Poll

Which methalox launcher will reach orbit first?

New Glenn
1 (1.3%)
Starship
39 (52%)
Vulcan
31 (41.3%)
Zhuque-2
4 (5.3%)
other
0 (0%)

Total Members Voted: 75

Voting closed: 03/21/2021 06:36 pm


Author Topic: Which methalox launcher will reach orbit first?  (Read 19525 times)

Offline PM3

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Which methalox launcher will reach orbit first?
« on: 02/19/2021 06:36 pm »
(Options are ordered alphabetically.)

For Starship, Vulcan and Zhuque-2, it has been confirmed recently that a first orbital launch is targeted in late 2021. The New Glenn website even claims that it will "launch payloads ... beginning in 2021", which of course is outdated.

So, which one will successfully launch first and reach orbit?
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Offline sdsds

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Re: Which methalox launcher will reach orbit first?
« Reply #1 on: 02/20/2021 03:10 am »
I voted for the one with propulsion that has flight history, not just time on a test stand.
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Offline Galactic Penguin SST

Re: Which methalox launcher will reach orbit first?
« Reply #2 on: 02/20/2021 07:39 am »
For some reason I feel that the real dark horses out there are the two Chinese private (?) LSPs that went for metha-LOX, Landspace's ZQ-2 & i Space's Hyperbola-2. They seems to be dead set on flying something up really soon with their progresses and I start to feel that there's some decent (if low) chance of an ironic twist that it would be either of them that flies the first CH4 rocket engine to orbit.

Just saying.
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Offline jongoff

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Re: Which methalox launcher will reach orbit first?
« Reply #3 on: 02/24/2021 04:45 am »
I don't know enough about where the Chinese launchers are in their development process, but I voted Vulcan. ULA could still run into delays, especially with BE-4 and their first customer's vehicle, but I think they're still likely to beat Starship/Superheavy to orbit. SpaceX still has a long way to go, even for a fully-expendable Starship/Superheavy launch system, let alone for a fully reusable one. I still expect them to get there, so long as they can keep raising money long enough, but I think the odds of a first orbital flight this year are low.

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Offline Stan-1967

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Re: Which methalox launcher will reach orbit first?
« Reply #4 on: 02/24/2021 03:58 pm »
i don't really like the premise of this poll, as it artificially places emphasis on just reaching orbit.  What really is the significance of that?  The "competitors" in this construed contest are not following the same goals.  It reminds me of the internet spat when Jeff Bezos welcomed Musk to the "club" when F9 returned & landed safely shortly after New Shepard had accomplished the "same" feat.  They similarities were just superficial to the challenges overcome by each team.

The Chinese launchers look to be a "minimum viable product", so I wouldn't be surprised if they get their first.  Vulcan is not just trying to get to orbit, but also trying to get the vehicle qualified for government payloads by the third launch.  SS/SH & New Glenn are going for differing levels of reuse.  These teams are all running different races tied to their own goals.  I don't really care who makes it first, it is more interesting how they do against their goals. 

Voted for Vulcan, hope I'm right as long as it happens in 2021.

Offline DreamyPickle

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Re: Which methalox launcher will reach orbit first?
« Reply #5 on: 02/24/2021 04:15 pm »
Reaching orbit is obviously the most important milestone because it's the point at which the company can serve paying customers.

Offline sdsds

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Re: Which methalox launcher will reach orbit first?
« Reply #6 on: 03/09/2021 11:10 pm »
Reaching orbit is obviously the most important milestone because it's the point at which the company can serve paying customers.

Except there's a distinct possibility one of the launchers could reach orbit without having the ability to deploy a payload. (An early Starship prototype.) SpaceX isn't rushing to develop and offer to customers another partially reusable launch system: they already operate the world leader in that category. SpaceX is rushing to demonstrate the ability to reach LEO with a launch system where all the propulsive elements can return to Earth for reuse. SpaceX is rushing to demonstrate (to themselves, to the world, etc.) the ability to transfer meaningful amounts of cryogenic propellant in LEO, enabling stupendous beyond-LEO mission capability.

So if the poll had asked, "Which methalox launcher will deploy a payload in orbit first?" I would have answered Vulcan....
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Offline PM3

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Re: Which methalox launcher will reach orbit first?
« Reply #7 on: 04/04/2021 11:29 am »
Nice! 52% voted for Starship, 41% for Vulcan, 5% for Zhuque-2. And New Glenn officially slipped to NET late 2022 during this poll.

I think that this is a reasonable result. Especially considering payload readiness for Vulcan, which is tending towards 2022.
"Never, never be afraid of the truth." -- Jim Bridenstine

Offline eeergo

Re: Which methalox launcher will reach orbit first?
« Reply #8 on: 05/03/2022 10:16 am »
There is now a NOTAM for the least-voted option in this poll (Zhuque-2), which incidentally I voted for over a year ago:
https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=56295.msg2365629;boardseen#new

Even if the launch might slip, or more ominously fail suborbitally, this still shows a large disconnect between the poll results and reality.
-DaviD-

Offline jimothytones

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Re: Which methalox launcher will reach orbit first?
« Reply #9 on: 05/11/2022 09:53 pm »
without any supporting evidence in hand, i'd like to also place myself on the record as having voted for Zhuque-2 if all goes to plan i'll expect my medal to arrive in 3-6 weeks 😎

Offline PM3

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Re: Which methalox launcher will reach orbit first?
« Reply #10 on: 07/26/2022 08:41 am »
I missed Relativity's Terran 1, another methalox rocket that is announced to launch in 2022.

Zhuque-2 seems to be in the pole position, as Starship's first "orbital" launch will not quite go orbital for safety reasons. Terran 1 and Vulcan could slip to 2023.
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Offline Kaputnik

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Re: Which methalox launcher will reach orbit first?
« Reply #11 on: 08/23/2022 07:22 pm »
At this point in time, which methalox engines have
- the longest test stand burn time
- the longest duration flight time
- the highest altitude in flight

I'm going to assume Raptor can claim the second and third of these, does it also get the first?
"I don't care what anything was DESIGNED to do, I care about what it CAN do"- Gene Kranz

Offline AmigaClone

Re: Which methalox launcher will reach orbit first?
« Reply #12 on: 08/23/2022 08:04 pm »
At this point in time, which methalox engines have
- the longest test stand burn time
- the longest duration flight time
- the highest altitude in flight

I'm going to assume Raptor can claim the second and third of these, does it also get the first?

I suspect that Raptor likely is the winner of the total burn time of all methalox engine tests. Granted there have been more 'production' or 'flight ready' Raptor engines produced than any other model

Which of the various engines has the engine with the longest single test burn is a big question mark.

As far as I know no other methalox engine have flown under their own power.

Offline whitelancer64

Re: Which methalox launcher will reach orbit first?
« Reply #13 on: 08/23/2022 08:31 pm »
At this point in time, which methalox engines have
- the longest test stand burn time
- the longest duration flight time
- the highest altitude in flight

I'm going to assume Raptor can claim the second and third of these, does it also get the first?

I suspect that Raptor likely is the winner of the total burn time of all methalox engine tests. Granted there have been more 'production' or 'flight ready' Raptor engines produced than any other model

Which of the various engines has the engine with the longest single test burn is a big question mark.

As far as I know no other methalox engine have flown under their own power.

There is the HD5, which powered Project Morpheus flights in 2013-14.
"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 niwax

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Re: Which methalox launcher will reach orbit first?
« Reply #14 on: 08/23/2022 08:49 pm »
At this point in time, which methalox engines have
- the longest test stand burn time
- the longest duration flight time
- the highest altitude in flight

I'm going to assume Raptor can claim the second and third of these, does it also get the first?

I suspect that Raptor likely is the winner of the total burn time of all methalox engine tests. Granted there have been more 'production' or 'flight ready' Raptor engines produced than any other model

Which of the various engines has the engine with the longest single test burn is a big question mark.

As far as I know no other methalox engine have flown under their own power.

There is the HD5, which powered Project Morpheus flights in 2013-14.

If we just assume a minute-long firing of every Raptor produced, we're in the tens of thousands of seconds. It's hard to compete when any testing done on Raptor is magnified a hundred times.
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Offline whitelancer64

Re: Which methalox launcher will reach orbit first?
« Reply #15 on: 08/23/2022 10:48 pm »
At this point in time, which methalox engines have
- the longest test stand burn time
- the longest duration flight time
- the highest altitude in flight

I'm going to assume Raptor can claim the second and third of these, does it also get the first?

I suspect that Raptor likely is the winner of the total burn time of all methalox engine tests. Granted there have been more 'production' or 'flight ready' Raptor engines produced than any other model

Which of the various engines has the engine with the longest single test burn is a big question mark.

As far as I know no other methalox engine have flown under their own power.

There is the HD5, which powered Project Morpheus flights in 2013-14.

If we just assume a minute-long firing of every Raptor produced, we're in the tens of thousands of seconds. It's hard to compete when any testing done on Raptor is magnified a hundred times.

A McGregor noise ordinance limits acceptance test fires to less than 15 seconds.
"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 Tywin

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Offline eeergo

Re: Which methalox launcher will reach orbit first?
« Reply #17 on: 12/05/2022 10:50 am »
There is now a NOTAM for the least-voted option in this poll (Zhuque-2), which incidentally I voted for over a year ago:
https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=56295.msg2365629;boardseen#new

Even if the launch might slip, or more ominously fail suborbitally, this still shows a large disconnect between the poll results and reality.

We've been here before, but this time it seems more real:

https://twitter.com/Harry__Stranger/status/1599698347194925057
-DaviD-

Offline eeergo

Re: Which methalox launcher will reach orbit first?
« Reply #18 on: 12/14/2022 08:43 am »
First methalox orbital LV liftoff has occurred and was apparently successful through at least first stage flight (first part of this poll): Zhuque-2.

It might have been the first methalox orbital LV reaching some kind of orbit successfully (unconfirmed reports of lower-than-planned orbit, or failure to reach it altogether, TBC), which was the second part of the poll. EDIT: Short of 2 km/s to orbit, so fully failed to achieve any orbit, reaching however a maximum altitude of around 400 km.

A fully successful flight profile has not been achieved either, but this wasn't the point of the poll.

So the first methalox orbital LV has launched and flown successfully for most of its flight phases, but failed short of orbit due to post-boost vernier failure, leaving the first part of the poll decided but the latter part still up in the air (closest contender would be Terran's debut, so far NET January).
« Last Edit: 12/14/2022 12:11 pm by eeergo »
-DaviD-

Offline sdsds

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Re: Which methalox launcher will reach orbit first?
« Reply #19 on: 12/15/2022 10:23 pm »
First methalox orbital LV liftoff has occurred and was apparently successful through at least first stage flight (first part of this poll): Zhuque-2.
[...] leaving the first part of the poll decided but the latter part still up in the air (closest contender would be Terran's debut, so far NET January).

Ooh, this topic is suddenly interesting again! I wonder if it's time for a second poll on the subject, particularly with Terran 1 looking so pretty at LC-16. (Photo credit: John Kraus @johnkrausphotos@twitter.)
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