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Old 04-26-2015, 02:07 PM   #106
N_Molson
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If they get this system working or a smaller version working, how would Ariane and Soyuz be affected.
Soyuz is still way cheaper and deals with slightly lighter payloads.

Maybe it could be a competitor for Ariane 6.

But again I suspect that this Vulcan launcher will mostly be used for US military/scientifical/exploration duties. SpaceX is supposed to deal with the commercial part of the buisness after all.
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Old 04-27-2015, 12:34 AM   #107
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Originally Posted by N_Molson View Post
 Soyuz is still way cheaper and deals with slightly lighter payloads.

Maybe it could be a competitor for Ariane 6.

But again I suspect that this Vulcan launcher will mostly be used for US military/scientifical/exploration duties. SpaceX is supposed to deal with the commercial part of the buisness after all.
The Atlas V and Delta IV are more expensive than the competition, presumably the Ariane 5 and Falcon 9. If ULA's rockets were priced more competitively, there should have been be more commercial customers. So there is no reason that Vulcan can't handle many commercial payloads, it just depends on the demand. The same goes for how well Vulcan can compete with the Falcon 9 for government contracts.
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Old 04-27-2015, 01:31 AM   #108
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ULA hasn't done commercial launch because it is a joint venture set up only for U.S. government launches. Till now, launches for non U.S. government entities would have to have been through either of the parent companies, not ULA per se. That being said, no, it does not appear that the EELVs are competitive on the commercial launch market.

However, during the April 13 press conference, Tony Bruno said that ULA is interested in getting the Vulcan into the commercial launch market. But, this is new ground for ULA and they are yet to reveal their marketing strategy.

How well the various launch systems compete with each other is yet to be seen.

Last edited by boogabooga; 04-28-2015 at 05:28 AM.
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Old 04-27-2015, 02:49 AM   #109
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While it seems the Delta 4 might have had only one commercial satellite launch(Eutelsat W5), the Atlas V might have had at least five commercial launches, both numbers based on a quick look I took through it's launch history just now. That a far cry from only launching governmental satellites.

I think it's unkind to heap the sins, real or imagined, of it's parent rockets or the ULA and it;'s parent companies unto Vulcan. Especially when one group of these sins, the idea that ULA is somehow not even a commercial company or doesn't even launch commercial satellites, is easily proven false.

Give Vulcan a chance, or at least do some fact checking.
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Old 04-27-2015, 03:02 AM   #110
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ULA is a shotgun wedding between Boeing (Delta builders) and Lockheed (Atlas builders), formed at the strong encouragement of the government, and the EELV program is a government program to ensure that the USAF will always have access to space; even if one launch vehicle gets grounded for technical problems (like an explosion) the other will still be available. This program was created with the Challenger disaster in mind; after that accident the Titan program had already been retired and the Titan IV had to be restarted, leaving the government with no launch capability.

Yes, if you have a payload and cash, you can buy a commercial ride on an Atlas or Delta, but the commercial market is not the target market for ULA.

Vulcan? Almost certainly targeting heavier government payloads, be they military or NASA. Don't know for sure yet.
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Old 04-27-2015, 03:52 AM   #111
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Originally Posted by orbitingpluto View Post
 While it seems the Delta 4 might have had only one commercial satellite launch(Eutelsat W5), the Atlas V might have had at least five commercial launches, both numbers based on a quick look I took through it's launch history just now. That a far cry from only launching governmental satellites.

I think it's unkind to heap the sins, real or imagined, of it's parent rockets or the ULA and it;'s parent companies unto Vulcan. Especially when one group of these sins, the idea that ULA is somehow not even a commercial company or doesn't even launch commercial satellites, is easily proven false.

Give Vulcan a chance, or at least do some fact checking.
I did not say that Atlas V or Delta IV weren't used for commercial launches. I said that ULA has not done commercial launches. There is a difference. ULA only inherited the EELVs, they did not create them. If you check your own sources, you will see that the commercial launches were done before the December 2006 formation of United Launch Alliance. So do some fact checking yourself.

Nobody, at least myself, was "heaping sins" onto Vulcan. But, less than ten commercial launches between the two EELVs in their entire history = not competitive commercial launch vehicles when for example Proton launches that many in a single year.

I'm giving Vulcan a chance, but it will be new ground for ULA, that's all.
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Old 04-27-2015, 05:23 AM   #112
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The ULA's formation has more to do with the glut of launch capacity of the turn of the millennium and the weakness of Boeing and Lockheed Martin in the commercial market, than simply being a company to sell launches to the US government. A good deal of what the ULA has done since it's formation in 2006 was to reduce duplication between it's two rocket lines and facilities, trying to make both the Atlas V and Delta 4 more competitive, or at least not cost it's corporate parents as much to support.

Also, a brief look at the Atlas V launch record shows that Worldview-3 was launched in late 2014. The mention of Lockheed Martin kinda makes it doubtful that ULA was solely responsible for that contract, but shows that the ULA has been involved in at least one commercial launch during their operation of the Atlas V and Delta 4. Perhaps more, I'll have to finish looking through the launch record.
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Old 04-27-2015, 06:24 AM   #113
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Originally Posted by N_Molson View Post
 SpaceX uses rather low-end but cheap technologies (full Kero/LOX designs). ULA uses high-end but expensive technologies (RS-68, Centaur that use LOX/LH2).
Ironically, RS-68 was intended to be a cheap engine...
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Old 04-27-2015, 02:01 PM   #114
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Ironically, RS-68 was intended to be a cheap engine...
Then going for a 3MN LOX/LH2 setup wasn't the safest way to achieve that

But that's still a very nice piece of hardware. I hope it will see some other use (though the SSME seems to have prevailed for the SLS).
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Old 04-27-2015, 02:13 PM   #115
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 Ironically, RS-68 was intended to be a cheap engine...
I am not sure, if the Merlin engines are that much cheaper to allow celebrations... after all, in the end, the system costs are the important number and the Delta 4 EELV had some really nasty design issues there.
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Old 04-28-2015, 12:07 AM   #116
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So, I sorted through the alphabet soup of payloads to divine exactly which were commercial satellites and which where not. Here's the list, sorted into groups for each launcher, listed by date, mission number, a payload:


Delta IV
11/20/02 D293(First flight of Delta4)
Eutelsat W5 Eutelsat W5


Atlas V
08/21/02 AV001 Hot Bird 6
05/13/03 AV002 HellaSat 2
07/17/03 AV003 Rainbow 1
12/17/04 AV005 AMC-16
03/11/05 AV004 Inmarsat 4F1
04/20/06 AV008
Astra 1KR Astra 1KR

04/14/08 AV014 ICO G1
11/23/09 AV024
Intelsat 14 Intelsat 14

08/13/14 AV047 Worldview 3

So, a total of ten commercial payloads, out of 81(53 for Atlas, 28 for Delta). While confirming that both the Atlas V and Delta 4(especially the Delta 4) have been largely unsuccessful commercially, at least the record shows that the Atlas V hasn't held true to the meme that the ULA is a completely uncompetitive government-only launch provider.

The reason I feel I have to point this stuff out is because the court of public opinion seems weighted towards SpaceX, with other rockets being either pilloried or ignored because they aren't a Falcon. I don't want to see people brushing off Vulcan simply because they have gotten a distorted view of the Atlas V or Delta 4 or the ULA.

I mean, check out their published papers page- here's a few highlights:

http://www.ulalaunch.com/uploads/doc...ecture2010.pdf

http://www.ulalaunch.com/uploads/doc...ecture2009.pdf

http://www.ulalaunch.com/uploads/doc...ry20087874.pdf

http://www.ulalaunch.com/uploads/doc...usable2010.pdf

I first ran across these papers a year or two ago, and I was intrigued by the ideas that the ULA had. That some of those ideas are moving towards hardware is something marvelous. How Vulcan and ACES might turn out is unknown at this point, and paper studies can only count towards so much, but this is a side of ULA that isn't as well known as the common view that the ULA exists to sell overpriced rockets the government, and little else.

I might be overreacting to the kind of blatant SpaceX fanboyism one can see elsewhere on the net, so I'm sorry if I've went overboard here.
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Old 04-28-2015, 03:49 AM   #117
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Originally Posted by orbitingpluto View Post
 The reason I feel I have to point this stuff out is because the court of public opinion seems weighted towards SpaceX, with other rockets being either pilloried or ignored because they aren't a Falcon. I don't want to see people brushing off Vulcan simply because they have gotten a distorted view of the Atlas V or Delta 4 or the ULA....

...I might be overreacting to the kind of blatant SpaceX fanboyism one can see elsewhere on the net, so I'm sorry if I've went overboard here.
You are getting emotional over what a few geeks on the internet think of rockets? ULA are big boys, they can handle their own advertising, for Vulcan, Delta, and Atlas, just fine.

And don't worry about fanbois, either. These things are driven by economics. If Direct TV needs to launch a satellite, they aren't going to trawl the threads on OF to see what a bunch of sim geeks think.
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Old 04-28-2015, 04:16 AM   #118
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Isn't there some justification to that fanboyism? That is, SpaceX's higher manufacturing efficiency and lower launch costs?

But yeah, all the other launch providers shouldn't be ignored just because of SpaceX.

Last edited by Pipcard; 04-28-2015 at 04:23 AM.
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Old 04-28-2015, 06:57 AM   #119
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 That is, SpaceX's higher manufacturing efficiency and lower launch costs?
That is according to SpaceX.

Don't mistake launch prices for launch costs. What SpaceX demands from a customer must not automatically be what it costs SpaceX.
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Old 04-28-2015, 07:17 AM   #120
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Why would they not want to make a profit?
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