Author Topic: What's gonna happen with all the boosters?  (Read 6100 times)

Online CorvusCorax

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What's gonna happen with all the boosters?
« on: 02/23/2017 09:35 PM »
SpaceX is accumulating used boosters.

That's a bit of a problem, since the block 3 and 4 designs are superseded by block 5, which includes all the upgrades for "real" reuseability.

The boosters recovered so far are going to have to either...

- get upgraded to block 5 specs
- remain at block 3/4 techlevel and possibly need much more time consuming refurbishment
- get to fly expendable
- get scrapped
- a combo of above

So far only three boosters are even publicly considered to be reflown. SES 10 and the FH demo sidebooster(s?)

But in the same time period they are gonna accumulate the same amount of more flown boosters again. That's going to be a lot of deprecated hardware.

Are we gonna see "booster boneyards" in Arizona at some point?

Offline rpapo

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Re: What's gonna happen with all the boosters?
« Reply #1 on: 02/23/2017 09:39 PM »
If they aren't going to use them, then they can be treated the same way we treat old cars: the valuable parts are removed, and the rest sent to the mill to be recycled.  The question is actually, just how recyclable is aluminum-lithium alloy painted with SPAM?
An Apollo fanboy . . . fifty years ago.

Offline meekGee

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Re: What's gonna happen with all the boosters?
« Reply #2 on: 02/23/2017 10:01 PM »
They can start a brewery.
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Offline vapour_nudge

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Re: What's gonna happen with all the boosters?
« Reply #3 on: 02/23/2017 10:18 PM »
Next time an ASDS goes out to recover a block 5 booster, put the older boosters on board and push them overboard when out at sea before the recovery attempt.

Offline IanThePineapple

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Re: What's gonna happen with all the boosters?
« Reply #4 on: 02/23/2017 10:28 PM »
Next time an ASDS goes out to recover a block 5 booster, put the older boosters on board and push them overboard when out at sea before the recovery attempt.

Genius. I'll call Elon.

But honestly, wouldn't it be cool to display them at museums? It's not that often you get to see a rocket stage that maneuvered itself to land on a barge. Perhaps make exhibits at museums similar to the Saturn V building at KSC
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Offline ZachS09

Re: What's gonna happen with all the boosters?
« Reply #5 on: 02/23/2017 10:43 PM »
Personally, I would fly the Block 3/4 boosters a second time; they would go the expendable route instead of using JRTI or OCISLY.
"Liftoff of Falcon 9: the world's first reflight of an orbital class rocket."

Offline John Alan

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Re: What's gonna happen with all the boosters?
« Reply #6 on: 02/23/2017 10:58 PM »
Reuse some... but scrap out the rest...  ;)

Stages sitting in hangers for over 6 months are a liability IMHO and need to be disposed of as recycled scrap...  ???


They parked the first one at HQ... good enough for me...  8)
« Last Edit: 02/23/2017 11:00 PM by John Alan »

Offline Darkseraph

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Re: What's gonna happen with all the boosters?
« Reply #7 on: 02/23/2017 11:00 PM »
Perhaps they could refly some of them for internal SpaceX missions like Red Dragon, Dragon-Lab, In-Flight Abort or Internet Constellation test sats.
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Offline spacenut

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Re: What's gonna happen with all the boosters?
« Reply #8 on: 02/23/2017 11:04 PM »
Of all the accumulated boosters, what block numbers are they?

  Like someone said.  Take off the legs and fly the older block numbers as expendable.  Still cuts launch costs if only flown twice. 

Offline ZachS09

Re: What's gonna happen with all the boosters?
« Reply #9 on: 02/23/2017 11:33 PM »
I still have no idea which of the boosters are Block 3 or 4.
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Offline IanThePineapple

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Re: What's gonna happen with all the boosters?
« Reply #10 on: 02/23/2017 11:42 PM »
Perhaps they could refly some of them for internal SpaceX missions like Red Dragon, Dragon-Lab, In-Flight Abort or Internet Constellation test sats.

They will need a LOT of F9s for the internet constellation...
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Offline RonM

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Re: What's gonna happen with all the boosters?
« Reply #11 on: 02/23/2017 11:50 PM »
For one thing, they are not boosters, they are F9 first stages. That said, they could be converted to be FH boosters.

Offline edkyle99

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Re: What's gonna happen with all the boosters?
« Reply #12 on: 02/24/2017 12:17 AM »
For one thing, they are not boosters, they are F9 first stages. That said, they could be converted to be FH boosters.
The term "booster" has long been used to refer to the first stage of a multi-stage rocket (and sometimes informally even when discussing the entire multi-stage rocket), so yes, they are boosters.

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 02/24/2017 12:22 AM by edkyle99 »

Offline Darkseraph

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Re: What's gonna happen with all the boosters?
« Reply #13 on: 02/24/2017 12:20 AM »
Perhaps they could refly some of them for internal SpaceX missions like Red Dragon, Dragon-Lab, In-Flight Abort or Internet Constellation test sats.

They will need a LOT of F9s for the internet constellation...
Yes they will, which is why I qualified that  withtest sats. AFAIK, they intially plan to fly test versions of these internet sats before beginning to deploy the full system. That will take dozens of flights on what I presume will be Block 5 F9.
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Offline mme

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Re: What's gonna happen with all the boosters?
« Reply #14 on: 02/24/2017 12:32 AM »
For one thing, they are not boosters, they are F9 first stages.     ...
Sorry, that claim won't fly. Not only does Elon Musk refer to the first stage as a booster, but so does ULA for both the Atlas V and the Delta IV.
Space is not Highlander.  There can, and will, be more than one.

Offline IanThePineapple

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Re: What's gonna happen with all the boosters?
« Reply #15 on: 02/24/2017 12:37 AM »
For one thing, they are not boosters, they are F9 first stages.     ...
Sorry, that claim won't fly. Not only does Elon Musk refer to the first stage as a booster, but so does ULA for both the Atlas V and the Delta IV.

So much so that the Atlas' first stage cutoff is BECO- booster engine cutoff.
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Offline SweetWater

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Re: What's gonna happen with all the boosters?
« Reply #16 on: 02/24/2017 12:53 AM »
Next time an ASDS goes out to recover a block 5 booster, put the older boosters on board and push them overboard when out at sea before the recovery attempt.

I enjoy scuba diving in my free time, and I get a particular kick out of wrecks and artificial reefs. I would definitely go out of my way to dive on a spent Falcon 9 stage. I'm not sure about the practicalities of sinking one, but compared to a controlled landing on a barge at sea, it seems like a solvable problem...

Offline RonM

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Re: What's gonna happen with all the boosters?
« Reply #17 on: 02/24/2017 01:06 AM »
Ok, I stand corrected. They're all boosters.

The block 3 and 4 boosters could be used as side boosters on FH if SpaceX only wants block 5 boosters for F9 or the FH core.

Offline macpacheco

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Re: What's gonna happen with all the boosters?
« Reply #18 on: 02/24/2017 01:47 AM »
Block 3/4 boosters will be used as follows:
1 - Remanufacture them as FH side boosters (already done for at least one of FH demo launch side boosters).
2 - Expend them on a full performance GTO launch. Excellent opportunity for SpaceX to show what the F9 stack can do even without Block 5 performance. SES-10 first case.
3 - Use them for non CRS LEO/Polar launches like Iridium/Orbcomm/first SX Internet sat launch. I'm excluding CRS as NASA should at least require a full year until it oks a process to reuse boosters for CRS missions. Recover. Refurb. Relaunch. Do 2 reflights like this, then expend it as item 2.

In the end I expect most block 3/4 boosters to be remanufactured into FH side sticks.
« Last Edit: 02/26/2017 06:03 AM by macpacheco »
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Offline Ludus

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Re: What's gonna happen with all the boosters?
« Reply #19 on: 02/25/2017 03:11 PM »
SpaceX is focused on getting to Block 5 and standardizing rapid reusability processes around it so they can build up the launch cadence. Every exception for reusing the pre-block 5 makes that a little harder. I don't think it's a bad thing to just leave them in storage and decide what to do with them later. Once block 5 is in production later this year there won't be any more added.

Offline dror

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Re: What's gonna happen with all the boosters?
« Reply #20 on: 02/25/2017 03:25 PM »
Use them as target-missiles for the military.
Boeing and LM will be over motivated to shoot them down, so double gain there...
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Offline jabe

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Re: What's gonna happen with all the boosters?
« Reply #21 on: 02/25/2017 04:14 PM »
use for prop depot demonstration missions...
2 launches...
one with fuel..
other unfueled "lunar probe"
have them dock..load up probe..
go to moon

Online CorvusCorax

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Re: What's gonna happen with all the boosters?
« Reply #22 on: 02/25/2017 05:58 PM »
Use them as target-missiles for the military.
Boeing and LM will be over motivated to shoot them down, so double gain there...

True, but SpaceX would also have a great opportunity to make Boing and LM look bad. They could easily code some "evasive manouvering" into the rocket's avionic computers - capable of using both thrusters and fins for evasives, there's slim chance the current version of these anti missile missiles would be hitting that booster. AFAIK, they still rely on the target following a more or less ballistic - or at least straight - trajectory.

If the DoD sees this, Boing and LM don't just loose out on their missile defense system but also on the next generation of ICBMS.

If I remember right, the F9 could do single stage to orbit with negligible payload. I would almost bet that negligible payload would still be enough for some sort of reentry vehicle.

Most likely that's not exactly the usecase that ElonMusk had in mind, but hey, they were searching for a way to finance ITS, and it beats selling one's pants.


Offline Jim

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Re: What's gonna happen with all the boosters?
« Reply #23 on: 02/25/2017 07:43 PM »

True, but SpaceX would also have a great opportunity to make Boing and LM look bad. They could easily code some "evasive manouvering" into the rocket's avionic computers - capable of using both thrusters and fins for evasives, there's slim chance the current version of these anti missile missiles would be hitting that booster. AFAIK, they still rely on the target following a more or less ballistic - or at least straight - trajectory.

If the DoD sees this, Boing and LM don't just loose out on their missile defense system but also on the next generation of ICBMS.


Just plain nonsense.   Both paragraphs are wrong.  Actually every sentence is wrong.

And, the F9 can't "evasive maneuvering" where it matters
« Last Edit: 02/25/2017 07:44 PM by Jim »

Offline envy887

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Re: What's gonna happen with all the boosters?
« Reply #24 on: 02/25/2017 08:09 PM »
Use them as target-missiles for the military.
Boeing and LM will be over motivated to shoot them down, so double gain there...

True, but SpaceX would also have a great opportunity to make Boing and LM look bad. They could easily code some "evasive manouvering" into the rocket's avionic computers - capable of using both thrusters and fins for evasives, there's slim chance the current version of these anti missile missiles would be hitting that booster. AFAIK, they still rely on the target following a more or less ballistic - or at least straight - trajectory.

If the DoD sees this, Boing and LM don't just loose out on their missile defense system but also on the next generation of ICBMS.

If I remember right, the F9 could do single stage to orbit with negligible payload. I would almost bet that negligible payload would still be enough for some sort of reentry vehicle.

Most likely that's not exactly the usecase that ElonMusk had in mind, but hey, they were searching for a way to finance ITS, and it beats selling one's pants.

Musk has no intention of selling his own pants. It's pretty clear he's going to acquire others' pants in illegitimate fashion and, through some as yet to be determined mechanism, convert them to profit.

As for the boosters... I'm pretty sure turning them into beer cans would be the most profitable utilization if they can't be reflown. Space-flown Falcon beer.

Offline meekGee

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Re: What's gonna happen with all the boosters?
« Reply #25 on: 02/25/2017 08:24 PM »
Use them as target-missiles for the military.
Boeing and LM will be over motivated to shoot them down, so double gain there...

True, but SpaceX would also have a great opportunity to make Boing and LM look bad. They could easily code some "evasive manouvering" into the rocket's avionic computers - capable of using both thrusters and fins for evasives, there's slim chance the current version of these anti missile missiles would be hitting that booster. AFAIK, they still rely on the target following a more or less ballistic - or at least straight - trajectory.

If the DoD sees this, Boing and LM don't just loose out on their missile defense system but also on the next generation of ICBMS.

If I remember right, the F9 could do single stage to orbit with negligible payload. I would almost bet that negligible payload would still be enough for some sort of reentry vehicle.

Most likely that's not exactly the usecase that ElonMusk had in mind, but hey, they were searching for a way to finance ITS, and it beats selling one's pants.

Ha, that makes my brewery idea look brilliant :)

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Offline hkultala

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Re: What's gonna happen with all the boosters?
« Reply #26 on: 02/25/2017 08:34 PM »
If the DoD sees this, Boing and LM don't just loose out on their missile defense system but also on the next generation of ICBMS.

F9 makes absolutely no sense as ICBM. Launching it is about 1000 times too slow.

ICBM has to use storable propellant to be able to be launched quickly, LOX makes merlin engines totally unsuitable for ICBM.

Offline vapour_nudge

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Re: What's gonna happen with all the boosters?
« Reply #27 on: 02/25/2017 09:20 PM »
Leave them on the KSC front verge on verge collection day

Offline nacnud

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Re: What's gonna happen with all the boosters?
« Reply #28 on: 02/25/2017 10:26 PM »
Marshenge.

Offline meekGee

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Re: What's gonna happen with all the boosters?
« Reply #29 on: 02/25/2017 10:55 PM »
How difficult is it to convert a Sea Level Marlin to a Vacuum Merlin?

If it's possible, you could use each one for 9 second-stage engines, thus reducing the cost of future second stages.

(how much of the cost of the second stage is the engine?)

I say this, and I worry that if these are less reliable, it's not worth the risk.  But we don't know how reliable they are.
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Offline rpapo

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Re: What's gonna happen with all the boosters?
« Reply #30 on: 02/25/2017 11:00 PM »
How difficult is it to convert a Sea Level Marlin to a Vacuum Merlin?
SpaceX being SpaceX, there is probably a good deal in common, though the differences are probably more than just the much bigger bell on the Vacuum version.

Not quite so seriously, converting a game fish into a kero-lox rocket can't be easy...
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Offline old_sellsword

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Re: What's gonna happen with all the boosters?
« Reply #31 on: 02/25/2017 11:14 PM »
How difficult is it to convert a Sea Level Marlin to a Vacuum Merlin?

Impossible, according to an ex-MVac technician.
« Last Edit: 02/25/2017 11:14 PM by old_sellsword »

Offline meekGee

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Re: What's gonna happen with all the boosters?
« Reply #32 on: 02/26/2017 12:11 AM »
How difficult is it to convert a Sea Level Marlin to a Vacuum Merlin?

Impossible, according to an ex-MVac technician.

Good.  The idea made me nervous...
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Offline Lar

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Re: What's gonna happen with all the boosters?
« Reply #33 on: 02/26/2017 01:43 AM »
Did the tanks themselves change from 3 to 5? Strip them down to just the tanks. Sell all the bits (sliced up into ITAR safe pieces) as souvenirs[1] and use the tanks for block 5. 

That may be more expensive than scrapping, so in that case, scrap or donate to museums that take them for free.

1 - The Roadie will buy at least one of each, I guarantee it!
« Last Edit: 02/26/2017 01:44 AM by Lar »
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Offline guckyfan

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Re: What's gonna happen with all the boosters?
« Reply #34 on: 02/26/2017 07:37 AM »
How difficult is it to convert a Sea Level Marlin to a Vacuum Merlin?

Impossible, according to an ex-MVac technician.

But I do wonder if they could convert the engine to block 5 by changing affected parts of the turbopumps.

Offline kch

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Re: What's gonna happen with all the boosters?
« Reply #35 on: 02/26/2017 08:10 AM »
How difficult is it to convert a Sea Level Marlin to a Vacuum Merlin?

Impossible, according to an ex-MVac technician.

But I do wonder if they could convert the engine to block 5 by changing affected parts of the turbopumps.

And what would you do with the scales?  That could gill the whole deal right there ... ;D

Offline kch

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Re: What's gonna happen with all the boosters?
« Reply #36 on: 02/26/2017 08:41 AM »
Marshenge.

Ha -- thought that said MarShmenge

"The Happy Wanderers' First Interplanetary Tour / Yosh and Stan on Mars" ... :D

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Offline macpacheco

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Re: What's gonna happen with all the boosters?
« Reply #37 on: 02/26/2017 10:10 AM »
How difficult is it to convert a Sea Level Marlin to a Vacuum Merlin?

Impossible, according to an ex-MVac technician.

But I do wonder if they could convert the engine to block 5 by changing affected parts of the turbopumps.
i tawt i head it samewere that there were about 100 changes to block 5, or am I loosing my mind...
Remanufacture into FH side sticks.
Reuse for LEO launches.
Do some expendable GTO launches.
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Offline Chris Bergin

Re: What's gonna happen with all the boosters?
« Reply #38 on: 02/26/2017 03:42 PM »

i tawt i head it samewere that there were about 100 changes to block 5, or am I loosing my mind...
Remanufacture into FH side sticks.

If that doesn't close a thread, I don't know what will. You're keyboard is broken, purchase a new one ;)

Closed.

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