Author Topic: Blue Origin remains on course for 2020 debut of New Glenn heavy lift rocket  (Read 11988 times)


Offline Kasponaut

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Great article as always :-)
But the new lengths for NG is 86 meters and 99 meters. Not 82 meters and 95 meters stated ;-)
And maybe the articles headline picture should be changed to sport the updated 7 meter payload fairing?
It shows the Ďoldí 5 meter fairing.
« Last Edit: 11/10/2017 02:32 PM by Kasponaut »

Offline TrevorMonty

Great article. With all buildings and infrastructure its huge outlay, nice boost to local economy.

Offline Johnnyhinbos

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Will the NG boosters be able to be transported via road from the factory to LC-36? And from the port to the refurb building?
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Gotta give them props for going all in on reusability. 1200 launches from 12 boosters is an ambitious goal.
"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 HIP2BSQRE

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Great article.  Now we have to see the effect of reusability on the market.  :-)  I think that ULA is going to get put in a tight spot after 2021+.  In my mind -- A6 is also going to have to compete more on price.  A6--I do not think will be in the market more than 5 years.

Offline MarekCyzio

Will the NG boosters be able to be transported via road from the factory to LC-36? And from the port to the refurb building?

Yeah, but using the "long" route - VAB, LC-39A, LC-41, LC-40, LC-37A, LZ-1 and finally LC-11/LC-36.

Offline Star One

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Great article.  Now we have to see the effect of reusability on the market.  :-)  I think that ULA is going to get put in a tight spot after 2021+.  In my mind -- A6 is also going to have to compete more on price.  A6--I do not think will be in the market more than 5 years.

I suspect thatís why there is already seemingly plans for A7.

Offline oldAtlas_Eguy

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12 boosters and 1200 flight capability is at 50 flights per year a period of 24 years. A BTW 50 flights of a 40mt LEO HLV is 2,000mt/yr of capability.

A BTW current LEO tonnage launch of 80 launches/yr capability equivalent worldwide is < 1,600mt/yr.

This vehicle will be more of a shock to the launch industry than even the F9 has been because of it's reuse capability and it's HLV payload capability.

Even if the price per launch expendable is $200M the reuse Price where the booster is 60% of the total the fact that it can be used 100 times the Price reduces to $85M or $2,125/kg. If they manage costs well the Price per flight is likely to be less than that $85M putting it's $/kg price equal or less than SpaceX's reusable prices for FH.

Offline Robotbeat

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Yup. That's why BFR is not optional for SpaceX. Blue Origin could eat their lunch if SpaceX just stayed with Falcon 9 and Heavy. Especially because New Glenn will eventually be fully reusable (to LEO at least).

New Glenn is a BFD.
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Offline GWH

Yup. That's why BFR is not optional for SpaceX. Blue Origin could eat their lunch if SpaceX just stayed with Falcon 9 and Heavy. Especially because New Glenn will eventually be fully reusable (to LEO at least).

New Glenn is a BFD.

I beg to disagree, however maybe there is a better thread to do so in?

Offline Johnnyhinbos

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Um - New Glenn is a paper rocket (at this point). Please people - walk it back a step. I do have faith the thing will fly - but when successfully and with what reusability is a huge unknown - not to mention the continuing parallel development of its competitors (er) while itís happening.

No one is going to eat anyone elseís lunch quite yet. Breathe. Whew - thatís it. Good. Now repeat after me - ďsuborbital is not orbital, suborbital is NOT orbital...Ē

Itíll be ok. Just letís not get ahead of ourselves...
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Offline Coastal Ron

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Um - New Glenn is a paper rocket (at this point). Please people - walk it back a step. I do have faith the thing will fly - but when successfully and with what reusability is a huge unknown - not to mention the continuing parallel development of its competitors (er) while itís happening.

As a SpaceX fan though I'm already dreaming about the possibilities that the BFR brings, and it is no more real than New Glenn. So I have no problem getting excited about New Glenn even though it will be a while until it shows up, and it may show up late.

Plus, the thing with commercial companies making big promises that they are late in keeping - it's not my money! Unlike certain government transportation programs that I feel are wastes of my taxpayer money, I can sit back and enjoy what other people are doing with other peoples money.

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Itíll be ok. Just letís not get ahead of ourselves...

Too late. I'm already planning to rely on them as one of the transportation systems I need for space domination...  ;)
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

Offline Robotbeat

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I hate the term "paper rocket" as it paints WAY too broad a brush. New Glenn is happening. I'd bet any of you 10:1 odds that it'll be flying successfully by, say, 2024.

10:1 odds by 2024. And most likely years before then.

Sea Dragon was a paper rocket. Nova was a paper rocket (a whole bunch of them). New Glenn is /happening/ (as is BFR).
« Last Edit: 11/11/2017 03:50 AM by Robotbeat »
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

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Offline Star One

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I hate the term "paper rocket" as it paints WAY too broad a brush. New Glenn is happening. I'd bet any of you 10:1 odds that it'll be flying successfully by, say, 2024.

10:1 odds by 2024. And most likely years before then.

Sea Dragon was a paper rocket. Nova was a paper rocket (a whole bunch of them). New Glenn is /happening/ (as is BFR).

Applying the term paper rocket to New Glenn is ridiculous, especially as I suspect somewhere in Blue Origin actual some New Glenn hardware probably exists knowing how long the lead time is on done items.

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I agree. NG and BFR (... and Vulcan, Tory tweeted a picture of the first Vulcan part recently) are no more paper rockets than SLS is.
"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 Johnnyhinbos

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Perhaps people are getting hung up on a word. Can we agree that thereís a huge difference between developing an orbital launch system and successfully flying one? Thereís a huge learning curve in there and a whole host of uncertainties. What Iím getting at is perhaps people shouldnít talk about a future system as if itís already flying and reliable. I wouldnít even do that with FH, and thatís a damn sight further along in development than what BO has...
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Offline DreamyPickle

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Yup. That's why BFR is not optional for SpaceX. Blue Origin could eat their lunch if SpaceX just stayed with Falcon 9 and Heavy. Especially because New Glenn will eventually be fully reusable (to LEO at least).

The New Glenn seems to have the same basic architecture as the Falcon 9 except it is larger and I don't think that's an advantage. A smaller rocket that does more flights can take advantage of economies of scale and be much cheaper. By the time New Glenn flies SpaceX will have a history of 100-150 missions, plenty of time to streamline operations and S2 manufacturing. SpaceX also plans to do fairing recovery and RTLS means cheaper recovery for common low-energy missions.

New Glenn's 3-stage version doesn't make sense for the commercial market. The 2-stage version is already oversized for GTO and if F9H can execute the DOD's direct GEO missions then so can New Glenn. It would only really be useful for very heavy launches to the Moon and Mars, going up directly against the SLS. I don't think this configuration is going to actually get built.

What Blue Origin needs in order to compete with SpaceX is a fully reusable second stage. They definitely have the excess performance for it, unlike F9. I've seen claims that they plan to reuse the second stage but nothing concrete, does anyone have more info? I'm afraid that this might be little more than a bullet point on a wishlist.

Still, it's exciting to think that this will put downward pressure on Falcon 9 prices.

Offline TrevorMonty

Perhaps people are getting hung up on a word. Can we agree that thereís a huge difference between developing an orbital launch system and successfully flying one? Thereís a huge learning curve in there and a whole host of uncertainties. What Iím getting at is perhaps people shouldnít talk about a future system as if itís already flying and reliable. I wouldnít even do that with FH, and thatís a damn sight further along in development than what BO has...
So we can add FH, BFR, Vulcan, Ariane6, SLS, XS1, OA NGLV and host of small LVs from start ups to that list.
The small LVs aside as lot will never fly, most due to lack of $$$. All the other major LVs are being developed by experienced LV companies with decent funding. Funding is not an issue for Blues.  As a company they've successfully developed and flown a suborbital RLV. Their staff on other hand would've help develop and fly the current crop of successful operational LVs eg Atlas, Delta, F9 and Ariane 6.

Will NG fly?. I'd give it 95% chance, with 5% for unforeseen events.

Offline GWH

Yup. That's why BFR is not optional for SpaceX. Blue Origin could eat their lunch if SpaceX just stayed with Falcon 9 and Heavy. Especially because New Glenn will eventually be fully reusable (to LEO at least).

The New Glenn seems to have the same basic architecture as the Falcon 9 except it is larger and I don't think that's an advantage. A smaller rocket that does more flights can take advantage of economies of scale and be much cheaper. By the time New Glenn flies SpaceX will have a history of 100-150 missions, plenty of time to streamline operations and S2 manufacturing. SpaceX also plans to do fairing recovery and RTLS means cheaper recovery for common low-energy missions.

New Glenn's 3-stage version doesn't make sense for the commercial market. The 2-stage version is already oversized for GTO and if F9H can execute the DOD's direct GEO missions then so can New Glenn. It would only really be useful for very heavy launches to the Moon and Mars, going up directly against the SLS. I don't think this configuration is going to actually get built.

What Blue Origin needs in order to compete with SpaceX is a fully reusable second stage. They definitely have the excess performance for it, unlike F9. I've seen claims that they plan to reuse the second stage but nothing concrete, does anyone have more info? I'm afraid that this might be little more than a bullet point on a wishlist.

Still, it's exciting to think that this will put downward pressure on Falcon 9 prices.
I guess this thread is now the place to discuss this then? ;)
Agreed with the above but will add a few points.

For Blue Origin I think they have several obvious advantages over the F9/FH:
- Very large fairing for deploying large monolithic payloads, constellations or 2 or more GTO comsats. Much easier to max out the lift of the rocket with 7m diameter and considerable length in the fairing. New markets in high width satellites could emerge to take advantage of this.
- Greater lift with booster reuse than Falcon Heavy.
- Simpler integration and (debatable) simpler recovery operations than Falcon Heavy when FH is downrange landing center core.
- 3 stage variant appears able to perform high energy missions that are out of reach of FH, while recovering the booster. This is pretty foggy however as cost and detailed performance is unknown (perhaps used FH cores could be competitive).
- An owner willing to invest significant amounts of funding with any near term expectations of return. I don't mean to sound snarky there, however if development costs aren't expected to be recouped this is not insignificant in any way. This isn't a given however, and I feel is best left out of the conversation when discussing the merits of the different LV's.

All the above advantages however I think are dependent co-manifesting multiple payloads, or markets that are just emerging or purely speculative (BEO, private stations etc). $/kg of actual payload is the most important metric. New Glenn is no doubt an incredible rocket, but to truly "eat SpaceX's lunch" Blue Origin needs to compete on the merits of the entire business, not raw capabilities.

We have yet to see SpaceX drop its prices for reuse, as they are said to be trying to "pay back investments in reuse" and waiting on Block 5, Falcon Heavy and fairing reuse. All this should be in place by the time New Glenn flies, meaning that today's prices for F9/FH are liekely much higher than what they will be in 2020.

For disadvantages I see the following (in addition to what DreamyPickle covered above):
- Launch cadence will determine economies of scale, any company that can spread their overhead & other fixed costs across the highest number of launches will have a competitive advantage. I see SpaceX having the advantage as shown in their current launch rate.
- With Blue being currently limited to one site (I assume they can't practically do polar from the cape) limits their market share, meaning lower launch cadence.
- Reduces access to market in low mass satellites to LEO and no ISS contracts.  Again smaller market share meaning lower overall launch cadence. I think with the very relatively gentle recovery of F9 RTLS and simple operations we will see tiered pricing emerge where F9 will go after these flights at a more aggressive price point, taking an even bigger share of the market then they do nowl
- The much larger barge no doubt means not just higher capital costs initially but very likely higher operational costs. The ASDS and tugboat is very much an application of the bare minimum requirement of down range stage recovery IMO.
- Only planning on downrange landings seems like it would put a limit on cadence based on the ships transit times, say this is 2 weeks? The gliding reentry profile of New Glenn may increase this.
- Dependence on co-manifested payloads. I doubt many customers would choose this over a dedicated flight without an incentive in cost savings - making for smaller margins for Blue.
- Expended hardware per flight: larger 2nd stage and fairing(?). Throwing away a BE-4 and the larger stage will no doubt mean Blue cannot be as competitive on a per flight basis, and more dependent on utilizing capacity. Is Blue making plans to recover fairings? High cost per flight disadvantage if they don't.
- Finally operations: SpaceX has a very large comparative advantage here not just in the technical aspects of rocket reuse but aligning their operations to achieve this with efficiency. On a per flight basis costs to SpaceX would likely be much lower, however this is a temporary advantage however.


None of the above is meant to be disparaging to Blue Origin - I am extremely excited to see New Glenn fly and think it will add significant value to spaceflight as a whole. I just don't agree with statements or have seen anything to convince me that New Glenn is a disruptive threat to SpaceX's F9/FH business at the moment, or that BFR is a response to New Glenn.
« Last Edit: 11/11/2017 04:13 PM by GWH »

Offline AncientU

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I hate the term "paper rocket" as it paints WAY too broad a brush. New Glenn is happening. I'd bet any of you 10:1 odds that it'll be flying successfully by, say, 2024.

10:1 odds by 2024. And most likely years before then.

Sea Dragon was a paper rocket. Nova was a paper rocket (a whole bunch of them). New Glenn is /happening/ (as is BFR).

Problem with 'paper rocket' is that it isn't consistently applied.  Ask any SLS-phile if SLS Block 1B is a paper rocket... or SLS Block 2... 

Neither will likely fly until after both New Glenn and BFR -- and not be financially viable from years before their maiden launches.  Yet they are somehow very real while private sector rockets are paper rockets.  Curious.
"If we shared everything [we are working on] people would think we are insane!"
-- SpaceX friend of mlindner

Offline TrevorMonty

Blue landing ship at 24knt (average container ship speed) will have faster turnaround than SpaceX barge at 8knt (typical towed barge speed).

Blue goal is to have millions of people working and space, the only way they will achieve that is by reducing cost HSF. I expect NG primary mission is to lower cost HSF and cost of supporting those humans in space, launching comsats is just sideline business. At 45t to LEO don't expect Blue to be limiting themselves to 6-7 person vehicle, 20-40 is more realisitic.
Whether larger crew vehicle is based on fully reuseable NG (30-35t?) or partially reuseable 45t is unknown at this stage. The revenue from extra passengers of expendable US may favour this approach.

« Last Edit: 11/11/2017 05:58 PM by TrevorMonty »

Offline RedLineTrain

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I hate the term "paper rocket" as it paints WAY too broad a brush. New Glenn is happening. I'd bet any of you 10:1 odds that it'll be flying successfully by, say, 2024.

Careful.  Bezos has about a 3% chance of dying before New Glenn flies, if it flies on time.

(Wishing Bezos good health in the meantime of course, but these individual-led projects like NG and BFR do carry risk that the impetus will go away for one reason or another.  I think the risk may be higher in non-individual-led projects, but for different reasons.)
« Last Edit: 11/11/2017 06:28 PM by RedLineTrain »

Offline oldAtlas_Eguy

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The dividing line on what is or is not a paper rocket is funding. If it is funded then it is not a paper rocket.
SLS 1B  ->funded
SLS 2    ->not funded
Vulcan   ->funded
BFR       ->funded
NGL       ->funded
NG         ->funded
NA         ->not funded (New Armstrong) (this is a quibble since the engines are shared with NG and only the tooling, factory, and pad dosen't exist/in work which may also be shared with NG leaving only a detailed design)

So most of the LV's in the medium/heavy size under development are not paper rockets. But the real deciding line is are they operational and economical?

NG should be both by the early 2020's. Even if it can only achieve 10 reflights per booster it could still have a price under $100M/flight. The price could be easily as low as $75M/flight even at just 10 reflights. The curious thing is that the price difference between 10 and 100 reflights is only $8M.

Here is the stark numbers for NG:
At a cost of manufacture of an S1 at $94M
At a cost of manufacture of an S2 at $31M
At a recovery and refurbish cost of S1 at $3M
At a processing and launch costs (fees, prop handling) of $7M
At a refight number of 10
At a profit margin of 20%

= Price per flight of $60M

If the reflight rate is 1 (never reused) then the Price per flight of same hardware is $160M. About an equal price to that of a Vulcan ACES 6 srb with about an equal payload, 38mt for Vulcan vs 40-60mt for an expendable NG.

The unknowns to us:
How much is the cost to manufacture a S1 or S2 (engines BE-4 are somewhat a known quantity of ~$8M)?

The unknowns to even BO:
How much will it cost to recovery and refurbish?
How many flights per S1 unit?

But this vehicle at worst will have similar price as an expendable as that of the Vulcan/ACES (6 srb).

Offline Chasm

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The ship is also further out when the stage lands, it might be a wash time wise.
I wonder if [in a later iteration] they'll store it under deck for transport. They have to handle the stage to safe and secure it. Adding a crane or two to the ship with means to automatically hook a hardpoint at the top of the stage and a roomba neato(?) that also acts as the lower swivel point should make the operation pretty hands off. The ship is big enough to store at least two stages. Less salt contamination, no chance to topple. For the much discussed high cadence operation there is less overall travel time required.

As far as paper rockets go a presentation or two ago Blue said that they already had the machines for the tank domes in their new factory. Now if they would finally fly NS a gain so that we have get some visible progress. BE4 announcements qould also be nice but after the oops I doubt that we get much before they have official results.

Offline MikeAtkinson

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I hate the term "paper rocket" as it paints WAY too broad a brush. New Glenn is happening. I'd bet any of you 10:1 odds that it'll be flying successfully by, say, 2024.

Careful.  Bezos has about a 3% chance of dying before New Glenn flies, if it flies on time.

(Wishing Bezos good health in the meantime of course, but these individual-led projects like NG and BFR do carry risk that the impetus will go away for one reason or another.  I think the risk may be higher in non-individual-led projects, but for different reasons.)

There is also another 10%+ of a serious financial crash before then, while Amazon is unlikely to go bust even in a severe crash, Bezos might be prevented funding BO to the necessary extent.

Lots of other possibilities as well, e.g. a single major design flaw or a series of minor design problems together with the normal delays expected in most projects could lead to a 4 year delay.

Offline MikeAtkinson

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The dividing line on what is or is not a paper rocket is funding. If it is funded then it is not a paper rocket.

I would say that to get beyond paper rocket stage three things are required:

1. funding at a significant level
2. some of that funding going towards real hardware or production
3. passed PDR or equivalent

Both NG and BFR meet those criteria, (Vulcan probably does not, as how can it be past PDR with the engine not chosen and I've not seen any evidence of hardware - though I might have missed some).

Offline meberbs

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This discussion on the definition of a paper rocket seems to be drifting from the topic for this thread, maybe a new thread should be created for it. (If there isn't one already)

I would say that to get beyond paper rocket stage three things are required:

1. funding at a significant level
2. some of that funding going towards real hardware or production
3. passed PDR or equivalent

Both NG and BFR meet those criteria, (Vulcan probably does not, as how can it be past PDR with the engine not chosen and I've not seen any evidence of hardware - though I might have missed some).
Vulcan has its CDR in December, it is well past PDR.

Serious efforts to build hardware generally wouldn't start until after a CDR, so your requirements are kind of contradictory. Things that need to go through extra tests to finalize the design are the exception (in this case the engines, which are built and in full scale test*) Direct hardware on Vulcan has also been built now as Lar mentioned above:

https://twitter.com/torybruno/status/929103518392127488

*The decision to use BE4 is basically settled at this point

Offline Rabidpanda

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The dividing line on what is or is not a paper rocket is funding. If it is funded then it is not a paper rocket.

I would say that to get beyond paper rocket stage three things are required:

1. funding at a significant level
2. some of that funding going towards real hardware or production
3. passed PDR or equivalent

Both NG and BFR meet those criteria, (Vulcan probably does not, as how can it be past PDR with the engine not chosen and I've not seen any evidence of hardware - though I might have missed some).

What was shown of BFR at IAC is still a long way away from PDR level. NG is questionable too.

Offline GWH

Here is the stark numbers for NG:
At a cost of manufacture of an S1 at $94M
At a cost of manufacture of an S2 at $31M
At a recovery and refurbish cost of S1 at $3M
At a processing and launch costs (fees, prop handling) of $7M
At a refight number of 10
At a profit margin of 20%

= Price per flight of $60M

With this type of number crunching the fixed costs of overhead and flight rate don't get taken into account, and I don't feel it makes for an accurate assessment as it is very biased on the value of hardware fabrication.
Take George Sowers spreadsheet from a few years back, he assumes that booster costs of Falcon 9 are only 40% of the launch price or $24.8M. Factoring in the rest of the costs in hardware, and taking a quoted breakeven of 12 launches per year I get a fixed cost of $19M per flight (I can expand on that if needed). How much of this is for ongoing development vs fixed costs? Maybe that is accurate, maybe its not. It is significant however.

What seems to be consistent, whether you look at statements on reuse by competitors or SLS costs per year regardless of launch rate, is that a very significant cost exists outside of the launch vehicle itself. 
« Last Edit: 11/11/2017 10:29 PM by GWH »

Offline Space Ghost 1962

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Yup. That's why BFR is not optional for SpaceX. Blue Origin could eat their lunch if SpaceX just stayed with Falcon 9 and Heavy. Especially because New Glenn will eventually be fully reusable (to LEO at least).

The New Glenn seems to have the same basic architecture as the Falcon 9 except it is larger and I don't think that's an advantage. A smaller rocket that does more flights can take advantage of economies of scale and be much cheaper. By the time New Glenn flies SpaceX will have a history of 100-150 missions, plenty of time to streamline operations and S2 manufacturing. SpaceX also plans to do fairing recovery and RTLS means cheaper recovery for common low-energy missions.
Wrong. NG has the same basic architecture of BFR, but without the reusable BFS US.

Misses the brilliance of the F9/FH/BFS/BFR sequencing.

Think for a moment about payloads/market/expectations - like ULA and Ariane Group do when sizing LV. At the moment, they including SX all have the correct sizing/experience/customer base/manifest. Which isn't something you can buy. At best, it erodes.

F9 RTLS is the perfect vehicle to perfect high reuse vehicle to hold on to global market share. Because rate/experience can be more important than capacity/cost without rate/experience.

Quote
New Glenn's 3-stage version doesn't make sense for the commercial market. The 2-stage version is already oversized for GTO and if F9H can execute the DOD's direct GEO missions then so can New Glenn. It would only really be useful for very heavy launches to the Moon and Mars, going up directly against the SLS. I don't think this configuration is going to actually get built.
BFR/BFS and NG 3 stage (and ULA's distributed launch) are not aimed at the current market.

But SLS isn't really about anything but govt HSF missions, and they are still extremely resistant to intrusion by any other LV (note that SLS flights for DSG/DST have replenishment via SLS).

It will take the predicted collapse of SLS economics to change that game, and that won't happen for a decade or so.

Also note that BFS premises a tanker architecture that will likely arrive ahead of NG 3rd/NA LV. That so far is the earliest lunar/interplanetary lander architecture to arrive, possibly the mooted BO cargo lander following.

Quote
What Blue Origin needs in order to compete with SpaceX is a fully reusable second stage. They definitely have the excess performance for it, unlike F9. I've seen claims that they plan to reuse the second stage but nothing concrete, does anyone have more info? I'm afraid that this might be little more than a bullet point on a wishlist.
Nope.

What BO needs is to make orbit and do missions. One learns a lot. SX needed to do Falcon, ULA needs to do Vulcan, Ariane needs to step beyond A5. These steps are hard enough.

Yes, the next battle for economics is a fully reusable vehicle, including the hardest part - US. All might eventually need this.

And it does look like there's a convergent story forming for all of the above providers - reusable boost with low cost expendable US. That's the "good enough" point for the next decade. We'll see about the rest later, when someone actually recovers and reuses a US.

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Still, it's exciting to think that this will put downward pressure on Falcon 9 prices.
I guess this thread is now the place to discuss this then? ;)
Agreed with the above but will add a few points.

All competitive launchers will put downward pressure on the entire market. Because each subtracts payloads from a very finite source that historically doesn't grow much.

Below is about capabilities. Note that payloads take about a decade to respond, and only when two or more launchers have the capability for several years. With Delta Heavy 20+ T has been possible - how many payloads above 12T have been launched?

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For Blue Origin I think they have several obvious advantages over the F9/FH:
- Very large fairing for deploying large monolithic payloads, constellations or 2 or more GTO comsats. Much easier to max out the lift of the rocket with 7m diameter and considerable length in the fairing. New markets in high width satellites could emerge to take advantage of this.

The first use of such likely will be sats that could exploit larger antenna arrays, like DBS with greater coverage and more served off of fewer sats, and that would be in about 5-7 years after first flight. As the internet is displacing this market and flies from lower, smaller sats w/o such antennas ... will there be enough demand for such capacity?

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- Greater lift with booster reuse than Falcon Heavy.
- Simpler integration and (debatable) simpler recovery operations than Falcon Heavy when FH is downrange landing center core.
True.

But ... how frequently will FH fly? DIVH has been kept in reserve for on need. Likely after 3 flights, that also will be the main point for FH as well. So one might be luck to see 1-2 FH flights annual.

SX seems to think that free return lunar adventurer flights with Dragon 2 are a likely use of FH. Perhaps that's also possible with NG?

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- 3 stage variant appears able to perform high energy missions that are out of reach of FH, while recovering the booster. This is pretty foggy however as cost and detailed performance is unknown (perhaps used FH cores could be competitive).
Total fiction.

Launch transport systems/GSE/PAD all have to be done for it. NA is the next step, whatever that will look like, likely its a bigger version of NG. Which means a bigger pad too.

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- An owner willing to invest significant amounts of funding with any near term expectations of return. I don't mean to sound snarky there, however if development costs aren't expected to be recouped this is not insignificant in any way. This isn't a given however, and I feel is best left out of the conversation when discussing the merits of the different LV's.
Nope.

He bounds his annual "contribution". Think about what that means for a moment. It helps you get a vehicle and the means to launch/recovery/process ... and whats left over for operations limits your number of missions. What if you lose a vehicle? (Note that NS is awaiting a new vehicle) You likely skip to the next fiscal year and consume from that billion.

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All the above advantages however I think are dependent co-manifesting multiple payloads, or markets that are just emerging or purely speculative (BEO, private stations etc). $/kg of actual payload is the most important metric. New Glenn is no doubt an incredible rocket, but to truly "eat SpaceX's lunch" Blue Origin needs to compete on the merits of the entire business, not raw capabilities.
What you mean is to "steal manifest".

It's taken awhile to demonstrate the capability to get those missions on manifest. With new providers they all need to accomplish such capabilities mission by mission. Then you can "steal manifest".

Of course manifest can also be stolen back if things get too "gradatim".

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We have yet to see SpaceX drop its prices for reuse, as they are said to be trying to "pay back investments in reuse" and waiting on Block 5, Falcon Heavy and fairing reuse. All this should be in place by the time New Glenn flies, meaning that today's prices for F9/FH are liekely much higher than what they will be in 2020.

Where things are heading is to bid price for mission, and availability of a booster signals when the mission that's had it's bid accepted will fly NET. Likely this will be true across all providers.

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For disadvantages I see the following (in addition to what DreamyPickle covered above):
- Launch cadence will determine economies of scale, any company that can spread their overhead & other fixed costs across the highest number of launches will have a competitive advantage. I see SpaceX having the advantage as shown in their current launch rate.
Not quite.

Bids will trend to price ahead of the curve downward as increased capability rises. If the capability is forestalled,  prices will sustain. Manifest delays will be the thing to watch. The virtue of reuse is to make providers more adaptable to market need [u[in the moment[/u].

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- With Blue being currently limited to one site (I assume they can't practically do polar from the cape) limits their market share, meaning lower launch cadence.

It is likely they'll "cherry pick" the market for large geosync birds. They will take things "gradatim", one at a time, and likely not meet capacity of system for years.

More interesting will be the diversity of launches to gain skill apart from GTO. The trouble there is the nature of such launches do not nicely fit the capabilities of BO's roll out - you can still accomplish them but by somewhat indirect means - so will they wish to wreck the perfect record to build the diversity, or will they defer?

Also - will they bother to bid launches to govt HSF/ NSS? They are very troublesome, tedious, dilatory to bid. Requires considerable patience and low arrogance.

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- Reduces access to market in low mass satellites to LEO and no ISS contracts.  Again smaller market share meaning lower overall launch cadence. I think with the very relatively gentle recovery of F9 RTLS and simple operations we will see tiered pricing emerge where F9 will go after these flights at a more aggressive price point, taking an even bigger share of the market then they do nowl
Don't think that these launches appeal at all to BO's manifest. SX has done a few "Cassiopeia's". Betting zero will ever be launched by BO.

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- The much larger barge no doubt means not just higher capital costs initially but very likely higher operational costs. The ASDS and tugboat is very much an application of the bare minimum requirement of down range stage recovery IMO.
The advantage is all weather capability.

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- Only planning on downrange landings seems like it would put a limit on cadence based on the ships transit times, say this is 2 weeks? The gliding reentry profile of New Glenn may increase this.
They are going for a fixed schedule of slots like a bus line.

Likely one booster is in processing next to fly while the landed booster is enroute back to port. The system intends max payload per flight with long, low cost servicable life. Think of ocean going containerized cargo ships compared to Falcon's more highly taxed air freight service.

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- Dependence on co-manifested payloads. I doubt many customers would choose this over a dedicated flight without an incentive in cost savings - making for smaller margins for Blue.
Likely this means missing slots to fly in, because you lose a "passenger" and have to wait for the seat to be filled.

Remember, you can't integrate / encapsulate until they are all on site and ready to fly at once.

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- Expended hardware per flight: larger 2nd stage and fairing(?). Throwing away a BE-4 and the larger stage will no doubt mean Blue cannot be as competitive on a per flight basis, and more dependent on utilizing capacity. Is Blue making plans to recover fairings? High cost per flight disadvantage if they don't.
No announcements.

Perhaps they will, like SX, factor it in later? But, to begin with, if you are doing GTO customers, this is of less importance. Gets to be more with greater flight frequency and smaller launches, which is again why ... they likely don't fly as frequently or book smaller launches on manifest.

To be frank, the NG architecture is geared to HSF and high mass/volume payloads of the kind SLS is intended to launch, while Vulcan and F9/FH and Ariane 6 all are aimed at current payload streams.

If you get NG well used, it'll likely be in twisting arms for NSS and HSF payloads, but none are even remotely manifested. Capabilities are lacking too. So we have a bit of a "camel" here.

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- Finally operations: SpaceX has a very large comparative advantage here not just in the technical aspects of rocket reuse but aligning their operations to achieve this with efficiency. On a per flight basis costs to SpaceX would likely be much lower, however this is a temporary advantage however.
True.

The Musk teaser about F9US "hail mary" reuse certainly plays in this spot. If they could pull off such an impossibility, that would turn a lot of things on their ear.

But keep in mind that if they get 10-12 uses per booster eventually, they'll be in the "good enough" slot likely for a good decade. At this yearly rate, that means about 200 missions.
« Last Edit: 11/11/2017 11:41 PM by Space Ghost 1962 »

Offline oldAtlas_Eguy

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Here is the stark numbers for NG:
At a cost of manufacture of an S1 at $94M
At a cost of manufacture of an S2 at $31M
At a recovery and refurbish cost of S1 at $3M
At a processing and launch costs (fees, prop handling) of $7M
At a refight number of 10
At a profit margin of 20%

= Price per flight of $60M

With this type of number crunching the fixed costs of overhead and flight rate don't get taken into account, and I don't feel it makes for an accurate assessment as it is very biased on the value of hardware fabrication.
Take George Sowers spreadsheet from a few years back, he assumes that booster costs of Falcon 9 are only 40% of the launch price or $24.8M. Factoring in the rest of the costs in hardware, and taking a quoted breakeven of 12 launches per year I get a fixed cost of $19M per flight (I can expand on that if needed).  Maybe that is accurate, maybe its not. It is significant however.

What seems to be consistent, whether you look at statements on reuse by competitors or SLS costs per year regardless of launch rate, is that a very significant cost exists outside of the launch vehicle itself.
Your point is that instead of being $7M for this fixed cost that it is $19M for this fixed cost. Even then the Price is is $72M. SpaceX expressed strongly that the S1 cost is 70%+ that of total mfg costs. The numbers for S1 and S2 used shows a 75% ratio between S1 mfg costs and total mfg costs. That value is 58% of price. But the NG is more likely to mirror the F9 cost structure since it uses same engines on S1 S2 and the tooling is identical for S1 and S2. ULA's numbers are based on their own experience of separate tooling and different engines for the US and S1 which increase costs of the US as a total of costs. The most recent recognized cost values for the F9 S1 is ~$30M not the $25M from the ULA cost model. That is a 50% of price.

To balance out to get a 50% cost of S1 to Price S2 cost increased to $45M to give a S1 cost to total mfg cost of 67%. Also the fixed costs per launch (the processing prop fees and pad site upkeep) is raised to your number of $19M.

This gives a Price for 10 reuse at $90M or $2,267/kg for 40mt or as Expendable Price of $190M or $3,166/kg for 60mt. For 100 reuse the Price is $80M or $2,015/kg.

Still this is a direct competitor to F9/FH and no one else are close.

Added: This is actually a price that is < Vulcans per flight price for the basic Vulcan no SRBs which has been alluded to by ULA to be ~$100M. So it is a direct competitor for the lighter commercial payloads that would fly on Vulcan as well such as Dream Chaser.

Imagine a 2X growth in size/payload for DC while still fitting inside the fairing. As a competitive item for Dragon cargo the larger DC capability enables the cost per delivered pressurized payload kg to be almost the same between the 2 even with F9 priced at $50-60M and a NG at $70-90M. Also without the faring this same sized DC that is adapted for HSF would hold up to 14 persons. This would be a definite tourist enabling vehicle. With 2 pilots and 12 passengers with a per flight price of around $120M (it costs a lot less to reuse DC's than Dragons) is a per seat for passengers Price of $10M. Eventually a 3X vehicle that can carry 22 persons with similar per flight prices (most costs are a element of per flight and much less that of size) could result in a per seat price of $6M.
« Last Edit: 11/11/2017 11:36 PM by oldAtlas_Eguy »

Offline GWH

Your point is that instead of being $7M for this fixed cost that it is $19M for this fixed cost. Even then the Price is is $72M. SpaceX expressed strongly that the S1 cost is 70%+ that of total mfg costs. The numbers for S1 and S2 used shows a 75% ratio between S1 mfg costs and total mfg costs. That value is 58% of price. But the NG is more likely to mirror the F9 cost structure since it uses same engines on S1 S2 and the tooling is identical for S1 and S2. ULA's numbers are based on their own experience of separate tooling and different engines for the US and S1 which increase costs of the US as a total of costs. The most recent recognized cost values for the F9 S1 is ~$30M not the $25M from the ULA cost model. That is a 50% of price.

To balance out to get a 50% cost of S1 to Price S2 cost increased to $45M to give a S1 cost to total mfg cost of 67%. Also the fixed costs per launch (the processing prop fees and pad site upkeep) is raised to your number of $19M.

This gives a Price for 10 reuse at $90M or $2,267/kg for 40mt or as Expendable Price of $190M or $3,166/kg for 60mt. For 100 reuse the Price is $80M or $2,015/kg.

Still this is a direct competitor to F9/FH and no one else are close.

OK taking the 50%, in comparison with those numbers above and take a look at Falcon 9:
$31M booster, reused x10 @ $0.5M refurb per flight, $0.5M recovery. Per flight cost = $4.1M
Upper stage, expendable: $9.3M
Fairing, assumed expendable: $5M
Total costs fuel, range, payload processing: $5M
Total Flight costs of F9:  $23.4M

Based off current yearly breakeven of 12 flights total remaining cost from $744M sales = $134.4M, or $11.2M per flight.
At projected flight rate however of 30 flights/year and with 10% growth in costs gives $4.62M per flight.

F9 reused at 12 flights per year: $34.6M -> 5.5mt to GTO = $6290/kg
F9 reused at 30 flights per year: $28.0M -> 5.5mt to GTO = $5090/kg
F9 reused at 30 flights per year -$4M cost per mission for reusable fairing: $4360/kg

For Falcon Heavy I'll take the above costs, 3 cores reused @ $12.3M/flight, adding in $5M per flight for additional processing, higher center core costs. Total flight costs: $36.6M expendable fairing, $32.6M reusable fairing.

All numbers below are for total flights of F9/FH family, adding in fixed costs as per above:
FH reused at 12 flights per year: $47.8M -> 8.0mt to GTO = $5975/kg
FH reused at 30 flights per year: $41.2M -> 8.0mt to GTO = $5150/kg
FH reused at 30 flights per year with reusable fairing: $37.2M => $4650/kg
Note here, the 8mt number is used to match SpaceX's capabilities page, actual performance with 3 core reuse may be much higher.

New Glenn as per your numbers:
$90M -> 13.0mt to GTO $6920/kg
$80M -> 13.0mt to GTO $6150/kg
Or if they can achieve very high cadence and reduce that $19M number to say $5M:
$66M -> 13.0mt to GTO $5080/kg

Agreed that this is a direct competitor to F9/FH, but would just like to state how critical I think the launch cadence will be in how the two families compete as per my original post. New Glenn has a lot of great capabilities, but it might not be the threat to steal manifest that some think.
« Last Edit: 11/11/2017 11:54 PM by GWH »

Offline oldAtlas_Eguy

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NG specifically in commercial payloads is a threat more to other LV providers than to SX since it offers a second provider with very low prices making customers almost demand these lower prices because if they don't launch with these lower prices they could be priced out of their own end user markets since almost all of their competitors would be using these cheaper flights. A handful of GTO with a handful of LEO constellation could easily get NG to 10+ launches a year. This would occur about 3 years after initial demo flight or sometime after 2023. Between now and then there is not an immediate threat to business, just to these provider's future business in the second half of the 2020's. As new industry and an expansion of demand the threat will be mitigated at first but then the competition will rapidly leave those that fail to keep up to drive them out of business.

Offline Darkseraph

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Blue landing ship at 24knt (average container ship speed) will have faster turnaround than SpaceX barge at 8knt (typical towed barge speed).

Blue goal is to have millions of people working and space, the only way they will achieve that is by reducing cost HSF. I expect NG primary mission is to lower cost HSF and cost of supporting those humans in space, launching comsats is just sideline business. At 45t to LEO don't expect Blue to be limiting themselves to 6-7 person vehicle, 20-40 is more realisitic.
Whether larger crew vehicle is based on fully reuseable NG (30-35t?) or partially reuseable 45t is unknown at this stage. The revenue from extra passengers of expendable US may favour this approach.

Blue Origin could be purposely overbuilding their system for the sake of reliability and safety rather than maximizing payload or passenger counts. 45mT affords a lot of margin to make heavier and safer capsules, compensate for performance shortfalls etc.
"For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled." R.P.Feynman

Offline Coastal Ron

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NG specifically in commercial payloads is a threat more to other LV providers than to SX since it offers a second provider with very low prices making customers almost demand these lower prices because if they don't launch with these lower prices they could be priced out of their own end user markets since almost all of their competitors would be using these cheaper flights.

Agreed. What we have heard recently from the commercial marketplace is that they are currently focused on utilizing at least 3 different launch providers, with Ariane 5, Falcon 9, and Proton being the current favorites. New Glenn would not replace Falcon 9, but would likely take away launch business from either Ariane 5, Proton, or both. I think it would affect Proton more based on a number of factors, but I also don't foresee an immediate shift in the market, but one dependent on watching how well Blue Origin does as a new provider.

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A handful of GTO with a handful of LEO constellation could easily get NG to 10+ launches a year. This would occur about 3 years after initial demo flight or sometime after 2023.

2020-23 is going to be an interesting period of time. Usually satellite customers lock in their primary launch provider years in advance, which if that trend is followed then Blue Origin might not be able to get to high numbers very quickly. But if SpaceX is able to create excess launch capacity, which means satellite customers don't have to commit as far in advance for who they want to use, then it could be possible that SpaceX becomes a backup for customers that want to try out Blue Origin.

Still, even if customers use SpaceX as a backup to Blue Origin, over time that still means that Ariane 5/6 and/or Proton would ultimately lose customers to both SpaceX and Blue Origin.
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 Comga

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Updating status from an overview this week:
https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2017/11/blue-origin-2020-debut-new-glenn-rocket/

By Chris Gebhardt.

Sexy L2 renders by Nathan Koga.
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With specific note to the ship, Mr. Henderson revealed that Blue Origin has purchased Ė or is very close to finalizing the purchase of Ė a large ship that will be used for New Glenn booster landings.
The ship in question is expected to arrive in Port Canaveral before the end of the year.

So?
It's the end of the year.
Did this happen?
If so I missed it.
What kind of wastrels would dump a perfectly good booster in the ocean after just one use?

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