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Orbital rockets cheaper/faster than Armadillo Aerospace

Posted by: James Bauer - Thu Oct 02, 2008 10:51 pm
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Orbital rockets cheaper/faster than Armadillo Aerospace 
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Post Orbital rockets cheaper/faster than Armadillo Aerospace   Posted on: Thu Oct 02, 2008 10:51 pm
This thread was started to voice opinions on ways to speed up the goal of reaching orbit. While Armadillo Aerospace has that eventual goal, we are currently working towards sub-orbital work first. Upon reaching sub-orbital, we will go to the next step.
There are several companies working towards orbital goals, such as SpaceX (Go Elon!) and others that are building and testing relatively cheap compared to NASA.
Though I feel that we (AA) build extremely cheap vehicles and propulsion systems by modern day standards, there is always a place for criticism and improvement.
I feel two companies are making significant progress when compared to us in the LLC. At least that have been open about their progress. Others are trying, but not showing much flying.
http://unreasonablerocket.blogspot.com/
http://www.truezer0.com/
Both have simple systems that potentially could win the LLC event, and might make for some real excitement at the event. I know that these are not orbital machines and could not be considered even close, but I feel their developmental direction and build cycle is relevant to how to build anything that could attain orbit.


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Post    Posted on: Fri Oct 03, 2008 8:35 am
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I'm not impressed JamesH. the tanks would leak and explode?? is that a natural law? Smile thou tanks shall sucketh and explodeth : ) it's impossible!

of course it's not impossible. it's trivial. and the reason amateurs haven't done it yet is because they are easily distracted. they lack the focus and the vision. I've seen too many put a small engine in a large rocket because it looks cool as opposed to actually doing it right. it's a mental challenge more than a technological one.


Impossible? Trivial? Dan, think about this - you have no experience in making these tanks. There are a lot of people out there who do. NASA employed some of the best in the world to make a composite tank for the X-39. It leaked. They spent a lot of time and money trying to make it work. They couldn't

I'm not saying its impossible. What I am saying is that your first, second, third...n effects WILL fail. Until you figure out a way of making a composite tank that doesn't leak. Cheaply.

It IS a technological challenge, NOT a mental one. You are completely WRONG in that statement. People DO want to make composite light weight tanks. They DO want to get in to orbit cheaply. But right now, the world (apart from you it seems) does not have the TECHNOLOGY to do it. If you think you do have the technology (in composites, engines etc), then you should patent it and make yourself billions. If you don't want the money, then tell someone on here how to do it, and they can make the money instead.

I think you need to understand that you cannot just ask someone, no matter how clever they are, to just come up with a technological solution to something. I'll give you an example from the chip industry. For many years die sizes of silicon chips have been reducing. We get a new size every 10 years or so. But, given that shrinking die size is such a good thing (faster cheaper and lower power chips), why didn't they just start with a a 35nm process, rather than starting big and over the last 60 years getting smaller and smaller. The answer is that the technology to do it has only just become good enough to do it. The idea has been there for years, but it has taken years for the technology to catch up with the ideas.

Here's another one - the transistor was theorised in the 1920's. It was first manufactured in 1947. Why??? Because although, mentally, the idea was there, the technology of the time was not able to manufacture it (amazingly, the production of silicon did not result in pure enough silicon. The invention of a better refining process is what kicked it off)

There are similar examples, throughout history of technology lagging behind ideas (Lasers, hard disk drives, computer memory, cars, planes, rockets!). That is just the way it it. Someone wants to do something, so the technology has to be developed to actually do it. That takes time and money.

Future example. I have an idea for a teleport system. Its brilliant, it would save the planet. I want someone to go out and make one right now. Er, what do you mean you can't make one. I've had the idea, now go and make it. What do you mean the technology isn't there to make it? But I've had the idea. It MUST work. Do it RIGHT now. I don't care that the cleverest people in the world can't make one - it my idea and I want it done now....

Dan, really have a think about what you are asking here. Apply want has been written above. None of your ideas from above in any way would help anyone make spaceflight cheaper or even possible.


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Post    Posted on: Fri Oct 03, 2008 10:58 am
well they seem like decent efforts but orbit is far from their minds.

is there a website anywhere comparing pros and cons of the typical fuels?


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Post    Posted on: Fri Oct 03, 2008 11:07 am
JamesH, of course the technology is here and it has nothing to do with wafer fab. wafer fab is high tech, rocketry is for monkeys. that's why amateurs do it and no amateur makes chips. you are just so hopelessly stuck in status quo that you even defend it violently.
of course I'm right. John could be in orbit in a month if he dropped everything else and put his mind to it. (and no that doesn't mean his body in orbit)


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Post    Posted on: Fri Oct 03, 2008 11:44 am
The wafer fab example was purely that - an example on how technology is required to implement ideas. By definition, the idea has to come first, and the technology catches up with the ideas. Yes, wafer fab is high tech, but, and this is where you are wrong, so is advanced rocketry. Note that I say advanced. Anyone can make a small rocket (within reason). Almost nobody can make a big rocket (sub or orbital) without large amounts of time and money, which is why its only ever been done by governments and very rich individuals. If its as easy as you say, WHY HASN'T ANYONE DONE IT BEFORE. You would argue they have the wrong attitude, I would argue that they have exactly the right attitude. They want to get in to space as cheaply as possible. But it just isn't possible, whatever you mental attitude.

You are not willing to accept what it evidently the truth. I'm not defending industry, I am stating how it works, and has worked for many years. Its not perfect, and its does evolve. But the sort of change you seem to think is possible, simply IS NOT POSSIBLE.

It's all very well you answering with YES IT IS. But you have not given any clue how you think it could be done. The stuff you posted earlier would never work, otherwise someone would already have done it, and it will probably kill you before you made it 5 inches off the ground.

And as for the comment JC could be in orbit within a month. Absolute rubbish, for any number of reasons, which I won't go in to, they have already been posted many times.

I really don't understand why you could possibly think you are right on this. You are not. Sorry to disappoint you. You are wrong. Its a real shame there is no cheap quick access to space, but at the currently technology level it just isn't possible.

I have come to the conclusion that you are in fact deficient in the reasoning skills to understand the problems involved. Anyone who says 'of course I am right' in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, is not firing on all cylinders.


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Post    Posted on: Fri Oct 03, 2008 12:00 pm
Dan, ask yourself this question: if (orbital) rocketry is so easy, why aren't terrorist groups shooting rockets all over the world. there are some bright minds among those people and have much more resources than armadillo has!!


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Post    Posted on: Fri Oct 03, 2008 12:42 pm
Dan Frederiksen wrote:
JamesH, of course the technology is here and it has nothing to do with wafer fab. wafer fab is high tech, rocketry is for monkeys. that's why amateurs do it and no amateur makes chips. you are just so hopelessly stuck in status quo that you even defend it violently.
of course I'm right. John could be in orbit in a month if he dropped everything else and put his mind to it. (and no that doesn't mean his body in orbit)


You're a real gem kid, never give up.


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Post    Posted on: Fri Oct 03, 2008 12:45 pm
Dan Frederiksen wrote:
JamesH, of course the technology is here and it has nothing to do with wafer fab. wafer fab is high tech, rocketry is for monkeys. that's why amateurs do it and no amateur makes chips.


hahaha :D
That comment certainly has made my day a lot better 8)

Just to adjust your naive view of the involved technologies:

Wafer fab IS high tech, but so IS "real" (or lets call it advanced) rocketry!

Oh and of course amateurs are making "chips" in the sense of they are making some sort of electronic logic out of off the shelve transistors, resistors, wires, etc. Those are certainly not microchips (especially not "micro") but they are simple electronic devices.

They are related to "real" microchips in exactly the same way as amateur rocketry is related to "real" rocketry. Superficially both do the same but if you would allow yourself to take a closer look you would discover that regarding the involved technologies they have very little in common.

If access to space was as easy as you propose it is than an awful lot of people/organisations/nations would have already used space to their benefits.

What you lack to realize is, that there are more people who would like to exploit the possibilities of space, than there are people who benefit from the status quo. With that in mind your claimed worldwide conspiracy against new, cheap, affordable space access just explodes like a soap bubble.

If you honestly think, that NASA is disgracing themselves internationally with the presumably 5 year gap between shuttle and orion intentionally just to hide the fact that space access is actually childs play from the public, then I'm sorry but I have to call you a fool.


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Post    Posted on: Fri Oct 03, 2008 2:14 pm
Good Lord, I actually agree with our village idiot on something. :(

Yes John and Armadillo could possibly make orbit in a month if he dropped everything else and put his mind to it.

That is all I agree with our village idiot in.

The problem with doing so would be that it would not accomplish anything worthwhile for Armadillo at this time.

John himself stated (lets see if I remember all of this correctly) that for roughly a million dollars per attempt they could pull a hail Mary shot using a 3 stage Mod setup with 16/4/1 mods on the staging. I'm pretty sure he said he would expect at least three failures before getting to orbit. I think it's been said that the most they'd put into orbit would be something along the lines of sputnik.

So say they actually do it. Congratulations they've now got a beeping transmitter in orbit that probably cost them four million dollars, if not more. Armadillo would then almost be just like every other small aerospace company trying to get into space, deep in the red and probably on the edge of collapse while in serious financial trouble but hey they've got a beeping ball circling the planet. All in all a pointless act.

Now going with John's plan to reach orbit (again if I remember correctly), build up a solid sub-orbital revenue stream while increasing capabilities until they get to the point where each attempt to get to orbit not only has a much greater chance of succeeding but only costs an estimated $100,000. So for the price of waiting a few years Armadillo would be able to make 40 shots in an attempt to make orbit for the same costs of going with the village idiot plan to make 4 attempts.

So lets see do it NOW, spend a lot of the companies money (rather John's money) and risk destroying the company or do it later while building the company, capabilities and finances while lowering costs.

[sarcasm]Yeah NOW makes perfect sense. [/sarcasm] :roll:


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Post    Posted on: Fri Oct 03, 2008 2:30 pm
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coupled with GPS positioning and flight data I think that might be enough data to ensure a reasonably accurate orbit over the 7-8 minute flight. who cares if it's perfectly round. that's norad's problem


This is one of my favorite parts because it demonstrates a complete lack of basic orbital mechanics.

1) A 7-8 minute flight will never be an "orbital" flight. A commonly accepted definition of the beginning of LEO is 150km altitude. At that altitude the orbital period is 87 minutes. So, to be "in orbit" that implies you make at least ONE orbit, which would therefore take at least 87 minutes.
2) No orbit is perfectly round. The space environment tends to prevent this as well as the curvature of the earth.
3) NORAD might track your satellite, but your satellite's orbit (whether circular or elliptical) is very much YOUR problem. A degree of control over your satellite is necessary to even be allowed to launch one, specially one that intends to re-enter within an orbit or two.
4) If GPS and onboard systems are used for a "reasonably accurate" orbit, why would you be so easy to dismiss the degree of error within your circular orbit?
5) "reasonably accurate" is not an accepted term in Systems Engineering as "reasonably" is not measurable.


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Post    Posted on: Fri Oct 03, 2008 3:37 pm
I'll answer yours first pudman. I'll get back to the others later. the 7-8 minutes flight is to attain orbit. you know the part where guidance is critical... the rest is more stable. I know a typical LEO is 1½hour.
and to be technical you can actually be in orbit without having completed an orbit.

I hope that sooner rather than later it will dawn on many here that I understand the situation rather well. you were certainly wrong pudman


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Post    Posted on: Fri Oct 03, 2008 3:51 pm
just a procedural point that "high tech" technically refers to anything with an integrated circuit inside of it. nowadays, this is just about everything, especially "low tech" rockets (well except ones that are V2 style purely ballistic, and hence useless). also counting would be anything DESIGNED with ICs, which really is everything since you use computers to model just about everything involved in a rocket. so both the so-called non-advanced rockets, and the advanced rockets are in fact "high tech".

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Post    Posted on: Fri Oct 03, 2008 4:06 pm
TJ wrote:
Good Lord, I actually agree with our village idiot on something. :(

Yes John and Armadillo could possibly make orbit in a month if he dropped everything else and put his mind to it.

I disagree for a couple of reasons. First is regulatory. There's no way we'd get an orbital launch permit and time on an approved range within a month. So that means we'd have to do it illegally, which means in addition to fines and/or jail time, we'd probably never be able to get a launch license in the future. A lot of good that would do.

I've seen it suggested just to go over the border into Mexico. Well, that would work only if we're willing to renounce U.S. citizensip, not to mention whether or not the Mexican equivalent of the FAA would have something to say about our activities. You see, as long as you're a U.S. citizen, FAA-AST has juridiction over anything you intend to put into space, regardless of where on Earth you intend to launch from.

But let's take the regulatory issue off the table for the sake of argument. There's still the problem of actually building 17 more modules (we already have 4, more or less) in less than a month to be ready for the "Hail Mary" at the end of the month. We couldn't do that with the team we have now.

OK, so hire some more. But putting out job notices, reviewing résumés, interviewing, then training new hires to help build the remaining modules all within a month? Not going to happen.

The idea that Armadillo could get an orbital attempt off in a relatively short time is not implausible, it just wouldn't be within a month. But the idea that it would just go right the first time and our attempt would succeed is pretty unlikely. Just ask Elon. But you're right, TJ; we have a methodical development path that we hope will get us to orbit, and keep us solvent in the process.


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Post    Posted on: Fri Oct 03, 2008 5:28 pm
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you were certainly wrong pudman


Certainly? You said "ensure a reasonably accurate orbit over the 7-8 minute flight". Now you're saying that flight was "to orbit". I guess I should have known what you meant rather than what you said.

I also disagree that one can be "in orbit" and not complete an orbit. A trajectory that does not complete an orbit is a ballistic trajectory, not an orbital trajectory. That is the reason why when a spacecraft is in the has completed the its final orbit and is re-entering the atmosphere it becomes a ballistic trajectory (and not an orbital one).

I am happy to argue semantics and terminology with you because, in space, precision matters. For instance, I'm glad you know that "a typical LEO orbit is 1.5 hours". Unfortunately, there are only a few circular LEO orbits that are 1.5 hours: The ones between 277km and 326km altitude. The definition of LEO implies altitudes between 150km and around 800km (depending on how far into the Van Allen Belt you intend to fly). Therefore your 1.5 orbital period only constitutes approximately 7.5% of LEO. Hardly what I'd call "typical".

I'm sure you meant approximately 1.5 hours, but you didn't say it.

It is entertaining to listen to you be so confident with your ignorance, however. :roll: [/i]


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Post    Posted on: Fri Oct 03, 2008 5:38 pm
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So that means we'd have to do it illegally, which means in addition to fines and/or jail time, we'd probably never be able to get a launch license in the future.


Not to mention the war you risk starting because someone's early warning satellite picks up an unscheduled launch.


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