Author Topic: Is reusability worth it for commercial crew?  (Read 38368 times)

Offline watermod

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Re: Is reusability worth it for commercial crew?
« Reply #20 on: 06/19/2014 07:39 PM »
As to the launcher (SpaceX or otherwise) one would think if you want a new one for each manned mission, after using them, they are just fine for freight and sat missions.  So reusable would still pay if your are in both businesses.

Online TrevorMonty

Re: Is reusability worth it for commercial crew?
« Reply #21 on: 06/19/2014 09:29 PM »
Halving flight costs may not dramatically increase satellite launch market but it will dramatically increase demand for tourist flights.

Offline RocketmanUS

Re: Is reusability worth it for commercial crew?
« Reply #22 on: 06/20/2014 01:02 AM »
What can be wrong with reusability if the developing cost is low and the cost increase for the vehicle is almost non existent except for increased cost per unit because of lower production rate?
Production would not be that high to start anyway. So per unit cost would not go down, at least not enough.

Halving flight costs may not dramatically increase satellite launch market but it will dramatically increase demand for tourist flights.
Would need to go down to $1-2M per seat.
Even then there is not enough people that want to go to LEO that can afford the flight.

A lottery might get one flight per week if there are enough healthy people that would play a lottery for a space flight as the grand price.
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Offline sheltonjr

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Re: Is reusability worth it for commercial crew?
« Reply #23 on: 06/20/2014 03:29 PM »
As to the launcher (SpaceX or otherwise) one would think if you want a new one for each manned mission, after using them, they are just fine for freight and sat missions.  So reusable would still pay if your are in both businesses.

The above assumption is not necessarily true. A used vehicle can be more reliable than a new one. Infant life failure, Bathtub curve.

If the engineering and test analysis is sound for a quantity of flights, A used vehicle has been tested through all the phases of flight. Not just the test stand.

This is what SpaceX is striving for and I believe they will achieve it. (eventually). It is a paradigm shift in thinking for the space industry.

Online Mader Levap

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Re: Is reusability worth it for commercial crew?
« Reply #24 on: 06/21/2014 10:05 AM »
The above assumption is not necessarily true. A used vehicle can be more reliable than a new one. Infant life failure, Bathtub curve.
For long time this will not apply. When they will actually start reusing stages, for some time they will reuse it only once (two times in total). And yes, it WILL be treated as "second launch of same stage was successful by some miracle", in other words it will be treated as less reliable.

We are decades away from any level of reusability allowing for things like bathtub curve. You can't do bathtub with two or three reuses.
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Online KelvinZero

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Re: Is reusability worth it for commercial crew?
« Reply #25 on: 06/21/2014 12:08 PM »
This is the "Commercial Crew Vehicles" section, and I'm asking about whether making Dream Chaser, Dragon/DragonRider, etc. reusable is worth it.
Arn't crew vehicles usually reused just because you already invested the effort of returning them safely to earth? I would guess it is generally a question of how much refurbishment is required. (not an expert opinion, I might be misunderstanding the question)

Offline Darren_Hensley

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Re: Is reusability worth it for commercial crew?
« Reply #26 on: 06/22/2014 02:38 AM »
This is the "Commercial Crew Vehicles" section, and I'm asking about whether making Dream Chaser, Dragon/DragonRider, etc. reusable is worth it.
Arn't crew vehicles usually reused just because you already invested the effort of returning them safely to earth? I would guess it is generally a question of how much refurbishment is required. (not an expert opinion, I might be misunderstanding the question)

The Apollo program, from Mercury through Apollo spacecraft, never reused a capsule, refurb costs not withstanding, so on principle, No!

However, new capsules are being designed with reusability in mind, regardless of cost. Think about it, the cost to refurb a capsule is tiny when compared to building the capsule in the first place. A few dozen craft when reused more than the number of craft made, makes for huge cost savings. Since we've never done this, who knows where the break even point is?

I think a better design for the russians, might have saved money on the Soyuz and Progress systems since the've made so many of them. But we did not know this when the systems were concieved. Hind sight...

The only thing that might change this would be mass production, on a massive scale. 100's of craft not dozens as is currently suggested.

The USAF learned the hard way, making lots of aircraft saved tons of money at the end of the line. Congressional cuts, boost the price per item. The B-2 is a prime example. 2.2 billion per copy for 21 airframes + spares. Look it up. The STSwas reusable to a point, but it cost alot due to it's small sustainment budget, complexity, launch pace, safety, and design cuts.

Reusability is a novel concept, employment is an unknown quantity.
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Online TrevorMonty

Re: Is reusability worth it for commercial crew?
« Reply #27 on: 06/22/2014 08:41 AM »
Although SpaceX have not flown a refurbished Dragon V1 I'd be surprised if they haven't refurbished one to find out what is involved. Of all 3 companies they are in best position to know the economics of reusing their vehicle.

Online KelvinZero

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Re: Is reusability worth it for commercial crew?
« Reply #28 on: 06/22/2014 09:26 AM »
This is the "Commercial Crew Vehicles" section, and I'm asking about whether making Dream Chaser, Dragon/DragonRider, etc. reusable is worth it.
Arn't crew vehicles usually reused just because you already invested the effort of returning them safely to earth? I would guess it is generally a question of how much refurbishment is required. (not an expert opinion, I might be misunderstanding the question)

The Apollo program, from Mercury through Apollo spacecraft, never reused a capsule, refurb costs not withstanding, so on principle, No!
Hmm.. I thought the Soyuz capsule was reused but it turns out it isn't. Still, the fact you have to bring it home will make the trade very different for crewed vehicles compared to say satellite launches.

Im surprised the Soyuz isnt reused. This does make what the commercial contenders are doing a new step.

Do they recover/reuse components from the Soyuz? The fluffy dice and beaded seat covers at least.

Offline Darren_Hensley

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Re: Is reusability worth it for commercial crew?
« Reply #29 on: 06/22/2014 10:28 AM »
This is the "Commercial Crew Vehicles" section, and I'm asking about whether making Dream Chaser, Dragon/DragonRider, etc. reusable is worth it.
Arn't crew vehicles usually reused just because you already invested the effort of returning them safely to earth? I would guess it is generally a question of how much refurbishment is required. (not an expert opinion, I might be misunderstanding the question)

The Apollo program, from Mercury through Apollo spacecraft, never reused a capsule, refurb costs not withstanding, so on principle, No!
Hmm.. I thought the Soyuz capsule was reused but it turns out it isn't. Still, the fact you have to bring it home will make the trade very different for crewed vehicles compared to say satellite launches.

Im surprised the Soyuz isnt reused. This does make what the commercial contenders are doing a new step.

Do they recover/reuse components from the Soyuz? The fluffy dice and beaded seat covers at least.

Before Jim jumps in...

It really wouldn't be practical for some of the stuff, say 25%. Sure you could technically reuse some switches, push buttons and framework, even the fuzzy dice and beaded upholstry. Most of these ships, including ours, Chinas, Indias were built with expendability in mind(shuttle exempted). Remember lowest bidder and all.

No our current attitude is much better, build and reuse, get the most these machines can offer. Trouble is, with reusability comes great responsibility. We owe our flight crews the best we can give them for their $1.95 ride. So there is a fine line between reuse or new build. We don't know where to draw that line, so Elon's approach is slow and cautious. I like the idea, and the pace will quicken with confidence and time proven tech.

The Shuttle pushed our spending purse to the bursting point. Even the Russians had the foresight to give up early, noting our difficulties, and seeing the writing on the wall. We will have difficulty spending enough, because we can't define what, or how much is enough. The Russians, always rush in boldly, but then slow down once they see the difficulty that's involved. Cooler heads prevail.

Only through cold calculations like with the Soyuz, and Progress projects, can we learn how to stretch 1950's design and technology forward into the 21st century. The Soyuz is testimate that a system can fly for many years. but at the cost of substantial advancement and evolution. The technology is simply good enough right now to let this sort of thing happen again.

To truly get reusability, we need a quicker pace of demand, and advancement from lessons learned. A great streak of success, is also a great ego boost.
« Last Edit: 06/22/2014 10:32 AM by Darren_Hensley »
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Offline vulture4

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Re: Is reusability worth it for commercial crew?
« Reply #30 on: 07/26/2014 04:49 PM »
Human spaceflight is a luxury good. Demand is extremely sensitive to cost. Without major reductions in cost, we will never see more than a handful of people in space. So if we want viable human spaceflight, radical cost reduction is essential.  About 80% of launch cost is in vehicle fabrication, even at high flight rates, so only reusability can significantly reduce cost.

Offline mvpel

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Re: Is reusability worth it for commercial crew?
« Reply #31 on: 07/27/2014 01:44 PM »
Quote
Hmm.. I thought the Soyuz capsule was reused but it turns out it isn't.

The Soyuz looks like it barely survives reentry, let alone surviving well enough for reuse.
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Offline cheesybagel

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Re: Is reusability worth it for commercial crew?
« Reply #32 on: 07/29/2014 12:32 AM »
Quote
Hmm.. I thought the Soyuz capsule was reused but it turns out it isn't.

The Soyuz looks like it barely survives reentry, let alone surviving well enough for reuse.


AFAIK they reuse the interior like the electronics and things like that.

Offline mijoh

Re: Is reusability worth it for commercial crew?
« Reply #33 on: 08/20/2014 12:30 AM »
I think that this is a chicken and egg deal here. Re-usability would go hand in hand with doing a project like major construction in space, on the moon, or on the asteroid were supposed to be dragging back here. You'd need a lot of guys and gals going back and forth from earth. However, with the expense of launching rockets, it is not realistic to even think about that. Re-usability makes these kinds of space based projects a feasible reality. Once we do have re-usable rocket hardware (boosters, spacecraft, etc), this stuff won't popup overnight, but the time when man will be a truly space-faring species will have come closer by leaps and bounds. It will be a turning point for us, more so even for our kids.

Offline john smith 19

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Re: Is reusability worth it for commercial crew?
« Reply #34 on: 09/01/2014 06:38 AM »
The "math" for reusability has always been quite simple.  :(


Launched mass  = Vehicle + payload

For constant launcher mass to orbit Vehicle (reusable) >> Vehicle (expendable).

and cost estimating relationships in aerospace are mostly built around mass not the complexity of the vehicle.

So when accountants look over the budget Expendable looks much better than reusable.

After all lighter --> cheaper and no refurb costs. Reusuable is also less predictable (less historic cost data to measure the size of the weight and budget growths against  :)  ) 

Cost and weight growth pretty much killed X20 in the 60's and the Hermes in the 80's.

However these sorts of simple (IRL simplistic ideas, because they fail to measure so much  :()  calculations notions go out the window with a government programme where it's what the customer wants that's important.

In a more general sense You want an expendable mass fraction (in your spacecraft) with reusability.

And none of the CC entrants can (or do AFAIK) claim that.

AFAIK only 1 vehicle can do that.
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Offline Jcc

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Re: Is reusability worth it for commercial crew?
« Reply #35 on: 09/02/2014 12:23 AM »
If NASA wants to pay for a new crew vehicle each time, they will be funding the creation of a fleet that can be flown cheaply for commercial applications. Commercial applications need to be cheap above all, so that fits quite well.

Offline QuantumG

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Re: Is reusability worth it for commercial crew?
« Reply #36 on: 09/02/2014 12:27 AM »
If NASA wants to pay for a new crew vehicle each time, they will be funding the creation of a fleet that can be flown cheaply for commercial applications. Commercial applications need to be cheap above all, so that fits quite well.

That's the same story that was sold for Dragon v1 and now they're all sitting in a warehouse somewhere.

Jeff Bezos has billions to spend on rockets and can go at whatever pace he likes! Wow! What pace is he going at? Well... have you heard of Zeno's paradox?

Online A_M_Swallow

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Re: Is reusability worth it for commercial crew?
« Reply #37 on: 09/02/2014 01:01 AM »
If NASA wants to pay for a new crew vehicle each time, they will be funding the creation of a fleet that can be flown cheaply for commercial applications. Commercial applications need to be cheap above all, so that fits quite well.

That's the same story that was sold for Dragon v1 and now they're all sitting in a warehouse somewhere.


In 4 years time Bigelow may have a spacestation in space.  If he makes one of the connectors a CBM then there is work for one of the Dragon V1.  NASA may even try sending one to the ISS for a third time.

Offline QuantumG

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Re: Is reusability worth it for commercial crew?
« Reply #38 on: 09/02/2014 01:06 AM »
In 4 years time Bigelow may have a spacestation in space.  If he makes one of the connectors a CBM then there is work for one of the Dragon V1.  NASA may even try sending one to the ISS for a third time.

.. but most likely not. If we're lucky, CRS2 will have a reuse requirement (or a price requirement that demands reuse) but so far it looks like it won't.


Jeff Bezos has billions to spend on rockets and can go at whatever pace he likes! Wow! What pace is he going at? Well... have you heard of Zeno's paradox?

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Is reusability worth it for commercial crew?
« Reply #39 on: 09/02/2014 02:25 AM »
If NASA wants to pay for a new crew vehicle each time, they will be funding the creation of a fleet that can be flown cheaply for commercial applications. Commercial applications need to be cheap above all, so that fits quite well.

That's the same story that was sold for Dragon v1 and now they're all sitting in a warehouse somewhere.
Very valid point. But for crew, there's already a demonstrated market for tourism, so at very least a few seats could be sold.
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