DarkKnight5
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United Launch Alliance - Tests, Launches, News, Developments

Tue Mar 06, 2018 2:43 pm

So I love the SpaceX thread, and I'm surprised I haven't been able to find a similar thread for ULA. Sure they're not as sexy as SpaceX, and they need to up their social media game by a large margin, but they're still a critical launch provider.

Here's the latest launch highlights. https://youtu.be/J4yaVlTCjIE

Notice it's only highlights and the video is only two minutes and four seconds long. The liftoff doesn't occur until the 1:26 mark. So we get to see 38 seconds of flight. That's fine for the population at large, I guess, but I want to see a large portion of the countdown, launch, flight, and spacecraft deploy. I'm happy ULA finally has a competitor to push them forward.

*Edit
I should have mentioned: the highlights above are and Atlas V launch for NOAA GOES-S weather satellite.
 
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JetBuddy
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Re: United Launch Alliance - Tests, Launches, News, Developments

Tue Mar 06, 2018 4:06 pm

Maybe we should have a common space launch thread for ULA, Rocket Lab, Blue Origin, Orbital ATK, Stratolaunch and so on?

Maybe even with Russian, Chinese, Japanese and Indian launch vehicles?
 
parapente
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Re: United Launch Alliance - Tests, Launches, News, Developments

Tue Mar 06, 2018 4:09 pm

As I understand it,their future rests on a new disposable rocket they are building.Whether they can compete with a x10 reusable rocket we will just have to see.I guess a lot depends on how good the 'Block5' from Spacex is.But even when it is disposed of it is still cheap.It can also handle any commercial launch if yesterday's launch was anything to go by.
Their future also depends on the new engine they have chosen.Its from Blue Origin.As of today the full sized version has not (I believe) been fired up.
Of course that same engine forms the basis of another competitor.Another one that will return the first stage (or attempt to).
If it does work (New Glenn?) then they may be in uber trouble.
Am not trying to be 'down' on them but these are -as I see it- realities.
Perhaps they should try and buy Geoff Bezos out?
 
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Tugger
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Re: United Launch Alliance - Tests, Launches, News, Developments

Tue Mar 06, 2018 4:09 pm

Oh yes, ULA definitely deserves attention. But of course they have been "boring" and basically 100% successful for years now and not trying anything new like SpaceX. But that doesn't or shouldn't take away from the the awesomeness of the rockets they have.

My favorite is the Delta IV Heavy. There is something awesome about how it looks taking off, the engines and thrust pattern... . beautiful:
Image


And here is a recent launch video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wCy401hkXuk
And this one has multiple views: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PEcye06SFik

Tugg
I don’t know that I am unafraid to be myself, but it is hard to be somebody else. -W. Shatner
 
DarkKnight5
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Re: United Launch Alliance - Tests, Launches, News, Developments

Tue Mar 06, 2018 7:10 pm

I also love the DIVH. Amazing machine, even though that flare (hydrogen?) at engine ignition that scorches the bottom of the craft spooks me every time.

I agree ULA has a near spotless launch record, though I wonder if they’ll begin to push a faster launch cadence in response to SpaceX, and I wonder further what effect that might have on their reliability. None, I hope.

Like I said earlier, I’m glad they have some competition and I hope the raise their game.
 
DarkKnight5
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Re: United Launch Alliance - Tests, Launches, News, Developments

Thu Mar 08, 2018 2:10 am

https://www.defensenews.com/space/2018/03/07/pentagons-top-tech-official-take-more-risks-in-space/
“We’ve trapped ourselves in a vicious cycle of spending a lot of money on mission assurance, which makes the assets incredibly expensive, which means the launch vehicles that support them need to have near certainty,” Griffin said. “What we should be thinking about is the overall cost of the architecture we deploy.”

This quote states better what I said before about ULA needing a push. As the sole operator of rockets capable of putting National Security spacecraft in orbit, they really had zero margin for error and caused them to work at a (purely eye-of-the-beholder) snail’s pace.
 
parapente
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Re: United Launch Alliance - Tests, Launches, News, Developments

Thu Mar 08, 2018 8:35 am

Re DarkKinght5.Methinks he protests too hard (to misquote a quote).OPM.Other People's Money.Thats what governments use and suppliers just love it.I have done Government jobs (IT) and you rub your hands gleefully .You cN overspec and over charge and no one says a thing 'cos it's not their money so they don't care.
Spacex has changed everything so now they blame the government,now that the gravy train is over.Well it is - so get on with it.At least the tax payer should be happier.
 
zanl188
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Re: United Launch Alliance - Tests, Launches, News, Developments

Fri Mar 09, 2018 12:27 pm

Tugger wrote:
Oh yes, ULA definitely deserves attention. But of course they have been "boring" and basically 100% successful for years now and not trying anything new like SpaceX. But that doesn't or shouldn't take away from the the awesomeness of the rockets they have.

My favorite is the Delta IV Heavy. There is something awesome about how it looks taking off, the engines and thrust pattern... . beautiful:
Image


And here is a recent launch video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wCy401hkXuk
And this one has multiple views: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PEcye06SFik

Tugg


Gotta love the fire and charring of Delta IV ignition and liftoff!
Legal considerations provided by: Dewey, Cheatum, and Howe
 
ZaphodHarkonnen
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Re: United Launch Alliance - Tests, Launches, News, Developments

Sun Mar 11, 2018 10:08 pm

DarkKnight5 wrote:
I also love the DIVH. Amazing machine, even though that flare (hydrogen?) at engine ignition that scorches the bottom of the craft spooks me every time.

I agree ULA has a near spotless launch record, though I wonder if they’ll begin to push a faster launch cadence in response to SpaceX, and I wonder further what effect that might have on their reliability. None, I hope.

Like I said earlier, I’m glad they have some competition and I hope the raise their game.


Yup. The Delta IV engines are Hydrolox. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RS-68A So the flare is the hydogen being burnt off.

As for increasing the launch cadence of the Delta IV? Doubt it. ULA seems to be betting the farm on the Vulcan. Which should be simpler and chepaer to operate. Taking advantage of design and build processes that just didn't exist back when the Delta IV was designed. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vulcan_(rocket)
 
parapente
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Re: United Launch Alliance - Tests, Launches, News, Developments

Mon Mar 12, 2018 8:06 am

Yup Delta4 heavy is a phenomenal rocket with (I believe) a 100% safety record.I note Spacex love to quote power stats to LEO as it's suits their engines.They turn into powder puffs in a vacuum.If you look at what the D4H can take into Geocentric orbit it's nearly as powerful as the FH.
Just that Elon always wind the PR wars!
However it's cost is mind numbing -I am not quite sure why this should be.Yes they are disposable but then so it Falcon sometimes but the cost is still a fraction of Deltas.Does anyone know.
 
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Tugger
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Re: United Launch Alliance - Tests, Launches, News, Developments

Mon Mar 12, 2018 2:12 pm

parapente wrote:
However it's cost is mind numbing -I am not quite sure why this should be.Yes they are disposable but then so it Falcon sometimes but the cost is still a fraction of Deltas.Does anyone know.

Have you seen the "years employed" of the people behind it at ULA and their pension costs? As well as the top heavy management structure and costs of Boeing and Lockheed? Then there is their stock price and the cost involved there if there is a loss....

Tugg
I don’t know that I am unafraid to be myself, but it is hard to be somebody else. -W. Shatner
 
DarkKnight5
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Re: United Launch Alliance - Tests, Launches, News, Developments

Mon Mar 12, 2018 5:47 pm

parapente wrote:
Yup Delta4 heavy is a phenomenal rocket with (I believe) a 100% safety record.I note Spacex love to quote power stats to LEO as it's suits their engines.They turn into powder puffs in a vacuum.If you look at what the D4H can take into Geocentric orbit it's nearly as powerful as the FH.
Just that Elon always wind the PR wars!
However it's cost is mind numbing -I am not quite sure why this should be.Yes they are disposable but then so it Falcon sometimes but the cost is still a fraction of Deltas.Does anyone know.

I didn’t meant to say the launch cadence of D4Hs would increase, but their whole fleet including Atlas and the other Delta variants. At some point the high cost and long timetables will hurt them. They may have enough backlog work now, but will they continue to win new orders? Hard to say.

Their big announcement in the last couple of years is that they developed a brand new... wait for it... website to help price a launch for the customer. As if a launch customer shelling out millions needs a website like they’re shopping for a used car.
They need some PR people who know what they’re doing or they will get left behind, even if their hardware is great.
 
parapente
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Re: United Launch Alliance - Tests, Launches, News, Developments

Mon Mar 12, 2018 11:05 pm

A website...omg.This is dinosaur country.When there are two (American) private launch enterprises will the US military even care about the past.
 
DarkKnight5
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Re: United Launch Alliance - Tests, Launches, News, Developments

Tue Mar 13, 2018 1:07 pm

GOES-S reached its circularized geostationary orbit and has been renamed GOES-17. Job well done ULA.
https://spaceflightnow.com/2018/03/12/new-noaa-weather-satellite-reaches-geostationary-orbit/

And after reading my complaints on Anet, they’ve released launch Awesome Show Great Job footage worth drooling over.

https://youtu.be/SGGYYqDDfRI
 
DarkKnight5
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Re: United Launch Alliance - Tests, Launches, News, Developments

Wed Mar 14, 2018 1:07 pm

Blue Origin has tested its BE-1 engine at 65% thrust for 114 seconds. Pretty pictures and video at the link.

http://www.spaceflightinsider.com/organizations/blue-origin/jeff-bezos-tweets-latest-be-4-engine-test-footage/

BE-1 is still the preferred engine for Vulcan first stage, but Aerojet’s AR1 engine has not yet been eliminated from competition. Sounds like that decision could be made soon, which makes sense if they’re looking at a mid-2020 first flight. Gratuitous swipe at Elon Musk at the link.

https://www.investors.com/news/united-launch-alliance-blue-origins-vulcan-engine-further-along/

The engine is the most expensive part of the rocket, accounting for two-thirds of the cost of a booster, Bruno said.

ULA doesn't have a customer yet for its Vulcan, but Bruno said the company was in a discussion with a number of prospects and said any customers will pay for the first launches.

"I will not fly a car," he said,


Funny the way ULA and Boeing execs keep taking jabs while their hardware is obsoleted by a competitor and their replacement systems are years behind. As if Falcon Heavy is the only competitor for Vulcan? At this point, Vulcan and BFR exist only on paper, so the bravado from ULA seems unwarranted.
 
parapente
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Re: United Launch Alliance - Tests, Launches, News, Developments

Wed Mar 14, 2018 4:12 pm

Still feel that ULA are going to have to merge with Blue Origin.Thats if Jeff wants to -probably happy to kill them commercially later.Tends to be his track record -but not always.
Now that the US Military are happy to ride on commercial launchers just can't see where ULA and their disposable rockets go.
There clearly has to be two US rocket manufacturers for security purposes.But not three.in the end that second one is bound to be Blue Origin - with exactly these engines -only they come back with (70% circa) of the cost.Its a deal breaker every time.
 
DarkKnight5
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Re: United Launch Alliance - Tests, Launches, News, Developments

Wed Mar 14, 2018 6:14 pm

Last I read, Vulcan is intended to be partially reusable. They want to jettison the engines from the rest of the first stage after it’s done pushing. Then it’s going to deploy some sort of shielding and parachute toward the surface. Before they hit the water, a helicopter will swoop buy and snag the chute. They said the engines are roughly 2/3 of the cost of the whole rocket.

Can’t imagine how complex and engineered the plumbing fittings need to be to disconnect in flight after operating safely.
 
DarkKnight5
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Re: United Launch Alliance - Tests, Launches, News, Developments

Mon Apr 16, 2018 1:23 pm

http://youtu.be/YbOg_4rrJxc

Full video of the recent Atlas V launching AFSPC-11 into orbit.

Congrats to ULA for another successful launch.

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