Discussion Will the SpaceX push to reusability make ArianeSpace obsolete?

K_Jameson

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The cargo module could be the cheapest part, but, once attached at the station, is an habitable volume where astronauts work... not a small thing for a mere metal tub. And, as far as I know, the cargo module is not only produced in italy, but also designed in Italy. The difference is not trivial.
 
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Urwumpe

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The cargo module could be the cheapest part, but, once attached at the station, is an habitable volume where astronauts work... not a small thing for a mere metal tub. And, as far as I know, the cargo module is not only produced in italy, but also designed in Italy. The difference is not trivial.

Actually, most of the design work was already done by NASA and Boeing in the 80s. But the final design and the manufacturing processes had been invented in Italy.

You are right. It might be the cheapest part, but it is carrying valuable goods safely to the astronauts.

But still, without the US components, it would be just an useless metal tub unable to do anything useful in space.
 
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RGClark

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If ESA did not want to use the propulsion module used by Orbital with Cygnus then they could use the Unified Propulsion System used with the Galileo spacecraft and large geosynchronous satellites:

http://cs.astrium.eads.net/sp/spacecraft-propulsion/propulsion-systems/ups-background.html

http://cs.astrium.eads.net/sp/spacecraft-propulsion/showcase/meteosat.html

http://cs.astrium.eads.net/sp/brochures/propulsion-systems/orbital-propulsion-module.pdf

Keep in mind the propulsion module used by Orbital for Cygnus was also adapted from the one they used for their large GEO satellites.


Bob Clark
 

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Urwumpe

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If ESA did not want to use the propulsion module used by Orbital with Cygnus then they could use the Unified Propulsion System used with the Galileo spacecraft and large geosynchronous satellites:

You do not seem to realize: Cygnus is the product of Orbital Sciences. Not ESA. ESA is not even involved anywhere in the Cygnus project.
 

RGClark

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French Agencies To Collaborate on Reusable Rocket
by Peter B. de Selding — October 2, 2015
PARIS — The French government’s two aerospace-focused agencies on Oct. 2 said they are pooling resources to study a launching system that would return its entire first stage to Earth for reuse, a goal shared by SpaceX but not one being pursued by Europe’s Airbus Defence and Space rocket prime contractor.
In a joint statement, the French space agency, CNES, and France’s ONERA aerospace research institute said the objective of the work is to “develop a rocket first stage that is capable of returning to its launch base.”
http://spacenews.com/french-agencies-to-collaborate-on-reusable-rocket/

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Scruce

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Now what?
 

Urwumpe

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Now what?

Prediction: Arianespace will not land Ariane 5 boosters on Kourou next year.

Arianespace has one big advantage over SpaceX: No need to hurry and no need to be profitable.
 

RGClark

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French Agencies To Collaborate on Reusable Rocket
by Peter B. de Selding — October 2, 2015
...

Might be greater pressure now to make the entire first stage booster of the Ariane 6 reusable. As it is now with solid side boosters being needed to loft it off the pad, this stage might be too far down-range for it to be returned economically to the launch site.

However, if instead multiple copies of the Vulcain were put on this stage it would have sufficient thrust to lift off without side boosters and could be reusable a la the F9 first stage.

Bob Clark
 

Urwumpe

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Might be greater pressure now to make the entire first stage booster of the Ariane 6 reusable. As it is now with solid side boosters being needed to loft it off the pad, this stage might be too far down-range for it to be returned economically to the launch site.

However, if instead multiple copies of the Vulcain were put on this stage it would have sufficient thrust to lift off without side boosters and could be reusable a la the F9 first stage.

Bob Clark

Maybe there could also be a cheaper intermediate solution that also offers more performance. Since the stages are build in Europe and a ship is already under way over the Atlantic, it would be no problem fetching a first stage or rocket engines from one of the many European Islands downrange. It could even be cheaper than RTLS. 3000 kilometres travelled by ship are cheaper than inverting the velocity vector. It just takes longer than 10 minutes from launch to landing. But does that really matter?
 
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C3PO

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F9 was designed with one eye on recovery, Ariane 5 wasn't. It would be a more or less new design if ArianeSpace went down that road. Can you even restart the Vulcain 2?
 

RGClark

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F9 was designed with one eye on recovery, Ariane 5 wasn't. It would be a more or less new design if ArianeSpace went down that road. Can you even restart the Vulcain 2?

The current plan for the Ariane 6 is to use a slightly shortened Ariane 5 core stage with 2 to 4 solid side boosters.


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Urwumpe

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F9 was designed with one eye on recovery, Ariane 5 wasn't. It would be a more or less new design if ArianeSpace went down that road. Can you even restart the Vulcain 2?

Not as it is. It needs a lot of conditioning for ignition, after all, it is a large cryogenic engine.

A Vulcain III with the necessary modifications would be possible, but not instantly done. For example, you need to keep many components in the right temperature box for not damaging them when the engine starts or stops.

The better question though is: Is it neccessary? I just remind on the Phoenix Hopper plans some years ago. Contrary to SpaceX and the USA in general, Europe has the means to let a stage land after an aerodynamic glide on a runway in the east Atlantic. Instead of using rocket engines and vertical landings, there would be a horizontal landing.

It would need a more complex landing gear, but at the same time, this landing gear could be easily acquired commercially off the shelf - cost reduction. Since a stage is very large and very light, it would not require an overly sophisticated landing gear like the Space Shuttle, anything for a larger Dassault business jet would be good enough and the same ground infrastructure would be needed. The structural mass for wings and the fact that the static loads vary largely during the mission profile is a bigger problem.

The know-how and the software for such landings exists already in Europe and within Airbus Space, we don't need to start at zero.

A Merlin "IIb" with only a short phase between burns would be no problem to create, and you could also do such a mission profile as single burn with an existing Merlin II.

On the other hand, when discussing such plans - we could also put our eggs into the Skylon basket. Which likely has the chances to let SpaceX look old. It could be far more economic, if the process planning holds what it promises.
 

RGClark

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I misunderstood C3PO's question. I thought he meant could the Vulcain production line be restarted.
About the Vulcain's reusability the Adeline concept that would return the engine compartment of the Ariane 6 would allow the Vulcain reuse.


Bob Clark
 

C3PO

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Not reuse, restart during the same flight. Gliding would be an option and probably simpler than making the Vulcain 'air-startable'. I wonder if you could make a para-sail that big.
 

Urwumpe

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Not reuse, restart during the same flight. Gliding would be an option and probably simpler than making the Vulcain 'air-startable'. I wonder if you could make a para-sail that big.

Well, what is big in the end? A 400 ton cryogen first stage would weight about 20-30 tons empty - much less than the SRBs of the Space Shuttle. But the biggest parafoil ever deployed was used for the 8 tons of a CRV simulator. I would say fixed wings might be the more conservative solution.
 
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