Author Topic: When will F9/F9H be retired?  (Read 26248 times)

Offline ZachF

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Re: When will F9/F9H be retired?
« Reply #140 on: 08/19/2017 08:00 PM »
I thought Proton was more in the ~$90 million range...

...Maybe that was back before the Ruble collapsed in value?

Offline Space Ghost 1962

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Re: When will F9/F9H be retired?
« Reply #141 on: 08/19/2017 08:32 PM »
Proton (and other vehicles) can be underpriced when underutilized or due to LOM/RTF.

Always judge launch price, backlog and flight frequency together - occasional cheap launches are just statistical noise.

Constant launches with constant low launch price means attempt to command the market volume.

If you do that long enough, you create the future of a low launch cost market.

If that persists, the economics reinforce. It then becomes hard for even the leaders of such to raise prices.

Now lets say you wish to factor in a new launch system (assuming low/no loss rate). How do you attract missions to fly? How do you have acceptable margin to phase in volume?

Even of SX were to command the market with perfect performance (which won't happen), they would find it hard to take F9 (possibly FH) out of service, because it sets market expectations.

Again, while you own the LV, the LV also owns ... you.

Online oldAtlas_Eguy

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Re: When will F9/F9H be retired?
« Reply #142 on: 08/19/2017 08:58 PM »
If you could launch 4 large sats per ITSy launch in order to replace the current F9 launch rate would require at least 5 launches per year launch rate. Now add in at the time frame of when ITSy would fly the CommX deployment annual launches of ~30 F9's and that would require another ~8 ITSy to launch all of those as well. So to completely replace the F9 ITSy would have to fly at a rate of 13 per year just to handle the foreseen base rate for F9. Now add additional Lunar and Mars mission flights and the launch rates climb into the 20's. It took SpaceX 7 years to get to this rate of just ~20 (hopefully no incidents will occur for the remainder of this year or next). So even if it takes SpaceX only half that time for ITSy that is still 3 years after ITSy starts flying before it is flying often enough to take all the payloads that F9 would be launching in that time frame.

This then puts the F9 flying for about a decade before it is retired if then. The delay in the ability for replacement for SSO orbits may push the retirement out even further or even never retire it for as much as a couple of decades.

Online oldAtlas_Eguy

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Re: When will F9/F9H be retired?
« Reply #143 on: 08/19/2017 10:23 PM »
For use in delivering SSO sats the F9 and FH mated with a mini ITS like US (even one using a M1DVAC and not methalox) could keep the F9/FH flying out of VAFB for quite awhile after ITSy is launching into equatorial orbits. Other than for a protion of the CommX constellation SpaceX launch tonnage out of VAFB will never be as large as that to equatorial will grow to. A new US for the F9 would not be something done prior to ITSy but something done after the ITSy is flying to reduce the F9/FH per flight costs without having to spend alot on development costs.

Added: A BTW if the F9/FH can be made into a fully reusable vehicle the store of boosters/engines and a dozen US's could keep the F9/FH flying for a decade after the production line is shut down.
« Last Edit: 08/19/2017 11:35 PM by oldAtlas_Eguy »

Offline macpacheco

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Re: When will F9/F9H be retired?
« Reply #144 on: 08/20/2017 01:41 AM »
In the long run only fully reusable rockets will survive (once the first one enters service reliably).
F9/FH will survive if they can be fully reusable, with refurbishment costs low enough.
But that limits F9 essentially to LEO only and FH refurb costs could be pretty high having to deal with 4 stages.

There was a quote that ITS/ITSy upper stage can fly 200 times. The booster can fly 1000 times. With the complete set costing around half a billion USD.
To simplify lets assume 5 complete sets would be required for 1000 flights (US$ 2,5 billion), but that the fact that the booster will actually be good for 1000 flights covers the refurb costs.
2.5 billion / 1000 flights = US$ 2.5 million per flight
Plugging in US$ 1 million in prop costs per launch
Compare that with the cost of building a F9 upper stage and fueling the entire stack. Even assuming boosters and fairings can be easily reused, ITSy is already winning big time.

Is that going to be accomplished ? Dunno.
But even if costs double, SpaceX might actually become a near monopoly for civilian launches.

Some of those per launch costs can be streamlined with a private launch facility with a few launches a month.
If you just assume twin manifest launches to GTO it already makes great sense.
And then a single ITSy launch could have delivered the entire Orbcomm or Iridium constellation in a single shot (assuming all orbits are parallel, where drifting between orbits is possible).

Don't compare rockets with cars or airplanes. Those aren't thrown away after each launch. Its a brave new world.
Looking for companies doing great things for much more than money

Offline LouScheffer

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Re: When will F9/F9H be retired?
« Reply #145 on: 08/20/2017 02:40 AM »
For your amusement. The GAO have an estimate of the launch cost of the current launch vehicles on page 35 of the linked report. The F9 launch cost per kilogram is impressive even before you add booster reuse to the mix. THe F9 will be in service far longer than anyone expected because it is so cheap IMO.

It's even better than it looks - there's a typo in the table.   The SpaceX entry should be 2684 $/kg, not 2864.

This is immediately clear when you ask how Proton can be comparable.  They payload is 23,000 vs 22,800, or about 1% more.  But the cost is more than 1% higher.  So at least one of the numbers must be wrong, and it's SpaceX.

Offline envy887

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Re: When will F9/F9H be retired?
« Reply #146 on: 08/20/2017 03:59 PM »
For your amusement. The GAO have an estimate of the launch cost of the current launch vehicles on page 35 of the linked report. The F9 launch cost per kilogram is impressive even before you add booster reuse to the mix. THe F9 will be in service far longer than anyone expected because it is so cheap IMO.

It's even better than it looks - there's a typo in the table.   The SpaceX entry should be 2684 $/kg, not 2864.

This is immediately clear when you ask how Proton can be comparable.  They payload is 23,000 vs 22,800, or about 1% more.  But the cost is more than 1% higher.  So at least one of the numbers must be wrong, and it's SpaceX.

The SpaceX price is likely only for missions with recoverable boosters.

Online oldAtlas_Eguy

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Re: When will F9/F9H be retired?
« Reply #147 on: 08/20/2017 04:00 PM »
There is also a table on page 50/51 of new entrants. This table includes FH. But it also includes all the others in development. An interesting item is that except for the XS-1 the price per flight of the government LVs such as SLS and others are all TBD. This is a government GAO report and these are government LV programs. If they have no idea of how much it will cost per flight that is a bad thing.

The SpaceX price is for a new booster. The recovery or even if it is expendable flight is not at this time the determiner for flight price.

[added:]
Note these tables are all specifying the commercial market prices for the LV's. The possible reason for TBD's or unknown values is that there is no effort to market the LV in the commercial  launch market or the provider is not sufficiently mature with their design to offer a stable price estimate.
« Last Edit: 08/20/2017 04:52 PM by oldAtlas_Eguy »

Offline ZachF

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Re: When will F9/F9H be retired?
« Reply #148 on: 08/20/2017 06:59 PM »
Looking at that table it looks like Falcon 9's GTO price/kg (If we use the 6761kg Intelsat 35e) beats most other LV's LEO prices...

Offline envy887

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Re: When will F9/F9H be retired?
« Reply #149 on: 08/20/2017 07:07 PM »
Intelsat 35e was well over the mass limit to GTO for $62M. They likely paid a premium for the performance.

Offline Doesitfloat

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Re: When will F9/F9H be retired?
« Reply #150 on: 08/20/2017 07:45 PM »
Intel 35 likely paid less than 63 mil. Because they contracted  the flight before the price was 62.2. If you have a source that confirms a higher price then please share it.

Offline envy887

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Re: When will F9/F9H be retired?
« Reply #151 on: 08/20/2017 08:59 PM »
Intel 35 likely paid less than 63 mil. Because they contracted  the flight before the price was 62.2. If you have a source that confirms a higher price then please share it.
The Intelsat 35e launch was originally a Falcon Heavy contact. When it was announced in 2012, the Falcon Heavy list price was $128M for more than 6.4 t to GTO. 35e was 6.7 t.

The contract was probably renegotiated since it was delayed and then moved to F9. But I highly doubt they got the launch for anywhere near $62M.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falcon_Heavy
« Last Edit: 08/20/2017 09:01 PM by envy887 »

Online oldAtlas_Eguy

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Re: When will F9/F9H be retired?
« Reply #152 on: 08/20/2017 10:21 PM »
This has started trending OT for this thread. I suggest that the discussion of the LV pricing comparisons and how that involves competition between providers should move to this thread http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=39688.msg1714441#msg1714441 where there is already a discussion going related to the GAO report that is also inline with that threads topic.

Offline Lar

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Re: When will F9/F9H be retired?
« Reply #153 on: 08/21/2017 02:21 AM »
This has started trending OT for this thread. I suggest that the discussion of the LV pricing comparisons and how that involves competition between providers should move to this thread http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=39688.msg1714441#msg1714441 where there is already a discussion going related to the GAO report that is also inline with that threads topic.

Concur. And thanks for the self moderation, folks!
"I think it would be great to be born on Earth and to die on Mars. Just hopefully not at the point of impact." -Elon Musk
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Offline RoboGoofers

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Re: When will F9/F9H be retired?
« Reply #154 on: 09/29/2017 09:21 PM »


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.
Very prescient

Offline raketa

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Re: When will F9/F9H be retired?
« Reply #155 on: 09/30/2017 02:01 AM »
Between 2020 and 2024.
BFS flying to Mars will be tested and use multiple time in  LEO and Moon delivery and start to replace F9, F9H, befor "refurbish" send on Mars trajectory.
Mars will be like retirement for BFS used and tested around Earth.

Offline QuantumG

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Re: When will F9/F9H be retired?
« Reply #156 on: 09/30/2017 02:42 AM »
I don't think retirement is the right question. When does SpaceX start raising the price of Falcon to get people to use ITSy? When does Falcon get delegated to "conservative customers" only?

Jeff Bezos has billions to spend on rockets and can go at whatever pace he likes! Wow! What pace is he going at? Well... have you heard of Zeno's paradox?

Online alang

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Re: When will F9/F9H be retired?
« Reply #157 on: 09/30/2017 11:32 AM »
Much has been made of the risks surrounding Elon Musk's stated determination to move all resources to the BFR but I wonder if that statement is more to motivate his workers than anything else.
I can imagine that some people involved in production of increasingly stable Falcon stages will look enviously at the work being done on the BFR prototype and need reassuring that their future has more in it.
There's a long road before the new rocket becomes part of a production line, especially the second stage. A prototype is much easier than a production model. I imagine that changes to the falcon second stage for reuse practice will continue as a way of providing reentry R&D relevant to BFS and keeping engineers engaged.
My impression is that in innovative companies that keeping the workers happy is much more important than those of us who work in commodity service industries, that can only make money by cost reductions, tend to assume.
In other words I don't think the Falcon will be retiring any time soon after a stockpile of reusable first stages has been achieved and we'll continue to see second stage experimentation.

Offline su27k

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Re: When will F9/F9H be retired?
« Reply #158 on: 09/30/2017 11:48 AM »
Much has been made of the risks surrounding Elon Musk's stated determination to move all resources to the BFR but I wonder if that statement is more to motivate his workers than anything else.

Gwynne Shotwell mentioned on the Space Show that she likes to have multiple projects in startup phase, because this gives employees something to look forward to. So yeah, I guess there's a motivation factor in it.

Offline aero

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Re: When will F9/F9H be retired?
« Reply #159 on: 10/20/2017 07:22 AM »
It is interesting though that possibly 25% of Falcon 9 launches this year, 2017, will use flight proven boosters. That's 4 or 5 flight proven boosters out of 20 launches this year. Cost at this time was not a significant factor, insurance rates didn't change, (in one instance) but booster availability, hence customer schedule assurance was a deciding factor.

I guess the above implies that the customer really sweats the production of his launch vehicle. As long as SpaceX continues to have launch and recovery success the demand for new Falcon 9 first stages could diminish significantly. Even to the point of retiring the F9 first stage production line while continuing the current pace of F9 launches using flight proven first stages.

In other words, if booster recovery continues to work, and I see no reason why it shouldn't even if there are more bumps in the road for SpaceX then the Falcon 9 may find itself in the situation of thousands of aircraft still flying even though their production was discontinued many years ago. Shutting down the production line is not the same as shutting down the launch vehicle.
Retired, working interesting problems

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