Author Topic: Blue Origin's BE-3 Engine  (Read 68860 times)

Offline cosmonautdjp

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Blue Origin's BE-3 Engine
« on: 01/21/2013 09:02 PM »
Anyone have info on Blue Origin's BE-3 engine?  All I've found on it so far was presented at NASA's Commercial Crew Program update a couple weeks ago.  Slide 17 of this .pdf http://www.nasa.gov/pdf/718299main_CCP-Status-Update-1-9-13-finalSM.pdf.  I contacted Blue Origin on Twitter, and they said they couldn't give public timelines for the engine's development.  I'd really like to figure out when they will fly it, and on what vehicles they plan to use it.

Offline daveklingler

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Re: Blue Origin's BE-3 Engine
« Reply #1 on: 01/25/2013 12:44 AM »
I agree with you that the BE-3 has the potential to be significant, depending on what BO plans to do with it.  I also agree that it's curious.

The level of progress they've made doesn't seem to agree with their design review level.  They've only just passed their SRR, yet they're doing full-up engine testing and they've already tested the thrust chamber at full throttle range.  Huh?  In the normal sequence of events you decide what you're going to use the engine for before you develop it.

I'm guessing that their internal planning is more advanced than the Commercial Crew SRR they did last year would seem to suggest.

Also in the "what's it for" department, here's Blue Origin telling everyone they plan to do incremental development starting with a suborbital rocket, but they're within a year or two of having a restartable, deep-throttling LOX/LH engine.  I can think of a lot of things I'd do with that engine, but suborbital tourism isn't one of them.  Heck, I'm not even sure LEO's one of them.  Again...huh?

So, in summary, I really don't blame you for being curious.  And now you've gotten me curious.

Offline Afrocle

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Re: Blue Origin's BE-3 Engine
« Reply #2 on: 01/25/2013 01:33 AM »
Anyone have info on Blue Origin's BE-3 engine?  All I've found on it so far was presented at NASA's Commercial Crew Program update a couple weeks ago.  Slide 17 of this .pdf http://www.nasa.gov/pdf/718299main_CCP-Status-Update-1-9-13-finalSM.pdf.  I contacted Blue Origin on Twitter, and they said they couldn't give public timelines for the engine's development.  I'd really like to figure out when they will fly it, and on what vehicles they plan to use it.

Blue Origin stated in an October 2012 press interview that a single BE-3 LOX/LH2 engine (with 100,000-lbf thrust) would replace the 5 BE-2 Peroxide/RP-1 engines (with ~ 165,000-lbf thrust total) on their New Sheppard sub-orbital space launch vehicle which they have been building since the last New Sheppard blew up in a test flight in 2011. BO said the dimensions of New Sheppard would be about the same despite the fact that LH2 has a lower density, so this probably accounts for the single BE-3 engine having less thrust than the 5 BE-2 engines it is replacing and still being able to lift this sub-orbital rocket.

BO also said recently that the BE-3 engine is fully integrated and ready for testing now as an integrated engine on a test stand.

BO has not said what type of engine cycle it is using for the BE-3, but I would guess a low performance gas generator cycle or open expander cycle with Isp comparable to the RS-68 engine at sea level (~ 365 sec)and the 1960s vintage J-2 engine (i.e. 425 sec) when optimized for  vacuum. I speculate this, because BO supposedly used Barber Nichol pumps (similar to SpaceX Merlin engine) and a gas generator cycle on their BE-2 engine, and BO does not need highly optimized performance to reach their goals of an orbital RLV vehicle (with expendable 2nd stage)that can place 10-tons into LEO. These specs for a BE-3 engine should allow 9 BE-3 first stage engines and 1 BE-3 upper stage engine to launch 10 tons into LEO while having enough fuel and structural margin on the 1st stage to have it boost back to the launch site.

I would guess that BO could do full 60-second+ test runs of their BE-3 engine by the end of this year and could have their BE-3 engine integrated for flight in their New Sheppard rocket by the end of 2014. This would follow similar timelines for the SpaceX Merlin engine at its early stages of development from full length test firing at the end of 2004 to first test flight on Falcon 1 in early 2006.

Offline Afrocle

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Re: Blue Origin's BE-3 Engine
« Reply #3 on: 01/25/2013 01:20 PM »
In the above post I discuss potential (speculated) BE-3 engine use of the open expander cycle. This is a lower performance expander cycle and it is also called the expander bleed cycle.

Mitsubishi in Japan is developing the 300,000-lbf thrust LOX/LH2 open expander cycle LE-X engine for future human-rated JAXA rockets like the proposed H-X or H-3 rockets. The vacuum performance of the LE-X engine would be 435 sec Isp versus an Isp of over 465 sec for the RL10 upper stage engine on Atlas V or Delta IV upper stages.

The below paper from Mitsubishi details the open gas generator and expander cycles used on the Japanese LE-5 engines and the use of the open expander bleed cycle on the 300,000-lbf thrust LE-X engine:
http://www.mhi.co.jp/technology/review/pdf/e484/e484036.pdf

The expander cycle is supposedly an easier cycle for engine throttling and engine re-start.

BO may start BE-3 development with either the open gas generator cycle or the open expander cycle, because these are easier and safer cycles for rocket engine development eventhough they may have a 30-sec Isp performance drop when compared to staged combustion or closed expander cycle engines.
« Last Edit: 01/25/2013 01:22 PM by Afrocle »

Offline simonbp

Re: Blue Origin's BE-3 Engine
« Reply #4 on: 01/25/2013 08:37 PM »
Also, RL-10 is an expander, and seemed to be fine deep throttling on DC-X. Given that Blue Origin's goal from the start has been an operational DC-X, it wouldn't be surprising if they are using an RL-10 style engine...
« Last Edit: 01/25/2013 08:38 PM by simonbp »

Offline Elmar Moelzer

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Re: Blue Origin's BE-3 Engine
« Reply #5 on: 01/25/2013 08:39 PM »
Also, RL-10 is an expander, and seemed to be fine deep throttling on DC-X. Given that Blue Origin's goal from the start has been an operational DC-X, it wouldn't be surprising if they are using an RL-10 style engine...
Thats what I was thinking too. The RL10 had a much lower thrust though...

Offline Afrocle

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Re: Blue Origin's BE-3 Engine
« Reply #6 on: 01/25/2013 09:28 PM »
Also, RL-10 is an expander, and seemed to be fine deep throttling on DC-X. Given that Blue Origin's goal from the start has been an operational DC-X, it wouldn't be surprising if they are using an RL-10 style engine...
Thats what I was thinking too. The RL10 had a much lower thrust though...

The wikipedia page says that a benefit of expander bleed cycle over closed expander cycle is higher thust at the expense of lower Isp.

The RL10 is a closed expander cycle engine with higher performance (up to 470 sec Isp) than the open expander bleed cycle Japanese LE-5 engine (at 447 sec Isp). Japanese LE-X increases thrust to 300,000-lbf (at 432 sec Isp) which used to be unheard of for an expander cycle engine. Expander bleed cycle has lower performance comparable to a gas generator cycle engine like J-2X or original LE-5 GG engines (448 sec Isp).

I think only the Russians have successfully copied RL10 closed expander cycle with their RD-0146 engine copy (which has not flown yet) of the RL10, and only Japanese have successfully flown expander bleed cycle.

P&W Rocketdyne and Mitsubishi have been talking a 50,000-lbf+ thrust class RL60 or MBXX expander cycle higher thrust upgrade to RL10 for about 10 years, so I am thinking that it is harder than people think to take closed expander cycle engines to more than 30,000-lbf thrust.

I think that BO only has experience with gas generator cycle engines, and this Space.com article from 6 years ago says they were looking to hire RS 68 propulsion engineers who have experience with high thrust levels (i.e. GG cycle used on RS 68).
http://www.space.com/3318-amazon-founder-rocket-plans-flight-details-images-emerge.html

I would like to think that the BE-3 uses expander cycle, but it seems a lot easier for BO to start the higher 100,000-lbf thrust BE-3 with a gas generator cycle that they understand, and then upgrade that to an expander bleed cycle in the future as the Japanese have done with LE-5 engine.

The 100,000-lbf thrust of BE-3 makes me think that expander cycle is too big a leap for the BO engine team, because no one in the world has tested an expander cycle at that high a thrust level yet (the Japanese might start testing LE-X this year). BO has the money and talent to prove me wrong, however.


Offline baldusi

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Re: Blue Origin's BE-3 Engine
« Reply #7 on: 01/26/2013 02:04 PM »
Have you heard of the Vinci engine? Problem with closed expanders is the your surface expands to the square, while your volumes to the cube. Since the surface is your heat transmition budget and your volume your heat sink requirement, at some point, you simply can't transfer enough heat to expand. I've heard 300kN being the utlimate limit. RD-0146 does about 95kN to 75kN, RL-10 about 100kN and Vinci 180kN. So they are "close to the limit".
A benefit of expander cyclers is their reliability. The RL-10 can eat contaminants in the turbo like no other engine.

Offline cosmonautdjp

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Re: Blue Origin's BE-3 Engine
« Reply #8 on: 01/26/2013 04:35 PM »
Quote
The below paper from Mitsubishi details the open gas generator and expander cycles used on the Japanese LE-5 engines and the use of the open expander bleed cycle on the 300,000-lbf thrust LE-X engine:
http://www.mhi.co.jp/technology/review/pdf/e484/e484036.pdf

That paper is very informative.

I understand the need of a company to protect their intellectual property, but I wish BO was a little more transparent in the development of their vehicles and engines.  They have received nearly 26 million dollars from the US government.  It'd be nice to know what we're paying for.

Offline Joel

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Re: Blue Origin's BE-3 Engine
« Reply #9 on: 01/26/2013 11:35 PM »
Well, there is the video of the BE-3 thrust chamber firing. I guess a knowledgeable person with a bit of free time would be able to draw some conclusions from it. Maybe you can even get an educated guess for the chamber pressure?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=IvVdD6qqROM#t=1270s

Thrust chamber firing is 21 minutes in.

P.S. A bit earlier in the presentation, there is also an explanation about what concerned US taxpayers got for the money they invested in the company...
« Last Edit: 01/26/2013 11:48 PM by Joel »

Offline Afrocle

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Re: Blue Origin's BE-3 Engine
« Reply #10 on: 01/27/2013 02:46 AM »
Have you heard of the Vinci engine? Problem with closed expanders is the your surface expands to the square, while your volumes to the cube. Since the surface is your heat transmition budget and your volume your heat sink requirement, at some point, you simply can't transfer enough heat to expand. I've heard 300kN being the utlimate limit. RD-0146 does about 95kN to 75kN, RL-10 about 100kN and Vinci 180kN. So they are "close to the limit".
A benefit of expander cyclers is their reliability. The RL-10 can eat contaminants in the turbo like no other engine.

I did not mention the Vinci, a closed expander cycle engine, because ESA usually lags behind other nations in terms of rocket engine development, and they seem to still be far away from having Vinci ready for service. The RL10 and its Russian copy, the RD-0146, are the only closed expander cycle engines I know of that have done full tests, and the RL10 is the only one to have flown.

The Chinese and the Indians have also wanted to develop closed expander cycle engines like the RL10, but the Russians have not given them the help they need.

You are right on the squared/cubed law limitations on expander cycles, and Japanese overcome this with a lower Isp on their expander bleed cycle on their new 300,000-lbf thrust LE-X engine.

This makes me think even more that the BE-3 engine will start with a much easier gas generator cycle and BO will upgrade to better cycles years in the future.

Offline tnphysics

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Re: Blue Origin's BE-3 Engine
« Reply #11 on: 01/27/2013 04:53 AM »
There is also the third-fluid-cooled cycle.

Basically use the heat from the combustion chamber and nozzle to boil water, making steam that turns the turbines.

Offline Damon Hill

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Re: Blue Origin's BE-3 Engine
« Reply #12 on: 01/27/2013 05:52 AM »
I believe the RL60 development engine, which used separate expander turbines for fuel and oxidizer, was tested to 60,000 or slightly more.

LE-X uses a dual expander cycle, which apparently extracts more energy from the entire combustion chamber/throat/nozzle surface.  P/W in the past has said a dual expander could run to at least 300,000 pounds.  Wonder if it'd be a good substitute for the J-2X?

Where is BO testing their development engines?**  Their Kent, WA facility has a lot of interesting plumbing, tanks and some sort of earth berm in the back yard.  But I kind of doubt they'd be doing large engine tests in that semi-urban environment; I could probably hear the firings down the road here in Auburn...

**Ah, I see from the video that engine testing is being done in Texas and at Stennis; smaller engines were/are being done at Kent.
« Last Edit: 01/27/2013 06:22 AM by Damon Hill »

Offline notsorandom

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Re: Blue Origin's BE-3 Engine
« Reply #13 on: 01/27/2013 06:55 AM »
There is also the third-fluid-cooled cycle.

Basically use the heat from the combustion chamber and nozzle to boil water, making steam that turns the turbines.
Interesting. Has that ever been done before or it it theoretical? It doesn't seem like it would be all that great with the extra mass of the water.

Offline Afrocle

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Re: Blue Origin's BE-3 Engine
« Reply #14 on: 01/27/2013 05:30 PM »
I believe the RL60 development engine, which used separate expander turbines for fuel and oxidizer, was tested to 60,000 or slightly more.

LE-X uses a dual expander cycle, which apparently extracts more energy from the entire combustion chamber/throat/nozzle surface.  P/W in the past has said a dual expander could run to at least 300,000 pounds.  Wonder if it'd be a good substitute for the J-2X?

Interesting. I have been trying to follow the RL60 for 10 years, and I never heard that they actually tested it to 60,000-lbf thrust. What did they test at this thrust level? An entire engine? The pumps? The thrust chamber?

The LE-X is supposed to have 432-sec Isp versus 445-sec for J-2X so it could be a substitute if you are willing to take that 2% - 3% Isp hit.

Offline Bob Shaw

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Re: Blue Origin's BE-3 Engine
« Reply #15 on: 01/27/2013 05:53 PM »
There is also the third-fluid-cooled cycle.

Basically use the heat from the combustion chamber and nozzle to boil water, making steam that turns the turbines.
Interesting. Has that ever been done before or it it theoretical? It doesn't seem like it would be all that great with the extra mass of the water.

I seem to recall that the V2 graphite steering vanes were hollow, with water inside; water can absorb an enormous amount of energy, and being reasonably dense then a reservoir for 'proper' cooling/turbine power might be surprisingly small and light. It'd be a much nicer turbine working fluid to deal with than High-Test Peroxide, Hydrazine, or whatever.

Offline Lurker Steve

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Re: Blue Origin's BE-3 Engine
« Reply #16 on: 01/28/2013 01:45 PM »
I support Blue Origin with my Amazon purchases.

That 25 million they received from the government is peanuts compared to the extra funding that SpaceX and Orbital received for "risk reduction" flights that didn't really help with the schedule at all.


Offline strangequark

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Re: Blue Origin's BE-3 Engine
« Reply #17 on: 01/28/2013 11:20 PM »
I seem to recall that the V2 graphite steering vanes were hollow, with water inside; water can absorb an enormous amount of energy, and being reasonably dense then a reservoir for 'proper' cooling/turbine power might be surprisingly small and light. It'd be a much nicer turbine working fluid to deal with than High-Test Peroxide, Hydrazine, or whatever.

Hydrogen, which is the relevant fluid for this engine, is a killer heat sink. Heat capacity is 3-4 times that of water.

I think the XCOR third fluid expander is still closed though, so it wouldn't necessarily need a large amount of working fluid. I've never been very clear on what their ultimate heat sink is (fuel, oxidizer, environment?), and what kind of mass penalty the additional heat exchanger imposes.

Offline Joel

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Re: Blue Origin's BE-3 Engine
« Reply #18 on: 01/29/2013 07:48 PM »
I don't know much about rocket engines so don't be too harsh on me, but shouldn't it also be possible to cool with the oxidiser in an expander engine? I mean, if there is no preburner, you won't get those corrosive hot oxygen-rich gases, right?

There should be much more cooling possible with the phase change in the liquid oxygen. According to wikipedia, the heat of vaporization for H2 and O2 are:

(H2) 0.904 kJ·mol−1
(O2) 6.82 kJ·mol−1

Or, equivalently:
(H2) 0.45 kJ·g−1
(O2) 0.21 kJ·g−1

With a (mass) mixing ratio of say 4.4, you should be able to cool twice as much if you use the oxydiser. Or three times more if you could cool with both the H2 and the O2. Or do I also need to take into account the work done on the turbine axis by the expanding gas? Anyway, is there a good reason not to use the oxygen in an expander?
« Last Edit: 01/29/2013 07:50 PM by Joel »

Offline strangequark

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Re: Blue Origin's BE-3 Engine
« Reply #19 on: 01/29/2013 08:08 PM »
I don't know much about rocket engines so don't be too harsh on me, but shouldn't it also be possible to cool with the oxidiser in an expander engine? I mean, if there is no preburner, you won't get those corrosive hot oxygen-rich gases, right?

There should be much more cooling possible with the phase change in the liquid oxygen. According to wikipedia, the heat of vaporization for H2 and O2 are:

(H2) 0.904 kJ·mol−1
(O2) 6.82 kJ·mol−1

Or, equivalently:
(H2) 0.45 kJ·g−1
(O2) 0.21 kJ·g−1

With a (mass) mixing ratio of say 4.4, you should be able to cool twice as much if you use the oxydiser. Or three times more if you could cool with both the H2 and the O2. Or do I also need to take into account the work done on the turbine axis by the expanding gas? Anyway, is there a good reason not to use the oxygen in an expander?

You generally want to avoid a phase change because the point of onset can be variable, and the convection coefficient changes drastically when you go from liquid to gas. What you want is a very predictable, low variability heat transfer situation to prevent local hot spots. Therefore, you operate at a high enough pressure that the fluid is supercritical (neither liquid or gas), and undergoes a smooth, continuous transition. The heat capacity of the fluid is more important than the heat of vaporization. You want it high because it means you can absorb lots of heat while keeping the fluid temp relatively low. A higher heat capacity also gives a higher convective heat transfer coefficient, which makes the fluid a better coolant..

Now, with that said, oxygen can be used, but it's not nearly as good at it. Cp is around 1 kJ/kg, versus 14 for hydrogen. There have been proposals using oxygen for cooling, and to provide some of the power, it's just that the fuel is usually the better choice.

Offline Joel

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Re: Blue Origin's BE-3 Engine
« Reply #20 on: 01/29/2013 08:36 PM »
You generally want to avoid a phase change because the point of onset can be variable, and the convection coefficient changes drastically when you go from liquid to gas. What you want is a very predictable, low variability heat transfer situation to prevent local hot spots. Therefore, you operate at a high enough pressure that the fluid is supercritical (neither liquid or gas), and undergoes a smooth, continuous transition. The heat capacity of the fluid is more important than the heat of vaporization. You want it high because it means you can absorb lots of heat while keeping the fluid temp relatively low. A higher heat capacity also gives a higher convective heat transfer coefficient, which makes the fluid a better coolant..

Now, with that said, oxygen can be used, but it's not nearly as good at it. Cp is around 1 kJ/kg, versus 14 for hydrogen. There have been proposals using oxygen for cooling, and to provide some of the power, it's just that the fuel is usually the better choice.

Ok, thanks for clarifying!

Online john smith 19

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Re: Blue Origin's BE-3 Engine
« Reply #21 on: 01/29/2013 10:26 PM »
P&W Rocketdyne and Mitsubishi have been talking a 50,000-lbf+ thrust class RL60 or MBXX expander cycle higher thrust upgrade to RL10 for about 10 years, so I am thinking that it is harder than people think to take closed expander cycle engines to more than 30,000-lbf thrust.
The PDF you linked to says PWR?MHI had the guts of the MBXX on a test stand in Japan in 2005 running at 28 tonnes thrust and about 140bar chamber pressure. I'm not sure how far they were from a full engine but they certainly had the core running. I got the impression the MB60 is much more speculative.

Quote
I would like to think that the BE-3 uses expander cycle, but it seems a lot easier for BO to start the higher 100,000-lbf thrust BE-3 with a gas generator cycle that they understand, and then upgrade that to an expander bleed cycle in the future as the Japanese have done with LE-5 engine.
Note the use of a LH2/LO2 engine opens up the possibility of reviving the "gas chamber tapoff" cycle from the original J2-X / J2-S programme. This is an incremental improvement to the GG cycle, eliminating the GG totally and spinning up the turbine with a tank head start. Although most descriptions describe it as using start cartridges final reports indicated the team had work out it was back pressure from the chamber cooling that was preventing turbine spin up and proper valve control has cured this, allowing unlimited  re-starts.
For increased simplicity they could go to the premixed catalytic ignitor pioneerd by aerojet, eliminating any spark plugs or high voltage ignition systems.

The trouble is information on it is hard to come by. The tapoff design was tricky. That said modern tools like IR imaging of a running engine and high fidelity FAE and CFD would let the BO team start from a much better position than the original Rocketdyne group.

Quote
The 100,000-lbf thrust of BE-3 makes me think that expander cycle is too big a leap for the BO engine team, because no one in the world has tested an expander cycle at that high a thrust level yet (the Japanese might start testing LE-X this year).
That would be very impressive.
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Offline Prober

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Re: Blue Origin's BE-3 Engine
« Reply #22 on: 01/31/2013 02:18 AM »
P&W Rocketdyne and Mitsubishi have been talking a 50,000-lbf+ thrust class RL60 or MBXX expander cycle higher thrust upgrade to RL10 for about 10 years, so I am thinking that it is harder than people think to take closed expander cycle engines to more than 30,000-lbf thrust.
The PDF you linked to says PWR?MHI had the guts of the MBXX on a test stand in Japan in 2005 running at 28 tonnes thrust and about 140bar chamber pressure. I'm not sure how far they were from a full engine but they certainly had the core running. I got the impression the MB60 is much more speculative.

Quote
I would like to think that the BE-3 uses expander cycle, but it seems a lot easier for BO to start the higher 100,000-lbf thrust BE-3 with a gas generator cycle that they understand, and then upgrade that to an expander bleed cycle in the future as the Japanese have done with LE-5 engine.
Note the use of a LH2/LO2 engine opens up the possibility of reviving the "gas chamber tapoff" cycle from the original J2-X / J2-S programme. This is an incremental improvement to the GG cycle, eliminating the GG totally and spinning up the turbine with a tank head start. Although most descriptions describe it as using start cartridges final reports indicated the team had work out it was back pressure from the chamber cooling that was preventing turbine spin up and proper valve control has cured this, allowing unlimited  re-starts.
For increased simplicity they could go to the premixed catalytic ignitor pioneerd by aerojet, eliminating any spark plugs or high voltage ignition systems.

The trouble is information on it is hard to come by. The tapoff design was tricky. That said modern tools like IR imaging of a running engine and high fidelity FAE and CFD would let the BO team start from a much better position than the original Rocketdyne group.

Quote
The 100,000-lbf thrust of BE-3 makes me think that expander cycle is too big a leap for the BO engine team, because no one in the world has tested an expander cycle at that high a thrust level yet (the Japanese might start testing LE-X this year).
That would be very impressive.
I got the impression the MB60 is much more speculative.

I got the impression the project was very close to being done and just not put into the next set of test then production
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Offline gin455res

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Re: Blue Origin's BE-3 Engine
« Reply #23 on: 02/20/2013 06:04 PM »
Would an expander bleed cycle that uses a hydrogen expander to pump a hydrocarbon and oxygen into a combustion chamber make for a moderate-thrust rugged (reusable)  engine?

Offline strangequark

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Re: Blue Origin's BE-3 Engine
« Reply #24 on: 02/20/2013 06:28 PM »
Would an expander bleed cycle that uses a hydrogen expander to pump a hydrocarbon and oxygen into a combustion chamber make for a moderate-thrust rugged (reusable)  engine?

No, the advantage of expander bleed is that you have the hydrogen anyway. Storing a, relatively, small amount of a deep cryogen just to run the turbine would be overly complicated.

Offline Hyperion5

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Re: Blue Origin's BE-3 Engine
« Reply #25 on: 02/20/2013 06:54 PM »
Would an expander bleed cycle that uses a hydrogen expander to pump a hydrocarbon and oxygen into a combustion chamber make for a moderate-thrust rugged (reusable)  engine?

No, the advantage of expander bleed is that you have the hydrogen anyway. Storing a, relatively, small amount of a deep cryogen just to run the turbine would be overly complicated.

How does a staged combustion cycle hydrolox engine compare to an expander cycle in terms of development issues and performance possibilities?  I know people have been speculating Blue Origin may push into expander cycle tech, but would there be any good reasons why they might consider staged combustion cycle tech instead?  100,000 lbf of thrust sounds like a good place to start considering SC cycle. 
« Last Edit: 02/20/2013 06:56 PM by Hyperion5 »

Offline catdlr

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Re: Blue Origin's BE-3 Engine
« Reply #26 on: 02/28/2013 10:36 PM »
Blue Origin Tests BE-3 Engine

Published on Feb 28, 2013
Blue Origin successfully fires the thrust chamber assembly for its new 100,000 pound thrust BE-3 liquid oxygen, liquid hydrogen rocket engine. As part of the company's Reusable Booster System (RBS), the engines are designed eventually to launch the biconic-shaped Space Vehicle the company is developing in collaboration with NASA's Commercial Crew Program.

Tony De La Rosa

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Blue Origin's BE-3 Engine
« Reply #27 on: 02/28/2013 10:51 PM »
Very under-expanded. Points to being designed for throttlability (which, of course, is their plan). (Could also be they simply didn't bother fabricating the whole nozzle, but that's my story and I'm sticking to it. ;) )
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Offline hkultala

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Re: Blue Origin's BE-3 Engine
« Reply #28 on: 03/07/2013 05:13 AM »
100000 pound = 445 kN.

So 4 times bigger than RL-10?

Would vacuum-nozzle version of this make a great engine for upper stage of
1) Later versions of SLS
2) Delta IV Heavy / Atlas V 5xx ?

The performance of the heavier configurations of the ULA rockets seem to be severely limited by the thrust of RL-10 and also the RL-10 cost is so high that they don't want to use multiple of those.

Offline Jason1701

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Re: Blue Origin's BE-3 Engine
« Reply #29 on: 03/07/2013 05:19 AM »
100000 pound = 445 kN.

So 4 times bigger than RL-10?

Would vacuum-nozzle version of this make a great engine for upper stage of
1) Later versions of SLS
2) Delta IV Heavy / Atlas V 5xx ?

The performance of the heavier configurations of the ULA rockets seem to be severely limited by the thrust of RL-10 and also the RL-10 cost is so high that they don't want to use multiple of those.


3) Falcon Heavy
That would be some great synergy.

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Blue Origin's BE-3 Engine
« Reply #30 on: 03/07/2013 05:28 AM »
100000 pound = 445 kN.

So 4 times bigger than RL-10?

Would vacuum-nozzle version of this make a great engine for upper stage of
1) Later versions of SLS
2) Delta IV Heavy / Atlas V 5xx ?

The performance of the heavier configurations of the ULA rockets seem to be severely limited by the thrust of RL-10 and also the RL-10 cost is so high that they don't want to use multiple of those.


3) Falcon Heavy
That would be some great synergy.
A real paradigm shift win-win best of breed solution. (sorry ;))

(Also: "As an NSF thread grows longer, the probability of SpaceX or Elon Musk being invoked approaches 1.")
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Offline Lar

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Re: Blue Origin's BE-3 Engine
« Reply #31 on: 03/07/2013 05:39 AM »
(Also: "As an NSF thread grows longer, the probability of SpaceX or Elon Musk being invoked approaches 1.")
I see what you did there!

It WOULD be nifty, but it would violate the "same propellants for all stages" dictum, no?
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Offline Jason1701

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Re: Blue Origin's BE-3 Engine
« Reply #32 on: 03/07/2013 06:08 AM »
100000 pound = 445 kN.

So 4 times bigger than RL-10?

Would vacuum-nozzle version of this make a great engine for upper stage of
1) Later versions of SLS
2) Delta IV Heavy / Atlas V 5xx ?

The performance of the heavier configurations of the ULA rockets seem to be severely limited by the thrust of RL-10 and also the RL-10 cost is so high that they don't want to use multiple of those.


3) Falcon Heavy
That would be some great synergy.
A real paradigm shift win-win best of breed solution. (sorry ;))

(Also: "As an NSF thread grows longer, the probability of SpaceX or Elon Musk being invoked approaches 1.")

Actually, they were invoked in only the third post. ;)

Offline Danderman

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Re: Blue Origin's BE-3 Engine
« Reply #33 on: 03/07/2013 02:52 PM »
100000 pound = 445 kN.

So 4 times bigger than RL-10?

Would vacuum-nozzle version of this make a great engine for upper stage of
1) Later versions of SLS
2) Delta IV Heavy / Atlas V 5xx ?

The performance of the heavier configurations of the ULA rockets seem to be severely limited by the thrust of RL-10 and also the RL-10 cost is so high that they don't want to use multiple of those.


3) Falcon Heavy
That would be some great synergy.

Apart from being larger than RL-10, if the new engine is cheaper to produce than the Byzantine RL-10 design, that would be a good thing.

Offline baldusi

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Re: Blue Origin's BE-3 Engine
« Reply #34 on: 03/07/2013 03:05 PM »
We ignore the isp, T/W, O/F, actuation, pressurization gases and are assuming it has multiple restart capabilities. Even though it's quite possible it can be restarted multiple times, I think it's too early to say anything or speculate.
We don't even know the cycle, only know it's pump fed. We also know that only the combustion chamber was demonstrated and thus it's quite probable they are still working on the turbopump. In other words, its still in design and we ignore the most basic data.

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Blue Origin's BE-3 Engine
« Reply #35 on: 03/07/2013 05:45 PM »
The BE-3 engine is about as far along that we can tell as Merlin was 10 years ago. Details like T/W, Isp, O/F, actuation, pressurization (which makes very little difference to the engine itself except what flows through the heat exchanger for heating up the ullage gas), and restart number are almost entirely up in the air and could change.

We do know BE-3 /will/ be air-started (it's supposed to be an upper stage engine at some point) and certainly restartable (you don't really think they're going to keep it lit constantly for /operational/ suborbital flights do you? They wouldn't be able to reach the Karman line and return while keeping it lit all the time, so restarting at very least for landing is essentially guaranteed to be one of their design requirements).
« Last Edit: 03/07/2013 05:46 PM by Robotbeat »
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Offline baldusi

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Re: Blue Origin's BE-3 Engine
« Reply #36 on: 03/07/2013 06:11 PM »
The BE-3 engine is about as far along that we can tell as Merlin was 10 years ago. Details like T/W, Isp, O/F, actuation, pressurization (which makes very little difference to the engine itself except what flows through the heat exchanger for heating up the ullage gas), and restart number are almost entirely up in the air and could change.
Pressurization and actuation doesn't makes much of a difference if you are designing for it. But here they were talking about retrofitting every big US LV out there. Specially since the thermal conditioning and fuel pressurization needed for restarts has to be achievable after many hours in space to complete the sort of missions that the EELV's US need to perform. That was my point.

Quote
We do know BE-3 /will/ be air-started (it's supposed to be an upper stage engine at some point) and certainly restartable (you don't really think they're going to keep it lit constantly for /operational/ suborbital flights do you? They wouldn't be able to reach the Karman line and return while keeping it lit all the time, so restarting at very least for landing is essentially guaranteed to be one of their design requirements).
It's a technicality, but I said multiple restart capability. We know that it will be able to restart, and obviously air start. And being an H2 engine, it's probable that it will have 5 or more starts. But we don't know. And the US they were talking about to retrofit need to do very complex missions, including upto five restarts (that we known of).

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Blue Origin's BE-3 Engine
« Reply #37 on: 03/07/2013 07:00 PM »
How many starts it will be able to do depends simply on how many it needs to do for whatever application it is being used for. This isn't a serious design constraint once it's capable of in-air restart (just add more cartridges or pressurant to spin up the turbo, whatever).
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Offline Joel

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Re: Blue Origin's BE-3 Engine
« Reply #38 on: 03/07/2013 09:22 PM »
We ignore the isp, T/W, O/F, actuation, pressurization gases and are assuming it has multiple restart capabilities. Even though it's quite possible it can be restarted multiple times, I think it's too early to say anything or speculate.
We don't even know the cycle, only know it's pump fed. We also know that only the combustion chamber was demonstrated and thus it's quite probable they are still working on the turbopump. In other words, its still in design and we ignore the most basic data.

I got the feeling that it was further along

In the presentation earlier in the thread:
Quote
...while doing the testing on the TCA at Stennis, we were also testing the turbopumps, the liquid oxygen/liquid hydrogen turbopumps, at our facility in West Texas and now we have the engine fully put together and the testing of that engine is underway at our facility in West Texas.

Offline Joel

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Re: Blue Origin's BE-3 Engine
« Reply #39 on: 03/07/2013 09:32 PM »
Very under-expanded. Points to being designed for throttlability (which, of course, is their plan). (Could also be they simply didn't bother fabricating the whole nozzle, but that's my story and I'm sticking to it. ;) )

It's the same video as in the presentation. They continuously change the throttling from 10-20 % to 100 %.

Offline Joel

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Re: Blue Origin's BE-3 Engine
« Reply #40 on: 03/07/2013 09:40 PM »
100000 pound = 445 kN.

So 4 times bigger than RL-10?

If it's 100.000 lbsf sea level thrust, the vacuum thrust should be more than 120.000 lbsf, right? So closer to 5x RL-10.

Offline HappyMartian

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Re: Blue Origin's BE-3 Engine
« Reply #41 on: 03/08/2013 12:45 PM »
In the above post I discuss potential (speculated) BE-3 engine use of the open expander cycle. This is a lower performance expander cycle and it is also called the expander bleed cycle.

Mitsubishi in Japan is developing the 300,000-lbf thrust LOX/LH2 open expander cycle LE-X engine for future human-rated JAXA rockets like the proposed H-X or H-3 rockets. The vacuum performance of the LE-X engine would be 435 sec Isp versus an Isp of over 465 sec for the RL10 upper stage engine on Atlas V or Delta IV upper stages.

The below paper from Mitsubishi details the open gas generator and expander cycles used on the Japanese LE-5 engines and the use of the open expander bleed cycle on the 300,000-lbf thrust LE-X engine:
http://www.mhi.co.jp/technology/review/pdf/e484/e484036.pdf

The expander cycle is supposedly an easier cycle for engine throttling and engine re-start.

BO may start BE-3 development with either the open gas generator cycle or the open expander cycle, because these are easier and safer cycles for rocket engine development eventhough they may have a 30-sec Isp performance drop when compared to staged combustion or closed expander cycle engines.


An expander-bleed cycle engine also offers:

Excellence of the Japanese Expander-Bleed Cycle Rocket Engine and Enhancements for Future Engine Applications    By William Sack, Koichi Okita, Akihide Kurosu, Akira Ogawara, Kimito Yoshikawa, Masahiro Atsumi, Kenji Kishimoto, Kevin Lunde    2008
At: http://archive.ists.or.jp/upload_pdf/2008-a-03.pdf

JAXA and MHI have successfully developed an excellent expander bleed power cycle rocket engine designated the LE-5B. This LOX-hydrogen engine currently provides upper stage propulsion for the H-2A launch vehicle and has proven to be reliable and robust in 15 flights. The engine was developed as an upgrade to the original gas generator powered LE-5 engine. Elimination of the gas generator simplified the design, required ignition of only a single combustion device, precluded a potential chug instability at throttled conditions, and eliminated moisture from the turbine drive gases preventing “freeze locking” of the turbine on restart. Future Japanese engine designs can benefit and build on this valuable experience. To further enhance this proven cycle, higher combustion pressure is desirable to optimize performance for potential booster engine application. In addition, higher injector and turbopump performance is required to further maximize the cycle’s specific impulse. These improvements have the potential to greatly benefit Japan’s new LE-X booster engine design. Another interesting feature of a LOX/H2 expander-bleed cycle engine is that, based on a recent study, the cycle can potentially be designed to function as a dual fuel engine utilizing LCH4 or LH2. This capability can facilitate the use of in-situ propellant systems for space exploration applications. The purpose of this paper is to discuss progress and background towards the development of these expander-bleed cycle engine improvements and capabilities.




I added the bold to the article's abstract.

Yep, an "interesting feature".
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Offline Zond

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Re: Blue Origin's BE-3 Engine
« Reply #42 on: 03/27/2013 06:56 PM »
Quote
Attendees enjoyed a keynote address given by Mr. Curtis Johnson from Blue Origin, LLC. Mr. Johnson’s long-time participation in JANNAF within the Combustion, Liquid Propulsion, and Exhaust Plume and Signatures Subcommittees gave insight into what would pique the interests of those gathered in Monterey: a keynote with lots of steam and fire(!) from Blue Origin’s development efforts of the BE-3 engine. In 2007, Mr. Johnson joined Blue Origin to lead the development of its 100,000 lbf thrust liquid hydrogen/oxygen booster engine. This engine represents the first attempt at a tap-off cycle flight engine in the U.S. and will eventually power a reusable booster system. Mr. Johnson shared with the JANNAF community the specific design philosophy and trades that informed the decision for the engine. He also provided background information on Blue Origin and the booster system.
http://www.jannaf.org/pdfs/Newsletter/JANNAFNews_Vol2No1.pdf

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: Blue Origin's BE-3 Engine
« Reply #43 on: 05/18/2013 05:39 AM »
Cross-posting due to relevance for this specific thread:

Blue Origin's extended CCDev2 SAA with the three new unfunded milestones (to be accomplihed in 2013 and 2014) has now been posted:

Quote from: Amended CCDev2 SAA
[...]

Milestone 3.6- BE-3 Engine Test
Date: September 2013
Unfunded
Description: Conduct a test firing of the pump-fed engine at Blue's West Texas Launch Site simulating a subscale booster suborbital mission duty cycle (MDC).

[...]

http://commercialcrew.nasa.gov/document_file_get.cfm?docid=654
http://commercialcrew.nasa.gov/page.cfm?ID=42

A suborbital MDC has to be more than a minute? So I'd imagine some shorter test firings must be happening already?

Offline yg1968

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Re: Blue Origin's BE-3 Engine
« Reply #44 on: 06/11/2013 02:53 AM »
Blue Origin LOX/Hydrogen rocket engine BE-3 test firing:
!

Offline QuantumG

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Re: Blue Origin's BE-3 Engine
« Reply #45 on: 12/03/2013 09:32 PM »
Quote
BE-3 engine was fired at full power for two and a half minutes to mimic a launch, producing 110,000 pounds of thrust

http://www.space.com/23818-blue-origin-rocket-engine-test-video.html

The thrust of about four RL-10s.

Anyone else think maybe Blue Origin will be entering for the planned SLS cryogenic upper stage competition?
Human spaceflight is basically just LARPing now.

Offline Prober

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Re: Blue Origin's BE-3 Engine
« Reply #46 on: 12/04/2013 12:18 AM »
Quote
BE-3 engine was fired at full power for two and a half minutes to mimic a launch, producing 110,000 pounds of thrust

http://www.space.com/23818-blue-origin-rocket-engine-test-video.html

The thrust of about four RL-10s.

Anyone else think maybe Blue Origin will be entering for the planned SLS cryogenic upper stage competition?

Bezos shouldn't be under estimated.   A great story of new hw  :)
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Offline QuantumG

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Re: Blue Origin's BE-3 Engine
« Reply #47 on: 12/04/2013 12:20 AM »
Bezos shouldn't be under estimated.   A great story of new hw  :)

What makes ya think I was? It was a serious question.
Human spaceflight is basically just LARPing now.

Offline Prober

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Re: Blue Origin's BE-3 Engine
« Reply #48 on: 12/04/2013 12:27 AM »
Bezos shouldn't be under estimated.   A great story of new hw  :)

What makes ya think I was? It was a serious question.
sorry your not....was just a statement in "general"
If we could store the fuels this would make a great Lunar Landing engine.
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Offline deltaV

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Re: Blue Origin's BE-3 Engine
« Reply #49 on: 12/04/2013 02:34 PM »
The thrust of about four RL-10s.

Anyone else think maybe Blue Origin will be entering for the planned SLS cryogenic upper stage competition?

I was wondering the same thing just before I read your message. The BE-3 does sound like a good upper stage engine for SLS or Falcon Heavy. It's ISP is likely to be a bit worse than the RL-10 however because of its tap-off cycle, which AIUI has similar performance to a gas generator cycle.
« Last Edit: 12/04/2013 02:37 PM by deltaV »

Offline Danderman

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Re: Blue Origin's BE-3 Engine
« Reply #50 on: 12/04/2013 03:38 PM »
The BE-3 does sound like a good upper stage engine for SLS or Falcon Heavy.

Or Antares or any flavor of Falcon.

Or Atlas V, for LEO applications.

Offline baldusi

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Re: Blue Origin's BE-3 Engine
« Reply #51 on: 12/04/2013 05:06 PM »
The BE-3 does sound like a good upper stage engine for SLS or Falcon Heavy.

Or Antares or any flavor of Falcon.

Or Atlas V, for LEO applications.
We don't know the T/W nor the isp. And the expansion ratio seems really low. Until we have good numbers I'm not sure it would make a good upper stage engine. By the press release, I would guess is a jack o all trades, master of none.

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Blue Origin's BE-3 Engine
« Reply #52 on: 12/04/2013 05:15 PM »
... And the expansion ratio seems really low. ...
Put a bell on it. Done. I can haz space consultant monies nao?
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Offline Nate_Trost

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Re: Blue Origin's BE-3 Engine
« Reply #53 on: 12/04/2013 07:49 PM »
I have to wonder, for the actual Blue Origin Reusable Booster Stage, if they are actually going to cluster several BE-3s, or if BE-3 will be for suborbital and the second stage of their orbital LV and they'll continue on making a larger, higher-thrust BE-4 for the RBS to reduce the engine count.

Offline baldusi

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Re: Blue Origin's BE-3 Engine
« Reply #54 on: 12/04/2013 08:01 PM »
... And the expansion ratio seems really low. ...
Put a bell on it. Done. I can haz space consultant monies nao?
And now you can't lower your throttle to land.

Offline Elmar Moelzer

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Re: Blue Origin's BE-3 Engine
« Reply #55 on: 12/04/2013 08:58 PM »
And now you can't lower your throttle to land.
Adjustable/retractable bell?

Offline Lars_J

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Re: Blue Origin's BE-3 Engine
« Reply #56 on: 12/04/2013 09:12 PM »
I have to wonder, for the actual Blue Origin Reusable Booster Stage, if they are actually going to cluster several BE-3s, or if BE-3 will be for suborbital and the second stage of their orbital LV and they'll continue on making a larger, higher-thrust BE-4 for the RBS to reduce the engine count.


They would probably cluster 5-7 of them if they make a reusable booster stage - similar to what SpaceX is doing. The deeper throttling range should allow them to be less aggressive in the final landing burn.
« Last Edit: 12/04/2013 09:13 PM by Lars_J »

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Blue Origin's BE-3 Engine
« Reply #57 on: 12/04/2013 09:13 PM »
... And the expansion ratio seems really low. ...
Put a bell on it. Done. I can haz space consultant monies nao?
And now you can't lower your throttle to land.
Upper stage is expendable on all the literature released from Blue Origin.
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Offline QuantumG

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Re: Blue Origin's BE-3 Engine
« Reply #58 on: 12/04/2013 09:48 PM »
If they went for the SLS cryogenic upper stage competition, I'd expect them to do significant work on the engine to customize it to that application.

But actually having a cryogenic engine before the competition starts is a nice card to be able to play.. it might even end up being a prerequisite.
Human spaceflight is basically just LARPing now.

Offline deltaV

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Re: Blue Origin's BE-3 Engine
« Reply #59 on: 12/04/2013 10:30 PM »
Is there any evidence that NASA will hold an open competition for the upper stage engine?

Offline Lars_J

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Re: Blue Origin's BE-3 Engine
« Reply #60 on: 12/04/2013 10:37 PM »
Is there any evidence that NASA will hold an open competition for the upper stage engine?

Not really. Then the usual suspects/contractors might risk losing a bid.

Offline QuantumG

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Re: Blue Origin's BE-3 Engine
« Reply #61 on: 12/04/2013 10:40 PM »
Is there any evidence that NASA will hold an open competition for the upper stage engine?

Only that they said they would... not very convincing evidence, I grant you :)

Or maybe I'm just operating on outdated information here? Last I heard they were still talking about "a later competition" for a cryogenic upper stage.
Human spaceflight is basically just LARPing now.

Offline Lurker Steve

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Re: Blue Origin's BE-3 Engine
« Reply #62 on: 12/04/2013 11:54 PM »
Is there any evidence that NASA will hold an open competition for the upper stage engine?

Why would they ? Despite all the ramblings about putting 2 or 4 RL-10s in the SLS upper stage, isn't the official SLS upper stage based on the J-2X engine ? There is a RL-10 in the iCPS, with the "i" meaning interim.

Of course, it could be possible to "evolve" the SLS design, and update the upper stage with a new engine, but that would require a complete redesign again.

I'm more interesting in seeing Blue Origin fly this engine lots of times on their own rockets. Would this integrate directly into the New Shepard vehicle for sub-orbital flights ? Then a cluster of these into a separate LV for orbital flights ?

Offline QuantumG

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Re: Blue Origin's BE-3 Engine
« Reply #63 on: 12/04/2013 11:59 PM »
Why would they ? Despite all the ramblings about putting 2 or 4 RL-10s in the SLS upper stage, isn't the official SLS upper stage based on the J-2X engine?

Nope. J-2X has been put on indefinite hold.

Quote from: Lurker Steve
There is a RL-10 in the iCPS, with the "i" meaning interim.

After that (if it happens at all), there's supposed to be an open competition.

Quote from: Lurker Steve
Of course, it could be possible to "evolve" the SLS design, and update the upper stage with a new engine, but that would require a complete redesign again.

I don't know how "complete" you're talking, but that's the plan.. don't make sense? Well, it is a government program.

Quote from: Lurker Steve
I'm more interesting in seeing Blue Origin fly this engine lots of times on their own rockets. Would this integrate directly into the New Shepard vehicle for sub-orbital flights ? Then a cluster of these into a separate LV for orbital flights ?

Me too.. but Blue Origin needs more cash than they're getting, and we're told it's not going to come from Bezos.
Human spaceflight is basically just LARPing now.

Offline yg1968

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Re: Blue Origin's BE-3 Engine
« Reply #64 on: 12/05/2013 01:16 AM »
Quote
BE-3 engine was fired at full power for two and a half minutes to mimic a launch, producing 110,000 pounds of thrust

http://www.space.com/23818-blue-origin-rocket-engine-test-video.html

The thrust of about four RL-10s.

Anyone else think maybe Blue Origin will be entering for the planned SLS cryogenic upper stage competition?

The video was also posted on NASAKennedy's YouTube channel:
« Last Edit: 12/05/2013 01:19 AM by yg1968 »


Offline TrevorMonty

Re: Blue Origin's BE-3 Engine
« Reply #66 on: 12/06/2013 08:26 PM »
They could build a 7-9 engine 1st stage(ie smaller F9) and offer it to Orbital. Would give orbital a locally produced engine. This would allow Blue Origin enter launch industry piece meal. BO may only sell right to use 1st stage, which would allow them to attempt recovery of it.

Between the two of them they could compete against F9 in smaller payloads. A 3core heavy could even take on Delta IV H and F9H.

Offline cosmonautdjp

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Re: Blue Origin's BE-3 Engine
« Reply #67 on: 05/05/2014 12:06 AM »
They could build a 7-9 engine 1st stage(ie smaller F9) and offer it to Orbital. Would give orbital a locally produced engine. This would allow Blue Origin enter launch industry piece meal. BO may only sell right to use 1st stage, which would allow them to attempt recovery of it.

Between the two of them they could compete against F9 in smaller payloads. A 3core heavy could even take on Delta IV H and F9H.

Now that Orbital and ATK have merged, I'm sure they'll be going with an all solid booster.  However, I'd still love to see an Antares with a cluster of BE-3s.

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: Blue Origin's BE-3 Engine
« Reply #68 on: 05/05/2014 12:20 AM »
OrbitalATK might use BE3 for upper stage.

Offline cosmonautdjp

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Re: Blue Origin's BE-3 Engine
« Reply #69 on: 05/05/2014 12:34 AM »
OrbitalATK might use BE3 for upper stage.

Is there evidence of that?  Has OrbitalATK indicated they might tap BO for an engine?  Has BO stated they'd be interested in giving up the BE-3 to another company?

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: Blue Origin's BE-3 Engine
« Reply #70 on: 05/05/2014 01:20 AM »
OrbitalATK might use BE3 for upper stage.

Is there evidence of that?  Has OrbitalATK indicated they might tap BO for an engine?  Has BO stated they'd be interested in giving up the BE-3 to another company?

From NASA Flight article on Stratolauncher.
"This upper stage has been baselined with two Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne (PWR) RL-10 engines for the development and early flights of the rocket, pending development of a higher thrust LOX-Hydrogen unit."

As for whether OrbitalATK are interested in it, I don't know. At 110,000lbs BE-3 is more powerful than 2 RL-10s and most likely cheaper.

Quote from BO engineer.
“In parallel we'll be developing our orbital space vehicle, with first flights targeted for the 2018 timeframe. That will be developmental flights of our orbital launch vehicle. [Now] we're developing this engine for our New Shepard system and our orbital system, but we think it has applicability to both government and other commercial launch systems as well,” Meyerson concludes.

Offline Prober

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Re: Blue Origin's BE-3 Engine
« Reply #71 on: 05/05/2014 12:01 PM »
OrbitalATK might use BE3 for upper stage.

Is there evidence of that?  Has OrbitalATK indicated they might tap BO for an engine?  Has BO stated they'd be interested in giving up the BE-3 to another company?

From NASA Flight article on Stratolauncher.
"This upper stage has been baselined with two Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne (PWR) RL-10 engines for the development and early flights of the rocket, pending development of a higher thrust LOX-Hydrogen unit."

As for whether OrbitalATK are interested in it, I don't know. At 110,000lbs BE-3 is more powerful than 2 RL-10s and most likely cheaper.

Quote from BO engineer.
“In parallel we'll be developing our orbital space vehicle, with first flights targeted for the 2018 timeframe. That will be developmental flights of our orbital launch vehicle. [Now] we're developing this engine for our New Shepard system and our orbital system, but we think it has applicability to both government and other commercial launch systems as well,” Meyerson concludes.

If the information true;   ULA should look at this engine for a Common Core Centaur upgrade.
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Offline TrevorMonty

Re: Blue Origin's BE-3 Engine
« Reply #72 on: 05/14/2014 03:12 AM »
ULA were developing a new engine with XCOR but if BE3 gets some flight time they may consider.

Looks like BO are planning to flying something this year. I think it will be a sub orbital RLV.

 http://m.technologyreview.com/news/527131/intergalactic-entrepreneurs-prepare-for-blast-off/

Offline Joel

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Re: Blue Origin's BE-3 Engine
« Reply #73 on: 05/14/2014 12:20 PM »
ULA were developing a new engine with XCOR but if BE3 gets some flight time they may consider.

Looks like BO are planning to flying something this year. I think it will be a sub orbital RLV.

 http://m.technologyreview.com/news/527131/intergalactic-entrepreneurs-prepare-for-blast-off/

You mean next year (2015), right? Here is the relevant section from the above link:
Quote
The director of business development for Blue Origin, Bretton Alexander, announced his company’s intention to begin test flights of its first full-scale vehicle within the next year. “We have not publicly started selling rides in space as others have,” said Alexander during his question-and-answer session. “But that is our plan to do that, and we look forward to doing that, hopefully soon.”

Blue Origin is perhaps the most secretive of the commercial spaceflight companies, typically revealing little of its progress toward the services it plans to offer: suborbital manned spaceflight and, later, orbital flight. Like Virgin, it was founded by a wealthy entrepreneur, in this case Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. The company, which is headquartered in Kent, Washington, has so far conducted at least one supersonic test flight and a test of its escape rocket system, both at its West Texas test center.

Offline Proponent

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Re: Blue Origin's BE-3 Engine
« Reply #74 on: 09/17/2014 10:09 AM »
Do we have any hints as to what range of mixture ratios the BE-3 uses?  I'm wondering, for example, whether the flame color in the videos in this thread might provide a clue.  I wonder whether system optimization might lead to a relatively lean mixture for the BE-3's intended application.
« Last Edit: 09/17/2014 10:11 AM by Proponent »

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