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Using Vega as a launcher for manned craft

Posted by: Andy Hill - Wed Dec 07, 2005 12:27 am
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Using Vega as a launcher for manned craft 
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Post    Posted on: Wed Dec 07, 2005 10:05 pm
As far as I remember it was written in several reports about the Galileo treaty that the French aren't happy with some other things at ESA besides the Galileo thing. I'll try to find the article.


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Post    Posted on: Wed Dec 07, 2005 10:42 pm
The first things I found (I'll continue my search tomorrow):

Quote:
France had decided to withdraw its 30 percent share in the program, arguing that Vega rockets would not be competitive with other small rockets already in production -- like Russia's Rockot.

http://www.space.com/businesstechnology ... 00329.html
You won't even find a remark at the CNES homepage to Vega, for them the launcher is nearly non-existant.
On that page you'll find e.g. program descriptions for Ariane 5 like: Ariane 5, Participants: France, ESA :wink:

Then, Starsem (the Soyuz launch company) was a company founded by France and Russia. Later on (with the EADS merger) other countries from ESA and ESA itself got involved.

What I know from my own experience is that the French always considered the Ariane 4 rocket as "their own" rocket. They were also unhappy with the Italian LOX turbopump in Ariane 5 during the development, because it was unreliable and failed many times (I saw that myself at the test stand, there even were running gags if the turbopump will hold *g*), the French even said crap. They wanted to build it themselves but as ESA always splits the contracts to every participating country independent from quality.

And France and Russia already cooperate:
http://www.cnes.fr/html/_455_465_3269_.php
Quote:
CNES President Yannick d’Escatha and Head of Roskosmos Anatoly Perminov today signed an agreement on future launch vehicles and human spaceflights.
The OURAL programme, initiated by France but ultimately intended as a European endeavour, plans to design and build technology demonstrators for the development of a future launch vehicle in partnership with Russia.

So if ESA continues to be so static I'm sure they will accelerate their own efforts in cooperation with Russia.


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Post    Posted on: Fri Dec 09, 2005 8:03 pm
I seem to remember "OREL" boosters over at www.astronautix.com
Is it spelled differently or is this an all new program?

How receptive would France be to an Ariane 6/Ariane M?

I am hoping that Europe would field a 100 ton-to LEO Heavy-Lifter.

Eurospace Design
http://www.esa.int/SPECIALS/CDF/index.html


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Post    Posted on: Mon Dec 12, 2005 7:38 pm
publiusr wrote:
I am hoping that Europe would field a 100 ton-to LEO Heavy-Lifter.

Eurospace Design
http://www.esa.int/SPECIALS/CDF/index.html


Not going to happen, apart from the fact that ESA has no requirement for such a large launch vehicle it would probably buy a single launch from NASA if it ever did have that requirement.

Back on Topic:

I wonder if the Italians might be persuaded to build a small manned orbital craft for Vega?

I think using the "Spam in a Can" approach to a Vega manned craft would be worth investigating since crew would only be in it for a few hours on their way to the ISS. This is not a tourist flight after all, a no thrills lob it up there as cheaply as possible is what is needed not an over complicated do everything vehicle that costs a packet and is abandoned before its flown.

I think the aim should be to produce something that flies rather than pushing the technology boundary while redistributing money to European aerospace companies for the sake of it. Dont get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with doing research on spacecraft it just needs to lead somewhere rather than another cancelled project.

No space agency today flies a manned craft built with modern technology, with the possible exception of China (although I guess that Shenzhou is probably based on Soyuz), its time we moved on and Europe built something of its own. Sorry for the rant.

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Post    Posted on: Sat Jan 07, 2006 11:31 am
I've had a poke around on ESA's site and found out a bit more about ARD contained towards the end of this old ESA document;

http://www.esa.int/esapub/achievements/Sc72s6.pdf

ARD's weight is given as 2,716kg but it seems to be pretty well packed with instrumentation from the pictures so if it was converted to a manned craft I would have expected this to be reduced.

The article says that it was a 70% model of the Apollo capsule with a diameter of 2.8m and a height of 2.04m which should be big enough to accomodate a crew of 2. From a size point of view this is quite a good match for Vega which is quoted as being 3m in diameter with a height of 30m.

One thing that was a bit worrying was that once it had splashed down it was allowed to sit in the water for 6 hours so the interiorior could cool down.

Seems a pity that ESA never continued with this program.

Here is some more info on Vega, the brochure quotes payloads upto 2,500kg although I guess this would be into a lower than the ISS:

http://esamultimedia.esa.int/docs/VEGA.pdf

Something else to consider is the ISS's orbit, although this is normally quoted as being 400km, over the last few years it has probably been more like 350km which would increase the amount Vega could carry to it.

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Post    Posted on: Fri Jan 13, 2006 9:43 pm
I believe they recently completed some engine tests.


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Post    Posted on: Fri Jan 13, 2006 10:44 pm
They fired the upper stage engine, here's an ESA article on it and video clip:

http://www.esa.int/SPECIALS/Launchers_H ... 9HE_0.html

The Zefiro 9 engine will be used on the third stage of the launcher.

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Post    Posted on: Sun Sep 10, 2006 12:54 am
This is the launcher they really need for a Mars trip

more here
http://www.esa.int/esa-mmg/mmg.pl?b=b&m ... =y&start=8
Europe on the Moon with the ArianeX
http://www.gaetanomarano.it/articles/007arianeX.html
Ariane M Ariane Mars
http://esamultimedia.esa.int/images/aur ... rbit_H.jpg


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Post    Posted on: Fri Oct 06, 2006 10:01 pm
I agree. It would actually be cheaper to build a big hollow HLLV than to spend lots of money on fly-back headaches


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Post    Posted on: Sun Oct 29, 2006 12:21 pm
Thinking a little more about the high acceleration of Vega, what about creating a heavier second stage that could but a bigger payload into an ISS orbit?

The extra weight would reduce the accelleration and more fuel or boosters in the second stage (not sure anyone has ever launched a rocket with SRB strap ons fitted to a second stage) would allow a longer burn. I'm thinking of igniting the boosters once the main engine has finished. Vega being based on solids should be sturdy enough to take the stresses.

At only $18m a flight it looks pretty attractive financially, ESA are probably paying the Russians more than that everytime they send one of their astronauts to the ISS.

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Post    Posted on: Thu Nov 02, 2006 10:34 pm
They would face the same problems as Ares I is having--as discussed on nasaspaceflight--only the smaller size makes for worse problems.

People need to be broken of this love of "smaller, faster" LVs.


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Post    Posted on: Thu Nov 02, 2006 11:23 pm
publiusr wrote:
People need to be broken of this love of "smaller, faster" LVs.


While I might agree big is beatiful, in the absence of anything resembling an indiginous European manned space vehicle I'll take whatever I can get. I would like to see ESA become less depedant on the US and Russia for putting its astronauts into space and after the debarcle of Hermes I think they need to be edged back into producing a craft of their own.

Trying to achieve something using Vega could lead on to better and bigger things with Arianne later but the important thing is to be doing something that is not going to swallow the whole budget and be cancelled before it flies. I dont think ESA will pay for a series of Arianne launches to develop a manned vehicle but they can get half a dozen Vega launches for the price of a single Arianne which would constitute a real flight program to test something.

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Post    Posted on: Fri Nov 03, 2006 8:07 am
Hello, Andy Hill,

I am not sure if ESA really needs a vehicle they developed of their own or with the Russians. They are interested to get european companies working at the ISS and to lease Columbus to them. And they are thinking about assisting space tourism.

This means that a simple taxi to the ISS would be interesting for them. I think I should have a look for further informations regarding their thoughts about assisting space tourism later.



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Post    Posted on: Fri Nov 03, 2006 9:02 am
Ekkehard Augustin wrote:
I am not sure if ESA really needs a vehicle they developed of their own or with the Russians. They are interested to get european companies working at the ISS and to lease Columbus to them. And they are thinking about assisting space tourism.


I think that ESA should ultimately be independant of either the US or Russians IMO. Such independance is not only good for ESA but also for the other partners working on the ISS or any future space projects requiring manned space flight, as a loss of any one craft is less likely to result in the program being stalled like it was with the ISS. Where more and more countries are getting involved in space it should indicate that if ESA wish to be main player in the future the need to have independant access for manned flight (they took this view when they created Arianne for unmanned space flight, I see no reason why the same reasoning does not aplly for manned). Why they would not want to work with European companies to produce a suitable vehicle is beyond me.

Ekkehard Augustin wrote:
This means that a simple taxi to the ISS would be interesting for them. I think I should have a look for further informations regarding their thoughts about assisting space tourism later.


Initially that is what ESA should aim at but if they are serious about their Aurora program and sending astonauts to Mars then they need to get something sorted out for beyond LEO. No reason why they cant start out by sponsoring companies to produce sub-orbital craft which can later evolve into orbital taxis to the ISS.

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Post    Posted on: Fri Nov 03, 2006 12:18 pm
Hello, Andy Hill,

I did a first search and found the following:

Quote:
This study is set to provide interesting inputs to ESA's technology programmes, while at the same time establish links between ESA and the space tourism industry.


This is said in "ESA to help Europe prepare for space tourism" ( www.esa.int/esaCP/SEMNYIBUQPE_Life_0.html ).

There is also the document "Questions and Answers for GSP Space Tourism" ( www.esa.int/SPECIALS/GSP/SEMC6RBUQPE_0.html ) that explicitly clarifies that ESA will work with companies only - not with individuals.

Of course more needs to be found.



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