Author Topic: SpaceX Falcon 9 - GPS IIIA-3 (Awarded 2017-03-14) - Cape Canaveral - Feb. 2019  (Read 10018 times)

Offline AncientU

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I looked it up: SpaceX's first GPS III launch contract was awarded in April 2016 and valued at $ 82.7 million.

So, discounting inflation, a price increase of 16.7%

I'm curious about the price increase, additional requirements or just cost of doing business?
Just like Jim predicted long ago, SpaceX prices are rising to meet the requirements of reality.

 - Ed Kyle

So, Ariane can stop developing A-6 and ULA can discontinue layoffs... why bother cutting prices in half when Spacex is doing just what Jim predicted.
"If we shared everything [we are working on] people would think we are insane!"
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Offline rockets4life97

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I looked it up: SpaceX's first GPS III launch contract was awarded in April 2016 and valued at $ 82.7 million.

So, discounting inflation, a price increase of 16.7%

I'm curious about the price increase, additional requirements or just cost of doing business?
Just like Jim predicted long ago, SpaceX prices are rising to meet the requirements of reality.

 - Ed Kyle

So, Ariane can stop developing A-6 and ULA can discontinue layoffs... why bother cutting prices in half when Spacex is doing just what Jim predicted.

I think Air Force launches are a special case. Ariane in particular, but also ULA in the future, are going to need commercial launches.

Online FutureSpaceTourist

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SpaceNews has a follow-up article on this contract award.

You won't be suprised to know that SpaceX won on price, but this quote is interesting on AF's view of re-use:

Quote
Meanwhile, [Claire] Leon said that the Air Force has no plans to fly payloads on Falcon 9 rockets with previously-flown first stages. The service has specifically requested SpaceX not to fly re-used hardware.

“We would have to certify flight hardware that had been used which is more qualification, more analysis, so we’re not taking that on quite yet,” she said. “If it proves to be successful for commercial, we might consider that in the future.”

http://spacenews.com/spacexs-low-cost-won-gps-3-launch-air-force-says/

Claire Leon is the launch enterprise director for the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center
« Last Edit: 03/16/2017 12:00 PM by FutureSpaceTourist »

Offline AncientU

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Interesting section later in the article:
Quote
Of the 15 missions planned for Phase 1A, the first two – the GPS 3 launches – are already awarded to SpaceX. Leon said SMC plans to group the next seven launches together, and expects to put out a request for proposal (RFP) within the next couple of months.

The seven launches will be grouped together to help streamline the acquisition process, but it does not mean that a single launch provider will win all seven contracts, Leon said.

SpaceX, however, will need to roll out its next rocket if it wants to win some of the launches.

“They will need the Falcon Heavy for some of those competitions,” Leon said. “They need to get a demo flight off at least to be competitive for some of those missions.”

Seems to be a much more cost-effective way to do these two-party competitions instead of one at a time.  Also applies considerable pressure for FH demo to stop slipping.
« Last Edit: 03/16/2017 12:20 PM by AncientU »
"If we shared everything [we are working on] people would think we are insane!"
-- SpaceX friend of mlindner

Online FutureSpaceTourist

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Hmm, as I understand it FH demo flight is NET Q4 2017. So if the RFP is going out 'wirhin the next couple of months' then doesn't sound like it can fly before SpaceX submit their response.

I guess if contract award isn't until 2018 may still be ok, but presumably FH has to fly - and the AF see and assess the data - before the AF completes their bid assessment?

Offline woods170

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Nice fat indirect subvention from US government, which SpaceX will
continue to use to offer cheap rides to SES, Spanish government and so on... what about taxpayers' money ?

What about it? A USAF representative has made it very clear that SpaceX won GPS IIIA-3 on price: http://spacenews.com/spacexs-low-cost-won-gps-3-launch-air-force-says/

Quote from: Phillip Swarts
SpaceX’s lower cost compared to its competitor was the major factor in winning a contract for a GPS 3 launch, an Air Force representative said Wednesday. “Price was a major factor,” said Claire Leon, the launch enterprise director for the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center, which oversees acquisitions for many space systems and services. During a teleconference with reporters, Leon said SpaceX’s bid price was lower than other “competitors,” but did not refer to United Launch Alliance by name when discussing the contract award.

Offline Star One

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Hmm, as I understand it FH demo flight is NET Q4 2017. So if the RFP is going out 'wirhin the next couple of months' then doesn't sound like it can fly before SpaceX submit their response.

I guess if contract award isn't until 2018 may still be ok, but presumably FH has to fly - and the AF see and assess the data - before the AF completes their bid assessment?

I'd thought more than once knowing the AF cautious response to such things.

Online FutureSpaceTourist

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Quote
@AF_SMC: @SpaceX still needs to do work re: review of Sept failure before launching the GPS-3 sats it's been awarded.

https://twitter.com/pbdes/status/843877576095535104

http://bit.ly/2nfa8bl

Offline Star One

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Ken Kramer's article on this win for Space X.

Quote
SpaceX has suffered a pair of calamitous Falcon 9 rocket failures in June 2015 and Sept. 2016, destroying both the rocket and payloads for NASA and the AMOS-6 communications satellite respectively.

So the U.S. Air Force should definitely be balancing risk vs. reward with regard to lower pricing and factoring in rocket robustness and reliability, regarding launches of national security satellites which could cost into the multi-billions of dollars, take years to manufacture and are not swiftly replaceable in case of catastrophic launch failures.

ULA’s workhorse Atlas V rocket successfully delivered the final GPS satellite in the IIF series to orbit for the US Air Force on Feb 5, 2016.

http://www.universetoday.com/134630/spacex-outbids-ula-military-gps-contract-igniting-fierce-launch-competition/

Offline AncientU

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SpaceNews has a follow-up article on this contract award.

You won't be suprised to know that SpaceX won on price, but this quote is interesting on AF's view of re-use:

Quote
Meanwhile, [Claire] Leon said that the Air Force has no plans to fly payloads on Falcon 9 rockets with previously-flown first stages. The service has specifically requested SpaceX not to fly re-used hardware.

“We would have to certify flight hardware that had been used which is more qualification, more analysis, so we’re not taking that on quite yet,” she said. “If it proves to be successful for commercial, we might consider that in the future.”

http://spacenews.com/spacexs-low-cost-won-gps-3-launch-air-force-says/

Claire Leon is the launch enterprise director for the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center

Does she work for this guy, General John "Jay" Raymond, Commander, Air Force Space Command?

Quote
“I would be comfortable if we were to fly on a reused booster,” General John "Jay" Raymond told reporters at the U.S. Space Symposium in Colorado Springs. “They’ve proven they can do it. ... It’s going to get us to lower cost.”

Sounds like there is more qualification work coming.
"If we shared everything [we are working on] people would think we are insane!"
-- SpaceX friend of mlindner

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