SpaceX Tuesday...

SpaceX Tuesday...

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Discussion

Flooble

3,010 posts

65 months

Saturday 17th April
quotequote all
Eric Mc said:
What did specific areas did they "rip" on the Blue Origin proposal?

My main problem with Blue Origin is that they have virtually no real space experience of any sort.
The official NASA statement (https://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/atoms/files/option-a-source-selection-statement-final.pdf) rated Blue Origin as technically "acceptable" and Dynetics as "Marginal". SpaceX also got an "acceptable" on technical aspects. However, on the Management rating only SpaceX achieved an "outstanding".

The analysis by NASA did pull up Blue Origin on a several things, I've quoted a few below. The reports goes on with further weaknesses but I thought it best to not quote most of the report out. To be fair they also identify weaknesses in the SpaceX proposal; the difference seeming to be that SpaceX has a plan to solve the unknowns and is already testing whereas it reads to me as if NASA doesn't have much confidence that Blue Origin won't continue the "Old Space" approach of simply producing more Powerpoints justifying why they need further cash before they can build anything.

Quotes from the report on the Blue Origin proposal:

"I find that it suffers from a number of weaknesses, including two significant weaknesses with which I
agree. The first of these is that Blue Origin’s propulsion systems for all three of its main
HLS elements (Ascent, Descent, and Transfer) create significant development and
schedule risks, many of which are inadequately addressed in Blue Origin’s proposal.
These propulsion systems consist of complex major subsystems that have low
Technology Readiness Levels (TRLs) and are immature for Blue Origin’s current phase
of development."
...
"Further compounding these issues is significant uncertainty within the supplier section
of Blue Origin’s proposal concerning multiple key propulsion system components for the
engine proposed for its Descent and Transfer Elements."
...
"Finally, numerous mission-critical integrated propulsion systems will not be flight
tested until Blue Origin’s scheduled 2024 crewed mission. Waiting until the crewed
mission to flight test these systems for the first time is dangerous, and creates a high
risk of unsuccessful contract performance and loss of mission"
...
"Blue Origin’s second notable significant weakness within the Technical Design Concept
area of focus is the SEP’s finding that four of its six proposed communications links,
including critical links such as that between HLS and Orion, as well as Direct-to-Earth
communications, will not close as currently designed."
...
"These problematic links result in Blue Origin’s proposal failing to meet key HLS requirements during the surface operations phase of the mission"


ninja-lewis

3,056 posts

155 months

Saturday 17th April
quotequote all
F20CN16 said:
As far as I know they never started building SN12, 13 and 14. Not exactly sure what happened, but maybe the success of SN8 (apart from the landing) was a surprise and they felt they could move on faster than planned.
Parts for SN12, 13 and 14 were spotted. SN15 onwards were already at more advanced stages:


Eric Mc

115,087 posts

230 months

Sunday 18th April
quotequote all
Flooble said:
The official NASA statement (https://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/atoms/files/option-a-source-selection-statement-final.pdf) rated Blue Origin as technically "acceptable" and Dynetics as "Marginal". SpaceX also got an "acceptable" on technical aspects. However, on the Management rating only SpaceX achieved an "outstanding".

The analysis by NASA did pull up Blue Origin on a several things, I've quoted a few below. The reports goes on with further weaknesses but I thought it best to not quote most of the report out. To be fair they also identify weaknesses in the SpaceX proposal; the difference seeming to be that SpaceX has a plan to solve the unknowns and is already testing whereas it reads to me as if NASA doesn't have much confidence that Blue Origin won't continue the "Old Space" approach of simply producing more Powerpoints justifying why they need further cash before they can build anything.

Quotes from the report on the Blue Origin proposal:

"I find that it suffers from a number of weaknesses, including two significant weaknesses with which I
agree. The first of these is that Blue Origin’s propulsion systems for all three of its main
HLS elements (Ascent, Descent, and Transfer) create significant development and
schedule risks, many of which are inadequately addressed in Blue Origin’s proposal.
These propulsion systems consist of complex major subsystems that have low
Technology Readiness Levels (TRLs) and are immature for Blue Origin’s current phase
of development."
...
"Further compounding these issues is significant uncertainty within the supplier section
of Blue Origin’s proposal concerning multiple key propulsion system components for the
engine proposed for its Descent and Transfer Elements."
...
"Finally, numerous mission-critical integrated propulsion systems will not be flight
tested until Blue Origin’s scheduled 2024 crewed mission. Waiting until the crewed
mission to flight test these systems for the first time is dangerous, and creates a high
risk of unsuccessful contract performance and loss of mission"
...
"Blue Origin’s second notable significant weakness within the Technical Design Concept
area of focus is the SEP’s finding that four of its six proposed communications links,
including critical links such as that between HLS and Orion, as well as Direct-to-Earth
communications, will not close as currently designed."
...
"These problematic links result in Blue Origin’s proposal failing to meet key HLS requirements during the surface operations phase of the mission"
Thanks for that - very interesting. It kind of ties in with what I was thinking - Blue Origin is just not far enough down the road of testing and developing their rocket motors - plus some other issues.

I just wish they'd write these reports in more "normal" English.



Eric Mc

115,087 posts

230 months

Sunday 18th April
quotequote all
Interesting review of the decision by Scott Manley.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GuSM_-Aw5HM

Dog Star

12,457 posts

133 months

Sunday 18th April
quotequote all
I find it interesting that - as far as I have seen - there has been no specific requirement around vehicle reusability.

I think this really needs to be right on up there as one of the major deal-breakers for getting considered. This isn’t the 1960s anymore, why are we using dressed up 1960s tech?

Seeing all these beautifully crafted, insanely expensive machines made from all manner of exotic materials just dropped in the ocean/burnt up/pogged off into space/the surface of the moon is quite frankly bonkers. It needs to stop. Hopefully the commercial aspects and sheer cost vs using a recoverable booster should kill the market off in the next few years. Evolve or die.

eharding

11,626 posts

249 months

Sunday 18th April
quotequote all
Dog Star said:
I find it interesting that - as far as I have seen - there has been no specific requirement around vehicle reusability.

I think this really needs to be right on up there as one of the major deal-breakers for getting considered. This isn’t the 1960s anymore, why are we using dressed up 1960s tech?

Seeing all these beautifully crafted, insanely expensive machines made from all manner of exotic materials just dropped in the ocean/burnt up/pogged off into space/the surface of the moon is quite frankly bonkers. It needs to stop. Hopefully the commercial aspects and sheer cost vs using a recoverable booster should kill the market off in the next few years. Evolve or die.
I think reusable first and second stage boosters will become the norm - with SpaceX possibly dominating the heavy-lift end of the market. In terms of overall reusability of space vehicles by cost, I'm not so sure. Some things you're never going to get back - deep space probes and probably most of the stuff in geosynchronous orbits - finger in the air, call it $300 million a pop, and there about 300 of them in a geosynchronous graveyard orbit at the moment so that's about $90 billion worth thrown away already. There have been some interesting developments in refuelling geosynchronous satellites, so expect that to continue, but I'd be interested in seeing the figures comparing the costs of what could be re-used vs that which certainly cannot.

Beati Dogu

7,396 posts

104 months

Sunday 18th April
quotequote all
All looking good for Thursday's flight to the ISS. Alternate days are Friday and Monday



They've sent one of the recovery ships round to the other side of Florida in case the capsule has to abort and land in the Gulf of Mexico. It'll probably stay there until the Crew-1 capsule has splashed down a week later.

They had a bit of excitement down the coast at the Cocoa Beach Air Show yesterday. A WW2 era Grumman Avenger did a splash down of its own after suffering a mechanical failure. The pilot is OK and the plane looks to be salvageable.

https://nbc-2.com/news/state/2021/04/17/plane-land...

xeny

1,660 posts

43 months

Sunday 18th April
quotequote all
The fins and cylindrical 2nd stage in that photo really remind me of Fireball XL5 and Fireball Junior

MartG

17,814 posts

169 months

Sunday 18th April
quotequote all
Eric Mc said:
Interesting review of the decision by Scott Manley.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GuSM_-Aw5HM
Less than 12 hrs after I posted a link to it wink

Flooble

3,010 posts

65 months

Sunday 18th April
quotequote all
xeny said:
The fins and cylindrical 2nd stage in that photo really remind me of Fireball XL5 and Fireball Junior
The transporter, especially with the "claws" also reminds me of a Thunderbirds model.

Eric Mc

115,087 posts

230 months

Sunday 18th April
quotequote all
MartG said:
Less than 12 hrs after I posted a link to it wink
Good going for me

Merch131

642 posts

114 months

Monday 19th April
quotequote all
Flooble said:
The transporter, especially with the "claws" also reminds me of a Thunderbirds model.
Your not the only one.. Spacex as Thunderbirds .. https://youtu.be/tiD8nGD0Q6w

Beati Dogu

7,396 posts

104 months

Monday 19th April
quotequote all
FAB

Another angle of the Dragon's claws:




And the Crew-2 astronauts posing with their ride:



Edited by Beati Dogu on Monday 19th April 15:07

jingars

865 posts

205 months

Tuesday 20th April
quotequote all
In the Scott Manley vid linked to (a couple of times) earlier he mentions half a dozen launches being required to fuel a single Lunar Starship.
Zubrin has posted that it would need 20 Starship tanker launches per Lunar Starship, whilst The Angry Astronaut is of the view that it will be somewhere between 9 and 13 tanker launches per trip.

All in low Earth orbit, which is pitched as a mitigating factor as any problems are encountered before heading off to the Moon.

That launch rate is going to need quite a fleet of boosters and associated launch and fuelling infrastructure - with contingency for RUDs.



Edited by jingars on Wednesday 21st April 07:01

Einion Yrth

18,903 posts

209 months

Tuesday 20th April
quotequote all
jingars said:
In the Scott Manley vid linked to (a couple of times) earlier he mentions half a dozen launches being required to fuel a single Lunar Starship.
Zubrin has posted that it would need 20 Starship tanker launches per Lunar Starship. whilst The Angry Astronaut is of the view that it will be somewhere between 9 and 13 tanker launches per trip.

All in low Earth orbit, which is pitched as a mitigating factor as any problems are encountered before heading off to the Moon.

That launch rate is going to need quite a fleet of boosters and associated launch and fuelling infrastructure - with contingency for RUDs.

Musk's goal is turnaround times measured in hours; if they can do it the fleet need not be so large.

AJLintern

3,927 posts

228 months

Tuesday 20th April
quotequote all
So is the lunar version of Starship just going to sit in orbit awaiting the next mission, and the astronauts transfer to a regular Starship or Dragon to get back to Earth...?

annodomini2

6,157 posts

216 months

Tuesday 20th April
quotequote all
AJLintern said:
So is the lunar version of Starship just going to sit in orbit awaiting the next mission, and the astronauts transfer to a regular Starship or Dragon to get back to Earth...?
It will remain attached to the lunar gateway, in lunar orbit.

The 'nauts will return on Orion.

Guessing they will need to send tankers to refuel it.

xeny

1,660 posts

43 months

Tuesday 20th April
quotequote all
annodomini2 said:
It will remain attached to the lunar gateway, in lunar orbit.

The 'nauts will return on Orion.

Guessing they will need to send tankers to refuel it.
Has anyone seen enough detail of the proposal to know for certain if they state they plan to reuse it ?

Eric Mc

115,087 posts

230 months

Tuesday 20th April
quotequote all
annodomini2 said:
It will remain attached to the lunar gateway, in lunar orbit.

The 'nauts will return on Orion.

Guessing they will need to send tankers to refuel it.
By "it" I presume you mean the Starship lunar lander?

Flooble

3,010 posts

65 months

Tuesday 20th April
quotequote all
annodomini2 said:
It will remain attached to the lunar gateway, in lunar orbit.

The 'nauts will return on Orion.

Guessing they will need to send tankers to refuel it.
How many tankers would you need to refuel a ship in lunar orbit (LLO or NRHO, I doubt it makes much difference when going that far!)? If it's a double-digit number of tankers to refuel in LEO it feels like you'd be looking at sending up several tankers to LEO (*), refuelling each of them and then sending them to the moon with a buddy-style refuelling system (like the Black Buck missions). Presumably the tankers would need to keep a fair amount of fuel back for themselves to get back from the moon and slow down when they reached the Earth (plus landing!).



(*) e.g. Three tankers get fuelled up in LEO. Two (A, B) perform a TLI for free-return trajectory to the moon. En-route B offloads fuel to A.

The "Full" tanker A performs an orbital insertion burn and docks to the lunar starship, offloads its fuel.
Tanker B continues on the free return trajectory back to earth orbit and performs EDL.
The third tanker (C) that was loitering in LEO performs a TLI burn to put it into a free return trajectory that will see it returning at the same time as Tanker A (I'm not sure the orbital mechanics will work for this, depends on the orbit used by the lunar Starship). Enroute back from the moon tanker C then provides tanker A with sufficient fuel for both of them to capture into earth orbit and perform EDL.

I am not even 100% sure you could do it with three - it might be necessary to have a fourth tanker in LEO waiting to replenish A and C when they have captured into orbit, since Starship needs a reasonable amount of fuel for EDL as I don't believe the TPS is sufficient for it to just mash straight into the Earth's atmosphere for either aerocapture or a straight re-entry?

Edited by Flooble on Tuesday 20th April 21:47