Author Topic: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 2)  (Read 174196 times)

Online Chris Bergin

Big thread 1, so time for thread 2:

Thread 1:
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=32528.0

Main FH Articles:
http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2011/04/spacex-falcon-heavy-tag-team-share-20-launches-year/

http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2013/05/from-atlas-v-falcon-xx-commercial-suitors-wanted-pad-39a/

http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2014/07/spacex-roadmap-rocket-business-revolution/


SpaceX news articles on this site:
Old: http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=21862.0 (links)

Then recent news articles, not linked above, as we moved to a tag group system:
All recent: http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/tag/spacex/


L2 SpaceX - Now in its own dedicated all-vehicle section:
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?board=60.0


NOTE: Posts that are uncivil (which is very rare for this forum), off topic (not so rare) or just pointless will be deleted without notice.

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 2)
« Reply #1 on: 08/07/2014 01:02 PM »
If the plan is to use FHR for > 3.5t GTO payloads and F9R for < 3.5t. SpaceX needs to make the FHR cheaper than F9E otherwise there is no incentive for customer to use FHR over F9E for the 3.5-4.8t payloads.  FHR will need to be < $63m which will also force a price reduction in F9R flights.

Offline Jet Black

Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 2)
« Reply #2 on: 08/07/2014 03:40 PM »
Is there a likely orbit that they will use for the first Heavy launch to demonstrate its capability? Similarly are they likely to give it a payload, or simply show that it behaves as expected?
For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled. -- Richard Feynman

Offline symbios

  • Full Member
  • **
  • Posts: 235
  • Elon Musk fan
  • Sweden
  • Liked: 143
  • Likes Given: 641
Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 2)
« Reply #3 on: 08/07/2014 03:41 PM »
Since single digit (millions) has been mentioned as a possibility for the F9R I would think that it would not be that hard to price the FH below the F9 expendable...  :P

I would have priced it a lot higher because I think the market could take it. But Musk wants to change the market and open it up for new possibilities. So he will lower it as far as he can to make that happens. The question is under what time frame he will lower the prices...
I'm a fan, not a fanatic...

Offline JasonAW3

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2384
  • Claremore, Ok.
  • Liked: 367
  • Likes Given: 10
Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 2)
« Reply #4 on: 08/07/2014 06:05 PM »
Since single digit (millions) has been mentioned as a possibility for the F9R I would think that it would not be that hard to price the FH below the F9 expendable...  :P

I would have priced it a lot higher because I think the market could take it. But Musk wants to change the market and open it up for new possibilities. So he will lower it as far as he can to make that happens. The question is under what time frame he will lower the prices...

I'm not sure that the launch cost for the F9R will start out in the single digit millions, as SpaceX will want to recoop their manufacturing costs on that rocket as quickly as possible.  Of course, after the F9R has a proven track record of relaunches, I have little doubt that they should be able to bring the cost down to about where you stated.
My God!  It's full of universes!

Offline ey

  • Member
  • Posts: 47
  • Northern California
  • Liked: 15
  • Likes Given: 132
Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 2)
« Reply #5 on: 08/07/2014 06:18 PM »
Getting F9R to single-digit millions will require a reusable second stage, which is a ways off right now. FHR could see a bigger cost reduction, percentagewise, since it has three boosters and only one second stage.

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 2)
« Reply #6 on: 08/07/2014 06:44 PM »
Best to limit discussions to 1st stage recovery only, 2nd recovery is still an unknown for now.

Offline wannamoonbase

  • Elite Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2576
  • Denver, CO
    • U.S. Metric Association
  • Liked: 489
  • Likes Given: 820
Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 2)
« Reply #7 on: 08/07/2014 07:21 PM »
Since single digit (millions) has been mentioned as a possibility for the F9R I would think that it would not be that hard to price the FH below the F9 expendable...  :P

I would have priced it a lot higher because I think the market could take it. But Musk wants to change the market and open it up for new possibilities. So he will lower it as far as he can to make that happens. The question is under what time frame he will lower the prices...

I'm not sure that the launch cost for the F9R will start out in the single digit millions, as SpaceX will want to recoop their manufacturing costs on that rocket as quickly as possible.  Of course, after the F9R has a proven track record of relaunches, I have little doubt that they should be able to bring the cost down to about where you stated.

If they are providing a quality product and are efficient enough to beat the competitors there is no reason, in fact it would be fiscally irresponsible to go as cheap as possible.  SpaceX needs cash flow and profit like all companies, they've spent hundreds of millions on development and they have huge plans.  That will never be funded with sub 10 million dollar launches. 

If a competitor improves and gets cheaper than lower your price but not until you have too.

I think SpaceX's currently low  pricing has 2 purposes, it shows that you are backing up your claims that your dramatically cheaper and it entice customers to a new company and vehicle.  They recently raised their prices and I think they could raise their prices more once F9 is proven if they are still cheap enough to be awarded launches.  Early F9R launches will likely be a reduced price because of uncertainty with previously flown vehicles.  But that eventually it may not be much different than F9 prices.

Key to further pricing reduction will be 2nd stage recovery which the F9R will enable.  That's going to be fun to see develop.
I know they don't need it, but Crossfeed would be super cool.

Offline Elmar Moelzer

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2876
  • Liked: 474
  • Likes Given: 713
Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 2)
« Reply #8 on: 08/07/2014 07:41 PM »
If they are providing a quality product and are efficient enough to beat the competitors there is no reason, in fact it would be fiscally irresponsible to go as cheap as possible.  SpaceX needs cash flow and profit like all companies, they've spent hundreds of millions on development and they have huge plans.  That will never be funded with sub 10 million dollar launches. 
I think that they will try to keep the cost of launches just low enough that they can keep their development and production going at current rates. In order for RLVs to make sense, they need a high launch rate. In order to get a high launch rate, they need more customers. In order to get more customers, they need to lower prices, dramatically.

Online groundbound

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 108
  • Liked: 70
  • Likes Given: 6
Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 2)
« Reply #9 on: 08/07/2014 09:08 PM »

If they are providing a quality product and are efficient enough to beat the competitors there is no reason, in fact it would be fiscally irresponsible to go as cheap as possible.  SpaceX needs cash flow and profit like all companies, they've spent hundreds of millions on development and they have huge plans.  That will never be funded with sub 10 million dollar launches. 

If a competitor improves and gets cheaper than lower your price but not until you have too.
<snipped>

Perhaps even smarter is at some point to start a special program offering deeply discounted launches to a few customers that are in some sort of startup mode. That way you help accelerate new business models while harvesting as much revenue from existing business.

Make this public and smaller/risky businesses might try to form their businesses around it. All SpaceX has to do is sell a few launches at cost for the lottery ticket of maybe eventually getting a new customer sector (who would eventually pay full freight.)

Offline CuddlyRocket

Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 2)
« Reply #10 on: 08/08/2014 06:43 AM »

If they are providing a quality product and are efficient enough to beat the competitors there is no reason, in fact it would be fiscally irresponsible to go as cheap as possible.  SpaceX needs cash flow and profit like all companies, they've spent hundreds of millions on development and they have huge plans.  That will never be funded with sub 10 million dollar launches. 

If a competitor improves and gets cheaper than lower your price but not until you have too.
<snipped>

Perhaps even smarter is at some point to start a special program offering deeply discounted launches to a few customers that are in some sort of startup mode. That way you help accelerate new business models while harvesting as much revenue from existing business.

Make this public and smaller/risky businesses might try to form their businesses around it. All SpaceX has to do is sell a few launches at cost for the lottery ticket of maybe eventually getting a new customer sector (who would eventually pay full freight.)

Alternatively, provide a lower cost launch in return for some shares or other economic interest in the new venture. If it fails, SpaceX covered its costs and if it succeeds it gains another source of income.

Offline Mader Levap

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 897
  • Liked: 355
  • Likes Given: 349
Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 2)
« Reply #11 on: 08/08/2014 11:50 AM »
They recently raised their prices and I think they could raise their prices more once F9 is proven if they are still cheap enough to be awarded launches.  Early F9R launches will likely be a reduced price because of uncertainty with previously flown vehicles.  But that eventually it may not be much different than F9 prices.
If that (reusable for almost same price as expendable) happens, Musk failed according to his very own criteria.
Be successful.  Then tell the haters to (BLEEP) off. - deruch
...and if you have failure, tell it anyway.

Offline newpylong

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1499
  • Liked: 199
  • Likes Given: 343
Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 2)
« Reply #12 on: 08/08/2014 12:44 PM »
Single digits is a pipe dream. They won't be able to pay the employees let alone keep the lights on.


Offline Nomadd

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2432
  • Boca Chica, Texas
  • Liked: 2803
  • Likes Given: 193
Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 2)
« Reply #13 on: 08/08/2014 01:11 PM »
 A lot of people sound like Henry Ford's bankers. Musk doesn't believe the way to success is to maximize profit for every launch. He's trying to create a whole new market, many times the size of the present one with lower prices. Comsats, for instance, are hugely expensive and long lived largely because of launch prices. If it cost $10 million to replace one instead of $100 million, the whole game would change. Same for DOD payloads, despite the insistence of some that nothing can ever be any different than it's always been. Cheap, fast response launches would create an entirely new market for on demand assets. Repositioning one of those $1 billion monsters to get some photos is rarely practical.

Offline MP99

Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 2)
« Reply #14 on: 08/08/2014 07:48 PM »

If they are providing a quality product and are efficient enough to beat the competitors there is no reason, in fact it would be fiscally irresponsible to go as cheap as possible.  SpaceX needs cash flow and profit like all companies, they've spent hundreds of millions on development and they have huge plans.  That will never be funded with sub 10 million dollar launches. 

If a competitor improves and gets cheaper than lower your price but not until you have too.
<snipped>

Perhaps even smarter is at some point to start a special program offering deeply discounted launches to a few customers that are in some sort of startup mode. That way you help accelerate new business models while harvesting as much revenue from existing business.

Make this public and smaller/risky businesses might try to form their businesses around it. All SpaceX has to do is sell a few launches at cost for the lottery ticket of maybe eventually getting a new customer sector (who would eventually pay full freight.)
Might be simpler to offer deep discounts to customers that buy a large number of flights - EG multiple flights per year to a Bigelow station.

Once it looks like they have solid increased demand out to their planning horizon, they might re-base their standard prices.

Cheers, Martin

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 2)
« Reply #15 on: 08/08/2014 10:30 PM »
For the existing satellite market,  slightly lower prices eg $50m than their current prices would give them lion share and still make a good profit.
In case of Bigelow dropping seat prices from the current $26m to $10-15m should significantly. expand the market.

Offline jamesh9000

  • Member
  • Posts: 57
  • Liked: 99
  • Likes Given: 80
Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 2)
« Reply #16 on: 08/09/2014 07:13 PM »
Hi. First time poster, long time lurker. I've done a search for my query but can't seem to find anything, so forgive me if this has already been speculated on, (because I'm sure it has), but what do you think of the idea that the first FH demonstration flight will be in the reusable configuration? That might account for its continued slippage to 2015 with no actual booked flight in sight.

Just imagine: they get the barge landing down and relaunch a falcon 9 core early 2015, and then, a few months later they fly an FHR then refly it again just to show they can. In one go America gets their heaviest lift vehicle since Saturn V and, oh yeah, its reusable. And suddenly ULA is pretty much obsolete. Its just the sort of big, press-making opportunity Musk loves. What do you think?

Offline wannamoonbase

  • Elite Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2576
  • Denver, CO
    • U.S. Metric Association
  • Liked: 489
  • Likes Given: 820
Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 2)
« Reply #17 on: 08/09/2014 08:00 PM »
I think FH is on track. The F9v1.1 had to work first and that's been less than a year.

Additionally I suspect they were waiting to get 39A under there control and built first.

It's a different vehicle than the F9. Just because it looks like 3 F9's squished together doesn't mean it's as easy as building 3 F9's.

These things take time.  Re-using the boosters, even if it's just the outside 2 may depend more on an FAA permission to land  and landing pads than the ability to do so. I'd be surprised if they wait for that.  They have certification for the Feds and paying customers that want to see it work before they hand over the dough.

I see barge landings as a demonstration not direct reuse.  That's going to be a tricky feat to get it down and back to port.  Maybe not impossible but certianly a few very interesting pieces of equipment and procedures and people in very close proximity to an active rocket.  Which is usually not recommended.

SpaceX, when the FH launches, regardless of re-useability is going to make the cost and schedule of SLS (built from existing parts) look horrid.

I want the FH to succeed wildly and be fully reusable.  Maybe we'll know in a years time.
« Last Edit: 08/09/2014 09:02 PM by wannamoonbase »
I know they don't need it, but Crossfeed would be super cool.

Offline billh

  • Full Member
  • **
  • Posts: 286
  • Houston
  • Liked: 126
  • Likes Given: 98
Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 2)
« Reply #18 on: 08/09/2014 09:56 PM »
Hi. First time poster, long time lurker. I've done a search for my query but can't seem to find anything, so forgive me if this has already been speculated on, (because I'm sure it has), but what do you think of the idea that the first FH demonstration flight will be in the reusable configuration? That might account for its continued slippage to 2015 with no actual booked flight in sight.

Just imagine: they get the barge landing down and relaunch a falcon 9 core early 2015, and then, a few months later they fly an FHR then refly it again just to show they can. In one go America gets their heaviest lift vehicle since Saturn V and, oh yeah, its reusable. And suddenly ULA is pretty much obsolete. Its just the sort of big, press-making opportunity Musk loves. What do you think?

Well, I doubt that accounts for the delay, but it's an interesting question. I don't see a strong reason why the first FH flight would not attempt at least a soft splashdown on all three cores. Maybe the software wouldn't be ready. Maybe they wouldn't want the distraction. But it seems they could certainly outfit the cores with legs and fins for the first flight if they wanted to.

Offline baldusi

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7435
  • Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • Liked: 1427
  • Likes Given: 4441
Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 2)
« Reply #19 on: 08/09/2014 10:49 PM »
SpaceX will quite probably try to recover at least the boosters. An important consideration, is that since it will lack any cross feeding, and assuming that the core throttles down after MaxQ, all three should deplete by about the same time. Thus, it should not be un expected that all three cores might be recovered.
Now, first they have to convince Range that flying three 50m towers at the same time is perfectly safe and there's no chance of collisions. So, unless they do a dance of F9R-Dev1/2/3 in NM, it will be a tough ssale.

Tags: