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Exoscientist

New Shepard derived orbital rocket.

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Blue Origin's New Shepard rocket made history as the first rocket to do a vertical landing after a flight to suborbital space. It is intended only as a suborbital rocket.
However, by using triple cores of the New Shepard with a small upper stage, a la the Delta IV Heavy, you actually get an orbital rocket:

Triple Cored New Shepard as an orbital vehicle.
http://exoscientist.blogspot.com/2016/01/triple-cored-new-shepard-as-orbital.html

  Bob Clark

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What tells you that it could actually be "tripled-cored". If it wasn't designed for that purpose from the start, you would basically need to redesign the entire structure to handle the dynamic loads on the attachment points. Also, I would think that the aerodynamic system at the top of the rocket would prevent any lateral attachments.

No, if they want to go orbital, it makes sense to design an orbital rocket from scratch rather than to waste money modifying something that wasn't designed for it in the first place.

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2 hours ago, Nibb31 said:

What tells you that it could actually be "tripled-cored". If it wasn't designed for that purpose from the start, you would basically need to redesign the entire structure to handle the dynamic loads on the attachment points. Also, I would think that the aerodynamic system at the top of the rocket would prevent any lateral attachments.

No, if they want to go orbital, it makes sense to design an orbital rocket from scratch rather than to waste money modifying something that wasn't designed for it in the first place.

Maybe they could use New Sheperd as an orbital rocket using lower-cost boosters.

Either way, this would require modifications to the New Sheperd, but it would likely be safer than a regular rocket and cheaper to make. This is not something Blue seems to be interested though- they seem to be concentrated on the EELV market of Orbital Rockets, not the Smallsat/Cubesat Market.

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2 hours ago, Nibb31 said:

If it wasn't designed for that purpose from the start, you would basically need to redesign the entire structure to handle the dynamic loads on the attachment points. Also, I would think that the aerodynamic system at the top of the rocket would prevent any lateral attachments

…but it works in KSP!

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7 hours ago, Exoscientist said:

Blue Origin's New Shepard rocket made history as the first rocket to do a vertical landing after a flight to suborbital space. It is intended only as a suborbital rocket.
However, by using triple cores of the New Shepard with a small upper stage, a la the Delta IV Heavy, you actually get an orbital rocket:

Triple Cored New Shepard as an orbital vehicle.
http://exoscientist.blogspot.com/2016/01/triple-cored-new-shepard-as-orbital.html

  Bob Clark

Where did you get your 25,000kg payload number for their orbital launcher?

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1 hour ago, saabstory88 said:

Where did you get your 25,000kg payload number for their orbital launcher?

Probably Delta-V calculations- however, it's pretty darned high. Did you account for lower surface ISP? Did you account for things like fairing mass?

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9 minutes ago, fredinno said:

Probably Delta-V calculations- however, it's pretty darned high. Did you account for lower surface ISP? Did you account for things like fairing mass?

I'm referring to the article " As their next development Blue Origin intends to make a several million pound thrust rocket capable of sending 25 metric tons to LEO."

@Exoscientist I want to know the source of that knowledge, as in, where and in what context did Blue Origin say that? I'm thirsty for details about their orbital launcher.

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21 minutes ago, saabstory88 said:

I'm referring to the article " As their next development Blue Origin intends to make a several million pound thrust rocket capable of sending 25 metric tons to LEO."

@Exoscientist I want to know the source of that knowledge, as in, where and in what context did Blue Origin say that? I'm thirsty for details about their orbital launcher.

Oh, I misread. My bad.

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They'd need new upper stages, unless somebody want to lend them in... That being said, they can also go up Atlas-style I guess ? With three cores and engines on start and one core for circularization or so ? The engines would need to be retested for vacuum though. Also, they need horizontal velocity landing test too (the only test they did wasn't comparable to orbital going trajectory in terms of horizontal velocity).

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The Blue Origin orbital rocket that was unveiled in August seems to be a medium-lift rocket. They would recover it SpaceX-style, with the entire rocket landing back at the cape. I think having a BE-4 powered stage would be more powerful and more efficient than three BE-3 powered cores. 

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A medium class lifter would disagree with the 25 tons to LEO figure, though? That much payload would move it two tiers up, firmly into heavy lifter territory.

Mind you, I can find no reference to "medium", or indeed any payload specification whatsoever, in information released by Blue Origin. I can also find no source for the 25 tons that exoscientist claims, either - and several articles in that blog have been poorly researched in the past, so I am extra cautious of it. The only thing I can come up with in regards to heavy-class lifting with BE-4 is ULA's Vulcan rocket, which in some of its advanced configurations might achieve something around that payload. Which of course has absolutely nothing to do with Blue Origin's own launchers, nor what the BE-4 is capable of (as the Vulcan uses two, and up to six solid boosters, in conjunction with the world's most efficient upper stage).

In regards to the OP, just because a trio of New Shepards can muster the appropriate dV doesn't mean it's capable of orbital flight - no matter if it's alone or in a bundle. The speeds are way higher, communication must happen over much bigger distances, and there's a whole host of regulations that it may not meet. It is simply not designed for that. Blue Origin knows what they are doing in developing a dedicated, purpose-built vehicle for the job. If it was as easy as bolting cores together, Blue Origin would be doing it. But when an innovative newspace company full of highly qualified rocket scientists isn't doing it, that should be a pretty strong indication that there are factors in play that this simplified analysis hasn't taken into account.

Edited by Streetwind

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New Shepard is just slightly taller than the stowed landing legs on the Falcon 9. A New Origin derived orbital rocket wouldn't make sense. New Origin is meant to send tourists up on a short sub-orbital flight, not as an orbital payload delivery system. I find it odd that a lot of the billionaire space entrepreneur twitter fights are between Musk and Bezos, who's space businesses aren't even in the same subindustries of the space industry. If any of the billionaire entrepreneurs should be picking fights with each other, it should be Bezos and Branson.

I have seen a few references to an orbital rocket that Blue Origin might make, but with them selling the BE-4 to ULA for the Vulcan, and an already crowded field of orbit capable companies, I don't see where BOs niche is in the launcher business.

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1 hour ago, Robotengineer said:

New Shepard is just slightly taller than the stowed landing legs on the Falcon 9. A New Origin derived orbital rocket wouldn't make sense. New Origin is meant to send tourists up on a short sub-orbital flight, not as an orbital payload delivery system. I find it odd that a lot of the billionaire space entrepreneur twitter fights are between Musk and Bezos, who's space businesses aren't even in the same subindustries of the space industry. If any of the billionaire entrepreneurs should be picking fights with each other, it should be Bezos and Branson.

I have seen a few references to an orbital rocket that Blue Origin might make, but with them selling the BE-4 to ULA for the Vulcan, and an already crowded field of orbit capable companies, I don't see where BOs niche is in the launcher business.

Blue probably has a future in Space Tourism and Rocket Engines- but fat chance getting into the launching business at this point. I have a feeling that business will crash and burn- especially since it's already overcrowded, what with even Orbital ATK beginning to enter the commercial business with Antares (though that is probably a replacement for the Delta II, rather than an EELV-class rocket.) Even just SpaceX and ULA is crowded, especially since there also exists something called "Launchers from other nations".

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I could have sworn I saw somewhere an image showing New Shepard as the upper stage of an orbital rocket system.  Obviously, to make that work it would need some additional capabilities. (heatshield most notably) And, of course, the development of the first stage to mount it on.

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That's probably because the upper stage is meant to be running the BE-3 engine, much like New Shepard is doing. It's easy for someone to misunderstand that as actually making New Shepard the upper stage, and producing an artist's concept of that.

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1 hour ago, Exoscientist said:

 It's just rumors now. It's discussed on this forum:

https://thespaceport.us/forum/topic/42839-blue-origin-updates/?p=534107

 

  Bob Clark

Do you have a link to the original post by Baldusi?

Also, 14,400kn? Really? That means a vehicle with a lift-off mass of between 850,000 - 950,000 kilograms. Not sure they are going to try for a ULA killer while still supplying them engines.

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14 hours ago, saabstory88 said:

Do you have a link to the original post by Baldusi?

Also, 14,400kn? Really? That means a vehicle with a lift-off mass of between 850,000 - 950,000 kilograms. Not sure they are going to try for a ULA killer while still supplying them engines.

 

 Here's the discussion on the Nasaspaceflight.com forum:

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=10685.920

 Collaborating with ULA on the Vulcan by providing the BE-4 engine would be for mid-sized launcher. 

Their own launcher would be at a larger payload class.

  Bob Clark

On January 5, 2016 at 4:46 PM, fredinno said:

Does it work in RSS?:wink:

 I'd like to see someone give it a try. I'm not a Kerbal-head so can't do it myself.

BTW, what's a good tutorial for Kerbal?

  Bob Clark

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11 minutes ago, Exoscientist said:

 

 Here's the discussion on the Nasaspaceflight.com forum:

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=10685.920

 Collaborating with ULA on the Vulcan by providing the BE-4 engine would be for mid-sized launcher. 

Their own launcher would be at a larger payload class.

  Bob Clark

 I'd like to see someone give it a try. I'm not a Kerbal-head so can't do it myself.

BTW, what's a good tutorial for Kerbal?

  Bob Clark

...But Vulcan already IS intended for both heavy and EELV-level rockets. The only place Blue might be able to enter with their own launcher in that arrangement is the Antares/Delta II class and below-something I think BE-4 has too much thrust for.

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50 minutes ago, Exoscientist said:

 I'd like to see someone give it a try. I'm not a Kerbal-head so can't do it myself.

BTW, what's a good tutorial for Kerbal?

  Bob Clark

More tutorial than you can shake a reusable rocket stage at: http://forum.kerbalspaceprogram.com/index.php?/topic/26220-the-drawing-board-a-library-of-tutorials-and-other-useful-information/

The list is actively curated, but still: whenever you look for tutorials or demonstration videos, always pay special attention to the KSP version used, since many things in videos1-2 years old are not valid anymore.

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1 hour ago, fredinno said:

...But Vulcan already IS intended for both heavy and EELV-level rockets. The only place Blue might be able to enter with their own launcher in that arrangement is the Antares/Delta II class and below-something I think BE-4 has too much thrust for.

Pssst... "EELV" is not a launcher weight class. It's a government program.

Launchers are roughly grouped into small-lift (up to ~2 metric tons), medium-lift (up to ~20t), heavy-lift (up to ~50t) and superheavy-lift (anything above 50t). Sometimes the medium band is further differentiated into medium-lift (2t-10t) and intermediate-lift (10t-20t), because there's a lot of vehicles in that range. Also, if SpaceX really builds a 236 tons to LEO lifter, then there might need to be an entirely new category beyond superheavy for it. And launcher categories are somewhat rough and subjective when it comes to sorting vehicles that ride the borders between categories. For example, the Falcon Heavy is touted as "up to 53 metric tons" by SpaceX, which would make it a superheavy class lifter, but it really makes more sense to sort it as a heavy lifter since the 53t figure is fully expendable, a configuration in which it will probably never fly. It also requires fuel crossfeed, which has been all but canceled for actual IRL implementation AFAIK. And then you have weird cases like the STS/Space Shuttle, where you can argue whether or not the orbiter itself counts as payload, the answer to which changes the vehicle's weight class.

Edited by Streetwind

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3 hours ago, Streetwind said:

More tutorial than you can shake a reusable rocket stage at: http://forum.kerbalspaceprogram.com/index.php?/topic/26220-the-drawing-board-a-library-of-tutorials-and-other-useful-information/

The list is actively curated, but still: whenever you look for tutorials or demonstration videos, always pay special attention to the KSP version used, since many things in videos1-2 years old are not valid anymore.

 Thanks for that. What I'm especially interested in is the case where you use altitude compensation. In my blog post I just put in the new vacuum ISP into the payload estimator. But that is probably inaccurate since the estimator assumes just a regular nozzle and diminution at sea level. 

 In the blog post the estimator showed just using a nozzle extension to get altitude compensation increased the payload 50%. I want to confirm this really is the case. Then altitude compensation has importance beyond just for SSTO's and should be investigated for orbital launchers in general.

  Bob Clark

 

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Well I'm not sure how it applies to real launches, since I don't play with Realism Overhaul installed (and even then you can only get a rough approximation of IRL behavior). But for stock KSP with its 70km high atmosphere, I follow the rule of the thumb that the average Isp for an engine that flies all the way from sea level to vacuum is 90% towards vacuum.

In other words, for a Reliant (Isp 280-300) I estimate an average Isp of 298 for the whole launch. If I use nothing but Reliants all the way to orbit, that is.

As for altitude compensating nozzles, KSP only has one, namely an aerospike rocket. Nozzle extensions aren't available to play with, so I can only guess at the effect they might have. IRL there's no vehicle flying with an extending nozzle for in-atmosphere use either; the RL-10B on ULA's Centaur upper stage is firmly a vacuum engine and only has an extending nozzle to facilitate a shorter, more easily stored engine. Still, 50% sounds awfully high - if it was that good, everyone would have been all over it years ago. They didn't exactly skimp on the specs or expenses when building the RS-25 for the shuttle, after all; even today it's still one of the most impressive and capable rocket engines ever built. And it is literally burning from the pad all the way to orbit - the textbook case for altitude compensation. A bevvy of other "boosted sustainer" style engines have been built since then too, among them the Vulcain series for the Ariane 5. They, too, decided to pass on altitude compensation.

I'm not saying the concept is bunk, I'm just extremely skeptical because it's kind of an "old hat" that gets repeatedly and reliably passed over for developing new engines. There's gotta be some sort of reason for that, and I suspect that it simply doesn't pass a cost-benefit analysis, especially for liquid first stages but even for boosted sustainers.

 

Edited by Streetwind

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3 hours ago, Streetwind said:

Well I'm not sure how it applies to real launches, since I don't play with Realism Overhaul installed (and even then you can only get a rough approximation of IRL behavior). But for stock KSP with its 70km high atmosphere, I follow the rule of the thumb that the average Isp for an engine that flies all the way from sea level to vacuum is 90% towards vacuum.

In other words, for a Reliant (Isp 280-300) I estimate an average Isp of 298 for the whole launch. If I use nothing but Reliants all the way to orbit, that is.

As for altitude compensating nozzles, KSP only has one, namely an aerospike rocket. Nozzle extensions aren't available to play with, so I can only guess at the effect they might have. IRL there's no vehicle flying with an extending nozzle for in-atmosphere use either; the RL-10B on ULA's Centaur upper stage is firmly a vacuum engine and only has an extending nozzle to facilitate a shorter, more easily stored engine. Still, 50% sounds awfully high - if it was that good, everyone would have been all over it years ago. They didn't exactly skimp on the specs or expenses when building the RS-25 for the shuttle, after all; even today it's still one of the most impressive and capable rocket engines ever built. And it is literally burning from the pad all the way to orbit - the textbook case for altitude compensation. A bevvy of other "boosted sustainer" style engines have been built since then too, among them the Vulcain series for the Ariane 5. They, too, decided to pass on altitude compensation.

I'm not saying the concept is bunk, I'm just extremely skeptical because it's kind of an "old hat" that gets repeatedly and reliably passed over for developing new engines. There's gotta be some sort of reason for that, and I suspect that it simply doesn't pass a cost-benefit analysis, especially for liquid first stages but even for boosted sustainers.

 

 Thanks for that. An aerospike simulation for my scenario would be sufficient.

  I have used altitude compensation on a proposed Falcon 9 SSTO simulation here:

The Coming SSTO's: Falcon 9 v1.1 first stage as SSTO, Page 2.
http://exoscientist.blogspot.com/2013/11/the-coming-sstos-falcon-9-v11-first.html

 In that case the increase in payload with altitude compensation was 25%. There is a good reason for suspecting with the triple-cored case the increase would be more. That's because after the two side boosters drop off, the center core stage continues flying on at high altitude.at vacuum conditions. In other words for the triple core case, the center core stage spends a greater portion of the time at vacuum conditions. This will be the case whenever you have side boosters such as with the space shuttle or with the SLS, altitude compensation will have a greater effect in that case. In fact the central stage in such cases is more closely akin to second stage, and sometimes are even referred to as a "1.5 stage".

 

 BTW, I said I was not a "Kerbal-head", meaning not an expert in Kerbal. It occurs to me this has a double-meaning considering the appearance of the Kerbalnauts! ; -)

 

  Bob Clark

Edited by Exoscientist
clarity

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