“You know,” he said, “if it depended on me, I would forbid anyone who believes in astrology, the Bible, miraculous healing and other palmistry, to use electricity ...”
25 May 2017, 01: 00-05: 00 (UTC) New Zealand has become thirteenth country in the world, from the territory of which the "electric" launch vehicle was launched. And although the booster did not output MMG to a given NOU, the Rocket Lab really can be proud: "We have a lift-off!" The first private spaceport has already entered history. #ItsATest and a very remarkable test turned out.
Before launch: on 9 on Monday morning 2017 New Zealand time (21: 00 GMT, 23: 00 MSK) a ten-day launch window opened for the first launch of the Electron light launch vehicle.
In New Zealand at this time is very windy, and even the removal of the missile at the start already transferred.
Test flight was planned without payload. The rocket is equipped with additional equipment for collecting telemetry during the flight. Only for 2,5 minutes after the start after the start, Electron, whose speed was 27 thousand km / h, reached a height above 100 km, which formally confirmed the achievement of outer space (from an engineering point of view - Karman line).
“We could not reach the planned orbit, and we will investigate why it happened, however, having achieved success in our first launch, Rocket Lab gained incredibly strong positions to speed up the commercial phase of our program”,- said founder and CEO Peter Beck.
SPACE IS NOW OPEN FOR BUSINESS
It was all the lyrics (as Roman Skomorokhov put it) now let us return to physics.
The rocket launched from New Zealand is called electric and has a meaningful name. "Electron". No, this is not a mistake, although the rocket does not have ERE.
The carrier is equipped with “ordinary” Rutherford LREs, which burn traditional liquid oxygen (LOX) and kerosene (JP-4 or JP-5), but not the usual pumping unit.
In more detail, who forgot, about liquid rocket fuels: "Saga of rocket fuels".)
LRD Rutherford is the world's first practical rocket engine for driving the fuel and oxidizer pumps of which electric motor is usedpowered by lithium-polymer batteries.
There is no traditional, expensive and causing the majority of failures of accidents turbopump unit.
TNA is a pump with a turbine, which is usually driven by a separate small combustion chamber (gas generator), where the same components of fuel are burned (as a rule) as in the main engine (slightly in a different ratio than in the CS). A separate combustion chamber and a turbine working on its exhaust is a very complicated thing and a dangerous thing. Judge for yourself:
Left: THA diagram of the RD-107 / 108 for the Р-7 family, to the right - a photo of the THA rotor for the RD-180 (Atlas-V)
The rotor scheme of the same THA in section, the TNA itself and the LRE RD-180 scheme:
On the same shaft are: an axial turbine into which the combustion products of the TC fly (even if not Km and αok, as in the CS) with a temperature of 500-700 ° C, followed by a single-stage oxidizer centrifugal pump and a two-stage fuel centrifugal centrifugal pump. Often, additional booster pumping units (BNA) are used to increase the pressure of the fuel components before entering the main TNA. Another hitch: the BNA of the oxidizer is driven by generator gas taken from the turbine output of the main THA, and the BNA of the fuel is driven by the main fuel taken from the output of the first stage of the pump.
An eerie jumble of machinery, bearings, leakage prevention systems, seals, pipelines and exhaust systems. Power on the shaft reaches 250 000 l / s, tens of thousands of revolutions per minute. All this on 100-140 seconds of work. Fantastic options and incredibly small dimensions with weight.
And this is the heart of the LRE can babah (the slightest leakage: hot gases, oxidizer and fuel are all condensed in one "communal room"), and often blahahat: 2 emergency launch of the "lunar rocket H-1" on his conscience. Fantastic pressure in the supply valve TC. Judge for yourselves: XDUMX 180 atmospheres of pressure from the flames under 258K are raging in the KD RD-2000, striving to tear the lid off the KS (the studs are impressive in number):
And here, in this boiler, it is necessary to push through the fuel and oxidizer with pressure bОmore than the COP, and with a given second consumption and the ratio of fuel to oxidizer. Otherwise, the microchip will not flow and "start".
This causes such a specific arrangement of the THA: as close as possible to the intake ducts.
Pressure, hence the mass of the fuel lines + pressure losses in the pipeline + all sorts of bad effects during the flow of fluid in the pipelines.
The closer to the COP, the better. However, there is hot and no place at all.
Photo: RS-25 - seemingly the result of an explosion of a pan with thick and long pasta, a hodgepodge similar to a hairline on gorgon head.
Yes, dazu: a bunch of electropneumatic valves (EPC) installed in the engine's pneumatic block and its fuel systems and starting fuel (to ignite the fuel components in the gas generator), placed in special ampoules and installed in the corresponding engine mains.
Ultra-expensive, technologically challenging, reusable under a big question (the RS-25 had a complete reassembly, flushing, inspection and replacement of worn parts).
"This is not our method." this private rocket company decided and invented ... no, not a bicycle, but an electric pumping unit.
Rutherford pump has two engine valve DC "the size of a can of soda", which rotate at a speed of 40000 revolutions per minute and develop power 37 kW each. One engine pumps liquid oxygen, the other kerosene. Everything is simple, safe and place where convenient.
- Polymer lithium ion batteries.
- Only one megawatt of power (about the same power of the three Tesla Xs models).
The specific energy density of modern lithium-ion batteries has reached such a level that the kilos saved on the failure of the gas generator, turbines and fuel for their work become comparable to the weight of the batteries.
According to Peter Beck, they managed to increase the efficiency of the pumps to 95% (compared to traditional TNA-based gas generator, about 50%).
Masterpiece? The dream of our ZHRDists (especially the designers and operators of the SAM and BR underwater launch)?
Safety, smooth adjustment of the second supply of TC and pressure over a wide range, multiple cutoffs and inclusions, reliability, low cost, reusability, etc.?
Spoons of tar:
- Batteries (rechargeable batteries), sadly, do not lose their mass as the electric power is consumed (electronics weigh nothing), unlike the fuel with which the rocket is charged and which "feeds" the traditional TNA (together with the LRE): each the flight of a rocket is easier and easier than a second flight, and discharged batteries (even polymer lithium-ion) have all the same mass. Parasitic tare weight ...
Is that dropping them?
I can not see the Nobel Prize as their ears without a mirror.
So everything is implemented at the second stage of the PH "Electron".
But ... the last battery is not exactly reset. Yes, and all this troublesome. T.ch. a teaspoon of the product obtained by dry distillation of wood, peat or coal remains.
- Replacing the THA with a simpler and substantially cheaper ENA does not solve the fundamental problem so far, which is the power-to-mass ratio (the turbine is so far out of competition). Electric motors are also not nearly suitable for the specific power parameter TNA (power / per kg mass).
Attention: 95% for pumps is clearly a marketing statement, without specifics, because only part of the engine is effective. At the same time, the engine as a whole turned out to be quite modern (in terms of efficiency and specific impulse). From Id. at Rocket Lab, there is some confusion, because it is not clear that 303 seconds of the specific impulse of first-stage engines are indicated for sea level or vacuum. More likely, this is data for vacuum, where MD is higher, but even in this case, Rutherford (303 seconds in a vacuum (?) / 333 with a high-altitude nozzle) takes a good place, almost the same as SpaceX's Merlin 1D (311 seconds in a vacuum / 348 with high-altitude nozzle) and close to the Soviet / Russian heights of the oxygen-kerosene engine-building RD-180 (338 seconds in vacuum) and RD-0124 (359 seconds with high-altitude nozzle). And all this for relatively small money.
What else is so tasty on this rocket?
As stated in the Rocket Lab, the Rutherford engine is the first in which all major components are printed on an 3D printer. Laser and electronic sintering printers use titanium and inconel (nickel-chromium superalloy). As a result, one engine is printed in 24 hours. Tin: for a day -1 LRE.
Electron is a two-stage launch vehicle with a height of 17 meters and a diameter of 1,2 meters.
With an initial mass around 12,5 tons, it will be able to bring 150 kg to a polar orbit with a height of 500 km. A typical solar-synchronous orbit is usually higher, 600-800 km, where the load capacity will be lower. Also, if necessary, the rocket can put 225 kg into orbit 180х300 km with inclination 45 °.
The first stage with a height of 12,1 meter has a dry weight of 950 kg and carries 9250 kg of fuel. On it are nine Rutherford engines total tonnage 16,5 tons at the start. Maximum thrust in flight should reach 19,5 tons, and the specific impulse of engines at sea level will be 303 seconds. According to the flight plan, the first step will have to work 2,5 minutes. At the stage near the engines are installed 13 battery assemblies with a total capacity of more than a megawatt.
The second stage with a height of 2,1 meter has a dry weight of 250 kg and carries 2150 kg of fuel. It has one Rutherford engine with a high-altitude nozzle, 2,2 tons of tonnage and a specific impulse of 333 seconds, as well as an orientation engine block (on the left of the photo on 20: 00).
The engine of the second stage according to the plan should work a little less than five minutes. The stage has three battery packs, two of which will be reset in flight as exhausted to ease the stage.
Another remarkable point is the fairing / payload adapter with delivery.
Usually, satellites are brought to the launch company’s workshop, installed on the payload adapter and covered with a fairing.
Rocket Lab and here otchebuchila. Know how logistica: the newly-born space driver offers an interesting innovation in the field of preparing the satellite for launch, namely: delivering a single unit of the payload adapter and fairing flaps to the customer’s shop so that it can install the satellite on the adapter in conditions that are convenient for it.
Then the closed or air-conditioned modules are transported to the Rocket Lab assembly and test complex and installed on the rocket.
The goal of the Rocket Lab is the cost of one launch in $ 4,9 million. Given that the launch cost of “adult” rockets starts from about 60 million dollars ($ 62 million from SpaceX to 2018 a year), the Rocket Lab offer will be potentially beneficial for those who have a small satellite, a low-Earth or polar target orbit, and there is no time to wait for fellow travelers to a medium-capacity launch vehicle.
The first launch is an exciting event. Despite all the training, no one has an absolute guarantee of success. But Rocket Lab has demonstrated a very serious approach for a rocket startup, conducted many tests, including fully assembled steps:
With such an approach, with such a launch cost, their future seems promising.
The company had previously planned to launch commercial launches of small satellites as early as 2017.
Read more about the PH "Electron" (in English)
Peter Beck next to the PH Electron rocket and how his rockets grew in the background, photo by Rocket Lab
Patrons and partners of Rocket Lab firms from the United States: Kholsa Ventures, Beesemer Venture Partners, Data Collective, Promus Ventures, Lockheed Martin and Stephen Tindall's K1W1.
Spaceport on Mahia Peninsula (Hawk's Bay, North Island of New Zealand), animation:
The location in the eastern part of the island will allow you to easily transfer the payload to the sun-synchronous or low near-earth orbit - in the southern and eastern direction for many hundreds of kilometers stretch the ocean, into which you can, with no one agreeing, drop the spent steps.
About Rocket Lab
It was founded by Peter Beck in 2006. Legally it is an American private company. with the New Zealand branch. In 2009, they launched the офtea-1 geophysical rocket (from the Maori language “space”) and claim that they were the first private company to reach space in the southern hemisphere. Theoretically, the rocket was supposed to climb 100-120 km, the first stage worked fine, and traces of successful separation were found on it, but the head part could not be found after the flight, and the achievement remains questionable.
On the old site can be found plans to create a geophysical rocket Ātea-2, but after the success of 2009, the company became interested in DARPA. The next few years, Rocket Lab developed missile technology in collaboration with Lockheed Martin, DARPA and the US Department of Defense. In 2010, a new fuel was tested. In the tank it was stored in solid form, but when pressure was applied to the tank, the fuel turned into a viscous liquid and could be fed into the combustion chamber. Thus, it had to combine the advantages of solid fuel (convenient storage of one component) and liquid (the ability to control the engine and restart the engine).
In 2011, the test was a compact rocket drone. A small rocket could have been fired by a soldier with an arm outstretched, and a picture from a drone descending by parachute should was to help fight in a rough terrain, for example, in the city.
By 2013, the company was at a crossroads. It was possible to continue to earn on defense contracts, but Beck dreamed of commercial space. Having collected additional investments, Rocket Lab has started the development of a new launch vehicle. In 2013, the engine was successfully tested with components supplied with electric motors, and the Electron project was announced. In 2014, a second round of investment collection was held. In 2015, it became known that 3D printing would be widely used in the production of the engine, and the engine itself was given the name "Rutherford" (Rutherford) in honor of the physicist of New Zealand origin, in the same year began the construction of the spaceport.
And who is this new American missile surprise kinder (clone Ilona Mask)?
More: The Rocket Man: Who is Peter Beck? True, in English. But there is also in Russian, this is for independent homework.
Don't kick me again for American propaganda
For lovers "Americans are so stupid" and adherents of the next "budget cut" (the American one: why worry so much?) I recall recent stories:
Pasta Monster Ilona Mask, or the logical result of the adventure.
- hire a chatty dude with shining eyes,
- hire a team of PR people, designers and other energetic as well as unprincipled people,
- register a private company in California, and this private company is not obliged to disclose the nuances of their financial health (gygy).
In defense of the pasta monster Ilona Mask put in a word. Part of 1.
In defense of the pasta monster Ilona Mask put in a word. Part of 2.
How are you doing
brisk kid with arrogant eyes?Rotting with "his majesty railway gauge"?
I don’t have time to finish the article "Ilona Mask, a dimensionless stomach", I don’t keep up with the increased consumption of contracts for Space X launches.
We could write about our successes. Well, for example, "Students from "Skolkovo" blew up a rocket in Moscow ". Good topic?
Four students and graduates of the Moscow State Technical University named after Bauman constructed and launched a rocket in a warehouse in Yuzhnoportovaya Street in the south-east of Moscow. The tests were unsuccessful: the rocket exploded, her hand was torn off by a fragment of a nearby 54-year-old man.
About the state (rather deplorable, I must say) of the rocket and space of the Russian Federation wrote a lotthe aforementioned "lyric" Banshee.
About our other recent breakthroughs, probably, will tell my eternal search in the chat. "Operator".
No, of course, there are also successes (they almost overcame failure): I’ve been tormenting the article “Mars and Dragon” by rescuing Proton for a long time, probably, by the anniversary of the event I’ll master, laziness and some kind of brake:
The state secret in the Russian legislation is: information protected by the state in the field of its military, foreign policy, economic, intelligence, counterintelligence, operational-search activity, the spread of which can damage the state.
One of the variants of the "savior" is used in the world-famous combat ICBM, as if not to get the ears by the way.
In general, who was able to finish reading to the end, do not kick much, I am OUR, but in the rocket industry and in the caste of “space cabs”, serious changes are clearly ripe (this is a fact), and it’s very likely that the Russians are again very long . No matter how the horse died at all.
“Are these Russian missiles safe?”
- Well, as safe as possible for the people who gave us Chernobyl.
- Well, as safe as possible for the people who gave us Chernobyl.
And New Zealand has become a de facto space power. This two-year-old animated cartoon is already a reality given to us (New Zealanders) in a sensation.
Original sources, references, used documents, photos and videos
As always, danke schön Phillip Terekhov:
Waiting for the launch of the electric "Electron".
The Bridge, Iain Menzies Banks;
The Big Bang Theory, Howard Joel Wolowitz.