Author Topic: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles  (Read 153740 times)

Online oiorionsbelt

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Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #40 on: 01/01/2016 12:00 AM »
I wonder how long it will be until there's a "used spaceship" market? Or maybe the term "pre-owned" would sound better.

But seriously, I'd like to know how extensively the various construction materials and components have been tested for "cycle life".  It's one thing to expect your O-ring to flex properly during one launch, but after how many launches will it give out?

Is cycle life something that's normally tested for in the rocket industry?

Preloved.

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Offline Big Al

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Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #41 on: 01/01/2016 12:18 AM »
You know, I've been thing about this  reusable situation. There is an organization that has been flying reusable rocket for many years and that's called NASA! I would have thought that Space X would have had more than a few conversations about what surprised them after a Shuttle flight that they needed to inspect and what they did not. It sounds like the Shuttle needed a lot more work than they originally thought.   

Online Lars-J

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Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #42 on: 01/01/2016 01:28 AM »

You know, I've been thing about this  reusable situation. There is an organization that has been flying reusable rocket for many years and that's called NASA! I would have thought that Space X would have had more than a few conversations about what surprised them after a Shuttle flight[/b{ that they needed to inspect and what they did not. It sounds like the Shuttle needed a lot more work than they originally thought.   

Who says they haven't? But beyond that, the flight environments for both are not that similar.

You are making a lot of assumptions based on one image. If scuffed paint is the worst they have to deal with, SpaceX will be very happy.

Offline AJW

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Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #43 on: 01/01/2016 04:26 AM »
Well, Pro sports have 'throwback' uniforms, so if there is so much concern over chipped and scorched paint, maybe Elon could do a Gemini/Titan II throwback design.

Offline Req

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Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #44 on: 01/01/2016 04:50 AM »
Quote
Falcon 9 back in the hangar at Cape Canaveral. No damage found, ready to fire again.

This is really great news, but in my opinion, the most significant thing about this announcement is that it came only 10 days after the landing, including Christmas.  Obviously refiring and reflight are two different things, but still very encouraging.

Edit - It makes me wish 39A was ready for them to roll it out and give it a go!  I assume using SLC-40 would mess with flow for paying customers.
« Last Edit: 01/01/2016 04:59 AM by Req »

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #45 on: 01/01/2016 06:47 AM »
Quote
Falcon 9 back in the hangar at Cape Canaveral. No damage found, ready to fire again.

Isn't this news almost as significant as the landing itself?

Refurbishment cost is often cited as a reason why re-use may not be economic. This seems like a pretty significant datum point against that argument to me.

Offline macpacheco

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Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #46 on: 01/01/2016 08:05 AM »
Quote
Falcon 9 back in the hangar at Cape Canaveral. No damage found, ready to fire again.

Isn't this news almost as significant as the landing itself?

Refurbishment cost is often cited as a reason why re-use may not be economic. This seems like a pretty significant datum point against that argument to me.
Just thinking out loud...

The kind of inspection/testing performed was not specified. We don't know if it was a cursory external inspection (a few hours) or a more detailed check of the whole rocket (with boroscope, x-ray, ..., probably a multi day effort). They probably didn't disassemble anything (save it for after the static fire).

I *think* the big news will be the completion of that static fire without any anomalies.
But I've always been in the view that SpaceX know what they're doing, its easier to design a rocket with margins for reuse than getting all of the software and hardware just right for terra firma and ASDS landings (and having the LV with enough margin to accomplish that).

SpaceX probably have the margins to fly again once or twice without issue.

Its not enough to simply refly the stage, but know that there's ample safety margin to risk putting a US$ 100 million payload on top.
« Last Edit: 01/01/2016 08:07 AM by macpacheco »
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Offline rsdavis9

Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #47 on: 01/01/2016 02:43 PM »
Has anybody asked the question. Can they just refly the booster with maybe a cap on the interstage. That way they don't risk any hardware like the second stage or payload? That way validating just refuel and fly.
With ELV best efficiency was the paradigm. The new paradigm is reusable, good enough, and commonality of design.
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Offline rpapo

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Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #48 on: 01/01/2016 03:48 PM »
Has anybody asked the question. Can they just refly the booster with maybe a cap on the interstage. That way they don't risk any hardware like the second stage or payload? That way validating just refuel and fly.
The loading wouldn't be right without a second stage.  The accelerations would be much greater than normal unless they throttled back, but then it wouldn't be a proper test.
An Apollo fanboy . . . fifty years ago.

Offline guckyfan

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Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #49 on: 01/01/2016 04:08 PM »
Has anybody asked the question. Can they just refly the booster with maybe a cap on the interstage. That way they don't risk any hardware like the second stage or payload? That way validating just refuel and fly.
The loading wouldn't be right without a second stage.  The accelerations would be much greater than normal unless they throttled back, but then it wouldn't be a proper test.

They can use a dummy upper stage. They probably will. The question is where will they do it? In New Mexico or do they skip that and do the flights out of Vandenberg, assuming they have landing permit there?

Offline Eric Hedman

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Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #50 on: 01/01/2016 04:08 PM »
Charles Krauthammer weighed in on what reusing rocket stages could mean in the Washington Post:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/space-the-visionaries-take-over/2015/12/31/d0f9d956-affa-11e5-b820-eea4d64be2a1_story.html?hpid=hp_no-name_opinion-card-a%3Ahomepage%2Fstory

Edit - I like the last line: "Which means we are actually finally going somewhere again."
« Last Edit: 01/01/2016 04:20 PM by Eric Hedman »

Offline cebri

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Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #51 on: 01/01/2016 07:27 PM »
Nice, i didn't expect to hear so soon from Elon about the status of the first stage. Hope that static fire goes well.

Offline vulture4

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Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #52 on: 01/01/2016 08:35 PM »
I would have thought that Space X would have had more than a few conversations about what surprised them after a Shuttle flight that they needed to inspect and what they did not.
Unfortunately NASA did not even ask the laid off USA employees for their opinions on the reasons for the high Shuttle refurbishment costs, which were about ten times what was predicted. Fortunately SpaceX has a pretty good idea where NASA missed the boat and has approached reuse in a much more practical way.
« Last Edit: 01/01/2016 08:37 PM by vulture4 »

Offline Nomadd

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Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #53 on: 01/01/2016 08:47 PM »
I would have thought that Space X would have had more than a few conversations about what surprised them after a Shuttle flight that they needed to inspect and what they did not.
Unfortunately NASA did not even ask the laid off USA employees for their opinions on the reasons for the high Shuttle refurbishment costs, which were about ten times what was predicted. Fortunately SpaceX has a pretty good idea where NASA missed the boat and has approached reuse in a much more practical way.
How bad was the shuttle if you don't count tiles, engine rebuilds, external tanks with their infernal foam and redoing solid boosters every flight? Also, no HPUs, no H2. It seems like about 95% of the things that made the Shuttle such a bear aren't applicable to Falcon.

Offline sanman

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Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #54 on: 01/01/2016 11:53 PM »
Quote
Falcon 9 back in the hangar at Cape Canaveral. No damage found, ready to fire again.

Gosh, and here I thought we had an interesting thread going, and Mr Buzzkill Elon Musk tells us that no refurbishment may be necessary - other than soot removal and a fresh coat of paint.

But seriously - that's certainly incredible news, if it holds up after further testing.

Personally, I think Musk should delay gratification to reap more rewards sooner - forget about the souvenir thing, or turning the booster into a museum display. Inspect the hell out of that thing and even re-fly it again if possible. Gaining more data on reusability will be far more important than showcasing their triumphs to the public.

And if a re-flight is successful, then re-fly that one again, too. Like Grasshopper, fly it until it breaks.

How should testing across multiple re-flights differ from the kind of testing that's been done uptil now? Isn't it going to require an even finer level of monitoring to detect the kinds of problems that will arise from multiple re-uses?


Online KelvinZero

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Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #55 on: 01/02/2016 01:05 AM »
How much would a launch cost roughly? I mean all the costs not counting building the rocket and not counting those involved in integrating a possibly finicky payload. I assume it is a lot more than grasshopper, ie more than just the difference in propellant, but are we going to start seeing launches just because SpaceX wants to?

Offline kevinof

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Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #56 on: 01/02/2016 02:01 AM »
I think this F9 is too valuable to refly. They can learn so much from this  returned stage, things that they could only guess at previously.

Wait for the next stage to be successfully returned and then refly this one. That way you always have one on hand to learn from.

Quote
Falcon 9 back in the hangar at Cape Canaveral. No damage found, ready to fire again.

Gosh, and here I thought we had an interesting thread going, and Mr Buzzkill Elon Musk tells us that no refurbishment may be necessary - other than soot removal and a fresh coat of paint.

But seriously - that's certainly incredible news, if it holds up after further testing.

Personally, I think Musk should delay gratification to reap more rewards sooner - forget about the souvenir thing, or turning the booster into a museum display. Inspect the hell out of that thing and even re-fly it again if possible. Gaining more data on reusability will be far more important than showcasing their triumphs to the public.

And if a re-flight is successful, then re-fly that one again, too. Like Grasshopper, fly it until it breaks.

How should testing across multiple re-flights differ from the kind of testing that's been done uptil now? Isn't it going to require an even finer level of monitoring to detect the kinds of problems that will arise from multiple re-uses?
« Last Edit: 01/02/2016 02:01 AM by kevinof »

Offline sanman

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Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #57 on: 01/02/2016 04:38 AM »
I think this F9 is too valuable to refly. They can learn so much from this  returned stage, things that they could only guess at previously.

Hmm, like what for instance? I'm curious to know which components would be of greatest interest to inspectors.

Quote
Wait for the next stage to be successfully returned and then refly this one. That way you always have one on hand to learn from.

I think that the more re-flights a stage has had, the more valuable it is -- that's where you get to learn which stuff wears out the fastest. Whatever a singly-reflown stage will tell you, a multi-reflown stage will tell you even more of.

They need to find a way to test everything in situ - ie. inspect the stage while avoiding taking it apart only as a last resort.

The more times a mechanic opens up a car to fix something, the more potential there is for additional stuff to go wrong, just from the disassembly/reassembly process.

Offline dgates

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Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #58 on: 01/02/2016 05:28 AM »
Any bets / guesses as to when the landed stage hot fire test will occur? Just to bound things, my thought is that two weeks is too soon but six months is too long.  Valentine's Day perhaps? St. Paddy's day?  I suspect SpaceX is fairly eager to make it happen, but who knows? 
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Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #59 on: 01/02/2016 06:19 AM »
And if a re-flight is successful, then re-fly that one again, too. Like Grasshopper, fly it until it breaks.

My thoughts are that they will do exactly this... with the second and all future returned stages, once they get their in-house satellite production working. 

This debate about how many times a stage can be reused will go on ad naseum until they have a conveyor belt of second stage + non-critical payloads coming to the launch site (such as building their satellite constellation), and they can just cycle launch/landings continuously until the booster fails.  Ideally, if they can show customers a graph like this (poisson distribution of flight number vs probability of failure), then you know exactly what you're getting with a reused booster:



I just found that pic online: obviously we're hoping for a distribution which peaks further to the right than this one.

EDIT: also I wouldn't be surprised if they have "early adopter" pricing for any payload that doesn't mind being a guinea pig in that test program
« Last Edit: 01/02/2016 06:25 AM by mikelepage »

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