Heavy Lift an unnecessary impediment?

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EarthlingX

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nasawatch.com : Learning From The Past
By Keith Cowing on August 29, 2010 8:45 PM

Summoning the Future By Remembering the Past

Dennis Wingo

"Almost exactly 100 years and nine weeks before the famous speech by President Kennedy at Rice University calling for what would be known as the Apollo program, the U.S. Congress, in the middle of a war for the life of the nation, passed the Pacific Railway Act of 1862. The "national" railroad as it was called was chartered by the government had as its core purpose to bind the nation together in commerce and open up the frontier to economic development. The government picked the route, set standards for its construction, and paid milestone payments to each of the two railroads (Union Pacific in the east and Central Pacific in the west). The government provided further incentives in the form of huge land grants on either side of the tracks that could be resold by the railroads at a profit. Another note is that the railroad paid back the government at a six percent interest over 30 years, resulting in a direct profit to the treasury."
 
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oldAtlas_Eguy

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The simplest methodology for returning a first stage liquid booster for reuse is to presurize the tanks, seal them up and spash it down in the ocean using parachutes. It is the simplest and has the least weight overhead as well as being robust. The other item is since the boosters are simpler if you loose one it is not as expensive. There are economic risks in this method but if your economic model appropriatly allows for occansional loss of a first stage and also a conservitive life for the structure and engines economies of scale as well as partial reusability will lower cost significantly.

As far as how to get beyond LEO using strap-on tanks carried up filled that is ejected when they are emptied is probably a simple method. The structure with engines and reginerative equipment without tanks would still have to be built up. When the superstructure is completed the tanks are lifted one at a time and mated. The engines don't have to be big. In fact smaller engines mean less stress and lighter structure. An accel of 1/20 g would be fine. Remember your in space. Total delta V is important not thrust amount.

The only reason you would want a HLV or BFR is that economies of scale would make costs per kp lower. Case in point a Delta IV and Delt-IV Heavy price per kg. The hardware is not most of the cost but the actual pad and launch processeing at the pad is significant. Between a Delta IV and Delta-IV heavy this processing and range fees are a fixed amount regardless of the size of the vehicle.
 
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aaron38

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It seems like modular design is the way to go to provide economical launches and still be able to send off the ocassional BFR when needed. Take the FalconX, FalconX Heavy and Falcon XX architecture SpaceX is looking into.

A single FalconX can put 38mT into LEO with 3 Merlin2 engines. That rocket takes care of medium size payloads and modules for on orbit assembly.

The FalconX Heavy can put 125mT into LEO using 3 FalconX cores and 9 Merlin2 engines. This isn't disruptive economically becuase the first stage booster factory just cranks out 3 instead of 1. Instead of having 3 separate launches on 3 separate days with 3 separate launch charges and 3 separate upper stages, just launch all 3 at the same time, with one big upper stage. This handles payloads that needs more integration on the ground or simply can't be broken up into modules, like a VASIMR Lunar Tug.

Then if you have something that is really big and heavy, there's the FalconXX which puts 140mT into orbit using 6 Merlin2 engines. It's the exact same engine, so the engine factory just keeps cranking them out. And yes the rocket body is new, but it's just a scaled up fuel tank. Most of the hardware would be the same across all three vehicles.

The Delta and Atlas architectures can do the exact same thing. If most of the hardware and engines are common across the platform, it's not nearly as expensive or risky to scale up the fuel tanks. Most of the mass production lines don't even notice. It isn't a disruptive impediment if done with mass production in mind.
 
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oldAtlas_Eguy

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I did a little scaling and came up with a theoretical FalconXX Heavy it would be a 400+MT to LEO. As in all the previous heavy versions its three core stage I's strapped together. I traced economies of scale and the improvements in launch cost per kg accross the versions with the Falcon XX Heavy ending with a ~$800 per kg. Even if actual was twice this of $1600 per kg think of what business oportunities would beat their way to the launch providers doorstep. Like SPS. The proposed SPS demo of 50Mega Watt system weighing about the same as the ISS could be put up in one launch.

With SpaceX's lower launch costs on its Falcon 9 about the same as the Russians, look at all the bookings it has already contracted. If you build it they will come!
 
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oldAtlas_Eguy

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Using Delta IV economy scaling of cost per kg going from a Delta IvM (6.8MT) $11,000 per kg to a Delta IV Heavy (20.5MT) at $7000 per kg, a 64% ratio, a Falcon 9 (9MT) current $5900 per kg would go to a $3800 for a Falcon 9 Heavy (32MT). The payload increase of the Delta IV being factor of 3 if applied to Falcon 9 would make the Falcon 9 Heavy 28MT not 32MT. The basic Falcon 9 core would have to be increased to 10.5MT in order for the Falcon 9 Heavy to get to 32MT. A Falcon ( and Atlas V are exactly the same weight capability Atlas V core 9.8MT and proposed Atlas V Heavy 29.4MT, again the X3 factor.
 
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oldAtlas_Eguy

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I looked up some numbers, currently the Orion needs a 25MT capability to get to LEO. Only Atlas V Heavy 29MT , Falcon 9 Heavy 29+MT and Ares I 25MT will do that. None of these currently exist. A Delta IV Heavy 22MT may be made to work but only if the Orion looses some weight.
 
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pathfinder_01

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oldAtlas_Eguy":2ft2bj5h said:
I looked up some numbers, currently the Orion needs a 25MT capability to get to LEO. Only Atlas V Heavy 29MT , Falcon 9 Heavy 29+MT and Ares I 25MT will do that. None of these currently exist. A Delta IV Heavy 22MT may be made to work but only if the Orion looses some weight.
Orion could easily lose weight if need from what I have read. Due to the solid first stage of ares-1, the launch escape system is oversized and if limited to LEO there is more propellant than needed for a LEO mission. There were studies of just using a delta IV heavy without a second stage to put it in to orbit (that is how much propellant there is onboard).

However I think politics will prevent Orion from using the EELV. The idea of NASA as launching people into space is too deeply engrained for alternatives to be used (i.e. Launch on a non NASA rocket or launch unmanned to the ISS for latter manning via a ISS crew rotation mission). The senate is thinking of increasing the requirements for Orion which isn’t likely to help any mass issues and the SLS(the senate heavy lift) is supposed to lift 70 manned tons to LEO(no incentive to get lighter). Not counting the fact that the SLS will be LEO only until an upper stage is made. Lots of overlap with commercial crew with no ability to beat commercial crew to orbit and no ability to do BEO without extra funding and more costly. A bad place to be in, iMHO.
 
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aaron38

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If the Senate Heavy Lift isn't an Ares V, is it supposed to be one of the Direct designs (Jupiter 120), or something different?
 
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rockett

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oldAtlas_Eguy":1o42zuu2 said:
I looked up some numbers, currently the Orion needs a 25MT capability to get to LEO. Only Atlas V Heavy 29MT , Falcon 9 Heavy 29+MT and Ares I 25MT will do that. None of these currently exist. A Delta IV Heavy 22MT may be made to work but only if the Orion looses some weight.
Growth options for the Delta IV are already on the drawing board at Boeing, that way exceed the requirements, up to 140+ mt.

http://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:lt9suiPJa5UJ:forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=16279.0;attach=125215+DElta+IV+growth&hl=en&gl=us&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEESjUjBuzFQ-dDg903XNWhc1liL0nlz13HBg6qRmWkgQUPtZ_0dWFG5_1CfdbjKqWQFSa1mL9nJ8i_A11jCAkG2bfkzRrN6qORxBV7a73XQLlzAV716XfOKTI7hRQ-eSj83YN8EX3&sig=AHIEtbSgOqXugx0e-8ySKGkDTRDIIIisLA

Sorry for the long URL, but I couln't find the link to the original PDF to post.
 
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oldAtlas_Eguy

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Very interesting. To make the Delta IV Heavy comercially competitive they will have to increase its payload capability. Currrently it is at about $6700 per kg (Falcon 9 at $6000 and Atlas V 552 at $5500). Once Falcon 9 Heavy is available the Delta IV Heavy will be just too expensive for anybody but government payloads. By comparison the Proton (20MT) which is also a Delta IV Heavy (22MT) same size payload capability is at $4400 per kg. For comercial its all about which booster for a given payload weight is cheaper.

On a different direction I added up the equivelent LEO payload capability to be launched in the next 4 months of 300MT or about 900MT in a year. (The Shuttle launch only added 25MT to this total). If this keeps growing, larger boosters will be used sooner rather than later as GEO satelites grow bigger.
 
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oldAtlas_Eguy

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I went and identified that 1/3 of the payload capability is for comercial clients or about 300MT in a year. Thats equivelent to 30 Falcon 9's a year.
 
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rockett

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The point I have in mind is that Ares I AND V (and their possible successors) are a waste. Whether we go with Atlas Heavy, Falcon 9 Heavy, or even Delta IV Heavy and Super Heavy, they are ALL much cheaper and further along in development. So why is NASA insisting on re-inventing the wheel? (at an exorbitant price) I smell politics here, not common sense or good engineering.

In addition:
In 2009 The Aerospace Corporation reported to NASA results of study intended to determine the feasibility of modifying an EELV to be human-rated for use in NASA human spaceflight missions.[8] According to Aviation Week the study, "found that a Delta IV heavy [...] could meet NASA's requirements for getting humans to low Earth orbit." In a presentation to the Review of U.S. Human Space Flight Plans Committee, an Aerospace Corporation representative presented a summary of the study. The summary asserts that even without a newly developed upper stage, it would be feasible for a human-rated Delta IV Heavy to launch a crewed Orion spacecraft to the International Space Station.[9] ULA has since published a paper[10] detailing the changes needed for man-rating EELVs. On February 2 2010 NASA awarded[11] ULA $6.7 million in stimulus funds under the Commercial Crew Development (CCDev) program. A Space Act agreement was set up to develop an Emergency Detection System (EDS) that could be used on both EELVs. An EDS monitors critical launch vehicle and spacecraft systems and issues status, warning and abort commands to the crew during their mission to low Earth orbit.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolved_Expendable_Launch_Vehicle
...and...

NASA Releases Ares I Vs. Delta IV Heavy Study
http://www.floridatoday.com/content/blogs/space/2009/08/nasa-releases-ares-i-vs-delta-iv-heavy.shtml
 
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RVHM

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rockett":2d0jlgf6 said:
The point I have in mind is that Ares I AND V (and their possible successors) are a waste. Whether we go with Atlas Heavy, Falcon 9 Heavy, or even Delta IV Heavy and Super Heavy, they are ALL much cheaper and further along in development. So why is NASA insisting on re-inventing the wheel? (at an exorbitant price) I smell politics here, not common sense or good engineering.
That is pure ULA marketing angle. EELV are not suited for the job unless you want to do a gazillion launches for each mission.
 
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rockett

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RVHM":1c26q1qw said:
That is pure ULA marketing angle. EELV are not suited for the job unless you want to do a gazillion launches for each mission.
At up to 145 mt? Saturn V only went to a little over a hundred. And the independent study backs it up.

If they can do it for 6-7 B less, we should do it, and spend the rest on commercial or something else useful.
 
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RVHM

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That's the issue, they can't go up to 145 mT without designing a wholly new launch vehicle. You can only cluster so many small rockets to create bigger ones, after too much clustering problems start to arise.

There's a reason our Moon rocket had five powerful F-1 engines instead of a cluster 35 smaller H-1 engines.
 
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BurgerB75

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Right, and isn't that one of the reasons the Russian N-1 had issues?
 
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rockett

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RVHM":t8czoqkg said:
That's the issue, they can't go up to 145 mT without designing a wholly new launch vehicle. You can only cluster so many small rockets to create bigger ones, after too much clustering problems start to arise.

There's a reason our Moon rocket had five powerful F-1 engines instead of a cluster 35 smaller H-1 engines.
That was THEN (when the tech was far less sophisticated). Take a LOOK AT NOW:


Space X Falcon 9


Space X Falcon Series

Count 'em. That's 27 engines you see on the Falcon 9 Heavies!
 
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BrianBoru

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Yeah, come back when they have a proven track record, and cut out the over-the -rainbow cheer-leading. ;)
 
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rockett

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So far Ares I and Ares V have NOTHING. At least Delta IV Heavy, Atlas V, and Falcon 9 have FLOWN!
 
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RVHM

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Pray tell, then, why is SpaceX looking at an F-1 class engine for its Super-Heavy-Lift evolution plans? (you know what I'm talking about, right?)

They have chosen to design a new plan (Falcon X and Falcon XX) instead of just clustering loads of Falcon 9s. And that is NOW.
 
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rockett

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RVHM":3gipcaf9 said:
Pray tell, then, why is SpaceX looking at an F-1 class engine for its Super-Heavy-Lift evolution plans? (you know what I'm talking about, right?)

They have chosen to design a new plan (Falcon X and Falcon XX) instead of just clustering loads of Falcon 9s. And that is NOW.
Wonderful! I would love to see the information on it. Do you have a link?

The point was, though, that back in the day, we did not have on-board computer monitoring systems and such for cut-over or shut-down in the case of an engine failure. The Falcon 9 engines are designed to do just that. In a sense the redundancy is a fault-tolerance system which enables the mission to complete, even in the case of an engine failure. The more engines in the cluster, the less impact on the overall thrust. From that perspective, it's far better than say, the Ares I with a single point of failure when it comes to manned launches.
 
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RVHM

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rockett":qzdgpm48 said:
RVHM":qzdgpm48 said:
Pray tell, then, why is SpaceX looking at an F-1 class engine for its Super-Heavy-Lift evolution plans? (you know what I'm talking about, right?)

They have chosen to design a new plan (Falcon X and Falcon XX) instead of just clustering loads of Falcon 9s. And that is NOW.
Wonderful! I would love to see the information on it. Do you have a link?

The point was, though, that back in the day, we did not have on-board computer monitoring systems and such for cut-over or shut-down in the case of an engine failure. The Falcon 9 engines are designed to do just that. In a sense the redundancy is a fault-tolerance system which enables the mission to complete, even in the case of an engine failure. The more engines in the cluster, the less impact on the overall thrust. From that perspective, it's far better than say, the Ares I with a single point of failure when it comes to manned launches.
See the presentation PDFs attached to a message on another forum:

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=22395.msg623684#msg623684

I agree that more engines give better redundancy, but at a certain point that stops. One engine does not give enough redundancy, but ten engines is too much and introduces different failure modes which can also cause LOM or LOC. You've got to find the sweet spot between too few engines and too many. Unfortunately, clustering many EELV cores to create a SHLV is beyond that sweet spot. ULA would need to baseline a new vehicle to reach 145 mT, or at least to reach 145 mT safely.
 
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rockett

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RVHM":336o101c said:
I agree that more engines give better redundancy, but at a certain point that stops. One engine does not give enough redundancy, but ten engines is too much and introduces different failure modes which can also cause LOM or LOC. You've got to find the sweet spot between too few engines and too many. Unfortunately, clustering many EELV cores to create a SHLV is beyond that sweet spot. ULA would need to baseline a new vehicle to reach 145 mT, or at least to reach 145 mT safely.
Actually, here is a very interesting article where they examined various alternatives Ares V, Atlas V heavy, and Super Delta. The really interesting thing is the Delta uses the same core engines (RS-68) as the as the Ares V (same number also). What I am getting at, is NASA is paying an exorbidant amount to re-invent the same launcher when we have two viable alternatives already in production. My question is, in this time economic hardships, does that make sense? Not only that, we already have, in production, the basis to move forward without 10 more years of study and revision.
All-Liquid: A Super Heavy Lift Alternative?
http://www.spacelaunchreport.com/liquidhllv.html
 
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RVHM

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I don't think Ares I or Ares V are a viable alternative either. The Jupiter family of rockets equipped with RS-25e (expendable SSMEs) seems like the best option to me. SpaceX's future rocket, if they build it, could also be worth it. But I don't see clustered EELV's as the solution.
 
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vulture4

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What exactly is the mission that we need heavy lift for? We certainly don't have the money for another Apollo, unless you want to campaign for higher taxes, which no one will accept. To borrow from China for a joyride to the Moon is absurd. If we want human spaceflight, RLVs are more important since fuel costs almost nothing. However if we ever need an HLV, clustering the existing Delta IV and/or just upgrading it with crossfeed and aluminum-lithium tanks would accomplish it at lower cost.
 
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