Author Topic: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 13)  (Read 291221 times)

Offline GWH

Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 13)
« Reply #440 on: 05/03/2016 05:53 AM »
What I would really like to know is what the price for expendable flights at full capacity is?  Is that marked up with Spacex hoping to make up for pricing 1st flight recoverable cores at a loss? Cover development costs by pricing by mass, where the newly published full capacity comes at a premium?

Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 13)
« Reply #441 on: 05/03/2016 06:36 AM »
What I would really like to know is what the price for expendable flights at full capacity is?

The prices on the SpaceX website are for fully expendable launches.  Max capability.

Quote
Is that marked up with Spacex hoping to make up for pricing 1st flight recoverable cores at a loss? Cover development costs by pricing by mass, where the newly published full capacity comes at a premium?

Musk tweeted that recoverable stages would have 30-40% less capacity, and Shotwell stated that reused stages would be about 30% less than never flown stages.
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 sewebster

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Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 13)
« Reply #442 on: 05/03/2016 06:39 AM »
The prices on the SpaceX website are for fully expendable launches.  Max capability.

No? The prices are for the payload mass listed next to the price. The max capability is listed below, and presumably costs something different...

Offline Zed_Noir

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Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 13)
« Reply #443 on: 05/03/2016 06:46 AM »
What I would really like to know is what the price for expendable flights at full capacity is?  Is that marked up with Spacex hoping to make up for pricing 1st flight recoverable cores at a loss? Cover development costs by pricing by mass, where the newly published full capacity comes at a premium?

The price might also depends on if you are using previous flown cores.

Offline MP99

Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 13)
« Reply #444 on: 05/03/2016 06:50 AM »


Dumb question that may have already been answered about the new performance numbers.

Looking at Falcon Heavy, they state that the GTO performance in fully expendable mode is ~22.2mT, but the $90M price point is only for launches with less than 8mT to GTO.

In the case of the latest single core Falcon 9, it says the $62M is for GTO launches of <5.5mT, when it says the max expendable GTO number is 8.3mT.

Now, downrating from 8.3mT to 5.5mT to GTO for Falcon 9 to account for first stage recovery/reuse seems to make sense. That's about a 34% hit, which is right in the range I've heard people talking about for first stage landing/recovery.

But downrating from 22.2mT to 8mT to GTO for FH for booster/first stage reuse seems kind of a steep penalty to me, or am I misunderstanding what their website is saying? If I'm not misunderstanding it, and reuse of all three first stages on FH is really that performance expensive, I wonder what the price would be if you only wanted to recover the two side boosters, but let the core booster be expended?

~Jon

Agree with rocx re possibly due to 3x RTLS.

But also, I wondered why they only quote a price for GTO launches, and I think the word of the day here is "commoditisation".

ISTM that GTO / super synchronous launches are pretty simple to integrate. They've either flown this bus already on a previous flight, or may expect to fly same in the future so they'll add it into their "library". The launch itself is constrained to a standard perigee, and choice of apogee which determines shortfall-from-GSO. The only other variable is launch time, which determines shadowing of the spacecraft in the early orbits.

So, basically, routine. But, if you're looking for routine, does the commodity ground processing exist for CommSats > 8t at the Cape? (Would be interested to hear answers on that, BTW.)

Ditto for Dragon launches to ISS. Been there, done that.

LEO / MEO launches are more likely to have an unusual spacecraft, and possibly a dispenser for multiple craft. Less commodity, more unique? Not sure if that also increases the ground handling that SpaceX would need to do, and the risk of spacecraft-driven delays?

Not sure re TLI & TMI launches? I'd think at least a greater level of cooperation with the spacecraft’s trajectory-planning team, and maybe other constraints on ground processing (planetary protection, etc)?

TL;DR CommSats < 8t may be more routine than any other category of spacecraft (except Dragon).

Thoughts?

Cheers, Martin

Offline Zed_Noir

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Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 13)
« Reply #445 on: 05/03/2016 07:08 AM »
...
But downrating from 22.2mT to 8mT to GTO for FH for booster/first stage reuse seems kind of a steep penalty to me, or am I misunderstanding what their website is saying? If I'm not misunderstanding it, and reuse of all three first stages on FH is really that performance expensive, I wonder what the price would be if you only wanted to recover the two side boosters, but let the core booster be expended?

~Jon

My guess is that SpaceX is sandbagging the reuse Heavy's GTO payload number until they get some data on how the recovered cores is holding up structurally. Brand new cores should be able to do 22.2mT to GTO once. Not so sure reuse cores can do repeated 8mT+ to GTO. After all no one had any data on re-flown cores with many flights in their service life.

Online cuddihy

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Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 13)
« Reply #446 on: 05/03/2016 11:09 AM »
What would make a reused core have lowered payload on the second launch exactly? If the engines are still good, there's no reason to think the core is functionally any different the second time it launches... I think you're misunderstanding Gwenn when she's referring to the additional margin required for reusability each time it launches.

Offline Chris Bergin

Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 13)
« Reply #447 on: 05/03/2016 12:18 PM »
10 posts about Crewed Dragon's name....it's Dragon 2. It was Dragon V2, but they dropped the V later on for obvious reasons. They dropped "Full Thrust" for another "awkward" reason. I got both of those from near the very top of SpaceX, enough for me to stop using both in articles. :P (Had to trim a bit as one member threw his toys out of the cot).

We've moved on since, so let that mooooove on, as the Rocket Cows would say.

Offline edkyle99

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Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 13)
« Reply #448 on: 05/03/2016 01:20 PM »
10 posts about Crewed Dragon's name....it's Dragon 2. It was Dragon V2, but they dropped the V later on for obvious reasons. They dropped "Full Thrust" for another "awkward" reason. I got both of those from near the very top of SpaceX, enough for me to stop using both in articles. :P (Had to trim a bit as one member threw his toys out of the cot).

We've moved on since, so let that mooooove on, as the Rocket Cows would say.
Thank you Chris.  You are a news hound!

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Offline envy887

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Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 13)
« Reply #449 on: 05/03/2016 01:38 PM »
They are probably sandbagged, but not because reused cores have lower performance. More likely they need to fly FH a few times to learn exactly what performance and margins they can get out of it... Just like they did with F9.

I doubt they are sandbagged too much though, because FH gets most of its performance by flinging the center booster as high and fast as possible (because the upper stage is undersized) which makes full recovery very difficult for GTO payloads over 10t or so.

I'd estimate that expending the center core gets 15 or even 18t to GTO but adds less 50% to the list price.

...
But downrating from 22.2mT to 8mT to GTO for FH for booster/first stage reuse seems kind of a steep penalty to me, or am I misunderstanding what their website is saying? If I'm not misunderstanding it, and reuse of all three first stages on FH is really that performance expensive, I wonder what the price would be if you only wanted to recover the two side boosters, but let the core booster be expended?

~Jon

My guess is that SpaceX is sandbagging the reuse Heavy's GTO payload number until they get some data on how the recovered cores is holding up structurally. Brand new cores should be able to do 22.2mT to GTO once. Not so sure reuse cores can do repeated 8mT+ to GTO. After all no one had any data on re-flown cores with many flights in their service life.

Offline GWH

Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 13)
« Reply #450 on: 05/03/2016 02:37 PM »
IMO it's $62M for 5.5mt to GTO on a new core at reuse capacity,as per what is listed on the website. Used cores $40M for same capacity. Expendable at new upgrade  capacity for some new higher number.  At least until I hear otherwise and the space news article didn't cite a source for the statement they made.
SpaceX made upgrades to allow for recovery at the same price per max payload they listed for the v1.1, costs to upgrade rocket and GSE for densified prop must have been expensive. So if their new expendable capacity is so much higher than charge for it and level the playing field for FH reuse pricing.

Offline nadreck

Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 13)
« Reply #451 on: 05/03/2016 04:01 PM »
I posted this on another thread but it is very relevant to the discussion in the last few posts and it does confuse me because I just don't see the numbers making perfect business sense with the sort of numbers we (many of us on NSF) have suggested before represent realistic assumptions for F9 first stage costs.

From my table before the new thrust levels were announced it looked like all 3 FH cores RTLS could loft 7t to GTO - I am guessing that $90M price tag is RTLS on all 3 cores for some reason even though we know that the 5.5 on F9 is ASDS recovery at $62M.

Something I will point out is that the cost per kg to GTO is virtually the same if you are lofting 5.5t to GTO on an F9 or 8t on an FH, given the stated maximum on an expended F9 is stated at 8.3t I don't believe that this is consistent with S1 cores at the $20M - $25M price point to manufacture that many people here have settled on previously. Even if a brand new S1 costs $30M throwing away a core on an F9 should cost less than the $28M differential from an F9 to and FH recoverable, especially if the F9 launch was ASDS for its one core and the FH launch was RTLS for all 3.
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 GWH

Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 13)
« Reply #452 on: 05/03/2016 04:05 PM »
I'd like to add some numbers to my opinions.
From the previous pricing of the F9 v1.1 we have this:
F9 v1.1 $61.2M for 4.85 mT to GTO =$12,600/kg .  FH v1.1 $90M for 6.4mT to GTO = $14,100/kg
http://wayback.archive.org/web/20160104000832/http://www.spacex.com/about/capabilities

Now we have:
F9 v1.2 $62M for 5.5mT to GTO = $11,300/kg.  FH v1.2 $90M for 8.0mT to GTO = $11,300/kg
Nice, 10% lower cost from what was previously advertised, also note the $/kg for FH and F9 at recoverable capacity is the same.
Reused cores $40M for 5.5mT to GTO? = $7300/kg. 
A reused FH would be $58M at that $/kg rate.

If the F9 V1.2 was truly selling expendable flights at only $62M that would work out to $7500/kg - not much incentive there to fly used.
If instead that expendable rocket sold on a fixed $/kg price at the advertised $11,300/kg how much would it cost? $94M.  Sounds like a good incentive for a customer to bump up to the FH and allow SpaceX to try for recovery of the whole lot with 3 core RTLS.

What reason would SpaceX have to give away profitability on a $/kg basis on expendable flights when Elon's whole goal is to reduce costs through reuse?

« Last Edit: 05/03/2016 04:10 PM by GWH »

Offline wannamoonbase

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Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 13)
« Reply #453 on: 05/03/2016 04:13 PM »
I'd like to add some numbers to my opinions.
From the previous pricing of the F9 v1.1 we have this:
F9 v1.1 $61.2M for 4.85 mT to GTO =$12,600/kg .  FH v1.1 $90M for 6.4mT to GTO = $14,100/kg
http://wayback.archive.org/web/20160104000832/http://www.spacex.com/about/capabilities

Now we have:
F9 v1.2 $62M for 5.5mT to GTO = $11,300/kg.  FH v1.2 $90M for 8.0mT to GTO = $11,300/kg
Nice, 10% lower cost from what was previously advertised, also note the $/kg for FH and F9 at recoverable capacity is the same.
Reused cores $40M for 5.5mT to GTO? = $7300/kg. 
A reused FH would be $58M at that $/kg rate.

If the F9 V1.2 was truly selling expendable flights at only $62M that would work out to $7500/kg - not much incentive there to fly used.
If instead that expendable rocket sold on a fixed $/kg price at the advertised $11,300/kg how much would it cost? $94M.  Sounds like a good incentive for a customer to bump up to the FH and allow SpaceX to try for recovery of the whole lot with 3 core RTLS.

What reason would SpaceX have to give away profitability on a $/kg basis on expendable flights when Elon's whole goal is to reduce costs through reuse?

Keep in mind that currently all estimates of refurbishment and re-useability costs have a wide margin of error.

If reuse works out, and as they acquire experience and make improvements it seems likely these numbers will improve.  Especially with the next generation family of vehicles follow the Falcon.
Needing a copy of 'Tales of Suspense #39'

Offline Stan-1967

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Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 13)
« Reply #454 on: 05/03/2016 04:43 PM »

What reason would SpaceX have to give away profitability on a $/kg basis on expendable flights when Elon's whole goal is to reduce costs through reuse?

A good reason would be that current customers are not booking "kilograms" to orbit, they book a payload to orbit.   Until a market evolves, such as propellant, water, etc., that has kilograms as the payload metric, & is scalable within a launch profile, it will remain the best path for SpaceX to price vehicles as they are.    For a given flight profile, i.e DPL, or RTLS, the price will be set by the ammortization rate on the boosters, drone ships +crew, landing pads etc.   Within the flight profile of each case, the costs will be treated as fixed.   

Offline matthewkantar

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Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 13)
« Reply #455 on: 05/03/2016 04:57 PM »
SpaceX is patiently retraining everybody who thinks about and uses rockets. Does Delta airlines publish a price for a "fully expendable" Boeing 787? The vision is to get the world to the point where you wouldn't think of throwing out a perfectly good machine, just about booking or building a more capable one.

Enjoy, Matthew

Offline jongoff

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Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 13)
« Reply #456 on: 05/03/2016 05:03 PM »
I doubt they are sandbagged too much though, because FH gets most of its performance by flinging the center booster as high and fast as possible (because the upper stage is undersized) which makes full recovery very difficult for GTO payloads over 10t or so.

I'd estimate that expending the center core gets 15 or even 18t to GTO but adds less 50% to the list price.

Envy,

Yeah, I haven't run the numbers, but my guess is the 8mT number is for booster recovery at LZ and core recovery by ASDS. It makes sense that if you're propulsively decelerating the core to get it slow enough for recovery to work, there's only so much more delta-V the core can provide the payload + upper stage before you hit diminishing returns. They might be sandbagging a bit while they try to figure out how how little prop they can get away with while still having a decent core stage recovery percentage, but probably not by a ton.

As it is though, 8mT to GTO covers all but the heaviest GEO satellites, and I agree with you that by expending the core stage, they ought to be able to get up to the 15-18mT range that would be able to cover pretty much anything else.

It'll be interesting to see how much the price comes down once they start figuring out reuse. Because these list prices are the prices they give if you keep the payload light enough to recover the first stages, but I don't think they yet factor in the savings they could provide by reusing those stages. If they can really get say a reusable Falcon Heavy (8mT to GTO) down by 30%, that would be ~$63M, which would be pretty impressive.

~Jon

Offline GWH

Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 13)
« Reply #457 on: 05/03/2016 05:05 PM »
A good reason would be that current customers are not booking "kilograms" to orbit, they book a payload to orbit.   Until a market evolves, such as propellant, water, etc., that has kilograms as the payload metric, & is scalable within a launch profile, it will remain the best path for SpaceX to price vehicles as they are.    For a given flight profile, i.e DPL, or RTLS, the price will be set by the ammortization rate on the boosters, drone ships +crew, landing pads etc.   Within the flight profile of each case, the costs will be treated as fixed.

EXACT $/kg isn't a metric but they will still need some way to price to account for differences within each payload class that covers a given recovery method.  $/kg for a set max capacity seems like a logical way to do it.
For smaller payloads an F9 at RTLS will cost spaceX less variable cost to recover - higher chances of success, no costs for barge and GoQuest and more difficult unload in port.  My bet is these "easy" new F9s that are RTLS sell for less.  40% payload hit on 8.0mT = 5.0mT which would be $56.5M sale price at $11,300/kg. 

Same logic applies for FH, if you add ocean recovery of central core, expendable center and full expendable to meet larger payloads the selling price will need to rise to cover increased costs.  Some variation on $/kg pricing will be needed, how else do you quantify value?
« Last Edit: 05/03/2016 05:44 PM by GWH »

Offline yg1968

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Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 13)
« Reply #458 on: 05/03/2016 05:14 PM »
SpaceX is patiently retraining everybody who thinks about and uses rockets. Does Delta airlines publish a price for a "fully expendable" Boeing 787? The vision is to get the world to the point where you wouldn't think of throwing out a perfectly good machine, just about booking or building a more capable one.

Enjoy, Matthew

Maybe that's why they are relunctant to give a precise discount number for reuse. The first flight of a reused F9 will get a huge discount but that reuse discount will get smaller and smaller, as time goes by, until it disapears completely. 
« Last Edit: 05/03/2016 05:15 PM by yg1968 »

Offline WindnWar

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Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 13)
« Reply #459 on: 05/03/2016 07:56 PM »
With Falcon 9 able to launch 5.5mt payloads with reuse doesn't that start to go after the Ariane 5 business that previously either needed the larger upper berth as they were too big to fit in the lower berth under Sylda? I know they have discounted the lower berth payloads to be able to compete on price better and I seem to recall charging a premium for the upper berth payloads.

I wonder what effect this will have on future competitions, if your sat was too big for the lower position but small enough to now fit easily on Falcon 9. Viasat 2 was waiting on a Falcon Heavy but due to delays switched to Ariane, in expendable mode though a Falcon 9 should be able to lift it. Of course it all depends on flight rate.

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