Author Topic: SpaceX Falcon 9 : GPS III-1 : SLC-40 : NET May 2018  (Read 39918 times)

Offline Brovane

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 : GPS III-1 : SLC-40 : NET May 2018
« Reply #40 on: 04/28/2016 02:47 AM »
With a bid of $82.7M this seems kind of low.  I would have thought they would bid between $90M-100M for this launch contract.  I hope that SpaceX isn't in for a rude shock with all the special requirements(and extra costs) for a DOD payload. 

With a bid of $82.7 Million I wonder if any harsh language is being exchanged at ULA right now? 
« Last Edit: 04/28/2016 02:59 AM by Brovane »
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Offline Kabloona

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 : GPS III-1 : SLC-40 : NET May 2018
« Reply #41 on: 04/28/2016 03:17 AM »
With a bid of $82.7M this seems kind of low.  I would have thought they would bid between $90M-100M for this launch contract.  I hope that SpaceX isn't in for a rude shock with all the special requirements(and extra costs) for a DOD payload. 

They are probably willing to risk eating some of the cost of the first few DoD missions in order to get their foot in the door, and $10M or so loss here and there isn't going to break them. And they reportedly bid about $80M in 2012 for a GPS launch, so their new bid hasn't even kept up with inflation, so they're definitely being aggressive.

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With a bid of $82.7 Million I wonder if any harsh language is being exchanged at ULA right now?

Well, if anything, it certainly justifies their no-bid, so at least they saved a few million B&P money. But they've reportedly said they will bid next time. That's when it gets interesting.
« Last Edit: 04/28/2016 03:26 AM by Kabloona »

Offline Brovane

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 : GPS III-1 : SLC-40 : NET May 2018
« Reply #42 on: 04/28/2016 03:29 AM »
With a bid of $82.7M this seems kind of low.  I would have thought they would bid between $90M-100M for this launch contract.  I hope that SpaceX isn't in for a rude shock with all the special requirements(and extra costs) for a DOD payload. 

They are probably willing to risk eating some of the cost of the first few DoD missions in order to get their foot in the door, and $10M or so loss here and there isn't going to break them. And they reportedly bid about $80M in 2012 for a GPS launch, so their new bid hasn't even kept up with inflation, so they're definitely being aggressive.

Quote
With a bid of $82.7 Million I wonder if any harsh language is being exchanged at ULA right now?

Well, if anything, it certainly justifies their no-bid, so at least they saved a few million B&P money. But they've reportedly said they will bid next time. That's when it gets interesting.

Wasn't a Atlas-V 401 going for about $160 Million under the block-buy? 
"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 Zed_Noir

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 : GPS III-1 : SLC-40 : NET May 2018
« Reply #43 on: 04/28/2016 05:36 AM »
<snip>
Wasn't a Atlas-V 401 going for about $160 Million under the block-buy?

Before or after the ELC money? Which if recalled is about $90M per launch.

Online karanfildavut

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 : GPS III-1 : SLC-40 : NET May 2018
« Reply #44 on: 04/28/2016 06:05 AM »
First post after 3+ years of lurking. Geronimo.

Their prices have not changed much over 4 years. They charged NASA $82 mil for Jason-3 in 2012. With efficiency gains cancelling out inflation, $82-83 mil may be a sustainable price for mission assurance + launch services for government contracts. Is there really a $10mil+ yawning gap between NASA assurance and DoD assurance services? 

Ref : http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2012/jul/HQ_C12-029_RSLP-20_Launch_Services.html

Offline Kabloona

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 : GPS III-1 : SLC-40 : NET May 2018
« Reply #45 on: 04/28/2016 06:26 AM »
With efficiency gains cancelling out inflation, $82-83 mil may be a sustainable price for mission assurance + launch services for government contracts.

Welcome!

But Brett Tobey doesn't think so. He said they were shooting for $125 million, and that's without counting ELC.

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As far as those costs, Tobey said SpaceX was able to offer launch services as low as $60 million per flight, whereas the lowest ULA could offer was $125 million. However, he added, that did not include an $800 million "capability contract" that the military pays ULA annually to guarantee readiness and the ability to essentially launch on demand. If you factor in these funds, which SpaceX does not receive, the lowest cost launches that ULA can offer are about $200 million.

http://arstechnica.com/science/2016/03/ula-executive-admits-company-cannot-compete-with-spacex-on-launch-costs/
« Last Edit: 04/28/2016 06:30 AM by Kabloona »

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 : GPS III-1 : SLC-40 : NET May 2018
« Reply #46 on: 04/28/2016 06:34 AM »
So two well known space journalists both say that SpaceX submitted two proposals for this contract:

https://twitter.com/flatoday_jdean/status/725451263891099649

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@flatoday_jdean: A new sight in Air Force launch contracting. (Note "two proposals received" apparently both from SpaceX.)

https://twitter.com/gruss_sn/status/725452087996370944

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@gruss_sn: Also what I've heard.

Offline sewebster

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 : GPS III-1 : SLC-40 : NET May 2018
« Reply #47 on: 04/28/2016 06:55 AM »
Horizontal and vertical integration options?

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 : GPS III-1 : SLC-40 : NET May 2018
« Reply #48 on: 04/28/2016 07:05 AM »
Horizontal and vertical integration options?

Possibly. Do we know if GPS sats can be horizontally integrated?

I was going to say that given the contract value I'm guessing the cheaper option was selected, but now I'm not so sure!

Offline Kabloona

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 : GPS III-1 : SLC-40 : NET May 2018
« Reply #49 on: 04/28/2016 07:09 AM »
Horizontal and vertical integration options?

Possibly. Do we know if GPS sats can be horizontally integrated?

I was going to say that given the contract value I'm guessing the cheaper option was selected, but now I'm not so sure!

With all the mission assurance requirements, I don't see how there could be a cheaper option than $83M. Those mission assurance requirements alone were expected to cost an additional $20M. And remember, SpaceX submitted an $80M unsolicited bid for GPS back in 2012 (?) and that certainly would have been horizontal integration. So maybe their other proposal was vertical integration for, say, $100M.

But, from a knowledgeable source, the GPS sats can be horizontally integrated. So it seems likely the winning bid was in fact SpaceX's cheapest option, for horizontal integration.

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=38557.msg1433475#msg1433475
« Last Edit: 04/28/2016 07:42 AM by Kabloona »

Offline saliva_sweet

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 : GPS III-1 : SLC-40 : NET May 2018
« Reply #50 on: 04/28/2016 08:36 AM »
They may have bid an expendable launch with tons of margin for 90+M and a recoverable launch for 83M. I don't see the value in offering vertical integration for a payload that doesn't need it.

Online LouScheffer

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 : GPS III-1 : SLC-40 : NET May 2018
« Reply #51 on: 04/28/2016 11:18 AM »

The spacecraft will be doing the perigee raising.

Thanks! Any particular reason why? Doesn't the Centaur inject GPS sats into their final orbit for Atlas V missions? What about Delta IV?
I recall (perhaps wrongly) that one reason was not to create more space junk.   At this altitude, if the booster circularizes, then it will hang around for millions of years after it releases the satellite.  It's too expensive (in delta-V) to de-orbit it.  If you just use a transfer orbit, the booster can be easily de-orbited, or naturally decay.

Offline Kabloona

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 : GPS III-1 : SLC-40 : NET May 2018
« Reply #52 on: 04/28/2016 01:21 PM »

The spacecraft will be doing the perigee raising.

Thanks! Any particular reason why? Doesn't the Centaur inject GPS sats into their final orbit for Atlas V missions? What about Delta IV?
I recall (perhaps wrongly) that one reason was not to create more space junk.   At this altitude, if the booster circularizes, then it will hang around for millions of years after it releases the satellite.  It's too expensive (in delta-V) to de-orbit it.  If you just use a transfer orbit, the booster can be easily de-orbited, or naturally decay.

You may be (rightly) recalling this post from Jim:

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=38557.msg1432863#msg1432863
« Last Edit: 04/28/2016 01:22 PM by Kabloona »

Offline Norm38

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 : GPS III-1 : SLC-40 : NET May 2018
« Reply #53 on: 04/28/2016 02:16 PM »
With all the mission assurance requirements, I don't see how there could be a cheaper option than $83M. Those mission assurance requirements alone were expected to cost an additional $20M.

It's not clear to me what that $20 million is actually buying.  Is it just paperwork, or is the rocket physically different than for a typical comsat?

Also, this mission was getting a lot of notice on the national news this morning.  Saw segments on both CNN and CBS news at the gym.
« Last Edit: 04/28/2016 02:17 PM by Norm38 »

Offline nadreck

Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 : GPS III-1 : SLC-40 : NET May 2018
« Reply #54 on: 04/28/2016 02:18 PM »
Will we get details of the bid that didn't win? I am curious as to the differences between the two proposals.
It is all well and good to quote those things that made it past your confirmation bias that other people wrote, but this is a discussion board damnit! Let us know what you think! And why!

Offline Kabloona

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 : GPS III-1 : SLC-40 : NET May 2018
« Reply #55 on: 04/28/2016 02:26 PM »
With all the mission assurance requirements, I don't see how there could be a cheaper option than $83M. Those mission assurance requirements alone were expected to cost an additional $20M.

It's not clear to me what that $20 million is actually buying.  Is it just paperwork, or is the rocket physically different than for a typical comsat?

IIRC, the "mission assurance" part is a lot of QA paperwork submittal requirements that SpaceX would not normally provide to a commercial customer.
« Last Edit: 04/28/2016 02:27 PM by Kabloona »

Offline Ronsmytheiii

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 : GPS III-1 : SLC-40 : NET May 2018
« Reply #56 on: 04/28/2016 03:03 PM »
Quote
"This GPS III Launch Services contract award achieves a balance between mission success, meeting operational needs, lowering launch costs, and reintroducing competition for National Security Space missions," said Lt. Gen. Samuel Greaves, Air Force Program Executive Officer for Space and SMC commander.
Hm, I wonder which of these USAF is sacrificing for the other three?
None of SpaceX's other customers feel it necessary to insult them for perceived failure risk. Especially rude given that certification was completed.

It's not an insult, it's an implicit acknowledgment of the fact that Atlas V has more flown successfully more than twice as many times as Falcon 9 to date.

And I doubt Elon or Gwynne are feeling insulted. They just won their first National Security mission. The champagne is flowing somewhere...though there wasn't any doubt about the win since ULA no-bid.

It is just GPS

Just a GPS is an upgrade from just Tang and T-Shirts.

GPS-3 satellites use the Lockheed Martin commercial A2100 bus, so besides the orbit it will be a similar launch to a commercial launch ( GPS is not a unique platform, no real time sensitivity other than a normal launch, and horizontal integration) Pretty much the ideal DoD mission for SpaceX.
« Last Edit: 04/28/2016 03:04 PM by Ronsmytheiii »
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Offline kevin-rf

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 : GPS III-1 : SLC-40 : NET May 2018
« Reply #57 on: 04/28/2016 04:31 PM »
GPS-3 satellites use the Lockheed Martin commercial A2100 bus, so besides the orbit it will be a similar launch to a commercial launch ( GPS is not a unique platform, no real time sensitivity other than a normal launch, and horizontal integration) Pretty much the ideal DoD mission for SpaceX.
One quibble with that, You will be targeting a specific inclined plane. So you will have some real time launch window sensitivity. GEO planes are not inclined, so no time sensitivity on the window.

That said, it should be no worse than Iridium or CRS launches.
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Offline Ronsmytheiii

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 : GPS III-1 : SLC-40 : NET May 2018
« Reply #58 on: 04/28/2016 05:16 PM »
One quibble with that, You will be targeting a specific inclined plane. So you will have some real time launch window sensitivity. GEO planes are not inclined, so no time sensitivity on the window.

That said, it should be no worse than Iridium or CRS launches.

I meant that DoD won't expect SpaceX to drop everything and launch the GPS satellite as soon as it is ready under ELC satellites from DoD.
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Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 : GPS III-1 : SLC-40 : NET May 2018
« Reply #59 on: 04/28/2016 05:58 PM »
Quote
James Dean ‏@flatoday_jdean 54m54 minutes ago

An Air Force official today said SpaceX's winning GPS III bid was 40% below government estimates.

https://twitter.com/flatoday_jdean/status/725731649921646593

So government estimates must have been around the 135 - 140M range.

Edit: here's an attribution

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Mike Gruss ‏@Gruss_SN 1h1 hour ago

SMC's Lt. Gen. Sam Greaves says SpaceX's $82.7M launch contract is about 40 percent lower than previous government estimates.

https://twitter.com/Gruss_SN/status/725728982700810244
« Last Edit: 04/28/2016 06:00 PM by FutureSpaceTourist »

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