Author Topic: Reusability effect on costs  (Read 78322 times)

Online envy887

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1939
  • Liked: 843
  • Likes Given: 508
Re: Reusability effect on costs
« Reply #460 on: 05/19/2017 01:45 PM »
We need to recognize that SpaceX stumbled on to its current re-usability system. That system is possible because Merlin-1 is a small engine by EELV-class rocket standards. So SpaceX had to use nine of them on the Falcon-9 first stage.  After planning to recover the first stage with parachutes, and failing, SpaceX shifted plans and adapted Falcon-9's engine layout (and much else) to allow retro-rocket landings using a central M1D. Mind you, even those landings are hover-slams.

Is there any other EELV-class rocket in the world that can be adapted this way? Atlas V can't. Arianne-5 can't. Delta-IV can't. None of the Russian rockets can. None of the Chinese can. No one else was so "idiotic" to build a big launcher with lots of weak engines.

So we can't assume it is easy to catch up with SpaceX. Or that ULA is dumb for pursuing a different re-use strategy. They don't have any easy path to reuse. 

For any other company, reuse requires a clean-sheet rocket and probably a new engine. Blue Origin will get reuse by making their New Glenn super-huge, while using the big BE-4. Other companies would need a complete re-work, too.

No need for many engines or new main engines if using dedicated landing engines, similar to Soyuz vernier engines for thrust vectoring.

Online oldAtlas_Eguy

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2687
  • Florida
  • Liked: 1092
  • Likes Given: 64
Re: Reusability effect on costs
« Reply #461 on: 05/19/2017 03:36 PM »
The Atlas D,E,F,G, and H all used pressure fed vernier engines for steering. They put out a few thousand pounds total per rocket. The Atlas stage without booster engines and only sustainer engine weighed just  5,174 lb (2,347 kg) dry. Use of vernier engines was the engineering method for controlling the rocket in the late 1950's early 1960's. Later in early 1960's stronger and faster systems for steering a main engine was developed and became the standard engineering method. These old designs though continued to fly into the 1990's for the US and are still flying for Russia.

The Atlas vernier engines produced 2,000lbs thrust each. And had the option for its own small shared turbo pump for independent operation after SECO (sustainer engine shutdown).

A modified Atlas design with 4 verniers landing legs and some areosurface controls could have in the 1960's done a VTVL. BTW it was radio controlled steering and used an onboard analog computer for rate stabilization. So it could have been done then. But the engines would not have been reusable only the tank. The tank was the cheapest part of the vehicle.


Online envy887

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1939
  • Liked: 843
  • Likes Given: 508
Re: Reusability effect on costs
« Reply #462 on: 05/19/2017 08:33 PM »
Some RD-170 derivatives are designed to be reusable. The landing engines could be in strap-on booster pods with their own fuel and LOX that "pull their own weight", so to speak, by lighting at liftoff and helping boost downrange. That way there is no performance reduction for reuse, just the added cost of the boosters. The landing legs could also be integrated to the strap-on boosters.

Angara A3 would need 6 landing boosters to recover the 3 cores. Angara A5 would need 8 to recover the 4 main boosters, and could expend the central core for better performance.

Angara is a bit undersized for recovery this way, but a Zenit-like booster with a RD-171 could function in the same fashion.

Online cppetrie

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 186
  • Liked: 96
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: Reusability effect on costs
« Reply #463 on: 05/20/2017 11:46 PM »
Cross-posting:

These seem to say there is a contract for SpaceX to launch Telkom 4 around June 2018 (although I can never be completely sure with Google Translate).

https://inet.detik.com/telecommunication/d-3424084/spacex-masih-dipercaya-luncurkan-satelit-telkom-4
http://www.cnnindonesia.com/teknologi/20170417152745-213-208098/telkom-bakal-lebih-hemat-berkat-roket-spacex/
http://www.cnnindonesia.com/teknologi/20170130174006-213-190081/satelit-telkom-berikutnya-bakal-gandeng-spacex/
https://seasia.co/2017/05/01/indonesia-to-use-spacex-to-launch-next-satellite
http://www.satellitetoday.com/telecom/2015/12/30/ssl-to-provide-next-satellite-for-telkom-indonesia/
Nice find! So not only is this a new launch contract, but it will also be on a flight-proven booster.
Quote
President Director of Telkom, Alex J. Sinaga mentioned to CNN, “Investment in Telkom-4 [satellite] will be cheaper as we use a reusable orbital rocket from SpaceX, so it will be cheaper as much as 40 percent.”

Re: Reusability effect on costs
« Reply #464 on: 05/21/2017 12:02 AM »
Cross-posting:

These seem to say there is a contract for SpaceX to launch Telkom 4 around June 2018 (although I can never be completely sure with Google Translate).

https://inet.detik.com/telecommunication/d-3424084/spacex-masih-dipercaya-luncurkan-satelit-telkom-4
http://www.cnnindonesia.com/teknologi/20170417152745-213-208098/telkom-bakal-lebih-hemat-berkat-roket-spacex/
http://www.cnnindonesia.com/teknologi/20170130174006-213-190081/satelit-telkom-berikutnya-bakal-gandeng-spacex/
https://seasia.co/2017/05/01/indonesia-to-use-spacex-to-launch-next-satellite
http://www.satellitetoday.com/telecom/2015/12/30/ssl-to-provide-next-satellite-for-telkom-indonesia/
Nice find! So not only is this a new launch contract, but it will also be on a flight-proven booster.
Quote
President Director of Telkom, Alex J. Sinaga mentioned to CNN, “Investment in Telkom-4 [satellite] will be cheaper as we use a reusable orbital rocket from SpaceX, so it will be cheaper as much as 40 percent.”

So, when they say "total investment", does that include the cost of launching the satellite as well? Assuming that it does , and that they pay around $40M for the flight, that would mean that the cost of insurance would be around 9% of the cost of the payload, assuming that the ~116M left (126-10) is the cost of the satellite. Does that not seem a bit high?

Online macpacheco

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 769
  • Vitoria-ES-Brazil
  • Liked: 297
  • Likes Given: 2231
Re: Reusability effect on costs
« Reply #465 on: 05/21/2017 01:09 AM »
Any word on which will be the 3rd reuse flight ?
Looking for companies doing great things for much more than money

Online cppetrie

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 186
  • Liked: 96
  • Likes Given: 0
Reusability effect on costs
« Reply #466 on: 05/21/2017 01:16 AM »
2nd (next) is known to be BulgariaSat. For the third, whichever comes first of either FH demo or the SES launch after the next one would be my guess. The combo SES/Echostar bird is said to be confirmed as flying on a new bird since it isn't a solo SES launch.

Edit: revised wording for clarity
« Last Edit: 05/21/2017 01:18 AM by cppetrie »

Online Rebel44

  • Full Member
  • **
  • Posts: 205
  • Liked: 107
  • Likes Given: 484
Re: Reusability effect on costs
« Reply #467 on: 05/21/2017 12:09 PM »
Cross-posting:

These seem to say there is a contract for SpaceX to launch Telkom 4 around June 2018 (although I can never be completely sure with Google Translate).

https://inet.detik.com/telecommunication/d-3424084/spacex-masih-dipercaya-luncurkan-satelit-telkom-4
http://www.cnnindonesia.com/teknologi/20170417152745-213-208098/telkom-bakal-lebih-hemat-berkat-roket-spacex/
http://www.cnnindonesia.com/teknologi/20170130174006-213-190081/satelit-telkom-berikutnya-bakal-gandeng-spacex/
https://seasia.co/2017/05/01/indonesia-to-use-spacex-to-launch-next-satellite
http://www.satellitetoday.com/telecom/2015/12/30/ssl-to-provide-next-satellite-for-telkom-indonesia/
Nice find! So not only is this a new launch contract, but it will also be on a flight-proven booster.
Quote
President Director of Telkom, Alex J. Sinaga mentioned to CNN, “Investment in Telkom-4 [satellite] will be cheaper as we use a reusable orbital rocket from SpaceX, so it will be cheaper as much as 40 percent.”

So, when they say "total investment", does that include the cost of launching the satellite as well? Assuming that it does , and that they pay around $40M for the flight, that would mean that the cost of insurance would be around 9% of the cost of the payload, assuming that the ~116M left (126-10) is the cost of the satellite. Does that not seem a bit high?

Cost of insurance has quite a few variables - like if you want to include expected revenue to be covered in case of failure and if so for how long.

Offline john smith 19

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5366
  • Everyplaceelse
  • Liked: 660
  • Likes Given: 3699
Re: Reusability effect on costs
« Reply #468 on: 05/21/2017 01:41 PM »
The Atlas D,E,F,G, and H all used pressure fed vernier engines for steering. They put out a few thousand pounds total per rocket. The Atlas stage without booster engines and only sustainer engine weighed just  5,174 lb (2,347 kg) dry. Use of vernier engines was the engineering method for controlling the rocket in the late 1950's early 1960's. Later in early 1960's stronger and faster systems for steering a main engine was developed and became the standard engineering method. These old designs though continued to fly into the 1990's for the US and are still flying for Russia.

The Atlas vernier engines produced 2,000lbs thrust each. And had the option for its own small shared turbo pump for independent operation after SECO (sustainer engine shutdown).

A modified Atlas design with 4 verniers landing legs and some areosurface controls could have in the 1960's done a VTVL. BTW it was radio controlled steering and used an onboard analog computer for rate stabilization. So it could have been done then. But the engines would not have been reusable only the tank. The tank was the cheapest part of the vehicle.
That's an interesting piece of rocket history. I think the joker in the pack though would have been that AFAIK until SX no one seemed to realize you needed aerosurfaces on the top end to give adequate control. I'm not sure a human operator would have had good enough reaction times to handle the task. OTOH I suspect had it been attempted the engineers of the time would have gone with a hybrid solution of on board analog control loops for the fast response phenomena and left the operator (pilot?) for the gross guidance changes.
"Solids are a branch of fireworks, not rocketry. :-) :-) ", Henry Spencer 1/28/11  Averse to bold? You must be in marketing."It's all in the sequencing" K. Mattingly.  STS-Keeping most of the stakeholders happy most of the time.

Offline watermod

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 339
  • Liked: 84
  • Likes Given: 99
Re: Reusability effect on costs
« Reply #469 on: 05/21/2017 04:02 PM »
Any whispering about when SpaceX will be flying a booster for the 3rd or more time?
(I know they have a few waiting for 2nd flight but I got to wondering about multiple reuse time frame.)

Online Ictogan

  • Member
  • Posts: 30
  • Germany
  • Liked: 11
  • Likes Given: 10
Re: Reusability effect on costs
« Reply #470 on: 05/21/2017 04:45 PM »
Any whispering about when SpaceX will be flying a booster for the 3rd or more time?
(I know they have a few waiting for 2nd flight but I got to wondering about multiple reuse time frame.)

Not as far as I've seen. Currently they would likely still need several months for refurbishing and checking a core, so the earliest we could see a third flight would probably be Q4 2017 if SpaceX decide to fly the Iridium-1/BulgariaSat-1 booster for a third time.

Online oldAtlas_Eguy

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2687
  • Florida
  • Liked: 1092
  • Likes Given: 64
Re: Reusability effect on costs
« Reply #471 on: 05/21/2017 05:14 PM »
The Atlas D,E,F,G, and H all used pressure fed vernier engines for steering. They put out a few thousand pounds total per rocket. The Atlas stage without booster engines and only sustainer engine weighed just  5,174 lb (2,347 kg) dry. Use of vernier engines was the engineering method for controlling the rocket in the late 1950's early 1960's. Later in early 1960's stronger and faster systems for steering a main engine was developed and became the standard engineering method. These old designs though continued to fly into the 1990's for the US and are still flying for Russia.

The Atlas vernier engines produced 2,000lbs thrust each. And had the option for its own small shared turbo pump for independent operation after SECO (sustainer engine shutdown).

A modified Atlas design with 4 verniers landing legs and some areosurface controls could have in the 1960's done a VTVL. BTW it was radio controlled steering and used an onboard analog computer for rate stabilization. So it could have been done then. But the engines would not have been reusable only the tank. The tank was the cheapest part of the vehicle.
That's an interesting piece of rocket history. I think the joker in the pack though would have been that AFAIK until SX no one seemed to realize you needed aerosurfaces on the top end to give adequate control. I'm not sure a human operator would have had good enough reaction times to handle the task. OTOH I suspect had it been attempted the engineers of the time would have gone with a hybrid solution of on board analog control loops for the fast response phenomena and left the operator (pilot?) for the gross guidance changes.
No Human operator. It was a big computer sitting on the ground. Something that was way to heavy for a rocket to lift but was fast enough to do high accuracy navigation steering and engine cutoff timing. It could have been sufficient for a computer controlled landing on a landing pad. This accuracy was why it was still in use up to the 1990's.

The ICBM version was designed such that the X band tracker up-link would capture the Atlas in-flight during the sustainer phase and issue SECO that would then result in the warhead hitting the specified target. The Atlas's were launched at ~1min intervals to be able to give the shared guidance station the ability to acquire and guide each of several missiles.

The main reason that Atlas was not made into a reusable LV was that it was a throw away weapon system. That after they were launch there was no reason to recover and use then again. Possibly even the probable no facilities left standing either.

One of the first engines the F-1 was so good that it could have been reused. Also the RL-10 was so good as well that it could have done a dozen restarts in-space if they could figure out how to get a dozen restart cartridges on the engine. The RL-10 actually has 4 cartridge start ports for use and has been used for 4 in-space starts. So there were engines in the mid to late 1960's that could have been used to create fully reusable LV's. In fact they were almost used on shuttle. But because development funding was limited the cost of operations was sacrificed for lower development costs.

Added:
Now back from history to the effect of reusability on costs. Reusability has been the goal since the 1960's but has been only partially successful if even that until now. SpaceX tells us that their solution will lower their costs and has offered customers a lower price for use of used boosters. But only once their use of used booster exceeds that of new ones can it be said that their reusability solution has become successful.

« Last Edit: 05/21/2017 05:28 PM by oldAtlas_Eguy »

Online macpacheco

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 769
  • Vitoria-ES-Brazil
  • Liked: 297
  • Likes Given: 2231
Re: Reusability effect on costs
« Reply #472 on: 05/21/2017 06:15 PM »
Any whispering about when SpaceX will be flying a booster for the 3rd or more time?
(I know they have a few waiting for 2nd flight but I got to wondering about multiple reuse time frame.)

Not as far as I've seen. Currently they would likely still need several months for refurbishing and checking a core, so the earliest we could see a third flight would probably be Q4 2017 if SpaceX decide to fly the Iridium-1/BulgariaSat-1 booster for a third time.
I expect the first half a dozen reflights will be boosters flown once on a LEO mission. No third flights. Perhaps one reflight of a GTO launch that had the most margins and could do a little longer re-entry burn.
By the time SpaceX comes around to maybe start doing third and fourth flights, Block V is already available.
Lots of landed boosters will be remanufactured into FH side boosters, which is akin to an super duper careful refurb.
The current stage is getting customer's confidence on reflight. Those signing up will be picky of what they'll be riding on.

Think about this for a second... CRS-11/Iridium-2 booster. That's what customers will ask for.
As long as 75+% of launches are new boosters there's a massive surplus of first flow boosters. Customers get their pick. Even with 50/50%, doesn't change much.

Eventually with most customers accepting reflights, then boosters from first GTO flights will launch again.

Just saying... I'd rather let time go by and prove/disprove me.
« Last Edit: 05/21/2017 06:27 PM by macpacheco »
Looking for companies doing great things for much more than money

Offline Lar

  • Fan boy at large
  • Global Moderator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7670
  • Saw Gemini live on TV
  • A large LEGO storage facility ... in Michigan
  • Liked: 4555
  • Likes Given: 3063
Re: Reusability effect on costs
« Reply #473 on: 05/21/2017 06:34 PM »
Any whispering about when SpaceX will be flying a booster for the 3rd or more time?
(I know they have a few waiting for 2nd flight but I got to wondering about multiple reuse time frame.)

Not as far as I've seen. Currently they would likely still need several months for refurbishing and checking a core, so the earliest we could see a third flight would probably be Q4 2017 if SpaceX decide to fly the Iridium-1/BulgariaSat-1 booster for a third time.

Dubious that they will " likely still need several months" as they have said they are already reducing cycle times.
"I think it would be great to be born on Earth and to die on Mars. Just hopefully not at the point of impact." -Elon Musk
"We're a little bit like the dog who caught the bus" - Musk after CRS-8 S1 successfully landed on ASDS OCISLY

Online Ictogan

  • Member
  • Posts: 30
  • Germany
  • Liked: 11
  • Likes Given: 10
Re: Reusability effect on costs
« Reply #474 on: 05/21/2017 06:39 PM »
Any whispering about when SpaceX will be flying a booster for the 3rd or more time?
(I know they have a few waiting for 2nd flight but I got to wondering about multiple reuse time frame.)

Not as far as I've seen. Currently they would likely still need several months for refurbishing and checking a core, so the earliest we could see a third flight would probably be Q4 2017 if SpaceX decide to fly the Iridium-1/BulgariaSat-1 booster for a third time.

Dubious that they will " likely still need several months" as they have said they are already reducing cycle times.
Well, two out of two reused boosters have taken several months to refurbish so far. And I'd imagine that SpaceX is going to reduce those times gradually, not suddenly.

Offline M.E.T.

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 316
  • Liked: 124
  • Likes Given: 6
Re: Reusability effect on costs
« Reply #475 on: 05/21/2017 07:06 PM »
Any whispering about when SpaceX will be flying a booster for the 3rd or more time?
(I know they have a few waiting for 2nd flight but I got to wondering about multiple reuse time frame.)

Not as far as I've seen. Currently they would likely still need several months for refurbishing and checking a core, so the earliest we could see a third flight would probably be Q4 2017 if SpaceX decide to fly the Iridium-1/BulgariaSat-1 booster for a third time.

Dubious that they will " likely still need several months" as they have said they are already reducing cycle times.

This is someting I've been pondering on. Specifically, the difficult decision of when to stop reusing Block 3 and 4 boosters because Block 5 is available. On the one hand, just throwing away a perfectly reusable booster seems a waste of tens of millions of dollars. On the other hand, they cost more and take longer to refurbish than the Block 5 with its optimized reusability features.

So come next year, they will have a dozen or so Block 5's in operation, but also have maybe a dozen or more Block 3 and 4 landed cores still sitting in storage, some of which have been reflown once, and some which haven't been reflown at all.

So how to decide when to stop using pre-Block 5 cores that are still available?

Online guckyfan

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6049
  • Germany
  • Liked: 1489
  • Likes Given: 1213
Re: Reusability effect on costs
« Reply #476 on: 05/21/2017 07:27 PM »
So how to decide when to stop using pre-Block 5 cores that are still available?

Block 5 is one day refurbishment, at least once they get into the rythm. Pre-block 5 maybe 2 weeks. I think they will stop using them immediately.

If there are major components unchanged, like the tanks and thrust structure they still can strip them down and make them new block 5. It seems the COPV are new already so they can reuse those, too.

Offline M.E.T.

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 316
  • Liked: 124
  • Likes Given: 6
Re: Reusability effect on costs
« Reply #477 on: 05/21/2017 07:31 PM »
So how to decide when to stop using pre-Block 5 cores that are still available?

Block 5 is one day refurbishment, at least once they get into the rythm. Pre-block 5 maybe 2 weeks. I think they will stop using them immediately.

If there are major components unchanged, like the tanks and thrust structure they still can strip them down and make them new block 5. It seems the COPV are new already so they can reuse those, too.

OK. So basically, most of the current cores won't be reflown. Because if they don't refly before the end of this year, they will be replaced by Block 5's. So they become spare parts after December?

Online FutureSpaceTourist

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2800
  • UK
    • Plan 28
  • Liked: 1818
  • Likes Given: 634
Re: Reusability effect on costs
« Reply #478 on: 05/21/2017 07:47 PM »
Well, two out of two reused boosters have taken several months to refurbish so far. And I'd imagine that SpaceX is going to reduce those times gradually, not suddenly.

Don't confuse time to re-fly with time to refurbish. The booster can't re-fly until there's a customer willing to re-use. It doesn't mean it's spent all the waiting time bring refurbished. Gwynne Shotwell was pretty clear that SpaceX had already significantly reduced refurbishment time from first re-used booster.

Offline Mongo62

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 861
  • Liked: 532
  • Likes Given: 120
Re: Reusability effect on costs
« Reply #479 on: 05/21/2017 07:53 PM »
So how to decide when to stop using pre-Block 5 cores that are still available?

Block 5 is one day refurbishment, at least once they get into the rythm. Pre-block 5 maybe 2 weeks. I think they will stop using them immediately.

If there are major components unchanged, like the tanks and thrust structure they still can strip them down and make them new block 5. It seems the COPV are new already so they can reuse those, too.

Block 3/4 boosters sound like candidates for expendable launches. The marginal cost of a couple of weeks refurbishment of a single core would very low, even if they have been written off for regular relaunches. Of course block 5 FH refurbishment costs would presumably be even lower, but using an expendable block 3/4 core would save one flight's portion of lifetime on three FH cores.

Tags: