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Rocketdyne AR-22 Rocket Engine Test Fired 10 Times in 10 Days for DARPA/Boeing XS-1 Spaceplane

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posted on Jul, 17 2018 @ 10:42 AM
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originally posted by: penroc3
a reply to: mightmight

the one i saw had to be on the very edge or outside the atmosphere, it moved like it was jumping across the sky and with how fast it was going and how dead silent it was where i saw it im going to guess it was in space. i could be wrong it is almost impossible to judge altitude at night with no reference from the ground.


Altitude alone doesnt get you into orbit, you need to achieve the specific orbital velocity too, something around Mach 20 for very low earth orbit.
The light you saw might have been very high and very fast but this wouldnt really prove anything. You could have been looking at a ballistic flight envelope without a chance to realise it. At night with lack of reference points and all.
If you want my opinion *jumping* points to a atmosphere skipping at the edges of space, while the orange color points to reentry burn at less than orbital velocity.
But i havent seen it so what do i know.




if the shuttle can meet up with and grab satellites from the start of its life cycle, if you had the right launch window and enough fuel i don't see why something conventional launched from the ground or a TSTO/SSTO couldn't do the same thing, if not more.


In theory sure. But unless full range TBCCs are already a reality or we take anti gravity tech into account it wont happen with anything short of a truely gigantic vehicle. The numbers dont add up for a XB-70 on steroids with an upper stage.




i have seen a triangle, but i cant speak to it having the ability to get to space so i will have to stick with what i know can happen.

If the triangles are real their tech is being blocked by a different derpartment and therefore not accessible to the Air Force with a Cold War mandate… or something.




posted on Jul, 18 2018 @ 12:41 AM
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a reply to: mightmight

it could be a boost glide type of arrangement. it crossed almost the entire sky, horizon to horizon in a few seconds faster than pretty much any satellite i've seen.

and the X-37 would be able to grab a satellite with a arm like the shuttle and fly with the sat as it's being inspected/augmented. granted that needs a rocket to get up but i could see it being used for super high priority problems on super expensive/critical satellites.

if i were the airforce/NRO etc. i would focus on being able to put a small satellite in orbit over a problem area with out needing to do a full scale launch. they were already thinking about ideas to used satellite feeds to guide HARM missiles years ago, and they air launched a minute man out of the back of an aircraft.

so there is no doubt if they wanted to launch a satellite without allot of people if any taking notice i think they could do that. and with tech the way it is now a days it wouldnt need to be a big one to be effective.


i cant speak to the city sized BBT's but smaller ones with crazy performance definitely exist, ive seen one very close. but moving around in the earth's atmosphere and getting into and maneuvering in space is a whole different ball game.



posted on Jul, 18 2018 @ 06:47 AM
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if i were the airforce/NRO etc. i would focus on being able to put a small satellite in orbit over a problem area with out needing to do a full scale launch.


Yeah but this is not what the NRO does. Most of their satellites are multiple ton full fledged spacecraft designed to orbit in at least high LEO. Just look at their main satellite programs:

Intruder: 1000km LEO, launched with Atlas V ~ 10ton+
Quasar: HEO/GSO, launched with Atlas V ~ 5ton+
Topaz: 100km LEO, launched with Delta IV ~ 10ton+
Orion: GSO, launched with Delta IV Heavy ~ 14ton
Tumpet: HEO, launched with Atlas V ~ 5ton+

There may or may not be a covert launch system for very low earth orbit ( ~ 150km or whatever), but the programs listed above are their main focus and eat most of their budget.
In any case, the main argument against any sort of covert satellite to LEO program is those satellites dont exist. None have been observed during the last 3 decades so its pretty likely nothing much is happening on that front.



posted on Jul, 18 2018 @ 10:06 AM
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a reply to: mightmight

trure


but has anyone spotted MISTY?


i would think they would be temporary or so small they go unseen and just fall back in and burnup/crash



posted on Jul, 18 2018 @ 11:48 AM
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a reply to: penroc3

Well if you ask me, Misty is long gone. I think its a good bet Misty 1 USA-53 was actually replaced by USA-144 in 1999 which is probably gone too at this point. USA-144 most likley was never replaced after the NROs entire IMINT program blew up in their faces right about the time they had to deploy a third satellite. Keyhole satellites get deorbitted, no reason to leave the Mistys up.

In any case, its likely making a satellite stealthy cost alot of weight. STS-36 and USA-144 had a payload capacity of about 20tons. If it were easy and cheap, the program would have continued.

I'm not sure temporary satellites and a dedicated launch system make a lot of sense. You'd need to prebuild and store those satellites to launch them during some kind of national emergency, larger war or whatever. If you do that, why not just use a prebuild rocket to do it? Any of the usual rockets used by the US Military can launch dozens of temporary satellites in an emergency while the alleged dedicated launch system would need one flight for every satellite. That takes time.

And another thought, where was this capability when it was desperately needed a decade ago?
www.milsatmagazine.com...
Just launching a few more com satellites to get the drone fleet going would surely have come in handy if you ask me.


edit on 18-7-2018 by mightmight because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 18 2018 @ 12:53 PM
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a reply to: mightmight

Alright, I have still not found my damned bug (insidious thing it is), but I am going to address some of the things we talked about. In a compressed fashion. Let's tackle fastmover, satellite and the XS-1.

The total development cost of the XS-1 is going to be approximately $300M. This includes the 15 demo flights required at $5M. This is based off the DOD budget site going back from FY2014 through FY2018 and the projected FY2019 (projected request) plus the cost of the test flights @ $5M/flight. The released payload @Mach 10 is supposed to be 1800 kg. Using the rocket equation, if you are using a solid booster to do the rest of the ride up, you'll get a usable payload around 180 kg. +/-, BOE.

You're not fitting a KH-11 or misty or new battlestar on there, that's for sure! What can you put up?

Let's take a look at the Kestrel Eye. This is a 50 kg imagery satellite that costs $1.2M bought by the US Army to test giving real time data to the troops on the ground (future TBD, this *IS* the Army). The resolution is not great, given it's 1.5M and that is largely determined by the height of the orbit and the angular resolution of the telescope inside. You can improve that 1.5M by dropping down to 250 km instead of 500 km, but that's still 5x worse than an SR-71 or a KH-11.

There is a nifty trick though, but it will come at a cost, probably 10x $ wise per sat. You can use optical interferometry with multiple satellites to greatly improved the image quality. You primarily need to be able to tell really exactly how far apart the different satellites are. There is some station keeping, but if you're doing a snap deployment, this is going to matter less unless you want to keep them in a sync'ed orbit (your orbit matches the rotation of the earth by some multiple so you end up over the same site the same time of day after so many orbits (may be 16 orbits per day). That makes you predictable, but we'll come back to that. The OI techniques requires more satellites. More the better. The XS-1, as it so happens, will be able to put up 3.6 Kestrel Eyes. So, call it 3 Kestrel Eyes enbiggened. With that, you can probably get the resolution to be 2x the SR-71. Much better, but still not what a fastmover could probably do and it will cost (assuming the 3 sats are 10x the KE cost, a whopping $41M). The time to target would be about 90 minutes (you need to launch south to not freak the russians) if you are launch on warning sort of thing to anywhere in the world.

For comparison sake, let's state the target of interest is in western China and the fastmover will

In contrast, a fastmover from Edwards (its a secret, shhh). Let's give it a Mach 10 speed. It can't do direct overflight in Russia or China, unlike sats, so it will need to loop down south probably over Luzon, to roughly Sri Lanka and then hey diddle diddle right up Pakistan. That's a route of roughly 12,000 miles. IF the fastmover was able to sustain a Mach 10 flight the entire time (it won't, it'll need to slow down to tank), it will arrive in 1 hour, 40 minutes. 10 minutes behind the worse case for the sat launch. If it can just say fsck the overflight and does it at say the Kaman Line, it can get there faster: just short of an hour and risk getting shot down.

However, given the highly likely need for tanking we can actual use an SR-71 mission for comparison. The SR-71 did a 12k mi flight and with tanking it took around 11 hours. Getting to our target will take at around 3 1/2 assuming the tanking can be done faster, not sure if that would be the case or not. OTOH, if we say damn the overflight permission and go, say at the Kaman Line, then we're 7k mi instead and the tanking is still possible, then you're looking at at 2 hours and 18 minutes, if we scale the SR-71 mission for the faster speed (tanking will actually probably be longer since it will require more fuel).

From the time perspective, the XS-1 wins if the fastmover is based in the probable location in the US. Since its a black project, it's not likely to be based many other places at this point.

Now as for cost, let's compare a fastmover to the XS-1. I don't want to make up nonsense budget numbers, so let's compare it to the SR-71 again. I utterly doubt we will get an new fastmover at Mach 10 for the same price, but let's just assume for the moment.

In contrast, the SR-71 in 1968 $ was $34M, but in 2018 $ is $250M per bird adjusted for inflation. I have not found out if this is the fly away cost or the total amortized program cost. My time has been a bit compressed. The total cost of developing the XS-1 is almost the same as an SR-71's price in 2018 $. The question becomes what the marginal cost of further XS-1s would be and it will be less. Since Rocketdyne is making two AR-22s and I think the XS-1 uses one, it's quite possible Boeing is building two XS-1s. if so, the XS-1 is cheaper than our SR-71 benchmark by less than half.

The SR-71 cost $100k/hour to operate in 1998, adjusted for inflation that is $155K today. That does not include all the ground work that even if it does not fly and the salaries associated with it. Let's just count the just the operational cost. The SR-71 to pull off the mission above is going to cost $3.4M (12k mi each way): let's say the fastmover costs the same since we don't have any way of telling what it would really be. The per launch cost of the XS-1 is...$5M. that's roughly three missions of the fastmover for the cost of two XS-1 launches. That's a lot closer than I would have thought, actually.

Now then, the XS-1 does put up satellites and those do cost $. The Super Kestrel Eyes (the enbiggened ones) I'm conjecturing will be $12M each. That means $36M for the mission, but fortunately, once they are up, we can use them for other missions as well until they are shot down (if its a war) or drag pulls them down. The sensors on the fastmover are going to cost dinero. I do not know how much. Given the history of the costs of development of sensors, it could actually be in the ball park of *a* super kestrel eye. It might be as much as all the kestrel eyes. the environment of the sensors will be operating in will be...challenging ... on a Mach 10 fastmover. The bonus side is the sensors can be used on multiple very different missions than the sats can. It really depends on how often the sensors need to be replaced and their marginal cost is as well. If they are hand made ruby encrusted super gizmos, they might cost waaaay more and break a lot.

damnit. hit the post length limit. Next time will be the SpaceX Falcon9 cost discussion and a bit. damnit.



posted on Jul, 18 2018 @ 01:44 PM
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So, quickly, F9 costs.

The Falcon9 actually costs $62M per launch as of 2018. The costs we were throwing around are too low. Additionally, payloads to polar orbit as less than to LEO from the Cape. I don't have an open source for that, so I'll have to just say its less, I think, about 20% less, but I can't find a source quickly. Publicly, SpaceX is not advertising a cost less for the reusable F9. The reusable F9R also has a lower payload compared to the expendable one, which is iirc, 10% less.

The cost per flight ratio then comparing the F9 and the XS-1 is better! $62M vs $5M. The cost per kilo is worse, because useable payload to orbit for the XS-1 launch is pretty bad, in relative terms. Over 10k kg vs 180 kg (assuming my calculation was right). Trains are more efficient cost wise per person per mile, but they won't get you exactly to where you want to go. The same thing here.

Let's say you do snapshot an F9 to orbit and release a bunch of the bigger kestrel eyes. You're talking around 200 of them (+/-). That's hugely overkill. Great imagery, waste of money, unless you are going to migrate the sats into different orbit. That very same thing you derided earlier. If you're going to do that, you're going to massively upgrade the kestrel eye into something significantly bigger and more expensive. Still relatively small compared to the KH-11s, but probably 5x bigger than the current KE. Remember, it takes 100 m/s dV to change the plane of the orbit by 1 deg.

The F9 fleet you mention of 50 rockets is not going to have 50 of them available at Vandenberg. They are going to be where SpaceX makes most of its money, at the Cape and eventually at the Texas launch site. They are moved around by barge from California to elsewhere, so shuffling one over to VAFB to launch is not going to work out. There is just not enough of market, from the commercial POV. With the current 13 week turn around, if they base 10% at VAFB, then SpaceX will have an 18 day flight cadence from there. They MIGHT be able to surge 5 days in a row given what's being done publicly now. That may change, but for the moment...this is what it could be.

That said, SpaceX has a role. it's the freight train. You don't need a freight train to deliver a table though. Just a box truck, if even that. For the cost of 5 SpaceX F9 launches you get a completed development of an alternative. To put it in perspective, that's a little less than equivalent (also) of 4 F-35As.

If Boeing could figure out how to reduce the launch cost by $1M, then you start getting in the financial range where the XS-1 is starting to make fastmovers nervous. Remember the SR-71 unit cost and operational costs.

That said, I am ABSOLUTELY not advocating getting rid of fastmovers. I also NOT advocating getting rid of SpaceX's Falcon9. I am stating the supposed downside of the XS-1 based on cost is not as much as people think and the cost of developing the XS-1 is comparable (or cheaper) than a fastmover and a very useful capability to have.



posted on Jul, 18 2018 @ 04:05 PM
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@anzha

The total development cost of the XS-1 is going to be approximately $300M. This includes the 15 demo flights required at $5M. This is based off the DOD budget site going back from FY2014 through FY2018 and the projected FY2019 (projected request) plus the cost of the test flights @ $5M/flight. The released payload @Mach 10 is supposed to be 1800 kg. Using the rocket equation, if you are using a solid booster to do the rest of the ride up, you'll get a usable payload around 180 kg. +/-, BOE.

The development cost of an operationally usable vehicle is going to be much more than that and its going to take time. They plan to build a demonstrator vehicle that will validate the concept in the coming years. That’s fine but it won’t result in an operational vehicle anytime soon, even if the concept works out. Which is a very big if IMO.


Let's take a look at the Kestrel Eye. This is a 50 kg imagery satellite that costs $1.2M bought by the US Army to test giving real time data to the troops on the ground (future TBD, this *IS* the Army). […]

Yes nice concept. And if the Army buys it ten years from now it can deploy the constellation using whatever reusable rocket around at the time or just piggyback on some flight that does happen anyway. You do not need a dedicated launch system for that.
Its nice that a hypothetical XS-1 will be able to deploy 3.6 Kestrels ten years from now or whenever. A single Falcon 9 can put up more than 100 TODAY (its not 200 you need a launch bus too and probably want to adjust orbits) for 60 Mill US-$. And will only get cheaper going forward. More on that somewhere below.

Now about the idea of using Kestrels or whatever else as a fastmover substitute for a time critical recon capability.
I don’t think anyone thinks about using whatever satellite that way. Even those Kestrels are designed to be deployed in constellations and will work for years, they are not intended for time critical recon. But for the sake of argument, lets assume they want to use a satellite in that manner with the XS-1.

I’d argue the fastmover we are pitching that concept against wouldn’t launch from Edwards but be forward deployed somewhere else. Especially if we are talking China. As to they cant overfly this or that country – depends. I don’t want to get into this here but you are on the right track anyway as far as that goes I guess.

Lets say your estimates of 12 hours or whatever is correct, the time argument still doesn’t really work for the simple reason that the XS-1 will not be sitting on the launch pad 24/7/365.
As with any other aerospace vehicle, you’ll need time getting that thing ready to fly. At the very least you’d need to load the payload, check and fuel the thing. This process will take time too. Time as in hours.

And if tensions are that high that you do have an XS-1 sitting on the launch pad ready to go for whatever reason, the added cost of a forward deployed fastmover and some tanker assets are really the least of your worries.

In fact, the really interesting question with regards to the time argument is not which system can get their faster but how fast do you actually need those *real time photos*. If your answer is as fast as possible of course, I’d point to the Falcon 9 option to launch 100 satellites to build a recon constellation for actual real time on demand intelligence 24/7/365. More on that below.

Neither fastmovers or a XS-1/satellite combo is the right tool if you really want real time intelligence. Maybe the hypothetical XS-1/satellite combo will be a bit faster than the hypothetical (?) Mach 10 (? looking at you Isinglass), but so what?
In an operational context, does it really matter if the on demand intelligence is two or six hours old? I don’t think so. Neither is actual real time intelligence.

Anyway, the discussion we are having isn’t based in reality. DARPA is not looking for an on demand real time intelligence capability with the XS-1. There most likely (in my opinion at least) is no demand for it from the services anyway, since they already have the capability and have had it for a long time. A long enough time to realize that they do not need this capability all that often btw.

Now maybe the XS-1/satellite combo would be somewhat cheaper and somewhat faster. Who knows. In any case, I doubt very much anyone in the DoD would care much about it. Cost are almost irrelevant for that level of strategic capabilities anyway.

[…]



posted on Jul, 18 2018 @ 04:08 PM
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[…]


The Falcon9 actually costs $62M per launch as of 2018. The costs we were throwing around are too low. Additionally, payloads to polar orbit as less than to LEO from the Cape. I don't have an open source for that, so I'll have to just say its less, I think, about 20% less, but I can't find a source quickly. Publicly, SpaceX is not advertising a cost less for the reusable F9. The reusable F9R also has a lower payload compared to the expendable one, which is iirc, 10% less.

Of course launching to a polar orbit will reduce payload. The earth rotates and all that stuff… …
But why do you want to launch into polar orbits all the time?

About the launch costs. I guess the figure will vary wildly from customers to customer anyway, but SpaceX is very adamant that cost will come down much further. And why not? They are in the process of switching to Block 5, the *final* Flacon 9 variant truly designed for reusability, to be produced in higher numbers and used as such.
I don’t see why the launch cost will not drop further tbh. Of course it wont translate into the actual customer prices until someone with a comparative offer comes along.

Quick note about the XS-1 launch price tag. Do you seriously believe that 5 mill per launch figure? For a government project and a handful of launches every year? Not in a millions years IMO.

Anyway, what are we talking about here for operational flights of a hypothetical XS-1 – 2025?

Do you really think the cost of launching Falcon 9s, NewGleens or even BFRs will be the same as today? Semms to me like you’re missing the point. Today is only the beginning and we are witnessing a revolution. SpaceX today and BlueOrigin tomorrow are rewriting the rules.
Going forward there wont be shortage of payload availability anymore. Once those bigger reusable rockets come on line and/or SpaceX has their F9 Block5 fleet going, you can get a piggyback ride for your tiny 50kg satellite of r couple of million bucks every month anyway.

In fact going forward the real problem will be the overall limited demand for launches in the first place. There is only a very limited number of customers who will want to launch stuff in any given year. Deep space mining or stuff like that wont happen for a very long time and that’s the only reason we won’t see a rocket launch every day of the week. Not because we cant afford it – we could, easily with reusable rockets as low as 10 mill per launch – but because there is no reason to do it.

This is also the reason of course why SpaceX is betting the farm on Starlink.
Which brings me to my main argument about all this XS-1 Kestrel stuff.

You’re arguing about how to most efficiently launch a 50kg satellite on a on demand recon run or maybe a constellation of a dozen satellites. That’s fine but this is so horribly outdated in the world SpaceX is building – and others like Boeing or OneWeb, as said not a fanboy – I’m sure it will seem ridiculous ten years from now.

This is reality: www.fcc.gov...

Of course its not just them. The number of new satellites to be launched in the next decade will measure in the tens of thousands. The FCC alone (ignoring China) has already logged applications for more than 18.000 satellites. And just for comparison, there are well less than 2000 active satellites of all types in space atm. Let that sink in.
www.parabolicarc.com...

Of course I know, it will never happen, its just a stupid PR stunt by Musk and all that. Sure, I don’t believe the numbers either. But the point is, there is a hell of a lot happening. The number of satellite launches is already at a record high and will only grow further.

And here we are with your XS-1 system. Up to 3 satellites with every launch on one hand and an infrastructure to potentially launch tens of thousands of satellites on the other. You see why your concept doesn’t add up?

Let me put it this way, you’re arguing whether to use the watering can or the sprinkler while I point at the monsoon on the horizon. Who gives a flying *** about what the US Army will do with their handful of Kestrels or whatever else they decide to buy whenever when the private industry in the US will launch thousands and thousands of satellites going forward?

You say launching 200 Kestrels is overkill. I say take Starlinks price tag of 10 billion US-$ (ok probably 20 when all is said and done), launch 10.000 and have a actual real time intelligence capability anytime, anywhere 24/7/365. Or don’t. I value what little freedom and privacy I have, thank you very much.

Preposterous? No, its already beginning: www.satellitetoday.com...
Tell you what, a decade from now commercial IMINT will dwarf US satellite recon capabilities. That has some very interesting implications too.

So as said, stop thinking small and chasing yesterdays concepts. Reusable Rockets are not about whether or not a hypothetical XS-1 will be somewhat cheaper in certain scenarios. Reusable rockets open up a new world. Embrace it, or someone else will.

So what else?


The F9 fleet you mention of 50 rockets is not going to have 50 of them available at Vandenberg. They are going to be where SpaceX makes most of its money, at the Cape and eventually at the Texas launch site. They are moved around by barge from California to elsewhere, so shuffling one over to VAFB to launch is not going to work out. There is just not enough of market, from the commercial POV. With the current 13 week turn around, if they base 10% at VAFB, then SpaceX will have an 18 day flight cadence from there. They MIGHT be able to surge 5 days in a row given what's being done publicly now. That may change, but for the moment...this is what it could be.

So launch from the Cape. Or Texas. I don’t get you point.


If Boeing could figure out how to reduce the launch cost by $1M, then you start getting in the financial range where the XS-1 is starting to make fastmovers nervous. Remember the SR-71 unit cost and operational costs.

And actually the flight costs of the XS-1 are just a pipedream, even more so than the actual vehicle. Again, Falcon 9 at 60 mill is reality. XS-1 at 5 mill is a number on a piece of paper.
And as previously said, do you really think anyone in the DoD cares about the cost of their fastest fastmover which barely gets out of the barn anyway? Contrary to popular believe they don’t visit western China every other Tuesday. Probably.


That said, I am ABSOLUTELY not advocating getting rid of fastmovers. I also NOT advocating getting rid of SpaceX's Falcon9. I am stating the supposed downside of the XS-1 based on cost is not as much as people think and the cost of developing the XS-1 is comparable (or cheaper) than a fastmover and a very useful capability to have.

Hey if the new IMINT satellite networks work out, please get rid of the fastmovers. At the very least we may get some interesting aircraft to look at and grumble about better days.



posted on Jul, 18 2018 @ 08:07 PM
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a reply to: mightmight


But why do you want to launch into polar orbits all the time?


I am going to stop the discussion right there. I sincerely hope that comment was rhetorical in nature and disengage.



posted on Jul, 19 2018 @ 05:10 AM
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a reply to: anzha
Thats all you got from this?

You're still thinking small. Future surveillance constellations wont use traditional polar orbits exclusivley.
Imagine something like the planned Telesat com network just way bigger
spacenews.com...

Its not about half a dozen multi billion spacecraft aiming for maximum global coverage anymore.

This is the past, this is happening today and this is the future.



posted on Jul, 19 2018 @ 08:03 AM
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a reply to: mightmight

All I got was continuing the discussion is not worth continuing since neither one of us is going to convince the other.

I have other things to do rather than play SiWotI.







 
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