[FPSPACE] Speaking of Atlas V

Christopher Gorski cpgorski at gmail.com
Wed Sep 17 13:47:47 EDT 2014

But we don't have much of a stockpile of RD-180s as I understand it.  If
those are needed for other government flights, then none of them are
available for commercial crew... and the quote from earlier this year was
that we only had a two-year stockpile of engines, which still means the
target year of 2017 could be a tough one for Atlas (after we run out of
Russian engines, but before we could get BE-4 into flight).

Unless we're continuing to pay for and take delivery of RD-180s for the
foreseeable future, that is--or unless the government is willing to
prioritize availability of a few boosters for CST-100 (at least 3, I
think--one for the shakedown flight and a minimum of two for the contract
flights?) and fly the rest of its heavyweight high-value payloads on Delta


On Wed, Sep 17, 2014 at 1:39 PM, Michael K. Heney <mike at heney.net> wrote:

> Well, no - you fly the CST-100 on the current Atlas V until the new
> launcher
> is available.  This provides a roadmap for moving away from the RD-180 in
> the
> mid- to long-term, while maintaining current capabilities.
> Quoting Christopher Gorski <cpgorski at gmail.com>:
>  Just saw that go out via social media.  Though the word is, BE-4 can be
>> integrated "about 4 years from now" [Bruno], so that would still be a
>> schedule slip...
>> still: better than nothing...  I wonder if that was what Boeing had in
>> mind, though, and if this more or less means CST-100 won't be the one to
>> pick up the flag...
>> Thanks!
>> --me
>> On Wed, Sep 17, 2014 at 1:22 PM, Michael K. Heney <mike at heney.net> wrote:
>>  Watch today's presser with Blue Origin (3pm EDT, I believe) - should be
>>> info on new engine options ...
>>> Quoting Christopher Gorski <cpgorski at gmail.com>:
>>>  Speaking of the Atlas V and the commercial crew project:
>>>> Has anybody heard anything about mitigation strategies for parts for the
>>>> Atlas V?   My understanding is that Boeing's CST-100 was supposed to
>>>> use a
>>>> human-rated Atlas V as a launcher, but I think a lot of the reason this
>>>> week's announcement got press is ongoing political tension with Russia
>>>> right now, and that brings us back to the RD-180 problem.  Winning the
>>>> US
>>>> commercial crew launch contract and requiring Russian parts to do the
>>>> job
>>>> seems a little problematic!
>>>> I caught most of yesterday's announcement press conference on video
>>>> stream,
>>>> and a good bit (though not all) of the Q&A that followed, but all I
>>>> really
>>>> heard them say was "the proposal included a mitigation strategy".
>>>> Anybody have any idea what that might look like?  For the total contract
>>>> value of around $4 Bn, I'm guessing it doesn't involve tooling up for
>>>> domestic manufacture (or at least, I heard that this would be
>>>> exorbitantly
>>>> expensive).  I suppose it's possible to depend on a different
>>>> human-rated
>>>> rocket (Delta IV?), but if any significant amount of work was done on
>>>> that
>>>> process for Atlas, I'd think throwing that away and starting over would
>>>> be
>>>> a huge budget line item as well.
>>>> Anyone have more insight into this than I do?
>>>> Just curious,
>>>> --Christopher Gorski
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