Poll

Is the upcoming Vulcan LV a "new LV" or an upgraded Atlas V?

The Vulcan is an upgraded Atlas V--the USAF will say so and it's using the same Centaur stage after all!  
The Vulcan's a new LV no matter what the USAF or ULA says.  It's too different to be an upgraded Atlas V!  
I'm not sure.  
The Vulcan will only truly be a new LV when it ditches the Centaur stage for the ACES second stage.

Author Topic: ULA's new Vulcan Launch Vehicle  (Read 403656 times)

Offline Hyperion5

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Re: ULA's new Launch Vehicle
« Reply #40 on: 10/05/2014 09:27 PM »

1. Well I guess I should have expected nothing less from ULA in the larger DCSS not using the same tankage as the CBC.   It's no wonder the Delta IV is so expensive given lack of commonality like that.

1. Unwarranted snark.  ULA had nothing to do with the design of the DIV, it was Boeing. Also, What were you doing in the mid 90's?  Where designing launch vehicles then or even now?  Show me your resume on how many systems that you have designed and fielded in the last 15 years, much less cost effective ones.
You have no insight into the design trades involved.  They wanted "flatter" bulkheads to reduce stage length.  Boeing tried to use CAIV in the design.

Oh please, Jim.  ULA is basically a marriage of Boeing & Lockheed Martin's rocket divisions into a single company, thus critiquing those divisions' prior design decisions is fair game.  As to designing launch vehicles, Jim, you have amply demonstrated if I had that that would not matter.  You were scornful about Wernher von Braun's contributions to rocketry all over the thread dedicated to him despite him designing more launch vehicles than you ever had.  When Dmitry Vorontsov talked about the possible Deuteron rocket family he and several Soviet engineers had worked on, you flat out said he'd miss his design targets by 33%.  You said that despite not doing a single calculation of your own to check Dmitry's figures.  I would have to be delusional to believe that me being an LV designer would matter one iota to you.  If Wernher von Braun wasn't a good enough LV designer to you, then nobody but yourself must be. 

Besides, there is no law saying nobody other than LV designers can have opinions on designs.  The forums would be dull and dreary places indeed if that were the case. 

« Last Edit: 10/05/2014 09:46 PM by Hyperion5 »

Offline sdsds

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Re: ULA's new Launch Vehicle
« Reply #41 on: 10/05/2014 09:55 PM »
I think everyone would like to know whether this new LV stage will carry some of the costs associated with production of the Delta IV CBC. In part that's an accounting question, right? Because much of those costs are sunk at this point: the milling and machining tools and the dip tanks, not to mention the assembly fixtures. Do they come for free now? Or at least, will the new LV program be charged only for the incremental costs accrued by additional use of these assets?

(As for economies resulting from same diameter upper and lower stage tanks, are there really many available? Clearly the assembly fixtures are going to be separate for the two production lines. If the same metal-working and chemical treatment tools can be used for both, isn't that sufficient to get most of the gains?)
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Offline Space Ghost 1962

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Re: ULA's new Launch Vehicle
« Reply #42 on: 10/05/2014 11:14 PM »
For a new stage that is a functional replacement for the existing Atlas V first stage, the key requirement is traceability back to the existing stage - you want to be able to transfer the knowledge base of this stage forward/parallel with the new stage.

In this manner, you preserve what you have accumulated over decades in the form of flight history as manifest in a design. This would guide the construction of the stages design, and allow discussion with AF oversight to "speak the same language" in critical review of structures and systems, such that you can take into the new stage much/all of the prior stage decisions, test methodology, and process for assurance of design effectiveness against current stage design.

With the design reaching an acceptable level of completion, fabrication and assembly fixtures and processes would be examined to see if existing could be applied or repurposed. There are definite advantages to not using prior of any of these, because state of the art changes in best practices might be advantageous and accessible at this point to factor in, given that it does not interfere with the traceability of design mentioned - this is both a form of "future proofing" as it is "cost reduction".

As the new stage matures, test articles constructed would allow fit checks, stress and possibly destructive testing to verify assumptions made above, and a cost and manufacturing model would emerge as to the effectiveness of the prototype new stage. This would meet up with propulsion systems at an advanced state of development to allow for unified systems engineering of the total LV, and comparisons with existing LV could be made to refine the final design with a high fidelity LV.

Anyways, this is what I'd expect for the process to go forward with. Its more about retaining what makes Atlas Atlas, then trying to reuse existing inventory/fixtures/tooling on hand. Indeed - I'd lobby for using as little as possible of old process/tooling - in particular putting in more additive manufacturing where it suits traceability.

Offline Llian Rhydderch

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Re: ULA's new Launch Vehicle
« Reply #43 on: 10/06/2014 05:53 AM »

To be fair, I think a lot of people are factoring in Jim's statements about the Centaur stage being the most likely rather than pure performance.  Myself?  I felt that the ability to go to a single diameter would be very beneficial for keeping down build costs.  I could be wrong however about the CBC & 5-meter DCSS being the same diameter though.  The sources I can find note a .1 meter difference, which if true is really sad.  In any case, it would allow you to trim down to a single PLF size, which shouldn't hurt even the playing field. 

They aren't building a new vehicle, just a new stage.

The 5m DCSS does not use any of the same tankage as the core.

The Atlas 5 m fairing is actually 5.2 and that has more usage.

A new first stage means it is a new launch vehicle.  It is certainly not the Atlas V with a new first stage.

Now they may call it the Atlas VI, or the Atlas V+, or the Blue Atlas, or the Atlas CH4, or whatever Marketing comes up with.

But it won't be the same launch vehicle as before.
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Offline Jim

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Re: ULA's new Launch Vehicle
« Reply #44 on: 10/06/2014 01:30 PM »

A new first stage means it is a new launch vehicle.  It is certainly not the Atlas V with a new first stage.

Now they may call it the Atlas VI, or the Atlas V+, or the Blue Atlas, or the Atlas CH4, or whatever Marketing comes up with.

But it won't be the same launch vehicle as before.

It is that exactly, an Atlas V with a new first stage.
Not being the same does not mean it is new.
« Last Edit: 10/06/2014 01:32 PM by Jim »

Offline Helodriver

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Re: ULA's new Launch Vehicle
« Reply #45 on: 10/06/2014 03:04 PM »
If they continue to use Centaur as their upper stage, that will make the fifth dramatically redesigned first stage to boost it to orbit, the original short SLV-3 Atlas, stretched Atlas II, Balloon tanked Russian engined Atlas III, current Atlas IV, and future Blue Origin powered AtlasX.

The handles come and go, but the head of the hatchet seems to be staying the same.

Offline kevin-rf

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Re: ULA's new Launch Vehicle
« Reply #46 on: 10/06/2014 03:22 PM »
I assume you are ignoring Titan IIIE, Titan 34D, Commercial Titan III, Titan IVA, Titan IVB, and Space Shuttle for a reason?

The current Atlas has a fair amount of Titan Heritage, and all of the above have flown Centaur derivatives ...

Edit: Well, except the Space Shuttle. It was never provided the chance.
Edit, Edit: Scratch Commercial Titan III, it never flew with a Centaur upperstage.
« Last Edit: 10/06/2014 03:26 PM by kevin-rf »
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Offline baldusi

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Re: ULA's new Launch Vehicle
« Reply #47 on: 10/06/2014 03:48 PM »
If they continue to use Centaur as their upper stage, that will make the fifth dramatically redesigned first stage to boost it to orbit, the original short SLV-3 Atlas, stretched Atlas II, Balloon tanked Russian engined Atlas III, current Atlas IV, and future Blue Origin powered AtlasX.

The handles come and go, but the head of the hatchet seems to be staying the same.
Centaur is that good, isn't it? I understand that Common Upper Stage will be a Centaur with common avionics. Thus, in the near future it might even include Delta IV. IVF is, apparently, a parallel project. And I understand that ACES would be an evolution. Same tank tooling, but on 4.6m with common avionics and IVF.

Offline kevin-rf

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Re: ULA's new Launch Vehicle
« Reply #48 on: 10/06/2014 04:15 PM »
Don't forget there where several studies in the 1960's that wanted to use Centaur as a fourth stage on Saturn V (deep, deep space probes) and a third stage on Saturn IB (large GEO missions).
« Last Edit: 10/06/2014 04:16 PM by kevin-rf »
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Offline Dmitry_V_home

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Re: ULA's new Launch Vehicle
« Reply #49 on: 10/06/2014 04:49 PM »
Hmmmm....
Little unexpected results.
Especially, if to consider that in this case the option with continuous incert to orbit was considered (the single ignition of the upper stage).

Offline Hyperion5

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Re: ULA's new Launch Vehicle
« Reply #50 on: 10/06/2014 05:47 PM »
Hmmmm....
Little unexpected results.
Especially, if to consider that in this case the option with continuous incert to orbit was considered (the single ignition of the upper stage).

Very nice work as always, Dmitry.  I begin to see why the Centaur is being favored over the other options when we include the effects of adding SRBs.  I'd be curious to see how much of a different the Atlas SRBs would make in contrast to the GEM-60s. 

Offline baldusi

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Re: ULA's new Launch Vehicle
« Reply #51 on: 10/06/2014 06:42 PM »
Hmmmm....
Little unexpected results.
Especially, if to consider that in this case the option with continuous incert to orbit was considered (the single ignition of the upper stage).
I believe that Cape GTO launches usually do 185km x 36768km x 27deg for GTO. But this is plenty of clear. Do you believe that a two burn mission will improve the Centaur relative to the other two? Looking at this numbers, it is probable that Atlas V SRB would give enough performance to do away with Delta IV Heavy. And that's just with a Centaur. If then they do ACES it will be quite powerful.

Online Lars-J

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Re: ULA's new Launch Vehicle
« Reply #52 on: 10/06/2014 08:43 PM »

A new first stage means it is a new launch vehicle.  It is certainly not the Atlas V with a new first stage.

Now they may call it the Atlas VI, or the Atlas V+, or the Blue Atlas, or the Atlas CH4, or whatever Marketing comes up with.

But it won't be the same launch vehicle as before.

It is that exactly, an Atlas V with a new first stage.
Not being the same does not mean it is new.

So why do we call it Atlas V instead of Atlas II and Atlas III?  ::) They all had Centaur as an upper stage. They only had a "new first stage".
(Sure Centaur was stretched and modified, but the current Centaur is being tweaked as well - shared avionics, IVF, more)

It seems rather obvious that this new - drastically different looking - launch vehicle would *not* be called Atlas V.
« Last Edit: 10/06/2014 08:44 PM by Lars-J »

Offline butters

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Re: ULA's new Launch Vehicle
« Reply #53 on: 10/06/2014 08:59 PM »
Atlas V is to New Atlas as VW Beetle is to New Beetle.

Offline GreenShrike

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Re: ULA's new Launch Vehicle
« Reply #54 on: 10/07/2014 02:46 AM »
Atlas V is to New Atlas as VW Beetle is to New Beetle.

I certainly hope not -- I don't think a rocket would work all that well if they moved the engine from the rear compartment to the front.

Whatever else may change in the new Atlas, I feel quite safe in assuming that the main engines, of whatever type they may be, will remain mounted in the rocket's tail. ;-)
« Last Edit: 10/07/2014 02:49 AM by GreenShrike »
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Offline ArbitraryConstant

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Re: ULA's new Launch Vehicle
« Reply #55 on: 10/07/2014 03:49 AM »
The line of reason that "it's not a new rocket, just a new first stage" isn't making much sense to me. What needs to change before something is a new rocket? I feel like the argument has been pretty consistently the other way before now with the "rockets are not LEGO" argument.

Offline Mader Levap

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Re: ULA's new Launch Vehicle
« Reply #56 on: 10/07/2014 09:07 AM »
The line of reason that "it's not a new rocket, just a new first stage" isn't making much sense to me. What needs to change before something is a new rocket? I feel like the argument has been pretty consistently the other way before now with the "rockets are not LEGO" argument.
It is just simply because it is ULA. If it was SpaceX doing it, everyone with Jim first would scream about it being completely different, new, untested, ureliable vehicle.

Just your good ol' double standard.
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Offline Jim

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Re: ULA's new Launch Vehicle
« Reply #57 on: 10/07/2014 01:17 PM »
I feel like the argument has been pretty consistently the other way before now with the "rockets are not LEGO" argument.

It isn't a preexisting stage, it is being specifically designed for its role.

Offline Jim

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Re: ULA's new Launch Vehicle
« Reply #58 on: 10/07/2014 01:19 PM »

It is just simply because it is ULA. If it was SpaceX doing it, everyone with Jim first would scream about it being completely different, new, untested, ureliable vehicle.

Just your good ol' double standard.

Not a double standard.  USAF and NASA will be involved with the development of the new stage, like all previous vehicles (see Titan IV).  There was no such opportunity with Spacex. 

Offline MP99

Re: ULA's new Launch Vehicle
« Reply #59 on: 10/07/2014 01:25 PM »

It is just simply because it is ULA. If it was SpaceX doing it, everyone with Jim first would scream about it being completely different, new, untested, ureliable vehicle.

Just your good ol' double standard.

Not a double standard.  USAF and NASA will be involved with the development of the new stage, like all previous vehicles (see Titan IV).  There was no such opportunity with Spacex.
Yeah, but I don't understand why that means they'd still call it Atlas V?

Cheers, Martin

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