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Stratolaunch Out Of Launch Vehicle Business



 
 
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  #1  
Old January 21st 19, 12:47 PM posted to sci.space.policy
Fred J. McCall[_3_]
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Posts: 10,018
Default Stratolaunch Out Of Launch Vehicle Business

Stratolaunch is halting development of its own engines and launch
vehicles and focusing on aircraft development to launch
Northrop-Grumman boosters. This action, with the accompanying layoff
of 50 or so people, is occurring in the wake of Paul Allen's death and
may be a sign that without a 'sweetheart' investor the development of
their own engines and vehicles, announced last year, is just too
expensive for them to sustain.

One has to wonder if the same thing could happen to Blue Origin if
Jeff Bezos were to drop dead for some reason. That seems less likely,
as they're further along in vehicle development, but still possible.


--
"We come into the world and take our chances.
Fate is just the weight of circumstances.
That's the way that Lady Luck dances.
Roll the bones...."
-- "Roll The Bones", Rush
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  #2  
Old January 21st 19, 05:19 PM posted to sci.space.policy
Rocket Man
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Posts: 23
Default Stratolaunch Out Of Launch Vehicle Business


"Fred J. McCall" wrote in message
...
Stratolaunch is halting development of its own engines and launch
vehicles and focusing on aircraft development to launch
Northrop-Grumman boosters. This action, with the accompanying layoff
of 50 or so people, is occurring in the wake of Paul Allen's death and
may be a sign that without a 'sweetheart' investor the development of
their own engines and vehicles, announced last year, is just too
expensive for them to sustain.


I'm pretty sure that in the near future they'll cease operations completely.
There're simply too many competitors out there, a number of which have
already established themselves in the market. And then there's the
state-sponsored competition from Europe, China and India. The pie is simply
too small for all of them to make a living. China is also 'creating'
so-called 'commercial' space companies, some of which are SpaceX copy-cats
and wannabes.


One has to wonder if the same thing could happen to Blue Origin if
Jeff Bezos were to drop dead for some reason. That seems less likely,
as they're further along in vehicle development, but still possible.


I'm pretty sure the same thing would happen. For Bezos, Blue Origin is just
a (very expensive) hobby. Without the cash he's putting up Blue Origin would
collapse almost overnight.


  #3  
Old January 22nd 19, 10:53 AM posted to sci.space.policy
Jeff Findley[_6_]
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Posts: 1,955
Default Stratolaunch Out Of Launch Vehicle Business

In article ,
says...

Stratolaunch is halting development of its own engines and launch
vehicles and focusing on aircraft development to launch
Northrop-Grumman boosters. This action, with the accompanying layoff
of 50 or so people, is occurring in the wake of Paul Allen's death and
may be a sign that without a 'sweetheart' investor the development of
their own engines and vehicles, announced last year, is just too
expensive for them to sustain.


Stratolaunch had put a lot of money into their expensive aircraft but
had not funded a launch vehicle development program to the same level.
Early on, they thought they could just partner with a launch company and
essentially get away without paying (much) development costs. In
hindsight, they should have started liquid fueled rocket engine
development when they started aircraft development.

Unfortunately, this was short sighted, IMHO.

The double whammy for Stratolaunch is the inherent limits on air launch
(on earth). Air launch requires an extremely large, extremely expensive
to develop, carrier aircraft for a rather unimpressive payload to LEO.

The final nail in the coffin for Stratolaunch is the fact that SpaceX
has proven out a way to recover first stages from orbital launch
vehicles with relatively little added development costs (I'd like to see
a direct comparison between SpaceX first stage recovery development
costs and the development costs for Stratolaunch's carrier aircraft).

One has to wonder if the same thing could happen to Blue Origin if
Jeff Bezos were to drop dead for some reason. That seems less likely,
as they're further along in vehicle development, but still possible.


Agreed that it's less likely for Blue Origin because they have already
won the engine contract for the Vulcan first stage (BE-4 engine). If
such a thing happened to Blue Origin, BE-4 would certainly continue to
be developed and built. So Blue Origin with its liquid fueled rocket
engines already has much of the development completed (or nearly
complete) for their entire launch vehicle.

All IMHO, of course.

Jeff
--
All opinions posted by me on Usenet News are mine, and mine alone.
These posts do not reflect the opinions of my family, friends,
employer, or any organization that I am a member of.
  #4  
Old January 22nd 19, 12:39 PM posted to sci.space.policy
Rocket Man
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Posts: 23
Default Stratolaunch Out Of Launch Vehicle Business


"Rocket Man" wrote in message
...

"Fred J. McCall" wrote in message
...
Stratolaunch is halting development of its own engines and launch
vehicles and focusing on aircraft development to launch
Northrop-Grumman boosters. This action, with the accompanying layoff
of 50 or so people, is occurring in the wake of Paul Allen's death and
may be a sign that without a 'sweetheart' investor the development of
their own engines and vehicles, announced last year, is just too
expensive for them to sustain.


I'm pretty sure that in the near future they'll cease operations
completely. There're simply too many competitors out there, a number of
which have already established themselves in the market. And then there's
the state-sponsored competition from Europe, China and India. The pie is
simply too small for all of them to make a living. China is also
'creating' so-called 'commercial' space companies, some of which are
SpaceX copy-cats and wannabes.


One has to wonder if the same thing could happen to Blue Origin if
Jeff Bezos were to drop dead for some reason. That seems less likely,
as they're further along in vehicle development, but still possible.


I'm pretty sure the same thing would happen. For Bezos, Blue Origin is
just a (very expensive) hobby. Without the cash he's putting up Blue
Origin would collapse almost overnight.


In addition, I believe Bezos is not getting his money's worth for the $1
billion a year he's spending on Blue Origin. Yes, there are plans, but New
Shepard is still being tested and New Glenn and New Armstrong are nothing
put PowerPoint slides at the moment. Very little metal has been cut.

I imagine Blue Origin employees are feasting and getting fat on the the
money their sugar-daddy's providing. SpaceX wasn't as lavishly funded and
got a lot more done.


  #5  
Old January 22nd 19, 03:48 PM posted to sci.space.policy
Greg \(Strider\) Moore
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 653
Default Stratolaunch Out Of Launch Vehicle Business

"Rocket Man" wrote in message ...


"Rocket Man" wrote in message
...

"Fred J. McCall" wrote in message
...
Stratolaunch is halting development of its own engines and launch
vehicles and focusing on aircraft development to launch
Northrop-Grumman boosters. This action, with the accompanying layoff
of 50 or so people, is occurring in the wake of Paul Allen's death and
may be a sign that without a 'sweetheart' investor the development of
their own engines and vehicles, announced last year, is just too
expensive for them to sustain.


I'm pretty sure that in the near future they'll cease operations
completely. There're simply too many competitors out there, a number of
which have already established themselves in the market. And then there's
the state-sponsored competition from Europe, China and India. The pie is
simply too small for all of them to make a living. China is also
'creating' so-called 'commercial' space companies, some of which are
SpaceX copy-cats and wannabes.


One has to wonder if the same thing could happen to Blue Origin if
Jeff Bezos were to drop dead for some reason. That seems less likely,
as they're further along in vehicle development, but still possible.


I'm pretty sure the same thing would happen. For Bezos, Blue Origin is
just a (very expensive) hobby. Without the cash he's putting up Blue
Origin would collapse almost overnight.


In addition, I believe Bezos is not getting his money's worth for the $1
billion a year he's spending on Blue Origin. Yes, there are plans, but New
Shepard is still being tested and New Glenn and New Armstrong are nothing
put PowerPoint slides at the moment. Very little metal has been cut.

I imagine Blue Origin employees are feasting and getting fat on the the
money their sugar-daddy's providing. SpaceX wasn't as lavishly funded and
got a lot more done.


Perhaps, but I think Jeff's point in another reply is a critical one and if
I'm understanding him correctly should be expanded upon:

Engine development really is the long pole in the tent. Yeah, it took a lot
of tweaking to get Falcon 9 to the current Block 5 design, but, they did
that while flying and the engines are the complex part. If BO closes
tomorrow as a launch company, they still have contracts for engines.
And honestly, could probably start flying New Glenn as a non-reusable pretty
soon if they wanted.


--
Greg D. Moore http://greenmountainsoftware.wordpress.com/
CEO QuiCR: Quick, Crowdsourced Responses. http://www.quicr.net
IT Disaster Response -
https://www.amazon.com/Disaster-Resp...dp/1484221834/

  #6  
Old January 22nd 19, 09:20 PM posted to sci.space.policy
Fred J. McCall[_3_]
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 10,018
Default Stratolaunch Out Of Launch Vehicle Business

"Rocket Man" wrote on Tue, 22 Jan 2019
13:39:11 +0100:


"Rocket Man" wrote in message
...

"Fred J. McCall" wrote in message
...
Stratolaunch is halting development of its own engines and launch
vehicles and focusing on aircraft development to launch
Northrop-Grumman boosters. This action, with the accompanying layoff
of 50 or so people, is occurring in the wake of Paul Allen's death and
may be a sign that without a 'sweetheart' investor the development of
their own engines and vehicles, announced last year, is just too
expensive for them to sustain.


I'm pretty sure that in the near future they'll cease operations
completely. There're simply too many competitors out there, a number of
which have already established themselves in the market. And then there's
the state-sponsored competition from Europe, China and India. The pie is
simply too small for all of them to make a living. China is also
'creating' so-called 'commercial' space companies, some of which are
SpaceX copy-cats and wannabes.


One has to wonder if the same thing could happen to Blue Origin if
Jeff Bezos were to drop dead for some reason. That seems less likely,
as they're further along in vehicle development, but still possible.


I'm pretty sure the same thing would happen. For Bezos, Blue Origin is
just a (very expensive) hobby. Without the cash he's putting up Blue
Origin would collapse almost overnight.


In addition, I believe Bezos is not getting his money's worth for the $1
billion a year he's spending on Blue Origin. Yes, there are plans, but New
Shepard is still being tested and New Glenn and New Armstrong are nothing
put PowerPoint slides at the moment. Very little metal has been cut.


The two biggest problems with New Shepard are that it's not an orbital
vehicle (it's a really big sounding rocket) and that it looks like a
penis (seriously, look at the thing with that outsized payload
fairing). If it was anyone else, New Shepard would be operational
now. But Blue Origin tests everything to within an inch of its life.

They also have a USAF deal for development of New Glenn for DoD
launches of heavy payloads, so that should help. They're currently
claiming New Glenn will be launching payloads in 2021. Meanwhile,
Musk is saying that Starship Mark I has at least a 60% chance of
orbital launches in 2020, which means that BFR as a first stage will
at least be available for test launches by then. Interesting times.
I'm a bit put out at what was essentially a 50 year hiatus in real
space flight development, though.


I imagine Blue Origin employees are feasting and getting fat on the the
money their sugar-daddy's providing. SpaceX wasn't as lavishly funded and
got a lot more done.


You read the Blue Origin site and they make much of New Glenn being
larger than any existing launch system, comparing to Falcon Heavy. The
difference, of course, is that Falcon Heavy is an operational launcher
and New Glenn is years away.


--
"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable
man persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore,
all progress depends on the unreasonable man."
--George Bernard Shaw
  #7  
Old January 22nd 19, 09:23 PM posted to sci.space.policy
Fred J. McCall[_3_]
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 10,018
Default Stratolaunch Out Of Launch Vehicle Business

"Greg \(Strider\) Moore" wrote on Tue,
22 Jan 2019 10:48:59 -0500:

"Rocket Man" wrote in message ...


"Rocket Man" wrote in message
...

"Fred J. McCall" wrote in message
...
Stratolaunch is halting development of its own engines and launch
vehicles and focusing on aircraft development to launch
Northrop-Grumman boosters. This action, with the accompanying layoff
of 50 or so people, is occurring in the wake of Paul Allen's death and
may be a sign that without a 'sweetheart' investor the development of
their own engines and vehicles, announced last year, is just too
expensive for them to sustain.

I'm pretty sure that in the near future they'll cease operations
completely. There're simply too many competitors out there, a number of
which have already established themselves in the market. And then there's
the state-sponsored competition from Europe, China and India. The pie is
simply too small for all of them to make a living. China is also
'creating' so-called 'commercial' space companies, some of which are
SpaceX copy-cats and wannabes.


One has to wonder if the same thing could happen to Blue Origin if
Jeff Bezos were to drop dead for some reason. That seems less likely,
as they're further along in vehicle development, but still possible.


I'm pretty sure the same thing would happen. For Bezos, Blue Origin is
just a (very expensive) hobby. Without the cash he's putting up Blue
Origin would collapse almost overnight.


In addition, I believe Bezos is not getting his money's worth for the $1
billion a year he's spending on Blue Origin. Yes, there are plans, but New
Shepard is still being tested and New Glenn and New Armstrong are nothing
put PowerPoint slides at the moment. Very little metal has been cut.

I imagine Blue Origin employees are feasting and getting fat on the the
money their sugar-daddy's providing. SpaceX wasn't as lavishly funded and
got a lot more done.


Perhaps, but I think Jeff's point in another reply is a critical one and if
I'm understanding him correctly should be expanded upon:

Engine development really is the long pole in the tent. Yeah, it took a lot
of tweaking to get Falcon 9 to the current Block 5 design, but, they did
that while flying and the engines are the complex part. If BO closes
tomorrow as a launch company, they still have contracts for engines.
And honestly, could probably start flying New Glenn as a non-reusable pretty
soon if they wanted.


They also have a USAF contract to help pay for development of New
Glenn. They say it will be flying payloads to orbit in 2021. For it
to be reusable, they're going to have to procure and prepare a large
merchant vessel for the first stage to recover on.


--
"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable
man persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore,
all progress depends on the unreasonable man."
--George Bernard Shaw
  #8  
Old January 29th 19, 09:20 AM posted to sci.space.policy
David Spain
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 2,552
Default Stratolaunch Out Of Launch Vehicle Business

On 1/22/2019 5:53 AM, Jeff Findley wrote:

The final nail in the coffin for Stratolaunch is the fact that SpaceX
has proven out a way to recover first stages from orbital launch
vehicles with relatively little added development costs (I'd like to see
a direct comparison between SpaceX first stage recovery development
costs and the development costs for Stratolaunch's carrier aircraft).

One has to wonder if the same thing could happen to Blue Origin if
Jeff Bezos were to drop dead for some reason. That seems less likely,
as they're further along in vehicle development, but still possible.


Agreed that it's less likely for Blue Origin because they have already
won the engine contract for the Vulcan first stage (BE-4 engine). If
such a thing happened to Blue Origin, BE-4 would certainly continue to
be developed and built. So Blue Origin with its liquid fueled rocket
engines already has much of the development completed (or nearly
complete) for their entire launch vehicle.

All IMHO, of course.

Jeff


All very reasonable IMHO, I totally agree. All very good points.

I'd also like to see a comparison in development costs between Blue
Origin and Virgin Galactic for a sub-orbital hopper excursion vehicle.

I don't see a viable path for VG to orbit. So it will be a niche vehicle
and if Blue Origin can subsidize hopper flights using profits from
orbital trips, probably also a dead end.

Dave

  #9  
Old January 29th 19, 11:10 AM posted to sci.space.policy
Jeff Findley[_6_]
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Posts: 1,955
Default Stratolaunch Out Of Launch Vehicle Business

In article , says...

All very reasonable IMHO, I totally agree. All very good points.

I'd also like to see a comparison in development costs between Blue
Origin and Virgin Galactic for a sub-orbital hopper excursion vehicle.


My guess is that Blue Origin spent a lot more developing their
suborbital VTVL than Virgin Galactic has spent on SS1 and SS2. Jeff
Bezos has reportedly been giving Blue Origin $1 billion a year in
funding (a drop in the bucket for his Amazon fortune). Richard Branson,
by comparison, has been a lot more stingy with SS2 funding, IMHO. It's
been how many years since SS1 flew and SS2 still isn't flying with
paying customers on board.

I don't see a viable path for VG to orbit. So it will be a niche vehicle
and if Blue Origin can subsidize hopper flights using profits from
orbital trips, probably also a dead end.


SS2 certainly appears to be a technological dead end. It's an elegant
point design that unfortunately doesn't scale to anything faster and
higher.

Jeff
p.s. I know I shouldn't post at 6:10 a.m., but YOLO.
--
All opinions posted by me on Usenet News are mine, and mine alone.
These posts do not reflect the opinions of my family, friends,
employer, or any organization that I am a member of.
  #10  
Old January 29th 19, 07:42 PM posted to sci.space.policy
Niklas Holsti
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Posts: 95
Default Stratolaunch Out Of Launch Vehicle Business

On 19-01-29 13:10 , Jeff Findley wrote:
p.s. I know I shouldn't post at 6:10 a.m., but YOLO.


acronymfinder.com reports 22 meanings for YOLO. I'm unable to decide
which one you mean, but You Only Live Online seems more likely than You
Oughta Love Orangutans. Just to relieve an itch, please clarify.

--
Niklas Holsti
Tidorum Ltd
niklas holsti tidorum fi
. @ .
 




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