Author Topic: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)  (Read 33911 times)

Online Chris Bergin

Thread 6 for Falcon Heavy.

Thread 1:
https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=32528.0

Thread 2:
https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=35365.0

Thread 3:
https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=36806.0

Thread 4:
https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=39181.0

Thread 5:
https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=41019.0



Main FH Articles:

https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/tag/falcon-heavy/

L2 SpaceX - Dedicated all-vehicle section - including a mass of new amazing renderings we've created.
https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?board=60.0


NOTE: Posts that are uncivil (which is very rare for this forum), off topic (not so rare) or just pointless will be deleted without notice.

Offline Ronsmytheiii

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #1 on: 05/28/2017 05:39 PM »
Imagery update for 26 May at LZ-1, either dirt spreading or concrete pouring has begun (hard to tell with the lighting)

Edit:probably dirt spreading, based on the mound that appeared to the right of the clearing

Taken from Planet Beta imagery program:

https://www.planet.com/explorer/

« Last Edit: 05/28/2017 05:44 PM by Ronsmytheiii »

Offline TomH

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #2 on: 05/30/2017 08:02 AM »
Imagery update for 26 May at LZ-1, either dirt spreading or concrete pouring has begun (hard to tell with the lighting)

Edit:probably dirt spreading, based on the mound that appeared to the right of the clearing

Taken from Planet Beta imagery program:

https://www.planet.com/explorer/

Are construction permits a matter of public record for a case like this. IOW, could any person walk into the building permit dept. and be able to see that they had received the permit to begin construction of a new landing pad?

Offline Semmel

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #3 on: 05/30/2017 09:24 AM »
Also, what happened to the sea turtles nesting period? This forum was convinced a few month ago that at the current time, no construction would be possible because of the nesting turtles. What happened?

Online Paul_G

Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #4 on: 05/30/2017 10:49 AM »
Also, what happened to the sea turtles nesting period? This forum was convinced a few month ago that at the current time, no construction would be possible because of the nesting turtles. What happened?

I think turtles are in Texas. In Florida the restriction was around bird nesting season in the surrounding scrub. Either the work started before nesting season, or the season ended I guess.

Paul

Offline Nomadd

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #5 on: 05/30/2017 05:21 PM »
Also, what happened to the sea turtles nesting period? This forum was convinced a few month ago that at the current time, no construction would be possible because of the nesting turtles. What happened?
In Texas the beaches are patrolled and the public calls in nesting turtles, with the eggs being recovered as soon as they're laid, and the young ones released in a safe spot. They did that before the spaceport.

Offline ZachF

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #6 on: 05/31/2017 06:15 PM »
I was thinking the other day, perhaps it makes sense now to remove some engines (3-4) from the center core?

Falcon Heavy already has a crazy T/W and with a rumored 10% thrust increase with B5 upgrades, it will be even more crazy. It already has a >1 T/W with just the outer cores firing...

Removing 3-4 engines would allow:

-Deeper throttling of the center core after liftoff, transferring more of the lower altitude impulse outer stages, allowing them to stage earlier, also reducing the RTLS fuel requirement
-Leaving more fuel for the center core after separation, both for more impulse, and more fuel for a boostback burn
-Reduce center core landing fuel requirement because of a non-trivial decrease (>3000kg?) in stage empty weight giving it a higher theoretical maximum staging velocity
-Reduce cost of center core

I think a Falcon Heavy with 5-6 engine center core might lose a little theoretical expendable performance, but could perhaps gain a good amount of re-usable performance...

Online rakaydos

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #7 on: 05/31/2017 06:46 PM »
I was thinking the other day, perhaps it makes sense now to remove some engines (3-4) from the center core?

Falcon Heavy already has a crazy T/W and with a rumored 10% thrust increase with B5 upgrades, it will be even more crazy. It already has a >1 T/W with just the outer cores firing...

Removing 3-4 engines would allow:

-Deeper throttling of the center core after liftoff, transferring more of the lower altitude impulse outer stages, allowing them to stage earlier, also reducing the RTLS fuel requirement
-Leaving more fuel for the center core after separation, both for more impulse, and more fuel for a boostback burn
-Reduce center core landing fuel requirement because of a non-trivial decrease (>3000kg?) in stage empty weight giving it a higher theoretical maximum staging velocity
-Reduce cost of center core

I think a Falcon Heavy with 5-6 engine center core might lose a little theoretical expendable performance, but could perhaps gain a good amount of re-usable performance...

Hypothetically, a "Hexiweb" varient of the center core, with 2 vac bells offset outward and between the normal octoweb engine placement, replacing a total of 4 sea level nozzles. (leaving 5 sealevel nozzles each)

It would of course be a pain to develop, and the bell extending beyond the tank cross section will probably tear it apart.

I'm not sure simply removing engines has enough benifits over leaving engines off to be worthwhile either.

Offline hkultala

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #8 on: 05/31/2017 07:54 PM »
I was thinking the other day, perhaps it makes sense now to remove some engines (3-4) from the center core?

Falcon Heavy already has a crazy T/W and with a rumored 10% thrust increase with B5 upgrades, it will be even more crazy. It already has a >1 T/W with just the outer cores firing...

Removing 3-4 engines would allow:

-Deeper throttling of the center core after liftoff, transferring more of the lower altitude impulse outer stages, allowing them to stage earlier, also reducing the RTLS fuel requirement
-Leaving more fuel for the center core after separation, both for more impulse, and more fuel for a boostback burn
-Reduce center core landing fuel requirement because of a non-trivial decrease (>3000kg?) in stage empty weight giving it a higher theoretical maximum staging velocity
-Reduce cost of center core

I think a Falcon Heavy with 5-6 engine center core might lose a little theoretical expendable performance, but could perhaps gain a good amount of re-usable performance...

Hypothetically, a "Hexiweb" varient of the center core, with 2 vac bells offset outward and between the normal octoweb engine placement, replacing a total of 4 sea level nozzles. (leaving 5 sealevel nozzles each)

It would of course be a pain to develop, and the bell extending beyond the tank cross section will probably tear it apart.

I'm not sure simply removing engines has enough benifits over leaving engines off to be worthwhile either.

canting those two engines outwards would lower their effective isp.

And, way too complicated/too different from ordinary F9, would be more expensive to manufacture, makes absolutely no sense.
« Last Edit: 05/31/2017 07:55 PM by hkultala »

Online RobW

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #9 on: 05/31/2017 09:54 PM »
Falcon Heavy already has a crazy T/W and with a rumored 10% thrust increase with B5 upgrades, it will be even more crazy. It already has a >1 T/W with just the outer cores firing...

Does FH really have thrust/weight >1 without the center core firing? If so, given that SpaceX must be getting pretty comfortable with in-flight engine restarts after all those landings, is it possible we could see FH launch with some/all of the center core engines unstarted, and air-light them? What could that do to performance?
Science fiction writer, spaceflight blogger, and unrepentant technological optimist.

Offline docmordrid

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #10 on: 05/31/2017 10:03 PM »
I believe only 3 of the 9 engines can be restarted; 2 in the outer ring and the center engine. Wouldn't those also be the only ones air-startable for the initial firing?
« Last Edit: 05/31/2017 10:06 PM by docmordrid »
DM

Online RobW

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #11 on: 05/31/2017 10:22 PM »
Given that the entire center core is a different design to the standard F9, presumably they could fit all 9 engines with re/air start kits if it was useful. Part of the rationale for beefing up the center core so much structurally might actually be so that they can launch with some of the center core engines not running. Think of it as an extreme form of throttling down the center core so that there is more propellant left in it at booster sep. Of course, it probably makes the center core recovery harder.

Would the real rocket scientists (engineers) please now step in with facts :)  (EDIT: This is said in reference to my wild speculations, not docmordrid's perfectly reasonable comments about the current air-start-ability of the F9 engine set. I  re-read it and wanted to make sure it was clear that it's not aimed at anyone but myself)
« Last Edit: 05/31/2017 10:26 PM by RobW »
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Offline old_sellsword

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #12 on: 05/31/2017 10:37 PM »
Falcon Heavy already has a crazy T/W and with a rumored 10% thrust increase with B5 upgrades, it will be even more crazy. It already has a >1 T/W with just the outer cores firing...

Does FH really have thrust/weight >1 without the center core firing? If so, given that SpaceX must be getting pretty comfortable with in-flight engine restarts after all those landings, is it possible we could see FH launch with some/all of the center core engines unstarted, and air-light them? What could that do to performance?
Given that the entire center core is a different design to the standard F9, presumably they could fit all 9 engines with re/air start kits if it was useful. Part of the rationale for beefing up the center core so much structurally might actually be so that they can launch with some of the center core engines not running. Think of it as an extreme form of throttling down the center core so that there is more propellant left in it at booster sep. Of course, it probably makes the center core recovery harder.

Would the real rocket scientists (engineers) please now step in with facts :)  (EDIT: This is said in reference to my wild speculations, not docmordrid's perfectly reasonable comments about the current air-start-ability of the F9 engine set. I  re-read it and wanted to make sure it was clear that it's not aimed at anyone but myself)

There's already an entire thread to discuss this idea, no need to bring it up in here again.

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=42185

Online RobW

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #13 on: 05/31/2017 10:46 PM »

There's already an entire thread to discuss this idea, no need to bring it up in here again.

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=42185
Thanks, hadn't seen it. Off to have a read....
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Online FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #14 on: 06/07/2017 08:05 PM »
Quote
.@elonmusk says "Building on the Model X on the [Tesla] Model S platform was a mistake" - Does the same error carry on to Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy?
https://twitter.com/sahershodhan/status/872347614280372224

Quote
Almost. Falcon Heavy was way harder to develop than it seemed at first.
https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/872349052016394243

Offline cambrianera

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #15 on: 06/07/2017 08:45 PM »
I was thinking the other day, perhaps it makes sense now to remove some engines (3-4) from the center core?

Falcon Heavy already has a crazy T/W and with a rumored 10% thrust increase with B5 upgrades, it will be even more crazy. It already has a >1 T/W with just the outer cores firing...

Removing 3-4 engines would allow:

-Deeper throttling of the center core after liftoff, transferring more of the lower altitude impulse outer stages, allowing them to stage earlier, also reducing the RTLS fuel requirement
-Leaving more fuel for the center core after separation, both for more impulse, and more fuel for a boostback burn
-Reduce center core landing fuel requirement because of a non-trivial decrease (>3000kg?) in stage empty weight giving it a higher theoretical maximum staging velocity
-Reduce cost of center core

I think a Falcon Heavy with 5-6 engine center core might lose a little theoretical expendable performance, but could perhaps gain a good amount of re-usable performance...

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=39181.msg1573180#msg1573180
Low hanging fruit.
Oh to be young again. . .

Offline ThePonjaX

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #16 on: 06/09/2017 04:41 AM »
4 months  ;)

https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/872888863504474112


Quote

All Falcon Heavy cores should be at the Cape in two to three months, so launch should happen a month after that




Offline hkultala

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #17 on: 06/09/2017 05:12 AM »
I was thinking the other day, perhaps it makes sense now to remove some engines (3-4) from the center core?

Falcon Heavy already has a crazy T/W and with a rumored 10% thrust increase with B5 upgrades, it will be even more crazy. It already has a >1 T/W with just the outer cores firing...


It's not crazy.

At liftoff T/W of 1.5 means that only 66% of all thrust is lost  to gravity losses and 33% is doing reasonable work at liftoff moment, not 80% wasted and 20% work like traditional liquid-fueled rockets. Still huge gravity losses, better T/W still helps considerably.

It's the other way around, previously rockets have had really lousy T/W's because the engines have been the most expensive part of the rocket.

Quote
Removing 3-4 engines would allow:

-Deeper throttling of the center core after liftoff, transferring more of the lower altitude impulse outer stages, allowing them to stage earlier, also reducing the RTLS fuel requirement

for outer stages, but increasing it for core.

Quote
-Leaving more fuel for the center core after separation, both for more impulse, and more fuel for a boostback burn
Making center core fly further away until it has expendedn it's fuel and reacher the staging altitude, INCREASING fuel needed for boostback burn.

Quote
-Reduce center core landing fuel requirement because of a non-trivial decrease (>3000kg?) in stage empty weight giving it a higher theoretical maximum staging velocity

Should not be that much, only by something like 2 tonnes. Merlin 1D is less than 500 kg's. (and no, making the octaweb much different is not an option because that would make manufacturing much more expensive)

Quote
-Reduce cost of center core

I think a Falcon Heavy with 5-6 engine center core might lose a little theoretical expendable performance, but could perhaps gain a good amount of re-usable performance...

RTLS performance would probably suffer, as the center core would fly much further away on distance before reaching staging velocity, so it would have to fly back much longer distance.

The savings for the boosters, they are not flying very far anyway, so their RTLS is cheap anyway.

Also gravity losses would be worse.

Offline envy887

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #18 on: 06/09/2017 01:24 PM »
At liftoff T/W of 1.5 means that only 66% of all thrust is lost  to gravity losses and 33% is doing reasonable work at liftoff moment, not 80% wasted and 20% work like traditional liquid-fueled rockets. Still huge gravity losses, better T/W still helps considerably.

It's the other way around, previously rockets have had really lousy T/W's because the engines have been the most expensive part of the rocket.

For a given amount of thrust on a long-burning stage, payload to orbit is maximized by having nearly the maximum amount of fuel which gives a low TWR. Fuel only becomes a liability when the tankage to hold it slows the rocket more at the end of flight than the fuel accelerates it at the beginning. For a weight-optimized liquid rocket like Saturn V that happens around TWR of 1.1 or so.

Offline hkultala

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #19 on: 06/09/2017 06:18 PM »
At liftoff T/W of 1.5 means that only 66% of all thrust is lost  to gravity losses and 33% is doing reasonable work at liftoff moment, not 80% wasted and 20% work like traditional liquid-fueled rockets. Still huge gravity losses, better T/W still helps considerably.

It's the other way around, previously rockets have had really lousy T/W's because the engines have been the most expensive part of the rocket.

For a given amount of thrust on a long-burning stage, payload to orbit is maximized by having nearly the maximum amount of fuel which gives a low TWR. Fuel only becomes a liability when the tankage to hold it slows the rocket more at the end of flight than the fuel accelerates it at the beginning. For a weight-optimized liquid rocket like Saturn V that happens around TWR of 1.1 or so.

Yes, but here we were NOT talking about GIVEN AMOUNT OF THRUST.

For for given fixed amount of fuel, the payload to orbit is maximized by having maximum thrust that the structure can stand, to minimize gravity losses.
« Last Edit: 06/09/2017 06:30 PM by hkultala »

Online edkyle99

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #20 on: 06/09/2017 08:09 PM »
At liftoff T/W of 1.5 means that only 66% of all thrust is lost  to gravity losses and 33% is doing reasonable work at liftoff moment, not 80% wasted and 20% work like traditional liquid-fueled rockets. Still huge gravity losses, better T/W still helps considerably.

It's the other way around, previously rockets have had really lousy T/W's because the engines have been the most expensive part of the rocket.

For a given amount of thrust on a long-burning stage, payload to orbit is maximized by having nearly the maximum amount of fuel which gives a low TWR. Fuel only becomes a liability when the tankage to hold it slows the rocket more at the end of flight than the fuel accelerates it at the beginning. For a weight-optimized liquid rocket like Saturn V that happens around TWR of 1.1 or so.

Yes, but here we were NOT talking about GIVEN AMOUNT OF THRUST.

For for given fixed amount of fuel, the payload to orbit is maximized by having maximum thrust that the structure can stand, to minimize gravity losses.

Not necessarily in this case.  The propellant is best burned in vacuum or near-vacuum, where ISP is highest.  Carrying as much of that propellant as possible up to booster staging maximizes payload.

I'm suspecting that SpaceX is planning to do this.  It would be easier to do if the core had less than nine engines.  Maybe only five or six.  The rocket really only needs three on the core at liftoff, but it needs five or so at staging for T/W>1.

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 06/09/2017 09:35 PM by edkyle99 »

Offline Prettz

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #21 on: 06/10/2017 01:35 AM »
Not necessarily in this case.  The propellant is best burned in vacuum or near-vacuum, where ISP is highest.  Carrying as much of that propellant as possible up to booster staging maximizes payload.

I'm suspecting that SpaceX is planning to do this.  It would be easier to do if the core had less than nine engines.  Maybe only five or six.  The rocket really only needs three on the core at liftoff, but it needs five or so at staging for T/W>1.

 - Ed Kyle
How does the desire for engine-out capability factor into this? Would the center core ever need to make up for the loss of an engine in a side booster?

Offline cambrianera

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #22 on: 06/10/2017 10:38 AM »
SpaceX is producing truckloads of engines, testing them internally, recovering them, refurbishing them.
Doing things correctly, reliability will be superhigh.
Engine out capability has very little meaning now.

And never had for second stage, as Jim always said.
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Offline Ike17055

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #23 on: 06/10/2017 10:51 AM »
Also, what happened to the sea turtles nesting period? This forum was convinced a few month ago that at the current time, no construction would be possible because of the nesting turtles. What happened?

I think turtles are in Texas. In Florida the restriction was around bird nesting season in the surrounding scrub. Either the work started before nesting season, or the season ended I guess.

Paul

Th east coast of Florida is a major nesting area for the Loggerhead, and also significant nesting of Greens take place here. Maybe some Ridleys.  A lot of activity in Florida revolves around their cycle and the legal testrictions now in place for their protection.

Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #24 on: 06/18/2017 03:13 PM »
So according to reddit user /u/aftersteveo all cores are now at the Cape, with B1025 still waiting to be transported to MgGregor for testing.

https://www.reddit.com/r/spacex/comments/6ewgm7/rspacex_discusses_june_2017_33/dj2fcc6/
« Last Edit: 06/18/2017 03:16 PM by tvg98 »

Offline intrepidpursuit

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #25 on: 06/18/2017 03:42 PM »
So according to reddit user /u/aftersteveo all cores are now at the Cape, with B1025 still waiting to be transported to MgGregor for testing.

https://www.reddit.com/r/spacex/comments/6ewgm7/rspacex_discusses_june_2017_33/dj2fcc6/

It seems extremely unlikely that they would convert the two boosters in too different places. Why build that capability twice? Also, in the recent factory fly through posted by Elon, there is a reused booster in the factory. That reused booster is most likely the second FH booster.

Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #26 on: 06/18/2017 03:46 PM »
So according to reddit user /u/aftersteveo all cores are now at the Cape, with B1025 still waiting to be transported to MgGregor for testing.

https://www.reddit.com/r/spacex/comments/6ewgm7/rspacex_discusses_june_2017_33/dj2fcc6/

It seems extremely unlikely that they would convert the two boosters in too different places. Why build that capability twice? Also, in the recent factory fly through posted by Elon, there is a reused booster in the factory. That reused booster is most likely the second FH booster.

I was under the impression that the one at the factory was B1023 (used for the Thaicom 8 mission), and the other side booster was B1025 (CRS-9), which has not left the Cape yet. Is that assessment wrong? 

Offline intrepidpursuit

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #27 on: 06/18/2017 03:52 PM »
The Thaicom booster is the side booster we have already seen test fired at McGregor. I was not aware of any flown boosters in Hawthorne, but unless that video is months old one is there. I'd guess that is CRS-9 and we just missed it moving.

Offline gongora

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #28 on: 06/18/2017 03:54 PM »
The Thaicom booster is the side booster we have already seen test fired at McGregor. I was not aware of any flown boosters in Hawthorne, but unless that video is months old one is there. I'd guess that is CRS-9 and we just missed it moving.

Footage is old - several months at least. Flown core is 1023 back when it was being refurbed for a Falcon Heavy side core. That's why the octaweb is missing.

Offline old_sellsword

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #29 on: 06/18/2017 04:49 PM »
but unless that video is months old one is there.

It is. Notice 1033 was sitting right next to it, octaweb-less.

Offline AncientU

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #30 on: 06/18/2017 07:29 PM »
So according to reddit user /u/aftersteveo all cores are now at the Cape, with B1025 still waiting to be transported to MgGregor for testing.

https://www.reddit.com/r/spacex/comments/6ewgm7/rspacex_discusses_june_2017_33/dj2fcc6/

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Offline bdub217

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #31 on: 06/26/2017 02:07 PM »
FH 101 question. We got good closeup video of the Vandenberg strongback during the Iridium launch on Sunday. This strongback looks like its structurally built to support FH.  I hadn't seen anything about launching FHs from Vandenberg. Have I missed something?

A related question - Is the plan to still build an onshore west coast LZ?

A sort-of related question. F9 and FH capacities to LEO and GTO are readily available. Anybody have an estimates on the capacity for polar orbit for the two?

Offline rpapo

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #32 on: 06/26/2017 02:29 PM »
FH 101 question. We got good closeup video of the Vandenberg strongback during the Iridium launch on Sunday. This strongback looks like its structurally built to support FH.  I hadn't seen anything about launching FHs from Vandenberg. Have I missed something?
The original intent (2012) was to launch the first Falcon Heavy from Vandenburg.  That was back when they thought it would be easy to fasten three Falcon first stages side by side.  Since then much has changed.
An Apollo fanboy . . . fifty years ago.

Offline gongora

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #33 on: 06/26/2017 02:38 PM »
FH 101 question. We got good closeup video of the Vandenberg strongback during the Iridium launch on Sunday. This strongback looks like its structurally built to support FH.  I hadn't seen anything about launching FHs from Vandenberg. Have I missed something?

A related question - Is the plan to still build an onshore west coast LZ?

There aren't currently any FH scheduled from Vandenberg.  If they do get a FH contract for Vandenberg it will probably be a DoD/NRO flight with a 5 year lead time, in which case they'd finish upgrading the pad to support FH.  It might also be possible for those upgrades to be part of the upcoming EELV development rounds over the next few of years.  Getting FH flying from one pad is the first step, and that's LC-39A for now.

They have mostly built a single pad west coast LZ, we're not sure when they'll start using it.

Offline rpapo

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #34 on: 06/26/2017 02:40 PM »
Is the plan to still build an onshore west coast LZ?
It has been built for a while now.  It's just a little way downhill from the launching pad.  It would seem somebody has been throwing up regulatory hurdles against SpaceX actually using that landing pad.

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #35 on: 06/26/2017 02:56 PM »
Is the plan to still build an onshore west coast LZ?
It has been built for a while now.  It's just a little way downhill from the launching pad.  It would seem somebody has been throwing up regulatory hurdles against SpaceX actually using that landing pad.

--Ninja'd, partially.
Why does it "seem like" regulatory hurdles? Any evidence or just the go-to explanation? This is how rumors start.

Iridium is a heavy payload, it's reasonable for it to be an ASDS mission.
Space is not Highlander.  There can, and will, be more than one.

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #36 on: 06/26/2017 03:51 PM »
Why does it "seem like" regulatory hurdles? Any evidence or just the go-to explanation? This is how rumors start.
It's just me watching what is said and what is not, and drawing perhaps incorrect conclusions.  I don't recall there was any ruling about whether the sonic booms related to RTLS would adversely affect the shore life (seals in particular).  SpaceX made some noise about possibly bringing the Jason-3 first stage back RTLS, but that was not approved for whatever reason (possibly because to that point, only one landing had been successful).  As it turned out, it was a good thing it landed on the ASDS.  If it had tipped over on the Vandenberg landing pad there would probably have been bad press.  Never mind that it would very likely have landed right on target, just as every landing has since they added grid fins.

Of course neither of the Iridium launches were really candidates anyway, as they were supposedly too heavy for block 3 Falcons to RTLS.
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Offline CyndyC

Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #37 on: 06/27/2017 03:46 AM »
..... back when they thought it would be easy to fasten three Falcon first stages side by side.  Since then much has changed.

Exactly why I came over here, after the grid fin discussion in the Iridium thread, and wondering how tightly the cores could be secured with those [and the legs] inbetween. So a look at http://www.spacex.com/falcon-heavy says and shows bars are connecting the cores only at the top of each first stage and at the bottom near the legs. The Falcon 9 has been flown without that extra stabilization at the top and bottom of the first stage, so the vibration loads have been much more evenly distributed. Now it appears the vibration loads will be much more concentrated somewhere near the middle. Would that be a routine engineering calculation, or something they may be risking?
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Offline raketa

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #38 on: 06/27/2017 04:16 AM »
Spacex never failed land on the land. ASDS is more challenging because size and ocean move. I will be not worried about landing on land for SpaceX any more.

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #39 on: 06/27/2017 11:21 PM »
It is looking like SpaceX will have about a month of downtown between the upcoming Intelsat launch and CRS-12. Is it possible that some of the FH upgrades could be completed during that time?

Offline dorkmo

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #40 on: 06/27/2017 11:35 PM »
It is looking like SpaceX will have about a month of downtown between the upcoming Intelsat launch and CRS-12. Is it possible that some of the FH upgrades could be completed during that time?

Id guess they could if they ran three shifts a day.

Offline CyndyC

Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #41 on: 06/27/2017 11:48 PM »
..... back when they thought it would be easy to fasten three Falcon first stages side by side.  Since then much has changed.

Exactly why I came over here, after the grid fin discussion in the Iridium thread, and wondering how tightly the cores could be secured with those [and the legs] inbetween. So a look at http://www.spacex.com/falcon-heavy says and shows bars are connecting the cores only at the top of each first stage and at the bottom near the legs. The Falcon 9 has been flown without that extra stabilization at the top and bottom of the first stage, so the vibration loads have been much more evenly distributed. Now it appears the vibration loads will be much more concentrated somewhere near the middle. Would that be a routine engineering calculation, or something they may be risking?

In contrast to my reasoning last night, there is more counterintuitive reasoning to also consider, related to the fact that brick buildings are less stable in tornadoes and high winds than buildings of more flexible materials, such as wood & vinyl. So maybe the greater risk is where the stages have extra stabilization and less flexibility. Personally I'll be opting for the former consideration. It's going to make me nervous there won't be a connecting rod across the middle. I'm guessing that might have been a subject of debate earlier in the development process.
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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #42 on: 06/28/2017 12:03 AM »
Now it appears the vibration loads will be much more concentrated somewhere near the middle. Would that be a routine engineering calculation, or something they may be risking?

 It's going to make me nervous there won't be a connecting rod across the middle. I'm guessing that might have been a subject of debate earlier in the development process.
Structural analysis is pretty routine by rocket science standards.   Back in the 1960s, NASA saw a bunch of companies each developing their own analysis software, and supported the development of NASTRAN, which has been used and enhanced for more than a half century. 

Unlike combustion analysis or computational aerodynamics, analysis of modes of vibration is a pretty mature field.  Of course you can still make mistakes, but of all the reasons the FH might fail, lack of connecting rods in the middle of stack is pretty low on the list.

Offline Herb Schaltegger

Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #43 on: 06/28/2017 01:10 AM »
Now it appears the vibration loads will be much more concentrated somewhere near the middle. Would that be a routine engineering calculation, or something they may be risking?

 It's going to make me nervous there won't be a connecting rod across the middle. I'm guessing that might have been a subject of debate earlier in the development process.
Structural analysis is pretty routine by rocket science standards.   Back in the 1960s, NASA saw a bunch of companies each developing their own analysis software, and supported the development of NASTRAN, which has been used and enhanced for more than a half century. 

Unlike combustion analysis or computational aerodynamics, analysis of modes of vibration is a pretty mature field.  Of course you can still make mistakes, but of all the reasons the FH might fail, lack of connecting rods in the middle of stack is pretty low on the list.

As far as I'm aware, pretty much no boosters for any operational launcher from any nation have ever had more than two connection points. Further, in each case, the load is generally carried by one of the two (either top or bottom), not both.

In short, two connection points is fine. If you can't adequately secure the boosters to the core with two cross-members, then you don't have any business trying to design multi-core rockets.
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Offline IanThePineapple

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #44 on: 07/05/2017 06:23 PM »
Random question: Is it known what will happen to 1027 (the FH Core STA)? Will it be scrapped or be converted to a normal FH core?
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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #45 on: 07/05/2017 10:19 PM »
Now it appears the vibration loads will be much more concentrated somewhere near the middle. Would that be a routine engineering calculation, or something they may be risking?

 It's going to make me nervous there won't be a connecting rod across the middle. I'm guessing that might have been a subject of debate earlier in the development process.
Structural analysis is pretty routine by rocket science standards.   Back in the 1960s, NASA saw a bunch of companies each developing their own analysis software, and supported the development of NASTRAN, which has been used and enhanced for more than a half century. 

Unlike combustion analysis or computational aerodynamics, analysis of modes of vibration is a pretty mature field.  Of course you can still make mistakes, but of all the reasons the FH might fail, lack of connecting rods in the middle of stack is pretty low on the list.

As far as I'm aware, pretty much no boosters for any operational launcher from any nation have ever had more than two connection points. Further, in each case, the load is generally carried by one of the two (either top or bottom), not both.

In short, two connection points is fine. If you can't adequately secure the boosters to the core with two cross-members, then you don't have any business trying to design multi-core rockets.

Reminds me of a structural analyst at Lockheed Martin who was fond of quoting one of his college professors:
"Big beams carry large loads."


Offline MoDyna

Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #46 on: 07/11/2017 09:40 PM »
I was really intrigued a few years back when SpaceX was describing what the FH would have in the way of "gee-wiz" technology, like for instance the "cross-core propellant feed". I gather that this will not be on the FH that flies later this year. Has this been dropped for good, or will it be a later upgrade?

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #47 on: 07/11/2017 09:49 PM »
Abandoned for good as complexities exceeded performance value.  The standard FH is already rated more powerful than the powerpoint crossfeed FH with its left and right cores and its plumbing weight and reliability decrease.

Read the SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6) here.
« Last Edit: 07/11/2017 09:50 PM by philw1776 »
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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #48 on: 07/12/2017 12:05 AM »
Random question: Is it known what will happen to 1027 (the FH Core STA)? Will it be scrapped or be converted to a normal FH core?

Excuse my ignorance, but what are you talking about. What is STA?
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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #49 on: 07/12/2017 12:16 AM »
Random question: Is it known what will happen to 1027 (the FH Core STA)? Will it be scrapped or be converted to a normal FH core?

Excuse my ignorance, but what are you talking about. What is STA?

Structural Test Article.

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #50 on: 07/12/2017 10:34 AM »
Random question: Is it known what will happen to 1027 (the FH Core STA)? Will it be scrapped or be converted to a normal FH core?

Excuse my ignorance, but what are you talking about. What is STA?

Structural Test Article.
This is why Elon hates acronyms.
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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #51 on: 07/12/2017 10:57 AM »
Random question: Is it known what will happen to 1027 (the FH Core STA)? Will it be scrapped or be converted to a normal FH core?

Excuse my ignorance, but what are you talking about. What is STA?

Structural Test Article.
This is why Elon hates acronyms.

I specifically hate TLAs  (Three Letter Acronyms).  :-)


Offline vanoord

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #52 on: 07/12/2017 11:41 AM »
Random question: Is it known what will happen to 1027 (the FH Core STA)? Will it be scrapped or be converted to a normal FH core?

Apparently last seen at McGregor in October.

Similarly random questions:

There have been references to an FH booster core STA being constructed as well - but there hasn't been a gap in the core serial numbers that it would fit into: does / did it exist?

Offline envy887

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #53 on: 07/12/2017 01:18 PM »
I was really intrigued a few years back when SpaceX was describing what the FH would have in the way of "gee-wiz" technology, like for instance the "cross-core propellant feed". I gather that this will not be on the FH that flies later this year. Has this been dropped for good, or will it be a later upgrade?

I don't think there's a left and a right; aren't the boosters are the same part rotated around the long axis of the core (rotational symmetry rather than mirrored symmetry)?

Either way, crossfeed is gone for good.

Offline wannamoonbase

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #54 on: 07/12/2017 01:42 PM »
I was really intrigued a few years back when SpaceX was describing what the FH would have in the way of "gee-wiz" technology, like for instance the "cross-core propellant feed". I gather that this will not be on the FH that flies later this year. Has this been dropped for good, or will it be a later upgrade?

I don't think there's a left and a right; aren't the boosters are the same part rotated around the long axis of the core (rotational symmetry rather than mirrored symmetry)?

Either way, crossfeed is gone for good.

I believe that is correct.  The side boosters are identical and could change sides between launches.

Crossfeed is exciting but given EM's comments and the SpaceX aversion to complexity it makes sense to get FH flying (Edit: to launch those large CommSats) and move onto a single core SFR.
« Last Edit: 07/12/2017 02:19 PM by wannamoonbase »
I know they don't need it, but Crossfeed would be super cool.

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #55 on: 07/12/2017 02:09 PM »
Random question: Is it known what will happen to 1027 (the FH Core STA)? Will it be scrapped or be converted to a normal FH core?

Excuse my ignorance, but what are you talking about. What is STA?

Structural Test Article.
This is why Elon hates acronyms.

That is one reason I like Elon.
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Offline abaddon

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #56 on: 07/12/2017 02:33 PM »
There have been references to an FH booster core STA being constructed as well - but there hasn't been a gap in the core serial numbers that it would fit into: does / did it exist?
Since they're converting previously flown F9's into FH boosters, it would make sense if they simply converted a booster into an STA.  Why not test something similar to what you're going to fly?  And they have Block 3 cores to spare...

OTOH, since they are converting cores to boosters, that would suggest they are structurally identical, and maybe don't need structural testing at all.
« Last Edit: 07/12/2017 02:34 PM by abaddon »

Offline old_sellsword

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #57 on: 07/12/2017 03:10 PM »
Random question: Is it known what will happen to 1027 (the FH Core STA)? Will it be scrapped or be converted to a normal FH core?

Apparently last seen at McGregor in October.

Similarly random questions:

There have been references to an FH booster core STA being constructed as well - but there hasn't been a gap in the core serial numbers that it would fit into: does / did it exist?

Unless it didnít get a serial number, it doesnít exist as a standalone STA. My theory is that they used 1023 as soon as they got its new FH side booster octaweb installed, then they shipped it back to Hawthorne for completion after testing.

Offline vanoord

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #58 on: 07/13/2017 08:22 AM »
Unless it didnít get a serial number, it doesnít exist as a standalone STA. My theory is that they used 1023 as soon as they got its new FH side booster octaweb installed, then they shipped it back to Hawthorne for completion after testing.

My suspicion would also be that it never existed.

Offline catdlr

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #59 on: 07/17/2017 03:54 AM »
A new generation of giant rockets is about to blast off

Quote
Itís been 44 years since the mighty Saturn V last thundered skyward from a launch pad at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The towering rocket, generating enough power to lift 269,000 pounds into orbit, had been the workhorse of the Apollo moon missions.

Later this year, SpaceX plans to launch its most powerful rocket yet from the same pad. The long-awaited Falcon Heavy is key to the Hawthorne companyís plans to ramp up its defense business, send tourists around the moon and launch its first uncrewed mission to Mars.

But unlike the Saturn V, the Falcon Heavy will have plenty of competition.

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-heavy-lift-rockets-20170716-htmlstory.html
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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #60 on: 07/19/2017 07:30 PM »
ChrisGebhardt's transcript of Musk's answer to a question about FH deserves to be in this thread:

Complete text of Elon's comments on Falcon Heavy:

First of all I should say that Falcon Heavy requires the simultaneous ignition of 27 orbital class engines. There's a lot that could go wrong there. And I encourage people to come down to the Cape and see the first Falcon Heavy mission. It's guaranteed to be exciting.  But it's one of those things that's really difficult to test on the ground. We can fire the engines on the ground and try to simulate the dynamics of having 27 orbital booster engines and the airflow as it goes transonic. It's going to see heavy transonic buffeting. It's behavior at Max Q, there's a lot of risks associated with Falcon Heavy.  Real good chance that that first vehicle doesn't make it to orbit. So I want to make sure to set expectations accordingly. I hope it makes it far enough away from the pad that it's not going to cause damage. I would consider that a win, honestly. And yeah. Major pucker factor is the only way to describe it. I think Falcon Heavy is going to be a great vehicle. There's just a lot that's impossible to test on the ground. And we'll do our best. And it ended up being way harder to do Falcon Heavy than we thought. Because at first it sounds really easy to just stick to first stages on as strap-on side boosters. But then everything changes. The loads change, the air dynamics totally change. You triple the vibration and acoustics. So you break the qualification levels and so much of the hardware. The amount of load youíre putting through that center core is crazy because you have two super powerful boosters also shoving that center core. So we had to redesign the whole center-core airframe on the Falcon 9 because itís going to take so much load. And then youíve got the separation systems... and, yeah, it just ended up being way way more difficult than we originally thought. We were pretty naive about that. But the next thing is that we're going to fully optimize it.  It has about 2.5 times the payload capacity of the Falcon 9. Weíre well over 100,000 lb to LEO payload capability. And then it has enough thrust performance to put us in a loop with Dragon 2 around the moon. And Dragon itself, the heat shield is designed with a huge amount of margin. So it has enough margin to handle a lunar reentry. But no question, whoever is on the first flight, brave.

Offline gongora

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #61 on: 07/19/2017 07:35 PM »
A new generation of giant rockets is about to blast off
http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-heavy-lift-rockets-20170716-htmlstory.html

A couple FH related quotes from the article:

Quote
ďThere is a part of the commercial market that requires Falcon Heavy,Ē said Gwynne Shotwell, president of SpaceX. ďItís there, and itís going to be consistent, but itís much smaller than we thought.Ē
...
Shotwell said the company is currently working to see if it can bring the side boosters back to land, which would require overhauling its landing zone at Cape Canaveral. SpaceX may also need to build more droneships if the company chooses to land the side boosters at sea, she said.

Offline ChrisGebhardt

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #62 on: 07/19/2017 09:30 PM »
Thought I remember reading somewhere that there's a possibility of Falcon Heavy going through more than one static fire on 39A before the actual launch count.  Am I making that up, so can someone point me to where I ready that?
« Last Edit: 07/19/2017 11:24 PM by ChrisGebhardt »

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #63 on: 07/19/2017 09:39 PM »
Thought I remember reading somewhere that there's a possibility of Falcon Heavy going through more than one static fire on 39A before the actual launch count.  Am I making that up, so can someone point me to where I ready that?
I think this is what you are thinking of:
https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/867667009839931393
Quote
There will be a combined booster static fire. Maybe a few.

Offline ChrisGebhardt

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #64 on: 07/19/2017 09:40 PM »
Thought I remember reading somewhere that there's a possibility of Falcon Heavy going through more than one static fire on 39A before the actual launch count.  Am I making that up, so can someone point me to where I ready that?
I think this is what you are thinking of:
https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/867667009839931393
Quote
There will be a combined booster static fire. Maybe a few.

BINGO.  That's it.  Thanks.

Offline Herb Schaltegger

Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #65 on: 07/19/2017 09:45 PM »
Yeah, fast-loading that much LOX and RP1 is gonna be a hell of a GSE challenge. No doubt they'll solve it but I'd expect some hiccups.
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Offline Khadgars

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #66 on: 07/19/2017 09:47 PM »
They're setting expectations for FH to be really low, I understood it to be a difficult task but they've clearly run into more issues than expected.

Offline SpacemanSpliff

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #67 on: 07/19/2017 10:15 PM »
They're setting expectations for FH to be really low, I understood it to be a difficult task but they've clearly run into more issues than expected.
Yeah, I'm surprised how heavily Elon is caveating the first launch.

And I'm even more surprised how severely SpaceX underestimated FH challenges per the Chris Gebhardt quote. Or perhaps, how much Elon underestimated things? I'd be shocked if many of the engineers didn't know how complicated things were going to get. I know that former Boeing/ULA engineers worked on Delta IV Heavy went on to SpaceX, so at the very least those people knew what was coming ...
« Last Edit: 07/19/2017 10:19 PM by SpacemanSpliff »

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #68 on: 07/19/2017 10:38 PM »
They're setting expectations for FH to be really low, I understood it to be a difficult task but they've clearly run into more issues than expected.
Yeah, I'm surprised how heavily Elon is caveating the first launch.

And I'm even more surprised how severely SpaceX underestimated FH challenges per the Chris Gebhardt quote. Or perhaps, how much Elon underestimated things? I'd be shocked if many of the engineers didn't know how complicated things were going to get. I know that former Boeing/ULA engineers worked on Delta IV Heavy went on to SpaceX, so at the very least those people knew what was coming ...

I'm not. He put really low odds on landings that turned out to be successful. He just knows of everything, everything that can possibly go wrong.

People entering into a complex challenge always underestimate its complexity. Kinda like Trump saying "Who knew how complex healthcare was?" Well, the experts know. But most people don't realize just how deep the rabbit hole goes for any given field. See the Dunning-Kruger Effect for more details.
"One bit of advice: it is important to view knowledge as sort of a semantic tree -- make sure you understand the fundamental principles, ie the trunk and big branches, before you get into the leaves/details or there is nothing for them to hang on to." - Elon Musk
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Offline Krankenhausen

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #69 on: 07/19/2017 10:46 PM »
But if you think about it, they do have to have some confidence that it'd work to some extent right? I mean, it wouldn't be good if it went boom since 39A is sort off vital to commercial crew. Would they seriously risk that?

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #70 on: 07/19/2017 10:54 PM »
But if you think about it, they do have to have some confidence that it'd work to some extent right? I mean, it wouldn't be good if it went boom since 39A is sort off vital to commercial crew. Would they seriously risk that?

you're right, but there are, of course, limitations as to what you can determine by testing and simulations. They are probably reasonably confident it won't blow up on the pad - but the first flight may very well not be successful.
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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #71 on: 07/19/2017 11:08 PM »
But if you think about it, they do have to have some confidence that it'd work to some extent right? I mean, it wouldn't be good if it went boom since 39A is sort off vital to commercial crew. Would they seriously risk that?

Have you ever heard of the concept of "managing expectations"? This is what Elon does. He routinely low-balls the chances of success whenever something new is tried for the first time. (and even after that too)

FH won't launch until SpaceX is very confident it will hold together enough to clear 39A and beyond.

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #72 on: 07/19/2017 11:10 PM »
But if you think about it, they do have to have some confidence that it'd work to some extent right? I mean, it wouldn't be good if it went boom since 39A is sort off vital to commercial crew. Would they seriously risk that?

Have you ever heard of the concept of "managing expectations"? This is what Elon does. He routinely low-balls the chances of success whenever something new is tried for the first time. (and even after that too)

FH won't launch until SpaceX is very confident it will hold together enough to clear 39A and beyond.

Exactly.  How many times in the past few missions have we been cautioned that "the booster probably won't land on the ASDS"... only to have it standing tall on the ship?

It's managing expectations, not actually predicting a failure.

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #73 on: 07/20/2017 01:03 AM »
But if you think about it, they do have to have some confidence that it'd work to some extent right? I mean, it wouldn't be good if it went boom since 39A is sort off vital to commercial crew. Would they seriously risk that?

Have you ever heard of the concept of "managing expectations"? This is what Elon does. He routinely low-balls the chances of success whenever something new is tried for the first time. (and even after that too)

FH won't launch until SpaceX is very confident it will hold together enough to clear 39A and beyond.

Exactly.  How many times in the past few missions have we been cautioned that "the booster probably won't land on the ASDS"... only to have it standing tall on the ship?

It's managing expectations, not actually predicting a failure.

An extremely wise thing to do for FH.

Ask yourself why FH has taken so long. Could it be that launching a single F9 is so complex that the challenge makes it difficult to repeat reliably? Remember, they are still "innovating" considerably, so even little changes are a challenge for repeatability.

DIVH succeeded (for the most part) with its initial launch because it was a key differentiator to win the EELV program, very early on, because they considered it as a whole vehicle, all up test, and they weren't launching at any cadence. Still, they had a serious anomaly that took a while to rectify.

DIVH also isn't either rapid to build or to launch, and is one (if not the most) costliest LV on the planet.

(It's also a low "finess" ratio booster stage, with very different bending moments. If you're going to cluster boosters, long thin ones are a considerable issue.)

So unlike DIVH, FH is "shooting at a moving target".

Now, what's the upside? You can launch very infrequent, critical, extremely low risk missions, most of which can't be built except when that capability is proven as reliable and repeatable.

And, once you do that, no one wants you to change a single fastener, for fear of risking all of those payloads.

Can you think of a payload business more "unlike SX" than the FH one?

Bonus - if they do it well, making FH/F9 launches roughly similar in risk (~3x/1x), certain things would happen:
1. They'd unlock top end size for payloads to above Ariane 5 levels, increasing the number/frequency of them.
2. They'd make the competition for comprehensive LV services very difficult for other current providers (cost).
3. They'd secure an industry position that could last for several decades (covers foreseeable need, maintainable on even fewest missions/year as "profitable").
4. They'd be able to receive private/public equity to indefinitely upscale high end launch services.
5. Without govt fiat, could gradually finance own exploration platform *slowly*.

Offline SpacemanSpliff

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #74 on: 07/20/2017 02:46 AM »


People entering into a complex challenge always underestimate its complexity. Kinda like Trump saying "Who knew how complex healthcare was?" Well, the experts know. But most people don't realize just how deep the rabbit hole goes for any given field. See the Dunning-Kruger Effect for more details.

thanks, while I was all too aware of the phenomenon and its corollary I never knew there was a name for it. Perhaps I have given Elon too much credit regarding his genius -- I always thought Elon knew he was making ridiculous schedule claims as a way of drumming up hype and pushing his workforce, but perhaps he really does believe the dates he puts out and really does underestimate the challenges. I'd reckon the truth is probably somewhere in the middle...
« Last Edit: 07/20/2017 02:51 AM by SpacemanSpliff »

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #75 on: 07/20/2017 02:55 AM »


People entering into a complex challenge always underestimate its complexity. Kinda like Trump saying "Who knew how complex healthcare was?" Well, the experts know. But most people don't realize just how deep the rabbit hole goes for any given field. See the Dunning-Kruger Effect for more details.

thanks, while I was all too aware of the phenomena and its corollary I never knew there was a name for it. Perhaps I have given Elon too much credit regarding his genius -- I always thought Elon knew he was making ridiculous schedule claims as a way of drumming up hype and pushing his workforce, but perhaps he really does believe the dates he puts out. The truth is probably somewhere in the middle...
He really does believe it.

The most outrageous schedule claims are made when he knows the least about the actual schedule. But this should be expected: he characteristically gives the very earliest possible date given the information he knows about, and so logically the less he knows about something the more likely he is to give an early date.

In other words, always keep in mind that when Musk gives a NET date, he's answering this (kind of silly) question: "What is the earliest date such that you're certain you literally couldn't possibly do any earlier?"

...keeping that in mind will save you a lot of disappointment.

...but this helps push himself as well. Thinking in this way can help identify obstacles to rapid development. It's also terrible for any kind of realistic projection.
« Last Edit: 07/20/2017 03:04 AM by Robotbeat »
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Offline Robotbeat

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #76 on: 07/20/2017 03:04 AM »
There's a side effect of this:
Dragon propulsive landing now looks really hard because their information on it is now high. Their information on ITS is still relatively low, therefore Musk's usual timeline shows they could get it done in almost the same amount of time, so why even bother? The grass always looks greener on the other side of the TRL graph.
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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #77 on: 07/20/2017 04:00 AM »
Rockets are hard, ones that launch 100,000+ pounds are harder.

I've criticized the FH schedule, it's been a crazy long time coming but the F9 base vehicle has evolved so much in that time.  It was hard for FH to really get a good start.

The lessons learned on FH will help them going forward with the next generation of vehicle.
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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #78 on: 07/20/2017 04:33 AM »
So can anyone share a little bit about the development of Delta IV Heavy? Thanks.

Offline Proponent

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #79 on: 07/20/2017 08:44 AM »
What do we think the odds are that, doing it all over again, SpaceX would not attempt a tri-core launch vehicle?

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #80 on: 07/20/2017 08:50 AM »
So can anyone share a little bit about the development of Delta IV Heavy?

One thing we know about Delta IV is that it has, IIRC, four different versions of core:  single-stick medium core, heavy core, left booster core and right booster core.  That makes it more expensive than it ought to be.  The plan was for just three cores, with the heavy core flying as the medium core, but performance shortfalls meant that the medium core had to be lightened, making it a separate variant.  It sounds like the Falcon family has at most three cores, because the left and right heavy boosters are identical.

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #81 on: 07/20/2017 08:52 AM »
But if you think about it, they do have to have some confidence that it'd work to some extent right? I mean, it wouldn't be good if it went boom since 39A is sort off vital to commercial crew. Would they seriously risk that?

Have you ever heard of the concept of "managing expectations"? This is what Elon does. He routinely low-balls the chances of success whenever something new is tried for the first time. (and even after that too)

FH won't launch until SpaceX is very confident it will hold together enough to clear 39A and beyond.
Fair enough, than we have both come to more or less the same conclusion that they expect the launch to be successful at least to some extent. I was just a little concerned about them gambling 39A, but I'm sure they'll make an informed decision.

Thinking about it some more, the pad is likely not the most uncertain part of the flight (except it will just not launch if not all 27 engines start equally.) The most uncertain part is likely somewhat later in flight when significant aero forces start to come into play.
« Last Edit: 07/20/2017 10:35 AM by Krankenhausen »

Offline Proponent

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #82 on: 07/20/2017 09:17 AM »
But if you think about it, they do have to have some confidence that it'd work to some extent right? I mean, it wouldn't be good if it went boom since 39A is sort off vital to commercial crew. Would they seriously risk that?

Have you ever heard of the concept of "managing expectations"? This is what Elon does. He routinely low-balls the chances of success whenever something new is tried for the first time. (and even after that too)

FH won't launch until SpaceX is very confident it will hold together enough to clear 39A and beyond.

In the past, there's been a lot of nonsensical, in my view, commentary to the effect that the N-1, with its 30 first-stage engines was a disaster, and Falcon Heavy, with 27, isn't much better.  Though I still expect SpaceX to make a success of Falcon Heavy, reading that the nearly simultaneous ignition of all 27 engines will not be attempted until the first flight vehicle is on the pad does send a bit of a shiver down my spine.  It has often been said that the N-1's problems lay not in the sheer number of engines but in the lack of ground testing of the full engine cluster.

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #83 on: 07/20/2017 10:15 AM »
But if you think about it, they do have to have some confidence that it'd work to some extent right? I mean, it wouldn't be good if it went boom since 39A is sort off vital to commercial crew. Would they seriously risk that?

Have you ever heard of the concept of "managing expectations"? This is what Elon does. He routinely low-balls the chances of success whenever something new is tried for the first time. (and even after that too)

FH won't launch until SpaceX is very confident it will hold together enough to clear 39A and beyond.
Fair enough, than we have both have come to more or less the same conclusion that they expect the launch to be successful at least to some extent. I was just a little concerned about them gambling 39A, but I'm sure they'll make an informed decision.

Thinking about it some more, the pad is likely not the most uncertain part of the flight (except it will just not launch if not all 27 engines start equally.) The most uncertain part is likely somewhat later in flight when significant aero forces start to come into play.

tbh I doubt they would be gambling the pad since it's the same one that their commercial crew relies on and certainly I'd expect the FAA to not grant a licence to anything with as much doubt as he is expressing. I think he's just playing to the crowd to whip up a bit of excitement.
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Offline old_sellsword

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #84 on: 07/20/2017 01:07 PM »
So can anyone share a little bit about the development of Delta IV Heavy?

One thing we know about Delta IV is that it has, IIRC, four different versions of core:  single-stick medium core, heavy core, left booster core and right booster core.  That makes it more expensive than it ought to be.  The plan was for just three cores, with the heavy core flying as the medium core, but performance shortfalls meant that the medium core had to be lightened, making it a separate variant.  It sounds like the Falcon family has at most three cores, because the left and right heavy boosters are identical.

Eventually, the Falcon family will consist of only two booster types: Falcon Heavy center cores and Falcon Heavy side boosters that double as regular Falcon 9s.

These upcoming Block upgrades are putting a lot of work into increasing the commonality between F9 and FH, including things like the bolted octaweb.

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #85 on: 07/20/2017 01:26 PM »
So can anyone share a little bit about the development of Delta IV Heavy?

One thing we know about Delta IV is that it has, IIRC, four different versions of core:  single-stick medium core, heavy core, left booster core and right booster core.  That makes it more expensive than it ought to be.  The plan was for just three cores, with the heavy core flying as the medium core, but performance shortfalls meant that the medium core had to be lightened, making it a separate variant.  It sounds like the Falcon family has at most three cores, because the left and right heavy boosters are identical.

Atlas V Heavy would have had one type of core

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #86 on: 07/20/2017 01:28 PM »

tbh I doubt they would be gambling the pad since it's the same one that their commercial crew relies on and certainly I'd expect the FAA to not grant a licence to anything with as much doubt as he is expressing. I think he's just playing to the crowd to whip up a bit of excitement.

The FAA doesn't care as long as nobody will get hurt or no 3rd party property gets damaged.

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #87 on: 07/20/2017 01:54 PM »
It seems to me, there are stresses, the outside cores have to put all their lift capability to the center core.  Center core has to take more stress, like 3 times as much.  Then after liftoff, the outer cores go full thrust while the center core throttles down.  Then there is the separation event.  Soyuz basically just falls out by gravity, and maybe a thruster to get the side boosters out of the way of the center.  No so with FH.  Then the side boosters have to come back and land without getting in each others way.  What they are doing is not easy. 

Seems to me if they are far enough along with BFR and ITS or BFS, they should put all their effort into those and get them going in a few years.  They will put FH out of business.  Single core, single big reusable spacecraft.  Anything can be launched to deep space or GSO with it. 

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #88 on: 07/20/2017 01:57 PM »
So can anyone share a little bit about the development of Delta IV Heavy?

One thing we know about Delta IV is that it has, IIRC, four different versions of core:  single-stick medium core, heavy core, left booster core and right booster core.  That makes it more expensive than it ought to be.  The plan was for just three cores, with the heavy core flying as the medium core, but performance shortfalls meant that the medium core had to be lightened, making it a separate variant.  It sounds like the Falcon family has at most three cores, because the left and right heavy boosters are identical.

Eventually, the Falcon family will consist of only two booster types: Falcon Heavy center cores and Falcon Heavy side boosters that double as regular Falcon 9s.

These upcoming Block upgrades are putting a lot of work into increasing the commonality between F9 and FH, including things like the bolted octaweb.

With the continuous improvement in thrust and efficiency of the Merlin engines, and given the opportunity to examine landed FH cores to see where the actual stress points are, its conceivable that a future FH iteration could be made of three near identical boosters, the only difference being the reconfigurable mounts. Side boosters and single stick F9s would be heavier but that could be offset by the enhanced engines and the structural robustness might translate into longer service lives.

This may be particularly attractive if BFR/ITS - mini is delayed in development.
« Last Edit: 07/20/2017 01:59 PM by Helodriver »

Offline clongton

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #89 on: 07/20/2017 02:03 PM »
It has often been said that the N-1's problems lay not in the sheer number of engines but in the lack of ground testing of the full engine cluster.

That and FOD. All four launches were a failure and it is know for certain that two of them were FOD related. Soviet Quality Control was practically nonexistent in their rocket manufacturing processes.
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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #90 on: 07/20/2017 02:46 PM »
It has often been said that the N-1's problems lay not in the sheer number of engines but in the lack of ground testing of the full engine cluster.

That and FOD. All four launches were a failure and it is know for certain that two of them were FOD related. Soviet Quality Control was practically nonexistent in their rocket manufacturing processes.

There's an excellent book "The Secret of Apollo: Systems Management in American and European Space Programs" that explains systems management and how western cultures of being open and working together is just easier.  Because we think that way.

I wouldn't want to be Quality Control in the Soviet Union.  Being the person that raises your hand to say there is a problem is a great way to get a 1 way ticket to Siberia.

Regarding Musk's comments about the inaugural FH launch, I think a significant target audience for him is the SpaceX staff working on it.  Keep them motivated and fearful of failure.  I think they will be successful, but nothing is certain until the payload is in orbit (the boosters are on the ground and ASDS)
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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #91 on: 07/20/2017 02:49 PM »
With the continuous improvement in thrust and efficiency of the Merlin engines, and given the opportunity to examine landed FH cores to see where the actual stress points are, its conceivable that a future FH iteration could be made of three near identical boosters, the only difference being the reconfigurable mounts. Side boosters and single stick F9s would be heavier but that could be offset by the enhanced engines and the structural robustness might translate into longer service lives.

This may be particularly attractive if BFR/ITS - mini is delayed in development.
If reuse pans out as well as they hope it does, I don't really see how this makes sense.  It'd be better to focus on the second stage, either optimizing for production cost or getting them back, since that's what they will be making in job lots.  First stages will only be put out occasionally so having two types shouldn't be that big of a deal.  Given the projected low flight rate, SpaceX might only make a handful of FH cores during its entire run.
« Last Edit: 07/20/2017 02:51 PM by abaddon »

Offline gospacex

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #92 on: 07/20/2017 02:59 PM »
It seems to me, there are stresses, the outside cores have to put all their lift capability to the center core.  Center core has to take more stress, like 3 times as much.  Then after liftoff, the outer cores go full thrust while the center core throttles down.  Then there is the separation event.  Soyuz basically just falls out by gravity, and maybe a thruster to get the side boosters out of the way of the center.  No so with FH.  Then the side boosters have to come back and land without getting in each others way.  What they are doing is not easy. 

Seems to me if they are far enough along with BFR and ITS or BFS, they should put all their effort into those and get them going in a few years.  They will put FH out of business.

Even if FH will no longer be needed, the knowledge how to do Heavy can be very useful in the future. BFR-H, anyone?

Offline drunyan8315

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #93 on: 07/20/2017 03:27 PM »
"What do we think the odds are that, doing it all over again, SpaceX would not attempt a tri-core launch vehicle?"

Very low. Shotwell is poo-pooing the market size too. At one time it probably looked safer to build upon F9 technology than to redesign completely. Probably would have to me too.

Offline wannamoonbase

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #94 on: 07/20/2017 03:43 PM »
Even if FH will no longer be needed, the knowledge how to do Heavy can be very useful in the future. BFR-H, anyone?

Not me.

I think EM will prefer to go with oversized single stick boosters.  Way less operations and steps needed.  Likely easier to design and build too.

The lesson of FH maybe to avoid more than a single body.

The lessons of FH design and analysis and sharpening those skills may help the BFR.

I agree with abaddon above, that the number of FH's ever built could be quite low.  1-2, maybe 3 missions a year with reuseable cores for the next 5-10 years until a new gen vehicle is ready. 

I could see the amount of FH ever built being in the 5-10 range.
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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #95 on: 07/20/2017 03:50 PM »
It seems to me, people are overvaluing the statements by Elon Musk about FH difficulties. I see them similar to what Tom Mueller said about developing the Merlin engine. Very hard to do, with lots of failures in the development phase. But the result is a cheap, reliable, robust engine.

So will FH be as well. Assuming the first flight goes well, they will have a reliable easy to stack cost efficient heavy lift vehicle.  I hope they will not have a failure on the first flight. But in any case they will learn a lot and do some adjustments and optimization, if only in control software.

It may go quite soon. But when it goes so will F9. A new generation will replace them both. Possibly FH first but F9 not much later.

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #96 on: 07/20/2017 04:05 PM »
Even if FH will no longer be needed, the knowledge how to do Heavy can be very useful in the future. BFR-H, anyone?

Not me.

I think EM will prefer to go with oversized single stick boosters.  Way less operations and steps needed.  Likely easier to design and build too.

The lesson of FH maybe to avoid more than a single body.

The lessons of FH design and analysis and sharpening those skills may help the BFR.

I agree with abaddon above, that the number of FH's ever built could be quite low.  1-2, maybe 3 missions a year with reuseable cores for the next 5-10 years until a new gen vehicle is ready. 

I could see the amount of FH ever built being in the 5-10 range.
Particularly good bet for block 5 cores. Just don't see much need to make many more than 5-10 heavy cores.
Unless heavy becomes the go to for constellation launches. That could change the betting odds.

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #97 on: 07/20/2017 04:52 PM »
The advantage of the triple booster is largely to lower the cost of an interim payload size growth in the market.

The disadvantage is that it can amplify costs, as it does for DIVH.

Which then defeats the point of growing payload size.

In this case, should it evade the "DIVH cost trap", it's an interim vehicle that *might* allow payload growth, assuming adequate reliability/frequency/cost (which is assuming a lot).

(Note - DIVH *did achieve payload size growth*, because Vulcan/ACES is sized to cover DIVH payloads. It just didn't do so in a way that allowed anything beyond DIV/HU.)

So should FH be a fantastic success, it would likely accelerate the need for a non-clustered LV, as we see with Vulcan.

A clustered vehicle is always an interim approach.

And once you exceed certain SHLV sizes, it's far easier to just make the larger vehicle to avoid clusters.

Offline Jim Davis

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #98 on: 07/20/2017 05:10 PM »
A clustered vehicle is always an interim approach.

The Soyuz and Proton launchers were surely more than interim approaches?

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #99 on: 07/20/2017 05:29 PM »
So can anyone share a little bit about the development of Delta IV Heavy?

One thing we know about Delta IV is that it has, IIRC, four different versions of core:  single-stick medium core, heavy core, left booster core and right booster core.  That makes it more expensive than it ought to be.  The plan was for just three cores, with the heavy core flying as the medium core, but performance shortfalls meant that the medium core had to be lightened, making it a separate variant.  It sounds like the Falcon family has at most three cores, because the left and right heavy boosters are identical.

For Delta IV Heavy, even Left and Right booster are not the same?

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #100 on: 07/20/2017 05:33 PM »
A clustered vehicle is always an interim approach.

The Soyuz and Proton launchers were surely more than interim approaches?

Soyuz is clustered, Proton is not.

And Soyuz does not use identical 'cores', the center one is very different.

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #101 on: 07/20/2017 06:10 PM »
The advantage of the triple booster is largely to lower the cost of an interim payload size growth in the market.

The disadvantage is that it can amplify costs, as it does for DIVH.


not true.  Atlas V Heavy would not have had the same issues. 
DIVH issues stem from under performance of the basic core and hence the 5 to 6 core versions needed to meet EELV requirements.

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #102 on: 07/20/2017 06:11 PM »
So can anyone share a little bit about the development of Delta IV Heavy?

One thing we know about Delta IV is that it has, IIRC, four different versions of core:  single-stick medium core, heavy core, left booster core and right booster core.  That makes it more expensive than it ought to be.  The plan was for just three cores, with the heavy core flying as the medium core, but performance shortfalls meant that the medium core had to be lightened, making it a separate variant.  It sounds like the Falcon family has at most three cores, because the left and right heavy boosters are identical.

For Delta IV Heavy, even Left and Right booster are not the same?

mirror images of each other.
Atlas V would have just had one core for all vehicles, even heavy

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #103 on: 07/20/2017 06:45 PM »
The disadvantage is that it can amplify costs, as it does for DIVH.

not true.  Atlas V Heavy would not have had the same issues.
Atlas V Heavy had other issues. Similar to F9H as a paper rocket, both used singular designed cores. You're overselling here.

Quote
 
DIVH issues stem from under performance of the basic core and hence the 5 to 6 core versions needed to meet EELV requirements.

True that RS68 way underperformed, overcosted, ... They didn't want to wait for meeting spec, chose "good enough ".

True that booster structure/ mass also missed spec. Same reason.

Hundreds of other issues make both clustered EELV's fiscally infeasible and "doomed".

You are cherry picking to save EELV "face".

Reuse, flight frequency, and low cost architecture outcompetes them, judged on the same scale/execution.

Nothing new here.

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #104 on: 07/20/2017 06:52 PM »

Atlas V Heavy had other issues. Similar to F9H as a paper rocket, both used singular designed cores. You're overselling here.


Not true at all.  Atlas V Heavy has no "issues", just needed time.   The core as it can handle 0-5 SRBs.  Heavy loads would be less.

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #105 on: 07/20/2017 06:53 PM »

Hundreds of other issues make both clustered EELV's fiscally infeasible and "doomed".

Wrong again.  If designed right, it is cheaper than two different vehicles (F9 and mini ITS)

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #106 on: 07/20/2017 08:02 PM »

Atlas V Heavy had other issues. Similar to F9H as a paper rocket, both used singular designed cores. You're overselling here.


Not true at all.  Atlas V Heavy has no "issues", just needed time.   The core as it can handle 0-5 SRBs.  Heavy loads would be less.

Rebuild of VIF - barely enough room for SRBs/GSE. Rebuild of launch table. lssues with MLP. Upscaleing props loading.

Atlas V skipped heavy bc LM did minimal bid /work bc didn't know if it (EELV) would ever pay back investment, which was smart.

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #107 on: 07/20/2017 08:07 PM »

Hundreds of other issues make both clustered EELV's fiscally infeasible and "doomed".

Wrong again.  If designed right, it is cheaper than two different vehicles (F9 and mini ITS)
Don't drag ITS into it.

Reuse of side boosters alone means EELV heavies doomed.

You were the one years back who said who could hav known they could have made such a cheap kerolox architecture. You were right then. Same is true now, even if you evade to avoid an uncomfortable truth.

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #108 on: 07/20/2017 08:18 PM »

Atlas V Heavy had other issues. Similar to F9H as a paper rocket, both used singular designed cores. You're overselling here.


Not true at all.  Atlas V Heavy has no "issues", just needed time.   The core as it can handle 0-5 SRBs.  Heavy loads would be less.

Rebuild of VIF - barely enough room for SRBs/GSE. Rebuild of launch table. lssues with MLP. Upscaleing props loading.

Atlas V skipped heavy bc LM did minimal bid /work bc didn't know if it (EELV) would ever pay back investment, which was smart.

Wrong, LM did more than minimal work.  The CCB was structurally designed for it.  The VIF as is can support it. It was designed from the beginning for the Heavy.  The platform cutouts for side boosters exist.  The MLP required no rebuild.  It was designed from the beginning for the Heavy.  The openings for the side boosters is what the current SRBs are mounted over. The MLP just needed to be outfitted for the side boosters (holddowns, LOX TSMs, and avionics umbilical).

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #109 on: 07/20/2017 08:35 PM »
Quote
So we had to redesign the whole center-core airframe on the Falcon 9 because itís going to take so much load.

Excuse me, if I may, clustered or not, I believe Jim or someone else once confirmed the walls of the LOX & RP-1 tanks and the walls of the rocket are one & the same, so what is the airframe? Is this the first this particular upgrade has been made public, or has it been discussed previously? 
"Once a Blue, always a Blue." -- USN/USMC Flight Demonstration Squadron

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SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #110 on: 07/20/2017 08:39 PM »
Quote
So we had to redesign the whole center-core airframe on the Falcon 9 because itís going to take so much load.

Excuse me, if I may, clustered or not, I believe Jim or someone else once confirmed the walls of the LOX & RP-1 tanks and the walls of the rocket are one & the same, so what is the airframe? Is this the first this particular upgrade has been made public, or has it been discussed previously?

The ďairframeĒ of a Falcon consists of the octaweb, aft skirt, tank walls, and interstage. We know for a fact that the octaweb, aft skirt, and interstage are more structurally reinforced than a normal F9/FH side booster, but Iím not sure if the FH center core will have thicker tank walls.
« Last Edit: 07/20/2017 08:40 PM by old_sellsword »

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #111 on: 07/20/2017 08:55 PM »

Excuse me, if I may, clustered or not, I believe Jim or someone else once confirmed the walls of the LOX & RP-1 tanks and the walls of the rocket are one & the same, so what is the airframe? Is this the first this particular upgrade has been made public, or has it been discussed previously? 


All rockets are made that way since the V-2

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #112 on: 07/20/2017 08:57 PM »
Quote
So we had to redesign the whole center-core airframe on the Falcon 9 because itís going to take so much load.

The ďairframeĒ of a Falcon consists of the octaweb, aft skirt, tank walls, and interstage. We know for a fact that the octaweb, aft skirt, and interstage are more structurally reinforced than a normal F9/FH side booster, but Iím not sure if the FH center core will have thicker tank walls.

Thanks!
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SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #113 on: 07/20/2017 08:59 PM »

Excuse me, if I may, clustered or not, I believe Jim or someone else once confirmed the walls of the LOX & RP-1 tanks and the walls of the rocket are one & the same, so what is the airframe? Is this the first this particular upgrade has been made public, or has it been discussed previously? 


All rockets are made that way since the V-2
Over-generalization. See N1
;)
« Last Edit: 07/20/2017 09:00 PM by pippin »

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #114 on: 07/20/2017 09:01 PM »

Excuse me, if I may, clustered or not, I believe Jim or someone else once confirmed the walls of the LOX & RP-1 tanks and the walls of the rocket are one & the same, so what is the airframe? Is this the first this particular upgrade has been made public, or has it been discussed previously? 


All rockets are made that way since the V-2
Over-generalization. See N1
;)

N-1 just used over sized interstages ;-)

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #115 on: 07/20/2017 09:05 PM »

Excuse me, if I may, clustered or not, I believe Jim or someone else once confirmed the walls of the LOX & RP-1 tanks and the walls of the rocket are one & the same, so what is the airframe? Is this the first this particular upgrade has been made public, or has it been discussed previously? 


All rockets are made that way since the V-2
Over-generalization. See N1
;)

N-1 just used over sized interstages ;-)

Everyone seems to be forgetting the intertanks most rockets use... Definitely rocket wall but not tank wall.

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #116 on: 07/20/2017 09:24 PM »
Didn't the V-2 have an outer load carrying shell? I remember a video of a tech stuffing the space between the shell and the skin with insulation.

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #117 on: 07/20/2017 10:38 PM »

Atlas V Heavy had other issues. Similar to F9H as a paper rocket, both used singular designed cores. You're overselling here.


Not true at all.  Atlas V Heavy has no "issues", just needed time.   The core as it can handle 0-5 SRBs.  Heavy loads would be less.

Rebuild of VIF - barely enough room for SRBs/GSE. Rebuild of launch table. lssues with MLP. Upscaleing props loading.

Atlas V skipped heavy bc LM did minimal bid /work bc didn't know if it (EELV) would ever pay back investment, which was smart.

Wrong, LM did more than minimal work.  The CCB was structurally designed for it.  The VIF as is can support it. It was designed from the beginning for the Heavy.  The platform cutouts for side boosters exist.  The MLP required no rebuild.  It was designed from the beginning for the Heavy.  The openings for the side boosters is what the current SRBs are mounted over. The MLP just needed to be outfitted for the side boosters (holddowns, LOX TSMs, and avionics umbilical).

Atlas V Heavy made it to CDR, but Delta IV Heavy won a launch and thus made it to flight. (If DIVH failed along the way, then all the details we're back/forth over would have been dealt with more time and budget.) Can't think of what otherwise would have paid for a rational AVH.

There was no reason/customer for Atlas V Heavy (likewise FH) since DIVH got there first.

(Still maintain that LM got the better of the deal over Boeing, who didn't have to do so much "new" propulsion/pad/structural/avionics/engine/other. And it shows in AV accumulated flight history/performance.)

Note that cost doesn't/didn't play a factor in choice of "heavy" - you just need the occasional utility of such. One is enough. Nor for that matter flight frequency.

But an essential for national security.

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #118 on: 07/21/2017 01:59 AM »
Soyuz is clustered, Proton is not.

I'm pretty sure the Proton first stage consists of a cluster of tanks, 6 fuel tanks surrounding a larger oxidizer tank.

Quote
And Soyuz does not use identical 'cores', the center one is very different.

And why is that a disqualification for being considered clustered?

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #119 on: 07/21/2017 02:38 AM »
"Clustered" as it is being used here is putting together several similar boosters as the first stage.  Soyuz and Proton aren't even close to that.  Soyuz has four strap on boosters that are a different design from the core.  Proton doesn't even use additional boosters on the first stage.
« Last Edit: 07/21/2017 02:45 AM by gongora »

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #120 on: 07/21/2017 09:31 AM »
There was no reason/customer for Atlas V Heavy (likewise FH) since DIVH got there first.

Boeing broke the law at some stage in its competition with LM, and I think it was in connection with the heavy variant.  Boeing was punished by losing some launches.

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #121 on: 07/21/2017 11:17 AM »
So should FH be a fantastic success, it would likely accelerate the need for a non-clustered LV, as we see with Vulcan.
A clustered vehicle is always an interim approach.
And once you exceed certain SHLV sizes, it's far easier to just make the larger vehicle to avoid clusters.

Once it is suspected that there may be a genuine market for payloads that require a heavy, it is wise to verify the existence and viability of that market before you develop a single core LV to service that market. The best way to do that is interim development of the launch capability by a triple core version of an existing LV, which is what DIVH attempted and what FH will be attempting. DIVH failed to verify the viability of the market because it was already the single most expensive LV on the market and triple-coring it eliminated, for purely cost reasons, all possible payloads except for the heaviest DoD birds. FH on the other hand, would be a relatively inexpensive heavy LV and may actually be able to verify that viability because entities other than the DoD could actually afford to fly on it. It remains to be seen whether or not that market will prove to be viable. If it does not then FH will continue to be a low flight rate vehicle. If it does, then that will provide the economic justification for the mini BFR that Elon spoke about recently. That LV would likely be the replacement for the FH.
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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #122 on: 07/21/2017 11:29 AM »
Well, but letís not forget that SpaceX also needs FH to fly a whole class of payloads that is well in existence and currently flies on Ariane 5, Proton, Atlas and DIV Medium, not to mention HIIA and Chinese launchers

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #123 on: 07/21/2017 03:20 PM »
Soyuz is clustered, Proton is not.

I'm pretty sure the Proton first stage consists of a cluster of tanks, 6 fuel tanks surrounding a larger oxidizer tank.

By that definition the Saturn I was clustered as well. No, it is a first stage that has final assembly at the launch site. Nothing separates.

Quote
And Soyuz does not use identical 'cores', the center one is very different.

And why is that a disqualification for being considered clustered?

I suppose not, although the original point was more about a design where the core and boosters are the identical (or virtually identical) design - like Delta IV-H, Angara A5, and FH. It sounds so easy to do, but there seems to be more gotchas than those providers anticipated. (which caused cost increases or other issues) We'll see if FH can buck that trend or not.

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #124 on: 07/21/2017 04:37 PM »
Two FH cores spotted in the 39A hangar!   :D
An FB post with pictures from today (or yesterday) taken from a KSC tour bus, shows the FH center core (note booster attachment hardware highlighted with green arrows) and an FH booster core (only nose cone visible). I have attached contrast enhanced versions of the pictures.

EDIT: An don't forget the employee wearing the FH shirt.  ;)

Original FaceBook source for images: https://www.facebook.com/groups/spacexgroup/permalink/10155651551926318/
« Last Edit: 07/21/2017 04:42 PM by Lars-J »

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #125 on: 07/21/2017 05:28 PM »
By that definition the Saturn I was clustered as well.

Which is why it acquired the nickname "Cluster's Last Stand".

Quote
No, it is a first stage that has final assembly at the launch site. Nothing separates.

Okay, so we now have two criteria. The components must separate and they must be more or less identical.

That gives one flown example (Delta IVH) and one in prospect (Falcon Heavy). So how can one claim "A clustered vehicle is always an interim approach." with such a small sample size? You might assert that the very paucity of examples supports the claim, I suppose.

But I think it would be more prudent to say the jury is still out. If Falcon Heavy makes a dozen or so flights and is then retired the claim would be strengthened. If in 10 or 20 years we're looking forward to its 100th flight the claim will be harder to sustain.

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #126 on: 07/21/2017 05:32 PM »
There was no reason/customer for Atlas V Heavy (likewise FH) since DIVH got there first.

Boeing broke the law at some stage in its competition with LM, and I think it was in connection with the heavy variant.  Boeing was punished by losing some launches.

Boeing "stole" LM's IPR, then "won" the EELV competition. Looked for a while like LM/Atlas V was toast.

Then this came out, but by then too much depended on Boeing, so many of the launches were "re-awarded" to LM.

(They couldn't do this with DIVH - already too far down the path. LM was dragged into EELV, quite wary of situation financially. Atlas/Titan heritage carefully translated into AV - truly an "Evolved" ELV.)

So should FH be a fantastic success, it would likely accelerate the need for a non-clustered LV, as we see with Vulcan.
A clustered vehicle is always an interim approach.
And once you exceed certain SHLV sizes, it's far easier to just make the larger vehicle to avoid clusters.

Once it is suspected that there may be a genuine market for payloads that require a heavy, it is wise to verify the existence and viability of that market before you develop a single core LV to service that market. The best way to do that is interim development of the launch capability by a triple core version of an existing LV, which is what DIVH attempted and what FH will be attempting. DIVH failed to verify the viability of the market because it was already the single most expensive LV on the market and triple-coring it eliminated, for purely cost reasons, all possible payloads except for the heaviest DoD birds.

(Another great post. You're on a roll.)

Suggest that the polar opposite of building the most expensive cluster out of the most expensive booster/LV to launch the most exotic payloads with the need for the most exotic payload services to get them there ... is to build a cluster out of the least expensive LV that does not initially launch the most exotic payloads, has the cheapest most obvious payload services only, and flies at least once a year.

(The point here is to keep it from inheriting the "cost mantle" of heritage from super expensive. Which is likely when the only payloads that keep the vehicle alive are "spare no expense. Too easy.)

This is why we don't have payload growth in launch services. You have to establish the "cheap volume" first, otherwise nothing but expensive payloads ever use it.

Quote
FH on the other hand, would be a relatively inexpensive heavy LV and may actually be able to verify that viability because entities other than the DoD could actually afford to fly on it.

Yes. But its even worse than that IMHO.

Quote
It remains to be seen whether or not that market will prove to be viable. If it does not then FH will continue to be a low flight rate vehicle.
One has to give the market time to adapt. "Loss leader".

Large payloads take 5-20 years. And they are designed with multiple LV's as fall back. They are all financed and developed quite differently, and we have to change the way that is done in addition to having a "cheap" HLV. Changing a culture takes multiple iterations.

DIVH cost isn't the real reason, only the current "excuse" for why few payloads. Its the mindset that limits.

Quote
If it does, then that will provide the economic justification for the mini BFR that Elon spoke about recently. That LV would likely be the replacement for the FH.

Suggest that regular FH "non exotic payloads" starts the mindset change.

Then, in order to deal with those "dragging the door from closing" who badmouth/schadenfreude "cheap" HLV, the gradual development of NG/ITSy/WTF shuts those insolent mouths as everyone see's the direction that things are going.

There will always be "sky is the limit" priced payloads. The issue is decoupling them from provider HLV/SHLV other payloads.

Well, but letís not forget that SpaceX also needs FH to fly a whole class of payloads that is well in existence and currently flies on Ariane 5, Proton, Atlas and DIV Medium, not to mention HIIA and Chinese launchers
All of them suffer the same issue.

If you can "change the game", even briefly, you might bifurcate the market.

The key is to not let "sky as the limit" set the limit, because then its only sky.

I suppose not, although the original point was more about a design where the core and boosters are the identical (or virtually identical) design - like Delta IV-H, Angara A5, and FH. It sounds so easy to do, but there seems to be more gotchas than those providers anticipated. (which caused cost increases or other issues) We'll see if FH can buck that trend or not.

It is how you do it that makes all the difference. Perhaps it can't be done?

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #127 on: 07/21/2017 05:42 PM »
Wonder what the chances are we can see all 3 cores fit together while they have some available time in the bay?

As I understand it the TEL isn't ready to test fit all 3 cores yet, so it would need to be done on stands.

Offline AncientU

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #128 on: 07/21/2017 05:42 PM »
Non-exotic payloads definition is nicely met by those recent comm sats that required expendable F9 launches.  If successful in inaugural flight(s), FH with three boosters recovered could become a fairly routine spectacle.
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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #129 on: 07/21/2017 08:09 PM »
Well, but letís not forget that SpaceX also needs FH to fly a whole class of payloads that is well in existence and currently flies on /...skip.../, Proton

No, for competing with Proton SpaceX does not need FH. Last F9 launch lofted a payload with the mass equal to the maximum Proton payload.

Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #130 on: 07/21/2017 11:38 PM »
Well, but letís not forget that SpaceX also needs FH to fly a whole class of payloads that is well in existence and currently flies on /...skip.../, Proton

No, for competing with Proton SpaceX does not need FH. Last F9 launch lofted a payload with the mass equal to the maximum Proton payload.

In expendable mode, yes. But FH would be needed for reuse.

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #131 on: 07/22/2017 01:21 AM »
Well, but letís not forget that SpaceX also needs FH to fly a whole class of payloads that is well in existence and currently flies on /...skip.../, Proton

No, for competing with Proton SpaceX does not need FH. Last F9 launch lofted a payload with the mass equal to the maximum Proton payload.

In expendable mode, yes. But FH would be needed for reuse.

I'm not sure that there is any certainty yet that a fully re-used FH will be cheaper than an expended F9. I would guess that even the most in-the-know people at SpaceX still have some pretty large error bars on the total operations cost of using and re-using FH.

That is especially true if they plan to replace FH as with something else in less than a decade. Suddenly the "we'll streamline operations to make it super cheap eventually" may become, "and we'll get there slightly ahead of the last time we fly it."

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #132 on: 07/22/2017 01:30 AM »
Could start to make sense ($$$) to expend a booster that has already had a number of flights on it? Then the question is how many flights.

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Offline envy887

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #133 on: 07/22/2017 01:33 AM »
If F9 had a metholox expendable second stage, It could launch loftier payloads without FH.

It couldn't do heavy GSO missions, or lunar Dragon at all. FH can do those with at least partial booster reuse.

Offline JazzFan

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #134 on: 07/22/2017 02:07 AM »
Well, but letís not forget that SpaceX also needs FH to fly a whole class of payloads that is well in existence and currently flies on /...skip.../, Proton

No, for competing with Proton SpaceX does not need FH. Last F9 launch lofted a payload with the mass equal to the maximum Proton payload.

Maybe its me, but do you think that SpaceX is designing capability against a 50+ year old launcher that Russia is trying to replace?  F9 and FH is targeted at meeting current and future launcher needs at the most affordable means, and which can generate the greatest profit.

Offline pippin

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #135 on: 07/22/2017 07:44 AM »
Well, but letís not forget that SpaceX also needs FH to fly a whole class of payloads that is well in existence and currently flies on /...skip.../, Proton

No, for competing with Proton SpaceX does not need FH. Last F9 launch lofted a payload with the mass equal to the maximum Proton payload.

Maybe its me, but do you think that SpaceX is designing capability against a 50+ year old launcher that Russia is trying to replace?  F9 and FH is targeted at meeting current and future launcher needs at the most affordable means, and which can generate the greatest profit.
I had a whole list of LVs in my post.
Which was kind of the point: large comsats are being designed to have several launch options because nobody in the market wants to be dependent on a single launch provider and that will not change.

But gospacexĎs comment is valid. SpaceX might not like flying in expendable mode but they can and they are competitive that way, too. Whether that means profitable remains to be seen, but at least they can fly them.
I actually thought F9 was still at 6t.
That said, nowadays there are comsats that are even bigger but they are still few and launch options are expensive.

Offline Dante2121

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #136 on: 07/22/2017 06:26 PM »
"What do we think the odds are that, doing it all over again, SpaceX would not attempt a tri-core launch vehicle?"

Very low. Shotwell is poo-pooing the market size too. At one time it probably looked safer to build upon F9 technology than to redesign completely. Probably would have to me too.

Then given SpaceX's penchant to switch direction when an approach no longer makes sense - why haven't they just given up on the heavy?

Offline AncientU

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #137 on: 07/22/2017 07:20 PM »
"What do we think the odds are that, doing it all over again, SpaceX would not attempt a tri-core launch vehicle?"

Very low. Shotwell is poo-pooing the market size too. At one time it probably looked safer to build upon F9 technology than to redesign completely. Probably would have to me too.

Then given SpaceX's penchant to switch direction when an approach no longer makes sense - why haven't they just given up on the heavy?

They are one Demo launch away from having the world's largest launcher by a factor of two -- and it will be born reusable (for about 90% of the vehicle cost).  Not time for the faint of heart. 

If Demo goes south and Demo2 follows, and ITSy is making good progress, they may rethink this vehicle.
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Offline M.E.T.

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #138 on: 07/22/2017 07:25 PM »
"What do we think the odds are that, doing it all over again, SpaceX would not attempt a tri-core launch vehicle?"

Very low. Shotwell is poo-pooing the market size too. At one time it probably looked safer to build upon F9 technology than to redesign completely. Probably would have to me too.

Then given SpaceX's penchant to switch direction when an approach no longer makes sense - why haven't they just given up on the heavy?

They are one Demo launch away from having the world's largest launcher by a factor of two -- and it will be born reusable (for about 90% of the vehicle cost).  Not time for the faint of heart. 

If Demo goes south and Demo2 follows, and ITSy is making good progress, they may rethink this vehicle.

I raised the decreasing justification for the FH a couple of months ago, even before ITSy was announced. In my mind the FH is going to have a very short lifespan. And with Dragon no longer going to Mars, it really seems that in hindsight it was a lot of money wasted on a concept that has been replaced by a better one before the first even saw its maiden flight.

I think the moment ITSy flies, FH is retired. Now the question just is, how long will it take to get to ITSy's first flight?

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #139 on: 07/22/2017 07:58 PM »
"What do we think the odds are that, doing it all over again, SpaceX would not attempt a tri-core launch vehicle?"

Very low. Shotwell is poo-pooing the market size too. At one time it probably looked safer to build upon F9 technology than to redesign completely. Probably would have to me too.

Then given SpaceX's penchant to switch direction when an approach no longer makes sense - why haven't they just given up on the heavy?

They are one Demo launch away from having the world's largest launcher by a factor of two -- and it will be born reusable (for about 90% of the vehicle cost).  Not time for the faint of heart. 

If Demo goes south and Demo2 follows, and ITSy is making good progress, they may rethink this vehicle.

I raised the decreasing justification for the FH a couple of months ago, even before ITSy was announced. In my mind the FH is going to have a very short lifespan. And with Dragon no longer going to Mars, it really seems that in hindsight it was a lot of money wasted on a concept that has been replaced by a better one before the first even saw its maiden flight.

I think the moment ITSy flies, FH is retired. Now the question just is, how long will it take to get to ITSy's first flight?

SpaceX can't afford ITS development on its own.  Until they find another partner willing to spend tens of billions of dollars, I wouldn't hold your breath.

IMO I think FH will be around for a long time.  I could see them utilizing it for a "Deep Space" COTS program with NASA.  That is a lot more attainable and less costly than ITS.

Offline DJPledger

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #140 on: 07/22/2017 07:58 PM »
"What do we think the odds are that, doing it all over again, SpaceX would not attempt a tri-core launch vehicle?"

Very low. Shotwell is poo-pooing the market size too. At one time it probably looked safer to build upon F9 technology than to redesign completely. Probably would have to me too.

Then given SpaceX's penchant to switch direction when an approach no longer makes sense - why haven't they just given up on the heavy?

They are one Demo launch away from having the world's largest launcher by a factor of two -- and it will be born reusable (for about 90% of the vehicle cost).  Not time for the faint of heart. 

If Demo goes south and Demo2 follows, and ITSy is making good progress, they may rethink this vehicle.

I raised the decreasing justification for the FH a couple of months ago, even before ITSy was announced. In my mind the FH is going to have a very short lifespan. And with Dragon no longer going to Mars, it really seems that in hindsight it was a lot of money wasted on a concept that has been replaced by a better one before the first even saw its maiden flight.

I think the moment ITSy flies, FH is retired. Now the question just is, how long will it take to get to ITSy's first flight?
I fully agree with you that FH is likely to have a very short lifespan and be retired as soon as ITSy is ready. If FH maiden launch fails then I think it will be retired immediately with heavier payloads launched on expendable F9 Block 5's until ITSy is ready. FH is a dead end kludge and it will be rapidly become obsolete.

Offline AncientU

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #141 on: 07/22/2017 08:15 PM »
Dead end kluge might be a bit harsh... what if ITSy didn't or doesn't ever exist?
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Offline M.E.T.

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #142 on: 07/22/2017 08:18 PM »
Dead end kluge might be a bit harsh... what if ITSy didn't or doesn't ever exist?

Yes, FH is needed as an insurance policy in case ITSy takes longer than hoped for to develop. But it remains a bridging vehicle, which will have little justification for its existence once the Raptor based vehicle becomes operational.

Offline DJPledger

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #143 on: 07/22/2017 08:30 PM »
Dead end kluge might be a bit harsh... what if ITSy didn't or doesn't ever exist?
SpaceX should have skipped FH altogether and gone straight with ITSy. All the money burned on FH dev. should have been put towards accelerating ITSy dev. and getting ITSy launching ASAP.

Offline M.E.T.

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #144 on: 07/22/2017 08:32 PM »
Dead end kluge might be a bit harsh... what if ITSy didn't or doesn't ever exist?
SpaceX should have skipped FH altogether and gone straight with ITSy. All the money burned on FH dev. should have been put towards accelerating ITSy dev. and getting ITSy launching ASAP.

That is a sunk cost now. Given how close they are to FH's maiden flight, and how uncertain the timeframe for ITSy's development is at this point, the correct decision now is to continue with FH while ITSy development proceeds in the background, as fast as possible.

Offline AncientU

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #145 on: 07/22/2017 08:46 PM »
Dead end kluge might be a bit harsh... what if ITSy didn't or doesn't ever exist?
SpaceX should have skipped FH altogether and gone straight with ITSy. All the money burned on FH dev. should have been put towards accelerating ITSy dev. and getting ITSy launching ASAP.

20-20 hindsight... show us where you said that theee years ago.
may still prove to be a pivotal asset
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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #146 on: 07/22/2017 09:44 PM »
Dead end kluge might be a bit harsh... what if ITSy didn't or doesn't ever exist?
SpaceX should have skipped FH altogether and gone straight with ITSy. All the money burned on FH dev. should have been put towards accelerating ITSy dev. and getting ITSy launching ASAP.
Even with all the unexpected complexity I suspect FH will be significantly less expensive to develop than ITSy.  I doubt a team the size of the FH team could have ITSy ready in the same time frame as FH.

I think people are over playing the sunk cost fallacy with regard to FH. At least right up until they cancelled Red Dragon.  But we can't go back in time and pretend that SpaceX should have known that Red Dragon would be cancelled.  Red Dragon was part of their iterative process to getting to Mars.

I don't think SpaceX is launching FH do to the sunk cost fallacy.  I think they are launching it because they think it will be make/save them more money to have FH until ITSy is ready.  FH can still be useful for large payloads, and the constellation. Especially if they can develop 2nd stage reuse. And 2nd stage reuse my include valuable lessons for ITSy's spacecraft.

I do agree that FH's operational life is probably limited until ITSy is flying.
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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #147 on: 07/22/2017 10:02 PM »
How about a long duration mission in the form of an aerobrake Neptune orbiter, funding by a billionaire, as a "monument" that would endure possibly for millions of years?

Sometime where he can have the last word, and never have to worry about it ever being "shut up"  :o

(This did amuse in certain quarters ...)

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #148 on: 07/22/2017 10:04 PM »
Dead end kluge might be a bit harsh... what if ITSy didn't or doesn't ever exist?
SpaceX should have skipped FH altogether and gone straight with ITSy. All the money burned on FH dev. should have been put towards accelerating ITSy dev. and getting ITSy launching ASAP.

The vast majority of funds "burned" to get to this point included F9 developments. ITS and "ITSy" are far more risky, speculative, and expensive whereas FH has real customers waiting for it to launch.

Don't fell into this trap just because Elon is lowballing expectations. FH is very close now, and will launch soon. All the hardware is at the launch site. And they will launch it when they are confident of success.

Offline AncientU

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #149 on: 07/22/2017 10:26 PM »
...               

SpaceX can't afford ITS development on its own.  Until they find another partner willing to spend tens of billions of dollars, I wouldn't hold your breath.

...

Not everyone requires tens of billions of dollars to build a launch vehicle.  Recall the study that showed it would have taken $4B to build F9 using NASA's approach, but it actually took $390k (1/10th the estimate)?  Tens of billions becomes a few billion... and the builders have so much relevant experience and applicable technology now.  $1-2B seems reasonable; tens of billions sounds like wishful thinking (a.k.a., denial).
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Offline Jim

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #150 on: 07/22/2017 10:40 PM »
...               

SpaceX can't afford ITS development on its own.  Until they find another partner willing to spend tens of billions of dollars, I wouldn't hold your breath.

...

Not everyone requires tens of billions of dollars to build a launch vehicle.  Recall the study that showed it would have taken $4B to build F9 using NASA's approach, but it actually took $390k (1/10th the estimate)?  Tens of billions becomes a few billion... and the builders have so much relevant experience and applicable technology now.  $1-2B seems reasonable; tens of billions sounds like wishful thinking (a.k.a., denial).

The last sentence is wishful thinking and willful suspension of disbelieve.  F9 development costs are much more because development hasn't finished.  Also, "$1-2B seems reasonable" is seriously delusional.

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #151 on: 07/22/2017 10:44 PM »
...               

SpaceX can't afford ITS development on its own.  Until they find another partner willing to spend tens of billions of dollars, I wouldn't hold your breath.

...

Not everyone requires tens of billions of dollars to build a launch vehicle.  Recall the study that showed it would have taken $4B to build F9 using NASA's approach, but it actually took $390k (1/10th the estimate)?  Tens of billions becomes a few billion... and the builders have so much relevant experience and applicable technology now.  $1-2B seems reasonable; tens of billions sounds like wishful thinking (a.k.a., denial).
Remember that ITS is a much more complex system than F9. It's not even just a launch vehicle. Musk estimated that developing reusability for Falcon 9 cost them about $1b. SX has gotten over $3b in total from the commercial crew program. ITS needs a crew vehicle an order of magnitude larger than Dragon 2 and a reusable launch vehicle an order of magnitude larger than F9.

Offline AncientU

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #152 on: 07/22/2017 11:16 PM »
...               

SpaceX can't afford ITS development on its own.  Until they find another partner willing to spend tens of billions of dollars, I wouldn't hold your breath.

...

Not everyone requires tens of billions of dollars to build a launch vehicle.  Recall the study that showed it would have taken $4B to build F9 using NASA's approach, but it actually took $390k (1/10th the estimate)?  Tens of billions becomes a few billion... and the builders have so much relevant experience and applicable technology now.  $1-2B seems reasonable; tens of billions sounds like wishful thinking (a.k.a., denial).
Remember that ITS is a much more complex system than F9. It's not even just a launch vehicle. Musk estimated that developing reusability for Falcon 9 cost them about $1b. SX has gotten over $3b in total from the commercial crew program. ITS needs a crew vehicle an order of magnitude larger than Dragon 2 and a reusable launch vehicle an order of magnitude larger than F9.

There is virtually nothing in the Falcon reusability scheme that cannot be scaled directly to ITSy booster.  (Assuming, of course, that it uses Li-Al and scaled landing legs instead of carbon composites and a launch mount landing.)   Cannot just naively add an order of magnitude.  The spacecraft is another story.  It will be the majority of the cost, since it uses radically different technology than second stage plus Dragon 2.  Because the ITSy spaceship is the cost driver, I suspect SpaceX will first build a conventional second stage and fairing (again, fully within the existing technology base).  Though this will be a far cry from the ITSy vehicle, it will be quite similar (though larger, and reusable, and an order of magnitude cheaper) than another developing vehicle of that class.
« Last Edit: 07/22/2017 11:19 PM by AncientU »
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Offline envy887

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #153 on: 07/23/2017 12:59 AM »
...               

SpaceX can't afford ITS development on its own.  Until they find another partner willing to spend tens of billions of dollars, I wouldn't hold your breath.

...

Not everyone requires tens of billions of dollars to build a launch vehicle.  Recall the study that showed it would have taken $4B to build F9 using NASA's approach, but it actually took $390k (1/10th the estimate)?  Tens of billions becomes a few billion... and the builders have so much relevant experience and applicable technology now.  $1-2B seems reasonable; tens of billions sounds like wishful thinking (a.k.a., denial).

The last sentence is wishful thinking and willful suspension of disbelieve.  F9 development costs are much more because development hasn't finished.  Also, "$1-2B seems reasonable" is seriously delusional.

F9 development is also 15 years on now, if you count F1 - which the $390M figure does. Or 11 years, if you go with the ~$300M spent only on getting F9 flying. The vast majority of the money spend on developing F9 was spent after getting it flying and while it was earning revenue and booking orders.

SpaceX will likely try to get a minimalist ITS flying as quickly as possible, to earn revenue with it, and iterate towards a more capable vehicle. That is their MO. They might eventually dump $15 billion into it, but that of itself doesn't mean it couldn't fly (in minimalist form) for less than $3 billion.

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #154 on: 07/23/2017 01:11 AM »
Would it be reasonable to build the mini-its first stage, a second stage that has the cargo/tanker function include a Dragon 2 inside the cargo stage for astronauts if needed?

Offline envy887

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #155 on: 07/23/2017 01:19 AM »
Would it be reasonable to build the mini-its first stage, a second stage that has the cargo/tanker function include a Dragon 2 inside the cargo stage for astronauts if needed?

That basically precludes abort. It's a major hurdle for crew Dream Chaser.

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #156 on: 07/23/2017 01:25 AM »
Dead end kluge might be a bit harsh... what if ITSy didn't or doesn't ever exist?

Yes, FH is needed as an insurance policy in case ITSy takes longer than hoped for to develop. But it remains a bridging vehicle, which will have little justification for its existence once the Raptor based vehicle becomes operational.

Given the money we've spent and will continue to spend as taxpayers on SLS on what is now a hedge against "what if all the commercial heavy lift programs fail," the amount of resources that have been spent and will be spent on FH as "insurance" seem laughable.

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #157 on: 07/23/2017 02:46 AM »
"What do we think the odds are that, doing it all over again, SpaceX would not attempt a tri-core launch vehicle?"

Very low. Shotwell is poo-pooing the market size too. At one time it probably looked safer to build upon F9 technology than to redesign completely. Probably would have to me too.

Then given SpaceX's penchant to switch direction when an approach no longer makes sense - why haven't they just given up on the heavy?

They are one Demo launch away from having the world's largest launcher by a factor of two -- and it will be born reusable (for about 90% of the vehicle cost).  Not time for the faint of heart. 

If Demo goes south and Demo2 follows, and ITSy is making good progress, they may rethink this vehicle.


I raised the decreasing justification for the FH a couple of months ago, even before ITSy was announced. In my mind the FH is going to have a very short lifespan. And with Dragon no longer going to Mars, it really seems that in hindsight it was a lot of money wasted on a concept that has been replaced by a better one before the first even saw its maiden flight.

I think the moment ITSy flies, FH is retired. Now the question just is, how long will it take to get to ITSy's first flight?
Think about it this way: as soon as FH flies successfully, they'll be able to sell to that market segment. They can pack their manifest for several years' full. If they get ITSy flying in 2020, that's 3 years of flights.

Also, they need FH for crewed trips around the Moon or they'll have to wait for ITSy, after the Apollo 8 and 11 anniversaries.

And it could take even longer before ITSy flies: 2022? 2023?

The market will pass them by if they let it.
« Last Edit: 07/23/2017 02:48 AM by Robotbeat »
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Offline su27k

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #158 on: 07/23/2017 03:58 AM »
...               

SpaceX can't afford ITS development on its own.  Until they find another partner willing to spend tens of billions of dollars, I wouldn't hold your breath.

...

Not everyone requires tens of billions of dollars to build a launch vehicle.  Recall the study that showed it would have taken $4B to build F9 using NASA's approach, but it actually took $390k (1/10th the estimate)?  Tens of billions becomes a few billion... and the builders have so much relevant experience and applicable technology now.  $1-2B seems reasonable; tens of billions sounds like wishful thinking (a.k.a., denial).

The last sentence is wishful thinking and willful suspension of disbelieve.  F9 development costs are much more because development hasn't finished.  Also, "$1-2B seems reasonable" is seriously delusional.

F9 development is also 15 years on now, if you count F1 - which the $390M figure does. Or 11 years, if you go with the ~$300M spent only on getting F9 flying. The vast majority of the money spend on developing F9 was spent after getting it flying and while it was earning revenue and booking orders.

SpaceX will likely try to get a minimalist ITS flying as quickly as possible, to earn revenue with it, and iterate towards a more capable vehicle. That is their MO. They might eventually dump $15 billion into it, but that of itself doesn't mean it couldn't fly (in minimalist form) for less than $3 billion.

Exactly, it would be a prototype at the start (think F9 v1.0 first flight), probably no refueling capability, nothing related to crew, and may not even have payload bay. It would be just enough to prove the point, which is a reusable super heavy is possible, and SpaceX is fully capable of building it.

So far the majority of aerospace industry and congress is treating ITS like a joke, first order of business is to prove them wrong (again, for the 3rd or 4th time). Then SpaceX can leverage the existing hardware to get additional investment from public and/or private sources to finish the rest.

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #159 on: 07/23/2017 04:08 AM »
... first order of business is to prove them wrong ...

You can't prove anything to a fool.

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #160 on: 07/23/2017 08:25 AM »
... first order of business is to prove them wrong ...

You can't prove anything to a fool.

Or 535 fools.
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Offline Mader Levap

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #161 on: 07/23/2017 11:02 AM »
Not everyone requires tens of billions of dollars to build a launch vehicle.  Recall the study that showed it would have taken $4B to build F9 using NASA's approach, but it actually took $390m (1/10th the estimate)?  Tens of billions becomes a few billion... and the builders have so much relevant experience and applicable technology now.

I could argue in same vein that creating ITS equivalent would take 50B$ for NASA, so it would be 5B$ for SpaceX. I won't, because it is silly argument.

$1-2B seems reasonable; tens of billions sounds like wishful thinking (a.k.a., denial).

You are projecting.
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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
« Reply #162 on: 07/23/2017 06:54 PM »
Well, but letís not forget that SpaceX also needs FH to fly a whole class of payloads that is well in existence and currently flies on /...skip.../, Proton

No, for competing with Proton SpaceX does not need FH. Last F9 launch lofted a payload with the mass equal to the maximum Proton payload.

Maybe its me, but do you think that SpaceX is designing capability against a 50+ year old launcher that Russia is trying to replace?

You are reading too much into my post. I just corrected a notion that SpaceX needs FH to compete with Proton. I'm not implying anything except what I said there.
(As a side note, "trying to replace" thing for Proton is not going well - the replacement costs *more*).
« Last Edit: 07/23/2017 06:56 PM by gospacex »

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