Poll

How many orbital flights will the Falcon 9 & Heavy family do before retirement?

<=50
1 (0.9%)
51-100
4 (3.6%)
101-150
5 (4.5%)
151-200
15 (13.5%)
201-250
21 (18.9%)
251-300
20 (18%)
300-400
14 (12.6%)
401-500
12 (10.8%)
501-600
4 (3.6%)
601-700
5 (4.5%)
701-800
2 (1.8%)
801-900
0 (0%)
901-1000
0 (0%)
>1000
8 (7.2%)

Total Members Voted: 111

Voting closed: 11/22/2017 05:29 PM


Author Topic: How many orbital flights will the Falcon 9 & Heavy family do before retirement?  (Read 8503 times)

Offline the_other_Doug

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Easy to say the Falcon family will be retired, but difficult to throw away paid-for boosters, which will remain the least expensive ride to space or nearly so for a decade, with tens of flights left in them.

IF BFR and BFS work as advertised then they will be cheaper than F9 & FH. I donít think Elon/SpaceX will have any difficulty throwing the boosters away at that point.

I dunno -- when United Airlines got rid of all of their 727's, they didn't scrap most of them.  They sold them off to smaller airlines, especially in smaller countries.  As long as they were still in decent shape, most of them continued to fly for other operators.

I mean, who knows?  Maybe by the time it comes for SpaceX to retire them, someone else may want to fly them for a while, for their own programs... though I bet ITAR would keep SpaceX from selling to non-American buyers.
-Doug  (With my shield, not yet upon it)

Offline zappatosin

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If one expects that "flight proven" 2nd stages will NOT be launched on the falcon boosters, the real question seems to be how many expendable upper stages SpaceX intends to produce.

For Elon's personal mission to Mars or Luna to succeed, I estimate that SpaceX should expend less than 500 upper stages. As a fan, I picked an optimistic 200-250 flights based on a market that buys EELV class launches until the BFR renders the Falcons obsolete.
« Last Edit: 11/13/2017 02:39 PM by zappatosin »

Offline Paul451

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Easy to say the Falcon family will be retired, but difficult to throw away paid-for boosters, which will remain the least expensive ride to space or nearly so for a decade, with tens of flights left in them.
IF BFR and BFS work as advertised then they will be cheaper than F9 & FH. I don’t think Elon/SpaceX will have any difficulty throwing the boosters away at that point.
I dunno -- when United Airlines got rid of all of their 727's, they didn't scrap most of them.  They sold them off to smaller airlines,

United Airlines wasn't an aircraft manufacturer. The airline model doesn't make much sense for orbital launches.

An early aircraft manufacturer in, say, upstate New York, building and self-operating 50mi-range aircraft out of a local airfield, cannot service the rest of the state, let alone other states. And unless they had a fixed contract from someone else, they would have difficulty assessing whether it was even commercially viable to go into another market; not just sending another aircraft, but hiring and training a local pilot, maybe even building another airfield. Much better to just sell planes to wannabe local pilots, whether they were flying for fun or commercially. Eventually as ranges extended, routes stabilised, expansion and mergers between operators created true "airlines". By then, the industry's model had been established.

Obvious, none of that applies to the launch market. SpaceX can launch any F9/FH-compatible payload in the world from their own US launch sites, with the exception of foreign government payloads that have national security concerns or are intended to prop up local aerospace companies. (In the latter case, they aren't going to use US-built hardware.)
« Last Edit: 12/02/2017 01:09 PM by Paul451 »

Online FutureSpaceTourist

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My emphasis:

Elon: On track to double launch rate this year from last year.

If all goes to plan this year, SpaceX will launch more missions than any other country this year.

Elon recapping success of SpaceX today.

Once we started landing booster, success rate has been high.

Goals with Block 5
- Really it's the 6th iteration of Falcon 9
- This will be last major version.
- There will be small improvements/minor changes from here for manufacturing and reusability.
- Up to 300 more flights of Falcon 9 Block 5 before retirement.

"Block is s strange word we took from the Russians."

Offline Steve G

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SLS will keep flying until New Glenn and BFR have been flight proven. There is no guarantee that either will work. So NASA won't abandon a LV so close to making its debut flight. If BFR works as advertised, it will make every LV in the world obsolete.

Offline envy887

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Musk said 300 or maybe more.

Online FutureSpaceTourist

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Musk said 300 or maybe more.

Yes, with thanks to @theinternetftw:

Transcript of the call:

https://gist.github.com/theinternetftw/5ba82bd5f4099934fa0556b9d09c123e

The actual quote was:

Quote from: Elon Musk
We think of probably winding up with something on the order of 300 flights, maybe more, of Falcon 9 Block 5 before retirement.
« Last Edit: 05/11/2018 08:51 AM by FutureSpaceTourist »

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