Author Topic: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion  (Read 57937 times)

Online brickmack

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #60 on: 01/29/2018 04:13 PM »
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.

SpaceX chose the giant cluster approach because of performance (TWR favors lots of mid-sized engines) and safety (more engine-out capability). In fact they've said already that they expect they could scale Raptor to pretty much any size without any real difficulty, the issue is just getting the FFSC cycle to work at any scale.

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.

Then you're designing two distinct rockets. You can't just swap engines like that, especially when the performance difference would be so great, and double especially on a reusable system (unless you want to scrap the whole existing fleet).

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

Agreed. A New Armstrong-sized ACES clone would be a real monster. Even ACES itself can bring almost 60 tons to Low Lunar Orbit with a single ACES tug plus 1 ACES tanker, and this would probably be a couple times the total mass. Could probably land an entire Saturn V on the moon with a couple trips...

Offline Rocket Surgeon

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #61 on: 01/30/2018 02:38 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.

What is BE-4's ISP?

Not sure, very little confirmed detail of the engine actually exists, but I remember hearing somewhere that it was going to be at best on par with the RD-180 (due to the much lower chamber pressure, roughly half). I think all we know for sure about it is that:
- Thrust = 2,450,000 N (550,000 lbf)
- Chamber pressure = 13,400,000 Pa
- Fuel is CH4/LOX

From the few photos of the engine I'd also guess the nozzle will be ~2m across, but that last one is just a guess

EDIT: Fun fact, if it is ~2m across, you could fit 14 of them on a 10m diameter core comfortably, and that would give you about the same thrust as 5 F-1's. Same as the Saturn V...
« Last Edit: 01/30/2018 02:44 AM by Rocket Surgeon »

Offline DJPledger

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #62 on: 01/31/2018 09:27 AM »
Perhaps the EIS on LC-49 when it is released may give us an insight to how large NA will be.

Online rockets4life97

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #63 on: 01/31/2018 12:46 PM »
What is the expected time frame for New Armstrong? Is BO developing New Glenn and New Armstrong in parallel? Or is it more like F9 and FH, where both were being worked on, but FH didn't come until F9 was reaching maturity?

If the latter, then New Armstrong is probably closer to 2024/2025 if using the relatively fast SpaceX timeline.

Offline Patchouli

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #64 on: 01/31/2018 08:48 PM »
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.

If they were to use a booster on NG I think a shortened SLS booster would be a closer fit.

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.

NA could end up using an all new second stage with a larger hydrogen engine maybe something similar to IPD.
This would not kill reusability or ISRU esp since BO seems more interested in the Moon and asteroids than Mars and there hydrogen makes more sense.
« Last Edit: 01/31/2018 08:50 PM by Patchouli »

Offline DJPledger

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #65 on: 02/01/2018 08:14 AM »
If they were to use a booster on NG I think a shortened SLS booster would be a closer fit.
BO will never use solids in any of their future designs. BO are more likely to offer a liquid fuel engine to power future SLS boosters than use solids themselves. Anyway back to NA which will be all liquid fueled with no solids. No 3 core NG, they will move straight on to NA dev. once NG is in service.

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #66 on: 02/01/2018 08:46 AM »
What payloads will +100t to LEO NA fly?

1)supplying fuel depot.
2)Large LEO crew vehicle.
3) Smaller crew vehicle with 3rd stage for lunar mission.
4)Large space station modules, not high flight rate these.
5)Cargo to GEO for building Solar Space Power Satellites.


Online brickmack

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #67 on: 02/01/2018 02:58 PM »
2)Large LEO crew vehicle.
3) Smaller crew vehicle with 3rd stage for lunar mission.

If they do go with an enlarged ACES-like upper stage/tug, the payload capacity to the moon may well be in excess of what a single NA launch can deliver to LEO. ACES delivers >40% more to low lunar orbit than Vulcan can to LEO when using a BFR-like high elliptical refueling with propellant delivered from the moon. Would probably use the same crew vehicle, and either use the extra performance as a safety margin, or carry denser cargo to maximize use of the available volume.

Offline DJPledger

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #68 on: 02/11/2018 08:27 PM »
Perhaps BO should offer NA to NASA as an SLS replacement and allow SLS to be cancelled. This would save NASA a lot of money. Cancelling SLS will also allow BO the use of LC-39B as well as the proposed LC-49 for NA. LC-39B would likely have to be modified for NA though. Money saved from SLS cancellation can be spent on expediting NA dev., LC-49 construction, and maybe LC-39B modification.

Offline MATTBLAK

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #69 on: 02/11/2018 09:08 PM »
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.

If they were to use a booster on NG I think a shortened SLS booster would be a closer fit.

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.

NA could end up using an all new second stage with a larger hydrogen engine maybe something similar to IPD.
This would not kill reusability or ISRU esp since BO seems more interested in the Moon and asteroids than Mars and there hydrogen makes more sense.
Would cost a lot of money to redesign and retest the SLS SRBs. Better to just buy off-the-shelf SRM's like the GEM-63XL's which produce about 400,000 pounds thrust (1.78 meganewtons) each at liftoff.
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Offline Chasm

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #70 on: 02/11/2018 11:47 PM »
Nobody outside Blue has an idea how fast they they'll follow up on NG.
I think that Blue has a firm idea what they want to achieve with NA and a good understanding of the things have to be in place for that. A big question is if NA requires new technology or "just" more of the same.

The theme for NA is moon rocket. Another BFR would be boring, even if it's original size.
I want to see Blue try something different on NA, or on a NG evolution.

A way to stage the first stage later.
A Black Arrow style fairing fixed to the first stage, encapsulating the rest. Say no to fairing recovery. ;) (Come on. Haircut ✓ Ship ✓ Laugh ✓ Rockets ✓ Just needs cat and volcano. Already got an opponent who gets billed as super hero...)

I'd love the option to stick a tripropellant engine on the 3rd stage. RD-701 was LOX-H2-RP1, LOX-H2-LNG should be possible and slightly easier. H2 or LNG that is. The goal is to refill -on orbit- with the cheapest option available. (Also got to expand on ACES somehow.)

Separation events are not en vogue. Yet everyone using them. I like a somewhat shorter rocket. Hm...

Offline DJPledger

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #71 on: 02/12/2018 05:13 PM »
Would cost a lot of money to redesign and retest the SLS SRBs. Better to just buy off-the-shelf SRM's like the GEM-63XL's which produce about 400,000 pounds thrust (1.78 meganewtons) each at liftoff.
Better still, don't use any solids for NA. BO wants NA to be fully reusable so solids are out of the question.

Offline MATTBLAK

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #72 on: 02/12/2018 07:57 PM »
I did say earlier in the thread that they'd only use solids if they were desperate - and it was in response to someone touting triple core configurations etc. Neither solids nor a triple-core configuration are likely - but not impossible.
« Last Edit: 02/13/2018 09:04 AM by MATTBLAK »
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Offline Pipcard

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #73 on: 02/12/2018 09:52 PM »
The theme for NA is moon rocket. Another BFR would be boring, even if it's original size.
I want to see Blue try something different on NA, or on a NG evolution.
I was thinking of NA vs BFR becoming something like Airbus vs Boeing (though I hope more players join in on the fully reusable super-heavy lift game).
« Last Edit: 02/12/2018 11:40 PM by Pipcard »

Offline Chasm

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #74 on: 02/13/2018 01:34 AM »
Could be, through in that example has its pitfalls. Engine suppliers are a problem. Airbus A3210NEO and the PW1100G anyone?
Bombardier also has engine troubles. Turns out it is quite hard to get paid for planes sitting at the factory when P&W does not deliver...

I do think it is imperative for other nations to join the reuse bandwaggon.
Now that A6 is irrevocably on its way and Falcon Heavy finally launched ESA leadership can -and did- change the tune. Before that they already shortened the transition away from A5 quite a bit. I hope that there is some tangible support behind the announced projects, both financial and political. It will take time and effort but there is no insurmountable problem once Europe has suitable engines.



On the New Armstrong side I still like multi core configurations. If you count full stage length SRB just about everyone has them.  Not going to bet on it though. :)
Even the moon theme does not really help. Is Blue after a single launch moon rocket? Or is it about throwing large mass and/or volume into a convenient orbit and them move on from there after a bit of docking? Is there a large variation in payloads?
Does it have to be full reuse from day one or is partial reuse on some parts feasible?

Offline DJPledger

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #75 on: 02/13/2018 09:06 AM »
On the New Armstrong side I still like multi core configurations. If you count full stage length SRB just about everyone has them.  Not going to bet on it though. :)
Even the moon theme does not really help. Is Blue after a single launch moon rocket? Or is it about throwing large mass and/or volume into a convenient orbit and them move on from there after a bit of docking? Is there a large variation in payloads?
Does it have to be full reuse from day one or is partial reuse on some parts feasible?
I will bet my house on NA being single core as BO have said the larger the booster the easier it is to land due to the pendulum effect. Single core NA will be easier and cheaper to reuse than a multi-core version.

Offline alexterrell

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #76 on: 03/12/2018 04:50 PM »
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.     

Speculating ...(or what I might do if I had a New Glenn and lots of billions)... reasons for a triple core:
- SpaceX has shown that a triple core is a good way of roughly tripling payload capability. Two stages at least are recoverable, and the third stage should also be recoverable.
- Tripling New Glenn gives 135 tons to LEO - which is compatible with the current BFR plans
- A widened fairing could have a 9m diameter - again, similar to BFR.

So to get to >>100 tons, New Armstrong doesn't need to be a totally new rocket in the way that BFR does. A single core rocket might have slightly lower operational costs, but is this worth the development costs? Bezos will weigh this up as a NPV calculation, as unlike Musk, he doesn't need a new single core rocket for >>100 tons. (OK - strictly speaking "New Glenn" is "new". Once it flies, will they rename it to "Glenn"?).

Then it comes down to flight rate. A 45 ton payload is ample for the moon. Why not colonise the moon with a weekly New Glenn flight? Two fuel flights and one cargo flight means a lunar payload every three weeks. If sometimes a larger unit needs delivery (e.g. a BA-5000) then the triple core can be used.

So I wouldn't bet against a triple core.

Part of the architecture should be a shuttle going from Lunar surface to L1, and a way of returning the upper stage to Earth.



Offline Robotbeat

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #77 on: 03/13/2018 02:21 AM »
More like, Bezos would be all "hey, it costs MORE money to make it single core, but it's more 'ideal'? where do I sign!?"

No way New Armstrong will be triple core. I'll make you a bet with odds in your favor.
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Offline alexterrell

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #78 on: 03/13/2018 07:58 AM »
More like, Bezos would be all "hey, it costs MORE money to make it single core, but it's more 'ideal'? where do I sign!?"

No way New Armstrong will be triple core. I'll make you a bet with odds in your favor.
Real bets are tricky on line, but how about 1/4 chance of a triple core, 2/4 of a single core? (1/4 it'll be nothing, or something totally left field like a septa core or buying Skylon)

I just think 135 tons to LEO is enough. To get that, a triple core is quicker, and less risky (once the single core New Glenn is running); and it fulfils the requirements (to the extent we can see them).

By the way, what comes after New Armstrong? With Shepherd, Glenn and Armstrong .... you get to the pinnacle of US space exploration (no disrespect to the Shuttle and ISS crews). Next comes "New Musk"?

Offline Darkseraph

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #79 on: 03/13/2018 08:49 AM »
New Ride? Sally Ride may have not ventured to the Moon, but she took one small important step in her own right. Plus, I like puns! :D

Tend to agree Blue will not go for triple core. Especially in light of the recent talk about reusable tugs and frequent launches. Distributed lift or propellant depots with New Glenn seems are more probably path for them. The potential for refilling in orbit to enhance the payload capacity of New Glenn probably outweighs making it triple core. This could be further increased with a lunar propellant depot, something the Blue Moon program may help. There is also the possibility Blue will take a path similar to Falcon 9 and continually upgrade New Glenn over the next decade or more, adding capability as they gain experience with the platform. Optimizations like subcooled propellants, stretched stages, uprated engines, lighter materials, RTLS, cradle landing, wider fairings or others could happen over the lifetime of the vehicle, greatly increasing payload capacity. We may be waiting a while before New Armstrong ever arrives, potentially more than a decade.

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