Author Topic: Rocket Lab General Discussion Thread  (Read 6324 times)

Offline Asteroza

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Re: Rocket Lab General Discussion Thread
« Reply #20 on: 12/19/2018 04:35 am »
Anyway, could be interesting. The big question would be if NASA or NanoRacks would actually be interested in additional cargo capacity at cheaper than Dragon $/kg, but in much smaller chunks.

Nanoracks by definition would love you, since you would probably have to pay for access to Bishop. NASA might be interested from the ability to set a defacto small cargo standard and to foster it.

A more immediate problem is where/how the service module would be hard berthed while Bishop is being manipulated. You need a hard stand/berth/grapple point (with related clearance issues) and power to the hard stand for SM keepalive power.

I got the impression there wouldn't be enough clearance around where Bishop will go to allow a SM to hard berth on the outer shell of Bishop, plus you would likely need to use something like DEXTRE to grab your visiting SM. Maybe a DEXTRE variant itself could double as the hard stand (cover the back with MagTag's) and the means to move the cargo container into Bishop? Though that would require offloading DEXTRE + SM onto another grapple point from the main robot arm after capture so the arm can go grab Bishop...

Offline jongoff

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Re: Rocket Lab General Discussion Thread
« Reply #21 on: 12/19/2018 05:36 am »
Anyway, could be interesting. The big question would be if NASA or NanoRacks would actually be interested in additional cargo capacity at cheaper than Dragon $/kg, but in much smaller chunks.

Nanoracks by definition would love you, since you would probably have to pay for access to Bishop. NASA might be interested from the ability to set a defacto small cargo standard and to foster it.

A more immediate problem is where/how the service module would be hard berthed while Bishop is being manipulated. You need a hard stand/berth/grapple point (with related clearance issues) and power to the hard stand for SM keepalive power.

I got the impression there wouldn't be enough clearance around where Bishop will go to allow a SM to hard berth on the outer shell of Bishop, plus you would likely need to use something like DEXTRE to grab your visiting SM. Maybe a DEXTRE variant itself could double as the hard stand (cover the back with MagTag's) and the means to move the cargo container into Bishop? Though that would require offloading DEXTRE + SM onto another grapple point from the main robot arm after capture so the arm can go grab Bishop...

This is starting to get off-topic for Rocketlabs, but if by service module, you mean the tug that delivers the cargo pod to the Bishop airlock, our Bulldog is pretty small, and has robot arms, so there are many ways I could think of it for it to hang out after dropping off the cargo pod. The technical problems are straightforward, but the question to me is if there is customer demand that can justify the development.

~Jon

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: Rocket Lab General Discussion Thread
« Reply #22 on: 12/19/2018 09:28 am »


Anyway, could be interesting. The big question would be if NASA or NanoRacks would actually be interested in additional cargo capacity at cheaper than Dragon $/kg, but in much smaller chunks.

Nanoracks by definition would love you, since you would probably have to pay for access to Bishop. NASA might be interested from the ability to set a defacto small cargo standard and to foster it.

Nanorack may actually be customer, would give them access to their own cargo vehicle.

Offline Asteroza

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Re: Rocket Lab General Discussion Thread
« Reply #23 on: 12/20/2018 03:13 am »
Anyway, could be interesting. The big question would be if NASA or NanoRacks would actually be interested in additional cargo capacity at cheaper than Dragon $/kg, but in much smaller chunks.

Nanoracks by definition would love you, since you would probably have to pay for access to Bishop. NASA might be interested from the ability to set a defacto small cargo standard and to foster it.

A more immediate problem is where/how the service module would be hard berthed while Bishop is being manipulated. You need a hard stand/berth/grapple point (with related clearance issues) and power to the hard stand for SM keepalive power.

I got the impression there wouldn't be enough clearance around where Bishop will go to allow a SM to hard berth on the outer shell of Bishop, plus you would likely need to use something like DEXTRE to grab your visiting SM. Maybe a DEXTRE variant itself could double as the hard stand (cover the back with MagTag's) and the means to move the cargo container into Bishop? Though that would require offloading DEXTRE + SM onto another grapple point from the main robot arm after capture so the arm can go grab Bishop...

This is starting to get off-topic for Rocketlabs, but if by service module, you mean the tug that delivers the cargo pod to the Bishop airlock, our Bulldog is pretty small, and has robot arms, so there are many ways I could think of it for it to hang out after dropping off the cargo pod. The technical problems are straightforward, but the question to me is if there is customer demand that can justify the development.

~Jon

To keep it relevant, would a Curie based tug/SM be in the cards, or would contracting out to a third party specialist resupply tug like Bulldog be easier? A third party universal tug would be faster to implement, but it sorta ties into the questions regarding upper stages needing some proxops to also work with a propellant depot to begin with, so how much harder would it be to extend that work into a cargo delivery SM/upper stage.

Offline jongoff

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Re: Rocket Lab General Discussion Thread
« Reply #24 on: 12/20/2018 03:23 am »
To keep it relevant, would a Curie based tug/SM be in the cards, or would contracting out to a third party specialist resupply tug like Bulldog be easier? A third party universal tug would be faster to implement, but it sorta ties into the questions regarding upper stages needing some proxops to also work with a propellant depot to begin with, so how much harder would it be to extend that work into a cargo delivery SM/upper stage.

I could be wrong, but the way I've always thought of having an upper stage rendezvous with a depot was a lot less stringent than what would be required for it to rendezvous with the ISS. I'm biased, but I think they'd be better off keeping their stage simple and doing the minimum work to make it work with depots/tugs, instead of trying to make it super sophisticated. After all, they're not reusing the upper stage, while a tug can be reused many times. Economically that makes more sense to me. But as I said, I'm biased.

~Jon

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: Rocket Lab General Discussion Thread
« Reply #25 on: 12/22/2018 04:08 pm »
Article on Rocket Lab $20k schoolship for local students.

Offering a free launch of student built cubesat would be another way of boosting local STEM.

https://www.nzherald.co.nz/good-news/news/article.cfm?c_id=1503279&objectid=12179427

"Rocket Lab has been a big part of Mya Mataki-Wilson's family since it first came to Mahia.

And while she embarks on her university studies, the company will continue to play an important part in her life through the 2018 Rocket Lab scholarship."


« Last Edit: 12/22/2018 04:10 pm by TrevorMonty »

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: Rocket Lab General Discussion Thread
« Reply #26 on: 12/22/2018 08:19 pm »
To keep it relevant, would a Curie based tug/SM be in the cards, or would contracting out to a third party specialist resupply tug like Bulldog be easier? A third party universal tug would be faster to implement, but it sorta ties into the questions regarding upper stages needing some proxops to also work with a propellant depot to begin with, so how much harder would it be to extend that work into a cargo delivery SM/upper stage.

I could be wrong, but the way I've always thought of having an upper stage rendezvous with a depot was a lot less stringent than what would be required for it to rendezvous with the ISS. I'm biased, but I think they'd be better off keeping their stage simple and doing the minimum work to make it work with depots/tugs, instead of trying to make it super sophisticated. After all, they're not reusing the upper stage, while a tug can be reused many times. Economically that makes more sense to me. But as I said, I'm biased.

~Jon
Something along lines of LM Jupiter tug, but lot smaller and cheaper. Means cargo can go on any small LV.

There are cost savings to a just intime delivery system. ISS is carrying a huge range of spares because of long lead times between flights. With a two week lead time, which is quite feasible with Electron, they should be able to reduce spares holding and free up some space on most expensive real estate on or around earth. The other plus of having spares on ground is they can be tested regularly.

Does mean NASA paying RL to reserve a Electron for them by keeping extra LV in pipeline. NB cost of this Electron to RL and probably NASA is lot less than launch cost as its just LV at close to its build price.
If LauncherOne could also be used, then NASA has its essential backup. Between two LVs they should be able to launch within two weeks.

 

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: Rocket Lab General Discussion Thread
« Reply #27 on: 01/08/2019 07:08 am »
One of the companies wanting to make ZBLAN (optical fibre) in space said its worth $2M a kg on earth. Current small LVs like Electron are capable of $25k per kg to LEO. Even allowing for small capsule should be able to do it for well under $250kg per kg.

While something like Dragon capsule would be cheaper per kg the mission costs are a lot higher. The small LVs allow for frequent missions which mean regular revenue returns.

Offline Comga

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Re: Rocket Lab General Discussion Thread
« Reply #28 on: 01/09/2019 02:12 am »
The raw cost of launch in dollars per kilogram isn't enough of the story to draw conclusions.
A fiber pulling machine on the ISS can be launched, powered, loaded, and unloaded, and there is transport up and back.
Launch cost is significant, although complicated by NASA's non-commercial practices.
A fiber puling machine launched on Electron, or any independent craft, has to carry it's factory, power system, and a reentry capsule, and do it all robotically.  That becomes a dominant overhead to the launched mass.  So much that ZBLAN fiber is probably incompatible with Rocketlab.
What kind of wastrels would dump a perfectly good booster in the ocean after just one use?

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: Rocket Lab General Discussion Thread
« Reply #29 on: 01/09/2019 07:00 am »
The raw cost of launch in dollars per kilogram isn't enough of the story to draw conclusions.
A fiber pulling machine on the ISS can be launched, powered, loaded, and unloaded, and there is transport up and back.
Launch cost is significant, although complicated by NASA's non-commercial practices.
A fiber puling machine launched on Electron, or any independent craft, has to carry it's factory, power system, and a reentry capsule, and do it all robotically.  That becomes a dominant overhead to the launched mass.  So much that ZBLAN fiber is probably incompatible with Rocketlab.
The idea was to manufacture ZBLAN in space station, manned or unmanned. Electron and its capsule would only be delivering raw materials and returning fibre.

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: Rocket Lab General Discussion Thread
« Reply #30 on: 01/13/2019 06:25 am »
https://twitter.com/nextspaceflight/status/1084197887448297472

Quote
Key points from Rocket Lab CEO @Peter_J_Beck's interview on @tmro today:
- 12 or more flights in 2019
- Next flight in early February
- First flight from Wallops in September
- Launch rate of one launch a week in 2020

« Last Edit: 01/13/2019 06:26 am by FutureSpaceTourist »

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