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Blue Origin / Re: Blue Origin General Discussion Thread 2
« Last post by QuantumG on Today at 01:55 AM »
improving availability

For example, by making it available at all.
Debating competing theories of Martian evolutionary exobiology, no matter how interesting, is really off topic but I feel deserving of it's own thread... Simply state "who" and your reason why and leave the minutia to a splinter thread...
Well, if (when?) the SLS pork-train becomes unsustainable in the face of commercial alternatives (whether the reality stick hits the public in schedule, technical or economic form) one route for the government (while maintaining the jobs program) would be to purchase/license the commercial alternative (be it spacex or blue), but with the condition that it just needs to be 'slightly modified' (using assistance from nasa design and test centers of course), and then that custom version be series manufactured in Michoud.
How much customization do you think would be required to make the option you describe cost-effective and free from patent infringement? Also, I wonder how expensive retooling the NASA contractors' facilities would be? If it turned out that leasing from SpaceX made more sense, perhaps those jobs could be salvaged in other ways, such as in designing and building hardware needed for other space-related projects.
I think it's sad that this topic has turned into a "evry launcher sucks when it's not reusable" topic. As writen before I think this ruines the NSF forum. I'll try to write down why I think the Arianespace launch offering will be commercialy competitive.
Let's start with the info posted by Lars-J.
SpaceX marketed their F9 launch price for $50-65 mln. But Iridium most likely payed 70mln for each of their launches.
Besides this, all US institutional F9 launches have a $ >90mln launch cost.
In earlier posts it's stated that addtionional services, security measures and launch insurance expane the difference. I think payload preparation services are the largest contributor to the price differance.
Afaik both at KSC/Cape and VdB.AF there are multiple (2+) payload preparation service providers, thus this isn't incuded into the basic launch price from US launch service providers. Arianespace includes basic payload preparation services in their basic launch offering because they are the sole payload preparation service provider at CSG.
I agree the quoted $100mln for a institutional launch is unfounded, I think Arianespace might be able to offer the same launch cost as SpaceX for the same mission.
The stated price for a basic A62 launch service is well below 100mln. (/$ xchange compicate the comparison)

Afaik it was Ariane 4 that performed very well against STS, Atlas II, III, Delta II, III and Titan. Ariane5 was developed initially for the Hermes shuttle. It first launched in early 2000's, thus it's the same generation as the EELV's. Arianespace experianced a very painfull transition from Ariane4 to Ariane5, because the maiden launch failed (both G and ECA). The past couple of years Arianespace had more launch demand than capability (for both Ariane 5 and Vega). With Ariane 6 and Vega-C the launch rate can increase by roughly a factor 1.5 (10 => 15).
The fixed institutional launch demand, also called buy European Act, was supposed to be 5x A6 payloads and 2x Vega-C payloads. Launches to GTO will very likely still be dual manifested (two sats on an A64). Afaik one A64 launch could orbit two GTO institutional payloads. Implementation of this guiranteed demand/launchers act is very complicated.
Arianespace orders launchers from three companies, Ariane from ArianeGroup, Vega from ELV and Soyuz from Starsem/Glovcosmos. The European launchers act will aply to both ArianeGroup and ELV, so there will still be two European providers to keep prices honest.
During the 2012 Ministerial there was no funding for a new first stage engine development. I still think this was a huge mistace, because this is the reason there was no new engine for Ariane 6. (Sorry I don't consider the Vince-engine as new)
Prometheus and Myra will bring new engines to Arianespace (I'm very sure ArianeGroup and Avio are involved in both). Impementation of both will be as risky as the move from A4 to A5. The availability of Vega-C and Ariane6 will reduce the risk of methane fuel implementation, because they can function as back-up in case of a anonaly.
Between 2010 and 2014 Russia invaded the Krim, and Soyuz from CSG price went up to 75-85mln. That's why Europe wants Ariane  62 ASAP. And this is most likely also why EURockot and Dnepr launchservices stoped. Vega-C can replace their role for Europe. I expect that Vega-C will also launch the Sentinel 1C &1D, not Ariane 62.
I'm conviced that Vega launched will remain cheaper than Falcon 9 launches.

I totaly agree with the statement that the businesscase for reusable launchers relies on the high demand from LEO comsat constelations. I think there are two mayor risks:
1) radio interferance with GEO systems or ground systems, this still has to be proved.
2) launch range slot availability. How often can the launch range (large sea area's and airspace sectors be closed)
I think it's very likely that launch slot cost will increase significantly with higher launch rate. Airlines and shipping companies are going to demand compensation.

None of the prices you list include reuse. Nobody is debating that Ariane 6 can compete with single-use F9, or even twice-used F9. But it cannot compete with a booster than can be reused many times with minimal work.

Also, you say that it's not worthwhile to design a new reusable vehicle to compete with expendables because the payback is too long, if ever. Which may be true. But that's not Ariane's problem. It needs a new reusable vehicle to compete with other reusable vehicles. Or be left in the dust, it's their choice.
As with the last flight the video OB was very poor.
I thought it was fine.  I was more bummed about the out of focus tracking camera, which was probably caused by cloud/fog/haze or some-such that spoofed the autofocus.  That was probably a range camera not "owned" by SpaceX.  The NASA webcast provided better tracking shots that were more in focus, for some reason.

On board video is not a given going forward.  It is not provided at all for most launches in the world.

 - Ed Kyle

Is there a reason why manual focus is not used? Just set focus to infinity and keep it there, the rocket isn't going to suddenly jump close enough to the camera to require a change in focus.
The second and third generation Martians might be taller.  They might have larger chests or otherwise more efficient resperatory systems.  They might have a lot darker skin.
Too short a time for natural selection to take place. Would you then be suggesting that colonists practice artificial selection? That the colonists set a rule that for generation after generation only those individuals who handle the Mars environment best be allowed to reproduce? What if Susie and Dave fell in love and wanted kids, but Dave ended up in the bottom quartile with respect to Mars adaptability? They'd be SOL in so far as having their own genetic offspring. Would certain happily Mars-matched individuals have their germ cells harvested to produce offspring by artificial insemination? Couples could then have offspring sharing minimally half of their DNA only if at least one of them fell into the fittest category. But here's another thought. What if the select few weren't the fittest in other important categories, such as intelligence? Things could get complicated. It strikes me that artificial selection under such circumstances would be impractical and inhumane. Consider: if people broke the rules and got pregnant illegally, would their fetus be mandatorily aborted? No thanks.
At ~40 million Euro a pop Galileo is definitely not in the same league as GPS.
The most recent order should be from 2017, 157.5 million Euro for a batch of 4. [Source, an OHB press release]

~80 million Euro payload, ~80* million Euro launch. Mass produced stuff too. I see no reason not to launch the real stuff.

*: Or whatever it will turn out be.
Space Policy Discussion / Re: FY19 NASA Budget Request
« Last post by FutureSpaceTourist on Today at 12:32 AM »
If you take all of the numbers mentioned above into account, you get a total of about $1.5B per year.

$450M for renting out a B330 for a year ($25M for 60 days x 6 x 3=$450M).

$580M for commercial crew (2 flights per year) and

$450M for commercial cargo (2 flights per year). 

P.S. The current price for ISS is about $5.5B per year ($3.5B from the United States and $2B from international partners).

The cargo rate is too low.  A 60% decrease in launches is going to increase per launch costs.  Because D2 will be both a crew and a cargo craft, the crew average is almost certainly too low as well.

What we need is a modifier to account for reduced cadence.  I do not have all of the information necessary to calculate an exact amount.  The primary questions I need answers to are:

How many spacecraft do we want to support?  My preference is at least two cargo and two crew craft.  A single provider will most likely profit from their monopoly, leading to higher total costs.  With four total flights, Cygnus, Dream Chaser, Dragon, and Starliner each craft gets a maximum of one flight per year if we want to avoid reducing the total number of spacecraft.


What flight rate does each spacecraft need to close the business case at current prices?  While I believe that Orbital can make a profit flying one Cygnus per year, fixed costs have to be  covered.  I wouldn't be surprised if Cygnus' price has to go from $225M at two flights per year to $350M at one.

While I can't say what the real minimum market size required to maintain commercial LEO transportation is, the per flight costs will be significantly higher than what we currently pay for ISS transportation with only two crew and two cargo flights per year.

The current plans is to have two commercial crew flights to the ISS per year (until 2024). So it's not a reduction. For cargo, there would also be commercial cargo flights to LOP-G, so the prices shouldn't be any higher.

You expect at least two commercial cargo flight per year to LOP-G beginning in 2025?

I'm not seeing it.  I am seeing a gap in demand if we are relying on LOP-G to support commercial cargo.  Do you plan on paying companies to maintain capability during the gap?

If so, how much do you estimate we'll need to pay?

Edit: Second quote difficulties.

I wasn't trying to make an apple to apple comparison. My understanding is that NASA's objective in completely privatizing LEO would be to reduce the amount spent on LEO research (I am guessing to  less than a billion per year).  Half of the ISS' budget is related to commercial crew and cargo. Spending on those services would also go down because less missions would be ordered by NASA. The bulk of NASA's activities would not be in LEO anymore.

Transportation costs are not going to drop as much as you expect.  Fixed costs have to be paid to maintain LEO launch capacity.  Dragon and Starliner marginal costs are similar whether they carry one person or seven.  The same applies to partially full supply craft.  Even if we cut the number of providers it is hard to see cutting launch costs and capacity payments below $1.5 billion.  Add the rent check to Bigelow and something for the astronauts to do and we're looking at a bill of at least $2 billion.

There was a lot of talk early in the commercial crew program about what flight rate would be required to keep both contractors viable.  I think there was testimony from both Boeing and SpaceX on the topic (in case someone more motivated than me wants to look it up). But the bottom line is that what NASA is purchasing under commercial crew is probably the viability "floor" to keep the two companies in the business. Things could change if they find other customers but thus far that hasn't been the case.

On the cargo front, prices went UP from CRS 1 to CRS to, not down. Sure there is more capability being brought to bear, but we certainly aren't seeing any trending of service costs going down, even with falcon 9 reusability now more or less a reality.

When considering the "commercial" alternative to ISS, consider that at least some of the companies involved aren't just asking for rent or fee for services - they are asking for up front development funding a la commercial crew and COTS. IIRC there was about $150 million starting next year in the NASA budget for such a program. Then you also have to consider the ~$1 billion cost of de-orbiting ISS.  Add all those costs up and even if we are looking at a 50% reduction in "rent" cost vs. ISS operations costs, which seems unlikely to me, I think even the analysis above is overly optimistic.

$1.5 billion is my estimate of the minimum necessary to maintain commercial crew and cargo.  $2 billion adds rent for a single Bigelow module, and maybe a little bit of science spending.

ISS transportation costs once we stop buying Soyuz seat are projected to be ~$1.8B/yr.  The $300M difference is my rough estimate of the marginal launch costs we can saving by reducing the number of flights.  Fixed costs don't go away without reducing providers though.  Space and Flight support will also see a small decrease in total spending, however I don't believe people include this amount when discussing the cost of operating ISS.  If I am mistaken, I can adjust the estimate.  Without doing any digging, I expect this adjustment would be on the order of $100M/yr.

The $500M for the Bigelow module, and maybe a little bit of science spending, doesn't replace the work currently being done on ISS.  We'd need at least two, most likely three, B330s, and all of the bits ISS has and B330 doesn't.  My goal was to provide the minimum necessary station to make maintaining the commercial crew and cargo fleet worthwhile.  This cost will go up if we want to have a useful national lab in orbit.  If we want to be able to do similar levels of research on commercial stations, total savings will be measured in the hundreds of millions.  We only get huge savings from cancelling ISS if we decide to abandon LEO.

In other words, we agree.
Can someone confirm for me the total number of windows Dragon 2 is going to end up with? If there are now fewer, I need to update my (fictional) story in progress.
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