[FPSPACE] Speaking of Atlas V

David Portree dsfportree at hotmail.com
Wed Sep 17 18:59:47 EDT 2014

Hi, guys:
My understanding is that CST-100 can operate on multiple boosters; the idea is that it's not stuck in integral booster/spacecraft system rut. So, if that's correct, it might be launched on some other man-rated booster (whatever that might be). 
I was pleased that Boeing, the fifty-year spaceflight veteran, won first place in the competition. It's hard to see how it could have been otherwise, given SpaceX's very limited experience. One thought - traditionally, second-place finishers in govt procurement competitions have not infrequently joined first-place finishers as subcontractors. Might SpaceX provide at least some boosters to launch CST-100?

David S. F. Portree
author and stuff
dsfportree at hotmail.com
dportree at usgs.gov

From: cpgorski at gmail.com
Date: Wed, 17 Sep 2014 13:54:00 -0400
To: robert at collectspace.com
CC: fpspace at www.friends-partners.org; mike at heney.net
Subject: Re: [FPSPACE] Speaking of Atlas V

Well--That makes a bit of sense, thanks, Robert!  I'm skeptical that supply will remain uninterrupted, and it seems to be a pretty optimistic theory that we won't see a supply interruption at all... but it's nonzero I guess, and if we're still getting them as of now, that's something (I didn't realize there were more in the delivery pipeline for this year).  
That plus an Aviation Week article sent to me off-list that claims a 2.5-year development cycle for a replacement engine by Rocketdyne (which also seems pretty strongly optimistic) at least seem to be two possible paths through the drought. 
Wonder how they'll play out. 

On Wed, Sep 17, 2014 at 1:47 PM, Robert Pearlman <robert at collectspace.com> wrote:
ULA took delivery of two more RD-180s in August, and expects three more later this year. Six more are due for delivery in 2015:
According to Spaceflight Now, ULA currently has 14 RD-180 engines in its inventory in the United States (including the two delivered in August). That supply is good for about two years, and ULA expects deliveries to continue.
"...the company has emphasized that RD-180 engine deliveries are continuing 
unabated despite heightened tensions between Wasington and Moscow."
Robert Pearlman, Editor
collectSPACE - The Source for Space History & Artifactswww.collectSPACE.com
Twitter: @robertpearlman | @collectSPACE
Facebook: http://facebook.com/collectSPACE

On Sep 17, 2014, at 12:29 PM, Christopher Gorski wrote:
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... 

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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