Author Topic: Could ATK make more money with ULA's EELV exploration plan?  (Read 4803 times)

Offline CitabriaFlyer

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If NASA transitioned away from a shuttle derived launch vehicle using a pair of SRBs launched two to four times per year and moved to launching mutiple (possibly dozens) of EELVs to support a propellant depot based architectre, would not ATK stand to profit from making a lot of those smaller strap on solids you see on Atlas and Deltas?

Offline kraisee

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Atlas SRB's are made by Aerojet, so those won't help ATK.

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Offline Robotbeat

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Delta IV, on the other hand, uses ATK-built strap-ons. An upgraded Delta IV Heavy that used ATK-built strap-ons would benefit ATK, but you could probably buy 50 strap-ons for the price of a single SRB, so I kind of doubt ATK would like the trade.

I do wonder, though, if they could be bought off with a huge solar array for a solar-electric propulsion system... (although this isn't how contracting is supposed to work)
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Offline Ben the Space Brit

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Atlas SRB's are made by Aerojet, so those won't help ATK.

As the Atlas-V Phase 2 is essentially (and this is a big simplification) a re-plumbed Delta-IV core, logic suggests they'd use the GEMs to save time with qualification.

That said, how many SRMs would actually be needed? Orion would be a liquids-only launch for either the D-IVH or the A-VH.  You'd only need the solids for heavy cargo launches; Indeed, NASA may forbid their use on crew launches because of safety inspection issues with monolithic motors.

So, let's assume a EELV-H/ACES-only mission profile - One D-IVH CaLV for the mission vehicle and another for the propulsion section plus a seperate A-VH crew launch.  That's between eight and twelve GEMs a mission if you go for maximum throw weight into LEO.  Assuming a flight rate of three per year for lunar excursions that is... phew! Between twenty-four and thirty-six Delta-IV-type SRMs (the GEM-60, IIRC).

However - I strongly suspect that ATK's segmented motor section isn't ready to fold up its tents and go quietly into that dark night.  Even though the monolithic section would do well.  Large organisations like that rarely speak with one voice, after all.
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Offline alexw

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Atlas SRB's are made by Aerojet, so those won't help ATK.
As the Atlas-V Phase 2 is essentially (and this is a big simplification) a re-plumbed Delta-IV core, logic suggests they'd use the GEMs to save time with qualification.
    You raise an interesting point, but Barr and Kutter 2010 say (p.5) "[The Phase 2 booster] ... can be mated to 1-6 Atlas-class solid rocket boosters for modular, intermediate capabilities". GEM60 is 185 klbf, Aerojet SRM is 285 klbf. Also, the BK2010 performance estimates given for Phase II look about the same as in the older (Jan '07) A-V Planner's Guide, which was pre-consolidation (and hence no connection with the Delta tooling or presumably GEM60). So it sounds like Aerojet.

    But I guess they could switch to GEM, and take the performance hit. The Phase II would already be ridiculously capable, with 1, 2, or 6 RD-180, and the GEMs providing smaller steps in between. There might not even be much point for the solids at all, since the dual-RD-180 bare-single-core looks to have more performance than a RS-68 Delta IV Heavy!
         -Alex

Offline Jim

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As the Atlas-V Phase 2 is essentially (and this is a big simplification) a re-plumbed Delta-IV core, logic suggests they'd use the GEMs to save time with qualification.


Not true, it would be the same diameter but would have the Atlas structure

Offline alexw

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As the Atlas-V Phase 2 is essentially (and this is a big simplification) a re-plumbed Delta-IV core, logic suggests
Not true, it would be the same diameter but would have the Atlas structure
   Ben might be referring to where BK2010 write (p.5) "The Phase 2 booster takes the 5m-Delta booster tank structure, converts it to store LO2 and kerosene, and mates a new thrust structure ..."
  -Alex

Offline Jim

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As the Atlas-V Phase 2 is essentially (and this is a big simplification) a re-plumbed Delta-IV core, logic suggests
Not true, it would be the same diameter but would have the Atlas structure
   Ben might be referring to where BK2010 write (p.5) "The Phase 2 booster takes the 5m-Delta booster tank structure, converts it to store LO2 and kerosene, and mates a new thrust structure ..."
  -Alex
And that is where the mods for the Aerojet motors would be done

Offline Ben the Space Brit

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Well, speaking politically, completely side-lining ATK would be impossible to get past Congress.  Maybe there could be a fly-off between Aerojet's SRMs (do they even have a name?) and a version of the GEMs stretched to increase their thrust.
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Offline Jim

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Well, speaking politically, completely side-lining ATK would be impossible to get past Congress.  Maybe there could be a fly-off between Aerojet's SRMs (do they even have a name?) and a version of the GEMs stretched to increase their thrust.

The Atlas V solids are called SRB's

Offline robertross

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Re: Could ATK make more money with ULA's EELV exploration plan?
« Reply #10 on: 11/17/2010 01:19 PM »
Well, speaking politically, completely side-lining ATK would be impossible to get past Congress.  Maybe there could be a fly-off between Aerojet's SRMs (do they even have a name?) and a version of the GEMs stretched to increase their thrust.

I would also draw attention to the wording in the Aviation Week article referenced in this thread:
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=23318.0

They are reviewing ATK's position in the industrial base.
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