Help - Search - Members - Calendar
Full Version: Launch vehicle
Unmanned Spaceflight.com > Mars & Missions > MSL
Redstone
NASA has decided to use the Atlas V, with 4 strap-on solid rocket boosters to launch MSL. This is the same rocket that launched MRO (no solids) and New Horizons (5 solids).

Cost: $194.7 million, less than half the price of the Titan IV which would have been needed a few years ago.

Rocky Mountain News article

NASA press release
dvandorn
This just points out another truth behind the funding levels required for planetary missions. If you let your scientific goals dictate the mass of the spacecraft, you have to accept the additional cost of a larger booster to get you there. If you let the cost of the booster drive your total mass budget, then you have to sacrifice some of your science objectives in order to "afford the ride."

A fifth of a billion dollars just to get yourself on a path to Mars... no wonder there are so few missions that can fit under the Discovery mission cost caps.

-the other Doug
Jim from NSF.com
QUOTE (Redstone @ Jun 3 2006, 09:19 AM) *
NASA has decided to use the Atlas V, with 4 strap-on solid rocket boosters to launch MSL. This is the same rocket that launched MRO (no solids) and New Horizons (5 solids).

Cost: $194.7 million, less than half the price of the Titan IV which would have been needed a few years ago.


The amount is not the price of the rocket. Asthe news release says "That cost includes NASA launch services and mission integration requirements" which includes many things like payload processing facility costs, down range telemetry support, KSC contractor support, KSC support, mission unique modifications to the launch vehicle (NASA never orders a "stock" vehicle and this spacecraft uses special power sources) etc.
BruceMoomaw
The Discovery missions are all supposed to use Delta 2 (or smaller boosters) for precisely that reason -- although even that has been complicated by the fact that Delta 2's use as a commercial launcher is about to cease, which makes it a lot less cost-effective for Boeing to keep the assembly line going, which in turn has caused a big jump in the price that Boeing demands from NASA for Delta 2s. *sigh*

Couple this with the fact that the important Solar System exploration goals that can be achieved at this point with little spacecraft are decreasing in number, and the case becomes very strong for considerably slowing down the pace at which Discovery missions are launched -- maybe to about one every 4 years, as with the New Frontiers missions -- at the same time that we raise their cost cap. (By contrast, it still looks as though there are a lot of worthwhile scientific goals, of greatly varied type, that can be met with small Explorers.)
RNeuhaus
I would like to learn about the what are limit of mission cost for every type of Discovery Class. I have heard that Discovery has three or four levels, I (smaller mission), II (Scout mission), III (Enterprise aka mission) or IV (Complex Enterprise mission).

Now, about the cost to launch a Atlas V for MSL which is about 200 millions dollars. I would like to know about the structure of costs. I suppose that the material cost would be cheaper about 1/3 and the support service would account at 2/3, isn't?

Then, I have the impression that the material cost will drop every year with the improvement of technology, reusing material and continuity of production. But, on the service side, as the general rule, everything is growing every year.

Maybe, it would be the best of the worlds is that the developed countries build technology, infrastructure support and laboratories and the less developed countries with cheaper labor cost will operate, the work that is not highly specialized such as monitoring, checking, programmed works and so on of the same style during the mission exploration.

It would be ideal, as it will lower costs for any solar system exploration but hope that the business of space will be look for the best price for consumer.

Rodolfo
Jim from NSF.com
The "other items" of the launch service costs are 1/3 to 1/5 of the overall costs.
PhilCo126
A reminder to point out that the Atlas V is not the most powerfull non-man-rated launch-vehicle wink.gif
Titan IV : 2 X 600 + 240 = 1440 kdaN
Ariane 5: 2 X 525 + 90 = 1140 kdaN
Atlas V/511: 1111 kdaN

...
Bob Shaw
QUOTE (PhilCo126 @ Jun 4 2006, 10:34 AM) *
A reminder to point out that the Atlas V is not the most powerfull non-man-rated launch-vehicle wink.gif
Titan IV : 2 X 600 + 240 = 1440 kdaN
Ariane 5: 2 X 525 + 90 = 1140 kdaN
Atlas V/511: 1111 kdaN

...


Hmmm... ...anyone know what the final outcome was for the Ariane 5 man-rating? The core vehicle was meant to launch Hermes, after all. Obviously, the new upper stage wasn't specifically linked to any manned use, but...

Bob Shaw
ugordan
QUOTE (PhilCo126 @ Jun 4 2006, 10:34 AM) *
A reminder to point out that the Atlas V is not the most powerfull non-man-rated launch-vehicle wink.gif
Titan IV : 2 X 600 + 240 = 1440 kdaN
Ariane 5: 2 X 525 + 90 = 1140 kdaN
Atlas V/511: 1111 kdaN

What's a kdaN? It looks to be a measure of thrust of some sort?
Also, Titan IV is no more in service so no point in including it.
DonPMitchell
Let's look at some numbers. Here are some figures for vacuum and sea-level specific impulse, which measures engine efficiency (and thrust in metric tonnes). The F-1 was the biggest engine ever built, but it was based on an old-fashion gas-generator cycle:

F-1 (Saturn V) - 304 265 (790 tons)
YF-20B (Long March) - 289 259 (83 tons)

Staged compustion is the current state of the art, and this gives you significantly more thrust per kilogram of fuel. The Proton managed 316 sec. even using less efficient fuels (N2O4 + Dimethylhydrozine). At the time of the F-1, only the Russians had mastered staged combustion design:

RD-253 (Proton) - 316 285 (178 tons)
NK-15 (N-1) - 318 297 (157 tons)
RD-180 (Atlas V) - 338 311 (423 tons)
RD-701 (MAKS) - 415 330 (408 tons)

Today we see the benefits of both staged combustion and liquid hydrogen. The SSME was the groundbreaking technology here, the starting point for all the other cryogenic staged-combustion engines. In the RD-0120, the Russians made some improvements to the SSME which NASA has been studying. It is a simpler design, and is able to achieve combustion stability without complex anti-oscillation dampening chambers. The RS 68 is also a fine engine, designed to be cheap simple and disposable.

RS 68 (Delta IV) - 420 365 (338 tons)
Vulcain (Ariane) - 434 318 (110 tons)
SSME (Shuttle) - 453 363 (232 tons)
RD-0120 (Buran) - 455 359 (200 tons)

For orbital vehicles, it is better to look at the LEO payload, because that depends on the thrust of all the stages and how their sizes have been balanced against one another.

Super-heavy:
Saturn V: 118 tons
N-1: 95 tons (if it had worked)
Energiya: 88 tons

Heavy:
Shuttle: 27.5 tons
Delta 4-H: 25.8 tons
Proton: 21.0 tons
Atlas V: 20 tons (551 config.)
Titan 4: 17.8 tons
Ariane V: 16.0 tons
Atlas V: 12.5 (401 config.)

Long March 2E: 9.2 tons
Soyuz: 7.4 tons
ugordan
You're forgetting the engine RD-180 was derived from -- the RD-170 from the Energia strap-on boosters. With twice the thrust of an RD-180, it beats even the mighty F-1 at 800 tons of thrust. Its variant (RD-171) is being used on the Zenit rocket.
IIRC, the F-1 were actually closer to 700 tons of thrust than 800.
DonPMitchell
QUOTE (ugordan @ Jun 4 2006, 11:46 AM) *
You're forgetting the engine RD-180 was derived from -- the RD-170 from the Energia strap-on boosters. With twice the thrust of an RD-180, it beats even the mighty F-1 at 800 tons of thrust. Its variant (RD-171) is being used on the Zenit rocket.
IIRC, the F-1 were actually closer to 700 tons of thrust than 800.


The RD-180 and RD-170 are clusters of 2 and 4 engines, respectively. The RD-701 is a dual engine. But nevertheless they are powerful and well designed.

Click to view attachment
Bob Shaw
QUOTE (DonPMitchell @ Jun 4 2006, 08:04 PM) *
The RD-180 and RD-170 are clusters of 2 and 4 engines, respectively. The RD-701 is a dual engine. But nevertheless they are powerful and well designed.


Don:

I'd always thought that one of the particularly Soviet design threads was the way that they saw grouped nozzles as only part of a single engine, particularly when they shared turbopumps and other plumbing. The US designers would see four engines, but the Russian just one. Isn't this descriptive dichotomy what we're seeng with the RD-180 and RD-170?

Bob Shaw
DonPMitchell
QUOTE (Bob Shaw @ Jun 4 2006, 12:12 PM) *
Don:

I'd always thought that one of the particularly Soviet design threads was the way that they saw grouped nozzles as only part of a single engine, particularly when they shared turbopumps and other plumbing. The US designers would see four engines, but the Russian just one. Isn't this descriptive dichotomy what we're seeng with the RD-180 and RD-170?

Bob Shaw


Exactly, and the RD-108 on the Soyuz was also such a grouped design. The issue is combustion stability, an extremely difficult problem. Today the Russians are the masters, but in the 1960s, they just couldn't build large chambers. The N-1 had 30 1st-stage engines, at which point the increased probability of failure is a problem. I doubt anyone would ever attempt to build such a large single-chamber engine like the F-1 today, but it was an impressive engineering feat.

The Russians also like to simplify the pumping system, typically with a single-shaft multi-turbine design (like their RD-0120 vs. the multi-pump SSME).
RNeuhaus
QUOTE (PhilCo126 @ Jun 4 2006, 04:34 AM) *
A reminder to point out that the Atlas V is not the most powerfull non-man-rated launch-vehicle wink.gif
Titan IV : 2 X 600 + 240 = 1440 kdaN
Ariane 5: 2 X 525 + 90 = 1140 kdaN
Atlas V/511: 1111 kdaN

...

What are these numbers? 2 (?) -I suppose: 2 rockets laterals- x 600 (?) - I suppose: propulsion force in KiloNewtons- = 1440 kdaN (?)

Thanks!

Rodolfo
ugordan
QUOTE (RNeuhaus @ Jun 4 2006, 09:48 PM) *
propulsion force in KiloNewtons- = 1440 kdaN (?)

This can't be right as Titan IVs two SRBs alone produce over 15 Meganewtons of thrust. It doesn't seem to be kiloponds as well, frankly I have no clue as to what unit that is???
DonPMitchell
QUOTE (ugordan @ Jun 4 2006, 02:15 PM) *
This can't be right as Titan IVs two SRBs alone produce over 15 Meganewtons of thrust. It doesn't seem to be kiloponds as well, frankly I have no clue as to what unit that is???


I've never seen it used for rockets, but kdaN means kilodecanewton. It gets used because it is approximately the same as a kilogram force. That is, 1 daN is 10 Newtons, as opposed to 9.8 Newtons.

I like to use the word "ton" because it is a concept where both British-system (which is to say, Americans) and Metric users have a common point of intuition: 2000 pounds ~ 1000 kilogram-force ~ 1000 daN
Jim from NSF.com
QUOTE (Bob Shaw @ Jun 4 2006, 03:12 PM) *
Don:

I'd always thought that one of the particularly Soviet design threads was the way that they saw grouped nozzles as only part of a single engine, particularly when they shared turbopumps and other plumbing. The US designers would see four engines, but the Russian just one. Isn't this descriptive dichotomy what we're seeng with the RD-180 and RD-170?

Bob Shaw


An engine is dtermined by the turbo machinery not the nozzles. The Atlas II MA-5A booster had two nozzles but one turbo pump (1 engine)

It is not a US convention to count nozzles as engines
djellison
In a brief 'still on holiday' pop-head-around-door

The RD180 is two exhausts, but one engine I believe.

Doug
ugordan
QUOTE (djellison @ Jun 5 2006, 08:41 AM) *
The RD180 is two exhausts, but one engine I believe.

Right, the same goes for the RD-170, four nozzles. You can't really say that's four engines and four times as likely to fail as it only has a single set of turbopumps so for all practical purposes it's the same as having a larger, single-nozzle engine (say F-1). A little heavier than the latter, but easier and cheaper to produce (not to mention fewer combustion stability issues).
DonPMitchell
Thrusts I gave are vacuum thrusts, just for comparison. Look on Mark Ward's page for more details about an engine.

The big picture is that Russia and America still offer launch vehicles that are competative with each other. The Russian and American space industry are also somewhat in bed with each other now -- Lockheed Martin jointly operates the Proton, Pratt & Whitney works with EnergoMash, etc. Energiya is the only super-heavy class rocket, but it hasn't actually flown very many times. Overall, I'd have to say the Americans have the more modern technology, and their space industry is big enough to be developing multiple rockets from multiple companies. But NASA learns from the Russians too, you can see that in the Delta IV's engine, which has a lot of Russian features.

One intersting decision the Russians made was to design their Energiya booster and their shuttle to be independant modules. The Space Shuttle cannot launch without the 99-ton orbiter and its main engines, in addition to its actual payload. If you consider the total mass put into orbit, it is by far the most powerful LV.

I'm adding some info on the largest Chinese rocket to my earlier post with all the data.
ugordan
QUOTE (DonPMitchell @ Jun 5 2006, 09:48 AM) *
One intersting decision the Russians made was to design their Energiya booster and their shuttle to be independant modules. The Space Shuttle cannot launch without the 99-ton orbiter and its main engines, in addition to its actual payload.

A wise decision in retrospect -- they could use the Energiya stack as an 'ordinary' heavy-lift booster should they ever (heaven forbid!) abandon the shuttle concept. NASA needs to reinvent the wheel with its CaLV launcher because someone once thought putting engines on the shuttle was the best idea.
DonPMitchell
QUOTE (ugordan @ Jun 5 2006, 02:00 AM) *
A wise decision in retrospect -- they could use the Energiya stack as an 'ordinary' heavy-lift booster should they ever (heaven forbid!) abandon the shuttle concept. NASA needs to reinvent the wheel with its CaLV launcher because someone once thought putting engines on the shuttle was the best idea.


Yep. And I think the Russians have abandoned their shuttle concept, after one successful unmanned test. Last I heard, the warehouse where the Buran was being stored collapsed and destroyed the craft. Kind of a sad end.

Click to view attachment Click to view attachment

I think the so-called Energiya-M is what they call the super-heavy LV without the shuttle. They have a standing offer to launch a spacecraft to Mars with it, if anyone pays them enough. They also tried launching a military space station called Polyus, with the Energiya.

Click to view attachment
ugordan
QUOTE (DonPMitchell @ Jun 5 2006, 11:27 AM) *
Last I heard, the warehouse where the Buran was being stored collapsed and destroyed the craft. Kind of a sad end.

They had a number of shuttles built in various states of flight readiness, Buran was not the only one. I do believe it was the one destroyed in roof collapse, though.

QUOTE (DonPMitchell @ Jun 5 2006, 11:27 AM) *
I think the so-called Energiya-M is what they call the super-heavy LV without the shuttle.

No, the Energiya-M is the smallest configuration of Energiya, according to Wikipedia. The number of strap-on (Zenit) boosters was reduced to two (from four) and the number of cryogenic RD-0120 engines in the core stage from four to one.
You can see from your picture there are 4 boosters and 4 RD-0120 engines, as with the regular Buran configuration. The Polyus cargo inside the black container (note 'Mir' in cyrillic letters written on it) makes the whole stack look very slick. The Energia configuration is one of the coolest looking launch vehicles to me, much cooler than the shuttle SRB-ET combo. Definitely looks more rugged and robust -- no insulation foam problems here cool.gif
Toma B
QUOTE (DonPMitchell @ Jun 5 2006, 12:27 PM) *
I think the so-called Energiya-M is what they call the super-heavy LV without the shuttle.


But that was long time ago...Sadly today there is no way they can launch ANY KIND of Energiya rocket because launch-pads are being demolished or converted to launch other types of existing rocket...
Energiya was absolutely the coolest looking rocket that I ever saw, but it's story ended long time ago...

Such a potential...such a waist... sad.gif sad.gif sad.gif
DonPMitchell
QUOTE (ugordan @ Jun 5 2006, 03:47 AM) *
The Polyus cargo inside the black container (note 'Mir' in cyrillic letters written on it) makes the whole stack look very slick.


According to Mark Wade's article, the Polyus was to be the first module of a MIR-2 space station. It even had anti-satellite guns in it!

Even more remarkably, he claims the Polyus was a left-over TMK, the manned Mars/Venus vehicle that was to be launched by the N-1. If so, that's quite a bizarre bit of history on that launchpad.

TMK was originally designed by Gleb Maximov, who was the genius behind a lot of their early probes (Luna-3, Venera-1, Mars-1, Zond-3). He did all the probes at OKB-1 before Lavochkin took over.
Bob Shaw
Don:

I think Mark Wade is normally excellent, but that he's a bit off on the Polyus front. At the time, it was described as 'a prototype space factory' and of course that might have meant almost anything. It certainly appears to have been intended as a man-tended platform - it always looked to me like tankage, plus a Mir/Salyut-class core, and a TKS module launched as a single unit. There was one story circulating to the effect that the 'factory' was a laser weapon test bed and that the launch was the last hurrah of the military space stations. Gorbachev didn't like the idea at all (his grasp on the military was shaky at the time) and he was alleged to be not at all unhappy when the orbital insertion burn went wrong.

One aspect of Energia which doesn't get much of a mention was the way that the boosters and some core components were intended to be reused - hence the odd blocky packages on the sides of the boosters.

In principle, the Energia system was a real winner, but the Soviet Union went out of business and that was that!

Bob Shaw
ugordan
QUOTE (Bob Shaw @ Jun 5 2006, 02:03 PM) *
In principle, the Energia system was a real winner, but the Soviet Union went out of business and that was that!

The reusable liquid boosters had parachutes in those compartments and were even capable (in case of flight abort) to vent remaining LOX to prevent explosions on ground impact. The RD-170 engines were designed to support up to 10 firings AFAIK, and actual recovery and analysis of the flown specimens suggested they would support up to 20. Very robust engine, indeed.

It's a real shame such a fine piece of engineering went down the drain (though some components of Energiya still live on). I wonder if there would be a market for its use today, given a payload capacity greatly exceeding anything that the next best vehicle has to offer. Are there any guesstimates as to how much a launch would cost if Energiya were available today? Hypothetically speaking, of course.
PhilCo126
Don was right on the unit ( 10 & 9.8 kilogram-force )
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kilogram-force
ohmy.gif
Bob Shaw
QUOTE (ugordan @ Jun 5 2006, 02:32 PM) *
The reusable liquid boosters had parachutes in those compartments and were even capable (in case of flight abort) to vent remaining LOX to prevent explosions on ground impact. The RD-170 engines were designed to support up to 10 firings AFAIK, and actual recovery and analysis of the flown specimens suggested they would support up to 20. Very robust engine, indeed.


Gordan:

So far as I know, no parachutes were flown on either Energia launch - was the recovery you speak of simply examination of the broken components after they impacted, or were there indeed recovery devices flown?

Bob Shaw
ugordan
QUOTE (Bob Shaw @ Jun 5 2006, 09:45 PM) *
So far as I know, no parachutes were flown on either Energia launch - was the recovery you speak of simply examination of the broken components after they impacted, or were there indeed recovery devices flown?


From http://www.astronautix.com/engines/rd170.htm:

QUOTE
The first stage strap-ons were recovered under parachutes and returned to Baikonur for study. The engine was designed for 10 reuses but tests showed they could stand up to 20 burns.
Bob Shaw
Gordan:

Yup, I see what you mean - I still thought that was just the plan, but never actually happened! The landing sequence never looked to clever to me - the booster always seemed likely to snap at touchdown!

Anyone - Don, maybe? - got any other sources?

Bob Shaw
ugordan
QUOTE (Bob Shaw @ Jun 5 2006, 10:07 PM) *
the booster always seemed likely to snap at touchdown!

Why snap? What landing sequence? The casing was probably lighter than shuttle's SRB casing which should be just fine under a parachute. The Russians tend to make their stuff robust, you know! If it handled dragging the Energia stack with 800 tons of force, surely it could stand a soft ground impact.
Bob Shaw
QUOTE (ugordan @ Jun 5 2006, 10:19 PM) *
Why snap? What landing sequence? The casing was probably lighter than shuttle's SRB casing which should be just fine under a parachute. The Russians tend to make their stuff robust, you know! If it handled dragging the Energia stack with 800 tons of force, surely it could stand a soft ground impact.



Gordan:

The boosters were to land on two sets of parachutes, one set at the front of the structure and one at the rear - they landed horizontally, on the hard Kazakhstan soil. I think the instantaneous stresses on landing would have been enormous, and expressed through the structure in quite a different way to the SRBs used on the Shuttle, ie at right angles to the way that the forces would have acted during launch.

Somewhere, I have diagrams...

Bob Shaw
Bob Shaw
Looks like I disremembered the landing sequence to some extent - it was a big set of parachutes with the booster dangling horizontally beneath it, not two sets - but the thing would still have landed horizontally, on Gemini-style skids!

Here's also a Polyus diagram, and a bigger launchpad image.

Bob Shaw
DonPMitchell
QUOTE (Bob Shaw @ Jun 5 2006, 01:45 PM) *
Gordan:

So far as I know, no parachutes were flown on either Energia launch - was the recovery you speak of simply examination of the broken components after they impacted, or were there indeed recovery devices flown?

Bob Shaw


There's a remarkable series of photos that Jonas Bendiksen made, about the space junk that lands in the territory east of Baikonur: Titanium Rain
ugordan
Bob:

In the leftmost image you sent, the drawing at the bottom strikes me (booster lying on the ground). Notice a section below the booster that has something looking like multiple nozzles and the ground appears excavated below that point. Did the booster design include solid retro-rockets to reduce descent speed just before landing or did this contraption serve a whole other purpose?
Bob Shaw
QUOTE (ugordan @ Jun 6 2006, 02:28 PM) *
Bob:

In the leftmost image you sent, the drawing at the bottom strikes me (booster lying on the ground). Notice a section below the booster that has something looking like multiple nozzles and the ground appears excavated below that point. Did the booster design include solid retro-rockets to reduce descent speed just before landing or did this contraption serve a whole other purpose?



Gordan:

I think you're right - look at the cutaway above it, too. That's a helluva way to land a rocket!

Bob Shaw
ugordan
Yep, look at the other cartoon you sent showing the launch-descent sequence. At frame 9 you can clearly see exhausting below the aft end of the booster. Also, I can barely make out the words "dvigatel", e.g. "engine" in the last description before the landing at the bottom right.
Bob Shaw
Gordan:

So, the question remains: did it actually work?

If it did all work as advertised, then I can't imagine that we'd *not* have been treated to propaganda images of happy smiling locals posed around their new visitor, with it perched on it's landing legs like Thunderbird 2...

If it 'almost' worked then the engines might well have been in good enough condition to allow their turbopumps etc to be cut up, or boresighted, even if the main structure was broken. This may explain the lack of photos, but still the assertion that the engines were recovered.

Bob Shaw
Spirit
Hi everybody,
I am new to the forum.

Here is my first question:
Aren't the Russian vehicles armed with explosives? Don't they have RSO?
Jim from NSF.com
QUOTE (Spirit @ Jun 6 2006, 02:15 PM) *
Hi everybody,
I am new to the forum.

Here is my first question:
Aren't the Russian vehicles armed with explosives? Don't they have RSO?


Neither
DonPMitchell
Here is a rather fanciful site dedicated to the Energiya technology: Energiya. They seem to overlook the fact that it doesn't really exist anymore.

I misread Wade's article by the way, Polyus was based on the TKS, not the TMK. I must be becoming dyslexic in my old age...

There have been a lot of stories about Nudel'man antiaircraft cannons developed for the Almaz/Salyut stations and Polyus. On the Salyuts, Wikipedia says they were test fired in space. Asif Siddiqi says they were never deployed in orbit. So you can chose from the opinions of an expert in Soviet space history or the random teenager who wrote the wikipedia article. :-)

Certainly the Russians and Americans experimented with anti-satellite weapons though. The US has ground-launched missles designed to reach satellites. The Wikipedia article is worthless, but Sven Grahan has a great website about the Soviet interceptor satellites: Polyut
This is a "lo-fi" version of our main content. To view the full version with more information, formatting and images, please click here.
Invision Power Board © 2001-2018 Invision Power Services, Inc.