm not saying and LH2 stage is clearly more supperior than and RP stage...  What I'm saying is that the trade is a lot closer than advocates of either would make it seem.  A very big facotr in that decision is the available technology.  And dispite your feelings on the issue US LH2 engine technology is head-and-shoulders above that of RP.  And the EELV program specificaly said they prefered a US solution...  It's not a minor thing considering it is a military system that the DoD doesn't want a critical spy/cummications satelitte held hostage to some Russia political desicion.  Hard enough dealing with the wavering of US political desicion makers...

Offline WHAP

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Re: Delta IV Q&A
« Reply #297 on: 01/04/2008 04:51 pm »
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edkyle99 - 4/1/2008  9:01 AM

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kevin-rf - 4/1/2008  5:19 AM

Since the Atlas engine is made in russia and the Delta engine is made in the US we can not do a fair comparison on price.

Yes we can.  This is the Free Trade era.  Japan makes cars.  China, computers.  Korea, flat screens.  Russia, kerosene rocket engines.

 - Ed Kyle

Agreed.  The Russians have become excellent capitalists.   :)
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Offline Nate_Trost

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Re: Delta IV Q&A
« Reply #298 on: 01/04/2008 10:40 pm »
Given the current state of the dollar, and the money Russia is raking in from oil and gas, if one were to request bids right now for say a long-term 30 engine contract, I have to wonder if the RS-68 would end up being cheaper per unit.

Offline Antares

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Re: Delta IV Q&A
« Reply #299 on: 01/05/2008 03:46 pm »
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sticksux - 4/1/2008  4:33 AM
Ok, I am taking above performance figures. If you think my cost figures are wrong, what data do you have on flyaway cost of Atlas and Delta?
Some years back, for data for a summer research project, I was able to call LMA and get a catalog price for Athenas.  It's a ROM, but at least it's a primary source.  I think the same person is still working for ULA and listed on web sites.
If I like something on NSF, it's probably because I know it to be accurate.  Every once in a while, it's just something I agree with.  Facts generally receive the former.

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