Post by firstname.lastname@example.org
"The largest of the two new rockets, called the "New Glenn 3-stage," is an
enormous 23 feet in diameter (about half the length of a school bus), 313 feet
tall (close to the height of the Apollo moon rockets), and will spew out 3.85
million pounds of thrust — about half as powerful as NASA's Saturn V launcher.
Unlike the Saturn V, however, Blue Origin plans to build on its rocket-recycling
experience and reuse the giant first-stage booster of each launcher — saving
untold cash over multiple launches, since rocket boosters are normally trashed in
"Named in honor of John Glenn, the first American to orbit Earth, New Glenn is 23
feet in diameter and lifts off with 3.85 million pounds of thrust from seven BE-4
engines. Burning liquefied natural gas and liquid oxygen, these are the same BE-4
engines that will power United Launch Alliance's new Vulcan rocket."
haha - the timing is right! Let the games begin!
The inline staging has much to recommend it, providing you have common engines, avionics and propellants throughout;
Amazing how much can be inferred from this. LOX/LNG - has a O/F ratio of 3.85 to 1.00 - and an exhaust speed of 3.4 km/sec at sea level and 3.7 km/sec in vacuo. 23 ft (7 meter) diameter stage is a little smaller in diameter than the External Tank. Instead of having seven or eight similar air-frames cross-feeding, Bezos has chosen to use tanks in line in three stages. Using common engines, and keeping a common cross section achieves many of the same goals as having common flight elements. Though you do have to light engines in flight, which means they're dead weight until you light them and you have the probability they may not light properly. Still a workable design!
LNG and LOX are about $150 per ton - so that's good to know. They're both easily handled compared to LOX LH2. Less costly too.
3.85 kg LOX 1.14 kg/litre 3.38 litres
1.00 kg LNG 0.47 kg/litre 2.12 litres
4.85 kg TOT 0.88 kg/litre 5.50 litres
Now, 3.85 million pounds of thrust translates to 1.75 million kg of thrust (17.16 megaNewtons). With the same acceleration as the Saturn V at lift off (1.28 gees) we have a take off weight of 1,400,000 kg.
Now, with a 3.4 km/sec in the first stage and a 3.7 km/sec in the upper stages which can afford higher expansion, we have a propellant fraction of 0.57334 for each stage to achieve orbit in three stages. With the first stage attaining 2.90 km/sec, the second and third stages adding 3.15 km/sec each - for a total ideal delta vee of 9.20 km/sec. After gravity losses and air drag - the payload achieves 7.91 km/sec - orbital velocity.
Structure fraction for the Bezos is low compared to legacy systems. Around 7.5% with all the recovery gear added. This leaves 1-0.574 - 0.076 = 0.35 payload fraction per stage.
So, starting with a 1.4 million kg take off weight (3,080,000 lbs) we can see that the three stage vehicle puts 60 metric tons (132,000 lbs) into LEO - slightly more than the Falcon Heavy! The length of tanks of constant diameter and cross section is 252 ft to carry 2,958.3 cubic meters of propellant in three stages. Add three interstage lengths of 16 ft each for the engines, and you have 300 ft length precisely before adding the payload!
Item................. Wgt (pounds) Weight (kg) Vol(m3) Len(m) Len( f)t
Thrust............. 3,850,000.0 1,750,000.0
Take Off Weight 3,080,000.0 1,400,000.0
Propellant......... 1,767,920.0 803,600.0 2,009.0 52.2 171.2
LNG................... 364,519.6 165,690.7
LOX................... 1,403,400.4 637,909.3
Structure.......... 234,080.0 106,400.0
Balance............ 1,078,000.0 490,000.0
Propellant......... 618,772.0 281,260.0 703.2 18.3 59.9
LNG................... 127,581.9 57,991.8
LOX................... 491,190.1 223,268.2
Structure.......... 81,928.0 37,240.0
Balance............. 377,300.0 171,500.0
Propellant.......... 216,570.2 98,441.0 246.1 6.4 21.0
LNG................... 44,653.6 20,297.1
LOX................... 171,916.6 78,143.9
Structure........... 28,674.8 13,034.0
Payload.............. 132,055.0 60,025.0
So, how did we do? How close is this to the Glenn 3 - three stage rocket?
While the first stage is slated for recovery to gain the biggest bang for the buck, there's no reason not to look at the second and third stages as well. The second stage doesn't need to be recovered down range. Its flying fast enough to skip around the world and land at its launch point, similar to the way a Sanger bomber was designed to do back in the 1930s. The orbital stage ditto - it can be deorbited and land directly at the launch point when its released its payload. Throwing away the aeroshell is the last thing to be reused.
The BE-4 can be throttled back to 20,000 lbs thrust from 550,000 lbs thrust. This means that a single BE-4 in the second and third stages simplify operations logistics and support - with the seven engines in the first stage.
The BE-3 is an interesting engine as well. Its a 110,000 lbf LOX/LH2 engine and is well suited, with ZBO composite cryogenic tanks, and MEMS based solar powered cryo-coolers on board, for deep space operations. Deeply throttable as well to 3,500 lbf, its ideally suited to take 132,000 lb payload from LEO to LLO or to Mars or the Asteroids. Capable of 4.6 km/sec exhaust speeds in vacuo, it projects the most mass most conveniently at lowest technical risk.
A delta vee from LEO to LLO and back again is 4.4 km/sec. 0.6158 propellant fraction and with a 0.0742 propellant fraction leaves 0.3100 payload fraction. So, 132,000 lbs in LEO -equipped with a BE-3 powered kick stage, can carry 40,920 lbs (18,600 kg) to Low Lunar Orbit (LLO) and back to Earth - to be recovered and reused!
The astronaut tourists on this trip will wear mechcanical counter pressure biosuits with MEMS based life support and MEMS based bipropellant engine arrays that will operate as a rocket belt with the biosuit creating a space wingsuit - that allows an astronaut to jump down from LLO to the Lunar Surface and back to orbit again - spending up to 16 hours on the lunar surface and up to 24 hours in the suit. Over the course of an 8 day stay in LLO each astronaut tourist will visit the moon three times and return - from three different locations.
Each astronaut and crew person will have 400 lbs of consumables on board and 2,500 lbs of payload and structure allocated to them. This allows 1,500 lbs of this is LOX/LH2 propellant - used for the three lunar landings and take offs via rocket belt.
16 passengers and 4 crew members may be transported with this system.
1,183.3 metric tons (2.6 million lbs) of propellant at $150 per metric ton costs $177,495.20 per launch! The lunar stage contains 12,510.7 lbs of LH2 at $0.45 per lb and 68,808.8 lbs of LOX at $0.07 per lb. That's another $10,446.50 per trip.
Propellant is $200,000 per trip for 16 people - $12,500 per person. A vehicle that is reliably captured and reused 150 times and costs $60 million to build - costs another $400,000 per trip - for 16 people this adds $37,500 per person. A total out of pocket cost of $50,000!
The value is far more obviously! At $500,000 profit per passenger and 16 passengers per flight - each flight earns $8 million. At 104 flights per year this is $832 million per year. With four launchers and four moonships, this flight rate is easily sustained - and 1,664 people can visit the moon 4,992 times per year - transforming out understanding and relationship to the cosmos.
A 60 tonne payload carrying 0.9 tonne satellites puts up 66 satellites per launch and in 11 launches 722 satellite network is deployed capturing a large segment of the world's $1.6 trillion telecom market - by providing a discoverable legal signal that lets anyone with a laptop, tablet or handset communicate at 70 MB/sec to anyone anywhere in the world - while at the same time providing very secure cloud based services and live Google Earth images - that are searchable over time and space.
This provides a revenue 1000x greater, and sets the stage for whomever achieves this to have the capital needed to transform life on Earth and humanity's relationship to the cosmos.
Power satellites are next! At 60 metric tons and 22 megawatts of power per metric ton - 1.32 gigawatt power stations may be orbited. At $10 million per ton - for the satellite - the $600 million cost is less than that of a coal fired plant! Zero fuel costs once deployed. Selling power at $0.11 per kWh - which is highly competitive, and making it available anywhere its needed on Earth - which is highly sought after - all at no pollution - is a win/win for everyone! 1.32 million kilowatts - times 8766 hours per year 11.571 billion kWh per year - and at $0.11 per kWh earns $1.27 billion per year - over 30 years at sizeable discount rates this is worth $13.6 billion the day it starts paying. This is $12.0 billion net for the investors - and $0.6 billion for the build and another $1.0 billion incentive to Bezos per launch. He takes a $2.0 billion stake and donates the launch, liquidates half that stake the first year, and holds on to the balance. The investment group - organised by Bezos - reinvests most of their money to expand the programme.
Humanity requires on the order of 10,000 billion watts to sustain high living standards world wide- and at 1.36 billion watts per satellite requires 7300 satellites of this size. Launching one per day takes 20 years to meet this demand. Over 30 years the launcher infrastructure sustains a 50% growth from today's figures. Very large return, very small investment. $87.6 trillion assets earning 100x more money than the comsat network.