Author Topic: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion  (Read 84904 times)

Offline AncientU

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #80 on: 03/13/2018 10:03 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"?

Enough for what? 
If the goal is Blue's a million people living and working in space, is 135t 'enough'?

I think they need to go high or stay at home... max capable payload from the Cape.
« Last Edit: 03/13/2018 10:07 AM by AncientU »
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Offline alexterrell

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #81 on: 03/13/2018 10:30 AM »
Seeing as Easyjet, RyanAir, (maybe) Southwestern transport 10s of millions of people per year, all in vehicles with an unfuelled mass of under 50 tons, then for this purpose 135 tons is ample.

Of course, at that point it's a straight forward cost analyses - and investment cost is irrelevant. Maybe BO would conclude the best approach is to buy Skylon and launch passengers 30 at a time. Or maybe the standard New Glenn would be the main passenger launcher - even with a New Armstrong heavy launcher. But that would be a decision needed after 2030.


Offline AncientU

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #82 on: 03/13/2018 01:08 PM »
I like the idea of launching people with a New Glenn variant, and leaving heavy lifting for New Armstrong.

Timeline-wise, they think it will take 7-8 years to get to crewed flights on NG, so around 2028.  Building the vehicle for crew will probably start as soon as NG is flying, say 2021-2022.  New Armstrong design should be well along by mid 2020s, after they've learned the lessons on NG, with construction start possible during late 2020s.

If these timelines are generally correct, final decisions about NA capacity will be needed around 2025.
I don't think such a decision could wait until after 2030.  (They may already have made that decision, in broad terms, since they've been looking for NA launch pads.)
« Last Edit: 03/13/2018 01:09 PM by AncientU »
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Offline TrevorMonty

Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #83 on: 03/13/2018 03:09 PM »
Its all about lowering $/kg to LEO. Bigger is cheaper, thats definitely case with ships and planes no reason RLVs should be any different.

Online speedevil

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #84 on: 03/13/2018 03:30 PM »
Enough for what? 
If the goal is Blue's a million people living and working in space, is 135t 'enough'?

I think they need to go high or stay at home... max capable payload from the Cape.

Is the goal a million people living and working in space(*), or is the goal of development a Blue cheap rocket?

If you consider * the more important goal, and don't really mind spending several billions, the gradual 'risk free' route is a very valuable backup to the 'damn the torpedos' approach of Musk.

Is it possible Bezos doesn't actually care who launches those million people, just that someone can?

And if Blue 'fails' and SpaceX gets there first, they are in a position with lots of people that have been thinking about space, and with lots of interesting vertically integrated hardware capabilities that they can apply to space stations, habs, ISRU, ...
Knowing what Blue has tiny teams working on right now might be fascinating.

That might not look very much like failure, if you've got the right mindset. Plus, of course, SpaceX may drop the ball.

Even 'failure' - coming to market several years later when BFR/S is flying well - can add surety to internal plans on launching other things, as it can set a cap on what SpaceX can charge.

Offline Lars-J

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #85 on: 03/13/2018 04:32 PM »
Enough for what? 
If the goal is Blue's a million people living and working in space, is 135t 'enough'?

I think they need to go high or stay at home... max capable payload from the Cape.

Is the goal a million people living and working in space(*), or is the goal of development a Blue cheap rocket?

You are not going to get millions of people into space without a cheap rocket.

Offline meberbs

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #86 on: 03/13/2018 04:59 PM »
I like the idea of launching people with a New Glenn variant, and leaving heavy lifting for New Armstrong.

Timeline-wise, they think it will take 7-8 years to get to crewed flights on NG, so around 2028.  Building the vehicle for crew will probably start as soon as NG is flying, say 2021-2022.  New Armstrong design should be well along by mid 2020s, after they've learned the lessons on NG, with construction start possible during late 2020s.

If these timelines are generally correct, final decisions about NA capacity will be needed around 2025.
I don't think such a decision could wait until after 2030.  (They may already have made that decision, in broad terms, since they've been looking for NA launch pads.)
From the tweets I saw, the 7-8 years did not specify from first New Glenn launch, so they most likely meant from today, putting crew on New Glenn at 2025-2026. New Glenn design from the beginning has been intended to carry crew, so at least early design of the crew vehicle would have started already. Even with how Blue takes their time, 2025-2026 makes more sense than 2028.

I am not sure why you think this relates to when New Armstrong decisions are needed by. I only see it as indicating that they won't actually be planning to move on to New Armstrong until the late 2020s at the earliest.

Online speedevil

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #87 on: 03/13/2018 05:03 PM »
Enough for what? 
If the goal is Blue's a million people living and working in space, is 135t 'enough'?

I think they need to go high or stay at home... max capable payload from the Cape.

Is the goal a million people living and working in space(*), or is the goal of development a Blue cheap rocket?

You are not going to get millions of people into space without a cheap rocket.

'A Blue cheap rocket'.

If the more important goal he believes in is the millions in space part, he may not care about getting there first, or even ending up with something that actually makes a profit -  just being very sure about getting there as a species.

This makes 'gradually' make a whole lot more sense, and provides to me a more reasonable motive than just not caring about speed as some have portrayed it.
« Last Edit: 03/13/2018 05:09 PM by speedevil »

Offline alexterrell

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #88 on: 03/14/2018 09:59 AM »
Its all about lowering $/kg to LEO. Bigger is cheaper, thats definitely case with ships and planes no reason RLVs should be any different.
"More" is even cheaper. That's why Airbus is losing money on the big A380, and raking it in on the plentiful A320. And it's one reason why "big" SLS is going to be very, very expensive.

There is a trade-off of course. At what point would a new specified core (e.g. a 12m diameter core lifting 200 tons to LEO) be cheaper than a New Glenn doing 50 flights per year?

Offline AncientU

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #89 on: 03/14/2018 10:12 AM »
Its all about lowering $/kg to LEO. Bigger is cheaper, thats definitely case with ships and planes no reason RLVs should be any different.
"More" is even cheaper. That's why Airbus is losing money on the big A380, and raking it in on the plentiful A320. And it's one reason why "big" SLS is going to be very, very expensive.

There is a trade-off of course. At what point would a new specified core (e.g. a 12m diameter core lifting 200 tons to LEO) be cheaper than a New Glenn doing 50 flights per year?

The answer is really 'all of the above'... gotta have significant payload/fairing volume as well as frequent launch.  Can only do this with a fully reusable vehicle that has its ground system designed for rapid turn-around.  Refueling on orbit allows separation of the majority, essentially free propellant from the hardware.

These are the features we should look for in New Armstrong... large payload, frequent launch, refuelable upper stage(s), fully reusable.

SLS is very expensive for a number of reasons, but one is that it only launches 1-2x per year.  Another is that it is expended each launch, so not on topic here.
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Offline TrevorMonty

Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #90 on: 03/14/2018 01:35 PM »
NA will need low cost high volume payloads to support high flight rate. Fuel is logical choice, need lots of it to take anything BLEO.

Online Robotbeat

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #91 on: 03/15/2018 01:38 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"?
Okay, 2:1 odds. If I win, I expect you to pay for up to $5 of my beverage and/or meal, and if you win, I'll pay for up to $10 off your beverage and/or meal. Must be redeemed in person. If no one wins, no one has to pay.

If I lose, I'd gladly have a beer/coffee/whatev with you and pay those terms. Whenever the bet is decided (i.e. when New Armstrong is officially unveiled in graphic form by Blue Origin), then next time we're both in the same city or nearby, we can meet up for a $beverage.
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Offline alexterrell

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #92 on: 03/16/2018 11:45 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"?
Okay, 2:1 odds. If I win, I expect you to pay for up to $5 of my beverage and/or meal, and if you win, I'll pay for up to $10 off your beverage and/or meal. Must be redeemed in person. If no one wins, no one has to pay.

If I lose, I'd gladly have a beer/coffee/whatev with you and pay those terms. Whenever the bet is decided (i.e. when New Armstrong is officially unveiled in graphic form by Blue Origin), then next time we're both in the same city or nearby, we can meet up for a $beverage.
OK, sounds good.

Thinking a bit more about what BO needs (or what I would do if I were Bezos), we'd actually have none of the above.

Looking through the SLS threads, it seems that NASA wants to return to the moon, but have no ideas for a lunar lander. SpaceX has the answer - BFR - which it touts as the answer to everything - but is completely non optimised for the moon.

So what I think New Armstrong OUGHT to be is a lander craft that can take 45 tons from EM-L1 to the lunar surface, and return empty.

Ideally, this would be something that could carry a full 45 tons New Glenn payload beneath it, with 4 widely spaced engines. That would allow a 7m diameter x 20m long payload envelope, which could equally come from a SLS or BFR launch. Fuel would be LOX methane, perhaps upgradable to LOx/LH2 if Lunar ISRU takes off.

The payload could also be a crew lander, complete with abort to surface/orbit safety system - loads of details to work through.

And the name would be apt. If New Shepherd is sub orbital, new Glenn is orbital, New Armstrong would be a lunar lander no?
« Last Edit: 03/16/2018 02:22 PM by alexterrell »

Offline brickmack

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #93 on: 03/16/2018 05:59 PM »
New Armstrong is explicitly a launcher, not a spacecraft. See this article from a few weeks back: https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2018/01/kennedy-cape-brownsville-launch-pads-schedules/ The recent confirmation that Blue is looking to make an orbital tug also means they're decoupling Earth-to-orbit from orbit-to-elsewhere. There is no reason that New Armstrong should ever go beyond LEO. The questions of interest then are:

1. How big a tug is necessary to deliver a suitable (whatever that means) payload to Low Lunar Orbit? (Suggest redoing my previous ACES performance analysis for a larger but heavier stage, and lower ISP more typical of tap-off engines since it sounds like BE-3U will be used for this)

2. To what extent can this tug realistically be common with or derived from the New Glenn third stage/presumed initial tug?

3. To what extent can a large manrated lunar lander be common with or derived from this tug?

4. How big does New Armstrong have to be to deliver this tug to LEO as a payload?

5. What will be the likely ratio of New Armstrong payload to LEO, Tug payload to lunar orbit, and Lander payload to the surface?
« Last Edit: 03/16/2018 06:02 PM by brickmack »

Offline Darkseraph

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #94 on: 03/16/2018 08:43 PM »
Rob Meyerson Beyond The Cradle Talk

In this video, Rob Meyerson of Blue Origin mentions developing VTVL rockets because of their scalability, particularly mentioning 'What if you wanted to launch a rocket that is 100ft in diameter and land on a narrow pad'. Holy Space Excrement! I'm guessing that is not even New Armstrong but whatever comes after because that would be utterly insanely huge. That's almost like the scale-up between Falcon 9 to BFR!

*Blue Moon is also mentioned in the video as being an Apollo LM class lander. Given the 5 metric ton payload it is able to land on the moon, I suppose this could be replaced with an ascent module of similar size to the Apollo Ascent Module. 

« Last Edit: 03/17/2018 12:57 PM by Darkseraph »
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Offline Thorny

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #95 on: 03/16/2018 09:45 PM »
In this video, Rob Meyerson of Blue Origin mentions developing VLTL rockets because of their scalability, particularly mentioning 'What if you wanted to launch a rocket that is 100ft in diameter and land on a narrow pad'.

Sounds like the Chrysler SERV concept.

Offline Patchouli

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #96 on: 03/17/2018 12:38 AM »
Seeing as Easyjet, RyanAir, (maybe) Southwestern transport 10s of millions of people per year, all in vehicles with an unfuelled mass of under 50 tons, then for this purpose 135 tons is ample.

Of course, at that point it's a straight forward cost analyses - and investment cost is irrelevant. Maybe BO would conclude the best approach is to buy Skylon and launch passengers 30 at a time. Or maybe the standard New Glenn would be the main passenger launcher - even with a New Armstrong heavy launcher. But that would be a decision needed after 2030.


A vehicle like Skylon would be a good complement to a heavy lift system as it can carry passengers up while vehicles like New Armstrong carry up bulk supplies and modules and fly the most efficient ascent profile vs the most comfortable and safe one.

For BLEO missions such as trips to the moon it can be like the Movie 2001 you ride the space plane up to a space station and then board the vehicle that ferries you to the Moon.


Sounds like the Chrysler SERV concept.

Then build a spaceplane somewhere between the HL-42 and the Shuttle in size that rides on top of it.

« Last Edit: 03/17/2018 12:57 AM by Patchouli »

Online Johnnyhinbos

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #97 on: 03/17/2018 02:34 AM »
Rob Meyerson Beyond The Cradle Talk

In this video, Rob Meyerson of Blue Origin mentions developing VLTL rockets because of their scalability, particularly mentioning 'What if you wanted to launch a rocket that is 100ft in diameter and land on a narrow pad'. Holy Space Excrement! I'm guessing that is not even New Armstrong but whatever comes after because that would be utterly insanely huge. That's almost like the scale-up between Falcon 9 to BFR!

*Blue Moon is also mentioned in the video as being an Apollo LM class lander. Given the 5 metric ton payload it is able to land on the moon, I suppose this could be replaced with an ascent module of similar size to the Apollo Ascent Module.
I for the life of me have no idea what a VLTL rocket is...
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Offline Ludus

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #98 on: 03/17/2018 05:55 AM »
NG was better than competitive with FH but the design concept came out before SX pivot to BFR/BFS. With SpaceX actually building a fully rapidly reusable system will Jeff Bezos be content to keep methodically working at a system with expendable second stage that will be obsolete and unable to launch at SpaceX market prices on its debut?

I think Blue will go with less Gradatim and more Ferociter and change plans. Maybe the changed plan will be called New Armstrong, but it most matters that itís fully rapidly reusable.

Offline Darkseraph

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Re: New Armstrong Speculation and Discussion
« Reply #99 on: 03/17/2018 10:22 AM »
Rob Meyerson Beyond The Cradle Talk

In this video, Rob Meyerson of Blue Origin mentions developing VLTL rockets because of their scalability, particularly mentioning 'What if you wanted to launch a rocket that is 100ft in diameter and land on a narrow pad'. Holy Space Excrement! I'm guessing that is not even New Armstrong but whatever comes after because that would be utterly insanely huge. That's almost like the scale-up between Falcon 9 to BFR!

*Blue Moon is also mentioned in the video as being an Apollo LM class lander. Given the 5 metric ton payload it is able to land on the moon, I suppose this could be replaced with an ascent module of similar size to the Apollo Ascent Module.
I for the life of me have no idea what a VLTL rocket is...

Could be just guessing here but I have to think you know that's a typo :P

Regarding any sudden pivot because of BFR..I'm not convinced. SpaceX won't be charging marginal costs per flight from the start as they will want to recuperate the massive development costs of the BFR. Prices will be much closer to their existing rockets.  New Glenn has healthy margins built into it and a reusable second stage in the early-mid 2020s is the more likely next step than New Armstrong. Given SpaceX's history of meeting deadlines, there is no need for Blue to rush!
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