Author Topic: RocketLab Electron Smallsat Launcher  (Read 445443 times)

Offline Comga

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Re: RocketLab Electron Smallsat Launcher
« Reply #60 on: 08/03/2014 03:42 PM »
My speculation. There might be some sort of a Heavy version of the Electron in the future. Perhaps even a 5 or 7 core super Heavy version.
I wondered the same.  The otrag unit of the teens?

"Sometimes a cigar is just a good smoke" (dubious authorship)

And perhaps he means what he says: This is a launcher for 110 kg payloads.

This already fights dis-economies of scale.  Each engine probably attaches with the same number of bolts and hydraulic lines as a Merlin.  The idea of seven times nine engines for a smallsat launcher strains credibility.

There are any number of efforts to build smallsat launchers.  People do pursue this potential market.

Do we have a thread that lists (hopefully without tens of pages of opinions) a recent history of rocket development programs of this type?  Something with links to company initial announcements, test flights, major successes or failures, and the occasional admission of failure?
What kind of wastrels would dump a perfectly good booster in the ocean after just one use?

Offline ChrisWilson68

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Re: RocketLab Electron Smallsat Launcher
« Reply #61 on: 08/03/2014 04:52 PM »
There are any number of efforts to build smallsat launchers.  People do pursue this potential market.

They pursue it because they really, really want to build rockets and they can't afford to even attempt anything bigger.

Offline Comga

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Re: RocketLab Electron Smallsat Launcher
« Reply #62 on: 08/03/2014 08:28 PM »
There are any number of efforts to build smallsat launchers.  People do pursue this potential market.

They pursue it because they really, really want to build rockets and they can't afford to even attempt anything bigger.

DARPA can't afford anything larger?
What you say may be true for most of the efforts but that doesn't prove or disprove anything.
I think it more likely that this effort is sincere in going for the stated target.
What kind of wastrels would dump a perfectly good booster in the ocean after just one use?

Offline ChrisWilson68

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Re: RocketLab Electron Smallsat Launcher
« Reply #63 on: 08/03/2014 08:45 PM »
There are any number of efforts to build smallsat launchers.  People do pursue this potential market.

They pursue it because they really, really want to build rockets and they can't afford to even attempt anything bigger.

DARPA can't afford anything larger?

You said, "People do pursue this potential market."  That implies "people" refers to the people setting up companies like RocketLab and Firefly.  So it is those people I was referring to as not being able to afford anything bigger.

I'm not sure how you made the leap from there to DARPA.  But it also does happen that DARPA can't afford a program to develop a whole new launcher for large satellites, which is why they only have a program to develop a small satellite launcher.

What you say may be true for most of the efforts but that doesn't prove or disprove anything.
I think it more likely that this effort is sincere in going for the stated target.

I was replying to your quote that people do pursue this market, which in turn was a reply to speculation by others that RocketLab might plan to evolve to larger launchers in the future.  Your reply implied you thought that people target the small satellite market for its own sake because it was an attractive market in and of itself.

So, the point of my reply was that I think it likely that the only reason most companies target the small satellite market is that it is all they can afford.  It seems reasonable that most would target the markets for larger payloads if they could, and if they are successful building a small launcher, they might gain access to the resources that would let them target the larger satellite market.

So, I think speculation that RocketLab might expand to larger payloads is completely reasonable.

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: RocketLab Electron Smallsat Launcher
« Reply #64 on: 08/03/2014 10:07 PM »
The F9 class LV  market is well supported, very expensive to enter and has limited payloads.

The cubesat market is not very supported by dedicated launches, is lot less expensive to enter. The payload market is growing rapidly.

Rocketlab' s forecast of 30+ ($150m) a year is not small change.


Offline ChrisWilson68

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Re: RocketLab Electron Smallsat Launcher
« Reply #65 on: 08/04/2014 06:11 AM »
The F9 class LV  market is well supported, very expensive to enter and has limited payloads.

The cubesat market is not very supported by dedicated launches, is lot less expensive to enter. The payload market is growing rapidly.

Rocketlab' s forecast of 30+ ($150m) a year is not small change.

It's much cheaper to launch cubesats and other small satellites as secondaries on larger launchers or to bunch them up into a dedicate launch of many small satellites on one of the large launchers.  It's so much cheaper that it makes it worth it for small satellite operators to compromise on orbital plane and schedule to avoid a dedicated launcher.

The cubesat and smallsat industries are growing.  That spells disaster for small launchers, because the more cubesats and smallsats there are looking for rides to orbit, the more orbits will be served by dedicated launches of large launchers carrying many small satellites, and the more often they'll fly.

And as SpaceX develops reusability, it will only make the situation worse for small launchers.  Who in their right mind would pay $5 million for 100 kg to LEO when a reusable Falcon 9 can carry 100 times as much for $5-7 million?

Online QuantumG

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Re: RocketLab Electron Smallsat Launcher
« Reply #66 on: 08/04/2014 06:14 AM »
Responsiveness is the business case here.

The backlog for SpaceX is already longer than most business plans can handle.

There's nothing wrong with a little competition.
Jeff Bezos has billions to spend on rockets and can go at whatever pace he likes! Wow! What pace is he going at? Well... have you heard of Zeno's paradox?

Offline fatjohn1408

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Offline mgfitter

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Re: RocketLab Electron Smallsat Launcher
« Reply #68 on: 08/04/2014 06:26 PM »
What I find funny, is that this Electron and also the Firefly launcher, both use webpages that are all-but blatant copies of Space-X's vehicle page. Same grey background, mostly the same fonts and sizes and even the same general layout.

Compare the pages for yourself:

http://www.rocketlabusa.com/
http://www.fireflyspace.com/vehicles/firefly-a
http://www.spacex.com/falcon9

So much for original thinking...

-MG.

Online QuantumG

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Jeff Bezos has billions to spend on rockets and can go at whatever pace he likes! Wow! What pace is he going at? Well... have you heard of Zeno's paradox?

Offline A_M_Swallow

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Re: RocketLab Electron Smallsat Launcher
« Reply #70 on: 08/05/2014 02:32 AM »
{snip}
And as SpaceX develops reusability, it will only make the situation worse for small launchers.  Who in their right mind would pay $5 million for 100 kg to LEO when a reusable Falcon 9 can carry 100 times as much for $5-7 million?


The client for the small launcher can specify the orbit where as the secondary payloads on the Falcon 9 have to use what is given.

Online QuantumG

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Re: RocketLab Electron Smallsat Launcher
« Reply #71 on: 08/05/2014 02:33 AM »
{snip}
And as SpaceX develops reusability, it will only make the situation worse for small launchers.  Who in their right mind would pay $5 million for 100 kg to LEO when a reusable Falcon 9 can carry 100 times as much for $5-7 million?


The client for the small launcher can specify the orbit where as the secondary payloads on the Falcon 9 have to use what is given.

.. and the launch schedule.
Jeff Bezos has billions to spend on rockets and can go at whatever pace he likes! Wow! What pace is he going at? Well... have you heard of Zeno's paradox?

Offline Lars_J

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Re: RocketLab Electron Smallsat Launcher
« Reply #72 on: 08/05/2014 05:05 AM »
It is a composite structure. Maybe all the connections are on the side away from the camera view. After all this is a publicity photo. It could also be a mock-up.

Surely you're not suggesting that the hold-downs are only on one side.

The hold-downs are actually there - 4 of them. Just look closer. (on the bottom around the engines)

Offline Proponent

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Re: RocketLab Electron Smallsat Launcher
« Reply #73 on: 08/05/2014 10:04 AM »
What I find funny, is that this Electron and also the Firefly launcher, both use webpages that are all-but blatant copies of Space-X's vehicle page. Same grey background, mostly the same fonts and sizes and even the same general layout.

Another reason to define the "Falcon 9 paradigm."

Online QuantumG

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Re: RocketLab Electron Smallsat Launcher
« Reply #74 on: 08/05/2014 10:21 AM »
Emulating the perceived market leader is pretty common in every industry.
Jeff Bezos has billions to spend on rockets and can go at whatever pace he likes! Wow! What pace is he going at? Well... have you heard of Zeno's paradox?

Offline simonbp

Re: RocketLab Electron Smallsat Launcher
« Reply #75 on: 08/06/2014 12:33 AM »
It is. But seeing SpaceX as an established market leader is a rather new phenomenon.

Offline yegors

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Re: RocketLab Electron Smallsat Launcher
« Reply #76 on: 08/06/2014 09:33 PM »
At the stated price, that's $45,000/kg to LEO. That's not a bargain basement price at all.

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: RocketLab Electron Smallsat Launcher
« Reply #77 on: 08/07/2014 08:29 AM »
People a trying to compare apples to oranges.

Think of Electron as a taxi for delivering 6 cubesats to their individual destinations/orbits  at time of the customers choosing.

While F9 is a bus which can do the same for 60 cubesats if customer can afford to build 60 and the launch costs to deliver them all at once.
Alternatively we can use rideshare where all 6 cubesats are dropped off at the city depot and have to make their own way to their destinations. Bus will leave at what ever time if at all and cubesats maybe kicked off at last minute as bus is to crowded.

If your business plan relied on getting 6 cubesats into space reliably what delivery method would you use. Remember these cubesats a costing every minute they are not in space.

Online QuantumG

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Re: RocketLab Electron Smallsat Launcher
« Reply #78 on: 08/07/2014 11:00 PM »
At the stated price, that's $45,000/kg to LEO. That's not a bargain basement price at all.

You're confusing "cheap" with "good value".

$3 for a cup of coffee is cheap, but you'd be a sucker to pay that much if you were buying in bulk.
Jeff Bezos has billions to spend on rockets and can go at whatever pace he likes! Wow! What pace is he going at? Well... have you heard of Zeno's paradox?

Offline RanulfC

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Re: RocketLab Electron Smallsat Launcher
« Reply #79 on: 08/10/2014 12:34 AM »
At the stated price, that's $45,000/kg to LEO. That's not a bargain basement price at all.

You're confusing "cheap" with "good value".

$3 for a cup of coffee is cheap, but you'd be a sucker to pay that much if you were buying in bulk.

Wait, what kind of "bulk" are we talking about here 'cause all I get is strange looks when I go looking for the "55-gallon drum" size bulk coffee at 7/11 or Starbucks....

(20 years in the military and "morning coffee" is not just a job, its an adventure!)

Randy
From The Amazing Catstronaut on the Black Arrow LV:
British physics, old chap. It's undignified to belch flames and effluvia all over the pad, what. A true gentlemen's orbital conveyance lifts itself into the air unostentatiously, with the minimum of spectacle and a modicum of grace. Not like our American cousins' launch vehicles, eh?

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