Author Topic: New Glenn "Early Flight": Mars ESCAPADE updates and discussion  (Read 17472 times)

Offline meekGee

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I'll curate updates in the first and second posts.

This is more about the NG side of things  and honestly it's a giant deal for them.

Opinions will vary, but there's certainly a lot to discuss - a concrete interplanetary payload for NG, this early in its lifetime.

* 02/09/2023  Announcement  NSF post  Berger post  Congratulations
* 02/10/2023  Foust cost  $20M
* 02/24/2023  LSP   NASA Certification
* 03/07/2023  Berger timeline   2025!
* 03/15/2023  Foust timeline  BO's Ariane Cornell: Late 2024 "We'll be ready"
* 04/11/2023  Foust timeline  ESCAPADE's Rob Lillis:  August 2024 "NG Likely will be ready"
« Last Edit: 04/14/2023 03:02 pm by meekGee »
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Offline meekGee

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Placeholder for payload and NG updates
« Last Edit: 04/14/2023 03:02 pm by meekGee »
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Offline Bean Kenobi

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Re: Mars ESCAPADE updates and discussion
« Reply #2 on: 04/13/2023 07:12 pm »
* 04/11/2023  Foust timeline  ESCAPADE's Rob Lillis:  June 2024 "NG Likely will be ready"

Not June 2024, he said "Aug. 6-15, 2024".

Offline meekGee

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Re: Mars ESCAPADE updates and discussion
« Reply #3 on: 04/13/2023 07:16 pm »
* 04/11/2023  Foust timeline  ESCAPADE's Rob Lillis:  June 2024 "NG Likely will be ready"

Not June 2024, he said "Aug. 6-15, 2024".

Thx fixed.
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Offline meekGee

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Re: Mars ESCAPADE updates and discussion
« Reply #4 on: 04/14/2023 12:15 am »


"He confirmed the $20 million price for the New Glenn, which is “massively oversized” for ESCAPADE."

See https://spacenews.com/escapade-confident-in-planned-2024-new-glenn-launch/

This article suggestse things are even worse than expected.
Quote
“NASA didn’t promise us a ride to Mars ..."

the current launch window ... Aug. 6 through 15 of 2024 ... “is approximate and provisional” and that options for the mission’s trajectory are still being studied.

The launch will place the spacecraft into an Earth orbit with a period of about 1.6 days. ... After launch, the spacecraft will boost themselves into higher Earth orbits before performing a maneuver to go to Mars.

“They were able to bid what they knew the price was going to be, regardless of the cost to them.”

ESCAPADE doesn't have a launch with a TMI.
ESCAPADE doesn't have a defined trajectory.
A very new vehicle will have a ten day launch window.
They can't use the over performance of New Glenn to widen the launch window with a TMI.
If ESCAPADE is launched into a 1.6 day orbit, the perigee better be aligned with the antipode of the Mars trajectory.  This puts additional constraints on the launch.


Blue could have used their "massively oversized" to expand the launch window while keeping the arrival delta V within the capacity of ESCAPADE, one of the few tasks for which the LH2/LOX upper stage is well suited, but that seems to have been explicitly excluded.

But Blue lowballed the launch to win.

It seems like a calamity in the making.

I think you're looking at it wrong.

The way it usually goes for one-of-kind low cost missions, schedule is always at play.

This mission doesn't have a set trajectory, and so if NG is late, or if they are late, it's alllll good.

Compare to the Peregrine Vulcan launch for similar dynamics.

Good for NG that they have this mission, good for ESCAPADE that they got a cheap ride.

Plus, given their size, they can always switch.
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Offline deadman1204

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Re: Mars ESCAPADE updates and discussion
« Reply #5 on: 04/14/2023 12:26 am »


"He confirmed the $20 million price for the New Glenn, which is “massively oversized” for ESCAPADE."

See https://spacenews.com/escapade-confident-in-planned-2024-new-glenn-launch/

This article suggestse things are even worse than expected.
Quote
“NASA didn’t promise us a ride to Mars ..."

the current launch window ... Aug. 6 through 15 of 2024 ... “is approximate and provisional” and that options for the mission’s trajectory are still being studied.

The launch will place the spacecraft into an Earth orbit with a period of about 1.6 days. ... After launch, the spacecraft will boost themselves into higher Earth orbits before performing a maneuver to go to Mars.

“They were able to bid what they knew the price was going to be, regardless of the cost to them.”

ESCAPADE doesn't have a launch with a TMI.
ESCAPADE doesn't have a defined trajectory.
A very new vehicle will have a ten day launch window.
They can't use the over performance of New Glenn to widen the launch window with a TMI.
If ESCAPADE is launched into a 1.6 day orbit, the perigee better be aligned with the antipode of the Mars trajectory.  This puts additional constraints on the launch.


Blue could have used their "massively oversized" to expand the launch window while keeping the arrival delta V within the capacity of ESCAPADE, one of the few tasks for which the LH2/LOX upper stage is well suited, but that seems to have been explicitly excluded.

But Blue lowballed the launch to win.

It seems like a calamity in the making.

I think you're looking at it wrong.

The way it usually goes for one-of-kind low cost missions, schedule is always at play.

This mission doesn't have a set trajectory, and so if NG is late, or if they are late, it's alllll good.

Compare to the Peregrine Vulcan launch for similar dynamics.

Good for NG that they have this mission, good for ESCAPADE that they got a cheap ride.

Plus, given their size, they can always switch.
I'm confused. There is a specific launch window to Mars. How can a set schedule not be that important? If you miss the launch window, they gotta wait 2 years

Online Zed_Noir

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Re: Mars ESCAPADE updates and discussion
« Reply #6 on: 04/14/2023 01:16 am »
<snip>
I'm confused. There is a specific launch window to Mars. How can a set schedule not be that important? If you miss the launch window, they gotta wait 2 years
AIUI, the launch window period to Mars is greatly expanded when the launcher have excessive Delta-V available. NASA is lofting about 80 kilograms of cubesats toward Mars on a launcher that nominally sends about 45 tonnes of payload to LEO.

Offline ccdengr

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Re: Mars ESCAPADE updates and discussion
« Reply #7 on: 04/14/2023 01:17 am »
As best I can tell from https://escapade.ssl.berkeley.edu/mission-design/ the mission can wait in a 1.6-day elliptic Earth orbit indefinitely and then do TMI on its own.

Online trimeta

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Re: Mars ESCAPADE updates and discussion
« Reply #8 on: 04/14/2023 01:39 am »
<snip>
I'm confused. There is a specific launch window to Mars. How can a set schedule not be that important? If you miss the launch window, they gotta wait 2 years
AIUI, the launch window period to Mars is greatly expanded when the launcher have excessive Delta-V available. NASA is lofting about 80 kilograms of cubesats toward Mars on a launcher that nominally sends about 45 tonnes of payload to LEO.
Per the article, each "cubesat" is 550kg, and there are two of them, so over one metric ton. Which still does qualify as "small launch" (the threshold is two metric tons), but probably no longer a "cubesat."

And as the article also says, the launcher is putting these satellites into LEO, where they will execute their own TMI burn. Thus the launcher can't use its excess capacity to give them an extra-strong TMI boost and overcome poor timing: the amount of TMI delta V they've got is based on the satellites, not the launcher.

Of course, they could redesign the satellites to carry more propellant, since the launcher has excess capacity, but that's a bit more difficult than just reprogramming the trajectory.

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Mars ESCAPADE updates and discussion
« Reply #9 on: 04/14/2023 02:46 am »
<snip>
I'm confused. There is a specific launch window to Mars. How can a set schedule not be that important? If you miss the launch window, they gotta wait 2 years
AIUI, the launch window period to Mars is greatly expanded when the launcher have excessive Delta-V available. NASA is lofting about 80 kilograms of cubesats toward Mars on a launcher that nominally sends about 45 tonnes of payload to LEO.
Per the article, each "cubesat" is 550kg, and there are two of them, so over one metric ton. Which still does qualify as "small launch" (the threshold is two metric tons), but probably no longer a "cubesat."

And as the article also says, the launcher is putting these satellites into LEO, where they will execute their own TMI burn. Thus the launcher can't use its excess capacity to give them an extra-strong TMI boost and overcome poor timing: the amount of TMI delta V they've got is based on the satellites, not the launcher.

Of course, they could redesign the satellites to carry more propellant, since the launcher has excess capacity, but that's a bit more difficult than just reprogramming the trajectory.
A 1.6 day elliptical orbit is most certainly NOT LEO. It's very near escape velocity.
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Offline meekGee

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New Glenn "Early Flight": Mars ESCAPADE updates and discussion
« Reply #10 on: 04/14/2023 03:11 am »
&lt;snip&gt;
I'm confused. There is a specific launch window to Mars. How can a set schedule not be that important? If you miss the launch window, they gotta wait 2 years
AIUI, the launch window period to Mars is greatly expanded when the launcher have excessive Delta-V available. NASA is lofting about 80 kilograms of cubesats toward Mars on a launcher that nominally sends about 45 tonnes of payload to LEO.
Per the article, each "cubesat" is 550kg, and there are two of them, so over one metric ton. Which still does qualify as "small launch" (the threshold is two metric tons), but probably no longer a "cubesat."

And as the article also says, the launcher is putting these satellites into LEO, where they will execute their own TMI burn. Thus the launcher can't use its excess capacity to give them an extra-strong TMI boost and overcome poor timing: the amount of TMI delta V they've got is based on the satellites, not the launcher.

Of course, they could redesign the satellites to carry more propellant, since the launcher has excess capacity, but that's a bit more difficult than just reprogramming the trajectory.
A 1.6 day elliptical orbit is most certainly NOT LEO. It's very near escape velocity.
Yup.

My reading of the quotes was that they haven't really settled on a trajectory.

The classic minimum energy transfer is every two years but there are a bunch of other ones.

And this payload may also be late, since, well, it's like that. Happens even to flagship missions.

All I'm saying is that I don't see a ton of Drama around the 8/24 date.
« Last Edit: 04/14/2023 03:04 pm by meekGee »
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Online trimeta

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Re: Mars ESCAPADE updates and discussion
« Reply #11 on: 04/14/2023 03:40 am »
<snip>
I'm confused. There is a specific launch window to Mars. How can a set schedule not be that important? If you miss the launch window, they gotta wait 2 years
AIUI, the launch window period to Mars is greatly expanded when the launcher have excessive Delta-V available. NASA is lofting about 80 kilograms of cubesats toward Mars on a launcher that nominally sends about 45 tonnes of payload to LEO.
Per the article, each "cubesat" is 550kg, and there are two of them, so over one metric ton. Which still does qualify as "small launch" (the threshold is two metric tons), but probably no longer a "cubesat."

And as the article also says, the launcher is putting these satellites into LEO, where they will execute their own TMI burn. Thus the launcher can't use its excess capacity to give them an extra-strong TMI boost and overcome poor timing: the amount of TMI delta V they've got is based on the satellites, not the launcher.

Of course, they could redesign the satellites to carry more propellant, since the launcher has excess capacity, but that's a bit more difficult than just reprogramming the trajectory.
A 1.6 day elliptical orbit is most certainly NOT LEO. It's very near escape velocity.
Nonetheless, unless they're going to completely change the plan from "launcher puts the payload into elliptical HEO, payload performs TMI burn on its own" to "launcher performs overpowered TMI burn, payload is just along for the ride," it doesn't matter how powerful the launcher is: it can't help overcome suboptimal launch timing, since it isn't contributing to the portion of the mission which cares about timing. And thus missing the appointed launch date isn't something New Glenn can compensate for just because it's much, much larger than this payload needs.

Although I will note that I did some quick searching and it seems like the expected 2024 Earth-Mars launch window is actually a bit later into the year than August. So maybe they're currently planning on hitting very early in the window but have many months of potential launch dates? Which would at least give them time to find another launch option, if/when it becomes clear that New Glenn can't perform.

Offline meekGee

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New Glenn "Early Flight": Mars ESCAPADE updates and discussion
« Reply #12 on: 04/14/2023 04:28 am »
A 1.6 day elliptical orbit is most certainly NOT LEO. It's very near escape velocity.
Nonetheless, unless they're going to completely change the plan from "launcher puts the payload into elliptical HEO, payload performs TMI burn on its own" to "launcher performs overpowered TMI burn, payload is just along for the ride," it doesn't matter how powerful the launcher is: it can't help overcome suboptimal launch timing, since it isn't contributing to the portion of the mission which cares about timing. And thus missing the appointed launch date isn't something New Glenn can compensate for just because it's much, much larger than this payload needs.

Although I will note that I did some quick searching and it seems like the expected 2024 Earth-Mars launch window is actually a bit later into the year than August. So maybe they're currently planning on hitting very early in the window but have many months of potential launch dates? Which would at least give them time to find another launch option, if/when it becomes clear that New Glenn can't perform.

It would be insane from the PI's perspective not to have a contingency for what happens if NG indeed doesn't fly till 2025.

It's one thing to say "we think NG will fly at least twice in 2024".
It's quite another to actually rely on that.

For a low-budget mission, there's a smaller standing army, and so I'm sure there are more than one "plan B" to support later dates.

For example - "if NG misses 8/24, then BO needs to give us the extra dV for an opposition trajectory" (and the payload needs to be able to do that too),

Or "if NG misses 2025, then NASA needs to support +2 years because we're guinea pigs"

There's just no way that these options are not being considered.
« Last Edit: 04/14/2023 03:05 pm by meekGee »
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Offline ccdengr

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Re: Vulcan "Early Flight": Mars ESCAPADE updates and discussion
« Reply #13 on: 04/14/2023 04:45 am »
It would be insane from the PI's perspective not to have a contingency for what happens if NG indeed doesn't fly till 2025.
The PI has no money.  NASA has the money.  The mission will fly or not based on what NASA decides.

See the other SIMPLEX mission, Janus, for an example of how powerless the PI is.

Offline Comga

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Re: Vulcan "Early Flight": Mars ESCAPADE updates and discussion
« Reply #14 on: 04/14/2023 04:56 am »
What are you talking about?

Interplanetary transfer trajectories are defined with "porkchop plots" which have contrours for total C3 (velocity beyond escape velocity squared) as a function of departure and arrival dates.  (The  contrours take the approximate shape of pork chops, with a concave side and a big convex side.) 

Going away from the dates for the minimum, the values rise steeply, and C3 is in energy terms, so it's really hard to climb the walls.

But the plan is to launch into a 1.6 day orbit.  I am sure someone here can calculate the difference from escape velocity,  (I don't have the extra half hour to do so.) but given that NG should have signicant mass capacity beyond C3=0 (minimum escape) the amount of capacity being used is fixed and a lot less.  The great advatage of using a vastly oversized rocket is locked out.  So it can't be used to expand the launch window. 

They build a 4X rocket and sell it for 1/4 the nominal price, then put on it the one requirement they stand the least chance of meeting: launch schedule certainty.

And it's not like a mission to the Moon, for which launch opportunities generally happen every month.

And the PI is not insane to be without a backup.  He has no alternative.  The program is an orphan, and a poor orphan at that.  It can't wait for the (energy and reliability) rich parents to adopt it.  If NG doesn't make it, it will go back into storage and beg for extension funding.

PS  What's wih the "Vulcan" in the thread title? 
What kind of wastrels would dump a perfectly good booster in the ocean after just one use?

Online trimeta

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Re: Vulcan "Early Flight": Mars ESCAPADE updates and discussion
« Reply #15 on: 04/14/2023 05:06 am »
For example - "if NG misses 8/24, then BO needs to give us the extra dV for an opposition trajectory" (and the payload needs to be able to do that too),
Again, NG giving them more dV can't help for an opposition trajectory because NG isn't giving them any dV for TMI. NG is putting the payload into some Earth orbit (I don't care which one), and regardless of the trajectory from there, it's 100% the payload's responsibility. The launch vehicle having more power doesn't inherently make their chosen Earth orbit higher-energy, because the energy is a function of the orbital parameters, not how much propellent is left over in the tanks after the launcher has pushed this fairly small payload into an orbit with those parameters.

Now, the article does say that the plan of record is for the launch vehicle to put the payload into a 1.6-day orbit, and then the payload itself would perform additional apogee-raising burns before its actual TMI burn. So if the launcher went with an even more elliptical orbit, that would save some energy for the payloads. And of course, it would help if the launcher did some or all of the TMI burn itself, so the payload could reach Mars in opposition but still have enough propellent to enter orbit. But this is more than just "give us the extra dV," it's a completely different mission plan. A different mission plan they've likely thought of and calculated, in fact! But let's not undersell how much would need to change.

I'm wondering if the first Plan B isn't just "we can launch any time between August and February, as long as New Glenn is available then the original plan works," though. It would certainly make things simpler.

Offline meekGee

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New Glenn "Early Flight": Mars ESCAPADE updates and discussion
« Reply #16 on: 04/14/2023 06:44 am »
For example - "if NG misses 8/24, then BO needs to give us the extra dV for an opposition trajectory" (and the payload needs to be able to do that too),
Again, NG giving them more dV can't help for an opposition trajectory because NG isn't giving them any dV for TMI. NG is putting the payload into some Earth orbit (I don't care which one), and regardless of the trajectory from there, it's 100% the payload's responsibility. The launch vehicle having more power doesn't inherently make their chosen Earth orbit higher-energy, because the energy is a function of the orbital parameters, not how much propellent is left over in the tanks after the launcher has pushed this fairly small payload into an orbit with those parameters.

Now, the article does say that the plan of record is for the launch vehicle to put the payload into a 1.6-day orbit, and then the payload itself would perform additional apogee-raising burns before its actual TMI burn. So if the launcher went with an even more elliptical orbit, that would save some energy for the payloads. And of course, it would help if the launcher did some or all of the TMI burn itself, so the payload could reach Mars in opposition but still have enough propellent to enter orbit. But this is more than just "give us the extra dV," it's a completely different mission plan. A different mission plan they've likely thought of and calculated, in fact! But let's not undersell how much would need to change.

I'm wondering if the first Plan B isn't just "we can launch any time between August and February, as long as New Glenn is available then the original plan works," though. It would certainly make things simpler.
That's not a given.

The way I see it, the HEO plan was their original concept, from before they got NG.

When they got NG, there was no need to change it, so this is where we are today - if the mission flies on time.

But if NG is late, or if ESCAPADE is, then they have the ability to change since NG can provide the extra dv.

Simple really.

Which is why everyone is chill and reciting statements of confidence even though they have no way of being...
« Last Edit: 04/14/2023 03:06 pm by meekGee »
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Offline Bean Kenobi

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Re: Vulcan "Early Flight": Mars ESCAPADE updates and discussion
« Reply #17 on: 04/14/2023 07:03 am »
There is a mistake in the thread title : it's a New Glenn early flight, not a Vulcan one ;)

Offline Tywin

Why does this thread have Vulcan in the title, I don't understand....
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Offline meekGee

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Haha because I'm an idiot...  Will fix shortly, thanks.

... Fixed.  I was just reading the other thread and the rocket name stuck...
« Last Edit: 04/14/2023 03:09 pm by meekGee »
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