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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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Launch Director
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Post Thank you!   Posted on: Fri Oct 03, 2008 6:27 pm
Thank you thank you thank you.

I was bored with the space fellowship. But now, every day I can't wait to read the Armadillo thread cuz it is AWESOME!!!

dan - you are my favorite troll!

james & james et al - keep on hammerin!

I have a reason to love space again!

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Post    Posted on: Fri Oct 03, 2008 6:36 pm
James Bauer wrote "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/
"

I have just posted Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge 2008 Teams

There is a great ap on the xprize site which will match the teams against eachother. Follow this link to try it!

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Post    Posted on: Fri Oct 03, 2008 7:09 pm
Matthew and John, is it really your serious opinion to just use 21 of your globe modules? don't you think that would be aerodynamically and control wise ridiculous? maybe use 1 as the upper stage if that pans out with the mass but it's probably too heavy. you really really need to design engines for that specific design. you can't take modularity beyond reason.

and if you have to wait a bit more than the month for flight permits then that's ok too. it was of course a rhetorical time frame. but for the sake of argument, get a mexican to push the botton and say he did it :)

and I don't expect it to be perfect on the first run. I said try until it works. something so extrapolant is likely to have bugs. it's a shot in the dark. so to speak :) but it's a victory even if it takes 3 tries to succeed. or 5. and I think you can do it in 3. within your normal annual budget.
weight wise it's probably not that different from your current vehicles. think about that.
what do you have to lose by at least doing the math on how big the rocket needs to be with a fuel you're comfortable with? the conclusion might whet your appetite greatly. I'm pretty sure all these fans here would wet their panties if you had a video satellite in orbit. and as a matter of fact it doesn't take all that great optics for it to be worthy of the title spy satellite. let's say a 12" meade telescope might have half way decent resolution from 250km (maybe around 1meter resolution). NSA, CIA and NRO would just loooove if you did that :) they would have to add it to a list of eyes in the sky and cease activity whenever it passed overhead.
heck, someone like google might like the notion so much they would pay for it all and then some. them boys seem to have some of the right anti establishment mentality. and I imagine quite a few universities would be interested in having a light space telescope pointing the other way, free of atmospheric distortion. a telescope is one of these interesting devices that can be made very very light for space use. imagine building a 10kg telescope fitting inside a 20inch diameter unfolding to a full mirror 1 meter across.


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Post    Posted on: Fri Oct 03, 2008 7:38 pm
Dan Frederiksen wrote:
Matthew and John, is it really your serious opinion to just use 21 of your globe modules? don't you think that would be aerodynamically and control wise ridiculous?

That could very well prove to be the case. John has pointed out that the plan would be to accelerate relatively slowly through the thickest part of the atmosphere to reduce the drag issue, then really punch it up higher. But without doing some high-speed (and therefore higher altitude) testing with a Mod, we really won't know. That's what we hope to be doing next.

John has also talked about only using a four or six module booster with a higher performance upper stage running on self-pressurizing LOX/LCH4. But more work with the LOX/LCH4 engines would be required to figure out how viable that might be.

Dan Frederiksen wrote:
but it's a victory even if it takes 3 tries to succeed. or 5. and I think you can do it in 3. within your normal annual budget.

Well, if we did indeed attempt orbit with a 21-module rocket, that's probably over $1 million just in the rocket itself. Literally tossing away $3 million dollars (and again, that's not even including propellant and operational costs) for 3 attempts is NOT currently within our annual budget. That's a large part of why we're trying to win the Lunar Lander Challenge, doing the Rocket Racing League work, and will be pursuing sub-orbital before orbital -- this money has to come from somewhere (and John's computer game money is not infinite).

Dan Frederiksen wrote:
I'm pretty sure all these fans here would wet their panties if you had a video satellite in orbit. [snip] NSA, CIA and NRO would just loooove if you did that :) they would have to add it to a list of eyes in the sky and cease activity whenever it passed overhead.

That's if we can get a license to do that, and that license is probably pretty restrictive about what can be imaged: "the Land Remote Sensing Policy Act of 1992 and its implementing regulations require any person subject to the jurisdiction or control of the United States who operates or proposes to operate a private remote sensing space system that images the Earth, and/or establishes substantial connections with the United States regarding the operation of such a system to obtain a license from NOAA."


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Post    Posted on: Fri Oct 03, 2008 9:59 pm
That people in Armadillo Aerospace would waste time responding to Dan's inane mumblings makes me embarrassed for humanity. Or maybe they need the occasional humorous side track?

And Google already has their own satellite as of last month http://www.techradar.com/news/world-of- ... hed-463494

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Post    Posted on: Sat Oct 04, 2008 12:12 am
Matthew, sure but that's probably possible. space imaging has a license for 1meter res but last I heard that's as small as is allowed. they would like 0.5 but that was not allowed according to space imaging a couple of years ago.

as for the 21 module thing, don't do that. that aint right dude. you know it aint :)
slow ascent is killer on the fuel. you want to dance with gravity as briefly as possible. within reason. not to mention if it actually costs you a million to make them.. that aint right. russia, china, nasa and esa for that matter, they are all douches, but they are onto something with the cylindrical rocket shape. I think you know that :) 1 engine per stage. 1 or 2 tanks per stage. spacex did it with only 2 stages. if that computes that's another way to cut complexity. 21 is not the way to go.


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Post    Posted on: Sat Oct 04, 2008 12:17 am
Peple criticizing,
They did their simulation/calculations and come up with 6 pack for sub-orbital, they cant realy be sure about orbital without sub-orbital or more data, they just can speculate. We all are flooding them with our questions and they spend their time devoted for developing to answer us. Be at least somewhat greatful to them for sharing information/news.

I'm, just happy that Armadillo isnt like BlueOrigin.


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Post    Posted on: Sat Oct 04, 2008 2:26 am
Oh for crying out loud. Dan if you are so smart and it is so easy why don't you build this and be done with it. Show us how it is done.

From what I have gathered from the past few days of posts you have no respect for spending other peoples money so put up or shut up. It is very obvious from your posts that you have no idea as to how to run a business and to keep it profitible (or even at a break even point), I also seriously question your engineering knowledge. To me you seem to know more of the "key words and tricky phrases" part of engineering and very little theory to practice knowledge. Try true research for a while and see how long that takes to make into a practical functional safe concept that the lawyers and the government officials are ok with.


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Post    Posted on: Sat Oct 04, 2008 2:37 am
Dan Frederiksen wrote:
Matthew, sure but that's probably possible. space imaging has a license for 1meter res but last I heard that's as small as is allowed. they would like 0.5 but that was not allowed according to space imaging a couple of years ago.

as for the 21 module thing, don't do that. that aint right dude. you know it aint :)
slow ascent is killer on the fuel. you want to dance with gravity as briefly as possible. within reason. not to mention if it actually costs you a million to make them.. that aint right. russia, china, nasa and esa for that matter, they are all douches, but they are onto something with the cylindrical rocket shape. I think you know that :) 1 engine per stage. 1 or 2 tanks per stage. spacex did it with only 2 stages. if that computes that's another way to cut complexity. 21 is not the way to go.


Slow through the dense atmosphere is a good trajectory for this particular case, it's all about working out the optimal guidance trajectory.

Armadillo is using spherical tanks because they're structurally stronger than cylindrical tanks and so you can get a better mass ratio using them. All the other major launch vehicles of various governments and companies such as spacex use cylindrical tanks because they also use pumps to feed the propellants and therefore don't need the tanks to be nearly as strong (not as much pressure). Traditional turbopumps are expensive and complex, no pumps makes it much harder to get orbit, switching from spherical to cylindrical tanks would make it that much harder again.

On that line I do think armadillo would have a better chance if they re-evaluated reciprocating pump systems. I've been writing a thesis on the design, construction, testing and evaluation of one of my own design this year and I think the technology is definitely the way of the future for small launch vehicles. I've attached a picture of the pump and the output pressure trace of one test, it's not perfect (this is only the first prototype after all) but it can currently draw water from an unpressurised tank and eject it at ~500psi using a 110psi compressed air source, I've had it running at around 5Hz but it was designed for about 10. Also it's only cost me a few hundred dollars to this point and almost all of that is in valves (also ignoring the teflon encapsulated o-rings for life testing).

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Post    Posted on: Sat Oct 04, 2008 2:56 am
the 21 rocket configurations sounds a lot in concept to Otrag.


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Post    Posted on: Sat Oct 04, 2008 3:15 am
koxinga wrote:
the 21 rocket configurations sounds a lot in concept to Otrag.

Yes, that's right. In fact we even had Lutz Kayser from Otrag come and visit us a couple of years ago. This Armadillo update talks about it at the bottom.


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Post    Posted on: Sat Oct 04, 2008 8:55 am
Andrew, a spherical tank is only better if there is only one. a single cylinder is better than several spheres. a single cylinder is much better than 21 spheres. if my quick math is correct then a hemisphere capped cylinder weighs only half as much as several spheres of same material, radius, pressure and combined volume. half

and how your pump works is a bit hard to tell from the picture


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Post    Posted on: Sat Oct 04, 2008 10:15 am
Yes using multiple spheres is worse than a single large cylindrical tank but that's the crux of the modular design.

If you build and test a single module you can then be relatively confident about building and flying any number of modules in any configuration and everything is nice and standard. If you make a single large vehicle to do a certain task (say put 10Kg into orbit) then you need to build and test that vehicle as is. Every time you do a test flight you have to do the entire vehicle, same for building it. Additionally the cylindrical tank to replace 22 of the AA sphere tanks would be relatively huge, you'd have to factor in the manufacturing complexity involved in accurately making a light high pressure tank of that size and then all the subsequent transport and maneuvering problems.

Still I somewhat agree with you, I was toying around with designing a similar modular rocket system using my reciprocating pump instead of blowdown pressurisation and I went for cylindrical tanks (they only have to hold ~30psi in my case).

In that picture the pump itself is the aluminium part in the center. Essentially there are two fluid cylinders on either side of a central driving gas cylinder, one piston per cylinder (total 3) are linked together inside to make a single sliding shuttle. Alternating driving gas pressure to either side of the central cylinder causes the shuttle to slide back and forth, pumping fluid through a set of one-way valves. In the future I'll be working on making it lighter and more robust and hopefully switch to hot driving gases.


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Post    Posted on: Sat Oct 04, 2008 1:02 pm
Ok, time to jump on the bandwagon here,
Dan, it's pretty obvious you are grossly out of touch with reality.
You do have one thing going for you though, you are a Grade A Certified Prime Troll.
its like craig said a few posts up. If you think you know so much then why aren't you in orbit yet? Have you even launched a rocket before?

Alright alright, I need to stop, lol.

I like the pump Andrew, makes me want to dive more into that kind of thing and truly dissect how it works. (I'm an Electrical Engineer with a mechanical oriented mind....lol)

To me the way Armadillo is doing it makes perfect sense. In a field that has both been around for decades, yet still has so much ground for new developments and ideas, they are paving their own path. And in doing so, they have to take small steps. It's not just about making orbit. Orbit isn't everything. The company I work for stresses safety as a HUGE factor in everything we do. to do things safely though, means that sometimes you have to sacrifice doing things quickly and cheaply.
Dan you talk about doing things cheaper and cheaper, but if you think about it, wouldn't taking smaller steps that ensure personnel and equipment safety, be cheaper in the long run than running nearly blindfolded into the unknown?

Besides, the route that they have been taking seems to have opened up a lot of other opportunities for them along the way. Opportunities they may not have had if they were trying for a straight orbital shot.

Anywho.... that is enough of me ranting for now :)
I have somethings to get to, and some designs of my own to toy with.lol

Armadillo, thanks for the insight and the inspiration, same with all the others paving the way for noobs like me.

M.Ravenwolf


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Post    Posted on: Sat Oct 04, 2008 1:59 pm
Andrew, don't somewhat agree with me. because I'm not somewhat right, I'm absolutely right.
As for the pump, I think we need an illustration of how it works. you have to understand that we don't have the knowledge you have about it. that you know how it works is not the same as we do.

and for those asking why I don't just do it myself if I'm so smart, that's two fold. I don't have the financial freedom John does and space is just one of the several things that are wrong in this world that can benefit from my insight.
I don't have to do something for my insight to be right and it's quite unintelligent to suggest it. it's a human tragedy that so many people here are so caustically opposing even obvious truthes such as a cylindrical rocket shape being better than an egg carton.


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