Author Topic: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION  (Read 234833 times)

Offline gongora

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #120 on: 04/07/2017 07:47 PM »
So NROL effectively cost SpaceX $62m of lost revenue for the 2017 calendar year. That's based on the two week launch cadence that SpaceX now seems capable of, barring external delays.

So by moving their entire launch schedule out by two weeks, that is effectively one launch they cost SpaceX this year. This vulnerability is something that has to change if SpaceX is to achieve the economies of scale fundamental to its long term business model.

$62m. And it seems all they can do is grin and bear it.
Delays are part of doing business as many of SpaceX's customers will tell you.

But regular delays of this magnitude cannot be part of the business that SpaceX is trying to build. Rapid launch cadence is a fundamental part of their business model.

SpaceX cost themselves months of delay when one of their rockets blew up and damaged the other launch pad.  If the other pad was up this wouldn't be an issue.

Offline M.E.T.

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #121 on: 04/07/2017 07:53 PM »
So NROL effectively cost SpaceX $62m of lost revenue for the 2017 calendar year. That's based on the two week launch cadence that SpaceX now seems capable of, barring external delays.

So by moving their entire launch schedule out by two weeks, that is effectively one launch they cost SpaceX this year. This vulnerability is something that has to change if SpaceX is to achieve the economies of scale fundamental to its long term business model.

$62m. And it seems all they can do is grin and bear it.
Delays are part of doing business as many of SpaceX's customers will tell you.

But regular delays of this magnitude cannot be part of the business that SpaceX is trying to build. Rapid launch cadence is a fundamental part of their business model.

SpaceX cost themselves months of delay when one of their rockets blew up and damaged the other launch pad.  If the other pad was up this wouldn't be an issue.

Part of the solution that has to be found, yes. Maybe supporting an argument for redundant launch pads, despite additional running costs. In any case, the point was that a two week delay is now quantifiable in monetary terms, since SpaceX has successfully demonstrated a two week turnaround time in line with their stated short term cadence goal. It is essentially one lost launch for the year.

Offline gongora

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #122 on: 04/07/2017 07:56 PM »
Part of the solution that has to be found, yes. Maybe supporting an argument for redundant launch pads, despite additional running costs. In any case, the point was that a two week delay is now quantifiable in monetary terms, since SpaceX has successfully demonstrated a two week turnaround time in line with their stated short term cadence goal. It is essentially one lost launch for the year.

Their stated goal for the year is 20-24 launches.  That includes several launches from Vandenberg, and maybe a couple from 39-A after SLC-40 is back online.  This will delay some other launches by a couple weeks, but may not affect their overall number of launches for the year.

Offline mme

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #123 on: 04/07/2017 08:15 PM »
...
Part of the solution that has to be found, yes. Maybe supporting an argument for redundant launch pads, despite additional running costs. In any case, the point was that a two week delay is now quantifiable in monetary terms, since SpaceX has successfully demonstrated a two week turnaround time in line with their stated short term cadence goal. It is essentially one lost launch for the year.
SpaceX customer's have been waiting years for their launches. Yes, delays will mess with SpaceX's cadence.  Maybe at some point there will be mutually binding penalties for delays.

But if such penalties had been in existence and draconian then SpaceX would have been out of business years ago. We don't even know NROL is the issue.  But either way, SpaceX has a debt to pay back to it's customers who have been incredibly patient and supportive.  The launch industry is not (yet) a high speed production line especially when SpaceX has been involved.  Getting there will be a process.
« Last Edit: 04/07/2017 09:03 PM by mme »
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Offline M.E.T.

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #124 on: 04/07/2017 08:19 PM »
...
Part of the solution that has to be found, yes. Maybe supporting an argument for redundant launch pads, despite additional running costs. In any case, the point was that a two week delay is now quantifiable in monetary terms, since SpaceX has successfully demonstrated a two week turnaround time in line with their stated short term cadence goal. It is essentially one lost launch for the year.
SpaceX customer's have been waiting years for their launches. Yes, delays will mess with SpaceX's cadence.  Maybe at some point there will by mutually binding penalties for delays.

But if such penalties had been in existence and draconian then SpaceX would have been out of business years ago. We don't even know the NROL is the issue.  But either way, SpaceX has a debt to pay back to it's customers who have been incredibly patient and supportive.  The launch industry is not (yet) a high speed production line especially when SpaceX has been involved.  Getting there will be a process.

I agree about the process that will take time. I disagree about the debt to their customers.

Are we aware of a large number of customers who were deliberately delaying the launches of their costly satellites on alternatively available launch vehicles simply out of loyalty to SpaceX? Or did most of them have little choice in the matter?

It seems the global launch market is pretty mcuh fully booked for years in advance.

Offline macpacheco

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #125 on: 04/07/2017 08:20 PM »
So NROL effectively cost SpaceX $62m of lost revenue for the 2017 calendar year. That's based on the two week launch cadence that SpaceX now seems capable of, barring external delays.

So by moving their entire launch schedule out by two weeks, that is effectively one launch they cost SpaceX this year. This vulnerability is something that has to change if SpaceX is to achieve the economies of scale fundamental to its long term business model.

$62m. And it seems all they can do is grin and bear it.
Once LC40 and LC39A are both operating regularly, a launch like this would be done from LC39A, leaving LC40 to handle the regular commercial launches.
Assuming one launch a month from LC39A and 2 a month from LC40, there's room for 36 launches/year.
Further assuming 10% of those "slots" will be lost due to delays still leaves ~32 launches/year.
Add another 8/yr and we have 40 launches/year.
How many missions are in SpaceX's manifest right now ?
I doubt the entire SpaceX manifest contains 60 missions.

And lets not ignore the potential for dual/triple payload launches with Falcon Heavy.
SpaceX will soon have the capacity to launch over half of the worldwide launch capacity.
It will be unrealistic to hope they will capture all of that market.

I bet you this year SpaceX will normalize its backlog and be limited by payloads being ready instead.
« Last Edit: 04/07/2017 08:22 PM by macpacheco »
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Offline RDMM2081

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #126 on: 04/07/2017 08:23 PM »
NROL-76 delay:
Yep, we've been waiting for the new date to become documented and now it is via L2 KSC/Cape scheduling.

NET April 30, same window.

Static Fire on April 26.

No reasons given, so likely the payload (which isn't talkative as we're talking about a NROL bird).

Aside from the quiet nature of this flight being NROL, is there any real reason to assume this delay is payload related and not being driven by the range rescheduling.  Please forgive the ignorant question if there are details (L2 or otherwise) I missed.

Offline M.E.T.

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #127 on: 04/07/2017 08:24 PM »
So NROL effectively cost SpaceX $62m of lost revenue for the 2017 calendar year. That's based on the two week launch cadence that SpaceX now seems capable of, barring external delays.

So by moving their entire launch schedule out by two weeks, that is effectively one launch they cost SpaceX this year. This vulnerability is something that has to change if SpaceX is to achieve the economies of scale fundamental to its long term business model.

$62m. And it seems all they can do is grin and bear it.
Once LC40 and LC39A are both operating regularly, a launch like this would be done from LC39A, leaving LC40 to handle the regular commercial launches.
Assuming one launch a month from LC39A and 2 a month from LC40, there's room for 36 launches/year.
Further assuming 10% of those "slots" will be lost due to delays still leaves ~32 launches/year.
Add another 8/yr and we have 40 launches/year.
How many missions are in SpaceX's manifest right now ?
I doubt the entire SpaceX manifest contains 60 missions.

And lets not ignore the potential for dual/triple payload launches with Falcon Heavy.
SpaceX will soon have the capacity to launch over half of the worldwide launch capacity.
It will be unrealistic to hope they will capture all of that market.

Yes, a different discussion, probably for a different thread, but the idea is of course that their reduced prices will open up a much larger market. It has to, else the lower prices will simply lead to lower profits  for everyone in the business, even for SpaceX. It's no use launching 40 missions a year for $20m each, if you could have launched 20 missions for $60m each before you caused the equilibrium price of a launch to drop thanks to your reusability breakthroughs.

As a launch provider you are actually worse off then, than if you hadn't attempted any reusability at all. So for the lower launch prices to benefit them substantially in the long term, the launch market HAS to grow to hundreds of launches a year.
« Last Edit: 04/07/2017 08:25 PM by M.E.T. »

Offline gongora

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #128 on: 04/07/2017 08:45 PM »
I bet you this year SpaceX will normalize its backlog and be limited by payloads being ready instead.

I'll take that bet.  If they make 20-24 launches then SpaceX should finish the year 4-6 months behind.  Some payloads originally slated for late 2016 aren't going to launch until the third quarter this year.  Hopefully they'll catch up next year.

Offline gongora

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #129 on: 04/07/2017 08:52 PM »
Aside from the quiet nature of this flight being NROL, is there any real reason to assume this delay is payload related and not being driven by the range rescheduling.  Please forgive the ignorant question if there are details (L2 or otherwise) I missed.

I haven't seen any definitive reason, either public or L2.  It could be either of those.
(In the future, questions like this are more appropriate in the discussion thread for the mission.)

Online shooter6947

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #130 on: 04/07/2017 09:07 PM »
Aside from the quiet nature of this flight being NROL, is there any real reason to assume this delay is payload related and not being driven by the range rescheduling.

Or the result of SpaceX wanting an extra couple week to get a handle on the (minor) performance undershoot in the next mission, or some other technical issue on the SpaceX end.  It doesn't at first blush appear to me to be likely to be a range conflict issue:  why delay 2 weeks in that case instead of just one week?

Online cscott

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #131 on: 04/07/2017 09:35 PM »
Aside from the quiet nature of this flight being NROL, is there any real reason to assume this delay is payload related and not being driven by the range rescheduling.

Or the result of SpaceX wanting an extra couple week to get a handle on the (minor) performance undershoot in the next mission, or some other technical issue on the SpaceX end.  It doesn't at first blush appear to me to be likely to be a range conflict issue:  why delay 2 weeks in that case instead of just one week?
The difference is that we have heard *nothing* about range or payload issues, while we *have* heard SpaceX explicitly state there was no performance issue or pad issue.  So it's not quite fair to treat those possibilities as equally likely.

Online JBF

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #132 on: 04/08/2017 03:04 AM »
Remember this is the first NRO mission, no doubt there is a learning curve on both sides.
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Offline ZachS09

Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #133 on: 04/08/2017 04:24 AM »
Maybe for this specific mission, SpaceX must have been told by the NRO not to publicly state the reason of the delay. It's the National Reconnaissance Office, after all. They don't open up to their ideas and keep secrets most of the time.

SpaceX tends to openly explain stuff, but for NROL-76, they can't do that even if the mission is successfully in orbit.
« Last Edit: 04/08/2017 04:25 AM by ZachS09 »
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Offline Flying Beaver

Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #134 on: 04/08/2017 04:59 AM »
Maybe for this specific mission, SpaceX must have been told by the NRO not to publicly state the reason of the delay. It's the National Reconnaissance Office, after all. They don't open up to their ideas and keep secrets most of the time.

SpaceX tends to openly explain stuff, but for NROL-76, they can't do that even if the mission is successfully in orbit.

SpaceX is not a fan of publicizing delays for any mission.

Usually the first public mention of a mission is just a tweet of something like "SF for Mission X complete, launching in 3 days".
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Offline Comga

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #135 on: 04/08/2017 05:36 AM »
Maybe for this specific mission, SpaceX must have been told by the NRO not to publicly state the reason of the delay. It's the National Reconnaissance Office, after all. They don't open up to their ideas and keep secrets most of the time.

SpaceX tends to openly explain stuff, but for NROL-76, they can't do that even if the mission is successfully in orbit.

SpaceX is not a fan of publicizing delays for any mission.

Usually the first public mention of a mission is just a tweet of something like "SF for Mission X complete, launching in 3 days".
That is so far from true as to be silly. Most missions have been in discussion for years, starting with a press release announcing the signing of the launch contract. SpaceX publishes delays all the time.
What kind of wastrels would dump a perfectly good booster in the ocean after just one use?

Offline Flying Beaver

Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #136 on: 04/08/2017 05:46 AM »
Maybe for this specific mission, SpaceX must have been told by the NRO not to publicly state the reason of the delay. It's the National Reconnaissance Office, after all. They don't open up to their ideas and keep secrets most of the time.

SpaceX tends to openly explain stuff, but for NROL-76, they can't do that even if the mission is successfully in orbit.

SpaceX is not a fan of publicizing delays for any mission.

Usually the first public mention of a mission is just a tweet of something like "SF for Mission X complete, launching in 3 days".
That is so far from true as to be silly. Most missions have been in discussion for years, starting with a press release announcing the signing of the launch contract. SpaceX publishes delays all the time.

How so? Yes there is the press for signing of the contract, but other than the manifest on there site, the mission order is not 'publicly' disclosed. It's all down to sites like this and reporters getting that info, but it never comes direct from SpaceX's PR (twitter, blog, etc). Overall they are much passively quieter then most other LSPs.
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Offline mulp

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #137 on: 04/08/2017 05:48 AM »
So NROL effectively cost SpaceX $62m of lost revenue for the 2017 calendar year. That's based on the two week launch cadence that SpaceX now seems capable of, barring external delays.

So by moving their entire launch schedule out by two weeks, that is effectively one launch they cost SpaceX this year. This vulnerability is something that has to change if SpaceX is to achieve the economies of scale fundamental to its long term business model.

$62m. And it seems all they can do is grin and bear it.
Delays are part of doing business as many of SpaceX's customers will tell you.

But regular delays of this magnitude cannot be part of the business that SpaceX is trying to build. Rapid launch cadence is a fundamental part of their business model.

SpaceX cost themselves months of delay when one of their rockets blew up and damaged the other launch pad.  If the other pad was up this wouldn't be an issue.

Part of the solution that has to be found, yes. Maybe supporting an argument for redundant launch pads, despite additional running costs. In any case, the point was that a two week delay is now quantifiable in monetary terms, since SpaceX has successfully demonstrated a two week turnaround time in line with their stated short term cadence goal. It is essentially one lost launch for the year.
Like a launch facility in Texas?

If the soil had been better, it would be getting ready to start launching.

Offline kch

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #138 on: 04/08/2017 08:47 AM »

If the soil had been better, it would be getting ready to start launching.

"Aye ... and if my grandmother had wheels, she'd be a wagon!"  ;)

Online saliva_sweet

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #139 on: 04/08/2017 09:26 AM »
we *have* heard SpaceX explicitly state there was no performance issue

Are you basing this statement on this L2 post: https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=42370.msg1661753#msg1661753

or something else I've missed?

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