Author Topic: New Glenn Rideshare...  (Read 5298 times)

Offline Tywin

New Glenn Rideshare...
« on: 10/11/2022 04:47 am »
Is it possible for Blue to sign up for rideshare missions?


And if so, how many mini-satellites could a New Glenn put on a rideshare mission?

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Online vaporcobra

Re: New Glenn Rideshare...
« Reply #1 on: 10/11/2022 05:13 am »
Unless New Glenn is surprisingly affordable, dedicated rideshare launches like SpaceX's Transporter program will probably be out of the question. I will be shocked if Blue doesn't price it similarly to its OldSpace competitors, in which case Atlas V is probably our best point of comparison (i.e. very occasional secondary payloads on expensive govt launches).

Offline Tywin

Re: New Glenn Rideshare...
« Reply #2 on: 10/11/2022 09:51 am »
Let's see what people in the space sector have to say about the price of the New Glenn...

https://web.uniroma1.it/cras/sites/default/files/download/Astorg%20Conference%207%20May%202019.pdf

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Offline whitelancer64

Re: New Glenn Rideshare...
« Reply #3 on: 10/11/2022 08:01 pm »
Is it possible for Blue to sign up for rideshare missions?


And if so, how many mini-satellites could a New Glenn put on a rideshare mission?

Depends on the size and mass of the satellites. Assume a 6U cubesat is 6 kg, and the NG payload to LEO is 45,000 kg, that's 7,500 6U cubesats.

A 6U cubesat is 20 cm 20 cm 34.05 cm, or 0.01362 cubic meters. The NG payload fairing volume is over 450 cubic meters. That works out to the capability of carrying over 33,000 6U cubesats, if you were able to perfectly pack them in the payload fairing volume. Each of those 6U cubesats could only be 1.36 kg, though, which is just over the maximum a 1U cubesat can weigh.

The bigger problem with such huge numbers is that SpaceX, and the companies they worked with, have had a very difficult time with the logistics of trying to organize dozens to hundreds of individual payloads to all be ready at the same place and at the same time.
"One bit of advice: it is important to view knowledge as sort of a semantic tree -- make sure you understand the fundamental principles, ie the trunk and big branches, before you get into the leaves/details or there is nothing for them to hang on to." - Elon Musk
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Offline Tywin

Re: New Glenn Rideshare...
« Reply #4 on: 10/11/2022 08:18 pm »
Excellent comment whitelancer64.

The Falcon 9 world record is 143 satellites...

I believe New Glenn can put between 300-400 mini-satellites...
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Offline whitelancer64

Re: New Glenn Rideshare...
« Reply #5 on: 10/11/2022 08:31 pm »
Excellent comment whitelancer64.

The Falcon 9 world record is 143 satellites...

I believe New Glenn can put between 300-400 mini-satellites...

Also, New Glenn is going to get some early work launching the Kuiper satellites. IIRC they are sending up 61 satellites per New Glenn launch. If they do something similar to what SpaceX is doing with rideshares on Starlink launches, they could get near that record mark with just a few dozen rideshares tagging along.
"One bit of advice: it is important to view knowledge as sort of a semantic tree -- make sure you understand the fundamental principles, ie the trunk and big branches, before you get into the leaves/details or there is nothing for them to hang on to." - Elon Musk
"There are lies, damned lies, and launch schedules." - Larry J

Re: New Glenn Rideshare...
« Reply #6 on: 10/12/2022 08:19 pm »
I suspect New Glenn will bring a ton of small payloads along on every launch. An extra 30-100 kg of cubesats will hardly make a difference on most New Glenn flights I suspect. And I don't think any team that has the money to build and operate a (single) cubesat is going to care much about the difference between a $20 launch on Starship and a $80 launch on New Glenn. $60 is marginal at that point; any random team member could just forgo buying a video game that month and cover the cost difference out of pocket. Constellation are obviously a different matter.
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Offline Asteroza

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Re: New Glenn Rideshare...
« Reply #7 on: 10/13/2022 12:40 am »
I suspect New Glenn will bring a ton of small payloads along on every launch. An extra 30-100 kg of cubesats will hardly make a difference on most New Glenn flights I suspect. And I don't think any team that has the money to build and operate a (single) cubesat is going to care much about the difference between a $20 launch on Starship and a $80 launch on New Glenn. $60 is marginal at that point; any random team member could just forgo buying a video game that month and cover the cost difference out of pocket. Constellation are obviously a different matter.

That might be true, except isn't NG mass not volume constrained?

Plus Spaceflight's experiences with the monster corncob SSO flights delayed for so long due to cat herding their customers suggests F9 transporter flight levels of ridealongs might actually be a sweet spot in terms of rideshare customer availability per flight. Think car pooling rather than short buses...

Offline sebk

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Re: New Glenn Rideshare...
« Reply #8 on: 10/26/2022 09:54 am »
I suspect New Glenn will bring a ton of small payloads along on every launch. An extra 30-100 kg of cubesats will hardly make a difference on most New Glenn flights I suspect. And I don't think any team that has the money to build and operate a (single) cubesat is going to care much about the difference between a $20 launch on Starship and a $80 launch on New Glenn. $60 is marginal at that point; any random team member could just forgo buying a video game that month and cover the cost difference out of pocket. Constellation are obviously a different matter.

Cube sats launch prices are not even remotely close to those and won't be for the foreseeable future. Actually, launching one 1U thing is $20000 to $100000. And yes, that included already lowered prices on ISRO and SpaceX rideshares. And yes, they $20k price is for a ride on something like Astra's rocket with a high chance of failure. For a reliable launcher it's rather $50k+.

IOW You're off by 3 orders of magnitude.

Also, cubesats are not tennis balls or potatos, heck, they even couldn't be stacked like Starlinks. They can't just get dropped from a basket. Cube sats have deployment systems which are typically heavier than the sats themselves.

And in the case of small sat rideshare the limit is neither the mass of the satellites nor their volume. It's actually a combination of logistics (getting all the sats qualified[*], and ready) and solving the whole puzzle of giving all the satellites the exposure they need, the mounting they need, the power supply they need, the clearances and cooling they they need, etc.

Most of the space in an actual rideshare is empty. See below why.

Then the biggest fraction of the actually occupied one is taken by dozens of various mini-stats (stuff in the couple dozen up to few hundred kg mass) and their mounting. There's typically central mounting column with various payload rings of different sizes (8", 12", 24", 36", etc), prepared for an actual launch (the thing is likely modular so it's realtively easy to customize it for an actual mission). But the necessity to have a clear deployment path from the central column means the vast majority of fairing space is empty. Noone is goin to trust 3rd parties that their payload wound properly deply and move itself off the way. So with the exception of sats from the same operartor which may (or may not) trust themselves to clear the way (and also if there's some primary payload funding most of the launch) all the sats want to have a clear view of the sky ahead of them.

Them, very often such single minisat is replaced by a dedicated dispenser of smaller sats -- those are typically used by various microsat constellation operators who like to launch several birds in a single ride-share launch and are happy to arrange to have their own dispenser taking a slot of say 200kg minisat.

Then, there are various small orbital tugs (like Vigoride) which are actually mini space ships with significant amount of their own propulsion. But those are not much different from regular minisats from the launch provides PoV.

Finally there are racks provided by various microsat (i.e. primarily but not exclusively cubesat) integrators. If you want to launch a cubesat you typically don't go Jeff (or Elon, or the current head of ISRO), you don't even go Blue or SpaceX sales dept. You typically go to microsat launch integrator which will help you qualify[*] your sat, prepare it, provide their own rack or procure one, and generally deal with the launch provider, representing the sats in bulk to the launch provider.

In more traditional setting with things arranged with NASA, JPL by various university programs and stuff, you'd get to work with them to get your cubesat as a tertiary payload on a govt launch. But this doesn't scale and is currently mostly limited to stuff like sats made by universities with tight ties to NASA or military (if you're from Air Force Academy your sat might get a ride in say STP-n mission and get a ride on a a qualification flight of a rocket whose operator seeks certification for, like Falcon Heavy STP-2 flight). But the former path is much more convenient (and cheaper) for everyone else.

In effect, the number of satellites launched in a ride share depends primarily on how many micro sat racks were bought by micro sat integrators on a rideshare flight which in turn is set by supply, demand, and integrators ability to qualify the satellites. Also, even if your sat launch would cost $80 or $20 (it won't for the foreseeable future), the qualification[*] will be more expensive ($5k is like the today's minimum). And if you want it to go so cheaply you need to build your satellite from proper parts with which the qualifier is familiar, and those tend to be expensive, too.


*] -- the qualification is essential. You really really really don't want your cube sat to leak some goo or outgas some crap which would for example deposit on lenses of small earth observation birds coriding with you. In fact launch provider will kick you out unceremoniously if you can't provide the proof you're not going to damage coriders (NB. they don't care about your sat working -- about half of cube sats launched simply fail; they care it doestn't leak capacitor fluid, it's home made PCB doesn't outgas, it doesn't disperse conductive dust or in fact any dust, it won't shake itself apart during launch and leave around debris interfering with others, etc.). In fact there'd relatively recent story of SpaceX kicking out one of microsats integrators, reportedly for failing to satisfactorily qualify what they wanted to put for the ride.

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: New Glenn Rideshare...
« Reply #9 on: 10/26/2022 05:40 pm »
One failing cubesat may not destroy LV but it could seriously damage primary payload, result is same failed mission.

SpaceX only deals directly with 50kg smallsats owners on rideshares. For <50kg need to go through launch services provider. They fit cubesat to their dispenser on F9 and work through flight qualification paperwork with cubesat owner. SpaceX places a huge amount of trust in launch services provider todo their job properly. Cut corners and it could cost SpaceX and their other customers the mission.

Offline deadman1204

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Re: New Glenn Rideshare...
« Reply #10 on: 10/26/2022 07:25 pm »
I also question the economics of it. SpaceX doesn't do alot of small sat rideshare missions, cause there is only soo much demand for it.

New Glenn isn't gonna change the price of such a launch much at all (ignoring far future 2nd stage stuff), so the economics won't change. With SpaceX operating their rideshares, I fail to see Blue getting enough rideshare customers to justify a whole new glenn launch.
« Last Edit: 10/26/2022 07:26 pm by deadman1204 »

Offline sebk

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Re: New Glenn Rideshare...
« Reply #11 on: 10/27/2022 09:13 am »
It's not that they cannot do a dedicated rideshare. If they want to bite they can do it.

But don't expect 300 or 400 sats launched at once unless they decided to become cubesat integrator themselves and undercut other integrators by a large margin. But it's highly unlikely they would, as significantly undercutting would essentially mean launching for less than $20k a piece and even 500 sats at that price would be mere $10M price. And it would have to cover the cost of qualifying and handling those 500 payloads. That by itself is a significant workload.

Offline Asteroza

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Re: New Glenn Rideshare...
« Reply #12 on: 10/30/2022 11:20 pm »
One failing cubesat may not destroy LV but it could seriously damage primary payload, result is same failed mission.

SpaceX only deals directly with 50kg smallsats owners on rideshares. For <50kg need to go through launch services provider. They fit cubesat to their dispenser on F9 and work through flight qualification paperwork with cubesat owner. SpaceX places a huge amount of trust in launch services provider todo their job properly. Cut corners and it could cost SpaceX and their other customers the mission.

Which lead to SpaceFlight Inc. earning their ban on SpaceX...

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