Poll

How many SpaceX flights do you anticipate in 2017?

None
0 (0%)
1
1 (0.3%)
2
1 (0.3%)
3
0 (0%)
4
0 (0%)
5
0 (0%)
6
5 (1.6%)
7
5 (1.6%)
8
8 (2.5%)
9
8 (2.5%)
10
24 (7.5%)
11
18 (5.6%)
12
45 (14.1%)
13
36 (11.3%)
14
24 (7.5%)
15
31 (9.7%)
16
25 (7.8%)
17
16 (5%)
18
26 (8.1%)
19
9 (2.8%)
20
14 (4.4%)
21-25
21 (6.6%)
26-30
2 (0.6%)
31-35
0 (0%)
more than 35 !!!!
1 (0.3%)

Total Members Voted: 320

Voting closed: 01/19/2017 06:46 PM


Author Topic: POLL: Number of SpaceX orbital flights in 2017  (Read 32684 times)

Online Rebel44

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Re: POLL: Number of SpaceX orbital flights in 2017
« Reply #180 on: 06/27/2017 11:08 PM »
Core production looks to be the bottleneck for the scarcity of launches in July. We know the first Block IVs should be rolling off the line, so this could be part of the reason for the gap in cores rolling off the production line.

If more customers are willing to take re-used boosters (e.g. SES-14 and SES-16), that should allow SpaceX to continue to increase their launch rate by shifting the bottleneck to pad availability.
/speculation/
SpaceX might also make the best of this limitation by launching several rockets as close to each other as possible -
 resulting in longer window between the and next group of launches - during which they can start doing some of the work on 39A, that will be needed for crew missions and Falcon Heavy
/speculation/

Offline Skylab

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Re: POLL: Number of SpaceX orbital flights in 2017
« Reply #181 on: 06/28/2017 10:55 AM »
July looks like a very quiet month, but we've been spoiled earlier. Just one launch on July 2nd? And my estimate of 15 launches was probably low, but I'm very happy to admit that.

Offline philw1776

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Re: POLL: Number of SpaceX orbital flights in 2017
« Reply #182 on: 06/29/2017 01:46 PM »
Core production looks to be the bottleneck for the scarcity of launches in July. We know the first Block IVs should be rolling off the line, so this could be part of the reason for the gap in cores rolling off the production line.

If more customers are willing to take re-used boosters (e.g. SES-14 and SES-16), that should allow SpaceX to continue to increase their launch rate by shifting the bottleneck to pad availability.

Seem to remember Shotwell saying more than once that core production rampped up to 20/year.  If so, given the already happened reflight of cores with more reflights  currently planned for this year, there should already be a surplus of new cores at this year's halfway point.  Perhaps refurb efforts have been at the manpower expense of building new cores at the factory potential rate?  I'm confused. 

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Online rockets4life97

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Re: POLL: Number of SpaceX orbital flights in 2017
« Reply #183 on: 06/29/2017 02:01 PM »
Core production looks to be the bottleneck for the scarcity of launches in July. We know the first Block IVs should be rolling off the line, so this could be part of the reason for the gap in cores rolling off the production line.

If more customers are willing to take re-used boosters (e.g. SES-14 and SES-16), that should allow SpaceX to continue to increase their launch rate by shifting the bottleneck to pad availability.

Seem to remember Shotwell saying more than once that core production rampped up to 20/year.  If so, given the already happened reflight of cores with more reflights  currently planned for this year, there should already be a surplus of new cores at this year's halfway point.  Perhaps refurb efforts have been at the manpower expense of building new cores at the factory potential rate?  I'm confused.

Looks like the July delay is due to Eastern Range maintenance, not core production. So your thinking is probably right. The other question mark for core production is how long the ramp up back to 20/year took after the close out of the Amos-6 failure.

Offline oldAtlas_Eguy

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Re: POLL: Number of SpaceX orbital flights in 2017
« Reply #184 on: 06/29/2017 03:49 PM »
The real item about how many F9's SpaceX could launch from just one pad is being demonstrated now at LC39A. A 9 day interval between launches means that theoretically SpaceX could launch from LC39A 36 times in one year. So pad limitations are not a problem with high launch rates. It is Range limitations. With a hotfire preceding launch, an F9 with its backup launch dates ties up the Range for 6 days for each launch. So if SpaceX is at the mercy of the range launch slots. With other ops, range maintenance down time (~30 days every year), and weather delays that theoretical max from just a single pad LC39A is not achievable with the range as it exists today.

So the limitations for SpaceX achieving very high launch rates are mainly due to external items not any internal ones. At a 20 core production rate of Block 5 cores (mainly upper stages) where actually 5 1st stages are produced and 50 upper stages are produced. The pads of LC39A (a capability of 36), LC40 (a capability of 24), and LC4E (a capability of  18) for a total capability of 78 there is no limitation there against launching 50 times in one year. The limitations come from range availability eastern range slots available of about 20-25, western range of about 12. Payloads, here there is the real limiting factor in that there is just not that many payloads needing launch. Only about 20-25 in one year. A real race to populate very large LEO constellation (>1000 sats for each constellation) will greatly increase that demand but that is not occurring until the 2020+ timeframe.

For 2017 and 2018 the main limitation is the paylaods and the ranges.

Offline Lar

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Re: POLL: Number of SpaceX orbital flights in 2017
« Reply #185 on: 06/29/2017 03:58 PM »
On core production rates.... at a typical car plant, they quote "one vehicle every 120 seconds" or whatever... that gives you a rate of 30 (vehicles per hour) * 24 * 365... or 262800 vehicles a year. But they don't build that number of vehicles because there is a "model changeover" each year, even if they quote that rate...

Perhaps Gwynne's 20 a year doesn't assume the "model changeover gap" for going to block 5, and the actual number is lower this year.
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Offline RedLineTrain

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Re: POLL: Number of SpaceX orbital flights in 2017
« Reply #186 on: 06/29/2017 04:13 PM »
Or, to put it more succinctly, the annual production rate will be different that the production rate at any one time:  day, monthly, quarterly, etc.

But just to be clear, Shotwell said that they will produce 20+ this year.  So the back half of the year could ramp up the rate.

Online guckyfan

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Re: POLL: Number of SpaceX orbital flights in 2017
« Reply #187 on: 06/29/2017 04:48 PM »
Perhaps Gwynne's 20 a year doesn't assume the "model changeover gap" for going to block 5, and the actual number is lower this year.

If I remember correctly Gwynne Shotwell mentioned that they have gotten much better at handling the switchover and won't suffer production breaks as they did before.

Offline Lar

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Re: POLL: Number of SpaceX orbital flights in 2017
« Reply #188 on: 06/29/2017 04:58 PM »
Perhaps Gwynne's 20 a year doesn't assume the "model changeover gap" for going to block 5, and the actual number is lower this year.

If I remember correctly Gwynne Shotwell mentioned that they have gotten much better at handling the switchover and won't suffer production breaks as they did before.

Well yeah. But I think the longer term shift to 50 S2 / 10 S1 from 20 S2 /20 S1 (or whatever the ratios end up being) might take a bit longer than changing S2 or S1 details...

Also @RedLineTrain, are you saying I was wordy? ???  LOL
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Offline oldAtlas_Eguy

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Re: POLL: Number of SpaceX orbital flights in 2017
« Reply #189 on: 06/30/2017 02:01 AM »
From the standpoint of production in 2017 so far the first 4 months was 3 new boosters and the last 2 months 4 boosters. That is going from a production rate at the beginning of the year of .75 boosters per month to the current rate of 2 boosters per month.  If the production remains at 2 /month for the rest of the year (12 new boosters) + the already flown 7 is 19 boosters.

This ramp up also tells a little about why the Iridium launch was delayed into June. The build rate just did not support more launches earlier in the year.

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: POLL: Number of SpaceX orbital flights in 2017
« Reply #190 on: 07/01/2017 06:35 AM »
A 9 day interval between launches means that theoretically SpaceX could launch from LC39A 36 times in one year.

It may be significant that the launch at the end of this 9 day period is an expendable one, so no landing legs or grid fins to worry about. That may have shaved a bit off the turn around time. Although I presume that block 5 should be able to do this anyway due to re-use without refurbishment (and so presumably no need to change legs or fins) ?

The 6 days just achieved between launch & static fire is impressive in terms of pad turnaround (compared to what it used to be).

Online rockets4life97

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Re: POLL: Number of SpaceX orbital flights in 2017
« Reply #191 on: 07/06/2017 12:21 AM »
10 launches in 6 months on Falcon 9. Can't remember the last time a launch provider accomplished a similar feat.

Online Bubbinski

Re: POLL: Number of SpaceX orbital flights in 2017
« Reply #192 on: 07/06/2017 12:36 AM »
I voted for 10 launches for the year.

It's July 5th, and SpaceX has successfully launched its 10th flight of the year.

When Elon talks about insanely high launch rates I no longer dismiss that as wild, crazy optimism.
I'll even excitedly look forward to "flags and footprints" and suborbital missions. Just fly...somewhere.

Offline envy887

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Re: POLL: Number of SpaceX orbital flights in 2017
« Reply #193 on: 07/06/2017 02:07 AM »
10 launches in 6 months on Falcon 9. Can't remember the last time a launch provider accomplished a similar feat.

Soyuz launched 10 times in 5 months just last year.

Online rockets4life97

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Re: POLL: Number of SpaceX orbital flights in 2017
« Reply #194 on: 07/06/2017 11:58 AM »
10 launches in 6 months on Falcon 9. Can't remember the last time a launch provider accomplished a similar feat.

Soyuz launched 10 times in 5 months just last year.

Yes, if you count all the Soyuz variants as the same vehicle. Soyuz 2 flew 8 times in 6 months in 2016 by my count.

Offline QuantumG

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Re: POLL: Number of SpaceX orbital flights in 2017
« Reply #195 on: 07/06/2017 11:28 PM »
Is it all the same team?
Jeff Bezos has billions to spend on rockets and can go at whatever pace he likes! Wow! What pace is he going at? The slowest possible.

Offline oldAtlas_Eguy

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Re: POLL: Number of SpaceX orbital flights in 2017
« Reply #196 on: 07/07/2017 12:20 AM »
Having voted 21-25. This now leaves only 11 more to get to my stance. With highly probable of 4 more if not 5 from SLC-4E plus 2 additional launches in Aug from LC39A then the FH demo and then another 4 from LC40 that is then 11 or 12 more for the year. 11 or 12 launches sound like a lot but spread across 3 pads that is only 4 per pad over a period of almost 6 months. No single pad will be strained in getting it's launches off. It only leaves the readiness of the payloads and availability of new and used boosters.

From Payloads standpoint at least three payloads for SLC-4E is not in question with the other 2 likely to be ready. For LC39A all the payloads are with no question for the 2 in Aug and the FH. For the 4 from LC40 1 is the CRS-13 and 2 are SES sats. Only 1 more of 3 possibles is needed to get to 4.

Offline envy887

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Re: POLL: Number of SpaceX orbital flights in 2017
« Reply #197 on: 07/07/2017 02:38 AM »
Is it all the same team?

I think both Falcon and Soyuz have multiple launch site teams, as both have had multiple launch sites with very closely timed launches.

Online gongora

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Re: POLL: Number of SpaceX orbital flights in 2017
« Reply #198 on: 07/07/2017 03:05 AM »
Soyuz also has those 21 extra flights coming up from 2018-2020 for Oneweb.

Online cwr

Re: POLL: Number of SpaceX orbital flights in 2017
« Reply #199 on: 07/07/2017 03:19 AM »
Is it all the same team?

I remember a post by padrat when SpaceX was granted the lease of LC39A.
He said that SpaceX had formed 3 launch teams.
The LC39A team was basically the team that had been doing the LC40 launches prior to that.
The LC40 team was basically a new team [with a leavening of old LC40 and SLC4E people - my assumption]
The SLC4E team was basically the old SLC4E team [plus some new recruits to flesh out losses to the LC39 or LC40 teams - my assumption].

Unfortunately I couldn't find the actual post to include a link to it, so I've just listed my recollections.
I've not heard anything in the intervening time to suggest that SpaceX did not follow through on that plan.
Plus at the time of the BulgariaSat and Iridium 2 launches in the span of a few days, I recollect a confirmation of multiple teams, but I don't recollect where I saw that confirmation.

Carl

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