Author Topic: Blue Origin New Shepard How long to turn around?  (Read 5754 times)

Offline Prober

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Blue Origin New Shepard How long to turn around?
« on: 11/28/2015 01:50 pm »
Reading this thread and found this factoid.

DC-X
$65m. Built a complete vehicle. Got to M3. Flew it 10s of times. Got demonstrated you could build a rocket powered with LH2/LO2 that could be turned around in (IIRC) 28 hrs without a)Removal of engines from the vehicle. b)Taking the engine apart once you'd done so. A feat believed impossible at the time. The DC-Y was planned to solve the materials problems and get to orbit.

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=38836.msg1446812#msg1446812

Begs the question with the return (old thread). How long before BlueO turns around the test vehicle #2 and gives us another surprise?  This could have made a decent poll but lets focus on the technology.

So the question.....
Looking at everything Blue Origin has shown us, what would prevent the company re-launching the New Shepard for her 2nd run?
« Last Edit: 11/28/2015 02:37 pm by Prober »
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Offline Jarnis

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Re: BO New Shepard How long to turn around?
« Reply #1 on: 11/28/2015 02:05 pm »
Nobody except Blue knows, Blue is not telling.

Probably nothing except the interest of the engineers to check everything about the vehicle to verify how well it took the abuse of the launch and the landing.

In the long run I wouldn't be too surprised if it had fairly short process to re-fly. It will be a manned vehicle, so that puts some additional demands towards careful inspection, but I wouldn't be too shocked if it were basically a gas-and-go vehicle in the long run. No, not this vehicle, but ones they build after they have some experience with the first units.

Offline sanman

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Re: BO New Shepard How long to turn around?
« Reply #2 on: 11/28/2015 02:12 pm »
Will this short turnaround time provide some advantage in the marketplace it's trying to serve?

What kind of flight rate should they be aiming for?
What kind of flight rate would the marketplace support?

How will the engine evolve as more data is gathered from all these flights?

Offline Prober

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Re: BO New Shepard How long to turn around?
« Reply #3 on: 11/28/2015 02:33 pm »
Nobody except Blue knows, Blue is not telling.

Probably nothing except the interest of the engineers to check everything about the vehicle to verify how well it took the abuse of the launch and the landing.

In the long run I wouldn't be too surprised if it had fairly short process to re-fly. It will be a manned vehicle, so that puts some additional demands towards careful inspection, but I wouldn't be too shocked if it were basically a gas-and-go vehicle in the long run. No, not this vehicle, but ones they build after they have some experience with the first units.

I agree, don't think its the technology or even their design.  It comes down to a management decision how aggressive a testing program is setup.

One way or another it could be for some exciting times.
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Offline sanman

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Re: Blue Origin New Shepard How long to turn around?
« Reply #4 on: 11/28/2015 02:59 pm »
Another thing - if this thing has such rapid/easy turnaround, then doesn't that impact the launch costs?

What's likely to be the approximate ballpark figure for the cost of launching this vehicle? Millions? Hundreds of thousands? Will it be cheaper than SpaceShipTwo?

Will the rapid/easy turnaround result in more streamlining of operations over time?

How will a high flight rate from rapid turnaround affect the pace of evolution of the vehicle?

Offline JamesG123

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Re: Blue Origin New Shepard How long to turn around?
« Reply #5 on: 11/28/2015 03:29 pm »
There is what is is physically/engineering-ly possible, and there is what is practical and safe.

While it may be possible today to build a motor that can run for X seconds, endure Y heat cycles, for Z cost, where it theoretically does not need any care and feeding between overhauls, rockets are not airplanes.  The energies are an order of magnitude greater and where engine failure in an aircraft is an inflight emergency and you start looking for a divert field, engine failure in a rocket is usually LOM, if not catastrophic LOV.  So promising to have "airliner turnaround" is unwise and poor safety and even worse business practice. Losing your notionally reusable, and expensive hardware because you tried to treat it like a Cessna is bad for the bottom line.

Probably the best you can hope for in the near term is similar to how the STS worked, an operator will have a pool of engines per vehicle or fleet that can be quick-changed between flights. The used motor goes in to the shop to get inspected and serviced and a fresh one that has been signed off as ready for flight gets bolted on and plumbed in.

There is probably a sweet spot somewhere amid all of the variable of cost, technical and operational capacity that the likes of BO, SX, etc are all thinking about and grappling with as they develop their hardware.  Or should be.

Offline Nilof

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Re: Blue Origin New Shepard How long to turn around?
« Reply #6 on: 11/28/2015 04:25 pm »
There is what is is physically/engineering-ly possible, and there is what is practical and safe.

While it may be possible today to build a motor that can run for X seconds, endure Y heat cycles, for Z cost, where it theoretically does not need any care and feeding between overhauls, rockets are not airplanes.  The energies are an order of magnitude greater and where engine failure in an aircraft is an inflight emergency and you start looking for a divert field, engine failure in a rocket is usually LOM, if not catastrophic LOV.  So promising to have "airliner turnaround" is unwise and poor safety and even worse business practice. Losing your notionally reusable, and expensive hardware because you tried to treat it like a Cessna is bad for the bottom line.

Probably the best you can hope for in the near term is similar to how the STS worked, an operator will have a pool of engines per vehicle or fleet that can be quick-changed between flights. The used motor goes in to the shop to get inspected and serviced and a fresh one that has been signed off as ready for flight gets bolted on and plumbed in.

There is probably a sweet spot somewhere amid all of the variable of cost, technical and operational capacity that the likes of BO, SX, etc are all thinking about and grappling with as they develop their hardware.  Or should be.

Well, you could also argue that the energies for a jet engine are orders of magnitude higher than those of a bus and say the exact same thing about jetliners. Yet jet airplanes are not less reusable than buses. If anything they are flown more often to earn back their purchase and operating costs.

Sure, making a reusable rocket is difficult. But it isn't impossible, as we can see with say, Masten space systems: https://twitter.com/dmasten/status/581147992540856320
For a variable Isp spacecraft running at constant power and constant acceleration, the mass ratio is linear in delta-v.   Δv = ve0(MR-1). Or equivalently: Δv = vef PMF. Also, this is energy-optimal for a fixed delta-v and mass ratio.

Offline Antilope7724

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Re: Blue Origin New Shepard How long to turn around?
« Reply #7 on: 11/28/2015 05:23 pm »
The Blue Origin capsule is probably going to have a different turn around / refurbish time than the launch vehicle. Repack/replace parachute, replace pyrotechnics (for parachutes, landing rockets?), etc.

Offline sanman

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Re: Blue Origin New Shepard How long to turn around?
« Reply #8 on: 11/28/2015 05:53 pm »
What are all the things which have to be done to turn around a launch vehicle, to make it flight-worthy once again?
What are they, in order of importance or risk?
Use New Shepard and other launch vehicles as examples for comparison.
« Last Edit: 11/28/2015 05:54 pm by sanman »

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: Blue Origin New Shepard How long to turn around?
« Reply #9 on: 11/28/2015 06:35 pm »
Both the booster and capsule need to be taken back to a hangar for mating between flights. The pad maybe able to handle a 24hr turnaround but it would require  a small fleet of vehicles.

Assume 48hr turnaround for booster if all it requires is a good inspection between most flights.
Capsule may take a few days between repacking parachutes, refueling (BE1?) retrorocket engines, replenishing life support, the cabin may also need to be pressure test.


Offline sanman

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Re: Blue Origin New Shepard How long to turn around?
« Reply #10 on: 11/28/2015 06:46 pm »
To what extent could some of these inspections and checks be automated, not just for streamlining and cost reduction, but also for ensuring these things are done in a reliable, consistent, and foolproof way? The last thing you want is for some catastrophe to occur simply because someone forgot to do something small.

Offline savuporo

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Re: Blue Origin New Shepard How long to turn around?
« Reply #11 on: 11/28/2015 07:01 pm »
To what extent could some of these inspections and checks be automated, not just for streamlining and cost reduction, but also for ensuring these things are done in a reliable, consistent, and foolproof way? The last thing you want is for some catastrophe to occur simply because someone forgot to do something small.
You don't want to automate parachute re-packs, even if it were feasible with moderate investment in facilities and equipment. You want inspection in every part of the process there.
Re-packing large parachutes would be one of the most labor intensive and time consuming parts of the turn-around process for the capsule. I wouldnt be surprised if they would have multiple capsules for a single booster during flight test program.
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Offline billh

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Re: Blue Origin New Shepard How long to turn around?
« Reply #12 on: 11/28/2015 07:35 pm »
To what extent could some of these inspections and checks be automated, not just for streamlining and cost reduction, but also for ensuring these things are done in a reliable, consistent, and foolproof way? The last thing you want is for some catastrophe to occur simply because someone forgot to do something small.
You don't want to automate parachute re-packs, even if it were feasible with moderate investment in facilities and equipment. You want inspection in every part of the process there.
Re-packing large parachutes would be one of the most labor intensive and time consuming parts of the turn-around process for the capsule. I wouldnt be surprised if they would have multiple capsules for a single booster during flight test program.
If it's time consuming to repack the chutes, couldn't they just have multiple parachute sets per vehicle?

Offline savuporo

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Re: Blue Origin New Shepard How long to turn around?
« Reply #13 on: 11/28/2015 07:59 pm »
If it's time consuming to repack the chutes, couldn't they just have multiple parachute sets per vehicle?
At deployment, parachute attachment points take very high loads, that favors designing relatively permanent attachment fixtures. Not impossible of course.
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Offline dwheeler

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Re: Blue Origin New Shepard How long to turn around?
« Reply #14 on: 11/28/2015 08:38 pm »
There is what is is physically/engineering-ly possible, and there is what is practical and safe.

While it may be possible today to build a motor that can run for X seconds, endure Y heat cycles, for Z cost, where it theoretically does not need any care and feeding between overhauls, rockets are not airplanes.  The energies are an order of magnitude greater and where engine failure in an aircraft is an inflight emergency and you start looking for a divert field, engine failure in a rocket is usually LOM, if not catastrophic LOV.  So promising to have "airliner turnaround" is unwise and poor safety and even worse business practice. Losing your notionally reusable, and expensive hardware because you tried to treat it like a Cessna is bad for the bottom line.

Probably the best you can hope for in the near term is similar to how the STS worked, an operator will have a pool of engines per vehicle or fleet that can be quick-changed between flights. The used motor goes in to the shop to get inspected and serviced and a fresh one that has been signed off as ready for flight gets bolted on and plumbed in.

There is probably a sweet spot somewhere amid all of the variable of cost, technical and operational capacity that the likes of BO, SX, etc are all thinking about and grappling with as they develop their hardware.  Or should be.

Well, you could also argue that the energies for a jet engine are orders of magnitude higher than those of a bus and say the exact same thing about jetliners. Yet jet airplanes are not less reusable than buses. If anything they are flown more often to earn back their purchase and operating costs.

Airliners actually undergo a lot of maintenance and parts replacement compared to a bus. Each and every part is certified for a certain amount of time between inspection and between replacement. The energies involved are a lot higher so things wear out a lot quicker so they are in a sense "less reusable".

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