Author Topic: Vega Evolution Discussion Thread: Place Your Vega Upgrade Discussions Here.  (Read 2257 times)

Offline russianhalo117

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To comply with this post in the updates thread I am creating this discussion thread;
By the way, this is an update thread. Please set up a thread to discuss your comments. ;)
« Last Edit: 07/05/2017 02:35 PM by russianhalo117 »

Offline Rik ISS-fan

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Nice, a Vega Update and a Discussion threat. I hope a moderator can clean up the update threat (move stuf to here).
I think the Vega L threat can better become part of this topic. Because that will be a dead topic very soon, it's totally related to Vega (Evolution).

I expect the development of Vega C will be successful, resulting in Vega C becoming available in 2019. I expect that  Vega and Vega C will launch alongside each other for a couple of years. The launch cadence of both Vega's could go up to ~6 annually, if there is enough demand.
Now Vega can only launch 3 or 4 times per year because of non availability of P80 casting capacity and the requirement to test the Thrust Vector Actuators at ELV (Vega pad).
New casting facilities, and vertical stowage and testing facilities for P120C are under construction at CSG.
Inside these facilities the P120C and most likely also P80 stages can be integrated and tested. This eliminates a couple week long testing phase at ELV. The result is a much shorter launcher assembly phase, thus a higher possible launch cadence.

Already for a couple of years the plan is a two phase evolution of Vega. First the development of Vega C, with a larger first stage (P120 => P120C {P142}) and replacement of Z23 by Z40 (Avio internal development). The second phase is the replacement of the upper-stage (3th & 4th with a 3th), VEGA E with VUS 3th stage.
For VUS; Avio (Italy) is really pushing towards a upper-stage with the LOxLNG Myra engine, but DLR studies have also looked at Aestus 2 (hypergolic). And HM7B or a smaller Vinci (LOx-LH2) (I call that HM7C) are also possibilities. (As are new developments ...)
If I'm not mistaken, the plan is to make the decision for VEGA E, during the 2018 ESA ministerial conference. The introduction of Vega E is planned for 2023. As always with launchers in Europe, the country that pays the bill decides. So, a lot will depend on where the parts are going to be manufactured and by which company.

Avio presented their vision for VEGA E at the Paris Air Show 2017. They also presented the VEGA L(ight), most likely Vega E without P120c. I think that Vega L is a nice addition besides Vega E; ~0.5mT & ~3mT to 700km Polar orbit. I'm wondering if Arianegroup/Avio-ELV also want a replacement for Vega (1.5mT ...).
I think the Avio approach for this Vega replacement would be the development of a new first stage that has the same diameter as the Z40c (2,34m if I'm not mistaken). A Z40c can't be used for the first stage because it has a flat (sustainer) thrust curve. Avio could develop an booster grain geometry for the Z40 casing, I call this P40) or they could make a longer casing to optimize the payload performance . I expect this optimized stage will contain between 40 and 60 mT of solid fuel.
Another option, most likely favored by Arianegroup, is a new launcher. It uses the VUS as second stage, and most likely a first stage that is powered by a single Prometheus engine.

I'm curious to what others think about this.

Offline gosnold

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I don't think the P80 will be kept in production after the P135 (or whatever the Ariane 6 boosters are called now) is qualified. A single configuration would simplify the manufacturing process. So there would be only Vega Cs after 2020.

Regarding the long-term evolution, I see a lot of tension between the Defense side of CNES wanting to keep a small solid launcher in production, and the rest of CNES and ESA wanting to put Prometheus and Callisto to good use in a small reusable launcher.

Something to keep in mind is that Vega does something very interesting for the French: it's assured access to space reconnaissance, for a fraction of the price of Ariane. It's half of the independent access to space they want, the other half being for communication satellites.
« Last Edit: 07/05/2017 08:11 PM by gosnold »

Offline Chasm

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How will Vega launch cost evolve with the move to C?

Offline Alpha_Centauri

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It is supposed to be cost neutral, whether that will be the case remains to be seen.

Offline Rik ISS-fan

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I've got to correct myself. Vega E is, according to this ESA page, going to use the Myra engine. It's a 100kN LOx Methane (LNG) expander cycle engine.

When I wrote my post, I realized that Airbus Safraan Launchers/ArianeGroup is active in both commercial and tactical launchers. So possibly this helps a bit in the Adeline (Prometheus-VUS) | Vega Replacement discussion. I expect that there is totally no objection to Vega L from ArianeGroup. (possibly there are two versions  ;))
 
I also agree that Vega will stop launching when Ariane 5 stops. The first couple of years (2019-2020) the P120C (P141.6) will, most likely, be produced on the filament winding machine for P80(P88). As long as that is the case, there is hardly any difference in producing P80 or P120C. But when Ariane 6 starts launching, the P120C casings will be produced inside a new factory (later a also in Germany).
I don't know if Z23 and Z9A also use the same machine as P80 or if there is a smaller one. I expect the Z40 could use the smaller one, if Avio hasn't produced a Z40 casing already. I expect that the tooling for Vega will only be used for Z40 and Z9A from 2021. And when VUS becomes available only for Z40, and P40 the first stage for Vega L.
For both P120C and Z40/P40/Z9a/Z23 the cost go down with production scale. So to have an affordable Vega E/L family, the Z40/P40 stages should also be produced at a high enough scale. That's why Vega L and possibly the Vega Replacement (P40/P60-Z40-VUS) make a beter case for the Vega family. (Possibly even helping the Ariane 6 ...)
« Last Edit: 07/06/2017 09:57 PM by Rik ISS-fan »

Offline Rik ISS-fan

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If I've remembered correcty, the launch cost for ADM Aeolis were less then 33mln euro.
ELV aims for the same price for Vega-C and most likely also Vega-E. (With higher launch rate, the price could drop.) I think a Vega-C and Vega-E launch (including payload preparation at CSG) could cost 30-35mln. That is for 2.2mT and roughly 3mT to 700km SSO.
Avio aims at 10 to 15 mln for Vega L. (300 - 500kg to 700km SSO)
For Vega replacement depending on the first stage, I think 15-25mln could be possible. That will bring >1mT (1000kg) to 700km SSO.
In comparison;
- Rocketlabs Electron costs 5mln dollar for 150kg to this orbit.
- Launcher One is most likely 10mln for 300kg.
I don't expect that SpX can drop it's cost below 45mln, and this is without payload preparation.


Offline Chasm

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Good point about integration. There is more than just the launch itself that has to be paid for and the other parts of launch pricing us not too obvious. (Or I need better search terms.)

Offline bolun

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From Vega Updated thread http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=1071.msg1747309#msg1747309

AFAIK Vega (C) batch orders and usage.
There are 11 Vega and 4 Vega C in the pipe line.
Nine launches have been booked into the orderbook.
So five Vega and one Vega C are still available for the 2019-2021 time frame.

According to Arianespace's last press release http://www.arianespace.com/press-release/vv11-success/

Quote
Vega at a glance

– 2012: first launch from CSG.
– 11 launches, all successful, including eight for Earth observation satellites.
– 26 satellites launched (13 for Earth observation, 11 for technology applications, and two for scientific missions).
– 11.3 metric tons orbited.
– Six launches in the order book (all for Earth observation)

There are 6 launches in the order book. IMHO some of these launches have to be with multiple satellites.
« Last Edit: 11/13/2017 08:27 AM by bolun »

Offline Rik ISS-fan

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Re: Vega Discussion Thread (topic subject change?)
« Reply #9 on: 11/13/2017 12:38 PM »
AFAIK there isn't a Vega discussion topic. Possibly a good idea to turn this topic into it.
This was the topic about AVIO's Vega-L R&D project. And I created the Future Arianespace launcher offering topic.

I think one of the Arianespace news releases is wrong, either the 2th Vega batch was smaller, or there are more Vega launchers available then sold. ESA has several Sentinel and Earth Explorer satellites where the launcher still has to be ordered.
« Last Edit: 11/13/2017 12:47 PM by Rik ISS-fan »

Offline calapine

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From the full press release in the update thread:

ESA signed two contracts today with Italy’s ELV and Thales Alenia Space to extend Europe’s Vega space system capabilities and competitiveness.

Quote
ELV will develop and extensively test a new European cryogenic upper stage engine development model for Vega evolutions beyond 2025, based on low-cost liquid oxygen–methane propulsion.

The engine replaces the current Zefiro-9 solid-propellant motor and the AVUM upper stage engine for Vega-E, matching Vega-C performance at significantly reduced costs and improved flexibility.

In addition, complementing the Small Spacecraft Mission Services (SSMS) programme already under development, ELV will investigate how existing motors such as the P120, P80, Z40, Z23, Z9, could be used to create a family of Vega-E configurations able to place payloads of 200–2500 kg into orbit.

--

The contract for Space Rider activities worth €36.7 million was signed by ESA Director of Space Transportation Daniel Neuenschwander, Thales Alenia Space Vice President Domain Exploration and Science Walter Cugno, and ELV Managing Director Andrea Preve at ESA headquarters in Paris.
 
The Vega and Space Rider development programmes provide the framework to consolidate a Vega space system able to capture the broadest market needs with Vega-C and its spin-offs products: SSMS, Space Rider, and the VEnUS Vega electric upper stage, covering access to low Earth orbit (LEO) for payloads up to 2300 kg, orbital transfer from LEO, and return from LEO, for a multitude of space applications in a competitive manner.

So Vega-E is a reality and various Vega-L variants are looking increasingly likely. The same is true for VEnuS.

Very good news which also puts the demise of SPARROW into context.

Offline Chasm

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Is that new methane engine Mira?
Now I really like to know how much AVIO and how much KBKhA is in that engine.

(Fun with pictures: On the AVIO site the engine is rotated so that the Russian logos are almost invisible while Parabolic Arc and KBKhA have pics showing them all.)

Offline Rik ISS-fan

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I wonder if ELV will test a version of Myra or if they will test FLPP NEO ETID-ID-M. Most likely this has been worked upon for several years already.  :-X (I'm speculating)
ESA/ELV are going to study multiple Vega-E versions to make a Vega-E launcher family that can orbit payloads form 200-2500kg.
Vega-E is going to be P120C + Z40C + VUS, GLOW ~200mT payload ~2.5mT to 700km polar (Slightly more than Vega-C).
I think Vega-L could have two versions, the forst derived from Vega-C and the second derived from Vega-E.
Vega-L (from -C): P40 + Z9A + AVUM+ | Vega-L (from -E): P40 + VUS, both GLOW ~55mT, payload <0,5mT
edit: Vega-L would look like Vega-E (/C) without P120C and with the fairing of Vega, but straight at the bottom.

I think there could be one version in between: ?(P40-P80) + Z40C + VUS. GLOW 100-150mT, payload ~1,5mT.
All launched from ELV with different launch tables, that keep the connectors at the same height.

Let's add this ESA image to see the size difference between Vega and Vega-C/E

The attitude control thrusters are in the wrong location according to the new Vega-E renderings.


Edit: A stage the same size as Castor 120 would be a P50, A stage like SRB-A (H2/Epsilon) would be a P65.
« Last Edit: 11/30/2017 03:41 PM by Rik ISS-fan »

Offline Kosmos2001

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Do you think Vega family is more efficiently profitable than Ariane family?

Offline Rik ISS-fan

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The Vega family is a nice addition to the Ariane 6 family. They complement each other.
Both Ariane 6 and Vega-C/E will use the P120C boosters, the production scale makes these boosters very cheap.
Increasing the usage rate of ELV; Z40C/P40 and VUS will make Vega family launches more affordable. The same
production scale effect is >30% of the cost savings between Ariane 5 and Ariane 6.

Let's add the numbers.
Vega-E can orbit 2,5mT to 700kg polar at most. (or was it 800km?), for <45mln.
Ariane 62 will be capable of launching 7mT to this orbit, for 85mln.
« Last Edit: 11/30/2017 03:10 PM by Rik ISS-fan »

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