Author Topic: SpaceX Texas launch site Discussion and Updates - Thread 5  (Read 143641 times)

Offline Brovane

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Re: SpaceX Texas launch site Discussion and Updates - Thread 5
« Reply #20 on: 06/01/2017 12:58 PM »
I am sure I will be shouted down but I am going to put out that it stands a reasonable chance that SpaceX could build ITS at Michoud.  Especially if we see a deal between SpaceX and NASA (US Gov) for cooperation on the ITS.  In exchange for government money, SpaceX builds the ITS at Michoud.  There is a strong Aerospace worker base already near the facility, the facility has easy access to water for transportation and it sits almost directly between Boca Chica and the Cape.  So if we see ITS launch facilities eventually at both the Cape and Boca Chica, building at Michoud makes easy transportation to either one.  Also, the John C. Stennis rocket testing facility is nearby.  SpaceX will be wanting to do ground testing of the ITS and Stennis could accommodate full duration burns of ITS stages. 
« Last Edit: 06/01/2017 01:26 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 matthewkantar

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Re: SpaceX Texas launch site Discussion and Updates - Thread 5
« Reply #21 on: 06/01/2017 01:14 PM »
  There is a strong Aerospace worker base already near the facility

These aren't the workers you're looking for.

Matthew

Offline Jim

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Re: SpaceX Texas launch site Discussion and Updates - Thread 5
« Reply #22 on: 06/01/2017 01:15 PM »
  There is a strong Aerospace worker base already near the facility

These aren't the workers you're looking for.

Matthew

why not?

Offline John Alan

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Re: SpaceX Texas launch site Discussion and Updates - Thread 5
« Reply #23 on: 06/01/2017 01:47 PM »
In a related industry (heavy machinery manufacture)
I have seen "old school" workers rehired that bring their "old school" habits and work ethic back with them and it can be disruptive...
Sometimes it's better to go to a green field site and just train a new work force...
The key is the training methods used... and hiring people who can learn and remember...
Just my 2 cents...  ;)

Offline Jim

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Re: SpaceX Texas launch site Discussion and Updates - Thread 5
« Reply #24 on: 06/01/2017 01:54 PM »
In a related industry (heavy machinery manufacture)
I have seen "old school" workers rehired that bring their "old school" habits and work ethic back with them and it can be disruptive...
Sometimes it's better to go to a green field site and just train a new work force...
The key is the training methods used... and hiring people who can learn and remember...
Just my 2 cents...  ;)

Most of Hawthrone's tech force is over 40

Offline jpo234

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Re: SpaceX Texas launch site Discussion and Updates - Thread 5
« Reply #25 on: 06/01/2017 02:00 PM »
Most of Hawthrone's tech force is over 40

Hawthorne as in SpaceX HQ or Hawthorne as in City in California?

Offline cscott

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Re: SpaceX Texas launch site Discussion and Updates - Thread 5
« Reply #26 on: 06/01/2017 02:15 PM »
I seem to recall that SpaceX built McGregor specifically to avoid the use of the very-expensive Stennis test site.  Something about how SpaceX managed to do tests with under a dozen workers at McGregor which took a staff of forty at Stennis.  My memory is fuzzy here, maybe someone can dig up the exact citation.

Offline John Alan

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Re: SpaceX Texas launch site Discussion and Updates - Thread 5
« Reply #27 on: 06/01/2017 02:22 PM »
I seem to recall that SpaceX built McGregor specifically to avoid the use of the very-expensive Stennis test site.  Something about how SpaceX managed to do tests with under a dozen workers at McGregor which took a staff of forty at Stennis.  My memory is fuzzy here, maybe someone can dig up the exact citation.

See this transcript..
https://zlsadesign.com/post/tom-mueller-interview-2017-05-02-transcription/
Related thread here...
https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=42923.0

Related quote... from transcript...
Quote
In my previous career, when we were at TRW, we ran an engine; it was a big engine, a 650,000 lb engine, but it was very simple. And we ran it at a government test site; NASAís test site at Stennis. And they had a crew of 100 people, basically. They had two shifts of about a hundred people. And we ran an equivalent complexity engine, maybe not that size, but a 40,000 lb engine at our site, and we could run it with like between 5 and 10 people. So thatís what I was looking for; even running a large pump-fed engine like the Merlin engine, it doesnít take an army of people to run an engine like that. And I think the government contractors have convinced themselves it does.
« Last Edit: 06/01/2017 02:33 PM by John Alan »

Offline Brovane

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Re: SpaceX Texas launch site Discussion and Updates - Thread 5
« Reply #28 on: 06/01/2017 02:39 PM »
I seem to recall that SpaceX built McGregor specifically to avoid the use of the very-expensive Stennis test site.  Something about how SpaceX managed to do tests with under a dozen workers at McGregor which took a staff of forty at Stennis.  My memory is fuzzy here, maybe someone can dig up the exact citation.

So where do you think SpaceX will be doing full duration static fire tests of the ITS stages?  I can tell you it will not be at McGregor. 

What facility already exists that has tests stands that can support loads of 11M lbf and has easy access to water to facilitate the loading and unloading of oversized rocket stages?   
"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 RedLineTrain

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Re: SpaceX Texas launch site Discussion and Updates - Thread 5
« Reply #29 on: 06/01/2017 03:05 PM »
Looks like SpaceX will need folks in some numbers who are experienced in working with carbon composites.  Does Brownsville have this skilled workforce?
Right, but how many workers are skilled in manufacturing huge carbon composite structures in L.A.?  Remember, SpaceX is famous for home growing manufacturing expertise from essentially nothing.

Well, they just showed a huge carbon composite structure yesterday nearby (Stratolaunch).  You are right in that some companies have taken a greenfield approach when doing large composites -- e.g., Airbus in Mobile.  SpaceX could do the same in Brownsville or some other community like Houston.  Or it could take space in a facility that has already been constructed, such as Michoud.

SpaceX has several options, and I expect there will be some development negotiations.

Quote
I assume that Musk would go to some lengths to assemble the Mars rocket in LA.  For instance, Long Beach Airport has some nice property, what with Boeing wrapping up C-17 manufacturing there.  But I don't see how he could get it to port.

Musk is on record saying BFR/ ITS it will be built near the launch site, or in a seaport where it can be shipped to a launch site.  Note that the Brownsville sea channel satisfies both of these requirements at once.

In L.A., acquiring huge amounts of real estate on a port would be very costly.

Musk is on record as saying that BFR/ITS will be built near the launch site, but he has been known to change his mind when presented with a deal that's too good to pass up.  For instance, Tesla buying the NUMMI plant even after it had committed to building a plant in Arizona.  Musk wasn't scared away by perhaps the most expensive labor in the United States.

You never know, perhaps Los Angeles would facilitate some infrastructure changes to accommodate SpaceX in some fashion.  There are just some huge unused facilities and a ready workforce.  That's why he was in El Segundo and then in Hawthorne.

In my fanciful musings, I half expect Musk to invest in Sergey Brin's airship to move BFR stages around.
« Last Edit: 06/01/2017 03:11 PM by RedLineTrain »

Offline JasonAW3

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Re: SpaceX Texas launch site Discussion and Updates - Thread 5
« Reply #30 on: 06/01/2017 03:32 PM »
Looks like SpaceX will need folks in some numbers who are experienced in working with carbon composites.  Does Brownsville have this skilled workforce?
Right, but how many workers are skilled in manufacturing huge carbon composite structures in L.A.?  Remember, SpaceX is famous for home growing manufacturing expertise from essentially nothing.

Well, they just showed a huge carbon composite structure yesterday nearby (Stratolaunch).  You are right in that some companies have taken a greenfield approach when doing large composites -- e.g., Airbus in Mobile.  SpaceX could do the same in Brownsville or some other community like Houston.  Or it could take space in a facility that has already been constructed, such as Michoud.

SpaceX has several options, and I expect there will be some development negotiations.

Quote
I assume that Musk would go to some lengths to assemble the Mars rocket in LA.  For instance, Long Beach Airport has some nice property, what with Boeing wrapping up C-17 manufacturing there.  But I don't see how he could get it to port.

Musk is on record saying BFR/ ITS it will be built near the launch site, or in a seaport where it can be shipped to a launch site.  Note that the Brownsville sea channel satisfies both of these requirements at once.

In L.A., acquiring huge amounts of real estate on a port would be very costly.

Musk is on record as saying that BFR/ITS will be built near the launch site, but he has been known to change his mind when presented with a deal that's too good to pass up.  For instance, Tesla buying the NUMMI plant even after it had committed to building a plant in Arizona.  Musk wasn't scared away by perhaps the most expensive labor in the United States.

You never know, perhaps Los Angeles would facilitate some infrastructure changes to accommodate SpaceX in some fashion.  There are just some huge unused facilities and a ready workforce.  That's why he was in El Segundo and then in Hawthorne.

In my fanciful musings, I half expect Musk to invest in Sergey Brin's airship to move BFR stages around.

Well, you might be able to hire Stratolaunch's new bird, to at least haul the ITS itself around.  (Assuming they can figure out how to raise the plane up to clear over 12 meters...

http://newatlas.com/stratolaunch-worlds-largest-plane/49820/

Of course, it would be even better if it could be used as an alternative booster for the ITS, but that would be a BIG stretch!  (Pretty sure the plane's central spar's not high enough for the ITS to clear the ground).
My God!  It's full of universes!

Offline rsdavis9

Or make the composite structures whereever (even hawthorne) and transport by helicopter or plane to the seaside assembly plant. The individual tanks shouldn't weigh too much? I am assuming that there is individual tanks?
bob

Offline JoerTex

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Re: SpaceX Texas launch site Discussion and Updates - Thread 5
« Reply #32 on: 06/01/2017 03:36 PM »
I started stopping by McGregor as it first was beginning improvement.  Before special test stands, just the legacy 'stool' and the public road was less than 100yds from the stand, tanks around.  I followed a LOX tanker and was looking around.  Decided to stop at the guard house; no gate but a guard.  We got to talking.  Staff was about 50 employees.  Guard said the average age was 27, and that included him at 65yrs.  At the time much of the staff was local hires, with project teams that flew in from Hawthorne.

A friend was one of the lead engineers at Kwajalein during the first launch attempt, and my memory is that he said they had about 25 folks on the island.

Don't know how Boca Chica will staff, but early in the company time it was clearly start-up.  They used simple automation to manage complex processes; sensors and data collection, didn't need a large launch staff.

Why would they change.

Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: SpaceX Texas launch site Discussion and Updates - Thread 5
« Reply #33 on: 06/01/2017 04:11 PM »
Well, they just showed a huge carbon composite structure yesterday nearby (Stratolaunch).

Carbon fiber manufacturing is becoming ubiquitous these days, so I don't think any large manufacturing region (and L.A. is the largest in the U.S.) would have a problem finding qualified workers. Plus the manufacturing equipment for carbon composite manufacturing is becoming more sophisticated, so less touch labor is required.

Quote
You are right in that some companies have taken a greenfield approach when doing large composites -- e.g., Airbus in Mobile.  SpaceX could do the same in Brownsville or some other community like Houston.  Or it could take space in a facility that has already been constructed, such as Michoud.

As long as the region is big enough, and appealing enough to attract high-end workers, then there are lots of options. But even though Brownsville makes a lot of sense, I would suspect that they would have a challenge finding workers to move there, but they might be successful in training up the local work force for their needs.

Quote
For instance, Tesla buying the NUMMI plant even after it had committed to building a plant in Arizona.  Musk wasn't scared away by perhaps the most expensive labor in the United States.

That's because touch labor for many high-end products, and especially in building Tesla cars, is just a small fraction of the total cost these days. Land and factory building costs are bigger factors, which is why the ready-to-use NUMMI plant was so inviting.

Quote
You never know, perhaps Los Angeles would facilitate some infrastructure changes to accommodate SpaceX in some fashion.  There are just some huge unused facilities and a ready workforce.  That's why he was in El Segundo and then in Hawthorne.

I think Musk will do what he has said, and build the ITS near a U.S. launch site.

Quote
In my fanciful musings, I half expect Musk to invest in Sergey Brin's airship to move BFR stages around.

It was not too long ago that such a musing would have been written off as a fantasy. It's amazing how times have changed in just a few short years...
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 manoweb

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Re: SpaceX Texas launch site Discussion and Updates - Thread 5
« Reply #34 on: 06/01/2017 04:20 PM »
Most of Hawthrone's tech force is over 40

Are you saying that median age of SpaceX workers at Hawthorne is 40? That is difficult to believe if you just walk in front of their building, further corroborated by visiting the actual complex.

I have found at least a website that mentions a median age of 29, but that might be the whole SpaceX and not Hawthorne in particular

Offline cscott

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Re: SpaceX Texas launch site Discussion and Updates - Thread 5
« Reply #35 on: 06/01/2017 06:14 PM »
I seem to recall that SpaceX built McGregor specifically to avoid the use of the very-expensive Stennis test site.  Something about how SpaceX managed to do tests with under a dozen workers at McGregor which took a staff of forty at Stennis.  My memory is fuzzy here, maybe someone can dig up the exact citation.

See this transcript..
https://zlsadesign.com/post/tom-mueller-interview-2017-05-02-transcription/
Related thread here...
https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=42923.0

Related quote... from transcript...
Quote
In my previous career, when we were at TRW, we ran an engine; it was a big engine, a 650,000 lb engine, but it was very simple. And we ran it at a government test site; NASAís test site at Stennis. And they had a crew of 100 people, basically. They had two shifts of about a hundred people. And we ran an equivalent complexity engine, maybe not that size, but a 40,000 lb engine at our site, and we could run it with like between 5 and 10 people. So thatís what I was looking for; even running a large pump-fed engine like the Merlin engine, it doesnít take an army of people to run an engine like that. And I think the government contractors have convinced themselves it does.
If we're wagering, I'll wager it won't be Stennis either.  I don't have a good guess where it will be. We don't even know where ITS will be built.

Offline Brovane

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Re: SpaceX Texas launch site Discussion and Updates - Thread 5
« Reply #36 on: 06/01/2017 07:01 PM »
I seem to recall that SpaceX built McGregor specifically to avoid the use of the very-expensive Stennis test site.  Something about how SpaceX managed to do tests with under a dozen workers at McGregor which took a staff of forty at Stennis.  My memory is fuzzy here, maybe someone can dig up the exact citation.

See this transcript..
https://zlsadesign.com/post/tom-mueller-interview-2017-05-02-transcription/
Related thread here...
https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=42923.0

Related quote... from transcript...
Quote
In my previous career, when we were at TRW, we ran an engine; it was a big engine, a 650,000 lb engine, but it was very simple. And we ran it at a government test site; NASAís test site at Stennis. And they had a crew of 100 people, basically. They had two shifts of about a hundred people. And we ran an equivalent complexity engine, maybe not that size, but a 40,000 lb engine at our site, and we could run it with like between 5 and 10 people. So thatís what I was looking for; even running a large pump-fed engine like the Merlin engine, it doesnít take an army of people to run an engine like that. And I think the government contractors have convinced themselves it does.
If we're wagering, I'll wager it won't be Stennis either.  I don't have a good guess where it will be. We don't even know where ITS will be built.

If you read the quote carefully, the decision to have the number of people present was a TRW decision as part of a government contract.  It wasn't a requirement by Stennis.  Already SpaceX has used Stennis for Raptor testing.  https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2016/10/its-propulsion-evolution-raptor-engine/

So you think SpaceX will go through the cost of building from scratch a test facility to support full duration burns of a ITS 1st stage when a government facility already exists that can support this testing?

"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 Jim

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Re: SpaceX Texas launch site Discussion and Updates - Thread 5
« Reply #37 on: 06/01/2017 07:02 PM »

Are you saying that median age of SpaceX workers at Hawthorne is 40? That is difficult to believe if you just walk in front of their building, further corroborated by visiting the actual complex.

I have found at least a website that mentions a median age of 29, but that might be the whole SpaceX and not Hawthorne in particular


There is a difference between tech and engineering groups.  Production line vs desk jobs.   The production force is much older than the engineers. 

Offline docmordrid

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Re: SpaceX Texas launch site Discussion and Updates - Thread 5
« Reply #38 on: 06/01/2017 07:53 PM »
Or make the composite structures whereever (even hawthorne) and transport by helicopter or plane to the seaside assembly plant. The individual tanks shouldn't weigh too much? I am assuming that there is individual tanks?

Why? They used Janicki Industries of Sedro-Woolley, WA to build the giant test tank, a company with large aerospace credentials and they'll set up a shop at your facility. ISTM SpaceX could put up a big hangar-like shop most anywhere including the Brownsville shipping channel, a Space Florida site....where ever, close to a launch site. Extra points if it has waterway access, which is dirt cheap transportation using no expensive air assets.

http://www.janicki.com/capabilities/composite-fabrication/

As to Michoud, it may work for any mini-ITS of 10m or smaller, about Saturn V-size, but the full ITS size shown was a 12m core and a spaceship with landing gear/RCS fairings stretching to 17 meters. What's the max crane hook height at Michoud?
« Last Edit: 06/01/2017 08:11 PM by docmordrid »
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Offline woods170

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Re: SpaceX Texas launch site Discussion and Updates - Thread 5
« Reply #39 on: 06/01/2017 08:42 PM »
If you read the quote carefully, the decision to have the number of people present was a TRW decision as part of a government contract.  It wasn't a requirement by Stennis.  Already SpaceX has used Stennis for Raptor testing.  https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2016/10/its-propulsion-evolution-raptor-engine/

So you think SpaceX will go through the cost of building from scratch a test facility to support full duration burns of a ITS 1st stage when a government facility already exists that can support this testing?


There is nothing at Stennis that can currently support full duration burns of an ITS 1st stage. It will require some serious modifications to existing test stands. SpaceX might just as well decide to build a new one. Probably not at Stennis.
« Last Edit: 06/01/2017 08:43 PM by woods170 »

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