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Antares test launch poll

Posted by: Lourens - Wed Apr 10, 2013 8:02 pm
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Antares test launch poll 

What will be the fate of the inaugural Orbital Antares rocket?
Launch postponed beyond the 21st 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
Perfect launch, and they all lived happily ever after 17%  17%  [ 1 ]
Umbilical stays firmly attached this time. Very firmly. Pad abort. 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
First stage malfunction, whole stack goes swimming 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
US and Russian parts cannot bear to say goodbye, staging failure 33%  33%  [ 2 ]
Second stage solidly refuses to light, but successfully burns up on re-entry 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
GNC problems, destroyed by range control or ends up in the wrong orbit 17%  17%  [ 1 ]
Launches successfully, then accidentally survives re-entry and crashes into Kim Jong-Un's back yard. Whoopsie! 33%  33%  [ 2 ]
Total votes : 6

Antares test launch poll 
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Post Re: Antares test launch poll   Posted on: Sun Apr 21, 2013 8:36 pm
Lourens wrote:
I'm actually curious what the problem is with winds at altitude. Obviously you don't want to have too much wind on the pad, since the rocket is moving slowly there and you don't have sideways thrusters to compensate. But if the rocket is going Mach 1+, does a 100 mph wind really matter that much?


They said it affected the debris corridor in the event of failure bits could land in the wrong place.

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Post Re: Antares test launch poll   Posted on: Mon Apr 22, 2013 2:07 am
Lourens wrote:
I'm actually curious what the problem is with winds at altitude. Obviously you don't want to have too much wind on the pad, since the rocket is moving slowly there and you don't have sideways thrusters to compensate. But if the rocket is going Mach 1+, does a 100 mph wind really matter that much?


A LOT of money was riding on a successful launch of this prototype.

Looked like a success! Although it was curious that there was no video of the fairing and second stage separation.


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Post Re: Antares test launch poll   Posted on: Mon Apr 22, 2013 8:11 am
Congrats to Orbital Sciences and NASA's Commercial Orbital Transportation Services(COTS) program!
The success of this flight and the SpaceX flights at only a few hundred million dollars development cost for the launchers shows any industrialized nation can have their own independent manned-capable spaceflight program by following a commercial approach to their development.
Manned spaceflight can finally become routine by following this approach.

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Post Re: Antares test launch poll   Posted on: Mon Apr 22, 2013 9:32 am
JamesG wrote:
Lourens wrote:
I'm actually curious what the problem is with winds at altitude. Obviously you don't want to have too much wind on the pad, since the rocket is moving slowly there and you don't have sideways thrusters to compensate. But if the rocket is going Mach 1+, does a 100 mph wind really matter that much?


A LOT of money was riding on a successful launch of this prototype.

Looked like a success! Although it was curious that there was no video of the fairing and second stage separation.



Hmm, I did see video of the fairing separation, immediately followed by the interstage separation and later some shots of the second stage motor firing.
But just like you I wondered why they didn't show the separation of the mass simulator from the second stage.

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Post Re: Antares test launch poll   Posted on: Mon Apr 22, 2013 1:53 pm
Yeah in later, edited videos I saw the fairing sep. But I would have liked to have seen the 2nd stage separation and collision avoidance maneuver that was depicted in the telemetry animation.

Anyway, very cool launch and congratulations to OS et. al.!

What were the secondary payloads that the mass simulator was carrying? Is that listed anywhere?


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Post Re: Antares test launch poll   Posted on: Mon Apr 22, 2013 3:39 pm
JamesG wrote:
Yeah in later, edited videos I saw the fairing sep. But I would have liked to have seen the 2nd stage separation and collision avoidance maneuver that was depicted in the telemetry animation.

Anyway, very cool launch and congratulations to OS et. al.!

What were the secondary payloads that the mass simulator was carrying? Is that listed anywhere?

What's a mass simulator? Besides something that simulates mass, I mean.

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Post Re: Antares test launch poll   Posted on: Mon Apr 22, 2013 4:50 pm
This Antares just lifted a dummy payload that had the same weight as a real Cygnus spacecraft, hence "mass simulator".

It supposedly also had some other things with it as (I assume paying) sub- or hosted payloads. Micro or femto sats. Or just short duration experiments.

I haven't found a site that lists what they are.


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Post Re: Antares test launch poll   Posted on: Mon Apr 22, 2013 7:14 pm
JamesG wrote:
Yeah in later, edited videos I saw the fairing sep. But I would have liked to have seen the 2nd stage separation and collision avoidance maneuver that was depicted in the telemetry animation.


Agree, I would have liked to see that avoidance maneuver. However, I did see the fairing separation during the livestream (nasa.tv). I haven't even watched a single replay yet.
It was shortly after MECO and first stage separation, during the ~90 second coast phase before second stage ignition.

JamesG wrote:
What were the secondary payloads that the mass simulator was carrying? Is that listed anywhere?

One 3U Cubesat for Cosmogia Inc. and three 1U Cubesats for NASAs PhoneSat project according to this Press Release: http://www.parabolicarc.com/2013/04/22/ ... -vehicles/

The PhoneSats also got mentioned a lot during NASA's pre-launch coverage of the flight.


Oh and of course congratulations to Orbital Sciences from me as well! :)

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Post Re: Antares test launch poll   Posted on: Mon Apr 22, 2013 8:24 pm
Ok cool. Thanks.

I watched the launch live on my phone while on the road, so some of it was choppy. Must have missed that segment... twice.


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Post Re: Antares test launch poll   Posted on: Tue Apr 23, 2013 12:15 pm
Indeed, congratulations! It's good to have a second option for flying stuff to ISS.

I have to note though that the NASA COTS contract for Antares/Cygnus is for a maximum of 18,800 kg of cargo to ISS for 1.9 billion USD, while the SpaceX contract is 1.6 billion USD for a capacity of almost 40,000 kg to ISS pressurised, and another 40,000 kg unpressurised cargo capacity. That puts F9/Dragon at 40% of the price per kilogram to ISS of Antares/Cygnus, 20% if you count Dragon's unpressurised cargo. On the other hand, the Space Shuttle did 1.5 billion USD and 24,400 kg per flight, putting it at 60% the cost per kg of Antares/Cygnus.

There's a lot of stuff to be said about this comparison: rockets get cheaper the bigger they get, putting Antares at a disadvantage, and the Shuttle could deliver ISS components that would have been way too heavy for F9. It also delivered astronauts in addition to those 24,400 kg of cargo. Also, I don't think development costs are amortised in quite the same way in all three cases, so it's a comparison of the cost to NASA and the US tax payer, not a comparison of overall cost. And it probably says more about the amazingly low cost of F9/Dragon than anything else. Still, cost was one of the reasons for retiring the Shuttle, and from that perspective Antares/Cygnus is not necessarily an improvement...

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Post Re: Antares test launch poll   Posted on: Wed Apr 24, 2013 3:25 am
That USD 1.8B is for 8 Cygnus (Cygnii?) launches, and the SpaceX contract is for 12 at USD 1.6B. The ~1.5B was for ONE STS launch. Compared to the Shuttle, the difference between the costs of either OS or SpaceX is pocket change.


The intent of COTS/CRS is not to find the best/cheapest lift to orbit (this is the government we are talking about after all), but to foster the commercial space industry. Yeah SpaceX has the better mousetrap, but there are other externalities as well. Having redundant lift providers, that the Antares can launch from smaller facilities, that OS has more experience launching other payloads than their own, and of course OS has friends in Congress.


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Post Re: Antares test launch poll   Posted on: Wed Apr 24, 2013 4:05 am
JamesG wrote:
The intent of COTS/CRS is not to find the best/cheapest lift to orbit (this is the government we are talking about after all), but to foster the commercial space industry. Yeah SpaceX has the better mousetrap, but there are other externalities as well. Having redundant lift providers, that the Antares can launch from smaller facilities, that OS has more experience launching other payloads than their own, and of course OS has friends in Congress.


Well, it's sort of like the egg and the chicken. If government was as efficient and good at making and flying spaceships as the free market, there would be no need to turn to the free market (besides freedom, but that's neither here nor there).

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Post Re: Antares test launch poll   Posted on: Wed Apr 24, 2013 8:17 am
And on the other hand, if the free market is so awesome, why didn't we have 10 SpaceXes 20 years ago? After all, the satellite launch market has been there for a while, and existing providers were all extremely expensive, so there was quite enough opportunity.

James: It's true that both Antares and F9 are much cheaper per launch, but the amount of payload per launch is not anywhere in the same league either. Shuttle and Falcon Heavy would be a better comparison for that, and FH would win that by a factor of five to ten I'd guess, if you configured it with a crewed Dragon and a trunk the size of the orbiter's cargo bay.

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Post Re: Antares test launch poll   Posted on: Wed Apr 24, 2013 12:31 pm
Yes, Antaries/Cynus is a much smaller system than Falcon/Dragon. Just because they are funded from the same program (bucket of money) does not mean that they are the same, or were competing.

I don't know for certain, but I suspect that NASA had a mandate from Congress to fund a minimum of two or more "private" (ie: not one of the big defense contractors) commercial launch providers, and OS was the second one to step up and put something together (literally).

Oh and, this really isn't the "free market", or particularly commercial. It's still the government (NASA) putting out specs and contractors designing and providing products and services, same as all the way back to the Wright Bros. The only difference is that the faces and the corporate logos are different.

When the likes of Bigalow, Planetary Resources, etc. start putting up more launches then government, then we will have a viable "free market". COTS is designed to help get there.


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Post Re: Antares test launch poll   Posted on: Wed Apr 24, 2013 2:07 pm
Lourens wrote:
And on the other hand, if the free market is so awesome, why didn't we have 10 SpaceXes 20 years ago? After all, the satellite launch market has been there for a while, and existing providers were all extremely expensive, so there was quite enough opportunity.



I saw a speech on youtube by a guy who tried to do exactly that, using old russian ICBMs, if I'm right. Apparently NASA stopped him. I looked for the speech, but I couldn't find it. Maybe someone here also saw it?

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