Author Topic: RocketLab Electron Smallsat Launcher  (Read 470905 times)

Offline ArbitraryConstant

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Re: RocketLab Electron Smallsat Launcher
« Reply #1300 on: 02/05/2018 09:10 PM »
The faster you light your 2nd stage, the less dV losses you get from gravity. Falcon 9 2nd stage is large and powerful enough to absorb some losses. Not so much leeway for a small launcher.
I get that it's beneficial to start the engine as soon as possible, but regardless it looks like the startup sequence is significantly quicker.

Offline msat

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Re: RocketLab Electron Smallsat Launcher
« Reply #1301 on: 02/05/2018 09:52 PM »
That would seem to make sense as there's no inter-dependency loop such as when you have a turbine energized by a gas generator fed by a pump powered by the turbine. Not only is an electric pump startup significantly simplified over a GG-based pump, the electric motor can generate higher torque at lower RPM than a gas turbine with equivalent power output in its primary operating range.

The more we discuss it, the more convinced I am that electric pumps really are the way to go for this class of launcher, especially for any company without fat gov-backed funding.

Offline speedevil

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Re: RocketLab Electron Smallsat Launcher
« Reply #1302 on: 02/05/2018 10:06 PM »
That would seem to make sense as there's no inter-dependency loop such as when you have a turbine energized by a gas generator fed by a pump powered by the turbine. Not only is an electric pump startup significantly simplified over a GG-based pump, the electric motor can generate higher torque at lower RPM than a gas turbine with equivalent power output in its primary operating range.

If you mean higher torque at lower RPM for the purposes of initial pumping, the load on the pump is some large factor (about ^3) of RPM, as RPM goes with pressure, and volume goes with RPM too.

This means that low RPM is basically irrelevant as the pump is almost free-spinning, and the primary load is inertia in the startup sequence.

If you mean you can optimise for a lower overall RPM than you might end up with as a 100kW output turbine of minimum weight as the source - perhaps.
To a moderate extent, more RPM means lighter motors per unit power as they tend to be torque limited per unit weight, meaning high RPM is good.

Offline msat

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Re: RocketLab Electron Smallsat Launcher
« Reply #1303 on: 02/05/2018 10:55 PM »
Regardless of what the primary load might be on the motor/turbine at a given RPM, the greater the torque supplied to the pump during spin-up, the quicker it could get to its designated operating point (within structural and fluid dynamic limits, of course).

But I concede that the apparent quickness of the Rutherford power-up could simply be attributed to the scale of the engines verses those of the large orbital machines rather than the choice of turbopumps. Though as far as rotating machinery goes, I can't think of any of the regular prime movers that have the kind of acceleration so typically common in electric motors. Maybe it's both.. Or maybe neither.  ???

Offline ArbitraryConstant

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Re: RocketLab Electron Smallsat Launcher
« Reply #1304 on: 02/05/2018 11:24 PM »
That would seem to make sense as there's no inter-dependency loop such as when you have a turbine energized by a gas generator fed by a pump powered by the turbine. Not only is an electric pump startup significantly simplified over a GG-based pump, the electric motor can generate higher torque at lower RPM than a gas turbine with equivalent power output in its primary operating range.
I'm not sure about the torque part being important, but it does seem like the startup sequence is simplified relative to GG and other cycles, due to the GG needing to supply its own fuel/oxidizer as well as provide the correct startup conditions for the main combustion chamber. Pretty sure ignition in the main combustion chamber needs to be very fuel rich to avoid a hard start.

My understanding from following the AR-1/BE-4 progress is that developing the startup sequence is extremely sensitive and there can be RUDs.

edit: fixed, thanks russianhalo117
« Last Edit: 02/06/2018 01:26 AM by ArbitraryConstant »

Offline russianhalo117

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Re: RocketLab Electron Smallsat Launcher
« Reply #1305 on: 02/06/2018 12:56 AM »
That would seem to make sense as there's no inter-dependency loop such as when you have a turbine energized by a gas generator fed by a pump powered by the turbine. Not only is an electric pump startup significantly simplified over a GG-based pump, the electric motor can generate higher torque at lower RPM than a gas turbine with equivalent power output in its primary operating range.
I'm not sure about the torque part being important, but it does seem like the startup sequence is simplified relative to GG and other cycles, due to the GG needing to supply its own fuel/oxidizer as well as provide the correct startup conditions for the main combustion chamber. Pretty sure ignition in the main combustion chamber needs to be very fuel rich to avoid a hard start.

My understanding from following the AJ-10/BE-4 progress is that developing the startup sequence is extremely sensitive and there can be RUDs.
You mean AR-1 as AJ-10 first operational version dates back to 1957.

Offline edzieba

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Re: RocketLab Electron Smallsat Launcher
« Reply #1306 on: 02/06/2018 08:58 AM »
Keep in mind also that the 3D printed engines likely have just enough material (plus margin) for the mission.
I did see a comment that they are likely eroding as we can see sparks, which makes sense given the materials properties of 3D printing (likely tiny voids in the material that lead to hotspots on the surface in the combustion chamber?), but there too it seems like they would fab the engines with adequate burn time to fully consume the propellant, so also not a barrier to a ~3 burn mission.
I wonder if this bug could be turned into a feature: if the sintered powder is already going to ablate into small particles, sinter the inner nozzle liner out of a propellant metal, e.g. Aluminium, Beryllium, Boron, etc. As long as the particle size is small enough for most combustion to occur while within the nozzle bell, it will be a net contributor to thrust, and without the particulate issues of having it incorporated into the fuel itself.

Offline john smith 19

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Re: RocketLab Electron Smallsat Launcher
« Reply #1307 on: 02/07/2018 09:48 PM »
One other consideration - running the turbo dry/tail off. If you sense the motor current load and if the sump is dry. you can cut/reverse current, and get a precision burn down to the last drop, without fear of turbo blowing (if you new/inferred turbo pressure, you could even stretch a marginal/failing one by accepting an lesser iSP and compensating in the GNC too).
Improving the precision of engine cut off can pay quite big dividends in terms of accuracy of the final orbit.
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Online FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: RocketLab Electron Smallsat Launcher
« Reply #1308 on: 02/09/2018 08:35 AM »
Quote
Rocket Lab completes fit check for NASA VCLS ELaNa XIX mission

Early this month, Rocket Lab performed a successful fit check of the CubeSat dispensers for the NASA Venture Class Launch Service flight of the CubeSat Launch Initiative Educational Launch of Nanosatellites (ELaNa) XIX mission. The fit check was carried out at Rocket Lab’s Huntington Beach payload integration cleanroom.

Venture Class launches aim to provide dedicated launches for CubeSats that would normally fly as secondary payloads, enabling these science missions to get exactly where they need to go on orbit.

The fit check was performed between a Rocket Lab Electron Payload Plate - the interface between Electron and the payloads - and a series of Tyvak Nano-Satellite Systems and Planetary Systems Corporation dispensers. Teams from Tyvak and Rocket Lab participated in the fit check.

Fit checks provide valuable risk reduction in payload integration by verifying physical interfaces and allowing for a dry run of installation procedures prior to the launch campaign.

The Huntington Beach Payload Integration Cleanroom is a Class 100k cleanroom located in our Rocket Lab USA Headquarters. This cleanroom is used for payloads that are processed in the United States before being shipped to their final launch site, such as Launch Complex 1 in Mahia, New Zealand. The facility will be used for the processing of the NASA ELaNa XIX payloads, which will be integrated to their dispensers in the United States before shipment to the launch site later this year for installation on Electron.

The Electron Payload Plate is a customizable interface which can support a variety of CubeSat and Microsatellite dispensers and separation systems. The Payload Plate can be entirely removed from Electron, allowing for integration to occur away from the launch site, such as in our Huntington Beach cleanroom or at a remote customer facility. Rocket Lab can accommodate both single and multipayload configurations on the plate.

The target launch date for the NASA Venture Class Launch Service ELaNa XIX mission is yet to be announced. The launch will see the following CubeSats deployed:

CubeSat: Andesite
Organization: Boston University

CubeSat: Ceres
Organization: NASA Goddard Spaceflight Center

CubeSat: STF-1
Organization: NASA Goddard Spaceflight Center

CubeSat: CubeSail
Organization: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

CubeSat: CHOMPTT
Organization: University of Florida

CubeSat: NMTSat
Organization: New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology

CubeSat: DaVinci
Organization: North Idaho STEM Charter Academy

CubeSat: Rsat
Organization: U. S. Naval Academy

CubeSat: ISX
Organization: California Polytechnic State University

CubeSat: Shields-1
Organization: NASA Langley Research Center

CubeSat: ALBus
Organization: NASA Glenn Research Center

CubeSat: SHFT-1
Organization: NASA JPL

https://www.rocketlabusa.com/news/updates/rocket-lab-completes-fit-check-for-nasa-vcls-elana-xix-mission/

Offline Space Ghost 1962

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Re: RocketLab Electron Smallsat Launcher
« Reply #1309 on: 02/09/2018 08:04 PM »
Keep in mind also that the 3D printed engines likely have just enough material (plus margin) for the mission.
I did see a comment that they are likely eroding as we can see sparks, which makes sense given the materials properties of 3D printing (likely tiny voids in the material that lead to hotspots on the surface in the combustion chamber?), but there too it seems like they would fab the engines with adequate burn time to fully consume the propellant, so also not a barrier to a ~3 burn mission.
I wonder if this bug could be turned into a feature: if the sintered powder is already going to ablate into small particles, sinter the inner nozzle liner out of a propellant metal, e.g. Aluminium, Beryllium, Boron, etc. As long as the particle size is small enough for most combustion to occur while within the nozzle bell, it will be a net contributor to thrust, and without the particulate issues of having it incorporated into the fuel itself.
Not a good idea.

Combustion is chaotic and not always as stoichiometric as one would like. So you could have a "burn through" or a velocity "accumulation clog" (byproduct) and the engine might behave nonlinearly/detonate. You want a predictable burn/reliable engine expectation of function.

Online FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: RocketLab Electron Smallsat Launcher
« Reply #1310 on: 02/19/2018 06:16 AM »
Quote
A great stage one stack test completed for our upcoming third flight. Nine #Rutherford engines firing in sync is a thing of beauty.

https://twitter.com/rocketlab/status/965431545136693248

Offline Lars-J

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Re: RocketLab Electron Smallsat Launcher
« Reply #1311 on: 02/19/2018 07:26 AM »
Those tests appear to be with a shortened stage 1 tank. Do they just take off the whole engine structure and attach it as one piece to a flight vehicle for launch?

Offline john smith 19

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Re: RocketLab Electron Smallsat Launcher
« Reply #1312 on: 02/19/2018 12:04 PM »
Quote
Rocket Lab completes fit check for NASA VCLS ELaNa XIX mission

Early this month, Rocket Lab performed a successful fit check of the CubeSat dispensers for the NASA Venture Class Launch Service flight of the CubeSat Launch Initiative Educational Launch of Nanosatellites (ELaNa) XIX mission. The fit check was carried out at Rocket Lab’s Huntington Beach payload integration cleanroom.

Venture Class launches aim to provide dedicated launches for CubeSats that would normally fly as secondary payloads, enabling these science missions to get exactly where they need to go on orbit.

The fit check was performed between a Rocket Lab Electron Payload Plate - the interface between Electron and the payloads - and a series of Tyvak Nano-Satellite Systems and Planetary Systems Corporation dispensers. Teams from Tyvak and Rocket Lab participated in the fit check.

Fit checks provide valuable risk reduction in payload integration by verifying physical interfaces and allowing for a dry run of installation procedures prior to the launch campaign.

The Huntington Beach Payload Integration Cleanroom is a Class 100k cleanroom located in our Rocket Lab USA Headquarters. This cleanroom is used for payloads that are processed in the United States before being shipped to their final launch site, such as Launch Complex 1 in Mahia, New Zealand. The facility will be used for the processing of the NASA ELaNa XIX payloads, which will be integrated to their dispensers in the United States before shipment to the launch site later this year for installation on Electron.

The Electron Payload Plate is a customizable interface which can support a variety of CubeSat and Microsatellite dispensers and separation systems. The Payload Plate can be entirely removed from Electron, allowing for integration to occur away from the launch site, such as in our Huntington Beach cleanroom or at a remote customer facility. Rocket Lab can accommodate both single and multipayload configurations on the plate.

The target launch date for the NASA Venture Class Launch Service ELaNa XIX mission is yet to be announced. The launch will see the following CubeSats deployed:

CubeSat: Andesite
Organization: Boston University

CubeSat: Ceres
Organization: NASA Goddard Spaceflight Center

CubeSat: STF-1
Organization: NASA Goddard Spaceflight Center

CubeSat: CubeSail
Organization: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

CubeSat: CHOMPTT
Organization: University of Florida

CubeSat: NMTSat
Organization: New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology

CubeSat: DaVinci
Organization: North Idaho STEM Charter Academy

CubeSat: Rsat
Organization: U. S. Naval Academy

CubeSat: ISX
Organization: California Polytechnic State University

CubeSat: Shields-1
Organization: NASA Langley Research Center

CubeSat: ALBus
Organization: NASA Glenn Research Center

CubeSat: SHFT-1
Organization: NASA JPL

https://www.rocketlabusa.com/news/updates/rocket-lab-completes-fit-check-for-nasa-vcls-elana-xix-mission/
That is quite a list.

I especially like the fact they could all be attached to the mounting plate "offline" and then the whole package is attached to the LV as a single unit.
BFS. The worlds first Methane fueled FFORSC engined CFRP structured A380 sized aerospaceplane tail sitter capable of flying in Earth and Mars atmospheres. BFR. The worlds biggest Methane fueled FFORSC engined CFRP structured booster for BFS. First flight to Mars by end of 2022. Forward looking statements. T&C apply. Believe no one. Run your own numbers. So, you are going to Mars to start a better life? Picture it in your mind. Now say what it is out loud.

Online FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: RocketLab Electron Smallsat Launcher
« Reply #1313 on: 02/26/2018 06:19 PM »
Quote
Rocket Lab says smouldering battery problem fixed
26 Feb, 2018 11:37am

Rocket Lab says it has found the reason a battery overheated on its assembly line and has put corrective measures in place.

Firefighters were called to the company last night after the manufacturing area was affected by smoke from the lithium battery.

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=12002151

Offline john smith 19

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BFS. The worlds first Methane fueled FFORSC engined CFRP structured A380 sized aerospaceplane tail sitter capable of flying in Earth and Mars atmospheres. BFR. The worlds biggest Methane fueled FFORSC engined CFRP structured booster for BFS. First flight to Mars by end of 2022. Forward looking statements. T&C apply. Believe no one. Run your own numbers. So, you are going to Mars to start a better life? Picture it in your mind. Now say what it is out loud.

Offline high road

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Re: RocketLab Electron Smallsat Launcher
« Reply #1315 on: 03/01/2018 06:56 AM »

There doesn't seem to be a thread for Rocket Lab's launch today. Not here nor in the live event section. Latest I heard said it was today.

Just three more hours left, assuming "march 1st" is in NZ time. Should I assume the launch has been postponed?

Offline Kryten

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Re: RocketLab Electron Smallsat Launcher
« Reply #1316 on: 03/01/2018 07:03 AM »

There doesn't seem to be a thread for Rocket Lab's launch today. Not here nor in the live event section. Latest I heard said it was today.

Just three more hours left, assuming "march 1st" is in NZ time. Should I assume the launch has been postponed?
All they actually said is the launch is in march-i.e. NET march 1st. There's no NOTAM up for it, so definitely not going tomorrow.

Offline high road

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Re: RocketLab Electron Smallsat Launcher
« Reply #1317 on: 03/01/2018 10:38 AM »
Thx. Seeing the date everywhere made me think it was already confirmed. Another sign paperwork is harder than licking gravity :p

Online FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: RocketLab Electron Smallsat Launcher
« Reply #1318 on: 03/08/2018 06:45 AM »
Quote
Celebrating #InternationalWomensDay2018 with some of our rocket women. All industries, including ours, are stronger with more women in STEM careers. To all the young women dreaming of becoming scientists and engineers, we're with you. Dream big and do it!

https://twitter.com/rocketlab/status/971584938163060736?s=21

Note NASA logo on hardware in background.

Offline Andrew_W

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Re: RocketLab Electron Smallsat Launcher
« Reply #1319 on: 03/08/2018 05:26 PM »
Quote
Celebrating #InternationalWomensDay2018 with some of our rocket women. All industries, including ours, are stronger with more women in STEM careers. To all the young women dreaming of becoming scientists and engineers, we're with you. Dream big and do it!

https://twitter.com/rocketlab/status/971584938163060736?s=21

Note NASA logo on hardware in background.

The NASA logo might have something to do with this:

Peter Beck: “We’ve officially accelerated into full commercial operations, so we’re trying to manifest flight three in a really short time frame.  And then flight four is a NASA flight, a NASA VCLS flight.

https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2018/03/rocket-lab-capitalize-test-flight-success-first-operational-mission/
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