Author Topic: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?  (Read 29071 times)

Offline Alberto-Girardi

Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
« Reply #20 on: 05/20/2021 07:56 pm »
What is the point of competing for Europe ?

The priority for Europe should be to make sure they can timely launch their own payloads at a reasonable cost without having to beg for a launch from a foreign partner.

Because RLVs are going to change the definition of what it really means to have "independent access".

Does the EU, with ~17% of the world economy, really have "independent access" if it has a 1% share of global launch capability? This is not hyperbole either, Europe will be a rounding error in the global launch market if it doesn't get off it's bum and soon.

A single Starship launch equals or exceeds the entire European annual launch capability. One launch.

This is sadly the thruth. The ferocitouse (but totally deserved) rise of SpaceX hitted violently all the other rocket companies. But ULA had a big share of governament, scientific and military payloads, other than starlink competitors.The EU nations don't have a big governament request, due to lower foundings for both scientific and military expense. So EU rocket companies were it more badly. But since the strong relation with the governament they have time to develope a competitive rocket before they fail.
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Offline GalacticIntruder

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Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
« Reply #21 on: 05/20/2021 08:19 pm »
Reminds me of this famous Musk moment. 51 min mark. Nov 2012, Musk warned about the timid A6 proposals.

« Last Edit: 05/20/2021 08:22 pm by GalacticIntruder »
"And now the Sun will fade, All we are is all we made." Breaking Benjamin

Offline RedLineTrain

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Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
« Reply #22 on: 05/20/2021 08:49 pm »
Speaking of videos, it looks like the infamous 2013 CASBAA launch panel video where the Arianespace rep ridicules SpaceX's efforts at reusability is no longer on YouTube.

Sad that that piece of history is lost.

Edit:  Oops.  It was saved somehow, even though AVIA's account doesn't seem to list it anymore.

« Last Edit: 05/20/2021 08:55 pm by RedLineTrain »

Offline Pipcard

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Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
« Reply #23 on: 05/20/2021 09:21 pm »
What is the point of competing for Europe ?

The priority for Europe should be to make sure they can timely launch their own payloads at a reasonable cost without having to beg for a launch from a foreign partner.

Because RLVs are going to change the definition of what it really means to have "independent access".

Does the EU, with ~17% of the world economy, really have "independent access" if it has a 1% share of global launch capability? This is not hyperbole either, Europe will be a rounding error in the global launch market if it doesn't get off it's bum and soon.

A single Starship launch equals or exceeds the entire European annual launch capability. One launch.
But for the longest time, people in most space industries in the US, Europe, or other countries thought "developing and operating a reusable launch vehicle, especially a fully-reusable super heavy launch vehicle, would cost too much and there is not enough demand for the flight rate to make it worthwhile. So it is best to stick with expendable medium lift launchers."

Offline jbenton

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Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
« Reply #24 on: 05/20/2021 09:57 pm »
What is the point of competing for Europe ?

The priority for Europe should be to make sure they can timely launch their own payloads at a reasonable cost without having to beg for a launch from a foreign partner.
A few reasons.
1. Historically they’ve been competitive enough to make money.  Ariane 5 managed to be a world leader in some areas of sat launch for quite a while.  This one can obviously be forgone as a nice to have rather than must have.
This may be referred to as the "innovator's dilemma." If you are too successful with what you have been doing so far, you might become complacent when a new disruptive technology is introduced. (Will that apply to SpaceX, too?)

Ariane 4 and 5 were the best/most-successful commercial satellite launchers for about 2 decades.

Why not compete again?

Given that they were the market leader before SpaceX arrived on the scene, reputation alone is reason enough to stay at least somewhat competitive - provided, of course that they maintain reliability.

Offline jbenton

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Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
« Reply #25 on: 05/20/2021 10:01 pm »
Speaking of videos, it looks like the infamous 2013 CASBAA launch panel video where the Arianespace rep ridicules SpaceX's efforts at reusability is no longer on YouTube.

Sad that that piece of history is lost.

Edit:  Oops.  It was saved somehow, even though AVIA's account doesn't seem to list it anymore.

...

Much as I always liked STS, wasn't America's attempt to rely on it exclusively the whole reason Arianespace became so competitive in the first place? Of course what SpaceX was trying to do with Falcon 9 was inherently cheaper and simpler than STS, but that was still most people's idea of reusable rocket at the time.

But for the longest time, people in most space industries in the US, Europe, or other countries thought "developing and operating a reusable launch vehicle, especially a fully-reusable super heavy launch vehicle, would cost too much and there is not enough demand for the flight rate to make it worthwhile. So it is best to stick with expendable medium lift launchers."

In context, then, the 2013 remarks don't seem that ridiculous. Short sided and maybe arrogant, perhaps, but still reasonable.

Offline Pipcard

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Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
« Reply #26 on: 05/21/2021 03:40 am »
Much as I always liked STS, wasn't America's attempt to rely on it exclusively the whole reason Arianespace became so competitive in the first place? Of course what SpaceX was trying to do with Falcon 9 was inherently cheaper and simpler than STS, but that was still most people's idea of reusable rocket at the time.

...

In context, then, the 2013 remarks don't seem that ridiculous. Short sided and maybe arrogant, perhaps, but still reasonable.
And people are still saying "but economic reusability still hasn't been proven yet." It will take Starship launching into and returning from orbit, being repaired easily, then flights being sold below the Falcon 9 level before most of the industry starts to adapt.
« Last Edit: 05/21/2021 07:25 am by Pipcard »

Offline gosnold

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Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
« Reply #27 on: 05/21/2021 11:23 am »

Much as I always liked STS, wasn't America's attempt to rely on it exclusively the whole reason Arianespace became so competitive in the first place?

Yes, CNES director of launchers said so much himself.

Offline Oli

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Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
« Reply #28 on: 05/21/2021 01:10 pm »
But for the longest time, people in most space industries in the US, Europe, or other countries thought "developing and operating a reusable launch vehicle, especially a fully-reusable super heavy launch vehicle, would cost too much and there is not enough demand for the flight rate to make it worthwhile. So it is best to stick with expendable medium lift launchers."

SpaceX creates its own demand. How many launches would SpaceX do at this point without Starlink?

Offline woods170

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Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
« Reply #29 on: 05/21/2021 02:25 pm »

Much as I always liked STS, wasn't America's attempt to rely on it exclusively the whole reason Arianespace became so competitive in the first place?

Yes, that is one of the prime drivers behind the succesful rise of Ariane and Arianespace. And although the USA reversed course after Challenger, it was already too late. Europe was flying a fairly affordable and reliable family of launchers by then.

By the time Boeing and LockMart got their EELVs ready to compete, they had become so expensive that they stood no chance against Ariane. Arianespace subsequently enjoyed almost 3 decades of massive market domination.

Delta IV and Atlas V are still horrendously expensive. But the thing is that another US company managed to produce a working reuseable launcher, thus lowering the cost of a launch to such a low level that even Ariane stood no chance.
Full role reversal... Market dominiation is now firmly back in US hands.

And yes, ESA and Arianespace should have sleepless nights over that. Because it makes Ariane 6 unaffordable in both the short and long term. The rocket will never attract as much commercial business as Ariane 5 and Ariane 4 did. Meaning that a disproportionally large part of the cost comes down on the shoulders of ESA and CNES. And the whole point of Ariane 6 was to finally get rid of the need for subsidies for European launchers.

But the flawed development decision from 2014 (go for conventional expendable instead of development of reuse) has had the opposite effect, courtesy of the rise of Falcon 9: Ariane 6 will need much more subsidies than were ever given to Ariane 5.

Short version:
ESA and CNES shot themselves in the foot with their shortsightedness and lack of imagination.
« Last Edit: 05/21/2021 02:27 pm by woods170 »

Offline Pipcard

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Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
« Reply #30 on: 05/21/2021 03:04 pm »
Yes, that is one of the prime drivers behind the succesful rise of Ariane and Arianespace. And although the USA reversed course after Challenger, it was already too late. Europe was flying a fairly affordable and reliable family of launchers by then.
And in the 1990s, attempts in the US to make a reusable launcher cheaper than the Shuttle tended to be bleeding-edge hydrolox SSTOs with very low payload margins. DC-X predated Grasshopper and F9R by two decades but it was meant to be a prototype for an SSTO, and got cancelled in favor of another SSTO which was a wedge-shaped lifting body that also got cancelled.
« Last Edit: 05/21/2021 10:45 pm by Pipcard »

Offline Redclaws

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Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
« Reply #31 on: 05/21/2021 03:16 pm »
Yes, that is one of the prime drivers behind the succesful rise of Ariane and Arianespace. And although the USA reversed course after Challenger, it was already too late. Europe was flying a fairly affordable and reliable family of launchers by then.
And in the 1990s, attempts in the US to make something cheaper than the Shuttle tended to be bleeding-edge hydrolox SSTOs with very low payload margins. DC-X predated Grasshopper and F9R by two decades but it was meant to be a prototype for an SSTO, and got cancelled in favor of another SSTO which was a wedge-shaped lifting body that also got cancelled.

In retrospect, this looks *really* silly and seems connected to a (to me) desperate desire to “advance” technologically.  Just a plain old vertical two stage booster?  Yuck, we’ve done that.  Instead we aimed - I think, it seems now - ludicrously high.

Offline ZachF

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Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
« Reply #32 on: 05/21/2021 03:24 pm »

Much as I always liked STS, wasn't America's attempt to rely on it exclusively the whole reason Arianespace became so competitive in the first place?

Yes, that is one of the prime drivers behind the succesful rise of Ariane and Arianespace. And although the USA reversed course after Challenger, it was already too late. Europe was flying a fairly affordable and reliable family of launchers by then.

By the time Boeing and LockMart got their EELVs ready to compete, they had become so expensive that they stood no chance against Ariane. Arianespace subsequently enjoyed almost 3 decades of massive market domination.

Delta IV and Atlas V are still horrendously expensive. But the thing is that another US company managed to produce a working reuseable launcher, thus lowering the cost of a launch to such a low level that even Ariane stood no chance.
Full role reversal... Market dominiation is now firmly back in US hands.

And yes, ESA and Arianespace should have sleepless nights over that. Because it makes Ariane 6 unaffordable in both the short and long term. The rocket will never attract as much commercial business as Ariane 5 and Ariane 4 did. Meaning that a disproportionally large part of the cost comes down on the shoulders of ESA and CNES. And the whole point of Ariane 6 was to finally get rid of the need for subsidies for European launchers.

But the flawed development decision from 2014 (go for conventional expendable instead of development of reuse) has had the opposite effect, courtesy of the rise of Falcon 9: Ariane 6 will need much more subsidies than were ever given to Ariane 5.

Short version:
ESA and CNES shot themselves in the foot with their shortsightedness and lack of imagination.

Indeed.

I want to express that Europe's collapse in the market share of global launch isn't some far-off hypothetical based on Starship appearing... It's happening right now.

Attached below is the table I put in the SpaceX manifest thread comparing the delta-v adjusted tonnage to orbit of various providers. DV-adjusted payload takes the rocket equation and the ISP of hypergolic orbit raising rockets, and the DV difference in delivered orbit vs LEO to adjust it to a LEO-equivalent standard.

Taking these numbers, Europe's share of global adjusted tonnage to orbit is this:

2014: 22.4%
2015: 20.5%
2016: 21.9%
2017: 19.3%
2018: 16.7%
2019: 14.1%
2020: 8.0%

It looks like Ariane will launch about 3 times each in 2021 and 2022 (Vega is too small to even really make a dent either way). This means that Europe's market share for launch this year will have fallen to ~6%.

Next year, if Starship launches only a few times, this number will drop to 3-4%.... A few years from now it is not hyperbole for Europe to have <1% of global launch market share. one percent...

this year, SpaceX is on track to deliver ~600 adjusted tonnes to orbit. That's equal to Europe's totals in 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 and projected 2021... combined.

They need to move now
« Last Edit: 05/21/2021 03:33 pm by ZachF »
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Offline RedLineTrain

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Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
« Reply #33 on: 05/21/2021 03:35 pm »
If we assume that Ariane 6 is a write-off and that decision-making going forward will be perfect, the essential problem is that Arianespace's development cycle is extremely long and extremely costly.  The reality nowadays is a crew-rated fully-reusable super heavy launch vehicle that was developed more or less in a handful years for about the same cost as the Ariane 6.  This includes several variants, high-throughput production, three land-based pads, and at least two mobile platforms.
« Last Edit: 05/21/2021 03:46 pm by RedLineTrain »

Offline freddo411

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Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
« Reply #34 on: 05/21/2021 03:45 pm »
But for the longest time, people in most space industries in the US, Europe, or other countries thought "developing and operating a reusable launch vehicle, especially a fully-reusable super heavy launch vehicle, would cost too much and there is not enough demand for the flight rate to make it worthwhile. So it is best to stick with expendable medium lift launchers."

SpaceX creates its own demand. How many launches would SpaceX do at this point without Starlink?

Doesn't really matter.

It's important to realize that starlink without reusable F9 (and soon reusable starship) wouldn't close it's business case.   And vice versa, starship wouldn't have a business case without starlink.

So, Ariane and ULA can correctly and proudly and arrogantly talk about how it doesn't make economic sense to build a reusable rocket.   What they are also saying implicitly is that their organizations are not interested in building a larger business case to justify a bigger space economy.     In physics/chemistry terms, they are/were stuck in a local minima.

Ariane and ULA are now antique, boutique, gov't launch providers.   Like IBM providing support for mainframe computers ... they will keep doing it as long as some org writes the checks, but it's a shrinking market.


Offline RedLineTrain

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Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
« Reply #35 on: 05/21/2021 03:52 pm »
It's important to realize that starlink without reusable F9 (and soon reusable starship) wouldn't close it's business case.   And vice versa, starship wouldn't have a business case without starlink.

While I agree with your overall sentiment (megaconstellations and reusability are meant for each other), what you state here is probably not true.  As one example, I believe that Kuiper is a reasonable investment for Amazon, even launching on ULA.

That said, if there was some way to bring in a reusable Ariane 7 in, let's say, 2026, it could be paired with the proposed European megaconstellation.
« Last Edit: 05/21/2021 03:57 pm by RedLineTrain »

Offline volker2020

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Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
« Reply #36 on: 05/21/2021 03:56 pm »
It's important to realize that starlink without reusable F9 (and soon reusable starship) wouldn't close it's business case.   And vice versa, starship wouldn't have a business case without starlink.

While I agree with your overall sentiment (megaconstellations and reusability are meant for each other), what you state here is probably not true.  As one example, I believe that Kuiper is a reasonable business for Amazon to be in.

Kuiper like any other major satellite constellation in low orbit, has to be replaced in regular terms. Thus making launch costs one of the major financial parameters. If Amazon has no equally capable launch system like SpaceX, there constellation need to pay for much higher fix costs. I don't think that is viable. So unless they get there own rocket up and running, or in a gesture of generosity, SpaceX allows them to start on there rockets for a good price, I believe there is no business to be made. 

Offline RonM

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Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
« Reply #37 on: 05/21/2021 04:01 pm »

Much as I always liked STS, wasn't America's attempt to rely on it exclusively the whole reason Arianespace became so competitive in the first place?

Yes, that is one of the prime drivers behind the succesful rise of Ariane and Arianespace. And although the USA reversed course after Challenger, it was already too late. Europe was flying a fairly affordable and reliable family of launchers by then.

By the time Boeing and LockMart got their EELVs ready to compete, they had become so expensive that they stood no chance against Ariane. Arianespace subsequently enjoyed almost 3 decades of massive market domination.

Delta IV and Atlas V are still horrendously expensive. But the thing is that another US company managed to produce a working reuseable launcher, thus lowering the cost of a launch to such a low level that even Ariane stood no chance.
Full role reversal... Market dominiation is now firmly back in US hands.

And yes, ESA and Arianespace should have sleepless nights over that. Because it makes Ariane 6 unaffordable in both the short and long term. The rocket will never attract as much commercial business as Ariane 5 and Ariane 4 did. Meaning that a disproportionally large part of the cost comes down on the shoulders of ESA and CNES. And the whole point of Ariane 6 was to finally get rid of the need for subsidies for European launchers.

But the flawed development decision from 2014 (go for conventional expendable instead of development of reuse) has had the opposite effect, courtesy of the rise of Falcon 9: Ariane 6 will need much more subsidies than were ever given to Ariane 5.

Short version:
ESA and CNES shot themselves in the foot with their shortsightedness and lack of imagination.

Indeed.

I want to express that Europe's collapse in the market share of global launch isn't some far-off hypothetical based on Starship appearing... It's happening right now.

Attached below is the table I put in the SpaceX manifest thread comparing the delta-v adjusted tonnage to orbit of various providers. DV-adjusted payload takes the rocket equation and the ISP of hypergolic orbit raising rockets, and the DV difference in delivered orbit vs LEO to adjust it to a LEO-equivalent standard.

Taking these numbers, Europe's share of global adjusted tonnage to orbit is this:

2014: 22.4%
2015: 20.5%
2016: 21.9%
2017: 19.3%
2018: 16.7%
2019: 14.1%
2020: 8.0%

It looks like Ariane will launch about 3 times each in 2021 and 2022 (Vega is too small to even really make a dent either way). This means that Europe's market share for launch this year will have fallen to ~6%.

Next year, if Starship launches only a few times, this number will drop to 3-4%.... A few years from now it is not hyperbole for Europe to have <1% of global launch market share. one percent...

this year, SpaceX is on track to deliver ~600 adjusted tonnes to orbit. That's equal to Europe's totals in 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 and projected 2021... combined.

They need to move now

What does 2019 and 2020 look like if you don't include Starlink launches? Since those are SpaceX satellites including them in the launch market tonnage skews the numbers. No one else gets to compete for those launches.

Offline RedLineTrain

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Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
« Reply #38 on: 05/21/2021 04:02 pm »
Sorry, volker2020.  I cross-edited you with some further thoughts.

Kuiper probably can be justified based on AWS alone.  The European megaconstellation may be justified on security grounds alone.  But of course, the earliest introduction of reusability would be highly desired.

Offline Oli

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Re: Europe joins the re-usability bandwagon?
« Reply #39 on: 05/21/2021 07:14 pm »
It looks like Ariane will launch about 3 times each in 2021 and 2022 (Vega is too small to even really make a dent either way). This means that Europe's market share for launch this year will have fallen to ~6%.

According to the schedule thread 12 A5/A6 launches are planned for 2022, which would be roughly in line with the launch rate A6 was designed for. Not sure how accurate that is.

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