OrbitalATK Next Generation Launcher (updates)


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DocM

To compete for US Air Force EELV launches.

 

Sounds like their ATK Liberty Commercial Crew launcher concept, which was a second bite at the apple after the Constellation Program Ares I launcher for Orion was cancelled.

 

http://fortune.com/2016/05/25/spacex-rocket-orbital/

 

 

Quote

This SpaceX Competitor Just Unveiled a New Rocket

 

It could be a new player in the battle for military and commercial missions to space.

 

Orbital ATK on Tuesday unveiled plans for a new rocket to compete against United Launch Alliance and Elon Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies for missions to launch U.S. military and commercial satellites.

 

Orbital’s Next Generation Launcher is based on the solid-rocket strap-on boosters that flew on NASA’s space shuttles, Orbital Business Development Director John Steinmeyer said at the 2016 Space Congress conference in Cape Canaveral.

 

The company plans to buy the rocket’s second stage from Jeff Bezos’ space company, Blue Origin.

 

Currently, United Launch Alliance—a partnership of Lockheed Martin  LMT 0.61%  and Boeing  BA -0.06% — and Musk’s SpaceX  SPACEX 0.00%  are the only companies certified to launch U.S. military and national security satellites.

 

“We’re working cooperatively with the Air Force to make sure there’s room for three players,” Steinmeyer said in an interview with Reuters.

Orbital would launch the rocket from one of the space shuttle’s old launchpads at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

 

If the Air Force maintained requirements for a West Coast launch site as well, Orbital could refurbish a pad at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, Steinmeyer said.

 

Orbital in January won an Air Force contract worth up to $180 million to develop rocket propulsion technologies. Steinmeyer declined to say how much Orbital was investing in the project.
>

 

 

Liberty.png

 

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DocM

Stephen Clark of Space News tweeted a slide of the layout, but it was shot at an angle which messed up the perspective. Fortunately, we can mitigate that :)

 

Straightened slide below.  I'm assuming the CASTOR solids are their 96 inch units, and their length is also in inches. Conversions added.

 

My translation. If anyone can get more out of it, go for it.

 

1-6 GEM 63XL solids (Atlas V is ditching its AJR solids for these)

Core diameters:  2.438 meter (96 inch)

 

S1 (2 seg): CASTOR 600 (600 in/15.24m)

S1 (4 seg Heavy): CASTOR 1200 (1200 in/30.48m)

S2: CASTOR 300 (300 in/7.62m)

 

S3 specs

Diameter: 5.25 meter
Engine: BE-3U-EN (extendable nozzle)
Propellants:  LOX/LH2 
Thrust: 120 klbf (534 kN)
Features: deep throttle, restartable

 

Payload fairing: 5.25x15 meters

 

Adjusted slide

f51648c88712ebaf1771bcea10605d0a.jpg

 

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flyingskippy

Just out of curiosity,  Is this the first rocket design to have SRBs strapped to an "SRB“ ? 

 

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DocM

No. It's been done before, and India's PSLV (polar satellite launch vehicle) uses a 138 tonne solid core stage and 6 solid boosters.

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Unobscured Vision

Hope they aren't planning to put live bodies on top of that thing. *shudder*

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DocM

And to think NASA was going to do just that with the very similar Ares I and Orion. 

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  • 9 months later...
DocM

 

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Unobscured Vision

Well then. So much for the Antares 200. Meh.

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DocM

I don't see this flying, it's Ares I with a different upper stage and will need boosters to get heavy payloads up. The acoustics will be murder, which was the death knell of Constellation. Without really heavy dampeners astronauts riding Ares I  would have been turned into tomato soup, and those made it impossible to lift Orion to a decent orbit..

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Unobscured Vision

Oh good grief .... that monstrosity?! Blah. Figures they'd be reusing that death machine.

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  • 9 months later...
DocM

Mostly paywalled, it makes you wonder what they didn't like about the Blue Origin BE-3U. 

 

Good luck in getting AJR to bring the price down on the RL-10, and I would imagine getting USAF or congressional approval for a foreign upper stage engine on defense payloads isn't going to be a walk in the park  either.

 

http://aviationweek.com/awinspace/orbital-atk-pick-upper-stage-engine-ngl

 

OrbitalATK is considering the Aerojet-Rocketdyne RL10 or Ariane Group Vinci rocket engine for its Next Generation Launcher upper stage after rejecting Blue Origin's BE-3U. Decision expected in Q1 2018.....

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Unobscured Vision

Uuuughh ... the RL-10 is seriously underpowered for anything beyond satellite tasks (it could barely deal with Cygnus, and had almost zero margins left for that) unless and until it gets clustered, and there's no way that the USAF will use another foreign engine for DoD payloads again.

 

Possible use for the Interim Upper Stage for SLS, maybe? I'd sure love for it to see some action beyond the one or two flights, and it'd be trivial to adapt it for ATK's new rocket. New software and adapters, maybe a bulkhead and the panels. Otherwise it wouldn't take a heck of a lot to adapt it, really. 20% redesign/repurpose isn't a lot really. Oh, and four RL-10's are gonna have some throwing capability. :yes: 

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DocM

I think the idea for Centaur V (5.4m core instead of the usual 3 meter) and ACES is to use up to four RL-10's.

 

One thing that could drop the cost is that AJ-R recently tested a 3D printed thrust chambe4,

 

http://www.rocket.com/article/aerojet-rocketdyne-achieves-3-d-printing-milestone-successful-testing-full-scale-rl10-copper

 

20170403_AM.jpg

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Unobscured Vision

Better materials + better processes = more options to increase power output and would let them modernize the platform, so yeah. I'm for it. :yes: 

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DocM

There's a lot of 3D printing going on. NASA has been working on 3D printed nozzles, and just about everyone in aerospace is trying to see what can be printed and what can't.  SpaceX prints turbopumps, valves, SuperDraco thrusters and much of Raptor.

 

So far it looks like 3D printing cuts the part count by at least 90%, with a similar reduction in waste. What's not to like?

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  • 2 months later...
DocM

In other words; an SRB with SRB's. 

 

If one of those GEM's goes POP! it'll make the Delta II explosion look like a firecracker.

 

 

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IsItPluggedIn

The primary customer for the NGL is expected to be the @usairforce

Ie it will be too expensive and dangerous for anybody else to use.

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DocM

DoD is re-doing EELV as EELV 2, and AIUI new participants need to bid on all launch types and payload classes - a direct response to ULA refusing to bid on the GPS-3 launch SpaceX then won by default. This after SpaceX won the previous round by a LOT.

 

NGL can meet the GTO 18,000 lb launch requirement, but I haven't seen anything  to meet the 14,500 lb GEO 2 requirement, which a direct injection to GEO launch.

 

 

eelv_rfp_reference_orbits.jpg

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