Author Topic: SpaceX customers' views on reuse  (Read 19829 times)

Online FutureSpaceTourist

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2555
  • UK
    • Plan 28
  • Liked: 1638
  • Likes Given: 594
SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« on: 04/06/2017 05:28 PM »
I don't think we have a thread on different SpaceX customers' (and potential customers) views on re-use?

Obviously SES have been very supportive and publicly vocal in that support for some time. NASA too, although less vocally?

SpaceX plan/hope to reuse more and more boosters, but not clear who for (beyond SES and FH demo). Let's capture others views (pro or anti) in this thread.

Here's one to kick things off:

Quote
Gen. Raymond, head of Space Command, praises SpaceX's use of AFSS and says USAF would be comfortable flying on reused Falcon rocket. #33SS

https://twitter.com/flatoday_jdean/status/850034744087777280

Online FutureSpaceTourist

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2555
  • UK
    • Plan 28
  • Liked: 1638
  • Likes Given: 594
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #1 on: 04/06/2017 05:57 PM »
Slightly varying reports of what the Gen said:

Quote
Gen Jay Raymond, head of Air Force Space Command, says he's "open" to using previously flown rockets for launches of military assets. #33SS
https://twitter.com/pfswarts/status/850038411910148100

Quote
Gen Raymond says he's ready to fly a military payload on a used booster. #SpaceSymposium #33ss
https://twitter.com/pat_defdaily/status/850034233477394432

Online FutureSpaceTourist

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2555
  • UK
    • Plan 28
  • Liked: 1638
  • Likes Given: 594
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #2 on: 04/07/2017 01:28 PM »
Here's a write-up by Irene Klotz of the general's remarks:

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-space-spacex-military-idUSKBN1782ZS

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.”

Offline deruch

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1328
  • California
  • Liked: 1045
  • Likes Given: 1217
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #3 on: 04/09/2017 02:05 AM »
Cross posting from the GPS-IIIA-3 thread with quoted comments post that award announcement.  I don't believe that Ms. Leon's comments (reported 2017-03-15) are substantially different from Gen. Raymond's (reported 2017-04-06) in the previous post.  Her's highlight the work still to be done before the AF would actually buy a launch using a pre-flown core while the General's are more big picture about their general willingness to consider doing so.

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
In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice.  But, in practice, there is.  --Jan van de Snepscheut

Offline Hotblack Desiato

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 320
  • Austria
  • Liked: 59
  • Likes Given: 34
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #4 on: 04/09/2017 08:21 AM »
Cross posting from the GPS-IIIA-3 thread with quoted comments post that award announcement.  I don't believe that Ms. Leon's comments (reported 2017-03-15) are substantially different from Gen. Raymond's (reported 2017-04-06) in the previous post.  Her's highlight the work still to be done before the AF would actually buy a launch using a pre-flown core while the General's are more big picture about their general willingness to consider doing so.

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

Economically, that is the (second)best case vor SpaceX: a customer who demands new rockets and who is willing to pay the price of those. This adds fresh rocket-stages to the pool of available rockets without having to worry about when the rockets will amortise their construction costs (the actuall best case is NASA, who is willing to pay the price-tag of the new rockets without actually demanding that they need to be pristine).

The worst case scenario would be customers, who demand the reused rockets so much, that none of them is willing to pay the fee for a fresh rocket (Similar to airplanes, where the first flight of a plane isn't ridiculously expensive just to cover the production costs).

I think, as soon as a few reused flights happened successfully, most private customers will be happy to use already used rockets, it lowers the launch price.

Offline macpacheco

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 750
  • Vitoria-ES-Brazil
  • Liked: 291
  • Likes Given: 2180
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #5 on: 04/09/2017 12:57 PM »
Economically the best thing is all customers signing reuse launch contracts without restrictions.
Boosters get flown 100 times, new boosters are made when needed.
The extra profit on a new booster launch contract money unlikely pays for the extra cost of building and testing it. The reflight flow for newly recovered boosters skips McGregor, so the savings isn't just manufacturing. I wouldn't be surprised if by the 3rd or 4th reflight refurb already costs about the same as McGregor resources alone.
NASA will likely require a ton of paperwork on reflown boosters, which might actually make it double logical to use new boosters on CRS/crew launches. Low thermal stress/lots of spare fuel on CRS launches.
NASA CRS missions pay a lot more but there's the Dragon costs, the mountain of additional paperwork and several extra requirements. The big $$$ advantage of serving NASA is on the development contracts where NASA paid for Crew/Cargo Dragon and part of F9 R&D costs.
« Last Edit: 04/10/2017 07:48 PM by macpacheco »
Looking for companies doing great things for much more than money

Online AncientU

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3901
  • Liked: 2357
  • Likes Given: 3231
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #6 on: 04/09/2017 02:22 PM »
It would be nice to let the customers' views be presented here -- they are the ones shelling out tens of millions for launch services, not us.  As a 'guideline' I suggest that if you are not buying rocket rides, then you are OT.

For example:
Quote
Martin Halliwell(SES): You've got to decouple the engineering from the emotion.  Engineering team at SpaceX is second to none.

or

Quote
Irene Klotz: Do you have other costumers that weren't as brave as SES that are now signed up?  What is life-limiting factor?

Musk: NASA has been supportive.  Commercial, SES has been most supportive.  Next thing is how to achieve rapid reuse without major hardware changeouts.  Aspirations of zero hardware changes and 24hrs reflight.
« Last Edit: 04/09/2017 02:29 PM by AncientU »
"If we shared everything [we are working on] people would think we are insane!"
-- SpaceX friend of mlindner

Online faramund

  • Member
  • Posts: 91
  • Liked: 15
  • Likes Given: 29
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #7 on: 04/09/2017 10:10 PM »
But SpaceX sets the prices - say if customer's decide that reused stages are safer than new stages. Then SpaceX would set a cost for a reused stage higher than a new one, and if people really, really didn't want a new one, and SpaceX wanted a new stage for every 10 launches, and a new stage cost $60m. They could always just add $6m to the cost of every reused stage, and then just scrap each stage after its done 10 launches. If necessary, and assuming a reused launch cost $30m, they could always add another $3m to each launch's cost, and do a dummy launch to certify the new rocket.

Online ChrisWilson68

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3348
  • Sunnyvale, CA
  • Liked: 1936
  • Likes Given: 2207
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #8 on: 04/10/2017 01:23 AM »
I think customer views on reuse will change very quickly if SpaceX can get a few customer payloads successfully flown on reused boosters.

Also, I think SES's words will change a lot of minds.  They were very clear that they have people embedded with SpaceX so they have a huge amount of insight into the internals at SpaceX and SES was not concerned at all that they were taking a significant risk with their payload.  It makes the people who were concerned look ignorant.  Nobody wants to feel ignorant, and nobody wants to see a competitor getting a better deal.

Online faramund

  • Member
  • Posts: 91
  • Liked: 15
  • Likes Given: 29
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #9 on: 04/10/2017 10:57 PM »
I'm very interested in seeing what the insurance difference will be for forthcoming launches. I wonder if it will be announced?

Online john smith 19

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5319
  • Everyplaceelse
  • Liked: 656
  • Likes Given: 3625
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #10 on: 04/10/2017 11:19 PM »
Economically the best thing is all customers signing reuse launch contracts without restrictions.
Boosters get flown 100 times, new boosters are made when needed.
"Best" for who exactly? SX or the customer?
Quote from: macpacheco
The extra profit on a new booster launch contract money unlikely pays for the extra cost of building and testing it. The reflight flow for newly recovered boosters skips McGregor, so the savings isn't just manufacturing. I wouldn't be surprised if by the 3rd or 4th reflight refurb already costs about the same as McGregor resources alone.
So what do think the implications for your line of reasoning are?
Quote from: macpacheco
NASA will likely require a ton of paperwork on reflown boosters, which might actually make it double logical to use new boosters on CRS/crew launches. Low thermal stress/lots of spare fuel on CRS launches.
NASA CRS missions pay a lot more but there's the Dragon costs, the mountain of additional paperwork and several extra requirements. The big $$$ advantage of serving NASA is on the development contracts where NASA paid for Crew/Cargo Dragon and part of F9 R&D costs.
As Jim has pointed out NASA asked for a New Dragon price because they did not feel SX had a strong handle on refurb prices for the capsules. I think that's now changed.

In the same way I would expect as statistics accumulate on booster reuse NASA will revisit what they think are reasonable prices for refurbed Dragons, Dragon 2's and S1's.
« Last Edit: 04/10/2017 11:21 PM by john smith 19 »
"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.

Online john smith 19

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5319
  • Everyplaceelse
  • Liked: 656
  • Likes Given: 3625
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #11 on: 04/10/2017 11:25 PM »
But SpaceX sets the prices - say if customer's decide that reused stages are safer than new stages. Then SpaceX would set a cost for a reused stage higher than a new one, and if people really, really didn't want a new one, and SpaceX wanted a new stage for every 10 launches, and a new stage cost $60m. They could always just add $6m to the cost of every reused stage, and then just scrap each stage after its done 10 launches. If necessary, and assuming a reused launch cost $30m, they could always add another $3m to each launch's cost, and do a dummy launch to certify the new rocket.
Quite correct.

Worst case is that reuse substantially lowers SpaceX's costs, but raises prices to customers.

That's worst case because it gives the customer basically nothing and will result in zero market growth.  since I don't think the benefits to the customer are that clear cut I expect SX to offer re-flowns at less than new prices (which is both fair and what every other transportation system does).

You can investigate this further by downloading my reusability cost game and setting the parameters for either 10 reuses (with no refurb costs) or dialing in what  you refurb costs will be per flight.
"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 deruch

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1328
  • California
  • Liked: 1045
  • Likes Given: 1217
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #12 on: 04/11/2017 02:33 AM »
Back on topic.  In NASA's pre-launch briefing for CRS-10, Dan Hartman--Deputy Manager, ISS Program--addressed NASA's near term plans for reusing the Dragon capsule and future plans for reuse of the Falcon 9 boosters in response to a question from Stephen Clark from SFN.

Quote from: Dan Hartman, NASA Dep. Manager ISS Program
Our plan for CRS-11, it's going to be the Dragon [that will be reused].  Not the Falcon, not a reused booster.  We've done a lot of work with SpaceX, over the last year and a half or two, looking at delta-verification requirements that we need to be comfortable to satisfy ourselves that Dragon can approach the ISS, get within the ellipsoid, and be done safely.  So, a lot of technical work is happening.  I'll tell you, everything is leaning good.  That the next dragon mission that we'll launch will be reused. 
     As far as the booster, we've just started those discussions.  We've got some teams off generating how we'll even go about requesting information from SpaceX.  Laying out our plan.  I imagine we'll have some sort of preliminary review on that in the April/May time period.   I think planning-wise, it may not happen this year.  But shortly thereafter.

The exchange can be found at time mark 22m:25s in the below youtube video.


In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice.  But, in practice, there is.  --Jan van de Snepscheut

Online AncientU

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3901
  • Liked: 2357
  • Likes Given: 3231
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #13 on: 04/11/2017 12:47 PM »
A couple more data points were added by Blue Origin... Two customers (Eutelsat and OneWeb) already signed up for what will likely be 'flight proven' rockets.  Not a certainty, but Blue has never even mentioned expendable and NG development in the same sentence.

SpaceX also has a few other customers signed up for such launches... and SES gave the nod for a couple of the next launches to be on reused boosters during the presser.  EM acted surprised (in a positive way).

With Air Force, NASA, and several commercial ventures all moving in this direction, the rest of the commercial market should start stepping up very soon.
« Last Edit: 04/11/2017 12:53 PM by AncientU »
"If we shared everything [we are working on] people would think we are insane!"
-- SpaceX friend of mlindner

Online oldAtlas_Eguy

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2634
  • Florida
  • Liked: 1056
  • Likes Given: 61
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #14 on: 04/11/2017 03:45 PM »
This article has a wealth of customer veiw statements. But one of the more significant is the underwriter comment. https://spaceflightnow.com/2017/03/31/spacex-flies-rocket-for-second-time-in-historic-test-of-cost-cutting-technology/
Quote
“I think a bunch of companies are waiting to see (what happens),” an insurance underwriter who works in the satellite and launch markets said before the SES 10 mission. “A lot of it does have to do with the insurance market. If this goes successfully, then a lot of customers are going to assume that the insurance community is OK with reused stages, which will be the case.”

“The bottom line is reused rockets are here to stay,” the underwriter said.

If the underwriters do not charge more for a reused booster and SpaceX charges less then the commercial sat world will accept use of the reused boosters with only a slight hesitation at first but letting the drive to cost cutting make their mind up for them.

Online AncientU

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3901
  • Liked: 2357
  • Likes Given: 3231
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #15 on: 04/11/2017 05:53 PM »
Note: SES was charged 0.01% more for the reflight by their underwriter according to Martin Halliwell.
« Last Edit: 04/11/2017 05:53 PM by AncientU »
"If we shared everything [we are working on] people would think we are insane!"
-- SpaceX friend of mlindner

Online oldAtlas_Eguy

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2634
  • Florida
  • Liked: 1056
  • Likes Given: 61
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #16 on: 04/11/2017 06:06 PM »
Note: SES was charged 0.01% more for the reflight by their underwriter according to Martin Halliwell.
If your value is correct that is an increase of $50K in premiums on a premium that costs $40M on a $500M (sat +launch value) for a launch insurance. Not much of a risk factor change.

Risk factors from insurance rates of underwriters:
New - 1 failure in every 12.5 launches
Used - 1 failure in every 12.4844 launches
« Last Edit: 04/11/2017 06:12 PM by oldAtlas_Eguy »

Offline envy887

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1748
  • Liked: 755
  • Likes Given: 441
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #17 on: 04/11/2017 06:29 PM »
Note: SES was charged 0.01% more for the reflight by their underwriter according to Martin Halliwell.
If your value is correct that is an increase of $50K in premiums on a premium that costs $40M on a $500M (sat +launch value) for a launch insurance. Not much of a risk factor change.

The value is a direct quote from the CTO at SES, I don't think you'll find a better source. According to a recent SpaceNews article, insurance for a flight on Ariane 5 could be purchased for 4% of insured value, and rates for Falcon 9 were similar: http://spacenews.com/space-insurers-warn-that-current-low-rates-are-not-sustainable/

Of course, if SES is also are insuring the cost of the launch, the cheaper flight rate on a used booster also factors in: at 4% premiums, the (approximately) $18.6M reflight discount should result in a premium $746k lower. A slightly higher rate will quickly eat this savings, but not at the 0.01% rate increase levels.

Online oldAtlas_Eguy

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2634
  • Florida
  • Liked: 1056
  • Likes Given: 61
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #18 on: 04/11/2017 06:42 PM »
Note: SES was charged 0.01% more for the reflight by their underwriter according to Martin Halliwell.
If your value is correct that is an increase of $50K in premiums on a premium that costs $40M on a $500M (sat +launch value) for a launch insurance. Not much of a risk factor change.

The value is a direct quote from the CTO at SES, I don't think you'll find a better source. According to a recent SpaceNews article, insurance for a flight on Ariane 5 could be purchased for 4% of insured value, and rates for Falcon 9 were similar: http://spacenews.com/space-insurers-warn-that-current-low-rates-are-not-sustainable/

Of course, if SES is also are insuring the cost of the launch, the cheaper flight rate on a used booster also factors in: at 4% premiums, the (approximately) $18.6M reflight discount should result in a premium $746k lower. A slightly higher rate will quickly eat this savings, but not at the 0.01% rate increase levels.
Thanks about that. So not only is the launch costs going down, but because the risk factor has little change the premiums are going down too because the amount of insurance required went down. 

So the underwriter statement is just a matter of a short amount of time before commercial does not care about new or used status of the booster coming true.

Online AncientU

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3901
  • Liked: 2357
  • Likes Given: 3231
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #19 on: 04/11/2017 07:44 PM »
...
The value is a direct quote from the CTO at SES, I don't think you'll find a better source. According to a recent SpaceNews article, insurance for a flight on Ariane 5 could be purchased for 4% of insured value, and rates for Falcon 9 were similar: http://spacenews.com/space-insurers-warn-that-current-low-rates-are-not-sustainable/
...

Worthwhile to include the full text:

Quote
“Ariane 5 insurance rates are around the 4 percent mark,” said Russell Sawyer, executive director of Willis Towers Watson’s Inspace brokerage. “If you had talked about launch and in-orbit rates being that low 15 years ago, everybody would have thought you were crazy.”

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket can be insured for only slightly higher rates than Ariane 5. Russia’s Proton vehicle, which has suffered multiple failures in the past five years, is insured at around triple the rate for Ariane 5, according to figures produced by underwriter SCOR Global.

Proton's rate is shocking... customers will certainly notice this surcharge (as well as the basis for it) that wipes out the cost advantage of going with Proton -- 8% increase on a $500M satellite would be $40M of increased premium.  On the other hand, the 'slightly higher' rates for Falcon 9 would be more than compensated by lower launch costs.
"If we shared everything [we are working on] people would think we are insane!"
-- SpaceX friend of mlindner

Offline ArbitraryConstant

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1673
  • Liked: 381
  • Likes Given: 210
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #20 on: 04/11/2017 08:35 PM »
Proton's rate is shocking... customers will certainly notice this surcharge (as well as the basis for it) that wipes out the cost advantage of going with Proton -- 8% increase on a $500M satellite would be $40M of increased premium.  On the other hand, the 'slightly higher' rates for Falcon 9 would be more than compensated by lower launch costs.
I'm curious why Falcon 9 is so low in that case, as they've had several of their own failures.

Even if we ignore Amos 6 since it's a design flaw that can be addressed, I don't know how we can be so confident a this point that all such issues have been shaken out, and CRS-7 failed due to a material/process issue that seems like it shows them to be vulnerable to other failures of that type.

Offline kaiser

  • Member
  • Posts: 38
  • Liked: 51
  • Likes Given: 16
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #21 on: 04/11/2017 08:42 PM »
Proton's rate is shocking... customers will certainly notice this surcharge (as well as the basis for it) that wipes out the cost advantage of going with Proton -- 8% increase on a $500M satellite would be $40M of increased premium.  On the other hand, the 'slightly higher' rates for Falcon 9 would be more than compensated by lower launch costs.
I'm curious why Falcon 9 is so low in that case, as they've had several of their own failures.

Even if we ignore Amos 6 since it's a design flaw that can be addressed, I don't know how we can be so confident a this point that all such issues have been shaken out, and CRS-7 failed due to a material/process issue that seems like it shows them to be vulnerable to other failures of that type.

My guess would be internal data -- the information that SpaceX has shared about their failure data and corrective actions likely adds some confidence bringing down rates more so than Proton's.

Offline envy887

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1748
  • Liked: 755
  • Likes Given: 441
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #22 on: 04/11/2017 08:45 PM »
Proton's rate is shocking... customers will certainly notice this surcharge (as well as the basis for it) that wipes out the cost advantage of going with Proton -- 8% increase on a $500M satellite would be $40M of increased premium.  On the other hand, the 'slightly higher' rates for Falcon 9 would be more than compensated by lower launch costs.
I'm curious why Falcon 9 is so low in that case, as they've had several of their own failures.

Even if we ignore Amos 6 since it's a design flaw that can be addressed, I don't know how we can be so confident a this point that all such issues have been shaken out, and CRS-7 failed due to a material/process issue that seems like it shows them to be vulnerable to other failures of that type.

I'm very curious about this as well. But SpaceX's customers and their insurers have far better insight into SpaceX's failures, investigations, and processes than we do. NASA and USAF in particular have very good insight and both appear to be receptive to booster reflights.

Online J-V

  • Member
  • Posts: 84
  • Liked: 15
  • Likes Given: 27
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #23 on: 04/12/2017 06:00 AM »
I don't know it this has been discussed in another thread already, but does lowering of launch cost have any effect on how the payloads are designed? If a launch costs $100M+, it doesn't help too much to build a cheaper satellite because your total cost is dominated by the launch cost. If launch cost is around $40M, does it make sense to make simpler satellites, but launch a few more. This seems to be the case for LEO constellations, but are GEO birds limited by orbital slots or some other constraint?

Online john smith 19

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5319
  • Everyplaceelse
  • Liked: 656
  • Likes Given: 3625
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #24 on: 04/12/2017 07:57 AM »
I don't know it this has been discussed in another thread already, but does lowering of launch cost have any effect on how the payloads are designed? If a launch costs $100M+, it doesn't help too much to build a cheaper satellite because your total cost is dominated by the launch cost. If launch cost is around $40M, does it make sense to make simpler satellites, but launch a few more. This seems to be the case for LEO constellations, but are GEO birds limited by orbital slots or some other constraint?
In theory launch cost has nothing to do with payload cost because they are totally different things.

IRL JPL have stated that their rough rule of thumb is the payload is about 2x the launch cost and the ops budget is about 3x the launch cost. Hence you see descriptions of "Pioneer" or "Discovery" class missions with different masses and hence needing different LV's. I'm quite sure other organizations have their one rules of thumb.

So if the payload price (for a reasonable sized payload) drops enough you either have to make everything a lot cheaper (JPL and Goddard are IIRC already leaders in the use of AI techniques in payload monitoring, fault diagnosis and experiment planning, although I suspect SX have studied their work closely) or run detailed cost planning to identify where the money really goes and ask for that instead.

However low launch price are only a part of the issue.

What the military calls "responsive space" is also needed. With a low enough launch price you can launch satellites without triple redundancy and cross strapping of I/O that comm sats have, provided if it does fail you can get a replacement on orbit adequately "quickly," for varying definitions of quickly.

That means either on orbit spares (needs a bigger LV, or make multiple smaller payloads) or you can more or less ask for a launch on demand. You may also need to build a satellite on demand if you didn't buy a bunch when you made the original. Being able to recover part or all of the satellite would also be nice (especially if people want to get serious about space mfg).
"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.

Online ChrisWilson68

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3348
  • Sunnyvale, CA
  • Liked: 1936
  • Likes Given: 2207
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #25 on: 04/12/2017 08:22 AM »
Proton's rate is shocking... customers will certainly notice this surcharge (as well as the basis for it) that wipes out the cost advantage of going with Proton -- 8% increase on a $500M satellite would be $40M of increased premium.  On the other hand, the 'slightly higher' rates for Falcon 9 would be more than compensated by lower launch costs.
I'm curious why Falcon 9 is so low in that case, as they've had several of their own failures.

Even if we ignore Amos 6 since it's a design flaw that can be addressed, I don't know how we can be so confident a this point that all such issues have been shaken out, and CRS-7 failed due to a material/process issue that seems like it shows them to be vulnerable to other failures of that type.

The root causes of CRS-7 were fixed just as much as the root causes of Amos 6.  Neither can happen again.  And the CRS-7 issue was with a supplier, not with SpaceX, except to the extent that SpaceX should be blamed for trusting the supplier.

We can't be sure that all the issues have been shaken out.  That's why the insurance isn't free.  But the insurance costs being comparable to those of A5 means that the insurance companies have studied the details long and hard and concluded that the risks going forward are similar for F9 and A5.

Offline Rei

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 467
  • Iceland
  • Liked: 179
  • Likes Given: 58
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #26 on: 04/12/2017 08:51 AM »
I don't know it this has been discussed in another thread already, but does lowering of launch cost have any effect on how the payloads are designed? If a launch costs $100M+, it doesn't help too much to build a cheaper satellite because your total cost is dominated by the launch cost. If launch cost is around $40M, does it make sense to make simpler satellites, but launch a few more. This seems to be the case for LEO constellations, but are GEO birds limited by orbital slots or some other constraint?

I don't have the refs onhand, but I'd previously seen some work suggesting a very strong dependence on payload costs with launch costs. Shaving mass is very expensive (ex., the several-orders-magnitude difference in price between triple-junction and off-the-shelf solar cells), you can tolerate more risk in your design when launches are cheap (aka, if your design fails, you don't get stuck with a second ridiculously expensive launch), and the total market increases dramatically, which means that your component suppliers gain economies of scale.
« Last Edit: 04/12/2017 08:53 AM by Rei »

Online J-V

  • Member
  • Posts: 84
  • Liked: 15
  • Likes Given: 27
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #27 on: 04/12/2017 09:16 AM »
I don't know it this has been discussed in another thread already, but does lowering of launch cost have any effect on how the payloads are designed? If a launch costs $100M+, it doesn't help too much to build a cheaper satellite because your total cost is dominated by the launch cost. If launch cost is around $40M, does it make sense to make simpler satellites, but launch a few more. This seems to be the case for LEO constellations, but are GEO birds limited by orbital slots or some other constraint?

I don't have the refs onhand, but I'd previously seen some work suggesting a very strong dependence on payload costs with launch costs. Shaving mass is very expensive (ex., the several-orders-magnitude difference in price between triple-junction and off-the-shelf solar cells), you can tolerate more risk in your design when launches are cheap (aka, if your design fails, you don't get stuck with a second ridiculously expensive launch), and the total market increases dramatically, which means that your component suppliers gain economies of scale.

So in theory reusable flights being cheaper could start a positive spiral of cost reductions. Cheaper launches -> cheaper payloads -> more payloads -> more launches -> economics of scale -> cheaper launches. Of course there is more to the equation than just sats and LVs, but I could imagine that things such as GSE, launch sites, etc. are somewhat easier things to deal with than reusability.

Online FutureSpaceTourist

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2555
  • UK
    • Plan 28
  • Liked: 1638
  • Likes Given: 594
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #28 on: 04/12/2017 09:21 AM »
Can I suggest starting a new thread on the impact of reduced launch costs on payloads? (although there may well be another one already)

The aim for this thread was rather more modest, to collect evidence for SpaceX customers' opinions on re-use.

Online oldAtlas_Eguy

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2634
  • Florida
  • Liked: 1056
  • Likes Given: 61
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #29 on: 04/12/2017 05:24 PM »
I am not sure if this one was posted earlier but here is Inmarsat's view on reuse.
http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/03/29/521941656/launch-land-launch-spacex-tries-reusing-its-rocket

Quote
"This is indeed a first," says Michele Franci, the chief technology officer of Inmarsat, a London company that runs a satellite network for tracking ships and planes. Inmarsat is a SpaceX customer, and Franci says if launch costs come down, companies like his could launch more satellites, more often, and build a better network.

But he says that to really bring prices down, SpaceX will have to recycle each rocket more than just once.

"The question is how many times they can reuse each individual rocket, and how often they can do it," he says.

Online john smith 19

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5319
  • Everyplaceelse
  • Liked: 656
  • Likes Given: 3625
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #30 on: 04/12/2017 07:52 PM »
So in theory reusable flights being cheaper could start a positive spiral of cost reductions. Cheaper launches -> cheaper payloads -> more payloads -> more launches -> economics of scale -> cheaper launches. Of course there is more to the equation than just sats and LVs, but I could imagine that things such as GSE, launch sites, etc. are somewhat easier things to deal with than reusability.
The problem is the bar has been so high for so long that it has to go down a lot for that cycle to start.

It has to get to the point where people stop saying "That idea would work great but the (current) launch prices will wipe us out" to "we can make this work. let's start making some calls to raise the cash."
"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.

Online oldAtlas_Eguy

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2634
  • Florida
  • Liked: 1056
  • Likes Given: 61
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #31 on: 04/12/2017 08:13 PM »
The implications from the Inmarsat's CTO comment is that with cheaper launch the inflection point where design life/costs of the sat makes more sense to have sats design life of significantly less than 15+ years so that the replacement rate is once every 7-10 years. This is an increase in launch rate of up to a factor of 2 without actually increasing the number of on-orbit active sats. They are just swapped out more often.

It has to do with the business case in that a shorter life (cheaper sat) + cheaper launch, does that result in more profit?

What the hint is that the answer could very well be yes to this question.

The result for SpaceX would be instead of 10-15 GEOSAT launches /year they would in 5 years be doing 20-30 GEOSAT launches/yr.

Offline garcianc

  • Member
  • Posts: 17
  • washington, dc
  • Liked: 12
  • Likes Given: 3
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #32 on: 04/13/2017 03:05 AM »
I was hesitant to introduce any speculation on this thread, but the original post did say "potential" customers. So I see this as a good place to ask about a couple of potential scenarios that I have not seen discussed elsewhere.

1. If I were a customer who paid a premium for a brand new booster, I would consider that (to use the airplane analogy) I paid for not just the flight, but for the airplane itself. Therefore, the hardware "belongs" to me and SpaceX should buy it back or let me continue to use it.

2. Along the same lines, what if I were a customer who demanded a brand new booster, paid a premium, then expected to reuse that same hardware on subsequent flights for a cost less than a new customer who would fly on the same hardware? For example, if customer B pays 60% of the advertised rate to use flight-proven hardware, me (customer A) would expect to pay less (i.e. 40%) for reusing hardware that I originally paid full price for.

or

3. A customer who wants to pay a discounted rate, regardless of hardware, as part of a bundle of multiple missions. For example, a contract for 3 missions at 66% the advertised rate (3 for 2) that allows SpaceX to decide which hardware to use or re-use. The contract could have bonus clauses to, for example, deliver all missions within a negotiated time frame, which would drive and essentially pay for rapid reusability improvements.

I think scenario 3 is where I would expect things to go.

Mods, please feel free to delete this if it is too speculative for this thread.


Online Dao Angkan

  • Member
  • Posts: 80
  • Liked: 21
  • Likes Given: 10
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #33 on: 04/13/2017 06:26 AM »
A better airplane analogy would be chartering a cargo flight.

Online FutureSpaceTourist

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2555
  • UK
    • Plan 28
  • Liked: 1638
  • Likes Given: 594
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #34 on: 04/13/2017 06:39 AM »
A better airplane analogy would be chartering a cargo flight.

Yes, the service customers are buying is delivery of payload(s) to orbit. SpaceX don't just provide the LV, they operate it too.

I put 'potential customers' in the OP because I'm interested in what the whole launch market (not just existing SpaceX customers) think of re-use. For some time there's been a view that just because re-use may be technically achievable it doesn't mean that it's economically viable. One key aspect of that is whether there's any demand for (or at least tolerance of) re-use, hence this thread.
« Last Edit: 04/13/2017 06:40 AM by FutureSpaceTourist »

Offline meekGee

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7261
  • N. California
  • Liked: 3641
  • Likes Given: 755
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #35 on: 04/13/2017 06:57 AM »
The implications from the Inmarsat's CTO comment is that with cheaper launch the inflection point where design life/costs of the sat makes more sense to have sats design life of significantly less than 15+ years so that the replacement rate is once every 7-10 years. This is an increase in launch rate of up to a factor of 2 without actually increasing the number of on-orbit active sats. They are just swapped out more often.

It has to do with the business case in that a shorter life (cheaper sat) + cheaper launch, does that result in more profit?

What the hint is that the answer could very well be yes to this question.

The result for SpaceX would be instead of 10-15 GEOSAT launches /year they would in 5 years be doing 20-30 GEOSAT launches/yr.
From the customer's POV, it's not just that satellites can be designed for a shorter life time, it's that they can keep on-orbit technology more up to date.

15 years is a long time in telecom. 
ABCD - Always Be Counting Down

Offline Lar

  • Fan boy at large
  • Global Moderator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7573
  • Saw Gemini live on TV
  • A large LEGO storage facility ... in Michigan
  • Liked: 4481
  • Likes Given: 3004
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #36 on: 04/13/2017 01:48 PM »
I wonder if and when SpaceX will drop their "free relaunch if your launch fails" policy[1]?  That may affect customer perception.

1 - or practice, or generally done thing, whatever it is, not sure it's actual "policy" per se...
« Last Edit: 04/13/2017 01:54 PM by Lar »
"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

Offline ugordan

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7286
    • My mainly Cassini image gallery
  • Liked: 1434
  • Likes Given: 302
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #37 on: 04/13/2017 02:13 PM »
I wonder if and when SpaceX will drop their "free relaunch if your launch fails" policy[1]?  That may affect customer perception.

Does it really affect customer perception as much as, say, insisting on four-leaf clovers on mission patches, despite losing two vehicles over a span of barely a year?

Online oldAtlas_Eguy

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2634
  • Florida
  • Liked: 1056
  • Likes Given: 61
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #38 on: 04/13/2017 04:28 PM »
I wonder if and when SpaceX will drop their "free relaunch if your launch fails" policy[1]?  That may affect customer perception.

Does it really affect customer perception as much as, say, insisting on four-leaf clovers on mission patches, despite losing two vehicles over a span of barely a year?
This is nothing more than SpaceX telling their customers that SpaceX will insure the costs of the launch as part of the price. That value is between a $2-4M discount on the $62M price for the customer. For the government they self insure and are unlikely to relaunch the same or very similar payload. Both the DOD and especially NASA the payloads are mostly one of a kind. For them this feature is not actually usable depending on the contract details for the replacement flight.

The other item to this is that it locks the customer into using SpaceX for it's replacement sat.

This would be seen by customers as a marketing incentive by SpaceX. The question is: does this marketing incentive actually achieve it's goal?

Online faramund

  • Member
  • Posts: 91
  • Liked: 15
  • Likes Given: 29
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #39 on: 04/14/2017 05:39 AM »
I was hesitant to introduce any speculation on this thread, but the original post did say "potential" customers. So I see this as a good place to ask about a couple of potential scenarios that I have not seen discussed elsewhere.

1. If I were a customer who paid a premium for a brand new booster, I would consider that (to use the airplane analogy) I paid for not just the flight, but for the airplane itself. Therefore, the hardware "belongs" to me and SpaceX should buy it back or let me continue to use it.


Really, if a car hire place, that usually hires for $100 a day, did a special offer where if you paid an extra $100 - it would allow the first 5 such ustomer's to hire a new car - would suddenly mean that the customer's would think that the hire place should buy the car back or let them continue to use it?

How is this different?

Online john smith 19

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5319
  • Everyplaceelse
  • Liked: 656
  • Likes Given: 3625
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #40 on: 04/14/2017 04:12 PM »
Yes, the service customers are buying is delivery of payload(s) to orbit. SpaceX don't just provide the LV, they operate it too.
What SX provide (like every other launch services provider) is a ticket to ride. If it works great. If it goes bang call your insurer or check your bank balance and see if you've got enough left to have another go.

No launch service provider actually sells you a rocket, and while space launch continues to be done by the ICBM paradigm I doubt anyone every will. It'll be one mfg/one service provider, regardless of wheather or not your purchase has paid the whole up front cost of the first stage.

Quote from: FutureSpaceTourist
I put 'potential customers' in the OP because I'm interested in what the whole launch market (not just existing SpaceX customers) think of re-use. For some time there's been a view that just because re-use may be technically achievable it doesn't mean that it's economically viable. One key aspect of that is whether there's any demand for (or at least tolerance of) re-use, hence this thread.
There's always going to be customer interest in lower prices. If that also gives them a vehicle that has also already been partly field tested that seems quite attractive.

Of course that would be for every other transportation mode.

As LV mfg never cease to tell people space launch is "special." So the question is does the landing and reuse destroy any likely hood that the first flight proves the first stage will work again.

"Economic viability" is the vendors problem. So far the vendors have said it's not viable and only offer fully expendable vehicles. Only SX has disagreed with this stance. I suspect in a very narrow economic sense they [EDIT I mean the other launch service suppliers, who all seem to be publicly quoted] are right. And as long as the launch market remains as it is they will continue to be right, unless something quite radical happens to  the launch market.

Time will tell if SX is that something.
« Last Edit: 04/15/2017 09:17 AM by john smith 19 »
"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 MP99

Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #41 on: 04/14/2017 05:17 PM »
I was hesitant to introduce any speculation on this thread, but the original post did say "potential" customers. So I see this as a good place to ask about a couple of potential scenarios that I have not seen discussed elsewhere.

1. If I were a customer who paid a premium for a brand new booster, I would consider that (to use the airplane analogy) I paid for not just the flight, but for the airplane itself. Therefore, the hardware "belongs" to me and SpaceX should buy it back or let me continue to use it.

2. Along the same lines, what if I were a customer who demanded a brand new booster, paid a premium, then expected to reuse that same hardware on subsequent flights for a cost less than a new customer who would fly on the same hardware? For example, if customer B pays 60% of the advertised rate to use flight-proven hardware, me (customer A) would expect to pay less (i.e. 40%) for reusing hardware that I originally paid full price for.

or

3. A customer who wants to pay a discounted rate, regardless of hardware, as part of a bundle of multiple missions. For example, a contract for 3 missions at 66% the advertised rate (3 for 2) that allows SpaceX to decide which hardware to use or re-use. The contract could have bonus clauses to, for example, deliver all missions within a negotiated time frame, which would drive and essentially pay for rapid reusability improvements.

I think scenario 3 is where I would expect things to go.

Mods, please feel free to delete this if it is too speculative for this thread.

I'd say that there is an extensive history of various providers launching rockets on their first use. The payload owner is making a "conservative" decision to use F9 in this mode.

Also, F9 or FH have a level of performance in expendable mode. The customer has already managed to buy a launch on that vehicle at a lower cost than they'd otherwise expect because SpaceX have reserved performance to recover S1.

ULA would scale their vehicle to the payload using solids. In order to reserve that much extra performance they'd need to swallow the cost of extra solids. Ariane might offer rideshare with a secondary payload because of such a gap between vehicle performance and payload size.

Of course, there will be a transitional period where customers have paid an "expendable" price, but SpaceX fly S1 with reduced performance such that they can recover it. This could have an impact to risk where S2 underperforms. ISTM appropriate for SpaceX to reimburse the insurer for increased risk in this case.

Cheers, Martin

Online FutureSpaceTourist

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2555
  • UK
    • Plan 28
  • Liked: 1638
  • Likes Given: 594
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #42 on: 04/28/2017 11:12 AM »
SES appear  to be reporting financial results (based on a series of @pbdes tweets).

This tweet caught my eye:

Quote
Peter B. de Selding‏ @pbdes 14m14 minutes ago

@SES_Satellites CEO: W @SpaceX launch of SES-10 w/ previously flown stage, 'we expect considerable improvements in cadence & economics.'

https://twitter.com/pbdes/status/857911479705755648

I imagine other comms providers are paying close attention?

Online oldAtlas_Eguy

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2634
  • Florida
  • Liked: 1056
  • Likes Given: 61
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #43 on: 04/29/2017 12:56 AM »
Yes the other side of the coin of reuse is booster availability and schedule reliability. If you do not have to manufacture a new booster and only spend six weeks to get a booster ready to fly again that improves the cadence and the scheduling reliability related to a availability of boosters. So as the reuse rate goes up (reuse flights to total flights) then so will cadence and scheduling reliability. It takes about 18 months from start of the long lead items to manufacture a booster but it could take easily as little as six weeks for a used one.

Online AncientU

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3901
  • Liked: 2357
  • Likes Given: 3231
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #44 on: 04/29/2017 06:35 PM »
24 hours, not six weeks, is the goal I've heard from reliable sources...   ;)
Probably is close to six weeks now.
"If we shared everything [we are working on] people would think we are insane!"
-- SpaceX friend of mlindner

Offline Coastal Ron

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2973
  • I live... along the coast
  • Liked: 1873
  • Likes Given: 2098
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #45 on: 04/29/2017 06:47 PM »
It takes about 18 months from start of the long lead items to manufacture a booster...

I would imagine only if you're counting long lead parts at the suppliers.  But once the logistics pipeline is filled up and your BOM is only experiencing minor changes this is not even really a consideration.

Quote
...but it could take easily as little as six weeks for a used one.

SpaceX is not remanufacturing each flown booster.  Today they do some refurbishing, although that is because they have not flown their Block 5 versions yet which shouldn't require any refurbishment.  But refurbishment is far less complex than remanufacturing which typically implies taking apart everything and then rebuilding.
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

Online oldAtlas_Eguy

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2634
  • Florida
  • Liked: 1056
  • Likes Given: 61
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #46 on: 04/29/2017 07:28 PM »
It takes about 18 months from start of the long lead items to manufacture a booster...

I would imagine only if you're counting long lead parts at the suppliers.  But once the logistics pipeline is filled up and your BOM is only experiencing minor changes this is not even really a consideration.

Quote
...but it could take easily as little as six weeks for a used one.

SpaceX is not remanufacturing each flown booster.  Today they do some refurbishing, although that is because they have not flown their Block 5 versions yet which shouldn't require any refurbishment.  But refurbishment is far less complex than remanufacturing which typically implies taking apart everything and then rebuilding.
The 6 weeks is an implied estimate from the SpaceX indicated cost of refurbishment for these next boosters of ~$1M. That translates into about 25 people working on the booster for 6 weeks. If you have 150 people available then 6 boosters simultaneously being processed would push out a refurbed booster each week.

Meaning that the biggest problem is additional space for the refurbishment of boosters at the Cape.

The other problem at launch rates of 50+ a year is the manufacture of US's.

Offline Coastal Ron

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2973
  • I live... along the coast
  • Liked: 1873
  • Likes Given: 2098
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #47 on: 04/29/2017 10:21 PM »
The other problem at launch rates of 50+ a year is the manufacture of US's.

The Hawthorne factory was set up to manufacture 40 cores per year, and that would have included a mix of upper stages.  So with reuse, building 50 upper stages should be doable with their current manufacturing capabilities.
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

Online oldAtlas_Eguy

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2634
  • Florida
  • Liked: 1056
  • Likes Given: 61
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #48 on: 04/30/2017 07:37 PM »
The other problem at launch rates of 50+ a year is the manufacture of US's.

The Hawthorne factory was set up to manufacture 40 cores per year, and that would have included a mix of upper stages.  So with reuse, building 50 upper stages should be doable with their current manufacturing capabilities.
With SpaceX current level of manpower they should be able to produce 45 US and 5 1st stage in 1 year. But this represents a reuse rate of 90%. That level of reuse is not likely to occur until late 2019 or 2020. But between now and then they will most likely increase their level of manpower making it possible that once they get to a reuse rate of 90% the number of US's that they could produce could be as high as 75. The problem is in the short term where the reuse rates are low. Their current production rate of 18 core sets per year is a limiting item on flight rate. But with only a few reuse flights especially the FH the flight rate could be in the 20's without much difficulty. At a flight rate of 25 to 30 in one year they will run through their backlog of payloads and be looking for new and bigger constellations work. Normally without any significant downtime the payloads out there could sustain a flight rate of almost 25. But for a flight  rate of 50+ would mean that there is most likely their own comm sat constellation deployment occurring using 25 to 30 additional launches in 1 year. SpaceX costs for these launch should be around $30M each for a F9 flight.

Now back to customer's views on reusability. The key point from the SES statement is the affect that reusability will have on cadence and the more important point of the availability of boosters for schedule reliability.

Edit Added:
There is another aspect of reused boosters and that is there is a possibility of increase in reliability  in using a booster that has already been "tested" in a real flight. The jury is still out on this aspect but it could have a major impact on SpaceX's failure rates if the flight reliability does indeed go up for used boosters from that of a new one. with used booster accounting for 70 to 90% of all flights the reliability rate average will go up.  If that does work out then being the first to fly on a new booster may get a discount because of its lower (small amount hopefully though) reliability.
« Last Edit: 04/30/2017 08:57 PM by oldAtlas_Eguy »

Offline Space Ghost 1962

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2044
  • Whatcha gonna do when the Ghost zaps you?
  • Liked: 1772
  • Likes Given: 1258
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #49 on: 04/30/2017 10:29 PM »
The effects on market value/pricing have little to do with costing and/or schedule, which are abstractions as far as the commercial customer sees (govt launch has visibility inside at costing as well as how the provider serves things up). There are three realities that affect the market - lowest launch price in category, shortest time to on-orbit, and LOM.

From these, the "customers" start the dance with providers/insurers, and eventually conclude/shift with/to a provider. Lets be clear that provider pricing is a highly non transparent undertaking.

There is another aspect of reused boosters and that is there is a possibility of increase in reliability  in using a booster that has already been "tested" in a real flight. The jury is still out on this aspect but it could have a major impact on SpaceX's failure rates if the flight reliability does indeed go up for used boosters from that of a new one. with used booster accounting for 70 to 90% of all flights the reliability rate average will go up.  If that does work out then being the first to fly on a new booster may get a discount because of its lower (small amount hopefully though) reliability.

This is specifically the advocacy that SX is pushing right now. The idea is to drive up the concern that no LV really has had adequate testing, and that even Atlas/Ariane levels of reliability are based much on flukes.

One way you could do this is take flight history observations out of the recycled boosters and use them to illustrate "surprises" found on inspection. They don't have to say anything more, because the absence of it from other vendors does the talking.

So flight history is given a voice at the negotiating table, as the negative potentially turns positive.

It is very clear that Shotwell thinks that it may be possible to have a higher value proposition for a reused booster, one that might grow to 2x the value of the launch. Dr. Sowers did not factor this in to his spreadsheet.

(One of the weakest parts of aerospace business has been the relative "stupidity" of the "business" side, because they didn't have to be so bright. Now, pair that with the San Francisco start-up scene's ruthless, cutthroat weasels that those like SX have imported in to aerospace, and ... it isn't even a fair fight ...)

(This goes for sats as well BTW.)

Back to the engineering. The arguments about reuse "paying off" center around the difficulty in proving the structures/engines tolerating the operating environment for even one cycle, let alone a hundred (or more).

Yet we have models that work for aircraft aerostructures in the millions of cycles. Some of which have been extending into the single digit Mach space. With a means of validating them.

Such models give you a "hill" graph - the usefulness of a particular vehicle "peaks" before a threshold. My bet is that they will assemble same, and then take a few of the "over the hill" LV's and speculatively fly them as a marketing maneuver to demonstrate how much "margin" there is in actuality.

A Bezos could buy a fully reusable launch vehicle eventually, and even run it. But he couldn't buy the veracity obtained by the above process, so his aggregate business (sum of all value X missions) would likely be but a fraction of SX's.

Changing the launch provider market here has many advantages.

Online FutureSpaceTourist

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2555
  • UK
    • Plan 28
  • Liked: 1638
  • Likes Given: 594
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #50 on: 05/01/2017 12:54 PM »
Quote
USAF Lt Gen Steven Kwast comparing low-cost launch with other transportation innovations that “changes the human condition.”
https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/859026553518403584

Quote
Kwast says that people can feel the power of the implications of reusable launch vehicles #ulcats
https://twitter.com/nasawatch/status/859026239197257728

Edit to add:

Quote
Kwast says recent Air Univ. study on ultra low-cost access to space (ULCATS) not intended to pick “winners and losers” but set conditions.
https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/859027225613565952
« Last Edit: 05/01/2017 12:58 PM by FutureSpaceTourist »

Online AncientU

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3901
  • Liked: 2357
  • Likes Given: 3231
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #51 on: 05/01/2017 01:32 PM »
NRO: :)
#NROL76 launched today at 7:15 a.m. EDT. Congratulations to the team! @SpaceX, @45thSpaceWing, @NASAKennedy
"If we shared everything [we are working on] people would think we are insane!"
-- SpaceX friend of mlindner

Online FutureSpaceTourist

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2555
  • UK
    • Plan 28
  • Liked: 1638
  • Likes Given: 594
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #52 on: 05/01/2017 02:29 PM »
ULA response at same forum as Lt agency Kwast:

Quote
Les Kovacs, ULA: want to throw a wet blanket on concept of reusability. Additional systems needed to land stages comes at cost of payload.

https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/859033383598477312

Oh dear. Guess what ULA, customers don't care if rocket is still powerful to lift their payloads (and on the evidence so far F9 is doing just fine on that score).

Online AncientU

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3901
  • Liked: 2357
  • Likes Given: 3231
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #53 on: 05/01/2017 04:40 PM »
ULA response at same forum as Lt agency Kwast:

Quote
Les Kovacs, ULA: want to throw a wet blanket on concept of reusability. Additional systems needed to land stages comes at cost of payload.

https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/859033383598477312

Oh dear. Guess what ULA, customers don't care if rocket is still powerful to lift their payloads (and on the evidence so far F9 is doing just fine on that score).

Will be interesting to see from whom Boeing buys their dozens of constellation launches. 
That could be the real wet blanket.
"If we shared everything [we are working on] people would think we are insane!"
-- SpaceX friend of mlindner

Offline Star One

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6791
  • UK
  • Liked: 1096
  • Likes Given: 152
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #54 on: 05/01/2017 04:45 PM »
ULA response at same forum as Lt agency Kwast:

Quote
Les Kovacs, ULA: want to throw a wet blanket on concept of reusability. Additional systems needed to land stages comes at cost of payload.

https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/859033383598477312

Oh dear. Guess what ULA, customers don't care if rocket is still powerful to lift their payloads (and on the evidence so far F9 is doing just fine on that score).

That's not a very constructive response by them.

Offline getitdoneinspace

  • Member
  • Posts: 66
  • Liked: 76
  • Likes Given: 75
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #55 on: 05/01/2017 09:26 PM »
ULA response at same forum as Lt agency Kwast:

Quote
Les Kovacs, ULA: want to throw a wet blanket on concept of reusability. Additional systems needed to land stages comes at cost of payload.

https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/859033383598477312

Oh dear. Guess what ULA, customers don't care if rocket is still powerful to lift their payloads (and on the evidence so far F9 is doing just fine on that score).

That's not a very constructive response by them.

Tory Bruno has one heck of a challenge to change this culture given the persistence of this attitude even with the ever growing pile of evidence that reuseability is the only viable path forward to have a sustainable future.

Online FutureSpaceTourist

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2555
  • UK
    • Plan 28
  • Liked: 1638
  • Likes Given: 594
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #56 on: 05/02/2017 01:39 PM »
Quote
Jeff Foust‏ @jeff_foust 4m4 minutes ago

Marion Blakey, former FAA administrator: reusability of launch vehicles is an absolute game-changer; changes a lot of business calculations.

https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/859400441951645696

Online AncientU

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3901
  • Liked: 2357
  • Likes Given: 3231
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #57 on: 05/02/2017 04:12 PM »
Air Force:

Quote
SpaceX, Blue Origin have opened a “window of opportunity” for US Air Force

Quote
On Monday morning, SpaceX successfully launched a national security payload for the first time, cracking the market for US military missions. The first stage of the rocket then landed within a couple of miles from where it had taken off less than 10 minutes earlier, marking the tenth time SpaceX has safely returned a first stage to Earth.

The US military has taken note of these achievements, as well as those of Blue Origin and its reusable New Shepard suborbital vehicle—and that company’s ambitions to also build a large, reusable orbital rocket. “This has opened up a window of opportunity and gotten the attention of serious people,” Charles Miller, an aerospace consultant and president of NexGen Space, told Ars.

To that end Miller partnered with a number of Air Force officers at Air University and former Air Force officials to study the potential effects of lower-cost access to space on the US military. The “Fast Space” report, which has been briefed to senior officials in the US military and government in recent months, concludes that the US Air Force can benefit from these commercial developments.

“The USAF can form private sector partnerships to create a virtuous cycle of launch cost reductions of between 3 and 10 times lower than today’s costs,” the report finds. “Doing so could enable completely new approaches for the Air Force to defend American values, protect American interests, and enhance opportunities to exploit the unique global advantages of the ultimate high ground.”

The key concept in the report is “ultra low-cost access to space” enabled by reusable launch vehicle technology.

https://arstechnica.com/science/2017/05/air-force-study-says-us-government-should-get-serious-about-reusable-rockets/

And the Fast Space report:
http://www.airuniversity.af.mil/Portals/10/Research/documents/Space/Fast%20Space_Public_2017.pdf?ver=2017-03-10-113507-743
« Last Edit: 05/02/2017 04:17 PM by AncientU »
"If we shared everything [we are working on] people would think we are insane!"
-- SpaceX friend of mlindner

Offline Star One

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6791
  • UK
  • Liked: 1096
  • Likes Given: 152
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #58 on: 05/02/2017 04:39 PM »
Air Force:

Quote
SpaceX, Blue Origin have opened a “window of opportunity” for US Air Force

Quote
On Monday morning, SpaceX successfully launched a national security payload for the first time, cracking the market for US military missions. The first stage of the rocket then landed within a couple of miles from where it had taken off less than 10 minutes earlier, marking the tenth time SpaceX has safely returned a first stage to Earth.

The US military has taken note of these achievements, as well as those of Blue Origin and its reusable New Shepard suborbital vehicle—and that company’s ambitions to also build a large, reusable orbital rocket. “This has opened up a window of opportunity and gotten the attention of serious people,” Charles Miller, an aerospace consultant and president of NexGen Space, told Ars.

To that end Miller partnered with a number of Air Force officers at Air University and former Air Force officials to study the potential effects of lower-cost access to space on the US military. The “Fast Space” report, which has been briefed to senior officials in the US military and government in recent months, concludes that the US Air Force can benefit from these commercial developments.

“The USAF can form private sector partnerships to create a virtuous cycle of launch cost reductions of between 3 and 10 times lower than today’s costs,” the report finds. “Doing so could enable completely new approaches for the Air Force to defend American values, protect American interests, and enhance opportunities to exploit the unique global advantages of the ultimate high ground.”

The key concept in the report is “ultra low-cost access to space” enabled by reusable launch vehicle technology.

https://arstechnica.com/science/2017/05/air-force-study-says-us-government-should-get-serious-about-reusable-rockets/

And the Fast Space report:
http://www.airuniversity.af.mil/Portals/10/Research/documents/Space/Fast%20Space_Public_2017.pdf?ver=2017-03-10-113507-743

Thanks for those links. I'd think the USAF were very much noting yesterday's launch and I am sure even something as trivial as the eye catching video of the first stage return would have helped.

Online AncientU

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3901
  • Liked: 2357
  • Likes Given: 3231
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #59 on: 05/02/2017 05:24 PM »
Couldn't hurt...
"If we shared everything [we are working on] people would think we are insane!"
-- SpaceX friend of mlindner

Online AncientU

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3901
  • Liked: 2357
  • Likes Given: 3231
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #60 on: 05/02/2017 05:26 PM »
ULA response at same forum as Lt agency Kwast:

Quote
Les Kovacs, ULA: want to throw a wet blanket on concept of reusability. Additional systems needed to land stages comes at cost of payload.

https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/859033383598477312

Oh dear. Guess what ULA, customers don't care if rocket is still powerful to lift their payloads (and on the evidence so far F9 is doing just fine on that score).

That's not a very constructive response by them.

Tory Bruno has one heck of a challenge to change this culture given the persistence of this attitude even with the ever growing pile of evidence that reuseability is the only viable path forward to have a sustainable future.

The SMART reuse concept/promotion (instead of booster reuse) is a product of the Tory regime.
He personally made a pretty strong argument that launches would never become a commodity. 
Doesn't sound like he is part of the solution.
« Last Edit: 05/02/2017 05:30 PM by AncientU »
"If we shared everything [we are working on] people would think we are insane!"
-- SpaceX friend of mlindner

Offline Star One

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6791
  • UK
  • Liked: 1096
  • Likes Given: 152
SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #61 on: 05/02/2017 05:34 PM »
ULA response at same forum as Lt agency Kwast:

Quote
Les Kovacs, ULA: want to throw a wet blanket on concept of reusability. Additional systems needed to land stages comes at cost of payload.

https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/859033383598477312

Oh dear. Guess what ULA, customers don't care if rocket is still powerful to lift their payloads (and on the evidence so far F9 is doing just fine on that score).

That's not a very constructive response by them.

Tory Bruno has one heck of a challenge to change this culture given the persistence of this attitude even with the ever growing pile of evidence that reuseability is the only viable path forward to have a sustainable future.

The SMART reuse concept/promotion (instead of booster reuse) is a product of the Tory regime.
He personally made a pretty strong argument that launches would never become a commodity. 
Doesn't sound like he is part of the solution.

Are we entering the era where ULA's seeming current corporate culture is now a hinderance rather than a help?
« Last Edit: 05/02/2017 05:34 PM by Star One »

Online FutureSpaceTourist

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2555
  • UK
    • Plan 28
  • Liked: 1638
  • Likes Given: 594
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #62 on: 05/02/2017 06:26 PM »
I'd think the USAF were very much noting yesterday's launch and I am sure even something as trivial as the eye catching video of the first stage return would have helped.

Especially given who was there yesterday to watch in person:

Quote
It was an honor to host CSAF @GenDaveGoldfein at the 45th SW! Thank you for taking time to meet with our #Airmen and launch team!

https://twitter.com/45thspacewing/status/859418492772261888

I had to look it up, Chief of Staff of the Air Force (CSAF) is no 2 at the AF and a member of the joint chiefs of staff (AF no 1 being vice chair of the joint chiefs)

Offline Star One

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6791
  • UK
  • Liked: 1096
  • Likes Given: 152
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #63 on: 05/02/2017 06:34 PM »
Nothing like impressing the big boss. This all plays into the Air Force's long held desire for rapid access to space. Something they know certain peer competitors will also be seeking.

Online AncientU

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3901
  • Liked: 2357
  • Likes Given: 3231
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #64 on: 05/02/2017 07:17 PM »
Nothing like impressing the big boss. This all plays into the Air Force's long held desire for rapid access to space. Something they know certain peer competitors will also be seeking.

That is an interesting point...
Once reusable rockets are proven (I think they are now), the US military must go all-in on them, lest the Chinese do -- they are certainly capable of copying anything -- and space access becomes no contest.  Talk about motivating the customer...

This is how new markets are created.
« Last Edit: 05/02/2017 07:19 PM by AncientU »
"If we shared everything [we are working on] people would think we are insane!"
-- SpaceX friend of mlindner

Online FutureSpaceTourist

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2555
  • UK
    • Plan 28
  • Liked: 1638
  • Likes Given: 594
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #65 on: 05/02/2017 07:24 PM »
Yes, in Eric Berger's Ars article cited above:

Quote
However, the report warns, other countries such as China could copy these ideas and surpass the United States if strategic government investments are not made.

Although I have to admit that my first thought when Star One mentioned AF peer competitors was that it was a reference to inter-service rivalry with the army  :D

Offline Lar

  • Fan boy at large
  • Global Moderator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7573
  • Saw Gemini live on TV
  • A large LEGO storage facility ... in Michigan
  • Liked: 4481
  • Likes Given: 3004
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #66 on: 05/02/2017 08:32 PM »

Tory Bruno has one heck of a challenge to change this culture given the persistence of this attitude even with the ever growing pile of evidence that reuseability is the only viable path forward to have a sustainable future.

The SMART reuse concept/promotion (instead of booster reuse) is a product of the Tory regime.
He personally made a pretty strong argument that launches would never become a commodity. 
Doesn't sound like he is part of the solution.

I am going to be contrary here and say that I believe Tory is  a good guy, means well, isn't stupid, and is just playing the hand he was dealt. Maybe ULA are spinning some FUD, yes...  (not like anyone else ever does that)

But I also think that their masters aren't going to unleash them all the way to do reuse the most efficient way with a clean sheet design of everything. SMART is the best they can do with the cards they hold. I wish them all the best with it. There is, and will be a place for ULA at the table. Especially as the pie continues to grow.

(I haven't changed my views on the fixed price block buy, and I greatly admire Dr. Sowers work but think he's wrong about the reuse numbers... but I have a grudging admiration for ULA...)

Yes, in Eric Berger's Ars article cited above:

Quote
However, the report warns, other countries such as China could copy these ideas and surpass the United States if strategic government investments are not made.

Although I have to admit that my first thought when Star One mentioned AF peer competitors was that it was a reference to inter-service rivalry with the army  :D

Yea, I'm dubious that government **investment** is necessary, especially the strategic kind. Just start buying water delivered to LEO and contracting for cargo delivered to the lunar surface, and the rest will follow.
« Last Edit: 05/02/2017 08:40 PM by Lar »
"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

Offline Star One

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6791
  • UK
  • Liked: 1096
  • Likes Given: 152
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #67 on: 05/02/2017 09:02 PM »
Yes, in Eric Berger's Ars article cited above:

Quote
However, the report warns, other countries such as China could copy these ideas and surpass the United States if strategic government investments are not made.

Although I have to admit that my first thought when Star One mentioned AF peer competitors was that it was a reference to inter-service rivalry with the army  :D

I know lots of people from different countries post on here and I didn't want to accidentally cause ill feeling. Perhaps over cautious?

Offline Lemurion

Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #68 on: 05/02/2017 10:51 PM »
What I find funny about ULA's response is that they seem to be implying that the heat shield and parafoil they intend using for "SMART" reuse doesn't reduce payload capacity in exactly the same way that SpaceX's landing legs do.

Then again, I'm always suspicious of anything that relies on mid-air helicopter recovery.




Offline Coastal Ron

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2973
  • I live... along the coast
  • Liked: 1873
  • Likes Given: 2098
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #69 on: 05/02/2017 11:18 PM »
Yes, in Eric Berger's Ars article cited above:

Quote
However, the report warns, other countries such as China could copy these ideas and surpass the United States if strategic government investments are not made.

Although I have to admit that my first thought when Star One mentioned AF peer competitors was that it was a reference to inter-service rivalry with the army  :D

Although the key rocket advancements SpaceX and Blue Origin are fielding and planning to field were not the result of direct investment by the U.S. Government.  And by "direct", I mean no funding that was provided specifically to build reusable rocket technologies.

As Lar suggests, the best way to encourage continued U.S. aerospace industry leadership is to ensure that they have a market for their capabilities.  If the U.S. Government can help with that, either directly or indirectly, that would be good.
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

Offline deruch

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1328
  • California
  • Liked: 1045
  • Likes Given: 1217
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #70 on: 05/03/2017 03:25 AM »
What I find funny about ULA's response is that they seem to be implying that the heat shield and parafoil they intend using for "SMART" reuse doesn't reduce payload capacity in exactly the same way that SpaceX's landing legs do.
It doesn't.  When ULA (or other knowledgeable others) are criticizing the reduced capacity of fully recoverable rockets, it isn't due to the "extra hardware" that is put on like legs, grid fins, beefier RCS, etc.  It's due to the large amount of propellants that have to be reserved for the recovery burns.  Compared to that, all the added hardware is just a drop in the bucket.  So, in ULA's eyes, SMART avoids the payload hit because no performance is being reserved (i.e. they use all the prop).  They are only adding a little bit of hardware mass which is totally negligible.  So, from that perspective, there really is no bad logic in such a statement/position. 

The disconnect is that launch payloads aren't bulk commodities.  There's no "penalty" for reducing lift capacity so long as they have enough for any specific customer. 
In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice.  But, in practice, there is.  --Jan van de Snepscheut

Offline rakaydos

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 133
  • Liked: 51
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #71 on: 05/03/2017 04:08 AM »
What I find funny about ULA's response is that they seem to be implying that the heat shield and parafoil they intend using for "SMART" reuse doesn't reduce payload capacity in exactly the same way that SpaceX's landing legs do.
It doesn't.  When ULA (or other knowledgeable others) are criticizing the reduced capacity of fully recoverable rockets, it isn't due to the "extra hardware" that is put on like legs, grid fins, beefier RCS, etc.  It's due to the large amount of propellants that have to be reserved for the recovery burns.  Compared to that, all the added hardware is just a drop in the bucket.  So, in ULA's eyes, SMART avoids the payload hit because no performance is being reserved (i.e. they use all the prop).  They are only adding a little bit of hardware mass which is totally negligible.  So, from that perspective, there really is no bad logic in such a statement/position. 

The disconnect is that launch payloads aren't bulk commodities.  There's no "penalty" for reducing lift capacity so long as they have enough for any specific customer.
There also may be an element of goverment contract language.
"Our boosters were built to lift X tons, just like you asked. If we added reuse, we wouldnt meet that contract anymore."

Offline su27k

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 468
  • Liked: 265
  • Likes Given: 31
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #72 on: 05/03/2017 04:10 AM »
What I find funny about ULA's response is that they seem to be implying that the heat shield and parafoil they intend using for "SMART" reuse doesn't reduce payload capacity in exactly the same way that SpaceX's landing legs do.
It doesn't.  When ULA (or other knowledgeable others) are criticizing the reduced capacity of fully recoverable rockets, it isn't due to the "extra hardware" that is put on like legs, grid fins, beefier RCS, etc.  It's due to the large amount of propellants that have to be reserved for the recovery burns.  Compared to that, all the added hardware is just a drop in the bucket.  So, in ULA's eyes, SMART avoids the payload hit because no performance is being reserved (i.e. they use all the prop).  They are only adding a little bit of hardware mass which is totally negligible.  So, from that perspective, there really is no bad logic in such a statement/position. 

The disconnect is that launch payloads aren't bulk commodities.  There's no "penalty" for reducing lift capacity so long as they have enough for any specific customer.

If I remember the math correctly even for bulk commodities reusable first stage still wins over SMART as long as you allow the reusable vehicle to launch more often, it only loses out to SMART when the calculation insists the same # of launches for both reusable first stage and SMART. This may explain why ULA prefers SMART, since their launch rate projection is a lot lower than SpaceX's.

Offline woods170

  • IRAS fan
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6792
  • IRAS fan
  • The Netherlands
  • Liked: 2274
  • Likes Given: 685
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #73 on: 05/03/2017 06:41 AM »
What I find funny about ULA's response is that they seem to be implying that the heat shield and parafoil they intend using for "SMART" reuse doesn't reduce payload capacity in exactly the same way that SpaceX's landing legs do.
It doesn't.  When ULA (or other knowledgeable others) are criticizing the reduced capacity of fully recoverable rockets, it isn't due to the "extra hardware" that is put on like legs, grid fins, beefier RCS, etc.  It's due to the large amount of propellants that have to be reserved for the recovery burns. Compared to that, all the added hardware is just a drop in the bucket.  So, in ULA's eyes, SMART avoids the payload hit because no performance is being reserved (i.e. they use all the prop).  They are only adding a little bit of hardware mass which is totally negligible.  So, from that perspective, there really is no bad logic in such a statement/position. 
Emphasis mine.
I disagree with your analysis. Referring back to the original statement:

Quote from: Jeff Foust
Quote
Les Kovacs, ULA: want to throw a wet blanket on concept of reusability. Additional systems needed to land stages comes at cost of payload.

https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/859033383598477312

As you can see, Les Kovacs referred to additional systems (hardware), not to propellant, with regards to payload-hit.
« Last Edit: 05/03/2017 06:43 AM by woods170 »

Offline kerogre256

  • Member
  • Posts: 23
  • Mars
  • Liked: 13
  • Likes Given: 3
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #74 on: 05/03/2017 10:10 AM »
What I find funny about ULA's response is that they seem to be implying that the heat shield and parafoil they intend using for "SMART" reuse doesn't reduce payload capacity in exactly the same way that SpaceX's landing legs do.
It doesn't.  When ULA (or other knowledgeable others) are criticizing the reduced capacity of fully recoverable rockets, it isn't due to the "extra hardware" that is put on like legs, grid fins, beefier RCS, etc.  It's due to the large amount of propellants that have to be reserved for the recovery burns.  Compared to that, all the added hardware is just a drop in the bucket.  So, in ULA's eyes, SMART avoids the payload hit because no performance is being reserved (i.e. they use all the prop).  They are only adding a little bit of hardware mass which is totally negligible.  So, from that perspective, there really is no bad logic in such a statement/position. 

The disconnect is that launch payloads aren't bulk commodities.  There's no "penalty" for reducing lift capacity so long as they have enough for any specific customer.
This argument is completely irrelevant in case of falkon9 because, they remove legs, fins and you have perfect high performance throw away rocket like everyone else... this is how you design reusable rocket....

Offline kerogre256

  • Member
  • Posts: 23
  • Mars
  • Liked: 13
  • Likes Given: 3
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #75 on: 05/03/2017 10:13 AM »
And Big Boss was definitely impressed....
"Glad I could see this in person. Congrats to all involved!"

https://twitter.com/GenDaveGoldfein/status/859065684671815684

Online AncientU

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3901
  • Liked: 2357
  • Likes Given: 3231
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #76 on: 05/03/2017 10:25 AM »
...

Yes, in Eric Berger's Ars article cited above:

Quote
However, the report warns, other countries such as China could copy these ideas and surpass the United States if strategic government investments are not made.

Although I have to admit that my first thought when Star One mentioned AF peer competitors was that it was a reference to inter-service rivalry with the army  :D

Yea, I'm dubious that government **investment** is necessary, especially the strategic kind. Just start buying water delivered to LEO and contracting for cargo delivered to the lunar surface, and the rest will follow.

Investment in reusable rockets maybe... but first, 1) stop giving 50 core block buys to the old guard to freeze out competition (reduced to 36 cores by SpaceX legal pushback), 2) stop trying to reformat new entrants during 'certification' to look like old guard suppliers (backed off after SpaceX pushback), 3) stop using managed competition/allocation for future awards instead of full and fair competition, 4) add selection criteria that include a) flight proven hardware and b) degree to which supplier promotes ULCATS, along with c) launch record and d) schedule performance, 5) keep cost weighted as 50% or more of selection criteria, 6) end ELC subsidy, and then 7) get out of the way.
« Last Edit: 05/03/2017 10:35 AM by AncientU »
"If we shared everything [we are working on] people would think we are insane!"
-- SpaceX friend of mlindner

Online AncientU

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3901
  • Liked: 2357
  • Likes Given: 3231
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #77 on: 05/03/2017 11:16 AM »
And Big Boss was definitely impressed....
"Glad I could see this in person. Congrats to all involved!"

https://twitter.com/GenDaveGoldfein/status/859065684671815684

And he's even awarding a trophy for it!!!
Quote
A close-up look at the Commander in Chief's trophy. Great job, Falcons. #BoltBrotherhood #LetsFly #SinkNavy #BeatArmy

https://twitter.com/GenDaveGoldfein/status/859520634866499584
strike-through mine
« Last Edit: 05/03/2017 11:17 AM by AncientU »
"If we shared everything [we are working on] people would think we are insane!"
-- SpaceX friend of mlindner

Online Semmel

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 829
  • Germany
  • Liked: 559
  • Likes Given: 1759
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #78 on: 05/03/2017 11:18 AM »
There is one more thing that 'SMART' is bad at, and that is the "rapid" part of re-usability. If SpaceX achieves that, 10 flights with only visual inspection in between (like aircraft), that is GOT to be cheaper than SMART re-use, even if SpaceX has to start with a rocket that doubles the launch capability of Vulcan. So the tradeoff is not capability vs. re-use strategy. The re-use strategy defines how large the launch vehicle has to be designed in the first place. And if you have to make the booster 50% more potent to get the same payload to orbit, but regain the entire booster and no refurbishment has to be done, its much cheaper than if the engine pod has to be integrated with a new set of tanks, new heat shield, new piping connections, new integration testing, etc. SMART is, in comparison to full reuse quite stupid. But as said before, its the best ULA could do given the hardware they have. I dont blame them for the recovery strategy. The blame must go to the launch vehicle design and choice of engine number.

And there is one more point that no one mentioned (as far as I remember). SpaceX style reuse allows (whether they do it or not) a far more expensive tank design. For example, SpaceX could decide to go for carbon fibre for the first stage tanks. Its too expensive for expendable boosters, but guess what... I dont know if the trouble is worth the mass savings. But if it is, there is an other performance gain possible. Something that would never be economical with SMART.

Online AncientU

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3901
  • Liked: 2357
  • Likes Given: 3231
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #79 on: 05/03/2017 11:23 AM »
They are going with carbon composite tankage -- and 42 FFSC engines.
Try that with SMART.
« Last Edit: 05/03/2017 11:29 AM by AncientU »
"If we shared everything [we are working on] people would think we are insane!"
-- SpaceX friend of mlindner

Offline Lar

  • Fan boy at large
  • Global Moderator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7573
  • Saw Gemini live on TV
  • A large LEGO storage facility ... in Michigan
  • Liked: 4481
  • Likes Given: 3004
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #80 on: 05/03/2017 12:40 PM »
I feel that if you take the gestalt we're mostly agreeing...

... and I'm guilty of helping drift this from what SpaceX customers think about SpaceX reuse to what WE think about ULA. Let's not do that. (do as I say, not as I do, LOL)

Although the "falcon trophy" thing was hilarious.
« Last Edit: 05/03/2017 12:41 PM by Lar »
"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

Offline meekGee

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7261
  • N. California
  • Liked: 3641
  • Likes Given: 755
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #81 on: 05/04/2017 12:45 AM »
What I find funny about ULA's response is that they seem to be implying that the heat shield and parafoil they intend using for "SMART" reuse doesn't reduce payload capacity in exactly the same way that SpaceX's landing legs do.
It doesn't.  When ULA (or other knowledgeable others) are criticizing the reduced capacity of fully recoverable rockets, it isn't due to the "extra hardware" that is put on like legs, grid fins, beefier RCS, etc.  It's due to the large amount of propellants that have to be reserved for the recovery burns.  Compared to that, all the added hardware is just a drop in the bucket.  So, in ULA's eyes, SMART avoids the payload hit because no performance is being reserved (i.e. they use all the prop).  They are only adding a little bit of hardware mass which is totally negligible.  So, from that perspective, there really is no bad logic in such a statement/position. 

The disconnect is that launch payloads aren't bulk commodities.  There's no "penalty" for reducing lift capacity so long as they have enough for any specific customer.
That is precisely true, on both counts.

There's a third aspect of this, and that's that it is still possible to expend a rocket if a super large payload is required.

...and also expend it if there is an engine out event, adding redundancy and reliability to the system.
ABCD - Always Be Counting Down

Online FutureSpaceTourist

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2555
  • UK
    • Plan 28
  • Liked: 1638
  • Likes Given: 594
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #82 on: 05/04/2017 08:19 AM »
There's a third aspect of this, and that's that it is still possible to expend a rocket if a super large payload is required.

But aren't SpaceX going to refuse to sell any more expendable F9 launches? I assume customers will be ok with that, assuming FH is both proven and cheaper than any other SpaceX competitors (reusable or expendable)

In time I guess a FH launch price could be lower than an expendable F9 price now? (assuming SpaceX routinely achieve multiple uses per booster/core with little refurbishment)

Offline M.E.T.

  • Full Member
  • **
  • Posts: 266
  • Liked: 114
  • Likes Given: 5
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #83 on: 05/04/2017 08:37 AM »
There's a third aspect of this, and that's that it is still possible to expend a rocket if a super large payload is required.

But aren't SpaceX going to refuse to sell any more expendable F9 launches? I assume customers will be ok with that, assuming FH is both proven and cheaper than any other SpaceX competitors (reusable or expendable)

In time I guess a FH launch price could be lower than an expendable F9 price now? (assuming SpaceX routinely achieve multiple uses per booster/core with little refurbishment)

Of course, the expendable option will then just shift upwards to truly massive payloads, requiring expendable FH performance levels. Where a customer is willing to pay a premium for a payload requiring an expendable FH, I'm sure SpaceX will comply.
« Last Edit: 05/04/2017 08:38 AM by M.E.T. »

Offline JamesH65

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 522
  • Liked: 280
  • Likes Given: 7
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #84 on: 05/04/2017 09:49 AM »
There's a third aspect of this, and that's that it is still possible to expend a rocket if a super large payload is required.

But aren't SpaceX going to refuse to sell any more expendable F9 launches? I assume customers will be ok with that, assuming FH is both proven and cheaper than any other SpaceX competitors (reusable or expendable)

In time I guess a FH launch price could be lower than an expendable F9 price now? (assuming SpaceX routinely achieve multiple uses per booster/core with little refurbishment)

Refusing? Why would they do that? Seem to me to be more like not expecting to sell any more because the F9 and F9H heavy will cover all known payloads in reusable mode.

But if someone came up with a payload that required it, and were willing to pay for expendable, why would SpaceX refuse? Use an old booster that reaching end of life, make much profit.

Online gospacex

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2885
  • Liked: 440
  • Likes Given: 490
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #85 on: 05/04/2017 11:20 AM »
There's a third aspect of this, and that's that it is still possible to expend a rocket if a super large payload is required.

But aren't SpaceX going to refuse to sell any more expendable F9 launches? I assume customers will be ok with that, assuming FH is both proven and cheaper than any other SpaceX competitors (reusable or expendable)

In time I guess a FH launch price could be lower than an expendable F9 price now? (assuming SpaceX routinely achieve multiple uses per booster/core with little refurbishment)

Refusing? Why would they do that?

He meant that any payloads which require expendable F9 would be lofted by reusable FH.

Offline Celestar

  • Member
  • Posts: 5
  • Liked: 4
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #86 on: 05/04/2017 01:41 PM »
Yes, but that would require the reusable FH to be priced at or below the price of the expendable  (shouldn't we called it 'expended' by now?) F9, wouldn't it?

Celestar

Sent from my SM-T705 using Tapatalk


Online mme

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 919
  • Santa Barbara, CA, USA, Earth, Solar System, Milky Way Galaxy, Virgo Supercluster
  • Liked: 1106
  • Likes Given: 2563
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #87 on: 05/04/2017 02:00 PM »
Yes, but that would require the reusable FH to be priced at or below the price of the expendable  (shouldn't we called it 'expended' by now?) F9, wouldn't it?

Celestar

Sent from my SM-T705 using Tapatalk
My bet is that SpaceX will adjust their prices so that is the case once reusability is widely accepted (which will happen quickly, IMHO).
Space is not Highlander.  There can, and will, be more than one.

Offline envy887

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1748
  • Liked: 755
  • Likes Given: 441
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #88 on: 05/04/2017 02:17 PM »
Yes, but that would require the reusable FH to be priced at or below the price of the expendable  (shouldn't we called it 'expended' by now?) F9, wouldn't it?

So as long as the reliability of reused FH is substantially better than Proton SpaceX can charge a lot, and it still makes economic sense to customers.

The business decision for SpaceX depends on whether F9 expended or FH reused (not just recoverable) is more profitable. The price for F9 expendable can be whatever SpaceX wants to charge, up to a point where they start losing customers to other providers. In the 5500+ kg to GTO market, the competition is pretty much limited to Proton, Ariane, or Atlas V.

I don't think it's a stretch to say FH reusable should cost SpaceX less to operate than F9 expendable. The upfront expense is 3 boosters for 10 flights instead of 10 boosters for 10 flights, so they save new 7 boosters with one FH set. The incremental expense is integration of 20 boosters, recovery & refurb of 30 boosters. So as long as 20x integration cost + 30x recovery/refurb cost is less than 7 new F9 boosters ($250 to $300 million), they come out ahead. That holds true for integration costs up to $3M per booster and recovery/refurb up to $8M per booster.

Online AncientU

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3901
  • Liked: 2357
  • Likes Given: 3231
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #89 on: 05/04/2017 02:38 PM »
Yes, but that would require the reusable FH to be priced at or below the price of the expendable  (shouldn't we called it 'expended' by now?) F9, wouldn't it?

So as long as the reliability of reused FH is substantially better than Proton SpaceX can charge a lot, and it still makes economic sense to customers.

The business decision for SpaceX depends on whether F9 expended or FH reused (not just recoverable) is more profitable. The price for F9 expendable can be whatever SpaceX wants to charge, up to a point where they start losing customers to other providers. In the 5500+ kg to GTO market, the competition is pretty much limited to Proton, Ariane, or Atlas V.

I don't think it's a stretch to say FH reusable should cost SpaceX less to operate than F9 expendable. The upfront expense is 3 boosters for 10 flights instead of 10 boosters for 10 flights, so they save new 7 boosters with one FH set. The incremental expense is integration of 20 boosters, recovery & refurb of 30 boosters. So as long as 20x integration cost + 30x recovery/refurb cost is less than 7 new F9 boosters ($250 to $300 million), they come out ahead. That holds true for integration costs up to $3M per booster and recovery/refurb up to $8M per booster.

SpaceX has stated that F9 expendable will be more expensive than FH reusable.  F9 cases between ASDS landings and limits of F9 expendible should still allow FH RTLS all cores.
"If we shared everything [we are working on] people would think we are insane!"
-- SpaceX friend of mlindner

Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #90 on: 05/05/2017 08:55 AM »
https://spaceflightnow.com/2017/05/05/bulgarias-first-communications-satellite-to-ride-spacexs-second-reused-rocket/

Bulgaria’s first communications satellite to ride SpaceX’s second reused rocket
Quote
"Elon Musk and his SpaceX team have convinced me that people like them bring us closer to a new quality of life through providing access to cutting-edge technology,” Zayakov said in a statement. “This is a chance for Bulgaria to join the efforts to develop these new aspects of space industry.”



Online rockets4life97

  • Full Member
  • **
  • Posts: 286
  • Liked: 142
  • Likes Given: 59
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #91 on: 05/05/2017 09:43 AM »
I'm glad to see someone other than SES take a re-used booster. In this case, it looks like moving up the launch queue was an important part. This would point to potentially one of the main benefits will schedule flexibility as well as (potentially) reduced prices of launch.

Online gospacex

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2885
  • Liked: 440
  • Likes Given: 490
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #92 on: 05/05/2017 11:53 AM »
Yes, but that would require the reusable FH to be priced at or below the price of the expendable  (shouldn't we called it 'expended' by now?) F9, wouldn't it?

Yes. Or SpaceX can simply stop offering expendable F9 launches. Their choice.

Online FutureSpaceTourist

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2555
  • UK
    • Plan 28
  • Liked: 1638
  • Likes Given: 594
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #93 on: 05/05/2017 12:55 PM »
I'm glad to see someone other than SES take a re-used booster. In this case, it looks like moving up the launch queue was an important part. This would point to potentially one of the main benefits will schedule flexibility as well as (potentially) reduced prices of launch.

Yes, this could be a powerful motivator for others to also accept flight proven boosters. Also clear how SpaceX will achieve (at least?) 6 booster re-uses this year (with FH re-using 2 & potentially 2 other SES launches). If all are successful, why would customers after that be reluctant to re-use?

Online FutureSpaceTourist

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2555
  • UK
    • Plan 28
  • Liked: 1638
  • Likes Given: 594
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #94 on: 05/05/2017 01:56 PM »
Can someone remind me what the situation is for NASA CRS missions and booster re-use?

IIRC it's been said that NASA are looking at it and supportive in principle but I don't recall any indication of when it may happen. If CRS-13 is in November as currently forecast then that could be after 5 booster re-uses, so enough evidence for NASA to assess and commit to re-use?

I imagine there might be some customers who would feel more comfortable once NASA accepts re-use (eg due to the engineering assessment that NASA would have done, which maybe not all customers have the capability/inclination/finances to do themselves)

Online rockets4life97

  • Full Member
  • **
  • Posts: 286
  • Liked: 142
  • Likes Given: 59
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #95 on: 05/05/2017 02:36 PM »
Can someone remind me what the situation is for NASA CRS missions and booster re-use?

IIRC it's been said that NASA are looking at it and supportive in principle but I don't recall any indication of when it may happen. If CRS-13 is in November as currently forecast then that could be after 5 booster re-uses, so enough evidence for NASA to assess and commit to re-use?

I imagine there might be some customers who would feel more comfortable once NASA accepts re-use (eg due to the engineering assessment that NASA would have done, which maybe not all customers have the capability/inclination/finances to do themselves)

I seem to remember next Spring was indicated as a possibility at the press conference for CRS-10.

Offline copper8

  • Member
  • Posts: 22
  • United States
  • Liked: 17
  • Likes Given: 8
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #96 on: 05/05/2017 03:01 PM »
Air Force:

Quote
SpaceX, Blue Origin have opened a “window of opportunity” for US Air Force

Quote
On Monday morning, SpaceX successfully launched a national security payload for the first time, cracking the market for US military missions. The first stage of the rocket then landed within a couple of miles from where it had taken off less than 10 minutes earlier, marking the tenth time SpaceX has safely returned a first stage to Earth.

The US military has taken note of these achievements, as well as those of Blue Origin and its reusable New Shepard suborbital vehicle—and that company’s ambitions to also build a large, reusable orbital rocket. “This has opened up a window of opportunity and gotten the attention of serious people,” Charles Miller, an aerospace consultant and president of NexGen Space, told Ars.

To that end Miller partnered with a number of Air Force officers at Air University and former Air Force officials to study the potential effects of lower-cost access to space on the US military. The “Fast Space” report, which has been briefed to senior officials in the US military and government in recent months, concludes that the US Air Force can benefit from these commercial developments.

“The USAF can form private sector partnerships to create a virtuous cycle of launch cost reductions of between 3 and 10 times lower than today’s costs,” the report finds. “Doing so could enable completely new approaches for the Air Force to defend American values, protect American interests, and enhance opportunities to exploit the unique global advantages of the ultimate high ground.”

The key concept in the report is “ultra low-cost access to space” enabled by reusable launch vehicle technology.

https://arstechnica.com/science/2017/05/air-force-study-says-us-government-should-get-serious-about-reusable-rockets/

And the Fast Space report:
http://www.airuniversity.af.mil/Portals/10/Research/documents/Space/Fast%20Space_Public_2017.pdf?ver=2017-03-10-113507-743

I think that one of the most interesting things about this paper is that the expectation that cost of launch will be much lower over time on a Reuseable Launch Vehicle is beginning to have an impact on the thinking about the type and nature of the payloads.  If you can fly for a lower cost, with a shorter lead time, you can contemplate a different kind of sat.  Which in turn may drive an increased launch cadence.

Offline envy887

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1748
  • Liked: 755
  • Likes Given: 441
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #97 on: 05/06/2017 11:32 AM »
From http://www.floridatoday.com/story/tech/science/space/spacex/2017/05/05/spacex-re-launch-falcon-rocket-next-month-ksc/101334150/

Quote
Maxim Zayakov, CEO of Bulsatcom and BulgariaSat, said he didn’t think using a “flight proven” booster, as SpaceX refers to its recovered rockets, added risk to the mission.

“In fact, we think the other way around,” Zayakov told FLORIDA TODAY.  “Because a flight proven first stage has all its systems already used in flight, and it is very thoroughly checked after that, too. So we think that this is a good choice and, yes, of course it saved us some money.”

Exactly how much, Zayakov would not say. Space Systems Loral, the California-based satellite manufacturer, is responsible for the launch contract and insurance.

But Zayakov said the savings was meaningful. “At the end of the day, it helps the whole arithmetic and makes this project more financially viable,” he said. Zayakov said insurers supported the decision to reuse a rocket, but the terms improved after the successful SES-10 mission.

Offline M.E.T.

  • Full Member
  • **
  • Posts: 266
  • Liked: 114
  • Likes Given: 5
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #98 on: 05/06/2017 05:14 PM »
From http://www.floridatoday.com/story/tech/science/space/spacex/2017/05/05/spacex-re-launch-falcon-rocket-next-month-ksc/101334150/

Quote
Maxim Zayakov, CEO of Bulsatcom and BulgariaSat, said he didn’t think using a “flight proven” booster, as SpaceX refers to its recovered rockets, added risk to the mission.

“In fact, we think the other way around,” Zayakov told FLORIDA TODAY.  “Because a flight proven first stage has all its systems already used in flight, and it is very thoroughly checked after that, too. So we think that this is a good choice and, yes, of course it saved us some money.”

Exactly how much, Zayakov would not say. Space Systems Loral, the California-based satellite manufacturer, is responsible for the launch contract and insurance.

But Zayakov said the savings was meaningful. “At the end of the day, it helps the whole arithmetic and makes this project more financially viable,” he said. Zayakov said insurers supported the decision to reuse a rocket, but the terms improved after the successful SES-10 mission.

Just want to confirm that I understand this correctly. I read somewhere that this rocket will be the same one used for SES-10. Meaning it will be a booster used for the third time. Is this correct? And if so, why do that, rather than refurbish another rocket that has only flown once? Have some further changes been made to the SES-10 booster which makes it easier to refurbish?

EDIT

Sorry, my mistake. It is the Iridium booster, not the SES-10 booster.
« Last Edit: 05/06/2017 05:20 PM by M.E.T. »

Online AncientU

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3901
  • Liked: 2357
  • Likes Given: 3231
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #99 on: 05/06/2017 09:15 PM »
It's amazing that BulgariaSat was inspired by the success of SES-10 to reuse one of the Falcon 9 boosters.
BulgariaSat was persuaded by SpaceX to use a reused booster even before SES-10 was launched.

Copied from another thread.
"If we shared everything [we are working on] people would think we are insane!"
-- SpaceX friend of mlindner

Online AncientU

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3901
  • Liked: 2357
  • Likes Given: 3231
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #100 on: 05/07/2017 01:35 PM »
New article, first posted by gongora in General:
Shotwell:
Quote
“I think you are going to start to see that this year,” she says adding that customers are far more willing to consider the pre-flown stages, earlier than the company thought they would. “We knew they would gain acceptance by late this year or by early next year but we are seeing a lot of interest this year, which is great. We are going to re-fly the first pre-flown booster for SES this month; then you may see five to six more this year — you might actually see more. I think initially we were maybe thinking we would fly three to four this year, but it will be more than that,” she says.
Emphasis mine

http://interactive.satellitetoday.com/via/april-2017/shotwell-ambitious-targets-achievable-this-year/
« Last Edit: 05/07/2017 01:41 PM by AncientU »
"If we shared everything [we are working on] people would think we are insane!"
-- SpaceX friend of mlindner

Offline deruch

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1328
  • California
  • Liked: 1045
  • Likes Given: 1217
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #101 on: 05/11/2017 11:53 PM »
https://spaceflightnow.com/2017/05/05/bulgarias-first-communications-satellite-to-ride-spacexs-second-reused-rocket/

Bulgaria’s first communications satellite to ride SpaceX’s second reused rocket
Quote
"Elon Musk and his SpaceX team have convinced me that people like them bring us closer to a new quality of life through providing access to cutting-edge technology,” Zayakov said in a statement. “This is a chance for Bulgaria to join the efforts to develop these new aspects of space industry.”


From that same SFN article, you should have included the paragraph right before that one as well.  It wasn't a direct quote from the BulgariaSat CEO, but a paraphrase of a comment:

Quote
In a statement, BulgariaSat chief executive Maxim Zayakov said that reusable rockets were a technological breakthrough that will make it possible for smaller countries and companies to launch their own satellites.
In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice.  But, in practice, there is.  --Jan van de Snepscheut

Online Dao Angkan

  • Member
  • Posts: 80
  • Liked: 21
  • Likes Given: 10
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #102 on: 05/12/2017 01:27 AM »
Yes, cheaper launches and satellites are opening up smaller markets.

From SES April 28 earnings call;

Quote
The arrival of large high-throughput satellites, the threat of IPTV and the overcapacity in several regions have made classic wide-band satellite television broadcasting more of a challenge than it used to be.

But none of these factors is having a material effect on SES’s video business so far. McCarthy said pricing remains stable, with SES selling transponder capacity at an average rate of 1.7 million euros ($2 million) per year.

As SES ramps its capacity in less-developed markets, this average price will likely go down, but the company says it has anticipated this in the satellite construction and launch contracts it has signed. An emerging-market satellite’s EBITDA therefore should not be any lower than satellites over Europe or North America.

Maintaining EBITDA at lower transponder prices for some regions means pressing satellite builders and launch-service providers to cut costs accordingly.


SpaceX’s SES-10 launch featured the first use of a previously flown rocket first stage. SpaceX has cited multiple figures for the ultimate effect on pricing of reused first stages. But it’s clear SES expects material price cuts in the future.
« Last Edit: 05/12/2017 01:29 AM by Dao Angkan »

Offline deruch

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1328
  • California
  • Liked: 1045
  • Likes Given: 1217
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #103 on: 05/12/2017 01:41 AM »
Yes, cheaper launches and satellites are opening up smaller markets.

From SES April 28 earnings call;

Quote
The arrival of large high-throughput satellites, the threat of IPTV and the overcapacity in several regions have made classic wide-band satellite television broadcasting more of a challenge than it used to be.

But none of these factors is having a material effect on SES’s video business so far. McCarthy said pricing remains stable, with SES selling transponder capacity at an average rate of 1.7 million euros ($2 million) per year.

As SES ramps its capacity in less-developed markets, this average price will likely go down, but the company says it has anticipated this in the satellite construction and launch contracts it has signed. An emerging-market satellite’s EBITDA therefore should not be any lower than satellites over Europe or North America.

Maintaining EBITDA at lower transponder prices for some regions means pressing satellite builders and launch-service providers to cut costs accordingly.


SpaceX’s SES-10 launch featured the first use of a previously flown rocket first stage. SpaceX has cited multiple figures for the ultimate effect on pricing of reused first stages. But it’s clear SES expects material price cuts in the future.
For those wondering, EBITDA stands for Earnings Before Interest, Tax, Depreciation, and Amortization.  Basically a quick look way to figure out how much you're making without having to work through all the complex financial adjusting accountants do.  Or sometimes a way to try to compare apples to apples.
In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice.  But, in practice, there is.  --Jan van de Snepscheut

Online FutureSpaceTourist

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2555
  • UK
    • Plan 28
  • Liked: 1638
  • Likes Given: 594
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #104 on: 05/16/2017 12:06 AM »
Here's a nice quote from Inmarsat's CEO, Rupert Pearce:

Quote
Mr Pearce said he was delighted to fly SpaceX for the first time, and looked forward to the occasion when an Inmarsat satellite would go up on one of the American provider's "second-hand" rockets.

"I'd like to see a longer track record of refurbished rockets being launched successfully without problems," the CEO told BBC News.

"At the moment, we don't put up satellites in sufficient numbers to be relatively sanguine about losing one. But I'm very encouraged by what I've seen in recent months, and once we feel that refurbished rockets are essentially the same as new rockets - we'll jump onboard and extend our relationship with SpaceX."

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-39929168

Offline Star One

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6791
  • UK
  • Liked: 1096
  • Likes Given: 152
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #105 on: 05/16/2017 09:39 AM »
Here's a nice quote from Inmarsat's CEO, Rupert Pearce:

Quote
Mr Pearce said he was delighted to fly SpaceX for the first time, and looked forward to the occasion when an Inmarsat satellite would go up on one of the American provider's "second-hand" rockets.

"I'd like to see a longer track record of refurbished rockets being launched successfully without problems," the CEO told BBC News.

"At the moment, we don't put up satellites in sufficient numbers to be relatively sanguine about losing one. But I'm very encouraged by what I've seen in recent months, and once we feel that refurbished rockets are essentially the same as new rockets - we'll jump onboard and extend our relationship with SpaceX."

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-39929168

Glad you posted that as some people seem to think that every customer is just going to get onboard with reusability, when they just aren't at this stage. They can't afford to be so sanguine about it until its far, far more proven technology.

Offline M.E.T.

  • Full Member
  • **
  • Posts: 266
  • Liked: 114
  • Likes Given: 5
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #106 on: 05/16/2017 10:37 AM »
Here's a nice quote from Inmarsat's CEO, Rupert Pearce:

Quote
Mr Pearce said he was delighted to fly SpaceX for the first time, and looked forward to the occasion when an Inmarsat satellite would go up on one of the American provider's "second-hand" rockets.

"I'd like to see a longer track record of refurbished rockets being launched successfully without problems," the CEO told BBC News.

"At the moment, we don't put up satellites in sufficient numbers to be relatively sanguine about losing one. But I'm very encouraged by what I've seen in recent months, and once we feel that refurbished rockets are essentially the same as new rockets - we'll jump onboard and extend our relationship with SpaceX."

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-39929168

Glad you posted that as some people seem to think that every customer is just going to get onboard with reusability, when they just aren't at this stage. They can't afford to be so sanguine about it until its far, far more proven technology.

Well, talk about taking widely divergent interpretations from the same piece of information. What he says can just as easily be read as: "Yes, we are eager to start using reused boosters too in the near future." It is yet another customer confirming the business case for reusability.

Reading that as some kind of cautionary or dare I say "negative" message relating to reusability, seems a bit of a stretch, in my view.

Offline Star One

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6791
  • UK
  • Liked: 1096
  • Likes Given: 152
SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #107 on: 05/16/2017 11:05 AM »
Here's a nice quote from Inmarsat's CEO, Rupert Pearce:

Quote
Mr Pearce said he was delighted to fly SpaceX for the first time, and looked forward to the occasion when an Inmarsat satellite would go up on one of the American provider's "second-hand" rockets.

"I'd like to see a longer track record of refurbished rockets being launched successfully without problems," the CEO told BBC News.

"At the moment, we don't put up satellites in sufficient numbers to be relatively sanguine about losing one. But I'm very encouraged by what I've seen in recent months, and once we feel that refurbished rockets are essentially the same as new rockets - we'll jump onboard and extend our relationship with SpaceX."

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-39929168

Glad you posted that as some people seem to think that every customer is just going to get onboard with reusability, when they just aren't at this stage. They can't afford to be so sanguine about it until its far, far more proven technology.

Well, talk about taking widely divergent interpretations from the same piece of information. What he says can just as easily be read as: "Yes, we are eager to start using reused boosters too in the near future." It is yet another customer confirming the business case for reusability.

Reading that as some kind of cautionary or dare I say "negative" message relating to reusability, seems a bit of a stretch, in my view.

I really can't see how you'd interpret what he's saying in the way you have. In fact to me he seems to be saying the complete opposite and I am baffled where you are getting the eager to start using reusability from. Talk about reading things into it that just aren't there in my view.
« Last Edit: 05/16/2017 11:08 AM by Star One »

Offline Johnnyhinbos

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 784
  • Boston, MA
  • Liked: 756
  • Likes Given: 110
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #108 on: 05/16/2017 11:15 AM »
Because Pearce used this wording, "we'll jump on board and extend our relationship with SpaceX".

That is not cautionary, that is enthusiastic wording. He's saying, in my opinion, that they are just waiting on a bit more due diligence - i.e., more data through reuse - and then they are ready to sign up.
John Hanzl. Author, action / adventure www.johnhanzl.com

Online FutureSpaceTourist

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2555
  • UK
    • Plan 28
  • Liked: 1638
  • Likes Given: 594
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #109 on: 05/16/2017 12:33 PM »
Yes, there's caution but I think it's clear he's fine with re-using boosters with more evidence.

Obviously different people/organisations will have different thresholds for what's enough evidence, but to me it's heartening to see how much the thinking is moving on. The question now is how much evidence is sufficient, not is it feasible or a good idea to do it at all.

Looking at this thread, to me it seems there's a general and increasing expectation that boosters will be re-used, just a matter of when.

Online AncientU

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3901
  • Liked: 2357
  • Likes Given: 3231
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #110 on: 05/16/2017 01:17 PM »
Because Pearce used this wording, "we'll jump on board and extend our relationship with SpaceX".

That is not cautionary, that is enthusiastic wording. He's saying, in my opinion, that they are just waiting on a bit more due diligence - i.e., more data through reuse - and then they are ready to sign up.

And it is near-term that he will have a longer track record... maybe 6 flights this year, something like 3/4ths of all flights in a year or two.  Inmarsat already has one more sat on orbit than constellation design.  They'll probably order again in -- wait for it -- a year or two.
« Last Edit: 05/16/2017 01:18 PM by AncientU »
"If we shared everything [we are working on] people would think we are insane!"
-- SpaceX friend of mlindner

Offline Star One

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6791
  • UK
  • Liked: 1096
  • Likes Given: 152
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #111 on: 05/16/2017 02:42 PM »
Because Pearce used this wording, "we'll jump on board and extend our relationship with SpaceX".

That is not cautionary, that is enthusiastic wording. He's saying, in my opinion, that they are just waiting on a bit more due diligence - i.e., more data through reuse - and then they are ready to sign up.

I think you're reading too much into it as far as the timeframe. I am not saying they may go down the reusable route at some point but I don't read that as being in the short term from what he says.

Online guckyfan

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5955
  • Germany
  • Liked: 1461
  • Likes Given: 1178
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #112 on: 05/16/2017 03:09 PM »
As it looks now the problem of SpaceX seems to be keeping customers at bay who want to fly reused, not finding takers.

Offline Space Ghost 1962

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2044
  • Whatcha gonna do when the Ghost zaps you?
  • Liked: 1772
  • Likes Given: 1258
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #113 on: 05/16/2017 07:00 PM »
Let me educate you a bit here on "customers for launch".

There are some who have pampered baby payloads, and there are ones that have a succession of birds needing to be flown.

Pearce speaks for the former. They will never, ever have a stream of payloads like the latter.

It is utterly amazing that he would even bring up this to begin with.

Perhaps he's considering Shotwell's "flight proven" LV concept? That would make more sense for his business interests.

In that light, read his comment as wanting to see confirmation that flight proven vehicles have more value than expendables. Please note that the recent RD180 anomaly did more to advance that argument then anything SX has done.

So ask yourself, how do you confront, deny, displace "reuse means consumed, used, spent, dangerous" with "reuse means constant risk retired, discovery/elimination of new modes of failure, lucky number X booster seems to always work better than expected we're trying to figure why, want to fly that one"?

Online AncientU

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3901
  • Liked: 2357
  • Likes Given: 3231
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #114 on: 05/16/2017 07:52 PM »
...
So ask yourself, how do you confront, deny, displace "reuse means consumed, used, spent, dangerous" ...

As hard as launch vendors (the competition) try to deliver your bolded message, SpaceX seems to be doing well convincing them that it is just sour grapes.  After all, there has never been a failure of a previously-flown booster.;)

I just don't think there is a message to displace.
« Last Edit: 05/16/2017 07:53 PM by AncientU »
"If we shared everything [we are working on] people would think we are insane!"
-- SpaceX friend of mlindner

Offline Space Ghost 1962

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2044
  • Whatcha gonna do when the Ghost zaps you?
  • Liked: 1772
  • Likes Given: 1258
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #115 on: 05/16/2017 08:11 PM »
...
So ask yourself, how do you confront, deny, displace "reuse means consumed, used, spent, dangerous" ...

As hard as launch vendors (the competition) try to deliver your bolded message, SpaceX seems to be doing well convincing them that it is just sour grapes.  After all, there has never been a failure of a previously-flown booster.;)

I just don't think there is a message to displace.
LOL!

These guys (Inmarsat) have flown on just about everything. Economics drove them to Proton after losing with SeaLaunch. Have my eye on shifts in manifests ATM. Launch reliability is a very interesting dynamic right now, even more so than cost. They can't afford a lost mission. The irony that there might be an ambiguity between expendable/"flight proven" in reliability is very peculiar.

Offline M.E.T.

  • Full Member
  • **
  • Posts: 266
  • Liked: 114
  • Likes Given: 5
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #116 on: 05/16/2017 08:35 PM »
I don't see any conflict here. Any customer who prefers not to use reusable rockets will still have the option to pay full price for a new booster. Expecting even one customer to use a reused booster the moment one became available would have seemed optimistic. Now it seems there will be up to 6 flown just this year.

Clearly SpaceX will have more than enough customers for their reused boosters. Like someone said upthread, by the time someone like Inmarsat needs another ride with SpaceX, two dozen reused boosters could have flown successfully. Making the decision an easy one.

And, if they still don't want to use one, well, then there is the more expensive new booster option for them.

Online oldAtlas_Eguy

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2634
  • Florida
  • Liked: 1056
  • Likes Given: 61
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #117 on: 05/16/2017 08:56 PM »
I don't see any conflict here. Any customer who prefers not to use reusable rockets will still have the option to pay full price for a new booster. Expecting even one customer to use a reused booster the moment one became available would have seemed optimistic. Now it seems there will be up to 6 flown just this year.

Clearly SpaceX will have more than enough customers for their reused boosters. Like someone said upthread, by the time someone like Inmarsat needs another ride with SpaceX, two dozen reused boosters could have flown successfully. Making the decision an easy one.

And, if they still don't want to use one, well, then there is the more expensive new booster option for them.
Which is still cheaper than any other provider.

Offline M.E.T.

  • Full Member
  • **
  • Posts: 266
  • Liked: 114
  • Likes Given: 5
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #118 on: 05/16/2017 09:09 PM »
I don't see any conflict here. Any customer who prefers not to use reusable rockets will still have the option to pay full price for a new booster. Expecting even one customer to use a reused booster the moment one became available would have seemed optimistic. Now it seems there will be up to 6 flown just this year.

Clearly SpaceX will have more than enough customers for their reused boosters. Like someone said upthread, by the time someone like Inmarsat needs another ride with SpaceX, two dozen reused boosters could have flown successfully. Making the decision an easy one.

And, if they still don't want to use one, well, then there is the more expensive new booster option for them.
Which is still cheaper than any other provider.

And, considering that SpaceX will for the foreseeable future still be manufacturing at least a few Block V cores per year, this need could be addressed by giving the minority of picky customers the first flights on these new boosters, without costing SpaceX an extra cent.

Someone has to fly the new booster the first time. If no one wanted new boosters anymore, you could not charge full price for them. So in effect, SpaceX will welcome a minority of customers still preffering new rockets, in order to "milk" them for that first flight premium.
« Last Edit: 05/16/2017 09:09 PM by M.E.T. »

Offline Space Ghost 1962

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2044
  • Whatcha gonna do when the Ghost zaps you?
  • Liked: 1772
  • Likes Given: 1258
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #119 on: 05/16/2017 09:20 PM »
Keep in mind that reused boosters are likely faster to orbit, because they're already at the launch site.

So for say Inmarsat, they have additional consideration of waiting for a "fresh" one.

Offline Star One

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6791
  • UK
  • Liked: 1096
  • Likes Given: 152
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #120 on: 05/16/2017 10:04 PM »
Keep in mind that reused boosters are likely faster to orbit, because they're already at the launch site.

So for say Inmarsat, they have additional consideration of waiting for a "fresh" one.

But doing what might be seen as penalising the customer could just lead them to go elsewhere for their launcher.

Online oldAtlas_Eguy

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2634
  • Florida
  • Liked: 1056
  • Likes Given: 61
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #121 on: 05/16/2017 10:22 PM »
Keep in mind that reused boosters are likely faster to orbit, because they're already at the launch site.

So for say Inmarsat, they have additional consideration of waiting for a "fresh" one.

But doing what might be seen as penalising the customer could just lead them to go elsewhere for their launcher.
SpaceX is lining up to be a volume provider. Overly picky customers are welcome to go elsewhere where they will be coddled from 2X the price.

SpaceX business model is volume and quick turnaround. Dealing with NASA and DOD may end being a short romance being that they are very picky customers even compared to Inmarsat. What SpaceX will tell NASA and DOD is you take it or leave it, we have other customers for those slots/dates just as well.

It could very well change again from the FFP one at a time to contracts to blocks of launches per year of generic capability with options for adding specific engineering support for specified payloads once gov knows (about 6 months in advance) when and what they want launched. Same for NASA. A update to the NLS II contract methodology. Almost a pay up front and then use or loose launch capability. The launch costs then for DOD becomes a fixed cost every year even when number of launches vary. DOD would have multiple providers on such a contract allowing DOD to manage the launch resources just by juggling who launch what and when without haveing a long multi-month or even year long acquisition cycle for each launch. Just a 30 day contract mod specifying what and when to a specific providers existing launch contract. This is what the DOD wanted for the EELV contracts but could never quite get there. Currently there is still way too much customization for each launch to be able to write such a contract. The payloads have to become more general more commoditized.

Offline Star One

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6791
  • UK
  • Liked: 1096
  • Likes Given: 152
SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #122 on: 05/16/2017 10:26 PM »
Keep in mind that reused boosters are likely faster to orbit, because they're already at the launch site.

So for say Inmarsat, they have additional consideration of waiting for a "fresh" one.

But doing what might be seen as penalising the customer could just lead them to go elsewhere for their launcher.
SpaceX is lining up to be a volume provider. Overly picky customers are welcome to go elsewhere where they will be coddled from 2X the price.

SpaceX business model is volume and quick turnaround. Dealing with NASA and DOD may end being a short romance being that they are very picky customers even compared to Inmarsat. What SpaceX will tell NASA and DOD is you take it or leave it, we have other customers for those slots/dates just as well.

It could very well change again from the FFP one at a time to contracts to blocks of launches per year of generic capability with options for adding specific engineering support for specified payloads once gov knows (about 6 months in advance) when and what they want launched. Same for NASA. A update to the NLS II contract methodology. Almost a pay up front and then use or loose launch capability. The launch costs then for DOD becomes a fixed cost every year even when number of launches vary. DOD would have multiple providers on such a contract allowing DOD to manage the launch resources just by juggling who launch what and when without haveing a long multi-month or even year long acquisition cycle for each launch. Just a 30 day contract mod specifying what and when to a specific providers existing launch contract. This is what the DOD wanted for the EELV contracts but could never quite get there. Currently there is still way too much customization for each launch to be able to write such a contract. The payloads have to become more general more commoditized.

There's nothing down the line stopping someone like BO who aren't quite as beholden to their bottom line because of the way they are financed coming in and at least at first undercutting Space X with fresh first stages for the more discerning customer.
« Last Edit: 05/16/2017 10:27 PM by Star One »

Offline Space Ghost 1962

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2044
  • Whatcha gonna do when the Ghost zaps you?
  • Liked: 1772
  • Likes Given: 1258
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #123 on: 05/16/2017 10:56 PM »
Keep in mind that reused boosters are likely faster to orbit, because they're already at the launch site.

So for say Inmarsat, they have additional consideration of waiting for a "fresh" one.

But doing what might be seen as penalising the customer could just lead them to go elsewhere for their launcher.
SpaceX is lining up to be a volume provider. Overly picky customers are welcome to go elsewhere where they will be coddled from 2X the price.

The reason they are coddled is because they are used to a different cadence. They likely will adapt in order to dominate in a different way.

Quote
SpaceX business model is volume and quick turnaround. Dealing with NASA and DOD may end being a short romance being that they are very picky customers even compared to Inmarsat. What SpaceX will tell NASA and DOD is you take it or leave it, we have other customers for those slots/dates just as well.

NSS needs still are a significant amount of payloads. It's in the area of US performance/capability/services that things will differentiate such customers. In some cases the additional needs can be dealt with differently, in that "buying a ticket" for payload way.

Others by batching, so the additional services/"needs" can fit provider against customer. The batch makes it tenable,  because the "repeat business" is what is desired, not the one offs.

Quote
It could very well change again from the FFP one at a time to contracts to blocks of launches per year of generic capability with options for adding specific engineering support for specified payloads once gov knows (about 6 months in advance) when and what they want launched.
That seems to be gearing up. Watch the sourcing on the sats to see how it matches up.

Quote
Same for NASA. A update to the NLS II contract methodology. Almost a pay up front and then use or loose launch capability. The launch costs then for DOD becomes a fixed cost every year even when number of launches vary.
Where payload budgets apply. Less of a uniform distribution.

Quote
DOD would have multiple providers on such a contract allowing DOD to manage the launch resources just by juggling who launch what and when without haveing a long multi-month or even year long acquisition cycle for each launch.
Excepting certain "long poles".

Quote
Just a 30 day contract mod specifying what and when to a specific providers existing launch contract. This is what the DOD wanted for the EELV contracts but could never quite get there.
Absolutely. So did/does Congress. At least McCain's complaints.

Quote
Currently there is still way too much customization for each launch to be able to write such a contract. The payloads have to become more general more commoditized.
Oh, such a battle over exactly that. Old ways die hard.

We're a long way from commodity rapid launch. Or whistling up from the sat factory the left handed blivet that needs to go up over 65 degrees x 165 W.

But it also presents different ways to use the capabilities. If you can catch the right interest.

There's nothing down the line stopping someone like BO who aren't quite as beholden to their bottom line because of the way they are financed coming in and at least at first undercutting Space X with fresh first stages for the more discerning customer.

Unless fresh first stages are considered more suspect because they may still hide flaws.

Then the "more discerning customer" might not want them.

Perhaps this is "stuck in the past thinking"? Would you like to fly in Russia's latest new airliner design? I hear its just getting off the ground ...  :D

Seriously, what BO has to worry about is actually having a business to capture by the time they arrive, late on the scene.

My guess is they'll lose manifest, like what happened to SX, and have to earn it back gradually, not like SX but with a more fierce competitor than currently is present. At least that would worry me.

You're right, he can under price and get away with it. But he can't under perform, that's the rub and its serious.

Offline Mader Levap

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 883
  • Liked: 345
  • Likes Given: 331
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #124 on: 05/16/2017 11:42 PM »
SpaceX business model is volume and quick turnaround. Dealing with NASA and DOD may end being a short romance being that they are very picky customers even compared to Inmarsat. What SpaceX will tell NASA and DOD is you take it or leave it, we have other customers for those slots/dates just as well.
Disagree. They won't do that. Instead they will say "sure, but that will cost x mln $ extra". In fact, it already happened many times.
Be successful.  Then tell the haters to (BLEEP) off. - deruch
...and if you have failure, tell it anyway.

Online oldAtlas_Eguy

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2634
  • Florida
  • Liked: 1056
  • Likes Given: 61
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #125 on: 05/16/2017 11:58 PM »
SpaceX business model is volume and quick turnaround. Dealing with NASA and DOD may end being a short romance being that they are very picky customers even compared to Inmarsat. What SpaceX will tell NASA and DOD is you take it or leave it, we have other customers for those slots/dates just as well.
Disagree. They won't do that. Instead they will say "sure, but that will cost x mln $ extra". In fact, it already happened many times.
In many cases what happened when commercial services were used by government is that a shell company with the "extra services" was added as a level of interface to keep the gov "customer" from bothering the core business. The core business then no longer bid on the contracts only the shell. In some cases this shell was even a third party.

Online AncientU

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3901
  • Liked: 2357
  • Likes Given: 3231
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #126 on: 05/19/2017 10:04 AM »
From Inmarsat thread:

Inmarsat CEO Rupert Pearce praises "absolutely exceptional performance from SpaceX" and announces that they will use a flight proven core in the future:
https://www.universetoday.com/135614/will-launch-reuseable-rocket-exceptional-spacex-performance-inmarsat-ceo-tells-universe-today/

Choice quote: "They hit the ball out of the park with this launch for us"

Quote
...the company CEO told Universe Today that Inmarsat was willing to conduct future launches with SpaceX – including on a “reusable rocket in the future!”

“This has obviously been an absolutely exceptional performance from SpaceX, Inmarsat CEO Rupert Pearce told Universe Today in a post launch interview at the Kennedy Space Center on Monday, May 15.

“They have now earned themselves an immensely loyal customer.”

Wasn't this one of the customers that was discussed as leaving SpaceX due to FH delays? 
A feature: Reusability is being sold, even when flying expendable.

Quote
“I’m sure we will be using a ‘reused rocket’, Pearce stated. “And we will be launching on a ‘reusable rocket’ in the future.”

“We will be looking to support them in any way we can with their new innovation programs.”

Best expendable launch ever!
« Last Edit: 05/19/2017 10:29 AM by AncientU »
"If we shared everything [we are working on] people would think we are insane!"
-- SpaceX friend of mlindner

Online AncientU

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3901
  • Liked: 2357
  • Likes Given: 3231
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #127 on: 05/19/2017 11:16 AM »
Think this is now put to bed:
Here's a nice quote from Inmarsat's CEO, Rupert Pearce:

Quote
Mr Pearce said he was delighted to fly SpaceX for the first time, and looked forward to the occasion when an Inmarsat satellite would go up on one of the American provider's "second-hand" rockets.

"I'd like to see a longer track record of refurbished rockets being launched successfully without problems," the CEO told BBC News.

"At the moment, we don't put up satellites in sufficient numbers to be relatively sanguine about losing one. But I'm very encouraged by what I've seen in recent months, and once we feel that refurbished rockets are essentially the same as new rockets - we'll jump onboard and extend our relationship with SpaceX."

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-39929168

Glad you posted that as some people seem to think that every customer is just going to get onboard with reusability, when they just aren't at this stage. They can't afford to be so sanguine about it until its far, far more proven technology.

Because Pearce used this wording, "we'll jump on board and extend our relationship with SpaceX".

That is not cautionary, that is enthusiastic wording. He's saying, in my opinion, that they are just waiting on a bit more due diligence - i.e., more data through reuse - and then they are ready to sign up.

And it is near-term that he will have a longer track record... maybe 6 flights this year, something like 3/4ths of all flights in a year or two.  Inmarsat already has one more sat on orbit than constellation design.  They'll probably order again in -- wait for it -- a year or two.

« Last Edit: 05/19/2017 12:59 PM by AncientU »
"If we shared everything [we are working on] people would think we are insane!"
-- SpaceX friend of mlindner

Offline RedLineTrain

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 375
  • Liked: 156
  • Likes Given: 141
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #128 on: 05/19/2017 01:21 PM »
Wasn't this one of the customers that was discussed as leaving SpaceX due to FH delays? 
A feature: Reusability is being sold, even when flying expendable.

A bit of caution on this.  No doubt he said very positive things about reuse.  But he was probably most happy that he got a much better than contracted orbit on this flight (I assume).  Because this will be a spare in orbit, excess performance on the rocket will lead to greater flexibility to move the satellite around for opportunistic use.

That said, would SpaceX have had the capability to do a better-than-contracted orbit had it not been for upgrading F9 for reusability?  Would any other launch provider even have been in a position where they had excess performance to release to their customer in this situation?
« Last Edit: 05/19/2017 01:37 PM by RedLineTrain »

Offline jpo234

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 317
  • Liked: 200
  • Likes Given: 25
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #129 on: 05/19/2017 01:36 PM »
Wasn't this one of the customers that was discussed as leaving SpaceX due to FH delays? 

Yes:
Citing SpaceX delays, Inmarsat moves satellite launch from Falcon Heavy to Ariane 5

Online AncientU

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3901
  • Liked: 2357
  • Likes Given: 3231
"If we shared everything [we are working on] people would think we are insane!"
-- SpaceX friend of mlindner

Offline Lar

  • Fan boy at large
  • Global Moderator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7573
  • Saw Gemini live on TV
  • A large LEGO storage facility ... in Michigan
  • Liked: 4481
  • Likes Given: 3004
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #131 on: 05/19/2017 03:19 PM »
Yes, cheaper launches and satellites are opening up smaller markets.

From SES April 28 earnings call;

Quote
<snip>

But none of these factors is having a material effect on SES’s video business so far. McCarthy said pricing remains stable, with SES selling transponder capacity at an average rate of 1.7 million euros ($2 million) per year.
<snip>

Side question, what is the UOM here? 1.7M Euros/year per what?  Per transponder? Per so many channels down at such and such resolution? per ???

Maybe that's a question for a SES thread.
"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

Offline RedLineTrain

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 375
  • Liked: 156
  • Likes Given: 141
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #132 on: 05/19/2017 04:35 PM »
I think that's 36 MHz per transponder.  How many channels you can fit on that transponder depends a lot on the bitrate per channel and video codec used.  It might also depend on the modulation scheme.

As one comparison, a few years ago, satellite operators were complaining that some competitors were selling $500k per transponder in Asia and that this price was unsustainable for the industry.
« Last Edit: 05/19/2017 04:37 PM by RedLineTrain »

Online AncientU

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3901
  • Liked: 2357
  • Likes Given: 3231
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #133 on: 05/21/2017 12:19 AM »
Cross posting with emphasis mine:
We need to recruit some Indonesian members to watch the local media for us...

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/
Behold my Google foo:
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.”

Edit: added relevant quote from seasia.co article.
"If we shared everything [we are working on] people would think we are insane!"
-- SpaceX friend of mlindner

Offline envy887

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1748
  • Liked: 755
  • Likes Given: 441
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #134 on: 05/21/2017 01:25 AM »
Cross posting with emphasis mine:
We need to recruit some Indonesian members to watch the local media for us...

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/
Behold my Google foo:
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.”

Edit: added relevant quote from seasia.co article.
40% less for the launch, or for the satellite?

Offline docmordrid

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4086
  • Michigan
  • Liked: 1287
  • Likes Given: 1
Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #135 on: 05/21/2017 02:24 AM »
Either way, it sells itself.
DM

Tags: