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SpaceX Vehicles and Missions => SpaceX Mega Thread Archive Section => Topic started by: Chris Bergin on 03/31/2011 03:14 PM

Title: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Chris Bergin on 03/31/2011 03:14 PM
Going to be announced/overviewed on April 5:

Good promo!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=th6HQ9RtVCE

FH Page:
http://www.spacex.com/falcon_heavy.php
Title: Re: SpaceX: Falcon 9 Heavy Thread
Post by: Robotbeat on 03/31/2011 03:19 PM
Good marketing.
Title: Re: SpaceX: Falcon 9 Heavy Thread
Post by: mr. mark on 03/31/2011 03:28 PM
Ah...... Chris, It's only called Falcon Heavy now, not Falcon 9 Heavy.
Title: Re: SpaceX: Falcon 9 Heavy Thread
Post by: starsalor on 03/31/2011 03:31 PM
"
Elon Musk and Spacex had mentioned plans for BFR (Big F**ing Rocket) and the Merlin 2 rocket engine back in 2005. Now there are details of the designs for the Merlin 2 and the Falcon X, Falcon X heavy and Falcon XX rockets.
* Falcon 9 with one successful trial launches 10 tons into orbit.
* A planned "Falcon 9 Heavy" will launch 30 tons
* Falcon X will launch 38 tons into orbit
* Falcon X Heavy 125 tons
* Falcon XX for up to 140 tons but no engine out ability to carry on mission with one engine out.
* Spacex has plans for interplanetary flight
* SpaceX thinks early unmanned cargo missions might best be carried out using "Hall thrusters" (highly efficient ion drive)
* SpaceX considers that a "nuclear thermal" rocket, able to deliver much higher thrust-to-weight ratio and thus shorter journey time than solar/ion engines, is the answer for manned ships.
* a piloted mission to Mars by 2020-2025 can be accomplished if we start building and testing hardware now
* SpaceX’s long-discussed Merlin 2 Lox/rocket propellant-fueled engine, capable of a projected 1.7 million lb. of thrust at sea level and 1.92 million lb. in a vacuum
* Spacex plans a larger Raptor engine "     This is fantastic !!

Title: Re: SpaceX: Falcon 9 Heavy Thread
Post by: mr. mark on 03/31/2011 03:37 PM
Here is a comparison of heavy lift launch vehicles along with the projected Falcon Heavy stats.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_heavy_lift_launch_systems

ps. starsailor, I think we are getting a bit ahead of ourselves there.....but, I must say, when developed Falcon Heavy will be a great addition to the Spacex constellation.
Title: Re: SpaceX: Falcon 9 Heavy Thread
Post by: Robotbeat on 03/31/2011 03:39 PM
This is about Falcon Heavy, not the HLVs. It says "FH", refering to Falcon Heavy. Go to SpaceX's page and click on "Falcon Heavy" on the left hand side, and you can see what I'm talking about.
Title: Re: SpaceX: Falcon 9 Heavy Thread
Post by: mr. mark on 03/31/2011 03:42 PM
robo not following.....
The Falcon Heavy will be SpaceX’s entry into the heavy lift launch vehicle category.  Capable of lifting over 32,000 kg to Low Earth Orbit (LEO), and over 19,500 kg to Geostationary Transfer Orbit (GTO), the Falcon Heavy will compete with the largest commercial launchers now available.  It consists of a standard Falcon 9 with two additional Falcon 9 first stages acting as liquid strap-on boosters.  With the Falcon 9 first stage already designed to support the additional loads of this configuration and with common tanking and engines across both vehicles, development and operation of the Falcon Heavy will be highly cost-effective. 

Title: Re: SpaceX: Falcon 9 Heavy Thread
Post by: Robotbeat on 03/31/2011 03:49 PM
robo not following.....
The Falcon Heavy will be SpaceX’s entry into the heavy lift launch vehicle category.  Capable of lifting over 32,000 kg to Low Earth Orbit (LEO), and over 19,500 kg to Geostationary Transfer Orbit (GTO), the Falcon Heavy will compete with the largest commercial launchers now available.  It consists of a standard Falcon 9 with two additional Falcon 9 first stages acting as liquid strap-on boosters.  With the Falcon 9 first stage already designed to support the additional loads of this configuration and with common tanking and engines across both vehicles, development and operation of the Falcon Heavy will be highly cost-effective. 


Sorry, I was referring to the poster above you (my fault).
Title: Re: SpaceX: Falcon 9 Heavy Thread
Post by: kevin-rf on 03/31/2011 03:52 PM
Ah...... Chris, It's only called Falcon Heavy now, not Falcon 9 Heavy.

You better hit the mod button and report him to the moderators ;)
Title: Re: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread
Post by: Chris Bergin on 03/31/2011 04:00 PM
Sorted ;)

Also added the FH link from the SpaceX site to the opening post.

Chris likes this vehicle.
Title: Re: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread
Post by: Cherokee43v6 on 03/31/2011 04:03 PM
This is the vehicle that SpaceX was told it should focus on if it wanted a share of the military launch market.  Right?
Title: Re: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread
Post by: racshot65 on 03/31/2011 04:05 PM
I've never seen that video of the Dragon re entry before is it new or did I just miss it ?


Nice promo though, good to see a space company that can put out videos like that
Title: Re: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread
Post by: notherspacexfan on 03/31/2011 04:08 PM
I've never seen that video of the Dragon re entry before is it new or did I just miss it ?

that was the drop test
Title: Re: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread
Post by: SpacexULA on 03/31/2011 04:08 PM
I've never seen that video of the Dragon re entry before is it new or did I just miss it ?
Nice promo though, good to see a space company that can put out videos like that

That was the drop test from last year, notice the capsule was rare and not well done like the one that went though reentry.
Title: Re: SpaceX: Falcon 9 Heavy Thread
Post by: Lurker Steve on 03/31/2011 04:08 PM
robo not following.....
The Falcon Heavy will be SpaceX’s entry into the heavy lift launch vehicle category.  Capable of lifting over 32,000 kg to Low Earth Orbit (LEO), and over 19,500 kg to Geostationary Transfer Orbit (GTO), the Falcon Heavy will compete with the largest commercial launchers now available.  It consists of a standard Falcon 9 with two additional Falcon 9 first stages acting as liquid strap-on boosters.  With the Falcon 9 first stage already designed to support the additional loads of this configuration and with common tanking and engines across both vehicles, development and operation of the Falcon Heavy will be highly cost-effective. 



If the Falcon 9 performance doesn't match the current Delta IV medium, how can the Falcon Heavy outperform the Delta IV Heavy ? In theory, each D4 core outperforms the Falcon core, so 3 D4 cores should lift more than 3 F9 cores, not less.

Hmmmm. Fuzzy marketing math again. Time to move to Missouri.
Title: Re: SpaceX: Falcon 9 Heavy Thread
Post by: cuddihy on 03/31/2011 04:22 PM
robo not following.....
The Falcon Heavy will be SpaceX’s entry into the heavy lift launch vehicle category.  Capable of lifting over 32,000 kg to Low Earth Orbit (LEO), and over 19,500 kg to Geostationary Transfer Orbit (GTO), the Falcon Heavy will compete with the largest commercial launchers now available.  It consists of a standard Falcon 9 with two additional Falcon 9 first stages acting as liquid strap-on boosters.  With the Falcon 9 first stage already designed to support the additional loads of this configuration and with common tanking and engines across both vehicles, development and operation of the Falcon Heavy will be highly cost-effective. 



If the Falcon 9 performance doesn't match the current Delta IV medium, how can the Falcon Heavy outperform the Delta IV Heavy ? In theory, each D4 core outperforms the Falcon core, so 3 D4 cores should lift more than 3 F9 cores, not less.

Hmmmm. Fuzzy marketing math again. Time to move to Missouri.


Less gravity losses due to higher thrust-to-weight in the first stage, plus better mass ratio and lighter structure (due to higher density of RP).

It's possible.
Title: Re: SpaceX: Falcon 9 Heavy Thread
Post by: jabe on 03/31/2011 04:36 PM
"
Elon Musk and Spacex had mentioned plans for BFR (Big F**ing Rocket) and the Merlin 2 rocket engine back in 2005. Now there are details of the designs for the Merlin 2 and the Falcon X, Falcon X heavy and Falcon XX rockets.
curious
where was that posted? gotta read up more on the details..going to be fun to watch it being made!!
jb
Title: Re: SpaceX: Falcon 9 Heavy Thread
Post by: simonbp on 03/31/2011 04:37 PM
Hmmmm. Fuzzy marketing math again. Time to move to Missouri.

'Cause, you know, fuzzy forum math is much better. I suggest a bit reading to understand the difference. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tsiolkovsky_rocket_equation)
Title: Re: SpaceX: Falcon 9 Heavy Thread
Post by: Robotbeat on 03/31/2011 04:57 PM
robo not following.....
The Falcon Heavy will be SpaceX’s entry into the heavy lift launch vehicle category.  Capable of lifting over 32,000 kg to Low Earth Orbit (LEO), and over 19,500 kg to Geostationary Transfer Orbit (GTO), the Falcon Heavy will compete with the largest commercial launchers now available.  It consists of a standard Falcon 9 with two additional Falcon 9 first stages acting as liquid strap-on boosters.  With the Falcon 9 first stage already designed to support the additional loads of this configuration and with common tanking and engines across both vehicles, development and operation of the Falcon Heavy will be highly cost-effective. 



If the Falcon 9 performance doesn't match the current Delta IV medium, how can the Falcon Heavy outperform the Delta IV Heavy ? In theory, each D4 core outperforms the Falcon core, so 3 D4 cores should lift more than 3 F9 cores, not less.

Hmmmm. Fuzzy marketing math again. Time to move to Missouri.

Falcon 9 (block 2, which is I think the only one that is available now) can do more (to LEO) than Delta IV medium (with no solids).
Title: Re: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread
Post by: neilh on 03/31/2011 06:35 PM
Hmm, just to speculate, maybe they'll be announcing a multi-launch commercial customer for the Falcon Heavy, sort of like how Orbcomm is for the Falcon 9? Not sure who this could possibly be though -- maybe something Bigelow-related? Alternatively, maybe they'll announce that the Falcon Heavy will be launching multiple Iridium satellites simultaneously with a deployment mechanism (it was already announced they'd be launching 2015-2017 from Vandenberg).
Title: Re: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread
Post by: ugordan on 03/31/2011 06:38 PM
I think it'll simply be a formal announcement of actually going ahead with the vehicle, i.e. not keeping it at some vague paper stage any more.
Title: Re: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread
Post by: baldusi on 03/31/2011 06:59 PM
I think CONAE could do a dual payload mission on a Heavy, and a cheap price would probably get them onboard. But I have no information whatsoever regarding that and is pure speculation.
Title: Re: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread
Post by: Dave G on 03/31/2011 07:26 PM
I think CONAE could do a dual payload mission on a Heavy, and a cheap price would probably get them onboard. But I have no information whatsoever regarding that and is pure speculation.

SpaceX president Gwynne Shotwell talked about Falcon Heavy dual payload back in April.
 http://www.thespaceshow.com/detail.asp?q=1348
(starting around 33:15 into the program).

I'm assuming she wouldn't have mentioned it unless SpaceX had at least one potential customer that was interested.
Title: Re: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread
Post by: Halidon on 03/31/2011 07:38 PM
Quite well done promo video. Here's looking forward to the 5th.
Title: Re: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread
Post by: Chris Bergin on 04/01/2011 05:34 PM
*** MEDIA ADVISORY ***

 

SpaceX: Something Big Is Coming

Elon Musk to Hold Press Conference in Washington Tuesday

 

WASHINGTON – Elon Musk, CEO and Chief Technology Officer of Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX), will hold a press conference on Tuesday, April 5th at the National Press Club in Washington to discuss his company’s latest venture.

 

Get a sneak peak on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=th6HQ9RtVCE

 

EVENT:                                 SpaceX CEO Elon Musk to Talk About the Next Big Thing

TIME:                    11:20 AM

DATE:                    Tuesday, April 5th, 2011

LOCATION:         National Press Club, Zenger Room

                                529 14th St. NW, 13th Floor, Washington, DC 20045

Can’t make it in person?

The press conference will be webcast live at: http://www.visualwebcaster.com/spacex

Title: Re: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread
Post by: Jason1701 on 04/01/2011 05:48 PM
Very exciting. I hope someone puts it on YouTube.
Title: Re: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread
Post by: Ronsmytheiii on 04/01/2011 05:49 PM
*** MEDIA ADVISORY ***

 

SpaceX: Something Big Is Coming

Elon Musk to Hold Press Conference in Washington Tuesday

 

WASHINGTON – Elon Musk, CEO and Chief Technology Officer of Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX), will hold a press conference on Tuesday, April 5th at the National Press Club in Washington to discuss his company’s latest venture.



EVENT:                                 SpaceX CEO Elon Musk to Talk About the Next Big Thing

TIME:                    11:20 AM

DATE:                    Tuesday, April 5th, 2011

LOCATION:         National Press Club, Zenger Room

                                529 14th St. NW, 13th Floor, Washington, DC 20045

Can’t make it in person?

The press conference will be webcast live at: http://www.visualwebcaster.com/spacex



Looking at the end of the video,  the announcement has something to do with Falcon 9 Heavy
Title: Re: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread
Post by: Jason1701 on 04/01/2011 07:44 PM
I'm really glad this video didn't come out a day later, or it might not have been real!
Title: Re: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread
Post by: Comga on 04/01/2011 08:04 PM
I'm really glad this video didn't come out a day later, or it might not have been real!

Maybe it was released from Kwajalein, where it was already April 1.
Title: Re: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread
Post by: MP99 on 04/02/2011 11:06 AM
Looking at the end of the video,  the announcement has something to do with Falcon 9 Heavy

"Falcon Heavy". No "9" any more.

cheers, Martin
Title: Re: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread
Post by: mr. mark on 04/02/2011 04:11 PM
I suspect that they will drop the Falcon 9 title as well and just go with Falcon eventually. Especially if they drop Falcon 1e and switch to Merlin 2 engines for Falcon 9.
Title: Re: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread
Post by: zaitcev on 04/03/2011 06:27 AM
What do we think about that picture of the FH outline recovered from the teaser video and looking like the 1st stage is noticeably longer than the existing F9 (spacexmystery.gif)?
Title: Re: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread
Post by: Hauerg on 04/03/2011 09:18 AM
What do we think about that picture of the FH outline recovered from the teaser video and looking like the 1st stage is noticeably longer than the existing F9 (spacexmystery.gif)?

Where can I see this picture?
Need to see it before starting to think.  ;)
But it should be possible to have a longer 1st stage due to better T/W at liftoff.
Title: Re: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread
Post by: ugordan on 04/03/2011 10:19 AM
What do we think about that picture of the FH outline recovered from the teaser video and looking like the 1st stage is noticeably longer than the existing F9 (spacexmystery.gif)?

It may look longer, but if you actually scale and overlay the image on the FH page over that one, you can see they match up almost precisely. I think it's just an optical illusion - a black silhouette showing no boundaries between nosecones, interstages and engine sections, etc.

In any case their VTS3 test stand support tower doesn't appear to support a taller stage right now. Needing it for F9 stage acceptance firings right now for extended periods of time I don't see them messing with that any time soon.
Title: Re: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread
Post by: arnezami on 04/03/2011 10:48 AM
Comparison of a quickly stiched together picture (multiple screenshots from the video) and the FH pic from the website:

(http://img10.imageshack.us/img10/3624/comparisonfh.png) (http://img10.imageshack.us/i/comparisonfh.png/)

So yes. Its the same. (ratio in pictures was kept btw)
Title: Re: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread
Post by: ugordan on 04/03/2011 11:32 AM
But it should be possible to have a longer 1st stage due to better T/W at liftoff.

27 is a *lot* of engines. I'm thinking their approach from the start would be to baseline sufficient T/W at liftoff even if 1 engine dies right away (worst case that's basically 2 engines out if it happens to one of the strapons). That would preclude really stretching the stages and maxing out the propellant load.

Acceleration wise, think more of a Titan IV lifting off, not Delta IV Heavy. I could be completely off the mark, though.
Title: Re: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread
Post by: jabe on 04/03/2011 12:50 PM
Did a quick search and didn't see an answer to this...Any ideas on altitude of/velocity of FH strap ons when they are "jettisoned?  they should have a higher chance of success of recovery shouldn't they?
jb
Title: Re: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread
Post by: douglas100 on 04/03/2011 12:59 PM
Is it certain that the strap ons will be jettisoned? Or will the three cores operate together as a single stage like Rus M? (Of course the cores might be separated after staging to allow for single recovery if this proves worthwhile.)
Title: Re: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread
Post by: jabe on 04/03/2011 01:13 PM
Is it certain that the strap ons will be jettisoned? Or will the three cores operate together as a single stage like Rus M?
mmm..I always visualized the strap ons burning at a slightly higher thrust then the core ..(not too much dues to stresses) then they fall off and core burns then the usual staging..but that adds complexity..so maybe it will act as single stage...but I'm assuming the cores are recoverable...I hope on  tuesday they get specific and not.."The Airforce is giving us a $100 M to launch a FH demonstrator, thank you..and good night..."  they better have some fancy videos ;)
jb
Title: Re: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread
Post by: mrhuggy on 04/03/2011 02:03 PM
Is it certain that the strap ons will be jettisoned? Or will the three cores operate together as a single stage like Rus M?
mmm..I always visualized the strap ons burning at a slightly higher thrust then the core ..(not too much dues to stresses) then they fall off and core burns then the usual staging..but that adds complexity..so maybe it will act as single stage...but I'm assuming the cores are recoverable...I hope on  tuesday they get specific and not.."The Airforce is giving us a $100 M to launch a FH demonstrator, thank you..and good night..."  they better have some fancy videos ;)
jb

Wel i think it would be that, however you never know they might have something in the background like a FH look alike, you know a couple of F9's laid out to look like a FH
Title: Re: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread
Post by: kevin-rf on 04/03/2011 03:04 PM
Wel i think it would be that, however you never know they might have something in the background like a FH look alike, you know a couple of F9's laid out to look like a FH

A full scale falcon heavy would be awesome. Doesn't have to be three F9's, it could be a falcon heavy pathfinder. One that is never ment to fly... Kinda like the first cape Falcon 9. SpaceX does have a history of producing those.

btw. I really hope they give us an update on what is happening with the 1e.
Title: Re: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread
Post by: zaitcev on 04/03/2011 04:40 PM
Is it certain that the strap ons will be jettisoned? Or will the three cores operate together as a single stage like Rus M? (Of course the cores might be separated after staging to allow for single recovery if this proves worthwhile.)
If the center core can throttle down without losing too much Isp, or if they install 5 engines on it, the payload is going to grow significantly. As for the Rus-M (the winner of SKPG tender), that design only came about because of the guaranteed take-off requirement. It is basically a LAS for the whole launcher. Hardly an instructive example, IMHO.
Title: Re: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread
Post by: zaitcev on 04/03/2011 04:43 PM
BTW, one other thing they could propose is "Falcon 45" or "Falcon Very Heavy" - 5 cores. The projected outline in the video matches :-)
Title: Re: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread
Post by: go4mars on 04/03/2011 05:02 PM
BTW, one other thing they could propose is "Falcon 45" or "Falcon Very Heavy" - 5 cores. The projected outline in the video matches :-)

I don't think that this outline would match a 5 core version.  The outlines would likely overlap instead of having a gap of free space between the cores.  But I suppose it is possible as you see it.

I'm guessing the announcement is about vanilla FH, which is fine by me.  Cross-feeding and 5 core versions are probably a long way off imo.  It is possible that they could announce that the pad will be made to accomodate a 5 core variant, a 3 core variant, and single core variant, but I doubt it. 

Yet... If they are planning to have their pad up and running in 2 years, and if it could accomodate a 5 core version, it just might be the fastest way for the US gov't to get 70 tons to orbit at once.   

It is also possible that they threw in the outline to make everyone guess FH, when in fact they will announce F-X or F-XX.  Perhaps an oil baron from Saudi finally wants a castle in the sky.   Wildly optimistic I know...
Title: Re: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread
Post by: zaitcev on 04/03/2011 05:43 PM
I don't think that this outline would match a 5 core version.  The outlines would likely overlap instead of having a gap of free space between the cores.  But I suppose it is possible as you see it.
I meant a configuration with 90 degree spacing between side cores, like on Soyuz, and not 60 degree spacing like on Angara. That would project cleanly...
Title: Re: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread
Post by: kevin-rf on 04/03/2011 05:55 PM
I don't know, I only counted 9 engines, not 27 ;)
Title: Re: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread
Post by: robertross on 04/03/2011 06:02 PM
I don't know, I only counted 9 engines, not 27 ;)

I count a minimum of 15 engines, assuming 5 engines for the core & each booster. The engine fairings sort of give that away  ;)


edit to add: that's assuming this B&W litho is close (or representative) of the F9H colour illustration on the previous page.
Title: Re: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread
Post by: douglas100 on 04/03/2011 06:06 PM
From zaitcev:

Quote
If the center core can throttle down without losing too much Isp, or if they install 5 engines on it, the payload is going to grow significantly.

What interests me here is how much payload gain there is compared with a non-separating core version. The centre core can be throttled down by shutting down engines, but restarting them to bring the thrust up after core separation (like Delta IVH) would certainly complicate things. Alternatively the current first stage Merlin engines could of course be made throttleable.

I can't find any indication on SpaceX's web site how they intend to operate the vehicle. By keeping the cores together until staging they would reduce the separation events needed to ensure mission success by one (or maybe two, depending how you look at it). Against this is the performance loss. I don't know how much that would be.

Can anyone shed any light on this?
Title: Re: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread
Post by: Halidon on 04/03/2011 07:51 PM
Can anyone shed any light on this?
I'd expect SpaceX to have a slick little video of a simulated FH launch during their event Tuesday. Should answer how they are currently envisioning staging.
Title: Re: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread
Post by: Jason1701 on 04/03/2011 09:33 PM
From zaitcev:

Quote
If the center core can throttle down without losing too much Isp, or if they install 5 engines on it, the payload is going to grow significantly.

What interests me here is how much payload gain there is compared with a non-separating core version. The centre core can be throttled down by shutting down engines, but restarting them to bring the thrust up after core separation (like Delta IVH) would certainly complicate things. Alternatively the current first stage Merlin engines could of course be made throttleable.

I can't find any indication on SpaceX's web site how they intend to operate the vehicle. By keeping the cores together until staging they would reduce the separation events needed to ensure mission success by one (or maybe two, depending how you look at it). Against this is the performance loss. I don't know how much that would be.

Can anyone shed any light on this?

Maybe Merlin 1D is designed to be throttleable from the start.
Title: Re: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread
Post by: arnezami on 04/03/2011 09:41 PM
So 5 engines right?

Name 'm.
Title: Re: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread
Post by: Dave G on 04/03/2011 09:52 PM
...Any ideas on altitude of/velocity of FH strap ons when they are "jettisoned? 
Depends of whether they're cross fed.
Title: Re: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread
Post by: nacnud on 04/03/2011 10:01 PM
So 5 engines right?

Name 'm.

Kestrel, merlin 1a, merlin 1c, merlin vac, draco,
Title: Re: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread
Post by: douglas100 on 04/03/2011 10:43 PM
Thanks for the comments. I'm skeptical about cross feed, though.
Title: Re: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread
Post by: spacetraveler on 04/03/2011 10:57 PM
If they only put 5 engines on the core stage, wouldn't that add to the cost since it would decrease commonality in processing and development for the cores and add complexity?
Title: Re: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread
Post by: Rhyshaelkan on 04/04/2011 06:18 AM
With a test firing in 2012, I hope they do something with it. Launch a dead 32000kg block of steel, a tank of water weighing 32000kg, or something similar, to prove the capability. It seems that they have not pushed the upper limits of their rockets capability yet. Numbers on paper are just that.
Title: Re: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread
Post by: sdsds on 04/04/2011 06:35 AM
If they only put 5 engines on the core stage, wouldn't that add to the cost since it would decrease commonality in processing and development for the cores and add complexity?

Are you suggesting there would be significant costs in removing four engines and their associated plumbing?

Without even looking at the numbers I'm betting they announce a Merlin-1D "959" configuration, still claiming "single engine out" capability right from the pad.
Title: Re: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 04/04/2011 07:17 AM
A lot waits on tomorrow's big unveil.  I'm wondering if the core will be longer than the outriggers.  That way, it burns longer without needing to work out how to make Merlin-1d throttle.
Title: Re: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread
Post by: MP99 on 04/04/2011 07:52 AM
A lot waits on tomorrow's big unveil.  I'm wondering if the core will be longer than the outriggers.  That way, it burns longer without needing to work out how to make Merlin-1d throttle.

Referring to this this dicussion (http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=24179.msg695752#msg695752), right?

I've been wondering about this, too. F9 kills two engines at the end of it's first stage burn. (NB this isn't engine-out, just "throttling" the core down to 7/9ths of full thrust). I presume it would need to kill multiple engines in the Heavy config to keep T/W down.

Is it possible this config only kills core engines, presumably in pairs, as the vehicle repeatedly reaches it's T/W limit? In this way, the outriggers would need a greater prop load to burn out at the same time.

There has been talk that Merlin 1D is optimised with a core stretch. Could we be looking at a Block-I-standard central core (with 1D's, so greater T/W), with stretched outriggers?

At lift-off, the central core is carrying extra payload in place of extra prop. Meanwhile the extra prop in the outriggers gives similar T/W on all three cores, minimising stresses at liftoff.

Obviously, "throttling" (kill engines) would happen much earlier in the flight than happens with standard F9. Once this happens, the lower prop consumption rate would then increase the force being transferred from the outriggers to the central core.

cheers, Martin


(http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=24179.0;attach=266979;image)
Title: Re: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread
Post by: MikeAtkinson on 04/04/2011 09:07 AM
The strategies are as I see it:

1. Use three cores with minimal changes from F9 block II, throttle each down at the same time by shutting down two engines. All cores burn out at the same time, there is one separation event.

2. Use three cores with minimal changes from F9 block II, throttle down  only the middle core by shutting down 2, then 4 then 6 engines engines. The strap-ons burn out first, separate and the centre core continues on for a time on 3 engines.

3. Use three cores with minimal changes from F9 block II, throttle down  the middle core by shutting down 4 engines engines, and each strap-on by a single engine. The strap-ons burn out first, separate and the centre core continues on for a time on 5 engines.

4. lengthen the middle core and shorten the strap-ons, do not shut down any engines. Separate the strap-ons when they burn out and the centre core continues on for a time on all 9 engines.

5. Put only 5 engines on the middle core, all cores have the same propellant load so the strap-ons burn out first and separate.

6.  Put only 5 engines on the middle core, adjust the propellant load so all cores burn out at the same time.

7. Put only 5 engines on the middle core, adjust the propellant load so the strap-ons burn out first (earlier than in 5) and separate.

8. Cross-feed propellant so that when the strap-ons burn out and separate the centre tanks are full (or nearly so).

As F9 block II has 10.5 tonne to LEO, you would expect strategy 1 to be able to launch just over 3x that (assuming an optimised upper stage), due to some efficiencies in a triple core vehicle (single avionics suite, single payload adapter, etc.). This would give ~32 tonne to LEO.

I would expect strategies 2, 3 and 4 to give progressively more payload with strategy 4 having maybe 20% more (again assuming optimised upper stage).

I would expect strategy 5 to have less than 32 tonne payload, with strategy 7 up to approximately 32 tonne again. Using less engines may reduce the cost (and hence decrease $/kg over strategy 1).

Strategy 8 would give the best payload by a considerable margin. It does however involve significant changes to the cores.

Given that they are advertising 32 tonne payload capability I think they will be using strategy 1, with potential growth path to strategy 4 and then 8.
Title: Re: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 04/04/2011 10:16 AM
Another possible strategy is to have air-start engines on the central core: Launch with only five lit and then ignite the remaining four after outrigger seperation.  The obvious disadvantage of this is that it adds a very large possible failure mode to the flight plan.

Overall, I think a central core tank stretch is the least technically challenging option and might explain the change in nomenclature.
Title: Re: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread
Post by: MP99 on 04/04/2011 11:34 AM
Another possible strategy is to have air-start engines on the central core: Launch with only five lit and then ignite the remaining four after outrigger seperation.  The obvious disadvantage of this is that it adds a very large possible failure mode to the flight plan.

That seems unnecessarily complex. I suspect SpaceX will go for relatively simple options.

The pics with 3x same-size cores suggest that they will simply throttle off a couple of engines on each core at MECO1, as they do now with F9.

The pic with larger outriggers implies either differential throttling of the central core (by shutting some engines down), or cross-feed. Both of these put substantial stress on the outrigger connect points , since the outriggers have T/W > 10 at burnout while the central core has T/W < 2. (This is going by the estimated F9 figures on Ed Kyle's site). Corss-feed also adds two separation events.

The video tease suggests three equal-sized cores, so it seems likeliest to me that they will simply throttle all three cores at the same time, and perform a single separation event with the three cores remaining tied together. Anything else is a growth option (just a gleam in some marketing guy's eye).

cheers, Martin

Edit: IE concurring with Mike's option 1.
Title: Re: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread
Post by: ugordan on 04/04/2011 11:50 AM
Another possible strategy is to have air-start engines on the central core: Launch with only five lit and then ignite the remaining four after outrigger seperation. 

Gravity losses are highest at liftoff. It makes no sense to carry engines only to ignite them after strapon separation (and have them shut down again later due to G loads). Either ignite them all at liftoff, shut down at some point and live with or don't carry those airlit engines at all. My 2c.
Title: Re: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread
Post by: Zed_Noir on 04/04/2011 12:20 PM
A simpler strategy would just to reduce the amount of propellants in each of the outrigger cores by 10% (my wild guess). So they get depleted first and separates while the center core gets about 30 seconds more burn time. No need to have different thrust levels between the cores.
Title: Re: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread
Post by: Robotbeat on 04/04/2011 02:16 PM
I seriously doubt any cross-feed capability from the start. Shutting down core engines soon after lift-off seems reasonable to me.

I even more doubt they will have all three cores burn out at the same time. I don't think people who are suggesting that realize how important the extra performance of having the outriggers stage earlier is to getting near their quoted performance (ESPECIALLY for high energy orbits). The outriggers will stage before the core.
Title: Re: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread
Post by: MikeAtkinson on 04/04/2011 02:53 PM
The quoted FH performance to GTO of 19 tonnes is ~4x that of F9 (it is hard to tell whether these numbers are like to like comparisons, but lets assume that they are). A FH second stage is going to be more mass efficient than three equivalent F9 seconds stages, probably by about 1-2 tonnes, but I cannot see how it, by itself will give all the increased performance.

There seem to be at least three options for high energy orbits:

1. stage the strap-ons first (as in my strategy 2 above).

2. add a small third stage

3. improve the performance of the Merlin 1 Vac.

Like Robotbeat  I think option 1 is most likely for high energy orbits. As the quoted LEO performance is almost exactly what would be expected from all cores burning out at the same time it may be that they will use different strategies for LEO and GTO/escape.
Title: Re: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 04/04/2011 02:59 PM
There seem to be at least three options for high energy orbits:

1. stage the strap-ons first (as in my strategy 2 above).

2. add a small third stage

3. improve the performance of the Merlin 1 Vac.

4. replace the current kerolox upper stage with a hydrolox one (Raptor).

Purely FWIW, I suspect that we'll see a similar Block-1/Block-2 performance split as with Falcon-9.  Initial tests and maybe even some early operational flights will use a Merlin Vac upper stage until Raptor is built, upon which it will take over for the highest-mass (>10t through GTO) payloads.
Title: Re: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread
Post by: Robotbeat on 04/04/2011 03:35 PM
There seem to be at least three options for high energy orbits:

1. stage the strap-ons first (as in my strategy 2 above).

2. add a small third stage

3. improve the performance of the Merlin 1 Vac.

4. replace the current kerolox upper stage with a hydrolox one (Raptor).

Purely FWIW, I suspect that we'll see a similar Block-1/Block-2 performance split as with Falcon-9.  Initial tests and maybe even some early operational flights will use a Merlin Vac upper stage until Raptor is built, upon which it will take over for the highest-mass (>10t through GTO) payloads.
Raptor is rather unlikely at this stage, IMO. I highly, highly doubt a hydrolox stage is going to come online that early for SpaceX. What experience do they have with hydrolox? (zero)

Falcon Heavy will be operating for quite a while with a kerolox stage. Not just initial tests. Considering how much they like to brag about how awesome they are (and I don't entirely blame them... they've done a lot of work and have come quite far), they would've had mentions of it all the heck over their webpage if they were anywhere near as close to fielding it as you suggest.
Title: Re: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread
Post by: ugordan on 04/04/2011 04:32 PM
What experience do they have with hydrolox? (zero)

Not that I don't agree with the point about Raptor being unlikely for now, but Tom Mueller does have experience with LH2. Barber-Nichols also has experience with hydrolox turbomachinery if need be - yes, I understand they want to move that in house as well.
Title: Re: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread
Post by: R.Simko on 04/04/2011 07:00 PM
I seriously doubt any cross-feed capability from the start. Shutting down core engines soon after lift-off seems reasonable to me.

I even more doubt they will have all three cores burn out at the same time. I don't think people who are suggesting that realize how important the extra performance of having the outriggers stage earlier is to getting near their quoted performance (ESPECIALLY for high energy orbits). The outriggers will stage before the core.

I think the Robotbeat has hit it right on with this one.

SpaceX will want to keep it as simple as possible in the beginning and keep as much commonality as possible.  Therefore, no cross-feed, no stretched tanks, (it also doesn't show stretched tanks on the FH overview page) and no 5 engine center core.


By having 9 engines on all 3 first stage cores, they minimize gravity losses and retain greater engine out capability.  By shutting down a few centercore engines after liftoff, the outer cores burn out first, allowing them to drop off, maximizing performance.

Sounds like a very elegant set-up you described Robotbeat, it has my vote.


edit: Added the word center to core.
Title: Re: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 04/04/2011 07:31 PM
Raptor is rather unlikely at this stage, IMO. I highly, highly doubt a hydrolox stage is going to come online that early for SpaceX.

You'll notice that I didn't actually specify a date when Raptor will be introduced to service.  What I did say is I suspect that Falcon Heavy will not meet its performance targets until Raptor is introduced, just as Falcon-9 will not meet its performance targets until Merlin-1d is introduced.

This gives SpaceX a certain incentive to get the job done more quickly; It is unlikely that Falcon Heavy will compare favorably with Atlas-V-551 or Delta-IVH+ in the eyes of potential USG customers until then.
Title: Re: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread
Post by: rcoppola on 04/04/2011 08:04 PM
It's fantastic how much excitement this "Announcement" has generated.

I am hoping for some Merlin 2 announcements to go along with it. And I would think they will have some new agreements with a new launch customer.

Understanding they have the Dragon...but I wonder if Sierra Nevada and SpaceX could come to an agreement on using the FH to launch the Dreamchaser instead of an Atlas V, especially since the FH will be designed for ManRated requirements already.
Title: Re: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread
Post by: ugordan on 04/04/2011 08:08 PM
FH would be overkill for commercial crew capsules.
Title: Re: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread
Post by: rcoppola on 04/04/2011 08:25 PM
FH would be overkill for commercial crew capsules.
Yes, sorry, completely agree. DC had a mass listing of about 9,000kg at last look. Overkill indeed. Well, they sure would have lots of margin to play with....
Title: Re: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread
Post by: Lars_J on 04/04/2011 11:20 PM
FH would be overkill for commercial crew capsules.

No more than SLS being overkill for LEO Orion.  ;D

No seriously, if man-tended (or manned) outposts existed at L1/L2/LLO, FH + Dragon could be a perfect commercial crew match for such a destination. But that is pretty far-fetched at this point, of course.
Title: Re: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread
Post by: Robotbeat on 04/04/2011 11:23 PM
FH would be overkill for commercial crew capsules.

No more than SLS being overkill for LEO Orion.  ;D

No seriously, if man-tended (or manned) outposts existed at L1/L2/LLO, FH + Dragon could be a perfect commercial crew match for such a destination. But that is pretty far-fetched at this point, of course.
Or Lagrange (perhaps LLO, but I don't think the performance is quite there with just Falcon Heavy) point rendezvous exploration architecture.
Title: Re: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread
Post by: beancounter on 04/05/2011 02:02 AM
Stage separation events was one of the identified failure points in the Futron Study quoted by SpaceX. 
If you consider the extra 2 cores in F9H to be stages then I think it's likely that SpaceX, to mitigate risk and keep with the KISS principle, will fly them all the way to 1st stage separation.  In other words, keep the 3 cores together the entire time.  Stage the engines but not the cores.  That way, there's no change to what they do now.  They're just doing it with three cores instead of one.
Any reason why you wouldn't do this? 
Title: Re: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread
Post by: Robotbeat on 04/05/2011 02:07 AM
Stage separation events was one of the identified failure points in the Futron Study quoted by SpaceX. 
If you consider the extra 2 cores in F9H to be stages then I think it's likely that SpaceX, to mitigate risk and keep with the KISS principle, will fly them all the way to 1st stage separation.  In other words, keep the 3 cores together the entire time.  Stage the engines but not the cores.  That way, there's no change to what they do now.  They're just doing it with three cores instead of one.
Any reason why you wouldn't do this? 
Because they won't hit the performance numbers they're quoting now if they do what you suggest.
Title: Re: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread
Post by: daver on 04/05/2011 07:02 AM
Could they pump fuel from the two outer cores into the center core so that it would be mostly full when the outer cores are empty?   The two outer cores would than stage at lower speed making them easier to recover.
Title: Re: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread
Post by: MikeAtkinson on 04/05/2011 07:11 AM
Could they pump fuel from the two outer cores into the center core so that it would be mostly full when the outer cores are empty?   The two outer cores would than stage at lower speed making them easier to recover.

The could, but the consensus is that they won't. The reasons include:

   1. It is considerably harder.

   2. It adds single points of failure.

   3. There are added separation events.

The advantages would be:

   1. Better performance.

   2. Lower staging of the strap-ons.
Title: Re: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread
Post by: rklaehn on 04/05/2011 07:13 AM
Could they pump fuel from the two outer cores into the center core so that it would be mostly full when the outer cores are empty?   The two outer cores would than stage at lower speed making them easier to recover.

That is usually called crossfeed. And it would lead to significant performance improvement. It is not done with for example delta IV heavy because it requires complex plumbing (that disconnects during the flight!) and makes the "common cores" less common.


Stage separation events was one of the identified failure points in the Futron Study quoted by SpaceX. 
If you consider the extra 2 cores in F9H to be stages then I think it's likely that SpaceX, to mitigate risk and keep with the KISS principle, will fly them all the way to 1st stage separation.  In other words, keep the 3 cores together the entire time.  Stage the engines but not the cores.  That way, there's no change to what they do now.  They're just doing it with three cores instead of one.
Any reason why you wouldn't do this? 
Because they won't hit the performance numbers they're quoting now if they do what you suggest.

Right. With the three first stage cores burning out at the same time, it would be a two stage vehicle with a ridiculously undersized second stage.

With the outer boosters burning out first it is a three stage vehicle. That's the only way they can meet their extremely ambitious performance numbers, especially the GTO performance of 19500kg.
Title: Re: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 04/05/2011 07:20 AM
FH would be overkill for commercial crew capsules.

True, but both SpaceX and Bigelow have made it clear that their plans for commercial crew do not end at LEO.
Title: Re: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread
Post by: Patchouli on 04/05/2011 07:27 AM
Could they pump fuel from the two outer cores into the center core so that it would be mostly full when the outer cores are empty?   The two outer cores would than stage at lower speed making them easier to recover.

That is usually called crossfeed. And it would lead to significant performance improvement. It is not done with for example delta IV heavy because it requires complex plumbing (that disconnects during the flight!) and makes the "common cores" less common.


Stage separation events was one of the identified failure points in the Futron Study quoted by SpaceX. 
If you consider the extra 2 cores in F9H to be stages then I think it's likely that SpaceX, to mitigate risk and keep with the KISS principle, will fly them all the way to 1st stage separation.  In other words, keep the 3 cores together the entire time.  Stage the engines but not the cores.  That way, there's no change to what they do now.  They're just doing it with three cores instead of one.
Any reason why you wouldn't do this? 
Because they won't hit the performance numbers they're quoting now if they do what you suggest.

Right. With the three first stage cores burning out at the same time, it would be a two stage vehicle with a ridiculously undersized second stage.

With the outer boosters burning out first it is a three stage vehicle. That's the only way they can meet their extremely ambitious performance numbers, especially the GTO performance of 19500kg.

Simple just stretch the second stage for Falcon heavy.
Delta IV has two sizes of second stage this would be the easiest way to fix all the issues.
Title: Re: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread
Post by: kkattula on 04/05/2011 11:17 AM

Right. With the three first stage cores burning out at the same time, it would be a two stage vehicle with a ridiculously undersized second stage.

With the outer boosters burning out first it is a three stage vehicle. That's the only way they can meet their extremely ambitious performance numbers, especially the GTO performance of 19500kg.

More like 2.5 stage.  The center core is ground lit.
Title: Re: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread
Post by: MP99 on 04/05/2011 11:42 AM
Stage separation events was one of the identified failure points in the Futron Study quoted by SpaceX. 
If you consider the extra 2 cores in F9H to be stages then I think it's likely that SpaceX, to mitigate risk and keep with the KISS principle, will fly them all the way to 1st stage separation.  In other words, keep the 3 cores together the entire time.  Stage the engines but not the cores.  That way, there's no change to what they do now.  They're just doing it with three cores instead of one.

+1.

2.5 stage may be a growth option.

cheers, Martin
Title: Re: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread
Post by: MP99 on 04/05/2011 11:55 AM
Stage separation events was one of the identified failure points in the Futron Study quoted by SpaceX. 
If you consider the extra 2 cores in F9H to be stages then I think it's likely that SpaceX, to mitigate risk and keep with the KISS principle, will fly them all the way to 1st stage separation.  In other words, keep the 3 cores together the entire time.  Stage the engines but not the cores.  That way, there's no change to what they do now.  They're just doing it with three cores instead of one.
Any reason why you wouldn't do this? 
Because they won't hit the performance numbers they're quoting now if they do what you suggest.

Right. With the three first stage cores burning out at the same time, it would be a two stage vehicle with a ridiculously undersized second stage.

With the outer boosters burning out first it is a three stage vehicle. That's the only way they can meet their extremely ambitious performance numbers, especially the GTO performance of 19500kg.

ON THE ASSUMPTION that FH's are only launched from VAFB, is GTO performance anything more than a theoretical possibility? (If only we were launching from the Cape...).

While the F9-sized u/s is undersized for GTO, how well is it optimised for FH for LEO? It has the thrust, at least.

cheers, Martin
Title: Re: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread
Post by: kevin-rf on 04/05/2011 12:18 PM
Has anyone pointed out, if they are still keen on recovery, that having the center core burn out later will be going faster and make recovery much more difficult.
Title: Re: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread
Post by: ugordan on 04/05/2011 12:36 PM
I think you (and they) can pretty much forget about recovering the core even if strapon/single stick stages end up being recoverable at some point in the future.
Title: Re: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread
Post by: jabe on 04/05/2011 02:01 PM
cool graphic on spacex main page....
http://www.spacex.com/

jb
Title: Re: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread
Post by: gladiator1332 on 04/05/2011 02:07 PM
Looking forward to the press conference. Looks like I have another paper model to make. Have to have a Falcon Heavy to go with the Falcon 9 model I built. :)
Title: Re: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread
Post by: kirghizstan on 04/05/2011 02:09 PM
nice pics on the website.  I wonder if the second was put up earlier than planned.
Title: Re: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread
Post by: kevin-rf on 04/05/2011 02:21 PM
Looks like a stretched upper stage...
Title: Re: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread
Post by: vasilis89 on 04/05/2011 02:22 PM
http://www.spacex.com/launch_manifest.php

falcon heavy demo flight 2012 vanderberg
Title: Re: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread
Post by: Chris-A on 04/05/2011 02:24 PM
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703712504576244583003761782.html
35 tons to somewhere?
Title: Re: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread
Post by: kevin-rf on 04/05/2011 02:27 PM
http://www.spacex.com/launch_manifest.php

falcon heavy demo flight 2012 vanderberg

Thats is less than the 24 months quoted to get the Vandenberg Pad ready... T-45 minutes
Title: Re: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread
Post by: gladiator1332 on 04/05/2011 02:28 PM
Have to say I like the marketing attempt by trying to make it a big secret announcement, but at this point anyone following SpaceX / spaceflight knows what is coming.

Unless Mr. Musk is going to pull one out of left field and announce a BFR and all this Falcon Heavy stuff is a diversion! ;)

Also like the Think Big maketing idea. When it comes time for the BFR, they can go with "Thinking Bigger".
Title: Re: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread
Post by: vasilis89 on 04/05/2011 02:29 PM
wait a moment... astrium as customer falcon 1e 2014... whats going on??
Title: Re: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread
Post by: kevin-rf on 04/05/2011 02:31 PM
Have to say I like the marketing attempt by trying to make it a big secret announcement, but at this point anyone following SpaceX / spaceflight knows what is coming.

Unless Mr. Musk is going to pull one out of left field and announce a BFR and all this Falcon Heavy stuff is a diversion! ;)

Also like the Think Big maketing idea. When it comes time for the BFR, they can go with "Thinking Bigger".

I don't think he will be announcing anything about the 1e, the only listed flight is now in 2014.
Title: Re: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread
Post by: Chris-A on 04/05/2011 02:33 PM
wait a moment... astrium as customer falcon 1e 2014... whats going on??

The status of Falcon 1e is unknown, but most likely delayed for a few years or indefinitely.
Title: Re: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread
Post by: Chris Bergin on 04/05/2011 02:42 PM
WASHINGTON – Elon Musk, CEO and Chief Technology Officer of Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX), will hold a press conference TODAY, Tuesday, April 5th at the National Press Club in Washington to discuss his company’s latest venture.


EVENT:                                 SpaceX CEO Elon Musk to Talk About the Next Big Thing

TIME:                                    11:20 AM

DATE:                                    Tuesday, April 5th, 2011

LOCATION:                         National Press Club, Zenger Room

529 14th St. NW, 13th Floor, Washington, DC 20045

WEBCAST:                           http://www.visualwebcaster.com/spacex


Checked out the webcast and it's not a format I can screenshot, so no live coverage event viable....unless someone says they can and in which can we'll move it to live events and cover as such.
Title: Re: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread
Post by: Chris-A on 04/05/2011 02:56 PM
The webcast is working for me in VLC 1.1.8
Link:
http://www.visualwebcaster.com/vwp/makemetafile.asp?sid=141443&ptype=2

Title: Re: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread
Post by: MP99 on 04/05/2011 02:58 PM
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703712504576244583003761782.html
35 tons to somewhere?

"The new booster, capable of blasting significantly more than 35 tons into high-earth orbit".

FH (ex F9H) can't do that to LEO, never mind HEO. Facts wrong? We'll know soon.

cheers, Martin
Title: Re: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread
Post by: kevin-rf on 04/05/2011 03:02 PM
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703712504576244583003761782.html
35 tons to somewhere?

"The new booster, capable of blasting significantly more than 35 tons into high-earth orbit".

FH (ex F9H) can't do that to LEO, never mind HEO. Facts wrong? We'll know soon.

cheers, Martin

Could with an LH upper ...
Title: Re: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread
Post by: Joris on 04/05/2011 03:03 PM
The new booster, capable of blasting significantly more than 35 tons into high-earth orbit".

tons=pounds methinks

Title: Re: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread
Post by: ugordan on 04/05/2011 03:05 PM
tons=pounds methinks

So it's 35 pounds to HEO?

That's doable, I think.
Title: Re: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread
Post by: kirghizstan on 04/05/2011 03:06 PM
nice pics on the website.  I wonder if the second was put up earlier than planned.

the heavy image is now gone from the website.  They must have put it up too early. 
Title: Re: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread
Post by: Joris on 04/05/2011 03:09 PM
So it's 35 pounds to HEO?

That's doable, I think.

I fail when i'm exciting.

It is obvious that they meant 35.000 pounds.
Or else we are up to some very exciting news...
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Chris Bergin on 04/05/2011 03:10 PM
The webcast is working for me in VLC 1.1.8
Link:
http://www.visualwebcaster.com/vwp/makemetafile.asp?sid=141443&ptype=2


Nice!

Moved for live coverage. Will return here afterwards!
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Chris Bergin on 04/05/2011 03:11 PM
Epic whistling from the cameraman :D
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Chris-A on 04/05/2011 03:12 PM
"50,000 hits on youtube, pretty cool video." I can hear Elon's comments in the video.
Title: Re: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread
Post by: kch on 04/05/2011 03:16 PM
So it's 35 pounds to HEO?

That's doable, I think.

I fail when i'm exciting.

It is obvious that they meant 35.000 pounds.
Or else we are up to some very exciting news...

Their FH page says 32,000 kg to LEO, and 19,500 kg to GTO.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: kevin-rf on 04/05/2011 03:19 PM
Model on the table has three cores of the same length and looks like a standard length US. Oh, and down in front!!!
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Chris-A on 04/05/2011 03:20 PM
I think there is more models off to the side.

Here we go!
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Chris Bergin on 04/05/2011 03:21 PM
Bobby Block's had a hair cut for his new role. No pony tail shocker!
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Ronsmytheiii on 04/05/2011 03:21 PM
Youll never believe who is here

Falcon 9 able to lift much more than what previously thought, so Falcon Heavy will be able to lift much more.

Able to lift about a 737 to orbit, more than shuttle/Delta IVH
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: kevin-rf on 04/05/2011 03:22 PM
120,000 lbs LEO? Wow!
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Chris-A on 04/05/2011 03:23 PM
Over 100,000lb to orbit. 117k, and maybe above 120klb.
Probably *Most likely be Merlin-2 and Raptor based.* - My comment
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Ronsmytheiii on 04/05/2011 03:23 PM
initial launch form SLC-4 at VAndenberg, then CCAFS

Falcon 9 lower segment of market, heavy will lift the rest
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Halidon on 04/05/2011 03:24 PM
Launching FH from The Cape "shortly after" SLC-4? Doesn't say new pad or modifying F9 pad.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: kevin-rf on 04/05/2011 03:24 PM
To get those numbers are they doing an LH upper?
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: mrmandias on 04/05/2011 03:25 PM
He looks younger every year.

His software roots are showing.  He doesn't yet quite get that designing a rocket isn't the same as building one.  Paper specs are real, in his mind.

That said, from his lips to God's ears.  Amazing numbers he's throwing around.  Even allowing for a fudge factor.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Chris Bergin on 04/05/2011 03:25 PM
Elon's on.

Only just completed the design and increased the thrust.

Well over 100,000lbs into orbit. 117,000lbs, maybe above 120,000lbs. More than any vehicle apart from the Saturn V.

Twice that of Shuttle and DIV-H.

Although shuttle is retiring here is a vehicle ready for next year with twice the capability (well payload upmass). (He was being respectful of shuttle though)

Vandenberg first, then Cape. Expect to be launching a lot. F9 half the market. F9H can do the other half and open up new markets.

Costs: Represents a huge economic advantage. A third of a DIV-H but twice the capability. New world record at 1000 bucks per llbs

Rocket of huge scale.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Ronsmytheiii on 04/05/2011 03:25 PM
Video time

Whats next?
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: tankmodeler on 04/05/2011 03:25 PM
$1000/pound to LEO!

The Holy Grail...
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Lee Jay on 04/05/2011 03:26 PM
Crossfeed.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Halidon on 04/05/2011 03:26 PM
Cross-Feed!
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Chris Bergin on 04/05/2011 03:26 PM
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Ronsmytheiii on 04/05/2011 03:26 PM
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: kirghizstan on 04/05/2011 03:26 PM
did i just see cross feed?
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Chris Bergin on 04/05/2011 03:26 PM
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Ronsmytheiii on 04/05/2011 03:27 PM
wow, cross feed will be pretty ambitious, also per video looks like staggered core staging
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: kevin-rf on 04/05/2011 03:27 PM
$1000/pound to LEO!

The Holy Grail...

Even if he under estimated by half, that is still incredible!
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Halidon on 04/05/2011 03:28 PM
Well, I think he's giving people plenty to talk about for awhile. ;D
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Chris Bergin on 04/05/2011 03:28 PM
Elon:

Is capabile of NASA's human rating standard. Engine out capability. Crossfeed between the cores. Triple redundant avionics.

Can launch people if it needs to and safely.

Can look at a Mars sample return mission. FH can do it in a single flight.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: tankmodeler on 04/05/2011 03:28 PM
Man rated off the top! Structural margin & multi-engine out.

Elon is aiming at NASA's 70 ton launcher, for sure.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Ronsmytheiii on 04/05/2011 03:29 PM
The questions I can think of:

Throttling engines?

LH2 upper stage (raptor)?

Falcon X?
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: tankmodeler on 04/05/2011 03:29 PM
30,000 lb to TMI! That's a big Mars mission.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Lee Jay on 04/05/2011 03:30 PM
Most likely be Merlin-2 and Raptor based.

I don't believe Elon said that.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: kevin-rf on 04/05/2011 03:31 PM
I love that, meets all published standards!
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: mrmandias on 04/05/2011 03:31 PM
The video showed booster separation before final first stage separation.

My guess?  Elon is advertising the final product in a Final Heavy evolution that isn't going to start with these performance figures and mission profiles--it will only end with them (if all goes as planned).
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Ronsmytheiii on 04/05/2011 03:33 PM
upgrading Merlin, going to high rate of production engine (400 engines a year!)

Will have an initial demo without a primary customer (as of now) will announce customers for second ect later
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Halidon on 04/05/2011 03:33 PM
Merlin upgrade: 95,000lbs sea-level now 140,000lbs sea-level thrust
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: tankmodeler on 04/05/2011 03:33 PM
Oooo, 95K lb thrust to 140K lb thrust for an upgraded Merlin.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: chawleysnow on 04/05/2011 03:33 PM
Merlin upgrades from 95,000 lbs sea level to 140,000 lbs sea level? Quite an upgrade.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Ronsmytheiii on 04/05/2011 03:34 PM
Will have secondary satellites on most flights
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: kevin-rf on 04/05/2011 03:34 PM
Also, the video does not look like an LH upper stage...
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 04/05/2011 03:34 PM
The video showed booster separation before final first stage separation.

Which answers one of the big debates about the FH

Quote
My guess?  Elon is advertising the final product in a Final Heavy evolution that isn't going to start with these performance figures and mission profiles--it will only end with them (if all goes as planned).

Agreed on that one.  I'm thinking that the 120,000lb IMLEO will be the final version - Merlin 2, Raptor upper stage and prop crossfeed on the cores.


Most likely be Merlin-2 and Raptor based.

I don't believe Elon said that.

I can't believe that any level of performance under-estimate on the F9 + propellent crossfeed could give those sorts of figures without something else to give that last extra bit of power.  We are talking about ~50t IMLEO here!
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Ronsmytheiii on 04/05/2011 03:35 PM
Sounds like they will upgrade LC-40 at the Cape, but may use LC-39B

expect most flights from the Cape
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: kirghizstan on 04/05/2011 03:35 PM
new hanger 90degrees offset for FH at the cape
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 04/05/2011 03:37 PM
new hanger 90degrees offset for FH at the cape

Another big debate resolved.  IMHO, the only realistic option.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Ronsmytheiii on 04/05/2011 03:37 PM
20 launches a year projection, half for 9 and half for heavy
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Chris Bergin on 04/05/2011 03:37 PM
Questions.

Elon: Payload to Mars would be 1/4 of payload to LEO. 30,000 lbs to Mars injection.

F9 is suitable for LEO to ISS etc. But not beyond.
FH can go much further. It's about half of a Saturn V. You could go to the moon with two vehicles (holy frak).

FH and F9 are capable of all the published NASA Human Rating Standards, but not sure about unpublished standards.

FH would be capable for humans after a few launches. LV would be very minor, would be about the crew transport. Could go to the moon, twice as many launches to go to Mars.

Ungrade in the works to Merlin 95,000lbs to 140,000lbs. Speed up production. 400 engines per year possible. Already more than the US - but not saying much, but would be more than the entire world.

First FH doesn't have a primary customer, maybe some secondaries, but should be announcing some for the second and following flights.

F9 to Station will have ORBCOMM sateliites as secondaries (I think he said!)

FH is long term. Starting off at VAFB, then a pad at the Cape for both F9 and FH. Looking at one of the old Shuttle pads for FH! Two hangers for each vehicle. Jobs will depend on launch rate. More from the Cape eventually for FH, most commercial want to go to GTO. Couple of hundred jobs. Depends on customer demand. Two to three years before ramp up to that couple of hundred jobs.

Probably do as many F9 and FH launches, split between 20 launches a year (that keeps us busy as a site then!)

Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: tankmodeler on 04/05/2011 03:37 PM
My g*d, 10 Heavy launches a year? That's a million + pounds to orbit every year.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Ronsmytheiii on 04/05/2011 03:39 PM
Asking about BEO plans with NASA and SpaceX
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Chris-A on 04/05/2011 03:39 PM
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: mrmandias on 04/05/2011 03:40 PM
How Elon's mind works.

'that would be a stretch with 2 Falcon Heavies.  Depends on the mission.  Hmm.  . . .   I'm confident you could do it with 2 Falcon Heavies."
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: tankmodeler on 04/05/2011 03:41 PM
Personally, I love the fact that the CEO of a space corporation can do basic C3/launch payload calculations, in his head, live & get it pretty much right.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Ronsmytheiii on 04/05/2011 03:41 PM
may be going public at the end of the year....
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: kevin-rf on 04/05/2011 03:41 PM
SpaceX Falcon Heavy page just changed

http://www.spacex.com/falcon_heavy.php
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: ugordan on 04/05/2011 03:43 PM
FH video is on their site now: http://spacex.com/multimedia/videos.php?id=59
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: kevin-rf on 04/05/2011 03:43 PM

FALCON 9   FALCON HEAVY
Overall Length:   54.9 m (180 ft)   69.2 m (227 ft)
Width (body):   3.6 m (12 ft)   3.6 m (12 ft) x 11.6 m (38 ft)
Width (fairing):   5.2 m (17 ft)   5.2 m (17 ft)
Mass on liftoff:   332,800 kg (733,800 lb)   1,450,000 kg (3,100,000 lb)
Thrust on liftoff:   4.94 MN (1,110,000 lbf)   17 MN (3,800,000 lbf)
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Chris Bergin on 04/05/2011 03:46 PM
A lot of wishful thinking from competiton about our prices. We believe in everyday low prices (laughs). F9 costs $50m. FH costs $100m. Let history be the judge.

Confident a moon mission would only need two FHs. Small enough spacecraft you could do it on one. Sure it could be done on two for a NEO mission (prop on spacecraft).

Not interested in giving up the controlling stake in the company.

FH - Nov/Dec 2012 - should be at the launch pad. Launch sometime in 2013.

Strong customer interest from Commercial and Gov - in advanced discussions with both. Not much interest in being the first, customers don't like being the first flight. Slight risk to be doing the first launch on our own funds, but it's important to get customers to sign up.

Ramping up production is number one focus. Automative and rocket industry being brought in to build engines. 400 booster engines a year is more than the rest of the world combined. We're talking about 40 cores. Need that for our flight rate.

On existing contracts we already have 10 launches of F9 coming. 20 launches a year is not a crazy number. We expect that without any miracles.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Chris-A on 04/05/2011 03:46 PM
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: mrmandias on 04/05/2011 03:46 PM
http://www.spacex.com/falcon_heavy.php

They do a comparison between the Falcon Heavy, the Space Shuttle, and other launchers.  But the comparisons are a little deceptive.  The orbital 'altitudes' are different for different launchers.  Not quite apples to oranges.

Still, if they do anything remotely close to what they are saying here, in terms of capability, cost, or sheer production rates of hardward, they should crow in the morning, crow in the evening, and crow all night long.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Lee Jay on 04/05/2011 03:47 PM
Most likely be Merlin-2 and Raptor based.

I don't believe Elon said that.

I can't believe that any level of performance under-estimate on the F9 + propellent crossfeed could give those sorts of figures without something else to give that last extra bit of power.  We are talking about ~50t IMLEO here!

Merlin 1D powered.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: tankmodeler on 04/05/2011 03:48 PM
"20 launches a year is not a crazy number"

Sounds crazy, if you look at the mass that represents, but, at $2200 a kilo to LEO, he might just get there. People may be able to come out of the woodwork with missions that make sense at $2200 a kilo that suimply don't make sense at $5000.

Just for comparison, $2200/kilo is not terribly much more than the cost for mass in the commercial aircraft industry.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: tankmodeler on 04/05/2011 03:49 PM
"Growing like the Borg"

Best CEO line ever!
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: baldusi on 04/05/2011 03:50 PM
They left out the Energia from their comparison  ::)
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: tankmodeler on 04/05/2011 03:50 PM
4 heavies a year to maintain $1000/pd
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: kevin-rf on 04/05/2011 03:52 PM
Has made no mention of reuse...
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: robertross on 04/05/2011 03:52 PM
Costs based on current year dollars, not including inflation
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Lee Jay on 04/05/2011 03:52 PM
$1,000/kg -- need at least 4 launches per year to get that figure--very confident we can do it--'not mythical anymore'

He said $1000/pound ($100M/100,000 pounds).
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: ugordan on 04/05/2011 03:52 PM
I can't believe noone asked about the 2nd stage.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: ChrisGebhardt on 04/05/2011 03:53 PM
"Growing like the Borg"

Best CEO line ever!

And a rather arrogant statement to make, IMO.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: kevin-rf on 04/05/2011 03:54 PM
No plans for a lunar lander at this time
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Chris Bergin on 04/05/2011 03:54 PM
Currently on Merlin 1C - 50 a year - going to 1D.

Confident we can go to 600-700 a year of 1D engines. Tooling and production systems are being ramped up. Automate as much as possible. Expecting to hire a lot more people. 15 percent last year.

This year we'll probably grow 15-20 percent. 2012 increase 30-40 percent.

Acquiring buildings around us, a bit like the Borg :D 50 percent increase in California real estate. I really like density. Doubled in Texas for testing to 600 acres. Work at VAFB and Cape.

1000lbs number - mythical. Need to launch four per year to maintain that number. Very confident. Able to spread the overhead between F9 and FH. Same tooling, same line.

First mission is a demo. Prove FH will work, deliever the payload. No primary customer but several secondary, but maybe a big customer at the last minute at a reduced price.

Dragon is capable of beyond LEO, capable of entry at Mars (!)

Possible to do Lunar flyby with one LV and Dragon. To land we need propulsive landing.

Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: tankmodeler on 04/05/2011 03:54 PM
Maybe, but I look at it as being purely geeky enthusiasm.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Chris Bergin on 04/05/2011 03:54 PM
Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Contact: Kirstin Brost, SpaceX

202-649-2716

 

SpaceX Announces Launch Date for the World's Most Powerful Rocket

Falcon Heavy will lift more than twice as much as any other launch vehicle

 

WASHINGTON – Today, Elon Musk, CEO and chief rocket designer of Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) unveiled the dramatic final specifications and launch date for the Falcon Heavy, the world’s largest rocket.

 

“Falcon Heavy will carry more payload to orbit or escape velocity than any vehicle in history, apart from the Saturn V moon rocket, which was decommissioned after the Apollo program. This opens a new world of capability for both government and commercial space missions,” Musk told a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.

 

"Falcon Heavy will arrive at our Vandenberg, California, launch complex by the end of next year, with liftoff to follow soon thereafter.  First launch from our Cape Canaveral launch complex is planned for late 2013 or 2014.”

 

Musk added that with the ability to carry satellites or interplanetary spacecraft weighing over 53 metric tons or 117,000 pounds to orbit, Falcon Heavy will have more than twice the performance of the Space Shuttle or Delta IV Heavy, the next most powerful vehicle, which is  operated by United Launch Alliance, a Boeing-Lockheed Martin joint venture.

 

53 metric tons is more than the maximum take-off weight of a fully-loaded Boeing 737-200 with 136 passengers. In other words, Falcon Heavy can deliver the equivalent of an entire commercial airplane full of passengers, crew, luggage and fuel all the way to orbit.

 

View the launch simulation video at: www.spacex.com/

 

Falcon Heavy’s first stage will be made up of three nine-engine cores, which are used as the first stage of the SpaceX Falcon 9 launch vehicle.  It will be powered by SpaceX’s upgraded Merlin engines currently being tested at the SpaceX rocket development facility in McGregor, Texas.  Falcon Heavy will generate 3.8 million pounds of thrust at liftoff.  This is the equivalent to the thrust of fifteen Boeing 747s taking off at the same time.

 

Above all, Falcon Heavy has been designed for extreme reliability.  Unique safety features of the Falcon 9 are preserved, such as the ability to complete its mission even if multiple engines fail. Like a commercial airliner, each engine is surrounded by a protective shell that contains a worst case situation like fire or a chamber rupture, preventing it from affecting other engines or the vehicle itself.

 

Anticipating potential astronaut transport needs, Falcon Heavy is also designed to meet NASA human rating standards, unlike other satellite launch vehicles.  For example, this means designing to higher structural safety margins of 40% above flight loads, rather than the 25% level of other rockets, and triple redundant avionics.

 

Falcon Heavy will be the first rocket in history to do propellant cross-feed from the side boosters to the center core, thus leaving the center core with most of its propellant after the side boosters separate. The net effect is that Falcon Heavy achieves performance comparable to a three stage rocket, even though only the upper stage is airlit, further improving both payload performance and reliability.  Crossfeed is not required for missions below 100,000 lbs, and can be turned off if desired.

 

Despite being designed to higher structural margins than other rockets, the side booster stages will have a mass ratio (full of propellant vs empty) above 30, better than any vehicle of any kind in history.

 

Falcon Heavy, with more than twice the payload, but less than one third the cost of a Delta IV Heavy, will provide much needed relief to government and commercial budgets. In fact, Falcon Heavy at approximately $1,000 per pound to orbit, sets a new world record in affordable spaceflight.

 

This year, even as the Department of Defense budget was cut, the EELV launch program, which includes the Delta IV, still saw a thirty percent increase.

 

The 2012 budget for four Air Force launches is $1.74B, which is an average of $435M per launch. Falcon 9 is offered on the commercial market for $50-60M and Falcon Heavy is offered for $80-$125M. Unlike our competitors, this price includes all non-recurring development costs and on-orbit delivery of an agreed upon mission. For government missions, NASA has added mission assurance and additional services to the Falcon 9 for less than $20M.

 

Vehicle Overview

Mass to Orbit (200 km, 28.5 deg):                  53 metric tons (117,000 lbs)

Length:                                                            69.2 meters (227 ft)

Max Stage Width:                                           5.2 m (17 ft)

Total Width:                                                    11.6 meters (38 ft)

Weight at Liftoff:                                           1,400 metric tons or 3.1 million lbs

Thrust on Liftoff:                                            1,700 metric tons or 3.8 million lbs

 

Please note that Falcon Heavy should not be confused with the super heavy lift rocket program being debated by the U.S. Congress.  That vehicle is authorized to carry between 70-130 metric tons to orbit.  SpaceX agrees with the need to develop a vehicle of that class as the best way to conduct a large number of human missions to Mars.

Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Chris Bergin on 04/05/2011 03:55 PM
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Lee Jay on 04/05/2011 03:56 PM
Just for comparison, $2200/kilo is not terribly much more than the cost for mass in the commercial aircraft industry.

I don't understand what you mean.  Obviously a commercial airline ticket is around 3 orders of magnitude lower than that.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: AS-503 on 04/05/2011 03:57 PM
Elon says, "You could go beyond Apollo..."

This was mentioned with regard to Apollo (total) apogee.

Is Elon trying to set a new human alttitude record?

A human lunar fly-by would be incredible!

I know people wil just say (sour grapes)...apollo redux...apollo rehash...been there, done that...yawnnn, we did that 40 years ago.....

Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: douglas100 on 04/05/2011 03:57 PM
Well, I was wrong about using the 3 cores together and crossfeed...
It's great to be wrong sometimes!  :)
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 04/05/2011 03:57 PM
Quick question: Previously, the Merlin-1d had an estimated sea level thrust of ~125klbf.  Given that has been revised up to 140klbf, what does this do to Falcon 9's maximum IMLEO/IMGTO performance?
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: edkyle99 on 04/05/2011 03:58 PM
Merlin 1D going all the way to 140K - assuming we really are talking sea-level thrust - is a serious game-changer.  That's the real story today.

 - Ed Kyle
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Chris Bergin on 04/05/2011 03:59 PM
Elon:

Want to get it below the 1000 figure as they evolve FH.

Working on a vehicle 50 percent MORE capable that a Saturn V via a Super Heavy. 150mt to orbit capability in design.

On replacing shuttle, Elon notes Shuttle transports both cargo and crew to Station. In about three years we'll be transporting crew to the Station.

Over.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Halidon on 04/05/2011 04:00 PM
Did someone say Ms. Shotwell is going to be on The Space Show this week/month? Can we get a volunteer to call in and ask about the second stage?
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: mrmandias on 04/05/2011 04:04 PM
$1,000/kg -- need at least 4 launches per year to get that figure--very confident we can do it--'not mythical anymore'

He said $1000/pound ($100M/100,000 pounds).

Correct.  My mistake.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Robotbeat on 04/05/2011 04:05 PM
...
Dragon is capable of beyond LEO, capable of entry at Mars (!)
...
That's interesting... I just watched Carl Sagan's COSMOS episode 5 about Mars, and I can't stop thinking about the Red Planet...
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Chris Bergin on 04/05/2011 04:06 PM
Well I'm impressed by all of that! :)
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: kevin-rf on 04/05/2011 04:06 PM
...
Dragon is capable of beyond LEO, capable of entry at Mars (!)
...
That's interesting... I just watched Carl Sagan's COSMOS episode 5 about Mars, and I can't stop thinking about the Red Planet...

They have been saying that all along.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: starsilk on 04/05/2011 04:08 PM
watching their FH video (full version is on their website now), all 9 engines on the center core are burning after the strapons stage.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: nacnud on 04/05/2011 04:08 PM
Capable of entry FROM mars not AT mars.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: ugordan on 04/05/2011 04:09 PM
FALCON 9   FALCON HEAVY
Overall Length:   54.9 m (180 ft)   69.2 m (227 ft)
Width (body):   3.6 m (12 ft)   3.6 m (12 ft) x 11.6 m (38 ft)
Width (fairing):   5.2 m (17 ft)   5.2 m (17 ft)
Mass on liftoff:   332,800 kg (733,800 lb)   1,450,000 kg (3,100,000 lb)
Thrust on liftoff:   4.94 MN (1,110,000 lbf)   17 MN (3,800,000 lbf)

Jesus, look at that GLOW. That liftoff thrust is about half of Saturn V. 14 meter stretch somewhere.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Calorspace on 04/05/2011 04:09 PM
This is why SpaceX are absolutely awesome. None of the current major players would ever dream of doing something like this unless NASA was paying for the development costs.

Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: starsilk on 04/05/2011 04:10 PM
ob. 'Ferris Bueller' quote: Elon Musk, you're my hero...

 ;)
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Robotbeat on 04/05/2011 04:10 PM
Capable of entry FROM mars not AT mars.
Well, yeah, that we knew about for a while. Did Elon actually say entry at Mars, like Chris Bergin suggested?
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Diagoras on 04/05/2011 04:10 PM
This is why SpaceX are absolutely awesome. None of the current major players would ever dream of doing something like this unless NASA was paying for the development costs.



This. You can also substitute "utterly insane" for "awesome".
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: kch on 04/05/2011 04:11 PM
watching their FH video (full version is on their website now), all 9 engines on the center core are burning after the strapons stage.

... which makes sense, given that the core still has full tanks at that point ...
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Ronsmytheiii on 04/05/2011 04:12 PM
Thinking about things, now the idea of crossfeed does not seem to be so far fetched.  SpaceX needed a way for sequential staging for the core, and rather than spend time and effort developing a throttling engine they choose to go straight for cross feed so that it was not needed.  An interesting choice.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: jabe on 04/05/2011 04:12 PM
man...
I know someone will say it..but talk is cheap..but I SO hope this happens!!!!
going to be interesting how industry/congress/venture capitalists/etc respond to this...

going to be fun to watch happen
jb
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: yg1968 on 04/05/2011 04:13 PM
They will post the video of the press conference on their website.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Joris on 04/05/2011 04:13 PM
Quick question: Previously, the Merlin-1d had an estimated sea level thrust of ~125klbf.  Given that has been revised up to 140klbf, what does this do to Falcon 9's maximum IMLEO/IMGTO performance?
On the FH page...
16tons


FALCON 9   FALCON HEAVY
Mass to LEO (200 km, 28.5 deg):   16,000 kg (35,000 lb)   53,000 kg (117,000 lb)
Overall Length:   69.2 m (227 ft)   69.2 m (227 ft)
Width (body):   3.6 m (12 ft)   3.6 m (12 ft) x 11.6 m (38 ft)
Width (fairing):   5.2 m (17 ft)   5.2 m (17 ft)
Mass on liftoff:   480,000 kg (1,050,000 lb)   1,450,000 kg (3,100,000 lb)
Thrust on liftoff:   5.71 MN (1,260,000 lbf)   17 MN (3,800,000 lbf)


Seems like a 14m stretch will be applied.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: vasilis89 on 04/05/2011 04:13 PM
i want to buy spacex stocks... i will mortage my house  :)
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: mjcrsmith on 04/05/2011 04:14 PM
Wishing SpaceX all the best.

It will be interesting to see the contrast between private industry and NASA on heavy lift and launch vehicles in general in the next few years.

Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Space Pete on 04/05/2011 04:15 PM
Well, y'all know that I'm a Shuttle/ISS hugger, but if Elon can pull that off, then we should just forget the SLS and MPCV, and buy Dragons and FHs instead - faster, cheaper, and just as safe, if not more safe, than NASA.

NASA should concentrate on BEO exploration systems - and test them on ISS! :)
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: starsilk on 04/05/2011 04:15 PM
interesting. the new FH page on their web site has the original much lower performance figures on it:

Launch Site:   Cape Canaveral AFS
Inclination:   28.5 degree
Mass to Low Earth Orbit (LEO):   32,000 kg (70,548 lb)
Mass to Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO):   19,500 kg (42,990 lb)


EDIT: wait, looks like browser caching somewhere. page oscillates between the new 'revealed' stuff and the older 'smokescreen' version when I reload.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 04/05/2011 04:16 PM
Quick question: Previously, the Merlin-1d had an estimated sea level thrust of ~125klbf.  Given that has been revised up to 140klbf, what does this do to Falcon 9's maximum IMLEO/IMGTO performance?

On the FH page...
16tons


Bloody hell! If they're still going ahead with Raptor, that would put F9 deep into the EELV class in lift capability!
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Robotbeat on 04/05/2011 04:17 PM
This is why SpaceX are absolutely awesome. None of the current major players would ever dream of doing something like this unless NASA was paying for the development costs.



This. You can also substitute "utterly insane" for "awesome".
If they have a rocket engine that can do much greater thrust, but their single-core vehicle can't grab the greatest prize for commercial payloads (large birds to GTO), then they'll need a three-core version anyway, since they don't want a "dial-a-rocket" approach. If they can optimize the three-core to get even more payload, then why not? Seems rational to me, given what they have to work with.

I'll wait to see when it flies. If they can even get their flight rate up to even half of their 20 launches/year estimate, they'll be doing very, very well. But it's certainly not a forgone conclusion they'll get there. I do think they can probably make that many engines if they need to, it's the launch ops I'm concerned with.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: spacetraveler on 04/05/2011 04:17 PM
Merlin 1D to 140klbs + 400 engines per year sounds like optimizing Merlin 1 will be the focus rather than Merlin 2.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: kevin-rf on 04/05/2011 04:18 PM
Quick question: Previously, the Merlin-1d had an estimated sea level thrust of ~125klbf.  Given that has been revised up to 140klbf, what does this do to Falcon 9's maximum IMLEO/IMGTO performance?

On the FH page...
16tons


Bloody hell! If they're still going ahead with Raptor, that would put F9 deep into the EELV class in lift capability!

The engine upgrade alone should do that. I really wish he had discussed Raptor.

Notice the entire SpaceX Heavy page says nothing about the US!
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Diagoras on 04/05/2011 04:19 PM
This is why SpaceX are absolutely awesome. None of the current major players would ever dream of doing something like this unless NASA was paying for the development costs.



This. You can also substitute "utterly insane" for "awesome".
If they have a rocket engine that can do much greater thrust, but their single-core vehicle can't grab the greatest prize for commercial payloads (large birds to GTO), then they'll need a three-core version anyway, since they don't want a "dial-a-rocket" approach. If they can optimize the three-core to get even more payload, then why not? Seems rational to me, given what they have to work with.

I'll wait to see when it flies. If they can even get their flight rate up to even half of their 20 launches/year estimate, they'll be doing very, very well. But it's certainly not a forgone conclusion they'll get there. I do think they can probably make that many engines if they need to, it's the launch ops I'm concerned with.

Fair enough. Note that my "utterly insane" was more admiring than anything else. Godspeed.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: starsilk on 04/05/2011 04:20 PM
from the new FH page:

Quote
It will be powered by SpaceX’s upgraded Merlin engines currently being tested at the SpaceX rocket development facility in McGregor, Texas.

(emphasis mine).

the recent test, last week (or the week before?). everyone assumed that was COTS-2.. maybe that was a 1D test?
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Robotbeat on 04/05/2011 04:22 PM
from the new FH page:

Quote
It will be powered by SpaceX’s upgraded Merlin engines currently being tested at the SpaceX rocket development facility in McGregor, Texas.

(emphasis mine).

the recent test, last week (or the week before?). everyone assumed that was COTS-2.. maybe that was a 1D test?

It could be both... (I don't think that's most likely, but it is a possibility.)
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: edkyle99 on 04/05/2011 04:22 PM
... which makes sense, given that the core still has full tanks at that point ...
So, how does one crossfeed two boosters into nine engines, evenly?

 - Ed Kyle
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: ugordan on 04/05/2011 04:23 PM
the recent test, last week (or the week before?). everyone assumed that was COTS-2.. maybe that was a 1D test?

It was the F9-003 test.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Namechange User on 04/05/2011 04:26 PM
... which makes sense, given that the core still has full tanks at that point ...
So, how does one crossfeed two boosters into nine engines, evenly?

 - Ed Kyle

You probably don't crossfeed directly to the engines. 
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: boaorm on 04/05/2011 04:26 PM
... which makes sense, given that the core still has full tanks at that point ...
So, how does one crossfeed two boosters into nine engines, evenly?

 - Ed Kyle


By feeding the core tanks rather than the engines?
-Peter

Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Halidon on 04/05/2011 04:27 PM
... which makes sense, given that the core still has full tanks at that point ...
So, how does one crossfeed two boosters into nine engines, evenly?

 - Ed Kyle
Feed tank-to-tank?
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Gregori on 04/05/2011 04:28 PM
OMG, they bred Raptors......
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: starsilk on 04/05/2011 04:29 PM
the new FH page has quite a dig at the prices being charged to the DOD for Atlas/D4-H:

Quote
If allowed to compete, SpaceX can help the Department of Defense save at least one billion dollars annually in space launch services, while providing a truly independent family of vehicles to help assure access to space.

The total cost of the current program now exceeds $2.7B, with over $1B paid to a single provider just to sustain the program. That is one billion dollars per year, whether they launch or not.

The 2012 Air Force budget includes $1.74B for four launches, an average of $435M per launch. With Falcon Heavy priced at $80-125M per launch SpaceX has the potential to provide the US government significant value. In addition, the medium-lift Falcon 9 could support a number of medium-lift Air Force launches at only $50-60M per launch, if SpaceX were allowed to compete for this business.

(emphasis mine, some text removed to keep it short).
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: mrmandias on 04/05/2011 04:31 PM
Even for this wild-eyed fanboy, this numbers sound supremely optimistic.  $1000/lb?  Going from >100 k lbf to 145 k lbf?

I wonder if this is partly strategery to still the thunder from the CCDev-2 announcement.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: edkyle99 on 04/05/2011 04:33 PM
the new FH page has quite a dig at the prices being charged to the DOD for Atlas/D4-H:

Quote
If allowed to compete, SpaceX can help the Department of Defense save at least one billion dollars annually in space launch services, while providing a truly independent family of vehicles to help assure access to space.

The total cost of the current program now exceeds $2.7B, with over $1B paid to a single provider just to sustain the program. That is one billion dollars per year, whether they launch or not.

The 2012 Air Force budget includes $1.74B for four launches, an average of $435M per launch. With Falcon Heavy priced at $80-125M per launch SpaceX has the potential to provide the US government significant value. In addition, the medium-lift Falcon 9 could support a number of medium-lift Air Force launches at only $50-60M per launch, if SpaceX were allowed to compete for this business.

(emphasis mine, some text removed to keep it short).

He may be making enemies in Denver and Decatur, but I suspect there are a few cheering him on in the Pentagon.  If nothing else, the mere presence of SpaceX should serve to contain EELV pricing in out-years.

 - Ed Kyle
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: FinalFrontier on 04/05/2011 04:34 PM
This is awesome. Spacex might be our saving grace after all.

Honestly if they turn out to have a buisness case for FH (version one utilizing the existing f 9 cores) and they move on up then at the point I would just say have NASA buy rides. Launch the largest future falcons from 39 A with NASA paying for the ride. But we are a LONG way from that being feasible and the next 2 years will be very telling as far as that is concerned.

All in all I think a BFR COULD be cheaper than SLS, long term of course. But much remains to be seen.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: FinalFrontier on 04/05/2011 04:35 PM
the new FH page has quite a dig at the prices being charged to the DOD for Atlas/D4-H:

Quote
If allowed to compete, SpaceX can help the Department of Defense save at least one billion dollars annually in space launch services, while providing a truly independent family of vehicles to help assure access to space.

The total cost of the current program now exceeds $2.7B, with over $1B paid to a single provider just to sustain the program. That is one billion dollars per year, whether they launch or not.

The 2012 Air Force budget includes $1.74B for four launches, an average of $435M per launch. With Falcon Heavy priced at $80-125M per launch SpaceX has the potential to provide the US government significant value. In addition, the medium-lift Falcon 9 could support a number of medium-lift Air Force launches at only $50-60M per launch, if SpaceX were allowed to compete for this business.

(emphasis mine, some text removed to keep it short).

He may be making enemies in Denver and Decatur, but I suspect there are a few cheering him on in the Pentagon.  If nothing else, the mere presence of SpaceX should serve to contain EELV pricing in out-years.

 - Ed Kyle

There are more than a few in Congress watching him. The opinion, however, is split.


Personally I think the new house would prefer a commercial plan because it saves government dollars, potentially, but the unknowns are the problems. Time will tell.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: aquanaut99 on 04/05/2011 04:38 PM
Honestly if they turn out to have a buisness case for FH

This is probably the big obstacle...

Unless... SpaceX goes international and offers cheap spaceflight for 2nd and 3rd world countries who might be interested?
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Danderman on 04/05/2011 04:40 PM
The video showed booster separation before final first stage separation.

My guess?  Elon is advertising the final product in a Final Heavy evolution that isn't going to start with these performance figures and mission profiles--it will only end with them (if all goes as planned).

I would imagine that the initial launches would generate some 25 tons of payload capability, with 50 ton capability available on a later iteration of the vehicle, perhaps one with Merlin 2 and Raptor, as suggested earlier.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: FinalFrontier on 04/05/2011 04:41 PM
Yah their numbers show about 53 mt expected to LEO. Also noted that they want to do propellant cross feeds, and I am wondering if this will introduce extra difficulties or higher costs. Shouldn't be too much of a challenge main issues lie in the qd's and the control valves for that system.

The thing I am focusing on here is 53 mt to leo. Thats literally "right on" the money.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: FinalFrontier on 04/05/2011 04:42 PM
Honestly if they turn out to have a buisness case for FH

This is probably the big obstacle...

Unless... SpaceX goes international and offers cheap spaceflight for 2nd and 3rd world countries who might be interested?

I don't see why they wouldn't want to. This would have to be sanctioned through the government. Also would likely require some sort of space trade act or something. Obviously you don't want to go flying missions for hostile or enemy nations such as Iran/NK/Libya/ ect.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Robotbeat on 04/05/2011 04:42 PM
Honestly if they turn out to have a buisness case for FH

This is probably the big obstacle...

Unless... SpaceX goes international and offers cheap spaceflight for 2nd and 3rd world countries who might be interested?
They've already done that. Their first paying payload in LEO, for instance.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: aquanaut99 on 04/05/2011 04:44 PM
Honestly if they turn out to have a buisness case for FH

This is probably the big obstacle...

Unless... SpaceX goes international and offers cheap spaceflight for 2nd and 3rd world countries who might be interested?

I don't see why they wouldn't want to. This would have to be sanctioned through the government. Also would likely require some sort of space trade act or something. Obviously you don't want to go flying missions for hostile or enemy nations such as Iran/NK/Libya/ ect.

What's to stop them from selling F9s on the international market? As long as it's not to nations being boycotted, it shouldn't be a problem. Maybe F9s launching from Brazil, or South Korea, or even Africa?
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: FinalFrontier on 04/05/2011 04:44 PM
Honestly if they turn out to have a buisness case for FH

This is probably the big obstacle...

Unless... SpaceX goes international and offers cheap spaceflight for 2nd and 3rd world countries who might be interested?
They've already done that. Their first paying payload in LEO, for instance.

Yes but he means on a far larger scale. Like for example, running manned missions for, say Pakistan or something like that (with Pakistan supplying the astronauts and experiments ofc). Big difference between small probes and large missions.

Also you don't see them flying for just anyone.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Proponent on 04/05/2011 04:45 PM
And foreign governments are supposed to among Bigelow's target customers....
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: FinalFrontier on 04/05/2011 04:46 PM
Honestly if they turn out to have a buisness case for FH

This is probably the big obstacle...

Unless... SpaceX goes international and offers cheap spaceflight for 2nd and 3rd world countries who might be interested?

I don't see why they wouldn't want to. This would have to be sanctioned through the government. Also would likely require some sort of space trade act or something. Obviously you don't want to go flying missions for hostile or enemy nations such as Iran/NK/Libya/ ect.

What's to stop them from selling F9s on the international market? As long as it's not to nations being boycotted, it shouldn't be a problem. Maybe F9s launching from Brazil, or South Korea, or even Africa?

I would think that when it gets to this stage the government will want to step in and write some guidelines (if there are not already). It won't stop him from doing anything, it will just make clear who you can fly for and who you can't.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: starsilk on 04/05/2011 04:46 PM
Honestly if they turn out to have a buisness case for FH

This is probably the big obstacle...

Unless... SpaceX goes international and offers cheap spaceflight for 2nd and 3rd world countries who might be interested?

I don't see why they wouldn't want to. This would have to be sanctioned through the government. Also would likely require some sort of space trade act or something. Obviously you don't want to go flying missions for hostile or enemy nations such as Iran/NK/Libya/ ect.

hence, presumably, the follow on lunch meeting he was going to 'be a bit late for' to discuss 'foreign policy'.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: FinalFrontier on 04/05/2011 04:47 PM
And foreign governments are supposed to among Bigelow's target customers....

Another reason why there will probably be a new act related to this. As commercial space begins to wind up the government, probably not just ours, will want to make clear what you can and cannot do and who you can and cannot sell to.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: jabe on 04/05/2011 04:50 PM
btw is the press release package around??
jb
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Namechange User on 04/05/2011 04:51 PM
I watching the video now.  I have to say I disagree with Elon on his remarks about the shuttle. 

First of all it is the shuttle stack injects the orbiter into LEO.  The orbiter is carrying a payload, it is basically a payload within a payload. 

Second, F9H will not be "more capable than the shuttle".  It's a rocket.  It does nothing more once it gets whatever payload into orbit.  Obviously that is not the case with the orbiter. 

I think it's great they are doing this overall, I just think things need to be placed in the proper context. 
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Danderman on 04/05/2011 04:54 PM
What's to stop them from selling F9s on the international market? As long as it's not to nations being boycotted, it shouldn't be a problem. Maybe F9s launching from Brazil, or South Korea, or even Africa?

Nothing, except for lack of demand from paying customers.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Ronsmytheiii on 04/05/2011 04:55 PM
Here is a before and after shot of the SLC-4 area to show the amount of work that will be needed
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: spacetraveler on 04/05/2011 04:55 PM
The video showed booster separation before final first stage separation.

My guess?  Elon is advertising the final product in a Final Heavy evolution that isn't going to start with these performance figures and mission profiles--it will only end with them (if all goes as planned).

I would imagine that the initial launches would generate some 25 tons of payload capability, with 50 ton capability available on a later iteration of the vehicle, perhaps one with Merlin 2 and Raptor, as suggested earlier.

I seriously doubt the 53mt capability mentioned is contingent upon Merlin 2.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: starsilk on 04/05/2011 04:55 PM
The video showed booster separation before final first stage separation.

My guess?  Elon is advertising the final product in a Final Heavy evolution that isn't going to start with these performance figures and mission profiles--it will only end with them (if all goes as planned).

I would imagine that the initial launches would generate some 25 tons of payload capability, with 50 ton capability available on a later iteration of the vehicle, perhaps one with Merlin 2 and Raptor, as suggested earlier.

that would seem to be an odd thing to do. it's not going to be cheap to do 'test launches', so they'd want to retire as much risk as possible, as quickly as possible... instead of have to do yet another test flight for each upgrade.

I'd also point out that Elon said one objective of the test flight was to prove out the mass capabilities of the rocket - ie assure customers that their 52 1/2 ton 'Battlestar Galactica' satellite isn't going to be a ballistic projectile..

you're probably correct that they'll lowball the capabilities for the first couple of flights, but I doubt they'll leave out critical pieces (like cross-feed)
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: cuddihy on 04/05/2011 04:56 PM
... which makes sense, given that the core still has full tanks at that point ...
So, how does one crossfeed two boosters into nine engines, evenly?

 - Ed Kyle

By feeding into the center RP tank rather than the engines, and at a regulated ullage pressure. Effectively you would use the center RP tank as a low-pressure surge suppressor:

You oversize each turbopump by 15%, split the RP pump output (2/3 to own engine, 1/3 to core), manifold into two common supply lines feeding into the center RP tank (or into the center manifold, same thing), put flow control valves in there to keep the center tank pressure and level close to constant, and add some logic to prevent pogo-like oscillations between the booster engines and the core.

In this case though, the fact that it's connected to 18 side engines, each with their own flow-control systems, makes it less likely to oscillate, probably prevents it almost entirely.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: iamlucky13 on 04/05/2011 04:56 PM
man...
I know someone will say it..but talk is cheap..but I SO hope this happens!!!!
going to be interesting how industry/congress/venture capitalists/etc respond to this...

going to be fun to watch happen
jb

I'm with you. Very skeptical, but still hopeful.

Anyways, talk may be cheap, but that he has formally announced this means he is committing to at least trying. That's a fairly big step in itself.

However, he apparently (didn't watch it myself, read the notes here) did not say anything about either Merlin 2 or Raptor?

So, how does one crossfeed two boosters into nine engines, evenly?

 - Ed Kyle
Feed tank-to-tank?

That's one option. Note that it requires a higher pressure in the outer tanks in order to keep the center tank topped off.

You could also hypothetically link in right at the entry to the manifold, and avoid needing higher pressure on the outboard tanks by having a valves (big ones, but not as big as those on the shuttle) upstream of that - closed on the center tank until staging and open leading to the outboard tanks until staging.

Of course, you need valves on the crossfeed ports on the center tank anyways to close them off at staging, but room is probably pretty tight in that area.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Lee Jay on 04/05/2011 04:57 PM
Two questions I would like to have asked him.  One, please describe the upper stage.  Two, is the early 2013 date including or excluding the SpaceX multiplier?
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Chris Bergin on 04/05/2011 04:58 PM
btw is the press release package around??
jb

About five pages back.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: MP99 on 04/05/2011 04:58 PM
Thinking about things, now the idea of crossfeed does not seem to be so far fetched.  SpaceX needed a way for sequential staging for the core, and rather than spend time and effort developing a throttling engine they choose to go straight for cross feed so that it was not needed.  An interesting choice.

With a big enough upper stage and full payload, I don't think the remaining core would need to switch off any engines at the end of the 1.5 stage burn. (Are we going to be calling it that?)

But it also offers the chance to leave cross-feed off for flights that don't need the full performance, and would rather avoid the risk of additional staging events. Just kill engines on all three cores, as F9 does now. Would running two different configs for different flights outweigh the benefits of a simpler flight plan for lower payloads?

cheers, Martin
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: MP99 on 04/05/2011 05:00 PM
Merlin 1D going all the way to 140K - assuming we really are talking sea-level thrust - is a serious game-changer.  That's the real story today.

Suggests that SpaceX could offer the current F9 payload (1D engines in a block I core) using around 6 engines instead of 9.

Could we see a Falcon 6 for Dragon to ISS?

cheers, Martin
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: FinalFrontier on 04/05/2011 05:01 PM
I thought I saw somebody post the video of the conference... where'd that go?

musta been deleted :o
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: PeterAlt on 04/05/2011 05:01 PM
I wonder if this will have any impact on the NASA 2011 and 2012 budget debates currently happening in Congress. If Congress was smart, they'd fund a SpaceX contract in the NASA budget. Or even smarter, make Elon Musk NASA Administrator!
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Chris Bergin on 04/05/2011 05:02 PM
I watching the video now.  I have to say I disagree with Elon on his remarks about the shuttle. 

First of all it is the shuttle stack injects the orbiter into LEO.  The orbiter is carrying a payload, it is basically a payload within a payload. 

Second, F9H will not be "more capable than the shuttle".  It's a rocket.  It does nothing more once it gets whatever payload into orbit.  Obviously that is not the case with the orbiter. 

I think it's great they are doing this overall, I just think things need to be placed in the proper context. 

Good context. I got the impression he was trying to be respectful of shuttle, unlike that PR fool Branson, but got a bit hung up on payload mass.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Hauerg on 04/05/2011 05:03 PM
Thinking about things, now the idea of crossfeed does not seem to be so far fetched.  SpaceX needed a way for sequential staging for the core, and rather than spend time and effort developing a throttling engine they choose to go straight for cross feed so that it was not needed.  An interesting choice.

With a big enough upper stage and full payload, I don't think the remaining core would need to switch off any engines at the end of the 1.5 stage burn. (Are we going to be calling it that?)

But it also offers the chance to leave cross-feed off for flights that don't need the full performance, and would rather avoid the risk of additional staging events. Just kill engines on all three cores, as F9 does now. Would running two different configs for different flights outweigh the benefits of a simpler flight plan for lower payloads?

cheers, Martin

Elon mentioned this scenario for flight not needing the full capacity.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Malderi on 04/05/2011 05:03 PM
I wonder how long the center engines will be burning for, compared to F9, and if that upgrade might be part of the 1D  engineering.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Chris Bergin on 04/05/2011 05:03 PM
I thought I saw somebody post the video of the conference... where'd that go?

musta been deleted :o

Yeah, Ron posted something. Not sure where it went - maybe he's re-encoding it or something........Ronnnnnn? :D
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Swatch on 04/05/2011 05:04 PM
Yes please!  Bring it back! I couldn't connect to the stream.  :)
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: savuporo on 04/05/2011 05:05 PM
Anyways, talk may be cheap, but that he has formally announced this means he is committing to at least trying.

None of this talk is particularly "cheap" for them ..
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: ugordan on 04/05/2011 05:05 PM
So, how does one crossfeed two boosters into nine engines, evenly?


You probably don't crossfeed directly to the engines. 

Yes, there's a rather complex-looking manifold feeding the 9 engines + propellant umbilical lines from the tank feedlines. Affectionately been called "the octopuss" around here. I imagine crossfeed would also go upstream of that. It would complicate the plumbing, but when it all boils down in the end it's "only" plumbing.

Note the press release stated the crossfeed could be turned off for payloads <100 klb so I imagine this feature will not actually initially be exercised on at least the first few flights. Risk reduction and all that.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: tankmodeler on 04/05/2011 05:05 PM
Just for comparison, $2200/kilo is not terribly much more than the cost for mass in the commercial aircraft industry.

I don't understand what you mean.  Obviously a commercial airline ticket is around 3 orders of magnitude lower than that.
During the design phase, the "cost" for engine & airframe weight is in the order of $1000 to $1500 a pound, so design practices for commercial aircraft will hold good for this level of spacecraft design.

Let me tell you from personal experience, that's an order of magnitude easier than what happens today.

Paul
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Joris on 04/05/2011 05:06 PM
Yes please!  Bring it back! I couldn't connect to the stream.  :)

Seconded!
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Lars_J on 04/05/2011 05:07 PM
Merlin 1D going all the way to 140K - assuming we really are talking sea-level thrust - is a serious game-changer.  That's the real story today.

Suggests that SpaceX could offer the current F9 payload (1D engines in a block I core) using around 6 engines instead of 9.

Could we see a Falcon 6 for Dragon to ISS?

Extremely doubtful. The extra performance will most likely allow extra payload, margin, and/or extended engine-out capability.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: jabe on 04/05/2011 05:07 PM
I'm curious whee the cash is coming from too... thoughts?
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: spacetraveler on 04/05/2011 05:11 PM
Here is a link to the archived webcast:

Falcon Heavy Announcement (http://www.visualwebcaster.com/VWP/SkinPlayer/Player.asp?e=78041&w=320&h=310&s=False&ch=False&sm=False&c=False&c1=False&mc=&qo=False&p=False&i=False&pp=False&cp=False&v=True&mc=False&a=True&sid=141443&aid=142817&pl=&pr=&hs=&u=0&pid=1&pt=2&pc=False&cuts=6&t=Spacex)
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Robotbeat on 04/05/2011 05:12 PM
Merlin 1D going all the way to 140K - assuming we really are talking sea-level thrust - is a serious game-changer.  That's the real story today.

Suggests that SpaceX could offer the current F9 payload (1D engines in a block I core) using around 6 engines instead of 9.

Could we see a Falcon 6 for Dragon to ISS?

cheers, Martin
I doubt it. I'm betting the extra performance on flights that don't need it (like possibly Dragon flights) would be used to allow full engine-out capability right from the launch pad, which they don't have the capability to do right now. Also, it could allow extra margin for experimenting with Falcon 9 core stage recovery. Or, secondary payloads. Or extra propellant for soft-landing experiments... Etc.

BTW, I've noticed that the "16000kg to LEO" performance for Falcon 9 with the upgraded Merlin has now disappeared from the Falcon Heavy page.... (I still have the "old" Falcon Heavy page up in my browser, so I can compare.)
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: starsilk on 04/05/2011 05:13 PM
I'm curious whee the cash is coming from too... thoughts?

well you'd have to assume they expect to make a fair profit off the next year or two's manifest of F9s (and Dragons).

Merlin 1C was a fair chunk of the cost of producing F9s. it seems they plan on making significant cost reductions with 1D... but still charge the same for an F9 flight (granted, probably with much better capabilities, better even than the 'block 2' figures that have been around for years)
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: WulfTheSaxon on 04/05/2011 05:13 PM
Possible to do Lunar flyby with one LV and Dragon.

Can anybody imagine the PR coup that would be? The first, already largely customer-less flight seems like a good opportunity. (Not that I expect that to happen, just dreaming.)
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: khallow on 04/05/2011 05:14 PM
I'm curious whee the cash is coming from too... thoughts?

The US government is the likely source, either NASA or the DOD. For example, if NASA's Space Launch System (SLS) gets funded, the amount of money they spend in a year or two of that might be enough to fund the complete development of the SpaceX Heavy. So we're looking at something that could be far cheaper than what NASA may be trying in the near future.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Hunt101 on 04/05/2011 05:14 PM
Doesn't matter if it costs a 1/3 of Delta IV-H. Track records are everything in this business.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: ugordan on 04/05/2011 05:14 PM
I watching the video now.  I have to say I disagree with Elon on his remarks about the shuttle. 

First of all it is the shuttle stack injects the orbiter into LEO.  The orbiter is carrying a payload, it is basically a payload within a payload. 

Second, F9H will not be "more capable than the shuttle".  It's a rocket.  It does nothing more once it gets whatever payload into orbit.  Obviously that is not the case with the orbiter. 

I think it's great they are doing this overall, I just think things need to be placed in the proper context. 

Good context. I got the impression he was trying to be respectful of shuttle, unlike that PR fool Branson, but got a bit hung up on payload mass.

The impression I got was he compared the two systems merely on the basis of payload to LEO - this was after all a conference about a booster. Certainly not apples to apples comparison and unfair to shuttle's other capabilities, but if mass to LEO is your only consideration then this - at least on paper - is "more capable".
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: rcoppola on 04/05/2011 05:16 PM
Now, if I was an advocate of a Mars landing, which I am, I'd want to use  the moon to prove out systems close to home before I attempted the trip.

But I can't do that, because all the money will be spent on developing the SLS, which when done will have no landers, habs, in-situe resource gathering, radiation mitigation, closed loop life support, etc etc..

So I'm all dressed up and nowhere to go......Enter SpaceX.

Reapportion majority HSF dollars away from HLV to landers and long duration HSF architecture elements. Assuage congress by selecting current SLS contractors to bid for these new elements and focus on them, leaving launch services to SpaceX. We could be back on the moon by 2020 and on to Mars.

Something that will never happen if we keep down the road we are going. If NASA could be reconfigured to focus all their expertise and passions, entirely on BEO assets, well.....now that would be an amazing future to be a part of....
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: chrisking0997 on 04/05/2011 05:17 PM
Or even smarter, make Elon Musk NASA Administrator!

I think that would have the opposite effect, unless the idea is to safely box him in and render him ineffective.


I really dont care if he fails, Im just happy to see someone actually doing something in a risk adverse world where we overstudy and underfund the hell out of everything.  He's by no means the second coming, but he has the same passion and drive that made our country great...you have to at least give him that.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Robotbeat on 04/05/2011 05:18 PM
Doesn't matter if it costs a 1/3 of Delta IV-H. Track records are everything in this business.
Agreed. This won't have a big impact on the big national security payloads until there's a track record.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Avariel on 04/05/2011 05:18 PM
I think this is the first time I have seen a teaser trailer for a spacecraft! [or launch vehicle - Edit]

Go SpaceX!
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Norm Hartnett on 04/05/2011 05:20 PM
Looking at Space X’s current flight manifest and considering the 20 flights per year comment; they have 8 F9 flights scheduled for 2013 (3 NASA, 1 internal and 4 commercial). This does not include two or three ORBCOMM flights that are possible nor does it include any CCDev-2 demos or FH missions. So, yeah, I think 20 flights per year are not impossible.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: khallow on 04/05/2011 05:21 PM
Possible to do Lunar flyby with one LV and Dragon.

Can anybody imagine the PR coup that would be? The first, already largely customer-less flight seems like a good opportunity. (Not that I expect that to happen, just dreaming.)

Probably wouldn't be that expensive to set up, but there'd be several components (such as a beefed up heat shield) that would need to be tested ahead of time. The only real concern would be risk of failure during the flight. For Apollo, the Saturn V launch might have been risky, but the rest of the mission was more so.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: 2552 on 04/05/2011 05:22 PM
Did Elon mention a number for TLI performance? I heard TMI at about 30,000lbs, TLI should be somewhat more than that.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Space Pete on 04/05/2011 05:25 PM
Now, if I was an advocate of a Mars landing, which I am, I'd want to use  the moon to prove out systems close to home before I attempted the trip.

But I can't do that, because all the money will be spent on developing the SLS, which when done will have no landers, habs, in-situe resource gathering, radiation mitigation, closed loop life support, etc etc..

So I'm all dressed up and nowhere to go......Enter SpaceX.

Reapportion majority HSF dollars away from HLV to landers and long duration HSF architecture elements. Assuage congress by selecting current SLS contractors to bid for these new elements and focus on them, leaving launch services to SpaceX. We could be back on the moon by 2020 and on to Mars.

Something that will never happen if we keep down the road we are going. If NASA could be reconfigured to focus all their expertise and passions, entirely on BEO assets, well.....now that would be an amazing future to be a part of....

Precisely! NASA should concentrate on transfer vehicles, landers, ascent vehicles, surface habitats, rovers, spacesuits, surface propellant production, etc.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Archibald on 04/05/2011 05:25 PM
Very impressive - and those 53 tons to LEO are just fine. I suppose their strategy might be
- Falcon 9 + Raptor
- Falcon 9H without Raptor
Both well inside the "market limit" of 30 ton (neither the military nor Intelsat nor NASA science missions needs more than 30 tons to LEO).

Then once the Raptor integraded on the "small" Falcon 9 it might be quite straightforward to put it on the F9H - pushing to 53 tons at low risk and cost.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: hyper_snyper on 04/05/2011 05:27 PM
Impressive to say the least.  Let's not all get carried away though.  We'll see what happens in the next few years.  I wish them luck, they're gonna need it.  If they do succeed with all of this I'll do a jig.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: khallow on 04/05/2011 05:29 PM
This thread is growing so fast so I might be asking a question which has already been answered. Does anyone know if there's a chance the SpaceX Heavy will be made partially reusable? I don't recall hearing Elon Musk talk about that in his announcement or Q/A session.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: MikeAtkinson on 04/05/2011 05:32 PM
No mention was made of reusability. With cross-feed turned on the strap-ons will burn out at a lower altitude and speed than the current F9 1st stage so should be a bit easier to recover.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: billh on 04/05/2011 05:33 PM
If NASA could be reconfigured to focus all their expertise and passions, entirely on BEO assets, well.....now that would be an amazing future to be a part of....

Precisely! NASA should concentrate on transfer vehicles, landers, ascent vehicles, surface habitats, rovers, spacesuits, surface propellant production, etc.

Yes, precisely! The sooner NASA realizes they are in the payload business, not the launch vehicle business, the better. (Then if they could just convince Congress, too...)
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Peter NASA on 04/05/2011 05:34 PM
Interesting, but risky. Just takes one big failure.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Lee Jay on 04/05/2011 05:35 PM
Did Elon mention a number for TLI performance? I heard TMI at about 30,000lbs, TLI should be somewhat more than that.

He did a little quick and wrong math.  He said 35% of LEO performance, which was 117,000 pounds, and then called that about 35,000 pounds.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Xentry on 04/05/2011 05:39 PM
Now, if I was an advocate of a Mars landing, which I am, I'd want to use  the moon to prove out systems close to home before I attempted the trip.

But I can't do that, because all the money will be spent on developing the SLS, which when done will have no landers, habs, in-situe resource gathering, radiation mitigation, closed loop life support, etc etc..

So I'm all dressed up and nowhere to go......Enter SpaceX.

Reapportion majority HSF dollars away from HLV to landers and long duration HSF architecture elements. Assuage congress by selecting current SLS contractors to bid for these new elements and focus on them, leaving launch services to SpaceX. We could be back on the moon by 2020 and on to Mars.

Something that will never happen if we keep down the road we are going. If NASA could be reconfigured to focus all their expertise and passions, entirely on BEO assets, well.....now that would be an amazing future to be a part of....

Precisely! NASA should concentrate on transfer vehicles, landers, ascent vehicles, surface habitats, rovers, spacesuits, surface propellant production, etc.
Or, leave most of those things to COTS-like projects and concentrate on radical new technology developments (propulsion R&D, ISRU, rad protection technology, closed-loop life support systems, Earth-finding optical space telescopes), more ambitious space missions than currently (Europa lander missions, the Mars Sample Return, a Titan Explorer, Neptune and Uranus orbiters, etc) while keeping some overall coordination/management of a post-ISS international manned space flight program.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Robotbeat on 04/05/2011 05:40 PM
Now, if I was an advocate of a Mars landing, which I am, I'd want to use  the moon to prove out systems close to home before I attempted the trip.

But I can't do that, because all the money will be spent on developing the SLS, which when done will have no landers, habs, in-situe resource gathering, radiation mitigation, closed loop life support, etc etc..

So I'm all dressed up and nowhere to go......Enter SpaceX.

Reapportion majority HSF dollars away from HLV to landers and long duration HSF architecture elements. Assuage congress by selecting current SLS contractors to bid for these new elements and focus on them, leaving launch services to SpaceX. We could be back on the moon by 2020 and on to Mars.

Something that will never happen if we keep down the road we are going. If NASA could be reconfigured to focus all their expertise and passions, entirely on BEO assets, well.....now that would be an amazing future to be a part of....

Precisely! NASA should concentrate on transfer vehicles, landers, ascent vehicles, surface habitats, rovers, spacesuits, surface propellant production, etc.
Agreed!!!
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Patchouli on 04/05/2011 05:46 PM
Very impressive - and those 53 tons to LEO are just fine. I suppose their strategy might be
- Falcon 9 + Raptor
- Falcon 9H without Raptor
Both well inside the "market limit" of 30 ton (neither the military nor Intelsat nor NASA science missions needs more than 30 tons to LEO).

Then once the Raptor integraded on the "small" Falcon 9 it might be quite straightforward to put it on the F9H - pushing to 53 tons at low risk and cost.

I'd expect Bigelow to be showing a station module sized for Falcon heavy.
I do suspect Raptor is the upper stage.
The old F9-H with Raptor produced numbers around 40+T IMLEO cross feed is usually worth an extra 5MT on a Delta IV-H class LV.

One interesting thing would be ULA's response  maybe they'll actually implement some of those EELV upgrades they talked about.
http://www.ulalaunch.com/site/docs/publications/DeltaIVLaunchVehicle%20GrowthOptionstoSupportNASA%27sSpaceExplorationVision.pdf

Eventually getting two 50T rockets would be worth one SLS.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: baldusi on 04/05/2011 05:47 PM
Please! They are "forgetting" the Energia! It last flew in 1989.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: jongoff on 04/05/2011 05:49 PM
Did someone say Ms. Shotwell is going to be on The Space Show this week/month? Can we get a volunteer to call in and ask about the second stage?

She'll be at Space Access this week. 

~Jon
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: SpaceX_MS on 04/05/2011 05:54 PM
I'm glad you like it Chris. And we also appreciate the interest and positive respect.

We will aim to provide this site with allowable assistance in the L2 SpaceX sections due to resonsible use of previous assistance.

I have to say it means a great amount to me personally to see a media site specific on the Space Shuttle to show SpaceX respect. Convincing the supporters of the old guard is one of our hardest battles, but means so much more than the automatically supportive new space sites.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Halidon on 04/05/2011 05:55 PM
Did someone say Ms. Shotwell is going to be on The Space Show this week/month? Can we get a volunteer to call in and ask about the second stage?

She'll be at Space Access this week. 

~Jon
*forehead smack* completely forgot SA, of course.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: MP99 on 04/05/2011 05:57 PM
I wonder how long the center engines will be burning for, compared to F9, and if that upgrade might be part of the 1D  engineering.

You'd assume about 66% longer (outriggers drain 50% faster than central core).

cheers, Martin
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: MP99 on 04/05/2011 05:58 PM
I really wasn't impressed with Elon's presentation style today.

I'd have thought there'd be a few payload numbers (LEO, GTO / GEO, TLI, C3 = 0, Mars) he'd have resolved before hand, and they were all asked or offered. But he had to fumble with "oh about a quarter of LEO, so..." and (thinks, thinks, thinks) "so, Moon with two Heavies" (paraphrased). Quite frankly, it came across as bluster and ill-preparedness, rather than anything that inspired confidence in me, though I do need to watch it again under better circumstances. As I watched, I imagined Antares' head exploding around half way through.

I also know it's been said before that F9 cores were designed with the Heavy config in mind, but not with this much thrust or payload (nor, I think, cross-feed). I just doubt them getting the development done and hardware shipped to VAFB by end of next year, just seven quarters. TBH, I'm expecting new realms of "SpaceX time dilation" to be applied to that target, together with "sorry, this is just block I - full performance Real Soon Now".

All this while ramping up flight rate and production volume, and bedding in COTS / CRS, and still offering crew in three years if we start now. How can one small company grow & transition this quickly, and still not screw something up in the next couple of years?



This is a massive announcement, and bloody exciting if they pull it off. But I think today Elon bet the company on actually pulling it off. And who, today, is working on even one payload of this class, never mind ten a year? That will be one slow ramp-up (which is OK, given the commonality with F9).

cheers, Martin


Edit: cross-posted with Peter NASA:-

Interesting, but risky. Just takes one big failure.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Danderman on 04/05/2011 06:02 PM
And who, today, is working on even one payload of this class, never mind ten a year?

This is kind of an argument against any HLV: if no large launch vehicle can be developed because there are no payloads, then there will never be payloads for an HLV, and therefore, no HLV.

There is a chicken and an egg somewhere in there.

Someone should probably try to cut this Gordian knot by developing a really large LV even though there are no payloads.

Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Silmfeanor on 04/05/2011 06:07 PM
I'm glad you like it Chris. And we also appreciate the interest and positive respect.

We will aim to provide this site with allowable assistance in the L2 SpaceX sections due to resonsible use of previous assistance.

I have to say it means a great amount to me personally to see a media site specific on the Space Shuttle to show SpaceX respect. Convincing the supporters of the old guard is one of our hardest battles, but means so much more than the automatically supportive new space sites.

Another reason to get L2 for me  ;D
Anything on new upper stages for the Heavy? Perhaps diffirent dimensions? Or will we have to call in on the show?
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: neilh on 04/05/2011 06:10 PM
Possible to do Lunar flyby with one LV and Dragon.

Can anybody imagine the PR coup that would be? The first, already largely customer-less flight seems like a good opportunity. (Not that I expect that to happen, just dreaming.)

Hmm, if the FH can send 30K lbs on an orbit towards Mars, I wonder how much one could conceivably land on Mars with that (Musk mentioned capability for a Mars sample return in the press conference). This is a huge stretch, but I wonder if Musk could even get part of his team to assemble the old Mars Oasis (http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewsr.html?pid=3698) idea which prompted him to start SpaceX in the first place. The chances of it working all the way would be pretty slim, but it could also potentially test some systems which would be useful to SpaceX later down the road.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Patchouli on 04/05/2011 06:11 PM
And who, today, is working on even one payload of this class, never mind ten a year?

This is kind of an argument against any HLV: if no large launch vehicle can be developed because there are no payloads, then there will never be payloads for an HLV, and therefore, no HLV.

There is a chicken and an egg somewhere in there.

Someone should probably try to cut this Gordian knot by developing a really large LV even though there are no payloads.



That was how Alexander solved it.

The lesson in the story of the Gordian knot is don't bother trying to figure out how to untie the knot just cut it.

Falcon heavy is likely the sword we been waiting for the cut the Gordian knot of how to proceed beyond 20T class LVs.

It is cheap enough it can be used for existing payloads and the excess capacity sold to universities etc for micro sats or small science missions and Spacex would still make a profit.

An early market for Falcon heavy would be simply the same as Ariane 5's early market.
Have two large com sats rid up on pairs though now com sats have gotten too massive to ride Ariane 5 in pairs.
Payloads will eventually grow to make use of the extra payload.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Lee Jay on 04/05/2011 06:13 PM
I'm glad you like it Chris. And we also appreciate the interest and positive respect.

We will aim to provide this site with allowable assistance in the L2 SpaceX sections due to resonsible use of previous assistance.

I have to say it means a great amount to me personally to see a media site specific on the Space Shuttle to show SpaceX respect. Convincing the supporters of the old guard is one of our hardest battles, but means so much more than the automatically supportive new space sites.

I think Elon has a ways to go to earn back credibility on time estimates given all of his bad ones in the past.  I sat in the room in January of 2009 and listened to him announce that the F9 would fly later that summer.  We know how that turned out.  I'm glad it flew well and safely, but given his past performance on these time estimates, I think you'll understand some of our skepticism on the end 2012 delivery of the Falcon Heavy to the pad at Vandenberg.

I wish you all the best of luck at making that happen, and for the first flight to go well, but I wouldn't place a high probability on meeting the dates Elon spoke of today.  I would place a higher probability on the flight going well whenever it does happen, but certainly not >98% as I would most other launches of established launch systems.

I suspect Elon would agree that good advice for your company would be "don't get cocky".  You have a long road ahead.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: kevin-rf on 04/05/2011 06:13 PM
Possible to do Lunar flyby with one LV and Dragon.

Can anybody imagine the PR coup that would be? The first, already largely customer-less flight seems like a good opportunity. (Not that I expect that to happen, just dreaming.)

Hmm, if the FH can send 30K lbs on an orbit towards Mars, I wonder how much one could conceivably land on Mars with that (Musk mentioned capability for a Mars sample return in the press conference). This is a huge stretch, but I wonder if Musk could even get part of his team to assemble the old Mars Oasis (http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewsr.html?pid=3698) idea which prompted him to start SpaceX in the first place. The chances of it working all the way would be pretty slim, but it could also potentially test some systems which would be useful to SpaceX later down the road.

Maybe we just found the "dummy" payload for the first Heavy flight.

Since it was stated that cross feed is a performance option for payloads that need it, what are the chances the first flight will go with out it and like the Delta IV Heavy would be an "option" for later in the program?
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Silmfeanor on 04/05/2011 06:14 PM
the BBC was quick today:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-12975872 (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-12975872)
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: agman25 on 04/05/2011 06:22 PM

This is a massive announcement, and bloody exciting if they pull it off. But I think today Elon bet the company on actually pulling it off. And who, today, is working on even one payload of this class, never mind ten a year? That will be one slow ramp-up (which is OK, given the commonality with F9).

cheers, Martin




SLS has the same problem about payloads.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: MikeAtkinson on 04/05/2011 06:22 PM
For those who keep insisting that the upper stage will be Raptor based. SpaceX say this

Quote
Falcon Heavy will be the first rocket in history to feature propellant cross-feed from the side boosters to the center core. Propellant cross-feeding leaves the center core still carrying the majority of its propellant after the side boosters separate. This gives Falcon Heavy performance comparable to that of a three-stage rocket, even though only the single Merlin engine on the upper stage requires ignition after lift-off, further improving both reliability and payload performance. Should cross-feed not be required for lower mass missions, it can be easily turned off.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Chris Bergin on 04/05/2011 06:25 PM
I'm glad you like it Chris. And we also appreciate the interest and positive respect.

We will aim to provide this site with allowable assistance in the L2 SpaceX sections due to resonsible use of previous assistance.

I have to say it means a great amount to me personally to see a media site specific on the Space Shuttle to show SpaceX respect. Convincing the supporters of the old guard is one of our hardest battles, but means so much more than the automatically supportive new space sites.

Thank you sir! And while we're "focused" as opposed to "specific" on Shuttle, I understand what you mean.

There are some battle lines drawn between the "old guard" - as you put it - and the new blood, but I think it's important to respect both, and each other.

Said it before and I'll say it again. Pointy metal going uphill is what we like ;D
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Patchouli on 04/05/2011 06:27 PM

This is a massive announcement, and bloody exciting if they pull it off. But I think today Elon bet the company on actually pulling it off. And who, today, is working on even one payload of this class, never mind ten a year? That will be one slow ramp-up (which is OK, given the commonality with F9).

cheers, Martin




SLS has the same problem about payloads.

The difference is Falcon Heavy is cheap enough to be affordable to use with present payloads.

SLS would be far to expensive to compete on the com sat market it probably could be used for battle star science mission like Cassini which can always use more payload or large NRO payloads.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Joris on 04/05/2011 06:30 PM

This is a massive announcement, and bloody exciting if they pull it off. But I think today Elon bet the company on actually pulling it off. And who, today, is working on even one payload of this class, never mind ten a year? That will be one slow ramp-up (which is OK, given the commonality with F9).

cheers, Martin




SLS has the same problem about payloads.

The difference is Falcon Heavy is cheap enough to be affordable to use with present payloads.

SLS would be far to expensive to compete on the com sat market it probably could be used for battle star science mission like Cassini which can always use more payload or large NRO payloads.

Falcon Heavy would be cheaper than an Atlas 551 or DIV-H. So launching your 50 ton battlestar would be cheaper than launching a 18 ton comsat today.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Ronsmytheiii on 04/05/2011 06:32 PM
alright guys, lets not turn this into a rocket versus rocket thread, keep it on Falcon Heavy discussion
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Norm Hartnett on 04/05/2011 06:34 PM
Martin, are you missing the significance of their first launch being from Vandenberg? I doubt that they are launching from there solely due to convenience, Elon said that there were both Government and commercial talks going on. He doesn’t seem to expect a dearth of payloads.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Lobo on 04/05/2011 06:36 PM

A human lunar fly-by would be incredible!

I know people wil just say (sour grapes)...apollo redux...apollo rehash...been there, done that...yawnnn, we did that 40 years ago.....


We did it 40 years ago...but we haven't been able to do it since 1972.  We've lost that capability.  We are less capable than we were then in many ways.  A lunar flyby would be a very good first step to regaining our lost capability.  (and it would get a lot of positive press for NASA, not to mention SpaceX)
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Patchouli on 04/05/2011 06:38 PM

A human lunar fly-by would be incredible!

I know people wil just say (sour grapes)...apollo redux...apollo rehash...been there, done that...yawnnn, we did that 40 years ago.....


We did it 40 years ago...but we haven't been able to do it since 1972.  We've lost that capability.  We are less capable than we were then in many ways.  A lunar flyby would be a very good first step to regaining our lost capability.  (and it would get a lot of positive press for NASA, not to mention SpaceX)

I wonder if Falcon Heavy could be used to put an Orion on a lunar flyby the masses would be really close but it just might be able to.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: spacetraveler on 04/05/2011 06:40 PM
For those who keep insisting that the upper stage will be Raptor based. SpaceX say this

Quote
Falcon Heavy will be the first rocket in history to feature propellant cross-feed from the side boosters to the center core. Propellant cross-feeding leaves the center core still carrying the majority of its propellant after the side boosters separate. This gives Falcon Heavy performance comparable to that of a three-stage rocket, even though only the single Merlin engine on the upper stage requires ignition after lift-off, further improving both reliability and payload performance. Should cross-feed not be required for lower mass missions, it can be easily turned off.

Makes sense. I don't think it would have been smart to announce a launch vehicle development schedule as aggressive as the one they did if it were contingent on the development on a completely new engine and propellant infrastructure.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Joris on 04/05/2011 06:41 PM

A human lunar fly-by would be incredible!

I know people wil just say (sour grapes)...apollo redux...apollo rehash...been there, done that...yawnnn, we did that 40 years ago.....


We did it 40 years ago...but we haven't been able to do it since 1972.  We've lost that capability.  We are less capable than we were then in many ways.  A lunar flyby would be a very good first step to regaining our lost capability.  (and it would get a lot of positive press for NASA, not to mention SpaceX)

I wonder if Falcon Heavy could be used to put an Orion on a lunar flyby the masses would be really close but it just might be able to.

If NASA goes far enough to launch Orion on a Spacex rocket, they could just as well buy a dragon as well. Would enable a few ton mission module to be send along, or to have a dragon in LLO.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Joris on 04/05/2011 06:41 PM
For those who keep insisting that the upper stage will be Raptor based. SpaceX say this

Quote
Falcon Heavy will be the first rocket in history to feature propellant cross-feed from the side boosters to the center core. Propellant cross-feeding leaves the center core still carrying the majority of its propellant after the side boosters separate. This gives Falcon Heavy performance comparable to that of a three-stage rocket, even though only the single Merlin engine on the upper stage requires ignition after lift-off, further improving both reliability and payload performance. Should cross-feed not be required for lower mass missions, it can be easily turned off.

Makes sense. I don't think it would have been smart to announce a launch vehicle development schedule as aggressive as the one they did if it were contingent on the development on a completely new engine and propellant infrastructure.

What would a raptor upper stage enable?
My mind is baffled...
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: MikeAtkinson on 04/05/2011 06:44 PM
Martin, are you missing the significance of their first launch being from Vandenberg? I doubt that they are launching from there solely due to convenience, Elon said that there were both Government and commercial talks going on. He doesn’t seem to expect a dearth of payloads.

It looks like their first FH launch from Vandenberg is more about scheduling work on the launch site than any other reason.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: spacetraveler on 04/05/2011 06:49 PM
What would a raptor upper stage enable?
My mind is baffled...

More payload to orbit, as it would be much more efficient.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Joris on 04/05/2011 06:50 PM
What would a raptor upper stage enable?
My mind is baffled...

More payload to orbit, as it would be much more efficient.

...

How much?
Would it reach the 70t congress demanded?
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Robotbeat on 04/05/2011 06:50 PM
Martin, are you missing the significance of their first launch being from Vandenberg? I doubt that they are launching from there solely due to convenience, Elon said that there were both Government and commercial talks going on. He doesn’t seem to expect a dearth of payloads.

It looks like their first FH launch from Vandenberg is more about scheduling work on the launch site than any other reason.
Right, their Cape pad is going to be busy, while they also need a launch pad for polar orbit, so this gets them a polar orbit launch pad and an initial Falcon Heavy launch pad without requiring them to reconfigure the Cape pad for this initial capability.

I think they should still be able to launch to GTO from Vandenberg, though obviously at a considerable loss of performance. It should have enough performance to spare, though.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: 2552 on 04/05/2011 06:54 PM
I had a feeling there was more to this that just announcing a Falcon Heavy test flight, but wow, a 53mT HLV! This is impressive. Can't wait for the article later :).
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: spacetraveler on 04/05/2011 06:57 PM
How much?
Would it reach the 70t congress demanded?

They don't care about that. This vehicle is not being targeted as an SLS replacement (though it certainly could be used for exploration once a maned Dragon is available). The primary purpose of SLS is BEO exploration. The primary purpose of this vehicle will be going after commercial satellites and government payloads that are beyond Falcon 9's capabilities.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: cuddihy on 04/05/2011 07:05 PM
For those who keep insisting that the upper stage will be Raptor based. SpaceX say this

Quote
Falcon Heavy will be the first rocket in history to feature propellant cross-feed from the side boosters to the center core. Propellant cross-feeding leaves the center core still carrying the majority of its propellant after the side boosters separate. This gives Falcon Heavy performance comparable to that of a three-stage rocket, even though only the single Merlin engine on the upper stage requires ignition after lift-off, further improving both reliability and payload performance. Should cross-feed not be required for lower mass missions, it can be easily turned off.

Makes sense. I don't think it would have been smart to announce a launch vehicle development schedule as aggressive as the one they did if it were contingent on the development on a completely new engine and propellant infrastructure.

What would a raptor upper stage enable?
My mind is baffled...

I'm baffled as to why you would bother.

Until you're very well into the LH2 learning curve, the additional cost makes it unneeded and more expensive.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Halidon on 04/05/2011 07:07 PM
Here's hoping they succeed, it's going to be fun to watch this thing climb out of the well.

While not targeted at the SLS requirement, the FH does have an impact on the SLS issue. This vehicle plus two Heavy EELVs makes 3 US-made vehicles, 2 with US engines, 2 notionally "crew rated," with the performance to carry Orion/MPCV to orbit. All available by 2014. The stated rational for a 70(t/T/MT) SLS by 2016 is to provide an option for launching Orion/MPCV to ISS should the commercial providers fail. Do we really need to rush into an SLS, and the costs associated, to provide a fourth (fifth, counting Soyuz) option for ISS crew access?
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Lobo on 04/05/2011 07:08 PM
Capable of entry FROM mars not AT mars.
Well, yeah, that we knew about for a while. Did Elon actually say entry at Mars, like Chris Bergin suggested?

If Dragon can handle reentry to Earth it should be able to easily handle reentry into the Martian atmosphere.  Safely landing on the Martian surface is another thing entirely.  Dragon obviously wouldn't slow down enough by drag alone, and even if the Earth return ringslot chutes were replaced by Martian supersonic ones, you'd still need a whole lot more propulsion than Dragon has to safely touch down. 

:-)

Dragon would likely only be used as a Crew Return Vehical on a Mars mission.  It'd just be parked on whatever Mars Transit Vehicle was designed and built, and then likely stay in Mars orbit during the surface mission.  After the mission, an ascent vehicle would rendezvous with it (and some type of TEI stage) in Orbit and burn for home.  Once they were in final approach with Earth, they would finally enter Dragon with whatever samples they have with them and reenter the atmosphere.  Every other module or vehicle would need to be purpose built for it's specific Job. 

However, a modified Dragon could also be used without it's heatshield as a "Mars Ascent Vehicle".  IT would need a propulsive ascent stage too obivously to get it to Mars Orbit.  But all you really need for crew ascent is a pressurized capsule, fuel and a rocket engine. And a modified Dragon could be that, for a little commonality.  It could be sent first with a large droppable heat shield or aeroshell, and the appropriate parachutes and landing engines and fuel.  It could either already have sufficient fuel for ascent, or methalox could be generated from reacting LH2 with atmospheric CO2 automatically.  And the crew would not launch until it was fueled up and ready to launch. 

So a Dragon could be used for the "Earth Return Vehicle" and the "Mars Return vehicle.  Or if they were really cleaver, it could keep it's heat shield safely hidden away, and act as a single dual purpose capsule, with the ascent propulsion system jettisonable after docking in Mars orbit with the Mars Transfer Vehicle.  Depends if you want to risk your Earth Return vehicle on the surface of Mars for that long.

Steve Pietrobon has been talking about using Dragon in such a manner rather than Orion for some time now, since Dragon is significantly lighter than Orion.  And the crew would only actually be in a capsule for launch from Earth, ascent from Mars, and reentry to Earth.  They don't need to habitate it for long periods of time, so many of Orion's capabilities wouldn't necessarily be needed. 
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: sdsds on 04/05/2011 07:10 PM
[Quoting SpaceX]
Quote
Falcon Heavy will be the first rocket in history to feature propellant cross-feed from the side boosters to the center core. Propellant cross-feeding leaves the center core still carrying the majority of its propellant after the side boosters separate. This gives Falcon Heavy performance comparable to that of a three-stage rocket, even though only the single Merlin engine on the upper stage requires ignition after lift-off, further improving both reliability and payload performance. Should cross-feed not be required for lower mass missions, it can be easily turned off.

(Emphasis adjusted.)

Can anyone explain why in a cross-fed design the center core is carrying only "a majority" rather than "all" of its propellant after stage separation?
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Lobo on 04/05/2011 07:17 PM
Well, y'all know that I'm a Shuttle/ISS hugger, but if Elon can pull that off, then we should just forget the SLS and MPCV, and buy Dragons and FHs instead - faster, cheaper, and just as safe, if not more safe, than NASA.

NASA should concentrate on BEO exploration systems - and test them on ISS! :)

I'm not sure that Dragon can be habitated for long term like Orion would be.  I understood it was designed to survive reentry from BLEO, but you couldn't have a crew in it for any length of time.  You'd need to have a "Mission Module" on all BLEO mission.  (Please correct me if that is inaccurate).  Not that that is any kind of deal breaker, but you'd need to add an extra piece of hardware for lunar missions that the crew would otherwise just ride in ORion alone for (like Apollo). 
It's probably not much of an issue on anything farther thant he Moon, as you'd want to have a mission module with you anyway for the types of mission durations you'd be looking at.

But, if you develop one, and just reproduce it for any Dragon mission BLEO, and plan your lunar missions around it, then all your capsule really needs to be is a a safe place for your crew at launch and reentry, and they aren't in it the rest of the mission.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: gospacex on 04/05/2011 07:20 PM
Interesting, but risky. Just takes one big failure.

And we all know that "not risky" LVs never fail, right?
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: gospacex on 04/05/2011 07:22 PM
Please! They are "forgetting" the Energia! It last flew in 1989.

Yes. OTOH, Energia never orbited a single successful operational mission. It basically died right after finishing its test flights.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: cuddihy on 04/05/2011 07:22 PM
[Quoting SpaceX]
Quote
Falcon Heavy will be the first rocket in history to feature propellant cross-feed from the side boosters to the center core. Propellant cross-feeding leaves the center core still carrying the majority of its propellant after the side boosters separate. This gives Falcon Heavy performance comparable to that of a three-stage rocket, even though only the single Merlin engine on the upper stage requires ignition after lift-off, further improving both reliability and payload performance. Should cross-feed not be required for lower mass missions, it can be easily turned off.

(Emphasis adjusted.)

Can anyone explain why in a cross-fed design the center core is carrying only "a majority" rather than "all" of its propellant after stage separation?

If you're cross feeding into the RP or LOX tanks as a "surge suppressor" rather than the engines, as I described above, you'd need a fairly substantial ullage gas volume (maybe 20-30%?) above the RP to give margin to prevent overpressurizing the tank. Incidentally, I think you'd also need a fairly rapid response pressure control system. So likely the cross-feeding is minimal by volume until the tank is 20-30% down.

LOX needs some margin & pressure control as well, I don't think passive is nearly fast enough.

My guess, anyway. BTW, anyone know, are the Merlin turbopumps staged? (Maybe I should finally give in and get an L2 subscription...)pulling fuel/LOX at an intermediate stage would be ideal.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: gospacex on 04/05/2011 07:27 PM
Yikes! Go go go.

I'd work for SpaceX for food.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: yg1968 on 04/05/2011 07:30 PM
Yikes! Go go go.

I'd work for SpaceX for food.

SpaceX has free snacks for employees... It's a Silicon Valley thing.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Lee Jay on 04/05/2011 07:35 PM
Well, y'all know that I'm a Shuttle/ISS hugger, but if Elon can pull that off, then we should just forget the SLS and MPCV, and buy Dragons and FHs instead - faster, cheaper, and just as safe, if not more safe, than NASA.

NASA should concentrate on BEO exploration systems - and test them on ISS! :)

I'm not sure that Dragon can be habitated for long term like Orion would be.

Honestly, I don't think anyone's going anywhere for a long time in either vehicle.

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=24166.msg698931#msg698931
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Lobo on 04/05/2011 07:35 PM

There are more than a few in Congress watching him. The opinion, however, is split.


Personally I think the new house would prefer a commercial plan because it saves government dollars, potentially, but the unknowns are the problems. Time will tell.

I certainly think the argument for actually being able to do "more" with the "same budget" would be appealing to many in the new Congress.  I would be very surprised if they actually came after NASA's budget to cut.  But I'd bet NASA won't be seeing any budget increases any time soon. 

I have to saw, I'm starting to get on board with the EELV method of going forward with HSF, and growing FH to FXH or a possible FX 5-core Super Heavy (similar to Atlas V PH3a) As that would be a much more versitile Heavy lifter than a single core Monolithic FXX. 
But we can grow into it.

I hate the thought of giving up our current HLV infrastructure though.  But maybe a step back now allows for 3 steps forward in the near future?
Dunno, but I'm pondering now...
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: neilh on 04/05/2011 07:36 PM
From the press release that Chris posted:
Please note that Falcon Heavy should not be confused with the super heavy lift rocket program being debated by the U.S. Congress.  That vehicle is authorized to carry between 70-130 metric tons to orbit.  SpaceX agrees with the need to develop a vehicle of that class as the best way to conduct a large number of human missions to Mars.

I'm not sure if anybody's explicitly pointed out this part at the end of the press release, yet. Hm...
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Robotbeat on 04/05/2011 07:37 PM
...
Dragon is capable of beyond LEO, capable of entry at Mars (!)
...
Did he actually say that?
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: baldusi on 04/05/2011 07:39 PM
Please! They are "forgetting" the Energia! It last flew in 1989.

Yes. OTOH, Energia never orbited a single successful operational mission. It basically died right after finishing its test flights.
It had two launches. In the first the Energia performed perfectly and the payload (Polyot) had a gyro malfunction and fired in the wrong place, so the mission was a failure, but Energia worked perfectly.
In the second launch it sent the Buran shuttle, which performed its demonstration mission and landed perfectly (I think it was the first robotic landing ever for any spacecraft that glides).
So the Energia segment performed perfectly in its two missions and was basically ready to be commissioned. The break of the URSS ended the program.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Lee Jay on 04/05/2011 07:41 PM
...
Dragon is capable of beyond LEO, capable of entry at Mars (!)
...
Did he actually say that?

That wasn't the way I understood it.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Danderman on 04/05/2011 07:47 PM
What would a raptor upper stage enable?
My mind is baffled...

More payload to orbit, as it would be much more efficient.

...

How much?
Would it reach the 70t congress demanded?

First off, I have yet to see anyone calculate here whether the FH could actually lift 53 tons to LEO, so that part of the question remains TBD.

Secondly, I would bet real money that FH will *never* lift 53 tons, that whatever actually lifts that class payload will have Merlin 2 engines and a Raptor upper stage, and this particular concept will be long forgotten by that point.

Assuming that SpaceX ever lifts a 50 ton class payload into orbit. Not that they won't, but there's many a slip 'tween cup and lip.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: simonbp on 04/05/2011 07:55 PM
First off, I have yet to see anyone calculate here whether the FH could actually lift 53 tons to LEO, so that part of the question remains TBD.

Secondly, I would bet real money that FH will *never* lift 53 tons, that whatever actually lifts that class payload will have Merlin 2 engines and a Raptor upper stage, and this particular concept will be long forgotten by that point.

How much? I'll put a $20 on the table.

And your standard of engineering is armchair amateurs, not actual engineers, working with numbers from actual flown hardware?
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Pheogh on 04/05/2011 08:04 PM
How many times did the Delta IV configuration fly single stick before they moved to the Heavy (3 cores) configuration?

So FH is the first cross-fed cluster of this kind, is that correct?
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: kevin-rf on 04/05/2011 08:06 PM
Secondly, I would bet real money that FH will *never* lift 53 tons, that whatever actually lifts that class payload will have Merlin 2 engines and a Raptor upper stage, and this particular concept will be long forgotten by that point.

Well back when Direct was going strong, Ross had hinted there was a large DOD payload in this range that was looking for a ride. How real that was remains to be seen.

I am very curious if the Falcon Heavy test flight will use cross feed. In my mind, are they more interested in doing a low risk flight in a short amount of time, or just going for it? That is the unknown high risk part of this that no one has ever tried before (This goes well beyond the Saturn I cross feed).

Also, something to think about. I've seen it quoted as a rule of thumb in a few places that going from a Kero to LH upper increases the LEO payload by about 40%. That upgrade could put this beast in the 70 ton range.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: ugordan on 04/05/2011 08:08 PM
How many times did the Delta IV configuration fly single stick before they moved to the Heavy (3 cores) configuration?

Wikipedia suggests 3 launches over a period of 2 years.

Quote
So FH is the first cross-fed cluster of this kind, is that correct?

That is the plan, apparently. Doesn't mean the very first FH would have crossfeed, though.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: yg1968 on 04/05/2011 08:10 PM
I believe that I already know the answer to this question but could F9H lift Orion? I believe that the answer is yes but I want to make sure that I am right.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: simonbp on 04/05/2011 08:11 PM
So FH is the first cross-fed cluster of this kind, is that correct?

A cross-fed cluster that stages away both engines and tankage in-flight? Yes. The closest for a cross-fed system would be the original Atlas (which staged engines, but not tankage).
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: starsilk on 04/05/2011 08:12 PM
there's a PDF linked from the new FH page, either I didn't notice it before or it was added in the last few hours:

  http://www.spacex.com/EELVBenefits.pdf

basically expanding on the theme of "let us join the EELV gang and we'll save you a bunch of money". concludes with ~$1.7B-$2.2B savings (per year) if all existing EELV flights were SpaceX hardware instead of ULA (which of course will never happen.. but there are clearly cost savings available for switching some flights).
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: iamlucky13 on 04/05/2011 08:14 PM
First off, I have yet to see anyone calculate here whether the FH could actually lift 53 tons to LEO, so that part of the question remains TBD.

Secondly, I would bet real money that FH will *never* lift 53 tons, that whatever actually lifts that class payload will have Merlin 2 engines and a Raptor upper stage, and this particular concept will be long forgotten by that point.

How much? I'll put a $20 on the table.

And your standard of engineering is armchair amateurs, not actual engineers, working with numbers from actual flown hardware?

Keep in track with his point - we don't actually know what the actual engineers using numbers from flown hardware came up with.

Musk said he wants to fly in 2013 or 2014 using a Merlin upperstage.

He also said the rocket will have cross-feed and a LEO capability of 53 tons.

He didn't say (as far as I could garner from reading the partial transcript in this forum) that would be the configuration flown in 2013 or 2014.

It is entirely possible he's talking about getting a basic variant flying in 2013 with a 30+ ton capacity. Then he'll add cross feed, maybe another Merlin upgrade (1E or possibly Merlin 2/BFR), maybe Raptor.

--

Changing topics, a possible way to bypass the chicken/egg problem for heavy launchers lacking payloads that lack launchers is dual manifesting. That may help SpaceX bear the development costs until commercial applications start showing up...if they're going to.

Related to that, the current fairing shown on the Falcon Heavy page is the same as the Falcon 9 fairing. I suspect SpaceX is going to need to offer more volume to really fit multiple payloads that can't just go up on a single Falcon 9. Ariane V fairing is 3 meters longer.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Cherokee43v6 on 04/05/2011 08:14 PM

A human lunar fly-by would be incredible!

I know people wil just say (sour grapes)...apollo redux...apollo rehash...been there, done that...yawnnn, we did that 40 years ago.....


We did it 40 years ago...but we haven't been able to do it since 1972.  We've lost that capability.  We are less capable than we were then in many ways.  A lunar flyby would be a very good first step to regaining our lost capability.  (and it would get a lot of positive press for NASA, not to mention SpaceX)

Why involve NASA in this throw?  Pull the D.D.Harriman then market the service to NASA.  Toss in Buster from Mythbusters and another Wheel of Cheese just for kicks!
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: aquanaut99 on 04/05/2011 08:15 PM
I believe that I already know the answer to this question but could F9H lift Orion? I believe that the answer is yes but I want to make sure that I am right.

It could easily lift Orion. Heck, if it performs as advertised, it could lift 2 Orions.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: yg1968 on 04/05/2011 08:20 PM
I believe that I already know the answer to this question but could F9H lift Orion? I believe that the answer is yes but I want to make sure that I am right.

It could easily lift Orion. Heck, if it performs as advertised, it could lift 2 Orions.

I was more worried about the stage width but I think that 5.2m is enough for Orion (which has a diameter of 5m, I believe).
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: baldusi on 04/05/2011 08:23 PM
If they are going to make a non paid test flight, they could put a bunch of Google Lunar X PRIZE teams in TLI, under the condition that if anyone wins they get the 30M. And that would be on the news!
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: rcoppola on 04/05/2011 08:30 PM
I know it's been only a few hours since the presser, but I am awaiting a response from ULA etc..

Not taking sides per se, but SpaceX hit them pretty hard in every way: newsletters, interviews, live press conference...

I also wonder when certain congressional interests may respond as well as the likes of ATK...
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: StuffOfInterest on 04/05/2011 08:32 PM
First off, I have yet to see anyone calculate here whether the FH could actually lift 53 tons to LEO, so that part of the question remains TBD.

I'm sure simcosmos will come up with a very intricate model in the near future to take into account the reported Merlin 1D performance and prop cross feed to come up with a number.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: MP99 on 04/05/2011 08:33 PM
And who, today, is working on even one payload of this class, never mind ten a year?

This is kind of an argument against any HLV: if no large launch vehicle can be developed because there are no payloads, then there will never be payloads for an HLV, and therefore, no HLV.

There is a chicken and an egg somewhere in there.

Someone should probably try to cut this Gordian knot by developing a really large LV even though there are no payloads.

Elon said it was quite possible that the 2012 launch would not carry a (major) paying payload, which is fine. Test flight, and all that.

The press release says "(f)irst launch from our Cape Canaveral launch complex is planned for late 2013 or 2014." I do wonder who would have a large payload ready in three years. Bigelow?

As I said in the rest of that paragraph, commonality with F9 does mean that Heavy can survive until payloads do become available.

And who, today, is working on even one payload of this class, never mind ten a year? That will be one slow ramp-up (which is OK, given the commonality with F9).

cheers, Martin
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: jimgagnon on 04/05/2011 08:38 PM
SpaceX takes a page from Microsoft: FUD - Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt. By announcing now right in the middle of the HLV debate, they've put RAC-1, RAC-2 and RAC-3 proponents on the defensive. After all, 53mT for ~$100M leaves plenty of room for payloads, even if it takes two or three launches.

Clearly, ULA will need to respond. Smart move would be to cut prices towards the end of the year. Not sure what Shuttle-derived can do.

And, of course, SpaceX will need to execute. Ballsy thing to do with FH's initial test launch would be aim something at the Moon, even though it is a Vandenburg launch.

Should make for an interesting couple of years.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: ugordan on 04/05/2011 08:42 PM
Clearly, ULA will need to respond.

Don't see why until SpaceX get a track record on F9 and actually field this thing.

Quote
Smart move would be to cut prices towards the end of the year.

Cutting prices is pretty easy. Cutting your costs, not so much.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: MP99 on 04/05/2011 08:45 PM
Thinking about things, now the idea of crossfeed does not seem to be so far fetched.  SpaceX needed a way for sequential staging for the core, and rather than spend time and effort developing a throttling engine they choose to go straight for cross feed so that it was not needed.  An interesting choice.

With a big enough upper stage and full payload, I don't think the remaining core would need to switch off any engines at the end of the 1.5 stage burn. (Are we going to be calling it that?)

But it also offers the chance to leave cross-feed off for flights that don't need the full performance, and would rather avoid the risk of additional staging events. Just kill engines on all three cores, as F9 does now. Would running two different configs for different flights outweigh the benefits of a simpler flight plan for lower payloads?

cheers, Martin

Elon mentioned this scenario for flight not needing the full capacity.

Thanks. The press release says it's not required for missions below 45mT:-

"Crossfeed is not required for missions below 100,000 lbs, and can be turned off if desired."

cheers, Martin
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Joris on 04/05/2011 08:50 PM
Don't see why until SpaceX get a track record on F9 and actually field this thing.

Will be to late to compete with them after that has happened.

Quote
Cutting prices is pretty easy. Cutting your costs, not so much.

They could focus more on developing in-space technologies.
Spacex would do the launching, whilst ULA would develop the EDS, depots, moon-landers. Since they still have the edge in hydrolox upper stages.

Pretty much like their ACES plan, except it would depend on Spacex for more launches.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: 2552 on 04/05/2011 08:55 PM
Ballsy thing to do with FH's initial test launch would be aim something at the Moon, even though it is a Vandenburg launch.

Something like a Dragon, for a test of the heatshield from Lunar-return velocity, and some nice out-the-window pictures/video of the Moon and Earth during the Lunar flyby.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: jimgagnon on 04/05/2011 08:59 PM
Clearly, ULA will need to respond.
Don't see why until SpaceX get a track record on F9 and actually field this thing.

That's the thing about FUD -- you don't necessarily need execute on time and exactly to spec. Microsoft has shut down whole industries with announcements, then never release the product. Not saying that SpaceX has that kind of sway over the launch industry (yet), but the prospect of paying ~$250M less for twice the payload will make more than a few customers to say "Why not wait to see if FH is real? That's real money!"
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: jimgagnon on 04/05/2011 09:00 PM
Ballsy thing to do with FH's initial test launch would be aim something at the Moon, even though it is a Vandenburg launch.
Something like a Dragon, for a test of the heatshield from Lunar-return velocity, and some nice out-the-window pictures/video of the Moon and Earth during the Lunar flyby.

Just what I was thinking (unmanned, of course).
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: rcoppola on 04/05/2011 09:08 PM
Ballsy thing to do with FH's initial test launch would be aim something at the Moon, even though it is a Vandenburg launch.
Something like a Dragon, for a test of the heatshield from Lunar-return velocity, and some nice out-the-window pictures/video of the Moon and Earth during the Lunar flyby.
Just what I was thinking (unmanned, of course).
That would be very nice to see, but I suspect since they are primarily after Govt  and private large sats, I am inclined to think they would want to flight test with the fairing. However, what' inside that faring could be fun to speculate on...
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: R.Simko on 04/05/2011 09:10 PM
For those talking about SpaceX developing Raptor to achieve the 70mt to 100mt congress wants, I think it is much more likely for them to go with 4 strap-ons instead of 2 to increase their capacity first.  It would be much simpler and keep with their strategy of  maxmum commonality.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Joris on 04/05/2011 09:12 PM
Ballsy thing to do with FH's initial test launch would be aim something at the Moon, even though it is a Vandenburg launch.
Something like a Dragon, for a test of the heatshield from Lunar-return velocity, and some nice out-the-window pictures/video of the Moon and Earth during the Lunar flyby.
Just what I was thinking (unmanned, of course).
That would be very nice to see, but I suspect since they are primarily after Govt  and private large sats, I am inclined to think they would want to flight test with the fairing. However, what' inside that faring could be fun to speculate on...


A lunar x-prize contestant on a falcon 1 upper stage.
Or two...
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Lee Jay on 04/05/2011 09:12 PM
That's the thing about FUD -- you don't necessarily need execute on time and exactly to spec. Microsoft has shut down whole industries with announcements, then never release the product. Not saying that SpaceX has that kind of sway over the launch industry (yet), but the prospect of paying ~$250M less for twice the payload will make more than a few customers to say "Why not wait to see if FH is real? That's real money!"

Let's say you're a company shipping products across the country by truck.  You have $50,000 worth of merchandise to ship at a cost of $2,000 for the entire load, and you can sell that merchandise at retail for $100,000.  Are you going to ship it now and pay the $2,000 or wait until next winter in hopes that you can ship it by hovercraft for $500?
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Joris on 04/05/2011 09:14 PM
For those talking about SpaceX developing Raptor to achieve the 70mt to 100mt congress wants, I think it is much more likely for them to go with 4 strap-ons instead of 2 to increase their capacity first.  It would be much simpler and keep with their strategy of  maxmum commonality.

Just curious, would the T/W be high enough?
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: baldusi on 04/05/2011 09:15 PM
What would the performance for GEO be? Delta IV can do 6.2tonnes. If it could do 25% of LEO, then it should put 12.5tn on GEO. Please note not GTO, but GEO. That should leave a lot of fuel, for example. The true problem is that the fairing is kind of small to really take advantage of that weight, isn't it? At least until the can put a nuclear reactor (and certify FH for nuclear payloads).
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: MikeAtkinson on 04/05/2011 09:16 PM
Can anyone explain why in a cross-fed design the center core is carrying only "a majority" rather than "all" of its propellant after stage separation?

Someone else replied with one possible reason, another might be that stopping the cross-feed, shutting down the strap-on engines and separating will take several seconds, so between stopping the cross-feed and separation a small proportion of the center core's propellant will have been used.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: ugordan on 04/05/2011 09:18 PM
There will also inevitably be some boiloff in the LOX tank during strapon burn.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: jimgagnon on 04/05/2011 09:19 PM
That's the thing about FUD -- you don't necessarily need execute on time and exactly to spec. Microsoft has shut down whole industries with announcements, then never release the product. Not saying that SpaceX has that kind of sway over the launch industry (yet), but the prospect of paying ~$250M less for twice the payload will make more than a few customers to say "Why not wait to see if FH is real? That's real money!"
Let's say you're a company shipping products across the country by truck.  You have $50,000 worth of merchandise to ship at a cost of $2,000 for the entire load, and you can sell that merchandise at retail for $100,000.  Are you going to ship it now and pay the $2,000 or wait until next winter in hopes that you can ship it by hovercraft for $500?

A more accurate comparison would be $50K merchandise, $25K shipping now or $8K later. Not saying all will wait, just enough that ULA will need to do something. Probably before the first FH launch; after would be too late unless they're willing to match SpaceX per-kg price.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Jason1701 on 04/05/2011 09:19 PM
For those talking about SpaceX developing Raptor to achieve the 70mt to 100mt congress wants, I think it is much more likely for them to go with 4 strap-ons instead of 2 to increase their capacity first.  It would be much simpler and keep with their strategy of  maxmum commonality.

Just curious, would the T/W be high enough?

They would choose a mass for Raptor so as to have enough T/W.

Could I please have a link to a video of the event? Or tell me what page a video is on. Thanks.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: MP99 on 04/05/2011 09:19 PM
Martin, are you missing the significance of their first launch being from Vandenberg? I doubt that they are launching from there solely due to convenience, Elon said that there were both Government and commercial talks going on. He doesn’t seem to expect a dearth of payloads.

I believe it will be quite some time before DIVH-class government payloads will be ready to fly on FH.

If Elon has commercial payloads these must be price sensitive (or new), as DIVH (or AVH if preferred) has been available but not used.

At $2200/kg I can understand that new players might want to come into the market, but presumably those won't currently be in development. Therefore, they would take some time to be ready to launch.

cheers, Martin
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: starsilk on 04/05/2011 09:24 PM
so, assuming ULA decide they need to respond to this by developing propellant cross-feed for D4-H, what kind of performance are we likely to see?

close enough that better flight history makes the extra $$ worth it to fly ULA? or would there still be a large gap?
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: spacetraveler on 04/05/2011 09:24 PM
For those talking about SpaceX developing Raptor to achieve the 70mt to 100mt congress wants, I think it is much more likely for them to go with 4 strap-ons instead of 2 to increase their capacity first.  It would be much simpler and keep with their strategy of  maxmum commonality.

That would not be simpler.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: neilh on 04/05/2011 09:28 PM
For those talking about SpaceX developing Raptor to achieve the 70mt to 100mt congress wants, I think it is much more likely for them to go with 4 strap-ons instead of 2 to increase their capacity first.  It would be much simpler and keep with their strategy of  maxmum commonality.

Wouldn't 4 strap-ons be incompatible with their horizontal integration?
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: starsilk on 04/05/2011 09:29 PM
Ballsy thing to do with FH's initial test launch would be aim something at the Moon, even though it is a Vandenburg launch.

Something like a Dragon, for a test of the heatshield from Lunar-return velocity, and some nice out-the-window pictures/video of the Moon and Earth during the Lunar flyby.

throwing a Dragon around the moon would certainly make for far better press coverage than just shoving a fifty ton lump into LEO.

it would also mean there's actually a lot less payload weight to carry, so if the rocket underperforms you've still got a good chance of a 'successful' mission - for example a close pass inside lunar orbit rather than a loop around the moon still gives some very telegenic footage of the near side.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: baldusi on 04/05/2011 09:29 PM
so, assuming ULA decide they need to respond to this by developing propellant cross-feed for D4-H, what kind of performance are we likely to see?

close enough that better flight history makes the extra $$ worth it to fly ULA? or would there still be a large gap?
I remember a graph where they said that crossfeed would add some 3.5tonnes to LEO.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: MikeAtkinson on 04/05/2011 09:32 PM
For those talking about SpaceX developing Raptor to achieve the 70mt to 100mt congress wants, I think it is much more likely for them to go with 4 strap-ons instead of 2 to increase their capacity first.  It would be much simpler and keep with their strategy of  maxmum commonality.

One potential growth path is:

   Use Merlin 1e (I think it inevitable that SpaceX will introduce a
   higher thrust 1e version at some stage, but maybe not for several
   years).

   Use Merlin 1e derived upgrade to the Merlin Vac

   Single engine core using Merlin 2

   Dual engine core using Merlin 2 (wider stage).

There are lots of other paths towards 150 tonnes, it will be interesting to see what they come up with.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: robertross on 04/05/2011 09:38 PM
SpaceX takes a page from Microsoft: FUD - Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt. By announcing now right in the middle of the HLV debate, they've put RAC-1, RAC-2 and RAC-3 proponents on the defensive. After all, 53mT for ~$100M leaves plenty of room for payloads, even if it takes two or three launches.

Clearly, ULA will need to respond. Smart move would be to cut prices towards the end of the year. Not sure what Shuttle-derived can do.

And, of course, SpaceX will need to execute. Ballsy thing to do with FH's initial test launch would be aim something at the Moon, even though it is a Vandenburg launch.

Should make for an interesting couple of years.

The timing might simply be having confidence in their F9 design & doing the analysis to come up with the FH.

The interesting scenario is not what ULA does, but how congress perceives all this, and what they *might* do if they actually believe SpaceX can pull this off. That will directly effect other things.

I think it [FH] has enormous potential for the future of spaceflight, and not just manned flight. Having a launcher on the west coast (VAFB) is an obvious sign SpaceX plans to go head-to-head with ULA (if we didn't know that already).
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: rcoppola on 04/05/2011 09:39 PM
That's the thing about FUD -- you don't necessarily need execute on time and exactly to spec. Microsoft has shut down whole industries with announcements, then never release the product. Not saying that SpaceX has that kind of sway over the launch industry (yet), but the prospect of paying ~$250M less for twice the payload will make more than a few customers to say "Why not wait to see if FH is real? That's real money!"
Let's say you're a company shipping products across the country by truck.  You have $50,000 worth of merchandise to ship at a cost of $2,000 for the entire load, and you can sell that merchandise at retail for $100,000.  Are you going to ship it now and pay the $2,000 or wait until next winter in hopes that you can ship it by hovercraft for $500?

A more accurate comparison would be $50K merchandise, $25K shipping now or $8K later. Not saying all will wait, just enough that ULA will need to do something. Probably before the first FH launch; after would be too late unless they're willing to match SpaceX per-kg price.
But we are not doing just-in-time merchandise shipping. As you know there are multi-year lead times on Sat launches. If SpaceX achieves this mass to orbit with the cost savings over the next 24 months...well...ULA won't be the only company looking over their shoulder, Arianespace will need to respond as well.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Jason1701 on 04/05/2011 09:41 PM
Sorry to re-post this, but could I have a link to the video, please?
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: starsilk on 04/05/2011 09:42 PM
so, assuming ULA decide they need to respond to this by developing propellant cross-feed for D4-H, what kind of performance are we likely to see?

close enough that better flight history makes the extra $$ worth it to fly ULA? or would there still be a large gap?
I remember a graph where they said that crossfeed would add some 3.5tonnes to LEO.

this:

http://www.ulalaunch.com/site/docs/publications/DeltaIVLaunchVehicle%20GrowthOptionstoSupportNASA'sSpaceExplorationVision.pdf

suggests prop cross-feed gains about 5 tons to LEO, so still less than 30mt. that's still a huge gap to cover. there are other options outlined in that paper, solids, better RS-68 etc which start to add up to ~50mt.. but a huge amount of extra work, presumably.

if the F-H really can do what Elon says it will do, D-4H is in trouble..
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: ChefPat on 04/05/2011 09:45 PM
For those talking about SpaceX developing Raptor to achieve the 70mt to 100mt congress wants, I think it is much more likely for them to go with 4 strap-ons instead of 2 to increase their capacity first.  It would be much simpler and keep with their strategy of  maxmum commonality.
Won't that size of payload need a faring larger than 5.2 meters?
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Danderman on 04/05/2011 09:46 PM
Don't see why until SpaceX get a track record on F9 and actually field this thing.

Will be to late to compete with them after that has happened.

Quote
Cutting prices is pretty easy. Cutting your costs, not so much.

They could focus more on developing in-space technologies.
Spacex would do the launching, whilst ULA would develop the EDS, depots, moon-landers. Since they still have the edge in hydrolox upper stages.

Pretty much like their ACES plan, except it would depend on Spacex for more launches.

ULA will simply lobby harder to keep their $1 billion annual subsidy. If that goes away, then they get out of the launch business, even if that means closing down.

I would suspect that Sen Shelby will fight to keep that subsidy flowing from the Federal coffers.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: jongoff on 04/05/2011 09:47 PM
Clearly, ULA will need to respond.

Don't see why until SpaceX get a track record on F9 and actually field this thing.

While I agree with what I think is your underlying point (that success in this endeavor isn't a foregone conclusion and that this still might end up taking longer, costing more, or just plain not happening), I think Jim Gagnon is right this time.  With how long it takes to bring new products, capabilities, and services on line, waiting until SpaceX has proven themselves one way or another is a guaranteed way to go out of business if you bet wrong.

If I were a business planner at ULA, I'd be trying to figure out what changes I could make to become more competitive, in case Elon pulls this off. 

~Jon
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Danderman on 04/05/2011 09:47 PM
Clearly, ULA will need to respond.
Don't see why until SpaceX get a track record on F9 and actually field this thing.

That's the thing about FUD -- you don't necessarily need execute on time and exactly to spec. Microsoft has shut down whole industries with announcements, then never release the product. Not saying that SpaceX has that kind of sway over the launch industry (yet), but the prospect of paying ~$250M less for twice the payload will make more than a few customers to say "Why not wait to see if FH is real? That's real money!"

What customers would those be?

The real FUD factor is for the Congressional Launch Vehicle. If Elon can pull this off, a lot of people on Capitol Hill are going to look like they really don't care about how tax dollars are spent.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: starsilk on 04/05/2011 09:49 PM
I'm amazed at the thrust growth of Merlin 1C to 1D. surely the turbopump wasn't underperforming by that much?

there must be something(s) else that have been improved too. higher chamber pressure? better injector design? (maybe pintle was a good choice after all).

Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Danderman on 04/05/2011 09:49 PM
For those talking about SpaceX developing Raptor to achieve the 70mt to 100mt congress wants, I think it is much more likely for them to go with 4 strap-ons instead of 2 to increase their capacity first.  It would be much simpler and keep with their strategy of  maxmum commonality.

Using both technologies would make this into a very powerful launch vehicle. While Congress continues to debate the color of the paint that will go on their Congressional Launch Vehicle, Elon may very well be flying around the Moon on a 100 ton LV.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: rcoppola on 04/05/2011 09:53 PM


ULA will simply lobby harder to keep their $1 billion annual subsidy. If that goes away, then they get out of the launch business, even if that means closing down.

I would suspect that Sen Shelby will fight to keep that subsidy flowing from the Federal coffers.

[/quote]
Perhaps, but if FH happens as planned, and the launch rates increase, along with incremental employment in 3 of some of the richest electoral college states, FL, TX, CA, Then I would propose that to the victor, goes the spoils....
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: MikeAtkinson on 04/05/2011 09:55 PM
If SpaceX achieves this mass to orbit with the cost savings over the next 24 months...well...ULA won't be the only company looking over their shoulder, Arianespace will need to respond as well.

I agree Arianespace probably stand to loose most, they will not be able to compete on cost even for dual launched satellites. Arianespace are dependent on launching 6+ A5 a year to break even, so even loosing a few satellites would push up their prices and cause them to loose even more customers. My understanding is that they are just about as efficient as they can be and that it will be very difficult to take costs out of their launch process.

ULA will be able to trade on their incumbent position and specialist payload processing knowledge for years and the US Gov will not want to change from one monopoly supplier to another.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Lobo on 04/05/2011 09:56 PM

A human lunar fly-by would be incredible!

I know people wil just say (sour grapes)...apollo redux...apollo rehash...been there, done that...yawnnn, we did that 40 years ago.....


We did it 40 years ago...but we haven't been able to do it since 1972.  We've lost that capability.  We are less capable than we were then in many ways.  A lunar flyby would be a very good first step to regaining our lost capability.  (and it would get a lot of positive press for NASA, not to mention SpaceX)

I wonder if Falcon Heavy could be used to put an Orion on a lunar flyby the masses would be really close but it just might be able to.

Possibly.  The Direct guys were saying J130 could, but that has 17mt more LEO capability using a D4US.  Not sure what the TLI mass comparisons would be. 

But there are other options.  FH could launch a Dragon with a crew of say two on a free return trajectory.  Either Dragon and it's SM could be modified to support a crew of 2 for 6-7 days in Space, or a "mission module" could be sent up too, and Dragon could transition to dock with it for crew support for the trip.  Since you wouldn't need any return propellant, and your MM would only be a couple of tons (possible an inflatable Bigelow module).   Then the MM could have your consumables and bathroom and such, and you wouldn't need to modify Dragon to have them. 

Either way.  Dragon has more volume than Apollo did, doesn't it?  So space wise you could put a crew of 2 or 3 in there, I just don't know what would be involved in equiping Dragon to support them for the duration of the mission. 
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Patchouli on 04/05/2011 09:58 PM
so, assuming ULA decide they need to respond to this by developing propellant cross-feed for D4-H, what kind of performance are we likely to see?

close enough that better flight history makes the extra $$ worth it to fly ULA? or would there still be a large gap?
I remember a graph where they said that crossfeed would add some 3.5tonnes to LEO.

this:

http://www.ulalaunch.com/site/docs/publications/DeltaIVLaunchVehicle%20GrowthOptionstoSupportNASA'sSpaceExplorationVision.pdf

suggests prop cross-feed gains about 5 tons to LEO, so still less than 30mt. that's still a huge gap to cover. there are other options outlined in that paper, solids, better RS-68 etc which start to add up to ~50mt.. but a huge amount of extra work, presumably.

if the F-H really can do what Elon says it will do, D-4H is in trouble..

The only difficult upgrade on there is the RL-60 and RS-68 regen the rest would be pretty easy.

It would be interesting to see ULA's response.
I think they'll have to actually do some serious engineering vs just lobbying this time around.
Plus also look into cost cutting measures such as does the Delta tank really need to be contracted out and  could Delta and Atlas make use of a common upper stage etc.
ACES could give them an advantage for deep space work.

It should be noted between Atlas and Delta they do have most of the parts for a Saturn V class LV on hand so I'd expect them to really push for getting SLS.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: spacetraveler on 04/05/2011 09:59 PM
Sorry to re-post this, but could I have a link to the video, please?

It's not yet available. But when it is available, it should be posted here:
http://press.org/news-multimedia/video

This is a link to the archived stream. It hasn't been made available as a full web video yet.

Here is a link to the archived webcast:

Falcon Heavy Announcement (http://www.visualwebcaster.com/VWP/SkinPlayer/Player.asp?e=78041&w=320&h=310&s=False&ch=False&sm=False&c=False&c1=False&mc=&qo=False&p=False&i=False&pp=False&cp=False&v=True&mc=False&a=True&sid=141443&aid=142817&pl=&pr=&hs=&u=0&pid=1&pt=2&pc=False&cuts=6&t=Spacex)
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Lobo on 04/05/2011 10:00 PM
What would a raptor upper stage enable?
My mind is baffled...

More payload to orbit, as it would be much more efficient.

...

How much?
Would it reach the 70t congress demanded?

I wonder if to -meet- Congress's Block 0 requirement, can they launch a 5-core FH?  It could technically meet the 70t requirement, and obviously the Falcon system would be evolable into the wider cores and larger lifting capabilities. 
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: mrmandias on 04/05/2011 10:03 PM
If I were a business planner at ULA, I'd be trying to figure out what changes I could make to become more competitive, in case Elon pulls this off. 

~Jon

Since there's a lot of smart people at ULA, the consequence is that Musk's announcement could have salutary effects for space access even if its pure bombast.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: edkyle99 on 04/05/2011 10:07 PM
First off, I have yet to see anyone calculate here whether the FH could actually lift 53 tons to LEO, so that part of the question remains TBD.

It is in the realm of possibility, but some serious optimization has to be applied to the hardware between now and then.  I would consider 53 tonnes an ultimate goal for Falcon Heavy, achievable after flying and tweaking the design for a few years.

For starters, Merlin 1D is going to have to provide improved specific impulse over Merlin 1C.  SpaceX has talked about higher chamber pressure allowing that to happen - with average ISP over a burn from the pad getting as high as 300 seconds, and maybe higher.

The second key is that propellant mass fractions have to get close to 0.95.  That's been claimed by SpaceX, but actual results in the early Falcon 9 flights have been lower at 0.935 or so (probably because these are non-optimized test vehicles flying now, possibly with partially filled tanks).

Crossfeed is key too, for the higher payload masses.

For the heaviest payloads, T/W at liftoff would probably be 1.2 or less.

The stages, first and second, have to be stretched to carry more propellant.  The first stages would probably carry nearly 400 tonnes of propellant each, compared to the 240 tonnes or so burned by the first two Falcon 9 rockets.  The second stage would carry perhaps 80 to 145 tonnes of propellant, depending on whether the design is optimized for LEO or GTO.  That is 1.6 to 3.0 times more propellant than the current Falcon 9 upper stage.  I'm guessing closer to the 80 than the 145 tonnes.  And yes, this second stage could be powered by a Merlin Vacuum engine, but likely an improved-efficiency version of the current variant.

GTO payload with crossfeed looks to be greater than 17 tonnes, perhaps as high as 19 tonnes.    Escape payload looks like 14 tonnes or so.  I'm not sure if Elon meant C3+1100 m/s for "MTI".

 - Ed Kyle
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: jongoff on 04/05/2011 10:13 PM
I'm amazed at the thrust growth of Merlin 1C to 1D. surely the turbopump wasn't underperforming by that much?

there must be something(s) else that have been improved too. higher chamber pressure? better injector design? (maybe pintle was a good choice after all).

By definition, unless they changed the throat size, higher thrust means higher chamber pressure.  They had been planning on upping the power level on their turbopumps (and thus also the chamber pressure) for some time now as part of the Merlin upgrades they've talked about in the past.  Maybe they did enough analysis to show they could drive it even further.

~Jon
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: ugordan on 04/05/2011 10:14 PM
The stages, first and second, have to be stretched to carry more propellant.  The first stages would probably carry nearly 400 tonnes of propellant each, compared to the 240 tonnes or so burned by the first two Falcon 9 rockets.

This is the part that has me scratching my head. That would have to be one ugly-looking tank stretch. The vehicle depicted in the video seems to have the standard F9 Block 1 form factor. Even the "Falcon 9 Heavy Extended" posted in one presentation a while ago only had about a 25% tank stretch for the strapons, and still doesn't look nearly enough to come even close to the stated GLOW of 1400 metric tons.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: jabe on 04/05/2011 10:18 PM
fyi
this link (http://www.visualwebcaster.com/VWP/SkinPlayer/Player.asp?e=78041&w=320&h=310&s=False&ch=False&sm=False&c=False&c1=False&mc=&qo=False&p=False&i=False&pp=False&cp=False&v=True&mc=False&a=True&sid=141443&aid=142817&pl=&pr=&hs=&u=0&pid=1&pt=2&pc=False&cuts=6&t=Spacex)  still works for me to watch the presser...
jb
edit:ooops..other people posted..hey..more the merrier i guess...
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: jongoff on 04/05/2011 10:19 PM
If I were a business planner at ULA, I'd be trying to figure out what changes I could make to become more competitive, in case Elon pulls this off. 

~Jon

Since there's a lot of smart people at ULA, the consequence is that Musk's announcement could have salutary effects for space access even if its pure bombast.

I hope so.  I actually really like ULA, and think they have some amazingly talented people.  It's more of a question of if ULA will be allowed by its owners and core customers to make the changes it needs to survive...

I really, really hope so.  I think it would be best for the industry to have both ULA and SpaceX keeping each other honest and innovating. Kind of like how the AMD vs. Intel matchup seems to have benefited everyone a ton.

~Jon
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Longhorn John on 04/05/2011 10:28 PM
I hope they sort out their webcasting for the launches.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Lobo on 04/05/2011 10:31 PM
If I were a business planner at ULA, I'd be trying to figure out what changes I could make to become more competitive, in case Elon pulls this off. 

~Jon

Since there's a lot of smart people at ULA, the consequence is that Musk's announcement could have salutary effects for space access even if its pure bombast.

I hope so.  I actually really like ULA, and think they have some amazingly talented people.  It's more of a question of if ULA will be allowed by its owners and core customers to make the changes it needs to survive...

I really, really hope so.  I think it would be best for the industry to have both ULA and SpaceX keeping each other honest and innovating. Kind of like how the AMD vs. Intel matchup seems to have benefited everyone a ton.

~Jon

Yea, monopolies don't benefit anyone, but the monopolizer.  With the formation of ULA, Boeing and LM weren't competing any more.
Maybe ULA can consolidate the D4 and A5 programs into one?  Is there any real reason they have two completely different rockets that basically duplicate each other capabilities?  I heard it was good so there was always a backup system available to the US Government, but with Falcon, you have that.  Is there any reason any more to have Both Atlas V and Delta 4?  Could one be retired and the other focuesed on and streamlined to help cut costs?  (probably retire Delta, as it sounds like ULA has growth plans for Atlas, and it seem the more efficinet LV).  BUt they could use the Delta tooling to build and fly the Atlas P2 as their "Heavy Lifter", and fly the 3m Atlas as their "medium lifter".   You have flexibility and more commonality.

Or is there some vital function D4 performs that A5 or F9 can't?
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Chris Bergin on 04/05/2011 10:35 PM
I hope they sort out their webcasting for the launches.

Hardly the priority, but at 20 launches a year they'll gain the required practise!

I'm really liking 20 launches a year from a site standpoint, and they are bound to be more exciting than Soyuz launches (which are a bit dull until T-0).
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: pippin on 04/05/2011 10:44 PM
If SpaceX achieves this mass to orbit with the cost savings over the next 24 months...well...ULA won't be the only company looking over their shoulder, Arianespace will need to respond as well.
Well... Did they say anything about mass to GTO or prices for GTO launches?
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Proponent on 04/05/2011 10:45 PM
The timing might simply be having confidence in their F9 design & doing the analysis to come up with the FH.

I wonder if the timing is related to 1) the fact that SpaceX is one of 13 firms awarded a BAA HLV study contract late last year, with results due soon, and 2) the fact that NASA is supposed to be settling on an SLS design by June.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: DARPA-86 on 04/05/2011 10:57 PM
For those talking about SpaceX developing Raptor to achieve the 70mt to 100mt congress wants, I think it is much more likely for them to go with 4 strap-ons instead of 2 to increase their capacity first.  It would be much simpler and keep with their strategy of  maxmum commonality.
Won't that size of payload need a faring larger than 5.2 meters?
That was sort of my one disappointment as well on their announcement - I had hoped with that large of mass to LEO that a wider payload fairing would accompany.  If anyone is going to do space based telescopes, or a "super sized" next generation X-37 would they not have a use for a wider diameter fairing?  Would not JWST be a less complex, more straightfoward design without having to run the risk of non-deployment of the optics array?
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: robertross on 04/05/2011 11:03 PM
For those talking about SpaceX developing Raptor to achieve the 70mt to 100mt congress wants, I think it is much more likely for them to go with 4 strap-ons instead of 2 to increase their capacity first.  It would be much simpler and keep with their strategy of  maxmum commonality.
Won't that size of payload need a faring larger than 5.2 meters?
That was sort of my one disappointment as well on their announcement - I had hoped with that large of mass to LEO that a wider payload fairing would accompany.  If anyone is going to do space based telescopes, or a "super sized" next generation X-37 would they not have a use for a wider diameter fairing?  Would not JWST be a less complex, more straightfoward design without having to run the risk of non-deployment of the optics array?

Who says they won't? But it's based on need, and if they didn't include it in this announcement, it's likely because there is no need.

(and hardly the thread, but DIRECT had design for super large PLFs, but you don't see them thrown around because that was a capability that could be developed if needed, and viable. If Elon had announced something like that, more people would probably squawk than the 'elation' I see on here)
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: MP99 on 04/05/2011 11:14 PM
BTW, bit of a nit, but the press release that SpaceX e-mailed out today, is titled "World's Most Powerful Rocket".

FH is listed as "17 MN (3,800,000 lbf)", but Shuttle is nearly twice that at launch.

But it looks like it'll be true at the point when FH first launches, and it would be "most capable" today.

cheers, Martin

PS today seems to be my day for SpaceX nits.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: RocketEconomist327 on 04/05/2011 11:15 PM
What a great day... Right after Aerospace Corp releases a "report" SpaceX has a presser and blows it all away.

While this does not impress some industry insiders, some see the writing on the wall.

The train has left the station.  Hope you are on.

VR
RE327
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Norm Hartnett on 04/05/2011 11:25 PM
Martin, are you missing the significance of their first launch being from Vandenberg? I doubt that they are launching from there solely due to convenience, Elon said that there were both Government and commercial talks going on. He doesn’t seem to expect a dearth of payloads.

I believe it will be quite some time before DIVH-class government payloads will be ready to fly on FH.

If Elon has commercial payloads these must be price sensitive (or new), as DIVH (or AVH if preferred) has been available but not used.

At $2200/kg I can understand that new players might want to come into the market, but presumably those won't currently be in development. Therefore, they would take some time to be ready to launch.

cheers, Martin
That might explain the timing of this announcement, we are talking almost a two year lead until the FH demo is on the pad and another quarter before first launch. Lots of lead time for big sat development, especially if NRO/USAF has things on the drawing board already. Commercial will probably lag but my guess is there is stuff out there just waiting for the right vehicle.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: edkyle99 on 04/05/2011 11:54 PM
Maybe ULA can consolidate the D4 and A5 programs into one? 

Delta 4 provides the Heavy EELV coverage not provided by Atlas 5.

Of course, in order for the Pentagon to reap the cost savings offered by SpaceX today, it would have to cut something loose.  It can't keep Delta 4 and Atlas 5 while buying Falcon Heavy too - that would cost *more* money!  Something, and maybe more than one something, would have to go.

 - Ed Kyle
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: DARPA-86 on 04/05/2011 11:55 PM
Martin, are you missing the significance of their first launch being from Vandenberg? I doubt that they are launching from there solely due to convenience, Elon said that there were both Government and commercial talks going on. He doesn’t seem to expect a dearth of payloads.

I believe it will be quite some time before DIVH-class government payloads will be ready to fly on FH.

If Elon has commercial payloads these must be price sensitive (or new), as DIVH (or AVH if preferred) has been available but not used.

At $2200/kg I can understand that new players might want to come into the market, but presumably those won't currently be in development. Therefore, they would take some time to be ready to launch.

cheers, Martin
That might explain the timing of this announcement, we are talking almost a two year lead until the FH demo is on the pad and another quarter before first launch. Lots of lead time for big sat development, especially if NRO/USAF has things on the drawing board already. Commercial will probably lag but my guess is there is stuff out there just waiting for the right vehicle.
Yes, I agree - It is some where between urban myth and metaphyscial truth that there has been/will be some uber large classified payload that needed a ride.  While somewhat skeptical myself, I do recall when another urban myth that had appeared in the pages of Aviation Weekly showed up one day in the skies over Panama in December of 1989.  It turned out we had an entire squadron of these urban myths operational and sitting on a flight line in Nevada.

One truth that I do know to be certain, at those times in our Aerospace history when there was a need for "dual use" technology development, NASA and the nation, was largely a long term beneficary.  When no such "dual uses" could be found, NASA sputtered and moved the ball oh so slow.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: edkyle99 on 04/05/2011 11:57 PM
The stages, first and second, have to be stretched to carry more propellant.  The first stages would probably carry nearly 400 tonnes of propellant each, compared to the 240 tonnes or so burned by the first two Falcon 9 rockets.

This is the part that has me scratching my head. That would have to be one ugly-looking tank stretch. The vehicle depicted in the video seems to have the standard F9 Block 1 form factor. Even the "Falcon 9 Heavy Extended" posted in one presentation a while ago only had about a 25% tank stretch for the strapons, and still doesn't look nearly enough to come even close to the stated GLOW of 1400 metric tons.

I'm wondering if Falcon 9 was sized for the 125K thrust Merlin all along, but has been flying partially empty to date with the 95K Merlins.  That would make the stretch for Heavy less substantial.

Of course this raises a whole bunch of questions about Falcon 9, whether it will stretch and use the 140K Merlins, etc..  If that's the plan, it is not currently cataloged. 

 - Ed Kyle
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: ChuckC on 04/06/2011 12:01 AM
Elon says, "You could go beyond Apollo..."

This was mentioned with regard to Apollo (total) apogee.

Is Elon trying to set a new human alttitude record?

A human lunar fly-by would be incredible!

I know people wil just say (sour grapes)...apollo redux...apollo rehash...been there, done that...yawnnn, we did that 40 years ago.....



53t to LEO would mean placing 20t in to TLI using a centaur like Earth departure stage/ This make not only lunar fly by possible with a Dragon but a  lunar orbital flight possible as well. 
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Jim on 04/06/2011 12:08 AM
... which makes sense, given that the core still has full tanks at that point ...
So, how does one crossfeed two boosters into nine engines, evenly?

 - Ed Kyle

By feeding into the center RP tank rather than the engines, and at a regulated ullage pressure. Effectively you would use the center RP tank as a low-pressure surge suppressor:

You oversize each turbopump by 15%, split the RP pump output (2/3 to own engine, 1/3 to core), manifold into two common supply lines feeding into the center RP tank (or into the center manifold, same thing), put flow control valves in there to keep the center tank pressure and level close to constant, and add some logic to prevent pogo-like oscillations between the booster engines and the core.

In this case though, the fact that it's connected to 18 side engines, each with their own flow-control systems, makes it less likely to oscillate, probably prevents it almost entirely.

No, the turbo pump  output only goes into the combustion chamber.  XFeed means there are only feed lines going tanks or tank dumps.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Downix on 04/06/2011 12:08 AM
Maybe ULA can consolidate the D4 and A5 programs into one? 

Delta 4 provides the Heavy EELV coverage not provided by Atlas 5.

Of course, in order for the Pentagon to reap the cost savings offered by SpaceX today, it would have to cut something loose.  It can't keep Delta 4 and Atlas 5 while buying Falcon Heavy too - that would cost *more* money!  Something, and maybe more than one something, would have to go.

 - Ed Kyle
Untrue, Atlas V Heavy has been available for order for years now.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Jim on 04/06/2011 12:10 AM
My guess, anyway. BTW, anyone know, are the Merlin turbopumps staged? (Maybe I should finally give in and get an L2 subscription...)pulling fuel/LOX at an intermediate stage would be ideal.

No, you are making it too complex
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: edkyle99 on 04/06/2011 12:18 AM
Maybe ULA can consolidate the D4 and A5 programs into one? 

Delta 4 provides the Heavy EELV coverage not provided by Atlas 5.

Of course, in order for the Pentagon to reap the cost savings offered by SpaceX today, it would have to cut something loose.  It can't keep Delta 4 and Atlas 5 while buying Falcon Heavy too - that would cost *more* money!  Something, and maybe more than one something, would have to go.

 - Ed Kyle
Untrue, Atlas V Heavy has been available for order for years now.

It is designed, but not developed.  Lockheed Martin, and now ULA, and the Pentagon, have not seen fit to fund its development.  Right now, Delta 4 exists to serve the Heavy end of the EELV spectrum that the existing Atlas 5 variants cannot handle.

Atlas 5 Heavy won't be developed unless it would pay back its development costs.  It could happen, but Delta 4 (not just the Heavy but all of it) would have to go as part of the package.  As I see it.

 - Ed Kyle
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Ronsmytheiii on 04/06/2011 12:19 AM
My guess, anyway. BTW, anyone know, are the Merlin turbopumps staged? (Maybe I should finally give in and get an L2 subscription...)pulling fuel/LOX at an intermediate stage would be ideal.

No, you are making it too complex

one thing I dont understand is how SpaceX is going from a Delta II class vehicle in the current configuration (Falcon 9) to past Delta IV heavy class with only adding two core boosters and crossfeed
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: edkyle99 on 04/06/2011 12:20 AM
one thing I dont understand is how SpaceX is going from a Delta II class vehicle in the current configuration (Falcon 9) to past Delta IV heavy class with only adding two core boosters and crossfeed

By increasing its main engine thrust by nearly 50%!  Merlin 1D is going to be a much more powerful animal than the current Merlin 1C.  That increased thrust allows an equal increase in propellant loading, which increases payload. 

That and the triple body results in a jump from 855 Klbs liftoff thrust to 3,780 Klbs liftoff thrust.  A different animal entirely.

It is similar to what happened with Titan.  Titan II could lift 3.75 tonnes to LEO.  Titan IV, a stretched, up-thrusted Titan augmented by big boosters, could lift more than 20 tonnes.

 - Ed Kyle
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Jim on 04/06/2011 12:25 AM
Don't see why until SpaceX get a track record on F9 and actually field this thing.

Will be to late to compete with them after that has happened.

Quote
Cutting prices is pretty easy. Cutting your costs, not so much.

They could focus more on developing in-space technologies.
Spacex would do the launching, whilst ULA would develop the EDS, depots, moon-landers. Since they still have the edge in hydrolox upper stages.

Pretty much like their ACES plan, except it would depend on Spacex for more launches.

ULA can only do launch vehicles, no landers, depots, etc
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Jim on 04/06/2011 12:26 AM
Clearly, ULA will need to respond.
Don't see why until SpaceX get a track record on F9 and actually field this thing.
Correct
That's the thing about FUD -- you don't necessarily need execute on time and exactly to spec. Microsoft has shut down whole industries with announcements, then never release the product. Not saying that SpaceX has that kind of sway over the launch industry (yet), but the prospect of paying ~$250M less for twice the payload will make more than a few customers to say "Why not wait to see if FH is real? That's real money!"
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: jimgagnon on 04/06/2011 12:48 AM
ULA can only do launch vehicles, no landers, depots, etc

That's why Boeing/LM need to take the handcuffs off and make ULA an independent company. Not sure how the Pentagon would like that, nor of the legalities of the situation, but until that happens ULA will not be able to effectively compete.

Sad, but true.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: savuporo on 04/06/2011 12:51 AM
Stray thought. I wonder if Andrew Beal is following any of these SpaceX news ?
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: cuddihy on 04/06/2011 12:55 AM
My guess, anyway. BTW, anyone know, are the Merlin turbopumps staged? (Maybe I should finally give in and get an L2 subscription...)pulling fuel/LOX at an intermediate stage would be ideal.

No, you are making it too complex


I hope so, but it seems to me you would need a LOT of helium to do it with pressure differential alone. And wouldn't that kill the MR on the boosters?
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Robotbeat on 04/06/2011 01:01 AM
My guess, anyway. BTW, anyone know, are the Merlin turbopumps staged? (Maybe I should finally give in and get an L2 subscription...)pulling fuel/LOX at an intermediate stage would be ideal.

No, you are making it too complex


I hope so, but it seems to me you would need a LOT of helium to do it with pressure differential alone. And wouldn't that kill the MR on the boosters?
You need enough helium to fill up the tank anyway. Helium wouldn't be the heaviest part (especially since it's heated with a heat exchanger before going into the propellant tank), it'd be the propellant tank mass increase from the pressure differential (if the pressure differential is relatively large) that would be significant.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: jabe on 04/06/2011 01:02 AM
video page at Spacex has the presser
http://spacex.com/multimedia/videos.php?id=59
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: kch on 04/06/2011 01:24 AM
Stray thought. I wonder if Andrew Beal is following any of these SpaceX news ?

I've been wondering that as well, especially with the expansion of the McGregor test site.  Too bad BA didn't get to test fire that big first stage engine -- bet it would've been spectacular!
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Nascent Ascent on 04/06/2011 01:44 AM
I would love to see how SpaceX would design a lunar lander.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: rjholling on 04/06/2011 01:45 AM
Anyone know how much launching to different inclinations should affect payload mass to orbit?  On the data sheet for Proton-M they list that they can put 22mT into orbit at 51.6 degrees whereas SpaceX lists 53mT at 28.5 degrees.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: robertross on 04/06/2011 01:49 AM
I would love to see how SpaceX would design a lunar lander.

Just my opinion, but if they were smart, they'd contract that out to the 'experts'.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: tigerade on 04/06/2011 01:50 AM
I would love to see how SpaceX would design a lunar lander.

It's a cool idea to think about.  But then I think about how it would actually work on 2 Heavies.  I suppose you'd have a regular Dragon capsule with the lunar module on one rocket, and then earth return stage on the second vehicle.  I was thinking about the exact mechanics of how it might work, but I developed a slight headache, so I stopped.  :p
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: rjholling on 04/06/2011 01:52 AM
I would love to see how SpaceX would design a lunar lander.
After my interview with them they were kind enough to give me an early prototype which now sits on my computer table ;)
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: WulfTheSaxon on 04/06/2011 01:56 AM
http://www.ulalaunch.com/site/docs/publications/DeltaIVLaunchVehicle%20GrowthOptionstoSupportNASA'sSpaceExplorationVision.pdf

suggests prop cross-feed gains about 5 tons to LEO, so still less than 30mt. that's still a huge gap to cover. there are other options outlined in that paper, solids, better RS-68 etc which start to add up to ~50mt.. but a huge amount of extra work, presumably.

That document doesn’t mention the RS-68A…
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Robotbeat on 04/06/2011 02:01 AM
I would love to see how SpaceX would design a lunar lander.

Just my opinion, but if they were smart, they'd contract that out to the 'experts'.
What experts do you mean? No one has built a lunar lander for something around 40 years. Unless you mean the small "mammalspace" companies.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: cro-magnon gramps on 04/06/2011 02:08 AM
I would love to see how SpaceX would design a lunar lander.

Just my opinion, but if they were smart, they'd contract that out to the 'experts'.

I agree with Ross on this; Though I could run afoul in my thinking, I see
Elon an "enabler", in that unlike other launch vehicles, that group a Space Infrastructure around them, from the parent company, he is opening up a means for other people to have their dreams become reality; ie Bigelow;
   if someone wants to land on the Moon, he will gladly help them along, "For a Price"; and right now, if his F9-H and others do make it from drafting board to launch pad, I am sure that there will be takers for a commercialization of Cis-Lunar and Lunar in the next 20-30 years;
    as for Mars, the question is open to the floor: is anyone interested in landing in the next 20 years ;)

from an article in 2001 http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewsr.html?pid=3698

Musk describes his goal as providing "positive inspiration at a time when we need such inspiration. The world has reached a stage where it needs some positive challenge it could get excited about, something that helps unite humanity." The Mars Oasis project could accomplish a great deal to bring that about. Musk and his nascent Life to Mars Foundation have much to contribute to the cooperative, networked effort of thousands of people with means, talent and enthusiasm who are working to build a spacefaring civilization. Welcome to the Spacefaring Web.

from what I have seen today, on this forum, I think he has got some people excited

Gramps
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: robertross on 04/06/2011 02:13 AM
I would love to see how SpaceX would design a lunar lander.

Just my opinion, but if they were smart, they'd contract that out to the 'experts'.
What experts do you mean? No one has built a lunar lander for something around 40 years. Unless you mean the small "mammalspace" companies.

Northrop are still the experts - they have the original designs, and it was proven.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Danderman on 04/06/2011 02:17 AM
The flavor of Falcon Heavy shown today cannot put 53 metric tons into orbit. There may be some future variant, using a LH2 powered upper stage, or Merlin 2s, but the 27 engine first stage, 1 engine 2nd stage version simply does not have the performance.

I am going to engage in a little engineering by analogy to explain.

The Titan II booster could put maybe 4 tons into LEO on a good day. When supported by 2 SRBs which then put it up at 20 miles, the Titan II could put 12.5 tons into orbit (note that the Titan II engines had enlarged nozzles for air-starting) in this Titan III configuration.

Falcon 9 is about 2.5 times as capable as Titan II (~ 10 metric ton payload, allegedly).  Air-starting a loaded Falcon 9 at about 20 miles altitude therefore should provide for 2.5 times the payload of Falcon 9 when launched from the ground, ie ~30 metric tons if you discount the issue of the payload fairing, and also the reality that the core F9 won't have expanded nozzles. Maybe the 2 strapon F9s will lift the core more than 20 miles up, but not significantly more, since they are going to deplete their prop very quickly due to the crossfeed.

53 metric tons is simply not achievable with Falcon Heavy, not even close.

Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Robotbeat on 04/06/2011 02:21 AM
I would love to see how SpaceX would design a lunar lander.

Just my opinion, but if they were smart, they'd contract that out to the 'experts'.
What experts do you mean? No one has built a lunar lander for something around 40 years. Unless you mean the small "mammalspace" companies.

Northrop are still the experts - they have the original designs, and it was proven.
This is off-topic, but how much do folks here think would it cost to produce a lander (perhaps modernized a little) of the same basic design? I mean, cost to produce the first lander, then cost to produce the second one. Development and marginal costs?
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: northanger on 04/06/2011 02:28 AM
...I see Elon an "enabler"...

That's the word I was looking for! I never saw this (http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewsr.html?pid=3698) before, thanks (http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=24641.msg718830#msg718830). 100+ comments at SpaceX's youtube channel & one of the fastest moving threads here. (Don't think I've ever gone back so many pages to get to the live event). Good stuff. Godspeed to SpaceX and breaking tons of barriers.

Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: robertross on 04/06/2011 02:33 AM
I would love to see how SpaceX would design a lunar lander.

Just my opinion, but if they were smart, they'd contract that out to the 'experts'.
What experts do you mean? No one has built a lunar lander for something around 40 years. Unless you mean the small "mammalspace" companies.

Northrop are still the experts - they have the original designs, and it was proven.
This is off-topic, but how much do folks here think would it cost to produce a lander (perhaps modernized a little) of the same basic design? I mean, cost to produce the first lander, then cost to produce the second one. Development and marginal costs?

Not really sure, but probably higher than NASA's original 'estimates' for Altair.

Here's a good thread to continue that discussion if people like:

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=1337.0
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Seattle Dave on 04/06/2011 02:39 AM
Are you doing an article on this Chris?
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: spacetraveler on 04/06/2011 02:45 AM
Falcon 9 is about 2.5 times as capable as Titan II (~ 10 metric ton payload, allegedly).  Air-starting a loaded Falcon 9 at about 20 miles altitude therefore should provide for 2.5 times the payload of Falcon 9 when launched from the ground, ie ~30 metric tons if you discount the issue of the payload fairing, and also the reality that the core F9 won't have expanded nozzles. Maybe the 2 strapon F9s will lift the core more than 20 miles up, but not significantly more, since they are going to deplete their prop very quickly due to the crossfeed.

I think the quoted 10 metric ton figure SpaceX gave for Falcon 9 was based on 125Klbs Merlins, not 140Klbs.

It's clear though that the second stage will also have to be updated somehow. The current MVac engine (92K lbs vac. thrust at 342 isp) will definitely not cut it for that figure.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: TrueBlueWitt on 04/06/2011 02:48 AM
The flavor of Falcon Heavy shown today cannot put 53 metric tons into orbit. There may be some future variant, using a LH2 powered upper stage, or Merlin 2s, but the 27 engine first stage, 1 engine 2nd stage version simply does not have the performance.

I am going to engage in a little engineering by analogy to explain.

The Titan II booster could put maybe 4 tons into LEO on a good day. When supported by 2 SRBs which then put it up at 20 miles, the Titan II could put 12.5 tons into orbit (note that the Titan II engines had enlarged nozzles for air-starting) in this Titan III configuration.

Falcon 9 is about 2.5 times as capable as Titan II (~ 10 metric ton payload, allegedly).  Air-starting a loaded Falcon 9 at about 20 miles altitude therefore should provide for 2.5 times the payload of Falcon 9 when launched from the ground, ie ~30 metric tons if you discount the issue of the payload fairing, and also the reality that the core F9 won't have expanded nozzles. Maybe the 2 strapon F9s will lift the core more than 20 miles up, but not significantly more, since they are going to deplete their prop very quickly due to the crossfeed.

53 metric tons is simply not achievable with Falcon Heavy, not even close.



You've chosen to draw conclusions without bothering to look at the data presented first...

Falcon 9 with new Merlin-1d(140kpf) is now rated at 16mT to orbit(not the 10mT for merlin-1c variant you're quoting).. so your starting point way off.  Also the Liquid strap-ons are more efficient( ISP possibly approaching 300) than the Solid boosters(ISP=263) for the Titan-III.

Not to mention the Heavy's stage lengths appear to have been increased, now 69.2 m (227 ft) overall  vs current F9's 54.9 m (180 ft). Providing  more propellant to go with the increased thrust. 


Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: savuporo on 04/06/2011 02:48 AM
One more stray thought. For F1, Elon used to repeat that they were able to take 2-3 launch failures, and still be in business.

Wonder how much financial buffer do they have with something of this size ?
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Chris Bergin on 04/06/2011 02:48 AM
Are you doing an article on this Chris?

Yep. I was going to rush one out soon after the presser, but everyone else did that, throwing out 500 worders. So I decided to take my time and write a biggy :D

Nearly finished it, going to be about 3000 words.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Danderman on 04/06/2011 02:55 AM
The flavor of Falcon Heavy shown today cannot put 53 metric tons into orbit. There may be some future variant, using a LH2 powered upper stage, or Merlin 2s, but the 27 engine first stage, 1 engine 2nd stage version simply does not have the performance.

I am going to engage in a little engineering by analogy to explain.

The Titan II booster could put maybe 4 tons into LEO on a good day. When supported by 2 SRBs which then put it up at 20 miles, the Titan II could put 12.5 tons into orbit (note that the Titan II engines had enlarged nozzles for air-starting) in this Titan III configuration.

Falcon 9 is about 2.5 times as capable as Titan II (~ 10 metric ton payload, allegedly).  Air-starting a loaded Falcon 9 at about 20 miles altitude therefore should provide for 2.5 times the payload of Falcon 9 when launched from the ground, ie ~30 metric tons if you discount the issue of the payload fairing, and also the reality that the core F9 won't have expanded nozzles. Maybe the 2 strapon F9s will lift the core more than 20 miles up, but not significantly more, since they are going to deplete their prop very quickly due to the crossfeed.

53 metric tons is simply not achievable with Falcon Heavy, not even close.



You've chosen to draw conclusions without bothering to look at the data presented first...

Falcon 9 with new Merlin-1d(140kpf) is now rated at 16mT to orbit(not the 10mT for merlin-1c variant you're quoting).. so your starting point way off.  Also the Liquid strap-ons are more efficient ISP(~300) than the Solids for the Titan-III(263).

Not to mention the Heavy's stage lengths appear to have been increased, now 69.2 m (227 ft) overall  vs current F9's 54.9 m (180 ft). Providing  more propellant to go with the increased thrust. 

First off, increasing the Merlin engine from 125Klbs to 140 Klbs (a 12 percent increase) shouldn't increase F9 payload mass by more than 50% (from 10 metric tons to 16 metric tons).  That increase, of course, ignores the payload fairing, since F9 can't lift 10 metric tons if a payload fairing is used.

Even with a 16 metric ton payload for F9, airlaunching one from 20 miles up still doesn't give you 53 metric tons of payload.

Of course, one would imagine before we would ever see a 53 metric ton launch by FH, we would see a 16 ton launch by F9.



Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Oberon_Command on 04/06/2011 03:03 AM
I was thinking that if they field the 140klbs Merlin, in doing so they might also end up with an uprated Merlin Vacuum due to commonality between the two. Like, if the two engines share the same turbopump design, and the turbopump is what gets uprated, that should uprate both engines at once, right? Does anyone know how much commonality there is between ground-started/baseline Merlin and Merlin Vacuum?
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Danderman on 04/06/2011 03:06 AM
I was thinking that if they field the 140klbs Merlin, in doing so they might also end up with an uprated Merlin Vacuum due to commonality between the two. Like, if the two engines share the same turbopump design, and the turbopump is what gets uprated, that should uprate both engines at once, right? Does anyone know how much commonality there is between ground-started/baseline Merlin and Merlin Vacuum?

You are correct about the Vac Merlin.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: baldusi on 04/06/2011 03:07 AM
Even with a 16 metric ton payload for F9, airlaunching one from 20 miles up still doesn't give you 53 metric tons of payload.
Heavy is a very different beast. F9 is 333tn vs 1,500tn of Heavy. That's like five times more fuel. And I'm sure they at least keep the mass fraction, since the booster have about 97% of fuel fraction. Beside, see what happens when you add a stage to the rocket equation. Overall I'm very suspicion of those numbers. But that's not the way to  disprove them.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Downix on 04/06/2011 03:17 AM
I would love to see how SpaceX would design a lunar lander.

Just my opinion, but if they were smart, they'd contract that out to the 'experts'.
What experts do you mean? No one has built a lunar lander for something around 40 years. Unless you mean the small "mammalspace" companies.

Northrop are still the experts - they have the original designs, and it was proven.
This is off-topic, but how much do folks here think would it cost to produce a lander (perhaps modernized a little) of the same basic design? I mean, cost to produce the first lander, then cost to produce the second one. Development and marginal costs?

Not really sure, but probably higher than NASA's original 'estimates' for Altair.

Here's a good thread to continue that discussion if people like:

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=1337.0
Could also buy one of the leftover LK's from Energia.  Last time I checked they had almost a dozen preserved.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: RobW1 on 04/06/2011 03:51 AM
The flavor of Falcon Heavy shown today cannot put 53 metric tons into orbit. There may be some future variant, using a LH2 powered upper stage, or Merlin 2s, but the 27 engine first stage, 1 engine 2nd stage version simply does not have the performance.

I am going to engage in a little engineering by analogy to explain.

The Titan II booster could put maybe 4 tons into LEO on a good day. When supported by 2 SRBs which then put it up at 20 miles, the Titan II could put 12.5 tons into orbit (note that the Titan II engines had enlarged nozzles for air-starting) in this Titan III configuration.

Falcon 9 is about 2.5 times as capable as Titan II (~ 10 metric ton payload, allegedly).  Air-starting a loaded Falcon 9 at about 20 miles altitude therefore should provide for 2.5 times the payload of Falcon 9 when launched from the ground, ie ~30 metric tons if you discount the issue of the payload fairing, and also the reality that the core F9 won't have expanded nozzles. Maybe the 2 strapon F9s will lift the core more than 20 miles up, but not significantly more, since they are going to deplete their prop very quickly due to the crossfeed.

53 metric tons is simply not achievable with Falcon Heavy, not even close.



You've chosen to draw conclusions without bothering to look at the data presented first...

Falcon 9 with new Merlin-1d(140kpf) is now rated at 16mT to orbit(not the 10mT for merlin-1c variant you're quoting).. so your starting point way off.  Also the Liquid strap-ons are more efficient( ISP possibly approaching 300) than the Solid boosters(ISP=263) for the Titan-III.

Not to mention the Heavy's stage lengths appear to have been increased, now 69.2 m (227 ft) overall  vs current F9's 54.9 m (180 ft). Providing  more propellant to go with the increased thrust. 





Running the numbers on this with unstretched F9 first stages gives a vacuum Delta-V capability of about 8.3km/s, assuming a second-stage dry mass of between 2 and 4 metric tons and a total lift-off mass of around 980mT. I understand the standard requirement to get to LEO is that 9km/s is needed, to overcome the climb to altitude, plus drag and reduced engine efficiency at low altitude, so this is not grossly off the mark.

Spacex quotes a lift-off mass of about 1400mT for the Falcon Heavy. Assuming that most of the increase is in 1st stage mass and fuel (core and side boosters) bumps my estimate of vacuum Delta-V capability to about 9.1km/s. It would appear that this beast will perform as advertised.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Chris Bergin on 04/06/2011 04:06 AM
Here's my article on Falcon Heavy.

http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2011/04/spacex-falcon-heavy-tag-team-share-20-launches-year/

I'm also going to set up another thread for FH as an update thread. This one can continue as a post announcement thread. Will interlink.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Downix on 04/06/2011 04:16 AM
Chris, a small criticism of the article in that the F9H is not the most powerful rocket to have launched since Saturn.  Energia holds that title.  7,898 klbf for Energia vs 3,375 klbf. Energia even surpasses the Saturn V's 7,648 klbf's.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Chris Bergin on 04/06/2011 04:22 AM
For fear of a 20 page debate about the Energia and probably references to the N1, I've added "US" in the abstract ;)
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Downix on 04/06/2011 04:31 AM
For fear of a 20 page debate about the Energia and probably references to the N1, I've added "US" in the abstract ;)
That works too.  I just know that popped out at me as a potential minefield.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: edkyle99 on 04/06/2011 04:41 AM

First off, increasing the Merlin engine from 125Klbs to 140 Klbs (a 12 percent increase) shouldn't increase F9 payload mass by more than 50% (from 10 metric tons to 16 metric tons).  That increase, of course, ignores the payload fairing, since F9 can't lift 10 metric tons if a payload fairing is used.

Even with a 16 metric ton payload for F9, airlaunching one from 20 miles up still doesn't give you 53 metric tons of payload.

Of course, one would imagine before we would ever see a 53 metric ton launch by FH, we would see a 16 ton launch by F9.

Zenit 2SLB is a kerosene rocket that weighs 460 tonnes or so at launch.  It would, if launched from Cape Canaveral, be able to lift about 15.3 tonnes to LEO.  Thats a GLOW/Payload factor of about 30, but that is only with two stages. 

The existing Block 1 Falcon 9 has a GLOW/PL factor of about 32, but only uses two stages. 

Proton isn't a kerosene rocket, but it is all-liquid high-density.  With three stages, it has a GLOW/PL factor of about 28. 

Falcon Heavy would need a GLOW/PL factor of 26.4 to orbit 53 tonnes with a GLOW of 1,400 tonnes.  Crossfeeding would make this rocket act like a three-stager, similar to Proton, so 26.4 seems believable, though still definitely pushing the envelope. 

If Falcon Heavy had a GLOW/PL factor of only 30, like the proven Zenit 2, it would still be able to boost 46.7 tonnes to LEO.  Not too shabby, and a proven possibility.

I believe that 53 tonnes is in the realm of the possible, on paper, but getting there will require some innovation in propulsion and structural efficiency.  In the mean time, the rocket should be able to lift 45 tonnes or more to LEO out of the box assuming it can match existing proven standards. 

 - Ed Kyle 
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Chris Bergin on 04/06/2011 04:46 AM
Set up - and interlinking - the new Falcon Heavy Master Update thread:

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=24711.0

This one can continue. New thread will be useful for collation of info from the post announcement and future updates.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: alexw on 04/06/2011 05:04 AM
Maybe ULA can consolidate the D4 and A5 programs into one? 
Delta 4 provides the Heavy EELV coverage not provided by Atlas 5.
Untrue, Atlas V Heavy has been available for order for years now.
It is designed, but not developed.  Lockheed Martin, and now ULA, and the Pentagon, have not seen fit to fund its development.  Right now, Delta 4 exists to serve the Heavy end of the EELV spectrum that the existing Atlas 5 variants cannot handle.
Atlas 5 Heavy won't be developed unless it would pay back its development costs.  It could happen, but Delta 4 (not just the Heavy but all of it) would have to go as part of the package.  As I see it.
    Probably a better way to put it is that Atlas V Heavy won't fly until some customer orders one, and thus far no customer has required 29mT to LEO (or other orbits, etc.) ULA's said (perhaps breezily) that 95% of the hardware has already flown, and of course it's been available for orders for years now, with about 30 months to deliver the vehicle from ATP.
     
    The key difference with Delta (per Jim) is that SLC-3E cannot handle the Heavy without big redevelopment. Since Delta IV Heavy flew first, and since there are very few Heavy payloads, it is entrenched in the market, and the default posture is to order all East Coast Heavies on Delta. (Also helps to keep the CBC production rate just barely out of abysmal.)

    Thus, Delta cannot be retired.
 
    Now, a *mature* Falcon Heavy changes that calculus. If it can handle the West Coast DOD missions, then Delta could be retired, and it's the less economically efficient vehicle. OTOH, it's not clear that even Atlas V can complete against fully spun-up Falcon economics. One could imagine an opposite scenario where Atlas V goes away, Falcon dominates the market, and Delta is kept as an (expensive) also-All-American second-source.

    But this is a long way off. A third, near term guess is that some of the pressure will come off ULA to keep the fully-duplicate product lines. Delta and Atlas remain, but DCSS 4m *and* 5m go away, with Falcon acting as the second source in case Centaur (possibly an enlarged dual-engine Common Centaur) has a stand-down. That might not require waiting as long as would otherwise be required for Falcon Heavy to gain a sufficiently long flight history to have full first-tier confidence.

    -Alex
   
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: alexw on 04/06/2011 05:13 AM
Don't see why until SpaceX get a track record on F9 and actually field this thing.
Will be to late to compete with them after that has happened.
Quote
Cutting prices is pretty easy. Cutting your costs, not so much.
They could focus more on developing in-space technologies.
Spacex would do the launching, whilst ULA would develop the EDS, depots, moon-landers. Since they still have the edge in hydrolox upper stages.
Pretty much like their ACES plan, except it would depend on Spacex for more launches.
ULA can only do launch vehicles, no landers, depots, etc
    Which is ironic, since they've made the most interesting proposals for landers and depots, and seem to be much of the world's repository of hydrolox proficiency except for a bit at EADS.
          -Alex
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: jongoff on 04/06/2011 05:17 AM
I would love to see how SpaceX would design a lunar lander.

Just my opinion, but if they were smart, they'd contract that out to the 'experts'.
What experts do you mean? No one has built a lunar lander for something around 40 years. Unless you mean the small "mammalspace" companies.

:-P
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Patchouli on 04/06/2011 05:25 AM
I would love to see how SpaceX would design a lunar lander.

Just my opinion, but if they were smart, they'd contract that out to the 'experts'.

If I was them I'd contract that out to Armadillo,Masten,or Blue Origin as either one of them probably could pull it off and have solved many of the nastier problems unique to landers.


What experts do you mean? No one has built a lunar lander for something around 40 years. Unless you mean the small "mammalspace" companies.

Grumman probably was not much better prepared in 1962 then companies like Armadillo are today.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Danderman on 04/06/2011 05:35 AM
OK, it seems that a lot of people are using the GLOW numbers as credibility for the 53 ton figure. Let me address that issue this way:

F9 has a liftoff mass of a little over 300 tons.

Now, SpaceX plants to increase liftoff mass well beyond 500 tons, which is an increase of over 60 percent.

They plan to launch this increased mass by increasing engine thrust by 12 percent.

How does that work?
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Patchouli on 04/06/2011 05:50 AM
OK, it seems that a lot of people are using the GLOW numbers as credibility for the 53 ton figure. Let me address that issue this way:

F9 has a liftoff mass of a little over 300 tons.

Now, SpaceX plants to increase liftoff mass well beyond 500 tons, which is an increase of over 60 percent.

They plan to launch this increased mass by increasing engine thrust by 12 percent.

How does that work?


As is the F9 core has a very high thrust to weight even higher then Atlas V.
F9 has about 170,000lbs more thrust then an Atlas 401 even though the vehicle weight is roughly the same F9 is about 1100kg lighter.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: butters on 04/06/2011 06:06 AM
I wonder if the uprated turbopumps for the Merlin 1D are going to be produced in-house from the start? Could the unexpectedly high performance (125 to 140klbf) have something to do with the transition from Barber-Nichols to an in-house design?

If SpaceX is having such a good time developing their first in-house pump set which is presumably on schedule for delivery late next year, that bodes well for the future of large kerolox booster engines in America.

Also, surely this means that the F9 Block 2 with M1D engines and stretched tanks (as per FH) will launch before the end of 2012, ahead of the FH demo flight? The claim that what I presume is F9 Block 2 can do 16mT IMLEO is almost as impressive as the FH claims. That's no longer just a Delta II replacement. That's an EELV-class machine.

Finally, I think I heard Elon make a vague reference to the effect that he still believes COTS-2 is going to the ISS. Interesting. And carrying multiple Orbcomm birds.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: DavisSTS on 04/06/2011 06:25 AM
Here's my article on Falcon Heavy.

http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2011/04/spacex-falcon-heavy-tag-team-share-20-launches-year/


Much more to that article than some of the other sites that turned up on my RSS feed, very good work.

Very interesting about their talks over one of the shuttle pads, as rightly pointed out in the article about how that conflicts with SD HLV. Also hard to argue with those who are mainly SpaceX fans over NASA about them having a vehicle capable of moon and mars missions from a LV angle by the next two or so years.

Makes you wonder what Ares I was all about.

Then again, this company lost its first three vehicles in a row, immediately overtaking the loss rate of the far more capable and complex shuttle over 130+ flights, so maybe you get what you pay for.

May be cheaper and faster, but they may have to take a hit of a few more losses to get it right, and one of those may be a crewed loss. NASA can survive such a thing, just. Can SpaceX? Could they really recover from four dead astronauts? Is this space flight Russian roulette?

I of course wish them all the best, but I have to be honest. If I was told I was to go into space and I had a choice on the vehicle, I'd put my life in the hands of the STS people and one of those amazing orbiters every single time. I'd want seasoned and world class experienced engineers and a spaceship with a track record, one with a personality that fights for her crew, one that I can trust because I know she's done it, successfully, countless times before, rather than a one off use no-name capsule.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: aquanaut99 on 04/06/2011 06:26 AM
I also have serious doubts about the 53mT LEO claim. Not impossible, but very far off, and the first FH will (assuming it is a success) be nowhere near that.

OTOH, the main lesson from Elon's announcement is that the F9 which flew up to now is not the end product and that even the future "baseline" F9 will be much more capable. 16mT into LEO puts it in Zenit range, with only 2 stages, right? And a comparable price? Could it be that Elon is actually trying to compete with Zenit?

FH will probably initially put around 40-42 mT into LEO. Which would still make it the world's most capable rocket post-Shuttle.

Just my 2 cents.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: ugordan on 04/06/2011 07:11 AM
They plan to launch this increased mass by increasing engine thrust by 12 percent.

How does going from 95klbf to 140-ish klbf per engine constitude a 12% thrust increase?
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: MikeAtkinson on 04/06/2011 07:26 AM
They plan to launch this increased mass by increasing engine thrust by 12 percent.

How does going from 95klbf to 140-ish klbf per engine constitude a 12% thrust increase?

I think he meant the 125 to 140 klbf increase in the performance of Merlin 1d between that previously published and now.

Much of the confusion probably arises because of the ambiguity on the SpaceX website of what the F9 performance refers to (block I or block II, with or without derating for the initial launches, etc.)
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: ugordan on 04/06/2011 07:51 AM
I'm wondering if Falcon 9 was sized for the 125K thrust Merlin all along, but has been flying partially empty to date with the 95K Merlins.  That would make the stretch for Heavy less substantial.

I used to think that, but a simple calculation based on first stage tank dimensions - roughly a cylinder 3.66 diameter x 26 m length can't physically fit more than 270ish tons of propellant. Which is about right for what past 2 F9s already carried.

Given the vehicle height (at least for the 53 mt version) is given as 69 m and assuming that's all in the 1st stage stretch, that's an increase for the stage length from 36 m to 50 m, almost 40%. *That* looks capable of handling a propellant load giving 1400 mt GLOW, but it would be one weird and skinny looking vehicle. I wonder about road transportation issues for that stage length.

I'm inclined to think the first FH flown will be more in line with the "classic" F9H performance, 30-ish tons to LEO (quite possibly even that assumed crossfeed). Not that there is a requirement for anything beyond that, either.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: ugordan on 04/06/2011 07:58 AM
I wonder if the uprated turbopumps for the Merlin 1D are going to be produced in-house from the start? Could the unexpectedly high performance (125 to 140klbf) have something to do with the transition from Barber-Nichols to an in-house design?

Not necessarily. When M1c was being developed, they realized they still had sufficient margins on the engine and hence the future turbopump upgrade was outlined. Perhaps their original 125 klbf estimate was somewhat conservative and they were able to tweak the design to bring it to 135-140 klbf now floated around.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: MP99 on 04/06/2011 08:22 AM
I really wasn't impressed with Elon's presentation style today.

I'd have thought there'd be a few payload numbers (LEO, GTO / GEO, TLI, C3 = 0, Mars) he'd have resolved before hand, and they were all asked or offered. But he had to fumble with "oh about a quarter of LEO, so..." and (thinks, thinks, thinks) "so, Moon with two Heavies" (paraphrased). Quite frankly, it came across as bluster and ill-preparedness, rather than anything that inspired confidence in me, though I do need to watch it again under better circumstances. As I watched, I imagined Antares' head exploding around half way through.

I'm watching the video again under better circumstances, and I'm changing "bluster" to "diffidence" - just seemed less confident than eg the Phi Beta Kappa talks.



I also know it's been said before that F9 cores were designed with the Heavy config in mind, but not with this much thrust or payload (nor, I think, cross-feed). I just doubt them getting the development done and hardware shipped to VAFB by end of next year, just seven quarters. TBH, I'm expecting new realms of "SpaceX time dilation" to be applied to that target, together with "sorry, this is just block I - full performance Real Soon Now".

Elon confirmed in the video that the 1D upgrade is the same that is required to fulfil the SES launch, so that would be F9 block II.

The SES launch is listed after FH #001. I wonder if FH #001 is also intended to be the test flight that demonstrates to SES that the block II core works before they trust their satellite on it?

cheers, Martin
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: MP99 on 04/06/2011 08:22 AM
Martin, are you missing the significance of their first launch being from Vandenberg? I doubt that they are launching from there solely due to convenience, Elon said that there were both Government and commercial talks going on. He doesn’t seem to expect a dearth of payloads.

I believe it will be quite some time before DIVH-class government payloads will be ready to fly on FH.

If Elon has commercial payloads these must be price sensitive (or new), as DIVH (or AVH if preferred) has been available but not used.

At $2200/kg I can understand that new players might want to come into the market, but presumably those won't currently be in development. Therefore, they would take some time to be ready to launch.

Re payloads, at 12:30 in the video "in late stage discussions with both government & commercial customers in that regard".



As far as launching from the cape - confirmed looking at approaching SLC 40 from right angles to existing hanger for Heavy.

There have been discussions before regarding max thrust that this pad can take - can it cope with 3.8m lbf?

cheers, Martin
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: MATTBLAK on 04/06/2011 08:26 AM
I also have serious doubts about the 53mT LEO claim. Not impossible, but very far off, and the first FH will (assuming it is a success) be nowhere near that.

OTOH, the main lesson from Elon's announcement is that the F9 which flew up to now is not the end product and that even the future "baseline" F9 will be much more capable. 16mT into LEO puts it in Zenit range, with only 2 stages, right? And a comparable price? Could it be that Elon is actually trying to compete with Zenit?

FH will probably initially put around 40-42 mT into LEO. Which would still make it the world's most capable rocket post-Shuttle.

Just my 2 cents.

If Boeing wants to compete with or at the very least compliment the Falcon Heavy for exploration missions and architectures, they'll have to do the long-talked about upgrades to Delta IV-H; including the switch to Aluminium/Lithium structures, more composites, propellant cross-feed and the uprated upper stage - I believe an MB-60 powered upper stage or a newer, gruntier version of RL-10 was touted. Or perhaps in partnership with P & WR they can look at the regenerative RS-68 concept again, maybe integrating the channel-wall nozzle design from the RS-25E concept. Adding GEM-60 solids have also been talked about - for cargo only, I hasten to add.

I can imagine lunar or NEA missions in 3 or 4 launches of these fine rockets, with the cost of a new OR refurbished launchpad being the only major infrastructure expenditure at KSC needed for the short term in regards to multi-launch for Exploration Architecture/Hardware buildup.

With nary an SLS HLV in sight or even needed!! I have mixed feelings about that! ;) :(
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: MikeAtkinson on 04/06/2011 08:51 AM
One consequence of this announcement is that I expect a lot of new and updated exploration architectures to be proposed for a ~50 tonne launcher.

Launch costs will no longer be a significant factor for missions up to Mars surface excursions. Even for Mars missions a 1200 tonne IMLEO equates to less than $3B (that is every 2 years so is affordable within current budgets).

Profits will be hard to come by for any launcher manufacturer/operator, so I expect much more emphasis on in-space elements. That is where the great bulk of the interesting engineering, expenditure and most importantly profit will be made.

For some time now profits and revenue from ground use of space services (e.g. better routing due to GPS) > from the services themselves (e.g. direct broadcast satellites) > in space elements (e.g. satellite manufacture) > launch vehicles and services. This announcement of FH only reinforces the lowly position of the launch vehicle in the value chain.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: butters on 04/06/2011 08:52 AM
I think it would be rather short-sighted for ULA to take SpaceX seriously and commit to the development of enhanced launch vehicle capabilities yet retain their near-total reliance on P&W Rocketdyne for engines. They're never going to be able to compete economically (beyond considerations of political patronage) under the burden of PWR's fixed cost structure. ULA needs to look at partnering with Aerojet or perhaps even spin off their own engine subsidiary in partnership with XCOR.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: yamato on 04/06/2011 09:04 AM
Here's my article on Falcon Heavy.

http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2011/04/spacex-falcon-heavy-tag-team-share-20-launches-year/


Then again, this company lost its first three vehicles in a row, immediately overtaking the loss rate of the far more capable and complex shuttle over 130+ flights, so maybe you get what you pay for.

May be cheaper and faster, but they may have to take a hit of a few more losses to get it right, and one of those may be a crewed loss. NASA can survive such a thing, just. Can SpaceX? Could they really recover from four dead astronauts? Is this space flight Russian roulette?

I of course wish them all the best, but I have to be honest. If I was told I was to go into space and I had a choice on the vehicle, I'd put my life in the hands of the STS people and one of those amazing orbiters every single time. I'd want seasoned and world class experienced engineers and a spaceship with a track record, one with a personality that fights for her crew, one that I can trust because I know she's done it, successfully, countless times before, rather than a one off use no-name capsule.

sorry, I have to react. How can you compare first three flights of Falcon1 with Shuttle standards? SpaceX was a dotcom type startup in those times, Shuttle was built by old aerospace heavyweights. Did you expect first F1 to be succesfull? And how exactly do you expect the F9 should get track record without flying? Of course it hasn´t so long track record like shuttle, it also isn´t 30 years old! The shuttle also had ho track record on its first flight.
To be honest, shuttle is a beautiful piece of engineering. But it is unsafe by nature (no escape, sits on a hydrolox tank, solid boosters...), it has no upgrade potential and it costs 1bn every flight. Actually, it criples the manned space program. In 2011 we have less human spaceflight capability than we had in 1970s.
I think Falcon+Dragon will prove its safety and cost efectiveness, if it gets the chance. But we can also sit down on Earth, be sentimental about STS, fly nowhere and pay billions a year for it.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: MATTBLAK on 04/06/2011 09:40 AM
One consequence of this announcement is that I expect a lot of new and updated exploration architectures to be proposed for a ~50 tonne launcher.

Launch costs will no longer be a significant factor for missions up to Mars surface excursions. Even for Mars missions a 1200 tonne IMLEO equates to less than $3B (that is every 2 years so is affordable within current budgets).

Profits will be hard to come by for any launcher manufacturer/operator, so I expect much more emphasis on in-space elements. That is where the great bulk of the interesting engineering, expenditure and most importantly profit will be made.

For some time now profits and revenue from ground use of space services (e.g. better routing due to GPS) > from the services themselves (e.g. direct broadcast satellites) > in space elements (e.g. satellite manufacture) > launch vehicles and services. This announcement of FH only reinforces the lowly position of the launch vehicle in the value chain.

Bigger than 50 metric tons would be nice, but I've been thinking for some time now that if NASA and others cannot do space exploration with 'only' 50 tonne launchers, perhaps they don't deserve to? Most exploration components and (unfuelled) spacecraft you would care to design may never exceed 45-to-50 metric tons in mass. An empty Propellant Depot tanker module - provided it fitted within a sensible sized payload fairing, weighing perhaps 40 tons at launch - might hold a couple hundred tons in propellants.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Archibald on 04/06/2011 12:00 PM
For that matter, 45 to 50 tons in LEO equals to 15- 20 tons to EML-2, single launch. Food for thought...
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: MATTBLAK on 04/06/2011 12:13 PM
Yes; that's why Falcon will eventually need that enhanced upper stage & Raptor engine - to enhance and 'massage' figures like those to achieve a probable, economic optimal capability.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: MikeAtkinson on 04/06/2011 12:30 PM
For that matter, 45 to 50 tons in LEO equals to 15- 20 tons to EML-2, single launch. Food for thought...

That would make propellant delivered to EML-2 about $5000/kg.

This makes schemes to use lunar derived propellant at EML-2 almost impossible to make viable. If the cost of designing, building, launching, delivery to the lunar surface and operation of mining equipment is $X/kg, then each kg of mining equipment, power supply, ISRU, propellant storage and lunar to EML-2 tanker needs to produce 2X/5000 (the 2 is there because half the propellant will be used to launch the other half to EML-2).

Realistic values of X will be more than $100,000, so each kg will have to produce 100 kg of propellant or so to break even.

A realistic mass for the mining and other equipment will be more than 100 tonnes, that means propellant production will have to be greater than 10,000 tonnes. If even occasional human presence is required to fix problems the mass required on the lunar surface would be much higher and hence much higher production would be needed to break even.

10,000 tonnes of propellant is something like 50 Mars missions staging at EML-2, so it is really only appropriate to major human expansion into the solar system.

However, if more than 10,000 tonnes of propellant were really needed at EML-2, launch costs would have to be lower (otherwise launching the mission hardware would be unaffordable). This would in turn mean that even more lunar propellant would need to be produced to break even.

This is not an argument about using lunar produced propellant on the moon, or to refuel a lander to launch payloads back from the moon. That still seems to make sense at the level of supporting a small lunar base.

To sum up: Lunar ISRU propellant for EML-2 is dead.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Robotbeat on 04/06/2011 12:46 PM
I would love to see how SpaceX would design a lunar lander.

Just my opinion, but if they were smart, they'd contract that out to the 'experts'.
What experts do you mean? No one has built a lunar lander for something around 40 years. Unless you mean the small "mammalspace" companies.

:-P
;) I think you guys can do it if given the resources. I have nothing but respect for the small "newspace" folks.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 04/06/2011 02:07 PM
I would love to see how SpaceX would design a lunar lander.

Just my opinion, but if they were smart, they'd contract that out to the 'experts'.
What experts do you mean? No one has built a lunar lander for something around 40 years. Unless you mean the small "mammalspace" companies.

:P

Armadillo would certainly be my first port of call if I was looking for a partner to do something like this.  SpaceX could provide the pressure cabin and propulsion system (Draco for the RCS and maybe something Kestrel-derived for the MPS).  There's already a company that does life support systems and is working with SpaceX (Paladin? Paragon) and I'm pretty sure that Armadillo will already have the figures and engineering requirements to hand for the hull, landing gear and other hardware.

Maybe... call it 'Phoenix'? It keeps to the mythalogical animal theme and also speaks to the resurrection of the dashed hopes of CxP. ;)


[edit]
Got LSS contractor's name
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Joris on 04/06/2011 02:17 PM
Maybe... call it 'Phoenix'? It keeps to the mythalogical animal theme and also speaks to the resurrection of the dashed hopes of CxP. ;)

That would be LUNOX, unless a lander named phoenix was also in an earlier study.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: mr. mark on 04/06/2011 02:29 PM
Now all we need is a plasma driven second stage and we are ready to go. (oh, i'm really dreaming now)
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: grdja on 04/06/2011 02:39 PM
Now all we need is a plasma driven second stage and we are ready to go. (oh, i'm really dreaming now)

Reactor, shielding, radiators... Just to power VASIMR; which hasn't been tested in space ever.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Joris on 04/06/2011 02:51 PM
Reactor, shielding, radiators... Just to power VASIMR; which hasn't been tested in space ever.

Quote
While Russia has used over 30 fission reactors in space, the USA has flown only one - the SNAP-10A (System for Nuclear Auxiliary Power) in 1965.
http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/inf82.html

That is 31 reactors.
Many more did not fly.


Radiators are being used by all spacecraft, and the principle of shielding against one is the same as with terrestrial reactors.


VASIMR will fly within a few years, and alternative ion engines have been in use since the 70's.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Robotbeat on 04/06/2011 03:06 PM
Now all we need is a plasma driven second stage and we are ready to go. (oh, i'm really dreaming now)
You can't use a plasma rocket as a second stage unless your first stage is SSTO. Not enough thrust. Not even with really optimistic nuclear reactors. And once you're in orbit, you might as well use solar power, which has a far, far higher demonstrated specific power than nuclear electric anyways (solar is a lot lighter for a given power output... or for a given mass, solar gives you more power). Future solar designs are even better, plus have a higher TRL than similar nuclear designs (and these upgraded solar arrays would be a lot cheaper to develop, being mostly about structure and deployment).

These are technical points. Politics is another matter, but I ignore that here (because I don't think the fear of nuclear is rational).

...And it's very off-topic.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Ronsmytheiii on 04/06/2011 03:06 PM
VASMIR and other concepts are not on topic, which is about Falcon Heavy
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Danderman on 04/06/2011 03:18 PM
They plan to launch this increased mass by increasing engine thrust by 12 percent.

How does going from 95klbf to 140-ish klbf per engine constitude a 12% thrust increase?

The current Merlin has a rated thrust of 125 klbf, per the SpaceX web site.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: ugordan on 04/06/2011 03:20 PM
The current Merlin 1c has a rated thrust of 95 klbf. The numbers on the site were for the engine upgrade, now Merlin 1d which apparently ended up in the 135-140 klbf range.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: mr. mark on 04/06/2011 03:27 PM
I'm reading some of the responses from ULA employees, they just don't get it. They are still talking about reliabilty (ULA) vs.cost (Spacex). If this is how ULA's upper management thinks they will eventually be outflanked. Instead of being in denial, they need to form a response that works for them long term. Sure you can say Spacex does not have a track record but what happens when they do and you haven't changed your approach to respond.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: baldusi on 04/06/2011 04:14 PM
VASMIR and other concepts are not on topic, which is about Falcon Heavy
Actually, it was, since they proposed it as a second stage since it was named by SpaceX before (per Markus 2010 presentation). What they are confusing is a second stage engine (high thrust/good isp), versus an interplanetary engines (low thrust/exeptional isp).
The second stage needs a lot of thrust because:
1) Gravity losses are important.
2) There's still some atmospheric drag.
A third stage doesn't have to deal with such, but still has to pass the worst part of the Van Allen Belt fast. The magnetic fields and high energy particles can wreak havoc with non hardened electronics, in particular, long exposition (like in days as would happen with ion drive) kills most solar panels. If the payload is hardened, then it's no problem. But as a general transport, also is a no go.
So SpaceX layered a proposal of research to have this structure:
First Stage RP-1/LOX (upto 80km)
Second Stage H2/LOX (from  80km to LEO)
Third Stage Nuclear Rocket (From LEO to High Energy Orbit)
Ion, SEP, VASIMR or whatever electrical (From High Orbit to other planets)
Once you understand this, it's true that the Heavy would love to have a Raptor US. Not only would that allow for a higher payload to LEO, it would greatly increase to high energy orbits. It would make FH an ideal vehicle for TLI and MLI.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Norm Hartnett on 04/06/2011 04:20 PM
Speaking of track records, I have some questions about Space X’s performance to date.

How close has the Falcon 1 come to Space X’s early projections in terms of flight performance and customer costs?

How close has the Falcon 9 come to Space X’s early projections in terms of flight performance and customer costs?

Mr. Musk seems very confident about the FH numbers, in fact he hinted that he fully expects to exceed the numbers he gave during this presser. While you rocket scientists may argue about the likelihood of the FH being able to reach those numbers you are arguing without internal data that rocket scientist Elon Musk has at his fingertips.

What I find most fascinating is Mr. Musk’s clear focus on reducing cost to LEO. This is the Holy Grail that NASA should have been pursuing for the last thirty years. I’ve heard many here claim that it wasn’t possible to reach the $1000/lb to LEO price point without very high flight rates. What is Elon doing that makes this possible? The good old American standard, mass production, not of the individual rockets but of the individual components, engines and tanks. It is a brilliant workaround IMO.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Joris on 04/06/2011 04:25 PM
Speaking of track records, I have some questions about Space X’s performance to date.

How close has the Falcon 1 come to Space X’s early projections in terms of flight performance and customer costs?
Falcon 1 was mostly for testing, so its performance wasn't really that important.

Quote
How close has the Falcon 9 come to Space X’s early projections in terms of flight performance and customer costs?
How early? Since the performance and cost get adjusted quite a lot.

Quote
What is Elon doing that makes this possible?
Keeping it simple.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Danderman on 04/06/2011 04:32 PM
The current Merlin 1c has a rated thrust of 95 klbf. The numbers on the site were for the engine upgrade, now Merlin 1d which apparently ended up in the 135-140 klbf range.

This precisely manifests one of the issues with SpaceX announcements and data; they don't all tie together. Let me try to do so in regard to Merlin variants and F9 performance:

Merlin 1c thrust:   95 klbs. Falcon 9 performance: 6 tons to LEO (current)

Merlin 1d thrust: 125 klbs. Falcon 9 performance: 10 tons to LEO (old plan)

Merlin 1d thrust: 140 klbs. Falcon 9 performance: 16 tons to LEO (new plan)

As you can see, the numbers don't add up. My guess is that F9 never actually puts anywhere close to 16 tons into LEO until a subsequent development like Raptor happens, after which time everyone here will have forgotten about the all-kerosine F9 with that kind of performance.



Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Joris on 04/06/2011 04:36 PM
This precisely manifests one of the issues with SpaceX announcements and data; they don't all tie together. Let me try to do so in regard to Merlin variants and F9 performance:

Merlin 1c thrust:   95 klbs. Falcon 9 performance: 6 tons to LEO (current)
They launched a dragon (Don't know its exact weight.), and had spare fuel on their second stage to inject it in a ~11.000km elliptical orbit.
Quote
Merlin 1d thrust: 125 klbs. Falcon 9 performance: 10 tons to LEO (old plan)

Merlin 1d thrust: 140 klbs. Falcon 9 performance: 16 tons to LEO (new plan)

As you can see, the numbers don't add up. My guess is that F9 never actually puts anywhere close to 16 tons into LEO until a subsequent development like Raptor happens, after which time everyone here will have forgotten about the all-kerosine F9 with that kind of performance.

Maybe tankstretch, since they went from 54 to 69 meters.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Robotbeat on 04/06/2011 04:39 PM
The current Merlin 1c has a rated thrust of 95 klbf. The numbers on the site were for the engine upgrade, now Merlin 1d which apparently ended up in the 135-140 klbf range.

This precisely manifests one of the issues with SpaceX announcements and data; they don't all tie together. Let me try to do so in regard to Merlin variants and F9 performance:

Merlin 1c thrust:   95 klbs. Falcon 9 performance: 6 tons to LEO (current)

Merlin 1d thrust: 125 klbs. Falcon 9 performance: 10 tons to LEO (old plan)

Merlin 1d thrust: 140 klbs. Falcon 9 performance: 16 tons to LEO (new plan)

As you can see, the numbers don't add up. My guess is that F9 never actually puts anywhere close to 16 tons into LEO until a subsequent development like Raptor happens, after which time everyone here will have forgotten about the all-kerosine F9 with that kind of performance.
Keep in mind the Falcon 9 16mT performance figures were only up on the website for a time measured in minutes.

Hydrogen is a big bunch of new problems that SpaceX probably doesn't have the resources to solve right now or in the near future. The Russians still don't use hydrogen (except on Energia) but have launched more rockets in the last decade or so than probably everyone else combined.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: ugordan on 04/06/2011 04:41 PM
Merlin 1d thrust: 140 klbs. Falcon 9 performance: 16 tons to LEO (new plan)

As you can see, the numbers don't add up. My guess is that F9 never actually puts anywhere close to 16 tons into LEO until a subsequent development like Raptor happens, after which time everyone here will have forgotten about the all-kerosine F9 with that kind of performance.

Perhaps, but the GLOW I saw for that 16 ton version was I think 480 tons. Ties in with the 1400 tons for FH and is pretty much Zenit category, but obviously won't fit into the current tank size by a long shot.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: MikeAtkinson on 04/06/2011 04:51 PM
From http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=24641.msg718688#msg718688 (http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=24641.msg718688#msg718688)

Quote

FALCON 9   FALCON HEAVY
Mass to LEO (200 km, 28.5 deg):   16,000 kg (35,000 lb)   53,000 kg (117,000 lb)
Overall Length:   69.2 m (227 ft)   69.2 m (227 ft)
Width (body):   3.6 m (12 ft)   3.6 m (12 ft) x 11.6 m (38 ft)
Width (fairing):   5.2 m (17 ft)   5.2 m (17 ft)
Mass on liftoff:   480,000 kg (1,050,000 lb)   1,450,000 kg (3,100,000 lb)
Thrust on liftoff:   5.71 MN (1,260,000 lbf)   17 MN (3,800,000 lbf)
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Lurker Steve on 04/06/2011 05:01 PM
From http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=24641.msg718688#msg718688 (http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=24641.msg718688#msg718688)

Quote

FALCON 9   FALCON HEAVY
Mass to LEO (200 km, 28.5 deg):   16,000 kg (35,000 lb)   53,000 kg (117,000 lb)
Overall Length:   69.2 m (227 ft)   69.2 m (227 ft)
Width (body):   3.6 m (12 ft)   3.6 m (12 ft) x 11.6 m (38 ft)
Width (fairing):   5.2 m (17 ft)   5.2 m (17 ft)
Mass on liftoff:   480,000 kg (1,050,000 lb)   1,450,000 kg (3,100,000 lb)
Thrust on liftoff:   5.71 MN (1,260,000 lbf)   17 MN (3,800,000 lbf)


So these performance numbers require new "stretched" tanks and new Merlin 1D engines. I assume the SpaceX factory has been busy doing something since the last time we saw a Falcon rocket launch. Any idea how many of the Merlin 1C engines and corresponding 1st stage tank assemblies exist to date ? I assume they have to use up their supply of old design engines before switching to the new model. You don't let millions of dollars of engines just sit in your inventory unused. Unless of course, they are going to sell them to another 2nd or 3rd tier space company... They definately would not be able to export those parts.

But who would be interested ?
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Danderman on 04/06/2011 06:34 PM
Keep in mind the Falcon 9 16mT performance figures were only up on the website for a time measured in minutes.
[/quote]

Sigh.

Without Falcon 9 having a 16mT capability, FH cannot launch 53 mT.

The SpaceX fanboys don't see to be able to explain the current 6mt capability rising to 16mT with slightly improved engines and a slightly larger prop tank.

Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Robotbeat on 04/06/2011 06:40 PM
Keep in mind the Falcon 9 16mT performance figures were only up on the website for a time measured in minutes.

Sigh.

Without Falcon 9 having a 16mT capability, FH cannot launch 53 mT.

The SpaceX fanboys don't see to be able to explain the current 6mt capability rising to 16mT with slightly improved engines and a slightly larger prop tank.


The engines would have about 50% higher thrust, it's a three-stage vehicle (so is more efficient than a two-stage vehicle), the engines will certainly have higher Isp (higher pressure), better mass fraction, etc. It seems perfectly reasonable to me. Optimistic, perhaps, but certainly possible.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: ugordan on 04/06/2011 06:45 PM
The SpaceX fanboys don't see to be able to explain the current 6mt capability rising to 16mT with slightly improved engines and a slightly larger prop tank.

How about you first demonstrating the basis behind your 6 metric tons before accusing fanboys of armwaving?

I just plugged Block 1 numbers into Schilling's performance calculator.
Stage 1: 15 tons dry, 250 mt propellant load, 3774 kN thrust, 300 s Isp(vac)
Stage 2: 2.4 tons dry, 40 mt propellant load, 411 kN thrust, 336s Isp(vac)

Result into a 185 km circular at 28.6 deg: 8 tons, 95% confidence: 6.2 tons to 10.2 tons
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Joris on 04/06/2011 06:49 PM
The SpaceX fanboys don't see to be able to explain the current 6mt capability rising to 16mT with slightly improved engines and a slightly larger prop tank.

Slightly?


About 50%.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: spacetraveler on 04/06/2011 06:52 PM
The SpaceX fanboys don't see to be able to explain the current 6mt capability rising to 16mT with slightly improved engines and a slightly larger prop tank.

IMO, if the number is accurate the upper stage must be getting stretched as well and possibly more efficient.

All of this attention has been on the first stage upgrade, but the upper is where you get most of your acceleration, I don't think the current ascent profile of the existing MVac engine and tank is going to do it.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Downix on 04/06/2011 07:02 PM
For that matter, 45 to 50 tons in LEO equals to 15- 20 tons to EML-2, single launch. Food for thought...
No, it doesn't.  It depends on your upper stage.  Falcon is still limited by that Kerolox US in that regards.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: savuporo on 04/06/2011 07:04 PM
Armadillo would certainly be my first port of call if I was looking for a partner to do something like this.  SpaceX could provide the pressure cabin and propulsion system (Draco for the RCS and maybe something Kestrel-derived for the MPS).  There's already a company that does life support systems and is working with SpaceX (Paladin? Paragon) and I'm pretty sure that Armadillo will already have the figures and engineering requirements to hand for the hull, landing gear and other hardware.

Space hardware isnt Lego blocks.

John Carmack responded to the "lunar lander?" queries on arocket :

Quote
I specifically don't want to be in the business of building payloads that ride on top of $50M+ launch vehicles, because the responsibility should terrify you into not trying anything with a chance of failing, which shuts down innovation and progress.  If NASA or Elon came directly to me and said that they wanted Armadillo to build something to land on the actual moon it would be hard to turn down, so I hope such a request never comes.

John Carmack

I hope he never gets that call, too, and they actually finally fly something to space on their own.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Joris on 04/06/2011 07:05 PM
For that matter, 45 to 50 tons in LEO equals to 15- 20 tons to EML-2, single launch. Food for thought...
No, it doesn't.  It depends on your upper stage.  Falcon is still limited by that Kerolox US in that regards.

I believe he is refering to the presentation, which stated 35klb to escape.
Although 20 tons seems too high, 15 tons would be perfectly doable with the Falcon Heavy.

Hydrolox US would make a great addition, albeit it will be expensive and difficult to do.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: WulfTheSaxon on 04/06/2011 07:06 PM
It is some where between urban myth and metaphyscial truth that there has been/will be some uber large classified payload that needed a ride.

From RAND, as of 2006: (http://www.rand.org/pubs/monographs/2006/RAND_MG503.pdf)
Quote
…the production capacity for Delta IV, with one possible exception, can satisfy the entire projected NSS launch demand [out to 2020]. The exception involves the requirement to increase the Delta IV Heavy lift capability to accommodate a single NRO payload. The best solution to this requirement is currently under study.

That was before the RS-68A, so maybe that’s already taken care of, I don’t know. I imagine the NRO has dreams of their own 16.8m spysat to rival ATLAST.  :P
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Downix on 04/06/2011 07:10 PM
For that matter, 45 to 50 tons in LEO equals to 15- 20 tons to EML-2, single launch. Food for thought...
No, it doesn't.  It depends on your upper stage.  Falcon is still limited by that Kerolox US in that regards.

I believe he is refering to the presentation, which stated 35klb to escape.
Although 20 tons seems too high, 15 tons would be perfectly doable with the Falcon Heavy.

Hydrolox US would make a great addition, albeit it will be expensive and difficult to do.
I would have focused on Hydrolox before Heavy, for without that, the Heavy is fighting with one arm tied behind its back.  The Atlas and Delta as/is will surpass it for a lot of missions, even if it's raw payload is higher, due to this.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Joris on 04/06/2011 07:20 PM
I would have focused on Hydrolox before Heavy, for without that, the Heavy is fighting with one arm tied behind its back.  The Atlas and Delta as/is will surpass it for a lot of missions, even if it's raw payload is higher, due to this.

What do you mean with this?

Falcon Heavy could do 30klb TMI, how does Atlas or Delta surpass?
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Robotbeat on 04/06/2011 07:22 PM
For that matter, 45 to 50 tons in LEO equals to 15- 20 tons to EML-2, single launch. Food for thought...
No, it doesn't.  It depends on your upper stage.  Falcon is still limited by that Kerolox US in that regards.

I believe he is refering to the presentation, which stated 35klb to escape.
Although 20 tons seems too high, 15 tons would be perfectly doable with the Falcon Heavy.

Hydrolox US would make a great addition, albeit it will be expensive and difficult to do.
I would have focused on Hydrolox before Heavy, for without that, the Heavy is fighting with one arm tied behind its back.  The Atlas and Delta as/is will surpass it for a lot of missions, even if it's raw payload is higher, due to this.
Actually, I don't think so. Delta IV Heavy to escape is around 10mT, which is quite a bit less than the claimed performance for Falcon Heavy.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: edkyle99 on 04/06/2011 07:27 PM
The current Merlin 1c has a rated thrust of 95 klbf. The numbers on the site were for the engine upgrade, now Merlin 1d which apparently ended up in the 135-140 klbf range.

This precisely manifests one of the issues with SpaceX announcements and data; they don't all tie together. Let me try to do so in regard to Merlin variants and F9 performance:

Merlin 1c thrust:   95 klbs. Falcon 9 performance: 6 tons to LEO (current)

Merlin 1d thrust: 125 klbs. Falcon 9 performance: 10 tons to LEO (old plan)

Merlin 1d thrust: 140 klbs. Falcon 9 performance: 16 tons to LEO (new plan)

As you can see, the numbers don't add up. My guess is that F9 never actually puts anywhere close to 16 tons into LEO until a subsequent development like Raptor happens, after which time everyone here will have forgotten about the all-kerosine F9 with that kind of performance.

The second Falcon 9 put about 6.5 to 7 tonnes of payload into LEO (including Dragon, Dragon trunk, and several minisats) and an additional roughly 2 tonnes of propellant used by the upper stage for a second burn after Dragon separated.  That's 8.5 to 9 tonnes of LEO payload if the orbited propellant is included.  This rocket used the 95Klbf Merlin.

The current Falcon 9 Users Guide, which is two years old, lists a 10.5 tonne capability to LEO using the 125Klbf Merlin.

The numbers can add up for a 16 tonne LEO payload Falcon 9 if the following assumptions are made.
1.  140Klbf Merlin 1D with improved ISP on both stages.
2.  Propellant mass fractions of 0.95 (0.94 with residuals).
3.  Stretched first *and* second stages.  (The current plan only stretches the first stage.)
Under the same assumptions, this rocket could lift perhaps 5-6 tonnes to GTO.

 - Ed Kyle
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Danderman on 04/06/2011 07:30 PM
The SpaceX fanboys don't see to be able to explain the current 6mt capability rising to 16mT with slightly improved engines and a slightly larger prop tank.

Slightly?


About 50%.

The Block II F9 used the 125klbf Merlin, and provided 10 metric tons of payload.

This new iteration increases thrust by 12 percent, to 140 klbf, with a resulting 60% increase in payload.

A 12 percent increase is indeed a slight increase.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Danderman on 04/06/2011 07:32 PM
The second Falcon 9 put about 6.5 to 7 tonnes of payload into LEO (including Dragon, Dragon trunk, and several minisats) and an additional roughly 2 tonnes of propellant used by the upper stage for a second burn after Dragon separated.  That's 8.5 to 9 tonnes of LEO payload if the orbited propellant is included.  This rocket used the 95Klbf Merlin.

I am not sure if the Dragon had that much mass; a "dry" Dragon has a mass of some 4 tons; apart from a small amount of Draco prop, what was inside the Dragon that had a mass of 2.5 to 3 tons?
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Danderman on 04/06/2011 07:34 PM
The numbers can add up for a 16 tonne LEO payload Falcon 9 if the following assumptions are made.
1.  140Klbf Merlin 1D with improved ISP on both stages.
2.  Propellant mass fractions of 0.95 (0.94 with residuals).
3.  Stretched first *and* second stages.  (The current plan only stretches the first stage.)

IF increased ISP is the factor that generates the 53 metric ton payload, then that is a much bigger story than the 12 percent increase in thrust. Its relatively easy to increase thrust at Merlin levels, but ISP increase is extremely difficult.

I am assuming that the 2nd stage in FH and the new improved F9 uses the new engine and is stretched. The numbers still don't work, unless you invoke magical mass fractions and ISP improvements.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Robotbeat on 04/06/2011 07:43 PM
The numbers can add up for a 16 tonne LEO payload Falcon 9 if the following assumptions are made.
1.  140Klbf Merlin 1D with improved ISP on both stages.
2.  Propellant mass fractions of 0.95 (0.94 with residuals).
3.  Stretched first *and* second stages.  (The current plan only stretches the first stage.)

IF increased ISP is the factor that generates the 53 metric ton payload, then that is a much bigger story than the 12 percent increase in thrust. Its relatively easy to increase thrust at Merlin levels, but ISP increase is extremely difficult.

I am assuming that the 2nd stage in FH and the new improved F9 uses the new engine and is stretched. The numbers still don't work, unless you invoke magical mass fractions and ISP improvements.

The mass fractions of the boosters are actually nearly "magical" given current industry thinking. Of course, it wasn't always the case that those mass fractions were unheard of. But a mass fraction of 30 is quite impressive nowadays.

And Merlin 1C is a relatively low pressure engine. If the thrust increase comes from a pressure increase (and not a throat area increase, or not as much), it should result in a measurable increase in Isp.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Downix on 04/06/2011 07:48 PM
I would have focused on Hydrolox before Heavy, for without that, the Heavy is fighting with one arm tied behind its back.  The Atlas and Delta as/is will surpass it for a lot of missions, even if it's raw payload is higher, due to this.

What do you mean with this?

Falcon Heavy could do 30klb TMI, how does Atlas or Delta surpass?
Just that.  If you ever check the performance chart, Atlas roughly equals this, without a heavy version. Delta is about half, at 13klbs but is getting two performance upgrades soon which will put neck and neck with F9H and AV.

Falcon's upper stage does not have the ability to do as many burns, nor have the impulse capacity to pull off the same kinda of TMI burns as Atlas or Delta.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Joris on 04/06/2011 07:49 PM

The Block II F9 used the 125klbf Merlin, and provided 10 metric tons of payload.
You said 6 tons in your post, which corresponds to BlockI, or about 95klbf thrust.

Quote
This new iteration increases thrust by 12 percent, to 140 klbf, with a resulting 60% increase in payload.

A 12 percent increase is indeed a slight increase.


12% increase in Thrust
some increase in Isp
50% increase in GLOW

Should give to about 60%, mostly due to GLOW increase.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: spacetraveler on 04/06/2011 08:04 PM
I would have focused on Hydrolox before Heavy, for without that, the Heavy is fighting with one arm tied behind its back.  The Atlas and Delta as/is will surpass it for a lot of missions, even if it's raw payload is higher, due to this.

What do you mean with this?

Falcon Heavy could do 30klb TMI, how does Atlas or Delta surpass?
Just that.  If you ever check the performance chart, Atlas roughly equals this, without a heavy version.

I'm confused. Isn't the highest performance Atlas without a heavy the 551? That only does a little under 20klbs to GTO. How does that equal 30klbs to TMI?
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Downix on 04/06/2011 08:07 PM
I would have focused on Hydrolox before Heavy, for without that, the Heavy is fighting with one arm tied behind its back.  The Atlas and Delta as/is will surpass it for a lot of missions, even if it's raw payload is higher, due to this.

What do you mean with this?

Falcon Heavy could do 30klb TMI, how does Atlas or Delta surpass?
Just that.  If you ever check the performance chart, Atlas roughly equals this, without a heavy version.

I'm confused. The highest performance Atlas without a heavy is the 551, which only does a little under 20klbs to GTO. How does that equal 30klbs to TMI?
No, it is the 552, with the STAR-48 kick-stage.  An orderable option from ULA, just short of the Heavy.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: spacetraveler on 04/06/2011 08:10 PM
No, it is the 552, with the STAR-48 kick-stage.  An orderable option from ULA, just short of the Heavy.

Ok, but even that's listed as just a little over 20klbs to GTO. Still don't get how that equals 30klbs to TMI. What am I missing?
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: kevin-rf on 04/06/2011 08:10 PM
IMO, if the number is accurate the upper stage must be getting stretched as well and possibly more efficient.

All of this attention has been on the first stage upgrade, but the upper is where you get most of your acceleration, I don't think the current ascent profile of the existing MVac engine and tank is going to do it.

Actually I played with schilling and managed to get well within the quoted without stretching the US. Actually to my surprise when I played with the numbers, stretching the upper hurt the LEO performance ...  http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=24711.msg719441#msg719441

Quote
Well for fun I played with Schillings calculator to get a "working" Falcon Heavy. I then secretly replaced with upper stage with a 450 ISP upper stage.

Results (Note Schillings has a rep for under estimating performance. Mr. Musk's values fall well within the error bars)
LEO
200km x 200km x 28
Kero Upper: 45,600kg
LH Upper: 53,000kg
Improvement 21%

GTO
185km x 35,786km at 28
Kero Upper: 19,250kg
LH Upper: 27,000kg
Improvement 40%

Some interesting things came out of playing with the numbers.
1. Stretching the upper stage while keeping the Vac Merlin really hurt performance.
2. To get Schillings numbers in the range of Elon's numbers I had to uprated the Merlin 1D ISP to 320.
3. I used 450 ISP, didn't Musk claim Raptor at 470. That adds about 2000kg to LEO and 1000kg to GTO.

I modeled a three stage system (nice way to model cross feed system, stage one has the two core's worth of dry mass with three cores thrust, stage two has one cores dry mass and one cores thrust )
 
                   Stage 1   Stage 2   Stage 3
Dry Mass       40000   20000   4000
Propellant Mass   879000   417000   40000
Thrust           17000   5666      629
ISP               320       320       342

http://www.silverbirdastronautics.com/LVperform.html

Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Danderman on 04/06/2011 08:23 PM

12% increase in Thrust
some increase in Isp
50% increase in GLOW

Should give to about 60%, mostly due to GLOW increase.

You should probably explain how 12% = 60%. Can you increase my car mileage by 60% with a 12% efficiency increase?
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Downix on 04/06/2011 08:24 PM
No, it is the 552, with the STAR-48 kick-stage.  An orderable option from ULA, just short of the Heavy.

Ok, but even that's listed as just a little over 20klbs to GTO. Still don't get how that equals 30klbs to TMI. What am I missing?
Higher isp engines with multiple restarts.  What are often called low-energy transfer maneuvers.  That is why the 552 looses so little going to GTO over LEO.  If you use the DEC you can maneuver the whole stack such that the STAR-48 can do the final insertion burn, and gain a much larger final payload.  Merlin-Vac cannot do the 18+ orbital maneuvering burns required, DEC can. 
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Joris on 04/06/2011 08:28 PM
No, it is the 552, with the STAR-48 kick-stage.  An orderable option from ULA, just short of the Heavy.

Ok, but even that's listed as just a little over 20klbs to GTO. Still don't get how that equals 30klbs to TMI. What am I missing?
Higher isp engines with multiple restarts.  What are often called low-energy transfer maneuvers.  That is why the 552 looses so little going to GTO over LEO.  If you use the DEC you can maneuver the whole stack such that the STAR-48 can do the final insertion burn, and gain a much larger final payload.  Merlin-Vac cannot do the 18+ orbital maneuvering burns required, DEC can. 

If you can do 15tons to TMI, you can do at least that to GTO, and probably more. Since the deltav needed for TMI is 3.8km/s and for GTO, 2.5km/s

Atlas V heavy cannot even do 15 tons to GTO
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: ugordan on 04/06/2011 08:29 PM

12% increase in Thrust
some increase in Isp
50% increase in GLOW

Should give to about 60%, mostly due to GLOW increase.

You should probably explain how 12% = 60%. Can you increase my car mileage by 60% with a 12% efficiency increase?


I pointed this out to you already and you ignored it.

Which part of F9 Block 2 had 330 tons GLOW baselined compared to the figure of 480 tons that went with that 16 ton figure do you not get? A vehicle 55 m in height compared to 69 meters.

If you want to pick apart the figures, at least don't be selective as to what numbers you wish to see and which to ignore.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: spacetraveler on 04/06/2011 08:33 PM
No, it is the 552, with the STAR-48 kick-stage.  An orderable option from ULA, just short of the Heavy.

Ok, but even that's listed as just a little over 20klbs to GTO. Still don't get how that equals 30klbs to TMI. What am I missing?
Higher isp engines with multiple restarts.  What are often called low-energy transfer maneuvers.  That is why the 552 looses so little going to GTO over LEO.  If you use the DEC you can maneuver the whole stack such that the STAR-48 can do the final insertion burn, and gain a much larger final payload.  Merlin-Vac cannot do the 18+ orbital maneuvering burns required, DEC can. 

That wasn't my question. I understand that the upper stages on ULA's offerings are far superior to Merlin-Vaccum. But you stated that an Atlas non-heavy can do 30klbs to TMI. How is that possible when it only does a little over 20klbs to GTO? It takes more energy to push something to TMI than to GTO.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Downix on 04/06/2011 08:42 PM
No, it is the 552, with the STAR-48 kick-stage.  An orderable option from ULA, just short of the Heavy.

Ok, but even that's listed as just a little over 20klbs to GTO. Still don't get how that equals 30klbs to TMI. What am I missing?
Higher isp engines with multiple restarts.  What are often called low-energy transfer maneuvers.  That is why the 552 looses so little going to GTO over LEO.  If you use the DEC you can maneuver the whole stack such that the STAR-48 can do the final insertion burn, and gain a much larger final payload.  Merlin-Vac cannot do the 18+ orbital maneuvering burns required, DEC can. 

That wasn't my question. I understand that the upper stages on ULA's offerings are far superior to Merlin-Vaccum. But you stated that an Atlas non-heavy can do 30klbs to TMI. How is that possible when it only does a little over 20klbs to GTO? It takes more energy to push something to TMI than to GTO.
It was your answer, however.  Low energy transfers which are enabled due to the DEC.  GTO low-energy transfers are only slight improvement.  But if you go beyond GTO, then the benefits of them start going up.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: baldusi on 04/06/2011 08:44 PM
That wasn't my question. I understand that the upper stages on ULA's offerings are far superior to Merlin-Vaccum. But you stated that an Atlas non-heavy can do 30klbs to TMI. How is that possible when it only does a little over 20klbs to GTO? It takes more energy to push something to TMI than to GTO.
It takes less energy if and only if the insertion profile has multiple firings and coasting. If you have to go straight(er), then the delta-v increase a lot. The table you have is a minimum delta-v maneuver. Not all vehicles can execute them. The EELV are optimized for high energy orbits. SpaceX lacks the high isp upper stage (and they lack a kicker stage).
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Robotbeat on 04/06/2011 08:54 PM
No, it is the 552, with the STAR-48 kick-stage.  An orderable option from ULA, just short of the Heavy.

Ok, but even that's listed as just a little over 20klbs to GTO. Still don't get how that equals 30klbs to TMI. What am I missing?
Higher isp engines with multiple restarts.  What are often called low-energy transfer maneuvers.  That is why the 552 looses so little going to GTO over LEO.  If you use the DEC you can maneuver the whole stack such that the STAR-48 can do the final insertion burn, and gain a much larger final payload.  Merlin-Vac cannot do the 18+ orbital maneuvering burns required, DEC can. 

That wasn't my question. I understand that the upper stages on ULA's offerings are far superior to Merlin-Vaccum. But you stated that an Atlas non-heavy can do 30klbs to TMI. How is that possible when it only does a little over 20klbs to GTO? It takes more energy to push something to TMI than to GTO.
It was your answer, however.  Low energy transfers which are enabled due to the DEC.  GTO low-energy transfers are only slight improvement.  But if you go beyond GTO, then the benefits of them start going up.
Downix, you are wrong in this case. Falcon Heavy has effectively three stages, which does a lot to make up for the lack of a hydrolox upper stage. This allows it to beat the Atlas V 552 to TMI. (The dual-engine centaur likely wouldn't beat the single-engine centaur for TMI... more dead weight... the improvement from DEC comes in payload to LEO)

The Atlas V 551 can do about ~5000kg to TMI (according to this: http://spirit.as.utexas.edu/~fiso/telecon/Glover_1-19-11/Glover_1-19-11.pdf ), versus at least 13000-15000kg to TMI for the Falcon Heavy. You are making a big mistake in your reasoning somewhere.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: ugordan on 04/06/2011 08:58 PM
It takes more energy to push something to TMI than to GTO.
It takes less energy if and only if the insertion profile has multiple firings and coasting.

I'm sorry, but this just wrong. There is no way a TMI burn from LEO can be less energy-expensive than a GTO burn. The latter has C3<0, orbit is bound to Earth and the former is an Earth escape burn and then some.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Downix on 04/06/2011 09:01 PM
No, it is the 552, with the STAR-48 kick-stage.  An orderable option from ULA, just short of the Heavy.

Ok, but even that's listed as just a little over 20klbs to GTO. Still don't get how that equals 30klbs to TMI. What am I missing?
Higher isp engines with multiple restarts.  What are often called low-energy transfer maneuvers.  That is why the 552 looses so little going to GTO over LEO.  If you use the DEC you can maneuver the whole stack such that the STAR-48 can do the final insertion burn, and gain a much larger final payload.  Merlin-Vac cannot do the 18+ orbital maneuvering burns required, DEC can. 

That wasn't my question. I understand that the upper stages on ULA's offerings are far superior to Merlin-Vaccum. But you stated that an Atlas non-heavy can do 30klbs to TMI. How is that possible when it only does a little over 20klbs to GTO? It takes more energy to push something to TMI than to GTO.
It was your answer, however.  Low energy transfers which are enabled due to the DEC.  GTO low-energy transfers are only slight improvement.  But if you go beyond GTO, then the benefits of them start going up.
Downix, you are wrong in this case. Falcon Heavy has effectively three stages, which does a lot to make up for the lack of a hydrolox upper stage. This allows it to beat the Atlas V 552 to TMI. (The dual-engine centaur likely wouldn't beat the single-engine centaur for TMI... more dead weight... the improvement from DEC comes in payload to LEO)

The Atlas V 551 can do about ~5000kg to TMI (according to this: http://spirit.as.utexas.edu/~fiso/telecon/Glover_1-19-11/Glover_1-19-11.pdf ), versus at least 13000kg to TMI for the Falcon Heavy. You are making a big mistake in your reasoning somewhere.
That slideshow actually agrees with me.  It is discussing the use of Hoffmann short duration TMI.  I am not.  With F9H, the Hoffmann is going to be about the only option you have to use.  Fine system, but it is not the only way to go about it.  With low energy transfers you can more than double the TMI, at the expense of time, lots of time, months extra of time.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Downix on 04/06/2011 09:02 PM
It takes more energy to push something to TMI than to GTO.
It takes less energy if and only if the insertion profile has multiple firings and coasting.

I'm sorry, but this just wrong. There is no way a TMI burn from LEO can be less energy-expensive than a GTO burn. The latter has C3<0, orbit is bound to Earth and the former is an Earth escape burn and then some.
Yes, it can be.  You just need to be smart about it.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Robotbeat on 04/06/2011 09:03 PM
It takes more energy to push something to TMI than to GTO.
It takes less energy if and only if the insertion profile has multiple firings and coasting.

I'm sorry, but this just wrong. There is no way a TMI burn from LEO can be less energy-expensive than a GTO burn. The latter has C3<0, orbit is bound to Earth and the former is an Earth escape burn and then some.
Yes, it can be.  You just need to be smart about it.
So, you're able to get three times the performance with your method? Burden of proof lies on you! (Well, also it lies on SpaceX to deliver their claimed performance, but you know what I mean.)
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: simonbp on 04/06/2011 09:08 PM
The Atlas V 551 can do about ~5000kg to TMI

Not sure if I believe that; IIRC, MSL is about 3000 kg post-injection, but launched on a 541. One booster shouldn't make that much difference...

EDIT: Here it says (http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&cd=5&ved=0CDIQFjAE&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.spacepolicyonline.com%2Fpages%2Fimages%2Fstories%2FPSDS%2520Mars1%2520Li-MSL.pdf&ei=HtmcTdb2FpOssAP5xYSGBA&usg=AFQjCNFYAES7nkjRa_du8hd0zIF8t5mYNw&sig2=x4QELLXY7TZtjLCw--KiYg) the entry mass is 3400 kg, still not enough to make 551 = 5000 kg make sense...
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: spacetraveler on 04/06/2011 09:12 PM
Quote from: ugordan
I'm sorry, but this just wrong. There is no way a TMI burn from LEO can be less energy-expensive than a GTO burn. The latter has C3<0, orbit is bound to Earth and the former is an Earth escape burn and then some.
Yes, it can be.  You just need to be smart about it.

Ok, please provide a link to some sort of explanation that uses this "smart" analysis. :)

This should be interesting.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: spacetraveler on 04/06/2011 09:20 PM
With low energy transfers you can more than double the TMI, at the expense of time, lots of time, months extra of time.

For the point being made here, it doesn't matter how you do the energy transfer, whether slowly or all at once. In the end the amount of energy needed to attain an earth escape trajectory is never going to be less than the amount to raise something to GTO. That's simply not possible.

When that matters is when you are talking about how to do it, what kind of engines, what propellant load etc. You can certainly get differing results depending on how you do it, but in the end if you have X capability to GTO, you are not going escape Earth for less.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Joris on 04/06/2011 09:23 PM
Downix, proof?
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Downix on 04/06/2011 09:33 PM
The Atlas V 551 can do about ~5000kg to TMI

Not sure if I believe that; IIRC, MSL is about 3000 kg post-injection, but launched on a 541. One booster shouldn't make that much difference...

EDIT: Here it says (http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&cd=5&ved=0CDIQFjAE&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.spacepolicyonline.com%2Fpages%2Fimages%2Fstories%2FPSDS%2520Mars1%2520Li-MSL.pdf&ei=HtmcTdb2FpOssAP5xYSGBA&usg=AFQjCNFYAES7nkjRa_du8hd0zIF8t5mYNw&sig2=x4QELLXY7TZtjLCw--KiYg) the entry mass is 3400 kg, still not enough to make 551 = 5000 kg make sense...
extra booster, extra RL-10, and STAR-48 kick stage should be enough, no?
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Downix on 04/06/2011 09:35 PM
With low energy transfers you can more than double the TMI, at the expense of time, lots of time, months extra of time.

For the point being made here, it doesn't matter how you do the energy transfer, whether slowly or all at once. In the end the amount of energy needed to attain an earth escape trajectory is never going to be less than the amount to raise something to GTO. That's simply not possible.

When that matters is when you are talking about how to do it, what kind of engines, what propellant load etc. You can certainly get differing results depending on how you do it, but in the end if you have X capability to GTO, you are not going escape Earth for less.
What gravity bodies are between earth and GTO to utilize?  In addition, GTO must be circular, but for low-energy high eccentricity is not only fine, it is a bonus.  It takes more work to get a craft to GTO than it does for a transfer orbit setup.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Robotbeat on 04/06/2011 09:38 PM
With low energy transfers you can more than double the TMI, at the expense of time, lots of time, months extra of time.

For the point being made here, it doesn't matter how you do the energy transfer, whether slowly or all at once. In the end the amount of energy needed to attain an earth escape trajectory is never going to be less than the amount to raise something to GTO. That's simply not possible.

When that matters is when you are talking about how to do it, what kind of engines, what propellant load etc. You can certainly get differing results depending on how you do it, but in the end if you have X capability to GTO, you are not going escape Earth for less.
What gravity bodies are between earth and GTO to utilize?  In addition, GTO must be circular, but for low-energy high eccentricity is not only fine, it is a bonus.  It takes more work to get a craft to GTO than it does for a transfer orbit setup.
GTO isn't anywhere near circular.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: spacetraveler on 04/06/2011 09:41 PM
What gravity bodies are between earth and GTO to utilize?

None, and neither are there any before you expend the needed energy to put something on an earth escape trajectory.

In addition, GTO must be circular, but for low-energy high eccentricity is not only fine, it is a bonus.

This statement makes no sense. Not only is a GTO burn not circular, but even if it was, it takes less energy to circularize an earth orbit than to break earth orbit.


Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: ugordan on 04/06/2011 09:46 PM
it takes less energy to circularize an earth orbit than to break earth orbit.

This is actually not always the case. Has to do with Oberth effect and more efficient burns deeper in the gravity well. It takes more delta-V to get from LEO to GEO with two burns than to escape Earth from LEO.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: spacetraveler on 04/06/2011 09:50 PM
it takes less energy to circularize an earth orbit than to break earth orbit.

This is actually not always the case. Has to do with Oberth effect and more efficient burns deeper in the gravity well. It takes more delta-V to get from LEO to GEO with two burns than to escape Earth from LEO.

To GEO yes, but the hypothetical non-circular orbit we are talking about has to already be lower than GTO since the claim was that an earth escape could potentially take less energy than getting to a GTO orbit.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Downix on 04/06/2011 09:52 PM
it takes less energy to circularize an earth orbit than to break earth orbit.

This is actually not always the case. Has to do with Oberth effect and more efficient burns deeper in the gravity well. It takes more delta-V to get from LEO to GEO with two burns than to escape Earth from LEO.

To GEO yes, but the hypothetical non-circular orbit we are talking about has to already be lower than GTO since the claim was that an earth escape could potentially take less energy than getting to a GTO orbit.
I never said it took less energy, I said the craft would use less energy.  If you deal with gravitational swing options, using highly elliptical orbits, you can gain delta-v from other sources than your own engines and fuel tanks.

C'mon, this is NSF here, not some hack blog.  We worship this kind of stuff.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Space OurSoul on 04/06/2011 10:11 PM
it takes less energy to circularize an earth orbit than to break earth orbit.

This is actually not always the case. Has to do with Oberth effect and more efficient burns deeper in the gravity well. It takes more delta-V to get from LEO to GEO with two burns than to escape Earth from LEO.

To GEO yes, but the hypothetical non-circular orbit we are talking about has to already be lower than GTO since the claim was that an earth escape could potentially take less energy than getting to a GTO orbit.
I never said it took less energy, I said the craft would use less energy.  If you deal with gravitational swing options, using highly elliptical orbits, you can gain delta-v from other sources than your own engines and fuel tanks.

C'mon, this is NSF here, not some hack blog.  We worship this kind of stuff.

I was thinking through all this, and alighted on this example which made it clear for me:

Start at LEO. Do a TMI burn. Just as you approach geosynch orbit, do a circularization burn.

If you hadn't done the last, you'd have spent less _chemical_ energy but gone to mars.

I think the missing energy here is what has gone into the reaction mass. Consider that as part of the system, and clearly, more chemical energy has been spent even though you ended up with less gravitational potential energy.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: spacetraveler on 04/06/2011 10:17 PM
it takes less energy to circularize an earth orbit than to break earth orbit.

This is actually not always the case. Has to do with Oberth effect and more efficient burns deeper in the gravity well. It takes more delta-V to get from LEO to GEO with two burns than to escape Earth from LEO.

To GEO yes, but the hypothetical non-circular orbit we are talking about has to already be lower than GTO since the claim was that an earth escape could potentially take less energy than getting to a GTO orbit.
I never said it took less energy, I said the craft would use less energy.  If you deal with gravitational swing options, using highly elliptical orbits, you can gain delta-v from other sources than your own engines and fuel tanks.

C'mon, this is NSF here, not some hack blog.  We worship this kind of stuff.

I think you are confusing optimal burn profiles with gravity assists that need no burn.

How are you going to gain delta-v while still in earth orbit without using your engines? If that were the case you could set up in whatever orbit got you that and then get to escape eventually by just continuing to orbit the earth.

Where the gravity effects come in is in where you choose to use your engines. For example it takes less delta-v from your engines to get to escape near the perigee of a GTO orbit than at any other place, so that is where you would use them.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Downix on 04/06/2011 10:19 PM
it takes less energy to circularize an earth orbit than to break earth orbit.

This is actually not always the case. Has to do with Oberth effect and more efficient burns deeper in the gravity well. It takes more delta-V to get from LEO to GEO with two burns than to escape Earth from LEO.

To GEO yes, but the hypothetical non-circular orbit we are talking about has to already be lower than GTO since the claim was that an earth escape could potentially take less energy than getting to a GTO orbit.
I never said it took less energy, I said the craft would use less energy.  If you deal with gravitational swing options, using highly elliptical orbits, you can gain delta-v from other sources than your own engines and fuel tanks.

C'mon, this is NSF here, not some hack blog.  We worship this kind of stuff.

I was thinking through all this, and alighted on this example which made it clear for me:

Start at LEO. Do a TMI burn. Just as you approach geosynch orbit, do a circularization burn.

If you hadn't done the last, you'd have spent less _chemical_ energy but gone to mars.

I think the missing energy here is what has gone into the reaction mass. Consider that as part of the system, and clearly, more chemical energy has been spent even though you ended up with less gravitational potential energy.

That is part of it.  Also, if you do burns at the Perigee, you get far more out of them for this kind of work.  It's not as fast as a Hoffmann transfer, but you can over time give yourself far more TMI throw this way. Talking a few minutes of burn each time, adding a few more thousand km at Apogee.  Then utilizing a gravitational slingshot, several of them between the moon, earth, and EML2, you can bounce, adding even more speed, before you ignite the solid final kick.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: ugordan on 04/06/2011 10:22 PM
Talking a few minutes of burn each time, adding a few more thousand km at Apogee.

This makes sense with stages with low T/W like Centaur where burns can last for minutes and you can start getting some (still insignificant I'd think) gravity losses around perigee. Not so much the case with MVac which is for all intents and purposes overpowered for that kind of burn. Several tens of seconds and it's over.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Downix on 04/06/2011 10:24 PM
it takes less energy to circularize an earth orbit than to break earth orbit.

This is actually not always the case. Has to do with Oberth effect and more efficient burns deeper in the gravity well. It takes more delta-V to get from LEO to GEO with two burns than to escape Earth from LEO.

To GEO yes, but the hypothetical non-circular orbit we are talking about has to already be lower than GTO since the claim was that an earth escape could potentially take less energy than getting to a GTO orbit.
I never said it took less energy, I said the craft would use less energy.  If you deal with gravitational swing options, using highly elliptical orbits, you can gain delta-v from other sources than your own engines and fuel tanks.

C'mon, this is NSF here, not some hack blog.  We worship this kind of stuff.

I think you are confusing optimal burn profiles with gravity assists that need no burn.

How are you going to gain delta-v while still in earth orbit without using your engines? If that were the case you could set up in whatever orbit got you that and then get to escape eventually by just continuing to orbit the earth.

Where the gravity effects come in is in where you choose to use your engines. For example it takes less delta-v from your engines to get to escape near the perigee of a GTO orbit than at any other place, so that is where you would use them.
You need to be very precise, but how I figured it was such:

At the Perigee you do a small burn, adding altitude to the Apogee.  You keep doing this, every Perigee.  The Apogee is pointed right at EML1.  Eventually you hit the point that the Apogee is pulled to EML1.  Aim it right, you can kick yourself to EML1 with the Centaur at just the right angle to then graze the moon, slingshotting off of it's gravity, but not enough to yet leave earth orbit.  You have now a very distorted orbit.  You slingshot back at earth, passing through EML1 for one small boost, then you kick the solid final engine, giving you the delta-v for TMI.  It's a slow process, 17 burns in total.  Talking a total of almost a month to pull it off.  But it can be done.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Downix on 04/06/2011 10:25 PM
Talking a few minutes of burn each time, adding a few more thousand km at Apogee.

This makes sense with stages with low T/W like Centaur where burns can last for minutes and you can start getting some gravity losses around perigee. Not so much the case with MVac which is for all intents and purposes overpowered for that kind of burn. Several tens of seconds and it's over.
Which is what I was trying to get across. 

What I find interesting is that I am pointing out that Atlas *can* do it, but it takes a lot longer.  The final trip to Mars would be almost double what the F9H can do. 

I have to say that we need to measure by things better than just kg, because there are plenty of tricks to push more weight out of orbit than just raw oomph.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: 2552 on 04/06/2011 10:29 PM
http://twitter.com/#!/SpaceXer/status/55754594810200065 (http://twitter.com/#!/SpaceXer/status/55754594810200065)

Quote from: SpaceXer
After yesterday's press conference, Elon Musk continued the conversation at the Stimson Center, video- http://bit.ly/gY7EIS

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0UNCdh05ck8
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: spacetraveler on 04/06/2011 10:49 PM
You need to be very precise, but how I figured it was such:

At the Perigee you do a small burn, adding altitude to the Apogee.  You keep doing this, every Perigee.  The Apogee is pointed right at EML1.  Eventually you hit the point that the Apogee is pulled to EML1.  Aim it right, you can kick yourself to EML1 with the Centaur at just the right angle to then graze the moon, slingshotting off of it's gravity, but not enough to yet leave earth orbit.  You have now a very distorted orbit.  You slingshot back at earth, passing through EML1 for one small boost, then you kick the solid final engine, giving you the delta-v for TMI.  It's a slow process, 17 burns in total.  Talking a total of almost a month to pull it off.  But it can be done.

Ok but again, if you have enough delta-v budget to get into an eccentric orbit with EML1 at apogee, than you have WAY more than you need to get into GTO which has an apogee way less than that.

Which takes me back to my original point. Whatever payload capacity you have to GTO, it is simply not possible to have MORE capacity to escape. Doesn't work like that.

So if Atlas non-heavy can do 30klbs to TMI as you claim, then it can do way more to GTO than ULA claims.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Downix on 04/06/2011 11:01 PM
You need to be very precise, but how I figured it was such:

At the Perigee you do a small burn, adding altitude to the Apogee.  You keep doing this, every Perigee.  The Apogee is pointed right at EML1.  Eventually you hit the point that the Apogee is pulled to EML1.  Aim it right, you can kick yourself to EML1 with the Centaur at just the right angle to then graze the moon, slingshotting off of it's gravity, but not enough to yet leave earth orbit.  You have now a very distorted orbit.  You slingshot back at earth, passing through EML1 for one small boost, then you kick the solid final engine, giving you the delta-v for TMI.  It's a slow process, 17 burns in total.  Talking a total of almost a month to pull it off.  But it can be done.

Ok but again, if you have enough delta-v budget to get into an eccentric orbit with EML1 at apogee, than you have WAY more than you need to get into GTO which has an apogee way less than that.

Which takes me back to my original point. Whatever payload capacity you have to GTO, it is simply not possible to have MORE capacity to escape. Doesn't work like that.

So if Atlas non-heavy can do 30klbs to TMI, then it can do way more to GTO than ULA claims.

Only if you do it in one go.  There is a narrow window on each piece of an orbit where you get more benefit from a burn than at other points.  If you aim your burns to that point, you get more out of it than you would otherwise.  GTO still needs to be a roughly circular orbit, not the extended ellipse of this. 

Example, here is how to get to GTO, then GEO:
http://track.sfo.jaxa.jp/spaceops98/contribution/ex-9-10/9_10_05.gif

Your initial ellipse is semi-cicularized into the GTO.  From there you then, if you're going to GEO, do another circularizing burn.  This would be doing the opposite, rather than semi-circularizing, it would be elongating the ellipcial orbit.  This takes less fuel, especially with Perigee only burns. 
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Robotbeat on 04/06/2011 11:08 PM
You need to be very precise, but how I figured it was such:

At the Perigee you do a small burn, adding altitude to the Apogee.  You keep doing this, every Perigee.  The Apogee is pointed right at EML1.  Eventually you hit the point that the Apogee is pulled to EML1.  Aim it right, you can kick yourself to EML1 with the Centaur at just the right angle to then graze the moon, slingshotting off of it's gravity, but not enough to yet leave earth orbit.  You have now a very distorted orbit.  You slingshot back at earth, passing through EML1 for one small boost, then you kick the solid final engine, giving you the delta-v for TMI.  It's a slow process, 17 burns in total.  Talking a total of almost a month to pull it off.  But it can be done.

Ok but again, if you have enough delta-v budget to get into an eccentric orbit with EML1 at apogee, than you have WAY more than you need to get into GTO which has an apogee way less than that.

Which takes me back to my original point. Whatever payload capacity you have to GTO, it is simply not possible to have MORE capacity to escape. Doesn't work like that.

So if Atlas non-heavy can do 30klbs to TMI, then it can do way more to GTO than ULA claims.

Only if you do it in one go.  There is a narrow window on each piece of an orbit where you get more benefit from a burn than at other points.  If you aim your burns to that point, you get more out of it than you would otherwise.  GTO still needs to be a roughly circular orbit, not the extended ellipse of this. 

Example, here is how to get to GTO, then GEO:
http://track.sfo.jaxa.jp/spaceops98/contribution/ex-9-10/9_10_05.gif

Your initial ellipse is semi-cicularized into the GTO.  From there you then, if you're going to GEO, do another circularizing burn.  This would be doing the opposite, rather than semi-circularizing, it would be elongating the ellipcial orbit.  This takes less fuel, especially with Perigee only burns. 
The multiple perigee burns only make up for low stage T/W, but these are incremental improvements, nothing like 2-3 times greater performance.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Downix on 04/06/2011 11:12 PM
You need to be very precise, but how I figured it was such:

At the Perigee you do a small burn, adding altitude to the Apogee.  You keep doing this, every Perigee.  The Apogee is pointed right at EML1.  Eventually you hit the point that the Apogee is pulled to EML1.  Aim it right, you can kick yourself to EML1 with the Centaur at just the right angle to then graze the moon, slingshotting off of it's gravity, but not enough to yet leave earth orbit.  You have now a very distorted orbit.  You slingshot back at earth, passing through EML1 for one small boost, then you kick the solid final engine, giving you the delta-v for TMI.  It's a slow process, 17 burns in total.  Talking a total of almost a month to pull it off.  But it can be done.

Ok but again, if you have enough delta-v budget to get into an eccentric orbit with EML1 at apogee, than you have WAY more than you need to get into GTO which has an apogee way less than that.

Which takes me back to my original point. Whatever payload capacity you have to GTO, it is simply not possible to have MORE capacity to escape. Doesn't work like that.

So if Atlas non-heavy can do 30klbs to TMI, then it can do way more to GTO than ULA claims.

Only if you do it in one go.  There is a narrow window on each piece of an orbit where you get more benefit from a burn than at other points.  If you aim your burns to that point, you get more out of it than you would otherwise.  GTO still needs to be a roughly circular orbit, not the extended ellipse of this. 

Example, here is how to get to GTO, then GEO:
http://track.sfo.jaxa.jp/spaceops98/contribution/ex-9-10/9_10_05.gif

Your initial ellipse is semi-cicularized into the GTO.  From there you then, if you're going to GEO, do another circularizing burn.  This would be doing the opposite, rather than semi-circularizing, it would be elongating the ellipcial orbit.  This takes less fuel, especially with Perigee only burns. 
The multiple perigee burns only make up for low stage T/W, but these are incremental improvements, nothing like 2-3 times greater performance.
That is only part of it, however.  As pointed out in the SpaceX thread, you pair this with gravitational tricks, you can pull a lot more.  In fact the heavier weight helps with the gravitational maneuvering, more mass to pull on.  You just need to hit the keyholes *just* right.  In the course I plotted, for instance, one of the keyholes is less than 40 meters wide, very small in the grand scope of the universe.  But I used many of the same techniques which Apollo proposed for it's Mars mission, only on a smaller scale and with the advantage of better T/W.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: spacetraveler on 04/06/2011 11:15 PM
GTO still needs to be a roughly circular orbit

No it doesn't.

When a launch vehicle lists its payload capacity to GTO, it means exactly that, to GTO.

GTO is an elliptical orbit with an apogee of 35.7k km.

ULA lists the GTO capacity of Atlas 552 as a little more than 20klbs.

You are claiming that it can send 30klbs to an elliptical orbit with EML1 at apogee (300k+ km) and then perform more burns to get to TMI. Just doesn't add up in any possible way.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Downix on 04/06/2011 11:27 PM
GTO still needs to be a roughly circular orbit

No it doesn't.

When a launch vehicle lists its payload capacity to GTO, it means exactly that, to GTO.

GTO is an elliptical orbit with an apogee of 35.7k km.

ULA lists the GTO capacity of Atlas 552 as a little more than 20klbs.

You are claiming that it can send 30klbs to an elliptical orbit with EML1 at apogee (300k+ km) and then perform more burns to get to TMI. Just doesn't add up in any possible way.
And what is the Perigee of that, hmm?

*edit* ok, whenever I ask things like that, I get weird responses or odd ones.  So I'll answer it myself.  655km, with an orbital plane of 7 degrees, typical.  This does require some maneuvering, extra burn, over an orbit with a perigee of under 200km and with a degree of 26 degrees, from a Cape launch. 

This is the difference which is the key to what is needed here.  You have such a low perigee vs apogee, with no attempt to change your orbital plane, utilizing the gravity tricks listed above to correct your plane instead.  Adding all velocity at perigee of course adds more to your apogee, you get more benefit, than the once-burn approach of your typical GTO burn.  In addition, the smaller perigee gives added boost, using the earths gravity pull to your advantage.

It would also help to note that EML1 is not that much further away than GTO's apogee either.  61k km over 37k km.  Add to it the lower perigee and minimal planar changes, yes, you need less energy to hit EML1 than GTO.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Halidon on 04/06/2011 11:54 PM
Is this discussion still about Falcon Heavy?
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Chris Bergin on 04/07/2011 12:09 AM
You know that thread title thingy at the top? That's what the thread's subject is about.

It's not rocket science.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: bad_astra on 04/07/2011 12:29 AM
Belatedly, I must say I am very impressed. If FH is even close to the claims made, this is the game changer most of us have been waiting for. I wonder if Sen. Shelby is already phoning ULA asking for talking points.

If I am furloughed next week I'll at least have something to look forward to  :).
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: robertross on 04/07/2011 01:04 AM
Here's my article on Falcon Heavy.

http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2011/04/spacex-falcon-heavy-tag-team-share-20-launches-year/

I'm also going to set up another thread for FH as an update thread. This one can continue as a post announcement thread. Will interlink.

Great article Chris. Very well put together.
When you said it was super-sized, I was waiting for the time to fully read it, which I couldn't do at work. :)

I'd be interested to know what specific changes they had in the Merlin engine to optimize it for manufacturing it in such large quantities.

I'm reserving comment on whether they can meet all their intended targets (cost, performance, flight rates, ECT), but I wish them all the best in their endeavour.

Although still a daunting figure, the $1000/lb benchmark might be able to pull in another market, something which is lacking for the investment some companies have been putting into space research, on Shuttle flights in both SpaceLab & on the middeck, and the ISS, is industry. Not commercialization, but industrialization: where key high value components are synthesized in LEO (or slightly beyond), and have them returned to Earth for full fabrication, secondary processing, or integration. We're getting there.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: kevin-rf on 04/07/2011 02:25 AM
You know that $1000/lb to LEO really is starting to bug me.

SpaceX will not charge you by the pound, they will charge you $80-$125 million to place a payload up to 117,000 lbs in LEO. What counts is the mission cost for the payload class. There are currently no 117,000 lbs payloads heading for LEO. So if they hit the price point for a fully loaded Falcon Heavy and your payload is less than that or heading to GTO/GSO/TLI/TMI you will be paying more than that per pound. It reminds me of how people quote baseball statics. It makes a nice statistic. Only problem is, most payloads do not use the full capabilities of the launcher and are not headed to LEO. Like gas mileage on a car it is great for comparing launchers, but this is not the real world cost.

So anyone think the $80 million is for Falcon Heavy without cross-feed and $125 million is for missions requiring crossfeed and headed to GTO/TLI/TMI and beyond?
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: savuporo on 04/07/2011 02:44 AM
Only problem is, most payloads do not use the full capabilities of the launcher and are not headed to LEO.
Most payloads heading beyond LEO can make themselves a lot more valuable by simply adding more propellant. Or larger solar arrays, in some instances.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: mr_magoo on 04/07/2011 02:59 AM
I think it's interesting that he's using the fully upgraded version as the product to sell.    He's taking a page right from congressional talk of SDLV, which sometimes acts as if 130 tons is block 0.   At least the general public might get that impression.  So turn about is fair play.

It will be great if it all works out.


Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Patchouli on 04/07/2011 02:59 AM
Keep in mind the Falcon 9 16mT performance figures were only up on the website for a time measured in minutes.

Sigh.

Without Falcon 9 having a 16mT capability, FH cannot launch 53 mT.

The SpaceX fanboys don't see to be able to explain the current 6mt capability rising to 16mT with slightly improved engines and a slightly larger prop tank.


The engines would have about 50% higher thrust, it's a three-stage vehicle (so is more efficient than a two-stage vehicle), the engines will certainly have higher Isp (higher pressure), better mass fraction, etc. It seems perfectly reasonable to me. Optimistic, perhaps, but certainly possible.

Technically it's a 2.5 stage vehicle since all three core engines are ground lite.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: spacetraveler on 04/07/2011 03:12 AM
And what is the Perigee of that, hmm?
[snip]

I'm going to start another thread on this in the ULA section because I would like to respond but it is offtopic for this thread.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: alexw on 04/07/2011 04:57 AM
You need to be very precise, but how I figured it was such:
At the Perigee you do a small burn, adding altitude to the Apogee.  You keep doing this, every Perigee.  The Apogee is pointed right at EML1.  Eventually you hit the point that the Apogee is pulled to EML1.  Aim it right, you can kick yourself to EML1 with the Centaur at just the right angle to then graze the moon, slingshotting off of it's gravity, but not enough to yet leave earth orbit.  You have now a very distorted orbit.  You slingshot back at earth, passing through EML1 for one small boost, then you kick the solid final engine, giving you the delta-v for TMI.  It's a slow process, 17 burns in total.  Talking a total of almost a month to pull it off.  But it can be done.
      Centaur V certainly can't do this. The batteries, even with the GSO extended length kit, only last, what, 6-7 hours? And the hydrogen would long since have boiled away.  Now a solar-powered hypergollicaly-fueled satellite may be able to, and indeed at least one made that extended trip around the moon en route to GSO.

     But bringing this back to Falcon Heavy: the kerolox upper stage fares poorly compared to Centaur, but the IMLEO is far higher. Could the stage be built for a very-extended life and a lot of restarts? The IMLEO could easily accommodate a tremendous mass in batteries; could Vacuum Merlin be modified for a great many gas generator starter cartridges?
 
     If the initial burn is substantial, the LOX boiloff rate may not be so bad in HEO, and again there's mass to spare. How long until the kerosene gels up? Would Falcon Heavy's upper stage not make a decent place to study a launch vehicle modified for long-loiter?

    -Alex
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Norm Hartnett on 04/07/2011 08:14 AM
I suppose this might be construed as speculation :D but what could a FH do for the ISS? A stretched Dragon with greater internal up mass and/or external bays?  The Dragon as a tug with a secondary Logistics Module?
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: edkyle99 on 04/07/2011 02:50 PM
Technically it's a 2.5 stage vehicle since all three core engines are ground lite.

A two-and-a-half stage vehicle uses boosters that burn out before the first, core stage, but leaving the core with less than a full propellant load. 

So what is a crossfeed Falcon Heavy?  It isn't a classic three-stage rocket, though it behaves like one in terms of mass fractions as far as the rocket equation is concerned - though with 50% more liftoff thrust.  It isn't a classic 2.5 stage rocket either. 

2.75 stage? ;)

 - Ed Kyle
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: simonbp on 04/07/2011 02:57 PM
I suppose this might be construed as speculation :D but what could a FH do for the ISS? A stretched Dragon with greater internal up mass and/or external bays?  The Dragon as a tug with a secondary Logistics Module?

Might be hard to stretch the capsule itself, so the latter sounds more likely.

Heck, FH is so big you could launch a Saluyt-sized (or 2x Sundancer) station with an empty Dragon as an emergency return vehicle...
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Comga on 04/07/2011 03:13 PM
Bigelow's "Only the Beginning" brochure shows the service module being launched separately from the Sundancer and doing an autonomous rendezvous and docking.  If the Falcon Heavy is "so big you could launch a 2x Sundancer" it can also launch the Sundancer with the service module attached, obviating the rendezvous and all of the hardware and technology that separate flights and docking would require. 

Ditto for the expansions.  Instead of launching the additional modules separately as autonomous spacecraft, launch then in tandem with an occupied capsule on a single "man-ratable" FH.  Let the capsule, already equiped for autonomous flight and rendezvous, bring the module to the existing station.  Less hardware.  Less development. Less dead weight on orbit.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: ugordan on 04/07/2011 05:08 PM
Here's why I don't think the 53 mt to LEO version is around the corner. On the left is the "standard" 55m high version, on the right my impression of the 69m version (which would support the specified propellant load, 1st stages having almost a 50% stretch). Decide for yourself which one you actually see in the video and artwork.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: majormajor42 on 04/07/2011 05:11 PM
You know that $1000/lb to LEO really is starting to bug me.

SpaceX will not charge you by the pound...

this is by no means the first time that we have heard the "$1000/lb" benchmark. It has been spoken of for decades as a magical price point that would allow new things to happen in space. I just did a google search for "$1000 per pound orbit" that restricted the search to items older than this week's news and there are thousands of results.  It has been used as a benchmark before for other programs (that were looking for funding). So considering that this benchmark has been used many times before, did it bug you then? I can't blame Elon for being proud of this inevitable accomplishment and I am looking forward to seeing all of the new payloads that will be developed to take advantage of these "everyday low prices!".
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Jim on 04/07/2011 05:16 PM
I can't blame Elon for being proud of this inevitable accomplishment and I am looking forward to seeing all of the new payloads that will be developed to take advantage of these "everyday low prices!".

Inevitable?
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: sewand on 04/07/2011 05:19 PM
Not sure if this has been asked elsewhere, but how does the cross-feed work?  Are the core stage tanks feeding the core engines at lift off, or do the booster tanks feed both their engines and the core engines until separation, at which time the core tanks are tapped?
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Namechange User on 04/07/2011 05:20 PM
I can't blame Elon for being proud of this inevitable accomplishment and I am looking forward to seeing all of the new payloads that will be developed to take advantage of these "everyday low prices!".

Inevitable?

In addition to Jim's accurate question, so it's ok for SpaceX to develop a rocket without "PAYLOADS!" but not to begin work on SLS?  Curious.  The double standard at play is interesting. 
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Robotbeat on 04/07/2011 05:23 PM
I can't blame Elon for being proud of this inevitable accomplishment and I am looking forward to seeing all of the new payloads that will be developed to take advantage of these "everyday low prices!".

Inevitable?

In addition to Jim's accurate question, so it's ok for SpaceX to develop a rocket without "PAYLOADS!" but not to begin work on SLS?  Curious.  The double standard at play is interesting. 
Who is paying for SpaceX's Falcon Heavy? Answer: Either SpaceX or customers with payloads for it. Who is paying for SLS? Me.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: butters on 04/07/2011 05:35 PM
In addition to Jim's accurate question, so it's ok for SpaceX to develop a rocket without "PAYLOADS!" but not to begin work on SLS?  Curious.  The double standard at play is interesting.

This is a valid question, but it is more likely that there will be payloads for a 53mT IMLEO launcher with a restartable upper stage than for a 70mT IMLEO launcher with no air-startable engines. A J-1x0 type SDLV needs an extremely heavy LEO payload, whereas FH could inject multiple payloads into GTO. It could also support BEO payloads out of the box, whereas SLS needs a new upper stage that may not ever materialize.

It's entirely possible that FH will turn out to be a market failure, but it has a better shot of finding appropriate payloads than SLS does because it is significantly lighter and more flexible.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Downix on 04/07/2011 05:35 PM
Here's why I don't think the 53 mt to LEO version is around the corner. On the left is the "standard" 55m high version, on the right my impression of the 69m version (which would support the specified propellant load, 1st stages having almost a 50% stretch). Decide for yourself which one you actually see in the video and artwork.
I'd been trying hard to not think of that, you realize.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: kirghizstan on 04/07/2011 05:43 PM
I can't blame Elon for being proud of this inevitable accomplishment and I am looking forward to seeing all of the new payloads that will be developed to take advantage of these "everyday low prices!".

Inevitable?

In addition to Jim's accurate question, so it's ok for SpaceX to develop a rocket without "PAYLOADS!" but not to begin work on SLS?  Curious.  The double standard at play is interesting. 
Who is paying for SpaceX's Falcon Heavy? Answer: Either SpaceX or customers with payloads for it. Who is paying for SLS? Me.

Robert is making the a very important point here.  A private company can make any decisions they want so the whole chicken and egg (rocket and payload) debate is pointless for SpaceX, ULA, etc.  We are just wasting our time reading posts about it.

edit: to fix spelling
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Namechange User on 04/07/2011 05:52 PM
I can't blame Elon for being proud of this inevitable accomplishment and I am looking forward to seeing all of the new payloads that will be developed to take advantage of these "everyday low prices!".

Inevitable?

In addition to Jim's accurate question, so it's ok for SpaceX to develop a rocket without "PAYLOADS!" but not to begin work on SLS?  Curious.  The double standard at play is interesting. 
Who is paying for SpaceX's Falcon Heavy? Answer: Either SpaceX or customers with payloads for it. Who is paying for SLS? Me.

Little dramatic don't you think?  So what you are saying is there is a double standard.  Interesting still. 
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Namechange User on 04/07/2011 05:55 PM
In addition to Jim's accurate question, so it's ok for SpaceX to develop a rocket without "PAYLOADS!" but not to begin work on SLS?  Curious.  The double standard at play is interesting.

This is a valid question, but it is more likely that there will be payloads for a 53mT IMLEO launcher with a restartable upper stage than for a 70mT IMLEO launcher with no air-startable engines. A J-1x0 type SDLV needs an extremely heavy LEO payload, whereas FH could inject multiple payloads into GTO. It could also support BEO payloads out of the box, whereas SLS needs a new upper stage that may not ever materialize.

It's entirely possible that FH will turn out to be a market failure, but it has a better shot of finding appropriate payloads than SLS does because it is significantly lighter and more flexible.

Interesting.  You are comparing them in a way as if they are meant to serve the same function and then giving the advantage to FH via conjecture. 

Why does SLS *need* an upper stage?  Why can't that be part of the "payload" for some missions?
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Diagoras on 04/07/2011 05:58 PM
I can't blame Elon for being proud of this inevitable accomplishment and I am looking forward to seeing all of the new payloads that will be developed to take advantage of these "everyday low prices!".

Inevitable?

In addition to Jim's accurate question, so it's ok for SpaceX to develop a rocket without "PAYLOADS!" but not to begin work on SLS?  Curious.  The double standard at play is interesting. 
Who is paying for SpaceX's Falcon Heavy? Answer: Either SpaceX or customers with payloads for it. Who is paying for SLS? Me.

Little dramatic don't you think?  So what you are saying is there is a double standard.  Interesting still. 

How is there a double standard? SpaceX is not charging me for Falcon Heavy, NASA is charging me for SLS. Thus Robotbeat is unconcerned about the former (none of his business) and is about the latter (he has ownership in NASA's activities as he pays for them). Seems simple enough.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Namechange User on 04/07/2011 06:07 PM
I can't blame Elon for being proud of this inevitable accomplishment and I am looking forward to seeing all of the new payloads that will be developed to take advantage of these "everyday low prices!".

Inevitable?

In addition to Jim's accurate question, so it's ok for SpaceX to develop a rocket without "PAYLOADS!" but not to begin work on SLS?  Curious.  The double standard at play is interesting. 
Who is paying for SpaceX's Falcon Heavy? Answer: Either SpaceX or customers with payloads for it. Who is paying for SLS? Me.

Little dramatic don't you think?  So what you are saying is there is a double standard.  Interesting still. 

How is there a double standard? SpaceX is not charging me for Falcon Heavy, NASA is charging me for SLS. Thus Robotbeat is unconcerned about the former (none of his business) and is about the latter (he has ownership in NASA's activities as he pays for them). Seems simple enough.

Because the rationale being used should apply equally.  It's the "business case".  If one claims it is irrational to develop a rocket without payloads, it doesn't really matter where the money supposedly comes from.  Given the "PAYLOADS!" arguement and the angle that has been presented over the last several months with respect to that, to me it clearly seems like a double standard.

If you are sooooo concerned about your contribution to SLS, I'll pay your ~30 cent amount this year.  Or if it offends you so, perhaps you could do something else about it instead of whining here.  Here are some examples:

1.  Write your congressman or senator.
2.  Run for office yourself.
3.  Refuse to pay taxes.
4.  Form a mob and protest in the streets.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Robotbeat on 04/07/2011 06:14 PM
If Falcon Heavy was only economical for ~50 ton payloads, I would very much agree that it has no payloads and is irrational.

SpaceX still has to prove they can launch Falcon Heavy for the price they quoted, but it still seems to be economically viable for large comm sats to GTO, thus it has payloads.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Giovanni DS on 04/07/2011 06:19 PM
IMHO the biggest difference is that FH will have a strong commonality with something that is flying and will keep flying regardless FH, it could survive a low launch rate, SLS must be kept flying to survive and has commonality with nothing.

This is a bigger difference than just cost.

Edit:typo.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Namechange User on 04/07/2011 06:22 PM
If Falcon Heavy was only economical for ~50 ton payloads, I would very much agree that it has no payloads and is irrational.

SpaceX still has to prove they can launch Falcon Heavy for the price they quoted, but it still seems to be economically viable for large comm sats to GTO, thus it has payloads.

Are you contradicting yourself there?  So you would agree that it is irrational but by invoking a nebulous statement about "large comm sats" then it makes it ok?

By the way, yesterday you said Orion was a payload.

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=24715.msg719876#msg719876
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Danderman on 04/07/2011 06:23 PM
Here's why I don't think the 53 mt to LEO version is around the corner. On the left is the "standard" 55m high version, on the right my impression of the 69m version (which would support the specified propellant load, 1st stages having almost a 50% stretch). Decide for yourself which one you actually see in the video and artwork.

Please don't pollute this threads with facts or data.

BTW, it would be interesting to show a Zenit in there, to scale. Zenit has a 4 meter diameter, compared with the 3 meters of Falcon. Clearly, Falcon was not designed for these kinds of loads.

I would bet money that the stretched Falcon as you have shown will *never* fly and that the announcement by Elon was intended to inject FUD into the Congressional Launch Vehicle debate. This is not to say that Elon won't try to launch a Falcon with strap-ons, I just don't think that 50 tons is in the cards until and unless Raptor and/or Merlin 2 are available.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Danderman on 04/07/2011 06:24 PM
If Falcon Heavy was only economical for ~50 ton payloads, I would very much agree that it has no payloads and is irrational.

SpaceX still has to prove they can launch Falcon Heavy for the price they quoted, but it still seems to be economically viable for large comm sats to GTO, thus it has payloads.

The obvious application is for dual launch of large, but existing, comsats.

I would hate to have to pay the insurance for that.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Cherokee43v6 on 04/07/2011 06:27 PM
Here's why I don't think the 53 mt to LEO version is around the corner. On the left is the "standard" 55m high version, on the right my impression of the 69m version (which would support the specified propellant load, 1st stages having almost a 50% stretch). Decide for yourself which one you actually see in the video and artwork.

Please don't pollute this threads with facts or data.

BTW, it would be interesting to show a Zenit in there, to scale. Zenit has a 4 meter diameter, compared with the 3 meters of Falcon. Clearly, Falcon was not designed for these kinds of loads.

I would bet money that the stretched Falcon as you have shown will *never* fly and that the announcement by Elon was intended to inject FUD into the Congressional Launch Vehicle debate. This is not to say that Elon won't try to launch a Falcon with strap-ons, I just don't think that 50 tons is in the cards until and unless Raptor and/or Merlin 2 are available.


I wouldn't count on that philosophy as relates to SpaceX Danderman.

So far SpaceX has built every vehicle they have announced except the Falcon5 which evolved into the F9.  Based on their performance so far, if they do skip the FH, it will be for something MORE capable, not less.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: kevin-rf on 04/07/2011 06:28 PM

This is not to say that Elon won't try to launch a Falcon with strap-ons, I just don't think that 50 tons is in the cards until and unless Raptor and/or Merlin 2 are available.

I think with Heavy going full steam ahead (along with a Vandenberg pad and Merlin-1D) leaves little room to work on Raptor or Merlin 2. Since Merlin 1D has not flow and is critical (along with crossfeed) to reach the 53mt mark, I see it being the long pole in the tent.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: neilh on 04/07/2011 06:29 PM
If Falcon Heavy was only economical for ~50 ton payloads, I would very much agree that it has no payloads and is irrational.

SpaceX still has to prove they can launch Falcon Heavy for the price they quoted, but it still seems to be economically viable for large comm sats to GTO, thus it has payloads.

Are you contradicting yourself there?  So you would agree that it is irrational but by invoking a nebulous statement about "large comm sats" then it makes it ok?

Erm, yes, there's an existing market of large comm sats in the 10-30mt range. Many of these launch every year on rockets that cost more than the FH. We've been over this already.

If the FH were more expensive than existing rockets, there would be a contradiction. The FH is not more expensive than existing rockets in this class.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: pummuf on 04/07/2011 06:32 PM
You know that $1000/lb to LEO really is starting to bug me...

With time, SpaceX will charge whatever the market will bear.

If they mange to keep costs down, establish a good record and gain market share - and those are Big 'ifs' - they'll still eventually charge whatever the market will bear.

Hypothetically, what if Elon runs the company for the next ten years and can launch for 1/2 the price of his competitors. And what if he chooses to do this out of the kindness of his heart ... What do you think his investors would have to say about it?

Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Downix on 04/07/2011 06:35 PM
IMHO the biggest difference is that FH will have a strong commonality with something that is flying and will keep flying regardless FH, it could survive a low launch rate, SLS must be kept flying to survive and has commonality with nothing.

This is a bigger difference than just cost.

Edit:typo.
Lot of assumptions when the final SLS design is not yet known.  There are proposals which do have commonality with things which are flying.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Cherokee43v6 on 04/07/2011 06:37 PM
You know that $1000/lb to LEO really is starting to bug me...

With time, SpaceX will charge whatever the market will bear.

If they mange to keep costs down, establish a good record and gain market share - and those are Big 'ifs' - they'll still eventually charge whatever the market will bear.

Hypothetically, what if Elon runs the company for the next ten years and can launch for 1/2 the price of his competitors. And what if he  chooses to do this out of the kindness of his heart with a sizable market share of launches. What do you think his investors would have to say about it?



As long as he is the majority shareholder, they can say whatever they want, he's still in charge.  In the press conference someone asked him about 'selling' SpaceX to one of the big companies.  His reply was interesting.  paraphrase- "SpaceX has certain philosophical and philanthropical goals that would not align well with big defense industry businesses."

Basically, Elon Musk is a starry eyed dreamer with both the skill and the money to make those dreams come true (or at least take one whale of a shot at doing so).

edit: spelling
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: kevin-rf on 04/07/2011 06:41 PM
You know that $1000/lb to LEO really is starting to bug me...

With time, SpaceX will charge whatever the market will bear.


A better metric is how much do they charge for a GTO com payload mission ($60 million for Falcon 9 Class, $85 million for Falcon Heavy Class) vs. the other providers (Ariane V and Proton). Yes Heavy is cheaper than the entire EELV class of rockets, but it is not a factor of three lower than the Atlas 401. To lift an Atlas 401 sized payload SpaceX has to use a Heavy. Those are the metrics we should be arguing...
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: pummuf on 04/07/2011 06:43 PM
You know that $1000/lb to LEO really is starting to bug me...

With time, SpaceX will charge whatever the market will bear.

If they mange to keep costs down, establish a good record and gain market share - and those are Big 'ifs' - they'll still eventually charge whatever the market will bear.

Hypothetically, what if Elon runs the company for the next ten years and can launch for 1/2 the price of his competitors. And what if he  chooses to do this out of the kindness of his heart with a sizable market share of launches. What do you think his investors would have to say about it?



As long as he is the majority shareholder, they can say whatever they want, he's still in charge.  In the press conference someone asked him about 'selling' SpaceX to one of the big companies.  His reply was interesting.  paraphrase- "SpaceX has certain philosophical and philantropical goals that would not align well with big defense industry businesses."

Basically, Elon Musk is a starry eyed dreamer with both the skill and the money to make those dreams come true (or at least take one whale of a shot at doing so).

I admire your faith.

Most likely, SpaceX will run into its fair share of problems in the future and their prices will rise. But even if they don't, they'll find a reason to charge whatever they can - after establishing a market share. One obvious reason lies in your quote "philosophical and philantropical goals" ... there's always another project to be paid for.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Namechange User on 04/07/2011 06:55 PM
If Falcon Heavy was only economical for ~50 ton payloads, I would very much agree that it has no payloads and is irrational.

SpaceX still has to prove they can launch Falcon Heavy for the price they quoted, but it still seems to be economically viable for large comm sats to GTO, thus it has payloads.

Are you contradicting yourself there?  So you would agree that it is irrational but by invoking a nebulous statement about "large comm sats" then it makes it ok?

Erm, yes, there's an existing market of large comm sats in the 10-30mt range. Many of these launch every year on rockets that cost more than the FH. We've been over this already.

If the FH were more expensive than existing rockets, there would be a contradiction. The FH is not more expensive than existing rockets in this class.

The FH does not exist and you are assuming the 53 mT-capable rocket will immediately and assuradly beat everything else designed for that class payload.  Therefore, I believe it is necessary for a little development and testing first.  They have a target price, which is absolutely the right thing to have, but nothing beyond that.  ATK advertises a target price for Liberty and people go insane, suggesting all kinds of things. 

You speak as if it has been designed, operational and flown many times.  It's hard to take this seriously.  Again, double standard.  Just thought I should point that out.  Some of us are big enough to wish SpaceX well, hope they succeed as well as everyone else in the industry while others just speak ill of one thing or another when it suits them.  Sad really. 
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: ugordan on 04/07/2011 07:00 PM
BTW, it would be interesting to show a Zenit in there, to scale. Zenit has a 4 meter diameter, compared with the 3 meters of Falcon.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Cherokee43v6 on 04/07/2011 07:17 PM
You know that $1000/lb to LEO really is starting to bug me...

With time, SpaceX will charge whatever the market will bear.

If they mange to keep costs down, establish a good record and gain market share - and those are Big 'ifs' - they'll still eventually charge whatever the market will bear.

Hypothetically, what if Elon runs the company for the next ten years and can launch for 1/2 the price of his competitors. And what if he  chooses to do this out of the kindness of his heart with a sizable market share of launches. What do you think his investors would have to say about it?



As long as he is the majority shareholder, they can say whatever they want, he's still in charge.  In the press conference someone asked him about 'selling' SpaceX to one of the big companies.  His reply was interesting.  paraphrase- "SpaceX has certain philosophical and philantropical goals that would not align well with big defense industry businesses."

Basically, Elon Musk is a starry eyed dreamer with both the skill and the money to make those dreams come true (or at least take one whale of a shot at doing so).

I admire your faith.

Most likely, SpaceX will run into its fair share of problems in the future and their prices will rise. But even if they don't, they'll find a reason to charge whatever they can - after establishing a market share. One obvious reason lies in your quote "philosophical and philantropical goals" ... there's always another project to be paid for.

Yes, but in the interview, he also specifically mentioned one of those 'philosophical/philanthropical' goals.  Specifically, he wants to drive the launch costs even lower than the $1000 figure.

Elon has stated that his goal is to facilitate and develop a spacefaring society.  Launch costs are a key inhibitor to achieving that dream, so I do not expect to see him do any more than trend the inflation line on his prices, and if possible, he will trend below that line.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Jim on 04/07/2011 07:26 PM
Launch costs are a key inhibitor to achieving that dream, so I do not expect to see him do any more than trend the inflation line on his prices, and if possible, he will trend below that line.

No going to happen, see F9 prices
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Cherokee43v6 on 04/07/2011 07:30 PM
Launch costs are a key inhibitor to achieving that dream, so I do not expect to see him do any more than trend the inflation line on his prices, and if possible, he will trend below that line.

No going to happen, see F9 prices

What, the published prices that have not changed in 3 or 4 years?  Kinda proves my point.

Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Jim on 04/07/2011 07:31 PM
Launch costs are a key inhibitor to achieving that dream, so I do not expect to see him do any more than trend the inflation line on his prices, and if possible, he will trend below that line.

No going to happen, see F9 prices

What, the published prices that have not changed in 3 or 4 years?  Kinda proves my point.



More than inflation and will continue to increase as flight rate increase
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Cherokee43v6 on 04/07/2011 07:32 PM
Launch costs are a key inhibitor to achieving that dream, so I do not expect to see him do any more than trend the inflation line on his prices, and if possible, he will trend below that line.

No going to happen, see F9 prices

What, the published prices that have not changed in 3 or 4 years?  Kinda proves my point.



More than inflation and will continue to increase as flight rate increase

Okay, inflation happens every day of every year.  If the prices haven't changed in 4 years, how is that trending higher than inflation?
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: baldusi on 04/07/2011 07:38 PM
BTW, it would be interesting to show a Zenit in there, to scale. Zenit has a 4 meter diameter, compared with the 3 meters of Falcon.
Falcon 9 is 3.65m, Zenit 3.9m. It's just 7% more.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Jim on 04/07/2011 08:03 PM
Okay, inflation happens every day of every year.  If the prices haven't changed in 4 years, how is that trending higher than inflation?

Prices have changed/gone up 3 or 4 times.

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=22013.msg609283#msg609283

And again, published prices are not the "real" price. 
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: mrmandias on 04/07/2011 08:59 PM

Because the rationale being used should apply equally.  It's the "business case".  If one claims it is irrational to develop a rocket without payloads, it doesn't really matter where the money supposedly comes from.  Given the "PAYLOADS!" arguement and the angle that has been presented over the last several months with respect to that, to me it clearly seems like a double standard.

If you are sooooo concerned about your contribution to SLS, I'll pay your ~30 cent amount this year.  Or if it offends you so, perhaps you could do something else about it instead of whining here.  Here are some examples:

1.  Write your congressman or senator.
2.  Run for office yourself.
3.  Refuse to pay taxes.
4.  Form a mob and protest in the streets.

You should leave the sophistry for us lawyers.  It takes a certain expertise to pull it off.  Speculative ventures that don't cost the public a dime are much to be preferred to speculative ventures that come out of the public's pocket, from blue prints to blast off.  Especially in an era of gobsmacking, heart-rending apocalyptic public debt.

Not to mention all the other points that have been made about the FH being more flexible, having a broader possible market, etc.

Speaking of double standards, don't expect people to take you seriously when you waste your time whining on a message board that people are wasting their time whining on a message board.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Diagoras on 04/07/2011 09:09 PM
I can't blame Elon for being proud of this inevitable accomplishment and I am looking forward to seeing all of the new payloads that will be developed to take advantage of these "everyday low prices!".

Inevitable?

In addition to Jim's accurate question, so it's ok for SpaceX to develop a rocket without "PAYLOADS!" but not to begin work on SLS?  Curious.  The double standard at play is interesting. 
Who is paying for SpaceX's Falcon Heavy? Answer: Either SpaceX or customers with payloads for it. Who is paying for SLS? Me.

Little dramatic don't you think?  So what you are saying is there is a double standard.  Interesting still. 

How is there a double standard? SpaceX is not charging me for Falcon Heavy, NASA is charging me for SLS. Thus Robotbeat is unconcerned about the former (none of his business) and is about the latter (he has ownership in NASA's activities as he pays for them). Seems simple enough.

Because the rationale being used should apply equally.  It's the "business case".  If one claims it is irrational to develop a rocket without payloads, it doesn't really matter where the money supposedly comes from.  Given the "PAYLOADS!" arguement and the angle that has been presented over the last several months with respect to that, to me it clearly seems like a double standard.

If you are sooooo concerned about your contribution to SLS, I'll pay your ~30 cent amount this year.  Or if it offends you so, perhaps you could do something else about it instead of whining here.  Here are some examples:

1.  Write your congressman or senator.
2.  Run for office yourself.
3.  Refuse to pay taxes.
4.  Form a mob and protest in the streets.

Quote
Because the rationale being used should apply equally.  It's the "business case".  If one claims it is irrational to develop a rocket without payloads, it doesn't really matter where the money supposedly comes from.  Given the "PAYLOADS!" arguement and the angle that has been presented over the last several months with respect to that, to me it clearly seems like a double standard.

No, it shouldn't. The assumption is that this SpaceX endeavour will fail due to lack of payloads, as would SLS. One does not care about the former as it is a private actor, one cares about the latter as it is a public actor. Are you familiar with the idea of public and private spheres of activity, and stakeholding?

Of course, the above ignores the vastly cheaper launch and development costs of Falcon Heavy and the vastly greater economic and institutional flexibility of SpaceX over NASA, both of which substantially change the equation. But those are not relevant to the reasons why we concern ourselves with the workings of one and not the other.

Quote
If you are sooooo concerned about your contribution to SLS, I'll pay your ~30 cent amount this year.  Or if it offends you so, perhaps you could do something else about it instead of whining here. Here are some examples:

1.  Write your congressman or senator.
2.  Run for office yourself.
3.  Refuse to pay taxes.
4.  Form a mob and protest in the streets.

Perhaps you should consider if disparaging other individuals as "whining" is the most effective means of convincing them that you're right. And if you're not here to convince people, then I don't really see why you're on this forum.

Furthermore, you've asked why people might oppose SLS and I've explained it to you. I suspect most people who oppose it are communicating that to their congressman, and I have no idea why you assume I oppose it along with them.

Do you understand the philosophy of fiscal conservatism? That might go a long way towards understanding why people might oppose government programs that cost little for philosophical reasons (opposition to NPR is a classic, ongoing example). It has to do with ideas of the role of government, but I won't launch into a lecture on it until you confirm you're interested/would learn anything new. ;)
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: mrmandias on 04/07/2011 09:21 PM
Whether SpaceX can achieve a specific price point over the long haul is separate from the question whether SpaceX can reduce prices is separate from the question whether SpaceX's goal is to reduce prices.

I think the answer to the last question is clearly that, yes, one of SpaceX's serious goals is to reduce prices.  Even if SpaceX's only philanthropic goal were getting to Mars, robust earth orbit activity means new technologies, capabilities, and sources of funding that SpaceX doesn't have to provide but that it can leverage.  In short, I do not expect that SpaceX will charge 'what the market can bear,' though its possible.

I also believe that SpaceX can achieve their goal of significantly reducing prices.  I do not believe they have already achieved it, because they don't have any product whose launch they have routinized yet.  The fact that they are publishing significantly lower prices and have the benefits of clean sheet design and processes that were designed with cost in mind are very encouraging.

I am not so sure at all that SpaceX can meet the specific goal of $1,000/lb or less.  The FH doesn't exist yet, and neither do the new engine production facility designs that Musk talked about (he didn't even mention increased production of other parts, increased testing, increased integration, etc.--engine production is not the only link in the chain).  Jim's point that routine production and launch creates new challenges and probably new costs is one that is true not only in the rocket business but in most other businesses as well, and even in non-business settings (education, for instance--most new educational techniques work much better in pilot programs then when they are actually instituted across school districts).  And, unfortunately, SpaceX has yet to achieve 'routine' operation with any launch platform.  That's why, though I'm excited about the FH, I'd actually prefer that SpaceX put more of its energy into innovating ways to get to 10 F9 launches a year without serious cost or complexity increases.  That would *really* be something.  SpaceX is trying to be the Bell Labs ofs the space industry, but what's really needed is the Ford Motors of the space industry.  That said, I certainly hope that SpaceX reaches something close to the $1000/lb figure, because without it I don't think the kind of 'take-off' of space industry that they need is at all likely to happen.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: simonbp on 04/07/2011 10:34 PM
More than inflation and will continue to increase as flight rate increase

But will it grow as fast ULA's EELV prices?
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Robotbeat on 04/07/2011 10:35 PM
More than inflation and will continue to increase as flight rate increase

But will it grow as fast ULA's EELV prices?
ULA seems to have the opposite problem: price increases as flight rate decreases.

SpaceX's costs will eventually stabilize. Not before they're flying many flights every year.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: pummuf on 04/08/2011 01:28 AM
I think the answer to the last question is clearly that, yes, one of SpaceX's serious goals is to reduce prices.  Even if SpaceX's only philanthropic goal were getting to Mars, robust earth orbit activity means new technologies, capabilities, and sources of funding that SpaceX doesn't have to provide but that it can leverage.  In short, I do not expect that SpaceX will charge 'what the market can bear,' though its possible.

Of course he will. Charging any less is the same as giving away money - money that he could otherwise spend on a new project. In the long run, the only reason to charge less than he can get is to occasionally buy market share.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Cinder on 04/08/2011 01:51 AM
Am I wrong to see that this argument over whether or not SpaceX prices rise, and whether or not the philanthropy is genuine and durable, is moot on both counts as soon as we get to "LEO jail break" point?
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: mrmandias on 04/08/2011 02:20 AM
I think the answer to the last question is clearly that, yes, one of SpaceX's serious goals is to reduce prices.  Even if SpaceX's only philanthropic goal were getting to Mars, robust earth orbit activity means new technologies, capabilities, and sources of funding that SpaceX doesn't have to provide but that it can leverage.  In short, I do not expect that SpaceX will charge 'what the market can bear,' though its possible.

Of course he will. Charging any less is the same as giving away money - money that he could otherwise spend on a new project. In the long run, the only reason to charge less than he can get is to occasionally buy market share.

Pre-rebutted.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: MP99 on 04/08/2011 05:54 PM
Whether SpaceX can achieve a specific price point over the long haul is separate from the question whether SpaceX can reduce prices is separate from the question whether SpaceX's goal is to reduce prices.

I think the answer to the last question is clearly that, yes, one of SpaceX's serious goals is to reduce prices.  Even if SpaceX's only philanthropic goal were getting to Mars, robust earth orbit activity means new technologies, capabilities, and sources of funding that SpaceX doesn't have to provide but that it can leverage.  In short, I do not expect that SpaceX will charge 'what the market can bear,' though its possible.

I also believe that SpaceX can achieve their goal of significantly reducing prices.  I do not believe they have already achieved it, because they don't have any product whose launch they have routinized yet.  The fact that they are publishing significantly lower prices and have the benefits of clean sheet design and processes that were designed with cost in mind are very encouraging.

I am not so sure at all that SpaceX can meet the specific goal of $1,000/lb or less.  The FH doesn't exist yet, and neither do the new engine production facility designs that Musk talked about (he didn't even mention increased production of other parts, increased testing, increased integration, etc.--engine production is not the only link in the chain).  Jim's point that routine production and launch creates new challenges and probably new costs is one that is true not only in the rocket business but in most other businesses as well, and even in non-business settings (education, for instance--most new educational techniques work much better in pilot programs then when they are actually instituted across school districts).  And, unfortunately, SpaceX has yet to achieve 'routine' operation with any launch platform.  That's why, though I'm excited about the FH, I'd actually prefer that SpaceX put more of its energy into innovating ways to get to 10 F9 launches a year without serious cost or complexity increases.  That would *really* be something.  SpaceX is trying to be the Bell Labs ofs the space industry, but what's really needed is the Ford Motors of the space industry.  That said, I certainly hope that SpaceX reaches something close to the $1000/lb figure, because without it I don't think the kind of 'take-off' of space industry that they need is at all likely to happen.

+1.

cheers, Martin
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Prober on 04/08/2011 11:56 PM
 
[/quote]

The old F9-H with Raptor produced numbers around 40+T IMLEO cross feed is usually worth an extra 5MT on a Delta IV-H class LV.

One interesting thing would be ULA's response  maybe they'll actually implement some of those EELV upgradesGre they talked about.
http://www.ulalaunch.com/site/docs/publications/DeltaIVLaunchVehicle%20GrowthOptionstoSupportNASA%27sSpaceExplorationVision.pdf

Eventually getting two 50T rockets would be worth one SLS.
[/quote]


Great link you gave there!   It filled in some holes in my thinking. This is my first post here.  Would like to thank those who run this great site as well as the SpaceX people who have renewed my interest in space and rockets.

Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: sdsds on 04/09/2011 01:20 AM
On the left is the "standard" 55m high version, on the right my impression of the 69m version (which would support the specified propellant load, 1st stages having almost a 50% stretch).

Are people assuming SpaceX has, or has not yet, looked at the structural and aerodynamic loads on the 53 mt to LEO vehicle, and what that implies for the ascent trajectory?  Specifically, does this vehicle, when loaded with 53 mt, need to fly at zero angle of attack for the entire burns of the strap-ons and the core stage?  Asked differently:  when does it go exo-atmospheric?
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Patchouli on 04/09/2011 01:40 AM
I can't blame Elon for being proud of this inevitable accomplishment and I am looking forward to seeing all of the new payloads that will be developed to take advantage of these "everyday low prices!".

Inevitable?

In addition to Jim's accurate question, so it's ok for SpaceX to develop a rocket without "PAYLOADS!" but not to begin work on SLS?  Curious.  The double standard at play is interesting. 

The difference is Falcon heavy is cheap enough a single large comsat would pretty much pay for the rocket.

Add some extra restarts to the Merlin vac or you might be able to leave some Nano sats on LEO and then deliver your big payload to GTO.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: SpacexULA on 04/09/2011 02:14 AM
I can't blame Elon for being proud of this inevitable accomplishment and I am looking forward to seeing all of the new payloads that will be developed to take advantage of these "everyday low prices!".

Inevitable?

In addition to Jim's accurate question, so it's ok for SpaceX to develop a rocket without "PAYLOADS!" but not to begin work on SLS?  Curious.  The double standard at play is interesting. 

No double standard.  SpaceX is developing their HLV on their own dime.  SLS is on my tax dollars.

Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Joris on 04/09/2011 08:47 AM
In addition to Jim's accurate question, so it's ok for SpaceX to develop a rocket without "PAYLOADS!" but not to begin work on SLS?  Curious.  The double standard at play is interesting. 

10ton commsats are a PAYLOAD.
Falcon Heavy would compete with proton, Ariane 5 in this market.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Jim on 04/09/2011 01:11 PM
In addition to Jim's accurate question, so it's ok for SpaceX to develop a rocket without "PAYLOADS!" but not to begin work on SLS?  Curious.  The double standard at play is interesting. 

10ton commsats are a PAYLOAD.
Falcon Heavy would compete with proton, Ariane 5 in this market.

there are no 10ton comsats.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Joris on 04/09/2011 10:42 PM
In addition to Jim's accurate question, so it's ok for SpaceX to develop a rocket without "PAYLOADS!" but not to begin work on SLS?  Curious.  The double standard at play is interesting. 

10ton commsats are a PAYLOAD.
Falcon Heavy would compete with proton, Ariane 5 in this market.

there are no 10ton comsats.

Whatever currently flies on Proton, Ariane 5 and any other rocket priced $100M or more, is a payload for Falcon Heavy.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: FinalFrontier on 04/09/2011 10:49 PM
Musk said in a statement he was in an "Advanced" state of discussion concerning the signing of a payload to the second and subsequent FH payloads.

I am guessing that from a management standpoint they would not go forward with the development of this vehicle if they did not think that they could make money off of it. Remember this is a company with managers from the business world not NASA.

Still, this seems like a bit of a gamble.

Also if there ARE payloads for this then it could deal a blow to ULA........
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: clongton on 04/09/2011 11:01 PM
Also if there ARE payloads for this then it could deal a blow to ULA........

AND to all those "experts" that claim a HLV is useless because "there are no payloads for it". If I were a manufacturer of "payloads" I wouldn't build one too heavy for any existing LV to lift either. That would not only be dumb but would also completely explain why "there are no payloads for it". But that doesn't mean I would continue to not build one if a HLV magically became available to lift them. Hmmm. We will see soon enough how much truth there is to the "build it and they will come" approach.

Personally I think that payload manufacturers will build their payloads to whatever size makes the best ROI, large or small. That bodes well for HL because by removing some of the payload mass constraints, less expensive materials can be used and less complex designs can be employed. Translation: less costly satellite means higher profit for the same spec performance. Who cares if it's heavier, because we can now lift what we never could before.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Jim on 04/09/2011 11:07 PM

Personally I think that payload manufacturers will build their payloads to whatever size makes the best ROI, large or small. That bodes well for HL because by removing some of the payload mass constraints, less expensive materials can be used and less complex designs can be employed. Translation: less costly satellite means higher profit for the same spec performance. Who cares if it's heavier, because we can now lift what we never could before.

No, they will still try to maximize capability/mass
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: clongton on 04/09/2011 11:10 PM

Personally I think that payload manufacturers will build their payloads to whatever size makes the best ROI, large or small. That bodes well for HL because by removing some of the payload mass constraints, less expensive materials can be used and less complex designs can be employed. Translation: less costly satellite means higher profit for the same spec performance. Who cares if it's heavier, because we can now lift what we never could before.

No, they will still try to maximize capability/mass

Not over profit.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Jim on 04/09/2011 11:18 PM

Personally I think that payload manufacturers will build their payloads to whatever size makes the best ROI, large or small. That bodes well for HL because by removing some of the payload mass constraints, less expensive materials can be used and less complex designs can be employed. Translation: less costly satellite means higher profit for the same spec performance. Who cares if it's heavier, because we can now lift what we never could before.

No, they will still try to maximize capability/mass

Not over profit.

More capability, more profit
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: clongton on 04/09/2011 11:19 PM

Personally I think that payload manufacturers will build their payloads to whatever size makes the best ROI, large or small. That bodes well for HL because by removing some of the payload mass constraints, less expensive materials can be used and less complex designs can be employed. Translation: less costly satellite means higher profit for the same spec performance. Who cares if it's heavier, because we can now lift what we never could before.

No, they will still try to maximize capability/mass

Not over profit.

More capability, more profit

We'll see.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: ugordan on 04/09/2011 11:20 PM
What about robotic probes? Aren't driven by profit and are limited by funding in the first place. Is there some room for lowering instrument costs by relaxing mass/power limits, higher structural factors of safety, better radiation shielding, etc?
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: friendly3 on 04/09/2011 11:32 PM

Personally I think that payload manufacturers will build their payloads to whatever size makes the best ROI, large or small. That bodes well for HL because by removing some of the payload mass constraints, less expensive materials can be used and less complex designs can be employed. Translation: less costly satellite means higher profit for the same spec performance. Who cares if it's heavier, because we can now lift what we never could before.

No, they will still try to maximize capability/mass

Not over profit.

More capability, more profit

More weight --> more capability.

Thus:

More weight --> more capability --> more profit (your words).
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: clongton on 04/09/2011 11:32 PM
What about robotic probes? Aren't driven by profit and are limited by funding in the first place. Is there some room for lowering instrument costs by relaxing mass/power limits, higher structural factors of safety, better radiation shielding, etc?

Yes.

Mind you HL is not the answer to everything, as some seem to believe, but it *does* enable approaches and missions that are difficult or impossible with current capability. Atlas and Delta will still be busy lifting payloads that are sized for them because that's the right size. By the same token, I predict that you will soon see heavier payloads as well. At first they will be heavier versions of would have flown on EELV but became less costly with the additional lift capability. Later you will see more complex and/or ambitious heavy payloads, designed from the beginning to take efficient advantage of the new capability. But you will also see the EELV class launchers continue to fly payloads that realistically belong in their lift envelope. Not everything needs a HLV and that won't change any time soon.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: clongton on 04/09/2011 11:35 PM
More weight --> more capability.

I didn't say that. What I did say is that some payloads can become heavier just by relaxing the mass restrictions and using different, though heavier materials and less complex designs. These will have the *same* capability, just be less costly to build and fly.

More capable, heavier payloads will come later. That will take time. The pipeline is *very* long.

The much lower pricing of the Falcon Heavy will drive designers in this direction eventually, assuming the heavy performs as predicted. But that will by no means take a significant amount of business from the EELV's. Some, to be sure, but not a lot. The heavy payloads will be a different kind of payload.

I'm being realistic about this Jim.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: friendly3 on 04/09/2011 11:37 PM
More weight --> more capability.

I didn't say that. What I did say is that some payloads can become heavier just by relaxing the mass restrictions and using different, though heavier materials and less complex designs. These will have the *same* capability, just be less costly to build and fly.

More capable, heavier payloads will come later. That will take time. The pipeline is *very* long.

I was talking to Jim ("more capability, more profit")
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: clongton on 04/09/2011 11:42 PM
More weight --> more capability.

I didn't say that. What I did say is that some payloads can become heavier just by relaxing the mass restrictions and using different, though heavier materials and less complex designs. These will have the *same* capability, just be less costly to build and fly.

More capable, heavier payloads will come later. That will take time. The pipeline is *very* long.

I was talking to Jim ("more capability, more profit")

Ok
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: robertross on 04/10/2011 12:13 AM
By the same token, I predict that you will soon see heavier payloads as well. At first they will be heavier versions of would have flown on EELV but became less costly with the additional lift capability. Later you will see more complex and/or ambitious heavy payloads, designed from the beginning to take efficient advantage of the new capability. But you will also see the EELV class launchers continue to fly payloads that realistically belong in their lift envelope. Not everything needs a HLV and that won't change any time soon.

I suppose it would come down to key components or subsystems that would enable the 'low-cost' manufacturing, thus allowing those cost savings to be put on the launcher side of things.

Probably worthy of a good discussion in its own right. One thing it could help drive is a 'slightly' shorter time to manufacture, thus reducing carrying costs, and also putting the payload into orbit sooner

Examples: trading Li-Al for a heavier aluminum alloy, maybe something more common as T-6061. Thicker propellant tanks to get around pressure issues requiring higher-cost Kevlar-wrapped tanks. Solar panels robustness vs. lightweight.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: clongton on 04/10/2011 12:20 AM
By the same token, I predict that you will soon see heavier payloads as well. At first they will be heavier versions of would have flown on EELV but became less costly with the additional lift capability. Later you will see more complex and/or ambitious heavy payloads, designed from the beginning to take efficient advantage of the new capability. But you will also see the EELV class launchers continue to fly payloads that realistically belong in their lift envelope. Not everything needs a HLV and that won't change any time soon.

I suppose it would come down to key components or subsystems that would enable the 'low-cost' manufacturing, thus allowing those cost savings to be put on the launcher side of things.

Probably worthy of a good discussion in its own right. One thing it could help drive is a 'slightly' shorter time to manufacture, thus reducing carrying costs, and also putting the payload into orbit sooner

Examples: trading Li-Al for a heavier aluminum alloy, maybe something more common as T-6061. Thicker propellant tanks to get around pressure issues requiring higher-cost Kevlar-wrapped tanks. Solar panels robustness vs. lightweight.

Exactly. Those are the *kind* of things that a more capable LV makes possible. These and other factors are all cost drivers and can make the difference in whether or not a probe ever flies or not. Some very good missions were canceled because of the cost. SOME (certainly not all) would have flown if they could have used less costly design parameters made available by a more capable LV.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: kevin-rf on 04/10/2011 12:34 AM
Let me make an argument, There is a limit to the max capability of satellite.  That means until you can get the max capability of a satellite into the mass/volume restrictions of current launchers you will use exotic materials to get the most bang for your buck.

If Falcon 9 is cheaper than existing launchers and can launch more than existing launchers it will drive manufactures to make the most capable satellites first, then reduce complexity if the launcher still has mass/volume to spare.

I would argue, the first Falcon Heavy optimizations you will see are...

For highly capable 7000kg and up class of satellites.
1. Larger solar arrays for more power.
2. Bigger Batteries
3. Maybe more fuel.

For the smaller satellites that manufactures like orbital build that are not as complex as the 7000kg monsters, but to heavy to fly on either the Taurus II or Falcon 9. (Those payloads are already at the max capability the customers feel they need) Maybe in that case they will decide to replace some of the more exotic weight reducing components with heavier less weight optimized components. You would do it for two reasons, one to reduce cost, but also to make the structures more robust. Which has been argued in the past by clongton, will reduce cost, because a heavier more robust structure have larger margins and do not have to be analyzed as much. Which is where the real cost is. It is the man hours that go into over engineering and analyzing to death of these payloads and not the raw material costs. Just like the cost drivers for the Falcon Heavy is not the fuel cost but the standing army it takes to fly this monster.

Wasn't an argument made a while back that no one was willing to build payloads much over 7000kg because it left you only one launcher, the Ariane 5. Meaning they could charge you what ever they wanted to and you had no alternative (unless you could afford a $300 million plus Delta IV Heavy). Now there may soon be two launchers in the 10000kg class. Interesting times ahead.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: baldusi on 04/10/2011 12:53 AM
I don't think that weight is so easy to trade for cost. Because if you use a higher weight structure (for example), you end up with far higher inertia moment. This requires higher thrust rockets, attitude control and fuel. Which need more of the same, etc. And here is where the rocket equation comes to bite you. You save X on materials and have to spend Y on thrust, attitude control and fuel. I'm quite sure that X<Y. In particular, I suspect that the cost of using lighter materials is a fraction of the design qualification and payload testing.
Jim could make this point more clear.
In any case, today the limiting factor is the available frequencies at a given orbital slots. In fact, SES and others are kind of transponder limited at many satellite position. I ignore which are the limits to add more capacity for comm sats. But it's quite possible that they would rather add fuel, solar panels and transponders.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: robertross on 04/10/2011 01:23 AM
I don't think that weight is so easy to trade for cost. Because if you use a higher weight structure (for example), you end up with far higher inertia moment. This requires higher thrust rockets, attitude control and fuel. Which need more of the same, etc. And here is where the rocket equation comes to bite you. You save X on materials and have to spend Y on thrust, attitude control and fuel. I'm quite sure that X<Y. In particular, I suspect that the cost of using lighter materials is a fraction of the design qualification and payload testing.

All very true. There's always a trade.

Of course a key driver for having increased capability is to have the satellites protected from the ever-increasing risk or orbital debris. If you need to have those longer lasting batteries, or greater fuel load, or stronger outer shell to avoid internal damage, then the penalty incurred might be worth the added mass & volume.

It may not push the boundaries for advanced satellite design, but for the commercial providers, they just want low-cost and high-profits from their satellite investment, and the sooner it gets to market, the better it is for everyone. Military & planetary/deep-space missions may still push those boundaries.

Interesting times ahead indeed.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: MP99 on 04/10/2011 12:00 PM
Also if there ARE payloads for this then it could deal a blow to ULA........

AND to all those "experts" that claim a HLV is useless because "there are no payloads for it". If I were a manufacturer of "payloads" I wouldn't build one too heavy for any existing LV to lift either. That would not only be dumb but would also completely explain why "there are no payloads for it". But that doesn't mean I would continue to not build one if a HLV magically became available to lift them. Hmmm. We will see soon enough how much truth there is to the "build it and they will come" approach.

But, would commercial companies built sats where there is no backup launcher they could switch to?

cheers, Martin
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: clongton on 04/10/2011 12:26 PM
Also if there ARE payloads for this then it could deal a blow to ULA........

AND to all those "experts" that claim a HLV is useless because "there are no payloads for it". If I were a manufacturer of "payloads" I wouldn't build one too heavy for any existing LV to lift either. That would not only be dumb but would also completely explain why "there are no payloads for it". But that doesn't mean I would continue to not build one if a HLV magically became available to lift them. Hmmm. We will see soon enough how much truth there is to the "build it and they will come" approach.

But, would commercial companies built sats where there is no backup launcher they could switch to?

cheers, Martin

That's a business decision. I suppose if the business case were weak in the first place, probably not. But if they had a solid business case for the sat they probably would.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: rklaehn on 04/10/2011 12:33 PM
But, would commercial companies built sats where there is no backup launcher they could switch to?

Ariane V has a throw weight of 10t to GTO. By the time Falcon Heavy becomes operational it will have 12 due to the upper stage upgrade. So you could build a pretty big comsat and still have multiple launch providers.

But I would be more interested in what payload to GTO the single stick falcon 9 will have with the merlin 1d engine upgrade. It might be that falcon 9 is big enough for the biggest currently available comsats (~6t to GTO) in a single stick configuration.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: mmeijeri on 04/10/2011 12:36 PM
But I would be more interested in what payload to GTO the single stick falcon 9 will have with the merlin 1d engine upgrade.

He shoots, he scores! That is indeed what matters.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: ugordan on 04/10/2011 12:42 PM
But I would be more interested in what payload to GTO the single stick falcon 9 will have with the merlin 1d engine upgrade.

http://www.spacex.com/downloads/spacex-brochure.pdf
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: A_M_Swallow on 04/10/2011 05:12 PM

But, would commercial companies built sats where there is no backup launcher they could switch to?

cheers, Martin

Possibly.  However in such a monopoly supply situation the directors of the satellite company are likely to take the directors of missile manufacturing companies out to lunch to try and persuade them to develop a rival launcher.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: gospacex on 04/10/2011 05:19 PM

Personally I think that payload manufacturers will build their payloads to whatever size makes the best ROI, large or small. That bodes well for HL because by removing some of the payload mass constraints, less expensive materials can be used and less complex designs can be employed. Translation: less costly satellite means higher profit for the same spec performance. Who cares if it's heavier, because we can now lift what we never could before.

No, they will still try to maximize capability/mass

No, they maximize capability/cost
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Jim on 04/10/2011 08:53 PM

But, would commercial companies built sats where there is no backup launcher they could switch to?

cheers, Martin

Possibly.  However in such a monopoly supply situation the directors of the satellite company are likely to take the directors of missile manufacturing companies out to lunch to try and persuade them to develop a rival launcher.

Geesh,you really don't know how things work.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: beancounter on 04/11/2011 04:45 AM

But, would commercial companies built sats where there is no backup launcher they could switch to?

cheers, Martin

Possibly.  However in such a monopoly supply situation the directors of the satellite company are likely to take the directors of missile manufacturing companies out to lunch to try and persuade them to develop a rival launcher.

Geesh,you really don't know how things work.

Thanks for the lunch :)
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: edkyle99 on 04/11/2011 02:06 PM
There's a lot of discussion about GTO payloads, but I think it is worth reminding ourselves that the first Falcon Heavy is planned to fly from Vandenberg AFB.  There must be a business reason for SpaceX to decide to invest a large sum of money in that launch site, from which it is not possible to launch GTO satellites. 

Also worthy of consideration is the fact that a Falcon Heavy composed of existing-size tanks would "only" be able to lift about 30 tonnes to LEO or 11 tonnes to GTO.  Not an Ariane beater in terms of GTO.

 - Ed Kyle
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Archibald on 04/11/2011 02:13 PM
About Arianespace future: some months ago the rumoured Ariane 6 was planned to be lighter and less powerfull than Ariane 5.
Can Falcon 9H have any impact on the design ?
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 04/11/2011 02:37 PM
About Arianespace future: some months ago the rumoured Ariane 6 was planned to be lighter and less powerfull than Ariane 5.
Can Falcon 9H have any impact on the design ?

AFAIK, the design of Ariane-6 hasn't been finalised yet.  I'm not even sure if the project is still going ahead.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: grakenverb on 04/11/2011 02:43 PM

Examples: trading Li-Al for a heavier aluminum alloy, maybe something more common as T-6061. Thicker propellant tanks to get around pressure issues requiring higher-cost Kevlar-wrapped tanks. Solar panels robustness vs. lightweight.

Would this have the unintended consequence of increasing the chance of orbital debris making its way to the surface of the Earth?  Someday might our descendants be heading for the bomb shelters every few weeks as the remains of the "robust" spacecraft come back and land in increasingly populated areas?
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Nomadd on 04/11/2011 02:55 PM
But I would be more interested in what payload to GTO the single stick falcon 9 will have with the merlin 1d engine upgrade.

http://www.spacex.com/downloads/spacex-brochure.pdf

 Still a tad short of a Proton-M. The Skyterras mass around 5500kg.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: robertross on 04/11/2011 03:02 PM

Examples: trading Li-Al for a heavier aluminum alloy, maybe something more common as T-6061. Thicker propellant tanks to get around pressure issues requiring higher-cost Kevlar-wrapped tanks. Solar panels robustness vs. lightweight.

Would this have the unintended consequence of increasing the chance of orbital debris making its way to the surface of the Earth?  Someday might our descendants be heading for the bomb shelters every few weeks as the remains of the "robust" spacecraft come back and land in increasingly populated areas?

Typically there are no 'over land' flight paths of any consequence, and those that are have minimal inhabitants. Also, we're not talking about MAJOR mass increases here.

(just opinion) I suspect a Kevlar over-wrapped tank would survive more intact than a normal all-metal tank given the nature of Kevlar's properties.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: majormajor42 on 04/11/2011 04:50 PM
I
There's a lot of discussion about GTO payloads, but I think it is worth reminding ourselves that the first Falcon Heavy is planned to fly from Vandenberg AFB.  There must be a business reason for SpaceX to decide to invest a large sum of money in that launch site, from which it is not possible to launch GTO satellites. 

Also worthy of consideration is the fact that a Falcon Heavy composed of existing-size tanks would "only" be able to lift about 30 tonnes to LEO or 11 tonnes to GTO.  Not an Ariane beater in terms of GTO.

 - Ed Kyle

Well, if they are already building a VAB pad anyway for Iridium launches on the F9, how much extra does it cost to build for the FH? They may be anticipating some larger polar orbit satellites in the long run or they could always double up payloads too.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: ugordan on 04/11/2011 04:55 PM
VAFB pad would also be needed if F9 is ever to launch any of the Earth science missions for NASA.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Hauerg on 04/11/2011 05:07 PM
VAFB pad would also be needed if F9 is ever to launch any of the Earth science missions for NASA.
Also a space station in an orbit with high inclination would enable better viewing of more of the world. So what is good for Earth science may be good for "tourists".
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: simonbp on 04/11/2011 05:19 PM
There must be a business reason for SpaceX to decide to invest a large sum of money in that launch site, from which it is not possible to launch GTO satellites. 

Yeah, making Delta IV Heavy obsolete.

When asked at Space Access if the next VAFB launch will go better than the "practice run" with Falcon 1, Shotwell said that this time, the launch clearance will be determined by USAF, not Lockheed Martin. That got a round of applause...
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: jimgagnon on 04/11/2011 05:21 PM
There's a lot of discussion about GTO payloads, but I think it is worth reminding ourselves that the first Falcon Heavy is planned to fly from Vandenberg AFB.  There must be a business reason for SpaceX to decide to invest a large sum of money in that launch site, from which it is not possible to launch GTO satellites. 

Don't know if you saw this, but the NASA science community is very concerned about how long term launch prices were trending in the US:
  http://spaceflightnow.com/news/n1104/04launchcosts/

They would use Falcon 9 now, but there is a certification issue that will likely postpone that until 2013-2014. I'm sure they took the announcement of Falcon Heavy with great joy for two reasons: $1k/lb and there's a ghost of a chance now they can get part of that $8B SLS dev cost and fund some really significant and useful projects.

edit: forgot "k" and was off by three orders of magnitude. Ah, for the day of $1/lb launch costs.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: simonbp on 04/11/2011 05:26 PM
Also a space station in an orbit with high inclination would enable better viewing of more of the world. So what is good for Earth science may be good for "tourists".

60 deg is probably the highest that you want put a station, as it covers >99.9% of the world's population. Higher that costs a lot more fuel for diminishing returns, and IIRC VAFB cannot launch to less than 70 deg without a dog-leg trajectory...
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Ronsmytheiii on 04/11/2011 05:27 PM
When asked at Space Access if the next VAFB launch will go better than the "practice run" with Falcon 1, Shotwell said that this time, the launch clearance will be determined by USAF, not Lockheed Martin. That got a round of applause...

Atlas V was right next to the old SpaceX falcon 1 pad at VAFB, and judging by its performance Lockheed was justified in denying them overflight.....

The SLC-4 site will prevent that from occurring, it seems like it was just the wrong site for SLC-3W
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: simonbp on 04/11/2011 05:32 PM
Don't know if you saw this, but the NASA science community is very concerned about how long term launch prices were trending in the US:
  http://spaceflightnow.com/news/n1104/04launchcosts/

Well, they're always concerned, but yes, most recent medium-sized missions are sized to fit on an F9, with Atlas V as backup. FH, especially with a small upper stage (Star 48 or so), could really bring down costs for outer solat systems missions.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: ugordan on 04/11/2011 05:34 PM
Well, they're always concerned, but yes, most recent medium-sized missions are sized to fit on an F9

When it comes to Earth missions, I think they would actually benefit from an even smaller vehicle. NASA doesn't really need 8-ish tonnes to polar orbit. Well, maybe can't afford them would be more accurate.

In the end it's about cost. If F9 ends up costing less than the next vehicle in line (Taurus II?), extra performance be damned.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: kevin-rf on 04/11/2011 05:38 PM
Would this have the unintended consequence of increasing the chance of orbital debris making its way to the surface of the Earth?  Someday might our descendants be heading for the bomb shelters every few weeks as the remains of the "robust" spacecraft come back and land in increasingly populated areas?

Typically there are no 'over land' flight paths of any consequence, and those that are have minimal inhabitants. Also, we're not talking about MAJOR mass increases here.

(just opinion) I suspect a Kevlar over-wrapped tank would survive more intact than a normal all-metal tank given the nature of Kevlar's properties.

Actually I think he referring to the satellites at the end of life and not the launchers.

I think answer is multi-part,

1. Though your mass can grow, you won't be wrapping them in the equiv. of battle armor. They won't be M1 battle tanks. They will be light weight and use materials that are light weight. If you use materials like Al, there is very little chance of anything surviving reentry.
2. You choose materials that will burn up. You will no longer be constrained to light weight materials that may not burn up.
3. You can and should intentionality build satellites with weak points that cause them to break up when exposed to the heat of reentry. There is an excellent paper on experiments the DOD did back in the 70's with very heavy vehicles. (search for the VAST/VASP report).
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: baldusi on 04/11/2011 05:47 PM
1. Though your mass can grow, you won't be wrapping them in the equiv. of battle armor. They won't be M1 battle tanks. They will be light weight and use materials that are light weight. If you use materials like Al, there is very little chance of anything surviving reentry.
The us of kevlar wrapped tanks is exclusively for weight issues. Most of the strains in a pressure vessel are tensile, which are not the best for Al, but carbon is. The wrapping procedure is expensive, but the real issue are the epoxis used to glue the fibers together. The tanks are used by firemen, so they can support some high temperatures. But atmospheric entry temperatures are way more than what those epoxies will find during it's operating life.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Patchouli on 04/11/2011 06:46 PM
Also if there ARE payloads for this then it could deal a blow to ULA........

AND to all those "experts" that claim a HLV is useless because "there are no payloads for it". If I were a manufacturer of "payloads" I wouldn't build one too heavy for any existing LV to lift either. That would not only be dumb but would also completely explain why "there are no payloads for it". But that doesn't mean I would continue to not build one if a HLV magically became available to lift them. Hmmm. We will see soon enough how much truth there is to the "build it and they will come" approach.

Personally I think that payload manufacturers will build their payloads to whatever size makes the best ROI, large or small. That bodes well for HL because by removing some of the payload mass constraints, less expensive materials can be used and less complex designs can be employed. Translation: less costly satellite means higher profit for the same spec performance. Who cares if it's heavier, because we can now lift what we never could before.

On comsats I do know of a few types that are constrained by present payload size.

First narrow beam spot sats where you have dozens of small beams vs one wide on such as for high speed internet and second HDTV sats.

These might very quickly take advantage of Falcon Heavy.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Cherokee43v6 on 04/11/2011 07:17 PM
There's a lot of discussion about GTO payloads, but I think it is worth reminding ourselves that the first Falcon Heavy is planned to fly from Vandenberg AFB.  There must be a business reason for SpaceX to decide to invest a large sum of money in that launch site, from which it is not possible to launch GTO satellites. 

Also worthy of consideration is the fact that a Falcon Heavy composed of existing-size tanks would "only" be able to lift about 30 tonnes to LEO or 11 tonnes to GTO.  Not an Ariane beater in terms of GTO.

 - Ed Kyle

Wasn't there something from SpaceX back in late December or January where they pretty much said they'd been told that in order to be able to bid on DoD and NRO launches, they needed to demonstrate the F9 Heavy?

By building first at VAFB they indicate their seriousness to pursue that market.

Secondarily, it is much more convenient to their LA production facility for testing and debugging purposes.  Somehow I don't see them building a special test stand in Texas merely to test out the Cross-feed mechanism.  Remember, their first Falcon1 test firing took place at VAFB.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: edkyle99 on 04/11/2011 07:32 PM
When asked at Space Access if the next VAFB launch will go better than the "practice run" with Falcon 1, Shotwell said that this time, the launch clearance will be determined by USAF, not Lockheed Martin. That got a round of applause...

Atlas V was right next to the old SpaceX falcon 1 pad at VAFB, and judging by its performance Lockheed was justified in denying them overflight.....

The SLC-4 site will prevent that from occurring, it seems like it was just the wrong site for SLC-3W

It was a Titan IV at SLC 4E, prepping for launch with a no-doubt very costly defense satellite, that was the issue.  I doubt that Lockheed Martin could make the call by itself.  The Air Force and the satellite customer no doubt had a say.  And, at any rate, the Titan flew long before SpaceX was ready to launch a Falcon. 

And, by the way, that first Falcon, when finally launched, crashed and exploded thunderously in a location that could very well have endangered SLC 4E if the launch had occurred at Vandenberg (parts from the first Falcon fell all around Omelek, some causing damage). 

SLC 4E is slightly downrange (off to the west a bit from the launch azimuth) from SLC 3W and, for that matter, SLC 3E now used by Atlas V.  Soon, we may see the shoe on the other foot...

 - Ed Kyle
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Jim on 04/11/2011 07:52 PM

Secondarily, it is much more convenient to their LA production facility for testing and debugging purposes.  Somehow I don't see them building a special test stand in Texas merely to test out the Cross-feed mechanism.  Remember, their first Falcon1 test firing took place at VAFB.

Not really, VAFB testing will limited to short burps just as they are at the Cape.  The pad testing was to test the pad system vs the vehicle, which is the purpose of the TX stands.

F1 tests were in TX first.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Ronsmytheiii on 04/11/2011 08:04 PM

And, by the way, that first Falcon, when finally launched, crashed and exploded thunderously in a location that could very well have endangered SLC 4E if the launch had occurred at Vandenberg (parts from the first Falcon fell all around Omelek, some causing damage). 


Ed, that was my point....  ;D
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: simonbp on 04/11/2011 11:26 PM
When it comes to Earth missions, I think they would actually benefit from an even smaller vehicle. NASA doesn't really need 8-ish tonnes to polar orbit. Well, maybe can't afford them would be more accurate.

In the end it's about cost. If F9 ends up costing less than the next vehicle in line (Taurus II?), extra performance be damned.

But Taurus II has neither flown nor does it have a polar/sun-synchronous launch site (52 deg is the limit for Wallops without a dog-leg). Plus, NASA Earth Science hasn't exactly had a rosy history with Orbital launchers recently...

And what I really meant was mid-sized planetary missions, of the size that would have traditionally flown Delta II. Falcon 9 is similarly-priced to Delta II, but has a good deal more performance.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Nomadd on 04/12/2011 12:22 AM
Also if there ARE payloads for this then it could deal a blow to ULA........

AND to all those "experts" that claim a HLV is useless because "there are no payloads for it". If I were a manufacturer of "payloads" I wouldn't build one too heavy for any existing LV to lift either. That would not only be dumb but would also completely explain why "there are no payloads for it". But that doesn't mean I would continue to not build one if a HLV magically became available to lift them. Hmmm. We will see soon enough how much truth there is to the "build it and they will come" approach.

Personally I think that payload manufacturers will build their payloads to whatever size makes the best ROI, large or small. That bodes well for HL because by removing some of the payload mass constraints, less expensive materials can be used and less complex designs can be employed. Translation: less costly satellite means higher profit for the same spec performance. Who cares if it's heavier, because we can now lift what we never could before.

On comsats I do know of a few types that are constrained by present payload size.

First narrow beam spot sats where you have dozens of small beams vs one wide on such as for high speed internet and second HDTV sats.

These might very quickly take advantage of Falcon Heavy.


 Skyterra 1 has a 70 foot antenna and 500 spot beams. It's about as heavy at 5500kg as a ProtonM could launch. Nobody is going to waste money on anything larger if there's no reasonably priced ride. If they can get twice that weight up for less money that would probably change.
 Nobody has ever tried anything revolutionary yet without being labeled a fool by many. Most of the times the many are right.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: ugordan on 04/12/2011 07:14 AM
But Taurus II has neither flown nor does it have a polar/sun-synchronous launch site (52 deg is the limit for Wallops without a dog-leg).

Neither did F9 until less than a year ago and it's only just now getting a polar launch site. These things can change quickly.


Plus, NASA Earth Science hasn't exactly had a rosy history with Orbital launchers recently...

SpaceX track record on first 3 launches wasn't exactly stellar, either. It was also a different vehicle than what we're discussing here.

And what I really meant was mid-sized planetary missions, of the size that would have traditionally flown Delta II. Falcon 9 is similarly-priced to Delta II, but has a good deal more performance.

Agree.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Patchouli on 04/12/2011 07:40 AM

 Nobody has ever tried anything revolutionary yet without being labeled a fool by many. Most of the times the many are right.
Incorrect if you ever studied history the so called many who doubt something can be done are almost always proven wrong.
They doubted everything from steam ships and powered flight to the moon landings, and personal computers.
DBS was considered innovative yet very risky in the early 90s.

Sure there are failures along the way but eventually someone succeeds.
In the end all your so called many do is eat crow and lots of it.

Probably the most dangerous thing someone could do for the long term from a business standpoint is to never try anything revolutionary.

The greatest risk is not taking one.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Lee Jay on 04/12/2011 08:15 AM

 Nobody has ever tried anything revolutionary yet without being labeled a fool by many. Most of the times the many are right.
Incorrect if you ever studied history the so called many who doubt something can be done are almost always proven wrong.

Other way around.  For every one guy that truly invents something revolutionary, there are about a million tinfoil hatters.  I know because I get calls and emails from them all the time.  Of course history does a way better job of remembering the tiny group of spectacularly successful inventors than it does the huge group of goofballs that fail because they have no clue what they are doing.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: mnagy on 04/12/2011 08:18 AM
Nobody has ever tried anything revolutionary yet without being labeled a fool by many. Most of the times the many are right.

Incorrect if you ever studied history the so called many who doubt something can be done are almost always proven wrong.
They doubted everything from steam ships and powered flight to the moon landings, and personal computers.

Yes, because history won't remember the great many who really were wrong. I think it's a bit weird to argue that something is more likely to succeed just because most people are sceptical, that's just wishful thinking.

As a counter-example, there are a lot of people even today that claim invention of a perpetual motion machine. Most people doubt that, yet I don't think someone will ever prove all of them wrong.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: beancounter on 04/12/2011 08:22 AM

 Nobody has ever tried anything revolutionary yet without being labeled a fool by many. Most of the times the many are right.
Incorrect if you ever studied history the so called many who doubt something can be done are almost always proven wrong.

Other way around.  For every one guy that truly invents something revolutionary, there are about a million tinfoil hatters.  I know because I get calls and emails from them all the time.  Of course history does a way better job of remembering the tiny group of spectacularly successful inventors than it does the huge group of goofballs that fail because they have no clue what they are doing.

I don't think we're really talking anything revolutionary.  SpaceX has followed the KISS principle so far as possible.  Most of what they've achieved is through good design, planning and hard work plus a bit of risk taking.  If they can stay solvent (odds seem good at this point), I think they'll achieve their present aims.
What I'm really surprised about is the market for FH that they believe will eventuate.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Patchouli on 04/12/2011 08:26 AM

 Nobody has ever tried anything revolutionary yet without being labeled a fool by many. Most of the times the many are right.
Incorrect if you ever studied history the so called many who doubt something can be done are almost always proven wrong.

Other way around.  For every one guy that truly invents something revolutionary, there are about a million tinfoil hatters.  I know because I get calls and emails from them all the time.  Of course history does a way better job of remembering the tiny group of spectacularly successful inventors than it does the huge group of goofballs that fail because they have no clue what they are doing.

Your post is an insult to anyone doing research or inventing.

Robbert Goddard and Wernher von Braun were once considered goofballs.

Von Braun almost got reprimanded by his superiors a few times which often would effectively be a death penalty in Nazi Germany for talking about something as crazy as human space flight.

Goddard was called crazy on many occasions.

If not for so those called goof balls willing to try something different there would not even be a technological civilization let along a space sector of any kind.

The computer you are using only exists because some goof balls in a garage decided to make one back in the 70s thus starting a revolution.

I don't think we're really talking anything revolutionary.  SpaceX has followed the KISS principle so far as possible.  Most of what they've achieved is through good design, planning and hard work plus a bit of risk taking.  If they can stay solvent (odds seem good at this point), I think they'll achieve their present aims.
What I'm really surprised about is the market for FH that they believe will eventuate.

I find Spacex's approch similar to Henry Ford approach.
They're taking risks but they are calculated.
There was little technically innovative in the Model-T except in it's simplicity of manufacture,how it was produced and price.

As for the market who knows it might change the market but Falcon heavy is cheap enough it's affordable for present payloads and flight rates.
In fact FH probably is probably far lower risk then a hydrogen upper stage.

Spacex just might solve that chicken and egg problem of flight rates and cost.

Will Falcon be the DC-3 of space flight who knows.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: starsalor on 04/12/2011 09:17 AM
Once called crazy...then...it succeeds..then they are called innovators and visionaries ! !
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Nomadd on 04/12/2011 11:30 AM
 Patchouli stole my post. I often think of Henry Ford when I think of Spacex. Fords bankers thought he was a fool for not squeezing every penny he could out of every unit he sold. They even took his first company away from him and renamed it Cadillac.
 Musk isn't interested in sitting around counting his dubloons. His life's goal isn't to be worth $6 billion instead of $2 billion. He wants to see his rockets flying all over the solar system. He pictures what kind of ISS2 we could have at 1/10 the launch cost.
 That's the revolutionary thing. Not the technology. The attitude.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: majormajor42 on 04/12/2011 12:19 PM
Patchouli stole my post. I often think of Henry Ford when I think of Spacex. Fords bankers thought he was a fool for not squeezing every penny he could out of every unit he sold. They even took his first company away from him and renamed it Cadillac.
 Musk isn't interested in sitting around counting his dubloons. His life's goal isn't to be worth $6 billion instead of $2 billion. He wants to see his rockets flying all over the solar system. He pictures what kind of ISS2 we could have at 1/10 the launch cost.
 That's the revolutionary thing. Not the technology. The attitude.

My thoughts too, especially after watching that second video after the Press Club announcement. While it is great that SpaceX is winning all these commercial satellite contracts, thank goodness for Elon and the fact that he is leveraging that revenue for bigger and better rockets, technology investment, rather than using it to simply fatten the investors pockets. Winning commercial satellite market share might be the end game for other companies that are simply trying to maximize profit.  Elon, and his long term thinking, have bigger goals.

We might be assuming too much about what is going on in his head or the perseverance of his will.

So much is now riding on the ideals of this young man. For those of us that follow NASA and other space programs from the outside, not being space industry employees, many of our high hopes and dreams have shifted to free enterprise being the thing that makes humanity a space faring species. But this particular form of free enterprise is being stewarded/harnessed by Elon's own philosophy/goals/vision. I hope that doesn't change. I was happy about his IPO answers. He really does not want to loose control. So I guess I'm hoping that his ideals/vision do not shift from their current high mantle for the next 20 years or more. I almost want to stick those parts of his mind in a lock box so they don't get corrupted.

It is strange, a new concept, to even consider space exploration/colonization being dominated by private and not gov't entities.  Most of the hard-science fiction literature on the subject puts gov't in charge and in other cases of scifi, when a company is running the show, the results are usually depicted as being negative (Aliens, Total Recall, Avatar).  Has this new narrative ever been examined before?  Is there literature on a highly ideal company, a good company, pushing out the human envelope? Hey, while I'm dreaming, as Jim might say, I might as well read some good fiction about it.

Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: yamato on 04/12/2011 01:28 PM
It is strange, a new concept, to even consider space exploration/colonization being dominated by private and not gov't entities.  Most of the hard-science fiction literature on the subject puts gov't in charge and in other cases of scifi, when a company is running the show, the results are usually depicted as being negative (Aliens, Total Recall, Avatar).  Has this new narrative ever been examined before?  Is there literature on a highly ideal company, a good company, pushing out the human envelope? Hey, while I'm dreaming, as Jim might say, I might as well read some good fiction about it.

Gov´t as the primary pioneer, that´s the heritage of cold war and the giant gov´t administrations running the space program. In those times, gov´t was really the only one capable of paying and managing a spaceflight. But those times are gone, those technologies are not revolutionary anymore, management of companies is also on a different level, we have networked everything, one person with laptop makes more than the whole control room in those days. However, our view of spaceflight hasn´t changed. Many people still believes that NASA will return humans to moon, or get them to mars. I don´t believe that. Without a drastical reorganisation, NASA won´t do anything anymore. The list of cancelled programs is too long, the invoice for nothing is too high. In future, NASA should be just another customer.  Maybe it will get humans to mars - by ordering the trip.

I live in eastern europe. We had gov´t managing everything here, for 40 years. 40 lost years. Thrust me, gov´t is a dead end.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Lee Jay on 04/12/2011 01:53 PM

 Nobody has ever tried anything revolutionary yet without being labeled a fool by many. Most of the times the many are right.
Incorrect if you ever studied history the so called many who doubt something can be done are almost always proven wrong.

Other way around.  For every one guy that truly invents something revolutionary, there are about a million tinfoil hatters.  I know because I get calls and emails from them all the time.  Of course history does a way better job of remembering the tiny group of spectacularly successful inventors than it does the huge group of goofballs that fail because they have no clue what they are doing.

Your post is an insult to anyone doing research or inventing.

Oh, please.  I'm doing research and inventing!

I have people call me every week after having invented a new machine that's 10 times as efficient as what we have now (we're at 50% efficient now - 500% anyone?).  Their "new machines" are all about the same and were invented and largely discarded in the 1800s.

Like I said, there are million tinfoil hatters for every one genius.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: R.Simko on 04/12/2011 02:54 PM
Patchouli stole my post. I often think of Henry Ford when I think of Spacex. Fords bankers thought he was a fool for not squeezing every penny he could out of every unit he sold. They even took his first company away from him and renamed it Cadillac.
 Musk isn't interested in sitting around counting his dubloons. His life's goal isn't to be worth $6 billion instead of $2 billion. He wants to see his rockets flying all over the solar system. He pictures what kind of ISS2 we could have at 1/10 the launch cost.
 That's the revolutionary thing. Not the technology. The attitude.

Elon, and his long term thinking, have bigger goals.



This is where Elon is different than most others in industry, he thinks truely long term.  It is understandable, that most people are concentrating on the next financial quarter for their stockholders, or the next election cycle for politicians, but that will not get us to our dream.  We need to start thinking in generations, if the dream of true coloinization of other worlds are to take place.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: R.Simko on 04/12/2011 03:12 PM

It is strange, a new concept, to even consider space exploration/colonization being dominated by private and not gov't entities.  Most of the hard-science fiction literature on the subject puts gov't in charge and in other cases of scifi, when a company is running the show, the results are usually depicted as being negative (Aliens, Total Recall, Avatar).  Has this new narrative ever been examined before?  Is there literature on a highly ideal company, a good company, pushing out the human envelope? Hey, while I'm dreaming, as Jim might say, I might as well read some good fiction about it.



I was lucky enough a few years ago, to see an ad where an elderly gentleman was selling off his sci-fi collection of thousands of sci-fi books, many of them over 50 years old.  I bought most of that collection and have been having a great time reading through the collection.

One of the books was interesting in that the goverments of the world were stalemated in sending a manned mission to Mars.  So they put out a grand prize for the first company, to not only launch a certain number of people to Mars, they had to do surveying and bring back many samples.

It then became a grand competition between an American company and a European company to make the round trip.  The crews ended up being truely international, with the Russians and Chinese as part of the teams.                                                                                       


Both teams did make it to Mars, but ran into many problem.  In the end, they had to join together, in order to make it back home.  It was a great book.


Edit: Spelling corrections
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: randomly on 04/12/2011 03:29 PM

 Nobody has ever tried anything revolutionary yet without being labeled a fool by many. Most of the times the many are right.
Incorrect if you ever studied history the so called many who doubt something can be done are almost always proven wrong.

Other way around.  For every one guy that truly invents something revolutionary, there are about a million tinfoil hatters.  I know because I get calls and emails from them all the time.  Of course history does a way better job of remembering the tiny group of spectacularly successful inventors than it does the huge group of goofballs that fail because they have no clue what they are doing.

Your post is an insult to anyone doing research or inventing.

Oh, please.  I'm doing research and inventing!

I have people call me every week after having invented a new machine that's 10 times as efficient as what we have now (we're at 50% efficient now - 500% anyone?).  Their "new machines" are all about the same and were invented and largely discarded in the 1800s.

Like I said, there are million tinfoil hatters for every one genius.

The lone brilliant inventor that everyone scoffs at makes a fantastic story, but it's incredibly rare and highly distorted. There are always scoffers, but there are a lot of brilliant people that can immediately latch on to an idea and see the implications too, but that doesn't make a compelling story so you never hear it.

Having been in the trenches and been at the focal point of a lot of would-be, wanna-be inventors I'd have to agree with Lee Jay. There are a LOT of clueless, grossly over confident tin foil hat types out there generating tons of useless noise compared to the few intelligent and competent types.

The race is not always to the swiftest, or the battle to the strongest.

But that's the way to bet.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Chris Bergin on 04/12/2011 05:35 PM
Lots of mod reports on here all of a sudden. Keep it calm and keep it on topic! Don't make me come back here after this post ;)
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Patchouli on 04/12/2011 05:54 PM
Patchouli stole my post. I often think of Henry Ford when I think of Spacex. Fords bankers thought he was a fool for not squeezing every penny he could out of every unit he sold. They even took his first company away from him and renamed it Cadillac.
 Musk isn't interested in sitting around counting his dubloons. His life's goal isn't to be worth $6 billion instead of $2 billion. He wants to see his rockets flying all over the solar system. He pictures what kind of ISS2 we could have at 1/10 the launch cost.
 That's the revolutionary thing. Not the technology. The attitude.

Tom Mueller spacex's head propulsion engineer is what I'd call a great engineer in that he is not just book smart but understands the entire manufacturing process.
http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/space/rockets/4328638

BTW I can understand Musk's motivation once you have a billion dollars you have more money then you could ever spend in a lifetime so you might as well do something interesting and revolutionary with it.

If I had 1.5B I would have done something very similar.

One problem with established companies is they don't want to leave their comfort zone and only caring about profit this quarter.

A good example is the entire US energy industry it needs shook up and a good cleaning out with a flame thrower.
Synthetic petroleum from coal and bio fuel from cellulose is profitable at $40 a barrel yet we pay nearly $4 for a gallon of fuel derived from sources in countries that are not our friends.
A company should invest in these and under cut the establishment.
From a future stand point the oil industry is self destructive they repress alternatives vs expanding into them and profit at the expense of the rest of the economy.
The world would be a much better place if more million and billionaires were like Musk.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: jimgagnon on 04/12/2011 06:35 PM
So much is now riding on the ideals of this young man. For those of us that follow NASA and other space programs from the outside, not being space industry employees, many of our high hopes and dreams have shifted to free enterprise being the thing that makes humanity a space faring species. But this particular form of free enterprise is being stewarded/harnessed by Elon's own philosophy/goals/vision. I hope that doesn't change. I was happy about his IPO answers. He really does not want to loose control. So I guess I'm hoping that his ideals/vision do not shift from their current high mantle for the next 20 years or more. I almost want to stick those parts of his mind in a lock box so they don't get corrupted.

It is strange, a new concept, to even consider space exploration/colonization being dominated by private and not gov't entities.  Most of the hard-science fiction literature on the subject puts gov't in charge and in other cases of scifi, when a company is running the show, the results are usually depicted as being negative (Aliens, Total Recall, Avatar).  Has this new narrative ever been examined before?  Is there literature on a highly ideal company, a good company, pushing out the human envelope? Hey, while I'm dreaming, as Jim might say, I might as well read some good fiction about it.

Hear, hear! I also indeed hope the Falcon 9 is the Model T of the 21st century in space. One thing we can do as citizens to help herald in a new age of private enterprise in space is work towards changing laws so that there is a greater incentive to invest in space. First off, we must get the US Government to relax the ITAR regulations with at least our partners in the ISS. ITAR makes the export of any space related good extremely expensive; even internationally available goods such as kapton tape requires a half million dollars in lawyers' fees to be certified for export. Secondly, we must make private ownership of land off of Earth possible and protected. If we do that, finally people will have a long term incentive to actually land on the Moon and other bodies to claim their plot in space. Otherwise, we have only politics and idealism to drive us out into space -- both powerful in their own right, but fickle and hard to sustain for the time frames needed for space.

Any other ideas to help spur private investment in space activities?
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: clongton on 04/12/2011 10:08 PM
First off, we must get the US Government to relax the ITAR regulations with at least our partners in the ISS.

That's going to be a tough one. You do know, I assume, that the Russians were among those specifically against whom ITAR was formulated? I'm not disagreeing with your sentiment, just dousing it with a little reality.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Patchouli on 04/12/2011 10:13 PM
First off, we must get the US Government to relax the ITAR regulations with at least our partners in the ISS.

That's going to be a tough one. You do know, I assume, that the Russians were among those specifically against whom ITAR was formulated? I'm not disagreeing with your sentiment, just dousing it with a little reality.

ITAR also known as eye-tar does need reformed.
The law has done next to nothing to prevent missile technology from falling in the wrong hands but has done wonders on crippling the US aerospace industry and as a result has put national security at risk.

The kapton tape example jimgagnon gave highlights just how stupid ITAR is in it's present form.
Really I don't have words to describe how stupid that is except I had to completely recalibrate my entire concept of bureaucratic stupidity just to grasp it.
Bigelow's greatest contribution may not be their modules but the ITAR reforms they have been pushing for.

As for people opposed to ITAR reforms I have little fate in those people as they have little to nothing to show proving of the validity of their judgment.

As for a model for new laws to replace ITAR to follow look to Europe specially France they seem to have achieved to proper balance.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Lobo on 04/12/2011 10:26 PM
Let me make an argument, There is a limit to the max capability of satellite.  That means until you can get the max capability of a satellite into the mass/volume restrictions of current launchers you will use exotic materials to get the most bang for your buck.

If Falcon 9 is cheaper than existing launchers and can launch more than existing launchers it will drive manufactures to make the most capable satellites first, then reduce complexity if the launcher still has mass/volume to spare.

I would argue, the first Falcon Heavy optimizations you will see are...

For highly capable 7000kg and up class of satellites.
1. Larger solar arrays for more power.
2. Bigger Batteries
3. Maybe more fuel.

For the smaller satellites that manufactures like orbital build that are not as complex as the 7000kg monsters, but to heavy to fly on either the Taurus II or Falcon 9. (Those payloads are already at the max capability the customers feel they need) Maybe in that case they will decide to replace some of the more exotic weight reducing components with heavier less weight optimized components. You would do it for two reasons, one to reduce cost, but also to make the structures more robust. Which has been argued in the past by clongton, will reduce cost, because a heavier more robust structure have larger margins and do not have to be analyzed as much. Which is where the real cost is. It is the man hours that go into over engineering and analyzing to death of these payloads and not the raw material costs. Just like the cost drivers for the Falcon Heavy is not the fuel cost but the standing army it takes to fly this monster.

Wasn't an argument made a while back that no one was willing to build payloads much over 7000kg because it left you only one launcher, the Ariane 5. Meaning they could charge you what ever they wanted to and you had no alternative (unless you could afford a $300 million plus Delta IV Heavy). Now there may soon be two launchers in the 10000kg class. Interesting times ahead.

Yea, I've been arguing this for some time, and had some pretty vocal opponents who strongly feel that lift capacity doesn't play much factor in payload design.  Which to me, flies in the face of all engineering principles.  But granted, designing spacecraft isn't exactly like designing most regular products, so the normal principles of engineer don't always apply.  But, it seem pretty basic that if you can build say a 3mt payload because that is your LV limit, with tight margins and exotic materials, if you suddenly have double or triple the lift capacity for the same price (or cheaper), then you take that back to your engineers, they can either add more features, add more fuel, or use cheaper materials that aren't as strong as exotics, but much easier to work with (aluminum instead of carbon composites, etc.  Milling a component from aluminum is pretty easy compared to fabricating it from composits, or other exotic alloys that are difficult to mill or weld) 
Not to mention if you don't have to shave every ounce off the payload to maximize your capability, you can just design in larger margins and not have to test quite as much, or risk to tight of margins.
Additional fuel is also a big bonus.  If you have a few extra metric tons of LV capacity, you can just pretty easily put in larger fuel tanks.  That's really helpful for planetary probes obviously, but even for Earth satellites, you can easily add enough propellent so you have the ability to correct or move them to new orbits, and to de-orbit them at the end of their service life.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Lobo on 04/12/2011 10:36 PM
There's a lot of discussion about GTO payloads, but I think it is worth reminding ourselves that the first Falcon Heavy is planned to fly from Vandenberg AFB.  There must be a business reason for SpaceX to decide to invest a large sum of money in that launch site, from which it is not possible to launch GTO satellites. 

Also worthy of consideration is the fact that a Falcon Heavy composed of existing-size tanks would "only" be able to lift about 30 tonnes to LEO or 11 tonnes to GTO.  Not an Ariane beater in terms of GTO.

 - Ed Kyle

Wasn't there something from SpaceX back in late December or January where they pretty much said they'd been told that in order to be able to bid on DoD and NRO launches, they needed to demonstrate the F9 Heavy?

By building first at VAFB they indicate their seriousness to pursue that market.

Secondarily, it is much more convenient to their LA production facility for testing and debugging purposes.  Somehow I don't see them building a special test stand in Texas merely to test out the Cross-feed mechanism.  Remember, their first Falcon1 test firing took place at VAFB.

It also lets them build a dual purpose pad and work the bugs out as they test FH, without interrupting F9 operations at the Cape.  Once they have it operational, and the kinks worked out, they can probably modify LC-40 to handle FH as well as F9 in a shorter amount of time, as they know exactly what they'll need to do to.
Also closer to their HQ while doing construction and testing.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: mlorrey on 04/12/2011 11:32 PM
It is strange, a new concept, to even consider space exploration/colonization being dominated by private and not gov't entities.  Most of the hard-science fiction literature on the subject puts gov't in charge and in other cases of scifi, when a company is running the show, the results are usually depicted as being negative (Aliens, Total Recall, Avatar).  Has this new narrative ever been examined before?  Is there literature on a highly ideal company, a good company, pushing out the human envelope? Hey, while I'm dreaming, as Jim might say, I might as well read some good fiction about it.

Gov´t as the primary pioneer, that´s the heritage of cold war and the giant gov´t administrations running the space program. In those times, gov´t was really the only one capable of paying and managing a spaceflight. But those times are gone, those technologies are not revolutionary anymore, management of companies is also on a different level, we have networked everything, one person with laptop makes more than the whole control room in those days. However, our view of spaceflight hasn´t changed. Many people still believes that NASA will return humans to moon, or get them to mars. I don´t believe that. Without a drastical reorganisation, NASA won´t do anything anymore. The list of cancelled programs is too long, the invoice for nothing is too high. In future, NASA should be just another customer.  Maybe it will get humans to mars - by ordering the trip.

I live in eastern europe. We had gov´t managing everything here, for 40 years. 40 lost years. Thrust me, gov´t is a dead end.

Apparently majormajor has never read any Heinlein. Theres "The Man Who Sold The Moon", which is a classic. Heinlein often wrote of private enterprise's role in space exploration. Then you've got the Warlord of Mars and Carson of Venus series by Burroughs, which predated the golden age writers by a few decades, and of course the original moonshot novel "From the Earth to the Moon" by Jules Verne, about two private individuals who build a massive gun to launch themselves in a capsule to the moon, from of all places, the coast of Florida.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: baldusi on 04/13/2011 02:38 PM
Yea, I've been arguing this for some time, and had some pretty vocal opponents who strongly feel that lift capacity doesn't play much factor in payload design.  Which to me, flies in the face of all engineering principles.  But granted, designing spacecraft isn't exactly like designing most regular products, so the normal principles of engineer don't always apply.
I'm sure a few extra kg of payload are always welcome. But the rocket equation makes all this thin crazy. Lets say you have double the payload. So you try to make a payload cheaper but twice the weight. First problem, now your moment of inertia doubles. So you need bigger reaction wheels. So you take some of the weight to make that easier. But you now need twice the thrust in positioning station keeping. Plus twice the fuel. And if you launch to GTO you need twice the thrust for circularization and fuel. But the rocket equation is not lineal. And thrusters are expensive. So you won't save that much.
Now, try to put twice the solar panels, and twice the transponders, three times the fuel. And now you can double the potential revenue. I guess that that's what Jim tries to explain.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: oldAtlas_Eguy on 04/13/2011 05:45 PM
The best thing a business can do is turn a boutique business into a thriving industry. Henry Ford did this and SpaceX could be on the verge of doing the same. Time will tell as in the case of Ford. The one thing for sure is that the magical drop by an order of magnitude LEO rate that everyone has been waiting for over the $10,000 per lb that was the case in 2001 looks like it will finally occur. This was purported to be the turning point to increased total launch tonnage to LEO. The question we all are struggling with is, are the pundits that did this prediction correct?

Once marginal business cases that also required large tonnage lift capabilities and less than $2000 per lb LEO rate may finally find investors. If this happens the 10 launches a year for FH may still not happen until much later but launching 4 FH a year by 2016 could easily be a reality for businesses that currently are nothing but wishful thinking. 5 years for a corporation new product development cycle is a very long time. Bigelow has been constrained waiting on a passenger service, otherwise his modules would already be on orbit and occupied by now. He has been slow rolling the development to make it match the probable passenger service availability date of 2015.

It is already known that the DOD is interested in SBSP if it can be done for less than $0.50 / kwh delivered to remote basses, then a working 10 to 50 MW SBSP is on the table. A GEO 50MW SBSP weighing 10kg/kw (The current technology capability but not the best possible. NOTE: Some of this 10kg/kw weight is the fuel for an electric propulsion system to move the sat from LEO to GEO.) can be launched using 10 FH flights. Costing in total $8 billion ( most of the cost is the SBSP development not launch but a cheap booster makes the marginal business case viable) with the launch costs portion being $1.25 billion, the demo sat can deliver power at $0.30 per kw with a payback after 30 years of operation. A higher charge results in a much faster payback, just 10 cents more per kw makes the payback in 13 years. The next cheapest booster per kg to LEO the Proton the rate is $0.50 /kwh with a payback in 20 years. A sliight more increase in cost to LEO makes the business case non-viable. These marginal business cases are extremely sensitive to the launch costs, so a drop by half of the current best rate is extremely significant.

Unlike comm sats SBSP is long term item just like a power plant on earth, operating in the 30 to 50 year or more range. The only reason an SBSP sat would be decommissioned is if the smaller power producing sat does not have any customers. After the demo launch costs take on a more significant cost role since mass production of the SBSP components would make the SBSP sat cost about $300 /kg and launch cost ~$2,200 /kg. Lowering the launch costs becomes the major roadblock to this industry viability. The launch volume associated with this industry and the yearly expenditures would dwarf anything else being discussed here. Even the low launch costs of a FH cannot make the SBSP a source of power for the US grid, it would take a launch cost of about $800 /kg to LEO to accomplish, something maybe a supper heavy carrying 200MT could accomplish.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Lobo on 04/13/2011 11:38 PM
Yea, I've been arguing this for some time, and had some pretty vocal opponents who strongly feel that lift capacity doesn't play much factor in payload design.  Which to me, flies in the face of all engineering principles.  But granted, designing spacecraft isn't exactly like designing most regular products, so the normal principles of engineer don't always apply.
I'm sure a few extra kg of payload are always welcome. But the rocket equation makes all this thin crazy. Lets say you have double the payload. So you try to make a payload cheaper but twice the weight. First problem, now your moment of inertia doubles. So you need bigger reaction wheels. So you take some of the weight to make that easier. But you now need twice the thrust in positioning station keeping. Plus twice the fuel. And if you launch to GTO you need twice the thrust for circularization and fuel. But the rocket equation is not lineal. And thrusters are expensive. So you won't save that much.
Now, try to put twice the solar panels, and twice the transponders, three times the fuel. And now you can double the potential revenue. I guess that that's what Jim tries to explain.

Understood.  But I think that argument sorta jumps to the Nth degree of the point we are trying to make.

Ok, so let me elaborate a bit. 
Lets say you want to send a new rover to Mars.  The next evolution over what the MSL will be.  So you set your designers to come up with a few proposals for evaluation.  Let's say you get 3 proposals.
One is about the size of the MSL, bust costs more moeny becuase more instruments and power isotope power were shrunk and crammed into it.  It's a little heavier, with a little larger EDL system, but it can still fit it on the Atlas 5 Family A5-551  (8.9mt to GTO).  Not a bad improvment, but increasingly expensive due to cramming more into into only a slightly larger LV than MSL (A5-541).
The 2nd proposal is just as capable, but somewhat larger and heavier.  It costs less because the instruments used are pretty much ones that were used on previous landers with just minor tweaks.  Nothing had to be shrunk down or reduced in power requirement.  The EDL system is also larger and heavier (larger heat shield, parachute, more powerful skycrane, etc.)
This lander saves money, but would need to be launched on a D4-Heavy, 13mt to GTO, even though it really only needs 10mt to GTO, but D4H is the only available LV that can go over 10mt to GTO , so the extra cost of the LV cancels out the savings of the larger rover.  So there' really little incentive to do proposal 2.

Then there's proposal 3.  It's really not much larger than proposal 2, but it uses materials that are easier to mill and fabricate.  It also uses more available instruments like proposal 2.  The EDL system is larger, but cheaper and more simple than the sky crane.  More like Viking or Phoenix.  Basically a lander that the rover rolls off of (or some other simple, but heavier EDL system, I'm just throwing out something as an example).  It'd require around 15-17mt to GTO.  But, there's nothing that can launch it, and if there was, it'd be even more expensive than then D4H, so all of the lander cost cuts would be cancelled out, and likely the overall cost would be more...even if there was an LV available...which there isn't...
Or is there?  Along comes FH that will give you your 15-17mt to GTO, but cost 1/3 of D4H.  Substantially less even than the A5-551. 

So you have your 3 Mars Rover proposals.  Which LV do you choose?  The smallest and most bleeding edge? (and most likely to have cost overruns).  The intermediate?  Or the cheapest but largest and heaviest, but has very little new tech in it?

Now, obviously that won't be the case all the time.  Just saying that for payloads, especially planetary probes or space telescopes, they evaluate various concepts and do cost evaluations of manufacturer vs. LV costs, etc. etc.  Some ideas (like Concept #3 above) get tossed because the LV doesn't exist that can carry it, or if it does, it's uber expensive (like D4H).  So they either select the a smaller, less capable concept, or start developing some new bleeding edge tech, or give it less propellent than you'd rather have given it.

Would MSL look the same if FH was available (and prooven) from the beginning of it's design phase at 1/2 the cost of A5-541?  I don't know.
Would New Horizons look the same if FH could deliver twice the payload to GTO at half the cost of A5-551?  I don't know, but I have a hunch they'd at least have put larger tanks and more fuel on it so they could hit a few more potential targets in the Kuiper Belt...or maybe even brake into Pluto Orbit like MESSENGER at Mercury?
Unless SpaceX can put a larger PLF on FH, then I don't know if JWST would be much different.  But I -have- to imagine the designers would have LOVED to not have had to fold their mirror up like oragmi if they didn't absolutely have to.  If just one little gear or motor doesn't deploy exactly right, you have a multi billion dollar boat anchor out there.

Anyway, that's my case.  I don't claim that would be the case all the time, as each mission has it's own parameters.  But I think the principles of production engineering apply enough to spacecraft design that FH will open up some new doors for NASA and other commercial and governmental entities that are either cost or performance prohibitive now.
And with -some- extra margin, in certain payloads, they can lower cost, increase capability, and increase reliability by being able to use less exotic materials and equipment, and being able to increase the safety margins.

I won't speak in absolutes, because -obviously- that wont' always be the case.  But enough I think SpaceX will get some business for 53mt to LEO and 19mt to GTO.  :-)
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: WmThomas on 04/13/2011 11:50 PM


I won't speak in absolutes, because -obviously- that wont' always be the case.  But enough I think SpaceX will get some business for 53mt to LEO and 19mt to GTO.  :-)

Nice economic analysis, Lobo. It's basic logic: relax a resource constraint, and people will find a use for it. That's why SpaceX's mission of lowering cost to orbit is so compelling.

Elon said in the Q&A of his Falcon Heavy press conference that SpaceX was focused on executing their high-thoughput, low-cost-per-unit plans. I hope so.

But so far I don't see any sign of it. One Falcon 9 getting prepped so far, and not projected to reach the Cape until the end of the second half of the year? That's a 2-rocket per year production rate. SpaceX's plan can't be realized if it goes on like this.

So here's hoping we see a lot of Falcon 9s coming through qualifying as the year goes along.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: kevin-rf on 04/14/2011 12:45 AM

Nice economic analysis, Lobo. It's basic logic: relax a resource constraint, and people will find a use for it. That's why SpaceX's mission of lowering cost to orbit is so compelling.

I would argue they are not lowering the cost to orbit, but instead delivering a larger mass to orbit for the same cost. You still have to pony up with $85-$125 million.

The $85-$125 million is more than the cost a Delta II launch (before GPS moved off of it) and is in the same ballpark that Atlas V was before all the price increases.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: go4mars on 04/14/2011 03:07 AM

Nice economic analysis, Lobo. It's basic logic: relax a resource constraint, and people will find a use for it. That's why SpaceX's mission of lowering cost to orbit is so compelling.

I would argue they are not lowering the cost to orbit, but instead delivering a larger mass to orbit for the same cost. You still have to pony up with $85-$125 million.

The $85-$125 million is more than the cost a Delta II launch (before GPS moved off of it) and is in the same ballpark that Atlas V was before all the price increases.

Proton, Ariane 5, Atlas V, and Delta4 heavy appear to be the main competition.  If it is less expensive to launch more mass to a given destination on F9H, then they are lowering the cost to orbit (objectively, and per unit of payload mass).  Which does seem to open new options as Lobo points out.         Lower launch cost for more mass = greater payload optionality (and I don't just mean cost per kilogram).
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Bernie Roehl on 04/14/2011 11:22 AM

I would argue they are not lowering the cost to orbit, but instead delivering a larger mass to orbit for the same cost.

The $85-$125 million is more than the cost a Delta II launch (before GPS moved off of it) and is in the same ballpark that Atlas V was before all the price increases.


I disagree.  Assuming they reach the price point they're aiming for, they are definitely lowering the cost to orbit.

Even if you don't use the full payload capacity of an FH, it's still cheaper than an Atlas V and much cheaper than a Delta IV.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: DaveH62 on 04/14/2011 02:16 PM
And don't forget, they are not only lowering cost per pound to launch, they are innovating on combining payloads. The early days of US mail being sent to help support the airlines is now being designed into the Dragon design. Launching smaller satellites with the Dragon to lower the cost of ISS services and smaller systems. Imagine launching an ISS crew, and dropping off 6 smaller payloads, Even at $5 million per system, that extra $30 million could reduce the crew launch cost considerably. Combine multiple payloads and master reuse of the first stage, they could cut crew launch costs much further. 
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: kirghizstan on 04/14/2011 02:24 PM

Nice economic analysis, Lobo. It's basic logic: relax a resource constraint, and people will find a use for it. That's why SpaceX's mission of lowering cost to orbit is so compelling.

I would argue they are not lowering the cost to orbit, but instead delivering a larger mass to orbit for the same cost. You still have to pony up with $85-$125 million.

The $85-$125 million is more than the cost a Delta II launch (before GPS moved off of it) and is in the same ballpark that Atlas V was before all the price increases.


Are you using the same dollar value comparison (2010 dollars) for all prices?
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: baldusi on 04/14/2011 02:31 PM
I would argue they are not lowering the cost to orbit, but instead delivering a larger mass to orbit for the same cost.
The $85-$125 million is more than the cost a Delta II launch (before GPS moved off of it) and is in the same ballpark that Atlas V was before all the price increases.
I disagree.  Assuming they reach the price point they're aiming for, they are definitely lowering the cost to orbit.
Even if you don't use the full payload capacity of an FH, it's still cheaper than an Atlas V and much cheaper than a Delta IV.
Never forget Amdahl's law. The cost of a satellite is its development, manufacturing, integration, testing, processing, launching, insurance, tracking, etc. Falcon lowers the launch cost, should have bigger insurance cost (for a while), we ignore what does it does to the integration and processing cost.
But a company makes decisions on a discounted expected returns valuation. You might lower the cost of launch, but then you have to apply a lower probability of success to all your income. In other words, the expenses upto launching are a certainty, but your expected income decreases by the probability of failure.
It's obviously more complicated, but if you are lowering your launch cost by 30% (I'm being generous). And let's say that launch cost is 25% of your total cost (I'm being generous again). So you now lowered your total cost by 7.5% (I'm assuming zero insurance penalty and everything else the same). But if you expect to earn a 10% of return (IRR), and your income now has a 10% less probability of success, then the expected return will be close to 2.5% return!
Of course you can have insurance, do a second launch, this are discounted cashflows and thus you have to take the time value of money, etc. But I simplified the issue so you can understand why reliability is so important. And to remember that the LV is a small fraction of the whole project cost.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Jim on 04/14/2011 02:33 PM
And don't forget, they are not only lowering cost per pound to launch, they are innovating on combining payloads. The early days of US mail being sent to help support the airlines is now being designed into the Dragon design. Launching smaller satellites with the Dragon to lower the cost of ISS services and smaller systems. Imagine launching an ISS crew, and dropping off 6 smaller payloads, Even at $5 million per system, that extra $30 million could reduce the crew launch cost considerably. Combine multiple payloads and master reuse of the first stage, they could cut crew launch costs much further. 

Limited utility.  The piggyback payload compromised requirements for the ride.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Lobo on 04/14/2011 11:21 PM

Nice economic analysis, Lobo. It's basic logic: relax a resource constraint, and people will find a use for it. That's why SpaceX's mission of lowering cost to orbit is so compelling.

I would argue they are not lowering the cost to orbit, but instead delivering a larger mass to orbit for the same cost. You still have to pony up with $85-$125 million.

The $85-$125 million is more than the cost a Delta II launch (before GPS moved off of it) and is in the same ballpark that Atlas V was before all the price increases.


But if you only need the capacity of a Delta 2 or a single stick Atlas V, then you just buy the single stick F9 at $50 million, lower than either the Delta 2 (I think) and the Atlas V (about 1/2 the price of an Atlas V or less).  So if you payload is in that range, the F9 LV does lower your launch costs. 
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: joek on 04/15/2011 01:14 AM
---snip---
But if you only need the capacity of a Delta 2 or a single stick Atlas V, then you just buy the single stick F9 at $50 million, lower than either the Delta 2 (I think) and the Atlas V (about 1/2 the price of an Atlas V or less).  So if you payload is in that range, the F9 LV does lower your launch costs. 

That's what NASA would like to do: replace Delta II with F9 and Taurus II for "medium" to "medium-intermediate" class requirements.  The alternative is to use Atlas V even for "medium" missions (for which it is overkill) which would be much more expensive.  But take that "$50M" for F9 with a large grain of salt...

For NASA SMD payloads... NASA IG estimates 2011 cost of $104M for Falcon 9, $195M for Atlas V (but doesn't state which model Atlas V, but I assume 401).1  GAO estimates state costs are approximately equivalent to the Delta II and about half of Atlas V 401 (but they don't give specific $ numbers).2

NB: Those IG estimates are more than just launch vehicle costs; they include per-mission payload-specific costs.  Admittedly only a couple data points, but gives you a good idea of the difference between that "showroom sticker" price and the price to actually get it on the road (at least for NASA).

However, I wouldn't expect to see NASA payloads (other than CRS) on F9 any time soon.  NASA estimates minimum of 2yr for cat 2 certification with an additional 6-9mo for cat 3.  That's based on the new "fast track" certification.  And after receipt of a task order.  And assumes there aren't any surprises in the certification process.  And that any changes required to achieve certification can be accomplished in that time.  And that and costs are nominal (NASA estimates minimum of ~$25M for the certification process).

So some time in early 2013 (maybe) SpaceX could bid on some NASA payloads.  Assuming selection is nominally ~2.5yr prior to payload launch, that puts the first F9 NASA SMD launch 2016-2017 late 2013 to early 2014.

In short, it's not a given.  I hope and expect they will be successful, but for NASA payloads there's still a long road and a big gap between SpaceX's "$50M" F9 today and replacing Delta II or Atlas V.


1GAO, Nov 2010: NASA Medium Launch Transition Strategy Leverages Ongoing Investments but Is Not Without Risk
http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d11107.pdf (http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d11107.pdf)
2NASA IG, Feb 2011: Review of NASA's Acquisition of Commercial Launch Services
http://oig.nasa.gov/audits/reports/FY11/IG-11-012.pdf (http://oig.nasa.gov/audits/reports/FY11/IG-11-012.pdf)

edit: add cites; clarify IG cost basis.
edit: per oldAtlas_Eguy comments below, correct est first launch.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: DaveH62 on 04/15/2011 04:42 PM
---snip---

However, I wouldn't expect to see NASA payloads (other than CRS) on F9 any time soon.  NASA estimates minimum of 2yr for cat 2 certification with an additional 6-9mo for cat 3.  That's based on the new "fast track" certification.  And after receipt of a task order.  And assumes there aren't any surprises in the certification process.  And that any changes required to achieve certification can be accomplished in that time.  And that and costs are nominal (NASA estimates minimum of ~$25M for the certification process).


edit: add cites; clarify IG cost basis.

Wouldn't SpaceX have to be considered "certified" to launch to ISS? I am not an expert, but would consider supplies to ISS and the risk to life a higher bar than a scientific satellite.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: starsilk on 04/15/2011 06:33 PM
---snip---

However, I wouldn't expect to see NASA payloads (other than CRS) on F9 any time soon.  NASA estimates minimum of 2yr for cat 2 certification with an additional 6-9mo for cat 3.  That's based on the new "fast track" certification.  And after receipt of a task order.  And assumes there aren't any surprises in the certification process.  And that any changes required to achieve certification can be accomplished in that time.  And that and costs are nominal (NASA estimates minimum of ~$25M for the certification process).


edit: add cites; clarify IG cost basis.

Wouldn't SpaceX have to be considered "certified" to launch to ISS? I am not an expert, but would consider supplies to ISS and the risk to life a higher bar than a scientific satellite.

*Dragon* has to be certified to dock with the ISS. they don't care a bit (well, maybe some, depends on the value of the cargo) about Falcon9. Falcon9 goes nowhere near the ISS.

for an expensive satellite/probe/etc they care very much that the launcher is reliable.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Jim on 04/15/2011 06:39 PM

Wouldn't SpaceX have to be considered "certified" to launch to ISS? I am not an expert, but would consider supplies to ISS and the risk to life a higher bar than a scientific satellite.

No, the ISS supplies, Tang, toilet paper and t-shirts are of low value and can be quickly replaced with a followon launch.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Jim on 04/15/2011 06:42 PM

For NASA SMD payloads...

There are more than just SMD payloads, there are exploration and Space Ops.  The better term is unmanned or noncrew.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: oldAtlas_Eguy on 04/15/2011 09:22 PM
---snip---
But if you only need the capacity of a Delta 2 or a single stick Atlas V, then you just buy the single stick F9 at $50 million, lower than either the Delta 2 (I think) and the Atlas V (about 1/2 the price of an Atlas V or less).  So if you payload is in that range, the F9 LV does lower your launch costs. 

That's what NASA would like to do: replace Delta II with F9 and Taurus II for "medium" to "medium-intermediate" class requirements.  The alternative is to use Atlas V even for "medium" missions (for which it is overkill) which would be much more expensive.  But take that "$50M" for F9 with a large grain of salt...

For NASA SMD payloads... NASA IG estimates 2011 cost of $104M for Falcon 9, $195M for Atlas V (but doesn't state which model Atlas V, but I assume 401).1  GAO estimates state costs are approximately equivalent to the Delta II and about half of Atlas V 401 (but they don't give specific $ numbers).2

NB: Those IG estimates are more than just launch vehicle costs; they include per-mission payload-specific costs.  Admittedly only a couple data points, but gives you a good idea of the difference between that "showroom sticker" price and the price to actually get it on the road (at least for NASA).

However, I wouldn't expect to see NASA payloads (other than CRS) on F9 any time soon.  NASA estimates minimum of 2yr for cat 2 certification with an additional 6-9mo for cat 3.  That's based on the new "fast track" certification.  And after receipt of a task order.  And assumes there aren't any surprises in the certification process.  And that any changes required to achieve certification can be accomplished in that time.  And that and costs are nominal (NASA estimates minimum of ~$25M for the certification process).

So some time in early 2013 (maybe) SpaceX could bid on some NASA payloads.  Assuming selection is nominally ~2.5yr prior to payload launch, that puts the first F9 NASA SMD launch 2016-2017.

In short, it's not a given.  I hope and expect they will be successful, but for NASA payloads there's still a long road and a big gap between SpaceX's "$50M" F9 today and replacing Delta II or Atlas V.


1GAO, Nov 2010: NASA Medium Launch Transition Strategy Leverages Ongoing Investments but Is Not Without Risk
http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d11107.pdf (http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d11107.pdf)
2NASA IG, Feb 2011: Review of NASA's Acquisition of Commercial Launch Services
http://oig.nasa.gov/audits/reports/FY11/IG-11-012.pdf (http://oig.nasa.gov/audits/reports/FY11/IG-11-012.pdf)

edit: add cites; clarify IG cost basis.

I read through the document
http://oig.nasa.gov/audits/reports/FY11/IG-11-012.pdf (http://oig.nasa.gov/audits/reports/FY11/IG-11-012.pdf)
and there was the caveat that if there was a reasonable expectation that in less than 30 months the LV would be certified then the LV can bid on the SMD mission. The report says that there is a reasonable chance that F9 will be certified for SMD at least by early 2014. 30 months prior to that, May 2012, would be when SpaceX can start biding on SMD launch contracts. That is just 1 year from now not 2 or 3 years.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: joek on 04/15/2011 10:30 PM
---snip---
I read through the document
http://oig.nasa.gov/audits/reports/FY11/IG-11-012.pdf (http://oig.nasa.gov/audits/reports/FY11/IG-11-012.pdf)
and there was the caveat that if there was a reasonable expectation that in less than 30 months the LV would be certified then the LV can bid on the SMD mission. The report says that there is a reasonable chance that F9 will be certified for SMD at least by early 2014. 30 months prior to that, May 2012, would be when SpaceX can start biding on SMD launch contracts. That is just 1 year from now not 2 or 3 years.

Thanks for pointing that out.

Mea culpa.  I should have noted it.  Only excuse is that I seem to see almost everything through "Woe is NASA science" goggles these days.  I feel less depressed now, although I haven't seen anything on contingency budgeting and planning (see NASA response to GAO report recommendations) but I hope that's in process as we speak.

I hope it happens ASAP as we really need a Delta II replacement.

edit: p.s. updated previous post to reflect that.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Comga on 04/16/2011 04:54 AM

Wouldn't SpaceX have to be considered "certified" to launch to ISS? I am not an expert, but would consider supplies to ISS and the risk to life a higher bar than a scientific satellite. 

No, the ISS supplies, Tang, toilet paper and t-shirts are of low value and can be quickly replaced with a follow-on launch.

I know of at least two funded NASA payloads, one particularly expensive and hard to replace, that are supposedly to be delivered to the ISS in the trunk of a Dragon.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: go4mars on 04/16/2011 06:33 AM

I know of at least two funded NASA payloads, one particularly expensive and hard to replace, that are supposedly to be delivered to the ISS in the trunk of a Dragon.
Which?  VASMR?
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: docmordrid on 04/16/2011 08:54 AM
Maybe the NOFBX test platform?
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Jim on 04/16/2011 01:12 PM

   The report says that there is a reasonable chance that F9 will be certified for SMD at least by early 2014. 30 months prior to that, May 2012, would be when SpaceX can start biding on SMD launch contracts. That is just 1 year from now not 2 or 3 years.


Just have to point out errors.  SMD is not certifying vehicles nor does it contract them.  SOMD does those tasks
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Jim on 04/16/2011 01:14 PM
Maybe the NOFBX test platform?
NASA has no such test, it hasn't passed any independent ground quals
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: docmordrid on 04/16/2011 04:07 PM
IIRC at AIAA Max Vozoff (now a part of their team) said it would be tested at the ISS in 2012.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: dragon44 on 04/19/2011 11:19 PM
NASA has no such test, it hasn't passed any independent ground quals

Odyssey posted this on their site http://www.odysseysr.com/news.html#2011-03-24 (http://www.odysseysr.com/news.html#2011-03-24):
We are pleased to announce that Odyssey is part of the winning Innovative Space Propulsion Systems (ISPS) team selected to develop and perform a NOFBX® flight experiment at the International Space Station in late 2012. The award was made under the ISS National Lab Broad Agency Announcement.

Are you saying that independent ground quals are required as a prerequisite before this flight?
Or is this selection enough to get them a spot on station in 2012?
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Comga on 04/24/2011 04:51 PM

I know of at least two funded NASA payloads, one particularly expensive and hard to replace, that are supposedly to be delivered to the ISS in the trunk of a Dragon.
Which?  VASMR?
Maybe the NOFBX test platform?

No.  I do not know about NOFBX hardware, but will ask if the plans for the two payloads mentioned earlier can be made public.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Comga on 04/30/2011 11:08 PM
Over in the COTS-2 thread, this video was posted

AS we look forward to COTS 2/3, It's great to look back and review just how far both Orbital and Spacex have come. Here is a great overview of the COTS project.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j625b3qb4Z0 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j625b3qb4Z0)

At ~9:03 the camera pans across a complex object.  It looks to be the outflow of either the RP-1 or LOX tank to the engines of the Falcon 9.  There are ten ports.  My assumption is nine go to engines and one is a fill port.

My question is how would this have to change to have cross-feed for the Falcon Heavy?  It would seem that they would need five pairs of valves for both fuel and oxidizer.  One pair in the center rocket would keep the fuel and oxidizer from flowing from the center tank to the engines until staging.  Two pair would close the pipes from the side boosters at staging. Each side booster would need valve pairs to close the cross-feed pipes after separation, assuming SpaceX is still going to try to recover them. 

Would the system in the video not have to change massively, from nine outlets to one with valve then a three way with valves and finally the nine way split below that?  This would seem to require space, part of the increase in length of the rocket.  It would also send another proven subsystem back to the drawing board for a complete redesign.   
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Comga on 04/30/2011 11:18 PM
On the comment two posts back, one of the NASA payloads that is planning to ride to the ISS on a Falcon/Dragon CRS flight is Langley's SAGE-III #2.  (SAGE-III flew on the Russian Meteor 3M in ~2001 continuing a line of instruments that goes back to the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project and included continuous overlapping operation  of four generations from 1978 to 2006.) This was on several public web sites including:
http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-03-sage-iii-iss-prepped.html (http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-03-sage-iii-iss-prepped.html)

"Unique aspects of SAGE III-ISS include: It will be among the early NASA payloads sent into space on a commercial launch vehicle, the SpaceX F9/Dragon."

and http://www.spacenews.com/earth_observation/110418-after-storage-ozone-mapper-launch.html (http://www.spacenews.com/earth_observation/110418-after-storage-ozone-mapper-launch.html)

"Michael Cisewski, SAGE 3 project manager at Langley, said the space station’s robotic arm will attach the instrument and a specially designed nadir viewing palette to an ExPRESS Logistics Carrier platform already aboard the station.  'Both of them will ride up in the Dragon trunk' "

But that has nothing to do with the Falcon Heavy so is a bit off topic here.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: WulfTheSaxon on 05/01/2011 06:45 PM
@Comga (2011-04-30, 23:08:11)

Better pic.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: simonbp on 05/01/2011 09:57 PM
WRT SMD payloads on either F9 or FH, the lead-time for any of them is so long (>6 years) that both should have been certified by SOMD well before launch.

The availability of FH for science payloads is especially important, as there are no other vehicles with comparable performance. Thus, mission proposals can't play the dance they are now, where they really want F9 (on grounds of cost), but have to list (and design to) Atlas and/or Delta as a backup.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: JNobles on 05/02/2011 12:50 AM
Please excuse me if this is a stupid question.  The FH is going to need three times the LOX, right?  So is SpaceX going to have to buy two more of those big tanks?

And what about the extra kerosene?  Do they just order three times as many truck loads and keep the tankers there until final fueling is accomplished?
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Jim on 05/02/2011 12:53 AM
Please excuse me if this is a stupid question.  The FH is going to need three times the LOX, right?  So is SpaceX going to have to buy two more of those big tanks?

And what about the extra kerosene?  Do they just order three times as many truck loads and keep the tankers there until final fueling is accomplished?

VAFB doesnt have any tanks now, so they can be properly sized when constructed.

As for CCAFS, there might not be an issue, since they reused existing tanks for other programs.  They weren't sized specifically for F9
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Cherokee43v6 on 05/02/2011 05:59 PM
Please excuse me if this is a stupid question.  The FH is going to need three times the LOX, right?  So is SpaceX going to have to buy two more of those big tanks?

And what about the extra kerosene?  Do they just order three times as many truck loads and keep the tankers there until final fueling is accomplished?

VAFB doesnt have any tanks now, so they can be properly sized when constructed.

As for CCAFS, there might not be an issue, since they reused existing tanks for other programs.  They weren't sized specifically for F9

I would also say that after their fiasco with running short on LOX during one of the early Falcon1 attempts that they have most likely taken significant margin into account in their planning relating to multiple launch attempts.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: ugordan on 05/02/2011 06:04 PM
The LOX sphere they have at CCAFS right now holds 125,000 gallons. Block 1 F9 first stage holds about 39,000 gallons LOX so I would say any Falcon Heavy would definitely need the storage capacity beefed up. Probably the same for the RP-1 farm.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: renclod on 05/02/2011 08:05 PM
...  One pair in the center rocket would keep the fuel and oxidizer from flowing from the center tank to the engines until staging. 
... This would seem to require space, part of the increase in length of the rocket. 

If they just cross-connect the tanks, and continuously pressurize the booster tanks with a somewhat larger pressure than the core tanks,
then
the core tanks could stay full even as the core engines are being fed from them.

Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: Comga on 05/02/2011 10:37 PM
...  One pair in the center rocket would keep the fuel and oxidizer from flowing from the center tank to the engines until staging. 
... This would seem to require space, part of the increase in length of the rocket. 

If they just cross-connect the tanks, and continuously pressurize the booster tanks with a somewhat larger pressure than the core tanks,
then the core tanks could stay full even as the core engines are being fed from them.

But they would still need eight valves:  Left and Right sides, Core and Booster, LOX and RP1.   If they weren't inside the tanks, immersed in the LOX or RP1, they might cause the boosters to stand off a bit from the core.  Perhaps they could put this plumbing in the existing volume near the current lines between the tanks and the engines.  I don't know anywhere near enough about rocket structures or valves to judge if any of these would be a problem or not.

Edit:  They could pressurize the core tanks minimally until just before staging and do what you said without raising the pressure of the boosters.
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: edkyle99 on 05/05/2011 02:19 PM
I've been wondering about Merlin 1D.  By my figuring, the engine, in addition to its 140 Klbf liftoff thrust, likely provides record-breaking specific impulse for a kerosene/LOX gas generator engine.  This might be due to much-improved turbopump efficiency, or to higher chamber pressure, or maybe to something else. 

I recently read an account that described testing involving Rocketdyne's Experimental X-1 engine (precursor to the H-1 engine) during the late 1950s.  Engineers reportedly tried something funky with this engine that sounded like a tap-off cycle to power the turbo-pump.  No gas generator, in other words, which automatically increases ISP.  The engine worked, but Rocketdyne dropped the idea due to challenges with thrust control.  The company tried many other such ideas over the years - goofy ideas that worked, or nearly worked, but were shelved.

It left me wondering what options are out there that might appear on Merlin 1D. 

 - Ed Kyle
Title: Re: LIVE: SpaceX: Falcon Heavy Thread - April 5 announcement
Post by: ugordan on 05/05/2011 02:24 PM
I've been wondering about Merlin 1D.  By my figuring, the engine, in addition to its 140 Klbf liftoff thrust, likely provides record-breaking specific impulse for a kerosene/LOX gas generator engine.

I don't know. Musk said the Merlin 1D has a significant thrust upgrade and "some performance improvement". Doesn't sound radically better than what your typical GG engine would be.

Then again, their Merlin 2 specs on paper are significantly better, but it is a much bigger engine to start with...