Author Topic: What if Dreamchaser had won CCtCap  (Read 5820 times)

Offline woods170

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Re: What if Dreamchaser had won CCtCap
« Reply #20 on: 11/28/2023 09:47 am »
<snip>
Maybe, in some alternate history. In actual history, the number of available Atlas Vs was/is constrained by the number of available RD-180 engines. When Russia invaded Crimea, Congress directed DoD to quit buying launches using Russian engines, and ULA did a final order and purchased a number of these engines and had them physically present in the US. (Sorry, I'm a bit fuzzy on the exact details, but the resullt is the same) ULA will never buy more RD-180. In 2021, there were enough engines for 29 more launches. ULA announced that Atlas would retire after these and that all 29 of these launches had been allocated already, none to DC.
<snip>
Will point out the RD-180 supply cutoff is for the DoD missions. In theory if ULA has a large number of NASA and commercial Atlas V launches booked. They could continued buying more RD-180s. Too bad the Atlas V commercial launches was like every few years at best and the Starliner is an also ran. :(
The original cutoff was DoD-only, but if meant ULA needed a new rocket with a new motor. They went with the Vulcan design, confident that they would be able to fly it starting in 2019. It was supposed to become their only rocket, replacing both Atlas V and Delta IV, and that's still the plan. Since they were confident in Vulcan, continuing Atlas made no sense. Getting back to the topic, Dream Chaser was supposed to fly on Vulcan, not Atlas V, and this is still the case.

Emphasis mine.

Right.... I guess all these reports were fake then:
- https://www.space.com/37636-dream-chaser-space-plane-on-atlas-v-rockets.html
- https://www.universetoday.com/136511/dream-chaser-mini-shuttle-fly-iss-resupply-missions-ula-atlas-v/
- https://www.americaspace.com/2016/01/15/dream-chasers-first-launch-will-fly-to-iss-snc-outlines-testing-and-development-plans-ahead/

Cargo Dreamchaser was baselined on Atlas V in 2015. The switch to Vulcan did not happen until 2019. So, stating that Dreamchaser "was not supposed to fly on Atlas V" is incorrect.
« Last Edit: 11/28/2023 09:51 am by woods170 »

Offline Lee Jay

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Re: What if Dreamchaser had won CCtCap
« Reply #21 on: 11/28/2023 01:28 pm »
<snip>
Maybe, in some alternate history. In actual history, the number of available Atlas Vs was/is constrained by the number of available RD-180 engines. When Russia invaded Crimea, Congress directed DoD to quit buying launches using Russian engines, and ULA did a final order and purchased a number of these engines and had them physically present in the US. (Sorry, I'm a bit fuzzy on the exact details, but the resullt is the same) ULA will never buy more RD-180. In 2021, there were enough engines for 29 more launches. ULA announced that Atlas would retire after these and that all 29 of these launches had been allocated already, none to DC.
<snip>
Will point out the RD-180 supply cutoff is for the DoD missions. In theory if ULA has a large number of NASA and commercial Atlas V launches booked. They could continued buying more RD-180s. Too bad the Atlas V commercial launches was like every few years at best and the Starliner is an also ran. :(
The original cutoff was DoD-only, but if meant ULA needed a new rocket with a new motor. They went with the Vulcan design, confident that they would be able to fly it starting in 2019. It was supposed to become their only rocket, replacing both Atlas V and Delta IV, and that's still the plan. Since they were confident in Vulcan, continuing Atlas made no sense. Getting back to the topic, Dream Chaser was supposed to fly on Vulcan, not Atlas V, and this is still the case.

Emphasis mine.

Right.... I guess all these reports were fake then:
- https://www.space.com/37636-dream-chaser-space-plane-on-atlas-v-rockets.html
- https://www.universetoday.com/136511/dream-chaser-mini-shuttle-fly-iss-resupply-missions-ula-atlas-v/
- https://www.americaspace.com/2016/01/15/dream-chasers-first-launch-will-fly-to-iss-snc-outlines-testing-and-development-plans-ahead/

Cargo Dreamchaser was baselined on Atlas V in 2015. The switch to Vulcan did not happen until 2019. So, stating that Dreamchaser "was not supposed to fly on Atlas V" is incorrect.

True.  I'm just adding an NSF story link.

https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2018/02/dream-chaser-date-maiden-mission-iss-crs2/

Offline Starmang10

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Re: What if Dreamchaser had won CCtCap
« Reply #22 on: 11/28/2023 02:28 pm »
Sierra Space and Boeing would likely work together to help create eachothers spacecraft, or help eachother in some way. SpaceX would likely never fly a crew to the ISS, being limited to cargo. Dragon 1 would likely still be around today, as the main purpose for Dragon V2 was not solely for cargo, or to be converted as a cargo-only spaacecraft, as, they expected Dragon 1 and V2 to fly at the same time as one another. Dragon V2 might've been used for other LEO destinations, similar to what Dream Chaser does now. Orbital Reef would not likely exist, as it is reliant on Dream Chaser for cargo and crew operations.
hi! I am a 13 year old neurodivergent individual, although I can understand most things adults can too. I  have been interested in space since I was 5. Although I still have a lot to learn, I try my hardest to understand others, although sometimes I might not, so please correct me if I do not listen to others. thanks!

Online abaddon

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Re: What if Dreamchaser had won CCtCap
« Reply #23 on: 11/28/2023 03:28 pm »
This is my half-assed Internet research, so please feel to correct me on any of the facts listed or omissions and I will endeavor to correct them.

It's really hard to do apples-to-apples comparisons here.  But I think the best way to do it is to compare SNC to its fellow CRS2 awardees with respect to how they did in the original CRS award.  I'm ignoring the Space Act Agreements (SAA) that preceded these awards as all of these companies got hundreds-of-million dollar awards prior to selection for CRS Phase 1 and CRS2 respectively, and all of these vehicles were in development to some extent prior.  This is all extremely hard to untangle and there's a lot of room for cherry picking something to favor one over the other.  SAAs are also non-binding where CRS are more serious contracts with potential penalties for non-performance, so this is as good a dividing line as I can find.  The obvious difference here is SpaceX and Orbital Sciences built launchers during this timeframe sort-of but maybe not really as part of the contract, where SNC is purchasing their rides from ULA.  That does change the complexity of development but it doesn't really change the cost to NASA of the service, so I'm inclined to ignore that.  Similarly I'm ignoring the potential "spaceplanes are harder" consideration; SNC chose the vehicle design just like SpaceX and Orbital Sciences chose to build their launchers.  More complex but their choice.

Starting with SpaceX, they were awarded a $1.6 billion CRS-1 contract on 23 December 2008.  The contract called for 12 flights with an announced timeline at contract award  for the first flight to the ISS to take place in 2010.  Dragon first berthed with the ISS on 5/22/12.  From award to first berthing was three and a half years, with one and a half years of slip.

Orbital Sciences was awarded a $1.9 billion contract under the Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) program. Under this contract, Orbital Sciences agreed to deliver up to 20 tons of cargo to the ISS through 2016 in eight Cygnus spacecraft flights.  As with SpaceX the first flight was to take place in 2010.  Cygnus first berthed with the ISS on 29 September 2013.  From award to first berthing was four and three quarters years, with two and a quarter years of slip.

With SNC, it's a little harder to untangle the CRS2 award, which was announced as a bundle deal with SpaceX and Orbital Sciences.  A reference to contractor-specific information here would be helpful!  All three were were awarded CRS-2 contracts in January 2016 with initial task orders awarded in June 2016. Each of the three companies is guaranteed at least six (6) cargo missions under the CRS-2 contract.  The first mission under the new contract was expected to fly in late 2019 but I can't find a specific date for SNC.  Using these dates we get just shy of eight years from contract award to NET April/24 and just shy of five years of slip.

Based on this, and even factoring in COVID (SNC was well behind schedule before COVID), it seems clear to me SNC is struggling to meet the expectations of their contract for essentially the same service that SpaceX and Orbital Sciences were able to meet on shorter timeframes.  This does not give me confidence they would have been able to execute the much more demanding CCtCAP requirements any better than Boeing, let alone SpaceX.  Obviously there's a lot of room for interpretation here, so YMMV.

For the record, I'm pulling for them, and it really feels like this April date is going to stick.  I'm hoping for a successful first flight and for this being the starting point of a real tangible spacecraft that does more than just fill up pretty powerpoints.  Who knows, maybe we will get to see a crewed version fly some day.  I'd love to see it.
« Last Edit: 11/28/2023 03:32 pm by abaddon »

Online DanClemmensen

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Re: What if Dreamchaser had won CCtCap
« Reply #24 on: 11/28/2023 03:53 pm »
... reports ...:
- https://www.space.com/37636-dream-chaser-space-plane-on-atlas-v-rockets.html
- https://www.universetoday.com/136511/dream-chaser-mini-shuttle-fly-iss-resupply-missions-ula-atlas-v/
- https://www.americaspace.com/2016/01/15/dream-chasers-first-launch-will-fly-to-iss-snc-outlines-testing-and-development-plans-ahead/

Cargo Dreamchaser was baselined on Atlas V in 2015. The switch to Vulcan did not happen until 2019. So, stating that Dreamchaser "was not supposed to fly on Atlas V" is incorrect.
True for Cargo Dreamchaser, and I suppose in the alternate universe of this thread's topic we could construct a way to plan to put Crewed Dreamchaser on Atlas V. It still would not have happened without still more deviation from actual history Can you propose a plausible deviation? Maybe a different administration would decide to be friendly to Russia after all? Maybe with Crewed Dreamchaser getting a CCtCap bid, ULA would have allocated eight of the remaining Atlas Vs to it prior to the Kuiper deal, which would have put DC in the same squeeze as Starliner?

Offline Lee Jay

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Re: What if Dreamchaser had won CCtCap
« Reply #25 on: 11/28/2023 04:14 pm »
... reports ...:
- https://www.space.com/37636-dream-chaser-space-plane-on-atlas-v-rockets.html
- https://www.universetoday.com/136511/dream-chaser-mini-shuttle-fly-iss-resupply-missions-ula-atlas-v/
- https://www.americaspace.com/2016/01/15/dream-chasers-first-launch-will-fly-to-iss-snc-outlines-testing-and-development-plans-ahead/

Cargo Dreamchaser was baselined on Atlas V in 2015. The switch to Vulcan did not happen until 2019. So, stating that Dreamchaser "was not supposed to fly on Atlas V" is incorrect.
True for Cargo Dreamchaser, and I suppose in the alternate universe of this thread's topic we could construct a way to plan to put Crewed Dreamchaser on Atlas V. It still would not have happened without still more deviation from actual history Can you propose a plausible deviation? Maybe a different administration would decide to be friendly to Russia after all? Maybe with Crewed Dreamchaser getting a CCtCap bid, ULA would have allocated eight of the remaining Atlas Vs to it prior to the Kuiper deal, which would have put DC in the same squeeze as Starliner?

Crewed DC was always planned for Atlas V 402 or 552.

I was at a presentation given by SNC on 1/23/2012 where this was stated.
« Last Edit: 11/28/2023 04:21 pm by Lee Jay »

Online DanClemmensen

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Re: What if Dreamchaser had won CCtCap
« Reply #26 on: 11/28/2023 04:37 pm »
... reports ...:
- https://www.space.com/37636-dream-chaser-space-plane-on-atlas-v-rockets.html
- https://www.universetoday.com/136511/dream-chaser-mini-shuttle-fly-iss-resupply-missions-ula-atlas-v/
- https://www.americaspace.com/2016/01/15/dream-chasers-first-launch-will-fly-to-iss-snc-outlines-testing-and-development-plans-ahead/

Cargo Dreamchaser was baselined on Atlas V in 2015. The switch to Vulcan did not happen until 2019. So, stating that Dreamchaser "was not supposed to fly on Atlas V" is incorrect.
True for Cargo Dreamchaser, and I suppose in the alternate universe of this thread's topic we could construct a way to plan to put Crewed Dreamchaser on Atlas V. It still would not have happened without still more deviation from actual history Can you propose a plausible deviation? Maybe a different administration would decide to be friendly to Russia after all? Maybe with Crewed Dreamchaser getting a CCtCap bid, ULA would have allocated eight of the remaining Atlas Vs to it prior to the Kuiper deal, which would have put DC in the same squeeze as Starliner?

Crewed DC was always planned for Atlas V 402 or 552.

I was at a presentation given by SNC on 1/23/2012 where this was stated.
I knew Cargo DC was on Atlas, but Crewed DC was in a fairing? what about LES? Maybe N22?

OK, in 2012 Atlas V was clearly the default rocket of choice. In our alternate history, in what year would this plan have changed? CCtCap was awarded in 2014, after(?) the ban on RD-180. I guess they could have stayed on Atlas, ending up roughly where Starliner is today for launches, but maybe as early as 2020. By 2023, after two test and four CCP launches, they would be planning for a shift to a new launcher.

Offline Lee Jay

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Re: What if Dreamchaser had won CCtCap
« Reply #27 on: 11/28/2023 04:53 pm »
... reports ...:
- https://www.space.com/37636-dream-chaser-space-plane-on-atlas-v-rockets.html
- https://www.universetoday.com/136511/dream-chaser-mini-shuttle-fly-iss-resupply-missions-ula-atlas-v/
- https://www.americaspace.com/2016/01/15/dream-chasers-first-launch-will-fly-to-iss-snc-outlines-testing-and-development-plans-ahead/

Cargo Dreamchaser was baselined on Atlas V in 2015. The switch to Vulcan did not happen until 2019. So, stating that Dreamchaser "was not supposed to fly on Atlas V" is incorrect.
True for Cargo Dreamchaser, and I suppose in the alternate universe of this thread's topic we could construct a way to plan to put Crewed Dreamchaser on Atlas V. It still would not have happened without still more deviation from actual history Can you propose a plausible deviation? Maybe a different administration would decide to be friendly to Russia after all? Maybe with Crewed Dreamchaser getting a CCtCap bid, ULA would have allocated eight of the remaining Atlas Vs to it prior to the Kuiper deal, which would have put DC in the same squeeze as Starliner?

Crewed DC was always planned for Atlas V 402 or 552.

I was at a presentation given by SNC on 1/23/2012 where this was stated.
I knew Cargo DC was on Atlas, but Crewed DC was in a fairing? what about LES? Maybe N22?

OK, in 2012 Atlas V was clearly the default rocket of choice. In our alternate history, in what year would this plan have changed? CCtCap was awarded in 2014, after(?) the ban on RD-180. I guess they could have stayed on Atlas, ending up roughly where Starliner is today for launches, but maybe as early as 2020. By 2023, after two test and four CCP launches, they would be planning for a shift to a new launcher.

It wasn't in a fairing.  They didn't have a name for it.  Atlas wasn't changed until it was changed to Vulcan, which was on August 14, 2019 (well, the press conference was that day - I'm sure the decision was much earlier).

Offline Asteroza

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Re: What if Dreamchaser had won CCtCap
« Reply #28 on: 11/28/2023 11:39 pm »
... reports ...:
- https://www.space.com/37636-dream-chaser-space-plane-on-atlas-v-rockets.html
- https://www.universetoday.com/136511/dream-chaser-mini-shuttle-fly-iss-resupply-missions-ula-atlas-v/
- https://www.americaspace.com/2016/01/15/dream-chasers-first-launch-will-fly-to-iss-snc-outlines-testing-and-development-plans-ahead/

Cargo Dreamchaser was baselined on Atlas V in 2015. The switch to Vulcan did not happen until 2019. So, stating that Dreamchaser "was not supposed to fly on Atlas V" is incorrect.
True for Cargo Dreamchaser, and I suppose in the alternate universe of this thread's topic we could construct a way to plan to put Crewed Dreamchaser on Atlas V. It still would not have happened without still more deviation from actual history Can you propose a plausible deviation? Maybe a different administration would decide to be friendly to Russia after all? Maybe with Crewed Dreamchaser getting a CCtCap bid, ULA would have allocated eight of the remaining Atlas Vs to it prior to the Kuiper deal, which would have put DC in the same squeeze as Starliner?

Crewed DC was always planned for Atlas V 402 or 552.

I was at a presentation given by SNC on 1/23/2012 where this was stated.
I knew Cargo DC was on Atlas, but Crewed DC was in a fairing? what about LES? Maybe N22?

OK, in 2012 Atlas V was clearly the default rocket of choice. In our alternate history, in what year would this plan have changed? CCtCap was awarded in 2014, after(?) the ban on RD-180. I guess they could have stayed on Atlas, ending up roughly where Starliner is today for launches, but maybe as early as 2020. By 2023, after two test and four CCP launches, they would be planning for a shift to a new launcher.

Since the US production line for RD-180's wasn't spun up by the date of CCtCap awarding, that would imply the remaining stock was spoken for with other missions, but if SNC had a serious chance for winning, then they likely would have reserved their needed number of missions before the RD-180 ban. ULA made their last big order of RD-180's in 2015 after the ban was sorta lifted, so there was an opportunity to secure engines and additional Atlas V's for Dreamchaser, at least for the initial run, but with the end of Atlas V in sight, the Vulcan certification issue remains.

Offline woods170

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Re: What if Dreamchaser had won CCtCap
« Reply #29 on: 11/29/2023 10:13 am »
... reports ...:
- https://www.space.com/37636-dream-chaser-space-plane-on-atlas-v-rockets.html
- https://www.universetoday.com/136511/dream-chaser-mini-shuttle-fly-iss-resupply-missions-ula-atlas-v/
- https://www.americaspace.com/2016/01/15/dream-chasers-first-launch-will-fly-to-iss-snc-outlines-testing-and-development-plans-ahead/

Cargo Dreamchaser was baselined on Atlas V in 2015. The switch to Vulcan did not happen until 2019. So, stating that Dreamchaser "was not supposed to fly on Atlas V" is incorrect.
True for Cargo Dreamchaser, and I suppose in the alternate universe of this thread's topic we could construct a way to plan to put Crewed Dreamchaser on Atlas V. It still would not have happened without still more deviation from actual history Can you propose a plausible deviation? Maybe a different administration would decide to be friendly to Russia after all? Maybe with Crewed Dreamchaser getting a CCtCap bid, ULA would have allocated eight of the remaining Atlas Vs to it prior to the Kuiper deal, which would have put DC in the same squeeze as Starliner?

Crewed DC was always planned for Atlas V 402 or 552.

I was at a presentation given by SNC on 1/23/2012 where this was stated.
I knew Cargo DC was on Atlas, but Crewed DC was in a fairing? what about LES? Maybe N22?

OK, in 2012 Atlas V was clearly the default rocket of choice. In our alternate history, in what year would this plan have changed? CCtCap was awarded in 2014, after(?) the ban on RD-180. I guess they could have stayed on Atlas, ending up roughly where Starliner is today for launches, but maybe as early as 2020. By 2023, after two test and four CCP launches, they would be planning for a shift to a new launcher.

Emphasis mine.

What fairing?

Crewed DreamChaser was baselined to fly on Atlas V in 2012, and that remained so until Crewed DreamChaser was put on ice after they didn't get selected for CCtCAP:

https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2012/08/ula-experience-to-build-culture-atlas-v-crew-safety/
https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2014/01/dream-chaser-another-ccicap-milestone/

No fairing for crewed DreamChaser. It would sit on top of an exposed Dual Engine Centaur (DEC), by means of an aerodynamic payload adapter. The LES was integrated into crewed DreamChaser: the two big engines on the back.
« Last Edit: 11/29/2023 10:13 am by woods170 »

Offline Prettz

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Re: What if Dreamchaser had won CCtCap
« Reply #30 on: 11/29/2023 02:19 pm »
Going from dim memory DC LAS engines were issue at selection time. Had it been pick could be long pole in its development. Still think would flown by now as SNC were lot more motivated than Boeing.
IIRC the LAS and main propulsion for the Dreamchaser were hybrid motors at selection time. SNC would encounter the same engine issues that plague Virgin Galactic with NASA likely axing the Dreamchaser. Of course my recall of the hybrid motor in the Dreamchaser might not be correct.
They were already looking into (or had started on? Hazy there) replacement LAS engines at the time they weren't selected.

Offline whitelancer64

Re: What if Dreamchaser had won CCtCap
« Reply #31 on: 11/29/2023 09:13 pm »
Going from dim memory DC LAS engines were issue at selection time. Had it been pick could be long pole in its development. Still think would flown by now as SNC were lot more motivated than Boeing.
IIRC the LAS and main propulsion for the Dreamchaser were hybrid motors at selection time. SNC would encounter the same engine issues that plague Virgin Galactic with NASA likely axing the Dreamchaser. Of course my recall of the hybrid motor in the Dreamchaser might not be correct.
They were already looking into (or had started on? Hazy there) replacement LAS engines at the time they weren't selected.

Yeah, one of the big reasons they were not chosen is because they had just decided to change from hybrid to all liquid fuel propulsion for the LAS / main engines. Because of that, in terms of design maturity, they were at least a year behind Boeing and SpaceX. I've said this before, not selecting Dream Chaser was the correct decision at the time, we really only can argue about it now with benefit of hindsight.
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