Author Topic: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?  (Read 32866 times)

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.

Online 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.
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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.

Online 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?


Offline Semmel

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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.


Online speedevil

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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 »

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