Author Topic: New Glenn vs Falcon Heavy  (Read 14411 times)

Online launchwatcher

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Re: New Glenn vs Falcon Heavy
« Reply #40 on: 06/12/2017 02:57 PM »
Aren't there antitrust issues in pricing below cost?

Not necessarily.   According to the FTC:

Quote
Pricing below your own costs is also not a violation of the law unless it is part of a strategy to eliminate competitors, and when that strategy has a dangerous probability of creating a monopoly for the discounting firm so that it can raise prices far into the future and recoup its losses.

reference:

https://www.ftc.gov/tips-advice/competition-guidance/guide-antitrust-laws/single-firm-conduct/predatory-or-below-cost

(if you sell something at the same price as your competitors, you'll be accused of illegal price fixing, but if you charge more, you'll be accused of exercising illegal monopoly power, and if you charge less, you'll be accused of predatory pricing to drive your competitors out of business.   Really, it's not about price, it's about strategy/intent.    Not coincidentally, all of the business conduct training classes I've had at various employers over the years had a section about things one should never say about your competition and your competitors...)

Offline Darkseraph

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Re: New Glenn vs Falcon Heavy
« Reply #41 on: 06/12/2017 02:58 PM »
Blue is probably going to have to do some iterating as they learn how to recover and refurbish New Glenn.

We have little idea on any of these costs:
1) how much the booster is going to cost initially
2) how much the upper stage will cost
3) how much it will cost to recover and refurbish the booster
4) how many flights the booster can fly

Need answers or at least estimates for all of those to figure the recurring cost per flight.

About #2 - In my opinion the big unknown about NG is the cost of the upper stage. It is HUGE. 7m in diameter. NG - as we currently know it - will be throwing away an upper stage the size of Apollo's S-IVB for every launch, even for small payloads. That is a lot of hardware.

In comparison for FH, the upper stage (only disposable element) is relatively small and has a high production volume.

They're unlikely to be throwing that upper stage away forever. It has been mentioned more than once that the second stage will be "initially expendable". Considering the size of the booster and second stage, there is likely a lot of margin left over to attempt recovery of second stage and deliver a useful payload to orbit. I wouldn't be particularly surprised if this is the next step in their 'step by step' approach.

Falcon Heavy could potentially be fully reusable but for very obvious reasons that is going to be far more complicated than doing the same with New Glenn:

28 engines vs 8 engines
Landing 4 stages vs 2

SpaceX can likely pull it off, but it probably won't be as economicaly to operate as New Glenn. From Day One, New Glenn will have the advantage of using a cheaper, cleaner burning, higher isp fuel. The fact that Blue Origin seems behind SpaceX today doesn't mean that will be true in 10 years time. With New Sheppard, they appeared to be hopelessly behind Virgin Galactic in suborbital transport until they shot right ahead of Branson's Company in 2015.
"For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled." R.P.Feynman

Offline Lar

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Re: New Glenn vs Falcon Heavy
« Reply #42 on: 06/12/2017 03:27 PM »
I notice a lot of talk about Bezos' deep pockets. Aren't there antitrust issues in pricing below cost?

I think in the general case there are. Proving this specific case might be hard as determining the cost might not be easy (that discovery bill will be huge!)
"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
"We're a little bit like the dog who caught the bus" - Musk after CRS-8 S1 successfully landed on ASDS OCISLY

Online spacenut

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Re: New Glenn vs Falcon Heavy
« Reply #43 on: 06/12/2017 04:42 PM »
From what you guys are saying, I gather that FH can beat NG for LEO capabilities, but NG, especially with 3rd stage, can beat FH for GTO or GSO, TLI and TMI. 


Offline edkyle99

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Re: New Glenn vs Falcon Heavy
« Reply #44 on: 06/12/2017 05:59 PM »
From what you guys are saying, I gather that FH can beat NG for LEO capabilities, but NG, especially with 3rd stage, can beat FH for GTO or GSO, TLI and TMI. 
That's our current estimate, but since little is really known about New Glenn details it might be better to say that Falcon Heavy expendable and New Glenn 3-stage (with first stage recovery) appear to have generally comparable performance.
https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=43073.msg1688579#msg1688579

 - Ed Kyle

Offline rpapo

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Re: New Glenn vs Falcon Heavy
« Reply #45 on: 06/12/2017 06:03 PM »
That's our current estimate, but since little is really known about New Glenn details it might be better to say that Falcon Heavy expendable and New Glenn 3-stage (with first stage recovery) appear to have generally comparable performance.
Neither "has."  Both "are expected to have."  Let's not advance our clocks prematurely.
An Apollo fanboy . . . fifty years ago.

Offline envy887

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Re: New Glenn vs Falcon Heavy
« Reply #46 on: 06/12/2017 07:31 PM »
From what you guys are saying, I gather that FH can beat NG for LEO capabilities, but NG, especially with 3rd stage, can beat FH for GTO or GSO, TLI and TMI.
The thread that Ed linked has an ongoing discussion of this, but my summary for high-energy orbits would be:
3-stage NG > FH expendable > FH w/ all ASDS > NG 2-stage = FH w/ ASDS & 2x RTLS > FH all RTLS.

For LEO it's similar but FH expendable should beat 3-stage NG.

Offline M.E.T.

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Re: New Glenn vs Falcon Heavy
« Reply #47 on: 06/12/2017 09:34 PM »
From what you guys are saying, I gather that FH can beat NG for LEO capabilities, but NG, especially with 3rd stage, can beat FH for GTO or GSO, TLI and TMI.
The thread that Ed linked has an ongoing discussion of this, but my summary for high-energy orbits would be:
3-stage NG > FH expendable > FH w/ all ASDS > NG 2-stage = FH w/ ASDS & 2x RTLS > FH all RTLS.

For LEO it's similar but FH expendable should beat 3-stage NG.

That's a nice summary there. But just a question for my own edification.

What is the general timeline for the various NG variants? If I recall correctly first NG flight is estimated for 2020, with them expecting to reach 12 launches per year by 2023 only. But I had assumed that meant 2-stage NG. Is 3-stage NG planned to be operational at the same time?

If not, then FH may not even be in operation anymore by the time NG reaches its 3-stage performance levels. Then 3-stage NG should rather be compared to whatever the FH's successor vehicle will be.

Online spacenut

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Re: New Glenn vs Falcon Heavy
« Reply #48 on: 06/13/2017 12:54 AM »
SpaceX's Mars rocket may come on line within 5-7 years.  If it can be used for launching satellites, may put NG out of work. 

Offline dlapine

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Re: New Glenn vs Falcon Heavy
« Reply #49 on: 06/13/2017 02:27 AM »
Hmmm, as much as I love a good discussion, isn't it premature to be comparing these two when BO hasn't put a payload into orbit yet on any of its own vehicles?
In order to compare them, we have to think 10 years ahead, when both are (presumably) flying after having completed development (which may or may not have been excruciatingly difficult).  Yes, Blue has a long way to go, but Falcon Heavy also has yet to fly.

 - Ed Kyle

I know its been a long time coming for FH, but are you currently of the opinion that FH won't be flying this year or next? If FH starts flying missions within the next 18 months, they would seem to have an insurmountable lead over New Glenn in heavy lift operations by the 2023 timeframe mentioned earlier by BO.

Personally, I don't really expect SpaceX to still be flying FH in 10 years time, so we may not be able to see them side by side.   F9 they may keep for a long time, but FH would seem to have short lifespan given their intended expansion to ITS and derivatives.

Offline edkyle99

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Re: New Glenn vs Falcon Heavy
« Reply #50 on: 06/13/2017 02:15 PM »
I know its been a long time coming for FH, but are you currently of the opinion that FH won't be flying this year or next? If FH starts flying missions within the next 18 months, they would seem to have an insurmountable lead over New Glenn in heavy lift operations by the 2023 timeframe mentioned earlier by BO.

Personally, I don't really expect SpaceX to still be flying FH in 10 years time, so we may not be able to see them side by side.   F9 they may keep for a long time, but FH would seem to have short lifespan given their intended expansion to ITS and derivatives.
Demo Heavy might make it to launch by year's end.  It has to finishing testing at McGregor, wait for SLC 40, X-37B, etc., and only then begin what will likely be a long testing campaign at LC 39A before launching.

I don't see Falcon Heavy having a "lead" over New Glenn because I don't see these two launch vehicles competing with one another.  Heavy is being designed primarily to win EELV contracts.  New Glenn is being designed to, as near as I can tell, fulfill Jeff Bezos dreams of, whatever he is dreaming - most likely beyond LEO.  It is going to need a really big customer at some point to continue.  There is only one really big customer.

If Falcon Heavy only flies 10 years, SpaceX is fiscally irresponsible.  I don't think that SpaceX is fiscally irresponsible.  This rocket has to outlast Delta 4 Heavy by many years to make money.  Delta 4 Heavy is going to be around until at least 2023, and maybe longer.

I see ITS as a long-range, still hazy goal at this point.

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 06/13/2017 02:16 PM by edkyle99 »

Offline RedLineTrain

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Re: New Glenn vs Falcon Heavy
« Reply #51 on: 06/13/2017 02:24 PM »
If Falcon Heavy only flies 10 years, SpaceX is fiscally irresponsible.  I don't think that SpaceX is fiscally irresponsible.  This rocket has to outlast Delta 4 Heavy by many years to make money.  Delta 4 Heavy is going to be around until at least 2023, and maybe longer.

I don't think Musk in any way subscribes to the sunk cost fallacy.

Offline edkyle99

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Re: New Glenn vs Falcon Heavy
« Reply #52 on: 06/13/2017 02:52 PM »
If Falcon Heavy only flies 10 years, SpaceX is fiscally irresponsible.  I don't think that SpaceX is fiscally irresponsible.  This rocket has to outlast Delta 4 Heavy by many years to make money.  Delta 4 Heavy is going to be around until at least 2023, and maybe longer.

I don't think Musk in any way subscribes to the sunk cost fallacy.
Falcon 9 looks set to fly for well more than a decade.  Why would the company develop Falcon Heavy to fly for less time?

 - Ed Kyle

Offline envy887

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Re: New Glenn vs Falcon Heavy
« Reply #53 on: 06/13/2017 03:05 PM »
I know its been a long time coming for FH, but are you currently of the opinion that FH won't be flying this year or next? If FH starts flying missions within the next 18 months, they would seem to have an insurmountable lead over New Glenn in heavy lift operations by the 2023 timeframe mentioned earlier by BO.

Personally, I don't really expect SpaceX to still be flying FH in 10 years time, so we may not be able to see them side by side.   F9 they may keep for a long time, but FH would seem to have short lifespan given their intended expansion to ITS and derivatives.
Demo Heavy might make it to launch by year's end.  It has to finishing testing at McGregor, wait for SLC 40, X-37B, etc., and only then begin what will likely be a long testing campaign at LC 39A before launching.

I don't see Falcon Heavy having a "lead" over New Glenn because I don't see these two launch vehicles competing with one another.  Heavy is being designed primarily to win EELV contracts.  New Glenn is being designed to, as near as I can tell, fulfill Jeff Bezos dreams of, whatever he is dreaming - most likely beyond LEO.  It is going to need a really big customer at some point to continue.  There is only one really big customer.

If Falcon Heavy only flies 10 years, SpaceX is fiscally irresponsible.  I don't think that SpaceX is fiscally irresponsible.  This rocket has to outlast Delta 4 Heavy by many years to make money.  Delta 4 Heavy is going to be around until at least 2023, and maybe longer.

I see ITS as a long-range, still hazy goal at this point.

 - Ed Kyle

FH may be targeting EELV contracts, while NG is not (at this point). But I don't think EELV is the biggest reason SpaceX is developing FH... I think it's primarily commsats, then BLEO Dragon, then EELV.

Offline RedLineTrain

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Re: New Glenn vs Falcon Heavy
« Reply #54 on: 06/13/2017 03:09 PM »
Falcon 9 looks set to fly for well more than a decade.  Why would the company develop Falcon Heavy to fly for less time?

Falcon Heavy is being developed to fly for as long as nothing better is available.  That time may be short.  Raptor may be too good of an engine to not fly.

Offline high road

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Re: New Glenn vs Falcon Heavy
« Reply #55 on: 06/13/2017 03:21 PM »
If Falcon Heavy only flies 10 years, SpaceX is fiscally irresponsible.  I don't think that SpaceX is fiscally irresponsible.  This rocket has to outlast Delta 4 Heavy by many years to make money.  Delta 4 Heavy is going to be around until at least 2023, and maybe longer.

I don't think Musk in any way subscribes to the sunk cost fallacy.
Falcon 9 looks set to fly for well more than a decade.  Why would the company develop Falcon Heavy to fly for less time?

 - Ed Kyle

To support the allow them to build up their Mars infrastructure (red dragon missions, comm sats, sample return, fuel production, and whatever else NASA would be willing to pay for that Spacex need anyway for their end goal) while amassing funds for their huge rocket. Whether they succeed to build it in ten years or not, they're unlikely to want to wait a decade for lower hanging fruit required for a Mars base with an existing paying customer.

Offline edkyle99

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Re: New Glenn vs Falcon Heavy
« Reply #56 on: 06/13/2017 03:24 PM »
Falcon 9 looks set to fly for well more than a decade.  Why would the company develop Falcon Heavy to fly for less time?

Falcon Heavy is being developed to fly for as long as nothing better is available.  That time may be short.  Raptor may be too good of an engine to not fly.
I don't see the time being "short".  The company has only test fired a subscale, developmental (battleship) engine to date.  The biggie engine is well down the road.  Making the yet to be seen full scale Raptor "too good" will take a lot of time and effort and - since it is staged combustion - heartbreak.   It will have to prove better than Merlin 1D not just in performance, but in cost.  Merlin 1D is pretty darn good on both counts.

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 06/13/2017 03:25 PM by edkyle99 »

Offline M.E.T.

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Re: New Glenn vs Falcon Heavy
« Reply #57 on: 06/13/2017 03:43 PM »
I think FH was conceived at a time when F9 had far lower capability, and as a result FH's greater payload capacity would have been required to make reusability possible for a large percentage of payloads.

With F9 Block V now being more powerful than the original FH concept, it seems a lot of the payload spectrum that would have been covered by FH has been absorbed by F9. As a result, FH almost looks like a legacy project with less and less of a Business Case. Especially after Musk's admission that it proved much harder to build than originally expected.

Essentially, FH was originally seen as a low hanging fruit that could, with minimal added effort, significantly expand the range of SpaceX's reusable payloads. Fast forward to today and it may end up fulfilling only a limited function, largely focused on the smallish number of satellite payloads too heavy for F9 reuse, and for dropping rather modest (by Musk's ambitions) payloads on Mars.

It would seem that unless ITS gets significantly delayed, FH may operate for  around 10 years only, and even then at a lower launch frequency that may have originally been envisaged.

That's just my view. While FH is exciting and much anticipated by all of us, it is kind of filling a niche that has been squeezed by the upgraded  F9 Block V from below, and will be squeezed out of existence by the ITS from above.
« Last Edit: 06/13/2017 03:44 PM by M.E.T. »

Offline RedLineTrain

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Re: New Glenn vs Falcon Heavy
« Reply #58 on: 06/13/2017 03:54 PM »
Making the yet to be seen full scale Raptor "too good" will take a lot of time and effort and - since it is staged combustion - heartbreak.   It will have to prove better than Merlin 1D not just in performance, but in cost.  Merlin 1D is pretty darn good on both counts.

No doubt Raptor will have to earn its flight time, allowing for some forward-leaning by SpaceX.  We only see glimpses of this process, so don't know for sure.

Offline edkyle99

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Re: New Glenn vs Falcon Heavy
« Reply #59 on: 06/13/2017 04:13 PM »
I think FH was conceived at a time when F9 had far lower capability, and as a result FH's greater payload capacity would have been required to make reusability possible for a large percentage of payloads.

With F9 Block V now being more powerful than the original FH concept, it seems a lot of the payload spectrum that would have been covered by FH has been absorbed by F9. As a result, FH almost looks like a legacy project with less and less of a Business Case. Especially after Musk's admission that it proved much harder to build than originally expected.
I'm not seeing the crossover.  From the outset, Falcon Heavy was announced to be capable of lifting next-generation EELV Heavy class missions (17+ tonnes GTO).  The number was 19 tonnes when announced in 2011, then 18 tonnes without crossfeed by 2015, now 26.7 tonnes, etc..  Block 5 Falcon 9 will only lift 8.3 tonnes. 

I agree that Heavy will fly infrequently compared to Block 5.  The same is true of Atlas 401 versus 551, etc.

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 06/13/2017 04:14 PM by edkyle99 »

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