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ULA launch and discussion thread


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4 hours ago, RCgothic said:

But they have been hot fired, which seems unusual for pathfinders maybe.

Isn't that the norm ? LE-9 of MHI/JAXA's new H-3 launcher has also been test-fired (in fact up to the launch config of 3 simultaneous engines) but it won't be used on the first flight - they've been tested multiple times, and in multiple design iteration, since years ago. If anything now the first H-3 launch has been delayed to next year (2021, initially expected to be about now - end of 2020) so it's unlikely that the latest article would get to fly, probably more of finalizing the design.

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3 hours ago, RealKerbal3x said:

Raptor SN2 was originally intended to fly. These won't. So that wouldn't be snarky enough.

If these can be fired for ground tests they could probably do small hop with test device. But ULA does not test so intensively  (or do not tell about their tests) and need more developed motors to their test devices.

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3 hours ago, Hannu2 said:

they could probably do small hop

Kinda pointless if you're not doing propulsive landing back. If you're willing to loose some grain silo and you do intend to land said grain silo propulsively back, then it'd make more sense.

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It sounds to me like these are test articles that revealed some problem in the design which can't be economically retrofitted, so they are now being used as dummy engines to "pathfind" manufacturing processes at ULA.

When SpaceX does this sort of thing, a lot of people on this website adore them for their supposedly unique approach to vehicle design. But if BO and ULA do it, then it's a scam?

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9 hours ago, mikegarrison said:

When SpaceX does this sort of thing, a lot of people on this website adore them for their supposedly unique approach to vehicle design. But if BO and ULA do it, then it's a scam?

Yeah, this seems not only normal, but an excellent use of flawed test engines. Assuming the interface design is not the problem, all the plumbing is in the same place for dry fits to thrust structures, etc.

The not flight articles dig was just, well, a dig at BO—they literally have all the money in the world, and they seem to be running behind schedule.

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2 hours ago, tater said:

they literally have all the money in the world, and they seem to be running behind schedule.

Eh, not the first time it ever happened, so...

Also I should note that it seems to go about the same pace as H-3's LE-9 : conceived 2013/2014, tests starting 2014, first flight 2021. F1/F9's Merlin dated back from all the way in 2002, and it only get to the 9-engine phase in 2010. Probably if they had a smaller launch vehicle to test it first on it'd get up faster since the requirements are much less than the final/latest requirements.

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13 hours ago, mikegarrison said:

When SpaceX does this sort of thing, a lot of people on this website adore them for their supposedly unique approach to vehicle design. But if BO and ULA do it, then it's a scam?

It is return from intentional PR work. I think it is just fun for Musk to be popular among space nerds.

Development process of Blue Origin seem to be very slow even Bezos has all benefits than Musk has and he is even richer. Musk's talks about Mars and aspirational schedules are what they are but SpaceX seem to bring every year something interesting to publicity or market.

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4 hours ago, Hannu2 said:

It is return from intentional PR work. I think it is just fun for Musk to be popular among space nerds.

The Soviet style PR of BO is at least part of the problem in the other direction, they're substantially less transparent. ULA itself is maybe somewhere in between PR wise (largely because unlike Blue, they actually launch stuff, plus Tory Bruno is awesome).

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