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Author Topic: United Launch Alliance introduces Vulcan next generation launcher  (Read 12797 times)

Offline bobbymike

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http://www.ulalaunch.com/ula-unveils-americas-new-rocket-vulcan.aspx

Colorado Springs, Colo., (April 13, 2015) -- United Launch Alliance (ULA) unveiled its Next Generation Launch System (NGLS) today at the 31st Space Symposium. The new rocket, Vulcan, will transform the future of space by making launch services more affordable and accessible. The NGLS brings together decades of experience on ULA’s reliable Atlas and Delta vehicles, combining the best features of each to produce an all-new, American-made rocket that will enable mission success from low Earth orbit all the way to Pluto. 

“More capabilities in space mean more capabilities here on earth,” said Tory Bruno, president and CEO of United Launch Alliance. “Because the Next Generation Launch System will be the highest-performing, most cost-efficient rocket on the market, it will open up new opportunities for the nation’s use of space. Whether it is scientific missions, medical advancements, national security or new economic opportunities for businesses, ULA’s new Vulcan rocket is a game-changer in terms of creating endless possibilities in space.”

To help give all Americans a chance to play a role in the future of space, last month ULA launched an online naming competition that allowed Americans to vote on their favorite name for the NGLS. More than one million votes were cast, and Vulcan was the top choice.   

“As the company currently responsible for more than 70 percent of the nation’s space launches, it is only fitting that America got to name the country’s rocket of the future,” added Bruno. 

By streamlining the processes and rocket design, and developing a new all-American engine, ULA will continue to be the country’s most innovative, cost-efficient and technically rigorous launch company, providing a wide range of services to a broad customer base – including the most critical U.S. government missions.

“ULA’s precision and focus makes the remarkable seem routine. Our track record of 95 successful launches in less than nine years – an average of one launch per month – is unmatched in the industry. Our ability to deliver critical national security, scientific and commercial satellites into the correct orbit every time is filled with risks and challenges, and ULA has delivered every time. ULA’s reliability is and will continue to be part of the mission,” Tory Bruno concluded.

At today’s news announcement, Bruno also unveiled the Sensible, Modular, Autonomous Return Technology (SMART) initiative, which will be introduced into NGLS and allow ULA to reuse the most expensive portion of the first stage – the booster main engines – via mid-air capture. This allows a controlled recovery environment providing the confidence needed to re-fly the hardware.

Step one of NGLS will consist of a single booster stage, the high-energy Centaur second stage and either a 4- or 5-meter-diameter payload fairing. Up to four solid rocket boosters (SRB) augment the lift off power of the 4-meter configuration, while up to six SRBs can be added to the 5-meter version.

In step two, the Centaur second stage will be replaced by the more powerful, innovative Advanced Cryogenic Evolved Stage (ACES), making the NGLS capability that of today’s Delta IV Heavy rocket. ACES can execute almost unlimited burns, extending on-orbit operating time from hours to weeks.

Last year, ULA announced that it had partnered with Blue Origin, LLC, a privately funded aerospace company owned by Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos, to provide a cutting-edge engine for the NGLS while also providing a viable alternative to the Russian-made RD-180. This collaboration to fund the development of a new, U.S.-made BE-4 rocket engine, is part of the cost-reduction innovation for our customers. The BE-4 is designed for low recurring cost and will meet commercial and NASA requirements as well as those of the U.S. Air Force’s Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) program. The BE-4 uses low-cost liquid natural gas fuel and is designed for reuse.

With more than a century of combined heritage, United Launch Alliance is the nation’s most experienced and reliable launch service provider. ULA has successfully delivered more than 90 satellites to orbit that provide critical capabilities for troops in the field, aid meteorologists in tracking severe weather, enable personal device-based GPS navigation and unlock the mysteries of our solar system.

For more information on ULA, visit the ULA website at www.ulalaunch.com. Join the conversation at www.facebook.com/ulalaunch, twitter.com/ulalaunch, and instagram.com/ulalaunch
« Last Edit: April 13, 2015, 05:52:41 pm by bobbymike »
"I love those who can smile in trouble, who can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. 'Tis the business of little minds to shrink, but they whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves their conduct, will pursue their principles unto death." - Leonardo da Vinci

Offline fredymac

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Re: United Launch Alliance introduces Vulcan next generation launcher
« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2015, 04:02:17 am »
At today’s news announcement, Bruno also unveiled the Sensible, Modular, Autonomous Return Technology (SMART) initiative, which will be introduced into NGLS and allow ULA to reuse the most expensive portion of the first stage – the booster main engines – via mid-air capture. This allows a controlled recovery environment providing the confidence needed to re-fly the hardware.
 
I am trying to visualize this.  Eject motor and catch with a helicopter?  Parachute first stage and snag with C-17?  Disinformation aimed at Elon Musk? 

Offline TomS

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Re: United Launch Alliance introduces Vulcan next generation launcher
« Reply #2 on: April 14, 2015, 04:45:20 am »
The former, with an added dose of inflatable heatshield for deceleration.  Looks rather Rube Goldberg compared to just flying back the first stage.  Attached is ULA's illustration (twice somehow, and I can't figure out how to delete the duplicate).











Online merriman

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Re: United Launch Alliance introduces Vulcan next generation launcher
« Reply #3 on: April 14, 2015, 05:05:38 am »
Now, get Chesley Bonestell to illustrate this and you have something there.

David
We're the extra fuel they may need, Stanton...

Offline bobbymike

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"I love those who can smile in trouble, who can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. 'Tis the business of little minds to shrink, but they whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves their conduct, will pursue their principles unto death." - Leonardo da Vinci

Offline Triton

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Re: United Launch Alliance introduces Vulcan next generation launcher
« Reply #5 on: April 14, 2015, 11:18:28 am »
ULA Announce New Rocket - Vulcan, First Flight 2019

Published on Apr 14, 2015

United Launch Alliance announce the successor to the Atlas V and Delta IV rockets which will be phased out - The Vulcan



Offline Hobbes

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Re: United Launch Alliance introduces Vulcan next generation launcher
« Reply #6 on: April 15, 2015, 11:23:12 am »
One major innovation in the Vulcan will be the Integrated Vehicle Fluids (IVF) system for the upper stage. They plan to install a small internal combustion engine:
  • it drives a generator to generate electrical power for the stage,
  • its cooling system is used to pressurize the propellant and oxygen (using the heat from the engine to boil some of the propellant),
  • the exhaust will be used as a thruster (ullage and attitude control)
  • it is fueled by boiloff from the propellant and oxygen tanks
Paper on the subject (PDF)
They can replace several pressurant tanks with a 600cc straight-six flat-head engine that produces ~25 kW at full power, saving weight and extending the lifetime of the stage by a huge amount (10 instead of 2 restarts, lifetime measured in days rather than hours).



Offline ouroboros

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Re: United Launch Alliance introduces Vulcan next generation launcher
« Reply #7 on: April 18, 2015, 08:13:17 am »
Apparently CH-47 is baselined for the engine pack grab. Upper stage work is continuation of ACES, and submarine work for orbital fuel depots.

Offline fredymac

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Re: United Launch Alliance introduces Vulcan next generation launcher
« Reply #8 on: November 19, 2015, 09:17:33 am »
I guess I am waiting to be impressed.  Something more than a CGI.



Offline George Allegrezza

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Re: United Launch Alliance introduces Vulcan next generation launcher
« Reply #9 on: November 19, 2015, 10:58:07 am »
I guess I am waiting to be impressed.  Something more than a CGI.

2019 first flight, so that's all they got right now.

Online merriman

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Re: United Launch Alliance introduces Vulcan next generation launcher
« Reply #10 on: November 20, 2015, 05:13:12 am »
Good to see that Musk has driven the other non-government rocket guys to embrace re usability.

The Corona type recovery seems simple enough, and they're getting back engines that should be good for hours of operation. And they won't be wrinkling any tanks or suffering other stress induced problems to the entire booster as MAY the case with the Falcon full fly-back concept. Won't know till SpaceX gets a booster back in one piece to examine.

This is great! Feels like the mid-60's again -- the creative juices once again flowing; the rate of development increasing. Robert Heinlein must be smiling somewhere.

David

We're the extra fuel they may need, Stanton...

Offline Byeman

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Re: United Launch Alliance introduces Vulcan next generation launcher
« Reply #11 on: November 22, 2015, 05:19:47 am »
Good to see that Musk has driven the other non-government rocket guys to embrace re usability.


Still not a given.  Both could end up being dead ends.

Offline fredymac

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Re: United Launch Alliance introduces Vulcan next generation launcher
« Reply #12 on: November 22, 2015, 08:43:12 am »
Good to see that Musk has driven the other non-government rocket guys to embrace re usability.


Still not a given.  Both could end up being dead ends.

And yet there are rocket engineers in both companies who think there is a chance they can succeed.  Spacex is driven by a desire to break into a market and take a dominant position through superior technology.  ULA is a bureaucratized conglomerate being forced to react in absence of a government grant of monopoly.   I only wish companies with similar mindsets as Spacex would be able to review all the technical data on scramjets and take similar risks in pushing forwards with that approach to achieve the payload mass fractions necessary to drastically reduce launch costs.  I am much more interested by the possibility of mass access to space for the average person than another grandiose mission to whatever by a tiny handful of civil servants.  Unfortunately, NASA doesn't agree.

Offline Byeman

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Re: United Launch Alliance introduces Vulcan next generation launcher
« Reply #13 on: November 23, 2015, 10:42:40 am »
1.  And yet there are rocket engineers in both companies who think there is a chance they can succeed.

2.   Spacex is driven by a desire to break into a market and take a dominant position through superior technology. 

ULA is a bureaucratized conglomerate being forced to react in absence of a government grant of monopoly.   

3.  I only wish companies with similar mindsets as Spacex would be able to review all the technical data on scramjets and take similar risks in pushing forwards with that approach to achieve the payload mass fractions necessary to drastically reduce launch costs. 

4.  I am much more interested by the possibility of mass access to space for the average person than another grandiose mission to whatever by a tiny handful of civil servants.  Unfortunately,
5.  NASA doesn't agree.

1.  That is no different than the last 50 years.  There always have been people who thought that.  And also there was the Space shuttle.

2.  It isn't superior technology.  Just a rearrangement of existing technology.

3.  Why?  What makes you think that scramjets are the answer?

4.  Maybe space isn't for the masses.  Much like the depths of oceans.

5.  They may be right.  So be open to the possibility of being disappointed.

Offline mz

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Re: United Launch Alliance introduces Vulcan next generation launcher
« Reply #14 on: November 23, 2015, 12:35:38 pm »
What do the experts here think about the engine for ULA, Blue Origin's BE-4?

Blue Origin hasn't existed for very long and hasn't developed that many engines. BE-3 is a smaller hydrogen engine that has flown.

BE-4 is a 110,000 lb, or 50 t, or 500 kN lox-methane engine, oxygen rich staged combustion.

They've done some subscale preburner testing and powerpack testing.

They say they're on schedule for 2017 for the engine, and first flight of Vulcan is supposed to be 2019.

Attached latest and also some older graphics of the engine.

Blue Origin is not exactly very public about what they do...