Author Topic: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3  (Read 121124 times)

Offline TrevorMonty

ULA will part own the BE-4 factory? That’s news to me, totally missed that.
A few years back when Vulcan was announced there was talk of joint ULA/Blue factory. Recent articles on Alabama factory only talk of Blue involvement. So I stand corrected ULA won't be a partner just a customer.


Online mme

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The following would have to happen for AR-1 to be selected. BE-4 having a major technical setback delaying it by a couple of years. Such that AR-1 would be into production before BE-4. ULA's main interest for Vulcan is schedule. The sooner the better in getting it flying. At the moment there is nearly a 2 year gap between BE-4 schedules for production units and AR-1 for production units. Late 2019 for BE-4 and sometime in 2021 for AR-1 although AJR keeps insisting that they can deliver in 2020. They still have not done any full engine tests of any kind. Expect that these tests of a development engine to be over a period of ~ 1 year. Followed by a very limited number of production engines for use in qualification testing. The latest is that AR-1 is unlikely to start full engine testing until late 2019 putting the first production engines late 2020 and then the first flight units H1 2021.

But what about the BE-4 running for so long at only 70% of full power in its testing?
Blue is very serious about the gradatim part of Gradatim Ferociter. I think it's a mistake to read anything into them taking their sweet time to get to 100%.
Space is not Highlander.  There can, and will, be more than one.

Offline john smith 19

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"Beholden to a single engine manufacturer" could also be described as "vertically integrated". 
No. Vertically integrated means you make all the key parts yourself.

What you're talking about is a "Sole source" contract.

Historically this is why prices to NASA have been sky high. You have no option to accept what price the supplier charges.

The fact ULA (and their predecessors) have had a decades long relationship with NG (and its predecessors) is both a strength and a weakness. They know how seriously (or not) they take cost reduction and willingness to innovate.
BFS. The worlds first Methane fueled FFORSC engined CFRP structured A380 sized aerospaceplane tail sitter capable of flying in Earth and Mars atmospheres. BFR. The worlds biggest Methane fueled FFORSC engined CFRP structured booster for BFS. First flight to Mars by end of 2022. Forward looking statements. T&C apply. Believe no one. Run your own numbers. So, you are going to Mars to start a better life? Picture it in your mind. Now say what it is out loud.

Offline TrevorMonty

We may have a price for Vulcan $85m-$260m.

https://t.co/ZVUjOutQ4n

Offline theinternetftw

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We may have a price for Vulcan $85m-$260m.

Graphic captured for posterity.

Edit: Note however that this chart appears to have been made circa late 2017.

Edit 2: Read the next two posts, this chart is not a good source of information.
« Last Edit: 06/22/2018 05:10 AM by theinternetftw »

Offline johnfwhitesell

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News is welcome but 85 million to 260 million seems like an awfully low degree of precision.  I'm scratching my head and can't make sense of this.  On the one hand, 85 million is the lowest figure I've heard unless it's talking post-SMART.  On the other hand, the only way I can wrap my head around 260 million is supposing there are tons of extra government certification fees being piled onto a Vulcan heavy launch.  But the Falcon 9 and Heavy also have such fees (as seen today's news) and they are just given one price, not a range of prices.  And Atlas is just as vague even though that thing is flying.

Without knowing a source, I'm feeling kinda of skeptical.

Offline theinternetftw

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Without knowing a source, I'm feeling kinda of skeptical.

As for a source, I was reminded a bit ago that this is from the FAA AST compendium (PDF).  But as I was also reminded, and as scrutiny makes evident, this is not a great document.  The F9 numbers performance numbers, for instance, use F9 1.1 values.  Not exactly a vote of confidence.

This is basically the rediscovery of a very questionable (though official) source.

Offline Sknowball

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Without knowing a source, I'm feeling kinda of skeptical.

As for a source, I was reminded a bit ago that this is from the FAA AST compendium (PDF).  But as I was also reminded, and as scrutiny makes evident, this is not a great document.  The F9 numbers performance numbers, for instance, use F9 1.1 values.  Not exactly a vote of confidence.

This is basically the rediscovery of a very questionable (though official) source.

The FAA AST is also inconsistent with its self as a number of the charts conflict with later information in the launch vehicle fact sheets (like the mass to orbit numbers for Vulcan).

Offline Kryten

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Without knowing a source, I'm feeling kinda of skeptical.

As for a source, I was reminded a bit ago that this is from the FAA AST compendium (PDF).  But as I was also reminded, and as scrutiny makes evident, this is not a great document.  The F9 numbers performance numbers, for instance, use F9 1.1 values.  Not exactly a vote of confidence.

This is basically the rediscovery of a very questionable (though official) source.

The FAA AST is also inconsistent with its self as a number of the charts conflict with later information in the launch vehicle fact sheets (like the mass to orbit numbers for Vulcan).
They aren't official FAA documents, they're made for the FAA by an analytics company called Bryce. AFAIK they don't have any information that isn't already public.

Offline johnfwhitesell

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Someone should donate an L2 subscription to the FAA.

Offline Star One

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Considering the recent announcement concerning Vulcan this news seems appropriate in this thread.

RL10 engine added to Air Force agreement with Aerojet Rocketdyne

Quote
Aerojet Rocketdyne and the U.S. Air Force have revised an existing agreement supporting development of a new large rocket engine to include work on an updated version of an upper stage engine.

The company announced June 25 that it signed a modification of its Rocket Propulsion System other transaction authority agreement with the Air Force to incorporate work on the RL10C-X engine. The original agreement, signed in February 2016, covered work on the AR1 booster engine.

The RL10C-X is an updated version of the RL10 currently used on the Atlas 5 and Delta 4 launch vehicles. The updated version makes used of advanced technologies, such as additive manufacturing, to lower production costs while maintaining performance and reliability.

http://spacenews.com/rl10-engine-added-to-air-force-agreement-with-aerojet-rocketdyne/

Offline Sknowball

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Tory Bruno was a guest on The Space Show July 23rd.   During the show he revealed a number of new details about the Centaur upgrade path and engine configurations for Vulcan Centaur.

As previously announced Centaur V will be a 5.4m diameter stage, and now confirmed with 2 RL-10C engines.
After Centaur V a newly revealed variant, Centaur V+, will come online with an engine upgrade in a 2 engine configuration.
A Centaur V+ Long will be introduced which will support 170klb of prop, studies are still on going on dual versus quads.  This is designed to replace Delta IV Heavy.
Finally there will be a hard cut over to ACES which will introduce IVF.

Centaur V -> Centaur V+ -> Centaur V+ Long -> ACES

There was a lot talked about during the hour, but the other big pieces of information are that XEUS is not a focus and that the next steps in IVF development is integration testing of the compressor, generator, and heat exchanger (all have been independently tested).

EDIT:
On Reddit Tory Bruno has provided the propellant load of Centaur V

Quote
120klbm

So 54k kg, which was ed kyle's calculation earlier in the year, so credit to him.
« Last Edit: 07/25/2018 07:03 AM by Sknowball »

Offline Sknowball

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ULA recently published their 2018 presentation titled Vulcan Centaur System Briefing from the International Space Development Conference.  Included in the presentation is a chart for Vulcan-Centaur V (and what I assume are Vulcan-Centaur V+Long, but listed as Vulcan Centaur Heavy) performance numbers.   Note that the chart uses Vulcan Centaur V 522 as the base version (aligns with roadmap listing 2-6x SRBs).


_______________Vulcan Centaur 522Vulcan Centaur 562Vulcan Centaur Heavy
28.7 degree 200km LEO17800 kg27400 kg34900 kg
1800m/s GTO7400 kg13300 kg16300 kg
GEO2050 kg6000 kg7200 kg

Offline DreamyPickle

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According to the interview Vulcan is launching in 2020 and they already started building hardware such as tank domes, however they haven't yet decided the engine and thus the fuel. How can this work, doesn't RP1 versus CH4 change tank construction?

These fuels have very different densities and temperatures. The first stage bulkhead definitely needs to move and the tank skin for a CH4 section would need insulation similar to the LOX section. The combined density of methalox is lower so the whole rocket needs to be taller.

Online hkultala

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So 54k kg, which was ed kyle's calculation earlier in the year, so credit to him.

Good for not using milliteslas this time, but:

There is a term "Mega" (letter M) for million in the SI-system. No need to say thousand thousands (kilo of kiloes)

Term "tonne" also always means megagram.

« Last Edit: 07/25/2018 08:16 AM by hkultala »

Offline DreamyPickle

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ULA recently published their 2018 presentation titled Vulcan Centaur System Briefing from the International Space Development Conference.  Included in the presentation is a chart for Vulcan-Centaur V (and what I assume are Vulcan-Centaur V+Long, but listed as Vulcan Centaur Heavy) performance numbers.   Note that the chart uses Vulcan Centaur V 522 as the base version (aligns with roadmap listing 2-6x SRBs).


_______________Vulcan Centaur 522Vulcan Centaur 562Vulcan Centaur Heavy
28.7 degree 200km LEO17800 kg27400 kg34900 kg
1800m/s GTO7400 kg13300 kg16300 kg
GEO2050 kg6000 kg7200 kg

It's not clear if "Vulcan Heavy" means "Centaur Long" but this is the most likely explanation. The jump from 6000 to 7200 direct GEO is small but mandated by for EELV category C payload requirements.

ULA being unable to cover all payloads with the first Vulcan doesn't look very good but I guess the plan was to keep flying the Delta IV Heavy in parallel anyway.

It's funny that Delta will outlive Atlas.

Offline ChrisWilson68

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So 54k kg, which was ed kyle's calculation earlier in the year, so credit to him.

Good for not using milliteslas this time, but:

There is a term "Mega" (letter M) for million in the SI-system. No need to say thousand thousands (kilo of kiloes)

Term "tonne" also always means megagram.

I'm pretty certain that the vast majority of readers will understand 54k kg *much* faster and more easily than 54 Mg.

Offline ChrisWilson68

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According to the interview Vulcan is launching in 2020 and they already started building hardware such as tank domes, however they haven't yet decided the engine and thus the fuel. How can this work, doesn't RP1 versus CH4 change tank construction?

These fuels have very different densities and temperatures. The first stage bulkhead definitely needs to move and the tank skin for a CH4 section would need insulation similar to the LOX section. The combined density of methalox is lower so the whole rocket needs to be taller.

My assumption is that they "haven't decided yet" in the sense that they're going forward assuming methalox but they're still open to changing their mind and re-starting if they run into an insurmountable roadblock.

Also, "haven't decided yet" in the sense of not wanting to lose leverage with Blue Origin.

Or maybe even "haven't decided yet" in the sense that someone on the board isn't willing to sign off on committing to it, even though operationally the decision has already been made and there's no realistic alternative.

Offline jongoff

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So 54k kg, which was ed kyle's calculation earlier in the year, so credit to him.

Good for not using milliteslas this time, but:

There is a term "Mega" (letter M) for million in the SI-system. No need to say thousand thousands (kilo of kiloes)

Term "tonne" also always means megagram.

I'm pretty certain that the vast majority of readers will understand 54k kg *much* faster and more easily than 54 Mg.


and 54 mT even faster...

~Jon

Offline guckyfan

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I'm pretty certain that the vast majority of readers will understand 54k kg *much* faster and more easily than 54 Mg.


and 54 mT even faster...

~Jon

I am european and find it quite hard to process mT as metric ton. Distinctions like ton or tonne are als awkward. 54k kg is a lot better.

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