Author Topic: When will F9/F9H be retired?  (Read 26249 times)

Offline RoboGoofers

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When will F9/F9H be retired?
« on: 03/28/2017 08:42 PM »
I assume SpaceX has a plan for when it'll retire F9. What kind of timeline can we speculate for F9? does F9 have a use after ITS becomes operational?

Assuming they keep to their current notional timeline, they'll have to convert one of their launch facilities for ITS by ~2020 for their "orbital testing" phase (as shown in the Mars presentation slides). so one less F9 pad.

They'll also need a factory near that pad for the booster around that time. Do they move tooling to the new facility, or build a new f9-class launcher using the ITS tooling? Or does ITS replace F9/H outright?




Online nacnud

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Re: When will F9/F9H be retired?
« Reply #1 on: 03/28/2017 08:45 PM »
Who knows? My guess is they will keep F9 operational for as long as it is profitable.

Offline RonM

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Re: When will F9/F9H be retired?
« Reply #2 on: 03/28/2017 08:51 PM »
ITS will be too big for many payloads. My guess is after SpaceX is happy with ITS, they'll start working on a smaller ITS derived system to replace F9/FH. Fully reusable in a more reasonable size for satellites.

Online Flying Beaver

Re: When will F9/F9H be retired?
« Reply #3 on: 03/28/2017 08:55 PM »
Falcon might evolve into a Methalox rocket somewhere down the line, as that seems to be where the company is going.

It was designed to do the job that it does really well right now (replacing rockets from the 1900s (makes em sound old, eh)). But the future for SpaceX is methane and Raptor.

Personaly. 15 years untill old faithful becomes obsolete.

But not untill after long life of service launching humans and payloads to the Moon and beyond.
Saw OG-2 Booster Land in person 21/12/2015.

Offline envy887

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Re: When will F9/F9H be retired?
« Reply #4 on: 03/28/2017 08:59 PM »
ITS will be too big for many payloads. My guess is after SpaceX is happy with ITS, they'll start working on a smaller ITS derived system to replace F9/FH. Fully reusable in a more reasonable size for satellites.

There's no such thing as "too big". You mean "too expensive". If an ITS launch is cheaper than a Falcon launch, why would anyone buy the Falcon ride?

Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: When will F9/F9H be retired?
« Reply #5 on: 03/28/2017 09:26 PM »
I assume SpaceX has a plan for when it'll retire F9.

Why?  Do you think Boeing had a retirement date picked out for the 737 when they first introduced it 49 years ago?

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What kind of timeline can we speculate for F9?

SpaceX is too busy trying to figure out how to launch customer payloads to worry about the day that they won't have any customer payloads left to launch.

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does F9 have a use after ITS becomes operational?

Yes.  As Elon Musk already stated, the ITS does not directly replace the Falcon 9/Heavy.

Quote
Assuming they keep to their current notional timeline, they'll have to convert one of their launch facilities for ITS by ~2020 for their "orbital testing" phase (as shown in the Mars presentation slides). so one less F9 pad.

SLC-40 will stay Falcon 9, and Brownsville with be both Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy.  I would not be surprised if they build a new pad for the ITS so they can keep using Pad 39A for Falcon 9/Heavy launches.

Quote
They'll also need a factory near that pad for the booster around that time. Do they move tooling to the new facility, or build a new f9-class launcher using the ITS tooling? Or does ITS replace F9/H outright?

The Falcon 9/Heavy will continue to be built in Hawthorne California.  No need to move that factory, since the Falcon 9 cores are road transportable.

It is the ITS that needs to be built near the launch site or near water transportation.

Bottom line is that it's way too early to be trying to forecast the end of the Falcon 9.  WAY too early.
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

Offline RonM

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Re: When will F9/F9H be retired?
« Reply #6 on: 03/28/2017 10:08 PM »
ITS will be too big for many payloads. My guess is after SpaceX is happy with ITS, they'll start working on a smaller ITS derived system to replace F9/FH. Fully reusable in a more reasonable size for satellites.

There's no such thing as "too big". You mean "too expensive". If an ITS launch is cheaper than a Falcon launch, why would anyone buy the Falcon ride?

That would be great if an ITS launch was cheaper than a Falcon launch. If SpaceX can pull that off it would still make sense to build a smaller ITS derived vehicle for smaller payloads. When you go pick up groceries, do you take the car or an eighteen-wheeler?

Offline Rebel44

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Re: When will F9/F9H be retired?
« Reply #7 on: 03/28/2017 10:21 PM »
ITS will be too big for many payloads. My guess is after SpaceX is happy with ITS, they'll start working on a smaller ITS derived system to replace F9/FH. Fully reusable in a more reasonable size for satellites.

There's no such thing as "too big". You mean "too expensive". If an ITS launch is cheaper than a Falcon launch, why would anyone buy the Falcon ride?

That would be great if an ITS launch was cheaper than a Falcon launch. If SpaceX can pull that off it would still make sense to build a smaller ITS derived vehicle for smaller payloads. When you go pick up groceries, do you take the car or an eighteen-wheeler?

"Just going to pick some groceries...."


« Last Edit: 03/28/2017 10:22 PM by Rebel44 »

Offline envy887

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Re: When will F9/F9H be retired?
« Reply #8 on: 03/28/2017 10:46 PM »
ITS will be too big for many payloads. My guess is after SpaceX is happy with ITS, they'll start working on a smaller ITS derived system to replace F9/FH. Fully reusable in a more reasonable size for satellites.

There's no such thing as "too big". You mean "too expensive". If an ITS launch is cheaper than a Falcon launch, why would anyone buy the Falcon ride?

That would be great if an ITS launch was cheaper than a Falcon launch. If SpaceX can pull that off it would still make sense to build a smaller ITS derived vehicle for smaller payloads. When you go pick up groceries, do you take the car or an eighteen-wheeler?

Groceries are delivered 95% of the way by large trucks in bulk; I only use a smaller vehicle locally. By the same logic, sats would be delivered in bulk to a nearby orbital plane and use electric propulsion (built-in or tugs) the rest of the way.

Offline Jim

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Re: When will F9/F9H be retired?
« Reply #9 on: 03/29/2017 01:31 AM »

There's no such thing as "too big". You mean "too expensive". If an ITS launch is cheaper than a Falcon launch,

Because it won't be

Offline Jim

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Re: When will F9/F9H be retired?
« Reply #10 on: 03/29/2017 01:33 AM »


Personaly. 15 years untill old faithful becomes obsolete.


It will fly much longer.  there isn't going to be something to replace it unless the new thing has wings.

Offline envy887

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Re: When will F9/F9H be retired?
« Reply #11 on: 03/29/2017 01:59 AM »
Wings?

Offline RDoc

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Re: When will F9/F9H be retired?
« Reply #12 on: 03/29/2017 04:02 AM »
IMHO it's not out of the realm of possibility that by using the Raptor engine and a new vehicle, larger than F9, but smaller than ITS, that SpaceX couldn't launch F9 mass payloads but with full 1st and 2nd stage re-usability more cheaply than F9.

At that point, there wouldn't be a business case for continuing to use F9. The question is how many launches would it take for the R&D of such a system to get paid back. I certainly don't know, but I suspect the with the Raptor engine in hand, it might not be very many.

ITS may be the aspiration, but in the mean time, making some money while getting some experience with Raptor and orbital recovery isn't all that unreasonable.

Offline MattMason

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Re: When will F9/F9H be retired?
« Reply #13 on: 03/29/2017 05:06 AM »
Wings?

The space-plane concept still has legs. Despite setbacks and its cost, the STS program flew for 30 years.

With companies who have demonstrated reusability by returning rocket cores, imagine what they might do in generating innovations to create a truly affordable, fast-turnaround fully-reusable space-plane.
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Offline john smith 19

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Re: When will F9/F9H be retired?
« Reply #14 on: 03/29/2017 06:15 AM »
There's no such thing as "too big". You mean "too expensive". If an ITS launch is cheaper than a Falcon launch, why would anyone buy the Falcon ride?
That PoV demonstrates yet again how the ICBM architecture has warped space launch.

In every other transport mode except space launch there is the idea of a "right size" for a vehicle to carry a load and what that vehicle should carry.

This is why long distance coaches don't carry swimming pools  :). This is why you could use a panel truck with a pallet load of seats as an SUV people don't.

Only in space launch (where you're going to throw away the vehicle anyway) is bigger always viewed as better.  As long as throwing away most, if not all, of the vehicle is the norm this will continue.  :(
"Solids are a branch of fireworks, not rocketry. :-) :-) ", Henry Spencer 1/28/11  Averse to bold? You must be in marketing."It's all in the sequencing" K. Mattingly.  STS-Keeping most of the stakeholders happy most of the time.

Offline john smith 19

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Re: When will F9/F9H be retired?
« Reply #15 on: 03/29/2017 06:21 AM »
The space-plane concept still has legs. Despite setbacks and its cost, the STS program flew for 30 years.

With companies who have demonstrated reusability by returning rocket cores, imagine what they might do in generating innovations to create a truly affordable, fast-turnaround fully-reusable space-plane.
That's easy.

Nothing. :(

Musk want's to settle Mars and be the goto guy for transport to everywhere else in the solar system.

Those two goals rule out any interest in winged vehicles, despite such a system (with a suitable engine) likely to be able to deliver the cheapest overall cost to orbit.

SX is a company that has been built from the ground up to push what is possible with VTO TSTO. They hope their next vehicle will achieve full reusability in this architecture. They have no interest in winged vehicles and while Musk remains in control I strongly doubt they ever will.
"Solids are a branch of fireworks, not rocketry. :-) :-) ", Henry Spencer 1/28/11  Averse to bold? You must be in marketing."It's all in the sequencing" K. Mattingly.  STS-Keeping most of the stakeholders happy most of the time.

Online Lars-J

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Re: When will F9/F9H be retired?
« Reply #16 on: 03/29/2017 06:35 AM »
There's no such thing as "too big". You mean "too expensive". If an ITS launch is cheaper than a Falcon launch, why would anyone buy the Falcon ride?
That PoV demonstrates yet again how the ICBM architecture has warped space launch.

In every other transport mode except space launch there is the idea of a "right size" for a vehicle to carry a load and what that vehicle should carry.

This is why long distance coaches don't carry swimming pools  :). This is why you could use a panel truck with a pallet load of seats as an SUV people don't.

Only in space launch (where you're going to throw away the vehicle anyway) is bigger always viewed as better.  As long as throwing away most, if not all, of the vehicle is the norm this will continue.  :(

You are quite wrong... The transportation industry is a perfect example of the opposite. Things get delivered in oversized vehicles all the time. All my mail and boxed deliveries are delivered in large trucks. How is that "right size"?  Most people drive alone in a car that can sit 4-8 people. How is that "right size"? Small items get shipped across the ocean in massive cargo ships. How is that "right size"?

No, bulk freight wins out every time there is a choice. For almost every cargo the "right size" is indeed massively oversized. The only reason that you see various sized transports is due to the sheer VOLUME of cargo that allows lots of niches of vehicles, and sizes of those vehicles.

If there is a sufficient volume of space launches, all sizes of launch vehicles will find a niche to be successful. But bulk will always be the more efficient and lower cost way to go.
« Last Edit: 03/29/2017 06:36 AM by Lars-J »

Offline macpacheco

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Re: When will F9/F9H be retired?
« Reply #17 on: 03/29/2017 07:03 AM »
Lets not forget that with a Mars colony as planned there will be a bunch of full size ITS boosters sitting idle between synods unless they have a job.
Its likely the base booster will be shared and there will be different size/purpose 2nd stages for Mars colony and perhaps smaller ones for LEO/GTO access, but big enough to carry perhaps up to 30 tons to GTO or 50 tons to LEO per launch.

If my memory serves, the plan is ITS booster is to last for at least 1000 launches with something around 100 launches between refurbs. Even if the booster costs US$ 500 million, over 1000 launches that's just half a million per launch in initial costs.

With a massive booster and a fairly light 2nd stage, staging might happen 2000km/h faster while keeping RTLS capabilities, this would give extra DeltaV for the whole stack to perhaps deliver GEO satellites to GEO-500m/s or something similar while keeping full reuse capability.

Its normal to be skeptical, after all SpaceX goals are lofting. But one the eve of the first booster relaunch I would hope most would realize that being a naysayer will look silly if SpaceX achieves their goals, which are hard but are certainly within the realm of possibility.

That or SpaceX will develop a fully reusable raptor 2nd stage, however there's the issue with how many reflights F9/FH boosters will be designed to achieve without refurb, while ITS shoots for something like 10x more flights between refurb, which would easily handle a stack that costs perhaps even 5x as much.
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Offline guckyfan

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Re: When will F9/F9H be retired?
« Reply #18 on: 03/29/2017 07:48 AM »
They would need west coast launch capability. So they either need to build a ITS booster pad there or a smaller first stage. I think they will go the smaller vehicle path after ITS is flying. Or earlier if BO becomes a strong competitor.

Offline MattMason

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Re: When will F9/F9H be retired?
« Reply #19 on: 03/29/2017 08:07 AM »
The space-plane concept still has legs. Despite setbacks and its cost, the STS program flew for 30 years.

With companies who have demonstrated reusability by returning rocket cores, imagine what they might do in generating innovations to create a truly affordable, fast-turnaround fully-reusable space-plane.
That's easy.

Nothing. :(

Musk want's to settle Mars and be the goto guy for transport to everywhere else in the solar system.

Those two goals rule out any interest in winged vehicles, despite such a system (with a suitable engine) likely to be able to deliver the cheapest overall cost to orbit.

SX is a company that has been built from the ground up to push what is possible with VTO TSTO. They hope their next vehicle will achieve full reusability in this architecture. They have no interest in winged vehicles and while Musk remains in control I strongly doubt they ever will.

That's been the going opinion.

That is, until SpaceX sold seats for space tourism and Blue Origin sold a comsat launch.

I'm well aware why reusing rockets works from Musk's own words (wings won't work for lunar or Martian purposes).

But there's a reason why I didn't mention either company name. Neither SpaceX or Blue Origin own a trademark to reusable spacecraft. There are other players to come.
"Why is the logo on the side of a rocket so important?"
"So you can find the pieces." -Jim, the Steely Eyed

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