Author Topic: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion  (Read 61797 times)

Online Robotbeat

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #40 on: 09/18/2016 04:13 AM »
If New Armstrong comes with a Lunar Colonial Transport would that be hydrogen/LOX? If it was optimized for Lunar vs Mars ISRU the relative difficulty of finding carbon to make Methane might suggest that.
Maybe Methalox first stage (for Earth launches) but Hydrolox everything else (the first stage doesn't go to Luna and doesn't need to be refueled there) ???
There might be plenty of carbon there.
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Online Robotbeat

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #41 on: 09/18/2016 04:15 AM »
Not millions.

Bezos wants millions, so price has to be cheaper.

Which means I bet New Armstrong will be fully reusable. Otherwise, no real point.
A direct competitor in price and payload to the MCT. A 12-15m diameter payload of 100+mt for <$100M per flight.

$500/kg<[NA $/kg to LEO]<$1,000/kg

He's one generation behind with New Glenn coming out about the same time as BFR/MCT and New Armstrong after BFR has been launching for several years. He's the tortoise that has plenty of capital without catering to commercial markets he doesn't care for....
Not sure I agree with this take.

New Glenn is a generation "behind," but it's actually perfectly placed as a vehicle capable of giving Falcon Heavy, Proton, Ariane 5, Ariane 6, etc a run for their money since it's single-core and all-cryogenic with a reusable VTVL first stage and enough performance for an eventual reusable upper stage (if they so desire). In other words, it'd be very competitive in the commercial market.
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Online AncientU

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #42 on: 09/18/2016 01:18 PM »
Well-placed, yes, but still a generation behind. 

Challenge will be testing orbital launch and recovery with such a large vehicle.  Maybe rockets want to be bigger, but bigger is also more expensive to develop and test.

The competition will have a generation (or several) of experience before NG flies -- this can obviously be overcome, but not automatic no matter how well-placed the vehicle.
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Offline Impaler

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #43 on: 09/18/2016 10:24 PM »
I would expect a future Lunar oriented rocket to consist of a reusable LNG/LOX 1st and 2nd stage of MCT size.  A Lunar lander is likely be be a large bi-conic 12 or more m diameter, powered by Hydro-LOX per the Clipper heritage that many of BO's people carry.  Cargo hold either mid vehicle or in the base to allow unloading on the lunar surface. 

I see a dual launch with the lander on one launch and the other being a giant propellant tank to fill a propellant depot or the lunar vehicle directly.  Once refilled the lander make TMI and direct lands on the moon, then makes a direct Earth return, basically an EOR modality.  Initially all return propellant will be brought from Earth but local propellants may be added to boost outbound cargo mass.

This type of direct single vehicle architecture is one I have been very critical of for Mars and MCT, but it makes sense on the moon due to the lower total DeltaV and most importantly the transit time to the moon is so radically short compared to mars, a 1 week round trip is possible if a vehicle is gas-and-go, even at 2 weeks the vehicle can be amortized 55 times faster then a mars vehicle.

Offline wannamoonbase

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #44 on: 09/19/2016 03:39 PM »
New Shepard - Sub Orbital
New Glenn - Orbital
New Armstrong - My 2 cents, likely lunar transfer and landing

BO is different than SpaceX.  SpaceX is comfortable doing many iterations to evolve a vehicle, and that's working for them.  I don't see BO thinking the same way.

BO could use the New Glenn booster (in reusable mode) to build up lunar capability with many smaller flights. 

And if they establish the capability to make Oxygen on the moon then they have a sellable commodity and reduce their earth based launch needs.


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Offline Chasm

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #45 on: 09/19/2016 05:40 PM »
My take is the moon / cis-lunar. Certainly a big enough playground.
Hopefully NOT just a bigger rocket.

In several interviews about Blue Origin Jeff said that Amazon was only possible because infrastructure was already in place and that space exploration is missing such infrastructure. I postulate that his goal is to build it.

One side is launching the big stuff, aka infrastructure. The other is transporting people into space, and back.
For a long time one of the infrastructure ideas has been wet workshop. What happens if you commit to it, at scale?

New Glenn 2nd stage has 7m tanks, already in orbit. They are almost big enough that you could stick a Bigalow 330 as a liner into it. (6.7m diameter, inflated) That should help quite a bit with the micrometorite concerns. And why not, clean walls instead of isogrid should help for some uses. Need heaps of hardpoints to mount gear? Use another tank with "tank interior" for that. No way to mount exernal handholds is not longer a problem.


Maybe that is also a solution to the landing the center stage problem if it's a 3 stick configuration. Don't land it! Orbit it. More of an sustainer configuration like Ariane 5. Landing 2 booster should be simpler than 3.

Since the tanks just got promoted to payload, crank the concept another turn and respin the rocket layout?

Hmm....

Offline b0objunior

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #46 on: 09/19/2016 05:55 PM »
Well-placed, yes, but still a generation behind. 

Challenge will be testing orbital launch and recovery with such a large vehicle.  Maybe rockets want to be bigger, but bigger is also more expensive to develop and test.

The competition will have a generation (or several) of experience before NG flies -- this can obviously be overcome, but not automatic no matter how well-placed the vehicle.

You are talking about SpaceX, right?

Offline Ludus

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #47 on: 09/20/2016 08:01 PM »
Well-placed, yes, but still a generation behind. 

Challenge will be testing orbital launch and recovery with such a large vehicle.  Maybe rockets want to be bigger, but bigger is also more expensive to develop and test.

The competition will have a generation (or several) of experience before NG flies -- this can obviously be overcome, but not automatic no matter how well-placed the vehicle.

You are talking about SpaceX, right?
As the competition. There isn't anyone else. ULA and Ariane have plans for rockets that will at best be available after NG, with lower performance and less reusability. Russia, China and the rest have no announced plans to compete.

Offline bad_astra

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #48 on: 09/20/2016 08:19 PM »

Also, a SpaceX booster would have no problem reaching orbit by itself and payload. SSTO, though expendable.

SSTO has no point unless you are reusable or really love being inefficient.


Or you convert the innards to a orbital habitat.
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Offline oldAtlas_Eguy

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #49 on: 09/22/2016 04:27 PM »
As far as habitats go see this thread http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=40454.0 about reusing "containers" that are filled with 100mt of stuff that once removed leaves a habitat that only requires installation "snap in" to the provided fittings (if the items are not already installed). Remember that most of such launches in support of an expanding in-space effort will be bulk cargo [equipment, supplies, etc]. This cargo has to have some way of being packaged for launch. Some of this cargo must be maintained in an Earth like atmosphere and not exposed to vacuum.

Although the thread is in the SpaceX Mars section the concept is not limited to SpaceX or Mars but to having large SHLVs that can lift the containers cheaply. NG and NA fit this category. Unfortunately SLS does not (too expensive per flight).

If NA launches a container to LEO that is then transported via reusable tug to L2 where it then is transported to the Lunar surface base via a large reusable lander, the container becomes an easy dual use item for the supply and expansion of the Lunar Base. These containers would also be usable at L2 for the same purpose as both a supply and as an expansion.

The modification of a prop tank into a habitat would require a lot of equipment (probably shipped in a container) to make it possible. So although it  is a possibility for the future use of assets that would otherwise be discarded it is not something that would be easily supported early on.

Offline Chasm

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #50 on: 09/26/2016 08:23 PM »
I think that some form of dual use is mandatory, at least for the big stuff.
Maybe using tanks works out, maybe not. Maybe it is not worth the effort, maybe it needs more work or very different conditions. I basically hope that someone finally gets moving and tries it. Take the half a century of planning and studies and find out if they align with reality.



Back to New Armstrong.
New Glenn is basically half a Saturn V. Half the tank area, half the thrust on the stages. Very roughly reuse means a third of the payload.
Lets say New Armstrong is full Saturn V payload. Same or more reusability of course.

Many ways to do it, and with each design requirement and design choice things change.
Starting with fundamental things like: Will there be a new engine or just many of them? Doing another N1 is still frowned upon. OTOH 23 is a choice answer in the Lego rocket game. :D So adding another ring of engines could work. (Meh. Another BFR, how original...)

Then there are also various practical considerations. How large can you go on a single stage without being to unwieldy to manufacture and transport? I can think of all kinds of handeling issues, esp. after landing. (A stubby stage like NS might help with that particular aspect.)
7m class now seems to be normal. 10m has been done. Some of the community generated SpaceX BFR designs had much more massive diameters, even in excess the of N1 base. Hopefully we'll get some actual info on that one within the week. Both companies seem to find similar results to their questions. Can't have a spacerace without a STS/Buran repeat. ;)

Above all is probably the question when to stage, or rather how fast can you go and still sucessfully recover the stage. From the environmental permit that someone has digged up it looks like NG will be late with recovery far downrange. (I read that as no boostback, balistic profile.)
The later/faster the better I think. Which is one of the reasons I'd like to finally see a HIAD test. If it works it should(tm) scale and perhaps it is adaptable to slow stages down reducing the need for a reentry burn. Less fuel needed, less cycles on the engines. (Stuff one of them into the top part of the NG skirt?)




One of the more whacky ideas.

Faring reuse, a different take.
They are expensive and heavy, esp. when the rocket gets bigger.  With New Shepard Jeff financed and build a Buck Rogers rocket, why not also something from James Bond? Thinking about You Only Live Twice, Moonraker is more of a destination.

A gigantonormus Black Arrow style fairing on stage 1, encapsulating the rest of the stack.
Very mad approach, but looks are important. Since Jeff seems to be cast as the villian in the Blue vs. SpaceX fight this certainly is a way to gain points on Elon. ;)
Why do it?
- Reuse the fairing obviously
- Fairing loads only on 1st stage, both static and dynamic.
- leading to more fragile upper stages, or rather to stick more fragile insulation (ACES long endurance style) and various unareodynamic and fiddly bits on their exterior for wet workshop ideas. (Handholds, hardpoints, solar, thermal control...)
- Say tri or quad sector fairing. Why so many? Secondary use as drag device. Turning the stage into a really big lawndart. Perhaps something like this to slow down. (But actively held open.) perhaps add in kind of Spaceship One feathering tips.

Well, there I had concers about stack height an now I try to land something real tall...
Hm, actually, not that bad, doing this to NG comes out roughly like F9 fist stage. [Cue one of Bezos laughs.]

Online TrevorMonty

Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #51 on: 10/01/2016 07:34 PM »
NG should enable Blue to do lunar missions without waiting for NA.

My preferred method is via NASA DSH (I'm assuming it is going to happen). No performance info on NG but 35-40t with expendable 2nd stage seems realistic.
I'm assuming BE3 3rd stage can survive 3-4day and has multiple restart ie ACES capability.

 The 3rd stage plus crew capsule goes direct to DSH, crew board a reusable lander eg ULA/Masten Xeus or Blue equivalent and proceed to moon. A 2nd NG launch with BE3 tanker is used to fill lander at DSH.

For return stage  lander returns to DSH, crew transfer to capsule which uses 3rd stage to provide 700m/s burn back to earth. NB While at DSH 3rd stage surplus/return fuel is offloaded to depot to keep it cool.

For lunar cargo missions the 3rd stage would be an expendable BE3 powered lander. This could deliver >5t direct to moon.

Having second spare lander at DSH as rescue vehicle, would allow crew to be rescued any where in the journey.

Besides ferry lunar passengers to moon, this transport system can also supply DSH.

Once ISRU is up and running, lander can be refuelled on surface, enabling it to go direct between LEO and surface, bypassing DSH.

I think $50m a seat for 6-7 to moon would be realistic.

Online TrevorMonty

Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #52 on: 10/01/2016 07:41 PM »
To deliver large payloads eg  BA330 to surface, the cargo lander would be launched empty and refuelled in LEO and again at DSH.

Offline Nathan2go

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #53 on: 01/29/2018 03:51 AM »
Now that FH has had a static fire, and first launch is approaching, we should discuss a 3-core New Glenn.

As discussed up-thread, for a given gross mass, single core is more convenient, especially for LEO missions. 

But 3-core has advantages too.  The biggest one is that it has lower cost for development, tooling, and maintenance, when the single-core version is carrying more payloads (very important since initially, there will be very few SLS-class payloads to launch).   The staging efficiency is also higher than for a 2-stage single core; so missions to a deep-space gateway or Lagrange depot are practical without a third stage.  Similarly, the optimal 2nd stage is smaller (thus cheaper) than for a single-stick, which helps for transitional steps that use expendable upper stages.

Probably, all three cores would be identical (except for the nose-cone or inter-stage).  I suspect that FH cores diverged because the extra loads on the center core require thicker/heavier tank walls, and the payload capacity of the single-core F9 already leaves a fair amount of the payload market unserved, so that degrading performance  even more for commonality would be undesirable.  The NG is large enough that this is not as important.

For a fully reusable 2nd stage, I think a tri-propellant design could be good:  one methalox BE-4 (550 klbs thrust) plus three hydralox BE-3s (150 klbs thrust).  The methalox/hydralox combination acts as a booster/sustainer set: all engines light at stage separation, with the methalox engine shutting off before the stage reaches the LEO parking orbit, and only the hydralox engines being re-lit for trans-Lunar injection.  This compromise provides most of the Isp advantage of hydralox, and most of reduced tank volume of methalox, while still offering easy use as a hydralox tanker.  The 2nd stage could land (on Earth) with a set of 9 pressure-fed methalox thrusters.

If the 2nd stage is refueled at a depot and used as a Lunar lander, only hydralox would be used; the methalox engine & tank are dead weight, but the extra thrust is not needed anyway in the Lunar gravity, and they are less massive than extra hydralox engines & tankage would have been.

« Last Edit: 01/29/2018 04:25 AM by Nathan2go »

Offline Darkseraph

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #54 on: 01/29/2018 04:46 AM »
I'd bet strongly against a triple core New Armstrong for two reasons:

1. Their goal is operational re-usability. Complex triple core systems don't help that.
    More complex recovery, more engines, more points of failure etc.

2. Lowering development costs is not as big a concern for Blue Origin.
    They're sufficiently funded by Bezos not to have to cut corners.
    From public comments their business philosophy seems to be
    'Do it right, rather than do it right now'.

Speculating,

New Armstrong will probably be like New Glenn, but scaled up to at least 10 meters with new 'BE-6' engines. The first two stages will be reusable, return to launch site. An optional third stage will be a 'BE-5' powered reusable lunar lander/spaceship that can be refueled from a lunar depot created in the Blue Moon program. The notional BE-5 would be a higher efficiency hydrolox engine to succeed the BE-3. Similarly, BE-6 would be an F1 class full-flow staged combustion methalox engine intended to replace BE-4. Rather than use dozens of engines like BFR, Blue Origin will simply invest adequate resources in developing larger engines.     
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Online MATTBLAK

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #55 on: 01/29/2018 05:13 AM »
Yes - I doubt we'll ever see a 3-core New Armstrong. Blue Origin would have been paying close attention to the difficulties surrounding Falcon Heavy, not to mention Delta IV-Heavy. If they wanted to upgrade New Armstrong's capabilities we could expect the traditional engine and structural upgrades to achieve better performance.

And if they were ever desperate - redesign the main booster stage to accommodate a cluster of strap-on, expendable solid boosters, such as the Orbital-ATK GEM-60 or 63XL that Vulcan is going to use.
« Last Edit: 01/29/2018 09:28 PM by MATTBLAK »
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Online TrevorMonty

Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #56 on: 01/29/2018 07:06 AM »
A larger single core LV is not that difficult for Blue, especially if it is scaled version of flight proven NG.

Not sure of engine choices, but there is nothing wrong with using more BE4, especially if they are flight proven. If they mass producing BE4 for Vulcan and NG then maybe cheapest option.
I'd fly with BE4 while working on new larger engine.

I think it will be 3-5 times size and with reuseable 2nd stage.

To truly reduce costs, LEO to BLEO will need fully reuseable OTV that is refuelled in LEO and BLEO destination. Something like ULA ACES.


Offline DJPledger

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #57 on: 01/29/2018 09:41 AM »
I'd bet strongly against a triple core New Armstrong for two reasons:

1. Their goal is operational re-usability. Complex triple core systems don't help that.
    More complex recovery, more engines, more points of failure etc.

2. Lowering development costs is not as big a concern for Blue Origin.
    They're sufficiently funded by Bezos not to have to cut corners.
    From public comments their business philosophy seems to be
    'Do it right, rather than do it right now'.

Speculating,

New Armstrong will probably be like New Glenn, but scaled up to at least 10 meters with new 'BE-6' engines. The first two stages will be reusable, return to launch site. An optional third stage will be a 'BE-5' powered reusable lunar lander/spaceship that can be refueled from a lunar depot created in the Blue Moon program. The notional BE-5 would be a higher efficiency hydrolox engine to succeed the BE-3. Similarly, BE-6 would be an F1 class full-flow staged combustion methalox engine intended to replace BE-4. Rather than use dozens of engines like BFR, Blue Origin will simply invest adequate resources in developing larger engines.     
I agree that BO are unlikely to go down the BFR many engine route for NA as they have the financial resources to dev. F-1 class FFSC engines which SpaceX don't. BFR is an example of HLLV dev. on a shoestring. NA perhaps having 7 BE-6?'s on 1st stage for design heritage from NG. NA 2nd stage having 1 BE-6U?. There has been a rumor of a potential larger engine from BO after BE-4. FFSC is the way to go for NA's main engine as SpaceX have proved it is a much easier cycle to dev. than first thought.

BO will no doubt have been following the difficult and protracted dev. of FH and will avoid complex triple core systems like the plague.
« Last Edit: 01/29/2018 10:02 AM by DJPledger »

Offline DJPledger

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #58 on: 01/29/2018 09:48 AM »
A larger single core LV is not that difficult for Blue, especially if it is scaled version of flight proven NG.

Not sure of engine choices, but there is nothing wrong with using more BE4, especially if they are flight proven. If they mass producing BE4 for Vulcan and NG then maybe cheapest option.
I'd fly with BE4 while working on new larger engine.

I think it will be 3-5 times size and with reuseable 2nd stage.

To truly reduce costs, LEO to BLEO will need fully reuseable OTV that is refuelled in LEO and BLEO destination. Something like ULA ACES.
BE-4 ISP sucks if you want BEO heavy lifting which NA will be designed for. Just go with all new FFSC Methalox engine for NA which will give better ISP and have greater thrust density to keep core dia. reasonable. Perhaps BO should get NASA to partially fund new large FFSC engine dev. by offering it to power Block 2 SLS advanced boosters. New engine for NA 3-5 x thrust of BE-4 to keep engine no. commonality with NG.

Offline DJPledger

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #59 on: 01/29/2018 09:59 AM »
Yes - I doubt we'll ever see a 3-core New Armstrong. Blue Origin would have been paying close attention to the difficulties surrounding Falcon Heavy, not to mention Delta IV-Heavy. If they wanted to upgrade New Armstrong's capabilities we could expect the traditional engine and structural upgrades to achieve better performance.

And if they were ever desperate - redesign the main booster stage to accommodate a cluster of strap-on, expendable solid boosters, such as the Orbital-ATK GEM-60 or 63XL that Vulcan is going to use.
BO like SpaceX will avoid solids like the plague so NA will likely to be a simple single core all liquid fuel design that will be fully reusable.

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