Author Topic: SpaceX - now a satellite manufacturer?  (Read 373753 times)

Online speedevil

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Re: SpaceX - now a satellite vendor?
« Reply #20 on: 01/13/2015 05:26 PM »
Of course, SpaceX has the advantage of a large RLV, initially a partial RLV (of still quite good payload capability) but by the time this is in full swing, a very large fully reusable launch vehicle which would otherwise have a hard time finding enough customers (currently only 36 or so payloads per year... They'll need 40-100 in order to make full RLV worthwhile).

Even without a RLV - they can put experimental payloads into space almost utterly free - as ride-a-longs.

'Ok guys - I want ten designs for the star tracker on my desk by next month', we'll launch in 6 weeks and see if any of them work'.

A minimal communications package and solar array would let you get some use out of testing at almost any orbit.
If you can get to the point where you can point even a small HGA or laser - the game changes rather.
'random' tiny birds in near-GTO orbits might almost make a fun constellation.


Offline The Amazing Catstronaut

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Re: SpaceX - now a satellite vendor?
« Reply #21 on: 01/13/2015 05:52 PM »
Half of this page should be in a "laptops in space" thread. The joke was funny, but the comment chain after that doesn't discuss anything about the given radio interview. Don't get lazy people, make a new thread or topic stick.

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Offline Billium

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Re: SpaceX - now a satellite vendor?
« Reply #22 on: 01/13/2015 05:55 PM »
I wonder if this will be a joint venture with MDA Corp (location of new office would make sense). I wonder if this will hurt Spacex's relationship with existing satellite manufacturers.

Offline nadreck

Re: SpaceX - now a satellite vendor?
« Reply #23 on: 01/13/2015 05:59 PM »
So back when this was discussed in November on a thread titled "Elon Musk eyeing partnership to launch 700 internet satellites" I wrote about some aspects of this plan that are real game changers:

Quote
1. Instead of today's comms satellite manufacturing we will have a new generation and at least one new manufacturer ready to work for others building much cheaper devices. They are as much designing the manufacturing facility as the satellite in one go. Rather than building a dozen or two devices based on one common 'bus' there will be 700, they will need to be able to make spares in the future, so they will have the facility to cheaply manufacture others of similar design for other customers. I believe that Musk and Wyler will be able to build and launch the last of their birds, and the eventual spares, for < $500,000 per bird or < $1M when you include idea #2

and

Quote
2. My pet idea of having a tender with several spares on each plane that takes the dead ones away. With 700 'birds' these guys will likely be replacing 1-2 per week after a while. Once all the spares in a plane have been replaced, deorbit the duds and tender and send up a new tender.

But see http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=36047.msg1286989#msg1286989  and
for http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=36047.msg1285547#msg1285547 for the thoughts on how it makes a perfect early anchor tenant for F9R's to give them an established track record.

but I think the biggest game changer out there is the fact that 5 years from now, this new satellite factory will be churning out 100's of birds a year for other customers.

Elon, if you are listening, make sure the standard satellite buses all accommodate de-orbit disposal burns AND that your constellations have active tenders (equipped with spares of course) on each plane nominally to replace failed units but also to trash collect in case one fails so that it can't deorbit itself.  Lets have a commitment on this venture that sets the bar to prevent Kessler disasters.
It is all well and good to quote those things that made it past your confirmation bias that other people wrote, but this is a discussion board damnit! Let us know what you think! And why!

Online speedevil

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Re: SpaceX - now a satellite vendor?
« Reply #24 on: 01/13/2015 06:09 PM »
Elon, if you are listening, make sure the standard satellite buses all accommodate de-orbit disposal burns AND that your constellations have active tenders (equipped with spares of course) on each plane nominally to replace failed units but also to trash collect in case one fails so that it can't deorbit itself.  Lets have a commitment on this venture that sets the bar to prevent Kessler disasters.
Leetle tugs - perhaps with ion engines - could be really, really useful in mars orbit and general space assembly too, so dual win.

Offline Razvan

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Re: SpaceX - now a satellite vendor?
« Reply #25 on: 01/13/2015 06:10 PM »
After PayPal, Tesla, SpaceX, Giga factory for Solar energy, Giga Battery Plant, now Elon is going straight into the Silicon Valley adventure, planting a seed in Seattle.
What is going on with Elon? He is looking like a rocket escaped from the Earth gravity and picking up speed... faster and faster into the Solar System.
Godspeed, Elon...

Offline docmordrid

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Re: SpaceX - now a satellite vendor?
« Reply #26 on: 01/13/2015 06:29 PM »
ISTM this virtually guarantees involvement in electric propulsion.

And MSNW is in Redmond. Just sayin....
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Offline docmordrid

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Re: SpaceX - now a satellite vendor?
« Reply #27 on: 01/13/2015 06:33 PM »
Back to Satellites, here's a direct link to the Bloomberg interview....

Satellite comments start  ~17:25

Audio interview....(MP4-21 min)
DM

Offline yg1968

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Re: SpaceX - now a satellite vendor?
« Reply #28 on: 01/13/2015 06:51 PM »
I am assuming that this relates to the internet satellites news of a couple of months ago:
http://www.theverge.com/2014/11/11/7192173/satellite-elon-musk-spacex
« Last Edit: 01/13/2015 06:52 PM by yg1968 »

Online meekGee

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Re: SpaceX - now a satellite vendor?
« Reply #29 on: 01/13/2015 08:49 PM »
The funny part is how this affect the plans of competitors wrt market outlook.

If ULA/ESA have been (behind closed doors of course) evaluating the prospects of doing an RLV of some sort, then they have been analyzing market potential to see how it can possibly support the development cost.

Except whatever projections they've been making are a lot less certain now. New quantities/prices?  New competitor?

Also, how much is Musk cooperating with existing satellite operators, who are his customers?  Is SES (for example) already interested in what he has to offer?  If yes, how long has he been talking to them about it?

His customers are the operators, not the manufacturers - so he's basically staying out of their way.  He can offer them both the satellites and the launch service, and *all* they have to do is concentrate on the service.  Sort of like buying a Boeing satellite and a Boeing launch.    Except without Boeing.
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Offline Hotblack Desiato

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Re: SpaceX - now a satellite vendor?
« Reply #30 on: 01/13/2015 08:52 PM »
Half of this page should be in a "laptops in space" thread. The joke was funny, but the comment chain after that doesn't discuss anything about the given radio interview. Don't get lazy people, make a new thread or topic stick.

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=36557.0

opened....

Offline The Amazing Catstronaut

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Re: SpaceX - now a satellite vendor?
« Reply #31 on: 01/13/2015 09:02 PM »
However, SpaceX earns a considerable amount of Comnsat money, launching the very things SpaceX has actively announced plans to compete against.

What short-to-mid term ramifications is that going to earn SpaceX? I can imagine possible negative feedback.

Good luck SpaceX, regardless. I'm sure Elon's already outguessed any critiques we could summon on that front, however.
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Offline pippin

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Re: SpaceX - now a satellite vendor?
« Reply #32 on: 01/13/2015 09:10 PM »
There just has to be firewalls between the launch vehicle and spacecraft business, if they are to launch other companies' spacecraft and other companies' are going to launch their spacecraft.
Hm, is it usually the satellite vendor who's buying the launch or the operator?

Online meekGee

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Re: SpaceX - now a satellite vendor?
« Reply #33 on: 01/13/2015 09:18 PM »
There just has to be firewalls between the launch vehicle and spacecraft business, if they are to launch other companies' spacecraft and other companies' are going to launch their spacecraft.
Hm, is it usually the satellite vendor who's buying the launch or the operator?

The operator.  Musk knows better than to compete with his customers.

He's doing what many here predicted - he's going to support large satellite constellations from both ends (platforms and launch), but he's not going to get into the derived businesses.

He's probably had enough talks with customers and VCs that want to do communication, or imaging, or god knows what else with satellite constellations, and he's figured there's enough business there to start a whole new venture.

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Offline pippin

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Re: SpaceX - now a satellite vendor?
« Reply #34 on: 01/13/2015 09:22 PM »
Or he's finding that his RLV doesn't have enough payload capacity to compete in the "long duration, very heavy" segment and that his FH is too expensive so he's trying to push other market segments where his launch vehicle works better.

Offline WindnWar

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Re: SpaceX - now a satellite vendor?
« Reply #35 on: 01/13/2015 09:23 PM »
However, SpaceX earns a considerable amount of Comnsat money, launching the very things SpaceX has actively announced plans to compete against.

What short-to-mid term ramifications is that going to earn SpaceX? I can imagine possible negative feedback.

Good luck SpaceX, regardless. I'm sure Elon's already outguessed any critiques we could summon on that front, however.

Like others have said, he deals with the operators, so it should not cause any negative feedback, and the 700 satellite thing isn't going to make all those other comsats in orbit obsolete. Its simply a different service all together, and years away at that. I think given the costs of buying sats currently, the operators might be very interested in testing his approach. It might not work but for the right price I can see someone out there trying it.

Offline NovaSilisko

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Re: SpaceX - now a satellite vendor?
« Reply #36 on: 01/13/2015 09:25 PM »
25% off launches with included satellites! Limited time offer, this weekend only!  :P

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: SpaceX - now a satellite vendor?
« Reply #37 on: 01/13/2015 09:25 PM »
Wait, who says SpaceX wouldn't be operating this? It fits with their strategy of climbing the entire value chain ladder, starting with basically raw metal. If SpaceX is going to be building a megaconstellation, then unless Friday brings news of cooperation with Google or something (which is definitely a big possibility), they'll have to operate it themselves.
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Offline pippin

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Re: SpaceX - now a satellite vendor?
« Reply #38 on: 01/13/2015 09:25 PM »
I'm a bit sceptic about how many business models there are for large constellations. Imaging is something already well covered by others using very small, very cheap sats in very low orbits. Navigation is a given, too, because it's essentially available for free.
Which leaves global networks based on LEO constellations, certainly a market and probably one that can take a new entrant. Much more cyclic than Elon's traditional government service business.

Offline Oli

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Re: SpaceX - now a satellite vendor?
« Reply #39 on: 01/13/2015 09:28 PM »
We're going to try to do for satellites what we've done for rockets.

Maybe Elon should actually do what he promised for rockets before venturing into new territory.

Also I'm not sure what's "old technology" in satellites. They have improved tremendously in the last decades. Power, life expectancy, number of transponders etc.

In contrast to the launch industry there is not shortage of innovative satellite manufacturers out there.
« Last Edit: 01/13/2015 09:32 PM by Oli »

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