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Old 11-14-2017, 12:02 AM
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Default Delta II launch @ 1:47 AM PST

Hello All,

The penultimate (next-to-the-last) Delta II rocket is scheduled for launch early this morning (1:47 AM PST [4:47 AM EST; 0947 GMT]) Tuesday, November 14, from Vandenberg Air Force Base. If all goes well, it will inject JPSS 1, the first in a new line of polar-orbiting meteorological satellites for NOAA, into orbit. Live coverage of the countdown and launch can be seen online *here* (see: https://spaceflightnow.com/2017/11/...-status-center/ and www.nasa.gov/multimedia/nasatv/#public ), beginning at 1:15 AM PST. ADDENDUM: The live NASA TV coverage is on now, at this link (see: www.nasa.gov/multimedia/nasatv/#media ).
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Last edited by blackshire : 11-15-2017 at 03:35 AM.
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Old 11-14-2017, 04:46 AM
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Here (see: www.nasa.gov/multimedia/nasatv/#media ) is the NASA TV Live coverage of this morning's Delta II launch--they're holding at T-4 minutes at the moment.

Quote:
Originally Posted by blackshire
Hello All,

The penultimate (next-to-the-last) Delta II rocket is scheduled for launch early this morning (1:47 AM PST [4:47 AM EST; 0947 GMT]) Tuesday, November 14, from Vandenberg Air Force Base. If all goes well, it will inject JPSS 1, the first in a new line of polar-orbiting meteorological satellites for NOAA, into orbit. Live coverage of the countdown and launch can be seen online *here* (see: https://spaceflightnow.com/2017/11/...-status-center/ and www.nasa.gov/multimedia/nasatv/#public ), beginning at 1:15 AM PST.
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Old 11-14-2017, 04:48 AM
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They've scrubbed the launch attempt for this morning, with (they're saying) a 24-hour turnaround for--they just said--a preliminary launch time tomorrow morning of 1:47 AM PST. I'm not too disappointed, as the night-time fog at VAFB is *thick* right now--it would have disappeared quickly after liftoff. This (Delta II coverage) is on the NASA TV "Media" channel; on the "Public" channel (its button is just to the left of the "Media" channel button), they're showing live coverage of the Cygnus freighter being captured and docked to the ISS.
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Old 11-15-2017, 10:15 AM
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The Delta II family is the most reliable launch system in US history when considering it has over 150 launches. I hate to see it retired. As much as I admire the Saturn family launch record and the immensity of the Apollo project, I don't think the Saturns could match the nearly 99% success rate the Delta II has. With 153 launches, it has one partial failure (lower orbit than intended) and one true failure, both in the mid 90's. I blame the Clintons.
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Old 11-15-2017, 12:12 PM
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Originally Posted by tbzep
The Delta II family is the most reliable launch system in US history when considering it has over 150 launches. I hate to see it retired. As much as I admire the Saturn family launch record and the immensity of the Apollo project, I don't think the Saturns could match the nearly 99% success rate the Delta II has. With 153 launches, it has one partial failure (lower orbit than intended) and one true failure, both in the mid 90's. I blame the Clintons.
Indeed--even if it was "just" because the Delta launch team was troubled and distracted by their "reality TV soap opera." :-) (They’re going to try to launch the Delta II early Saturday morning at the same time as this morning [1:47 AM PST; 0947 GMT], with Sunday as a back-up date.) Speaking of the Delta II's retirement:

I think Boeing and NASA should re-think it, for more than one reason. Launch vehicles got bigger because satellites--which were called upon to do more and more over the years--grew larger and heavier, but today that trend is reversing in many cases, as miniaturized components enable very small and lightweight satellites to do more and more. Now:

Not only can the Delta II--which can fly with just six or three solid boosters if they're all that's needed--orbit lighter payloads (*and* using just its lower two stages, if the solid third stage isn't needed for particular payload mass/orbit combinations, making it able to orbit a wide variety of different payload masses and sizes [using its "straight 8' fairing" or either of its "bulbous" fairings]), but it can also orbit single, dual, triple, or multiple spacecraft. Even the upcoming mission consists of several CubeSats in addition to the weather satellite primary payload, and--as with the recent Minotaur-C launch--the Delta II could carry a large number of all-small satellites, optionally with one of the maneuvering space tug satellite carriers to inject them into different orbits. With these capabilities, it seems unwise to retire this most reliable launch vehicle. Also:

The Delta II's components may also be useful for creating a "Delta II-Lite" version that could orbit still smaller payloads, more cheaply. It could use--depending on the mission requirements--either just the "stretched-Thor" first stage (with no boosters) and the pressure-fed, restart-able hypergolic second stage (it would be essentially a "Super Thor-Able Star"), *or* the liquid propellant second stage could be replaced by a spin-stabilized (or TVC--Thrust Vector Controlled) STAR spherical solid motor, whose size and type would be chosen based on the mission requirements, and:

From the mid-1960s through the mid-1970s, two of the simplest and cheapest SLVs were the two-stage Thor-Burner 1 (Thor-Altair) and the Thor-Burner 2 (there was also, for reaching higher orbits, a three-stage Thor-Burner 2A). These utilized an un-boosted Thor IRBM (or later, a long-tank Thor), topped by a spin-stabilized Altair-type FW-4 motor (Thor-Burner 1), or a STAR-37B with TVC (Thor-Burner 2), while the Thor-Burner 2A used either a second STAR-37B or a smaller STAR-13A solid motor as the third stage (all of these vehicles can be seen here: http://www.b14643.de/Spacerockets_2...ption/Frame.htm and http://www.google.com/search?source...1.0.CKJWkQ_Tz_4 ). A "Delta II-Lite" could utilize any of the numerous available STAR motors as second (and third) stages. Such "big first stage" liquid + solid propellant SLVs (South Korea's Naro-1 [see: http://www.google.com/search?ei=g3Q.....0.geOev6an36M ] is of this type) are simple and inexpensive.
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http://www.lulu.com/product/cd/what...of-2%29/6126511
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Old 11-17-2017, 09:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blackshire
Indeed--even if it was "just" because the Delta launch team was troubled and distracted by their "reality TV soap opera." :-) (They’re going to try to launch the Delta II early Saturday morning at the same time as this morning [1:47 AM PST; 0947 GMT], with Sunday as a back-up date.) Speaking of the Delta II's retirement:

I think Boeing and NASA should re-think it, for more than one reason. Launch vehicles got bigger because satellites--which were called upon to do more and more over the years--grew larger and heavier, but today that trend is reversing in many cases, as miniaturized components enable very small and lightweight satellites to do more and more. Now:

Not only can the Delta II--which can fly with just six or three solid boosters if they're all that's needed--orbit lighter payloads (*and* using just its lower two stages, if the solid third stage isn't needed for particular payload mass/orbit combinations, making it able to orbit a wide variety of different payload masses and sizes [using its "straight 8' fairing" or either of its "bulbous" fairings]), but it can also orbit single, dual, triple, or multiple spacecraft. Even the upcoming mission consists of several CubeSats in addition to the weather satellite primary payload, and--as with the recent Minotaur-C launch--the Delta II could carry a large number of all-small satellites, optionally with one of the maneuvering space tug satellite carriers to inject them into different orbits. With these capabilities, it seems unwise to retire this most reliable launch vehicle. Also:

The Delta II's components may also be useful for creating a "Delta II-Lite" version that could orbit still smaller payloads, more cheaply. It could use--depending on the mission requirements--either just the "stretched-Thor" first stage (with no boosters) and the pressure-fed, restart-able hypergolic second stage (it would be essentially a "Super Thor-Able Star"), *or* the liquid propellant second stage could be replaced by a spin-stabilized (or TVC--Thrust Vector Controlled) STAR spherical solid motor, whose size and type would be chosen based on the mission requirements, and:

From the mid-1960s through the mid-1970s, two of the simplest and cheapest SLVs were the two-stage Thor-Burner 1 (Thor-Altair) and the Thor-Burner 2 (there was also, for reaching higher orbits, a three-stage Thor-Burner 2A). These utilized an un-boosted Thor IRBM (or later, a long-tank Thor), topped by a spin-stabilized Altair-type FW-4 motor (Thor-Burner 1), or a STAR-37B with TVC (Thor-Burner 2), while the Thor-Burner 2A used either a second STAR-37B or a smaller STAR-13A solid motor as the third stage (all of these vehicles can be seen here: http://www.b14643.de/Spacerockets_2...ption/Frame.htm and http://www.google.com/search?source...1.0.CKJWkQ_Tz_4 ). A "Delta II-Lite" could utilize any of the numerous available STAR motors as second (and third) stages. Such "big first stage" liquid + solid propellant SLVs (South Korea's Naro-1 [see: http://www.google.com/search?ei=g3Q.....0.geOev6an36M ] is of this type) are simple and inexpensive.


And a Falcon 9 first stage could do the same thing with reusability to boot...

Later! OL J R
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Old Today, 05:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by luke strawwalker
And a Falcon 9 first stage could do the same thing with reusability to boot...

Later! OL J R
I had thought of that as well (such a vehicle could be called the “Falcon 9-Lite"). The Falcon 9 first stage could even carry multiple satellites, each fitted with its own spin-stabilized (like the Thor-Burner 1 [Thor-Altair] upper stage) or TVC-stabilized (like the Atlas-Burner 2 and Thor-Burner 2 & 2A upper stages)--or even a mixture of both types aboard one vehicle--solid propellant upper stage motor, with each satellite going to its own, pre-planned orbit, just as multiple OV (Orbiting Vehicle) solid motor-equipped satellites were launched aboard Atlas ICBMs in the USAF's STP (Space Test Program, which provided inexpensive "hitch-hiker" suborbital instrument pod and satellite flight opportunities for scientific experiments). Or, one or two larger satellites could be carried, each with its own larger (a PAM-D, Castor 30, etc.) solid propellant upper stage motor, and:

In such configurations, the Falcon 9's normal Kerolox second stage wouldn't be used, and the satellite/solid propellant upper stage "unit" or "units" would be mounted either:

[1] Inside the Falcon 9 first stage's interstage section (which would be topped by a short, non-bulbous [and potentially even hinged, re-close-able and reusable] payload fairing, like on Masten Space Systems' original reusable sounding rocket design), or;

[2] Inside the normal bulbous Falcon 9 payload fairing, which would separate normally at the usual altitude (possibly after a very brief coast, although the first stage might reach such altitudes before Stage 1 shutdown, depending on the total payload mass and the chosen ascent trajectory profile), with the fairing halves being recovered if desired, or;

[3] A combination of [1] and [2], depending on the "mix" of satellite/solid upper stage "units," the total payload mass, and the chosen ascent trajectory profile. ALSO:

Depending on the total payload mass and the mission requirements, the Falcon 9 first stage could land either back on its coastal landing pad, or downrange on one of the drone ships (with the latter option, of course, allowing more payload mass [and/or more satellite/solid upper stage "units"] to be carried). In the case of satellites with spin-stabilized upper stage motors, the rocket motor-driven (or cold gas jet-driven) spin table of each one could be affixed to the first stage as is normally done, and the first stage's nitrogen gas attitude control jets could "aim" the vehicle before each satellite/upper stage spin-up and separation, in order to separate each spinning satellite/solid upper stage motor with the correct orientation. Regarding the cost:

The Falcon 9 first stage, while it is reusable (for an as-yet-undetermined number of times) and cheaper than the two-stage Falcon 9, might--or might not--be cost-competitive with the completely-expendable (but smaller) "Delta II-Lite" vehicle. Depending on production rates and flight rates (and first stage refurbishment costs, in the Falcon 9's case), the "Delta II-Lite" might be quite competitive with the "Falcon 9-Lite" (although the "Falcon 9-Lite" could almost certainly carry more payload mass per flight), but:

One possibility to ensure the cheapest-possible "Falcon 9-Lite" cost (once the first stage lifetimes are well-known) could be to reserve already-amortized & depreciated, "on-their-last-legs" Falcon 9 first stages--that is, ones judged to have only one or two successful "launch stress-cycles" left in their airframes--for "Falcon 9-Lite" missions carrying satellite/solid upper stage "units." That way, these Falcon 9 first stages could be flown in expendable mode (with no landing gear "dead-weight" and no need to maintain a landing propellant reserve, thus enabling even heavier payloads to be flown), and they could be discarded with no regrets since they would already have been "depreciated to near-scrap value" during the course of their previous missions.
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Old Today, 11:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blackshire
Indeed--even if it was "just" because the Delta launch team was troubled and distracted by their "reality TV soap opera." :-) (They’re going to try to launch the Delta II early Saturday morning at the same time as this morning [1:47 AM PST; 0947 GMT], with Sunday as a back-up date.) Speaking of the Delta II's retirement:

I think Boeing and NASA should re-think it, for more than one reason. Launch vehicles got bigger because satellites--which were called upon to do more and more over the years--grew larger and heavier, but today that trend is reversing in many cases, as miniaturized components enable very small and lightweight satellites to do more and more. Now:

Not only can the Delta II--which can fly with just six or three solid boosters if they're all that's needed--orbit lighter payloads (*and* using just its lower two stages, if the solid third stage isn't needed for particular payload mass/orbit combinations, making it able to orbit a wide variety of different payload masses and sizes [using its "straight 8' fairing" or either of its "bulbous" fairings]), but it can also orbit single, dual, triple, or multiple spacecraft. Even the upcoming mission consists of several CubeSats in addition to the weather satellite primary payload, and--as with the recent Minotaur-C launch--the Delta II could carry a large number of all-small satellites, optionally with one of the maneuvering space tug satellite carriers to inject them into different orbits. With these capabilities, it seems unwise to retire this most reliable launch vehicle. Also:

The Delta II's components may also be useful for creating a "Delta II-Lite" version that could orbit still smaller payloads, more cheaply. It could use--depending on the mission requirements--either just the "stretched-Thor" first stage (with no boosters) and the pressure-fed, restart-able hypergolic second stage (it would be essentially a "Super Thor-Able Star"), *or* the liquid propellant second stage could be replaced by a spin-stabilized (or TVC--Thrust Vector Controlled) STAR spherical solid motor, whose size and type would be chosen based on the mission requirements, and:

From the mid-1960s through the mid-1970s, two of the simplest and cheapest SLVs were the two-stage Thor-Burner 1 (Thor-Altair) and the Thor-Burner 2 (there was also, for reaching higher orbits, a three-stage Thor-Burner 2A). These utilized an un-boosted Thor IRBM (or later, a long-tank Thor), topped by a spin-stabilized Altair-type FW-4 motor (Thor-Burner 1), or a STAR-37B with TVC (Thor-Burner 2), while the Thor-Burner 2A used either a second STAR-37B or a smaller STAR-13A solid motor as the third stage (all of these vehicles can be seen here: http://www.b14643.de/Spacerockets_2...ption/Frame.htm and http://www.google.com/search?source...1.0.CKJWkQ_Tz_4 ). A "Delta II-Lite" could utilize any of the numerous available STAR motors as second (and third) stages. Such "big first stage" liquid + solid propellant SLVs (South Korea's Naro-1 [see: http://www.google.com/search?ei=g3Q.....0.geOev6an36M ] is of this type) are simple and inexpensive.


First off, it's ULA, not Boeing. More important, however, is the fact the Delta II isn't viable from a cost perspective when NASA is the only user in town (and they aren't buying that many). The Air Force is committed to EELV, which is really the death knell to Delta II. (Delta II cannot perform any of the EELV "reference missions;" it lacks the necessary performance). Things like engines and GEM-40s get REALLY pricey when you're buying very limited quantities. I love the Delta II as well and I hate to see it fade into history. This is a case of brutal economic realities.
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Old Today, 12:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frognbuff
First off, it's ULA, not Boeing. More important, however, is the fact the Delta II isn't viable from a cost perspective when NASA is the only user in town (and they aren't buying that many). The Air Force is committed to EELV, which is really the death knell to Delta II. (Delta II cannot perform any of the EELV "reference missions;" it lacks the necessary performance). Things like engines and GEM-40s get REALLY pricey when you're buying very limited quantities. I love the Delta II as well and I hate to see it fade into history. This is a case of brutal economic realities.
General Dynamics built the Atlas ICBM, but most people (and books, especially older ones) referred to it as the Convair Atlas because that division of General Dynamics built it, and because the Convair name had more historical significance. Likewise, Boeing bought McDonnell Douglas (who made the Delta II and its predecessors), but I have--and will continue to--refer to it as the Boeing Delta II, because that division of ULA built it after the McDonnell Douglas buyout, and because the Boeing name is more historically significant and meaningful than "ULA." Also:

The vehicle I described isn't the Delta II, but a simpler, "de-rated" vehicle that would use some Delta II components, whose cost--while unknown--would be different (and possibly lower) than that of the Delta II. (A friend of mine--a retired Lieutenant Colonel who is a Ph.D. space flight historian, who teaches at the Air Warfare College at Maxwell Air Force Base--passed along my ideas about this Delta II-derived launch vehicle to the appropriate planning personnel, and they see possible USAF uses for it.) Go forth and be happy.
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http://www.lulu.com/content/paperba...an-form/8075185
http://www.lulu.com/product/cd/what...of-2%29/6122050
http://www.lulu.com/product/cd/what...of-2%29/6126511
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Old Today, 08:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blackshire
General Dynamics built the Atlas ICBM, but most people (and books, especially older ones) referred to it as the Convair Atlas because that division of General Dynamics built it, and because the Convair name had more historical significance. Likewise, Boeing bought McDonnell Douglas (who made the Delta II and its predecessors), but I have--and will continue to--refer to it as the Boeing Delta II, because that division of ULA built it after the McDonnell Douglas buyout, and because the Boeing name is more historically significant and meaningful than "ULA." Also:

The vehicle I described isn't the Delta II, but a simpler, "de-rated" vehicle that would use some Delta II components, whose cost--while unknown--would be different (and possibly lower) than that of the Delta II. (A friend of mine--a retired Lieutenant Colonel who is a Ph.D. space flight historian, who teaches at the Air Warfare College at Maxwell Air Force Base--passed along my ideas about this Delta II-derived launch vehicle to the appropriate planning personnel, and they see possible USAF uses for it.) Go forth and be happy.



You can talk all day about "historic significance" (and I KNOW you will), but the company forced to make real business decisions is ULA, not Boeing. That's why I brought it up. Sentimentality and history don't factor in. You can pump up the "street cred" of your unnamed LtCol all day long - but he doesn't know the cost of things like AJ-27 engines (which I still believe is an integral part of your "Delta Lite" concept). Therefore, he is (at best) guessing at what his "cheap" LV would really cost.

The economic reality of today's launch market is the Air Force's minimal need for relatively small spacelift can be met by the Minotaur family. NASA, as a Government organization, can also use the Minotaur family. The wonderful gap filled by Delta II will probably be filled by Falcon 9 and Atlas V with huge lift margins.

Ten years from now we can all look back and see if the folks calling for more, smaller satellites win the day or if we continue to build bigger SVs. Then we can all "Monday Morning Quarterback" the demise of the Delta II. We'll either say "sad, but necessary," or "man, I wish we had it now!!" Only time will tell.
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