Interorbital Systems launch vehicles

FutureSpaceTourist

ACCESS: Top Secret
Joined
Mar 11, 2010
Messages
589
Reaction score
16
Interorbital Systems (IOS), http://www.interorbital.com/, was founded in 1996 and was an Ansari X-prize entrant and current Google lunar X-prize competitor.

Their Ansari X-prize vehicle was the Solaris X. Little detailed info is available, the attached team info PDF (from the original X-prize site at http://space.xprize.org/ansari-x-prize/interorbital-systems) says 'proprietary' for most of the entries!

Following information is taken from the IOS website a few years ago:

The Solaris X rocket is designed for both orbital and suborbital tourism applications. It has been in development since 1997 as the second stage of our manned orbital rocket, the Neptune-Solaris. As a single stage stand-alone launcher, it will be initially flown in the X Prize competition.

The amphibious liquid propelled Solaris X is launched vertically from land or sea. It is a completely portable launch system with a four-person capacity and is capable of sub-orbital flights to 90 miles (152 km). The crew is contained in a reentry capsule equipped with an emergency escape system. The capsule separates at apogee and the capsule and rocket reenter the atmosphere separately. Capsule and rocket recovery take place at sea. The same recovery technology will be used later for our orbital launch system. Flight duration is expected to be 16-minutes. With its rapid turn-around time, the Solaris X rocket will be ready for a repeat launch within seven days.

Another (old) suboribtal rocket page from the website also described two smaller sounding rockets the Neutrino and Tachyon, described as follows:

Tachyon (RSX-2) Suborbital Rocket
The reusable, amphibious, RSX-2 Rocket can be launched from a land-based spaceport or from a free- floating launch unit at sea. Sea-launch operations will take place off the Southern California coast. IOS has a launch license from the US Office of Commercial Space Transportation to carry out launch operations in this region. Land based launches will take place from the Kingdom of Tonga in the South Pacific. The 30-foot long RSX-2 uses storable propellants. It is capable of lifting a 5-pound payload to an altitude of 125 miles (202-km). It has internal guidance.

Tachyon (RSX-2) Technology
Presently, there is a large demand for suborbital rockets and an even greater demand for liquid-fueled suborbital rockets because of their low acceleration rates and non-corrosive exhaust products. Currently, Interorbital Systems is the only US company offering storable-propellant, liquid-fueled suborbital rockets. RSX-2 Rockets can be manufactured and launched at a relatively low cost because the rockets utilize the following:

» Pressure-fed rocket engines—pressurized gas feeds the propellants into the engines
» Low-cost, off-the-shelf hardware, such as valves, microprocessors, and gyroscopes are used where possible
» High-technology hardware, such as guidance units, rocket engines, and recovery equipment, are designed and built in-house
» Low-cost facilities
» Surf-launch

The Tachyon is part of the Solaris X development program, primarily for inertial guidance system testing.

Neutrino Suborbital Rocket
The Neutrino suborbital rocket is a single-stage, hypergolic (auto-ignition) liquid propellant research rocket. The 20-foot long spin stabilized rocket is designed to carry a 5-pound payload to an altitude of 65 miles (105 km). It can be custom configured for various payload weights and sizes. It is also part of the Solaris X development program.
 

Attachments

  • interorbital.pdf
    60.5 KB · Views: 6
  • Solaris%2520X%2520Basic%2520Ocean%2520Launch%2520Sequence%25.jpg
    Solaris%2520X%2520Basic%2520Ocean%2520Launch%2520Sequence%25.jpg
    22.6 KB · Views: 53
  • IOS%20Suborbital%20Rockets%201.jpg
    IOS%20Suborbital%20Rockets%201.jpg
    29.5 KB · Views: 59

blackstar

ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Sep 26, 2008
Messages
1,850
Reaction score
382
So what's the latest on TGV? I saw a presentation by them in Dec 2008, but have not heard anything on them ever since.
 

RanulfC

ACCESS: Top Secret
Joined
Mar 6, 2009
Messages
993
Reaction score
495
Seriously dated material FST ;D

They have revised their vehicle heavily from a 1.5-TO to a multi-cluster OTRAG type rocket called the "Neptune Series Modular Rocket"
http://www.interorbital.com/Neptune%20Modular%20Page_1.htm

So far they are planning the Neptune-30, Neptune-45, Neptune-1000, and Neptune-4000 vehicles with the 1000 launching a 2-person orbital capsule (the CM-2 currently under development) and the 4000 launching their CM-6 6-person orbital capsule.

All vehicles are now to be land launched from Spaceport Tonga, (http://www.interorbital.com/Spaceport%20Tonga_1.htm) which they have recently recieved approval for from the King of Tonga. Intial flights will carry "Tube-Sats" and "Cube-Sats" from various universities and agencies including the University of Sydney, U of California, and West Point.

They are also participating in the Google Lunar X-Prize as a Launch Vehicle provider for Team Synergy-Moon:
http://www.synergymoon.com/

Overall it looks like they have completly dropped the idea of using a 1.5-STO sea-launched vehicle in favor of the land-launched OTRAG type vehicle. Which also means they seem to have dropped the idea of their Orbital Tourism Vehicle using a "wet-tank" orbital workshop as well.

Which is an overall bummer 'cause I really like the concept, but a business has to do what a business has to do :D

Randy
 

FutureSpaceTourist

ACCESS: Top Secret
Joined
Mar 11, 2010
Messages
589
Reaction score
16
blackstar said:
So what's the latest on TGV? I saw a presentation by them in Dec 2008, but have not heard anything on them ever since.

Not much, as far as I could tell when researching their X-prize entry. Little seems to have changed on their website in the last few years.

RanulfC said:
Seriously dated material FST ;D

I thought that was the whole point of this website ;D

Thanks for posting the more up to date stuff, I'm still trying to complete the Ansari X-prize info!
 

RanulfC

ACCESS: Top Secret
Joined
Mar 6, 2009
Messages
993
Reaction score
495
FutureSpaceTourist said:
RanulfC said:
Seriously dated material FST ;D

I thought that was the whole point of this website ;D

Thanks for posting the more up to date stuff, I'm still trying to complete the Ansari X-prize info!
My apologies you are of course correct! I will have to see about up-loading some of my earlier IOS concept pictures and how they worked!

Thanks for the reminder!

Randy
 

FutureSpaceTourist

ACCESS: Top Secret
Joined
Mar 11, 2010
Messages
589
Reaction score
16
RanulfC said:
They have revised their vehicle heavily from a 1.5-TO to a multi-cluster OTRAG type rocket called the "Neptune Series Modular Rocket"
http://www.interorbital.com/Neptune%20Modular%20Page_1.htm

Graphics from that page attached. It seems the OTRAG connection is strong:

The IOS modular rocket system is an evolved version of a similar system developed by OTRAG in the 1970's. Lutz Kayser, the former head of the OTRAG team, is a primary consultant on the IOS project.
 

Attachments

  • n30 core stage cpm assembly 1 S1.jpg
    n30 core stage cpm assembly 1 S1.jpg
    10.2 KB · Views: 36
  • n45 rocket assembly w plumes jpeg 1 S1.jpg
    n45 rocket assembly w plumes jpeg 1 S1.jpg
    17 KB · Views: 234
  • n30  launch platform assembly 1a S1.jpg
    n30 launch platform assembly 1a S1.jpg
    23.9 KB · Views: 48
  • N30 Above Eua W1.jpg
    N30 Above Eua W1.jpg
    169.6 KB · Views: 51

blackstar

ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Sep 26, 2008
Messages
1,850
Reaction score
382
That reminds me. Back when I was working on the CAIB some guy sent us a copy of his manuscript about launch vehicles. I have it somewhere. He didn't seem to be totally off his rocker, but the gist of his manuscript was that the United States had made a major mistake back in the 1960s by not developing clustered rockets and instead choosing to develop the Saturn V (and later the Shuttle). I think he had lots of description of what a clustered system could do, mainly that because it was modular you could scale up and mass produce and all that. We weren't seeking to question the development of US launch vehicles since the 1960s with the investigation, so his manuscript was not very useful to us.

I can remember skimming it and thinking that he was missing a key part in his argument--if his solution was so completely obvious, how come nobody else embraced it? There must be reasons, good reasons or otherwise. And the answer that "everyone else is dumb" is not a good response. I didn't know if the clustered configuration had ever been seriously considered for the Saturn V, but I had a sneaking suspicion that Wernher von Braun probably knew more about rockets than this guy.

That's an attitude that you occasionally see with zealous personalities--they are convinced that they have developed the genius solution, but also think that it is completely self-evident, and then they have a bit of an attitude that everybody else must be morons for not seeing something so obvious. It's an attitude that does not serve them well.

But to actually add a little fact to my post and not simply opinion/observation, there are apparently a number of problems with the clustered rocket approach. One of the big ones is integration. It may be relatively easier to manufacture a bunch of tube rockets like that on a production line, but that really only shifts the difficulties to later in the process, when you have to actually connect all of them. You have to attach a bunch of them and that means a lot of fittings, a lot of plumbing and connections, and a lot of balancing. Apparently it was a challenge with the Titan IV simply to attach and balance the two big solids. Now multiply that challenge several times for a larger OTRAG type vehicle.

There are also apparently operational drawbacks as well. I don't understand these all that well, but they include pogo, slow reaction time, residual fuel in each of the rockets, and things like extra fuel on one side of the stack from the roll program.

All in all, it resembles something that we see a lot in the rocket world--it looks like there is an "obvious" way to make things simpler and cheaper, until you get down into the weeds and discover that choosing that path then opens up a whole bunch of other issues that you don't have to deal with when using the more conventional path.
 

RanulfC

ACCESS: Top Secret
Joined
Mar 6, 2009
Messages
993
Reaction score
495
Inter-Orbital Systems (IOS) has changed the overall direction of their launch vehicle design resulting in a "new" modular concept for their "Neptune" modular launch vehicle:'
http://www.interorbital.com/Neptune%20Modular%20Page_1.htm

This vehicle is in fact a continuation and updating of the orginal OTRAG concept as Lutz Kayser, former CEO of OTRAG is a consultant on the new vehicle. (As a note there; Lutz has also consulted and advised other "new-space" rocket companies such as Armidillo Aerospace both on advice on engineering, pumps and motor design as well as mistakes NOT to make when testing or building a new rocket)

The Neptune Modular Launch Vehicle will consist of a number of Common Propulsion Modules, (CPM's) each of which is capable of being used as a "stand-alone" rocket capable of lofting 145kg (@320lbs) to an alititude of 310km (@193 miles) under the current testing and sounding-rocket operations plans. (Several companies and universities have purchased space aboard CPM test flights already) Clustered together with parallel staging various models are planned to insert payloads into LEO.

Current examples given are"
(N30) Neptune-30
The modular NEPTUNE 30 is a three stage (parallel staged) micro-satellite launch vehicle capable of launching 30-Kg payload into polar low-earth orbit. It is composed of 5 Common Propulsion Modules and a solid spin-stabilized satellite kick-stage. The engine count breaks down to 4 booster engines, 1 stage two engine, and 1 stage three engine (a total of 6 engines). NEPTUNE 30 is designed to support the TubeSat, CubeSat, and general small-sat community. It is an evolved version of the IOS Sea Star rocket.
(Note that the website no longer has a listing or information on the Sea Star LV)

(N45) Neptune-45
The modular N45 is a three stage (parallel staged) micro-satellite launch vehicle capable of launching 45-Kg payload into polar low-earth orbit. It is composed of 7 Common Propulsion Modules and a solid spin-stabilized or a liquid guided satellite kick-stage. The engine count breaks down to 6 booster engines, 1 stage two engine, and 1 stage three motor or engine (a total of 8 engines). N45 is designed to support the TubeSat, CubeSat, and general small-sat community.

(N1000) Neptune-1000
The NEPTUNE 1000 is a four stage (parallel staged), medium-lift launch vehicle capable of placing a 1000-Kg payload into polar low-earth orbit or accelerating a 190-Kg payload to Earth-escape velocity. The rocket is composed of 33 Common Propulsion Modules. The engine count breaks down to 24 booster engines, 6 stage two engines, 2 stage three engines, and 1 stage four engine. The NEPTUNE 1000 is slated to launch the Google Lunar X PRIZE SYNERGY MOON lander/rover to the Moon. It will also be utilized to launch a two-person crew module into low earth orbit for short orbital tourism missions. The crew module (CM-2) is presently in development.

(N4000) Neptune-4000
The Neptune 4000 is a four stage (parallel staged), heavy-lift launch vehicle capable of placing a 4000-Kg payload into low-earth orbit or accelerating 760-Kg payload to Earth-escape velocity. The rocket is composed of 84 Common Propulsion Modules. The engine counts breaks down to 48 booster engines, 24 stage two engines, 8 stage three engines, and 4 stage four engines. It will serve as IOS's primary orbital tourism launch vehicle (Orbital Expeditions).

Current customers awaiting flights include the United States Military Acadamy at West Point, the Synergy Lunar X-Prize Team and a Lunar Sample Return mission: http://www.interorbital.com/Lunar%20Sample%20Return_1.htm

Note that IOS does not currently have much information on their two person orbital tourism vehicle other than the informaton mentioned under the N1000 vehicle.
They have several paragraphs on their current 5-person Orbital Tourism passenger module which includes the following information:
Crew Module 6 (CM-6)
The CM is designed to accommodate five expedition crew members and one command pilot. The 6-person crew will be seated radially around a centrally located service compartment access hatch. Each crew member has a window providing excellent visibility. The CM is attached to the forward section of the rocket and has the following primary components: emergency escape system, life-support system, electric power system, docking collar, retro-rocket de-orbit system, attitude control system (ACS), parachute recovery system, and an aft heat-shield for reentry. The crew module is designed with the highest regard for safety and comfort.

The crew module will include the following safety features:

1) Emergency escape rockets to assure passenger survival in the event of a major propulsion system malfunction

2) An “armored”, multi-shell, carbon-composite/kevlar Crew Module to eliminate capsule depressurization dangers

3) Multiple-redundant life-support system components

4) A “center of gravity aft” Crew Module (CM) to assure a heat shield aft attitude during reentry

5) A multiple-redundant parachute landing system

And they have already constructed a crew intergration and training mock-up as seen on the website.

I would also note that they still have listed that during the 7 day orbital expedition the crew will live in the "Orbital Statioin Module" which is described as:
"The living space is composed of a 14-foot diameter by 20-foot long pressurant tank unit. The habitat features include a private window and work area for each astronaut-tourist, private quarters with private toilet and washing facilities, a common recreation area with enough space to truly enjoy the pleasures of weightlessness, and a specially equipped "space gourmet" galley."

Which doesn't "sound" like they are using CPM as the basis of the Orbital Module, hopefully more information will soon follow.

Currently they have an agreement with the Kingdom Of Tonga to conduct all launch and landing operations from a leased spaceport on the southern tip of the island "Eua" with all launches (it seems) being done from land rather than the earlier "ocean" or "surf" launch concept. Recoveries will take place in the ocean near the islands with pick up boats. It is not currently clear if the CPMs are going to be recovered and reused.
http://www.interorbital.com/Spaceport%20Tonga_1.htm

IOS it may be noted is still selling suborbital space on their CPM test vehicles as well as partial "ownership" in the heavier launch vehicles and offering a "free-ticket-to-space" also on their website:
"Payload space is currently available on these pre-orbital test flights at a cost of $500.00 per kilogram ($227.00 per pound). Payloads can include TubeSats, CubeSats, or single payloads weighing up to 30 kg. Universities, companies, or individuals are encouraged to contact Interorbital if they would like to fly a test payload."

http://www.interorbital.com/Orbital%20Vacations%20%20Page_1.htm

Neptune "fractional" ownership program:
http://www.interorbital.com/StorePage1.htm

Randy
 

RanulfC

ACCESS: Top Secret
Joined
Mar 6, 2009
Messages
993
Reaction score
495
blackstar said:
That reminds me. Back when I was working on the CAIB some guy sent us a copy of his manuscript about launch vehicles. I have it somewhere. He didn't seem to be totally off his rocker, but the gist of his manuscript was that the United States had made a major mistake back in the 1960s by not developing clustered rockets and instead choosing to develop the Saturn V (and later the Shuttle). I think he had lots of description of what a clustered system could do, mainly that because it was modular you could scale up and mass produce and all that. We weren't seeking to question the development of US launch vehicles since the 1960s with the investigation, so his manuscript was not very useful to us.
I don't suppose that would be "available" to look at would it? :)

One point that Lutz made as I recall was that Wernher von Braun not only reviewed the concept but came on board as an early advisor and was quite confident the system would work! I highly suspect that fuel choices along with "module" sizing and overall vehicle design is a MAJOR set of factors in the success or failure of clustered rockets of any type. I think the orginal OTRAG modules were far to small, heavy, and using under-performing propellant combinations any ONE of which would have probably made the concept unfeasable in the long run. Combined? I don't think the program had a chance.

I do recall that von Braun's intentions for the Saturn-1 changed a lot from its inception after it became operational. As I recall it was considered a "cluster" rocket also being made from "off-the-shelf" parts such as Redstone and Jupiter tankage and such. The fully-uprated Saturn-1B was actually looked at as the LEO 'taxi' vehicle of choice with the Saturn-V being the "Heavy" cargo and long-range lifter vehicle.
http://www.apollosaturn.com/as202/p19-22.htm
http://www.astronautix.com/lvs/saturni.htm

One thing that rather "surprised" von Braun as well as the majority of NASA engineers was the sheer "durability" of the various parts and equipment on the Saturn-1 first stage! Though never even CONSIDERED or DESIGNED for any form of "reusability" the H1 engines in fact turned out to be VERY robust and were heavily tested to see how salt water immersion effected rocket engines and their assemblies.
(info on that aspect can be found on OBB's blog here: http://up-ship.com/blog/?p=5948)

Surprisingly the engines proved capable of being cleaned and re-fired with no overall effects noted EVEN when an engine was fired, removed from the test stand, DUMPED into the water (to simulate actual recovery procedures) immersed for over 9 hours before being hauled up, and "cleaned" by simply spraying the engine fresh water, and then placed in storage for six-months before the engine was rebuilt and test fired! (Successfully with no abnormalities in operation through "second" simulated flight)

The evidence tends to bring into question, (IMHO at any rate :) ) the "conventional-wisdom" that ocean recovery and refurbishment of stages, especially LIQUID stages as compared to SOLIDs such as the Shuttle-SRBs, is a major cost driver for rocket operations.

Randy
 

mz

ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
May 28, 2007
Messages
676
Reaction score
20
Note that the Saturn's engines were designed to be reusable in a sense since they were test fired before launch.
And for pressure feds, density is more important than ISP (simplified)
 

blackstar

ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Sep 26, 2008
Messages
1,850
Reaction score
382
RanulfC said:
I don't suppose that would be "available" to look at would it?

Well, you're in luck. By total coincidence I was cleaning my office yesterday (lots of clutter) and I stumbled across that CD, believe it or not.

The author is: Raymond J. Schmitt

The title is: U.S. Manned Spaceflight in the 20th Century: The Successes. The Failures. The Options.

http://www.amazon.com/U-S-Manned-Spaceflight-20th-Century/dp/0972101004/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1287530517&sr=1-3

Amazon lists it as a 2002 CD-ROM that is not available. There are two reviews there, and you should read them.

He sent all of us investigators copies of this CD, I believe. Now it may not be commercially available, and it may never be commercially available, but I'm wary of sharing somebody's unpublished manuscript because I would totally hate it if somebody did that to me (you put a lot of effort and money into producing something, it is only fair to get compensated for it). This is as far as I'll go--I'll put the index and the first (short) chapter here. You can try to track down the guy if you want to get more.
 

Attachments

  • Chapter 1 - Sputnik and the beginning of the space age.pdf
    998.8 KB · Views: 10
  • Volume 1 - Index.pdf
    156.3 KB · Views: 7
  • Volume 1 - References.pdf
    425.2 KB · Views: 5

blackstar

ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Sep 26, 2008
Messages
1,850
Reaction score
382
RanulfC said:
The evidence tends to bring into question, (IMHO at any rate :) ) the "conventional-wisdom" that ocean recovery and refurbishment of stages, especially LIQUID stages as compared to SOLIDs such as the Shuttle-SRBs, is a major cost driver for rocket operations.

I think that still remains to be proven. There's more to recovery and refurbishment than salt water. I'd think that ocean impact is a major issue.

I'd really like SpaceX to prove that this is possible, but I'm agnostic about it at the moment. I don't know if it will work.
 

airrocket

Dreams To Reality
Joined
Mar 3, 2008
Messages
289
Reaction score
17
Website
RetroFlight.com
Saturn 1B basic cluster low cost fast development.


http://www.up-ship.com/drawndoc/drawndocspacesaturn.htm
 

Attachments

  • Saturn_1b_poster_large.jpg
    Saturn_1b_poster_large.jpg
    241.7 KB · Views: 24
  • 770px-The_First_Stages_of_Saturn_IB_in_Final_Assembly_-_GPN-2000-000043.jpg
    770px-The_First_Stages_of_Saturn_IB_in_Final_Assembly_-_GPN-2000-000043.jpg
    252.6 KB · Views: 25

Byeman

ACCESS: Top Secret
Joined
Jan 8, 2010
Messages
901
Reaction score
88
mz said:
Note that the Saturn's engines were designed to be reusable in a sense since they were test fired before launch.
And for pressure feds, density is more important than ISP (simplified)

All engines are test fired before launch, except in the case of Ariane 4
 

Similar threads

Top