Author Topic: SpaceX Falcon 9 : GPS III-3 : Cape Canaveral : Feb. 2019  (Read 15118 times)

Offline Targeteer

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Discussion Thread for GPS III-3 mission.

NSF Threads for GPS III-3 : Discussion
NSF Articles for GPS III-3 :

NET Feb. 2019 on Falcon 9 from Cape Canaveral.



Space Exploration Technologies Corp., Hawthorne, California, has been awarded a $96,500,490 firm-fixed-price contract for launch services to deliver a GPS III satellite to its intended orbit. Contractor will provide launch vehicle production, mission integration, launch operations, spaceflight worthiness and mission unique activities for a GPS III mission. Work will be performed at Hawthorne, California; Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida; and McGregor, Texas, and is expected to be complete by April 30, 2019. This award is the result of a competitive acquisition with two offers received. Fiscal 2016 space procurement funds in the amount of $96,500,490 are being obligated at the time of award. Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles Air Force Base, California, is the contracting activity (FA8811-17-C-0005).



Other SpaceX resources on NASASpaceflight:
   SpaceX News Articles (Recent)
   SpaceX News Articles from 2006 (Including numerous exclusive Elon interviews)
   SpaceX Dragon Articles
   SpaceX Missions Section (with Launch Manifest and info on past and future missions)

   L2 SpaceX Section
« Last Edit: 11/17/2017 08:42 PM by gongora »
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Offline russianhalo117

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Re: Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - GPSIIIA-2 - SLC-40 - May 2018
« Reply #1 on: 03/14/2017 08:47 PM »
Unsure if this contract applies to this launch or if this is a additional launch.

Space Exploration Technologies Corp., Hawthorne, California, has been awarded a $96,500,490 firm-fixed-price contract for launch services to deliver a GPS III satellite to its intended orbit. Contractor will provide launch vehicle production, mission integration, launch operations, spaceflight worthiness and mission unique activities for a GPS III mission. Work will be performed at Hawthorne, California; Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida; and McGregor, Texas, and is expected to be complete by April 30, 2019. This award is the result of a competitive acquisition with two offers received. Fiscal 2016 space procurement funds in the amount of $96,500,490 are being obligated at the time of award. Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles Air Force Base, California, is the contracting activity (FA8811-17-C-0005).
GPS-III-2 launch date hasn't slipped anywhere near 2019 yet, so this is new award for GPS-III-3 which is targeted for NET 2nd half 2018 although SpaceX doesn't list any GPS-III flight in its manifest yet.
« Last Edit: 03/14/2017 09:32 PM by russianhalo117 »

SpaceX awarded another GPSIII launch
« Reply #2 on: 03/14/2017 08:55 PM »
Tweet from James Dean (I can't figure out hyperlinks): https://twitter.com/flatoday_jdean/status/841768734834454530
« Last Edit: 03/14/2017 08:56 PM by IanThePineapple »
Proud creator of Ian's Paper Model Rocket Collection:
https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=42383.0

Offline gongora

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« Last Edit: 03/14/2017 09:12 PM by gongora »

Offline calapine

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - GPSIIIA-3? - Cape Canaveral - 2019
« Reply #4 on: 03/14/2017 09:22 PM »
I looked it up: SpaceX's first GPS III launch contract was awarded in April 2016 and valued at $ 82.7 million.

So, discounting inflation, a price increase of 16.7%

Offline Targeteer

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - GPSIIIA-3? - Cape Canaveral - 2019
« Reply #5 on: 03/14/2017 09:24 PM »
Thanks to the moderator who moved my original post and started this new thread.  I knew someone out there could answer the question as to whether this was a new launch award.
Best quote heard during an inspection, "I was unaware that I was the only one who was aware."

Online FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - GPSIIIA-3? - Cape Canaveral - 2019
« Reply #6 on: 03/14/2017 09:24 PM »
Quote
Unlike the first, which SpaceX won uncontested, ULA did submit a bid for this launch contract.

https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/841770747949416449

Edit: brief SpaceNews write-up

http://spacenews.com/spacex-wins-its-second-gps-3-launch-contract/
« Last Edit: 03/14/2017 09:27 PM by FutureSpaceTourist »

Offline Targeteer

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Confirms launch of the third GPS-III in Feb 2019 so the title and launch schedule can be updated

http://www.losangeles.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/1113835/spacex-awarded-contract-for-gps-iii-3-launch-services#.WMh0LTUeMIE.facebook

 LOS ANGELES AIR FORCE BASE, El Segundo, Calif. --

The Air Force announced today the award of the second competitively sourced National Security Space (NSS) launch services contract in more than a decade. Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX) was awarded a contract for Global Positioning System (GPS) III Launch Services. This is a firm-fixed price, standalone contract with a total value of $96,500,490. SpaceX will provide the Government with a total launch solution for the GPS-III satellite, which includes launch vehicle production, mission integration, and launch operations and spaceflight certification. The launch will be the third GPS III launch and is scheduled to launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida in February 2019.

“The competitive award of the GPS III Launch Services contract to SpaceX directly supports SMC’s mission of delivering resilient and affordable space capabilities to our Nation,” said Lt. Gen. Samuel Greaves, Air Force program executive officer for Space and SMC commander.

GPS III is the next generation of GPS satellites that will introduce new capabilities to meet the higher demands of both military and civilian users. The satellite is expected to provide improved anti-jamming capabilities as well as improved accuracy for precision navigation and timing. It will incorporate the common L1C signal, which is compatible with the European Space Agency’s Galileo global navigation satellite system and complement current services with the addition of new civil and military signals.

The Phase 1A procurement strategy reintroduces competition for national security space launch services. This is the second of nine competitive launch services planned in the FY 2017 President’s Budget Request under the current Phase 1A procurement strategy. The Phase 1A construct was recently extended from FY17 to FY19 to allow the development of new launch vehicles, which added 5 additional competitive launches for a total of 14 competitive launches. The next competitive award for launch services is the Space Test Program (STP) 3 satellite. This award marks another milestone in the Air Force’s ongoing efforts to reintroduce a competitive procurement environment into the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) program.

In May 2015, Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) was certified for EELV launches resulting in two launch service providers that are capable to design, produce, qualify, and deliver a launch capability and provide the mission assurance support required to deliver national security space satellites to orbit. The certified baseline configuration of SpaceX's Falcon 9 Launch System to Falcon 9 Upgrade was recently updated for use in National Security Space (NSS) missions.

The Air Force Space Command's Space and Missile Systems Center, located at the Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif., is the U.S. Air Force's center of excellence for acquiring and developing military space systems. Its portfolio includes the Global Positioning System, military satellite communications, defense meteorological satellites, space launch and range systems, satellite control networks, space based infrared systems and space situational awareness capabilities.


Media representatives can submit questions for response regarding this topic by sending an e-mail to smcpa.media@us.af.mil

« Last Edit: 03/14/2017 10:32 PM by Targeteer »
Best quote heard during an inspection, "I was unaware that I was the only one who was aware."

Offline WindnWar

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - GPSIIIA-3? - Cape Canaveral - 2019
« Reply #8 on: 03/15/2017 12:23 AM »
I looked it up: SpaceX's first GPS III launch contract was awarded in April 2016 and valued at $ 82.7 million.

So, discounting inflation, a price increase of 16.7%

I'm curious about the price increase, additional requirements or just cost of doing business?

Online deruch

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - GPSIIIA-3? - Cape Canaveral - 2019
« Reply #9 on: 03/15/2017 01:11 AM »
I looked it up: SpaceX's first GPS III launch contract was awarded in April 2016 and valued at $ 82.7 million.

So, discounting inflation, a price increase of 16.7%

I'm curious about the price increase, additional requirements or just cost of doing business?
Charging what the market will bear?
Shouldn't reality posts be in "Advanced concepts"?  --Nomadd

Offline Comga

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Quote
The certified baseline configuration of SpaceX's Falcon 9 Launch System to Falcon 9 Upgrade was recently updated for use in National Security Space (NSS) missions.
"Falcon 9 Upgrade"
Let the nomenclature cat fight begin!
Which "upgrade"?
What kind of wastrels would dump a perfectly good booster in the ocean after just one use?

Offline edkyle99

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I looked it up: SpaceX's first GPS III launch contract was awarded in April 2016 and valued at $ 82.7 million.

So, discounting inflation, a price increase of 16.7%

I'm curious about the price increase, additional requirements or just cost of doing business?
Just like Jim predicted long ago, SpaceX prices are rising to meet the requirements of reality.

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 03/15/2017 02:25 AM by edkyle99 »

Offline LouScheffer

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I looked it up: SpaceX's first GPS III launch contract was awarded in April 2016 and valued at $ 82.7 million.  So, discounting inflation, a price increase of 16.7%
I'm curious about the price increase, additional requirements or just cost of doing business?
Just like Jim predicted long ago, SpaceX prices are rising to meet the requirements of reality.
There are at least two explanations.

(a) SpaceX, over the last year, decided it cannot make money selling GPS launches at $82M and hence needed to bid higher to avoid losing money, or
(b) SpaceX, over the last year, analyzed likely values for the other bids and determined it was just as likely to win with a $96M bid as a $82M bid.  No sense leaving $14M on the table.

With the two data points we have, there is no way to pick between these hypotheses.

Offline Thorny

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Just like Jim predicted long ago, SpaceX prices are rising to meet the requirements of reality.

Or SpaceX is increasing its profit margins by bidding a higher price that is still safely low enough to underbid ULA?

Offline Nomadd

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I looked it up: SpaceX's first GPS III launch contract was awarded in April 2016 and valued at $ 82.7 million.

So, discounting inflation, a price increase of 16.7%

I'm curious about the price increase, additional requirements or just cost of doing business?
Just like Jim predicted long ago, SpaceX prices are rising to meet the requirements of reality.

 - Ed Kyle
Yeah. Because businesses always give away money by lower bids than they think are needed to win the contract. They also underbid CRS by quite a bit and said they wish they'd bid higher.

Online JamesH65

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Just like Jim predicted long ago, SpaceX prices are rising to meet the requirements of reality.

Or SpaceX is increasing its profit margins by bidding a higher price that is still safely low enough to underbid ULA?

If it is not this reason, I would be very surprised. More profit = Good.

Offline Brovane

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So how many of these competitive bid launches does ULA have to lose before the USAF starts unilaterally allocating certain launches? 

Quote
Last year, Claire Leon, a top Air Force acquisition official, spelled out competing pressures to save money by choosing the lower-cost competitor while complying with high-level White House and Pentagon directives to maintain two separate launch providers. She told an industry conference in Pasadena, Calif., that until United Launch becomes a more agile competitor, the Air Force “may end up needing to compete a little differently,” by unilaterally allocating certain launches.

“It’s likely to be a split buy in some fashion,” she said.
« Last Edit: 03/15/2017 12:38 PM by Brovane »
"Look at that! If anybody ever said, "you'll be sitting in a spacecraft naked with a 134-pound backpack on your knees charging it", I'd have said "Aw, get serious". - John Young - Apollo-16

Offline LouScheffer

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So how many of these competitive bid launches does ULA have to lose before the USAF starts unilaterally allocating certain launches? 

Quote
Last year, Claire Leon, a top Air Force acquisition official, spelled out competing pressures to save money by choosing the lower-cost competitor while complying with high-level White House and Pentagon directives to maintain two separate launch providers. She told an industry conference in Pasadena, Calif., that until United Launch becomes a more agile competitor, the Air Force “may end up needing to compete a little differently,” by unilaterally allocating certain launches.

“It’s likely to be a split buy in some fashion,” she said.
A typical strategy is to allot 60% of the launches to the low bidder, and 40% to the runner-up. 

However, if there are only two bidders, and this rule is followed, there is the risk that one (or both) vendors can put in very high bids, secure in the knowledge they will get at least 40% of the business no matter how high their bid.  So this can easily be the profit-maximizing strategy.

Offline gongora

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So how many of these competitive bid launches does ULA have to lose before the USAF starts unilaterally allocating certain launches? 

The STP-3 award (direct to GSO mission) is going to be much more interesting, since SpaceX hasn't demonstrated that ability yet.  That one should also be awarded soon.

Offline Lars-J

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Just like Jim predicted long ago, SpaceX prices are rising to meet the requirements of reality.

"The requirements of reality"? That's just nonsense, any way you slice it. Unless you are seriously arguing that there is absolutely NO way to do what ULA does any cheaper, and not only are they operating on the absolute edge of what the laws of physics allows, they are also the most efficiently run organization on the planet. So no.

Offline DOCinCT

I looked it up: SpaceX's first GPS III launch contract was awarded in April 2016 and valued at $ 82.7 million.

So, discounting inflation, a price increase of 16.7%

I'm curious about the price increase, additional requirements or just cost of doing business?
Dragon cargo runs to ISS cost a lot more than a commercial launch.

Offline Jim

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"The requirements of reality"? That's just nonsense, any way you slice it. Unless you are seriously arguing that there is absolutely NO way to do what ULA does any cheaper, and not only are they operating on the absolute edge of what the laws of physics allows, they are also the most efficiently run organization on the planet. So no.

Wrong. It has nothing to do with the laws of physics.  It is the cost of dealing with the Air Force.

So yes.

Offline Hauerg

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - GPSIIIA-3? - Cape Canaveral - 2019
« Reply #22 on: 03/15/2017 04:02 PM »
I looked it up: SpaceX's first GPS III launch contract was awarded in April 2016 and valued at $ 82.7 million.

So, discounting inflation, a price increase of 16.7%

I'm curious about the price increase, additional requirements or just cost of doing business?
Dragon cargo runs to ISS cost a lot more than a commercial launch.
Might sound pedantic: But those missions include the price of a spaceship and mission time of approx. 1 month instead of an hour.

Offline wannamoonbase

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Might sound pedantic: But those missions include the price of a spaceship and mission time of approx. 1 month instead of an hour.

Also, re-entry and return cargo.  Complex missions.
Excited to be finally into the first Falcon Heavy flow, we are getting so close!

Offline baldusi

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - GPSIIIA-3? - Cape Canaveral - 2019
« Reply #24 on: 03/15/2017 05:29 PM »
I looked it up: SpaceX's first GPS III launch contract was awarded in April 2016 and valued at $ 82.7 million.

So, discounting inflation, a price increase of 16.7%

I'm curious about the price increase, additional requirements or just cost of doing business?
Dragon cargo runs to ISS cost a lot more than a commercial launch.
How do you know? There's no way to know how much is launch cost and how much is payload+mission. If you were doing apples-to-apples then tell me how much is a GTO mission including the satellite and LEOP cost. See? Not comparable.

Offline LouScheffer

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"The requirements of reality"? That's just nonsense, any way you slice it. Unless you are seriously arguing that there is absolutely NO way to do what ULA does any cheaper, and not only are they operating on the absolute edge of what the laws of physics allows, they are also the most efficiently run organization on the planet. So no.
Wrong. It has nothing to do with the laws of physics.  It is the cost of dealing with the Air Force.
I agree that the cost of dealing with the Air Force will set a minimum cost. 

But how big is that, in dollars?   Let's guess that in addition to what a company needs to do for a commercial launch, they need an extra Air Force laison office.  Let's say that's 10 engineers, working from now until launch, at $200K per year loaded cost.   That's 2.5 years x $200K x 10 people = $5M of explicit expense.  Let's add to this a similar amount of time spent by existing engineers in mandated meetings, and another $5M for extra inspections, paperwork, and security.    That's a total of $15M.

While this is certainly not negligible, it does not imply that the minimum possible bid for a (money making) Air Force launch is $96M.   Something like minimum commercial cost + $15M seems more likely.  For SpaceX, this would mean a minimum bid of roughly $80M.   That's why I suspect the higher bid is more what the market will bear, and less necessity.

Offline Jim

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"The requirements of reality"? That's just nonsense, any way you slice it. Unless you are seriously arguing that there is absolutely NO way to do what ULA does any cheaper, and not only are they operating on the absolute edge of what the laws of physics allows, they are also the most efficiently run organization on the planet. So no.
Wrong. It has nothing to do with the laws of physics.  It is the cost of dealing with the Air Force.
I agree that the cost of dealing with the Air Force will set a minimum cost. 

But how big is that, in dollars?   Let's guess that in addition to what a company needs to do for a commercial launch, they need an extra Air Force laison office.  Let's say that's 10 engineers, working from now until launch, at $200K per year loaded cost.   That's 2.5 years x $200K x 10 people = $5M of explicit expense.  Let's add to this a similar amount of time spent by existing engineers in mandated meetings, and another $5M for extra inspections, paperwork, and security.    That's a total of $15M.

While this is certainly not negligible, it does not imply that the minimum possible bid for a (money making) Air Force launch is $96M.   Something like minimum commercial cost + $15M seems more likely.  For SpaceX, this would mean a minimum bid of roughly $80M.   That's why I suspect the higher bid is more what the market will bear, and less necessity.

Spacex has stated that it ranges from 20-40 million.  It is more people and more time and more meetings.

Offline Dante80

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Jim is correct. Here is Mr Musk himself on the subject at hand, under oath, in 2014.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O_azyt1JhI0?t=51m52s

I don't see any change in SpaceX pricing policies, and certainly not a "realigning with reality" issue here. SpaceX is simply charging roughly what they said they would.
« Last Edit: 03/15/2017 07:25 PM by Dante80 »

Offline Brovane

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - GPSIIIA-3? - Cape Canaveral - 2019
« Reply #28 on: 03/15/2017 07:53 PM »
I looked it up: SpaceX's first GPS III launch contract was awarded in April 2016 and valued at $ 82.7 million.

So, discounting inflation, a price increase of 16.7%

I'm curious about the price increase, additional requirements or just cost of doing business?

From what I remember of the first GPS III Launch Contract award, SpaceX bid two prices with one higher than the other.  We didn't know which price the USAF selected.  I remember at the time there was some speculation that SpaceX bid two prices because it gave the USAF the option of doing either HI or VI since the GPS III Satellite uses a commercial bus that should support either method.(If I remember the discussion correctly at the time) 

Did we ever get confirmation that for the first GPS III Launch contract award to SpaceX included VI? 
"Look at that! If anybody ever said, "you'll be sitting in a spacecraft naked with a 134-pound backpack on your knees charging it", I'd have said "Aw, get serious". - John Young - Apollo-16

Offline virnin

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Consensus in the GPS IIIA-2 thread was that it is planned for HI.  I think that is largely because SpaceX has not shown any moves towards building any infrastructure needed for VI (aside from not demolishing the FSS at 39A).

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=33921.60
« Last Edit: 03/15/2017 08:05 PM by virnin »

Offline Brovane

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"The requirements of reality"? That's just nonsense, any way you slice it. Unless you are seriously arguing that there is absolutely NO way to do what ULA does any cheaper, and not only are they operating on the absolute edge of what the laws of physics allows, they are also the most efficiently run organization on the planet. So no.
Wrong. It has nothing to do with the laws of physics.  It is the cost of dealing with the Air Force.
I agree that the cost of dealing with the Air Force will set a minimum cost. 

But how big is that, in dollars?   Let's guess that in addition to what a company needs to do for a commercial launch, they need an extra Air Force laison office.  Let's say that's 10 engineers, working from now until launch, at $200K per year loaded cost.   That's 2.5 years x $200K x 10 people = $5M of explicit expense.  Let's add to this a similar amount of time spent by existing engineers in mandated meetings, and another $5M for extra inspections, paperwork, and security.    That's a total of $15M.

While this is certainly not negligible, it does not imply that the minimum possible bid for a (money making) Air Force launch is $96M.   Something like minimum commercial cost + $15M seems more likely.  For SpaceX, this would mean a minimum bid of roughly $80M.   That's why I suspect the higher bid is more what the market will bear, and less necessity.

If you want an idea, go to rocketbuilder.com and select Full Spectrum for your service option and optional service of mission insight and that should give you an idea($20M).  It is interesting because ULA would charge about $130M for placing 3-tons to GTO-1800 which means if SpaceX can comfortably bid around $100M they should keep winning these contracts.  You add in the additional paperwork costs of dealing with government procurement and you can easily take on an additional 10%. 

"Look at that! If anybody ever said, "you'll be sitting in a spacecraft naked with a 134-pound backpack on your knees charging it", I'd have said "Aw, get serious". - John Young - Apollo-16

Offline Brovane

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Consensus in the GPS IIIA-2 thread was that it is planned for HI.  I think that is largely because SpaceX has not shown any moves towards building any infrastructure needed for VI (aside from not demolishing the FSS at 39A).

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=33921.60

So maybe the later flight is VI and that accounts for most of the difference in price.  It might have been that for the first one SpaceX also bid VI $96M but the USAF selected the lower price($82.7M) of doing HI.  Maybe since ULA didn't bid, they had more freedom to select either option(Speculation on my part). 
"Look at that! If anybody ever said, "you'll be sitting in a spacecraft naked with a 134-pound backpack on your knees charging it", I'd have said "Aw, get serious". - John Young - Apollo-16

Offline Mike Jones

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Nice fat indirect subvention from US government, which SpaceX will
continue to use to offer cheap rides to SES, Spanish government and so on... what about taxpayers' money ?
« Last Edit: 03/15/2017 08:53 PM by Mike Jones »

Online stcks

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Nice fat indirect subvention from US government, which SpaceX will
continue to use to offer cheap rides to SES, Spanish government and so on... what about taxpayers' money ?

So are you saying then that the US government should pay even less for SpaceX launches?

Offline Hauerg

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What? SpaceX is SAVING the gov money.
Ever heard about that thing market value?
If you want to complain adress ULAs pricing.
Thank you.

Offline mme

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Nice fat indirect subvention from US government, which SpaceX will
continue to use to offer cheap rides to SES, Spanish government and so on... what about taxpayers' money ?

1. USG launches cost more in part because they require more effort.
2. SpaceX is a for profit company, not a charity.
3. Every mission with every customer is negotiated based on the requirements of both parties.
4. By using a competitive bid the USG saved 10s of millions of dollars.

Sounds like a win-win to me.
Space is not Highlander.  There can, and will, be more than one.

Offline russianhalo117

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Consensus in the GPS IIIA-2 thread was that it is planned for HI.  I think that is largely because SpaceX has not shown any moves towards building any infrastructure needed for VI (aside from not demolishing the FSS at 39A).

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=33921.60

So maybe the later flight is VI and that accounts for most of the difference in price.  It might have been that for the first one SpaceX also bid VI $96M but the USAF selected the lower price($82.7M) of doing HI.  Maybe since ULA didn't bid, they had more freedom to select either option(Speculation on my part). 
no reason for VI since the A2100M bus being used supports both HI and VI

Offline Jim

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no reason for VI since the A2100M bus being used supports both HI and VI
There are A2100M spacecraft that can't do HI.
« Last Edit: 03/16/2017 02:04 AM by Jim »

Offline russianhalo117

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no reason for VI since the A2100M bus being used supports both HI and VI
There are A2100M spacecraft that can't do HI.
yes there are but im making general statement.

Offline M.E.T.

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If SpaceX can win the bid at $96m, why would they quote less, even if they could do it cheaper?


Offline AncientU

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I looked it up: SpaceX's first GPS III launch contract was awarded in April 2016 and valued at $ 82.7 million.

So, discounting inflation, a price increase of 16.7%

I'm curious about the price increase, additional requirements or just cost of doing business?
Just like Jim predicted long ago, SpaceX prices are rising to meet the requirements of reality.

 - Ed Kyle

So, Ariane can stop developing A-6 and ULA can discontinue layoffs... why bother cutting prices in half when Spacex is doing just what Jim predicted.
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Offline rockets4life97

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I looked it up: SpaceX's first GPS III launch contract was awarded in April 2016 and valued at $ 82.7 million.

So, discounting inflation, a price increase of 16.7%

I'm curious about the price increase, additional requirements or just cost of doing business?
Just like Jim predicted long ago, SpaceX prices are rising to meet the requirements of reality.

 - Ed Kyle

So, Ariane can stop developing A-6 and ULA can discontinue layoffs... why bother cutting prices in half when Spacex is doing just what Jim predicted.

I think Air Force launches are a special case. Ariane in particular, but also ULA in the future, are going to need commercial launches.

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SpaceNews has a follow-up article on this contract award.

You won't be suprised to know that SpaceX won on price, but this quote is interesting on AF's view of re-use:

Quote
Meanwhile, [Claire] Leon said that the Air Force has no plans to fly payloads on Falcon 9 rockets with previously-flown first stages. The service has specifically requested SpaceX not to fly re-used hardware.

“We would have to certify flight hardware that had been used which is more qualification, more analysis, so we’re not taking that on quite yet,” she said. “If it proves to be successful for commercial, we might consider that in the future.”

http://spacenews.com/spacexs-low-cost-won-gps-3-launch-air-force-says/

Claire Leon is the launch enterprise director for the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center
« Last Edit: 03/16/2017 12:00 PM by FutureSpaceTourist »

Offline AncientU

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Interesting section later in the article:
Quote
Of the 15 missions planned for Phase 1A, the first two – the GPS 3 launches – are already awarded to SpaceX. Leon said SMC plans to group the next seven launches together, and expects to put out a request for proposal (RFP) within the next couple of months.

The seven launches will be grouped together to help streamline the acquisition process, but it does not mean that a single launch provider will win all seven contracts, Leon said.

SpaceX, however, will need to roll out its next rocket if it wants to win some of the launches.

“They will need the Falcon Heavy for some of those competitions,” Leon said. “They need to get a demo flight off at least to be competitive for some of those missions.”

Seems to be a much more cost-effective way to do these two-party competitions instead of one at a time.  Also applies considerable pressure for FH demo to stop slipping.
« Last Edit: 03/16/2017 12:20 PM by AncientU »
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Hmm, as I understand it FH demo flight is NET Q4 2017. So if the RFP is going out 'wirhin the next couple of months' then doesn't sound like it can fly before SpaceX submit their response.

I guess if contract award isn't until 2018 may still be ok, but presumably FH has to fly - and the AF see and assess the data - before the AF completes their bid assessment?

Offline woods170

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Nice fat indirect subvention from US government, which SpaceX will
continue to use to offer cheap rides to SES, Spanish government and so on... what about taxpayers' money ?

What about it? A USAF representative has made it very clear that SpaceX won GPS IIIA-3 on price: http://spacenews.com/spacexs-low-cost-won-gps-3-launch-air-force-says/

Quote from: Phillip Swarts
SpaceX’s lower cost compared to its competitor was the major factor in winning a contract for a GPS 3 launch, an Air Force representative said Wednesday. “Price was a major factor,” said Claire Leon, the launch enterprise director for the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center, which oversees acquisitions for many space systems and services. During a teleconference with reporters, Leon said SpaceX’s bid price was lower than other “competitors,” but did not refer to United Launch Alliance by name when discussing the contract award.

Offline Star One

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Hmm, as I understand it FH demo flight is NET Q4 2017. So if the RFP is going out 'wirhin the next couple of months' then doesn't sound like it can fly before SpaceX submit their response.

I guess if contract award isn't until 2018 may still be ok, but presumably FH has to fly - and the AF see and assess the data - before the AF completes their bid assessment?

I'd thought more than once knowing the AF cautious response to such things.

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Quote
@AF_SMC: @SpaceX still needs to do work re: review of Sept failure before launching the GPS-3 sats it's been awarded.

https://twitter.com/pbdes/status/843877576095535104

http://bit.ly/2nfa8bl

Offline Star One

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Ken Kramer's article on this win for Space X.

Quote
SpaceX has suffered a pair of calamitous Falcon 9 rocket failures in June 2015 and Sept. 2016, destroying both the rocket and payloads for NASA and the AMOS-6 communications satellite respectively.

So the U.S. Air Force should definitely be balancing risk vs. reward with regard to lower pricing and factoring in rocket robustness and reliability, regarding launches of national security satellites which could cost into the multi-billions of dollars, take years to manufacture and are not swiftly replaceable in case of catastrophic launch failures.

ULA’s workhorse Atlas V rocket successfully delivered the final GPS satellite in the IIF series to orbit for the US Air Force on Feb 5, 2016.

http://www.universetoday.com/134630/spacex-outbids-ula-military-gps-contract-igniting-fierce-launch-competition/

Offline AncientU

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SpaceNews has a follow-up article on this contract award.

You won't be suprised to know that SpaceX won on price, but this quote is interesting on AF's view of re-use:

Quote
Meanwhile, [Claire] Leon said that the Air Force has no plans to fly payloads on Falcon 9 rockets with previously-flown first stages. The service has specifically requested SpaceX not to fly re-used hardware.

“We would have to certify flight hardware that had been used which is more qualification, more analysis, so we’re not taking that on quite yet,” she said. “If it proves to be successful for commercial, we might consider that in the future.”

http://spacenews.com/spacexs-low-cost-won-gps-3-launch-air-force-says/

Claire Leon is the launch enterprise director for the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center

Does she work for this guy, General John "Jay" Raymond, Commander, Air Force Space Command?

Quote
“I would be comfortable if we were to fly on a reused booster,” General John "Jay" Raymond told reporters at the U.S. Space Symposium in Colorado Springs. “They’ve proven they can do it. ... It’s going to get us to lower cost.”

Sounds like there is more qualification work coming.
"If we shared everything [we are working on] people would think we are insane!"
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Offline catdlr

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 : GPS IIIA-3 : Cape Canaveral : Feb. 2019
« Reply #50 on: 10/10/2017 02:50 AM »
Building the Most Powerful GPS Satellite Ever - GPS III

LockheedMartinVideos
Published on Oct 9, 2017

In 2018, the U.S. Air Force is expected to begin launching the most powerful GPS satellites ever designed and built – GPS III.
 
Today, GPS III satellites are in full production at Lockheed Martin’s GPS III Processing Facility near Denver, a $128 million, state-of-the-art manufacturing facility, itself designed in a virtual reality environment to maximize satellite production effectiveness and efficiency.
 
For more information about GPS III: http://www.lockheedmartin.com/gps

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MysI2_Sbmsg?t=001

Tony De La Rosa

Online jacqmans

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 : GPS III-3 : Cape Canaveral : Feb. 2019
« Reply #51 on: 11/27/2017 01:24 PM »
News Release Issued: Nov 27, 2017 (9:07am EST)


On A Production Roll: Lockheed Martin Assembles Third U.S. Air Force GPS III Satellite


DENVER, Nov. 27, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- The U.S. Air Force's third GPS III satellite in production flow at Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT)'s advanced satellite manufacturing facility here is now fully integrated into a complete space vehicle.

GPS III Space Vehicle 03 (GPS III SV03) followed the first two GPS III satellites on a streamlined assembly and test production line. Technicians successfully integrated the satellite's major components – its system module, navigation payload and propulsion core – into one fully-assembled space vehicle on August 14.

GPS III SV03 was assembled in Lockheed Martin's GPS III Processing Facility, a $128 million, cleanroom factory designed in a virtual reality environment to drive efficiency and reduce costs in satellite production. Now fully assembled, the third satellite is being prepared to begin environmental testing.

GPS III SV03 closely follows the company's second satellite in production flow. GPS III SV02 completed integration in May, finished acoustic testing in July and moved into thermal vacuum testing in August. The second GPS III satellite is expected to be delivered to the U.S. Air Force in 2018.

The fourth GPS III satellite is close behind the third. Lockheed Martin received the navigation payload for GPS III SV04 in October and the payload is now integrated with the space vehicle. The satellite is expected to be integrated into a complete space vehicle in January 2018.

In August, Lockheed Martin technicians began major assembly work on GPS III SV05.

All of these satellites are following Lockheed Martin's first GPS III satellite, GPS III SV01, through production flow. In September, the Air Force accepted and declared GPS III SV01 "Available For Launch," with launch expected in 2018. 

"GPS III is the most powerful and complex GPS satellite ever designed and built, and it's now into a smooth production flow. The real credit goes to the Air Force for all the Back to Basics work done in advance, reducing program risk for all the GPS III satellites going forward," said Mark Stewart, Lockheed Martin's vice president for Navigation Systems. "We are looking forward to bringing GPS III's advanced capabilities to our warfighters in 2018."

Lockheed Martin is under contract for ten next generation GPS III satellites as part of the Air Force's modernized Global Positioning System. GPS III will have three times better accuracy and up to eight times improved anti-jamming capabilities. Spacecraft life will extend to 15 years, 25 percent longer than the newest GPS satellites on-orbit today. GPS III's new L1C civil signal also will make it the first GPS satellite to be interoperable with other international global navigation satellite systems.

Lockheed Martin's unique GPS III satellite design includes a flexible, modular architecture that allows for the insertion of new technology as it becomes available in the future or if the Air Force's mission needs change. Satellites based off this design are already proven compatible with both the Air Force's next generation Operational Control System (OCX) and the existing GPS constellation.

The GPS III team is led by the Global Positioning Systems Directorate at the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center. Air Force Space Command's 2nd Space Operations Squadron (2SOPS), based at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, manages and operates the GPS constellation for both civil and military users.

For additional GPS III information, photos and video visit: www.lockheedmartin.com/gps.

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 : GPS III-3 : Cape Canaveral : Feb. 2019
« Reply #52 on: 11/27/2017 01:25 PM »
GPS III SV03 Fully Integrated
 

Lockheed Martin technicians successfully integrated the U.S. Air Force’s third GPS III space vehicle (GPS III SV03) on August 14, 2017. During the procedure, the satellite’s major components – its system module, navigation payload and propulsion core – came together with the help of a 10-ton crane to form the fully-assembled space vehicle. Next, GPS III SV03 will undergo environmental testing to ensure the satellite is ready for the rigors of space.

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