Author Topic: Replacement for Delta II  (Read 14877 times)

Offline kevin-rf

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Re: Replacement for Delta II
« Reply #20 on: 08/29/2014 01:09 AM »
Go a step further. A SpaceX "F9R lite" with Super Draco upper stage will even be cheaper with domestic engines in mass production. Of course the chance we see a F9R lite is next to zilch.

How? You would be trading a non toxic Kero/Lox upperstage for a pressure fed upper upper stage with multiple Draco thrusters full of hypergolics.

You still need the tanks, the pressurization (actually higher tank pressures, thicker skins), flight computer, IMU, plus hypegolic compatable tanks while assuming the cost savings of deleting the Merlin and LOX capable hardware is enough to make it cheaper. The savings on Delta IV and Atlas V is in moving away from the extra costs associated with the LH unique hardware in the upper stage. The current Falcon by design has already done this.
« Last Edit: 08/29/2014 01:09 AM by kevin-rf »
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Offline sdsds

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Re: Replacement for Delta II
« Reply #21 on: 08/29/2014 05:22 AM »
I wonder if there's a way to build a short-tank F5R with a super-extended interstage so the upper stage still aligns with the support equipment on the F9 transporter-erector-launcher. Having a few of those in the FnR fleet wouldn't hurt much....
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Offline Space Ghost 1962

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Re: Replacement for Delta II
« Reply #22 on: 08/29/2014 10:36 PM »
Space Ghost, I thought the even the Delta II no longer provided comparable costs to the Delta II during the GPS build out. Hence the term GPS subsidy.

Also, wouldn't an "Atlas V Lite" make more sense than a Delta IV Lite? The Atlas V core should be cheaper to build than the larger Delta IV core.  It is smaller, uses less metal, has a cheaper engine, and does not have to deal with that nasty expensive LH plumbing.
Correct to both. Delta II is labor intensive for historical reasons. Delta IV core only in theory could be cheap as an "evolved" further concept - Boeing was trying to win the competition and over the course of time remedy (at cost) a variety of ... short cuts.

Atlas is quite another story. Again "it depends". On a lot of competing choices. In theory Atlas could give SpaceX a run for the money on same highest reliability/performance ELV's.  Yes you could even have an "Atlas V Lite" - to do Delta II class you could use a very economical US. That would be my way of consolidating ULA vehicles into a consistent view for another decade or more.

What I was alluding to was something that doesn't fit with that view. Delta II revised with modern influences one more time. Not quite the same as current Delta II. Why it won't happen is a) the market isn't large enough and b) too limited commonalities.

Where ULA is headed is not in this direction as far as I can see.  However some still think Delta II still has some kick left, and while that's highly unlikely given things, stranger things have happened.

Reading reusability into launch economics is hard because we can't cost out the flows yet, and the outliers are significant as to what could happen. Or it all could be a wash.

The new CEO can take it many different ways. Much depends on how the three opinions that matter define the ULA mission soon.

Offline USFdon

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Re: Replacement for Delta II
« Reply #23 on: 08/29/2014 11:01 PM »
Quote
Also, wouldn't an "Atlas V Lite" make more sense than a Delta IV Lite?

Since the Delta IV uses Delta II avionics (for now) and that the Delta II upper stage is still "available" (unlike the modified agena stage for the original Atlas V lite proposal)... The Delta IV lite would probably be easier to  develop at the moment.

Offline Space Ghost 1962

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Re: Replacement for Delta II
« Reply #24 on: 08/29/2014 11:24 PM »
Quote
Also, wouldn't an "Atlas V Lite" make more sense than a Delta IV Lite?

Since the Delta IV uses Delta II avionics (for now) and that the Delta II upper stage is still "available" (unlike the modified agena stage for the original Atlas V lite proposal)... The Delta IV lite would probably be easier to  develop at the moment.
Both would cost too much and take too much time. The original Atlas V "lite" wasn't adequate IMHO.

Offline Jim

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Re: Replacement for Delta II
« Reply #25 on: 08/30/2014 12:32 PM »

Since the Delta IV uses Delta II avionics (for now) and that the Delta II upper stage is still "available" (unlike the modified agena stage for the original Atlas V lite proposal)... The Delta IV lite would probably be easier to  develop at the moment.

Not really, second stage tank production was moved to Italy and ended years ago.

Offline MP99

Re: Replacement for Delta II
« Reply #26 on: 08/30/2014 03:37 PM »


Space Ghost, I thought the even the Delta II no longer provided comparable costs to the Delta II during the GPS build out. Hence the term GPS subsidy.

Also, wouldn't an "Atlas V Lite" make more sense than a Delta IV Lite? The Atlas V core should be cheaper to build than the larger Delta IV core.  It is smaller, uses less metal, has a cheaper engine, and does not have to deal with that nasty expensive LH plumbing.
Correct to both. Delta II is labor intensive for historical reasons. Delta IV core only in theory could be cheap as an "evolved" further concept - Boeing was trying to win the competition and over the course of time remedy (at cost) a variety of ... short cuts.

I'm sure the development costs are far too high, but...

D IV lite made with Atlas-diameter tanks, and a Sea-Level-modified version of J-2X?

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Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Replacement for Delta II
« Reply #27 on: 08/30/2014 04:06 PM »
Space Ghost, I thought the even the Delta II no longer provided comparable costs to the Delta II during the GPS build out. Hence the term GPS subsidy.

Also, wouldn't an "Atlas V Lite" make more sense than a Delta IV Lite? The Atlas V core should be cheaper to build than the larger Delta IV core.  It is smaller, uses less metal, has a cheaper engine, and does not have to deal with that nasty expensive LH plumbing.
yes, but ULA pushing DIV at the moment because of Atlas political issues.
I would call them geopolitical issues.
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Offline Space Ghost 1962

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Re: Replacement for Delta II
« Reply #28 on: 08/30/2014 05:36 PM »
Latest geopolitical stuff is all going in the wrong direction. Reminds me of the bad old days, which am ready for. Admit to a certain desire for more Delta II inventory.

But its mostly gone. For years.

Its amusing to play what if's , but not very realistic. What was the virtues of Delta II also carried along considerable baggage now shed. Not enough timely reinvestment for any difference. Good decision to do so at the time.

The parts don't go together for Delta II in so many ways. You could revise the first stage and engine, but am dubious of solid thrust enhancement at a low enough total cost. Pad flows and integration need to change to also fit a modern cost profile that would be competitive. An all up new low cost high energy second stage would be mandatory, and there are some possibilities now. But the dev costs would be a killer. Time to prove a new stage also not small.

If you did get a viable two-stage concept with ten annual flights, but needed thrust enhancement, revise pad/flame ducts and have strap on boosters, if engine/booster cheap enough? Does it "buy enough"?

That's all I've got, I've walked too far out on the branch and its cracking. Its a long wait for larger scale options. Anything Delta IV related is unlikely to get to a better cost position either.

Offline the_roche_lobe

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Re: Replacement for Delta II
« Reply #29 on: 09/01/2014 12:54 AM »
Dumb question (and semi off topic), but would a Delta IV medium core, with 4 strap ons and NO upper stage, make it to LEO with any kind of payload if the RS-68A was flown in partial thrust mode as a sustainer the whole way, or would it still fall short?

P

Offline sdsds

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Re: Replacement for Delta II
« Reply #30 on: 09/01/2014 01:37 AM »
The idea of a Delta IV CBC making orbit has been offered previously:

What about a Delta IV first stage? It should be almost SSTO by itself, and with some solids perhaps it should be doable.

I seem to recall reading that a Delta IV 1st stage could make it to orbit as well.
Nope.  Would make it into space, but lacks the isp to make it into orbit.  Originally thought it could, but the final production RS-68 was found to not be as good an isp as they had hoped.

A more reasonable approach might be to fly the CBC sub-orbitally and use an off the shelf solid stage (perhaps a STAR-48 variant, perhaps a Castor-30) to insert the payload into orbit.

Anything Delta IV related is unlikely to get to a better cost position

I guess the question is whether ULA could sell a Delta CBC with a solid upper stage at no profit, and then whether doing so would make sense for them in any way. It could for example help suppress new entrants, or it could help maintain an efficient Delta launch cadence during otherwise slow times.
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Offline joek

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Re: Replacement for Delta II
« Reply #31 on: 09/01/2014 02:59 AM »
With only three more Delta II launches planned and given that the Delta IV is the only variant of the Delta rocket still in production, the question is whether or not if there will ever be a replacement for the Delta II ...

Part of the rationale for COTS new launch vehicle development and CRS was to provide a Delta II replacement for NASA medium launch needs; aka Antares and Falcon 9.  (As stated in an ancient GAO report which I can't locate at the moment.)  If ULA (or anyone else) thought they had a competitive alternative, we probably would have seen indications of it by now.

Offline Space Ghost 1962

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Re: Replacement for Delta II
« Reply #32 on: 09/01/2014 09:15 PM »
With only three more Delta II launches planned and given that the Delta IV is the only variant of the Delta rocket still in production, the question is whether or not if there will ever be a replacement for the Delta II ...

Part of the rationale for COTS new launch vehicle development and CRS was to provide a Delta II replacement for NASA medium launch needs; aka Antares and Falcon 9.  (As stated in an ancient GAO report which I can't locate at the moment.)  If ULA (or anyone else) thought they had a competitive alternative, we probably would have seen indications of it by now.
Many have grumbled about this, in that COTS was unlike CC in having the booster development, and that ULA wasn't allowed to compete here.

Yes Griffin horned in. Multiple issues. But the reason you don't see a Delta II replacement from ULA is strongly related to these concerns, which is why we have both Falcon 9 and Antares.

I don't think either Antares or Falcon 9 1.0 concerned ULA, and the annoyance with COTS was that it didn't fit into the EELV as they might desire (multiple issues).

Falcon 9 1.1 attempts to compete with EELV eyeball to eyeball. Of course they are concerned.

So you could see COTS as a "trojan horse" to have govt funding enable a rival, in the switch of Delta II to EELV.

Offline Ronsmytheiii

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Re: Replacement for Delta II
« Reply #33 on: 09/04/2014 02:57 AM »
Atlas V core with a Castor 30XL would make a good replacement for the Agena if you want a ULA Delta II category LV.
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Offline sdsds

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Re: Replacement for Delta II
« Reply #34 on: 09/04/2014 03:30 AM »
Atlas V core with a Castor 30XL would make a good replacement for the Agena if you want a ULA Delta II category LV.

But a Castor-based upper stage would not be restartable. At Atlas BECO wouldn't you pretty much have to fire the upper stage right away?

So for instance this launch on Delta II:
 158   18 May 01  Delta 285 (7925-9.5) NROL-17 (GeoLITE)
(from http://www.sworld.com.au/steven/space/usmil-rec.txt)

Would it have been possible (without e.g. a STAR-48 third stage)?
« Last Edit: 09/04/2014 03:33 AM by sdsds »
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Offline edkyle99

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Re: Replacement for Delta II
« Reply #35 on: 09/04/2014 05:15 PM »
Atlas V core with a Castor 30XL would make a good replacement for the Agena if you want a ULA Delta II category LV.

But a Castor-based upper stage would not be restartable. At Atlas BECO wouldn't you pretty much have to fire the upper stage right away?

So for instance this launch on Delta II:
 158   18 May 01  Delta 285 (7925-9.5) NROL-17 (GeoLITE)
(from http://www.sworld.com.au/steven/space/usmil-rec.txt)

Would it have been possible (without e.g. a STAR-48 third stage)?
The Castor 30XL stage could coast for a few minutes before firing, as it does on Antares with cold gas thruster control, but such a two-stage vehicle would still be limited to LEO missions.  A third stage of some type (Antares plans for a Star 48 or a bipropellant third stage) would be needed for higher energy missions, and that stage would also need to control itself through a coast phase.

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 09/04/2014 05:44 PM by edkyle99 »

Offline Space Ghost 1962

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Re: Replacement for Delta II
« Reply #36 on: 09/06/2014 11:36 PM »
Atlas V core with a Castor 30XL would make a good replacement for the Agena if you want a ULA Delta II category LV.

But a Castor-based upper stage would not be restartable. At Atlas BECO wouldn't you pretty much have to fire the upper stage right away?

So for instance this launch on Delta II:
 158   18 May 01  Delta 285 (7925-9.5) NROL-17 (GeoLITE)
(from http://www.sworld.com.au/steven/space/usmil-rec.txt)

Would it have been possible (without e.g. a STAR-48 third stage)?
The Castor 30XL stage could coast for a few minutes before firing, as it does on Antares with cold gas thruster control, but such a two-stage vehicle would still be limited to LEO missions.  A third stage of some type (Antares plans for a Star 48 or a bipropellant third stage) would be needed for higher energy missions, and that stage would also need to control itself through a coast phase.

 - Ed Kyle
Both Star 48 and BTS, such that you could adjust for tale off and correct insertion.

But this might be a pipe dream - thought it was BTS or Star 48 not both.

Offline russianhalo117

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Re: Replacement for Delta II
« Reply #37 on: 09/08/2014 10:07 PM »
Atlas V core with a Castor 30XL would make a good replacement for the Agena if you want a ULA Delta II category LV.

But a Castor-based upper stage would not be restartable. At Atlas BECO wouldn't you pretty much have to fire the upper stage right away?

So for instance this launch on Delta II:
 158   18 May 01  Delta 285 (7925-9.5) NROL-17 (GeoLITE)
(from http://www.sworld.com.au/steven/space/usmil-rec.txt)

Would it have been possible (without e.g. a STAR-48 third stage)?
The Castor 30XL stage could coast for a few minutes before firing, as it does on Antares with cold gas thruster control, but such a two-stage vehicle would still be limited to LEO missions.  A third stage of some type (Antares plans for a Star 48 or a bipropellant third stage) would be needed for higher energy missions, and that stage would also need to control itself through a coast phase.

 - Ed Kyle
Both Star 48 and BTS, such that you could adjust for tale off and correct insertion.

But this might be a pipe dream - thought it was BTS or Star 48 not both.
Only on Orbital rockets at this time. Athena reboot allows this one some versions, but Im not sure how up to date my info is on Athena.

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