Author Topic: Who will compete with SpaceX? The last two and next two years.  (Read 47707 times)

Online Space Ghost 1962

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It is assumed in many circles that there will be a failure in less than a year

The same circles that assumed you couldn't land a booster, refly it, selling successive missions off them?

Offline AncientU

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...economically.
"If we shared everything [we are working on] people would think we are insane!"
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Offline gongora

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a share (maybe >50%) of the 12 or so remaining Phase 1A NSS launches

Only 4 of those 12 are GPS.  Some of the rest will be FH vs. Atlas V, and FH isn't certified yet.  SpaceX still has some work to do before they can get half those launches.

Offline Jim

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It is assumed in many circles that there will be a failure in less than a year

The same circles that assumed you couldn't land a booster, refly it, selling successive missions off them?

Nope, the same circles that make US launch service procurement decisions

Offline Jim

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ULA can expect at best 50% of the NSS plus NASA launch contracts to be awarded/flown over the next five years (excluding block buy, which was not competed).

A reasonable person would say that they have lost 50% of their monopoly market share.
Are you counting NASA crew and cargo deliveries over the next 5 years, or just NASA spacecraft? ULA never had a monopoly on the former, though they did on the latter at one point.

Yes, I am including them; cargo and crew launches were/are competed NASA launches. ULA and its parent companies essentially had a monopoly on all USG launches when SpaceX entered the market.  They still have a significant share... though dropping toward 50%.

SpaceX manifest plus potential wins:
9 more CRS-1
6 CRS-2 (initial award -- subsequent awards likely)
3 crew demos (including in flight abort)
6 crew transports
4 USAF (including STP-2, 2 GPS-III, OTV-5)
1 NASA (TESS, probably a couple others will be added)
a share (maybe >50%) of the 12 or so remaining Phase 1A NSS launches
a share (50% plus/minus) of the Phase 2 NSS launches (initially 20 launches)

Total (about) 40-50 USG-paid launches out to 2024. 

ULA will be pressed to win/launch more than that number even including the remaining block buy launches.  Even if they do manage to break 50%, it is disingenuous to say ULA/Boeing/LM haven't lost a huge chunk of market share to SpaceX.  And this doesn't include the fate of SLS/Orion...

CRS-1 missions don't count.  ULA was frozen out of them.

Wrong.  Anyone could bid on CRS.  If SpaceX hadn't existed, it's possible a team that was using Atlas V could have won the missions that SpaceX actually won for CRS.

Wrong, Delta and Atlas were part of proposals that weren't allowed

Online Space Ghost 1962

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One gets the impression of a lot of false dichotomies being fought here.

SpaceX has continued to grow in marketshare but has not yet made a huge reduction in ULA launch rate. HOWEVER, ULA has seen /enormous/ reductions in its workforce in that time while SpaceX has continued to grow. Both of these actions are indicative of future marketshare expectations. (ULA trimming down so they can remain profitable as an equal peer for natsec launches to SpaceX, but not really trying to compete otherwise.)

The retreat by ULA (BTW, still too many/wrong "chiefs", not enough/right "indians") sets bounds on the production rate, while SX booster reuse advances flight rate.

So they'll continue to focus on a few lucrative launches, meaning fewer 401's. Because the volume growth on lower end launches might come with an opportunity cost.

Also, by shrinking down, they don't possess the capability to deliver high end commercial launch services to compete with Ariane for those. So in "cherry picking", the sources of the "cherries" is restricted.

And, if AF budget is constrained, the pressure to go with the lowest bidder will increase.

Perhaps the schadenfreude of hoping for your rival to fail is their chief revenue growth strategy?

Quote
It looks more and more like SpaceX will have about triple the launch rate in 2017 as it had in 2015. Global launch rates are roughly the same. That means marketshare has also tripled, or /probably/ will by the two year anniversary of this thread. (I give about a 25-30% chance of a failure before then.)

Market share growth seems to be at the expense of Proton/Soyuz/other, as well as a rise in new segment additions.

As to failure rates, that's a hard one to estimate. If SX keeps to change discipline (unlike past), perhaps you're 2-3x on the high side.


It is assumed in many circles that there will be a failure in less than a year

The same circles that assumed you couldn't land a booster, refly it, selling successive missions off them?

Nope, the same circles that make US launch service procurement decisions

And who get into trouble with procurement because when it doesn't happen, they're blamed by Congress for "overbuy".

(I think these are the same people who doubled ULA's LOM risks because of loss of key people due to layoffs, when they held too many "managers of managers" instead.)
« Last Edit: 07/05/2017 02:24 AM by Space Ghost 1962 »

Offline woods170

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Overall, SpaceX has taken market share away from nearly everyone in the business over the last two years. 


ULA hasn't lost any to Spacex yet.

I'm not sure how you can defend that statement.

Prior to SpaceX ULA was launching all of the GPS satellites, and now SpaceX has won at least one launch.

Prior to SpaceX ULA was launching all of the X-37 missions, and now SpaceX has won at least one launch.

And the Air Force in on record wanting competition, meaning ULA will continue to lose market share to SpaceX vs when they were a monopoly. The evidence is clear.

wrong, ULA can't lose what they can't compete for
Incorrect.
ULA lost two (2) GPS launch contracts, both of which were competed between SpaceX and ULA. ULA chose not to bid on the first one, but did in fact bid on the second one.

ULA was supposedly not capable of bidding on the first one due to their accounting system. It later turned out that was a bunch of felgercarb (both USAF and US Congress publically scolded ULA for coming up with such a poor excuse) because with no significant changes to their accounting system they were suddenly capable of bidding on the second one.
« Last Edit: 07/05/2017 09:23 AM by woods170 »

Offline Mader Levap

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It is assumed in many circles that there will be a failure in less than a year

If this assumption is true, SpaceX already failed (in general sense). You cannot have very high launch rate without having very high reliability.

To fulfill their ambitions, SpaceX have to have literally most reliable launcher (F9) in the world.
Be successful.  Then tell the haters to (BLEEP) off. - deruch
...and if you have failure, tell it anyway.

Offline Eerie

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It is assumed in many circles that there will be a failure in less than a year

Do you agree with this opinion?

Offline M.E.T.

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Will we ever get to a point where a higher failure rate - on unmanned flights - becomes an acceptable price to pay for dramatically lower launch costs?

Say 5 failures in every 100 launches, but in exchange for an order of magnitude drop in launch costs?


Offline woods170

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CRS-1 missions don't count.  ULA was frozen out of them.

Wrong.  Anyone could bid on CRS.  If SpaceX hadn't existed, it's possible a team that was using Atlas V could have won the missions that SpaceX actually won for CRS.

Wrong, Delta and Atlas were part of proposals that weren't allowed

"Not allowed" is apparently a euphemism for "rejected".
Now, let's look at the facts:

Over 20 proposals were submitted for COTS. Some of those proposals came from Boeing an Lockheed Martin.

1. Boeing submitted a proposal, along with EADS Astrium, to fly the European ATV on Delta IV. This proposal formally entered the second round of the COTS contest but was ultimately not selected for an award.
2. SpaceHab, along with partner LockMart, submitted a proposal to perform ISS cargo mission via the ARCTUS spacecraft (launched on an Atlas V). This proposal formally entered the first round of the COTS contest and was selected as semi-finalist. The proposal was re-submitted and formally entered the second round as well but was ultimately not selected for an award.
3. SpaceDev, along with partner LockMart, submitted a proposal to perform ISS cargo missions via DreamChaser, launched on Atlas V. This proposal formally entered the first round of the COTS contest and was selected as semi-finalist. The proposal formally entered the second round as well but was ultimately not selected for an award.
4. Lockheed Martin, along with partners JAXA and EADS Astrium, submitted a proposal to perform ISS cargo missions by having ATV and HTV launched on Atlas V. This proposal formally entered round one of the COTS contest but was rejected early by NASA because "it did not offer any new capabilities".

So, Delta IV and Atlas V were in fact very much allowed to enter the COTS contest but ultimately failed to win awards.
Proposals are either rejected (no award) or selected (win award). But there is no such thing as proposals "not being allowed".
« Last Edit: 07/05/2017 09:24 AM by woods170 »

Offline AbuSimbel

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I'm obviously not an expert, but I don't buy into the unspoken mantra that high reliability and high flight rates cannot coexist. That foolishly assumes that nothing can change, fails to acknowlerge the reality of how human progress works, which is through failures. You think it's impossible to improve your tech by learning from your failures. And that's true. If you are the one not allowed to fail.

I don't know if there will be another LOM for SpaceX soon, I certainly hope not. What I know is that they have more useful data than anyone else to improve reliability and they are getting more and more whike their cadence builds up and with the reflights. This is the most imoortant thing, and the people at SpaceX have repeatedly demonstrated they can rapidly and cleverly leverage their experience to inform their design.
To conclude: if your business plan assumes the failure of your competitor, than it doesn't bode well for you.

Offline AncientU

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It is assumed in many circles that there will be a failure in less than a year

The same circles that assumed you couldn't land a booster, refly it, selling successive missions off them?

Nope, the same circles that make US launch service procurement decisions

Isn't it illegal for those circles to be assuming a SpaceX failure?
« Last Edit: 07/05/2017 10:09 AM by AncientU »
"If we shared everything [we are working on] people would think we are insane!"
-- SpaceX friend of mlindner

Offline AbuSimbel

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It is assumed in many circles that there will be a failure in less than a year

The same circles that assumed you couldn't land a booster, refly it, selling successive missions off them?

Nope, the same circles that make US launch service procurement decisions
We'll see what reality has to say

Offline AncientU

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Why is most every major launcher being replaced with a lower cost (more competitive) design?

Ariane 5 by Ariane 6, then by Promethius
Proton by Angara
Soyuz by Soyuz-5
Atlas V by Vulcan
Delta IV-M by nothing
Delta Heavy by Vulcan ACES
Sea Launch/Zenit by nothing
Small sat launchers by a fleet of low-cost competitors
China?
India?
« Last Edit: 07/05/2017 10:23 AM by AncientU »
"If we shared everything [we are working on] people would think we are insane!"
-- SpaceX friend of mlindner

Offline JamesH65

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It is assumed in many circles that there will be a failure in less than a year

The same circles that assumed you couldn't land a booster, refly it, selling successive missions off them?

Nope, the same circles that make US launch service procurement decisions

So these circles are assuming that SpaceX will have a failed launch within the next year.

For what reasons do they think this? Are they unhappy with SpaceX procedures, with their engineering, with their designs? What evidence do they have to support such a point of view?

To drop a concern troll post of that magnitude in to a conversation with no citation or any sort of explanation seems malicious to say the least.

Offline AncientU

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Will we ever get to a point where a higher failure rate - on unmanned flights - becomes an acceptable price to pay for dramatically lower launch costs?

Say 5 failures in every 100 launches, but in exchange for an order of magnitude drop in launch costs?

Five in a hundred would probably preclude the order of magnitude drop.  1-2 might be palatable for many customers... Proton is evidence that some significant level of failure is tolerable, but insurance rates quickly shut that door when failure rates climb.  When something that costs billions to make (and is uninsured) is going to be launched, the launcher with the best track record will still be bought at a premium.  Note: There is much evidence that these super-expensive, and super-vulnerable payloads will be replaced with dis-aggregated spacecraft whenever possible.  Another JWST-class (~$10B) science payload will simply never again be built because it is too expensive to risk launching.

There is no evidence to contradict the possibility that Falcon is in the process of stringing together a hundred straight launch successes -- Ariane, Atlas V, and Delta IV had failures in abundance in their lineage before the current strings of successes began.
"If we shared everything [we are working on] people would think we are insane!"
-- SpaceX friend of mlindner

Online DanielW

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Assuming a failure in the next year is not necessarily a pessimistic view. Falcon 9 is currently a bit worse than one Loss Of Mission for every twenty flights. If you were in the business of buying a flight you would have to pencil that in as a schedule risk due to Spacex's high flight rate. Robotbeat did a good analysis of this in another thread.

Online guckyfan

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Falcon 9 is currently a bit worse than one Loss Of Mission for every twenty flights.

They have learned a lot since then. Realistically their risk is much lower. The insurance companies seem to agree. Still 1 fault within the next 50 to 100 launches is a reasonable assumption.

At the same time assuming a 0 risk from Ariane or ULA is also not realistic.

Offline envy887

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...
So these circles are assuming that SpaceX will have a failed launch within the next year.

For what reasons do they think this? Are they unhappy with SpaceX procedures, with their engineering, with their designs?
...
Probably none of the above, but just high expected flight rate at current expected reliability. It's simple math. F9 v1.2 has demonstrated 95% expected reliability and a 20/year flight cadence. If they maintain that cadence over the next year without improving reliability, the chance of a failure is 64%.

The same analysis on Atlas predicts a >50% probability of failure or partial failure in the next 3.5 years.

Now there is a good chance SpaceX will improve reliability, with maturing the F9 design and lessons learned from reuse. But until demonstrated, that doesn't have much impact on this type of assessment.

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