Author Topic: Orbital ATK NGL Rocket UPDATES/DISCUSSION  (Read 62451 times)

Offline russianhalo117

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« Reply #180 on: 04/15/2018 09:18 am »
I still donít think the AF will bite. Can a fully disposable system in the US ever compete on price these days?
Apparently.  Six of the last seven Falcon 9's were fully expended.  There is still no evidence that stage recovery reduces cost, given the fact that SpaceX charges the same price for both new and used rockets.

Right.  Just like there's no evidence reusing a 737 reduces costs over throwing it away, given that Southwest airlines charges the same price for a flight on a new 737 that it charges on a used 737 and even on a 737 it's about to retire.  No evidence at all.

The ticket price in your regard is the share per passenger plus other factors spread across the fleet regardless of age. An aircraft is typically retired from service when it can no longer meet and still satisfy the defined fleet share.

Online Kabloona

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« Reply #181 on: 04/15/2018 02:23 pm »
Dollars flowing to the solids industry keep incremental improvements happening in areas like composite case winding, case insulation, ablative nozzle design and manufacturing, propellant formulation and processing, etc, and these incremental imrovements then become available for programs the Air Force really cares about, like next gen ICBM's. And virtually none of the EELV $$ spent on liquids advances these technologies.

I think this is moving the goal post though. AF is already funding these non-recurring engineering for solids in their smaller missile programs. The talking point for NGL (and SLS) is that those smaller missile programs do not consume enough propellant, thus the need for big solids. But I question the economics of this, I think it would be much cheaper to solve this issue by giving a direct subsidy to solid propellant industry.

You could make that argument, but that's not how the system works at the moment, and arguing for a direct subsidy to the solids industry is like arguing for ULA's ELC contract, which has long been criticized as a subsidy favoring one player.

The reality is that DoD tries to keep the solids industry healthy by directing funds into it through a variety of missile and rocket contracts, and NGL is one such program.

The OATK NGL web page even makes oblique reference to the industrial base issue by touting the commonality of facilities, personnel, etc, with other programs, with resulting cost savings to the Gov't (ie, the busier you keep these people and facilities, the lower your unit costs can be over multiple programs.)

Like other Evolvable Expendable Launch Vehicles (EELVs), NGL will operate from both east and west coast launch facilities. NGL will share common propulsion, structures and avionics systems with current and future programs. In addition, NGL will leverage current in-production programs that already are staffed with a skilled and highly experienced workforce, and will use existing facilities, supplier relationships and available subsystems for the new launch systemís development and production. Because NGL shares so many common elements with other programs, the system is affordable for the Air Force while also providing savings of approximately $600 million to other government agencies over 10 years.

Again, I'm not arguing that this state of affairs is better than, say, a direct subsidy to the solids industry as you suggest. But this is how the system works today, and I'm simply pointing that out as one aspect of NGL that does figure into DoD's view of the program, rightly or wrongly.
« Last Edit: 04/15/2018 03:02 pm by Kabloona »

Offline gongora

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« Reply #182 on: 04/15/2018 03:39 pm »
I still donít think the AF will bite. Can a fully disposable system in the US ever compete on price these days?

Sure they could. USAF has been getting flak for funding components when they were instructed to fund complete systems. Indications are they will select two proposals for further funding and it sounds as if there's only two complete systems competing (Vulcan and NGL).

Actually USAF has been getting flak for wanting to fund complete systems when they were instructed to fund components.  There are at least four systems competing, and three of them get further funding in the next round.

Offline Space Ghost 1962

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« Reply #183 on: 04/15/2018 04:44 pm »
The solids industry tends to be cyclical between big procurements for new ICBM's and SLBM's, and in between it makes DoD nervous if capabilities and institutional knowledge are lost.
Agree with the need. Not the history or manner to deal with this need.

However there are other solutions beyond burdening space launch systems with this cost. Suggest it was never an advantage for space launch but a lesser burden at the start, because the infrequency of launch and cost of other components/aspects of launch  made it indistinguishable, especially when it was cheaper (some like Ed Kyle wish to hold on to the notion of expendable launch to the bitter end, from these origins). This grew into a long term dependence, and that "addiction" doomed many programs long term including Shuttle. EELV was originally to avoid this, but also is doomed by it long term. See no need to add to this toll.

(If Ed is right and reusable vehicles don't pan out, it is possible that solids can be made considerably cheaper as the next best thing to boost with, but in the industry I haven't found a single propulsion engineer to bet against reuse at 100:1 odds.)

Antares uses a solid US, and solids are used in space (Star series, even at one point SX offered it for payload assist). And so far only the boost phase has much demonstrated  reuse (with the notable exception of  Shuttle SSME ascent).

But the root issue is in how we budget weapons delivery development and contract bids - which is going off topic for this thread. Because we have to delve into the arsenal system, history, biases/choices, and rational resolution of irrational practices that got us here - which I'm not going to do in this post.

Bottom line - you don't wrap IR&D and sustainment into space launch as it wrecks both, you budget outright your weapons systems (like most other countries do). (Europe is learning this to the hard way now.) The history was wrong, it wasn't an American advantage, but a stupid cheap scam with a hidden backfire that burned us.

And ... from the standpoint of government bidding and acquisition, what I said upthread is exactly all that will happen. (Political forces can try and craft special funding to resurrect history not withstanding, but right now that won't be easy.)

And the roots of the problem aren't in the solids industry, but in the mediocre politics that surround the arsenal system funding.

Thank you SX snf BO for finally cutting the solids industry apart from its backward dependence, now it's up to policy makers to catch up with 40+ years of not properly funding solids because they found a way to avoid doing the work and getting it right from the start.

« Reply #184 on: 04/17/2018 12:17 am »
This heavy-class rocket will have a payload capacity of up to 10,100 kg to Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO) and up to 7,800 kg to Geostationary Equatorial Orbit (GEO) #OmegaRocket

Offline Chris Bergin

« Reply #185 on: 04/17/2018 12:18 am »
Let's start a new thread, starting with the naming....