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A low cost, all European, manned launcher.

Posted by: RGClark - Wed Mar 14, 2012 6:55 pm
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A low cost, all European, manned launcher. 
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Post Re: A low cost, all European, manned launcher.   Posted on: Fri Nov 30, 2012 3:43 am
The intent may have been to throw a bone and some... "busy work" to their propulsion design and test infrastructure, which is a perishable capability. Plus lots of intercene ESA politics we probalby aren't keen to.

Interesting that the new push is to for greater payloads and to transfer orbits.


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Post Re: A low cost, all European, manned launcher.   Posted on: Mon Dec 10, 2012 8:02 pm
RGClark wrote:
...
Another point, again as I discussed before, the most
important result of following this approach is that it would result in
a manned capable launcher in a short time frame. Even if you are
skeptical of the SSTO version, just using the current, small, ca. 10mT
gross mass upper stage, or even smaller ones from the earlier versions
of the Ariane, you could have your manned launcher without the solid
side boosters. This key advantage I still haven't seen discussed but
obviously it would a great benefit in producing support among the
European public and the politicians, who hold the ESA purse strings.


Bob Clark


Note: the attached image did not appear in the AV Week article, at
least it doesn't in the current version online. I found it after a
web search. It does show two engines on the liquid fueled version of
the Ariane 6 core.

Image


The ESA needs to release to the European public the payload capability of the twin-Vulcain solution for the Ariane 6. The image above gives only it's payload to GTO, not to LEO, in the configuration without solid rocket boosters. The configuration without the solids is the appropriate one since there still is a distrust in the industry for manned flights using solids. Note it would also be less costly to man-rate without the solid rocket boosters.
Looking at some other launchers however, we may be able to estimate the payload to LEO. You see for the Ariane 5, Atlas V, and Delta IV, the payload to LEO is about twice that to GTO, more or less. Twice the 2,200 kg payload to GTO for the liquid-fueled sans solids version of the Ariane 6 would be 4,400 kg. Then we may estimate the payload to LEO to be in the 4,000 kg to 5,000 kg range.
Note this would be well sufficient to launch a small size capsule about half-size to the SpaceX Dragon. The Dragon is at a dry mass of about 4,000 kg, half size is about 2,000 kg, but we also want to reserve mass for the launch escape system (LAS). A 4,000 kg to 5,000 kg payload capability should be sufficient even including a LAS.
In regards to cost, note the Dragon cost $300 million in development as privately developed. As privately developed this half size capsule should be even less, perhaps even half that to $150 million.
There is also the question of man-rating this liquid-fuel Ariane 6 launcher. We might make a comparison to the man-rating of the Atlas V. It only cost a few million dollars.

Bob Clark

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Single-stage-to-orbit was already shown possible 50 years ago with the Titan II first stage.
Contrary to popular belief, SSTO's in fact are actually easy. Just use the most efficient engines
and stages at the same time, and the result will automatically be SSTO.
Blog: http://exoscientist.blogspot.com


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Post Re: A low cost, all European, manned launcher.   Posted on: Sun Jan 20, 2013 2:11 pm
Just saw this:

CNES Design Team Sets ‘Triple-seven’ Goal for Ariane 6.
By Peter B. de Selding | Jan. 2, 2013
http://www.spacenews.com/article/cnes-design-team-sets-%E2%80%98triple-seven%E2%80%99-goal-for-ariane-6

You'll need to do free registration for temporary access to read the article.

From the article:

Quote:
...after months of hard selling that saw them pitted against much of France’s industry, CNES officials last year convinced Fioraso that Ariane 6 — less expensive and less powerful than Ariane 5, and carrying just one satellite at a time to orbit — is the way of the future.
The design of the rocket — two solid-fueled lower stages and a cryogenic upper stage, plus solid-fueled strap-on boosters — was frozen Nov. 21 during a meeting of ESA government ministers.ESA Launcher Director Antonio Fabrizi said this design, and no other, is what ministers approved.


and:

Quote:
Ariane 6 has been conceived from the start as a “next-generation” rocket that in many ways looks like a throwback — more of a less-expensive Lockheed Martin Atlas 5, or a Proton launched from the equator. Ariane 5 can do more things for more customers.
But if it meets its design goal, Ariane 6 will reach a financial equilibrium that has eluded Ariane 5. CNES officials say economic criteria account for 43 percent of the design decisions made for the rocket, with technical criteria accounting for just 30 percent.
The remaining 27 percent of the design choices are being made on the basis of Europe’s existing industrial capacity.
French industry is responsible for around 50 percent of the construction of Ariane 5. Eymard said the agency assumes France will carry about the same load for Ariane 6.
Beyond the French contribution, all bets are off. CNES has penciled in Germany at 25 percent, and Italy at 10-15 percent. The Italian share should be relatively easy to secure because Italy already is heavily involved in production, with Snecma of France, of the solid-fueled strap-on boosters used on the Ariane 5 rocket. Italy is also the lead investor in the new Vega small-satellite launcher, which made its inaugural flight in early 2012.
Because of the all-but-guaranteed work share of Italian industry in the Ariane 6 solid-fueled stages, the Italian government is not likely to resist taking its 10-15 percent stake despite its public-debt crisis.
Ensuring German industry sufficient work will not be as straightforward, European government and industry officials said.


This article shows the difficulty the ESA will have in developing innovative launch solutions. The biggest factor in deciding which launcher to develop is how much work it can provide to the ESA, member countries. This supersedes even lowered costs.

The ESA could develop a low cost launcher that would be comparable in cost to the SpaceX Falcon 9, AND moreover would give Europe an independent manned launch capability simply by adding a second Vulcain to the Ariane 5 core. Ironically though, this option is not chosen because it would be TOO low cost: it would be simple, quick - and not provide enough work to the ESA member countries.

The only way Europe is going to get low cost space access it now appears is if it is privately developed. As proven by SpaceX this can cut 90% (!) off the development costs. And in fact it should be even easier and cheaper than the SpaceX case since the components already exist in the Ariane 5 core, built in France, and Vulcain II engines, built in Germany. Even the capsule for the manned launchers is largely already designed in the Orbital Sciences, Cygnus capsule, which is actually built in Italy. You would just need to supply life support to the capsule already designed to be pressurized.

Bob Clark

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Single-stage-to-orbit was already shown possible 50 years ago with the Titan II first stage.
Contrary to popular belief, SSTO's in fact are actually easy. Just use the most efficient engines
and stages at the same time, and the result will automatically be SSTO.
Blog: http://exoscientist.blogspot.com


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Post Re: A low cost, all European, manned launcher.   Posted on: Sun Jan 20, 2013 6:01 pm
Why not have a international body that is all about cheap space exploration?
is there already such a organisation?

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Post Re: A low cost, all European, manned launcher.   Posted on: Sun Jan 20, 2013 10:02 pm
Because the International Body is not interested in cheap space exploration. It is quite happy with the status quo of maintaining the barriers to entry and their near monopoly on space access.


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Post Re: A low cost, all European, manned launcher.   Posted on: Sun Jan 20, 2013 10:19 pm
Lets start out own? public money not government? like launchpad for space ?

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Post Re: A low cost, all European, manned launcher.   Posted on: Mon Jan 21, 2013 2:38 am
Sigma wrote:
Lets start out own? public money not government? like launchpad for space ?

It would be cool, the issue is how do you convince from 100 thousand to a million people to put money together for this.

Also how do you avoid ending up like all these organisations we dont like the operation of?

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Post Re: A low cost, all European, manned launcher.   Posted on: Mon Jan 21, 2013 3:59 am
have it run by a forum :) people with a track record of doing good things, do good things....

think open source space :)

I design, you comment, he tests, they build, we win :)

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Post Re: A low cost, all European, manned launcher.   Posted on: Mon Jan 21, 2013 12:01 pm
Sigma wrote:
have it run by a forum :) people with a track record of doing good things, do good things....

think open source space :)

I design, you comment, he tests, they build, we win :)


I don't know if you have checked them out but MACH30 is trying do an open source space program. Of course because they are lacking money and involvement of people they can't do much.

But still it seems there is an increasing amount of interest, and they are still plotting along trying to tackle issues like ITAR, or making a platform for open source design projects.

The issue is we would have to generate world wide interest similar or probably bigger than Kickstarter or Kiva to run something resembling a proper space program with launches and science and engineering done.

Kiva has moved since 2005 around 300 million dollars, and since 2009 Kickstarter managed to move 380 million dollars or so.

The supporters need to be on the scale of hundreds of thousands to 1 million people and it needs to be a stable support for labs or organisations taking us seriously enough to think about accepting our support. /don't forget that it is a risk taking on their part as well, because if the funding falls short, they also waste precious time and resources they could have spent better if the funding came from somewhere more stable/certain/

The costs of running the thing would have to be extremely minimised or we would probably need even more people than a couple of million to make this work. To be honest I have no clue how much this thing would cost to run /just administration and such/

Anyway the only thing that seems to generate such scale voluntary involvement where people don't expect monetary returns is entertainment /see mmos like WOW or EVE online/ and charities.

The issue with entertainment is that itself needs a constant investment and I doubt there is any game publishing company out there that could afford 300 million dollars a year to spend on something they wont get any return on on the short term if ever.

Charities have the good characteristic that people don't expect return for themselves, they expect the charity to achieve it's goal. However there is the issue of convincing people to give up a portion of their income for the cause. It's not easy to do either.

Though of course the real issue isn't that it's hard to convince people to give up their hard earned money, it still can be done. The issue is that for that to happen, some people still need to get together, design and construct a "seed" for this organisation from which this thing could grow out of.

There are several such possible "seeds" out there right now, like Copenhagen Suborbitals have a good headstart, and it seems Planetary Resources are trying to pull in the general public and put it to good use.

I personally am thinking along the lines of an interactive entertaining charity, or a charitable interactive entertainment. Something that tries to combine the two system into something that draws in people who just want to have some fun, and also people who wish to do something useful with their spare time/money/expertise.

But as you can see it's really hard to find such people mostly because we are all quite busy with our normal lives, and it's hard to find time for a project like this that seems so extremely impossible, probably to most even redundant and uneccessary.

Also long boring posts don't realy help getting a proper conversation started in this topic either.

Anyway, can I have a look at your game btw? I am interested in what you have, and what you were thinking of, the concept if there is any. I am hunting for ideas all over the place. Need inspiration...

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Post Re: A low cost, all European, manned launcher.   Posted on: Mon Jun 17, 2013 7:32 am
Letter to the European space industry:

=============================================
Subject : A low cost, all European, manned launcher.
Date : Sat, Jun 15, 2013 11:16 AM EDT
From : "Robert Clark" <****@****.edu>
To : ****@****

This article discusses the possibility of using the ATV as a manned spacecraft:

Shifting Constellations: Europe Eyes China in Space Race.
By Kevin Holden Platt in Beijing
February 08, 2013 – 03:17 PM
http://www.spiegel.de/international/eur ... 82212.html

Russia and China have their own manned spaceflight program, as will the U.S. once again soon. Even India and Japan are planning their own manned spaceflight programs.
The European Union has been the greatest economic power in the world or a close second to the U.S. over the last few years. European space advocates then should regard it as unacceptable that Europe has no plans to develop a manned spaceflight capability.
The main impediment has been cost. But such costs would be reduced greatly if the focus was on small rather than large. The ATV is a large, expensive spacecraft as is the Ariane 5. But there is no need to have a spacecraft as large as the ATV simply to carry a crew, or a rocket as large as the Ariane 5 to launch them to orbit.
My recommendation is instead to adapt, for example, the much smaller Cygnus, designed and built in Italy, for the purpose. This would allow a much smaller vehicle of Ariane 6 size to be used as the launcher. The complaint that the Cygnus does not have life support or a heat shield is not valid since that would have to be provided to the ATV as well. Another possibility for the capsule would be the 'Magic Dragon' capsule developed by Elson Space:

PICTURE: UK built SpaceX capsule revealed.
By: ROB COPPINGER LONDON 11:25 15 Apr 2008
http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articl ... ed-222995/

For this to be the case, you would have to adopt the liquid-fueled version
for the Ariane 6, eventhough the solid-fueled version has been decided upon.
The Academy of Air & Space in France has criticized the choice of the
solid-fueled version on the grounds that it does not advance the technology and has limited flexibility:

Academy Urges Europe To Halt Work on ‘Wrong Choice’ Ariane 6 Design.
By Peter B. de Selding | May. 30, 2013
http://www.spacenews.com/article/launch ... t-work-on-‘wrong-choice’-ariane-6-design#.Ubqa4cu9KSO

But another key advantage was not mentioned by the Academy, that the
liquid-fueled version could serve as a manned launcher. To me this is an
*overwhelmingly* important fact that needs to be mentioned in regards to their relative merits. This would be a profoundly important advance in European technology. Look at how the Chinese space program was regarded as having been advanced by developing its manned spaceflight program. Because of this advance, to some the Chinese space program is regarded as having surpassed both the European and American ones.
I am aware of the fact that the choice of the solid-fueled Ariane 6 was
largely political, shaped by the requirements of geographical return which the ESA has to follow. However, I am a strong proponent of the commercial space approach to launcher/spacecraft development. To me it is an extremely important fact that the costs to the government were reduced by 90%(!) by both SpaceX and Orbital Sciences in developing their respective launchers.
For a commercial enterprise in the business world, if you found a way to
reduce your costs by 90% that would be a development that would be hailed for decades as an extremely important advance. But because space programs are government run this is something that still is only spoken of in hushed tones by NASA.
Still nevertheless NASA's commercial space program was a tremendous success in producing launchers at greatly reduced costs to the government. Note that NASA was forced to this because of the high cost of producing manned launchers under normal governmental financing procedures. This success then should be modeled by European space agencies in producing manned launchers even if it requires bypassing the ESA, with its geographical return requirements.

Here I discuss how the liquid-fueled Ariane 6 could serve as a manned
spaceflight vehicle:

On the lasting importance of the SpaceX accomplishment, Page 4: how the Ariane 6 can beat both SpaceX and the Russians.
http://exoscientist.blogspot.com/2013/0 ... pacex.html


Bob Clark

_________________
Single-stage-to-orbit was already shown possible 50 years ago with the Titan II first stage.
Contrary to popular belief, SSTO's in fact are actually easy. Just use the most efficient engines
and stages at the same time, and the result will automatically be SSTO.
Blog: http://exoscientist.blogspot.com


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Post Re: A low cost, all European, manned launcher.   Posted on: Fri Jan 17, 2014 7:57 am
After Antares test launch, Orbital aims for space station.
BY STEPHEN CLARK
SPACEFLIGHT NOW
Posted: April 26, 2013
Quote:
Sunday's flight was the culmination of a six-year, $300 million effort to design, build and test the Antares booster, which can loft medium-class satellites into orbit and is contracted by NASA to launch nine more times on cargo deliveries to the space station.

http://spaceflightnow.com/antares/demo/130426cygnus/

A medium class launcher by the usual fully government-financed approach would cost in the multi-billions of dollars range. For instance the Ariane 6 is expected to cost in the range of $5 billion. And that's just the initial estimate. Quite likely just as with NASA fully government-financed projects, there will be significant cost overruns here as well.

That both SpaceX and Orbital Sciences were each able to develop their launchers at a 90% cost savings by following the commercial space approach is important. It means any industrialized nation could afford to develop their own independent orbital launch system via commercial space. There would not need to be this constant wrangling between France and Germany and Italy about which approach to take. They could each decide to take their own approach.

Which space agency in the world will be next to make the leap to commercial space?

Bob Clark

_________________
Single-stage-to-orbit was already shown possible 50 years ago with the Titan II first stage.
Contrary to popular belief, SSTO's in fact are actually easy. Just use the most efficient engines
and stages at the same time, and the result will automatically be SSTO.
Blog: http://exoscientist.blogspot.com


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Post Re: A low cost, all European, manned launcher.   Posted on: Fri Jan 17, 2014 5:36 pm
Actually, box, a crowdfunding website for space technology could probably work. Maybe even have it set up to allow for prizes. So someone proposes a prize, and sees if they can raise the prize money. If they manage to, the prize goes ahead, but the company behind the site holds it in escrow. If no-one claims the prize, people get their money back; if someone manages to win, the people who put their money up got what they paid for.

Some projects on Kickstarter have managed to raise over $3 million. So, it's certainly plausible that a crowdfunded prize could be created which would be in the same league as the Ansari X Prize...

Though I think most prizes would be more akin to the Centennial Challenges. But perhaps one might be for a fully functional Mechanical Counter Pressure Spacesuit. Another for taking a crew of 5 to 20km altitude and sustaining them there for a week, with a bonus for demonstrating the transfer of crew during the week (the Powell C Prize?).

Yes, actually, that's a great idea. Maybe divide it into a development and a prize side. So teams might sign up to a competition that's running, and then go to the development side to get funding.


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Post Re: A low cost, all European, manned launcher.   Posted on: Fri Jan 17, 2014 6:02 pm
Indeed, crowdfunding prizes has already begun. But we really need one focused on space (and near-space). Things like spacesuits, small probes, life support etc.


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Post Re: A low cost, all European, manned launcher.   Posted on: Sat Jan 18, 2014 2:01 am
The prize system doesn't work unless the incentive (the prize) is significantly greater than the cost to develop and win it. The Ansari X-prize and Google Lunar prize aren't BTW.

Which takes you back to the question of resources (money). For something like this, you aren't going to be able to fund it with the lotto model (the prize money comes from entry fees). So you have to find someone willing to front the money, and significant amount of it if you want a real solution. Generally this has come from government mostly and corporations and private grants and angel investors a distant third.

The problem is then that in addition to added work and lost time & effort in trying to write/win competitive grants or prizes, you get the phenomenon of where individuals and companies become professional prize or grant writer/winners. Mastering the process of "winning" the paperwork or getting a contract supersedes the actual goal of the project.


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