Author Topic: Blue Origin General Discussion Thread 2  (Read 126287 times)

Offline intrepidpursuit

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Re: Blue Origin General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #300 on: 05/30/2018 12:11 am »
Whoa. They've changed the entire architecture of the second stage this late in the game? I wonder when that decision was made.

Online TrevorMonty

Re: Blue Origin General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #301 on: 05/30/2018 12:39 am »
"but our BE-3U engine, which is the upper-stage variant of our liquid hydrogen engine, made such fast progress that we decided to flip that second stage to hydrogen. Then the two-stage vehicle gets vastly improved performance." - Jeff Bezos on using two BE-3U's instead of one BE-4U.
Source: Jeff Bezos: ‘We will have to leave this planet … and it’s going to make this planet better’
Great link. I've read summarized versions of this interview, lot more info in full interview in this link.

Offline edkyle99

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Re: Blue Origin General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #302 on: 05/30/2018 01:59 am »
Whoa. They've changed the entire architecture of the second stage this late in the game? I wonder when that decision was made.
Not sure when the decision was made, but on March 29, 2018, SpaceNews broke the story about Blue Origin having changed its plans for New Glenn's second stage to the 2xBE-3U configuration.

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 05/30/2018 02:00 am by edkyle99 »

Offline Lars-J

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Re: Blue Origin General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #303 on: 05/30/2018 04:41 am »
Whoa. They've changed the entire architecture of the second stage this late in the game? I wonder when that decision was made.

Perhaps because BE-4 development is taking longer than they originally planned. So it makes sense to concentrate on just the normal BE-4 and use the BE-3U since it is low hanging fruit and will work better for lunar purposes anyway.

Online woods170

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Re: Blue Origin General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #304 on: 05/30/2018 07:10 am »
Whoa. They've changed the entire architecture of the second stage this late in the game? I wonder when that decision was made.
Not sure when the decision was made, but on March 29, 2018, SpaceNews broke the story about Blue Origin having changed its plans for New Glenn's second stage to the 2xBE-3U configuration.

 - Ed Kyle

The decision to change the S2 architecture was made several months before SN broke the news in late March. What I'm hearing is that is was basically a done deal late last year.

Online jebbo

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Re: Blue Origin General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #305 on: 05/30/2018 08:41 am »
Source: Jeff Bezos: ‘We will have to leave this planet … and it’s going to make this planet better’

Good interview! Not much to add other than the weird coincidence that Cotulla, where he grew up, was the codename for one of the Intel XScale chips I worked on (all the codenames were places the marketing folks went hunting) :-)

Oh, and that I rather like his vision.

--- Tony
« Last Edit: 05/30/2018 08:42 am by jebbo »

Online Prettz

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Re: Blue Origin General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #306 on: 05/30/2018 01:37 pm »
Whoa. They've changed the entire architecture of the second stage this late in the game? I wonder when that decision was made.

Perhaps because BE-4 development is taking longer than they originally planned. So it makes sense to concentrate on just the normal BE-4 and use the BE-3U since it is low hanging fruit and will work better for lunar purposes anyway.
Do you think they'll use the 2 stage variant for lunar missions? They were already planning a third stage with a single BE-3U for BEO missions.

Offline Wolfram66

Re: Blue Origin General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #307 on: 05/30/2018 02:01 pm »
Whoa. They've changed the entire architecture of the second stage this late in the game? I wonder when that decision was made.

Perhaps because BE-4 development is taking longer than they originally planned. So it makes sense to concentrate on just the normal BE-4 and use the BE-3U since it is low hanging fruit and will work better for lunar purposes anyway.
Do you think they'll use the 2 stage variant for lunar missions? They were already planning a third stage with a single BE-3U for BEO missions.

I think i remember seeing that the choice was due to the higher Isp on the HydroLox Cryo BE-3.. i  will have to search for that... but the science on that is sound like the choice of RL-10's on ACES

Offline Chasm

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Re: Blue Origin General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #308 on: 05/30/2018 02:29 pm »
I suppose running out of time was the motivator.

At some point Blue decided to enter the EELV-2 competition. For that they needed a design that can be developed and launched by the required date. Entering just to get immediately thrown out for not being feasible enough would look bad.
BE-4 takes more time and it's hard to build and qualify the BE-4U without it. Even if you can do it in parallel they compete for the same resources: team, machining time and test stand.
Beyond EELV-2 there are also internal factors. Factory, launch site and ship are coming online soon™. Missing major parts like the upper stage engine delays a whole lot of people.

On the plus side they know a lot about BE-3. It has its own test stand, the team might be slightly different. Orbital ATK had an Air Force contract to work on a BE-3U nozzle extension and at least some of that should be accessible to and usable by Blue.
We now know that BE-3U was not selected for other rockets. With that it should be a bit easier to tweak development if needed, after all there are just their own requirements and no customers involved.

So one BE-4U gets replaced by more than one BE-3U. Thrust (and cost) of the new stage can be tailored by the number of engines. Hydrogen needs more volume but increased ISP (~1/3 higher) helps. BE-3U should be shorter which buys a bit of room. If necessary there is vertical room to grow, it's called 3rd stage on the initial design. ;)

Overall not too bad. Blue already has Hydrolox knowledge, might as well use it.

Offline intrepidpursuit

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Re: Blue Origin General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #309 on: 05/30/2018 02:31 pm »
Whoa. They've changed the entire architecture of the second stage this late in the game? I wonder when that decision was made.

Perhaps because BE-4 development is taking longer than they originally planned. So it makes sense to concentrate on just the normal BE-4 and use the BE-3U since it is low hanging fruit and will work better for lunar purposes anyway.
Do you think they'll use the 2 stage variant for lunar missions? They were already planning a third stage with a single BE-3U for BEO missions.

With the higher ISP and much smaller engines they may not need a third stage for high energy missions. If anything it might hurt LEO performance similar to the SEC on ULA rockets, but mass to LEO may not be a priority if their core markets are planetary, GEO and volume-centric constellation deployments.

Offline intrepidpursuit

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Re: Blue Origin General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #310 on: 05/30/2018 02:36 pm »
Whoa. They've changed the entire architecture of the second stage this late in the game? I wonder when that decision was made.
Not sure when the decision was made, but on March 29, 2018, SpaceNews broke the story about Blue Origin having changed its plans for New Glenn's second stage to the 2xBE-3U configuration.

 - Ed Kyle

The decision to change the S2 architecture was made several months before SN broke the news in late March. What I'm hearing is that is was basically a done deal late last year.

That still seems late. They already had customers and a factory under construction and were competing for EELV. They will certainly get to prove how agile they can be to make the quick pivot.

Offline cscott

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Re: Blue Origin General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #311 on: 05/30/2018 03:37 pm »
Jeff says they bought the boat for landing NG and are refitting it? Sounds like our marine sleuths over in the SpaceX ASDS threads ought to be given a heads up for a new hunting target...
I've done ASDS hunting, and I'll say that finding boat ownership from public records is quite hard. The typical ownership model seems to involve separate LLCs set up for each boat, which then have ownership and operating agreements with other opaque LLCs, etc.  SpaceX for example doesn't directly own any of their vessels, and Mr. Steven (for instance) which has been operated by Guice Offshore for months and has a big GO logo painted on it, still doesn't have any official paperwork documenting the relationship with GO; there seems to be a private contract beween SeaTran marine, Guice Offshore and SpaceX (or a subsidiary).

Custom-built commercial boats seem to be often "owned" by the builder and then "sold" for a nominal sum to the boat's own LLC when complete. Mr. Steven was sold by Gulf Craft LLC to Mr. Steven LLC for $1. So the boat owns itself.

Thus tracing top-down from Blue Origin to whatever ship it is outfitting is likely to be fruitless.  While Bezos says "bought" the likely case is that Blue Origin has signed contracts with a number of different folk, including perhaps the boat's own LLC, not actually transferred ownership in any boat registry.  We have better luck with folks that hang around docks with an ear to the rumor mill.

Offline envy887

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Re: Blue Origin General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #312 on: 05/30/2018 03:38 pm »
Whoa. They've changed the entire architecture of the second stage this late in the game? I wonder when that decision was made.

Perhaps because BE-4 development is taking longer than they originally planned. So it makes sense to concentrate on just the normal BE-4 and use the BE-3U since it is low hanging fruit and will work better for lunar purposes anyway.
Do you think they'll use the 2 stage variant for lunar missions? They were already planning a third stage with a single BE-3U for BEO missions.

With the higher ISP and much smaller engines they may not need a third stage for high energy missions. If anything it might hurt LEO performance similar to the SEC on ULA rockets, but mass to LEO may not be a priority if their core markets are planetary, GEO and volume-centric constellation deployments.

LEO performance is likely to improve with LH2 upper, since BE-3U is quite high thrust at 585 kN. I'm estimating a 1150 tonne booster and 200 tonne upper stage, with payloads of around 55 tonnes to LEO, 21 tonnes to GTO, 6.5 tonnes to GEO, and 15 tonnes to TLI. All with only 2 stages and with booster downrange landing.

The 3-stage version with a ~50 tonne upper stage and single BE-3U would get about 25 tonnes to TLI with booster reuse. About the same as SLS Block 1, despite having about half the liftoff mass and a reusable booster.

My reasoning for the large upper stage is mainly due to the need to constrain staging velocity to limit heat load on the reentering booster, since Blue isn't planning to do extra burns to slow the booster down. Also, Blue's spokesman said they need to stretch the second stage for LH2, which implies a gross mass substantially larger than then 140 tonnes that would fit in the volume of the initial single BE-4U stage.
« Last Edit: 05/30/2018 03:39 pm by envy887 »

Offline cscott

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Re: Blue Origin General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #313 on: 05/30/2018 03:40 pm »
So, let's get public sources:  What do we know about any people's names on the Blue Origin team?  What do we know about who their former employers were?  for which years?  Who, from all of Kistler's people are not working, at Blue Origin today?  How many ever joined Blue from Kistler?  At what levels of responsibility?  When?  What evidence do we have that any persons who formerly were employed by Kistler are playing the major directional role at Blue?

For starters Rob Meyerson.
Rob Meyerson joined Blue Origin in 2003, and worked on all of its projects, including its suborbital projects. I don't think he can be called part of a new "Kistler orbital team".
« Last Edit: 05/30/2018 09:16 pm by cscott »

Online TrevorMonty

Re: Blue Origin General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #314 on: 05/30/2018 05:13 pm »
Whoa. They've changed the entire architecture of the second stage this late in the game? I wonder when that decision was made.

Perhaps because BE-4 development is taking longer than they originally planned. So it makes sense to concentrate on just the normal BE-4 and use the BE-3U since it is low hanging fruit and will work better for lunar purposes anyway.
Do you think they'll use the 2 stage variant for lunar missions? They were already planning a third stage with a single BE-3U for BEO missions.

With the higher ISP and much smaller engines they may not need a third stage for high energy missions. If anything it might hurt LEO performance similar to the SEC on ULA rockets, but mass to LEO may not be a priority if their core markets are planetary, GEO and volume-centric constellation deployments.

LEO performance is likely to improve with LH2 upper, since BE-3U is quite high thrust at 585 kN. I'm estimating a 1150 tonne booster and 200 tonne upper stage, with payloads of around 55 tonnes to LEO, 21 tonnes to GTO, 6.5 tonnes to GEO, and 15 tonnes to TLI. All with only 2 stages and with booster downrange landing.

The 3-stage version with a ~50 tonne upper stage and single BE-3U would get about 25 tonnes to TLI with booster reuse. About the same as SLS Block 1, despite having about half the liftoff mass and a reusable booster.

My reasoning for the large upper stage is mainly due to the need to constrain staging velocity to limit heat load on the reentering booster, since Blue isn't planning to do extra burns to slow the booster down. Also, Blue's spokesman said they need to stretch the second stage for LH2, which implies a gross mass substantially larger than then 140 tonnes that would fit in the volume of the initial single BE-4U stage.
The alternative to 3rd stage is reuseable OTV which 2 stage NG refuels. Mass of OTV can be very low as it doesn't need to handle launch forces.
But it does require Blue to develop inorbit refuelling technology of LH and LOX. Something they will need to do eventually.
« Last Edit: 05/30/2018 05:14 pm by TrevorMonty »

Offline Lar

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Re: Blue Origin General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #315 on: 05/30/2018 05:24 pm »
(mod)  Sorry I was out this holiday weekend or I would have said something about 50 posts back. We can do better than some of the recent posts.  A few points

- no one needs to act like BMOF... no matter how long they've been around or how much they know.
- it is reasonable to ask for corroboration. "everyone knows this" or "If you hang out in the space community you'd know this" is not corroboration. Even "it's on LinkedIn" isn't necessarily helpful. There is no need for excessive snark in reply to asks for more info. We're all here to learn, not show off how well connected we are.
- sometimes corroboration isn't possible. It might not be public info. Maybe the poster said too much already. Or maybe they shared all they can. If someone says take my word for it... maybe do that (or don't.... as you like)
- If you ask for corroboration and and you don't get it, move on with your life. Set your internal credibility counter a bit lower if you like. But don't berate people on forum. That just makes things worse.
- Use the report to mod sooner, rather than going nasty on forum.
- If someone is trolling it often does no good to point that out (this is one I could use some help with myself some times)
- In general, see what you can do to increase the signal and reduce the noise, while being excellent to each other.

There are a lot of posts that are problematic from a lot of posters...  There is also good info mixed in. Swinging the ax now is likely to leave a very choppy forum thread behind.  And it looks like things have returned to an even keel... thanks for that. So I'm just issuing this general nuncio.

Thank you.
« Last Edit: 05/30/2018 05:27 pm by Lar »
"I think it would be great to be born on Earth and to die on Mars. Just hopefully not at the point of impact." -Elon Musk
"We're a little bit like the dog who caught the bus" - Musk after CRS-8 S1 successfully landed on ASDS OCISLY

Offline envy887

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Re: Blue Origin General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #316 on: 05/30/2018 05:29 pm »
Whoa. They've changed the entire architecture of the second stage this late in the game? I wonder when that decision was made.

Perhaps because BE-4 development is taking longer than they originally planned. So it makes sense to concentrate on just the normal BE-4 and use the BE-3U since it is low hanging fruit and will work better for lunar purposes anyway.
Do you think they'll use the 2 stage variant for lunar missions? They were already planning a third stage with a single BE-3U for BEO missions.

With the higher ISP and much smaller engines they may not need a third stage for high energy missions. If anything it might hurt LEO performance similar to the SEC on ULA rockets, but mass to LEO may not be a priority if their core markets are planetary, GEO and volume-centric constellation deployments.

LEO performance is likely to improve with LH2 upper, since BE-3U is quite high thrust at 585 kN. I'm estimating a 1150 tonne booster and 200 tonne upper stage, with payloads of around 55 tonnes to LEO, 21 tonnes to GTO, 6.5 tonnes to GEO, and 15 tonnes to TLI. All with only 2 stages and with booster downrange landing.

The 3-stage version with a ~50 tonne upper stage and single BE-3U would get about 25 tonnes to TLI with booster reuse. About the same as SLS Block 1, despite having about half the liftoff mass and a reusable booster.

My reasoning for the large upper stage is mainly due to the need to constrain staging velocity to limit heat load on the reentering booster, since Blue isn't planning to do extra burns to slow the booster down. Also, Blue's spokesman said they need to stretch the second stage for LH2, which implies a gross mass substantially larger than then 140 tonnes that would fit in the volume of the initial single BE-4U stage.
The alternative to 3rd stage is reuseable OTV which 2 stage NG refuels. Mass of OTV can be very low as it doesn't need to handle launch forces.
But it does require Blue to develop inorbit refuelling technology of LH and LOX. Something they will need to do eventually.

It also requires transferring payloads between the 2nd stage and the OTV, which might be considerably more difficult than refueling, or at least require payloads to be explicitly designed to handle transfer.

It might be simpler to just refuel the 2nd stage and send it wherever the payload needs to go. Somewhat like BFS.

Online Prettz

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Re: Blue Origin General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #317 on: 05/31/2018 03:54 am »
With the higher ISP and much smaller engines they may not need a third stage for high energy missions. If anything it might hurt LEO performance similar to the SEC on ULA rockets, but mass to LEO may not be a priority if their core markets are planetary, GEO and volume-centric constellation deployments.
Obviously the third stage is optional, like Centaur on Titan, just for the highest-energy missions. While the 2nd stage is expendable it's probably more economical to just use the 2nd stage for BEO missions.

An expendable 3rd stage for BEO missions would make sense once they develop a reusable 2nd stage. I would really love to know Blue's current estimated timeline for a reusable second stage vs. their estimated timeline for launching their own lunar payloads. Which would arrive first?

Offline brickmack

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Re: Blue Origin General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #318 on: 05/31/2018 06:37 pm »
It also requires transferring payloads between the 2nd stage and the OTV, which might be considerably more difficult than refueling, or at least require payloads to be explicitly designed to handle transfer.

It might be simpler to just refuel the 2nd stage and send it wherever the payload needs to go. Somewhat like BFS.

Robotics and berthing interfaces of that sort are thoroughly demonstrated already. A small arm on the OTV would add only a couple hundred kg of dry mass (not much when we're talking about something likely able to send several tens of tons to lunar orbit, if this is intended as an ACES competitor), probably even less for a simple unpressurized mounting mechanism. Such an arm might have some other uses too (satellite servicing, station assembly). On the payload side, interfaces would be problematic, but in the short term until customers start designing hardware specifically for this system, you could just move the entire payload adapter, and put the grapple fixtures and berthing mechanism on there, and then leave the PAF-to-payload interface the same (you'd have to throw away the PAF, but thats cheap in the short term)

Online FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: Blue Origin General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #319 on: 06/02/2018 02:42 pm »
Quote
Erika Wagner of Blue Origin notes at #DPSS18 that the company is now up to about 1,500 employees.

https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/1002912902985199616

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