Author Topic: First reflown stage used to launch SpaceX internet sats?  (Read 7122 times)

Offline FishInferno

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I have been thinking, the first time a used first stage will be reflown on a Falcon, there will probably be considerable concerns about the impact on mission reliability.  So what if the first payload to be flown on a reused stage was a load of SpaceX internet satellites?  There would be no loss to a customer if it failed, and SpaceX needs to launch those satellites anyway.
Comparing SpaceX and SLS is like comparing paying people to plant fruit trees with merely digging holes and filling them.  - Robotbeat

Online CameronD

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Re: First reflown stage used to launch SpaceX internet sats?
« Reply #1 on: 10/05/2015 12:38 AM »
Well.. if it failed whilst carrying a load of SpaceX's own satellites, that would certainly be a loss to SpaceX.

Whether or not they are willing to take the risk, I guess only time will tell.
With sufficient thrust, pigs fly just fine - however, this is not necessarily a good idea. It is hard to be sure where they are
going to land, and it could be dangerous sitting under them as they fly overhead.

Offline FishInferno

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Re: First reflown stage used to launch SpaceX internet sats?
« Reply #2 on: 10/05/2015 12:54 AM »
Well.. if it failed whilst carrying a load of SpaceX's own satellites, that would certainly be a loss to SpaceX.

Yes, but I think that would be better than losing another customer's payload.

Whether or not they are willing to take the risk, I guess only time will tell.

They will have to take it sooner or later, no matter the payload.
Comparing SpaceX and SLS is like comparing paying people to plant fruit trees with merely digging holes and filling them.  - Robotbeat

Online guckyfan

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Re: First reflown stage used to launch SpaceX internet sats?
« Reply #3 on: 10/05/2015 05:46 AM »
SES has already asked to refly first on a stage that has flown a SES satellite before.

 :)

Offline wannamoonbase

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Re: First reflown stage used to launch SpaceX internet sats?
« Reply #4 on: 10/05/2015 05:53 PM »
SpaceX has a huge back log of customers.  If they start bumping customers for their own payloads they will have a customer satisfaction issue.  They are already behind in projected flight rate and schedule.

If there is unused secondary payload capacity, or an empty demonstration vehicle like the FH then

Also, proper accounting will have the satellite arm of SpaceX have to pay the launch arm of the company, so it's not like SpaceX can give itself a free lunch.

Regards, they really need to stop tinkering and get a bunch of these F9's off the ground.
SpaceX, just a few things planned for 2018: FH, Starlink Prototypes, Block 5, Dragon 2, Increased launch rate.

Offline nadreck

In 2016 and probably for most of 2017, the only SpaceX comms network would be 1 2 or 3 small sats that are part of development testing and would go up as secondary payloads. My bet is on SES being the first main payload on a reflown booster.
It is all well and good to quote those things that made it past your confirmation bias that other people wrote, but this is a discussion board damnit! Let us know what you think! And why!

Offline wannamoonbase

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Re: First reflown stage used to launch SpaceX internet sats?
« Reply #6 on: 10/06/2015 03:51 AM »
In 2016 and probably for most of 2017, the only SpaceX comms network would be 1 2 or 3 small sats that are part of development testing and would go up as secondary payloads. My bet is on SES being the first main payload on a reflown booster.


A more interesting question is when will a booster be reused.  First half of '16 would be really great to see.
SpaceX, just a few things planned for 2018: FH, Starlink Prototypes, Block 5, Dragon 2, Increased launch rate.

Online CameronD

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Re: First reflown stage used to launch SpaceX internet sats?
« Reply #7 on: 10/06/2015 05:00 AM »
A more interesting question is when will a booster be reused.  First half of '16 would be really great to see.

True.  But to do so, they have to successfully land one first.

..or could a booster be considered 'reused' if it includes, say, a part of a leg or a section of outer skin?  :P
 
With sufficient thrust, pigs fly just fine - however, this is not necessarily a good idea. It is hard to be sure where they are
going to land, and it could be dangerous sitting under them as they fly overhead.

Online Coastal Ron

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Re: First reflown stage used to launch SpaceX internet sats?
« Reply #8 on: 10/06/2015 05:31 AM »
I have been thinking, the first time a used first stage will be reflown on a Falcon, there will probably be considerable concerns about the impact on mission reliability.

As guckyfan mentioned, SES is interested in using the recovered 1st stage from their SES-9 flight.  From a SpaceNews article about this:

"Satellite fleet operator SES on June 17 said it wants to reuse the first stage of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket that will launch the SES-9 satellite by September for a future, discounted SpaceX launch, and is awaiting the response of SpaceX."

This was before the CRS-7 accident, but that may not change their desires regarding reusability.
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Offline FishInferno

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Re: First reflown stage used to launch SpaceX internet sats?
« Reply #9 on: 10/06/2015 01:50 PM »
Interesting, but is it certain that SES wants to use THE first reflown stage, not just the one used on the previous SES launch?
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Offline Kabloona

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Re: First reflown stage used to launch SpaceX internet sats?
« Reply #10 on: 10/06/2015 01:53 PM »
Spaceflight (the guys who just bought an F9 ride for multiple small payloads in 2017) have also said they would be interested in buying a ride on a used F9.

http://www.seattletimes.com/business/boeing-aerospace/seattle-company-books-a-full-spacex-rocket-for-2017-launch/

Quote
“Once reusable rockets come on line, we do plan on buying those,” said Blake.

Spaceflight would be an ideal first customer for a first reflight, since they are bundling multiple smaller, lower-value payloads who may be willing to take the risk in exchange for the discount vs. buying a ride on a new booster.
« Last Edit: 10/06/2015 01:57 PM by Kabloona »

Offline cdleonard

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Re: First reflown stage used to launch SpaceX internet sats?
« Reply #11 on: 10/06/2015 02:16 PM »
Quote
“Our launch vehicle for SES-9 will be a recoverable vehicle,” Halliwell said. “We believe they will be able to recover it on this mission. We actually asked them: If we do recover it, can we use it again and get a good price discount? We’re still in discussions.”

SES-8 was the first GTO flight of the Falcon 9 v1.1. They are sending SES-9 on the first v1.2 (and the first flight after a failure). They got good discounts for that and probably expect something similar in order to be the first to fly on a reused stage.

It's in the interest of SES to support multiple launch providers but it is also very much about money. They are getting some good deals out of this.

Offline Impaler

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Re: First reflown stage used to launch SpaceX internet sats?
« Reply #12 on: 10/08/2015 09:47 PM »
The market is clearly treating used rockets as a different product that have to be explicitly purchased by customers.  That means the existing queue of customers are in line for new rockets and folks who are putting down markers for used ones are essentially forming a new queue which gives them the potential to jump ahead in launch data which is a big incentive to accept what might be a riskier vehicle, much the same dynamic that caused people to go for SpaceX when it was new, schedule can be as important as price.

Offline mme

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Re: First reflown stage used to launch SpaceX internet sats?
« Reply #13 on: 10/08/2015 10:48 PM »
The market is clearly treating used rockets as a different product that have to be explicitly purchased by customers.  That means the existing queue of customers are in line for new rockets and folks who are putting down markers for used ones are essentially forming a new queue which gives them the potential to jump ahead in launch data which is a big incentive to accept what might be a riskier vehicle, much the same dynamic that caused people to go for SpaceX when it was new, schedule can be as important as price.
That is quite a leap from a few offhand comments.  People are use to the terminology of "buying" a rocket because they are single use.  I don't think any one will actually buy the rocket like some sort of analog to a "bottle club".  The logistics get too ridiculous.  SpaceX has no interest in being known for rocket failures, they will want absolute control over the maintenance and retiring of "pre-flown" rockets.
« Last Edit: 10/09/2015 06:41 PM by mme »
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Offline cdleonard

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Re: First reflown stage used to launch SpaceX internet sats?
« Reply #14 on: 10/09/2015 12:22 AM »
The market is clearly treating used rockets as a different product that have to be explicitly purchased by customers.  That means the existing queue of customers are in line for new rockets and folks who are putting down markers for used ones are essentially forming a new queue which gives them the potential to jump ahead in launch data which is a big incentive to accept what might be a riskier vehicle, much the same dynamic that caused people to go for SpaceX when it was new, schedule can be as important as price.

Used rockets are not really "a different product". SpaceX doesn't actually sell rockets anyway, they sell launches. A launch on a reused rocket delivers the same result (satellite in orbit) using slightly different technology.

The risk is similar to being the first to fly with a new engine or the first flight of the F9FT variant.

Offline john smith 19

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Re: First reflown stage used to launch SpaceX internet sats?
« Reply #15 on: 10/09/2015 08:10 AM »
SES-8 was the first GTO flight of the Falcon 9 v1.1. They are sending SES-9 on the first v1.2 (and the first flight after a failure). They got good discounts for that and probably expect something similar in order to be the first to fly on a reused stage.
Customers wanting multiple launches were always the most likely first adopters of reuse since they already want to launch again

Given that SX are getting a 1st stage  back SES should be getting an excellent deal on 1st launch as well. It's a high(ish) risk and a high reward for both SES and SX.

Had CRS 7 happened to the the SES flight it would not only grounded F9SR pending investigation but also leave SES needing a new satellite and a new 1st stage, when the whole point of the exercise is to avoid the cost of a 2nd 1st stage.

The worst case scenario would actually be if SX reckons the stage is only good for 2 reuses (highly doubtful IMHO but no one will know till a stage is recovered) then a 1st stage failure would eliminate all savings  :(

I'll repeat that I think the 1st stage will be capable for multiple reuses but there's only one way to find out for sure.



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