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SpaceX Updates (Thread 4): F9, FH & Dragon


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#271 OP DocM

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Posted 29 April 2014 - 21:16

ULA has ~2 yrs worth of engines. Nowhere near the time needed to produce new engines, assuming they could. And assuming they could -at what price? Certainly not less than the Russians. American engines, Aerojet or others - similar situation.

My view is in a few short years SpaceX is going to eat ULAs lunch.

The current consensus guesstimate is that it could take 4-5 years and >$1 billion to start US production of the RD-180. This against a 2 to 2.5 year stockpile of engines, and Congress is already talking of embargoing it.

The State Department is also tightening the screws, and SpaceX has filed a powerfully written lawsuit challenging ULA's block buy of 36 Atlas V's. They have a very good case.

As to RD-180 replacements,

The Aerojet Rocketdyne AJ-1E6, which they are already working on as part of a liquid SLS booster upgrade, is an upgrade of their AJ-26. This could be done for about $550 million, about half the cost of tooling up for RD-180.

Then there is Dynetics who has a real fire breathing monster in the works. They plan to resurrect the Saturn V's F1 engine, also for a liquid SLS booster upgrade, only using modern tooling, materials and techniques. The F1C would have nearly 2 million lbf of thrust. They have already reproduced and test fired components of the F1C turbomachinery.


#272 ks8877

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Posted 29 April 2014 - 23:14

SpaceX also has problems - cannot speed up production of some parts for Merlin engine - looks like that bottleneck they do not want to solve by addition investments, but probably counting on reusage of first stage and their engines in near future.



#273 geertd

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Posted 29 April 2014 - 23:19

can t wait to see this

 

 

Elon Musk ‏@elonmusk ·15 min.
Sounds like this might be a good time to unveil the new Dragon Mk 2 spaceship that @SpaceX has been working on w @NASA. No trampoline needed



#274 geertd

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Posted 29 April 2014 - 23:26

well we have to wait a little longer

 

Elon Musk @elonmusk 6 min.

Cover drops on May 29. Actual flight design hardware of crew Dragon, not a mockup.

 

 

sorry wrong threath



#275 SarK0Y

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Posted 30 April 2014 - 22:01

 

The current consensus guesstimate is that it could take 4-5 years and >$1 billion to start US production of the RD-180. This against a 2 to 2.5 year stockpile of engines, and Congress is already talking of embargoing it.

DocM, do you really believe such figures??? :) you have gotten so many high-tech from CCCP/Russia. he-he-he, you'll be very excited to figure out how USA has been deeply dependent upon Russia ;)   



#276 IsItPluggedIn

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Posted 01 May 2014 - 01:27

DocM, do you really believe such figures??? :) you have gotten so many high-tech from CCCP/Russia. he-he-he, you'll be very excited to figure out how USA has been deeply dependent upon Russia ;)   

 

 Hey SarK0Y are you Russian? Or eastern European of some sort?



#277 OP DocM

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Posted 01 May 2014 - 04:16

Whooaaaaa....

http://m.washingtonp...b51c_story.html

Elon Musk’s SpaceX granted injunction in rocket launch suit against Lockheed-Boeing

A U.S. Court of Federal Claims judgeissued an injunction late Wednesday prohibiting a joint venture between Lockheed Martin and Boeing from proceeding with plans to buy Russian-made rocket engines.

Judge Susan G. Braden’s ruling came after SpaceX, a California-based rocket company, sued the federal government Monday, protesting the Air Force’s award of a lucrative space contract, saying itshould have been competitively bid.

In the suit, SpaceX criticizes United Launch Alliance (ULA) for using Russian engines in some of its rockets, which SpaceX founder Elon Musk said might be a violation of U.S. sanctions and was unseemly at a time when Russia “is the process of invading Ukraine.”

Musk alleged that the deal would benefit Dmitry Rogozin, the deputy prime minister who heads the Russian defense industry and is named by the U.S. government in the sanctions.

In reaction to the sanctions, Rogozin tweeted: “After analyzing the sanctions against our space industry, I suggest the U.S. delivers its astronauts to the ISS [International Space Station] with a trampoline.”

Braden’s ruling prohibits ULA from making payments to the Russian engine manufacturer.

The contract, for 36 rockets to launch defense payloads, such as satellites, was awarded to ULA — a 50-50 venture of Boeing and Bethesda-based Lockheed — on a sole-source basis in December. By 2030, the Pentagon expects to spend almost $70 billion on the program.

At a news conference last week announcing the suit, Musk, the entrepreneur who co-founded PayPal and Tesla Motors, said SpaceX could provide rockets at considerably lower cost than ULA. Since then, he has gained the support of some members of Congress, including Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who have called for increased competition in the awarding of large multiyear contracts.

“This is not SpaceX protesting and saying these launches should be awarded to us,” Musk said at the news conference. “We’re just saying these launches should be competed. If we compete and lose, that’s fine. But why would they not even compete it? That doesn’t make sense.”

In a statement issued this week, ULA said it is “the only government certified launch provider that meets all of the unique . . . requirements that are critical to supporting our troops and keeping our country safe.”

A rigorous acquisitions process “saved the government and taxpayers approximately $4 billion while keeping our nation’s assured access to deliver critical national security assets safely to space,” the company said.



#278 OP DocM

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Posted 01 May 2014 - 05:49

And the US House of Representatives has draft legislation authorizing $220 million in 2015 to fund an alternative to the Russian RD-180 engine for Atlas V.

http://www.spacenews...180-alternative

#279 FloatingFatMan

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Posted 01 May 2014 - 06:28

Excellent.  It's about time the US stopped relying on old Russian tech that tends to blow up on launch thanks to some cretin hammering a part in upside down. :p


 Hey SarK0Y are you Russian? Or eastern European of some sort?

 

Basing entirely on his use of English, I'd say certainly eastern European at least.



#280 malenfant

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Posted 01 May 2014 - 06:44

To be fair the "old Russian tech" in question is pretty much state of the art.

Maybe the powers that be might want to think about making nice with the Russians - to buy time being the least of it.

#281 FloatingFatMan

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Posted 01 May 2014 - 07:14

To be fair the "old Russian tech" in question is pretty much state of the art.

Maybe the powers that be might want to think about making nice with the Russians - to buy time being the least of it.

 

Better and cheaper to just help SpaceX ramp up development and get their crewed launcher ready for missions. Especially as, judging by that trampoline comment, the Russians might just decide to cut off US access.

 

IMO, it was incredibly stupid of the US to retire the Shuttle before they had a replacement ready to go.



#282 Beittil

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Posted 01 May 2014 - 07:19

Well, the replacements could have started entering service by now if the program had been sufficiently funded :p But no... more money had to flow to either Russia or the SLS pork system :p



#283 FloatingFatMan

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Posted 01 May 2014 - 07:23

Well, the replacements could have started entering service by now if the program had been sufficiently funded :p But no... more money had to flow to either Russia or the SLS pork system :p

 

Don't forget all the backhanders, like the one that had to have taken place for that ULA bulk buy deal. Glad a judge see's SpaceX's point on that. Clearly something dodgy going on there.  Goddam crooked politicians...



#284 OP DocM

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Posted 01 May 2014 - 07:24

To be fair the "old Russian tech" in question is pretty much state of the art.

Maybe the powers that be might want to think about making nice with the Russians - to buy time being the least of it.

State of the current art? No, Russian engines are staged combustion but there's more interesting stuff going on,

Raptor will be a Full-Flow Staged Combustion methalox, something Russia and the US has played with but never flown. Pumps gassified props into the chamber, not liquids. Starts propellant injector tests next month.

Or how about the reciprocating pump driven hydrogen upper stage engine being developed by XCOR and Boeing? No turbomachinery, just a very light and cheap piston pump.

Another is the ORBITEC Liquid Vortex engine, which while early on could well allow light alloy combustion chambers by keeping high temps away from the chamber walls. Flew in 2013 and is still in dev.

For in-space the U of Washington and a private plasma physics lab are late in development of a pulsed fusion rocket. They are in level 2+ of NASAs NIAC program and preparing to go to prototype..

#285 malenfant

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Posted 01 May 2014 - 07:35

Sure. Lots of interesting stuff going on. Lots to look foward to. But nothing is currently flying that's as impressive as the RD-180 IMO.

Well except the RD-171 ;-)