Discussion:
High-flight rate Medium vs. New Heavy lift launchers
(too old to reply)
Cris Fitch
2004-01-25 01:21:51 UTC
Permalink
Not long ago it looked like the Medium lift market was
over-subscribed with Proton, Ariane-5, Sea Launch, Atlas-5
and Delta-IV. Now with the retirement of Shuttle and a
new plan for manned exploration coming into being, we've
got to ask ourselves:

1) Launch lots of medium payloads
or
2) Go Heavy

I've got to argue in favor of #1, hoping that the economics
of all these medium lift launchers will reduce the overall
cost of these plans. Standardize the payloads (a la the building
of MIR) and assemble what you need for each mission. Pay
companies for the results (e.g. fuel delivered to the right
orbit).

If one feels it necessary to go for heavy lift, can't we at
least think in terms of "Delta-IV Super Heavy", such that
our flight hardware makes use of the engineering and production
already in use (and that will stay around if the politics of
heavy lift fails)?

Finally, there is the issue of what expertise we lose when we
shut down a heavy lift capability (Saturn V, Energia, Shuttle).
Certainly we don't mind losing the cost of the standing army,
but are we going to lose the facilities for large fuel tanks
or recoverable strap-ons?

- Cris Fitch
San Diego, CA
http://www.orbit6.com/
ed kyle
2004-01-25 17:49:24 UTC
Permalink
Post by Cris Fitch
Not long ago it looked like the Medium lift market was
over-subscribed with Proton, Ariane-5, Sea Launch, Atlas-5
and Delta-IV.
Not to mention Zenit 2, H-IIA, and the planned heavy
lift versions of Angara and Long March 5.
Post by Cris Fitch
Now with the retirement of Shuttle and a
new plan for manned exploration coming into being, we've
1) Launch lots of medium payloads
or
2) Go Heavy
I've got to argue in favor of #1, hoping that the economics
of all these medium lift launchers will reduce the overall
cost of these plans.
#1 may be needed for reasons other than economics. If
a surge of launches is required to support a single
mission, launches by more than one provider from more
than one launch site may be essential.

Proton, Angara, and land-launch Zenit are out of the
picture unless a fairly high inclination assembly orbit
is used. The mass penalties make this seem unlikely to
occur unless Russian participation is required for
political reasons.

The problem with this is that Proton has been the driver
of launch cost reduction in recent years. With it out
of the picture, launch prices would rise from current
levels. Since U.S. companies seem incapable of competing
in the commercial launch world market, Arianespace would
then, by default, get to decide how much NASA would have
to pay to launch each lunar mission.
Post by Cris Fitch
If one feels it necessary to go for heavy lift, can't we at
least think in terms of "Delta-IV Super Heavy", such that
our flight hardware makes use of the engineering and production
already in use (and that will stay around if the politics of
heavy lift fails)?
If this work is contracted out to the lowest bidder, we
could very well see heavier-lift versions of existing
launchers offered by several companies. After all,
most of their rockets are currently optimized for GTO
not LEO, missions. LEO mass per launch would surely
rise if it improved the chances of winning launch
contracts.
Post by Cris Fitch
Finally, there is the issue of what expertise we lose when we
shut down a heavy lift capability (Saturn V, Energia, Shuttle).
Certainly we don't mind losing the cost of the standing army,
but are we going to lose the facilities for large fuel tanks
or recoverable strap-ons?
The U.S. will lose Michoud and the SRB production
capacity, but that will be offset by the need to
have a continuous production line for mission hardware,
such as CEV, lunar landers, and the like. Shuttle
orbiter production, by comparison, was shut down a
decade ago.

Don't expect the "standing army" to disappear either.
NASA will still have to assemble, test, and integrate
the spacecraft and payloads for each mission. That
will require something on the scale of the current
ISS hardware checkout effort, except with a much
faster flow rate.

- Ed Kyle
Joe Strout
2004-01-25 20:16:52 UTC
Permalink
Post by ed kyle
The problem with this is that Proton has been the driver
of launch cost reduction in recent years. With it out
of the picture, launch prices would rise from current
levels. Since U.S. companies seem incapable of competing
in the commercial launch world market, Arianespace would
then, by default, get to decide how much NASA would have
to pay to launch each lunar mission.
So you don't believe SpaceX will be able to deliver at their quoted
prices ($6M for Falcon I, $12M for Falcon V)?

Also, I notice you didn't mention SeaLaunch -- I haven't looked at the
numbers recently, but AIUI they're fairly cheap and can launch into
pretty much any orbit you want.

,------------------------------------------------------------------.
| Joseph J. Strout Check out the Mac Web Directory: |
| ***@strout.net http://www.macwebdir.com |
`------------------------------------------------------------------'
Michael Walsh
2004-01-26 01:25:18 UTC
Permalink
Post by Joe Strout
Post by ed kyle
The problem with this is that Proton has been the driver
of launch cost reduction in recent years. With it out
of the picture, launch prices would rise from current
levels. Since U.S. companies seem incapable of competing
in the commercial launch world market, Arianespace would
then, by default, get to decide how much NASA would have
to pay to launch each lunar mission.
So you don't believe SpaceX will be able to deliver at their quoted
prices ($6M for Falcon I, $12M for Falcon V)?
Just entering the discussion.

Proton is a bit bigger than either version of the Falcon. The Falcon
competes with Orbital's launchers and if the Falcon I comes in at
the $6M quoted it should undercut their fixed base launchers.
Aerial launches still have some advantages in orbital flexibility.

The Russian launcher nearest to the Falcon class is Rokot and
I wonder how things will be if they ever run out of old missile
parts.

It remains to be seen whether Space-X can deliver consistently
at the prices they quote or whether they are quoting "loss leader"
prices.

Falcon V, I assume, will require a successful Falcon I.

SpaceX has shown the ability to provide funding in order to
get to its planned launch. Is that the only difference between
them and Microcosm? Microcosm has made a few test flights
but has not yet provided a vehicle. They have been around
for quite a while.

SpaceX needs to provide us with a demonstration. If the
first flight fails I hope they have the will and resources to
continue because many successful vehicles have progressed
past early failures.
Post by Joe Strout
Also, I notice you didn't mention SeaLaunch -- I haven't looked at the
numbers recently, but AIUI they're fairly cheap and can launch into
pretty much any orbit you want.
As far as U.S. companies go we have both ILS and SeaLaunch,
and that in both cases is U.S. with an asterisk.

Mike Walsh
ed kyle
2004-01-26 17:00:22 UTC
Permalink
Post by Joe Strout
Post by ed kyle
The problem with this is that Proton has been the driver
of launch cost reduction in recent years. With it out
of the picture, launch prices would rise from current
levels. Since U.S. companies seem incapable of competing
in the commercial launch world market, Arianespace would
then, by default, get to decide how much NASA would have
to pay to launch each lunar mission.
So you don't believe SpaceX will be able to deliver at their quoted
prices ($6M for Falcon I, $12M for Falcon V)?
SpaceX hasn't proposed a heavy lift vehicle, which is
required for this application.
Post by Joe Strout
Also, I notice you didn't mention SeaLaunch -- I haven't looked at the
numbers recently, but AIUI they're fairly cheap and can launch into
pretty much any orbit you want.
The current Sea Launch Zenit 3SL can only loft something
like 6.5 tons to LEO due to structural limitations, compared
to 20-25 tons for the other launchers. Sea Launch might be
able to adapt a two-stage Zenit for use in a LEO mission,
but such a vehicle would not use an Energia-built third
stage. Energia, a part-owner of Sea Launch, would have
to agree to such an effort, which would result in the
development of a launcher that does not use any Energia
hardware.

- Ed Kyle
Rand Simberg
2004-01-27 00:35:32 UTC
Permalink
On 26 Jan 2004 09:00:22 -0800, in a place far, far away,
Post by ed kyle
SpaceX hasn't proposed a heavy lift vehicle, which is
required for this application.
No, it's not. It's desired, by some, but it's not required.
ed kyle
2004-01-27 07:10:32 UTC
Permalink
Post by Rand Simberg
On 26 Jan 2004 09:00:22 -0800, in a place far, far away,
Post by ed kyle
SpaceX hasn't proposed a heavy lift vehicle, which is
required for this application.
No, it's not. It's desired, by some, but it's not required.
To clarify, I'm talking about an EELV-Heavy class vehicle,
not a Saturn V class heavy lift. Falcon V, a Delta II
class rocket, could not reasonably be used to support a
manned lunar mission. Each mission would require assembling
100-150 tons in low earth orbit (25-38 Falcon V launches
versus 5-6 EELV-Heavy launches).

- Ed Kyle
ed kyle
2004-01-27 19:23:21 UTC
Permalink
Post by Rand Simberg
On 26 Jan 2004 09:00:22 -0800, in a place far, far away,
Post by ed kyle
SpaceX hasn't proposed a heavy lift vehicle, which is
required for this application.
No, it's not. It's desired, by some, but it's not required.
To clarify, I meant heavy lift as in EELV-Heavy class,
not Saturn-V class. I agree that a lunar mission
should be possible using existing, or soon-to-exist,
launch vehicles rather than requiring development of
a big new booster, but Delta II-class Falcon V is just
too small to be useful in a 100-plus-ton-to-LEO type
of mission.

- Ed Kyle
Krzys Kotwicki
2004-01-28 06:03:11 UTC
Permalink
I've only caught this thread at the last minute, so I really don't know if
this has been mentioned yet, it probably has, but why not use the Energia
HLLV or an Americanized derivative, I got a site about it
(www.k26.com/buran/) if ya want to read about it, Energia could easily lift
100t to LEO, sure it would take a bit of work to ramp it up again, but less
than building any new launchers from scratch. How about something along the
lines of what SeaLaunch did with the Zenits, only do it with Energia...
Post by ed kyle
Post by Rand Simberg
On 26 Jan 2004 09:00:22 -0800, in a place far, far away,
Post by ed kyle
SpaceX hasn't proposed a heavy lift vehicle, which is
required for this application.
No, it's not. It's desired, by some, but it's not required.
To clarify, I meant heavy lift as in EELV-Heavy class,
not Saturn-V class. I agree that a lunar mission
should be possible using existing, or soon-to-exist,
launch vehicles rather than requiring development of
a big new booster, but Delta II-class Falcon V is just
too small to be useful in a 100-plus-ton-to-LEO type
of mission.
- Ed Kyle
Gordon D. Pusch
2004-01-29 03:31:31 UTC
Permalink
Post by Krzys Kotwicki
I've only caught this thread at the last minute, so I really don't know
if this has been mentioned yet, it probably has, but why not use the
Energia HLLV or an Americanized derivative,
The "NIH" factor: "Not Invented Here."


-- Gordon D. Pusch

perl -e '$_ = "gdpusch\@NO.xnet.SPAM.com\n"; s/NO\.//; s/SPAM\.//; print;'
ed kyle
2004-01-31 03:25:55 UTC
Permalink
Post by Gordon D. Pusch
Post by Krzys Kotwicki
I've only caught this thread at the last minute, so I really don't know
if this has been mentioned yet, it probably has, but why not use the
Energia HLLV or an Americanized derivative,
The "NIH" factor: "Not Invented Here."
Plus someone would have to pay big time to get that
system up and running again after all of these years,
especially since the assembly high bay collapsed.
Remember, the thing only flew twice, and the last
launch was 16 years ago (1988).

- Ed Kyle
Kim Keller
2004-02-02 04:27:57 UTC
Permalink
Post by Krzys Kotwicki
I've only caught this thread at the last minute, so I really don't know
if this has been mentioned yet, it probably has, but why not use the
Energia HLLV or an Americanized derivative,
Mmmmm, more like the DEA factor - "Doesn't Exist Anymore".

-Kim-
Dholmes
2004-01-25 22:52:50 UTC
Permalink
Post by Cris Fitch
Not long ago it looked like the Medium lift market was
over-subscribed with Proton, Ariane-5, Sea Launch, Atlas-5
and Delta-IV. Now with the retirement of Shuttle and a
new plan for manned exploration coming into being, we've
Yep the market is about to get a lot bigger.

One of the things to remember is all the current rockets are designed for a
mix of LEO and GTO not LTO or Lunar orbit.
Some changes will naturally be made to better suit this new objective.
Post by Cris Fitch
1) Launch lots of medium payloads
or
2) Go Heavy
I've got to argue in favor of #1, hoping that the economics
of all these medium lift launchers will reduce the overall
cost of these plans. Standardize the payloads (a la the building
of MIR) and assemble what you need for each mission. Pay
companies for the results (e.g. fuel delivered to the right
orbit).
I do not see how you can go with medium launch vehicles unless you count a
Delta Heavy as a medium class launch vehicle.
The Delta 5,4 can only place less then 5 tons into LTO. With launch capacity
like this you would need at least 40 launches and maybe as many as 80
launches a year just to maintain a 4 man base. Too much assembly can cause
many of the same problems we see now with ISS.
Post by Cris Fitch
If one feels it necessary to go for heavy lift, can't we at
least think in terms of "Delta-IV Super Heavy", such that
our flight hardware makes use of the engineering and production
already in use (and that will stay around if the politics of
heavy lift fails)?
This has a lot of potential.
Going from just over a 5 meter diameter rocket to an almost six meter
diameter rocket even if only for the central rocket would allow for a lot
more launch capability in a Delta Heavy.
Dual MB-60 second stage could also increase mass to orbit.

Increasing the thrust of the second stage with either a MB-60 or RL-60 and
adding a third stage is IMO a must.
Damon Hill
2004-01-26 02:40:35 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dholmes
Post by Cris Fitch
If one feels it necessary to go for heavy lift, can't we at
least think in terms of "Delta-IV Super Heavy", such that
our flight hardware makes use of the engineering and production
already in use (and that will stay around if the politics of
heavy lift fails)?
This has a lot of potential.
Going from just over a 5 meter diameter rocket to an almost six meter
diameter rocket even if only for the central rocket would allow for a
lot more launch capability in a Delta Heavy.
Dual MB-60 second stage could also increase mass to orbit.
Increasing the thrust of the second stage with either a MB-60 or RL-60
and adding a third stage is IMO a must.
This appears to be Boeing's thinking, since they are proposing stacking
two upper stages, most likely using single MB-60s. Two MB-60s on a
single stage would probably