Author Topic: Astra Launch System 2 / Rocket 4  (Read 22191 times)

Online FutureSpaceTourist

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Astra Launch System 2 / Rocket 4
« on: 11/07/2022 01:11 pm »
« Last Edit: 04/21/2023 01:29 pm by FutureSpaceTourist »

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Re: Astra Launch System 2
« Reply #1 on: 11/07/2022 01:13 pm »
https://astra.com/news/launch-system-2-update/

Quote
LAUNCH SYSTEM 2 UPDATE
NOVEMBER 7, 2022
By Chris Kemp, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Astra

Since Astra’s founding in 2016 we’ve been on a mission to Improve Life on Earth from Space® by delivering customer payloads to orbit through frequent and reliable dedicated launches as economically as possible.

Our goal with Launch System 1 was to achieve orbital capability as quickly as possible and demonstrate that we could mass-produce rockets. And we did, by launching incrementally more capable rockets – 1.0, 2.0, 3.0, 3.1, 3.2, and finally a series of Rocket 3.3 rockets that made Astra the fastest privately funded U.S. company to reach orbit.

Following the flight anomaly on our last launch, we listened to our customers, our team, and our stockholders and made the strategic decision to accelerate the introduction of a higher performance rocket and add additional testing that we believe will increase the reliability of future launches.

Launch System 2 is our answer to our existing launch customers, and an increasing number of satellite operators around the world, that need affordable and frequent dedicated orbital launch services to enable new space services. These launch services have the potential to unlock next generation communications services, critical national security and defense applications, and a wide range of Earth observation capabilities that will create a healthier planet.

We believe Launch System 2 will provide Astra’s customers the launch services they need, whether that be constellation deployment, constellation management, or responsive missions. Dedicated small launches give satellite operators the ability to deploy their spacecraft directly to their operational orbits and allow them to start providing services and adding value sooner.

Our customers and the broader market were clear about wanting three things from Astra’s new launch system: reliability, increased payload capacity, and an increased launch cadence. Launch System 2 has been specifically designed to address these needs.

While Launch System 1 made Astra the fastest privately funded U.S. company to reach orbit, the goal of Launch System 2 is to build a highly reliable system that we believe can scale to a weekly launch cadence.

DESIGNED FOR RELIABILITY & SCALED MANUFACTURING

While the new launch system builds on the heritage of Launch System 1, Launch System 2 is more than just upgraded hardware – it represents a cultural shift from our primary focus on schedule to a focus on reliability. This launch system is the result of a significant change in how Astra designs, builds, qualifies, and operates our launch system.

While Launch System 1 began its initial development with just a handful of people in a garage six years ago, Launch System 2 is being designed by teams of world-class engineers in a 225,000 sq. ft. manufacturing and testing facility.

We are a completely different company than when we designed Launch System 1 and that shows in the level of investment we’re making into the reliability of this system. The entire system has been scrutinized, and re-engineered where necessary, to support our plans to reliably and repeatably deliver our customers’ payloads to orbit.

This shift encompasses every stage of the development process, with multiple teams in the organization focused primarily on reliability, quality, and system safety. We’re better-resourced across the board than we were during the development of Launch System 1, including the creation of a new System Verification and Assurance team, quality control lab, and failure analysis lab with state-of-the-art testing capabilities.

A reliable launch system is about much more than just a rocket, it’s about creating an integrated system that works seamlessly together. The launch system is comprised of three key subsystems:

Rocket – the launch vehicle itself, which ultimately delivers payloads into their final orbit
Ground System – the infrastructure on the pad when Astra launches
Mission Control – the interface between our operators and the rocket

ROCKET

Rocket 4 builds on the heritage, flight-proven designs, and manufacturing techniques of hundreds of subsystems demonstrated during the successful orbital flights of the 3 series rockets, but there are several key changes to the Rocket 4 architecture.

Increased Size and Capacity

Rocket 4 will stand 62 feet from tip to tail, with a total diameter of 72 inches. This overall size increase allows the vehicle to carry greater volumes of propellant, and in turn deploy significantly more payload mass – with a target payload capacity of 600 kg to mid-inclination 500 km low Earth orbit over the course of the product lifecycle.

Increased Fairing Volume

Rocket 4’s increased diameter provides a dramatic increase in the volume available for our customers’ spacecraft. This increased fairing was designed to fit one ESPA Grande spacecraft, two ESPA spacecraft, or multiple CubeSats – with a maximum height of 133 inches and a maximum width of 67.5 inches.

Updated First Stage Architecture

Rocket 4’s first-stage architecture uses much of the same architecture from Rocket 3.3, with two key updates that will dramatically improve performance and manufacturability. First, the domes are now stamped directly from single sheets of aluminum, reducing weight and streamlining overall manufacturability – which in turn reduces launch costs for our customers.

Second, the first stage engine architecture has been simplified from five battery pump-fed engines to two turbopump-fed engines and will deliver a maximum combined liftoff thrust of approximately 80,000 lbf. Astra is developing and qualifying an upgraded derivative of a previously qualified engine for this application.

Updated Upper Stage Architecture

The upper stage has undergone the largest architectural change from Rocket 3.3. Rocket 4’s upper stage has moved to a full-diameter, common dome design – which aligns production approaches between the two stages – increasing build reliability and decreasing total manufacturing costs. The upper stage is propelled by a turbopump-fed liquid oxygen/kerosene engine delivering ~6,500 lbf. of vacuum thrust. This engine is also a derivative of an existing qualified engine.

GROUND SYSTEM

One of Astra’s core values is “simple scales”, and that is reflected in the goal to develop an easy-to-deploy, mobile launch system. The ground system has undergone several impactful updates that simplify the system and support scaled launch operations:

Optimized for improved site turnaround: critical systems have been moved from the launcher into two easy-to-access containers on the launch site, shielding critical components and simplifying maintenance between launches.

Designed for mobility: despite the overall size increase of the rocket, the launcher and rocket are still designed to fit within standard sized shipping containers, ensuring that Astra’s launch system remains easy to deploy by land, sea, or air.
Designed for automation: Launch System 2 uses sensors and valves that can detect issues and “report back” to launch operators in real time, flagging anomalies in the system and mitigating issues through early detection.

MISSION CONTROL

Launch System 2 provides Astra an opportunity to further improve the interface between our Launch Operations team and the launch system hardware. Key updates being made to mission control are:

Increased automation through software improvements to eliminate more opportunities for human error – creating a more scalable and reliable launch system.

Simplifying pre-launch procedures to reduce the number of mission control operators: the end goal for Launch System 2 is to reduce the number of mission control operators from four to two. Simplified procedures and increased automation will effectively double Astra’s mission control teams with no additional headcount – reducing launch costs for customers.

PATH TO LAUNCH

We expect Launch System 2 to deliver best-in-class launch economics and launch frequency via a platform that is being optimized for reliability at every phase of the development process. It’s an incredibly exciting time to be bringing this new launch system to market, which we have designed from the ground up to deliver the launch services that we understand our customers need.

We will continue to provide updates on the key development, testing, and qualification milestones for Launch System 2 as we continue with its development.

« Last Edit: 11/07/2022 01:16 pm by FutureSpaceTourist »

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Re: Astra Launch System 2
« Reply #2 on: 11/07/2022 01:18 pm »
https://twitter.com/sciguyspace/status/1589623049653047296

Quote
Astra provides an update on Launch System 2. They're still not ready to talk about specific engines (check out the odd language below), but it's worth noting that Firefly's Reaver engines each have a thrust of ~40,000 lbf.

astra.com/news/launch-sy…

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Re: Astra Launch System 2
« Reply #3 on: 11/07/2022 01:27 pm »
https://twitter.com/astra/status/1589621056012419073

Quote
We'll share more about Rocket 4's architecture, performance, and environments in the Rocket 4 Payload User's Guide later this month.

Offline edzieba

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Re: Astra Launch System 2
« Reply #4 on: 11/07/2022 03:28 pm »
https://twitter.com/sciguyspace/status/1589623049653047296

Quote
Astra provides an update on Launch System 2. They're still not ready to talk about specific engines (check out the odd language below), but it's worth noting that Firefly's Reaver engines each have a thrust of ~40,000 lbf.

astra.com/news/launch-sy…
The distinctive off-centre-oval plate over the turbopump exhaust is certainly a match.

Offline Steven Pietrobon

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Re: Astra Launch System 2
« Reply #5 on: 11/08/2022 07:09 am »
Comparison of Rocket 3.3 to Rocket 4.0.

Rocket                        3.3   4.0
---------------------------------------
Total Mass (t)                  ?  29.9
Length (m)                   13.1  18.9
Diameter (m)                 1.32  1.83
1st Stage Thrust (kN)         140   356
1st Stage Engine Number         5     2
1st Stage Engine Cycle   Electric  Pump
2nd Stage Thrust (kN)         3.3  28.9
2nd Stage Engine Number         1     1
2nd Stage Engine Cycle   Pressure  Pump
LEO Payload (kg)              100   600
SSO Payload (kg)               25     ?
---------------------------------------
Akin's Laws of Spacecraft Design #1:  Engineering is done with numbers.  Analysis without numbers is only an opinion.

Re: Astra Launch System 2
« Reply #6 on: 11/08/2022 02:19 pm »
Second stage engine for this rocket is most certainly the Hadley engine from Ursa Major, particularly the vacuum variant of the engine.  If we look at Phantom Space's Daytona rocket which will use a single Hadley vacuum engine on the second stage, we can see that the thrust matches perfectly, ~6500 lb/f as stated by Astra vs the 6470 lb/f from Phantom Space's website.  It also is a turbopump-fed liquid oxygen/kerosene engine, and fits Astra's description of "a derivative of an existing qualified engine."

https://www.ursamajor.com/engines/hadley
https://www.phantomspace.com/daytona-rocket

Offline trimeta

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Re: Astra Launch System 2
« Reply #7 on: 11/08/2022 02:43 pm »
Hadley is ORSC, not just "turbopump"...wouldn't Astra mention that detail if it were the case, since ORSC is more efficient? Or are they omitting it solely because that would confirm they're using Hadley?

Offline niwax

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Re: Astra Launch System 2
« Reply #8 on: 11/08/2022 02:57 pm »
So just to summarize, as a company quickly approaching bankruptcy, they have proudly presented the new architecture they have shut down all their sales for and it involves a huge engineering team in a huge building deliberately dropping speed and efficiency... Not to mention buying engines, likely paying upfront.

Quote
While Launch System 1 began its initial development with just a handful of people in a garage six years ago, Launch System 2 is being designed by teams of world-class engineers in a 225,000 sq. ft. manufacturing and testing facility.

This shift encompasses every stage of the development process, with multiple teams in the organization focused primarily on reliability, quality, and system safety. We’re better-resourced across the board than we were during the development of Launch System 1, including the creation of a new System Verification and Assurance team, quality control lab, and failure analysis lab with state-of-the-art testing capabilities.
Which booster has the most soot? SpaceX booster launch history! (discussion)

Offline brussell

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Re: Astra Launch System 2
« Reply #9 on: 11/09/2022 06:00 pm »
Sounds like they heard you and laid off 16% of that huge team. The engines, at least the Reavers, are possibly licensed.

Not that I disagree with the final result, just checking some of the assumptions.

So just to summarize, as a company quickly approaching bankruptcy, they have proudly presented the new architecture they have shut down all their sales for and it involves a huge engineering team in a huge building deliberately dropping speed and efficiency... Not to mention buying engines, likely paying upfront.

Quote
While Launch System 1 began its initial development with just a handful of people in a garage six years ago, Launch System 2 is being designed by teams of world-class engineers in a 225,000 sq. ft. manufacturing and testing facility.

This shift encompasses every stage of the development process, with multiple teams in the organization focused primarily on reliability, quality, and system safety. We’re better-resourced across the board than we were during the development of Launch System 1, including the creation of a new System Verification and Assurance team, quality control lab, and failure analysis lab with state-of-the-art testing capabilities.


Offline Dmitry_V_home

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Re: Astra Launch System 2
« Reply #10 on: 11/11/2022 03:55 pm »
Judging by the description of Rocket 4, the second stage will have two ignition

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Re: Astra Launch System 2
« Reply #11 on: 11/13/2022 01:30 pm »
Tony De La Rosa, ...I'm no Feline Dealer!! I move mountains.  but I'm better known for "I think it's highly sexual." Japanese to English Translation.

Offline Foximus

Re: Astra Launch System 2
« Reply #12 on: 11/14/2022 03:05 pm »
Rocket 4 is part of Launch System 2, found here. https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=57602.0

Offline Conexion Espacial

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Re: Astra Launch System 2
« Reply #13 on: 11/16/2022 04:42 pm »
I publish information in Spanish about space and rockets.
www.x.com/conexionspacial

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Re: Astra Launch System 2
« Reply #14 on: 01/25/2023 07:28 pm »
https://twitter.com/astra/status/1618343876980252683

Quote
As we progress in the building of Launch System 2, we continue to focus on reliability + scale through rigorous testing + design processes. Test Tank 1 met all testing objectives and allows our team to move into qualification tank builds of both the first + upper stage. #AdAstra

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Re: Astra Launch System 2
« Reply #15 on: 01/25/2023 07:55 pm »
YT version


Offline lightleviathan

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Re: Astra Launch System 2
« Reply #16 on: 01/26/2023 01:44 am »
I'm glad that Astra is going into an attitude of "we have to be reliable to survive in the market" which is good in my opinion. I can't wait to see this thing fly.

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Re: Astra Launch System 2
« Reply #17 on: 01/31/2023 05:37 pm »
https://twitter.com/astra/status/1620491591894056967

Quote
Recently completed mission duty cycle of a Rocket 4 first stage engine — a major engine development milestone for testing hardware reliability:



Edit to add:

https://twitter.com/kemp/status/1620491604179181568

Quote
Rocket 4 first stage engine full mission duty cycle of 175 seconds achieved - a major development milestone for Rocket 4
« Last Edit: 01/31/2023 05:39 pm by FutureSpaceTourist »

Offline Steven Pietrobon

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Re: Astra Launch System 2
« Reply #18 on: 02/01/2023 05:29 am »
A bit engine rich at the end?
Akin's Laws of Spacecraft Design #1:  Engineering is done with numbers.  Analysis without numbers is only an opinion.

Offline Alvian@IDN

Re: Astra Launch System 2
« Reply #19 on: 02/01/2023 11:57 am »
A bit engine rich at the end?
Some kerolox engine also sent TEA-TEB at shutdown
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Offline niwax

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Re: Astra Launch System 2
« Reply #20 on: 02/01/2023 01:23 pm »
A bit engine rich at the end?
Some kerolox engine also sent TEA-TEB at shutdown

It looks very uniform for burn-through, the exhaust also seems to be quite low pressure to still be that bright green from copper. Igniter fluid would be my guess.
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Offline edzieba

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Re: Astra Launch System 2
« Reply #21 on: 02/01/2023 02:06 pm »
The green tinged flame is also visible in Firefly's testing of Lightning and Reaver (from which Astra's Rocket 4 engine is derived).

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Re: Astra Launch System 2
« Reply #22 on: 03/02/2023 01:33 pm »

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Re: Astra Launch System 2
« Reply #23 on: 03/17/2023 04:46 pm »
https://twitter.com/astra/status/1636785792252256256

Quote
Our first hot fire using the thrust vector control (TVC) system for Rocket 4’s first stage engine. The TVC is the mechanism that allows us to control the direction of the thrust for the rocket used by our Guidance Navigation Control (GNC) systems. #AdAstra

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Re: Astra Launch System 2
« Reply #24 on: 03/24/2023 01:22 pm »
https://twitter.com/astra/status/1639266581644492806

Quote
Join us for the livestream of @Astra's 2nd Annual Spacetech Day on Tuesday, April 25, 2023. We'll share updates on Launch System 2, the Astra Spacecraft Engine™, and more: http://astra.com/livestream #SpacetechDay2023

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Re: Astra Launch System 2
« Reply #25 on: 03/31/2023 10:42 pm »
https://spacenews.com/astra-says-rocket-4-development-on-schedule-for-late-2023-first-flight/

Quote
Astra says Rocket 4 development on schedule for late 2023 first flight
Jeff Foust
March 31, 2023

WASHINGTON — Astra is still planning to conduct a first launch of its Rocket 4 vehicle before the end of the year as it scales up production of spacecraft electric propulsion systems.

Offline Tywin

Re: Astra Launch System 2
« Reply #26 on: 04/12/2023 03:37 pm »
Can someone confirm the engines of first and second stage of Astra Launch System 2?
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Offline trimeta

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Re: Astra Launch System 2
« Reply #27 on: 04/12/2023 05:31 pm »
Can someone confirm the engines of first and second stage of Astra Launch System 2?
"Confirm," no, Astra has been extremely secretive about their engine choices. However, in practice we know that the first stage uses two Reaver engines, and Phantom Space's Daytona rocket (which nominally uses nine Ursa Major Hadleys on the first stage and a single Hadley on the second stage) lists the same second-stage thrust as Astra does in their payload user's guide. So Rocket 4's second stage is almost certainly powered by a single Hadley as well.

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Re: Astra Launch System 2
« Reply #28 on: 04/18/2023 07:47 pm »
https://twitter.com/astra/status/1648411323699703809

Quote
We're just one week away from the livestream of @Astra's 2nd Annual Spacetech Day on Tuesday, April 25, 2023. Join us for updates on Launch System 2, the Astra Spacecraft Engine™, and more: https://astra.com/livestream #SpacetechDay2023


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Re: Astra Launch System 2
« Reply #29 on: 04/21/2023 01:26 pm »
https://astra.com/news/space-force-launch-rocket-4/

Quote
SPACE FORCE AWARDS ASTRA NEW LAUNCH ORDER FOR ROCKET 4
APRIL 21, 2023
Task order valued at $11.45 million for a launch of an ESPA-class space vehicle and additional cubesats through the Orbital Services Program (OSP-4) contract

ALAMEDA, Calif. – April 21, 2023 – Astra Space, Inc. (“Astra”)(Nasdaq: ASTR) announced today that it has been awarded a launch task order for Rocket 4 through the United States Space Force’s Orbital Services Program (OSP)-4 contract.

“The Space Force deliberately structured the OSP-4 contract to leverage emerging launch solutions for mission partners like the DoD Space Test Program,” said Lt. Col. Justin Beltz, chief of Space Systems Command’s Small Launch and Targets Division. “Today’s award reflects the tremendous promise industry is bringing to the table with systems like Rocket 4. We look forward to working with Astra to make this launch a success.”

The STP-S29B mission is a Category 2 Mission Assurance launch, which will entail substantial efforts from Astra in tandem with the Government team and its independent mission assurance contractors to support a mission designed for success.

“STP-S29B demands a higher level of mission assurance than previous Astra launches and therefore represents a significant increase in Astra’s coordination with the Space Force to perform a launch designed for mission success,” said Dr. Thomas Williams, senior director of Federal Sales at Astra. “Astra’s ability to compete for this mission was based on the tremendous work that our team has done to design a repeatably reliable Rocket 4 and our previous experience successfully delivering multi-manifest missions to their desired orbits.”

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Re: Astra Launch System 2 / Rocket 4
« Reply #30 on: 04/24/2023 01:05 pm »
https://twitter.com/astra/status/1650485884373078022

Quote
The upper stage of Astra's Rocket 4 will use the vacuum variant of @ursamajortech's Hadley, an oxygen-rich staged combustion engine fueled by liquid kerosene that will provide 6,500 pounds of thrust: #AdAstra #UrsaMajorTech


Re: Astra Launch System 2 / Rocket 4
« Reply #31 on: 04/25/2023 08:25 pm »
During today's stream Astra unveiled a "sort of" complete Rocket 4 launcher. First "fit check" for the integrated vehicle.

First stage engines will be used for engine qualification testing
First stage structure and tanks are the qualification article that will be tested in the coming weeks.
Second stage engine is fully acceptance tested and qualified for flight by Ursa Major
Upper stage tank is the first tank they have built for the second stage, probably just a dev, not qual stage if I had to guess

Test launch this year is still possible I guess, will have to keep an eye on their financial situation as well. Still rocking that "manufacture and launch a rocket once a day" slogan too, we'll see how far they get :p

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Re: Astra Launch System 2 / Rocket 4
« Reply #32 on: 04/25/2023 10:35 pm »
https://twitter.com/tylerg1998/status/1650981872761987075

Quote
ICYMI: During @Astra’s 2nd annual Spacetech Day showcase, the company unveiled their Rocket 4 for the first time.

The unit they showed will be used for ground testing and fit checks in preparation for the vehicle’s first test flight NET the end of this year.

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Re: Astra Launch System 2 / Rocket 4
« Reply #33 on: 07/04/2023 06:20 pm »
https://twitter.com/thejackbeyer/status/1676294630369796111

Quote
In our latest video we take a deep dive into @Astra's rocket factory, and their brand new rocket production line. We chat with CEO Chirs Kemp (@Kemp) and VP of Manufacturing Bryson Gentile, and I try to get a payload flown on Rocket 4! @NASASpaceflight

➡️


Offline TrevorMonty

Re: Astra Launch System 2 / Rocket 4
« Reply #34 on: 07/09/2023 12:21 pm »
Building factory that is geared upto weekly launches and capable of supporting daily launches.

Their business plan is behind times especially when competition will be flying RLVs. Once over dozen launches a year RLVs are the way to go.

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Re: Astra Launch System 2 / Rocket 4
« Reply #35 on: 07/10/2023 05:55 pm »
Building factory that is geared upto weekly launches and capable of supporting daily launches.

Their business plan is behind times especially when competition will be flying RLVs. Once over dozen launches a year RLVs are the way to go.
Totally agreed, but “cheap, frequent small expendables” is a perfect segue into making cheap ballistic *ahem* hypersonic missiles.

Which is partially why I think DARPA has been supporting smallsat launch startups for the last >2 decades, even if the companies themselves don’t tout that business case. Hence the storable propellant rocket engine Draper from Ursa Major (now an engine manufacturing partner of Astra). Hence RocketLab’s “HASTE”
« Last Edit: 07/10/2023 05:56 pm by Robotbeat »
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Re: Astra Launch System 2 / Rocket 4
« Reply #36 on: 07/10/2023 06:02 pm »
Building factory that is geared upto weekly launches and capable of supporting daily launches.

Their business plan is behind times especially when competition will be flying RLVs. Once over dozen launches a year RLVs are the way to go.
Totally agreed, but “cheap, frequent small expendables” is a perfect segue into making cheap ballistic *ahem* hypersonic missiles.

Which is partially why I think DARPA has been supporting smallsat launch startups for the last >2 decades, even if the companies themselves don’t tout that business case. Hence the storable propellant rocket engine Draper from Ursa Major (now an engine manufacturing partner of Astra). Hence RocketLab’s “HASTE”
That doesn't explain Astra itself, though, which exclusively uses kerolox engines. I guess they could do a 9/1 thing with Ursa Major's Draper engine, but that would be a pretty big change.

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Re: Astra Launch System 2 / Rocket 4
« Reply #37 on: 07/10/2023 06:24 pm »
I don’t believe Astra’s founders built it to be a ballistic missile company. But that’s kind of the obvious remaining use case for mass manufacturing of small expendables once reuse is proven like it is now. Draper is an evolution of Hadley, which Astra is already using. And technically, for prompt global strike based in the US, it’s not necessarily required to use storables.

DARPA may have different motivations than Astra.
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Re: Astra Launch System 2 / Rocket 4
« Reply #38 on: 07/10/2023 06:27 pm »
I don’t believe Astra’s founders built it to be a ballistic missile company. But that’s kind of the obvious remaining use case for mass manufacturing of small expendables once reuse is proven like it is now. Draper is an evolution of Hadley, which Astra is already using. And technically, for prompt global strike based in the US, it’s not necessarily required to use storables.

DARPA may have different motivations than Astra.
People thought the US military would save Virgin Orbit too, since their "launch from an airplane" tech was more flexible than anything else. That didn't work out either.

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Re: Astra Launch System 2 / Rocket 4
« Reply #39 on: 07/10/2023 06:32 pm »
I don’t believe Astra’s founders built it to be a ballistic missile company. But that’s kind of the obvious remaining use case for mass manufacturing of small expendables once reuse is proven like it is now. Draper is an evolution of Hadley, which Astra is already using. And technically, for prompt global strike based in the US, it’s not necessarily required to use storables.

DARPA may have different motivations than Astra.
People thought the US military would save Virgin Orbit too, since their "launch from an airplane" tech was more flexible than anything else. That didn't work out either.
Virgin Orbit’s capabilities didn’t disappear. You’ll never guess what Virgin Orbit’s firesale sold assets are gonna be used for…

(ahem, “hypersonic testbed”… which means weapons-related hypersonic testing and RocketLab, which is boosting US-side capacity for defense-related—but non-orbital—missions like HASTE, bought up Virgin Orbit’s factory in California…)
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Re: Astra Launch System 2 / Rocket 4
« Reply #40 on: 07/10/2023 06:35 pm »
The mistake is to think the US government will save the shareholders or the founders. They won’t. They’ll try to save the defense-related CAPABILITIES, though. The US’s bankruptcy laws are pretty efficient when you think about it.
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Re: Astra Launch System 2 / Rocket 4
« Reply #41 on: 07/10/2023 06:50 pm »
So you're suggesting that Astra's equipment and facilities for mass-producing rocket bodies could end up acquired for pennies on the dollar by someone who'll use it for building hypersonic missiles? I guess I can't discount that possibility.

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Re: Astra Launch System 2 / Rocket 4
« Reply #42 on: 07/10/2023 07:00 pm »
So you're suggesting that Astra's equipment and facilities for mass-producing rocket bodies could end up acquired for pennies on the dollar by someone who'll use it for building hypersonic missiles? I guess I can't discount that possibility.
what is HASTE if not a boost missile for hypersonics? Conventional prompt strike missiles typically have an acquisition cost of like $50-60 million or more. Some of that is the warhead, but most is the launch system. So if Rocket 4 can be $1-4 million and RocketLab’s Electron can be $8 million, then there’s an opportunity there to get an order of magnitude reduction in cost. That’s massive. That would make CPS from the continental US cheaper than delivering ordinance from an aircraft carrier using F-35 or Tomohawk missiles from a cruiser.

It’s exactly the sort of long term, asymmetrical advantage thing DARPA is supposed to be enabling.

And simply building out the manufacturing tooling alone is helpful for national security purposes. Between that and the workforce development, Astra’s existence is useful for DARPA even if they never achieve product market fit for their orbital product.
« Last Edit: 07/10/2023 07:14 pm by Robotbeat »
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Re: Astra Launch System 2 / Rocket 4
« Reply #43 on: 07/10/2023 08:42 pm »
RL HASTE is only being used to test hypersonic vehicle technologies. Not enough flights a year to sustain Electron if that was its only business. As extra to launch business makes all difference between getting by and making decent profit.

Any developed hypersonic weapons will use storable fuels. The military gave up using kerolox for ballistic missiles decades ago as they were to much hassle.
« Last Edit: 07/10/2023 08:42 pm by TrevorMonty »

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Re: Astra Launch System 2 / Rocket 4
« Reply #44 on: 07/10/2023 09:23 pm »
RL HASTE is only being used to test hypersonic vehicle technologies. Not enough flights a year to sustain Electron if that was its only business. As extra to launch business makes all difference between getting by and making decent profit.

Any developed hypersonic weapons will use storable fuels. The military gave up using kerolox for ballistic missiles decades ago as they were to much hassle.
Draper is basically the storable version of Hadley, being used for Astra’s upper stage.
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Re: Astra Launch System 2 / Rocket 4
« Reply #45 on: 07/10/2023 10:55 pm »
RL HASTE is only being used to test hypersonic vehicle technologies. Not enough flights a year to sustain Electron if that was its only business. As extra to launch business makes all difference between getting by and making decent profit.

Any developed hypersonic weapons will use storable fuels. The military gave up using kerolox for ballistic missiles decades ago as they were to much hassle.
Draper is basically the storable version of Hadley, being used for Astra’s upper stage.
Sure, but that goes to what I was saying earlier about it being a pretty major change: Astra would need to design a whole new vehicle, based around nine Draper engines on the first stage (rather than two Reavers) and a Draper on the second stage (rather than a Hadley, a bit more of a drop-in replacement there), and would also need to redesign the tanks to hold HTP/kerosene instead of LOX/kerosene (which at the very least may imply a different ratio, even if HTP can be stored in tanks originally designed for LOX).

It's probably the case that some of Astra's investments for "build a rapid inexpensive orbital launch vehicle assembly line" would apply towards this radically different vehicle, but IMO it's too late for Astra themselves to pivot towards making such a change. Any missile-manufacturing value in those investments will be realized by whoever buys the assets at a bankruptcy auction.

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Re: Astra Launch System 2 / Rocket 4
« Reply #46 on: 08/14/2023 08:57 pm »
https://twitter.com/stephenclark1/status/1691190340185686018

Quote
In a quarterly earnings call, Astra CEO Chris Kemp says the recent shift of 50 employees from launch services to space engines will delay first test flight of Rocket 4 into 2024. Recent layoff of 25% of Astra's staff was necessary to "manage our cash burn and financial runway."

Re: Astra Launch System 2 / Rocket 4
« Reply #47 on: 08/21/2023 09:53 pm »
Interesting quotes on the first stage engines of Rocket 4.

https://arstechnica.com/space/2023/08/chris-kemp-unplugged-astras-ceo-dishes-on-the-space-companys-struggles/

Quote
We have the first-stage engines. Those are actual flight engines that are in the process of qualification, but those were [engines] that we will fly on the first flight with the final hardware. So we’re in the qualification of the first-stage engine. That engine will have a ton of Astra hardware on it. It’s got an Astra computer, it’s got Astra software on it. It has gimbals. It have valves that are all new valves. So it’s almost entirely our engine at this point. Those engines are in final qualification.

Quote
They’re definitely not Reaver engines at this point. I am unable to comment on any contractual relationship that may or may not exist between Astra and Firefly. However, what I will say is that our team has spent a tremendous amount of energy working on an engine and putting in a lot of Astra parts and Astra engineering and Astra testing. The Reaver engine only has one gimbaling axis [for steering]. So obviously this is not a Reaver engine. The Reaver engine does not have the ability to vary its thrust and mixture ratio. The Reaver engine has a very different qualification and testing regime. "I can tell you this: We are not buying Reaver engines and putting them on this rocket. I can tell you several years ago, we started with something that has turned into something which is very much an Astra engine (Astra calls this engine the Chiron). How Firefly has or has not contributed to that effort, I really can’t comment on.”

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Re: Astra Launch System 2 / Rocket 4
« Reply #48 on: 08/22/2023 01:24 pm »
https://twitter.com/astra/status/1693978014294692053

Quote
Astra's Rocket Production Line leverages advanced automation inspired by the automotive industry for the production of Rocket 4:

« Last Edit: 08/22/2023 01:27 pm by FutureSpaceTourist »

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Re: Astra Launch System 2 / Rocket 4
« Reply #49 on: 09/13/2023 07:47 pm »
https://twitter.com/astra/status/1702010927254847725

Quote
Fresh hardware coming off the Rocket Production Line before leaving for testing.

See the full Rocket Production Line in action here:
youtu.be/fenRmzOGKgI
« Last Edit: 09/13/2023 07:47 pm by FutureSpaceTourist »

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