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    Russian Launch Vehicles and their Spacecraft: Thoughts & News

    lancelot
    lancelot


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    Post  lancelot Fri Jun 14, 2024 6:33 pm

    T-47 wrote:Instead of liquid fueled, I would like to see solid fueled engine. One derived from an existing ICBM like Yars should work. Mass production is already under way and they can be stored nicely.

    @lancelot

    Sounds like you don't have much clue about which way modern satellites are evolving. Cube sats aren't some university class project anymore. Both military and domestic sector would love a tiny launch vehicle to send sats cheaply.
    A tiny launch vehicle isn't cheap. Especially an expendable one like the Electron. The cost per kg launched is way worse.
    Electron allegedly costs 25,000 USD per kg to LEO. Soyuz 2.1 (the five engine one based on R-7) is 5,000 USD per kg to LEO. It costs a fifth the price to put a satellite up with the Soyuz.

    Soyuz 2.1v should be even cheaper because it uses way less parts and uses the NK-33 engine which is basically unused hardware paid by the Soviet Union.

    It is all due to production rate. Soyuz is made at fully depreciated factories operating below capacity. Making another rocket a year costs next to nothing in fixed costs. And you already have the launch sites for it at Plesetsk, Vostochny, and Baikonur. This rocket will likely need its own new launch site.

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    Big_Gazza
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    Post  Big_Gazza Fri Jun 14, 2024 6:40 pm

    kvs wrote:The key detail is payload under 1000 kg.   None of the existing Russian launch systems are in this category.   As discussed in other posts, microsats
    and nanosats are evolving into viable platforms and not just toys.  

    The Gonets/Strela/Rodnik class of store-dump commsats in LEO weigh in at less than 300kgs. They are typically lofted in groups of 3 using a Rockot booster but a ultra-light would be a feasible alternative and attractive for rapid-response single-bird refresh in times of conflict.

    Hopefully something like Krylo-SV is what they have in mind for this application? ie a winged fly-back 1st stage and expendable u/s, capable of 600kgs to LEO in its initial version.

    Russian Launch Vehicles and their Spacecraft: Thoughts & News - Page 33 Krylo10

    Roskosmos has been less than luke warm about reuseable rocketry, probably as while they recognise its long term prospects, they need to focus on real-world practical considerations given that Western pressure/sanctions will bar them permanantly from tapping into most of the global launcher market, and this will make pointless any efforts to develop a competitive commercial launch industry. Russia's primary goal is to satisfy national requirements for independent access to space for all domestic payloads and manned activities, and their current launcher fleet (both operational and in development) will achieve this. The bottleneck on Russian launch cadence is not launcher availability or unit cost but the mission requirements and payload availability. Pouring resources into developing reusable launchers is rather pointless until a real need arises for rapid expansion of launch services where cost to orbit becomes the primary bottleneck, and Russia ain't there yet.

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    lancelot
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    Post  lancelot Fri Jun 14, 2024 6:46 pm

    Big_Gazza wrote:Roskosmos has been less than luke warm about reuseable rocketry, probably as while they recognise its long term prospects, they need to focus on real-world practical considerations given that Western pressure/sanctions will bar them permanantly from tapping into most of the global launcher market, and this will make pointless any efforts to develop a competitive commercial launch industry.  Russia's primary goal is to satisfy national requirements for independent access to space for all domestic payloads and manned activities, and their current launcher fleet (both operational and in development) will achieve this. The bottleneck on Russian launch cadence is not launcher availability or unit cost but the mission requirements and payload availability.  Pouring resources into developing reusable launchers is rather pointless until a real need arises for rapid expansion of launch services where cost to orbit becomes the primary bottleneck, and Russia ain't there yet.
    Roskosmos doesn't have a launcher problem. They have a satellite problem. They have more than enough launchers but not enough payloads to launch with them. The whole sector is operating way below capacity. Soyuz is being made at extremely low production numbers by historic standards for example. This increases cost per rocket because you have similar fixed costs but spread over much less rockets produced.

    The US is deploying large low orbit constellations. Right now these include comsats like Starlink. These constellations enable low latency high bandwidth transmission. This means countries like Ukraine can operate naval sea drones with them. They can deploy small mobile antennas to connect sites close to the front. These comsats also use directional antennas and are hard to jam. Next thing will likely be constellations of recon satellites. Because of the low orbit you can have short revisit times and the resolution will be decent enough even with smaller mirrors.

    Russia needs to respond to the US satellite constellation threat. And rockets like this are zero help and complete waste of resources. Put the money into launching an extra Soyuz 2.1v every two years, and making actual satellites. That Soyuz 2.1v will likely cost like 10 million USD every two years i.e. 901 million rubles. For the alleged 2.7 billion rubles of this program you can likely launch three Soyuz 2.1v rockets which can launch as many satellites as 30 such launchers. And I doubt the cost will be 2.7 billion rubles since it likely doesn't include launch sites nor does it include hardware. Just R&D costs. And it adds zero new capability. You can order that Soyuz 2.1v today and will be delivered in a couple of months. This rocket will likely take 5 years or more of human resources to develop. To deliver what? Less payload at higher price.

    This rocket and Soyuz 5/Yenisei are gigantic wastes of money and resources. The money of this rocket could be better used in making actual satellites to be launched in existing launchers like Soyuz 2.1v and Angara 1.2. Soyuz 5/Yenisei money could be used for actually developing the LOX/Hydrogen KVTK upper stage for Angara. Which is something you actually need to put constellations like GLONASS up cheaply unlike lunar super heavy rockets.

    Russia needs to cut these stupid programs that helped bankrupt the Soviet Union and nearly bankrupted the US.

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    Post  Big_Gazza Fri Jun 14, 2024 8:33 pm

    lancelot wrote:Roskosmos doesn't have a launcher problem. They have a satellite problem. They have more than enough launchers but not enough payloads to launch with them. The whole sector is operating way below capacity. Soyuz is being made at extremely low production numbers by historic standards for example. This increases cost per rocket because you have similar fixed costs but spread over much less rockets produced.

    Much of the issue is that Russia is still hamstrung by the need to develop replacements for sanctioned foreign tech.  Additionally, it can be argued that payloads are built as needed, not before, and unless a need can be shown to exist and the costs acceptable, new birds won't be commissioned.  The space industry exists to service earthly needs to justify its existance and expansion, and launching hardware into space is not in itself a goal.

    The US is deploying large low orbit constellations. Right now these include comsats like Starlink. These constellations enable low latency high bandwidth transmission. This means countries like Ukraine can operate naval sea drones with them. They can deploy small mobile antennas to connect sites close to the front. These comsats also use directional antennas and are hard to jam. Next thing will likely be constellations of recon satellites. Because of the low orbit you can have short revisit times and the resolution will be decent enough even with smaller mirrors.

    Starlink is over-hyped, too many people buy into the Muskian koolaid.  Large constellation in LEO has the unavoidable issue of low service lifetimes, with Starlink birds typically having a 5 year lifespan.  Stop launching and the constellation rapidly degrades and evaporates in front of your eyes.  Domestic internet services to the national population are better served by installing fibre to nodes and running 5G to local area.  More expensive to build and slower to roll out, but it will last vastly longer and once built will be much cheaper to operate and maintain/upgrade.  Seems typically American to me, ie short-term gain motivated by profit-now considerations, and forget about long term trajectory.  China is adopting the land-based approach, and in the long run will have a better system.  Global service is an altogether different consideration however, and this is where Starlink currently excels, but even here it is not perfect and the capabilities it provides (such as high bandwidth comms on the battleground) it can be defeated/degraded by a capable adversary (ie Ukrops openly state that starlink is now essentially useless in the primary battlefronts due to Russian jamming).  While undoutedly very useful for peacetime global use, its hardpower aspect is overstated when dealing with adversaries like Russia and China where any future conflicts with the Global Sedition will involve them adopting a defensive posture with short logistics lines and overwhelming escalatory dominance.

    Mini-sats or cubesats are not effective at optical recon as camera resolving power is inherently linked to the size of the aperture (lens of mirror size) and you need a mid-to-large satellite bus to carry a useful payload. When nations of the "developing world" launch their 1st efforts at earth survellance sats (eg Iran or DPRK) the "experts" in the West sneer at their capabilities, yet a SpaceX badge on a similar bird will no doubt be deemed worthy of breathless praise...

    Russia needs to respond to the US satellite constellation threat.

    Disagree for the reasons stated.  Starlink makes sense to a global hegemon, but not regional contintental Powers. Russia doesn't need its own equivalents, but does need to develop asymmetric counters to US capabilities, and so far they have been very effective at it.

    And rockets like this are zero help and complete waste of resources. Put the money into launching an extra Soyuz 2.1v every two years, and making actual satellites. That Soyuz 2.1v will likely cost like 10 million USD every two years i.e. 901 million rubles. For the alleged 2.7 billion rubles of this program you can likely launch three Soyuz 2.1v rockets which can launch as many satellites as 30 such launchers. And I doubt the cost will be 2.7 billion rubles since it likely doesn't include launch sites nor does it include hardware. Just R&D costs. And it adds zero new capability. You can order that Soyuz 2.1v today and will be delivered in a couple of months. This rocket will likely take 5 years or more of human resources to develop. To deliver what? Less payload at higher price.

    Yep, no disagreement, but that doesn't mean that new technologies shouldn't be developed, or that new launcher classes shouldn't be pursued. Technologies like Krylo-SV or Korona are worthwhile pursuits of future technolgies that need to be advanced.  Russia is not a pauper state, and she has plenty of resources at her disposal, although it must be said that in current times there are equally as many demands on those resources... In any case, when the current crisis is finally resolved, I fully expect that Russia will benefit greatly from a new de-centralised multi-polar global order and as she spreads her wings, investment will flow to these sorts of programs.  Until then, Russia manages with what she has and which is adequate to the immediate tasks at hand.

    This rocket and Soyuz 5/Yenisei are gigantic wastes of money and resources. The money of this rocket could be better used in making actual satellites to be launched in existing launchers like Soyuz 2.1v and Angara 1.2. Soyuz 5/Yenisei money could be used for actually developing the LOX/Hydrogen KVTK upper stage for Angara. Which is something you actually need to put constellations like GLONASS up cheaply unlike lunar super heavy rockets.

    SHLV has been suspended for the interim and future heavy manned capability will utilise the A-5M and A-5V.  Space co-operation with China for lunar exploration will allow Russia to gain access to Chinese capabilities such as LM-9 and the crewed vehicles that China is prototyping under the Chang'e unmanned probes (landers such as Chang'e 3, 4, 5 & 6 are based on the planned manned lander craft).  Russia can offer A-5 capabilities that will provide launcher capabiities that lie between LM-5 and LM-9, and her Oryol crewed vehicle, as well as her nuclear technologies applicable to both deep space propulsion and lunar base power generation.  Seems sensible to me, why spend a fortune when you can share costs with others? The geopolitical gains and cementing of relations is a nice bonus.

    Russia needs to cut these stupid programs that helped bankrupt the Soviet Union and nearly bankrupted the US.

    I no longer subscribe to the generally held view that the USSR collapse was due to it being "bankrupted".  It was more a case of the internal political and cultural contradictions that undermined societal cohesion and convinced much of its population of the "superiority" of Western culture and affluence.  That misperception now been utterly dispelled by the actions of sociopathic Western private-capital elites and their cuckolded political elites.

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    Post  kvs Sat Jun 15, 2024 4:05 am

    So an SHLV is a "gigantic waste of resources"?   This is not a serious comment. It's the same Russia "can't do anything right" BS I have been
    hearing for decades. In the real world the centers bleating out this refrain are the ones that are not proving their superiority.

    The move to produce components for small payload rockets is smart and strategically sound. The cost is trivial by any rational metric and Russia
    does not have to scramble to catch up in the future.

    Talking about costs, Russia needs to establish highly qualified personnel (HQP) immigration criteria. Don't import uneducated meat heads like the ones
    who perpetrated the recent terrorist attacks. At the same time don't pull the Kanadian swine move of having HQPs drive taxis and work low
    education fields.

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    Post  T-47 Sat Jun 15, 2024 11:36 am

    kvs wrote:So an SHLV is a "gigantic waste of resources"?

    I was wrong. I thought it was just "no clue about which way satellites are evolving". It should be "no clue about which way space exploration is moving".

    For anyone who's actually interested, AFAIK Roscosmos will transfer the responsibility satellite mass production to individual companies like Gazprom (most notable one). They even had a budget cut because of this. They will focus more on launch vehicles and critical satellites that are low in number and full of classified techs. They are not gonna go and make a constellation with cheap mass produced small sats for profit. Those are jobs for companies. Russian is not a communist country anymore where it must be the state that should do everything.

    And those who are comparing Electron and Soyuz cost, you are comparing USD with Ruble. It's outdated in 2024.
    And those who are saying small sats should be launched in Soyuz in large numbers. No most of the times there won't be a large number of sats ready to launch. One would have to wait or postpone the development because oh Soyuz tickets aren't sold out yet. Sometimes you take the expensive taxi instead of public bus/train, because time and many other constraints.

    Ultra light class rocket is essential (as well as SHLV) but I still think it should combined with ICBM production. Start-1M is based on retired Topol-M which can supposedly lift between 150 and 700 kilograms of payload to orbits with altitudes between 200 and 1,500 kilometers. I'm pretty sure a launcher based on Yars could do similar.

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    lancelot
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    Post  lancelot Sun Jun 16, 2024 2:41 am

    T-47 wrote:
    kvs wrote:So an SHLV is a "gigantic waste of resources"?
    I was wrong. I thought it was just "no clue about which way satellites are evolving". It should be "no clue about which way space exploration is moving".
    There is no demand for SHLV. It is uneconomic. All required space flights to put satellites in Earth orbit don't need it. And you don't need it for Moon or Mars exploration either if you have a nuclear propulsion upper stage/tug. It is just a prestige waste of money.

    T-47 wrote:For anyone who's actually interested, AFAIK Roscosmos will transfer the responsibility satellite mass production to individual companies like Gazprom (most notable one). They even had a budget cut because of this. They will focus more on launch vehicles and critical satellites that are low in number and full of classified techs. They are not gonna go and make a constellation with cheap mass produced small sats for profit. Those are jobs for companies. Russian is not a communist country anymore where it must be the state that should do everything.
    Idiotic. So Gazprom, a company which lost $6.9 billion USD last year (2023) is supposed to save the satellite program?
    They neither have the know-how, nor the capital, nor the anything to do it.
    Just fund companies like Reshetnev more consistently and build satellites in batches.
    As for the Russian private satellite efforts they had three decades to prove their worth. And the past record is lackluster.
    No one has prevented them from using the same commercial launch services Russia provided internationally.

    T-47 wrote:And those who are comparing Electron and Soyuz cost, you are comparing USD with Ruble. It's outdated in 2024.
    And those who are saying small sats should be launched in Soyuz in large numbers. No most of the times there won't be a large number of sats ready to launch. One would have to wait or postpone the development because oh Soyuz tickets aren't sold out yet. Sometimes you take the expensive taxi instead of public bus/train, because time and many other constraints.
    You launch a rocket a year or two years. Whichever satellites are ready by launch date get launched. It is as simple as that. This means you will have a delay of launch of a year or two. In satellite timelines that isn't a long time.
    As for the USD vs Ruble comparisons if anything I am being highly favorable with the conversions. Considering the ruble is today more undervalued than when known list prices for Soyuz were put up.

    T-47 wrote:Ultra light class rocket is essential (as well as SHLV) but I still think it should combined with ICBM production. Start-1M is based on retired Topol-M which can supposedly lift between 150 and 700 kilograms of payload to orbits with altitudes between 200 and 1,500 kilometers. I'm pretty sure a launcher based on Yars could do similar.
    I already said this is an option. And not just Topol-M but also the R-29RMU Sineva and the like. The cost of making a space vehicle of an expired ICBM/SLBM is a pittance.

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    Post  Big_Gazza Sun Jun 16, 2024 9:27 am

    lancelot wrote:There is no demand for SHLV. It is uneconomic. All required space flights to put satellites in Earth orbit don't need it. And you don't need it for Moon or Mars exploration either if you have a nuclear propulsion upper stage/tug. It is just a prestige waste of money.

    All SHLV are inherently uneconomic.  NASA never made a dime from Saturn-5, and China won't make money from LM-9, but thats not why they get built (I'm ignoring Musk and the Pentagons stupid flying wheat silo).  They provide the ability to launch super-heavy large-diameter (10m) payloads that smaller launchers cannot handle.  Ideally they fly once in a blue moon to loft speciality payloads like space station core modules or manned interplanetary cruise vehicles, while more "routine" payloads like those used for Earth-Moon transportation uses smaller vehicles like A-5M or LM-10.

    While it will be possible to construct manned interplanetary vehicles using orbitally assembled modules of ~5m diameter and 35-50T mass, the ability to increase ~10m and 100T+ will allow for better mass efficiency, more design options and result in better performances, eg less mass will be wasted on propulsion & orbital rendezous equipment and mating interfaces that are necessary when assembling modules in LEO.  Launch a single SHLV with a 100 tonne vehicle core, then launch a number of mid-size launchers to complete the fitout with the nuclear propulsion module, Mars descent/ascent craft, supply/cargo modules etc then finally deliver the mission crew.

    Idiotic. So Gazprom, a company which lost $6.9 billion USD last year (2023) is supposed to save the satellite program?
    They neither have the know-how, nor the capital, nor the anything to do it.

    Not so crazy as it sounds. Gazprom only "lost money" last year as the Russian gov extracted tax revenues even though earnings were down as they transition gas sales from the Eurofaggots to their more reputable customers like China. Gazprom are still highly profitable and operate their own commsat network, primarily to support their operations but with the excess capability sold comercially.

    From wiki: OJSC Gazprom Space Systems currently operates the Yamal telecommunication satellites, initially designed and built jointly with the Energia space corporation. The satellites are used to transmit over 60 Russian and foreign television channels, and are also used by the Defense, Nuclear Energy, and Education Ministries. The gas company Gazprom accounts for 17% of the use of Gascom's services. Government structures use 10%, corporate and commercial service providers 51%, and commercial television companies 22%

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    Post  Hole Sun Jun 16, 2024 10:37 am

    They neither have the know-how, nor the capital, nor the anything to do it.
    Just as Musk.
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    Post  T-47 Sun Jun 16, 2024 11:38 am

    lancelot wrote:
    T-47 wrote:
    kvs wrote:So an SHLV is a "gigantic waste of resources"?
    I was wrong. I thought it was just "no clue about which way satellites are evolving". It should be "no clue about which way space exploration is moving".
    There is no demand for SHLV. It is uneconomic. All required space flights to put satellites in Earth orbit don't need it. And you don't need it for Moon or Mars exploration either if you have a nuclear propulsion upper stage/tug. It is just a prestige waste of money.

    T-47 wrote:For anyone who's actually interested, AFAIK Roscosmos will transfer the responsibility satellite mass production to individual companies like Gazprom (most notable one). They even had a budget cut because of this. They will focus more on launch vehicles and critical satellites that are low in number and full of classified techs. They are not gonna go and make a constellation with cheap mass produced small sats for profit. Those are jobs for companies. Russian is not a communist country anymore where it must be the state that should do everything.
    Idiotic. So Gazprom, a company which lost $6.9 billion USD last year (2023) is supposed to save the satellite program?
    They neither have the know-how, nor the capital, nor the anything to do it.
    Just fund companies like Reshetnev more consistently and build satellites in batches.
    As for the Russian private satellite efforts they had three decades to prove their worth. And the past record is lackluster.
    No one has prevented them from using the same commercial launch services Russia provided internationally.

    T-47 wrote:And those who are comparing Electron and Soyuz cost, you are comparing USD with Ruble. It's outdated in 2024.
    And those who are saying small sats should be launched in Soyuz in large numbers. No most of the times there won't be a large number of sats ready to launch. One would have to wait or postpone the development because oh Soyuz tickets aren't sold out yet. Sometimes you take the expensive taxi instead of public bus/train, because time and many other constraints.
    You launch a rocket a year or two years. Whichever satellites are ready by launch date get launched. It is as simple as that. This means you will have a delay of launch of a year or two. In satellite timelines that isn't a long time.
    As for the USD vs Ruble comparisons if anything I am being highly favorable with the conversions. Considering the ruble is today more undervalued than when known list prices for Soyuz were put up.


    Use this comment as haha reaction Laughing

    (And if anyone wants real counter argument, just google. Even mfs like Anatoly Zak wrote about these with more facts.)
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    Post  Big_Gazza Sun Jun 16, 2024 12:34 pm

    T-47, we were having a nice well-mannered conversation, but you just had to spoil it by mentioning Anal-toy Zak... Laughing

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    Post  T-47 Sun Jun 16, 2024 12:55 pm

    Imagine how bad things are that even Anal-toy sounds more reasonable
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    Post  lancelot Sun Jun 16, 2024 6:33 pm

    T-47 wrote:Imagine how bad things are that even Anal-toy sounds more reasonable
    Typical non-argument. You cannot argue on valid figures of merit, so you just do a blanket dismissal of my argument, with zero counter argument of substance.
    Just another typical bullshitter trying to pretend to know what he's talking about.

    All superheavy rockets that were ever designed were canceled later. Saturn V, N-1, Energia, Shuttle.
    They are all uneconomic. There are never enough payloads to make them economic. Even Musk littering low Earth orbit with comsats isn't enough to justify a superheavy.

    Compare this with the R-7 which is still in use despite being originally developed in the 1950s. It is not an isolated case either. The US Delta rocket family was in use between the 1960s and late 2010s. The only thing which dethroned it was the US Falcon 9 rocket.

    Musk has been able to launch thousands of satellites with plain Falcon 9. From a single launch site. Falcon 9 as a launcher has grown to have about the same payload to LEO as the Soviet Proton rocket. You can triple the launch mass with the triple core Falcon Heavy. So you basically already have a superheavy rocket in the Falcon Heavy with launch capability of 60 tons to LEO. NASA defines a superheavy as anything which can uplift 50 tons to LEO.

    And yet Falcon Heavy has been launched a whole 9 times in six years. They don't even average two launches of the rocket a year. Lately the launch cadence increased. To a whole 5 launches in 2023.

    Even larger rockets will have even lower launch frequency and thus are totally uneconomic.
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    Post  T-47 Sun Jun 16, 2024 7:17 pm

    lancelot wrote:
    Typical non-argument. You cannot argue on valid figures of merit, so you just do a blanket dismissal of my argument, with zero counter argument of substance.
    Just another typical bullshitter trying to pretend to know what he's talking about.

    T-47 wrote:(And if anyone wants real counter argument, just google. Even mfs like Anatoly Zak wrote about these with more facts.)

    Why would I waste my time writing counter argument to an internet username who can't google? Or read in this case. Its like trying to prove a point using math to a dude who never learned math, of course he will call math bullshit.
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    Post  lancelot Sun Jun 16, 2024 9:58 pm

    T-47 wrote:Why would I waste my time writing counter argument to an internet username who can't google? Or read in this case. Its like trying to prove a point using math to a dude who never learned math, of course he will call math bullshit.
    Point proven. You can't even begin to discuss the topic in question.
    The whole text you wrote can be summed up into a big fat zero of information.
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    Post  kvs Mon Jun 17, 2024 3:01 am

    Gazza made a point that needs repeating: it's not all about profits. It is nonsensical to have every aspect of economic activity make a profit. Some
    activity is a net sink for money, such as R&D, but that does not mean you stop doing it. It is simply an improper application of metrics. The metric has to
    be applied to Russia the Enterprise and not microscopic components alone. The Enterprise is not a fractal of mom and pop corner variety stores.

    I see the attack on "blue sky" research from corporate pinheads and their politician bootlicks all the time. These retards don't even understand that
    all of their money making floats on blue sky activity of the past. These f*ckers would have us all live in the dark ages because of their retarded
    reductionist ideology.

    In the case of SHLV it is not even R&D. It is about options. Options that can bring benefits in various contexts and over various time scales. Unless
    critics have crystal ball psychic abilities, they should just STFU. The state blows its money on welfare both for individuals and for corporations. It does
    not blow its money on boutique rockets.

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    Post  lancelot Mon Jun 17, 2024 11:21 am

    There are claims the Vostochny Cosmodrome alone cost like ten billion dollars.
    I would not be surprised if a superheavy program alone cost several tens of billions of dollars.

    Here is a US GAO study on the costs of the SLS launcher. Projected program cost of $30 billion USD.
    https://www.gao.gov/assets/gao-23-105609.pdf

    And that is reusing a lot of existent infrastructure.

    You have to consider opportunity cost as well. The resources you spend on that rocket won't be spent elsewhere.
    Just like I said, engine designers at Kuznetsov could be working on different projects.
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    Post  Scorpius Mon Jun 17, 2024 12:13 pm

    No one has yet explained what payload requires a rocket with a payload capacity of 80+ tons per LEO. There are no such cargoes, they do not exist at the moment and will not exist for decades to come. So superheavy rockets are now a waste of money. Until we need to deliver at least 1,000 tons of equipment into orbit per year for an individual country.

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    Post  kvs Mon Jun 17, 2024 12:45 pm

    Once again someone chimes in with their non-existent crystal ball. There was such a need in the 1980s, but now by some miracle there is no
    such need and "nobody" supposedly knows what it is. Rolling Eyes

    The Russian SHLV project is a URM composed of Zenit replacements. Zenit's 17 ton payload is not covered by Angara and Soyuz.

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    Post  Scorpius Mon Jun 17, 2024 1:00 pm

    kvs wrote:Once again someone chimes in with their non-existent crystal ball.  There was such a need in the 1980s, but now by some miracle there is no
    such need and "nobody" supposedly knows what it is. Rolling Eyes

    The Russian SHLV project is a URM composed of Zenit replacements.   Zenit's 17 ton payload is not covered by Angara and Soyuz.


    1. It is not the 80s, and the USSR with its budget and production capabilities does not exist. Also is no need to change satellites in orbit as often as it was then.
    2. Plans to "explore" the Moon and Mars remain a utopia for obvious reasons - there is nothing economically justified, and the level of technology is too low to do it cheaply.
    3. To understand the reasons for the lack of need for Russia to create a superheavy rocket right now, you do not need to be a genius or have a crystal ball. There is enough data on the budget of the space program, the amount of cargo withdrawn annually, as well as information on the load level of existing spaceports - they are not used even half of the available capacity.
    This is not rocket science, to draw conclusions based on economic reality and knowledge of problematic areas in Russia, which are much more attractive for investing public funds.

    For example, there is an agreement on the international lunar program between Russia and China. Russia can focus on those components that already exist or that have been in development for decades and where a lot of experience has been accumulated, for example, lunar spacesuits, life support systems with a long continuous cycle of operation, biomedical support for missions, nuclear reactors as an energy source, an interorbital tugboat for delivering large loads, ballistic calculations. At that time. how China, relying on its industry, can take on the creation of a superheavy launch vehicle and other, most expensive budget items.

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    Post  lancelot Mon Jun 17, 2024 2:00 pm

    I will add a couple of facts of information. One reason why the Falcon 9 has a small diameter (3.7m) is that the rocket was designed in the first place to be road transportable:
    Russian Launch Vehicles and their Spacecraft: Thoughts & News - Page 33 Spacex10

    Because it is road transportable, i.e. it fits within the constraints of a regular road lane, they can easily transport it across the US from the factory to the launch site. You could in theory have launch sites basically anywhere. At one point launch sites in Vandenberg (California), Cape Canaveral (Florida), and Texas were considered.

    For the Starship, it is huge in diameter (9m), so either they made it at a factory close to the coast and transported it by barge to the launch site at Texas or Florida, or they built it close to the launch site. They decided on building the rocket right next to the launch site. Which means in case of accident you could damage the construction facilities and rockets under construction. No one in their right mind, other than that idiot Elon Musk, does this kind of bullshit.

    For Russian rockets the rocket is transported typically by rail:
    Russian Launch Vehicles and their Spacecraft: Thoughts & News - Page 33 38828510

    In some cases the factories are far from the launch site and you need to traverse tunnels to get to the launch site. This is the case for Vostochny for example. So when you talk about superheavy rockets, you need to understand the consequences. You would probably need to build not just a new pad, but new factories for the superheavy. The cost would be eye watering.

    The Energia orbiter and center stage had difficulty with rail transport because of their diameter. The center fuel tank wouldn't pass through the rail tunnels. And so they used a modified Bison bomber to transport those huge diameter sections:
    Russian Launch Vehicles and their Spacecraft: Thoughts & News - Page 33 57ngz710

    So you could need as well to build a large airport with capability for landing large aircraft with huge payloads. Plus a dedicated carrier aircraft. None of this is cheap. And for what purpose? To launch a single rocket every couple of years?

    Antonov later designed the An-225 to carry those payloads. So today you would basically need the Slon aircraft with four PD-35 engines to carry these kinds of superheavy modules. Yet another tens of billions of dollars project.

    There are loads of alternatives to superheavies. In the case of orbital space station modules you have inflatable modules like the NASA TransHab. Or Bigelow's BEAM.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bigelow_Expandable_Activity_Module

    In the case of Moon or Mars payloads you can have nuclear propulsion in the upper stage. You can do in orbit assembly of modules launched by multiple launch sites. You can do in orbit refueling. You can have orbital  propellant depots. The list continues.

    The real solutions to bring down the cost of space launch and make space more accessible are mass production and reuse of rocket sections. You can bring down cost of a rocket by an order of magnitude with mass production. And the propellant is like 5% or less of the cost of the rocket. The rest is the propellant tanks, engines, etc. Which could all be reused.

    You can basically cut down the cost of spaceflight by 100-400x with both those techniques.

    If you want to push down the cost even more then you will need to use more advanced techniques. Like beamed propulsion. You put part of the energy used for propulsion on a fixed land site, and not in the rockets themselves. Which is supposed to bring the mass of the rocket down and make it cheaper.
    Russian Launch Vehicles and their Spacecraft: Thoughts & News - Page 33 Beamed10

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    Post  GarryB Tue Jun 18, 2024 6:09 am

    In the past super heavy rockets were needed for flights to the moon and back with people on board.

    These days it does not make sense to put all your eggs in one basket so to speak, and a launch to send people to the moon these days would most likely consist of quite a few smaller missions delivering materials and equipment and then finally sending people... it would probably include an orbiting space station over the moon for communications.

    Any trip to Mars is going to last years.

    It is like the difference between a trip fishing and camping for a week, a trip overseas, and a climb of Mount Everest.

    Accommodation is everything so whether you take a car and stay at a lodge or if you take a campervan or tents will determine how long you can stay and what your options are.

    A trip to the top of Mount Everest takes much longer planning and prep... the first successful climb required a large team of men and a much larger team of support people who did a lot of carrying to deposit equipment and material along the path the group were taking.

    The point is that there will be no super heavy launch rocket that you can pack everything in to to go to Mars.

    Having said that, to get to Mars or even further with robots they might have nuclear powered tugs that are enormously heavy and require a big rocket to get into orbit and then under its own power might be able to accelerate to leave earth orbit and head to other places in the solar system under its own power. Launching its payload will add to its weight of course but make it a much more efficient way of getting anywhere.

    The constant thrust would create a micro gravity on board as it is constantly being accelerated, which would make things much easier and much faster.
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    Post  T-47 Wed Jun 19, 2024 1:49 pm

    For the "slow" brainers here, also known as "ultra light launch vehicles is a waste of resources" group. Remember, if you want to play 4D chess you have to think in all 4 dimensions, not 1.

    https://medium.com/@hasstef/stratdela-special-10-lets-space-rapidly-8261bd2adcc2

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    Post  lancelot Thu Jun 20, 2024 2:48 am

    Their work is scheduled for months and even years in advance, logistics and infrastructure are designed for long-term preparations and operations. It is difficult to find even a free launch pad for "big" rockets on demand these days, especially now in the United States, when the existing space infrastructure is extremely overstretched by the ever-increasing number of launches.
    Like I said the opposite is the case in Russia. There is spare capacity to both build and launch the Soyuz 2.1v or the Angara 1.2. Soyuz 2.1v can be launched from three different launch sites (Baikonur, Plesetsk, Vostochny) and Angara 1.2 from two launch sites (Plesetsk, Vostochny). Both rockets were meant to replace the Rokot.

    The current launch site setup was designed prior to the breakup with the West and thus it had capacity to launch not just the Russian satellites but also Western satellites. With the breakup there is loads of spare capacity available.

    The limited "responsive space" demand can be handled with modified expired ICBMs or SLBMs. Start-1 doesn't even need a launch site. Rockets can be stored fueled, and they can be launched in minutes.

    Russia doesn't have the US' problems. They have different problems.

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    Post  GarryB Thu Jun 20, 2024 8:38 am

    Russia also has MiG-31s to launch LEO payloads up to 350kg... pretty cheaply...

    Russian Launch Vehicles and their Spacecraft: Thoughts & News - Page 33 Mig31i10

    Quite a bit of capacity here for large heavy missiles and rockets...

    Russian Launch Vehicles and their Spacecraft: Thoughts & News - Page 33 Eu68zt10

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