Author Topic: Astra Launch System 2 / Rocket 4  (Read 22712 times)

Offline 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 »

Offline 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/

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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 »

Offline 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…

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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

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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

Offline catdlr

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Re: Astra Launch System 2
« Reply #11 on: 11/13/2022 01:30 pm »
It's Tony De La Rosa, ...and no, I'm not a Feline Dealer!!

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

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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

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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

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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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.

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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

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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

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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
My parents was just being born when the Apollo program is over. Why we are still stuck in this stagnation, let's go forward again

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