Orbital Sciences COTS update?

Status
Not open for further replies.
M

mainmind

Guest
Does anyone have word on how Orbital Sciences is progressing in their attempt to fulfill their COTS contract for NASA?
I couldn't find anything recent in the news, nor any new information on their website. Are they going completely silent a la Blue Origins?

Their very uninformative page for the Taurus 2:
http://www.orbital.com/SpaceLaunch/TaurusII/
Equally unupdated page for COTS:
http://www.orbital.com/HumanSpaceExplor ... tems/COTS/

Are there any Orbital insiders lurking on the forums here?
 
M

mr_mark

Guest
This is out in luney left field but, I had heard that BLue Orgins had become a secret CIA based project. Don't know of any truth to that though. Also not sure if Orbital will every get Taurus 2 off the ground. They are having trouble with engine development. They were trying to get the Russians to build the engines for them and the russians were balking. They did not want to develope the engines in house. They are also having trouble with the Minosaur 4 project which has been on hold for the forseeable future.
 
D

docm

Guest
I heard there were some Blue Origin/intel connections too. Would explain a lot.

As for Orbital and their evolved NK-33: any time you put your eggs into a Russian basket you can get hurt. One political pique on their part means maximum pain on your part. Last I heard Aerojet had just 37 NK-33 engines here in the US they can mod into AJ26-62's and more still in a Russian warehouse, so without Russian cooperation getting the latter from there to here the Taurus II has a limited operational lifetime.

OTOH SpaceX can crank out Merlin's to their hearts content. Need more? Open a new line.
 
E

EarthlingX

Guest
Some Orbital Sciences news:
Orbital gives update on Taurus 2 rocket development
http://www.spaceflightnow.com/news/n1001/20taurus2/
Orbital Sciences is still hoping for a March 2011 debut of the company's medium-lift Taurus 2 rocket, but challenges with facility construction and delays in ground testing could push the first launch later into next year, a senior manager said.
"We're currently scheduled for a March 31, 2011, launch date," Culbertson said. "That's still our baseline. We have some schedule challenges we're dealing with, and if things go really, really well, we'll be able to make that date. If some of the threats become reality, then we'll probably have to adjust, but it's too early to tell that yet."
Taurus:


AJ26:


Cygnus:
 
M

mainmind

Guest
EarthlingX":a4e7e2f8 said:
Some Orbital Sciences news:
Orbital gives update on Taurus 2 rocket development
http://www.spaceflightnow.com/news/n1001/20taurus2/
So from the article, Orbital is getting their engines for the 1st stage from Russia via Aerojet. They will also replace their own Castor 30 second stage engine with another motor eventually (not built in house). They are getting the pressure vessel from Thales Alenia Space.

I imagined they were at least going to build the final product but the article states:
Culbertson said the Taurus 2 pathfinder vehicle should arrive at Wallops by June from its manufacturers, Yuzhnoye and Yuzhmash in Ukraine.
So all the major components are being built by subcontractors, the final design isn't complete yet, and even the final integration has been contracted out to the Ukraine. ... How did that look like a good proposal to NASA when they were evaluating the COTS competitors?

... Then again, if the Wikipedia page on the COTS program ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commercial ... n_Services ) is accurate, I guess the competition was kind of weak.
 
E

EarthlingX

Guest
Update from Orbital :
Orbital and Aerojet Set to Begin AJ26 Rocket Engine Testing at Stennis Space Center
(Dulles, VA 24 February 2010) -- Orbital Sciences Corporation (NYSE: ORB) and Aerojet, a GenCorp (NYSE: GY) company — two of the world’s leading space technology corporations — today announced the initiation of the AJ26 rocket engine testing process for Orbital’s Taurus® II medium-class launch vehicle with the delivery of a “pathfinder” engine to NASA’s Stennis Space Center in Mississippi. The AJ26 is Aerojet’s liquid-fuel rocket engine that Orbital will use to power the first stage of the Taurus II space launch vehicle currently in development. The pathfinder engine will be used to verify test stand interfaces, engine handling processes, and test configurations prior to the commencement of the series of “hot fire” tests that are planned to begin in April.
 
E

EarthlingX

Guest
From http://www.space-travel.com :
Orbital Sciences Selects GS Yuasa to Power Cargo Transport Missions To ISS
by Staff Writers
Roswell GA (SPX) Mar 04, 2010
GS Yuasa Lithium Power (GYLP) has announced it has been awarded a contract to supply batteries for Orbital Sciences Corporation's (Orbital) Cygnus maneuvering space vehicle. Cygnus will be used to provide cargo delivery services to the International Space Station.

The battery will be assembled at GS Yuasa Lithium Power's new manufacturing facility in Roswell, Georgia and will utilize their LSE190 lithium ion cell.
From http://www.orbital.com/CargoResupplyServices/
Cygnus Fact Sheet : http://www.orbital.com/NewsInfo/Publica ... s_fact.pdf
Taurus micro site http://www.orbital.com/TaurusII/index.shtml

GS Yuasa Lithium Power : http://www.gsyuasa-lp.com/
GS Battery (U.S.A.) : http://www.gsbattery.info/index.html
old page : http://www.gsbattery.com/
 
E

EarthlingX

Guest
From Orbital :

Orbital and Aerojet Complete Main Engine Lifetime Testing for Taurus II Space Launch Vehicle
(Dulles, VA 15 March 2010) -- Orbital Sciences Corporation (NYSE: ORB) and Aerojet, a GenCorp (NYSE: GY) company, along with Aerojet’s Russian partner, United Engine Corporation/SNTK, announced today that a series of NK-33 rocket engine tests conducted in Samara, Russia, were successfully completed last week in support of the development of Orbital’s Taurus® II space launch vehicle. The purpose of the extended-time testing of the NK-33 engine, on which the AJ26 first-stage engine for the Taurus II rocket is based, was to demonstrate a “hot-fire” duration equal to two times a normal Taurus II acceptance testing and launch profile duty cycle. Over the last two weeks, three tests were conducted by SNTK with a cumulative duration of more than 600 seconds. These tests verified the significant technical margins on engine performance and durability required by Orbital’s Taurus II development program.
 
E

EarthlingX

Guest
www.orbital.com : Orbital Applauds President Obama's New Direction For America's Civil Space Program
(Dulles, VA 20 April 2010) -- Orbital Sciences Corporation (NYSE: ORB), one of the world’s leading space technology companies, today expressed its strong support for President Barack Obama’s new direction for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), as articulated in a major space policy address the President gave last week at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Under a new five-year program for the 2011-2015 period, NASA will stimulate the development of advanced launch vehicle and spacecraft technologies for deep-space human voyages; dispatch precursor robotic probes to the moon, Mars, asteroids and other destinations throughout the inner solar system; accelerate Earth science, climate monitoring and environmental sensing satellite missions; and enter into innovative new partnerships with U.S. industry to design, build and demonstrate the first-ever commercial astronaut transportation systems for low-Earth orbit missions.
 
M

mj1

Guest
EarthlingX":1k09bogl said:
From Orbital :

Orbital and Aerojet Complete Main Engine Lifetime Testing for Taurus II Space Launch Vehicle
(Dulles, VA 15 March 2010) -- Orbital Sciences Corporation (NYSE: ORB) and Aerojet, a GenCorp (NYSE: GY) company, along with Aerojet’s Russian partner, United Engine Corporation/SNTK, announced today that a series of NK-33 rocket engine tests conducted in Samara, Russia, were successfully completed last week in support of the development of Orbital’s Taurus® II space launch vehicle. The purpose of the extended-time testing of the NK-33 engine, on which the AJ26 first-stage engine for the Taurus II rocket is based, was to demonstrate a “hot-fire” duration equal to two times a normal Taurus II acceptance testing and launch profile duty cycle. Over the last two weeks, three tests were conducted by SNTK with a cumulative duration of more than 600 seconds. These tests verified the significant technical margins on engine performance and durability required by Orbital’s Taurus II development program.
Truth be told, I was hoping these guys were much further along than this. Based on the delays we saw with SpaceX getting the Falcon 9 off the ground, these guys are at least a year away from launching anything. From what I can see, SpaceX will be flying cargo missions to the ISS before Orbital is even done testing their rocket. We are still hearing pie in the sky stuff from these guys about their not yet built Taurus II rocket, where SpaceX has already launched their Falcon 9, have another one with the Dragon cargo capsule queued up to go later this summer and others in various stages of construction. You have to wonder about Orbital's approach to this endeavor.
 
M

mj1

Guest
mainmind":as7unbpa said:
EarthlingX":as7unbpa said:
Some Orbital Sciences news:
Orbital gives update on Taurus 2 rocket development
http://www.spaceflightnow.com/news/n1001/20taurus2/
So from the article, Orbital is getting their engines for the 1st stage from Russia via Aerojet. They will also replace their own Castor 30 second stage engine with another motor eventually (not built in house). They are getting the pressure vessel from Thales Alenia Space.

I imagined they were at least going to build the final product but the article states:
Culbertson said the Taurus 2 pathfinder vehicle should arrive at Wallops by June from its manufacturers, Yuzhnoye and Yuzhmash in Ukraine.
So all the major components are being built by subcontractors, the final design isn't complete yet, and even the final integration has been contracted out to the Ukraine. ... How did that look like a good proposal to NASA when they were evaluating the COTS competitors?

... Then again, if the Wikipedia page on the COTS program ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commercial ... n_Services ) is accurate, I guess the competition was kind of weak.
On top of all of that, you have to ask, is Orbital really an American rocket launch company? Or, or they just trying to scarf up a contract from NASA while using foreign subcontractors to do all of the actual work. Are they going to launch from Russia too? Might as well, everything else is being done there. I am quite disappointed from what I see here. SpaceX is kicking these guys ass. They do everything from building their own engines in house, building their own spacecraft, and doing their own testing. And they are providing actual deliverables. Orbital has done nothing to give us any confidence that they will deliver anything, anytime soon. How could NASA have gone for this?
 
R

RVHM

Guest
Orbital could make an important announcement in the next couple of months. It's not related to COTS though, I just couldn't find a better thread to post this.
 
S

stevekk

Guest
mj1":1fslyyl9 said:
mainmind":1fslyyl9 said:
EarthlingX":1fslyyl9 said:
Some Orbital Sciences news:
Orbital gives update on Taurus 2 rocket development
http://www.spaceflightnow.com/news/n1001/20taurus2/
So from the article, Orbital is getting their engines for the 1st stage from Russia via Aerojet. They will also replace their own Castor 30 second stage engine with another motor eventually (not built in house). They are getting the pressure vessel from Thales Alenia Space.

I imagined they were at least going to build the final product but the article states:
Culbertson said the Taurus 2 pathfinder vehicle should arrive at Wallops by June from its manufacturers, Yuzhnoye and Yuzhmash in Ukraine.
So all the major components are being built by subcontractors, the final design isn't complete yet, and even the final integration has been contracted out to the Ukraine. ... How did that look like a good proposal to NASA when they were evaluating the COTS competitors?

... Then again, if the Wikipedia page on the COTS program ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commercial ... n_Services ) is accurate, I guess the competition was kind of weak.
On top of all of that, you have to ask, is Orbital really an American rocket launch company? Or, or they just trying to scarf up a contract from NASA while using foreign subcontractors to do all of the actual work. Are they going to launch from Russia too? Might as well, everything else is being done there. I am quite disappointed from what I see here. SpaceX is kicking these guys ass. They do everything from building their own engines in house, building their own spacecraft, and doing their own testing. And they are providing actual deliverables. Orbital has done nothing to give us any confidence that they will deliver anything, anytime soon. How could NASA have gone for this?
Actually, Orbital really is using the true "COTS" approach, instead of the SpaceX "we need to build it all in-house" approach. "Common Off The Shelf", means you go find the best components available from various vendors and you integrate them together. You can complain about them using a Russian-designed engine, but what else is really available ? The guys from Thain have experience in building pressured modules. They are obtaining the docking guidance system from the Japs (Same as their cargo ship). Given the timelines that Orbital is trying to meet, there really isn't time to develop entirely new engines in house.

Remember, SpaceX had a head-start in the COTS contract. Orbital is a replacement for another vendor that failed to perform on it's half of the contract. If they are able to get their first launch by next Spring as scheduled, and actual Cargo flights before the end of 2011, then NASA will have made a wise decision.
 
M

mj1

Guest
That's a BIG if right now Steve. You know as well as I do that there will be delays and there is no way Orbital will be ready for a launch by next spring. The rocket isn't even built yet. It is the nature of the beast. Just look at all of the delays SpaceX had in getting the Falcon 9 off the ground. It took six months after the hardware was delivered to the cape just to test fire the engines, much less the launch delays and they are not nearly as dependent on subcontractors as Orbital. And don't make excuses for Orbital not meeting time lines while SpaceX is running rings around them, doing all of the things Orbital did not do, like building their OWN engines and spacecraft. Also, SpaceX did NOT have that much of a head start over Orbital either. While Orbital was basking in all of the press coverage for getting a COTS contract, SpaceX was busy designing and building their own rockets. Don't get me wrong, I am all for Orbital or any other company developing as many rockets and spacecraft as possible, the more the merrier. It's just that all I see here is a company that is procuring a contract that it itself can't deliver on. With the proper business smarts, and the right subcontractors, you and I could do a COTS contract too. That does not make us a rocket building company. That being said, I still have a wait and see attitude on Orbital. As long as they get it done, I guess it does not so much matter how.
 
S

stevekk

Guest
yes, it would be nice to see some type of rocket on the pad at Wallops, and realistically to launch by the end of Q1 they need all of the major components in Virginia by the end of September. It appears they have a milestone for the first vehicle to arrive at the end of Q3, but the first launch actually has a milestone of mid-Q2 2011 on their web site. It appears there is a static fire milestone mid-Q1.

It really looks like their schedule is about 1 yr behind SpaceX, assuming they don't have any Boeing 787-style delays. I will agree that is it easier to integrate systems when they are all developed in the same building, or even same timezone. Orbital may have a challenge there, but are there any vendors that they chose you don't trust ?
 
P

PistolPete037

Guest
mj1":17lneiv6 said:
That's a BIG if right now Steve. You know as well as I do that there will be delays and there is no way Orbital will be ready for a launch by next spring. The rocket isn't even built yet. It is the nature of the beast. Just look at all of the delays SpaceX had in getting the Falcon 9 off the ground. It took six months after the hardware was delivered to the cape just to test fire the engines, much less the launch delays and they are not nearly as dependent on subcontractors as Orbital. And don't make excuses for Orbital not meeting time lines while SpaceX is running rings around them, doing all of the things Orbital did not do, like building their OWN engines and spacecraft. Also, SpaceX did NOT have that much of a head start over Orbital either. While Orbital was basking in all of the press coverage for getting a COTS contract, SpaceX was busy designing and building their own rockets. Don't get me wrong, I am all for Orbital or any other company developing as many rockets and spacecraft as possible, the more the merrier. It's just that all I see here is a company that is procuring a contract that it itself can't deliver on. With the proper business smarts, and the right subcontractors, you and I could do a COTS contract too. That does not make us a rocket building company. That being said, I still have a wait and see attitude on Orbital. As long as they get it done, I guess it does not so much matter how.
Your arguments don't hold water for a lot of reasons, MJ. First, SpaceX was awarded the COTS contract in August of 2006, while Orbital wasn't awarded the contract until February 2008. That means that SpaceX has a year and a half head start over Orbital. While I also doubt that a spring 2011 launch is feasible, according to this metric, they have until December, 2011 before they start falling behind Orbital. Furthermore, SpaceX announce the development of the Falcon 9 rocket in September 2005, almost a year before it was awarded the COTS contract and four months before the COTS program was even announced. So, in reality SpaceX has an almost two and a half year head start over Orbital.

As of right now, the engines have been test fired, the tank for the first stage has been built, and most of the Cygnus spacecraft has been built. Intriguingly enough, this is about how far along SpaceX was at this point. Admittedly, this is not entirely accurate. SpaceX was further along with some things (first stage integration) and lagging behind on others (Dragon capsule development), so an actual metric on how far Taurus II's development is compared to the Falcon V is hard to make. The only real guidepost is the first launch, which Orbital has yet to do. I doubt that they will get it done by Q2 2011, but if they get it done by Q4 2011 they will be either on track with SpaceX or one year ahead depending on how you look at it.

As for Orbital subcontracting out most of the fabrication work, welcome to the modern aerospace industry. Just about everybody, and I mean everybody in the aerospace industry subcontracts out at least one sub-assembly. The big aerospace companies such as Boeing and LockMart do little more than final assembly and overall program management on nearly all of their products. SpaceX could afford to do all R&D in house because they were originally on no deadline. If it hadn't been for the fact that Elon Musk played Mr. Moneybags for SpaceX during the R&D phase, this could have killed SpaceX when they finally had to meet NASA mandates. Orbital, on the other hand, has been playing catchup since day one. They've had no time to tarry, and subcontracting has been the only viable way to close the gap with SpaceX.

In this sense, SpaceX and Orbital are taking two opposite approaches to the same idea. SpaceX has had to pay for hight R&D costs up front, but their in-house development will likely mean lower reoccurring costs and low overall price tag in the end. Orbital, on the other hand, has relatively little R&D costs and the project is being fairly quickly put together. However, they will pay for this with higher reoccurring costs in the long run. So which company had the better solution? In reality, neither. Both did what they had to do to get the job done.
 
S

stevekk

Guest
I looking around Orbital's website a little this morning.

It looks like Orbital has a history of finding old rockets and re-purposing them. In fact, other than the AJ26 / NK-33, most of their other rockets have some ICBM-related history behind them.

Isn't there another company providing launch services using old Russian ICBM motors ?

I would assume that there is going to be a huge supply of ICBMs available to re-purpose as satellite launchers in the near future. Assuming you are launching domestically, the AirForce will probably sell these fairly cheaply. Much cheaper than building from scratch.
 
D

docm

Guest
Of course the advantage of doing it SpaceX's way is that they have near total control over cost and the supply chain, something other companies (including Orbital) cannot claim. They are also immune to Russia getting into a pique and pulling engine licenses over a diplomatic impasse, as well as strikes or other factors that could/would affect their supposedly "modern" supply chain.

Just look at the automakers to see how negatively this kind of supply system affects them; some small supplier in NowhereVille has a work stoppage that cuts the supply of a critical part and it shuts down the whole company in a flash.
 
P

PistolPete037

Guest
docm":he7jtlll said:
Of course the advantage of doing it SpaceX's way is that they have near total control over cost and the supply chain, something other companies (including Orbital) cannot claim. They are also immune to Russia getting into a pique and pulling engine licenses over a diplomatic impasse, as well as strikes or other factors that could/would affect their supposedly "modern" supply chain.

Just look at the automakers to see how negatively this kind of supply system affects them; some small supplier in NowhereVille has a work stoppage that cuts the supply of a critical part and it shuts down the whole company in a flash.
True, but the same is true of the Atlas V's engine. Seeing as how both would be integral to the US Government infrastructure, if Russia got pissy about engine licenses, I doubt you would see much of a hiccup in either rockets' production.
 
M

mr_mark

Guest
I had heard that they had only a few russian engines for the taurus 2. Are the russians going to produce more? The way it looks now they only have enough to barely fulfill their COTS cargo agreement.
 
E

EarthlingX

Guest
http://www.spaceflightnow.com : Taurus 2 rocket could launch astronaut crews from Florida
BY STEPHEN CLARK
SPACEFLIGHT NOW

Posted: July 14, 2010

Orbital Sciences Corp. could reevaluate moving some of its Taurus 2 rocket missions from Virginia to Florida if the company wins a contract to launch astronauts or stacks its backlog with satellites, a senior company official said Tuesday.

The firm is contending for rights to launch future NASA astronaut crews to the International Space Station, but it faces stiff competition from SpaceX, Boeing Co., and other companies.

Artist's concept of a Taurus 2 rocket on the launch pad at Wallops Island, Va. Credit: Orbital Sciences

Wiki : Taurus II
Taurus II is an expendable launch system being developed by Orbital Sciences Corporation. It is a two stage vehicle designed to launch payloads weighing up to 7,000 kg (15,000 lb) into low-Earth orbit.[4] It is scheduled to make its first flight in March 2011.[5][6]
 
M

mj1

Guest
PistolPete037":2uuvrbxo said:
mj1":2uuvrbxo said:
That's a BIG if right now Steve. You know as well as I do that there will be delays and there is no way Orbital will be ready for a launch by next spring. The rocket isn't even built yet. It is the nature of the beast. Just look at all of the delays SpaceX had in getting the Falcon 9 off the ground. It took six months after the hardware was delivered to the cape just to test fire the engines, much less the launch delays and they are not nearly as dependent on subcontractors as Orbital. And don't make excuses for Orbital not meeting time lines while SpaceX is running rings around them, doing all of the things Orbital did not do, like building their OWN engines and spacecraft. Also, SpaceX did NOT have that much of a head start over Orbital either. While Orbital was basking in all of the press coverage for getting a COTS contract, SpaceX was busy designing and building their own rockets. Don't get me wrong, I am all for Orbital or any other company developing as many rockets and spacecraft as possible, the more the merrier. It's just that all I see here is a company that is procuring a contract that it itself can't deliver on. With the proper business smarts, and the right subcontractors, you and I could do a COTS contract too. That does not make us a rocket building company. That being said, I still have a wait and see attitude on Orbital. As long as they get it done, I guess it does not so much matter how.
Your arguments don't hold water for a lot of reasons, MJ. First, SpaceX was awarded the COTS contract in August of 2006, while Orbital wasn't awarded the contract until February 2008. That means that SpaceX has a year and a half head start over Orbital. While I also doubt that a spring 2011 launch is feasible, according to this metric, they have until December, 2011 before they start falling behind Orbital. Furthermore, SpaceX announce the development of the Falcon 9 rocket in September 2005, almost a year before it was awarded the COTS contract and four months before the COTS program was even announced. So, in reality SpaceX has an almost two and a half year head start over Orbital.

As of right now, the engines have been test fired, the tank for the first stage has been built, and most of the Cygnus spacecraft has been built. Intriguingly enough, this is about how far along SpaceX was at this point. Admittedly, this is not entirely accurate. SpaceX was further along with some things (first stage integration) and lagging behind on others (Dragon capsule development), so an actual metric on how far Taurus II's development is compared to the Falcon V is hard to make. The only real guidepost is the first launch, which Orbital has yet to do. I doubt that they will get it done by Q2 2011, but if they get it done by Q4 2011 they will be either on track with SpaceX or one year ahead depending on how you look at it.

As for Orbital subcontracting out most of the fabrication work, welcome to the modern aerospace industry. Just about everybody, and I mean everybody in the aerospace industry subcontracts out at least one sub-assembly. The big aerospace companies such as Boeing and LockMart do little more than final assembly and overall program management on nearly all of their products. SpaceX could afford to do all R&D in house because they were originally on no deadline. If it hadn't been for the fact that Elon Musk played Mr. Moneybags for SpaceX during the R&D phase, this could have killed SpaceX when they finally had to meet NASA mandates. Orbital, on the other hand, has been playing catchup since day one. They've had no time to tarry, and subcontracting has been the only viable way to close the gap with SpaceX.

In this sense, SpaceX and Orbital are taking two opposite approaches to the same idea. SpaceX has had to pay for hight R&D costs up front, but their in-house development will likely mean lower reoccurring costs and low overall price tag in the end. Orbital, on the other hand, has relatively little R&D costs and the project is being fairly quickly put together. However, they will pay for this with higher reoccurring costs in the long run. So which company had the better solution? In reality, neither. Both did what they had to do to get the job done.
It is now 6 months later and there is NO word that I have seen that Orbital is ANY closer to a launch, while SpaceX is ready for COTS-1, has the other COTS launches already in the pipeline, and is a leading contender for manned commercial missions. With any luck at all, they will be supplying the ISS by the end of 2011. Not to mention a launch manifest that stretches out for years. Sure, there is an Orbital launch "scheduled" for sometime in 2011, but is anyone here really prepared to say the Orbital will even do a test launch in 2011 at all? Never mind actual ISS supply missions. That is still a pipe dream for them. Like I said before, I welcome Orbital and anyone else to this party. We need all we can get. However, let's be real and admit that SpaceX has a much better and more serious approach to commercial launch than Orbital. They won't be closing any gaps with SpaceX any time soon. In fact, I'd say that SpaceX had moved even further ahead of them, even with that so-called head start. Pistol, you sound like you want to blame SpaceX for NOT subcontracting, when it has clearly been the better approach and is producing concrete results. Not to mention that Orbital got more COTS money than SpaceX did, I believe. Mr. "moneybags" Musk has put his money where his mouth is and has more than delivered. He deserves to be celebrated, not 'hated on. Also, "both did what they had to do to get the job done" is certainly not true. What job is Orbital getting done? All we have seen from them until now is press clippings and pretty artist conception drawings of a pie in the sky rocket. With the leaps and bounds SpaceX has been making, we are beyond that. It's time for Orbital to put up or shut up. If they do, I'll be the first one in here to congratulate them.
 
D

docm

Guest
Orbital PDF....

First stage static fire: Q2 2011
Test flight Taurus II: Q3 2011
Cygnus COTS Demo: Q4 2011
Cygnus CRS1 flight: Q1 2012

Lots of room in there for slippage, not to mention their last attempt with automated docking (DART) didn't go that well.
 
M

mj1

Guest
docm":3rh237o9 said:
Orbital PDF....

First stage static fire: Q2 2011
Test flight Taurus II: Q3 2011
Cygnus COTS Demo: Q4 2011
Cygnus CRS1 flight: Q1 2012

Lots of room in there for slippage, not to mention their last attempt with automated docking (DART) didn't go that well.
TY for the info Docm. Let's hope they can meet this schedule, though I'd bet money that they don't. The whole thing looks shaky, rushed, and overly aggresive to me. Also, why does Orbital only need to do one COTS demo launch and the flight proven SpaceX Falcon 9 has to do three? It seems to me that with subcontractors and all, there is much more room for error with these guys than with SpaceX. The thing that you also have to like about SpaceX is that they TOOK THEIR TIME, made sure they got it right, and had contingencies in place for when they did not.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

ASK THE COMMUNITY