Author Topic: Antares General Discussion Thread  (Read 254277 times)

Offline edkyle99

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Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
« Reply #780 on: 06/15/2018 01:42 AM »
I think your idea of value is different than most. A >50% additional margin per reuse seems worth the effort.
Worth the effort for Falcon 9, yes apparently, but since Antares is a smaller rocket not competing across the entire Falcon 9 payload range, it seems to me that there should be a window within the lighter payload range where it could or should compete.  It would have to be able to compete with that partly-used Falcon 9 to do so.  To me, it is a waste of a perfectly good rocket that could be better used for heavier things when a Falcon 9 launches  a 350 kg TESS or a 470 kg Formosat or a 2 tonne Paz, etc..

 - Ed Kyle 
« Last Edit: 06/15/2018 01:44 AM by edkyle99 »

Online LouScheffer

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Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
« Reply #781 on: 06/15/2018 02:25 AM »
  That leaves the upper stage or stages, which should cost less than the Falcon 9 or Atlas 5 upper stages (which are also expended). 

It's not obvious the upper stage will be cheaper than Falcon 9 upper stage.  Castor 120 engines (from which Castor 30 is derived) cost $8.75 million each in 2006.   The Castor 30 is smaller, but the cost will not drop proportionally.   The Merlin is thought to cost only about $1M, though the tanks need to be added.  They both need avionics and thrust vectoring.

It should be cheaper than the Atlas upper stage, though.  The RL-10 is fairly expensive by itself.

Offline brickmack

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Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
« Reply #782 on: 06/15/2018 03:54 AM »
As of 2011,  Taurus II Standard (Antares 120) was 75-80 million. Taurus IIE (Antares 130) was 85-90 million. Taurus IIH (Antares 132) was 90-95 million. I think we can safely assume the price will have gone up significantly since they're no longer getting NK-33s very cheaply. The price difference between those configurations would imply Star 48BV is ~5 million, and Castor 30XL (being almost twice the mass of Castor 30B, so probably about twice the price difference) is ~20 million. Plus ~14% on all those numbers for inflation, plus whatever the cost increase from RD-181 is

Offline edkyle99

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Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
« Reply #783 on: 06/15/2018 01:34 PM »
As of 2011,  Taurus II Standard (Antares 120) was 75-80 million. Taurus IIE (Antares 130) was 85-90 million. Taurus IIH (Antares 132) was 90-95 million. I think we can safely assume the price will have gone up significantly since they're no longer getting NK-33s very cheaply. The price difference between those configurations would imply Star 48BV is ~5 million, and Castor 30XL (being almost twice the mass of Castor 30B, so probably about twice the price difference) is ~20 million. Plus ~14% on all those numbers for inflation, plus whatever the cost increase from RD-181 is
One thing that changed since 2011 was that Orbital merged with ATK, which likely provided lower cost access to the solid motors.  Another change, obviously was that Aerojet Rocketdyne AJ26 (re-configured NK33) was dropped in favor of direct-buy Energomash RD-181.  The final change is Northrop Grumman buying the program, a giant company that can price things differently for its own reasons.  If it wants to compete, it will have to price things differently.  If a Vulcan will be $99 million and an Ariane 62 $92 million, there is no way that a less capable Antares can be $90 or $80 or even $70 million.

 - Ed Kyle 
« Last Edit: 06/15/2018 01:48 PM by edkyle99 »

Online hopalong

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Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
« Reply #784 on: 06/15/2018 02:38 PM »
As of 2011,  Taurus II Standard (Antares 120) was 75-80 million. Taurus IIE (Antares 130) was 85-90 million. Taurus IIH (Antares 132) was 90-95 million. I think we can safely assume the price will have gone up significantly since they're no longer getting NK-33s very cheaply. The price difference between those configurations would imply Star 48BV is ~5 million, and Castor 30XL (being almost twice the mass of Castor 30B, so probably about twice the price difference) is ~20 million. Plus ~14% on all those numbers for inflation, plus whatever the cost increase from RD-181 is
One thing that changed since 2011 was that Orbital merged with ATK, which likely provided lower cost access to the solid motors.  Another change, obviously was that Aerojet Rocketdyne AJ26 (re-configured NK33) was dropped in favor of direct-buy Energomash RD-181.  The final change is Northrop Grumman buying the program, a giant company that can price things differently for its own reasons.  If it wants to compete, it will have to price things differently.  If a Vulcan will be $99 million and an Ariane 62 $92 million, there is no way that a less capable Antares can be $90 or $80 or even $70 million.

 - Ed Kyle

Basically, the elephant in the pricing room is the F9. Unless the Antares can come in at the sub $60M band, they will have a rough time completing with the F9, especially if old Musky follows through with his comments about dropping the base price of a F9 5.5 Tonne GTO mission to in the order of $50M.
« Last Edit: 06/15/2018 02:39 PM by hopalong »

Offline ZachF

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Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
« Reply #785 on: 06/15/2018 04:47 PM »
The +/-$24 million for the engines is probably not that far off the cost of an entire F9 lower stage. The lower stage is probably ~$40 million for the Antares and ~$30m for the F9 if I had to guess.
Falcon 9 first stage almost certainly costs more then $24 million.  If it only cost that much, SpaceX wouldn't bother trying to recover the stage!  Musk has said that the first stage accounts for 60-75% of the total Falcon 9 cost (varying amounts depending on when he was asked).  Gwynn Shotwell also once said that it cost less than half the cost of a new first stage to refurbish and refly a stage.  That is the number that Northrop Grumman needs to target.   

 - Ed Kyle

Elon Musk has said that a payload fairing costs ~$5 million dollars.

He also said recently that the PLF is ~10% of the cost, the second stage ~20%, the lower stage ~60%, and other at ~10%.

Doing the math from those two numbers puts the lower stage at +/-$30 million.

Offline ZachF

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Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
« Reply #786 on: 06/15/2018 04:50 PM »

The avionics probably aren't smaller,or cheaper than F9 since AIUI they don't use off-the-shelf hardware. Nor the booster airframe, as it's purchased rather than built. Nor the engines - ULA pays ~24 million dollars for a single RD-180, and I doubt a pair of RD-181's is much if any, cheaper.

I could easily see RD-181 being cheaper for NG than RD-180 is for ULA. Aside from being a different and less complex engine NG also isn't a captive customer. They can always move on to another engine, another launcher, or exit the launch business altogether. ULA doesn't(didn't) really have that option with Atlas V. For national security it was the only game in town so any price could be asked.

It's like Soyuz. We've seen what a privately purchased Soyuz seat costs, and what a NASA purchased Soyuz seat costs. A private customer can always walk away, NASA is captive.

So it comes down to business. If Energomash wants to sell engines, they can't price themselves out of the market. Even Antares isn't a free lunch, NG has already shown they'll switch launchers on CRS.
RD-180 sales have to go through a middle man which takes a cut of each engine purchase on top of the base price. That middle man is United Technology Corporation's Joint Venture RD Amross, LLC formed between subsidiary Pratt & Whitney and JSC NPO Energomash (fka NPO Energomash). Due to various reasons UTC's 50% share was not transferred to Aerojet General upon Rocketdyne's spinoff from PW and its merger with AG to become Aerojet Rocketdyne.


RD-181 is directly purchased from JSC NPO Energomash at export price.

ULA also purchases much higher numbers of RD-180s (6-9 launches a years worth) than OATK purchases RD-181s (1-2 launches per year), and there are usually discounts for higher volume.
« Last Edit: 06/15/2018 04:54 PM by ZachF »

Offline rayleighscatter

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Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
« Reply #787 on: 06/16/2018 12:44 PM »
As of 2011,  Taurus II Standard (Antares 120) was 75-80 million. Taurus IIE (Antares 130) was 85-90 million. Taurus IIH (Antares 132) was 90-95 million. I think we can safely assume the price will have gone up significantly since they're no longer getting NK-33s very cheaply.
Antares was also being amortized in CRS1, so the initial development should be paid off, except the modifications for RD-181. So that cost should now be eliminated (which might account for a fair chunk of the CRS-2 price decrease).


And Northrop can't exit the launch business and leave NASA hanging on CRS. Not if they want to keep building multiple billion dollar satellites for NASA.
Sure they can exit the launch business, they've already used another launcher for CRS. There's no reason they couldn't do it again.
« Last Edit: 06/16/2018 12:49 PM by rayleighscatter »

Offline russianhalo117

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Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
« Reply #788 on: 07/10/2018 05:22 PM »
Cross post with news that Antares now has to look for a domestic engine or cease flights after it runs out of RD-181's:

BUMP For RD-181:
Per likely strong lobbying efforts via Aerojet Rocketdyne and others Congress adds RD-181 in latest version of Russian engine ban: http://spacenews.com/energomash-raises-alarm-over-u-s-ban-on-russian-rocket-engines/

Offline gongora

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Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
« Reply #789 on: 07/10/2018 05:47 PM »
Cross post with news that Antares now has to look for a domestic engine or cease flights after it runs out of RD-181's:

BUMP For RD-181:
Per likely strong lobbying efforts via Aerojet Rocketdyne and others Congress adds RD-181 in latest version of Russian engine ban: http://spacenews.com/energomash-raises-alarm-over-u-s-ban-on-russian-rocket-engines/

The engine ban is for NSS flights.

Offline rayleighscatter

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Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
« Reply #790 on: 07/11/2018 12:13 AM »
Article also wrongly states NG gets the engines from RD Amross, they purchase straight from Energomash.

Offline meekGee

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Re: Antares General Discussion Thread
« Reply #791 on: 09/11/2018 02:12 AM »
I think your idea of value is different than most. A >50% additional margin per reuse seems worth the effort.
Worth the effort for Falcon 9, yes apparently, but since Antares is a smaller rocket not competing across the entire Falcon 9 payload range, it seems to me that there should be a window within the lighter payload range where it could or should compete.  It would have to be able to compete with that partly-used Falcon 9 to do so.  To me, it is a waste of a perfectly good rocket that could be better used for heavier things when a Falcon 9 launches  a 350 kg TESS or a 470 kg Formosat or a 2 tonne Paz, etc..

 - Ed Kyle
When launching a small payload, Antares would have to compete with the cost of an F9 upper stage plus refurbishment costs of a first stage.

It doesn't matter that the same F9 could have launched a larger payload, since it's still there to do so.


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