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Old 04-02-2016, 04:49 PM
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blackshire blackshire is offline
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Default Blue Origin did it again!

Hello All,

Today Blue Origin www.blueorigin.com launched their New Shepard suborbital booster and capsule into space and recovered it successfully, marking this vehicle's third trip into space and back (see: http://www.space.com/32453-blue-ori...third-time.html ). Ironically, one of the comments below the article said simply, "Yawn." BUT:

That *is* the whole point. If space flight is ever going to be more than a series of expensive (although scientifically and economically worthwhile, especially where communications and other types of applications spacecraft are concerned) stunts, the process of going up there and coming back must become as routine and safe as air travel. (Due to the greater energies and velocities involved even in suborbital space flight [which make the consequences of even minor anomalies more serious than they are in jetliner travel], it may never be possible to make *reaction*-powered space launches as accident-free as jet flight [the various non-rocket methods might achieve that level of freedom from accidents], but proper design and multiple safety & abort options could make most such accidents exciting stories rather than tales of tragedy.)
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Old 04-03-2016, 10:23 PM
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All well and good, but suborbital IS (yawn) BTDT...

IF they were flying passengers suborbitally across the Pacific from California to Japan or Australia in 30 minutes, or from the Eastern Seaboard to Europe in 30 minutes, it might be the model for a "new era".

Flying a vehicle that's basically a glorified sounding rocket or some sort of plaything for the super-rich to fly straight up and straight back down without actually doing anything but floating around a few minutes and looking out the window, isn't going to make space any more accessible or affordable.

It's a good start, but it's basically a "reusable Redstone". Not even in the same class as SpaceX's Falcon 9.

Later! OL J R
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Old 04-03-2016, 11:23 PM
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Jerry Irvine Jerry Irvine is offline
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Originally Posted by luke strawwalker
All well and good, but suborbital IS (yawn) BTDT...

IF they were flying passengers suborbitally across the Pacific from California to Japan or Australia in 30 minutes, or from the Eastern Seaboard to Europe in 30 minutes, it might be the model for a "new era".

Flying a vehicle that's basically a glorified sounding rocket or some sort of plaything for the super-rich to fly straight up and straight back down without actually doing anything but floating around a few minutes and looking out the window, isn't going to make space any more accessible or affordable.

It's a good start, but it's basically a "reusable Redstone". Not even in the same class as SpaceX's Falcon 9.

Later! OL J R


The ticket price is on the order of $200k. Concorde was on the order of time adjusted $25k. A first class subsonic ticket is on the order of $6k. A private plane with 4 of your best friends is on the order of $35k.

The price differential is large for utility flights, so they are going for the stunt. Also the cross range has a substantial cost. They currently go straight up and down.

You are probably best off flying an A-380, have a dedicated office and VIP lounge, and selling the remaining space to the unwashed masses on a flight available basis.

See Jetsmarter.com

Tech Jerry
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Old 04-04-2016, 12:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by luke strawwalker
All well and good, but suborbital IS (yawn) BTDT...

IF they were flying passengers suborbitally across the Pacific from California to Japan or Australia in 30 minutes, or from the Eastern Seaboard to Europe in 30 minutes, it might be the model for a "new era".

Flying a vehicle that's basically a glorified sounding rocket or some sort of plaything for the super-rich to fly straight up and straight back down without actually doing anything but floating around a few minutes and looking out the window, isn't going to make space any more accessible or affordable.

It's a good start, but it's basically a "reusable Redstone". Not even in the same class as SpaceX's Falcon 9.

Later! OL J R
You're only looking at one tile of a large mosaic. Blue Origin has always had cislunar and interplanetary travel as their objectives, and to do that affordably requires reusable vehicles (they're developing a TSTO rocket with a reusable VTOVL first stage, and a more-maneuverable [higher crossrange] biconic crew capsule). As Jeff Bezos points out, New Shepard is the smallest vehicle they will ever build, and being the smallest and stubbiest, it is the most challenging to land successfully, balancing itself on its exhaust plume. Perfecting the VTOVL technique with it (which they have now done) will make it easier for them to incorporate the technology into the larger vehicles they're working on (and VTOVL is scalable up to very large sizes, as Bezos mentioned). Also:

New Shepard will make money for the company (the Zeppelin company's first commercial flights were "mere aerial excursions" paid for by well-heeled customers, yet they built the foundation for true point-to-point airline services, which improved heavier-than-air craft took over before long). So what if a ride on New Shepard is only what a rich person can afford? There is no reason why it must *always* be so--we're in the very infancy of truly commercial space flight, and New Shepard will provide the vehicle design & operations experience that will ultimately enable most people to be able to afford it. Even as it is now, though, New Shepard is a useful vehicle for scientific and commercial suborbital work. For example:

Many astronomers fly telescopes (particularly ones for use at wavelengths that are blocked by the Earth's atmosphere) on sounding rockets, because it can take years to book observing time on a space telescope. While such telescopes are often flown multiple times, they have to be rugged (and thus more expensive) in order to withstand the high ascent accelerations and ground impacts under their parachutes. Also, the rockets' solid propellants emit smoke after final-stage burnout, which can dirty-up the telescope optics and/or obscure the view (astronomers liked the liquid propellant Aerobees because they *didn't* have this problem). New Shepard can provide gentle rides for telescopes, which can thus be more cheaply built, and its clean (with positive cut-off) LOX/LH2 propulsion system is free from the smoke and outgassing that can mar the telescopes' views. As well:

Just by flying New Shepard repeatedly, Blue Origin is generating a knowledge base for reusable VTOVL vehicles that is still sorely lacking: How many times can such craft be reused? What level of maintenance will they require between flights? How often can they fly? How will they age, and what components will require refurbishment or replacement the most often? These and other questions can only be answered by flying it a lot. True, this isn't the most exciting space work, but I don't judge a project's value solely by how exciting it is--and it will be boringly reliable space vehicles that will *do* exciting things, and *go* to exciting places. I don't favor Blue Origin over SpaceX (or vice-versa); they're simply taking different paths to reach the same place, and there's no reason--at this point, at least--to conclude that one road is better than the other.
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Old 04-04-2016, 12:26 AM
Jerry Irvine's Avatar
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blackshire
Many astronomers fly telescopes (particularly ones for use at wavelengths that are blocked by the Earth's atmosphere) on sounding rockets, because it can take years to book observing time on a space telescope. While such telescopes are often flown multiple times, they have to be rugged (and thus more expensive) in order to withstand the high ascent accelerations and ground impacts under their parachutes. Also, the rockets' solid propellants emit smoke after final-stage burnout, which can dirty-up the telescope optics and/or obscure the view New Shepard can provide gentle rides for telescopes, which can thus be more cheaply built, and its clean (with positive cut-off) propulsion system is free from the smoke and outgassing that can mar the telescopes' views. As well:
I have zero smoke solids. I have retro landing soft landing after parachute landings. So there is a solid alternative now. So, now which is lower cost?

A liquid requires a team of 20-60 employees to operate. A solid requires 2-10. The 6-10th are partying.

Soyuz uses retros to land.

Solids can readily target under 3G if you don't use surplus ballistic missiles!

Tech Jerry
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Last edited by Jerry Irvine : 04-04-2016 at 12:49 AM.
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Old 04-04-2016, 12:47 AM
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blackshire blackshire is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerry Irvine
I have zero smoke solids. I have retro landing soft landing after parachute landings. So there is a solid alternative now. So, now which is lower cost?

A liquid requires a team of 20-60 employees to operate. A solid requires 2-10. The 6-10th are partying.

Soyuz uses retros to land.

Tech Jerry
But does NASA have this hardware in their sounding rocket inventory? Also, can sounding rockets be flown safely in spaces as small as the valley where New Shepard flies (its launch complex and landing pad are within sight and walking distance of each other)? Smokeless solid motors are a well-proven technology (the upper stage of the Nike-Iroquois [NIRO] was developed for that purpose), and so are rocket-cushioned parachute landing systems, but they are more operationally cumbersome (they're ordnance, and require EOD personnel to handle them, and they involve dropping unretarded spent stages onto the ground). New Shepard's engine can be cut off if it goes awry (I imagine it also has a Flight Termination System), and if its braking/landing maneuver fails, it just falls on or near its landing pad (which happened on a previous flight, while the capsule landed safely).
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http://www.lulu.com/product/cd/what...of-2%29/6126511
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Old 04-04-2016, 07:41 AM
Jerry Irvine's Avatar
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blackshire
But does NASA have this hardware in their sounding rocket inventory?
NASA has a purchasing process problem not a lack of available rockets problem.
Quote:
Originally Posted by blackshire
Also, can sounding rockets be flown safely in spaces as small as the valley where New Shepard flies (its launch complex and landing pad are within sight and walking distance of each other)?
I have flown high performance rockets in downtown LA for FX deals. You just need a steerable parachute on all parts to land them in a designated LZ.
Quote:
Originally Posted by blackshire
Smokeless solid motors are a well-proven technology (the upper stage of the Nike-Iroquois [NIRO] was developed for that purpose), and so are rocket-cushioned parachute landing systems, but they are more operationally cumbersome (they're ordnance, and require EOD personnel to handle them, and they involve dropping unretarded spent stages onto the ground). New Shepard's engine can be cut off if it goes awry (I imagine it also has a Flight Termination System), and if its braking/landing maneuver fails, it just falls on or near its landing pad (which happened on a previous flight, while the capsule landed safely).
As you know from your own experience, rocket motors are not "ordnance" and liquids have so many costs and problems solids should always be the first choice as they are with virtually all tactical missiles.
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Old 04-04-2016, 08:22 PM
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blackshire blackshire is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerry Irvine
NASA has a purchasing process problem not a lack of available rockets problem.
I have flown high performance rockets in downtown LA for FX deals. You just need a steerable parachute on all parts to land them in a designated LZ.
As you know from your own experience, rocket motors are not "ordnance" and liquids have so many costs and problems solids should always be the first choice as they are with virtually all tactical missiles.
I wasn't being sarcastic; I was just pointing out an unfortunate but unavoidable issue when working with NASA, who at least partly fund many university sounding rocket experiments. I know that their rules often have the effect (whether or not it's intended) of "freezing out" contractors outside of their "inner circle" of legacy suppliers. If they don't want to use a company's hardware--for whatever reason--and a university experimenter wants to fly a payload at Wallops, White Sands, Poker Flat, or another fixed or mobile range that NASA uses, the experimenter has to settle for whatever NASA-used rocket(s) best fit his or her requirements. Also:

I don't know if a conventional sounding rocket (even if fitted with a Saab S-19 [or other] guidance system and a steerable parachute) would be allowed to fly in such a small space (even Esrange's "small" downrange impact area is only small in comparison with those of Andøya, Poker Flat, and Wallops; it's quite large in comparison with downtown LA). Sounding rockets drop unretarded parts such as nose cones and lower stages, which need plenty of empty land or sea in which to fall safely. Blue Origin's landing pad for New Shepard is only about two miles from its launch pad (see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_Origin ), which is due to its very "compact" trajectory ellipse, and it doesn't drop unretarded, unguided components. Even considering a two-mile radius all around its launch pad (or even a five-mile radius, for a "safety buffer"), such reusable VTOVL suborbital vehicles can fly safely in much smaller areas than traditional sounding rockets. In addition:

Solids are simpler than liquids, but they are ordnance, having TNT equivalence ratings (the Maxus guided sounding rocket's Castor IVB motor can detonate if dropped from a height of 1 meter or more during handling), while unfueled liquid propellant vehicles are safe (and less massive, even if somewhat larger) to handle. Throttlable, reloadable hybrids would be even safer than liquids for suborbital VTOVL spacecraft, having TNT equivalences of zero. (For suborbital vehicles, where the mass ratio isn't so critical, the hybrid motors could have tough, thick-walled maraging steel motor cases that could be reloaded many times. The aft closure could be bolted on for ease of fuel grain casting, or a gel-type uncured fuel [which would cure into a hard rubber fuel grain] could be pumped into a "unitary" hybrid motor case, using an inflatable or dissolveable mandrel to create the center void in the fuel grain.)
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http://www.lulu.com/product/cd/what...of-2%29/6122050
http://www.lulu.com/product/cd/what...of-2%29/6126511
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Old 04-07-2016, 04:24 PM
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Exemptions not regulations. Please support DOT treating slow burning solids as not subject to HMR. 2015 NAR President declines!
U.S. Rockets instaship. http://bit.ly/1aca7mA Please buy some rockets.
The O administration believed in tax, spend, borrow, fine, mandate, monologue. D voters will soon be very happy with the election outcome!
Model rocketry is as safe as safe can be defined in human existence. Bow and pray: GH Stine, Orville, Vern, Lee, Lonnie, Carl, etc. No, really.
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Old 04-07-2016, 04:31 PM
Jerry Irvine's Avatar
Jerry Irvine Jerry Irvine is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blackshire
"freezing out" contractors outside of their "inner circle" of legacy suppliers. If they don't want to use a company's hardware--for whatever reason--and a university experimenter wants to fly a payload at Wallops, White Sands, Poker Flat, or another fixed or mobile range that NASA uses, the experimenter has to settle for whatever NASA-used rocket(s) best fit his or her requirements.

Throttlable, reloadable hybrids would be even safer than liquids for suborbital VTOVL spacecraft, having TNT equivalences of zero. (For suborbital vehicles, where the mass ratio isn't so critical, the hybrid motors could have tough, thick-walled maraging steel motor cases that could be reloaded many times. The aft closure could be bolted on for ease of fuel grain casting, or a gel-type uncured fuel [which would cure into a hard rubber fuel grain] could be pumped into a "unitary" hybrid motor case, using an inflatable or dissolveable mandrel to create the center void in the fuel grain.)
How about this. I have large hybrid technology in stock. You propose a new NASA sub-orbital launch vehicle and spend half your day doing the required paperwork. I will make the required prototypes for spin balance tests, drop tests, and live fire tests. Out the other end in 2-3 years we will have a new LV.

Not a bad legacy for you, and a stay-at-home process.

Jerry

cite:
http://link.springer.com/article/10...01026331#page-1

APCP must have a TNT equivalency of zero too since it cannot detonate. Just don't put in RDX or HMX.
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Exemptions not regulations. Please support DOT treating slow burning solids as not subject to HMR. 2015 NAR President declines!
U.S. Rockets instaship. http://bit.ly/1aca7mA Please buy some rockets.
The O administration believed in tax, spend, borrow, fine, mandate, monologue. D voters will soon be very happy with the election outcome!
Model rocketry is as safe as safe can be defined in human existence. Bow and pray: GH Stine, Orville, Vern, Lee, Lonnie, Carl, etc. No, really.

Last edited by Jerry Irvine : 04-07-2016 at 05:23 PM.
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