Author Topic: When will reused first stages be the majority of launches?  (Read 13591 times)

Offline JamesH65

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Re: When will reused first stages be the majority of launches?
« Reply #40 on: 08/30/2016 01:41 PM »
Given the new developments. The info that the engines of the test core had minor modifications to the present production status. The info that the insurance companies are willing to raise their premiums only moderately. They are now setting up the test core for more firings. They expect two launches of used bosters soon, maybe this year.

They may get into the situation, that next year demand on used cores, from customers who want to change their contracts from new to reused, will exceed their capacity until they have a workshop ready with a rocket washing facility and for recoating of thrust structure and interstage. Next year the HIF at LC-39A will be busy with FH and commercial crew and will no longer be availabe to work on used boosters.

That's assuming of course that they have no failures on their first two reflights.

A big switch like this will mean that launch has become a commodity.  Boosters will have become generic and all tailoring (not sure how much this will be) will be on second stage, flight profile, orbit, etc.  A single booster could deliver crew to ISS, commercial to GTO, LEO propellant, whatever... this part of launch would then be considered a commodity.

Isn't the first stage already generic in that respect*? Only the second stage need to be tailored to the payload even now.

* barring modifications required unrelated to the payload (ie efficiency improvements)

Online AncientU

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Re: When will reused first stages be the majority of launches?
« Reply #41 on: 08/31/2016 01:28 PM »
We're on the threshold of the commodity launch world... boosters are still made for a specific launch, though they might be close to identical at SpaceX.  When reused boosters become a significant contributor, we'll be there.

An interesting (to me, anyway) feature of reused boosters entering a competitive space launch customer market... 

Operating companies like SES, Imarsat, Iridium, Intelsat, etc. are in a hugely competitive market -- anything that gives them an edge will be exploited (by the most nimble first).  SES is playing that card with SES-10/11 launches on reused vehicles.

The two big advantages if you are using flight-proven boosters and your competition isn't:
1. Earlier launch if you can jump the queue, and
2. Your competition paid the capital expense of your booster. (Thank you very much.)

This situation will become a huge driver (forcing function if you will) of the change-over to reused boosters in any competitive market IMO.  Others insist there will be no rush to reused cores... YMMV. 

Since commercial launches are 60-70% (?) of the launch market, 2019 doesn't seem so far fetched per the OP.
« Last Edit: 08/31/2016 01:28 PM by AncientU »
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Offline mme

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Re: When will reused first stages be the majority of launches?
« Reply #42 on: 03/31/2017 06:38 AM »
Given the successful reflight of B1021 for SES-10, I'm bumping this thread.

In the post SES-10 presser, SES CTO Martin Halliwell said they will gladly fly future missions on reused boosters. Musk said that other customers have expressed interest, contingent on the success of SES-10.  Musk also said he expects 6 reused boosters to fly this year (though 2 are probably on the FH demo), 12 next year quickly ramping up to 3/4 missions being on reused boosters.

Halliwell also made a prediction related to customers using previously flown boosters.  He said:
Quote
In 24 months SpaceX will offer a service to get to orbit and it will be irrelevant.  It will be irrelevant whether its' new or reflown.

Another motivator that Halliwell has mentioned above and beyond price is availability.

I think guckyfan hit the nail on the head.  2019 could well be the year that most SpaceX missions are on reflown boosters.
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Online macpacheco

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Re: When will reused first stages be the majority of launches?
« Reply #43 on: 03/31/2017 06:53 AM »
Most commercial customers will demand 3 success re launches before they let their expensive payloads be launched in a re launch.
So two more successful relaunches. This is likely to happen in 4-6 months.
Once that's achieved, at least 75% of newly booked launches should be for re flights.
There's another important variable. Once FH is reliably re flying, dual manifest GTO launches using FH becomes a very logical choice.

The big assumption is no failures on re launches.

About that... My personal opinion is that SpaceX tends to have very few launch failures from now on, that first Falcon Heavy launch is by far the biggest risk. Sure, there are unknowns and unknown unknowns but booster recovery gives SpaceX excellent opportunities to extensively check/test booster for issues. It bodes really well both from new and re launches.

But I would also say that the odds are 2nd and 3rd flights of a given booster are far less likely to fail than the first one. The odds of an out of spec part RUDing a launch is far greater at the first launch.

Big deal is the next two re flights, that milestone will enable reused first stages being the majority of re launches.
The milestone of majority relaunches should be achieved early 2018.

Customers love a discount, 1/3 off is always significant. They just need to trust they're not increasing their risks.

The other factor is accelerated launch schedule. For now SpaceX has a well supplied pipeline of new boosters. Once the accumulated supply is consumed, a re launch might be quite interesting for a customer in a hurry. I'd also add the possibility of giving the customer willing to go on a 3rd flight of a Block III/IV booster the full performance of the rocket and let that be expended, since Block Vs are the real deal for serial reuse.
Once LC40 is up and running AND LC39A goes through the stand down to upgrade for FH, SX will have a lot of launch capacity. A few months later the bottleneck should shift towards having boosters ready to launch.
« Last Edit: 04/02/2017 11:48 AM by macpacheco »
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Online FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: When will reused first stages be the majority of launches?
« Reply #44 on: 03/31/2017 06:58 AM »
Another key point from the presser, when asked if there are customers other than SES looking to re-use boosters Elon replied: "I think there are 3 or 4 others signed up on a contingency basis". In other words prepared to use flight proven boosters once it's shown to work.

Offline david1971

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Re: When will reused first stages be the majority of launches?
« Reply #45 on: 03/31/2017 11:55 PM »
Given the successful reflight of B1021 for SES-10, I'm bumping this thread.

In the post SES-10 presser, SES CTO Martin Halliwell said they will gladly fly future missions on reused boosters. Musk said that other customers have expressed interest, contingent on the success of SES-10.  Musk also said he expects 6 reused boosters to fly this year (though 2 are probably on the FH demo), 12 next year quickly ramping up to 3/4 missions being on reused boosters.

I don't know when we'll see a majority of launches involve reused first stages, but it blows my mind that it is possible that SpaceX reflight launches could outnumber Proton launches this year.

Offline Bob Shaw

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Re: When will reused first stages be the majority of launches?
« Reply #46 on: 04/01/2017 12:04 AM »
So, First Stage reuse is a fact. Fairings were (officially) tested this time. When are we going to see a reuseable Second Stage, if only for LEO payloads? Surely this is required for MuskNet?

Online FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: When will reused first stages be the majority of launches?
« Reply #47 on: 04/01/2017 06:38 AM »
So, First Stage reuse is a fact. Fairings were (officially) tested this time. When are we going to see a reuseable Second Stage, if only for LEO payloads? Surely this is required for MuskNet?

Elon appears to be seriously considering an attempt for the first (demo) FH flight. There's a separate thread for that: http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=42637.0

Online AncientU

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Re: When will reused first stages be the majority of launches?
« Reply #48 on: 04/01/2017 02:51 PM »
This is rather like the discussion we saw prior to SpaceX's first stage recoveries.  I believe that once SpaceX re-flies a few F9 stages, the chorus from the Doubting Thomases will fade away right quick... ;)
"Doug for President of the Optimist Club"... ;D

Listen... crickets.

One reflown stage.

6 total planned this year, twelve next, three-quarters of launches (by 2019?) beyond that.

...
But I would bet (just a phrase, I don't bet) that in 2019 most launches will be on reused boosters
...
« Last Edit: 04/01/2017 03:38 PM by AncientU »
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Online AncientU

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Re: When will reused first stages be the majority of launches?
« Reply #49 on: 04/01/2017 11:58 PM »
From post-flight... EM and Martin Halliwell, SES:
Quote
E: It's customers that are willing to take flight-proven booster, or some will still want to see a lot more flights before they are comfortable with what we will call a flight proven booster. They may use a different term - . So, .. But I .. It does seems as though .. We might do half a dozen, or more, flights of re-flown booster this year, and then next year, probably double that. And then I'd expect that, for the Falcon architecture, over time, probably 3/4 of our missions are with a re-flown booster.
M: As an operator, I could add to that, my belief is that within 24 months, people like SpaceX, or SpaceX specifically, will offer a service to orbit, and it will be irrelevant. It will be irrelevant if it's new, or it's pre-flown, it'll be irrelevant, within 24 months. That's what this means today.
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Online AncientU

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Re: When will reused first stages be the majority of launches?
« Reply #50 on: 05/19/2017 11:36 AM »
But I would bet (just a phrase, I don't bet) that in 2019 most launches will be on reused boosters including contracts already signed for new ones. The contracts will be renegotiated with reusable prices. By that time they will probably have enough cores in store that they don't need to build new ones before the Falcon family is phased out.

Things are progressing faster than even SpaceX anticipated...

Looking like we may see a 50-50 manifest by end of this year -- 2017 -- baring mishaps, of course.
« Last Edit: 05/19/2017 11:38 AM by AncientU »
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Offline AC in NC

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Re: When will reused first stages be the majority of launches?
« Reply #51 on: 05/19/2017 11:50 PM »
Things are progressing faster than even SpaceX anticipated...

Reminds me of the time (1y 3m 10d) between 1st Landing and 1st Relanding including AMOS-6 RUD and aftermath.

Exciting times.

Offline wannamoonbase

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Re: When will reused first stages be the majority of launches?
« Reply #52 on: 05/20/2017 12:22 AM »
But I would bet (just a phrase, I don't bet) that in 2019 most launches will be on reused boosters including contracts already signed for new ones. The contracts will be renegotiated with reusable prices. By that time they will probably have enough cores in store that they don't need to build new ones before the Falcon family is phased out.

Things are progressing faster than even SpaceX anticipated...

Looking like we may see a 50-50 manifest by end of this year -- 2017 -- baring mishaps, of course.

I think 2019 still looks good for 50/50.  Very hard to do it this year. 

2018 could be tough as the Block 5 is still waiting, Crew and Cargo flights for NASA will be new boosters.  Finally we are getting close to half way through 2017.  It won't be too long before the boosters and upper stages for 2018 begin their planning and production.
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Online Robotbeat

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Re: When will reused first stages be the majority of launches?
« Reply #53 on: 05/20/2017 01:16 AM »
Crew and especially cargo flights may not be new boosters. NASA is comfortable with SpaceX flying a reused Dragon, after all. And FH will probably use mostly reused boosters for the vast majority of flights, starting with the first.
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Online AncientU

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Re: When will reused first stages be the majority of launches?
« Reply #54 on: 05/20/2017 11:08 AM »
Part of my logic is that Hawthorne can fab about 1.5 boosters/month.  If launch rate hits 3 boosters/month by end of year -- which it appears to be heading toward -- half of those boosters will need to be reused. 

FH complicates the situation with its wildly unpredictable launch 'cadence' and core configuration, but it only helps (unless STP-2 is three new cores).
« Last Edit: 05/20/2017 11:10 AM by AncientU »
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Offline rockets4life97

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Re: When will reused first stages be the majority of launches?
« Reply #55 on: 05/20/2017 11:15 AM »
FH complicates the situation with its wildly unpredictable launch 'cadence' and core configuration, but it only helps (unless STP-2 is three new cores).

I'm pretty sure it was reported the STP-2 will have a new center core and two re-used F9 repurposed as boosters, just like the demo flight.

Offline Norm38

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Re: When will reused first stages be the majority of launches?
« Reply #56 on: 06/06/2017 03:59 PM »
Looking at 2017, the 15 launches already flown or scheduled through end of August, only 3-4 are expendable (Formosat 5 still TBD).
Booster 1021.2 is likely retired, and B1029 is flying twice in 2017.  All together, if there is no other reuse, SpaceX will have 9-10 flown boosters on hand, from just 8 months of this year's flights.  They're stacking up like cordwood, which isn't helpful.

It seems to me that some of the launches later this summer almost have to be reuse.  They need to get to something like a 5 man pitching rotation, with older higher flight count boosters taken out for expendable flights and new block 5 production only has to replace those expendable losses.
With the way their flight rate is ramping, reuse has to ramp with it.
« Last Edit: 06/06/2017 04:15 PM by Norm38 »

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