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NASA Considers Apollo-Era F1 Engine For Space Launch System

Soulskill posted about a year and a half ago | from the what's-old-is-new dept.

Moon 197

MarkWhittington writes "A company named Dynetics, in partnership with Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne, will perform a study contract for NASA to explore whether a modern version of the Saturn V F1 booster (PDF) could be used on the Space Launch System. These would be the basis for a liquid fueled rocket that would enhance the SLS to make it capable of launching 130 metric tons to low Earth orbit, thus making it capable of supporting deep space exploration missions in the 2020s."

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197 comments

Oh man... (4, Insightful)

Scutter (18425) | about a year and a half ago | (#40804549)

I would LOVE to see the F1 back in action. Few things have inspired such awe in me as the launch of a Saturn V rocket and the five tremendous columns of fire atop which it strode.

Black Women Are Less Desirable (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40804705)

See this link [essence.com]

Even black men respond less often to black women. So don't tell me this is racism. The men being black too doesn't change anything.

It's a simple fact black women are uglier than white or asian women. They also got shittier attitudes - often severe and militaristic. Like they grew up in boot camp or something. The frizzy "just stuck my finger in the light socket" nappy hair doesn't help either. The most attractive black women have their hair straightened. The big flat noses don't help for sure either. But mostly it's their attitude. It would be great for business but terrible for a love partner.

Hell even small children don't like blacks. That includes black children! Check it out for yourself [cnn.com]. The bed-wetter liberal types who want reality to fit their ideas and not the other way around could use their normal page from their playbook and say "well that's cause of racism". So how does that explain why even black children preferred whites? THey like whites better than the black people they are raised by and spent their most formative years with. Racism? Please. You libs gotta come up with a new explanation if you are still averse to admitting inherent inferiority.

Oh then there's the crime rate. [dailymail.co.uk] It's mostly black victims being victimized by black perpetrators. Even in the hypersensitive UK they admit this. Guess they are better at admitting painful truth than libs in the USA. Oh and speaking of USA, black men commit about 50% of all murders in that country but they are only about 6-7% of the population. Most of their victims are black too. How could racism explain that? If whites are racist against blacks a thinking man would expect it to cause "us against them" and make blacks unite together against whites. But no, blacks hate blacks more than whitey does.

So please somebody tell me this. I mean these days racism from whites is simply not tolerated. Most whites are not racist. THe few whites that are racist keep their mouth shut about it so we are talking about THOUGHTS here. How does a thought in a white person's head make innocent black children prefer whites? How does a thought in a white person's head make black men kill other black men? If you think whites have psychic mind control that can hypnotize blacks and make them do their bidding well... how's that tinfoil hat fitting you?

This is why thinking people think liberals are a bunch of bed-wetting nancyboys who cannot cope with reality. Why? Because they won't acknowledge these PROVEN FACTS (study after study) and they won't even dare try to explain them. Mostly they just insult you for asking a question that makes them uncomfortable. Reminds me of the Catholic Church in Galileo's time, the whole prospect of the "heavenly bodies" not being perfect spheres (craters etc) made them "uncomfotable" too so they tried to silence Galileo. So bedwetters, let's hear your answer. I don't think you can do it.

Re:Oh man... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40804765)

Same here. When I was a kid, my bet friend's dad was on the design team. He brought a rolled up, full size drawing of the Saturn V rocket (not just the booster) and laid it out on the athletic field at school. It is also the second loudest device ever created by man. The first being the hydrogen bomb!

Re:Oh man... (4, Interesting)

Genda (560240) | about a year and a half ago | (#40804857)

I grew up in the San Fernando Valley of "Valley Gurl" legend, but it was also the place the RocketDyne tested their engines. At the northwest end of the valley during the 60s, it would be a quiet summer day and them the silence would be split by a deafening roar coming from the Santa Susanna mountains. If we were up in the hills at one of the local parks, we might even catch a glimpse of a column of smoke. Pretty amazing times. Pretty awesome machine.

Re:Oh man... (4, Interesting)

Hans Lehmann (571625) | about a year and a half ago | (#40805051)

What's left of Rocketdyne still exists, and there's an actual F1 engine in front of their offices on Canoga Avenue, just north of Victory. https://maps.google.com/?ll=34.190997,-118.597948&spn=0.00041,0.000603&t=h&z=21 [google.com]

Re:Oh man... (5, Informative)

Ellis D. Tripp (755736) | about a year and a half ago | (#40805251)

What's left of the test area is a toxic and radioactive waste site, as well...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santa_Susana_Field_Laboratory

Re:Oh man... (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40805033)

Get out! A FULL SIZE drawing? That's truely inconceivable! Just the logistics of it make it a non-trivial task. You can't just roll it up and take it out on a field - you'd need special handling machinery just to carry it around!

Re:Oh man... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40805193)

Same here. When I was a kid, my bet friend's dad was on the design team. He brought a rolled up, full size drawing of the Saturn V rocket (not just the booster) and laid it out on the athletic field at school. It is also the second loudest device ever created by man. The first being the hydrogen bomb!

At the time. Since then we've invented Roseanne.

Re:Oh man... (3, Funny)

ThePeices (635180) | about a year and a half ago | (#40805219)

It is also the second loudest device ever created by man. The first being the hydrogen bomb!

hmm, this doesnt pass the smell test.

methinks a standard multi-kiloton fission bomb would be louder than the Saturn V. Quieter than a thermonuclear bomb, but louder than the Saturn.

Re:Oh man... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40805267)

It depends on how far you are away and the perception of loudness is affected by the duration of the noise.

Re:Oh man... (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | about a year and a half ago | (#40805095)

Well I'd also argue why waste money when we already have something that works, and works well?

The F1 was well built, its tested, its a sunk cost. Sure it'll cost money to put them back in production but I bet it'll be a hell of a lot less than all the work that goes into a brand new design and most importantly we KNOW it works.

So personally I'm 100% for this as well. The F1 was a damned good design and if we can save costs and get our space program back on track with the F1 back on the pad I say lets do this.

Re:Oh man... (4, Interesting)

DesScorp (410532) | about a year and a half ago | (#40805113)

I would LOVE to see the F1 back in action. Few things have inspired such awe in me as the launch of a Saturn V rocket and the five tremendous columns of fire atop which it strode.

I've been saying for years that we should simply build an updated Saturn rocket. The primary argument that people threw at me on this was cost: that it would simply cost too much to replace the outdated components in the design. I said that was mush then, and I'll say it now. We (meaning modern countries) continually build updated versions of older designs all the time. It's not that big an obstacle, or that costly either. Not only do we continually update old hardware for current and future use... the B-52 will famously roll along in service for another 25 years, with Boeing sticking new electronics in it... the Russians went one better and simply put their old Tu-95 Bear bombers back into production in the 90's... an aircraft that first flew in 1953. Several Russian rockets are nothing but dressed up old designs, and they work fairly well.

So don't throw the "too costly/too complex" argument at me. Would an updated Saturn would really cost more than the Ares rockets planned for the Constellation program? I really doubt that. We're way too prone to reinvent the wheel on things like these, with an erroneous belief that "new" always equals "better".

Re:Oh man... (4, Interesting)

TCPhotography (1245814) | about a year and a half ago | (#40805293)

Back in the early 90s there was a study done on the feasibility of returning the F-1 into production relative to developing a single use version of the SSME (Space shuttle main engine), and back then it would have been cheaper even after you include the start up costs to go with the F-1.

The reason for this is that back when the F-1 was pulled from production a massive effort to secure the institutional knowledge of how to build the engines was undertaken. Thousands of hours of recorded conversions with everyone from the designers to the engineers to the guys on the shop floor on how the engines were built, what problems were encountered, and how the problems were solved.

As a side note, the Soviets kept the Bear in production for most of the 60's, 70's and 80's which is why they were able to keep building them. The B-52 production stopped in the first half of the 60's, and because the forge that was used to make the single-piece main spar wasn't in use any more, it was scrapped.

Now, you could redesign the wing to use a multiple piece main spar like modern airliners, but then you wouldn't have the B-52 any more, you'd have something else.

Re:Oh man... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40805355)

The forge is still in use, the jigs were probably destroyed though.

Re:Oh man... (1)

dbIII (701233) | about a year and a half ago | (#40805817)

Another one - DC3. A couple of those with skis fly down to Antarctica every year and they look a lot like the one out of the old movie "The Thing from Outer Space". They've had a portion chopped out and replaced from in front of the wing, making them a bit longer, and have turboprops, but that's about all the changes from the version with skis flying in the 1940s.

Total n00b here (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40804561)

Is there any reason we shouldn't recycle designs when it comes to rocket engines? Of course (maybe?) we could use modern tools to help improve efficiency but is there anything to gain by starting from scratch?

I really wish I understood more about rocketry and satellites :/

Re:Total n00b here (4, Interesting)

PPH (736903) | about a year and a half ago | (#40804663)

Who is hauling all of our astronauts back and forth to the ISS right now? How old is their design?

There is a lot to be said for refining stable designs instead of starting over with a clean sheet of paper, back at the bottom of the learning curve.

I really wish I understood more about rocketry and satellites :/

This is true in many other fields as well. I really wish NASA understood more about rocketry and satellites.

Re:Total n00b here (2)

shinehead (603005) | about a year and a half ago | (#40804847)

The evolutionary approach seems to have benefits in almost every endeavor, at least until the design is developed to highly evolved state. I suppose at that point you apply manufacturing engineering to wring out the cost. I've always felt that the space program wanted Formula One racecars for their rockets when a dumptruck approach might have been better. Lastly, why couldn't they build a huge engine and de rate it to obtain reliability?

Re:Total n00b here (2)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | about a year and a half ago | (#40805801)

The fact that people have to ride into space on Russian (or Chinese) rockets is less about the technology than the ham fisted planning and management of American politicians, bureaucrats, and NASA administrators. Have you forgotten already that the first privately financed rocket company just had a capsule dock with the space station? A year or so and people will be riding on new rockets. And I doubt anyone started at the bottom of the learning curve. I wouldn't doubt that building a new motor from scratch was a better thing to do. It made sure people didn't get trapped in a mindset of building things in a 1960s way. The old rocket was certainly design constrained by the technology of the era, so why constrain a modern rocket within that old framework? Yeah don't reinvent the wheel. Were that a rocket engine was as simple as a wheel.

Re:Total n00b here (4, Interesting)

Baloroth (2370816) | about a year and a half ago | (#40804749)

Is there any reason we shouldn't recycle designs when it comes to rocket engines? Of course (maybe?) we could use modern tools to help improve efficiency but is there anything to gain by starting from scratch?

Unless you have some new form of rocket fuel or someone discovers a radical new design for an engine that improves efficiency, not really. Rockets are a pretty well established field: starting from scratch doesn't really happen. Not only would it add a ton of testing and design time (which costs quite a lot of money), but you aren't really even sure it would work any better. Rockets are, well, rockets. Ignite propellant, make sure it heads out the back. Thats a gross oversimplification, of course, but they aren't like jets that have a ton of thrust-creating parts you can redesign and recreate in different ways (turbojet, ramjet, scramjet, etc.)

Re:Total n00b here (4, Informative)

nojayuk (567177) | about a year and a half ago | (#40804875)

The F-1 is actually quite crude by today's standards. It's not throttleable so the acceleration curve for a Saturn-V launch started off slow and picked up to about 4-Gs as the first stage's fuel ran out which beat up the crew somewhat. The Shuttle in comparison never exceeded 3-G. The F-1 has a low chamber pressure (70 bar) and reduced Isp (263 seconds) compared to modern LOX/RP-1 engines like the throttleable RD-180 (266 bar and 311 seconds) as used on the Atlas launcher.

Re:Total n00b here (3, Informative)

EdgePenguin (2646733) | about a year and a half ago | (#40805015)

Let me go further. The RD-180 is actually a 2 thrust chamber version of a 4 trust chamber engine, the RD-170. The newer version of the RD-170, the RD-171 - is currently in service as the first stage engine of the Zenit rocket and critically produces more thrust than an F-1 engine does.

If NASA wants to break out the most powerful liquid fuel engines ever built, they need to go to Russia with their checkbooks again. At the end of the cold war, the Soviets ended up way ahead in liquid engine design - which can be attested to by the fact that many modern US launchers use Russian engines (RD-180, NK-33 soon) or designs which draw on Russian expertise (RS-68)

Re:Total n00b here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40805133)

Is there any reason we shouldn't recycle designs when it comes to rocket engines? Of course (maybe?) we could use modern tools to help improve efficiency but is there anything to gain by starting from scratch?

Sometimes. For example, instead of being bound to produce a frankenbeast of a design that's limited to certain parameters due to various infrastructural limitations and constructed across the country, we could build a design that is set to a given performance and produce it in one place that's closer to the launch site.

Rocket engines (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40804571)

This is what I like about rocket engines. A rocket engine designed for a specific load in the 60s and today would have nearly the same design. A modernized F1 is entirely logical.

And before people complain about rocket engines not advancing at the same rate as microprocessors, let me note that the cost of a rocket is primarily determined by its complexity, not the cost of fuel or the size of the engines. A simple rocket engine (like the F1) that burns kerosene and oxygen is often cheaper than super advanced rocket engines like those on the Space Shuttle.

Re:Rocket engines (5, Interesting)

TubeSteak (669689) | about a year and a half ago | (#40804955)

This is what I like about rocket engines. A rocket engine designed for a specific load in the 60s and today would have nearly the same design. A modernized F1 is entirely logical.

There have been plenty of advances since the 60s, especially in the materials sciences,
it's just that no one but NASA would spend the money on R&D.

Even the private space companies of today are building their engines using cast-offs from the NASA programs of old.
They look for parts in a California junkyard called Norton Sales, where used NASA parts go to die.
You're not going to find cheap rocket grade titanium turbopumps anywhere else in the world.

Heck, even NASA has had to go scrounging through that junkyard,
because they've destroyed the blueprints for so many old pieces of equipment,
that the only way to rebuild them is to find an original and reverse engineer it.

Re:Rocket engines (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40805255)

Sorry, but you're full of shit.

SpaceX does not use second-hand parts from Norton.

Re:Rocket engines (0, Troll)

PNutts (199112) | about a year and a half ago | (#40805319)

This is what I like about rocket engines. A rocket engine designed for a specific load in the 60s and today would have nearly the same design. A modernized F1 is entirely logical.

There have been plenty of advances since the 60s, especially in the materials sciences,
it's just that no one but NASA would spend the money on R&D.

Even the private space companies of today are building their engines using cast-offs from the NASA programs of old.
They look for parts in a California junkyard called Norton Sales, where used NASA parts go to die.
You're not going to find cheap rocket grade titanium turbopumps anywhere else in the world.

Heck, even NASA has had to go scrounging through that junkyard,
because they've destroyed the blueprints for so many old pieces of equipment,
that the only way to rebuild them is to find an original and reverse engineer it.

Your beautiful words,
Almost seem intelligent,
But are really just shit.

- Burma Shave.

Re:Rocket engines (1)

Teancum (67324) | about a year and a half ago | (#40805803)

You are talking two different things here with this "junk yard" called Norton Sales.

First, there are hobby rocket builders who scrounge through that junk yard for parts because they are building one-off specialized rockets on an extreme budget and are largely garage tinkerers anyway. I know guys who have done that for automobiles, tractors, and other kinds of equipment too for largely the same reason.

As for NASA going through that place to dig up parts, they are either looking for engineering samples to act as a comparison when trying to rebuild old designs, or perhaps they are desperate in terms of looking for a specialized part that has been discontinued from the original equipment manufacturer yet functioning equipment still needs those parts for some reason. Rather than paying a machinist or that original company a huge pile of money for a production run of just one part or a very low number (yes, that sometimes does happen both in NASA and the military for many items), searching through a junk yard like this would be hugely cheaper.

It isn't that people are too stupid today to be able to build this stuff, but that it is simply cheaper to get stuff from a junk yard. Cheaper by orders of magnitude I should add.... as long as you can even find what you are looking for. If they can't find it at that junk yard, they simply are forced to try and make it from scratch instead at considerable cost. Sometimes a production run of one item can be nearly the same cost as producing thousands of that part too.

Tor Discussion Forums !!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40804589)

for now, mature adults should visit and post at one or both of these unofficial tor discussion forums, these tinyurl's will take you to:

** HackBB:
http://www.tinyurl.com/hackbbonion [tinyurl.com]

** Onion Forum 2.0
http://www.tinyurl.com/onionforum2 [tinyurl.com]

Each tinyurl link will take you to a hidden service discussion forum. Tor is required to visit these links, even though they appear to be on the open web, they will lead you to .onion sites.

I know the Tor developers can do better, but how many years are we to wait?

Caution: some topics may be disturbing. You should be eighteen years or older. I recommend you disable images in your browser when viewing these two forums[1] and only enabling them if you are posting a message, but still be careful! Disable javascript and cookies, too.

If you prefer to visit the hidden services directly, bypassing the tinyurl service:

HackBB: (directly)
http://clsvtzwzdgzkjda7.onion/ [clsvtzwzdgzkjda7.onion]

Onion Forum 2.0: (directly)
http://65bgvta7yos3sce5.onion/ [65bgvta7yos3sce5.onion]

The tinyurl links are provided as a simple means of memorizing the hidden services via a link shortening service (tinyurl.com).

[1]: Because any content can be posted! Think 4chan, for example. onionforum2 doesn't appear to be heavily moderated so be aware and take precautions.

Re:Tor Discussion Forums !!! (1)

PPH (736903) | about a year and a half ago | (#40804623)

1) Off topic.

2) That was a lot of work just to get a couple of suckers to click on Goatse links.

Re:Tor Discussion Forums !!! (1)

Macrat (638047) | about a year and a half ago | (#40804841)

2) That was a lot of work just to get a couple of suckers to click on Goatse links.

You make a habit of clicking on spam links?

Minor nitpick. (4, Informative)

sconeu (64226) | about a year and a half ago | (#40804599)

The F-1 wasn't a booster, it was an engine. The booster stage using the F-1 was the S-1C.

Seems like a tremendous waste (2, Insightful)

Hadlock (143607) | about a year and a half ago | (#40804621)

The F1 was designed on blackboards and drafting tables. A "modern" F1 is only going to be similar in size - it'd have to be a clean sheet design, the facilities that built the F1 are long gone at this point. Why even study redesigning the F1? This seems like a tremendous waste. Of course it's going to be a clean sheet, computer drafted design.
 
Money for a study on a stone age rocket design* seems like a federal handout, nothing more.
 
*although the Saturn V's anti-oscillation system is pretty inspired... for it's time

Re:Seems like a tremendous waste (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40804683)

The F1 is a perfect example of a big dumb booster [wikipedia.org]. It is cheap, especially so if you mass produce it. The Space Shuttle Main Engines are examples of non-stone age rocket design that uses advanced materials and tries to be reusable. Guess which one is cheaper to operate?

Here's a hint: the Russians like big dumb boosters for a reason.

Re:Seems like a tremendous waste (4, Insightful)

mjr167 (2477430) | about a year and a half ago | (#40804713)

Because it is good engineering practice to know what has been done before? We do not build things in a vacuum, but rather we build upon the successes and failures of others. By knowing what has failed in the past we can avoid those traps in the future and by knowing what has worked we can have a firm foundation upon which to improve.

Re:Seems like a tremendous waste (1)

0123456 (636235) | about a year and a half ago | (#40804737)

By knowing what has failed in the past we can avoid those traps in the future and by knowing what has worked we can have a firm foundation upon which to improve.

Except we know Saturn V failed as an economical method of launching things into space... yet NASA are building a modern version with the same problems (too big, not reusable, no customer other than NASA, too low a flight rate, etc, etc).

Re:Seems like a tremendous waste (1)

Nimey (114278) | about a year and a half ago | (#40804851)

Saturn V wasn't used to boost large payloads to LEO with the exception of Skylab. False comparison.

One supposes that it might be economical if it's properly mass produced and not required to be man-rated.

Re:Seems like a tremendous waste (3, Interesting)

0123456 (636235) | about a year and a half ago | (#40804903)

Saturn V wasn't used to boost large payloads to LEO with the exception of Skylab. False comparison.

Uh, what do you think an Apollo mission was?

One supposes that it might be economical if it's properly mass produced and not required to be man-rated.

Yes. Now perhaps you can explain where all these 150 ton payloads are that need a mass-produced heavy lifter that will, at least initially, cost billions of dollars per flight?

Hint: they don't exist. There's no budgeted payload for this launcher.

Re:Seems like a tremendous waste (1)

Ol Olsoc (1175323) | about a year and a half ago | (#40805111)

Saturn V wasn't used to boost large payloads to LEO with the exception of Skylab. False comparison.

Uh, what do you think an Apollo mission was?

To the Moon, Alice! to the Moon!

Re:Seems like a tremendous waste (1)

khallow (566160) | about a year and a half ago | (#40805349)

One supposes that it might be economical if it's properly mass produced and not required to be man-rated.

It's safe to say that like all the other parts of the SLS, it will not be properly mass produced.

Re:Seems like a tremendous waste (4, Informative)

LWATCDR (28044) | about a year and a half ago | (#40804935)

The Saturn V was the most cost efficient heavy lift launch vehicle to fly. The cost per lb to LEO is only $9,915 which is cheaper than the Atlas V or the Ariane V. The Falcon 9 does beat it but then you have the other metric.
Saturn V 118,000 kg to LEO
Falcon 9 10,450 kg to LEO
Falcon Heavy 53,000 kg to LEO
And that was with 1960s support systems. NASA was working on an improved Saturn 5 and tested F-1a engines that where ligher, had more thrust, and a higher specific impulse than the ones flown in the Saturn 5. Take the F-1a and add modern electronics for control and build the stage using modern methods and materials and you could drop the costs.
What I fear is this is just a tactic to do nothing. If you keep studying the new launch system and changing it you will never have to build it. If you do not build it can never fail so you can never be blamed. As a politico it works well you can spend a ton of money doing studies to save money by finding a better way and when you have spent a lot you can kill the project because "they" have wasted all this money and have not built a thing.
 

Re:Seems like a tremendous waste (1)

0123456 (636235) | about a year and a half ago | (#40805003)

The Saturn V was the most cost efficient heavy lift launch vehicle to fly.

That's like saying the new Ferrari will be the most cost-efficient Ferrari ever built. It's still expensive.

And, I suspect those numbers don't include the development cost, whereas SpaceX actually have to pay for developing their launcher as well as flying it. I did some quick sums based on numbers I found on the web including development costs and got a number closer to $20,000 a pound.

Re:Seems like a tremendous waste (2)

Ol Olsoc (1175323) | about a year and a half ago | (#40805129)

The Saturn V was the most cost efficient heavy lift launch vehicle to fly.

That's like saying the new Ferrari will be the most cost-efficient Ferrari ever built. It's still expensive.

Think of it like a train. Locomotives are expensive, and they burn a lot of fuel. But they carry huge amounts of freight in those mile long trains. Each pound of freight is shipped incredibly cheaply.

Re:Seems like a tremendous waste (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | about a year and a half ago | (#40805515)

No it is like saying that X is the most cost-efficient semi-truck ever made and someone saying my Prius gets better mileage. That is all fine and good except that a Prius can not haul a 10,000 kg across country.
The Falcon Heavy has not flown yet so it's dev costs are still unknown. It will probably be cheaper but it can not put 100,000kg in LEO.
And yes modern design, testing, construction methods, and materials well means that a new F-1a should be better than even the F-1a that was tested in the late 60s. A new booster using them can also be cheaper and better than the Saturn V first stage.
It is a real shame that F-1 and J-2 where allowed to become dead ends. An improved Saturn 1b using a single F-1a for it's first stage would have made a good heavy lift launcher with a larger payload than the Titan IIIC. The improved Saturn V could have been used to launch large parts for a larger space station than SkyLab and the improved Saturn 1b could have launched crews and supplies.

Re:Seems like a tremendous waste (2)

Teancum (67324) | about a year and a half ago | (#40805843)

The Saturn V was originally designed to be used for a long, long time with production runs numbering in the hundreds if not thousands of copies. The test stand set up along with the part supplier chains were originally told that the Moon landings were only going to be the warm up to a much more aggressive manned spaceflight program. Unfortunately Congress choose not to go that route and instead cut the program altogether in favor of a design which came from another part of NASA. That is what gave us the Space Shuttle.

I still argue that the Saturn V could have sent into space just as much tonnage into orbit and perhaps even more astronauts, as well as preserving at least in theory the capability of returning to the Moon and would have even kept orbital space stations operational (including more missions to the original Skylab) for a price far cheaper than the Shuttle program. That is looking in hind sight, but your point about the Saturn V is pretty spot on.

It is also interesting to note that part of that effort to develop the Saturn V is still in use today... by Space X with their McGregor, Texas facility that is being used to test the Merlin engines used on the Falcon rockets. The test stands being used were developed to work with the F1 engines, and the work flow patterns designed by Werner Von Braun have simply been repurposed by Elon Musk for the Merlin engine processing. In other words, the cheap prices that you see with the Falcon 9 owes at least part of its heritage to the original F1 engines that were developed so many years ago.

Re:Seems like a tremendous waste (1)

NemoinSpace (1118137) | about a year and a half ago | (#40805631)

Except we know Saturn V failed as an economical method of launching things into space...

...except it failed less than anything else ever tried. So, uh, ok.
Now if you mean it failed economically, as in Congress had other plans with our tax dollars, then maybe.
Reusable? You learned little from Apollo and learned nothing from the Shuttle. If you have discovered a cheaper way to burn kerosine in rockets that deliver maximum payload, you are going to be rich. (they would have built a bigger Saturn V if they could have)

Re:Seems like a tremendous waste (3, Interesting)

bmo (77928) | about a year and a half ago | (#40804719)

>Why even study redesigning the F1?

Because it's the largest liquid fueled engine in existence, and it works. Nobody has anything comparable to it, not even the Russians. There's a reason why the Russians use so many smaller engines.

Why design from scratch when you have known working prototypes? Only fools reinvent the wheel. Indeed, going back and redesigning the "shower head" fuel injection plate would be just nuts as it works fabulously.

A lighter, more efficient F-1A would be really, really sweet.

--
BMO

Re:Seems like a tremendous waste (3, Insightful)

savuporo (658486) | about a year and a half ago | (#40805017)

Because it's the largest liquid fueled engine in existence, and it works. Nobody has anything comparable to it, not even the Russians.

Why let facts get in the way of perfectly good chest thumping, huh ? RD-170, the engine that lifted Polyus and Buran with Energia rocket, and its derivative is powering Zenit rockets today, has higher thrust than F-1 had ( past tense )

Re:Seems like a tremendous waste (4, Interesting)

bmo (77928) | about a year and a half ago | (#40805139)

You're forgetting the F-1A.

The F1 was designed in 1959. The F1A is an improved version, which is what we're really talking about.

And the F1A has these stats:

Rocketdyne Lox/Kerosene rocket engine. 9189.6 kN. Study 1968. Designed for booster applications. Gas generator, pump-fed. Isp=310s.

Thrust (sl): 8,003.800 kN (1,799,326 lbf). Thrust (sl): 816,178 kgf. Engine: 8,098 kg (17,853 lb). Chamber Pressure: 70.00 bar. Area Ratio: 16. Propellant Formulation: Lox/RP-1. Thrust to Weight Ratio: 115.71.

Status: Study 1968.
Unfuelled mass: 8,098 kg (17,853 lb).
Height: 5.48 m (17.97 ft).
Diameter: 3.61 m (11.84 ft).
Thrust: 9,189.60 kN (2,065,904 lbf).
Specific impulse: 310 s.
Specific impulse sea level: 270 s.
Burn time: 158 s.
First Launch: 1967.

Source: http://www.astronautix.com/engines/f1a.htm [astronautix.com]

The RD-170 has these stats:

Chambers: 4. Thrust (sl): 7,550.000 kN (1,697,300 lbf). Thrust (sl): 769,876 kgf. Engine: 9,750 kg (21,490 lb). Chamber Pressure: 245.00 bar. Area Ratio: 36.87. Thrust to Weight Ratio: 82.66. Oxidizer to Fuel Ratio: 2.6.

AKA: 11D520.
Status: Development ended 1976.
Unfuelled mass: 9,750 kg (21,490 lb).
Height: 3.78 m (12.40 ft).
Diameter: 4.02 m (13.17 ft).
Thrust: 7,903.00 kN (1,776,665 lbf).
Specific impulse: 337 s.
Specific impulse sea level: 309 s.
Burn time: 150 s.
First Launch: 1981-93.
Number: 12 .

Source: http://www.astronautix.com/engines/rd170.htm [astronautix.com]

Chest thumping? I think not.

--
BMO

Re:Seems like a tremendous waste (2, Informative)

savuporo (658486) | about a year and a half ago | (#40805185)

BS, it was a study, a never built paper engine. Doesn't jive with "Because it's the largest liquid fueled engine in existence, and it works." It never existed. RD-171 is in active service right now.

Re:Seems like a tremendous waste (2)

bmo (77928) | about a year and a half ago | (#40805371)

>BS, it was a study, a never built paper engine.

>first launch: 1967

Yup. Never built.

Even if all it did was sit in the test stand and get tested, it's a real engine.

Get stuffed.

--
BMO

Re:Seems like a tremendous waste (1)

savuporo (658486) | about a year and a half ago | (#40805519)

It never launched on anything, i'm not sure what you are on about. Couple of crates of parts at PWR don't constitute a "largest liquid fueled engine in existence".
For things that never left the test stand, there were RD-270 and all sorts of other ludicrous attempts.

Again, RD-171 is flying, today, and it is more powerful than anything else ever flown.

Buy Chinese (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40804751)

If it's a waste of money, then why not just buy the rocket engine from China? It's certainly saner than buying "micro" chips from the Reds. A rocket engine (minust the guidance system which should be American made) would be easier to comb for intentional "bugs" than microscopic computer parts.

Re:Seems like a tremendous waste (1)

sandytaru (1158959) | about a year and a half ago | (#40804845)

Actually, the original building at Cape Canaveral in which the Saturn V was built was repurposed for the space shuttle (which took up a fraction of the space.) It can easily be repurposed again.

Re:Seems like a tremendous waste (1)

Digicrat (973598) | about a year and a half ago | (#40805107)

Actually, the original building at Cape Canaveral in which the Saturn V was assembled was repurposed for the space shuttle (which took up a fraction of the space.) It can easily be repurposed again.

FTFY. Each stage of the Saturn V was built and tested elsewhere before being shipped to Kennedy for final assembly.

Re:Seems like a tremendous waste (1)

Macrat (638047) | about a year and a half ago | (#40804891)

Money for a study on a stone age rocket design* seems like a federal handout, nothing more.

Exactly. NASA's future is paying companies like SpaceX to handle payloads.

This is nothing more than gov't pork expenses.

Re:Seems like a tremendous waste (2, Informative)

Sir Holo (531007) | about a year and a half ago | (#40804975)

Rocket design is stone-aged.

The US standard railroad gauge (distance between the rails) is 4 feet, 8.5 inches. That's an odd number! Why was that gauge used? Well, because that's the way they built them in England, and English expatriates designed the US railroads. The first rail lines were built by the same people who built the pre-railroad tramways, and that's the gauge they used. The people who built the tramways used the same jigs and tools that they had used for building wagons, which used that wheel spacing, because that was the spacing of wheel ruts in ancient English roads.

Who built those old rutted roads? Imperial Rome built the first long distance roads in Europe for their legions. Those roads have been used ever since. Roman war chariots formed the initial ruts, which everyone else had to match or risk destroying their wagon wheels. Because those chariots were made for Imperial Rome, they were all alike in the matter of wheel spacing.

Therefore, the United States standard railroad gauge of 4 feet, 8.5 inches is derived from the original specifications for an Imperial Roman war chariot. Bureaucracies live forever. So the next time you are handed a specification/procedure/process and wonder 'What horse's ass came up with this?', you may be exactly right. Imperial Roman army chariots were made just wide enough to accommodate the rear ends of two war horses. (Two horses' asses.)

Now, how does this apply to space travel?: When you see a Space Shuttle sitting on its launch pad, there are two big booster rockets attached to the sides of the main fuel tank. These are solid rocket boosters, or SRBs. The SRBs are made by Thiokol at their factory inUtah. The engineers who designed the SRBs would have preferred to make them a bit fatter, but the SRBs had to be shipped by train from the factory to the launch site. The railroad line from the factory happens to run through a tunnel in the mountains, and the SRBs had to fit through that tunnel. The tunnel is slightly wider than the railroad track, and the railroad track, as you now know, is about as wide as two horses' behinds.

So, a major Space Shuttle design feature of what is arguably the world's most advanced transportation system was determined over two thousand years ago by the width of a horse's ass. And you thought being a horse's ass wasn't important? Ancient horse's asses control almost everything...

Addendum: The average width of stone-age roadway ruts was about 4 feet 8 inches, the width of two horses' asses, as they pulled a sled. Thus, some of the major dimensions of our space vehicle components are based on stone-age technology!

Re:Seems like a tremendous waste (4, Informative)

petsounds (593538) | about a year and a half ago | (#40805037)

What's up, snopes [snopes.com]. Nice tall tale, though.

Re:Seems like a tremendous waste (2)

fnj (64210) | about a year and a half ago | (#40805201)

Snopes has gradually but comprehensively turned into a horse's ass. They will deny ANY story you give them. In the stupid article you link to, they as much as say, yes, the story is essentially true, we can't verify every excruciating detail 100% so we're going to say something with is essentially an excellent exposition is "FALSE", just because we make it our business to claim EVERYTHING is false.

Re:Seems like a tremendous waste (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40805047)

Except, no.

http://www.snopes.com/history/american/gauge.asp

Re:Seems like a tremendous waste (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40805063)

Thank you for that entertaining and well-written post.

Re:Seems like a tremendous waste (1)

camperdave (969942) | about a year and a half ago | (#40805135)

Wrong - By thousands of years. Rome was a late iron age culture, dating back to about 500BC. The iron age itself began about 1300 BC. It was preceded by the Bronze age, which began about 3000 BC. The stone age was before that. So Roman chariot design is closer in years to modern technology than it is to stone age tech.

Re:Seems like a tremendous waste (1)

Ol Olsoc (1175323) | about a year and a half ago | (#40805175)

So, a major Space Shuttle design feature of what is arguably the world's most advanced transportation system was determined over two thousand years ago by the width of a horse's ass. And you thought being a horse's ass wasn't important? Ancient horse's asses control almost everything...

Cymbal crash!

I do like the joke and story for sure. I see the connections as a very cool thing, both a connection and a interesting engineering problem. Similar to the way the 200 inch Hale telescope. Before they settled on the size, they had to measure the available height of every bridge it would have to go under on the way from New York to California. Add that to the railroad car it was mounted on and the casing, and there was the maximum mirror size they could practically make without sending it by ocean. But there was still the matter of the road going to mount Palomar.

I really do love engineering, especially when it all comes together and works.

Re:Seems like a tremendous waste (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40805099)

The F-1 was designed with the help of IBM 704 computers. To think otherwise is to ignore history, and when exactly do you think computers started being used? When you started using them? Computers have been around for decades.

Re:Seems like a tremendous waste (1)

drgould (24404) | about a year and a half ago | (#40805183)

The F1 was designed on blackboards and drafting tables. A "modern" F1 is only going to be similar in size - it'd have to be a clean sheet design, the facilities that built the F1 are long gone at this point. Why even study redesigning the F1? This seems like a tremendous waste. Of course it's going to be a clean sheet, computer drafted design.

Some designs stand the test of time.

The RL-10 [wikipedia.org] is another Apollo era rocket engine that's still in production.

Re:Seems like a tremendous waste (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40805575)

For "it is" time?

Re:Seems like a tremendous waste (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40805813)

wow - such ignorance. Go read the f1 pdf and come back and say that. Those were real engineers. I don't think we have "modern" engineers that would be up to the task of a clean sheet design since we have lost most of the hard earned knowledge they had back then. Sure there have been some materials improvements but the F1 was a design that worked and produced an enormous amount of thrust...

Are they really going to clear the engines? (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40804671)

Can you really trust Dynetics? I mean, come on! They are going to be late and over budget, but blame all the problems on Thetans. Then ask NASA to pay a bit more, promising higher level analysis.

god damn it (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40804699)

all the semi-public torrent trackers are under attack even ones that aren't english language this is bullshit, i still got private ones but still the semi-public ones have more variety than just the same old "scene" releases, all the obscure vhs rips n shit, fuck i'm pissed at these bitch ass MPAA pricks. no one wants to pirate your fucking stupid batman movie assholes back the fuck off.

The Best or Cheapest Option? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40804741)

Not being a rocket scientist; but for those that are: is the F1 booster the most efficient design, or is it being chosen simply because it is the cheapest design?

Re:The Best or Cheapest Option? (4, Informative)

0123456 (636235) | about a year and a half ago | (#40804759)

Generally speaking, in rocket design, 'efficient' == 'expensive, temperamental, and hard to reuse'. Fuel is cheap, engines are expensive, so if you can throw more fuel at the problem you're usually better off than getting the last 10% efficiency out of the engine through complex design and materials.

Re:The Best or Cheapest Option? (1)

nojayuk (567177) | about a year and a half ago | (#40804933)

The problem with that approach is that the stack has to carry more fuel at takeoff which requires more engine power to lift the stack since it's heavier which requires more fuel to provide that power which requires bigger tanks... OTOH more efficient engines mean more payload delivered to orbit for the same amount of fuel and vehicle structure.

There are modern well-tested engines which have better performance than the venerable F-1 motor -- the RD-171 engine in the Zenit launcher has four chambers fed by a single set of pumps, delivering more thrust than the F-1 ever did and with greater efficiency. A cut-down 2-chamber version, the RD-180 propels the modern Atlas launcher.

Re:The Best or Cheapest Option? (1)

0123456 (636235) | about a year and a half ago | (#40804987)

The problem with that approach is that the stack has to carry more fuel at takeoff which requires more engine power to lift the stack since it's heavier which requires more fuel to provide that power which requires bigger tanks... OTOH more efficient engines mean more payload delivered to orbit for the same amount of fuel and vehicle structure.

But at a higher cost. Fuel is cheap, fuel tanks are cheap, engines are expensive.

The F-1 is extremely inefficient compared to the SSME or even the J-2, but was used for the reason you state; an 'efficient' LOX/LH2 first stage would have been so large that it would have been difficult to build and operate using KSC infrastructure. Most of the potentially viable SSTO designs I've seen use LOX/Kerosene engines for similar reasons even though they're far less efficient than LOX/LH2.

Re:The Best or Cheapest Option? (5, Insightful)

bmo (77928) | about a year and a half ago | (#40805049)

Yeahbut....we wouldn't be basing the new F-1 type engine on the original F-1, we'd be using the F-1A.

The F-1A has 33 percent more thrust than the F-1.

9,189.60 kN for the F-1A versus 7,887 kN for the RD-171

But here is where the real difference comes in:

Lox/RP-1. Thrust to Weight Ratio: 115.71. for the F-1A

It's 82 for your Russian motor. Thus the advantage of using one combustion chamber compared to using 4.

Modern materials should lighten the F-1A and modern controls should improve efficiency and thrust even more to improve the thrust to weight ratio.

Why the Russians never use large combustion chambers and why you see 4 of them on the RD-171: They never solved the problem of combustion instability beyond a certain size. We did.

--
BMO

Re:The Best or Cheapest Option? (2)

spectral7 (2030164) | about a year and a half ago | (#40805103)

You're forgetting the purpose of a rocket: to put something useful into space. Getting a rocket and a bunch of fuel into space is worthless by itself. More fuel means less payload.

Apollo-era F1 Engine? (3, Funny)

Scootin159 (557129) | about a year and a half ago | (#40804897)

Am I the only one who was wondering what NASA was going to be doing with a Cosworth DFV?

Re:Apollo-era F1 Engine? (1)

GrahamCox (741991) | about a year and a half ago | (#40805197)

No, I thought the same :) but I doubt that the largely US audience here would get the joke.

Re:Apollo-era F1 Engine? (1)

rossdee (243626) | about a year and a half ago | (#40805227)

The best F1 engines these days are euuopean - Renault, Mercedes and Ferrari

and Formula 1 has a bigger budget than NASA.

Re:Apollo-era F1 Engine? (1)

WindBourne (631190) | about a year and a half ago | (#40805651)

And yet, I will trust NASA to get me to the highest speeds, furthest distance, and least amount of maintenance or least bugs, LONG before I trust Renault, Mercedes or Ferrari.

Costs (3, Informative)

Altanar (56809) | about a year and a half ago | (#40804917)

Wouldn't it be more cost effective for NASA to just use the upcoming SpaceX Merlin 2 engine? The design documents state that the Merlin 2 should provide 890 kN more thrust than the old F1 engine and should be much more efficient. Plus, the Merlin 2 has the benefit of being already in active development: SpaceX expects they'll have it ready for certification within 3 years.

Re:Costs (1)

joe_frisch (1366229) | about a year and a half ago | (#40805067)

It would be worth watching the progress on Merlin 2, but as far as I can tell, SpaceX isn't publicly releasing their progress on the engine. That's absolutely fine, but it probably don't make sense to design a new rocket around the engine until it either exists, or the company commits to producing it. There have been lots of aerospace ventures that have been canceled for technical or economic reasons after the program started.

Re:Costs (1)

WindBourne (631190) | about a year and a half ago | (#40805633)

Actually, there was one interesting statement that was made prior to C2-C3 launch. Basically, they said that they have temporarily set aside other work to focus on that launch, and that included their hydrogen engine AND Merlin 2. So, there is some work continuing on these, but to what degree is unknown. It could be 1-4 ppl total working on both engines. It could be more.

But seeing how Musk operates, he used to talk openly (basically selling them) about everything, but then changed to only talking about items that are quite close to production. For example, in Tesla, they are working on Blue Star (sub 30K cars), and yet, they keep it quiet. Instead, they speak about model S and X, which are White Star cars that they just delivered the S, and will deliver the X next year.

Aloft With The Wind (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40805177)

NASA Human SpaceFlight Dir is caput.

The Congressional Budget Hearing are a wash-out in terms of funding of Human Space Flight -- Non!

The United States of America is entering a technological period similar to Spain after the Columbus Expeditions of 1492.

Soon the US Congress will zero-out NASA, NSF and the Department of Defense in order to pay for the ObamaCare Wealth Redistribution Taxation Plan.

LoL

Re:Aloft With The Wind (1)

WindBourne (631190) | about a year and a half ago | (#40805445)

Well, another neo-cons has spoken, but has ignored the fact that it was the neo-cons reagan and W that ran up the bulk of the debt, created our nightmare economy that we now have, destroyed our manufacturing base, and put us into 2 wars while totally FUBARing them to a level that ALL military strategy books will use these as what NOT to do. And just like reagan and W, you have a yellow spine and hate to take responsibility for your own damn actions.

It's all a great waste (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40805205)

None of the proposed missions are compelling enough to withstand Washington DC political processes for a sufficient amount of time to reach completion. The American people have not bought the stories used to justify the projects, and hence they are all extremely vulnerable to the vagaries of politics over the next decade.

Air Force General Saying (1)

wisebabo (638845) | about a year and a half ago | (#40805309)

"A new airplane doesn't make a new engine possible, a new engine makes a new airplane possible".

While this may be the right thing to do, admit your mistake (cough "shuttle" cough), and use a simple cheap design for a big dumb booster, I'm a little sad for possibilities lost.

Too bad the linear aerospike engines never panned out (X-37?) or the hypersonic scramjet hasn't been fully developed. While the F-1 may reduce launch costs by a factor of 10, it'll take some revolutionary new technology to bring it down by a factor of 100. (Unless I'm seriously wrong and Elon Musk can do it by reusability and sheer operational efficiency). So maybe space flight for the ultra-rich but not for the rest of us. Not until the space elevator at least.

I'm also afraid that the rebirth and re-design of the F-1 will suffer "mission creep" like; let's make it out of some super-exotic alloy to protect against corrosion for possible ocean recovery and we need to add the capability for a restart. By the way, just how reliable were the original F-1s? Didn't one fail on the way to orbit on Apollo 13? Any other failures?

The SLS is SUCH a mistake (2)

WindBourne (631190) | about a year and a half ago | (#40805417)

Right now, this is nothing more than a GD neo-con job's bill that will waste another 10-20 billion, 10 years to get a rocket that will launch 70 tonnes to LEO at $1-3 Billion per launch.

Instead, a far better solution is to create a COTS-SHLV for 2 Super heavy launch vehicles that are in the range of 150 +- 20 tonnes to LEO. Two American companies would get 5 billion each over 5 years total to design, build and test the rockets which have to have no less than 85% American construction/parts. Upon the successful completion of these, another contest would be held for 2 companies to win a contract of 2 launches a year for 4 years. In addition, who ever is the cheapest would then get a 3rd launch, at the same price as the other 2. The max can only be .5B/launch.

With this approach, we could have multiple launch systems that can then be used to back each other up, but also can be used to launch private industry as well as military. And once there are 2 launch systems with cheap prices, and can do 150 tonnes to LEO, you can bet on it that we will see a major build-up of private space.

OTOH, the SLS is PROHIBITED by law from doing private launches. It can only by used by NASA and the DOD. And from the DOD's POV, they would rather have much cheaper prices then 1-3 billion/launch. However, if private space can do a .5B and under launcher, then we will no doubt see many many launches, space stations and most importantly, stations on the moon and mars.

And the problem is? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40805585)

And what is the problem with building an engine of this type? Did the math change? You can tweak it a bit, but the basic design is sound (very sound). The engineers that designed it weren't just pissing away the day, they did a big fat wad of aerodynamic tests when they designed it. You can compare computers used back then, and rightly compare computers designed now, and say "oh my", but jet/rocket engines? The big era for advancement in jets and rockets was in the 1950's and 1960's (well, actually starting in the late 1930's and through the 1940's in Germany). There have been advances since, but not like the advances then. Turbines (rocket and jet) are a product of the late industrial age. The electronic/computer age is the one we are in. Big changes in computers, small changes in rocket design. A new "tweaked" Saturn V engine might give 5% more power for 5% less fuel. The big thing is that you can run billions of computer simulations to do the tweak, something the original engineers couldn't do.

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