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2 months ago
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Joey Roulette: "New: Northrop Grumman has bought three Falcon 9 missions from SpaceX to launch its Cygnus cargo spacecraft, a spokeswoman says, as the company looks to replace Antares' Russian-made RD-181 engines with Firefly's Miranda engines.

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level 1
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level 1

Very interesting. Firefly seems to have hit a bit of a goldmine with the timing of their plan to sell engines and the start of the Ukrainian war

level 2

they had such a tough time with their investors, hope they doing better now

level 2

I mean, we all knew that US/ western made engines were going to be a requirement sooner rather than later. What’s shocking is how many companies were caught with their pants down.

level 2

The company i used to work for subcontracted for firefly, probably still do. They have really cool ideas for sure, but at least when i was there they didnt seem to have their ducks in a row

level 2

Honestly I'm kind of expecting it to come out that Max Polyakov orchestrated the deal, or at least made the necessary introductions.

level 1

I realize that this is a completely uncontroversial observation but Falcon 9 is an absolute BEAST in the industry right now. It's amazing to think that this program was once a controversial and oft-maligned upstart. I think I've said before, but we have gone well beyond steamroller.

level 2

I mean, it’s the only game in town for booking new US launches right now. The books have been closed for Delta IV and Atlas V; Atlas is further constrained by the the availability of the RD-180, so they couldn’t sell more if they wanted too. Vulcan will replace the two ULA launchers eventually, but hasn’t flow yet. Unless your payload is small enough for something like Pegasus or LauncherOne, you’re going to either book a Falcon flight or wait for Vulcan.

Actually, thinking about this, Flacon’s got limited internationally right now, too. It’d be hard to book a Soyuz or Proton launch right now with Russia sanctioned, and ESA is winding down Ariane 5 operations with Ariane 6 still unflown. The only other major competitors right now flying existing rockets are out of China, Japan, and India.

level 2
· 2 mo. ago · edited 2 mo. ago

Elon is like the hare in the tortoise in the hare except the hare doesn't stop running once he's in the lead.

Constant risk taking and improvement regardless of where you are in the market is essentially unheard of (because it doesn't maximize short term profit which says to cut R&D as soon as you possibly can)

level 2

Only controversial because the powers that be in the industry don’t want a newcomer rocking the boat and changing the status quo.

level 1

that is actually super cool, both that NG partners with firefly and that they are not too arrogant to book a falcon 9. respect.

level 2

Cygnus is a cool vehicle. Simple, but gets the job done reliably. Very good upmass capabilities, flaming dumpster on the way down.

level 2

I don't think they were ever too arrogant to book Falcon 9. NASA simply doesn't want all of their eggs in one basket. But with all of the remaining Atlas launches already booked, it's the only option.

level 2

not too arrogant to book a falcon 9

what was their alternative?

level 1

Interesting, I didn't think NASA would like to have both of it's cargo ships launching on the same rocket

level 2

This is not preferred, but there really is no other feasible option at this timeframe. Atlas V is going away (none available), Vulcan is still unproven and schedule in flux.

It is the least bad option from the limited options and Falcon 9 at this point is quite reliable, so the risk is minimal.

level 2

You're right that this is sub-optimal.

But on the other hand, I really like the fact that switching out launch providers of high profile payloads is becoming more and more normal. I hope this leads to a more modularized, standerized and flexible overall launch system architecture.


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Created Aug 22, 2011




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