Author Topic: Ripple Aerospace  (Read 5930 times)

Offline Steven Pietrobon

  • Member
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 15587
  • Adelaide, Australia
    • Steven Pietrobon's Space Archive
  • Liked: 4802
  • Likes Given: 623
Re: Ripple Aerospace
« Reply #20 on: 04/19/2018 05:44 AM »
G'day Nick. Can you give us an update on the current status of your launch vehicle development? Do you have money in hand for this, or are you still looking for investors?
Akin's Laws of Spacecraft Design #1:  Engineering is done with numbers.  Analysis without numbers is only an opinion.

Offline john smith 19

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7407
  • Everyplaceelse
  • Liked: 1090
  • Likes Given: 7333
Re: Ripple Aerospace
« Reply #21 on: 04/19/2018 10:16 AM »
Hi Everyone,

I'm Nick Larcombe the Ripple Co-founder and President that Steven spoke too.

Happy to answer some questions you all might have.

Please don't take our website details as set in stone, they are changing pretty quick these days.
Welcome to the site.

You've appear to be going with an aerospike or plug nozzle. Is that still the plan?

Historically this was suggested both as a way to increase Isp and also (in principle) to act as a heat shield for orbital re entry. I guess the notion was "We have to cool it to survive operating as a rocket engine anyway. A bit of propellant to cool it on entry is no big deal."

Is this a long range goal for the company?
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 Nick_Larcombe

  • Member
  • Posts: 6
  • Earth
  • Liked: 28
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: Ripple Aerospace
« Reply #22 on: 04/19/2018 03:35 PM »
Hi Guys,

Can you give us an update on the current status of your launch vehicle development?

We have been working on the sea serpent family for a little while now, one of the key things that draw us to oceanic rocketry is that it's much easier to scale up or down as needed.

As we are currently suffering a bad case of not being billionaires, we are able to move things around depending on resources and partners.

We are making progress but we don't have every wiring diagram sorted just yet.

Do you have money in hand for this, or are you still looking for investors?

Our current grants have been focused on our ballast system as proof of concept.

We will be starting our 1st fundraise soon, as I'm sure everyone here has seen their fair share of paper rockets and now we have hardware and operations experience we feel we are in a much better position. Things look promising but its like herding cats.

You've appear to be going with an aerospike or plug nozzle. Is that still the plan?

Historically this was suggested both as a way to increase Isp and also (in principle) to act as a heat shield for orbital re-entry. I guess the notion was "We have to cool it to survive operating as a rocket engine anyway. A bit of propellant to cool it on entry is no big deal."

Is this a long-range goal for the company?


Everyone is building engines. While we have the goal of aerospike engine we at this point are looking to either build or buy engines depending on cash and time frames.

We are hoping to focus on operations (oceanic launch and refurbishment) and other rocket systems which are not receiving as much tech dev as engines. We figure the view is better from orbit rather than on the ground waiting for tech or additional resources to fully build in-house from the start.

Here is a link to our 1st test where we worked on the tow and flip of the rocket using our ballast system.



Also few photos

Offline whitelancer64

Re: Ripple Aerospace
« Reply #23 on: 04/19/2018 03:52 PM »
How much data do you have from the Seabee and Sea Horse rocket tests? Anything that was particularly helpful to you guys?
"One bit of advice: it is important to view knowledge as sort of a semantic tree -- make sure you understand the fundamental principles, ie the trunk and big branches, before you get into the leaves/details or there is nothing for them to hang on to." - Elon Musk
"There are lies, damned lies, and launch schedules." - Larry J

Offline Nick_Larcombe

  • Member
  • Posts: 6
  • Earth
  • Liked: 28
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: Ripple Aerospace
« Reply #24 on: 04/19/2018 04:15 PM »
How much data do you have from the Seabee and Sea Horse rocket tests? Anything that was particularly helpful to you guys?

We have a good bit of it, but you don't know what you don't know.

It's helped to guide top-level choices and answering questions we come up with.

There is quite a bit of data out and around. We really hope not to reinvent the wheel but more so change out the tire to the lastest rubber and extend its life via advance no destructive inspections.

Feel free to PM with any oceanic rocket data you might find.

Offline Steven Pietrobon

  • Member
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 15587
  • Adelaide, Australia
    • Steven Pietrobon's Space Archive
  • Liked: 4802
  • Likes Given: 623
Re: Ripple Aerospace
« Reply #25 on: 04/20/2018 07:46 AM »
Thanks for your replies Nick!
Akin's Laws of Spacecraft Design #1:  Engineering is done with numbers.  Analysis without numbers is only an opinion.

Offline ringsider

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 455
  • Liked: 200
  • Likes Given: 52
Re: Ripple Aerospace
« Reply #26 on: 04/25/2018 06:01 PM »
Hi Everyone,

I'm Nick Larcombe the Ripple Co-founder and President that Steven spoke too.

Happy to answer some questions you all might have.

Please don't take our website details as set in stone, they are changing pretty quick these days.

Hey Nick, brave to step into the cynic's den!

There are bunch of US-based companies who have raised a lot of money recently. With PLD Space far ahead of the game in Europe, what's your plan to catch up and raise the money needed to fulfil your plans and beat those well-funded companies?

Offline Nick_Larcombe

  • Member
  • Posts: 6
  • Earth
  • Liked: 28
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: Ripple Aerospace
« Reply #27 on: 04/26/2018 07:50 AM »
Hi Everyone,

I'm Nick Larcombe the Ripple Co-founder and President that Steven spoke too.

Happy to answer some questions you all might have.

Please don't take our website details as set in stone, they are changing pretty quick these days.

Hey Nick, brave to step into the cynic's den!

There are bunch of US-based companies who have raised a lot of money recently. With PLD Space far ahead of the game in Europe, what's your plan to catch up and raise the money needed to fulfil your plans and beat those well-funded companies?


Thanks for the welcome!

Feeling much braver with hardware rather than paper rockets. Plus I can tell you right now I don't have all the answers and I'm definitely wrong about many things. Which things only time will tell :)

Yea we have a lot of catching up to do in time and money. We are pretty pleased to be compared to all these companies in fact. They are older then we are, PLD space was foundered in 2011 while we only got things rolling in 2016. What we have really come to understand is this industry is not a level playing field. Many other groups have resource advantages or have been around much longer than us. That's without getting into the politics of it. You just have to keep fighting till you get a place at the table

We are glad for every new launcher we see trying to reach the market

More rockets mean more space missions. Go, humans!
More trained and talented people with industry experience to hire
A wider range of parts and suppliers to chose from. Less time for us to have to reinvent the wheel
A lot of what sets us apart is operations, reusability, and refurbishment
The more rockets out there trying to launch means more people waiting for pads which makes our system shine even more.
More rocket companies looking to us to help convert and run their oceanic ops when they get fed with land ops

The plan to raise money is to finish our testing, point to the testing and say look we did the thing with not much. Give us more and we will do more things. In a nut shell

One of the bigger troubles we have atm is while many Non-Space VC's are interested in things they don't have the understanding or technical expertise to feel comfortable leading the round.

It's hard and full of unknowns but we are working towards the future in spite of that.

More questions?

Offline ringsider

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 455
  • Liked: 200
  • Likes Given: 52
Re: Ripple Aerospace
« Reply #28 on: 04/26/2018 10:56 AM »

One of the bigger troubles we have atm is while many Non-Space VC's are interested in things they don't have the understanding or technical expertise to feel comfortable leading the round.

I guess you are aware of Seraphim?

Offline vaporcobra

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1014
  • Tacoma, WA
  • Liked: 1720
  • Likes Given: 2199
Re: Ripple Aerospace
« Reply #29 on: 04/26/2018 09:46 PM »
We are hoping to focus on operations (oceanic launch and refurbishment) and other rocket systems which are not receiving as much tech dev as engines. We figure the view is better from orbit rather than on the ground waiting for tech or additional resources to fully build in-house from the start.

Welcome to NASASpaceflight, really glad I started this topic ;D

It's a fair idea. While a lot of NewSpace can be said to exist partly because subassembly suppliers were (and many still are) mind-bogglingly slow and over-priced, it appears that the injection of serious competition is starting to pay off with some new innovative subassembly providers.

On the engine side of things, I can already think of several possible sources in the US. Ursa Major comes to mind as the clearest option.

Offline ChrisWilson68

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3629
  • Sunnyvale, CA
  • Liked: 2215
  • Likes Given: 2808
Re: Ripple Aerospace
« Reply #30 on: 04/26/2018 10:11 PM »

Hey Nick, brave to step into the cynic's den!

Yes, welcome, and thank you very much for being open to any questions here!  It's a refreshing change that sets you apart from most other launch start-ups.

We are glad for every new launcher we see trying to reach the market

More rockets mean more space missions. Go, humans!
More trained and talented people with industry experience to hire
A wider range of parts and suppliers to chose from.

The more rockets out there trying to launch means more people waiting for pads which makes our system shine even more.
More rocket companies looking to us to help convert and run their oceanic ops when they get fed with land ops

I have to say, that seems like a contradiction there.  I agree with you that more launch companies means more parts and suppliers, which makes it better for all launch companies.  But by the same logic lots of companies trying to launch from land should mean more pads get built, which makes it easier, not harder, for companies trying to launch from land.

Maybe there's some reason you think that more customers means more suppliers of everything but pads?

Offline RanulfC

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4446
  • Heus tu Omnis! Vigilate Hoc!
  • Liked: 803
  • Likes Given: 32
Re: Ripple Aerospace
« Reply #31 on: 04/28/2018 09:04 PM »
"Ripple" eh? Nick my fine fellow I do like the concept and name of the vehicle.. Company name? Well, everyone I knew growing up always TALKED about "Ripple" but once "Boone's Farm" came along... :)

JQP; Not to off track this even more but canister, floating, (encapsulated, platform, and free-floating) along with sub-surface basing was extensively studied in the late 50s and early-to-mid-60s and while technically feasible the key point was no significant advantage was found and more than enough disadvantages to 'scuttle' the concept. It has come up again and again over the years, (Mobile MX was one and there was another round of studies recently and on-going for a 'new' ICBM system) but the same issues remain.

I'm not sure how you haven't heard of the idea as it comes up easily with any keyword search using "Ocean" "Floating" "Missile" "Launch Vehicle" and it helps to throw in "Concepts" as well. Here's my first hit with those terms:
http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/297396.pdf

1962 towed canister concept which was proposed to the Navy.

Throw in "Sea Dragon" "SEELAR" "SeaBee" or "Truax" into the engine and you're off and running.

No the DoD has no interest in people who are interested in the concept because as noted they, (and just about every other nation with SLBMs) have studied the concept and are well aware the flaws out-weigh the advantages by a good margin.
I won't go into the majority here as they are in the literature but I'll mention a few:

1) Lack of Command and Control over the missile. In an situation where you leave your 'weapon' somewhere and plan on activating or controlling it from somewhere else the biggest danger is someone will detect it and disable it before you use it. Worse they can probably, given time, actually turn the weapon against you and use it themselves. Communications underwater is difficult and limited to sound or light unless you use a hardline cable and any of them can be blocked or tapped. Even if you remain nearby the separated weapon has no propulsion, nor sensors so it is vastly more vulnerable than your submarine is. (Note you can't 'get away' from the weapon as noted effective contact range under water is VERY short. "Counterstike" on a submarine never happens because if you can't get them BEFORE they launch then taking them out afterwards is useless. Beside if the enemy is in position to even attempt a 'counterstrike' then he's already in a position to detect and prevent you from launching in the first place.

2) "Remote" platforms or containers is even worse since literally ANYONE can access them and you might never know it till all YOUR missiles suddenly launch on YOUR cities! Put them in a restricted area and limit access you say? Ok now that you've told everyone exactly WHERE to look for them what do you do? On the other hand a submerged and maneuvering missile sub can avoid detection and range far and wide over an area far to big to effectively patrol or regulate.

3) On a submarine the missiles though they can't be fully maintained or inspected can be constantly monitored and are in a controlled and 'secure' environment 100% of the time with human supervision and oversight 100% of the time. This is a VERY important factor when dealing with weapons of mass destruction.

There really are number more but these are the main ones that tend to 'kill' the idea as far as any military use goes. But this isn't ABOUT military use so...

One aside though; JS19 wrote:
Quote
I heard they went out of business years ago, but two subsidiaries took their place.

I GOT THAT ONE :) But doing a websearch I ran across something called "hydrasandhawks" (dot-org)which I can't currently access but has 'teasers' about various concepts and actual tests including this one: http://www.astronautix.com/s/sandhawk.html ) which going down my web-search a bit more finds this: https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=23015.msg709136#msg709136
So...

To both vaporcobra and Nick; Well no, quite obviously you can't call them "paper-rockets"... It wouldn't be true anyway, or frankly work very well I mean how do you keep them from getting wet and soggy? Oh look there's my exit!


Ok to continue perusal of the concept,

Ok to address a bit of a misconception ocean launching, (really, when can we have 'sea-launch' back? It is so much better) does NOT avoid either 'range' requirements or issues because there isn't really much 'open' ocean around anymore. Pretty much you have to have the ability and capability to monitor you launch point, your entire trajectory and any and all 'landing' sites for dropped stages to include 'real-time' monitoring of all down-range areas. In some cases this gets pretty ridiculous as "SeaLaunch" will tell you having had to deal with people in light canoes 'impinging' on a down range possible impact area without their knowledge and then getting slapped with a "reckless endangerment" lawsuit. (And that's before environmental damage, loss of income/livelihood, {scared the fish off}, personal and mass health damage claims, {'hearing' loss and injury due to being startled by that big honking platform actually launching a rocket while we're protesting} and so on)

Now most of this can be addressed pretty straight forward, (radars and sensors on launch and recovery vessels and probably drones for visual and IR spotting) but you're still going to have to end up getting 'permission' from someone to launch in the first place and follow all the applicable regulations and laws for launch under the same. (And it will likely NOT differentiate between ocean and land launch)

Chipguy wrote:
Quote
More on topic, it will interesting to see an aerospike nozzle operate on this size of launcher (or any
size for that matter :-).

Several video's and pictures of both liquid and solid aerospikes in the last several years during flight testing around. Garvey Aerospace did several single and multiple chamber aerospike flights while NASA flew a couple of solid ones. Larger sizes tested were mostly 'plug-nozzle' rather than aerospikes but at least up to 250,000lbs engines were tested in the late 50s/early 60s by both the USAF and NASA so...

Nick I must ask; Why LH2 in the first stage and Methane in the second? Being honest LH2 is a crappy booster propellant though Methane's better I'd why not something denser and with a higher T/W at take off? Granted LH2 is "green" but given the amount of energy it requires to make and store I'm not sure, (other than ISP) what the advantage is?

A question on launching from Australia; How does being a signatory of the 1979 Moon Treaty effect business operations? My understanding was the difficulties with enforcement and regulation was the main reason no actual space operating nation signed it or ratified it.

Nick Larcombe wrote:
Quote
We have been working on the sea serpent family for a little while now, one of the key things that draw us to oceanic rocketry is that it's much easier to scale up or down as needed.

Is true :) And as long as you (and/or the employees :) ) don't mind getting wet the overall operations are somewhat easier. Somewhat being the key word as finding out someone forgot to remove the "Remove Before Flight" pin from the base of stage one is VASTLY easier when the rocket is less than 50 feet overall. Lot harder when that flag/pin is over 100ft underwater :)

Quote
Feel free to PM with any oceanic rocket data you might find.

Advice: Invest in "Point THIS end towards Sky" stickers now ;)

On a more serious note we'll keep an eye open I'm sure.

Quote
As we are currently suffering a bad case of not being billionaires, we are able to move things around depending on resources and partners.

Remember the wisdom, you only want to START as billionaires and then become millionaires! :)

Quote
Everyone is building engines. While we have the goal of aerospike engine we at this point are looking to either build or buy engines depending on cash and time frames.

I'd assume "the" problem is just about no one is actually selling engines currently. I know of at least four companies that at one point offered engines for sale but they were mostly 'non-standard' propellants (H2O2, Propylene, LNG, etc) and few if any engines were sold as far as I know. Which is a shame because they tended to be 'cheaper' than developing your own but at the same time they obviously didn't fit your 'exact' requirements.

Quote
We are hoping to focus on operations (oceanic launch and refurbishment) and other rocket systems which are not receiving as much tech dev as engines. We figure the view is better from orbit rather than on the ground waiting for tech or additional resources to fully build in-house from the start.

Good idea in theory but as SpaceX found out a lot of times in really IS a 'system' development that's needed. Having said that I will offer that one of the reason I personally, (which is about what it's worth as I'm neither a billionaire nor an actual rocket scientists :) ) have been looking past 'cylinders' for stages. Yes they are harder to build and frankly harder to work with on some cases, (wasted spaces in the corners and all that :) ) some of the possible operational advantages look interesting. (Not trying to be to mysterious but I don't want to offer side-tracks follow by derailment :) )
Quick example is a more 'conical' booster which now doesn't 'fit' the standard ship building pathways and tows like a 'sail barge' but offers stabilized 'launch' with little or no need for a ballasting system, (tends to need a 'sea-anchor' though, see the 'towing' issue) a broader reentry area, 'auto-stabilized' reentry and aerodynamics and a 'lower' overall height. Tradeoffs as they say and besides everyone here will tell you my ideas are nuts. (Which comes with the territory :) )

"Lessons learned" from current and past concepts is pretty much mixed in that you really need to stick close to what's being done but do it better and cheaper BUT fortune favors the bold if you can find the right flavor of bold :)

Quote
One of the bigger troubles we have atm is while many Non-Space VC's are interested in things they don't have the understanding or technical expertise to feel comfortable leading the round.

Not to worry you overly but I'm sure some of the older members will tell you that at least today it is a bit rarer for those VCs to simply take the word of someone who says "NASA says the idea sucks" as well as simply throwing money at someone who claims to have a viable 'antigravity' device so as not to 'miss' the next big thing. It's actually a bit more 'stable' compared to say the 80s/90s and right after SS1 flew.

Quote
It's hard and full of unknowns but we are working towards the future in spite of that.

Wait? You didn't purchase the optional "Mark-1 Startup Business Crystal Ball"? Were they out? I'm sure you can find a used one around on ebay or something. Watch out for the ones that claim they were "owned by Musk and/or Bezos" because those are scams. Just FYI ;)

Quote
More questions?

Airspeed of an unladen swallow? :)

Vaporcobra wrote:
Quote
On the engine side of things, I can already think of several possible sources in the US. Ursa Major comes to mind as the clearest option.

Ok amend my previous statement to "5" and at least one that IS selling. Thanks

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 Nick_Larcombe

  • Member
  • Posts: 6
  • Earth
  • Liked: 28
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: Ripple Aerospace
« Reply #32 on: 04/30/2018 03:02 PM »

Hey Nick, brave to step into the cynic's den!

Yes, welcome, and thank you very much for being open to any questions here!  It's a refreshing change that sets you apart from most other launch start-ups.

We are glad for every new launcher we see trying to reach the market

More rockets mean more space missions. Go, humans!
More trained and talented people with industry experience to hire
A wider range of parts and suppliers to chose from.

The more rockets out there trying to launch means more people waiting for pads which makes our system shine even more.
More rocket companies looking to us to help convert and run their oceanic ops when they get fed with land ops

I have to say, that seems like a contradiction there.  I agree with you that more launch companies means more parts and suppliers, which makes it better for all launch companies.  But by the same logic lots of companies trying to launch from land should mean more pads get built, which makes it easier, not harder, for companies trying to launch from land.

Maybe there's some reason you think that more customers means more suppliers of everything but pads?


I don't think its a contradiction but closer to factors at different rates. I think we can build ballast tanks faster then people can build launch pads and clear new ranges. Each new range will have its own issues while every time we build a ballast launch system we get better ( hopefully).

RanulfC: thanks for your thoughts!

Not using LH2, a website is out of date to expect changes soon. Materials too hard to deal with at the start anyway. Plus we don't have the aircraft carrier to make the fuel on site.

Yep def don't want to be leaving pins on the rocket at 100ft but we expect and have a lot of interest from folks who work/ed in oil and gas that make that kind of work look easy

The airspeed of an unladen swallow? Alt and location of birth of said bird?

SpaceX has lead the way on so many things and we hope we are 1/2 as good as they are by the time we are their kind of numbers.

Not looked at cone tanks but oceanic launch makes it much easier to try new things.

We are trying to use the term oceanic launch for our systems and ops. While sea launch is great wording, it's in everyone's mindset that it means launching from an oil platform which is not the image we are trying to share.

Yep Aus still has legal hurdles, they look to be moving ( being dragged into the modern age). If they are still there we will just launch from a different location under a different flag.

We expect a fair amount of consolidation in the market at all levels in the coming years, so as company's fold and merge I think we will start to see some stable medium-size launch outfits. The really exciting stuff happens if we as a planet can generate enough demand for payload outside of earth orbit.

Re: Ripple Aerospace
« Reply #33 on: 06/20/2018 11:24 PM »
I glad you joined this thread to let us know what is happening with your organization. I hope you are still following it so I might get a few questions in.

I don't think its a contradiction but closer to factors at different rates. I think we can build ballast tanks faster then people can build launch pads and clear new ranges. Each new range will have its own issues while every time we build a ballast launch system we get better ( hopefully).

I think the idea that the suggestion that launch sites will get over crowded is not that realistic. Currently most of the older launch sites are not launching anywhere near capacity. SpaceX for one has rebuilt 2 launch pads with an eye at rapid reuse. The main factor that seem to contribute to the relatively low launch cadence is high prices, and long prep times for both payloads and rockets. These issues are beginning to change and we will likely see launch cadences rising sharply.

I think your argument concerning ranges as more to the point. Land based ranges are all restricted in what orbit they can cover and limited launch windows. This would be a clear advantage of your system over a land based launches. With that in mind do you see Virgin Orbital and Stratolaunch as major competitors for your initial target market?

Can you provide any time table on when you expect to start test launches?

What type of launches do you think will make up the largest part of your business?

From what you have said it sounds like you intend to initially use another companies engines in your vehicle. Have you already chosen a partner and if not are their specific ones that you believe are good candidates?

If the primary engine in the initial vehicles are not an aerospike do you plan on a multi-stage rocket?

To this point aerospike engines have had troubled development history. Do you believe you know how to get it to work where others have failed?

Tags: