Author Topic: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?  (Read 41512 times)

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #160 on: 01/10/2018 02:46 AM »
I don't think BFR as shown to us so far is a given.  It will evolve and mature with time, it will be larger than FH and be a very impressive vehicle, but maybe not the monster we've seen.

What you say doesn't seem to agree with Musk's statements at IAC 2017:
Quote from: Elon Musk
The tooling for the main tanks has been ordered, the facility is being built. We will start construction of the first ship around the second quarter of next year...

Note that the second quarter of 2018 is now just 13 weeks away.  So if Musk's statement is true, the design for BFR is pretty much nailed down, and they're getting ready to manufacture it.

Elon makes a lot of promises that don't always come true. Based on what was shown at IAC 2017 the design is no where near being finished and they are still refining the concept.

'Tooling for the main tanks has been ordered' probably just means that they have ordered some AFP machines and/or layup tools that are relatively agnostic to the final design. 'We will start construction of the first ship around the second quarter of next year' probably means that they plan to start making manufacturing demonstrators on new tooling, maybe start manufacturing a suborbital test vehicle before the end of the year.

I would bet that IAC 2018 will bring some significant changes to the overall vehicle /architecture and the amount of progress will be much less that people here seem to expect.
That's a pretty wishy-washy bet, can you make it something objective so we can actually bet on it? :D

Fair enough! I predict the following for IAC 2018:

-Elon will show off pictures of a full scale production Raptor engine, but it will not have been test fired yet.
-The OML of BFR+BFS will have significant (noticeable) changes from what was presented at IAC 2017.
-Detailed plans for a suborbital test BFS will be discussed and the composite tank for it will be shown in some state of production.
-Elon will give the system a cool name and get people hyped with another video.
Man, only your first one is really a good bet, and even that is poorly defined. Should be binary. The others are still pretty wishy washy. What defines "significant/notable OML changes"? "Elon will give the system a cool name and get people hyped with another video"?

Come on, bro. :)
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Offline Rabidpanda

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #161 on: 01/10/2018 04:02 AM »
Hey it's just a list of my predictions, not a legal contract. If you really want to make a bet feel free to take any aspect of what I wrote and phrase as you find appropriate.

Online Dave G

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #162 on: 01/10/2018 10:26 AM »
I predict the following for IAC 2018:

-Elon will show off pictures of a full scale production Raptor engine, but it will not have been test fired yet.
You may be onto something here.  Even if they've test fired some early version of the full-scale Raptor engine, I doubt they'll be close to the first flight Raptor version by IAC 2018.

In his reddit "ask me anything" response, Elon says:
Quote from: reddit: I am Elon Musk, ask me anything about BFR!
Q: The sub-scale Raptor prototype has a (speculated) thrust of about ~100 tons-force currently, and will be scaled up to ~170 tons-force according to your IAC/2017 design. Can you tell us more about the current status and expected (best-case) timeline of this scale-up effort?

A: Thrust scaling is the easy part. Very simple to scale the dev Raptor to 170 tons. The flight engine design is much lighter and tighter, and is extremely focused on reliability. The objective is to meet or exceed passenger airline levels of safety...

Note that Musk doesn't answer the timeline part of the question.  With this in mind, they may take some time to get the first flight Raptor design right.  But I don't think this will prevent them from building the BFS structures.




-The OML of BFR+BFS will have significant (noticeable) changes from what was presented at IAC 2017.
I predict the outer mold line will be the same as IAC2017, but there may be other noticeable changes.

As I said before, they already changed the number of Raptor engines in BFS since IAC:
Quote from: reddit: I am Elon Musk, ask me anything about BFR!
The difficulty of deep throttling an engine increases in a non-linear way, so 2:1 is fairly easy, but a deep 5:1 is very hard. Granularity is also a big factor. If you just have two engines that do everything, the engine complexity is much higher and, if one fails, you've lost half your power. Btw, we modified the BFS design since IAC to add a third medium area ratio Raptor engine partly for that reason (lose only 1/3 thrust in engine out) and allow landings with higher payload mass for the Earth to Earth transport function.




-Detailed plans for a suborbital test BFS will be discussed and the composite tank for it will be shown in some state of production.
I suspect BFS production will be further along by then, i.e. more than just tanks.




-Elon will give the system a cool name and get people hyped with another video.
Sure, Elon will try to get people hyped with another video.  That's part of his job as a presenter.

But I doubt they'll change the name from BFR/BFS.  That's been their internal name all along, and all attempts to change it (MCT, ITS) seem to have failed.  Also, while we all know where the names came from, for more formal purposes "Big Falcon Rocket" and "Big Falcon Spaceship" seem to be working well.  Note that Gwynne used these terms while testifying before the National Space Council: (starting at 1:16:41 into the video, t=1h16m41s)

« Last Edit: 01/10/2018 10:59 AM by Dave G »

Online Dave G

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #163 on: 01/10/2018 10:48 AM »
By the way, in the National Space Council video above, Gwynne also seems to confirm that BFS sub-orbital hops will be the first tests of the system (starting at 1:18:03 into the video).

It think many of us already assumed this, but I didn't realize it was confirmed in this video.

Offline Roy_H

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #164 on: 01/10/2018 04:08 PM »
Thank you Dave G for posting that video. It was an interesting watch as the first panelists from Lockheed, Boeing, and Orbital ATK argued that the best path forward was maintain status quo but with more funding to accelerate human space exploration and support more SLS flights. The gloves came off when the next panel arrived with SpaceX, SNC, Blue Origin pointing out the future is re-useability and expansion of other commercial opportunities, and need for streamlining FAA launch licences, six months to get approval is not acceptable. Finally the military board stated that the US is falling behind and space assets are at risk and stressed the need for much regulatory changes to speed up efforts to re-gain superiority, security and leverage commercial capability. 

Edit: This is OT, I'll understand if mods remove it.
« Last Edit: 01/10/2018 05:08 PM by Roy_H »
"If we don't achieve re-usability, I will consider SpaceX to be a failure." - Elon Musk

Offline envy887

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #165 on: 01/10/2018 04:48 PM »
Fair enough! I predict the following for IAC 2018:

-Elon will show off pictures of a full scale production Raptor engine, but it will not have been test fired yet.
-The OML of BFR+BFS will have significant (noticeable) changes from what was presented at IAC 2017.
-Detailed plans for a suborbital test BFS will be discussed and the composite tank for it will be shown in some state of production.
-Elon will give the system a cool name and get people hyped with another video.
What's the bet?  Is it all-or-nothing for the predictions above? 

For example, what if you're right on the first 3 items, but Elon keeps the BFR name? 

What if you're right on item 2, but wrong on all the others?

Also, as I understand it, item 2 is already a given, since they added another landing engine on BFS since IAC.
I don't think adding a 3rd landing engine will change the outer mold line.

Online Dave G

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #166 on: 01/10/2018 06:03 PM »
Fair enough! I predict the following for IAC 2018:

-Elon will show off pictures of a full scale production Raptor engine, but it will not have been test fired yet.
-The OML of BFR+BFS will have significant (noticeable) changes from what was presented at IAC 2017.
-Detailed plans for a suborbital test BFS will be discussed and the composite tank for it will be shown in some state of production.
-Elon will give the system a cool name and get people hyped with another video.
What's the bet?  Is it all-or-nothing for the predictions above? 

For example, what if you're right on the first 3 items, but Elon keeps the BFR name? 

What if you're right on item 2, but wrong on all the others?

Also, as I understand it, item 2 is already a given, since they added another landing engine on BFS since IAC.
I don't think adding a 3rd landing engine will change the outer mold line.
Right, as I later explained in Post 162:
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=44168.msg1769848#msg1769848

Online Dave G

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #167 on: 01/11/2018 11:02 AM »
Thank you Dave G for posting that video.

I liked the part where the Vice President, Secretary of State, and Secretary of Transportation all pinged Gwynne specifically about the Big Falcon Rocket and Big Falcon Spaceship.

In particular, Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao said "Gwynne, it was so interesting to visit your facilities out in Los Angeles. It was really like a visit to the future."  She then goes on to ask questions about BFR.

To me, this implies that SpaceX has discussed BFR at some length with the Secretary of Transportation, which could imply BFR will be ready sooner than later.

Online Dave G

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #168 on: 01/13/2018 12:57 PM »
Not sure if this was posted already:

SpaceX expects government support for development of BFR launch system
Quote from:  Space News, November 16, 2017
Speaking at the NewSpace Europe conference here Nov. 16, Gwynne Shotwell noted that SpaceX is already receiving funding from the U.S. Air Force supporting the development of Raptor, the engine that will power the vehicle known as BFR, or Big Falcon Rocket, and the reusable spacecraft known as BFS or Big Falcon Spaceship.

“I do anticipate that there is residual capability of that system that the government will be interested in,” she said. “I do see that we would likely get some funding from the government for BFR and BFS.” She added, though, that work on the vehicles was not contingent on receiving government funding.

One avenue for doing so would be through the U.S. Air Force’s Launch Services Agreement competition, which plans to provide several awards to companies to help fund development of prototype launch systems, though initial test flights, to end U.S. reliance on the Atlas 5 and its Russian-manufactured RD-180 engine. Proposals for the competition are due to the Air Force Nov. 20.

Shotwell said after the talk that BFR could be used to launch some of the heaviest national security payloads envisioned by the Air Force in the 2020s. Most of those payloads, she said, can be served by the existing Falcon 9 and the Falcon Heavy, whose first launch is scheduled for late this year.

Offline Semmel

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #169 on: 01/13/2018 04:01 PM »
Not sure if this was posted already:

SpaceX expects government support for development of BFR launch system
Quote from:  Space News, November 16, 2017
Speaking at the NewSpace Europe conference here Nov. 16, Gwynne Shotwell noted that SpaceX is already receiving funding from the U.S. Air Force supporting the development of Raptor, the engine that will power the vehicle known as BFR, or Big Falcon Rocket, and the reusable spacecraft known as BFS or Big Falcon Spaceship.

“I do anticipate that there is residual capability of that system that the government will be interested in,” she said. “I do see that we would likely get some funding from the government for BFR and BFS.” She added, though, that work on the vehicles was not contingent on receiving government funding.

One avenue for doing so would be through the U.S. Air Force’s Launch Services Agreement competition, which plans to provide several awards to companies to help fund development of prototype launch systems, though initial test flights, to end U.S. reliance on the Atlas 5 and its Russian-manufactured RD-180 engine. Proposals for the competition are due to the Air Force Nov. 20.

Shotwell said after the talk that BFR could be used to launch some of the heaviest national security payloads envisioned by the Air Force in the 2020s. Most of those payloads, she said, can be served by the existing Falcon 9 and the Falcon Heavy, whose first launch is scheduled for late this year.

Yes, it was discussed at length. The key phrasing is "residual capability". See here:
https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=43920.msg1751174#msg1751174

Specifically this bit:
Quote
H. Study the potential for residual upper stage capability.
1. Assess whether the planned upper stage for the EELV Launch System prototype will
have residual capability for any of the nine EELV reference orbits to make it capable
of spacecraft servicing, orbital transfers, and other services that enhance national
security space resiliency
2. Assess what types of enhancements would need to be added to the upper stage to
make it capable of spacecraft servicing, orbital transfers, and other services that
enhance national security space resiliency

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #170 on: 01/13/2018 07:45 PM »
Yeah, "expects" can have two connotations:
1) That you predict something to happen.
2) That you feel that thing is obligated.

The first connotation is clearly what Shotwell intended, but for whatever reason, the headline writer sought fit to imply the second one could be true, too. That'll drive clicks because it feeds into the "Elon just sucks on the tit of the government and doesn't do anything productive" narrative.

"Read the article!" No. This is not an excuse. Writing potentially misleading clickbaity headlines isn't justified just because the article MIGHT be clearer.

Anyway, pet peeve. Continue on.
« Last Edit: 01/13/2018 07:46 PM by Robotbeat »
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To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Offline Restless

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #171 on: 01/16/2018 09:40 PM »
IMO, the BFR booster and spaceship will first launch from Boca Chica for test hops in 2020.

Then operational flights of BFR to Mars will launch from Florida pad 39A starting in 2022 (10% chance) 2023 (50%) or 2024 (80%). A low earth orbit demo launch from 39A could happen in 2021.
Construction will be in LA through the 2020's at least.
BFR boosters and spaceships will be shipped w/o engines via Panama Canal to Brownsville and Port Canaveral.
Raptors will be shipped to McGregor for acceptance testing and then on to Boca or Kennedy.
Later, BFR will launch offshore from Boca from a floating or fixed platform. F9 and FH will launch from the Boca onshore facility into the mid 20's or longer.
« Last Edit: 01/19/2018 08:44 PM by Restless »

Offline Restless

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #172 on: 01/16/2018 09:41 PM »
Boca testing might be done as follows:

The booster and spaceship test vehicles would be shipped to Boca Chica for testing in 2020.
F9 and FH flights would also begin at Boca in the same time frame.
Tested Raptors would be trucked down from McGregor.
The booster would be tested from a launch mount proto-type to perfect pinpoint landings.
The spaceship would take test hops to check out landing legs and overall design.
McGregor personnel would be on hand impart wisdom from the grass hopper program.
The test vehicles would most likely need to be shipped back to LA for modification for flight.

Offline Restless

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #173 on: 01/16/2018 09:42 PM »
BFR Transport via Panama Canal

BFR is big, but not that f**king big. Both 9 M sections could fit side by side or end to end on the deck of a transport vessel sized for the old 33.5 M wide x 305 M long canal locks.
Tolls for Panama Canal transit would be in the range of $1.5million for a round trip.
Many transport vessels have articulated cranes that can lift and deposit the BFR sections on the dock.
The BFR sections would be shipped minus engines, saving weight.
On this basis, BFR construction in California could continue indefinitely.

Offline Restless

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #174 on: 01/16/2018 09:43 PM »
BFR Transport from the Brownsville ship channel to Boca Chica

Off load the booster and spaceship sections onto multi-wheeled transporters on the south side dock.
Proceed down RL Ostos Rd to Indiana Ave to a newly paved wide left turn.
Turn left onto Indiana and go down a few miles to Boca Chica Blvd. to a second new wide left turn.
Turn left onto Boca Chica and proceed down to the Spacex launch facilities. 
Unload using the large crane currently stored there.
There is one intersection on Indiana Ave plus several power lines to be lifted.
This is relatively simple compared to movement of much larger refinery towers that are done routinely.

Offline Restless

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #175 on: 01/16/2018 09:44 PM »
BFR Hardware

For pad 39A – Two boosters and two tankers to allow for repair & refurbishment as needed, one satellite delivery/recovery ship, and one ISS support ship.
Then additional spaceships for Mars cargo and crew missions. Two for the initial cargo mission and four for the second crew/cargo mission.
At some point Martian spaceships would return for refurbishment and reuse.
One or two Lunar Excursion ships?

Boca – Two boosters and tankers plus one or two satellite delivery/recovery ships, assuming no Mars or moon launches.

So even if there are eventually two BFR pads at Kennedy, SpaceX may need only 5 or 6 boosters for a robust launch and exploration program and a similar number of tankers. The rest would be upper stage ships.

Thus for the first 10 years of the program hardware could be:

6    Boosters   
6    Tankers
10   Mars cargo ships
6    Mars crew ships
2    Moon ships
3   Satellite delivery/recovery ships
1   ISS support ship

That's 6 Boosters and 28 upper stages. A pretty small fleet considering the range of activities.
« Last Edit: 01/18/2018 02:19 PM by Restless »

Offline Nydoc

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #176 on: 01/19/2018 06:52 AM »
If Boca Chica is to be re-purposed for BFR then would SpaceX need to do more soil surcharging now in order to make the HIF longer or need to relocate the 2 small buildings that were planned to be next to the HIF if the HIF is resized?

Online Dave G

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #177 on: 01/19/2018 10:48 AM »
Thus for the first 10 years of the program hardware could be:

6    Boosters   
6    Tankers
10   Mars cargo ships
6    Mars crew ships
2    Moon ships
3   Satellite delivery/recovery ships
1   ISS support ship

That's 6 Boosters and 28 upper stages. A pretty small fleet considering the range of activities.

Yes, and that covers for all the possible things that may happen from 2022 to 2032, and that assumes many overlapping missions.  For example, if they fly BFS to the moon and back as a test, they could reuse that same flight proven BFS to go to Mars.

Also, looking at just the the first 4 years (2022-2026), they could probably get by with just 3 boosters and 8 ships.  They may want more, but my point is that in a pinch, they could do a hell of a lot with relatively few boosters and spaceships.

I think the true value of full reusability is starting to become apparent.  It doesn't just save cost.  It means you can do a lot of missions without needing to stockpile much hardware.

Offline cro-magnon gramps

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #178 on: 01/19/2018 02:14 PM »
Thus for the first 10 years of the program hardware could be:

6    Boosters   
6    Tankers
10   Mars cargo ships
6    Mars crew ships
2    Moon ships
3   Satellite delivery/recovery ships
1   ISS support ship
That's 6 Boosters and 28 upper stages. A pretty small fleet considering the range of activities.

Yes, and that covers for all the possible things that may happen from 2022 to 2032, and that assumes many overlapping missions.  For example, if they fly BFS to the moon and back as a test, they could reuse that same flight proven BFS to go to Mars.

Also, looking at just the the first 4 years (2022-2026), they could probably get by with just 3 boosters and 8 ships.  They may want more, but my point is that in a pinch, they could do a hell of a lot with relatively few boosters and spaceships.

I think the true value of full reusability is starting to become apparent.  It doesn't just save cost.  It means you can do a lot of missions without needing to stockpile much hardware.

My own guesstamet as of January 9th this year.. of course I only went for the first 3 synods, so it falls short in numbers, but if add the extra synod and the numbers come fairly close... just food for thought...
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Offline Restless

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #179 on: 01/19/2018 03:12 PM »
Thus for the first 10 years of the program hardware could be:

6    Boosters   
6    Tankers
10   Mars cargo ships
6    Mars crew ships
2    Moon ships
3   Satellite delivery/recovery ships
1   ISS support ship

That's 6 Boosters and 28 upper stages. A pretty small fleet considering the range of activities.

Yes, and that covers for all the possible things that may happen from 2022 to 2032, and that assumes many overlapping missions.  For example, if they fly BFS to the moon and back as a test, they could reuse that same flight proven BFS to go to Mars.

Also, looking at just the the first 4 years (2022-2026), they could probably get by with just 3 boosters and 8 ships.  They may want more, but my point is that in a pinch, they could do a hell of a lot with relatively few boosters and spaceships.

I think the true value of full reusability is starting to become apparent.  It doesn't just save cost.  It means you can do a lot of missions without needing to stockpile much hardware.

Fully agree, Dave G. Just a few boosters and ships needed to start the program. Ship production in LA will only need to be  two per year to feed the program until reusability sustains the fleet. There may never be more than 5 or 6 boosters needed.

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