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General Discussion => Space Policy Discussion => Topic started by: yg1968 on 04/30/2014 07:15 pm

Title: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: yg1968 on 04/30/2014 07:15 pm
Quote
The Strategic Forces subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) will markup its section of the FY2015 National Defense Authorization Act on Wednesday, April 30.  A draft of the subcommittee's portion of the bill provides $220 million to DOD to begin development of a U.S.-built liquid rocket engine to replace the Russian RD-180 engines used for the Atlas V rocket.

http://www.spacepolicyonline.com/news/hasc-subcommittee-proposes-220-million-for-u-s-alternative-to-russias-rd-180-engines
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: JBF on 04/30/2014 07:22 pm
Quote
The Strategic Forces subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) will markup its section of the FY2015 National Defense Authorization Act on Wednesday, April 30.  A draft of the subcommittee's portion of the bill provides $220 million to DOD to begin development of a U.S.-built liquid rocket engine to replace the Russian RD-180 engines used for the Atlas V rocket.

http://www.spacepolicyonline.com/news/hasc-subcommittee-proposes-220-million-for-u-s-alternative-to-russias-rd-180-engines

I hope this get's dropped. There is no reason DoD should be developing another engine to replace the RD-180. If necessary ULA should be paying for it out of the 1 billion in maintenance payments they get.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: yg1968 on 04/30/2014 07:27 pm
See pages 10 (summary) and 51 (provision in the bill) of the PDF of the proposed legislation:

http://docs.house.gov/meetings/AS/AS29/20140430/102126/BILLS-113HR4435ih.pdf

Quote from: summary
Section 16xx—Liquid Rocket Engine Development Program This section would express the sense of Congress that the Secretary of Defense should develop a next-generation liquid rocket engine that is made in the United States, meets the requirements of the national security space community, is developed by not later than 2019, is developed using full and open competition, and is available for purchase by all space launch providers of the United States.

This section would also direct the Secretary of Defense to develop a nextgeneration liquid rocket engine that enables the effective, efficient, and expedient transition from the use of non-allied space launch engines to a domestic alternative for the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle program. Of the funds authorized to be appropriated by this Act, $220.0 million would be available for the Secretary of Defense to develop a next-generation liquid rocket engine. The Secretary would be required to coordinate with the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, to the extent practicable, to ensure that the rocket engine developed meets objectives that are common to both the national security space community and the civil space program of the United States.

The Secretary, in coordination with the Administrator, would be directed to deliver a report with a plan to carry out the development of the rocket engine, including an analysis of the benefits of using public-private partnerships, the estimated development costs, and identification of the requirements of the program to develop such rocket engine.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Rocket Science on 04/30/2014 07:46 pm
Why do they need money? ULA  (Mr. Gass) claims that they have demonstrated that they “can” build that “exact” engine... So start knocking them out or I will have to call bovine scatology on that one and lying during testimony....

http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2014/03/spacex-and-ula-eelv-contracts/
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: ChrisWilson68 on 04/30/2014 07:46 pm
I like the irony of a "full and open competition" for a program to help one particular company that is in competition for U.S. national security launches.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: VulcanCafe on 04/30/2014 07:59 pm
Would this US liquid engine requirement not be fulfilled by fully certifying the Falcon 9/Heavy as an EELV?

I could also imagine SpaceX designing an engine, and selling it to ULA for 5x its production cost, and yet below any price ULA could deliver one for...  just for spite and profit (might fund that Mars mission lol) ;)
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: ChrisWilson68 on 04/30/2014 08:13 pm
Would this US liquid engine requirement not be fulfilled by fully certifying the Falcon 9/Heavy as an EELV?

If it were a requirement for launch capability, yes.  But the article indicates it's intended to replace a specific engine, RD-180.  Presumably that means the specs will be required to match those of RD-180 closely, so no existing SpaceX engine would do, and it wouldn't help Falcon 9 or Falcon Heavy at all.

SpaceX could bid on it if they wanted, which might bring some benefits to SpaceX as a company, but the much bigger benefit is to ULA, which would otherwise have to either retire Atlas V or pay $1 billion out of its own pocket to start up U.S. production of an RD-180 replacement, in the event that Russian engines become unavailable.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: newpylong on 04/30/2014 08:49 pm
Would this US liquid engine requirement not be fulfilled by fully certifying the Falcon 9/Heavy as an EELV?

I could also imagine SpaceX designing an engine, and selling it to ULA for 5x its production cost, and yet below any price ULA could deliver one for...  just for spite and profit (might fund that Mars mission lol) ;)

They're going to have enough on their plates building enough Merlins for Falcon missions.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: yg1968 on 05/01/2014 01:40 pm
Another article on this topic, see the link below:

that's not a bad article http://www.spacenews.com/article/military-space/40404draft-house-bill-recommends-220-million-next-year-for-rd-180-alternative
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: beancounter on 05/01/2014 01:43 pm
Would this US liquid engine requirement not be fulfilled by fully certifying the Falcon 9/Heavy as an EELV?

I could also imagine SpaceX designing an engine, and selling it to ULA for 5x its production cost, and yet below any price ULA could deliver one for...  just for spite and profit (might fund that Mars mission lol) ;)

They're going to have enough on their plates building enough Merlins for Falcon missions.
Building an existing engine isn't using the same resources as designing an entirely different engine.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: AncientU on 05/02/2014 03:42 pm
Would this US liquid engine requirement not be fulfilled by fully certifying the Falcon 9/Heavy as an EELV?

If it were a requirement for launch capability, yes.  But the article indicates it's intended to replace a specific engine, RD-180.  Presumably that means the specs will be required to match those of RD-180 closely, so no existing SpaceX engine would do, and it wouldn't help Falcon 9 or Falcon Heavy at all.

SpaceX could bid on it if they wanted, which might bring some benefits to SpaceX as a company, but the much bigger benefit is to ULA, which would otherwise have to either retire Atlas V or pay $1 billion out of its own pocket to start up U.S. production of an RD-180 replacement, in the event that Russian engines become unavailable.
Similar situation to building advanced boosters for the SLS.  SpaceX is hell bent down a path that will negate the need for a RD-180 replacement as well as advanced boosters.  Why pay attention to this distraction?
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: butters on 05/02/2014 03:56 pm
ULA has 2.5 years worth of RD-180s. I highly doubt it would be possible (for Rocketdyne-Aerojet or SpaceX or anybody else) to develop a comparable engine to operational capability within that timeframe. If the stockpile of RD-180s dries up, then ULA is going to have to ramp up Delta IV instead. They may even have to dip into their $1B mission assurance stipend to cover the higher cost. Boo hoo.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: edkyle99 on 05/02/2014 05:04 pm
ULA has 2.5 years worth of RD-180s. I highly doubt it would be possible (for Rocketdyne-Aerojet or SpaceX or anybody else) to develop a comparable engine to operational capability within that timeframe. If the stockpile of RD-180s dries up, then ULA is going to have to ramp up Delta IV instead. They may even have to dip into their $1B mission assurance stipend to cover the higher cost. Boo hoo.
The plan calls for development of a U.S. engine available in 2019.  The current RD-180 contract pays for deliveries through 2018.  In short, the plan is not designed to quickly stop RD-180 use, or to replace it two years from now.  The plan is to replace it several years down the road, after Energomash has fulfilled its contract deliveries.

 - Ed Kyle
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: bad_astra on 05/02/2014 05:43 pm
This makes no sense. The justification for two EELV familes was redudnacy. Well they have that. They have Delta IV. If Delta IV is not cost competetive with other launchers, whose fault is that? Not the taxpayers.

Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Lobo on 05/02/2014 05:51 pm
Would this US liquid engine requirement not be fulfilled by fully certifying the Falcon 9/Heavy as an EELV?

I could also imagine SpaceX designing an engine, and selling it to ULA for 5x its production cost, and yet below any price ULA could deliver one for...  just for spite and profit (might fund that Mars mission lol) ;)

They're going to have enough on their plates building enough Merlins for Falcon missions.

And why would SpaceX have any interest in helping ULA compete against them?
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Lobo on 05/02/2014 05:56 pm
ULA has 2.5 years worth of RD-180s. I highly doubt it would be possible (for Rocketdyne-Aerojet or SpaceX or anybody else) to develop a comparable engine to operational capability within that timeframe. If the stockpile of RD-180s dries up, then ULA is going to have to ramp up Delta IV instead. They may even have to dip into their $1B mission assurance stipend to cover the higher cost. Boo hoo.

AJR would likely be the only outfit that could/would do it.
SpaceX would have no interesting in helping ULA compete, and they already have a major engine development program going.

AJR has all the plans for NK-33, and obviously have talking about producing either domestic AJ-500's or dual chamber AJ-1E6's.
I'm still unclear on if they have the plans and rights to build domestic RD-180's...or did that remain with Pratt & Whitney?  Or maybe it's still in negotiation? Not quite sure.

Anyway, they seem the best bet to produce a domestic ORSC kerolox replacement for RD-180 in one manner or the other. 
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Prober on 05/02/2014 05:59 pm
ULA has 2.5 years worth of RD-180s. I highly doubt it would be possible (for Rocketdyne-Aerojet or SpaceX or anybody else) to develop a comparable engine to operational capability within that timeframe. If the stockpile of RD-180s dries up, then ULA is going to have to ramp up Delta IV instead. They may even have to dip into their $1B mission assurance stipend to cover the higher cost. Boo hoo.
The plan calls for development of a U.S. engine available in 2019.  The current RD-180 contract pays for deliveries through 2018.  In short, the plan is not designed to quickly stop RD-180 use, or to replace it two years from now.  The plan is to replace it several years down the road, after Energomash has fulfilled its contract deliveries.

 - Ed Kyle

So your saying the SpaceX injunction isn't factored into this yet?

220 million should be bumped up to maybe 350 million quick then to get the ball rolling.

Has anyone looked into this?   Is this an open bidding deal ?   See lots of un answered questions.

Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: edkyle99 on 05/02/2014 06:10 pm
ULA has 2.5 years worth of RD-180s. I highly doubt it would be possible (for Rocketdyne-Aerojet or SpaceX or anybody else) to develop a comparable engine to operational capability within that timeframe. If the stockpile of RD-180s dries up, then ULA is going to have to ramp up Delta IV instead. They may even have to dip into their $1B mission assurance stipend to cover the higher cost. Boo hoo.
The plan calls for development of a U.S. engine available in 2019.  The current RD-180 contract pays for deliveries through 2018.  In short, the plan is not designed to quickly stop RD-180 use, or to replace it two years from now.  The plan is to replace it several years down the road, after Energomash has fulfilled its contract deliveries.

 - Ed Kyle

So your saying the SpaceX injunction isn't factored into this yet?
Keep in mind that SpaceX did not request the injunction.  Regardless, the proposed bill intends to fund a new U.S. engine - an effort that in this case is expected to take five years.  The injunction timing is likely unrelated, and at any rate the injunction will likely soon be lifted and should have no long term effect on RD-180 deliveries.

 - Ed Kyle
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Prober on 05/02/2014 11:59 pm
ULA has 2.5 years worth of RD-180s. I highly doubt it would be possible (for Rocketdyne-Aerojet or SpaceX or anybody else) to develop a comparable engine to operational capability within that timeframe. If the stockpile of RD-180s dries up, then ULA is going to have to ramp up Delta IV instead. They may even have to dip into their $1B mission assurance stipend to cover the higher cost. Boo hoo.
The plan calls for development of a U.S. engine available in 2019.  The current RD-180 contract pays for deliveries through 2018.  In short, the plan is not designed to quickly stop RD-180 use, or to replace it two years from now.  The plan is to replace it several years down the road, after Energomash has fulfilled its contract deliveries.

 - Ed Kyle

So your saying the SpaceX injunction isn't factored into this yet?
Keep in mind that SpaceX did not request the injunction.   - Ed Kyle

Sorry Ed, SpaceX put the "Russian Engine" before the court and asked for relief.   The SpaceX injunction correct.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: butters on 05/03/2014 12:16 am
Sorry Ed, SpaceX put the "Russian Engine" before the court and asked for relief.   The SpaceX injunction correct.


This is tiresome. SpaceX brought up the Russian engine in their complaint as a means of questioning the block buy, since the defense appropriations rules include demonstrating that a proposed block buy is in the interests of national security. They didn't ask for an injunction and it is plainly incorrect to suggest that they did.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: QuantumG on 05/03/2014 01:04 am
Keep in mind that SpaceX did not request the injunction.

As Jim would say: unsubstantiated.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: QuantumG on 05/03/2014 01:05 am
They didn't ask for an injunction and it is plainly incorrect to suggest that they did.

How would you know?
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: JBF on 05/03/2014 02:00 am
A copy of the complaint is here: http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=34583.msg1190348#msg1190348 (http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=34583.msg1190348#msg1190348)
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Prober on 05/03/2014 03:07 am
Sorry Ed, SpaceX put the "Russian Engine" before the court and asked for relief.   The SpaceX injunction correct.


This is tiresome. SpaceX brought up the Russian engine in their complaint as a means of questioning the block buy, since the defense appropriations rules include demonstrating that a proposed block buy is in the interests of national security. They didn't ask for an injunction and it is plainly incorrect to suggest that they did.

Just so we are clear on this subject sans spin...

1) SpaceX did bring before the court and the judge the Russian engine and why it was a problem.

2) SpaceX asked the judge for Injunctive Relief see (b)(c)(d)  "a court-ordered act or prohibition against an act or condition which has been requested, and sometimes granted, in a petition to the court for an injunction."

The Judge saw the quickest way to grant the "Injunctive Relief" with banning the RD-180

   
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: JBF on 05/03/2014 03:24 am
SpaceX asked for injunctive relief against the unlawful contract between the USAF and ULA.

As one of the points against the contract they brought up the sanctions.  After the initial review the Judge determined that there is a potential violation of the sanctions and asked for opinions from other Departments of the US Government. She then issued a temporary injunction against that possible illegal act.

She has yet to issue any rulings on the actual contract and the temporary injunction has no immediate effect on that contract as such you really can't count it as relief for the complaint.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: yg1968 on 05/03/2014 12:19 pm
They didn't ask for an injunction and it is plainly incorrect to suggest that they did.

How would you know?

It's mentionned in a Florida Day article that the judge asked for the injunction herself.

http://www.floridatoday.com/story/news/local/2014/05/01/federal-court-temporarily-blocks-purchase-of-russian-rocket-engines/8583211/

Quote
"The court zeroed in on this and said this is something that has to be addressed, and we're going to issue this order on our own," said Listner, founder and principal of Space Law and Policy Solutions in New Hampshire. "Things should move quickly on this because this is a pretty serious issue that involves national security."
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: muomega0 on 05/03/2014 01:15 pm
A domestic RD-180 does little to reduce costs.

The current NASA plan is to develop a new RP1 engine under the Advanced Booster contracts, the "F-1" derived engine (Dynetics Family of Advanced Boosters, figures 5 and 6) (http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2012/11/dynetics-pwr-liquidize-sls-booster-competition-f-1-power/).   Commonalty with the existing fleet is the big cost issue with SLS.   With this new RP1 based lower stage engine however, different core sizes enable 20+ to 150 mT LVs simply by launching a single core, multiple cores, and a larger central core with two engines to fill the role of SLS, Atlas and Delta.

This commonality plan is now clearly expressed by "the sense of Congress to the Secretary of Defense" in this bill:  help fund this RP1, F1 Derived engine and transition away from Atlas and Delta by the 2020s and reduce the costs of SLS and the existing fleet.

The injunction throws a monkey wrench in plan that had secured launches to 2030 without having to build the RD-180 replacement.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: TomH on 05/03/2014 08:01 pm
A domestic RD-180 does little to reduce costs.

The current NASA plan is to develop a new RP1 engine under the Advanced Booster contracts, the "F-1" derived engine (Dynetics Family of Advanced Boosters, figures 5 and 6) (http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2012/11/dynetics-pwr-liquidize-sls-booster-competition-f-1-power/).   Commonalty with the existing fleet is the big cost issue with SLS.   With this new RP1 based lower stage engine however, different core sizes enable 20+ to 150 mT LVs simply by launching a single core, multiple cores, and a larger central core with two engines to fill the role of SLS, Atlas and Delta.

This commonality plan is now clearly expressed by "the sense of Congress to the Secretary of Defense" in this bill:  help fund this RP1, F1 Derived engine and transition away from Atlas and Delta by the 2020s and reduce the costs of SLS and the existing fleet.

The injunction throws a monkey wrench in plan that had secured launches to 2030 without having to build the RD-180 replacement.

F-1B is oversized for Atlas V. SLS is the only thing F-1B ever has a chance (and a slim one at that) of ever flying on. A domestic RD-180, however, is employable on AV and on an advanced RP-1 booster for SLS. Four RD-180s are compatible with one SLS booster. This has already been discussed here:

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=33327.0

If RD-180 is produced domestically, the Russia issue goes away. SLS then has a booster engine whose design has a long proven flight history (though granted the new manufacturer's history with the exact engine is not proven). NASA then does not have to pay for R&D of a new engine. Long pauses between SLS flights would not require NASA to maintain an idle engine production line. Use of a common engine with a higher production rate should theoretically lower unit production costs. In the same thread above, discussion of RD-180 for SLS advanced boosters shifts to a domestically produced version at this post:

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=33327.msg1191561#msg1191561
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: rst on 05/04/2014 12:03 am
I'm still unclear on if  [Aerojet] have the plans and rights to build domestic RD-180's...or did that remain with Pratt & Whitney?  Or maybe it's still in negotiation? Not quite sure.

On the lawsuit thread in the SpaceX section, user cuddihy claims that the rights stayed with P&W:

ULA doesn't have anything. Pratt-Whitney has the prints as part of its agreement with RP Energomash. AJR doesn't own any RD-180 stuff due to PWR exclusivity agreements that it's NK-33 agreements with Yuznoye violate, and merely serves as a passthrough for funding to Energomash via Pratt Whitney. Oh what a tangled web we weave.

It's a different question whether P&W retains any engineers who are capable of doing much with the prints after selling their rocket division, and further discussion on that thread hasn't reached any definitive conclusion.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: muomega0 on 05/04/2014 01:34 am
A domestic RD-180 does little to reduce costs.

The current NASA plan is to develop a new RP1 engine under the Advanced Booster contracts, the "F-1" derived engine (Dynetics Family of Advanced Boosters, figures 5 and 6) (http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2012/11/dynetics-pwr-liquidize-sls-booster-competition-f-1-power/).   Commonalty with the existing fleet is the big cost issue with SLS.   With this new RP1 based lower stage engine however, different core sizes enable 20+ to 150 mT LVs simply by launching a single core, multiple cores, and a larger central core with two engines to fill the role of SLS, Atlas and Delta.

This commonality plan is now clearly expressed by "the sense of Congress to the Secretary of Defense" in this bill:  help fund this RP1, F1 Derived engine and transition away from Atlas and Delta by the 2020s and reduce the costs of SLS and the existing fleet.

The injunction throws a monkey wrench in plan that had secured launches to 2030 without having to build the RD-180 replacement.

F-1B is oversized for Atlas V. SLS is the only thing F-1B ever has a chance (and a slim one at that) of ever flying on. A domestic RD-180, however, is employable on AV and on an advanced RP-1 booster for SLS.

 Four RD-180s are compatible with one SLS booster. This has already been discussed here:

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=33327.0

If RD-180 is produced domestically, the Russia issue goes away. SLS then has a booster engine whose design has a long proven flight history (though granted the new manufacturer's history with the exact engine is not proven). NASA then does not have to pay for R&D of a new engine. Long pauses between SLS flights would not require NASA to maintain an idle engine production line. Use of a common engine with a higher production rate should theoretically lower unit production costs.

A domestic RD-180 does not cut costs: It would require modern production techniques and a design for reuse to be competitive, which basically means its a new engine and the heritage does not apply.  It would be best just to pay for the R&D program and examine long term costs/needs, otherwise it seems highly unlikely Atlas or Delta are cost competitive (400M vs 100M, with the latter working on reuse) now or in the future.   

BTW:  NASA has no need for a HLV/SLS, nor a LV greater than about 20mT with a propellant depot (Two lunar sorties per year is 240mT divided by 10 is a 24 mT LV, for example, with the goal of a reusable transfer stage).  Since >70% of the mass is propellant for NASA missions, this is a great way to take risk with a reusable LV: cheap propellant. 

Even if the goal is to not sole source DOD missions (2 or more LVs),  the next step is to cut the costs of Atlas and Delta and SLS, by a significant reduction in engine count:  too many product lines (RS-27A, GEMs, AJ10s,  RD180s, RS-25s, RS-68s, 5-Seg, Composite 5-Seg, F1s, ...).   

So you are on the right track of consolidating SLS/Altas/Delta engines and hence provide $$ for payloads/missions, but as you point out, not with the F-1, and avoid > 50mT LVs.

Note that the size of the new liquid engine was not specified, nor the number of engines per core as discussed by john smith 19 below, only "F1 Derived" and "20+ to 150mT" configurations.   Given that NASA does not require a HLV, its seems obvious that the smaller variants would be more cost effective as flight rate is a key factor, with the goal of reuse.  Per the wiki page, the brain storming Merlin 2  was shelved for a methane based Raptor about half its thrust.

I'd say the Falcon 9, with basically one engine design and one type of propellant, is far less complex, wouldn't you?
Indeed. It also means that Spacex can better apply statistical process control methods to their mfg.

Redundancy is a very useful tool if used wisely. Design diversity is also a very useful tool but I think people have mistaken "diverse" for "redundant."

Both STS and the Saturn V had 5 engines firing at launch. I know which one I would prefer to have been riding.

To bring it slightly closer to topic another strategy is to use one very big engine to which is the strategy of the Delta and Atlas vehicles. Unfortunately pretty much all large LOX/Kero worked ended in the US decades ago (I'd guess the engines on the Delta II 1st stage being the last indigenously mfg big engines).  Hence the former Soviet Union was the only "affordable" choice for a LOX/RP1 main engine.

IMHO such non decisions are not "management leadership," (factoring the non financial, "big picture" costs of using an engine from a formerly hostile nation) they are accountancy.  :(
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: vulture4 on 05/04/2014 02:00 am
ULA was funded to provide redundancy with Atlas and Delta. Maybe the time has come to use Plan B, i.e. the Delta. We paid all that money just for contingencies like this. If we still need redundancy, we have the Falcon. Personally I think ULA would be significantly more efficient if they downselected to one launch vehicle. Although Atlas has some cost advantages the RS-68 is actually a pretty capable engine, the Delta processing flow is efficient, and adding crossfeed and a few small SRBs to the D-IVH could bump its payload capacity up considerably above the current 25MT to LEO if needed. ULA might even, if pressed, activate Cx-37B for a lot less than $1 billion. Reusability would be problematic with the large LH2 tank and rather high staging, but it's not impossible.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: TomH on 05/04/2014 02:01 am
BTW:  NASA has no need for a HLV/SLS, nor a LV greater than about 20mT with a propellant depot...

They obviously are building the rocket. Your opinion of whether they need SLS is not germane to a discussion re. the selection of engine.

Note that the size of the new liquid engine was not specified, nor the number of engines per core...only "F1 Derived" and "20+ to 150mT" configurations.

Think about all the things you said about even a domestic RD-180 being a 'new engine'. If its F-1 derived and anything other than F-1B it's going to be far far more of a new engine than any RD-180 that follows the original design.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: vulture4 on 05/04/2014 02:12 am
And we just spent $1B on the J-2X. Sheesh!. In my limited expereince re-engineering "legacy" hardware does not usually save money. Even the RD-180 is a fairly old design. It might take no longer to start with a clean sheet, using existing ideas and experience where applicable but not existing hardware. Again it makes no sense to fund a new large RP-1 engine without also putting some funding into the Raptor.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: JBF on 05/04/2014 02:33 am
The big issue is that if they don't go with an RD-180 variant then they will have to requalify both the rocket and the engine, instead of just the engine.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: MATTBLAK on 05/04/2014 02:58 am
I'd like to see the RS-68A become a regenerative nozzle engine. Apparently, that project would cost the better part of $1 billion but would give the Delta IV (all variants) about 10% percent in performance boost. If the hydrocarbon engine issue becomes too complex and the Atlas V goes away, the Delta family still has significant variants to do many missions.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: TomH on 05/04/2014 03:38 am
Again it makes no sense to fund a new large RP-1 engine without also putting some funding into the Raptor.

That is a good point, and the established corporations might want to give that some thought. They believed they had the government convinced that reusability was just future fantasy. Now that we are seeing that is not the case, if these companies want to compete and survive, they may want to consider methane in their future as well. When you start thinking of reusing a hydrocarbon engine many times over and over with quick turnaround and low maintenance, RP-1's coking issue becomes problematic and CH4 starts looking attractive, especially if the government might be putting research funds into it and their skin in the game is lower. You have to adapt to survive. Sears dominated retail when postal catalogs and railroad opened an opportunity for them. They became set in their ways and didn't want to change. If they had had the vision, they could have used what they already had and seized the emerging online market. But alas, a young entrepreneur is the one who saw the future. Old rocketry needs to react to Elon the way Samsung reacted every time Steve Jobs walked onto the stage with a new product. Methane may well be the future of hydrocarbon engines. And a hexagon with one center engine is ideal for 3/9 restart for boost back and 1/9 restart for soft landing.

I'm not sure if "to replace RD-180" implies limitation to RP-1 or not; though basically I see "liquid engine." I hope any funding would not be limited to a new RP-1 engine, but at the least be available for a new hydrocarbon engine, if not also H2.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: butters on 05/04/2014 03:47 am
I'd like to see the RS-68A become a regenerative nozzle engine. Apparently, that project would cost the better part of $1 billion but would give the Delta IV (all variants) about 10% percent in performance boost. If the hydrocarbon engine issue becomes too complex and the Atlas V goes away, the Delta family still has significant variants to do many missions.

No offense, but that sounds like a terrible investment. In a sane world, AJR would rather develop RS-25E and sell it to both ULA and NASA.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: TomH on 05/04/2014 04:37 am
No offense, but that sounds like a terrible investment. In a sane world, AJR would rather develop RS-25E and sell it to both ULA and NASA.

Hmmm, RS-25D is rated for both long burns and reuse. RS-25E, as a disposable engine yet still a sustainer, would have to be qualified for a longer burn time than most first stage engines. So, as a regen. engine, would RS-68A be built to endure as long of a burn as RS-25E? If not, then would RS-25D's higher ISP and longer burn time (as a sustainer) cause it to be a significantly higher priced engine?
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Tea Party Space Czar on 05/04/2014 04:46 am
And we just spent $1B on the J-2X. Sheesh!. In my limited expereince re-engineering "legacy" hardware does not usually save money. Even the RD-180 is a fairly old design. It might take no longer to start with a clean sheet, using existing ideas and experience where applicable but not existing hardware. Again it makes no sense to fund a new large RP-1 engine without also putting some funding into the Raptor.

J-2X funding is somewhere between $2 and $4 billion depending on who you want to believe.

Either way - the current FAR model of development; albeit engine or booster, will not work with the fiscal realities we face. 

Imagine if we would have spent that $2 to $4 billion on Commercial Crew and other aspects of SLS.  We wouldn't be in the situation we have today.

Respectfully,
Andrew Gasser
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: TomH on 05/04/2014 06:12 am
And we just spent $1B on the J-2X. Sheesh!. In my limited expereince re-engineering "legacy" hardware does not usually save money. Even the RD-180 is a fairly old design. It might take no longer to start with a clean sheet, using existing ideas and experience where applicable but not existing hardware. Again it makes no sense to fund a new large RP-1 engine without also putting some funding into the Raptor.

J-2X funding is somewhere between $2 and $4 billion depending on who you want to believe.

Either way - the current FAR model of development; albeit engine or booster, will not work with the fiscal realities we face. 

Imagine if we would have spent that $2 to $4 billion on Commercial Crew and other aspects of SLS.  We wouldn't be in the situation we have today.

Respectfully,
Andrew Gasser

While I agree, we need to remember that J-2X originated with Constellation which was implemented by the previous administration. When Constellation was cancelled, J-2X was only continued because stopping it would have cost just as much as finishing it.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: MATTBLAK on 05/04/2014 08:24 am
I'd like to see the RS-68A become a regenerative nozzle engine. Apparently, that project would cost the better part of $1 billion but would give the Delta IV (all variants) about 10% percent in performance boost. If the hydrocarbon engine issue becomes too complex and the Atlas V goes away, the Delta family still has significant variants to do many missions.

No offense, but that sounds like a terrible investment. In a sane world, AJR would rather develop RS-25E and sell it to both ULA and NASA.

RS-25E has nowhere near the thrust of RS-68A. An RS-68 regenerative would have the high thrust plus an efficiency that was moved much closer to RS-25. RS-68A is a rather heavy engine, though. And of course, RS-68 Regen would make a good engine for the SLS corestage, probably negating the need to build the RS-25 Expendable at all. Commonality of propulsion units across more than one family of launchers could have cost benefits in the long run and bring SLS performance up. The difference in Isp between the RS-25E and the RS-68 Regen would only be about 5% percent, if that.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: USFdon on 05/04/2014 06:08 pm
PWR said that a regen version of the RS-68 would have a vac ISP of around ~420 secs (at least according to the official nasa sponsored rebuttal to DIRECT). 
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: vulture4 on 05/04/2014 09:49 pm
The RS-25 uses tube-wall construction, which is horribly expensive to fabricate. Moreover, taking a reusable engine and making it expendable is insane. The RS-68 Regen would use modern channel-wall construction, much more practical. It would be interesting to see if it can be made reusable.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: 93143 on 05/04/2014 09:59 pm
PWR said that a regen version of the RS-68 would have a vac ISP of around ~420 secs (at least according to the official nasa sponsored rebuttal to DIRECT). 

I believe that depends on whether you fix the injector design flaw or not.

The RS-25 uses tube-wall construction, which is horribly expensive to fabricate. [...] The RS-68 Regen would use modern channel-wall construction, much more practical.

The SSME Block III (and presumably by extension the RS-25E) uses channel-wall construction.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: deltaV on 05/05/2014 03:52 am
It only makes sense to invest ~$1 billion in a domestic RD 180 if doing so would be cheaper than the alternatives. The obvious alternative is to retire Atlas and use Delta and Falcon. If Falcon works as Elon hopes then most of the launches will be SpaceX launches within 5 years and the high cost of Delta won't matter. On the other hand if Falcon proves unsuitable (e.g. due to poor reliability) then the high cost of Deltas would presumably make building a domestic RD 180 save money eventually. But what if thinks work out somewhere between those extremes? How much Delta use is required before a domestic RD 180 saves money? Just how much more expensive is Delta than Atlas?
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Lobo on 05/05/2014 04:00 am
I'd like to see the RS-68A become a regenerative nozzle engine. Apparently, that project would cost the better part of $1 billion but would give the Delta IV (all variants) about 10% percent in performance boost. If the hydrocarbon engine issue becomes too complex and the Atlas V goes away, the Delta family still has significant variants to do many missions.

No offense, but that sounds like a terrible investment. In a sane world, AJR would rather develop RS-25E and sell it to both ULA and NASA.

RS-25E has nowhere near the thrust of RS-68A. An RS-68 regenerative would have the high thrust plus an efficiency that was moved much closer to RS-25. RS-68A is a rather heavy engine, though. And of course, RS-68 Regen would make a good engine for the SLS corestage, probably negating the need to build the RS-25 Expendable at all. Commonality of propulsion units across more than one family of launchers could have cost benefits in the long run and bring SLS performance up. The difference in Isp between the RS-25E and the RS-68 Regen would only be about 5% percent, if that.

The biggest obstacle to standardizing is probably USAF.  They have their RS-68 engine and probably won't want to be tied to a NASA engine.  So I doubt there'd actually be any headway in that area.

But, for fun, if there -would- be a standardization on the RS-25E between SLS and one EELV for USAF/DoD, then take the Delta IV core, keep just the 5m DCSS, replace the RS-68A with RS-25E, and have the core capable of mounting a number of GEM-60 boosters.  Make a Delta II out of Delta IV essentially.  The regen nozzle on the RS-25E could handle being completely surrounded by GEM-60's.  This LV couldn't liftoff without some GEM-60's, so it's base model would probably have 2 or 4 GEM-60's.  But with 8 or 10 of them, it might be able to match or better D4H performance, and probably for cheaper (as I don't think GEM-60's are very expensive).  There'd be just one single core too, rather than the 4 different Delta IV cores they have to build now (Medium, heavy left, heavy right, and heavy center). 
That RS-25E has great ISP, and a single one would give a very long burn with the Delta IV, as it would be burning about half the propellant of an RS-68A.  The 5m DCSS would stage very high, probably much higher than it would for D4H, giving it perhaps more propellant for lofting payloads BLEO.
That higher ISP engine burning for much longer, should give some interesting performance.  Should be a -relatively- easy modification to hardware and  infrastructure.

But, it's hard to say how long those changes would take to pay back from any somewhat lower coasts that a standardized and shared RS-25E might produce.  I doubt USAF would move off of RS-68.

Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Lobo on 05/05/2014 04:06 am
It only makes sense to invest ~$1 billion in a domestic RD 180 if doing so would be cheaper than the alternatives. The obvious alternative is to retire Atlas and use Delta and Falcon. If Falcon works as Elon hopes then most of the launches will be SpaceX launches within 5 years and the high cost of Delta won't matter. On the other hand if Falcon proves unsuitable (e.g. due to poor reliability) then the high cost of Deltas would presumably make building a domestic RD 180 save money eventually. But what if thinks work out somewhere between those extremes? How much Delta use is required before a domestic RD 180 saves money? Just how much more expensive is Delta than Atlas?

Interestingly, every time Jim has weighed in on the issue of a possible future ULA down select to just one EELV, he's always indicated that Delta IV would be dropped.  This has always puzzled me, because they already have an all-US EELV, which is already flying in a heavy configuration.  That would seem like the most logical downselect, but Jim indicates it is not.  So I wonder what the heck is the problem with Delta IV that they would never downselect to it?, and would choose Atlas with a Russian engine over it?   And why they keep currently flying it if it's just an expensive, undesirable LV?
Why aren't they pushing to cut loose Delta IV right now if it's such boat anchor??

Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: baldusi on 05/05/2014 05:43 pm
It only makes sense to invest ~$1 billion in a domestic RD 180 if doing so would be cheaper than the alternatives. The obvious alternative is to retire Atlas and use Delta and Falcon. If Falcon works as Elon hopes then most of the launches will be SpaceX launches within 5 years and the high cost of Delta won't matter. On the other hand if Falcon proves unsuitable (e.g. due to poor reliability) then the high cost of Deltas would presumably make building a domestic RD 180 save money eventually. But what if thinks work out somewhere between those extremes? How much Delta use is required before a domestic RD 180 saves money? Just how much more expensive is Delta than Atlas?

Interestingly, every time Jim has weighed in on the issue of a possible future ULA down select to just one EELV, he's always indicated that Delta IV would be dropped.  This has always puzzled me, because they already have an all-US EELV, which is already flying in a heavy configuration.  That would seem like the most logical downselect, but Jim indicates it is not.  So I wonder what the heck is the problem with Delta IV that they would never downselect to it?, and would choose Atlas with a Russian engine over it?   And why they keep currently flying it if it's just an expensive, undesirable LV?
Why aren't they pushing to cut loose Delta IV right now if it's such boat anchor??
AFAIUI, Delta IV flow design is sort of botched. The cores need a lot of work at the HIF and the pad. They use the pad for solid installation and vehicle integration testing. Thus, no only they need a lot of pad time, but also need a lot of HIF time. And need an infrastructure at the pad that's not far from a VAF. In other words, they have the worst schedule and cost of horizontal integration and vertical integration.
They have two completely different upper stages. The avionics were ancient. They can only be shipped by boat (AV can be airlifted in an AN-124). The lead time is three years (vs two for Atlas V). They don't have a true Common Core, nor will they ever have. And they have to pay a lot to Boeing per core.
As of right now, with the RS-68A, they have the Common Core for M, (4,2), (5,2) and (5,4), and they could implement it for (4,4). But still have the three of Heavy and if they were to cover the whole Atlas V range they would have to develop (5,6) and (5,8) which would require different cores again.
Some things are being solved, like Common Avionics (based of the Atlas V ones), and the Common Upper Stage (again, leveraging a lot of Centaur technology). But the rest of the issues are sort of impossible to solve.
Say that you actually wanted to down select to Delta IV, you'd need both a new HIF AND a new PAD + VAF since they can't get the necessary throughput. Current Atlas V could cover it. But if they needed more cadence for Atlas V, they would just need a VAF+MLP.
They would still need two different upper stages until they develop Common Upper Stage. They would have to add the (5,6) and (5,8) core designs (with a 48month lead time for IOC). They would lose the option of airlifting cores and be dependent on a single vessel for transport. They would lose the option of accepting orders at 24month lead time. They won't be able to switch cores for (5,6), (5,8) and Heavy missions among themselves and the rest. The whole flow would be more expensive.
Overall, as Jim said, an Atlas V Phase II would be a much better alternative. Even a new RD-180 factory would be cheaper and lower risk than moving everything to Delta IV. In fact, if SpaceX actually make an inroad on the DoD missions, I wouldn't be surprised if Delta IV were dropped.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Lobo on 05/05/2014 06:11 pm
It only makes sense to invest ~$1 billion in a domestic RD 180 if doing so would be cheaper than the alternatives. The obvious alternative is to retire Atlas and use Delta and Falcon. If Falcon works as Elon hopes then most of the launches will be SpaceX launches within 5 years and the high cost of Delta won't matter. On the other hand if Falcon proves unsuitable (e.g. due to poor reliability) then the high cost of Deltas would presumably make building a domestic RD 180 save money eventually. But what if thinks work out somewhere between those extremes? How much Delta use is required before a domestic RD 180 saves money? Just how much more expensive is Delta than Atlas?

Interestingly, every time Jim has weighed in on the issue of a possible future ULA down select to just one EELV, he's always indicated that Delta IV would be dropped.  This has always puzzled me, because they already have an all-US EELV, which is already flying in a heavy configuration.  That would seem like the most logical downselect, but Jim indicates it is not.  So I wonder what the heck is the problem with Delta IV that they would never downselect to it?, and would choose Atlas with a Russian engine over it?   And why they keep currently flying it if it's just an expensive, undesirable LV?
Why aren't they pushing to cut loose Delta IV right now if it's such boat anchor??
AFAIUI, Delta IV flow design is sort of botched. The cores need a lot of work at the HIF and the pad. They use the pad for solid installation and vehicle integration testing. Thus, no only they need a lot of pad time, but also need a lot of HIF time. And need an infrastructure at the pad that's not far from a VAF. In other words, they have the worst schedule and cost of horizontal integration and vertical integration.
They have two completely different upper stages. The avionics were ancient. They can only be shipped by boat (AV can be airlifted in an AN-124). The lead time is three years (vs two for Atlas V). They don't have a true Common Core, nor will they ever have. And they have to pay a lot to Boeing per core.
As of right now, with the RS-68A, they have the Common Core for M, (4,2), (5,2) and (5,4), and they could implement it for (4,4). But still have the three of Heavy and if they were to cover the whole Atlas V range they would have to develop (5,6) and (5,8) which would require different cores again.
Some things are being solved, like Common Avionics (based of the Atlas V ones), and the Common Upper Stage (again, leveraging a lot of Centaur technology). But the rest of the issues are sort of impossible to solve.
Say that you actually wanted to down select to Delta IV, you'd need both a new HIF AND a new PAD + VAF since they can't get the necessary throughput. Current Atlas V could cover it. But if they needed more cadence for Atlas V, they would just need a VAF+MLP.
They would still need two different upper stages until they develop Common Upper Stage. They would have to add the (5,6) and (5,8) core designs (with a 48month lead time for IOC). They would lose the option of airlifting cores and be dependent on a single vessel for transport. They would lose the option of accepting orders at 24month lead time. They won't be able to switch cores for (5,6), (5,8) and Heavy missions among themselves and the rest. The whole flow would be more expensive.
Overall, as Jim said, an Atlas V Phase II would be a much better alternative. Even a new RD-180 factory would be cheaper and lower risk than moving everything to Delta IV. In fact, if SpaceX actually make an inroad on the DoD missions, I wouldn't be surprised if Delta IV were dropped.

If all of that's true, then why the heck is ULA screwing around with Delta IV at all?  If it's such a kludge that it could never be downselected to, could never take over for Atlas, and is so expensive and takes so much longer to process...why is it flying?  It just sucks up a bunch of extra resources and taxpayer money, and provides -no- redundancy for Atlas.  Where it seems Atlas provides full redundancy for Delta IV, and could launch all but the occasional D4H mission.  And it could duplicate that with a new 5m wide body Centaur upper stage (accodring to Jim.  Atlas Phase I essentially).  So Delta IV just gets some token payloads to keep operational as some sort of make-work program??

Why even operate it, if it's whole point of existing (redundancy) isn't even there?  Cut the losses and retire it now then.
Let's get a US-made RD-180 replacement in development ASAP, as well as a 5m WBC upper stage.  The money saved by retiring Delta IV and closing it's pads would probably pay for them, as you mentioned.  And as you said, if more Atlas capacity is needed on the East coast, another VIF and ML could be constructed for shared use of the LC-41 pad, as it was basically designed for anyway.  The LC at VAFB is adequate for the number of combined Atlas and Delta West coast launches I would think.  The increased production rate/usage of a US-made RD-180 replacement by Atlas flying all ULA missions would also help offset it's development and likely higher per unit costs.

I'm curious to know from Jim or others in the know, why Delta IV is flying at all then.  Politics?  make-work pork?

Unless NASA wants to pay for it, I don't think Atlas Phase II is getting off the back burner.  It's not needed for USAF/DoD.  Atlas Phase 1 can handle D4H payloads, and thus handle all USAF/DoD payloads.  Only need one RL-10 variant then, probably the RL-10C-B as there's enough room for that big nozzle under a 5m upper stage.  (with a possible move to NGE or RL-60 later, if RL-10's are retired all together at some point.)

Maybe we need a thread for this discussion?  ;-)
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: butters on 05/05/2014 06:16 pm
AFAIUI, Delta IV flow design is sort of botched. The cores need a lot of work at the HIF and the pad. They use the pad for solid installation and vehicle integration testing. Thus, no only they need a lot of pad time, but also need a lot of HIF time. And need an infrastructure at the pad that's not far from a VAF. In other words, they have the worst schedule and cost of horizontal integration and vertical integration.

How is the Atlas flow any better than the Delta flow? For Atlas, the entire vehicle has to be stacked in the VIF, rolled out to the pad, launched, and the MLP rolled back into the VIF before the next vehicle can begin stacking. Delta splits the flow between HIF and MST, permitting the flow to be pipelined if necessary, with one team preparing the next vehicle in the HIF while another is stacking the current vehicle in the MST. Delta minimizes vertical processing, which is more complex than working in the horizontal.

It was my understanding that Delta is more expensive primarily because of the cost of RS-68 vs. RD-180 and perhaps also because it's a substantially larger airframe with more sophisticated fluid systems for handling large quantities of liquid hydrogen.

It seems that ULA is paying about $10M apiece for RD-180. They are undoubtedly paying quite a bit more for each RS-68.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Jim on 05/05/2014 06:24 pm

1.  How is the Atlas flow any better than the Delta flow? For Atlas, the entire vehicle has to be stacked in the VIF, rolled out to the pad, launched, and the MLP rolled back into the VIF before the next vehicle can begin stacking.

2.  Delta splits the flow between HIF and MST, permitting the flow to be pipelined if necessary, with one team preparing the next vehicle in the HIF while another is stacking the current vehicle in the MST. Delta minimizes vertical processing, which is more complex than working in the horizontal.


1.  It can do a launch every 45 days.  There is also offline testing in the ASOC.

2,  There is no testing capability in the HIF.  The solids and payload are still installed at the pad.  Delta still lot of work at the pad.  Only launch mount and upperstage mate are done in the HIF (there is no other work done).  Launch intervals are longer than 60 days.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: USFdon on 05/05/2014 06:29 pm
Won't the HIF become kind of redundant (save for the Heavy) if they move to centaur based upper stages? I was under the impression that they have to be stacked.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Hauerg on 05/05/2014 06:33 pm
Can somebody pls explain why  I keep reading that even for an "US" version of the RD-180 "parts" from Russia are needed?
If this is true, then what is the point of (more expensive) US production?
Thanks.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: AncientU on 05/05/2014 08:31 pm
Can somebody pls explain why  I keep reading that even for an "US" version of the RD-180 "parts" from Russia are needed?
If this is true, then what is the point of (more expensive) US production?
Thanks.
References that you've seen?  I am also interested in the 'spare parts' that seem to be needed to avoid impacting the planned launches... is this the 'parts' to which you refer?  It does seem that these parts are beyond the scope of the Warehouse full of RD-180s. 

Maybe we are talking about two different things, though...
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: baldusi on 05/05/2014 08:56 pm
AFAIUI, Delta IV flow design is sort of botched. The cores need a lot of work at the HIF and the pad. They use the pad for solid installation and vehicle integration testing. Thus, no only they need a lot of pad time, but also need a lot of HIF time. And need an infrastructure at the pad that's not far from a VAF. In other words, they have the worst schedule and cost of horizontal integration and vertical integration.
How is the Atlas flow any better than the Delta flow? For Atlas, the entire vehicle has to be stacked in the VIF, rolled out to the pad, launched, and the MLP rolled back into the VIF before the next vehicle can begin stacking. Delta splits the flow between HIF and MST, permitting the flow to be pipelined if necessary, with one team preparing the next vehicle in the HIF while another is stacking the current vehicle in the MST. Delta minimizes vertical processing, which is more complex than working in the horizontal.
First, is the issue of cost. Atlas V infrastructure is cheaper than Delta IV for a given launch rate. Delta IV needs two big building and Atlas only one. The upkeep is higher for Delta IV infrastructure.
Second is the issue that Atlas V arrives pretty complete from the factory. Thus, a lot of time is saved at the pad. This is a flow design issue.
Third, one extra MLP could accelerate things. One VIF+MLP doubles the launch rate. Which is way cheaper than HIF+VAF+Pad.
It's difficult to point to a single issue. Is more like a series of small issues that get compounded. The fact is that if Delta IV were to launch a lot of commercial satellites, that could be integrated on the HIF while a DoD is in the pad, it could work a lot better. But it isn't cheap enough for that. And as I understand it, the RD-180 contract was renegotiated and increased the prices significantly. It's the whole package the big cost. If the average launch costs are 400M, and an RS-68A is 40M (which I believe I'm exaggerating), is still a small difference.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: TrevorMonty on 05/05/2014 09:37 pm
This may have been covered elsewhere. 

How does blockage of RD180 effects non DOD launches scheduled for Atlas?. DC has booked a 2016 flight, not sure about CST100 plus there maybe NASA flights booked for next few years. In interests of national security would DOD reserve these Atlas LVs for themselves.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Lobo on 05/05/2014 09:58 pm
First, is the issue of cost. Atlas V infrastructure is cheaper than Delta IV for a given launch rate. Delta IV needs two big building and Atlas only one. The upkeep is higher for Delta IV infrastructure.
Second is the issue that Atlas V arrives pretty complete from the factory. Thus, a lot of time is saved at the pad. This is a flow design issue.
Third, one extra MLP could accelerate things. One VIF+MLP doubles the launch rate. Which is way cheaper than HIF+VAF+Pad.
It's difficult to point to a single issue. Is more like a series of small issues that get compounded. The fact is that if Delta IV were to launch a lot of commercial satellites, that could be integrated on the HIF while a DoD is in the pad, it could work a lot better. But it isn't cheap enough for that. And as I understand it, the RD-180 contract was renegotiated and increased the prices significantly. It's the whole package the big cost. If the average launch costs are 400M, and an RS-68A is 40M (which I believe I'm exaggerating), is still a small difference.

Baldusi,

First, thanks for the information.  I'm learning a lot in this discussion.
Secondly, this keeps begging my previous question more and more.  Why are we screwing around with Delta IV at all then?  If it's not even capable of being a redundancy to Atlas for assured access to space?  Other than Delta IV-heavy, which could be covered by Atlas Phase 1, what can Delta do that Atlas cannot?  Why do we keep throwing money at a system that's only good for -some- USAF and DoD missions, has a slower process flow, isn't nuclear rated, is more expensive, etc?
Why not just fly the one LV that could do everything Delta IV does, plus everything Atlas does anyway?

Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Tea Party Space Czar on 05/05/2014 10:11 pm
Baldusi,

First, thanks for the information.  I'm learning a lot in this discussion.
Secondly, this keeps begging my previous question more and more.  Why are we screwing around with Delta IV at all then?  If it's not even capable of being a redundancy to Atlas for assured access to space?  Other than Delta IV-heavy, which could be covered by Atlas Phase 1, what can Delta do that Atlas cannot?  Why do we keep throwing money at a system that's only good for -some- USAF and DoD missions, has a slower process flow, isn't nuclear rated, is more expensive, etc?
Why not just fly the one LV that could do everything Delta IV does, plus everything Atlas does anyway?
It is all about redundancy - which is not a bad thing.  After Challenger, DoD was in a real bad place.  There were a lot of lessons learned on the military side.  Having all your eggs in one basket being one of them; a multiple launch system was envisioned.  That is how Atlas and Delta grew into what they are today.

If someone has a bad day you want to be able to fly quickly while an investigation to figure out what went wrong occurs.

I do think we as a nation can do better and we can modernize as we go (SpaceX is proving this).  The Atlas and Delta lines compliment and augment each other.

Respectfully,
Andrew Gasser
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Lobo on 05/05/2014 10:34 pm
Baldusi,

First, thanks for the information.  I'm learning a lot in this discussion.
Secondly, this keeps begging my previous question more and more.  Why are we screwing around with Delta IV at all then?  If it's not even capable of being a redundancy to Atlas for assured access to space?  Other than Delta IV-heavy, which could be covered by Atlas Phase 1, what can Delta do that Atlas cannot?  Why do we keep throwing money at a system that's only good for -some- USAF and DoD missions, has a slower process flow, isn't nuclear rated, is more expensive, etc?
Why not just fly the one LV that could do everything Delta IV does, plus everything Atlas does anyway?
It is all about redundancy - which is not a bad thing.  After Challenger, DoD was in a real bad place.  There were a lot of lessons learned on the military side.  Having all your eggs in one basket being one of them; a multiple launch system was envisioned.  That is how Atlas and Delta grew into what they are today.

If someone has a bad day you want to be able to fly quickly while an investigation to figure out what went wrong occurs.

I do think we as a nation can do better and we can modernize as we go (SpaceX is proving this).  The Atlas and Delta lines compliment and augment each other.

Respectfully,
Andrew Gasser

But it's -not-.  That's my point.  I thought that too for a long time.  And so was scratching my head when Jim and others kept saying there's no way they could down select to Delta IV.  Why not?  Just cut loose that LV that depends on Russian relations and supply, and fly the all- US one.  Seems like a no-brainer.
Because it appears for a variety of reasons, Delta is -not- redundant to Atlas V.  Atlas can do what Delta can, but not vice versa.  Maybe initially that was a reason USAF kept them both.  Probably Atlas V using RD-180 had something to do with it (in just such an event of a supply problem with Russia), as did the Boeing theft issue.
But certainly now it's clear Delta isn't backing up Atlas.  It's just splitting the government workload.  Ensuring two LV being underutilized instead of just one.  But without cross redundancy.
We may not have known that in the early 2000's, but we do now.  So again, what's the reason to still be flying Delta IV?  Wouldn't it be better to secure a US supply for an RD-180 replacement ASAP, to shore up the one nagging issue of Atlas V?  Now that it has a 12 year great track record and the reliability of two new LV's isn't a question like it was in the early 2000's?

Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: JBF on 05/05/2014 10:46 pm
The Atlas V 552 has never flown and the Atlas V heavies would require substantial launch pad infrastructure upgrades.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Lobo on 05/05/2014 11:35 pm
The Atlas V 552 has never flown and the Atlas V heavies would require substantial launch pad infrastructure upgrades.

Atlas Phase 1 (regular Atlas V with the addition of a 5m upper stage) would cover the D4H performance.  And it would use the two existing Atlas pads and infrastructure with only relatively minor modifications.  (some accomodations for the new upper stage I'm sure). 
Tri-core heavy Atlas not needed.

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=31874.msg1051509#msg1051509

So again, why are we seemingly wasting money on Delta IV?
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Tea Party Space Czar on 05/06/2014 12:52 am
Baldusi,

First, thanks for the information.  I'm learning a lot in this discussion.
Secondly, this keeps begging my previous question more and more.  Why are we screwing around with Delta IV at all then?  If it's not even capable of being a redundancy to Atlas for assured access to space?  Other than Delta IV-heavy, which could be covered by Atlas Phase 1, what can Delta do that Atlas cannot?  Why do we keep throwing money at a system that's only good for -some- USAF and DoD missions, has a slower process flow, isn't nuclear rated, is more expensive, etc?
Why not just fly the one LV that could do everything Delta IV does, plus everything Atlas does anyway?
It is all about redundancy - which is not a bad thing.  After Challenger, DoD was in a real bad place.  There were a lot of lessons learned on the military side.  Having all your eggs in one basket being one of them; a multiple launch system was envisioned.  That is how Atlas and Delta grew into what they are today.

If someone has a bad day you want to be able to fly quickly while an investigation to figure out what went wrong occurs.

I do think we as a nation can do better and we can modernize as we go (SpaceX is proving this).  The Atlas and Delta lines compliment and augment each other.

Respectfully,
Andrew Gasser

But it's -not-.  That's my point.  I thought that too for a long time.  And so was scratching my head when Jim and others kept saying there's no way they could down select to Delta IV.  Why not?  Just cut loose that LV that depends on Russian relations and supply, and fly the all- US one.  Seems like a no-brainer.
Because it appears for a variety of reasons, Delta is -not- redundant to Atlas V.  Atlas can do what Delta can, but not vice versa.  Maybe initially that was a reason USAF kept them both.  Probably Atlas V using RD-180 had something to do with it (in just such an event of a supply problem with Russia), as did the Boeing theft issue.
But certainly now it's clear Delta isn't backing up Atlas.  It's just splitting the government workload.  Ensuring two LV being underutilized instead of just one.  But without cross redundancy.
We may not have known that in the early 2000's, but we do now.  So again, what's the reason to still be flying Delta IV?  Wouldn't it be better to secure a US supply for an RD-180 replacement ASAP, to shore up the one nagging issue of Atlas V?  Now that it has a 12 year great track record and the reliability of two new LV's isn't a question like it was in the early 2000's?

Delta IV Heavy (DIVH) can launch anything an Atlas V can launch to LEO/GEO/BEO.  I am sure someone will correct me if I am wrong but I feel I have this one right.  You may need a DIVH to launch something that a smaller Atlas V variant could do - but DIVH can launch anything we have right now.

It may not make economical sense to do so but when you are in a worst case scenario where Atlas V is not available there is redundancy.  Moreover, the United States Air Force wants this redundancy which is why ULA prices are what they are.  The American Taxpayer is paying for capability that the USAF (hopefully) does not need.  Again, this goes back to 51L.

Respectfully,
Andrew Gasser

   
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: vulture4 on 05/06/2014 01:06 am
Just copied from the Boeing web page:

"Each Delta IV rocket is assembled horizontally, erected vertically on the launch pad, integrated with its satellite payload, fueled and launched. This process reduces on-pad time to less than 10 days and the amount of time a vehicle is at the launch site to less than 30 days upon arrival from the factory. This reduces costs associated with launch site operations and increases customer schedule flexibility."

So... it's not true?

I think part of the reason both Atlas and Delta are still flying is simply that neither Lockheed nor Boeing wants to give up the profits they get from production. And, of course, the US government is famously insensitive to cost.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Jim on 05/06/2014 01:20 am
The Atlas V 552 has never flown and the Atlas V heavies would require substantial launch pad infrastructure upgrades.

The facilities are scarred for it.  Only GSE needs to be installed, which doesn't qualified as substantial
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Jim on 05/06/2014 01:23 am
Just copied from the Boeing web page:


Why would you look there?  Boeing doesn't operate Delta IV.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: JBF on 05/06/2014 01:56 am
The Atlas V 552 has never flown and the Atlas V heavies would require substantial launch pad infrastructure upgrades.

The facilities are scarred for it.  Only GSE needs to be installed, which doesn't qualified as substantial

Ok my error, didn't realize that they had set up the pad for a triple core from the get go.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: vulture4 on 05/06/2014 01:57 am
Just copied from the Boeing web page:


Why would you look there?  Boeing doesn't operate Delta IV.

That is the case in practice, but I assume the page is sill there because in theory both Lockheed and Boeing still market commercial launch services independently, rather than through ULA. Of course they have not been very successful in the commercial arena.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: wannamoonbase on 05/06/2014 02:43 am
The Atlas V 552 has never flown and the Atlas V heavies would require substantial launch pad infrastructure upgrades.

The facilities are scarred for it.  Only GSE needs to be installed, which doesn't qualified as substantial

Ok my error, didn't realize that they had set up the pad for a triple core from the get go.

If my memory holds up, the VIF and pad platforms and GSE were all done to be ready for Atlas V Heavy.  However I recall the MLP taking some short cuts and preventing it from being converted to HLV.  I was told that if it ever happened they would build another MLP, and possible the 2nd VIF.  That's been 12 years and it hasn't come up yet.  So it was a good decision.

I love the Atlas V, and would love to see an HLV, but I'm not holding my breath.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: woods170 on 05/06/2014 06:29 am
Why has this discussion wandered from a proposed authorization bill into a pros-and-cons discussion of Atlas V and Delta IV(-H)?
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Lobo on 05/06/2014 06:47 am

Delta IV Heavy (DIVH) can launch anything an Atlas V can launch to LEO/GEO/BEO.  I am sure someone will correct me if I am wrong but I feel I have this one right.  You may need a DIVH to launch something that a smaller Atlas V variant could do - but DIVH can launch anything we have right now.

It may not make economical sense to do so but when you are in a worst case scenario where Atlas V is not available there is redundancy.  Moreover, the United States Air Force wants this redundancy which is why ULA prices are what they are.  The American Taxpayer is paying for capability that the USAF (hopefully) does not need.  Again, this goes back to 51L.

Respectfully,
Andrew Gasser

 

It's my understanding, for comments on the forum, that Delta IV can't fly all payloads that fly on Atlas, even for the heavy.  Because of compatibility/integration issues.  However, all Delta payloads can fly on Atlas, with the exception of the D4H due to their mass.  That's what I mean by Delta not providing redundancy for Atlas.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Lobo on 05/06/2014 06:51 am
Why has this discussion wandered from a proposed authorization bill into a pros-and-cons discussion of Atlas V and Delta IV(-H)?

Because it's germane to the subject of replacing a Russian made RD-180 for Atlas V for flying USAF/DoD payloads rather than just retiring Atlas V all together and flying them all on Delta IV, and if that's even possible?
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: MATTBLAK on 05/06/2014 07:20 am
The Atlas V is a terrific rocket and the RD-180 is a neat engine! However; if the political situation doesn't change or gets worse, then the choices are limited:

1: 'Americanize' and build the RD-180 in the U.S.
2: Replace it with the yet-to-exist AJ26-500 or restart RS-84 development.
3: Retire Atlas V and make modifications/upgrades to Delta IV to take all payloads.
4: Retire Atlas V and Delta IV and give all payloads to Elon because it's just all too hard (sob, sniffle, jibber)

And I like an earlier thread idea by somebody talking about an RS-25E powered Delta: were Atlas V to be retired after running out of engines - surround an RS-25E powered Delta core with a cluster of 2,4, 6 or even 8x Atlas V's Aerojet solid motors, uprate the Delta's upper stage with the MB-60 engine and watch that thing out-perform a lot of other vehicles. I wouldn't be surprised if the 8x Aerojet solid version out-performed the Delta IV-H (stop that rocket Lego, Matt!!)
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: baldusi on 05/06/2014 11:53 am


Delta IV Heavy (DIVH) can launch anything an Atlas V can launch to LEO/GEO/BEO.  I am sure someone will correct me if I am wrong but I feel I have this one right.  You may need a DIVH to launch something that a smaller Atlas V variant could do - but DIVH can launch anything we have right now.

It may not make economical sense to do so but when you are in a worst case scenario where Atlas V is not available there is redundancy.  Moreover, the United States Air Force wants this redundancy which is why ULA prices are what they are.  The American Taxpayer is paying for capability that the USAF (hopefully) does not need.  Again, this goes back to 51L.

Respectfully,
Andrew Gasser

 

It's my understanding, for comments on the forum, that Delta IV can't fly all payloads that fly on Atlas, even for the heavy.  Because of compatibility/integration issues.  However, all Delta payloads can fly on Atlas, with the exception of the D4H due to their mass.  That's what I mean by Delta not providing redundancy for Atlas.
AIUI, Delta IV can launch everything. It lack nuclear and human rating, but that's not an issue for DoD. And it could be certified for both, given time and money. It's simply more expensive and might require extra infrastructure for higher launch cadence. But it does give access to space. If Atlas were to be cancelled, Delta IV assures that payloads will get to the proper orbit. Yes, some not so critical payloads will have to be shifted in time (say GPS), NASA would lose some launch windows, and it would be more expensive. But space access for DoD would be assured.
Now, would it be easier and cheaper to just build the RD-180 in the US. I don't see appropriations for new HIF and launchpad for Delta IV, but exactly 20% of what it would take to make the engine. Which is a lot considering the normal budget curve for this sort of projects.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: JohnFornaro on 05/06/2014 01:42 pm
Quote
The Strategic Forces subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) will markup its section of the FY2015 National Defense Authorization Act on Wednesday, April 30.  A draft of the subcommittee's portion of the bill provides $220 million to DOD to begin development of a U.S.-built liquid rocket engine to replace the Russian RD-180 engines used for the Atlas V rocket.

http://www.spacepolicyonline.com/news/hasc-subcommittee-proposes-220-million-for-u-s-alternative-to-russias-rd-180-engines

I hope this get's dropped. There is no reason DoD should be developing another engine to replace the RD-180. If necessary ULA should be paying for it out of the 1 billion in maintenance payments they get.

Whaaah?  ULA's insider subsidy is the essence of capitalism.  Are you against capitalism?  Let the experts do their work without second guessing from the peanut gallery.  If we needed a domestic rocket engine, we'd have one already.  Rocket engines are so BTDT.  What other country has a nuclear powered, laser equipped robot on Mars?  Oooo, look.  Squirrel!

Tensions over Russia's actions in Ukraine have added visibility to the extent to which the U.S. space program relies on Russia. (http://www.spacepolicyonline.com/news/hasc-subcommittee-proposes-220-million-for-u-s-alternative-to-russias-rd-180-engines)

So.  The always, and long known obvious needs more 'visibility'?  Shocked.  Shocked I am.

Seriously, the idea that we should be developing a new rocket engine is a good one, in principle, and hight time too.  Sadly, principle is not the operating, well, principle, when it comes to rational and pragmatic policy decisions, from our government, as advised by industry experts.  I can hear the refrain already:  What does Congress think it is, designing a new rocket engine in its entirety?

Sigh.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: JohnFornaro on 05/06/2014 01:43 pm
The plan calls for development of a U.S. engine available in 2019.  The current RD-180 contract pays for deliveries through 2018.

Oranrof's translation:

They are deliberately building in a gap in the new legislation.

Sigh.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: JohnFornaro on 05/06/2014 01:43 pm
Quote from:
SpaceX put the "Russian Engine" before the court and asked for relief.

This is tiresome. SpaceX brought up the Russian engine in their complaint as a means of questioning the block buy, since the defense appropriations rules include demonstrating that a proposed block buy is in the interests of national security. They didn't ask for an injunction and it is plainly incorrect to suggest that they did.

Thank you.  We simply cannot have any rational policies whatsoever, when people deliberately confuse the issue.  SpaceX stated the obvious fact of the matter to the court.

Sigh.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: JohnFornaro on 05/06/2014 01:44 pm
A copy of the complaint is here:
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=34583.msg1190348#msg1190348 (http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=34583.msg1190348#msg1190348)

Quote from: The complaint
The Air Force has entered into an unlawful contract for rocket launches with the United Launch Alliance ("ULA"), a joint venture between the govemment's two biggest and most influential contractors, Boeing and Lockheed Martin ("Lockheed"). This complex and exclusive deal (the "ULA Contract'), which was concluded outside of public scrutiny, funnels hundreds of millions of U.S. taxpayer dollars to Russia's military-industrial base, including monies that may flow to individuals on the U.S. sanctions list. Further, it defers meaningful free competition for years to come, costing taxpayers billions of dollars more.

Other than the word 'unlawful', which is subject to the court's opinion, where is there a false statement in the language of the complaint?  The court is being asked to determine the 'lawfulness' of the current arrangement.  Mr. Gass will no doubt claim that being an insider  outside of public scrutiny is the essence of lawfulness in this case.

It's amazing, in a clinical sense, how lawful things are when they work towards one's exclusive benefit at the expense of the public safety and security.

Sigh.  Is it me, or is there not enough oxygen in the room?
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: JohnFornaro on 05/06/2014 01:59 pm
Worse, I expect Mr. Gass to also argue that the essence of national security is the possible future inability of ULA to satisfy its contractural requirements in the event of a more serious deterioration in US/Russian relations, while simultaneously demanding his continued subsidy in the event of the not unreasonably expected possible future.

HFM.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Lobo on 05/06/2014 04:19 pm


Delta IV Heavy (DIVH) can launch anything an Atlas V can launch to LEO/GEO/BEO.  I am sure someone will correct me if I am wrong but I feel I have this one right.  You may need a DIVH to launch something that a smaller Atlas V variant could do - but DIVH can launch anything we have right now.

It may not make economical sense to do so but when you are in a worst case scenario where Atlas V is not available there is redundancy.  Moreover, the United States Air Force wants this redundancy which is why ULA prices are what they are.  The American Taxpayer is paying for capability that the USAF (hopefully) does not need.  Again, this goes back to 51L.

Respectfully,
Andrew Gasser

 

It's my understanding, for comments on the forum, that Delta IV can't fly all payloads that fly on Atlas, even for the heavy.  Because of compatibility/integration issues.  However, all Delta payloads can fly on Atlas, with the exception of the D4H due to their mass.  That's what I mean by Delta not providing redundancy for Atlas.
AIUI, Delta IV can launch everything. It lack nuclear and human rating, but that's not an issue for DoD. And it could be certified for both, given time and money. It's simply more expensive and might require extra infrastructure for higher launch cadence. But it does give access to space. If Atlas were to be cancelled, Delta IV assures that payloads will get to the proper orbit. Yes, some not so critical payloads will have to be shifted in time (say GPS), NASA would lose some launch windows, and it would be more expensive. But space access for DoD would be assured.
Now, would it be easier and cheaper to just build the RD-180 in the US. I don't see appropriations for new HIF and launchpad for Delta IV, but exactly 20% of what it would take to make the engine. Which is a lot considering the normal budget curve for this sort of projects.

Ok.  Thanks Baldusi.  That wasn't the impression I got.  Maybe it was that Delta IV couldnt' back up Atlas V as Delta IV infrastructure is right now...but can with investment and upgrades...and I didn't catch the latter part.

I still stand by my question though.  Why are we screwing around with Delta IV, if it can't currently back up Atlas V?  Which was the whole point of maintaining two EELV I thought?
And Atlas now has a great track record.  The only question mark on it is the engine supply.  Let's get a US made engine for it ASAP and stop towing along Delta IV, which seems like the unnecessary expensive kludge of the two EELV's.

Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: RocketEconomist327 on 05/06/2014 04:41 pm


Delta IV Heavy (DIVH) can launch anything an Atlas V can launch to LEO/GEO/BEO.  I am sure someone will correct me if I am wrong but I feel I have this one right.  You may need a DIVH to launch something that a smaller Atlas V variant could do - but DIVH can launch anything we have right now.

It may not make economical sense to do so but when you are in a worst case scenario where Atlas V is not available there is redundancy.  Moreover, the United States Air Force wants this redundancy which is why ULA prices are what they are.  The American Taxpayer is paying for capability that the USAF (hopefully) does not need.  Again, this goes back to 51L.

Respectfully,
Andrew Gasser

 

It's my understanding, for comments on the forum, that Delta IV can't fly all payloads that fly on Atlas, even for the heavy.  Because of compatibility/integration issues.  However, all Delta payloads can fly on Atlas, with the exception of the D4H due to their mass.  That's what I mean by Delta not providing redundancy for Atlas.
AIUI, Delta IV can launch everything. It lack nuclear and human rating, but that's not an issue for DoD. And it could be certified for both, given time and money. It's simply more expensive and might require extra infrastructure for higher launch cadence. But it does give access to space. If Atlas were to be cancelled, Delta IV assures that payloads will get to the proper orbit. Yes, some not so critical payloads will have to be shifted in time (say GPS), NASA would lose some launch windows, and it would be more expensive. But space access for DoD would be assured.
Now, would it be easier and cheaper to just build the RD-180 in the US. I don't see appropriations for new HIF and launchpad for Delta IV, but exactly 20% of what it would take to make the engine. Which is a lot considering the normal budget curve for this sort of projects.

Ok.  Thanks Baldusi.  That wasn't the impression I got.  Maybe it was that Delta IV couldnt' back up Atlas V as Delta IV infrastructure is right now...but can with investment and upgrades...and I didn't catch the latter part.

I still stand by my question though.  Why are we screwing around with Delta IV, if it can't currently back up Atlas V?  Which was the whole point of maintaining two EELV I thought?
And Atlas now has a great track record.  The only question mark on it is the engine supply.  Let's get a US made engine for it ASAP and stop towing along Delta IV, which seems like the unnecessary expensive kludge of the two EELV's.

Delta IV backs up every mission the USAF needs.  That is EELV. 

The two missions Delta IV does not do are not required by the USAF (HSF & Nuclear).
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: baldusi on 05/06/2014 04:49 pm
Because if you close the Delta IV line now, and something happens to Atlas V, you lose space access capability for DoD. And as of right now, Atlas V can't launch all Delta Heavy payloads. And remember that adding an Atlas V Heavy would mean new VIF and MLP on both coasts. It is a lot of money.
Look ate the GPS-IIF 5 flight anomaly and how it grounded the Delta IV fleet for almost six months. And yet, Atlas V kept launching critical capabilities. And if it was the other way around, DIV could save the day.
The current arrangement with ULA is expensive, and the grounding of one family is not painless nor without consequences. But it can be done and it does work with an enviable track record.
Thing are being done. If Common Upper stage is implemented Delta Heavy might not be needed. And if Falcon Heavy can get Category 3 certification, then Delta IV might get dropped. But the USA values too much their space capabilities to mess too much with it. You don't change horses midstream, you don't mess with your LV while doing the biggest and most expensive space deployment ever in DoD history. Once all the big comm, nav and int fleets are deployed, and if they finally can do disaggregation, and if SpaceX proves and certifies itself, then they can really mess with it. Meanwhile, you'll have to foot the bill of having the best (and most expensive) space capabilities in the world.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Lobo on 05/06/2014 05:34 pm
Because if you close the Delta IV line now, and something happens to Atlas V, you lose space access capability for DoD.


But as Jim is fond of saying, redundancy isn't necessarily a requirement.  Most USAF/DoD LV's weren't backed up.  Titan III and Titan IV weren't.  I think that played a part early on in the EELV program, as there were two brand new LV's replacing the entire fleet that USAF/DoD use.  Titan IV, Titan 23, Delta II, Delta III, Atlas II and Atlas III.  Two new LV's to replace all of those, so I could see the fear if a systemic issue cropping up in one of them.  But now, 12 years later, I think it's safe to say there's no systemic technical problem with Atlas V. 


And as of right now, Atlas V can't launch all Delta Heavy payloads. And remember that adding an Atlas V Heavy would mean new VIF and MLP on both coasts. It is a lot of money.

Atlas V Phase 1 could.  Just needs a 5m larger upper stage.  No AVH needed as I understand.  And thus, little modification to existing Atlas facilities.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: vulture4 on 05/06/2014 10:59 pm
The higher cost of Delta IV is particularly ironic because the Delta IV vehicle and processing flow was "clean sheet", not having to incorporate legacy technology, and the original plan was for a single EELV to take on the entire payload flow. Horizontal processing was implemented to minimize the more expensive time on the pad. The biggest discrepancy seems to be the time on the pad, which was originally estimated at ten days. Does anyone know what contributes to the much longer processing time? Why can't more of the work on the booster and second stage be done in the HIF? Can the work at the pad be accelerated?
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: ChrisWilson68 on 05/07/2014 03:37 am
You don't change horses midstream, you don't mess with your LV while doing the biggest and most expensive space deployment ever in DoD history. Once all the big comm, nav and int fleets are deployed, and if they finally can do disaggregation, and if SpaceX proves and certifies itself, then they can really mess with it. Meanwhile, you'll have to foot the bill of having the best (and most expensive) space capabilities in the world.

That doesn't make sense to me.  Each launch is individual and not tied to any other.  If SpaceX can provide a better cost/benefit trade-off, it should be used immediately, and if they don't, they shouldn't be used until they do.  Whether you consider it to be in the middle of "fleet" deployment is completely irrelevant.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: TomH on 05/07/2014 04:02 am
You don't change horses midstream, you don't mess with your LV while doing the biggest and most expensive space deployment ever in DoD history. Once all the big comm, nav and int fleets are deployed, and if they finally can do disaggregation, and if SpaceX proves and certifies itself, then they can really mess with it. Meanwhile, you'll have to foot the bill of having the best (and most expensive) space capabilities in the world.

That doesn't make sense to me.  Each launch is individual and not tied to any other.  If SpaceX can provide a better cost/benefit trade-off, it should be used immediately, and if they don't, they shouldn't be used until they do.  Whether you consider it to be in the middle of "fleet" deployment is completely irrelevant.

Baldusi didn't quote the person to whom he was responding. He was responding to a discussion regarding whether AV and DIV were fully redundant to each other and whether one line or the other could simply be closed down. I interpret him as saying, "What happens if you shut one down and then the other has a failure, and that while DoD is in the midst of the greatest satellite deployment in its history?" He is saying it would be imprudent to close out one of those two LVs before those fleets are fully deployed. He's not saying leave SpaceX out. He's saying it's not the right time to close down one of the existing EELVs. That is where the midstream horses metaphor fits.

I also am in favor of giving Falcon those missions which it is capable of launching at a lower cost. SpaceX is rising. To be realistic though, we have to acknowledge that F9 is not capable of the full range of payloads that all those iterations of EELVs are. They also have some changes to make like vertical integration.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: baldusi on 05/07/2014 10:39 am
TomH got it right. BTW, that fleet deployments run until about 2018/19. I'm all for SpaceX taking whatever they are competitive and certified. I'm just saying that eliminating one of the EELV while SpaceX doesn't cover the whole range, is completely against the risk profile of DoD.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: RocketEconomist327 on 05/08/2014 02:27 am
Atlas V Phase 1 could.  Just needs a 5m larger upper stage.  No AVH needed as I understand.  And thus, little modification to existing Atlas facilities.

Paper rocket.

VR
RE327
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Jim on 05/08/2014 02:42 am
Atlas V Phase 1 could.  Just needs a 5m larger upper stage.  No AVH needed as I understand.  And thus, little modification to existing Atlas facilities.

Paper rocket.

VR
RE327

Not really.  With Common Upperstage, it may come to be.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: RocketEconomist327 on 05/08/2014 03:21 am
Atlas V Phase 1 could.  Just needs a 5m larger upper stage.  No AVH needed as I understand.  And thus, little modification to existing Atlas facilities.

Paper rocket.

VR
RE327

Not really.  With Common Upperstage, it may come to be.
...but right now its paper.  FH is more of a reality that Atlas V Phase 1.  F9R is more of a reality that Atlas V Phase 1.  Phase 1 is just paper.

JMHO - Remember when F1 was paper?  OSC was paper?  F9 was paper?  FH, is it paper?  Its in production.  All the naysayers and pols saying Spacex would never make it.  I do agree with you that it could happen Jim.  I think we both could agree that the engineering and personnel are sound.  However, the very cold and hard reality of it all is that this is a business, and also political, decision.  ULA would never will be given permission to allow this to happen. 

VR
RE327
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: jongoff on 05/08/2014 03:23 am
Atlas V Phase 1 could.  Just needs a 5m larger upper stage.  No AVH needed as I understand.  And thus, little modification to existing Atlas facilities.

Paper rocket.

VR
RE327

Not really.  With Common Upperstage, it may come to be.

Yeah it is something they are both actively working on, and demonstrably capable of. The challenge has always been closing the business case enough to get their parent companies to cough up the cash (or let them keep more of their profits to roll over into the development).

~Jon
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: jongoff on 05/08/2014 03:39 am
...but right now its paper.  FH is more of a reality that Atlas V Phase 1.  F9R is more of a reality that Atlas V Phase 1.  Phase 1 is just paper.

When you say F9R is more reality than Atlas V Phase 1, are you talking about:

1- The Falcon 9 v1.1 that's flying right now and doing reusability experiments?
2- The F9R with the ability to reuse the first stage affordably?
3- Or the F9R that has the ability to reuse both stages affordably.

I'll give you 1, would argue with 2, and would laugh my backside off at 3.

~Jon
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: RocketEconomist327 on 05/08/2014 04:20 am
...but right now its paper.  FH is more of a reality that Atlas V Phase 1.  F9R is more of a reality that Atlas V Phase 1.  Phase 1 is just paper.

When you say F9R is more reality than Atlas V Phase 1, are you talking about:

1- The Falcon 9 v1.1 that's flying right now and doing reusability experiments?
2- The F9R with the ability to reuse the first stage affordably?
3- Or the F9R that has the ability to reuse both stages affordably.

I'll give you 1, would argue with 2, and would laugh my backside off at 3.

~Jon
~Jon, your analysis mirrors what I am thinking, feeling, and receiving.  F9R 2nd Stage is down the road a piece. 

VR
RE327
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Lobo on 05/08/2014 05:05 am
but right now its paper.  FH is more of a reality that Atlas V Phase 1.  F9R is more of a reality that Atlas V Phase 1.  Phase 1 is just paper.

JMHO - Remember when F1 was paper?  OSC was paper?  F9 was paper?  FH, is it paper?  Its in production.  All the naysayers and pols saying Spacex would never make it.  I do agree with you that it could happen Jim.  I think we both could agree that the engineering and personnel are sound.  However, the very cold and hard reality of it all is that this is a business, and also political, decision.  ULA would never will be given permission to allow this to happen. 

VR
RE327

Well, it's a paper upper stage that would be based on 3 existing and flying upper stages.  So there's less to prove than SpaceX had when they developing their hardware form scratch.  The only thing keeping it from flying is some time and money.  ULA obviously has all of the experience, personnel and expertise to get it done if/when they choose.

But if/when will they?  It all depends on what USAF and DoD wants.  If they at some time decide to have ULA retire Delta IV and keep Atlas V as the more affordable and flexible EELV, and want Atlas to cover D4H's capacity, then they'll make sure ULA has the funds to get that done.   If USAF and DoD don't want to do that, then it will remain a paper upper stage.  Maybe they'll keep going on they way they have been, and just paying ULA to maintain the current plan and capabilities. 

Same with a US built RD-180 engine.  Depends on how or if SpaceX is able to penetrate the government launch market in the future, and if or how that changes the status quo.

Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: rst on 05/08/2014 01:51 pm
When you say F9R is more reality than Atlas V Phase 1, are you talking about:

1- The Falcon 9 v1.1 that's flying right now and doing reusability experiments?
2- The F9R with the ability to reuse the first stage affordably?
3- Or the F9R that has the ability to reuse both stages affordably.

I'll give you 1, would argue with 2, and would laugh my backside off at 3.

~Jon

Hard to argue with you about 3.  Regarding 2:  Is the argument about ability to recover the first stage at all (hardware all built, fairly far into test program), or affordable reuse afterwards?
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: dlapine on 05/08/2014 03:52 pm
When you say F9R is more reality than Atlas V Phase 1, are you talking about:

1- The Falcon 9 v1.1 that's flying right now and doing reusability experiments?
2- The F9R with the ability to reuse the first stage affordably?
3- Or the F9R that has the ability to reuse both stages affordably.

I'll give you 1, would argue with 2, and would laugh my backside off at 3.

~Jon

Hard to argue with you about 3.  Regarding 2:  Is the argument about ability to recover the first stage at all (hardware all built, fairly far into test program), or affordable reuse afterwards?

Ask him that in a few days and after the second attempt to recover the first stage has been made.

At this point F9R hasn't demonstrated either. They may be close, and metal has been bent and flying, but it isn't there yet.

I still don't get the point of why congress feels the need to give ULA money to design and build an engine for a vehicle that they have already sold to USAF for the next five years.  Yes, I know that ULA buys the engine from a subcontractor, and that the congressional money wouldn't go directly to them, but sheesh, what a load of corporate welfare.

It'd be like congress declaring an embargo on cattle from Argentina, and then putting out land grants for cattle ranching so that McDonalds had an equally cheap alternative source of beef- and doing so in the face of Burger King's ability to serve equally useful and cheaper burgers.

I just don't see that its the job of the taxpayers to ensure that ULA makes a profit for Boeing and LM.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: rayleighscatter on 05/09/2014 01:08 am
Yes, I know that ULA buys the engine from a subcontractor, and that the congressional money wouldn't go directly to them, but sheesh, what a load of corporate welfare.
Welcome to the natural world where nothing exists in a vacuum.

After the fall of the Soviet Union the US government knew all of those scientists and technicians in Russia were going to work for whoever was willing to pay them. The government pushed Lockheed to be that employer because it didn't want China, North Korea, Libya, etc to be the employer. And now they aren't going to throw LM under the bus just because they did what they were told.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: simonbp on 05/09/2014 01:38 am
...but right now its paper.  FH is more of a reality that Atlas V Phase 1.  F9R is more of a reality that Atlas V Phase 1.  Phase 1 is just paper.

When you say F9R is more reality than Atlas V Phase 1, are you talking about:

1- The Falcon 9 v1.1 that's flying right now and doing reusability experiments?
2- The F9R with the ability to reuse the first stage affordably?
3- Or the F9R that has the ability to reuse both stages affordably.

I'll give you 1, would argue with 2, and would laugh my backside off at 3.

~Jon

Of course, the break-down is even worse, because SpaceX insists on calling the current test vehicle in Texas "F9R-Dev1", though we have no idea how related it actually is to the vehicle on the pad in Florida.

That said, how long would it take for ULA to recoup the cost of moving to Atlas Phase I with domestic RD-180? Even if it were the best and most profitable expendable launcher ever, it would still take 5-6 years to get it flying and then at least as long to pay for the development. All while SpaceX is turning a profit, either from reusable or expendable (or probably both).

Atlas has been living on borrowed time for a while now with the cheaper-than-they-should-be Russian-built RD-180s. Domestic RD-180s will bring the cost of an Atlas V in line with a Delta IV. It is really hard right now to see a future for Atlas and Delta outside of US government launches.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: deltaV on 05/09/2014 02:33 am
After the fall of the Soviet Union the US government knew all of those scientists and technicians in Russia were going to work for whoever was willing to pay them. The government pushed Lockheed to be that employer because it didn't want China, North Korea, Libya, etc to be the employer. And now they aren't going to throw LM under the bus just because they did what they were told.

I thought LM turned to Russian suppliers because Rocketdyne was too busy designing RS-68 for Boeing to make LM an engine too. Can you give a citation for your statement?
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: deltaV on 05/09/2014 02:48 am
A recent tweet (https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/464436170219606016) caught my eye:
Quote
Jeff Foust ‏@jeff_foust  3h
Griffin: we have the ability to produce the RD-180 in the US. The question, though, is should we? License for doing so expires in 2022.

That expiration of the license makes domestic production a lot less attractive IMHO.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: TomH on 05/09/2014 03:20 pm
That expiration of the license makes domestic production a lot less attractive IMHO.

Ditto. Even if they started setting up the line today, what would they have, about 3 to 4 years max to produce and stockpile engines?
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Rocket Science on 05/09/2014 03:28 pm
This says it all for me....

Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: clongton on 05/09/2014 04:04 pm
Yes, I know that ULA buys the engine from a subcontractor, and that the congressional money wouldn't go directly to them, but sheesh, what a load of corporate welfare.
Welcome to the natural world where nothing exists in a vacuum.

After the fall of the Soviet Union the US government knew all of those scientists and technicians in Russia were going to work for whoever was willing to pay them. The government pushed Lockheed to be that employer because it didn't want China, North Korea, Libya, etc to be the employer. And now they aren't going to throw LM under the bus just because they did what they were told.

And yet historically that's exactly what the USGov has done. Think about Noriaga & the Taliban for recent examples. There are many more. LM is by no means "safe" here.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: clongton on 05/09/2014 04:13 pm
Domestic production of the RD-180 is only allowed until the license expires in 2020. What do we do then - start over at square 1 and develop a new engine? If they started today, it will be 3 to 4 years before a production engine could be delivered to ULA, leaving only 2 to 3 years that we'd be allowed to build them. What's the cost analysis delta between doing a domestic RD-180 (only buildable for 2-3 years) and completing and deploying the F-1B that we can build & fly for as long as we liked? This thread is about funds for a domestic engine to replace the Russian-bought RD-180, but I've heard nobody mention the F-1B. A new Atlas powered by it would be a sweet workhorse for LM & ULA - all domestic.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Rocket Science on 05/09/2014 04:25 pm
Domestic production of the RD-180 is only allowed until the license expires in 2020. What do we do then - start over at square 1 and develop a new engine? If they started today, it will be 3 to 4 years before a production engine could be delivered to ULA, leaving only 2 to 3 years that we'd be allowed to build them. What's the cost analysis delta between doing a domestic RD-180 (only buildable for 2-3 years) and completing and deploying the F-1B that we can build & fly for as long as we liked? This thread is about funds for a domestic engine to replace the Russian-bought RD-180, but I've heard nobody mention the F-1B. A new Atlas powered by it would be a sweet workhorse for LM & ULA - all domestic.
Over here Chuck for my "Hot Rod Atlas"... :)

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=34267.45
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: PahTo on 05/09/2014 04:26 pm
Domestic production of the RD-180 is only allowed until the license expires in 2020. What do we do then - start over at square 1 and develop a new engine? If they started today, it will be 3 to 4 years before a production engine could be delivered to ULA, leaving only 2 to 3 years that we'd be allowed to build them. What's the cost analysis delta between doing a domestic RD-180 (only buildable for 2-3 years) and completing and deploying the F-1B that we can build & fly for as long as we liked? This thread is about funds for a domestic engine to replace the Russian-bought RD-180, but I've heard nobody mention the F-1B. A new Atlas powered by it would be a sweet workhorse for LM & ULA - all domestic.

I concur that the expiration of the license means a different alternative should be explored.  How likely would it be that the US just "cheat" and continue producing a domestic RD-180 badged something different?
More to the point, and as indicated by clongton, a NEW Atlas would be required for the F-1B--basically another new LV.  That sounds expensive.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Rocket Science on 05/09/2014 04:31 pm
Domestic production of the RD-180 is only allowed until the license expires in 2020. What do we do then - start over at square 1 and develop a new engine? If they started today, it will be 3 to 4 years before a production engine could be delivered to ULA, leaving only 2 to 3 years that we'd be allowed to build them. What's the cost analysis delta between doing a domestic RD-180 (only buildable for 2-3 years) and completing and deploying the F-1B that we can build & fly for as long as we liked? This thread is about funds for a domestic engine to replace the Russian-bought RD-180, but I've heard nobody mention the F-1B. A new Atlas powered by it would be a sweet workhorse for LM & ULA - all domestic.

I concur that the expiration of the license means a different alternative should be explored.  How likely would it be that the US just "cheat" and continue producing a domestic RD-180 badged something different?
More to the point, and as indicated by clongton, a NEW Atlas would be required for the F-1B--basically another new LV.  That sounds expensive.
Not really, it could be based on Dynetics single stick design... ;)
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: clongton on 05/09/2014 06:34 pm
That's what I'm talking about!!!!!!! :)
An F-1B powered Atlas enables a LOT of things:

Reliable DoD/NASA domestic launch
SLS LRB for the required min LEO performance as specified by Congress using existing 4xRS25E thrust structure design
Orion Crew Launch capability to LEO - bring the 1.5 Launch Architecture to fruition the way it SHOULD have been done.

Let's stop outsourcing our launch capabilities and bring our Flagship HLV back home to America.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Lobo on 05/09/2014 06:50 pm
Domestic production of the RD-180 is only allowed until the license expires in 2020. What do we do then - start over at square 1 and develop a new engine? If they started today, it will be 3 to 4 years before a production engine could be delivered to ULA, leaving only 2 to 3 years that we'd be allowed to build them. What's the cost analysis delta between doing a domestic RD-180 (only buildable for 2-3 years) and completing and deploying the F-1B that we can build & fly for as long as we liked? This thread is about funds for a domestic engine to replace the Russian-bought RD-180, but I've heard nobody mention the F-1B. A new Atlas powered by it would be a sweet workhorse for LM & ULA - all domestic.

It's be sweet...but I don't think ULA could do it.  Wouldn't a new wider core Atlas (say 5m to use Delta IV dooling) with a single F-1B on it...no longer be an Atlas?  As Jim has said several times, ULA can only operate the current Atlas V and Delta IV.  They can't develop a new LV.   I suppose the real question is, what is a "new" LV and what is just a growth of Atlas?  Would Atlas PHase 2 been a new LV or a growth of Atlas?  And thus could have been designed and built by ULA?

Anyway, I think the easier route to go than a new core with a new F-1B engine, is to modify the existing core to mount either a TR-107 or an RS-84.  Both would be similar in size and performance to RD-180, and should be able to be used on the current Atlas cores with minimal MPS or pad modificaitons.

Note:  I do like the F-1, and think an LV with a 5m kerolox core, new 5m mide body Centaur, and the new MARC-60 (MB-60) that it looks like AJR and MHI will develop for the JAXA H-X LV, would make for a very sweet workhorse LV.  Just not sure if it's the most feasibel upgrade, or even legal for ULA to do.  Jim could probably clarify that.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: butters on 05/09/2014 06:58 pm
The prospect of ULA developing a new kerolox booster core is unlikely. The prospect of ULA and NASA jointly developing a dual-purpose kerolox booster core driven in part by SLS requirements is inconceivable. As in: will never happen.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: PahTo on 05/09/2014 07:01 pm

That all makes sense to me (and I agree), but neither the F-1B engine nor the Dynetics rocket currently exist.  Of course, if SLS really does happen/continue past the initial four missions, an advanced booster would be needed, but where's the money to develop the engine and the booster (now or in the future, but as we see, the future is now)?
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: USFdon on 05/09/2014 07:13 pm
That's what I'm talking about!!!!!!! :)
An F-1B powered Atlas enables a LOT of things

Anyone run the numbers on this? It would definitely require a tank stretch, but how much....
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: muomega0 on 05/09/2014 08:16 pm
The prospect of ULA developing a new kerolox booster core is unlikely. The prospect of ULA and NASA jointly developing a dual-purpose kerolox booster core driven in part by SLS requirements is inconceivable. As in: will never happen.
1 - CR for rest of year; gridlock
2 - Bill requires engine access to all US companies
3-  HLV is not required   (two lunar sorties/yr = 240mT divide by 10 is a 24mT LV for a single LV!) 
4-  Atlas and Delta cannot compete at 480M/launch
Inconceivable indeed....especially if a HLV is discussed in the same context....its way too big to consider anything above 20 to 50 mT.  Atlas/Delta too expensive; yet add other product lines. ???

The writing is on the wall...NASA is getting out of the HLV product lines and the LEO flights are being turned over to "commercial" companies and these companies will support the LEO infrastructure per Bolden.

It just takes a long time to steer the Titanic to its destination...inconceivable that it does not sink on its own.

But wait for it....“"Inconceivable." You keep saying that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” (http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/you-keep-using-that-word-i-do-not-think-it-means-what-you-think-it-means)

That's what I'm talking about!!!!!!! :)
An F-1B powered Atlas enables a LOT of things
Anyone run the numbers on this? It would definitely require a tank stretch, but how much....

But if you have a product, market it, even if its too big and too expensive!  Continue to pitch multiple, non-common hardware elements to maximize the number of production lines, the number of unique LV configurations, etc, and tell the government its "required for deep space explorin' "    Go win a few elections if you cannot compete....More than one way to skin a cat.

Notice that Economic Access to Space is never considered when the numbers are run, as recently pointed out by the GAO:  The SLS estimate is based on the funding required to develop and operate the initial 70-metric ton variant through first flight in 2017 but not the costs for its second flight in 2021.  The estimate does not include costs to incrementally design, develop, and produce future 105- and 130-metric ton SLS variants which NASA expects to use for decades (http://spaceref.com/news/viewsr.html?pid=45685)

A national strategy to coordinate the next generation LVs in underway (http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=34654.msg1194829#msg1194829), but it appears the existing players do not want to participate, even though many of ULA engineers developed many of the concepts of ACES, propellant depots, and common hardware to develop this LEO infrastructure to enable deep space exploration, increase mass to GEO, etc and take advantage of Boeing's Amplification Factor (http://nextbigfuture.com/2008/01/boeing-propellant-depot-useful-space.html).
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Lobo on 05/09/2014 09:00 pm
Not really, it could be based on Dynetics single stick design... ;)

-IF- ULA could do it, and actually wanted to, I would think they'd use the D4 5m tooling and do it at Decatur, rather than Dynetics' 5.5m tooling.   We would have to assume in this scenario, one or both current EELV's would go away.  Atlas V becuase of it's Russian engine, and Delta 4 because they'd have a better 5m wide EELV.  Maybe retain the 5m DCSS and put that on top. 
Might be more of a "Delta 4 Phase 2" than an "Atlas 5 Phase 2". 
If they can do it, I think they'd have to call it an Atlas V or Delta IV, as that's all ULA can operate.  Probably why Atlas V PHase 2, Phase 3a and Phase 3b were called that rather than "Atlas 6" or "Atlas 7".  ULA can't operate an "Atlas 6" or a "Delta 5", but it could operate and "Atlas 5 Phase 2" or a "Delta 4 Phase 2".
 
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: TomH on 05/09/2014 10:06 pm
The Dynetics booster is 5.5m dia and with 2 x F-1B burn time is, I believe, 150 sec. Thrust is 3.6Mlb. for two of them. Just a single F-1B at 1.8 Mlb is almost double the thrust of a single RD-180 @ 993 Klb thrust. So when you guys are talking about this F-1B powered "Atlas", you are either talking about an LV with almost 4 times the thrust of AV (Pyrios booster) or almost 2 times the thrust. Those of you calling for a 5 m dia. built on Delta tooling, you have an immense difference in fuel density. Five meters is a lot more total energy for RP-1 than H2 at the same height. So are you advocating a shorter tank? For this 5m cylinder, are you thinking one engine or two?  I am not sure that 5m is the right dia. for this amount of thrust.

Then there is the burn time.  If you are considering the Pyrios booster, you have a short burn time and the second stage needs a substantial burn. The J-2X powered Ares I second stage matches that Pyrios first stage well, but we aren't talking Orion's mass to orbit. Would a Centaur or ACES match a Pyrios well?

I don't know. I grew up watching F-1 put us on the moon, but nostalgia is not a good basis for making decisions today. Even one F-1B seems way too powerful for this purpose, much moreso two. A single Raptor seems IMHO to be a much more forward thinking decision.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Rocket Science on 05/09/2014 10:46 pm
The Dynetics booster is 5.5m dia and with 2 x F-1B burn time is, I believe, 150 sec. Thrust is 3.6Mlb. for two of them. Just a single F-1B at 1.8 Mlb is almost double the thrust of a single RD-180 @ 993 Klb thrust. So when you guys are talking about this F-1B powered "Atlas", you are either talking about an LV with almost 4 times the thrust of AV (Pyrios booster) or almost 2 times the thrust. Those of you calling for a 5 m dia. built on Delta tooling, you have an immense difference in fuel density. Five meters is a lot more total energy for RP-1 than H2 at the same height. So are you advocating a shorter tank? For this 5m cylinder, are you thinking one engine or two?  I am not sure that 5m is the right dia. for this amount of thrust.

Then there is the burn time.  If you are considering the Pyrios booster, you have a short burn time and the second stage needs a substantial burn. The J-2X powered Ares I second stage matches that Pyrios first stage well, but we aren't talking Orion's mass to orbit. Would a Centaur or ACES match a Pyrios well?

I don't know. I grew up watching F-1 put us on the moon, but nostalgia is not a good basis for making decisions today. Even one F-1B seems way too powerful for this purpose, much moreso two. A single Raptor seems IMHO to be a much more forward thinking decision.
Thinking along the lines of a single engine variant Tom...
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Lobo on 05/09/2014 11:12 pm
The Dynetics booster is 5.5m dia and with 2 x F-1B burn time is, I believe, 150 sec. Thrust is 3.6Mlb. for two of them. Just a single F-1B at 1.8 Mlb is almost double the thrust of a single RD-180 @ 993 Klb thrust. So when you guys are talking about this F-1B powered "Atlas", you are either talking about an LV with almost 4 times the thrust of AV (Pyrios booster) or almost 2 times the thrust. Those of you calling for a 5 m dia. built on Delta tooling, you have an immense difference in fuel density. Five meters is a lot more total energy for RP-1 than H2 at the same height. So are you advocating a shorter tank? For this 5m cylinder, are you thinking one engine or two?  I am not sure that 5m is the right dia. for this amount of thrust.

Then there is the burn time.  If you are considering the Pyrios booster, you have a short burn time and the second stage needs a substantial burn. The J-2X powered Ares I second stage matches that Pyrios first stage well, but we aren't talking Orion's mass to orbit. Would a Centaur or ACES match a Pyrios well?

I don't know. I grew up watching F-1 put us on the moon, but nostalgia is not a good basis for making decisions today. Even one F-1B seems way too powerful for this purpose, much moreso two. A single Raptor seems IMHO to be a much more forward thinking decision.

Tom,
I agree it'd almost certainly never happen.
However, myself I was suggesting that if such a new "A5P2" or D4P2" were ever to be built by ULA, it would in the midst of some major restructuring.  Probably because RD-180 is going away, and for some cost/political reason, F-1B is somehow more appealing than a US-made RD-180, or modification of A5 to mount TR-107 or RS-84 or AJ-1E6, and the development of those engines.  Don't know how that would ever be the case, but for a moment, say it is.
And in the midst of this major restructuring, the 3.7m Atlas core would go away.  And a new 5m kerolox core would be developed using the Delta 4 tooling.  Not that it would -use- the D4 core.  Obviously a kerolox core would be shorter at 5m, and probably need to be stronger because it's more than double the thrust of an RS-68. 
A switch in the D4 production line to a kerolox core would likely mean D4 is going away too.  But as has been mentioned by several around here, the D4 is a bit of a kludge.  Expensive and with slow pad flow.  So probably not a major problem, if ULA were to ever actually get to this major restructuring point. 

But, fun to speculate sometimes.  It'd be a pretty cool little LV.  USAF would never need a tri-core version of it, but it could be designed to use either Atlas SRB's or GEM-60's to augment it's performance if needed. 
It wouldn't have as good of performance as Atlas Phase 2 because of the lower ISP F-1B, but with a good upper stage, it should probabaly get around 25mt to LEO and maybe 12mt to GTO?, without SRB's.  More with SRB's.  I think the proposed MARC-60 engine (what the MB-60 is now being called.  Mitsubishi Aerojet Rocketdyne Collaboration 60) would be a good upper stage engine for that.  Better thrust for that size LV but still with RL-10B ISP.  Could maybe use a 5m DCSS with that MARC-60 engine, or a new 5m WBC with it.

Per this:
http://i40.tinypic.com/2rzsao7.jpg

ULA seems to think that a 5m Atlas core could use existing Atlas facilities, and just need a new MLP.  So I'd expect the same for this F-1B powered version. 

So...in my hypothetical which has almost zero chance of ever happening, that's what would happen.  This would be the only LV ULA were to operate at that point, and they'd offload all the D4 overhead. 

If there's not a US-made dupliate for Atlas V, I think the most likely scenario would be USAF/DoD would pay for ULA to upgrade D4 to be able to handle all payloads and have a faster pad flow, and ULA would just fly Delta IV.   Not for there to be an F-1B powered Atlas 5 Phase 2.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: woods170 on 05/11/2014 03:42 pm
A recent tweet (https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/464436170219606016) caught my eye:
Quote
Jeff Foust ‏@jeff_foust  3h
Griffin: we have the ability to produce the RD-180 in the US. The question, though, is should we? License for doing so expires in 2022.

That expiration of the license makes domestic production a lot less attractive IMHO.
No it doesn't. They will simply negotiate an extension of the licensed period.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: clongton on 05/11/2014 07:04 pm
A recent tweet (https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/464436170219606016 (https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/464436170219606016)) caught my eye:
Quote
Jeff Foust ‏@jeff_foust  3h
Griffin: we have the ability to produce the RD-180 in the US. The question, though, is should we? License for doing so expires in 2022.

That expiration of the license makes domestic production a lot less attractive IMHO.
No it doesn't. They will simply negotiate an extension of the licensed period.

It totally depends on the relations between the two countries at that time. It is an unknown factor and that is what makes the effort at a domestic RD-180 questionable this close to the end of the licensing agreement. Had this effort been seriously considered a decade ago then it would be a non issue. We would already be flying the RD-180 v1.1 and already building our own inventory. But this close to the end of the agreement? It may or may not not be wise, given the current state of relations.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: MP99 on 05/11/2014 07:35 pm
A recent tweet (https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/464436170219606016) caught my eye:
Quote
Jeff Foust ‏@jeff_foust  3h
Griffin: we have the ability to produce the RD-180 in the US. The question, though, is should we? License for doing so expires in 2022.

That expiration of the license makes domestic production a lot less attractive IMHO.


No it doesn't. They will simply negotiate an extension of the licensed period.

Surely, negotiate => payments.

If payments for the engines remain banned for years (highly unlikely, I hope!!), surely licence payments for domestic production would fall foul of the same prohibition?

cheers, Martin
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: vulture4 on 05/11/2014 09:07 pm
Russia will always be willing to sell engines, since it is quite profitable to do so. However it hurts the US balance of payments. If the Delta cannot be made cost competitive, drop it. Using LH2 for the boosters never made sense, and apparently the vehicle spends too much time on the pad. NASA should issue an SAA for prototypes of up to three engine designs in the million pound class, RP-1 or methane, from SpaceX, Pratt, Aerojet and anyone else who can compete.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: woods170 on 05/12/2014 07:27 am
A recent tweet (https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/464436170219606016 (https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/464436170219606016)) caught my eye:
Quote
Jeff Foust ‏@jeff_foust  3h
Griffin: we have the ability to produce the RD-180 in the US. The question, though, is should we? License for doing so expires in 2022.

That expiration of the license makes domestic production a lot less attractive IMHO.


No it doesn't. They will simply negotiate an extension of the licensed period.

Surely, negotiate => payments.

If payments for the engines remain banned for years (highly unlikely, I hope!!), surely licence payments for domestic production would fall foul of the same prohibition?

cheers, Martin
In case you had not noticed: the ban on payments for RD-180 was lifted a few days ago. It's back to business-as-usual. IMO, the same will happen to the licensed period. It will be extended in the name of 'national security', along with the US not switchting to domestic production of RD-180 by simply continuing to buy straight from the Russians.
IMO, in the end, the injunction will not have made any difference. There is language for starting development of a domestic replacement for RD-180 in the House proposal, but I do not think that language will make it to the final bill. Simply put: this will all blow over.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: AncientU on 05/13/2014 02:51 pm
And here's the article from Russia Today:

http://rt.com/news/158680-russia-usa-rocket-gps/#.U3IlAMseP8c.twitter

"Moscow is banning Washington from using Russian-made rocket engines, which the US has used to deliver its military satellites into orbit, said Russia’s Deputy PM, Dmitry Rogozin, who is in charge of space and defense industries.

According to Rogozin, Russia is also halting the operation of all American GPS stations on its territory from June 1.

Russia currently hosts 11 ground-based GPS stations, the Deputy PM said.

The move comes after the US refused to place a signal correction station for Russia’s own space-based satellite navigation system, GLONASS, on American territory, he explained."

However, another article from ITAR-TASS is less definitive about the RD-180 "ban":

http://en.itar-tass.com/world/731443

"Rogozin noted that Russia may terminate supplies of NK-33 and RD-180 rocket engines to the US, if they are used for military purposes. "

Still, even the threat of a ban is a PR debacle for ULA.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: simonbp on 05/13/2014 10:19 pm
Considering nearly all RD-180 launches on the books are USAF, that's pretty definitive. Atlas is a military launcher first and foremost, and without any military launches, Atlas is effectively grounded when current supplies are expended.

What's not clear is if this affects domestic production. If Russia won't sell engines for military launches, will they allow license production of RD-180s for military launches?

Either way, the whole situation kinda kneecaps ULA's traditional argument that they are a reliable launch provider. Doesn't matter how good your rocket is if you have to ask Putin if you can launch it.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: dlapine on 05/14/2014 03:53 pm
A recent tweet (https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/464436170219606016 (https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/464436170219606016)) caught my eye:
Quote
Jeff Foust ‏@jeff_foust  3h
Griffin: we have the ability to produce the RD-180 in the US. The question, though, is should we? License for doing so expires in 2022.

That expiration of the license makes domestic production a lot less attractive IMHO.


No it doesn't. They will simply negotiate an extension of the licensed period.

Surely, negotiate => payments.

If payments for the engines remain banned for years (highly unlikely, I hope!!), surely licence payments for domestic production would fall foul of the same prohibition?

cheers, Martin
In case you had not noticed: the ban on payments for RD-180 was lifted a few days ago. It's back to business-as-usual. IMO, the same will happen to the licensed period. It will be extended in the name of 'national security', along with the US not switchting to domestic production of RD-180 by simply continuing to buy straight from the Russians.
IMO, in the end, the injunction will not have made any difference. There is language for starting development of a domestic replacement for RD-180 in the House proposal, but I do not think that language will make it to the final bill. Simply put: this will all blow over.

Now that the Russians have banned the use of the RD-180 for military operations, would you care to revisit that statement that it's "business as usual"?

It was noted on another http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=34684.msg1198303#msg1198303 (http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=34684.msg1198303#msg1198303) thread that the number of RD-180's actually on US soil is only 16, so it looks like an engine development program may really be needed, and far sooner than comfortable.


http://m.aviationweek.com/awin-only/boeing-no-new-russian-rd-180-engines-needed-ula-bulk-buy-deal

Quote
Boeing: No New Russian RD-180 Engines Needed For ULA Bulk Buy Deal

>
"We believe we can deliver on the block buy with the engines we have," says Roger Krone, president of Boeing Network and Space Systems. ULA has 16 RD-180s on U.S. soil, according to an industry official.
>
>
Should it run short of RD-180s, ULA and U.S. Air Force, its customer, can shift some launches from the Atlas V manifest to Delta IV. "That is not our desired approach," Krone says. "We’d just as soon not move the manifest."
>
>
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: simonbp on 05/14/2014 04:10 pm
I heard about the same number third-hand from someone who talked to a ULA higher-up. Whatever the precise number is, I think it's safe to say there are less than 20 RD-180s in the USA right now.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: JBF on 05/14/2014 04:32 pm
One thing to keep in mind is that under the current arrangements the only satellites that are classified as military would be weapons platforms.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: rayleighscatter on 05/14/2014 08:38 pm
Considering nearly all RD-180 launches on the books are USAF, that's pretty definitive.
A quick look seems to indicate only about half of the Atlas V launches lined up are national security (DoD/NRO). The other half is NASA, commercial, and other non-defense government launches
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: simonbp on 05/14/2014 09:11 pm
Looking here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Atlas_launches_(2010-2019)

There are 14 Atlas V launches on the books for the rest of 2014 + 2015. Six are clearly military launches, two are GPS (which is operated by USAF), two are commercial, two are NASA, one is NOAA, and the last is the mysterious CLIO, which is probably NRO/other military.

So, if you count GPS and CLIO, 64% of upcoming launches are military payloads. This is a little biased, as there have already been four launches this year, 3/4 of them military payloads. So the overall 2014-2015 ratio is 67% military payloads (and 89% US government launches).

If we say ULA has ~16 RD-180 in country that can be used for military launches, they can maybe last through the end of 2016 at the current rate of military launches.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: TomH on 05/15/2014 01:04 am
If we say ULA has ~16 RD-180 in country that can be used for military launches, they can maybe last through the end of 2016 at the current rate of military launches.

Not sure I follow. Are you saying allow military to claim dibs on all existing RD-180s currently on US soil, thus bumping NASA and commercial from access until Russia releases a new batch which would be only for non-military? I suppose such a requisition/appropriation could be done in the name of national security, but boy there would be some serious howling by any commercial users currently on the manifest. There would be a lot of politicians making hay out of it too. Would not be pretty I think.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Jim on 05/15/2014 12:26 pm

Now that the Russians have banned the use of the RD-180 for military operations, would you care to revisit that statement that it's "business as usual"?


Military operations is defined as weapons systems, it is business as usual.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: simonbp on 05/15/2014 02:29 pm
No, "military operations" are "operations conducted by a military organization", and USAF is a military organization. Period. Launching a USAF weather satellite is a military operation.

Atlas V has never launched a "weapons system". Ever. If that was the intention of the sanctions, the Russians are idiots. They're not idiots. They clearly meant the launch of USAF and NRO payloads.

It doesn't matter if ULA or USAF declares a launch to not be a military operation. What matters is that the Russians declare it to be one. And I doubt ULA wants to violate this rule, because they would risk causing the Russians to ban all exports of RD-180.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: JBF on 05/15/2014 02:37 pm
No, "military operations" are "operations conducted by a military organization", and USAF is a military organization. Period. Launching a USAF weather satellite is a military operation.

Atlas V has never launched a "weapons system". Ever. If that was the intention of the sanctions, the Russians are idiots. They're not idiots. They clearly meant the launch of USAF and NRO payloads.

It doesn't matter if ULA or USAF declares a launch to not be a military operation. What matters is that the Russians declare it to be one. And I doubt ULA wants to violate this rule, because they would risk causing the Russians to ban all exports of RD-180.

You have missed the point; the agreement with NPO Energomash has always excluded military launches. In the past this has been narrowly defined and agreed upon to only include weapon systems.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Jim on 05/15/2014 02:43 pm
No, "military operations" are "operations conducted by a military organization", and USAF is a military organization. Period. Launching a USAF weather satellite is a military operation.

Atlas V has never launched a "weapons system". Ever. If that was the intention of the sanctions, the Russians are idiots. They're not idiots. They clearly meant the launch of USAF and NRO payloads.

It doesn't matter if ULA or USAF declares a launch to not be a military operation. What matters is that the Russians declare it to be one. And I doubt ULA wants to violate this rule, because they would risk causing the Russians to ban all exports of RD-180.

go back and look at the actual agreements (and Russian language).  I believe the same words were used when RD-180 was first approved for Atlas III.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Prober on 05/15/2014 03:18 pm
No, "military operations" are "operations conducted by a military organization", and USAF is a military organization. Period. Launching a USAF weather satellite is a military operation.

Atlas V has never launched a "weapons system". Ever. If that was the intention of the sanctions, the Russians are idiots. They're not idiots. They clearly meant the launch of USAF and NRO payloads.

It doesn't matter if ULA or USAF declares a launch to not be a military operation. What matters is that the Russians declare it to be one. And I doubt ULA wants to violate this rule, because they would risk causing the Russians to ban all exports of RD-180.

go back and look at the actual agreements (and Russian language).  I believe the same words were used when RD-180 was first approved for Atlas III.

also available in the public magazines of that time.   Google is your friend ;)
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Rocket Science on 05/15/2014 03:34 pm
I know this thread is about funding for a liquid engine, but I'm just curious why ATK Liberty launch vehicle is not being considered as an alternative satellite launcher? Maybe a new thread is needed...
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Hauerg on 05/15/2014 03:42 pm
Paper rocket using European stage and European engine, both of which seem to have a limited lifertime in europe anyway.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: TomH on 05/15/2014 04:08 pm
I know this thread is about funding for a liquid engine, but I'm just curious why ATK Liberty launch vehicle is not being considered as an alternative satellite launcher? Maybe a new thread is needed...

Well, [are there segments other than any NASA may have rights to available?]. I don't think they would restart an old line when their advanced solid would be a better choice. And with the SLS advanced booster not chosen, it's a rather iffy proposition. Surely they could enter, but then the EU itself has in the past (Iraq War) declared embargos on military parts supplied to the US. Due to the nature of this whole situation, I think they'd want everything to be all dometic or at least easily and quickly replaced by domestic parts if necessary.

Edit/CR: Text in [] generalised to avoid any disclosure of L2 material
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: WindnWar on 05/15/2014 08:43 pm
Domestic production of the RD-180 is only allowed until the license expires in 2020. What do we do then - start over at square 1 and develop a new engine? If they started today, it will be 3 to 4 years before a production engine could be delivered to ULA, leaving only 2 to 3 years that we'd be allowed to build them. What's the cost analysis delta between doing a domestic RD-180 (only buildable for 2-3 years) and completing and deploying the F-1B that we can build & fly for as long as we liked? This thread is about funds for a domestic engine to replace the Russian-bought RD-180, but I've heard nobody mention the F-1B. A new Atlas powered by it would be a sweet workhorse for LM & ULA - all domestic.

It's be sweet...but I don't think ULA could do it.  Wouldn't a new wider core Atlas (say 5m to use Delta IV dooling) with a single F-1B on it...no longer be an Atlas?  As Jim has said several times, ULA can only operate the current Atlas V and Delta IV.  They can't develop a new LV.   I suppose the real question is, what is a "new" LV and what is just a growth of Atlas?  Would Atlas PHase 2 been a new LV or a growth of Atlas?  And thus could have been designed and built by ULA?

Anyway, I think the easier route to go than a new core with a new F-1B engine, is to modify the existing core to mount either a TR-107 or an RS-84.  Both would be similar in size and performance to RD-180, and should be able to be used on the current Atlas cores with minimal MPS or pad modificaitons.

Note:  I do like the F-1, and think an LV with a 5m kerolox core, new 5m mide body Centaur, and the new MARC-60 (MB-60) that it looks like AJR and MHI will develop for the JAXA H-X LV, would make for a very sweet workhorse LV.  Just not sure if it's the most feasibel upgrade, or even legal for ULA to do.  Jim could probably clarify that.

Just a quick question I've seen the TR-107 mentioned a few times in topics concerning the future of the RD-180. What is the status of the rocket engine division since being bought by Northrop? Is it still active, and do they have people with the knowledge to revive this engine program? From what I've read it looks like the engine development was completed and test fired, and it looks like it was done for not a lot of money either. Of course the lead guy on that project and others now work for SpaceX so could this engine dev be revived? Cost and spec wise it seems to be the most likely alternative, but that depends on whether the talent is still there. Of course that leaves out what sort of work would be required to integrate it. Certainly seems like an easier project to revive if the talent is there than the RS-84 would be.

Of course if it could be integrated, what changes would be needed for control, fuel ratios etc? I do realize that they aren't Lego.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Rocket Science on 05/15/2014 08:57 pm
I know this thread is about funding for a liquid engine, but I'm just curious why ATK Liberty launch vehicle is not being considered as an alternative satellite launcher? Maybe a new thread is needed...

Well, [are there segments other than any NASA may have rights to available?]. I don't think they would restart an old line when their advanced solid would be a better choice. And with the SLS advanced booster not chosen, it's a rather iffy proposition. Surely they could enter, but then the EU itself has in the past (Iraq War) declared embargos on military parts supplied to the US. Due to the nature of this whole situation, I think they's want everything to be all dometic or at least easily and quickly replaced by domestic parts if necessary.
I was thinking more along the lines of the new composite motors "The Dark Knights" with a Centaur upper stage (would need 3 stages for GEO). You never know what they are thinking over there now that ATK in joined with Orbital. Might be a good opprtunity for them...

And then I remember this thread... ;D

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=34593.0

Edit/CR: Text in [] generalised to avoid any disclosure of L2 material
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: MP99 on 05/15/2014 09:45 pm
Well, [are there segments other than any NASA may have rights to available?]. I don't think they would restart an old line when their advanced solid would be a better choice.

But, do we know why there are only four sets available?

Possible that they exist but have been reserved for other uses?

Cheers, Martin

Edit/CR: Text in [] generalised to avoid any disclosure of L2 material
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: RocketEconomist327 on 05/15/2014 10:28 pm
Some of us have been calling for a national hydrocarbon engine program for years.  It wouldn't cost billions when you build it for HSF/Nuclear missions in mind.  We have the technology and brain power to do it quickly if we really want to.

Sadly, in 2011, the congress didn't think we needed it.  Names available upon request.

Just a see I told you so.  This is also what happens when you rely on allies.  Sometimes allies don't want to do the same things you do.  The conventional thinking inside the beltway is so archaic.  "Its just a tweet."  They simply do not get "it".

And just for the record "Robert" - cutting tCap to a single provider is a very bad idea.  Competition is good.  Competition lowers costs and provides different ideas to mature.  You, and those who think like you, simply want to kill any competition for the POR.

VR
RE327
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Lobo on 05/15/2014 10:55 pm
I know this thread is about funding for a liquid engine, but I'm just curious why ATK Liberty launch vehicle is not being considered as an alternative satellite launcher? Maybe a new thread is needed...
Well, [are there segments other than any NASA may have rights to available?]. I don't think they would restart an old line when their advanced solid would be a better choice. And with the SLS advanced booster not chosen, it's a rather iffy proposition. Surely they could enter, but then the EU itself has in the past (Iraq War) declared embargos on military parts supplied to the US. Due to the nature of this whole situation, I think they's want everything to be all dometic or at least easily and quickly replaced by domestic parts if necessary.
I was thinking more along the lines of the new composite motors "The Dark Knights" with a Centaur upper stage (would need 3 stages for GEO). You never know what they are thinking over there now that ATK in joined with Orbital. Might be a good opprtunity for them...

And then I remember this thread... ;D

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=34593.0

Yea, I think with the merger of ATK and OSC, and ArianeSpace's plans to replace Ariane 5 with Ariane 6 in the not too distant future, and Liberty not getting any NASA commerical crew funding, "Liberty" is probably done.  Not to mention SLS advanced boosters are not a given to be ATK's, and in fact, SLS's future is not a given. 
But I would be very surprised if there wasn't some new Antaries upgrade, or something similar using ATK's new 3.7m wide composite casings which will also be used for Pegasus II on Statolaunch (if it ever flies).  OSC/ATK has mentioned wanting to go after USAF/DoD payloads as well.  Which means they'll need something in the EELV range, which the current Antares isn't.  If they can make these solid segments cheap enough, they could have a valid competator in that market, giving more trouble the the current government Status quo relationship with ULA. 
Antares may change into a scaled up Minotaur/Taurus/Athena type multi-staged solid.  Just need a good high performance hydrolox upper stage option.  But, Pegasus II supposedly will have two of them, so we'll see what shakes out with that in relation to a solid booster Antares.

I have a hard time imgining Antares NK-33's being replaced with any Russian sourced engines after all of this, now that they can do ATK solids in-house.  And with Delta IV's prices being high (as mentioned by several people here) and Atlas's engine sourcing having some polticial issue, there may be a market there for a cheap multi-stage solid EELV class LV.

They may call a Solid booster Antares something else.  "Liberty II" or even go back to Antares' original name, "Taurus II", which would be more applicable.  Or call it "Antares II".

Edit/CR: Text in [] generalised to avoid any disclosure of L2 material
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: clongton on 05/15/2014 11:54 pm
All talk of ATK/Orbital using "ANY" solid motor is off topic. See the Thread title: "Domestic Liquid Engine".
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Lobo on 05/16/2014 04:49 am
Good point Chuck.  Apologies.   I should have just pointed to Rocket Science's link to Antares with solid booster discussion, for those interested in discussing that. 

But I will ask this.  If there were a domestic liquid engine development funded by a National Defense bill, would that only be available for Atlas V?  Or would OSC and Antares be able to buy it too?

Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Lobo on 05/16/2014 04:56 am

Just a quick question I've seen the TR-107 mentioned a few times in topics concerning the future of the RD-180. What is the status of the rocket engine division since being bought by Northrop? Is it still active, and do they have people with the knowledge to revive this engine program? From what I've read it looks like the engine development was completed and test fired, and it looks like it was done for not a lot of money either. Of course the lead guy on that project and others now work for SpaceX so could this engine dev be revived? Cost and spec wise it seems to be the most likely alternative, but that depends on whether the talent is still there. Of course that leaves out what sort of work would be required to integrate it. Certainly seems like an easier project to revive if the talent is there than the RS-84 would be.

Of course if it could be integrated, what changes would be needed for control, fuel ratios etc? I do realize that they aren't Lego.

It's a hard engine to find much info on.  All I've been able to find out is development was stopped in 2005.  Northrup Grumman apparently has the plans and rights so they could finish it and produce it.  But, I don't know if they actually still have the facilities after they purchased TRW or not. 

From Wikipedia (for what it's worth).

TR-106 / TR-107 rocket engines[edit]
The TR-106 or Low Cost Pintle Engine (LPCE) was a developmental LH2/LOX rocket engine designed by TRW under the Space Launch Initiative and tested at NASA John C. Stennis Space Center throughout 2000. The Stennis test stand results demonstrated that the engine was stable over a wide variety of thrust levels and propellant ratios.[5]
Development of the engine was temporarily discontinued with the cancellation of the Space Launch Initiative.[5] Since 2000, TRW has been acquired by Northrop Grumman and development of the TR-107 RP-1/LOX rocket engine began in 2001 for potential use on next-generation launch and space transportation vehicles is continuing under contract to NASA.[6][7]
Technology lessons from the Low Cost Pintle Engine project assisted subcontractor development of engines by SpaceX.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: deltaV on 05/16/2014 05:23 am
But I will ask this.  If there were a domestic liquid engine development funded by a National Defense bill, would that only be available for Atlas V?  Or would OSC and Antares be able to buy it too?

Your question was answered on the first page of this thread--the proposed bill explicitly says the engine should be available to everyone: http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=34595.msg1191311#msg1191311 .
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: woods170 on 05/16/2014 05:44 am
Paper rocket using European stage and European engine, both of which seem to have a limited lifertime in europe anyway.
Paper rocket indeed.
Slightly OT but it's not the limited lifetime that will limit this. Both the EPC and the Vulcain 2 engine are slated for use well into the 2020's.
What will limit the chances of Liberty seeing the light of day is this:
- Liberty upper stage is a substantially modified derivative of the current Ariane 5 EPC. There is more changes there than just beefed-up tank walls.
- Engine for Liberty upperstage is a substantially modified derivative of the current Vulcain 2. There is more changes there than just adding a portable power supply and start-up cartridges.

Both elements require substantial development work (and associated costs) to get them going.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: WindnWar on 05/16/2014 07:18 pm

It's a hard engine to find much info on.  All I've been able to find out is development was stopped in 2005.  Northrup Grumman apparently has the plans and rights so they could finish it and produce it.  But, I don't know if they actually still have the facilities after they purchased TRW or not. 

From Wikipedia (for what it's worth).

TR-106 / TR-107 rocket engines[edit]
The TR-106 or Low Cost Pintle Engine (LPCE) was a developmental LH2/LOX rocket engine designed by TRW under the Space Launch Initiative and tested at NASA John C. Stennis Space Center throughout 2000. The Stennis test stand results demonstrated that the engine was stable over a wide variety of thrust levels and propellant ratios.[5]
Development of the engine was temporarily discontinued with the cancellation of the Space Launch Initiative.[5] Since 2000, TRW has been acquired by Northrop Grumman and development of the TR-107 RP-1/LOX rocket engine began in 2001 for potential use on next-generation launch and space transportation vehicles is continuing under contract to NASA.[6][7]
Technology lessons from the Low Cost Pintle Engine project assisted subcontractor development of engines by SpaceX.

I went digging through Northrops site and the only engine they list under booster engines is the TR-106 so that may answer whether they can offer the 107. From the info I can find it says that NASA paid about $35 million for dev work on the 107. I did find a PDF from Gary Lyles at NASA in 2012 on the SLS program that listed info on the 107 and it looks like only subscale testing was done. PDF is attached. The specs of the engine looked pretty good though, with a much better thrust to weight ratio compared to the RS-84.

Link to Northrop booster engines.

http://www.northropgrumman.com/Capabilities/PropulsionTechnologies/Pages/BoosterVehicleEngines.aspx
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Lobo on 05/16/2014 11:19 pm
I went digging through Northrops site and the only engine they list under booster engines is the TR-106 so that may answer whether they can offer the 107. From the info I can find it says that NASA paid about $35 million for dev work on the 107. I did find a PDF from Gary Lyles at NASA in 2012 on the SLS program that listed info on the 107 and it looks like only subscale testing was done. PDF is attached. The specs of the engine looked pretty good though, with a much better thrust to weight ratio compared to the RS-84.

Link to Northrop booster engines.

http://www.northropgrumman.com/Capabilities/PropulsionTechnologies/Pages/BoosterVehicleEngines.aspx

Interesting.
I've seen some references about it being considered for the USAF's reusable booster program before it was cancelled in 2012.  Along with RS-84, as they were both designed to be reusable for the SLI criteria.  So that would indicate NG could still develop and manufacture it if there was a customer to pay them to do so. 

TR-107 seems like it holds some edge over RS-84 in mass and T/W ratio as you said.  Only a few seconds less ISP, but that's not too important on a booster engine.  It's still pretty good. 
I would -think- it would be cheaper than TW-107, as it's stated design was to be simple and low cost.  Although that's hard to really know until you get into it.  Be kind of cool if it every was revived.  Be nice to have a 3rd US liquid rocket engine manufacturer along with AJR and SpaceX. 

I wonder what the odds are of something TR-107 being chosen for such funding over a US-copy of the RD-180?
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: TomH on 05/17/2014 12:24 am
But, do we know why there are only four sets available?

Possible that they exist but have been reserved for other uses?

Cheers, Martin

I thought they'd been imaged and flaws found.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: WindnWar on 05/17/2014 04:10 am


I wonder what the odds are of something TR-107 being chosen for such funding over a US-copy of the RD-180?

I'd guess it would depend on how much it would cost to complete the development, and how easily it could be integrated into an Atlas derivative. Since its an oxygen rich stage combustion engine, I wonder how similar its fuel ratios are to the RD-180? If it's pretty similar you might not need to modify the tanks much if any, you'd just need a new thrust structure and control system. I'd be curious what the performance numbers would be, the ISP is only a bit shy of the RD-180, while having higher thrust, and better thrust to weight ratio even compared to the RD-180. I did find it interesting that they stated it would not need any special coatings to make it work. The extra thrust is almost equal to one of the Aerojet solids, and it should have a decent throttle range. Could be very interesting. It would be very close to Falcon 9 1.1 first stage thrust while having a higher ISP.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: FinalFrontier on 05/17/2014 12:17 pm
Once again devils advocate here.

When is this supposed to be fielded? How is the contractor to build it being chosen?

I don't see how this as yet even remotely solves the problem were facing with Atlas V here.

Big question: What are future Atlas V Lv's going to cost after on site stored engines are flown out, but during the gap in service between that and these new engines, if such a gap occurs (which it likely will)? What will the LV cost with the new engines?

I am honestly losing logical justification as the days go by for keeping Atlas V. DIV can replicate or exceed many of the mission profiles Atlas V flies it seems to me unnecessary lengths are going to be gone to in order to save this vehicle when its a duplicate capability anyway. Again, playing devils advocate but is this not the argument that proved true when it came to CXP and having two rockets?
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: WindnWar on 05/17/2014 01:54 pm
I think the when is it to be fielded part will depend on how much funding is given versus how much it needs. Also a factor is whether the people with the skills to do it are still at that company or any other company. Given the pad flow issues with Delta IV and the costs, if the government pays for dev of a new engine the only costs ULA would incur is the cost to redesign the first stage to be compatible with whatever engine is created. Even with a gap, that might make sense to them as it'll probably be a more competitive rocket then the Delta IV will ever be. If I were Northrop and a $200 million dev program was about to come up for bid, I certainly would be looking at how hard it would be to revive this engine program.

If ULA has to pick up a large portion of the cost of engine dev though, I can't see how they would justify the expense versus transitioning to Delta IV unless they do a major overhaul of the entire rocket to optimize for cost in order to be more competitive. Plus the fact that with a new first stage/first stage engine, reliability numbers might have to start all over. I'm sure a U.S. company can build great quality engines but the proof will be flying it repeatedly. 
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Prober on 05/17/2014 08:40 pm
I think the when is it to be fielded part will depend on how much funding is given versus how much it needs. Also a factor is whether the people with the skills to do it are still at that company or any other company. Given the pad flow issues with Delta IV and the costs, if the government pays for dev of a new engine the only costs ULA would incur is the cost to redesign the first stage to be compatible with whatever engine is created. Even with a gap, that might make sense to them as it'll probably be a more competitive rocket then the Delta IV will ever be. If I were Northrop and a $200 million dev program was about to come up for bid, I certainly would be looking at how hard it would be to revive this engine program.


$200 million dev program was about to come up for bid

Do we need to bid this?    Think about it, do we need to startup another engine program?
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: clongton on 05/17/2014 10:53 pm
I think the when is it to be fielded part will depend on how much funding is given versus how much it needs. Also a factor is whether the people with the skills to do it are still at that company or any other company. Given the pad flow issues with Delta IV and the costs, if the government pays for dev of a new engine the only costs ULA would incur is the cost to redesign the first stage to be compatible with whatever engine is created. Even with a gap, that might make sense to them as it'll probably be a more competitive rocket then the Delta IV will ever be. If I were Northrop and a $200 million dev program was about to come up for bid, I certainly would be looking at how hard it would be to revive this engine program.


[i$200 million dev program was about to come up for bid][/i]

Do we need to bid this?    Think about it, do we need to startup another engine program?


No we don't. We need to restart and finish either the RS-84 or TR-107 engine programs. Or complete the F-1B program. We do ***NOT*** need to create another new engine!!!
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: edkyle99 on 05/18/2014 03:02 am
Do we need to bid this?    Think about it, do we need to startup another engine program?
Centaur is too valuable, and necessary.  Something has to lift it.  So yes. 

 - Ed Kyle
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Thorny on 05/18/2014 03:22 am
Centaur is too valuable, and necessary.  Something has to lift it.  So yes. 

Why? We already have Delta IV Second Stage, which is comparable. We could even theoretically put DCSS on a Falcon Heavy, and that would be the third launch vehicle a variant of the stage has flown on, after Delta III and IV. Rockets aren't legos, I know, but that's gotta be cheaper than redesigning Atlas V and building RS-84 or TR-107.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: WindnWar on 05/18/2014 03:53 am
Which has better performance and the better design, Centaur or DCSS?
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: RocketEconomist327 on 05/18/2014 04:34 am
Centaur is too valuable, and necessary.  Something has to lift it.  So yes. 

Why? We already have Delta IV Second Stage, which is comparable. We could even theoretically put DCSS on a Falcon Heavy, and that would be the third launch vehicle a variant of the stage has flown on, after Delta III and IV. Rockets aren't legos, I know, but that's gotta be cheaper than redesigning Atlas V and building RS-84 or TR-107.
PPLS strikes again.

Depending on how you fund and spec the new motor - it may be less to design a rocket for the motor.  Having spoke with a few people (propulsion engineers and technicians) everything would have to be re-qualified. There is so much more to this.   

You cannot unplug an RD-180 and slap in an RS-84.   

The vehicle changes. 
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: edkyle99 on 05/18/2014 04:44 am
Which has better performance and the better design, Centaur or DCSS?
Centaur outperforms the four-meter diameter DCSS.  It carries slightly more propellant and has less dry mass.  Centaur also has an ability to be fitted with two RL10 engines if needed for heavier LEO payloads, something DCSS can't do.

 - Ed Kyle
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Thorny on 05/18/2014 04:51 am
Centaur outperforms the four-meter diameter DCSS.  It carries slightly more propellant and has less dry mass.  Centaur also has an ability to be fitted with two RL10 engines if needed for heavier LEO payloads, something DCSS can't do.

Would that (2 engine Centaur) still be relevant when launching on a Falcon Heavy with its huge throw weight? I would think that keeping a second production line open for the Centaur would not be worth the few percent payload advantage Centaur offers (and which may not exist at all vs. the 5m DCSS.)
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: deltaV on 05/18/2014 05:01 am
No we don't. We need to restart and finish either the RS-84 or TR-107 engine programs. Or complete the F-1B program. We do ***NOT*** need to create another new engine!!!

If the DOD designs the procurement appropriately a partially completed engine such as RS-84, TR-107, F-1B or Raptor is likely to win on cost and schedule. I don't see any reason to rule out new engines.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: clongton on 05/18/2014 12:10 pm
Do we need to bid this?    Think about it, do we need to startup another engine program?
Centaur is too valuable, and necessary.  Something has to lift it.  So yes. 

 - Ed Kyle

Ed - We don't need a brand new engine program. Finish TR-107. It's 99.9% completed.
The only thing lacking for total completion is authorization to build. It's completely done!
It's not a lego engine but is damn near a drop-in replacement with higher thrust and similar isp.
This engine could be taken off the shelf, completed and be flying in 2 years tops if LM/ULA wants to.

I personally am a fan of the F-1B because I worked on the F-1A, but the F-1B would not be ready in time to solve this problem with RD-180 availability. But the TR-107 most definitely would! We finished the engine. It's done. It's a great engine. And it will fit the current Atlas and could be powering it in (relatively) short order.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Prober on 05/18/2014 12:18 pm
No we don't. We need to restart and finish either the RS-84 or TR-107 engine programs. Or complete the F-1B program. We do ***NOT*** need to create another new engine!!!

If the DOD designs the procurement appropriately a partially completed engine such as RS-84, TR-107, F-1B or Raptor is likely to win on cost and schedule. I don't see any reason to rule out new engines.

Guys what engine are we talking about here?   If RD-180 for Atlas that’s an easy call.
The RL-10 could and should be cost reduced.  This however should be done with internal funds.

If we are talking SLS engines we have mission creep going on right now. Frankly don't push my button on this matter.   We haven’t learned by our mistakes with Aries I.  Remember the J2-X. 
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: clongton on 05/18/2014 12:24 pm
Guys what engine are we talking about here?   If RD-180 for Atlas that’s an easy call.

We're talking about a replacement for the RD-180.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: woods170 on 05/18/2014 01:16 pm
We don't need a brand new engine program. Finish TR-107. It's 99.9% completed.
The only thing lacking for total completion is authorization to build. It's completely done!
It's not a lego engine but is damn near a drop-in replacement with higher thrust and similar isp.
This engine could be taken off the shelf, completed and be flying in 2 years tops if LM/ULA wants to.

I personally am a fan of the F-1B because I worked on the F-1A, but the F-1B would not be ready in time to solve this problem with RD-180 availability. But the TR-107 most definitely would! We finished the engine. It's done. It's a great engine. And it will fit the current Atlas and could be powering it in (relatively) short order.
Even if Capitol Hill will make serious work of replacing RD-180 with a US domestic engine than rest assured it will not be TR-107. The usual-suspects-Congress-critters will make d*mn sure that a hugely expensive engine development program will be started to gain the most benefits for workers in their states. Replacing RD-180 with a near-finished, relatively cheap engine, in less than 3 years is just not their MO.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Prober on 05/18/2014 01:54 pm
We don't need a brand new engine program. Finish TR-107. It's 99.9% completed.
The only thing lacking for total completion is authorization to build. It's completely done!
It's not a lego engine but is damn near a drop-in replacement with higher thrust and similar isp.
This engine could be taken off the shelf, completed and be flying in 2 years tops if LM/ULA wants to.

I personally am a fan of the F-1B because I worked on the F-1A, but the F-1B would not be ready in time to solve this problem with RD-180 availability. But the TR-107 most definitely would! We finished the engine. It's done. It's a great engine. And it will fit the current Atlas and could be powering it in (relatively) short order.
Even if Capitol Hill will make serious work of replacing RD-180 with a US domestic engine than rest assured it will not be TR-107. The usual-suspects-Congress-critters will make d*mn sure that a hugely expensive engine development program will be started to gain the most benefits for workers in their states. Replacing RD-180 with a near-finished, relatively cheap engine, in less than 3 years is just not their MO.

Plus its not just replacing the RD-180.   The Atlas V would also need changes.  That's not going to happen.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: clongton on 05/18/2014 02:45 pm
We don't need a brand new engine program. Finish TR-107. It's 99.9% completed.
The only thing lacking for total completion is authorization to build. It's completely done!
It's not a lego engine but is damn near a drop-in replacement with higher thrust and similar isp.
This engine could be taken off the shelf, completed and be flying in 2 years tops if LM/ULA wants to.

I personally am a fan of the F-1B because I worked on the F-1A, but the F-1B would not be ready in time to solve this problem with RD-180 availability. But the TR-107 most definitely would! We finished the engine. It's done. It's a great engine. And it will fit the current Atlas and could be powering it in (relatively) short order.
Even if Capitol Hill will make serious work of replacing RD-180 with a US domestic engine than rest assured it will not be TR-107. The usual-suspects-Congress-critters will make d*mn sure that a hugely expensive engine development program will be started to gain the most benefits for workers in their states. Replacing RD-180 with a near-finished, relatively cheap engine, in less than 3 years is just not their MO.
Plus its not just replacing the RD-180.   The Atlas V would also need changes.  That's not going to happen.

Atlas-V changes to use the TR-107 would be non-trivial but minimal and far less expensive than a domestic RD-180.

So the real question is "Does the United States Air Force want to save the Atlas-V or not"? (Shades of John Holbolt (RIP)) The TR-107 is the only path forward that makes any sense if they do.
Title: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: baldusi on 05/18/2014 03:31 pm
TR-107 was closed down after CDR? Where they in the middle of certification testing?
BTW, wasn't the engineering team disbanded (with at least some now at Hawthorne)?
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: rayleighscatter on 05/18/2014 05:16 pm
Even if Capitol Hill will make serious work of replacing RD-180 with a US domestic engine than rest assured it will not be TR-107. The usual-suspects-Congress-critters will make d*mn sure that a hugely expensive engine development program will be started to gain the most benefits for workers in their states. Replacing RD-180 with a near-finished, relatively cheap engine, in less than 3 years is just not their MO.
It's an engine development program, not any kind of massive integrated system. There is literally no way to spread it out among dozens of congressional districts. At most it will involve two, where it is designed and where it is built.

It isn't hugely expensive either, at least in terms of pork and budgets. It would amount to <0.1% of federal contracts. One or two congressional interns might make note of it, but that will be about it.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: TomH on 05/18/2014 06:40 pm
We're talking about a replacement for the RD-180.

I personally am a fan of the F-1B because I worked on the F-1A,

Wouldn't F-1B thrust be massively too high for AV? Particularly if CST-100 or DC were selected to ride on AV in CC?
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: butters on 05/19/2014 02:06 am
Falcon Heavy will be flying long before any re-engined Atlas. F9 is not a drop-in replacement for Atlas V, and M1D is not a drop-in replacement for RD-180, but the combination of F9 and FH covers the entire performance range and then some.

Congress can fund another engine development program if they insist, but it will only produce more engines like RS-83, RS-84, TR-106, TR-107, and other engines which never flew. If/when the Pentagon actually needs an alternative to Altas V and Delta IV, SpaceX will have what they need, because they don't do silly things like develop engines for nonexistent launch vehicles.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Hauerg on 05/19/2014 05:37 am
SpaceX will have what they need, because they don't do silly things like develop engines for nonexistent launch vehicles.
Raptor.
Raptor has a launch vehicle, we just don't have the details yet.
A paper launch vehicle launched from a pad that doesn't exist for a mission with no financing isn't an existing launch vehicle.

A launch vehicle without an engine wouldn't be a launch vehicle either. 
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Lobo on 05/19/2014 05:45 am
We don't need a brand new engine program. Finish TR-107. It's 99.9% completed.
The only thing lacking for total completion is authorization to build. It's completely done!
It's not a lego engine but is damn near a drop-in replacement with higher thrust and similar isp.
This engine could be taken off the shelf, completed and be flying in 2 years tops if LM/ULA wants to.

I personally am a fan of the F-1B because I worked on the F-1A, but the F-1B would not be ready in time to solve this problem with RD-180 availability. But the TR-107 most definitely would! We finished the engine. It's done. It's a great engine. And it will fit the current Atlas and could be powering it in (relatively) short order.
Even if Capitol Hill will make serious work of replacing RD-180 with a US domestic engine than rest assured it will not be TR-107. The usual-suspects-Congress-critters will make d*mn sure that a hugely expensive engine development program will be started to gain the most benefits for workers in their states. Replacing RD-180 with a near-finished, relatively cheap engine, in less than 3 years is just not their MO.
Plus its not just replacing the RD-180.   The Atlas V would also need changes.  That's not going to happen.

Atlas-V changes to use the TR-107 would be non-trivial but minimal and far less expensive than a domestic RD-180.

So the real question is "Does the United States Air Force want to save the Atlas-V or not"? (Shades of John Holbolt (RIP)) The TR-107 is the only path forward that makes any sense if they do.

Agreed.  Atlas V would need changes, but TR-107 is of a similar type, size, power, and impulse.  We're not talking about a much different engine like the F-1B would be.  It's never as easy as a bolt in replacement obviously, but it shouldn't require any major Atlas redesign or anything.  A modified MPS to mount the TR-107, and some avionics changes should be most of it. 

And TR-107 would certainly be a more "American" engine than a US made copy of an RD-180.  So that certainly doesn't hurt politically if we loose access to RD-180 due to politics and deteriorating national relations with Russia. 
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Lobo on 05/19/2014 05:58 am
We're talking about a replacement for the RD-180.

I personally am a fan of the F-1B because I worked on the F-1A,

Wouldn't F-1B thrust be massively too high for AV? Particularly if CST-100 or DC were selected to ride on AV in CC?

Yea, I don't know that F-1B could be used without a major core redesign of AV.  It has significantly more thrust and less impulse than R-180.  Also physically much larger and heavier.   More fuel would need to be burnt to produce the same dV I believe, so core volume would need to be increased just to replicate RD-180.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: MATTBLAK on 05/19/2014 06:01 am
Do we need to bid this?    Think about it, do we need to startup another engine program?
Centaur is too valuable, and necessary.  Something has to lift it.  So yes. 

 - Ed Kyle

Ed - We don't need a brand new engine program. Finish TR-107. It's 99.9% completed.
The only thing lacking for total completion is authorization to build. It's completely done!
It's not a lego engine but is damn near a drop-in replacement with higher thrust and similar isp.
This engine could be taken off the shelf, completed and be flying in 2 years tops if LM/ULA wants to.

I personally am a fan of the F-1B because I worked on the F-1A, but the F-1B would not be ready in time to solve this problem with RD-180 availability. But the TR-107 most definitely would! We finished the engine. It's done. It's a great engine. And it will fit the current Atlas and could be powering it in (relatively) short order.

Aren't there about a dozen F-1 engines in bonded storage? It seems a shame not to use them on something. Though I imagine they'd pair better with a 5.4 meter corestage than the 'skinny' Atlas V stage.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Lar on 05/19/2014 02:21 pm
This is about funding for a domestic liquid engine. It's not about how far along SpaceX is on Raptor, or how much design effort L2 members are expending. I left some posts but trimmed some that wandered too far away.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Coastal Ron on 05/19/2014 02:58 pm
So the real question is "Does the United States Air Force want to save the Atlas-V or not"?

Or really, if the Air Force ends up assuming the Falcon Heavy will be qualified for their needs in the next 2 years or so, the question becomes whether the Air Force needs more than two launcher families from two different companies to satisfy all their needs?

So far the Air Force has been satisfied with depending on just two different launcher families from the same company (kinda sorta), so this would not be a huge leap for them.

And yes, there are lots of political considerations (maybe technical too), but just from a redundancy standpoint it wouldn't be any different for the Air Force to rely on the Delta IV & Falcon in the future than they have been so far with the Delta IV and Atlas V.

Quote
The TR-107 is the only path forward that makes any sense if they do.

If it is decided that Atlas V must continue to be one of the launchers the U.S. Government will rely upon, then it will be interesting to see how they structure the engine replacement program.

They could state that, for expediency sake, that they just want to build a U.S. version of the RD-180.  Then the RFP would be for finding the company that will build and qualify the engine using the documents ULA has on the RD-180.

But if they state that they are looking for a U.S. manufactured engine that meets the needs for pushing the Atlas V to space, then hopefully that opens up the possibility for other engines like the TR-107 and even newer designs.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Lobo on 05/19/2014 04:50 pm
Aren't there about a dozen F-1 engines in bonded storage? It seems a shame not to use them on something. Though I imagine they'd pair better with a 5.4 meter corestage than the 'skinny' Atlas V stage.

That would have been a very cool LV.  In fact, it's too bad McDonnel Douglas didn't go that route for their Delta IV entrant into the EELV competition.  Delta II and III were both kerolox gas generator cores after all.  It actually seems more "heritage" to the Delta family than a hydorlox core, IMHO.

Boeing/MD had already had to develop 5m tooling for the Delta IV core anyway.  Been a cool LV if they'd just had PWR modernize the F-1A then instead of finishing the RS-68 engine.  (which I think was in development as part fo the SLI program).  Then they could have put the 5m DCSS on top of that.  They could have augmented it with some GEM-60's if needed to get the upper end D4H performance.  A tri-core version would never have been needed.  Not sure about cost comparison between the F-1X and RS-68, but if they were similar in price, then essentially they would have had an EELV with probably aorund Atlas V-55x performance for the price of the D4-Medium.  Add some GEM-60's and it'd have AVH or D4H performance for less cost than either of those heavies.

But as of today, I think it'd make much more sense to go with a similar US engine like the TR-107 on Atlas V if they want to have a US sourced engine for it, and just do the modifications necessary.  F-1B would probably need a while new core...which basically means they'd be replacing Atlas with a new LV, not just changing the engine.  So even though there are probably some around which could be made ready to fly again, it's just not a real practical option when discussing a domestic liquid engine funding, presumably primarily for Atlas V and USAF/DoD national security considerations, given the funding source.  And if that doesn't happen and if we loose access to RD-180, I would think A5 would likely be retired rather than F-1 somehow being developed and fitted to it in some fashion.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Prober on 05/20/2014 12:42 pm
Aren't there about a dozen F-1 engines in bonded storage? It seems a shame not to use them on something. Though I imagine they'd pair better with a 5.4 meter corestage than the 'skinny' Atlas V stage.

That would have been a very cool LV.  In fact, it's too bad McDonnel Douglas didn't go that route for their Delta IV entrant into the EELV competition.  Delta II and III were both kerolox gas generator cores after all.  It actually seems more "heritage" to the Delta family than a hydorlox core, IMHO.

Boeing/MD had already had to develop 5m tooling for the Delta IV core anyway.  Been a cool LV if they'd just had PWR modernize the F-1A then instead of finishing the RS-68 engine.  (which I think was in development as part fo the SLI program).  Then they could have put the 5m DCSS on top of that.  They could have augmented it with some GEM-60's if needed to get the upper end D4H performance.  A tri-core version would never have been needed.  Not sure about cost comparison between the F-1X and RS-68, but if they were similar in price, then essentially they would have had an EELV with probably aorund Atlas V-55x performance for the price of the D4-Medium.  Add some GEM-60's and it'd have AVH or D4H performance for less cost than either of those heavies.

But as of today, I think it'd make much more sense to go with a similar US engine like the TR-107 on Atlas V if they want to have a US sourced engine for it, and just do the modifications necessary.  F-1B would probably need a while new core...which basically means they'd be replacing Atlas with a new LV, not just changing the engine.  So even though there are probably some around which could be made ready to fly again, it's just not a real practical option when discussing a domestic liquid engine funding, presumably primarily for Atlas V and USAF/DoD national security considerations, given the funding source.  And if that doesn't happen and if we loose access to RD-180, I would think A5 would likely be retired rather than F-1 somehow being developed and fitted to it in some fashion.

maybe a missed opportunity ?

Delta IV has room for growth, had the EELV gone to a single player things might be different.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: TomH on 05/23/2014 10:51 pm
So the real question is "Does the United States Air Force want to save the Atlas-V or not"? (Shades of John Holbolt (RIP)) The TR-107 is the only path forward that makes any sense if they do.

PDF on TR-107: http://www.nasa.gov/centers/marshall/pdf/100428main_tr107.pdf

I cannot find Isp of this engine anywhere; anybody have that?

In light of this:

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=34810.0

TR-107 is the only thing that makes sense. The engine is done. It's simple. It's inexpensive. It's all U.S. It's correctly sized for AV. Three or four of them make a perfect SLS advanced booster. I don't get why Northrop Grumman isn't jumping up and down, waving red flags, and yelling, "We already have the engine right here."
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Sean Lynch on 05/24/2014 12:02 am
So the real question is "Does the United States Air Force want to save the Atlas-V or not"? (Shades of John Holbolt (RIP)) The TR-107 is the only path forward that makes any sense if they do.

PDF on TR-107: http://www.nasa.gov/centers/marshall/pdf/100428main_tr107.pdf

I cannot find Isp of this engine anywhere; anybody have that?

In light of this:

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=34810.0

TR-107 is the only thing that makes sense. The engine is done. It's simple. It's inexpensive. It's all U.S. It's correctly sized for AV. Three or four of them make a perfect SLS advanced booster. I don't get why Northrop Grumman isn't jumping up and down, waving red flags, and yelling, "We already have the engine right here."

TR-107 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TR-107)
Quote from: wikipedia
Operating on LOX/RP-1 the engine was throttleable and had a thrust of 4,900 kN (1,100,000 lbf) at a chamber pressure of 17.7 megapascals (177 bar), making it one of the most powerful engines ever constructed.

Wikipedia specs for RD-180 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RD-180#Design_and_specifications)
I like it, but I'm not a rocket scientist, and don't know if the single chamber vs dual is an issue.

Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: RocketEconomist327 on 05/24/2014 03:28 am
No one I know at MSFC, KSC, or JSC has detailed notes readily available about the TR-107.  Well respected people here are throwing out the TR-107 like the end all be all.

Fine.

Someone post some documentation on it so we can run around congress singing its praises.

My "google-fu" is strong and I could not find anything reliable that I would feel comfortable with sitting in front of Senator Nelson or Congressman Smith and saying, "here is your answer Sir."

Educate us.

VR
RE327
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: RocketEconomist327 on 05/24/2014 03:45 am
The TR-107 is ready to go into production?  I do not think so.

Special shout to savuporo (no L2 access) for digging this stuff up on the TR-107.

Link to savuporo's DD: http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=32675.msg1203328#msg1203328

Anyone else have any solid info?

VR
RE327
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Prober on 05/24/2014 10:40 pm
No one I know at MSFC, KSC, or JSC has detailed notes readily available about the TR-107.  Well respected people here are throwing out the TR-107 like the end all be all.

Fine.

Someone post some documentation on it so we can run around congress singing its praises.

My "google-fu" is strong and I could not find anything reliable that I would feel comfortable with sitting in front of Senator Nelson or Congressman Smith and saying, "here is your answer Sir."

Educate us.

VR
RE327

maybe you can start with the basics with Mr. Nelson.  Educate him that there is no mystery metallurgy.  That Russia, the US, and probably China among others knows how to build SC engines. 

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=34810.msg1203619#msg1203619

Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: docmordrid on 05/25/2014 02:54 am
AvWeek's article quotes an anonymous industry insider who says Atlas V is toast, then goes on at length about possible scenarios,

http://m.aviationweek.com/space/support-grows-new-us-rocket-engine

Quote
>
The Atlas V—always the less expensive of ULA’s fleet (partly owing to the Russian engine sourcing), the most competitive in the commercial market, and the nearest peer to Space Exploration Technologies’ (SpaceX) new Falcon family—is effectively over, an industry source says. This longtime player in the space industry preferred talking on background. The convergence of a Russian threat to cut off RD-180 supply, SpaceX’s impending certification to compete with the Falcon 9v1.1 and the lawsuit filed by SpaceX April 28 claiming ULA’s sole-source deal with the U.S. Air Force was anticompetitive has put so much pressure on the Atlas V that it is unlikely to survive, the source says.
>
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: butters on 05/25/2014 03:13 am
So the USAF appears to prefer methane over kerosene. I wonder how they will avoid selecting Raptor...

I mean, surely the bill was intended to fund AJR, right?
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: yg1968 on 05/25/2014 03:40 am
So the USAF appears to prefer methane over kerosene. I wonder how they will avoid selecting Raptor...

I mean, surely the bill was intended to fund AJR, right?

SpaceX would have to offer its Raptor engine to its competitors. I am not sure if they are ready to do that.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: deltaV on 05/25/2014 03:46 am
So the USAF appears to prefer methane over kerosene. I wonder how they will avoid selecting Raptor...

I mean, surely the bill was intended to fund AJR, right?

It would probably be legal for them to explicitly exclude SpaceX from the engine competition on the grounds that the purpose of the engine is to provide independent access to space and avoid a SpaceX monopoly. FAR 6.202:
Quote
6.202  Establishing or maintaining alternative sources.
(a) Agencies may exclude a particular source from a contract action in order to establish or maintain an alternative source or sources for the supplies or services being acquired if the agency head determines that to do so would—
(1) Increase or maintain competition and likely result in reduced overall costs for the acquisition, or for any anticipated acquisition;...
(4) Ensure the continuous availability of a reliable source of supplies or services;
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: RocketEconomist327 on 05/25/2014 03:57 am
When was the last time a first stage engine was fully developed under the FAR?

Need an answer...
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: edkyle99 on 05/25/2014 04:49 am
AvWeek's article quotes an anonymous industry insider who says Atlas V is toast,
I expect to see Atlas 5 flying on for years. 

 - Ed Kyle
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: butters on 05/25/2014 06:17 am
AvWeek's article quotes an anonymous industry insider who says Atlas V is toast,
I expect to see Atlas 5 flying on for years. 

 - Ed Kyle

Yes, but how many years? Two? Three? Five? We're talking about timeframes that are, at best, equivalent to lead times on engine development. Do we really expect Atlas V to persist for 7-10 years against these geopolitical headwinds?
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: AncientU on 05/25/2014 12:39 pm
So the USAF appears to prefer methane over kerosene. I wonder how they will avoid selecting Raptor...

I mean, surely the bill was intended to fund AJR, right?

SpaceX would have to offer its Raptor engine to its competitors. I am not sure if they are ready to do that.
And the IP to USG... even more unlikely.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: AncientU on 05/25/2014 12:51 pm
When was the last time a first stage engine was fully developed under the FAR?

Need an answer...
SSME in 70s per this discussion:
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=32675.msg1203647#msg1203647
Ref provided by savuporo... p168 in book, 194 in pdf.

And, a full PDF link of that book:
http://www.dtic.mil/get-tr-doc/pdf?AD=ADA471183
Take a look at page 167 for an especially sad table ..

Quote
In the last three decades, only one new U.S. government-sponsored booster engine, the SSME, has
been developed and gone through flight certification. Some significant upgrades have been incorporated
into the SSME since its original certification for flight in the 1970s. These upgrades increased reliability
and safety and somewhat increased mean time between engine refurbishment. They did not appreciably
advance rocket engine technology.


Edit: Note this is a 2006 reference, but don't think there has been anything else in the last eight years.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: AncientU on 05/25/2014 01:07 pm
So the USAF appears to prefer methane over kerosene. I wonder how they will avoid selecting Raptor...

I mean, surely the bill was intended to fund AJR, right?

It would probably be legal for them to explicitly exclude SpaceX from the engine competition on the grounds that the purpose of the engine is to provide independent access to space and avoid a SpaceX monopoly. FAR 6.202:
Quote
6.202  Establishing or maintaining alternative sources.
(a) Agencies may exclude a particular source from a contract action in order to establish or maintain an alternative source or sources for the supplies or services being acquired if the agency head determines that to do so would—
(1) Increase or maintain competition and likely result in reduced overall costs for the acquisition, or for any anticipated acquisition;...
(4) Ensure the continuous availability of a reliable source of supplies or services;

A possible way would be to allow Raptor to be funded for an off-the-shelf competitor to the USG developed engine... this way we get two methane engines, two suppliers.  Good news/bad news for NASA in all this is that the depot problem could have just gotten much easier, but their SLS design is committed to other fuels except possibly for advanced boosters.  Methane chosen over Kero/LOX and Hydro/LOX is the real news here IMO.

Quote
“Personally, what I would like to see us pursue is hydrocarbon boost,” Shelton says. “I don’t think LOx/kerosene is the way to go. Certainly LOx/hydrogen is a thing of the past.”

Edit: added above quote
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: clongton on 05/25/2014 01:16 pm
...
Quote
“Personally, what I would like to see us pursue is hydrocarbon boost,” Shelton says. “I don’t think LOx/kerosene is the way to go. Certainly LOx/hydrogen is a thing of the past.”

Bad news for the future of Delta-IV/RS-68?
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: deltaV on 05/25/2014 04:57 pm
It would probably be legal for them to explicitly exclude SpaceX from the engine competition on the grounds that the purpose of the engine is to provide independent access to space and avoid a SpaceX monopoly. FAR 6.202:

On second thought the house bill says:
Quote
(a) SENSE OF CONGRESS.—It is the sense of Congress that the Secretary of Defense should develop a next-generation liquid rocket engine that— ...
 (4) is developed using full and open competition;

That language might preclude explicitly excluding SpaceX.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: docmordrid on 05/25/2014 05:11 pm
So the USAF appears to prefer methane over kerosene. I wonder how they will avoid selecting Raptor...

I mean, surely the bill was intended to fund AJR, right?

SpaceX would have to offer its Raptor engine to its competitors. I am not sure if they are ready to do that.
And the IP to USG... even more unlikely.

Commission recommendations in general have a way of not being implemented. I could see some kind of crosss licensing deal;

USG can have made Raptors of x thrust level by whoever and can use y quantity of them per core. SpaceX can evolve it, retains BFR rights and gets a license to any improvements patented to USG or its assignees.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: vulture4 on 05/25/2014 07:17 pm
The RS-84 and TR-107 (both developed under the Space Launch Initiative and dropped in 2004) are worth considering, as is the Raptor. Why not a competition between all three? If ULA decides to proceed with US production of the RD-180 I hope they have a permanent license or the problem will simply be postponed.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: RocketEconomist327 on 05/25/2014 08:56 pm
Bad news for the future of Delta-IV/RS-68?

Unknown.  Depends.  Will cranking out more Delta IV cores every year lower the cost of RS-68s? 

Can the RS-68 be human/nuclear payload certified?

Need a CBA and a study to find out.  We are doing one.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: TomH on 05/25/2014 09:06 pm
...
Quote
“Personally, what I would like to see us pursue is hydrocarbon boost,” Shelton says. “I don’t think LOx/kerosene is the way to go. Certainly LOx/hydrogen is a thing of the past.”

Bad news for the future of Delta-IV/RS-68?

Either Shelton doesn't understand rocket fuel chemistry very well or he was misquoted. Kerosene is a hydrocarbon-a mixture of many heavy hydrocarbons. Methane is a light hydrocarbon not prone to coking. Apparently what Shelton actually means is, Personally, what I would like to see us pursue is light hydrocarbon boost...  Natural gas is a mixture of up to 17 compounds (and isomers). It is fairly easy to distill out the 95% that is methane. Now you are dealing with one single simple compound, CH4, as your fuel, as opposed to numerous complex hydrocarbons in kerosene. The chemistry is much simpler; the Isp higher, the density only slightly less, the engines don't undergo polymerization and carbonization, and liquid methane is far more suitable for depot storage than RP-1 or H2.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Prober on 05/25/2014 10:40 pm
The RS-84 and TR-107 (both developedd under the Space Launch Initiative and dropped in 2004) are worth considering, as it the Raptor. Why not a competition between all three? If ULA decides to proceed with US production of the RD-180 I hope they have a permanent license or the problem will simply be postponed.

guys think there's no funds for this. ::)
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: butters on 05/25/2014 11:53 pm
The RS-84 and TR-107 (both developedd under the Space Launch Initiative and dropped in 2004) are worth considering, as it the Raptor. Why not a competition between all three? If ULA decides to proceed with US production of the RD-180 I hope they have a permanent license or the problem will simply be postponed.
guys think there's no funds for this. ::)

And even if there were, there's no guarantee that the companies owning the rights to these engines would bid in such a competition. Would Northrop Grumman really bid the TR-107? This isn't really their meat and potatoes.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: vulture4 on 05/26/2014 07:18 am
Well it appears Tom Mueller, who led the design of the TR-106 and 107 for Northrup-Grumman, joined SpaceX as soon as it was founded. so further work on that design seems unlikely. The RS-84 is an Aerojet design and I guess they wouold be unlikely to compete with their own RD-180.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Mueller
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: guckyfan on 05/26/2014 07:52 am
Well it appears Tom Mueller, who led the design of the TR-106 and 107 for Northrup-Grumman, joined SpaceX as soon as it was founded. so further work on that design seems unlikely.

Serious question. Is Tom Mueller the only top notch rocket engine designer in the US?
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: MP99 on 05/26/2014 11:52 am
...
Quote
“Personally, what I would like to see us pursue is hydrocarbon boost,” Shelton says. “I don’t think LOx/kerosene is the way to go. Certainly LOx/hydrogen is a thing of the past.”

Bad news for the future of Delta-IV/RS-68?

Either Shelton doesn't understand rocket fuel chemistry very well or he was misquoted. Kerosene is a hydrocarbon-a mixture of many heavy hydrocarbons. Methane is a light hydrocarbon not prone to coking. Apparently what Shelton actually means is, Personally, what I would like to see us pursue is light hydrocarbon boost...  Natural gas is a mixture of up to 17 compounds (and isomers). It is fairly easy to distill out the 95% that is methane. Now you are dealing with one single simple compound, CH4, as your fuel, as opposed to numerous complex hydrocarbons in kerosene. The chemistry is much simpler; the Isp higher, the density only slightly less, the engines don't undergo polymerization and carbonization, and liquid methane is far more suitable for depot storage than RP-1 or H2.

He basically said "hc, but not kerosene". How is that different from what you said?

Cheers, Martin
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: vulture4 on 05/26/2014 06:31 pm
I think he meant hydrogen, not hydrocarbons, and he was only talking about the boosters. What he was saying is that there isn't any way to get the cost of the Delta IV down to a point where it would be competitive. That leaves Atlas and SpaceX. But Atlas needs a new engine, and going to methane would require redesign. So if the IP on the RD-180 isn't available on a permanent basis, build a new HC engine (based on the RS-84 or TR-109).
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: TomH on 05/26/2014 07:38 pm
He basically said "hc, but not kerosene". How is that different from what you said?

No, that's not what he said. He used two separate complete sentences. Your construct employs the conjunction but and the negative not, which together denotes an exception to the first statement. Anyone who has mastery of English grammar and syntax understands that the difference is far more than subtle; it is immense. Taken literally, and if quoted accurately, Shelton's comments indicate that he does not understand that RP-1 falls within the category of hydrocarbons.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: MP99 on 05/27/2014 03:41 pm
He basically said "hc, but not kerosene". How is that different from what you said?

No, that's not what he said. He used two separate complete sentences. Your construct employs the conjunction but and the negative not, which together denotes an exception to the first statement. Anyone who has mastery of English grammar and syntax understands that the difference is far more than subtle; it is immense. Taken literally, and if quoted accurately, Shelton's comments indicate that he does not understand that RP-1 falls within the category of hydrocarbons.

He is quoted as saying “I don’t think LOx/kerosene is the way to go."

IMO, it is not credible that the commander of Air Force Space Command would not understand the distinction between kerolox & methalox, and their relation to "hydrocarbon".

cheers, Martin
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: vulture4 on 05/28/2014 06:54 pm
Shelton's last engineering degree was in 1980 and none of his professional experience was in propulsion engineering. His actual meaning is unclear. I think it is safe to say that he either misspoke or was unclear regarding kerosene, and it would be a mistake to read anything into it. USAF is investigating methane but it is not conceivable that USAF would be rejecting LOX/kerosene as a booster propellant combination. His negative statement on LOX/Hydrogen as a booster propellant combination seems a little more deliberate but even here it isn't clear whether he is suggesting any sort of early end for Delta IV.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: TomH on 05/28/2014 08:59 pm
The fact that Shelton indicates a preference for methane makes me think about its relatively good density, better than RP-1 Isp, and its propensity to burn clean without polymerization and carbonization. That's a good fuel for reusability. If one wants an EELV sized rocket that's reusable, one needs to think about the correct amount of thrust for boost back and for landing. For a rocket with one engine (or very few-particularly with no center engine), throttling deep enough to land an almost empty first stage would be a challenge.

F9 has a good engine pattern and number of engines for appropriate thrust in boost back and landing: 3/9 for boost back and 1/9 (center engine) for landing. RP-1, however, is not the best of fuels when trying to avoid coking. SpaceX is experimenting with methane with an eye toward the same engine pattern, but in a monstrous size for Raptor. One Raptor for an EELV sized LV would be appropriate boost thrust, but I would guess it could not throttle deep enough to land. If SX proceeds with Rator, I would think that it would be prudent for someone to consider a Merlin D sized methane engine with an eye toward RTLS/reusability for an EELV sized LV with an engine placement pattern similar to F9.1.1

Thoughts?
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: vulture4 on 05/30/2014 02:21 am
No evidence has been presented that General Shelton ever used the word methane, or implied that he had even considered methane as a rocket fuel. There's nothing wrong with speculation, but let's speculate based on facts.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: beancounter on 05/30/2014 04:55 am
The fact that Shelton indicates a preference for methane makes me think about its relatively good density, better than RP-1 Isp, and its propensity to burn clean without polymerization and carbonization. That's a good fuel for reusability. If one wants an EELV sized rocket that's reusable, one needs to think about the correct amount of thrust for boost back and for landing. For a rocket with one engine (or very few-particularly with no center engine), throttling deep enough to land an almost empty first stage would be a challenge.

F9 has a good engine pattern and number of engines for appropriate thrust in boost back and landing: 3/9 for boost back and 1/9 (center engine) for landing. RP-1, however, is not the best of fuels when trying to avoid coking. SpaceX is experimenting with methane with an eye toward the same engine pattern, but in a monstrous size for Raptor. One Raptor for an EELV sized LV would be appropriate boost thrust, but I would guess it could not throttle deep enough to land. If SX proceeds with Rator, I would think that it would be prudent for someone to consider a Merlin D sized methane engine with an eye toward RTLS/reusability for an EELV sized LV with an engine placement pattern similar to F9.1.1

Thoughts?

IIRC Raptor is the last engine that SpaceX intend to do.  If this is the case, then no small Raptors.  However did anyone else hear mention of a 'family'?  I seem to recollect this sometime but can't pinpoint it exactly. 
Cheers.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: JohnFornaro on 05/30/2014 03:06 pm
...
Quote
“Personally, what I would like to see us pursue is hydrocarbon boost,” Shelton says. “I don’t think LOx/kerosene is the way to go. Certainly LOx/hydrogen is a thing of the past.”

Bad news for the future of Delta-IV/RS-68?

Either Shelton doesn't understand rocket fuel chemistry very well or he was misquoted.

If that quote is accurate, then Mr. Shelton is pretending to knowledge that he doesn't have, or else he would have worded his statement in an unambiguous fashion.  From a factual basis, Kero/Lox or LOX/GH2 are by no means a "thing of the past".  Obviously, even from the armchair, "hydrocarbons" include several different fuel components with different ISP's, coking tendencies, and what have you.

Rocket scientists should not be deciding strategies; honest policymakers should be doing that.  From a tactical standpoint, the realm of the rocket scientist in this example; if methane is seen as the appropriate fuel, then so be it.  Too bad the policymaker in question is not stating the case all that clearly.  Mr. Shelton is quite aware of English grammar; his ambiguity is a deliberate verbal ploy of the common Cretan:

He basically said "hc, but not kerosene". How is that different from what you said?

No, that's not what he said. He used two separate complete sentences. Your construct employs the conjunction but and the negative not, which together denotes an exception to the first statement. Anyone who has mastery of English grammar and syntax understands that the difference is far more than subtle; it is immense. Taken literally, and if quoted accurately, Shelton's comments indicate that he does not understand that RP-1 falls within the category of hydrocarbons.

What TomH said ^
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: JohnFornaro on 05/30/2014 03:07 pm
Well it appears Tom Mueller, who led the design of the TR-106 and 107 for Northrup-Grumman, joined SpaceX as soon as it was founded. so further work on that design seems unlikely.

Serious question. Is Tom Mueller the only top notch rocket engine designer in the US?

No, he is not. 

As an employee of SpaceX, he will work on SpaceX engine design, not on furthering NG's earlier designs.

Your question does not serve a discriminating purpose that I can tell.  Can you elaborate?
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: TomH on 05/30/2014 09:20 pm
IIRC Raptor is the last engine that SpaceX intend to do.  If this is the case, then no small Raptors.  However did anyone else hear mention of a 'family'?  I seem to recollect this sometime but can't pinpoint it exactly. 
Cheers.

I'm wondering whether anyone (not just SpaceX) might consider a methane fueled engine about the size of Merlin D as the national defense engine. Such an engine on an EELV sized LV could take advantage of the octagon + center pattern for 3/9 restart for RTLS and 1/9 restart for landing. Additionally, the fact that it is methane fueled would mostly eliminate the coking issue.

Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: TomH on 05/30/2014 09:36 pm
No evidence has been presented that General Shelton ever used the word methane, or implied that he had even considered methane as a rocket fuel. There's nothing wrong with speculation, but let's speculate based on facts.

Well let's see. He wants hydrocarbon. He doesn't want Kerosene. If you rule out methane, what's left? Ethane, Diesel fuel (#2 fuel oil), a number of grades of gasoline, propane, isomers of pentane, butane, tar, a few other exotic odds and ends in miniscule percentages. So maybe he didn't mean petroleum based; what does that leave us with? The 8 sugars, starches, alcohols. The only other hydrocarbon I can see as viable would be Ethanol. How does Ethanol compare with methane on cost, density, Isp, and other parameters? Which one would you assume he meant?
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: deltaV on 05/31/2014 12:16 am
Hydrocarbons consist of hydrogen and carbon only. Sugars, starches, and alcohols contain oxygen and hence are not hydrocarbons.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: TomH on 05/31/2014 03:14 am
Hydrocarbons consist of hydrogen and carbon only. Sugars, starches, and alcohols contain oxygen and hence are not hydrocarbons.

You are absolutely right. I had forgotten that's the main difference between hydrocarbons and carbohydrates. Thanks for pointing that out.

This being the case, there really isn't much else Shelton could be implying other than methane. Gasoline comes in many grades and formulations. Propane and butane are used as fuels, but I just don't see any of those being used as rocket fuel, definitely not diesel either. There are many other hydrocarbons that come from petroleum and natural gas processing, but virtually none are realistically useful as a fuel, particularly rocket fuel. If Shelton isn't implying methane, I just don't know what else he could be referring to.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Proponent on 05/31/2014 07:00 am
Methane seems quite attractive in stage-combustion applications, because of its high mass-specific heat.  I would guess there is a possibility that for US-built engines, staged combustion might not be the way to go when overall costs are considered.  If so, propane and propylene have density advantages over methane while offering similar or slightly better specific impulses.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: baldusi on 05/31/2014 12:18 pm

Methane seems quite attractive in stage-combustion applications, because of its high mass-specific heat.  I would guess there is a possibility that for US-built engines, staged combustion might not be the way to go when overall costs are considered.  If so, propane and propylene have density advantages over methane while offering similar or slightly better specific impulses.
Please, don't go there again. Specific heat determine turbine power, and there methanes is a few times better than propane and propylene. The cooling characteristics also depend on specific heat. And you have to consider density and viscosity since those determine your pressure losses. Latent heat of the mixture determine difficulty to start up. There are so many consideration. There are good reasons while nobody talks about propane or propylene rocket engine. At least not at this performance levels.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: vulture4 on 06/01/2014 04:09 pm

Methane seems quite attractive in stage-combustion applications, because of its high mass-specific heat.  I would guess there is a possibility that for US-built engines, staged combustion might not be the way to go when overall costs are considered.  If so, propane and propylene have density advantages over methane while offering similar or slightly better specific impulses.
Please, don't go there again. Specific heat determine turbine power, and there methanes is a few times better than propane and propylene. The cooling characteristics also depend on specific heat. And you have to consider density and viscosity since those determine your pressure losses. Latent heat of the mixture determine difficulty to start up. There are so many consideration. There are good reasons while nobody talks about propane or propylene rocket engine. At least not at this performance levels.

Can you you provide a few examples? Small engines using propane and ethane have been tested. What are the relevant specific heats for the light hydrocarbons?
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Proponent on 06/02/2014 06:38 am

Methane seems quite attractive in stage-combustion applications, because of its high mass-specific heat.  I would guess there is a possibility that for US-built engines, staged combustion might not be the way to go when overall costs are considered.  If so, propane and propylene have density advantages over methane while offering similar or slightly better specific impulses.
Please, don't go there again. Specific heat determine turbine power, and there methanes is a few times better than propane and propylene. The cooling characteristics also depend on specific heat. And you have to consider density and viscosity since those determine your pressure losses. Latent heat of the mixture determine difficulty to start up. There are so many consideration. There are good reasons while nobody talks about propane or propylene rocket engine. At least not at this performance levels.

That's why I mentioned "overall costs."  I can see why methane is attractive if you're going all out for maximum technical performance -- high chamber pressure, high Isp, etc.  But maybe if the goal is lowest overall cost in the context of an expendable rocket, it might be better to compromise a bit on performance.  If you're aware of any comprehensive comparisons of the light hydrocarbons against one another, I'd be grateful if you could point me toward them.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Proponent on 06/02/2014 07:44 am
Can you you provide a few examples? Small engines using propane and ethane have been tested. What are the relevant specific heats for the light hydrocarbons?

As have small propylene engines (http://www.garvspace.com/Current_Projects.htm).

Attached is a plot of mass-specific heat capacities of light hydrocarbons as a function of temperature.  The data come from NIST (http://webbook.nist.gov/).

Methane has the lowest molar heat capacity of the hydrocarbons but, by virtue of its low molecular weight, the highest mass-specific heat capacity.

Methane does have a significant advantage over the others in heat capacity, but it's not obviously overwhelming.  That's why I am so keen to see comprehensive comparisons of methane against others taking account of all of the relevant factors -- exhaust velocity, heat capacity, density, viscosity, stability, thermal and pressurization issues, etc.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: vulture4 on 07/03/2014 10:01 pm
I feel the same way. For a really small rocket tank volume has little impact. For a larger engine there is always a tradeoff between impulse per unit mass and impulse per unit volume (which determines tank size and mass). Higher Isp means lower density fuel and larger fuel tanks.  And of course if a noncryo oxydizer is selected, i.e. N2O, then there is no point in using a cryo fuel. So without real testing it's hard to know what strategy will be optimum.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: inventodoc on 07/07/2014 08:40 pm
A new news article at http://spaceflightnow.com/news/n1407/07engine/#.U7sFOPldXgE (http://spaceflightnow.com/news/n1407/07engine/#.U7sFOPldXgE) states that the Obama administration is not showing much eagerness to replace Atlas V/RD-180 versus the Congress which has a different view.   The administration sounds like they would like to continue with RD-180, which may be negotiable, but who wants to be dependent on being in the good graces of the Russians?  Good grief.

Does this shake things up a bit?
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Blackstar on 07/07/2014 08:59 pm
It doesn't shake things up. In many ways it is what could be expected--does Washington move fast on anything?

I think there are a couple of factors here:

1-as time goes on, the Russians have not actually taken any actions concerning the engines. They've talked about it, but the shipments still happen and they continue to cash the checks. So the pressure has abated a bit.

2-there are good policy reasons to start a domestic production line for a replacement engine (for instance, not allowing the Russians to hold the U.S. at risk on something vital to national security). There are also good policy reasons to not have the U.S. government foot the bill for such an engine. And there are good reasons to wait a little while and see what happens after passions cool.

3-(yeah, I wrote "a couple of factors," but I really meant 3, three factors) there are people in OMB who are more inclined to give SpaceX an opportunity here than there are in Congress. So they aren't eager to spend money helping out ULA.

I'm kinda reminded of a comment that Dwight Eisenhower used to make to his cabinet: "Let's not be in a hurry to make our mistakes."
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: vulture4 on 07/07/2014 09:25 pm
Maybe I'm being naive here, but didn't Lockheed already guarantee that it would provide a second, domestic source for the RD-180 way back when it was selected? Wasn't that why P&W got the license in the first place?
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: IslandPlaya on 07/07/2014 09:36 pm
Maybe I'm being naive here, but didn't Lockheed already guarantee that it would provide a second, domestic source for the RD-180 way back when it was selected? Wasn't that why P&W got the license in the first place?
A bluff that is put in the spotlight now I hope...
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Blackstar on 07/07/2014 10:12 pm
Maybe I'm being naive here, but didn't Lockheed already guarantee that it would provide a second, domestic source for the RD-180 way back when it was selected? Wasn't that why P&W got the license in the first place?

They will gladly be paid to do that.

The problem with building a license-produced RD-180 in the US is that the license runs out around 2020 or so.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: joek on 07/07/2014 10:25 pm
Maybe I'm being naive here, but didn't Lockheed already guarantee that it would provide a second, domestic source for the RD-180 way back when it was selected? Wasn't that why P&W got the license in the first place?

Back in 1995 the USAF made co-production a requirement.  Subsequently waivers were granted and alternatives approved to the point where co-production went from a requirement to maybe-someday (any tangible effort ended in mid-2008).  Basically, no one felt it important enough to obtain the requisite funding.

Many issues going down the co-production route at this point, as pointed out in the "RD-180 Availability Risk Mitigation Study", aka the "Mitchell Report" (slides attached).  For good synopsis see here (http://www.thespacereview.com/article/2512/1) and here (http://www.spacepolicyonline.com/news/air-force-rd-180-alternatives-study-finds-no-easy-answers). Among other things: co-production license ends in 2022; the technical assistance program ends in 2017.  Both would need to be renegotiated/extended to be of much value.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: vulture4 on 07/12/2014 04:02 pm
Many issues going down the co-production route at this point, as pointed out in the "RD-180 Availability Risk Mitigation Study", aka the "Mitchell Report" (slides attached).

Interesting. Griffin on committee. Suggests DH not cost effective. No mention of using any DOD funds to accelerate FH certification to be sooner than 2018. Strong support for funding new engine even though a HLV using the new engine would not be available until 2023.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: PahTo on 07/12/2014 04:43 pm

Begs the question if not "cost effective", why is the Delta flying, and the only operational heavy lifter the US has?
...and possible accelerated FH development is a good call.  Seems once again politics/lobbying trumps what (I believe) is best for the taxpayers, the mission and the country.
I do support development of a new engine, but don't "we" already have three in the hopper (RS-25D/E, AJ26/variant and Raptor)?
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: TomH on 07/12/2014 09:48 pm
I do support development of a new engine, but don't "we" already have three in the hopper (RS-25D/E, AJ26/variant and Raptor)?

General Shelton said he wanted to pursue Hydrocarbon but not RP-1, but that doesn't mean his personal wishes will be followed. AJ-26 comes from a Russian design, so the technical language in the law might eliminate that, I do not know. RS-25 for EELV sized rocket....dunno, seems expensive. Raptor-well the govt. may want more of their fingers in the pie than Musk would allow. RS-84 and TR-107 are partially developed; wonder how difficult it would be to restart their development?
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: vulture4 on 07/13/2014 12:11 am
RS-84 and TR-107 are partially developed; wonder how difficult it would be to restart their development?
The TR-107 is unlikely as its designer is now working for SpaceX. The RS-84 is a possibility but would of course require major redesign of the Atlas. If development of the Raptor continues and SpaceX is interested in selling it, it would also be a possibility though the redesign would be even more significant to shift to methane.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: TrevorMonty on 07/13/2014 05:36 am
These engines were not designed to take advantage of 3D printing. In long run it may be cheaper to redesign them. A x10-100 parts reduction will make for cheaper more reliable engine.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: PahTo on 07/13/2014 10:20 pm
RS-84 and TR-107 are partially developed; wonder how difficult it would be to restart their development?
The TR-107 is unlikely as its designer is now working for SpaceX. The RS-84 is a possibility but would of course require major redesign of the Atlas. If development of the Raptor continues and SpaceX is interested in selling it, it would also be a possibility though the redesign would be even more significant to shift to methane.

Yeah, I guess my point is that a new engine pretty much means a new rocket--AtlasV would end as we know it, and as many have noted, there is strong support for keeping it flying (for good reason).  Beyond that, there are plenty of other LVs in the US, either in development or flying.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Coastal Ron on 07/13/2014 10:41 pm
RS-84 and TR-107 are partially developed; wonder how difficult it would be to restart their development?
The TR-107 is unlikely as its designer is now working for SpaceX. The RS-84 is a possibility but would of course require major redesign of the Atlas. If development of the Raptor continues and SpaceX is interested in selling it, it would also be a possibility though the redesign would be even more significant to shift to methane.

Yeah, I guess my point is that a new engine pretty much means a new rocket...

That's what ULA is saying.

Quote
...and as many have noted, there is strong support for keeping it flying (for good reason).

Can't fly without an engine though, so regardless how liked today's Atlas is, if a new engine is required then the Atlas launcher as we know it today is likely to change.

Quote
Beyond that, there are plenty of other LVs in the US, either in development or flying.

And that is the economic question that ULA and it's parents are no doubt mulling over - would there be enough business that a new Atlas X could get that would be worth the investment?

It would be a wonderful opportunity to develop a launcher that could really compete with the Falcon 9 family, including reusability.  Not sure ULA's parents would be able to agree on that though, since that would pretty much signal the end of the Delta IV, and I'm not sure Boeing would be happy to pony up funding for such an effort - and that is assuming both partners would put money into such a vehicle, when it is Lockheed Martin's contribution to ULA that is at question here.

Lots of options, but no clear path...
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: vulture4 on 07/14/2014 02:05 am
Or Boeing could reduce the price of the Delta IV, increase the launch rate, and make it a real competitor. The Delta was a "clean sheet" design. Why it's so expensive to operate is unclear. There might be some slack there. If they can't do it, it's hard to see how it is serving its stated purpose of being a backup to the Atlas.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Jim on 07/14/2014 02:18 am
Boeing doesn't determine the price of Delta IV,  ULA does
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: MP99 on 07/14/2014 08:25 am


And that is the economic question that ULA and it's parents are no doubt mulling over - would there be enough business that a new Atlas X could get that would be worth the investment?

Wow, we sure burnt through Atlases VI, VII, VIII & IX pretty quickly!

;-)

Cheers, Martin
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: kch on 07/14/2014 08:42 am


And that is the economic question that ULA and it's parents are no doubt mulling over - would there be enough business that a new Atlas X could get that would be worth the investment?

Wow, we sure burnt through Atlases VI, VII, VIII & IX pretty quickly!

;-)

Cheers, Martin

Well, they *did* skip Atlas IV ... not golfers, apparently ...  ;)
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: AncientU on 07/15/2014 04:23 pm
Interesting interpretation of Senator McCain's language...

Quote
What it says is that the Secretary of Defense may not enter into a new contract or renew an existing contract under the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle program with any person “if that person purchases supplies critical for space launch activities covered by the contract from a Russian entity.” 

http://www.forbes.com/sites/lorenthompson/2014/07/15/senate-could-hand-spacex-a-monopoly-in-military-satellite-launches/

Note: not sure if this is the correct thread -- the 2015 Nat'l Def Authorization Act is referenced
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Prober on 07/17/2014 01:49 pm
Or Boeing could reduce the price of the Delta IV, increase the launch rate, and make it a real competitor. The Delta was a "clean sheet" design. Why it's so expensive to operate is unclear. There might be some slack there. If they can't do it, it's hard to see how it is serving its stated purpose of being a backup to the Atlas.

had part of yesterdays RD-180 replacement conversation before congress.

Some engine programs are locked together (scary).  Delta IV is locked into pricing with SLS because of the shuttles engines.   SLS solids are locked in with the US Navy missile program.  Its a mess, and from what I heard from Congress they haven't got a clue. ::)
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: PahTo on 07/17/2014 02:20 pm
had part of yesterdays RD-180 replacement conversation before congress.

Some engine programs are locked together (scary).  Delta IV is locked into pricing with SLS because of the shuttles engines.   SLS solids are locked in with the US Navy missile program.  Its a mess, and from what I heard from Congress they haven't got a clue. ::)


Please elaborate:  SLS uses RS-25(D/E) while Delta IV uses RS-68(A), so is the linkage the manufacturer?  Certainly not LH2?
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: woods170 on 07/17/2014 02:20 pm
Or Boeing could reduce the price of the Delta IV, increase the launch rate, and make it a real competitor. The Delta was a "clean sheet" design. Why it's so expensive to operate is unclear. There might be some slack there. If they can't do it, it's hard to see how it is serving its stated purpose of being a backup to the Atlas.

had part of yesterdays RD-180 replacement conversation before congress.

Some engine programs are locked together (scary).  Delta IV is locked into pricing with SLS because of the shuttles engines.   SLS solids are locked in with the US Navy missile program.  Its a mess, and from what I heard from Congress they haven't got a clue. ::)

Huh? That's ridiculous. How can Delta IV be locked into SLS? Delta IV doesn't use shuttle engines. RS-68 does not equal RS-25. Too many differences: gas-generator versus staged combustion, ablative nozzle versus regen nozzle, etc. About the only thing in common is the stuffs they run on: LH2 and LOX.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Prober on 07/17/2014 02:38 pm
Or Boeing could reduce the price of the Delta IV, increase the launch rate, and make it a real competitor. The Delta was a "clean sheet" design. Why it's so expensive to operate is unclear. There might be some slack there. If they can't do it, it's hard to see how it is serving its stated purpose of being a backup to the Atlas.

had part of yesterdays RD-180 replacement conversation before congress.

Some engine programs are locked together (scary).  Delta IV is locked into pricing with SLS because of the shuttles engines.   SLS solids are locked in with the US Navy missile program.  Its a mess, and from what I heard from Congress they haven't got a clue. ::)

Huh? That's ridiculous. How can Delta IV be locked into SLS? Delta IV doesn't use shuttle engines. RS-68 does not equal RS-25. Too many differences: gas-generator versus staged combustion, ablative nozzle versus regen nozzle, etc. About the only thing in common is the stuffs they run on: LH2 and LOX.

Prices of the RS-68 did go up recently.
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=35193.msg1228076#msg1228076
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: woods170 on 07/17/2014 02:55 pm
Or Boeing could reduce the price of the Delta IV, increase the launch rate, and make it a real competitor. The Delta was a "clean sheet" design. Why it's so expensive to operate is unclear. There might be some slack there. If they can't do it, it's hard to see how it is serving its stated purpose of being a backup to the Atlas.

had part of yesterdays RD-180 replacement conversation before congress.

Some engine programs are locked together (scary).  Delta IV is locked into pricing with SLS because of the shuttles engines.   SLS solids are locked in with the US Navy missile program.  Its a mess, and from what I heard from Congress they haven't got a clue. ::)

Huh? That's ridiculous. How can Delta IV be locked into SLS? Delta IV doesn't use shuttle engines. RS-68 does not equal RS-25. Too many differences: gas-generator versus staged combustion, ablative nozzle versus regen nozzle, etc. About the only thing in common is the stuffs they run on: LH2 and LOX.

Prices of the RS-68 did go up recently.
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=35193.msg1228076#msg1228076

Delta IV and SLS share the same massive overhead on the RS-68 en RS-25 engine programmes. And unfortunately, this does not result in a splitting of the overhead cost across both programs. Hell no, both programs pay up the full overhead. Very easy way for AR to make a nice profit by supposedly locking the two engine programs together. Sheesh, what a mess.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: muomega0 on 07/17/2014 06:13 pm
Here is something interesting:
Quote
However, Shelton said there have already been disagreements between SpaceX and the service on three of the engineering review boards the two sides have completed. Sixteen more review boards remain, he said.

http://spacenews.com/article/military-space/41287white-house-seeking-40-million-to-explore-engine-options
So there are apparently some issues. ;)
Also in the link discussion in a different thread:  http://spacenews.com/article/military-space/41287white-house-seeking-40-million-to-explore-engine-options

Quote from: SpaceNewsLiquidEngine
The White House position on the new engine, while supportive, appears to be more cautious than that of the House, which in June passed a defense spending bill that provides $220 million next year for a crash program to develop a new liquid-fueled rocket engine. In reaction to the bill, the White House said it opposes the expenditure, arguing that new engine would take eight years to develop at a cost of $1.5 billion, and require another $3 billion investment in a new rocket to go with it.

The Obama administration instead advocated studying “several cost-effective options” for reducing U.S. reliance on Russian engine technology, including “multiple awards that will drive innovation, stimulate the industrial base, and reduce costs through competition.”

Does this suggest that the $220M crash program is sole source, while "several cost-effective options" starting with $40M would go through a competitively bid Phase A, B, ... downselect process similar to other major procurement programs that would consume 4.5B?  Does the 4.5b included certification flights?
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: TrevorMonty on 07/18/2014 03:17 am
The development costs floats being mentioned for new engine is around $1B over 5 years. I'm assuming these costs are for the traditional engine manufacturers. The question is how much could the new companies do it for eg XCOR, BO or SpaceX.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: vulture4 on 07/18/2014 09:08 am
The development costs floats being mentioned for new engine is around $1B over 5 years. I'm assuming these costs are for the traditional engine manufacturers. The question is how much could the new companies do it for eg XCOR, BO or SpaceX.
SpaceX would be unlikely to attempt development of an ORSC engine, since the FH can already achieve the same payload capacity at lower cost. There is usually more than one way to skin a cat.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: sublimemarsupial on 07/18/2014 02:33 pm
The development costs floats being mentioned for new engine is around $1B over 5 years. I'm assuming these costs are for the traditional engine manufacturers. The question is how much could the new companies do it for eg XCOR, BO or SpaceX.
SpaceX would be unlikely to attempt development of an ORSC engine

SpaceX is already developing a full flow staged combustion engine (Raptor) which necessitates that one of the preburners be oxidizer rich.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: vulture4 on 07/18/2014 03:16 pm
The development costs floats being mentioned for new engine is around $1B over 5 years. I'm assuming these costs are for the traditional engine manufacturers. The question is how much could the new companies do it for eg XCOR, BO or SpaceX.
SpaceX would be unlikely to attempt development of an ORSC engine

SpaceX is already developing a full flow staged combustion engine (Raptor) which necessitates that one of the preburners be oxidizer rich.

A good point, nevertheless coking is much less of a problem for methane than for RP-1, and it isn't clear exactly how hot the LOX pump turbine will actually be, so oxydation may not be as problematic.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: yg1968 on 08/21/2014 09:36 pm
An RFI was released today:
https://www.fbo.gov/?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=6900cbd5088703bad8a5a5e6862e7a55&tab=core&_cview=0
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: AncientU on 08/21/2014 10:38 pm
An RFI was released today:
https://www.fbo.gov/?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=6900cbd5088703bad8a5a5e6862e7a55&tab=core&_cview=0

Surprising that they are pulling the link to commercial so hard.  Maybe cost of the solution will be a principle selection criterion. Preservation of the Atlas V seems to only happen under option 1 of 3.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: muomega0 on 08/21/2014 11:44 pm
An RFI was released today:
https://www.fbo.gov/?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=6900cbd5088703bad8a5a5e6862e7a55&tab=core&_cview=0

Surprising that they are pulling the link to commercial so hard.  Maybe cost of the solution will be a principle selection criterion. Preservation of the Atlas V seems to only happen under option 1 of 3.
FY18 seems to imply RD-180 replacement for the Atlas option or just drop it entirely for Delta?
The Sample Reference Mission
             18   19  20  21  22  23  24  25  26  27  28  29  30
Med         2     1    2    4    0    2    1    3    1   1    4    3    3 
Int            3     7   5     4    4   3    4     5   4   5    4    4    2
Heavy      0     2    1     1    1   0    1    0    1   0    0    0    1
90 launches over 13 years or 7 per year.  Is "non-sole source" required?
FY18 conflicts with 2006 Long Term Propulsion study the current family of EELV boosters does not need to be replaced for the next 15 to 20 years (http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=34753.msg1201653#msg1201653), not to mention the availability of two other domestic LVs.     Very few Heavy missions.
No commonality with NASA's  HLV needs?  what about a  Coordinated Strategy Among Air Force, NRO, and NASA (http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-13-317R)?
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: AncientU on 08/24/2014 07:39 pm
Whomever added the words and/or launch systems created a new exhibit for Space Exploration Technologies Corp. v. The United States:

Quote
SUBJECT:  Booster Propulsion and Launch System Request for Information (RFI)

Reference: RFI No. 14-090 - Post Under Special Notice

1.  Background

Air Force Space Command (AFSPC) is considering an acquisition strategy to stimulate the commercial development of booster propulsion systems and/or launch systems for Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV)-class spacelift applications.  The Air Force has relied upon foreign sources for booster propulsion systems in the past. However, consistent with the 2013 National Space Transportation Policy, we are pursuing alternative domestic capability. The Government is seeking insight into booster propulsion and/or launch system materiel options that could deliver cost-effective, commercially-viable solutions for current and future National Security Space (NSS) launch requirements.   The Air Force needs this information to inform near term decisions about how to best ensure that future launch requirements are fulfilled by reliable, commercially-viable sources.
   
2.  Purpose

In order to maintain assured access to space, and get the best value for the taxpayer, the Air Force is requesting information from U.S. Industry to help determine the best way to ensure that future launch requirements can be met by reliable, commercially-viable sources of production. 

The Air Force is open to a range of possible options including but not limited to:
1. a replacement engine with similar performance characteristics to currently used engines,
2. alternative configurations that would provide similar performance (such as a multiple engine configuration) to existing EELV-class systems, and
3. use of alternative launch vehicles for EELV-class systems. 

The Air Force is particularly interested in exploiting any available synergies with commercial space launch systems.  The Air Force is also highly interested in business opportunities for public-private ventures and would like to identify specific opportunities that capitalize on potential synergies between military and non-military space needs.

Additionally, this RFI is intended to give launch vehicle and propulsion system contractors an opportunity to comment on proposed program requirements as well as identify any needed risk reduction areas and possible technology maturation efforts.  In defining these objectives, the Government is interested in launch/propulsion strategies that are designed for affordability throughout the life cycle and that potentially could result in greater U.S. competitiveness in the commercial space arena.  The government is also interested in how government-industry cost-sharing arrangements should be structured.  Results of this RFI may constitute sufficient market research for any follow-on procurement by SMC.  The Government encourages respondents to leverage analysis and work conducted in previous efforts.  This RFI is for market research purposes only.
(Emphasis  and formatting mine)

This is exactly the argument Spacex is making:
Quote
5. The majority of EELV launches are performed by ULA's Atlas family of launch vehicles, which use the RD-I80 rocket engine. The RD-l80 is made in Russia by NPO Energomash, which is owned and controlled by the Russian govemment.

Quote
9. Domestic competition using American rocket engines ls available, as SpaceX already is qualified to compete for most EELV launches. Today, the Air Force must on average budget $400 million for a ULA launch. By contrast, SpaceX estimates that it would reliably provide exactly the same services at a 75% cost savings (around $ 100 million per launch).

10. In late December 2013-in the face of the widely acknowledged and critical need to inject competition into the EELV Program, and less than 20 days before SpaceX's final certification launch for the EELV Program-the Air Force executed a contract to procure 36 launch vehicle cores from ULA on a sole source basis, locking out competition for the vast majority of EELV missions for years to come. The Air Force should be required to comply with its legal obligations to fairly and openly compete launch opportunities, and it should end reliance on Russian rocket engines to carry national security payloads into space.

And,
12. The best evidence available to SpaceX shows that the Air Force will order 22 Single Core Launch Vehicles to use for missions that are now scheduled to launch in FY2017-FY2019. SpaceX's Falcon 9 is qualified to compete for all of these Single Core Launch Vehicles missions now, years in advance of their anticipated launch dates.

And Falcon Heavy can fly the rest... by 2017 or 2018 -- much more likely than a new engine being ready by then.

Faster -- ready now for majority of payloads, ready soon for heavies.
Better -- already has "result(ed) in greater U.S. competitiveness in the commercial space arena."
Cheaper -- launch system development free to USAF; ER/WR pads operational, too.
(But OMG, no vertical integration capability or UHC nitrogen bottles in their racks!!!)

You don't often get all three.

Does the USAF have such a blind eye/deaf ear, or is the intent to just funnel more billions to their old space cronies?

Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Jim on 08/24/2014 08:41 pm
Faster -- ready now for majority of payloads, ready soon for heavies.
Better -- already has "result(ed) in greater U.S. competitiveness in the commercial space arena."
Cheaper -- launch system development free to USAF; ER/WR pads operational, too.
(But OMG, no vertical integration capability or UHC nitrogen bottles in their racks!!!)

You don't often get all three.

Does the USAF have such a blind eye/deaf ear, or is the intent to just funnel more billions to their old space cronies?



Because there isn't all three

They are not faster.  Launch rate for cookie cutter spacecraft does not qualify
That is not definition of better
Cheaper has not be proven for USG spacecraft.

Poo poo this ( vertical integration capability or UHC nitrogen bottles) just shows the lack of understanding.

The USAF doesn't have a blind eye, you just don't know any better
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: saliva_sweet on 08/24/2014 09:46 pm
Launch rate for cookie cutter spacecraft does not qualify
Cheaper has not be proven for USG spacecraft.

In your opinion, is there anything on SpaceX manifest that isn't "cookie cutter"? Also, how should they prove things like launch rate and price for USG?
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: AncientU on 08/24/2014 10:35 pm
Faster -- ready now for majority of payloads, ready soon for heavies.
Better -- already has "result(ed) in greater U.S. competitiveness in the commercial space arena."
Cheaper -- launch system development free to USAF; ER/WR pads operational, too.
(But OMG, no vertical integration capability or UHC nitrogen bottles in their racks!!!)

You don't often get all three.

Does the USAF have such a blind eye/deaf ear, or is the intent to just funnel more billions to their old space cronies?



Because there isn't all three

They are not faster.  Launch rate for cookie cutter spacecraft does not qualify
That is not definition of better
Cheaper has not be proven for USG spacecraft.

Poo poo this ( vertical integration capability or UHC nitrogen bottles) just shows the lack of understanding.

The USAF doesn't have a blind eye, you just don't know any better

Faster than the 2018 want date by the USAF.
Better than a hypothetically commercially competitive system that the old space industry could produce.
Cheaper than a billion or three that the USAF is getting ready to fork out.

Yup, all three. 
But it's no challenge doing F/B/C than the USG.  So I cheated, sue me.

What are you referring to?  Please at least read their solicitation and my response to it.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: JohnFornaro on 08/25/2014 12:19 am
Whomever added the words and/or launch systems created a new exhibit for Space Exploration Technologies Corp. v. The United States:...

I thought that was a pretty good observation.  I'm a fan, but I wouldn't go so far as to use this soggy old mantra just yet:

Quote
Faster -- ready now for majority of payloads, ready soon for heavies.
Better -- already has "result(ed) in greater U.S. competitiveness in the commercial space arena."
Cheaper -- launch system development free to USAF; ER/WR pads operational, too.

All of that remains to be seen.  And the first step would be to open up competition.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: JBF on 08/25/2014 12:51 am
Whomever added the words and/or launch systems created a new exhibit for Space Exploration Technologies Corp. v. The United States:...

I thought that was a pretty good observation.  I'm a fan, but I wouldn't go so far as to use this soggy old mantra just yet:

Quote
Faster -- ready now for majority of payloads, ready soon for heavies.
Better -- already has "result(ed) in greater U.S. competitiveness in the commercial space arena."
Cheaper -- launch system development free to USAF; ER/WR pads operational, too.

All of that remains to be seen.  And the first step would be to open up competition.

Besides this also gives both Boeing and LM a chance to compete with a new system and divest themselves of both the Atlas and Delta if they choose.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: AncientU on 08/25/2014 12:24 pm
Whomever added the words and/or launch systems created a new exhibit for Space Exploration Technologies Corp. v. The United States:...

I thought that was a pretty good observation.  I'm a fan, but I wouldn't go so far as to use this soggy old mantra just yet:

Quote
Faster -- ready now for majority of payloads, ready soon for heavies.
Better -- already has "result(ed) in greater U.S. competitiveness in the commercial space arena."
Cheaper -- launch system development free to USAF; ER/WR pads operational, too.

All of that remains to be seen.  And the first step would be to open up competition.

Besides this also gives both Boeing and LM a chance to compete with a new system and divest themselves of both the Atlas and Delta if they choose.

Funny, but I'd not even considered that possibility...
Would be an interesting twist -- USAF paying the tab to let giants Boeing/LM compete in the commercial market (against SpaceX/Ariane/etc.) while fighting against SpaceX competing in the USG launch market.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Jim on 08/25/2014 01:37 pm

1. Faster than the 2018 want date by the USAF.
2.  Better than a hypothetically commercially competitive system that the old space industry could produce.
3.  Cheaper than a billion or three that the USAF is getting ready to fork out.

Yup, all three. 
But it's no challenge doing F/B/C than the USG.  So I cheated, sue me.

What are you referring to?  Please at least read their solicitation and my response to it.


Wrong.

1.  It is just an RFI date.  It has no real meaning
2.  Unsubstantiated.
3.  Unproven.

Again.  Provide real data to back up your claims and not Spacex PR spin.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: JohnFornaro on 08/25/2014 02:56 pm
Whomever added the words and/or launch systems created a new exhibit for Space Exploration Technologies Corp. v. The United States:...

I thought that was a pretty good observation.  I'm a fan, but I wouldn't go so far as to use this soggy old mantra just yet:

Quote
Faster -- ready now for majority of payloads, ready soon for heavies.
Better -- already has "result(ed) in greater U.S. competitiveness in the commercial space arena."
Cheaper -- launch system development free to USAF; ER/WR pads operational, too.

All of that remains to be seen.  And the first step would be to open up competition.

Besides this also gives both Boeing and LM a chance to compete with a new system and divest themselves of both the Atlas and Delta if they choose.

Funny, but I'd not even considered that possibility...
Would be an interesting twist -- USAF paying the tab to let giants Boeing/LM compete in the commercial market (against SpaceX/Ariane/etc.) while fighting against SpaceX competing in the USG launch market.

Technically a possibility, I'm sure.  But pretty doubtful for it to happen.  Unless there's a skunk works somewhere... like that googol barge?
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: oldAtlas_Eguy on 08/25/2014 03:35 pm
I think the AF is more interested in how far they can push the less cost and reliability elements of a new system.  We are talking about a development program that is expected to be 5 to 8 years or more.  Meaning launches NET 2020, possibly NET 2023.

This would mean instead for SpaceX of an F9 and FH a F9R and FHR or a fully reusable BFR using a new Raptor engine which advances the US engine tech into high performance large Methane engines.

For ULA it could be the development at last of the 5m Atlas V Phase II with possibly either a new methane engine or new RP1 engine.  Single core no solids and triple core heavy for the really big payloads.  A single core no solids could possibly replace the current Atlas V 551.

From the standpoint of existing large rocket engine manufacturers, its only Aerojet Rocketdyne and SpaceX. There are some wantabees XCOR and BO but they are working on HydroLox engines only not the more powerful RP/LOX or Methane/LOX 1st stage engines.

Also if it's just an engine and not a complete LV the AF wants the engine to be purchasable by any LV manufacturer not just the engine manufacturer or its close associate.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Rocket Science on 08/25/2014 03:42 pm
Curious...Would a new engine on Atlas V no longer be considered an Atlas V and thus be no longer part of the charter for ULA?
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: vulture4 on 08/25/2014 09:20 pm
From the standpoint of existing large rocket engine manufacturers, its only Aerojet Rocketdyne and SpaceX. There are some wantabees XCOR and BO but they are working on HydroLox engines only not the more powerful RP/LOX or Methane/LOX 1st stage engines.

SFAIK most XCOR engines use RP, methane or alcohol fuel, though they have worked occasionally with hydrogen.
http://www.xcor.com/engines/index.html
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: TomH on 09/14/2014 01:58 am
Thanks to Damon Hill for this post: http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=32622.msg1254820#msg1254820 and this link http://aviationweek.com/space/engine-makers-pushing-am-other-technologies-rd-180-replacement

It appears that rather than deciding between AJ-1E6 and F-1B, AJR has joined forces with Dynetics to pursue a viable market: the RD-180 replacement for AV and to have that 0.5m lb engine, the AR-1, also available as an existing engine if an SLS advanced liquid engine is ever considered. Smart move by AJR, Dynetics, USAF, and NASA all IMHO.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: MP99 on 09/14/2014 07:34 am


...also available as an existing engine if an SLS advanced liquid engine is ever considered. Smart move by AJR, Dynetics, USAF, and NASA all IMHO.

At $20-25m per pair, that would be $120-150m per set of twelve engines for a booster pair.

I thought that F-1B was supposed to be a little less than that per flight, but it makes sense in terms of avoiding dev costs for another engine.

OTOH, it replaces four engines with relatively low chamber pressures with twelve with high pressures. Doesn't sound great for NASA's PRA's. Could see that being a point in favour of advanced solids, instead.

Cheers, Martin
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: PahTo on 09/14/2014 09:23 pm
Curious...Would a new engine on Atlas V no longer be considered an Atlas V and thus be no longer part of the charter for ULA?

Per my post in the AR-1 thread--
I can't see the Atlas V flying with engine(s) other than the RD-180--the age old adage of "rockets aren't legos" is especially true when considering the MPS of a given vehicle...
If this engine becomes a flight reality, by definition I believe it means a new LV (or more than one, as noted it might also manifest in some HLV down the road).
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Steven Pietrobon on 09/15/2014 08:16 am
Don't forget that Atlas II changed from the three engine MA-5A to RD-180 for the Atlas III. That's a much bigger change from RD-180 to dual AR-1.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: dlapine on 09/15/2014 08:33 pm
Thanks to Damon Hill for this post: http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=32622.msg1254820#msg1254820 and this link http://aviationweek.com/space/engine-makers-pushing-am-other-technologies-rd-180-replacement

It appears that rather than deciding between AJ-1E6 and F-1B, AJR has joined forces with Dynetics to pursue a viable market: the RD-180 replacement for AV and to have that 0.5m lb engine, the AR-1, also available as an existing engine if an SLS advanced liquid engine is ever considered. Smart move by AJR, Dynetics, USAF, and NASA all IMHO.

I wouldn't get your hopes up too much.

"We have to deal with integrating that turbomachinery in the right-sized package, and then putting that together in a powerpack demonstration where you bring those key pieces together and do a demonstration. We believe we can get to that prototype state in about 2.5 years if a decision is made to go full out, and get a prototype engine as soon as possible."

So, I'm reading that as 2.5 years to get a powerpack demo, and a prototype engine sometime after that. Anyone want to hazard a guess as to how long it would take to get a certified engine from that prototype for a specific rocket?  1year? 2 years?

And while I see that a specific price per engine is quoted, nothing was said about the costs of development, testing and certification for that 3.5 to 4.5 year period. Would $1B a year be a reasonable estimate to put on the combined, high-priority R&D effort from both AJR and Dynetics? Not sure I see that kind of money coming from Congress at this time.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: TomH on 09/17/2014 10:28 pm
Today, Joel Achenbach reports on his boss' press conference in which Bezos stated that Blue Origin will provide its BE-4 as the replacement for RD-180. Not hopes to, not will compete, but will provide the replacement.  ::)

The article says the engine is several years along and has 4 years to go. Also toward the end Achenbach states that ULA is also free to choose another engine for the LV if it wants to.  ::)

http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/jeff-bezos-and-blue-origin-to-supply-engines-for-national-security-space-launches/2014/09/17/59f46eb2-3e7b-11e4-9587-5dafd96295f0_story.html
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: guckyfan on 09/18/2014 05:16 am
According to the article BE-4 is a methane/LNG-engine. So some slight modifications on the Atlas V may benecessary. ;)



Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: vulture4 on 09/18/2014 06:53 am
According to the article BE-4 is a methane/LNG-engine. So some slight modifications on the Atlas V may benecessary. ;)
Perhaps you mean LOX/LNG
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: guckyfan on 09/18/2014 07:49 am
According to the article BE-4 is a methane/LNG-engine. So some slight modifications on the Atlas V may benecessary. ;)
Perhaps you mean LOX/LNG

You are right. I should have mentioned LOX. But my thought when writing was LNG like in mostly methane.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: TomH on 09/19/2014 03:38 am
Natural gas is 95% methane and the other 5% is composed of 18 other substances. Some are hydrocarbons and some are just dead mass, reducing ISP. There is no reason to mess with all the complex chemical reactions that would be feeding off each other in using LNG and things like He and H2O knock down the ISP. It is easy just to distill off the methane and that is the most prudent course of action. In your gas stove, NG works just fine. In a rocket engine, you want only the methane. This is a CH4/LOx engine, aka methalox.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: baldusi on 09/19/2014 03:51 pm
Actually you can specify the methane purity on LNG. And different wells have different composition. LNG is cheap and the infrastructure massive. Even the Russian state LNG rather than methane. But it is mainly methane.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: R7 on 09/19/2014 04:31 pm
Natural gas is 95% methane and the other 5% is composed of 18 other substances. Some are hydrocarbons and some are just dead mass, reducing ISP. There is no reason to mess with all the complex chemical reactions that would be feeding off each other in using LNG and things like He and H2O knock down the ISP. It is easy just to distill off the methane and that is the most prudent course of action. In your gas stove, NG works just fine. In a rocket engine, you want only the methane. This is a CH4/LOx engine, aka methalox.

Minute amounts of couple other alkanes doesn't hurt as long as the composition doesn't vary. And that's what liquefied natural gas contains. Neither helium nor water stay much liquid at LNG temp, nor other unwanted species.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: TomH on 09/19/2014 05:10 pm
Thanks to newpylong who posted this link elsewhere:

http://www.rocket.com/article/aerojet-rocketdyne-establishes-advanced-hydrocarbon-propulsion-development-office-huntsville
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: vulture4 on 09/21/2014 12:18 pm
The Blue Origin design appears to have a single shaft design with an oxygen-rich preburner whereas the Raptor apparently uses full flow staged combustion with separate LOX and CH4 turbopumps. Or is there a more detailed comparison?
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: baldusi on 09/21/2014 05:02 pm

The Blue Origin design appears to have a single shaft design with an oxygen-rich preburner whereas the Raptor apparently uses full flow staged combustion with separate LOX and CH4 turbopumps. Or is there a more detailed comparison?
There thrust levels are different (Raptor appears to be gaining thrust each year), and there are some isp data about the raptor. But there is very little information about each other, which is logical since they are four to seven years from flying.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Tea Party Space Czar on 09/23/2014 02:38 pm
Competition is good.  ATK will also work on a replacement for the RD-180.  Very happy about this.

ATK Offers Solid Solution to U.S. Air Force's RD-180 Replacement Request
ATK's Propulsion Provides Cost-Effective, Highly-Reliable, Commercial Solution
Sep 23, 2014

ARLINGTON, Va., Sept. 23, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- ATK (NYSE: ATK) has provided the U.S. Air Force an American-made commercial solid rocket solution as a replacement for the RD-180 Russian-made, first-stage engine of United Launch Alliance's (ULA) Atlas V launch vehicle.

ATK Offers Solid Solution to U.S. Air Force's RD-180 Replacement Request
"ATK's solid rocket propulsion solution provides a cost-effective, reliable solution based on advanced technology," said Blake Larson, president of ATK's Aerospace Group. "I am confident our solution will meet the capabilities of the current RD-180 engine and provide added performance if required."

The development of new technologies has led to innovative design improvement with solid rocket motors, resulting in higher performance and increased reliability and affordability. Over the past seven years, ATK has incorporated those new technologies in the development of six new solid rocket motors – some developed in less than two years.

"By combining our extensive experience with new technologies, we have provided commercial customers with low-cost solutions that progressed from design to flight qualification within months," said Larson. "Using a similar approach, ATK's propulsion solution will provide the U.S. Air Force with an RD-180 replacement rapidly and at a highly competitive cost."

Solid rocket motors are optimal for first-stage performance as they provide high lift-off thrust, allowing for more payload margin. They also require less ground and launch infrastructure, resulting in fewer launch scrubs.

Due to unmatched reliability, solid propulsion is used in every stage of America's strategic defense arsenal. New solid rocket motor technology has the capability to provide a smooth lift for payloads, which is especially important when launching critical payloads, sensitive satellites and crews.

This technology has resulted in decades of successful launches within the government and commercial industries. ATK has provided more than 1,900 commercial and more than 14,000 government solid rocket motors and integrated stages, all domestically built.

Manufacturing and testing of ATK's solution for the RD-180 replacement will take place within the United States using tooling and infrastructure already in place across the country.

"We recognize and congratulate the Air Force and ULA on their tremendous launch record," said Larson. "We are pleased to offer this solution to provide low-cost assured access for current and future National Security Space launch requirements."

ATK is an aerospace, defense, and outdoor sports and recreation company with operations in 21 states, Puerto Rico, and internationally. News and information can be found on the Internet at www.atk.com, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/atk, or on Twitter @ATK.

Certain information discussed in this press release constitutes forward-looking statements as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Although ATK believes that the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are based on reasonable assumptions, it can give no assurance that its expectations will be achieved. Forward-looking information is subject to certain risks, trends and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those projected. Among those factors are: changes in governmental spending, budgetary policies and product sourcing strategies; the company's competitive environment; the terms and timing of awards and contracts; and economic conditions. ATK undertakes no obligation to update any forward-looking statements. For further information on factors that could impact ATK, and statements contained herein, please refer to ATK's most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and any subsequent quarterly reports on Form 10-Q and current reports on Form 8-K filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.           

http://atk.mediaroom.com/2014-09-23-ATK-Offers-Solid-Solution-to-U-S-Air-Forces-RD-180-Replacement-Request
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: edkyle99 on 09/23/2014 02:50 pm
Competition is good.  ATK will also work on a replacement for the RD-180.  Very happy about this.
ATK Offers Solid Solution to U.S. Air Force's RD-180 Replacement Request
ATK's Propulsion Provides Cost-Effective, Highly-Reliable, Commercial Solution
Sep 23, 2014
http://atk.mediaroom.com/2014-09-23-ATK-Offers-Solid-Solution-to-U-S-Air-Forces-RD-180-Replacement-Request
Interesting.  My guess would be two-stage replacement for an Atlas core.  It would likely need new launch infrastructure though.

 - Ed Kyle
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: woods170 on 09/24/2014 09:41 am
Competition is good.  ATK will also work on a replacement for the RD-180.  Very happy about this.
ATK Offers Solid Solution to U.S. Air Force's RD-180 Replacement Request
ATK's Propulsion Provides Cost-Effective, Highly-Reliable, Commercial Solution
Sep 23, 2014
http://atk.mediaroom.com/2014-09-23-ATK-Offers-Solid-Solution-to-U-S-Air-Forces-RD-180-Replacement-Request
Interesting.  My guess would be two-stage replacement for an Atlas core.  It would likely need new launch infrastructure though.

 - Ed Kyle
Interesting? Yes, absolutely.
Chances of this ever happening? Zero.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Prober on 09/24/2014 12:35 pm
Competition is good.  ATK will also work on a replacement for the RD-180.  Very happy about this.
ATK Offers Solid Solution to U.S. Air Force's RD-180 Replacement Request
ATK's Propulsion Provides Cost-Effective, Highly-Reliable, Commercial Solution
Sep 23, 2014
http://atk.mediaroom.com/2014-09-23-ATK-Offers-Solid-Solution-to-U-S-Air-Forces-RD-180-Replacement-Request
Interesting.  My guess would be two-stage replacement for an Atlas core.  It would likely need new launch infrastructure though.

 - Ed Kyle
Interesting? Yes, absolutely.
Chances of this ever happening? Zero.

agrees, note starting point  "domestic liquid engine"
 
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Ronsmytheiii on 10/19/2014 06:14 pm
Sen. Martin Heinrich still supports funding for a RD-180 replacement despite the ULA-Blue Origin deal

http://www.spacenews.com/article/launch-report/42231heinrich-reiterates-support-for-funding-rd-180-replacement

Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: yg1968 on 10/31/2014 03:56 pm
Boeing exec says NASA crash underscores need for new U.S. engine:
http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/10/31/us-boeing-space-engines-idUSKBN0IK06620141031?utm_medium=referral&utm_source=t.co
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: PahTo on 10/31/2014 04:07 pm
Boeing exec says NASA crash underscores need for new U.S. engine:
http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/10/31/us-boeing-space-engines-idUSKBN0IK06620141031?utm_medium=referral&utm_source=t.co

Mr. Chadwick says:
"We need to move beyond today’s technology ... and look for that next generation of engine that’s even more reliable, even more capable."

I thought they already found the 'next generation of engine' in the BE-4.  ?
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: TomH on 10/31/2014 04:23 pm
I thought they already found the 'next generation of engine' in the BE-4.  ?

I think he doesn't want to be premature in claiming they have the solution in hand. Planning began in 2011. Development wasn't announced until September of this year. Completion is anticipated 2017, so that means they may be around halfway through their anticipated R&D time line. I have more confidence in companies who do actual work and don't boast a lot as opposed to those who up and announce the trips they will be making to Luna or Mars in just a few years, when in fact it is all talk and little substance.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: RocketEconomist327 on 10/31/2014 04:54 pm
This is SO FUNNY Boeing would say this!  In July, August, and September of 2011 while we were "educating and informing" congress on SLS and JWST, we also brought up that the United States needed a domestically produced hydrocarbon engine.

Specifically, we talked about the RD-180 and how relationships change over time and that if things went south we might lose our most reliable launcher, the Atlas V.  Response was good but it was killed by lobbyists from... take a guess.

Its shameful now Boeing wants in now that there is a crisis and there is money to be made.  If they want to develop a new motor, GREAT!  But they should not get a dime of federal money for it.  Not a stinking penny.  Let the free market work.  Between SE, SLS, and skimming ULA; Boeing has the cash to take this on as a side project. 

Moreover, after the glowing review of Boeing by Gerst in the tCap selection document (shameless plug for L2) you would must think Boeing can build an engine to NASA standards without NASA oversight.

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=35884.0

And frankly, Boeing has the talent. 

Love the people at Boeing - cannot stand the DC tactics.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: yg1968 on 10/31/2014 05:03 pm
I admit that I am a little unclear about Congress' plans on the domestic engine front. If Blue Origin decides to fund the BE-4 themselves, why should the government pay for it? Although when they asked Jeff Bezos about it, he was kind of evasive as to whether he was seeking government funding or not for the BE-4.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: FinalFrontier on 11/06/2014 08:44 am
This is SO FUNNY Boeing would say this!  In July, August, and September of 2011 while we were "educating and informing" congress on SLS and JWST, we also brought up that the United States needed a domestically produced hydrocarbon engine.

Specifically, we talked about the RD-180 and how relationships change over time and that if things went south we might lose our most reliable launcher, the Atlas V.  Response was good but it was killed by lobbyists from... take a guess.

Its shameful now Boeing wants in now that there is a crisis and there is money to be made.  If they want to develop a new motor, GREAT!  But they should not get a dime of federal money for it.  Not a stinking penny.  Let the free market work.  Between SE, SLS, and skimming ULA; Boeing has the cash to take this on as a side project. 

Moreover, after the glowing review of Boeing by Gerst in the tCap selection document (shameless plug for L2) you would must think Boeing can build an engine to NASA standards without NASA oversight.

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=35884.0

And frankly, Boeing has the talent. 

Love the people at Boeing - cannot stand the DC tactics.

Should be reminded Boeing did not get JSF. (no I won't let that go). So they might get part of this. Don't forget that. Not likely though stated goal is a BE engine.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: AncientU on 11/06/2014 02:41 pm
Because it's their turn? (!!!)
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: yg1968 on 11/12/2014 11:40 pm
An update:
http://www.spacenews.com/article/launch-report/42537us-defense-department-balks-at-rd-180-replacement-program
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: TrevorMonty on 11/13/2014 02:07 am
An update:
http://www.spacenews.com/article/launch-report/42537us-defense-department-balks-at-rd-180-replacement-program
I'm surprised any public money is being spent on this after ULA announced they were going to use the privately funded BE4.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: vulture4 on 11/13/2014 02:30 am
An update:
http://www.spacenews.com/article/launch-report/42537us-defense-department-balks-at-rd-180-replacement-program
I'm surprised any public money is being spent on this after ULA announced they were going to use the privately funded BE4.
I'm impressed. The DOD points out that given the Atlas V, Delta IV, the privately funded BE-4 effort, and the soon-to-be-certified Falcon,  a major new government-funded engine development effort is not needed for DOD payloads. The DOD is being much more sensible than Congress. Of course, when you think about it that may not be very difficult.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Proponent on 11/13/2014 08:36 am
It's not the first time Congress has insisted on buying toys for DoD that DoD didn't want.  Oink, oink oink!
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: yg1968 on 12/10/2014 03:34 am
The DOD report to the FY 2015 appropriation bill provides $220M for the development of a liquid engine to replace the RD-180:

Quote from: pages 85 and 86
COMPETITIVE ROCKET INNOVATION- MOTOR/ENGINE ARRANGEMENT
The agreement provides $220,000,000 to accelerate rocket propulsion system
development with a target demonstration date of fiscal year 2019. The agreement directs
the Secretary of the Air Force, in consultation with the Administrator of the National
Aeronautics and Space Administration as practical, to develop an affordable, innovative,
and competitive strategy for this development effort that includes an assessment of the
potential benefits and challenges of using public-private partnerships, innovative teaming
arrangements, and small business considerations. The strategy should include plans for
targeted risk reduction projects and technology maturation efforts to buy down risk and
accelerate potential launch system solutions. This strategy shall be submitted to the
congressional defense committees not later than 180 days after the enactment of this Act.

See pages 85 and 86 of the FY 2015 DOD Appropriations Report:
http://docs.house.gov/billsthisweek/20141208/113-HR83sa-ES-C.pdf
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: TrevorMonty on 12/10/2014 07:53 am
Given ULA are going with BE4 which is being privately funded. Then the only contender for this money is Aerojet AR1, with the Antares as only foreseeable LV for it or even less likely SLS boosters.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: ChrisWilson68 on 12/10/2014 08:45 am
Given ULA are going with BE4 which is being privately funded. Then the only contender for this money is Aerojet AR1, with the Antares as only foreseeable LV for it or even less likely SLS boosters.

The language doesn't seem to exclude spending the money on BE4.  Given this is the Air Force spending the money and their cosy relationship with ULA, I wouldn't be surprised if the Air Force tailored their requirements to make BE4 the clear winner of any contest that is held to spend the money.  Whether Congress goes along with that is another question, but once the bill has passed, there may not be much chance of Congressional action before the next fiscal year.  Just because ULA said they were going to do it anyway doesn't prevent the government from stepping in and paying for it.

It's also certainly possible the money will be given to Aerojet instead.  I'd expect to see a protest by ULA and Blue Origin in that case.

The language also doesn't seem to exclude spending the money on SpaceX.  Given the current relationship between SpaceX and the Air Force, as well as the Congressional intent of this bill, I doubt the Air Force will want to do that.  But SpaceX might lobby for it and might protest if they don't get it.  Who knows what SpaceX would propose to spend the money on, but they have a large engine development team and they could propose spending it on something they want to do anyway or on some new engine.  Maybe they wouldn't be interested if they think it would be a distraction, but then again I've never known Musk to leave any government money on the table.  Maybe they'll see this as a way to pay for part of Raptor or for a new Merlin-class methane engine or even just modest upgrades to Merlin 1D.

Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Prober on 12/10/2014 11:55 am
Wonder how one bids on a project like this.  Might be fun to watch :-X
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: JBF on 12/10/2014 12:49 pm
We will have to wait and see what the bid proposal calls for; but I wouldn't be surprised if there was a clause requiring any engines developed with this money must be available for purchase by 3rd parties.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: wannamoonbase on 12/10/2014 01:11 pm
This is simple, it's $220 million for the fiscal year.  That's a lot of money for one year and a program over the next 4 fiscal years could push a billion or more.

The sum of $220 million and being a DoD project we will see the legacy contractor, Aerojet.  Blue Origin and maybe SpaceX won't be excluded but this is not their barrel of pork. 

Fingers crossed this could eventually lead to replacing solids on SLS.

I'll bet a cold coke that Aerojet wins and builds this engine and that it is staged combustion RP1.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: TrevorMonty on 12/10/2014 01:19 pm
We will have to wait and see what the bid proposal calls for; but I wouldn't be surprised if there was a clause requiring any engines developed with this money must be available for purchase by 3rd parties.
Which is why ULA and Blue don't want the money, same applies to SpaceX.

 This just leaves Aerojet to develop an engine without a LV.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: RedLineTrain on 12/10/2014 01:59 pm
Blue and SpaceX probably do want the money, if the other strings attached are minimal.  Blue has shown it doesn't mind selling its BE-4 to ULA and I imagine SpaceX would be fine committing to selling Raptor to others.  Indeed, a response to an earlier Air Force Request for Information on a proposed big rocket engine program seemed to indicate that SpaceX was contemplating it.  It may be safe for SpaceX to assume that no rocket builders would buy, though.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: yg1968 on 12/10/2014 02:18 pm
Section 1604 of the National Defense Authorization bill which was passed by the House (and which should also be passed by the Senate this week) contains language that says that the engine has to be available to all domestic space launch providers:

Quote
9 SEC. 1604. ROCKET PROPULSION SYSTEM DEVELOPMENT
10 PROGRAM.
11 (a) DEVELOPMENT.—
12 (1) IN GENERAL.—The Secretary of Defense
13 shall develop a next-generation rocket propulsion
14 system that enables the effective, efficient, and expe-
15 dient transition from the use of non-allied space
16 launch engines to a domestic alternative for national
17 security space launches.
18 (2) REQUIREMENTS.—The system developed
19 under paragraph (1) shall—
20 (A) be made in the United States;
21 (B) meet the requirements of the national
22 security space community;
23 (C) be developed by not later than 2019;
24 (D) be developed using full and open com-
25 petition; and
1 (E) be available for purchase by all space
2 launch providers of the United States.

3 (b) REPORT.—Not later than 180 days after the date
4 of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall submit
5 to the appropriate congressional committees a report that
6 includes—
7 (1) a plan to carry out the development of the
8 rocket propulsion system under subsection (a), in-
9 cluding an analysis of the benefits of using public-
10 private partnerships;
11 (2) the requirements of the program to develop
12 such system; and
13 (3) the estimated cost of such system.

14 (c) APPROPRIATE CONGRESSIONAL COMMITTEES DE-
15 FINED.—In this section, the term ‘‘appropriate congres-
16 sional committees’’ means the following:
17 (1) The congressional defense committees.
18 (2) The Permanent Select Committee on Intel-
19 ligence of the House of Representatives and the Se-
20 lect Committee on Intelligence of the Senate.

http://www.armed-services.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/CPRT-113-HPRT-RU00-S1847.pdf
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: JBF on 12/10/2014 02:22 pm
Interesting that language is wide open, no propellent or thrust specification.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: AncientU on 12/10/2014 02:26 pm
Interesting that language is wide open, no propellent or thrust specification.

Congress would never assume the responsibility to specify hardware...  ;)
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: MP99 on 12/10/2014 02:30 pm


Fingers crossed this could eventually lead to replacing solids on SLS.

I'll bet a cold coke that Aerojet wins and builds this engine and that it is staged combustion RP1.

If Aerojet gets it, and SLS is looking like the only customer, I'd rather that they build F-1B.

Cheers, Martin
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: yg1968 on 12/10/2014 02:40 pm
Blue and SpaceX probably do want the money, if the other strings attached are minimal.  Blue has shown it doesn't mind selling its BE-4 to ULA and I imagine SpaceX would be fine committing to selling Raptor to others.  Indeed, a response to an earlier Air Force Request for Information on a proposed big rocket engine program seemed to indicate that SpaceX was contemplating it.  It may be safe for SpaceX to assume that no rocket builders would buy, though.

SpaceX could price their raptor engine high enough that they would make just as much profit selling their engine to other providers as they do when selling their rocket to customers.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: woods170 on 12/10/2014 02:41 pm
Section 1604 of the National Defense Authorization bill which was passed by the House (and which should also be passed by the Senate this week) contains language that says that the engine has to be available to all domestic space launch providers:

Quote
9 SEC. 1604. ROCKET PROPULSION SYSTEM DEVELOPMENT
10 PROGRAM.
11 (a) DEVELOPMENT.—
12 (1) IN GENERAL.—The Secretary of Defense
13 shall develop a next-generation rocket propulsion
14 system that enables the effective, efficient, and expe-
15 dient transition from the use of non-allied space
16 launch engines to a domestic alternative for national
17 security space launches.
18 (2) REQUIREMENTS.—The system developed
19 under paragraph (1) shall—
20 (A) be made in the United States;
21 (B) meet the requirements of the national
22 security space community;
23 (C) be developed by not later than 2019;
24 (D) be developed using full and open com-
25 petition; and
1 (E) be available for purchase by all space
2 launch providers of the United States.

3 (b) REPORT.—Not later than 180 days after the date
4 of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall submit
5 to the appropriate congressional committees a report that
6 includes—
7 (1) a plan to carry out the development of the
8 rocket propulsion system under subsection (a), in-
9 cluding an analysis of the benefits of using public-
10 private partnerships;
11 (2) the requirements of the program to develop
12 such system; and
13 (3) the estimated cost of such system.

14 (c) APPROPRIATE CONGRESSIONAL COMMITTEES DE-
15 FINED.—In this section, the term ‘‘appropriate congres-
16 sional committees’’ means the following:
17 (1) The congressional defense committees.
18 (2) The Permanent Select Committee on Intel-
19 ligence of the House of Representatives and the Se-
20 lect Committee on Intelligence of the Senate.

http://www.armed-services.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/CPRT-113-HPRT-RU00-S1847.pdf (http://www.armed-services.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/CPRT-113-HPRT-RU00-S1847.pdf)


The clause as foreseen by JBF is indeed there with TrevorMonty being spot-on. This clause will keep ULA, Blue and (likely) SpaceX away from this 220 million US$. Why develop an engine if next you have to sell it to your competitors. Crony capitalism Good business demands you keep it ALL to yourself, including the launcher, not just the engine.
Some examples to support this theory:
- ULA won't let anyone else buy the RD-180. It's exclusive to them.
- SpaceX doesn't sell their engines to others. They're exclusively for SpaceX.
- Blue is developing the BE-4 in exclusive partnership with ULA. Similar arrangement to the current RD-180 situation.

IMO it's a safe bet the only bidder for this money will be Aerojet, if at all. Perhaps we will be surprised by some unexpected new entrant going for this money.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: yg1968 on 12/10/2014 03:50 pm
Crony capitalism means government giving contracts to their buddies or supporters. Are you saying that this funding is directed towards Aerojet only?
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: wannamoonbase on 12/10/2014 05:37 pm
Given ULA are going with BE4 which is being privately funded. Then the only contender for this money is Aerojet AR1, with the Antares as only foreseeable LV for it or even less likely SLS boosters.

I recall the ULA selection language being that they are looking at BE4 and that they were careful to give themselves an out.

Which is smart, it makes other engine providers sharpen their pencils as well since BE4 is not a completed product and not flight proven they need an out if it experiences reliability, cost or schedule problems.

That's why I think ULA is a potential, likely, customer.

Note: The poor RS-68 gets little respect in all this booster engine discussion.  But it is kind of a beast.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: butters on 12/10/2014 06:32 pm
I think the Air Force is concerned about the vertical integration of engine suppliers with launch services potentially leaving the government without an independent engine supplier for military vehicles.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: nadreck on 12/10/2014 06:43 pm
Quote
9 SEC. 1604. ROCKET PROPULSION SYSTEM DEVELOPMENT
10 PROGRAM.
11 (a) DEVELOPMENT.—
12 (1) IN GENERAL.—The Secretary of Defense
13 shall develop a next-generation rocket propulsion
14 system that enables the effective, efficient, and expe-
15 dient transition from the use of non-allied space
16 launch engines to a domestic alternative for national
17 security space launches.
18 (2) REQUIREMENTS.—The system developed
19 under paragraph (1) shall—
20 (A) be made in the United States;
21 (B) meet the requirements of the national
22 security space community;
23 (C) be developed by not later than 2019;
24 (D) be developed using full and open com-
25 petition; and
1 (E) be available for purchase by all space
2 launch providers of the United States.


Is it just me or are B and D above almost impossible to pin down and invite all sorts of argument and recrimination after the fact?
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: ChrisWilson68 on 12/10/2014 08:21 pm
Section 1604 of the National Defense Authorization bill which was passed by the House (and which should also be passed by the Senate this week) contains language that says that the engine has to be available to all domestic space launch providers:

[...]

http://www.armed-services.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/CPRT-113-HPRT-RU00-S1847.pdf (http://www.armed-services.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/CPRT-113-HPRT-RU00-S1847.pdf)


The clause as foreseen by JBF is indeed there with TrevorMonty being spot-on. This clause will keep ULA, Blue and (likely) SpaceX away from this 220 million US$. Why develop an engine if next you have to sell it to your competitors. Crony capitalism Good business demands you keep it ALL to yourself, including the launcher, not just the engine.
Some examples to support this theory:
- ULA won't let anyone else buy the RD-180. It's exclusive to them.
- SpaceX doesn't sell their engines to others. They're exclusively for SpaceX.
- Blue is developing the BE-4 in exclusive partnership with ULA. Similar arrangement to the current RD-180 situation.

IMO it's a safe bet the only bidder for this money will be Aerojet, if at all. Perhaps we will be surprised by some unexpected new entrant going for this money.

I disagree.  First of all, Blue Origin has already made a deal to sell engines to ULA, which is a rival for launcher sales.

Whether a company that builds both engines and launchers is willing to sell the engines separately depends on a lot of factors.  There are reasons for them not to, to help their own launcher business.  But there can be more compelling factors that outweigh that.  If the government is going to pay for the development of a new engine, that's a pretty strong incentive to sell to the competition.

Anyway, there's nothing in the bill that says how much they have to sell for.  They can price them high enough that it puts competing launchers at a serious disadvantage.

I think Blue Origin at least will go for this money, and possibly SpaceX too.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: ChrisWilson68 on 12/10/2014 08:23 pm
Quote
9 SEC. 1604. ROCKET PROPULSION SYSTEM DEVELOPMENT
10 PROGRAM.
11 (a) DEVELOPMENT.—
12 (1) IN GENERAL.—The Secretary of Defense
13 shall develop a next-generation rocket propulsion
14 system that enables the effective, efficient, and expe-
15 dient transition from the use of non-allied space
16 launch engines to a domestic alternative for national
17 security space launches.
18 (2) REQUIREMENTS.—The system developed
19 under paragraph (1) shall—
20 (A) be made in the United States;
21 (B) meet the requirements of the national
22 security space community;
23 (C) be developed by not later than 2019;
24 (D) be developed using full and open com-
25 petition; and
1 (E) be available for purchase by all space
2 launch providers of the United States.


Is it just me or are B and D above almost impossible to pin down and invite all sorts of argument and recrimination after the fact?

Yes, I think there will be recriminations.  But my read of B is that it basically lets the Air Force dictate the specs of the engine.  They'll likely spec it for Atlas V and SpaceX will complain.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Prober on 12/10/2014 10:19 pm
Quote
9 SEC. 1604. ROCKET PROPULSION SYSTEM DEVELOPMENT
10 PROGRAM.
11 (a) DEVELOPMENT.—
12 (1) IN GENERAL.—The Secretary of Defense
13 shall develop a next-generation rocket propulsion
14 system that enables the effective, efficient, and expe-
15 dient transition from the use of non-allied space
16 launch engines to a domestic alternative for national
17 security space launches.
18 (2) REQUIREMENTS.—The system developed
19 under paragraph (1) shall—
20 (A) be made in the United States;
21 (B) meet the requirements of the national
22 security space community;
23 (C) be developed by not later than 2019;
24 (D) be developed using full and open com-
25 petition; and
1 (E) be available for purchase by all space
2 launch providers of the United States.


Is it just me or are B and D above almost impossible to pin down and invite all sorts of argument and recrimination after the fact?

Yes, I think there will be recriminations.  But my read of B is that it basically lets the Air Force dictate the specs of the engine.  They'll likely spec it for Atlas V and SpaceX will complain.

24 (D) be developed using full and open com-
25 petition; and

Would like to see this a full and Open competition....have doubts it will be.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: wannamoonbase on 12/11/2014 02:23 am
It will be open competition.  The selection criteria can be gamed to almost guarantee who you want to win.
- more then 10 years experience
- financial depth to with stand problems
- experience with engine thrust above 1 million pounds

They can probably list 2 dozen things that drive this to What they want.

SpaceX would have a case and look legit doing it.
Blue Origin does not.  Until they have flown an engine.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: woods170 on 12/11/2014 09:22 am

Note: The poor RS-68 gets little respect in all this booster engine discussion.  But it is kind of a beast.
Airforce engine. They won't let anyone touch it, outside of ULA.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: woods170 on 12/11/2014 09:31 am
Section 1604 of the National Defense Authorization bill which was passed by the House (and which should also be passed by the Senate this week) contains language that says that the engine has to be available to all domestic space launch providers:

[...]

http://www.armed-services.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/CPRT-113-HPRT-RU00-S1847.pdf (http://www.armed-services.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/CPRT-113-HPRT-RU00-S1847.pdf)


The clause as foreseen by JBF is indeed there with TrevorMonty being spot-on. This clause will keep ULA, Blue and (likely) SpaceX away from this 220 million US$. Why develop an engine if next you have to sell it to your competitors. Crony capitalism Good business demands you keep it ALL to yourself, including the launcher, not just the engine.
Some examples to support this theory:
- ULA won't let anyone else buy the RD-180. It's exclusive to them.
- SpaceX doesn't sell their engines to others. They're exclusively for SpaceX.
- Blue is developing the BE-4 in exclusive partnership with ULA. Similar arrangement to the current RD-180 situation.

IMO it's a safe bet the only bidder for this money will be Aerojet, if at all. Perhaps we will be surprised by some unexpected new entrant going for this money.

I disagree.  First of all, Blue Origin has already made a deal to sell engines to ULA, which is a rival for launcher sales.
When was the last time Blue launched something into orbit? They are not an orbital launch service provider, let alone a competitor for lauches to ULA.


Whether a company that builds both engines and launchers is willing to sell the engines separately depends on a lot of factors.  There are reasons for them not to, to help their own launcher business.  But there can be more compelling factors that outweigh that.  If the government is going to pay for the development of a new engine, that's a pretty strong incentive to sell to the competition.
No, it isn't. Otherwise RS-68, J-2X, and RS-25 would be up for sale to anyone. They aren't.


Anyway, there's nothing in the bill that says how much they have to sell for.  They can price them high enough that it puts competing launchers at a serious disadvantage.
Nice get-away.

I think Blue Origin at least will go for this money, and possibly SpaceX too.
No, they won't. What letter of the word 'exclusively' do you not understand? SpaceX doesn't sell parts, they sell services. That's what the whole block-buy protest is about. SpaceX won't be the engine provider for someone else's rocket.
Additionally: the minute SpaceX decides to go for this money, they will have to do this particular engine development program under full public scrutiny. Not gonna happen under the current work-ethos as established by ol' Elon.
Also, the next engine under development by SpaceX is raptor. Much bigger and much more powerfull than anything needed as an RD-180 replacement. Not gonna fit the profile, regardless of the cromnibus lacking any specifics on engine power and performance.


Blue is developing BE-4 exclusively with ULA. Going for this 220 million means that they either have to break up the current BE-4 arrangement with ULA and let lot's of outsiders in (not gonna happen: Blue is way too secretive for that), OR, develop yet another engine, outside the current BE-3 and BE-4, this time under full public scrutiny (not gonna happen: Blue is way too secretive for that).
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: woods170 on 12/11/2014 09:44 am
24 (D) be developed using full and open com-
25 petition; and

Would like to see this a full and Open competition....have doubts it will be.

Even in a full and open competition it is possible that only one or two companies make bids. In which case you would still end up with not having a lot of choice despite it being a full and open competition.

I'll give you an example from the automotive industry:
A few years ago the Dutch government issued a full and open competition for the supply of thousands of new police cars.
Despite the fact that there are over two-dozen car manufacturers in Europe alone, and despite the fact that the competion was full and open, only three (3) manufacturers made bids.
Reason: the very specific requirements laid down in the competition. Those were written in such a way that basically only Volkswagen was able to fullfill all the requirements. Not surprisingly, they won the bid.

IMO, the get-away for this engine-development will be item B from the bill. The requirements for this engine will be set by the national security community. IMO, The result will be that only a very limited number of engine makers will be able to bid on this engine-development work.

The phrase "full and open competition" does not automatically equate to "lot's of interested companies making bids".
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: ChrisWilson68 on 12/11/2014 10:28 am
Section 1604 of the National Defense Authorization bill which was passed by the House (and which should also be passed by the Senate this week) contains language that says that the engine has to be available to all domestic space launch providers:

[...]

http://www.armed-services.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/CPRT-113-HPRT-RU00-S1847.pdf (http://www.armed-services.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/CPRT-113-HPRT-RU00-S1847.pdf)


The clause as foreseen by JBF is indeed there with TrevorMonty being spot-on. This clause will keep ULA, Blue and (likely) SpaceX away from this 220 million US$. Why develop an engine if next you have to sell it to your competitors. Crony capitalism Good business demands you keep it ALL to yourself, including the launcher, not just the engine.
Some examples to support this theory:
- ULA won't let anyone else buy the RD-180. It's exclusive to them.
- SpaceX doesn't sell their engines to others. They're exclusively for SpaceX.
- Blue is developing the BE-4 in exclusive partnership with ULA. Similar arrangement to the current RD-180 situation.

IMO it's a safe bet the only bidder for this money will be Aerojet, if at all. Perhaps we will be surprised by some unexpected new entrant going for this money.

I disagree.  First of all, Blue Origin has already made a deal to sell engines to ULA, which is a rival for launcher sales.
When was the last time Blue launched something into orbit? They are not an orbital launch service provider, let alone a competitor for lauches to ULA.

They haven't launched anything to orbit yet.  That doesn't change the fact that launching things to orbit is their whole reason for existing.

Whether a company that builds both engines and launchers is willing to sell the engines separately depends on a lot of factors.  There are reasons for them not to, to help their own launcher business.  But there can be more compelling factors that outweigh that.  If the government is going to pay for the development of a new engine, that's a pretty strong incentive to sell to the competition.
No, it isn't. Otherwise RS-68, J-2X, and RS-25 would be up for sale to anyone. They aren't.

You totally missed the point.  The point is that if the government is willing to fund the development on the condition it's made available to others, that's a strong incentive to make it available to others.  Obviously government funding that doesn't come with that condition doesn't provide an incentive to sell it to others.

I think Blue Origin at least will go for this money, and possibly SpaceX too.
No, they won't. What letter of the word 'exclusively' do you not understand?

Gratuitously insulting language that doesn't even make sense in the context you're using it doesn't help your case.

SpaceX doesn't sell parts, they sell services.

That something hasn't happened in the past doesn't mean it won't happen in the future.  The key is to understand why it hasn't happened in the past and what conditions might change to make it happen in the future.  Having a lot of money on offer from the government is a big change in the conditions.  It's foolhardy to believe a company's behavior can't possibly change when a lot of money is suddenly on the line that wasn't before.

That's what the whole block-buy protest is about. SpaceX won't be the engine provider for someone else's rocket.

That's not what the block buy protest is about.  It has nothing to do with whether SpaceX would sell engines to another company if given large sums of money to do so.

Additionally: the minute SpaceX decides to go for this money, they will have to do this particular engine development program under full public scrutiny. Not gonna happen under the current work-ethos as established by ol' Elon.

SpaceX has accepted a huge amount of government scrutiny for COTS, CRS, CCDev, CCiCap, and CCtCap, not to mention the Air Force EELV certification program.  So the idea that Elon would walk away from government money because he doesn't want government scrutiny is clearly nonsense.

Also, the next engine under development by SpaceX is raptor. Much bigger and much more powerfull than anything needed as an RD-180 replacement. Not gonna fit the profile, regardless of the cromnibus lacking any specifics on engine power and performance.

I partly agree with you on that, which is why I said SpaceX might go for the money, not that it definitely would.  But it's possible that SpaceX would take on the RD-180 replacement development in addition to Raptor.  It depends on the money.

Blue is developing BE-4 exclusively with ULA. Going for this 220 million means that they either have to break up the current BE-4 arrangement with ULA and let lot's of outsiders in (not gonna happen: Blue is way too secretive for that),

You don't know that, it's just speculation.  Until the ULA deal came to light, a lot of people would have thought Blue Origin wouldn't work with ULA.  If they'll work with ULA, it's really not that much of a stretch to believe they will also work with the Air Force.

OR, develop yet another engine, outside the current BE-3 and BE-4, this time under full public scrutiny (not gonna happen: Blue is way too secretive for that).

Blue Origin has already been applying for NASA crew contracts and working with NASA on unfunded SAAs.  So they haven't demonstrated a refusal to work with the government.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: wannamoonbase on 12/11/2014 11:11 am

Note: The poor RS-68 gets little respect in all this booster engine discussion.  But it is kind of a beast.
Airforce engine. They won't let anyone touch it, outside of ULA.

Has anyone ever expressed interest in it, other than that monstrosity version of the Constellation booster?

It exists, works and does the job, but I don't recall anyone else pursuing hydrogen as a boost stage fuel.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: woods170 on 12/11/2014 06:17 pm
Section 1604 of the National Defense Authorization bill which was passed by the House (and which should also be passed by the Senate this week) contains language that says that the engine has to be available to all domestic space launch providers:

[...]

http://www.armed-services.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/CPRT-113-HPRT-RU00-S1847.pdf (http://www.armed-services.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/CPRT-113-HPRT-RU00-S1847.pdf)


The clause as foreseen by JBF is indeed there with TrevorMonty being spot-on. This clause will keep ULA, Blue and (likely) SpaceX away from this 220 million US$. Why develop an engine if next you have to sell it to your competitors. Crony capitalism Good business demands you keep it ALL to yourself, including the launcher, not just the engine.
Some examples to support this theory:
- ULA won't let anyone else buy the RD-180. It's exclusive to them.
- SpaceX doesn't sell their engines to others. They're exclusively for SpaceX.
- Blue is developing the BE-4 in exclusive partnership with ULA. Similar arrangement to the current RD-180 situation.

IMO it's a safe bet the only bidder for this money will be Aerojet, if at all. Perhaps we will be surprised by some unexpected new entrant going for this money.

I disagree.  First of all, Blue Origin has already made a deal to sell engines to ULA, which is a rival for launcher sales.
When was the last time Blue launched something into orbit? They are not an orbital launch service provider, let alone a competitor for lauches to ULA.

They haven't launched anything to orbit yet.  That doesn't change the fact that launching things to orbit is their whole reason for existing.
No, in fact it isn't. Their whole reason for existing is Jeff Bezos' dream and Amazon.com. Had they really been interested to launch things into orbit, they would have been there already. You don't establish an aerospace company, claiming to dramatically lower cost for access to space and improved reliability, and have almost nothing to show for that target 14 years later. Even worse: first orbital flight is still projected to be at least four years away. Taking nearly two decades from founding the company to first orbital flight is bad for business. The only reason Blue hasn't fallen over is the money influx from Bezos' pocket. Blue is a pet company. Unlike Bezos' other ventures their target is NOT making lot's of money.


Whether a company that builds both engines and launchers is willing to sell the engines separately depends on a lot of factors.  There are reasons for them not to, to help their own launcher business.  But there can be more compelling factors that outweigh that.  If the government is going to pay for the development of a new engine, that's a pretty strong incentive to sell to the competition.
No, it isn't. Otherwise RS-68, J-2X, and RS-25 would be up for sale to anyone. They aren't.

You totally missed the point.  The point is that if the government is willing to fund the development on the condition it's made available to others, that's a strong incentive to make it available to others.  Obviously government funding that doesn't come with that condition doesn't provide an incentive to sell it to others.
I did not miss the point. You did. The mindset amongst the usual suspects is not to enable business for your competitors - by selling them engines - if they can use those engines themselves to out-compete their competitors.
That's why, IMO, SpaceX and ULA will not bite. They sell entire launch services, which is - in part - enabled by the rocket and it's engines. Selling their engines to the competition would directly hurt their launch business.
Viewed in this light it is easy to understand why Aerojet would, in fact, bid for this money. They are not a launch service provider. They only construct and sell engines.
Point is: engine makers will bid on this engine development. Whole-service launch providers, such as ULA and SpaceX will not bid.

I think Blue Origin at least will go for this money, and possibly SpaceX too.
No, they won't. What letter of the word 'exclusively' do you not understand?

Gratuitously insulting language that doesn't even make sense in the context you're using it doesn't help your case.
This discussion is a few posts older than the ones now quoted. Had you bothered to read it in full you would have understood the 'exclusively' bit.

SpaceX doesn't sell parts, they sell services.

That something hasn't happened in the past doesn't mean it won't happen in the future.  The key is to understand why it hasn't happened in the past and what conditions might change to make it happen in the future.  Having a lot of money on offer from the government is a big change in the conditions.  It's foolhardy to believe a company's behavior can't possibly change when a lot of money is suddenly on the line that wasn't before.
That 'lot of money' is actually not all that much when placed in the broader view of government business for SpaceX. COTS/CRS is close to two billion for SpaceX . The Commercial Crew phases, particularly CCiCAP and CCtCAP, represent billions too. The 220 million for this engine development program is only a drop compared to the buckets SpaceX has already received.
Besides, you fail to comprehend the way SpaceX works. All things they have done for government, so far, have been done with specific goals in mind: Learn how to develop reliable and affordable access to space and then on to Mars. Every step so far made sense within that frame of reference. Doing an engine development program, under requirements dictated by the US security community, doesn't fit SpaceX goals. The engine will very likely not fit any SpaceX vehicle and as such is useless to them. It would be a distraction.

That's what the whole block-buy protest is about. SpaceX won't be the engine provider for someone else's rocket.

That's not what the block buy protest is about.  It has nothing to do with whether SpaceX would sell engines to another company if given large sums of money to do so.
Let me elaborate: the block buy protest is over launch services. Most people think the block buy constitutes that the US government bought three dozen rocket cores. They didn't. The US government bought launch services that will require three dozen rocket cores. And that is what SpaceX is protesting: they want the block buy to go away so that they can openly compete for the launch services the US government is seeking. Launch services is completely different from selling rockets, or parts of rockets (such as engines) for that matter.

Additionally: the minute SpaceX decides to go for this money, they will have to do this particular engine development program under full public scrutiny. Not gonna happen under the current work-ethos as established by ol' Elon.

SpaceX has accepted a huge amount of government scrutiny for COTS, CRS, CCDev, CCiCap, and CCtCap, not to mention the Air Force EELV certification program.  So the idea that Elon would walk away from government money because he doesn't want government scrutiny is clearly nonsense.
There you go again. I said public scrutiny. And that does not equate one-on-one to government scrutiny. Public scrutiny is in fact much wider than government scrutiny. A government is required to keep proprietary information, gained from SpaceX, to themselves. Public scrutiny isn't. Elon will avoid that like the plague. No sense in giving your competition information that they might use to their own advantage.


Also, the next engine under development by SpaceX is raptor. Much bigger and much more powerfull than anything needed as an RD-180 replacement. Not gonna fit the profile, regardless of the cromnibus lacking any specifics on engine power and performance.

I partly agree with you on that, which is why I said SpaceX might go for the money, not that it definitely would.  But it's possible that SpaceX would take on the RD-180 replacement development in addition to Raptor.  It depends on the money.
As a I already explained: development of this engine is a distraction and provides substantially less money than the government business they have now. I don't see them interested.
On the other hand, rocket engine business for Aerojet has been slow lately. They definitely will want this money. And it's not a distraction to them. Doing rocket engines is a core-business for them.

Blue is developing BE-4 exclusively with ULA. Going for this 220 million means that they either have to break up the current BE-4 arrangement with ULA and let lot's of outsiders in (not gonna happen: Blue is way too secretive for that),

You don't know that, it's just speculation.  Until the ULA deal came to light, a lot of people would have thought Blue Origin wouldn't work with ULA.  If they'll work with ULA, it's really not that much of a stretch to believe they will also work with the Air Force.
Your assessment that SpaceX will bid on the engine work is speculation as well. You don't know either. Me neither. Throwing in the speculation argument is moot since it applies in both directions.
If you are under the impression that the new engine program involves the contractor and USAF only you will be gravely mistaken. Lot's of other parties will be involved since the bill specifically states that the engine must be up for sale to any US launch provider. Those will want to know what they are buying, and as such will want to be 'in'  on the finer details of the engine. Blue will have to be transparent to many parties during such a engine development program. That's against their very nature.


OR, develop yet another engine, outside the current BE-3 and BE-4, this time under full public scrutiny (not gonna happen: Blue is way too secretive for that).

Blue Origin has already been applying for NASA crew contracts and working with NASA on unfunded SAAs. So they haven't demonstrated a refusal to work with the government.

Like I state earlier: Public scrutiny is much wider than government scrutiny. And as such a much bigger impact to the way Blue works.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: TrevorMonty on 12/11/2014 06:55 pm
This $220m would be better spent on a lower cost RL10 replacement. At least a RL10 replacement wouldn't have any problems finding a LV. If the replacement can save $10m an engine payback would only take a couple of years plus SLS would benefit.

If they put it out to tender,  Aerojet, XCOR and probably Blue would compete.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: baldusi on 12/11/2014 07:41 pm
I think that XCOR would make a bid for sure, so would Aerojet, SpaceX and Blue Origin. The actual question is how are they going to implement it. Will it be a straight full spec buy the government, like the RS-25 or the J-2X, or are they going for a softer oversight? Because the most common way of doing this is through risk reduction activities at first. Exactly what Blue Origin and SpaceX would love to get a bite of. It's gonna be extremely difficult for Aerojet to win this if this isn't done like the J-2X program. And the funny part, is what if the "national security community" asks for hydrocarbon and oxidizer rich combustion experience? Aerojet can't really say the are above SpaceX and Blue Origin in that area.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Coastal Ron on 12/11/2014 07:52 pm
Yes, I think there will be recriminations.  But my read of B is that it basically lets the Air Force dictate the specs of the engine.  They'll likely spec it for Atlas V and SpaceX will complain.

Although Atlas V is, for all practical purposes, being phased out in favor of the new launcher powered by the Blue Origin engine.

I think this requirement will soon go away since it will become obvious that the industry won't use it, and that the industry has moved on to engines that are better than what this government funded one would be.  Not that logic ever stood in the way of pork funding, but there is hope...
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: ChrisWilson68 on 12/12/2014 10:42 am
Yes, I think there will be recriminations.  But my read of B is that it basically lets the Air Force dictate the specs of the engine.  They'll likely spec it for Atlas V and SpaceX will complain.

Although Atlas V is, for all practical purposes, being phased out in favor of the new launcher powered by the Blue Origin engine.

I think this requirement will soon go away since it will become obvious that the industry won't use it, and that the industry has moved on to engines that are better than what this government funded one would be.  Not that logic ever stood in the way of pork funding, but there is hope...

I agree with you that it doesn't make sense to spend this money.  It never did.

But the first $220 million won't go away.  It is in the bill that is just being passed right now.  There might not be any money in future years, but there definitely will be this year.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Prober on 12/12/2014 11:56 am
woods
Quote
No, in fact it isn't. Their whole reason for existing is Jeff Bezos' dream and Amazon.com. Had they really been interested to launch things into orbit, they would have been there already. You don't establish an aerospace company, claiming to dramatically lower cost for access to space and improved reliability, and have almost nothing to show for that target 14 years later. Even worse: first orbital flight is still projected to be at least four years away. Taking nearly two decades from founding the company to first orbital flight is bad for business. The only reason Blue hasn't fallen over is the money influx from Bezos' pocket. Blue is a pet company. Unlike Bezos' other ventures their target is NOT making lot's of money.

Hold on a sec.  What Bezo's does with his own money ,and under his own timetable is his business.  He has produced tangible quality research to high standards.   The standards are at the level ULA finds it very acceptable to partner with Blue. 

 
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: vulture4 on 12/12/2014 02:26 pm
To advance technology in a field as expensive as space takes guts, vision, and money. Bezos tried initially to base his work off the success of the DC-X but ran into practical problems. In doing so he built of a capable team. Now they see an opportunity to use their imagination and experience and internal resources to plug a hole in ULA's plans, the vital need for a new generation US-built hydrocarbon-fueled engine, a field that Aerojet/Rocketdyne/P&W have pretty much ignored. ULA will now face outside competition from SpaceX, so it will be driven to minimize cost. Blue has a decent concept, a staged-combustion methane-fueled engine aimed at the booster stage application. It would be a positive value to the nation and some taxpayer funding is warranted to accelerate the work, but even if there is no direct DOD funding the combination of ULA's and Bezos' resources will likely allow the project to proceed.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: muomega0 on 12/12/2014 02:36 pm
To advance technology in a field as expensive as space takes guts, vision, and money.
Given the need to reduce costs to space, it would make sense to have multiple awards, especially if one thinks 3 LVs are required to provide assured access to space, with upgrades and advanced, experimental vehicles in the works too.   What is more important: a new LV or crew rating a LV that will be phased out?    SLS/Orion or multiple awards with competition that includes testing and economic analysis based on manufacturing costs data or a paper trade down select with only one provider at the start?
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Jim on 12/12/2014 03:19 pm
a new LV or crew rating a LV that will be phased out?   

It is not being phased out, just a new stage will be phased in
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Jim on 12/12/2014 03:21 pm

Given the need to reduce costs to space, it would make sense to have multiple awards, especially if one thinks 3 LVs are required to provide assured access to space, with upgrades and advanced, experimental vehicles in the works too. 

No, because this is not what this is about and there is no need to start new launch vehicles.   We have enough.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: muomega0 on 12/12/2014 03:47 pm

Given the need to reduce costs to space, it would make sense to have multiple awards, especially if one thinks 3 LVs are required to provide assured access to space, with upgrades and advanced, experimental vehicles in the works too. 

No, because this is not what this is about and there is no need to start new launch vehicles.   We have enough.
Wrong...the current way of doing business is too expensive...old vehicles that is...Falcon 60 to 100M, Altas Delta:  568M and SLS is 3B+.  Switching an engine does not drop the costs by 400M, or does it?

So we need 3LVs for ISS (Atlas, Falcon, Russia) but only two going forward?

When you make the change to the lower or upper stage, its needs to be recertified.   So this is a new LV to many, but it may just be semantics.  What is the projected costs of this new, um old, existing lv vehicle upgrade per launch?  Do they get to recoup the private development costs? 
 
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Jim on 12/12/2014 04:14 pm

1.  Wrong...the current way of doing business is too expensive...old vehicles that is...Falcon 60 to 100M, Altas Delta:  568M and SLS is 3B+.  Switching an engine does not drop the costs by 400M, or does it?

2.  So we need 3LVs for ISS (Atlas, Falcon, Russia) but only two going forward?

3. When you make the change to the lower or upper stage, its needs to be recertified.   So this is a new LV to many, but it may just be semantics.

4.  What is the projected costs of this new, um old, existing lv vehicle upgrade per launch?  Do they get to recoup the private development costs? 
 

Wrong data and wrong conclusion

1.  Atlas does not cost 568M

2. Yes we do

3.  Not really, it is part of doing regular business.  Changes happen to vehicles all the time.  Certification is only for when the gov't user is not part of the development of the vehicle.

4.  That is up to how they want to market the vehicle.

Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: muomega0 on 12/14/2014 01:08 pm

1.  Wrong...the current way of doing business is too expensive...old vehicles that is...Falcon 60 to 100M, Altas Delta:  568M and SLS is 3B+.  Switching an engine does not drop the costs by 400M, or does it?
2.  So we need 3LVs for ISS (Atlas, Falcon, Russia) but only two going forward?
3. When you make the change to the lower or upper stage, its needs to be recertified.   So this is a new LV to many, but it may just be semantics.
4.  What is the projected costs of this new, um old, existing lv vehicle upgrade per launch?  Do they get to recoup the private development costs? 
 

Wrong data and wrong conclusion
1.  Atlas does not cost 568M
2. Yes we do
3.  Not really, it is part of doing regular business.  Changes happen to vehicles all the time.  Certification is only for when the gov't user is not part of the development of the vehicle.
4.  That is up to how they want to market the vehicle.

1. with or without including the fixed costs covered by DOD?   What is split between Atlas/Delta of the 38B for the additional flights?
2.
"Congress OKs bill banning purchases of Russian-made rocket engines"
http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-russian-rocket-ban-20141213-story.html

Quote
Despite lobbying from a joint venture of Boeing Co. and Lockheed Martin Corp., the Senate voted 89-11 to approve a bill Friday that would ban the Pentagon from awarding future rocket launch contracts to firms using Russian engines.
...
United Launch Alliance succeeded at weakening the bill so that it is allowed to use the Russian engines already in its inventory, which it says is enough for military launches over the next two years.
...

I see....what else could you or ULA do with the extra engines?  NASA awarded contracts to ferry crew to ISS for a total of $6.8 billion in contracts with Boeing getting the larger share, $4.2 billion and SpaceX getting $2.6 billion for doing what appears the same work. (http://spaceref.biz/nasa/nasa-selects-spacex-and-boeing-to-send-humans-to-space.html) Hopefully the engines are available for non-military purposes.  1.6B--why so much more? 

3. 
Quote from: NASA
"- The launch vehicle has demonstrated reliability and well-known failure modes and operating environments,
     which facilitates an integrated abort system for a crewed system and results in a safer launch vehicle.

- Boeing proposed to pursue an alternative launch vehicle in parallel with their baseline work.

- This new launch vehicle, if used in the CTS design, provides alternatives but would negate the benefits of the
     established reliability of the existing launch vehicle
"

 A new LV!  and the new LV is not really being competitively bid, or was it?   

4. So NASA helps pay for the old reliable LV and the new LV, where the later negates all the benefits of the established reliability, but it also has no future, and DOD pays for the new engines.  Does DOD pick up the larger costs of Delta forward, since Atlas is cheaper?  What if the DOD refuses to include the margins for crew rating--separate product lines?  Falcon Heavy is also designed to meet NASA human rating standards, unlike other satellite launch vehicles (http://www.spacex.com/press/2012/12/19/spacex-announces-launch-date-worlds-most-powerful-rocket)

The economic numbers state otherwise. Too much capacity, not enough payloads (a broken record).  Altas and Delta and SLS have few commercial launches and are expendable. How are any of these components designed for reuse or to reduce $/kg and meet the needs of the combined NASA/DOD payload set?
Speaking of broken record.  You are bordering on trolling by posting the same thing over and over.
Repeating the same nonsense over and over doesn't make it true.    Its a policy problem and not economics issues.  The existing vehicles meet all the needs of the "combined NASA/DOD payload set" (which excludes NASA HSF, which is not driven by economics).  There is no need for the gov't to get involved.  The market will do its work.  Don't need to "do" anything with Atlas/Delta as ULA will do as it sees fit.
really?   The 'market' has NASA now paying for the  remaining parts of the old LV, the new tanks and plumbing of the new LV, and DOD for the new engines, when Ares, then SLS were there to fill this role, which are still the backups at much higher costs.  One thing is clear:SLS/Orion/existingEELV is not taking Astronauts to Mars (http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=36258.msg1300295#msg1300295)

why certify crew to ISS on Falcon or Atlas? 
Because it is the law and a smart idea.
So NASA/DOD pay for another decade of LVs, and since this is done on the 'commercial' crew side, do they have to follow any of the guidance from the 2004 VSE Space Policy?   Perhaps the Economic Access to Space Grand Challenge will now be met..... Some of the LV groups must be sky high right now... the rest of the Grand challenges left for the future generations..  It easy to see the big changes forward at the government pace...

Quote from: 2004VSE
In the days of the Apollo program, human exploration systems employed expendable, single-use vehicles requiring large ground crews and careful monitoring. For future, sustainable exploration programs, NASA requires cost-effective vehicles that may be reused, have systems that could be applied to more than one destination, and are highly reliable and need only small ground crews. NASA plans to invest in a number of new approaches to exploration, such as robotic networks, modular systems, pre-positioned propellants, advanced power and propulsion, and in-space assembly, that could enable these kinds of vehicles. Other break through technologies, such as nuclear power and propulsion, optical communications, and potential use of space resources, will be demonstrated as part of robotic exploration missions. The challenges of designing these systems will accelerate the development of fundamental technologies that are critical not only to NASA, but also to the Nation’s economic and national security
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Jim on 12/14/2014 04:50 pm
That post wanders and rambles on, so I don't even know where to start, so I won't and I will be taking another action.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: edkyle99 on 12/14/2014 05:37 pm
The cost of an EELV launch was discussed here
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=34785.msg1201070#msg1201070
where it was shown that the cost of an average EELV launch was somewhere between "less than $100 million" (ULA claim) and $420 million (GAO statement). 

I have thrown up my hands on this issue.  It seems clear that the real EELV cost is invisible, even to those who think they know.  Only one thing is absolutely apparent:  ULA itself thinks that its own rockets cost too much, which is why it is replacing them with NGLV.

I also believe that Falcon 9 costs more than is widely believed, regardless of the advertised "price".

 - Ed Kyle
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: muomega0 on 12/14/2014 06:31 pm
The cost of an EELV launch was discussed here
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=34785.msg1201070#msg1201070
where it was shown that the cost of an average EELV launch was somewhere between "less than $100 million" (ULA claim) and $420 million (GAO statement). 

I have thrown up my hands on this issue.  It seems clear that the real EELV cost is invisible, even to those who think they know.  Only one thing is absolutely apparent:  ULA itself thinks that its own rockets cost too much, which is why it is replacing them with NGLV.

I also believe that Falcon 9 costs more than is widely believed, regardless of the advertised "price".

 - Ed Kyle
Thanks.
The 2014 summary: NASA postpones BEO to spend $6.2B to launch crew to ISS until 2024; develop new LV (http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=34595.msg1302379#msg1302379).
- NASA also begins new LV development but needs new engines
- DOD will fund the new domestic engine
- DOD bans Atlas.  NASA also will use the remaining Atlas engines and LVs banned by DOD to launch crew to ISS
- NASA will shift from one supplier to three suppliers to ISS (1 to 2 for decades)
- The new LV "negates all the benefits of the established reliability of the existing Altas LV" recert. required
- NASA will spend $4.2B on the CST-100 + part of the new LV;  2.6B for the other provider, 3.1B/yr SLS/Orion

The domestic engine is very important going forward.   Multiple awards with test (not paper) downselect + economics of the LV would be the best path forward.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: rayleighscatter on 12/14/2014 08:15 pm
- DOD bans Atlas.  NASA also will use the remaining Atlas engines and LVs banned by DOD to launch crew to ISS
DoD didn't ban the Atlas V. Congress banned the use of Russian supplied engines beyond what is already on hand or contracted. Until the current supply plus the 50 or so engines on order are used up, they may be used for DoD launches (through 2019).
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Rummy on 02/03/2015 07:03 pm
The cost of an EELV launch was discussed here
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=34785.msg1201070#msg1201070
where it was shown that the cost of an average EELV launch was somewhere between "less than $100 million" (ULA claim) and $420 million (GAO statement). 

I have thrown up my hands on this issue.  It seems clear that the real EELV cost is invisible, even to those who think they know.  Only one thing is absolutely apparent:  ULA itself thinks that its own rockets cost too much, which is why it is replacing them with NGLV.

I also believe that Falcon 9 costs more than is widely believed, regardless of the advertised "price".

 - Ed Kyle
Thanks.
The 2014 summary: NASA postpones BEO to spend $6.2B to launch crew to ISS until 2024; develop new LV (http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=34595.msg1302379#msg1302379).
- NASA also begins new LV development but needs new engines
- DOD will fund the new domestic engine
- DOD bans Atlas.  NASA also will use the remaining Atlas engines and LVs banned by DOD to launch crew to ISS
- NASA will shift from one supplier to three suppliers to ISS (1 to 2 for decades)
- The new LV "negates all the benefits of the established reliability of the existing Altas LV" recert. required
- NASA will spend $4.2B on the CST-100 + part of the new LV;  2.6B for the other provider, 3.1B/yr SLS/Orion

The domestic engine is very important going forward.   Multiple awards with test (not paper) downselect + economics of the LV would be the best path forward.

Can you, or someone else, please elaborate on what this means: "Multiple awards with test (not paper) downselect + economics of the LV would be the best path forward."

This issue is near and dear to me.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Tea Party Space Czar on 02/03/2015 07:42 pm
The cost of an EELV launch was discussed here
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=34785.msg1201070#msg1201070
where it was shown that the cost of an average EELV launch was somewhere between "less than $100 million" (ULA claim) and $420 million (GAO statement). 

I have thrown up my hands on this issue.  It seems clear that the real EELV cost is invisible, even to those who think they know.  Only one thing is absolutely apparent:  ULA itself thinks that its own rockets cost too much, which is why it is replacing them with NGLV.

Very true statement.  There are "sets" of numbers depending on "how" you want to cost or price a program.  It is frustrating.  This just isn't with shuttle, or Apollo, or CxP, or SLS, or Commercial Crew.  Moreover, there are legitimate claims to how one "accounts" for dollars.  What matters is consistency and the use of GAAP and FASB. 

However, when involving the US Government there is nothing consistent.  Things change and it is really difficult to get straight answers on things.  Even the GAO numbers are sometimes "disputed" with partisan lenses.

I also believe that Falcon 9 costs more than is widely believed, regardless of the advertised "price".

Depends how you want to price it in my opinion.  Do we include DDT&E or no?  As we know Kyle the actual hardware for Falcon 1, launch 1 was about $8 million.  As we also both know a lot more time and money went into it.  Fortunately for you, I, the American taxpayer, and the rest of the world that was "mostly" Elon's money.  How much was really spent up to that point?

I think you bring valid questions to the plate and until we get away from governments being the primary consumer of launch vehicles we never will get a real price on things. 

I share in your frustration.

Respectfully,
Andrew Gasser
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: muomega0 on 02/03/2015 09:01 pm
Can you, or someone else, please elaborate on what this means: "Multiple awards with test (not paper) downselect + economics of the LV would be the best path forward."
Re-stated:  Potential to offer multiple (not a single) awards to build fabricate and test the new engine, parallel paths.  compare performance and costs rather than down select to one provider from the (paper) proposal.     Reuse must be considered at the LV level, which introduces more factors in the reliability/cost trade.

The issue of course is costs.  'Competition' means duplication, and that would require more funding (multiple awards).    For example, 2.6B and 4.2B for commercial crew.

I think you bring valid questions to the plate and until we get away from governments being the primary consumer of launch vehicles we never will get a real price on things. 
A stable source of government demand will be necessary for quite some time, IMHO, and funding to further reduce launch costs to develop these markets.... shifting the great talent to payloads and technology development would provide part of this demand.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Coastal Ron on 02/04/2015 05:27 am
I also believe that Falcon 9 costs more than is widely believed, regardless of the advertised "price".

Could very well be, for a couple of reasons.  In no particular order:

A.  SpaceX wants to under-cut the market to achieve market share, or drive competitors out of the market.  But as the old saying goes, if you lose money on every unit you sell, you can't make it up in volume.  However if this were true, where is the money coming from to do all the work they are doing?

B.  The first production units of any product invariably cost more than what the company wants to sell them for, but the average price drops as more units are built.  And if things work out as planned, they achieve profitability before they run out of money.  This does require an investment up front, but for commercial launches SpaceX customers usually pay for their launches upfront - and that provides a lot of capital.

C.  SpaceX really can make a profit on the Falcon 9 v1.1 because of their intense focus on lowering the cost of building the Falcon 9.

Likely the only scenario that will allow us to find out would be "A", and that would be because they acknowledge they have run out of money.  However since they just got $1B in investment that likely wouldn't happen for a while...
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: rayleighscatter on 02/04/2015 10:24 pm

A.  SpaceX wants to under-cut the market to achieve market share, or drive competitors out of the market.  But as the old saying goes, if you lose money on every unit you sell, you can't make it up in volume.  However if this were true, where is the money coming from to do all the work they are doing?

By using future contracts to pay for current work. It's not a secret that SpaceX likely lacks the assets to meet their current obligations. This also isn't as bad as it sounds since it's a pretty common business practice. You just have to make sure your orders stay ahead of your liabilities.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Coastal Ron on 02/04/2015 11:48 pm

A.  SpaceX wants to under-cut the market to achieve market share, or drive competitors out of the market.  But as the old saying goes, if you lose money on every unit you sell, you can't make it up in volume.  However if this were true, where is the money coming from to do all the work they are doing?

By using future contracts to pay for current work.

Yes, but if you'll never make money on a launch (i.e. scenario "A" above), then it doesn't matter if you use the launch deposits for current operations plus new stuff, because you will run out of money.  I doubt this is the situation with SpaceX.

Quote
It's not a secret that SpaceX likely lacks the assets to meet their current obligations.

How would anyone outside of SpaceX know this unless SpaceX leadership told us?  And unless I've missed something, SpaceX leadership has not admitted such a thing.

So at most this would be rumor.

Quote
This also isn't as bad as it sounds since it's a pretty common business practice. You just have to make sure your orders stay ahead of your liabilities.

My scenario "B" is common business practice for companies that have a future.  For companies that don't have a future scenario "A" is pretty common.

For the record, I think SpaceX is either scenario "B" or "C", but in no way would be "A".
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: nadreck on 02/05/2015 04:31 pm
SpaceX has not have nearly enough private investment, or progress payments from NASA to pay for all the future launches on it's manifest, but it probably has managed to stay ahead of costs to date on what has been built before you account for the $1B in new investment.  SpaceX actually went a very long way on its first $200M, in terms of margin on launches, so far anything that is costing them unexpected dollars that reduce or eliminate their margins on launches are the variable costs involved in each launch and those are hurt by each scrub and schedule delay. The Dragon 2 and the F9 1.1 developments are all well funded, FH and the efforts  the land the first stage may be a short term drain on cash flow and in reality, yes probably some cash flow from progress payments keeps all the balances in place to continue activity without having to seek some sort of extra investment to continue those developments, however they total revenue stream they have planned looks more than adequate to handle all the commitments on their manifest and fully fund the first stage return/re-use efforts. Their prices are not static, and at no time have I ever had the impression that Elon wanted to use the avalanche method of business growth that people like Donald Trump, Peter Poklington, Robert Campeau etc use to build a bigger and bigger empire of volume of business growth driving volume of credit growth. Those real estate tycoons built by getting involved in larger and larger volumes of development projects all funded by 80 or 90% borrowed (not invested) funds.

Note that this does not examine the business case for their R&D on the Raptor, the BFR, SkyNet etc. nor building new facilities. Which BTW, in normal companies would be where the $1B in new investment would be going.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: CommercialSpaceFan on 02/07/2015 08:42 pm
The cost of an EELV launch was discussed here
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=34785.msg1201070#msg1201070
where it was shown that the cost of an average EELV launch was somewhere between "less than $100 million" (ULA claim) and $420 million (GAO statement). 

I have thrown up my hands on this issue.  It seems clear that the real EELV cost is invisible, even to those who think they know.  Only one thing is absolutely apparent:  ULA itself thinks that its own rockets cost too much, which is why it is replacing them with NGLV.

I also believe that Falcon 9 costs more than is widely believed, regardless of the advertised "price".

 - Ed Kyle

I think Lockheed and Boeing would have loved it if ULA had 2014 revenue of $5.88B (14 launches times $420m).  You might be able to determine ULA's revenues from Lockheed and Boeing annual statements to shareholders.

With regard to what ULA said the cost of a rocket is:
http://www.ulalaunch.com/faqs-launch-costs.aspx

"The average price of a mission, accounting for all current firm contracts for Atlas and Delta launch services, is $225 million, not $460 million as has been claimed. This includes all missions, Department of Defense (DoD), NASA, commercial, Atlas V 401 through Delta IV Heavy.

The incremental price of a lower-end mission, that is, the cost to the U.S. government to increase the block buy one addition mission, is less than $100 million. The full price for a lower-end mission utilizing the Atlas V is $164 million. The most capable mission (three times the performance/thrust needed) costs around $350 million.

These prices are not from a marketing brochure, but committed, negotiated prices backed by full transparency to the U.S. government into all aspects of the cost. While these are the current prices, ULA is embarked on an aggressive cost reduction program with very challenging future targets."
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Coastal Ron on 02/07/2015 09:22 pm
SpaceX has not have nearly enough private investment, or progress payments from NASA to pay for all the future launches on it's manifest...

You are right, private investment up to this year and progress payments from NASA probably would not have been enough to pay for everything they are doing.  But you are leaving out a huge source of their working capital - launch deposits from non-NASA customers.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: nadreck on 02/09/2015 06:22 pm
SpaceX has not have nearly enough private investment, or progress payments from NASA to pay for all the future launches on it's manifest...

You are right, private investment up to this year and progress payments from NASA probably would not have been enough to pay for everything they are doing.  But you are leaving out a huge source of their working capital - launch deposits from non-NASA customers.

Which is what I said in the rest of the paragraph (along with some other stuff that I thought was equally important).

I ended with the fact that the $1B should mostly go for Raptor, Boca Chica and other facilities, ElonNet and other new endeavours.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: nadreck on 02/25/2015 07:49 pm
Copy of my post to a ULA thread, but when I read the article from the 2nd link on there I realized it is not a ULA delay but an USAF delay as in, they need all too much time to study the options:

Quote
Likely to be 2 or 3 years further out than the 2019 deadline:

http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/02/25/usa-airforce-rockets-idUSL1N0VZ20M20150225 (http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/02/25/usa-airforce-rockets-idUSL1N0VZ20M20150225)

Edit: in light of this with ULA's comment: http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/02/25/usa-airforce-rockets-idUSL1N0VZ20M20150225 (http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/02/25/usa-airforce-rockets-idUSL1N0VZ20M20150225) I should probably have posted this on the appropriate thread in Space Policy. I will actually put a post there.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Brovane on 02/26/2015 07:59 pm

Also, the next engine under development by SpaceX is raptor. Much bigger and much more powerfull than anything needed as an RD-180 replacement. Not gonna fit the profile, regardless of the cromnibus lacking any specifics on engine power and performance.

I partly agree with you on that, which is why I said SpaceX might go for the money, not that it definitely would.  But it's possible that SpaceX would take on the RD-180 replacement development in addition to Raptor.  It depends on the money.

I have seen assumptions of Raptor performance all over the charts.  However this quote from Musk's Reddit session last month tells me that it could very well be around 500 klbf. 
Quote
thrust to weight is optimizing for a surprisingly low thrust level, even when accounting for the added mass of plumbing and structure for many engines. Looks like a little over 230 metric tons (~500 klbf) of thrust per engine, but we will have a lot of them :)

Couldn't two 500 klbf Raptor engine's be a replacement for the RD-180?
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Brovane on 02/26/2015 08:01 pm
Copy of my post to a ULA thread, but when I read the article from the 2nd link on there I realized it is not a ULA delay but an USAF delay as in, they need all too much time to study the options:

Quote
Likely to be 2 or 3 years further out than the 2019 deadline:

http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/02/25/usa-airforce-rockets-idUSL1N0VZ20M20150225 (http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/02/25/usa-airforce-rockets-idUSL1N0VZ20M20150225)

Edit: in light of this with ULA's comment: http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/02/25/usa-airforce-rockets-idUSL1N0VZ20M20150225 (http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/02/25/usa-airforce-rockets-idUSL1N0VZ20M20150225) I should probably have posted this on the appropriate thread in Space Policy. I will actually put a post there.

Well that could be embarrassing if a ULA BE-4 launch vehicle is flying by 2017 and get's EELV certification by 2019. 
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Prober on 05/06/2015 04:21 am

U.S. Air Force says may revisit rocket plan if firms do not respond


http://news.yahoo.com/u-air-force-says-may-revisit-rocket-plan-015819427.html

The U.S. Air Force may have to revisit its strategy to develop a new U.S.-fueled launch vehicle aimed at ending American reliance on Russian rocket engines if U.S. companies fail to bid to build prototypes for the government, a senior general said Tuesday.

Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: woods170 on 05/06/2015 07:39 am

U.S. Air Force says may revisit rocket plan if firms do not respond


http://news.yahoo.com/u-air-force-says-may-revisit-rocket-plan-015819427.html

The U.S. Air Force may have to revisit its strategy to develop a new U.S.-fueled launch vehicle aimed at ending American reliance on Russian rocket engines if U.S. companies fail to bid to build prototypes for the government, a senior general said Tuesday.


Two obvious possible directions:

A. Get rid of the engine ban and continue business-as-usual (not very likely for multiple obvious reasons)
B. Certify existing or in-development US rockets and buy flights as a service (likely, since this is the path chosen by SpaceX (Falcon 9) and ULA (Vulcan))

Nevertheless, it looks like the days of USAF/NRO telling companies how to develop their rockets are over. USAF/NRO will have to make do with what the launch service providers are offering them. No longer will rockets be tailor-made for USAF/NRO purposes first, and anything else second. And personally I think that is a good development. It will give ULA at least a fighting chance to get back into the commercial launch market.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: oldAtlas_Eguy on 05/06/2015 04:09 pm
For commercial competitiveness with the expendable F9/FH Vulcan prices for commercial payloads should be close to (within 20%) of SpaceX prices or <$72M/$162M.

But by the time Vulcan starts flying it will need to be competitive with a worst case competitive prices of reusable F9R/FHR (within 20% again) SpaceX prices or <$45M/$75M. This looks to be doable using BO as the engine source for 1st and US (BE-4/BE-3).

NOTE: Competitive pricing is for payloads not for LV performance max. A Vulcan (561) can compete for the foreseeable heavy payloads 25mt to LEO and 7mt to GTO with the FHR prices because these payloads are to heavy for the F9R even thogh this heavy version of Vulcan does not get close to FHR but is significantly more than F9R.

Edit: Sorry about the OT.
SpaceX, BO and now ULA are following the policy of: "We will take your money (government funds) if there are no technical restrictions/directions and no claims on IP". Since the contracts currently offered for engine development have strings attached, SpaceX, BO and ULA is not interested.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: WindnWar on 05/07/2015 07:07 pm
Yeah I don't see either Blue or SpaceX wanting to design anything they don't own the rights too. That is not how commercial business works. There are very clearly strings in the current proposal that gives the government ownership rights. As has been seen in other programs, that becomes an issue if the government cancels it and then orders the product line scrapped, not to mention your enabling your competitors with the work you did. They don't want to be part sellers, they want to sell a complete product.

Only Aerojet and possibly Northrop would be willing to sign on to those conditions.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Rummy on 05/08/2015 02:08 am
Yeah I don't see either Blue or SpaceX wanting to design anything they don't own the rights too. That is not how commercial business works. There are very clearly strings in the current proposal that gives the government ownership rights. As has been seen in other programs, that becomes an issue if the government cancels it and then orders the product line scrapped, not to mention your enabling your competitors with the work you did. They don't want to be part sellers, they want to sell a complete product.

Only Aerojet and possibly Northrop would be willing to sign on to those conditions.

I call BS. Money talks and the USAF is willing to be reasonable if contractors bring significant investments to the table.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: mhlas7 on 05/08/2015 03:55 am
Yeah I don't see either Blue or SpaceX wanting to design anything they don't own the rights too. That is not how commercial business works. There are very clearly strings in the current proposal that gives the government ownership rights. As has been seen in other programs, that becomes an issue if the government cancels it and then orders the product line scrapped, not to mention your enabling your competitors with the work you did. They don't want to be part sellers, they want to sell a complete product.

Only Aerojet and possibly Northrop would be willing to sign on to those conditions.

Agreed. This is just my speculation but I bet the AR-1 will get funded by this act so that some senator will get to say "we're building an American engine". In actuality it will just be an excuse to prop up Aerojet since they are loosing all their customers for liquid engines except NASA. But that is just my speculation, as much as I don't want this to happen.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: woods170 on 05/08/2015 09:41 am
Yeah I don't see either Blue or SpaceX wanting to design anything they don't own the rights too. That is not how commercial business works. There are very clearly strings in the current proposal that gives the government ownership rights. As has been seen in other programs, that becomes an issue if the government cancels it and then orders the product line scrapped, not to mention your enabling your competitors with the work you did. They don't want to be part sellers, they want to sell a complete product.

Only Aerojet and possibly Northrop would be willing to sign on to those conditions.

Correct. The minute Blue would accept the Congressionally appropriated money for an RD-180 replacement engine, to fund their BE-4 engine, they would basically lose control of their own engine, in multiple ways. I don't see Bezos accepting such a situation. The current set-up between ULA and Blue makes sure that both parties remain in full control over their own products. They will let their products be USAF/NRO certified, but only after the fact.
Something similar applies to SpaceX.

I think your assessment is correct. The funds for an RD-180 replacement will most likely (IMO) be spent at Aerojet, if ever.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: woods170 on 05/08/2015 09:43 am
Yeah I don't see either Blue or SpaceX wanting to design anything they don't own the rights too. That is not how commercial business works. There are very clearly strings in the current proposal that gives the government ownership rights. As has been seen in other programs, that becomes an issue if the government cancels it and then orders the product line scrapped, not to mention your enabling your competitors with the work you did. They don't want to be part sellers, they want to sell a complete product.

Only Aerojet and possibly Northrop would be willing to sign on to those conditions.

I call BS. Money talks and the USAF is willing to be reasonable if contractors bring significant investments to the table.
The silly story that Falcon 9 certification has become indicates all too clearly that USAF is NOT willing to be reasonable with contractors, even with those that bring ALL the investments to the table on their own. It took a government-ordered investigation to make clear that USAF had been very unreasonable with SpaceX.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: AncientU on 05/08/2015 03:53 pm
Yeah I don't see either Blue or SpaceX wanting to design anything they don't own the rights too. That is not how commercial business works. There are very clearly strings in the current proposal that gives the government ownership rights. As has been seen in other programs, that becomes an issue if the government cancels it and then orders the product line scrapped, not to mention your enabling your competitors with the work you did. They don't want to be part sellers, they want to sell a complete product.

Only Aerojet and possibly Northrop would be willing to sign on to those conditions.

I call BS. Money talks and the USAF is willing to be reasonable if contractors bring significant investments to the table.

I believe that SpaceX will have a Raptor engine that would be a great replacement for RD-180 within the next couple years.  Why on Earth would they want to be compelled to offer it to ULA to save the Atlas?  Same situation as existed when NASA was talking about an advanced booster competition... to be funded starting around (2020 or later).  Why bother was SpaceX's response -- too little, too late.

As Woods170 says, Blue Origins would be unlikely to share their engine either. 

ULA had their opportunity to develop their own engine over the last decade and passed.

Aerojet may be willing to grab the life-ring, but their product would have zero launch services companies buying...

So, I'm not at all surprised the USAF threw a party and no one showed up.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Rummy on 05/08/2015 08:31 pm
Yeah I don't see either Blue or SpaceX wanting to design anything they don't own the rights too. That is not how commercial business works. There are very clearly strings in the current proposal that gives the government ownership rights. As has been seen in other programs, that becomes an issue if the government cancels it and then orders the product line scrapped, not to mention your enabling your competitors with the work you did. They don't want to be part sellers, they want to sell a complete product.

Only Aerojet and possibly Northrop would be willing to sign on to those conditions.

I call BS. Money talks and the USAF is willing to be reasonable if contractors bring significant investments to the table.

I believe that SpaceX will have a Raptor engine that would be a great replacement for RD-180 within the next couple years.  Why on Earth would they want to be compelled to offer it to ULA to save the Atlas?  Same situation as existed when NASA was talking about an advanced booster competition... to be funded starting around (2020 or later).  Why bother was SpaceX's response -- too little, too late.

As Woods170 says, Blue Origins would be unlikely to share their engine either. 

ULA had their opportunity to develop their own engine over the last decade and passed.

Aerojet may be willing to grab the life-ring, but their product would have zero launch services companies buying...

So, I'm not at all surprised the USAF threw a party and no one showed up.

We shall see. The party has not been thrown yet.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Brovane on 05/08/2015 10:51 pm

I believe that SpaceX will have a Raptor engine that would be a great replacement for RD-180 within the next couple years.  Why on Earth would they want to be compelled to offer it to ULA to save the Atlas?  Same situation as existed when NASA was talking about an advanced booster competition... to be funded starting around (2020 or later).  Why bother was SpaceX's response -- too little, too late.

As Woods170 says, Blue Origins would be unlikely to share their engine either. 

ULA had their opportunity to develop their own engine over the last decade and passed.

Aerojet may be willing to grab the life-ring, but their product would have zero launch services companies buying...

So, I'm not at all surprised the USAF threw a party and no one showed up.

Do we really know how far along SpaceX is with the Raptor development?  We also don't know the status of SpaceX and it's funding.  The main intention of the Raptor is to power the "BFR" which is really a rocket that isn't even mentioned in SpaceX's business plan as a future launch platform for the business.  If SpaceX can get the US govt to pay for the development of the Raptor then why not?  They know they have a solid performer in the Falcon9 with it's Merlin Engine's.  Despite the hard feelings, the USAF is going to be a valued customer to SpaceX going forward and they already have experience with dealing with DOD bureaucracy. 
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Rummy on 05/09/2015 05:33 pm
What Brovane said. This is big business, I doubt that SpaceX is going to let early stumbles sour a potentially long and profitable business relationship. Likewise for the Air Force, with all of the swirl associated with ULA, the Air Force can't wait for SpaceX to be a certified launch option. Didn't Gen Hyten say that the nation's security will be greatly improved the moment SpaceX is certified? 

Anyways, I would bet that all of the major players are interested in government investment, regardless of what they say to the press. It's just a matter of what strings come with the money. The original EELV agreements and the NASA COTS agreements are proof that the government is able to relax those strings in certain situations.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Brovane on 05/09/2015 06:53 pm
What Brovane said. This is big business, I doubt that SpaceX is going to let early stumbles sour a potentially long and profitable business relationship. Likewise for the Air Force, with all of the swirl associated with ULA, the Air Force can't wait for SpaceX to be a certified launch option. Didn't Gen Hyten say that the nation's security will be greatly improved the moment SpaceX is certified? 


Yes he did.  SpaceX has repeatedly impressed the USAF.  SpaceX and the USAF seems very committed to fixing the issues that soured their earlier relationship.  SpaceX has shown the USAF there is actually hardware to backup Mr. Musk's boasts. 

Anyways, I would bet that all of the major players are interested in government investment, regardless of what they say to the press. It's just a matter of what strings come with the money. The original EELV agreements and the NASA COTS agreements are proof that the government is able to relax those strings in certain situations.

For SpaceX is you consider that what we know about the Raptor.  The Raptor has no business model attached to it.  The engine is being developed to fulfill Musk's ambition for Beyond Earth Orbit manned spaceflight, which has no return on investment for the company.  If the govt will pay to develop the engine and doesn't have some ridiculous strings attached to it, IE SpaceX cannot build the engine for it's own launch vehicle etc.  I don't see why SpaceX would not bid on the project.  It could be that there is a internal plan at SpaceX that we don't know about that would make participating in this project with the US Govt a bid idea.  We will just have to be patience and let the events unfold as they will 
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: joek on 05/09/2015 11:07 pm
Anyways, I would bet that all of the major players are interested in government investment, regardless of what they say to the press. It's just a matter of what strings come with the money. The original EELV agreements and the NASA COTS agreements are proof that the government is able to relax those strings in certain situations.

EELV and COTS were conducted under OTA (other transaction authority) by DoD and NASA respectively.  Congress appears to have cooled the use of OTA in the past years.  Maybe this will be different, but I have doubts.

More to the point, the legislation is focused on engine development--as opposed to ensuring launch capability, which is (or should be) the real objective--which is bass-ackwards.

Anyone other than maybe AR or ULA in their right mind should stay far away from this legislation, and any funds attached to it, as Congress is clearly not interested in solving the actual problem.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: AncientU on 05/10/2015 02:15 am

I believe that SpaceX will have a Raptor engine that would be a great replacement for RD-180 within the next couple years.  Why on Earth would they want to be compelled to offer it to ULA to save the Atlas?  Same situation as existed when NASA was talking about an advanced booster competition... to be funded starting around (2020 or later).  Why bother was SpaceX's response -- too little, too late.

As Woods170 says, Blue Origins would be unlikely to share their engine either. 

ULA had their opportunity to develop their own engine over the last decade and passed.

Aerojet may be willing to grab the life-ring, but their product would have zero launch services companies buying...

So, I'm not at all surprised the USAF threw a party and no one showed up.

Do we really know how far along SpaceX is with the Raptor development?  We also don't know the status of SpaceX and it's funding.  The main intention of the Raptor is to power the "BFR" which is really a rocket that isn't even mentioned in SpaceX's business plan as a future launch platform for the business.  If SpaceX can get the US govt to pay for the development of the Raptor then why not?  They know they have a solid performer in the Falcon9 with it's Merlin Engine's.  Despite the hard feelings, the USAF is going to be a valued customer to SpaceX going forward and they already have experience with dealing with DOD bureaucracy.

Not hard feelings, just business.  The USAF in the person of Aerospace Corp. is too slow, too cumbersome, too intrusive.  They knew about this problem ten years ago and are finally getting off their collective __es.  Took a second Russian invasion of a neighboring country and a Congressional ban to get the message through.

Raptor prototype will be done before anyone gets the first $100M of the RD-180 'replacement' prototyping money.   SpaceX apparently wants the USAF launches (I personally cannot imagine why), but they don't want USAF running their business (see certification train wreck after two years and $500M+) and certainly don't want to give away their technology to the competition who only recently stopped ridiculing them.  I believe EM recently (last year) said that ULA should abandon the Atlas V -- congressional hearings it was, with Mr. Gass.  Would be strange to use what could become America's best engine ever, that they developed on their own buck, to save the Atlas and ULA.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: AncientU on 05/10/2015 02:22 am
I like the irony of a "full and open competition" for a program to help one particular company that is in competition for U.S. national security launches.

Full and open competition after icing out all competition for the bulk of USAF launches for five years.  Yes, competition is at the core of USAF's interests...
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Brovane on 05/10/2015 03:24 pm
Not hard feelings, just business.  The USAF in the person of Aerospace Corp. is too slow, too cumbersome, too intrusive.  They knew about this problem ten years ago and are finally getting off their collective __es.  Took a second Russian invasion of a neighboring country and a Congressional ban to get the message through.

Raptor prototype will be done before anyone gets the first $100M of the RD-180 'replacement' prototyping money.   SpaceX apparently wants the USAF launches (I personally cannot imagine why), but they don't want USAF running their business (see certification train wreck after two years and $500M+) and certainly don't want to give away their technology to the competition who only recently stopped ridiculing them.  I believe EM recently (last year) said that ULA should abandon the Atlas V -- congressional hearings it was, with Mr. Gass.  Would be strange to use what could become America's best engine ever, that they developed on their own buck, to save the Atlas and ULA.

What is the business case for the Raptor for SpaceX?  There is no business case for this engine for SpaceX beyond some conjecture on this board that it could eventually replace the Merlin engine on the Falcon 9.  The Raptor is being developed as a altruistic initiative by SpaceX to make the human species multi-planetary.  As far as engine technology, why would you assume that SpaceX wouldn't want to give away the Raptor technology?  If the goal of SpaceX and Elon Musk is to enable humans to live on other planets.  Then enabling the wide spread use of this technology would help make progress towards this goal of SpaceX.  Tesla Motors has made it's technology freely available to further the development of EVs.   
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Jim on 05/10/2015 04:36 pm
Not hard feelings, just business.  The USAF in the person of Aerospace Corp. is too slow, too cumbersome, too intrusive.  They knew about this problem ten years ago and are finally getting off their collective __es.  Took a second Russian invasion of a neighboring country and a Congressional ban to get the message through.


Wrong take away.
a.  Aerospace doesn't make procurement decisions
b.  The USAF and NRO were happy with the cost and performance of the RD-180
b.  Congress was involved in the choice of RD-180 for Atlas V.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: AncientU on 05/10/2015 06:52 pm
Not hard feelings, just business.  The USAF in the person of Aerospace Corp. is too slow, too cumbersome, too intrusive.  They knew about this problem ten years ago and are finally getting off their collective __es.  Took a second Russian invasion of a neighboring country and a Congressional ban to get the message through.

Raptor prototype will be done before anyone gets the first $100M of the RD-180 'replacement' prototyping money.   SpaceX apparently wants the USAF launches (I personally cannot imagine why), but they don't want USAF running their business (see certification train wreck after two years and $500M+) and certainly don't want to give away their technology to the competition who only recently stopped ridiculing them.  I believe EM recently (last year) said that ULA should abandon the Atlas V -- congressional hearings it was, with Mr. Gass.  Would be strange to use what could become America's best engine ever, that they developed on their own buck, to save the Atlas and ULA.

What is the business case for the Raptor for SpaceX?  There is no business case for this engine for SpaceX beyond some conjecture on this board that it could eventually replace the Merlin engine on the Falcon 9.  The Raptor is being developed as a altruistic initiative by SpaceX to make the human species multi-planetary.  As far as engine technology, why would you assume that SpaceX wouldn't want to give away the Raptor technology?  If the goal of SpaceX a nd Elon Musk is to enable humans to live on other planets.  Then enabling the wide spread use of this technology would help make progress towards this goal of SpaceX.  Tesla Motors has made it's technology freely available to further the development of EVs.   

Giving it away to help the competition continue their LEO business would throttle the SpaceX revenue stream needed for that altruistic initiative.  There may come a point that the technology is given away (ITAR issues may prohibit it being open source like Tesla tech), but we're in the fight stage at the moment.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Brovane on 05/10/2015 07:19 pm
Not hard feelings, just business.  The USAF in the person of Aerospace Corp. is too slow, too cumbersome, too intrusive.  They knew about this problem ten years ago and are finally getting off their collective __es.  Took a second Russian invasion of a neighboring country and a Congressional ban to get the message through.

Raptor prototype will be done before anyone gets the first $100M of the RD-180 'replacement' prototyping money.   SpaceX apparently wants the USAF launches (I personally cannot imagine why), but they don't want USAF running their business (see certification train wreck after two years and $500M+) and certainly don't want to give away their technology to the competition who only recently stopped ridiculing them.  I believe EM recently (last year) said that ULA should abandon the Atlas V -- congressional hearings it was, with Mr. Gass.  Would be strange to use what could become America's best engine ever, that they developed on their own buck, to save the Atlas and ULA.

What is the business case for the Raptor for SpaceX?  There is no business case for this engine for SpaceX beyond some conjecture on this board that it could eventually replace the Merlin engine on the Falcon 9.  The Raptor is being developed as a altruistic initiative by SpaceX to make the human species multi-planetary.  As far as engine technology, why would you assume that SpaceX wouldn't want to give away the Raptor technology?  If the goal of SpaceX a nd Elon Musk is to enable humans to live on other planets.  Then enabling the wide spread use of this technology would help make progress towards this goal of SpaceX.  Tesla Motors has made it's technology freely available to further the development of EVs.   

Giving it away to help the competition continue their LEO business would throttle the SpaceX revenue stream needed for that altruistic initiative.  There may come a point that the technology is given away (ITAR issues may prohibit it being open source like Tesla tech), but we're in the fight stage at the moment.

If the assumption is that a re-usable launch vehicle is going to give SpaceX a serious advantage over any other launch provider from a pricing stand-point.   It cannot be assumed that a Raptor powered competitor is going to throttle the SpaceX revenue stream.  That Raptor engine still has to be mated with a launch vehicle that can compete on price and reliability with a Falcon 9 or Falcon Heavy.  SpaceX's manufacturing processes and overall design is what drives the Falcon 9 success.  The actual engine itself is just one piece of that puzzle.   

You have a strong probability that any launch provider looking to use the Raptor is going to wind-up at SpaceX's door looking to purchase that engine.  As we can see from the RD-180, even haven't blue prints on hand doesn't equal the ability to produce a engine.  So SpaceX builds the engine and sells the engine and gets a percentage return on the sale.             
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: WindnWar on 05/11/2015 03:00 am
How many ways does it need to be said that SpaceX does not want to be in the part business. They won't go seeking money from the Air Force for an engine as long as it has the current strings attached allowing that engine to be used by competitors and the design owned by the Air Force. That is not how they operate. The same goes for Blue Origin. The only company that would jump on that sort of deal is Aerojet because they need the funding badly and the possibility to have an engine they might be able to sell. The chances of having a customer for that engine are slim to none however unless the BE-4 fails or suffers setbacks. They are in a nasty spot of potentially losing future sales of both the RS-68 and sales of the RL-10 other than the few needed by NASA.

SpaceX and Blue Origin do not need the money, their companies are not riding on it as they have plenty of sources of revenue.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: QuantumG on 05/11/2015 03:03 am
Uh huh. For some reason I don't think SpaceX would turn down a deal that made them the primary engine supplier to ULA. Keep your friends close...
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: woods170 on 05/11/2015 07:16 am
Uh huh. For some reason I don't think SpaceX would turn down a deal that made them the primary engine supplier to ULA. Keep your friends close...


That's silly. ULA would rather buy engines from the Russians than from Musk et al.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: QuantumG on 05/11/2015 07:30 am
That's silly. ULA would rather buy engines from the Russians than from Musk et al.

Exactly, and for the same reason SpaceX would not just bid on any proposal to replace Russian engines with their own, it's quite plausible they'd be behind the suggestion in the first place.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Brovane on 05/11/2015 11:16 am
How many ways does it need to be said that SpaceX does not want to be in the part business. They won't go seeking money from the Air Force for an engine as long as it has the current strings attached allowing that engine to be used by competitors and the design owned by the Air Force. That is not how they operate. The same goes for Blue Origin. The only company that would jump on that sort of deal is Aerojet because they need the funding badly and the possibility to have an engine they might be able to sell. The chances of having a customer for that engine are slim to none however unless the BE-4 fails or suffers setbacks. They are in a nasty spot of potentially losing future sales of both the RS-68 and sales of the RL-10 other than the few needed by NASA.

Thank you for stating a reason why SpaceX would take the USAF money to develop the Raptor Engine.  They get the USAF to pay to develop the Raptor engine which currently has no ROI for SpaceX.  The changes that anyone will use that engine besides SpaceX is slim to none. 


SpaceX and Blue Origin do not need the money, their companies are not riding on it as they have plenty of sources of revenue.

Unfounded speculation. 
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: woods170 on 05/11/2015 11:43 am
That's silly. ULA would rather buy engines from the Russians than from Musk et al.

Exactly, and for the same reason SpaceX would not just bid on any proposal to replace Russian engines with their own, it's quite plausible they'd be behind the suggestion in the first place.


ULA will IMO not turn to SpaceX for engines. They have already turned to Bezos et al. and Aerojet in stead.

USAF will IMO not force ULA to have SpaceX become their primary engine provider. That would create a situation akin to the current RD-180 mess. Also, ULA's next-gen rocket is no longer a USAF vehicle, so USAF would have no say in engine-choice. ULA is going the Falcon 9 scenario on this one: they do the rocket and USAF is at liberty to certify it afterwards.

USAF has already offered SpaceX a deal to fund A engine development program. Oh, and while we are at it: USAF also offered the rest of the rocket-engine industry such a deal. So far, no takers and only a half-baked "we may be interested"-response from Aerojet.

The minute you accept a USAF deal to fund your engine you have lost that engine. It's no longer yours to DDT&E as-you-see-fit. You will have USAF all over you from day 1 telling you how to do the engine, how to use it and whom not to sell it to. Neither Musk, nor Bezos (and these days even Bruno) are looking for such a situation.

The strangle-hold of the USAF/NRO community on EELV (and the resulting ULA monopoly with commercial non-competitiveness) has tought the entire industry never to do rockets (and it's engine) on USAF/NRO terms ever again. It is for this reason that industry is highly reluctant to take the Congressionally appropriated money for development of US domestic rocket engine.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: notsorandom on 05/11/2015 01:43 pm
Are there any ways for this funding to get used that do not require a company to change its basic approach? As long as we are speculating the only scenario I can imagine is Aerojet using the money to finish the AR-1 and then Orbital/ATK uses it in Antares. That still doesn't end up with an EELV replacement unless the Antares see soem major upgrades and changes. Which is unlike Orbital/ATK. So it looks like this whole thing might just be dead in the water unless something happens with the Blue/ULA deal and soon.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: TrevorMonty on 05/11/2015 02:25 pm
Are there any ways for this funding to get used that do not require a company to change its basic approach? As long as we are speculating the only scenario I can imagine is Aerojet using the money to finish the AR-1 and then Orbital/ATK uses it in Antares. That still doesn't end up with an EELV replacement unless the Antares see soem major upgrades and changes. Which is unlike Orbital/ATK. So it looks like this whole thing might just be dead in the water unless something happens with the Blue/ULA deal and soon.
OrbitalATK representive at recent space symposium said they would be interested in AR1 for Antares.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: WindnWar on 05/11/2015 03:02 pm
It would make sense for Orbital to be interested in the AR-1 provided they don't have to fund its development as that would open up Antares to the possibility of EELV launches if certified. As long as it has a Russian engine that limits the market for Antares, but they don't have a choice until there is an American engine option. On the other hand they don't have funds to pay for AR-1's development. The only question there is whether the Ukrainian tanks will be an issue but that is a complicated issue based on how things continue in Ukraine.  They are the only likely near term customer for AR-1 unless Blue has a setback and even that is tied to Orbital winning future resupply contracts.

I should rephrase that as Orbital likely could fund AR-1 development but the costs to do so likely aren't justified unless there are future engine supply issues and the shareholders likely would not be happy with it.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: notsorandom on 05/11/2015 03:18 pm
Orbital/ATK has stated that they have a domestic source back up plan should the Ukrainian built tanks become unavailable. Should the AR-1 become a reality there is a path for Antares to become entirely domestic. It would be a very good engine for that booster. However Antares can only do a small section of EELV missions. This is due both to its launch site, lift capacity, and upper stage configuration. So this funding for a domestic engine wouldn't accomplish the goal of assured access to space unless some pretty major changes and upgrades were make to Antares. Going from a Delta II class rocket to Atlas V class would mean its practically a new rocket. I doubt that makes business sense for Orbital/ATK. In this context I think that the AR-1 only makes sense to the government if ULA buys into it as a drop in replacement for the RD-180. I doubt Blue will be dropping the ball on this one.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Brovane on 05/11/2015 07:40 pm

The minute you accept a USAF deal to fund your engine you have lost that engine. It's no longer yours to DDT&E as-you-see-fit. You will have USAF all over you from day 1 telling you how to do the engine, how to use it and whom not to sell it to. Neither Musk, nor Bezos (and these days even Bruno) are looking for such a situation.


So are you saying if the USAF pays for the development of a Raptor engine they would then tell SpaceX that they couldn't use the same engine on the "BFR"? 

Any US rocket engine (regardless of where the funding comes from) the US govt can dictate that it cannot be exported.  So of course they can tell you whom not to sell it to.  So how would that affect a companies decision to accept US Govt funding? 
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Rummy on 05/11/2015 07:42 pm
How many ways does it need to be said that SpaceX does not want to be in the part business. They won't go seeking money from the Air Force for an engine as long as it has the current strings attached allowing that engine to be used by competitors and the design owned by the Air Force. That is not how they operate. The same goes for Blue Origin. The only company that would jump on that sort of deal is Aerojet because they need the funding badly and the possibility to have an engine they might be able to sell. The chances of having a customer for that engine are slim to none however unless the BE-4 fails or suffers setbacks. They are in a nasty spot of potentially losing future sales of both the RS-68 and sales of the RL-10 other than the few needed by NASA.

SpaceX and Blue Origin do not need the money, their companies are not riding on it as they have plenty of sources of revenue.

1.  Blue Origins is definitely in the engine business.

2. The design would not necessarily be owned by the Government. The current plan is to use Other Transaction Authority (OTA), which is a highly flexible arraignment.

3.  Someone up thread mentioned that OTA was out of vogue. They should check out the draft RFP the Air Force put out on FedBizOpps.

4.  Seems like there are quite a few companies that would be interested in Government funding for rocket propulsion.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: RedLineTrain on 05/11/2015 07:51 pm
Re Blue and SpaceX taking RD-180 replacement government money, I thought it was already determined that they weren't interested.  I was somewhat surprised.

From SpaceNews in April (http://spacenews.com/u-s-air-force-outlines-first-steps-in-rd-180-replacement-effort/)...

Quote
A formal request for proposals for the second phase is expected by the end of May, Hyten said, and the service hopes to have proposals back from industry by the end of June.

Interestingly, Kent, Washington-based Blue Origin has told the Air Force it has no interest in taking government money for its BE-4 development effort, Hyten said. SpaceX, the Hawthorne, California, company challenging ULA for a share of the national security launch market, has expressed a similar sentiment, he said.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: woods170 on 05/12/2015 09:24 am

The minute you accept a USAF deal to fund your engine you have lost that engine. It's no longer yours to DDT&E as-you-see-fit. You will have USAF all over you from day 1 telling you how to do the engine, how to use it and whom not to sell it to. Neither Musk, nor Bezos (and these days even Bruno) are looking for such a situation.


So are you saying if the USAF pays for the development of a Raptor engine they would then tell SpaceX that they couldn't use the same engine on the "BFR"? 

Yes, that is exactly the scenario that could play out. USAF is reasoning along this line: USAF paid for development of the engine, so USAF determines what launchers can use that engine. Remember when USAF and ULA actively prevented Orbital from purchasing RD-180 for Antares? And that was not even a USAF engine, yet USAF considered it theirs because it powers their prime EELV. So they, and their prime contractor, didn't allow others to use that engine, regardless of the fact that the engine is provided by a fourth party.
Another example: RS-68(A). When Delta IV goes away, that engine has no future left, unless USAF decides to stick it under some other rocket.

Any US rocket engine (regardless of where the funding comes from) the US govt can dictate that it cannot be exported.  So of course they can tell you whom not to sell it to.  So how would that affect a companies decision to accept US Govt funding? 
I wasn't talking about foreign use of the engine, but domestic.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: WindnWar on 05/12/2015 04:32 pm
The other fact is when the government pays for development, particularly for projects they don't want to fall into others hands, when the contract is done they often request the production line be dismantled. I don't know if that is part of any of these proposals but if it is, it would certainly reduce the number of companies that would want to respond to the request.

Interestingly with many parts being 3D printed, short of destroying the programming for the printer it might be impossible to dismantle a production line for many of the parts. This also makes it a far more ripe target to hack. Curious what the security ramifications are, but that's a question for a different thread.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Brovane on 05/13/2015 12:46 am

Yes, that is exactly the scenario that could play out. USAF is reasoning along this line: USAF paid for development of the engine, so USAF determines what launchers can use that engine. Remember when USAF and ULA actively prevented Orbital from purchasing RD-180 for Antares? And that was not even a USAF engine, yet USAF considered it theirs because it powers their prime EELV. So they, and their prime contractor, didn't allow others to use that engine, regardless of the fact that the engine is provided by a fourth party.
Another example: RS-68(A). When Delta IV goes away, that engine has no future left, unless USAF decides to stick it under some other rocket.

That flies in the face of the entire purpose of this program.  The purpose of the program is to provide a Domestic Liquid fueled engine.  Saying the USAF would Prevent SpaceX from using the rocket engine on it's own launch vehicle is just wild speculation on your part and has no basis in reality.  There is no reason that the USAF would even do this and we don't even know if the contract language would allow the USAF to block SpaceX from using it's own engine. 

The RD-180 isn't a good example because ULA had a exclusive distribution contract signed with NPO Energomash.  The contract prevented Orbital from using the engine, not ULA or the USAF.  The RD-180 was never intended to be a universal rocket engine for domestic use so your comparison isn't valid.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Brovane on 05/13/2015 01:01 am
The other fact is when the government pays for development, particularly for projects they don't want to fall into others hands, when the contract is done they often request the production line be dismantled. I don't know if that is part of any of these proposals but if it is, it would certainly reduce the number of companies that would want to respond to the request.

Interestingly with many parts being 3D printed, short of destroying the programming for the printer it might be impossible to dismantle a production line for many of the parts. This also makes it a far more ripe target to hack. Curious what the security ramifications are, but that's a question for a different thread.

The Govt doesn't order a production line to be dismantled when a contract is done if the contractor has orders outside the US govt.  The Govt isn't ordering anymore C-17, F-15 and F-16 planes but all the production lines are still open and air-frames are being sold to foreign governments.  If the only customer is the US govt then yes when the government orders are done then the production line will be shutdown.  If the US govt doesn't want to pay to store the tooling, then usually it will be cut-up for scrap.  They wouldn't order a domestic rocket engine production line to be shutdown to prevent it from falling into other's hands.  The Domestic producer of any rocket hardware is already covered by ITAR, which covers any concerns of the technology falling into foreign lands. 
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Rummy on 05/13/2015 01:42 am
The USAF only owns the engine if it buys the rights. The USAF did not do that with the original EELV other transaction agreements.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: joek on 05/13/2015 02:38 am
2. The design would not necessarily be owned by the Government. The current plan is to use Other Transaction Authority (OTA), which is a highly flexible arraignment.

3.  Someone up thread mentioned that OTA was out of vogue. They should check out the draft RFP the Air Force put out on FedBizOpps.

Not sure how you came to that conclusion; the draft RFP states only:
Quote
The offeror shall propose a Firm Fixed Price (FFP) or Cost Plus Fixed Fee (CPFF) in the white paper package in accordance with FAR Part 16, Contract Types.
That covers only the initial work or "whitepapers" ($31M total awards) and it is not under OTA.  What happens after that is undefined.

If there is a plan to use OTA please illuminate.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: woods170 on 05/13/2015 07:11 am

Yes, that is exactly the scenario that could play out. USAF is reasoning along this line: USAF paid for development of the engine, so USAF determines what launchers can use that engine. Remember when USAF and ULA actively prevented Orbital from purchasing RD-180 for Antares? And that was not even a USAF engine, yet USAF considered it theirs because it powers their prime EELV. So they, and their prime contractor, didn't allow others to use that engine, regardless of the fact that the engine is provided by a fourth party.
Another example: RS-68(A). When Delta IV goes away, that engine has no future left, unless USAF decides to stick it under some other rocket.

That flies in the face of the entire purpose of this program.  The purpose of the program is to provide a Domestic Liquid fueled engine. 
No. The purpose of the program is to provide a domestic liquid fueled engine for NSL purposes.

But, the entire back-and-forth about this scenario, with regards to a SpaceX engine being financed by USAF or not, is moot. SpaceX (and Blue Origin as well) have already indicated that they are not interested in taking government money for development of their respective next-gen engines. No less than general Hyten himself, commander of USAF space command, told this to reporters last month. The scenario I sketched out in my earlier posts is among the reasons why SpaceX is not interested.

Having visions of SpaceX and/or Blue taking government money for their new engines is wishfull thinking at this point in time.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: woods170 on 05/13/2015 07:16 am
The USAF only owns the engine if it buys the rights. The USAF did not do that with the original EELV other transaction agreements.
RS-68(A) is a dedicated USAF engine. No one else is allowed to use it.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Brovane on 05/13/2015 11:14 am
The USAF only owns the engine if it buys the rights. The USAF did not do that with the original EELV other transaction agreements.
RS-68(A) is a dedicated USAF engine. No one else is allowed to use it.

Do you have a reference for this? 
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: AnalogMan on 05/13/2015 11:51 am
2. The design would not necessarily be owned by the Government. The current plan is to use Other Transaction Authority (OTA), which is a highly flexible arraignment.

3.  Someone up thread mentioned that OTA was out of vogue. They should check out the draft RFP the Air Force put out on FedBizOpps.

Not sure how you came to that conclusion; the draft RFP states only:
Quote
The offeror shall propose a Firm Fixed Price (FFP) or Cost Plus Fixed Fee (CPFF) in the white paper package in accordance with FAR Part 16, Contract Types.
That covers only the initial work or "whitepapers" ($31M total awards) and it is not under OTA.  What happens after that is undefined.

If there is a plan to use OTA please illuminate.

I think you are both referring to different FedBiz pre-solicitations (there were two issued the same day):

EELV Phase 2 Rocket Propulsion System (RPS) Prototype
https://www.fbo.gov/spg/USAF/AFSC/SMCSMSC/FA8811-15-9-0001/listing.html (https://www.fbo.gov/spg/USAF/AFSC/SMCSMSC/FA8811-15-9-0001/listing.html)

Booster Propulsion Technology Maturation Project
https://www.fbo.gov/spg/USAF/AFSC/SMCSMSC/15-050/listing.html (https://www.fbo.gov/spg/USAF/AFSC/SMCSMSC/15-050/listing.html)

First is under "Other Transaction (OT) Authority" and the second is under "FAR Part 16"

Edit: corrected first link
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: woods170 on 05/13/2015 11:57 am
The USAF only owns the engine if it buys the rights. The USAF did not do that with the original EELV other transaction agreements.
RS-68(A) is a dedicated USAF engine. No one else is allowed to use it.

Do you have a reference for this? 
Jim
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Brovane on 05/13/2015 01:02 pm
The USAF only owns the engine if it buys the rights. The USAF did not do that with the original EELV other transaction agreements.
RS-68(A) is a dedicated USAF engine. No one else is allowed to use it.

Do you have a reference for this? 
Jim

Do you have a link to where Jim said this?
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Brovane on 05/13/2015 02:38 pm
No. The purpose of the program is to provide a domestic liquid fueled engine for NSL purposes.

But, the entire back-and-forth about this scenario, with regards to a SpaceX engine being financed by USAF or not, is moot. SpaceX (and Blue Origin as well) have already indicated that they are not interested in taking government money for development of their respective next-gen engines. No less than general Hyten himself, commander of USAF space command, told this to reporters last month. The scenario I sketched out in my earlier posts is among the reasons why SpaceX is not interested.

Having visions of SpaceX and/or Blue taking government money for their new engines is wishfull thinking at this point in time.


https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=73fa523f391c9bd538e688dc4a1a3302&tab=core&_cview=0 (https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=73fa523f391c9bd538e688dc4a1a3302&tab=core&_cview=0)



(1) IN GENERAL.-The Secretary of Defense shall develop a next-generation rocket propulsion system that enables the effective, efficient, and expedient transition from the use of non-allied space launch engines to a domestic alternative for national security space launches.



(2) REQUIREMENTS.-The system developed under paragraph (1) shall-
(A) be made in the United States;
(B) meet the requirements of the national security space community;
(C) be developed by not later than 2019;
(D) be developed using full and open competition; and
(E) be available for purchase by all space launch providers of the United States.


 
You are not correct according to the language of the solicitation.  The engine would have to be available for purchase by all space launch providers of the US not just for NSL purposes.  So no the USAF couldn't just deny the engine to a US launch provider.   

Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: arachnitect on 05/13/2015 03:40 pm
Administration thinks he congressional approach is flawed:
https://twitter.com/Gruss_SN/status/598511771809374208

Quote
[...] Without a comprehensive strategy that ensures the availability of operation launch systems, the government risks investing hundreds of millions of dollars without any guarantee of ensuring assured access to space

Full quote in an image at the link.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Rummy on 05/15/2015 02:26 pm
The USAF only owns the engine if it buys the rights. The USAF did not do that with the original EELV other transaction agreements.
RS-68(A) is a dedicated USAF engine. No one else is allowed to use it.

Do you have a reference for this? 
Jim

Do you have a link to where Jim said this?

I wonder if that is specific to the rev A. I think that the USAF paid for that upgrade. Regardless, engines developed under the OTA would definitely not be owned by the USAF. As the solicitation says, the engine would have to be able to be sold to all US launch providers. This stipulation is probably what SpaceX would balk at because their business model is one of selling launch services, not components.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Rummy on 05/15/2015 04:20 pm
Administration thinks he congressional approach is flawed:
https://twitter.com/Gruss_SN/status/598511771809374208

Quote
[...] Without a comprehensive strategy that ensures the availability of operation launch systems, the government risks investing hundreds of millions of dollars without any guarantee of ensuring assured access to space

Full quote in an image at the link.

The politics are odd on this. The House and the White House agree and the Senate objects.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: woods170 on 05/17/2015 07:45 pm
No. The purpose of the program is to provide a domestic liquid fueled engine for NSL purposes.

But, the entire back-and-forth about this scenario, with regards to a SpaceX engine being financed by USAF or not, is moot. SpaceX (and Blue Origin as well) have already indicated that they are not interested in taking government money for development of their respective next-gen engines. No less than general Hyten himself, commander of USAF space command, told this to reporters last month. The scenario I sketched out in my earlier posts is among the reasons why SpaceX is not interested.

Having visions of SpaceX and/or Blue taking government money for their new engines is wishfull thinking at this point in time.


https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=73fa523f391c9bd538e688dc4a1a3302&tab=core&_cview=0 (https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=73fa523f391c9bd538e688dc4a1a3302&tab=core&_cview=0)



(1) IN GENERAL.-The Secretary of Defense shall develop a next-generation rocket propulsion system that enables the effective, efficient, and expedient transition from the use of non-allied space launch engines to a domestic alternative for national security space launches.



(2) REQUIREMENTS.-The system developed under paragraph (1) shall-
(A) be made in the United States;
(B) meet the requirements of the national security space community;
(C) be developed by not later than 2019;
(D) be developed using full and open competition; and
(E) be available for purchase by all space launch providers of the United States.


 
You are not correct according to the language of the solicitation.  The engine would have to be available for purchase by all space launch providers of the US not just for NSL purposes.  So no the USAF couldn't just deny the engine to a US launch provider.   


Yes, and it is item E that is a major pain-in-the-proverbial-*ss for USAF and one of the reasons why they are not in any hurry to comply with the legislation: It is in direct conflict with item B.
Item E is also the prime driver for Blue and SpaceX not going after the money. Blue very much wants to be in full control of who can buy their engine. Something similar applies to SpaceX. And that is impossible when the national security community is basically telling the contractor what they can do with the engine and what not.
Both item B and item E, despite them being in direct conflict with each other are NO-GO for Blue and SpaceX.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Brovane on 05/17/2015 10:16 pm
No. The purpose of the program is to provide a domestic liquid fueled engine for NSL purposes.

But, the entire back-and-forth about this scenario, with regards to a SpaceX engine being financed by USAF or not, is moot. SpaceX (and Blue Origin as well) have already indicated that they are not interested in taking government money for development of their respective next-gen engines. No less than general Hyten himself, commander of USAF space command, told this to reporters last month. The scenario I sketched out in my earlier posts is among the reasons why SpaceX is not interested.

Having visions of SpaceX and/or Blue taking government money for their new engines is wishfull thinking at this point in time.


https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=73fa523f391c9bd538e688dc4a1a3302&tab=core&_cview=0 (https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=73fa523f391c9bd538e688dc4a1a3302&tab=core&_cview=0)



(1) IN GENERAL.-The Secretary of Defense shall develop a next-generation rocket propulsion system that enables the effective, efficient, and expedient transition from the use of non-allied space launch engines to a domestic alternative for national security space launches.



(2) REQUIREMENTS.-The system developed under paragraph (1) shall-
(A) be made in the United States;
(B) meet the requirements of the national security space community;
(C) be developed by not later than 2019;
(D) be developed using full and open competition; and
(E) be available for purchase by all space launch providers of the United States.


 
You are not correct according to the language of the solicitation.  The engine would have to be available for purchase by all space launch providers of the US not just for NSL purposes.  So no the USAF couldn't just deny the engine to a US launch provider.   


Yes, and it is item E that is a major pain-in-the-proverbial-*ss for USAF and one of the reasons why they are not in any hurry to comply with the legislation: It is in direct conflict with item B.
Item E is also the prime driver for Blue and SpaceX not going after the money. Blue very much wants to be in full control of who can buy their engine. Something similar applies to SpaceX. And that is impossible when the national security community is basically telling the contractor what they can do with the engine and what not.
Both item B and item E, despite them being in direct conflict with each other are NO-GO for Blue and SpaceX.

Why would the USAF want to (or need to) have control over who can buy the engine?  With the assumption that the company buying the engine is a US launch provider and meets all relevant regulations for the sale of such hardware. 
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: woods170 on 05/18/2015 07:16 am
Yes, and it is item E that is a major pain-in-the-proverbial-*ss for USAF and one of the reasons why they are not in any hurry to comply with the legislation: It is in direct conflict with item B.
Item E is also the prime driver for Blue and SpaceX not going after the money. Blue very much wants to be in full control of who can buy their engine. Something similar applies to SpaceX. And that is impossible when the national security community is basically telling the contractor what they can do with the engine and what not.
Both item B and item E, despite them being in direct conflict with each other are NO-GO for Blue and SpaceX.

Why would the USAF want to (or need to) have control over who can buy the engine?  With the assumption that the company buying the engine is a US launch provider and meets all relevant regulations for the sale of such hardware. 
Simple. They paid for development of the engine. Consequently, it's their engine and they call the shots on what launcher is allowed to use it and what launcher(s) is(are) not. There is precedent for this: RS-68(A).
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Brovane on 05/18/2015 02:15 pm
Yes, and it is item E that is a major pain-in-the-proverbial-*ss for USAF and one of the reasons why they are not in any hurry to comply with the legislation: It is in direct conflict with item B.
Item E is also the prime driver for Blue and SpaceX not going after the money. Blue very much wants to be in full control of who can buy their engine. Something similar applies to SpaceX. And that is impossible when the national security community is basically telling the contractor what they can do with the engine and what not.
Both item B and item E, despite them being in direct conflict with each other are NO-GO for Blue and SpaceX.

Why would the USAF want to (or need to) have control over who can buy the engine?  With the assumption that the company buying the engine is a US launch provider and meets all relevant regulations for the sale of such hardware. 
Simple. They paid for development of the engine. Consequently, it's their engine and they call the shots on what launcher is allowed to use it and what launcher(s) is(are) not. There is precedent for this: RS-68(A).

My memory is a little hazy for a Monday, what domestic launch provider asked to use the RS-68(A) and was told no by the USAF? 
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: AncientU on 05/18/2015 03:46 pm

Simple. They paid for development of the engine. Consequently, it's their engine and they call the shots on what launcher is allowed to use it and what launcher(s) is(are) not. There is precedent for this: RS-68(A).

I believe that the USAF used taxpayer money for the RD-68A... if the Nation needs the engine (not that they do need the RD-68A), the Nation can use the engine.  Same goes for the next engine (not that it will ever be developed).
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: woods170 on 05/19/2015 06:58 am

Simple. They paid for development of the engine. Consequently, it's their engine and they call the shots on what launcher is allowed to use it and what launcher(s) is(are) not. There is precedent for this: RS-68(A).

I believe that the USAF used taxpayer money for the RD-68A... if the Nation needs the engine (not that they do need the RD-68A), the Nation can use the engine.  Same goes for the next engine (not that it will ever be developed).
Exactly. The way the national security community considered the EELV's to be 'theirs' (and that particularly applies to RS-68(A)) will prevent a similar situation from ever happening again. Certification after the fact of Falcon 9 and certification after the fact of Vulcan are testimony to this.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Brovane on 05/19/2015 02:39 pm
Exactly. The way the national security community considered the EELV's to be 'theirs' (and that particularly applies to RS-68(A)) will prevent a similar situation from ever happening again. Certification after the fact of Falcon 9 and certification after the fact of Vulcan are testimony to this.

Unsubstantiated.

The EELV program was always thought of a program to provide assured access to space for not only national security payloads but also Govt Payloads outside of DOD payloads and commercial payloads.  Regardless of what certain people might have thought, incorrectly that the launch vehicle was theirs. 
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: joek on 05/19/2015 02:54 pm
The EELV program was always thought of a program to provide assured access to space for not only national security payloads but also Govt Payloads outside of DOD payloads and commercial payloads.  Regardless of what certain people might have thought, incorrectly that the launch vehicle was theirs.

Not always.  In the beginning EELV was viewed as DoD only.  Also, "assured access" has never been applied to or used as a justification for NASA or commercial.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Brovane on 05/19/2015 06:02 pm
The EELV program was always thought of a program to provide assured access to space for not only national security payloads but also Govt Payloads outside of DOD payloads and commercial payloads.  Regardless of what certain people might have thought, incorrectly that the launch vehicle was theirs.

Not always.  In the beginning EELV was viewed as DoD only.  Also, "assured access" has never been applied to or used as a justification for NASA or commercial.

Seems fairly clear to me that NASA and US commercial space launch providers was considered fairly early in the EELV program life. 
According to the RFP F04701-95-R-009 from May 17, 1995. (http://fas.org/spp/military/program/launch/eelvrfp1/index.html (http://fas.org/spp/military/program/launch/eelvrfp1/index.html) )



1.2 Overview of EELV Program. The primary requirement of the EELV program is to execute the Government portion (DoD and NASA) of the National Mission Model at lower recurring costs than those of current expendable systems. The program shall also maintain or improve reliability, capability, and operability.


1.2.2   Competition and Achieving Access to Space.

During the Pre-Engineering and Manufacturing Development Phase, a reassessment of basic program assumptions suggested that sufficient commercial markets existed to support at least two expendable launch vehicle providers. Given this and other considerations, it was determined that a key aspect of ensuring access to space, was to support at least two launch service providers and leverage the competition in the commercial market to reduce costs.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: john smith 19 on 05/19/2015 06:42 pm
1.2.2   Competition and Achieving Access to Space.

During the Pre-Engineering and Manufacturing Development Phase, a reassessment of basic program assumptions suggested that sufficient commercial markets existed to support at least two expendable launch vehicle providers. Given this and other considerations, it was determined that a key aspect of ensuring access to space, was to support at least two launch service providers and leverage the competition in the commercial market to reduce costs.

It's curious how some people have pushed the mantra "Down select to a single supplier and we can spend all the  on them" and others the "Multiple suppliers lowers price by competition without having to legislate it"

So far the latter seems to have worked out better for NASA with launch vehicles.

It's interesting that the US environment has got to the point where there seems to be no company that could make a large rocket engine as its core business for sale to others.  :(

Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: woods170 on 05/20/2015 06:28 am

Seems fairly clear to me that NASA and US commercial space launch providers was considered fairly early in the EELV program life. 
According to the RFP F04701-95-R-009 from May 17, 1995. (http://fas.org/spp/military/program/launch/eelvrfp1/index.html (http://fas.org/spp/military/program/launch/eelvrfp1/index.html) )



1.2 Overview of EELV Program. The primary requirement of the EELV program is to execute the Government portion (DoD and NASA) of the National Mission Model at lower recurring costs than those of current expendable systems. The program shall also maintain or improve reliability, capability, and operability.


1.2.2   Competition and Achieving Access to Space.

During the Pre-Engineering and Manufacturing Development Phase, a reassessment of basic program assumptions suggested that sufficient commercial markets existed to support at least two expendable launch vehicle providers. Given this and other considerations, it was determined that a key aspect of ensuring access to space, was to support at least two launch service providers and leverage the competition in the commercial market to reduce costs.
Thanks for the bolding, I've been looking for that part for some time.
The bolded part is exactly the one thing that did not happen. Atlas V and Delta IV were developed to meet the national security wishes first, and anything else second.
As a direct result: the vehicles (Atlas V and Delta IV) were completely unsustainable in the commercial market as evidenced by the fact that ULA's market share of commercial launches has been close to zero for most of it's existence.
That scenario is the one thing Bezos et al., Musk et al. and Bruno et al. are desperate to avoid in the next round.
The EELV program to date has taught the launch provider community a very important lesson: Don't ever have your launcher tailor-made to the wishes of the US national security community. Because if you do, your vehicle will have become so expensive, and so restricted in allowed-for use, that it does not stand a chance in the market for commercial launches. Atlas V and Delta IV provide ample testimony to this.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Jim on 05/20/2015 01:21 pm
The intermediate versions of EELV's (the ones with solids) were developed in response to commercial requirements.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: woods170 on 05/20/2015 02:48 pm
The intermediate versions of EELV's (the ones with solids) were developed in response to commercial requirements.
Yes, and this still failed to give Boeing and LockMart, and later ULA any significant (and lasting) market-share in the commercial launch business. Adding additional lift-capacity to an already commercially flawed system does nothing to fix the flaw.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Brovane on 05/20/2015 02:58 pm
The intermediate versions of EELV's (the ones with solids) were developed in response to commercial requirements.
Yes, and this still failed to give Boeing and LockMart, and later ULA any significant (and lasting) market-share in the commercial launch business. Adding additional lift-capacity to an already commercially flawed system does nothing to fix the flaw.

That doesn't change the fact that the EELV program was planned from the beginning to meet the launch needs of the USAF, NASA and the Commercial sector.  Why it failed in meeting the needs of the commercial market is outside the scope of this thread.  However the EELV program was not DOD only and that also applies to the engines. 
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Jim on 05/20/2015 04:02 pm
The intermediate versions of EELV's (the ones with solids) were developed in response to commercial requirements.
Yes, and this still failed to give Boeing and LockMart, and later ULA any significant (and lasting) market-share in the commercial launch business. Adding additional lift-capacity to an already commercially flawed system does nothing to fix the flaw.

That doesn't change the fact that the EELV program was planned from the beginning to meet the launch needs of the USAF, NASA and the Commercial sector.  Why it failed in meeting the needs of the commercial market is outside the scope of this thread.  However the EELV program was not DOD only and that also applies to the engines. 

the EELV was to meet DOD needs and others, that is why the DOD only provided 1/5 to 1/9 of the development costs.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: vulture4 on 05/22/2015 04:08 pm
If Congress wants DOD to buy only American (as has happened in the past) then they can require it. ULA and its owners and Blue Origin can decide whether to invest the funds and what arrangements to make about buying and selling the technology. For Congress to develop the engine itself would be pointless. I don't agree with requiring a US engine since I believe the chances of Russia cutting off the supply of RD-180s is essentially zero, but if Congress chooses to require a US engine I don't agree with micromanaging the process.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: joek on 05/23/2015 03:53 pm
1.2.2   Competition and Achieving Access to Space.

During the Pre-Engineering and Manufacturing Development Phase, a reassessment of basic program assumptions suggested that sufficient commercial markets existed to support at least two expendable launch vehicle providers. Given this and other considerations, it was determined that a key aspect of ensuring access to space, was to support at least two launch service providers and leverage the competition in the commercial market to reduce costs.

The context of that quote is misleading.  That is not part of the original RFP; it is a post-hoc commentary by someone.  The acquisition strategy--specifically, two providers based on projected commercial demand and cost sharing--was changed later at the direction of SecDef.  The original plan was for down-select to a single sole-source provider, with no consideration of commercial demand, requirements, or cost sharing.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: oldAtlas_Eguy on 05/23/2015 04:24 pm
BO has its own reasons for keeping the development schedule and funding going on BE-4. They plan to use it in their own reusable 1st stage. Speculation is either for a Vulcan sized stage or something very large a 5-7 BE-4 engined 1st stage with a stretched New Sheppard stage as an US with capability of up to 30mt to LEO and up to 15mt BEO. A competitor to FHR. SpaceX BFR is unlikely to show up prior to 2025. That gives them a small window to establish their LV before SpaceX BFR lowers the $/kg rate again.

This is the one main reason that ULA has decided to use the BE-4. Its development funding and schedule is going to happen. If ULA waited for Congress/AF/DoD to develop an engine then they would still be waiting in 2020. Government funding is a year to year thing and can completely disappear, which would leave ULA without an engine, no LV sales and no revenue. ULA would then cease to exist.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: joek on 05/23/2015 05:24 pm
That doesn't change the fact that the EELV program was planned from the beginning to meet the launch needs of the USAF, NASA and the Commercial sector.

Not from the beginning.  In the beginning it was DoD only with NASA consultation.  Commercial considerations came later.  And those potential commercial customers never had a seat at the EELV table.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Brovane on 05/24/2015 03:28 am
1.2.2   Competition and Achieving Access to Space.

During the Pre-Engineering and Manufacturing Development Phase, a reassessment of basic program assumptions suggested that sufficient commercial markets existed to support at least two expendable launch vehicle providers. Given this and other considerations, it was determined that a key aspect of ensuring access to space, was to support at least two launch service providers and leverage the competition in the commercial market to reduce costs.

The context of that quote is misleading.  That is not part of the original RFP; it is a post-hoc commentary by someone.  The acquisition strategy--specifically, two providers based on projected commercial demand and cost sharing--was changed later at the direction of SecDef.  The original plan was for down-select to a single sole-source provider, with no consideration of commercial demand, requirements, or cost sharing.

Do you have a link to the original RFP?  The one I am referencing is from May 17, 1995 and is referenced as the Initial request for proposal but it could be mis-labeled.  http://fas.org/spp/military/program/launch/eelvrfp1/index.html (http://fas.org/spp/military/program/launch/eelvrfp1/index.html)

Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: joek on 05/24/2015 06:50 pm
Do you have a link to the original RFP?  The one I am referencing is from May 17, 1995 and is referenced as the Initial request for proposal but it could be mis-labeled.  http://fas.org/spp/military/program/launch/eelvrfp1/index.html (http://fas.org/spp/military/program/launch/eelvrfp1/index.html)

Somewhere in my archives, which I will try to locate.  The quote you previously cite is retrospective and appears to be from OPERATIONAL REQUIREMENTS DOCUMENT (ORD) II, AFSPC 002-93-II (http://fas.org/spp/military/program/launch/eelv-ord.htm), Sep-1998, not the 1995 RFP.  No idea how those got mixed.

The shift in acquisition strategy started in late 1997 and ended in late 1998.  You can find many other references which document the evolution from the original "DoD buys sole source single provider LV [1994-1995]" to the "DoD buys launch services from two providers based on projected commercial demand and cost sharing [1997-1998]".  For example...

From Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle System - The Next Step in Affordable Space Transportation (http://www.dau.mil/pubscats/pubscats/pm/articles02/sax-ma2.pdf), Defense Acquisition University, 2002 (emphasis added):
Quote
By the spring of 1997, however, significant growth in commercial launch market opportunities and a corresponding desire by the EELV contractors to meet this new demand resulted in a reassessment of the original EELV rolling (4 to 2 to 1) down-select strategy. The original strategy, which was based on the SLMP conclusion that the commercial market could not support two launch systems, was structured as a government-funded cost plus $1.8 billion development program.

By April 1997, the Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Committee (COMSTAC) launch model projected worldwide demand for addressable commercial Geo-synchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO) launches to be 30 to 40 a year. The COMSTAC projections, when combined with Federal Aviation Agency Requirements Document (ORD) in September 1998, formally documenting this shift in operational philosophy to commercial launch services.

Both DoD and the EELV contractors viewed the acquisition strategy changes as win-win. Each contractor would receive partial development funding, retain ownership and control of their system designs and launch operations, and could target their development and investment strategies to meet their corporations’ long-term space transportation objectives.

From National Security Space Launch Report (http://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/monographs/2006/RAND_MG503.pdf), RAND, 2006 (emphasis added):
Quote
The objective of the project was to develop a national space launch system capable of reliably satisfying the government’s national mission model requirements while reducing space launch costs by at least 25 percent. Under the EELV program’s original [1994] acquisition strategy, the Air Force would select a single contractor. In November 1997, however, a new acquisition approach was adopted because it was determined that a larger than previously envisioned commercial market would support two contractors. The intent was that this new arrangement would create two vehicle families capable of meeting government requirements while also capturing commercial launches, which would result in lower mission costs and higher reliability for all.

That culminated in OTA awards and concurrent FAR initial launch services contracts to LM and Boeing in Oct-1998.  Heady days.  Needless to say, the commercial launch demand never materialized; LM and Boeing ended up selling below cost and lost lots of money (http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=37182.msg1353972#msg1353972); and thus the genesis of ULA.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: AncientU on 05/25/2015 12:17 pm
BO has its own reasons for keeping the development schedule and funding going on BE-4. They plan to use it in their own reusable 1st stage. Speculation is either for a Vulcan sized stage or something very large a 5-7 BE-4 engined 1st stage with a stretched New Sheppard stage as an US with capability of up to 30mt to LEO and up to 15mt BEO. A competitor to FHR. SpaceX BFR is unlikely to show up prior to 2025. That gives them a small window to establish their LV before SpaceX BFR lowers the $/kg rate again.

This is the one main reason that ULA has decided to use the BE-4. Its development funding and schedule is going to happen. If ULA waited for Congress/AF/DoD to develop an engine then they would still be waiting in 2020. Government funding is a year to year thing and can completely disappear, which would leave ULA without an engine, no LV sales and no revenue. ULA would then cease to exist.

Any evidence for this?
Raptor work started a few years ago and component testing has been running for 1.5 years.  The fact that SpaceX has gone all silent about it doesn't mean work has stopped.  Actually fielding the vehicle is a proven capability... All avionics, etc. exist.  LC-39A will be ready in six months or less.

No one seems to be considering that the USAF's need for redundant vehicles could be supplied by a single vendor.
It has happened before...
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: vulture4 on 05/29/2015 02:38 am
What would be the current market for Raptor with FH just hitting the market?
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: AncientU on 05/29/2015 11:54 am
For BFR, and any payloads needing a HLV.
Don't think this is a 'market' but a capability. 

It could be a 500klbf engine, and a couple of these are being developed -- don't think a vehicle outside of SpaceX will use it, though.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: vulture4 on 05/29/2015 05:31 pm
With FH coming on line it doesn't appear SX will have a need for the Raptor for at least a few years. It's an interesting design with a lot of potential, but SX cannot build it without customers.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Coastal Ron on 05/29/2015 05:40 pm
...but SX cannot build it without customers.

SpaceX does build things that don't yet have customers.  Whether that applies to this is unknown, but they take risks like normal entrepreneurial companies do.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Brovane on 05/29/2015 05:57 pm
...but SX cannot build it without customers.

SpaceX does build things that don't yet have customers.  Whether that applies to this is unknown, but they take risks like normal entrepreneurial companies do.

You have to keep in mind that for SpaceX you have to look at everything through a Mars lens.  This makes it unique from other entrepreneurial companies.  They have to generate a profit of course for the companies stated goal of making the human species multi-planetary.  However they will do things that might not make sense from what a normal company would do when focused on profit and growth.   So yes SpaceX might very well build the Raptor for a launch vehicle with no customers because that launch vehicle forwards the companies goal of sending humans to Mars.   Remember when dealing with SpaceX you are not just dealing with a company you are also dealing with the "First Church of Mars".

Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Coastal Ron on 05/30/2015 12:26 am
...but SX cannot build it without customers.

SpaceX does build things that don't yet have customers.  Whether that applies to this is unknown, but they take risks like normal entrepreneurial companies do.

You have to keep in mind that for SpaceX you have to look at everything through a Mars lens.  This makes it unique from other entrepreneurial companies.  They have to generate a profit of course...

We're in general agreement, though I do want to point out that so far all of the risks SpaceX have taken have been for future revenue generating products and services, and from as far as we can see here at NSF very little has been spent on non-revenue stuff.  That may change in the future, and we all probably want it to change, but so far they have been focused on taking risks for customers.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: oldAtlas_Eguy on 05/30/2015 03:33 am
BO has its own reasons for keeping the development schedule and funding going on BE-4. They plan to use it in their own reusable 1st stage. Speculation is either for a Vulcan sized stage or something very large a 5-7 BE-4 engined 1st stage with a stretched New Sheppard stage as an US with capability of up to 30mt to LEO and up to 15mt BEO. A competitor to FHR. SpaceX BFR is unlikely to show up prior to 2025. That gives them a small window to establish their LV before SpaceX BFR lowers the $/kg rate again.

This is the one main reason that ULA has decided to use the BE-4. Its development funding and schedule is going to happen. If ULA waited for Congress/AF/DoD to develop an engine then they would still be waiting in 2020. Government funding is a year to year thing and can completely disappear, which would leave ULA without an engine, no LV sales and no revenue. ULA would then cease to exist.

Any evidence for this?
Raptor work started a few years ago and component testing has been running for 1.5 years.  The fact that SpaceX has gone all silent about it doesn't mean work has stopped.  Actually fielding the vehicle is a proven capability... All avionics, etc. exist.  LC-39A will be ready in six months or less.

No one seems to be considering that the USAF's need for redundant vehicles could be supplied by a single vendor.
It has happened before...
In reviewing the estimation on timelines a 9.5 year development period from start of engine developemnt to first flight. This is based on the time span between development start on the M1D and the first flight of FH. BFR will have many of the same issues and tasks probably more, that FH has endured. My data forgot to back out the 1.5 years already spent on the engine development so the expected date should have been 8 years from now or 2023.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: AncientU on 05/30/2015 02:19 pm
Not sure why timeline should start at M1D and end at FH.  Seems completely arbitrary and assumes constancy. 
M1D was followed by v1.1, first fairing GTO launch, first reusability demos with Grasshopper and post-delivery return testing, ASDS development, Dragon 2 introduction, certifications for NASA and USAF flights, LC-39A development, F9 v1.2, breaking ground on Boca Chica site, other stuff we don't know about, and finally FH.  A much less capable FH could have been introduced at a number of earlier points, dating back to v1.0 days...

Raptor could be on test stand within a year in prototype configuration.  BFR within 3 years of that, by 2020 for sure.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: oldAtlas_Eguy on 05/30/2015 06:22 pm
Not sure why timeline should start at M1D and end at FH.  Seems completely arbitrary and assumes constancy. 
M1D was followed by v1.1, first fairing GTO launch, first reusability demos with Grasshopper and post-delivery return testing, ASDS development, Dragon 2 introduction, certifications for NASA and USAF flights, LC-39A development, F9 v1.2, breaking ground on Boca Chica site, other stuff we don't know about, and finally FH.  A much less capable FH could have been introduced at a number of earlier points, dating back to v1.0 days...

Raptor could be on test stand within a year in prototype configuration.  BFR within 3 years of that, by 2020 for sure.
It is because FH had all of these distractions that it is used as a timeline basis and not F9v1.1. Getting F9 and FH into partial reusable status F9R and FHR and selling them to customers will be competing for engineering time with MCT/BFR. The reusability effort will have priority. But the Raptor work will have few if any distractions and will proceed with a nearly identical timeline to M1D. The engine development team will only occasionally have other work to perform than working on Raptor.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Brovane on 05/31/2015 12:26 am
...but SX cannot build it without customers.

SpaceX does build things that don't yet have customers.  Whether that applies to this is unknown, but they take risks like normal entrepreneurial companies do.

You have to keep in mind that for SpaceX you have to look at everything through a Mars lens.  This makes it unique from other entrepreneurial companies.  They have to generate a profit of course...

We're in general agreement, though I do want to point out that so far all of the risks SpaceX have taken have been for future revenue generating products and services, and from as far as we can see here at NSF very little has been spent on non-revenue stuff.  That may change in the future, and we all probably want it to change, but so far they have been focused on taking risks for customers.

I would disagree in that all information we are getting so far is that Raptor engine development is focused on development of this engine for the use on launch vehicle with 100+ ton payload Mass.  Clearly at this time there is no commercial market for SHLV.  To me the Raptor engine development is focused on a non-revenue generating product.  That could change, but as of right now that is just board speculation that there could be a Raptor Falcon 9 type vehicle in the future or a market could develop for a fully re-usable SHLV.   

When you also look at how they developed the Heat-shield for the Dragon.  They choose material (PICA-X) that could survive re-entry speeds from BEO.  You would think they could thin down the heat shield weight by optimizing it for LEO but they seem focused on making sure the Dragon can do BEO operations.  Even the proposed full propulsive return.  Why even design that into the Capsule when NASA wants a water landing?  Even if you wanted to come down on land you would think a simple retro system with parachutes (Soyuz) would be cheaper to develop and weigh less.  However they wanted full repulsive landing.  Well it just so happens that a Dragon V2 with the Super Draco propulsive landing has pretty much all the ingredients to do a soft landing on Mars.  Coincidence?  I don't think so. 
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Coastal Ron on 05/31/2015 05:11 am
We're in general agreement, though I do want to point out that so far all of the risks SpaceX have taken have been for future revenue generating products and services, and from as far as we can see here at NSF very little has been spent on non-revenue stuff.  That may change in the future, and we all probably want it to change, but so far they have been focused on taking risks for customers.

I would disagree in that all information we are getting so far is that Raptor engine development is focused on development of this engine for the use on launch vehicle with 100+ ton payload Mass.  Clearly at this time there is no commercial market for SHLV.

Hence my use of the term "so far".  Yes we know they are working on Raptor, and yes we know of Musk's plans for Mars.  My point was that "so far" SpaceX has been risking their own money for products and services that were speculative to a certain degree.

Raptor, the BFR and the MCT are also speculative, but let's remember that Musk does see a long-term payoff when colony settlers are willing to spend $500K to go to Mars.  Maybe that's decades into the future, but there is precedence for that.  For instance, Amazon.com is 20 years old and doesn't make a profit (http://www.businessinsider.com/jeff-bezos-on-profits-2014-12).  Is it possible the BFR/MCT will be profitable in 20 years?

Quote
When you also look at how they developed the Heat-shield for the Dragon.  They choose material (PICA-X) that could survive re-entry speeds from BEO.  You would think they could thin down the heat shield weight by optimizing it for LEO but they seem focused on making sure the Dragon can do BEO operations.

You have forgotten that currently the heatshield is planned to be reusable from LEO, which likely matches up nicely to the requirements of returning at least once from BEO.

Quote
Even the proposed full propulsive return.  Why even design that into the Capsule when NASA wants a water landing?

Refurbishing a spacecraft that lands in water takes time and money, and it costs a lot of money to pick up spacecraft out in the ocean.  Landing on dry land at your own facilities is a HUGE cost savings.  This one should have been pretty obvious.

Quote
Even if you wanted to come down on land you would think a simple retro system with parachutes (Soyuz) would be cheaper to develop and weigh less.  However they wanted full repulsive landing.  Well it just so happens that a Dragon V2 with the Super Draco propulsive landing has pretty much all the ingredients to do a soft landing on Mars.  Coincidence?  I don't think so.

Which came first, the chicken or the egg - terrestrial use or extra-terrestrial use?  Or what I think is the real case, it's good engineering to find a solution that works for more than one problem.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Prober on 06/03/2015 07:26 pm
Pentagon Seeks Easing of Ban on Russian Rockets for U.S. Space Missions  very poor title

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/04/world/europe/pentagon-seeks-easing-of-ban-on-russian-rockets-for-us-space-missions.html?partner=rss&emc=rss&_r=0

Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: docmordrid on 06/15/2015 06:02 am
So, either Congress backs off the RD-180 ban or ULA is dead? Good luck getting that change past Sen. McCain.

Link... (http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSL1N0Z00BK20150614?irpc=932)

Quote
Lockheed says rocket launch venture hinges on U.S. law waiver

PARIS, June 14 (Reuters) - Lockheed Martin Corp issued a warning on Sunday over the viability of its rocket launch joint venture with Boeing Co, saying the venture urgently needed the United States to waive a law banning the use of Russian engines to launch military and spy satellites.
>
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: AncientU on 06/15/2015 04:25 pm
Sounds like the parents are on the same page.
Quote
He (Rick Ambrose, who heads Lockheed's space business) said it was "prudent" for the partners to proceed cautiously, given uncertainty about both ULA's ability to use its Russian-powered Atlas 5 rocket for military and intelligence satellites, and growing competition in the commercial market.

More engines still doesn't close the business case in a competitive launch market.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: yg1968 on 04/25/2016 06:02 pm
New engine plan:
http://spacenews.com/draft-house-bill-would-scramble-air-forces-rocket-engine-plan/

I imagine that John McCain will object to this if the proposed legislation makes it to the Senate.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: vulture4 on 04/25/2016 06:13 pm
Thronberry and Rogers seem to be missing the mark. The DoD does not need a replacement for the RD-180, it needs a replacement (or preferably two or three) for the Atlas V and Delta IV.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: rocx on 04/25/2016 06:23 pm
I don't know if any lobbying has taken place, but ULA and especially AR are to gain a lot if this bill is accepted in this form.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: A8-3 on 04/25/2016 06:29 pm
Thronberry and Rogers seem to be missing the mark. The DoD does not need a replacement for the RD-180, it needs a replacement (or preferably two or three) for the Atlas V and Delta IV.

Lego Rockets. Just pull off the RD-180 and plug in the new engine.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Jim on 04/25/2016 06:45 pm
Thronberry and Rogers seem to be missing the mark. The DoD does not need a replacement for the RD-180, it needs a replacement (or preferably two or three) for the Atlas V and Delta IV.

Wrong, there are too many suppliers already for the market size.  Also, there is no need for an Atlas V replacement, it is fine as is. And Delta IV for single core missions doesn't need to "replaced", it can go away and other existing vehicles can do the missions. 
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Rummy on 04/25/2016 06:53 pm
Thronberry and Rogers seem to be missing the mark. The DoD does not need a replacement for the RD-180, it needs a replacement (or preferably two or three) for the Atlas V and Delta IV.

Wrong, there are too many suppliers already for the market size.  Also, there is no need for an Atlas V replacement, it is fine as is. And Delta IV for single core missions doesn't need to "replaced", it can go away and other existing vehicles can do the missions.

Wrong.  Atlas V uses a soon to be banned engine.  It is not just fine how it is.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Jim on 04/25/2016 07:06 pm

Wrong.  Atlas V uses a soon to be banned engine.  It is not just fine how it is.

Totally wrong.  Show me where where the engine will be banned for NASA spacecraft,, commercial crew, commercial ISS cargo and  commercial comsats mission.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Lar on 04/25/2016 07:37 pm
I don't know if any lobbying has taken place,
Pull the other one :)
Quote
but ULA and especially AR are to gain a lot if this bill is accepted in this form.
AR yes, but I think this hurts ULA badly, especially if the AR engine isn't all that great price performance wise.



Wrong.  Atlas V uses a soon to be banned engine.  It is not just fine how it is.

Totally wrong.  Show me where where the engine will be banned for NASA spacecraft,, commercial crew, commercial ISS cargo and  commercial comsats mission.
If Atlas V can't fly defense missions, then what? So the ULA block buy has to go away? There are missions obligated under that which can't be flown if there aren't engines. I'm not clear on what you're saying, Jim.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: rcoppola on 04/25/2016 08:34 pm
I almost wish ULA would announce early that they have officially down-selected to the BE4.

Mic Drop.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: GreenShrike on 04/25/2016 09:00 pm
I think this hurts ULA badly, especially if the AR engine isn't all that great price performance wise.

Why should ULA care? BE-4 isn't dependent on gov't dollars to develop, and since Blue needs it, it's getting developed whether ULA uses it or not. As such, this is a sideshow from ULA's perspective, with no direct relevance to their Vulcan plans should development of BE-4 proceed as anticipated (i.e. successfully).

And I don't think that the gov't can mandate ULA use the AR1, should ULA downselect to BE-4, though I suppose they could get the AF to provide money to ULA to adapt Atlas to take the AR1, but give no funds for Vulcan/BE-4 development. Then ULA would need to decide whether a lower development cost is worth trading for a more expensive final rocket and, thus, poorer commercial prospects.

Personally, I think taking money to develop Atlas/AR1 and letting Vulcan/BE-4 wither would amount to ULA taking a poison pill, and I don't think BA/LMT want to wash their hands of ULA quite that badly.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Rummy on 04/25/2016 09:15 pm

Wrong.  Atlas V uses a soon to be banned engine.  It is not just fine how it is.

Totally wrong.  Show me where where the engine will be banned for NASA spacecraft,, commercial crew, commercial ISS cargo and  commercial comsats mission.

And those missions are not enough to sustain ULA.  Also, the RD-180 may be banned for those missions in the near future.  The Atlas V is going away, just a question as to whether its replacement uses an AR-1 or a BE-4.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Lar on 04/25/2016 09:25 pm
I think this hurts ULA badly, especially if the AR engine isn't all that great price performance wise.

Why should ULA care? BE-4 isn't dependent on gov't dollars to develop, and since Blue needs it, it's getting developed whether ULA uses it or not. As such, this is a sideshow from ULA's perspective, with no direct relevance to their Vulcan plans should development of BE-4 proceed as anticipated (i.e. successfully).

The argument would be that BE-4 develops faster with partial government funding than if Bezos goes it alone. 

On reflection, the money is chump change and not having government funding might actually make development go faster (since funding usually comes with process overhead)

Assumptions: BE-4 is likely to be a better engine and likely to cost less. Those aren't proven so I may be all wet.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: GreenShrike on 04/25/2016 09:44 pm
I don't think Orbital can step quite as lively with the configuration of their new EELV, but if Air Force funding stops for the Raptor upper stage engine, well SpaceX happens to also have another "new American engine" on their drawing boards. This "new main stage engine" is named Raptor as well -- a coincidence, I'm sure.

Practically speaking, whether the AF pays for development of e.g. an extensible vacuum nozzle and SpaceX pays for new turbopumps, or the AF pays for development of the turbopumps and SpaceX pays for the extensible nozzle really makes no difference as the booster and vacuum variants of Raptor should be largely the same, and it all needs funding. Which development item gets paid for out of which pool of funds is an accounting problem.


Now I doubt the AF is really that cheeky, but then I doubted the AF would be cheeky enough to not simply give AJR all the money in the first place.


To be safe, though, I think the bill needs to have 'kerosene' added to the engine's description to adequately tie the funds to AJR without actually saying "AJR". This would also nicely exclude that other "new American main stage engine", the BE-4 -- not that Blue actually wants government money.

But, y'know... just in case.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: GreenShrike on 04/25/2016 09:50 pm
The argument would be that BE-4 develops faster with partial government funding than if Bezos goes it alone. 

On reflection, the money is chump change and not having government funding might actually make development go faster (since funding usually comes with process overhead)

AIUI, Blue/Bezos doesn't want gov't money. He doesn't need it and doesn't want anyone interfering with his plans.

Assumptions: BE-4 is likely to be a better engine and likely to cost less. Those aren't proven so I may be all wet.

Well, you and ULA both. That's what they're betting as well. So am I, for that matter -- at least for 'costs less'. 'Better' is likely in the eye of the beholder.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Jim on 04/25/2016 10:08 pm
  Also, the RD-180 may be banned for those missions in the near future. 
That is not going to happen

The Atlas V is going away, just a question as to whether its replacement uses an AR-1 or a BE-4.

Not really.  Vulcan is much an Atlas V as Atlas V was an Atlas II.  Vulcan is just an Atlas V derivative. Same pad, same avionics, same upperstage, same processes, same control center, etc.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: D_Dom on 04/25/2016 10:49 pm

Well, you and ULA both. That's what they're betting as well. So am I, for that matter -- at least for 'costs less'. 'Better' is likely in the eye of the beholder.

In the case of US Air Force customer, better means on schedule launches with high reliability.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Rummy on 04/26/2016 12:20 am
  Also, the RD-180 may be banned for those missions in the near future. 
That is not going to happen

The Atlas V is going away, just a question as to whether its replacement uses an AR-1 or a BE-4.

Not really.  Vulcan is much an Atlas V as Atlas V was an Atlas II.  Vulcan is just an Atlas V derivative. Same pad, same avionics, same upperstage, same processes, same control center, etc.

But different name.  Atlas is going away.  Vulcan is replacing it.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: AncientU on 04/26/2016 12:30 am
I don't know if any lobbying has taken place,
Pull the other one :)
Quote
but ULA and especially AR are to gain a lot if this bill is accepted in this form.
AR yes, but I think this hurts ULA badly, especially if the AR engine isn't all that great price performance wise.


After Delta IV is dead and buried, AR taking forever and developing a completely uncompetitive engine (again) simply means that ULA/parents will have continued reason to get exemption for more RD-180s. 

It's RD-180s all the way down, folks.  Ask Jim.

Thronberry and Rogers seem to be missing the mark. The DoD does not need a replacement for the RD-180, it needs a replacement (or preferably two or three) for the Atlas V and Delta IV.

Wrong, there are too many suppliers already for the market size.  Also, there is no need for an Atlas V replacement, it is fine as is. And Delta IV for single core missions doesn't need to "replaced", it can go away and other existing vehicles can do the missions.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Jim on 04/26/2016 02:38 am

After Delta IV is dead and buried, AR taking forever and developing a completely uncompetitive engine (again) simply means that ULA/parents will have continued reason to get exemption for more RD-180s. 

It's RD-180s all the way down, folks.  Ask Jim.


Wrong, that is not what I said.

Your beliefs are not shared with the majority, nor are they true.

I purposely left out Delta IV heavy, it will need a replacement.  Once Vulcan is online and ready to replace Delta IV, it can also replace Atlas V

Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Jim on 04/26/2016 02:49 am

But different name.  Atlas is going away.  Vulcan is replacing it.


The name isn't that important.  I guess you didn't realize that Titan didn't really go away either.  It is present in Atlas V and some of it processes. 

Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: manboy on 04/26/2016 04:47 pm
Also, there is no need for an Atlas V replacement, it is fine as is.
It's just too expensive and uses foreign built engines.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: gongora on 04/26/2016 07:12 pm
If Atlas V can't fly defense missions, then what? So the ULA block buy has to go away? There are missions obligated under that which can't be flown if there aren't engines. I'm not clear on what you're saying, Jim.

I thought the only problem for ULA is having RD-180's for missions outside of the block buy (missions being bid in the next few years).
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: AncientU on 04/27/2016 11:13 am

After Delta IV is dead and buried, AR taking forever and developing a completely uncompetitive engine (again) simply means that ULA/parents will have continued reason to get exemption for more RD-180s. 

It's RD-180s all the way down, folks.  Ask Jim.


Wrong, that is not what I said.

Your beliefs are not shared with the majority, nor are they true.

I purposely left out Delta IV heavy, it will need a replacement.  Once Vulcan is online and ready to replace Delta IV, it can also replace Atlas V

So, the majority believe that Delta IV will be around until Vulcan is ready circa 2020, and it can, not will replace Atlas V?

Gen. Greaves plus a few others in DOD, and CEO Bruno say Delta IV will retire in 2017 and Vulcan will replace Atlas V.  (IMO, they also believe F9/FH will likely replace Delta IV M/Heavy.)

Who makes up this majority, if these individuals aren't in it? Or are you saying that the truth is that nobody in the majority think RD-180 is going away? Or that the majority think ULA can be cost competitive with Atlas, Delta, and Vulcan all flying in the early 2020s?

I doubt your majority exists.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: MP99 on 04/27/2016 12:58 pm


[Gen. Greaves plus a few others in DOD, and CEO Bruno say Delta IV will retire in 2017...

Delta IV medium only, I thought?

Cheers, Martin
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Jim on 04/27/2016 02:20 pm

So, the majority believe that Delta IV will be around until Vulcan is ready circa 2020, and it can, not will replace Atlas V?

Gen. Greaves plus a few others in DOD, and CEO Bruno say Delta IV will retire in 2017 and Vulcan will replace Atlas V.  (IMO, they also believe F9/FH will likely replace Delta IV M/Heavy.)

Who makes up this majority, if these individuals aren't in it? Or are you saying that the truth is that nobody in the majority think RD-180 is going away? Or that the majority think ULA can be cost competitive with Atlas, Delta, and Vulcan all flying in the early 2020s?


The comment about your beliefs not share by the majority was in general and not specific to this topic.  You make many nonsensical and completely wrong posts (like this one).

For example, Delta IV is not going retire in 2017.  A simple search shows that NASA has a launch on Delta IV in 2018 for Solar Probe Plus.  Then there is the matter of the 4 Delta IV Heavies that are part of the 36 core block buy.  Those are not all launching in the next two years.

Atlas and Vulcan will be coexisting for a few years during the transition.

Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Rummy on 04/29/2016 04:15 pm

So, the majority believe that Delta IV will be around until Vulcan is ready circa 2020, and it can, not will replace Atlas V?

Gen. Greaves plus a few others in DOD, and CEO Bruno say Delta IV will retire in 2017 and Vulcan will replace Atlas V.  (IMO, they also believe F9/FH will likely replace Delta IV M/Heavy.)

Who makes up this majority, if these individuals aren't in it? Or are you saying that the truth is that nobody in the majority think RD-180 is going away? Or that the majority think ULA can be cost competitive with Atlas, Delta, and Vulcan all flying in the early 2020s?


The comment about your beliefs not share by the majority was in general and not specific to this topic.  You make many nonsensical and completely wrong posts (like this one).

For example, Delta IV is not going retire in 2017.  A simple search shows that NASA has a launch on Delta IV in 2018 for Solar Probe Plus.  Then there is the matter of the 4 Delta IV Heavies that are part of the 36 core block buy.  Those are not all launching in the next two years.

Atlas and Vulcan will be coexisting for a few years during the transition.

Jim is correct. Also, Delta IV Heavy isn't going away until the Air Force has a viable alternative and has conducted the necessary early integration activities for the most stressing missions on this alternative. That will take a long time.

Regarding the Vulcan / Atlas name issue... The Vulcan will need to be certified as a new vehicle regardless of the percentage of heritage components because it uses a new engine. 
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: Navier–Stokes on 05/17/2016 01:18 pm
Good news regarding recent efforts to restrict spending to main engines only:
Quote
In a statement of administration policy issued May 16, the White House said it “strongly objects” to language in the House version of the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 4909), citing it as one of several reasons why advisers would recommend the president veto the bill if Congress sends it to his desk as written.

The White House argues that the bill overemphasizes spending on development of a main engine over an overall launch system. It also claims that language giving the Defense Department data rights to launch systems developed under the program is not feasible and could require renegotiation of contracts already awarded by the Air Force.
http://spacenews.com/white-house-strongly-objects-to-defense-bills-launch-provisions/
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: TrevorMonty on 05/17/2016 03:15 pm
It was a case of Aerojet lobbyists versus ULA, Blue, OA and SpaceX lobbyists. Aerojet was never going to win this one.
Title: Re: Funding for a domestic liquid engine in the National Defense authorization bill
Post by: starhawk92 on 06/08/2016 08:02 pm
Quote
Meanwhile, Bob Work, the deputy secretary of defense, said May 23 if the Air Force did not have access to the RD-180, “the cost impacts and disruption” would be significant. In a letter to Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Work said the cost of moving Atlas 5 missions to ULA’s other rocket, the more expensive Delta 4, would be between $1.5 billion to $5 billion. He also suggested that if ULA could not compete for national security launch missions due to a ban on the Atlas 5 it could force the Boeing-Lockheed Martin joint venture to shut its doors.

“If ULA is no longer competitive for these missions, it is unclear whether ULA would have sufficient funds available to continue to invest in a next-generation domestic launch vehicle, or even to stay in business,” he said.

- See more at: http://spacenews.com/mccain-wants-proof-rd-180-purchases-dont-violate-u-s-sanctions/#sthash.FCulDoG9.dpuf

This is the first concrete statement I've seen that ULA may not be able to survive the new, competitive environment for space launch.  Blue origin better get a move on!