Author Topic: Relativity Space - Orbital Rockets with zero human labor  (Read 30592 times)

Offline Katana

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Re: Relativity Space - Orbital Rockets with zero human labor
« Reply #40 on: 10/20/2017 02:48 pm »
Saw this image in their website:



They were founded in December 2015... That's almost 24 months. So why aren't they flying anything yet? And why are they quoting a 2021 flight date?

Because the truth is this is not their actual process.

Their actual process is very similar to everybody else for the first iteration, as they trial the engine and work out the kinks in the system. Do you think Rocket Lab and others didn't print various engines and test them?

The only advantage really comes at the operation stage (maybe). So that diagram looks more like this:-



And of course they are clearly still in the design-prototype-test-revise (blue) phase.

Why can't these companies just tell a straight story?
Basically they employ the same toolsets of other new space companies: 3d printing, CFD, etc, for automation.

To surpass other players on automation, they need to develop one's own 3d printing or CFD tools, more than SpaceX did. But that means way to a CAD/CAM company, since these tools have more domestic value.

If you can make rockets with ď0 laborĒ, you can make cars or phones with ď0 laborĒ too.

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: Relativity Space - Orbital Rockets with zero human labor
« Reply #41 on: 12/08/2017 10:06 pm »
Quote
Relativity's printed rocket engine: ignition to full thrust test of Aeon SN005. Designed and built by our team and tested @NASAStennis @NASA

https://twitter.com/relativityspace/status/939220138116636672

Offline vaporcobra

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Re: Relativity Space - Orbital Rockets with zero human labor
« Reply #42 on: 03/07/2018 01:59 am »
Hmmmmm! Ideas?

Quote
Elegance of Aeonís staged ignition system: multiple upper stage restarts possible. No TEA/TEB required.

Itís a nearly passive system [not spark], and methalox ignition especially is not super straightforward. So thatís the win there.
https://twitter.com/relativityspace/status/971078902054502401
« Last Edit: 03/07/2018 02:00 am by vaporcobra »

Offline HMXHMX

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Re: Relativity Space - Orbital Rockets with zero human labor
« Reply #43 on: 03/07/2018 05:24 am »
Hmmmmm! Ideas?

Quote
Elegance of Aeonís staged ignition system: multiple upper stage restarts possible. No TEA/TEB required.

Itís a nearly passive system [not spark], and methalox ignition especially is not super straightforward. So thatís the win there.
https://twitter.com/relativityspace/status/971078902054502401

Perhaps resonance ignition, though that requires a high pressure source, generally.  Maybe laser.  Could be catalytic.  Lots of options.  But ignition isn't the pacing issue for low-cost launch Ė labor is.

Offline vaporcobra

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Re: Relativity Space - Orbital Rockets with zero human labor
« Reply #44 on: 03/07/2018 07:40 am »
Hmmmmm! Ideas?

Quote
Elegance of Aeonís staged ignition system: multiple upper stage restarts possible. No TEA/TEB required.

Itís a nearly passive system [not spark], and methalox ignition especially is not super straightforward. So thatís the win there.
https://twitter.com/relativityspace/status/971078902054502401

Perhaps resonance ignition, though that requires a high pressure source, generally.  Maybe laser.  Could be catalytic.  Lots of options.  But ignition isn't the pacing issue for low-cost launch Ė labor is.

Dead simple multi-restart capabilities would be a huge selling point for any smallsat launcher larger than, say, Electron's 150 kg to 500km SSO. With the ability to restart many, many times as a default feature, smallsat ridesharing on a smaller scale might actually be a reasonable proposition. Dumb expendables simply have no selling point once reusable heavy-lift launchers are operational, but an expendable vehicle with a uniquely capable upper stage could actually offer some value beyond $/kg.

As for labor, it appears that Relativity has found a way to make resonance ignition work reliably on an almost entirely 3D printed methalox engine with respectable thrust. Damn impressive technological achievement, and a prime demonstration of in-house expertise and innovative approaches to R&D.

Offline john smith 19

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Re: Relativity Space - Orbital Rockets with zero human labor
« Reply #45 on: 03/07/2018 10:06 am »
Perhaps resonance ignition, though that requires a high pressure source, generally. 
Not that high. A couple of bar will get you supersonic flow, achievable (in the late 60's) with a  foot pump.

Quote from: HMXHMX
Maybe laser.  Could be catalytic.  Lots of options.  But ignition isn't the pacing issue for low-cost launch Ė labor is.
Doug Jones at XCOR said building a reliable ignition system was the first thing they did when they formed the company, because in R&D you want to run a lot of tests, and TEA (and similar compounds) are such a PITA to handle.

Still sounds a smart move for any startup rocket company. On orbit a system that doesn't use consumables permits "unlimited" start attempts, until the power to run control systems runs out. 

But yes,  mfg without people would be a game changer in terms of vehicle costs.
« Last Edit: 03/07/2018 07:32 pm by john smith 19 »
BFS. The worlds first Methane fueled FFORSC engined CFRP structured A380 sized aerospaceplane tail sitter capable of flying in Earth and Mars atmospheres. BFR. The worlds biggest Methane fueled FFORSC engined CFRP stainless steel structured booster for BFS. First flight to Mars by end of 2022. Forward looking statements. T&C apply. Believe no one. Run your own numbers. So, you are going to Mars to start a better life? Picture it in your mind. Now say what it is out loud.

Offline Davidthefat

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Re: Relativity Space - Orbital Rockets with zero human labor
« Reply #46 on: 03/07/2018 02:39 pm »
https://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19670030753.pdf

Seems like a relatively easy geometry to incorporate into an additively manufactured engine.

Offline john smith 19

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Re: Relativity Space - Orbital Rockets with zero human labor
« Reply #47 on: 03/07/2018 07:40 pm »
https://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19670030753.pdf

Seems like a relatively easy geometry to incorporate into an additively manufactured engine.
Nice find.

The only things I'd found were a more recent Brazilian paper using LOX/RP1and an old paper on sounding rocket ignition using a disposable element made up of (IIRC) compressed Ammonium Nitrate to ignite solid fuel.

The opening business with a compressed supply effect on a wood block with a blind hole drilled in it would make a hell of a science demonstration on "air power," or the "power of sound." :)

Sadly, it would also probably violate a number of H&S rules without very effective PPE.  :(
Maybe on YouTube?

You're right, if you're looking at 3d printing you need to look at nonelectrical approaches for ignition, sensing and actuation if you want to avoid additional assembly (which, unless fully automated, violates the "no human labor" claim). Not impossible, but tricky.
« Last Edit: 03/07/2018 07:47 pm by john smith 19 »
BFS. The worlds first Methane fueled FFORSC engined CFRP structured A380 sized aerospaceplane tail sitter capable of flying in Earth and Mars atmospheres. BFR. The worlds biggest Methane fueled FFORSC engined CFRP stainless steel structured booster for BFS. First flight to Mars by end of 2022. Forward looking statements. T&C apply. Believe no one. Run your own numbers. So, you are going to Mars to start a better life? Picture it in your mind. Now say what it is out loud.

Offline gongora

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Re: Relativity Space - Orbital Rockets with zero human labor
« Reply #48 on: 03/21/2018 03:28 pm »
Tweet from Eric Berger:
Quote
Probably my favorite thing about @relativityspace is that it was founded by two guys who felt SpaceX and Blue Origin weren't disrupting the launch industry enough.

[Ars Technica] Relativity Space reveals its ambitions with big NASA deal

[Space News] Relativity reaches deal to use Stennis test stand
Quote
Relativity, the startup company developing small launch vehicles using additive manufacturing technologies, announced March 21 an agreement with NASAís Stennis Space Center to take over one of its test stands.

The company said it reached a Commercial Space Launch Act agreement with Stennis that gives the company exclusive use of the E-4 Test Complex at the Mississippi center for the next 20 years. That complex includes four cells for engine tests as well as 15,000 square feet of office space over 25 acres, with an option to expand to 250 acres.

Offline john smith 19

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Re: Relativity Space - Orbital Rockets with zero human labor
« Reply #49 on: 03/21/2018 08:37 pm »
Tweet from Eric Berger:
Quote
Probably my favorite thing about @relativityspace is that it was founded by two guys who felt SpaceX and Blue Origin weren't disrupting the launch industry enough.

[Ars Technica] Relativity Space reveals its ambitions with big NASA deal

[Space News] Relativity reaches deal to use Stennis test stand
Quote
Relativity, the startup company developing small launch vehicles using additive manufacturing technologies, announced March 21 an agreement with NASAís Stennis Space Center to take over one of its test stands.

The company said it reached a Commercial Space Launch Act agreement with Stennis that gives the company exclusive use of the E-4 Test Complex at the Mississippi center for the next 20 years. That complex includes four cells for engine tests as well as 15,000 square feet of office space over 25 acres, with an option to expand to 250 acres.
Interesting read. Especially having Super Draco experience. SX have been pretty quiet about its detailed working.
Printing a whole engine in 20 days sounds impressive but there are certainly other techniques that can deliver similar turnaround times. A key question would be what is their complex part and how often will they / have they had to iterate it to get it to work.

I agree that cutting the army of direct touch labour on a rocket is a critical part of lowering costs, expendable or reusable.

I'm less convinced 3d printing will deliver the whole result needed, although $8k/Kg (or $3636.4/lb) is not a bad price in the smallsat (1250Kg) launch market.
BFS. The worlds first Methane fueled FFORSC engined CFRP structured A380 sized aerospaceplane tail sitter capable of flying in Earth and Mars atmospheres. BFR. The worlds biggest Methane fueled FFORSC engined CFRP stainless steel structured booster for BFS. First flight to Mars by end of 2022. Forward looking statements. T&C apply. Believe no one. Run your own numbers. So, you are going to Mars to start a better life? Picture it in your mind. Now say what it is out loud.

Offline Norm38

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Re: Relativity Space - Orbital Rockets with zero human labor
« Reply #50 on: 03/25/2018 02:20 am »
I donít really understand their main argument. If reusability is the future then the labor to manufacture is amoritized across all launches. It becomes less and less important the more the rocket flies.
Thatís not an argument against 3D printing or automation. But it is an argument against constructing incredibly complex robotic assembly techniques when a dude with a wrench will do.

Offline john smith 19

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Re: Relativity Space - Orbital Rockets with zero human labor
« Reply #51 on: 03/25/2018 08:17 am »
I donít really understand their main argument. If reusability is the future then the labor to manufacture is amoritized across all launches. It becomes less and less important the more the rocket flies.
True. To a point.
Quote from: Norm38
Thatís not an argument against 3D printing or automation. But it is an argument against constructing incredibly complex robotic assembly techniques when a dude with a wrench will do.
Shuttle servicing was a case where they went almost entirely with the "Dude with a wrench."
About 4000 of them to be accurate. Which was why Shuttle support costs were about $1Bn/year.

For example the after bulkhead (giving access to the SSME's at the back) had 127 bolts on it. That's an entire shift to open up. How long would some (fairly simple) automation have taken?

What's different is the asymptotes of each end of this spectrum. At one end a countries entire  population is all working on LV support. Much like the projected growth of American telephone usage and telephone operator demand in the late 19th century.
At the other end of the spectrum, no one is.

So in principal a "Zero employee" build can scale up to as much as you like.
But making that truly zero employee (full on unattended "lights out" 24/7/365) mfg is
a) Very tough
b) Unclear how flexible the system would be. You can build an unlimited number of TSTO ELV's with a 100Kg (1250Kg in Relativity's case) payload. Bravo. Can you scale them up? Can you re-purpose the system to make other stuff?
c) Still dealing with the single mfg/single operator model. So the mfg carries all operating costs of both builder and launcher, now including a very complex automation setup.

[EDIT various small tweaks]
« Last Edit: 03/25/2018 10:33 pm by john smith 19 »
BFS. The worlds first Methane fueled FFORSC engined CFRP structured A380 sized aerospaceplane tail sitter capable of flying in Earth and Mars atmospheres. BFR. The worlds biggest Methane fueled FFORSC engined CFRP stainless steel structured booster for BFS. First flight to Mars by end of 2022. Forward looking statements. T&C apply. Believe no one. Run your own numbers. So, you are going to Mars to start a better life? Picture it in your mind. Now say what it is out loud.

Offline RyanC

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Re: Relativity Space - Orbital Rockets with zero human labor
« Reply #52 on: 03/25/2018 01:02 pm »
Has anyone taken their performance figures for launch given and interpolated it to launch from mars surface to low mars orbit?

They may be able to sell contract services to Sp(X) for Musk's Mars Colony. There won't be a lot of BFS for a while, and you won't always have one available for use for Mars to MLEO hops.

EDIT II: I know that Elon wants to try and keep as much possible for his MARS dreams "in-house" but there's just too much that Sp(X) won't be able to handle, they've got a lot of things on their plate. Someone being ready with a flight qualified small launcher to orbit that can be 3D printed with almost zero touch labor would be nice to start production of rockets on Mars so that SpX can focus on other things, such as ECLSS.

EDIT: I also think their plan B is to sell a 3d assembly line qualified to produce flight rated rocket propulsion elements. Not everything needs to be a Merlin 1D, for one -- you have a lot of smaller rocket engines that would need to be produced if we actually get a space based economy going -- you'll need lander engines, RCS engines, etc etc.
« Last Edit: 03/25/2018 01:34 pm by RyanC »

I donít really understand their main argument. If reusability is the future then the labor to manufacture is amoritized across all launches. It becomes less and less important the more the rocket flies.
Thatís not an argument against 3D printing or automation. But it is an argument against constructing incredibly complex robotic assembly techniques when a dude with a wrench will do.

This is their main goal according to their site:
Quote
Relativity's technology builds toward our long-term goal of 3D printing the first rocket made on Mars.

I think they're among the first space companies trying to complement SpaceX's settlement plans and thinking about a not so distant future with human presence on Mars and the Moon. It's becoming more and more wise to plan with that future in mind and more companies will follow as SX's plan (and the ones from other RLV companies) concretize. They're gearing up for that future. Also I don't think they're ruling out future RLVs built with their innovative methods.

They're planning with a future in mind where the capabilities of low cost RLVs will be offering new markets and frontiers, not against that future.
« Last Edit: 03/25/2018 01:39 pm by AbuSimbel »
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Offline john smith 19

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Re: Relativity Space - Orbital Rockets with zero human labor
« Reply #54 on: 03/25/2018 04:01 pm »

I think they're among the first space companies trying to complement SpaceX's settlement plans and thinking about a not so distant future with human presence on Mars and the Moon. It's becoming more and more wise to plan with that future in mind and more companies will follow as SX's plan (and the ones from other RLV companies) concretize. They're gearing up for that future. Also I don't think they're ruling out future RLVs built with their innovative methods.

They're planning with a future in mind where the capabilities of low cost RLVs will be offering new markets and frontiers, not against that future.
Then they'd better have very patient investors since that future isn't going to start until 2022 at the earliest.

That's a time frame that seems kind of long for the usual VC investor.
BFS. The worlds first Methane fueled FFORSC engined CFRP structured A380 sized aerospaceplane tail sitter capable of flying in Earth and Mars atmospheres. BFR. The worlds biggest Methane fueled FFORSC engined CFRP stainless steel structured booster for BFS. First flight to Mars by end of 2022. Forward looking statements. T&C apply. Believe no one. Run your own numbers. So, you are going to Mars to start a better life? Picture it in your mind. Now say what it is out loud.

Offline TrevorMonty

Performance margins are less on on small LV, about 2% payload for Electron as example..The larger LVs are upto 5%. RLVs trade a big chunk of that performance for recovery, typically 30-40% for booster recovery back to pad.

Just as payload performance margins don't scale linearly with size so to with recovery, a small RLV may trade more than 50% payload for booster recovery.

With small LV you can spend R&D money on a larger considerably more expensive RLV with lot failures for recovery process before its reliable. Until recovery process is reliable its not profitable so maybe flight 10. Alternatively spend same money reducing build cost on small ELV which will be profitable on first flight. The smaller ELV could be 1/5 of price of RLV to build, as production is highly automated and has advantage high volume manufacturing. Reliability tends to be better with high volume.

Larger RLV requires more expensive pad, transport system plus extra ground recovery equipment.





I think they're among the first space companies trying to complement SpaceX's settlement plans and thinking about a not so distant future with human presence on Mars and the Moon. It's becoming more and more wise to plan with that future in mind and more companies will follow as SX's plan (and the ones from other RLV companies) concretize. They're gearing up for that future. Also I don't think they're ruling out future RLVs built with their innovative methods.

They're planning with a future in mind where the capabilities of low cost RLVs will be offering new markets and frontiers, not against that future.
Then they'd better have very patient investors since that future isn't going to start until 2022 at the earliest.

That's a time frame that seems kind of long for the usual VC investor.

I'm not saying they plan to wait for that future to make money. Just that their real product isn't the Terran rocket, but the manufacturing infrastructure. So judging the company's plans or competitiveness based on Terran alone is a mistake IMO.
« Last Edit: 03/25/2018 05:43 pm by AbuSimbel »
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Offline john smith 19

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Re: Relativity Space - Orbital Rockets with zero human labor
« Reply #57 on: 03/25/2018 08:43 pm »
Performance margins are less on on small LV, about 2% payload for Electron as example..The larger LVs are upto 5%. RLVs trade a big chunk of that performance for recovery, typically 30-40% for booster recovery back to pad.
Which complete launch vehicle did you have in mind that's got such a payload fraction?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Payload_fraction
« Last Edit: 03/25/2018 10:30 pm by john smith 19 »
BFS. The worlds first Methane fueled FFORSC engined CFRP structured A380 sized aerospaceplane tail sitter capable of flying in Earth and Mars atmospheres. BFR. The worlds biggest Methane fueled FFORSC engined CFRP stainless steel structured booster for BFS. First flight to Mars by end of 2022. Forward looking statements. T&C apply. Believe no one. Run your own numbers. So, you are going to Mars to start a better life? Picture it in your mind. Now say what it is out loud.

Offline john smith 19

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Re: Relativity Space - Orbital Rockets with zero human labor
« Reply #58 on: 03/25/2018 10:40 pm »
I'm not saying they plan to wait for that future to make money. Just that their real product isn't the Terran rocket, but the manufacturing infrastructure. So judging the company's plans or competitiveness based on Terran alone is a mistake IMO.
So you're saying their real goal is the construction of an automatic factory?

What you might call an "Autofac" for want of a better word.
BFS. The worlds first Methane fueled FFORSC engined CFRP structured A380 sized aerospaceplane tail sitter capable of flying in Earth and Mars atmospheres. BFR. The worlds biggest Methane fueled FFORSC engined CFRP stainless steel structured booster for BFS. First flight to Mars by end of 2022. Forward looking statements. T&C apply. Believe no one. Run your own numbers. So, you are going to Mars to start a better life? Picture it in your mind. Now say what it is out loud.

Online rory

Relativity announced today that it closed on a $35 million Series B. This brings their total raised to over $45 million.

http://spacenews.com/relativity-closes-35-million-series-b-round/

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