Author Topic: SpaceX Falcon 9 - Inmarsat 5 F4 - May 15, 2017 - DISCUSSION  (Read 107113 times)

Online Jarnis

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - Inmarsat 5 F4 - May 15, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #20 on: 01/20/2017 04:57 PM »
Expendables might make sense from the point of view of "we have these old-spec cores that are iffy for reuse anyway, shiny new block 5s coming next that are designed for easy reuse... and some FH launches that are late, but could fly on an expendable F9. How about we just toss a few of these old spec boosters, get some pressure off the manifest - win win. I mean, we're running low on storage space for recovered boosters anyway"

Offline mme

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - Inmarsat 5 F4 - May 15, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #21 on: 01/20/2017 05:10 PM »
If expendable then there's no need to toss away expensive legs and fins. These things are installed at the launch site, so this step would just be skipped.

HOWEVER, it's my strong hope that Block 5 (1.3? Fullest Thrust??) or FH would be available by launch time, thereby not having to go the expendable route. I think it's baked right into SpaceX's very core to not expend (<- see what I did there?)

I don't think block 5 will do much in that regard. It is more about ease of reusability. They need to do some expendable flights because FH is not yet ready for regular flight and flight rates. Which will need block 5.
I do think that there was some some loss of performance with the current "safe" COPV configuration/fuel loading procedures.  It seems to me that longer load time, warmer helium, and more COPVs would all contribute to less dense LOX as well as a slight reduction in volume.  So there should be at least a small bump in performance with Block 5 above the current configuration/procedures.

I won't be surprised if there are a couple of expendable launches but it's funny that it already ready feels "wasteful" to me.  Times are a changing. :)
Space is not Highlander.  There can, and will, be more than one.

Offline AncientU

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - Inmarsat 5 F4 - May 15, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #22 on: 01/20/2017 11:17 PM »
Expendables might make sense from the point of view of "we have these old-spec cores that are iffy for reuse anyway, shiny new block 5s coming next that are designed for easy reuse... and some FH launches that are late, but could fly on an expendable F9. How about we just toss a few of these old spec boosters, get some pressure off the manifest - win win. I mean, we're running low on storage space for recovered boosters anyway"

Interesting 'problem'...
"If we shared everything [we are working on] people would think we are insane!"
-- SpaceX friend of mlindner

Online Johnnyhinbos

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - Inmarsat 5 F4 - May 15, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #23 on: 01/22/2017 03:22 PM »
If expendable then there's no need to toss away expensive legs and fins. These things are installed at the launch site, so this step would just be skipped.

HOWEVER, it's my strong hope that Block 5 (1.3? Fullest Thrust??) or FH would be available by launch time, thereby not having to go the expendable route. I think it's baked right into SpaceX's very core to not expend (<- see what I did there?)

I don't think block 5 will do much in that regard. It is more about ease of reusability. They need to do some expendable flights because FH is not yet ready for regular flight and flight rates. Which will need block 5.
My reference to higher performance of Block 5 is from Elon.
From Reddit...

"Here's Elon's discussion of Block 5 from his October 23 AMA:

*"Final Falcon 9 has a lot of minor refinements that collectively are important, but uprated thrust and improved legs are the most significant.*

*"Actually, I think the F9 boosters could be used almost indefinitely, so long as there is scheduled maintenance and careful inspections. Falcon 9 Block 5 -- the final version in the series -- is the one that has the most performance and is designed for easy reuse, so it just makes sense to focus on that long term and retire the earlier versions. Block 5 starts production in about 3 months and initial flight is in 6 to 8 months, so there isn't much point in ground testing Block 3 or 4 much beyond a few reflights."*

Essentially the same as the latest tweet (wonder if the schedule shift relates to making provisions for the future new and improved COPVs, or maybe just working through the backlog of earlier generation boosters). So the main upgrades are greater thrust, improved landing legs, and better design for reuse.
John Hanzl. Author, action / adventure www.johnhanzl.com

Offline gongora

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - Inmarsat 5 F4 - May 15, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #24 on: 01/22/2017 05:31 PM »
Payloads this heavy just aren't meant for F9R, and block 5 is highly unlikely to change that.

Online Chris Bergin

L2 has an updated (post NROL-76) NET of May 15. Window opens at 1920 Eastern.

Online envy887

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - Inmarsat 5 F4 - May 15, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #26 on: 04/07/2017 01:56 PM »
Guess the NROL-76 delay wasn't quite long enough for this launch to jump the queue?

Online vanoord

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - Inmarsat 5 F4 - May 15, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #27 on: 04/07/2017 01:59 PM »
Somewhat late to bring this one forward - a longer slip for NROL-76 could change that, presumably? (the 2-week turnaround on the pad appears to be the constraint at the moment)

Offline M.E.T.

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - Inmarsat 5 F4 - May 15, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #28 on: 04/07/2017 02:58 PM »
Why are launch providers not in a position to dictate to customers that delays on the customer's side mean they get pushed down the queue? After all, this has financial implications for the launch provider. Does it not make business sense to say well, Inmarsat has leapfrogged you now, NROL, because you missed your booked date?


Offline cscott

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - Inmarsat 5 F4 - May 15, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #29 on: 04/07/2017 03:06 PM »
Why are launch providers not in a position to dictate to customers that delays on the customer's side mean they get pushed down the queue? After all, this has financial implications for the launch provider. Does it not make business sense to say well, Inmarsat has leapfrogged you now, NROL, because you missed your booked date?
I think the reason is that the launch flow is highly pipelined, and there aren't multiples of most things.  So it's not easy to leapfrog the launch schedule for small delays, since flight X is using equipment Y for a whole week, and it would cost more than it would save to get flight X off of Y and put flight X+1 on there early. (And then flight X still has to use equipment Y for a full week sometime later, delaying flights after that one...)

I think where you do see leapfrogging happen is when the delay becomes known at a time where there's a natural gap between pipeline stages and there is storage available. (Storage at the cape is getting quite tight we hear.). The step where a stage is trucked from McGregor to the Cape seems to be one such gap.  But NROL is already at the Cape, and all indications are that the delay was caused by some payload problem discovered during integration with the F9.  So it's already taking up its pipeline stage, and it would only slow up the flow (including problem resolution) to take the payload off the rocket and move everything out of the hanger.  You might get Inmarsat launched quicker, but NROL would end up taking up even more time when it got back in line.

If SpaceX is successful in getting land-to-reflight times significantly down, necessarily including the payload integration portion of that process, then I'd think you'd see more leapfrogging.  But while the launch flow is months long with a single copy of each pipeline stage it's really hard to make short-notice swaps.

IMNSHO, I'm not an expert, have no special knowledge, etc, etc.
« Last Edit: 04/07/2017 03:13 PM by cscott »

Offline meberbs

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - Inmarsat 5 F4 - May 15, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #30 on: 04/07/2017 03:09 PM »
Why are launch providers not in a position to dictate to customers that delays on the customer's side mean they get pushed down the queue? After all, this has financial implications for the launch provider. Does it not make business sense to say well, Inmarsat has leapfrogged you now, NROL, because you missed your booked date?
I don't know how the SpaceX payload processing is configured, but security issues may make it difficult to parallel process with a classified payload.

Also, this probably isn't enough notice to get Inmarsat prepped by the original NROL date.

Offline gongora

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - Inmarsat 5 F4 - May 15, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #31 on: 04/07/2017 03:11 PM »
Why are launch providers not in a position to dictate to customers that delays on the customer's side mean they get pushed down the queue? After all, this has financial implications for the launch provider. Does it not make business sense to say well, Inmarsat has leapfrogged you now, NROL, because you missed your booked date?

For a two week delay it's not likely to be worth the trouble.  Each payload has dozens of people supporting it.  It might also be difficult to quickly switch between highly classified and unclassified payloads.  The boosters will also be set up differently, NROL-76 is RTLS and the next flight should be expendable.  Some of the more picky customers may also follow their booster through construction and testing (not sure if the current contracts allow this, but you can bet the upcoming Air Force launches will.)

Offline mn

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - Inmarsat 5 F4 - May 15, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #32 on: 04/07/2017 04:03 PM »
Why are launch providers not in a position to dictate to customers that delays on the customer's side mean they get pushed down the queue? After all, this has financial implications for the launch provider. Does it not make business sense to say well, Inmarsat has leapfrogged you now, NROL, because you missed your booked date?
I think the reason is that the launch flow is highly pipelined, and there aren't multiples of most things.  So it's not easy to leapfrog the launch schedule for small delays, since flight X is using equipment Y for a whole week, and it would cost more than it would save to get flight X off of Y and put flight X+1 on there early. (And then flight X still has to use equipment Y for a full week sometime later, delaying flights after that one...)

I think where you do see leapfrogging happen is when the delay becomes known at a time where there's a natural gap between pipeline stages and there is storage available. (Storage at the cape is getting quite tight we hear.). The step where a stage is trucked from McGregor to the Cape seems to be one such gap.  But NROL is already at the Cape, and all indications are that the delay was caused by some payload problem discovered during integration with the F9.  So it's already taking up its pipeline stage, and it would only slow up the flow (including problem resolution) to take the payload off the rocket and move everything out of the hanger.  You might get Inmarsat launched quicker, but NROL would end up taking up even more time when it got back in line.

If SpaceX is successful in getting land-to-reflight times significantly down, necessarily including the payload integration portion of that process, then I'd think you'd see more leapfrogging.  But while the launch flow is months long with a single copy of each pipeline stage it's really hard to make short-notice swaps.

IMNSHO, I'm not an expert, have no special knowledge, etc, etc.

Can they use the integration facilities at LC-40 for parallel integration (at least up to mounting on the TEL)? Or is mounting on the TEL fairly early in the process? Or is moving from LC-40 to LC-39 not practical after some point in the prep process?

Is there any active work being done to be able to prep two rockets simultaneously? or is that a long way off?

Offline Wolfram66

IWIK if the F9FT-Slick configs for InmarSat even been tested at McGregor and Delivered to the Cape?

Offline gongora

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - Inmarsat 5 F4 - May 15, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #34 on: 04/07/2017 04:46 PM »
IWIK if the F9FT-Slick configs for InmarSat even been tested at McGregor and Delivered to the Cape?

What is a F9FT-Slick config?

Offline Wolfram66

IWIK if the F9FT-Slick configs for InmarSat even been tested at McGregor and Delivered to the Cape?

What is a F9FT-Slick config?
SLICK = Expendable - No Legs or Grid-fins

Offline old_sellsword

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - Inmarsat 5 F4 - May 15, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #36 on: 04/07/2017 04:57 PM »
IWIK if the F9FT-Slick configs for InmarSat even been tested at McGregor and Delivered to the Cape?

What is a F9FT-Slick config?
SLICK = Expendable - No Legs or Grid-fins

Just so you're aware, people were confused because "SLC" is pronounced "Slick."

Offline Lars-J

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - Inmarsat 5 F4 - May 15, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #37 on: 04/07/2017 05:12 PM »
IWIK if the F9FT-Slick configs for InmarSat even been tested at McGregor and Delivered to the Cape?

Is that an official (SpaceX) term, or did you just make it up?

Offline Aerospace Dilettante

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - Inmarsat 5 F4 - May 15, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #38 on: 04/07/2017 06:24 PM »
IWIK if the F9FT-Slick configs for InmarSat even been tested at McGregor and Delivered to the Cape?

Is that an official (SpaceX) term, or did you just make it up?

I figured it was burrowed from the vi't nam-era slang term for a UH-1 Huey without external weapons attached.

Offline Lars-J

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - Inmarsat 5 F4 - May 15, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #39 on: 04/07/2017 06:31 PM »
IWIK if the F9FT-Slick configs for InmarSat even been tested at McGregor and Delivered to the Cape?

Is that an official (SpaceX) term, or did you just make it up?

I figured it was burrowed from the vi't nam-era slang term for a UH-1 Huey without external weapons attached.

Yes, but let's use terms that official and/or have no chance of confusion. Otherwise we can all make up our own names for things, like "F9 Avocado".  ;)

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