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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, 10 2018 @ 08:33 PM
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As many of you know, DARPA created the XS-1 experimental spaceplane program to try to develop a rocket powered hypersonic plane. This rocketplane is intended to place small satellites into orbit rapidly and repeatedly. The intent is to be ready in a day and turn around to launch sats each day for ten days straight. There have been many attempts to do this, but none that have been successful to date, rumors to the contrary.

In 2017, DARPA selected Boeing's proposed Phantom Express rocketplane to be built. The test flights are to start in 2020 for the hypersonic first stage/carrier. The rocketplane is required to get to Mach 10 (or better), be able to release a payload of 1,800 kg on a trajectory toward orbit, and mustn't cost more than $5M/launch. The system is a true two stage to orbit system (TSTO). it is also a vertical take-off and horizontal landing system (VTHL), much like the shuttle.

Rocketdyne is providing the rocket engine. The engine is the AR-22, derived from the old Space Shuttle engines. The engine provides 375,000 lbs-f thrust.

Rocketdyne just completed a test run of the AR-22s and lit them off 10 times 10 days straight each test being 100 seconds long at full thrust. No issues were reported and the engineers conducted inspections and reviewed data prior to and after each test. This is a significant improvement for the engine over the old shuttle engines: those had be torn down each time and largely rebuilt.

press release.

More Info.

Bit of an editorial here:

That this is program exists strongly indicates there's no equivalent nor has there been. DARPA is doing this. Not the general air force. DARPA only picks the Out There stuff to do: the stuff that's likely to fail. They'd not be doing this if it's likely to succeed. If we had a system that already did this, it'd be likely to succeed.

On the flipside, the idea the materials might be there for something that can fly Mach 10 repeatedly with minimal maintenance is an intriguing thing. Any guesses, folks, where that came from? hmm?

Finally, I'm half tempted to say we ought to collect money for an ATS crew to go camp and record this thing flying. It'll be spectacular, in success or failure.
edit on 10-7-2018 by anzha because: added another link.




posted on Jul, 10 2018 @ 10:08 PM
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I really don't know why this stuff hasn't been done years ago.....perhaps the triangles already do it??


Surely we have hybrid engines now, that could be utilised on current conventional fighter planes for them to achieve low orbit space flight....

Those of us old enough, will remember the SiFi movies of the late 50s early 60s, when humans had to leave Earth after some catastrophe or another, and they would use rockets, with wings, that would be launched via a huge long platform, that would curve up into the air......in effect, using a booster, like a rocket propelled carriage, would help launch to vehicle so it already has momentum for the rockets.

I really think launching a rocket horizontally, from a dead stop, is too 20th Century.....so Old fashioned, and wasteful.



posted on Jul, 10 2018 @ 10:24 PM
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a reply to: gort51

Or maybe it was a lot harder than what people thought?

This takes off vertically and lands horizontally. Like the shuttle used to.



posted on Jul, 10 2018 @ 11:21 PM
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Pretty interesting space plane.

From the OP's link to the Boeing site:

Stand it up on its tail like a standard rocket:


Fly and land it like a plane.


I was wondering how this system was superior to standard rockets. But I see that this spaceplace is designed for quick turnaround. It doesn't have all the moving parts of a standard SpaceX rocket, so there are fewer pieces to reassemble and certify for its next relaunch.

I was also wondering about the fuel tank. Now I see that the payload is the small rocket on top of the spaceplane. So the bulk of the craft is the gas tank.

-dex



posted on Jul, 11 2018 @ 01:57 AM
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originally posted by: DexterRiley
I was wondering how this system was superior to standard rockets. But I see that this spaceplace is designed for quick turnaround. It doesn't have all the moving parts of a standard SpaceX rocket, so there are fewer pieces to reassemble and certify for its next relaunch


Rudders, flaps and landing gear are moving parts. The wing and heat shield are extra weight to be carried.

Also the $5M/launch sound like a lot of wishful thinking.



posted on Jul, 11 2018 @ 02:29 AM
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originally posted by: moebius

originally posted by: DexterRiley
I was wondering how this system was superior to standard rockets. But I see that this spaceplace is designed for quick turnaround. It doesn't have all the moving parts of a standard SpaceX rocket, so there are fewer pieces to reassemble and certify for its next relaunch


Rudders, flaps and landing gear are moving parts. The wing and heat shield are extra weight to be carried.



Yes those are all moving parts. But what I was thinking about were all the pieces of the rockets that parachute/fly back to earth individually. With respect to turn around time I would think that would be a bit more involved to reassemble those modules and get it ready to go again in 24 hours. With the spaceplane idea, the entire 1st stage comes back as a single module.




Also the $5M/launch sound like a lot of wishful thinking.

When I saw the $5 million target cost, I immediate multiplied that by 10. Maybe for $50 million they might get a quick turnaround and refueled in a day. But I suspect that a week may be more likely. And the way the US government works, $50 million might also be a pipe dream.

-dex



posted on Jul, 11 2018 @ 05:20 AM
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originally posted by: DexterRiley

originally posted by: [post=23574261]moebius
When I saw the $5 million target cost, I immediate multiplied that by 10. Maybe for $50 million they might get a quick turnaround and refueled in a day. But I suspect that a week may be more likely. And the way the US government works, $50 million might also be a pipe dream.


jub pretty much
And with SpaceX being able to offer Falcon 9 launches with more than 10 tons to LEO for 50mil US-$, whats the point?
The reality is, reusable rockets have killed the air launch to orbit approach. The market for individual micro payload is way to small to sustain those programs, just look at Northrops Pegasus launch system with 40 mill for less than 500kg. Ridiculous compared to Falcon 9.
DARPA is just buring money. Neat concept to be sure, but not economically viable in todays world.
edit on 11-7-2018 by mightmight because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 11 2018 @ 07:26 AM
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That shape doesn't look like it would handle well as hypersonic speeds...especially with the cargo on top.



posted on Jul, 11 2018 @ 08:40 AM
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a reply to: mightmight

SpaceX requires weeks to get a rocket ready for flight and then to reuse the rocket currently takes a 3 month refurbishment.

This is intended to reuse in 24 hours and be ready in the same time frame.

The price point is about double spacex to a polar orbit (per kilo) but allows for a very fast turn around unlike spacex.

Think replenishing sats being shot down.



posted on Jul, 11 2018 @ 09:45 AM
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SpaceX requires weeks to get a rocket ready for flight and then to reuse the rocket currently takes a 3 month refurbishment.
This is intended to reuse in 24 hours and be ready in the same time frame.

At this point the regular turnaround takes many weeks, yes.

But so what? They plan to demonstrate a rapid turnaround capability in 2019 with launching the same rocket twiche in 24 hours in 2019:
spacenews.com...

Now i very much doubt this will be more than a PR stunt, because it really doesnt matter how fast they can turn around a individual rocket.
SpaceX will have up to 50 Falcon 9 Block 5 boosters inrotation, whether it takes a week or 3 months to economically cycle a individual booster, it will be trivial to surge launch operations when neccessary during some kind of national emergency.
The limiting factor will actually be replacement satellites, not boosters. Those things dont come cheap and they are not just kept in store just in case.

Also consider the payload. A single Flacon 9 (or any other comparable rocket really) can launch 10 individual satellites into LEO in one go if neccessary. DARPAs XS-1 concept would require ten launches for the same result.



posted on Jul, 11 2018 @ 09:55 AM
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a reply to: mightmight

Musk does a lot of stunts. Musk also has a history of cancelling a rocket companies depend on (Falcon1). Musk also has a history of being very, very late on deliveries: FalconHeavy was 5 years behind schedule and his Falcon9 manifest is years behind schedule.

SpaceX is going to have to go profitable as soon as Blue Origin starts putting payloads into orbit. That will mean a lot of changes. Who knows what they will be?

While what Musk does with launching payloads at much cheaper than ULA prices is a great thing, depending on SpaceX to deliver payloads in a time critical manner when its a national security issue, potentially even war, is not something I'd want to do. DARPA seems to agree.

And besides, a second source on ANYTHING is a good idea. Remember the shuttle being grounded? Twice. There's a reason why NASA isn't just giving human spaceflight over to just SpaceX. Same here.



posted on Jul, 11 2018 @ 10:47 AM
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originally posted by: anzha

Musk does a lot of stunts. Musk also has a history of cancelling a rocket companies depend on (Falcon1). Musk also has a history of being very, very late on deliveries: FalconHeavy was 5 years behind schedule and his Falcon9 manifest is years behind schedule.

Musk this, Musk that. Who cares, everyone knows, rocketry is hard. I'm not a SpaceX fanboy, i just look at what they do now.
The Falcon 9 works. Reusability works. They are winning contracts left and right, they are already launching more rockets in 2018 than all other western launch contractors put together - and Falcon Heavy is just getting started kicking ULA butt.
This is the reality now. I couldnt give a damn how long it took them to get to this point or what will be happening with their BFR or whatever.




While what Musk does with launching payloads at much cheaper than ULA prices is a great thing, depending on SpaceX to deliver payloads in a time critical manner when its a national security issue, potentially even war, is not something I'd want to do. DARPA seems to agree.

You do realize that SapceX will have the most launches to LEO by far going forward? You want to build some sort of TSTO system noone will ever use regularly because hundreds of launches of the years are not enough to be relied upon in a national emergency? This doesnt add up. DARPA ist just doing what they always do. Throwing money at cool stuff hoping for cool results.



And besides, a second source on ANYTHING is a good idea. Remember the shuttle being grounded? Twice. There's a reason why NASA isn't just giving human spaceflight over to just SpaceX. Same here.

An meanwhile, NASA has been solely relying on Roskosmos to get their crews up since 2009. Works like a charm.

But i'm not arguing for SpaceX to do everything. I'm against the government paying twice for the same capability. IF there is another commercial provider on the same level there is no reason they shouldnt get their share of the pie.

But i do not want the Government investing billions into redundant capabilities just because someone doesnt like the free market and wants their own premium solution. The government should just get out of the way at this point. This is not the sixties anymore, technology has moved on and American companies can do this stuff for a fraction of the cost NASA or the military and their cronies can. And if that means SpaceX and BlueOrigin bury ULA, so be it.


edit on 11-7-2018 by mightmight because: (no reason given)



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


Musk this, Musk that. Who cares


Musk's companies are driven by his personality. You cannot divorce him from the companies (at present) when you consider the implications of doing business there.

Track records do matter.

Being profitable matters. SpaceX isn't.

I have NO issues with the ULA going extinct. Even Boeing hates the ULA. The ULA was part of the stupidity of the industry consolidation that took place during the 90s. How the industrial base for aerospace and defense was managed during the 90s was a travesty.

I look forward to SpaceX (if it can become profitable), Blue Origin and others wiping out the ULA. However, Boeing is NOT the ULA. They just have to hand over the Delta IVs to them. Boeing with its Starliner and the XS-1 are separate. Yes, the starliner uses the Atlas V, but that's just a good idea to use another rocket as a second way into space.


An meanwhile, NASA has been solely relying on Roskosmos to get their crews up since 2009. Works like a charm.


And as of this year, that will end. The russians are even flipping out about it.


I'm against the government paying twice for the same capability. IF there is another commercial provider on the same level there is no reason they shouldnt get their share of the pie.


So, why have an air force? We could hire black water (xi or whatever its called) to provide the same thing for the same price, right? They're a commercial provider.

This isn't cronyism. This is a case of just finding alternates in case a preferred path doesn't work for whatever reason.


But i do not want the Government investing billions into redundant capabilities just because someone doesnt like the free market and wants their own premium solution.


So why develop fast movers? Sats do the job just fine and even have better overflight.

Why develop anything other than what industry decides to give us?



posted on Jul, 11 2018 @ 12:12 PM
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originally posted by: anzha
a reply to: mightmight

Musk's companies are driven by his personality. You cannot divorce him from the companies (at present) when you consider the implications of doing business there.

Track records do matter.

Being profitable matters. SpaceX isn't.


Space X has a sound business modell. Falcon launches are profitable.
Yes Musk founded this company because of his lofty Mars aspirations or whatever and probably doesnt want to make a lot of money launching rockets. So what? SpaceX is here to stay, Falcons arent going away, no matter how much revenue and outside capital investment they are blowing on BFR or whatever.
What should happen to them? I dont understand your argument. At the moment the amount of private capital investment SpaceX can draw from is essentially unlimited anyway. They dont need to show any revenue or use profits from Falcon launches to fund all their other projects.
And even if SpaceX goes out of business in a decade or whatever - there will be other commercial providers to pick up the pork. The genie is out of the bottle, commercial space exploration is the future.



So, why have an air force? We could hire black water (xi or whatever its called) to provide the same thing for the same price, right? They're a commercial provider.


Actually you could do something like that. The US has been dropping - rightly or wrongly - tens of thousands of bombs on foreign countries every year for more than fifteen years a this point, most on countries without any means to shoot back.
You could soure alot of it out to some mercenary company and save a hell of a lot ofmoney in the process.
As for why this is frowned upon - state monoply on violence and all that.



So why develop fast movers? Sats do the job just fine and even have better overflight.

Why develop anything other than what industry decides to give us?

You build fastmovers because satellites cant provide time critical intelligence.

As a general rule, government funded agency are needed to push the envelope. As soon as technology can be applied commercially the government should get the hell out of the way.
Obviously there wont ever be a commercial solution for many military requirements. But *Space* isnt one of them - anymore.
Like him or not - but Musk has pushed the envelope on space flight further than most people realize. Whether it will be SpaceX, BlueOrigin or some other company going forward, reusable rockets are the future. TSTO/SSTO concepts are not needed anymore. That is kinda sad in its own way but here we are.



posted on Jul, 11 2018 @ 12:39 PM
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originally posted by: mightmight
Space X has a sound business modell. Falcon launches are profitable.


They are not yet profitable. SpaceX has stated so.

Every $50M nonreusable Falcon9 is sold at a loss.

The launch cadence of the Falcon9R is not high enough yet to generate a profit. The refurbishment costs are higher than they expected.

SpaceX is here to stay so long as silicon valley is willing to pour money into it or the business model is changed enough to become profitable.

Musk has already stated he will be ditching the F9 and the FH once the BFR is fully functional.


At the moment the amount of private capital investment SpaceX can draw from is essentially unlimited anyway.


You seriously did not say that...


They dont need to show any revenue or use profits from Falcon launches to fund all their other projects.


True until there is an alternative that cuts enough into the revenue to make people nervous and stop putting money into spacex.


And even if SpaceX goes out of business in a decade or whatever - there will be other commercial providers to pick up the pork. The genie is out of the bottle, commercial space exploration is the future.


Perhaps. Perhaps not. We will see how many NewSpace companies get killed off in this next turn of the business cycle.


You build fastmovers because satellites cant provide time critical intelligence.


That is utterly incorrect. *IF* you are willing to expend the delta V, a sat will ALWAYS get there first. You just have to be willing to spend the fuel.


Obviously there wont ever be a commercial solution for many military requirements. But *Space* isnt one of them - anymore.


IF spacex were demonstrated to be a profitable, sustainable business, I might listen more. However, it's not.

IF Musk had demonstrated a consistent, rapid turn around, where a rocket could be launched and refurbished in a short time frame, then you might have me listening.

If Musk didn't change course as often as he does with his business then, with the other two, I might be listening.

All of these things must be taken into account when dealing with a business when national security is involved.

When spacex demonstrates it can be trusted to be around, not leave the US in the lurch and there are alternatives, totally agree: the US military does do airlines after all.


Like him or not -


I do like him on the personal level. Nice, odd, intense. You should meet him some time.


but Musk has pushed the envelope on space flight further than most people realize.


I am far more aware of this than you are, since I have worked with SpaceX.

Let me simplify this as much as I can: Eggs. One basket. Bad idea.



posted on Jul, 11 2018 @ 01:27 PM
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originally posted by: anzha

They are not yet profitable. SpaceX has stated so.

Every $50M nonreusable Falcon9 is sold at a loss.

The launch cadence of the Falcon9R is not high enough yet to generate a profit. The refurbishment costs are higher than they expected.

SpaceX is here to stay so long as silicon valley is willing to pour money into it or the business model is changed enough to become profitable.

Musk has already stated he will be ditching the F9 and the FH once the BFR is fully functional.


They are not selling expandable Falcon 9 launches for 50 mil. Reusable Falcon 9 Block 5 launches will be 50 mil and less.
And yes the Falcon business model works. This is a good calculation:
www.reddit.com...

The point of ditching the Falcon series in favor of the BFR is that they intend for the BFR to be cheaper to launch than even the Falcon 1. I dont see that Happening anytime soon but if it does there is no reason not to discontinue the Falcon series.
They are not planning on leaving the market or anything like that.


You seriously did not say that...

No I didnt.
www.cnbc.com...



True until there is an alternative that cuts enough into the revenue to make people nervous and stop putting money into spacex.

Thats true for everything. But it wont be a TSTO.



That is utterly incorrect. *IF* you are willing to expend the delta V, a sat will ALWAYS get there first. You just have to be willing to spend the fuel.
oh come on
Satellites have a very limited delta v budget and there is no way to refuel them. You dont want to render your multi billion satellite immobile within a few months or years.
And no, i very much doubt satellite will always get there first. Changing orbits can take days.



IF spacex were demonstrated to be a profitable, sustainable business, I might listen more. However, it's not.

IF Musk had demonstrated a consistent, rapid turn around, where a rocket could be launched and refurbished in a short time frame, then you might have me listening.

If Musk didn't change course as often as he does with his business then, with the other two, I might be listening.

All of these things must be taken into account when dealing with a business when national security is involved.

When spacex demonstrates it can be trusted to be around, not leave the US in the lurch and there are alternatives, totally agree: the US military does do airlines after all.

What are you looking for, a two decade commitment?
Here is whats happening in reality: SpaceX will continue to apply for government launch contracts. Given time they will win more and more of them since their reliability and reputation increases.
Of course they Government will not allow ULA to go out of businesss anytime soon because of the usual waste and corruption. But just wait a few years. Watch manned flights and prestigious NASA Mission switch to the commercial side and have Blue Origins with NewGleen entering the arena as well.
Things will change and you'll never get Congress to sign off on investing billions in some sort of exotic TSTO solution for national emergencies of whatever. DARPA is one thing, they can pretty much do what they want afterall. Getting in to operational use i quite another.


Let me simplify this as much as I can: Eggs. One basket. Bad idea.

Too many baskets neccessary overall. Ressources are finite. Much more important stuff that needs funding.



posted on Jul, 16 2018 @ 10:05 AM
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a reply to: mightmight

I owe you a reply. It's going to be delayed a bit longer since I have a a damned bug in software I am hunting.

I didn't want you to think I was doing a d*ck move and waiting for you to forget before replying.



posted on Jul, 16 2018 @ 05:15 PM
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i think sats can definitely be refueled by things like the current space plane and im sure there are many other platforms out there that could assist in satellite repair and refuel and maybe even retrofit.

we are living in interesting times where cool space stuff will come into the light of day(hopefully). We have been working on ways of launching small sats in to orbits for various reasons and some very interesting ones for along time


there is something out there that clearly can get to LEO and im not talking about black triangles, There has been sighting of an orange light VERY VERY high up(in LEO) and that has been seen for years.

so if they can get that up to LEO they with out a doubt can get a small satellite up there i think these new developments are just a cheaper way of doing it.
edit on 16-7-2018 by penroc3 because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 17 2018 @ 06:45 AM
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a reply to: penroc3
The orange light doesnt have to be up in LEO to be perceived as beeing very high up. In fact, i'd argue the light being orange points to it not traveling in orbit.

Refueling satellites is a neat idea until you look at delta v budgets neccessary for rendezvous, refueling equipment, weight of the fuel itself, etc. Doable but not with a spaceplane.



posted on Jul, 17 2018 @ 09:51 AM
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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.


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.

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.
edit on 17-7-2018 by penroc3 because: (no reason given)



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