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Thread: Reusable Rockets

  1. #1
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    Reusable Rockets

    SpaceX has started a stampede of investment worldwide to develop reusable rockets or be left behind. Starting this thread to capture in one place all those developments.

    https://worldview.stratfor.com/artic...next-space-age

    When Tesla founder Elon Musk and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos began testing reusable rockets, few understood the significance of what they were trying to achieve. Now that Musk's company SpaceX is routinely re-launching used Falcon 9 boosters — not to mention the Falcon Heavy, which launched Feb. 6 with three times the payload of the space shuttle — the feat seems practically mundane. It's the new normal.

    But these launches are nothing short of extraordinary. The rise of reusable rockets is a revolution on par with the invention of the sail or the steam engine: It will change everything.
    and from QUARTZ

    https://qz.com/1209330/spacexs-falco...nasa-on-board/

    When SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket debuted this month, China’s aerospace community was mostly envious, noting that their equivalent rocket, the Long March 9, would not be ready for another decade. One story in state media observed that “to put it more bluntly, this time the Americans showed us Chinese with pure power why they are still the strongest country in the world.”

    The head of Europe’s space program watched the US company launch its enormous, largely reusable new rocket, and was also inspired.

    “Totally new ideas are needed and Europe must now prove it still possesses that traditional strength to surpass itself and break out beyond existing borders,” wrote Jan Wörner, director general of the European Space Agency, on his official blog. He expressed dismay that rockets now being built by Europe’s space company, Arianespace, won’t be reusable, which puts them at a deep cost disadvantage to SpaceX. He called for a re-thinking of Europe’s rocket program.
    Last edited by selvaarchi; 2018-Feb-20 at 01:29 PM.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by selvaarchi View Post
    SpaceX has started a stampede of investment worldwide to develop reusable rockets or be left behind. Starting this thread to capture in one place all those developments.

    https://worldview.stratfor.com/artic...next-space-age



    and from QUARTZ

    https://qz.com/1209330/spacexs-falco...nasa-on-board/
    Huh? What stampede of investment? As far as I know China, ESA and Russia are developing expendable rockets.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 7cscb View Post
    Huh? What stampede of investment? As far as I know China, ESA and Russia are developing expendable rockets.
    You left out India and do not be surprised if Japan too joins in. The other three also have plans for reusable rockets and SpaceX's success should only spur them on.
    Last edited by selvaarchi; 2018-Feb-20 at 02:26 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by selvaarchi View Post
    You left out India and do not be surprised if Japan too joins in. The other three also have plans for reusable rockets and SpaceX's success should only spur them on.
    Japan has joined the race too.

    http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201807300031.html

    The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) plans to test a “reusable rocket” next year in a race to catch up to its U.S. and European rivals in the launching business.

    “We feel a strong sense of crisis,” said Koichi Okita, who heads JAXA’s research unit for the project. “Japan also needs to acquire the technology to enhance its international competitiveness.”

    Reusable rockets and engines can significantly reduce the costs to launch satellites into orbit. European countries and the United States have taken the lead in developing such technology.

    JAXA’s rocket for the test is 7 meters high and weighs 2 tons. It will take off via the 4-ton thrust force created by an engine that mixes and burns liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen.

    Under the plan, the test launch in March 2019 will send the rocket to about 100 meters in altitude. The rocket will then return to Earth and land vertically on its base.

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    Information on Russia's development of reusable rockets.

    http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/Ru...ocket_999.html

    Russia's Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center has finished the development of a blueprint for Russia's reusable launch vehicle and sent the relevant materials to Roscosmos' Central Research Institute of Machine Building (TsNIIMash) for assessment, the Khrunichev center's press office told Sputnik.

    "The materials on reusable subjects were sent to TsNIIMash. They should study them and provide their expert opinion," a spokesperson for the space center said.

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    A very nice piece of BFS art.

    A bit dated--but stunning all the same:
    https://www.reddit.com/r/SpaceXLoung...am_oc_graphic/

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    Yeah...great style. Dated? Is the current version smaller?

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    The first comment says it is a non-SpaceX related interior interpretation (not by an engineer) of a certain 3D CAD drawing from 2017.

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    China has shown a model of the Long March 6X at the 20th China International Industrial Fair in Shanghai. It is planed for the 1st stage to be reusable.

    https://gbtimes.com/heres-a-first-lo...and-and-repeat

    A model of a new Chinese Long March launch vehicle which will be able to land its first stage at a fixed point and be reused for future launches has been unveiled in Shanghai.

    The 'Long March 6X' is one of the first attempts China is making at developing reusable rockets, having witnessed the game-changing rise of the American SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket which can land and reuse its first stage.
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    China is investing in reusable technology following SpaceX's success.

    https://gbtimes.com/chinese-rocket-i...-space-program

    A Chinese rocket institute hosted a contest in August for launch vehicle recovery designs, which could potentially help inspire future innovative space research and development.

    The China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology (CALT) held the competition in Beijing in early August, focusing on the cutting-edge technologies in launch vehicle recovery and gathering participants from professional research institutes, universities, organizations and interest groups, according to CCTV.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by 7cscb View Post
    Yeah...great style. Dated? Is the current version smaller?
    Larger.

    That cutaway is the 48 meter long 2017 concept, and the scaling is inconsistent.

    The 2018 BFS is 55 meters long, the big observation deck window returns, the internal pressurized volume is up tp ~1,100 cubic meters (larger than ISS), it can carry 88 cubic meters of cargo in 12 pods around the perimeter of the engine bay, and the Raptor engine is 200t of thrust with a 300 bar chamber pressure.

    3 landing legs, 2 movable which can act as air brakes, and 2 canards/air brakes up front.

    Moreover; they've started building the flight test vehicle.

    BRS_arrays.jpg

    BFS stern.jpg

    BFR-tent-mandrel-completed-segment-SpaceX.jpg

    BFR barrel + Yusaku.jpg
    Last edited by docmordrid; 2018-Sep-25 at 09:56 AM.

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    Ouch. That aft cargo storage must get hot!
    Selden

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    Video in chinese shows China's progress in reusable rockets. You can just about floow it with the attached notes in english.

    http://www.cctvplus.com/archive/2018...ml#!language=1

    1. Various of animation showing reusable aerospace vehicle
    2. SOUNDBITE (Chinese) Zou Hong, head, commercial space administration, third research institute, China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (starting with shot 1/partially overlaid with shot 3):
    "Combined power is the key technology of future space vehicles of this kind. We have recently completed the flight test of 'Tengfei 1' and it was the first flight test in China that had realized the mode conversion of combined power. This step plays a key role in the future development of the combined power in aerospace vehicles."
    ++SHOT OVERLAYING SOUNDBITE++
    3. Animation showing ignition of combined power system
    ++SHOT OVERLAYING SOUNDBITE++
    4. Various of animation showing reusable aerospace vehicle
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    "Chinese contractor claims progress on reusable spaceplane"

    https://gbtimes.com/chinese-contract...ble-spaceplane

    A Chinese space and defence contractor has claimed it has made breakthroughs in the development of a hybrid spaceplane which could revolutionise access to space.

    The China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (CASIC) says power challenges for its Tengfei-1 spaceplane—which takes off from a runway atop a larger plane and sends crew or cargo in orbit—have already been solved.

    "Combined power is the key technology of future space vehicles of this kind. We have recently completed the flight test of Tengfei-1 and it was the first flight test in China that had realised the mode conversion of combined power. This step plays a key role in the future development of the combined power in aerospace vehicles," Zou Hong, head of the commercial space administration of the third research institute under CASIC, told CCTV.
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by selden View Post
    Ouch. That aft cargo storage must get hot!
    Probably not. AIUI, Falcon 9 Block 5 has started using enhanced insulation and selective water cooling of hot spots in the Octaweb, so this may be similar.

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    I hope you're right!

    My comment was inspired by videos I've seen of their single-engine upper-stages in action, which obviously is a different situation. You can see the bell-housing glow a brighter and brighter orange as the flight progresses.
    Selden

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    "China's Linkspace set for new vertical takeoff, vertical landing rocket tests"

    https://gbtimes.com/chinas-linkspace...g-rocket-tests

    Chinese private launch company Linkspace says it will begin releasing updates on its test vertical takeoff, vertical landing (VTVL) rockets as part of development of an orbital launcher.

    While fellow launch startups iSpace, OneSpace and Landspace have all recently been busy launching suborbital rockets or, in the case of the latter, preparing for an orbital mission, Linkspace has been quiet.

    The company says it is developing the NewLine-1 rocket, the first stage of which will be able to land after takeoff and be reused.
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    This week's The Space Review has an article "Debating reusability".

    http://www.thespacereview.com/article/3583/1

    It’s increasingly difficult for SpaceX to mark new firsts when it comes to reusability, but they managed Sunday night.

    That evening, a Falcon 9 lifted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, carrying Argentina’s SAOCOM 1A radar imaging satellite. As the rocket’s upper stage send the spacecraft into orbit, the first stage returned to Earth—not to a drone ship downrange, but to a landing pad on the former site of Space Launch Complex 4W at Vandenberg, a short distance from SpaceX’s launch site at SLC-4E.

    While that launch was the first time a Falcon 9 first stage made a landing back at Vandenberg, the landing was otherwise part of an increasingly routine part of SpaceX’s operations. The company has now landed first stages 30 times, and reflown boosters more than a dozen times, including this launch: the Block 5 first stage that lifted off Sunday first flew in July, carrying a set of Iridium NEXT satellites.

    From a technical standpoint, there seems to be little doubt that operational reusability—routinely recovering and reflying boosters—is feasible. But while others announce plans for reusability, like Blue Origin’s New Glenn, not everyone is convinced that reusability is always desirable.

    “Reusability is fine from an ecological point of view. From an economic point of view, I don't know,” said Jan Wörner, director general of ESA, in a recent interview. He compared it to the production of water bottles: some are meant to be used over and over, while others are used only once and then recycled. “You even find bottles which are just destroyed,” he said.
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  19. #19
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    I'd think the question of economy would be answered quite easily by comparing the price of expendable launchers with SpaceX launch vehicles of similar performance...

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    "China continues recoverable rocket efforts with vertical landing flight test"

    https://gbtimes.com/china-continues-...-space-program

    China has continued recent moves towards recovering and reusing its space launch vehicles with a small scale verification test of vertical landing and navigation and guidance control technology.

    The test (Chinese) was carried out on October 29 by the Beijing Aerospace Automatic Control Institute, also referred to as the 12th research institute under the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology (CALT).
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