Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Privately Built Antares Test Flight Successfully Launched From Virginia

timothy posted about a year ago | from the space-man-just-think-of-it dept.

Space 85

After high winds (up to 140mph) delayed yesterday's scheduled launch (itself a re-do because of a cabling problem), Orbital Science's Antares rocket has made it to space. This launch was a test run, but Antares is intended to launch supplies to the ISS. Space.com reports: "The third try was the charm for the private Antares rocket, which launched into space from a new pad at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility, its twin engines roaring to life at 5 p.m. EDT (2100 GMT) to carry a mock cargo ship out over the Atlantic Ocean and into orbit. The successful liftoff came after two delays caused by a minor mechanical glitch and bad weather." Congratulations to all involved.

cancel ×

85 comments

Horray for Antares (4, Insightful)

Geoffrey.landis (926948) | about a year ago | (#43511939)

Congrats for Antares.
The more ways to get to orbit, the better!

Re:Horray for Antares (0)

AK Marc (707885) | about a year ago | (#43512023)

Especially since I predict the greatest impact of North Korea's nuclear program is if they manage to time their detonation to be in LEO above Nebraska, taking out the maximum number of LEO satellites and spraying debris through orbit, possibly causing the Kessler effect. And that being in addition to an EMP causing massive disruption over the US. We are at the point where a single nuke can cause trillions of dollars of damage. Just getting it there is the problem. No more space program, public or private, until it's cleaned up, if we are to the point where a nuke in LEO can seed the cloud.

Re:Horray for Antares (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43512073)

I don't know that a nuclear weapon would be the weapon of choice in LEO. Since there is very little atmosphere at that altitude, the shock wave would be minimal at best. Worst, you would vaporize a lot of good material that would (with a conventional weapon) be useful as high relative velocity debris to use against other LEO objects. I'm not a physicist - and I know you could already tell that by my comment - but I would think that a directed charge weapon that used the body of the delivery vehicle as shrapnel would be more effective at LEO than a nuclear blast. I guess it depends on the EMP vs actual damage via collision with debris - and I don't know enough to calculate that.

Re:Horray for Antares (2)

AK Marc (707885) | about a year ago | (#43512439)

The reason it would be a weapon of choice is that the EMP alone would to trillions of dollars of damage. If the blast took out 10 GPS satellites as well, and some coms satellites, then another few billion, but if the satellites were blasted by the EMP such that they became ballistic, it may cause the Kessler effect without the blast causing it directly through first-order damage.

Re:Horray for Antares (1)

Goaway (82658) | about a year ago | (#43512525)

The EMP is created by the surrounding atmosphere too, so there probably wouldn't be much of an EMP in LEO either.

Re:Horray for Antares (2)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about a year ago | (#43512665)

You're failing to grasp the size difference between NK's nukes and the stuff the US and Russians tested in LEO back in the day. We have conventional bombs that rival what NK can do with a nuke. We're talking something that would only take out a few city blocks... still very bad, but in space? Totally useless. The EMP would be tiny.

The most destructive thing they could do with a nuke on a missile is hit one of our carrier groups. THAT would be devastating to our fleet. But we have some pretty fancy gadgetry designed to prevent that very thing from happening. The far more effective thing they could do with a nuke is forget the rocket. Put the biggest nuke they can get together on one of their subs, sail it into any major harbor in the world and detonate it. Just the fact that it happened at all would devastate the world economy and the environmental impact of half a dozen oil tankers dumping, now radioactive, crude into the harbor would be incalculable.

I just hope China has as many spies in North Korea as I suspect. They're the only ones that really have any control over that psychopath.

Re:Horray for Antares (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about a year ago | (#43512757)

EMP does not correlate with size. You'd think that anyone spending billions to do this would at least know that. But no, everyone on the Internet knows anything they don't know must be impossible.

Re:Horray for Antares (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43521379)

For some reason I read that as ELO... "where a nuke in ELO can seed the cloud." ???

Re:Horray for Antares (1)

Phoghat (1288088) | about a year ago | (#43523527)

Especially since I predict the greatest impact of North Korea's nuclear program is if they manage to time their detonation to be in LEO above Nebraska, taking out the maximum number of LEO satellites and spraying debris through orbit, possibly causing the Kessler effect. And that being in addition to an EMP causing massive disruption over the US. We are at the point where a single nuke can cause trillions of dollars of damage. Just getting it there is the problem. No more space program, public or private, until it's cleaned up, if we are to the point where a nuke in LEO can seed the cloud.

You need to get out more

Re:Horray for Antares (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about a year ago | (#43527345)

What, you don't disagree on any particular point, but don't like the obvious conclusion? Anyone with a nuke (tuned for greatest EMP helps, but not required) can cause trillions of dollars of damage to the US, so long as they can get it to LEO over the USA. NK is there, if their public statements are correct (and no, nobody thinks they are). That would be the single most destructive use of a nuke possible. The Kessler effect was just something that's come up with NK before, yet another excuse why the US should regulate the rest of the world - "what if others launch satellites? It could cut us off from space for a long time"

Re:Horray for Antares (2)

sanman2 (928866) | about a year ago | (#43512115)

I just want to add that the quality of the launch video was superb - even better than the quality of SpaceX's video footage.

Their video was crystal clear from start to finish. Even SpaceX's onboard cameras tend to get moisture and ice accumulating on them during ascent, but the Antares cameras were nice and clear. Likewise, even the interior cameras gave a perfectly serene view of the interior before faring separation.

A textbook launch - very nice and very smooth.

Re:Horray for Antares (1)

b4dc0d3r (1268512) | about a year ago | (#43512191)

A launch T-Pain would be proud of. Pitch perfect.

Did we make that joke last time? I didn't read the thread.

Re:Horray for Antares (0, Flamebait)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about a year ago | (#43513039)

Congrats for Antares.

Yes, sending a rocket into orbit is a major breakthrough, just like it was half a century ago.

I know it thrills the hearts of the Galtians among us that some billionaires have finally succeeded in solving a puzzle that the rest of us solved collectively in the early 1960s, so I'm going to refrain from saying "big whoop".

Re:Horray for Antares (1)

Phoghat (1288088) | about a year ago | (#43523539)

Congrats for Antares.

Yes, sending a rocket into orbit is a major breakthrough, just like it was half a century ago.

I know it thrills the hearts of the Galtians among us that some billionaires have finally succeeded in solving a puzzle that the rest of us solved collectively in the early 1960s, so I'm going to refrain from saying "big whoop".

Space will not be truly conquered until private enterprise makes it profitable to do so. So yes, it is a "big whoop" as you so eloquently put it.

Re:Horray for Antares (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about a year ago | (#43523585)

Space will not be truly conquered until private enterprise makes it profitable to do so.

You're making a lot of unwarranted assumptions.

Coming of the true Space Age? (0)

GodGell (897123) | about a year ago | (#43511943)

Some decades ago, when the Space Race happened, people began saying that humanity has entered the Space Age, but the subsequent years of sitting on our asses and accomplishing nothing have proven that wrong, demolishing several generations' worth of dreams.

Today, perhaps, that might actually be coming true.

We sure as hell are living in exciting times.

Re:Coming of the true Space Age? (2)

Trepidity (597) | about a year ago | (#43512009)

While it's a nice achievement, I'm not sure this has much to do with a new space age. Orbital Sciences already has a number of working launch options [orbital.com] , which they regularly use to launch both commercial and NASA payloads. This is adding one which can launch larger payloads than their current options (such as the Minotaur) are able to do, but it's not for going to Mars or anything like that.

No (2)

rgbrenner (317308) | about a year ago | (#43512033)

I wish you were right.. but the answer is no. What those rockets are used for has not changed. The missions are still the same; the customers are still the same.

We have to discover something valuable in space.. then the space age will begin as everyone capable goes into space to claim their share of whatever it is.

Re:No (-1)

AK Marc (707885) | about a year ago | (#43512059)

So really, the conservatives are doing us a favor. Once the planet is unlivable, we'll have to leave. So doing your best to destroy the environment is actually progressive.

Re:No (2)

rgbrenner (317308) | about a year ago | (#43512071)

That made me laugh a little.. but seriously.. I don't think that would do it. There's no place on earth that comes close to the conditions on Mars (for example).. even if an asteroid hit earth, it would still be the best place for us to survive.

Re:No (4, Insightful)

im_thatoneguy (819432) | about a year ago | (#43512687)

Yep. If we really want to "survive a catastrophe" it's orders of magnitude cheaper and easier to build a sustainable submarine station on multiple sides of the earth that only open their hatches once every year or so than to send one colony to mars.

What could kill the human race?
- Disease. It's trivial to filter out microbes and viruses from air supplies here on earth. An antarctic base is also extremely unlikely to get a pathogen spread to it quickly. Avoiding contact with wildlife and all travel to and from would essentially guarantee even an unfiltered antarctic base would be free of disease transmission.
- Asteroid/comet. It's highly unlikely that an asteroid would incinerate everybody on every continent. A small underwater base would be easier and safer. Nuclear submarines already provide a perfectly safe refuge if you have multiple subs in multiple oceans preventing the chance of simultaneous impacts. The dust would be problematic and the temperature but with a space heater from Home Depot and some grow-lamps you could just put on a hepa filter and be perfectly fine inside of an insulated aircraft hanger.
- Nuclear War: It would be nearly impossible to hit a hidden submarine which can hold as many people as proposed martian bases. Also the radiation and fallout from a nuclear war is probably less than just the regular radiation a mars colony would experience on a daily basis from cosmic radiation.
- The sun goes supernova: This is pretty much the only thing that we would need to be a space faring species to overcome and that's unlikely to happen not to mention we would need interstellar not just interplanetary travel to avoid.

Any problem that an apocalyptic catastrophe would cause--would only render the earth almost as uninhabitable as everywhere else in our solar system is every single day.

Re:No (1)

Nivag064 (904744) | about a year ago | (#43513061)

Well you would need to drastically increase the proportion of fertile women in these subs and bases.

I think you will find that women are in the minority, whereas to repopulate the Earth: you would need possible about 90% females - as 1 man can impregnate over a 100 women, but most women would have less than 10 babies.

You need a few men to improve genetic diversity, so having only one man per group of women would not be a good idea.

Re:No (1)

Phoghat (1288088) | about a year ago | (#43523549)

So really, the conservatives are doing us a favor. Once the planet is unlivable, we'll have to leave. So doing your best to destroy the environment is actually progressive.

Yes. Ironic isn't it?

Re:No (1)

WindBourne (631190) | about a year ago | (#43512729)

Yeah, I can not imagine that if Bigelow and SpaceX put up INEXPENSIVE systems to leo would be bad. Or if Bigelow/SpaceX make it on the moon by 2020 like they want, I can not imagine that a number of smaller nations will not pay 100 M or less to put 1 of their ppl on their to explore.

Commentary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43512003)

Commentary quality was not nominal.

Re:Commentary (1)

sanman2 (928866) | about a year ago | (#43512119)

Homeworld: "Enemy contact. We Have Enemy Contact. We have contacted the Enemy. Enemy Contact..."

Re:Commentary (1)

Spy Handler (822350) | about a year ago | (#43513681)

Yeah, they need to get someone experienced in public announcement to do these things. Maybe an air show commentator or something. Because this guy is pretty bad... he's probably an engineer.

Or at least have a script and tell the guy a list of things to say and go over it beforehand, maybe practice a few times.

Hint: Just say "All systems nominal" once, and don't bring it up again until something *isn't* nominal. You don't need to say "XXX is nominal" every 2 seconds.

Phones in Space! (5, Interesting)

backspaces (747193) | about a year ago | (#43512021)

I like this:

Antares also carried three coffee cup-size Phonesat satellites - called Alexander, Graham and Bell - into orbit as part of a space technology experiment for NASA's Ames Research Center in California. The tiny 4-inch-wide satellites use commercial smartphones as their main computers.

Re:Phones in Space! (5, Interesting)

spiritplumber (1944222) | about a year ago | (#43513081)

I helped work on those. It was fun. :) The 1.0s use Nexus Ones and the 2.0 ueses a very gutted Nexus S.

samsung sponsored? (2)

schlachter (862210) | about a year ago | (#43515837)

Cause u know how cool it would be to have Galaxy III satellites.

Why mock cargo? (1)

BlueCoder (223005) | about a year ago | (#43512029)

It's getting it up there that is expensive not the cargo itself necessarily. So for test flights why not put something up there anyway that can be used... Maybe a supply of water or fuel. It it's lost it's no big loss.

Re:Why mock cargo? (2)

Bureaucromancer (1303477) | about a year ago | (#43512081)

Basically because they wouldn't allow the ship anywhere near the space station as is, and the Antares/Cygnus stack just isn't useful for much other than station resupply. If there's anything like the confidence that there was in SpaceX they might be allowed to dock on the next launch, and almost certainly on the third. Whether they deserve that confidence could be argued both ways, but I tend to think they'll get it.

Re:Why mock cargo? (1)

FullBandwidth (1445095) | about a year ago | (#43512561)

Slight correction to your "anything like the confidence" comment - that is actually irrelevant, all that sort of thing is specified in the contracts that Orbital and Space-X have with NASA. The next Antares launch will in fact carry a completed Cygnus vehicle, including cargo, with the intent to dock with the station. That's what they keep referring to as the "COTS demonstration mission." Space-X did the same thing under their COTS contract - the only difference is that after the Falcon's successful maiden voyage, Space-X talked NASA into dropping one of the two demo missions their contract originally called for (Orbital always had just one). So after Space-X's COTS demonstration flight - when Dragon docked with the station successfully - they immediately went into the CRS phase of the program and have flown one mission so far under that agreement. Orbital will enter the CRS phase once the COTS demonstration mission is successful, presumably this summer.

Re:Why mock cargo? (3, Informative)

WindBourne (631190) | about a year ago | (#43513019)

A couple of corrections:
1) Dragon has berthed 3 times. The first was under COTS, and then they have done 2 successful CRS missions. [wikipedia.org] As you can see by the link, that SpaceX has 5 more launches for this year, with 1 of them for another CRS.
2) The next flight is the COTS for cygnus which is June. [wikipedia.org]

Now all we need... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43512035)

Is a way to get all of our nukes into orbit so we can drop them on terrorists whenever they attack us.

Just imagine how quickly we could have ended the war on terror if we had nuked Iraq, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, and Russia from space. I think Russia WANTS another Cold War. I mean, look at what they did in Boston.

Interesting fact (2)

stox (131684) | about a year ago | (#43512047)

The engines used for the Antares are refurbished Russian NK-33's, originally built for use on the N-1 booster. These engines are pretty much 40+ years old.

Re:Interesting fact (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43512075)

So what you're saying is that the engines had upwards of a 93% chance of failure?

Re:Interesting fact (3, Interesting)

Bureaucromancer (1303477) | about a year ago | (#43512089)

Can anyone confirm or deny if the supply of them is limited? I've heard a couple times that there's no real possibility of Orbital Sciences getting more. How many Antares launches can we actually get? As much as Orbital Sciences has done some impressive things I have some real doubts about the usefulness of this system.

Re:Interesting fact (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43512147)

I believe Aerojet licensed the *design* and built new, somewhat modernized engines.

Re:Interesting fact (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43512169)

This gets done in rocketry all the time. The engine designs from the Saturn have been dug up, and redesigned with something like a 100:1 parts ratio and a dramatic increase in thrust with a smaller nozzle.

Re:Interesting fact (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43515469)

There's a nice story about this project over at Ars Technica: http://arstechnica.com/science/2013/04/how-nasa-brought-the-monstrous-f-1-moon-rocket-back-to-life/

Re:Interesting fact (1)

adamgundy (836997) | about a year ago | (#43515597)

no. what they did is take the 40 year old engines and refurbish them (replace perishable seals etc), then add modern, western electronics and gimbal hardware and adjust for RP-1 rocket fuel rather than the 1970's Soviet equivalent.

whether they could actually produce new engines under the license they have is an open question - there has been a license for the RD-180 (used on the Atlas-V) for a long time, but no attempt at production has ever been made in the US. hell, they may not even be able to make new NK-33s in Russia, let alone the US - they were ordered to be scrapped and all the documentation destroyed - it was only due to a forward thinking (and brave) bureaucrat that they were warehoused and forgotten for 30 years...

these old Soviet design engines have very complex, tricky to reproduce metallurgy; that's why they are such good engines. but whether the formulas for that still exist.. who knows? they can certainly make new RD-180s in Russia, maybe the NK-33s use the same stuff, maybe not.

Re:Interesting fact (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43514869)

In theory Aerojet can build more under licensewhat that takes is another question.

However, when asked about this in an online Q&A when Orbital was first announcing Antares (then called Taurus II), Antonio Elias said that their economic forecasts were based on the number of engines available, and that if they needed to figure out restarting production, that would be a problem they would love to have as it would have meant the program was much more successful than they needed it to be.

Remember Orbital first got interested in this because they were afraid that their satellite customers wouldn't be able to get cheap launches once the Delta II was retired and all the Delta II launches were forced onto larger rockets. The fact that Orbital could claim the half of Kistler's COTS money that was left over after they failed to meet their COTS milestones helped close the case for the rocket.

Re:Interesting fact (1)

Phoghat (1288088) | about a year ago | (#43523561)

The engines used for the Antares are refurbished Russian NK-33's, originally built for use on the N-1 booster. These engines are pretty much 40+ years old.

So is the engine on my Hemi Road Runner. Want to run for pinks? There's this thing called "maintenance" and another called "improvement" that all the cool guys do. Oh yeah, get off my lawn.

Great day for space commercial exploration (2)

Sla$hPot (1189603) | about a year ago | (#43512057)

In five to ten years, NASA will live up to it's name ( as an administration ).

Phonesats (2, Insightful)

photonic (584757) | about a year ago | (#43512087)

Congrats to orbital, even though launching a new rocket assembled from parts built by Russians by a company that is already working in the space business for many years seems a small accomplishment compared to what SpaceX pulled off. As is common on a first flight, the main payload is an instrumented dead weight. The coolest thing about this mission is IMO some small cubesats they launched as secondary payloads. These are some super cheap phonesats [nasa.gov] built by NASA, which are powered by a Nexus One or Nexus S. Data packets that could be received via amateur radio should hopefully appear here [phonesat.org] soon.

Re:Phonesats (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43512523)

They're putting up systems running Java? Holy shit that sounds like a bad idea. I guarantee these things will be bogging down and dead within weeks. Hopefully they implemented some sort of external hard reset ability.

Re:Phonesats (2)

WindBourne (631190) | about a year ago | (#43512721)

Nope. Android does not use Java. Besides these sats have to work so Windows was out (blue screams of death in space is a bad thing; nobody can hear it).

Re:Phonesats (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about a year ago | (#43515023)

Define "Android", define "Java" then.
Most Apps running on Android are programmed in the Java programming language. The Android "Java" environment is technically not Java as it uses its own class file format/its own bytecode and its own VM to interprete that bytecode. In other words: standard Java classfiles dont work on that VM but need to be crosscompiled.
How much "Android The OS" is C and derived from Linux and how much is "Java", I don't know.
However your parent had a point, besides his idiotic Java scare ofc ...

Re:Phonesats (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43517193)

What, was SpaceX a bunch of freshly granted BS Aerospace engineers? No, SpaceX is a bunch of veteran engineers from old NASA programs: Apollo, Shuttle, etc.. and ex-JPL folks. Not to mention all those former aerospace contractors in southern California (the biggest concentration of aerospace engineers in the world mind that) that likely had hands on rockets from propulsion systems to IMUs, to docking and electronics. Integration is a much harder problem than building something from scratch, when the solutions have been around for 30yrs (Orbital and SpaceX use algorithms still based on the Apollo program). What's easier? rebuilding Windows from scratch or integrating Windows 7 into the a phone?

SpaceX didn't start from a level of college degree employees, they are former well experience folks from the same industry. And some are likely ex-Orbital. What SpaceX proves is building from scratch could lower costs, but reliability of this approach is YET to be determined.

Can we stop the competitiveness between the 2 companies... Yes both take a different approach to solving the problem, but we want that in effort to figure out what is the best means, cause no supercomputer or model will crack this nut.

Well done to all involved (1)

Kittenman (971447) | about a year ago | (#43512197)

May we never get to thinking that sending up a rocket into space is easy...

Re:Well done to all involved (2)

colinrichardday (768814) | about a year ago | (#43512253)

Why not? It would be nice if sending a rocket into space was easy.

Re:Well done to all involved (1)

SternisheFan (2529412) | about a year ago | (#43512527)

Why not? It would be nice if sending a rocket into space was easy.

I think he means 'let's never get complacent' and cocky. Before there was ever a successful rocket launch there were so many failures with lives lost. The space shuttle disaster, launched in freezing temperatures which caused the engines o-rings to shrink and let gasses escape, Russia's rocket fuel failure that killed many (including some of their best scientists on the ground). Perhaps over-confidence played a factor in those disasters.

Rockets are very complicated machines, and we have much still to learn.

Re:Well done to all involved (2)

colinrichardday (768814) | about a year ago | (#43512609)

And I was hoping that one day rocket science might not be "rocket science."

Re:Well done to all involved (2)

AJWM (19027) | about a year ago | (#43513331)

Rockets are very complicated machines, and we have much still to learn.

They're complicated when the design criteria includes maximizing performance regardless of cost, which was the general design rule in the 1950s and 60s. (In the 70s and 80s, that morphed to maximizing NASA jobs and the number of congressional districts the work is done in, almost regardless of cost.)

As an above poster mentioned, the Saturn F1 (for example) has been redesigned as the F1-B with different design goals, reducing the parts count (hence complexity, at the same time simplifying manufacturability) by two orders of magnitude and increasing thrust (at a very slight drop in Isp -- performance).

So I'd say we're learning.

Re:Well done to all involved (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43512553)

May we never get to thinking that sending up a rocket into space is easy...

That has to be the most regressive comment ever.

May we rapidly find ways to make space travel cheap, easy and safe, so that we are no longer tied to our maternal rock and can expand into the rest of the solar system and out into the galaxy.

To remain on Earth is to invite the extinction of the species, either from a passing rock with our name on it or from self-inflicted destruction.

Re:Well done to all involved (3, Insightful)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about a year ago | (#43513371)

May we never get to thinking that sending up a rocket into space is easy...

We may never get to thinking that buliding a mechanical computation device is easy... However, regardless of how difficult that very complex engineering task is, you can't deny it's down right affordable now.

Nominal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43512275)

I heard the launch was nominal

Antares: an outsourced rocket (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43512389)

The first stage itself was designed and built by a Ukrainian rocket company. It used old Russian NK-33 engines. The second and third stages were designed and built by ATK. So, what value did Orbital Sciences provide? Lobbying and paperwork?

Re:Antares: an outsourced rocket (2)

FullBandwidth (1445095) | about a year ago | (#43512577)

Not to denigrate the fine contribution of lobbying and paperwork to any successful endeavor, but you might find that turning a collection of components into an integrated system - even for something as trivial as a space launch - is a little more complicated than clicking Legos together. Besides, only the first and second stages were delivered as components. That still leaves the fairing, separation systems, launch vehicle interface to the ground systems, the ground systems themselves (1st stage is liquid), etc. etc. etc.

Re:Antares: an outsourced rocket (3, Interesting)

WindBourne (631190) | about a year ago | (#43512705)

The fairing has had a lot of issues with OSC. In fact, NASA will only use OSC for finishing this contract and will no longer use OSC's launch group. Worse, OSC not only did not build the fairing, but they have not built the seperation system, the avionics, etc. They have done little to nothing.
As such, they one of the most expensive launch costs going, as well as zero control. Within 4 years, OSC will be out of the launch industry. Instead, we are likely to see Aerojet and possibly Rocketdyne merging with one of the smaller builders and then building a tug/depot, or perhaps their own form of a land-able launch system.

But as for OSC, with 20 years worth of launch, they have control over next to NO technology. They outsourced it to Europe, Russia, Aerojet, ATK, and a few others. IOW, they are finished.

Re:Antares: an outsourced rocket (2)

kupan787 (916252) | about a year ago | (#43512979)

Instead, we are likely to see Aerojet and possibly Rocketdyne merging with one of the smaller builders and then building a tug/depot, or perhaps their own form of a land-able launch system.

Not sure if you were implying that Aerojet or Rocketdyne merging independetly with a small builder, or if you meant the combined Aerojet/Rocketdyne merging with a small builder. Aerojet (parent company Gencrop) is actually in the process of closing on the purchase of Rocketdyne.

http://www.aerojet.com/media/InvestorPresentation_GenCorpAcquisition.pdf [aerojet.com]

Re:Antares: an outsourced rocket (1)

WindBourne (631190) | about a year ago | (#43516857)

Ouch. I have been busy for the last couple of months so was not paying attention to this. I figured that Aerojet would go after builders (say armadillo) rather than engine builders. To be honest, I am disappointed in this one. I would rather see Rocketdyne picked up by ULA (though there are issues with it, but still possible). We desperately need competition. However, if this leads to AJ deciding to be a rocket builder, then great. Just not sure how that will happen.

Re:Antares: an outsourced rocket (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43515053)

Given how hard good systems integration is in the aerospace world, and the number of customers and projects Orbital still has, I'm not sure that'd I'd write them off as finished.

If the costs drop enough that Antares isn't profitable I don't think they'll be too concerned. Their targets business and other ventures (like strato launch) will still be viable given their proven ability to develop custom vehicles by integrating existing elements. And more importantly remember that most of their foray into the launch services world has been because they are a builder of satellite busses and have wanted to ensure their customers had access to launches. They built Pegasus (the original successful "start-up" commercial orbital launcher) because they couldn't find an affordable small launcher for OrbComm. Antares was created to fill the gap left by the retirement of Delta II--when lots of science missions were forced into larger Atlas V launches, COTS money just made it a lower risk development
        If Falcon 9, or Athena, or other launches for the Delta II class payloads Orbital builds get cheap and reliable enough , I don't think they will be too upset.

Re:Antares: an outsourced rocket (1)

WindBourne (631190) | about a year ago | (#43517187)

Strato launch is the one possibility for them. However, that is not really theirs. In that case, they are a sub-component. Hopefully, this time around, they will do the work, rather than just sub it out.
And yes, pegasus was the original private of what the USAF did and what NASA wanted. And during the 90's, it was useful, though very expensive.

Re:Antares: an outsourced rocket (1)

Robotbeat (461248) | about a year ago | (#43516713)

This post is nonsense. NASA sure as heck will use OSC in the future, if they bid competitively

So they had some problems with a fairing on one of their launch families (Taurus I). Big deal. They have had dozens of successful flights in a row with their Pegasus launch vehicle, and they just had a basically flawless launch, perhaps even better than SpaceX's first Falcon 9 launch. The fairing thing was a problem with Taurus I, but clearly it hasn't hurt them on this launch.

Just because OSC doesn't vertically integrate everything like SpaceX doesn't mean they're "finished." Far from it, actually. I'm as big of a SpaceX fan as any, but SpaceX has been talking about 5-10 launches per year for a long time but still haven't managed to do more than 2 launches in a single calendar year. SpaceX has a lot of potential, but because of their high degree of vertical integration, they're also vulnerable to delays in getting all the internal projects streamlined. Meanwhile, OSC has a whole fleet of Cygnuses.

And OSC has ALWAYS done horizontal integration, they didn't sell out. They focus on what they're good at and for what they aren't good at they outsource, which is exactly how you're supposed to do it. Comparative advantage.

Also, OSC's Cygnus (especially the later ones) will have a lot more volume than Dragon, which is relevant because a LOT of space station cargo is volume-constrained, not mass-constrained.

And this sort of competition is very good for the market. It keeps SpaceX on their toes.

And by the way, OSC's main business isn't in rocket launch but in satellite work. OSC has said they really, really hope Falcon 9 is successful and cheap because it makes it easier to find a good, domestic launch vehicle for their satellites. OSC developed Antares because Delta II was retiring and they needed a good domestic launch vehicle in that payload range (instead of the headache of using a European, Russian, Indian, or Chinese launch vehicle or the really expensive Atlas V). OSC would /like/ to be out of the launch vehicle business.

Re:Antares: an outsourced rocket (1)

WindBourne (631190) | about a year ago | (#43516937)

You are the one not paying attention.
3 failures out of 9 launches. [wikipedia.org] The last success was almost 10 years ago.
the pegasus was enjoyed some success, but most of it was in the 90's. [wikipedia.org] Right now, the pegasus costs 30 million to launch .5 tonne into LEO. In the last 10 years, they have flown 9 missions, with only 2 over the last 5 years.

Now, I really want to see competition. BUT, OSC is not the company. They own little to no IP with regard to launch. They are doing nothing to bring down the price of launch. All in all, OSC will be out of the launch business once CRS is done. They have had too many failures and costs way too much.

BTW, I am hopeful that more space companies DO move up. I would love to see aerojet/rocketdyne produce their own and compete against SpaceX.

Re:Antares: an outsourced rocket (1)

tp1024 (2409684) | about a year ago | (#43513707)

If you had listened to the commentary after the launch, you would have heard the boss of OSC rattling down a laundry list of companies doing stuff for them - including external companies doing the ground systems and the separation systems (which I distinctly remember). Basically everything was done by somebody else.

Re:Antares: an outsourced rocket (2)

WindBourne (631190) | about a year ago | (#43512681)

Nope. They did not lobby for this. NASA approached them. BUT, you are right that OSC outsourced it all. All they did was assemble this. Heck, Cygnus was done 100% in Europe. And Antares will carry 5 tonnes to LEO for about 50-60 million. Right now, the Falcon 9 carries 13 tonnes to LEO for 50 million and shortly the FH will take 54 tonnes for 100 million. So for 2x the price of Anteres, you can carry 10x the cargo. Pretty scary.

And all of that will be destroyed when SpaceX is successful with Grasshopper In about 2 years. At that time, the price of an F9 wll be less than 20M and possibly less than 10M. FH will likewise drop in half, possibly 1/4.

Re:Antares: an outsourced rocket (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43512809)

Right now, the Falcon 9 carries 13 tonnes to LEO for 50 million... Pretty scary.

Hey dude, I think you are farting out of you mouth because Elon Musk' prick is stuck in your rectum due to the presence of a some amount of constipated feces.

Right now Falcon 9 carries 5 tons to LEO (of which only 0.5 ton is useful payload) for 133 million...talking about scary...scarily incompetent.

Re:Antares: an outsourced rocket (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43512881)

Right now Falcon 9 carries 5 tons to LEO (of which only 0.5 ton is useful payload) for 133 million...

According to Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] :

The Falcon 9 can lift payloads of 13,150 kilograms (29,000 lb) to low Earth orbit,

29,000 lb is 14.5 tons.

According to SpaceX in May 2011, a standard Falcon 9 launch will cost $54 million ($1,862/lb), while NASA Dragon cargo missions to the ISS will have an average cost of $133 million.

I guess delivery to your front door is extra.

Re:Antares: an outsourced rocket (1)

WindBourne (631190) | about a year ago | (#43512897)

Right now, the Falcon 9 carries 13 tonnes to LEO for 50 million... Pretty scary.

Hey dude, I think you are farting out of you mouth because Elon Musk' prick is stuck in your rectum due to the presence of a some amount of constipated feces.

Right now Falcon 9 carries 5 tons to LEO (of which only 0.5 ton is useful payload) for 133 million...talking about scary...scarily incompetent.

Nope. V1.1 which is the current launcher carries 13 tonnes and it costs 54 million. [spacex.com]
Sadly, idiots like you prove that 'No child left behind' is a failure.

Re:Antares: an outsourced rocket (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43512967)

I dunno 1,200 lb sure sounds like 0.5 ton of useful payload to me [slashdot.org] .

Perhaps you're just not real good at dislodging a small penis from your anus.
There are lubricants that can help you with that.

Re:Antares: an outsourced rocket (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43513047)

You are not too bright, and obviously, you have a penis in the eye.
1) we spoke about the falcon, not a trip to the ISS.
2) the dragon on the falcon v1.0 is capable of more than 3 tonnes. [wikipedia.org]
3) Just because NASA elects to not take up so much does not mean that is the max that it can load.

Seriously dude, get the cum out of your eye, then you can see what you are reading.

Re:Antares: an outsourced rocket (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43515613)

Sounds like you speak from experience (the penis in the eye part I mean).

3) Just because NASA elects to not take up so much does not mean that is the max that it can load.

Dude you basically conceded that the 0.5 tons of useful load is accurate. I rest my case.

You think everybody have "stupid" tattooed on their foreheads like you?
If I paid $133 million for a trip to the ISS, you can be damn sure I pack the container to near max loading. Welcome to the big leagues.
And this didn't happen just once. Both Dragon trips to the ISS thus far had ferried a mere 1,000 Lb each.
$266 million for one ton of cargo? Seems minor league to me.

So good luck pulling your small cock out of windbourne's ass.

Re:Antares: an outsourced rocket (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43520647)

CRS-1, 882 pounds delivered, 1,673 pounds of return cargo
CRS-2, 2300 pounds delivered, 3200 pounds or return cargo

It is standard practice of increasing payload as you become more confident in a new transportation system.

Re:Antares: an outsourced rocket (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43525365)

OK windbourne (cut the charade loser, we all know it's you).

"CRS-1, 882 pounds delivered"
wikipedia says 882 LB also [wikipedia.org]

"CRS-2, 2300 pounds delivered"
Ouch, wikipedia claims 1,268 LB [wikipedia.org]
I think your vision is still affected by that penis that was inserted into your eyes.

Just for your learning curve perspective, the European ATV will deliver 15,000LB for that same $133 million.
I like to see a little more "confidence" than 6% of the competition.

Re:Antares: an outsourced rocket (1)

AJWM (19027) | about a year ago | (#43513359)

Orbital has a history of using hardware from other sources. The main stage of their Taurus is based on the Peacekeeper missile, for example.

Nothing really wrong with that, except it means they don't have the same kind of cost control that SpaceX does, who design and build all their own systems.

mod uP (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43512697)

arithmetic, of Walnut Crrek, our cause. Gay

AMSAT says it carried some small Ham Satellites (1)

ivi (126837) | about a year ago | (#43513379)

"Antares PhoneSat Cubesat Launch Now Planned for April 21"
can be selected from the list on Right side column of this page:

+ http://ww2.amsat.org/ [amsat.org]

No solar panels => Satellites get short lives (a week or two?)

So, use 'em while their batteries last... as soon as they begin
to work. AMSAT site should have the uplink & downlink freq's
(& you should have an Amateur Radio license to transmit...)

Heavens-Above.com can tell you when to listen for the little,
battery-powered Ham satellites. (Cf Amsat.org for names.)

Let us know what you hear... & let AMSAT know, too, if you're
heard (& repeated) by one of the satellites.

Enjoy!!

Definitely not privately built (4, Informative)

tp1024 (2409684) | about a year ago | (#43513633)

The whole second stage is from ATK, made using the same factories where they usually build ICBMs. The first stage engines are 1970ies Soviet relics. The rest of the first stage (tanks, thrust structures etc.) was build by Yuzhmash [wikipedia.org] a state-owned Ukranian rocket builder. The Cygnus spacecraft will be provided by Tahles Alenia Space, which itself stretches the definition of "private".

Re:Definitely not privately built (2)

khallow (566160) | about a year ago | (#43514945)

The whole second stage is from ATK, made using the same factories where they usually build ICBMs.

That's private right there. I sense you started with that because you thought otherwise. Even being as dependent on public funding as ATK is, it is still a private company.

The rest is correct, though I understand the private company Aerojet made the engines for the first stage using a 70s Soviet design.

Re:Definitely not privately built (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43515501)

Arguably a very _good_ 70's Soviet design, though I'm not sure if that's relevant.

Dimensional Portal (1)

DarthVain (724186) | about a year ago | (#43515477)

What no MOO2 references here? Disappointed Slashdot, disappointed...

Check for New Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...