Author Topic: The Future of Aerojet Rocketdyne  (Read 9727 times)

Offline spacenut

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2454
  • East Alabama
  • Liked: 423
  • Likes Given: 240
Re: The Future of Aerojet Rocketdyne
« Reply #40 on: 10/05/2018 10:58 PM »
Solids can't be made reusable and be cost effective, thus the emphasis on liquids.  AJ should take the que from SpaceX and redesign their engines to take advantage of 3D printing and reducing the number of parts.  This could not only make their engines reusable, but lower the price.  I too want to know what happened to the RL-60?  It was supposed to be about the same size as RL-10 but twice the thrust.

They also do not have a metholox engine in design.  Why can't the RS-25 be modified to run metholox?  It should be in the range of the BE-4 or the Raptor.

Offline testguy

  • Full Member
  • **
  • Posts: 242
  • Clifton, Virginia
  • Liked: 195
  • Likes Given: 200
Re: The Future of Aerojet Rocketdyne
« Reply #41 on: 10/06/2018 12:30 AM »
Solids can't be made reusable and be cost effective, thus the emphasis on liquids.  AJ should take the que from SpaceX and redesign their engines to take advantage of 3D printing and reducing the number of parts.  This could not only make their engines reusable, but lower the price.  I too want to know what happened to the RL-60?  It was supposed to be about the same size as RL-10 but twice the thrust.

They also do not have a metholox engine in design.  Why can't the RS-25 be modified to run metholox?  It should be in the range of the BE-4 or the Raptor.

Do you really believe that 3D printing was not part of the AR-1 design?  I would think any one designing an engine today from scratch would use 3D printing to reduce cost, parts count, and reduced development and production schedule.

« Last Edit: 10/06/2018 04:34 PM by testguy »

Online brickmack

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 510
  • USA
  • Liked: 211
  • Likes Given: 17
Re: The Future of Aerojet Rocketdyne
« Reply #42 on: 10/06/2018 05:43 PM »
Solids can't be made reusable and be cost effective, thus the emphasis on liquids.  AJ should take the que from SpaceX and redesign their engines to take advantage of 3D printing and reducing the number of parts.  This could not only make their engines reusable, but lower the price.  I too want to know what happened to the RL-60?  It was supposed to be about the same size as RL-10 but twice the thrust.

They also do not have a metholox engine in design.  Why can't the RS-25 be modified to run metholox?  It should be in the range of the BE-4 or the Raptor.

All of Aerojets major future offerings include a lot of printed parts. RL10C-X has a printed combustion chamber and injector (~70% of the total labor in the current design according to some people that have worked there), AR-1 had a printed injector and much of its turbomachinery, RS-25E has some number of printed parts.

A methane RS-25 is a new engine (and fuel rich staged combustion with methane seems like a bad idea), and even RS-25E will cost >a billion dollars to develop (largely related to production restart). Its also a sustainer engine, which is a poor fit given most notable launchers in development now have 2 distinct non-overlapping stages. Booster/second stage-optimized RS-25 variants were proposed in the past (with expansion ratios of 35 or 150 instead of 70), but that further distances this hypothetical engine from the current design

Online Asteroza

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 681
  • Liked: 92
  • Likes Given: 2
Re: The Future of Aerojet Rocketdyne
« Reply #43 on: 10/11/2018 05:13 AM »
Solids can't be made reusable and be cost effective, thus the emphasis on liquids.  AJ should take the que from SpaceX and redesign their engines to take advantage of 3D printing and reducing the number of parts.  This could not only make their engines reusable, but lower the price.  I too want to know what happened to the RL-60?  It was supposed to be about the same size as RL-10 but twice the thrust.

They also do not have a metholox engine in design.  Why can't the RS-25 be modified to run metholox?  It should be in the range of the BE-4 or the Raptor.

All of Aerojets major future offerings include a lot of printed parts. RL10C-X has a printed combustion chamber and injector (~70% of the total labor in the current design according to some people that have worked there), AR-1 had a printed injector and much of its turbomachinery, RS-25E has some number of printed parts.

A methane RS-25 is a new engine (and fuel rich staged combustion with methane seems like a bad idea), and even RS-25E will cost >a billion dollars to develop (largely related to production restart). Its also a sustainer engine, which is a poor fit given most notable launchers in development now have 2 distinct non-overlapping stages. Booster/second stage-optimized RS-25 variants were proposed in the past (with expansion ratios of 35 or 150 instead of 70), but that further distances this hypothetical engine from the current design

I dunno, we probably won't see a big commit to 3D printing from AJ until they 3D print a RL-10 nozzle they can sell. They still weld the cooling tubes entirely by hand, right?

Offline woods170

  • IRAS fan
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8684
  • IRAS fan
  • The Netherlands
  • Liked: 5452
  • Likes Given: 1786
Re: The Future of Aerojet Rocketdyne
« Reply #44 on: 10/11/2018 06:56 AM »
losing AR-1 business to Blue's BE-4 doesn't hurt their business model one iota, as evidenced by this:

The rest of your post makes sense, but then you undercut your point by saying this.

Of course it hurts them.  Any business is going to be hurt when they lose a major contract.

They have enough other business that being hurt in this one area doesn't mean that they're in trouble.  That's not the same as not being hurt "one iota" by losing a major part of their potential future business.


Emphasis mine.

That's incorrect IMO. You can't lose a major contract if you never stood a chance of winning it.
Which is exactly what happened here.
Aerojet recognized this late last year (yes, that is right: a year ago they already were aware of what was coming) and quietly re-negotiated their DoD development contract. Only 1/6 of the amount of money spent on AR-1 development, under the OTA between USAF and Aerojet, was invested by Aerojet itself. The rest is government money.
Aerojet is not going belly-up from losing a mere $60 million of its own money on a contract.

https://spacenews.com/aerojet-rocketdyne-seeks-other-customers-for-ar1-engine/

Offline Davidthefat

  • Full Member
  • **
  • Posts: 202
  • Rockets are life.
  • Los Angeles/SF Bay Area, California
  • Liked: 74
  • Likes Given: 21
Re: The Future of Aerojet Rocketdyne
« Reply #45 on: 10/11/2018 01:50 PM »
Solids can't be made reusable and be cost effective, thus the emphasis on liquids.  AJ should take the que from SpaceX and redesign their engines to take advantage of 3D printing and reducing the number of parts.  This could not only make their engines reusable, but lower the price.  I too want to know what happened to the RL-60?  It was supposed to be about the same size as RL-10 but twice the thrust.

They also do not have a metholox engine in design.  Why can't the RS-25 be modified to run metholox?  It should be in the range of the BE-4 or the Raptor.

Do you really believe that 3D printing was not part of the AR-1 design?  I would think any one designing an engine today from scratch would use 3D printing to reduce cost, parts count, and reduced development and production schedule.



http://rocket.com/ar1-booster-engine

Says it right here on the AR1 page.

Online brickmack

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 510
  • USA
  • Liked: 211
  • Likes Given: 17
Re: The Future of Aerojet Rocketdyne
« Reply #46 on: 10/11/2018 02:40 PM »
I dunno, we probably won't see a big commit to 3D printing from AJ until they 3D print a RL-10 nozzle they can sell. They still weld the cooling tubes entirely by hand, right?

Thats what RL10C-5/C-X is.

Most of the RL10 hardware currently being sold is stuff built a decade+ ago anyway, under the bulk purchase for Delta IV when Boeing had much higher expectations for its flight rate. Are they still making new nozzles at all (hand-welded or otherwise)?

Offline testguy

  • Full Member
  • **
  • Posts: 242
  • Clifton, Virginia
  • Liked: 195
  • Likes Given: 200
Re: The Future of Aerojet Rocketdyne
« Reply #47 on: 10/11/2018 03:15 PM »
losing AR-1 business to Blue's BE-4 doesn't hurt their business model one iota, as evidenced by this:

The rest of your post makes sense, but then you undercut your point by saying this.

Of course it hurts them.  Any business is going to be hurt when they lose a major contract.

They have enough other business that being hurt in this one area doesn't mean that they're in trouble.  That's not the same as not being hurt "one iota" by losing a major part of their potential future business.


Emphasis mine.

That's incorrect IMO. You can't lose a major contract if you never stood a chance of winning it.
Which is exactly what happened here.
Aerojet recognized this late last year (yes, that is right: a year ago they already were aware of what was coming) and quietly re-negotiated their DoD development contract. Only 1/6 of the amount of money spent on AR-1 development, under the OTA between USAF and Aerojet, was invested by Aerojet itself. The rest is government money.
Aerojet is not going belly-up from losing a mere $60 million of its own money on a contract.

https://spacenews.com/aerojet-rocketdyne-seeks-other-customers-for-ar1-engine/

I agree with you up to a point.  When Aerojet began developing AR-1, BE-4 had a ways to go before proving itself.  At the time it was not a sure thing that Aerojet would not win.  More important 60 million, if not more, is a lot for Aerojet to invest.  That is IR&D that was not invested in other technologies.  The IR&D not invested on other technologies will reduce their position on other future contracts.  AR-1 was/is to be produced in Huntsville, Ala, rather than WPB or LA, so thee may have been sunk employee relocation costs that will not be recovered.

Offline Patchouli

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4415
  • Liked: 186
  • Likes Given: 382
Re: The Future of Aerojet Rocketdyne
« Reply #48 on: 10/11/2018 08:09 PM »
Solids can't be made reusable and be cost effective, thus the emphasis on liquids.  AJ should take the que from SpaceX and redesign their engines to take advantage of 3D printing and reducing the number of parts.  This could not only make their engines reusable, but lower the price.  I too want to know what happened to the RL-60?  It was supposed to be about the same size as RL-10 but twice the thrust.

They also do not have a metholox engine in design.  Why can't the RS-25 be modified to run metholox?  It should be in the range of the BE-4 or the Raptor.

All of Aerojets major future offerings include a lot of printed parts. RL10C-X has a printed combustion chamber and injector (~70% of the total labor in the current design according to some people that have worked there), AR-1 had a printed injector and much of its turbomachinery, RS-25E has some number of printed parts.

A methane RS-25 is a new engine (and fuel rich staged combustion with methane seems like a bad idea), and even RS-25E will cost >a billion dollars to develop (largely related to production restart). Its also a sustainer engine, which is a poor fit given most notable launchers in development now have 2 distinct non-overlapping stages. Booster/second stage-optimized RS-25 variants were proposed in the past (with expansion ratios of 35 or 150 instead of 70), but that further distances this hypothetical engine from the current design

The AR-1 would be easier to turn into a methane engine than the RS-25 if they decided to go that route.

Offline woods170

  • IRAS fan
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8684
  • IRAS fan
  • The Netherlands
  • Liked: 5452
  • Likes Given: 1786
Re: The Future of Aerojet Rocketdyne
« Reply #49 on: 10/12/2018 11:20 AM »
losing AR-1 business to Blue's BE-4 doesn't hurt their business model one iota, as evidenced by this:

The rest of your post makes sense, but then you undercut your point by saying this.

Of course it hurts them.  Any business is going to be hurt when they lose a major contract.

They have enough other business that being hurt in this one area doesn't mean that they're in trouble.  That's not the same as not being hurt "one iota" by losing a major part of their potential future business.


Emphasis mine.

That's incorrect IMO. You can't lose a major contract if you never stood a chance of winning it.
Which is exactly what happened here.
Aerojet recognized this late last year (yes, that is right: a year ago they already were aware of what was coming) and quietly re-negotiated their DoD development contract. Only 1/6 of the amount of money spent on AR-1 development, under the OTA between USAF and Aerojet, was invested by Aerojet itself. The rest is government money.
Aerojet is not going belly-up from losing a mere $60 million of its own money on a contract.

https://spacenews.com/aerojet-rocketdyne-seeks-other-customers-for-ar1-engine/

I agree with you up to a point.  When Aerojet began developing AR-1, BE-4 had a ways to go before proving itself.  At the time it was not a sure thing that Aerojet would not win.  More important 60 million, if not more, is a lot for Aerojet to invest.  That is IR&D that was not invested in other technologies.  The IR&D not invested on other technologies will reduce their position on other future contracts.  AR-1 was/is to be produced in Huntsville, Ala, rather than WPB or LA, so thee may have been sunk employee relocation costs that will not be recovered.

When AR-1 development began, Blue had already a solid two years of development work for BE-4 under its belt. It quite literally was further along. That two-year headstart never became any smaller in the years that followed.
Betting on BE-4 was the smart thing to do by ULA. Hence why they did.
The option to have a second engine development (AR-1) was only there to appease ULA's political pay masters.

The reason ULA opted for BE-4 was that ULA was seriously impressed with the previous engine development cycles from Blue Origin. Without any substantial government contribution Blue had developed, in a relatively short timespan, 3 types of rocket engines. And that for a company that had ZERO prior experience in rocket engine development.
What was even more impressive to ULA is that each of those engines was a massive step forward in terms of thrust, ISP and technology.

Blue started out with a very simple pressure-fed mono-propellant engine generating just 2,200 pounds of thrust (BE-1).
Their next engine, BE-2, was a pump-fed bi-propellant engine, generating 31,000 pounds of thrust. It was thus well over 14 times more powerful than BE-1.
BE-3 represents Blue's coming-of-age as a rocket engine builder: full cryogenic engine (LH2/LOX), 3.5 times more powerful than BE-2 and having a massive throttle range (from as low as 25,000 pounds of thrust to 110,000 pounds of thrust.
So, when ULA asked Blue to build an engine using a new propellant combination (Methane/LOX) and being 5 times as powerful as BE-3, ULA knew that Blue could meet the challenge.

All this is why AR-1 never stood a chance of becoming the primary propulsion system for Vulcan.
Add to that the fact that Aerojet relied mostly on government funding for AR-1, whereas BE-4 is fully privately funded, and one can understand easily why AR-1 was dead in the water from day 1 forward.
« Last Edit: 10/12/2018 11:39 AM by woods170 »

Online TrevorMonty

Re: The Future of Aerojet Rocketdyne
« Reply #50 on: 10/12/2018 06:59 PM »


I dunno, we probably won't see a big commit to 3D printing from AJ until they 3D print a RL-10 nozzle they can sell. They still weld the cooling tubes entirely by hand, right?

Thats what RL10C-5/C-X is.

Most of the RL10 hardware currently being sold is stuff built a decade+ ago anyway, under the bulk purchase for Delta IV when Boeing had much higher expectations for its flight rate. Are they still making new nozzles at all (hand-welded or otherwise)?

ARJ have been investing heavily in 3D printing. AR1 was designed from scratch to use 3D printing as much as possible.

The RL10C-X  has been totally redesigned to stage 90-95% of it is 3D printed. Expect a dramatic reduction in build cost and lead time. Customers will definitely benfit from shorter lead time and good part build cost savings will be passed on in lower purchase price.

ARJ make lot of small engines and thrusters used in satellites, these have also benefitted from 3D printing.




Tags: