Author Topic: SpaceX Texas launch site Discussion and Updates - Thread 6  (Read 500119 times)

Offline Dave G

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Re: SpaceX Texas launch site Discussion and Updates - Thread 6
« Reply #40 on: 10/15/2017 05:20 PM »
Most likely Boca Chica will be the pad used for initial suborbital testing of the BFS prototype so they'll need to get this up and running relatively soon.

To be clear, this is speculation, which is fine for this thread.

But may I ask, what makes you think so?  Speculation usually has some underlying reasoning behind it.

These comments strongly suggest Falcon won't fly from Texas:

Quote
You have two pads in Florida, pus Vandenberg. Is it fair to say that given what you can do from your current locations, you don’t need one in Texas?
Yes, that’s correct. We have demonstrated we can launch at least twice from each of these pads. We’re talking about being able to do at least six launches a month if we wanted to. It is not our intention to do so.
What we have manifested in customer commitments are not bottlenecked by the lack of a fourth launch site. We can manage with the three. Between upgrading our production capability, having the pads — and most importantly, the visibility — between the balance of those three we don’t foresee not being able to meet customer commitments. I am happy to take on more launch commitments right now.

https://www.spaceintelreport.com/spacex-reassures-commercial-satellite-market-falcon-9-wont-soon-scrapped-bfr/

These comments only indicate that SpaceX will be operating F9/FH from 3 pads, and that a 4th pad will be used for the first BFR flights. 

The comments above don't indicate where that first BFR pad will be.

Some have speculated the first BFR pad will be at Boca Chica.  And some have speculated that Boca Chica will only be used only for BFR.  But this is all speculation.  SpaceX has never said anything like this.  Gwynne only said Boca Chica is a "perfect location for BFR", which just implies they intend to launch BFR from there someday.

So it's just as likely that the first BFR flights will be from Florida.  In fact, when Elon unveiled ITS in 2016, he showed it launching from pad 39A.
« Last Edit: 10/15/2017 05:27 PM by Dave G »

Offline Space Ghost 1962

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Re: SpaceX Texas launch site Discussion and Updates - Thread 6
« Reply #41 on: 10/15/2017 05:39 PM »
I was talking to someone in Brownsville yesterday. A lot of people and agencies have invested a lot of time and money in this port, and cancelling the Falcon here in exchange for a vague idea of something happening someday is not going over well, to put it lightly. SpaceX credibility in The RGV couldn't be much lower at the moment.

My guess: They'll build an F9/FH pad on Boca Chica Beach soon, and a BFR pad a few miles offshore from Boca Chica Beach.  Both will use the same control center, tracking station, oxygen production, water tower, etc.
Agree. But for entirely different reasons.

Musk's companies don't do things piecemeal.

His Boring company and Hyperloop envision omnipresent transport systems. The "BFR earth transport system" in his presentation is of similar kind.

There's a key financial and regulatory rationale that might be driving this - expectation of ROI at large scale. (Which does NOT need a feasible financial model in the immediate, as I might explain later if it matters.)

Lets assume he builds the envisioned launch/landing/support platform, and uses the prototype as his BFR test pad/range. Perhaps it blows up a few times and is rebuilt. Perhaps it "evolves" as BFR is brought to active use. Then, he uses this accumulated history to "inform" to other locations, possibly worldwide, as to how to "sell" the same capability, as a "carbon copy". They'll know exactly what it will entail, know exactly how operations will run/cost/ROI, so they can finance/adapt to regulatory frameworks globally.

As to "buying off" Texas, possibly you build these there and export them to the world.

And, for initially financing BFR, this huge growth strategy, likely over a hundred years or more, would allow a market cap supported by huge global gross product, exceeding whole countries individual GDP's. Doesn't have to be feasible now, just possible.

It would be like owning all aircraft, airlines, airports, FBO's ... in the world, all at once.

Which also could do space tourism, support for lunar/in space developments, ... Mars too.

What it most allows SX to do right now is raise big money. On the threat that if he brought it off, and you didn't get bought in early for cheap, you'd either be locked out or have to pay in at 1,000,000x more after all the step ups in valuation.

Back to the F9/FH question. BC was originally to be a "launch factory" for commercial launches, because CCAFS is a pain to get foreign client through, and too much competition from other needs. If this is still true, than perhaps that still happens.

But BFR test facilities/pad seems to be an immediate need, and if existing FH/F9 facilities are "good enough", perhaps that gets shoved to the end of the timeline like deemphasizing Dragon 2 landing?


Offline Jcc

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Re: SpaceX Texas launch site Discussion and Updates - Thread 6
« Reply #42 on: 10/15/2017 07:15 PM »
One question is if there is any way to have one pad serve F9/FH, BFR and BFS (including BFS by itself for testing), or if it is even worth it to do that. They will need two different hangars, because of different TELs, and other support equipment specialized for each system. The advantage of BC is that it is still pretty much a clean slate and they can build it however they want. Is it true that the planned pad location is not suitable for BFR due to excessive noise and not far enough from BC Village? If so, why is Boca Chica "perfect for BFR according to Gwynne? That's 3 Questions.

Offline RedLineTrain

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Re: SpaceX Texas launch site Discussion and Updates - Thread 6
« Reply #43 on: 10/15/2017 07:27 PM »
I was talking to someone in Brownsville yesterday. A lot of people and agencies have invested a lot of time and money in this port, and cancelling the Falcon here in exchange for a vague idea of something happening someday is not going over well, to put it lightly. SpaceX credibility in The RGV couldn't be much lower at the moment.

BF spaceship testing isn't anything to sneeze at and could bring just as much or more near-term rumbling launch goodness.  In fact, it would probably bring more employment to care for and feed the test vehicles.

As for the tourism at SPI, it's tough to know know how much of an "event" atmosphere the testing would bring about.
« Last Edit: 10/15/2017 07:33 PM by RedLineTrain »

Offline Jcc

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Re: SpaceX Texas launch site Discussion and Updates - Thread 6
« Reply #44 on: 10/15/2017 07:42 PM »
I was talking to someone in Brownsville yesterday. A lot of people and agencies have invested a lot of time and money in this port, and cancelling the Falcon here in exchange for a vague idea of something happening someday is not going over well, to put it lightly. SpaceX credibility in The RGV couldn't be much lower at the moment.

BF spaceship testing isn't anything to sneeze at and could bring just as much or more near-term rumbling launch goodness.  In fact, it would probably bring more employment to care for and feed the test vehicles.

As for the tourism at SPI, it's tough to know know how much of an "event" atmosphere the testing would bring about.

Usually rocket testing doesn't happen at a planned instant in time where folks can watch it, although sending BFR/BFS on suborbital and orbital flights will need a launch license, NOTAM, and will also be very impressive, so people should have enough warning to be able to plan to see it.

I think a suborbital hop as Elon described "a few hundred Km in altitude and range" could launch from BC and land on a drone ship. Drone ship landing might be the only way they can get permission to do it.

Offline RedLineTrain

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Re: SpaceX Texas launch site Discussion and Updates - Thread 6
« Reply #45 on: 10/15/2017 07:49 PM »
I think a suborbital hop as Elon described "a few hundred Km in altitude and range" could launch from BC and land on a drone ship. Drone ship landing might be the only way they can get permission to do it.

I believe that such launches and landings are covered under the existing environmental impact review.
« Last Edit: 10/15/2017 07:49 PM by RedLineTrain »

Offline docmordrid

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Re: SpaceX Texas launch site Discussion and Updates - Thread 6
« Reply #46 on: 10/15/2017 07:50 PM »
One question is if there is any way to have one pad serve F9/FH, BFR and BFS (including BFS by itself for testing), or if it is even worth it to do that.
>

https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2017/07/installation-flame-deflector-sls-begins-39b/

Quote
Updated information has allowed for a preliminary envisioning process (via L2 Envisioning) with pad engineers and experts evaluating a second, larger, Horizontal Integration Facility (HIF) outside the pad perimeter, allowing the subscale BFR to roll to an additional mount along the same trench at 39A. An article on this 39A option will follow in the coming weeks.
DM

Offline bstrong

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Re: SpaceX Texas launch site Discussion and Updates - Thread 6
« Reply #47 on: 10/15/2017 08:16 PM »
These comments strongly suggest Falcon won't fly from Texas:

Quote
You have two pads in Florida, pus Vandenberg. Is it fair to say that given what you can do from your current locations, you don’t need one in Texas?
Yes, that’s correct. We have demonstrated we can launch at least twice from each of these pads. We’re talking about being able to do at least six launches a month if we wanted to. It is not our intention to do so.
What we have manifested in customer commitments are not bottlenecked by the lack of a fourth launch site. We can manage with the three. Between upgrading our production capability, having the pads — and most importantly, the visibility — between the balance of those three we don’t foresee not being able to meet customer commitments. I am happy to take on more launch commitments right now.

https://www.spaceintelreport.com/spacex-reassures-commercial-satellite-market-falcon-9-wont-soon-scrapped-bfr/

I think you're reading too much into this statement. Ochinero is a sales guy who is speaking to potential customers and his paycheck depends on convincing them that if they buy a launch today, SpaceX will have the capacity for it. SpaceX may or may not launch F9 form Boca Chica, but if I were in Ochinero's shoes, I would downplay launch capacity concerns either way. And "we can manage with three" is a long way from saying "we won't build a fourth."

Offline Dave G

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Re: SpaceX Texas launch site Discussion and Updates - Thread 6
« Reply #48 on: 10/15/2017 11:18 PM »
Is it true that the planned pad location is not suitable for BFR due to excessive noise and not far enough from BC Village?
Here's what we know for sure:
1) Some houses in Boca Chica Village are only 1.9 miles from the launch pad.
2) The EIS says Falcon Heavy is 2dB over the Federal legal sound limit, but they made an exception because
    2dB is just barely over the limit, and SpaceX offered hearing protection to all Boca Chica residents.
3) BFR has over twice the thrust of Falcon Heavy.
4) BFR liftoff weight is way more than Falcon Heavy (anyone have more details on this?).
5) Lower frequency sound waves are much more damaging, i.e. can break windows and crack foundations.

If so, why is Boca Chica "perfect for BFR according to Gwynne?
Good question.

If they plan to launch BFR from a fixed platform a few miles offshore from Boca Chica Beach, sound levels, beach closures, and other approval issues would essentially go away.

Offline Dave G

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Re: SpaceX Texas launch site Discussion and Updates - Thread 6
« Reply #49 on: 10/16/2017 12:00 PM »
I think a suborbital hop as Elon described "a few hundred Km in altitude and range" could launch from BC and land on a drone ship. Drone ship landing might be the only way they can get permission to do it.

I believe that such launches and landings are covered under the existing environmental impact review.

From EIS section ES.2.1
Quote
Within the 12 launch operations per year, SpaceX may elect to have permitted launches of smaller reusable suborbital launch vehicles from this proposed site.

From EIS section 2.1.1
Quote
The Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy launch vehicles are described below... Regarding other reusable suborbital launch vehicles... such vehicles would be smaller than the Falcon 9 and may consist of the first stage of a Falcon 9.

From EIS section 2.1.1.2
Quote
Within the 12 launch operations per year, the Proposed Action also includes permitted launches of reusable suborbital launch vehicles. A reusable suborbital launch vehicle could consist of a Falcon 9 Stage 1 tank with a maximum propellant (LOX and RP-1) load of approximately 6,900 gal.

Remember, when the EIS was originally written back in 2013, SpaceX was still testing Grasshopper.  They hadn't yet even attempted to recover a real first stage.

Of course, SpaceX could ask to amend the EIS, but that requires a public review period, and we haven't seen anything about that.
« Last Edit: 10/21/2017 12:08 AM by Dave G »

Offline philw1776

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Re: SpaceX Texas launch site Discussion and Updates - Thread 6
« Reply #50 on: 10/16/2017 03:32 PM »
Well IF the RGV folks are chagrined that there may be no Falcon launches because they don't get to see rocket flights then they may be amenable to amending the EIS statement to allow BFS hops and RTLS tests.  If I were SpaceX I'd want my EIS permissions aligned with my future vehicle flight plans before spending $$ constructing expensive stuff like launch pads, support facilities like propellant tanks and control centers.
“When it looks more like an alien dreadnought, that’s when you know you’ve won.”

Offline Dave G

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Re: SpaceX Texas launch site Discussion and Updates - Thread 6
« Reply #51 on: 10/16/2017 04:41 PM »
If I were SpaceX I'd want my EIS permissions aligned with my future vehicle flight plans before spending $$ constructing expensive stuff like launch pads, support facilities like propellant tanks and control centers.
I agree.

Well IF the RGV folks are chagrined that there may be no Falcon launches because they don't get to see rocket flights then they may be amenable to amending the EIS statement to allow BFS hops and RTLS tests.
I see what you mean, but I can also see an opposite point of view for area residents.

As Nomadd said earlier: "cancelling the Falcon here in exchange for a vague idea of something happening someday is not going over well, to put it lightly. SpaceX credibility in The RGV couldn't be much lower at the moment."

Also, for the people who didn't wan't SpaceX in the area to begin with, launching a much larger rocket much more often gives them more ammunition to block  it.

From a public relations point of view, it's much better to start out small, and when people get comfortable with that, ask for more.

Offline matthewkantar

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Re: SpaceX Texas launch site Discussion and Updates - Thread 6
« Reply #52 on: 10/16/2017 05:19 PM »
Does anyone know if the volume of noise is strictly related to total takeoff thrust? I wonder for instance if five 300 K lbs engines would be higher pitched and there for less damaging than one 1.5 million lbs thrust engine? What about higher exhaust velocities? Does anybody have a guess as to how much louder 31 Raptors will be than 27 Merlins?

Matthew

Offline SPITexas

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Re: SpaceX Texas launch site Discussion and Updates - Thread 6
« Reply #53 on: 10/16/2017 07:44 PM »
Wow well while we’ve been talking about the BFR since Sept 29th anything actually happening at Boca Chica right now?

Offline rsdavis9

Musk has said the first flights of BFS will be on just 3 sl raptors. This will allow them to do hops. He said for orbital reentry they would need 3 sl raptor for takeoff and then 4 vac raptors to get the altitude and speed for reentry. What I am not clear on is if 3 sl raptors have enough thrust to takeoff from earth's surface with a full fuel load.

In any case this doesn't sound louder than a f9.

3*1.7MN/g=520 tonnes.
With ELV best efficiency was the paradigm. The new paradigm is reusable, good enough, and commonality of design.
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Online nacnud

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Re: SpaceX Texas launch site Discussion and Updates - Thread 6
« Reply #55 on: 10/16/2017 08:18 PM »
Fuel load for BFS is 1100 tones, plus 85 tonnes structure... so no.

But you don't have to fully fuel it...
« Last Edit: 10/16/2017 08:20 PM by nacnud »

Offline rsdavis9

But then you can't to orbital speed necessary for the test of reentry profile...
Also I get this for the vac raptors.
 1.9MN * 4 / g = 775 tonnes which is less than the 1185 tonnes for a fully fueled S2. Which means after staging it slows down! I must be doing something wrong.
With ELV best efficiency was the paradigm. The new paradigm is reusable, good enough, and commonality of design.
Same engines. Design once. Same vehicle. Design once. Reusable. Build once.

Online nacnud

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Re: SpaceX Texas launch site Discussion and Updates - Thread 6
« Reply #57 on: 10/16/2017 08:33 PM »
I've not done the calculations but it has been said that BFS can be an SSTO with a very small payload. That would get you into the energies needed to test reentry profiles.

Offline rsdavis9

Maybe they intend to run the sl raptors for the initial part after staging?
that would give 520+775=1295
With ELV best efficiency was the paradigm. The new paradigm is reusable, good enough, and commonality of design.
Same engines. Design once. Same vehicle. Design once. Reusable. Build once.

Offline Comga

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Re: SpaceX Texas launch site Discussion and Updates - Thread 6
« Reply #59 on: 10/16/2017 09:01 PM »
I was talking to someone in Brownsville yesterday. A lot of people and agencies have invested a lot of time and money in this port, and cancelling the Falcon here in exchange for a vague idea of something happening someday is not going over well, to put it lightly. SpaceX credibility in The RGV couldn't be much lower at the moment.

My guess: They'll build an F9/FH pad on Boca Chica Beach soon, and a BFR pad a few miles offshore from Boca Chica Beach.  Both will use the same control center, tracking station, oxygen production, water tower, etc.  I'm assuming an offshore platform would have electrical cables, fiber-optics, and flexible pipe run from the beach to the offshore platform, so they would need the current launch site location to support an offshore platform anyway.

To clarify, what Gwynne Shortwell recently said at Stanford was:
Quote
Boca Chica launch site under construction is the "perfect location for BFR"

She did not mention anything else about Boca Chica other than its prime suitability for BFR.

Everything else is speculation.

Nothing in her comments suggested that Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy wouldn't fly from Boca Chica.

And given the issues with Texas State beach closure laws, and with BFR being way over the Federal legal sound limit in Boca Chica Village, and with the current EIS allowing only 12 launches per year, I suspect "perfect location for BFR" implies a fixed platform a few miles off Boca Chica Beach, like Elon showed in the presentation:

Before I realized that it's an approaching ferry, I thought the little vehicle in the upper left was the NCC 1701/7 Galileo.
What kind of wastrels would dump a perfectly good booster in the ocean after just one use?

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