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Delta IV Heavy suitability as a booster for a manned craft

Posted by: Andy Hill - Mon Dec 13, 2004 8:56 am
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Delta IV Heavy suitability as a booster for a manned craft 
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Post    Posted on: Fri Dec 24, 2004 9:56 am
j96 wrote:
However, government funded aerospace is in no way confined to the US - look at EADS and Arianespace, and Airbus, and .... you get the picture.


You're right, these companies need competition. While I agree that government support is needed for establishing a business so that it doesnt get squashed by big companies, the likes of Boeing, Lockheed and Arianespace hardly qualify in this respect.

If they wish to continue to compete in the market they should be made to take some of the risks themselves. They would have to make technichal breakthroughs just to keep ahead of the competition, governments with big wallets are actually taking away the drive to make big improvements in rocketry.

SpaceX has already made more progress in rocket design in the last year than all the big players because they have no choice if they want to compete. Would the US government awarding Arianespace a big contact to launch something or Europe doing the same with Lockheed or Boeing create a message that their markets are not protected anymore. I dont think SpaceX is big enough yet to worry Boeing or Lockheed but in a couple of years they could be in a position to take on large enough contracts to make the big companies do something.

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Post    Posted on: Mon Dec 27, 2004 10:41 pm
After a bit more investigation I came up with a few prices for launch vehicles. The figures come from www.astronautix.com

Rocket..................Payload to LEO.......... Cost

Atlas V 551...........20,050kg...................$170M
Ariane 5G..............16,000kg...................$180M
Delta IV Large.......25,800kg...................$170M
Titan 4B.................21,680kg...................$432M
Titan 4...................17,700kg...................$400M

Delta IV Heavy is not as bad when compared to the above and I can understand why they retired Titan but all to expensive, where do these incredible costs come from?

This is ludicrous I thought that NASA would make huge savings on CEV launches but I dont think that is going to be the case, once you add all the additional costs from having a man-rated launcher that the manufacturer is likely to pile on. This is unbelievable.

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Post    Posted on: Tue Dec 28, 2004 7:42 am
There is one additional aspect. The customers of Boeing etc. and the launchers allways want very huge satellites to be launched. So the question iswether satelites today really still must be that huge and heavy payloads.

Aren't there technologies enabling constructors to develop smaller satellites providing identical services and purposes? Cant be developed such technologies if they don't exist allready? Nanotechnology-approaches and something else more?

Or are the constructors just used to construct huge heavy satellites and don't feel forced to do that because voluminous boosters providing strong thrust are available?

The constructors and producers of satellites often are as huge and powerful as Boeing etc. and can pay easyly high prices for launches.

What about this? Even under technical and technological aspects?



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Post    Posted on: Tue Dec 28, 2004 10:40 am
One reason the payloads are becoming heavier is that launchers like Arianne offer a multi-launch system where more than one satelitte can be deployed from a single launch, making the cost cheaper to each customer.

Another reason is that while electronics is becoming smaller, the telecommunications satellites are performing more and more tasks making their power requirements higher. Power management and energy creation technologies have not kept pace with miniturisation and hence the overall weight has increased. Added to this that the design life of satelittes is longer and that they need to carry additional fuel to keep position.

My basic problem is I cant see why it is so expensive, the majority of the rocket is fuel or fuel tanks and only the engines and avionics would cost any significant money (maybe a few million dollars). Given that most of the development has been paid for by governments and the range costs are no more than a couple of million dollars, how do prices come out at $100M plus per launch?

All the above is beside the point though, the launch systems still need to be much cheaper to be used in any numbers to support manned spacecraft. All of the above would be more expensive per head than using an existing Soyuz launch, even if the number of crew in the craft were three times that of the current Soyuz.

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Post    Posted on: Fri Jan 28, 2005 1:06 pm
It seems likely that NASA itself dosn't know what to do about a heavy lift vehicle for its CEV or Lunar base yet. Althogh Boeing's Delta is still in the running, have a look at this article they appear to be discussing similar alternatives to what was said in this thread.

http://www.al.com/news/huntsvilletimes/ ... 249010.xml

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Post    Posted on: Fri Jan 28, 2005 2:11 pm
NASA's playing around with these three options is looking strange to me - and to do that combinations with the CEV-projects planned by the private industrie the more.

1. They have a working vehicle which means they have a technology they could base something on. They know the problems to be solved and removed, they know they points to be improved and enhanced and they have experiences in using it.

2. Most of the firms at least that have worked out plans and concepts of a CEV seem to have included their own ideas of new launch vehicles.

3. The goal to install a permanent manned station at the moon means that there will have be permanent repeted flights to the moon by a time table. That's pointing to reusability - but not reusability like the Shuttle or SpaceShipOne but a reusability of another kind I already metioned and proposed at the board months earlier: a vehicle that never will land on Earth but stay in orbit or fly to the moon. This is a thought similar to the option to put together a vehicle in orbit by launching its parts by a cargo version of the Shuttle hardware

4. In March SpaceX will launch a military satellite to orbit by the Falcon I. And the launch costs of the Falcon I is less than those of other vehicles. This will be valid for the Falcon V too. So they could order SpaceX to launch the parts of the vehicle mentioned under 3. If the military use the Falcon why then NASA can't do?

To me that looks like caused by bureaucrats and their egoism.



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Post    Posted on: Fri Jan 28, 2005 6:56 pm
I'm surprised that after a year of thinking about this and knowing roughly what is required for a launch vehicle there is not a clearer idea of which launch vehicle they should persue or even how big the heavy booster needs to be.

What have they been doing? Seems like they've wasted best part of a year already, I cant see a fly off between rival CEVs happening in 2008 at this rate.

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Post    Posted on: Sat Jan 29, 2005 1:05 pm
Really.

In principle the way to do it should be clear:

1. The financial constraints are known which means that a Saturn V-like vehicle isn't possible - as the article is quoting some experts.So why do they think about it? It's wasting time and financial ressources. May be a rvalry between teams or departments or a rivalry for power.

2. The technology of the Shuttle's hardware is the lower constraint because this technology doesn't require any development of itself - it does require improving or modifying developments only. May be that this can turn into the opposite when going into details but somewhere has to be the starting point to begin at

3. The Shuttle hardwares External Expendable Tank and two reusable solid propellant launchers are components of modular kind - they should be integratable to other vehicles too. So it should be clear that they should be used.

...



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Last edited by Ekkehard Augustin on Mon Feb 07, 2005 12:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.



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Post    Posted on: Sat Jan 29, 2005 2:26 pm
This is the approach I have advocated earlier in this thread of using shuttle components to lift heavy payloads and a smaller launch vehicle purely for a manned craft. It is cheaper and probably quicker. Work on using solid boosters and an external fuel tank fitted with SSMEs for a heavy lift vehicle should start immeadiately if the money spent on improving the shuttle getting it back to flight is not to be wasted. There are probably enough spare components available that the 1st stage could be fabricated within a year.

They also appear to be waking up to some of the concerns regarding the workforce and keeping the skill base once the shuttle winds down.

http://www.floridatoday.com/!NEWSROOM/s ... SASAFE.htm

I cant understand why NASA is not persuing this more rigorously, they even have a number of designs that they have test data for (wind tunnel on models ect).

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Post    Posted on: Sun Jan 30, 2005 4:09 pm
The causes will be the following I suppose:

1. They are a bureaucracy - not an enterprise.
2. As Rutan has been reported to have said: They need another Wernherr von Braun.
3. They don't have sufficient perception of their plans by the general public - except their unmanned missions to Mars.
4. They lost their drive and enthusiasm.
5. They require too much money and financial ressources compared to private entrepreneurs.
6. They don't have a vision capturing the general public.
7. The country and the governemnt do have too much "problems"
8. They don't know the right way to communicate to the general public.
9. Egoisms of pressure groups competing and rivalizing with them.
10. Lack of something like the Cold War.
11. Technologies today are no longer fascinating but normal - as a consequence of the PC and the Internet...



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Post    Posted on: Sun Jan 30, 2005 5:02 pm
Obviously the much talked about changes Sean O'Keefe has supposedly implemented throuout NASA are not far reaching enough and much more needs to be done.

With regard to your list Ekkehard I think that there is a few things to consider:

2. Although they dont have a Wernherr von Braun, I think that the bigger problem is that they do have a lot of people who have been appointed for political reasons rather than because they have a genuine interest in space. What is needed are engineers who want to do something rather than accountants who wish to save money.

3. I think most people have been impressed by the Mars rovers and interested in what they have accomplished. But after the initial pictures and the first few weeks of operation interest dwindled, the trouble IMO is that they dont do very much. Moving 10m and examining a rock for 2 days does not captivate the public. Maybe they should get Stephen Spielberg in to help inject a bit of drama. Video footage of the rover moving across the surface would be good.

6. I think the task they have been given would engage the American People if NASA had the ability to include them and make them feel part of it. I thought one of the ideas they had in doing this was just what was required:- they asked for suggestions from the general public (this has now stopped).

8. I think they have trouble in communicating to anyone and an air of we're NASA we know best still prevails.

11. I think the film industry has played a part in this as well, making everyones expectations higher than the reality will deliver. To some extent they compond this themselves by showing the public animations that are much better than what is produced in the mission.

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Post    Posted on: Mon Feb 07, 2005 11:41 am
The use of Delta IV as a heavy lift vehicle is still in question.

http://www.spacedaily.com/news/oped-05za.html

The author makes the point that to produce a shuttle derived Heavy lift launch vehicle would cost $2-3Bn (how accurate this is appears to be a bit vague), this would give a capability of 100 ton compared to the 20 ton of the current Delta IV heavy.

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Post    Posted on: Mon Feb 07, 2005 12:26 pm
I can't remember wether they have considered it this way but the Delta4Heavy as well as the Shuttle can launch components of a huge vehicle to the orbit where they can be put together.

If they would use the existing hardware this way they could complete a new vehicle simultaneously to getting it to the orbit. The Delta4Heavy and/or the Shuttle next could get the crew to that vehicle - a special vehicle will be required if the Delta4Heavy would be choosed. At moon a special vehicle will be required too for landing (perhaps) and this could count for the Delta4Heavy.

Then the vehicle completed in orbit and equipped by a surface-to-orbit carrier could launch out of orbit for the moon. The special vehicle can land at the moon and launch from the moon without a booster (no Delta4Heavy required).

Back in Earth's orbit the special vehicle could land with the crew.

A concept reminding to t/Space. At this point of my own thoughts I again wonder why they are working and thinking on all this themselves while there is going on the competition of the CEV-concepts of several companies and consortiums. will that end up with all the competitors' work going into the paper basket?



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Post    Posted on: Mon Mar 07, 2005 12:18 pm
It seems that the US is still considering its options with regard to a heavy lift vehicle or a launcher for its CEV. Here's an article that discusses the possibility of using a shuttle SRB in conjunction with an upper stage to launch CEV.

http://www.thespacereview.com/article/226/1

and here is a couple of articles that seem to be saying that Atlas 5 or Shuttle derived launcher may be a better bet for a heavy lift vehicle compared to a Delta IV and even talk about the US using Zenit and Angara boosters

http://www.thespacereview.com/article/335/1
http://www.spacedaily.com/news/rocketscience-05h.html

I begin to wonder when a decision is likely to be made.

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Post    Posted on: Mon Mar 07, 2005 12:30 pm
What about the chance that there will be a decision never because people like Elon Musk get into the lead until 2010 or 2015? SpaceX next vehicle after a likely successful Falcon I-launch will be the Falcon V. If Falcon V is successful too - may there be a Falcon IX or a Falcon XIII then? SpaceX will compete for the ASP - so they wil develop a manned vehicle.

May NASA be talking politically to hide theire possible waiting for SpaceX's developments?



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