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Commercial and US Government Launch Vehicles => ULA - Delta, Atlas, Vulcan => Topic started by: Chris Bergin on 12/08/2017 03:28 PM

Title: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Chris Bergin on 12/08/2017 03:28 PM
New thread for Vulcan....

Thread 1:
https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=35754.0

Thread 2:
https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=37676.0

ULA Vulcan Rocket Q&A with ULA's Dr. George Sowers:
https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=37295.0

---

For Vulcan's sake, please stay on topic! :)  Please use this thread to discuss the rocket hardware/facilites as actually being designed and built by ULA.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Chasm on 12/08/2017 06:14 PM
CDR is "Underway and going well"
via Tory Bruno (https://twitter.com/torybruno/status/938594215235280896)


No public word on engine(s) selection yet.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: rcoppola on 12/08/2017 06:28 PM
What configuration are they doing a CDR against? Very different designs depending upon the Engine selected.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Sknowball on 12/08/2017 06:41 PM
What configuration are they doing a CDR against? Very different designs depending upon the Engine selected.

Unfortunately that information has not been released yet.  In addition we do not know if the Centaur V is included in this CDR or if it is undergoing a separate CDR.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Ike17055 on 12/08/2017 06:59 PM
In other words, “keep your Vulcan comments focused on topic!”
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: MATTBLAK on 12/08/2017 08:42 PM
In other words, “keep your Vulcan comments focused on topic!”
Indeed. If you make comments like ''Vulcan should replace the SLS" - there's a good chance your post will be deleted because a Sheldon Cooper type of person probably objected to it ;)
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: gongora on 12/08/2017 08:47 PM
In other words, “keep your Vulcan comments focused on topic!”
Indeed. If you make comments like ''Vulcan should replace the SLS" - there's a good chance your post will be deleted because a Sheldon Cooper type of person probably objected to it ;)

I don't think it's unreasonable to have a thread for a new launch vehicle that actually focuses on that launch vehicle instead of being dominated by discussions about their competitors.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: MATTBLAK on 12/08/2017 11:18 PM
That happens almost organically when a controversial program is discussed.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: john smith 19 on 12/09/2017 07:37 AM
What configuration are they doing a CDR against? Very different designs depending upon the Engine selected.
Good question. It will also have substantial inputs to the "Centaur V/5" CDR if that's separate.

The cautious option is to do both engine CDR's and the US CDR against both of those.

Note it's not just an engineering issue.

While both versions are in play ULA can tell each booster engine mfg that they could go with the other one and press for a better deal.

The question is wheather or not ULA is in too deep for such negotiating games and wheather it's time to fully commit to Blue or AJR.
I think that depends how well engine tests have been going. I'm betting ULA are much better informed about that than we are.
They really need the whole spec to be delivered before commitment. None of that "it's 90% there and we'll get the rest ready for you by the time the stage flies, honest." Ideally that means a full duration, full power test, a virtual flight to 1st stage MECO. 
Whoever delivers that first should be home and dry. 
Blue look like they are in pole position for this, but maybe AJR will surprise people, given the consequences for them...
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: AncientU on 12/09/2017 12:30 PM
What configuration are they doing a CDR against? Very different designs depending upon the Engine selected.
Good question. It will also have substantial inputs to the "Centaur V/5" CDR if that's separate.

The cautious option is to do both engine CDR's and the US CDR against both of those.


Note it's not just an engineering issue.

While both versions are in play ULA can tell each booster engine mfg that they could go with the other one and press for a better deal.

The question is wheather or not ULA is in too deep for such negotiating games and wheather it's time to fully commit to Blue or AJR.
I think that depends how well engine tests have been going. I'm betting ULA are much better informed about that than we are.
They really need the whole spec to be delivered before commitment. None of that "it's 90% there and we'll get the rest ready for you by the time the stage flies, honest." Ideally that means a full duration, full power test, a virtual flight to 1st stage MECO. 
Whoever delivers that first should be home and dry. 
Blue look like they are in pole position for this, but maybe AJR will surprise people, given the consequences for them...

Seems unlikely they would be doing a CDR unless they had narrowed the engine and configuration choices to single booster vendor and similar for second stage (assuming only a single configuration).  Construction cannot begin if major options/decisions remain.

PDR is usually where the trades on major components are presented and decided...
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: clongton on 12/09/2017 01:07 PM
Seems unlikely they would be doing a CDR unless they had narrowed the engine and configuration choices to single booster vendor and similar for second stage (assuming only a single configuration).  Construction cannot begin if major options/decisions remain.

PDR is usually where the trades on major components are presented and decided...

Did they do a PDR?
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Chasm on 12/09/2017 05:54 PM
Did they do a PDR?

Completed back in March 2016 for the BE-4 version. [ULA press release (http://www.ulalaunch.com/ula-completes-Vulcan-Centaur-PDR.aspx)]

Maybe it's my reading comprehension again but I cant find a similar release for AR1.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: john smith 19 on 12/09/2017 08:00 PM
Did they do a PDR?

Completed back in March 2016 for the BE-4 version. [ULA press release (http://www.ulalaunch.com/ula-completes-Vulcan-Centaur-PDR.aspx)]

Maybe it's my reading comprehension again but I cant find a similar release for AR1.
Seems unlikely they would be doing a CDR unless they had narrowed the engine and configuration choices to single booster vendor and similar for second stage (assuming only a single configuration).  Construction cannot begin if major options/decisions remain.

PDR is usually where the trades on major components are presented and decided...

If these views are correct then it looks like it's game over for the AR-1, unless AJR can find someone who needs a big, US designed and built LOX/RP1 engine in the near future. 

No one comes to mind for that and I think it's probably OT for this thread.

Blue for the Booster engines, ULA for the structures Orbital ATK for the SRB's and RUAG for the fairings?

So is AJR still guaranteed business for RL-10s for Centaur 5?

Or could Centaur 5 be like Atlas V? Like previous Atlases except.....
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: MATTBLAK on 12/09/2017 08:20 PM
That happens almost organically when a controversial program is discussed.
Vulcan is controversial?

 - Ed Kyle
No Vulcan vs SLS is. Or virtually any mention of SLS that isn't in the form of 'cheerleading'.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: AncientU on 12/10/2017 01:21 PM
...

So is AJR still guaranteed business for RL-10s for Centaur 5?

...

IMO, that is the most loaded question in this CDR string.

Either Centaur V will have 3-4 RL-10s and be twice (?) as expensive as Classic Centaur -- which would make the goal of half-priced Vulcan impossible -- or a non-AJR engine is planned and AJR is out in the cold for future sales to ULA (assuming the existing stockpile can cover remaining D-H and maybe Atlas V flights).
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Chasm on 12/10/2017 01:41 PM
If these views are correct then it looks like it's game over for the AR-1, unless AJR can find someone who needs a big, US designed and built LOX/RP1 engine in the near future. 

My guess is still that the final, official & public decision comes with the BE-4 performing well in a full length full power run or two.
ULA can't afford to be slow in the Vulcan development or to spend lots of money on a shadow design. OTOH they really can't afford a repeat of the RS-68 performance problem either.

As long as AR1 is in the run there is leverage. ARJ gets money so they'll play along. Politicians have one more thing to spend money where they want to, no problem either.
Once there are BE4 test stand runs ULA has leverage against both ARJ and politics. Worst case Blue does not deliver and ULA can pivot the engine choice without eating crow.


Blue for the Booster engines, ULA for the structures Orbital ATK for the SRB's and RUAG for the fairings?

So is AJR still guaranteed business for RL-10s for Centaur 5?

Or could Centaur 5 be like Atlas V? Like previous Atlases except.....

L3 for avionics.

Looking at Bigelow and Ixion renderings it seems that RL-10 is alive and strong.
Still can't put my head around the need to increase head pressure for another 2 of them. Feels to me like they were designing the tank to meet the requirements of several engines at the same time. Go with RL-10 for heritage sensitive customers. Keep the option to swap "just" the engine including its thrust structure to cut cost. Another point to exert leverage. ARJ certainly knows if they need more head pressure to prevent cavitation or not.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: AncientU on 12/10/2017 01:47 PM
They have Atlas v for heritage sensitive customers.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: TrevorMonty on 12/10/2017 03:22 PM
AJR have been doing lot work to modernise RL10 and reduce its build cost. They need to past those savings onto ULA if what a decent production rate of 20-40, otherwise it is only 4 a year for SLS.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: AncientU on 12/10/2017 03:51 PM
AJR have been doing lot work to modernise RL10 and reduce its build cost. They need to past those savings onto ULA if what a decent production rate of 20-40, otherwise it is only 4 a year for SLS.

Any published target for fractional reduction in price
50% reduction still yields doubled engine costs on Centaur V assuming 4 engines vs. one on Classic Centaur.
75% reduction yields same engine cost; 87.5% reduction yields half cost which is the goal.
50% is what I'm assuming they can achieve... at best; this probably requires volume production.

SLS will need nine RL-10 engines between now and 2025... one per year or so.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: john smith 19 on 12/10/2017 06:19 PM
My guess is still that the final, official & public decision comes with the BE-4 performing well in a full length full power run or two.
ULA can't afford to be slow in the Vulcan development or to spend lots of money on a shadow design. OTOH they really can't afford a repeat of the RS-68 performance problem either.
Yes. IMHO that's the big one. Whoever passes that first has got to be close to being winner take all.
Quote from: Chasm
As long as AR1 is in the run there is leverage. ARJ gets money so they'll play along. Politicians have one more thing to spend money where they want to, no problem either.
I was thinking mostly in terms of leverage between Blue and AJR. I'm sure AJR will continue to develop AR-1 regardless of wheather there's any realistic market for them as long as the cash keeps coming, from whoever.
Quote from: Chasm
Once there are BE4 test stand runs ULA has leverage against both ARJ and politics. Worst case Blue does not deliver and ULA can pivot the engine choice without eating crow.
Absolutely.
Quote from: Chasm
L3 for avionics.

Looking at Bigelow and Ixion renderings it seems that RL-10 is alive and strong.
Still can't put my head around the need to increase head pressure for another 2 of them. Feels to me like they were designing the tank to meet the requirements of several engines at the same time. Go with RL-10 for heritage sensitive customers. Keep the option to swap "just" the engine including its thrust structure to cut cost. Another point to exert leverage. ARJ certainly knows if they need more head pressure to prevent cavitation or not.
Forgot L3.  Good point.

That sounds more like ACES, given XCOR were working on a reciprocating LH2 engine for a US. In  theory "Centaur" means RL-10. 

But Atlas V showed that ULA don't have a problem with quite substantial changes to the baseline. The question would be what to? BE-3 is mentioned but seems a bit big. The Masten "Broadsword" is a dual expander, but both a bit big as a single engine and may have issues shifting to LH2 (whatever ULA goes with I think LH2 is going to stay the fuel. The performance hit is just too great to go with anything else.

AJR have been doing lot work to modernise RL10 and reduce its build cost. They need to pass those savings onto ULA if what a decent production rate of 20-40, otherwise it is only 4 a year for SLS.
Which is frankly well overdue, both in terms of mfg cost and parts costs.  I'm quite sure some parts are well beyond obsolete.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: brickmack on 12/10/2017 08:45 PM
50% reduction still yields doubled engine costs on Centaur V assuming 4 engines vs. one on Classic Centaur.
75% reduction yields same engine cost; 87.5% reduction yields half cost which is the goal.
50% is what I'm assuming they can achieve... at best; this probably requires volume production.

The B330 lunar mission announcement specified (despite the video showing otherwise, but thats probably artistic error) a Vulcan 562 (Centaur V) for deployment to LEO. B330 is known to be over 20 tons (launch mass. Will increase after orbital outfitting), making it probably the heaviest payload Vulcan will ever actually fly (other than tanker missions). On Atlas V, that mission would need DEC as well, so the cost savings are the same. Plus, even if they can only break even on the engines, Centaur V has other cost reductions (cheaper tank manufacturing, aft-mounted avionics), even more for ACES (IVF).
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: AncientU on 12/10/2017 09:35 PM
...Centaur V has other cost reductions (cheaper tank manufacturing, aft-mounted avionics), even more for ACES (IVF).

The baseline that has to beaten (by reduction of 50%) is the Classic Centaur.
1. 3.08m vs 5.4m
2. 1 RL-10 to 3-4 RL-10s
3. 20t payload vs. payload up to 30t plus dynamic loads of fairing on ascent
4. Additional helium volume/tankage to pressurize 3-4x volume

So, lots more requirements on Centaur V ... maybe 'cheaper tank manufacturing' could cut cost of Classic in half, but they're no longer building Classic.  The requirements have been increased dramatically (doubled?).   Are they going to get all these cost reductions from 'aft-mounted avionics'?

I'm not seeing where they reduce vehicle cost by 50% as advertised.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: john smith 19 on 12/10/2017 11:25 PM
The baseline that has to beaten (by reduction of 50%) is the Classic Centaur.
1. 3.08m vs 5.4m
2. 1 RL-10 to 3-4 RL-10s
3. 20t payload vs. payload up to 30t plus dynamic loads of fairing on ascent
4. Additional helium volume/tankage to pressurize 3-4x volume

So, lots more requirements on Centaur V ... maybe 'cheaper tank manufacturing' could cut cost of Classic in half, but they're no longer building Classic.  The requirements have been increased dramatically (doubled?).   Are they going to get all these cost reductions from 'aft-mounted avionics'?

I'm not seeing where they reduce vehicle cost by 50% as advertised.
Well it depends how the costing works out between the engines and the structures and of course how much AJR have really managed to cut the price of their RL-10s.

It's been know for decades that certainly some of their mfg methods were very labor and time intensive.

I'm betting there is a lot that could have been done, but stability was always viewed as more important and no one was prepared to pay for doing the work (heaven forbid AJR actually reinvest some of their profits to this, like a normal mfg business would).

An interesting question would be if Centaur 5 is so much bigger than previous Centaurs is a baseline engine a bit bigger than an RL10 the way to go?
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: deruch on 12/10/2017 11:57 PM
I'm not seeing where they reduce vehicle cost by 50% as advertised.

Maybe that's just accountant speak and not about actual dollars spent to buy/build an upper stage?
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Patchouli on 12/11/2017 12:06 AM
AJR have been doing lot work to modernise RL10 and reduce its build cost. They need to past those savings onto ULA if what a decent production rate of 20-40, otherwise it is only 4 a year for SLS.
There is a lot ARJ could do to make it cheaper and easier to manufacture.
As it is the RL-10 is pretty hard to beat as far as ISP and reliability go.
I wonder what impact getting rid of the hand assembled tube wall construction for channel wall would have on it or can assembly of the old design be automated in some way?
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: TrevorMonty on 12/11/2017 12:31 AM


AJR have been doing lot work to modernise RL10 and reduce its build cost. They need to past those savings onto ULA if what a decent production rate of 20-40, otherwise it is only 4 a year for SLS.
There is a lot ARJ could do to make it cheaper and easier to manufacture.
As it is the RL-10 is pretty hard to beat as far as ISP and reliability go.
I wonder what impact getting rid of the hand assembled tube wall construction for channel wall would have on it or can assembly of the old design be automated in some way?

They have successful tested fired a 3D printed version that eliminates hand assembled tube wall construction.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Chasm on 12/11/2017 12:41 AM
Previously someone dug up that some jet engines of the same era used similar tubular construction and that it got automated before it was superseded in later designs.

Today 3d printing is the way to go. Only question seems to be how much additional work outside the printer like plating is acceptable.

As far as the high but elusive RL10 price goes I wonder how much of the cost is compound interest on the lot buy engines and what is added by the ongoing support and update/modification work. Also how many totally new RL10 engines get build instead of modified from existing engines or parts.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: john smith 19 on 12/11/2017 06:44 AM
There is a lot ARJ could do to make it cheaper and easier to manufacture.
As it is the RL-10 is pretty hard to beat as far as ISP and reliability go.
Actually that's doubtful, given that AFAIK the pump design parameters haven't had any major changes since it was designed for the "Suntan" M3 surveillance aircraft in the mid 50's.  Design techniques and propellant properties knowledge have advanced considerably since then.
Quote from: Patchouli
I wonder what impact getting rid of the hand assembled tube wall construction for channel wall would have on it or can assembly of the old design be automated in some way?
It wasn't just the hand assembly.

They were also "flattened" by hand so the tubes would have flattish surfaces to press against each other.


They have successful tested fired a 3D printed version that eliminates hand assembled tube wall construction.
I'm weary of 3d printing as a panacea for everything, especially where supercritical H2 is concerned.

That said if the metal quality is good enough that would eliminate a lot of work. I know NASA has done work on LO2/LH2 3d printed engines that have radically cut part counts. Every welded joint that's eliminated also eliminates all the weld testing processes that go with it.

Likewise merging the piping with say a valve body (done on the NASA project) reduces all the assembly and jigging needed to position those parts and join them.

My instinct is also that there is a lot that could be done to simplify and improve the design. I liked the fact the nozzle was on a motor powered extension, but making the interstage longer eliminates this hardware and the critical events (nozzle extension and locking) it was responsible for.

While the basics haven't changed seal and valve technology (and the tools to make those parts) have advanced radically since the 1960's, as have the tools to plan assembly tasks.

 So lots of improvement seems possible. It's a question of how much it will cost and what price AJR want to charge.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Chasm on 12/11/2017 08:27 PM
Some news on Centaur V, PDR complete. [via Tory on reddit (https://www.reddit.com/r/ula/comments/7i4mqu/tory_bruno_on_twitter_vulcan_cdr_is_underway_and/dr36nfi/)]

That should answer the question if the Vulcan CDR was for both or not. :)
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: john smith 19 on 12/11/2017 10:51 PM
Some news on Centaur V, PDR complete. [via Tory on reddit (https://www.reddit.com/r/ula/comments/7i4mqu/tory_bruno_on_twitter_vulcan_cdr_is_underway_and/dr36nfi/)]

That should answer the question if the Vulcan CDR was for both or not. :)
that does suggest the booster CDR  either covered both options or they have already made their decision.

I'm not sure if it was known for sure if they had split the process into 2 tracks, one for the booster and one for the US. Clearly they have.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: PahTo on 12/12/2017 02:28 PM

Concur on the two tracks, but clearly one informs the other.  That is, going to 5.4m diameter didn't happen in a vacuum for one or the other.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: AncientU on 12/14/2017 02:24 AM
Reposted:
Surprising news!

OrbitalATK is considering the AerojetRocketdyne RL10 or ArianeGroup Vinci rocket engine for its Next Generation Launcher upper stage after rejecting Blueorigin's BE-3U. Decision expected in Q1 2018.

http://aviationweek.com/awinspace/orbital-atk-pick-upper-stage-engine-ngl

Wonder what Orbital saw in Blue's engine that they didn't like?  Does this reduce Blue's chances on Vulcan, too?
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: AncientU on 12/14/2017 03:58 AM
Reposted:
Surprising news!

OrbitalATK is considering the AerojetRocketdyne RL10 or ArianeGroup Vinci rocket engine for its Next Generation Launcher upper stage after rejecting Blueorigin's BE-3U. Decision expected in Q1 2018.

http://aviationweek.com/awinspace/orbital-atk-pick-upper-stage-engine-ngl

Wonder what Orbital saw in Blue's engine that they didn't like?  Does this reduce Blue's chances on Vulcan, too?
Perhaps ... timing?

Qualifying a US engine might be a "long pole" ... what if it's too far "downstream" for BO ... remember they only need BE-3U for a third stage vehicle. They might want others to foot the bill/take the risk, ahead of that. Unacceptable for NSS use.

That also might cause ULA grief as well ... so they postpone the down-select perhaps?

Vinci will/must be qualified for NSS use. RL10 already is.

Could it be that ULA has an exclusive on BE-4 and 3U?  CDR completion might have triggered such an agreement if Blue's engines were chosen.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: TrevorMonty on 12/14/2017 04:46 PM
I just realised we've been discussing the NGLV engine choice on wrong thread. Best place any future comments in OA NGLV thread.

edit/gongora:  Moved some of the non-ULA related posts to the NGL thread (http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=42663.0).
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: brickmack on 12/14/2017 07:50 PM
(It would not surprise me if Centaur 3 is used on Vulcan/Atlas for near term payloads as before. And that Centaur V will phase in with 2/4/1 engine configurations, with a "lower cost configuration" not involving an RL10 longer term - possibly a shorter variant?)

Tory Bruno said he expected the change to Centaur V to delay the deployment of Vulcan by a couple months. Sounds like they aren't planning to use Centaur III on it ever (which probably helps keep costs down, fewer extra components need to be kept in production). And theres been no indication of an intermediate stage between Centaur V and ACES (which is what a Centaur V with resized tanks and/or a new engine would be)
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: john smith 19 on 12/21/2017 10:42 AM
The baseline that has to beaten (by reduction of 50%) is the Classic Centaur.
1. 3.08m vs 5.4m
2. 1 RL-10 to 3-4 RL-10s
3. 20t payload vs. payload up to 30t plus dynamic loads of fairing on ascent
4. Additional helium volume/tankage to pressurize 3-4x volume

So, lots more requirements on Centaur V ... maybe 'cheaper tank manufacturing' could cut cost of Classic in half, but they're no longer building Classic.  The requirements have been increased dramatically (doubled?).   Are they going to get all these cost reductions from 'aft-mounted avionics'?

I'm not seeing where they reduce vehicle cost by 50% as advertised.
If they are going to cover the full spectrum of launch profiles, right up to Delta IV Heavy, from the off then going IVF from the start seems a pretty good move.

ULA have said going IVF on Centaur would increase their payload capability by 500Kg but I'd bet it does quite a lot for their costs as well.

Right now stage building involves a lot of people attaching a lot of separate bits to the stage. Tanks, thrusters, plumbing, valving, batteries.  IVF dumps most (all?) the tanks (both HP and Hypergol), a lot of plumbing and a lot of valving for 2 packages built off line and just bolted to the stage.

That means a)Fewer bought in parts b)Simpler assembly and testing c)Simpler fitting d)No hypergol handling costs

If one Full Time Equivalent member of the workforce costs $1/8milllion how many can be eliminated throughout the organization?

That's before considering a replacement to the RL10.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: envy887 on 12/21/2017 12:57 PM
(It would not surprise me if Centaur 3 is used on Vulcan/Atlas for near term payloads as before. And that Centaur V will phase in with 2/4/1 engine configurations, with a "lower cost configuration" not involving an RL10 longer term - possibly a shorter variant?)

Tory Bruno said he expected the change to Centaur V to delay the deployment of Vulcan by a couple months. Sounds like they aren't planning to use Centaur III on it ever (which probably helps keep costs down, fewer extra components need to be kept in production). And theres been no indication of an intermediate stage between Centaur V and ACES (which is what a Centaur V with resized tanks and/or a new engine would be)

I don't see how the 5 can be cheaper than the 3. We know the majority of the Centaur cost is the RL-10, and the Centaur 5 will need 1 to 3 more RL-10s than Centaur 3. Even if RL-10 cost is halved, that would simple make the Centaur 3 that much cheaper.

They have to keep the Centaur 3 around until Atlas V is retired anyway, right?
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: john smith 19 on 12/21/2017 02:26 PM
I don't see how the 5 can be cheaper than the 3. We know the majority of the Centaur cost is the RL-10, and the Centaur 5 will need 1 to 3 more RL-10s than Centaur 3. Even if RL-10 cost is halved, that would simple make the Centaur 3 that much cheaper.
Wellllll...
They could double the thrust of a single RL-10 maybe.

Otherwise the only way this works is that people have seriously seriously underestimated AJR's capacity to lower the RL10 price

But that only works if they can actually make RL10's cheaply enough to the kind of profit AJR are used to making on RL10's at the current price.

Quote from: envy887
They have to keep the Centaur 3 around until Atlas V is retired anyway, right?
ULA don't seem to have a problem with putting rockets in long term storage awaiting customers.

I can't remember the last time Delta II launches were in anyway common, but someone wanted to use their last one and they did it.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: envy887 on 12/21/2017 03:23 PM
I don't see how the 5 can be cheaper than the 3. We know the majority of the Centaur cost is the RL-10, and the Centaur 5 will need 1 to 3 more RL-10s than Centaur 3. Even if RL-10 cost is halved, that would simple make the Centaur 3 that much cheaper.
Wellllll...
They could double the thrust of a single RL-10 maybe.

Otherwise the only way this works is that people have seriously seriously underestimated AJR's capacity to lower the RL10 price

But that only works if they can actually make RL10's cheaply enough to the kind of profit AJR are used to making on RL10's at the current price.

Quote from: envy887
They have to keep the Centaur 3 around until Atlas V is retired anyway, right?
ULA don't seem to have a problem with putting rockets in long term storage awaiting customers.

I can't remember the last time Delta II launches were in anyway common, but someone wanted to use their last one and they did it.

But lowering the cost of RL-10 also lowers the cost of Centaur 3. AJR would have to pay ULA to fly RL-10 before Centaur 5 could be cheaper than Centaur 3.

That of course ignores the costs of operating two production lines, but if they need to keep building the 3 for Atlas, that cost is sunk anyway. Unless they can build enough 3's to fly out Atlas before Vulcan flies... but what if they switch everything over and then Vulcan takes 3 years longer to certify than expected? Lot of risk there.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: TrevorMonty on 12/21/2017 03:58 PM
We know AJR have been doing lot of work on reducing build cost of RL10. Those significant modifications will result in a new engine with all certification issues that go with it. I expect Centuar V will fly new cheaper RL10 but will also be new unproven engine with no flight history.

Going to new US and engines increases risk of LV failure in first few missions, but gets them to DOD certified LV sooner.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: john smith 19 on 12/22/2017 08:42 PM
We know AJR have been doing lot of work on reducing build cost of RL10. Those significant modifications will result in a new engine with all certification issues that go with it. I expect Centuar V will fly new cheaper RL10 but will also be new unproven engine with no flight history.

Going to new US and engines increases risk of LV failure in first few missions, but gets them to DOD certified LV sooner.
In theory true, but ULA's track record in switching designs has been pretty good, and the expander cycle is pretty rugged and the RL10 engine would be the least risky option.

All change is risky.

For ULA no change is not an option if they want to have a business left.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: russianhalo117 on 12/22/2017 11:08 PM
We know AJR have been doing lot of work on reducing build cost of RL10. Those significant modifications will result in a new engine with all certification issues that go with it. I expect Centuar V will fly new cheaper RL10 but will also be new unproven engine with no flight history.

Going to new US and engines increases risk of LV failure in first few missions, but gets them to DOD certified LV sooner.
Centaur-5 variant may use the either the larger RL10C-2 or RL10C-3 Variants versus the C-1 variant. The C-2 variant was developed and was to be/may still fly on DCSS and The C-3 variant is being developed for SLS EUS Block-1B.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: john smith 19 on 12/23/2017 07:15 AM
We know AJR have been doing lot of work on reducing build cost of RL10. Those significant modifications will result in a new engine with all certification issues that go with it. I expect Centuar V will fly new cheaper RL10 but will also be new unproven engine with no flight history.

Going to new US and engines increases risk of LV failure in first few missions, but gets them to DOD certified LV sooner.
Centaur-5 variant may use the either the larger RL10C-2 or RL10C-3 Variants versus the C-1 variant. The C-2 variant was developed and was to be/may still fly on DCSS and The C-3 variant is being developed for SLS EUS Block-1B.
Is this the one?

http://www.astronautix.com/r/rl-10c.html

They're saying that's 35 000lb thrust. Would that be equal to a SEC and a DEC Centaur stage?
A pair of them would give the equivalent of 4 RL10-A's or B's?
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: russianhalo117 on 12/23/2017 05:22 PM
We know AJR have been doing lot of work on reducing build cost of RL10. Those significant modifications will result in a new engine with all certification issues that go with it. I expect Centuar V will fly new cheaper RL10 but will also be new unproven engine with no flight history.

Going to new US and engines increases risk of LV failure in first few missions, but gets them to DOD certified LV sooner.
Centaur-5 variant may use the either the larger RL10C-2 or RL10C-3 Variants versus the C-1 variant. The C-2 variant was developed and was to be/may still fly on DCSS and The C-3 variant is being developed for SLS EUS Block-1B.
Is this the one?

http://www.astronautix.com/r/rl-10c.html

They're saying that's 35 000lb thrust. Would that be equal to a SEC and a DEC Centaur stage?
A pair of them would give the equivalent of 4 RL10-A's or B's?
Sort of but no.
The following is from 2013 (http://www.ulalaunch.com/uploads/docs/Launch_Vehicles/Delta_IV_Users_Guide_June_2013.pdf) but their aren ew CAD files and information in existence, but I would have to search my computer for it. The latest info probably exists in a ULA thread on here.
Quote
8.2.1 RL10C-2 2nd Stage Engine Upgrade
To improve commonality between the Atlas and Delta launch vehicles, ULA and Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne (PWR) are currently developing the RL10C-1 engine for the Centaur upper stage of the Atlas launch vehicle. This engine uses similar chamber and nozzle configuration as the RL10B-2 engine currently used on Delta. Use of this common engine allows for future upgrades to the RL10B-2 engine, to be called the RL10C-2 (Figure 8-2).
The RL10C-2 engine will incorporate all improvements from the RL10C-1, including an upgraded redundant ignition system to improve reliability, changes to the engine plumbing to improve starting operations, a propellant valve design update, and a number of improvements previously qualified under the Assured Access to Space program including a revised gear train and seal improvements.
The RL10C-2 development will be managed through the RL10 Sustainment and Modernization Program. This program is intended to incorporate improved manufacturing methods for turbomachinery, propellant valves, and injector hardware, revised large plumbing to reduce weight, and more robust solenoid valves. Additionally, the RL10C-2 is intended to be qualified to operate with active Mixture Ratio control, a capability available on Atlas/Centaur missions dating back to 1965. This feature, enabled on Delta IV by the addition of Common Avionics (Section 8.3.2), could result in a performance improvement of up to 200 lb for certain Delta missions. The RL10C-2 will continue to use the 3-segment extendible nozzle currently used on the RL10B-2. The C-2 will look virtually the same as an RL10B-2, with slight changes to the Ignition and Engine Instrumentation Boxes and realignment of some of the large plumbing.
Changes incorporated as part of the Sustainment and Modernization effort will be qualified for both the RL10C-1 for Atlas and the RL10C-2 for Delta at the same time, using the same common core engine. The end result will be an engine that can be built and acceptance tested using a common bill of material and test program, and then configured as necessary with bolt-on hardware to support either Atlas V or Delta IV vehicles.
Figure 8-2. RL10C-2 Engine
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: john smith 19 on 12/24/2017 07:14 AM
Sort of but no.
The following is from 2013 (http://www.ulalaunch.com/uploads/docs/Launch_Vehicles/Delta_IV_Users_Guide_June_2013.pdf) but their aren ew CAD files and information in existence, but I would have to search my computer for it. The latest info probably exists in a ULA thread on here.
Quote
8.2.1 RL10C-2 2nd Stage Engine Upgrade
To improve commonality between the Atlas and Delta launch vehicles, ULA and Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne (PWR) are currently developing the RL10C-1 engine for the Centaur upper stage of the Atlas launch vehicle. This engine uses similar chamber and nozzle configuration as the RL10B-2 engine currently used on Delta. Use of this common engine allows for future upgrades to the RL10B-2 engine, to be called the RL10C-2 (Figure 8-2).
The RL10C-2 engine will incorporate all improvements from the RL10C-1, including an upgraded redundant ignition system to improve reliability, changes to the engine plumbing to improve starting operations, a propellant valve design update, and a number of improvements previously qualified under the Assured Access to Space program including a revised gear train and seal improvements.
The RL10C-2 development will be managed through the RL10 Sustainment and Modernization Program. This program is intended to incorporate improved manufacturing methods for turbomachinery, propellant valves, and injector hardware, revised large plumbing to reduce weight, and more robust solenoid valves. Additionally, the RL10C-2 is intended to be qualified to operate with active Mixture Ratio control, a capability available on Atlas/Centaur missions dating back to 1965. This feature, enabled on Delta IV by the addition of Common Avionics (Section 8.3.2), could result in a performance improvement of up to 200 lb for certain Delta missions. The RL10C-2 will continue to use the 3-segment extendible nozzle currently used on the RL10B-2. The C-2 will look virtually the same as an RL10B-2, with slight changes to the Ignition and Engine Instrumentation Boxes and realignment of some of the large plumbing.
Changes incorporated as part of the Sustainment and Modernization effort will be qualified for both the RL10C-1 for Atlas and the RL10C-2 for Delta at the same time, using the same common core engine. The end result will be an engine that can be built and acceptance tested using a common bill of material and test program, and then configured as necessary with bolt-on hardware to support either Atlas V or Delta IV vehicles.
Figure 8-2. RL10C-2 Engine
That's odd. I'd thought they were going with a fixed nozzle and making the inter stage longer? That would eliminate the seals and actuators with their costs and reliability issues. You end up with a longer inter stage, but with the development cost spread over the whole Vulcan production run.
 
One option would be to make the nozzle segments a trade option, letting the customer trade Isp and engine mass. Minimum engine mass (but maximum payload mass) gives minimum Isp. That may be acceptable in certain circumstances.  Maximum Isp needs all 3 segments bolted on and give maximum engine weight.

I think ACES is meant to go up to the equivalent of 4 RL10-B's so around 68-92 000 lb?

A good question would be what's the performance hit of throttling down a bigger engine to give lower thrust?  Could you get by with just 1 engine and run it at 50% power with acceptable performance?
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: jongoff on 12/25/2017 06:58 PM
I don't see how the 5 can be cheaper than the 3. We know the majority of the Centaur cost is the RL-10, and the Centaur 5 will need 1 to 3 more RL-10s than Centaur 3. Even if RL-10 cost is halved, that would simple make the Centaur 3 that much cheaper.
Wellllll...
They could double the thrust of a single RL-10 maybe.

Otherwise the only way this works is that people have seriously seriously underestimated AJR's capacity to lower the RL10 price

But that only works if they can actually make RL10's cheaply enough to the kind of profit AJR are used to making on RL10's at the current price.

Quote from: envy887
They have to keep the Centaur 3 around until Atlas V is retired anyway, right?
ULA don't seem to have a problem with putting rockets in long term storage awaiting customers.

I can't remember the last time Delta II launches were in anyway common, but someone wanted to use their last one and they did it.

But lowering the cost of RL-10 also lowers the cost of Centaur 3. AJR would have to pay ULA to fly RL-10 before Centaur 5 could be cheaper than Centaur 3.

That of course ignores the costs of operating two production lines, but if they need to keep building the 3 for Atlas, that cost is sunk anyway. Unless they can build enough 3's to fly out Atlas before Vulcan flies... but what if they switch everything over and then Vulcan takes 3 years longer to certify than expected? Lot of risk there.

One thought on this (not sure if anyone else has made this point yet), but I wonder if engines suffer from a similar fixed cost vs marginal cost relationship to what launch vehicles do. Basically, there's probably a healthy minimum fixed cost for a given production/development system, in addition to the marginal costs associated with building the engines. RL-10s are not that big or complex as far as engines go (they're smaller than Merlin, and possibly less complex), so I wonder if a lot of the high costs we've been seeing has been a consequence of operating down in the production rate where fixed costs dominate. With Delta-IV having stockpiled a bunch of RL-10s, that would mean that RL-10 production was probably down in the 6-8 engines per year range for Atlas V (plus a little for redoing some of the Delta-IV RL-10s for use on Atlas going forward).

Fast forward to Centaur V and ACES where you may be talking 2-4 RL-10 class engines per launch, and you're also consolidating down to one vehicle, and you may be talking as many as 24-48 RL-10s per year (ie 4-8x the current rate). That alone would move you to the "marginal cost dominated" part of the curve, where just by the virtue of being able to spread fixed costs around more the engines could be dramatically cheaper per engine. Combine that with manufacturability improvements that AJR is finally being forced to make, and I could see a situation where a Centaur V/ACES stage is getting down near the cost of a current Centaur III.

The interesting thing is that if my hunch is right, you'd only see a lot of that per-engine cost decrease if you were ordering large numbers for use on Centaur V/ACES--if you were making less engines, the marginal costs would go down, but the fixed costs wouldn't. Of course, while the per engine cost would be going down, the overall cost would be going up, but Centaur V/ACES would likely mean being able to a) completely replace Atlas V and Delta IV so they can consolidate to one booster (big savings), b) avoid using as many strapons for a given mission, saving some non-trivial money there, and c) enable more missions to do direct to GEO insertion or things like that that are more valuable.

Food for thought.

~Jon
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: skater on 12/25/2017 09:48 PM

One thought on this (not sure if anyone else has made this point yet), but I wonder if engines suffer from a similar fixed cost vs marginal cost relationship to what launch vehicles do. Basically, there's probably a healthy minimum fixed cost for a given production/development system, in addition to the marginal costs associated with building the engines. RL-10s are not that big or complex as far as engines go (they're smaller than Merlin, and possibly less complex), so I wonder if a lot of the high costs we've been seeing has been a consequence of operating down in the production rate where fixed costs dominate. With Delta-IV having stockpiled a bunch of RL-10s, that would mean that RL-10 production was probably down in the 6-8 engines per year range for Atlas V (plus a little for redoing some of the Delta-IV RL-10s for use on Atlas going forward).


My first job out of college as a manufacturing engineer was at P&W, sometimes working on the RL-10, decades ago (small cog on a large machine).  You're correct in that they're not very complex, but the touch labor for each one is ludicrous.  Tooling was surprisingly simple.  You might be onto something about fixed vs variable costs, but it's not like the tooling expense would be that high, unless maybe they were doing something like maintaining brazing furnaces just for that one product. The other possibility (and I don't have any insight into how things are currently being run) is that they're trying to maintain a workforce for the sake of experience, even if they're excess to current production requirements - there was a "touch" to many of the operations of making that engine, particularly shaping the tubes.  That would drive up per-engine costs if production was low (turning labor to a fixed cost, instead of variable). BTW, I thought they were still producing them in the West Palm Beach facility, and I don't know if they own that anymore (the RL-10 production used to be a small portion of a much larger P&W facility that worked on both jet and rocket engines), and if they are renting at a fixed rate, that might be a significant fixed cost.

SpaceX has spent a great deal of effort in reducing Merlin costs, between relentlessly figuring out how to make the channel wall construction in a more cost effective manner, and coming up with a simpler-to-produce injector (the RL-10 injectors had so much detail work in them).  I would think that, if AJR focused on changing the production method of the chamber and injector, possibly with 3D printing, there would be some considerable savings, while keeping much of the existing plumbing and pumpworks.  I never had any insight to the cost and those were completed somewhere else, but the pumps and plumbing never looked like they'd be especially expensive to fabricate, even if a lot of design effort originally went into them.  No gas generator or preburner, obviously, and nothing that had to face especially high temperatures.  I always assumed, just from looking at the thing and watching them be built, that most of the cost was in that chamber and injector.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: jongoff on 12/26/2017 06:06 AM

One thought on this (not sure if anyone else has made this point yet), but I wonder if engines suffer from a similar fixed cost vs marginal cost relationship to what launch vehicles do. Basically, there's probably a healthy minimum fixed cost for a given production/development system, in addition to the marginal costs associated with building the engines. RL-10s are not that big or complex as far as engines go (they're smaller than Merlin, and possibly less complex), so I wonder if a lot of the high costs we've been seeing has been a consequence of operating down in the production rate where fixed costs dominate. With Delta-IV having stockpiled a bunch of RL-10s, that would mean that RL-10 production was probably down in the 6-8 engines per year range for Atlas V (plus a little for redoing some of the Delta-IV RL-10s for use on Atlas going forward).


My first job out of college as a manufacturing engineer was at P&W, sometimes working on the RL-10, decades ago (small cog on a large machine).  You're correct in that they're not very complex, but the touch labor for each one is ludicrous.  Tooling was surprisingly simple.  You might be onto something about fixed vs variable costs, but it's not like the tooling expense would be that high, unless maybe they were doing something like maintaining brazing furnaces just for that one product. The other possibility (and I don't have any insight into how things are currently being run) is that they're trying to maintain a workforce for the sake of experience, even if they're excess to current production requirements - there was a "touch" to many of the operations of making that engine, particularly shaping the tubes.  That would drive up per-engine costs if production was low (turning labor to a fixed cost, instead of variable). BTW, I thought they were still producing them in the West Palm Beach facility, and I don't know if they own that anymore (the RL-10 production used to be a small portion of a much larger P&W facility that worked on both jet and rocket engines), and if they are renting at a fixed rate, that might be a significant fixed cost.

SpaceX has spent a great deal of effort in reducing Merlin costs, between relentlessly figuring out how to make the channel wall construction in a more cost effective manner, and coming up with a simpler-to-produce injector (the RL-10 injectors had so much detail work in them).  I would think that, if AJR focused on changing the production method of the chamber and injector, possibly with 3D printing, there would be some considerable savings, while keeping much of the existing plumbing and pumpworks.  I never had any insight to the cost and those were completed somewhere else, but the pumps and plumbing never looked like they'd be especially expensive to fabricate, even if a lot of design effort originally went into them.  No gas generator or preburner, obviously, and nothing that had to face especially high temperatures.  I always assumed, just from looking at the thing and watching them be built, that most of the cost was in that chamber and injector.

Skater,

Yeah, when I was talking about fixed costs, I was thinking more of the minimum headcount involved in making even one or two engines per year than tooling and shop floor space. I don't see any reason why RL-10 couldn't be made a lot less touch labor intensive. After all it was some of the very same manufacturing challenges (labor intensiveness of tube-wall nozzles and such) that drove the original development of the M1D at SpaceX.

Though one interesting point is that driving down the touch labor and complexity of an engine like RL-10 probably reduces both the fixed and marginal cost--meaning that once you've sunk the development cost not only is the cost curve lower, but it should be somewhat flatter, since you have less fixed cost that has to be amortized over the year's engine production rate.

~Jon
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: AncientU on 12/26/2017 01:33 PM
More fundamentally, can AJR afford to be in the low cost engine business?  If they reduced costs to say 10% of current, wouldn't they have to close shop or drastically reduce workforce/shop space so as to become unrecognizable?  Seems to me they are in the business of selling extremely high-priced, low volume engines to established entities... RS-25Es to NASA, for instance, for $1.15B for six engines over eight years.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: envy887 on 12/26/2017 01:57 PM
More fundamentally, can AJR afford to be in the low cost engine business?  If they reduced costs to say 10% of current, wouldn't they have to close shop or drastically reduce workforce/shop space so as to become unrecognizable?  Seems to me they are in the business of selling extremely high-priced, low volume engines to established entities... RS-25Es to NASA, for instance, for $1.15B for six engines over eight years.

If they can sell more RL-10s at a lower cost each, then AJRD can make the same total revenue - or potentially even more. AJRD isn't providing SRBs for Vulcan, so if ULA can save money by replacing an SRB with an upper stage engine the only company losing revenue is Orbital ATK on the GEM-63s.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: AncientU on 12/26/2017 03:57 PM
More fundamentally, can AJR afford to be in the low cost engine business?  If they reduced costs to say 10% of current, wouldn't they have to close shop or drastically reduce workforce/shop space so as to become unrecognizable?  Seems to me they are in the business of selling extremely high-priced, low volume engines to established entities... RS-25Es to NASA, for instance, for $1.15B for six engines over eight years.

If they can sell more RL-10s at a lower cost each, then AJRD can make the same total revenue - or potentially even more. AJRD isn't providing SRBs for Vulcan, so if ULA can save money by replacing an SRB with an upper stage engine the only company losing revenue is Orbital ATK on the GEM-63s.

Understand where you are going, but is AJR selling to anyone who is increasing flight rate and can be the demand source for these increases?  ULA is looking at a shrinking launch rate and trying to halve the cost of each launch.  (The other customer, SLS, is destined for a minimal launch rate and short service life.)

Where is AJR getting the volume?  Doesn't seem to be in their DNA to become a low-cost engine supplier.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: russianhalo117 on 12/26/2017 04:34 PM
More fundamentally, can AJR afford to be in the low cost engine business?  If they reduced costs to say 10% of current, wouldn't they have to close shop or drastically reduce workforce/shop space so as to become unrecognizable?  Seems to me they are in the business of selling extremely high-priced, low volume engines to established entities... RS-25Es to NASA, for instance, for $1.15B for six engines over eight years.

If they can sell more RL-10s at a lower cost each, then AJRD can make the same total revenue - or potentially even more. AJRD isn't providing SRBs for Vulcan, so if ULA can save money by replacing an SRB with an upper stage engine the only company losing revenue is Orbital ATK on the GEM-63s.

Understand where you are going, but is AJR selling to anyone who is increasing flight rate and can be the demand source for these increases?  ULA is looking at a shrinking launch rate and trying to halve the cost of each launch.  (The other customer, SLS, is destined for a minimal launch rate and short service life.)

Where is AJR getting the volume?  Doesn't seem to be in their DNA to become a low-cost engine supplier.
Per L2 change is in the air for AJR. Cant say yet if the information is positive or negative
L2 Link 1: https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=34793.msg1764315#msg1764315
L2 Link 2: https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=42173.msg1764317#msg1764317
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: TrevorMonty on 12/26/2017 11:19 PM
More fundamentally, can AJR afford to be in the low cost engine business?  If they reduced costs to say 10% of current, wouldn't they have to close shop or drastically reduce workforce/shop space so as to become unrecognizable?  Seems to me they are in the business of selling extremely high-priced, low volume engines to established entities... RS-25Es to NASA, for instance, for $1.15B for six engines over eight years.

If they can sell more RL-10s at a lower cost each, then AJRD can make the same total revenue - or potentially even more. AJRD isn't providing SRBs for Vulcan, so if ULA can save money by replacing an SRB with an upper stage engine the only company losing revenue is Orbital ATK on the GEM-63s.

Understand where you are going, but is AJR selling to anyone who is increasing flight rate and can be the demand source for these increases?  ULA is looking at a shrinking launch rate and trying to halve the cost of each launch.  (The other customer, SLS, is destined for a minimal launch rate and short service life.)

Where is AJR getting the volume?  Doesn't seem to be in their DNA to become a low-cost engine supplier.
OA are also looking RL10 for NGLV, may only be 3 launches are year but another 6 (x2 ? for US) engines can only help bring engine costs down.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: russianhalo117 on 12/27/2017 12:58 AM
More fundamentally, can AJR afford to be in the low cost engine business?  If they reduced costs to say 10% of current, wouldn't they have to close shop or drastically reduce workforce/shop space so as to become unrecognizable?  Seems to me they are in the business of selling extremely high-priced, low volume engines to established entities... RS-25Es to NASA, for instance, for $1.15B for six engines over eight years.

If they can sell more RL-10s at a lower cost each, then AJRD can make the same total revenue - or potentially even more. AJRD isn't providing SRBs for Vulcan, so if ULA can save money by replacing an SRB with an upper stage engine the only company losing revenue is Orbital ATK on the GEM-63s.

Understand where you are going, but is AJR selling to anyone who is increasing flight rate and can be the demand source for these increases?  ULA is looking at a shrinking launch rate and trying to halve the cost of each launch.  (The other customer, SLS, is destined for a minimal launch rate and short service life.)

Where is AJR getting the volume?  Doesn't seem to be in their DNA to become a low-cost engine supplier.
OA are also looking RL10 for NGLV, may only be 3 launches are year but another 6 (x2 ? for US) engines can only help bring engine costs down.
With OA merging into NG, I would expect TRW engine options awakening from their sleepy lair real soon.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Space Ghost 1962 on 12/27/2017 01:10 AM
More fundamentally, can AJR afford to be in the low cost engine business?  If they reduced costs to say 10% of current, wouldn't they have to close shop or drastically reduce workforce/shop space so as to become unrecognizable?  Seems to me they are in the business of selling extremely high-priced, low volume engines to established entities... RS-25Es to NASA, for instance, for $1.15B for six engines over eight years.

If they can sell more RL-10s at a lower cost each, then AJRD can make the same total revenue - or potentially even more. AJRD isn't providing SRBs for Vulcan, so if ULA can save money by replacing an SRB with an upper stage engine the only company losing revenue is Orbital ATK on the GEM-63s.

Understand where you are going, but is AJR selling to anyone who is increasing flight rate and can be the demand source for these increases?  ULA is looking at a shrinking launch rate and trying to halve the cost of each launch.  (The other customer, SLS, is destined for a minimal launch rate and short service life.)

Where is AJR getting the volume?  Doesn't seem to be in their DNA to become a low-cost engine supplier.
OA are also looking RL10 for NGLV, may only be 3 launches are year but another 6 (x2 ? for US) engines can only help bring engine costs down.
With OA merging into NG, I would expect TRW engine options awakening from their sleepy lair real soon.
That's rather optimistic. Time, cost, and need for flight history strongly argue against it. And ... suggest you ask Tom Mueller about its likelihood. He might have a thing or to to contribute to that.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Steven Pietrobon on 12/27/2017 07:42 AM
Per L2 change is in the air for AJR. Cant say yet if the information is positive or negative
L2 Link 1: https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=34793.msg1764315#msg1764315
L2 Link 2: https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=42173.msg1764317#msg1764317

I don't know what the L2 links say, but I was thinking last night of possible options for ULA. Hoping that SpaceX and Blue Origin don't pull the rug from under them is not a good plan. To take charge of your future, perhaps ULA could buy AJR. This reduces the overhead on the RL-10. Also, use the AR-1 in a fully reusable first stage with seven or nine engines. That way, ULA is in control of their future and should be able to compete toe to toe with SpaceX and Blue Origin.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: woods170 on 12/27/2017 11:57 AM
Per L2 change is in the air for AJR. Cant say yet if the information is positive or negative
L2 Link 1: https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=34793.msg1764315#msg1764315
L2 Link 2: https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=42173.msg1764317#msg1764317

I don't know what the L2 links say, but I was thinking last night of possible options for ULA. Hoping that SpaceX and Blue Origin don't pull the rug from under them is not a good plan. To take charge of your future, perhaps ULA could buy AJR. This reduces the overhead on the RL-10. Also, use the AR-1 in a fully reusable first stage with seven or nine engines. That way, ULA is in control of their future and should be able to compete toe to toe with SpaceX and Blue Origin.
More like Blue now having a chance to pull even more rug from under ARJ. But I'll leave it to Chris to reveal the all-telling details.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: AncientU on 12/27/2017 12:01 PM
Per L2 change is in the air for AJR. Cant say yet if the information is positive or negative
L2 Link 1: https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=34793.msg1764315#msg1764315
L2 Link 2: https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=42173.msg1764317#msg1764317

I don't know what the L2 links say, but I was thinking last night of possible options for ULA. Hoping that SpaceX and Blue Origin don't pull the rug from under them is not a good plan. To take charge of your future, perhaps ULA could buy AJR. This reduces the overhead on the RL-10. Also, use the AR-1 in a fully reusable first stage with seven or nine engines. That way, ULA is in control of their future and should be able to compete toe to toe with SpaceX and Blue Origin.

Don't think ULA plus AJR is competitive.  Neither has adjusted to the realities of today's and tomorrow's market; both are only viable in a high cost niche markets.  Together, they'd likely sink more rapidly than either could achieve alone.  Also, Boeing and Lockmart aren't likely to toss lots of new money into a market where they are not competitive.  (They have been rumored to be seeking buyers for ULA.)

But sure, ULA would be taking control of its future as you say.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: the_other_Doug on 12/27/2017 03:11 PM
Per L2 change is in the air for AJR. Cant say yet if the information is positive or negative
L2 Link 1: https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=34793.msg1764315#msg1764315
L2 Link 2: https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=42173.msg1764317#msg1764317

I don't know what the L2 links say, but I was thinking last night of possible options for ULA. Hoping that SpaceX and Blue Origin don't pull the rug from under them is not a good plan. To take charge of your future, perhaps ULA could buy AJR. This reduces the overhead on the RL-10. Also, use the AR-1 in a fully reusable first stage with seven or nine engines. That way, ULA is in control of their future and should be able to compete toe to toe with SpaceX and Blue Origin.

Don't think ULA plus AJR is competitive.  Neither has adjusted to the realities of today's and tomorrow's market; both are only viable in a high cost niche markets.  Together, they'd likely sink more rapidly than either could achieve alone.  Also, Boeing and Lockmart aren't likely to toss lots of new money into a market where they are not competitive.  (They have been rumored to be seeking buyers for ULA.)

But sure, ULA would be taking control of its future as you say.

I find myself agreeing -- it would be one company, rooted into a failing dependency on dwindling ultra-high-cost niche contracts, acquiring another company that is in the exact same situation.

Companies which have changed the business model by offering much lower-cost launch services through re-use are taking over the future of a vast majority of the world's launch business.  It's hard to see how ULA acquiring AJR would make them more competitive in such a future.  It would be the Consolidation of the Dinosaurs.

If SpaceX was willing to sell just their engines to other rocket manufacturers, I predict you would see the next generation of launchers operating with Merlin and Raptor engines almost exclusively.  As it is, ULA's strong interest in BE engines illustrate that, even if AJR wins its next couple of rounds of competition with the new space companies, their dinosaur status is becoming more and more obvious to more and more of their potential customers.

All I will say is, dinosaurs consolidate at the risk of hurrying their extinction, all the while shouting, in pain and bewilderment, "What did we do wrong?  We only did what we have always succeeded with!  How could that have failed?".......
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: john smith 19 on 12/28/2017 07:26 AM
If SpaceX was willing to sell just their engines to other rocket manufacturers, I predict you would see the next generation of launchers operating with Merlin and Raptor engines almost exclusively.  As it is, ULA's strong interest in BE engines illustrate that, even if AJR wins its next couple of rounds of competition with the new space companies, their dinosaur status is becoming more and more obvious to more and more of their potential customers.

All I will say is, dinosaurs consolidate at the risk of hurrying their extinction, all the while shouting, in pain and bewilderment, "What did we do wrong?  We only did what we have always succeeded with!  How could that have failed?".......
Bruno does at least seem to be trying to work toward a solution that keeps ULA as a viable payload launching entity.  I'm not sure the same can be said for AJR's efforts, which basically seem to be "Please give us more money (because we didn't spend a dime on researching anything new)," but perhaps that reading is a little harsh.

But whenever people say things like "They're are dinosaurs," I remember one little fact.

Dinosaurs were the dominant animal type on Earth for 70 000 000 years.

Under the right environmental conditions a species can last a very long time. Something to keep in mind.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Jim on 12/28/2017 04:38 PM


Don't think ULA plus AJR is competitive.  Neither has adjusted to the realities of today's and tomorrow's market

No, people are just over hyping the "realities of today's and tomorrow's market".  Most don't know what they are talking about and just repost the same unsupported biased opinions.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: rockets4life97 on 01/08/2018 06:28 AM
How many more Delta IV single stick rockets does ULA plan to fly before they are retired?
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: ethan829 on 01/08/2018 01:01 PM
How many more Delta IV single stick rockets does ULA plan to fly before they are retired?

Three. NROL-47, GPS-III, and WGS-10. If all fly as currently scheduled, 2018 will be the last year for the single-stick Delta IV.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: john smith 19 on 01/08/2018 05:00 PM
How many more Delta IV single stick rockets does ULA plan to fly before they are retired?

Three. NROL-47, GPS-III, and WGS-10. If all fly as currently scheduled, 2018 will be the last year for the single-stick Delta IV.
Is that "Unless someone places another order for one" or they are no longer accepting new orders for them at all?
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: ZachS09 on 01/08/2018 05:07 PM
How many more Delta IV single stick rockets does ULA plan to fly before they are retired?

Three. NROL-47, GPS-III, and WGS-10. If all fly as currently scheduled, 2018 will be the last year for the single-stick Delta IV.
Is that "Unless someone places another order for one" or they are no longer accepting new orders for them at all?

The second option you listed. In other words, ULA wants to retire the single-stick version no matter what happens.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: russianhalo117 on 01/08/2018 06:59 PM
How many more Delta IV single stick rockets does ULA plan to fly before they are retired?

Three. NROL-47, GPS-III, and WGS-10. If all fly as currently scheduled, 2018 will be the last year for the single-stick Delta IV.
Is that "Unless someone places another order for one" or they are no longer accepting new orders for them at all?
Only orders can be placed for the Atlas V and DIVH. Vulcan orders should begin this year for the opening launches.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: john smith 19 on 01/09/2018 08:27 AM
Only orders can be placed for the Atlas V and DIVH. Vulcan orders should begin this year for the opening launches.
That sounds pretty definite.  They are starting to pivot the company.

The joker is if they can design in the hooks for DIVH performance in Vulcan from the beginning, which they seem to be moving toward.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Zed_Noir on 01/09/2018 08:53 AM
<snip>
Only orders can be placed for the Atlas V and DIVH. Vulcan orders should begin this year for the opening launches.

Seriously,  what is the cut off date for ordering a DIVH?

Like will 2018 be the last year that you can order a DIVH.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: woods170 on 01/09/2018 09:59 AM
<snip>
Only orders can be placed for the Atlas V and DIVH. Vulcan orders should begin this year for the opening launches.

Seriously,  what is the cut off date for ordering a DIVH?

Like will 2018 be the last year that you can order a DIVH.


No date given. ULA stated that Delta IVH will be terminated only after it is no longer needed for NSS missions.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: john smith 19 on 01/09/2018 02:30 PM
<snip>
Only orders can be placed for the Atlas V and DIVH. Vulcan orders should begin this year for the opening launches.

Seriously,  what is the cut off date for ordering a DIVH?

Like will 2018 be the last year that you can order a DIVH.


No date given. ULA stated that Delta IVH will be terminated only after it is no longer needed for NSS missions.
This is why the announcement that Vulcan with the Centaur 5/V/not ACES/Whatever-it's-called US will have (in principle) DIVH lift capability from first launch is very important.

Provided they can convince the DoD Vulcan is anywhere close to that (ideally even before the first Vulcan launches) they can start in on shutting down the DIVH line as well. I'm guessing by that time Atlas V will be long gone by then as well.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Chasm on 01/09/2018 04:37 PM
Not really, Vulcan will be produced on modified Delta IV tooling.
The have (had?) a final round of orders for Delta IV Heavy. Those will be (were?) build and stored until use.

The big difference is that there won't be a gap in bidding specific launches for ULA. As I understand they really needed to go into the next EELV selection with the capability to service all launch requirements from day one.
Another thing is that Centaur V will accumulate flight time from the first Vulcan launch. That should make the decision to put the really expensive payloads on it easier.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: yokem55 on 01/10/2018 10:20 PM
Not really, Vulcan will be produced on modified Delta IV tooling.
The have (had?) a final round of orders for Delta IV Heavy. Those will be (were?) build and stored until use.

The big difference is that there won't be a gap in bidding specific launches for ULA. As I understand they really needed to go into the next EELV selection with the capability to service all launch requirements from day one.
Another thing is that Centaur V will accumulate flight time from the first Vulcan launch. That should make the decision to put the really expensive payloads on it easier.
What about converting some of those DH contracts to Vulcan? Maintaining the pad at Vandenberg isn't cheap. If they can fly those contracts on Vulcan instead, I'm betting they would prefer that.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: russianhalo117 on 01/10/2018 10:43 PM
Not really, Vulcan will be produced on modified Delta IV tooling.
The have (had?) a final round of orders for Delta IV Heavy. Those will be (were?) build and stored until use.

The big difference is that there won't be a gap in bidding specific launches for ULA. As I understand they really needed to go into the next EELV selection with the capability to service all launch requirements from day one.
Another thing is that Centaur V will accumulate flight time from the first Vulcan launch. That should make the decision to put the really expensive payloads on it easier.
What about converting some of those DH contracts to Vulcan? Maintaining the pad at Vandenberg isn't cheap. If they can fly those contracts on Vulcan instead, I'm betting they would prefer that.
NSS contracts don't work that way DIVH will be maintained until the USG certifies Vulcan and executes the transition plan. DIVH is being built and stockpiled so there is bound to be some unflown launchers just like Titan-IVB and Atlas-IIAS and others.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: john smith 19 on 01/10/2018 10:59 PM
The big difference is that there won't be a gap in bidding specific launches for ULA. As I understand they really needed to go into the next EELV selection with the capability to service all launch requirements from day one.
Another thing is that Centaur V will accumulate flight time from the first Vulcan launch. That should make the decision to put the really expensive payloads on it easier.
Going with full capability from first launch, rather than needing a 2nd US design later, just makes a lot more sense. As you say it starts racking up launch reliability data to speed up the retiring of DIVH.

Now if they can just get IVF moving. 
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Chasm on 01/11/2018 05:11 AM
I think they will fly the Delta IV Heavy out.
The required support infrastructure and staff is expensive but that is something the customer pays for. As far as we know NRO is the only final order customer. Launch is supposed to be a rounding error for their major satellite programs. On the plus side they can have high confidence that the launch will work.

Perhaps ULA can even fly the one spare they want to build. I'd certainly try to find a customer to fly ASAP after the last preorder. For cheap, even auction it of. Some restrictions apply, payload has to be at AstroTech checked out and ready for launch when the last campaign is scheduled. Free transfer to a RapidLaunch Vulcan in case the spare is required for the NRO.

If in doubt I'd stick a propellant depot on it and launch that. Got to get experience with them somehow.
But then I also liked the idea to launch a mini ACES on the (non existing) final Delta II spare in order to get some flight time. Testing a least the HIAD part of SMART recovery in the same launch. Must have some payload after all. ;)
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: AncientU on 01/11/2018 12:29 PM
The big difference is that there won't be a gap in bidding specific launches for ULA. As I understand they really needed to go into the next EELV selection with the capability to service all launch requirements from day one.
Another thing is that Centaur V will accumulate flight time from the first Vulcan launch. That should make the decision to put the really expensive payloads on it easier.
Going with full capability from first launch, rather than needing a 2nd US design later, just makes a lot more sense. As you say it starts racking up launch reliability data to speed up the retiring of DIVH.

Now if they can just get IVF moving.

But what about all that excess, wasted capacity when launching the predominant 401 payloads?
Building it* but not using it, and then dumping it in the ocean is expensive... 

* Especially if the Centaur V has 3-4 RL-10s on it.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Jim on 01/11/2018 12:34 PM
The big difference is that there won't be a gap in bidding specific launches for ULA. As I understand they really needed to go into the next EELV selection with the capability to service all launch requirements from day one.
Another thing is that Centaur V will accumulate flight time from the first Vulcan launch. That should make the decision to put the really expensive payloads on it easier.
Going with full capability from first launch, rather than needing a 2nd US design later, just makes a lot more sense. As you say it starts racking up launch reliability data to speed up the retiring of DIVH.

Now if they can just get IVF moving.

But what about all that excess, wasted capacity when launching the predominant 401 payloads?
Building it but not using it, and then dumping it in the ocean is expensive...

No different than using excess performance to return a booster and not reuse it
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: AncientU on 01/11/2018 01:28 PM
The big difference is that there won't be a gap in bidding specific launches for ULA. As I understand they really needed to go into the next EELV selection with the capability to service all launch requirements from day one.
Another thing is that Centaur V will accumulate flight time from the first Vulcan launch. That should make the decision to put the really expensive payloads on it easier.
Going with full capability from first launch, rather than needing a 2nd US design later, just makes a lot more sense. As you say it starts racking up launch reliability data to speed up the retiring of DIVH.

Now if they can just get IVF moving.

But what about all that excess, wasted capacity when launching the predominant 401 payloads?
Building it but not using it, and then dumping it in the ocean is expensive...

No different than using excess performance to return a booster and not reuse it

Exactly.
All who are complaining about this should be complaining about Vulcan -- especially since they are definitely dumping it in the ocean.

So Jim, Ed, etc., let's hear why this excess capacity being planned for Vulcan/Centaur V is such a crappy idea.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: envy887 on 01/11/2018 02:12 PM
The big difference is that there won't be a gap in bidding specific launches for ULA. As I understand they really needed to go into the next EELV selection with the capability to service all launch requirements from day one.
Another thing is that Centaur V will accumulate flight time from the first Vulcan launch. That should make the decision to put the really expensive payloads on it easier.
Going with full capability from first launch, rather than needing a 2nd US design later, just makes a lot more sense. As you say it starts racking up launch reliability data to speed up the retiring of DIVH.

Now if they can just get IVF moving.

But what about all that excess, wasted capacity when launching the predominant 401 payloads?
Building it but not using it, and then dumping it in the ocean is expensive...

No different than using excess performance to return a booster and not reuse it

Exactly.
All who are complaining about this should be complaining about Vulcan -- especially since they are definitely dumping it in the ocean.

So Jim, Ed, etc., let's hear why this excess capacity being planned for Vulcan/Centaur V is such a crappy idea.

It is different though. The potential engineering value of returning a booster for inspection is extremely high, since it can result in fixing a failure mode that saves a future billion dollar payload or prevent a stand-down and RTF costing hundreds of millions.

Excess margin is also valuable in case of an anomaly. A multi-engine upper stage would have engine-out redundancy and extra delta-v to insure against booster shortfalls like the DIVH first flight failure and OA-6 close call. Landing margins for a booster provide the same thing, but is also different because it can also enable reuse (the choice to reuse or not reuse isn't necessarily made before the flight).
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: TrevorMonty on 01/11/2018 05:24 PM
 ULA will use rideshare to make extra money from spare capacity. Depending on mission may add SRBs because of rideshare. In 2019 Astrobotics will fly as secondary on Atlas/Cynus mission, centuar does earth departure burn.

Giving rideshares to lunar robotic missions could be nice sideline. A more capable Centuar might even have endurance for TLI, giving nice boost to landed payload.

More capable US more options there are for using spare capacity.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: AncientU on 01/11/2018 07:28 PM
ULA will use rideshare to make extra money from spare capacity. Depending on mission may add SRBs because of rideshare. In 2019 Astrobotics will fly as secondary on Atlas/Cynus mission, centuar does earth departure burn.

Giving rideshares to lunar robotic missions could be nice sideline. A more capable Centuar might even have endurance for TLI, giving nice boost to landed payload.

More capable US more options there are for using spare capacity.

Nice rationalization.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Sknowball on 01/12/2018 04:36 AM
Not really a surprise after the announced additional 6 months Centaur V adds to Vulcan development, but Tory Bruno did confirm that Vulcan Initial Launch Capability has slipped into 2020.

Quote
The current Vulcan ILC is mid 2020. It will fly with an American engine, replacing Atlas’ RD180
https://www.reddit.com/r/BlueOrigin/comments/7pavyi/blue_origins_latest_footage_of_the_be4_engine/dsitdej/

He also provided a small update on the Vulcan CDR.

Quote
@wehavemeco: any update on Vulcan’s CDR? Anxiously awaiting.
@torybruno: 2 parts. First part complete and successful
https://twitter.com/torybruno/status/951271568218320896
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: woods170 on 01/12/2018 06:39 AM
Not really a surprise after the announced additional 6 months Centaur V adds to Vulcan development, but Tory Bruno did confirm that Vulcan Initial Launch Capability has slipped into 2020.

Quote
The current Vulcan ILC is mid 2020. It will fly with an American engine, replacing Atlas’ RD180
https://www.reddit.com/r/BlueOrigin/comments/7pavyi/blue_origins_latest_footage_of_the_be4_engine/dsitdej/

He also provided a small update on the Vulcan CDR.

Quote
@wehavemeco: any update on Vulcan’s CDR? Anxiously awaiting.
@torybruno: 2 parts. First part complete and successful
https://twitter.com/torybruno/status/951271568218320896

People constantly castigate "that other company from Hawthorne" for having delays. But here is ULA having a six-month delay and things are are (almost eery) quiet.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Jim on 01/12/2018 10:37 AM


People constantly castigate "that other company from Hawthorne" for having delays. But here is ULA having a six-month delay and things are are (almost eery) quiet.

Because there is enough ULA castigation on the rest of the forum
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: woods170 on 01/12/2018 11:12 AM


People constantly castigate "that other company from Hawthorne" for having delays. But here is ULA having a six-month delay and things are are (almost eery) quiet.

Because there is enough ULA castigation on the rest of the forum
Nice try Jim. That is castigation aimed at ULA mostly for not going for reusability whereas that other company is castigated over just about everything they do.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: envy887 on 01/12/2018 03:09 PM
People constantly castigate "that other company from Hawthorne" for having delays. But here is ULA having a six-month delay and things are are (almost eery) quiet.
That's because we already knew about the delay.  Tory Bruno announced the trade - Centaur 5 for six months time - on twitter a month or two ago.

 - Ed Kyle

Was Vulcan late 2019? I don't recall seeing a date, just the year.

They started working with Blue on BE-4 in late 2014, and unveiled the vehicle design in early 2015. 5 years and some months seems pretty typical for a mostly new LV development program.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: oldAtlas_Eguy on 01/12/2018 06:03 PM
People constantly castigate "that other company from Hawthorne" for having delays. But here is ULA having a six-month delay and things are are (almost eery) quiet.
That's because we already knew about the delay.  Tory Bruno announced the trade - Centaur 5 for six months time - on twitter a month or two ago.

 - Ed Kyle

Was Vulcan late 2019? I don't recall seeing a date, just the year.

They started working with Blue on BE-4 in late 2014, and unveiled the vehicle design in early 2015. 5 years and some months seems pretty typical for a mostly new LV development program.
5+ years is the new typical development program period for a new commercial medium/heavy (20mt+) LV. SpaceX's is the one push this lower but not by much and as the vehicle SpaceX is design increases in complexity and size so do the development period. Vulcan/Centaur V is not that complex of a system. And in fact will probably have less complexity than the Atlas/Centaur. So a 5 year development is what one would expect. Also they should not have much schedule slippage for that same reason. They announce almost 2 years ago a 2019 first launch so a 6 month slip after 2 years of design work and some significant plan changes in the developemnt is quite good schedule management. ULA has always been excellent in their ability to manage their schedules and to predict highly accurate planning dates.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: clongton on 01/12/2018 07:49 PM
Was Vulcan late 2019? I don't recall seeing a date, just the year.

When Vulcan was first announced, ULA said first flight was NET 2019 - no quarter given.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: TrevorMonty on 01/13/2018 01:12 AM
ULA are at mercy of engine designers Blue  or AJR, which are totally out of ULA control.
They can't start bending metal on booster till engine us picked and its performance proven.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: FutureSpaceTourist on 01/13/2018 05:58 AM
Quote
@torybruno are you afraid that the constant rate of success will be hauled with the introduction of a whole new rocket not entirely based in Lockheed/Boeing...
https://twitter.com/astro_zach/status/951995804297949186

Quote
Yes, but the rocket is only half of the equation
https://twitter.com/torybruno/status/951998937975566336
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: AncientU on 01/13/2018 04:05 PM


Don't think ULA plus AJR is competitive.  Neither has adjusted to the realities of today's and tomorrow's market

No, people are just over hyping the "realities of today's and tomorrow's market".  Most don't know what they are talking about and just repost the same unsupported biased opinions.

Stephane Isreal, for instance...
https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=31484.msg1771157#msg1771157
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Jim on 01/13/2018 04:39 PM


Don't think ULA plus AJR is competitive.  Neither has adjusted to the realities of today's and tomorrow's market

No, people are just over hyping the "realities of today's and tomorrow's market".  Most don't know what they are talking about and just repost the same unsupported biased opinions.

Stephane Isreal, for instance...
https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=31484.msg1771157#msg1771157

No, just you
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: john smith 19 on 01/13/2018 05:22 PM

It is different though. The potential engineering value of returning a booster for inspection is extremely high, since it can result in fixing a failure mode that saves a future billion dollar payload or prevent a stand-down and RTF costing hundreds of millions.

Excess margin is also valuable in case of an anomaly. A multi-engine upper stage would have engine-out redundancy and extra delta-v to insure against booster shortfalls like the DIVH first flight failure and OA-6 close call. Landing margins for a booster provide the same thing, but is also different because it can also enable reuse (the choice to reuse or not reuse isn't necessarily made before the flight).
True.

And yet, apart from earlier versions of Centaur, I know of no multi engine upper stage currently flying. :(

Needless to say that complicates any planning for recovery and reuse quite a bit, given the mass changes between fully loaded and nearly empty.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: john smith 19 on 01/13/2018 05:31 PM
Was Vulcan late 2019? I don't recall seeing a date, just the year.

When Vulcan was first announced, ULA said first flight was NET 2019 - no quarter given.
And they were right.  :(

Not Earlier Than 2019 is indeed 2020.

Admittedly there is more of a sense of urgency with ULA's financial position WRT the parents, but that seems quite a well scheduled programme.

IMHO The Joker in this pack is the funding,  and wheather the parents are still forcing them to do Q to Q requests. If they'd gone to a less piecemeal approach I imagine there would have some kind of formal announcement by now, as it would suggest a big increase in confidence of ULA's plans to execute.

Or there was and I missed it?
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: meekGee on 01/13/2018 07:40 PM
Not really a surprise after the announced additional 6 months Centaur V adds to Vulcan development, but Tory Bruno did confirm that Vulcan Initial Launch Capability has slipped into 2020.

Quote
The current Vulcan ILC is mid 2020. It will fly with an American engine, replacing Atlas’ RD180
https://www.reddit.com/r/BlueOrigin/comments/7pavyi/blue_origins_latest_footage_of_the_be4_engine/dsitdej/

He also provided a small update on the Vulcan CDR.

Quote
@wehavemeco: any update on Vulcan’s CDR? Anxiously awaiting.
@torybruno: 2 parts. First part complete and successful
https://twitter.com/torybruno/status/951271568218320896

People constantly castigate "that other company from Hawthorne" for having delays. But here is ULA having a six-month delay and things are are (almost eery) quiet.
Just look at what the three "nextgen" programs bring to the table, and it's pretty obvious:

An EELV (with an uncertain path to partial reusability), a large "mostly reusable" rocket with some path to full reusability, and a fully reusable launch system + spaceship.

The EELV is simply less interesting to most observers, and so 6 months here or there generate a lot less excitement.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Jim on 01/13/2018 07:47 PM

The EELV is simply less interesting to most observers, and so 6 months here or there generate a lot less excitement.

They fly more interesting missions than GTO comsats or station resupply.   

Too many people are caught up in the means with the ends are more important.  I don't care how I get my packages.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: meekGee on 01/13/2018 07:50 PM

The EELV is simply less interesting to most observers, and so 6 months here or there generate a lot less excitement.

They fly more interesting missions than GTO comsats or station resupply.   

Too many people are caught up in the means with the ends are more important.  I don't care how I get my packages.
You're comparing today's EELV to F9.

I'm comparing Vulcan to NG to BFS, and the interest level they generate. 

BFS will fly some pretty interesting missions...
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: clongton on 01/13/2018 08:07 PM
The EELV is simply less interesting to most observers, and so 6 months here or there generate a lot less excitement.

There's no such thing as a less interesting EELV. Customers are interested in whatever launch vehicle best fits their need for a specific launch. They don't care how many engines it has, what color it's painted, who makes the vehicle or if it has 2 or 5 stages. They are only interested in an appropriate launch service and whatever EELV fits their needs becomes the choice.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: meekGee on 01/13/2018 08:11 PM
The EELV is simply less interesting to most observers, and so 6 months here or there generate a lot less excitement.

There's no such thing as a less interesting EELV. Customers are interested in whatever launch vehicle best fits their need for a specific launch. They don't care how many engines it has, what color it's painted, who makes the vehicle or if it has 2 or 5 stages. They are only interested in an appropriate launch service and whatever EELV fits their needs becomes the choice.
This exchange started when someone asked why delays in the Vulcan program generate less reaction from observers, compared with slips in other nextGen schedules.

I was simply comparing what those nextGen programs were, and showing a correlation.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: AncientU on 01/13/2018 08:15 PM

The EELV is simply less interesting to most observers, and so 6 months here or there generate a lot less excitement.

They fly more interesting missions than GTO comsats or station resupply.   

Too many people are caught up in the means with the ends are more important.  I don't care how I get my packages.

When there are no winning arguments about the launch vehicle, the goal posts move to 'more interesting missions.'
Vulcan's competition will win on that field, too.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Jim on 01/13/2018 08:34 PM

When there are no winning arguments about the launch vehicle, the goal posts move to 'more interesting missions.'

It was never about the launch vehicles, it was always about the missions.  It has been the fan boys that have made about the launch vehicles, first it was shuttle, then it was Direct and now it is Falcon 9.

NROL, Juno, MSL, STSS Demo, X-37, MRO, SBIRS, etc are all more interesting than F9 comsat launch. 

There are parallels with train foamers and Spacex fans.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Chris Bergin on 01/13/2018 09:30 PM
For Jim's next birthday I'm going to give him moderator powers for 24 hours. Then you're all running for the hills! ;D

Let's keep this on Vulcan. Some of you may realize it, but we actually cover SpaceX a bit here and have a few threads somewhere on the forum.

;D

--

One member didn't listen. That member has lost his post.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Chasm on 01/14/2018 07:13 AM
The power pack oops and consequent silence made it quite clear that Vulcan would be affected too. So the 6 month announcement was already old news and not too interesting to observers. Centaur V however was entirely new and good reasoning.

I think the reasoning why ULA decided to eat a 6 month delay twofold.
ULA needed the Centaur V for the EELV bid. Going into the bid with a "to be developed in the future" capability for some reference orbits would be a disadvantage.
The RD-180 engine replacement obviously got delayed. The engineers might as well work on something else instead of just waiting on the next BE-4 (or even AR-1) milestone.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: john smith 19 on 01/15/2018 08:37 AM
I think the reasoning why ULA decided to eat a 6 month delay twofold.
ULA needed the Centaur V for the EELV bid. Going into the bid with a "to be developed in the future" capability for some reference orbits would be a disadvantage.
I think this is the big event.  It telescopes 2 US development cycles (which was inevitable if they wanted to cover the full range of DoD orbits and payloads) into one.
Quote from: Chasm
The RD-180 engine replacement obviously got delayed. The engineers might as well work on something else instead of just waiting on the next BE-4 (or even AR-1) milestone.
Depends on the delay. My impression is AR-1 is so far behind the only way AJR has a shot is if they promise to deliver an engine that can do a full duration burn (equal to a booster stage flight to MECO) by the end of the delay (likewise for Blue).

Schedule for Vulcan deployment is everything. The faster they transition the fewer mfg lines they have to run and the faster they lower their costs.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: envy887 on 01/16/2018 01:58 PM
Too many people are caught up in the means with the ends are more important.  I don't care how I get my packages.

You have multiple competitors offering trivially cheap prices to deliver your packages. When orbital delivery has the same, the means will attract far less attention. But Vulcan ... isn't really a step in that direction. ACES is, but it's constantly 10 years away.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: oldAtlas_Eguy on 01/16/2018 04:13 PM
Too many people are caught up in the means with the ends are more important.  I don't care how I get my packages.

You have multiple competitors offering trivially cheap prices to deliver your packages. When orbital delivery has the same, the means will attract far less attention. But Vulcan ... isn't really a step in that direction. ACES is, but it's constantly 10 years away.
ACES use to be 10 years away the in the future nature has now shifted to 5 years away.

Once you get to some of the features of ACES namely IVF, then the others are small incremental improvements such as in-orbit refueling which only involves tubing and valves and the most important item for in-orbit refueling the low to zero force cryo prop connectors that can be remotely released/engaged. It is this last item that is the item slowing down in-orbit cryo refueling and the general depot/distributed launch concepts.

If you have Centaur V's IVF then you have possibility to test docking and the transfer of prop between Centaur V's  without payloads or even any use of the prop that is transferred. These tests would occur on Centaur V's that the next step is disposal.

So with Centaur V and IVF that gets to with testing and incremental improvements the full ACES.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Lar on 01/16/2018 04:16 PM

When there are no winning arguments about the launch vehicle, the goal posts move to 'more interesting missions.'

It was never about the launch vehicles, it was always about the missions.  It has been the fan boys that have made about the launch vehicles, first it was shuttle, then it was Direct and now it is Falcon 9.

NROL, Juno, MSL, STSS Demo, X-37, MRO, SBIRS, etc are all more interesting than F9 comsat launch. 

There are parallels with train foamers and Spacex fans.

I'm a train fan (but not a foamer)[1] and a SpaceX fan. (probably not a foamer)[2].

That said while individual spacecraft are interesting, and all those non comsat spacecraft are more interesting than comsats, I would suggest that what is MOST interesting is how the market is changing. And why. Because I think it is... reduction in launch cost is just starting and the changes MAY be of epic proportions.. Not the vehicles, not the payloads, the market as a whole, that's where the really interesting stuff is.

ULA and Vulcan may be too timid in their response, we'll see.  Or maybe this is just a flash in the pan and ULA will hit the sweet spot with just the right amount of change.   Not the way to bet, but maybe.

1 - by analogy, I think 3 unit and 5 unit well cars (articulated container cars) are interesting, but why railways switched to articulated container cars is far more interesting.
2 - but when Jim has mod, for those 24 hours, he may edit this to say differently
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: spacenut on 01/16/2018 04:25 PM
What is the difference between ACES and the Centaur V?  Size? Engines? Common Bulkhead?  Capabilities?
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: TrevorMonty on 01/16/2018 04:34 PM
What is the difference between ACES and the Centaur V?  Size? Engines? Common Bulkhead?  Capabilities?
Size, ACES about 70t, Centuar V we think 40-50t. Both use 5m tanks. Don't know if IVF is being used, but suspect so. Engines unknown but most likely RL10.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: brickmack on 01/16/2018 04:41 PM
Engines are RL10. Source on 40-50 tons propellant instead of 70? Tank size looks to be pretty much identical in the renders released
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: spacenut on 01/16/2018 04:52 PM
Could the Centaur V evolve into ACES?  Or are the two incompatible? 
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: envy887 on 01/16/2018 04:54 PM
Could the Centaur V evolve into ACES?  Or are the two incompatible?

ACES is basically a bigger Centaur, so yes. A tank stretch plus some IVF hardware upgrades (and maybe more engines) would probably be the only difference between Centaur V and ACES.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: spacenut on 01/16/2018 05:38 PM
So Centaur V would have common bulkhead and basically the same engine(s).  Seems like one BE-3U with variable thrust would be the ideal.  Thrust would depend on weight or mass plus orbit or deep space applications.  Only one engine to deal with. 

So could Centaur V be a good upper stage for SLS?  Especially for deep space probes and lunar applications? 
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Lars-J on 01/16/2018 06:32 PM
Could the Centaur V evolve into ACES?  Or are the two incompatible?

ACES is basically a bigger Centaur, so yes. A tank stretch plus some IVF hardware upgrades (and maybe more engines) would probably be the only difference between Centaur V and ACES.

Right, Centaur V is basically proto-ACES. It will become ACES, once additional features are added.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: spacenut on 01/16/2018 06:56 PM
How much capability does Centaur V have over the existing Centaur they were originally going to use?
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: brickmack on 01/16/2018 08:21 PM
EUS is probably going to carry 120+ tonnes of propellant, a much bigger stage than Centaur 5.

EUS also has a pretty low mass ratio, due to the separate bulkheads, huge truss structure, hypergolic RCS, etc. With a 40 ton payload (the mass SLS 1B is notionally supposed to deliver to TLI), ACES should be able to complete a delta v of 4170 m/s, while EUS can deliver the same payload mass to 5050 m/s. So its weaker, but not hugely so. And this difference will probably be mostly made up for (and maybe exceeded) by SLS's boosters/core stage having to lift ~50 tons less to the staging point, and by ACES having near-zero boiloff (EUS loses considerable propellant mass just sitting around waiting for TLI). The zero-boiloff capability also means that ACES could be used to directly insert the payload at lunar orbit, which helps a lot of Orion/DSG's performance problems. And if you allow for ACES to be refueled in LEO first (SLS only being necessary because the mass of the payload itself is too high for any other launcher even to get to LEO), it can deliver upwards of 60 tons to TLI, better than even the most optimistic targets for Block 2. Big downside though would be the small fairing diameter, so it'd depend on how volumetrically large the needed payloads actually are.

Main upside though would be cost/schedule. ACES is pretty close in external dimensions to iCPS, might be possible to fit it with much smaller upgrades to the ML, which could shave years off the schedule. And development and manufacturing cost would be covered/shared by ULA, saving probably billions on development and tens of millions per flight on hardware. Even if there was some performance loss, I think thats worth it.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Sknowball on 01/16/2018 10:00 PM
Engines are RL10. Source on 40-50 tons propellant instead of 70? Tank size looks to be pretty much identical in the renders released
It is a guesstimate, based on the performance needed to meet the EELV requirements.  The lower propellant number also seems to me likely to be able to be boosted by only two RL10s.  Since a two-engine Centaur is already being developed for Commercial Crew, it makes sense that this would still be a "Centaur", though with a fatter tank.  But these are guesses.  ULA could surprise.

 - Ed Kyle

I get where 40-50 tons of prop makes sense (and respect the work you do Ed) from the perspective of meeting minimum EELV, but given that ULA has focused a lot of effort on minimize ground support changes for Vulcan does producing a squat Centaur (given that ACES was always listed as the same height as Centaur III) make sense from this perspective?  The only hard facts I have heard on Centaur V were the  various confirmations (https://www.reddit.com/r/ula/comments/76ysr9/bigelow_aerospace_and_united_launch_alliance/dop71rb/) of 5.4m diameter and Jon Goff's statement regarding Centaur V based Ixion being 310m3.  Given that the Ixion mission module, according to Mike Johnson (minutes 30-37) (https://mainenginecutoff.com/podcast/20), started with the ARCTUS concept (http://www.ulalaunch.com/uploads/docs/Published_Papers/EELV_ISS/AstrotechResearchConventionalTechnologyUtilizationSpacecraftARCTUS20076130.pdf)(and used it's dimensions in the initial proposal) could be fun exercise to try and figure out how much of that 310m3 is Centaur V and how much is everything else (assuming the mission module has not evolved beyond the initial proposal volume).

Quote
With up to 310 m3 habitable volume Ixion is the largest single element station since SkyLab

How do you get this number, isn't the Centaur relatively small? Some of the volume would be in the "mission module" but that looks small. Are you counting an additional cygnus-like module on top?

Hydrolox density is about 360 kg/m so the current centaur with 23 ton of propellant would have ~60 m3 of volume. 310 m3 volume would hold more than 100 tons of hydrolox.

That number is based on the Centaur V stage, and associated mission module and docking tunnel. You are correct that the Centaur III version is much smaller.

~Jon
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Sknowball on 01/16/2018 10:04 PM
Could the Centaur V evolve into ACES?  Or are the two incompatible?

ACES is basically a bigger Centaur, so yes. A tank stretch plus some IVF hardware upgrades (and maybe more engines) would probably be the only difference between Centaur V and ACES.

I suspect MLI will also be an ACES enhancement.

Quote
1) As you observed, ACES has been updated to an inline design. Tank pressure requirements to satisfy ascent structure are similar to that required to prevent engine cavitation, thus ACES will still achieve the high mass fraction.

2) Yes, we will use a common docking interface for both the Distributed Launch propellant tanks and the B330.

3) ACES will be encapsulated in MLI (multi-layer insulation) to reduce the LH2 & LO2 boil off. MLI that can survive ascent aerodynamic forces is one of the many innovations being incorporated into ACES to enable refueling, long mission durations and numerous burns.

Bernard Kutter ULA Chief Scientist
https://www.reddit.com/r/ula/comments/76ysr9/bigelow_aerospace_and_united_launch_alliance/doova5k/
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: john smith 19 on 01/16/2018 11:22 PM

EUS also has a pretty low mass ratio, due to the separate bulkheads, huge truss structure, hypergolic RCS, etc.
IIRC SLS is going to test a version of IVF.

Does anyone know if that will be on the first flight? If so it would do a lot to raise the TRL level for fitting it on Centaur 5 sooner rather than later.

I think IVF is a major enabler of lower internal costs for ULA (and it's a really neat hack which should be applicable to nearly any system, given how Titan did its tank pressurization).  It also opens up the options for using a ULA US for trajectory changes, post Earth departure
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Sknowball on 01/17/2018 12:14 AM

EUS also has a pretty low mass ratio, due to the separate bulkheads, huge truss structure, hypergolic RCS, etc.
IIRC SLS is going to test a version of IVF.

Does anyone know if that will be on the first flight? If so it would do a lot to raise the TRL level for fitting it on Centaur 5 sooner rather than later.

I think IVF is a major enabler of lower internal costs for ULA (and it's a really neat hack which should be applicable to nearly any system, given how Titan did its tank pressurization).  It also opens up the options for using a ULA US for trajectory changes, post Earth departure

The IVF study for SLS was on integrating it into the EUS(so EM-2 or later), last update on this was at the NASA NAC TI&E meeting in July when the study was reported as complete.  Slide 15 https://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/atoms/files/nac_july2017_flores_tdm_irma_tagged.pdf

Outside of this document a NTRS report was published on numerical modeling of the IVF system in October
https://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/20170008954.pdf

I get the feeling that as we have not heard anything since the study was completed that they opted not to included it in EUS.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: woods170 on 01/17/2018 06:43 AM

When there are no winning arguments about the launch vehicle, the goal posts move to 'more interesting missions.'

It was never about the launch vehicles, it was always about the missions.  It has been the fan boys that have made about the launch vehicles, first it was shuttle, then it was Direct and now it is Falcon 9.

NROL, Juno, MSL, STSS Demo, X-37, MRO, SBIRS, etc are all more interesting than F9 comsat launch.


Tell that to the owners of comsats. Those are generally very interested in the launch of their comsats but couldn't care less about a random X-37 launch.

Whether or not a mission is interesting is a matter of personal opinion. Jim just tried to generalize his personal opinion with his "It was never about the launch vehicles, it was always about the missions" remark.

Based on Jim's comment above we now understand that he finds the highlighted missions more interesting than comsat launches. Fine, that is his personal opinion and he is entitled to have on.

Personally I find all orbital launches equally interesting, because I don't look at what is being launched but at the outcome of the launch.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: TrevorMonty on 01/17/2018 07:23 AM
A 30-40t topup of EUS in LEO would give SLS 1B equivalent of block 2 performance.  If ULA are already doing DL then all NASA needs to do is upgrade EUS to flight proven systems and pay for fuel launch. NB topups are not limited to 30-40t, more fuel more capability.

 TDM paper also reported on HIAD, a commercial interests wanted to speed things up and possibly include Mid Air Recovery. No company mentioned but its good bet that commercial interest is ULA.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: AncientU on 01/17/2018 02:00 PM
A 30-40t topup of EUS in LEO would give SLS 1B equivalent of block 2 performance.  If ULA are already doing DL then all NASA needs to do is upgrade EUS to flight proven systems and pay for fuel launch. NB topups are not limited to 30-40t, more fuel more capability.

 TDM paper also reported on HIAD, a commercial interests wanted to speed things up and possibly include Mid Air Recovery. No company mentioned but its good bet that commercial interest is ULA.

EUS isn't being designed to be refueled AFAIK, which is shortsighted.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: john smith 19 on 01/17/2018 11:21 PM
The IVF study for SLS was on integrating it into the EUS(so EM-2 or later), last update on this was at the NASA NAC TI&E meeting in July when the study was reported as complete.  Slide 15 https://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/atoms/files/nac_july2017_flores_tdm_irma_tagged.pdf

Outside of this document a NTRS report was published on numerical modeling of the IVF system in October
https://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/20170008954.pdf

I get the feeling that as we have not heard anything since the study was completed that they opted not to included it in EUS.
Thanks for those references.  The numeric modelling was particularly interesting.  It looks like they are either at, or close to, flight hardware.

ULA have talked about an IVF flight test this year, which is looking like the earliest possible. If  that happens (and it works out well) that suggests they could launch Centaur 5 with IVF. That would "front load" most (all?) the new tech into the design. This sounds quite risky (by ULA standards) but dramatically shortens the development schedule

IIRC some of the IVF work suggested that just routing the flow from the pressurization pumps to a separate thrust chamber could generate 12000lb of thrust, without starting the RL10.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: TrevorMonty on 01/18/2018 03:00 AM
I thought ICE driven pumps are good for 1200lbs LH/LOX engine not 12000lbs. The IVF package also 300lbs gas thrusters plus smaller ones.

There is no 1200lbs engine fitted but could be low cost option instead of RL10s in some situations eg OTV where gravity losses aren't an issue.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: john smith 19 on 01/18/2018 02:58 PM
I thought ICE driven pumps are good for 1200lbs LH/LOX engine not 12000lbs. The IVF package also 300lbs gas thrusters plus smaller ones.

There is no 1200lbs engine fitted but could be low cost option instead of RL10s in some situations eg OTV where gravity losses aren't an issue.
You may be right, it sounds high and I'm depending on my memory rather than routing out the reference.  :(

TBH I wasn't quite sure where they were going with the idea, it seemed too low for use on Earth and too high for conventional orientation, prop settling or docking.

Landing a loaded stage on the Moon under Lunar gravity?
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: FutureSpaceTourist on 01/18/2018 06:37 PM
Quote
[Tom] Tshudy [ULA]: no downselect yet on Vulcan engine, but anticipate it “this year.”

https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/954065403449364486
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Space Ghost 1962 on 01/18/2018 07:37 PM

EUS also has a pretty low mass ratio, due to the separate bulkheads, huge truss structure, hypergolic RCS, etc.
IIRC SLS is going to test a version of IVF.

Does anyone know if that will be on the first flight? If so it would do a lot to raise the TRL level for fitting it on Centaur 5 sooner rather than later.

I think IVF is a major enabler of lower internal costs for ULA (and it's a really neat hack which should be applicable to nearly any system, given how Titan did its tank pressurization).  It also opens up the options for using a ULA US for trajectory changes, post Earth departure

The IVF study for SLS was on integrating it into the EUS(so EM-2 or later), last update on this was at the NASA NAC TI&E meeting in July when the study was reported as complete.  Slide 15 https://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/atoms/files/nac_july2017_flores_tdm_irma_tagged.pdf

Outside of this document a NTRS report was published on numerical modeling of the IVF system in October
https://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/20170008954.pdf

I get the feeling that as we have not heard anything since the study was completed that they opted not to included it in EUS.
Another interpretation is possible.

IVF and potentially docking could give both Vulcan and SLS an advantage if they needed it. Consider ACES being built to allow on-orbit refueling of EUS, where a larger SLS payload could be lofted to LEO with an ACES (or more) with tank extension for refuel.

This would be one way to keep to block 1b LV why allowing exploration flights to inject massive payloads to C3 destinations. It would also flesh out Vulcan manifest considerably

It's the kind of "last minute addition" one could keep as a card to toss out should SLS ever appear in jeopardy.

Also, a long duration EUS, like ACES, might consider such propellant depot activity in EML/LLO/NRO/other locations to support exploration as well.

SLS "hamburger helper"?

add:

"Anything BFS can do ... Vulcan could do better. Vulcan can do anything better than it. No it can. Yes it won't ..."

With apologies to:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WO23WBji_Z0
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: john smith 19 on 01/19/2018 10:29 AM
Another interpretation is possible.

IVF and potentially docking could give both Vulcan and SLS an advantage if they needed it. Consider ACES being built to allow on-orbit refueling of EUS, where a larger SLS payload could be lofted to LEO with an ACES (or more) with tank extension for refuel.

This would be one way to keep to block 1b LV why allowing exploration flights to inject massive payloads to C3 destinations. It would also flesh out Vulcan manifest considerably

It's the kind of "last minute addition" one could keep as a card to toss out should SLS ever appear in jeopardy.

Also, a long duration EUS, like ACES, might consider such propellant depot activity in EML/LLO/NRO/other locations to support exploration as well.

SLS "hamburger helper"?

add:

"Anything BFS can do ... Vulcan could do better. Vulcan can do anything better than it. No it can. Yes it won't ..."

With apologies to:


That's sounds unusually upbeat for you on SLS.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Space Ghost 1962 on 01/19/2018 05:00 PM
Another interpretation is possible.

IVF and potentially docking could give both Vulcan and SLS an advantage if they needed it. Consider ACES being built to allow on-orbit refueling of EUS, where a larger SLS payload could be lofted to LEO with an ACES (or more) with tank extension for refuel.

This would be one way to keep to block 1b LV why allowing exploration flights to inject massive payloads to C3 destinations. It would also flesh out Vulcan manifest considerably

It's the kind of "last minute addition" one could keep as a card to toss out should SLS ever appear in jeopardy.

Also, a long duration EUS, like ACES, might consider such propellant depot activity in EML/LLO/NRO/other locations to support exploration as well.

SLS "hamburger helper"?

add:

"Anything BFS can do ... Vulcan could do better. Vulcan can do anything better than it. No it can. Yes it won't ..."

With apologies to:


That's sounds unusually upbeat for you on SLS.
Misread. Explaining options, not into it for "team sports" like many here. All such teams have interesting "plays" possible.

If there is an agenda, just one of seeing the best in all possible, as a means of avoiding the worst in each.

And, there is a certain humor present in this instance of "strange bedfellows". Usually SLS is at odds with anything new, or commercial space. They've certainly defeated both commercial space (ULA) and propellant depots before.

Perhaps a desperate refuge if needed? One reason you'd leave it silently present, as a hidden fallback?

In any event it would work. It would also be a graceful way of leaving the government launcher program, by first getting out of the "even bigger" LV game.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: mme on 01/19/2018 05:36 PM
Quote
[Tom] Tshudy [ULA]: no downselect yet on Vulcan engine, but anticipate it “this year.”

https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/954065403449364486
I was expecting/hoping for something more like this quarter.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Sknowball on 01/19/2018 06:46 PM
New published paper on ULA website from the AIAA SciTech Conference earlier this month.  Presentation was by Bernard Kutter titled:
"Transportation Enabling a Robust Space Economy" (http://www.ulalaunch.com/uploads/docs/Published_Papers/Commercial_Space/Transportation_Enabling_a_Robust_Space_Economy_AIAASciTech2018.pdf)

Some slides we had seen previously, gives some updated numbers for Vulcan/ACES lift both single launch and distributed launch.

Launch MethodEarth EscapeGSO/Lunar OrbitLunar Surface
Single Launch14mT10mT3.8mT
Distributed Launch30mT24mT12mT
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Space Ghost 1962 on 01/19/2018 07:14 PM
Quote
[Tom] Tshudy [ULA]: no downselect yet on Vulcan engine, but anticipate it “this year.”

https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/954065403449364486
I was expecting/hoping for something more like this quarter.
Me too.

Sounds like BO has its hands full taming the beast, and that will proceed "gradatim".

Doesn't present an opening for AR-1 (as they are not progressing all that fast either), but no means to accelerate Vulcan also.

Things will become more drawn out. Becoming more clear why Centaur V was added to the picture - the timing allowed it, the means to answer govt procurement with a singular vehicle with "dial-a-rocket" solids, the overlap with DIVH/FH, and ULA/SX costing to lockout Northrup Grumman NGL as a new entrant.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: oldAtlas_Eguy on 01/19/2018 08:56 PM
New published paper on ULA website from the AIAA SciTech Conference earlier this month.  Presentation was by Bernard Kutter titled:
"Transportation Enabling a Robust Space Economy" (http://www.ulalaunch.com/uploads/docs/Published_Papers/Commercial_Space/Transportation_Enabling_a_Robust_Space_Economy_AIAASciTech2018.pdf)

Some slides we had seen previously, gives some updated numbers for Vulcan/ACES lift both single launch and distributed launch.

Launch MethodEarth EscapeGSO/Lunar OrbitLunar Surface
Single Launch14mT10mT3.8mT
Distributed Launch30mT24mT12mT
The Apollo Lunar Module was 15.5mt. I think a slight mass shrinkage could be done such that Vulcan/ACES DL could be a system that supports manned Lunar operations.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: GWH on 01/19/2018 09:36 PM
The Apollo Lunar Module was 15.5mt. I think a slight mass shrinkage could be done such that Vulcan/ACES DL could be a system that supports manned Lunar operations.

No mass shrinkage needed* - that's the fully fueled LM launch mass.  All one would need is the empty Ascent Module, and at 2.15mt the ACES could land and return to LLO 2 of them, plus change.

*For the landed mass with distributed launch.  Fully fueled Lunar Ascent Module was 4.7mt, a little shy of the landed mass of a single launch ACES.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: TrevorMonty on 01/19/2018 11:23 PM
2 x launches to deliver 24mt fuel to LLO for Xeus human lander.
1 or 2 tanker launches to topup OTV.
1 x launch of crew to LEO in starliner, where crew board OTV ie ACES with habitat module for LLO round trip.

Return to LEO on OTV (propulsive LEO entry) and transfer to Starliner.

Setup missions
2 x launches for Bigelow BA330.
1 x OTV to LEO.
1x Xeus to LLO.

ULA and its owners could do this. Big ticket item is crew lander. OTV can reuse Orions systems.
Lunar fuel would eventually reduce number of launches to 1 crew launch.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: john smith 19 on 01/21/2018 01:00 AM
The Apollo Lunar Module was 15.5mt. I think a slight mass shrinkage could be done such that Vulcan/ACES DL could be a system that supports manned Lunar operations.
I'd expect the lander to do substantially better, if they use either Methalox or Hydralox for the ascent/descent fuel. Both have substantially better Isp. I know it's a cliche, and other systems don't have the scope for weight reduction, but the Apollo Guidance Computer was 90lbs. A machine with equal capacity would be in ounces.  I think batteries would also be better, but I don't have numbers. JPL have also done a lot of work for radically smaller hardware for probes that use the DSN for comms, which I presume this would.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: WindnWar on 01/21/2018 03:22 AM
The Apollo Lunar Module was 15.5mt. I think a slight mass shrinkage could be done such that Vulcan/ACES DL could be a system that supports manned Lunar operations.
I'd expect the lander to do substantially better, if they use either Methalox or Hydralox for the ascent/descent fuel. Both have substantially better Isp. I know it's a cliche, and other systems don't have the scope for weight reduction, but the Apollo Guidance Computer was 90lbs. A machine with equal capacity would be in ounces.  I think batteries would also be better, but I don't have numbers. JPL have also done a lot of work for radically smaller hardware for probes that use the DSN for comms, which I presume this would.

Given the batteries used were Silver-Zinc, the energy density of the best lithium cells is only equal or slightly better, however they can be recharged multiple times unlike the Silver-Zinc batteries. Add solar arrays to recharge with and more power efficient systems and you could lighten the weight by needing fewer batteries due to recharge capability and less power draw. That's your best option for weight reduction of the power systems, since the LEM had no ability to recharge during it's stay. The LEM had a 28 volt DC system with just shy of 2700 amp hours of capacity which is 75 kilowatt hours of power in 920 pounds of batteries.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Llian Rhydderch on 01/21/2018 04:17 AM

That said while individual spacecraft are interesting, and all those non comsat spacecraft are more interesting than comsats, I would suggest that what is MOST interesting is how the market is changing. And why. Because I think it is... reduction in launch cost is just starting and the changes MAY be of epic proportions.. Not the vehicles, not the payloads, the market as a whole, that's where the really interesting stuff is.


Indeed; it is the market that is changing.

Now, economic drivers--rather than the political incentives that drove much of the US space industrial complex procurement for the first five decades of humans possessing spaceflight technology--are what matters.

It is not about whose rocket is cool with this or that engine or vehicle technology; in the end, it's all about the competition that is finally being seen in the launch market. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_launch_market_competition)

Edit:  fixed typo
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: TrevorMonty on 01/21/2018 06:24 AM
The Apollo Lunar Module was 15.5mt. I think a slight mass shrinkage could be done such that Vulcan/ACES DL could be a system that supports manned Lunar operations.
I'd expect the lander to do substantially better, if they use either Methalox or Hydralox for the ascent/descent fuel. Both have substantially better Isp. I know it's a cliche, and other systems don't have the scope for weight reduction, but the Apollo Guidance Computer was 90lbs. A machine with equal capacity would be in ounces.  I think batteries would also be better, but I don't have numbers. JPL have also done a lot of work for radically smaller hardware for probes that use the DSN for comms, which I presume this would.

Given the batteries used were Silver-Zinc, the energy density of the best lithium cells is only equal or slightly better, however they can be recharged multiple times unlike the Silver-Zinc batteries. Add solar arrays to recharge with and more power efficient systems and you could lighten the weight by needing fewer batteries due to recharge capability and less power draw. That's your best option for weight reduction of the power systems, since the LEM had no ability to recharge during it's stay. The LEM had a 28 volt DC system with just shy of 2700 amp hours of capacity which is 75 kilowatt hours of power in 920 pounds of batteries.
One idea for lander is to use Centuar stage with IVF for landing a storable propellant ascent stage. While on surface surplus  Hydralox provides power, water and oxygen for crew.

While more complex it solves fuel storage issue for weeks plus Ascent stage doubles as LAS during descent.

If ISRU fuel is available then descent stage could do ascent as well, saving ascent stage fuel for emergencies only.

Edit/Lar: Pretty sure the wrong posts quoted... (they were about the market, not lunar power) so I edited to put my guess at what was being responded to. If wrong. TrevorMonty should edit the post to correct.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: john smith 19 on 01/21/2018 10:00 AM
One idea for lander is to use Centuar stage with IVF for landing a storable propellant ascent stage. While on surface surplus  Hydralox provides power, water and oxygen for crew.

While more complex it solves fuel storage issue for weeks plus Ascent stage doubles as LAS during descent.

If ISRU fuel is available then descent stage could do ascent as well, saving ascent stage fuel for emergencies only.
I'll just note that Shuttle demonstrated storage of H2 and O2 in supercritical form (for the fuel cells) for up to 2 weeks. I would expect being 100s times further away from the Earth (with the radically improved heat management coating that are becoming available) that would substantially simpler.

I think Methalox should be a contender for any new Lunar project.
Given the batteries used were Silver-Zinc, the energy density of the best lithium cells is only equal or slightly better, however they can be recharged multiple times unlike the Silver-Zinc batteries. Add solar arrays to recharge with and more power efficient systems and you could lighten the weight by needing fewer batteries due to recharge capability and less power draw. That's your best option for weight reduction of the power systems, since the LEM had no ability to recharge during it's stay. The LEM had a 28 volt DC system with just shy of 2700 amp hours of capacity which is 75 kilowatt hours of power in 920 pounds of batteries.
Thanks for that data point. I'd remembered the battery tech was very high performance (and expensive, and temperamental)
TBH I'd expect the real gains would be in all the surrounding mass of the various "black boxes" they were powering. The huge growth in satellite receivers and mobile phones means GHz RF devices are no longer very exotic parts with a very small number of engineers familiar with their use (the widespread availability of specialist software tools has also helped).

IOW what took a board of parts in its own (heavy) box can be shrunk to a small part of a small board in a single bigger box (the same tactic Douglas used to half the estimated weight of its carrier fighter bomber).

The downside is of course the expectations of what a new vehicle are would be much higher, casuing weight growth. That said deploying a PV array would change thing quite a lot regarding mission flife.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: clongton on 01/21/2018 12:32 PM
I'd expect the lander to do substantially better, if they use either Methalox or Hydralox for the ascent/descent fuel. Both have substantially better Isp. I know it's a cliche, and other systems don't have the scope for weight reduction, but the Apollo Guidance Computer was 90lbs. A machine with equal capacity would be in ounces.  I think batteries would also be better, but I don't have numbers. JPL have also done a lot of work for radically smaller hardware for probes that use the DSN for comms, which I presume this would.

Add the extensive use of carbon fiber in lieu of aluminum and the mass of the structure would drop considerably.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Jim on 01/21/2018 05:07 PM

That said while individual spacecraft are interesting, and all those non comsat spacecraft are more interesting than comsats, I would suggest that what is MOST interesting is how the market is changing. And why. Because I think it is... reduction in launch cost is just starting and the changes MAY be of epic proportions.. Not the vehicles, not the payloads, the market as a whole, that's where the really interesting stuff is.


Indeed; it is the market that is changing.

Now, economic drivers--rather than the political incentives that drove much of the US space industrial complex procurement for the first five decades of humans possessing spaceflight technology--are what matters.

It is not about whose rocket is cool with this or that engine or vehicle technology; in the end, it's all about the competition that is finally being seen in the launch market. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_launch_market_competition)



Counting your chickens before they hatch. 
This could just be a temporary blip
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: john smith 19 on 01/21/2018 06:02 PM
Add the extensive use of carbon fiber in lieu of aluminum and the mass of the structure would drop considerably.
True. I don't know how accurate Apollo 13" was in this regard but it did look like the seats and the control panels were built like tanks. I would expect CF to be an element of that.

I would also expect a lot fewer special purpose instruments and more "multi function" displays.

I'm not familiar with Apollo but Shuttle was reckoned to have about 1200 switches and meters in the cockpit.
Obviously a capsule would be simpler but there how much simpler?
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: deruch on 01/21/2018 06:19 PM

That said while individual spacecraft are interesting, and all those non comsat spacecraft are more interesting than comsats, I would suggest that what is MOST interesting is how the market is changing. And why. Because I think it is... reduction in launch cost is just starting and the changes MAY be of epic proportions.. Not the vehicles, not the payloads, the market as a whole, that's where the really interesting stuff is.


Indeed; it is the market that is changing.

Now, economic drivers--rather than the political incentives that drove much of the US space industrial complex procurement for the first five decades of humans possessing spaceflight technology--are what matters.

It is not about whose rocket is cool with this or that engine or vehicle technology; in the end, it's all about the competition that is finally being seen in the launch market. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_launch_market_competition)



Counting your chickens before they hatch. 
This could just be a temporary blip

Yes, but it has already started to shift incumbents.  If the current trend is a blip, will things revert?  I'm not sure they would, regardless of who's still around to compete tomorrow.  If nothing else, there's proof that new blood can overcome the traditional barriers to entry. 
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: AncientU on 01/22/2018 04:44 PM
Every established player in the market is replacing its core vehicle(s) or retiring them... even some that have brilliant launch success records.  Having that happen simultaneously is not coincidence; the market is changing.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: brickmack on 01/22/2018 06:57 PM
One idea for lander is to use Centuar stage with IVF for landing a storable propellant ascent stage. While on surface surplus  Hydralox provides power, water and oxygen for crew.

While more complex it solves fuel storage issue for weeks plus Ascent stage doubles as LAS during descent.

If ISRU fuel is available then descent stage could do ascent as well, saving ascent stage fuel for emergencies only.

Edit/Lar: Pretty sure the wrong posts quoted... (they were about the market, not lunar power) so I edited to put my guess at what was being responded to. If wrong. TrevorMonty should edit the post to correct.

I tweeted Tory Bruno a while ago about XEUS landing/ascent engines, he confirmed XEUS is fully hydrolox. I guess the hypergolic ascent stage would have only been used on the Lockheed/Centaur III-era dual thrust-axis lander concept, not XEUS. Plus, look at the way XEUS is configured: The ascent stage engines are the same ones (plus another set on the aft end of the craft) used for terminal descent. So every landing and ascent will use a couple hundred m/s worth of hypergolic propellant, regardless of whether or not an abort is needed. Which means only the first mission would have actual abort/contingency ascent capability, and the vehicle would only be able to do a couple landings without having a way to replenish the hypergols. Not likely given how much effort ULA has gone to to eliminate all fluids except hydrogen and oxygen. Only way around this would be some sort of dual-mode hydrolox/hypergolic engine, but I'm not aware of any such engine having ever been developed.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: A_M_Swallow on 01/23/2018 02:02 AM
One idea for lander is to use Centuar stage with IVF for landing a storable propellant ascent stage. While on surface surplus  Hydralox provides power, water and oxygen for crew.

While more complex it solves fuel storage issue for weeks plus Ascent stage doubles as LAS during descent.

If ISRU fuel is available then descent stage could do ascent as well, saving ascent stage fuel for emergencies only.

Edit/Lar: Pretty sure the wrong posts quoted... (they were about the market, not lunar power) so I edited to put my guess at what was being responded to. If wrong. TrevorMonty should edit the post to correct.

I tweeted Tory Bruno a while ago about XEUS landing/ascent engines, he confirmed XEUS is fully hydrolox. I guess the hypergolic ascent stage would have only been used on the Lockheed/Centaur III-era dual thrust-axis lander concept, not XEUS. Plus, look at the way XEUS is configured: The ascent stage engines are the same ones (plus another set on the aft end of the craft) used for terminal descent. So every landing and ascent will use a couple hundred m/s worth of hypergolic propellant, regardless of whether or not an abort is needed. Which means only the first mission would have actual abort/contingency ascent capability, and the vehicle would only be able to do a couple landings without having a way to replenish the hypergols. Not likely given how much effort ULA has gone to to eliminate all fluids except hydrogen and oxygen. Only way around this would be some sort of dual-mode hydrolox/hypergolic engine, but I'm not aware of any such engine having ever been developed.

The Project Morpheus flying test bed had a methane/oxygen Reaction Control System (RCS).  The RCS produced 5–15 pounds-force (22–67 N) of thrust. Mini hydro-lox could be developed.
Ref: https://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/20110014049_2011014322.pdf (https://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/20110014049_2011014322.pdf)
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: brickmack on 01/23/2018 04:01 AM
Tons of small cryogenic rocket engines exist. Not dual mode ones that can also burn hypergolics, which was my point
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: woods170 on 01/23/2018 07:05 AM
It is not about whose rocket is cool with this or that engine or vehicle technology; in the end, it's all about the competition that is finally being seen in the launch market. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_launch_market_competition)

Counting your chickens before they hatch. 
This could just be a temporary blip
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: woods170 on 01/24/2018 07:02 AM
As far as I can tell ULA did only one PDR, and that was not for the AR-1 engine.
Explicitly for the BE4, in the Vulcan (Common) Centaur configuration at the time.

[ULA press release, March 2016 (http://www.ulalaunch.com/ula-completes-Vulcan-Centaur-PDR.aspx)]

The introduction of Centaur V makes tracking the CDR(s) a bit more complex to track

At least two more CDR events coming IMO:

- Second part of the Vulcan CDR (possibly triggered by final main-stage engine choice)
- Delta CDR to accommodate Centaur V
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: TinkerLaspeyrs on 01/24/2018 10:28 AM
Reading the NexGen ELA LLC Report - EvolvableLunarArchitecture.pdf link from one of the forum topics and page 18 contains 'The Vulcan uses the Sensible Modular Autonomous Return Technology (SMART) to return the new low-cost BE-4 engines and avionic package.'.
If this 'low cost' is true then why would ULA bother. If they are truly low cost then will not the development and operations cost of separating and plucking them out of the air, for a decreasing percentage of overall launches by the time they might attempt it (202x, where x = large digit of your choice), offset their used/reuse value? I like surprises but IMO FWIW PNM (Probably Not Much - which is not in AcronymFinder) I suspect it might never happen and maybe persisting with promoting the concept may diminish their future credibility. But then, the report was written in 2015 which is at least 10 years before SMART is not going to happen. Switching Cynical mode off now, back to Entertainment.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: TrevorMonty on 01/24/2018 01:16 PM
Low cost relative to RD180 and Atlas, not low cost relative to Vulcan build cost.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: ethan829 on 01/24/2018 01:18 PM
As far as I can tell ULA did only one PDR, and that was not for the AR-1 engine.
Explicitly for the BE4, in the Vulcan (Common) Centaur configuration at the time.

[ULA press release, March 2016 (http://www.ulalaunch.com/ula-completes-Vulcan-Centaur-PDR.aspx)]

The introduction of Centaur V makes tracking the CDR(s) a bit more complex to track


I can't find it now, but I swear I remember hearing that a PDR for an AR1-powered Vulcan was supposed to shortly follow that BE-4 version.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Kabloona on 01/24/2018 02:37 PM
As far as I can tell ULA did only one PDR, and that was not for the AR-1 engine.
Explicitly for the BE4, in the Vulcan (Common) Centaur configuration at the time.

[ULA press release, March 2016 (http://www.ulalaunch.com/ula-completes-Vulcan-Centaur-PDR.aspx)]

The introduction of Centaur V makes tracking the CDR(s) a bit more complex to track

I can't find it now, but I swear I remember hearing that a PDR for an AR1-powered Vulcan was supposed to shortly follow that BE-4 version.


You may be recalling jongoff's post on the subject (almost 2 yrs ago) saying an AR-1 version of Vulcan was going to be at "PDR status" shortly. Which is not the same thing as actually going through a formal PDR. They may have gotten the design to that level of maturity but decided not to spend the manpower to really PDR it.

https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=39852.msg1507808#msg1507808
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: envy887 on 01/24/2018 04:55 PM
From what I understand from friends I have at ULA, they are working towards a single CDR.

No, that is wrong. Tony Bruno reported via Twitter that CDR had begun. (https://twitter.com/torybruno/status/938594215235280896) That was well over a month ago.

They haven't formally chosen an engine yet. And with it comes the choice of fuel. For BE-4 that is LNG and for AR-1 it is RP-1.

The result is two different sets of requirements for mixture ratio, tankage volume, vehicle plumbing, GSE set-up, etc. etc. etc.

What I suspect is that ULA has been designing the vehicle as "generic" as possible to make CDR, with specific components having been designed twice (for AR-1 vs BE-4).

But once the engine choice has been made it is a safe bet that a series of delta-CDR's is coming to accommodate the design-changes, and final designs, resulting from the final engine-choice.

A 5.4 meter RP-1 booster the same height as Atlas would be too heavy for two AR-1s to lift - it would have nearly double the prop mass, and only ~16% more thrust than the 401 which already barely gets off the pad. Since they are tooling and building tank qual panels at 5.4 meters, either:
1) they would build the RP-1 booster shorter than Atlas or have dead space in the interstage to match heights, or
2) they have are already tooling up for BE-4 and simply aren't making the down-select official yet (possibly because they would keep Atlas tooling for the RP-1 design, and scrap the 5.4 meter tooling).

IMO they have unofficially chosen BE-4 (thus the 5.4 meter tooling) and are highly unlikely to go back to RP-1.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: lrk on 01/25/2018 01:56 AM
A 5.4 meter RP-1 booster the same height as Atlas would be too heavy for two AR-1s to lift - it would have nearly double the prop mass, and only ~16% more thrust than the 401 which already barely gets off the pad. Since they are tooling and building tank qual panels at 5.4 meters, either:
1) they would build the RP-1 booster shorter than Atlas or have dead space in the interstage to match heights, or
2) they have are already tooling up for BE-4 and simply aren't making the down-select official yet (possibly because they would keep Atlas tooling for the RP-1 design, and scrap the 5.4 meter tooling).

Or they could just build it the same size and partially fuel it, and load more propellant when flying with SRBs. 
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Rocket Surgeon on 01/25/2018 07:13 AM
A 5.4 meter RP-1 booster the same height as Atlas would be too heavy for two AR-1s to lift - it would have nearly double the prop mass, and only ~16% more thrust than the 401 which already barely gets off the pad. Since they are tooling and building tank qual panels at 5.4 meters, either:
1) they would build the RP-1 booster shorter than Atlas or have dead space in the interstage to match heights, or
2) they have are already tooling up for BE-4 and simply aren't making the down-select official yet (possibly because they would keep Atlas tooling for the RP-1 design, and scrap the 5.4 meter tooling).

Or they could just build it the same size and partially fuel it, and load more propellant when flying with SRBs.

Or they could chuck more AR-1's under it.... unlikely but it would be very cool!
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: brickmack on 01/25/2018 04:00 PM
Would be pretty close then to the 5 meter Atlas Phase II concept from years ago. But it'd also ~double the propulsion cost, with an already more expensive engine. Probably a no-go unless SMART/similar was included from the beginning.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: envy887 on 01/25/2018 05:12 PM
A 5.4 meter RP-1 booster the same height as Atlas would be too heavy for two AR-1s to lift - it would have nearly double the prop mass, and only ~16% more thrust than the 401 which already barely gets off the pad. Since they are tooling and building tank qual panels at 5.4 meters, either:
1) they would build the RP-1 booster shorter than Atlas or have dead space in the interstage to match heights, or
2) they have are already tooling up for BE-4 and simply aren't making the down-select official yet (possibly because they would keep Atlas tooling for the RP-1 design, and scrap the 5.4 meter tooling).

Or they could just build it the same size and partially fuel it, and load more propellant when flying with SRBs.

That wastes expensive dry mass. The point of dial-a-SRB is not to have a much less efficient and more expensive base rocket.

IMO the only way they brought two designs to CDR is if AR-1 is basically a drop-in for RD-180 on Atlas boosters. But the 5.4 meter BE-4 design is the one they have been showing off, so the decision seems all but final. AR-1 on CCB might be a backup if Blue can't deliver.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: brickmack on 01/25/2018 05:52 PM
Bruno confirmed yesterday on reddit that AR-1 Vulcan has resized tanks and redesigned feedlines and 6 SRBs. Sounds like a pretty much new core stage, even if the physical interfaces between the engine and structures were identical
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: envy887 on 01/26/2018 02:40 AM
Bruno confirmed yesterday on reddit that AR-1 Vulcan has resized tanks and redesigned feedlines and 6 SRBs. Sounds like a pretty much new core stage, even if the physical interfaces between the engine and structures were identical

Interesting. I wonder what diameter and if they are also building that tooling already.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: woods170 on 01/26/2018 05:46 AM
Bruno confirmed yesterday on reddit that AR-1 Vulcan has resized tanks and redesigned feedlines and 6 SRBs. Sounds like a pretty much new core stage, even if the physical interfaces between the engine and structures were identical

Interesting. I wonder what diameter and if they are also building that tooling already.

Same diameter tankage for both the AR-1 option and the BE-4 option. Tankage tooling is mostly dependent on diameter and not so much length. Which means that, regardless of the choice of engine, most tankage tooling can already be ordered. The "resized tanks"-bit indicates different length of tanks.

Also, a feedline for RP-1 is different from a feedline for LNG (Remember, BE-4 runs on stock LNG, not refined liquid methane).

This is why I flagged that the recent Vulcan CDR (part 1) was likely a limited CDR, concentrating on the generic stuff of Vulcan. When the final engine choice is made at least one delta-CDR will be required to tick off the finalized design. Possibly another delta-CDR for Centaur-V. Unless ULA decides to combine those two delta-CDRs into one. That in turn would explain why ULA is holding off on the final engine choice: to determine the highest possible level of synergy between the core stage and newly developed Centaur V upper stage.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Oli on 01/26/2018 11:28 AM
That in turn would explain why ULA is holding off on the final engine choice: to determine the highest possible level of synergy between the core stage and newly developed Centaur V upper stage.

I thought Centaur V uses hydrogen and steel tanks.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: woods170 on 01/26/2018 11:34 AM
That in turn would explain why ULA is holding off on the final engine choice: to determine the highest possible level of synergy between the core stage and newly developed Centaur V upper stage.

I thought Centaur V uses hydrogen and steel tanks.

Yeah, I just knew I was creating confusion. Stupid me.
I intended to state "...the highest possible level of performance synergy between..."
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: envy887 on 01/26/2018 12:29 PM
Bruno confirmed yesterday on reddit that AR-1 Vulcan has resized tanks and redesigned feedlines and 6 SRBs. Sounds like a pretty much new core stage, even if the physical interfaces between the engine and structures were identical

Interesting. I wonder what diameter and if they are also building that tooling already.

Same diameter tankage for both the AR-1 option and the BE-4 option. Tankage tooling is mostly dependent on diameter and not so much length. Which means that, regardless of the choice of engine, most tankage tooling can already be ordered. The "resized tanks"-bit indicates different length of tanks.

Also, a feedline for RP-1 is different from a feedline for LNG (Remember, BE-4 runs on stock LNG, not refined liquid methane).

This is why I flagged that the recent Vulcan CDR (part 1) was likely a limited CDR, concentrating on the generic stuff of Vulcan. When the final engine choice is made at least one delta-CDR will be required to tick off the finalized design. Possibly another delta-CDR for Centaur-V. Unless ULA decides to combine those two delta-CDRs into one. That in turn would explain why ULA is holding off on the final engine choice: to determine the highest possible level of synergy between the core stage and newly developed Centaur V upper stage.

If different length booster tanks, how do they keep the upper stage height the same so the pads are backwards compatible with Atlas, and don't have to be significantly modified?

The difference in density between kerolox and methalox is almost 35%, that's a lot of volume differential to make up in height (where volume is linear in height) rather than in diameter (where volume is proportional to diameter squared).
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Sknowball on 01/26/2018 05:27 PM
Bruno confirmed yesterday on reddit that AR-1 Vulcan has resized tanks and redesigned feedlines and 6 SRBs. Sounds like a pretty much new core stage, even if the physical interfaces between the engine and structures were identical

Tory Bruno added some clarification that the AR-1 version of the Vulcan is 5.4m on Reddit (https://www.reddit.com/r/ula/comments/7s90cu/spotted_this_atlas_v_heading_in_the_gate_at_ccafs/dta43y5/?context=3).
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: russianhalo117 on 01/27/2018 12:20 AM
...
https://www.reddit.com/r/ula/comments/7s90cu/spotted_this_atlas_v_heading_in_the_gate_at_ccafs/dta9nij/

Envy, AFAIK a different MLP is to be built for Vulcan.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Sknowball on 01/27/2018 04:16 AM
...
https://www.reddit.com/r/ula/comments/7s90cu/spotted_this_atlas_v_heading_in_the_gate_at_ccafs/dta9nij/

Envy, AFAIK a different MLP is to be built for Vulcan.

Tory Bruno specifically talked about the possibility of needing a second MLP about a year ago on Reddit (https://www.reddit.com/r/ula/comments/59io4t/the_great_rocket_race/d9ctyqz/), I don't think we have heard anything about it since.

Quote
Yes, Vulcan will share pads with Atlas through the transition.
Might need a second MLP.
Studied the risk of a failure grounding the fleet.
Fairly low risk:
Reliable fleet.
Historically, if their is a failure, its not very often on the pad.
We found in our study that when a failure was on the pad, the return to flight has always been paced by root cause and corrective action, not pad repairs.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: russianhalo117 on 01/27/2018 03:20 PM
...
https://www.reddit.com/r/ula/comments/7s90cu/spotted_this_atlas_v_heading_in_the_gate_at_ccafs/dta9nij/

Envy, AFAIK a different MLP is to be built for Vulcan.

Tory Bruno specifically talked about the possibility of needing a second MLP about a year ago on Reddit (https://www.reddit.com/r/ula/comments/59io4t/the_great_rocket_race/d9ctyqz/), I don't think we have heard anything about it since.

Quote
Yes, Vulcan will share pads with Atlas through the transition.
Might need a second MLP.
Studied the risk of a failure grounding the fleet.
Fairly low risk:
Reliable fleet.
Historically, if their is a failure, its not very often on the pad.
We found in our study that when a failure was on the pad, the return to flight has always been paced by root cause and corrective action, not pad repairs.
Well not in public channels of discussion.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Sknowball on 01/28/2018 07:01 PM
Bruno confirmed yesterday on reddit that AR-1 Vulcan has resized tanks and redesigned feedlines and 6 SRBs. Sounds like a pretty much new core stage, even if the physical interfaces between the engine and structures were identical

Interesting. I wonder what diameter and if they are also building that tooling already.

Same diameter tankage for both the AR-1 option and the BE-4 option. Tankage tooling is mostly dependent on diameter and not so much length. Which means that, regardless of the choice of engine, most tankage tooling can already be ordered. The "resized tanks"-bit indicates different length of tanks.

Also, a feedline for RP-1 is different from a feedline for LNG (Remember, BE-4 runs on stock LNG, not refined liquid methane).

This is why I flagged that the recent Vulcan CDR (part 1) was likely a limited CDR, concentrating on the generic stuff of Vulcan. When the final engine choice is made at least one delta-CDR will be required to tick off the finalized design. Possibly another delta-CDR for Centaur-V. Unless ULA decides to combine those two delta-CDRs into one. That in turn would explain why ULA is holding off on the final engine choice: to determine the highest possible level of synergy between the core stage and newly developed Centaur V upper stage.

If different length booster tanks, how do they keep the upper stage height the same so the pads are backwards compatible with Atlas, and don't have to be significantly modified?

The difference in density between kerolox and methalox is almost 35%, that's a lot of volume differential to make up in height (where volume is linear in height) rather than in diameter (where volume is proportional to diameter squared).

Bruno responded That the height of the AR-1 Vulcan variant is about the same as the Atlas V (https://www.reddit.com/r/ula/comments/7s90cu/spotted_this_atlas_v_heading_in_the_gate_at_ccafs/dta7uz9/?context=1).  Based on propellant density, it must have some empty volume.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Lumina on 01/28/2018 07:21 PM
To me, it's quite obvious that any RP1-based engine is out of the running for ULA, because the propellant must be capable of being manufactured from space resources in order to be consistent with their strategic vision for the future.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Ictogan on 01/28/2018 07:24 PM
To me, it's quite obvious that any RP1-based engine is out of the running for ULA, because the propellant must be capable of being manufactured from space resources in order to be consistent with their strategic vision for the future.
Why would the propellant of the first stage have to be capable of being manufactured from space resources in the future? They aren't going away from their SRBs either just because the propellants for those aren't manufacturable from space resources.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Sknowball on 01/28/2018 10:49 PM
Bruno responded That the height of the AR-1 Vulcan variant is about the same as the Atlas V (https://www.reddit.com/r/ula/comments/7s90cu/spotted_this_atlas_v_heading_in_the_gate_at_ccafs/dta7uz9/?context=1).  Based on propellant density, it must have some empty volume.
I'm surprised with the same diameter/height assertion.  The density difference is sizeable.  That's a lot of wasted dry mass.  I suppose there's always the possibility of height adjustment at the launch table, lifting an AR-1 booster higher off the ground than a BE-4 booster, but even then.  Another possibility is that AR-1 is being designed to make a lot more thrust than we thought. 

 - Ed Kyle

I agree it is strange that BE-4 version and AR-1 version of Vulcan have the same dimensions, it flys in the face of what we have all been assuming based on propellant densities, and raises a lot of questions.   Assuming we trust the info Bruno provided (and if we don't then we are getting into conspiracy territory), it does answer questions about how they moved through CDR and started part fabrication (https://mobile.twitter.com/torybruno/status/929103518392127488) without engine down select.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Lar on 01/28/2018 11:36 PM
Why would the propellant of the first stage have to be capable of being manufactured from space resources in the future? They aren't going away from their SRBs either just because the propellants for those aren't manufacturable from space resources.
I think to ULA it's about single propellant and GSE simplification more than ISRU...
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Sknowball on 01/30/2018 03:10 AM
NASA finally got around to posting the proceedings from the 14th Interplanetary Probe Workshop which occurred in June 2017.  A presentation on the continued development of the Hypersonic Inflatable Atmospheric Decelerator on ULA concept (https://pub-lib.jpl.nasa.gov/docushare/dsweb/Get/Document-3435/HIAD-on-ULA-(HULA)-Flight-Experiment-Concept-Developments_DINONNO.pptx)(HIAD on ULA or HULA, since renamed HIAD-TDM) was given as part of the "Aerobraking, Aeroscience, and Entry Technologies" track.

For those that are unfamiliar with the HULA, it is a joint NASA/ULA proposal to demonstrate HIAD and Mid-Air Recovery technologies which are enabling to SMART Recovery.  Additional HULA resources:

IPPW-13 Paper (https://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/20160010175.pdf)
IPPW-13 Presentation (https://pub-lib.jpl.nasa.gov/docushare/dsweb/Get/Document-2890/IPPW-13_03_PR_02_HIAD_on_ULA_(HULA)_Orbital_Reentry_Flight_Experiment_Concept_J_DiNonno.pdf)
ULA presentation on HULA at AIAA 2016 (https://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/20160012009.pdf)
NASA Armstrong analysis of HULA Mid Air Recovery from CRASTE 2016 (https://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/20160007968.pdf)
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Sknowball on 02/02/2018 04:54 PM
Tory Bruno confirmed what many had suspect that Centaur V will not include IVF (https://www.reddit.com/r/spacex/comments/7uly3k/spacex_and_ula_poised_to_face_off_in_the_next/dtmvxj8/?context=1).

Quote
Actually, Advanced Centaur represents pulling up, not pushing back. The original roadmap fielded Vulcan first with Centaur III, later upgrading to ACES. Now, we go first to Centaur V, with similar tankagage and propulsion as ACES. Then go to IVF, making it ACES, on the same timeline.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: russianhalo117 on 02/02/2018 05:39 PM
Tory Bruno confirmed what many had suspect that Centaur V will not include IVF (https://www.reddit.com/r/spacex/comments/7uly3k/spacex_and_ula_poised_to_face_off_in_the_next/dtmvxj8/?context=1).

Quote
Actually, Advanced Centaur represents pulling up, not pushing back. The original roadmap fielded Vulcan first with Centaur III, later upgrading to ACES. Now, we go first to Centaur V, with similar tankagage and propulsion as ACES. Then go to IVF, making it ACES, on the same timeline.
Well that likely also means that the Vulcan 400 series configurations is on its way out unless the go with a DIV type approach as the 4 meter fairing was designed only for Centaur III and was to be retired with the rollout of ACES.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: envy887 on 02/02/2018 06:47 PM
Tory Bruno confirmed what many had suspect that Centaur V will not include IVF (https://www.reddit.com/r/spacex/comments/7uly3k/spacex_and_ula_poised_to_face_off_in_the_next/dtmvxj8/?context=1).

Quote
Actually, Advanced Centaur represents pulling up, not pushing back. The original roadmap fielded Vulcan first with Centaur III, later upgrading to ACES. Now, we go first to Centaur V, with similar tankagage and propulsion as ACES. Then go to IVF, making it ACES, on the same timeline.

Weren't there 2 sizes of ACES? ISTR ~43 tonnes and ~68 tonnes. Which would this be similar to?
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: russianhalo117 on 02/02/2018 07:17 PM
Tory Bruno confirmed what many had suspect that Centaur V will not include IVF (https://www.reddit.com/r/spacex/comments/7uly3k/spacex_and_ula_poised_to_face_off_in_the_next/dtmvxj8/?context=1).

Quote
Actually, Advanced Centaur represents pulling up, not pushing back. The original roadmap fielded Vulcan first with Centaur III, later upgrading to ACES. Now, we go first to Centaur V, with similar tankagage and propulsion as ACES. Then go to IVF, making it ACES, on the same timeline.

Weren't there 2 sizes of ACES? ISTR ~43 tonnes and ~68 tonnes. Which would this be similar to?
Not in recent times. Pre Vulcan ACES had a modular plug and play approach where tank length could be changed but that seems to have been dropped for several years now to allow simplification and standardization of the Vulcan Family. The drop of Centaur III and likely in the near future all of the 4 meter configurations (400 Series) is a future confirmation of further pursuit of simplification and standardization of the Vulcan.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: AncientU on 02/02/2018 09:02 PM
Tory Bruno confirmed what many had suspect that Centaur V will not include IVF (https://www.reddit.com/r/spacex/comments/7uly3k/spacex_and_ula_poised_to_face_off_in_the_next/dtmvxj8/?context=1).

Quote
Actually, Advanced Centaur represents pulling up, not pushing back. The original roadmap fielded Vulcan first with Centaur III, later upgrading to ACES. Now, we go first to Centaur V, with similar tankagage and propulsion as ACES. Then go to IVF, making it ACES, on the same timeline.

Weren't there 2 sizes of ACES? ISTR ~43 tonnes and ~68 tonnes. Which would this be similar to?

41t and 73t discussed in linked paper:
http://www.ulalaunch.com/uploads/docs/Published_Papers/Exploration/DepotBasedTransportationArchitecture2010.pdf
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Sknowball on 02/02/2018 10:07 PM
Weren't there 2 sizes of ACES? ISTR ~43 tonnes and ~68 tonnes. Which would this be similar to?
Not in recent times. Pre Vulcan ACES had a modular plug and play approach where tank length could be changed but that seems to have been dropped for several years now to allow simplification and standardization of the Vulcan Family. The drop of Centaur III and likely in the near future all of the 4 meter configurations (400 Series) is a future confirmation of further pursuit of simplification and standardization of the Vulcan.

Russianhalo117 is correct all recent sources have listed 68 tonnes, unfortunately a number of papers from the last two years that corroborated this went missing from their published papers earlier this week (https://www.reddit.com/r/ula/comments/7ug3xp/when_did_ulas_published_papers_on_cislunar_1000), but this one from AIAA 2016 (http://www.ulalaunch.com/uploads/docs/Published_Papers/Evolution/Vulcan_ACES_and_Beyond_2016_AAS_16-052_DEROY_REED.pdf) is consistent with the 68 tonne figure.


Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: jongoff on 02/02/2018 10:12 PM
Tory Bruno confirmed what many had suspect that Centaur V will not include IVF (https://www.reddit.com/r/spacex/comments/7uly3k/spacex_and_ula_poised_to_face_off_in_the_next/dtmvxj8/?context=1).

Quote
Actually, Advanced Centaur represents pulling up, not pushing back. The original roadmap fielded Vulcan first with Centaur III, later upgrading to ACES. Now, we go first to Centaur V, with similar tankagage and propulsion as ACES. Then go to IVF, making it ACES, on the same timeline.

Good to see that's public info now. I had been biting my tongue.

I think what they're doing with Centaur V is a good idea. It gets them most of the way to ACES while giving IVF more time for development without being rushed. It's a complicated enough system that I'd rather see them get it right.

~Jon
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Rocket Jesus on 02/05/2018 03:17 PM
Tory Bruno confirmed what many had suspect that Centaur V will not include IVF (https://www.reddit.com/r/spacex/comments/7uly3k/spacex_and_ula_poised_to_face_off_in_the_next/dtmvxj8/?context=1).

Quote
Actually, Advanced Centaur represents pulling up, not pushing back. The original roadmap fielded Vulcan first with Centaur III, later upgrading to ACES. Now, we go first to Centaur V, with similar tankagage and propulsion as ACES. Then go to IVF, making it ACES, on the same timeline.

Good to see that's public info now. I had been biting my tongue.

I think what they're doing with Centaur V is a good idea. It gets them most of the way to ACES while giving IVF more time for development without being rushed. It's a complicated enough system that I'd rather see them get it right.

~Jon

I'd rather see them throw their full weight behind the IVF idea, like SpaceX does with their new tech. IVF is one of the few things that actually gives ULA a definitive competitive advantage over all of the launch service providers.  If ULA hasn't learned the lesson already, they must act sooner rather than later.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Rocket Jesus on 02/05/2018 03:41 PM
I'd rather see them throw their full weight behind the IVF idea, like SpaceX does with their new tech.
That Other Company has staggered the introduction of its technology.  Just look at Falcon 9 v1.0, v1.1, v1.2, Blocks 1-5, etc.  Tic-tac-toe to octaweb.  Merlin 1C to 1D.  Look at the timeline of the landing testing (no legs no fins, no legs fins,  fins and legs, no platform, platform, one-engine, three-engine, return to landing zone, etc.).

By skipping Centaur 3 on Vulcan, ULA has actually pushed the vehicle development forward, skipping an iteration, possibly making ACES/IVF possible sooner.

 - Ed Kyle

You make a totally valid point here.  All sound development is evolutionary and incremental in nature. 
My point (more accurately, my opinion) is that ULA should force themselves to develop this key tech faster.  One way to do that is to put serious resources behind it and make IVF a major priority today.  Based off of publicly available info, it sounds like they're putting off IVF until tomorrow.  Given the track record of tech development by ULA, it's hard to trust they'll make the full commitment to IVF now within a time frame that makes a huge difference.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Space Ghost 1962 on 02/05/2018 04:07 PM
I'd rather see them throw their full weight behind the IVF idea, like SpaceX does with their new tech.
That Other Company has staggered the introduction of its technology.  Just look at Falcon 9 v1.0, v1.1, v1.2, Blocks 1-5, etc.  Tic-tac-toe to octaweb.  Merlin 1C to 1D.  Look at the timeline of the landing testing (no legs no fins, no legs fins,  fins and legs, no platform, platform, one-engine, three-engine, return to landing zone, etc.).

By skipping Centaur 3 on Vulcan, ULA has actually pushed the vehicle development forward, skipping an iteration, possibly making ACES/IVF possible sooner.

 - Ed Kyle

You make a totally valid point here.  All sound development is evolutionary and incremental in nature. 
My point (more accurately, my opinion) is that ULA should force themselves to develop this key tech faster.  One way to do that is to put serious resources behind it and make IVF a major priority today.  Based off of publicly available info, it sounds like they're putting off IVF until tomorrow.  Given the track record of tech development by ULA, it's hard to trust they'll make the full commitment to IVF now within a time frame that makes a huge difference.
Unlike other company, ULA has two things that make too rapid progress difficult.

1) Systems engineering - you need to prove current change set well (possibly multiple launches/missions) before next, so you don't get out in front of your headlights (Other doesn't, and has significant losses because of it).

2) ULA JV means changes have to prove themselves in few missions (Other is still far away from economic number of reuses still, and we're on 20+ missions in most changes).

ULA can't work at the same risk level.

And, to compete on government launches, ULA has to have a cost structure more like Other, than it did before.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: oldAtlas_Eguy on 02/05/2018 04:11 PM
I'd rather see them throw their full weight behind the IVF idea, like SpaceX does with their new tech.
That Other Company has staggered the introduction of its technology.  Just look at Falcon 9 v1.0, v1.1, v1.2, Blocks 1-5, etc.  Tic-tac-toe to octaweb.  Merlin 1C to 1D.  Look at the timeline of the landing testing (no legs no fins, no legs fins,  fins and legs, no platform, platform, one-engine, three-engine, return to landing zone, etc.).

By skipping Centaur 3 on Vulcan, ULA has actually pushed the vehicle development forward, skipping an iteration, possibly making ACES/IVF possible sooner.

 - Ed Kyle

You make a totally valid point here.  All sound development is evolutionary and incremental in nature. 
My point (more accurately, my opinion) is that ULA should force themselves to develop this key tech faster.  One way to do that is to put serious resources behind it and make IVF a major priority today.  Based off of publicly available info, it sounds like they're putting off IVF until tomorrow.  Given the track record of tech development by ULA, it's hard to trust they'll make the full commitment to IVF now within a time frame that makes a huge difference.
By taking a piece of flight hardware, the Centaur V. Then adding the new IVF hardware running it through qualification. The costs of the iteration development drops significantly. No new tooling is needed to make a new tank, etc. Only the tooling to make the new IVF hardware which can be done simultaneous with the Centaur V work. Once the components are ready for a integrated test on a test stand for a full cryo load and duration/pressurization tests do you need a copy of a flight tank and engine set (maybe an engine set, but they could be excluded in the early tests possibly).

In all less funds are spent in the development since only one version of things except the larger helium tanks (or more of the same sized tanks) on Centaur V versus the ones on the Centaur (2 engine version) are needed. The only real not usable later development work is the integration of the Centaur V helium pressurization system. Everything else is usable for latter ACES development. In fact hardly any pad or GSE integration would be involved in going from Centaur V to ACES since the major difference is the lack of needing Helium for ACES.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Sknowball on 02/06/2018 02:06 AM
Well that likely also means that the Vulcan 400 series configurations is on its way out unless the go with a DIV type approach as the 4 meter fairing was designed only for Centaur III and was to be retired with the rollout of ACES.

The ULA website (https://www.ulalaunch.com/) was overhauled earlier today, all references to the 4 meter fairing variant of the Vulcan Centaur (https://www.ulalaunch.com/rockets/vulcan-centaur) were removed.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Lars-J on 02/06/2018 04:15 AM
Well that likely also means that the Vulcan 400 series configurations is on its way out unless the go with a DIV type approach as the 4 meter fairing was designed only for Centaur III and was to be retired with the rollout of ACES.

The ULA website (https://www.ulalaunch.com/) was overhauled earlier today, all references to the 4 meter fairing variant of the Vulcan Centaur (https://www.ulalaunch.com/rockets/vulcan-centaur) were removed.
Vulcan Centaur 5.

 - Ed Kyle

Actually, the page already calls it ACES. And 4 RL-10's confirmed.

And of course it is called "Vulcan Centaur", in order to reduce the appearance flight hardware with 0 flight history. But this will be an all new 1st stage, and an all new 2nd stage - all on the first flight. (even new SRBs) (?)

(EDIT: I'm not suggesting it is a bad approach, not at all - just that it is a risky bet for a ULA that prizes flight history so highly... it better perform)
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: ArbitraryConstant on 02/06/2018 06:10 AM
I'd rather see them throw their full weight behind the IVF idea, like SpaceX does with their new tech. IVF is one of the few things that actually gives ULA a definitive competitive advantage over all of the launch service providers.  If ULA hasn't learned the lesson already, they must act sooner rather than later.
That sounds like a bad idea if it potentially introduces a delay before Vulcan is ready. Also, let's be realistic, Centaur is the best upper stage in the world period, even without IVF.

What incremental benefit does IVF provide? Improved performance, lower cost, longer mission endurance. Well, Vulcan already provides improved performance and lower cost. And Centaur already has the endurance for direct injection to geostationary, which is the most they will need for commercially relevant missions.

They can still pursue IVF but there's so much riding on Vulcan that it really doesn't make sense to introduce even a potential delay.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: woods170 on 02/06/2018 06:39 AM
Well that likely also means that the Vulcan 400 series configurations is on its way out unless the go with a DIV type approach as the 4 meter fairing was designed only for Centaur III and was to be retired with the rollout of ACES.

The ULA website (https://www.ulalaunch.com/) was overhauled earlier today, all references to the 4 meter fairing variant of the Vulcan Centaur (https://www.ulalaunch.com/rockets/vulcan-centaur) were removed.
Vulcan Centaur 5.

 - Ed Kyle

Actually, the page already calls it ACES. And 4 RL-10's confirmed.

And of course it is called "Vulcan Centaur", in order to reduce the appearance flight hardware with 0 flight history. But this will be an all new 1st stage, and an all new 2nd stage - all on the first flight. (even new SRBs) (?)

(EDIT: I'm not suggesting it is a bad approach, not at all - just that it is a risky bet for a ULA that prizes flight history so highly... it better perform)

Tank structure for Centaur 5 is primarily an up-scaling of Centaur 3. The technology is well-understood. RL-10 is a legacy engine and is extremely well-understood.
The tankage of the first stage is modified Delta-IV legacy. The launch-pad is a modified Atlas 5 pad. Avionics are upgrades to the current common avionics. Thus: more legacy.
The solids are based on a long line of ATK legacy boosters used on on a long line of Thor-Delta vehicles.
The only major component that is all-new is the main-stage engine: either BE-4 or AR-1. Therefor it is not very surprising that ULA is holding off on the engine choice. They want both engines designs to reach a certain level of maturity before making the choice.

All things considered I preview the first launch of Vulcan as a helluvalot less risky than - for example - the first launch of Ariane 5. On the latter pretty much everything had no legacy within ESA/Arianespace whatsoever.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: envy887 on 02/06/2018 02:35 PM
Well that likely also means that the Vulcan 400 series configurations is on its way out unless the go with a DIV type approach as the 4 meter fairing was designed only for Centaur III and was to be retired with the rollout of ACES.

The ULA website (https://www.ulalaunch.com/) was overhauled earlier today, all references to the 4 meter fairing variant of the Vulcan Centaur (https://www.ulalaunch.com/rockets/vulcan-centaur) were removed.
Vulcan Centaur 5.

 - Ed Kyle

Looks impressive. And expensive.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: russianhalo117 on 02/06/2018 06:28 PM
Well that likely also means that the Vulcan 400 series configurations is on its way out unless the go with a DIV type approach as the 4 meter fairing was designed only for Centaur III and was to be retired with the rollout of ACES.

The ULA website (https://www.ulalaunch.com/) was overhauled earlier today, all references to the 4 meter fairing variant of the Vulcan Centaur (https://www.ulalaunch.com/rockets/vulcan-centaur) were removed.
Vulcan Centaur 5.

 - Ed Kyle

Looks impressive. And expensive.
https://www.rocketbuilder.com/ is still not updated and still listed as belonging to LMCLS which is now a defunct unit.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: clongton on 02/06/2018 07:10 PM
...Falcon Heavy inaugural is - despite all of the Telsa to Mars focus - actually an attempt to demonstrate EELV mission capability.

 - Ed Kyle

With all due respect Ed, Falcon Heavy lift capability, if verified, leaves every single EELV eating day-old dust.
But we'll see.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Jim on 02/06/2018 07:11 PM
...Falcon Heavy inaugural is - despite all of the Telsa to Mars focus - actually an attempt to demonstrate EELV mission capability.

 - Ed Kyle

With all due respect Ed, Falcon Heavy lift capability, if verified, leaves every single EELV eating day-old dust.
But we'll see.

Lift isn't everything
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: clongton on 02/06/2018 07:23 PM
...Falcon Heavy inaugural is - despite all of the Telsa to Mars focus - actually an attempt to demonstrate EELV mission capability.

 - Ed Kyle

With all due respect Ed, Falcon Heavy lift Mission capability, if verified, leaves every single EELV eating day-old dust.
But we'll see.

Lift isn't everything

There Jim. I fixed the quote for ya.
New Horizons massed only 1,050 pounds (476 kilograms).
By comparison a Falcon Heavy is capable of sending 7,720 pounds (3,500 kilograms) to Pluto.
Like I said - it leaves every EELV eating day-old dust.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Jim on 02/06/2018 07:30 PM
Nope, it doesn't have VI
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: jongoff on 02/07/2018 03:02 AM
I'd rather see them throw their full weight behind the IVF idea, like SpaceX does with their new tech. IVF is one of the few things that actually gives ULA a definitive competitive advantage over all of the launch service providers.  If ULA hasn't learned the lesson already, they must act sooner rather than later.

Unfortunately, I think that Vulcan first stage gets first dibs on their IR&D budget until it's flying. I don't know how much profits Boeing and LM are letting ULA retain to move faster on things that aren't on that critical path like IVF. If ULA had full control of its destiny, I bet they'd be moving forward a lot faster--they get the urgency of needing to catch up with SpaceX, but I don't know how aligned the interests of their parents are with ULA's long term survival. Trying to compete with a well capitalized privately-held company when you're owned by two publicly held defense contractors (that sometimes compete with you) is a sucky hand to play with.

~Jon
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: envy887 on 02/07/2018 03:39 AM
Vulcan Centaur 5.

 - Ed Kyle

Looks impressive. And expensive.
It has to be compared to Falcon Heavy, which has its own complexity, etc., in terms of performance for the EELV mission.   Let's not forget that today's (or some day soon when winds permit) Falcon Heavy inaugural is - despite all of the Telsa to Mars focus - actually an attempt to demonstrate EELV mission capability.

 - Ed Kyle


A lot of EELV missions (something like 60% or so over the last 10 years?) use AV 401 or 501. Vulcan 504 should massive overkill for those missions and is competing against F9, not FH (not that it's likely to beat FH on price anyway).

It's a great solution for Heavy EELV. I don't think it's so great for light/medium missions and commercial, the cost of the lightest config is too high IMO.

Guess we'll see when they start bidding it against F9.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: GWH on 02/07/2018 04:13 AM
[A lot of EELV missions (something like 60% or so over the last 10 years?) use AV 401 or 501. Vulcan 504 should massive overkill for those missions and is competing against F9, not FH (not that it's likely to beat FH on price anyway).

It's a great solution for Heavy EELV. I don't think it's so great for light/medium missions and commercial, the cost of the lightest config is too high IMO.

Guess we'll see when they start bidding it against F9.

If you look at ULA as a whole and count Delta Mediums and Heavy's it is closer to 30% of the total that fit in Altas 4/501 class.
While performance figures have yet to be released, the new Vulcan should be at or close to Atlas V 541 performance. 

But that does put them in a very odd position to compete on those lower payload missions. Dual manifest is only a partial solution.
I am wondering if they might try a single engine variant of Centaur V and only do a partial prop fill?
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: woods170 on 02/07/2018 06:35 AM
Oh yuck... another ULA thread has turned into a SpaceX thread.

Stop doing that please. Thank you.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: TrevorMonty on 02/07/2018 06:45 AM
Some parts of IVF can be tested on Centuar V. Fit a ICE pod with thrusters and test it in parallel to exist systems. At every least power can be used to extend battery life of stage.

Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Rocket Jesus on 02/07/2018 09:24 AM
I'd rather see them throw their full weight behind the IVF idea, like SpaceX does with their new tech. IVF is one of the few things that actually gives ULA a definitive competitive advantage over all of the launch service providers.  If ULA hasn't learned the lesson already, they must act sooner rather than later.

Unfortunately, I think that Vulcan first stage gets first dibs on their IR&D budget until it's flying. I don't know how much profits Boeing and LM are letting ULA retain to move faster on things that aren't on that critical path like IVF. If ULA had full control of its destiny, I bet they'd be moving forward a lot faster--they get the urgency of needing to catch up with SpaceX, but I don't know how aligned the interests of their parents are with ULA's long term survival. Trying to compete with a well capitalized privately-held company when you're owned by two publicly held defense contractors (that sometimes compete with you) is a sucky hand to play with.

~Jon

Agreed about the ownership part.  This is ULA's major downfall IMO.  Somethings gotta change, either actual ownership or the attitude of the parent companies towards ULA.  If not, ULA will almost always be in a competitively weak position.  And it would be a shame to waste ULA's potential because of the interests of the parents.

Some parts of IVF can be tested on Centuar V. Fit a ICE pod with thrusters and test it in parallel to exist systems. At every least power can be used to extend battery life of stage.

I'd think ULA would focus first on testing the tank pressurization functionality of IVF since that's kind of the main task of IVF.  To be honest, I don't have much faith that they'll test IVF on Centaur V.  I remember reading that ULA would test IVF on an Atlas V/Centaur mission around the 2017-2018 year, which is not going to happen anytime soon from the looks of it (disclaimer: I don't remember exact date)
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Rocket Jesus on 02/07/2018 09:31 AM

I am wondering if they might try a single engine variant of Centaur V and only do a partial prop fill?

Doubt it. Given that they've killed off 4 m fairing, it seems ULA wants to maintain a single product line to the maximum extent feasible. 
The RL-10 engine cost is the real wildcard in the business decision to use 4 RL-10's on Centaur V.  I don't think the true engine costs for RL-10 (specifically for Centaur V) are as high as we've been led to believe previously.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: MATTBLAK on 02/07/2018 09:34 AM
RL-10 has traditionally been somewhat 'handmade' in relatively small quantities. I have no problem imagining that aspects of improved production, including 3D printing, could reduce costs and increase efficiency.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Lars-J on 02/07/2018 06:49 PM
Vulcan Centaur 5.

 - Ed Kyle

Looks impressive. And expensive.
It has to be compared to Falcon Heavy, which has its own complexity, etc., in terms of performance for the EELV mission.   Let's not forget that today's (or some day soon when winds permit) Falcon Heavy inaugural is - despite all of the Telsa to Mars focus - actually an attempt to demonstrate EELV mission capability.

 - Ed Kyle


A lot of EELV missions (something like 60% or so over the last 10 years?) use AV 401 or 501. Vulcan 504 should massive overkill for those missions and is competing against F9, not FH (not that it's likely to beat FH on price anyway).

It's a great solution for Heavy EELV. I don't think it's so great for light/medium missions and commercial, the cost of the lightest config is too high IMO.

That’s a very good point - is a Vulcan with a 4 engine Centaur *really* going to be cheaper than an Atlas V 401? I find that hard to believe. So they could actually be *increasing* costs for their most common missions.

This is IMO the big danger of moving directly to Centaur V.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: brickmack on 02/07/2018 07:03 PM
That’s a very good point - is a Vulcan with a 4 engine Centaur *really* going to be cheaper than an Atlas V 401?

It doesn't have to be. ULA has *already* announced a 2-engine-Centaur V mission, the B330 launch to LEO.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: envy887 on 02/07/2018 08:41 PM
That’s a very good point - is a Vulcan with a 4 engine Centaur *really* going to be cheaper than an Atlas V 401?

It doesn't have to be. ULA has *already* announced a 2-engine-Centaur V mission, the B330 launch to LEO.

The announcement doesn't specify a Centaur V, it says "Vulcan 562". It could still be assuming a dual-engine Centaur III, as Atlas V needed a 552 to launch a BA330. Vulcan 562 was at one point the Centaur III equivalent to Atlas V 552.

https://www.ulalaunch.com/about/news/2017/10/17/bigelow-aerospace-and-united-launch-alliance-announce-agreement-to-place-a-b330-habitat-in-low-lunar-orbit
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: russianhalo117 on 02/07/2018 10:22 PM
That’s a very good point - is a Vulcan with a 4 engine Centaur *really* going to be cheaper than an Atlas V 401?

It doesn't have to be. ULA has *already* announced a 2-engine-Centaur V mission, the B330 launch to LEO.

The announcement doesn't specify a Centaur V, it says "Vulcan 562". It could still be assuming a dual-engine Centaur III, as Atlas V needed a 552 to launch a BA330. Vulcan 562 was at one point the Centaur III equivalent to Atlas V 552.

https://www.ulalaunch.com/about/news/2017/10/17/bigelow-aerospace-and-united-launch-alliance-announce-agreement-to-place-a-b330-habitat-in-low-lunar-orbit
the numbers in Centaur's case only apply to the engines. The link you list is based on old information and is no longer a valid configuration per an interview with T. Bruno that is linked a good ways back in this threads posts. Centaur-V seems to only employ a 4 RL-10C configuration and BA-330 would likely be either  Vulcan Centaur 544 to VC-564. Centaur-III was confirmed by Bruno to stay on Atlas and only Centaur-V (simplified to just Centaur because they are now only flying a single centaur version) would fly on Vulcan.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: ArbitraryConstant on 02/07/2018 10:43 PM
It's a great solution for Heavy EELV. I don't think it's so great for light/medium missions and commercial, the cost of the lightest config is too high IMO.
Being able to compete for commercial launches is an important goal for Vulcan. I think there's quite a good chance the lightest Vulcan config will be cheaper than an Atlas V 401, in spite of being much more capable.

Making the base config cover a greater percentage of missions isn't automatically more expensive, it can also mean more flights using an identical config which means better economies of scale on that config. There will also be numerous updates based on newer manufacturing methods etc. Even RL-10 is potentially cheaper as AJR updates the manufacturing. I think on this question we can at least entertain the possibility ULA knows what they're doing.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: jongoff on 02/08/2018 05:18 AM
Some parts of IVF can be tested on Centuar V. Fit a ICE pod with thrusters and test it in parallel to exist systems. At every least power can be used to extend battery life of stage.

I can't say with certainty (our role in IVF is fairly low on the totem pole), but I would be surprised if they didn't test IVF in this manner--starting out in parallel with the mains systems, probably demoing some operations after the main mission is over. That strategy is used on satellites sometimes. I know Surrey will fly a heritage component on Bus A, with a new-fangled, but not-yet-heritage component on Bus B as a way to get flight heritage quickly at lower overall risk.

It's not fool-proof, but its how I would probably do it if I were running the IVF program.

~Jon
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: jongoff on 02/08/2018 05:26 AM
RL-10 has traditionally been somewhat 'handmade' in relatively small quantities. I have no problem imagining that aspects of improved production, including 3D printing, could reduce costs and increase efficiency.

If I had to guess, the area that would save the most in production cost would be if they could go from the current tube-wall design to some form of either 3d printed  or brazed channel-wall design. After that, my second focus would probably be the injectors. The rest of the engine just doesn't look that horribly complicated (though I'm sure you could also save money by 3d printing more of the turbopump assemblies).

All told, based on its size, complexity, etc., you'd think that there shouldn't be a good reason why a properly DFM'd RL-10 couldn't cost somewhere in the $1-2M ea range to produce, especially if you're building 30-50/yr.

~Jon
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: jongoff on 02/08/2018 05:29 AM
It's a great solution for Heavy EELV. I don't think it's so great for light/medium missions and commercial, the cost of the lightest config is too high IMO.
Being able to compete for commercial launches is an important goal for Vulcan. I think there's quite a good chance the lightest Vulcan config will be cheaper than an Atlas V 401, in spite of being much more capable.

Making the base config cover a greater percentage of missions isn't automatically more expensive, it can also mean more flights using an identical config which means better economies of scale on that config. There will also be numerous updates based on newer manufacturing methods etc. Even RL-10 is potentially cheaper as AJR updates the manufacturing. I think on this question we can at least entertain the possibility ULA knows what they're doing.

I know this might belong more on the other Vulcan thread, but it would be interesting to see how much excess performance they have for these low-end missions. If it's enough margin, it would make you start wondering if they should revisit full-stage recovery with boostback for at least the low end Vulcan missions.

~Jon
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: john smith 19 on 02/08/2018 06:08 AM
I can't say with certainty (our role in IVF is fairly low on the totem pole), but I would be surprised if they didn't test IVF in this manner--starting out in parallel with the mains systems, probably demoing some operations after the main mission is over. That strategy is used on satellites sometimes. I know Surrey will fly a heritage component on Bus A, with a new-fangled, but not-yet-heritage component on Bus B as a way to get flight heritage quickly at lower overall risk.

It's not fool-proof, but its how I would probably do it if I were running the IVF program.

~Jon
IVF seems to (roughly) break down into the ICE/thrusters side of things and the battery/starter/generator side of things.  I'm truly amazed it's been impossible to do some on orbit testing by now. My impression was the primary payload customers would not permit such risks to be taken, not even if it was driven (even for a few seconds) by separate LH2/LO2 tanks.  :(

Hopefully this will change this year.

IVF still puts a smile on my face. It's the whole thing working together. People talk a lot about "synergy" but IVF really has it. A really neat hack.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Sknowball on 02/08/2018 06:53 AM
IVF seems to (roughly) break down into the ICE/thrusters side of things and the battery/starter/generator side of things.  I'm truly amazed it's been impossible to do some on orbit testing by now. My impression was the primary payload customers would not permit such risks to be taken, not even if it was driven (even for a few seconds) by separate LH2/LO2 tanks.  :(

People seem to forget, but there was some flight testing of IVF on the Future Heavy (https://www.ulalaunch.com/about/news/2017/06/24/united-launch-alliance-interns-ball-aerospace-mentors-and-colorado-students-participate-in-record-setting-launch) launch last summer.   Yes, I know that wasn't on orbit testing, but it does show a progression from ground testing, I just wish we a little more detail on what specifically was tested.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: TrevorMonty on 02/08/2018 06:58 AM
It's a great solution for Heavy EELV. I don't think it's so great for light/medium missions and commercial, the cost of the lightest config is too high IMO.
Being able to compete for commercial launches is an important goal for Vulcan. I think there's quite a good chance the lightest Vulcan config will be cheaper than an Atlas V 401, in spite of being much more capable.

Making the base config cover a greater percentage of missions isn't automatically more expensive, it can also mean more flights using an identical config which means better economies of scale on that config. There will also be numerous updates based on newer manufacturing methods etc. Even RL-10 is potentially cheaper as AJR updates the manufacturing. I think on this question we can at least entertain the possibility ULA knows what they're doing.

I know this might belong more on the other Vulcan thread, but it would be interesting to see how much excess performance they have for these low-end missions. If it's enough margin, it would make you start wondering if they should revisit full-stage recovery with boostback for at least the low end Vulcan missions.

~Jon
Probably better trying earn extra revenue from spare capacity with secondary payloads.

GEO direct is other market where its extra performance pays off. Commercial satellite manufacturers can build cheaper satellites that don't need GTO-GEO capability. Unless their are two or more LV providers offering this service they won't build the satellites. FH just demo this capability, so Vulcan and FH may give ULA and SpaceX a market all to themselves for while.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Sknowball on 02/08/2018 07:21 AM
I know this might belong more on the other Vulcan thread, but it would be interesting to see how much excess performance they have for these low-end missions. If it's enough margin, it would make you start wondering if they should revisit full-stage recovery with boostback for at least the low end Vulcan missions.

~Jon

An interesting idea.  I can't see ULA going to full propulsive landing, but I could see using a boost back to make the logistics of SMART and mid-air recovery easier.   Essentially being able to do the recovery closer to land so you don't need a barge (similar to RTLS), or reducing the speed enough to eliminate the HIAD component.   This may hit a middle ground where they aren't developing new components or assets while leveraging the reuse architecture they are already developing. 

Then again boost backs require some sort of maneuvering mechanism (grid fins, strakes, etc) so unless they build that into the recovered engine module, they wouldn't be recovering them.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Chasm on 02/08/2018 09:59 AM
IVF seems to (roughly) break down into the ICE/thrusters side of things and the battery/starter/generator side of things.  I'm truly amazed it's been impossible to do some on orbit testing by now. My impression was the primary payload customers would not permit such risks to be taken, not even if it was driven (even for a few seconds) by separate LH2/LO2 tanks.  :(
[...]

Makes me wonder if Centaur V was designed so that they can bolt on most if not all of both systems at the same time. Esp. making the tank structures very similar only makes sense in the long run.

I think that would make testing and transitioning a whole lot easier. Launch with an inert IVF, deliver the payload. After separation activate IVF with a few pyro valves. Then putter around with the new thrusters and get time on the engine before making the stage inert.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Rocket Jesus on 02/08/2018 01:42 PM

Makes me wonder if Centaur V was designed so that they can bolt on most if not all of both systems at the same time. Esp. making the tank structures very similar only makes sense in the long run.

I think that would make testing and transitioning a whole lot easier. Launch with an inert IVF, deliver the payload. After separation activate IVF with a few pyro valves. Then putter around with the new thrusters and get time on the engine before making the stage inert.

I doubt ULA would design something like ACES as so easy to be truly bolt-on.  Sure, that is the end goal with IVF, but I really doubt they'd do something so risky as testing full IVF functionality on an actual flight mission (which are almost entirely DOD/NRO missions).  Any pyro's make a mission more risky.  Thrusters, doubly so.

That's why I see ULA testing tank pressurization functionality with IVF first, and then testing everything else after.
 Thrusters will be the last thing tested, as it's the riskiest because it involves an explosion.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: LouScheffer on 02/08/2018 03:40 PM
Some parts of IVF can be tested on Centuar V. Fit a ICE pod with thrusters and test it in parallel to exist systems. At every least power can be used to extend battery life of stage.

I can't say with certainty (our role in IVF is fairly low on the totem pole), but I would be surprised if they didn't test IVF in this manner--starting out in parallel with the mains systems, probably demoing some operations after the main mission is over.

I too can't see why ULA has not done this.  Bolt it onto an existing Centaur, but don't even turn it on until after spacecraft separation and there is no further risk to the primary mission.  Then keep the stage alive for a few days, keep it pressurized and attitude controlled, maybe do a re-entry burn after a few days to prove the endurance.

I understand that ULA customers are risk averse, but they also have an interest in seeing technology improve and costs come down.   So I'd think they would allow this as a chunk of inert mass during the primary mission.  Other companies seem to get their customers to agree to similar arrangements.

Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Rocket Jesus on 02/08/2018 03:49 PM
Some parts of IVF can be tested on Centuar V. Fit a ICE pod with thrusters and test it in parallel to exist systems. At every least power can be used to extend battery life of stage.

I can't say with certainty (our role in IVF is fairly low on the totem pole), but I would be surprised if they didn't test IVF in this manner--starting out in parallel with the mains systems, probably demoing some operations after the main mission is over.

I too can't see why ULA has not done this.  Bolt it onto an existing Centaur, but don't even turn it on until after spacecraft separation and there is no further risk to the primary mission.  Then keep the stage alive for a few days, keep it pressurized and attitude controlled, maybe do a re-entry burn after a few days to prove the endurance.

I understand that ULA customers are risk averse, but they also have an interest in seeing technology improve and costs come down.   So I'd think they would allow this as a chunk of inert mass during the primary mission.  Other companies seem to get their customers to agree to similar arrangements.

In the interest of fairness...If an IVF thruster can turn on a few days after flight, it can turn on during flight (hypothetically). 

ULA does not seem to have the courage to push their customers to sign such agreements.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: A_M_Swallow on 02/08/2018 04:52 PM
Some parts of IVF can be tested on Centuar V. Fit a ICE pod with thrusters and test it in parallel to exist systems. At every least power can be used to extend battery life of stage.

I can't say with certainty (our role in IVF is fairly low on the totem pole), but I would be surprised if they didn't test IVF in this manner--starting out in parallel with the mains systems, probably demoing some operations after the main mission is over.

I too can't see why ULA has not done this.  Bolt it onto an existing Centaur, but don't even turn it on until after spacecraft separation and there is no further risk to the primary mission.  Then keep the stage alive for a few days, keep it pressurized and attitude controlled, maybe do a re-entry burn after a few days to prove the endurance.

I understand that ULA customers are risk averse, but they also have an interest in seeing technology improve and costs come down.   So I'd think they would allow this as a chunk of inert mass during the primary mission.  Other companies seem to get their customers to agree to similar arrangements.

In the interest of fairness...If an IVF thruster can turn on a few days after flight, it can turn on during flight (hypothetically). 

ULA does not seem to have the courage to push their customers to sign such agreements.

If ULA does not want to push customers to sign contracts permitting equipment tests then ULA will have to pay for its own flights.

I wonder if Ford or General Motors will pay for a publicity stunt in which a car is sent to orbit the Moon?
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: russianhalo117 on 02/08/2018 05:04 PM
Some parts of IVF can be tested on Centuar V. Fit a ICE pod with thrusters and test it in parallel to exist systems. At every least power can be used to extend battery life of stage.

I can't say with certainty (our role in IVF is fairly low on the totem pole), but I would be surprised if they didn't test IVF in this manner--starting out in parallel with the mains systems, probably demoing some operations after the main mission is over.

I too can't see why ULA has not done this.  Bolt it onto an existing Centaur, but don't even turn it on until after spacecraft separation and there is no further risk to the primary mission.  Then keep the stage alive for a few days, keep it pressurized and attitude controlled, maybe do a re-entry burn after a few days to prove the endurance.

I understand that ULA customers are risk averse, but they also have an interest in seeing technology improve and costs come down.   So I'd think they would allow this as a chunk of inert mass during the primary mission.  Other companies seem to get their customers to agree to similar arrangements.



That was planned a long time ago but was shelved indefinitely.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: TrevorMonty on 02/08/2018 05:24 PM
The IVF pod is totally safe until it is supplied with fuel. Just a case of opening fuel valves after Centuar has delivered its payloads.

Tank pressurisation test requires a bit more plumbing so maybe last test done.

A successful series of pod tests could allow for removal Hydrazine and its thrusters, reduce battery size and increase stage life to hours if not days. Big savings to be had without having to eliminate flight proven He pressurisation systems.

NB The pods 300lb Hydrogen/Oxygen gas thrusts allow for multiple small orbit changes, great for constellation placements.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Sknowball on 02/08/2018 06:18 PM
while being interviewed yesterday by DasValdez of KerbalSpaceAcademy during a tour of SLC-41, John Gadarowski a Vulcan project manager, provided some insights into the pad modifications being done for Vulcan and specifically stated first Vulcan Launch as April 2020.

Indexing for Vulcan and Centaur V specific information:
Reinforcing pad for Vulcan launches 9m55s (https://www.twitch.tv/videos/226624943?t=00h09m55s)
For Vulcan flame trench water suppression system a second tank that holds 50,000 gallon will be installed 11m28s (https://www.twitch.tv/videos/226624943?t=00h11m28s)
Vulcan Maiden flight April 2020 11m:50s (https://www.twitch.tv/videos/226624943?t=00h11m50s)
Re-purposing old pad infrastructure for Centaur V 17m:13s (https://www.twitch.tv/videos/226624943?t=00h17m13s)
There will be two MLP's one for Atlas and one for Vulcan 34m00s (https://www.twitch.tv/videos/226624943?t=00h34m00s)
VIF Crane will be upgraded to 65 Tonnes for Vulcan 39m00s (https://www.twitch.tv/videos/226624943?t=00h39m00s)

There was a signal interruption so rest of interview and tour is on a different video, indexed points from that video:
John Gadarowski talking about his role as a Project Manager on Vulcan, specifically on the new MLP 2m50s (https://www.twitch.tv/videos/226637800?t=00h02m50s)

edited to add additional time indexes for new Vulcan and Centaur information.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Chasm on 02/08/2018 06:48 PM
ULA has to design the tank structure, I still think that it is possible to put things not shared between Hydrazine/Helium and IVF in different spots.
This time most boxes including avionics are on the aft bulkhead. Good that with 5.4m there is a lot of real estate.

As far as the ACES papers go IVF and the gaseous thrusters are as self contained as it gets. All in a single pod. 2 pods on the stage for redundancy. Electrical connections are simple, plumbing less so. (The Hydrazine thruster system is all over the stage.)
If there are no IVF pods I'd put the cube sat deployers in their place, on ACES put them on the helium tank mounts.

IVF can pressurize the tank but can IIRC not supply enough volume while RL10 runs, so some mods to RL10 are required. Tank pressurization might be the most difficult thing to test. (The whole thing will go through ground tests. We are talking here about on orbit testing.)

I don't see the huge deal in additional valves to activate IVF after payload delivery. They are already used on Centaur. If they would fail the mission is an instant fail. Unlikely to be cheap but very well known. The pod itself and the lines to it can be launched purged, say with nitrogen. Skip pressurization tests and there should be only 2 valves required.
Problem is more likely in the low effort spend on ACES previously and the long contract lead times. Easier to sell minor risk early than to change the deal later.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: envy887 on 02/08/2018 07:05 PM
That’s a very good point - is a Vulcan with a 4 engine Centaur *really* going to be cheaper than an Atlas V 401?

It doesn't have to be. ULA has *already* announced a 2-engine-Centaur V mission, the B330 launch to LEO.

The announcement doesn't specify a Centaur V, it says "Vulcan 562". It could still be assuming a dual-engine Centaur III, as Atlas V needed a 552 to launch a BA330. Vulcan 562 was at one point the Centaur III equivalent to Atlas V 552.

https://www.ulalaunch.com/about/news/2017/10/17/bigelow-aerospace-and-united-launch-alliance-announce-agreement-to-place-a-b330-habitat-in-low-lunar-orbit
the numbers in Centaur's case only apply to the engines. The link you list is based on old information and is no longer a valid configuration per an interview with T. Bruno that is linked a good ways back in this threads posts. Centaur-V seems to only employ a 4 RL-10C configuration and BA-330 would likely be either  Vulcan Centaur 544 to VC-564. Centaur-III was confirmed by Bruno to stay on Atlas and only Centaur-V (simplified to just Centaur because they are now only flying a single centaur version) would fly on Vulcan.

So is single or double engine Centaur still an option on Vulcan? Or was it confirmed that Centaur will always have 4 engines?
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: clongton on 02/08/2018 09:03 PM
Thrusters will be the last thing tested, as it's the riskiest because it involves an explosion.

There are no explosions in a rocket engine.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: john smith 19 on 02/08/2018 11:36 PM
People seem to forget, but there was some flight testing of IVF on the Future Heavy (https://www.ulalaunch.com/about/news/2017/06/24/united-launch-alliance-interns-ball-aerospace-mentors-and-colorado-students-participate-in-record-setting-launch) launch last summer. 
I certainly had.
Quote from: Sknowball

 Yes, I know that wasn't on orbit testing, but it does show a progression from ground testing, I just wish we a little more detail on what specifically was tested.
Yes, it's not much to go on, but it's a bit closer to a flight test.

Given how long ULA has been planning this I'd guess if they really aren't planning to with IVF for first launch they would at least structure things so the various boxes have different mountings to the individual IVF "panels," allowing both to be installed, and for the existing boxes to be gradually removed as the full functionality of IVF is verified. I'd suggest starting with the systems ability to generate electricity.

I can understand concerns about premature activation but I think there is a limit when  you have to start planning and preparing for the future.  What will allay peoples fears? Pyro valves giving complete fluid isolation (until activated) with a time switch on power lines connections to the ignitors so even if the software goes haywire it still won't start up prematurely.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Lars-J on 02/09/2018 05:57 PM
So is single or double engine Centaur still an option on Vulcan? Or was it confirmed that Centaur will always have 4 engines?

We don't know, but I think we can exclude the possibility of a single engine Centaur V. It would be too heavy for just one RL-10. And even two might not be enough.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Space Ghost 1962 on 02/09/2018 08:45 PM
So is single or double engine Centaur still an option on Vulcan? Or was it confirmed that Centaur will always have 4 engines?

We don't know, but I think we can exclude the possibility of a single engine Centaur V. It would be too heavy for just one RL-10. And even two might not be enough.
Suggest a different rationale.

ULA's focus is on minimizing its much larger economic footprint than its single engined gas generator kerolox rival.

So they want to minimize change management (and everything behind that), so ... one two stage rocket with fairing that covers majority of payloads (volume of same components/etc), highest launch frequency, responsive to market need on short notice.

(If they wanted to, they could have a short US/tanks with same diameter and single engine/thrust structure, if engine costs were to dominate. Many ways to deal with height difference. Perhaps after phase over from Atlas V no longer flying, they find its worthwhile given manifest and biddable launches.)

Key thing is taking in the economics that they live with, in the scope of the market they compete in.
Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Sknowball on 02/10/2018 08:15 PM
while being interviewed yesterday by DasValdez of KerbalSpaceAcademy during a tour of SLC-41, John Gadarowski a Vulcan project manager, provided some insights into the pad modifications being done for Vulcan and specifically stated first Vulcan Launch as April 2020.

Indexing for Vulcan and Centaur V specific information:
Reinforcing pad for Vulcan launches 9m55s (https://www.twitch.tv/videos/226624943?t=00h09m55s)
For Vulcan flame trench water suppression system a second tank that holds 50,000 gallon will be installed 11m28s (https://www.twitch.tv/videos/226624943?t=00h11m28s)
Vulcan Maiden flight April 2020 11m:50s (https://www.twitch.tv/videos/226624943?t=00h11m50s)
Re-purposing old pad infrastructure for Centaur V 17m:13s (https://www.twitch.tv/videos/226624943?t=00h17m13s)
There will be two MLP's one for Atlas and one for Vulcan 34m00s (https://www.twitch.tv/videos/226624943?t=00h34m00s)
VIF Crane will be upgraded to 65 Tonnes for Vulcan 39m00s (https://www.twitch.tv/videos/226624943?t=00h39m00s)

There was a signal interruption so rest of interview and tour is on a different video, indexed points from that video:
John Gadarowski talking about his role as a Project Manager on Vulcan, specifically on the new MLP 2m50s (https://www.twitch.tv/videos/226637800?t=00h02m50s)

edited to add additional time indexes for new Vulcan and Centaur information.

John Gadarowski, the Vulcan project manager who provided the tour and interview, jumped on Reddit to provide some clarifications and answer questions (https://www.reddit.com/r/ula/comments/7w75eg/dasvaldez_of_kerbalspaceacademy_tour_of_slc41/du0b48e/) regarding the pad modifications to SLC-41.   I would encourage anyone interested in this work to jump in themselves and ask questions.

Some answers he has given so far:
  • A clarification on the 2020 date--April is when our ground infrastructure projects need to be ready to support arrival of first flight hardware (and that date is burned into my brain, sorry for the error). From there we'll have to perform integrated ground systems testing, cryogenic exposure/wet dress rehearsal, and static fire testing. We are targeting a summertime initial launch capability.
  • Multiple VIF modifications have been made to support Vulcan. Access platforms have been modified to support the larger bodied booster and new configuration of six SRMs. We will use articulating platforms and inserts to switch between Atlas/Vulcan configurations and these VIF mods are mostly complete.
  • GEM-63 has required some additional concrete at the base of VIF and some increased road surface areas around the SRM storage areas to accommodate a larger turn radius--nothing major.
  • As far as Centaur V is concerned. We'll need larger cryo tanks to support the larger-bodied second stage. These will be placed alongside existing Centaur tanks to increase capacity.
  • Regarding CAT and Vulcan compatibility. Actually, requirements are the other way around--Vulcan was designed to fit within existing pad infrastructure. For example, the new Vulcan MLP will need the same dimensions as Atlas in order to properly fit piers, autocouplers, and pad equipment building.
  • Not sure about OVI as the Vulcan design is simpler. If it makes sense to assemble the interstage adapter w/Centaur V offsite then that would remain a possibility. Studies are being conducted in many areas to determine the best methods for carrying out operations.
  • Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: gongora on 02/11/2018 05:02 PM
    [StarTribune] From rockets to nuclear plants, PaR Systems a maverick in robotics field (http://www.startribune.com/from-rockets-to-nuclear-plants-par-systems-a-maverick-in-robotics-field/473629233/)
    Quote
    In December, two new PaR “friction stir welding” machines the size of train tunnels were delivered to United Launch Alliance in Alabama. There the multimillion-dollar beasts will be used to fuse together the liquid fuel tanks for the new Vulcan rocket
    ...
    In addition to ULA, which is a joint venture between Boeing and Lockheed Martin, other PaR customers include Emerson, Toyota, Best Buy, Tesla, NASA, SpaceX, Blue Origin and a host of medical device firms.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: AncientU on 02/12/2018 03:14 PM
    Since Vulcan won't be as far along in 2019 (when Phase 2 is to be awarded) as Falcon was when ULA was given a 36 core block Buy, shouldn't such a money-saving opportunity be taken again by the USAF?  Could save several times the purported $4.4B...
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Jim on 02/12/2018 03:24 PM
    Since Vulcan won't be as far along in 2019 (when Phase 2 is to be awarded) as Falcon was when ULA was given a 36 core block Buy, shouldn't such a money-saving opportunity be taken again by the USAF?  Could save several times the purported $4.4B...

    No.  ULA knows how to build and operate a certified vehicle.  Spacex had no such history.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: speedevil on 02/12/2018 03:55 PM
    Since Vulcan won't be as far along in 2019 (when Phase 2 is to be awarded) as Falcon was when ULA was given a 36 core block Buy, shouldn't such a money-saving opportunity be taken again by the USAF?  Could save several times the purported $4.4B...

    No.  ULA knows how to build and operate a certified vehicle.  Spacex had no such history.

    Musk seems to disagree. (though of course he would).

    On twitter, on a thread around FH pricing compared to Delta,

    Quote
    Sasamj‏ @AngryPackOMeese 9m9 minutes ago

    I think after 2020, the idea is to switch to Vulcan-centaur+ for heavy lift not stick with Delta

    Quote
    @elonmusk
    Replying to @AngryPackOMeese @dlxinorbit and

    Maybe that plan works out, but I will seriously eat my hat with a side of mustard if that rocket flies a national security spacecraft before 2023
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: RonM on 02/12/2018 03:56 PM
    Since Vulcan won't be as far along in 2019 (when Phase 2 is to be awarded) as Falcon was when ULA was given a 36 core block Buy, shouldn't such a money-saving opportunity be taken again by the USAF?  Could save several times the purported $4.4B...

    No.  ULA knows how to build and operate a certified vehicle.  Spacex had no such history.

    Not because ULA knows all, but because block buy is a terrible idea in a competitive market. Let the Air Force decide per mission based on available launchers.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Rocket Jesus on 02/12/2018 04:20 PM
    Since Vulcan won't be as far along in 2019 (when Phase 2 is to be awarded) as Falcon was when ULA was given a 36 core block Buy, shouldn't such a money-saving opportunity be taken again by the USAF?  Could save several times the purported $4.4B...

    No.  ULA knows how to build and operate a certified vehicle.  Spacex had no such history.

    Not because ULA knows all, but because block buy is a terrible idea in a competitive market. Let the Air Force decide per mission based on available launchers.

    Hindsight...no one would call out the block buy being a *poop* deal that long ago (also Blocky Buy's origin start around 2011 by my count).
    Block Buy most likely saved money when considering the time frame.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: RonM on 02/12/2018 04:30 PM
    Since Vulcan won't be as far along in 2019 (when Phase 2 is to be awarded) as Falcon was when ULA was given a 36 core block Buy, shouldn't such a money-saving opportunity be taken again by the USAF?  Could save several times the purported $4.4B...

    No.  ULA knows how to build and operate a certified vehicle.  Spacex had no such history.

    Not because ULA knows all, but because block buy is a terrible idea in a competitive market. Let the Air Force decide per mission based on available launchers.

    Hindsight...no one would call out the block buy being a *poop* deal that long ago (also Blocky Buy's origin start around 2011 by my count).
    Block Buy most likely saved money when considering the time frame.

    I'm not talking about previous block buys, I responding to the idea of a new block buy. Why give SpaceX a block buy for FH when they've done one test launch and Vulcan, NG, etc. are on the horizon? In a few short years there will be several launchers available. Block buy is no longer a viable concept.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Rocket Jesus on 02/12/2018 04:34 PM
    Since Vulcan won't be as far along in 2019 (when Phase 2 is to be awarded) as Falcon was when ULA was given a 36 core block Buy, shouldn't such a money-saving opportunity be taken again by the USAF?  Could save several times the purported $4.4B...

    No.  ULA knows how to build and operate a certified vehicle.  Spacex had no such history.

    Not because ULA knows all, but because block buy is a terrible idea in a competitive market. Let the Air Force decide per mission based on available launchers.

    Hindsight...no one would call out the block buy being a *poop* deal that long ago (also Blocky Buy's origin start around 2011 by my count).
    Block Buy most likely saved money when considering the time frame.

    I'm not talking about previous block buys, I responding to the idea of a new block buy. Why give SpaceX a block buy for FH when they've done one test launch and Vulcan, NG, etc. are on the horizon? In a few short years there will be several launchers available. Block buy is no longer a viable concept.

    Do you have a source on a new Block Buy?  That's news to me...and quite shocking to be honest.

    I've heard ELC for both SpaceX and ULA, but not a Block Buy. I'd like more info (if you can share publicly)
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: RonM on 02/12/2018 04:41 PM
    Since Vulcan won't be as far along in 2019 (when Phase 2 is to be awarded) as Falcon was when ULA was given a 36 core block Buy, shouldn't such a money-saving opportunity be taken again by the USAF?  Could save several times the purported $4.4B...

    No.  ULA knows how to build and operate a certified vehicle.  Spacex had no such history.

    Not because ULA knows all, but because block buy is a terrible idea in a competitive market. Let the Air Force decide per mission based on available launchers.

    Hindsight...no one would call out the block buy being a *poop* deal that long ago (also Blocky Buy's origin start around 2011 by my count).
    Block Buy most likely saved money when considering the time frame.

    I'm not talking about previous block buys, I responding to the idea of a new block buy. Why give SpaceX a block buy for FH when they've done one test launch and Vulcan, NG, etc. are on the horizon? In a few short years there will be several launchers available. Block buy is no longer a viable concept.

    Do you have a source on a new Block Buy?  That's news to me...and quite shocking to be honest.

    I've heard ELC for both SpaceX and ULA, but not a Block Buy. I'd like more info (if you can share publicly)

    Read the entire post above!

    Since Vulcan won't be as far along in 2019 (when Phase 2 is to be awarded) as Falcon was when ULA was given a 36 core block Buy, shouldn't such a money-saving opportunity be taken again by the USAF?  Could save several times the purported $4.4B...

    AncientU suggested a new block buy, Jim and I are objecting for different reasons. There is no inside information about a new block buy because there isn't one.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: TrevorMonty on 02/12/2018 05:37 PM

    https://twitter.com/Astro_Zach/status/963107576857624581
    Woo. @torybruno just confirmed to me the Vulcan Ultra/Super/Three Core Heavy is still a GO if there is demand

    They have D4H pads and experience of operating a triple core so it should be easier to develop than SpaceX had with FH. Price should be on par with FH in expendable form. Just need flight rate to justify it.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Rocket Jesus on 02/12/2018 05:41 PM

    https://twitter.com/Astro_Zach/status/963107576857624581
    Woo. @torybruno just confirmed to me the Vulcan Ultra/Super/Three Core Heavy is still a GO if there is demand

    They have D4H pads and experience of operating a triple core so it should be easier to develop than SpaceX had with FH. Price should be on par with FH in expendable form. Just need flight rate to justify it.

    Flight Rate will not justify a 3 stick VH.  It only justifies a DIVH cuz they've already signed a contract.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: cppetrie on 02/12/2018 06:01 PM

    https://twitter.com/Astro_Zach/status/963107576857624581
    Woo. @torybruno just confirmed to me the Vulcan Ultra/Super/Three Core Heavy is still a GO if there is demand

    They have D4H pads and experience of operating a triple core so it should be easier to develop than SpaceX had with FH. Price should be on par with FH in expendable form . Just need flight rate to justify it.

    Given that Elon just tweeted that FH in expendable mode is $150 million, how on earth can a 3 stick Vulcan beat that price if a single stick Vulcan is likely to cost ~$100 million?
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: clongton on 02/12/2018 06:03 PM

    https://twitter.com/Astro_Zach/status/963107576857624581 (https://twitter.com/Astro_Zach/status/963107576857624581)
    Woo. @torybruno just confirmed to me the Vulcan Ultra/Super/Three Core Heavy is still a GO if there is demand.

    Doubt the demand will materialize. It would have to compete with Falcon Heavy and then with the BFR, which would be less expensive than the Falcon Heavy.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Space Ghost 1962 on 02/12/2018 08:21 PM
    https://twitter.com/torybruno/status/963118795303694336

    Tory Bruno accepts Musk's challenge of Vulcan launching a NSS by 2023.

    add:

    I don't doubt ULA being able to do booster and US for that. I do doubt engine providers and ability to pull off the necessary qualifiable capabilities in that time (schedule pressure).

    add:

    He deleted the tweet! Perhaps he doesn't want to take the risk ... ouch, bad form!
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: ArbitraryConstant on 02/12/2018 08:45 PM
    Doubt the demand will materialize. It would have to compete with Falcon Heavy and then with the BFR, which would be less expensive than the BFR.
    There's scenarios where a commercial architecture for a space station or deep space mission could make good use of such a vehicle. The availability of two providers would be helpful in this case.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Sknowball on 02/12/2018 09:10 PM
    Doubt the demand will materialize. It would have to compete with Falcon Heavy and then with the BFR, which would be less expensive than the BFR.
    There's scenarios where a commercial architecture for a space station or deep space mission could make good use of such a vehicle. The availability of two providers would be helpful in this case.

    Only makes sense for initial mass to LEO as distributed launch would almost certainly be cheaper than a 3 core Vulcan to move that much mass to any other orbit.  Most recent distributed launch numbers below.

    Some slides we had seen previously, gives some updated numbers for Vulcan/ACES lift both single launch and distributed launch.

    Launch MethodEarth EscapeGSO/Lunar OrbitLunar Surface
    Single Launch14mT10mT3.8mT
    Distributed Launch30mT24mT12mT
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: TrevorMonty on 02/12/2018 11:05 PM
    Doubt the demand will materialize. It would have to compete with Falcon Heavy and then with the BFR, which would be less expensive than the BFR.
    There's scenarios where a commercial architecture for a space station or deep space mission could make good use of such a vehicle. The availability of two providers would be helpful in this case.

    Only makes sense for initial mass to LEO as distributed launch would almost certainly be cheaper than a 3 core Vulcan to move that much mass to any other orbit.  Most recent distributed launch numbers below.

    Some slides we had seen previously, gives some updated numbers for Vulcan/ACES lift both single launch and distributed launch.

    Launch MethodEarth EscapeGSO/Lunar OrbitLunar Surface
    Single Launch14mT10mT3.8mT
    Distributed Launch30mT24mT12mT
    DT is why ULA are not pushing Vulcan Heavy or see a need for one.  For situations where 2 Vulcans are not enough, still easier to launch 3 x Vulcan 564 than 1 x564 and Heavy.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Rocket Jesus on 02/13/2018 12:42 AM
    https://twitter.com/torybruno/status/963118795303694336

    Tory Bruno accepts Musk's challenge of Vulcan launching a NSS by 2023.

    add:

    I don't doubt ULA being able to do booster and US for that. I do doubt engine providers and ability to pull off the necessary qualifiable capabilities in that time (schedule pressure).

    add:

    He deleted the tweet! Perhaps he doesn't want to take the risk ... ouch, bad form!

    Any idea how many consecutive successful flights are needed by Vulcan until it meets NSS certification?
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Space Ghost 1962 on 02/13/2018 12:51 AM
    https://twitter.com/torybruno/status/963118795303694336

    Tory Bruno accepts Musk's challenge of Vulcan launching a NSS by 2023.

    add:

    I don't doubt ULA being able to do booster and US for that. I do doubt engine providers and ability to pull off the necessary qualifiable capabilities in that time (schedule pressure).

    add:

    He deleted the tweet! Perhaps he doesn't want to take the risk ... ouch, bad form!

    Any idea how many consecutive successful flights are needed by Vulcan until it meets NSS certification?
    Estimate 2-3.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Archibald on 02/13/2018 07:42 PM
    Quote
    Maybe that plan works out, but I will seriously eat my hat with a side of mustard if that rocket flies a national security spacecraft before 2023

    When I red this I started laughing so hard, like an idiot, couldn't stop, lost my breath, started coughing, someone please call 9-1-1...

    The reason ?

    eating his hat ? reminded myself of something...

    Scrooge McDuck rivals. They used to taunt Scrooge into insane challenges they hoped to win, usually adding "and if I lose this one, I'll eat my hat" and everytime it happened, to the point it become a running joke in the series, at some point the loser lost so hard and so badly, he ended eating a complete truckload of hats (ROTFLMAO)

    https://vignette.wikia.nocookie.net/nonciclopedia/images/5/5c/Rockerduck_si_mangia_la_bombetta.png/revision/latest?cb=20130704164559

    Rockerduck_si_mangia_la_bombetta Ah, the beauty of italian language !!!

    Quite inevitably it imediately become...

    Elonduck_si_mangia_la_bombetta

    Seriously, somebody should make a hashtag out of this...

    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: AncientU on 02/13/2018 09:28 PM
    Since Vulcan won't be as far along in 2019 (when Phase 2 is to be awarded) as Falcon was when ULA was given a 36 core block Buy, shouldn't such a money-saving opportunity be taken again by the USAF?  Could save several times the purported $4.4B...

    No.  ULA knows how to build and operate a certified vehicle.  Spacex had no such history.

    Because their parents did it 20 years ago?
    And Blue has vast experience in orbital ORSC methlox engines, or can seek help from ULA's vast trove of engine development expertise?
    Or AJR will deliver its first ORSC kerlox engine by then?

    The outcome is not solely in ULA's hands.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: russianhalo117 on 02/13/2018 09:43 PM

    https://twitter.com/Astro_Zach/status/963107576857624581 (https://twitter.com/Astro_Zach/status/963107576857624581)
    Woo. @torybruno just confirmed to me the Vulcan Ultra/Super/Three Core Heavy is still a GO if there is demand.

    Doubt the demand will materialize. It would have to compete with Falcon Heavy and then with the BFR, which would be less expensive than the Falcon Heavy.
    The parent corporations have more or less required that the Vulcan Heavy configuration be designed into the standardized Vulcan core stage from the beginning of development just like the never flown Atlas-5 Heavy. As with the A5 core CCB, the attachment bracket and thrust take-out mounting locations would be machined but the unneeded hardware would not be installed. (VH would use an attachment system similar to that used by the DIVH CBC's).
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: TrevorMonty on 02/13/2018 10:10 PM

    https://twitter.com/Astro_Zach/status/963107576857624581 (https://twitter.com/Astro_Zach/status/963107576857624581)
    Woo. @torybruno just confirmed to me the Vulcan Ultra/Super/Three Core Heavy is still a GO if there is demand.

    Doubt the demand will materialize. It would have to compete with Falcon Heavy and then with the BFR, which would be less expensive than the Falcon Heavy.
    The parent corporations have more or less required that the Vulcan Heavy configuration be designed into the standardized Vulcan core stage from the beginning of development just like the never flown Atlas-5 Heavy. As with the A5 core CCB, the attachment bracket and thrust take-out mounting locations would be machined but the unneeded hardware would not be installed. (VH would use an attachment system similar to that used by the DIVH CBC's).

    Flight rate may not need to be much more than 1-2 flights a year to justify ground infrastructure. Pad could still be used for single stick Vulcan giving ULA two pads, ideal for distributed launch. Should be very little extra manufacturing infrastructure required as its just three Vulcan cores with few modifications.

    There is no reason to believe 1st stages will be significantly more expensive than FH. Lot depends on how much 2xBE4s are compared to 9x Merlins.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Nehkara on 02/13/2018 11:07 PM
    Hello everyone!

    I just had a few questions about Vulcan.

    1) What is the newest information available about the launch cost and capability of the most basic Vulcan configuration? (I believe that is currently Vulcan 501 + Centaur V)

    2) Is there information about the launch cost and capability of the most advanced planned Vulcan configuration (Vulcan 564 + ACES)?

    Thanks. :)
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: russianhalo117 on 02/14/2018 12:29 AM
    Hello everyone!

    I just had a few questions about Vulcan.

    1) What is the newest information available about the launch cost and capability of the most basic Vulcan configuration? (I believe that is currently Vulcan 501 + Centaur V)

    2) Is there information about the launch cost and capability of the most advanced planned Vulcan configuration (Vulcan 564 + ACES)?

    Thanks. :)
    Such information is not currently available to the public at this time, but per their website:  ULA | Vulcan Centaur (http://[https://www.ulalaunch.com/rockets/vulcan-centaur)
    Quote
    For detailed information please email us. [email protected]
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: TrevorMonty on 02/14/2018 01:31 AM
    These come from 2 different ULA sheets, I don't think V561 is relative anymore so assume bit more for GTO.

    Vulcan 564 ACES (Centuar V may not have same performance). GEO 20klbs

    V561 ACES GEO 16klbs, GTO 33klbs


    VH GEO 30klbs, GTO 50klbs.

    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Jim on 02/14/2018 10:42 AM

    1.  Because their parents did it 20 years ago?
    2.  And Blue has vast experience in orbital ORSC methlox engines, or can seek help from ULA's vast trove of engine development expertise?

    1,  it is the same people
    2 yes and yes.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Rocket Jesus on 02/14/2018 01:31 PM

    1.  Because their parents did it 20 years ago?
    2.  And Blue has vast experience in orbital ORSC methlox engines, or can seek help from ULA's vast trove of engine development expertise?

    1,  it is the same people
    2 yes and yes.

    What "vast trove of engine development expertise" does ULA have?  AFAIK engine IP lies with other companies (namely AR and Energomash...perhaps also Pratt & Whitney?) and ULA has little engine development expertise as it's not done in-house.  ULA's expertise lies in launch vehicle development, manufacturing, and operation.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: gongora on 02/14/2018 01:55 PM
    https://twitter.com/torybruno/status/963118795303694336

    Tory Bruno accepts Musk's challenge of Vulcan launching a NSS by 2023.

    add:

    I don't doubt ULA being able to do booster and US for that. I do doubt engine providers and ability to pull off the necessary qualifiable capabilities in that time (schedule pressure).

    add:

    He deleted the tweet! Perhaps he doesn't want to take the risk ... ouch, bad form!

    Before 2023 isn't such a safe bet even if Vulcan is delivered on time just due to the lag from the EELV contracting process, although I'm sure they could come up with a STP mission for the first government Vulcan flight.  If they're not flying until at least mid-2020, that's probably when they could start getting payloads assigned to Vulcan.  Typical 2+ year lag before flight and you're probably into 2023.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Rocket Jesus on 02/14/2018 02:09 PM
    Typical 2+ year lag before flight and you're probably into 2023.

    2+ year lag should not hold true for ULA. 
    Mr. Bruno mentioned on Reddit (sorry, no link) half the battle with EELV certification is getting the company itself certified, not just the launch vehicle.  ULA currently flies 2 EELV certified rockets.  In addition, ULA has given heavy insight into launch vehicle design for Vulcan, which SpaceX did not do for Falcon 9 since it was not conceived under the EELV program. 
    Given the above, surely the Vulcan EELV certification time frame will be less than the typical/average?
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: gongora on 02/14/2018 02:32 PM
    Typical 2+ year lag before flight and you're probably into 2023.

    2+ year lag should not hold true for ULA. 
    Mr. Bruno mentioned on Reddit (sorry, no link) half the battle with EELV certification is getting the company itself certified, not just the launch vehicle.  ULA currently flies 2 EELV certified rockets.  In addition, ULA has given heavy insight into launch vehicle design for Vulcan, which SpaceX did not do for Falcon 9 since it was not conceived under the EELV program. 
    Given the above, surely the Vulcan EELV certification time frame will be less than the typical/average?

    It's typically 2+ years from the time a contract is awarded for a launch until the launch takes place, that has nothing to do with certification.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: russianhalo117 on 02/14/2018 02:50 PM

    1.  Because their parents did it 20 years ago?
    2.  And Blue has vast experience in orbital ORSC methlox engines, or can seek help from ULA's vast trove of engine development expertise?

    1,  it is the same people
    2 yes and yes.

    What "vast trove of engine development expertise" does ULA have?  AFAIK engine IP lies with other companies (namely AR and Energomash...perhaps also Pratt & Whitney?) and ULA has little engine development expertise as it's not done in-house.  ULA's expertise lies in launch vehicle development, manufacturing, and operation.
    AR has nothing to do with RD-180: AMROSS is managed by UTC's PW and Energomash.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Rocket Jesus on 02/14/2018 02:54 PM

    1.  Because their parents did it 20 years ago?
    2.  And Blue has vast experience in orbital ORSC methlox engines, or can seek help from ULA's vast trove of engine development expertise?

    1,  it is the same people
    2 yes and yes.

    What "vast trove of engine development expertise" does ULA have?  AFAIK engine IP lies with other companies (namely AR and Energomash...perhaps also Pratt & Whitney?) and ULA has little engine development expertise as it's not done in-house.  ULA's expertise lies in launch vehicle development, manufacturing, and operation.
    AR has nothing to do with RD-180: AMROSS is managed by UTC's PW and Energomash.

    Cool! That's why I included PW in there as a perhaps.  Any RS-68/RS-68A effort is with AR and any RL-10 work is almost definitely with AR, so this answers the question.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Rocket Jesus on 02/14/2018 03:50 PM
    Typical 2+ year lag before flight and you're probably into 2023.

    2+ year lag should not hold true for ULA. 
    Mr. Bruno mentioned on Reddit (sorry, no link) half the battle with EELV certification is getting the company itself certified, not just the launch vehicle.  ULA currently flies 2 EELV certified rockets.  In addition, ULA has given heavy insight into launch vehicle design for Vulcan, which SpaceX did not do for Falcon 9 since it was not conceived under the EELV program. 
    Given the above, surely the Vulcan EELV certification time frame will be less than the typical/average?

    It's typically 2+ years from the time a contract is awarded for a launch until the launch takes place, that has nothing to do with certification.

    AFAIK they can award a contract with the expectation (most likely a contract option with a "firm" deadline) that Vulcan will be certified by X months after contract signature date. 
    I remember something similar being part of the conversation when SpaceX Falcon 9 was fighting to get certified.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Jim on 02/14/2018 03:52 PM


    What "vast trove of engine development expertise" does ULA have?  AFAIK engine IP lies with other companies (namely AR and Energomash...perhaps also Pratt & Whitney?) and ULA has little engine development expertise as it's not done in-house

    they have people
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Rocket Jesus on 02/14/2018 03:55 PM


    What "vast trove of engine development expertise" does ULA have?  AFAIK engine IP lies with other companies (namely AR and Energomash...perhaps also Pratt & Whitney?) and ULA has little engine development expertise as it's not done in-house

    they have people

    Where does the IP rest?
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Space Ghost 1962 on 02/14/2018 03:55 PM
    Suggest Tory pulled the tweet when someone alerted him to low schedule margins indicated by engine selection announcement timing.

    Possibly also because SX will have F9/FH certification for the entire range (including VI) well before Vulcan begins certification.

    Not only might he have to eat his hat instead of Musk, it would be at a delicate time for ULA, thus the wrong thing to bring attention to.

    Yes Atlas V/DIVH still covers NSS, but it is not without existential risk/cost. Still want to see more on Vulcan's engines sooner.
    Typical 2+ year lag before flight and you're probably into 2023.

    2+ year lag should not hold true for ULA. 
    Mr. Bruno mentioned on Reddit (sorry, no link) half the battle with EELV certification is getting the company itself certified, not just the launch vehicle.  ULA currently flies 2 EELV certified rockets.  In addition, ULA has given heavy insight into launch vehicle design for Vulcan, which SpaceX did not do for Falcon 9 since it was not conceived under the EELV program. 
    Given the above, surely the Vulcan EELV certification time frame will be less than the typical/average?

    It's typically 2+ years from the time a contract is awarded for a launch until the launch takes place, that has nothing to do with certification.

    AFAIK they can award a contract with the expectation (most likely a contract option with a "firm" deadline) that Vulcan will be certified by X months after contract signature date. 
    I remember something similar being part of the conversation when SpaceX Falcon 9 was fighting to get certified.
    Yes.

    But if SX makes it first to certification there isn't the justification to do so. Again, risk.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Rocket Jesus on 02/14/2018 04:01 PM
    Suggest Tory pulled the tweet when someone alerted him to low schedule margins indicated by engine selection announcement timing.

    Possibly also because SX will have F9/FH certification for the entire range (including VI) well before Vulcan begins certification.

    Not only might he have to eat his hat instead of Musk, it would be at a delicate time for ULA, thus the wrong thing to bring attention to.

    Yes Atlas V/DIVH still covers NSS, but it is not without existential risk/cost. Still want to see more on Vulcan's engines sooner.
    Typical 2+ year lag before flight and you're probably into 2023.

    2+ year lag should not hold true for ULA. 
    Mr. Bruno mentioned on Reddit (sorry, no link) half the battle with EELV certification is getting the company itself certified, not just the launch vehicle.  ULA currently flies 2 EELV certified rockets.  In addition, ULA has given heavy insight into launch vehicle design for Vulcan, which SpaceX did not do for Falcon 9 since it was not conceived under the EELV program. 
    Given the above, surely the Vulcan EELV certification time frame will be less than the typical/average?

    It's typically 2+ years from the time a contract is awarded for a launch until the launch takes place, that has nothing to do with certification.

    AFAIK they can award a contract with the expectation (most likely a contract option with a "firm" deadline) that Vulcan will be certified by X months after contract signature date. 
    I remember something similar being part of the conversation when SpaceX Falcon 9 was fighting to get certified.
    Yes.

    But if SX makes it first to certification there isn't the justification to do so. Again, risk.

    But "Assured Access" as interpreted requires 2 independent methods (LV's) to access space...in theory at least.  Since Atlas V is being legally excluded from NSS missions after a specific number of RD-180s (or maybe date?), the justification still exists even if F9 is certified.  Am I missing something?

    PS that's a legit question, not a smartass one
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Jim on 02/14/2018 04:07 PM


    What "vast trove of engine development expertise" does ULA have?  AFAIK engine IP lies with other companies (namely AR and Energomash...perhaps also Pratt & Whitney?) and ULA has little engine development expertise as it's not done in-house

    they have people

    Where does the IP rest?

    Irrelevant for this topic
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Rocket Jesus on 02/14/2018 04:14 PM


    What "vast trove of engine development expertise" does ULA have?  AFAIK engine IP lies with other companies (namely AR and Energomash...perhaps also Pratt & Whitney?) and ULA has little engine development expertise as it's not done in-house

    they have people

    Where does the IP rest?

    Irrelevant for this topic

    With all due respect since i love reading your insight on NSF, I'd say that's very relevant for this topic. 
    If ULA downselects to an engine or uses tech which they don't have IP rights, they're in some deep dung.  AR would 100% sue a company using its IP to launch a rocket.  Given Bezos track record on the patent (specifically concerning rocket landings on barges), I wouldn't put it past BLUE to do the same if it fit their interests.

    IP rights are crucial for ULA here and in the future.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: joek on 02/14/2018 04:26 PM
    AFAIK they can award a contract with the expectation (most likely a contract option with a "firm" deadline) that Vulcan will be certified by X months after contract signature date. 
    I remember something similar being part of the conversation when SpaceX Falcon 9 was fighting to get certified.

    Nominally correct.  At the time of award:
    - You do not need to be certified.
    - You do need an approved plan to become certified before launch.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: rcoppola on 02/14/2018 04:26 PM
    I'm curious what mitigations they may be taking now that they're carrying two reference designs for longer than anticipated while awaiting to be able to make an engine down select. Also curious as to what specifically they see that gives them pause in pulling the trigger on the BE-4. Certainly they have enough insight to determine whether future outcomes are weighted towards success. So what are they not seeing that they need to? Or is there other intrigue happening?
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Rocket Jesus on 02/14/2018 04:37 PM
    I'm curious what mitigations they may be taking now that they're carrying two reference designs for longer than anticipated while awaiting to be able to make an engine down select. Also curious as to what specifically they see that gives them pause in pulling the trigger on the BE-4. Certainly they have enough insight to determine whether future outcomes are weighted towards success. So what are they not seeing that they need to? Or is there other intrigue happening?

    Complete Speculation...
    Mitigation technique for AR-1 powered Vulcan is likely sale of the company to the highest bidder, which is most likely AR itself.  AR-1 powered Vulcan cannot compete on price.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: envy887 on 02/14/2018 04:37 PM
    AFAIK they can award a contract with the expectation (most likely a contract option with a "firm" deadline) that Vulcan will be certified by X months after contract signature date. 
    I remember something similar being part of the conversation when SpaceX Falcon 9 was fighting to get certified.

    Nominally correct.  At the time of award:
    - You do not need to be certified.
    - You do need an approved plan to become certified before launch.

    I don't see them winning any bids for an all-new vehicle that has never launched. It will go more like: first launch, award, ~2 year gap, first NSS launch.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Rocket Jesus on 02/14/2018 04:44 PM
    AFAIK they can award a contract with the expectation (most likely a contract option with a "firm" deadline) that Vulcan will be certified by X months after contract signature date. 
    I remember something similar being part of the conversation when SpaceX Falcon 9 was fighting to get certified.

    Nominally correct.  At the time of award:
    - You do not need to be certified.
    - You do need an approved plan to become certified before launch.

    I don't see them winning any bids for an all-new vehicle that has never launched. It will go more like: first launch, award, ~2 year gap, first NSS launch.

    They'll get a gimme contract for first NSS launch, which is likely STP as SpaceX has (Disclaimer: I don't know the manifest for NSS missions past 2020)
    Vulcan won't require 2 years from first flight for NSS missions (which requires EELV certification)

    Curveball to me is ULA lobbying in Congress (yes, literal lobbying in Congress) for more Atlas V NSS missions.  They can, and most likely will, get more NSS missions from Atlas V.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Jim on 02/14/2018 05:01 PM

    With all due respect since i love reading your insight on NSF, I'd say that's very relevant for this topic. 
    If ULA downselects to an engine or uses tech which they don't have IP rights, they're in some deep dung.  AR would 100% sue a company using its IP to launch a rocket.  Given Bezos track record on the patent (specifically concerning rocket landings on barges), I wouldn't put it past BLUE to do the same if it fit their interests.

    IP rights are crucial for ULA here and in the future.

    ULA has never had IP rights.  ULA buys the hardware from the supplier, who retains the IP. 

    The issue was ULA has "little engine development expertise".  ULA has people that have supported engine development in the past, even though they don't do it themselves.  Also, as a smart buyer, ULA has engine experts.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: ZachF on 02/14/2018 05:04 PM
    Doing some napkin math on this rocket, is there something I'm missing?

    Thrust for 2x BE-4 is roughly 500 tonnes, but it looks like a Vulcan 504 would weigh like 470+ tonnes GTOW... are they going to have to do partial fueling on the first stage now that they've gotten rid of the smaller centaur US?

    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Star One on 02/14/2018 05:16 PM
    Doing some napkin math on this rocket, is there something I'm missing?

    Thrust for 2x BE-4 is roughly 500 tonnes, but it looks like a Vulcan 504 would weigh like 470+ tonnes GTOW... are they going to have to do partial fueling on the first stage now that they've gotten rid of the smaller centaur US?
    I don't think that the Centaur stage will weigh that much (it looks like you are assuming a roughly 70 tonne stage), but I'm guessing like everyone else who isn't part of the ULA development team.

     - Ed Kyle

    Isn’t this sort of calculating utterly pointless in general at this stage due to the limitation of information released by ULA?
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: ZachF on 02/14/2018 05:17 PM
    Doing some napkin math on this rocket, is there something I'm missing?

    Thrust for 2x BE-4 is roughly 500 tonnes, but it looks like a Vulcan 504 would weigh like 470+ tonnes GTOW... are they going to have to do partial fueling on the first stage now that they've gotten rid of the smaller centaur US?
    I don't think that the Centaur stage will weigh that much (it looks like you are assuming a roughly 70 tonne stage), but I'm guessing like everyone else who isn't part of the ULA development team.

     - Ed Kyle

    I was thinking
    400t first stage
    55t second stage
    6t Interstage + PLF
    5-10t payload

    466-471t total, about 50 tonnes above a 1.2 liftoff TWR
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: ZachF on 02/14/2018 05:19 PM
    Doing some napkin math on this rocket, is there something I'm missing?

    Thrust for 2x BE-4 is roughly 500 tonnes, but it looks like a Vulcan 504 would weigh like 470+ tonnes GTOW... are they going to have to do partial fueling on the first stage now that they've gotten rid of the smaller centaur US?
    I don't think that the Centaur stage will weigh that much (it looks like you are assuming a roughly 70 tonne stage), but I'm guessing like everyone else who isn't part of the ULA development team.

     - Ed Kyle

    Isn’t this sort of calculating utterly pointless in general at this stage due to the limitation of information released by ULA?

    probably  :P
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Lobo on 02/14/2018 05:23 PM

    https://twitter.com/Astro_Zach/status/963107576857624581 (https://twitter.com/Astro_Zach/status/963107576857624581)
    Woo. @torybruno just confirmed to me the Vulcan Ultra/Super/Three Core Heavy is still a GO if there is demand.

    Doubt the demand will materialize. It would have to compete with Falcon Heavy and then with the BFR, which would be less expensive than the Falcon Heavy.
    The parent corporations have more or less required that the Vulcan Heavy configuration be designed into the standardized Vulcan core stage from the beginning of development just like the never flown Atlas-5 Heavy. As with the A5 core CCB, the attachment bracket and thrust take-out mounting locations would be machined but the unneeded hardware would not be installed. (VH would use an attachment system similar to that used by the DIVH CBC's).

    Flight rate may not need to be much more than 1-2 flights a year to justify ground infrastructure. Pad could still be used for single stick Vulcan giving ULA two pads, ideal for distributed launch. Should be very little extra manufacturing infrastructure required as its just three Vulcan cores with few modifications.

    There is no reason to believe 1st stages will be significantly more expensive than FH. Lot depends on how much 2xBE4s are compared to 9x Merlins.


    I don't think Vulcan Heavy will be in the [actual] plans.  They'll probably design the cores as a possibly upgrade if ever ordered like Atlas, but like Atlas-Heavy, never being flown.  For a few reasons.

    Payloads that need D4H, FH-expendible (true EELV heavy lift), or Vulcan-heavy, are rare.  Or at least have been in the past.  It's a very small part of the market and if SpaceX already has it covered, there's no real need to have an offer for that too.  (Remember, there's never been "assured access" redundancy for those EELV-heavy payloads.  As Jim has mentioned in the past, there was no backup for Titan IV, and there's been no backup for D4H.  So I'm not sure there's need to change that now.)  FH has the advantage of being fully or partially reusable which means it can be used for smaller payloads in reusable configuration economically, as well as the occasional bigger EELV-heavy payloads.    A Vulcan-Heavy would be a fully expendable tri-core like D4H, and thus only be used for those occasional EELV-heavy payloads.  As with D4H, that's a lot of additional development and operational costs for around 1 payload every other year or so.

    As ULA already knows from D4H and SpaceX just found out with FH, the tri-core heavy is much more difficult than it seems on paper.  I'm sure they'd like to avoid that with this new LV development, especially if really trying to compete in the commercial market in the future.  They'll want to keep costs down, and learning from the past.

    Since it's likely LC-37 and SLC-6 will be closed with D4H finally retired to cut costs and streamline operations, ULA will focus on SLC-3 and LC-41.  But neither of which I think can process a tri-core, if I recall some old comments by Jim correctly.  They can however accommodate a wider single stick core, like the 5m wide Vulcan, with some minor modifications.  So investment into those two LC's to switch from Atlas to Vulcan won't be nearly as extensive if not having to expand them to accommodate a tri-core.

    But as always, I could be wrong. :-)
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Sknowball on 02/14/2018 05:52 PM
    Typical 2+ year lag before flight and you're probably into 2023.

    2+ year lag should not hold true for ULA. 
    Mr. Bruno mentioned on Reddit (sorry, no link) half the battle with EELV certification is getting the company itself certified, not just the launch vehicle.  ULA currently flies 2 EELV certified rockets.  In addition, ULA has given heavy insight into launch vehicle design for Vulcan, which SpaceX did not do for Falcon 9 since it was not conceived under the EELV program. 
    Given the above, surely the Vulcan EELV certification time frame will be less than the typical/average?

    Tory Burno on Reddit (https://www.reddit.com/r/SpaceXLounge/comments/7x2b0b/elon_in_regards_to_ula_vulcan_future/du8sv0w/?context=3) with some details on the NSS certification process for Vulcan, I don't believe we knew the number of non-NSS required flights previously:

    Quote
    We coordinated our certification plan with the USAF a couple of years ago. It requires an enormous amount of paperwork as well as 2 non-National Security flights prior to flying the first NSS flight.

    We still have people who have done this before and have a very good idea of what's involved

    Our approach is also very different. We brought the USAF certifiers in even before the plan was signed off to have visibility and begin working the "paper" and ground parts of this.

    So, I expect this to go smoothly
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Space Ghost 1962 on 02/14/2018 07:10 PM
    Yes Atlas V/DIVH still covers NSS, but it is not without existential risk/cost. Still want to see more on Vulcan's engines sooner.
    It's typically 2+ years from the time a contract is awarded for a launch until the launch takes place, that has nothing to do with certification.

    AFAIK they can award a contract with the expectation (most likely a contract option with a "firm" deadline) that Vulcan will be certified by X months after contract signature date. 
    I remember something similar being part of the conversation when SpaceX Falcon 9 was fighting to get certified.
    Yes.

    But if SX makes it first to certification there isn't the justification to do so. Again, risk.

    But "Assured Access" as interpreted requires 2 independent methods (LV's) to access space...in theory at least.  Since Atlas V is being legally excluded from NSS missions after a specific number of RD-180s (or maybe date?), the justification still exists even if F9 is certified.  Am I missing something?
    Lots going on here, more than a post could encompass.

    Many things are at play in the Atlas V transition. And the concept of "assured access" is about eventual cross coverage, not an unbroken case, no matter how others might spin it. (To get 2 independent methods to cover DIVH too in the past would have required Atlas VH then, taking many years and significant funds - its why Atlas V CCB was configured to allow it - a dubious reason for Vulcan to now have it too given scope of payload growth and other options).

    Provider and lobbyist politics will play up abstract theories to make it seem like more.

    Note also that a slip in Vulcan propulsion here still leaves an opening for NGL, which can be very quickly developed (if not fielded e.g. pad/GSE).

    The fact that there's been an Atlas V alternative sans VI for many years, at a fraction of the cost, is not lost here. So the scope of risk is limited with ULA than in the past.

    Quote
    PS that's a legit question, not a smartass one
    Wouldn't think it. (In this crowd, suggest you be as flat and clear as possible, without intention or "overhang". Less of  foothold to assume such.)

    AFAIK they can award a contract with the expectation (most likely a contract option with a "firm" deadline) that Vulcan will be certified by X months after contract signature date. 
    I remember something similar being part of the conversation when SpaceX Falcon 9 was fighting to get certified.

    Nominally correct.  At the time of award:
    - You do not need to be certified.
    - You do need an approved plan to become certified before launch.
    Adding on to this: its about a genuine plan of action that has no issues about being "realizable".

    Shouldn't need to be said, but with all of the nonsense emanating from DC these days, might need to be underlined.


    With all due respect since i love reading your insight on NSF, I'd say that's very relevant for this topic. 
    If ULA downselects to an engine or uses tech which they don't have IP rights, they're in some deep dung.  AR would 100% sue a company using its IP to launch a rocket.  Given Bezos track record on the patent (specifically concerning rocket landings on barges), I wouldn't put it past BLUE to do the same if it fit their interests.

    IP rights are crucial for ULA here and in the future.

    ULA has never had IP rights.  ULA buys the hardware from the supplier, who retains the IP. 

    The issue was ULA has "little engine development expertise".  ULA has people that have supported engine development in the past, even though they don't do it themselves.  Also, as a smart buyer, ULA has engine experts.
    Suggest both of you are talking past each other.

    RJ's issue is about ULA's control of destiny of the business (inferred - why I suggest RJ you might be more obvious/explicit). Jim's addressing operational scope and application (inferred from "matter of fact").

    Am with RJ here in regards to being too reliant on Aerojet Rocketdyne in the past, and how that is "secured" differently with Blue Origin's engines. (Won't comment more as post is getting long.)


    https://twitter.com/Astro_Zach/status/963107576857624581 (https://twitter.com/Astro_Zach/status/963107576857624581)
    Woo. @torybruno just confirmed to me the Vulcan Ultra/Super/Three Core Heavy is still a GO if there is demand.

    Doubt the demand will materialize. It would have to compete with Falcon Heavy and then with the BFR, which would be less expensive than the Falcon Heavy.
    The parent corporations have more or less required that the Vulcan Heavy configuration be designed into the standardized Vulcan core stage from the beginning of development just like the never flown Atlas-5 Heavy. As with the A5 core CCB, the attachment bracket and thrust take-out mounting locations would be machined but the unneeded hardware would not be installed. (VH would use an attachment system similar to that used by the DIVH CBC's).

    Flight rate may not need to be much more than 1-2 flights a year to justify ground infrastructure. Pad could still be used for single stick Vulcan giving ULA two pads, ideal for distributed launch. Should be very little extra manufacturing infrastructure required as its just three Vulcan cores with few modifications.

    There is no reason to believe 1st stages will be significantly more expensive than FH. Lot depends on how much 2xBE4s are compared to 9x Merlins.


    I don't think Vulcan Heavy will be in the [actual] plans.

    It's a very small part of the market and if SpaceX already has it covered, there's no real need to have an offer for that too.
    Was my point too.

    Quote
    (Remember, there's never been "assured access" redundancy for those EELV-heavy payloads.  As Jim has mentioned in the past, there was no backup for Titan IV, and there's been no backup for D4H.  So I'm not sure there's need to change that now.)
    Why we didn't get Atlas VH. But always could have.

    Quote
    FH has the advantage of being fully or partially reusable which means it can be used for smaller payloads in reusable configuration economically, as well as the occasional bigger EELV-heavy payloads.    A Vulcan-Heavy would be a fully expendable tri-core like D4H, and thus only be used for those occasional EELV-heavy payloads.  As with D4H, that's a lot of additional development and operational costs for around 1 payload every other year or so.
    Correct. Even worse than the "FH profitable" thread of Jim's.

    Quote
    As ULA already knows from D4H and SpaceX just found out with FH, the tri-core heavy is much more difficult than it seems on paper.  I'm sure they'd like to avoid that with this new LV development, especially if really trying to compete in the commercial market in the future.  They'll want to keep costs down, and learning from the past.
    Suggest the "high art" of Vulcan is the best of Atlas/Delta leaving behind the rest.

    Tory Burno on Reddit (https://www.reddit.com/r/SpaceXLounge/comments/7x2b0b/elon_in_regards_to_ula_vulcan_future/du8sv0w/?context=3) with some details on the NSS certification process for Vulcan, I don't believe we knew the number of non-NSS required flights previously:

    Quote
    We coordinated our certification plan with the USAF a couple of years ago. It requires an enormous amount of paperwork as well as 2 non-National Security flights prior to flying the first NSS flight.

    We still have people who have done this before and have a very good idea of what's involved

    Our approach is also very different. We brought the USAF certifiers in even before the plan was signed off to have visibility and begin working the "paper" and ground parts of this.

    So, I expect this to go smoothly
    The best plan to take the shortest time.

    But apparently not enough to bet not eating his hat on. (When you get older, choking down that had with mustard is a whole lot harder.)

    Suggest you keep in mind Antares experience with first flights. Yes, I know it was a cold war engine. With considerable test stand evidence that an ORSC EELV engine (it was considered for Atlas V too) needs, that neither engine selection for Vulcan will have.

    And there's that lovely relationship between AJR and Orbital that followed. Lets not have that, please?
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: joek on 02/14/2018 07:11 PM
    AFAIK they can award a contract with the expectation (most likely a contract option with a "firm" deadline) that Vulcan will be certified by X months after contract signature date. 
    I remember something similar being part of the conversation when SpaceX Falcon 9 was fighting to get certified.

    Nominally correct.  At the time of award:
    - You do not need to be certified.
    - You do need an approved plan to become certified before launch.

    I don't see them winning any bids for an all-new vehicle that has never launched. It will go more like: first launch, award, ~2 year gap, first NSS launch.

    Need to be careful with the term "NSS payload" these days.  Although all NSS payloads use to be treated as Class A, these days NSS is being a bit more nuanced (per previous DoD EELV new entrant certification requirements and communications with regards to LV-payload risk classification).

    Assuming rationalization of LV risk categories, payload categories and prerequisites across NASA and DoD...

    IF Vulcan satisfies all the process-paperwork requirements it could fly NSS Class D payloads with no prior flights; or NSS Class A payloads with as few as 3 flights.

    Getting a head start on the process-paperwork requirements was likely what Bruno was referring to: having everything completed to tackle Class A payloads out of the gate.  If ULA can line up a few Vulcan NSS Class D or non-NSS payloads--and assuming success--no reason they cannot be launching other NSS payloads (Class C, B, A) in a relatively short time.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: AncientU on 02/14/2018 08:32 PM

    1.  Because their parents did it 20 years ago?
    2.  And Blue has vast experience in orbital ORSC methlox engines, or can seek help from ULA's vast trove of engine development expertise?

    1,  it is the same people
    2 yes and yes.

    ...orbital ORSC methlox engine...

    Blue has zero such expertise (yet... but are hard at obtaining it), so no; ULA has less, so no again.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: hkultala on 02/15/2018 06:50 AM
    Doing some napkin math on this rocket, is there something I'm missing?

    Thrust for 2x BE-4 is roughly 500 tonnes, but it looks like a Vulcan 504 would weigh like 470+ tonnes GTOW... are they going to have to do partial fueling on the first stage now that they've gotten rid of the smaller centaur US?
    I don't think that the Centaur stage will weigh that much (it looks like you are assuming a roughly 70 tonne stage), but I'm guessing like everyone else who isn't part of the ULA development team.

     - Ed Kyle

    I was thinking
    400t first stage
    55t second stage

    Centaur is only about 23 tonnes, not 55.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: TrevorMonty on 02/15/2018 08:32 AM
    Current Centuar is 23t we think Centuar V will be about 50t based on 5.4m dia tanks.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Sknowball on 02/15/2018 03:19 PM
    John Gadarowski, the Vulcan project manager who provided the tour and interview, jumped on Reddit to provide some clarifications and answer questions (https://www.reddit.com/r/ula/comments/7w75eg/dasvaldez_of_kerbalspaceacademy_tour_of_slc41/du0b48e/) regarding the pad modifications to SLC-41.   I would encourage anyone interested in this work to jump in themselves and ask questions.

    Some answers he has given so far:
  • A clarification on the 2020 date--April is when our ground infrastructure projects need to be ready to support arrival of first flight hardware (and that date is burned into my brain, sorry for the error). From there we'll have to perform integrated ground systems testing, cryogenic exposure/wet dress rehearsal, and static fire testing. We are targeting a summertime initial launch capability.
  • Multiple VIF modifications have been made to support Vulcan. Access platforms have been modified to support the larger bodied booster and new configuration of six SRMs. We will use articulating platforms and inserts to switch between Atlas/Vulcan configurations and these VIF mods are mostly complete.
  • GEM-63 has required some additional concrete at the base of VIF and some increased road surface areas around the SRM storage areas to accommodate a larger turn radius--nothing major.
  • As far as Centaur V is concerned. We'll need larger cryo tanks to support the larger-bodied second stage. These will be placed alongside existing Centaur tanks to increase capacity.
  • Regarding CAT and Vulcan compatibility. Actually, requirements are the other way around--Vulcan was designed to fit within existing pad infrastructure. For example, the new Vulcan MLP will need the same dimensions as Atlas in order to properly fit piers, autocouplers, and pad equipment building.
  • Not sure about OVI as the Vulcan design is simpler. If it makes sense to assemble the interstage adapter w/Centaur V offsite then that would remain a possibility. Studies are being conducted in many areas to determine the best methods for carrying out operations.

  • For those that are interested in more information regarding SLC-41 pad modifications for Vulcan(EDIT: The previously listed Reddit thread (https://www.reddit.com/r/ula/comments/7w75eg/dasvaldez_of_kerbalspaceacademy_tour_of_slc41/) is the source):

  • We have re-purposed the old Titan III SMARF (solid motor assembly and readiness facility) to act as our storage hangar for second MLP. We are also in the process of replacing the railroad tracks that extend south from SLC-41 to SMARF. This will enable us to rotate Vulcan and Atlas vehicles from VIF-Pad-SMARF.
  • New MLP will incorporate lessons learned, primarily focused on greater operational accessibility. It will look physically similar, but innards will reflect different launch vehicle architecture. Updated launch head designs, decouplers, etc. with focus on ease of operation, refurbishment simplicity, and lower maintenance overall.
  • Mods for Crewed missions are wrapping up as we speak--this will be completed in plenty of time to meet all customer requirements.

  • The SMARF being re-purposed is interesting because it is similar to one of the proposed pad configurations that was discussed for crewed Atlas V (https://www.ulalaunch.com/docs/default-source/human-rating/enabling-crew-launch-on-atlas-v-and-delta-iv.pdf).

    Concept:
    ULA-C41-03, AV-402 Launch from SLC-41; MLP2 and SMARF Modifications
    Launch Vehicle:
    Atlas V, AV-402 configuration
    Launch Site:
    CCAFS, SLC-41
    Existing Infrastructure:
    Same as for ULA-C41-01; Solid Motor Assembly and Refurbishment Facility (SMARF)
    New Infrastructure:
    Same as for ULA-C41-01 less VIF1 work platforms; 2nd Mobile Launch Platform (MLP2 similar to MLP1); LV vertical integration cell inside SMARF; other SMARF modifications
    Potential Concept of Operations:
    Same as for ULA-C41-01
    Potential Advantages:
    Moderate cost likely less than for ULA-C41-02; early launch availability; use of experienced personnel, established processes and available GSE to process LV; moderate maintenance/life cycle costs; construction largely decoupled from LV processing
    Potential Disadvantages:
    Less facility sharing than ULA-C41-01, but more than for ULA-C37-03 or other dedicated KSC options
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: PahTo on 02/15/2018 03:52 PM

    Can someone explain this sentence:

    "As far as Centaur V is concerned <snip>.  These will be placed alongside existing Centaur tanks to increase capacity."

    Does this refer to the manufacturing facility, or actually IN the stage?
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Coastal Ron on 02/15/2018 03:56 PM

    Can someone explain this sentence:

    "As far as Centaur V is concerned <snip>.  These will be placed alongside existing Centaur tanks to increase capacity."

    Does this refer to the manufacturing facility, or actually IN the stage?

    Sounds like storage tanks, that they need more capacity for the larger stage.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: PahTo on 02/15/2018 04:02 PM

    Sounds like storage tanks, that they need more capacity for the larger stage.

    Ahh, got it--GSE at the pad...
    Thanks.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Sknowball on 02/15/2018 07:08 PM
    Current Centuar is 23t we think Centuar V will be about 50t based on 5.4m dia tanks.
    I think that 50 tonnes is a decent guess.  One reason is that a 2xRL10 powered 50 tonne stage would have roughly the same T/W ratios and propellant burn times as a 2xRL10 23 tonne stage.  A 4xRL10 variant would mimic the 2xRL10 Atlas 5 version planned for crew launches.

    A 50 tonne Centaur 5 stage would force the first stage down to roughly 360 tonnes at liftoff, again assuming 500 tonne liftoff thrust.  This two-stage rocket might be able to lift close to 7 tonnes to GTO.

    Now, if the BE-4 pair could be coaxed up to 550 tonnes thrust, the two-stage Vulcan Centaur 5 might be able to meet the EELV GTO goal (8.165 tonnes) with no SRBs.  That first stage could weigh 410 tonnes. 

    I have to wonder if something along these lines is what ULA is trying to do with the jump to a bigger Centaur.

     - Ed Kyle

    50 Tonne Centaur V also has a weird alignment with the Centaur V based Ixion concept, which is a dry workshop on top of a wet workshop.  Jon Goff confirmed (https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=42741.msg1743175#msg1743175) that this version of Ixion has 310m3 of habitable space.  Assuming Centaur V uses 5.5 mixture ratio of the current RL-10 hydrolox density should be around .3436kg/L, at this density 310m3 would be ~106 Tonnes of propellant.  Looking at the Centaur V Ixion renders (see below) it looks like two equal sections, joined by a section that supports a common berthing mechanism.  The easiest way to accomplish this would be to simply build two Centaur V tanks each being ~50 tonnes.

    (https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DQYBK8-VQAAeU1O.jpg)

    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: brickmack on 02/15/2018 09:36 PM
    50 Tonne Centaur V also has a weird alignment with the Centaur V based Ixion concept, which is a dry workshop on top of a wet workshop.  Jon Goff confirmed (https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=42741.msg1743175#msg1743175) that this version of Ixion has 310m3 of habitable space.  Assuming Centaur V uses 5.5 mixture ratio of the current RL-10 hydrolox density should be around .3436kg/L, at this density 310m3 would be ~106 Tonnes of propellant.  Looking at the Centaur V Ixion renders (see below) it looks like two equal sections, joined by a section that supports a common berthing mechanism.  The easiest way to accomplish this would be to simply build two Centaur V tanks each being ~50 tonnes.

    But then the forward dry section has an unnecessary bulkhead in the middle. And its not likely that the forward section would be built on a totally off-the-shelf Centaur tank given the modifications needed, so not much point including that bulkhead. Waste of money, mass, volume. Also, someone previously calculated the size of the aft end (up to the joining section with the radial CBMs) was about the same size as the latest ACES CAD drawings released, which is known to still be ~70 tons. More likely, the forward tank is either built from only the hydrogen tank, or is a custom size just built using Centaur V tooling, and the aft end is a stock Centaur V, and the render is simply inaccurate (plenty of other inaccuracies/incomplete parts visibly apparent in that render as well)

    Plus, theres no reason to have a smaller stage than ACES, when ACES will most likely have the same engines, approximately the same dry mass (minus maybe a few hundred kg from IVF, no biggie), and fly on the same core stage and boosters
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Lars-J on 02/15/2018 09:41 PM
    Yep, that Ixion concept is sounding less and less like a Centaur just off the production line. Lots of modifications needed.

    And the irony of a wet lab concept now making a 50/50 wet/dry lab should not be lost on anyone. I predict this will morph into a 100% dry lab real soon.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: jongoff on 02/15/2018 09:53 PM
    Yep, that Ixion concept is sounding less and less like a Centaur just off the production line. Lots of modifications needed.

    And the irony of a wet lab concept now making a 50/50 wet/dry lab should not be lost on anyone. I predict this will morph into a 100% dry lab real soon.

    The mods to the Centaur V/ACES side of Ixion are actually surprisingly modest--which was part of the point. And I really doubt you'll see a move from the wet lab part of things. The wet lab part is the simpler part of the system. You don't really gain much by making a bigger dry lab section pre-outfitted. The robotics you'd eliminate are robotics you almost certainly would want to have on a facility anyway. I guess you could eliminate a couple of tools, and some robotic outfitting time on orbit, but at the expense of needing more launch mass, and taking up enough volume that you couldn't realistically do this as a comanifested secondary payload. Sure you could do it that way, but you'd be missing the point

    ~Jon
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: jongoff on 02/15/2018 09:55 PM
    50 Tonne Centaur V also has a weird alignment with the Centaur V based Ixion concept, which is a dry workshop on top of a wet workshop.  Jon Goff confirmed (https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=42741.msg1743175#msg1743175) that this version of Ixion has 310m3 of habitable space.  Assuming Centaur V uses 5.5 mixture ratio of the current RL-10 hydrolox density should be around .3436kg/L, at this density 310m3 would be ~106 Tonnes of propellant.  Looking at the Centaur V Ixion renders (see below) it looks like two equal sections, joined by a section that supports a common berthing mechanism.  The easiest way to accomplish this would be to simply build two Centaur V tanks each being ~50 tonnes.

    But then the forward dry section has an unnecessary bulkhead in the middle. And its not likely that the forward section would be built on a totally off-the-shelf Centaur tank given the modifications needed, so not much point including that bulkhead. Waste of money, mass, volume. Also, someone previously calculated the size of the aft end (up to the joining section with the radial CBMs) was about the same size as the latest ACES CAD drawings released, which is known to still be ~70 tons. More likely, the forward tank is either built from only the hydrogen tank, or is a custom size just built using Centaur V tooling, and the aft end is a stock Centaur V, and the render is simply inaccurate (plenty of other inaccuracies/incomplete parts visibly apparent in that render as well)

    Plus, theres no reason to have a smaller stage than ACES, when ACES will most likely have the same engines, approximately the same dry mass (minus maybe a few hundred kg from IVF, no biggie), and fly on the same core stage and boosters

    I can't remember now, but I think the configuration shown is actually for ACES instead of Centaur V--though the two stages are pretty similar.

    ~Jon
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Lars-J on 02/15/2018 10:37 PM
    Yep, that Ixion concept is sounding less and less like a Centaur just off the production line. Lots of modifications needed.

    And the irony of a wet lab concept now making a 50/50 wet/dry lab should not be lost on anyone. I predict this will morph into a 100% dry lab real soon.

    The mods to the Centaur V/ACES side of Ixion are actually surprisingly modest--which was part of the point. And I really doubt you'll see a move from the wet lab part of things. The wet lab part is the simpler part of the system. You don't really gain much by making a bigger dry lab section pre-outfitted. The robotics you'd eliminate are robotics you almost certainly would want to have on a facility anyway. I guess you could eliminate a couple of tools, and some robotic outfitting time on orbit, but at the expense of needing more launch mass, and taking up enough volume that you couldn't realistically do this as a comanifested secondary payload. Sure you could do it that way, but you'd be missing the point

    ~Jon

    Do you deny that the picture illustrates a Centaur V (or ACES) wet lab and an attached dry lab of the same size? That's where I get this 50/50 split from.

    This has changed quite a bit from the old concept that was just a Centaur III with a tiny airlock/equipment module on top. It is this change I am commenting on.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Sknowball on 02/15/2018 10:47 PM
    I can't remember now, but I think the configuration shown is actually for ACES instead of Centaur V--though the two stages are pretty similar.

    ~Jon

    I thought it had been confirmed officially as Centaur V, but looking back it looks like the source was Anthony Colangelo of the podcast Main Engine Cutoff during his visit to Nanoracks late last year.

    Got to see some of these new looks a few weeks ago during my visit to @NanoRacks in Houston. Good to see these visualizations making their way out—far too interesting to _not_ show off! (https://twitter.com/WeHaveMECO/status/938471626160640000)

    Is that Centaur 5? (https://twitter.com/GhunterGarret/status/938471270785544194)

    Sure is! (https://twitter.com/WeHaveMECO/status/938471626160640000)

    During an interview Mike Lewis in December (Ixion content starting at 27:25) (https://mainenginecutoff.com/podcast/68), the interviewer started by saying the renders were of Centaur V and Mike Lewis neither acknowledged or corrected this statement.

    Tory Bruno was vague if it was Centaur V, liking the following comment and responding with a non-answer:
    @ulalaunch @torybruno Is that Centaur-V? Looks great! (https://twitter.com/_starbase_/status/938529010178514945)

    Response: Upgraded Centaur has the energy of ACES, but not the extreme duration. Centaur III (current), but with vastly more propellant and improved manufacturability (https://twitter.com/torybruno/status/938767472953458688)

    Bottom line?  Sounds like no one else is really sure either.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: TrevorMonty on 02/16/2018 01:48 AM
    That last tweet from Tory says same energy as ACES so same tankage (68t?) and engines.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Lars-J on 02/16/2018 08:03 AM
    That last tweet from Tory says same energy as ACES so same tankage (68t?) and engines.


    ...Which is why the other half of the Ixion concept is a dry lab, because there is no chance that Vulcan can lift 68t of extra payload to LEO.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: hkultala on 02/16/2018 08:39 AM
    That last tweet from Tory says same energy as ACES so same tankage (68t?) and engines.

    So what is the practical difference between centaur V and ACES then? not having IVF?
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Sknowball on 02/16/2018 01:40 PM
    That last tweet from Tory says same energy as ACES so same tankage (68t?) and engines.

    So what is the practical difference between centaur V and ACES then? not having IVF?


    I have been meaning to pull together a "Everything we know about Centaur V post", but waited too long and they removed one of the sources I was heavily referencing for competitive reasons (https://www.reddit.com/r/ula/comments/7xdw2j/vulcan_questions/du95sf9/).  Assuming the same tank volume, other than the exclusion of IVF (https://www.reddit.com/r/spacex/comments/7uly3k/spacex_and_ula_poised_to_face_off_in_the_next/dtmvxj8/?context=1), we also know MLI will be ACES exclusive (https://www.reddit.com/r/spacex/comments/7uly3k/spacex_and_ula_poised_to_face_off_in_the_next/dtmwu7c/).   While we have no official confirmation it is likely that, based on the capability gaps Tory Bruno (that guy is on Reddit a lot) mentioned, that orbital refueling components are also not in place:

    Continuing with ACES. Remember it does 3 special things: heavy lift, crazy long duration, and in orbit reusability. Upgraded Centaur will bring the first capability forward. ACES will still Be need for the others (https://www.reddit.com/r/ula/comments/75j5yb/oped_by_tory_bruno_building_on_a_successful/do74gd5/)
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Rocket Jesus on 02/16/2018 01:45 PM
    That last tweet from Tory says same energy as ACES so same tankage (68t?) and engines.

    So what is the practical difference between centaur V and ACES then? not having IVF?


    I have been meaning to pull together a "Everything we know about Centaur V post", but waited too long and they removed one of the sources I was heavily referencing for competitive reasons (https://www.reddit.com/r/ula/comments/7xdw2j/vulcan_questions/du95sf9/).  Assuming the same tank volume, other than the exclusion of IVF (https://www.reddit.com/r/spacex/comments/7uly3k/spacex_and_ula_poised_to_face_off_in_the_next/dtmvxj8/?context=1), we also know MLI will be ACES exclusive (https://www.reddit.com/r/spacex/comments/7uly3k/spacex_and_ula_poised_to_face_off_in_the_next/dtmwu7c/).   While we have no official confirmation it is likely that, based on the capability gaps Tory Bruno (that guy is on Reddit a lot) mentioned, that orbital refueling components are also not in place:

    Continuing with ACES. Remember it does 3 special things: heavy lift, crazy long duration, and in orbit reusability. Upgraded Centaur will bring the first capability forward. ACES will still Be need for the others (https://www.reddit.com/r/ula/comments/75j5yb/oped_by_tory_bruno_building_on_a_successful/do74gd5/)

    Engines may change between Centaur V and ACES.  There is ongoing development for both a newer RL10 and the BE-3U.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: AncientU on 02/16/2018 02:51 PM
    AJR's AR-1 not looking so good as an alternative:
    Quote
    Aerojet Rocketdyne is in discussions with the Air Force to reduce its share of costs on an award to develop the AR1 engine. Other options may be on the table, though.
    https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/964523083229990913

    From article:
    Quote
    Aerojet Rocketdyne has approached the Air Force about reducing the industry cost share on the AR1 RPS OTA from 1/3 to 1/6

    Quote
    However, an undated two-page “talking points” memo by the Air Force, circulating on Capitol Hill last month and obtained by SpaceNews, indicated SMC was considering not changing the agreement.
    http://spacenews.com/air-force-and-aerojet-rocketdyne-renegotiating-ar1-agreement/
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Space Ghost 1962 on 02/16/2018 08:27 PM
    AJR's AR-1 not looking so good as an alternative:
    Quote
    Aerojet Rocketdyne is in discussions with the Air Force to reduce its share of costs on an award to develop the AR1 engine. Other options may be on the table, though.
    https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/964523083229990913

    From article:
    Quote
    Aerojet Rocketdyne has approached the Air Force about reducing the industry cost share on the AR1 RPS OTA from 1/3 to 1/6

    Quote
    However, an undated two-page “talking points” memo by the Air Force, circulating on Capitol Hill last month and obtained by SpaceNews, indicated SMC was considering not changing the agreement.
    http://spacenews.com/air-force-and-aerojet-rocketdyne-renegotiating-ar1-agreement/

    Gearing up to put a fully scale powerhead on to test is extremely expensive. AJR knows it's chances to recover it's own out of pocket expenses are about nil, so yes they want out.

    And no, don't see why SMC would want to. Anyone want to fob a half complete AR-1 onto NASA, go back to SLS LRE boosters once again? Going, going ... gone.

    I'm curious what mitigations they may be taking now that they're carrying two reference designs for longer than anticipated while awaiting to be able to make an engine down select. Also curious as to what specifically they see that gives them pause in pulling the trigger on the BE-4. Certainly they have enough insight to determine whether future outcomes are weighted towards success. So what are they not seeing that they need to? Or is there other intrigue happening?

    Complete Speculation...
    Mitigation technique for AR-1 powered Vulcan is likely sale of the company to the highest bidder, which is most likely AR itself.  AR-1 powered Vulcan cannot compete on price.
    And AJR can't afford to finish AR-1, so "buy my mostly dead, over extended company", no matter what govt lobbyist/contracts can do.

    Who needs this?
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Space Ghost 1962 on 02/16/2018 09:14 PM
    And AJR can't afford to finish AR-1, so "buy my mostly dead, over extended company", no matter what govt lobbyist/contracts can do.
    Thriving, actually.  I would so love to compare AJRD's financials with those of Blue Origin.

     - Ed Kyle
    You didn't include the huge debt and worthless equity.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: AncientU on 02/16/2018 09:22 PM
    And AJR can't afford to finish AR-1, so "buy my mostly dead, over extended company", no matter what govt lobbyist/contracts can do.
    Thriving, actually.  I would so love to compare AJRD's financials with those of Blue Origin.

     - Ed Kyle

    Thriving?  More like dead man walking.

    Products:
    AR-1... may never fly or even get built
    RS-25 Dependent on SLS (at risk because it is too expensive for what it can produce at one per year)
    RS-10 Dependent on SLS selection for EUS and Vulcan (cost a factor in both selections)
    RS-68 Delta IV dying (because it was too expensive)
    J2-X Shelved (too expensive)
    Baby Bantam (5000lbf, 3D printed -- so what)
    AJ-26/old NK-33 (KABOOM)
    AJ-60A solid motors (was for Atlas V until ATK solids chosen on price)
    Blue Origin CCE (NS crew escape solid rocket motor -- not a quantity purchase, I'd assume)

    So, other than USG attempting to keep them afloat, not looking very promising.
    You can buy stock in them, though, instead of Amazon(net sales 2017 = $178B).

    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Sknowball on 02/16/2018 10:19 PM
    Thriving?  More like dead man walking.

    Products:
    AR-1... may never fly or even get built
    RS-25 Dependent on SLS (at risk because it is too expensive for what it can produce at one per year)
    RS-10 Dependent on SLS selection for EUS and Vulcan (cost a factor in both selections)
    RS-68 Delta IV dying (because it was too expensive)
    J2-X Shelved (too expensive)
    Baby Bantam (5000lbf, 3D printed -- so what)
    AJ-26/old NK-33 (KABOOM)
    AJ-60A solid motors (was for Atlas V until ATK solids chosen on price)
    Blue Origin CCE (NS crew escape solid rocket motor -- not a quantity purchase, I'd assume)

    So, other than USG attempting to keep them afloat, not looking very promising.
    You can buy stock in them, though, instead of Amazon(net sales 2017 = $178B).

    Common misconception, Aerojet Rocketdyne is not just it's space division.   Only about 30% of its sales are to ULA or NASA, it's principle business is defense munitions like THAAD and Patriot.   Within spaceflight OATK has the same perception problem.

    AJR space division may not be in a great place, but that does not mean AJR overall is in a bad place.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: joek on 02/16/2018 10:22 PM
    Thriving, actually.  I would so love to compare AJRD's financials with those of Blue Origin.

    Won't argue with the Analyst recommendations (consensus seems to be buy), but do you really think AJRD has a long term play in the LV market?

    They do not appear to have an engine of interest to anyone, other than some limited applications (solids for some, and maybe ULA Vulcan).

    Sure, they have other technologies and irons in the fire (which fuzzes those financials)... But that is not relevant to this discussion.

    Do you really think they are in a position to compete with Blue or SpaceX?  Or anything outside a narrow set of applications?  I doubt it.

    If Blue and SpaceX own the LV's, AJDR is out in the cold.  Only hope for AJDR is as an engine supplier to ULA.  Wish them luck.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: joek on 02/16/2018 10:33 PM
    Common misconception, Aerojet Rocketdyne is not just it's space division.   Only about 30% of its sales are to ULA or NASA, it's principle business is defense munitions like THAAD and Patriot.   Within spaceflight OATK has the same perception problem.

    AJR space division may not be in a great place, but that does not mean AJR overall is in a bad place.

    Don't think it's a common misconception.  Just that with respect to this thread: Is AJRD a player or likely to remain a player as an orbital-commercially viable LV engine provider?  Doubtful.  Does not mean they cannot be successful in other endeavors.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: brickmack on 02/17/2018 12:40 AM
    I have been meaning to pull together a "Everything we know about Centaur V post", but waited too long and they removed one of the sources I was heavily referencing for competitive reasons (https://www.reddit.com/r/ula/comments/7xdw2j/vulcan_questions/du95sf9/).

    If you remember the name of the paper, I've likely got it saved still. This is why I save everything.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Space Ghost 1962 on 02/17/2018 01:58 AM
    Thriving?  More like dead man walking.

    Products:
    AR-1... may never fly or even get built
    RS-25 Dependent on SLS (at risk because it is too expensive for what it can produce at one per year)
    RS-10 Dependent on SLS selection for EUS and Vulcan (cost a factor in both selections)
    RS-68 Delta IV dying (because it was too expensive)
    J2-X Shelved (too expensive)
    Baby Bantam (5000lbf, 3D printed -- so what)
    AJ-26/old NK-33 (KABOOM)
    AJ-60A solid motors (was for Atlas V until ATK solids chosen on price)
    Blue Origin CCE (NS crew escape solid rocket motor -- not a quantity purchase, I'd assume)

    So, other than USG attempting to keep them afloat, not looking very promising.
    You can buy stock in them, though, instead of Amazon(net sales 2017 = $178B).

    Common misconception, Aerojet Rocketdyne is not just it's space division.   Only about 30% of its sales are to ULA or NASA, it's principle business is defense munitions like THAAD and Patriot.   Within spaceflight OATK has the same perception problem.

    AJR space division may not be in a great place, but that does not mean AJR overall is in a bad place.

    There is a lot of spurious OT noise currently in this thread, lets return to Vulcan as announced/built.

    (Am holding fire on a sector focused financial analysis of NG vs AJR, because this is irrelevant as is the upthread noise. Suffice to say AJR will have such a challenging time the next five years that the relative involvement in kerolox ORSC, other than shaking the lobbyist tree for more/different, isn't even remotely likely thus not likely Vulcan AR-1 will get anything but a down select.)

    The key take-away is that BO's engine test program appears to be the highest risk, long lead time item to Vulcan dealing with the RD-180 issue.

    And the second likely challenger, should Vulcan fade for some reason, would likely be a short term developed NGL. End of story.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Rocket Jesus on 02/17/2018 04:00 AM

    The key take-away is that BO's engine test program appears to be the highest risk, long lead time item to Vulcan dealing with the RD-180 issue.


    Still, BE-4 sounds much less risky than AR-1 when considering schedule and cost.  I don't have the knowledge to contribute any meaningful discussion on technical risk.

    And the second likely challenger, should Vulcan fade for some reason, would likely be a short term developed NGL. End of story.

    Complete Speculation...
    Mitigation technique for AR-1 powered Vulcan is likely sale of the company to the highest bidder, which is most likely AR itself.  AR-1 powered Vulcan cannot compete on price.
    And AJR can't afford to finish AR-1, so "buy my mostly dead, over extended company", no matter what govt lobbyist/contracts can do.

    Who needs this?

    The USAF/NRO need a second reliable and capable launch vehicle per the current interpretation of the Assured Access doctrine.   If we assume that BE-4 fails in development for some reason, the only other options left be NGL or AR-1 powered Vulcan.  *If* that occurs, then it's likely the winner of NGL vs. AR-1 Vulcan would be decided in Congress (also speculation).

    Note that I said highest bidder.  I understand ULA is not a very attractive acquisition with an AR-1 powered Vulcan.  My speculation is more based on LM/Boeing wanting nothing to do with an AR-1 powered Vulcan, namely for the following reasons: 
    1) AR-1 Vulcan is not a competitive vehicle in the commercial market or the government market, including both NSS and Civil Space. 
    2) LM/Boeing have lost large sums of money in the launch market (pre-ULA).  Given that they're funding Vulcan quarterly, they're skeptical to invest due to long-term uncertainty.
    3) Any revenue it would earn would likely not be great.  AR-1 powered Vulcan would fly solely because of the US government's desire to keep it alive.  LM/Boeing likely have bigger fish to fry.

    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: jongoff on 02/17/2018 06:47 AM
    Do you deny that the picture illustrates a Centaur V (or ACES) wet lab and an attached dry lab of the same size? That's where I get this 50/50 split from.

    This has changed quite a bit from the old concept that was just a Centaur III with a tiny airlock/equipment module on top. It is this change I am commenting on.

    I'm not sure what I'm allowed to say on this, but I think you're reading a lot more into this than there is. This wasn't some abandonment of the wetlab concept, but a natural result of what happens when you scale a mission module made from Centaur III diameter tank bits to one made from Centaur V diameter tank bits.

    ~Jon
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Star One on 02/17/2018 08:22 AM
    Seen Jeff’s tweets in this thread but not his article.

    Air Force and Aerojet Rocketdyne renegotiating AR1 agreement

    http://spacenews.com/air-force-and-aerojet-rocketdyne-renegotiating-ar1-agreement/
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: woods170 on 02/17/2018 08:54 AM
    Do you really think they are in a position to compete with Blue or SpaceX? 
    Aerojet Rocketdyne is earning hundreds of millions (profits) each year and has a roughly $4.5 billion backlog. 

    Then why is AJR trying to get out of the AR-1 deal. If they are as profitable as you suggest they can easily cough up the money for continued AR-1 development on their own. But in stead they are looking to actually reduce their stake in the game.

    What is happening here is that AJR has read the writing on the wall and is bailing out of AR-1. If SMC says no to a new deal AJR can walk away from AR-1 safely, stating that funding for continued engine development is not covered and therefore too large a financial risk to the company.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: woods170 on 02/17/2018 09:01 AM
    The key take-away is that BO's engine test program appears to be the highest risk, long lead time item to Vulcan dealing with the RD-180 issue.

    Correct. With this latest development AR-1 is basically out of the engine competition for Vulcan. BE-4 is therefore the only remaining option and thus automatically becomes the highest risk, long lead item to Vulcan.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: AncientU on 02/17/2018 10:45 AM
    The key take-away is that BO's engine test program appears to be the highest risk, long lead time item to Vulcan dealing with the RD-180 issue.

    Correct. With this latest development AR-1 is basically out of the engine competition for Vulcan. BE-4 is therefore the only remaining option and thus automatically becomes the highest risk, long lead item to Vulcan.

    BE-4 always was the long pole... thus the discussion on Twitter last week about 2023 as first year Vulcan carries NSS payloads in one industry observer's estimation.  Only thing that would be later, more expensive, and with a dimmer future is waiting for AR-1.  Seems that AJR has passed on the crown of industry leader.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Rocket Jesus on 02/17/2018 11:09 AM

    Correct. With this latest development AR-1 is basically out of the engine competition for Vulcan. BE-4 is therefore the only remaining option and thus automatically becomes the highest risk, long lead item to Vulcan.

    BE-4 always was the long pole... thus the discussion on Twitter last week about 2023 as first year Vulcan carries NSS payloads in on industry observer's estimation.  Only thing that would be later, more expensive, and with a dimmer future is waiting for AR-1.  Seems that AJR has passed on the crown of industry leader.

    Surely this news must mean an official downselect to BE-4 is coming soon? 
    Mr. Bruno announced a Vulcan CDR was "underway" about 2 months.  Now, AJR is essentially bailing on AR-1.   I'd guess we hear an unofficial announcement by the end of March and an official announcement by early June (to allow AJR and USAF to hash things out).
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Chasm on 02/17/2018 12:51 PM
    Unlikely.
    The only thing ULA wins by making the decision official is a lot of scrutiny and political problems.
    With this weeks news I think that there are two likely triggers left: ARJD officially folds AR-1, or BE-4 completes the test stand program. (The one decided upon at the beginning of the cooperation.)

    The moment ULA selects BE-4 politicians will demand answers. Highly distracting and expensive too. Why preempt that step if the unfavored option seems to be falling apart without outside influence?
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Rocket Jesus on 02/17/2018 01:35 PM
    Unlikely.
    The only thing ULA wins by making the decision official is a lot of scrutiny and political problems.
    With this weeks news I think that there are two likely triggers left: ARJD officially folds AR-1, or BE-4 completes the test stand program. (The one decided upon at the beginning of the cooperation.)

    The moment ULA selects BE-4 politicians will demand answers. Highly distracting and expensive too. Why preempt that step if the unfavored option seems to be falling apart without outside influence?

    It could very well be the case that AR-1 is falling apart due to a looming downselect.

    In the long run, ULA wins by downselecting.  It helps firm up a schedule.  They can stop spending resources on the AR-1 version.  It's even possible they could get increased funding for the BE-4 powered Vulcan if AR-1 gets less funding going forward. 

    It definitely will result in increased political scrutiny.  This is a high profile and very important decision.  ULA is thoroughly prepared to defend its business decision.  ULA has had to defend other business decisions in the past which were not very well liked.  Examples include shutting down Delta IV production, no bidding the first NSS competitive acquisition, and continued use of the RD-180 for NSS missions.  Given that ULA has very publicly indicated that BE-4 is the primary path forward, the political impact of announcing downselect should be lessened.



    Relevant tweet from September: Tory Bruno, CEO @ulalaunch: CDR for Vulcan rocket by end this yr; we'll determine engine choice - @AerojetRdyne v @blueorigin before then (https://twitter.com/pbdes/status/907629989377576962)

    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: joek on 02/17/2018 03:06 PM
    Do you really think they are in a position to compete with Blue or SpaceX? 
    Aerojet Rocketdyne is earning hundreds of millions (profits) each year and has a roughly $4.5 billion backlog.  Blue likely hasn't earned a dime to date.  Whether SpaceX has recorded any real profits so far is doubtful, given the billions they've had to spend developing rockets, landing technology, etc., and paying those 6,000 workers.  If these companies want to lose money or barely break even launching stuff into space, Aerojet Rocketdyne would probably be happy to let them, because it means more satellite thruster sales.

    Meanwhile, AJRD has RS-25 and RL-10 and maybe new AJ-10 for Orion, along with a lot of other little thruster things most of us don't know about, and missile motors, and fewer workers.

    Question is not whether AJRD is profitable-viable as a company (I believe they are).  With respect to this thread, question is whether AJRD has a future producing-selling medium-large liquid engines.  The answer appears to be no, with the possible exception of a niche market selling to NASA.  No argument that AJRD appears to have a thriving business selling other solutions.

    In any case, does not matter what Blue or SpaceX has or has not earned, spent or lost.  This is the (commercial) market AJRD has to play in today if they want to compete.  Welcome to the real world of commercial competition.  Only thing that matters is who can produce-sell medium-large liquid engines which satisfy customer requirements at lowest cost.  If AJRD can't compete in that market then they should get out and pursue more profitable efforts; so be it and no one should fault them for that.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Robotbeat on 02/17/2018 05:00 PM

    With all due respect since i love reading your insight on NSF, I'd say that's very relevant for this topic. 
    If ULA downselects to an engine or uses tech which they don't have IP rights, they're in some deep dung.  AR would 100% sue a company using its IP to launch a rocket.  Given Bezos track record on the patent (specifically concerning rocket landings on barges), I wouldn't put it past BLUE to do the same if it fit their interests.

    IP rights are crucial for ULA here and in the future.

    ULA has never had IP rights.  ULA buys the hardware from the supplier, who retains the IP. 

    The issue was ULA has "little engine development expertise".  ULA has people that have supported engine development in the past, even though they don't do it themselves.  Also, as a smart buyer, ULA has engine experts.
    I wonder if the last few years of layoffs have effected their in-house engine expertise.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: testguy on 02/17/2018 05:24 PM
    And AJR can't afford to finish AR-1, so "buy my mostly dead, over extended company", no matter what govt lobbyist/contracts can do.
    Thriving, actually.  I would so love to compare AJRD's financials with those of Blue Origin.

     - Ed Kyle
    You didn't include the huge debt and worthless equity.

    I also believe AR-1 is a money pit with little prospect of finding a way into a launch vehicle unless the US government keeps it alive as the engine for a possible future SLS liquid side booster.  This would be a jobs program just as SLS is today.  IMHO.

    As a former retired Aerojet employee, I am aware of their product mix and assets.  The demise of AR-1 will not mean the end of the company because large liquid engines do not provide as much revenue and profit as the strategic and tactical rocket motors do. 

    The Aerojet Holding company OWNs more that 10000 acers near Sacramento.  This land was needed for test cells but because of encouragement is rapidly being deactivated.  The encouragement only makes the property more valuable and is currently being developed into a planned city.  The property is equity that can be converted into a huge amount of revenue.  BTW relocating test facilities to other Aerojet facilities around the country is in process.



    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: john smith 19 on 02/17/2018 09:05 PM
    As a former retired Aerojet employee, I am aware of their product mix and assets.  The demise of AR-1 will not mean the end of the company because large liquid engines do not provide as much revenue and profit as the strategic and tactical rocket motors do. 
    Indeed. People see the high profile RL10's (and now the SSME) AR-1 programmes but IRL the bulk of the revenue is the bread-and-butter solids for various weapon systems.  So I suspect they could shut down the Liquid Engine business and still keep running. Some people will see a long term future in the running SSME programme for SLS, others won't. That would leave only the RL10 as the long term LRE to support.
    Quote from: testguy
    The Aerojet Holding company OWNs more that 10000 acers near Sacramento. 
    That's a lot of laptops.  :)
    Quote from: testguy
    This land was needed for test cells but because of encouragement is rapidly being deactivated.  The encouragement only makes the property more valuable and is currently being developed into a planned city.  The property is equity that can be converted into a huge amount of revenue.  BTW relocating test facilities to other Aerojet facilities around the country is in process.
    So that's a nice piece of real estate as an asset, but nothing that advances their cause as liquid rocket engine mfgs.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: testguy on 02/17/2018 11:13 PM
    As a former retired Aerojet employee, I am aware of their product mix and assets.  The demise of AR-1 will not mean the end of the company because large liquid engines do not provide as much revenue and profit as the strategic and tactical rocket motors do. 
    Indeed. People see the high profile RL10's (and now the SSME) AR-1 programmes but IRL the bulk of the revenue is the bread-and-butter solids for various weapon systems.  So I suspect they could shut down the Liquid Engine business and still keep running. Some people will see a long term future in the running SSME programme for SLS, others won't. That would leave only the RL10 as the long term LRE to support.
    Quote from: testguy
    The Aerojet Holding company OWNs more that 10000 acers near Sacramento. 
    That's a lot of laptops.  :)
    Quote from: testguy
    This land was needed for test cells but because of encouragement is rapidly being deactivated.  The encouragement only makes the property more valuable and is currently being developed into a planned city.  The property is equity that can be converted into a huge amount of revenue.  BTW relocating test facilities to other Aerojet facilities around the country is in process.
    So that's a nice piece of real estate as an asset, but nothing that advances their cause as liquid rocket engine mfgs.

    Acreage comment made me laugh. Thanks.

    Only mentioned the land because it is a huge amount of liquidity.  Agreed you don’t want to waste that asset in an investment (AR-1) unless you can see a return.


    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: john smith 19 on 02/18/2018 10:52 AM
    Acreage comment made me laugh. Thanks.
    Sorry, it was just too tempting to pass up.

    Quote from: testguy
    Only mentioned the land because it is a huge amount of liquidity.  Agreed you don’t want to waste that asset in an investment (AR-1) unless you can see a return.
    It's one of those things that was bought for business purposes but over time things have changed. IIRC when Rocketdyne bought their test area they had no issues with neighbours, but when it came time to leak test the SSME they used LN2 instead of LH2, as the area was (they felt) too built up to test safely in.  This lead to the "Summer of Hydrogen," with repeated stand downs of Shuttle launches as they did not realize where the LH2  was leaking from.

    While AR-1 is still in the game ULA are in a position to negotiate further changes with Blue, but once AJR drops out then ULA is pretty much joined at the hip with Blue going forward.

    It's pretty clear that walking away from AR-1 won't kill AJR as a business but it should have Congress asking hard questions of AJR, not ULA. Specifically why it took so much money to achieve what seems to be not very much, given a) It's very long history of engine development. b)Access to RD-180 paperwork and hardware to study.  :(
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: joek on 02/18/2018 03:32 PM
    More likely will be Congress finding a different reason to send them more buckets of money.  Must keep AJR afloat since they are the sole source for Congress' rocket engines.

    Won't disagree that there is pressure to keep AJRD whole given their health is critical to several DoD-NASA efforts.  Then again AJRD's overall health does not appear to be a concern.

    With respect to this transaction, is there anything to suggest anyone wants to throw more money at AJRD?  I don't see it, with the possible exception that the USAF might want to add some to the pot to keep AR-1 on life support as a potential option if Blue does not come through.

    In any case, the contracts for, e.g., AR-1 and other developments are clearly separated.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: testguy on 02/18/2018 04:03 PM
    Acreage comment made me laugh. Thanks.
    Sorry, it was just too tempting to pass up.

    Quote from: testguy
    Only mentioned the land because it is a huge amount of liquidity.  Agreed you don’t want to waste that asset in an investment (AR-1) unless you can see a return.
    It's one of those things that was bought for business purposes but over time things have changed. IIRC when Rocketdyne bought their test area they had no issues with neighbours, but when it came time to leak test the SSME they used LN2 instead of LH2, as the area was (they felt) too built up to test safely in.  This lead to the "Summer of Hydrogen," with repeated stand downs of Shuttle launches as they did not realize where the LH2  was leaking from.

    While AR-1 is still in the game ULA are in a position to negotiate further changes with Blue, but once AJR drops out then ULA is pretty much joined at the hip with Blue going forward.

    It's pretty clear that walking away from AR-1 won't kill AJR as a business but it should have Congress asking hard questions of AJR, not ULA. Specifically why it took so much money to achieve what seems to be not very much, given a) It's very long history of engine development. b)Access to RD-180 paperwork and hardware to study.  :(

    It is fair to look at why AR-1 costs are what they are.  I know Aerojet is addressing them because they must to be competitive. Cultural norms are being worked as well as reductions in overhead.  The US government must also consider ways to reduce contract prices.  The way Specifications and Statements of Work are written by the government will structure a contractors Program Plan.  The contractors bid is therefore in response to government requirements.  Both BO and SpaceX have been successful in bringing engines to market for apparently low cost and quickly because they can afford to self fund and therefore not as encumbered by government requirements.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: AncientU on 02/18/2018 06:15 PM
    AJR can afford to self fund if you look at Ed's posts.
    They just choose not to.

    Boeing/LockMart/ULA could also fund the development since it is for their rocket.
    They also choose not to.

    (The taxpayer didn't get to choose.)
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: envy887 on 02/19/2018 02:09 PM
    I wonder if that base cost gets the full Vulcan-Centaur V 504 performance of ~8t to GTO, or if that is only for 4-5 tonnes to GTO like F9R and Ariane lower berth.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Sknowball on 02/19/2018 04:17 PM
    I wonder if that base cost gets the full Vulcan-Centaur V 504 performance of ~8t to GTO, or if that is only for 4-5 tonnes to GTO like F9R and Ariane lower berth.

    The GTO performance of Centaur V is an interesting question.   We know one of the key elements that distinguishes Centaur V and ACES is IVF.  Previous sources have listed IVF as providing a performance boost to GEO of "greater than 1000 lbs", so the question becomes how much performance does IVF add to GTO? 

    Based on previous sources we have an estimate for Vulcan/ACES 504 GTO payload at between 18000lb-19000lb (https://www.ulalaunch.com/docs/default-source/evolution/vulcan-aces-and-beyond-providing-launch-services-for-tomorrows-spacecraft-(american-astronomical-society-2016).pdf).  A simple extrapolation of the percentage ratio of GEO to GTO performance based on Atlas V (https://www.ulalaunch.com/rockets/atlas-v) and Delta IV (https://www.ulalaunch.com/rockets/delta-iv) 5 meter variants shows a ratio between 39%-46%. 

    Using 44% we get (18000*.44)-1000 = 6920lb GEO for Vulcan/Centaur V 504 (2853kg)
    6920/.44 = 15727lb GTO Vulcan/Centaur V 504 (7133kg)

    A few caveats this is an extremely simplistic calculation that is strongly dependent on on the ratio between GEO/GTO performance, my 44% is somewhat arbitrary you could easily use the 32% of AV411 or the 46% of D4H, and given that the ratio increases as SRB's are added a lower ratio may make sense for V504C.  There is some evidence that this ratio is higher for Vulcan ACES as two presentations on distributed lift have given GSO numbers of 8000kg (in 2015) (https://www.ulalaunch.com/docs/default-source/extended-duration/distributed-launch---enabling-beyond-leo-missions-(aiaa-space-2015).pdf) and 10000kg (in 2017/2018) (http://www.acser.unsw.edu.au/sites/acser/files/uploads/oemf2017/slides/Sampson.pdf) respectively for Vulcan ACES (the Vulcan ACES configuration was not given in these presentations, however the 2015 GTO numbers on the same line are 17000kg or 37478 lb which are a strong match for V564A incidentally a 47% ratio).  Finally, IVF should have a larger influence on performance at GEO than at GTO as current GEO missions require performance losses associated with long duration kit elements that IVF replaces. 
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: TrevorMonty on 02/19/2018 04:18 PM
    I wonder if that base cost gets the full Vulcan-Centaur V 504 performance of ~8t to GTO, or if that is only for 4-5 tonnes to GTO like F9R and Ariane lower berth.
    Tory said Centuar has same energy as ACES so 8t to GTO is not un realistic.

    When comparing prices to F9 or F9R use $/kg to orbit. If using fixed launch price eg $65m vs $85m then Electron $4.9m beats them both.

    $10m/1000kg to GTO seems competitive with F9 and F9R.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: gongora on 02/19/2018 04:54 PM
    Moved a few of the most recent posts over to the "Business Case/Competition" thread (probably could have moved a lot more.)  Trimmed out some of the "AJR SUCKS" posts.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Rocket Jesus on 02/20/2018 11:08 AM
    I wonder if that base cost gets the full Vulcan-Centaur V 504 performance of ~8t to GTO, or if that is only for 4-5 tonnes to GTO like F9R and Ariane lower berth.

    The GTO performance of Centaur V is an interesting question.   We know one of the key elements that distinguishes Centaur V and ACES is IVF.  Previous sources have listed IVF as providing a performance boost to GEO of "greater than 1000 lbs", so the question becomes how much performance does IVF add to GTO? 


    https://www.hou.usra.edu/meetings/leag2017/presentations/wednesday/sampson.pdf (https://www.hou.usra.edu/meetings/leag2017/presentations/wednesday/sampson.pdf)
    The above presentation coupled with Rocket Builder does not answer the question directly, but may allow for some insight.  We could use the performance figure of Atlas V 531 to GTO, as listed on Rocket Builder, and subtract "greater than 1000 lbs" to get a rough Vulcan Centaur V performance guesstimate.   The key assumption is that Atlas V 531 performance is the most comparable configuration.
    Atlas V 531 performance to GTO is 8289 kg (based off a very simplistic RocketBuilder.com analysis).  In turn, this gives us Vulcan Centaur V performance of less than 7289 kg to GTO (-1800 m/s)
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: envy887 on 02/20/2018 02:08 PM
    I wonder if that base cost gets the full Vulcan-Centaur V 504 performance of ~8t to GTO, or if that is only for 4-5 tonnes to GTO like F9R and Ariane lower berth.
    Tory said Centuar has same energy as ACES so 8t to GTO is not un realistic.

    When comparing prices to F9 or F9R use $/kg to orbit. If using fixed launch price eg $65m vs $85m then Electron $4.9m beats them both.

    $10m/1000kg to GTO seems competitive with F9 and F9R.

    Same energy yes, but do you get it for the base price? Or are they eating part of the cost on light launches to increase flight rate and making it up on the heavier launches? Profit margin does not need to be constant, or even positive, across all performance classes. It's the profit margin of the full mix that determines the bottom line.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Sknowball on 02/20/2018 02:54 PM
    The GTO performance of Centaur V is an interesting question.   We know one of the key elements that distinguishes Centaur V and ACES is IVF.  Previous sources have listed IVF as providing a performance boost to GEO of "greater than 1000 lbs", so the question becomes how much performance does IVF add to GTO? 


    https://www.hou.usra.edu/meetings/leag2017/presentations/wednesday/sampson.pdf (https://www.hou.usra.edu/meetings/leag2017/presentations/wednesday/sampson.pdf)
    The above presentation coupled with Rocket Builder does not answer the question directly, but may allow for some insight.  We could use the performance figure of Atlas V 531 to GTO, as listed on Rocket Builder, and subtract "greater than 1000 lbs" to get a rough Vulcan Centaur V performance guesstimate.   The key assumption is that Atlas V 531 performance is the most comparable configuration.
    Atlas V 531 performance to GTO is 8289 kg (based off a very simplistic RocketBuilder.com analysis).  In turn, this gives us Vulcan Centaur V performance of less than 7289 kg to GTO (-1800 m/s)

    Similar configuration is not a terrible approach, but I can't tell if you made two mistakes that cancel each other out or you extrapolated and didn't show your math.   The source for IVF increased performance specifically said "Increased performance (>1000lb GEO)", so I didn't convert the units to kg in the quote (>453kg GEO).  As part of your approach you took away 1000kg from GTO rather than 1000lb.  However this is partially cancelled out by applying GEO performance gains to GTO as the performance ratio between GEO and GTO, as discussed earlier, is close to 45% (and the ratio between a kg/lb is close to 45%).

    If we used the comparable configuration method it would probably be best to calculated performance ratio of AV-541 GEO to AV-541 GTO (https://www.ulalaunch.com/rockets/atlas-v) (I think you had a typo above as you used AV-541 values which matches Dr Sampson's statement and the Vulcan performance chart, but said AV-531) subtract 1000lbs (453kg) from the GEO value and divide by the ratio.

    3,530 kg/8,290 kg = .425

    (3530kg-453kg)/.425 = 7240kg

    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Rocket Jesus on 02/24/2018 11:21 AM

    Similar configuration is not a terrible approach, but I can't tell if you made two mistakes that cancel each other out or you extrapolated and didn't show your math.

    I made many mistakes; terrible, drunk math was used on my above post.  Thanks for correcting my math and thanks for keeping NSF fact based.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Sknowball on 02/27/2018 10:17 PM
    Tory Bruno stated today that ACES first launch is now targeted for 2023-2024.
    Question: So how’s ACES looking? What year might it fly, and with what engines? (https://twitter.com/Jack_Frodo/status/968273640063107074)
    Tory Bruno: Good. IVF, which makes it an ACES, is going through a minor upgrade. Looking at 2023-4. No decisions yet on engines (https://twitter.com/torybruno/status/968463352258154496)

    This is a change to the statement from a year ago which was First flight in 2022-23 (https://twitter.com/torybruno/status/848557581719158784).

    Curious what the "minor upgrades" to IVF he mentioned are.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: speedevil on 02/27/2018 10:35 PM
    Curious what the "minor upgrades" to IVF he mentioned are.

    I wonder if adding a little hybrid in, and some batteries might be interesting optimisation, to optimise for an efficient power point on the engine. Lithium batteries have come a moderate way since the inception of ACES.

    I suppose a tiny electric turbopumped engine doesn't make sense?
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Prettz on 02/27/2018 11:45 PM
    Curious what the "minor upgrades" to IVF he mentioned are.

    I wonder if adding a little hybrid in, and some batteries might be interesting optimisation, to optimise for an efficient power point on the engine. Lithium batteries have come a moderate way since the inception of ACES.

    I suppose a tiny electric turbopumped engine doesn't make sense?
    A very strange suggestion. The RL10 already has a turbopump, powered by expanding LH2. Where would the electric power even come from?
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: speedevil on 02/28/2018 12:04 AM
    A very strange suggestion. The RL10 already has a turbopump, powered by expanding LH2. Where would the electric power even come from?

    I was idly wondering about the addition of a very, very low thrust engine, compared to the RL10, powered from the IVF ICE.
    On reflection, I can't see a good reason for this.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: john smith 19 on 03/03/2018 11:15 AM
    Tory Bruno stated today that ACES first launch is now targeted for 2023-2024.
    Question: So how’s ACES looking? What year might it fly, and with what engines? (https://twitter.com/Jack_Frodo/status/968273640063107074)
    Tory Bruno: Good. IVF, which makes it an ACES, is going through a minor upgrade. Looking at 2023-4. No decisions yet on engines (https://twitter.com/torybruno/status/968463352258154496)

    This is a change to the statement from a year ago which was First flight in 2022-23 (https://twitter.com/torybruno/status/848557581719158784).

    Curious what the "minor upgrades" to IVF he mentioned are.
    Interesting use of language.
    So it's a "Centaur V" with the 5m tanks and  no IVF. But does it need RL10s to be a Centaur V as well?

    It's ACES if it's got IVF?

    This ongoing delay over IVF baffles me.  :( 
    It's not just the projected 1/2 tonne improvement in payload (a lot of LV's would quite like that).
    It's the shedload of time, staff and money spent fitting all those separate boxes and  tanks (and the wiring and pipes to connect them) Vs a minimum of connections to two pre assembled units (potentially built in much cleaner environments than being assembled on the factory floor).

    These scream  "massive cost savings to ULA" yet 2023 will be about 9 years since ULA's first IVF paper.
    It almost seems by the time IVF flies the whole idea will be out of patent. I'd be very surprised if other companies were not paying close attention to the concept, if not actively developing their own versions, albeit at a low level of investment.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Zed_Noir on 03/03/2018 02:48 PM
    There is a simple answer to the slow walk to IVF. ULA does not have enough budget to implement IVF from the parents in one go. So is doing it piecemeal fashion.

    @john smith 19  is properly worry about the pace of IVF implementation by ULA. It might just be a niche player or less by then.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: TrevorMonty on 03/03/2018 05:35 PM
    Easier to get DOD certification with Centuar V if using flight proven systems from existing Centuar. They need performance of Centuar V to retire D4H.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Space Ghost 1962 on 03/03/2018 06:03 PM
    Trace-ability. Need to keep changes isolated to prove Centaur V retains Centaur 3 qualities/capabilities unalloyed (change management)

    Part of how "Atlas Centaur" is refined into "Vulcan Centaur". As opposed to being just different and potentially more flawed.

    Issue with IVF all along has been "too different". Contradiction of risking "more better" and getting unacceptable "worse" like AMOS 6 pad failure. By accident.

    Benefit of Centaur V for doing IVF is greater scope/capability of improvement, ability to fit improvement into use given need.

    Best part of "Vulcan Centaur" for IVF/ACES: that having one launcher, one US, to cover all immediate needs ... means its the unavoidable next step in capability/economics.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: john smith 19 on 03/03/2018 08:31 PM
    Trace-ability. Need to keep changes isolated to prove Centaur V retains Centaur 3 qualities/capabilities unalloyed (change management)

    Part of how "Atlas Centaur" is refined into "Vulcan Centaur". As opposed to being just different and potentially more flawed.

    Issue with IVF all along has been "too different". Contradiction of risking "more better" and getting unacceptable "worse" like AMOS 6 pad failure. By accident.

    Benefit of Centaur V for doing IVF is greater scope/capability of improvement, ability to fit improvement into use given need.

    Best part of "Vulcan Centaur" for IVF/ACES: that having one launcher, one US, to cover all immediate needs ... means its the unavoidable next step in capability/economics.
    All of what you've said makes perfect sense. First a (more or less) straight transition to RL10 powered (but bigger) stage, then the last step to full ACES.

    What I cannot get my head around is the complete lack of on orbit testing any of the IVF components by now.  I find it very hard to believe it's impossible to test any of the parts of the system in a way that's a)Affordable to ULA and b) Satisfies the safety concerns of at least some of it's payload customers.  Surely this is the way to bring about "risk reduction."  :(
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: john smith 19 on 03/03/2018 08:39 PM
    Easier to get DOD certification with Centuar V if using flight proven systems from existing Centuar. They need performance of Centuar V to retire D4H.
    Fair point. As long as DIVH stays they will always be running 2 production lines. The sooner DIV H goes away for good the better. 
    There is a simple answer to the slow walk to IVF. ULA does not have enough budget to implement IVF from the parents in one go. So is doing it piecemeal fashion.
    It seems very hard to believe that the parents would pinch the pennies like this. But it seems they resent any $ going to ULA, rather than the other way round.  :(

    Quote from: Zed_Noir
    @john smith 19  is properly worry about the pace of IVF implementation by ULA. It might just be a niche player or less by then.
    Outside of some Atlas V launches it already is a niche player.
    It's simply (and Shotwell admitted as much) that it's such a very big "niche"
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: LouScheffer on 03/03/2018 09:05 PM

    This ongoing delay over IVF baffles me.  :( 
    It's not just the projected 1/2 tonne improvement in payload (a lot of LV's would quite like that).
    It's the shedload of time, staff and money spent fitting all those separate boxes and  tanks (and the wiring and pipes to connect them) Vs a minimum of connections to two pre assembled units (potentially built in much cleaner environments than being assembled on the factory floor).

    These scream  "massive cost savings to ULA" yet 2023 will be about 9 years since ULA's first IVF paper.
    It almost seems by the time IVF flies the whole idea will be out of patent. I'd be very surprised if other companies were not paying close attention to the concept, if not actively developing their own versions, albeit at a low level of investment.
    Here's a 2009 paper (https://www.ulalaunch.com/docs/default-source/exploration/dual-thrust-axis-lander-(dtal)-2009.pdf) describing IVF and referencing it as "in development", the first paper from ULA I could find that mentions this.   So at least 14 years of development for an idea that is not all that complex, by space standards.

    I agree that the delay seems really counter-productive.   I understand the parents are penny-pinchers, but spending a (smaller) amount to reduce the on-going costs seems like a winning idea, and they could certainly afford it.  Right now seems like the worst of all possible development paths, spending the money and engineering time to make prototypes and then never even trying them.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Space Ghost 1962 on 03/03/2018 11:00 PM
    What I cannot get my head around is the complete lack of on orbit testing any of the IVF components by now.  I find it very hard to believe it's impossible to test any of the parts of the system in a way that's a)Affordable to ULA and b) Satisfies the safety concerns of at least some of it's payload customers.  Surely this is the way to bring about "risk reduction."  :(
    Short answer - they don't want to wreck a perfect streak of missions.

    Longer - the parents and other stakeholders think of ULA as an idealized service to get payloads to orbits, without any overage/fuss/risk. In that environment, anything that sticks out gets filed off fast. Because it sticks out. They are too obsessive with that.

    They are doing Vulcan just to "undo" parts of Atlas that they'd wished were different, done in the present. Part of the past/present.

    ACES/IVF has nothing to do with past/present. Just future. When they exhaust past/present, it's back to future.

    The only way ACES/IVF happens is if future becomes needed because of if the present presses on them. Could easily "backwater".

    JV's don't cope with the future very well. The financial horizon is always "now".
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: jongoff on 03/03/2018 11:59 PM

    This ongoing delay over IVF baffles me.  :( 
    It's not just the projected 1/2 tonne improvement in payload (a lot of LV's would quite like that).
    It's the shedload of time, staff and money spent fitting all those separate boxes and  tanks (and the wiring and pipes to connect them) Vs a minimum of connections to two pre assembled units (potentially built in much cleaner environments than being assembled on the factory floor).

    These scream  "massive cost savings to ULA" yet 2023 will be about 9 years since ULA's first IVF paper.
    It almost seems by the time IVF flies the whole idea will be out of patent. I'd be very surprised if other companies were not paying close attention to the concept, if not actively developing their own versions, albeit at a low level of investment.
    Here's a 2009 paper (https://www.ulalaunch.com/docs/default-source/exploration/dual-thrust-axis-lander-(dtal)-2009.pdf) describing IVF and referencing it as "in development", the first paper from ULA I could find that mentions this.   So at least 14 years of development for an idea that is not all that complex, by space standards.

    I agree that the delay seems really counter-productive.   I understand the parents are penny-pinchers, but spending a (smaller) amount to reduce the on-going costs seems like a winning idea, and they could certainly afford it.  Right now seems like the worst of all possible development paths, spending the money and engineering time to make prototypes and then never even trying them.

    I think the problem has been that IVF has always had to be developed on a shoestring IRAD budget. Before Tory's time it was playing second fiddle to Common Avionics, which ULA had to develop to deal with hardware obsolescence issues. Then it was having to take second priority to Vulcan development, and now Vulcan/Centaur V development. Anyone who's ever worked on a project that was funded via IRAD but wasn't the top priority can imagine how slow and frustrating this can be. I think ULA is doing the best it can with the hand its parent companies keep dealing it.

    ~Jon
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: jongoff on 03/04/2018 12:07 AM
    JV's don't cope with the future very well. The financial horizon is always "now".

    Yeah, that's the fundamental problem. ULA's best odds for survival are if it can find a way to move beyond the Boeing/LM JV governance model. I just wish I knew how to do that. I've got a few ideas, but they're all long-shots.

    ~Jon
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: mme on 03/04/2018 12:33 AM
    JV's don't cope with the future very well. The financial horizon is always "now".

    Yeah, that's the fundamental problem. ULA's best odds for survival are if it can find a way to move beyond the Boeing/LM JV governance model. I just wish I knew how to do that. I've got a few ideas, but they're all long-shots.

    ~Jon
    IPO with each parent getting a place on the board but retaining less than 25% percent?  Wrong thread, no idea if the USG would allow it but until it's not a JV it will be super conservative. But maybe that's OK. Is it really horrible to have an expensive but impressively reliable option?
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Lar on 03/04/2018 12:57 AM
    JV's don't cope with the future very well. The financial horizon is always "now".

    Yeah, that's the fundamental problem. ULA's best odds for survival are if it can find a way to move beyond the Boeing/LM JV governance model. I just wish I knew how to do that. I've got a few ideas, but they're all long-shots.

    ~Jon
    Sold to Blue. That solves it.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Space Ghost 1962 on 03/04/2018 02:19 AM
    JV's don't cope with the future very well. The financial horizon is always "now".

    Yeah, that's the fundamental problem. ULA's best odds for survival are if it can find a way to move beyond the Boeing/LM JV governance model.
    Heard it as "started as a JV, ends as a JV". FWIW. (Once misspoke as "live by the JV, die by the JV".) Somewhat ... fatalistic. Not me.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: PahTo on 03/04/2018 05:28 AM

    IVF may assume RL10s (plural).  The vacuum-optimized BE-3 may obviate IVF, at least to fullest extent...
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: john smith 19 on 03/04/2018 09:06 AM
    Here's a 2009 paper (https://www.ulalaunch.com/docs/default-source/exploration/dual-thrust-axis-lander-(dtal)-2009.pdf) describing IVF and referencing it as "in development", the first paper from ULA I could find that mentions this.   So at least 14 years of development for an idea that is not all that complex, by space standards.
    I stand corrected. 14 years indeed. OK internal combustion engines and low pressure GO2/GH2 thrusters are a bit outside ULA's comfort zone but it does seem a very long time.
    Quote from: LouScheffer
    I agree that the delay seems really counter-productive.   I understand the parents are penny-pinchers, but spending a (smaller) amount to reduce the on-going costs seems like a winning idea, and they could certainly afford it.  Right now seems like the worst of all possible development paths, spending the money and engineering time to make prototypes and then never even trying them.
    They do keep saying the engine is not "flight weight," but as a flight test it would seem a good idea to find out where to reduce weight.

    But unfortunately once again the Golden Rule applies.
    Yeah, that's the fundamental problem. ULA's best odds for survival are if it can find a way to move beyond the Boeing/LM JV governance model. I just wish I knew how to do that. I've got a few ideas, but they're all long-shots.

    ~Jon
    That's the problem. I can't shake the feeling that (mostly) the parents don't even want to own ULA.  :( But they do, and they don't want to give it up, unless they can shut it down, so no one else gets it.

    I know. That sounds childish, petty and spiteful. Surely no global, multi $Bn multinational corporations, run by MBA's from the finest business schools on the planet, could behave in such a manner? And yet from the outside....

    It seems Bruno is the only one who wants to run it as a viable, separate business.

    With a smaller company I'd say turn it into a management buy out. But given the size of the business I think that's fantasy. OTOH let's not forget ULS still has some of the value from that USAF 36 core block buy, which was a big part of ATK's attraction to them. That should be an asset that can leveraged in some way.
    Short answer - they don't want to wreck a perfect streak of missions.

    Longer - the parents and other stakeholders think of ULA as an idealized service to get payloads to orbits, without any overage/fuss/risk. In that environment, anything that sticks out gets filed off fast. Because it sticks out. They are too obsessive with that.
    Definitely. It's not like ULA have never done on orbit experiments on Centaur, after the payload has been delivered. They know how to keep a secondary payload inert and isolated.
    Quote from: Space Ghost 1962
    They are doing Vulcan just to "undo" parts of Atlas that they'd wished were different, done in the present. Part of the past/present.

    ACES/IVF has nothing to do with past/present. Just future. When they exhaust past/present, it's back to future.
    I'd say "If there's any future left," but the unwritten expectation is the USG will always want an NSS launch provider.
    Quote from: Space Ghost 1962
    The only way ACES/IVF happens is if future becomes needed because of if the present presses on them. Could easily "backwater".

    JV's don't cope with the future very well. The financial horizon is always "now".
    A very cogent description of the parents thinking.

    It's also just very depressing.  :(
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Jim on 03/04/2018 12:29 PM

    What I cannot get my head around is the complete lack of on orbit testing any of the IVF components by now.  I find it very hard to believe it's impossible to test any of the parts of the system in a way that's a)Affordable to ULA and b) Satisfies the safety concerns of at least some of it's payload customers.  Surely this is the way to bring about "risk reduction."  :(

    Not thrusters, not ICE, not pumps,etc.  Name IVF component that does not cut into the vehicle's plumbing.That is the problem.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: A_M_Swallow on 03/04/2018 04:36 PM
    Test internal combustion engines and low pressure GO2/GH2 thrusters on a satellite. The satellite does not need to do much, say change orbit a couple of time.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: john smith 19 on 03/04/2018 06:45 PM

    Not thrusters, not ICE, not pumps,etc.  Name IVF component that does not cut into the vehicle's plumbing.That is the problem.
    And I'd agree, for a perfect system test, but that's not what I have in mind.

    I'm picturing a series of short duration "burp" tests of the various elements, each driven by a small, self contained propellant supply. The supply (I'm thinking of a couple of small LO2 and LH2 tanks) can be conditioned to simulate the ullage gas (or main tank flow) from the tanks for long enough to gather the necessary test data. The test package is entirely self contained. At most just a couple singles from the GNC (both must have appropriate signals on them otherwise it stays inert), data connection to the telemetry system and power.

    From what I can tell IVF breaks down into
    Engine Management Unit
    ICE
    Starter/Generator electrical machine
    Pumps
    Battery
    Thrusters.

    My instincts would be to break down the tests into stages, with the EMU running them after the 1st test.

    1) EMU
    2) EMU + gimballed thruster (moving toward demonstrating ullage fueled disposal burns), forces and rates.
    3) EMU + Starter/Generator (with some kind of ICE simulator. Flywheel?) into a dummy load
    4) EMU + Starter/Generator (with some kind of ICE simulator) + battery
    5) EMU + Starter/Generator + battery + ICE + (pump simulator)
    6) EMU + Starter/Generator + battery + ICE + pump pumping simulants
    7) EMU + Starter/Generator + battery + ICE + pump pumping LH2 and LO2
    8 ) End game. Full IVF package plumbed to main tanks but isolated until payload separation, then runs pointing tests on stage, settling tests to lower boil off, long shut down period then retry, then disposal burn.

    I'd incorporate the thruster in every subsequent test package, building operating history of the thruster and its ignition system. Since duration increase is a selling point for IVF I'd run a first test period shortly after payload separation (once the payload was safely distant) then a later one, as late as possible after the hardware has soaked in the space ambient.

    The order prioritizes IVF's key capability (disposal burns) and everything up to test 3 relies on the existing system power system, allowing IVF to benefit from a few more years development of Lithium batteries by the hybrid vehicle industry. Each stage is driven by the results of the previous ones. 

    There is no such thing as a "no risk" development programme. I think this is the lowest risk programme possible.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: speedevil on 03/04/2018 07:11 PM
    There is no such thing as a "no risk" development programme. I think this is the lowest risk programme possible.
    If the world was rational, many of these risks could be retired, possibly cheaper than a slow development program with another launch vehicle test satellite into LEO.
    This might let them jump rapidly to stage 8.

    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Jim on 03/04/2018 08:13 PM
    Test internal combustion engines and low pressure GO2/GH2 thrusters on a satellite. The satellite does not need to do much, say change orbit a couple of time.

    That costs even more
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Jim on 03/04/2018 08:19 PM

    Not thrusters, not ICE, not pumps,etc.  Name IVF component that does not cut into the vehicle's plumbing.That is the problem.
    And I'd agree, for a perfect system test, but that's not what I have in mind.

    I'm picturing a series of short duration "burp" tests of the various elements, each driven by a small, self contained propellant supply. The supply (I'm thinking of a couple of small LO2 and LH2 tanks) can be conditioned to simulate the ullage gas (or main tank flow) from the tanks for long enough to gather the necessary test data. The test package is entirely self contained. At most just a couple singles from the GNC (both must have appropriate signals on them otherwise it stays inert), data connection to the telemetry system and power.

    From what I can tell IVF breaks down into
    Engine Management Unit
    ICE
    Starter/Generator electrical machine
    Pumps
    Battery
    Thrusters.

    My instincts would be to break down the tests into stages, with the EMU running them after the 1st test.

    1) EMU
    2) EMU + gimballed thruster (moving toward demonstrating ullage fueled disposal burns), forces and rates.
    3) EMU + Starter/Generator (with some kind of ICE simulator. Flywheel?) into a dummy load
    4) EMU + Starter/Generator (with some kind of ICE simulator) + battery
    5) EMU + Starter/Generator + battery + ICE + (pump simulator)
    6) EMU + Starter/Generator + battery + ICE + pump pumping simulants
    7) EMU + Starter/Generator + battery + ICE + pump pumping LH2 and LO2
    8 ) End game. Full IVF package plumbed to main tanks but isolated until payload separation, then runs pointing tests on stage, settling tests to lower boil off, long shut down period then retry, then disposal burn.

    I'd incorporate the thruster in every subsequent test package, building operating history of the thruster and its ignition system. Since duration increase is a selling point for IVF I'd run a first test period shortly after payload separation (once the payload was safely distant) then a later one, as late as possible after the hardware has soaked in the space ambient.

    The order prioritizes IVF's key capability (disposal burns) and everything up to test 3 relies on the existing system power system, allowing IVF to benefit from a few more years development of Lithium batteries by the hybrid vehicle industry. Each stage is driven by the results of the previous ones. 

    There is no such thing as a "no risk" development programme. I think this is the lowest risk programme possible.

    Where are the tanks located and how are they filled and when?

    Thrusters need pressurized gas from the pumps.  They don't work on just on Centaur tank pressure.

    Just add to the telemetry stream?  That requires reformatting and reallocating bandwidth.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: john smith 19 on 03/04/2018 10:11 PM
    Where are the tanks located and how are they filled and when?
    I was thinking in the same location ULA were planning for the COLD tests.

    I'd aim for just before loading the main upper stage tanks, although I'd expect the smaller tanks could be better insulated. However I'm only loosely familiar with pad operations. What do you advise?
    Quote from: Jim
    Thrusters need pressurized gas from the pumps.  They don't work on just on Centaur tank pressure.
    Noted. That would be part of the design of the test package.  Depends on the pressure that needs to be raised. My instinct is a small positive displacement pump possibly followed by a heater to vaporize the flow ready for the thruster.
    Quote from: Jim
    Just add to the telemetry stream?  That requires reformatting and reallocating bandwidth.
    You mean in the second decade of the twenty first century you have no tools to assist or manage this process? Allow me to express my polite disbelief.  :o

    Well, I don't happen to have a copy of the current Centaur stage data formats to hand but I do have a loose awareness of how telemetry systems generally work.

    Given this test system would not start operating until after payload separation (and main engines shutdown) how much telemetry bandwidth is actually being used at this point, by anything?

    I'd look at the existing formats and see what parameters they send and see how close any of them match the data that's needed to drive the design stages for IVF. KISS says use those and fill the unused fields with either zeros or additional synchronizing or error correction. Otherwise devise one or more new formats to capture the data.

    What I'm not worried about is data rates.  With micro SD cards running in the 100s of GB it should be possible to capture as much data as is needed (on a pair of them for redundancy if needed) then read it out at whatever data rate is available. Another reason to keep the tests fairly short.

    My fallback data plan would be a separate TDRSS unit, but that sounds expensive, and I think between the data buffering and main engine(s) being shut down there should be enough bandwidth and power to collect all the data needed to refine the design. Outside the IVF parameters I'd guess attitude and acceleration data from the GNC package will also be needed to see how well the thrusters work and IVF operations stresses the structure.


    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: john smith 19 on 03/04/2018 10:31 PM
    If the world was rational, many of these risks could be retired, possibly cheaper than a slow development program with another launch vehicle test satellite into LEO.
    This might let them jump rapidly to stage 8.
    AFAIK free flyers are an even bigger PITA than stage mounted hardware.

    My preferred approach would be to test the hell out of the whole package up to a full thermal vacuum test over its full operating tasks (startup, running, shutdown on the ICE,  pulses on the thrusters) then plumb one of it into a stage, isolated by pyro valves and inert till payload separation.  Then run the whole thing through its paces right up to seeing if it can do a full de-orbit burn. Then use all the data gathered to see if its nominal  or if the design needs iteration.

    IOW a full up test.

    Unfortunately by ULA standards this is insanely reckless and completely unacceptable.  :( It will literally never fly.

    The plan I outlined may seem slow, but AFAIK imposes the minimum possible risk on each launch and extends capability as quickly as possible, starting with stage deorbit.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: A_M_Swallow on 03/05/2018 12:21 AM
    Test internal combustion engines and low pressure GO2/GH2 thrusters on a satellite. The satellite does not need to do much, say change orbit a couple of time.

    That costs even more

    Possibly but ULA has to get IVF out of the TRL 5 trap. A commercial payload on a modified Centaur is risky.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: TrevorMonty on 03/05/2018 02:11 AM



    Thrusters need pressurized gas from the pumps.  They don't work on just on Centaur tank pressure.



    IVF has two tanks for pressurized O and H gases, these are used for running ICE and feeding gas thrusters.

    Tanks are topped up by ICE converting LH and LOX to gases. I think there is also compressor driven by ICE.

    When stage is in hibernation, the ICE only runs occassionally to topup these tanks, recharge battery. Also used to pressurise main tanks before a main engine (RL10) start.

    Course correction when in hiberation can use the thrusters by venting pressurised gas or burn O and H.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: john smith 19 on 03/05/2018 07:16 AM
    IVF has two tanks for pressurized O and H gases, these are used for running ICE and feeding gas thrusters.
    I can't keep up with the configuration changes IVF has had over the years. Are those tanks in or out now?

    If they are then EMU + standard IVF tanks + thruster should make a fairly self contained test package.

    Quote from: TrevorMonty
    Tanks are topped up by ICE converting LH and LOX to gases. I think there is also compressor driven by ICE.

    When stage is in hibernation, the ICE only runs occassionally to topup these tanks, recharge battery. Also used to pressurise main tanks before a main engine (RL10) start.

    Course correction when in hiberation can use the thrusters by venting pressurised gas or burn O and H.
    For long duration missions thruster pulses also settle propellant, and can cut venting by 50%.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: TrevorMonty on 03/05/2018 08:47 AM
    There was excellent paper by ULA describing in detail, but can't find it now. Maybe in thread where Dr Sowers did Q&A on it.

    Found it. See attached.
    http://cloud.tapatalk.com/s/5a9d166fad4d0/integrated-vehicle-propulsion-and-power-system-2011.pdf (http://cloud.tapatalk.com/s/5a9d166fad4d0/integrated-vehicle-propulsion-and-power-system-2011.pdf)
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Sknowball on 03/05/2018 05:40 PM
    There was excellent paper by ULA describing in detail, but can't find it now. Maybe in thread where Dr Sowers did Q&A on it.

    Found it. See attached.
    http://cloud.tapatalk.com/s/5a9d166fad4d0/integrated-vehicle-propulsion-and-power-system-2011.pdf (http://cloud.tapatalk.com/s/5a9d166fad4d0/integrated-vehicle-propulsion-and-power-system-2011.pdf)

    The most recent flow diagram I have seen for IVF was part of the NASA evaluation in 2017, it did not show these tanks, however it does say it is a simplified diagram and was focused on the tank pressurization system.
    https://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/20170008954.pdf
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: LouScheffer on 03/05/2018 06:16 PM
    Where are the tanks located and how are they filled and when?

    Thrusters need pressurized gas from the pumps.  They don't work on just on Centaur tank pressure.

    Just add to the telemetry stream?  That requires reformatting and reallocating bandwidth.
    These are all perfectly valid engineering concerns.   But every approach has some potential drawbacks.  A standalone satellite would be expensive.  Attaching to the Centaur plumbing introduces risk.

    So Jim, if the ULA management asked you, what plan would you recommend?  Drop IVF entirely?  Test with Centaur plumbing, or separate tanks, or on a separate spacecraft entirely?   Or some other plan?
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Space Ghost 1962 on 03/05/2018 06:34 PM
    IVF/ACES is a strategy to reposition ULA's services in an area no one else but ULA can reach (N.B. BFR/S with tanker does meet/exceed this).

    It is a "high ground" aspiration, not a near term business by any means (market isn't quite ready for it, although to be fair, the market isn't ready for anything SX has done either).

    When you think on ULA, keep your eye focused on "systems engineering" as the primary informer on "next steps".

    For example - Vulcan booster is trace-able back to Atlas V / Delta IV except engine (and processes / qualification attempt to close that gap between RD-180/BE-4). Likewise Centaur-3 to Centaur-V.

    So - describe for me what needs to happen in like kind, for Centaur-V to become ACES? Only two answers possible here.

    Each come with a significant risk/cost. For a JV, these have to pay off in very few flights (don't even try to suggest otherwise as its pure nonsense).

    Again, ULA isn't SX. Not even close. Stay locked on what ULA does by how ULA works.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: deruch on 03/05/2018 06:50 PM
    Where are the tanks located and how are they filled and when?

    Thrusters need pressurized gas from the pumps.  They don't work on just on Centaur tank pressure.

    Just add to the telemetry stream?  That requires reformatting and reallocating bandwidth.
    These are all perfectly valid engineering concerns.   But every approach has some potential drawbacks.  A standalone satellite would be expensive.  Attaching to the Centaur plumbing introduces risk.

    So Jim, if the ULA management asked you, what plan would you recommend?  Drop IVF entirely?  Test with Centaur plumbing, or separate tanks, or on a separate spacecraft entirely?   Or some other plan?

    Not Jim, but I would offer OATK a cheapo Cygnus launch on an Atlas with IVF.  They'd have to get NASA's okay, but that shouldn't be too hard.  Especially when they can sell it as buying down further risk if NASA decides to use IVF on SLS's EUS.  Even though that would be to benefit a different program.  Because it's a LEO payload and there's only the single Centaur burn needed, they can do the IVF testing post payload separation with minimal added risk. 
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: envy887 on 03/05/2018 07:57 PM
    Where are the tanks located and how are they filled and when?

    Thrusters need pressurized gas from the pumps.  They don't work on just on Centaur tank pressure.

    Just add to the telemetry stream?  That requires reformatting and reallocating bandwidth.
    These are all perfectly valid engineering concerns.   But every approach has some potential drawbacks.  A standalone satellite would be expensive.  Attaching to the Centaur plumbing introduces risk.

    So Jim, if the ULA management asked you, what plan would you recommend?  Drop IVF entirely?  Test with Centaur plumbing, or separate tanks, or on a separate spacecraft entirely?   Or some other plan?

    Not Jim, but I would offer OATK a cheapo Cygnus launch on an Atlas with IVF.  They'd have to get NASA's okay, but that shouldn't be too hard.  Especially when they can sell it as buying down further risk if NASA decides to use IVF on SLS's EUS.  Even though that would be to benefit a different program.  Because it's a LEO payload and there's only the single Centaur burn needed, they can do the IVF testing post payload separation with minimal added risk.

    They might have to buy another SRB for some margins to test with, as the 401 is cutting it rather close with loaded Cygnus.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: GWH on 03/05/2018 08:09 PM
    They might have to buy another SRB for some margins to test with, as the 401 is cutting it rather close with loaded Cygnus.

    Are you sure? I thought AV401 had a lot of margin, as shown on CRS-OA6 when they still made orbit despite the booster anomaly.
     
    EDIT: OA-7 was a 7,225kg payload, AV401 is listed at 8,910kg to ISS orbit.
    Sources:
    https://www.ulalaunch.com/docs/default-source/news-items/av_oa7_mob.pdf\
    http://www.spacelaunchreport.com/atlas5.html#config
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Sknowball on 03/05/2018 09:28 PM
    Are you sure? I thought AV401 had a lot of margin, as shown on CRS-OA6 when they still made orbit despite the booster anomaly.
     
    EDIT: OA-7 was a 7,225kg payload, AV401 is listed at 8,910kg to ISS orbit.
    Sources:
    https://www.ulalaunch.com/docs/default-source/news-items/av_oa7_mob.pdf\
    http://www.spacelaunchreport.com/atlas5.html#config

    While I don't think it impacts your point much, OA-7 required the XEPF which would bump the max payload down a tad (LPF to XEPF only bumps down ~120kg at 200km x 28.7 degree).  Unfortunately RocketBuilder does not include 51.6 inclination, NASA LSP website (https://elvperf.ksc.nasa.gov/Pages/Query.aspx) uses the LPF to 51.6, and ULA's website (https://www.ulalaunch.com/rockets/atlas-v) does not say what type of PLF is used for calculations.

    LSP also shows Atlas 401 as 8000kg to 407km x 51.6 so it may need an update.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: deruch on 03/06/2018 02:26 AM
    Are you sure? I thought AV401 had a lot of margin, as shown on CRS-OA6 when they still made orbit despite the booster anomaly.
     
    EDIT: OA-7 was a 7,225kg payload, AV401 is listed at 8,910kg to ISS orbit.
    Sources:
    https://www.ulalaunch.com/docs/default-source/news-items/av_oa7_mob.pdf\
    http://www.spacelaunchreport.com/atlas5.html#config

    While I don't think it impacts your point much, OA-7 required the XEPF which would bump the max payload down a tad (LPF to XEPF only bumps down ~120kg at 200km x 28.7 degree).  Unfortunately RocketBuilder does not include 51.6 inclination, NASA LSP website (https://elvperf.ksc.nasa.gov/Pages/Query.aspx) uses the LPF to 51.6, and ULA's website (https://www.ulalaunch.com/rockets/atlas-v) does not say what type of PLF is used for calculations.

    LSP also shows Atlas 401 as 8000kg to 407km x 51.6 so it may need an update.

    ISS resupply missions don't get injected directly into 400km orbits.  The cargo vehicles raise themselves into the final rendezvous orbit.  Dragon seems to target something like 200km x 350km x 51.6.  Not sure about Cygnus. 
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: deruch on 03/06/2018 02:48 AM
    Where are the tanks located and how are they filled and when?

    Thrusters need pressurized gas from the pumps.  They don't work on just on Centaur tank pressure.

    Just add to the telemetry stream?  That requires reformatting and reallocating bandwidth.
    These are all perfectly valid engineering concerns.   But every approach has some potential drawbacks.  A standalone satellite would be expensive.  Attaching to the Centaur plumbing introduces risk.

    So Jim, if the ULA management asked you, what plan would you recommend?  Drop IVF entirely?  Test with Centaur plumbing, or separate tanks, or on a separate spacecraft entirely?   Or some other plan?

    Not Jim, but I would offer OATK a cheapo Cygnus launch on an Atlas with IVF.  They'd have to get NASA's okay, but that shouldn't be too hard.  Especially when they can sell it as buying down further risk if NASA decides to use IVF on SLS's EUS.  Even though that would be to benefit a different program.  Because it's a LEO payload and there's only the single Centaur burn needed, they can do the IVF testing post payload separation with minimal added risk.

    They might have to buy another SRB for some margins to test with, as the 401 is cutting it rather close with loaded Cygnus.

    Even so, I still think it would be a very good deal all around.  ULA gets a chance to test a full up IVF system.  No half measures, no extrapolating, etc.  And does so on a substantially subsidized launch.  If they could get Orbital to agree to anything close to their internal launch cost, then it's bound to be cheaper and offer more valuable lessons than testing IVF by trying to build and fly a one-off test satellite.  Orbital gets a cheap to cheap-ish launch with the potential to deliver more upmass (and potentially higher compensation?  Not sure how the CRS2 contracts are structured).  And the added risk of failure isn't that great during the primary mission or can possibly be mitigated by adding some minor additional hardware.  But regardless, the payload is low priority.  ULA/Orbital can hedge against the added risk by purchasing insurance (though this would reduce the gain/savings if the launch was successful).  It's similar to what SpaceX did by leveraging commercial launches to test a secondary objective with the boosters once they'd already finished their job for the primary mission.  Though the needed changes to the upper stage entail more added risk than SpaceX's testing did.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Patchouli on 03/06/2018 05:40 AM
    Where are the tanks located and how are they filled and when?

    Thrusters need pressurized gas from the pumps.  They don't work on just on Centaur tank pressure.

    Just add to the telemetry stream?  That requires reformatting and reallocating bandwidth.
    These are all perfectly valid engineering concerns.   But every approach has some potential drawbacks.  A standalone satellite would be expensive.  Attaching to the Centaur plumbing introduces risk.

    So Jim, if the ULA management asked you, what plan would you recommend?  Drop IVF entirely?  Test with Centaur plumbing, or separate tanks, or on a separate spacecraft entirely?   Or some other plan?

    Not Jim, but I would offer OATK a cheapo Cygnus launch on an Atlas with IVF.  They'd have to get NASA's okay, but that shouldn't be too hard.  Especially when they can sell it as buying down further risk if NASA decides to use IVF on SLS's EUS.  Even though that would be to benefit a different program.  Because it's a LEO payload and there's only the single Centaur burn needed, they can do the IVF testing post payload separation with minimal added risk. 


    I think Starliner could be a useful test payload since even a total failure of the second stage would still produce useful abort data and the vehicle probably could be recovered and reused.

    Dream Chaser less so because it's in a faring though it probably could escape if something goes wrong after fairing separation.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: deruch on 03/06/2018 08:39 AM
    Not Jim, but I would offer OATK a cheapo Cygnus launch on an Atlas with IVF.  They'd have to get NASA's okay, but that shouldn't be too hard.  Especially when they can sell it as buying down further risk if NASA decides to use IVF on SLS's EUS.  Even though that would be to benefit a different program.  Because it's a LEO payload and there's only the single Centaur burn needed, they can do the IVF testing post payload separation with minimal added risk. 
    I think Starliner could be a useful test payload since even a total failure of the second stage would still produce useful abort data and the vehicle probably could be recovered and reused.

    Dream Chaser less so because it's in a faring though it probably could escape if something goes wrong after fairing separation.

    No way on either of those.  Starliner because there's not a snowball's chance in hell NASA would ever allow such a test on a crew rotation flight.  And DreamChaser is out because SNC would never go for it.  They plan to reuse the vehicle and if the launch failed, they'd lose a heck of a lot more than Orbital would in the same situation.  Cygnus is little more than a space rated coffee can (plus the SM) which they plan to dispose of at the end of its mission anyways.  So, while the DC gets the same marks as Cygnus for the actual internal cargo's classification, IMO, its value to SNC makes it a non-starter for such a test.  Really, with the exception of a STP type mission, I can't really think of any other payload that might be relatively open to the idea.  The fact that Cygnus has already flown on Atlas V multiple times before is sort of icing on the cake.  The more I think of it, the more I like the idea. 
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: john smith 19 on 03/06/2018 05:32 PM
    Really, with the exception of a STP type mission, I can't really think of any other payload that might be relatively open to the idea.  The fact that Cygnus has already flown on Atlas V multiple times before is sort of icing on the cake.  The more I think of it, the more I like the idea.
    Do you mean the idea of testing IVF or the idea of a free flying secondary payload to test it?

    Building a free flyer will be a much bigger PITA than testing it on the stage.

    My original plan was to put the test package down with the engines on the principal of "Keep it AFAAP from the primary payload," and because the finished package will be mounted around there anyway, but mounting the test packages as part of the EELV Secondary Payload Adapter ring would give better access to the LH2/LO2 tanks, should the launch be scrubbed and they need to be drained.

    ESPA has 6 15" ports, each with an allocated volume for the payload of 24x28x38 inches (610x710x970mm) and supporting a 400lb (180Kg) load.  The ring itself is about 1.58m in diameter.

    So the question them becomes "Could you mount the various IVF elements to be tested to one (or more) panels (or in the center of the ring)? Interestingly according to this the current development version of the ICE

    https://jalopnik.com/a-nascar-team-is-building-the-first-internal-combustion-1783198912

    is  < 600mm long, which seems to be its largest dimension, although it's hard to say how the pumps and plumbing would stick out. 

    Leaving only tanks and the battery as possible issues for being too big to mount to a panel.  Ideally I'd put the 2 LH2/LO2 tanks (Each 12" Dia) on a single panel, but NASA/USAF might insist (for safety reasons) on them being on 2 separate panels, each allowing a single 24" panel.

    So the question becomes " Can 2 12" or (24") liquid cryogen spheres hold enough propellants to run the tests?" A 12" sphere holds about 49Kg of LOX or about 3.05Kg of LH2. A 24" sphere more like 392Kg of LO2 and 24Kg of LH2 (8x bigger), suggesting a 24" LOX sphere would have to be less than 1/2 full to make the mass limits. Remember the goal is to simulate flow from the main tanks.  Note the spheres could project inside the ring, allowing room for straps to secure them in place and run the plumbing inside the ring to the ICE/thruster etc.

    Note that LCROSS ran an 8 month mission built around an ESPA and delivered a 1mbs data stream from Low Lunar Orbit, although it did have dedicated on board comms hardware to do so.

    So while it would have to tie up 3-4 panels to do so (on each flight. 2 for the tanks worst case, 1 for the EMU and other test management hardware and 1 for the stuff currently being tested) I think most (if not all) the IVF subsystem tests could be done mounted to the ESPA, after the primary and all secondary payloads have been deployed. It gives maximum access to the hardware while on the pad, minimum risk to all payloads and retains (hopefully) some secondary payload slots during each test launch and minimal connectivity to the stage.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Sknowball on 03/06/2018 05:38 PM
    Really, with the exception of a STP type mission, I can't really think of any other payload that might be relatively open to the idea.  The fact that Cygnus has already flown on Atlas V multiple times before is sort of icing on the cake.  The more I think of it, the more I like the idea.

    I was looking at the manifest for Atlas V in 2019 to try to determine what flight the GEM-63 debut might occur on (as Tory Bruno confirmed recently that the flight has been manifested (https://www.reddit.com/r/ula/comments/7xdw2j/vulcan_questions/du95sf9/?context=3) and should occur next year (https://twitter.com/torybruno/status/969361021054980096)), given that a customer may feel the debut flight is risky.  I came to a similar conclusion to you that a STP flight (of which STP-3 is scheduled for 2019) or Cygnus (supposedly flying on Atlas V in 2019 because of the Astrobotic reveal which showed both Cygnus and a AV-531) would be the least risk adverse payloads to testing new hardware.   Now specifically for GEM-63 the risk of flying on STP-3 is that it is manifested on a AV-551, while Cygnus/Peregrine may be more risk adverse due to dual manifesting.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: russianhalo117 on 03/08/2018 05:03 PM
    Really, with the exception of a STP type mission, I can't really think of any other payload that might be relatively open to the idea.  The fact that Cygnus has already flown on Atlas V multiple times before is sort of icing on the cake.  The more I think of it, the more I like the idea.

    I was looking at the manifest for Atlas V in 2019 to try to determine what flight the GEM-63 debut might occur on (as Tory Bruno confirmed recently that the flight has been manifested (https://www.reddit.com/r/ula/comments/7xdw2j/vulcan_questions/du95sf9/?context=3) and should occur next year (https://twitter.com/torybruno/status/969361021054980096)), given that a customer may feel the debut flight is risky.  I came to a similar conclusion to you that a STP flight (of which STP-3 is scheduled for 2019) or Cygnus (supposedly flying on Atlas V in 2019 because of the Astrobotic reveal which showed both Cygnus and a AV-531) would be the least risk adverse payloads to testing new hardware.   Now specifically for GEM-63 the risk of flying on STP-3 is that it is manifested on a AV-551, while Cygnus/Peregrine may be more risk adverse due to dual manifesting.
    The latter option has been delayed to 2020 for a long while now: https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=8184.msg1792962#msg1792962
    2020:
    Q1 - Peregrine 1 (Astrobotic’s Lunar Lander) - Atlas V - Canaveral SLC-41
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: AncientU on 03/08/2018 05:19 PM
    This difficulty in finding launches to test new hardware makes me wonder how they are going to find/fund the test flights of Vulcan itself. 

    They don't appear on the manifest as far as I can see...
    Are they flying commercial payloads, dummy payloads, what?  ...and how many test flights?
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Jim on 03/08/2018 05:44 PM
    This difficulty in finding launches to test new hardware makes me wonder how they are going to find/fund the test flights of Vulcan itself. 

    They don't appear on the manifest as far as I can see...
    Are they flying commercial payloads, dummy payloads, what?  ...and how many test flights?

    What test flights?

    http://space.skyrocket.de/doc_lau/atlas-5.htm

    http://space.skyrocket.de/doc_lau/delta-4.htm

    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Jim on 03/08/2018 05:53 PM


    So the question becomes " Can 2 12" or (24") liquid cryogen spheres hold enough propellants to run the tests?" A 12" sphere holds about 49Kg of LOX or about 3.05Kg of LH2. A 24" sphere more like 392Kg of LO2 and 24Kg of LH2 (8x bigger), suggesting a 24" LOX sphere would have to be less than 1/2 full to make the mass limits.

    How are they going to be filled?  Add 3 more umbilicals to the launcher mast?  Also, the payload fairing need chutes added for two of the umbilicals to slide out.  Also, need an overboard GOX vent.

    See how quickly something simple isn't?
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Jim on 03/08/2018 05:55 PM

    Note that LCROSS ran an 8 month mission built around an ESPA and delivered a 1mbs data stream from Low Lunar Orbit, although it did have dedicated on board comms hardware to do so.


    It had dedicated everything. Separate systems, avionics, propulsion, comm, etc.  Centaur was just an inert hull.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Sknowball on 03/08/2018 06:06 PM
    What test flights?

    http://space.skyrocket.de/doc_lau/atlas-5.htm

    http://space.skyrocket.de/doc_lau/delta-4.htm

    Well I mean there was the first Delta 4 Heavy flight with Demosat.... but I get your point that a test flight is not a requirement.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: john smith 19 on 03/08/2018 09:06 PM
    How are they going to be filled?  Add 3 more umbilicals to the launcher mast?  Also, the payload fairing need chutes added for two of the umbilicals to slide out.  Also, need an overboard GOX vent.

    See how quickly something simple isn't?
    You seem to think that's a big surprise to me, but it's not.

    You're treating this like it's a permanent fitment when it's a test set up IE it's a temporary situation to prove something can work safely.

    Add umbilicals to the mast. What ??? That's insane.   :o

    My actual answer would depend on what level of access is available to the locations I suggested, down by the engines or to the ESA inside the PLF. You tell me what level of access to the payload (or the engine bay) is possible and I'll tell you how I think it can be handled.

    [EDIT.  I note the Wide field  IR Explorer used solid H2 as a sensor coolant and was launched on a Pegasus XL. The more successful Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer also used SH2 at 12K launched on a Delta II. It operated on SH2 for 10 months as the block gradually evaporated.
    This suggests the handling of even deep cryogens on payloads on ULA pads is not impossible. ]

    Just to be clear why I'm suggesting this.

    I think a Vulcan with IVF on its US (whatever you call the US) would be a good thing for ULA. Cheaper to make. Cheaper to install. More flexible and increasing payload capability.

    But that' won't happen if those parts are not tested under real launch conditions.

    BTW You haven't said what you thought about my telemetry plan for IVF testing. If it was feasible or if it could be improved. Criticism is always welcome.  :)
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: john smith 19 on 03/08/2018 09:28 PM
    It had dedicated everything. Separate systems, avionics, propulsion, comm, etc.  Centaur was just an inert hull.
    Quit impressive that something so (relatively) small could maneuver something so much larger.

    The LCROSS concept was such a neat structural hack I really do hope other experimenters consider the ESPA as a ready made structural backbone.  Just so neat, like IVF itself in fact :)

    So the question then becomes (for IVF component testing)
    "Is available stage telementry bandwidth X available stage life (before it has to execute disposal burn prior to battery and thruster failure) enough to a)Run the test(s) and b) transmit the data back to mission control given a)All payloads are now safely deployed and using their own comms and b)Main engine(s) are shut down, reducing pre assigned telemetry bandwidth quite a lot."

    This is where close consultation with the IVF development team pays off, to ensure a scheme that captures all the key parameters fast enough to confirm the design is in spec (and maybe look at future  optimizations) in the remaining lifetime of the stage.
    IRL I would expect IVF telemetry data to start while the tests are running, not wait till the test is over. How much that matters would depend on how much data has to be collected.

    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: russianhalo117 on 03/08/2018 09:31 PM
    It had dedicated everything. Separate systems, avionics, propulsion, comm, etc.  Centaur was just an inert hull.
    Quit impressive that something so (relatively) small could maneuver something so much larger.

    The LCROSS concept was such a neat structural hack I really do hope other experimenters consider the ESPA as a ready made structural backbone.  Just so neat, like IVF itself in fact :)

    So the question then becomes (for IVF component testing)
    "Is available stage telementry bandwidth X available stage life (before it has to execute disposal burn prior to battery and thruster failure) enough to a)Run the test(s) and b) transmit the data back to mission control given a)All payloads are now safely deployed and using their own comms and b)Main engine(s) are shut down, reducing pre assigned telemetry bandwidth.

    This is where close consultation with the IVF development team pays off, to ensure a scheme that captures all the key parameters fast enough to confirm the design is in spec (and maybe look at future optimizations) in the remaining lifetime of the stage. IRL I would expect IVF telemetry data to start while the tests are running, not wait till the test is over.


    See the upcoming April 12 2018 flight of EAGLE (ESPA Augmented Geostationary Laboratory Experiment) which uses Orbital ATK's ESPAStar Platform.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: woods170 on 03/09/2018 06:38 AM
    This difficulty in finding launches to test new hardware makes me wonder how they are going to find/fund the test flights of Vulcan itself. 

    They don't appear on the manifest as far as I can see...
    Are they flying commercial payloads, dummy payloads, what?  ...and how many test flights?

    What test flights?

    http://space.skyrocket.de/doc_lau/atlas-5.htm

    http://space.skyrocket.de/doc_lau/delta-4.htm



    The one they should have done with the first flight of Delta 3, but didn't do until its third (and final) flight. Fortunately they were smart enough to do one for that other major new design: Delta 4 Heavy.

    Let's just hope that ULA is SMART enough (pun intended) to have the first flight of Vulcan be a test flight.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: AncientU on 03/09/2018 01:05 PM
    This difficulty in finding launches to test new hardware makes me wonder how they are going to find/fund the test flights of Vulcan itself. 

    They don't appear on the manifest as far as I can see...
    Are they flying commercial payloads, dummy payloads, what?  ...and how many test flights?

    What test flights?

    http://space.skyrocket.de/doc_lau/atlas-5.htm

    http://space.skyrocket.de/doc_lau/delta-4.htm



    The one they should have done with the first flight of Delta 3, but didn't do until its third (and final) flight. Fortunately they were smart enough to do one for that other major new design: Delta 4 Heavy.

    Let's just hope that ULA is SMART enough (pun intended) to have the first flight of Vulcan be a test flight.

    This test flight:
    Quote
    Hot Bird 6 was launched for a reduced fee on the first Atlas-5(401) rocket.

    Eutelsat cookie-cutter comsat

    http://space.skyrocket.de/doc_sdat/hotbird-6.htm
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Newton_V on 03/09/2018 01:38 PM

    Eutelsat cookie-cutter comsat

    http://space.skyrocket.de/doc_sdat/hotbird-6.htm

    From this point forward we can refer to commercial comsat missions with Delta-V to GSO > 1600 m/s as cookie cutter missions.

    HB6 also used in-flight retargeting.  It retargeted the sep orbit inclination based on booster stage performance.  Actually, it didn't qualify as cookie cutter since the Delta-V to GSO was < 1600 m/s.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: AncientU on 03/09/2018 03:34 PM
    Simply feeding back to Jim in his own terminology.
    Using a cut-rate commercial sat (or mass simulator) launch as a test flight is exactly what I don't see anywhere on Vulcan's manifest.

    So, does Vulcan get a pass on demo launches of the new booster/engine/fuel/second stage/GSE and go right to launching expensive NSS payloads, crew, and science payloads?
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Newton_V on 03/09/2018 03:52 PM
    Simply feeding back to Jim in his own terminology.
    Using a cut-rate commercial sat (or mass simulator) launch as a test flight is exactly what I don't see anywhere on Vulcan's manifest.

    So, does Vulcan get a pass on demo launches of the new booster/engine/fuel/second stage/GSE and go right to launching expensive NSS payloads, crew, and science payloads?

    Where do you see Vulcan's manifest?  And why would you launch a concrete block or a car to orbit if you have a commercial customer willing to accept the risk and pay you for the launch.  BTW, IIRC, HB6 was a new Alcatel bus (B3000?), not a cheap satellite.

    Why do think Vulcan is 'getting a pass'?   There are no NSS, crew, or science missions flying first on Vulcan.  Maybe Tang, T-shirts, and TP, but most likely a commercial comsat.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: AncientU on 03/09/2018 05:17 PM
    Simply feeding back to Jim in his own terminology.
    Using a cut-rate commercial sat (or mass simulator) launch as a test flight is exactly what I don't see anywhere on Vulcan's manifest.

    So, does Vulcan get a pass on demo launches of the new booster/engine/fuel/second stage/GSE and go right to launching expensive NSS payloads, crew, and science payloads?

    Where do you see Vulcan's manifest?  And why would you launch a concrete block or a car to orbit if you have a commercial customer willing to accept the risk and pay you for the launch.  BTW, IIRC, HB6 was a new Alcatel bus (B3000?), not a cheap satellite.

    Why do think Vulcan is 'getting a pass'?   There are no NSS, crew, or science missions flying first on Vulcan.  Maybe Tang, T-shirts, and TP, but most likely a commercial comsat.

    Was informed up thread that there would be no 'test' flights.  That sounds like a pass to me.

    This difficulty in finding launches to test new hardware makes me wonder how they are going to find/fund the test flights of Vulcan itself. 

    They don't appear on the manifest as far as I can see...
    Are they flying commercial payloads, dummy payloads, what?  ...and how many test flights?

    What test flights?

    http://space.skyrocket.de/doc_lau/atlas-5.htm

    http://space.skyrocket.de/doc_lau/delta-4.htm



    Vulcan's manifest (not that there are any real flights manifested) is here, by Salo:
    https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=8184.msg1792962#msg1792962

    Vulcan entries starting 2021:
    TBD - XBASE: B330 on ISS - Vulcan-Centaur 564 - Canaveral SLC-41
    NET November - USCV-7: CST-100 Starliner/Dragon v2 - Atlas V N22/Vulcan/Falcon 9 - Canaveral SLC-41/Kennedy LC-39A
    Etc.

    No test or commercial flights before that.

    Correction... found one in 2020:
    Midyear - TBD - Vulcan-Centaur - TBD
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: john smith 19 on 03/09/2018 05:31 PM
    How are they going to be filled?  Add 3 more umbilicals to the launcher mast?  Also, the payload fairing need chutes added for two of the umbilicals to slide out.  Also, need an overboard GOX vent.
    I'll answer that question if you answer a few of mine.
    1) What's the latest I can have access to the engine are or the area around ESPA before launch?
    2) What's the earliest I can have access to those areas if the launch is scrubbed or delayed?
    3) Can I choose what panels around the ESPA I want to use if no one else minds?
    4) Can secondary payloads be powered before and during launch?
    5) If 2 12" bottles is enough propellant to run the tests can I mount them together on one panel?
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: russianhalo117 on 03/09/2018 05:40 PM
    Simply feeding back to Jim in his own terminology.
    Using a cut-rate commercial sat (or mass simulator) launch as a test flight is exactly what I don't see anywhere on Vulcan's manifest.

    So, does Vulcan get a pass on demo launches of the new booster/engine/fuel/second stage/GSE and go right to launching expensive NSS payloads, crew, and science payloads?

    Where do you see Vulcan's manifest?  And why would you launch a concrete block or a car to orbit if you have a commercial customer willing to accept the risk and pay you for the launch.  BTW, IIRC, HB6 was a new Alcatel bus (B3000?), not a cheap satellite.

    Why do think Vulcan is 'getting a pass'?   There are no NSS, crew, or science missions flying first on Vulcan.  Maybe Tang, T-shirts, and TP, but most likely a commercial comsat.

    Was informed up thread that there would be no 'test' flights.  That sounds like a pass to me.

    This difficulty in finding launches to test new hardware makes me wonder how they are going to find/fund the test flights of Vulcan itself. 

    They don't appear on the manifest as far as I can see...
    Are they flying commercial payloads, dummy payloads, what?  ...and how many test flights?

    What test flights?

    http://space.skyrocket.de/doc_lau/atlas-5.htm

    http://space.skyrocket.de/doc_lau/delta-4.htm



    Vulcan's manifest (not that there are any real flights manifested) is here, by Salo:
    https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=8184.msg1792962#msg1792962

    Vulcan entries starting 2021:
    TBD - XBASE: B330 on ISS - Vulcan-Centaur 564 - Canaveral SLC-41
    NET November - USCV-7: CST-100 Starliner/Dragon v2 - Atlas V N22/Vulcan/Falcon 9 - Canaveral SLC-41/Kennedy LC-39A
    Etc.

    No test or commercial flights before that.

    Correction... found one:
    Midyear - TBD - Vulcan-Centaur - TBD
    Dont forget the second post of each revision of the schedule:
    https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=8184.msg1792963#msg1792963
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Newton_V on 03/09/2018 06:40 PM

    Was informed up thread that there would be no 'test' flights.  That sounds like a pass to me.


    A pass by who??  Commercial providers don't require cert flights.   NSS doesn't care if bags of sand or real payloads are flown on cert flights.  Might as well fly real payloads with paying customers.

    Atlas II, IIAS, III, and V all signed their first launch customer contracts well less than 2 years out.  Atlas III actually swapped out pretty late.  Why do you insist on seeing something on a manifest.  Check back in about a year or so.  BTW, the launch schedule thread on this board is not ULA's manifest.


    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: AncientU on 03/09/2018 07:02 PM

    Was informed up thread that there would be no 'test' flights.  That sounds like a pass to me.


    A pass by who??  Commercial providers don't require cert flights.   NSS doesn't care if bags of sand or real payloads are flown on cert flights.  Might as well fly real payloads with paying customers.

    ...

    I agree. 

    So, can you answer the original question:
    Are they flying commercial payloads, dummy payloads, what?  ...and how many test* flights?

    * Cert flights, whatever...
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Jim on 03/09/2018 07:20 PM

    You're treating this like it's a permanent fitment when it's a test set up IE it's a temporary situation to prove something can work safely.

     Add umbilicals to the mast. What ??? That's insane.   :o

    My actual answer would depend on what level of access is available to the locations I suggested, down by the engines or to the ESA inside the PLF. You tell me what level of access to the payload (or the engine bay) is possible and I'll tell you how I think it can be handled.

    [EDIT.  I note the Wide field  IR Explorer used solid H2 as a sensor coolant and was launched on a Pegasus XL. The more successful Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer also used SH2 at 12K launched on a Delta II. It operated on SH2 for 10 months as the block gradually evaporated.
    This suggests the handling of even deep cryogens on payloads on ULA pads is not impossible. ]


    It is has nothing to do with "ULA" pads.  Delta II and Pegasus.  Those experiments didn't require late loading and were not liquids.  They were in dewars, which are made to keep things cold for long periods, unlike propellant tanks.  They were kept cold with liquid helium.  The liquid helium was discontinued several days before launch, while the fairing was installed.    But this was only a few days out of 10 months or so.   There is no equivalent for propellant tanks, they only have hours/days.   And there was a "permanent" umbilical on the Delta II pad for venting GH2 overboard.  Pegasus had something on the ground until taxi for take off.   Pad isn't the issue for Atlas, it is the VIF. Hydrogen has to be vented off everywhere LH2 goes.   That means in the VIF, during the roll to the pad and at the pad.  There is no getting around not having at least one umbilical and the LOX will still need a vent to outside the fairing.  But still,  there are no facilities for dealing with cryogenics before the Atlas goes to the pad.  The VIF has nothing to support LOX and LH2.  There is no ways short of
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Jim on 03/09/2018 07:23 PM
    How are they going to be filled?  Add 3 more umbilicals to the launcher mast?  Also, the payload fairing need chutes added for two of the umbilicals to slide out.  Also, need an overboard GOX vent.
    I'll answer that question if you answer a few of mine.
    1) What's the latest I can have access to the engine are or the area around ESPA before launch?
    2) What's the earliest I can have access to those areas if the launch is scrubbed or delayed?
    3) Can I choose what panels around the ESPA I want to use if no one else minds?
    4) Can secondary payloads be powered before and during launch?
    5) If 2 12" bottles is enough propellant to run the tests can I mount them together on one panel?


    1.  3 or 4 days and only through fairing doors.
    2.  3 or 4 days
    3.  That doesn't really matter
    4.  yes.
    5.  what is a "panel"?

    Still have the venting problem.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Jim on 03/09/2018 07:27 PM

    So the question then becomes (for IVF component testing)
    "Is available stage telementry bandwidth X available stage life (before it has to execute disposal burn prior to battery and thruster failure) enough to a)Run the test(s) and b) transmit the data back to mission control given a)All payloads are now safely deployed and using their own comms and b)Main engine(s) are shut down, reducing pre assigned telemetry bandwidth quite a lot."


    The bandwidth is fixed per system.  It is not traded or reallocated. 
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Sam Ho on 03/09/2018 07:32 PM
    Was informed up thread that there would be no 'test' flights.  That sounds like a pass to me.
    A pass by who??  Commercial providers don't require cert flights.   NSS doesn't care if bags of sand or real payloads are flown on cert flights.  Might as well fly real payloads with paying customers.

    ...
    I agree. 

    So, can you answer the original question:
    Are they flying commercial payloads, dummy payloads, what?  ...and how many test* flights?

    * Cert flights, whatever...

    You clipped out the answer, "check back in about a year," when you quoted that post:
    Atlas II, IIAS, III, and V all signed their first launch customer contracts well less than 2 years out.  Atlas III actually swapped out pretty late.  Why do you insist on seeing something on a manifest.  Check back in about a year or so.  BTW, the launch schedule thread on this board is not ULA's manifest.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Space Ghost 1962 on 03/09/2018 07:39 PM
    This difficulty in finding launches to test new hardware makes me wonder how they are going to find/fund the test flights of Vulcan itself. 

    They don't appear on the manifest as far as I can see...
    Are they flying commercial payloads, dummy payloads, what?  ...and how many test flights?

    What test flights?

    http://space.skyrocket.de/doc_lau/atlas-5.htm

    http://space.skyrocket.de/doc_lau/delta-4.htm



    The one they should have done with the first flight of Delta 3, but didn't do until its third (and final) flight. Fortunately they were smart enough to do one for that other major new design: Delta 4 Heavy.

    Let's just hope that ULA is SMART enough (pun intended) to have the first flight of Vulcan be a test flight.
    (For those unfamiliar with what is going on here there's some "inside baseball" that needs explaining.)

    This gets back to a longstanding issue (or conceit) WRT to "national" providers.

    One wants to demonstrate the skill and establish a record from the start with every flight counting with a LV.

    With systems engineering practice on a certified design that qualifies on fewest flights, you can do this, and it's been the practice here for ULA's predecessors as well.

    Woods170 is calling out one of the times it worked backwards with Delta 3, where I agree they should have started with a dedicated test flight. It is likely that Delta 3 would have succeeded Delta II, and Delta IV would have been improved as well, and a whole different playout of EELV.

    You hear some of this in this post from a knowledgeable source:
    And why would you launch a concrete block or a car to orbit if you have a commercial customer willing to accept the risk and pay you for the launch.
    So what this means is there is never any test flights for ULA's vehicles, only higher risk flights.

    While this means the JV has less losses (and budgetted risk/loss), it means that vehicles can't ever entertain high risk changes/improvements, which is why things like reuse and IVF/ACES might never happen.

    Another way in which SX and ULA differ. ULA by design can't advance the state of the art rapidly, because they cannot and will not do an "all up" test flight to retire major risk, all at once.

    Suggest this as a severe negative for ULA, which makes their skills unusable/inaccessible to significant change, selling them short. Others view this as "profitable yield" and a positive benefit. Basic disagreement.

    ULA isn't alone with this. Same is true for Ariane Group, where the expectation from ministries/governments is that the new LV's never fail (even if out of the flight corridor!) and work from the start.

    add:

    Another note on Delta 3 first flight - consider it almost like (if the issue with AMOS 6 had happened on launch instead of hotfire) AMOS 6, as being something you don't wish to risk a payload on. That's why with SX being run down over it (and likewise BO talking of sticking on legs at the last moment to land an LV) are somewhat bogus conceits as well, given how history plays out.

    There is a ton of ego involved with LV design, manufacturing, and operation. Consider it as much a risk as anything.

    add:

    (And this is also why Vulcan/Ariane 6 don't contain certain competitively proven items. Both likely will have compromised fly out lifetimes as a direct result (fully expect Ariane 6 to be always at a significant, increasing deficit), rather than directly address a fully competitive position from the start to maximize full fly out profit.)

    Its a kind of false economy, where one seems to be "capital efficient" because all LV's fly payloads, but that hides the fact that considerable expense is present to make this possible, and because development is constrained to keep from risking too much, the yield from improving the design is also capped, as you see with IVF.

    This is why much of what ULA talks about never happens, not because they cannot achieve such designs, but because they are inconvenient to put into action. It does not have to be this way, nor is agile development or the SX hybrid the only ways possible to get better. Everyone thinks their way is best.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: AncientU on 03/09/2018 07:40 PM
    So we wait a year to find out how many test/certification flights are planned?

    That makes zero sense -- but it could be one of those super-secret details that cannot be revealed for competitive reasons... ::)

    (Thanks for the details, Space Ghost)
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: john smith 19 on 03/10/2018 12:52 AM
    It is has nothing to do with "ULA" pads.  Delta II and Pegasus.  Those experiments didn't require late loading and were not liquids.  They were in dewars, which are made to keep things cold for long periods, unlike propellant tanks. 
    True, but that does beg the question, "If you froze the contents of those tanks, then added insulation, how long could that last?"

    IIRC the longest Centaur mission was less than 12 hours.
    With 4 days at most before launch and a 4 day before you can unload that means if you can keep the tanks solid (or liquid) for 9 days at most you don't need a vent system and the test package needs no fluid links to the stage.

    BTW Shuttle Fuel Cell reactant storage system managed 14 days on orbit and (AFAIK) recorded no failures in 135 missions.

    However if venting is mandatory this calls for Plan B.  :(
    Quote from: Jim
    They were kept cold with liquid helium.  The liquid helium was discontinued several days before launch, while the fairing was installed.    But this was only a few days out of 10 months or so.   There is no equivalent for propellant tanks, they only have hours/days.   And there was a "permanent" umbilical on the Delta II pad for venting GH2 overboard.  Pegasus had something on the ground until taxi for take off.   Pad isn't the issue for Atlas, it is the VIF. Hydrogen has to be vented off everywhere LH2 goes.   That means in the VIF, during the roll to the pad and at the pad.  There is no getting around not having at least one umbilical and the LOX will still need a vent to outside the fairing.  But still,  there are no facilities for dealing with cryogenics before the Atlas goes to the pad.  The VIF has nothing to support LOX and LH2.  There is no ways short of
    There is no way short of..
    What exactly?
    1.  3 or 4 days and only through fairing doors.
    2.  3 or 4 days
    3.  That doesn't really matter
    4.  yes.
    5.  what is a "panel"?

    Still have the venting problem.
    Thanks for that.  5) is from the paper on LCROSS. Their term for the individual sections of the LCROSS probe mounted to each facet of the ESPA.

    I'd really hoped to avoid stage modifications but that appears impossible.   :(

    On that basis the minimum changes would seem to be running pipes to the fill/vent/drain system to the vent plumbing, tapping into the existing system.

    The tanks then need to be filled by a technician using small(ish) wheeled Dewars onto the pad for the LH2 and LO2. Ideally their contents would be sub cooled as much as possible to reduce boil off and to chill the tanks on the stage, since it's probably too awkward to chill them both to freeze the contents solid once they are loaded. Pressure relief valves would be set at whatever safe venting pressure is deemed needed. The tanks feed the rest of the SUT through isolation valves that won't be opened until all payloads are separated, so the only way the vapor can escape is through the designated vent plumbing.

    If this is still deemed insufficient then I'd power up the EMU and have it monitor tank pressure and temperature. If it looks like it's going to rise too fast for venting to be effective it would fire a different set of iso valves to dump their contents (by gravity, with the connections at the bottom of the tanks) into the stage drain plumbing.

    In principle it's a more extensive mod (more pipes), but it should give absolute assurance that all payloads are fully protected even under worst case heating "pulse" situations.

    Of course all of this hinges around wheather you can hold enough H2/O2 to run the tests, and retain enough of them after 5 days to do so.

    I believe it's possible.

    I suspect ULA already have fairly detailed data on the environment inside the PLF during countdown. In any case a "quick look" feasibility study, basically seeing what happens when you mount such tanks to some kind of ESPA simulator (and how much any insulation between the clamps and the tanks affects the result) should be pretty simple to do, at least if you build something like Centaur on a regular basis.

    With a robust system in place you can then start to test the actual IVF sub components, while keeping them mostly isolated from the stage. Any malfunction during test will last till they run out of propellant (which would also need a failure of the EMU's test management software to stop the test first) and a new failure mode has been discovered, which is what testing is all about.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: deruch on 03/10/2018 08:44 AM
    Really, with the exception of a STP type mission, I can't really think of any other payload that might be relatively open to the idea.  The fact that Cygnus has already flown on Atlas V multiple times before is sort of icing on the cake.  The more I think of it, the more I like the idea.
    Do you mean the idea of testing IVF or the idea of a free flying secondary payload to test it?

    Building a free flyer will be a much bigger PITA than testing it on the stage.
    ...

    No.  My idea was to fly a fully implemented IVF Centaur stage on a "cheaply sold" Atlas V launch of a Cygnus to ISS (as part of CRS2).  Or failing of testing it on a Cygnus mission, then maybe on some sort of STP-like mission.  The goal being a full test launch, but somewhat subsidized by launching a payload that might be willing to buy a "cheap" launch for increased risk.  But always the full IVF stage.  Preferably the primary mission would be to LEO and only require a single upper stage burn so any worry about restarting the IVF stage would be after the payload separation when the secondary mission--fully testing the IVF system--could begin/resume/finish.  This would see much of the testing done in a manner similar to how SpaceX tested the booster landings.  Essentially, subsidized testing "after the primary mission was away".  The problem is that there don't seem to be a surfeit of suitable missions on offer for the gamble.  And the risk of failure during that initial upper stage burn is increased. 

    You and Jim have been discussing why testing IVF as a free-flying secondary payload is such a challenge.  That there are significant technical, and therefore economic, barriers to that type of scheme should be obvious.  Else I think ULA might have been well down the road to doing it already.  Testing IVF as a full stage is much less onerous in those respects but regardless the added expenses would be almost entirely directly applicable to their eventual final product if it should work.  No need to "waste" money on a one-off test then afterwards also pay to adapt the "free flying IVF" to your stages.  But, in trade you're accepting the higher risk of mission failure if the idea/implementation fails to work.


    I would, however, accept as fulfilling my idea if ULA hedged and, in addition to the IVF systems added some back-up which might improve the odds of their accomplishing the primary mission of the launch should some of the IVF subsystems experience difficulties in the first burn.  Not sure how viable such an idea is.  They may just have to sigh and accept failure under this approach.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: john smith 19 on 03/10/2018 11:14 AM
    No.  My idea was to fly a fully implemented IVF Centaur stage on a "cheaply sold" Atlas V launch of a Cygnus to ISS (as part of CRS2).  Or failing of testing it on a Cygnus mission, then maybe on some sort of STP-like mission. 
    I would, however, accept as fulfilling my idea if ULA hedged and, in addition to the IVF systems added some back-up which might improve the odds of their accomplishing the primary mission of the launch should some of the IVF subsystems experience difficulties in the first burn.  Not sure how viable such an idea is.  They may just have to sigh and accept failure under this approach.
    Run a stage entirely with 2 IVF modules and no backup?

    This is just not going to happen given ULA's deeply risk averse nature.   :(

    IMHO the very best you could hope for would to have 1 copy installed in parallel with the existing systems and when all payloads are deployed to fire some pyrotechnic isolation valves and let propellant from the main tanks drive it through various tests.

    BTW this would probably be a second flight, after an earlier one with everything but the pyro valves armed to check the mass properties, EMU function before actually starting the ICE etc.

    My conversation with Jim has been to try to find a way to avoid the whole "Connect IVF to main propellant tanks" thing.
    This makes any kind of draining the propellant out of them (or conversely contaminating their contents) literally impossible.  Those may sound implausible events but it does seem to be a very big thing with ULA.

    With this plan if, in the worst case the test hardware (somehow) goes haywire and the EMU (somehow) fails to shut it down the test tanks run dry. Engine stops. Main Centaur processor reports a problem and continues to execute disposal burn to safely move the stage out of harms way. BAU and no headaches for anyone else (except the IVF development team).

    This way the test programme builds confidence "upward," from EMU to battery, from battery to Starter/generator etc.  All under full space conditions. If a component fails they backup, rework it and try again. 

    The pay off would be a system management would be happy to install on the first Vulcan LV without reservations, wheather the US is called Centaur V or ACES. 
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Steven Pietrobon on 03/11/2018 03:55 AM
    Maybe it would be better to go all-in on the first Vulcan launch to be full ACES. This way, this avoids having to develop two separate upper stages (one with the old system and one with IVF). Its more risky, but if it works you get immediate cost savings allowing ULA to be more competitive against SpaceX.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: IanThePineapple on 03/11/2018 04:15 AM
    I asked the man himself (Tory Bruno) some questions on Twitter, and he responded.

    Q: "...When will we start seeing some major pad modifications for Vulcan, specifically at SLC-41? (For example, installing methane tanks, the new mobile launcher being built, etc.)"
    A: [Original tweet seems to have been deleted, repeating from memory] Major modifications to the pad will begin NEXT year, happening between Atlas launches [My note: Likely similar to the work done at 39A for FH, which occurred mainly between F9 launches]. SLC-41 and its HIF will be backwards compatible to work with both Atlas and Vulcan, Vandy pad might not need to be, since there are so few launches out there.

    Q: "...Will Vulcan reuse the Atlas mobile launcher, or will it get a new one? If so, when will the construction on the Vulcan one begin?
    A: "New one. Soon"

    Links:
    https://twitter.com/IanPineapple/status/972607729025024003 (https://twitter.com/IanPineapple/status/972607729025024003)
    https://twitter.com/torybruno/status/972685792811261954 (https://twitter.com/torybruno/status/972685792811261954)
    https://twitter.com/IanPineapple/status/921462483575066626 (https://twitter.com/IanPineapple/status/921462483575066626)
    https://twitter.com/torybruno/status/972830349163024384 (https://twitter.com/torybruno/status/972830349163024384)

    EDIT: Tory corrected me, major modifications will begin next year, not this year..
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: john smith 19 on 03/11/2018 08:26 AM
    I asked the man himself (Tory Bruno) some questions on Twitter, and he responded.

    Q: "...When will we start seeing some major pad modifications for Vulcan, specifically at SLC-41? (For example, installing methane tanks, the new mobile launcher being built, etc.)"
    A: [Original tweet seems to have been deleted, repeating from memory] Major modifications to the pad will begin later this year, happening between Atlas launches [My note: Likely similar to the work done at 39A for FH, which occurred mainly between F9 launches]. SLC-41 and its HIF will be backwards compatible to work with both Atlas and Vulcan, Vandy pad might not need to be, since there are so few launches out there.

    Q: "...Will Vulcan reuse the Atlas mobile launcher, or will it get a new one? If so, when will the construction on the Vulcan one begin?
    A: "New one. Soon"
    Interesting.  That suggests they will want to maintain parallel capacity for both LV's for the time being. Its cost will also likely dwarf whatever they've been spending on IVF.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: john smith 19 on 03/11/2018 08:57 AM
    Maybe it would be better to go all-in on the first Vulcan launch to be full ACES. This way, this avoids having to develop two separate upper stages (one with the old system and one with IVF). Its more risky, but if it works you get immediate cost savings allowing ULA to be more competitive against SpaceX.
    Agreed.
    But....

    That' word. Risk. It seems to terrify the ULA Board (or at least their parents, who contribute most of the members).  :(

    Of course it depends on how different Centaur 5 will be from ACES.
    Bruno has said ACES is basically Centaur 5 + IVF
    So
    Same tank sizes and materials
    Same engines (whatever they turn out to be).
    On that basis it's a case of designing in the relevant clamps and brackets for the different options of IVF and the current systems, then swapping one set out and plumbing in IVF to test it over time.
    Pretty easy to do if you plan for it in the design phase and incorporate the hardware in the mfg & test stages.

    The conversation with Jim (about testing parts of IVF on current launches) has all been about trying to lower the level of perceived risk in using IVF on the first Vulcan launch.

    ULA just don't do that kind of gung ho strategy you're suggesting. :( They (and their main customers) have to feel very comfortable about such changes before they get made.

    It's infuriating, given how big a win IVF is for ULA (or any user of all cryogenic upper stages) but it's their process and they have to go through it.  Unless some way can be found to speed the process up.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Chasm on 03/11/2018 04:18 PM
    The more I read about the trials and tribulations ACES has to face in order to get a test launch -hypothetically, maybe, in a better world- the more I get convinced that someone else will take the idea and run with it before ULA manages to cut through their very own red tape...
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: speedevil on 03/11/2018 04:37 PM
    The more I read about the trials and tribulations ACES has to face in order to get a test launch -hypothetically, maybe, in a better world- the more I get convinced that someone else will take the idea and run with it before ULA manages to cut through their very own red tape...
    The patent was only granted in 2011 - https://patents.google.com/patent/US20120227374 - so it's got some way to go before it expires.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: A_M_Swallow on 03/12/2018 02:49 AM
    Another option is for ULA to launch a space tug on an Atlas V. A Centaur with IVF could be a prototype space tug. Fly it from LEO to say GEO and back. Getting launch vehicles to TRL 9 so they can carry user cargo is very expensive.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: envy887 on 03/12/2018 03:04 AM
    The more I read about the trials and tribulations ACES has to face in order to get a test launch -hypothetically, maybe, in a better world- the more I get convinced that someone else will take the idea and run with it before ULA manages to cut through their very own red tape...
    The patent was only granted in 2011 - https://patents.google.com/patent/US20120227374 - so it's got some way to go before it expires.

    The patent only mentions Wankel and piston engines, couldn't that be avoided by using a small gas turbine?
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Zed_Noir on 03/12/2018 03:36 AM
    Another option is for ULA to launch a space tug on an Atlas V. A Centaur with IVF could be a prototype space tug. Fly it from LEO to say GEO and back.

    Don't see much point in converting a legacy Centaur for ACES trials on the Atlas V.

    Quote
    Getting launch vehicles to TRL 9 so they can carry user cargo is very expensive.

     ;D
    Not so seriously.

    Maybe they can co-manifest a prototype ACES upper stage with a SSO-A cubesat dispenser on a reusable Falcon Heavy. A converted 4 meter DCSS between the FH upper stage and the PLF with a PAF top of the DCSS.

    Yes, I know rockets are not Lego.  :P





    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: john smith 19 on 03/12/2018 07:47 AM
    Another option is for ULA to launch a space tug on an Atlas V. A Centaur with IVF could be a prototype space tug. Fly it from LEO to say GEO and back. Getting launch vehicles to TRL 9 so they can carry user cargo is very expensive.
    It is.

    Requiring a whole dedicated launch to do this is even more expensive.  :( According to the LCROSS paper an ESPA costs $250K. Each of the 6 facets can support a 180Kg load. Using multiple facets made LCROSS possible. I don't think Packing the entire test package into one facet's load limit is possible. 

    Basically anything above an ESPA in complexity (like any kind of free flyer) will be much more expensive. Finding a way to solve this problem is non trivial.
    AIUI the key issues are
    a) Payloads having H2 on board are difficult to handle and must be vented, which is a stage modification.
    b) They must not interfere with the primary payload.
    c)  The easiest way to link multiple ESPA payload bays together is to keep the ESPA attached to the vehicle. Otherwise you get into needing connectors (for both vapor and electrics) that can separate cleanly under EMU control. 

    Basically the ULA Board and their NSS customers seem extraordinarily twitchy about testing new stuff and have to reassured it's very nearly harmless under virtually all conditions (and those qualifiers are why a test may be even possible ).
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: speedevil on 03/12/2018 02:39 PM
    a) Payloads having H2 on board are difficult to handle and must be vented, which is a stage modification.

    Cryocoolers with suitable outputs to keep liquid hydrogen in a small (10l) dewar are available at around the 150kg range, needing only power.
    Ones suitable for liquid oxygen are  rather smaller, and you can likely do both for 200kg total, with neither exceeding 180kg.
    No boiloff unless you lose power for moderately extended periods.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Jim on 03/12/2018 02:44 PM


    if you can keep the tanks solid (or liquid) for 9 days

    Can't.  It needs outside support to do that
    you don't need a vent system and the test package needs no fluid links to the stage.


    There is no way around a vent system.  There always is going to be GH2.  The shuttle was always using the LH2 and so there was no need for venting on orbit, but it had ground vents.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Jim on 03/12/2018 02:54 PM

    The tanks then need to be filled by a technician using small(ish) wheeled Dewars onto the pad for the LH2 and LO2. Ideally their contents would be sub cooled as much as possible to reduce boil off and to chill the tanks on the stage, since it's probably too awkward to chill them both to freeze the contents solid once they are loaded. Pressure relief valves would be set at whatever safe venting pressure is deemed needed. The tanks feed the rest of the SUT through isolation valves that won't be opened until all payloads are separated, so the only way the vapor can escape is through the designated vent plumbing.


    There is no access at the pad, it is only at the VIF and the 3-4 days before launch.
    Not always feasible to keep the vehicle powered, especially during rollout and there is no GH2 vent facility during roll. 

    Still haven't addressed the LH2 vent requirement. Any overboard valve on the H2 side has to be ducted to a burn stack.

    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Jim on 03/12/2018 02:56 PM
    I asked the man himself (Tory Bruno) some questions on Twitter, and he responded.

    Q: "...When will we start seeing some major pad modifications for Vulcan, specifically at SLC-41? (For example, installing methane tanks, the new mobile launcher being built, etc.)"
    A: [Original tweet seems to have been deleted, repeating from memory] Major modifications to the pad will begin NEXT year, happening between Atlas launches [My note: Likely similar to the work done at 39A for FH, which occurred mainly between F9 launches]. SLC-41 and its HIF will be backwards compatible to work with both Atlas and Vulcan, Vandy pad might not need to be, since there are so few launches out there.

    Q: "...Will Vulcan reuse the Atlas mobile launcher, or will it get a new one? If so, when will the construction on the Vulcan one begin?
    A: "New one. Soon"

    Links:
    https://twitter.com/IanPineapple/status/972607729025024003 (https://twitter.com/IanPineapple/status/972607729025024003)
    https://twitter.com/torybruno/status/972685792811261954 (https://twitter.com/torybruno/status/972685792811261954)
    https://twitter.com/IanPineapple/status/921462483575066626 (https://twitter.com/IanPineapple/status/921462483575066626)
    https://twitter.com/torybruno/status/972830349163024384 (https://twitter.com/torybruno/status/972830349163024384)

    EDIT: Tory corrected me, major modifications will begin next year, not this year..

    Mods have already started
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Jim on 03/12/2018 02:57 PM

    The patent only mentions Wankel and piston engines, couldn't that be avoided by using a small gas turbine?

    Concept doesn't work with a gas turbine. 
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: A_M_Swallow on 03/12/2018 03:38 PM
    Another option is for ULA to launch a space tug on an Atlas V. A Centaur with IVF could be a prototype space tug. Fly it from LEO to say GEO and back.

    Don't see much point in converting a legacy Centaur for ACES trials on the Atlas V.

    Quote
    Getting launch vehicles to TRL 9 so they can carry user cargo is very expensive.
    {snip}

    ULA has obviously been told to be very cautious.

    Cautious engineers make one change at a time. Centaur 3 to ACES requires several changes. Adding IVF is (semi) independent of any ACES modifications to fuel tanks and main engine so can be considered to be a single change.

    ULA wants to maintain the Atlas V's well earned reputation for reliability. So for the first inspace test ULA will be tempted to launch the IVF modified Centaur as a main payload rather than as the upper stage.

    ULA's shareholders and directors have some very expensive decisions to make if the company wishes to stay in the launch business.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: envy887 on 03/12/2018 05:25 PM

    The patent only mentions Wankel and piston engines, couldn't that be avoided by using a small gas turbine?

    Concept doesn't work with a gas turbine.

    Which part?
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Eric Hedman on 03/12/2018 05:39 PM

    The patent only mentions Wankel and piston engines, couldn't that be avoided by using a small gas turbine?

    Concept doesn't work with a gas turbine.
    Would it work to feed oxygen & hydrogen into a fuel cell instead?
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Jim on 03/12/2018 05:44 PM

    The patent only mentions Wankel and piston engines, couldn't that be avoided by using a small gas turbine?

    Concept doesn't work with a gas turbine.
    Would it work to feed oxygen & hydrogen into a fuel cell instead?

    no, need the heat of the engine and the reactant ratios are wrong.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Jim on 03/12/2018 05:45 PM

    The patent only mentions Wankel and piston engines, couldn't that be avoided by using a small gas turbine?

    Concept doesn't work with a gas turbine.

    Which part?

    read the part about selecting IC over fuel cells and gas turbines.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: AncientU on 03/12/2018 05:56 PM
    So, how would you recommended getting this system tested and into service?
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: envy887 on 03/12/2018 06:22 PM

    The patent only mentions Wankel and piston engines, couldn't that be avoided by using a small gas turbine?

    Concept doesn't work with a gas turbine.

    Which part?

    read the part about selecting IC over fuel cells and gas turbines.

    The reasons for not using fuel cells are described in the patent, but do not apply to turbines which are not mentioned at all. Turbines can generate shaft power directly, output heat through a coolant loop, and exhaust combustion products through a nozzle at high efficiency.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Sknowball on 03/12/2018 06:34 PM
    The reasons for not using fuel cells are described in the patent, but do not apply to turbines which are not mentioned at all. Turbines can generate shaft power directly, output heat through a coolant loop, and exhaust combustion products through a nozzle at high efficiency.

    Frank Zegler, the inventor of IVF, answered a number of questions about the design decisions that went into IVF on the forum a few years ago (thanks to George Sowers for arranging it at the time, would be awesome to do a Q&A with them again), I believe he answered this specific question about why turbines were rejected.  You can get to the start of his participation on the quote link below:

    Frank Zegler of ULA here to answer a few questions about the IVF architecture and how we got to where we are. 

    ...
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: envy887 on 03/12/2018 07:01 PM
    The reasons for not using fuel cells are described in the patent, but do not apply to turbines which are not mentioned at all. Turbines can generate shaft power directly, output heat through a coolant loop, and exhaust combustion products through a nozzle at high efficiency.

    Frank Zegler, the inventor of IVF, answered a number of questions about the design decisions that went into IVF on the forum a few years ago (thanks to George Sowers for arranging it at the time, would be awesome to do a Q&A with them again), I believe he answered this specific question about why turbines were rejected.  You can get to the start of his participation on the quote link below:

    Frank Zegler of ULA here to answer a few questions about the IVF architecture and how we got to where we are. 

    ...

    Thanks for the link. He said:

    We considered turbine based systems for quite a while.  An innovative design called a single rotor turbine which combined a centrifugal compressor and turbine into a single wheel was considered.  Some sort of turbine-based system can almost certainly be developed but there was a lot more risk.  One of the key issues is that we are burning pure hydrogen and oxygen without the traditional nitrogen diluent.  We run at low MR and the excess hydrogen thus acts to suppress combustion temperatures.  But this means you have to pump a fair bit of hydrogen up through a reasonable pressure rise.  Pumping liquid hydrogen centrifugally is a nuisance but pumping gaseous hydrogen that way begins to fall in the category of very hard.  Making the H2 hot makes this problem worse.  You are facing multiple stages running at extremely high speeds.  We considered running at very low pressures but this does not push you towards compact, light, easy-to-build stuff.  While we could cool the turbine rotor with hydrogen we recognized that we were feeding it with a potential cutting torch.  Even a few milliseconds of high MR operation would turn the rotor to slag.  Certainly we could address this with superalloys and sophisticated burners and elaborate active cooling passages and control systems.  The question is: can you make something like this for $40,000? We didn't think so.   

    Importantly we had to drive both generators and compressors and these don't want to spin at 50,000 RPM.  So we were facing multiple high reduction (likely planetary) gearboxes with significant losses.  We were also concerned about the power/time demand for starting such a turbine.  This stuff starts to mount up against a tight cost and mass budget. 

    So it's likely possible, just more difficult. IMO most of those problems could be alleviated by switching to methane in the place of H2, which is perhaps not an option for ULA, but for other companies with experience running high temp staged combustion methalox turbines perhaps not so difficult.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Space Ghost 1962 on 03/12/2018 08:18 PM
    For methane you have other advantages given tank pressures (>25 kPa, it can go back into liquid phase).

    IVF very much fits the Centaur and not other approaches. Getting it into action however is way more than just flying Centaur.

    You can design your autogenous pressurization operation (software) to model the amount (reserve) of gas/pressurant taking into account ullage and attitude demands, and compensate for over pressure in interesting ways including passive/active cooling.

    You work it into your vehicle strategy in either case. Assuming you can "evolve" your vehicle at all to deploy the strategy.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: john smith 19 on 03/12/2018 10:36 PM
    There is no access at the pad, it is only at the VIF and the 3-4 days before launch.
    Not always feasible to keep the vehicle powered, especially during rollout and there is no GH2 vent facility during roll. 
    My mistake. I'd assumed the 4 days were spent on the pad. Live and learn.  :)
    Quote from: Jim
    Still haven't addressed the LH2 vent requirement. Any overboard valve on the H2 side has to be ducted to a burn stack.
    No, because I assumed we were already at the pad.

    Jim, do you think testing part (or all) of the IVF on existing flights is a good idea?

    Because if you do it would be helpful if you provided a bit more information on the sequence of events that we're dealing with. I don't really see the point of playing twenty questions.

    So let me see. The stage has venting but it's not connected to a vent stack during transit? But we're looking at a strictly limited liquid volume to deal with.

    The problem then becomes some way to harmlessly deal with GH2.

    Given this is a test package that would need to be inserted between the tank vent and the entry to the standard venting system on the stage. Basically we need to ignite the GH2. Fortunately with H2's explosive range that won't be difficult.  :)

    The obvious tactic is basically a pair of spark plugs followed by a flame arrestor to burn leaked GH2 with available air. [EDIT Actually probably a set of flame arrestors, topping and tailing a length of pipe with the spark plugs in, stopping the flame front going back to the tank or forward into the vent piping, in case of GH2 from other sources being present.

    However that requires a permanent supply of power. Not a show stopper as my suggested test order tests the battery in the test sequence earlier than the fluid systems.

    Option 2, also using ambient air, would be a version of the premixed platelet injector GH2/GO2  ignitor developed by Aerojet in the early 70's. A modern version might use a preform from a catalytic converter washed with with a Samarium compound, rather than the Shell 405 pellets.

    Option 2 would be completely passive, but more complex to develop. Option 1 seems fairly simple and well understood. It avoids getting bogged down in tasks that do not directly contribute to the core goal.

    Is the venting system purged with an inert gas, or operated at a slight vacuum to suck it to the the burn stack?
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: john smith 19 on 03/12/2018 10:36 PM
    Cryocoolers with suitable outputs to keep liquid hydrogen in a small (10l) dewar are available at around the 150kg range, needing only power.
    Ones suitable for liquid oxygen are  rather smaller, and you can likely do both for 200kg total, with neither exceeding 180kg.
    No boiloff unless you lose power for moderately extended periods.
    I did not know this.  Just a reminder though each of the ESPA facets are rated to 400lb,  a tad over 180Kg, so you'd have to put each cooler on a separate panel.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Space Ghost 1962 on 03/14/2018 12:35 AM
    Cryocoolers with suitable outputs to keep liquid hydrogen in a small (10l) dewar are available at around the 150kg range, needing only power.
    Ones suitable for liquid oxygen are  rather smaller, and you can likely do both for 200kg total, with neither exceeding 180kg.
    No boiloff unless you lose power for moderately extended periods.
    I did not know this.  Just a reminder though each of the ESPA facets are rated to 400lb,  a tad over 180Kg, so you'd have to put each cooler on a separate panel.
    Keep in mind the need/size/weight/conduction to dissipate heat in using the chiller/power to (sub)cool.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Sknowball on 03/15/2018 03:24 AM
    This difficulty in finding launches to test new hardware makes me wonder how they are going to find/fund the test flights of Vulcan itself. 

    They don't appear on the manifest as far as I can see...
    Are they flying commercial payloads, dummy payloads, what?  ...and how many test flights?

    This was answered at the Satellite 2018 media round table

    http://spacenews.com/ula-to-focus-more-attention-on-commercial-launch-market/ (http://spacenews.com/ula-to-focus-more-attention-on-commercial-launch-market/)

    Quote from: Jeff Foust
    Bruno also said that there are no plans to perform a test flight of Vulcan, instead using it for commercial missions initially until the vehicle is certified for U.S. government payloads. “I intend for those first two flights to carry paying customers,” he said.

    As to what commercial customer will fly that first flight.
    Quote from: Jeff Foust
    ULA will also handle marketing of the Vulcan rocket in-house. The first launch of that rocket is planned for mid-2020, but Bruno said the company has not yet sold a Vulcan mission.

    “I have a number of customers that we are in discussions with, who are very interested in Vulcan. I have not signed any contracts,” he said.

    Sadly no one reported Centaur V news so still a lot of lingering questions there, just our continued speculation (propellant load, number and type of engines, what items from ACES are pulled into Centaur V, development status, etc...)
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Chasm on 03/15/2018 05:12 PM
    The more I read about the trials and tribulations ACES has to face in order to get a test launch -hypothetically, maybe, in a better world- the more I get convinced that someone else will take the idea and run with it before ULA manages to cut through their very own red tape...
    The patent was only granted in 2011 - https://patents.google.com/patent/US20120227374 - so it's got some way to go before it expires.

    The patent only mentions Wankel and piston engines, couldn't that be avoided by using a small gas turbine?

    Turbine seems unlikely but you are thinking along the right lines.
    Work around the patent, perhaps invalidate parts of the patent.

    Above all: As far as I can tell this is an US patent only, not filed anywhere else.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Space Ghost 1962 on 03/15/2018 06:29 PM
    The more I read about the trials and tribulations ACES has to face in order to get a test launch -hypothetically, maybe, in a better world- the more I get convinced that someone else will take the idea and run with it before ULA manages to cut through their very own red tape...
    The patent was only granted in 2011 - https://patents.google.com/patent/US20120227374 - so it's got some way to go before it expires.

    The patent only mentions Wankel and piston engines, couldn't that be avoided by using a small gas turbine?

    Turbine seems unlikely but you are thinking along the right lines.
    Work around the patent, perhaps invalidate parts of the patent.

    Above all: As far as I can tell this is an US patent only, not filed anywhere else.
    The patent is written very narrowly, the claims are structured primarily to prevent a direct "bit for bit" copy.

    It's more along the lines of allowing a valuation of the concept, should one of the parents wish to acquire it wholly for application, or to apply it to another vehicle as a license for use.

    Too much of it is too specific to Centaur. While am a fan, there are other nanotechnology ways of achieving better results with possibly lighter and longer lived technology, not at the same TRL.

    Suggest that it represents a ULA "hole card" in the launch provider market.

    As to a turbine, a non traditional design aimed solely at this function could serve just as well, but then you'd have to fully absorb the cost of such instead of cost leverage an existing design/history/supply/supply chain/lifecycle.

    If ULA's "final business" were to be just in space propulsion, it would be worth it as part of a vertically integrated business (ironic given SX's attention to similar details). So if one anticipated this and wrote such a patent for such a turbine, referencing this patent, it would be foolish for ULA to leave it unacquired  ;)

    But as SX teaches (and BO should eventually learn), there is limited versatility in the current business for patents for launch providers. The reason you can also see in this patent - so much has been done in aerospace that its hard to claim uniqueness/novelty, and often technologies get developed that change the landscape severely.

    But again, what good is IVF/ACES without the will/means to deploy it because you cannot arrange for  at-risk test flights, possibly spoiling your perfect record?
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: AncientU on 03/15/2018 09:12 PM
    This difficulty in finding launches to test new hardware makes me wonder how they are going to find/fund the test flights of Vulcan itself. 

    They don't appear on the manifest as far as I can see...
    Are they flying commercial payloads, dummy payloads, what?  ...and how many test flights?

    This was answered at the Satellite 2018 media round table

    http://spacenews.com/ula-to-focus-more-attention-on-commercial-launch-market/ (http://spacenews.com/ula-to-focus-more-attention-on-commercial-launch-market/)

    Quote from: Jeff Foust
    Bruno also said that there are no plans to perform a test flight of Vulcan, instead using it for commercial missions initially until the vehicle is certified for U.S. government payloads. “I intend for those first two flights to carry paying customers,” he said.

    As to what commercial customer will fly that first flight.
    Quote from: Jeff Foust
    ULA will also handle marketing of the Vulcan rocket in-house. The first launch of that rocket is planned for mid-2020, but Bruno said the company has not yet sold a Vulcan mission.

    “I have a number of customers that we are in discussions with, who are very interested in Vulcan. I have not signed any contracts,” he said.

    Sadly no one reported Centaur V news so still a lot of lingering questions there, just our continued speculation (propellant load, number and type of engines, what items from ACES are pulled into Centaur V, development status, etc...)

    So, two test or demo flights required (with or without a customer) before certification... and NSS flights are the critical launches without which the Vulcan business case won't close.

    Commercial customers are going to be asking for a price below the existing market rate of about $50M for the most mature vehicle on the market in 2020...  In other words, ULA will pay for the majority these two test, demo, cheap commercial, whatever flights for a new Vulcan vehicle with new BE-4 engines.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Jim on 03/15/2018 10:58 PM


    Commercial customers are going to be asking for a price below the existing market rate of about $50M for the most mature vehicle on the market in 2020...  In other words, ULA will pay for the majority these two test, demo, cheap commercial, whatever flights for a new Vulcan vehicle with new BE-4 engines.


    unsubstantiated.  You have no data to support this.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: A_M_Swallow on 03/15/2018 11:12 PM
    ACES can be used as a man rated Earth Departure Stage (EDS). The standard trip could be to take a capsule containing people from LEO to lunar orbit and to return by performing Trans-Earth Injection (TEI). A delta-v of
    about 4.04 + 1.31 = 5.35 km/s

    The capsule may be a Dragon or Starliner. (Dream Chaser would need an upgraded heat shield.) The first few flights could carry cargo to the Lunar Orbital Platform or Bigelow's Depot. ULA now has the problem of getting NASA to pay for the ACES's test flight to lunar orbit, possibly via a COTS like contract.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: TrevorMonty on 03/15/2018 11:13 PM


    Commercial customers are going to be asking for a price below the existing market rate of about $50M for the most mature vehicle on the market in 2020...  In other words, ULA will pay for the majority these two test, demo, cheap commercial, whatever flights for a new Vulcan vehicle with new BE-4 engines.


    unsubstantiated.  You have no data to support this.
    Even it was $50m, still lot more than FH earned on its maiden flight.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: woods170 on 03/16/2018 07:26 AM


    Commercial customers are going to be asking for a price below the existing market rate of about $50M for the most mature vehicle on the market in 2020...  In other words, ULA will pay for the majority these two test, demo, cheap commercial, whatever flights for a new Vulcan vehicle with new BE-4 engines.


    unsubstantiated.  You have no data to support this.
    Correct. However, you have no data to support the opposite.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: AncientU on 03/16/2018 10:29 AM
    The commercial market in 2020 is shaping up to have several players competing fiercely for shrinking classical GTO market.  This is the market in which Vulcan needs to demonstrate performance for certification.

    The four main launch vehicles that have any booked launches, Ariane, Proton, New Glenn, and Falcon, will constitute something like several hundred percent overcapacity for that market.  Launches for these competitors will have entry level prices in the $50-80M range.

    Commercial customers are not flocking to ULA...  And the market is getting much more contested.
    -- They completely abandoned/lost the commercial market to Proton and Ariane during their first decade of operations as a company due to price -- outstanding reliability and schedule performance not withstanding
    -- The are running a Rapid Response sale of their services for last eighteen or so months without a sale
    -- Vulcan has been announced for what, three years, and zero sales so far (as of two days ago)
    -- Reusable NG comes on line -- as Blue's first orbital vehicle -- after Vulcan, and has booked 9 launches so far
    -- SpaceX Falcon will be flying dozens of flights per year on multiply-flight-proven vehicles with likely commercial prices in $50M range
    -- Ariane will be trying to sell out its last few A-5s and build a manifest for it new A-6s
    -- Proton will be doing same for Proton and Proton-M
    [1]

    So, though this is circumstantial evidence[2], it does indicate the going price for demo payloads on early flights of a new vehicle will need to be under market rates, so circa $50M (at best).  (They won't get $100M unless the USG lobs them a sweet deal or two.)

    So, make the argument that 'substantiates' the opposite situation... that 2-3 full fare commercial flights (per year) are going to be captured by Vulcan, the first couple being the 'test' flights needed for certification.


    [1] Did I mention the Japanese or Chinese who are trying to get into that market? How about NorthGrum/Orbital/ATK with their NGL which is needing demo payloads about the same time?

    [2] The only kind of evidence possible when dealing with 'substantiating' the future.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: envy887 on 03/16/2018 12:51 PM


    Commercial customers are going to be asking for a price below the existing market rate of about $50M for the most mature vehicle on the market in 2020...  In other words, ULA will pay for the majority these two test, demo, cheap commercial, whatever flights for a new Vulcan vehicle with new BE-4 engines.


    unsubstantiated.  You have no data to support this.

    Why would a commercial customer pay premium prices to fly on an untested vehicle? ULA can hardly get commercial customers to pay premium prices for the most reliable vehicle on the market in Atlas V.

    The first flights will have to be discounted at least below the Ariane and Proton market price point. Which likely still isn't the "majority" of the cost, if a Vulcan actually costs $99M and Ariane and Proton are around $80M.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Jim on 03/16/2018 01:17 PM


    Commercial customers are going to be asking for a price below the existing market rate of about $50M for the most mature vehicle on the market in 2020...  In other words, ULA will pay for the majority these two test, demo, cheap commercial, whatever flights for a new Vulcan vehicle with new BE-4 engines.


    unsubstantiated.  You have no data to support this.

    Why would a commercial customer pay premium prices to fly on an untested vehicle? ULA can hardly get commercial customers to pay premium prices for the most reliable vehicle on the market in Atlas V.

    The first flights will have to be discounted at least below the Ariane and Proton market price point. Which likely still isn't the "majority" of the cost, if a Vulcan actually costs $99M and Ariane and Proton are around $80M.

    He is saying that ULA won't even be able to sell a discounted ride.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: PahTo on 03/16/2018 01:40 PM
    ACES can be used as a man rated Earth Departure Stage (EDS). The standard trip could be to take a capsule containing people from LEO to lunar orbit and to return by performing Trans-Earth Injection (TEI). A delta-v of
    about 4.04 + 1.31 = 5.35 km/s

    The capsule may be a Dragon or Starliner. (Dream Chaser would need an upgraded heat shield.) The first few flights could carry cargo to the Lunar Orbital Platform or Bigelow's Depot. ULA now has the problem of getting NASA to pay for the ACES's test flight to lunar orbit, possibly via a COTS like contract.

    Doesn't CST-100 lack sufficient radiation protection to go even to the moon for short duration?
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: AncientU on 03/16/2018 01:41 PM


    Commercial customers are going to be asking for a price below the existing market rate of about $50M for the most mature vehicle on the market in 2020...  In other words, ULA will pay for the majority these two test, demo, cheap commercial, whatever flights for a new Vulcan vehicle with new BE-4 engines.


    unsubstantiated.  You have no data to support this.

    Why would a commercial customer pay premium prices to fly on an untested vehicle? ULA can hardly get commercial customers to pay premium prices for the most reliable vehicle on the market in Atlas V.

    The first flights will have to be discounted at least below the Ariane and Proton market price point. Which likely still isn't the "majority" of the cost, if a Vulcan actually costs $99M and Ariane and Proton are around $80M.

    He is saying that ULA won't even be able to sell a discounted ride.

    I'm saying that at best, ULA will sell discounted flights for around minimum 2020 market rate of $50M... but it is unsubstantiated that they will be able to sell any commercial flights at all.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: chipguy on 03/16/2018 04:05 PM


    Commercial customers are going to be asking for a price below the existing market rate of about $50M for the most mature vehicle on the market in 2020...  In other words, ULA will pay for the majority these two test, demo, cheap commercial, whatever flights for a new Vulcan vehicle with new BE-4 engines.


    unsubstantiated.  You have no data to support this.
    Even it was $50m, still lot more than FH earned on its maiden flight.

    So you put no value on the substantial global public relations/marketing/branding exercise
    that the FH launch represented for SpaceX (and Musk's other business which shall not be
    named on this forum)? Considering the direct social media reach and old school media news
    coverage the value could exceed $50m many fold.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: TrevorMonty on 03/16/2018 04:09 PM
    ACES can be used as a man rated Earth Departure Stage (EDS). The standard trip could be to take a capsule containing people from LEO to lunar orbit and to return by performing Trans-Earth Injection (TEI). A delta-v of
    about 4.04 + 1.31 = 5.35 km/s

    The capsule may be a Dragon or Starliner. (Dream Chaser would need an upgraded heat shield.) The first few flights could carry cargo to the Lunar Orbital Platform or Bigelow's Depot. ULA now has the problem of getting NASA to pay for the ACES's test flight to lunar orbit, possibly via a COTS like contract.

    Doesn't CST-100 lack sufficient radiation protection to go even to the moon for short duration?
    Starliner is LEO only vehicle, no allowance has been made for BLEO.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: A_M_Swallow on 03/16/2018 08:22 PM


    Commercial customers are going to be asking for a price below the existing market rate of about $50M for the most mature vehicle on the market in 2020...  In other words, ULA will pay for the majority these two test, demo, cheap commercial, whatever flights for a new Vulcan vehicle with new BE-4 engines.


    unsubstantiated.  You have no data to support this.
    Even it was $50m, still lot more than FH earned on its maiden flight.

    So you put no value on the substantial global public relations/marketing/branding exercise
    that the FH launch represented for SpaceX (and Musk's other business which shall not be
    named on this forum)? Considering the direct social media reach and old school media news
    coverage the value could exceed $50m many fold.

    That value will be given to the paid commercial flights of the Falcon Heavy.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Star One on 03/17/2018 07:38 AM


    Commercial customers are going to be asking for a price below the existing market rate of about $50M for the most mature vehicle on the market in 2020...  In other words, ULA will pay for the majority these two test, demo, cheap commercial, whatever flights for a new Vulcan vehicle with new BE-4 engines.


    unsubstantiated.  You have no data to support this.
    Even it was $50m, still lot more than FH earned on its maiden flight.

    So you put no value on the substantial global public relations/marketing/branding exercise
    that the FH launch represented for SpaceX (and Musk's other business which shall not be
    named on this forum)? Considering the direct social media reach and old school media news
    coverage the value could exceed $50m many fold.

    You’d hope if a share holder that your company wasn’t so easily swayed that when awarding multi million contract they chose Space X by how many likes they get on social media.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: AncientU on 03/17/2018 02:11 PM


    Commercial customers are going to be asking for a price below the existing market rate of about $50M for the most mature vehicle on the market in 2020...  In other words, ULA will pay for the majority these two test, demo, cheap commercial, whatever flights for a new Vulcan vehicle with new BE-4 engines.


    unsubstantiated.  You have no data to support this.
    Even it was $50m, still lot more than FH earned on its maiden flight.

    So you put no value on the substantial global public relations/marketing/branding exercise
    that the FH launch represented for SpaceX (and Musk's other business which shall not be
    named on this forum)? Considering the direct social media reach and old school media news
    coverage the value could exceed $50m many fold.

    You’d hope if a share holder that your company wasn’t so easily swayed that when awarding multi million contract they chose Space X by how many likes they get on social media.

    I think the message is that buying SpaceX is no longer something that a company has to justify to shareholders. 
    The opposite may in fact now be the situation.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Star One on 03/17/2018 02:19 PM


    Commercial customers are going to be asking for a price below the existing market rate of about $50M for the most mature vehicle on the market in 2020...  In other words, ULA will pay for the majority these two test, demo, cheap commercial, whatever flights for a new Vulcan vehicle with new BE-4 engines.


    unsubstantiated.  You have no data to support this.
    Even it was $50m, still lot more than FH earned on its maiden flight.

    So you put no value on the substantial global public relations/marketing/branding exercise
    that the FH launch represented for SpaceX (and Musk's other business which shall not be
    named on this forum)? Considering the direct social media reach and old school media news
    coverage the value could exceed $50m many fold.

    You’d hope if a share holder that your company wasn’t so easily swayed that when awarding multi million contract they chose Space X by how many likes they get on social media.

    I think the message is that buying SpaceX is no longer something that a company has to justify to shareholders. 
    The opposite may in fact now be the situation.

    That will suit Blue Origin as well. Price and undercutting your opponent is something Mr Bezos knows only too well from Amazon.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: envy887 on 03/17/2018 05:29 PM
    That will suit Blue Origin as well. Price and undercutting your opponent is something Mr Bezos knows only too well from Amazon.

    This likely applies to Vulcan and ULA, who have the highest cost and price in the market, and who are moving rather slowly to reduce cost and price.

    Probably less so to SpaceX, who has the lowest cost and price and is moving very aggressively to reduce them (cost, at least - it will take some market pressure to get SpaceX to reduce price).
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Star One on 03/17/2018 06:38 PM
    That will suit Blue Origin as well. Price and undercutting your opponent is something Mr Bezos knows only too well from Amazon.

    This likely applies to Vulcan and ULA, who have the highest cost and price in the market, and who are moving rather slowly to reduce cost and price.

    Probably less so to SpaceX, who has the lowest cost and price and is moving very aggressively to reduce them (cost, at least - it will take some market pressure to get SpaceX to reduce price).

    There seems to be possibly fatal lag in the response to the price pressure introduced into the market by Space X from ULA.

    Can they reduce their prices fast enough, or do they think the Air Force’s desire to maintain a plurality in the launcher market will save them?
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: docmordrid on 03/17/2018 09:36 PM
    EELV wants to move from 2 providers to at least 3, so ULA has more than SpaceX to worry about wrt Vulcan sales, of which there are exactly zero. Zip. Without qualifying flights USAF has a wealth of other options until ULA can get its act together.

    Further; if a BFR does fly in 2020 as Shotwell said, and SpaceX quickly fields a reusable satellite deployer (why wouldn't they?), Vulcan has an even worse problem.

    Why?

    Because Shotwell is talking about $5+ million launches. Forthehelluvit, lets say $10m in case of inflation. Cost or price? Irrelevant. It would allow SpaceX to undercut every medium to heavy class launcher, active or in development.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: brickmack on 03/18/2018 12:15 AM
    EELV is not moving to 3 providers. The EELV2 documentation is quite explicit that exactly 2 providers will be selected
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: docmordrid on 03/18/2018 03:34 AM
    EELV is not moving to 3 providers. The EELV2 documentation is quite explicit that exactly 2 providers will be selected

    I'll give you that I said at least 3, but USAF says at least 2.

    SpaceNews... (http://spacenews.com/air-force-hopeful-congress-will-support-new-strategy-to-phase-out-russian-rocket-engines/)

    Quote
    >
    The acquisition strategy was laid out in an Oct. 5 request for proposals for the next-generation EELV.
    >
    The RFP said the Air Force wants to “leverage commercial launch solutions in order to have at least two domestic, commercial launch service providers.” Leon said the plan is to select three vendors for prototype development.

    “It’s key to have flexibility,” Leon told SpaceNews Thursday at the Pentagon. The way the House NDAA was written, “we could not execute our acquisition strategy. We’d have to change it, and redo the RFP that’s already released.”
    >
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: AncientU on 03/18/2018 10:20 AM
    That will suit Blue Origin as well. Price and undercutting your opponent is something Mr Bezos knows only too well from Amazon.

    This likely applies to Vulcan and ULA, who have the highest cost and price in the market, and who are moving rather slowly to reduce cost and price.

    Probably less so to SpaceX, who has the lowest cost and price and is moving very aggressively to reduce them (cost, at least - it will take some market pressure to get SpaceX to reduce price).

    There seems to be possibly fatal lag in the response to the price pressure introduced into the market by Space X from ULA.

    Can they reduce their prices fast enough, or do they think the Air Force’s desire to maintain a plurality in the launcher market will save them?

    They are infected with a disease called HIP -- Hubris Induced Paralysis.  Not necessarily fatal if you have sufficient money and leverage in the big hospital on the Hill. 
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: john smith 19 on 03/19/2018 07:18 AM
    There seems to be possibly fatal lag in the response to the price pressure introduced into the market by Space X from ULA.

    Can they reduce their prices fast enough, or do they think the Air Force’s desire to maintain a plurality in the launcher market will save them?
    More accurately do their parents think the USAF's desire to maintain plurality will save them?

    They don't seem to be pursuing the switch over to Vulcan with any great urgency.  :(
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Star One on 03/19/2018 08:59 AM
    There seems to be possibly fatal lag in the response to the price pressure introduced into the market by Space X from ULA.

    Can they reduce their prices fast enough, or do they think the Air Force’s desire to maintain a plurality in the launcher market will save them?
    More accurately do their parents think the USAF's desire to maintain plurality will save them?

    They don't seem to be pursuing the switch over to Vulcan with any great urgency.  :(

    Totally agree. I am befuddled by the slowness of the proposed switchover. Isn’t there a saying about an excess of caution, if there is ULA seem to be suffering from it.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: woods170 on 03/19/2018 11:04 AM
    There seems to be possibly fatal lag in the response to the price pressure introduced into the market by Space X from ULA.

    Can they reduce their prices fast enough, or do they think the Air Force’s desire to maintain a plurality in the launcher market will save them?
    More accurately do their parents think the USAF's desire to maintain plurality will save them?

    They don't seem to be pursuing the switch over to Vulcan with any great urgency.  :(

    Totally agree. I am befuddled by the slowness of the proposed switchover. Isn’t there a saying about an excess of caution, if there is ULA seem to be suffering from it.

    Let's look at the facts. ULA started working on Vulcan in 2014. Vulcan went thru CDR late last year. So, that's a little over 3 years to CDR. Which isn't all that bad for non-SpaceX rocket development.

    People need to remember that, in the US aeronautics and spaceflight industry, SpaceX is still the exception, not the norm.

    ULA is doing Vulcan the way they want it done. History will teach us whether that was SMART (pun intended) or not.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: john smith 19 on 03/19/2018 11:40 AM
    Totally agree. I am befuddled by the slowness of the proposed switchover. Isn’t there a saying about an excess of caution, if there is ULA seem to be suffering from it.
    I know it's a cliche but I blame the parents  :)

    IMHO Bruno fully comprehends the sooner they get Vulcan to first flight the sooner they retire Atlas V, Delta IV and D IV H together and it's phasing them out all at once that generates the real cost savings, in principle allowing them to become much more competitive outside the US, not just for NSS.

    One management strategy is to assume that tomorrow will be much like today. IE The USG wants 2 main LV suppliers, and it now has them.
    But if Blue does become more active and starts putting payloads in orbit the USG could decide it will be OK with both of them being (relatively) "Newspace" companies if it can save significant amounts of money.
    And ULA becomes a footnote in engineering history, like for example the UK GEC.  :(
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: john smith 19 on 03/19/2018 09:33 PM
    Because Shotwell is talking about $5+ million launches. Forthehelluvit, lets say $10m in case of inflation. Cost or price? Irrelevant. It would allow SpaceX to undercut every medium to heavy class launcher, active or in development.
    Why?

    What makes anyone believe they will cut prices?

    We saw this with first stage reuse.  The prices did not go down. They remained competitive.

    TBH I'd wondered if they'd raised prices for flight proven boosters, although fortunately they didn't.

    As we saw in COTS what really lowers prices is competition.

    So while SX internal costs may fall I wouldn't expect the same to happen to their prices.
    More like to a level that's competitive with ULA prices.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: docmordrid on 03/19/2018 10:02 PM
    Because Shotwell is talking about $5+ million launches. Forthehelluvit, lets say $10m in case of inflation. Cost or price? Irrelevant. It would allow SpaceX to undercut every medium to heavy class launcher, active or in development.

    Why?

    What makes anyone believe they will cut prices?

    We saw this with first stage reuse.  The prices did not go down.
    >

    Because no one was in a position to pressure them to drop their prices, so schedule acceleration was enougn to attract customers. They're running a business, not a charity.

    If some competitor (Blue?) does get into that position a very cheap launch cost lets them lower their launch price just sufficient to keep the new competitor at bay and no more, leaving max profit and room to drop it again  if necessary.

    Econ 101
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: docmordrid on 03/19/2018 10:13 PM
    If some competitor (Blue?) does get into that position a very cheap launch cost lets them lower their launch price sufficient to keep the new competitor at bay.

    Which doesn't quite work if your competitor has an infinite pile of money.

    A pile of money only gets you so far when certain costs  are fixed. That's what got GM in trouble. He who innovates faster gets to the lowest cost/price curve first.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: joek on 03/19/2018 10:36 PM
    ...
    We saw this with first stage reuse.  The prices did not go down. They remained competitive.
    TBH I'd wondered if they'd raised prices for flight proven boosters, although fortunately they didn't.
    ...

    How do we know that the price did not change?  Has anyone here been privy to SpaceX-customer price negotiations and willing to speak on the record?
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: rcoppola on 03/19/2018 10:45 PM
    I just want to know what the heck Tory is or is not seeing that he still hasn't down selected. Are the parents holding him back to smooth out some political sharp edges or is there something he's still not seeing in the test data?

    Just seems needless to still be carrying two distinct core stage & GSE/PAD designs.

    I've tweeted to him a number of times asking just this..but who the heck am I that he would answer.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: rcoppola on 03/19/2018 10:52 PM
    Because Shotwell is talking about $5+ million launches. Forthehelluvit, lets say $10m in case of inflation. Cost or price? Irrelevant. It would allow SpaceX to undercut every medium to heavy class launcher, active or in development.
    Why?

    What makes anyone believe they will cut prices?

    We saw this with first stage reuse.  The prices did not go down. They remained competitive.

    TBH I'd wondered if they'd raised prices for flight proven boosters, although fortunately they didn't.

    As we saw in COTS what really lowers prices is competition.

    So while SX internal costs may fall I wouldn't expect the same to happen to their prices.
    More like to a level that's competitive with ULA prices.
    SpaceX has explicitly stated that they need to recover their investment into reuse tech before they begin knocking down prices. Block-5 should speed up that recovery. So maybe we'll start to see SpaceX apply even more downward pricing pressure in the launch market sometime in 2019.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: RedLineTrain on 03/19/2018 11:06 PM
    SpaceX has explicitly stated that they need to recover their investment into reuse tech before they begin knocking down prices.

    This is in a language that others in the industry understand.  But for a venture-funded company, it's a euphemism for something like "I have future projects that I would like to do in order to dominate the market and you're going to be funding them."

    Recovering investment is not really on SpaceX's mind.  It's not like SpaceX is going to issue dividends or buy back stock.  And as far as I can tell, it has no loans.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: joek on 03/19/2018 11:08 PM
    I just want to know what the heck Tory is or is not seeing that he still hasn't down selected. Are the parents holding him back to smooth out some political sharp edges or is there something he's still not seeing in the test data?

    The moment that announcement is made, or either Blue or AJ can attest they have successfully completed the requisite tests, someone loses DoD funding.  No benefit to ULA from getting in the middle of that food fight--so why should they?  (Although I hope and expect ULA is well apprised of progress by both Blue and AJ, and are making plans accordingly, if not in public.)
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: envy887 on 03/19/2018 11:08 PM
    If some competitor (Blue?) does get into that position a very cheap launch cost lets them lower their launch price sufficient to keep the new competitor at bay.
    Which doesn't quite work if your competitor has an infinite pile of money.

    Even with an infinite pile of money the launch business is a tough nut to crack. It requires building massive amounts of infrastructure, proving out reliability, building up launch rates, and fulfilling contracts that take 2-3 years from signing to launch.

    It's not something that can be done in a couple years from scratch. Or even 5-10 years. And even then, customers aren't going to let one competitor lose out and put themselves at the mercy of a monopoly... why do you think Vulcan still exists?
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Sknowball on 03/20/2018 03:30 AM
    Conversation seems to be veering from its intended purpose and back into the realm of Business case, Competition, and Alternatives (https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=44391.0).
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: jongoff on 03/20/2018 04:42 AM
    They are infected with a disease called HIP -- Hubris Induced Paralysis.  Not necessarily fatal if you have sufficient money and leverage in the big hospital on the Hill. 

    I think they're more infected by a disease called being a JV owned by two giant publicly-traded defense contractors whose incentives aren't exactly aligned with maximizing ULA's long-term survival probability.

    ~Jon
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: jongoff on 03/20/2018 04:46 AM
    Recovering investment is not really on SpaceX's mind.  It's not like SpaceX is going to issue dividends or buy back stock.  And as far as I can tell, it has no loans.

    Pre-spending front-loaded progress payments is technically very much like a loan that has to be paid back...

    ~Jon
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: jongoff on 03/20/2018 04:47 AM
    Conversation seems to be veering from its intended purpose and back into the realm of Business case, Competition, and Alternatives (https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=44391.0).

    Sorry.

    ~Jon
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: john smith 19 on 03/20/2018 07:10 AM
    Because no one was in a position to pressure them to drop their prices, so schedule acceleration was enougn to attract customers. They're running a business, not a charity.
    A fact some people don't seem to understand very well.
    Quote from: docmordrid
    If some competitor (Blue?) does get into that position a very cheap launch cost lets them lower their launch price just sufficient to keep the new competitor at bay and no more, leaving max profit and room to drop it again  if necessary.

    Econ 101
    Another fact some people don't seem to understand very well.

    In 2003 10s of tonnes of Payload to LEO --> 10 (100) s of $m

    In 2018 10s of tonnes of Payload to LEO --> 10 (100)s of $m

    Any talk of SX launching a BFR payload to LEO for the cost of an F1 is exactly that. Talk. Nothing more and nothing less.

    And ULA know it.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: john smith 19 on 03/20/2018 07:30 AM
    I just want to know what the heck Tory is or is not seeing that he still hasn't down selected. Are the parents holding him back to smooth out some political sharp edges or is there something he's still not seeing in the test data?

    The moment that announcement is made, or either Blue or AJ can attest they have successfully completed the requisite tests, someone loses DoD funding.  No benefit to ULA from getting in the middle of that food fight--so why should they?  (Although I hope and expect ULA is well apprised of progress by both Blue and AJ, and are making plans accordingly, if not in public.)
    Indeed. While either might be selected it also allows ULA to negotiate a better deal for Vulcan.

    And given how much stuff ULA buys in getting those deals on everything ULA buys are going to be a pretty important process if Bruno wants to be competitive in anything but NSS launches.

    From earlier in this thread AIUI Vulcan booster is running on a parallel track to the US so negotiations there can also be done separately from Vulcan, although I'd expect OATK would like to like AR1 with RL10 acceptance 

    The question is of course how comparable are the development schedules of AR1 and Blue's engine?

    If they're neck and neck then it really is a two horse race but if Blue really are as far ahead as people think then AR-1 is basically a stalking horse to get a better deal off Blue.

    I agree that the first to demonstrate a complete flight length burn (full length, full throttle profile) has basically won.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: john smith 19 on 03/20/2018 07:31 AM
    SpaceX has explicitly stated that they need to recover their investment into reuse tech before they begin knocking down prices.
    No surprise. That's how most conventional (IE non government contractors) do things.
    Quote from: rcoppola
    Block-5 should speed up that recovery. So maybe we'll start to see SpaceX apply even more downward pricing pressure in the launch market sometime in 2019.
    Run that by me again? A new generation of tech development will cause them to lower their prices faster without competitive pressure from other companies?

    This makes sense to you?
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: MaxTeranous on 03/20/2018 09:53 AM
    Because no one was in a position to pressure them to drop their prices, so schedule acceleration was enougn to attract customers. They're running a business, not a charity.
    A fact some people don't seem to understand very well.
    Quote from: docmordrid
    If some competitor (Blue?) does get into that position a very cheap launch cost lets them lower their launch price just sufficient to keep the new competitor at bay and no more, leaving max profit and room to drop it again  if necessary.

    Econ 101
    Another fact some people don't seem to understand very well.

    In 2003 10s of tonnes of Payload to LEO --> 10 (100) s of $m

    In 2018 10s of tonnes of Payload to LEO --> 10 (100)s of $m

    Any talk of SX launching a BFR payload to LEO for the cost of an F1 is exactly that. Talk. Nothing more and nothing less.

    And ULA know it.

    ULA should also know that as soon as Blue get an orbital class launcher going they will put the price of launch through the floor. Bezo's business plan every time is to absolutely minimize prices to grab market share, and he'll do it again as soon as he can. Hell, it's worked for him so far!

    As you say, competition, but not from SpaceX, from Blue. When Blue start offering launches at $10 mil, SpaceX is putting itself into position to compete still. It may not like it (less dev money for Mars), but it probably can. Vulcan (or any non reusable rocket for that matter), no chance. That's what ULA are facing in the next 5 years, and that's what they're being an Ostrich about.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: envy887 on 03/20/2018 01:51 PM
    SpaceX has explicitly stated that they need to recover their investment into reuse tech before they begin knocking down prices.
    No surprise. That's how most conventional (IE non government contractors) do things.
    Quote from: rcoppola
    Block-5 should speed up that recovery. So maybe we'll start to see SpaceX apply even more downward pricing pressure in the launch market sometime in 2019.
    Run that by me again? A new generation of tech development will cause them to lower their prices faster without competitive pressure from other companies?

    This makes sense to you?

    Replied here: https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=44391

    Most of this discussion has nothing to do with the current Vulcan design.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Sam Ho on 03/20/2018 03:49 PM
    From earlier in this thread AIUI Vulcan booster is running on a parallel track to the US so negotiations there can also be done separately from Vulcan, although I'd expect OATK would like to like AR1 with RL10 acceptance 
    Why would OATK prefer that?  The GEM-63XL should work just fine with any combination of booster and upper stage engines.  I would think that any remaining interest in the Vulcan engine competition would be in picking up economies of scale if Vulcan and NGL share an upper stage engine.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: russianhalo117 on 03/20/2018 03:59 PM
    From earlier in this thread AIUI Vulcan booster is running on a parallel track to the US so negotiations there can also be done separately from Vulcan, although I'd expect OATK would like to like AR1 with RL10 acceptance 
    Why would OATK prefer that?  The GEM-63XL should work just fine with any combination of booster and upper stage engines.  I would think that any remaining interest in the Vulcan engine competition would be in picking up economies of scale if Vulcan and NGL share an upper stage engine.
    Aerojet Rocketdyne would likely prefer all of its products used and so would the Northrop Grumman merger with OATK (Legacy TRW with OATK propulsion products). ;)

    TRW Background Note: TRW's auto and aerospace divisions were split off with ZF Friedrichshafen AG (ZF = Zeppelin Foundation) in 2015 acquiring the non aerospace portion of TRW. Also 2015 TRW Aerospace was dissolved directly into Northrop Grumman.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: TrevorMonty on 03/20/2018 05:47 PM
    From earlier in this thread AIUI Vulcan booster is running on a parallel track to the US so negotiations there can also be done separately from Vulcan, although I'd expect OATK would like to like AR1 with RL10 acceptance 
    Why would OATK prefer that?  The GEM-63XL should work just fine with any combination of booster and upper stage engines.  I would think that any remaining interest in the Vulcan engine competition would be in picking up economies of scale if Vulcan and NGL share an upper stage engine.
    Aerojet Rocketdyne would likely prefer all of its products used and so would the Northrop Grumman merger with OATK (Legacy TRW with OATK propulsion products). ;)

    TRW Background Note: TRW's auto and aerospace divisions were split off with ZF Friedrichshafen AG (ZF = Zeppelin Foundation) in 2015 acquiring the non aerospace portion of TRW. Also 2015 TRW Aerospace was dissolved into directly into Northrop Grumman.
    OA better off with their SRB for ELV as its all inhouse. For RLV they need a liquid engine like AR1.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Space Ghost 1962 on 03/20/2018 07:50 PM
    Tory Bruno is at CU Boulder right now. Student asked him a question about ACES. His response:
    Quote from: Tory Bruno
    ACES - we don’t even have requirements , or a PDR yet.

    FWIW.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: envy887 on 03/20/2018 07:59 PM
    Tory Bruno is at CU Boulder right now. Student asked him a question about ACES. His response:
    Quote from: Tory Bruno
    ACES - we don’t even have requirements , or a PDR yet.

    FWIW.

    Which explains why it's notionally 7 years away. They haven't advanced it past the concept stage, and need that time (plus funding) to get to operational capability.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Star One on 03/20/2018 08:09 PM
    Lengthy new article via CBS/SN with ULA fighting their corner against Space X.

    https://spaceflightnow.com/2018/03/20/ula-touts-new-vulcan-rocket-in-competition-with-spacex/
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: envy887 on 03/21/2018 01:10 AM
    Tory Bruno is at CU Boulder right now. Student asked him a question about ACES. His response:
    Quote from: Tory Bruno
    ACES - we don’t even have requirements , or a PDR yet.

    FWIW.

    Which explains why it's notionally 7 years away. They haven't advanced it past the concept stage, and need that time (plus funding) to get to operational capability.

    If you're interested in the remark, the video can be found at:

     https://www.facebook.com/cuengineering/videos/10159770315150538/

    (Question is at 36:47).

    Thanks. Tory actually says that they have to finish the basic Vulcan first so that he can move resources to ACES, and that they are still in the tech development phase and want to hear more about potential customers needs.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Space Ghost 1962 on 03/21/2018 02:18 PM
    Tory Bruno is at CU Boulder right now. Student asked him a question about ACES. His response:
    Quote from: Tory Bruno
    ACES - we don’t even have requirements , or a PDR yet.

    FWIW.

    Which explains why it's notionally 7 years away. They haven't advanced it past the concept stage, and need that time (plus funding) to get to operational capability.

    If you're interested in the remark, the video can be found at:

     https://www.facebook.com/cuengineering/videos/10159770315150538/

    (Question is at 36:47).

    Thanks. Tory actually says that they have to finish the basic Vulcan first so that he can move resources to ACES, and that they are still in the tech development phase and want to hear more about potential customers needs.
    Highlights mine.

    As indicated upthread, so no "actually", was correct from the start.
    1) Joint Venture "horizon" problem - you're only financed for what might bring in immediate revenue. ACES has no demand for development/"sales" (he says "no customers"). Thus no money to develop (or fund necessary test flight(s)). Why it perpetuates but doesn't get done.
    Once they get done with Vulcan, there's yet no follow on commitment to ACES, as there wasn't with Atlas when Vulcan wasn't present, but there WAS a need for a larger US. Likewise SMART.
    2) He says "no PDR".
    3). He says "no requirements". Which is what customers (stakeholders actually) tell you.

    Yes, like any good CEO he blathers happily about it so you'll feel good. They all do that. What you're supposed to do. The guy makes you feel like you're being listened to, when he's actually quite aware of putting off the commitment. It's his job.

    But listen for the key points and don't get distracted with the music. Reality is what it is. Just like with Musk going on about reuse bottoming costs when it's nowhere near the rate to achieve payback, which is something Bruno also goes into in that video too.

    Selling capabilities is not "selling on whim", like a new smartphone case or color if it were to be.

    Stay locked on reality and listen for the key words/points. And yes I do that for a living. Doesn't make you popular but effective.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: TrevorMonty on 03/22/2018 02:03 AM
    ACES is required for Distributed Launch for which there is no current market. When they have requirement to deliver large payloads to BLEO on reqular basis that is when ACES will be needed.

    In mean time ULA have their hands full with Vulcan and Centuar V development.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: rst on 03/22/2018 02:27 AM
    ACES is required for Distributed Launch for which there is no current market. When they have requirement to deliver large payloads to BLEO on reqular basis that is when ACES will be needed.

    And yet Tory has prioritized it over SMART, which would help make them more competitive in the active market for commercial launches, where they need sales to stay viable.  To some of us in the peanut gallery, this is ... puzzling.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: woods170 on 03/22/2018 07:11 AM
    ACES is required for Distributed Launch for which there is no current market. When they have requirement to deliver large payloads to BLEO on reqular basis that is when ACES will be needed.

    And yet Tory has prioritized it over SMART, which would help make them more competitive in the active market for commercial launches, where they need sales to stay viable.  To some of us in the peanut gallery, this is ... puzzling.

    Not it isn't. ULA is still not convinced about the economies of reuse working out the way SpaceX predict them to work out.
    However, ULA is not a bunch of idi*ts. They are smart (pun intended) enough to hedge their bets by coming up with the SMART concept. Just in case...
    But their primary focus on cost reduction, and being more competitive, revolves around developing a single launcher solution (Vulcan, doing away with the older Atlas and Delta) that can fly mass to orbit as efficiently as possible. Hence Centaur V, given that current Centaur is just about the most efficient upper stage in existence. Centaur V is sufficiently pre-molded to "easily" evolve into ACES.

    In short, Bruno et al. think they can be competitive via Vulcan/Centaur V and remain so via evolving into Vulcan/ACES.
    SMART only comes into play if the prior options fail to adequately compete with SpaceX and others. Hence why SMART has lowest priority.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: john smith 19 on 03/22/2018 07:57 AM

    As indicated upthread, so no "actually", was correct from the start.
    1) Joint Venture "horizon" problem - you're only financed for what might bring in immediate revenue. ACES has no demand for development/"sales" (he says "no customers"). Thus no money to develop (or fund necessary test flight(s)). Why it perpetuates but doesn't get done.
    Once they get done with Vulcan, there's yet no follow on commitment to ACES, as there wasn't with Atlas when Vulcan wasn't present, but there WAS a need for a larger US. Likewise SMART.
    2) He says "no PDR".
    3). He says "no requirements". Which is what customers (stakeholders actually) tell you.

    Yes, like any good CEO he blathers happily about it so you'll feel good. They all do that. What you're supposed to do. The guy makes you feel like you're being listened to, when he's actually quite aware of putting off the commitment. It's his job.

    But listen for the key points and don't get distracted with the music. Reality is what it is. Just like with Musk going on about reuse bottoming costs when it's nowhere near the rate to achieve payback, which is something Bruno also goes into in that video too.

    Selling capabilities is not "selling on whim", like a new smartphone case or color if it were to be.

    Stay locked on reality and listen for the key words/points. And yes I do that for a living. Doesn't make you popular but effective.
    Pity.

    Not sounding good for IVF being tested anytime soon.  :(

    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: docmordrid on 03/22/2018 09:16 AM
    March 14, 2018

    Space News.... (http://"http://spacenews.com/ula-to-focus-more-attention-on-commercial-launch-market/")

    Quote
    >
    ULA will also handle marketing of the Vulcan rocket in-house. The first launch of that rocket is planned for mid-2020, but Bruno said the company has not yet sold a Vulcan mission.
    >

    If they've been trying to sell Vulcan since its intro in 2015 and are 0 for 3 years selling commercial launches, and have said they need them to close the business case....
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: AbuSimbel on 03/22/2018 12:20 PM
    ACES is required for Distributed Launch for which there is no current market. When they have requirement to deliver large payloads to BLEO on reqular basis that is when ACES will be needed.

    And yet Tory has prioritized it over SMART, which would help make them more competitive in the active market for commercial launches, where they need sales to stay viable.  To some of us in the peanut gallery, this is ... puzzling.

    Not it isn't. ULA is still not convinced about the economies of reuse working out the way SpaceX predict them to work out.
    However, ULA is not a bunch of idi*ts. They are smart (pun intended) enough to hedge their bets by coming up with the SMART concept. Just in case...
    But their primary focus on cost reduction, and being more competitive, revolves around developing a single launcher solution (Vulcan, doing away with the older Atlas and Delta) that can fly mass to orbit as efficiently as possible. Hence Centaur V, given that current Centaur is just about the most efficient upper stage in existence. Centaur V is sufficiently pre-molded to "easily" evolve into ACES.

    In short, Bruno et al. think they can be competitive via Vulcan/Centaur V and remain so via evolving into Vulcan/ACES.
    SMART only comes into play if the prior options fail to adequately compete with SpaceX and others. Hence why SMART has lowest priority.
    So, if I understand correctly you're saying that:
    1- ULA is betting that reusability doesn't pan out as expected, but SMART is their contingency plan in case they're wrong;
    2-They think improved efficiency with Vulcan will be enough to be competitive if reusability doesn't pan out.

    The problem with 1 is that SMART itself wouldn't be competitive if SpaceX and/or BO reuse economies worked out as planned. SMART too is a bet that SpaceX will fail at reusability.  This is a fact, backed by Tory Brino himself when he justifies SMART saying things like 'recovering 2/3 of the stage every time is better than sometimes recovering the whole stage': if SX's (and BO's) plans work as intended they'll never expend a stage again, with the exception of adequately rewarded very heavy lift missions. ULA is going all in with the 'reusability won't work' bet.
    They have no viable plan if low cost and rapid reuse of the boosters works, never mind full reusability with BFR.

    The problem with 2 is that Vulcan without SMART doesn't seem to be competitive even with today's Falcon 9 in the commercial market. The fact that they still have no contracts seems to back this.

    To me they're essentially playing their game one move behind.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: woods170 on 03/22/2018 12:35 PM
    ACES is required for Distributed Launch for which there is no current market. When they have requirement to deliver large payloads to BLEO on reqular basis that is when ACES will be needed.

    And yet Tory has prioritized it over SMART, which would help make them more competitive in the active market for commercial launches, where they need sales to stay viable.  To some of us in the peanut gallery, this is ... puzzling.

    Not it isn't. ULA is still not convinced about the economies of reuse working out the way SpaceX predict them to work out.
    However, ULA is not a bunch of idi*ts. They are smart (pun intended) enough to hedge their bets by coming up with the SMART concept. Just in case...
    But their primary focus on cost reduction, and being more competitive, revolves around developing a single launcher solution (Vulcan, doing away with the older Atlas and Delta) that can fly mass to orbit as efficiently as possible. Hence Centaur V, given that current Centaur is just about the most efficient upper stage in existence. Centaur V is sufficiently pre-molded to "easily" evolve into ACES.

    In short, Bruno et al. think they can be competitive via Vulcan/Centaur V and remain so via evolving into Vulcan/ACES.
    SMART only comes into play if the prior options fail to adequately compete with SpaceX and others. Hence why SMART has lowest priority.
    So, if I understand correctly you're saying that:
    1- ULA is betting that reusability doesn't pan out as expected, but SMART is their contingency plan in case they're wrong;
    2-They think improved efficiency with Vulcan will be enough to be competitive if reusability doesn't pan out.

    Yes. That is exactly it.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: john smith 19 on 03/23/2018 05:02 PM
    So, if I understand correctly you're saying that:
    1- ULA is betting that reusability doesn't pan out as expected, but SMART is their contingency plan in case they're wrong;
    2-They think improved efficiency with Vulcan will be enough to be competitive if reusability doesn't pan out.
    ....
    To me they're essentially playing their game one move behind.
    It certainly looks that way.

    What (I think) they are missing is that if full reusability does not work out this  way SX will find another. They are not a govt project where the funding is cut and the team disbands while their Leader declares "This is too hard."  :(
    Basically what happened at the end of the X33 programme, after LM had burned through about $1.5Bn in development funds, and most of the planned test budget as well.

    If BFR fails Musk will take the test results (which I expect to be quite extensive) and he and his team will chomp on them for a bit and then fire up their CAD software for round 3.

    My instinct is Bruno is quite constrained by the parents. I hope ULA will design in most of the hooks to move to SMART in Vulcan from day one (when they will be cheapest) rather than having to "remodel" it later.  :(

    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Ronsmytheiii on 03/23/2018 05:24 PM
    If they've been trying to sell Vulcan since its intro in 2015 and are 0 for 3 years selling commercial launches, and have said they need them to close the business case....

    Of course, Atlas V is still being built (and will continue concurrently for a few years with Vulcan) and Vulcan hasn't flown yet. It is likely that someone with an Atlas will be willing to move to Vulcan.. but will use the first flight as leverage to decrease that first launch price drastically.

    And unlike when Falcon or New Glenn start(ed) flying, ULA can treat Vulcan and Atlas payloads interchangeably much more easily.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Coastal Ron on 03/23/2018 05:36 PM
    If they've been trying to sell Vulcan since its intro in 2015 and are 0 for 3 years selling commercial launches, and have said they need them to close the business case....

    Of course, Atlas V is still being built (and will continue concurrently for a few years with Vulcan) and Vulcan hasn't flown yet.

    Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy, and New Glenn all received customer orders well before they flew for the first time.

    Quote
    It is likely that someone with an Atlas will be willing to move to Vulcan.. but will use the first flight as leverage to decrease that first launch price drastically.

    SpaceX certainly did that for Falcon 9, but they were a new company. According to ULA, they are the best, so there should be no reason to discount a flight that is operated by the best launch services company. And I'm not being facetious here - ULA is good, so in a way they are boxed in by their marketing.

    Quote
    And unlike when Falcon or New Glenn start(ed) flying, ULA can treat Vulcan and Atlas payloads interchangeably much more easily.

    So Vulcan doesn't offer a better value proposition than Atlas V? And that is the reason why no one is placing orders for the Vulcan?

    If that is the situation, then that does not bode well for ULA and Vulcan.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Ronsmytheiii on 03/23/2018 05:52 PM
    Of course, Atlas V is still being built (and will continue concurrently for a few years with Vulcan) and Vulcan hasn't flown yet.

    Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy, and New Glenn all received customer orders well before they flew for the first time.

    I already answered that, the potential payloads are going to be slated for Atlas first. SpaceX and NG LV's didnt have an equivalent rocket class before their respective first flights, so the comparison is moot.

    Quote
    SpaceX certainly did that for Falcon 9, but they were a new company. According to ULA, they are the best, so there should be no reason to discount a flight that is operated by the best launch services company. And I'm not being facetious here - ULA is good, so in a way they are boxed in by their marketing.

    SpaceX isnt the only one to do that, it is an industry trick and no reason ULA wont repeat it. Lockheed gave discounts on the first launches of Atlas II, III, and V:

    Quote
    Eutelsat has previously launched satellites on bargain-price maiden launches of new Atlas boosters, with Eutelsat 2F3 flying the first Atlas II in 1991 and W4 flying on board the first Atlas III in 2000 (and article was on their satellite being on inaugural Atlas V)

    https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/eutelsat-wins-place-on-maiden-flight-137797/


    Quote
    So Vulcan doesn't offer a better value proposition than Atlas V? And that is the reason why no one is placing orders for the Vulcan?

    Not initially, when it is unproven. It has the potential to have better value once proven, but any first launch is risky, just as Elon has said repeatedly.

    Edit: Notice that NEws Glenn only has launch slots reserved, not confirmed. Easy for the customers to move payloads. SpaceX's first five launches for Falcon 9 were related to the COTS/CRS program, and at that time NASA accepted LV risks and only cared about visiting vehicle safety and ISS integration of Dragon
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Sknowball on 03/23/2018 06:07 PM
    Of course, Atlas V is still being built (and will continue concurrently for a few years with Vulcan) and Vulcan hasn't flown yet. It is likely that someone with an Atlas will be willing to move to Vulcan.. but will use the first flight as leverage to decrease that first launch price drastically.

    And unlike when Falcon or New Glenn start(ed) flying, ULA can treat Vulcan and Atlas payloads interchangeably much more easily.

    With ULA marketing itself on schedule certainty and one of the risks of flying on the initial flights of a rocket is to customers schedule due to developmental delays of the rocket, I wonder if there has been any consideration to offering free swap outs from Vulcan to Atlas V to incentivize customers into booking Vulcan flights.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: GWH on 03/23/2018 06:26 PM
    Or the opposite: offer the swap at a large reimbursement to fly on Vulcan instead of Altas as the dates converge.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Coastal Ron on 03/23/2018 07:46 PM
    I already answered that, the potential payloads are going to be slated for Atlas first. SpaceX and NG LV's didnt have an equivalent rocket class before their respective first flights, so the comparison is moot.

    What that tells me though, is that there is no economic benefit to Vulcan over Atlas V.

    Quote
    SpaceX isnt the only one to do that, it is an industry trick and no reason ULA wont repeat it.

    I prefer the term "method" over "trick", since customers aren't tricked by initial discounts. And the reason for offering discounts is actually guided by supply and demand forces, so if demand is low, but supply is plentiful, then providers may lower prices to incentivize customers - or offer other inducements. But I don't think "mission assurance" is a big factor for commercial customers, meaning price is what's probably the prime consideration for potential Vulcan customers.

    Quote
    So Vulcan doesn't offer a better value proposition than Atlas V? And that is the reason why no one is placing orders for the Vulcan?

    Not initially, when it is unproven. It has the potential to have better value once proven, but any first launch is risky, just as Elon has said repeatedly.

    You seem to think that ULA has to prove itself with Vulcan before customers will order it.

    Does anyone doubt that ULA can build a new rocket that will work as advertised on it's first flight?

    I certainly don't, and I doubt potential commercial customers would either. So I don't think that customers are waiting to see if Vulcan works, but they just don't see enough value in Vulcan to purchase a flight.

    Plus, launch customers usually book backup options for their launches, and with the advent of reusability they would not have to worry about launch slot availability. So if the value proposition for Vulcan was compelling, ULA should be booking orders for Vulcan.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: A_M_Swallow on 03/23/2018 08:17 PM
    {snip}
    You seem to think that ULA has to prove itself with Vulcan before customers will order it.

    Does anyone doubt that ULA can build a new rocket that will work as advertised on it's first flight?

    I certainly don't, and I doubt potential commercial customers would either. So I don't think that customers are waiting to see if Vulcan works, but they just don't see enough value in Vulcan to purchase a flight.
    {snip}

    Providing the money lasts ULA will almost certainly produce a new launch vehicle.
    However I would only give a 50:50 chance of it working on the first flight.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Ronsmytheiii on 03/23/2018 08:19 PM
    What that tells me though, is that there is no economic benefit to Vulcan over Atlas V.

    The economic benefit of Vulcan over Atlas V is that it will have an engine that the US DoD can buy in infinite quantities. The RD-180 is going away by congressional mandate, and without its largest customer Atlas V no longer becomes sustainable. Add on the fact that ULA can now down size it's workforce and infrastructure  by not needing a separate Delta IV line of effort, and ULA can reduce Vulcan costs by increasing scales of economy on its one rocket family.

    All of which will take time to implement, so the economic benefits might not be evident NOW, but once Vulcan is flying regularly will become odvious.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Coastal Ron on 03/23/2018 10:27 PM
    The economic benefit of Vulcan over Atlas V is that it will have an engine that the US DoD can buy in infinite quantities. The RD-180 is going away by congressional mandate, and without its largest customer Atlas V no longer becomes sustainable. Add on the fact that ULA can now down size it's workforce and infrastructure  by not needing a separate Delta IV line of effort, and ULA can reduce Vulcan costs by increasing scales of economy on its one rocket family.

    All of which will take time to implement, so the economic benefits might not be evident NOW, but once Vulcan is flying regularly will become odvious.

    That ULA will get U.S. Government orders is a given. Regardless how much Vulcan costs they will win a portion of all USAF orders - the USAF finally has competition and it will ensure that all qualified launch providers get some launch business.

    So it's not government orders that I've been talking about, but commercial launch customers. That is what Tory Bruno says they need in order to survive. And ULA has not done a lot of business for the commercial market in the past, so I don't know if that is part of the reason why they have not booked any commercial orders for Vulcan. You'd think someone would place an order if the price is right, so maybe the price is not that compelling?
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: rst on 03/24/2018 12:06 AM
    If they've been trying to sell Vulcan since its intro in 2015 and are 0 for 3 years selling commercial launches, and have said they need them to close the business case....

    Of course, Atlas V is still being built (and will continue concurrently for a few years with Vulcan) and Vulcan hasn't flown yet. It is likely that someone with an Atlas will be willing to move to Vulcan.. but will use the first flight as leverage to decrease that first launch price drastically.

    To move a commercial customer from Atlas V to Vulcan, the first thing ULA needs is a commercial customer for Atlas V. They also seem to have trouble finding those (to the point that Vulcan was proposed in part as a solution for that problem).  I'm having trouble finding a really authoritative future launch manifest for ULA, but the one here:

    https://www.rocketlaunch.live/?filter=united-launch-alliance-ula

    shows only government missions (well, counting Starliner and DreamChaser as government work, though ULA's not contracting with NASA directly), up till a pencilled-in 2020 debut Vulcan flight with an unspecified payload.

    It's likely that the government would be happy to move some contracted Atlas missions to Vulcan once it's appropriately certified, but it'll be ... interesting to see if that happens before first launch.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Lars-J on 03/24/2018 01:41 AM
    You seem to think that ULA has to prove itself with Vulcan before customers will order it.

    Does anyone doubt that ULA can build a new rocket that will work as advertised on it's first flight?

    I certainly don't, and I doubt potential commercial customers would either. So I don't think that customers are waiting to see if Vulcan works, but they just don't see enough value in Vulcan to purchase a flight.

    Probably. But keep in mind that ULA has been downsizing a lot recently, and the skill set for developing a new launch vehicle is not necessarily the same as the skill set for launching and iterating one.

    If ULA launch enough, they will eventually have incidents. And they’ve had some close calls too. Nobody is perfect.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: TrevorMonty on 03/24/2018 02:44 AM
    They may pickup some tourist flights on Starliner, I be surprised if Boeing don't try and tap into this market.

    Same could be said for SNC if they do crew version of DC.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Zed_Noir on 03/24/2018 03:38 AM
    They may pickup some tourist flights on Starliner, I be surprised if Boeing don't try and tap into this market.

    Same could be said for SNC if they do crew version of DC.

    IIRC both the Starliner and the Dreamchaser are intended to be reuse. So not a new vehicle with every flight. Think it is unlikely the Starliner and the Dreamchaser will be doing tourist flights due to vehicle availability, if they are ferrying up Astronauts. Not unless they are building additional Starliners and Dreamchasers from what is currently envisaged.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: john smith 19 on 03/24/2018 12:32 PM
    Providing the money lasts ULA will almost certainly produce a new launch vehicle.
    However I would only give a 50:50 chance of it working on the first flight.
    Standard statistics would agree with you.

    Bayesian would factor in supplier launch history. IIRC that moves it more to the 2/3s, rather than 1/2 mark for a successful 1st launch.

    That said R(new stage) X R(New engine) X R(New fuel)

    I'm presuming they are pretty comfortable with existing construction methods. On that basis going with a version of their existing US makes sense, in a "lower the risk" way.

    If anyone  has a very high likelihood of a successful first launch it would have to be ULA, simply because they understand the process to ensure a launch so well. What's needed at every stage to catch potential issues before they become actual issues.

    My only qualm would be that they are out of practice in the design process (their mfg team has gotten regular work outs) and some assumption slipped through somewhere with unexpected consequences.
    I think it's unlikely as everyone knows how important Vulcan is to ULA's future, but it's not impossible.

    Obviously once the first launch is over we'll know.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: envy887 on 03/24/2018 09:05 PM
    They may pickup some tourist flights on Starliner, I be surprised if Boeing don't try and tap into this market.

    Same could be said for SNC if they do crew version of DC.

    They might do that, but not on the first flight. The FAA won't approve flying paying passengers without a test flight.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: john smith 19 on 03/25/2018 08:29 AM

    If ULA launch enough, they will eventually have incidents. And they’ve had some close calls too. Nobody is perfect.
    True.

    Equally true of any other LV mfg operating today.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: su27k on 03/26/2018 05:24 AM
    While the title says AF, the article itself is mainly concerned with ULA and Vulcan: http://spacenews.com/air-force-stakes-future-on-privately-funded-launch-vehicles-will-the-gamble-pay-off/

    Quote
    Vulcan Centaur is 75 percent privately funded, Bruno said.

    Quote
    “If we were to select AR-1 that puts more pressure on the schedule,” said Bruno. “But it does not necessarily invalidate the LSA requirements. I have much less schedule margin if I choose AR-1. But I could still meet the timelines.”
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: john smith 19 on 03/26/2018 06:18 AM
    While the title says AF, the article itself is mainly concerned with ULA and Vulcan: http://spacenews.com/air-force-stakes-future-on-privately-funded-launch-vehicles-will-the-gamble-pay-off/

    Quote
    Vulcan Centaur is 75 percent privately funded, Bruno said.

    Quote
    “If we were to select AR-1 that puts more pressure on the schedule,” said Bruno. “But it does not necessarily invalidate the LSA requirements. I have much less schedule margin if I choose AR-1. But I could still meet the timelines.”
    And also this
    Quote
    ULA has agreed to two non-government flights to certify Vulcan for national security missions.
    So I guess even Vulcan will not be certified-by-design

    I note anyone who wants into this process needs their design to be ready for certification by 2020. Not necessarily flying by then.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: LouScheffer on 03/28/2018 04:41 PM
    Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy, and New Glenn all received customer orders well before they flew for the first time.
    Quote
    It is likely that someone with an Atlas will be willing to move to Vulcan.. but will use the first flight as leverage to decrease that first launch price drastically.
    SpaceX certainly did that for Falcon 9, but they were a new company. According to ULA, they are the best, so there should be no reason to discount a flight that is operated by the best launch services company. And I'm not being facetious here - ULA is good, so in a way they are boxed in by their marketing.

    ULA itself does not believe this.   In their testimony over which model to use for a GPS launch (http://www.asbca.mil/Decisions/2016/56850,%2057542,%2057661%20United%20Launch%20Services,%20LLC%206.29.16%20(REDACTED%20VERSION).pdf), (ULA wanted to use a more expensive model),  ULA argued:

    Quote
    The Delta IV system had only flown three times, he noted, "twice in a configuration that was originally anticipated for GPS IIF and one launch in a configuration with the solid rocket motors [(4,2)]. So, the Delta IV would be considered an immature vehicle with unknown risks and still-to-be-proven reliability."

    This is good - reality should take precedence over marketing - but it argues for a discount for the first few missions.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: gongora on 03/28/2018 04:49 PM
    While the title says AF, the article itself is mainly concerned with ULA and Vulcan: http://spacenews.com/air-force-stakes-future-on-privately-funded-launch-vehicles-will-the-gamble-pay-off/

    Quote
    Vulcan Centaur is 75 percent privately funded, Bruno said.

    Vulcan Centaur may be 75 percent privately funded so far, but if the Air Force goes through with awards for launch vehicle development it will drop in a hurry.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: FutureSpaceTourist on 03/28/2018 09:52 PM
    Quote
    Excited to announce today's official start of payload fairing production in our @RuagSpace U.S. Facility! #MadeInAmerica #OutOfAutoclave #MajorMilestone @CityofDecaturAL

    https://twitter.com/ruagspace/status/979049382225072128

    Quote
    Outstanding progress by our Partner.

    https://twitter.com/torybruno/status/979093821236629505
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: envy887 on 04/07/2018 11:04 PM
    Quote from: Tory Bruno
    Vulcan/Centaur V (upgraded Centaur) will fly first and have 30% more lift than a Delta IV Heavy in a single stick. So, there will be a Vulcan Heavy, but it will not be a multi-core configuration.

    ACES will replace the upgraded Centaur in a second step, bringing the capability to operate in space for weeks or years as a rfeulable, reusable upper stage.

    https://www.reddit.com/r/ula/comments/7wxhqc/vulcan_heavy/du4wrv4

    30% more than DIVH is 36.1 t to LEO, so it sounds like Centaur 5 and ACES will share performance targets, probably meaning the same tanks and engines. It's also a lot more than the EELV RFP minimums.

    So I guess there's no twin RL-10 engine version, unless they plan to operate multiple upper stages concurrently which seems unlikely. Makes me wonder if BE-3U is the front runner for the US engine...
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Prettz on 04/07/2018 11:12 PM
    I believe it was already known from previous statements that Centaur V would use the ACES tankage and its new construction method.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: envy887 on 04/07/2018 11:19 PM
    I believe it was already known from previous statements that Centaur V would use the ACES tankage and its new construction method.

    That's possible, but I hadn't seen that confirmed anywhere.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: oldAtlas_Eguy on 04/08/2018 07:14 AM
    I believe it was already known from previous statements that Centaur V would use the ACES tankage and its new construction method.

    That's possible, but I hadn't seen that confirmed anywhere.
    New construction method sounds like a new welder for the stainless steel tanks to replace the circa late 1950's spot welder currently in use. This is needed to handle the larger diameter tank but not for changing how the stainless is welded together. The method in use since the late 1950's is 3 rows of spot welds. An upper holding spot and a lower hold spot weld with a center overlapping seam weld. The welding process can be computer automated to increase weld speed but would not be necessary unless the plan is to fly  much > 20 ACES in a year. The current welder was used to produce a hundred Atlas ICBMs in just a couple of years. Even now the welder sits mostly idle with the occasional use to weld a Centaur.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: john smith 19 on 04/09/2018 06:04 PM
    New construction method sounds like a new welder for the stainless steel tanks to replace the circa late 1950's spot welder currently in use. This is needed to handle the larger diameter tank but not for changing how the stainless is welded together. The method in use since the late 1950's is 3 rows of spot welds. An upper holding spot and a lower hold spot weld with a center overlapping seam weld. The welding process can be computer automated to increase weld speed but would not be necessary unless the plan is to fly  much > 20 ACES in a year. The current welder was used to produce a hundred Atlas ICBMs in just a couple of years. Even now the welder sits mostly idle with the occasional use to weld a Centaur.
    I have to ask.

    Isn't he getting near retirement age and has he trained an apprentice?  :)
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: FutureSpaceTourist on 04/17/2018 04:16 PM
    Quote
    For those who are wondering when @ulalaunch is going to chose between @blueorigin 's BE-4 and @AerojetRdyne 's AR1 engine for its Vulcan rocket, here is @torybruno 's official answer. #34SS

    https://twitter.com/nasawatch/status/986275522945650688
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: FutureSpaceTourist on 04/20/2018 05:51 AM
    Blue Origin CEO says BE-4 has achieved required performance reqts and Blue are now negotiating production contract with ULA:

    https://www.geekwire.com/2018/blue-origin-ceo-says-next-gen-4-rocket-engine-meets-technical-requirements/

    So ‘soon’ may well be, er, soon?!
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: envy887 on 04/20/2018 02:45 PM
    Blue Origin CEO says BE-4 has achieved required performance reqts and Blue are now negotiating production contract with ULA:

    https://www.geekwire.com/2018/blue-origin-ceo-says-next-gen-4-rocket-engine-meets-technical-requirements/

    So ‘soon’ may well be, er, soon?!

    Sounds to me like a done deal as long as they can agree on price and delivery terms.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Halidon on 04/20/2018 03:26 PM
    Good news for BE and ULA. Just hope AR1 doesn't end up collecting dust 'till the end of time.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Lars-J on 04/21/2018 12:03 AM
    Tory just tweeted this graphic: https://twitter.com/torybruno/status/987473611672858624

    Looks like Vulcan will use a common bulkhead. Was that known before?
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Tomness on 04/21/2018 12:27 AM
    Tory just tweeted this graphic: https://twitter.com/torybruno/status/987473611672858624

    Looks like Vulcan will use a common bulkhead. Was that known before?

    Nice, Vulcan Heavy is about 2/3 the lift off of Falcon Heavy. :D
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Sknowball on 04/21/2018 12:39 AM
    Additional Centaur V news:
    Will all Centaur 5’s have the the same dimensions? (https://twitter.com/sidebart/status/987479645955264512)

    Response
    No. There will be a stretch version (https://twitter.com/torybruno/status/987484411691122688))
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Lars-J on 04/21/2018 12:40 AM
    So there will be two different sizes of Centaur V. A small one, presumably with 2 RL-10's, and later a stretched version for heavier payloads. (requiring 3 or 4 RL-10s?)
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Markstark on 04/21/2018 12:50 AM
    Maybe the stretched version will serve as an SLS upper stage in lieu of EUS ?
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: PahTo on 04/21/2018 01:23 AM
    So there will be two different sizes of Centaur V. A small one, presumably with 2 RL-10's, and later a stretched version for heavier payloads. (requiring 3 or 4 RL-10s?)

    I'd venture a BE-3 vacuum for the stretched vrs.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: russianhalo117 on 04/21/2018 01:53 AM
    So there will be two different sizes of Centaur V. A small one, presumably with 2 RL-10's, and later a stretched version for heavier payloads. (requiring 3 or 4 RL-10s?)

    I'd venture a BE-3 vacuum for the stretched vrs.
    RL-10C is final for both Centaur V versions. ACES is the only stage having an engine competition.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: envy887 on 04/21/2018 03:29 AM
    That's a methalox booster... LOX tank is smaller and fuel tank larger than on Atlas.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: hkultala on 04/21/2018 06:16 AM
    That's a methalox booster... LOX tank is smaller and fuel tank larger than on Atlas.

    No, LOX tank is also bigger but fuel tank is bigger by much greater margin.

    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Steven Pietrobon on 04/21/2018 06:52 AM
    Tory just tweeted this graphic: https://twitter.com/torybruno/status/987473611672858624

    Looks like Vulcan will use a common bulkhead. Was that known before?

    Yes. When the first video was shown, there was only a small frost free gap between the LOX and LNG tanks, indicating a common bulkhead.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: envy887 on 04/21/2018 01:23 PM
    That's a methalox booster... LOX tank is smaller and fuel tank larger than on Atlas.

    No, LOX tank is also bigger but fuel tank is bigger by much greater margin.

    Yeah I should have said longer.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: ethan829 on 04/21/2018 09:45 PM
    Tory just tweeted this graphic: https://twitter.com/torybruno/status/987473611672858624 (https://twitter.com/torybruno/status/987473611672858624)

    Looks like Vulcan will use a common bulkhead. Was that known before?

    Yes. When the first video was shown, there was only a small frost free gap between the LOX and LNG tanks, indicating a common bulkhead.


    I'm not sure about this. I have this image from mid-2016 (I think it came from a ULA presentation shortly after the PDR but can't confirm for sure) which shows separate tanks and an intertank section.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Steven Pietrobon on 04/22/2018 04:06 AM
    Thanks ethan829. Maybe they were considering both options.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: russianhalo117 on 04/22/2018 05:39 PM
    Thanks ethan829. Maybe they were considering both options.
    CDR selected the Common Bulkhead path for all planned stages.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Lars-J on 04/22/2018 08:31 PM
    Thanks ethan829. Maybe they were considering both options.
    CDR selected the Common Bulkhead path for all planned stages.

    Interesting. Because the intertank area is where the Helium storage is located for Atlas V. Either they are relocating them to the engine section, or are they going for autogenous pressurization on the Vulcan first stage?
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: russianhalo117 on 04/22/2018 11:30 PM
    Thanks ethan829. Maybe they were considering both options.
    CDR selected the Common Bulkhead path for all planned stages.

    Interesting. Because the intertank area is where the Helium storage is located for Atlas V. Either they are relocating them to the engine section, or are they going for autogenous pressurization on the Vulcan first stage?

    The graphic linked in this quote shows what looks like COPV's just above the first stage engines as well as on Centaur-V.

    Tory just tweeted this graphic: https://twitter.com/torybruno/status/987473611672858624

    Looks like Vulcan will use a common bulkhead. Was that known before?

    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: FutureSpaceTourist on 04/30/2018 02:52 PM
    Quote
    Goosebumps guaranteed: The de-molding of our first #MadeInUSA payload fairing manufactured in Decatur, Alabama has been carried out successfully. I am overly proud of our team! @RuagSpace @CityofDecaturAL @ulalaunch #OutofAutoclave

    https://twitter.com/peterguggenbach/status/990920423654215680
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Lars-J on 04/30/2018 04:25 PM
    Quote
    Goosebumps guaranteed: The de-molding of our first #MadeInUSA payload fairing manufactured in Decatur, Alabama has been carried out successfully. I am overly proud of our team! @RuagSpace @CityofDecaturAL @ulalaunch #OutofAutoclave

    https://twitter.com/peterguggenbach/status/990920423654215680

    This is an Atlas Fairing, not a Vulcan fairing, unless I am mistaken. (But the Vulcan fairing will be made in the US as well)
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: tvg98 on 05/11/2018 04:43 PM
    Quote
    ULA officially announces that it will use the RL10 upper stage engine for the Vulcan rocket's Centaur upper stage.

    “ULA and Aerojet Rocketdyne have a long and successful history together that began with the first flight of our Atlas and Delta rockets in the 1960s. We could not be more pleased to have selected the proven and reliable RL10.”
    - Tory Bruno

    https://twitter.com/SciGuySpace/status/994973534077284352 (https://twitter.com/SciGuySpace/status/994973534077284352)

    https://twitter.com/SciGuySpace/status/994973797273960448 (https://twitter.com/SciGuySpace/status/994973797273960448)
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: FutureSpaceTourist on 05/11/2018 05:45 PM
    Quote
    United Launch Alliance Selects Aerojet Rocketdyne’s RL10 Engine for Next-generation Vulcan Centaur Upper Stage

    Centennial, Colo., May 11, 2018 – United Launch Alliance (ULA) today announced Aerojet Rocketdyne as a strategic partner for the RL10 upper stage engine for ULA’s next-generation Vulcan Centaur rocket following a competitive procurement process.

    “ULA and Aerojet Rocketdyne have a long and successful history together that began with the first flight of our Atlas and Delta rockets in the 1960s,” said Tory Bruno, ULA president and CEO. “We could not be more pleased to have selected the proven and reliable RL10 to power our Vulcan Centaur upper stage.”

    This partnership is a long-term agreement for Aerojet Rocketdyne to provide upper stage propulsion for the next decade. As part of this partnership, Aerojet Rocketdyne will provide RL10s and develop the RL10C-X, the next generation of the RL10 family. The RL10C-X will increase the use of additive manufacturing and introduce other advanced technologies to improve the quality, reliability, affordability and performance. 

    “Key determining factors to our selection included price and delivery schedule,” said Bruno. “We look forward to continuing our strong partnership to ensure a successful introduction of Vulcan Centaur.”

    Over the course of nearly 60 years, more than 450 RL10 engines have flown on various ULA heritage vehicles with an unmatched record of mission success.

    ULA continues its competitive procurement process for the booster engine and plans to make a down select soon.

    With more than a century of combined heritage, United Launch Alliance is the nation's most experienced and reliable launch service provider. ULA has successfully delivered more than 125 satellites to orbit that provide critical capabilities for troops in the field, aid meteorologists in tracking severe weather, enable personal device-based GPS navigation and unlock the mysteries of our solar system.

    For more information on ULA, visit the ULA website at www.ulalaunch.com, or call the ULA Launch Hotline at 1-877-ULA-4321 (852-4321). Join the conversation at www.facebook.com/ulalaunch, twitter.com/ulalaunch and instagram.com/ulalaunch.

    https://www.ulalaunch.com/about/news/2018/05/11/united-launch-alliance-selects-aerojet-rocketdyne-s-rl10-engine-for-next-generation-vulcan-centaur-upper-stage
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: rcoppola on 05/11/2018 07:54 PM
    Consolation prize? (not that an RL10C & (X) isn't deserving)
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Lars-J on 05/11/2018 07:57 PM
    They probably don't want to be too dependent on Blue Origin for both engines. But now they are stuck with Aerojet Rocketdyne instead. And have to fly multiple RL-10's on every Vulcan flight. I sure hope they got a good price on those engines in the contract.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Star One on 05/11/2018 08:31 PM
    Consolation prize? (not that an RL10C & (X) isn't deserving)

    That’s my thinking and a pretty clear indication Blue Origin has won the first stage engine contract.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: russianhalo117 on 05/11/2018 09:22 PM
    Consolation prize? (not that an RL10C & (X) isn't deserving)
    RL10C family was born out of the CECE demonstrator which had modern updated technologies incorporated in its development cycle. All engines are Hydrolox and Methalox (designed but not tested) capable.
    RL10C-1 was developed for Atlas-V Upgrades programme and is pre additive manufactured and its new 3D printed variant is the RL10C-5-1 which will debut on OATK's OmegA.
    RL10C-2 was developed for DIV Upgrades programme and is pre additive manufactured and its new 3D printed variant is expected to be RL10C-5-2.
    RL10C-3 is for SLS is pre additive manufactured and its new 3D printed variant is expected to be RL10C-5-3.
    RL10C-4 is operational version of CECE and its new 3D printed variant is expected to be RL10C-5-4.
    RL10C-5 is the designator for the RL10C sub-family of 3D printed variants to replace all previous production models.


    Now keep in mind that the engines for Centaur V were never up for competition so the decision was an expected formality as contracts are initiated ahead of the first Vulcan flight. The Competition for ACES engines is still underway for a couple of more years.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Tomness on 05/12/2018 07:38 AM
    I am surprised they didn't spin it as win win for ULA, Aerojet Rocketdyne , Orbital ATK, strategic partnerships between all three using mass of scale & modern techniques. Vulcan & OmegA tag team bro-mance providing american assured access to space.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Ronsmytheiii on 05/12/2018 10:09 AM
    They probably don't want to be too dependent on Blue Origin for both engines. But now they are stuck with Aerojet Rocketdyne instead. And have to fly multiple RL-10's on every Vulcan flight. I sure hope they got a good price on those engines in the contract.


    Also remember that the while RL-10s will be on the Centaur V stage, an engine for ACES has not been decided on. ULA probably went with a variant to an existing engine to simplify and shorten development time, after all the most important thing they need to do is replace the RD-180 as quickly as possible.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Star One on 05/12/2018 11:09 AM
    I wonder if Vulcan will be able to win any commercial contracts when it’s going to be up against such stiff competition. Or just relegated to what government launches it can win.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Chris Bergin on 05/13/2018 11:56 PM
    Written up the RL10 news into an article:
    https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2018/05/rl10-engine-60-years-service-live-vulcan/

    And an excuse to use some cool Nathan Koga renders :)
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: jongoff on 05/14/2018 07:43 PM
    They probably don't want to be too dependent on Blue Origin for both engines. But now they are stuck with Aerojet Rocketdyne instead. And have to fly multiple RL-10's on every Vulcan flight. I sure hope they got a good price on those engines in the contract.

    Well, Tory did say price and delivery schedule were the two driving reasons for sticking with RL-10, so I'm assuming they got a good deal. I've heard from enough players who said they were surprised with how aggressive AJR was pushing on trying to make RL-10 cost competitive.

    ~Jon
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Sknowball on 05/14/2018 08:25 PM
    Quote
    This partnership is a long-term agreement for Aerojet Rocketdyne to provide upper stage propulsion for the next decade. As part of this partnership, Aerojet Rocketdyne will provide RL10s and develop the RL10C-X, the next generation of the RL10 family. The RL10C-X will increase the use of additive manufacturing and introduce other advanced technologies to improve the quality, reliability, affordability and performance.

    The language is a little ambiguous as to if the RL10C-X is being developed for initial on launch of Centaur V or if it being developed for later deployment.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Lars-J on 05/14/2018 08:54 PM
    They probably don't want to be too dependent on Blue Origin for both engines. But now they are stuck with Aerojet Rocketdyne instead. And have to fly multiple RL-10's on every Vulcan flight. I sure hope they got a good price on those engines in the contract.

    Well, Tory did say price and delivery schedule were the two driving reasons for sticking with RL-10, so I'm assuming they got a good deal. I've heard from enough players who said they were surprised with how aggressive AJR was pushing on trying to make RL-10 cost competitive.

    ~Jon

    I suppose production rate does wonders for pricing. Their production rate must have been almost down in the ~10/year range, but now they might be looking at 40-50 (or more) per year in the near future.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: russianhalo117 on 05/14/2018 09:53 PM
    They probably don't want to be too dependent on Blue Origin for both engines. But now they are stuck with Aerojet Rocketdyne instead. And have to fly multiple RL-10's on every Vulcan flight. I sure hope they got a good price on those engines in the contract.

    Well, Tory did say price and delivery schedule were the two driving reasons for sticking with RL-10, so I'm assuming they got a good deal. I've heard from enough players who said they were surprised with how aggressive AJR was pushing on trying to make RL-10 cost competitive.

    ~Jon

    I suppose production rate does wonders for pricing. Their production rate must have been almost down in the ~10/year range, but now they might be looking at 40-50 (or more) per year in the near future.
    Not really. ULA has been working its way through a large stockpile for more than a decade now. AR only recently got work a few years ago from the RL10B-2 to RL10C-1/RL10C-3 conversion contracts for Atlas and SLS. Once that supply is exhausted the new RL10C-5-X variants will fully take over.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: jongoff on 05/15/2018 03:50 AM
    I suppose production rate does wonders for pricing. Their production rate must have been almost down in the ~10/year range, but now they might be looking at 40-50 (or more) per year in the near future.

    Also having a situation where your customer has legitimate alternatives, so you have to work your butt off to not lose them probably also does wonders for focusing the mind. When AJR had a monopoly relationship with ULA upper stage engines, they didn't have a lot of pressure to push them to reinvest in lower cost production. But with Centaur V/ACES the stage is big enough that BE-3U and other options are legitimate alternatives, so they had to actually compete.

    IMO,

    ~Jon
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: MATTBLAK on 05/15/2018 04:08 AM
    I've done an extensive Google search on specifications for the RL-10CX engine and have come up with nothing. Does anyone have info on it's thrust, specific impulse and engine mass targets?
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: russianhalo117 on 05/15/2018 04:16 AM
    I've done an extensive Google search on specifications for the RL-10CX engine and have come up with nothing. Does anyone have info on it's thrust, specific impulse and engine mass targets?
    None available yet that I know of.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: MATTBLAK on 05/15/2018 04:45 AM
    I had read somewhere that the design thrust was - in pounds force - about 35,000 lbs. If so, that is in line with the 'Next Generation Engine' for upper stages.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: john smith 19 on 05/15/2018 06:18 AM
    Also having a situation where your customer has legitimate alternatives, so you have to work your butt off to not lose them probably also does wonders for focusing the mind. When AJR had a monopoly relationship with ULA upper stage engines, they didn't have a lot of pressure to push them to reinvest in lower cost production. But with Centaur V/ACES the stage is big enough that BE-3U and other options are legitimate alternatives, so they had to actually compete.

    IMO,

    ~Jon
    Getting rid of hand brazed tubes for the combustion chamber would have gone some way to do that.

    There's an old report from the late 60's which gives a mass breakdown of RL10 designs and basically the gearbox between the turbine and the LO2 pump drive (shafts, gears, box) comes to about 25% of the weight of the whole engine.

    The easiest, cheapest parts to make are the ones that are not there.

    But actually designing the LOX pump to run at LH2 turbine speeds would probably have cost real money, even though impeller and inducer design is a lot less cut-and-try these days.

    TBH I'm amazed it's taken the Europeans (or anyone else) this long to come up with an LH2 expander cycle engine, given that better materials exist and H2 lubrication is no longer a black art.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Chasm on 05/15/2018 12:46 PM
    TBH I'm amazed it's taken the Europeans (or anyone else) this long to come up with an LH2 expander cycle engine, given that better materials exist and H2 lubrication is no longer a black art.

    Among other things the same reason RL10 did not change for a long time. No dire need to do so.
    HM7B was good enough and comes with a lot of successful flight history. (~190 today) Esp. when Ariane used up the "Oops, that did not work!" budget for other things..

    Vinci and it's ability to restart are overdue but chances are that it will fail at some point. That will be a lot of fun.
    (Psst! Chances are of also that HM7B will fail again some day.)



    Edit:
    As mentioned before domestic competition must be a major reason to reduce RL10 cost. If ARJ wants to stay in the upper stage engine business they have to deliver competitive prices. Apparently they can do so, and still make profit. (ULA has to meet price targets with Vulcan and can't afford to overpay.)
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: jongoff on 05/15/2018 11:59 PM
    As mentioned before domestic competition must be a major reason to reduce RL10 cost. If ARJ wants to stay in the upper stage engine business they have to deliver competitive prices. Apparently they can do so, and still make profit. (ULA has to meet price targets with Vulcan and can't afford to overpay.)

    Yeah, beforehand ULA didn't have a good alternative, so AJR had them over a barrel so to speak. But with Centaur V, going with one BE-3U actually makes a ton of sense, so AJR knows that they could realistically lose that work if they don't stay competitive. Not having a monopoly/monopsony environment can do wonders.

    ~Jon
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: johnfwhitesell on 05/16/2018 04:56 AM
    I wonder if messing with Blue Origin was also a minor motivation for this choice.

    Blue Origin has a strong hand in negotiations for BE-4 vs AR1 because they have a deep pocket investor and AR1 doesn't seem like a strong contender.  It would be painful for ULA to go without BE-4, not so painful for Blue Origin to go without Vulcan.  But now that both Omega and Centaur 5 have gone with AR-10 instead of BE-3, Blue wont have another chance to sign another engine contract until ~2022 when ULA could possibly switch for ACES.  Blue doesn't need the BE-4 sales, but Blue might fear getting shut out.  Engine sales are an immediate, tangible line of business unlike launch contracts for a rocket that has never flown and will be quite expensive until you learn to land it (which took SpaceX 5 years).  So even if Blue doesn't need the BE-4 contract anymore then they did before losing out on Centaur 5, they might be feeling just a little bit more anxious about "missing out".
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Bananas_on_Mars on 05/16/2018 06:26 AM
    I think that loosing to RL10 when offering the BE-3U made Blue Origin think about those government launches again. I would guess they at least had the impression they had the better offer by far...
    I don't know how they price their engines, but a BE-3U might have made them more money then 2 BE-4 engines. Especially with SMART recovery looming on the horizon, selling upper stage engines to ULA might have been the bigger deal.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: lesxiarxis on 05/16/2018 10:58 AM
    Something I found in the ARJ site about the initial tests they were doing with 3d printing the RL10 thrust chamber. 90% part reduction and going from several months to less than one sound pretty signifigant cost wise.

    http://www.rocket.com/article/aerojet-rocketdyne-achieves-3-d-printing-milestone-successful-testing-full-scale-rl10-copper (http://www.rocket.com/article/aerojet-rocketdyne-achieves-3-d-printing-milestone-successful-testing-full-scale-rl10-copper)

    A small extract.
    Quote
    The 3-D printed RL10 copper thrust chamber would replace the current RL10C-1 model design that uses a very complex array of drawn, hydroformed stainless steel tubes that are brazed together to form a thrust chamber. The new chamber design is made up of only two primary copper parts and takes just under a month to print using SLM technology; reducing overall lead time by several months. The part count reduction of greater than 90 percent is significant as it reduces complexity and cost when compared with RL10 thrust chambers that are built today using traditional manufacturing techniques.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: AncientU on 05/16/2018 12:14 PM
    Something I found in the ARJ site about the initial tests they were doing with 3d printing the RL10 thrust chamber. 90% part reduction and going from several months to less than one sound pretty signifigant cost wise.

    http://www.rocket.com/article/aerojet-rocketdyne-achieves-3-d-printing-milestone-successful-testing-full-scale-rl10-copper (http://www.rocket.com/article/aerojet-rocketdyne-achieves-3-d-printing-milestone-successful-testing-full-scale-rl10-copper)

    A small extract.
    Quote
    The 3-D printed RL10 copper thrust chamber would replace the current RL10C-1 model design that uses a very complex array of drawn, hydroformed stainless steel tubes that are brazed together to form a thrust chamber. The new chamber design is made up of only two primary copper parts and takes just under a month to print using SLM technology; reducing overall lead time by several months. The part count reduction of greater than 90 percent is significant as it reduces complexity and cost when compared with RL10 thrust chambers that are built today using traditional manufacturing techniques.

    Good that the industry leader is finally catching up and planning use of modern manufacturing technology.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: johnfwhitesell on 05/16/2018 12:52 PM
    Good that the industry leader is finally catching up and planning use of modern manufacturing technology.

    Can you call them the industry leader when they have been nearly entirely replaced in the first stage market?
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Chasm on 05/16/2018 01:23 PM
    That ARJ article is over a year old. (April 2017)


    I really doubt that Blue needs engine sales. Their engine department on the other hand must love them.
    Getting the BE-4 selected by ULA will be cool but that saga has way too much "The Russians are coming!" politics in it.
    OTOH developing a engine (BE-3) and then outcompeting and ousting the venerable RL10 with it? That would be a week long party for everyone involved.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Lars-J on 05/16/2018 04:02 PM
    That ARJ article is over a year old. (April 2017)


    I really doubt that Blue needs engine sales. Their engine department on the other hand must love them.
    Getting the BE-4 selected by ULA will be cool but that saga has way too much "The Russians are coming!" politics in it.
    OTOH developing a engine (BE-3) and then outcompeting and ousting the venerable RL10 with it? That would be a week long party for everyone involved.

    I think having an engine contract is good for BO, and they know it. Not for monetary reasons, though. But it is amazing what an actual customer and a delivery date will to for progress on a project.

    Because while BO's funds are certainly a positive thing for them, their pace has not exactly been on fire.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: johnfwhitesell on 05/16/2018 04:44 PM
    I really doubt that Blue needs engine sales.

    I dont think they need them either.  It's more the psychology and optics then the budget line impact.  If they didn't care about those things at all, I doubt they would be trying to sell the BE-4 in the first place.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: woods170 on 05/16/2018 04:47 PM
    Good that the industry leader is finally catching up and planning use of modern manufacturing technology.

    Can you call them the industry leader when they have been nearly entirely replaced in the first stage market?

    The industry leader is supposed to be leading in several areas, such as the use of cutting edge technology and leading in development of new engines.
    ARJ is doing neither. Their current developments (3D printed combustion chambers and new first stage engine) are "follower"activities.
    The current industry leaders are SpaceX and Blue Origin. Both of them have done things years ago that ARJ is only beginning to replicate now.


    Patiently waiting for Jim to tell me I'm wrong.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Jim on 05/16/2018 05:20 PM
    The industry leader is supposed to be leading in several areas, such as the use of cutting edge technology and leading in development of new engines.
    ARJ is doing neither. Their current developments (3D printed combustion chambers and new first stage engine) are "follower"activities.
    The current industry leaders are SpaceX and Blue Origin. Both of them have done things years ago that ARJ is only beginning to replicate now.


    Patiently waiting for Jim to tell me I'm wrong.

    Well, you are.

    Nobody qualified it as only launch vehicle engines.

    There is more to spaceflight propulsion than just the ride to orbit
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: TrevorMonty on 05/16/2018 06:40 PM
    Blue has yet to place engine in orbit. SpaceX has only required their engines to last a few hours in space.

    ARJ engines and thrusters, both electric and chemical are in dozens if not 100s of satellites. They have demostrated decades of reliable service inspace.

    When comes to reuseable LV engines their RS25 on shuttle is still benchmark at 20+ reuses.
    So yes they are still industry leader.

    Applying any upgrades to RL10 is something they do very carefully. Reducing build cost is vital but it can't be at expense of reliability, especially as this engine delivers $B payloads to space.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Lars-J on 05/16/2018 08:05 PM
    Blue has yet to place engine in orbit. SpaceX has only required their engines to last a few hours in space.

    Dragon? Starlink prototype propulsion?

    ARJ engines and thrusters, both electric and chemical are in dozens if not 100s of satellites. They have demostrated decades of reliable service inspace.

    When comes to reuseable LV engines their RS25 on shuttle is still benchmark at 20+ reuses.
    So yes they are still industry leader.

    Applying any upgrades to RL10 is something they do very carefully. Reducing build cost is vital but it can't be at expense of reliability, especially as this engine delivers $B payloads to space.

    For AJR's sake, I hope they are a little more concerned about their future prospects than what you are.  :)
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: john smith 19 on 05/19/2018 07:17 AM
    Something I found in the ARJ site about the initial tests they were doing with 3d printing the RL10 thrust chamber. 90% part reduction and going from several months to less than one sound pretty signifigant cost wise.

    http://www.rocket.com/article/aerojet-rocketdyne-achieves-3-d-printing-milestone-successful-testing-full-scale-rl10-copper (http://www.rocket.com/article/aerojet-rocketdyne-achieves-3-d-printing-milestone-successful-testing-full-scale-rl10-copper)

    A small extract.
    Quote
    The 3-D printed RL10 copper thrust chamber would replace the current RL10C-1 model design that uses a very complex array of drawn, hydroformed stainless steel tubes that are brazed together to form a thrust chamber. The new chamber design is made up of only two primary copper parts and takes just under a month to print using SLM technology; reducing overall lead time by several months. The part count reduction of greater than 90 percent is significant as it reduces complexity and cost when compared with RL10 thrust chambers that are built today using traditional manufacturing techniques.
    You're right. Cutting 6 months off the schedule will make a big difference, but it's more than that. It's

    Fewer staff --> lower payroll (by quite a lot)
    Fewer stages --> fewer QC testing stages between
    Fewer transfers inside and outside the factory --> Fewer transport delays.

    While AFAIK the thrust chamber is not the heaviest part of the RL10 I suspect it's close to the most complex in terms of parts and processes involved.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: hkultala on 05/19/2018 07:53 AM
    When comes to reuseable LV engines their RS25 on shuttle is still benchmark at 20+ reuses.
    So yes they are still industry leader.

    ... with huge amount of maintainance between every use, practically tearing the engines apart and rebuilding them from scratch.

    AFAIK SpaceX has been doing something like 9-11 burns per engine without considerable maintainance in between.


    (initial engine test + (static fire, ascent burn, boostback burn, entry burn, landing burn) *2 )
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: TrevorMonty on 05/19/2018 09:47 AM


    When comes to reuseable LV engines their RS25 on shuttle is still benchmark at 20+ reuses.
    So yes they are still industry leader.

    ... with huge amount of maintainance between every use, practically tearing the engines apart and rebuilding them from scratch.

    AFAIK SpaceX has been doing something like 9-11 burns per engine without considerable maintainance in between.


    (initial engine test + (static fire, ascent burn, boostback burn, entry burn, landing burn) *2 )

    SpaceX still to refly a engine 3 times let alone 20 times.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: envy887 on 05/19/2018 12:19 PM


    When comes to reuseable LV engines their RS25 on shuttle is still benchmark at 20+ reuses.
    So yes they are still industry leader.

    ... with huge amount of maintainance between every use, practically tearing the engines apart and rebuilding them from scratch.

    AFAIK SpaceX has been doing something like 9-11 burns per engine without considerable maintainance in between.


    (initial engine test + (static fire, ascent burn, boostback burn, entry burn, landing burn) *2 )

    SpaceX still to refly a engine 3 times let alone 20 times.
    What was the most SSME flights without a teardown and rebuild? Reuse isn't nearly as efficient if you have to take it apart after every flight.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: hkultala on 05/19/2018 12:54 PM
    [offtopic]


    When comes to reuseable LV engines their RS25 on shuttle is still benchmark at 20+ reuses.
    So yes they are still industry leader.

    ... with huge amount of maintainance between every use, practically tearing the engines apart and rebuilding them from scratch.

    AFAIK SpaceX has been doing something like 9-11 burns per engine without considerable maintainance in between.


    (initial engine test + (static fire, ascent burn, boostback burn, entry burn, landing burn) *2 )

    SpaceX still to refly a engine 3 times let alone 20 times.

    Wrong.

    SpaceX has flown one engine 8 times. Another one 5 times.

    [/offtopic]
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: brickmack on 05/19/2018 06:03 PM
    ... with huge amount of maintainance between every use, practically tearing the engines apart and rebuilding them from scratch.

    Only because of the particular requirements of the Shuttle itself. NASA and Rocketdyne mentioned at one point that they could probably support 5 or more flights with no engine work at all on RS-25D, with similar engine-level safety to whats acceptable on other manrated rockets, but they still wanted to do inspections and maintenance because an engine failure on a side-mount rocket is considerably more lethal than on an in-line one. It also had a burntime ~2x the length of most first stage engines, and 2 minutes of that were spent right next to the largest SRBs ever flown (presenting a very harsh thermal, acoustic, and debris environment), and most of that was spent at a higher throttle level than it could really support long-term (engine damage seemed to increase exponentially with thrust, hence the avoidance of 109 and 111% throttle levels except in emergencies). I'm sure if it was used on a more reasonable design (like Boeing's pre-McDonnell merger EELV proposal, or Phantom Express) it could easily be used 15+ times without inspection.

    And even then, it was a lot cheaper than the expendable alternatives. IIRC refurb between flights was on the order of 5 million dollars per engine. A single RS-68 is like 30 million, at a lower TWR and much lower ISP.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: cppetrie on 05/19/2018 06:28 PM
    [offtopic]


    When comes to reuseable LV engines their RS25 on shuttle is still benchmark at 20+ reuses.
    So yes they are still industry leader.

    ... with huge amount of maintainance between every use, practically tearing the engines apart and rebuilding them from scratch.

    AFAIK SpaceX has been doing something like 9-11 burns per engine without considerable maintainance in between.


    (initial engine test + (static fire, ascent burn, boostback burn, entry burn, landing burn) *2 )

    SpaceX still to refly a engine 3 times let alone 20 times.

    Wrong.

    SpaceX has flown one engine 8 times. Another one 5 times.

    [/offtopic]
    They did 8 full duration burns with a returned stage at McGregor with no maintenance. Those aren’t flights but still. That’s 9 engines 9 flights plus qualification and static fires. 11 total starts for most of those engines with little to no work. The entry and landing engines had 2 more starts.

    And now back to the topic.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Star One on 05/25/2018 08:06 PM
    https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/1000077183933734912?s=20

    Quote
    Kutter: pad modifications already underway at Cape’s SLC-41 to support Vulcan launches in parallel with Atlas. At Vandenberg, will do a “hard cut-over” from last Atlas launch there, around 2021, to Vulcan. #ISDC2018

    https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/1000075961407344641?s=20

    Quote
    Bernard Kutter, ULA: the Centaur V that will be used on initial Vulcan launches traces its heritage back to “wide body Centaur” studies from more than a decade ago. #ISDC2018
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Sknowball on 05/26/2018 05:45 AM
    Confirmation today at ISDC2018 that ACES will fly with RL-10 engines the configuration has not been revealed yet.

    Quote
    Jonathan Barr, ULA: for the ACES upper stage looking at options with 2 and 4 RL10 engines. No longer considering BE-3U for it. (https://mobile.twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/1000128334028857344)

    This would explain Bernard Kutter's statement on the announcement of RL-10 selection for Centaur V being a commitment to ACES development.

    Quote
    A big commitment to Vulcan ACES future. (https://mobile.twitter.com/BFKutter/status/995099299485806592)
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Star One on 05/26/2018 08:29 AM
    Does this increase the likelihood that the BE-4 will not be chosen for the first stage?
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: MaxTeranous on 05/26/2018 01:48 PM
    Does this increase the likelihood that the BE-4 will not be chosen for the first stage?

    You can argue it both ways. More likely to pick BE-4 so that ULA are not entirely beholden to a single engine manufacturer, or less likely as going with a single manufacture for both upper and lower stage engines may lead to a better price/discount.

    Coin flip imo.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: johnfwhitesell on 05/26/2018 04:32 PM
    Confirmation today at ISDC2018 that ACES will fly with RL-10 engines the configuration has not been revealed yet.

    Hey I was right a month ago when I said the ACES engine had done flight tests  8)

    Does this increase the likelihood that the BE-4 will not be chosen for the first stage?

    I would argue that it makes the AR-1 slightly more likely.  My reasoning is that if they are picking RL-10 for flights a decade into the future, they believe that Aerojet-Rocketdyne is not only capable of competing on price right now but will also stay competitive in the future.  This could mean that the argument that the BE-4 is cheaper then the AR-1 might not hold as much water as it used to hold.  However while the cost argument is probably weaker, the time argument is probably still strong.  So while I would say this makes AR-1 slightly more likely I wont say more then slightly.

    More likely to pick BE-4 so that ULA are not entirely beholden to a single engine manufacturer,

    "Beholden to a single engine manufacturer" could also be described as "vertically integrated".  If profit margins are fat and you want to get a large piece of the pie, behind beholden is bad because you want bargaining power.  If profit margins are thin and ULA is trying to bring down prices just to compete, AJR needs to make sure they dont drive their anchor customer out of business.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: oldAtlas_Eguy on 05/26/2018 05:40 PM
    The following would have to happen for AR-1 to be selected. BE-4 having a major technical setback delaying it by a couple of years. Such that AR-1 would be into production before BE-4. ULA's main interest for Vulcan is schedule. The sooner the better in getting it flying. At the moment there is nearly a 2 year gap between BE-4 schedules for production units and AR-1 for production units. Late 2019 for BE-4 and sometime in 2021 for AR-1 although AJR keeps insisting that they can deliver in 2020. They still have not done any full engine tests of any kind. Expect that these tests of a development engine to be over a period of ~ 1 year. Followed by a very limited number of production engines for use in qualification testing. The latest is that AR-1 is unlikely to start full engine testing until late 2019 putting the first production engines late 2020 and then the first flight units H1 2021.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Star One on 05/26/2018 06:30 PM
    The following would have to happen for AR-1 to be selected. BE-4 having a major technical setback delaying it by a couple of years. Such that AR-1 would be into production before BE-4. ULA's main interest for Vulcan is schedule. The sooner the better in getting it flying. At the moment there is nearly a 2 year gap between BE-4 schedules for production units and AR-1 for production units. Late 2019 for BE-4 and sometime in 2021 for AR-1 although AJR keeps insisting that they can deliver in 2020. They still have not done any full engine tests of any kind. Expect that these tests of a development engine to be over a period of ~ 1 year. Followed by a very limited number of production engines for use in qualification testing. The latest is that AR-1 is unlikely to start full engine testing until late 2019 putting the first production engines late 2020 and then the first flight units H1 2021.

    But what about the BE-4 running for so long at only 70% of full power in its testing?
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: TrevorMonty on 05/26/2018 07:41 PM
    RL10 has few pluses over Be3U. Higher ISP , proven flight history plus ULA engineers would know it almost as well as ARJ. Option to have 2 or 4 engines depending on stage size, this is important in reducing mass along with deep throttling. Redundancy, every important if stage is meant to do multiple missions in space.

    When it comes to price I'd say 4xRL10C will be dearer than 1xBE3 but 2xRL10 maybe competitive. Using smaller 2xRL10 US may not deliver max payload performance for Vulcan compared to larger 4xRL10 stage but cost is cheaper. For lot of their missions smaller US with 0-2 SRBs should be all they need.

    BE4 is still best choose for booster as it lot  cheaper, this is not just engine but also stage. Common bulk head. With methane stage can use autogenous tank pressurisation system eliminating expensive He tanks and plumbing. Also no expensive He, which will only go up in price as it becomes more rare. With SMART AR1 engine recovery those expensive He tanks and plumbing are not recovered. ULA and Blue will jointly own BE4 engine production factory allowing ULA to control build cost. I'm not sure this will be the case with ARJ and AR1.



    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: MaxTeranous on 05/26/2018 10:41 PM
    ULA will part own the BE-4 factory? That’s news to me, totally missed that.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: TrevorMonty on 05/27/2018 10:13 AM
    ULA will part own the BE-4 factory? That’s news to me, totally missed that.
    A few years back when Vulcan was announced there was talk of joint ULA/Blue factory. Recent articles on Alabama factory only talk of Blue involvement. So I stand corrected ULA won't be a partner just a customer.

    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: mme on 05/27/2018 06:28 PM
    The following would have to happen for AR-1 to be selected. BE-4 having a major technical setback delaying it by a couple of years. Such that AR-1 would be into production before BE-4. ULA's main interest for Vulcan is schedule. The sooner the better in getting it flying. At the moment there is nearly a 2 year gap between BE-4 schedules for production units and AR-1 for production units. Late 2019 for BE-4 and sometime in 2021 for AR-1 although AJR keeps insisting that they can deliver in 2020. They still have not done any full engine tests of any kind. Expect that these tests of a development engine to be over a period of ~ 1 year. Followed by a very limited number of production engines for use in qualification testing. The latest is that AR-1 is unlikely to start full engine testing until late 2019 putting the first production engines late 2020 and then the first flight units H1 2021.

    But what about the BE-4 running for so long at only 70% of full power in its testing?
    Blue is very serious about the gradatim part of Gradatim Ferociter. I think it's a mistake to read anything into them taking their sweet time to get to 100%.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: john smith 19 on 05/29/2018 06:39 AM
    "Beholden to a single engine manufacturer" could also be described as "vertically integrated". 
    No. Vertically integrated means you make all the key parts yourself.

    What you're talking about is a "Sole source" contract.

    Historically this is why prices to NASA have been sky high. You have no option to accept what price the supplier charges.

    The fact ULA (and their predecessors) have had a decades long relationship with NG (and its predecessors) is both a strength and a weakness. They know how seriously (or not) they take cost reduction and willingness to innovate.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: TrevorMonty on 06/21/2018 10:30 PM
    We may have a price for Vulcan $85m-$260m.

    https://t.co/ZVUjOutQ4n
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: theinternetftw on 06/21/2018 11:08 PM
    We may have a price for Vulcan $85m-$260m.

    Graphic captured for posterity.

    Edit: Note however that this chart appears to have been made circa late 2017.

    Edit 2: Read the next two posts, this chart is not a good source of information.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: johnfwhitesell on 06/22/2018 03:11 AM
    News is welcome but 85 million to 260 million seems like an awfully low degree of precision.  I'm scratching my head and can't make sense of this.  On the one hand, 85 million is the lowest figure I've heard unless it's talking post-SMART.  On the other hand, the only way I can wrap my head around 260 million is supposing there are tons of extra government certification fees being piled onto a Vulcan heavy launch.  But the Falcon 9 and Heavy also have such fees (as seen today's news) and they are just given one price, not a range of prices.  And Atlas is just as vague even though that thing is flying.

    Without knowing a source, I'm feeling kinda of skeptical.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: theinternetftw on 06/22/2018 05:08 AM
    Without knowing a source, I'm feeling kinda of skeptical.

    As for a source, I was reminded a bit ago that this is from the FAA AST compendium (PDF). (https://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters_offices/ast/media/2018_AST_Compendium.pdf)  But as I was also reminded, and as scrutiny makes evident, this is not a great document.  The F9 numbers performance numbers, for instance, use F9 1.1 values.  Not exactly a vote of confidence.

    This is basically the rediscovery of a very questionable (though official) source.
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Sknowball on 06/22/2018 01:36 PM
    Without knowing a source, I'm feeling kinda of skeptical.

    As for a source, I was reminded a bit ago that this is from the FAA AST compendium (PDF). (https://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters_offices/ast/media/2018_AST_Compendium.pdf)  But as I was also reminded, and as scrutiny makes evident, this is not a great document.  The F9 numbers performance numbers, for instance, use F9 1.1 values.  Not exactly a vote of confidence.

    This is basically the rediscovery of a very questionable (though official) source.

    The FAA AST is also inconsistent with its self as a number of the charts conflict with later information in the launch vehicle fact sheets (like the mass to orbit numbers for Vulcan).
    Title: Re: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3
    Post by: Kryten on 06/22/2018 06:49 PM