Author Topic: Landing a Saturn S-IB, Falcon 9 style  (Read 10917 times)

Offline Archibald

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Landing a Saturn S-IB, Falcon 9 style
« on: 02/20/2018 07:07 AM »
Ok, forget NASA, politics, the shuttle, everything else.

This is a 100% technical discussion.

According to Wikipedia (I know...)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SpaceX_reusable_launch_system_development_program

Quote

The technologies that were developed for this program, some of which are still being refined, include:

1 - restartable ignition system for the first-stage booster. Restarts are required at both supersonic velocities in the upper atmosphere—in order to decelerate the high velocity away from the launch pad and put the booster on a descent trajectory back toward the launch pad—and at high transonic velocities in the lower atmosphere—in order to slow the terminal descent and to perform a soft landing.
 
2 -  new attitude control technology—for the booster stage and second stage—to bring the descending rocket body through the atmosphere in a manner conducive both to non-destructive return and sufficient aerodynamic control such that the terminal phase of the landing is possible.
This includes sufficient roll control authority to keep the rocket from spinning excessively as occurred on the first high-altitude flight test in September 2013, where the roll rate exceeded the capabilities of the booster attitude control system (ACS) and the fuel in the tanks "centrifuged" to the side of the tank shutting down the single engine involved in the low-altitude deceleration maneuver.

 The technology needs to handle the transition from the vacuum of space at hypersonic conditions, decelerating to supersonic velocities and passing through transonic buffet, before relighting one of the main-stage engines at terminal velocity.
 
3 - hypersonic grid fins were added to the booster test vehicle design beginning on the fifth ocean controlled-descent test flight in 2014 in order to enable precision landing. Arranged in an "X" configuration, the grid fins control the descending rocket's lift vector once the vehicle has returned to the atmosphere to enable a much more precise landing location.

4 -   throttleable rocket engine technology is required to reduce engine thrust because the full thrust of even a single Merlin 1D engine exceeds the weight of the nearly empty booster core.
 
5 - terminal guidance and landing capability, including a vehicle control system and a control system software algorithm to be able to land a rocket with the thrust-to-weight ratio of the vehicle greater than one, with closed-loop thrust vector and throttle control
 
6 -   navigation sensor suite for precision landing

7 - a large floating landing platform in order to test pinpoint landings prior to receiving permission from the US government to bring returning rocket stages into US airspace over land.

8 -   large-surface-area thermal protection system to absorb the heat load of deceleration of the second stage from orbital velocity to terminal velocity

9 -   lightweight, deployable landing gear for the booster stage.

So, let's suppose NASA get the idea to develop such a vehicle in the early 70's.

A - can they pull it off with  state-of-the-art technology ?

B - what would be the main roadblocks ? computing power maybe ? something else ?

Again, please forget historical background, shuttle and politics. Just discuss technical feasability of the thing. Thank you !!

« Last Edit: 02/20/2018 07:09 AM by Archibald »
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Online ugordan

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Re: Landing a Saturn S-IB, Falcon 9 style
« Reply #1 on: 02/20/2018 07:26 AM »
B - what would be the main roadblocks ? computing power maybe ?

I'd say that's probably a good bet.

Precision landing could also have been an issue, although I don't know how precise you can get without GPS and only using radio beacons (?) and IMUs. Probably not precise enough to nail a barge in the ocean, but a large-ish landing pad could be workable.

Offline woods170

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Re: Landing a Saturn S-IB, Falcon 9 style
« Reply #2 on: 02/20/2018 09:06 AM »
B - what would be the main roadblocks ? computing power maybe ?

I'd say that's probably a good bet.

Precision landing could also have been an issue, although I don't know how precise you can get without GPS and only using radio beacons (?) and IMUs. Probably not precise enough to nail a barge in the ocean, but a large-ish landing pad could be workable.

Several things would probably prevent landing a S-IB stage in Falcon 9 style.
The first of which is the fact that the H-1 engine was unable to throttle.
Second thing is that the thrust of a single H-1 is twice of what is required to hover the empty mass of a S-IB stage. So, substantial hover-slam required to get the stage on the ground.
Third is computing power, or rather, lack of computing power. Not just for the rocket but for simulating the environment as well.

On the other hand:
Precision landing within 100 - 200 metres of a target should have been possible in the late 1960's. The LM managed similar precision on several of the Moon landings, on IMU's alone and without crew intervention.
So yeah, probably not good enough for a barge, but possible on land given a large enough landing area.

Landing radar is a different matter but the basics were demonstrated on the LM as well.

Grid fins were developed in the 1950s. Steerable grid fins emerged in the 1970s. But I don't see significant obstacles why steerable grid fins could not have been developed in the 1960s.
« Last Edit: 02/20/2018 09:25 AM by woods170 »

Offline speedevil

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Re: Landing a Saturn S-IB, Falcon 9 style
« Reply #3 on: 02/20/2018 10:04 AM »
The strict question - land a rocket on its tail - may also be misstating the problem - get the first stage back.

I am unable to find it, but remember reading a NTRS report on research in this area into stage recovery using hot air ballutes.
The ballute is filled with hot air from reentry, or at the time partially a gas generator, and floats down gradually enough that recovery with high speed boat is an option - as it pretty much only has to catch a very slowly descending stage drifting with the wind.
The technique has gotten more plausible as fabrics for the ballute have improved.

Offline Archibald

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Re: Landing a Saturn S-IB, Falcon 9 style
« Reply #4 on: 02/20/2018 10:26 AM »
Thank you folks, you are great, as usual :)

Quote
Third is computing power, or rather, lack of computing power. Not just for the rocket but for simulating the environment as well..


I see. In the end, radio beacons may handle the guidance job, with the help of Saturn IU; the real problem is not there, but computer simulation of the manoeuver before atempting a flight.

Well, I suppose they would use the usual pre-70's aircraft and rocket method: crash, recover the pieces, learn something, try again, crash again, learn more, rinse, repeat, until it works. See early cruise missile development - MAtador, Navaho...
The good thing is that there would be no pilot onboard these things.

Quote
The first of which is the fact that the H-1 engine was unable to throttle.
Second thing is that the thrust of a single H-1 is twice of what is required to hover the empty mass of a S-IB stage. So, substantial hover-slam required to get the stage on the ground.

That's a good point. In this "magical world" NASA would have to replace the H-1 by throtteable engines.

Ok, so I would say it must be feasible, somewhat, if only because of

- the LM descent engine was pintle (AFAIK) and the first to the deeply throtteable

- they build the SSME that could throttle between 65% and 109%, yet it was one hell of a complex beast, with liquid hydrogen and reusability.

I would say that a throtteable H-1 would be a nice in-between these two.

Grid fins, yeah, the Soyuz had them on the escape tower, so maybe NASA could get a glance at them through ASTP.
Also the R-27 soviet air to air missile, and many others, had them.

The impossibility of barge landings would somewhat limit what missions could be done. Or you could just go the Elon way and say "this rocket will fly too high and too fast, so screw recovery for this one" and expend the booster from time to time.

Maybe try to use a Batillus class tanker or a Troll oil rig as landing pad (I'm half-joking, they would be insanely expensives !!! Then again, just think about Sea Launch !!!)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Batillus-class_supertanker
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Troll_A_platform
« Last Edit: 02/20/2018 10:38 AM by Archibald »
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Offline Lobo

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Re: Landing a Saturn S-IB, Falcon 9 style
« Reply #5 on: 02/20/2018 10:05 PM »
The H-1 evolved into the RS-27 and later used for Delta by 1974.  Was the RS-27 throttleable?  Or could it have been upgraded to be so?

And then later the RS-27 was evolved into the RS-56 (although that was a decade later or so).  Was that throttleable?

Basically, are there derivatives of the H-1 that could have been made to be throttleable, for the perhaps -later- purpose of attempting propulsive F9-style booster landings, even if they may not have been able to right up front in the 70's?

Had the S-1B continued in service (and/or perhaps been upgraded to a monocore for the long run), then it wouldn't necessarily have had to try landing right away, just as F9 didn't originally.  But later it was added in an evolution of upgrades.  So is it plausible that something like that could have happened with S-1B?

Offline IanThePineapple

Re: Landing a Saturn S-IB, Falcon 9 style
« Reply #6 on: 02/20/2018 10:20 PM »
I'd like to pop in with my small input on this

By my calculations (calculations meaning messing around in Kerbal Space Program), a good bet would be to do your post-liftoff burns (Boostback, entry, landing) using some or all of the outer 4 engines, since they can gimble. That gives a good bit more control. I think doing a 4 engine boostback would work (Maybe 2 outer, 2 inner? All 4 outer?), but I don't know how strong the S-IB stage is (I would guess pretty strong since it's 9 separate tanks together, giving a lot of stability and material for dispersing the load). Entry using either 2 or 4 of the outer engines. Then a landing burn with 2 of the outer engines, maybe all 4 if you really want to save performance.

Just my uneducated thoughts on this

Offline Archibald

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Re: Landing a Saturn S-IB, Falcon 9 style
« Reply #7 on: 02/21/2018 01:32 PM »
Well, the S-IB was build by the famous German team, and was overengineered, hence one can guess it was probably... quite a solid piece of hardware.
Plus of course were those early studies about recovery, back in 1959, when they wanted to dunk the stages into the ocean and recover them.
« Last Edit: 02/21/2018 01:33 PM by Archibald »
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Offline kevin-rf

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Re: Landing a Saturn S-IB, Falcon 9 style
« Reply #8 on: 02/21/2018 02:44 PM »
Didn't SpaceX start with the Saturn 1 recovery concepts when they first started? Parachute based recovery....
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Offline Kansan52

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Re: Landing a Saturn S-IB, Falcon 9 style
« Reply #9 on: 02/21/2018 02:58 PM »
Didn't SpaceX start with the Saturn 1 recovery concepts when they first started? Parachute based recovery....

Yes.

Offline Proponent

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Re: Landing a Saturn S-IB, Falcon 9 style
« Reply #10 on: 02/21/2018 03:38 PM »
... later the RS-27 was evolved into the RS-56....

What was the RS-56?

Offline Lobo

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Re: Landing a Saturn S-IB, Falcon 9 style
« Reply #11 on: 02/21/2018 04:16 PM »
... later the RS-27 was evolved into the RS-56....

What was the RS-56?

Single nozzle of the Atlas II power plant.  The whole power unit was 3 nozzles called the "MA-5A", but each nozzle was an RS-56.  The two outer were a booster ring that fell away, and the center sustainer engine burned the core empty.  But they were evolved from the RS-27 which was evolved from the H-1.

Hopefully I have my history correct there.  :-)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RS-56

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MA-5A

What I don't know is if any of those H-1 derivatives were throttleable or could have been made to be throttleable, feasibly.  If so, then it could have been technically feasible for an S-1B to perhaps one day been able to land itself.  They may have wanted to add a 9th engine in the middle that could gimbal.  And I also tend to think that in this scenario, where the Saturn 1B lived on post Apollo, and thus STS would not have happened, then the clustered S-1B would have been evolved into a more mass efficient mono core tank, and in that process a 9th center gimbaling engine could have been included into the new main thrust structure design (which would have been required), with the idea that some day it could be used to land the booster, when the avionics and computing power evolved to make that feasible.
perhaps?

Landing the S-1B as-is I don't think was possible, even if the computing power existed.  Only the outer engines gimbaled and since the H-1 couldn't throttle, there'd just be way to much thrust to land on the four outer engines and full thrust.  So we'd have to accept some future evolutions of the S-1B to a point where propulsive landing might have been plausible.   And the title of the thread is if the S-1B could have landed "Falcon 9 style", so...

IMO anyway.
« Last Edit: 02/21/2018 04:28 PM by Lobo »

Offline notsorandom

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Re: Landing a Saturn S-IB, Falcon 9 style
« Reply #12 on: 02/21/2018 07:37 PM »
How about a recovery scheme where the first stage turns around while in space using gas thrusters, restarts some engines for an entry burn, deploys some sort of air break at the top to keep it pointed the right way, then uses parachutes to splash down? That would avoid the issues of developing the computers for guidance, control surfaces, and throttleable H-1s which may not have been easily done in the 1960s.

Offline Lobo

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Re: Landing a Saturn S-IB, Falcon 9 style
« Reply #13 on: 02/21/2018 11:50 PM »
How about a recovery scheme where the first stage turns around while in space using gas thrusters, restarts some engines for an entry burn, deploys some sort of air break at the top to keep it pointed the right way, then uses parachutes to splash down? That would avoid the issues of developing the computers for guidance, control surfaces, and throttleable H-1s which may not have been easily done in the 1960s.

That's probably -have- to be the way to attempt it in the 70's.  I don't think there would have been a way to really try to attempt a propulsive "Falcon 9 style" landing until much later.
They did some testing of the H-1 engines being dunked in the ocean to see how they withstood it.  Apparently, the came through in pretty good shape.

Offline Proponent

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Re: Landing a Saturn S-IB, Falcon 9 style
« Reply #14 on: 02/26/2018 02:33 PM »
The structure fraction of the F9's first stage is something like 3-4%, whereas the comparable figure for the S-IB stage is about 10%.  That means that powered recovery of an S-IB is going to take quite a bit more propellant than for an F9's first stage.  Hence, the loss of payload due to recovery will be quite a bit greater.

Offline Archibald

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Re: Landing a Saturn S-IB, Falcon 9 style
« Reply #15 on: 02/26/2018 03:54 PM »
I wondered how could Musk vehicles take so little penalty even with recovery - and  part of the answer is, they have pretty good mass fractions...
well, if Saturn S-IB is too heavy, then there is Titan III core, or better, Titan III-L, the larger one with four engines.
But then I'm killing my own thread.  :)
« Last Edit: 02/26/2018 03:54 PM by Archibald »
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Offline Archibald

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Re: Landing a Saturn S-IB, Falcon 9 style
« Reply #16 on: 02/26/2018 03:56 PM »
How about a recovery scheme where the first stage turns around while in space using gas thrusters, restarts some engines for an entry burn, deploys some sort of air break at the top to keep it pointed the right way, then uses parachutes to splash down? That would avoid the issues of developing the computers for guidance, control surfaces, and throttleable H-1s which may not have been easily done in the 1960s.

How about splashing down as close from Cocoa beach as possible ? or near the "astronaut house"  ? the less time spent into the water, the better...
« Last Edit: 02/26/2018 03:56 PM by Archibald »
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Offline Citabria

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Re: Landing a Saturn S-IB, Falcon 9 style
« Reply #17 on: 02/26/2018 04:27 PM »
From 1952:
Quote
Immediately after separation, the first stage would have deployed from its base a 217-foot-wide "ring-shaped ribbon parachute" made of steel mesh. At its deployment altitude, air resistance would be minimal, so stage and parachute would continue to coast upward to an altitude of about 40 miles before turning nose-down and falling toward the ocean. The conical blast shield would help to protect it from aerodynamic heating during descent.

It would attain a descent velocity of 150 feet per second by the time it fell to 150 feet above the water. At that moment, small solid-propellant motors would have ignited and burned for two seconds, gently lowering the first stage into the sea 189 miles downrange of the launch site.

A large recovery ship, pre-positioned to collect the stage, would soon have arrived. Von Braun envisioned it as a specialized "seagoing drydock," which would have filled on-board tanks with sea water to submerge, moved its drydock section under the bobbing first stage, then pumped seawater from its tanks to raise the stage clear of the ocean. The ship would then have set course for a special harbor close to the launch site where the first stage would be inspected, refurbished, and reused. The same harbor would, von Braun noted, serve ocean-going ships that would deliver thousands of tons of propellants to the launch site.
https://www.wired.com/2014/09/wernher-von-brauns-fantastic-vision-ferry-rocket/

Offline Citabria

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Re: Landing a Saturn S-IB, Falcon 9 style
« Reply #18 on: 02/26/2018 04:41 PM »
Or, more on-topic, actually done in 1966:
Quote
Each craft was planned to slow to about 110 m/s (4% of speed before retrofire) by a main solid fuel retrorocket, which fired for 40 seconds starting at an altitude of 75.3 km above the Moon, and then was jettisoned along with radar unit at 11 km from the surface. The remainder of the trip to the surface, lasting about 2.5 minutes, was handled by smaller doppler radar units and three vernier engines running on liquid fuels fed to them using pressurized helium. (The successful flight profile of Surveyor 5 was given a somewhat shortened vernier flight sequence as a result of a helium leak). The last 3.4 meters to the surface was accomplished in free fall from zero velocity at that height, after the vernier engines were turned off. This resulted in a landing speed of about 3 m/s. The free-fall to the surface was in an attempt to avoid surface contamination by rocket blast.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Surveyor_program
« Last Edit: 02/26/2018 04:43 PM by Citabria »

Offline Archibald

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Re: Landing a Saturn S-IB, Falcon 9 style
« Reply #19 on: 03/03/2018 05:04 PM »
Two things dawned on me recently, somewhat like bolts of thunder.

First, Falcon 9R is getting closer and closer from... NASA space shuttle specifications, circa 1972.

 It is partially reusable, it can lift 50 000 pounds of payload, and flight rates are getting higher and higher, above 20 in 2017 and still going better. And of course it can be manned, and flown to a space station. It also beat the pants of Ariane through reusability, something the shuttle tried very hard to achieve, but failed. Finally, it is sweeping a good share of the launch market - launching military, commercial, and NASA payloads.

Secondly, BFR / BFS is also getting closer from another shuttle... the 1969 original concept that was fully reusable. One booster, one orbiter, and that's it. No drop tank, no SRBs.
The main differences are the lack of LH2 and the simpler booster - no need to wrap a 747 around it for a piloted, powered landing. As we discussed in this thread, computing power was not up the task...

Having grown with the space shuttle in the 90's, then learned about its history and failure (in the 2000's) I find very interesting to see its premises finally come true, through SpaceX and quite a... very different design from what NASA imagined 50 years ago.

I remember spending a lot of time on this website, back in 2002, learning about the space shuttle pre-history (1969 - 1972).
http://www.pmview.com/spaceodysseytwo/spacelvs/
Funnily enough, Musk created SpaceX the same year, in 2002...
« Last Edit: 03/03/2018 05:12 PM by Archibald »
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Offline yoram

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Re: Landing a Saturn S-IB, Falcon 9 style
« Reply #20 on: 03/03/2018 09:16 PM »
Quote
Second, as others have mentioned, GPS did not exist, making autonomous water platform landings likely out of the question. 

There was radio navigation, back to ww2. Was that not good enough?


Offline speedevil

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Re: Landing a Saturn S-IB, Falcon 9 style
« Reply #21 on: 03/03/2018 09:48 PM »
Quote
Second, as others have mentioned, GPS did not exist, making autonomous water platform landings likely out of the question. 

There was radio navigation, back to ww2. Was that not good enough?

Radio global navigation - no.
However, this isn't required.
The aim is presumably to locate a stage at line-of-sight, which can be done a number of ways, from purely optically on, and then transmit this to an INS stage to remove errors before the reentry or landing burn.

- for example.

The position of the boosters is - with several of this class of image, driven from a scope around 12" with an automated position readout, and a couple of guys with cross-hairs at different locations, findable to well under a hundred meters or so - quite adequate for the reentry burn planning.

The reentry burn then proceeds at parameters telemetered to the stage.

This is all rather easier than trying to enter fully automatically as in the shuttle.
The stage stays in line of sight all the time (or line of sight from a handful of sites), there is no ionisation envelope at any time.
The velocity is enormously lower, and the stage is ballistic for long periods of time letting you refine and adjust the solutions.

Actually finding the landing ship requires another system, and control down to the landing ship may require a computer on the stage to run the INS, and possibly another on the ground to work out the position solutions and talk to it, at least in the 60s, if for no other reason than weight.

By the time the 80s have rolled around, it's plausible to do it all on the rocket.


Offline Archibald

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Re: Landing a Saturn S-IB, Falcon 9 style
« Reply #22 on: 03/04/2018 06:49 AM »
What an amazing video.
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Offline Michel Van

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Re: Landing a Saturn S-IB, Falcon 9 style
« Reply #23 on: 03/04/2018 10:49 AM »
just a idea

What about Rogallo Wing ?
NASA were study the use of Rogallo Wing on Saturn I booster in begin 1960s
but never try it   >:(



it would not manage to return to Launch site by just gliding.
either give it small jet engine that fly the stage to Kennedy space center (KSC)
or install airbag (serve also as swimmer ) and land the stage in Ocean and tug back to KSC.

Offline Matt the Czar

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Re: Landing a Saturn S-IB, Falcon 9 style
« Reply #24 on: 03/05/2018 04:56 AM »
I feel the idea could work, but the political will for it is doubtful.  For one, it's not very sexy.  Second, there is little new work created by the program, when the work for the Shuttle arguably saved many companies during the 70s depression.  Third, there was no figure that seems to be a likely champion for it, especially since it was the Air Force that so influenced the real life shuttle. 

I can see it being authorized only if it was part of a larger plan.  Perhaps the Space Station option proposed to President Nixion is modified, arguing for the immense size of the planned space station with the cost savings this cheap booster would give. 

PS:  It's nice to see two of the big space people from AH.com, Archibald and Micheal Van, here.
« Last Edit: 03/05/2018 04:58 AM by Matt the Czar »

Offline Archibald

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Re: Landing a Saturn S-IB, Falcon 9 style
« Reply #25 on: 03/05/2018 05:46 AM »
Well... I'm not anymore :( 
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Offline john smith 19

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Re: Landing a Saturn S-IB, Falcon 9 style
« Reply #26 on: 03/05/2018 07:10 AM »
just a idea

What about Rogallo Wing ?
NASA were study the use of Rogallo Wing on Saturn I booster in begin 1960s
but never try it   >:(



it would not manage to return to Launch site by just gliding.
either give it small jet engine that fly the stage to Kennedy space center (KSC)
or install airbag (serve also as swimmer ) and land the stage in Ocean and tug back to KSC.
This is extraordinary. All the stuff I've ever seen with a Rogallo Wing shows it with a Gemini capsule underneath, despite claims its original goal was booster recovery.

The issue with such plans is not the weight of the chutes, it's the weight of the stiffening to resist all the additional stresses in the "wrong" direction on the structure.

As for "precision landing" the X10 demonstrated it in the late 50's. Aircraft demonstrated "Autoland" in 1968 in thick fog using INS and radar altimeters. No GPS in sight (nor would there be for most of the next 20 years).
So in principal the sensors (either on board or radioing data to it) are possible.

Computing is trickier, but it depends what you mean. The AGC (SoA for space avionics at the time) was 96KB of code, 1KW of 14bit RAM and about 64KIPS of processing. OTOH you could wire an analog computer (or several) as single task systems to evaluate a function representing the stage at different points in flight and steer it to other different points in flight, eventually to the ground.

But you're going to need either a multiple engine cluster or really good throttling as others have noted.
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 Archibald

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Re: Landing a Saturn S-IB, Falcon 9 style
« Reply #27 on: 03/05/2018 05:41 PM »
First aircraft with Autoland was the BAC Trident (the british 727 trijet lookalike)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autoland
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Offline Lobo

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Re: Landing a Saturn S-IB, Falcon 9 style
« Reply #28 on: 03/05/2018 09:32 PM »
I feel the idea could work, but the political will for it is doubtful.  For one, it's not very sexy.  Second, there is little new work created by the program, when the work for the Shuttle arguably saved many companies during the 70s depression.  Third, there was no figure that seems to be a likely champion for it, especially since it was the Air Force that so influenced the real life shuttle. 

I can see it being authorized only if it was part of a larger plan.  Perhaps the Space Station option proposed to President Nixion is modified, arguing for the immense size of the planned space station with the cost savings this cheap booster would give. 


In any of these "Alternate History" threads, one has to assume that history takes a divergent course at some point in time, for history to unfold in any other way than it actually did.  If nothing changed, then history would unfold just as it actually did.

So one has to assume something different.  A champion for it that wasn't there originally, for example.  Someone who had the President's ear.  A different NASA Administrator or spokesman to the President/Congress, etc.

In this case, or in my other thread here:

https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=36711.0

One must assume some sort of change creating the divergent history.  The smaller of a change that can accomplish this, the more plausible the alternate scenario would seem.

Myself, I don't think going something like continuing/evolving Saturn 1B would have been too hard of a sell to the USAF.  Especially if however it was structured, they'd have control of "their" LV's.  The big issue with STS was that it would have to fly manned, and it was really a NASA operated system, and could only launch from NASA pads at KSC (and later would have from VAFB, with more USAF control) USAF needed to have a big say in it's design to get on board with that.  Which really contorted the Shuttle and KSC.  On-pad change out was necessary with vertical payload integration, requiring the MLP's to be completely different from the Saturn's they were designed for, with the FSS and the a RSS, etc.
So in this alternate history, you approach the USAF and say, "We want you to get on board with an evolved and future reusable Saturn 1B that will give you better performance than the Titan IIIC, and that you will be able procure on your own as you need it, and launch from your own pads whenver you need to, and it won't need to launch manned", I think they'd probably have been an easier sale than the Shuttle actually was. USAF didn't really care about "sexy" or "reusable" like NASA and some politicians did for NASA's next system.
Then with USAF on board to share costs and promote it, the system is sold to Nixon/Congress as a far more affordable system which uses much more existing technology, and would be ready sooner, and could launch space station modules.
And HL-20 type small reusable shuttle for NASA crews could sexy them up and look "evolved" and "futuristic".  It'd launch atop this evolving Saturn 1B.  The Apollo CSM would be flown until this was ready, so the "gap" could have been reduced or eliminated.

The Saturn's H-1 engines would be replaced by the RS-27's, which then could evolve to throttleable versions for propulsive landing in a future version, once the technology caught up to it.  The clustered tank would probably be replaced by a 6.6m mono-tank to help with performance, perhaps a 9th engine added with some extra propellant capacity on the booster, for more performance plus a central landing engine (look familiar?)  J2S upgrade on the S-IVB, etc. 

For USAF, an optional Centaur 3rd stage could be added for their high energy sat needs.  The very expensive Titan IV is never needed, and they transition from Titan IIIC to this evolving Saturn 1B instead as their needs require it.

This all would have resulted in HUGE cost savings for NASA, and I think would have made for a powerful case to Congress in the post Apollo era of shrinking budgets.  Especially with USAF on board. 


Offline Lobo

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Re: Landing a Saturn S-IB, Falcon 9 style
« Reply #29 on: 03/05/2018 09:46 PM »

First, as others have mentioned, H-1 was not throttleable or restartable, so NASA would had to have spent money to develop such an engine.  Perhaps it could have been derived from H-1, perhaps it would have had to have been new.   Would the Agency have had the guts to take the risks that SpaceX took to perfect the very high thrust to weight Merlin through its several iterations (i.e., face-start, etc.?). 


Compared to what NASA spent on developing the bleeding edge RS-25 and the big SRB's, seems like an evolved H-1/RS-27 to throttleable and restartable would have been a drop in the bucket in comparison.  Even if it ended up being a new engine in the end that replaced the H-1/RS-27 on the S-1B.   If still a kerolox gas generator engine developed by Rocketdyne, I'd think it'd be related to H-1/RS-27 in some way.
Since the other landing tech probably wouldn't be ready for another decade or so, there'd have been a lot of time to evolve the H-1 into that Merlin 1 type engine.  Not something they would have needed from day 1.  They could have flown Saturn 1B expendibly and worked on evolving the S-1B to be lighter (monocore) have greater performance (a 9th engine added to the center to land on, perhaps, giving better booster performance), and added landing legs to it.  Once all of that was ready down the road, then they could have worked on having it come back and land like Falcon. 
Or if not on land, maybe at least do a deceleration and rentry burn, and then land in the ocean like the SRB's under parachute.  The H-1 were tested in the ocean and the results were pretty good if I recall.  Then they'd really only need to be upgraded to restart, and not so much throttle to a point they could land.  Maybe throttle could be added later, along with ground landings.




Offline mike robel

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Re: Landing a Saturn S-IB, Falcon 9 style
« Reply #30 on: 03/06/2018 12:58 AM »
and for those really heavy loads, you could have slapped two or four UA 1205 solids on it.

Offline Patchouli

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Re: Landing a Saturn S-IB, Falcon 9 style
« Reply #31 on: 03/06/2018 05:01 AM »
and for those really heavy loads, you could have slapped two or four UA 1205 solids on it.

The Saturn IB-D which is what that configuration was called plus a more modern spacecraft maybe something similar to the HL-42 could have done most of the missions flown by STS.
With the existing S-IB and S-IVB stages the Saturn IB-D it could lift up to 33 metric tons but with a few upgrades such as a J-2S and RS-27s it probably could lift much more.
http://www.astronautix.com/s/saturnib-d.html
« Last Edit: 03/06/2018 05:09 AM by Patchouli »

Offline Archibald

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Re: Landing a Saturn S-IB, Falcon 9 style
« Reply #32 on: 03/06/2018 09:11 AM »
Quote
Compared to what NASA spent on developing the bleeding edge RS-25 and the big SRB's, seems like an evolved H-1/RS-27 to throttleable and restartable would have been a drop in the bucket in comparison.  Even if it ended up being a new engine in the end that replaced the H-1/RS-27 on the S-1B.   If still a kerolox gas generator engine developed by Rocketdyne, I'd think it'd be related to H-1/RS-27 in some way.

To me there is a possible path toward a "Merlin like engine". That is, the LM descent engine. I think it was of the "pintle injector" type, and from memory SpaceX Merlin also uses that technology.

Of course the LM engine uses hypergols, and it is very small. That's a couple of issues.

But I think a cross between a LM engine and a H-1 should be reasonably doable, for a fraction of the cost and trouble spent in the SSME, which was an extremely advanced engine that used a tricky fuel with the name of LH2...  IMHO of course.

bingo !

https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=9958.2230;wap2
« Last Edit: 03/08/2018 09:16 AM by Archibald »
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Offline the_other_Doug

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Re: Landing a Saturn S-IB, Falcon 9 style
« Reply #33 on: 03/06/2018 04:38 PM »
Quote
Compared to what NASA spent on developing the bleeding edge RS-25 and the big SRB's, seems like an evolved H-1/RS-27 to throttleable and restartable would have been a drop in the bucket in comparison.  Even if it ended up being a new engine in the end that replaced the H-1/RS-27 on the S-1B.   If still a kerolox gas generator engine developed by Rocketdyne, I'd think it'd be related to H-1/RS-27 in some way.

To me there is a possible path toward a "Merlin like engine". That is, the LM descent engine. I think it was of the "pintle injector" type, and from memory SpaceX Merlin also uses that technology.

Of course the LM engine uses hypergols, and it is very small. That's a couple of issues.

But I think a cross between a LM engine and a H-1 should be reasonably doable, for a fraction of the cost and trouble spent in the SSME, which was an extremely advanced engine that used a tricky fuel with the name of LH2...  IMHO of course.

bingo !

8

The LM DPS was also pressure-fed, not pump-fed.  Too many differences to make the DPS a good model for a large, pump-fed kerolox system.

Besides, the DPS wasn't the first rocket engine to use a pintle system for throttling, I don't think.  IIRC, the XLR-99 used in the X-15 also used a pintle system to throttle.

The only two modes of rocket throttling known at the time (early 60's) were pintle control over fuel flow, and injection of a non-flammable buffer gas to reduce combustion.  And the latter nearly won out in the DPS design, changed to a pintle system during a final design review before the throttling mode decision was made.
« Last Edit: 03/07/2018 07:16 PM by Chris Bergin »
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Offline Lobo

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Re: Landing a Saturn S-IB, Falcon 9 style
« Reply #34 on: 03/07/2018 12:02 AM »
and for those really heavy loads, you could have slapped two or four UA 1205 solids on it.

Good point.  At least while the USAF was using the UA 1205 solids for Titan IIIC.   Could have used that to launch 30mt Space station modules to LEO, than the SRB-less version for an HL-20/42 type small crew spaceplane (properly sized for the standard Saturn 1B's capability)

Also, in a history where there was no STS, USAF would have looked at upgrading Titan as their needs outgrew Titan IIIC as there was no Shuttle program to do that.   But right next door NASA would have been flying that Saturn 1B, which would have had about 5mt more LEO capacity than Titan IIIC just just stock (18.6mt vs. 13.1mt).  With some upgraded engines, and maybe a new monocore booster stage (with possible Falcon like landing future potential), It probably could have gotten up over the Titan 4's 21.6mt to LEO capacity.   And that would have really fit their needs pretty well.
And the ability to mount the existing UA 1205 Titan IIIC SRB's when necessary for even more performance, maybe they would have considered purchasing them for their own needs and had cost sharing with NASA, rather than pursue the Titan family that was being phased out of ICBM's?  And modified their Titan IIIC pads for it so they could have their own launch and control authority, which I'm sure they'd have much, much preferred over how it would planned to work out with STS, where they had to launch with NASA's facilities only.

There was a lot of meat on that Saturn 1B bone to upgrade to, had it stayed around.  Great potential for incremental evolution, like there was for Falcon.   Along with a Falcon like landing possibility (down the road) with a 6.6m monocore booster upgrade with more propellant capacity, and a 9th central engine added...there was certainly room for it on a 6.6m wide MTS.  Upgraded engines, a nice wide 6.6m payload diameter, etc.

Offline mike robel

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Re: Landing a Saturn S-IB, Falcon 9 style
« Reply #35 on: 03/07/2018 10:32 AM »
On the other hand, I think a Saturn IB was more expensive than a Titan IIIC...

Online e of pi

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Re: Landing a Saturn S-IB, Falcon 9 style
« Reply #36 on: 03/07/2018 12:25 PM »
A lot of that cost was tied up in the S-IVB and in system-wide low production volumes--after all, they only built a total of about two dozen of them under conditions that were more focused on getting something in the size class flying than optimizing for production cost. There were extensive studies that pointed out ways to significantly reduce the production cost for both stages (though particularly the S-IVB) to reach costs which would have been much more competitive with Titan in volume production.

Online mheney

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Re: Landing a Saturn S-IB, Falcon 9 style
« Reply #37 on: 03/07/2018 06:17 PM »
Oh, lord - I originally misread this thread, and though it was talking about landing an S-1C (Saturn V first stage.)  The visions running through my brain were mind-blowing.  (I wonder if the F1 was throttlable?)

Online e of pi

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Re: Landing a Saturn S-IB, Falcon 9 style
« Reply #38 on: 03/07/2018 06:40 PM »
Oh, lord - I originally misread this thread, and though it was talking about landing an S-1C (Saturn V first stage.)  The visions running through my brain were mind-blowing.  (I wonder if the F1 was throttlable?)
I don't recall about the F-1, but the improved (up-thrusted, higher-ISp) F-1A that was ready for introduction on Block II Saturns was capable of 70-100% throttle. A single F1-A would thus give an S-IC stage a minimum T/W of about 4.3, compared to about 3 for the Falcon 9R as I understand it, which might be a bit sporty. On the other hand, that calculation doesn't account for landing gear, any required increased stiffness of the S-IC stage for landing it, and any tank stretch you might do to take advantage of the thrust improvement from the F-1 to the F-1A (about a 20% improvement).

Seeing an S-IC come down and landing like that would be pretty astounding...
« Last Edit: 03/07/2018 06:40 PM by e of pi »

Offline Arch Admiral

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Re: Landing a Saturn S-IB, Falcon 9 style
« Reply #39 on: 03/07/2018 08:52 PM »
I really don't understand this obsession with Saturn IB as an alternative to STS. This idea crops up over and over again on this site (more frequently lately as more people accept that STS was a mistake and failure).

The bad points of the first stage already mentioned (high dry weight, high cost) are inherent  in Saturn I's origin as a quick-fix temporary solution to three temporary problems:

-- launching heavier payloads than the Soviet R-7 for propaganda purposes (Yes, the press and public actually kept track of this and the greater mass of Soviet payloads was a big element of the Sputnik Panic. When Saturn I launched a record-setting payload of lead blocks it was treated as a major technical victory).

-- launching Apollo test missions into LEO before Saturn V was ready (before the Apollo I disaster many such missions were planned)

-- gaining some medium-booster experience before attempting the big boosters (Saturn V, Nova)

The quick fix for these problems was to weld together a bunch of Redstone & Jupiter tanks, bolt on some slightly modified Thor/Jupiter engines, and connect them with a rat's nest of pipes and wires. There was no thought that Saturn I would become a permanent part of the space program, and so no thought was given to efficiency or cost-effectiveness. The result was a booster stage that not only looked obsolete by 1969, but actually was obsolete (by comparison with Titan III and Proton).

Politically, S-IB was a non-starter because it was built by the Chrysler Corporation, which in those days was very healthy and not threatened with bankruptcy like the traditional aerospace firms. Those same aerospace firms were also determined to drive Chrysler out of the space business.

Offline Lobo

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Re: Landing a Saturn S-IB, Falcon 9 style
« Reply #40 on: 03/07/2018 10:45 PM »
On the other hand, I think a Saturn IB was more expensive than a Titan IIIC...

A lot of that cost was tied up in the S-IVB and in system-wide low production volumes--after all, they only built a total of about two dozen of them under conditions that were more focused on getting something in the size class flying than optimizing for production cost. There were extensive studies that pointed out ways to significantly reduce the production cost for both stages (though particularly the S-IVB) to reach costs which would have been much more competitive with Titan in volume production.

Yes to both.  But of note, one of the reasons the Titan IIIC was relatively inexpensive (from what I understand of it's history from Jim and others) as that it's core shared a lot of commonality with the Titan II ICBM's that had a huge operating budget during the height of the Cold War.  But as the 70's wore on, two things were changing.  The Titan ICBM's were being phased out for the solid Minuteman ICBMS, which had much better long term storage and standby characteristics than the liquid fueled Titans.  They didn't need to be fueled prior to launch in event of WW3.
And the USAF's LV needs were outgrowing the Titan IIIC.  Which is why they were switching horses to STS (with lots of input on it to meet their requirements).  And then later when they hurried the Titan IV after Challenger, it was pretty expensive as it needed new SRB's, a new purpose built stretched core,  and nothing to have any commonality with any more as the Titan ICBM's were no longer in production then.

Titan IIIC was inexpensive for reasons that were going away, and they needed to upgrade it anyway, making those costs savings go away even more so.

And then, Had the Saturn 1B gone into full sustained production, like E if Pi said, there would have been cost reductions from it's more 1-off original production run.  Plus it would have been quote attractive for the USAF to consider using it as the Titan IIIC replacement, instead of sticking with an evolving Titan.  It was already operational, would have fit there growing needs well, and they could have cost shared with NASA.  That increased production should have brought the prices down further, one would expect.

Offline Lobo

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Re: Landing a Saturn S-IB, Falcon 9 style
« Reply #41 on: 03/08/2018 12:11 AM »
I really don't understand this obsession with Saturn IB as an alternative to STS. This idea crops up over and over again on this site (more frequently lately as more people accept that STS was a mistake and failure).

I think you answered your own question there.   ;)

I think it's debatable that is was a "failure".  It flew 135 times.  It had two accident, but did a heck of a lot in it's 30 years of service. 
A "mistake" I think is perhaps more applicable, and as you've said, with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight.

Although, a lot of what drove the end of everything Saturn and Apollo, and drove STS was political.  And thus wasn't necessarily the best technological or economical path at that time.  Budget cuts doomed the Saturn V and continuing lunar program at that time, but within the budgets that they did have at the time, Saturn 1B could have been continued, and saved a heck of a lot of money vs. STS.  In both development and operation.  And it could have really probably achieved a lot of the NASA goals for STS.  They could have developed a smaller, more simple crew shuttle, and got that reusable futuristic looking space plane that could take 7 or 8 people to LEO.  But much more cheaply and safely.   There were some reusability options to develop over time for the Saturn 1B booster, as has been discussed here.  So I think people just wonder what could have been had we not scapped all of that shortly after all of that money had been sunk into the Saturn program and KSC (set up for launching Saturns, not STS)etc. 

The bad points of the first stage already mentioned (high dry weight, high cost) are inherent  in Saturn I's origin as a quick-fix temporary solution to three temporary problems:

I can't speak about others, but myself if Saturn 1B had been continued, I think it virtually inevitable that the clustered 1st stage would have been replace with a 6.6m mono core booster...for those reasons you mentioned.  Perhaps with an additional engine and upgraded engines.  A mono core tank would be both more volume and mass efficient.  So it could hold enough additional kerolox to feed additional engines and more powerful upgraded engines.  Boosting Saturn 1B's performance a fair bit.

Politically, S-IB was a non-starter because it was built by the Chrysler Corporation, which in those days was very healthy and not threatened with bankruptcy like the traditional aerospace firms. Those same aerospace firms were also determined to drive Chrysler out of the space business.

Which is why there'd be a lot of logic and reason to have Douglas build the new mono core booster.  They'd already built the 6.6m mono core S-IV, so a 6.6m mono core booster could probably have been made with the same tooling at the same production facility and using some degree of commonality.  Makes sense to have both stages made by the same company at the same place.




Offline mike robel

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Re: Landing a Saturn S-IB, Falcon 9 style
« Reply #42 on: 03/08/2018 01:15 AM »
Well, in a couple of different threads we have been down the alternate universe for Titan III and Saturn.

Regardless of which could have been selected, the merit is they both had a sizeable growth possibility and we would have gained benefits from a long production run as the Soviets/Russians have done with the R-7/Soyuz Booster and to a lesser extent with the Proton.  Titan III and Saturn would have been more robust, especially had the electronics and structure for them been modernized over time and Apollo could have been converted to a smaller SM and lighter weight through evolution.

NASA wanted to build a new toy with which they thought reusability could have out performed long term production and the nation pretty much turned its back on HSF except in LEO.  It remains to be seen if government or industry together or independently will have the fortitude to return a HSF program.

I think we have reached full circle in the discussion.

Offline hkultala

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Re: Landing a Saturn S-IB, Falcon 9 style
« Reply #43 on: 03/08/2018 07:01 AM »
The result was a booster stage that not only looked obsolete by 1969, but actually was obsolete (by comparison with Titan III and Proton).

... but of those 3 rockets, it was the only one using fuels safe enough to put human on top of the rocket.

Offline Archibald

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Re: Landing a Saturn S-IB, Falcon 9 style
« Reply #44 on: 03/08/2018 09:20 AM »
... and in my TL I had NASA flying Big Gemini atop Titan III (thanks to Nixon OMB) but they build a modular Skylab using all the Saturns left by the cancelled Apollo.

And there was quite a large number of Saturn IB left when you think about it, all the way from SA-209 to SA-214, and perhaps two more, 215 and 216...
there was also a handful of Saturn V.
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Offline mike robel

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Re: Landing a Saturn S-IB, Falcon 9 style
« Reply #45 on: 03/08/2018 04:59 PM »
The result was a booster stage that not only looked obsolete by 1969, but actually was obsolete (by comparison with Titan III and Proton).

... but of those 3 rockets, it was the only one using fuels safe enough to put human on top of the rocket.


Arguably not, since Gemini flew on Titan II with hypergolic fuels.

Offline Archibald

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Re: Landing a Saturn S-IB, Falcon 9 style
« Reply #46 on: 03/08/2018 05:24 PM »
and no LAS whatsoever, only ejector seats.
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Offline Caleb Cattuzzo

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Re: Landing a Saturn S-IB, Falcon 9 style
« Reply #47 on: 03/08/2018 06:38 PM »
I'm trying to imagine how much of a pain it would be designing the landing legs for it plus a landing pad that could handle the thing.Would have made the shuttle-saturn program alot more attractive if they could have pulled it off though
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Offline Jim

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Re: Landing a Saturn S-IB, Falcon 9 style
« Reply #48 on: 03/08/2018 06:58 PM »

1.  The quick fix for these problems was to weld together a bunch of Redstone & Jupiter tanks, bolt on some slightly modified Thor/Jupiter engines, and connect them with a rat's nest of pipes and wires. There was no thought that Saturn I would become a permanent part of the space program, and so no thought was given to efficiency or cost-effectiveness. The result was a booster stage that not only looked obsolete by 1969, but actually was obsolete (by comparison with Titan III and Proton).

2,  Politically, S-IB was a non-starter because it was built by the Chrysler Corporation, which in those days was very healthy and not threatened with bankruptcy like the traditional aerospace firms. Those same aerospace firms were also determined to drive Chrysler out of the space business.

1.  together a bunch of Redstone & Jupiter sized tanks

2.  not really.  Chrysler only did production, it had nothing to do with the design.
« Last Edit: 03/08/2018 06:58 PM by Jim »

Offline Proponent

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Re: Landing a Saturn S-IB, Falcon 9 style
« Reply #49 on: 03/08/2018 10:38 PM »
I think it virtually inevitable that the clustered 1st stage would have been replace with a 6.6m mono core booster...for those reasons you mentioned.  Perhaps with an additional engine and upgraded engines.  A mono core tank would be both more volume and mass efficient.

Why is it such a persistent belief that the S-IB's multi-tank structure was a major drag on the Saturn IB's performance?  It wasn't.  And that is now doubt why the expensive proposition of completely redesigning the first stage does not appear among the many proposals for increasing the rocket's performance (Saturn IB-A, -B, -C, & -D; Saturn INT-05, -05A, -11. -12, -13. -14 & -15).

Offline Lobo

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Re: Landing a Saturn S-IB, Falcon 9 style
« Reply #50 on: 03/09/2018 12:23 AM »
I think it virtually inevitable that the clustered 1st stage would have been replace with a 6.6m mono core booster...for those reasons you mentioned.  Perhaps with an additional engine and upgraded engines.  A mono core tank would be both more volume and mass efficient.

Why is it such a persistent belief that the S-IB's multi-tank structure was a major drag on the Saturn IB's performance?  It wasn't.  And that is now doubt why the expensive proposition of completely redesigning the first stage does not appear among the many proposals for increasing the rocket's performance (Saturn IB-A, -B, -C, & -D; Saturn INT-05, -05A, -11. -12, -13. -14 & -15).

Well, it wasn't a huge drag per se, but it was more of a stop gap to get it together quickly using existing tooling used for Jupiter and Redstone tank production.  Via the Saturn 1 stage, it was ready before any of the other Saturn V components.  After they'd all been produced, then there was experience with larger tooling.  But again, since there wasn't plans to produce the stage indefinately, it was ok to have the clustered design.
But why wasn't the S-1D clustered with smaller tanks?  And why have we never really seen a booster (or any stage) use it since?  Well, it's just a sub optimal way to do it from mass, volume, and plumbing standpoints.
Was the Titan IIIC the most optimal design for an LV?  No, but there were lots of Titan ICBM parts and production going on in the 60's, so USAF used what it had available, and saved time and money making an LV out of their ICBM fleet.   Put some big solids on it to get more capacity.   Once that went away, then the Titan LV because a lot more expensive (see Titan IV).
So had the SAturn 1B been chosen instead of STS to be NASA's LV in the post-Apollo era, and Jupiter and Redstone rocket products was getting phased out (or already had been, not sure when that production of new tanks stopped exactly), and Douglas already had 6.6m tooling to build the S-IVB, I just don't see anyway that Saturn 1B wouldn't have gotten a new mono core.

Or they would have had to restart the Jupiter and Redstone tank tooling to keep making the S-1B stage.  Dunno, just seems unlikely they would have continued on with that for their LV of record for the next few decades.  I could see them using any existing stages and tanks stocks, but probably looking at a different booster stage rather than restarting production of those tanks. 

So there were more production reasons for a new booster, than just the mass penalties of the clustered design.

As for the various Saturn 1B INT concepts you mention, some replaced the S-1B with multiple Titan SRB's, or one single very big SRB.  Others keep the S-1B and add Solids.  So they seemingly were considering replacing the S-1B as it was.  They were just thinking Solids rather than liquid.
But you make a point, they didn't seem to be thinking liquid mono core.  At least not when those concepts were looked at.  But later in the 70's when this would have happened?  Who knows?

Offline mike robel

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Re: Landing a Saturn S-IB, Falcon 9 style
« Reply #51 on: 03/09/2018 01:58 AM »
Even though the evolution to a single tank type structure appears to make sense, I believe, in one of the other threads where we have been down this road, it would not really been much of an improvement over the S1B.   It would have drive up costs too, because it would require an all new structure.  An F-1 would not have had an engine out capability, which may or may not have been an important factor.  And then, it would not be capable of a powered landing, so it is right out of consideration for this thread.

I must point out the Titan III engines, except for the transtage, were really not any different than Titan I or II engines.  Those engines could run on LOX/Kerosene, LOX/Methane, LOX/Hydrogen, as well as hypergolics.  Adding length to tankage was never, in the old days, much of a challenge.
« Last Edit: 03/09/2018 01:58 AM by mike robel »

Offline Proponent

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Re: Landing a Saturn S-IB, Falcon 9 style
« Reply #52 on: 03/09/2018 03:03 PM »
Why is it such a persistent belief that the S-IB's multi-tank structure was a major drag on the Saturn IB's performance?  It wasn't.  And that is now doubt why the expensive proposition of completely redesigning the first stage does not appear among the many proposals for increasing the rocket's performance (Saturn IB-A, -B, -C, & -D; Saturn INT-05, -05A, -11. -12, -13. -14 & -15).

Well, it wasn't a huge drag per se, but it was more of a stop gap to get it together quickly using existing tooling used for Jupiter and Redstone tank production.  Via the Saturn 1 stage, it was ready before any of the other Saturn V components.  After they'd all been produced, then there was experience with larger tooling.  But again, since there wasn't plans to produce the stage indefinately, it was ok to have the clustered design.
But why wasn't the S-1D clustered with smaller tanks?  And why have we never really seen a booster (or any stage) use it since?  Well, it's just a sub optimal way to do it from mass, volume, and plumbing standpoints.

Absolutely -- the clustered-tank design was sub-optimal from a pure performance perspective and was adopted during the post-Sputnik panic largely because of the desire to build something big quickly and cheaply.  But that doesn't mean that eliminating the clustered tanks was a sensible use of money.  It doesn't make sense that you'd develop a whole new stage just to add less than a tonne to the LEO payload, unless you'd already tried everything else and really, really needed the extra payload.
 
Quote
So had the SAturn 1B been chosen instead of STS to be NASA's LV in the post-Apollo era, and Jupiter and Redstone rocket products was getting phased out (or already had been, not sure when that production of new tanks stopped exactly), and Douglas already had 6.6m tooling to build the S-IVB, I just don't see anyway that Saturn 1B wouldn't have gotten a new mono core.

Or they would have had to restart the Jupiter and Redstone tank tooling to keep making the S-1B stage.  Dunno, just seems unlikely they would have continued on with that for their LV of record for the next few decades.  I could see them using any existing stages and tanks stocks, but probably looking at a different booster stage rather than restarting production of those tanks. 

So there were more production reasons for a new booster, than just the mass penalties of the clustered design.

As for the various Saturn 1B INT concepts you mention, some replaced the S-1B with multiple Titan SRB's, or one single very big SRB.  Others keep the S-1B and add Solids.  So they seemingly were considering replacing the S-1B as it was.  They were just thinking Solids rather than liquid.
But you make a point, they didn't seem to be thinking liquid mono core.  At least not when those concepts were looked at.  But later in the 70's when this would have happened?  Who knows?

NASA might conceivably have spent money on a new first stage with significantly better characteristics.  But it would not have made sense to spend money on a new first stage for the Saturn IB that was just like the old one except for the clustered tanks: it would have failed the cost-benefit test.

Offline mike robel

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Re: Landing a Saturn S-IB, Falcon 9 style
« Reply #53 on: 03/09/2018 03:48 PM »
Before we really load up this thread with alternatives to alternatives, please go here and acquaint yourself with our past discussions:

https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=35996.msg1282611#msg1282611
https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=26667.0

Insofar as this was about reuse of an S1B like a Falcon 9, we have reached several conclusions and I have added some particular thoughts.

1.  Engines not throttable.
2.  Center Engines don't gimbal.
3.  Computers weren't quite so fast.
4.  Monocore 1st stage would not have provided much benefit.
5. F-1 could not be used.
6.  Titan III, at the time was cheaper, and expendable.
7.  Schemes for use of parachutes and such were not pursued.
8.  Radar might have needed to be added.
9.  What about the fins?
10.  No RCS on SIB
11.  Much heavier than an F9?
12.  The Apollo CSM was short fueled because the Saturn IB did not have enough capability to push it to LEO, not that the full load was required for any LEO mission undertaken.
13.  Would have had to construct a barge or stage early enough to have propellent to reach the landing pad.

Therefore:  Probably an idea ahead of its time and not particularly cost effective.



Offline Lobo

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Re: Landing a Saturn S-IB, Falcon 9 style
« Reply #54 on: 03/09/2018 04:45 PM »
Even though the evolution to a single tank type structure appears to make sense, I believe, in one of the other threads where we have been down this road, it would not really been much of an improvement over the S1B.   It would have drive up costs too, because it would require an all new structure.  An F-1 would not have had an engine out capability, which may or may not have been an important factor.  And then, it would not be capable of a powered landing, so it is right out of consideration for this thread.

Mike,
Great input as always.  :)
I don't think anyone was discussing use of the F-1 on an upgraded S-1B booster on -this- thread.  Would have been pretty impossible to have any chance of a Falcon 9 like landing.  heh.  Rather going with the evolved H-1 into the RS-27.  Perhaps adding central 9th engine (obviously room for it).   Douglas already had the 6.6m wide tooling to do the stage.  Had Saturn 1B been kept, they'd have gone back into full production of the S-IVB, and it doesn't seem that a 6.6m wide mono core S-1B built also by them would have been much of an issue.  It wouldn't have had to happen immediately.  By my count, there were six unflown S-1b's, (not including the ASTP, which may or may not have happened in a revised history like this).  So there could have been 5 or 6 more Saturn 1B launches before either a new production run of the S-1B by Chrysler would be needed, or Douglas building a mono core replacement would be needed.  Either way, new production would be needed after those 6 S-1B's were flown.

I must point out the Titan III engines, except for the transtage, were really not any different than Titan I or II engines.  Those engines could run on LOX/Kerosene, LOX/Methane, LOX/Hydrogen, as well as hypergolics.  Adding length to tankage was never, in the old days, much of a challenge.

Really?  I did not know that.  Perhaps they'd have been better engines to use than the RS-27's then?  I hadn't even looked at them as an option.
« Last Edit: 03/09/2018 05:10 PM by Lobo »

Offline Archibald

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Re: Landing a Saturn S-IB, Falcon 9 style
« Reply #55 on: 03/09/2018 04:51 PM »
Well, Titan I ran on kerolox, which was not very practical for an ICBM, so Titan II switched to storables. Both LR-87 and LR-91 were modified without too many difficulties.
Then (according to Astronautix, which is NOT a reliable source) a LH2 LR-87 was a competitor to the J-2, but lost.
As for methane I don't know.
So the LR-87 seem to have been tested on all three major rocket propellant combinations - kerolox, hydrolox, storable.
Can't remember another rocket engine that did that.
« Last Edit: 03/09/2018 04:52 PM by Archibald »
...you have been found guilty by the elders of the forum of a (imaginary) vendetta against Saint Elon - BLAAASPHEMER !

Offline Lobo

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Re: Landing a Saturn S-IB, Falcon 9 style
« Reply #56 on: 03/09/2018 05:08 PM »

Absolutely -- the clustered-tank design was sub-optimal from a pure performance perspective and was adopted during the post-Sputnik panic largely because of the desire to build something big quickly and cheaply.  But that doesn't mean that eliminating the clustered tanks was a sensible use of money.  It doesn't make sense that you'd develop a whole new stage just to add less than a tonne to the LEO payload, unless you'd already tried everything else and really, really needed the extra payload.
 
NASA might conceivably have spent money on a new first stage with significantly better characteristics.  But it would not have made sense to spend money on a new first stage for the Saturn IB that was just like the old one except for the clustered tanks: it would have failed the cost-benefit test.


Which is why I was saying have Douglas build the new booster on their same S-IVB production line, using as much commonality as is possible.  Then add a 9th engine to the Center (look at the title of this thread, after all.  A 9th center engine would be necessary for any future potential attempt at propulsive landing), so just add it in right there), and then go with the RS-27 evolution of the H-1.  Likely, like the Merlin, the H-1/RS-27 was a pretty conservative design, and could have been evolved to better thrust and ISP with some development.   And the mono core booster tank sizing would be applicable to feed those nine engine.   (Maybe it'd then be a "Saturn 1C" or something).  9XRS-27's (218klbs ea.) would be ~20% more thrust and 9s better ISP at SL.  And that's with no additional improvements beyond what the RS-27 actually did.

So yes, a 1st stage with significantly better characteristics, for sure.  Otherwise, just going to a mono core and changing nothing makes little sense, as you said.   Although there's still the issue of long term production.  You either need Chrysler to restart production of that somewhat cobbled together stage design, or go with a stage that's really more of a "planned out" stage for the long term production.

J2S on the S-IVB would be fore sure, as that's what it was developed for, and it was pretty much all developed by then.  ~10% more thrust and 15s better isp.  There's probably some other incremental improvements that could have been done to the S-IVB over time to lighten it up some more, particularly the IU as technology advanced.

Those should have given the Saturn 1B LEO capability around that of STS and (a bit better than Titan IV), but for a fraction of the cost of STS.  And then at least the booster would be of a configuration that they could then play with landing and reusability as the technology advanced over time.  Again, getting back to the topic of this thread.


Offline Lobo

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Re: Landing a Saturn S-IB, Falcon 9 style
« Reply #57 on: 03/09/2018 05:23 PM »
Agreed, re: the first stage.  The biggest bang for the buck would have been to change the second stage, rather then mussing with the S-IB stage.  Shifting to a LOX/RP second stage powered by three Atlas sustainer engines, designed for Atlas sustainer type propellant mass fractions, could have reduced launch costs with minor loss of performance to LEO.  A benefit would have been that the entire machine would have used, essentially, the same engines as NASA's Atlas-Centaur.

But, as we've discussed, the first stage would had to have been substantially redesigned and re-engined  to achieve Falcon 9 like recovery - and recovery would have bit hard into performance.

 - Ed Kyle

Hi Ed,
Well, that's a good point on the upper stage.  And Certainly the way SpaceX went.  But with the topic of the thread about a Falcon 9 like landing of the S-1B, that part of where the mono core came from.  There'd pretty much need to be a 9th Central engine added to have any shot at a future possible propulsive landing.  You can't land on four engines.  Two maybe, if they throttled deep enough and gimbaled.
So it's pretty much a given there's going to have to be some changes for it to even be plausible down the road when tech advanced enough to try.  A 9th central engine, gimbaled central engines...that means a lot of changes to the MTS.  Also means more propellant is needed for the 9th engine, especially if going to the H-1 evolved ending in the RS-27 which had more thrust. 
So all of that just makes a new booster stage pretty unavoidable.  That's why myself, I keep mentioning it.  Plus as you say, recovery would bite into performance a lot, so boosting up the booster power to compensate is almost a must too, if the thing is to loft the Apollo CSM, or a new mini-shuttle, etc for this STS-less Post-Apollo scenario.

As it flew, really no possible way for the S-1B to do a Falcon 9 like landing, even if the technology was there.  Really needs a central single engine that can gimbal.  That's a new MTS and larger tanks at a minimum.  Might as well just go with a better booster stage.

As for the kerolox upper stage, I wouldn't argue against that at all.  It could use the RS-27A for commonality in fact.  Or the Atlas Sustainer's as you mention.  That would be even a more "Falcon 9" ~40 years before there was a Falcon 9.  In fact I mention that over here:
https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=36711.0

But for this thread, since the S-IVB did already exist, and worked and didn't really -need- changes like the booster did (for any possible landing attempt in the future) I was just keeping it to not diverge -too- wildly from the actual Saturn 1B.  Just what, in my opinion, the S-1B needed for any potential recovery.  :)
« Last Edit: 03/09/2018 06:30 PM by Lobo »

Offline Proponent

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Re: Landing a Saturn S-IB, Falcon 9 style
« Reply #58 on: 03/09/2018 07:13 PM »
... the S-IVB did already exist, and worked and didn't really -need- changes

And there were ideas on making the S-IVB cheaper too (see the 1st attachment to this post).

Offline Proponent

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Re: Landing a Saturn S-IB, Falcon 9 style
« Reply #59 on: 03/09/2018 07:30 PM »
There was no thought that Saturn I would become a permanent part of the space program...

The Saturn Vehicle Development Plan (1st attachment to this post) envisioned the Saturn I and brethren as the launch vehicles for a wide variety of missions.  And that was in 1959, before Apollo began.  The von Braun team wanted to use Saturn for lunar exploration, both robotic and manned (Project Horizon: see the attachment).  Even after NASA relegated the smaller Saturns to supporting roles in Apollo itself, it envisioned launching many of them as part of the Apollo Applications Program.  When the first AAP plan was released in 1966, it included dozens of launches of Saturns IB and V.

Quote
... no thought was given to efficiency or cost-effectiveness.

Much like SpaceX, Saturn's developers planned to recover the first stage.  Recovery experiments were planned until just a few months before the first Saturn I launch.  They were dropped in the rush to get to the moon, money becoming less important than time.

Offline Archibald

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Re: Landing a Saturn S-IB, Falcon 9 style
« Reply #60 on: 03/10/2018 08:23 AM »
Agreed, re: the first stage.  The biggest bang for the buck would have been to change the second stage, rather then mussing with the S-IB stage.  Shifting to a LOX/RP second stage powered by three Atlas sustainer engines, designed for Atlas sustainer type propellant mass fractions, could have reduced launch costs with minor loss of performance to LEO.  A benefit would have been that the entire machine would have used, essentially, the same engines as NASA's Atlas-Centaur.

But, as we've discussed, the first stage would had to have been substantially redesigned and re-engined  to achieve Falcon 9 like recovery - and recovery would have bit hard into performance.

 - Ed Kyle 

and with perfect hindsight, this is a Falcon 9R, just as Lobo said.  ;D

Now it only miss a Dragon 2. The closest thing would be Big Gemini.

So at the end of the day, S-IB reusable first stage + Atlas sustainer stage 2 + Big Gemini become a kind of 1975 poor man's SpaceX stack and (with perfect 2018 20/20 hindsight) we know it could work, unlike the Shuttle.
Hight flight rates, 50 000 pound to orbit, crew of 7 to a space station, partially reusable, fly off The Cape Apollo launch gantries.
What's not to like ?
(note: this post is not entirely serious. don't take it seriously).

now take Emmett Brown DeLorean and flyback to 1969 and show this concept to George Mueller, the "father of the space shuttle". And watch his reaction. I'm not sure the concept would really convince him.

Note: Mueller lived long enough (he died in 2015) to see Falcon 9 fly, and of course he showed SpaceX the way (somewhat) with Kistler... I wonder if he gave some interviews or oral history near the end of his life, it might be interesting to have the feelings of a veteran from the Apollo days...
« Last Edit: 03/10/2018 08:30 AM by Archibald »
...you have been found guilty by the elders of the forum of a (imaginary) vendetta against Saint Elon - BLAAASPHEMER !

Offline Proponent

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Re: Landing a Saturn S-IB, Falcon 9 style
« Reply #61 on: 03/12/2018 09:18 PM »
A 9th center engine would be necessary for any future potential attempt at propulsive landing), so just add it in right there),

I'm thinking that the 9th engine would have to have been of less thrust than the H-1, unless the H-1 could have been made to throttle down to about 100,000 lb.  The reason is that I suspect the hover-slam landing would have been beyond the capability of circa 1970 avionics.  On the other hand, without hoverslam, the whole landing is more propellant intensive, so maybe that's just another reason the concept would not have been practical.

Quote
So yes, a 1st stage with significantly better characteristics, for sure.  Otherwise, just going to a mono core and changing nothing makes little sense

Come to think of it, even though the stage's relatively high structural fraction didn't hurt its performance as a launch vehicle very much, it would have made rocket-powered boost-back and recovery very propellant thirsty.  So I suppose a first stage redesigned for much less weight was essential.  That then means, though, that the H-1 must throttle even deeper.  If you got the stage's structural fraction down to an F9-like 4%, that would be about 40,000 pounds' dry weight, giving the H-1 a very long way to throttle.

Another issue occurs to me with the whole concept, namely cost savings.  I don't know the ratio of the costs of F9's two stages, but for a first guess I'd start with the ratio of Merlins on each, making the second stage about 1/9 the cost of the first.  I'm sure it's actually more expensive than that (for one thing, it's got an Mvac, with a long nozzle that's produced in relatively low numbers).  But still, it seems likely that the first stage represents most of the cost of the rocket.

With the classic Saturn IB, however, studies of various improved versions show that the two stages are similar in cost.  The precise numbers depend on production rates for both the Saturns IB and V, since making S-IVB-500s for the Saturn V helps keep unit costs down for the S-IVB-200s flown on the IB.  But, the point is, you go to all this trouble and accept some loss of payload to recover only about half the value of the launch vehicle.  Probably not viable.
« Last Edit: 03/12/2018 09:19 PM by Proponent »

Offline Hog

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Re: Landing a Saturn S-IB, Falcon 9 style
« Reply #62 on: 03/13/2018 12:55 PM »
Does having a new rocket that is designed for an erect/vertical landing mean that previous rockets would benefit from such a landing?

Looking cool/generating followers/getting hits is one thing, designing a rocket for a purpose using sound logic and engineering practices is another.  The synergy of both attracts the best of both worlds, but unfortunately also the worst.

Pic #1 side view of a Rocketdyne H-1 LOX/RP-1, Gas-Generator styled, rocket engine
Pic #2 performance of H-1 engine and its later uprating
Pic #3  8 Rocketdyne H-1s mounted on the Test Stand
Paul

Offline Lobo

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Re: Landing a Saturn S-IB, Falcon 9 style
« Reply #63 on: 03/14/2018 04:24 PM »
A 9th center engine would be necessary for any future potential attempt at propulsive landing), so just add it in right there),

I'm thinking that the 9th engine would have to have been of less thrust than the H-1, unless the H-1 could have been made to throttle down to about 100,000 lb.  The reason is that I suspect the hover-slam landing would have been beyond the capability of circa 1970 avionics.  On the other hand, without hoverslam, the whole landing is more propellant intensive, so maybe that's just another reason the concept would not have been practical.

As I said in my line there, a 9th engine would be necessary for any future potential attempt at propulsive landing.  Meaning, yes, it was probably impossible in the 1970's to do, as has been mentioned.  Especially with the H-1 itself, or even it's successor, the RS-27.  But to do it, you need a 9th engine, of some sort.  You need an odd number of engines.  With an even number, you need to land on two or four engines, then you need even deeper throttle ability than one.  So when the S-1B stage is replaced with a newer mono core version, add the 9th engine right then, and then 10 or 15 years down the road, when the technology is there for the guidance and other things, then you look at the engines and either come out with a new version of H-1/RS-27 that can sufficiently throttle, or come out with a new kerolox engine entirely if that's impossible to do with the H-1/RS-27.  But that would be after 10-15 years of operating this mono core expendably.  It doesn't have to land right away, but just plan for that capability later with that center 9th engine.  The additional thrust of the 9th engine, upgrading to RS-27, and additional propellant of the mono core, gives the upgraded Saturn 1B a decent performance boost too in the interim. 

So yes, a 1st stage with significantly better characteristics, for sure.  Otherwise, just going to a mono core and changing nothing makes little sense

Come to think of it, even though the stage's relatively high structural fraction didn't hurt its performance as a launch vehicle very much, it would have made rocket-powered boost-back and recovery very propellant thirsty.  So I suppose a first stage redesigned for much less weight was essential.  That then means, though, that the H-1 must throttle even deeper.  If you got the stage's structural fraction down to an F9-like 4%, that would be about 40,000 pounds' dry weight, giving the H-1 a very long way to throttle.

Another issue occurs to me with the whole concept, namely cost savings.  I don't know the ratio of the costs of F9's two stages, but for a first guess I'd start with the ratio of Merlins on each, making the second stage about 1/9 the cost of the first.  I'm sure it's actually more expensive than that (for one thing, it's got an Mvac, with a long nozzle that's produced in relatively low numbers).  But still, it seems likely that the first stage represents most of the cost of the rocket.

With the classic Saturn IB, however, studies of various improved versions show that the two stages are similar in cost.  The precise numbers depend on production rates for both the Saturns IB and V, since making S-IVB-500s for the Saturn V helps keep unit costs down for the S-IVB-200s flown on the IB.  But, the point is, you go to all this trouble and accept some loss of payload to recover only about half the value of the launch vehicle.  Probably not viable.

I don't disagree with any of that.  But when STS was built, reusability was more for optics than actual cost savings.  I think they'd originally looked at liquid fly back boosters for it, but the technology just wasn't there yet (like the S-1B propulsive landing in the 70's), but opted for SRB's instead.  But those need to be fished out of the ocean, towed back to Port, disassembled, and shipped back to Utah for refurbishing and refueling before being sent back to KSC for assembly.  I think even then they knew that wouldn't save any money, but they needed the optics of reusability, after Apollo with this huge Saturn V rocket that threw away everything but the tiny Command Module.
A propulsive landing S-1B was pretty much impossible in the 70's, but you could upgrade it with the future capability.  The optics would be there "Future landing reusable booster". (Plus that -is- the title of this thread.  ;)  ) And that's why I think a mini-shuttle would have been politically more viable than a Big Gemini or retaining the Apollo CSM or something.  As lifting body and runway landing tech was available in the 70's.  But keep it much more small and simple and easy with simple/robust TPS to do at that time with those budgets.   So now you have a reusable crew orbiter, and a booster that will be reusable in the future. 
They could try parachute and water landing in the interim if they wanted, for optics of reusability.  May not have saved any money after refurbishments, but it didn't for the SRB's either and that didn't seem to change the optics that the SRB's were "reusable".    And the H-1's had been tested in the salt water and came through pretty well, as I recall.  That should check the boxes of "reusability" that were sexy at that time, making this concept more plausible, IMO.

Now...what if they never actually got around to adding propulsive landing?  Oh well...like you said, it probably wasn't going to be a real cost savings anyway.  ;)   But there's things you say and do to get something built and flying.  Once it is, it's harder to cancel and switch horses down the road.  10 or 20 years later it's hard to cancel just because the booster never actually landed propulsively. 

The S-IVB was just a more expensive stage than the F9.  More cost effective would have probably to have made a kerolox upper stage that used an RS-27A vacuum engine.  That should have been cheaper and have had more commonality.  As I advocate over on my thread here:
https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=36711.0

But if basically retaining Saturn 1B as a soley NASA rocket in the post Apollo era, and considering F9-like landings of the booster, hard to say if that entirely brand new stage would have be accepted at the time vs. retaining the existing S-IVB for some more production runs?   The mono core S-1B would be mostly a new stage, granted.  But for the purposes of this thread's title, a 9th engine would need to be added to the S-1B, and thus, more propellant to feed it (even more with the higher thrust RS-27's), so stretched Jupiter and Redstone tanks, who production would have been shut down for awhile by that time I think?  So by the time you have that modified S-1B, might as well just go mono core at that time while you are at it.  But the S-IVB was pretty much good to go as it was, with just upgrading the J2 to the cheaper/better J2S which was pretty much ready to fly at that time.  Then made incremental improvements and costs savings on it.  That was probably the more plausible way it would have lined up, IMO.  As always, I could be wrong.  :)
« Last Edit: 03/14/2018 04:28 PM by Lobo »

Offline Bloke2012

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Re: Landing a Saturn S-IB, Falcon 9 style
« Reply #64 on: 04/04/2018 10:14 PM »
Hi guys. Long time lurker. This discussion reminded me of the first serious adult space book I purchased as a teenager in the 70s. Frontiers of Space, by Bono and Gatland. Which had descriptions of various plans for returning Saturn stages. These are the Saturn SIVb and S1c pictures that illustrated the plan. Hope these pictures are of interest.
« Last Edit: 04/04/2018 10:24 PM by Bloke2012 »

Offline Lobo

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Re: Landing a Saturn S-IB, Falcon 9 style
« Reply #65 on: 04/16/2018 05:24 PM »
Bloke,

Interesting.  Seems like it'd make more sense to land engine down though,even if not actually using the J2 to land, having some landing engines on the MTS would help keep a lower center of gravity than with the engine up top. 

The S-1C would makes sense to water land nose first, if they could keep the engines up out of the water, and to keep them from impacting first which could risk impact damage to the engines, as well as the salt water exposure.  Blowing the O2 dome would be the attempt to create a piston deceleration on impact and ballast the heavy engines to keep them up out of the water, as I understand.
Although I then wonder how much of the stage itself would be adequately reusable given the top dome needs replaced and the tanks are full of water.  And there could be damage of the barrel walls or tanks from that impact.  The jettisonable 4-engine ring concept of the S-1D seems more simple, and the engines are the most expensive bit of the whole stage.  They would hit the water, and be exposed to it, but with simple gas generator type engines, I don't know that that would be too hard to clean the up after.  Especially if there was a vessel downrange that could pluck them out of the water in short order, limited their salt water exposure to the bare minimum. 
Plus then you'd have the Saturn VB 1.5 stage to orbit booster that could be used stand alone.

Some pretty interesting concepts if history had taken a different tact and the Saturn hardware had been stuck with and continued funding.

Ironically, once you calculate up all of the money it took to develop STS, including modifications to KSC which was already set up for Saturn, they probably could have kept Saturn V and/or some INT derivatives and just flown that.   While adding in some limited reusability like the reusable S-1C, along with upgrades to the hardware and manufacturing process as they'd be building long term, rather than just in a limited batch or two...And saved money.

Offline RanulfC

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Re: Landing a Saturn S-IB, Falcon 9 style
« Reply #66 on: 04/18/2018 12:28 AM »
Lobo wrote:
Quote
Bloke,

Interesting. Seems like it'd make more sense to land engine down though, even if not actually using the J2 to land, having some landing engines on the MTS would help keep a lower center of gravity than with the engine up top.

The whole 'landing' kit was supposed to mass around 6,500lbs with about half that for the 'legs' (deployable but of fixed length with no 'shock' absorption) and the 'crushable' landing segment. Which would pretty well 'balance' out the mass of the J2 and thrust structure or real close. Couple that with the reentry shield and the fact you're trying to keep it 'nose-forward' for most of the flight anyway landing on the 'nose' is actually easier than trying to transition the stage in flight. (Something SpaceX has learned quite well)

Since you are 'recovering' a second stage from full orbital velocity, you really just want to get it back down as simple as possible BUT you have to keep in mind that all this 'recovery' gear and systems have to deal with having adapters and payloads put on 'top' of them as well.

Quote
The S-1C would makes sense to water land nose first, if they could keep the engines up out of the water, and to keep them from impacting first which could risk impact damage to the engines, as well as the salt water exposure.

Note: The engines still get 'dunked' they just don't have to deal with a lot of 'impact force' initially. As it is the stage "gradually" (over about three minutes was the value IIRC) rolls over to an 'engine-down' and the LOX tank drains of water. The empty RP1 tank keeps the whole thing afloat.

Quote
Blowing the O2 dome would be the attempt to create a piston deceleration on impact and ballast the heavy engines to keep them up out of the water, as I understand.

Half right :) Air trapped in the LOX tank blows out a set of installed 'holes' in the base of the tank using the air and water as an impact cushion. Because you have those 'holes' you can't seal the tank again so the whole thing WILL rollover to an 'engine-down' stable position. The RP1 tank which is still sealed, (we'd hope :) ) ends up being the main floatation system for the stage.

Quote
Although I then wonder how much of the stage itself would be adequately reusable given the top dome needs replaced and the tanks are full of water. And there could be damage of the barrel walls or tanks from that impact.

Part of the mass increase is strengthening the sides of the tanks and vehicle structure to take the impact loads. The LOX dome WAS a separate part of the tank and it's instillation (supposedly) being observed by WVB was the inspiration for the idea from what I understand. "Static" tests in a pool with a Redstone rocket and Jupiter tankage showed it was workable but how so "in-real-life" is a question.

Quote
The jettisonable 4-engine ring concept of the S-1D seems more simple, and the engines are the most expensive bit of the whole stage. They would hit the water, and be exposed to it, but with simple gas generator type engines, I don't know that that would be too hard to clean the up after. Especially if there was a vessel downrange that could pluck them out of the water in short order, limited their salt water exposure to the bare minimum.

Well they were 'assuming' the testing of the H1 would be applicable to the F1 but since the never actually tried it... As for being 'simpler' you're right but... Recovery of the 'ring' was problematical as Michel Van noted in the other thread:
https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=45341.msg1810605#msg1810605

And you'd need some sort of 'impact attenuation' system which you don't have with the ring but do with the stage itself. Plus the engines ARE going to is the water bell first which is a problem and maybe a big one without MORE weight in a set of radar activated retro-rockets, (which was initially suggested for the Saturn-1 recovery for the same reason; it landed engines down) and all that implies.

Quote
Plus then you'd have the Saturn VB 1.5 stage to orbit booster that could be used stand alone.

Well yes, but for how much cargo on-orbit compared to the overall cost? Between 49Klbs and 63Klbs according to Boeing as long as they used stretched tanks. Otherwise it couldn't make orbit with any payload. Simpler but is it cost effective?

Quote
Some pretty interesting concepts if history had taken a different tact and the Saturn hardware had been stuck with and continued funding.

Well, yes that was my initial point a while ago :)

Quote
Ironically, once you calculate up all of the money it took to develop STS, including modifications to KSC which was already set up for Saturn, they probably could have kept Saturn V and/or some INT derivatives and just flown that. While adding in some limited reusability like the reusable S-1C, along with upgrades to the hardware and manufacturing process as they'd be building long term, rather than just in a limited batch or two...And saved money.

Well, actually the answer at the time wasn't as clear. The STS was supposed to be fully reusable from the start and that it wasn't nor was it as 'cost-effective' as promised wasn't an 'engineering' issue but a political and policy issue. If the US committed to continuing to go to the Moon 'occasionally' keeping Saturn and Apollo with some reusability might make sense. We weren't and so Saturn had to die and be replaced with what was hoped would be an economical and regular access to space vehicle which the OTL-STS wasn't. OTL-STS was NASA trying to 'retain' heavy lift while at the same time placing manned spaceflight in the forefront of operations mode. It was the "right" answer to the "wrong" question but given that politically and publicly there was going to be no further support for Saturn and Apollo (both of which were inextricably tied to the "Lunar" and beyond mission) the 'answer' seemed to be to build a reusable "Saturn" class LV from the ground up.

As it was there was a significant lack of support for even the STS we got let alone something 'better' or more capable

Randy
From The Amazing Catstronaut on the Black Arrow LV:
British physics, old chap. It's undignified to belch flames and effluvia all over the pad, what. A true gentlemen's orbital conveyance lifts itself into the air unostentatiously, with the minimum of spectacle and a modicum of grace. Not like our American cousins' launch vehicles, eh?

Offline RanulfC

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Re: Landing a Saturn S-IB, Falcon 9 style
« Reply #67 on: 04/18/2018 12:29 AM »
Bloke2012, thanks for the scans of the SIVB concept. They are hard to find. As for the S1C recovery you can find the full pamphlet here:
http://www.collectspace.com/ubb/Forum29/HTML/000880.html

Annoyingly what's in the book is about it for 'details' on the concept :(

Randy
From The Amazing Catstronaut on the Black Arrow LV:
British physics, old chap. It's undignified to belch flames and effluvia all over the pad, what. A true gentlemen's orbital conveyance lifts itself into the air unostentatiously, with the minimum of spectacle and a modicum of grace. Not like our American cousins' launch vehicles, eh?

Offline Archibald

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Re: Landing a Saturn S-IB, Falcon 9 style
« Reply #68 on: 04/18/2018 04:44 AM »
Frontiers of space is such an amazing book. Highly recommended reading, folks !
...you have been found guilty by the elders of the forum of a (imaginary) vendetta against Saint Elon - BLAAASPHEMER !

Offline Lobo

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Re: Landing a Saturn S-IB, Falcon 9 style
« Reply #69 on: 04/18/2018 04:48 PM »
Hiya Ranulf,

The whole 'landing' kit was supposed to mass around 6,500lbs with about half that for the 'legs' (deployable but of fixed length with no 'shock' absorption) and the 'crushable' landing segment. Which would pretty well 'balance' out the mass of the J2 and thrust structure or real close. Couple that with the reentry shield and the fact you're trying to keep it 'nose-forward' for most of the flight anyway landing on the 'nose' is actually easier than trying to transition the stage in flight. (Something SpaceX has learned quite well)

That does make more sense then.  However you've created the issue of having to have doors in your nose heat shield in order to land on the nose like this.  I'm not saying it can't be done, and indeed was for STS and X-37B, but those are obviously points of failure in the heat shield. 
I suppose of doing a 180 degree transition prior to landing was thought to be too difficult, then that might be considered a necessary trade.  But I still think it'd have been better try to develop transition, and then keep all the extra mass in the base, and an uninterrupted TPS.  As always, I could be wrong.  :)

Note: The engines still get 'dunked' they just don't have to deal with a lot of 'impact force' initially. As it is the stage "gradually" (over about three minutes was the value IIRC) rolls over to an 'engine-down' and the LOX tank drains of water. The empty RP1 tank keeps the whole thing afloat.

Ahhh...thanks for all of the good info there on the ballute S-1C landing concept


Well they were 'assuming' the testing of the H1 would be applicable to the F1 but since the never actually tried it... As for being 'simpler' you're right but... Recovery of the 'ring' was problematical as Michel Van noted in the other thread:
https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=45341.msg1810605#msg1810605

This actually gets back to something I posted on my thread about cost comparison of Saturn 1B vs. Saturn VB/S-1D.  If they were just retaining the S-1C stage as a 1.5 stage to orbit LV for support of a LEO space station and have some sort of small reusable spacecraft (HL-20 or similar), then an interesting concept would be to replace the F-1's with H-1's, and go a little Falcon style with several small, cheap, mass produced engines which could accommodate an engine out scenario.  -AND- they test resistant to sea water.  Obviously such an LV doesn't need all of that thrust that 5XF-1's produced, as it's only needing to get 20-25mt payload off the ground, rather than the S-II, S-IVB, plus payload of the whole Saturn V stack.
Also the H-1's (and derivatives) would then be shared with other LV's of the post-Apollo era like Atlas and Delta for cost sharing.  I actually kinda like that concept.  The MPS would need to be redesigned, but it would needed to have been anyway with a jettisonable engine ring.

And you'd need some sort of 'impact attenuation' system which you don't have with the ring but do with the stage itself. Plus the engines ARE going to is the water bell first which is a problem and maybe a big one without MORE weight in a set of radar activated retro-rockets, (which was initially suggested for the Saturn-1 recovery for the same reason; it landed engines down) and all that implies.

Would the ring have to land bells down?  Could the chutes be attached in a way so that it hit the water engines up?  So that the structure hit the water first, which seems like it could more easily be made to withstand that impact.  Perhaps an airbag could be added to help cushion the impact, to avoid the concept of retro rockets all together.


Quote
Plus then you'd have the Saturn VB 1.5 stage to orbit booster that could be used stand alone.

Well yes, but for how much cargo on-orbit compared to the overall cost? Between 49Klbs and 63Klbs according to Boeing as long as they used stretched tanks. Otherwise it couldn't make orbit with any payload. Simpler but is it cost effective?
*snip*
Well, actually the answer at the time wasn't as clear. The STS was supposed to be fully reusable from the start and that it wasn't nor was it as 'cost-effective' as promised wasn't an 'engineering' issue but a political and policy issue.

I think it'd be pretty cost effective if the whole Saturn V stack and SAturn 1B were not to be retained, but only some Saturn hardware.  As we know, the most likely path post Apollo no matter what was to go to LEO to man and service a space station.  That's what the Shuttle was envisioned to do, until Nixon said NASA could have the Shuttle or Space Station, but not both. (If memory serves correctly).   So all of these hypotheticals sort of assume NASA chose option B instead of Option A.  As amazing as it would have been for the whole Saturn stack to be retained and funding allocated for more lunar missions, that just wasn't the reality of the day.  But I also find it hard to wrap my head around the decision to scrap all of that hardware and development and start over.  I get STS was over promised, and overly optimistic, but still.  These are some brilliant minds involved at the time.  There must have been those who had a pretty good idea that it wasn't going to work out like advertised.  The paint was barely dry on the Saturn hardware and launch facilities for Pete's sake!  Burning it all to the ground (figuratively) and starting fresh after only a couple years of operation just blows my mind.  Had pragmatism won out, then I think this S-1D LV could have been cost effective, yea.  All the facilities were already set up to process and launch it.  It fit with the ML's already (except the modified milk stool one, but that could be easily modified back).  etc.  Put an HL-20 type reusable shuttle on top, and recover the majority of the engines, and there you have as much reusability as the shuttle had basically, and similar payload.  Just have to launch the space station segments without the crew, but the Russians did that pretty well with Mir and their portion of the ISS.  So don't see much issue with building a space station like that.

So just retain that one bit as a 1.5 stage "Large Atlas" booster, and work on having the recoverable engine ring.   Maybe even better if refitted with H-1 engines.  The H-1C variant that wasn't developed would have had the H-1 at 250klbs of thrust.  Probably could have gotten away with maybe 2-3 of those fixed to the stage in the center, and an engine ring of maybe 18?  Maybe some extended nozzles on the center ones for better vacuum performance.
The S-1C was about 5Mlbs weight wet.  25mt of payload would be another 55,000lbs.  So at 250,000lbs each H-1C, around 21 would be needed to get it off the ground, assuming a stretch wasn't needed.  Would have significantly less engine mass too, although that's just a small fraction of the total fueled mass.

The ballute landing S-1C would only have worked if an upper stage was retained as well, obviously.  It might not have allowed for effective reuse of the tanks themselves, given how many "give" points it needs, but as you said, the stage may have just been useful to land the F-1 engines intact, which then could be reused.

« Last Edit: 04/18/2018 04:51 PM by Lobo »

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