SpaceX Raptor: engines for super-rockets (thread 2)


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DocM

Copied from today's Senate hearing testimony of Jeff Thornburg, SpaceX's #2 propulsion engineer behind Tom Mueller.

http://spaceref.com/news/viewsr.html?utm_medium=srs.gs-twitter&pid=47400&utm_content=api&utm_source=t.co&utm_campaign=

Raptor

Leveraging our design, fabrication, and testing experience on the Merlin engines, SpaceX has already begun internally-funded development and testing on our next-generation Raptor engine. Raptor is a reusable LOX/methane staged-combustion engine designed for high performance, cost effectiveness, and long life in high production volume. The engine utilizes a full flow staged combustion cycle, promising the highest performance possible for a methane rocket engine, while also delivering long life through new SpaceX technologies and more benign turbine environments. SpaceX is currently testing key Raptor components at a test facility within NASA's Stennis Space Center in Mississippi and at our SpaceX McGregor, TX test facility.

Raptor represents a fundamental advancement in propulsion technology. This staged-combustion system will not only be extremely powerful, but it will also be extremely efficient and reliable. It will achieve commercial viability through notable risk-and cost-reducing improvements in metallurgy and producibility, as well as revolutionary technologies enabling long term reusability. All of these features are crucial in ensuring affordable assured access to space for the United States. Rather than turning to decades-old technology developed to support last-generation launch systems, Raptor will advance the state-of-the-art and ensure the US remains the global leader in rocket propulsion technology.

Raptor could have significant applications for national security space launch, all while significantly advancing U.S. industrial capability and technology with respect to liquid rocket engines. With a highly scalable engine cycle, Raptor's "light and tight" design is built for operational functionality, cost efficiency and long life in high production volume, which makes it ideal for NSS needs. The engine utilizes a closed cycle with the objective of achieving the highest performance possible for a methane rocket engine while also delivering extended reusability through new SpaceX technologies and more benign turbine environments. Key engine components and large structures have been additively manufactured, and Raptor will be the first large liquid engine in the world constructed largely with printed parts.

Raptor directly contributes to the rapid advancement of oxygen-rich and full-flow staged combustion and additive manufacturing technologies for the United Statesenhancing U.S. industrial capability. Further, the engine enhances state-of-the-art, high-performing EELV-class propulsive capabilities for future flight engine systems to support commercial and NSS applications in accordance with Fiscal Year 2015 National Defense Authorization Act (FY15 NDAA), Section 1604. The flexibility of the Raptor design enables the technology to be applied to existing EELV-certified launch vehicles.

Importantly, SpaceX capability to support all NSS missions is independent of Raptor development; Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy together exceed the DOD's requirements and will not require external development funds related to this engine. Beyond the existing and imminent Falcon family of launch vehicles, the Raptor engine provides great promise for additional capability that could be relevant to the national security space community and advance the U.S. industrial base.

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Draggendrop

Well, we now know Raptor is well on its way....exciting indeed......smellies will hit the fan when this puppy is released...and it didn't take (research since the 60's) the decades stated by the "drop in engine" wizards.......Cheers....

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  • 2 months later...
DocM

Injector: ✔
Turbopumps: ✔
Preburner: ✔

NASA-SpaceX testing partnership going strong

Lagniappe Magazine September 15, 2015

When SpaceX sought a partner to conduct testing for development of the company’s ambitious Raptor rocket engine, its focus naturally fell on the versatile high-pressure test stands at NASA’s Stennis Space Center.

In the spring of 2014, NASA and the company, which also had support from the Mississippi Development Authority and the Hancock County Port and Harbor Commission, officially launched a testing partnership with a ribbon-cutting at the E-2 Test Stand at Stennis. Stennis Director Rick Gilbrech characterized the collaboration as “opening new doors of commercial space exploration.”

As the summer of 2015 draws to a close, the ongoing testing agreement is paying off. SpaceX completed a successful round of main injector testing in late 2014. Earlier this summer, the company and the E-2 Test Stand team achieved another milestone, completing a full-power test of the oxygen preburner component for the new engine.

Additional preburner testing has continued throughout the summer.

“This is a very exciting and unique partnership,” explained NASA Project Manager Randy Holland, who manages the SpaceX test collaboration at Stennis. “Other test partnerships involve private companies that are funded from NASA, but this project is strictly private industry development for commercial use.”

The company is developing a Raptor staged combustion engine to eventually power unprecedented flights to Mars. As envisioned, the methane-fueled engine will be one of the highest-performing in the world, said Jeff Thornburg, senior director of propulsion engineering for SpaceX.

The article being tested is the first preburner component developed by SpaceX and the first full-scale component developed for the Raptor engine. Hitting the full-power mark in June was a major milestone.

“With a preburner, you’re always focused on reliable ignition and proper temperature distribution for the pump turbines,” Thornburg explained. “In this case, the test article and test facility performed very well. The two teams really have worked well together and are hitting their stride. This is just a great spot to do development testing.”

The preburner was installed on the E-2 stand in mid-April. By the end of August, SpaceX and the Stennis test team had conducted 76 hot fire tests on the component, totaling 399.36 seconds. “This is pure research and development testing,” said Stephen Rawls, who is NASA test conductor for the project. “You focus on firing the article at a steady state and collecting performance data.”

“There are not a whole lot of high-pressure test facilities around, and we wanted to find a site and team that were small and nimble,” Thornburg noted. “Also, the interplay between the test article and test facility is no trivial matter; it must be right to ensure collection of good data. Considering all factors, Stennis is really the best spot for us to be.”

Both Holland and Thornburg are optimistic about the partnership continuing with future testing projects.  SpaceX has made it no secret that it hopes to launch humans to Mars during the 2020s. If that goal is achieved, Stennis will have played a key role in enabling the flights.

http://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/atoms/files/septemberlagniappe2.pdf

3db9221827964973123c493897400ee7.jpg

Photo Caption: Operators at the E-2 Test Stand at Stennis conduct a test of the oxygen preburner component being developed by SpaceX for its Raptor rocket engine, which is being built to power flights to Mars.

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Draggendrop

WE got info.....yes.......But it's been so long, I don't know what to do with it...........Actually, this is great...How would you sum up the progress on Raptor, with this data..Doc?

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DocM

The O2 rich preburner is harder than the methane side, so that shouldn't take as long. Next comes a chamber & nozzle. They're ~half done with the hardware fab, and more than that overall. 

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Unobscured Vision

/me rubs hands together furiously ...

Pure R&D and no Mil/Gov funding nonsense to hold anything up ... no artificially conservative or delayed timetables ... I bet the NASA guys and gals are giddy to come into work every day at this Test Stand. :yes:

Yeah ... we can smell what you folks are cookin' down there. And it smells great. Once you add the Methane, not so much ... but still, it's full speed ahead, all hands on deck, no B.S. "let's get this dirty b***h figured out and built so we can get BFR ready" mode down there. And yes, that's said with the utmost love, respect, and admiration -- because Raptor is not going to be a nice, quiet little "hey, let's do a LEO today" kind of engine, and everyone working on the project knows it. :D

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Draggendrop

Those two groups will be having a field day with real R&D, for a real cause...fully funded by SpaceX.....and NASA will know all it's capabilities. The guy's at NASA are probably figuring ways to use it as we speak.....when this is done....the "sheet metal" guy's will cut up a storm....:D

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DocM

There's so much going on in the black it's nuts, and not just SpaceX. 

Also; BFR models NSF'ers have developed range from 9 to 30 Raptor engines in the first stage alone, 9 being the minimum SpaceX mentioned, depending on how much sea level thrust it puts out. Imagine that blowtorch lighting up at night.

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Unobscured Vision

There's so much going on in the black it's nuts, and not just SpaceX. 

Also; BFR models NSF'ers have developed range from 9 to 30 Raptor engines in the first stage alone, 9 being the minimum SpaceX mentioned, depending on how much sea level thrust it puts out. Imagine that blowtorch lighting up at night.

It will be vulgar. It will be obscene. It will be like seeing KISS in 1979 (the loudest stadium concert for its' time), and having Van Halen playing the same song on the stage NEXT to them (setting a NEW loudness record in 1985), and THEN throwing in Metallica playing the same song with THEIR gear in 1992 (a new loudness record). That's HALF of what the noise level will be. Unbearably loud, requiring ear protection as far away as 5 km.

Now we throw in the visual component. A MCT/BFR launch will be painful to look at during nighttime hours. Remember the Saturn V/Apollo launches, how the flame plume would wash out and appear black because it was so bright? MCT/BFR will make that look like a birthday candle next to a spotlight. 

Yes, my friends ... it's going to be loud, bright, and showy. :D

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  • 4 months later...
DocM

Per the administration's 2017 budget on p532

 

SpaceX's Raptor methane engine will commence tests in Q4 2016 on stand E1 at the NASA Stennis Space Center. E2 is where they've been testing components since 2014.

 

E1 is a horizontal test stand which has 3 cells, 2 of which will be used by SpaceX;

 

E1 cell 1:  engines up to 750,000 lbf (270,000 N)

 

E1 cell 3:  turbopumps at high pressure

 

E1
e1facility.jpg

 

Edited by DocM
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DocM

Update: 1 year of testing. 

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  • 5 months later...
DocM

A full test engine a full 2 years before the USAF contract requires a prototype.

 

There goes that damned balloon again....

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DocM

SpaceNews article

 

http://spacenews.com/spacex-offers-large-rockets-for-small-satellites/

 

Quote


As part of the companys Mars mission architecture, SpaceX is developing a new engine, called Raptor, that will use methane and liquid oxygen propellants. We just shipped the first Raptor engine to Texas last night, she said. We should be firing it soon.

One audience member questioned SpaceXs plans for human settlement of Mars, wondering why anyone would want to live there. There are a lot of people on this planet that have a lot of very different ideas, she said. Im sure theres plenty of people who will want to go settle on Mars.

To test this, she asked a show of hands from the standing-room-only audience of those who would be willing to go to Mars on an early expedition. About five to ten percent of the audience raised their hands. Five percent of the worlds population is a lot, she said.

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  • 1 year later...
DocM

Chris Bergin at NSF posted an image of the Raptor test stand taken from the air. Judging from the scorch  mark, they've cranked up the power enough to generate a 600' plume.

 

Tim Allen would approve.

 

 

Edited by DocM
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Unobscured Vision

I'd say she's just about ready. :yes: Was this still the smaller one, or the full-sized one?

 

[EDIT] Wow, burned through the concrete, too. Nicely done.

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Unobscured Vision

Holy crap, okay ... this is still subscale. #### .... :woot::rofl:

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DocM

The earlier divots in the ramp were from 1/3 thrust and didn't scorch the scenery, so it's safe to say they've cranked it up a bit.  This beotch is gonna SCREAM!

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Unobscured Vision

I'll say, good grief  ... I'll wanna see the flame itself but it's gonna be a safe bet that if it's lighting up the ground foliage like that it's going to be several times the output of previous tests. Likely we're talking a few hundred thousand lbs of thrust output and a couple thousand degrees at the point where it meets said foliage. :) They're gonna find glass there too.

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DocM

And they're building a second test cell at this stand.

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Unobscured Vision

/happygiggle

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DocM

The new cell goes here

 

Raptor_engine_test_stands.thumb.jpg.5f393851b7f4eb21d9888f446813e0ce.jpg

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Unobscured Vision

Makes perfect sense, really. They won't really have to reroute anything from the Blockhouse. Just throw stuff onto the business ends to route cables, hardlines, plumbing and whatnot to the new cell without having to reinvent the wheel. Minimal cost and time involved -- aka, the SpaceX way. I do suspect, though, that they'll need to lay some extra concrete down in that section ... :laugh:

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