Author Topic: Is this really a Age of Reflight?  (Read 7442 times)

Offline gospacex

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Re: Is this really a Age of Reflight?
« Reply #20 on: 05/09/2017 06:32 PM »
If so, it began on November 12, 1981 when Columbia made her second flight.

The Shuttle ET was left to disintegrate in the atmosphere, the SRBs were basically hollow tubes after the dynamite was set off while being exposed to salt water and the weather, and the Orbiter was almost rebuilt/heavily refurbished that took millions and many months to prepare again.
The SRBs brought back costly avionics in addition to their structures.  Even the parachutes were recovered and reused.

But then, "Economy of reuse is not proven" ((c) Jim) came and bit SRBs in the butt: cost of reused SRBs was about the same as the cost of a new set of SRBs. IIRC, $40m.

Offline edkyle99

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Re: Is this really a[n] Age of Reflight?
« Reply #21 on: 05/09/2017 07:42 PM »
The SRBs brought back costly avionics in addition to their structures.  Even the parachutes were recovered and reused.

But then, "Economy of reuse is not proven" ((c) Jim) came and bit SRBs in the butt: cost of reused SRBs was about the same as the cost of a new set of SRBs. IIRC, $40m.
That has always been my understanding.  I would love to see some actual cost accounting for proof.  The entire STS was designed for a higher flight rate where the payoff for recovery was supposed to work out better.

I have to wonder if VTVL recovery doesn't also end up a wash, cost-wise.  It probably depends on a million little details that SpaceX itself is still working out.

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 05/09/2017 07:49 PM by edkyle99 »

Offline john smith 19

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Re: Is this really a Age of Reflight?
« Reply #22 on: 05/09/2017 08:13 PM »
Thanks for your input! I am always learning on how to improve what needs work. Although English isn't really my power house if you ask me. Math and science is what I excel at.
Quite possibly. However unless you are a billionaire already you will need to raise large scale support for your ideas and you will have you have to express them in English (or whatever language you're dealing with). BTW expressing complex ideas in (apparently) simple language is a surprisingly tricky skill to develop.
Quote from: SpaceNerdHerder
I can always refer to the tech that was created by SPACEX/Blue Origin and how that can benefit Americans (Such as being one of the leaders in spaceflight,  providing space tourism for Americans, and expanding the space program) and potentially the world.
You can also point out that people have talked about stage reuse since  the 1960's but none of those concepts had grid fins or anything like them. This suggests that none of those concepts would have actually worked in practice.
"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 gospacex

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Re: Is this really a Age of Reflight?
« Reply #23 on: 05/09/2017 09:03 PM »
The SRBs brought back costly avionics in addition to their structures.  Even the parachutes were recovered and reused.

But then, "Economy of reuse is not proven" ((c) Jim) came and bit SRBs in the butt: cost of reused SRBs was about the same as the cost of a new set of SRBs. IIRC, $40m.
That has always been my understanding.  I would love to see some actual cost accounting for proof.  The entire STS was designed for a higher flight rate where the payoff for recovery was supposed to work out better.

I have to wonder if VTVL recovery doesn't also end up a wash, cost-wise.  It probably depends on a million little details that SpaceX itself is still working out.

Something tells me Elon won't be shipping 175 tons of hardware 2500 kilometers from Florida to Utah, and back, for every reuse :)

Offline tdperk

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Re: Is this really a Age of Reflight?
« Reply #24 on: 05/10/2017 12:42 AM »
If so, it began on November 12, 1981 when Columbia made her second flight.

Only for economically useless values of re-flight.

Offline tdperk

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Re: Is this really a Age of Reflight?
« Reply #25 on: 05/10/2017 12:54 AM »
If so, it began on November 12, 1981 when Columbia made her second flight.

The Shuttle ET was left to disintegrate in the atmosphere, the SRBs were basically hollow tubes after the dynamite was set off while being exposed to salt water and the weather, and the Orbiter was almost rebuilt/heavily refurbished that took millions and many months to prepare again.
The SRBs brought back costly avionics in addition to their structures.  Even the parachutes were recovered and reused.  The orbiter brought back all of the really costly pieces - the SSMEs, the OMEs, and the redundant flight avionics.

SpaceX throws away half of its rocket even when it does recover its first stage.  The Falcon 9 second stage carries the guidance system and most of the vehicle's other avionics, all of which are thrown away. 

SpaceX throws away its entire rocket on some flights.  In the future, as more customers want more mass lifted to orbit for those low, low SpaceX prices, the company will likely have to perform an increasing number of expendable flights.

This is not meant to minimize the achievements.  First stage VTVL achieved by SpaceX (and Blue Origin suborbital) is a big deal.  Shuttle was also a big achievement.  Its relatively rapid reuse allowed NASA to maintain a robust human space program for three decades - something the Agency is having a hard time trying to replicate today.

 - Ed Kyle

"SpaceX throws away half of its rocket even when it does recover its first stage."  <--  One third, and less when fairings are recovered.

What's more, the Shuttle accomplished nothing at all towards the point of reflight, which is lowering cost.

Point of fact, NASA is not having a hard time replicating a crewed space program, for relative peanuts it will have three system able to do so soon--admittedly, most of those peanuts are going to another white elephant, but that's beside the point.  If the Shuttle had been kept flying at a lower rate and commercial space contracted as law demands, we would never have seen a gap.

Offline Thorny

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Re: Is this really a Age of Reflight?
« Reply #26 on: 05/10/2017 01:28 AM »
If so, it began on November 12, 1981 when Columbia made her second flight.

Only for economically useless values of re-flight.

The original poster didn't specify that it had to be economically viable. Only that it was the age of reflight, which the Space Shuttle undoubtedly did.

Online QuantumG

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Re: Is this really a Age of Reflight?
« Reply #27 on: 05/10/2017 01:30 AM »
The original poster didn't specify that it had to be economically viable. Only that it was the age of reflight, which the Space Shuttle undoubtedly did.

So did Gemini 2, if you don't want to count the X-15 for whatever reason.



Jeff Bezos has billions to spend on rockets and can go at whatever pace he likes! Wow! What pace is he going at? Well... have you heard of Zeno's paradox?

Offline SpaceNerdHerder

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Re: Is this really a Age of Reflight?
« Reply #28 on: 05/10/2017 01:48 AM »
If so, it began on November 12, 1981 when Columbia made her second flight.

Only for economically useless values of re-flight.

The original poster didn't specify that it had to be economically viable. Only that it was the age of reflight, which the Space Shuttle undoubtedly did.

"Blue Origin, Space X, China and ULA have been scrambling to launch cheaper and bigger" I should have specified that it did have to be economically viable, but I did assume many would know Space X's intentions of launching, landing and re launching the same core (to "dramatically reduce cost").

Offline SpaceNerdHerder

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Re: Is this really a Age of Reflight?
« Reply #29 on: 05/10/2017 01:51 AM »
Thanks for your input! I am always learning on how to improve what needs work. Although English isn't really my power house if you ask me. Math and science is what I excel at.
Quite possibly. However unless you are a billionaire already you will need to raise large scale support for your ideas and you will have you have to express them in English (or whatever language you're dealing with). BTW expressing complex ideas in (apparently) simple language is a surprisingly tricky skill to develop.
Quote from: SpaceNerdHerder
I can always refer to the tech that was created by SPACEX/Blue Origin and how that can benefit Americans (Such as being one of the leaders in spaceflight,  providing space tourism for Americans, and expanding the space program) and potentially the world.
You can also point out that people have talked about stage reuse since  the 1960's but none of those concepts had grid fins or anything like them. This suggests that none of those concepts would have actually worked in practice.

Like I have said, I have always been open to improving myself and my methods. No doubt that communicating is important, but English is my second language.

 After all, we always learn new stuff.

Offline Thorny

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Re: Is this really a Age of Reflight?
« Reply #30 on: 05/10/2017 02:07 AM »
"Blue Origin, Space X, China and ULA have been scrambling to launch cheaper and bigger" I should have specified that it did have to be economically viable, but I did assume many would know Space X's intentions of launching, landing and re launching the same core (to "dramatically reduce cost").

In that case, a more appropriate name would be "Age of Low-Cost Spaceflight" or something along those lines. Reflight is nothing new, but dramatically lower launch costs (which are yet to be proven) will be.

Offline SpaceNerdHerder

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Re: Is this really a Age of Reflight?
« Reply #31 on: 05/10/2017 02:21 AM »
"Blue Origin, Space X, China and ULA have been scrambling to launch cheaper and bigger" I should have specified that it did have to be economically viable, but I did assume many would know Space X's intentions of launching, landing and re launching the same core (to "dramatically reduce cost").

In that case, a more appropriate name would be "Age of Low-Cost Spaceflight" or something along those lines. Reflight is nothing new, but dramatically lower launch costs (which are yet to be proven) will be.

I would say that name needs more jazz. I thought "Age of Reflight" is a pretty cool name. Long, and not that catchy phrases for a name of a time period for can dull for us students reading textbooks! 

Offline SpaceNerdHerder

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Re: Is this really a[n] Age of Reflight?
« Reply #32 on: 05/10/2017 02:29 AM »
The SRBs brought back costly avionics in addition to their structures.  Even the parachutes were recovered and reused.

But then, "Economy of reuse is not proven" ((c) Jim) came and bit SRBs in the butt: cost of reused SRBs was about the same as the cost of a new set of SRBs. IIRC, $40m.
That has always been my understanding.  I would love to see some actual cost accounting for proof.  The entire STS was designed for a higher flight rate where the payoff for recovery was supposed to work out better.

I have to wonder if VTVL recovery doesn't also end up a wash, cost-wise.  It probably depends on a million little details that SpaceX itself is still working out.

 - Ed Kyle

If I remember correctly, the resued stage for SES 10 was about half or less than half of what the first stage costs to make and the first stage makes up perhaps 60-70% of the rocket? I do not remember correctly.

Now add in the fairings which cost 5 million, and potentially the upper stage being re-usable "by late next year" (Someone try converting Elon time to normal time). That right there is almost 100%-ish of the rocket re used and tons of money saved.

Granted, we do not really know how much they spent on refurbishing it (Probably high?), but I am sure with enough research and improvements the price in refurb will drop.

Offline edkyle99

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Re: Is this really a Age of Reflight?
« Reply #33 on: 05/10/2017 02:40 AM »
The SRBs brought back costly avionics in addition to their structures.  Even the parachutes were recovered and reused.

But then, "Economy of reuse is not proven" ((c) Jim) came and bit SRBs in the butt: cost of reused SRBs was about the same as the cost of a new set of SRBs. IIRC, $40m.
That has always been my understanding.  I would love to see some actual cost accounting for proof.  The entire STS was designed for a higher flight rate where the payoff for recovery was supposed to work out better.

I have to wonder if VTVL recovery doesn't also end up a wash, cost-wise.  It probably depends on a million little details that SpaceX itself is still working out.

Something tells me Elon won't be shipping 175 tons of hardware 2500 kilometers from Florida to Utah, and back, for every reuse :)
It may not have been quite that much mass.   I think that the Aft Skirt, Forward Skirt and Nose assemblies were processed at KSC.  The motor segments themselves obviously went back to Utah.

 - Ed Kyle

Offline edkyle99

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Re: Is this really a[n] Age of Reflight?
« Reply #34 on: 05/10/2017 03:07 AM »
What's more, the Shuttle accomplished nothing at all towards the point of reflight, which is lowering cost.

Point of fact, NASA is not having a hard time replicating a crewed space program, for relative peanuts it will have three system able to do so soon--admittedly, most of those peanuts are going to another white elephant, but that's beside the point.  If the Shuttle had been kept flying at a lower rate and commercial space contracted as law demands, we would never have seen a gap.
STS flew 6-8 times per year during the 1990s.  Commercial crew won't fly that often. 

STS brought steady long-term HSF budgets.  I'm not sure those budgets would have been so steady had expendable new launch vehicle and spacecraft contacts had to have been contracted every few years.  Look what happened to Titan 4, for example.

Re: the "hard time" bit, Commercial Crew is already sitting on several years of delays and there is talk of more delay.  There will almost certainly be "hard times" in this development work.  No human spacecraft has managed to avoid difficulties, and more than a few have suffered tragedies, during development. 

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 05/10/2017 03:09 AM by edkyle99 »

Offline john smith 19

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Re: Is this really a[n] Age of Reflight?
« Reply #35 on: 05/10/2017 08:08 AM »
STS flew 6-8 times per year during the 1990s.  Commercial crew won't fly that often. 
OTOH their LV's should fly more often than that and that's important to maintain launch team skills.
Quote from: edkyle99
STS brought steady long-term HSF budgets.  I'm not sure those budgets would have been so steady had expendable new launch vehicle and spacecraft contacts had to have been contracted every few years.  Look what happened to Titan 4, for example.
Won't that depend on what destinations those vehicles have to go to ?
Quote from: edkyle99
Re: the "hard time" bit, Commercial Crew is already sitting on several years of delays and there is talk of more delay.  There will almost certainly be "hard times" in this development work.
Consistent under funding by Congress has not helped matters.  :( Despite that SX have managed to flight test various systems on Dragon. Orion has taken 10 years (2004-2014) to get to an uncrewed test flight and as of now about 19 years to get to a crewed flight.
Quote from: edkyle99
No human spacecraft has managed to avoid difficulties, and more than a few have suffered tragedies, during development. 
Which is why people should study "lessons learned" reports and incorporate the results into new designs.

That would explain why US spacecraft no longer use 100% O2 for their atmosphere and the next generation of US HSF vehicles will carry an LES.
« Last Edit: 05/10/2017 08:12 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 john smith 19

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Re: Is this really a[n] Age of Reflight?
« Reply #36 on: 05/10/2017 08:19 AM »
If I remember correctly, the resued stage for SES 10 was about half or less than half of what the first stage costs to make and the first stage makes up perhaps 60-70% of the rocket? I do not remember correctly.
Yes those are about right. However this was for a 1st of a kind effort, which historically are likely to be a lot more expensive as a company learns what is needed, what can be left alone and what might
Quote from: SpaceNerdHerder
Now add in the fairings which cost 5 million, and potentially the upper stage being re-usable "by late next year" (Someone try converting Elon time to normal time). That right there is almost 100%-ish of the rocket re used and tons of money saved.
I've not anyone claim Musk has said that. I know he has talked about an attempt at upper stage recovery during the FH flight test (NET September 17) but he called that a "hail Mary" shot.
Quote from: SpaceNerdHerder
Granted, we do not really know how much they spent on refurbishing it (Probably high?), but I am sure with enough research and improvements the price in refurb will drop.
When everything is a step into unknown territory anything could have unexpected consequences. However once a path has been established you can have confidence that the next time will be faster and cheaper. 

There is a cost modelling game available which allows you change costs and prices of SX launches to see what effects maintenance and build costs have on breakeven launch numbers.
« Last Edit: 05/10/2017 03:54 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.

Offline gospacex

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Re: Is this really a Age of Reflight?
« Reply #37 on: 05/10/2017 11:04 AM »
The SRBs brought back costly avionics in addition to their structures.  Even the parachutes were recovered and reused.

But then, "Economy of reuse is not proven" ((c) Jim) came and bit SRBs in the butt: cost of reused SRBs was about the same as the cost of a new set of SRBs. IIRC, $40m.
That has always been my understanding.  I would love to see some actual cost accounting for proof.  The entire STS was designed for a higher flight rate where the payoff for recovery was supposed to work out better.

I have to wonder if VTVL recovery doesn't also end up a wash, cost-wise.  It probably depends on a million little details that SpaceX itself is still working out.

Something tells me Elon won't be shipping 175 tons of hardware 2500 kilometers from Florida to Utah, and back, for every reuse :)
It may not have been quite that much mass.   I think that the Aft Skirt, Forward Skirt and Nose assemblies were processed at KSC.  The motor segments themselves obviously went back to Utah.

On the contrary, the mass was much larger - I forgot that on the trek back, the segments are *filled*, which makes them weigh 1100 tons for one flight.

The point here is not the exact weight, the point is: the way STS program worked, NASA did not care that they were blowing $40m per "reuse", and ATK would be actively opposing anyone trying to fix this "problem", since for them, it's not a problem - it's the source of $$$.

STS could not possibly give us cheap access to space because of *how it was organized* as a program.
« Last Edit: 05/10/2017 11:06 AM by gospacex »

Offline gospacex

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Re: Is this really a Age of Reflight?
« Reply #38 on: 05/10/2017 11:18 AM »
STS flew 6-8 times per year during the 1990s.

STS brought steady long-term HSF budgets.

Just listen to what you just said. "STS was good because it has a fixed cost of $4bn per year for 4-8 flights". You *literally* argue that having a very financially inefficient system is somehow a good thing.

This is the key difference.
For a business, providing a service cheaply is a good thing (because competition).
For a govt program, some parts of the program are in fact incentivized to provide a service in the most expensive way possible.

And you just gave us one example how this can be phrased as seemingly a good thing. "We brought steady long-term budgets". I betcha STS also "helped local economy" and "created a ton of secondary jobs" all over the country. :/

Offline Eerie

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Re: Is this really a Age of Reflight?
« Reply #39 on: 05/10/2017 11:42 AM »
"Blue Origin, Space X, China and ULA have been scrambling to launch cheaper and bigger" I should have specified that it did have to be economically viable, but I did assume many would know Space X's intentions of launching, landing and re launching the same core (to "dramatically reduce cost").

In that case, a more appropriate name would be "Age of Low-Cost Spaceflight" or something along those lines. Reflight is nothing new, but dramatically lower launch costs (which are yet to be proven) will be.

Except that "Age of Low-Cost Spaceflight"  hasn't arrived yet. Unless you consider the expendable Falcon 9 price to be it. It say 10x cheaper should be a good cutoff.

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