Author Topic: Fairing reuse  (Read 262367 times)

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: Fairing reuse
« Reply #60 on: 06/06/2015 03:56 AM »
Yes, very cool video. It has it's own thread at http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?action=profile;u=18754.

Offline Mariusuiram

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Re: Fairing reuse
« Reply #61 on: 06/08/2015 08:09 AM »
Not getting into "economics" here with Marginal Costs, etc, but keep in mind that cost comparisons should account for variable & fixed production costs (cost to build a fairing), CAPEX to expand or add a new factory as they grow, operational expenses of reuse / refurbishment operation, and R&D investment in figuring this out (adding GoPros to existing fairings, staff time, possibly adding RCS or foils or something to existing fairings)

Lets say Ariane pays $5 million per fairing and SpaceX does it for $2 million in blended cost at their current max run rate in their factory.

While its easy to ask, does the cost to produce outweigh the refurbishment cost, there is a a better hurdle to view.

SpaceX likely has a good deal on their current factory space and from photos appears to use it all in their production efforts. Additional expansion opportunities may be limited or may require new development that will be more expensive.

So ignoring the operational costs for a moment. If SpaceX needs to expand its fairing production into a neighboring facility that could involve a $10-15 million CAPEX for space and equipment. And moreso that might be space that could go to Stage II production expansion or Dragon expansion etc. So there could be a higher opportunity cost there.

That may be the decision driver right there. Even if operational and refurbishment costs eat up savings, avoiding growing their fixed asset and production base may justify the investment.

Assuming SpaceX achieves economies of scale, that investment in expansion should reduce cost per unit, so maybe fairing costs would drop to 1.5 million. But a recovery and refurbishment operation should likely achieve more savings, although that is dependent on assumptions (this would exclude R&D cost)

Overall analysis gets much more complicated but could be simplified as:
Option 1: Production Expansion
+ XX CAPEX for new facilities & equipment / - Small X in cost per unit via economies of scale / No change in operational costs of launch

Options 2: Reuse
+YY (possibly equal or likely less than XX) for R&D of reuse / - Large Y in cost per unit via reuse (making it a depreciating asset across # of uses) / + small/medium Z in operational launch costs for recovery / refurbish


Its all trades, but basically you are aiming to invest in R&D instead of facilities and get lower cost per launch overall for the fairing's activities. Of interest based on SpaceX's aspirations. If they hope to exponentially increase launch rate (ie 24 a year soon, 50 a year soonish and daily eventually), every step up would require another new investment in fairing production facilities. So a new facility gets them to 25 a year, but need another big CAPEX to go to 50-100 etc. Whereas if they figure out how to reuse, they can minimize new CAPEX and have a more stable R&D budget to continually improve fairing recovery / refurbishment. So a company only ever hoping to go to 25 launches a year, may see a bigger factory as suitable, but a company that wants to get into the hundreds should start figuring out reuse.

Similar argument for why they have to achieve reuse of the first stage.

Offline Zed_Noir

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Re: Fairing reuse
« Reply #62 on: 06/08/2015 10:32 AM »
@Mariusuiram

SpaceX already expanded into some of the surrounding lots & buildings adjacent to their original Hawthorne facility. They are in need of of more floor space & parking space IMO. Especially if they stockpile bulky items like fairing & Falcon legs indoors.

Offline iamlucky13

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Re: Fairing reuse
« Reply #63 on: 06/10/2015 02:13 AM »
I'm surprised though that fairing manufacturing is not dwarfed by second stage manufacturing.  I guess it isn't...

Fairings probably are dwarfed by second stage. That doesn't meant that fairings can't become a supply choke point.

With aircraft, you'd think bolts would be dwarfed by engines, or landing gear, or some other large, expensive system. Yet, several months of the delays of the Boeing 787 were created simply by the inability of suppliers to ramp up production of certain types of fasteners they needed. Deliveries of the same plane are currently being screwed up waiting on seats.

Uhm, the cost savings isn't as clear as that because recovery and refurbishment doesn't factor in having to make them (apparently) more robust in the first place as well as adding a recovery system.

How much more robust? The pictures show fairly good overall condition, aside from being broken up. The extra hardware might be as simple as a light coating of TPS, a cold gas system to orient it for entry (assuming it can't passively orient before peak heating and/or pressure) and a way to protect it from hitting the water too hard (parachute or parachute + helicopter).

Quote
The fairings are going to fall well away from the first stage recovery vehicles so that requires another set of recovery vehicles and personnel which adds costs.

Agreed on that point. You wouldn't want them staging close to the 1st stage ground track anyways, for safety.

Quote
(Second stage efficiency and reusability would to me seem a higher priority)

I would assume SpaceX is working on both 2nd stage recovery and fairing recovery concurrently. 2nd stage almost certainly has the higher potential value, but fairing is potentially a lower hanging fruit.

I don't see any wires coming out of that GoPro mount that could have carried the data to an antenna for downlink, so I'm pretty well convinced SpaceX was hoping their camera (or cameras, over multiple launches) would be recovered, presumably so they could study how the fairing behaves during entry and when it breaks up.
« Last Edit: 06/12/2015 05:42 AM by iamlucky13 »

Offline Doesitfloat

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Re: Fairing reuse
« Reply #64 on: 10/14/2015 03:50 PM »
Just got notification of sale of 20 Italian HH-3F-Pelican aircraft.
from Wikipedia:

In 1965, U.S. Coast Guard ordered a version designated, HH-3F Sea King (more commonly known by its nickname "Pelican") for all-weather air-sea rescue.[2] The Pelican featured a search radar with a nose antenna radome offset to port,[1][4] and water landing capability.[2]

Italian Agusta built a S-61R variant, named AS-61R under license. Agusta produced 22 helicopters for the Italian Air Force.[2] The company claimed it could re-open the production line in 36 months to build additional AS-61 helicopters.[5]

So, it's a big amphibious helicopter.  Isn't this what you would want to catch fairings and or have crew close to ASDS.

edit: The notification is that Italy is selling the aircraft; not that they are sold.
« Last Edit: 10/14/2015 03:52 PM by Doesitfloat »

Offline Moe Grills

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Re: Fairing reuse
« Reply #65 on: 12/22/2015 02:53 AM »
Let me destroy a myth that has been passed off as a fact in recent years.

There is a persistent myth among many people, who should know better, that assume aircraft today and yesterday are and were nearly 100% reusable, when they are and were not.
First: a World War Two example: P51 Mustang fighters in that conflict flew off on long-range missions with COMPLETELY DISPOSABLE  fuel drop-tanks.
I won't even mention that all piston-engine aircraft after so many hours of flight, had to have their engines overhauled (many parts, pistons, etc., were disposed and replaced).
Today's passenger jets also need engine overhauls from time to time; not to mention that tires, brake pads, hydraulic components, etc. all get frequently replaced.
So why are some of you believing or dreaming of completely reusable spacecraft , when it will never happen? And doesn't need to happen to make space travel affordable?

Offline JamesH

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Re: Fairing reuse
« Reply #66 on: 12/22/2015 08:34 AM »
Let me destroy a myth that has been passed off as a fact in recent years.

There is a persistent myth among many people, who should know better, that assume aircraft today and yesterday are and were nearly 100% reusable, when they are and were not.
First: a World War Two example: P51 Mustang fighters in that conflict flew off on long-range missions with COMPLETELY DISPOSABLE  fuel drop-tanks.
I won't even mention that all piston-engine aircraft after so many hours of flight, had to have their engines overhauled (many parts, pistons, etc., were disposed and replaced).
Today's passenger jets also need engine overhauls from time to time; not to mention that tires, brake pads, hydraulic components, etc. all get frequently replaced.
So why are some of you believing or dreaming of completely reusable spacecraft , when it will never happen? And doesn't need to happen to make space travel affordable?

Well, by your definition, even a car is not reusable....

It all comes down to the cost of 'reusability', whatever the definition. It's cheaper to refurb the engine on an airliner than build a new airliner.

Offline Comga

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Re: Fairing reuse
« Reply #67 on: 12/23/2015 03:41 AM »
And I thought you people would be discussing whether there was a boat in the area where the fairings should have fallen, possibly looking for them, this being the Fairing Reuse thread.
Foolish me
What kind of wastrels would dump a perfectly good booster in the ocean after just one use?

Offline mme

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Re: Fairing reuse
« Reply #68 on: 12/23/2015 01:00 PM »
Let me destroy a myth that has been passed off as a fact in recent years.

There is a persistent myth among many people, who should know better, that assume aircraft today and yesterday are and were nearly 100% reusable, when they are and were not.
First: a World War Two example: P51 Mustang fighters in that conflict flew off on long-range missions with COMPLETELY DISPOSABLE  fuel drop-tanks.
I won't even mention that all piston-engine aircraft after so many hours of flight, had to have their engines overhauled (many parts, pistons, etc., were disposed and replaced).
Today's passenger jets also need engine overhauls from time to time; not to mention that tires, brake pads, hydraulic components, etc. all get frequently replaced.
So why are some of you believing or dreaming of completely reusable spacecraft , when it will never happen? And doesn't need to happen to make space travel affordable?
I don't really understand the point of your post nor the myth you are "destroying."

SpaceX is actively looking into ways to recover and reuse the fairings.  This thread exists because of that effort.  SpaceX is concerned about being able to produce fairings fast enough if they achieve the sort of launch cadence that is their goal.  Also, the fairings cost a couple million dollars and SpaceX hopes to eventually get launch prices down to a point that a couple million dollars is noticeable.  The fact that there are some parts that are disposable, some will require replacement, and some will need repair is completely orthogonal to this thread.
Space is not Highlander.  There can, and will, be more than one.

Offline cscott

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Re: Fairing reuse
« Reply #69 on: 12/23/2015 02:11 PM »
And I thought you people would be discussing whether there was a boat in the area where the fairings should have fallen, possibly looking for them, this being the Fairing Reuse thread.
Foolish me
That discussion is happening in the ASDS thread, where all the boat trackers hang out. Go Quest is believed to be on the hunt.

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=36326.msg1463732.msg#1463732
« Last Edit: 12/23/2015 02:17 PM by cscott »

Offline CJ

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Re: Fairing reuse
« Reply #70 on: 12/24/2015 05:30 AM »
This might be far fetched, but I can't help but wonder if a path to fairing reuse might be a change in outer layer (to resist seawater damage), a small drogue chute, and a water-activated radio pinger to enable finding them. 

My guess is the hardest part would be coming up with a way to make the fairing structure (a composite honeycomb) resist seawater damage, without increasing mass.

As for Go Quest, it definitely appears that it was out there looking for something. It appears to be inbound for Canaveral now.

Offline Kabloona

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Re: Fairing reuse
« Reply #71 on: 12/24/2015 09:43 AM »
Go Quest docked last night at Port Canaveral. Unfortunately timing was bad...she came in at night, and today is Christmas Eve, so few people will want to go over and take a look and see if she has any fairing halves on board...
« Last Edit: 12/24/2015 09:44 AM by Kabloona »

Offline Jim

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Re: Fairing reuse
« Reply #72 on: 12/24/2015 04:22 PM »
Fairings break up and don't come down in one piece.

Offline Kabloona

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Re: Fairing reuse
« Reply #73 on: 12/24/2015 05:04 PM »
Fairings break up and don't come down in one piece.

With the GoPro cams and Elon's tweet in the first post of this thread, they're clearly looking at the possibility of recovering/reusing fairings at some point. This mission would have been a good one to try some recovery experiments on, though I don't know what method they might have in mind to keep the fairing intact.

If they didn't find an intact fairing half, at least they may have found a large piece with the GoPro cam on it.
« Last Edit: 12/24/2015 05:16 PM by Kabloona »

Offline OxCartMark

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Re: Fairing reuse
« Reply #74 on: 12/24/2015 05:24 PM »
Fairings break up and don't come down in one piece.

So do rockets if they're not designed to be reusable.

Offline OxCartMark

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Re: Fairing reuse
« Reply #75 on: 12/24/2015 05:26 PM »
Fairings break up and don't come down in one piece.

Well, I'll give you this - I know you're right on one level because I saw it break into two pieces during the webcast.

Offline kch

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Re: Fairing reuse
« Reply #76 on: 12/24/2015 05:48 PM »
Go Quest docked last night at Port Canaveral. Unfortunately timing was bad...she came in at night, and today is Christmas Eve, so few people will want to go over and take a look and see if she has any fairing halves on board...

Seems like it'd be pretty quiet there today ... might be a good time to go halve a look.  ;)

Offline Comga

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Re: Fairing reuse
« Reply #77 on: 12/26/2015 05:55 PM »
Fairings break up and don't come down in one piece.

Well, I'll give you this - I know you're right on one level because I saw it break into two pieces during the webcast.

I wrote a long reply before realizing that your post is a lame joke missing the smiley face.
It did give me an unneeded excuse to rewatch the launch video.
As for Jim's comment, fairings did break up and come down in pieces.  First stages also fell in the ocean.
Unless that was Jim's idea of a bone-dry joke, too.
How could we tell?
What kind of wastrels would dump a perfectly good booster in the ocean after just one use?

Offline cscott

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Re: Fairing reuse
« Reply #78 on: 12/26/2015 07:10 PM »
I'm pretty sure no one expects that Go Quest recovered a complete, intact, and reusable fairing from this mission.  But fairing fragments have washed up before, and Go Quest might have managed to locate some---or at least the piece which has the radio beacon and instrument package on it (if indeed some experiment of that sort was flown).

Offline oiorionsbelt

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Re: Fairing reuse
« Reply #79 on: 12/26/2015 07:49 PM »
I'm pretty sure no one expects that Go Quest recovered a complete, intact, and reusable fairing from this mission.  But fairing fragments have washed up before, and Go Quest might have managed to locate some---or at least the piece which has the radio beacon and instrument package on it (if indeed some experiment of that sort was flown).
Go Quest would not be out looking for the fairing if they didn't intend to learn something from the pieces. The have found quite a few pieces already. What could have changed from the last mission to make them them want to go look for it?
 I'm not convinced GQ was looking for the fairing but if it was there must be something 'new' about this fairing.
« Last Edit: 12/26/2015 07:50 PM by oiorionsbelt »

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