Poll

How do you think most[*] payloads will be launched in the near future (5-10 years)? (* see 1st post)

Fully reusable, max >130 t to LEO
Fully reusable, max 60-130 t to LEO
Fully reusable, max 10-60 t to LEO
Fully reusable, max 1-10 t to LEO
Partially reusable for an entire stage (any size)
Partially reusable for the engines only (any size)
Expendable (any size)

Voting closes: 09/27/2017 01:52 PM


Author Topic: POLL: Current views on RLVs  (Read 1606 times)

Offline Pipcard

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POLL: Current views on RLVs
« on: 09/06/2017 07:47 PM »
I'm wondering what is the current state of this forum in regards to how its members regard the idea of reusable launch vehicles. On one end, some people believe fully reusable heavy launchers will supplant all other launch vehicles in service today; on the polar opposite, others doubt the economic viability of reusability and prefer to "wait and see" if it's worth it.

How do you think most[*] payloads will be launched in the near future (5-10 years)?
(* "Most" being defined as the greatest share of the total mass sent by all rockets to low Earth orbit in a year.)

Bonus: what did you believe about RLVs 5-10 years ago? (explain via post)

NOTE: poll set to end just before the next ITS reveal.
 
« Last Edit: 09/07/2017 01:53 PM by Lar »

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Re: POLL: Current views on RLVs
« Reply #1 on: 09/06/2017 08:01 PM »
You should define "near future" - is that within the next year? the next 5 years? 50 years?
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Offline Pipcard

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Re: POLL: Current views on RLVs
« Reply #2 on: 09/06/2017 08:04 PM »
You should define "near future" - is that within the next year? the next 5 years? 50 years?
I just edited: 5-10 years. 1 year is too short, and who knows what will happen in 50 years?
« Last Edit: 09/06/2017 08:05 PM by Pipcard »

Online Lar

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Re: POLL: Current views on RLVs
« Reply #3 on: 09/06/2017 08:09 PM »
I got your PM and can add the poll when this all comes to rest, just advise. 

That said, what are you trying to accomplish? Predictions are always hard, especially about the future, but a lot of our polls are quite comprehensive targeted predictions about near future events that you can measure outcomes against. (2016 saw X launches by SpaceX and that was a number that Y% had... stuff like that)

With regard to your options, I think 5-10 years will include ALL of the above. People will still be flying expendables. And ITSy will be lofting 50 tonnes to LEO, fully reusable. with everything in between. So if I pick one, what does that mean? You might want to have a think about what you're trying to accomplish.
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Offline Pipcard

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Re: POLL: Current views on RLVs
« Reply #4 on: 09/06/2017 08:13 PM »
I got your PM and can add the poll when this all comes to rest, just advise. 

That said, what are you trying to accomplish? Predictions are always hard, especially about the future, but a lot of our polls are quite comprehensive targeted predictions about near future events that you can measure outcomes against. (2016 saw X launches by SpaceX and that was a number that Y% had... stuff like that)

With regard to your options, I think 5-10 years will include ALL of the above. People will still be flying expendables. And ITSy will be lofting 50 tonnes to LEO, fully reusable. with everything in between. So if I pick one, what does that mean? You might want to have a think about what you're trying to accomplish.
It's just a survey of the current opinion climate of this forum. And I changed it from "what do you believe will happen?" to "what do you think will be the most economically viable?" The options for fully reusable rockets refer to the maximum payload (and can include everything less than that).
« Last Edit: 09/06/2017 08:14 PM by Pipcard »

Offline zappatosin

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Re: POLL: Current views on RLVs
« Reply #5 on: 09/06/2017 08:38 PM »
These options seem to discuss
 
1) the LEO mass of economic payload deliveries
2) the feasibility of fully reusable versus the more conservative Falcon 9 block 5, ULA Vulcan and Ariane Prometheus programs

You could ask which will happen first:
ULA recovers 8 sets of booster engines
BO recovers 8 boosters
SpX recovers 8 2nd stages
Someone uses a fuel depot (ACES / ITS) to escape LEO
Foreign Government recovers 8 boosters
Smallsat launcher recovers 8 boosters
et cetera

You could be asking how most of the (commercial? political?) payloads get LEO+
"In 2025-2027 most of the payload mass will be launched by"
Cheap/Subsidized expendable rockets
Partially reusable smallsat boosters
Partially reusable F9 class boosters
Fully reusable, 1-8 ton
Fully reusable, 9-45 ton
Fully reusable, 50-130 ton
Fully reusable, more than 200 ton

Offline Pipcard

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Re: POLL: Current views on RLVs
« Reply #6 on: 09/06/2017 08:44 PM »
The question isn't about technical feasibility, it's about economic viability. The partial and expendable options refer to any size of rocket. Also added >130 t option for full RLV.
« Last Edit: 09/06/2017 08:51 PM by Pipcard »

Offline zappatosin

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Re: POLL: Current views on RLVs
« Reply #7 on: 09/06/2017 09:05 PM »
does economic viability include national security payloads and subsidized rockets?
(Not to step on anyone's toes, some might argue SpaceX, ULA, and Ariane launch subsidized rockets)

also how and when do you want to specifically measure economic viability, number of launches?

I am very curious what this forum has to say about the future of reusability and appreciate this poll.

Offline Pipcard

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Re: POLL: Current views on RLVs
« Reply #8 on: 09/06/2017 09:11 PM »
does economic viability include national security payloads and subsidized rockets?
(Not to step on anyone's toes, some might argue SpaceX, ULA, and Ariane launch subsidized rockets)

also how and when do you want to specifically measure economic viability, number of launches?

I am very curious what this forum has to say about the future of reusability and appreciate this poll.
It includes all of those things. I'm not sure about measuring economic viability: maybe price/kg to LEO? Fraction of total mass sent to LEO (by all launch vehicles)? Discussions about RLVs in the past have mentioned that their viability is dependent on flight rate, and that that is dependent on commercial and/or government demand.
« Last Edit: 09/06/2017 11:29 PM by Pipcard »

Online Lar

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Re: POLL: Current views on RLVs
« Reply #9 on: 09/07/2017 12:11 AM »
It's just a survey of the current opinion climate of this forum. And I changed it from "what do you believe will happen?" to "what do you think will be the most economically viable?" The options for fully reusable rockets refer to the maximum payload (and can include everything less than that).
I think we will see all of these in use, and which is most economical depends on launch volume. As others point out, "most economical" can still be a bit nebulous.
"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

Offline Pipcard

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Re: POLL: Current views on RLVs
« Reply #10 on: 09/07/2017 12:28 AM »
It's just a survey of the current opinion climate of this forum. And I changed it from "what do you believe will happen?" to "what do you think will be the most economically viable?" The options for fully reusable rockets refer to the maximum payload (and can include everything less than that).
I think we will see all of these in use, and which is most economical depends on launch volume. As others point out, "most economical" can still be a bit nebulous.
Is "How do you think most payloads will be launched in the near future (5-10 years)" okay?
(recommended by zappatosin)

("Most" being defined as the greatest fraction of the total mass sent by all rockets to low Earth orbit in a year.)
« Last Edit: 09/07/2017 12:34 AM by Pipcard »

Online Lar

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Re: POLL: Current views on RLVs
« Reply #11 on: 09/07/2017 01:48 AM »
Greatest mass fraction is  probably a more useful metric than number of launches, actually.
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Online Lar

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Re: POLL: Current views on RLVs
« Reply #12 on: 09/07/2017 01:05 PM »
Poll has been created.

Given that it's by mass, I voted ITSy (and I skewed my time right to the end, 10 years out)

I think probably when we count launches in the next 10 years total, F9 will win. Jury is out whether they'll get S2 reuse in that time period. But if we are talking what happens in the year that is exactly 10 years out, ITSy, by mass, walks away with this.

Maybe.

For the bonus question:

- 10 years ago I was in despair. Expendables forever, and not many of them.
- 5 years ago I was starting to hope, a little bit anyway, and starting to think that maybe partial reuse would be happening in 5 years (now), certainly by 10 years (5 years from now) But I never would have dreamed of ITS scale or even ITSy scale being within the time horizon.
« Last Edit: 09/07/2017 01:17 PM by Lar »
"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 AncientU

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Re: POLL: Current views on RLVs
« Reply #13 on: 09/07/2017 04:15 PM »
Agree with your assessment for most part, but not sure how to reflect that by choosing one poll answer.
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Offline oldAtlas_Eguy

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Re: POLL: Current views on RLVs
« Reply #14 on: 09/07/2017 04:28 PM »
I voted Partially reusable complete stage of any size payload.

This is why.
NG will be a partial reusable complete stage.

The ITSy is no closer than 7 years away because of SpaceX self funding since gov [Congress] is not interested in a commercial SHLV but only their own pork SHLV project.

Once ITSy starts flying it will take a few years 3 or more before it starts doing significant number of flights per year. That is at the 10+ year point.

So the workhorses delivering all those LEO constellation sats which will be the cheapest rides the constellation sat owners can get will outnumber the expendables by at least 2 to 1. But those workhorses will be the partial reusable F9/FH and the NG.

50 expendable launches
70 F9/FH Launches
5 ITSy (considered at least a partial since it is a fully maybe at this point)
25 NG Launches
150 Total: PRLV 100 to EXPD 50
« Last Edit: 09/07/2017 04:34 PM by oldAtlas_Eguy »

Offline zappatosin

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Re: POLL: Current views on RLVs
« Reply #15 on: 09/08/2017 04:56 AM »
Expandable rockets, followed closely by partial RLVs will launch the most mass in the next 5-10 years.

I was in school (for discrete mathematics) 10 years ago so my previous views on RLVs consisted entirely of the evolution of US and Energia space shuttles. I certainly did not expect a privately designed booster to be reused in less than 10 years. I do not work in the space industry so I expect to be surprised again over the next 10 years.

+Signs for RLVs:
Outside of India, engine development is not a pacing item. Launch customers have already purchased several "flight proven" boosters, and government customers seem open to the idea of RLVs. Blue Origin provides SpaceX with serious competition

Signs against RLV:
Politics and civil servants in the US, Europe, and Russia have committed billions of dollars to expendable rockets over the next 5-10 years. Infrastructure in Alabama, MS, and Louisiana that is large enough to build, test, and deploy large launch systems (5+m) is not available to develop and build completely reusable upper stages. The development of large scale composite stages will probably make at least one RUD of critical launch hardware.

Signs against RLV economy:
The leading development of propellant depots and automatic docking is documented in Russian. Bigelow is not waiting for RLVs to build their space station. India has just as much experience launching satellite constellations as SpaceX. Google Fiber's pace of deployment, especially to single family housing, suggests reinventing the telecom industry is a long process.

Online savuporo

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Re: POLL: Current views on RLVs
« Reply #16 on: 09/08/2017 05:48 AM »
Most payloads launched will be less than a few hundred kilograms, and that's where all the new emerging markets, or opportunity to actually make money and grow the industry are.

I'd rather have a thousand 100kg launches than one 100 ton launch, because it enables far faster technology development cycles and actual economies of scale which just aren't present today.

Reusability at that small payload scale is unlikely going to be worth the bother, hence good old mass production with efficient QC is the key.
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Offline RocketmanUS

Re: POLL: Current views on RLVs
« Reply #17 on: 09/13/2017 10:07 PM »
Voted : Fully reusable, max >130 t to LEO

Full reuse meaning 1st and 2nd stage.
Very possible we will see full reuse in ten years.
Why go smaller as per launch cost might not be that much different for a small vehicle?
Multiple payloads could be brought up at once including propellants.
Use reusable in-space tug to bring payloads to higher orbit(s).

Quote from OP "Bonus: what did you believe about RLVs 5-10 years ago? (explain via post)"

Reuse required for any useful BLEO missions. This is what I was thinking back in the 1980's.
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Offline Pipcard

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Re: POLL: Current views on RLVs
« Reply #18 on: 09/22/2017 06:56 PM »
Reminder: This poll closes in 5 days.

Offline Tev

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Re: POLL: Current views on RLVs
« Reply #19 on: 09/24/2017 10:57 PM »
5-10 years is way too wide range. I think the launch industry is changing a lot right now, and the disruptions will probably continue for another 10 years.

Right now vast majority of payloads is flying on expendable launchers. Within 5 years partially reusable launchers might manage to launch majority of the mass to orbit. But that might also be time when reusable second stages will start flying (Blue's NG, ITSy, evolution of FH). So after 10 years expendable launchers might launch the most mass again, because the rest will be split in half between partially and fully reusable rockets.

For assessment of opinion about reusable rockets, I'd rather make two separate polls:

1) "How much will partial reuse reduce launch price of F9 in the next 5 years?"

2) "When will be the reusable second stage flying (for the first time) / operational (having >90% success rate & more than 5 flights/year)"
« Last Edit: 09/24/2017 10:58 PM by Tev »

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