Author Topic: RocketLab vs Blue Origin - Whose Approach / Business Strategy is Better?  (Read 80105 times)

Offline edzieba

  • Virtual Realist
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5989
  • United Kingdom
  • Liked: 9162
  • Likes Given: 38
However, such aircraft lines require huge investments in AFP, autoclaves, etc. “Oh, we’ll just make 787s” is not a cheap way to make launch vehicles.
OOA (Out of Autoclave) CFC is already being used for flying vehicles, albeit not full widebody fuselages (e.g. the MC-21 is only 4m diameter, though of comparable length to Neutron). The new Atlas fairing is one example, as was the jumbo BFR test tank.

Offline Robotbeat

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 39254
  • Minnesota
  • Liked: 25206
  • Likes Given: 12104
However, such aircraft lines require huge investments in AFP, autoclaves, etc. “Oh, we’ll just make 787s” is not a cheap way to make launch vehicles.
OOA (Out of Autoclave) CFC is already being used for flying vehicles, albeit not full widebody fuselages (e.g. the MC-21 is only 4m diameter, though of comparable length to Neutron). The new Atlas fairing is one example, as was the jumbo BFR test tank.
Out of autoclave composites have worse material properties and still need an oven. SpaceX’s experience with the BFR tank validates my point.
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Online meekGee

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 14124
  • N. California
  • Liked: 13999
  • Likes Given: 1391
However, such aircraft lines require huge investments in AFP, autoclaves, etc. “Oh, we’ll just make 787s” is not a cheap way to make launch vehicles.
OOA (Out of Autoclave) CFC is already being used for flying vehicles, albeit not full widebody fuselages (e.g. the MC-21 is only 4m diameter, though of comparable length to Neutron). The new Atlas fairing is one example, as was the jumbo BFR test tank.
Out of autoclave composites have worse material properties and still need an oven. SpaceX’s experience with the BFR tank validates my point.
I'd argue that SpaceX went to SS mostly because of design flexibility.  The numbers simply had to be comparable.

They were building SS, which was going to morph significantly, and also had to do orbital re-entry on both Earth and Mars.

Even if CC, at the end, would have offered an advantage, a CC SS would take years longer to develop, they'd be to iterate less, etc.  And of course in retrospect that's all obvious.

RL is "just" building a booster here, so the trade is more traditional.
ABCD - Always Be Counting Down

Offline JayWee

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 987
  • Liked: 981
  • Likes Given: 1801
...
I'd argue that SpaceX went to SS mostly because of design flexibility.  The numbers simply had to be comparable.
...
Additionally:
a) CC had issues with liners
b) Re-entry performance (less heat-shield needed => less total weight)
c) cost - $130/kg for composites, $4/kg for SS.
d) good cryo-performance
e) you can just weld stuff on it

Offline edzieba

  • Virtual Realist
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5989
  • United Kingdom
  • Liked: 9162
  • Likes Given: 38
...
I'd argue that SpaceX went to SS mostly because of design flexibility.  The numbers simply had to be comparable.
...
Additionally:
a) CC had issues with liners
b) Re-entry performance (less heat-shield needed => less total weight)
c) cost - $130/kg for composites, $4/kg for SS.
d) good cryo-performance
e) you can just weld stuff on it
For Neutron specifically:
a) Electron is linerless, so Rocketlab have clearly solved the LOX liner problem already
b) Different EDL environments (interplantery vs. suborbital) but Rocketlab think they can eliminate the heatshield entirely through an exceptionally light stage plus a large frontal area, and have test data from Electron that makes them confidant enough in the performance of their CFC to proceed with that plan.
c) An issue, though less so for reusable systems. Rocketlab probably don't intend to build a massive spaceyard-city, so near-term cost disparity is probably not as dramatic.
d) Electron already seems to have this in the bag. Neutron enters tail-first (same loadpath as launch) rather than horizontally, so doesn't need to worry about the 'keel snapping' second load path that Starship does.
e) Valid issue, sticking things to CFC is harder than welding. Neutron does not appear to have anything stuck to the outside that is not part of the structure (strakes/legs) or a mechanical joint (fairings, fins).

And for New Glenn's 6061 construction, they're going with a 'traditional' milled orthogrid with FSW joints, so also not a cheap construction process despite the cheaper raw stock. Its cryo performance is acceptable, and Blue Origin also think they can avoid an entry burn.
« Last Edit: 12/07/2021 01:49 pm by edzieba »

Offline Lars-J

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6807
  • California
  • Liked: 8462
  • Likes Given: 5371
For Neutron specifically:
a) Electron is linerless, so Rocketlab have clearly solved the LOX liner problem already#

What is the source for this claim?

Offline trimeta

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1665
  • Kansas City, MO
  • Liked: 2123
  • Likes Given: 57
For Neutron specifically:
a) Electron is linerless, so Rocketlab have clearly solved the LOX liner problem already#

What is the source for this claim?

From the Electron Payload User's Guide:

Quote
Electron’s first stage consists of nine sea-level Rutherford engines, linerless common bulkhead tanks for LOx and RP-1, and an interstage.

...

Electron’s second stage consists of a single vacuum optimized Rutherford engine, and linerless common bulkhead tanks for LOx and kerosene.

Offline AU1.52

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 656
  • Life is like riding a bicycle - Einstein
  • Ohio, USA, AU1
  • Liked: 669
  • Likes Given: 719
I wonder if RocketLab could produce a linerless 12m diameter LOX tank.

Offline Robotbeat

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 39254
  • Minnesota
  • Liked: 25206
  • Likes Given: 12104
…that can be thermocycled hundreds of times with arbitrarily low probability of failure and without a huge factor of safety (or knock-down factor, if you prefer).
« Last Edit: 12/07/2021 06:03 pm by Robotbeat »
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Offline imprezive

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 190
  • Liked: 121
  • Likes Given: 26
I certainly am. That will be one of the largest composite aerospace structures ever built.
It's very comparable in size to existing serial-production composite aircraft fuselages, and smaller than one-offs like Stratolaunch. Likely structurally simpler than an aircraft fuselage too (nice vertically loaded stout column vs skinny sideways cylinder).

The wings on commercial airliners (A350 and 787) are likely the largest composite aerospace structures out there. As someone else mentioned they are extraordinarily expensive to make and that’s at a decent rate.

Offline trimeta

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1665
  • Kansas City, MO
  • Liked: 2123
  • Likes Given: 57
I certainly am. That will be one of the largest composite aerospace structures ever built.
It's very comparable in size to existing serial-production composite aircraft fuselages, and smaller than one-offs like Stratolaunch. Likely structurally simpler than an aircraft fuselage too (nice vertically loaded stout column vs skinny sideways cylinder).

The wings on commercial airliners (A350 and 787) are likely the largest composite aerospace structures out there. As someone else mentioned they are extraordinarily expensive to make and that’s at a decent rate.

They also have a much more complex geometry than Neutron, even taking into account its tapering towards the ends.

Offline Robotbeat

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 39254
  • Minnesota
  • Liked: 25206
  • Likes Given: 12104
I certainly am. That will be one of the largest composite aerospace structures ever built.
It's very comparable in size to existing serial-production composite aircraft fuselages, and smaller than one-offs like Stratolaunch. Likely structurally simpler than an aircraft fuselage too (nice vertically loaded stout column vs skinny sideways cylinder).

The wings on commercial airliners (A350 and 787) are likely the largest composite aerospace structures out there. As someone else mentioned they are extraordinarily expensive to make and that’s at a decent rate.

They also have a much more complex geometry than Neutron, even taking into account its tapering towards the ends.
I don’t know. What are the complex stuff another pounds ie.What are the complex stuff on those airplanes is metal still. And even the simplified CGI model we saw looked pretty dang complex with composite aero surfaces, legs, etc.
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Offline TrevorMonty

…that can be thermocycled hundreds of times with arbitrarily low probability of failure and without a huge factor of safety (or knock-down factor, if you prefer).
While its unknown, RL have some idea of thermal loads that will be placed on Neutron during entry. Recovered Electron boosters have now given them critical data they needed to feed their thermal modelling programs. Shouldn't be difficult to place samples of composite material through equivalent heat cycles and then stress test them.

Comparing Neutron to jetliner isn't good comparsion. Jetliner is lot more complex especially all equipment associated with supporting humans. Neutron doesn't need dozens of windows, complex cockpit with redundant systems.
Airframe has to handle 10000s of hours of flight some of which can be in extreme turbulence. Booster would only clockup few hours in 100 flight life in predictable flight conditions.
Aircraft undercarriages are in total different league to boosters 4 legs with shocks.



Sent from my SM-G570Y using Tapatalk


Tags:
 

Advertisement NovaTech
Advertisement Northrop Grumman
Advertisement
Advertisement Margaritaville Beach Resort South Padre Island
Advertisement Brady Kenniston
Advertisement NextSpaceflight
Advertisement Nathan Barker Photography
0