Author Topic: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?  (Read 47575 times)

Offline Dave G

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Obviously a discussion/speculation thread.

By BFR, I mean the booster.  BFS may launch by itself, but the payload capability won't be meaningful.

Your thoughts?

Offline hkultala

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #1 on: 11/07/2017 03:17 PM »
Obviously a discussion/speculation thread.

By BFR, I mean the booster.  BFS may launch by itself, but the payload capability won't be meaningful.

Your thoughts?

My vote for Boca Chica.

LC-39A will be needed for manned F9 and FH, so it cannot be taken offline to be converted for BFR initially.

And SLC-40 will handle many non-manned F9 launches to achieve high launch cadence. They don't want to take that offline either.
Also, SLC-40 might not have the foundation for BFR-class rockets?

And SLC-4E is needed for F9/FH polar orbit launches, cannot take that offline easily.

But they can build Boca Chica for BFR from the start.

After BRF has started launching from Boca Chica and can start taking over the F9/FH missions, they can then start converting the F9/FH pads to BRF.

« Last Edit: 11/07/2017 03:18 PM by hkultala »

Offline RedLineTrain

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #2 on: 11/07/2017 03:22 PM »
It seems like the BFR development program may be somewhat atypical for a rocket program in that we may see quite a few flights of development vehicles before revenue flights begin.

Boca Chica seems suitable for these test flights.

Guessing we will see test article flights for the spaceship and booster in 2019.

Offline Dave G

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #3 on: 11/07/2017 03:23 PM »
To add a little background...

A year ago, BFR (a.k.a. ITS) was basically a side project specifically for Mars with no obvious source of funding.

That all changed with Elon's comments at IAC.  Now it appears SpaceX plans to stop building Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy, and Dragon.  BFR will become their primary vehicle for launching satellites and servicing the ISS.

Specific statements from Elon at IAC include:
http://www.businessinsider.com/elon-musk-mars-iac-2017-transcript-slides-2017-10/#-25
Quote
So then getting back to the question of how do we pay for this system, this is really quite a profound — I won't call it breakthrough, but realization that if we can build a system that cannibalizes our own products, makes our own products redundant, then all of the resources, which are quite enormous, that are used for Falcon 9, Heavy, and Dragon, can be applied to one system.

Some of our customers are conservative and they want to see BFR fly several times before they're comfortable launching in it, so what we plan to do is to build ahead, and have a stock of Falcon 9 and Dragon vehicles, so that customers can be comfortable if they want to use the old rocket, the old spacecraft, they can do that, we'll have a bunch in stock. But then all of our resources will then turn towards building BFR. And we believe that we can do this with the revenue we receive for launching satellites and for servicing the space station.

Quote
The tooling for the main tanks has been ordered, the facility is being built. We will start construction of the first ship around the second quarter of next year, so in about six to nine months we should start building the first ship.
« Last Edit: 11/07/2017 03:42 PM by Dave G »

Offline the_other_Doug

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #4 on: 11/07/2017 03:58 PM »
I will also add -- in what configuration will BFR first launch?  Will the first, and all, launches occur with a BFS attached?  Or will BFR launch first with a nosecap, simply to test a downrange droneship landing, or an RTLS landing?
-Doug  (With my shield, not yet upon it)

Offline cppetrie

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #5 on: 11/07/2017 04:11 PM »
BFR will not have landing legs and appears to me to be designed to always return to launch site and land on launch mount. It is certainly possible they will have a separate landing site with a launch mount mock-up for testing, but downrange landings don’t seem to be in the cards for BFR.

Online speedevil

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #6 on: 11/07/2017 04:14 PM »
I will also add -- in what configuration will BFR first launch?  Will the first, and all, launches occur with a BFS attached?  Or will BFR launch first with a nosecap, simply to test a downrange droneship landing, or an RTLS landing?

At the time it launches, BFS may already have a moderate test program completed.
(comments about SSTO hops, testimony to commission on space about 'first hops (of BFS) will be suborbital')

So, there could be good confidence that BFS can land safely from many classes of malfunctions of BFR.
Launching BFR without BFS could be done and reduce dramatically required liftoff mass and fuel, but at the same time wouldn't test liftoff accoustics.

A hop to verify landing performance would be one option.

Or, it could be that, due to BFS (and possibly F9) testing, they consider landing to be 'solved' and just go right for an orbital launch with a first full test of BFS in a nominal max downmass reentry configuration.

The statements made so far are somewhat ambiguous..

I would be moderately surprised at a landing at the takeoff pad, if for no other reason than possible pad problems in the worst case.

Unless the considered worst case is such that it can't delay a second launch, due to production cadences.
« Last Edit: 11/07/2017 04:16 PM by speedevil »

Offline the_other_Doug

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #7 on: 11/07/2017 04:36 PM »
I'm still not 100% convinced of the launch mount landing feasibility, and I'm absolutely convinced that it will need to be tested first somewhere that is NOT your as-yet-only BFR launch pad.

A large ASDS could easily be built with a "launch mount simulator" constructed on its deck.  Fly the BFR up to expected separation dynamics, then run it through a few downrange landings onto such a test drone ship.  If the rocket gently nudges itself safely into the launch mount simulator a few times without demonstrating new and interesting methods of achieving an RUD, then *maybe* you can take the risk of landing it back at the launch pad for the first time.

In the meantime, if you *do* invent some new and interesting methods of achieving an RUD with the launch mount landing method, you're not destroying your *only* launch pad with each failure.

I would be incredibly surprised if the first recovered BFR landed back on the same mounts it launched from.  I'd say that, right now, it's 50-50 whether or not the BFR eventually lands on its launch mounts, or ends up with deployable-retractable legs and lands on a landing pad right next to the launch pad, from which it can be conveniently craned right back onto its launch mounts.  Sort of how they first showed the BFS landing next to the launch pad and being craned directly from landing pad onto the top of the BFR.  Just have the same crane reach over to one of two adjacent landing pads.

If that's the case, SpaceX launch pads are going to gain a new look, spouting landing pad "ears" adjacent to the launch structures.  Sounds kinds of 21st-century, to me... :)
-Doug  (With my shield, not yet upon it)

Offline Helodriver

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #8 on: 11/07/2017 04:45 PM »
Components may be tested in multiple places, but operationally it will fly from 39A first. Too much infrastructure already in place there to ignore.

Offline cppetrie

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #9 on: 11/07/2017 04:49 PM »
Far easier to build test launch/landing mount on land at a remote landing zone. Then you don’t have to deal with moving landing cradle and moving landing rocket. Just the moving landing rocket.

Offline DreamyPickle

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #10 on: 11/07/2017 04:50 PM »
* The first vehicle will be the BFS for suborbital hops. There are multiple quotes on this.
* Strong hints that this will happen from Boca Chica.
* The BFS standalone is smaller than FH and might fly partially empty. Permits will be much easier than for full BFR.

My bet is that Boca Chica pad will be built for methane and existing pads will remain RP1-only, this saves a bunch of cost and complexity.

Offline Lar

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #11 on: 11/07/2017 04:51 PM »
Components may be tested in multiple places, but operationally it will fly from 39A first. Too much infrastructure already in place there to ignore.
Maybe. There's a lot of intrastructure NOT there yet like methane lines. Previous posts (I think in L2) at the time of 12M BFR showed some possible arrangments, you need two HIF, different flame deflectors, launch and landing mounts[1] etc. Not insurmountable[1] but 39A is not BFR ready by any means...

1 - what I did there... see it?
"I think it would be great to be born on Earth and to die on Mars. Just hopefully not at the point of impact." -Elon Musk
"We're a little bit like the dog who caught the bus" - Musk after CRS-8 S1 successfully landed on ASDS OCISLY

Offline nacnud

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #12 on: 11/07/2017 04:55 PM »
Seems like this thread could do with a poll...

My thoughts,

BFR and BFS build in LA probably in new facilities but a lot of development work in Hawthorn.
BFR and BFS fight tests in BC
Operational first in BC then replacing F9 on the coasts.
« Last Edit: 11/18/2017 11:36 AM by nacnud »

Offline leetdan

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #13 on: 11/07/2017 05:06 PM »
Wouldn't 39B be on the table?  If not, is Methane the dealbreaker?

Online guckyfan

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #14 on: 11/07/2017 05:07 PM »
Basically Elon said it would be built in their Hawthorne facility. A very short time later Gwynne Shotwell said it will be built near a port for transport reason.

My best guess, they are both right. The ordered tooling will be installed in a newly rented space in Hawthorne to build the first few prototypes, accepting the high transport cost and taking full advantage of the local workforce colocation. Starting directly with the new seaside facility would delay work by a year or more. I don't think Elon is willing to accept that.

Production will be moved out to the new facility once it becomes available which will take some time. By then the most engineering intensive part of propulsion development will be done. Production will suffer less from distance.

Offline nacnud

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #15 on: 11/07/2017 05:12 PM »
Guckyfan, that's what I think too. Alot of sub assemblies could also be built in hawthorn and easily move to the integration facility, think raptors and BFS cabins.

Offline nacnud

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #16 on: 11/07/2017 05:14 PM »
Wouldn't 39B be on the table?  If not, is Methane the dealbreaker?

Not available in a short enough time period (next year onwards), maybe in the medium term.

Offline philw1776

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #17 on: 11/07/2017 05:18 PM »
Basically Elon said it would be built in their Hawthorne facility. A very short time later Gwynne Shotwell said it will be built near a port for transport reason.

My best guess, they are both right. The ordered tooling will be installed in a newly rented space in Hawthorne to build the first few prototypes, accepting the high transport cost and taking full advantage of the local workforce colocation. Starting directly with the new seaside facility would delay work by a year or more. I don't think Elon is willing to accept that.

Production will be moved out to the new facility once it becomes available which will take some time. By then the most engineering intensive part of propulsion development will be done. Production will suffer less from distance.

I see everything except the airframe and the google-web engine assembly built in Hawthorne.  Final assembly with 9 meter components a half hour or more away at the dockside wherever.  No road transport.  Inconvenient but doable for the engineers who during final assembly commute to a different work site but not terribly far away.
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Offline Lobo

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #18 on: 11/07/2017 09:24 PM »
Components may be tested in multiple places, but operationally it will fly from 39A first. Too much infrastructure already in place there to ignore.

I agree with Helodriver.

It will launch first from 39A, IMO.
I think Boca Chica is a backup plan, but I think the main goal is to procure 39B once they get something flying off 39A, and to push along the cancellation of SLS.  I have a hunch they feel pretty confident that's the way things will fall into place, as NASA would almost assuredly work out a partnership with SpaceX to have astronauts on the first missions to the Moon and later Mars..even if SLS weren't officially cancelled yet.  And NASA would much rather their astros lauching form their launch site, not Texas.
But...nothing's ever guaranteed.  So I think if those plans don't work out, they'll have a backup plan of a way to use Boca Chica for it.  But I just can't see that being what they are hoping for.  As Helodriver said, they'd just have to add too much new vs. KSC.  They'll probably have to work out a way with off shore launches if they can't get a sufficient enough EIS and exclusion areas around a ground launch site.

So I think Boca Chica is a backup plan, but also a poker chip to pull out to apply pressure to the Space Coast to work with them rather than loose possibly an American HSF program going to the Moon and Mars to Texas.
The Dual use 39A will be mainly for testing and learning BFR, with those lessons learned going into 39B modifications for a more streamlined pad layout.  Eventually Falcon operations would probably end at 39A and it'll get an upgrade to make it a sole use pad for BFR, with FH being retired and replaced by BFR for those occasional big payloads.    With LC-40 being used for East Coast launches as BFR is phased in more and more for those payloads. 

There's a few transitional issue that would need to be worked out.  Some USAF/DoD payloads would require vertical integration (if SpaceX still wants to compete for those), and crews on Dragon 2 would need an access tower, as long as they were under commercial crew contract.  Those would be at dual use 39A first, but would need to be added to LC-40 to transition.   Not quite sure what'd be involved with doing that.

Once 39B and additional KSC facilities are secured for lease, then I'd expect BFR production to be moved from Hawthorne to KSC, with Hawthorne only being used for the first few test vehicles, due to it's complicated logistics of getting stages from there to the Cape.  And full scale production and operations to begin in earnest from KSC using both pads for it.



« Last Edit: 11/07/2017 09:27 PM by Lobo »

Offline Lobo

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #19 on: 11/07/2017 09:38 PM »
Basically Elon said it would be built in their Hawthorne facility. A very short time later Gwynne Shotwell said it will be built near a port for transport reason.

My best guess, they are both right. The ordered tooling will be installed in a newly rented space in Hawthorne to build the first few prototypes, accepting the high transport cost and taking full advantage of the local workforce colocation. Starting directly with the new seaside facility would delay work by a year or more. I don't think Elon is willing to accept that.

Production will be moved out to the new facility once it becomes available which will take some time. By then the most engineering intensive part of propulsion development will be done. Production will suffer less from distance.
Agreed, to dovetail on my post above, this is my thought too.  The first few test vehicles will be made in Hawthorne and they'll just deal with the transportation issues.  But once they either get a least for pad 39B and KSC facilities, or fall back on Boca Chica as backup, they'll then move production to a location condusive to whichever of those locations ends up being the final.  But as Guckfan says, they don't want to delay, so they'll start in Hawthorne.  The fast they can get something built and flying off 39A, the fast SLS would likely be cancelled and the faster they can get KSC leases and get their long term plans moving forward.

Offline Dave G

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #20 on: 11/07/2017 10:35 PM »
BFR and BFS build in LA probably in new facilities but a lot of development work in Hawthorn.

Basically Elon said it would be built in their Hawthorne facility. A very short time later Gwynne Shotwell said it will be built near a port for transport reason.

that's what I think too. Alot of sub assemblies could also be built in hawthorn and easily move to the integration facility, think raptors and BFS cabins.

I see everything except the airframe and the google-web engine assembly built in Hawthorne.

The first few test vehicles will be made in Hawthorne and they'll just deal with the transportation issues.

There's another thread called: Where will BFR be built?
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=43871.260
« Last Edit: 11/08/2017 02:07 AM by Dave G »

Offline Dave G

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #21 on: 11/14/2017 02:05 AM »

It will launch first from 39A, IMO.

I agree.

Getting FAA approval for BFR at their Texas launch site may not be easy.  The whole area around the launch pad is environmentally protected wetlands, mostly shallow tidal pools, supporting various endangered species.  For example, the phrase "sea turtle" is repeated 95 times in the EIS.  So a huge flame trench may not be allowed.

Also, Falcon Heavy is actually already over the legal sound limit in Boca Chica Village by 2dB, but the FAA made an exception because:
a) The EIS only allows 2 Falcon Heavy launches per year at Boca Chica
b) 2dB is just barely over the limit
c) SpaceX offered to give ear plugs to all local residents of Boca Chica Village.

In any case, to get approval for launching a huge new rocket from a private launch site, it would be much easier if BFR was already flying from Florida.

Offline docmordrid

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #22 on: 11/14/2017 02:44 AM »
, Falcon Heavy is actually already over the legal sound limit in Boca Chica Village by 2dB,
>

Irrelevant if they acquire all the properties at Boca Chica Village, either  through purchase or if the local or state government utilize eminent domain.
DM

Offline Dave G

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #23 on: 11/16/2017 05:10 PM »
, Falcon Heavy is actually already over the legal sound limit in Boca Chica Village by 2dB,
>

Irrelevant if they acquire all the properties at Boca Chica Village, either  through purchase or if the local or state government utilize eminent domain.

In Texas, it's illegal to use eminent domain to benefit a private company.

Offline matthewkantar

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #24 on: 11/16/2017 06:13 PM »
, Falcon Heavy is actually already over the legal sound limit in Boca Chica Village by 2dB,
>

Irrelevant if they acquire all the properties at Boca Chica Village, either  through purchase or if the local or state government utilize eminent domain.

In Texas, it's illegal to use eminent domain to benefit a private company.

There are plenty of ways around that.

Offline Dave G

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #25 on: 11/16/2017 09:18 PM »
, Falcon Heavy is actually already over the legal sound limit in Boca Chica Village by 2dB,
>
Irrelevant if they acquire all the properties at Boca Chica Village, either  through purchase or if the local or state government utilize eminent domain.
In Texas, it's illegal to use eminent domain to benefit a private company.
There are plenty of ways around that.
Such as?

If it's obvious that the government is using eminent domain to benefit a private company, property owners can sue the government. Here's a law firm that seems to specialize in this area:
https://www.collincountyattorney.com/blog/1737/
Quote
3.  THE GOVERNMENT CAN ONLY TAKE YOUR LAND FOR A PUBLIC USE.  Although, the government or some other entity attempting to take your land may be powerful, anytime the government attempts to acquire land for any reason other than a legitimate public use, the landowner can stop the government from taking the land.

Offline matthewkantar

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #26 on: 11/16/2017 09:32 PM »
Create a public spaceport.

Offline Dave G

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #27 on: 11/16/2017 10:15 PM »
Create a public spaceport.

Yes, that could happen, but it would probably require proven BFR passenger capability before they would consider it.

Also, there's still the issue of Boca Chica Beach, which can only be closed 12 times a year, and never on summer weekends. They may get permission to close it a little more, but not a lot.  In other words, the Boca Chica Beach launch site is not well suited to a public spaceport.

Gwynne heavily implied BFR will launch from Boca Chica, so I think that will happen.  I just think it will happen from Florida first.

Offline docmordrid

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #28 on: 11/16/2017 10:43 PM »
Create a public spaceport.

Yes, that could happen, but it would probably require proven BFR passenger capability before they would consider it.

Also, there's still the issue of Boca Chica Beach, which can only be closed 12 times a year, and never on summer weekends. They may get permission to close it a little more, but not a lot.  In other words, the Boca Chica Beach launch site is not well suited to a public spaceport.

Gwynne heavily implied BFR will launch from Boca Chica, so I think that will happen.  I just think it will happen from Florida first.
Another possibility is to claim the property as part of Stargate or UTRGV, and then have it lease the property to a holding company. Also, the number of launches is tied directly to environmental impact statement and AIUI that can be amended.

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Offline Long EZ

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #29 on: 11/25/2017 06:50 PM »
I would like to pose the question of what is the best way to transport the BFR and BFS. I think everyone has been assuming a large barge. I have been wondering if a large catamaran would be better. It would be self propelled, so no tugs needed. If SpaceX starts building many BFR + BFS's per year a faster ship would be able to do all of the transporting, rather than multiple barges. Catamarans being very fuel efficient  would reduce that expense. You could even design it with jack-up legs at each corner so it could double as a launch platform. My guess is that a dedicated design for a launch platform would be best. Have the cat deliver the rocket to the platform. I guess it would boil down to the economics of designing and building such a unique ship vs using a barge with higher operating expenses and longer trip times. Such a cat could even be designed to carry a BFR and a  BFS at the same time. Of course the rocket would be encased in an enclosure which could be designed to be loaded from the end by driving a transporter into it, of by crane from above. Thoughts?

Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #30 on: 11/25/2017 07:25 PM »
I would like to pose the question of what is the best way to transport the BFR and BFS. I think everyone has been assuming a large barge. I have been wondering if a large catamaran would be better.

Catamarans have a lot of advantages, but they are wider than single-hull vessels so one critical criteria would be that any shipping channels they would need to use would be wide enough for a large (and wide) catamaran.

Quote
It would be self propelled, so no tugs needed.

Unless you put high-powered maneuvering thrusters on all four quadrants of the ship you'd need tugs. And even then it might still be required. As a note, catamarans don't turn in nimble ways.

I'm not sure the cost of creating such a spec. vessel would offset the cost of using tugs. Part of the overall tradeoffs to consider.
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

Online speedevil

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #31 on: 11/25/2017 09:49 PM »
I'm not sure the cost of creating such a spec. vessel would offset the cost of using tugs. Part of the overall tradeoffs to consider.

They already have methane and oxygen onboard. To hover at a given spot for ~20s or so takes around BFR class thrust, and a few hundred tons of propellant.
(for stage landings)

Offline mikelepage

Hearing about the idea of SpaceX also renting LC39B has me wondering about how 39A and 39B (or two similarly spaced launch/landing sites at Boca Chica) could work together to expedite frequent BFR launches/testing...? 

From what I gather, there is quite a long sequence of events that has to happen at the launch/landing site in the ~8 minutes between launch and booster landing.  If you had two sites, each of which could serve as either launch site or landing cradle as required, wouldn't that simplify things quite a bit? especially in the early stages?


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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #33 on: 11/26/2017 09:29 AM »
From what I gather, there is quite a long sequence of events that has to happen at the launch/landing site in the ~8 minutes between launch and booster landing.

Which events do you mean? I was under the impression that the launch mount just sits there and waits for the BFR to return. What is there to do on the ground between launch and landing?

Offline mikelepage

From what I gather, there is quite a long sequence of events that has to happen at the launch/landing site in the ~8 minutes between launch and booster landing.

Which events do you mean? I was under the impression that the launch mount just sits there and waits for the BFR to return. What is there to do on the ground between launch and landing?

Must admit I'm pretty vague on the current sequence between one launch and the next, but I thought there a number of tasks usually performed like safing of prop loading equipment, resetting of deluge systems, inspections of the launch pad and TEL, etc.  I had the impression that the reason previous 13-day turnarounds were impressive was not just on the rocket/payload side, but because the pad had to be turned around as well.  I guess that can all be done after the booster returns.

Offline Dave G

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #35 on: 12/16/2017 02:34 PM »
Watching the pre-launch press conference highlights of the latest CRS-13 mission below, one thing hit me.

Although SpaceX didn't answer the question directly, her answer implies that they're done building cargo Dragons.  She said SpaceX's plan was to reuse existing cargo Dragon units for the rest of the CRS contract.

When you build something that's reusable, you don't need to keep building new ones. You can just re-fly the old ones, and use the revenue from that to develop the next generation.

In this case, the next generation is Crew Dragon and Falcon Block 5, but I suspect the initial development for those is largely complete.  Commercial development works like a pipeline.  By the time we see a test flight, the development engineers are usually spending most of their time on the next project, in this case BFR.

In September, Elon said they had already ordered the tooling for BFR, and that they would start building BFS sometime between April and June of next year.  April is just 15 weeks away.

Elon also said they'll "build ahead, and have a stock of Falcon 9 and Dragon vehicles", and "all of our resources will then turn towards building BFR. And we believe that we can do this with the revenue we receive for launching satellites and for servicing the space station."

My interpretation of Elon's statement: SpaceX will start an aggressive production schedule of Falcon upper stages, with the aim of having a couple hundred in stock sometime next year.  They'll also build up a stock of Dragon trunks.  Add a few dozen Falcon Block 5 boosters, plus a dozen Crew Dragons, and that stock should be enough to fly hundreds of missions over the next 7 years.

If all that works out, SpaceX could be done building Falcon 9 and Dragon by this time next year.  At that point, all of SpaceX's resources will turn towards building BFR.

So Falcon / Dragon reusability may make BFR happen a lot faster than people think.

SpaceX could start their first Grasshopper-like BFS test flights by 2019, and have full-up BFR test flights by 2021.  SpaceX plans to have their first unmanned BFR Mars mission in September 2022.


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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #36 on: 12/16/2017 03:22 PM »
My interpretation of Elon's statement: SpaceX will start an aggressive production schedule of Falcon upper stages, with the aim of having a couple hundred in stock sometime next year.  They'll also build up a stock of Dragon trunks.  Add a few dozen Falcon Block 5 boosters, plus a dozen Crew Dragons, and that stock should be enough to fly hundreds of missions over the next 7 years.

If all that works out, SpaceX could be done building Falcon 9 and Dragon by this time next year.  At that point, all of SpaceX's resources will turn towards building BFR.

This seems unlikely.
The rate of production for F9S2 and D2  is an order of magnitude slower at the moment than would be required to do that over one year.
It also puts a massive workforce into building S2s, when  BFR may come out considerably earlier than 2024.

Similarly, with D2 having not flown, there is a risk of it needing modifications.

In addition, NASA has seemed happy to fairly aggressively accept reused rockets.
If BFR in fact comes online in the near future, or if D2 turns out to be very reusable, they may require very few D2s and trunks.

And even though language has considerably softened on S2 reusability, they haven't said flat out they're not working at all on it - if it's gotten to work, you may end up with a hundred useless S2s.

There is a risk in trying to rush a massive pre-prepared stock of equipment, at least initially this strategy would require probably more investment than continuing on at the existing pace and moving most of the people working on the first stage over.
« Last Edit: 12/16/2017 03:25 PM by speedevil »

Offline Dave G

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #37 on: 12/16/2017 04:24 PM »
...when BFR may come out considerably earlier than 2024.

To clarify, SpaceX is planning the first two BFR cargo missions to Mars in September 2022.

Each cargo ship will require 6 BFR launches, 1 to launch the cargo ship, and 5 more tanker launches to fuel it.  So these 2 missions will require 12 BFR launches within a fairly short period of time.

To make sure this is possible, SpaceX will likely want several BFR test flights before hand.

With this in mind, it's fair to assume SpaceX is planning the first of their BFR test flights sometime in 2021.

Offline Dave G

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #38 on: 12/16/2017 04:35 PM »
And even though language has considerably softened on S2 reusability, they haven't said flat out they're not working at all on it - if it's gotten to work, you may end up with a hundred useless S2s.

Gwynne clarified this at Stanford. SpaceX will not attempt to recover or reuse Falcon upper stages. 

https://www.flickr.com/photos/jurvetson/37659376821
Quote
The second stage is not designed for reuse on the Falcon 9 or the Falcon Heavy. However, we do want to bring it back slowly. Currently, it reenters but too hot. On missions with extra propellant, we want to bring it back to see how it behaves, not to recover or reuse.


Offline Dave G

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #39 on: 12/16/2017 04:48 PM »
This seems unlikely.
The rate of production for F9S2 and D2  is an order of magnitude slower at the moment than would be required to do that over one year.
It also puts a massive workforce into building S2s...

There is a risk in trying to rush a massive pre-prepared stock of equipment, at least initially this strategy would require probably more investment than continuing on at the existing pace and moving most of the people working on the first stage over.

What you say makes sense, but it doesn't seem to agree with what Elon said in September.

Spacifically, Elon said:
Quote
"So then getting back to the question of how do we pay for this system, this is really quite a profound — I won't call it breakthrough, but realization that if we can build a system that cannibalizes our own products, makes our own products redundant, then all of the resources, which are quite enormous, that are used for Falcon 9, Heavy, and Dragon, can be applied to one system.

Some of our customers are conservative and they want to see BFR fly several times before they're comfortable launching in it, so what we plan to do is to build ahead, and have a stock of Falcon 9 and Dragon vehicles, so that customers can be comfortable if they want to use the old rocket, the old spacecraft, they can do that, we'll have a bunch in stock. But then all of our resources will then turn towards building BFR. And we believe that we can do this with the revenue we receive for launching satellites and for servicing the space station."
(emphasis mine)

The way I read this, Elon's intent is quite clear.

If they were planning to build Falcon upper stages for many years, he would have said most of our resources will then turn towards building BFR, not all.
« Last Edit: 12/16/2017 04:54 PM by Dave G »

Offline Dave G

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #40 on: 12/16/2017 05:16 PM »
By the way, for Falcon reusability, here's another point Gwynne made at Standord:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/jurvetson/37659376821
Quote
Fairings have been recovered. We expect recovery will be good enough to start regularly reusing them in the first six months of next year.

So again, this may be a case where Falcon reusability helps accelerate BFR.  The SpaceX composites team that builds the payload fairings would be freed up to work on BFR.

Also, if I'm not mistaken, this means the only expendable parts left are Falcon upper stages and Dragon trunks.  Neither of these are huge, so it would be quite possible for SpaceX to stock a bunch of these in a warehouse somewhere.

Offline RonM

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #41 on: 12/16/2017 06:45 PM »
This seems unlikely.
The rate of production for F9S2 and D2  is an order of magnitude slower at the moment than would be required to do that over one year.
It also puts a massive workforce into building S2s...

There is a risk in trying to rush a massive pre-prepared stock of equipment, at least initially this strategy would require probably more investment than continuing on at the existing pace and moving most of the people working on the first stage over.

What you say makes sense, but it doesn't seem to agree with what Elon said in September.

Spacifically, Elon said:
Quote
"So then getting back to the question of how do we pay for this system, this is really quite a profound — I won't call it breakthrough, but realization that if we can build a system that cannibalizes our own products, makes our own products redundant, then all of the resources, which are quite enormous, that are used for Falcon 9, Heavy, and Dragon, can be applied to one system.

Some of our customers are conservative and they want to see BFR fly several times before they're comfortable launching in it, so what we plan to do is to build ahead, and have a stock of Falcon 9 and Dragon vehicles, so that customers can be comfortable if they want to use the old rocket, the old spacecraft, they can do that, we'll have a bunch in stock. But then all of our resources will then turn towards building BFR. And we believe that we can do this with the revenue we receive for launching satellites and for servicing the space station."
(emphasis mine)

The way I read this, Elon's intent is quite clear.

If they were planning to build Falcon upper stages for many years, he would have said most of our resources will then turn towards building BFR, not all.

Once the first test BFRs are complete, SpaceX can return to F9 production if needed, say if testing takes longer than anticipated.

Offline Dave G

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #42 on: 12/16/2017 08:20 PM »
Once the first test BFRs are complete, SpaceX can return to F9 production if needed, say if testing takes longer than anticipated.

Agreed.

At Stanford, Gwynne confirmed that SpaceX will build BFR at a new facility, still somewhere in the Los Angeles area, but somewhere near water. Note that there's a whole other thread speculating exactly where that is.
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=43871.40

So I'm assuming they'll leave the F9 assembly line in place at Hawthorne, and set up the BFR manufacturing equipment at the new facility nearby.

If BFR runs into major issues, or if they fail to recover a lot of F9 stages, they can always revive the F9 production line at Hawthorne.  That's "plan B".

But if all goes well, I suspect BFR will happen sooner than many people think.
« Last Edit: 12/16/2017 08:36 PM by Dave G »

Offline wannamoonbase

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #43 on: 12/16/2017 10:23 PM »
Florida
Jonesing for a copy of 'Tales of Suspense #39'

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #44 on: 12/17/2017 08:12 AM »
I think testing of BFS/BFR will be VERY different from anything we have seen in rocketry. In case of expendable rockets, it is difficult to afford too many test flights before the first operational one. So, risk-taking is unavoidable. In contrast, BFX vechicles are designed for many flights. They are expensive to build, but cheap to test flight. It is difficult to afford to loose any of them, both in time and money. Therefore, I expect a very-very incremental test regime with many-many test flights.

Many static fires, with small number of enginges first, then with more. Continue with many small hops to minuscule heights and sitting back to the launch mount. A few cemtimeters first, then meters. Maybe, almost-liftoffs preceed the cm hops. When sitting back from a few (few tens) of meters are routine already, they start with tests, that looks to rocket launch. Vertical upps and downs, Grashopper style - but back to the launch mount. When vertical flights are OK, then horizontal translation, and back. Finally, ballistic trajectory with retrofire to fly back. With BFR only first, then with mass simulators. Only after all of these will they try to launch with BFS on top with the expectation of BFS flying away - either to orbit, or to abort. (BFS will have troughtfully tested by that time.)

Testing, like an airplne? Actualy, "more so". In airplane testing there is no such thing, as initial small hop. You either stop before the end of the runway, or ascend to a safe height to fly around. The common thing is that you do NOT want to lose the test article (and the crew, when applicable).

Implicatiosn for the site? The lauch mount is continuously occupied by the BFR. No such things, as landing elsewhere initially. Actually, they will want to co-develop and co-test the rocket & the ground equipment that allows lanuch & recovery. Therefore, they must build a true BFR lauch pad parelell with building the rocket and test them together. Boca Chica, per hint by Gwynne. I don't know about the permissions...

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #45 on: 12/17/2017 11:45 AM »
I think testing of BFS/BFR will be VERY different from anything we have seen in rocketry. In case of expendable rockets, it is difficult to afford too many test flights before the first operational one. So, risk-taking is unavoidable. In contrast, BFX vechicles are designed for many flights. They are expensive to build, but cheap to test flight. It is difficult to afford to loose any of them, both in time and money. Therefore, I expect a very-very incremental test regime with many-many test flights.

It is very, very weird compared with normal rockets.
Normal rockets have much of a decade before they get to be called reliable.

If you have a non-reentry capable overweight hopper, that can have done dozens of test landings on a fixture to raise confidence and refine aero properties in the months it takes you to do the first flight-weight BFS.
That first BFS can then have done many dozens of hops, including all the way to orbit with light payloads (Starlink) before BFR is ready.

This only works well if rapid reuse actually works, and works well, the BFR/S can be constructed without cycle life and operational reliability issues, and the construction of BFR/S is sufficiently cheap and fast that it can be paid for with early Starlink revenues allowing rapid deployment of the full constellation.

That can lead to a really quite fast test program that rapidly gets to the point where suddenly you can say things after a couple of months of testing of a vehicle that you'd have to wait for most of a decade normally for.

( http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=43920.msg1757581#msg1757581 )

Testing noise becomes rather more of an issue.
A site that will put up with occasional booms and launches once every month or two may have a dramatically different view when you want to launch twice a day for a month.

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #46 on: 12/17/2017 01:51 PM »
Testing noise becomes rather more of an issue.
A site that will put up with occasional booms and launches once every month or two may have a dramatically different view when you want to launch twice a day for a month.

Exactly. This issue probably mandate an off-shore launch/landing plaform, as we saw in the P2P video, from the very beginning.

Offline wannamoonbase

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #47 on: 12/17/2017 02:57 PM »
Testing noise becomes rather more of an issue.
A site that will put up with occasional booms and launches once every month or two may have a dramatically different view when you want to launch twice a day for a month.

Exactly. This issue probably mandate an off-shore launch/landing platform, as we saw in the P2P video, from the very beginning.

The Cape area use to see a shuttle launch every 1-2 months.

I fully admit I may be wrong, but given the land area and clearance required, and industry and work force infrastructure only Florida makes sense and it should be more affordable.

BFR testing may have some limited exceptions. 

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Offline Dave G

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #48 on: 12/17/2017 04:08 PM »
This only works well if rapid reuse actually works, and works well, the BFR/S can be constructed without cycle life and operational reliability issues, and the construction of BFR/S is sufficiently cheap and fast that it can be paid for with early Starlink revenues allowing rapid deployment of the full constellation.

SpaceX is planning BFR missions to Mars in September 2022.

Starlink won't start generating revenue until well after that.

Also, in September, Elon said they'll fund BFR with the money they get for launching satellites and servicing the ISS. No mention of Starlink as a source of BFR funding.
http://www.businessinsider.com/elon-musk-mars-iac-2017-transcript-slides-2017-10/#-25
Quote
So then getting back to the question of how do we pay for this system, this is really quite a profound — I won't call it breakthrough, but realization that if we can build a system that cannibalizes our own products, makes our own products redundant, then all of the resources, which are quite enormous, that are used for Falcon 9, Heavy, and Dragon, can be applied to one system.

Some of our customers are conservative and they want to see BFR fly several times before they're comfortable launching in it, so what we plan to do is to build ahead, and have a stock of Falcon 9 and Dragon vehicles, so that customers can be comfortable if they want to use the old rocket, the old spacecraft, they can do that, we'll have a bunch in stock. But then all of our resources will then turn towards building BFR. And we believe that we can do this with the revenue we receive for launching satellites and for servicing the space station.

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #49 on: 12/17/2017 09:26 PM »
Quote
Some of our customers are conservative and they want to see BFR fly several times before they're comfortable launching in it, so what we plan to do is to build ahead, and have a stock of Falcon 9 and Dragon vehicles, so that customers can be comfortable if they want to use the old rocket, the old spacecraft, they can do that, we'll have a bunch in stock. But then all of our resources will then turn towards building BFR. And we believe that we can do this with the revenue we receive for launching satellites and for servicing the space station.
This is consistent if Starlink was spun off.
Or if 'revenue from launching' includes revenue directly due to launching.

BFR is planned for 2022.
It is not clear how many satellites starlink requires for a minimum constellation.

It is not clear what starlinks ownership structure will be, and if launching satellites and a minimal functional constellation may explode the companies valuation and allow investment with a very minimal ownership to fund BFR massively.

Offline docmordrid

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #50 on: 12/17/2017 09:40 PM »
>
>
BFR is planned for 2022.
It is not clear how many satellites starlink requires for a minimum constellation.
>

~800, 2020/2021.

Link....

Quote
limited service beginning in 2020 or 2021 once ~800 satellites have been placed in Low Earth Orbit
« Last Edit: 12/17/2017 09:41 PM by docmordrid »
DM

Offline Dave G

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #51 on: 12/17/2017 10:55 PM »
BFR is planned for 2022.

To clarify, the first BFR Mars missions are planned for 2022.

This would presumably require multiple BFR test launches starting at least a year before that, i.e. in 2021.

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #52 on: 12/18/2017 01:33 AM »
BFR is planned for 2022.

To clarify, the first BFR Mars missions are planned for 2022.

This would presumably require multiple BFR test launches starting at least a year before that, i.e. in 2021.

Quite. http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=43920.msg1757581#msg1757581 - I did not want to go into full timings here, as I've done it in other threads.

Depending on meeting timings, and development plan, BFR/S development and Starlink being initially operational may overlap, before the 2022 window.
As mentioned upthread, Patricia Cooper, SpaceX’s VP of Satellite Government Affairs stated in October that initial operation may happen in 2020/21.
If this happens, then the valuation of the company that manages starlink could get really quite large indeed, and the perceived risk of investment could be quite small.
This would mean that >$5B of investment into Starlink, either in the form of shares, or selling bonds on future performance could have a minimal effect on ongoing revenue, and allow dramatic investment in BFR.

At this time, if everything is going right, there may be flying hardware of some form (hoppers, BFS, depending). That investment could pay for several operational BFR/BFS and pads on an accelerated schedule.

Even a strict reading where BFS/R development is only paid for by launches, if everything is going well, BFS could in principle be aiding with the launch campaign and getting revenue from that at the same time as testing.

If BFR is actually delayed, and Starlink is not, Starlink operation before the 2024 window may be nearly a full constellation.
It would be beyond odd if they have not considered various funding schemes for if BFR costs much more or less than expected to develop to a ready state, and if Starlink is delayed or not, and how the funding for these would be related.
Reading the words "cannibalise our own products" to mean that is the only possible source of funding seems counter to everything being said before.

I tried to put rough numbers on this, and came to the conclusion that constraining BFR/S flightrate in 2024 (manned mars date) to within two, perhaps three orders of magnitude is hard.

If BFR/S actually gets to the point of being rapidly reusable so much changes so fast both from a costing of a Mars launch in 2022 point of view and an external investment point of view that depending on your choices you can get tanker launches costing $100M or $2M.

Questions on here in 2022 could almost as easily be 'so, when will it really fly' or 'Where will the twentieth pad be'.
« Last Edit: 12/18/2017 01:35 AM by speedevil »

Offline meekGee

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #53 on: 12/18/2017 02:35 AM »
BFR is planned for 2022.

To clarify, the first BFR Mars missions are planned for 2022.

This would presumably require multiple BFR test launches starting at least a year before that, i.e. in 2021.

Quite. http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=43920.msg1757581#msg1757581 - I did not want to go into full timings here, as I've done it in other threads.

Depending on meeting timings, and development plan, BFR/S development and Starlink being initially operational may overlap, before the 2022 window.
As mentioned upthread, Patricia Cooper, SpaceX’s VP of Satellite Government Affairs stated in October that initial operation may happen in 2020/21.
If this happens, then the valuation of the company that manages starlink could get really quite large indeed, and the perceived risk of investment could be quite small.
This would mean that >$5B of investment into Starlink, either in the form of shares, or selling bonds on future performance could have a minimal effect on ongoing revenue, and allow dramatic investment in BFR.

At this time, if everything is going right, there may be flying hardware of some form (hoppers, BFS, depending). That investment could pay for several operational BFR/BFS and pads on an accelerated schedule.

Even a strict reading where BFS/R development is only paid for by launches, if everything is going well, BFS could in principle be aiding with the launch campaign and getting revenue from that at the same time as testing.

If BFR is actually delayed, and Starlink is not, Starlink operation before the 2024 window may be nearly a full constellation.
It would be beyond odd if they have not considered various funding schemes for if BFR costs much more or less than expected to develop to a ready state, and if Starlink is delayed or not, and how the funding for these would be related.
Reading the words "cannibalise our own products" to mean that is the only possible source of funding seems counter to everything being said before.

I tried to put rough numbers on this, and came to the conclusion that constraining BFR/S flightrate in 2024 (manned mars date) to within two, perhaps three orders of magnitude is hard.

If BFR/S actually gets to the point of being rapidly reusable so much changes so fast both from a costing of a Mars launch in 2022 point of view and an external investment point of view that depending on your choices you can get tanker launches costing $100M or $2M.

Questions on here in 2022 could almost as easily be 'so, when will it really fly' or 'Where will the twentieth pad be'.

Yeah, if you think the last 5 years were exciting...
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Offline SPITexas

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #54 on: 12/18/2017 03:33 AM »
My vote also goes for Boca Chica to launch the BFR it is proposed site

Offline Cheapchips

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #55 on: 12/18/2017 08:25 AM »

I don't know how they'd get round the noise issue at Texas?  I'm going to interpret Gwynne's BFR Texas comments to mean BFS testing, since that'd only be as noisy as an F9?

I'll vote 39a for booster static fires and full stack testing. Initial landings on a mount on either LZ1 or OCISLY.

It helps with bidding on Luna missions if they're at the cape. It's also historic.  :)

Late 2020 for first full launch.

Don't see that they'd be a need for booster grasshopper equivelent. The three raptor BFS should test the key components shouldn't it?



Offline Dave G

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #56 on: 12/18/2017 11:42 AM »
Don't see that they'd be a need for booster grasshopper equivelent. The three raptor BFS should test the key components shouldn't it?

The BFR booster doesn't have legs.  It lands right back on the launch pad. 

The booster has 3 little fins that guide it into a collar on the pad.  This will need to be tested.

Grasshopper style tests may be perfect for this.

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« Last Edit: 12/18/2017 01:01 PM by Dave G »

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Offline Cheapchips

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #60 on: 12/18/2017 04:38 PM »

The BFR booster doesn't have legs.  It lands right back on the launch pad. 

The booster has 3 little fins that guide it into a collar on the pad.  This will need to be tested.

Grasshopper style tests may be perfect for this.

I was aware of that when I posted.  I just felt that since the BRS demonstrator is essentially a raptor grasshopper already, you can cover off hovering, landing precision and orientation as being tested.  The remaining part of the collared landing that you can't test is,hopefully gentle docking of booster base with the collar.  It feels like a waste to build another $xx million test craft when most of it's covered. 

Isn't the collared landing, once you achieve the necessary flight control, just like positioning a booster onto a test stand?  Except with more fire.

That was my logic anyway, which probably doesn't hold up to engineering scrutiny!



Offline AncientU

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #61 on: 12/18/2017 04:52 PM »

The BFR booster doesn't have legs.  It lands right back on the launch pad. 

The booster has 3 little fins that guide it into a collar on the pad.  This will need to be tested.

Grasshopper style tests may be perfect for this.

I was aware of that when I posted.  I just felt that since the BRS demonstrator is essentially a raptor grasshopper already, you can cover off hovering, landing precision and orientation as being tested.  The remaining part of the collared landing that you can't test is,hopefully gentle docking of booster base with the collar.  It feels like a waste to build another $xx million test craft when most of it's covered. 

Isn't the collared landing, once you achieve the necessary flight control, just like positioning a booster onto a test stand?  Except with more fire.

That was my logic anyway, which probably doesn't hold up to engineering scrutiny!

I'd assume that the cradle landing would be first demo'd on a test cradle (cheap compared to a booster or ship).  This cradle could be placed at the big landing pad or even on an ASDS... my bet is the former.
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Offline copper8

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #62 on: 12/18/2017 06:53 PM »

The BFR booster doesn't have legs.  It lands right back on the launch pad. 

The booster has 3 little fins that guide it into a collar on the pad.  This will need to be tested.

Grasshopper style tests may be perfect for this.

I was aware of that when I posted.  I just felt that since the BRS demonstrator is essentially a raptor grasshopper already, you can cover off hovering, landing precision and orientation as being tested.  The remaining part of the collared landing that you can't test is,hopefully gentle docking of booster base with the collar.  It feels like a waste to build another $xx million test craft when most of it's covered. 

Isn't the collared landing, once you achieve the necessary flight control, just like positioning a booster onto a test stand?  Except with more fire.

That was my logic anyway, which probably doesn't hold up to engineering scrutiny!

I'd assume that the cradle landing would be first demo'd on a test cradle (cheap compared to a booster or ship).  This cradle could be placed at the big landing pad or even on an ASDS... my bet is the former.

Landing on a cradle that is anchored to the earth (motionless) is quite a different proposition from landing on one attached to a oceangoing vessel which will be moving some under the best of circumstances.   

Offline docmordrid

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #63 on: 12/18/2017 09:59 PM »

The BFR booster doesn't have legs.  It lands right back on the launch pad. 

The booster has 3 little fins that guide it into a collar on the pad.  This will need to be tested.

Grasshopper style tests may be perfect for this.

I was aware of that when I posted.  I just felt that since the BRS demonstrator is essentially a raptor grasshopper already, you can cover off hovering, landing precision and orientation as being tested.  The remaining part of the collared landing that you can't test is,hopefully gentle docking of booster base with the collar.  It feels like a waste to build another $xx million test craft when most of it's covered. 

Isn't the collared landing, once you achieve the necessary flight control, just like positioning a booster onto a test stand?  Except with more fire.

That was my logic anyway, which probably doesn't hold up to engineering scrutiny!

I'd assume that the cradle landing would be first demo'd on a test cradle (cheap compared to a booster or ship).  This cradle could be placed at the big landing pad or even on an ASDS... my bet is the former.

Landing on a cradle that is anchored to the earth (motionless) is quite a different proposition from landing on one attached to a oceangoing vessel which will be moving some under the best of circumstances.

Unless it's on the often discussed jack-up platform, which is attached to the seafloor by legs.
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Offline Radical_Ignorant

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #64 on: 12/19/2017 10:09 AM »
I wonder about this returning idea of sea platform for BFS/R.

In my ignorant opinion that adds complexity with servicing. You need port capability near every single launch side, you need second sea platform for BFS? Or you land at land and then transport it back on platform? In my ignorant view it makes things much more complicated and will make "land, refill, launch like an airplane" impossible. And that's goal of Elon, RAPID reuse, not just reuse where you land BFS on land, then transport it to harbor, then move it by some barge to sea launch platform, then only  mount it on BFR, then launch... and transporting payload and service stuff - it's all much harder to do on sea platform than on land based launch/land pad.

Am I worried too much? Are those no problems? Someone who has some knowledge about operation of offshore oil platforms could tell us if that makes things much more complicated or is that very minor issue?

Counter argument to land platform is noise level (Boca Chica). So what's easier? Work around issues with launchpad on sea or ensure approval? For sure SX did some research about that and they know the answer. Maybe that they plan land platform and have some kind of plan B if getting permission for noisy rockets fails?

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #65 on: 12/19/2017 10:32 AM »
I wonder about this returning idea of sea platform for BFS/R.

In my ignorant opinion that adds complexity with servicing. You need port capability near every single launch side, you need second sea platform for BFS? Or you land at land and then transport it back on platform?

Or, you land BFR on one end of the barge, BFS on the other, and use a crane to lift BFS onto BFR.

Offline Dave G

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #66 on: 12/19/2017 01:20 PM »
I wonder about this returning idea of sea platform for BFS/R.

In my ignorant opinion that adds complexity with servicing. You need port capability near every single launch site
All launch sites, including Boca Chica, have BFR capable seaports nearby.

you need second sea platform for BFS?
No.  See picture below.  This is from Elon's presentation in September.  X marks the spot.

In my ignorant view it makes things much more complicated and will make "land, refill, launch like an airplane" impossible. And that's goal of Elon, RAPID reuse, not just reuse where you land BFS on land, then transport it to harbor, then move it by some barge to sea launch platform, then only  mount it on BFR, then launch... and transporting payload and service stuff - it's all much harder to do on sea platform than on land based launch/land pad.
For transporting people and tankers full of fuel, there are no issues here.  A fixed sea platform 5 miles offshore would have cables and pipes running back to land. The launch platform itself would have smaller propellant tanks, plus chillers to compensate for temperature losses through the underwater pipelines. This will allow rapid refueling and reuse.

For satellites, transporting BFS from the payload processing facility to the pad may be easier over water than transporting BFS sized payloads over land.
« Last Edit: 12/19/2017 01:40 PM by Dave G »

Offline Dave G

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #67 on: 12/19/2017 01:37 PM »
Or, you land BFR on one end of the barge, BFS on the other, and use a crane to lift BFS onto BFR.

For BFR/BFS, I believe floating launch / landing platforms are highly unlikely.

A fixed platform 5 miles offshore with legs physically connecting to the ocean floor seems much more plausible.

Note that the ocean floor is often quite shallow miles offshore.  This is true for both Florida and Texas.  For example, 5 miles offshore from Boca Chica Beach, the Gulf of Mexico is only 72 feet (22 meters) deep.
« Last Edit: 12/19/2017 01:47 PM by Dave G »

Offline JoerTex

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #68 on: 12/19/2017 02:40 PM »
There is a large network of petroleum piping that connects off-shore platforms, even in deep water, to shore facilities in Texas and Louisiana.  The engineering is established and proven.  During hurricanes the use is curtailed because of possible damage on-shore.

In 1982 worked on instrumentation of a bottom mounted platform in 990ft of water.  It was held with piles.

My thought is that the BC platform will need to be more than 5 miles off; the BFR is BIG and loud,  Shallow water isn't that important.

Offline aero

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #69 on: 12/19/2017 02:45 PM »
Regarding shallow water in hurricane territory - What is the relationship between water depth and storm surge height, if any?
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Offline Dave G

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #70 on: 12/19/2017 04:15 PM »
Regarding shallow water in hurricane territory - What is the relationship between water depth and storm surge height, if any?

As I understand it, a storm surge mainly causes damage in 2 ways:

1) Stuff that isn't designed to be submerged in water often gets destroyed.

2) As the surge sweeps inland, it picks up cars, boats, basically anything that floats for a while, and slams these things into each other, and into buildings.

For a launch platform 5 miles offshore, it may be that neither of these may apply. It would just get wet.

With a storm surge, I'd be more worried about the on-shore part of the launch site (propellant tanks, water tower, solar arrays, antenna dishes, control center buildings, Stargate tracking center, etc., etc.

Hurricane strength winds may be a different story.

Offline philw1776

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #71 on: 12/19/2017 04:50 PM »
There is a large network of petroleum piping that connects off-shore platforms, even in deep water, to shore facilities in Texas and Louisiana.  The engineering is established and proven.  During hurricanes the use is curtailed because of possible damage on-shore.

In 1982 worked on instrumentation of a bottom mounted platform in 990ft of water.  It was held with piles.

My thought is that the BC platform will need to be more than 5 miles off; the BFR is BIG and loud,  Shallow water isn't that important.

Agreed.  I've proposed 10+ miles offshore.  Still relatively shallow for jack-up platforms.  Very possible off BOTH Cape Canaveral and Boca.  The added cost/complexity for any offshore platform is pipelines plus barge & hydrofoil transport to & from the BFR takeoff, dual BFR and BFS lander platform.

The IAC 2017 point-to-point presentation indicates ocean platforms are not alien to SpaceX philosophy.  Makes easier lots of noise, beach, etc. permissions issues at Boca.
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Offline biosehnsucht

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #72 on: 12/20/2017 01:14 AM »

Agreed.  I've proposed 10+ miles offshore.  Still relatively shallow for jack-up platforms.  Very possible off BOTH Cape Canaveral and Boca.  The added cost/complexity for any offshore platform is pipelines plus barge & hydrofoil transport to & from the BFR takeoff, dual BFR and BFS lander platform.

A mostly underwater "hyperloop" (or more likely, just "loop" without the hyper-ness, likely < 200mph peak speed, may not even need to be low air pressure) could also be installed for transporting people and some (possibly most) cargo for BFS/BFR, assuming the platform is permanently held in place on the sea floor. You'd still need/want the ability to handle barge and other transport but eventually (i.e., maybe not for a decade after first launch) as flight rate picks up it would probably be cheaper than constantly running hydrofoils and such.

After all, they pump oil through pipelines, so how much harder can a bigger pipeline be?
« Last Edit: 12/20/2017 01:14 AM by biosehnsucht »

Offline Dave G

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #73 on: 12/20/2017 10:38 AM »
A mostly underwater "hyperloop"... could also be installed for transporting people and some (possibly most) cargo...

After all, they pump oil through pipelines, so how much harder can a bigger pipeline be?

Maybe someday, but not initially.

Remember, the main challenge for BFR isn't technical, it's funding.

Before September 2017, most assumed revenues from their new Starlink satellite network would fund BFR.  Now, all that has changed.  Elon said they intend to fund BFR just using the revenue they get from launching satellites and servicing the space station.

So SpaceX needs to spend every penny wisely.

Also, in the video where Elon shows the offshore pad, they use a ship to get there.

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #74 on: 12/20/2017 12:31 PM »
Before September 2017, most assumed revenues from their new Starlink satellite network would fund BFR.  Now, all that has changed.  Elon said they intend to fund BFR just using the revenue they get from launching satellites and servicing the space station.

He really diddn't.

Quote
This is very important. In last year's presentation, we were really searching for what the right way, ... you know, how do we pay for this thing. We went through various ideas, with Kickstarter, you know, collecting underpants. These didn't pan out. But now we think we've got a way to do it, which is to have to have a smaller vehicle -- still pretty big -- but one that can serve, one that can do everything that's needed in the greater Earth orbit activity. So essentially we want to make our current vehicles redundant. We want to have one system, one booster and ship that replaces Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy, and Dragon. So if we can do that, then all the resources that are used for Falcon 9, Heavy, and Dragon can be applied to this system. So that that's really fundamental. So let's see. What progress have we made in this direction?
Quote
So then getting back to the question of how do we pay for this system. This was really, I said quite a profound -- I won't call it breakthrough but realization -- that if we can build a system that cannibalizes our own products, makes our own products redundant, then all of the resources, which are quite enormous, that are used for Falcon 9, Heavy, and Dragon, can be applied to one system. Some of our customers are conservative and they want to see BFR fly several times before they're comfortable launching on it, so what we plan to do is to build ahead and have a stock of Falcon 9 and Dragon vehicles so that customers can be comfortable. If they want to use the old rocket, the old spacecraft, they can do that, because we'll have a bunch in stock, but all of our resources will then turn towards building BFR, and we believe that we can do this with the revenue we receive for launching satellites and for servicing the Space Station.

Neglecting for the moment that this was not a legally binding promise to investors, was a speech designed to inspire rather than a financial plan.

A close reading that took  'all our resources will then turn' literally would mean they would stop working on Starlink and Boring and fairing capture.

'we believe we can do this with the revenue' might mean 'we can wholly complete BFR using this money' - but it may also mean 'we can use all this revenue towards BFR'.
It might even mean 'worst case, we can complete this solely with external launch revenue'.
It seems quite far from 'We will not use other revenue to fund this system which will launch to mars in 2022'.

Even a very strict reading can be compatible with - for example selling large amounts of Starlink bonds in 2019, once initial tests of the system prove promising, and using that to fund launches for starlink at a market rate. This could easily be many billions.

Anything that boosts investment in BFR is likely to make it go faster, and this may be the difference between a slip to 2024 or 8 and being able to launch six BFS to Mars in 2022.

Closely reading speeches is interesting, but they should be taken with a grain of salt too, and looked at as a whole with the history and goals of Musk.

For Starlink not to fund BFR, and for Starlink to in fact be developed, that would mean that Starlink is buying launches from SpaceX at cost, and spending SpaceX resources on Starlink.


Offline Dave G

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #75 on: 12/20/2017 01:19 PM »
Starlink is a wholly-owned subsidiary of SpaceX.  Straight from the horse's mouth.
Yes, as I said before, Starlink is part of SpaceX.

It seems we're getting a bit off topic here, specifically: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?

I believe Elon's comment last September gave us a big clue:
Quote from: Elon Musk
we believe that we can do this with the revenue we receive for launching satellites and for servicing the Space Station.
To me, this indicates BFR will happen sooner than later.  Maybe we can leave it at that.
« Last Edit: 12/20/2017 09:37 PM by Dave G »

Offline RedLineTrain

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #76 on: 12/20/2017 02:19 PM »
The Boring Company has no financial affiliation with SpaceX.  They're separately funded companies.

Starlink is part of SpaceX, but as I understand it, they're being funded separately with different investors.

I don't know either of those statements to be true and wonder what your sources are.

Offline envy887

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #77 on: 12/20/2017 02:56 PM »
Quote from: Elon Musk
we believe that we can do this with the revenue we receive for launching satellites and for servicing the Space Station.
...
Starlink is part of SpaceX, but as I understand it, they're being funded separately with different investors.

The connection here should be obvious. Starlink = part of "launching satellites", i.e. part of Starlink investment funding goes to launch costs, which includes development of a more cost-effective launcher. He's leveraging the future value of the constellation to fund BFR.
« Last Edit: 12/20/2017 02:56 PM by envy887 »

Offline Ludus

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #78 on: 12/20/2017 03:06 PM »
If The Boring Company has no affiliation with SpaceX it was a pretty gutsy move to start digging up SpaceX’s parking lot.

Offline Dave G

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #79 on: 12/20/2017 04:59 PM »
If The Boring Company has no affiliation with SpaceX it was a pretty gutsy move to start digging up SpaceX’s parking lot.

Yes, the Boring Company is clearly working on a joint project with SpaceX.  Different companies do this all the time.

I stand by my original statement.
The Boring Company has no financial affiliation with SpaceX.  They're separately funded companies.

Offline Dave G

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #80 on: 12/20/2017 05:06 PM »
The connection here should be obvious. Starlink = part of "launching satellites", i.e. part of Starlink investment funding goes to launch costs, which includes development of a more cost-effective launcher. He's leveraging the future value of the constellation to fund BFR.

Maybe.  Maybe not.  It's definitely not obvious from Musk's statement.

Offline Dave G

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #81 on: 12/20/2017 05:34 PM »
The Boring Company has no financial affiliation with SpaceX.  They're separately funded companies.

Starlink is part of SpaceX, but as I understand it, they're being funded separately with different investors.

I don't know either of those statements to be true and wonder what your sources are.

Starlink:
https://www.geekwire.com/2015/report-google-talks-invest-spacex-boosting-seattle-based-satellite-initiative/

Boring Company is registered as a separate corporation, not part of SpaceX.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Boring_Company

Of course, SpaceX could purchase the Boring Company at some later date, like Tesla purchased Solar City. But as of now, they are separate companies with no financial ties.

Offline RedLineTrain

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #82 on: 12/20/2017 08:47 PM »
Starlink:
https://www.geekwire.com/2015/report-google-talks-invest-spacex-boosting-seattle-based-satellite-initiative/

Starlink is a wholly-owned subsidiary of SpaceX.  Straight from the horse's mouth.

http://licensing.fcc.gov/myibfs/download.do?attachment_key=1158348

Quote
Boring Company is registered as a separate corporation, not part of SpaceX.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Boring_Company

What precisely in that article makes clear that The Boring Company is not owned by SpaceX?

Offline docmordrid

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« Last Edit: 12/20/2017 09:50 PM by docmordrid »
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Offline Dave G

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #84 on: 12/20/2017 09:43 PM »
Starlink is a wholly-owned subsidiary of SpaceX.  Straight from the horse's mouth.
Yes, as I said before, Starlink is part of SpaceX.

It seems we're getting a bit off topic here, specifically: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?

I believe Elon's comment last September gave us a big clue:
Quote from: Elon Musk
we believe that we can do this with the revenue we receive for launching satellites and for servicing the Space Station.
http://www.businessinsider.com/elon-musk-mars-iac-2017-transcript-slides-2017-10/#-25

To me, this indicates BFR will happen sooner than later.  Maybe we can leave it at that.
« Last Edit: 12/20/2017 10:18 PM by Dave G »

Offline RedLineTrain

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #85 on: 12/20/2017 10:23 PM »
If you wish to leave it at that, that's fine.  But I think we need to be clear that you don't have a solid basis for those statements.

Offline Dave G

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #86 on: 12/20/2017 11:27 PM »
If you wish to leave it at that, that's fine.  But I think we need to be clear that you don't have a solid basis for those statements.

The Boring Company is a separate company, not part of SpaceX.  I believe docmordrid's link above proves this.

Starlink is part of SpaceX.  They're the same company.  My statement makes this very clear.  But the article I linked above implies that some SpaceX investors that have earmarked those funds specifically for Starlink. That's my understanding of this article, so that's how I phrased my statement.

Can we move on now?

Offline watermod

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #87 on: 12/21/2017 04:18 AM »
If you wish to leave it at that, that's fine.  But I think we need to be clear that you don't have a solid basis for those statements.

The Boring Company is a separate company, not part of SpaceX.  I believe docmordrid's link above proves this.

Starlink is part of SpaceX.  They're the same company.  My statement makes this very clear.  But the article I linked above implies that some SpaceX investors that have earmarked those funds specifically for Starlink. That's my understanding of this article, so that's how I phrased my statement.

Can we move on now?
It makes sense - litigation from any sort of major disaster in a tunnel, including terrorism, could be terminal for a parent company.   It should be stand alone.

Offline RedLineTrain

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #88 on: 12/21/2017 01:45 PM »
Can we move on now?

Let's take this off-line.

Offline rsdavis9

Assuming they either get approval to launch from boca chica beach or do a offshore platform that still leaves another question.
They can only launch at low inclinations because of cuba for easterly directions or the yucatan for southerly direction. What's the probability of these restrictions being relaxed?
Since the first and primary reason for BFR/BFS is starlink doesn't this have a direct bearing on where the first complete BFR/BFS will be launched from?
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Offline Dave G

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #90 on: 12/26/2017 02:14 PM »
Assuming they either get approval to launch from boca chica beach or do a offshore platform that still leaves another question.
They can only launch at low inclinations because of cuba for easterly directions or the yucatan for southerly direction. What's the probability of these restrictions being relaxed?
Within the next 10 years, I'd say the probability is 0.  After that, the probability would still be low.

But remember, SpaceX has been buying property at Boca Chica under the name "Dogleg Park LLC".

Since the first and primary reason for BFR/BFS is starlink doesn't this have a direct bearing on where the first complete BFR/BFS will be launched from?
I'd say the primary reason for BFR/BFS is for Mars missions.  For Starlink, they could have used Falcon 9.  In fact, depending on the timing of BFR, they may still use Falcon 9 to launch the majority of Starlink satellites.

Offline Roy_H

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #91 on: 12/26/2017 02:58 PM »
I think Starlink is the prime reason for the mini BFR. The scaled down ITS is ideal for launching the vast number of Starlink satellites and will be much cheaper than using F9 or FH. Therefore launch from the Cape is necessary. My view is that Boca Chica will be used primarily for F9/FH GTO launches, relieving some of the load from SLC40.
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Offline rsdavis9

Assuming they either get approval to launch from boca chica beach or do a offshore platform that still leaves another question.
They can only launch at low inclinations because of cuba for easterly directions or the yucatan for southerly direction. What's the probability of these restrictions being relaxed?
Within the next 10 years, I'd say the probability is 0.  After that, the probability would still be low.

But remember, SpaceX has been buying property at Boca Chica under the name "Dogleg Park LLC".

Since the first and primary reason for BFR/BFS is starlink doesn't this have a direct bearing on where the first complete BFR/BFS will be launched from?
I'd say the primary reason for BFR/BFS is for Mars missions.  For Starlink, they could have used Falcon 9.  In fact, depending on the timing of BFR, they may still use Falcon 9 to launch the majority of Starlink satellites.

Well if they do a dogleg for the south of cuba/north of yucatan trajectory, how much extra delta-v do they need to get to the starlink inclinations?
Also if they start the dogleg after clearing yucatan/cuba will south america be far enough away to not matter?
My understanding is that most starlink's will be in ~45 deg inclinations.
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Offline Dave G

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #93 on: 12/27/2017 12:50 PM »
I think Starlink is the prime reason for the mini BFR.

The term "mini BFR" implies that SpaceX still intends to build a larger version of BFR sometime in the future.  I've seen no evidence of that.  As I understand it, the 12m ITS design was scrapped in favor of the new 9m BFR design.

As to why: I suspect SpaceX started the detailed design of the 12m version and then found some issues, so they dialed it down to 9m to solve these issues.  They also enlarged the delta-wing to solve some issues.

In other words, I suspect SpaceX's iterative design process eventually arrived at the current 9m shape as the most efficient, reusable, and versatile design.

I also believe the BFR development process is much further along than people think.  In September, Elon said:

Quote from: Elon Musk
So we've already started building the system. The tooling for the main tanks has been ordered, the facility is being built. We will start construction of the first ship around the second quarter of next year...
http://www.businessinsider.com/elon-musk-mars-iac-2017-transcript-slides-2017-10/#-33

Note that "second quarter of next year" starts just 14 weeks from today.

« Last Edit: 12/27/2017 12:52 PM by Dave G »

Offline Lar

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #94 on: 12/27/2017 01:49 PM »
I too don't see a 12m version in the cards. My expectation is that the next version after the 9m will be FAR larger than 12m. Capable of carrying thousands of tonnes of freight or thousands of passengers. But that version won't even be started till the late 2020s or (more likely) 2030s or 2040s...
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Offline meekGee

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #95 on: 12/27/2017 02:30 PM »
I too don't see a 12m version in the cards. My expectation is that the next version after the 9m will be FAR larger than 12m. Capable of carrying thousands of tonnes of freight or thousands of passengers. But that version won't even be started till the late 2020s or (more likely) 2030s or 2040s...

Musk said they "chickened out" of the 12 m.
Which is good, since it was too big for the first years, and the F1 lesson is "fail small".
Maybe they'll get back to 12 later, maybe to 15...  but they won't stay at 9, I'm pretty sure.

Beyond that, at some point the architecture will change to "orbit-to-orbit" ships, but that's nowhere near.
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Offline AncientU

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #96 on: 12/27/2017 07:28 PM »
I too don't see a 12m version in the cards. My expectation is that the next version after the 9m will be FAR larger than 12m. Capable of carrying thousands of tonnes of freight or thousands of passengers. But that version won't even be started till the late 2020s or (more likely) 2030s or 2040s...

Musk said they "chickened out" of the 12 m.
Which is good, since it was too big for the first years, and the F1 lesson is "fail small".
Maybe they'll get back to 12 later, maybe to 15...  but they won't stay at 9, I'm pretty sure.

Beyond that, at some point the architecture will change to "orbit-to-orbit" ships, but that's nowhere near.

You may be the first to call a reusable NOVA-class launcher 'small'.
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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #97 on: 12/27/2017 08:38 PM »
I too don't see a 12m version in the cards. My expectation is that the next version after the 9m will be FAR larger than 12m. Capable of carrying thousands of tonnes of freight or thousands of passengers. But that version won't even be started till the late 2020s or (more likely) 2030s or 2040s...

Yep. Think of the BFR/BFS as "small" supporting vehicles carrying stuff and people to the real future Mars Colonial Transport to and from various destinations in the Solar system.

The question is whether SpaceX will build something bigger than a Sea Dragon or assemble something in orbit as the future Mars Colonial Transport.

Think you can send up a 16 meter diameter vehicle component on the BFR with a new upper stage to LEO.  ;D

Offline DavidCar

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #98 on: 12/27/2017 09:04 PM »
I too don't see a 12m version in the cards. My expectation is that the next version after the 9m will be FAR larger than 12m. Capable of carrying thousands of tonnes of freight or thousands of passengers. But that version won't even be started till the late 2020s or (more likely) 2030s or 2040s...

Yep. Think of the BFR/BFS as "small" supporting vehicles carrying stuff and people to the real future Mars Colonial Transport to and from various destinations in the Solar system.

The question is whether SpaceX will build something bigger than a Sea Dragon or assemble something in orbit as the future Mars Colonial Transport.

Think you can send up a 16 meter diameter vehicle component on the BFR with a new upper stage to LEO.  ;D

Would it be sensible to create a BFR-Heavy by putting 3 BFR in a triangular arrangement underneath an 18m BFS?  The 18m BFS would internally be three BFS rocket sections with an 18m cargo bay.  I think that approach would require less development time than creating whole new larger BFR/BFS.

Offline nacnud

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #99 on: 12/27/2017 09:18 PM »
No, building a large diameter BFR+ would be better.

But that is a long way off.

BFR will lift 150 tonnes to leo, for less than the cost of a Falcon 1, can you think of anything sensible that weighs more than 150 tonnes but can't be launched in pieces?

Offline Dave G

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #100 on: 12/27/2017 09:38 PM »
Lots of discussion about building something larger than BFR.

Is there any basis for this, or is it purely speculation?

Again, as I understand it, the 12m ITS design was scrapped in favor of the 9m BFR design.

Has SpaceX mentioned anything about building something larger than the 9m BFR since September?

Offline DavidCar

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #101 on: 12/28/2017 12:02 AM »
No, building a large diameter BFR+ would be better.

But that is a long way off.

BFR will lift 150 tonnes to leo, for less than the cost of a Falcon 1, can you think of anything sensible that weighs more than 150 tonnes but can't be launched in pieces?

I'm thinking a large diameter lunar or martian habitation module might be more easily constructed on earth and transported from there rather than be constructed on site, avoiding potential problems with moon dust, or at least for initial habitation modules to be used while gaining experience with constructing things on site.

Online guckyfan

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #102 on: 12/28/2017 01:58 AM »
No, building a large diameter BFR+ would be better.

But that is a long way off.

BFR will lift 150 tonnes to leo, for less than the cost of a Falcon 1, can you think of anything sensible that weighs more than 150 tonnes but can't be launched in pieces?


I'm thinking a large diameter lunar or martian habitation module might be more easily constructed on earth and transported from there rather than be constructed on site, avoiding potential problems with moon dust, or at least for initial habitation modules to be used while gaining experience with constructing things on site.

You can use a BFS fully equipped for that purpose. It is not that expensive.

Offline Dave G

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #103 on: 12/28/2017 02:42 PM »
I'm thinking a large diameter lunar or martian habitation module might be more easily constructed on earth and transported from there rather than be constructed on site, avoiding potential problems with moon dust, or at least for initial habitation modules to be used while gaining experience with constructing things on site.

You can use a BFS fully equipped for that purpose. It is not that expensive.

For lunar habitation, I suspect they'll need to go underground to avoid radiation.  Same with Mars.

In fact, Gwynne mentioned this at Stanford:
Quote from: Gwynne Shotwell
SpaceX is focused on the transportation part of the Mars problem, but people need somewhere to go once they arrive. I don't think it's an accident that Elon started the Boring Company, tunnels will be very important in the first steps of living on Mars, before we build domes and terraform.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/jurvetson/37659376821

« Last Edit: 12/28/2017 04:30 PM by Dave G »

Online John Alan

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #104 on: 12/29/2017 12:15 AM »
I have not posted to this thread yet... because I wanted to think on the topic a while...  ???

I still think (as I stated elsewhere) that BC will start out as a test center with suborbital hops of BFS...
Next will be low altitude BFR booster hops with minimal engine counts in use... to confirm landing OP's mainly...

First full up, full stack, let it all rip, launch...   :o
All new built pad somewhere else...  ;)

My guess is leaning toward somewhere on Vandenberg AFB... Polar launches... and StarLink initial...
Closely followed by an all new duplicate pad at the Cape... where at exactly, is TBD...

Now... BC may have the same 'bones' as the pads that get finished first on the coasts...
Close enough that it could be finished out as a full blown, fast pace, rapid fire pad like the other two...
BUT... If the government regulators and Texas don't want that... then SpaceX will never finish it out...
And take the jobs and money elsewhere...  :(

On edit...
BC is an early R&D test flight location located well away from the jet ways and air traffic of the coasts...
It's really an annex of McGregor... needed when they lost flight privileges up there... in other words...
And finally...
SpaceX is unlikely (IMHO) to go to great expense to offshore a pad there...
If the regulators balk on amending the EIS... they will not finish the pad out...  ;)
« Last Edit: 12/29/2017 01:25 AM by John Alan »

Online guckyfan

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #105 on: 12/29/2017 12:18 AM »
I'm thinking a large diameter lunar or martian habitation module might be more easily constructed on earth and transported from there rather than be constructed on site, avoiding potential problems with moon dust, or at least for initial habitation modules to be used while gaining experience with constructing things on site.

You can use a BFS fully equipped for that purpose. It is not that expensive.

For lunar habitation, I suspect they'll need to go underground to avoid radiation.  Same with Mars.

In fact, Gwynne mentioned this at Stanford:
Quote from: Gwynne Shotwell
SpaceX is focused on the transportation part of the Mars problem, but people need somewhere to go once they arrive. I don't think it's an accident that Elon started the Boring Company, tunnels will be very important in the first steps of living on Mars, before we build domes and terraform.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/jurvetson/37659376821

You are correct for long term habitats. But this was talk about initial setup for the first crews. Elon Musk mentioned BFS as first habitat on Mars. Sending one unmanned to the moon equipped with some shielding is not that hard.

Offline rockets4life97

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #106 on: 12/29/2017 03:23 PM »
If SpaceX chooses to use 39A as the first launch pad, how soon would they need to start the transformation?

Offline Patchouli

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #107 on: 12/29/2017 06:35 PM »
I wonder if they should have went with an Apollo style clean pad design for 39A to allow use of different LVs.
« Last Edit: 12/29/2017 06:39 PM by Patchouli »

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #108 on: 12/29/2017 07:23 PM »
There is always the chance that SLS is canceled after N launches and 39B is put up for lease...  ;)

Not holding my breath on that option... but one that IS out there...  :P

My opinion, is SpaceX will NOT mess with 39A as long as the NASA manned D2 program and FH is operational...
BFR/BFS full stack has to go somewhere else on the East Coast... and on solid ground...  ;)

Offline rsdavis9

There is always the chance that SLS is canceled after N launches and 39B is put up for lease...  ;)

Not holding my breath on that option... but one that IS out there...  :P

My opinion, is SpaceX will NOT mess with 39A as long as the NASA manned D2 program and FH is operational...
BFR/BFS full stack has to go somewhere else on the East Coast... and on solid ground...  ;)

why the east coast?
Vandenburg should have better launch azimuths for starlink.
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Offline Lars-J

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #110 on: 12/29/2017 07:41 PM »
There is always the chance that SLS is canceled after N launches and 39B is put up for lease...  ;)

Not holding my breath on that option... but one that IS out there...  :P

My opinion, is SpaceX will NOT mess with 39A as long as the NASA manned D2 program and FH is operational...
BFR/BFS full stack has to go somewhere else on the East Coast... and on solid ground...  ;)

why the east coast?
Vandenburg should have better launch azimuths for starlink.

Only the very highest inclinations need to be launched from VandenbErg. The vast majority of satellites for Starlink can be launched from Florida.

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #111 on: 12/29/2017 07:50 PM »
There is always the chance that SLS is canceled after N launches and 39B is put up for lease...  ;)

Not holding my breath on that option... but one that IS out there...  :P

My opinion, is SpaceX will NOT mess with 39A as long as the NASA manned D2 program and FH is operational...
BFR/BFS full stack has to go somewhere else on the East Coast... and on solid ground...  ;)

why the east coast?
Vandenburg should have better launch azimuths for starlink.

I agree... New build pad on Vandenberg is still my top pick for one of the first operational full stack BFS/BFR pads...
Because StarLink is the primary first paying use of BFS/BFR... IMHO...

The comment up above (which I should have quoted I guess) was about maybe SpaceX should have gone clean pad with 39A... (AKA 39B like)...  which does raise the question...
SO... I answered that question... No, unless... a long shot plan plays out...

Really, SpaceX needs to stop trying to save a buck or two with rebuilding stuff and just build TWO new pads going forward... one on each coast where they KNOW they can get launch licenses...

BUT... don't commit to that, until they do testing and verify by doing R&D flights in BC, Tx

In summary...
Design a green field pad design adaptable to all three places in the US...
Partially built out the first in Tx just enough to get your BFR booster launch mount over the trench for testing.
Assuming all goes well in Tx on R&D... commit to build the other two on the coasts...
If the EIS redo and other nanny forces squash launching full up BFR/BFS from Tx on land there...
So be it... keep the dishes and other stuff... mothball the rest...
My guess is faced with that prospect... the good folks of Tx will find a way to make it work out on land right where it sits...
The loss of taxes and tourism dollars will, in the long run, overcome the d--- turtles and other nanny state worries that this country seems to be fixated on as of late...

IMHO...  ;)
« Last Edit: 12/29/2017 08:56 PM by John Alan »

Offline Lars-J

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #112 on: 12/29/2017 07:56 PM »
BTW... It is Vandenberg, Not Vandenburg.  Just trying to nip this in the bud before it spreads to far, and the wrath of Jim descends on you. ;)
 
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vandenberg_Air_Force_Base

Offline MickQ

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #113 on: 12/29/2017 10:31 PM »
Any chance that the never built Pad 39C might be constructed ?

Offline Lar

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #114 on: 12/29/2017 10:40 PM »
I too don't see a 12m version in the cards. My expectation is that the next version after the 9m will be FAR larger than 12m. Capable of carrying thousands of tonnes of freight or thousands of passengers. But that version won't even be started till the late 2020s or (more likely) 2030s or 2040s...

Yep. Think of the BFR/BFS as "small" supporting vehicles carrying stuff and people to the real future Mars Colonial Transport to and from various destinations in the Solar system.

The question is whether SpaceX will build something bigger than a Sea Dragon or assemble something in orbit as the future Mars Colonial Transport.

Think you can send up a 16 meter diameter vehicle component on the BFR with a new upper stage to LEO.  ;D


I think we'll see cyclers but that's not what I meant. I am thinking something a lot larger than a Sea Dragon that is a cargo/people hauler from Earth's surface to LEO.

But that's off topic for this thread.
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Offline Patchouli

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #115 on: 12/29/2017 11:10 PM »
Any chance that the never built Pad 39C might be constructed ?

There is a pad 39C now but it's for small vehicles.
https://kscpartnerships.ksc.nasa.gov/Partnering-Opportunities/Capabilities-and-Testing/Physical-Assets/Launch-Pad-39C

The original proposed site for 39C is still unused but would require a lot of work as nothing was ever built not even roads.

But there may be space for a new pad between LC-40 and LC-37 though ULA may be happy with something like BFR being tested near one of their pads which would be understandable.
« Last Edit: 12/29/2017 11:12 PM by Patchouli »

Offline Dalhousie

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #116 on: 12/29/2017 11:13 PM »
There is always the chance that SLS is canceled after N launches and 39B is put up for lease...  ;)

A far bigger chance that BFR will be cancelled before it even flies.....
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Offline meekGee

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #117 on: 12/29/2017 11:17 PM »
Lots of discussion about building something larger than BFR.

Is there any basis for this, or is it purely speculation?

Again, as I understand it, the 12m ITS design was scrapped in favor of the 9m BFR design.

Has SpaceX mentioned anything about building something larger than the 9m BFR since September?
Musk said they "chickened out" of the 12 m.

He didn't say "9 m is better".

They figured 12 m was too big a step, and 9 m is certainly good enough to begin with, so settled for 9.

They will still want something bigger for Mars, but it might be >12 m when they do. 15 m would be nice...

Give them a couple of years though...
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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #118 on: 12/29/2017 11:50 PM »
Any chance that the never built Pad 39C might be constructed ?

There is a pad 39C now but it's for small vehicles.
https://kscpartnerships.ksc.nasa.gov/Partnering-Opportunities/Capabilities-and-Testing/Physical-Assets/Launch-Pad-39C

The original proposed site for 39C is still unused but would require a lot of work as nothing was ever built not even roads.

But there may be space for a new pad between LC-40 and LC-37 though ULA may be happy with something like BFR being tested near one of their pads which would be understandable.

With the size of this, and possible future vehicles, and the proposed launch cadence over the next decades it seems to me to be the time to seriously look at a new, purpose built area with maybe multiple pads on the same site.  Call it LC-50 A/B/C....

Offline Bob Shaw

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #119 on: 12/30/2017 12:13 AM »
LC 39-C, and call the BFR 'Neptune' - Arthur would be proud!

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #120 on: 12/30/2017 01:18 AM »
Any chance that the never built Pad 39C might be constructed ?

There is a pad 39C now but it's for small vehicles.
https://kscpartnerships.ksc.nasa.gov/Partnering-Opportunities/Capabilities-and-Testing/Physical-Assets/Launch-Pad-39C

The original proposed site for 39C is still unused but would require a lot of work as nothing was ever built not even roads.
It's one of the sites identified as a potential site for future launch pads in the current KSC master plan.

https://masterplan.ksc.nasa.gov/

Offline llanitedave

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #121 on: 12/30/2017 01:24 AM »

Really, SpaceX needs to stop trying to save a buck or two with rebuilding stuff and just build TWO new pads going forward... one on each coast where they KNOW they can get launch licenses...


SpaceX really needs to stop listening to random internet posters and...

Wait, they already aren't.


Never mind.
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Offline envy887

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #122 on: 12/30/2017 03:10 AM »
There is always the chance that SLS is canceled after N launches and 39B is put up for lease...  ;)

A far bigger chance that BFR will be cancelled before it even flies.....

Well, SLS will definitely be canceled after N launches, for varying values of N. The chance of that is 100%, as no program runs indefinitely. So the chance that BFR is canceled without flying is at most equal, not greater.

BFR in some form will almost certainly fly, eventually. The only way it won't is if SpaceX fails as a business, or undergoes a radical change in leadership and vision, or someone makes a major breakthrough in technology that renders it obsolete, all before it flies. Those are all rather unlikely at this point.

Offline Dave G

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #123 on: 12/30/2017 12:07 PM »
There is always the chance that SLS is canceled after N launches and 39B is put up for lease...  ;)
A far bigger chance that BFR will be cancelled before it even flies.....
BFR in some form will almost certainly fly, eventually. The only way it won't is if SpaceX fails as a business...

I agree.  The only way SpaceX will cancel BFR is if they go bankrupt.

In addition, I believe BFR development is much further along than many people think.  Commercial development works like a pipeline.  By the time we see a test launch, the design engineers are already spending most of their time on the next project.

Also, in Septermber, Elon said:
http://www.businessinsider.com/elon-musk-mars-iac-2017-transcript-slides-2017-10/#-34
Quote from: Elon Musk
The tooling for the main tanks has been ordered, the facility is being built. We will start construction of the first ship around the second quarter of next year...

The second quarter of next year starts in just 13 weeks.

With this in mind, I think the BFR design is locked down, and they're rapidly moving into the production phase.

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #124 on: 12/31/2017 07:12 PM »
There is always the chance that SLS is canceled after N launches and 39B is put up for lease...  ;)

A far bigger chance that BFR will be cancelled before it even flies.....
Ill take that bet.
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Online Robotbeat

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #125 on: 12/31/2017 07:15 PM »
Assuming they either get approval to launch from boca chica beach or do a offshore platform that still leaves another question.
They can only launch at low inclinations because of cuba for easterly directions or the yucatan for southerly direction. What's the probability of these restrictions being relaxed?
Within the next 10 years, I'd say the probability is 0.  After that, the probability would still be low.

But remember, SpaceX has been buying property at Boca Chica under the name "Dogleg Park LLC".

Since the first and primary reason for BFR/BFS is starlink doesn't this have a direct bearing on where the first complete BFR/BFS will be launched from?
I'd say the primary reason for BFR/BFS is for Mars missions.  For Starlink, they could have used Falcon 9.  In fact, depending on the timing of BFR, they may still use Falcon 9 to launch the majority of Starlink satellites.

Well if they do a dogleg for the south of cuba/north of yucatan trajectory, how much extra delta-v do they need to get to the starlink inclinations?
Also if they start the dogleg after clearing yucatan/cuba will south america be far enough away to not matter?
My understanding is that most starlink's will be in ~45 deg inclinations.
Keep in mind also that BFS is a hypersonic lifting body, and as such can change inclination using lift, which uses roughly half as much delta-V as a propulsive inclination change. That means that they should be able to reach more inclinations from Boca Chica than you might first think.
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Offline Ludus

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #126 on: 12/31/2017 08:52 PM »
I’d go with BFR first launch from a Sea platform much like in the point to point video, off of Boca Chica. BFS suborbital hops earlier on it’s own. First launches of BFR as well as BFS more like Grasshopper than an expendable rocket. First just engine burns tied down. Brief hovers. Short suborbital flights. Boosting the BFS suborbital. Quite a lot of flying before actually putting a BFS in orbit.

If that takes place 10 miles offshore there’s a lot less risk and disruption for Falcon operations taking place at the same time.

All three current pads will be busy constantly with the launch cadence going forward. Boca Chica will join them approved to launch F9 and FH 12x a year. 2018 will go for 30 total, 2019 maybe closer to 50.

I don’t think SpaceX can afford the amount of disruption that rebuilding any of those Pads to accommodate any form of BFR would require.

They clearly have a goal of a sea platform process and no good reason to start with something else. Since most coastal locations are pretty shallow, a platform on legs may make sense. It would still be built in a big shipyard and towed into place.

The sea platform Spaceport lets them rapidly scale launch sites, putting them all over the world much faster than could ever happen with land based pads. If that’s the goal, they might as well focus on solving related technical issues rather than solving them for a different approach first then starting over.

If they’re doing this there ought to be some evidence of a big platform under construction for them at a major shipyard in the next year or two.
« Last Edit: 12/31/2017 09:08 PM by Ludus »

Offline Dave G

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #127 on: 01/01/2018 03:02 PM »
I’d go with BFR first launch from a Sea platform much like in the point to point video, off of Boca Chica. BFS suborbital hops earlier on it’s own. First launches of BFR as well as BFS more like Grasshopper than an expendable rocket. First just engine burns tied down. Brief hovers. Short suborbital flights. Boosting the BFS suborbital. Quite a lot of flying before actually putting a BFS in orbit.

I suspect we'll see the the first Grasshopper-like test flights of BFS from Landing Zone 1 in Florida. 

For Boca Chica, the current EIS doesn't allow suborbital test flights of anything larger than Falcon 9, and SpaceX has not yet requested additional approvals to allow anything larger. 

Note that the Boca Chica EIS also doesn't allow F9/FH stages to return back to the launch site (RTLS not allowed). SpaceX's plans for the Boca Chica launch site do not include any landing pads. And again, SpaceX has not yet requested additional approvals for landing pads.  For recovery of Falcon 9 booster stages, it appears SpaceX will use ASDS exclusively.



Offline Patchouli

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #128 on: 01/01/2018 04:13 PM »
There is always the chance that SLS is canceled after N launches and 39B is put up for lease...  ;)

A far bigger chance that BFR will be cancelled before it even flies.....

BFR as we know it might not make it past the design stage but something bigger than Falcon heavy is pretty much a given unless Spacex self destructs like Commodore did in the 1990s.
SLS is pretty much intended to eventually be replaced with something else.

« Last Edit: 01/01/2018 04:19 PM by Patchouli »

Offline AncientU

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #129 on: 01/01/2018 05:04 PM »
There is always the chance that SLS is canceled after N launches and 39B is put up for lease...  ;)

A far bigger chance that BFR will be cancelled before it even flies.....

BFR as we know it might not make it past the design stage but something bigger than Falcon heavy is pretty much a given unless Spacex self destructs like Commodore did in the 1990s.
SLS is pretty much intended to eventually be replaced with something else.

Intended by whom?  Reference? ...or guess?
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Offline geoffc

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #130 on: 01/01/2018 05:50 PM »
BFR as we know it might not make it past the design stage but something bigger than Falcon heavy is pretty much a given unless Spacex self destructs like Commodore did in the 1990s.
SLS is pretty much intended to eventually be replaced with something else.

Never ever, ever, use Commodore and the company we are discussing in the same sentence! I loved Commodore (Had a C64, Amiga) and reading https://www.amazon.com/Commodore-Company-Edge-Brian-Bagnall/dp/0973864966/ref=sr_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1514832547&sr=1-4&keywords=commodore was enough to make me cry.

Offline Patchouli

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #131 on: 01/01/2018 07:15 PM »
BFR as we know it might not make it past the design stage but something bigger than Falcon heavy is pretty much a given unless Spacex self destructs like Commodore did in the 1990s.
SLS is pretty much intended to eventually be replaced with something else.

Never ever, ever, use Commodore and the company we are discussing in the same sentence! I loved Commodore (Had a C64, Amiga) and reading https://www.amazon.com/Commodore-Company-Edge-Brian-Bagnall/dp/0973864966/ref=sr_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1514832547&sr=1-4&keywords=commodore was enough to make me cry.

Didn't mean to hit a nerve but Commodore was very innovative,vertically integrated, shipped more systems than any other company during the 1980s.



Offline geoffc

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #132 on: 01/02/2018 08:33 PM »
BFR as we know it might not make it past the design stage but something bigger than Falcon heavy is pretty much a given unless Spacex self destructs like Commodore did in the 1990s.
SLS is pretty much intended to eventually be replaced with something else.

Never ever, ever, use Commodore and the company we are discussing in the same sentence! I loved Commodore (Had a C64, Amiga) and reading https://www.amazon.com/Commodore-Company-Edge-Brian-Bagnall/dp/0973864966/ref=sr_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1514832547&sr=1-4&keywords=commodore was enough to make me cry.

Didn't mean to hit a nerve but Commodore was very innovative,vertically integrated, shipped more systems than any other company during the 1980s.

I know, I am joking around.  I miss Commodore. I do not want SpaceX to end the same way. 

Offline wannamoonbase

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #133 on: 01/02/2018 10:12 PM »
There is always the chance that SLS is canceled after N launches and 39B is put up for lease...  ;)

A far bigger chance that BFR will be cancelled before it even flies.....

BFR as we know it might not make it past the design stage but something bigger than Falcon heavy is pretty much a given unless Spacex self destructs like Commodore did in the 1990s.
SLS is pretty much intended to eventually be replaced with something else.

I agree on all parts.  I don't think BFR as shown to us so far is a given.  It will evolve and mature with time, it will be larger than FH and be a very impressive vehicle, but maybe not the monster we've seen.

I think SLS is going to muddle along until BFR or a Blue Origin is flying and the dialogue changes to 'why are we paying for the most expensive launch system ever, when they're are flying competitive options?'  Then it will be retired.

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Offline Dave G

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #134 on: 01/03/2018 02:50 AM »
I don't think BFR as shown to us so far is a given.  It will evolve and mature with time, it will be larger than FH and be a very impressive vehicle, but maybe not the monster we've seen.

What you say doesn't seem to agree with Musk's statements at IAC 2017:
Quote from: Elon Musk
The tooling for the main tanks has been ordered, the facility is being built. We will start construction of the first ship around the second quarter of next year...

Note that the second quarter of 2018 is now just 13 weeks away.  So if Musk's statement is true, the design for BFR is pretty much nailed down, and they're getting ready to manufacture it.

Online butters

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #135 on: 01/03/2018 03:36 AM »
The 2017 BFR is conspicuously sized for the maximum thrust rating of the LC-39 flame duct, so that should say something about their plans.

Offline Ludus

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #136 on: 01/03/2018 09:58 PM »
The 2017 BFR is conspicuously sized for the maximum thrust rating of the LC-39 flame duct, so that should say something about their plans.

That may be coincidental. Musk said BFR2 was constrained by what could be built using SpaceX existing facilities and a lot of work to optimize the Raptor (which ended up very similar in size to Merlin and buildable by the same facilities). Those limits scale BFR down to the old 39a limits but SpaceX didn’t seem too concerned about those old limits when it planned to launch the first version of ITS from 39a. NSF threads discussed that a lot and seemed to reach a consensus that it wouldn’t be a big deal to upgrade 39a to handle more thrust.

The problem with launching BFR from 39a is SpaceX needs 39a to pay the bills with launches every couple weeks indefinitely. BFR can’t use it without a lot of modifications that would interfere with it launching F9 and FH all the time.

If this is the plan though, there ought to be evidence of starting new construction at 39a pretty soon. It would be interesting if SpaceX wants to reconcile a legless BFR that lands on its launch mount with the horizontal integration system of F9 and FH on the same pad.

Offline DistantTemple

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #137 on: 01/03/2018 10:25 PM »
I’d go with BFR first launch from a Sea platform much like in the point to point video, off of Boca Chica. BFS suborbital hops earlier on it’s own. First launches of BFR as well as BFS more like Grasshopper than an expendable rocket. First just engine burns tied down. Brief hovers. Short suborbital flights. Boosting the BFS suborbital. Quite a lot of flying before actually putting a BFS in orbit.

If that takes place 10 miles offshore there’s a lot less risk and disruption for Falcon operations taking place at the same time.
...........
The sea platform Spaceport lets them rapidly scale launch sites, putting them all over the world much faster than could ever happen with land based pads. If that’s the goal, they might as well focus on solving related technical issues rather than solving them for a different approach first then starting over.

If they’re doing this there ought to be some evidence of a big platform under construction for them at a major shipyard in the next year or two.

... And Boca Chica, has the most amazing deep water harbour, with cheaper industrial land... Perhaps that was a major unspoken attraction for Spacex. Will they build a BFR factory there; not at the launch site, but close to the port/inlet?
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Offline geoffc

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #138 on: 01/03/2018 11:49 PM »

I played with my 1983 Commodore Vic 20 over the holidays, that was a trip down memory lane.

Alas I sold my Commodore 64 and my Amiga 2000 (With Retina video card, deinterlacer, 68040 card, 16 megs of RAM, SCSI hard drive) many moons ago.

Offline groundbound

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #139 on: 01/04/2018 01:31 AM »
I had an interesting thought that I don't remember anyone posting here: I wonder if the first BFR site will also get a prototype ISRU plant.

I don't think SpaceX is so careless as to attempt their first ISRU deployment on Mars. Elon said that someday they might produce BFR propellant near the launch pad. I wonder if a token small ISRU plant might show up as a demonstrator early in the process.

Offline Dave G

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #140 on: 01/04/2018 07:17 AM »
Musk said BFR2 was constrained by what could be built using SpaceX existing facilities...

Yes, but at IAC 2017, Elon also said:
http://www.businessinsider.com/elon-musk-mars-iac-2017-transcript-slides-2017-10/#-34
Quote from: Elon Musk
The tooling for the main tanks has been ordered, the facility is being built. We will start construction of the first ship around the second quarter of next year, so in about six to nine months we should start building the first ship.

And then Gwynne later clarified:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/jurvetson/37659376821
Quote from: Gwynne Shotwell
Q: Where will the BFR be built?

A: We're looking at building a facility by the water in LA. We thought we'd build it in our factory in Hawthorne, but we priced transport to the harbor, and it came out to $2.5m per trip. It would require taking down stoplights, and just wouldn't be worth it. So we will build a new facility by the water. We will eventually also have a number of production sites by out launch sites.

Note that there's a whole other thread speculating exactly where this new BFR manufacturing facility will be:
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=43871.msg1760847#msg1760847

Offline Dave G

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #141 on: 01/04/2018 07:32 AM »
The problem with launching BFR from 39a is SpaceX needs 39a to pay the bills with launches every couple weeks indefinitely. BFR can’t use it without a lot of modifications that would interfere with it launching F9 and FH all the time.
Yes, this is why some are speculating they won't use LC-39A for the first launch of BFR.

The counter argument: Once they get F9 and FH launching from Boca Chica, that would free up LC-39A somewhat.

But then, folks on reddit and some folks here are speculating Boca Chica will bypass F9/FH and go straight to BFR.

There's also speculation that BFR will use a fixed launch platform 5-10 miles offshore, as Elon showed at IAC 2017.

And I have no idea who's right. It will be interesting to see.

Offline Steve D

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #142 on: 01/04/2018 06:07 PM »
39b is being set up as a multi user pad from what I have heard. Why not launch BFx from there?

Offline nacnud

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #143 on: 01/04/2018 06:30 PM »
I don't think NASA want to share anymore, at least not until after SLS EM-1.

Offline AncientU

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #144 on: 01/04/2018 09:16 PM »
39b is being set up as a multi user pad from what I have heard. Why not launch BFx from there?

From what we've been hearing, both SpaceX and Blue Origins inquired about using LC-39B. 
(Also recall that Orbital ATK was interested in using it for NGL.)
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Offline MickQ

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #145 on: 01/05/2018 10:20 AM »
Did I read somewhere that Brownsville is where de-commissioned aircraft carriers go to die ?  Mmmm....

Big flat deck.  Ample room for facilities and fuel.
« Last Edit: 01/05/2018 09:46 PM by MickQ »

Offline chipguy

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #146 on: 01/05/2018 06:08 PM »
Did I read somewhere that Brownsville is where be-commissioned aircraft carriers go to die ?  Mmmm....

Big flat deck.  Ample room for facilities and fuel.

A retired carrier will take a lot of bodies to run the engines, move it from place
to place, regular maintenance etc.

Also the flight deck is fairly high off the waterline which would hurt stability for
off centre landing.

I think a low riding custom designed vessel with low maintenance plant and high
automation is a better, safer, and cheaper option long term.

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #147 on: 01/05/2018 07:45 PM »
Just a few tenths of a cent of speculation I've been throwing around is a hybrid catamaran/barge ASDS.  Basically something along the lines of two current ASDS type barges, with a platform spanning between them.  This could give something close to the known quantity of stability of the current ASDS, but increase the available size.  Also fits with the incremental approach of testing these types of systems, building off knowledge they already have.  Still has a large mobility drawback, and might not offer enough stability for cradle landings, but I think this is something that will be tested soon with a "surplus" F9 (100% baseless speculation sorry) and I also think the OctoGrabber is at least half of this equation that unfortunately hasn't been able to be tested as they would like just yet.

Offline Dave G

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #148 on: 01/05/2018 09:42 PM »
Just a few tenths of a cent of speculation I've been throwing around is a hybrid catamaran/barge ASDS.  Basically something along the lines of two current ASDS type barges, with a platform spanning between them.  This could give something close to the known quantity of stability of the current ASDS, but increase the available size.  Also fits with the incremental approach of testing these types of systems, building off knowledge they already have.  Still has a large mobility drawback, and might not offer enough stability for cradle landings, but I think this is something that will be tested soon with a "surplus" F9 (100% baseless speculation sorry) and I also think the OctoGrabber is at least half of this equation that unfortunately hasn't been able to be tested as they would like just yet.
BFR is powerful enough that all missions will return the booster to the launch site.  100% RTLS.  Elon made this clear in both IAC presentations. Remember, their goal is full and rapid reusability.  ASDS doesn't allow that. So the current concept of landing a booster on a barge far down range, that's a temporary solution. Once F9 and FH are retired in favor of BFR, SpaceX will stop using ASDS.

If you're talking about the possibility of a floating launch site, that would need to be huge.  Much larger than a pair of barges.  Much larger than an aircraft carrier. Remember, we're talking about 5,400 tons of thrust at takeoff.  To counteract that on a floating platform, it would need to be really, really huge.  For this reason, I believe a floating launch site for BFR is extremely unlikely.

Much more likely would be a fixed launch platform 5-10 miles offshore.  This would have legs that physically connect it with the ocean floor, so it would be more like a small man-made island than a huge boat.  Note that the ocean floor is very shallow for miles off the coast of Boca Chica and Cape Canaveral.  In addition, they could have cables and pipes running underwater back to shore, so they would only need to store a relatively small amount of LOX and liquid methane on the fixed offshore platform, plus chillers.  I believe this is the option Elon showed at IAC 2017.

« Last Edit: 01/05/2018 09:53 PM by Dave G »

Offline Rabidpanda

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #149 on: 01/09/2018 05:28 AM »
I don't think BFR as shown to us so far is a given.  It will evolve and mature with time, it will be larger than FH and be a very impressive vehicle, but maybe not the monster we've seen.

What you say doesn't seem to agree with Musk's statements at IAC 2017:
Quote from: Elon Musk
The tooling for the main tanks has been ordered, the facility is being built. We will start construction of the first ship around the second quarter of next year...

Note that the second quarter of 2018 is now just 13 weeks away.  So if Musk's statement is true, the design for BFR is pretty much nailed down, and they're getting ready to manufacture it.

Elon makes a lot of promises that don't always come true. Based on what was shown at IAC 2017 the design is no where near being finished and they are still refining the concept.

'Tooling for the main tanks has been ordered' probably just means that they have ordered some AFP machines and/or layup tools that are relatively agnostic to the final design. 'We will start construction of the first ship around the second quarter of next year' probably means that they plan to start making manufacturing demonstrators on new tooling, maybe start manufacturing a suborbital test vehicle before the end of the year.

I would bet that IAC 2018 will bring some significant changes to the overall vehicle /architecture and the amount of progress will be much less that people here seem to expect.


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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #150 on: 01/09/2018 05:47 AM »
I don't think BFR as shown to us so far is a given.  It will evolve and mature with time, it will be larger than FH and be a very impressive vehicle, but maybe not the monster we've seen.

What you say doesn't seem to agree with Musk's statements at IAC 2017:
Quote from: Elon Musk
The tooling for the main tanks has been ordered, the facility is being built. We will start construction of the first ship around the second quarter of next year...

Note that the second quarter of 2018 is now just 13 weeks away.  So if Musk's statement is true, the design for BFR is pretty much nailed down, and they're getting ready to manufacture it.

Elon makes a lot of promises that don't always come true. Based on what was shown at IAC 2017 the design is no where near being finished and they are still refining the concept.

'Tooling for the main tanks has been ordered' probably just means that they have ordered some AFP machines and/or layup tools that are relatively agnostic to the final design. 'We will start construction of the first ship around the second quarter of next year' probably means that they plan to start making manufacturing demonstrators on new tooling, maybe start manufacturing a suborbital test vehicle before the end of the year.

I would bet that IAC 2018 will bring some significant changes to the overall vehicle /architecture and the amount of progress will be much less that people here seem to expect.
That's a pretty wishy-washy bet, can you make it something objective so we can actually bet on it? :D
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Offline cro-magnon gramps

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #151 on: 01/09/2018 05:18 PM »
just my opinion:
      Gwynne has said the Los Angeles waterfront for building the first BFR/BFS factory (Hawthorne for Raptor Engines); This will probably be from 2018 to 2030 time frame before building factories near the launch pads that they will have by then... Testing and Launches could begin as early as late 2019 - early 2020... operational Launches could start as early as Late 2020 - Early 2021... on an optimistic schedule to be sure.. but I believe if all goes well is feasible.. naturally, as with everything, it is probable that there will be slips to the right...
      They'll do ground testing of finished cores at Vandenberg because of it's proximity...
      Then a few test launches at Vandenberg and landings... some later tests will be to land at various other finished launch pads around the country; either point to point suborbital or after a few orbits...
      Then as production ramps up, they will continue to do distributive launches from Vandenberg to other launch pads, to prepare for entry into service; I think we can forget about barges through the Panama Canal :D
     
       
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Online guckyfan

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #152 on: 01/09/2018 05:33 PM »
With polar launches now possible from the Cape, especially with such powerful boosters, I doubt that they will build a pad for BFR in Vandenberg. So probably no testing there IMO.

Offline Patchouli

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #153 on: 01/09/2018 06:03 PM »
Just a few tenths of a cent of speculation I've been throwing around is a hybrid catamaran/barge ASDS.  Basically something along the lines of two current ASDS type barges, with a platform spanning between them.  This could give something close to the known quantity of stability of the current ASDS, but increase the available size.  Also fits with the incremental approach of testing these types of systems, building off knowledge they already have.  Still has a large mobility drawback, and might not offer enough stability for cradle landings, but I think this is something that will be tested soon with a "surplus" F9 (100% baseless speculation sorry) and I also think the OctoGrabber is at least half of this equation that unfortunately hasn't been able to be tested as they would like just yet.
BFR is powerful enough that all missions will return the booster to the launch site.  100% RTLS.  Elon made this clear in both IAC presentations. Remember, their goal is full and rapid reusability.  ASDS doesn't allow that. So the current concept of landing a booster on a barge far down range, that's a temporary solution. Once F9 and FH are retired in favor of BFR, SpaceX will stop using ASDS.

If you're talking about the possibility of a floating launch site, that would need to be huge.  Much larger than a pair of barges.  Much larger than an aircraft carrier. Remember, we're talking about 5,400 tons of thrust at takeoff.  To counteract that on a floating platform, it would need to be really, really huge.  For this reason, I believe a floating launch site for BFR is extremely unlikely.

Much more likely would be a fixed launch platform 5-10 miles offshore.  This would have legs that physically connect it with the ocean floor, so it would be more like a small man-made island than a huge boat.  Note that the ocean floor is very shallow for miles off the coast of Boca Chica and Cape Canaveral.  In addition, they could have cables and pipes running underwater back to shore, so they would only need to store a relatively small amount of LOX and liquid methane on the fixed offshore platform, plus chillers.  I believe this is the option Elon showed at IAC 2017.



Another option use a ship to bring the propellant as the fuel side can be an off the shelf LNG carrier.
Though I think they will probably give up landing on the launch platform at least for the near term as BFR is a more manageable size to handle and probably not much heavier than the Saturn S-IC.

« Last Edit: 01/09/2018 06:11 PM by Patchouli »

Offline Dave G

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #154 on: 01/09/2018 06:06 PM »
Elon makes a lot of promises that don't always come true. Based on what was shown at IAC 2017 the design is no where near being finished and they are still refining the concept.
I disagree.  I suspect the BFR design is much more final than many believe.   

At IAC 2017, the tone of the presentation was noticeably different than the year before. For the first time, Elon talked about retiring Falcon 9 and Dragon, implying that it would be more difficult to fund BFR together with Falcon 9 and Dragon at the same time.

Quote from: Elon Musk IAC 2017
So then getting back to the question of how do we pay for this system, this is really quite a profound — I won't call it breakthrough, but realization that if we can build a system that cannibalizes our own products, makes our own products redundant, then all of the resources, which are quite enormous, that are used for Falcon 9, Heavy, and Dragon, can be applied to one system.

Some of our customers are conservative and they want to see BFR fly several times before they're comfortable launching in it, so what we plan to do is to build ahead, and have a stock of Falcon 9 and Dragon vehicles, so that customers can be comfortable if they want to use the old rocket, the old spacecraft, they can do that, we'll have a bunch in stock. But then all of our resources will then turn towards building BFR. And we believe that we can do this with the revenue we receive for launching satellites and for servicing the space station.

Now couple this with what Gwynne said a few weeks later:
Quote from: Gwynne Shotwell, October 11, 2017
The second stage is not designed for reuse on the Falcon 9 or the Falcon Heavy...  On missions with extra propellant, we want to bring it back to see how it behaves, not to recover or reuse...

Fairings have been recovered. We expect recovery will be good enough to start regularly reusing them in the first six months of next year.

To me, this implies that:
1) SpaceX has given up on F9 / FH upper stage reusability.
2) Very soon, the only part of F9 / FH that's not reusable will be the upper stage.

Now remember that reusability not only reduces cost, it also frees up the workforce. 

For example: If fairing reuse works in 1H 2018, the composites people that made the fairings are free to work on BFS.

Also, if Falcon Block 5 reuse works as designed, they may only need to build 10-15, and then just keep reusing them.  So maybe 6-8 months from now, the guys that used to build Falcon Block 5 boosters will be available.

With this newly available workforce, I'm guessing SpaceX will accelerate their production of Falcon 9 upper stages. As Elon says above, they'll "build ahead, and have a stock" of Falcon upper stages, perhaps as many as 200.  How long would this take?  Remember that they're no longer building boosters, which require an order of magnitude more core sections and Merlin engines, so the upper stage production rate could be an order of magnitude more.  With this in mind, it's possible they could stockpile 200 upper stages within a year or less.

So in 18-24 months, it's possible that SpaceX will have pre-built enough F9/FH parts to last 5 years or more.  At that point, all of the SpaceX resources that were used to build Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy will be available for BFR.

On the Dragon side, at the CRS-13 Pre-Launch News Conference, starting at 50:12, although SpaceX didn't answer the question directly, her answer implies that SpaceX no longer builds Dragon 1.  For ISS resupply, they have a stock of around 7 Dragons that they intend to reuse for the remainder of the current CRS contract.

Similarly, for Dragon 2, they may only need to build 10-12, and then just reuse them.

Again reusability not only reduces cost, it also frees up the workforce for future projects.  I believe this is part of the "realization" Musk spoke about at IAC 2017.

« Last Edit: 01/09/2018 06:09 PM by Dave G »

Offline Dave G

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #155 on: 01/09/2018 06:22 PM »
just my opinion:
Gwynne has said the Los Angeles waterfront for building the first BFR/BFS factory (Hawthorne for Raptor Engines); This will probably be from 2018 to 2030 time frame before building factories near the launch pads that they will have by then... Testing and Launches could begin as early as late 2019 - early 2020... operational Launches could start as early as Late 2020 - Early 2021... on an optimistic schedule to be sure.. but I believe if all goes well is feasible.. naturally, as with everything, it is probable that there will be slips to the right...
Totally agree.

They'll do ground testing of finished cores at Vandenberg because of it's proximity...
Then a few test launches at Vandenberg and landings... some later tests will be to land at various other finished launch pads around the country; either point to point suborbital or after a few orbits...
Then as production ramps up, they will continue to do distributive launches from Vandenberg to other launch pads, to prepare for entry into service; I think we can forget about barges through the Panama Canal :D
Not sure about Vandenberg.  Once BFR is on water, any coastal launch site is relatively easy.  Also, for the first test with a brand new vehcile of this size, Vandy may not be the easiest place to get approvals.

« Last Edit: 01/09/2018 06:23 PM by Dave G »

Offline cro-magnon gramps

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #156 on: 01/09/2018 07:22 PM »
just my opinion:
Gwynne has said the Los Angeles waterfront for building the first BFR/BFS factory (Hawthorne for Raptor Engines); This will probably be from 2018 to 2030 time frame before building factories near the launch pads that they will have by then... Testing and Launches could begin as early as late 2019 - early 2020... operational Launches could start as early as Late 2020 - Early 2021... on an optimistic schedule to be sure.. but I believe if all goes well is feasible.. naturally, as with everything, it is probable that there will be slips to the right...
Totally agree.

They'll do ground testing of finished cores at Vandenberg because of it's proximity...
Then a few test launches at Vandenberg and landings... some later tests will be to land at various other finished launch pads around the country; either point to point suborbital or after a few orbits...
Then as production ramps up, they will continue to do distributive launches from Vandenberg to other launch pads, to prepare for entry into service; I think we can forget about barges through the Panama Canal :D
Not sure about Vandenberg.  Once BFR is on water, any coastal launch site is relatively easy.  Also, for the first test with a brand new vehcile of this size, Vandy may not be the easiest place to get approvals.

two things,
one it won't matter what the potential orbital inclination at launch is... this beast will have margin for dog legs..
two convenience; in time and money, this will speed up delivery of operational rockets; by testing and launching;

and like I said, it's an opinion, which with the pressure on to launch to Mars in 2022, will be weighing heavily on SpaceX to get results... whether it is in cash flow or operational rockets.... 2-3 years will prove me wrong or right..
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Offline Rabidpanda

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #157 on: 01/09/2018 08:00 PM »
I don't think BFR as shown to us so far is a given.  It will evolve and mature with time, it will be larger than FH and be a very impressive vehicle, but maybe not the monster we've seen.

What you say doesn't seem to agree with Musk's statements at IAC 2017:
Quote from: Elon Musk
The tooling for the main tanks has been ordered, the facility is being built. We will start construction of the first ship around the second quarter of next year...

Note that the second quarter of 2018 is now just 13 weeks away.  So if Musk's statement is true, the design for BFR is pretty much nailed down, and they're getting ready to manufacture it.

Elon makes a lot of promises that don't always come true. Based on what was shown at IAC 2017 the design is no where near being finished and they are still refining the concept.

'Tooling for the main tanks has been ordered' probably just means that they have ordered some AFP machines and/or layup tools that are relatively agnostic to the final design. 'We will start construction of the first ship around the second quarter of next year' probably means that they plan to start making manufacturing demonstrators on new tooling, maybe start manufacturing a suborbital test vehicle before the end of the year.

I would bet that IAC 2018 will bring some significant changes to the overall vehicle /architecture and the amount of progress will be much less that people here seem to expect.
That's a pretty wishy-washy bet, can you make it something objective so we can actually bet on it? :D

Fair enough! I predict the following for IAC 2018:

-Elon will show off pictures of a full scale production Raptor engine, but it will not have been test fired yet.
-The OML of BFR+BFS will have significant (noticeable) changes from what was presented at IAC 2017.
-Detailed plans for a suborbital test BFS will be discussed and the composite tank for it will be shown in some state of production.
-Elon will give the system a cool name and get people hyped with another video.

Offline Dave G

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #158 on: 01/09/2018 08:37 PM »
Fair enough! I predict the following for IAC 2018:

-Elon will show off pictures of a full scale production Raptor engine, but it will not have been test fired yet.
-The OML of BFR+BFS will have significant (noticeable) changes from what was presented at IAC 2017.
-Detailed plans for a suborbital test BFS will be discussed and the composite tank for it will be shown in some state of production.
-Elon will give the system a cool name and get people hyped with another video.
What's the bet?  Is it all-or-nothing for the predictions above? 

For example, what if you're right on the first 3 items, but Elon keeps the BFR name? 

What if you're right on item 2, but wrong on all the others?

Also, as I understand it, item 2 is already a given, since they added another landing engine on BFS since IAC.

Offline dnavas

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #159 on: 01/09/2018 10:39 PM »
-Elon will show off pictures of a full scale production Raptor engine, but it will not have been test fired yet.

I'd be willing to bet that, unless the engine is upsized (which I think is possible), we'll see a test fire by 2018.

Quote
-The OML of BFR+BFS will have significant (noticeable) changes from what was presented at IAC 2017.

Agreed.  I expect the ships may grow larger a little, given they might get more space in a new manufacturing facility.  Regardless, we haven't been told anything about abort handling, which makes me think we don't have final plans just yet.


Online Robotbeat

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #160 on: 01/10/2018 02:46 AM »
I don't think BFR as shown to us so far is a given.  It will evolve and mature with time, it will be larger than FH and be a very impressive vehicle, but maybe not the monster we've seen.

What you say doesn't seem to agree with Musk's statements at IAC 2017:
Quote from: Elon Musk
The tooling for the main tanks has been ordered, the facility is being built. We will start construction of the first ship around the second quarter of next year...

Note that the second quarter of 2018 is now just 13 weeks away.  So if Musk's statement is true, the design for BFR is pretty much nailed down, and they're getting ready to manufacture it.

Elon makes a lot of promises that don't always come true. Based on what was shown at IAC 2017 the design is no where near being finished and they are still refining the concept.

'Tooling for the main tanks has been ordered' probably just means that they have ordered some AFP machines and/or layup tools that are relatively agnostic to the final design. 'We will start construction of the first ship around the second quarter of next year' probably means that they plan to start making manufacturing demonstrators on new tooling, maybe start manufacturing a suborbital test vehicle before the end of the year.

I would bet that IAC 2018 will bring some significant changes to the overall vehicle /architecture and the amount of progress will be much less that people here seem to expect.
That's a pretty wishy-washy bet, can you make it something objective so we can actually bet on it? :D

Fair enough! I predict the following for IAC 2018:

-Elon will show off pictures of a full scale production Raptor engine, but it will not have been test fired yet.
-The OML of BFR+BFS will have significant (noticeable) changes from what was presented at IAC 2017.
-Detailed plans for a suborbital test BFS will be discussed and the composite tank for it will be shown in some state of production.
-Elon will give the system a cool name and get people hyped with another video.
Man, only your first one is really a good bet, and even that is poorly defined. Should be binary. The others are still pretty wishy washy. What defines "significant/notable OML changes"? "Elon will give the system a cool name and get people hyped with another video"?

Come on, bro. :)
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Offline Rabidpanda

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #161 on: 01/10/2018 04:02 AM »
Hey it's just a list of my predictions, not a legal contract. If you really want to make a bet feel free to take any aspect of what I wrote and phrase as you find appropriate.

Offline Dave G

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #162 on: 01/10/2018 10:26 AM »
I predict the following for IAC 2018:

-Elon will show off pictures of a full scale production Raptor engine, but it will not have been test fired yet.
You may be onto something here.  Even if they've test fired some early version of the full-scale Raptor engine, I doubt they'll be close to the first flight Raptor version by IAC 2018.

In his reddit "ask me anything" response, Elon says:
Quote from: reddit: I am Elon Musk, ask me anything about BFR!
Q: The sub-scale Raptor prototype has a (speculated) thrust of about ~100 tons-force currently, and will be scaled up to ~170 tons-force according to your IAC/2017 design. Can you tell us more about the current status and expected (best-case) timeline of this scale-up effort?

A: Thrust scaling is the easy part. Very simple to scale the dev Raptor to 170 tons. The flight engine design is much lighter and tighter, and is extremely focused on reliability. The objective is to meet or exceed passenger airline levels of safety...

Note that Musk doesn't answer the timeline part of the question.  With this in mind, they may take some time to get the first flight Raptor design right.  But I don't think this will prevent them from building the BFS structures.




-The OML of BFR+BFS will have significant (noticeable) changes from what was presented at IAC 2017.
I predict the outer mold line will be the same as IAC2017, but there may be other noticeable changes.

As I said before, they already changed the number of Raptor engines in BFS since IAC:
Quote from: reddit: I am Elon Musk, ask me anything about BFR!
The difficulty of deep throttling an engine increases in a non-linear way, so 2:1 is fairly easy, but a deep 5:1 is very hard. Granularity is also a big factor. If you just have two engines that do everything, the engine complexity is much higher and, if one fails, you've lost half your power. Btw, we modified the BFS design since IAC to add a third medium area ratio Raptor engine partly for that reason (lose only 1/3 thrust in engine out) and allow landings with higher payload mass for the Earth to Earth transport function.




-Detailed plans for a suborbital test BFS will be discussed and the composite tank for it will be shown in some state of production.
I suspect BFS production will be further along by then, i.e. more than just tanks.




-Elon will give the system a cool name and get people hyped with another video.
Sure, Elon will try to get people hyped with another video.  That's part of his job as a presenter.

But I doubt they'll change the name from BFR/BFS.  That's been their internal name all along, and all attempts to change it (MCT, ITS) seem to have failed.  Also, while we all know where the names came from, for more formal purposes "Big Falcon Rocket" and "Big Falcon Spaceship" seem to be working well.  Note that Gwynne used these terms while testifying before the National Space Council: (starting at 1:16:41 into the video, t=1h16m41s)

« Last Edit: 01/10/2018 10:59 AM by Dave G »

Offline Dave G

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #163 on: 01/10/2018 10:48 AM »
By the way, in the National Space Council video above, Gwynne also seems to confirm that BFS sub-orbital hops will be the first tests of the system (starting at 1:18:03 into the video).

It think many of us already assumed this, but I didn't realize it was confirmed in this video.

Offline Roy_H

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #164 on: 01/10/2018 04:08 PM »
Thank you Dave G for posting that video. It was an interesting watch as the first panelists from Lockheed, Boeing, and Orbital ATK argued that the best path forward was maintain status quo but with more funding to accelerate human space exploration and support more SLS flights. The gloves came off when the next panel arrived with SpaceX, SNC, Blue Origin pointing out the future is re-useability and expansion of other commercial opportunities, and need for streamlining FAA launch licences, six months to get approval is not acceptable. Finally the military board stated that the US is falling behind and space assets are at risk and stressed the need for much regulatory changes to speed up efforts to re-gain superiority, security and leverage commercial capability. 

Edit: This is OT, I'll understand if mods remove it.
« Last Edit: 01/10/2018 05:08 PM by Roy_H »
"If we don't achieve re-usability, I will consider SpaceX to be a failure." - Elon Musk

Offline envy887

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #165 on: 01/10/2018 04:48 PM »
Fair enough! I predict the following for IAC 2018:

-Elon will show off pictures of a full scale production Raptor engine, but it will not have been test fired yet.
-The OML of BFR+BFS will have significant (noticeable) changes from what was presented at IAC 2017.
-Detailed plans for a suborbital test BFS will be discussed and the composite tank for it will be shown in some state of production.
-Elon will give the system a cool name and get people hyped with another video.
What's the bet?  Is it all-or-nothing for the predictions above? 

For example, what if you're right on the first 3 items, but Elon keeps the BFR name? 

What if you're right on item 2, but wrong on all the others?

Also, as I understand it, item 2 is already a given, since they added another landing engine on BFS since IAC.
I don't think adding a 3rd landing engine will change the outer mold line.

Offline Dave G

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #166 on: 01/10/2018 06:03 PM »
Fair enough! I predict the following for IAC 2018:

-Elon will show off pictures of a full scale production Raptor engine, but it will not have been test fired yet.
-The OML of BFR+BFS will have significant (noticeable) changes from what was presented at IAC 2017.
-Detailed plans for a suborbital test BFS will be discussed and the composite tank for it will be shown in some state of production.
-Elon will give the system a cool name and get people hyped with another video.
What's the bet?  Is it all-or-nothing for the predictions above? 

For example, what if you're right on the first 3 items, but Elon keeps the BFR name? 

What if you're right on item 2, but wrong on all the others?

Also, as I understand it, item 2 is already a given, since they added another landing engine on BFS since IAC.
I don't think adding a 3rd landing engine will change the outer mold line.
Right, as I later explained in Post 162:
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=44168.msg1769848#msg1769848

Offline Dave G

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #167 on: 01/11/2018 11:02 AM »
Thank you Dave G for posting that video.

I liked the part where the Vice President, Secretary of State, and Secretary of Transportation all pinged Gwynne specifically about the Big Falcon Rocket and Big Falcon Spaceship.

In particular, Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao said "Gwynne, it was so interesting to visit your facilities out in Los Angeles. It was really like a visit to the future."  She then goes on to ask questions about BFR.

To me, this implies that SpaceX has discussed BFR at some length with the Secretary of Transportation, which could imply BFR will be ready sooner than later.

Offline Dave G

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #168 on: 01/13/2018 12:57 PM »
Not sure if this was posted already:

SpaceX expects government support for development of BFR launch system
Quote from:  Space News, November 16, 2017
Speaking at the NewSpace Europe conference here Nov. 16, Gwynne Shotwell noted that SpaceX is already receiving funding from the U.S. Air Force supporting the development of Raptor, the engine that will power the vehicle known as BFR, or Big Falcon Rocket, and the reusable spacecraft known as BFS or Big Falcon Spaceship.

“I do anticipate that there is residual capability of that system that the government will be interested in,” she said. “I do see that we would likely get some funding from the government for BFR and BFS.” She added, though, that work on the vehicles was not contingent on receiving government funding.

One avenue for doing so would be through the U.S. Air Force’s Launch Services Agreement competition, which plans to provide several awards to companies to help fund development of prototype launch systems, though initial test flights, to end U.S. reliance on the Atlas 5 and its Russian-manufactured RD-180 engine. Proposals for the competition are due to the Air Force Nov. 20.

Shotwell said after the talk that BFR could be used to launch some of the heaviest national security payloads envisioned by the Air Force in the 2020s. Most of those payloads, she said, can be served by the existing Falcon 9 and the Falcon Heavy, whose first launch is scheduled for late this year.

Online Semmel

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #169 on: 01/13/2018 04:01 PM »
Not sure if this was posted already:

SpaceX expects government support for development of BFR launch system
Quote from:  Space News, November 16, 2017
Speaking at the NewSpace Europe conference here Nov. 16, Gwynne Shotwell noted that SpaceX is already receiving funding from the U.S. Air Force supporting the development of Raptor, the engine that will power the vehicle known as BFR, or Big Falcon Rocket, and the reusable spacecraft known as BFS or Big Falcon Spaceship.

“I do anticipate that there is residual capability of that system that the government will be interested in,” she said. “I do see that we would likely get some funding from the government for BFR and BFS.” She added, though, that work on the vehicles was not contingent on receiving government funding.

One avenue for doing so would be through the U.S. Air Force’s Launch Services Agreement competition, which plans to provide several awards to companies to help fund development of prototype launch systems, though initial test flights, to end U.S. reliance on the Atlas 5 and its Russian-manufactured RD-180 engine. Proposals for the competition are due to the Air Force Nov. 20.

Shotwell said after the talk that BFR could be used to launch some of the heaviest national security payloads envisioned by the Air Force in the 2020s. Most of those payloads, she said, can be served by the existing Falcon 9 and the Falcon Heavy, whose first launch is scheduled for late this year.

Yes, it was discussed at length. The key phrasing is "residual capability". See here:
https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=43920.msg1751174#msg1751174

Specifically this bit:
Quote
H. Study the potential for residual upper stage capability.
1. Assess whether the planned upper stage for the EELV Launch System prototype will
have residual capability for any of the nine EELV reference orbits to make it capable
of spacecraft servicing, orbital transfers, and other services that enhance national
security space resiliency
2. Assess what types of enhancements would need to be added to the upper stage to
make it capable of spacecraft servicing, orbital transfers, and other services that
enhance national security space resiliency

Online Robotbeat

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #170 on: 01/13/2018 07:45 PM »
Yeah, "expects" can have two connotations:
1) That you predict something to happen.
2) That you feel that thing is obligated.

The first connotation is clearly what Shotwell intended, but for whatever reason, the headline writer sought fit to imply the second one could be true, too. That'll drive clicks because it feeds into the "Elon just sucks on the tit of the government and doesn't do anything productive" narrative.

"Read the article!" No. This is not an excuse. Writing potentially misleading clickbaity headlines isn't justified just because the article MIGHT be clearer.

Anyway, pet peeve. Continue on.
« Last Edit: 01/13/2018 07:46 PM by Robotbeat »
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Offline Restless

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #171 on: 01/16/2018 09:40 PM »
IMO, the BFR booster and spaceship will first launch from Boca Chica for test hops in 2020.

Then operational flights of BFR to Mars will launch from Florida pad 39A starting in 2022 (10% chance) 2023 (50%) or 2024 (80%). A low earth orbit demo launch from 39A could happen in 2021.
Construction will be in LA through the 2020's at least.
BFR boosters and spaceships will be shipped w/o engines via Panama Canal to Brownsville and Port Canaveral.
Raptors will be shipped to McGregor for acceptance testing and then on to Boca or Kennedy.
Later, BFR will launch offshore from Boca from a floating or fixed platform. F9 and FH will launch from the Boca onshore facility into the mid 20's or longer.
« Last Edit: 01/19/2018 08:44 PM by Restless »

Offline Restless

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #172 on: 01/16/2018 09:41 PM »
Boca testing might be done as follows:

The booster and spaceship test vehicles would be shipped to Boca Chica for testing in 2020.
F9 and FH flights would also begin at Boca in the same time frame.
Tested Raptors would be trucked down from McGregor.
The booster would be tested from a launch mount proto-type to perfect pinpoint landings.
The spaceship would take test hops to check out landing legs and overall design.
McGregor personnel would be on hand impart wisdom from the grass hopper program.
The test vehicles would most likely need to be shipped back to LA for modification for flight.

Offline Restless

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #173 on: 01/16/2018 09:42 PM »
BFR Transport via Panama Canal

BFR is big, but not that f**king big. Both 9 M sections could fit side by side or end to end on the deck of a transport vessel sized for the old 33.5 M wide x 305 M long canal locks.
Tolls for Panama Canal transit would be in the range of $1.5million for a round trip.
Many transport vessels have articulated cranes that can lift and deposit the BFR sections on the dock.
The BFR sections would be shipped minus engines, saving weight.
On this basis, BFR construction in California could continue indefinitely.

Offline Restless

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #174 on: 01/16/2018 09:43 PM »
BFR Transport from the Brownsville ship channel to Boca Chica

Off load the booster and spaceship sections onto multi-wheeled transporters on the south side dock.
Proceed down RL Ostos Rd to Indiana Ave to a newly paved wide left turn.
Turn left onto Indiana and go down a few miles to Boca Chica Blvd. to a second new wide left turn.
Turn left onto Boca Chica and proceed down to the Spacex launch facilities. 
Unload using the large crane currently stored there.
There is one intersection on Indiana Ave plus several power lines to be lifted.
This is relatively simple compared to movement of much larger refinery towers that are done routinely.

Offline Restless

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #175 on: 01/16/2018 09:44 PM »
BFR Hardware

For pad 39A – Two boosters and two tankers to allow for repair & refurbishment as needed, one satellite delivery/recovery ship, and one ISS support ship.
Then additional spaceships for Mars cargo and crew missions. Two for the initial cargo mission and four for the second crew/cargo mission.
At some point Martian spaceships would return for refurbishment and reuse.
One or two Lunar Excursion ships?

Boca – Two boosters and tankers plus one or two satellite delivery/recovery ships, assuming no Mars or moon launches.

So even if there are eventually two BFR pads at Kennedy, SpaceX may need only 5 or 6 boosters for a robust launch and exploration program and a similar number of tankers. The rest would be upper stage ships.

Thus for the first 10 years of the program hardware could be:

6    Boosters   
6    Tankers
10   Mars cargo ships
6    Mars crew ships
2    Moon ships
3   Satellite delivery/recovery ships
1   ISS support ship

That's 6 Boosters and 28 upper stages. A pretty small fleet considering the range of activities.
« Last Edit: 01/18/2018 02:19 PM by Restless »

Offline Nydoc

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #176 on: 01/19/2018 06:52 AM »
If Boca Chica is to be re-purposed for BFR then would SpaceX need to do more soil surcharging now in order to make the HIF longer or need to relocate the 2 small buildings that were planned to be next to the HIF if the HIF is resized?

Offline Dave G

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #177 on: 01/19/2018 10:48 AM »
Thus for the first 10 years of the program hardware could be:

6    Boosters   
6    Tankers
10   Mars cargo ships
6    Mars crew ships
2    Moon ships
3   Satellite delivery/recovery ships
1   ISS support ship

That's 6 Boosters and 28 upper stages. A pretty small fleet considering the range of activities.

Yes, and that covers for all the possible things that may happen from 2022 to 2032, and that assumes many overlapping missions.  For example, if they fly BFS to the moon and back as a test, they could reuse that same flight proven BFS to go to Mars.

Also, looking at just the the first 4 years (2022-2026), they could probably get by with just 3 boosters and 8 ships.  They may want more, but my point is that in a pinch, they could do a hell of a lot with relatively few boosters and spaceships.

I think the true value of full reusability is starting to become apparent.  It doesn't just save cost.  It means you can do a lot of missions without needing to stockpile much hardware.

Offline cro-magnon gramps

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #178 on: 01/19/2018 02:14 PM »
Thus for the first 10 years of the program hardware could be:

6    Boosters   
6    Tankers
10   Mars cargo ships
6    Mars crew ships
2    Moon ships
3   Satellite delivery/recovery ships
1   ISS support ship
That's 6 Boosters and 28 upper stages. A pretty small fleet considering the range of activities.

Yes, and that covers for all the possible things that may happen from 2022 to 2032, and that assumes many overlapping missions.  For example, if they fly BFS to the moon and back as a test, they could reuse that same flight proven BFS to go to Mars.

Also, looking at just the the first 4 years (2022-2026), they could probably get by with just 3 boosters and 8 ships.  They may want more, but my point is that in a pinch, they could do a hell of a lot with relatively few boosters and spaceships.

I think the true value of full reusability is starting to become apparent.  It doesn't just save cost.  It means you can do a lot of missions without needing to stockpile much hardware.

My own guesstamet as of January 9th this year.. of course I only went for the first 3 synods, so it falls short in numbers, but if add the extra synod and the numbers come fairly close... just food for thought...
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Offline Restless

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #179 on: 01/19/2018 03:12 PM »
Thus for the first 10 years of the program hardware could be:

6    Boosters   
6    Tankers
10   Mars cargo ships
6    Mars crew ships
2    Moon ships
3   Satellite delivery/recovery ships
1   ISS support ship

That's 6 Boosters and 28 upper stages. A pretty small fleet considering the range of activities.

Yes, and that covers for all the possible things that may happen from 2022 to 2032, and that assumes many overlapping missions.  For example, if they fly BFS to the moon and back as a test, they could reuse that same flight proven BFS to go to Mars.

Also, looking at just the the first 4 years (2022-2026), they could probably get by with just 3 boosters and 8 ships.  They may want more, but my point is that in a pinch, they could do a hell of a lot with relatively few boosters and spaceships.

I think the true value of full reusability is starting to become apparent.  It doesn't just save cost.  It means you can do a lot of missions without needing to stockpile much hardware.

Fully agree, Dave G. Just a few boosters and ships needed to start the program. Ship production in LA will only need to be  two per year to feed the program until reusability sustains the fleet. There may never be more than 5 or 6 boosters needed.

Offline Dave G

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #180 on: 01/20/2018 01:23 PM »
SpaceX talks Moon mission as strategic stepping stone for Mars colony

Quote from:  Teslarati Jan 19, 2018
Josh Brost, Senior Director of SpaceX’s Government Business Development was in attendance at a civil spaceflight conference in Washington D.C. yesterday, January 18, and provided a number of interesting details about SpaceX’s upcoming activities in 2018. Perhaps most intriguingly, he reiterated SpaceX’s interest in enabling exploration of the Moon and Mars, while also clarifying that the upcoming Falcon 9 upgrade will be the last major change to the vehicle for the indefinite future.

Curiously, Brost explicitly tempered CEO Elon Musk’s common-knowledge goal of Martian colonization, with a suggestion that the Moon could be a more logical starting place for the company as it ramps up its deep space efforts and gradually slips beyond Earth orbit. This is clearly a strategic and calculated contradiction of the launch company’s famous founder and an attempt to position SpaceX in a way that can derive the most value from the Federal government’s recently revived interest in returning US astronauts to the Moon...

While it was a small detail in an obscure sentence of one of several hour-long discussions, Brost specifically stated this:

(see tweet below)

This is arguably the most exciting tidbit provided to us by SpaceX. While it was undeniably vague and rather less than crystal-clear, it can be interpreted as something like this: once Block 5 has been introduced and begun to fly and refly both regularly and successfully, the vast majority of SpaceX’s launch vehicle development expertise will begin to focus intensely on the development and testing of BFR and BFS.

Statements from just last week made by SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell strengthen this intuitive leap considerably, because BFR and BFS are liable to require a considerable amount of attention as they proceed through design maturation and eventually begin physical hardware testing in Texas.

Shotwell’s comments implied that SpaceX’s Boca Chica launch facilities, currently under construction, would be ready to support “vehicle tests” as early as late 2018/early 2019. Comments from earlier in 2017 indicate that SpaceX (and Shotwell) perceive Boca Chica as a near-perfect location for BFR launches (and thus BFR testing, as well). Finally, Brost’s implication that SpaceX’s exceptional team of brilliant and innovative launch vehicle engineers would be refocused on BFR soon after Block 5 was stable also meshes with this rough timeline. If Falcon 9 Block 5 does indeed debut within the “next few months” as Brost stated, it will have likely reached some level of design and operational maturity by the end of 2018, assuming SpaceX’s expected launch
« Last Edit: 01/20/2018 01:36 PM by Dave G »

Offline cebri

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #181 on: 01/29/2018 09:13 PM »


4:41

Shotwell talking about Boca Chica for "early vehicle testing". Moving from a "test site to a launch site". 

Offline Jakusb

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #182 on: 05/02/2018 03:03 PM »
Sorry if discussed before, but I could only find a post and small discussion on inclination that did not give me the answer I am looking for..

What are the restrictions on over flying populated land?
I mean, from what hight is it allowed to overfly populated land?
Does it need to be in orbit, and if so, could BFR be in orbit before overflying Florida?

I guess there are limitations preventing this, otherwise it would have been discussed, but I would like te understand better the precise mechanics... :)

thanks for any insight into this matter

(a noob on this field)

Offline envy887

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #183 on: 05/02/2018 04:13 PM »
Sorry if discussed before, but I could only find a post and small discussion on inclination that did not give me the answer I am looking for..

What are the restrictions on over flying populated land?
I mean, from what hight is it allowed to overfly populated land?
Does it need to be in orbit, and if so, could BFR be in orbit before overflying Florida?

I guess there are limitations preventing this, otherwise it would have been discussed, but I would like te understand better the precise mechanics... :)

thanks for any insight into this matter

(a noob on this field)

The overflight itself is not a problem, as long as it occurs at an altitude of over 100 km if over other countries. It could be even lower over the US with FAA approval.

The problem is where rocket parts are going to land if things go kablooey at just the wrong time. That is the "instantaneous impact point", or IIP. The IIP starts under the rocket at launch, and proceeds downrange faster than the rocket, at the other end of an approximately ballistic arc. The IIP actually goes all the way around the world in the 10 minutes or so it takes the rocket to get to orbit.

The combination of failure probability at any given time, IIP dwell time over populated ares, the population density under the path the IIP takes, and the size and weight of the falling rocket parts, all determine the probability of a casualty on the ground. The probability of a casualty has to be less than 30x10-6 per flight to get FAA approval.

Offline Ludus

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #184 on: 05/05/2018 08:28 PM »
Sorry if discussed before, but I could only find a post and small discussion on inclination that did not give me the answer I am looking for..

What are the restrictions on over flying populated land?
I mean, from what hight is it allowed to overfly populated land?
Does it need to be in orbit, and if so, could BFR be in orbit before overflying Florida?

I guess there are limitations preventing this, otherwise it would have been discussed, but I would like te understand better the precise mechanics... :)

thanks for any insight into this matter

(a noob on this field)

The overflight itself is not a problem, as long as it occurs at an altitude of over 100 km if over other countries. It could be even lower over the US with FAA approval.

The problem is where rocket parts are going to land if things go kablooey at just the wrong time. That is the "instantaneous impact point", or IIP. The IIP starts under the rocket at launch, and proceeds downrange faster than the rocket, at the other end of an approximately ballistic arc. The IIP actually goes all the way around the world in the 10 minutes or so it takes the rocket to get to orbit.

The combination of failure probability at any given time, IIP dwell time over populated ares, the population density under the path the IIP takes, and the size and weight of the falling rocket parts, all determine the probability of a casualty on the ground. The probability of a casualty has to be less than 30x10-6 per flight to get FAA approval.

Very informative. Is this the same standard applied to commercial aircraft flights?

Online speedevil

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #185 on: 05/05/2018 10:25 PM »
Very informative. Is this the same standard applied to commercial aircraft flights?
Implicitly.
30*10^-6 deaths per flight, times 10 million flights is 300 deaths per year from commercial flight.
Not counting passenger deaths, it has been considerably below this for some time.
Counting passenger deaths, since perhaps 2011.

Online Robotbeat

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #186 on: 09/09/2018 07:48 PM »
I’m thinking Kwaj is a real option for BFR, from a floating platform.
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #187 on: 09/10/2018 06:42 AM »
I’m thinking Kwaj is a real option for BFR, from a floating platform.

Why would they launch in the middle of nowhere when they have a floating platform? Boca Chica comes to mind.

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #188 on: 09/10/2018 12:01 PM »
I’m thinking Kwaj is a real option for BFR, from a floating platform.

Why would they launch in the middle of nowhere when they have a floating platform? Boca Chica comes to mind.
Because Kwaj is an active missile range with full range assets and far from major populated areas.
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Offline TripleSeven

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #189 on: 09/10/2018 12:33 PM »
I’m thinking Kwaj is a real option for BFR, from a floating platform.

Why would they launch in the middle of nowhere when they have a floating platform? Boca Chica comes to mind.

there is near zero SpaceX infrastructure left on Kwaj.  near none

Offline Ludus

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #190 on: 09/21/2018 03:55 AM »
I’m thinking Kwaj is a real option for BFR, from a floating platform.

Why would they launch in the middle of nowhere when they have a floating platform? Boca Chica comes to mind.

there is near zero SpaceX infrastructure left on Kwaj.  near none

The floating platform launch site did get a vague mention from Elon in response to this question at the Dear Moon press event.

This thing probably isn’t like an ASDS that can just be made out of something off the shelf like a Marmac barge. If it gets built in a major shipyard, chances are it comes from Asia. Kwaj would be closer. OTOH it would be much easier to get it working off of Boca Chica than in the middle of nowhere.

It’s an appealing idea if you want to have Spaceports all over the world launching everyday to build them in shipyards and float them where needed.

http://thorconpower.com/costing/the-shipyard-model

Online Robotbeat

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #191 on: 09/22/2018 10:03 PM »
I’m thinking Kwaj is a real option for BFR, from a floating platform.

Why would they launch in the middle of nowhere when they have a floating platform? Boca Chica comes to mind.

there is near zero SpaceX infrastructure left on Kwaj.  near none
There is range infrastructure by the US military. Which is why SpaceX was there in the first place. Pegasus sometimes flies out of Kwaj for exactly the same reason.

...but you're much smarter.
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Offline gongora

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #192 on: 09/22/2018 10:55 PM »
I’m thinking Kwaj is a real option for BFR, from a floating platform.

Why would they launch in the middle of nowhere when they have a floating platform? Boca Chica comes to mind.

there is near zero SpaceX infrastructure left on Kwaj.  near none
There is range infrastructure by the US military. Which is why SpaceX was there in the first place. Pegasus sometimes flies out of Kwaj for exactly the same reason.

...but you're much smarter.

By range infrastructure you mean a radar?  There doesn't seem to be much else, and it seems busier with military stuff these days than it was during the Falcon 1 campaigns.

Online Robotbeat

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #193 on: 09/23/2018 12:04 AM »
I’m thinking Kwaj is a real option for BFR, from a floating platform.

Why would they launch in the middle of nowhere when they have a floating platform? Boca Chica comes to mind.

there is near zero SpaceX infrastructure left on Kwaj.  near none
There is range infrastructure by the US military. Which is why SpaceX was there in the first place. Pegasus sometimes flies out of Kwaj for exactly the same reason.

...but you're much smarter.

By range infrastructure you mean a radar?  There doesn't seem to be much else, and it seems busier with military stuff these days than it was during the Falcon 1 campaigns.
...and still used by Pegasus to this day, so clearly an option.

BFR on a mobile platform may want to launch from Kwajalein for the same reasons that Pegasus does today.
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Online Zed_Noir

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #194 on: 09/26/2018 02:30 PM »
I’m thinking Kwaj is a real option for BFR, from a floating platform.

Why would they launch in the middle of nowhere when they have a floating platform? Boca Chica comes to mind.

there is near zero SpaceX infrastructure left on Kwaj.  near none
There is range infrastructure by the US military. Which is why SpaceX was there in the first place. Pegasus sometimes flies out of Kwaj for exactly the same reason.

...but you're much smarter.

By range infrastructure you mean a radar?  There doesn't seem to be much else, and it seems busier with military stuff these days than it was during the Falcon 1 campaigns.
...and still used by Pegasus to this day, so clearly an option.

BFR on a mobile platform may want to launch from Kwajalein for the same reasons that Pegasus does today.
Doesn't using the Iridium constellation or similar constellations as range assets negates the need for a ground infrastructure?

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