Author Topic: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat  (Read 57287 times)

Online mmeijeri

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Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« on: 10/26/2009 04:54 PM »
I've noticed that some people are fans of both NASA launchers and SpaceX while they dislike ULA. I found this perplexing, but it may have something to do with political outlook.

SpaceX looks like the underdog or the daring upstart and it is easy to identify with that. SpaceX's PR also helps with that, it projects an image of an exciting, dynamic, young company. And since NASA is part of the government, people may feel as if they own part of the biggest baddest launcher in the world if it is built by NASA. It "shows" that together we can do more than each individually, it "shows" why certain things are best done by governments, that we shouldn't leave everything to the "whims" of the market.

ULA on the other hand is seen as part of big business, and part of the military industrial complex. It is also the major rival to both SpaceX and NASA launchers. If NASA uses ULA launchers people may feel they are paying for a military-industrial rocket as opposed to partly owning a government rocket. Owning feels better than paying for and the "good guys" are more attractive than the "bad guys".

I don't believe these are particularly good reasons, but it would be better if people were at least honest about them. There are exceptions, some people openly state they prefer SDLV because it enables Shuttle extension. Others say they want Ares V because it is the only way they will see humans on Mars in their lifetime. I don't think those are very good reasons, but stating them openly is refreshingly honest and in principle these are honourable reasons. This openness seems to be the exception though, not the rule. Generally I see people scrambling to come up with technical pretexts for their preferred flavour of SDLV (mass through TLI, fairing diameter, preferred flavour of engine). ESAS did it, but so do some of its most vociferous critics.

Or so it seems to me.
« Last Edit: 10/26/2009 07:05 PM by mmeijeri »
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Offline kkattula

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« Reply #1 on: 10/27/2009 03:34 AM »
It may be a false perception, but from the outside it looks like SpaceX are actively developing a lot of new hardware, whereas ULA have some very cool plans and designs, but are waiting for someone else to fund them.
« Last Edit: 10/27/2009 03:35 AM by kkattula »

Offline Lars_J

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« Reply #2 on: 10/27/2009 04:08 AM »
It may be a false perception, but from the outside it looks like SpaceX are actively developing a lot of new hardware, whereas ULA have some very cool plans and designs, but are waiting for someone else to fund them.

Exactly - the perception is that ULA (Boeing/Lockmart AKA "OldSpace") don't really have any interest in advancing spaceflight. They only want to cash in on their cost-plus contracts and only innovate when a large contract is up in the air. But they do not attempt to grow and expand into more space markets, or open up whole new markets, like most companies would be eager to.

Again, that is the perception. (before the wrath of Jim descends on me) :D

Personally I think there is some degree of truth in that perception, but I suppose there is also cold hard business reality where they do not want to take any chances that would hurt their stock values further.
« Last Edit: 10/27/2009 04:13 AM by Lars_J »

Offline jongoff

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« Reply #3 on: 10/27/2009 04:18 AM »
It may be a false perception, but from the outside it looks like SpaceX are actively developing a lot of new hardware, whereas ULA have some very cool plans and designs, but are waiting for someone else to fund them.

Exactly - the perception is that ULA (Boeing/Lockmart AKA "OldSpace") don't really have any interest in advancing spaceflight. They only want to cash in on their cost-plus contracts and only innovate when a large contract is up in the air. But they do not attempt to grow and expand into more space markets, or open up whole new markets, like most companies would be eager to.

Again, that is the perception. (before the wrath of Jim descends on me) :D

Personally I think there is some degree of truth in that perception, but I suppose there is also cold hard business reality where they do not want to take any chances that would hurt their stock values further.

Another way of putting it is that SpaceX acts more entrepreneurially than the other big launch companies.  Elon put his money in on speculation that they'd be able to deliver a product that would be profitable.  For the most part Boeing/LM/ULA don't act entrepreneurially very often, in a big part due to being publicly traded companies.  I don't think it's that they can't act entrepreneurially so much as that it is hard for them to do so.

That said, I think that as ULA goes on, they aren't going to have a choice--they're going to have to innovate or risk in the long run being marginalized by new entrants.  I happen to know, and be friends with, many members of the ULA team, and I think that at least talent-wise they could do some really interesting things.  My hope is that SpaceX being successful actually helps light a bit of a fire under them as well.

~Jon

Offline kkattula

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« Reply #4 on: 10/27/2009 05:00 AM »
I read ULA's papers on the ACES based exploration architecture, and was very impressed. Not just the pretty new technology, but the synergy from re-applying the same basic technology for multiple purposes. Also the recovery & accummulation of residual propellant at every step.

There's some really good thinking gone into those proposals. It's a crying shame they haven't been funded and empowered to actually buils the new stuff.

Offline sdsds

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« Reply #5 on: 10/27/2009 05:00 AM »
It may be a false perception, but from the outside it looks like SpaceX are actively developing a lot of new hardware, whereas ULA have some very cool plans and designs, but are waiting for someone else to fund them.

Exactly - the perception is that ULA (Boeing/Lockmart AKA "OldSpace") don't really have any interest in advancing spaceflight. They only want to cash in on their cost-plus contracts and only innovate when a large contract is up in the air. But they do not attempt to grow and expand into more space markets, or open up whole new markets, like most companies would be eager to.

Again, that is the perception. (before the wrath of Jim descends on me) :D

Personally I think there is some degree of truth in that perception, but I suppose there is also cold hard business reality where they do not want to take any chances that would hurt their stock values further.

Another way of putting it is that SpaceX acts more entrepreneurially than the other big launch companies.  Elon put his money in on speculation that they'd be able to deliver a product that would be profitable.  For the most part Boeing/LM/ULA don't act entrepreneurially very often, in a big part due to being publicly traded companies.  I don't think it's that they can't act entrepreneurially so much as that it is hard for them to do so.

That said, I think that as ULA goes on, they aren't going to have a choice--they're going to have to innovate or risk in the long run being marginalized by new entrants.  I happen to know, and be friends with, many members of the ULA team, and I think that at least talent-wise they could do some really interesting things.  My hope is that SpaceX being successful actually helps light a bit of a fire under them as well.

~Jon

Everyone should value ULA for what they principally provide:  they provide the U.S. government with rock solid EELV launch capability now, and pretty darn certain offers of enhanced launch and spaceflight capabilities in the future.  (As examples, if the U.S. government contracted for wide-body Centaur, or Atlas V Heavy, or an ACES depot, or any of ULA's other offerings, ULA would deliver with high probability.)  That -- plus on-target delivery of WMD to assure our national security -- is what OldSpace is all about.

NewSpace provides neither rock-solid capability now, nor offers of future capabilities with high-probability of on-time delivery.  That said, they also don't offer to deliver WMD.

An analogy offered with no offense intended to anyone:  we tend to love our pets, but get a totally different kind of value from our attack dogs.

Augustine is/was OldSpace.  It's impressive that he can "get it" regarding NewSpace.  It seemed clear for example that he personally would prefer to see NewSpace handle LEO HSF.  That's amazing!
-- sdsds --

Offline gospacex

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« Reply #6 on: 10/27/2009 07:00 AM »
I read ULA's papers on the ACES based exploration architecture, and was very impressed. Not just the pretty new technology, but the synergy from re-applying the same basic technology for multiple purposes. Also the recovery & accummulation of residual propellant at every step.

There's some really good thinking gone into those proposals. It's a crying shame they haven't been funded and empowered to actually buils the new stuff.

Yeah, poor Boeing/LM have to sustain themself on potato scraps... they have only a few tens (or hundreds?) of billions worth of contracts with DoD, where would I expect them to find money to develop, say, a WBC?

Offline MP99

Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #7 on: 10/27/2009 07:35 AM »
I've noticed that some people are fans of both NASA launchers and SpaceX while they dislike ULA. I found this perplexing, but it may have something to do with political outlook.

SpaceX / Musk are visibly excited about the prospects of carrying crew, have seemingly limiless ambition, and Musk started the whole thing to get to Mars, IIRC.

ULA could easily launch crews, but they've chosen not to.

This is a prudent financial decision.

My pension provider also follows a prudent course (I hope). That doesn't mean I'm going to get excited about them.

When it became clear that commercial crew looks like the future, did they announce a pre-emptive programme to HR a launcher? No.

Don't get me wrong. I know they've done lots of preparatory work on this, and I'm *hugely* impressed with their ongoing work towards depots.

SpaceX was started by someone with a vision, who then actively courted a public who are massively frakked off at an industry that's spent 40 years in retreat from the Moon and beyond.

It's not about the realities of what the companies can achieve, or are likely to in the future, it's about whether they set out to rekindle a jaded public's imagination.

cheers, Martin

Offline JohnFornaro

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« Reply #8 on: 10/27/2009 01:26 PM »
I too get the impression that ULA is "OldSpace" and SpaceX is "NewSpace", whatever my poorly elucidated definition of these two ideas is.  SpaceX is launching stuff.  So are other companies, but isn't SpaceX the "Apple" of this small entrepreneurial group?  Bigelow is selling stuff to be launched, which is good, but different.

Hey, that's my PERCEPTION.  Oh no, the wrath of Jim!  Run away!  (say it like Monty Python's King Arthur)
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

Offline Jim

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« Reply #9 on: 10/27/2009 01:43 PM »


1.    That -- plus on-target delivery of WMD to assure our national security -- is what OldSpace is all about.


2.  Augustine is/was OldSpace.  It's impressive that he can "get it" regarding NewSpace.  It seemed clear for example that he personally would prefer to see NewSpace handle LEO HSF.  That's amazing!


that is totally offbase.   Old space got us to the moon, Old space continues to launch all of NASA's unmanned spacecraft.  Nuspace has failed to get contracts to do this.

1,   ULA and OSC do not build offensive weapon delivery systems.  weapon delivery systems has nothing to do with it.  It is the Apple vs IBM scenario

2.  Incorrect.  Augustine was for commercial space which is not just nuspace.

« Last Edit: 10/27/2009 01:49 PM by Jim »

Offline Jim

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« Reply #10 on: 10/27/2009 01:45 PM »

Yeah, poor Boeing/LM have to sustain themself on potato scraps... they have only a few tens (or hundreds?) of billions worth of contracts with DoD, where would I expect them to find money to develop, say, a WBC?


they already sunk billions into the EELV development.  They have yet to make that back.

Anyways, can we stop the LM and Boeing references, it is ULA.  ULA does not have access to LM and Boeing finances.

Offline Jim

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« Reply #11 on: 10/27/2009 01:47 PM »

ULA could easily launch crews, but they've chosen not to.


No, they want to, they just can't build the spacecraft.  They must work with someone else to provide the capsule.

Online mmeijeri

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« Reply #12 on: 10/27/2009 01:49 PM »
Hypothetically, at what point does a reusable upper stage become a spacecraft, if ever?
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Offline jongoff

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« Reply #13 on: 10/27/2009 01:55 PM »

Yeah, poor Boeing/LM have to sustain themself on potato scraps... they have only a few tens (or hundreds?) of billions worth of contracts with DoD, where would I expect them to find money to develop, say, a WBC?


they already sunk billions into the EELV development.  They have yet to make that back.

Anyways, can we stop the LM and Boeing references, it is ULA.  ULA does not have access to LM and Boeing finances.

Exactly.  If ULA goes out of business, Boeing and LM shrug and say good riddance--but ULA goes out of business.  ULA has a lot more at stake than either of its parent companies. 

~Jon

Offline JohnFornaro

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« Reply #14 on: 10/27/2009 02:05 PM »
Just for the record, I have nothing against OldSpace in general.  They did get us to the Moon, Alice.  At the same time, they probably need to update their paradigm, but this can't be easy.
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

Offline Lars_J

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« Reply #15 on: 10/27/2009 02:26 PM »

Yeah, poor Boeing/LM have to sustain themself on potato scraps... they have only a few tens (or hundreds?) of billions worth of contracts with DoD, where would I expect them to find money to develop, say, a WBC?
they already sunk billions into the EELV development.  They have yet to make that back.

Anyways, can we stop the LM and Boeing references, it is ULA.  ULA does not have access to LM and Boeing finances.

The reason Bowing and LM is brought up is because *you* have on many occasions reminded us that ULA is not allowed develop spacecraft.   So when it comes to developing spacecraft, not just launch vehicles, is it not prudent to include them? Besides, as "co-owners" of ULA, they certainly set ULA policy as well.

Offline gospacex

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« Reply #16 on: 10/27/2009 02:54 PM »
"OldSpace" in my mind refers to organizations, not people. IOW: many, if not most, people working for OldSpace may be very supportive of enhancing our spacefaring capabilities. Some of them are even NewSpace fans.

But OldSpace companies as a whole have no will to do it unless someone covers the cost with sizable margins. They are accustomized to work for govt (DoD and NASA), they don't want to risk.

Offline MP99

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« Reply #17 on: 10/27/2009 09:16 PM »

ULA could easily launch crews, but they've chosen not to.

No, they want to, they just can't build the spacecraft. They must work with someone else to provide the capsule.

Understood.

And I know a lot of work has been done towards crewed launches. The capsule would presumably be the long pole.

I'm interested whether ULA would fund a launcher HR programme themselves once someone gets serious about a capsule to go on it.

And to repeat, this is about the perception of the two companies, not ULA's competance (which is not at all in question).

cheers, Martin

Offline yg1968

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« Reply #18 on: 10/27/2009 11:42 PM »

Yeah, poor Boeing/LM have to sustain themself on potato scraps... they have only a few tens (or hundreds?) of billions worth of contracts with DoD, where would I expect them to find money to develop, say, a WBC?


they already sunk billions into the EELV development.  They have yet to make that back.

Anyways, can we stop the LM and Boeing references, it is ULA.  ULA does not have access to LM and Boeing finances.

Exactly.  If ULA goes out of business, Boeing and LM shrug and say good riddance--but ULA goes out of business.  ULA has a lot more at stake than either of its parent companies. 

~Jon

I have never of a parent company that doesn't care about its subsidiaries. For the parent companies, it's an asset that produces income. A subsidiary is just a legal entity, the people that care about the company are its shareholders and its employees.

Offline Xplor

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« Reply #19 on: 10/27/2009 11:43 PM »
I find this whole “oldspace” - “newspace” discussion intriguing.  What does this mean?  Private investment? Innovative? Why is SpaceX considered “newspace”? I presume ULA is “oldspace”? What about Orbital Sciences?

SpaceX is a startup.  They certainly have set up an innovative corporate style; they have promised very low prices (what happens when a team of 500 Aerospace/Analex/NASA/DoD mission assurance folks walk in the door to ensure the irreplaceable payload is successfully placed in orbit?).  They have made it much further than any of the other dozens of start ups of the last 2 decades.  Despite Elon’s sizeable personal investment most of SpaceX’s development money has actually come from the US government.

The history of “commercial” rocketry in the US is financially a miserable failure.  There have been literally dozens of “Newspace” start ups (Beal, Kistler, …) that have invested billions of dollars only to go bankrupt, not a single success so far (other than maybe Orbital Sciences of the 1980‘s).  “Oldspace” (General Dynamics, Boeing, Lockheed, Lockheed Martin) have also been forced to write off billions against their rocket investments when launch rates, success rates and technical hurdles were worse than expected.

And then throw in politics.  It’s no secret that Griffin HATED ULA with a passion, stacking the ESAS, crew lift, COTS and CRS deck against ULA.  Despite Griffin’s departure Hanley, Cooke and the other Constellation leaders continue to spout the myths that EELV’s can’t be human rated.

Is it any wonder that with commercial rocketries dismal financial history and a customer that wants a competing product (their own internally developed Ares I) that ULA has been cautious when it comes to spending hundreds of millions of dollars developing a product for the NASA human space flight market?

Offline Jim

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« Reply #20 on: 10/27/2009 11:49 PM »

I have never of a parent company that doesn't care about its subsidiaries. For the parent companies, it's an asset that produces income.

It is not a subsidiary.  It is a joint venture between two companies which is to limit the liability of the parent companies.  It was a way of the parent companies to limit their losses.
« Last Edit: 10/27/2009 11:50 PM by Jim »

Offline Jim

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« Reply #21 on: 10/27/2009 11:52 PM »
(what happens when a team of 500 Aerospace/Analex/NASA/DoD mission assurance folks walk in the door to ensure the irreplaceable payload is successfully placed in orbit?).

The cost of the F9 becomes not much different than an Atlas but with less capability

Offline yg1968

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« Reply #22 on: 10/28/2009 12:34 AM »

I have never of a parent company that doesn't care about its subsidiaries. For the parent companies, it's an asset that produces income.

It is not a subsidiary.  It is a joint venture between two companies which is to limit the liability of the parent companies.  It was a way of the parent companies to limit their losses.

Not that it really matters but I looked it up before, it's actually a Limited Liabilty Company (LLC) owned 50%-50%. ULA paid a dividend (i.e. a distribution) in 2008 per the financial statements of the parent companies (which means that it doesn't currently have losses). But you are right that a corporation or a LLC are generally used because they offer limited liability for legal purposes. However, creditors will often ask guarantees from the parent companies, so limited liability is not always achieved because of this fact. In any event, the LLC units are an asset for the unit holders. So the parent companies care about their LLC units (unless the units have become worthless because, for example, the company will never be profitable -but this is not the case for ULA).
« Last Edit: 10/28/2009 12:57 AM by yg1968 »

Offline Jim

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« Reply #23 on: 10/28/2009 12:58 AM »
So the parent companies care about their LLC units (unless they have become worthless because, for example, the company will never be profitable -but this is not the case for ULA).

not really.  They aren't going to provide ULA any money for expansion or new markets.  ULA is off on its own to swim or sink.
jongoff is correct in his statement.
« Last Edit: 10/28/2009 01:00 AM by Jim »

Offline yg1968

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« Reply #24 on: 10/28/2009 01:02 AM »
If ULA is profitable, the parent companies care about it. I am not sure why they would let it sink. But ULA might be able to get its own financing, it may not need anybody else's help. But that doesn't mean the parent company doesn't care about it. If they didn't care about ULA, they would liquidate it or sell its assets.  The shareholders name ULA's board of managers and they can decide to liquidate ULA or sell its assets, if they wish.
« Last Edit: 10/28/2009 01:10 AM by yg1968 »

Offline Jim

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« Reply #25 on: 10/28/2009 01:20 AM »
1.  If ULA is profitable, the parent companies care about it. I am not sure why they would let it sink. But ULA might be able to get its own financing, it may not need anybody else's help. But that doesn't mean the parent company doesn't care about it. If they didn't care about ULA, they would liquidate it or sell its assets. 

2.  The shareholders name ULA's board of managers and they can decide to liquidate ULA or sell its assets, if they wish.

You don't understand why ULA exists.

1.  ULA was created so that LM and Boeing no longer had the boat anchors of the Delta and Atlas programs.  They in essences did sell the assets, when they created ULA.  That was the whole reason for ULA to exist. 

2. There is no board of managers.  The shareholders have no say.  Boeing and LM executives name the ULA  executives .

Offline Antares

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« Reply #26 on: 10/28/2009 01:48 AM »
It may be a false perception, but from the outside it looks like SpaceX are actively developing a lot of new hardware, whereas ULA have some very cool plans and designs, but are waiting for someone else to fund them.

Yeah, poor Boeing/LM have to sustain themself on potato scraps... they have only a few tens (or hundreds?) of billions worth of contracts with DoD, where would I expect them to find money to develop, say, a WBC?

But OldSpace companies as a whole have no will to do it unless someone covers the cost with sizable margins. They are accustomized to work for govt (DoD and NASA), they don't want to risk.

Oh, give me a flogging break!  Whose money do you think is paying SpaceX's bills RIGHT NOW?  Go back and look at their press releases from contracts they've won or financing they've secured.  There's a hell of a lot more of the former than the latter.
« Last Edit: 10/28/2009 01:56 AM by Antares »
If I like something on NSF, it's probably because I know it to be accurate.  Every once in a while, it's just something I agree with.  Facts generally receive the former.

Offline Antares

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« Reply #27 on: 10/28/2009 01:55 AM »
I'm interested whether ULA would fund a launcher HR programme themselves once someone gets serious about a capsule to go on it.

With a proper payback, yes.  But:
1) the parent companies to whom the profits accrue would have to weigh that relative to undermining their returns on other HSF projects.
2) the payback horizon would obviously be determined by the magnitude of the investment.  ULA and certain customers have one idea of what this takes (<$1B).  MSFC and certain consultants have another ($14B).
If I like something on NSF, it's probably because I know it to be accurate.  Every once in a while, it's just something I agree with.  Facts generally receive the former.

Offline Avron

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« Reply #28 on: 10/28/2009 02:08 AM »
Come now..   MSFC is the future , they will rescue HSF, in time.. just give them time, money, look what was done in 30 years at $1B a year 

Offline kkattula

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« Reply #29 on: 10/28/2009 02:11 AM »
It may be a false perception, but from the outside it looks like SpaceX are actively developing a lot of new hardware, whereas ULA have some very cool plans and designs, but are waiting for someone else to fund them.

Yeah, poor Boeing/LM have to sustain themself on potato scraps... they have only a few tens (or hundreds?) of billions worth of contracts with DoD, where would I expect them to find money to develop, say, a WBC?

But OldSpace companies as a whole have no will to do it unless someone covers the cost with sizable margins. They are accustomized to work for govt (DoD and NASA), they don't want to risk.

Oh, give me a flogging break!  Whose money do you think is paying SpaceX's bills RIGHT NOW?  Go back and look at their press releases from contracts they've won or financing they've secured.  There's a hell of a lot more of the former than the latter.

IIRC:

a) SpaceX developed Falcon 1 without NASA funding.

b) SpaceX started development of F5/9 and Dragon before COTS but it allowed them to hugely accelerate the program.

c) COTS required matching funding from SpaceX.

'Old space' has typically developed systems under cost plus not fixed price contracts. Although I believe EELV & X-33 were exceptions.


But remember, we are talking about 'perception'. Reallity is often quite a bit different.

Offline yg1968

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« Reply #30 on: 10/28/2009 04:07 AM »
1.  If ULA is profitable, the parent companies care about it. I am not sure why they would let it sink. But ULA might be able to get its own financing, it may not need anybody else's help. But that doesn't mean the parent company doesn't care about it. If they didn't care about ULA, they would liquidate it or sell its assets. 

2.  The shareholders name ULA's board of managers and they can decide to liquidate ULA or sell its assets, if they wish.

You don't understand why ULA exists.

1.  ULA was created so that LM and Boeing no longer had the boat anchors of the Delta and Atlas programs.  They in essences did sell the assets, when they created ULA.  That was the whole reason for ULA to exist. 

2. There is no board of managers.  The shareholders have no say.  Boeing and LM executives name the ULA  executives .

That's not how it generally works. The shareholders (or unit holders of the LLC to be exact) of ULA are Boeing and LM. The parent companies name the board of managers of an LLC because they control it. A transfer of assets to the company generally occurs when you form a company. But what I said is still true. 
« Last Edit: 10/29/2009 02:18 PM by yg1968 »

Offline Xplor

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« Reply #31 on: 10/28/2009 10:26 AM »
a) SpaceX developed Falcon 1 without NASA funding.

Elon invested something to the tune of $100M in Falcon, with some additional commercial side investment.  Through COTS he got an additional $270M to "demonstrate Dragon".  But SpaceX's COTS contract was completely front loaded for payment of "fluffy" milestone, such as contract turn on, requirements review, PDR.  Where is the orbital Dragon demo?  He spent most of that NASA funded COTS money developing F1 and 9, not Dragon.  Likewise, all of his Government launch contract down payments have been spent developing Falcon, not integrating payloads.  Also the various other DoD contracts he has gotten have helped.  And then there is the CRS $1.6B which he doesn't get any money from until he delivers but can be used to leverage private investment.

I'm not saying the above is wrong, but please don't paint SpaceX as a pure commercial play, he's gotten as much or more government money to develop Falcon 1 & 9 as either Boeing or Lockheed Martin did to develop the entire Delta IV and Atlas V family of rockets covering a much broader spread of capabilities!

'Old space' has typically developed systems under cost plus not fixed price contracts. Although I believe EELV & X-33 were exceptions.

This is true in the NASA human space flight world of Shuttle and Ares, but not in Americas expendable world.  Since 1987 the "expendables" have been developed primarily under commercial funding with DoD anchor tenants.  DoD only gave Boeing and Lockheed $500m each to develop Delta IV and Atlas V.  The contractors had to fund the rest of the development themselves, to the tune of 3 to 5 times the DoD investment.  NASA sience had the free ride, getting to use these two world class rockets without investing in their development.


I would love to see ATK, PWR, and Boeing investing their own money in Ares.  Much more comfortable for them to take the completely government funded contracts and develop whatever MSFC tells them to.  They get paid no mater what. Ares overruns, who cares NASA (read you and me tax payer) gets to pick up the bill.
« Last Edit: 10/28/2009 11:21 AM by Chris Bergin »

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« Reply #32 on: 10/28/2009 11:03 AM »
Please, please leave me the illusion SpaceX is financed much more by private investors than by government (aka taxpayer) money. ;)

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« Reply #33 on: 10/28/2009 01:11 PM »
First, "OldSpace" and "NewSpace" are not scientific nor legal terms, so their meanings can carry a host of person-specific ideas which have a good potential for confusion.  Benerally, I agree with a loosy-goosy definition of LockMart being "old" and SpaceX being "new".

SpaceX is building rockets from the ground up, using their own designs.  I'll wager that Spacex uses plenty of aluminum 2024, and that all of its engineers are quite familiar with Sutton.  So the term "from the ground up" doesn't require every last thing in the chain to be completely new.  One of the things that's "new" in SpaceX is their claim that they are much more efficient than other launch companies; for example, they claim that their workforce is an order of magnitude smaller that the competition.  Yesterday, their website pointed out that they currently employ about 800 people.  If that's true, and if Falcon 9 can be compared to Atlas, as Jim seems to suggest, then there are some interesting comparisons to speculate about.

From:
http://www.spacex.com/falcon9.php

the Falcon 9 User's guide:

Mass to LEO:  10,450 kg        23,050 lb       
Mass to GTO:   4,540 kg        10,000 lb

From:
http://www.ulalaunch.com/index_products_services.html

the Atlas V product card Atlas 401:

Mass to LEO:   9,750 kg        21,400 lb       
Mass to GTO:   4,750 kg       10,470 lb
Costs:

Falcon 9

LEO (s/c<80% capacity) $44M 
LEO (s/c>80% capacity) $49.5M
GTO (s/c<3,000 kg)       $44M 
GTO                            $49.5M 

Atlas V 401

From:
http://www.spaceandtech.com/spacedata/elvs/atlas5_specs.shtml

$90M

Cost information for Atlas is not as easy to find as that for SpaceX.

I quote Jim:
"The cost of the F9 becomes not much different than an Atlas but with less capability"

I'm doing the best I can to compare apples to apples.  The Atlas has more capabilities; it has a fifty year track record and many rocket variations.  The subset of Atlas V 401's will be substantially smaller than the whole Atlas family, but probably a much longer track record than Falcon 9.  Falcon 9 has five launches, and no operable variations yet, but it reportedly costs half as much as Atlas V 401.

Given the comparison above, I have no idea what Jim is trying to say.

Moving on to Xpor's reply #206.  Clearly SpaceX has received a huge quantity of money from the government.  Part of the money is "payment" and part is "investment" and whatnot.  I have no idea how this all is divvied up.  But his statement, "he's gotten as much or more government money to develop Falcon 1 & 9 as either Boeing or Lockheed Martin did to develop the entire Delta IV and Atlas V family of rockets" doesn't ring true.  Dollars from a half century ago are a lot smaller than today's dollars.

I don't understand all this discussion about public/private investment above.

Maybe Mr. Musk can post here and reveal what must be the most sensitive proprietary info he has: the exact numbers of his public/private investment money ratio.

I'll start holding my breath....

(Edited 11-03-09 to fix line breaks)
« Last Edit: 11/03/2009 02:01 PM by JohnFornaro »
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

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« Reply #34 on: 10/28/2009 01:18 PM »

Falcon 9

LEO (s/c<80% capacity) $44M 
LEO (s/c>80% capacity) $49.5M
GTO (s/c<3,000 kg)     $44M 
GTO                    $49.5M 


Those aren't gov't prices

and the F9 10K to GTO is iffy.

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« Reply #35 on: 10/28/2009 05:31 PM »
Forget GTO, then if you wish.  I feel certain that SpaceX will get to GTO, since that's where a good bit of the comsat and geosat market is.  And I'm sure government prices are much lower.  [stifled snort]  And when SpaceX sez: "same pricing for all customers" on their website, that's a falsehood?

It appears that Atlas V 401 and Falcon 9 can carry roughly the same payload to LEO, and it also appears that Falcon 9 costs about half as much to launch.  And if SpaceX has 1/10th the personell overhead, that tells me that oldspace looks more like a dinosaur, and newspace looks more like a mammal.  It also suggests that SpaceX is making a good profit.  Unless there's profit to be made in space, there will be no companies doing business in space.

Which then suggests that commercial actors are beginning to succeed.
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« Reply #36 on: 10/28/2009 05:45 PM »
You are making a lot of unqualified assumptions.

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« Reply #37 on: 10/28/2009 06:09 PM »
1.  Forget GTO, then if you wish.  I feel certain that SpaceX will get to GTO, since that's where a good bit of the comsat and geosat market is. 

2.  And I'm sure government prices are much lower.  [stifled snort]  And when SpaceX sez: "same pricing for all customers" on their website, that's a falsehood?

3.  It appears that Atlas V 401 and Falcon 9 can carry roughly the same payload to LEO, and it also appears that Falcon 9 costs about half as much to launch.  And if SpaceX has 1/10th the personell overhead, that tells me that oldspace looks more like a dinosaur, and newspace looks more like a mammal.  It also suggests that SpaceX is making a good profit.  Unless there's profit to be made in space, there will be no companies doing business in space.


1.  No, GTO is the market.  There is little use for LEO.

2.  No quite the opposite, hence "The cost of the F9 becomes not much different than an Atlas but with less capability"

3. Appearances are deceiving.  Spacex doesn't know its real costs.  It has yet to be in the recurring phase of operations.  This is where costs increase.  This is where more people are added.

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« Reply #38 on: 10/28/2009 06:11 PM »
No, I haven't made a single assumption.  Quit putting words into my mouth.  The only info I have to go from is a couple of official looking websites.

If SpaceX's claim of an order of magnitude smaller workforce is true, who am I to assume otherwise?  If someone has better info, then may they come forward.  I could make the "assumption" that SpaceX is paying their workforce 10times the going rate and thus they aren't making a good profit.  That's a safe assumption.  Not.

Furthermore, SpaceX claims to be making the large part of their rockets, not relying on sub-contractors, with their inevitable layers of overhead and profit.  I didn't look into ULA's use of sub-contractors, just at the reported bottom line $90M number, so I can't comment on that.

Now maybe my suggestions are wrong.  So say that.  Again, I didn't make a single assumption.
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« Reply #39 on: 10/28/2009 06:52 PM »
When Jim is pointing out that SpaceX's quoted prices are not "government prices" I think he is obliquely referring to the fact that doing business of that sort as a federal contractor requires a much higher level of of requirements traceability and verification, as well as compliance with reams of federal acquisition regulations, all of which add to cost substantially over what is typically necessary between commercial entities.

But I could be wrong. He'll correct me if so. ;)
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« Reply #40 on: 10/28/2009 07:28 PM »
No, I haven't made a single assumption.  Quit putting words into my mouth.  The only info I have to go from is a couple of official looking websites.

If SpaceX's claim of an order of magnitude smaller workforce is true, who am I to assume otherwise?  If someone has better info, then may they come forward.  I could make the "assumption" that SpaceX is paying their workforce 10times the going rate and thus they aren't making a good profit.  That's a safe assumption.  Not.

Furthermore, SpaceX claims to be making the large part of their rockets, not relying on sub-contractors, with their inevitable layers of overhead and profit.  I didn't look into ULA's use of sub-contractors, just at the reported bottom line $90M number, so I can't comment on that.

Now maybe my suggestions are wrong.  So say that.  Again, I didn't make a single assumption.

Well, risking to continue this off topic discussion:

1. Falcon 9, despite all announcements and efforts, is still a paper rocket with not a single launch.

2. It's very easy to state paper rocket launch prices on company websites. People might not remember, but the price for the Falcon 1 was originally stated to be 5 million USD in 2005, now it has risen to 10 million in just 4 years. Inflation wasn't that high...

3. Jim correctly pointed out that the prices SpaceX put on their website aren't prices that the government would have to pay. And even SpaceX says that those prices are only "guidance" and dependent on actual negotiations of particular contracts.

4. ULA has more employees than SpaceX. This is surely correct, but it is far from being one magnitude higher than SpaceX, despite ULA operating 3 rocket families with different rocket variations. I remember that Musk in an interview in 2004 said that he wanted to limit SpaceX to about 500 people because he wanted it to be small and efficient. SpaceX is at 800 now and counting - they will break the 1000 mark quite soon.

5. And just to put labor costs vs. claimed launch costs into perspective, let's assume the average engineer at SpaceX costs them 200k (that's salary, benefits, taxes etc. etc.) and assume they also got lower paid workers, very optimistically their per employee cost is in the 120k area (that's VERY optimistic) then at 800 employees SpaceX's labor costs alone are 100 million per year and once they got 1000 employees next year it's more. They need at least 3 launches per year at their stated prices to just pay their employees. And that's just labor costs, not counting costs for infrastructure, buildings, rocket parts, launch site fees, range fees etc.

To sum things up, we can safely assume SpaceX's actual launch prices will be in the range of other market players. They will compete with others and offer launches at prices that help them get contracts even for a yet unproven rocket. If the Falcon 9 proves to be a reliable vehicle, they will increase its price further.

Offline Will

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« Reply #41 on: 10/28/2009 08:00 PM »
Forget GTO, then if you wish.  I feel certain that SpaceX will get to GTO, since that's where a good bit of the comsat and geosat market is.  And I'm sure government prices are much lower.  [stifled snort]  And when SpaceX sez: "same pricing for all customers" on their website, that's a falsehood?

It appears that Atlas V 401 and Falcon 9 can carry roughly the same payload to LEO, and it also appears that Falcon 9 costs about half as much to launch.  And if SpaceX has 1/10th the personell overhead, that tells me that oldspace looks more like a dinosaur, and newspace looks more like a mammal.  It also suggests that SpaceX is making a good profit.  Unless there's profit to be made in space, there will be no companies doing business in space.

Which then suggests that commercial actors are beginning to succeed.


Price is not the same thing as cost. SpaceX prices could be loss leaders to build experience in the early years, or overconfident plans that do not match the real costs to operate going forward.

Also for most customers the relevant metric is payload to GTO, not LEO.
« Last Edit: 10/28/2009 08:10 PM by Will »

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« Reply #42 on: 10/28/2009 09:05 PM »
No, I haven't made a single assumption.  Quit putting words into my mouth.  The only info I have to go from is a couple of official looking websites.

If SpaceX's claim of an order of magnitude smaller workforce is true, who am I to assume otherwise?  If someone has better info, then may they come forward.  I could make the "assumption" that SpaceX is paying their workforce 10times the going rate and thus they aren't making a good profit.  That's a safe assumption.  Not.

Now maybe my suggestions are wrong.  So say that.  Again, I didn't make a single assumption.

Well, risking to continue this off topic discussion:

4. ULA has more employees than SpaceX. This is surely correct, but it is far from being one magnitude higher than SpaceX, despite ULA operating 3 rocket families with different rocket variations. I remember that Musk in an interview in 2004 said that he wanted to limit SpaceX to about 500 people because he wanted it to be small and efficient. SpaceX is at 800 now and counting - they will break the 1000 mark quite soon.
 

Your major assumption is believing what is posted.

ULA’s employment is a little over 3,000 folks and declining, no where near 10 times SpaceX’s 800 and growing.  These people support about 15 Delta II, Atlas V and Delta IVs each year covering the entire range of national security and science payloads to all orbits:  ~5,000 to 50,000 lb to LEO; 2,000 to 30,000 lb to GTO; 2,000 to 14, 000 lb to GSO.

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« Reply #43 on: 10/28/2009 09:11 PM »
1. Falcon 9, despite all announcements and efforts, is still a paper rocket with not a single launch.
It has not launched, yet, but it is, by definition, NOT a paper rocket. A subscale demonstrator of its first stage has already flown twice successfully (Falcon 1). That means it is at least as far as the Ares-I. It is already built, and has already been test-fired.
Quote
2. It's very easy to state paper rocket launch prices on company websites. People might not remember, but the price for the Falcon 1 was originally stated to be 5 million USD in 2005, now it has risen to 10 million in just 4 years. Inflation wasn't that high...
It was advertised at $5.9 million in 2005. The Falcon 1 is currently marketed as $8.9 million four years later. That is a pretty big difference, but not as big as you mentioned. Also, the Falcon 1e (which, admittedly, has yet to fly) has well over twice the payload of Falcon 1, yet is less than twice as expensive (marketed at $10.5 million). While the price has gone up for the small launches, the currently marketed price-per-kg for the falcon 1e is less than the initial price-per-kg for the Falcon 1. Your figures are intentionally incorrect, since you round 5.9 million down to 5 million and round 8.9 million all the way up to 10 million.

Quote
3. Jim correctly pointed out that the prices SpaceX put on their website aren't prices that the government would have to pay. And even SpaceX says that those prices are only "guidance" and dependent on actual negotiations of particular contracts.

4. ULA has more employees than SpaceX. This is surely correct, but it is far from being one magnitude higher than SpaceX, despite ULA operating 3 rocket families with different rocket variations. I remember that Musk in an interview in 2004 said that he wanted to limit SpaceX to about 500 people because he wanted it to be small and efficient. SpaceX is at 800 now and counting - they will break the 1000 mark quite soon.

5. And just to put labor costs vs. claimed launch costs into perspective, let's assume the average engineer at SpaceX costs them 200k (that's salary, benefits, taxes etc. etc.) and assume they also got lower paid workers, very optimistically their per employee cost is in the 120k area (that's VERY optimistic) then at 800 employees SpaceX's labor costs alone are 100 million per year and once they got 1000 employees next year it's more. They need at least 3 launches per year at their stated prices to just pay their employees. And that's just labor costs, not counting costs for infrastructure, buildings, rocket parts, launch site fees, range fees etc.
200k? 120k? That's pretty impressive... I know how much benefits, etc, cost, but that is rather high pay.
SpaceX makes their own rocket parts, they bought their launch site second-hand, they don't have requirements to keep two or more separate rocket families available etc...

There are many, many differences between SpaceX and ULA that could drive down the cost of launching for SpaceX. Besides, SpaceX is a private company owned by, as far as I'm aware of, space enthusiasts (Elon Musk, etc) that have a non-financial motive for lowering the costs.

Quote

To sum things up, we can safely assume SpaceX's actual launch prices will be in the range of other market players. They will compete with others and offer launches at prices that help them get contracts even for a yet unproven rocket. If the Falcon 9 proves to be a reliable vehicle, they will increase its price further.
You have no evidence for this. If Falcon 9 turns out to be a reliable and reusable launch vehicle, it would likely have lower launch costs rather than higher launch costs. Otherwise, their customers would demand a brand new Falcon 9 every time.
« Last Edit: 10/28/2009 09:20 PM by Robotbeat »
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« Reply #44 on: 10/28/2009 09:25 PM »
Building rockets to a companies internal requirements sets up a certain level of needed people.  Such a company may or may not wind up with a reliable launch system.  I think that although SpaceX has succeeded twice in launching Falcon 1’s the jury is still out as to will it be reliable.  And the Falcon 9 is still a complete unknown.  I am not in anyway trying to be unkind to SpaceX here, I wish them the best of luck!

The American government payloads are typically one of a kind, very expensive, frequently over $1,000 million.  The government self “insures” these payloads because loss of mission means so much more than simply the money involved.  To help ensure a successful launch the government literally hires a large mission assurance army of civil servant and contract help to poke into every aspect of the rocket.  Jim and Antares represent just 2 of the thousands of these folks trying to ensure successful launches. This mission assurance army’s sole job is to dig and dig and dig trying to find hidden failure opportunities.  At the contractor it takes another army of equally dedicated people to answer the questions brought forth by the mission assurance army.

For COTS NASA kept their mission assurance army away from SpaceX to allow SpaceX the freedom of a small company to develop Falcon.  SpaceX is just beginning to enjoy the oversight environment of trying to get American government launch approval for critical, expensive, national payloads. 

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« Reply #45 on: 10/28/2009 09:30 PM »
Building rockets to a companies internal requirements sets up a certain level of needed people.  Such a company may or may not wind up with a reliable launch system.  I think that although SpaceX has succeeded twice in launching Falcon 1’s the jury is still out as to will it be reliable.  And the Falcon 9 is still a complete unknown.  I am not in anyway trying to be unkind to SpaceX here, I wish them the best of luck!

The American government payloads are typically one of a kind, very expensive, frequently over $1,000 million.  The government self “insures” these payloads because loss of mission means so much more than simply the money involved.  To help ensure a successful launch the government literally hires a large mission assurance army of civil servant and contract help to poke into every aspect of the rocket.  Jim and Antares represent just 2 of the thousands of these folks trying to ensure successful launches. This mission assurance army’s sole job is to dig and dig and dig trying to find hidden failure opportunities.  At the contractor it takes another army of equally dedicated people to answer the questions brought forth by the mission assurance army.

For COTS NASA kept their mission assurance army away from SpaceX to allow SpaceX the freedom of a small company to develop Falcon.  SpaceX is just beginning to enjoy the oversight environment of trying to get American government launch approval for critical, expensive, national payloads. 
Very insightful. I would suggest, too, that perhaps buying leasing LC-40 was a bad idea, because of the range restrictions there. If there's some magical launch site with virtually no range restrictions (like their Kwaj site) but is really easy to get to (like LC-40), that'd be ideal. If you are being caught up by having a fishing boat nearby, then space travel will never be routine. I suppose this is why fly-back boasters are popular among RLV fans... And yes, this is off-topic.

(On second thought, as long as they are leasing and don't spend billions of dollars on immobile infrastructure there, it might not be a bad idea in the short term.)
« Last Edit: 10/28/2009 09:33 PM by Robotbeat »
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« Reply #46 on: 10/28/2009 09:41 PM »
1) And then there is the CRS $1.6B which he doesn't get any money from until he delivers but can be used to leverage private investment.

2) NASA sience had the free ride, getting to use these two world class rockets without investing in their development.

1) False.  Most commercial launch contracts, NASA and USAF and private satellites, have milestone payments.  Rare are the ones all at the end (NSS-8 being one I can think of).  The CRS RFP, just like other NASA launch contracts, asked for milestone payments to be proposed.  Given the structure of the SpaceX COTS milestones which get most of the money without launching, I wouldn't imagine that SpaceX would settle for all of the money at the end.  Those who provided earlier funds and expect a return would never go for that.

2) Sorta.  The launch prices, for all customers not just NASA Science, include what Boeing and LM want to recoup their development costs.

I really like this commercial debate, but we're in a wrong thread for it.  Can we move it somewhere else?
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« Reply #47 on: 10/28/2009 10:03 PM »
Xplor, I'm curious what you think the relative sizes of armies are:

Shuttle Contractors
Shuttle NASA
ULA
Orbital
SpaceX
USAF ELV
NASA ELV
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« Reply #48 on: 10/28/2009 11:24 PM »
1) And then there is the CRS $1.6B which he doesn't get any money from until he delivers but can be used to leverage private investment.

2) NASA sience had the free ride, getting to use these two world class rockets without investing in their development.

1) False.  Most commercial launch contracts, NASA and USAF and private satellites, have milestone payments.  Rare are the ones all at the end (NSS-8 being one I can think of).  The CRS RFP, just like other NASA launch contracts, asked for milestone payments to be proposed.  Given the structure of the SpaceX COTS milestones which get most of the money without launching, I wouldn't imagine that SpaceX would settle for all of the money at the end.  Those who provided earlier funds and expect a return would never go for that.

2) Sorta.  The launch prices, for all customers not just NASA Science, include what Boeing and LM want to recoup their development costs.

I really like this commercial debate, but we're in a wrong thread for it.  Can we move it somewhere else?

Thanks for the clarification.  I thought for CRS SpaceX and Orbital got paid on delivery.  Any idea what the progress payment milestones and amounts are?  What happens if they eventually can't support cargo delivery are they required to return the progress payments?

Yes, NASA is now through launch prices paying for the development, just like any commercial product, say a Mac. 

Yes, this is off topic, but fun.

Offline Xplor

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Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #49 on: 10/28/2009 11:31 PM »
Xplor, I'm curious what you think the relative sizes of armies are:

Shuttle Contractors
Shuttle NASA
ULA
Orbital
SpaceX
USAF ELV
NASA ELV

"Army" is maybe an inflammatory term that I used to make a point.  I didn’t mean to insult you or anyone else. 

I believe that KSC LSP has about 400 people supporting all expendable launches (Atlas, Delta II & IV, Pegasus, Taurus, Falcon, …).  Let me know if I remember correctly.

I don’t know the head counts for Analex, Aerospace, various parts of DoD and NRO.

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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #50 on: 10/29/2009 12:06 AM »
Split the thread as it was taken off course into the world of SpaceX. Continue.

Offline Jim

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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #51 on: 10/29/2009 12:24 AM »
If there's some magical launch site with virtually no range restrictions (like their Kwaj site)

Kwaj isn't so magical.  It shuts down weeks at time.

Offline kkattula

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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #52 on: 10/29/2009 02:42 AM »
SpaceX make their own rocket engines, with all the testing overhead that implies. Three different engines; Kestrel, Merlin & Draco, plus two versions of Merlin. Plus an enhanced Merlin & a BFE being designed if not yet developed.

ULA buy rocket engines from PWR and (in-directly?) from the Russians. So engine development & production people aren't counted in their 3000 workforce.

SpaceX are developing & building the Dragon spacecraft. Those people are included in their 800.

ULA don't build spacecraft.


So how many people at SpaceX work in LV related jobs comparable to ULA? 300? 500?  Order of magnitude might not be too far off.
« Last Edit: 10/29/2009 02:43 AM by kkattula »

Offline Ben the Space Brit

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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #53 on: 10/29/2009 10:02 AM »
If there's some magical launch site with virtually no range restrictions (like their Kwaj site)

Kwaj isn't so magical.  It shuts down weeks at time.

It is in the middle of the Pacific, IIRC.  Getting stuff there must be a pain (and costly).
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Offline William Barton

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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #54 on: 10/29/2009 11:18 AM »
Reagarding SpaceX and LC-40, I'm guessing there was a considerable advantage in getting an existing pad sited where there is a range already used for HSF and for existing rockets in the same general class as Falcon 9. It's also a site where, I assume, commercial service already exists for necessaries like LOX, RP-1 and hypergolics. I wonder how much of that is true for Wallops? Maybe like the difference between building a world-class hotel in a major city, vs. building one in a small town. I like Wallops because of it's dual launch azimuth to ISS orbit, which doubles launch windows, as well as letting you launch manned capsules over the tropics in the winter, instead of over the North Atlantic. But I don't know how important that is in the long run, since we have no idea when ISS will be coming down (some time between 2016 and 2030 is a big range). As far as I know, Taurus II is going to be the largest LV ever flown from Wallops. I don't know where you would site a launch complex that had zero range restrictions. Inland at the western edge of a large, almost uninhabited equatorial desert? Timbuktu Space Center, here we come...

Offline alexSA

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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #55 on: 10/29/2009 11:54 AM »

200k? 120k? That's pretty impressive... I know how much benefits, etc, cost, but that is rather high pay.
Try to get a good engineer in CA for under 120k per year (that doesn't even have all the extra costs that are not going to the employee in it). Impossible.

Quote
SpaceX makes their own rocket parts, they bought their launch site second-hand, they don't have requirements to keep two or more separate rocket families available etc...

1. Making rocket parts in-house doesn't actually have to be cheaper than buying them elsewhere.
2. They did not buy any launch site, they lease it. Costs for launch sites are in maintenance, and that's pretty much the same for anyone launching from a major US spaceport.
3. It's not inefficient to have two separate rocket families if it's a requirement by your de-facto sole customer. Launching two separate rocket families doesn't need to be a bad thing either, if it opens up possibilities for different payloads (e.g. Soyuz from Kourou).

Quote
1. There are many, many differences between SpaceX and ULA that could drive down the cost of launching for SpaceX.
2. Besides, SpaceX is a private company owned by, as far as I'm aware of, space enthusiasts (Elon Musk, etc) that have a non-financial motive for lowering the costs.
1. I am not aware of (any additional) prominent differences that have a substantial effect on costs. Please elaborate.
2. I fail to see how that should work out. Even enthusiasts will price their product to market prices.

Quote
1. If Falcon 9 turns out to be a reliable and reusable launch vehicle, it would likely have lower launch costs rather than higher launch costs.
2. Otherwise, their customers would demand a brand new Falcon 9 every time.

ad 1. What I said was, that in order to gain a certain market share you need to price your rocket low first until you have a certain number of launches on record and established a reliable service. Once you have a reliable service, more customers will be willing to use your services. You then increase your prices to match the possible yearly launch rate (if you really get as much customers). If I got 10 times product X and sell it for Y and there are 20 potential customers, I increase X until I match a price Z where the number of customers has gone down to 10. And no, even if you are a space enthusiast, you will still not arbitrarily set a very low launch rate that doesn't make you good profits, you maximize profits as much as possible. You work with the price that gets you enough contracts for the highest possible yearly profit or - depending on your strategy - as many payloads as you can launch.

ad 2. Every (paying) customer SpaceX will have will demand a reliable rocket. Whether the first stage has been reused and retooled or not is irrelevant. SpaceX has to show that they are providing the best possible reliability with their vehicle. Considering the costs of payloads these days, nobody will settle for a lower reliability in exchange for a 5-10 million lower launch price.
« Last Edit: 10/29/2009 11:59 AM by alexSA »

Offline JohnFornaro

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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #56 on: 10/29/2009 12:27 PM »
Herb:

When I read Jim's post about "government prices" I quickly assumed that he might be making an oblique reference to the complexities of certain government contracts, such as the necessary secrecy, redundancy, reliability and whatnot for a DoD spysat, for example.  But then, if I were to have made that quiet assumption, I'd be comparing this launch to, say, the launch of an "ordinary" comsat by Joe's Cellfone Company.  That would not have been an apples to apples comparison.

So, technically, I did make an assumption, mea culpa.  I assumed that when SpaceX advertises the "same price", that it means the same price for the same sort of mission.  I insist that that was a valid assumption, and ask again, what point could Jim possibly have been making about government pricing.

I stand corrected about the F9 inaugural flight.  I misread and mis-reported the website, which is really embarrasing, but there it is.  I appreciate AlexSA's comments.  SpaceX needs to use bigger type for older eyes.

[writes on blackboard 100 times: I will not confuse F1 and F9...  I will not confuse F1 and F9...  I will not confuse...]

Having figured out how to count to nine, I reiterate the comparison of only F9 to Atlas V 401, correct?

"they bought their launch site second-hand..."  Hey buddy, I got some land in Texas or Florida I'll sell ya pretty cheap.

Also, what about the western edge of Madagascar?  I got some land for sale there, too.
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Offline yg1968

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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #57 on: 10/29/2009 02:28 PM »
I've noticed that some people are fans of both NASA launchers and SpaceX while they dislike ULA. I found this perplexing, but it may have something to do with political outlook.

I am one of those that favours SpaceX's Falcon 9 and NASA's Ares rockets. I think that they can co-exist under a COTS-D type program. NASA would concentrate on beyond LEO and companies such as SpaceX (or other commercial companies) would concentate on bringing crew to the ISS and to other LEO destinations (space tourism, DragonLab, etc).  What I like about Space X is that they have been selling their manned space program as an LEO option (not as a a replacement for the Ares rockets). In other words, they haven't been lobbying to get Ares I and V cancelled.
« Last Edit: 10/29/2009 02:31 PM by yg1968 »

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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #58 on: 10/29/2009 02:30 PM »
What about ULA? And are you a NASA employee if you don't mind my asking?
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Offline yg1968

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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #59 on: 10/29/2009 02:32 PM »
No, I don't work in the space industry. I would be OK with an option involving ULA if it was a LEO commercial option such as an EELV with a SpaceDev vehicle. But I would prefer that NASA keep Ares V. I have a hard time making my mind up about whether canceling Ares I is really necessary for commercial crew to happen.   The HSF Committee seems to think so.
« Last Edit: 10/29/2009 02:39 PM by yg1968 »

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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #60 on: 10/29/2009 02:33 PM »
OK, interesting. What is it that makes you enthusiastic about Ares? Could you support another SDLV?
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Offline yg1968

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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #61 on: 10/29/2009 02:40 PM »
It seems to me that Ares V is the most capable rocket. I am no sure why you would want to cancel it. The 5 segement boosters and the J-2X are upgrades. I am not sure why you would be against upgrading technology. 
« Last Edit: 10/29/2009 04:44 PM by yg1968 »

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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #62 on: 10/29/2009 02:42 PM »
I suppose it's only fair if I put my own cards on the table as well.

I don't like SDLV because

- I dislike any HLV because we'll never get high flight rates and lower cost to orbit that way
- SDLV has very high fixed costs
- I believe free markets work better than governments

I like ULA because

- they have proven, reliable systems
- they're not NASA, so no conflict of interest
- they're a commercial player

I like SpaceX because

- they're an exciting, dynamic company trying to revolutionise spaceflight
- they're a commercial company
« Last Edit: 10/29/2009 02:43 PM by mmeijeri »
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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #63 on: 10/29/2009 02:45 PM »
It seems to me that Ares V is the most capable vehicule. I am no sure why you would want to cancel it. The 5 segement boosters and the J-2X are upgrades. I am not sure why you would be against upgrading technology. 

Well, I can think of an even more capable paper vehicle, just as or even more unaffordable than Ares V. Would you support it too, because capability, e.g. throw mass, is all you are interested in?

Analyst
« Last Edit: 10/29/2009 02:46 PM by Analyst »

Offline yg1968

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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #64 on: 10/29/2009 02:49 PM »
An HLV built by ULA would also be expensive.

Besides, as Bo mentionned, is there a huge difference between a rocket made by ATK and others with NASA supervision and one made by ULA without NASA supervision?
« Last Edit: 10/29/2009 04:46 PM by yg1968 »

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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #65 on: 10/29/2009 02:52 PM »
I'd be opposed to a ULA HLV too. EELV Phase 1 looks like the smallest HLV possible and it will be the likely result of an ACES depot architecture anyway. Single core versions can support current markets and could perhaps be a bit cheaper.
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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #66 on: 10/29/2009 02:58 PM »
Ares V is not built by ATK. But this is not my point.

The real question is, is there really a need for a HLV? Or can we have it a little smaller please.

Contrary to popular mythology the Shuttle (current HLV) is not as expensive as it is because of being reusable, but it is as cheap as it is because of being reuseable. In other words: An expendable HLV in the Shuttle class would be as expensive as the Shuttle, or even more expensive, without having a spacecraft (payload) at all.

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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #67 on: 10/29/2009 03:05 PM »
An expendable HLV in the Shuttle class would be as expensive as the Shuttle, or even more expensive, without having a spacecraft (payload) at all.

That part of the problem could be solved by using depots. However, since that allows use of smaller launchers as well, it gives NASA a reason to avoid depots. And without high flight rates we'll still have to wait a long time before the general march of technological progress makes cost to orbit low enough to allow substantial commercial activity in LEO.
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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #68 on: 10/29/2009 03:09 PM »
An HLV built by ULA would also be expensive.

Besides, as Bo mentionned, is there a huge difference between a rocket made by ATK with NASA supervision and one made by ULA without NASA supervision?

Yes, the ULA one would be just as effective, reliable and safe but less expensive than an NASA managed one.
« Last Edit: 10/29/2009 03:11 PM by Jim »

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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #69 on: 10/29/2009 03:16 PM »
AlexSA, thanks for responding!

There are a few things that SpaceX is doing that could decrease their costs:
1)All kerolox. While less efficient for the upper stage, it makes handling far easier. Their whole vehicle can get a better mass-fraction, and they use the same design for the upper stage as the lower stage (and for most LVs, the upper stages tend to be more expensive than the lower stages, even though they are smaller). This decreases costs by increasing commonality (same diameter tooling, same engine with some modifications like a nozzle extension, same fuel, same tubing, same avionics, etc).
2) Manufacturing techniques, like an all-friction-stir-welded tank and other state-of-the-art and automated manufacturing/quality-assurance machines. Also, the tanks don't have to be pressurized except for launch, making a lighter tank than an all-isogrid structure but much easier handling than a tank that relies on pressure-strength to stand under its own weight.
3) No need for a large vertical integration facility (horizontal integration will suffice).
4) Lower pressure engines with still enough performance margin ensures a robust design with larger factors of safety than is practical for a higher-pressure design.
5) In the first stage, a large numbers of engines (ridiculously large if you have a high launch rate), without having to rely on any one of them, (potentially) increases reliability yet greatly increases economy of scale at the same launch rate.

The fact that they produce most of their stuff in-house does, in fact, lower their costs. A lot of the parts for the EELVs come from facilities that are built to support much higher production rates than they currently are utilized at, whereas SpaceX can start small and only add more manufacturing machines when their current ones are running full-tilt 24/7.
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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #70 on: 10/29/2009 03:17 PM »
And without high flight rates we'll still have to wait a long time before the general march of technological progress makes cost to orbit low enough to allow substantial commercial activity in LEO.

Shuttle did try to reduce cost to orbit, and it actually made some progress. We should built up on this experience. (Unmanned) RLV is the way to go if you want to reduce cost to LEO. Not expendable heavy lift.

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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #71 on: 10/29/2009 03:47 PM »

1)All kerolox. While less efficient for the upper stage, it makes handling far easier. Their whole vehicle can get a better mass-fraction, and they use the same design for the upper stage as the lower stage (and for most LVs, the upper stages tend to be more expensive than the lower stages, even though they are smaller). This decreases costs by increasing commonality (same diameter tooling, same engine with some modifications like a nozzle extension, same fuel, same tubing, same avionics, etc).
2) Manufacturing techniques, like an all-friction-stir-welded tank and other state-of-the-art and automated manufacturing/quality-assurance machines. Also, the tanks don't have to be pressurized except for launch, making a lighter tank than an all-isogrid structure but much easier handling than a tank that relies on pressure-strength to stand under its own weight.
3) No need for a large vertical integration facility (horizontal integration will suffice).
4) Lower pressure engines with still enough performance margin ensures a robust design with larger factors of safety than is practical for a higher-pressure design.
5) In the first stage, a large numbers of engines (ridiculously large if you have a high launch rate), without having to rely on any one of them, (potentially) increases reliability yet greatly increases economy of scale at the same launch rate.


1.  It is a wash, Since the higher performing upperstage can lift more.

2.  The EELV's use state of the art.  They were the first with friction-stir-welded.  Also, not all EELV's are pressure stabilized.

3.  Payload driven.  Spacex is not going to get some launches because of this.

4.  That has nothing to do with cost.

5.  That is yet to be seen

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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #72 on: 10/29/2009 03:57 PM »

1)All kerolox. While less efficient for the upper stage, it makes handling far easier. Their whole vehicle can get a better mass-fraction, and they use the same design for the upper stage as the lower stage (and for most LVs, the upper stages tend to be more expensive than the lower stages, even though they are smaller). This decreases costs by increasing commonality (same diameter tooling, same engine with some modifications like a nozzle extension, same fuel, same tubing, same avionics, etc).
2) Manufacturing techniques, like an all-friction-stir-welded tank and other state-of-the-art and automated manufacturing/quality-assurance machines. Also, the tanks don't have to be pressurized except for launch, making a lighter tank than an all-isogrid structure but much easier handling than a tank that relies on pressure-strength to stand under its own weight.
3) No need for a large vertical integration facility (horizontal integration will suffice).
4) Lower pressure engines with still enough performance margin ensures a robust design with larger factors of safety than is practical for a higher-pressure design.
5) In the first stage, a large numbers of engines (ridiculously large if you have a high launch rate), without having to rely on any one of them, (potentially) increases reliability yet greatly increases economy of scale at the same launch rate.


1.  It is a wash, Since the higher performing upperstage can lift more.

2.  The EELV's use state of the art.  They were the first with friction-stir-welded.  Also, not all EELV's are pressure stabilized.

3.  Payload driven.  Spacex is not going to get some launches because of this.

4.  That has nothing to do with cost.

5.  That is yet to be seen

Basically, it's a wait and see, then? Well, fair enough.
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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #73 on: 10/29/2009 03:57 PM »
Is there less of a need to optimise the mass of the smaller tanks with advanced technology if you use a denser fuel?
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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #74 on: 10/29/2009 04:26 PM »
It seems to me that Ares V is the most capable vehicule. I am no sure why you would want to cancel it. The 5 segement boosters and the J-2X are upgrades. I am not sure why you would be against upgrading technology. 
Well, I can think of an even more capable paper vehicle, just as or even more unaffordable than Ares V. Would you support it too, because capability, e.g. throw mass, is all you are interested in?
Analyst

There are dozens of paper rockets that have equivalent or greater capacity compared to Ares V.

HLV, whether it's SDLV (Inline or Sidemount), Ares V, or even EELV Phase  1 all are only really NECESSARY and economical for exploration class HSF missions. 

Unless NASA gets a significantly larger budget (Good luck, NASA is already one of the largest non defense, non human service agency of the government), or starts allowing other space agencies into the critical path (Their payload, our launchers), there will be no robust HSF Exploration.

We are trying to solve the chicken vs egg problem by arguing about the hen house. 
« Last Edit: 10/29/2009 04:30 PM by SpacexULA »
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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #75 on: 10/29/2009 04:31 PM »

HLV, whether it's SDLV (Inline or Sidemount), Ares V, or even EELV Phase  1 all are only really NECESSARY and economical for exploration class HSF missions. 


That is not proven. 

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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #76 on: 10/29/2009 04:48 PM »
Can there really be a HLV market if you have one customer (NASA) and one supplier (to be determined)?
« Last Edit: 10/29/2009 04:49 PM by yg1968 »

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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #77 on: 10/29/2009 04:49 PM »
Commercial rockets already have other customers.
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Offline yg1968

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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #78 on: 10/29/2009 04:50 PM »
I meant HLVs (edited my post to make it clearer).

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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #79 on: 10/29/2009 04:52 PM »
Missed that, but in the case of EELV Phase 1 there is actually an overlap. The single core versions would have similar payloads to the current heavy versions. The multiple core versions might not ever have to fly if cryogenic propellant transfer happens in time or exploration is delayed by enough.
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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #80 on: 10/29/2009 04:56 PM »
Missed that, but in the case of EELV Phase 1 there is actually an overlap. The single core versions would have similar payloads to the current heavy versions. The multiple core versions might not ever have to fly if cryogenic propellant transfer happens in time or exploration is delayed by enough.

Might as well go to Atlas V Phase 2 then (or as I like to think of it the Atlas VII). A single family of launchers with 9-70 mT to LEO. All your launch needs covered.

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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #81 on: 10/29/2009 05:01 PM »
Costs more money and more importantly still doesn't lead to high flight rates. It also means locking in a single vehicle instead of having open competition. It would merely be a more efficient Constellation.

RLVs or mass produced expendables have the potential to drive down costs by an order of magnitude, but they need high flight rates. Since exploration needs so much propellant and since propellant is nearly perfectly divisible it is perfect for generating high flight rates. With EELV Phase 2 you would need 3-4 launches per moon mission, which has some effect on lowering costs, but not nearly by an order of magnitude.
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Offline William Barton

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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #82 on: 10/29/2009 05:22 PM »
Did the US ever have a large kerolox upper stage before Falcon 9 (usual caveat: assuming it flies)? All I can think of is the short-lived Titan I, with an 80,000klbf LR91-3 engine.

Offline Jim

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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #83 on: 10/29/2009 05:28 PM »
The canceled  Vega.

Offline TrueGrit

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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #84 on: 10/30/2009 09:00 PM »
Little late to the game here...  And I'll admit a bit rambling.  But the way this thread started you'd think ULA didn't have any internal research and design going on, and was built up almost exclusively with government money.

First off the estimated cost to develop both EELVs (Atlas V and Delta IV) was in the $5-billion range.  That's a b, not m.  And the total cost paid by the government was $1-bil.  So 4/5-ths of the money spent specifically to develop the two EELV rockets was non-government money.  And this doesn’t even include the Atlas III and Delta III developments, which were critical previous development and all paid by non-government money.  In return the costumer community got two separate rocket lines serving three payload ranges (Med, M+, and Heavy), and 3 pads (not including Atlas SCL-3E as it was a fallout of the Boeing espionage case).  People have rightfully mentioned Falcon 9 and NASA COTS, but people are forgetting that Falcon 1 got DAPRA small launcher development money.  If I remember correctly the total DARPA money SpaceX got for Falcon1 was in the $250 mil range.  So in the end SpaceX is going to approximately get as much as Boeing & Lockheed got for the Delta IV & Atlas V (not including the CRS contract as that is a set of missions not for development).  And will produce less capability with it.

As for ULA sitting on its hands waiting for money before doing anything…  That’s a complete misunderstanding of the industry.  Yes ULA is limited in what it will actually bring to the manufacturing floor until a customer lines up to pay for it.  But that is not different for the entire aerospace & defense industry.  This isn’t building toasters, where you continually spit out a new pretty looking one every 6-months with little risk.  Those that build it thinking the costumers will come are too often sadly mistaken (i.e. F-20).  Tooling up for a production run takes billions (there’s that letter again).  This is life or death of a company, and there is plenty of history showing a failed bid results in a company going under (or getting bought out).  Despite their PR, my understanding is that SpaceX didn’t build anything until there was some customer on the receiving end (DARPA for Falcon 1 and NASA for Falcon 9).  ULA has a group of people exclusively working on a completely new upper stage development (ACES).  And while it might not produce hardware without a costumer it is certainly far beyond sketches on cocktail napkins.  There’s a significant amount of company resources dedicated to determine everything from design configuration to manufacturing and launch processing plans.  And those that claim ULA has no interest in Human Rating…  What about OSP, or the SpaceDev, or Biglow efforts?  Problem here is one of perspective due to a hostile NASA administrator that spit on ULA every time he got and because he had his fingers on money demanded ULA sit silent.  It was an abuse of power, but one which he will never be called on…  All because his program couldn’t stand on its own.  One only needs to take an objective look at the ULA industry papers to see that ULA is not sitting on his hands, and is as much out front as anybody.  The fact is ULA gets no credit for being out in front, and SpaceX and Orbital seem sexier because they seem to be doing so much more.  And I understand why a upgrade might no seem as sexy as a whole new development, but in return give ULA some credit for not sitting on its hands.
« Last Edit: 10/30/2009 09:04 PM by TrueGrit »

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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #85 on: 10/30/2009 09:12 PM »
Quote
So in the end SpaceX is going to approximately get as much as Boeing & Lockheed got for the Delta IV & Atlas V (not including the CRS contract as that is a set of missions not for development).  And will produce less capability with it.
(emphasis mine)
This remains to be seen. SpaceX is working on Falcon 9 heavy (remember, Atlas V heavy hasn't flown yet, either) and perhaps a hydrolox upperstage. It remains to be seen if they will end up with less capability.
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Offline TrueGrit

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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #86 on: 10/30/2009 09:46 PM »
Apples-to-Apples...  It's about what they are goign to do with the approximately the same money.  Not what they could do in the future.  Unless someone can correct my $250-mil of DARPA money memory...  With the same amount of money that Boeing got to develop the Delta IV line (Med-to-Heavy) and 2 pads, SpaceX will give us a Falcon 1 & 9 as is and 1 pad.  Ok 1-1/2 pads if you include Kwaj.  By your reasoning we can throw in ACES, 5-Core Super Heavy, etc for Delta IV.  Because they are about as far along as Falcon 9 Heavy or high-energy US is for Space X
« Last Edit: 10/30/2009 09:46 PM by TrueGrit »

Offline jongoff

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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #87 on: 10/30/2009 10:05 PM »
Try to get a good engineer in CA for under 120k per year (that doesn't even have all the extra costs that are not going to the employee in it). Impossible.

Hey, what are you insinuating about those of us who make only a fraction of $120k/yr...

Thems is fightin words. ;-)

~Jon

Offline Downix

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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #88 on: 10/30/2009 10:10 PM »
Try to get a good engineer in CA for under 120k per year (that doesn't even have all the extra costs that are not going to the employee in it). Impossible.

Hey, what are you insinuating about those of us who make only a fraction of $120k/yr...

Thems is fightin words. ;-)

~Jon
That is what I was thinking.... it would take me 4 years to make that much.
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Offline kkattula

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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #89 on: 10/31/2009 12:11 AM »
Apples-to-Apples...  It's about what they are goign to do with the approximately the same money.  Not what they could do in the future.  Unless someone can correct my $250-mil of DARPA money memory...  With the same amount of money that Boeing got to develop the Delta IV line (Med-to-Heavy) and 2 pads, SpaceX will give us a Falcon 1 & 9 as is and 1 pad.  Ok 1-1/2 pads if you include Kwaj.  By your reasoning we can throw in ACES, 5-Core Super Heavy, etc for Delta IV.  Because they are about as far along as Falcon 9 Heavy or high-energy US is for Space X

As far as I know, development of Falcon 1 was privately funded. All SpaceX got from DARPA was:

1 x $500K contract to demonstrate fast pad operations,
2 x $6M Falcon 1 test launch purchases

$12.5M in total.

And they had to match the NASA COTS dollars with their own funding.


Edit:  DARPA have been running their own program also confusingly called Falcon, some of which was spent with SpaceX, see above.
« Last Edit: 10/31/2009 12:13 AM by kkattula »

Offline yg1968

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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #90 on: 10/31/2009 01:40 PM »
So the parent companies care about their LLC units (unless they have become worthless because, for example, the company will never be profitable -but this is not the case for ULA).

not really.  They aren't going to provide ULA any money for expansion or new markets.  ULA is off on its own to swim or sink.
jongoff is correct in his statement.

It seems that Boeing does care if ULA sinks or swims. See this article:

http://www.spacenews.com/launch/091030-boeing-losses-sea-launch-bankruptcy.html

Quote
In an unrelated development, Boeing said it may be obliged to record $386 million in pre-tax losses if the U.S. Air Force maintains its refusal to pay higher prices for four United Launch Alliance (ULA) launches. Boeing has agreed to indemnify ULA against potential losses on these four missions if the Air Force refuses to raise the agreed-to contract price.
« Last Edit: 10/31/2009 01:42 PM by yg1968 »

Offline Jim

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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #91 on: 10/31/2009 02:13 PM »

It seems that Boeing does care if ULA sinks or swims. See this article:


No, it follows my point.  Boeing isn't going to provide any more money.  Boeing would record a loss either way, if ULA went away or ULA continues and doesn't get the money from the USAF.  Anyways, this is from the contract that Boeing got before the formation of ULA.

Offline mikegi

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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #92 on: 10/31/2009 04:16 PM »
This rocket-launching business is the most screwed up thing I've seen in quite a while. You have to be a masochist to want to get into it. According to the Sea Launch/Boeing article linked above, Boeing needs almost $100M more per launch (assuming the extra can be distributed evenly across all four). Plus, the space division's profit of $672M may sound like plenty until you compare it to revenue of $6B. That's only 11% profit to begin with ... and all of that would be eaten up by the potential liabilities.

Then there's NASA refusing to or not being allowed to use the perfectly good Delta/Atlas for crew transport to LEO. I just don't get it...

Offline Xplor

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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #93 on: 10/31/2009 07:15 PM »
This rocket-launching business is the most screwed up thing I've seen in quite a while. You have to be a masochist to want to get into it. According to the Sea Launch/Boeing article linked above, Boeing needs almost $100M more per launch (assuming the extra can be distributed evenly across all four). Plus, the space division's profit of $672M may sound like plenty until you compare it to revenue of $6B. That's only 11% profit to begin with ... and all of that would be eaten up by the potential liabilities.

Then there's NASA refusing to or not being allowed to use the perfectly good Delta/Atlas for crew transport to LEO. I just don't get it...

Very well said, at least with regards to the "commercial" launch business.  As far as I'm aware every company attempting to compete in this business has lost money over the past 20 years.

Compare this to the NASA shuttle human spaceflight world where NASA has paid for everything, with companies supporting on cost plus contracts.  And people ask why ULA doesn't develop a human rated EELV or ACES on its own.  Why would Boeing or Lockheed Martin ever allow such a development when they are looking at risk free contracts directly from NASA for Ares I, Orion, Ares V and Altair without needing to risk their own investment?

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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #94 on: 10/31/2009 07:17 PM »
Why would Boeing or Lockheed Martin ever allow such a development when they are looking at risk free contracts directly from NASA for Ares I, Orion, Ares V and Altair without needing to risk their own investment?

Also: why would they do this if they know one of their main potential customers will try to thwart their efforts?
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Offline yg1968

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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #95 on: 10/31/2009 07:56 PM »

It seems that Boeing does care if ULA sinks or swims. See this article:


No, it follows my point.  Boeing isn't going to provide any more money.  Boeing would record a loss either way, if ULA went away or ULA continues and doesn't get the money from the USAF.  Anyways, this is from the contract that Boeing got before the formation of ULA.

I thought ULA was being paid cost-plus. Were these contracts signed before this policy took effect?
« Last Edit: 10/31/2009 11:32 PM by yg1968 »

Offline Antares

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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #96 on: 10/31/2009 10:08 PM »
SpaceX is working on Falcon 9 heavy and perhaps a hydrolox upperstage.

Don't believe the hype - or provide us proof besides some words at a conference.
« Last Edit: 10/31/2009 10:08 PM by Antares »
If I like something on NSF, it's probably because I know it to be accurate.  Every once in a while, it's just something I agree with.  Facts generally receive the former.

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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #97 on: 10/31/2009 10:09 PM »
Ares V is not built by ATK.

To paraphrase Yoda, and in the same ominous tone, "It will be... It will be."
If I like something on NSF, it's probably because I know it to be accurate.  Every once in a while, it's just something I agree with.  Facts generally receive the former.

Offline Jim

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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #98 on: 10/31/2009 10:26 PM »

I though ULA was being paid cost-plus.

Never.  They get paid to maintain a certain launch rate and the hardware is fixed price.
« Last Edit: 10/31/2009 10:29 PM by Jim »

Online MKremer

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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #99 on: 11/01/2009 12:44 AM »

It seems that Boeing does care if ULA sinks or swims. See this article:

http://www.spacenews.com/launch/091030-boeing-losses-sea-launch-bankruptcy.html

Quote
In an unrelated development, Boeing said it may be obliged to record $386 million in pre-tax losses if the U.S. Air Force maintains its refusal to pay higher prices for four United Launch Alliance (ULA) launches. Boeing has agreed to indemnify ULA against potential losses on these four missions if the Air Force refuses to raise the agreed-to contract price.


There's not enough history of the Boeing/LM/ULA inter-related agreements there. There's no details available that implies the indemnity would also apply to LM if the situation were reversed and they were in Boeing's present position. In which case LM would be recording the losses instead.
« Last Edit: 11/01/2009 12:44 AM by MKremer »

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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #100 on: 11/01/2009 12:51 AM »

I though ULA was being paid cost-plus.

Never.  They get paid to maintain a certain launch rate and the hardware is fixed price.

Jim,

ULA's customer (in this case the Air Force) specifies which LV they require, correct? IOW, ULA doesn't encourage or demand whether a customer must choose one or the other LV for their payload.

Offline Proponent

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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #101 on: 11/01/2009 04:42 AM »
...  3) No need for a large vertical integration facility (horizontal integration will suffice)....

3.  Payload driven.  Spacex is not going to get some launches because of this.

What sorts of payloads can't be integrated horizontally?

Offline NotGncDude

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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #102 on: 11/01/2009 05:40 AM »
Try to get a good engineer in CA for under 120k per year (that doesn't even have all the extra costs that are not going to the employee in it). Impossible.

Hey, what are you insinuating about those of us who make only a fraction of $120k/yr...

Thems is fightin words. ;-)

~Jon

Wait a minute... either Mojave is outside of California (entirely possible) or I got taken by somebody here...

Offline Analyst

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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #103 on: 11/01/2009 06:28 AM »
What sorts of payloads can't be integrated horizontally?

Look at pictures showing how comm sats are prepared for launch.

Analyst

Offline William Barton

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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #104 on: 11/01/2009 08:31 AM »
The canceled  Vega.

I thought the Vega stage cancelled in 1959 was going to have storable propellants, rather than kerolox.

Offline Jim

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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #105 on: 11/01/2009 01:03 PM »

What sorts of payloads can't be integrated horizontally?

Ones that don't want to.  Ones that need late access

Offline edkyle99

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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #106 on: 11/01/2009 02:55 PM »
The canceled  Vega.

I thought the Vega stage cancelled in 1959 was going to have storable propellants, rather than kerolox.

Say's here it was kerosene/LOX.

http://history.nasa.gov/SP-4404/ch12-5.htm

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 11/01/2009 03:29 PM by edkyle99 »

Offline Art LeBrun

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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #107 on: 11/02/2009 03:44 PM »
The canceled  Vega.

I thought the Vega stage cancelled in 1959 was going to have storable propellants, rather than kerolox.

Not with an upgraded Vanguard first stage engine..........
1958 launch vehicle highlights: Vanguard TV-4 and Atlas 12B

Offline Will

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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #108 on: 11/02/2009 03:52 PM »
The canceled  Vega.

I thought the Vega stage cancelled in 1959 was going to have storable propellants, rather than kerolox.

Say's here it was kerosene/LOX.

http://history.nasa.gov/SP-4404/ch12-5.htm

 - Ed Kyle

This says you're both right: that there was supposed to be a storable stage atop the Vanguard based second stage:

http://www.solarviews.com/history/SP-4212/ch2-2.html
« Last Edit: 11/02/2009 04:10 PM by Will »

Offline Art LeBrun

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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #109 on: 11/02/2009 04:01 PM »
The canceled  Vega.

I thought the Vega stage cancelled in 1959 was going to have storable propellants, rather than kerolox.

Say's here it was kerosene/LOX.

http://history.nasa.gov/SP-4404/ch12-5.htm

 - Ed Kyle

This says you're both right: that there was supposed to be a storable stage atop the vanguard based second stage:

http://www.solarviews.com/history/SP-4212/ch2-2.html

Vega WAS the second stage with a full 10 foot diameter structure. The upper stage would have probably been a solid stage. Interesting that Vega was cancelled because of Agena B; Vega was to be powered by a 30,000 pound thrust engine. And then the looming shadow of Centaur was falling across the Convair Vega hard mockup.....
« Last Edit: 11/02/2009 04:50 PM by Art LeBrun »
1958 launch vehicle highlights: Vanguard TV-4 and Atlas 12B

Offline JohnFornaro

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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #110 on: 11/04/2009 01:58 PM »
For what it's worth, I always liked the original Ford ISRU plant.  Coal, steel, wood, leather, etc. went in, and cars came out.  I like the idea of vertical integration that SpaceX seems to be developing.  [Response to reply #71]

Ten minutes later, reply #101:  Ohhhh.  That verticality.  But still SpaceX is less contractor dependant, eh?

TrueGrit:  There's got to be a return somewhere on that 4/5ths number.  Where?

And about the capability of F9; did you account for inflation wrt the $250M?  Delta and Atlas were developed a long time ago.  And I got nuttin' agin' ULA.

About the Boeing article.  Where's all that money going?
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

Online Nate_Trost

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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #111 on: 11/04/2009 05:32 PM »
My understanding is the customer requests bids on a specified payload to a specified orbit, then evaluates the resultant bids. ULA generates a bid for each of its vehicles and then decides whether to pitch both or just offer the one that serves the customer best.

Going forward it would seem like the only reason Delta IV Medium would ever fly is there are only so many Atlas V slots available...

Offline yg1968

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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #112 on: 11/10/2009 01:53 PM »
Here is a related thread on CCDev (with some recent news on the front runners):

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=16836.75

Offline William Barton

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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #113 on: 11/10/2009 02:19 PM »
The canceled  Vega.

I thought the Vega stage cancelled in 1959 was going to have storable propellants, rather than kerolox.

Say's here it was kerosene/LOX.

http://history.nasa.gov/SP-4404/ch12-5.htm

 - Ed Kyle

This says you're both right: that there was supposed to be a storable stage atop the vanguard based second stage:

http://www.solarviews.com/history/SP-4212/ch2-2.html

Vega WAS the second stage with a full 10 foot diameter structure. The upper stage would have probably been a solid stage. Interesting that Vega was cancelled because of Agena B; Vega was to be powered by a 30,000 pound thrust engine. And then the looming shadow of Centaur was falling across the Convair Vega hard mockup.....

Interesting stuff. It does seem the US has never had an operational large kerolox upper stage since Titan I, so it'll be doubly interesting how Falcon 9 turns out. I'm especially interested in the early Saturn I idea that used an entire Titan I as 2nd and 3rd stages. I already published a story based on Project Horizon ("Harvest Moon,") but I used Titan III variants for the LVs as a second-order counterfactual (once you've selected your first-order counterfactual, the rule of parsimony requires you put everything else as close to what really happened as possible). Now I'm looking at a no-Apollo, no-LH2, no-Titan II scenario. Juno V-A and Gemini/MOL/Big Gemini.
« Last Edit: 11/10/2009 02:20 PM by William Barton »

Offline Alyce Branigan

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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #114 on: 11/11/2009 08:07 PM »
As a business person trying to deal with SpaceX. I'll vote for the old boys. SpaceX has no small business liason, no concern for HubZone or disadvantaged companies, from what I can tell, but I hear they have $50,000 a month free lunch room. I am all for the cutting costs on space flight, but the old-timers and ULA win my vote. I am on the bottom of the food chain, but there has not been one shuttle launch in the last few years without our fasteners holding things together. I hope SpaceX attends to the nuances of the business that others have spent years learning.

Online Chris Bergin

Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #115 on: 11/11/2009 08:23 PM »
As a business person trying to deal with SpaceX. I'll vote for the old boys. SpaceX has no small business liason, no concern for HubZone or disadvantaged companies, from what I can tell, but I hear they have $50,000 a month free lunch room. I am all for the cutting costs on space flight, but the old-timers and ULA win my vote. I am on the bottom of the food chain, but there has not been one shuttle launch in the last few years without our fasteners holding things together. I hope SpaceX attends to the nuances of the business that others have spent years learning.

Welcome to the site's forum Alyce - and well said.

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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #116 on: 11/11/2009 08:51 PM »
As a business person trying to deal with SpaceX. I'll vote for the old boys. SpaceX has no small business liason, no concern for HubZone or disadvantaged companies, from what I can tell, but I hear they have $50,000 a month free lunch room. I am all for the cutting costs on space flight, but the old-timers and ULA win my vote. I am on the bottom of the food chain, but there has not been one shuttle launch in the last few years without our fasteners holding things together. I hope SpaceX attends to the nuances of the business that others have spent years learning.

Welcome to the site's forum Alyce - and well said.
Indeed.  I've noticed a companies success is often times based on how well they treat the smallest firms they deal with.  Those which focus only on the large fish often times find themselves on the short end of the stick, but those which will work with smaller entities are the ones which last.
chuck - Toilet paper has no real value? Try living with 5 other adults for 6 months in a can with no toilet paper. Man oh man. Toilet paper would be worth it's weight in gold!

Offline Alyce Branigan

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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #117 on: 11/11/2009 09:03 PM »
As a business person trying to deal with SpaceX. I'll vote for the old boys. SpaceX has no small business liason, no concern for HubZone or disadvantaged companies, from what I can tell, but I hear they have $50,000 a month free lunch room. I am all for the cutting costs on space flight, but the old-timers and ULA win my vote. I am on the bottom of the food chain, but there has not been one shuttle launch in the last few years without our fasteners holding things together. I hope SpaceX attends to the nuances of the business that others have spent years learning.

Welcome to the site's forum Alyce - and well said.
Indeed.  I've noticed a companies success is often times based on how well they treat the smallest firms they deal with.  Those which focus only on the large fish often times find themselves on the short end of the stick, but those which will work with smaller entities are the ones which last.
Small business is the framework on which our country is built, and I just hope the "new, big" companies follow your discussions. My experience with the old big companies so far, has been one of mutual respect. I salute ULA, NASA, Northrup, Raytheon, Aerojet, Lockheed,and all the other giants on whose shoulders the new companies should try to stand. Thank you all, you are great American companies.

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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #118 on: 11/11/2009 09:09 PM »
Welcome, Alyce!

Look. SpaceX shouldn't be worshiped and they have flaws like every single company out there. But, SpaceX is a new company. They don't have a liason for every single kind of company out there (they make most of their parts in-house). They don't have to convince the tax payer that they are "looking out for the little guy" since they are already seen by many as "the little guy" and they have Popular Science as a very effective PR firm ;). It sucks and may seem unfair (I work for a small business myself that tries--often unsuccessfully--to break into the purchasing cycle of large companies who like to buy from other large companies), but SpaceX may not have the time or resources to give some random business the time of day unless they already know they need their product.

And, perhaps they may be trying to cut costs by using conventional components such as conventional fasteners versus Space Shuttle fasteners.

But, keep at it, Alyce! If they need your product and you have an attractive price, they'll eventually go for it. Sometimes it takes a long time for leads to flower.
« Last Edit: 11/11/2009 09:10 PM by Robotbeat »
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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #119 on: 11/11/2009 09:26 PM »
As a business person trying to deal with SpaceX. I'll vote for the old boys. SpaceX has no small business liason, no concern for HubZone or disadvantaged companies, from what I can tell, but I hear they have $50,000 a month free lunch room. I am all for the cutting costs on space flight, but the old-timers and ULA win my vote. I am on the bottom of the food chain, but there has not been one shuttle launch in the last few years without our fasteners holding things together. I hope SpaceX attends to the nuances of the business that others have spent years learning.

Welcome to the site's forum Alyce - and well said.
Indeed.  I've noticed a companies success is often times based on how well they treat the smallest firms they deal with.  Those which focus only on the large fish often times find themselves on the short end of the stick, but those which will work with smaller entities are the ones which last.
Small business is the framework on which our country is built, and I just hope the "new, big" companies follow your discussions. My experience with the old big companies so far, has been one of mutual respect. I salute ULA, NASA, Northrup, Raytheon, Aerojet, Lockheed,and all the other giants on whose shoulders the new companies should try to stand. Thank you all, you are great American companies.
You know the irony here is that I was just complaining about the quality of fasteners I've found for use in my homemade pulsejet....
chuck - Toilet paper has no real value? Try living with 5 other adults for 6 months in a can with no toilet paper. Man oh man. Toilet paper would be worth it's weight in gold!

Offline Alyce Branigan

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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #120 on: 11/11/2009 10:35 PM »
Welcome, Alyce!

Look. SpaceX shouldn't be worshiped and they have flaws like every single company out there. But, SpaceX is a new company. They don't have a liason for every single kind of company out there (they make most of their parts in-house). They don't have to convince the tax payer that they are "looking out for the little guy" since they are already seen by many as "the little guy" and they have Popular Science as a very effective PR firm ;). It sucks and may seem unfair (I work for a small business myself that tries--often unsuccessfully--to break into the purchasing cycle of large companies who like to buy from other large companies), but SpaceX may not have the time or resources to give some random business the time of day unless they already know they need their product.

And, perhaps they may be trying to cut costs by using conventional components such as conventional fasteners versus Space Shuttle fasteners.

But, keep at it, Alyce! If they need your product and you have an attractive price, they'll eventually go for it. Sometimes it takes a long time for leads to flower.

Oh, I will, I don't need bunches of liasons, just one. I have had contact with SpaceX and received nice feedback after very little trouble, actually.  My comments were intended to compliment the established companies who started the business, but we are talking big fat rockets with people eventually sitting on top of them. We need to be concerned with how people conduct business and if the little details aren't attended to, I'd be very concerned about the big ones. This isn't a software game, it is about real travel to outerspace. This is America and if these companies prove themselves over time, we all want to be in their vendor base, but don't discount us because we have serviced the big companies. Above all, it is about treating people with respect and dignity.

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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #121 on: 11/12/2009 11:36 PM »
It "shows" that together we can do more than each individually, it "shows" why certain things are best done by governments, that we shouldn't leave everything to the "whims" of the market.

ULA on the other hand is seen as part of big business, and part of the military industrial complex. It is also the major rival to both SpaceX and NASA launchers.

Businesses are by definition together. Not sure what you are implying by this statement.

Also, I don't see how this shows anything of the sort. If anything, the current problem proves once again that the government shouldn't own any of it. They had an intelligent man put together an intelligent plan within budget and timelines. Then they took the money away from him. Hmmm....yep government is awesome.

Shall I also remind you that government management caused the only two shuttle failures. Businesses and entreprenuers only pursue things that they value or customers value. The government is doing something that its citizens don't value. Therefore they should stop doing it. They serve the people, not space enthusiasts.

ULA is big corporate welfare, Space X is a guy doing what he wants with his money. That is why Americans deplore the first and like the second.
Commercial Space is the only way to achieve the goals and dreams of the visionaries.

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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #122 on: 11/13/2009 05:36 AM »
I agree with most of what you say, I put the word "shows" in quotation marks because it describes what I conjecture proponents of government launchers may think. As far as I'm concerned it shows no such thing.
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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #123 on: 11/13/2009 09:15 AM »
What utter devotion?
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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #124 on: 11/13/2009 09:47 AM »
Welcome, Alyce!

Look. SpaceX shouldn't be worshiped and they have flaws like every single company out there. But, SpaceX is a new company. They don't have a liason for every single kind of company out there (they make most of their parts in-house). They don't have to convince the tax payer that they are "looking out for the little guy" since they are already seen by many as "the little guy" and they have Popular Science as a very effective PR firm ;). It sucks and may seem unfair (I work for a small business myself that tries--often unsuccessfully--to break into the purchasing cycle of large companies who like to buy from other large companies), but SpaceX may not have the time or resources to give some random business the time of day unless they already know they need their product.

And, perhaps they may be trying to cut costs by using conventional components such as conventional fasteners versus Space Shuttle fasteners.

But, keep at it, Alyce! If they need your product and you have an attractive price, they'll eventually go for it. Sometimes it takes a long time for leads to flower.

Oh, I will, I don't need bunches of liasons, just one. I have had contact with SpaceX and received nice feedback after very little trouble, actually.  My comments were intended to compliment the established companies who started the business, but we are talking big fat rockets with people eventually sitting on top of them. We need to be concerned with how people conduct business and if the little details aren't attended to, I'd be very concerned about the big ones. This isn't a software game, it is about real travel to outerspace. This is America and if these companies prove themselves over time, we all want to be in their vendor base, but don't discount us because we have serviced the big companies. Above all, it is about treating people with respect and dignity.

There aren't necessarily enough people in the company to dedicate one person to some of the common specialist jobs you find at larger companies (like small business liason). 

Also, incidentally, there is no free lunch room.  There is a break room with chips, fruit, soda, and lots of coffee.  And anyway, $50,000 per month is only $2 per day per employee, which I don't think is exactly extravagant. 
« Last Edit: 12/02/2009 08:37 AM by blazotron »

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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #125 on: 11/13/2009 09:51 AM »
Spamming with 'SpaceX will do this and that' like this company is the second coming of the Christ*

Where did you see that?
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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #126 on: 11/13/2009 10:00 AM »
Ah, I thought you meant in this thread.
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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #127 on: 11/13/2009 10:38 AM »
Ah, I thought you meant in this thread.

No, I just meant, in general.  SpaceX seems to be thrust up as the saviour of HSF and US rocketry.

Then again, your typical space cadets across the blogosphere are ignorant. I like to think people here on this site have a more realistic view, though there are a few exceptions.

Why, then, ask that question here instead of asking those same blind followers that swallow all the PR spin served to them?

Offline Jim

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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #128 on: 11/13/2009 12:03 PM »

ULA is big corporate welfare, Space X is a guy doing what he wants with his money. That is why Americans deplore the first and like the second.

Wrong

Spacex has received a larger portion of working funds from the US gov't than from other sources.  More than ULA (LM & Boeing) got for developing the EELV's. 

So Spacex sucks on the gov't teet too.

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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #129 on: 11/13/2009 12:09 PM »
How can you say so, Jim? Destroying illusions. Making people unhappy. A bad man you are.

Analyst

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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #130 on: 11/13/2009 01:20 PM »
I agree with most of what you say, I put the word "shows" in quotation marks because it describes what I conjecture proponents of government launchers may think. As far as I'm concerned it shows no such thing.

My apologies. I didn't catch the sarcasm.
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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #131 on: 11/13/2009 02:04 PM »

ULA is big corporate welfare, Space X is a guy doing what he wants with his money. That is why Americans deplore the first and like the second.

Wrong

Spacex has received a larger portion of working funds from the US gov't than from other sources.  More than ULA (LM & Boeing) got for developing the EELV's. 

So Spacex sucks on the gov't teet too.

Right! I was discussing the perception of the American people and why they would be fans of Space X and not ULA. I didn't say the perception was based on facts.

This industry - of which I am a part - needs to finally conclude that they need to stop relying on government money and start making this work without them. There is a strong cultural resistance in the space community - even in the big contractors - to full commercialization and privatization fo space access. I understand NASA reluctance. Afterall, Boeing didn't design and build airplanes and then hand everything over to Airbus. They have the pride of ownership of the only manned space vehicles for the USA.

However, we should have never let them do so and we should not have let our ego about being first to the moon drive the vision of the 1960's. There is also a reluctance to allow capitalistic business - a truly American concept - determine what we do in space based on value - value to the consumer and value to the business.

The arrogance of the space welfare system that drives us to tax citizens who do not see value in our enterprise and force them to pay for it is immoral. Objective analysis suggests that there is money to be made in the space enterprise and to achieve it we have to cut the government teet off cold turkey.
Commercial Space is the only way to achieve the goals and dreams of the visionaries.

Offline JohnFornaro

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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #132 on: 11/13/2009 02:37 PM »
Jim's intransigence on some of these issues is frustrating to me to no end.  His policy analysis is every bit as inadequate as my ignorance of rocketry's technical aspects.  I guess that means we make a good team.

Of course SpaceX sucks on the government teat, as does ULA.  Is a 1960 dollar worth the same as a 2002 dollar?  Could 1960 technology possibly be cheaper than today's?  Jim presents no dollar values in any case, in this comparison of some very old amortized apples to the newer crop of a different fruit.

But let's just speculate, since no other option is available, and tentatively conclude that SpaceX has indeed received a larger, but undefined, "portion" of its working funds from the US government.  The reader is left to draw his own conclusions from Jim's remarks, and is left bereft of Jim's vast technical expertise.  Frankly, it's not helpful, especially if we are trying to figure out what the next step is in HSF.  I'll go with SpaceX then.

I think that braymh102 mischaracterizes nearly completely when he suggests that "...government management caused the only two shuttle failures".  No, people who were government managers consciously made the launch decisions resulting in those failures.  This is not a semantic quibbling, it is a statement of fact.  The American government was consciously formed to successfully govern, not to cause harm to the populace.  Over the past years, the common wisdom seems to ring true:  The people who hold power in government provide more wealth for their vetted constituents, and make political decisions based primarily on wealth distribution, to the general detriment of the American population.  It calls to mind the following:

http://www.lorencollins.net/tytler.html

"A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship."

BTW, I always thought de Tocqueville said that.

And the point of that sidetrack?  Metaphorically: It wasn't the airplanes.  It was beauty that killed the beast.  It wasn't the government.  It was people that killed the shuttle.

And the Tytler quote?  I let the reader draw her own conclusions.

ULA is a member of the MIC, which doesn't bother me in principle.  The problem with the military industrial complex, as I see it, it is no longer certain that the MIC is looking after our country, and our country's principles as I understand them.

But I still feel that I have to B&M at Jim.  He's a Zen master.  Always in the present. "No, GTO is the market.  There is little use for LEO".  Today that is true.  This shallow, inconvenient truth conveniently overlooks that SpaceX is working on getting into the LEO market.  To supply ISS, just to pick a random example.

And my assumptions.  Despite my counting disorder, I tried to report the facts that I found on the web way up above.  Trouble is, my "major assumption [was] believing what is posted", but I made no other assumptions.  This leads me to believe that it is truly an insider game.  The playing field bears more of a resemblance to a Klein bottle than a rugby pitch.  [My only collegiate sport, short as my career was.]

Garsh.  I wonder what percentage of the two dollars a day per employee comes from my hard earned tax dollars? And fruit? That is extravagant.  Shocked.  Shocked I am.
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

Offline Jim

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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #133 on: 11/13/2009 02:53 PM »

1.  Of course SpaceX sucks on the government teat, as does ULA.  Is a 1960 dollar worth the same as a 2002 dollar?  Could 1960 technology possibly be cheaper than today's? 


2.  But I still feel that I have to B&M at Jim.  He's a Zen master.  Always in the present. "No, GTO is the market.  There is little use for LEO".  Today that is true.  This shallow, inconvenient truth conveniently overlooks that SpaceX is working on getting into the LEO market.  To supply ISS, just to pick a random example.


1.  I am only talking the present.  EELV's were developed in the late 90's.  LM and Boeing were awarded 500 million each and each put in 2-3 billion of their own money

2. ISS is a niche market.  Not enough to sustain a program.  There won't be any LEO destinations to support a launcher for quite some time, even with a Bigelow.  The bulk of launches will be to higher energy orbits.

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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #134 on: 11/13/2009 03:08 PM »
Garsh.  I wonder what percentage of the two dollars a day per employee comes from my hard earned tax dollars? And fruit? That is extravagant.  Shocked.  Shocked I am.

Only a small percentage of the SpaceX lunch room cost is the fruit.  The major expense is for the standing army of workers keeping the lunch room stocked.  SpaceX efforts to recover and reuse banana peels will only exacerbate that expense.

But I still feel that I have to B&M at Jim.  He's a Zen master.  Always in the present. "No, GTO is the market.  There is little use for LEO".  Today that is true.  This shallow, inconvenient truth conveniently overlooks that SpaceX is working on getting into the LEO market.  To supply ISS, just to pick a random example.

There's an additional subtly to Jim's OldSpace Zen philosophy, based on the huge costs of investment in future capabilities and the long time lines required to develop and demonstrate those capabilities.  A commercial venture needs an income stream in the "present" (which lasts for many years) to sustain itself as it carefully incubates incremental capability improvements.
-- sdsds --

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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #135 on: 11/13/2009 03:11 PM »
2. ISS is a niche market.  Not enough to sustain a program.  There won't be any LEO destinations to support a launcher for quite some time, even with a Bigelow.

True, although that could theoretically change through an exploration program that uses some form of propellant transfer.

Quote
  The bulk of launches will be to higher energy orbits.

Or, intriguingly, lower energy orbits. Historically, orbital launchers evolved from suborbital launchers. The initial markets were military and later included other government funded activities and only then commercial markets emerged. In recent years a new commercial application for suborbital launchers has emerged: suborbital tourism. It could be profitable within a few years. It's not certain, but plausible enough that serious entrepreneurs like Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos are working on it. These suborbital launchers could eventually evolve into orbital launchers, just as the descendants of the V2 did.
« Last Edit: 11/13/2009 03:13 PM by mmeijeri »
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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #136 on: 11/13/2009 03:30 PM »

1.  Of course SpaceX sucks on the government teat, as does ULA.  Is a 1960 dollar worth the same as a 2002 dollar?  Could 1960 technology possibly be cheaper than today's? 


2.  But I still feel that I have to B&M at Jim.  He's a Zen master.  Always in the present. "No, GTO is the market.  There is little use for LEO".  Today that is true.  This shallow, inconvenient truth conveniently overlooks that SpaceX is working on getting into the LEO market.  To supply ISS, just to pick a random example.


1.  I am only talking the present.  EELV's were developed in the late 90's.  LM and Boeing were awarded 500 million each and each put in 2-3 billion of their own money

2. ISS is a niche market.  Not enough to sustain a program.  There won't be any LEO destinations to support a launcher for quite some time, even with a Bigelow.  The bulk of launches will be to higher energy orbits.

Jim, did LM & Boeing make a profit on their EELV programs, or did they get snookered?

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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #137 on: 11/13/2009 03:36 PM »
Garsh.  I wonder what percentage of the two dollars a day per employee comes from my hard earned tax dollars? And fruit? That is extravagant.  Shocked.  Shocked I am.

Only a small percentage of the SpaceX lunch room cost is the fruit.  The major expense is for the standing army of workers keeping the lunch room stocked.  SpaceX efforts to recover and reuse banana peels will only exacerbate that expense.

Is it too early for nominations for post of the year?

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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #138 on: 11/13/2009 03:54 PM »
Whatever.
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #139 on: 11/13/2009 11:04 PM »
Oh, I will, I don't need bunches of liasons, just one. I have had contact with SpaceX and received nice feedback after very little trouble, actually.  My comments were intended to compliment the established companies who started the business, but we are talking big fat rockets with people eventually sitting on top of them. We need to be concerned with how people conduct business and if the little details aren't attended to, I'd be very concerned about the big ones. This isn't a software game, it is about real travel to outerspace. This is America and if these companies prove themselves over time, we all want to be in their vendor base, but don't discount us because we have serviced the big companies. Above all, it is about treating people with respect and dignity.

Be advised, Alyce, that SpaceX are themselves a small business and hence meet all of the government's targets themselves.  Thus, they don't have as much of a political incentive to sub things and treat you as well as the Bigs.  Precisely because they're a small business, they won't have someone to deal specifically with you.  And, SpaceX is running hard to complete their development and get into a regular launch rhythm.  Give them some time.
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Offline A_M_Swallow

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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #140 on: 11/13/2009 11:15 PM »
Also at a small company a salesman talks to either the boss or directly to the engineers.  Who at SpaceX needs a fastener?
« Last Edit: 11/13/2009 11:16 PM by A_M_Swallow »

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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #141 on: 11/14/2009 04:36 AM »
As a business person trying to deal with SpaceX. I'll vote for the old boys. SpaceX has no small business liason, no concern for HubZone or disadvantaged companies, from what I can tell, but I hear they have $50,000 a month free lunch room. I am all for the cutting costs on space flight, but the old-timers and ULA win my vote. I am on the bottom of the food chain, but there has not been one shuttle launch in the last few years without our fasteners holding things together. I hope SpaceX attends to the nuances of the business that others have spent years learning.

I don't know what grief you have in dealing with SpaceX. But the "old guys" have to finesse considerable public funds (generally far more than SpaceX gets). HubZone and disadvantaged companies sounds like a loss leader to me. The old boys take a small hit to their supply chain efficiency, but in return they get more solid political support for their contracts. It's in their direct financial interest to keep you on board and happy. I don't mean to offend, but that's my humble opinion.

SpaceX isn't really in a situation where that matters. They have a goal oriented contract with COTS plus some side stuff with the DoD. That's about it for income, meaning they're in a very risky position. They have to deliver or they'll go out of business. And doing this nuanced stuff with small businesses isn't going to help them stay alive.

PS, the lunch room is a classic dotcom manuever. Good, cheap food means the employees are more likely to eat on campus (for breakfast and dinner as well) and work longer hours. I've seen similar things at many places over the years.

Let's say it means people work 15 minutes more a day (entirely reasonable since commute time for lunch is reduced and they might be staying a bit later). Currently, SpaceX has roughly 800 employees (and suppose 600 of them are in the LA site). That means roughly 150 man-hours saved per day. And somewhere around 3000 man-hours saved in a month. If the average employee costs more than $17 an hour to employ (including all the various costs), then SpaceX is saving money with the lunchroom.
« Last Edit: 11/14/2009 04:42 AM by khallow »
Karl Hallowell

Offline Antares

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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #142 on: 11/14/2009 03:34 PM »
SpaceX isn't really in a situation where that matters. They have a goal oriented contract with COTS plus some side stuff with the DoD.

Not entirely accurate.  The CRS RFP that came out had small business targets in it.  Legally, they have meet them.  If NASA relaxed the requirements for them, they would have had to do so for any other bidders.  Besides, at 800 SpaceX still qualifies as a small business itself.  The cutoff is 1500, IIRC.
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Offline edkyle99

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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #143 on: 11/14/2009 04:09 PM »
2. ISS is a niche market.  Not enough to sustain a program.  There won't be any LEO destinations to support a launcher for quite some time, even with a Bigelow.  The bulk of launches will be to higher energy orbits.

ISS is a market *as long as it is there*.  This year so far, for example, 12 of the world's 64 orbital launch attempts have been for ISS. 

When it is gone, of course, the market goes away entirely.  I wonder how difficult it will be to shut ISS down completely once multiple companies in multiple countries began to thrive (in a manner) in support of it. 

Similarly, LEO seems to be a real market.  37 of the year's launch attempts to date have been to LEO.  Only 27 have been to higher energy orbits.

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Offline MP99

Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #144 on: 11/14/2009 04:18 PM »
What were the other two?

cheers, Martin

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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #145 on: 11/14/2009 04:21 PM »
Other two what?

Offline Ben the Space Brit

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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #146 on: 11/14/2009 04:37 PM »
I have to say that I think that Bigelow's space lab modules might easily be as valuable as if they were made of solid gold if they can be made to work. 

Think about it:There are at least two firms (SpaceX and Orbital) who are going to make considerable fractions of their income from servicing an LEO crewed platform, which will vanish in 2020/21 at the very latest.  If Bigelow can offer their own destination, SpaceX especially, but other commercial spaceflight providers, including ULA, will be able to use them for continuity of services, even after the ISS's retirement.
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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #147 on: 11/14/2009 04:38 PM »
which will vanish in 2020/21 at the very latest.

That hasn't been decided yet.
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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #148 on: 11/14/2009 04:44 PM »
which will vanish in 2020/21 at the very latest.

That hasn't been decided yet.

Extension to 2020 hasn't been confirmed yet, either.  It is just one of Augustine's few 'options' that reads as a recommendation.  However, Congress could yet say: Blow it, splash it in 2016 and full speed to the Moon.  It would be a stupid thing, but it is one possible outcome.
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Offline edkyle99

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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #149 on: 11/14/2009 04:54 PM »
What were the other two?
cheers, Martin

Not sure if your asking about the ISS missions, but here's a breakdown year to date.

R-7/Progress:  5
R-7/Soyuz (crewed):  3
Shuttle (crewed):  3
H-2B (HTV-1):  1

Total 12 to ISS to date in 2009 - half cargo, half crew.

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 11/14/2009 04:55 PM by edkyle99 »

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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #150 on: 11/14/2009 04:58 PM »
Yes. Extension beyond 2020 is also still an option, and not a stupid one. Bringing in more international players would make that more likely, even if politicians didn't want to own up to that now. This could be combined with a token effort at some form of Ares V Lite, with the exact form left to be determined after a lengthy study. Not predicting this will happen, but it is a possibility.
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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #151 on: 11/14/2009 05:52 PM »

Similarly, LEO seems to be a real market.  37 of the year's launch attempts to date have been to LEO.  Only 27 have been to higher energy orbits.


Exclude the ISS and polar missions.

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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #152 on: 11/14/2009 09:42 PM »

Similarly, LEO seems to be a real market.  37 of the year's launch attempts to date have been to LEO.  Only 27 have been to higher energy orbits.


Exclude the ISS and polar missions.

Why?  Companies are getting paid money to launch all of these missions, whether it comes from governments or commercial companies, whether it goes to polar or sun sync or ISS or GTO.  It is all "commerce" for a launch services company. 

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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #153 on: 11/15/2009 01:37 AM »
Other two what?

Oops. Major arithmetic error! Me muppet!

Apologies, Martin

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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #154 on: 11/15/2009 01:38 AM »

Similarly, LEO seems to be a real market.  37 of the year's launch attempts to date have been to LEO.  Only 27 have been to higher energy orbits.


Exclude the ISS and polar missions.

Why?  Companies are getting paid money to launch all of these missions, whether it comes from governments or commercial companies, whether it goes to polar or sun sync or ISS or GTO.  It is all "commerce" for a launch services company. 

 - Ed Kyle


Most polar aren't EELV class.  ISS Progress  and ATV flights are not transferable to other LV's 

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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #155 on: 11/15/2009 06:16 AM »

Most polar aren't EELV class.  ISS Progress  and ATV flights are not transferable to other LV's 


Look at just the U.S. then.  Four of this year's five polar or near polar U.S. launch attempts were either Delta 2 (3) or Atlas 5 (1).  Delta 2 payloads, most of them, will be flying on EELVs soon, making them "EELV class" by default until and unless something else takes Delta 2's place. :)

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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #156 on: 11/16/2009 01:53 PM »
The "additional subtly to Jim's OldSpace Zen philosophy" is duly noted, but the plain English meaning of my remarks still stands:  There is a market in LEO and GTO.  Reading back, I realize that the "stream of consciousness" style of some of my postings is not as good as a dryer style of posting, but I think my greater error is giving up too quickly.  My salient suggestion: "...that commercial actors are beginning to succeed", seems true enough, and this is a really good thing. 

Ok, so web sites are marketing tools and have to be taken with a grain of salt.  Ok, necessary government subsidies vary in size, even when inflation adjusted, and are awarded on different bases.  The terms of the subsidies resemble either grants or contracts, but this is a specific case by case matter, not readily transparent to interested citizenry.  Some companies get more than others.  Some rockets are older than others.
Some orbits and destinations are more favored than others.

We have ULA and SpaceX and others.  I repeat: The commercial actors are beginning to succeed.

Thanks Ed, for pointing out that a market is a market.  Twelve out of sixty-four launches is about 19% of the market at ISS.  So what if that's a niche?  And why arbitrarily exclude polar missions?  It doesn't matter if Progress and ATV flights are not "transferable" to other LV's.  What matters is that there is a space market.  What does it matter about EELV class either?  A market is a market.

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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #157 on: 11/17/2009 04:09 PM »
Okay you guys, Jim hit it on the head. You get money from the government, you have responsibilities to spend a percentage in a certain manner. Armadillo, SpaceX, et al. get government money. If they get too strung out trying to do everything themselves in house, we all know that does not work.  No body is arguing about good old American space flight and who has a right to take their buddies to the moon. Space flight has produced every major technological advance this country has. If that is a welfare program, it actually works and the pay back is more than the investment. This isn't about paying workers to not produce, like welfare. NASA and the rest produce, and more importantly than flying around the solar system, it is about putting gadgets in space that protect this country from whack jobs. I don't know the technical stuff, I just know you gotta play nice and share your toys just like your momma said.

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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #158 on: 11/17/2009 04:33 PM »
In a way, "sharing toys" is the problem.  For forty years, the kids with the football have been saying, "It's my football, and if you don't do what I say, you can't play."  "We're not going to the Moon, so don't even ask.  Loser."

And in a way also, it's even worse.  The powerful kids on the inside are stacking the team with their chosen powerful players.  All the outsiders are "nerds" and get to be on the losing team.

That analogy can only be taken so far.
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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #159 on: 11/17/2009 04:35 PM »
You get money from the government, you have responsibilities to spend a percentage in a certain manner.

How does that follow? Short of setting specific equirements to get that government money in the first place, I don't see this how this responsibility would arise. It has already been brought up here that the CRS competition did award extra scoring points to proposals that have small business involvement. In SpaceX' case, they themselves qualified as a small business. That may not be the case for much longer, but it's irrelevant.

Quote
Armadillo, SpaceX, et al. get government money. If they get too strung out trying to do everything themselves in house, we all know that does not work.

How do we know that?

Offline yg1968

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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #160 on: 11/17/2009 05:06 PM »
The argument is based on prior history. NASA has been much less patient with entirely commercial projects that are over budget (Venture Star, etc.) than they have been with projects in which they are more involved and in which they have more control (Ares, Shuttle, etc.).   

Recognizing this fact, the only way that COTS-D can be succesfull is if there are a number of participants and hopefully one of the partcipants will be successful and will be on budget.
« Last Edit: 11/17/2009 05:13 PM by yg1968 »

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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #161 on: 11/17/2009 05:29 PM »
The argument is based on prior history. NASA has been much less patient with entirely commercial projects that are over budget (Venture Star, etc.) than they have been with projects in which they are more involved and in which they have more control (Ares, Shuttle, etc.).   

Not sure what you think NASA should have done differently. Lockheed said flat out that they were not going to put additional company money into the project. So they weren't exactly showing a lot of faith in the commercial viability of the project, not that it would have remained "commercial" after a NASA bailout anyway.

To demand that a commercial project demonstrate their belief in their business case being solid by putting skin in the game is only common sense to me.
JRF

Offline yg1968

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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #162 on: 11/17/2009 05:34 PM »
I wasn't trying to say anything about what NASA should have done with the X-33. I am just saying that any future commercial project is likely to follow the logic of the COTS agreements (i.e. NASA is likely to hedge their bets by having more than one participant).
« Last Edit: 11/17/2009 05:35 PM by yg1968 »

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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #163 on: 11/17/2009 05:37 PM »
To demand that a commercial project demonstrate their belief in their business case being solid by putting skin in the game is only common sense to me.

If the project is initiated by industry and looking for NASA funding, then yes. But if NASA wants a launch capability then seeking commercial synergy would be prudent.
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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #164 on: 11/17/2009 06:14 PM »
It is a matter of public record where government contract money goes and is posted on SpaceX's own web site. I hope we all understand that SpaceX is not being picked on. Check out Bigelow and other new rocket boys. NASA is supporting commercial ventures and giving incentives to cut costs, what is the validation that they are trying to keep new ideas on the outside?  I'd fly on a NASA rocket today. SpaceX, the CEO admitted he wouldn't fly on his own rocket, yet. No one is holding SpaceX down, my point has been that new or old company, our governent has safeguards in place to assure that disadvantaged companies get a bit of a break because they can't afford to keep politicians in their pockets. If these small companies can't provide good services, they get weeded out quickly, but they need the help to break in and SpaceX is getting it. 

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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #165 on: 11/17/2009 08:32 PM »
No one is holding SpaceX down

Well, sorta.  Ares gets as much in 2 months as SpaceX gets in the 4-year COTS project.  If NASA were (completely) serious about decreasing costs, the original COTS would have been a much bigger carrot and HQ would not have quashed more viable rockets.

So NASA, actually the OldSpace contractors via influence on Congress, is holding SpaceX (as a proxy for all of commercial space) back from more rapid progress.
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Offline yg1968

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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #166 on: 11/17/2009 08:50 PM »
NASA isn't holding Space X down. SpaceX wouldn't exist without NASA funding. NASA didn't have to pick SpaceX for COTS and CRS.  I don't recall SpaceX complaining that Ares I should be cancelled or arguing that most of the money for crew transportation should go to them. You don't bite the hand that feeds you and I am sure that Elon understands that. The idea of cancelling Ares I (in favour of commercial crew) came from the Augustine Panel and certainly not from SpaceX.
« Last Edit: 11/17/2009 09:00 PM by yg1968 »

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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #167 on: 11/17/2009 09:03 PM »
NASA didn't have to pick SpaceX for COTS

True, more viable proposals would have been an even greater threat to Ares.
« Last Edit: 11/17/2009 09:04 PM by Antares »
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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #168 on: 11/17/2009 09:25 PM »
I don't think we'd be chatting like this on NASAspaceflight.com if they (who is they anyway?), were trying to hold anyone down. NASA is not a company it is a living organism that functions excellently, though not perfectly. On a lighter note, how do you earn five stars? Somebody chat with me about the mysterious world of procurement. Now there is the secret society.

Offline DigitalMan

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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #169 on: 11/17/2009 10:08 PM »
... I'd fly on a NASA rocket today. SpaceX, the CEO admitted he wouldn't fly on his own rocket, yet. ......

I've seen him say he wouldn't be ALLOWED to fly on his rockets, for various reasons.  For these same reasons I suspect he might not be allowed to fly on ANYONE's rockets.  I have not seen him say what you've quoted.  Additionally there is no manned version yet for anyone to fly on.

Please provide a link.

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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #170 on: 11/17/2009 10:29 PM »
If I can find it, I will send to you. I was surfing so much trying to find a small business liason link at SpaceX that I hit a lot of sites. Elon made his own point, their work is a process, not a competition with NASA or any "older company." 

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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #171 on: 11/18/2009 01:45 PM »
About holding SpaceX down:  I think maybe it sorta looks that way because it's easy to imagine COTS having more funding, and easy to see that OldSpace gets the lion's share of funding.  Antares' 2 month to 4 year comparison, speaks volumes in this regard, even if the legalities do not support the idea that NewSpace is being unfairly hamstrung.

ATK & Boeing are clearly OldSpace and have a far greater influence on Congressional pursestrings.  At the same time, "SpaceX wouldn't exist without NASA funding", which is profoundly positive, to me at least.  Here in Jefferson Country, there are some revisionists who hold that ol' TJ was a hypocrite, writing the Declaration of Independance and all.  He was a slaveholder, eh?  What a hypocrite!  These revisionists very nearly call for an end to political freedom on this basis.  Of course they're unequivocally wrong.  Somebody has to be the last slaveholder.  Why not Thomas Jefferson?

I think a similar logic holds true in this interesting debate about OldSpace and NewSpace.  The establishment is actually calling for, and supporting new commercial space based companies.  It may be too little, too late, because of current politics, and that battle surely needs to be fought so that we can get off the planet. 

But I don't get what Antares means with his comment about "more viable proposals".  Who's more viable than SpaceX right now?  NewSpace, that is.

Not counting my propellantless rubber band launcher, just to be fair to all concerned.
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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #172 on: 11/18/2009 01:57 PM »
Noone is holding SpaceX down: If there were a business case without government money, there would be investors, noone does stop SpaceX from colonizing the whole solar system. Only there ins't a business case, in particular not for HSF. Everything else follows.

Analyst

Offline William Barton

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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #173 on: 11/18/2009 02:05 PM »
What were the other two?
cheers, Martin

Not sure if your asking about the ISS missions, but here's a breakdown year to date.

R-7/Progress:  5
R-7/Soyuz (crewed):  3
Shuttle (crewed):  3
H-2B (HTV-1):  1

Total 12 to ISS to date in 2009 - half cargo, half crew.

 - Ed Kyle

Not to be overly nitpicky, but doesn't Shuttle count as both? So 7.5 cargo, 4.5 crew... Or maybe 9 cargo, 6 crew (by considering each Shuttle as 2x)...

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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #174 on: 11/18/2009 02:49 PM »
COTS did not have to equal NewSpace.  If NASA were completely serious about commercial to LEO, at least under Griffin, it would have chosen COTS proposals with zero launcher development risk.  Instead it chose paper rockets under the guise of fostering new businesses to hide the policy of not undermining Ares.
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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #175 on: 11/18/2009 03:02 PM »
Exactly, at least one of the contracts/agreements should have been awarded to an EELV-based solution. Having another go to SpaceX or Orbital would have been fine.
« Last Edit: 11/18/2009 03:02 PM by mmeijeri »
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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #176 on: 11/18/2009 04:03 PM »
"You dont impress the people at NASA with your paper airplanes"--Max Lucado. I'm glad NASA is showing discretion about where to spend money on COTS. If I were a billionaire, I would open a business that I had some experience with, not just one that fulfilled some dream. I don't expect tax payer's to fund my dreams until I can prove that I can deliver the reality.

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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #177 on: 11/18/2009 04:11 PM »
"You dont impress the people at NASA with your paper airplanes"--Max Lucado. I'm glad NASA is showing discretion about where to spend money on COTS. If I were a billionaire, I would open a business that I had some experience with, not just one that fulfilled some dream. I don't expect tax payer's to fund my dreams until I can prove that I can deliver the reality.

He has more relevant experience than 95% of billionaires out there. Just with his undergraduate physics degree (Herbert Harris is another billionaire with a physics degree, one of the two black billionaires in America). If you're a billionaire, you can afford to hire the best engineers out there. And if you're a self-made billionaire, you probably have the sense to listen to them.
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #178 on: 11/18/2009 04:27 PM »
I don't expect tax payer's to fund my dreams until I can prove that I can deliver the reality.

The same standard should be applied to MSFC.
We will be vic-toooooo-ri-ous!!!

Offline yg1968

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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #179 on: 11/18/2009 04:32 PM »
Exactly, at least one of the contracts/agreements should have been awarded to an EELV-based solution. Having another go to SpaceX or Orbital would have been fine.

The spacecraft for the EELV wasn't ready either. Part of the COTS-money goes to reaching certain milestones in the developement of the cargo transportation capability. The capability needed to be ready for late 2010 (but not before).

Quote
A. NASA has established the Commercial Crew/Cargo Project Office at the Johnson
Space Center as part of the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate. The objectives of
the Commercial Crew/Cargo Project are to:
• implement U.S. Space Exploration policy with an investment to stimulate
commercial enterprises in space,
• facilitate U.S. private industry demonstration of cargo and crew space
transportation capabilities with the goal of achieving reliable, cost effective
access to low-Earth orbit, and
• create a market environment in which commercial space transportation
services are available to Government and private sector customers.

http://www.nasa.gov/centers/johnson/pdf/189228main_setc_nnj06ta26a.pdf
« Last Edit: 11/18/2009 04:35 PM by yg1968 »

Offline Alyce Branigan

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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #180 on: 11/18/2009 04:40 PM »
So, it is back to money again...not to hard to get an undergraduate degree in physics, they actually offer classes at the high school level. Many of the new space adventurers are brilliant, all can buy engineers, that still does not give them a proven record of the very serious and safety concerns of strapping people and/or equipment to large sticks of dynamite, or that tax payer's should fund them. The bottom line is that that many of them are getting federal money and they need to attend to the rules of spending that money. We should all be concerned about how that money is spent and who gets it, not just billionaires with physics degrees. Let them prove themselves with their own multi-billions, then I'll be glad to kick in. The old companies have proven themselves, and at the same time are adjusting to new business realities. It is not an overnight process. I will get back to my original point, new is never good if you don't acknowledge that your new is built on the experience and hardwork of the old.

Offline Jim

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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #181 on: 11/18/2009 04:52 PM »

The spacecraft for the EELV wasn't ready either.

So?  Most of the risk would be already retired and the EELV/spacecraft would be ready earlier.

Offline Antares

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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #182 on: 11/18/2009 08:57 PM »
I was reminded of this today

<a href="http://dilbert.com/strips/comic/2009-07-07/" title="Dilbert.com"><img src="http://dilbert.com/dyn/str_strip/000000000/00000000/0000000/000000/60000/0000/300/60354/60354.strip.gif" border="0" alt="7 July 2009 Dilbert" />[/url]
« Last Edit: 11/18/2009 08:57 PM by Antares »
If I like something on NSF, it's probably because I know it to be accurate.  Every once in a while, it's just something I agree with.  Facts generally receive the former.

Offline robertross

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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #183 on: 11/18/2009 10:35 PM »
I was reminded of this today

<a href="http://dilbert.com/strips/comic/2009-07-07/" title="Dilbert.com"><img src="http://dilbert.com/dyn/str_strip/000000000/00000000/0000000/000000/60000/0000/300/60354/60354.strip.gif" border="0" alt="7 July 2009 Dilbert" />[/url]

LOL...(while also seeing how disgusting that would be)...and still laughing...
Remembering those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our rights & freedoms, and for those injured, visible or otherwise, in that fight.

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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #184 on: 11/23/2009 12:04 AM »
If I were a billionaire, I might try to do what I always wanted to do, but could not afford it.  I suppose that I would think I knew something about making money, and could buy and maybe inspire success in another field.

"Instead it chose paper rockets under the guise of fostering new businesses to hide the policy of not undermining Ares"  That's a pretty sly observation.
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

Offline kkattula

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Re: Augustine HSF Review SpaceX and Commerical Chat
« Reply #185 on: 11/23/2009 01:16 AM »
NASA only had $500m for COTS, and they ended up funding two projects, for about half each.

I believe the T/Space proposal was for about $400m, I expect any EELV proposal was also close to the full amount, leaving no room for a second option. That may be part of why they weren't selected. Or the projected operational launch costs may have been higher.

The philosophy behind COTS was somewhat different to the current 'gap closing' commercial proposals being sought. Back then they were aiming to stimulate new, low-cost, development. Now they're pretty much looking for anything that will pull their bacon out of the Ares I fire.
« Last Edit: 11/23/2009 01:16 AM by kkattula »

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