Author Topic: Northrop teams with Firefly  (Read 67933 times)

Offline Zed_Noir

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Re: Northrop teams with Firefly
« Reply #200 on: 11/10/2023 05:05 am »
why is the firefly work being posted in NG?
Carefully read the post previous to your post for the answer to your query. ::)

Offline john smith 19

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Re: Northrop teams with Firefly
« Reply #201 on: 11/10/2023 05:51 am »
DoD, NASA and commercial GEO satellites tend to want dedicated launch. A5 did 2 GEO sats to GTO but good luck organising 4 or 5 that can fly at same time to fill up a SS. The revenue lost per month by these sats waiting for a ride is significant need to trade that against lower launch cost.
This is where the "bigger is always better" theory kind of breaks down.

When GEO commsat mass was nudging up to (and just beyond) half A5's payload to GEO 2 sat rideshare was quite viable.

SX say 21t to GTO. Modern commsats that's what 3, 4 needed for a full launch? I'm guessing without on-orbit refuelling due to the logistics hassle. What price (not cost) SX will offer for a less than full launch is anybodies guess.

It gets more interesting if SS flights become more reliable and commsat operators trade three-string for single-string systems and rely on consistant on-demand replacement of failed units (the dream of Shuttle operations, along with on-orbit repair by replacing LRU's)

And of course it's been 6 months since SX's last SS launch attempt.

I'll wish NG luck.
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Offline Asteroza

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Re: Northrop teams with Firefly
« Reply #202 on: 11/12/2023 10:45 pm »
DoD, NASA and commercial GEO satellites tend to want dedicated launch. A5 did 2 GEO sats to GTO but good luck organising 4 or 5 that can fly at same time to fill up a SS. The revenue lost per month by these sats waiting for a ride is significant need to trade that against lower launch cost.
This is where the "bigger is always better" theory kind of breaks down.

When GEO commsat mass was nudging up to (and just beyond) half A5's payload to GEO 2 sat rideshare was quite viable.

SX say 21t to GTO. Modern commsats that's what 3, 4 needed for a full launch? I'm guessing without on-orbit refuelling due to the logistics hassle. What price (not cost) SX will offer for a less than full launch is anybodies guess.

It gets more interesting if SS flights become more reliable and commsat operators trade three-string for single-string systems and rely on consistant on-demand replacement of failed units (the dream of Shuttle operations, along with on-orbit repair by replacing LRU's)

And of course it's been 6 months since SX's last SS launch attempt.

I'll wish NG luck.

That's the thing isn't it? An open architecture bus with LRU's and refueling means less mass headed to GEO, assuming a servicing regime via commercial servicers and propellant depots in GEO becomes a thing.

Offline john smith 19

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Re: Northrop teams with Firefly
« Reply #203 on: 11/13/2023 01:38 pm »
That's the thing isn't it? An open architecture bus with LRU's and refueling means less mass headed to GEO, assuming a servicing regime via commercial servicers and propellant depots in GEO becomes a thing.
You're getting quite a bit ahead of the market.  :(

IIRC We're just at having OTV's that can boost a dead commsat to the graveyard orbit, allowing they to avoid budgeting fuel.

In principle arranging for on-orbit refuelling if the propellants are storable should be fairly simple, given the ISS has been doing it for decades. Xenon is IIRC much higher pressurized.

As for "open source" well the LRU's (the NASA conferences in the 70's called them "Orbit Replaceable Units" but I think that's confusing) might be interchangeable if 2 payloads are built by the same mfg, but any LRU in any similar payload from any mfg? Very doubtful  :(

That kind of seamless plug-n-play interoperability takes a lot of inter-company discussion and cooperation.  :(

Not impossible, and the customers would like it, but sadly I don't think it'll be happening any time soon. There has to be at least one carrot, or one stick to move the market in that direction. Ideally several sticks and carrots, all encouraging mfgs to think in that direction.

Actually the obvious move is to go from 3 string to 1 string and triple the capacity of the payload on orbit.  :)

As always it's about do you trust someone (not you) to jump in when you need them and replace the on-orbit spare you just used up (or for the really daring not to have an on-orbit spare and launch the replacement within X(units of time, might be days. Might be hours))

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Re: Northrop teams with Firefly
« Reply #204 on: 11/28/2023 01:31 pm »
Crosspost:

https://twitter.com/firefly_space/status/1729504909261742435

Quote
The Firefly crew completed our 1st Miranda hot fire! 7 of these 230,000 lbf engines will power the 1st stage of @northropgrumman's Antares 330 & the Medium Launch Vehicle we're developing together. More to come as we work towards a full-duration hot fire.

https://fireflyspace.com/news/firefly-aerospace-completes-first-miranda-engine-hot-fire-test/

Quote
November 28, 2023
Firefly Aerospace Completes First Miranda Engine Hot Fire Test

Firefly Aerospace Miranda engine hot fire
Company designs, builds, and tests fully assembled Miranda engine in just over 12 months for Antares 330 and new Medium Launch Vehicle


Cedar Park, Texas, November 28, 2023 – Firefly Aerospace, Inc., an end-to-end space transportation company, completed the first hot fire test for its Miranda engine that will power the first stage of Northrop Grumman’s Antares 330 and the Medium Launch Vehicle (MLV) the companies are co-developing together. The critical milestone was completed just over a year after signing the initial contract.

The turbopump-fed engine test further validates the design of Miranda’s startup sequence, transient conditions, and tap-off engine architecture at a larger scale. As a next step, the Firefly team will build up to a full-duration, 206-second Miranda hot fire. Once qualified, seven Miranda engines (each capable of producing 230,000 lbf or 1.6 million lbf in total) will power the first stage of Antares 330 and MLV. One Miranda vacuum engine will also power MLV’s second stage with 200,000 lbf.

“The incredible progress on our Miranda engines – designed, built, and tested in house in just over a year – is another example of Firefly setting a new standard in the industry,” said Bill Weber, CEO of Firefly Aerospace. “Building on the legacy of Firefly’s rapidly developed Reaver and Lightning engines, Miranda is the fastest propulsion system we’ve built and tested to date. This achievement reflects our rapid, iterative culture and our vertically integrated approach that allows us to quickly scale up the flight-proven engine architecture from our small launch vehicle, Alpha, to our Medium Launch Vehicle.”

In addition to the Miranda engines, Firefly is designing, manufacturing, and testing the first stage structures for Antares 330 as well as the structures and fluids systems for both MLV stages. To support vehicle production, Firefly is doubling the size of its facilities at its rocket test and production site in Briggs, Texas, and utilizing new automated manufacturing equipment. Now operational, Firefly’s Automated Fiber Placement machine will allow Firefly to produce the carbon composite barrels in a matter of days versus weeks.

“Together, we have developed a solution that will help change the trajectory of space launch, from commercial to national security and civil space,” said Scott Lehr, vice president and general manager, launch and missile defense systems, Northrop Grumman. “Upgrading the first stage of Antares in parallel with developing the Medium Launch Vehicle enables our two companies to bring a new launch vehicle to market more rapidly while also reducing risk in the design process.”

Antares 330 will be able to launch more than 10,000 kg to the International Space Station with the first flight scheduled for mid-2025. As the evolutionary successor to the Antares launch vehicle, MLV will first launch in late 2025 and can carry more than 16,000 kg to low Earth orbit with a 5-meter class payload fairing that can be customized based on customer needs.

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Northrop teams with Firefly
« Reply #205 on: 12/07/2023 12:52 am »
Nice thing about using TEA/TEB for starting is it provides plausible alternative explanation for what might otherwise look like engine-rich exhaust… ;)
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Re: Northrop teams with Firefly
« Reply #206 on: 12/29/2023 10:02 pm »
https://fireflyspace.com/news/firefly-aerospace-completes-first-miranda-engine-hot-fire-test/
Quote from: Firefly
Antares 330 will be able to launch more than 10,000 kg to the International Space Station with the first flight scheduled for mid-2025.

I'm having trouble parsing this. Will Antares 330 really fly no test or certification missions before flying the Cygnus NG-23 mission? They did something similar with the first Antares 230 carrying the OA-5 Cygnus, but that wasn't an entirely new first stage from a new supplier!
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Online DanClemmensen

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Re: Northrop teams with Firefly
« Reply #207 on: 12/29/2023 10:32 pm »
https://fireflyspace.com/news/firefly-aerospace-completes-first-miranda-engine-hot-fire-test/
Quote from: Firefly
Antares 330 will be able to launch more than 10,000 kg to the International Space Station with the first flight scheduled for mid-2025.

I'm having trouble parsing this. Will Antares 330 really fly no test or certification missions before flying the Cygnus NG-23 mission? They did something similar with the first Antares 230 carrying the OA-5 Cygnus, but that wasn't an entirely new first stage from a new supplier!
A Cygnus full of low-value payload (e.g., laundry and food) is probably as cheap as just about any other test payload. May as well try it, it just might work. If not, launch another one the next week on a Falcon 9.

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Re: Northrop teams with Firefly
« Reply #208 on: 12/30/2023 02:10 am »
A Cygnus full of low-value payload (e.g., laundry and food) <snip>
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Re: Northrop teams with Firefly
« Reply #209 on: 01/09/2024 03:26 pm »
Quote
Fresh off our new Auto Fiber Placement machine, our first MLV test article stands over 14 feet in diameter!

https://twitter.com/firefly_space/status/1744751637464318455

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This carbon composite structure is more than twice the size of Alpha’s. Stay tuned for more hardware and testing developments - 2024 is geared to be a big year for our medium launch vehicle!

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: Northrop teams with Firefly
« Reply #210 on: 01/09/2024 04:38 pm »
Firefly MLV seems to be flying under radar compared to Neutron and Terran R. There is good chance it will fly first as when it comes to engine development the Miranda is ahead of Archimedes. Firefly also has functional launch pad as they are using Antares's pad.

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Re: Northrop teams with Firefly
« Reply #211 on: 01/09/2024 06:46 pm »
Firefly MLV seems to be flying under radar compared to Neutron and Terran R. There is good chance it will fly first as when it comes to engine development the Miranda is ahead of Archimedes. Firefly also has functional launch pad as they are using Antares's pad.
Well, Antares 330 may fly first. MLV is that with a new second stage. (So it makes sense that first-stage work is common to both vehicles.)

Offline deltaV

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Re: Northrop teams with Firefly
« Reply #212 on: 01/09/2024 07:49 pm »
Firefly MLV seems to be flying under radar compared to Neutron and Terran R.
Firefly MLV probably attracts less attention because it's not reusable.

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Re: Northrop teams with Firefly
« Reply #213 on: 01/09/2024 08:31 pm »
Firefly MLV seems to be flying under radar compared to Neutron and Terran R.
Firefly MLV probably attracts less attention because it's not reusable.
The MLV webpage as of June 5th, 2023 said MLV "will evolve into a reusable vehicle." However, the next available date in the archive, September 6th, 2023, had that language removed. Make of that what you will.

Personally, I have to imagine that reusability is at least in the back of their minds, but it's not the priority for the moment, and probably not for a while.

Offline Tywin

Re: Northrop teams with Firefly
« Reply #214 on: 01/09/2024 09:28 pm »
Firefly MLV seems to be flying under radar compared to Neutron and Terran R. There is good chance it will fly first as when it comes to engine development the Miranda is ahead of Archimedes. Firefly also has functional launch pad as they are using Antares's pad.

And MLV is smaller than Terran-R...big advantage...
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Offline deltaV

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Re: Northrop teams with Firefly
« Reply #215 on: 01/09/2024 11:54 pm »
And MLV is smaller than Terran-R...big advantage...

Why do you say that? Terran R's larger size comes with two big advantages: it can compete for NSSL lane 2 and it will probably have better economies of scale when launching large constellations.

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Re: Northrop teams with Firefly
« Reply #216 on: 02/08/2024 07:48 pm »
https://twitter.com/firefly_space/status/1755694541317755115

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More progress on the MLV front! Our second composite tank barrel is off the automated fiber placement machine and on its way to the oven. These structures further validate our design as we ramp up manufacturing and testing for the first stage of Antares 330 and our Medium Launch Vehicle.

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Re: Northrop teams with Firefly
« Reply #217 on: 02/08/2024 10:33 pm »
The information made openly available by Firefly is commendable! Is it reasonable to assume the thickness of the skin is roughly the same as the thickness of the orthogrid structure, or is there some "standard" ratio for that?
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Re: Northrop teams with Firefly
« Reply #218 on: 02/08/2024 11:07 pm »
The information made openly available by Firefly is commendable! Is it reasonable to assume the thickness of the skin is roughly the same as the thickness of the orthogrid structure, or is there some "standard" ratio for that?

That's a mandrel for the carbon fiber composite to be wrapped on.
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