Author Topic: ULA Vulcan Launch Vehicle (as announced/built) - General Discussion Thread 3  (Read 144025 times)

Offline Chasm

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Sounds right to me.
So ULA has enough RL-10 to fly the remaining Delta launches and everything on the books so far for Atlas. No changes there as expected.
Even if the count is off they can fly a few Starliner or other high profile missions until the new engine has retired enough risk.

I think they'll try to switch with Vulcan. Don't touch Centaur III unless you have to, and try not to rework Centaur V after just a few launches either. If there are any RL-10 left after the the last flight of Atlas V sell them to SLS.

Makes me want to know how many RD-180 ULA has left.  :)

Offline john smith 19

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Why does the motor look like paper mache?

I'd guess because it's got a layer of some kind of TPS foam on the outside, making it look bumpy and rough.

I'd guess the flight models will make sure the surface skin is much smoother.
« Last Edit: 09/30/2018 11:42 PM by Lar »
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 russianhalo117

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Why does the motor look like paper mache?

I'd guess because it's got a layer of some kind of TPS foam on the outside, making it look bumpy and rough.

I'd guess the flight models will make sure the surface skin is much smoother.
cooling jacket per say for the cold fire test. The warm fire test will have a similar jacket. AFAIU the remaining tests will not have the jackets.
« Last Edit: 09/30/2018 11:45 PM by Lar »

Offline Newton_V

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Atlas V started flying RL10C in 2014, and by my count they've done 20 launches in that configuration so far (possibly a few more, couldn't find that information for any NRO missions).

Cut-in for RL-10C was AV-051 and on, with the exception of MMS (AV-053) and O-Rex (AV-067).  So about 25 or 26 if I did my math correctly.

Offline jacqmans

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Offline Ronsmytheiii

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USAF announces that ULA's Vulcan has been awarded a contract for their launch services development contract:

Quote
United Launch Services, Centennial, Colorado, has been awarded a $967,000,000 other-transaction agreement for the development of a Launch System Prototype for the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle program.

https://dod.defense.gov/News/Contracts/Contract-View/Article/1658771/
And this is a good reminder that just because one of your fellow space enthusiasts occasionally voices doubts about the SpaceX schedule announcements or is cautious about believing SpaceX has licked a problem before actually seeing proof that's true, it doesn't mean they hate SpaceX.

Offline ArbitraryConstant

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It also makes sense with those numbers why there is no longer a 512 or 502 variant, as TWR for the 512 would be well under 1.2 and 502 wouldn't make enough thrust to lift off.
Given the excellent performance to a bunch of different orbits of 522 I wonder if they would have a 502 config that partially loads the first stage to save the solids. I can't do a detailed simulation but my intuition is the relatively low thrust of the upper stage would be the main constraint for that, if MECO came too soon, gravity losses for the upper stage would be too high.

It might also make sense as a business decision, if they decided to qualify the absolute minimum of different configurations to get to the first launch as fast as possible. Then they could qualify others on an as needed basis.

Is anyone in a position to estimate a 502 LEO/GTO payload with a partially fueled first stage? If it's reasonable, that probably represents a really good config to snag some commercial launches.

Online brickmack

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Bruno said on reddit months ago that there is a zero booster configuration and the infographic showing only 2+ boosters was an oversight. Unless thats changed very recently and by pure coincidence makes that infographic accurate, any math showing otherwise must be wrong

Offline russianhalo117

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Bruno said on reddit months ago that there is a zero booster configuration and the infographic showing only 2+ boosters was an oversight. Unless thats changed very recently and by pure coincidence makes that infographic accurate, any math showing otherwise must be wrong
2-6 boosters per: https://www.ulalaunch.com/docs/default-source/evolution/vulcan-centaur-overview-17may2018.pdf

Offline ArbitraryConstant

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Bruno said on reddit months ago that there is a zero booster configuration and the infographic showing only 2+ boosters was an oversight. Unless thats changed very recently and by pure coincidence makes that infographic accurate, any math showing otherwise must be wrong
2-6 boosters per: https://www.ulalaunch.com/docs/default-source/evolution/vulcan-centaur-overview-17may2018.pdf
Yup, I saw this. The payload numbers for the 522 configuration seem pretty crazy though, 7400 kg to GTO-1800, 17800 kg to LEO. There's definitely smaller launches than that. Doesn't make sense for this to be the minimum configuration, unless one or more of the following apply:

-doc is an oversight
-Vulcan 502 is technically infeasible
-ULA doesn't want the launches
-ULA will use solids on the launches rather than qualify a new config
-ULA plans to qualify a 502 config at a later time but is deferring to accelerate RD-180 retirement

Offline Sknowball

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Tory Bruno has stated that the initial launch is being pushed to 2021 in response to a question on why the LSA agreement is so long, if they were planning to fly in mid-2020. 

We were, But the LSA requirements are consistent with the move to 2021

When asked why the date was changed he stated it was the result of USAF requirements and timelines.
« Last Edit: 10/12/2018 03:11 PM by Sknowball »

Offline LouScheffer

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Apparently all Vulcan configurations will include solids, and supposedly solids are tougher on the launch infrastructure than liquids.

If true, how big of a difference is this?   Send two guys with a pressure washer?  Resurface the flame trench every 10 years instead of every 20?   I'm sure the difference in cost has been way down in the noise as long as rockets were expensive, but as they get cheaper will this ever be a consideration?

Offline Lars-J

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It's odd that Vulcan would launch without solids, since a significant portion of Atlas V launches use the 401 or 501 configuration - without solids.

Is this because the core stage cannot lift off the pad without solids, or because the smaller DoD payloads are going away?
« Last Edit: 10/17/2018 07:31 PM by Lars-J »

Offline whitelancer64


ULA news releases have said that the Vulcan can have 0-6 boosters.
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Offline Prettz

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Apparently all Vulcan configurations will include solids, and supposedly solids are tougher on the launch infrastructure than liquids.
That's not true. Most Vulcan launches will be without solids -- probably a higher percentage than Atlas V.

Offline ZachF

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It's odd that Vulcan would launch without solids, since a significant portion of Atlas V launches use the 401 or 501 configuration - without solids.

Is this because the core stage cannot lift off the pad without solids, or because the smaller DoD payloads are going away?

I'm 99% certain that a Vulcan 502 would need to be partially fueled in order to take off. The two BE-4s produce 500 tonnes of thrust. The core tank looks to be ~530 cubic meters, that's ~425 tonnes right there, and you're probably talking about a 30 tonne empty weight as well.

Vulcan Centaur Heavy looks like an ~900 tonne GTOW rocket, so it's a big boy.
« Last Edit: 10/18/2018 07:35 PM by ZachF »

Offline Sknowball

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New ULA rocket fleet infographic

Interesting notes:
-Delta II and single stick Delta IV no longer included
-Includes performance numbers for Atlas V 552
-Performance numbers listed as of April 2018
-Vulcan schematic
-Vulcan height listed
-Vulcan listed as using BE-4
-No Vulcan is shown without solids

« Last Edit: 10/18/2018 09:51 PM by Sknowball »

Online GWH

That is quite the gap in the Vulcan interstage. I assume to allow for a 2nd stage stretch for Vulcan heavy without having to do an expensive and time consuming rework to GSE.

The private industry comes up with good ideas.

Offline Coastal Ron

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Only looking at the new LEO Reference orbit capabilities, Falcon 9 max capability is pretty much exactly midway in the gap between Vulcan Centaur (2 solids) and Vulcan Centaur (6 solids) capabilities.

Interesting to see, though from a business standpoint it would be the 2 solid version that would likely compete the most with Falcon 9 I would imagine, since the lower capacity Atlas V configurations were the most popular in the past.
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

Offline Jim

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That is quite the gap in the Vulcan interstage. I assume to allow for a 2nd stage stretch for Vulcan heavy without having to do an expensive and time consuming rework to GSE.


Stage stretch would be upward.   The joint between interstage and upperstage would not move.

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