News Vulcan: ULA's Next Generation Launcher

Unstung

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Why did Microsoft sell their Xbox for a loss? (And many other console manufacturers as well, BTW)
Video game and accessory sales for consoles can generate profit for the company even if the consoles are sold at a loss. The analogy comparing the purchase of single-use rockets to buying into a gaming ecosystem is poor. Brand loyalty is meaningless if a profit can't be made off the loyal customers, thus becoming more competitively priced will just hurt ULA. The brand only sells rockets. However, ULA suddenly needs to be competitive against SpaceX in government contracts where they once had a monopoly. Reducing launch costs may be a short term solution, but no business can survive while losing money forever. That's why Vulcan needs to be more affordable.
 

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Video game and accessory sales for consoles can generate profit for the company even if the consoles are sold at a loss. The analogy comparing the purchase of single-use rockets to buying into a gaming ecosystem is poor. Brand loyalty is meaningless if a profit can't be made off the loyal customers, thus becoming more competitively priced will just hurt ULA. The brand only sells rockets. However, ULA suddenly needs to be competitive against SpaceX in government contracts where they once had a monopoly. Reducing launch costs may be a short term solution, but no business can survive while losing money forever. That's why Vulcan needs to be more affordable.

Wrong - sorry, but you should study the example again, because "brand loyalty" is just a minor factor in the profits.

More important is, that all such companies earn most of their money by selling games - every overpriced game for a console brings more profit to the console manufacturer than it costs for selling the console at a loss.


SpaceX does also not sell rockets. Neither does ULA. Another error of you. Both sell launch services. And if you look at the effort needed to deliver that service to the customer, you can easily see that there is a lot more behind than just the costs of the launcher. Its about solutions. The rocket may be single use, but the service that you offer should be a managed process, that you can repeat with predicted quality.

Losing money forever would strategically be a bad bad error. But operationally, you can afford selling one product at a loss, if another product compensates (For example NASAs pork-barrels) or you need to invest such money for market introduction. Losing money is never a good strategy, but part of the tactics in business. Investing money into a scenario that may or may not happen is always including that the money is lost without profit. You have to take such risks in business.

Thus: Always keep in mind when SpaceX talks about Kerbal Business, that they actually have a different product to sell to their paying customers and that such PR is only needed to keep a positive cash flow into SpaceX from investors.
 

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Wrong - sorry, but you should study the example again, because "brand loyalty" is just a minor factor in the profits.
The point is that it is not beneficial for ULA to sell rockets at a loss, brand loyalty is only an example to show that ULA can't indefinitely sell rockets at a loss, no matter how popular the company becomes.

Explain the analogy rather than simply writing "wrong" and leaving it open to interpretation.

More important is, that all such companies earn most of their money by selling games - every overpriced game for a console brings more profit to the console manufacturer than it costs for selling the console at a loss.
That's pretty much what I wrote, consoles don't necessarily make the profits.

SpaceX does also not sell rockets. Neither does ULA. Another error of you.
SpaceX is profitable yet their product is cheaper.

Making the distinction between "selling rockets" and "selling launch services" is splitting hairs; of course I mean selling launch services than just selling huge metal cylinders. "Launch services" is verbose.

Both sell launch services. And if you look at the effort needed to deliver that service to the customer, you can easily see that there is a lot more behind than just the costs of the launcher. Its about solutions. The rocket may be single use, but the service that you offer should be a managed process, that you can repeat with predicted quality.
Don't misunderestimate me.

Losing money forever would strategically be a bad bad error. But operationally, you can afford selling one product at a loss, if another product compensates
That's pretty much what I wrote with respect to the console analogy, consoles don't necessarily make the profits. Both the Atlas V and Delta IV are expensive, so ULA does not have any way to compensate. Delta II launches are winding down.

or you need to invest such money for market introduction. Losing money is never a good strategy, but part of the tactics in business. Investing money into a scenario that may or may not happen is always including that the money is lost without profit. You have to take such risks in business.
What ULA seems to be doing now is keeping the Atlas V viable until Vulcan is ready to replace it.

Thus: Always keep in mind when SpaceX talks about Kerbal Business, that they actually have a different product to sell to their paying customers and that such PR is only needed to keep a positive cash flow into SpaceX from investors.
The expendable Falcon 9 is making money and is relatively affordable. SpaceX is doing fine with what they actually have now, but ULA has to catch up.

While what SpaceX promises is indeed fanciful, some of it could happen and might really undercut the current competition. It does make investors happy, but I wouldn't bet against Elon Musk.
 
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orbitingpluto

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So, the ULA released a video about Vulcan that is pretty much 134 seconds of marketing boasts with the aim of establishing Vulcan as the challenger to SpaceX, of course without acknowledging that there is even a competition. The boasts are a mix of stuff we've heard before and some weird ones, like the claim that Vulcan will help populate other planets(around 1:50), like ... Saturn:huh:?

 

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I'm still waiting on more new about the exoliner/Jupiter.
 

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Well, I think it actually got eliminated from the CRS-II competition. Need to find the source though, can't do it right now.

---------- Post added at 04:26 PM ---------- Previous post was at 04:17 PM ----------

Found it, though it's currently just a rumor, so take it for what it's worth.
 

fsci123

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Well, I think it actually got eliminated from the CRS-II competition. Need to find the source though, can't do it right now.

---------- Post added at 04:26 PM ---------- Previous post was at 04:17 PM ----------

Found it, though it's currently just a rumor, so take it for what it's worth.

Yeah, ive known about that for about two weeks now... Waiting for it to be confirmed or denied has been killing me. Especially since the jupiter is more progressive than any of its competitors.
 

MaverickSawyer

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:blink: You have GOT to be :censored:ing kidding me... They haven't turned a serious profit since they bought Rocketdyne. They're LAYING OFF EMPLOYEES here in Sacramento, their primary facility. And based off of stories I've heard from both past and present employees, the management isn't think about the long term of the company... All they want is to make themselves a lot of money, then bail out before their decisions make them unprofitable.
 

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:blink: You have GOT to be :censored:ing kidding me... They haven't turned a serious profit since they bought Rocketdyne. They're LAYING OFF EMPLOYEES here in Sacramento, their primary facility. And based off of stories I've heard from both past and present employees, the management isn't think about the long term of the company... All they want is to make themselves a lot of money, then bail out before their decisions make them unprofitable.

Low interest rates... lots of investors looking for secure harbours for their money...
 

MaverickSawyer

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Low interest rates... lots of investors looking for secure harbours for their money...

Yeah... Aerojet's NOT an area I would invest money. Most of their current profits are coming from the sale of property that used to be part of the Sacramento facility, not actual sales of aerospace hardware. They just conveniently neglect to mention that in their reports... :dry:
 

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Yeah... Aerojet's NOT an area I would invest money. Most of their current profits are coming from the sale of property that used to be part of the Sacramento facility, not actual sales of aerospace hardware. They just conveniently neglect to mention that in their reports... :dry:

That doesn't matter. Aerojet is part of the military-industrial complex of the USA, which makes it a safe place to invest your money. Before Aerojet really goes bankrupt, the US government will make a deal so that a domestic competitor can buy it before foreigners will.

Also, selling property can really make investors happy, if they only want to make profit for a short time - and it makes your balance report look great for the bank to give you another loan.
 

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ULA has just announced a standardized cubesat launch container with which they expect to carry 30 cubesats on every launch, starting in about a year and a half.

Also, they will be offering free cubesat launches to universities on a competitive basis.
 

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Kerosene and liquid hydrogen were good for optimizing performance (kerosene provided high thrust and high density for the initial launch, while liquid hydrogen had the higher specific impulse for upper stages in vacuum), but using a common propellant in all stages is more economical. Methane is a fuel that is in-between kerosene and liquid hydrogen in terms of specific impulse, density, and cryogenicity (because liquid hydrogen is hard to handle).
I had said this earlier before it was made clear that the second stage would still use liquid hydrogen fuel.

Another advantage of methane I read is that it is good for reusable engines (in this case, the air-recovery system) because it doesn't "coke" (leave residue on) the engine as much as kerosene-based engines.
 
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Another advantage of methane I read is that it is good for reusable engines (in this case, the air-recovery system) because it doesn't "coke" (leave residue) on the engine as much as kerosene-based engines.

Generally, pyrolysis is not that much a problem for rocket engines, since it happens mostly during start-up and shutdown, when the engines are operating with fuel-rich.

Its true, Methane produces less soot than Kerosene, but the mechanism is the same. Also, it depends more on the quality of the fuel than on the type of hydrocarbon, since a major factor in the soot DEP formation are contaminations of the fuel. RP-1 is much better in that term than normal Kerosene or Diesel fuel... especially the cheaper Diesel fuels are pretty nasty.
 

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Time to revive this thread!

ULA selects Aerojet to provide Vulcan upper stage engine

Screen-Shot-2018-03-25-at-6.02.43-AM-e1521973384532-879x485.png

WASHINGTON — United Launch Alliance has picked Aerojet Rocketdyne’s RL10 engine to power the upper stage of its next-generation Vulcan rocket, the second such contract Aerojet has secured in as many months.

In a May 11 statement, ULA said it will use a new variant of the RL10, known as the RL10C-X, on the upper stage of the Vulcan. That version incorporates improvements, like additive manufacturing of engine components, to improve its quality and affordability.

The agreement continues a long relationship with Aerojet Rocketdyne, which also provides versions of the RL10 for the upper stages of ULA’s Atlas and Delta rockets. “We could not be more pleased to have selected the proven and reliable RL10 to power our Vulcan Centaur upper stage,” said Tory Bruno, president and chief executive of ULA, in a statement.

The agreement covers the delivery of engines over the next decade. Terms of the agreement weren’t disclosed, but ULA described the deal as a “competitive procurement.” “Key determining factors to our selection included price and delivery schedule,” Bruno said in the statement.

The agreement, Aerojet said in a separate statement, includes “a joint commitment to invest in next-generation engine development” by the companies, a reference to the RL10C-X.
 
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