Author Topic: How BFR Earth-to-Earth Might Actually Get Started  (Read 98079 times)

Offline TripleSeven

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Re: How BFR Earth-to-Earth Might Actually Get Started
« Reply #380 on: 08/09/2018 09:27 pm »

what will happen if this ever gets going (and as you can tell by my comments here I am true skeptic :) is that at some point the FAA (most likely) will be legislated to regulate this in some fashion.  The FAA will then sit down to write some kind of performance and certification criteria for the "vehicles" and their operation; much as it has done (as either the FAA or the CAA) for airplanes for a very long period of time
You're a bit behind the curve.

There already is a division of the FAA which deals with "commercial" spaceflight.

They're the people who coined the term "spaceflight participants" instead of astronaughts.

They've been working on the rules under which VG will operate for at least a decade.

not really no.  The last real FAA administrator and I "flew" and worked together, the guy who was before him, who resigned (correctly) after a DWI issue was also a friend and a co worker.    I could have been in that office had I wanted to.  :) (the current guy is an acting because Trump cannot get anyone to take the job other than his own former pilot who is well unqualified is a kind word)

nothing in the statement you make negates my point...its happening but well very slowly.  as it will happened...defining "participation" is one very small insignificant step :)


VG will operate under the rules that exist now until they kill someone who is not a VG employee...than the world will change

same is true for everyone else
« Last Edit: 08/09/2018 09:28 pm by TripleSeven »

Offline TripleSeven

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Re: How BFR Earth-to-Earth Might Actually Get Started
« Reply #381 on: 08/09/2018 09:31 pm »
I would be very interested to read what Virgin G attorneys have come up with.

Informed consent and an ironclad waiver giving up any rights for anyone to sue the company or anyone related to it for anything, no doubt. If you don't want to accept the risks, then you don't fly.

That's fine for thrill rides on an experimental craft. It won't work for passenger transport for hire.

My father is a private pilot, it runs in the family even before him...and I have talked to him about Virgin Galatic...

Dad's theory in short is that there is no "wavier" that can be written which "out of hand" will push a motion of dismissal based on the signing of the waiver itself.  Or one "tough enough" to make a motion of summary judgment successful based on the signing of the waiver

HE Points to the Virgin Galactic accident as something that would have "pierced" any "waiver" or "informed consent" signing.  The failure of one of the flight crew to have followed established procedure would have made the company "severely" liable for negligence in the performance of duties by one of its employees and negligence in the design and operation of the vehicle.

his explanation of this to a layman (me) was that it didnt matter that the airplane/whatever was experimental or the company had said "you could die" just by riding this...the negligence (or lack of ordinary care) in the performance of the duty...was the cause of the accident, and no one can get that waived.


I agree completely with your last sentence



Reflecting on what you said and the evolution of the BFR/BFS concept from Mars to Mars and P2P, I think there is a distinct difference between a craft going to Mars, where the initial launch is a small percentage of the overall risk factor and P2P, where launch is a much higher percentage of the overall risk factor.

I agree completely about the potential for risk SpaceX is taking by using the same exact spacecraft as a P2P vehicle.  Perhaps P2P will inevitably be a thing that takes much longer to roll out.  Given the likelihood that iterations will occur by then, perhaps they will rethink those plans and make changes.

I dont think BFR/BFS will go to Mars or P2P in the next 20 years so the discussion is kind of well a theory excersize for me

but yes I agree that if someone were to get on a BFR/BFS and die on the way to Mars..the courts right now would have a hard time getting past..."he/she ask for it"


Offline LMT

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Re: How BFR Earth-to-Earth Might Actually Get Started
« Reply #382 on: 08/10/2018 02:33 am »
Profit:  Marsliner vs. Point-To-Point

Just casual guesses, but maybe illustrative:

Once in regular service, ITS launch plus Marsliner 3-day operations might cost SpaceX ~ $10M.  And conceivably the 3-day Marsliner package could be priced aggressively at $250k, just to match Virgin Galactic's present price for a suborbital flight (and just to pick a number).  For a 100-passenger flight, that's $25M revenue, $15M profit.

Run Marsliner flights every 3 days, 50 weeks per year, for $1.7B annual profit.

One could increase ticket price with historic packages, such as tours aboard returned Mars craft, such as the suggested ITS-2 lifeboat.  Also more adventurous packages might be possible.  For example, an EVA package might give a tethered spacesuit experience in the open airlock.  Or beyond that, perhaps guided tandem MMU/SAFER-style spacewalks could be orchestrated, for hours of serene, free-floating Earth-gazing.  Such additions, if carefully designed and safely operated, could push the notional annual profit past $2B.

All this, from only 116 passenger flights per year. 

In comparison:

Last year the average airline ticket generated a $20 profit.  If point-to-point ITS tickets generated, say, 10x that profit, each point-to-point flight of 100 would net $20k.  So you'd need to fly 100,000 point-to-point flights annually, to match the Marsliner's notional $2B profit.

That's ~ 860x the flights, with some corresponding cumulative probability of accident.

--

Casual guesses of course, with hypotheticals and all cursory.  But this quick glance at some numbers suggests point-to-point passenger service would be a poor business, and Marsliner tourism a good one.  -  But what's the most robust analysis out there, for ITS passenger options such as these?  Better numbers would make the comparison more interesting.








« Last Edit: 08/10/2018 11:45 am by LMT »

Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: How BFR Earth-to-Earth Might Actually Get Started
« Reply #383 on: 08/10/2018 03:00 am »
Profit:  Marsliner vs. Point-To-Point

Just casual guesses, but maybe illustrative:

Once in regular service, ITS...

You keep calling the BFR/BFS transportation system "ITS". That is an old name, and you are just confusing things when you keep using it. Plus use the correct names.

Quote
...launch plus Marsliner 3-day operations might cost SpaceX ~ $10M.

Two things:

1. This thread is about BFR Earth-to-Earth. Other uses for the BFR/BFS should be on a different thread.

2. $10M per flight estimates may be close for point-to-point flights, which can fly multiple times during one day, but $10M for three days is likely to be exceedingly low.

Quote
And conceivably the 3-day Marsliner package could be priced aggressively at $250k...

Not sure why they would have an incentive to compete with themselves...
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 Jack56

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Re: How BFR Earth-to-Earth Might Actually Get Started
« Reply #384 on: 08/10/2018 03:31 am »
A P2P rocket would need to demonstrate it's reliability & safety through cargo business before they'd let passengers on board, no? Don't know how the urgent cargo market compares with passenger market - probably small. But then, you'd want to start small ... albeit with a huge rocket.

Online JamesH65

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Re: How BFR Earth-to-Earth Might Actually Get Started
« Reply #385 on: 08/10/2018 09:40 am »
Profit:  Marsliner vs. Point-To-Point

Just casual guesses, but maybe illustrative:

Once in regular service, ITS...

You keep calling the BFR/BFS transportation system "ITS". That is an old name, and you are just confusing things when you keep using it. Plus use the correct names.

Quote
...launch plus Marsliner 3-day operations might cost SpaceX ~ $10M.

Two things:

1. This thread is about BFR Earth-to-Earth. Other uses for the BFR/BFS should be on a different thread.

2. $10M per flight estimates may be close for point-to-point flights, which can fly multiple times during one day, but $10M for three days is likely to be exceedingly low.

Quote
And conceivably the 3-day Marsliner package could be priced aggressively at $250k...

Not sure why they would have an incentive to compete with themselves...

OK, then keeping exactly to the thread, and in direct reponse to the thread title, no, it won't get started, not for decades if at all. It's simply not cost effective enough, convenient enough, or safe enough, to attract enough passengers when you can make considerably more money elsewhere (tourism)

Offline colbourne

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Re: How BFR Earth-to-Earth Might Actually Get Started
« Reply #386 on: 08/10/2018 01:39 pm »
OK, then keeping exactly to the thread, and in direct reponse to the thread title, no, it won't get started, not for decades if at all. It's simply not cost effective enough, convenient enough, or safe enough, to attract enough passengers when you can make considerably more money elsewhere (tourism)

If the prices quoted by Musk are believable , I would worry about the viability of long haul aircraft if he can match their ticket prices.
Even at $100,000 a ticket there will be many willing passengers. Some just to save time or the uncomfortable conditions spent on planes and others for the adventure side of the flight.
I expect  a BFR could carry three hundred people if the flight is only 30 minutes and no food is required.
It would be possible to fly from outside the USA if the FAA wont give approval and waivers are not sufficient. I am sure Mexico would welcome a spaceport that could service the southern USA.

Online JamesH65

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Re: How BFR Earth-to-Earth Might Actually Get Started
« Reply #387 on: 08/10/2018 02:01 pm »
OK, then keeping exactly to the thread, and in direct reponse to the thread title, no, it won't get started, not for decades if at all. It's simply not cost effective enough, convenient enough, or safe enough, to attract enough passengers when you can make considerably more money elsewhere (tourism)

If the prices quoted by Musk are believable , I would worry about the viability of long haul aircraft if he can match their ticket prices.
Even at $100,000 a ticket there will be many willing passengers. Some just to save time or the uncomfortable conditions spent on planes and others for the adventure side of the flight.
I expect  a BFR could carry three hundred people if the flight is only 30 minutes and no food is required.
It would be possible to fly from outside the USA if the FAA wont give approval and waivers are not sufficient. I am sure Mexico would welcome a spaceport that could service the southern USA.

It's not the cost of the flights that is the problem, but the infrastructure, and how to get to the launch sites. If you are in New York, you really don't want to fly to Mexico first to get a fast trip to Europe. Becuase it's now not fast at all. **

And I'm not entirely sure there is much of a market for tickets prices in the $100k range.

** Hyperloop they all cry! OK, so explain to me how many years before Hyperloop has a New York to Mexico line.


Online Jim Davis

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Re: How BFR Earth-to-Earth Might Actually Get Started
« Reply #388 on: 08/10/2018 02:40 pm »
Even at $100,000 a ticket there will be many willing passengers.

Personal conviction masquerading as established fact. 

Quote
Some just to save time or the uncomfortable conditions spent on planes and others for the adventure side of the flight.I expect  a BFR could carry three hundred people if the flight is only 30 minutes and no food is required.
It would be possible to fly from outside the USA if the FAA wont give approval and waivers are not sufficient. I am sure Mexico would welcome a spaceport that could service the southern USA.

Do you see any inconsistency in the above? You speak of "saving time" and "uncomfortable conditions" and a few sentences later "a spaceport that could service the southern USA" like it's nothing more than a 15 minute drive.

Offline su27k

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Re: How BFR Earth-to-Earth Might Actually Get Started
« Reply #389 on: 08/10/2018 03:17 pm »
Profit:  Marsliner vs. Point-To-Point

Just casual guesses, but maybe illustrative:

Once in regular service, ITS launch plus Marsliner 3-day operations might cost SpaceX ~ $10M.  And conceivably the 3-day Marsliner package could be priced aggressively at $250k, just to match Virgin Galactic's present price for a suborbital flight (and just to pick a number).  For a 100-passenger flight, that's $25M revenue, $15M profit.

Run Marsliner flights every 3 days, 50 weeks per year, for $1.7B annual profit.

One could increase ticket price with historic packages, such as tours aboard returned Mars craft, such as the suggested ITS-2 lifeboat.  Also more adventurous packages might be possible.  For example, an EVA package might give a tethered spacesuit experience in the open airlock.  Or beyond that, perhaps guided tandem MMU/SAFER-style spacewalks could be orchestrated, for hours of serene, free-floating Earth-gazing.  Such additions, if carefully designed and safely operated, could push the notional annual profit past $2B.

All this, from only 116 passenger flights per year. 

You're assuming there're 11,600 people who can afford to fork $250k every year. The estimate from the Tauri Group suggests there's only 1/10th of that demand every year, and that's an optimistic estimate.

Quote
In comparison:

Last year the average airline ticket generated a $20 profit.  If point-to-point ITS tickets generated, say, 10x that profit, each point-to-point flight of 100 would net $20k.  So you'd need to fly 100,000 point-to-point flights annually, to match the Marsliner's notional $2B profit.

That's ~ 860x the flights, with some corresponding cumulative probability of accident.

This is too pessimistic. First, the ticket price would be $5,000+ (JFK to LHR business class is selling for $7,000+ last I checked), https://www.forbes.com/sites/oliverwyman/2016/01/19/airline-profit-margins-soar-despite-revenue-challenges/ shows profile margin is over 15%, so each trip can generate $75k or so profit, you just need 2266 flights to match the optimistic profit ($170M) from tourist flights.
« Last Edit: 08/10/2018 03:40 pm by su27k »

Offline LMT

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Re: How BFR Earth-to-Earth Might Actually Get Started
« Reply #390 on: 08/10/2018 06:45 pm »
You're assuming there're 11,600 people who can afford to fork $250k every year. The estimate from the Tauri Group suggests there's only 1/10th of that demand every year, and that's an optimistic estimate.

Oh, not assuming; the numbers are just guesses and hypotheticals, as I said.  And be mindful that the 2012 study looks only at suborbital low-g tourism.  LEO partial-g tourism would be quite different.  It's tourism with greater perceived value:  exotic travel to a uniquely exotic destination.  If the Marsliner package were priced to match the Virgin Galactic suborbital ride, you'd expect greater ticket sales for the Marsliner.

Offline LMT

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Re: How BFR Earth-to-Earth Might Actually Get Started
« Reply #391 on: 08/10/2018 07:52 pm »
Space Diving



Might an evolution of skydiving help advance the business?

Elon has stated that tests will start "with a full-scale ship doing short hops of a few hundred kilometers altitude".  The Karman line is at 100 km altitude.  So clearly hops - without booster - would rise far into space, giving the longest low-g ride of any technically suborbital ship.

But unlike necessarily suborbital ships, the ITS would also have capability to hover at or well above the Karman line.  Some minutes of hover should be feasible, if one wanted to use the ITS as a luxury space diving "platform".  Notionally a series of quasi-hover burns would maintain the ship's general position.  After each burn a group of space divers would exit the cargo deck door to start a jump.  Maybe 50 passenger space divers with some tandem instructors and all their SpaceX spacesuits and other jump gear could be accommodated per flight.

If those small hops cost SpaceX, say, $1M each, and jumps sold for a hypothetical $25k, that's $250k profit.  3 flights a day, 5 days a week, over 50 weeks:  ~ $190M profit annually.  That's an order-of-magnitude less profit than the notional Marsliner case, but a better profit margin than airlines manage.

Perhaps the USPA could initiate space dive training and certification, to simplify SpaceX operations and reduce risks and costs.

Conceivably regional space dive launch centers could eventually be established near tourist destinations worldwide.  Something like:

Launch at sea near Los Angeles, with landing area in Carrizo Plain National Monument.



Launch at sea near Venice, with landing area in Triglav National Park.



Launch at sea near Abu Dhabi, with landing area in Fossil Dunes Nature Preserve.



Pros/cons?  Improvements? 

--

Regional launch centers would also feed Marsliner partial-g tourism.  However point-to-point transport between these launch centers still seems economically implausible.

Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: How BFR Earth-to-Earth Might Actually Get Started
« Reply #392 on: 08/10/2018 08:44 pm »
Space Diving

Might an evolution of skydiving help advance the business?

This thread is ONLY for BFR Earth-to-Earth discussions. If you want to start a different topic please do, but stop dragging this topic OFF topic.

Quote
But unlike necessarily suborbital ships, the ITS...

It's "BFR" or "BFS" - the "ITS" moniker was retired by SpaceX. Not sure why this is so hard for you to change on your end...
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 LMT

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Re: How BFR Earth-to-Earth Might Actually Get Started
« Reply #393 on: 08/10/2018 09:39 pm »
Space Diving

Might an evolution of skydiving help advance the business?

This thread is ONLY for BFR Earth-to-Earth discussions. If you want to start a different topic please do, but stop dragging this topic OFF topic.


Space tourism was part of the discussion from the start.  Near-term, tourism may be the only profitable use of those floating launch platforms.  So it's something to talk about.  You might apply your knowledge of tourism to help develop a space diving business case. 
« Last Edit: 08/10/2018 09:40 pm by LMT »

Offline Lar

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Re: How BFR Earth-to-Earth Might Actually Get Started
« Reply #394 on: 08/10/2018 10:21 pm »
This thread has been wandering badly and some of the usual suspects are putting their pet hobby horses out to pasture. Orbital resorts have nothing to do with P2P.[1] People opining that it can't be done for decades with nothing behind it other than claims (regardless of their outside experience) aren't adding much value if any. The merits of SABRE have little bearing on BFS. LAS systems maybe are a bit closer... but haven't we debated that before elsewhere?

Please put your hobbyhorses away. Stick to the topic. Or deletion or locking will follow. 

1 - yes LMT... I am calling you out specifically here. Stop with the thread derailments. And skip all the repetitive images too, please. We aren't grading on weight.
« Last Edit: 08/10/2018 10:23 pm by Lar »
"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 john smith 19

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Re: How BFR Earth-to-Earth Might Actually Get Started
« Reply #395 on: 08/11/2018 10:53 am »
I dont think BFR/BFS will go to Mars or P2P in the next 20 years so the discussion is kind of well a theory excersize for me
I think that's a little harsh.  :(

People have bet against Musk before and he and SX have always (with one exception) managed to deliver something in the end.

So while I'm very skeptical about a BFS being en route to Mars by 2022 I'm convinced something will be flying by then. How soon the vehicle(s) will be ready for a flight to Mars is OT for this thread

TBH it's this P2P that I'm more skeptical about, simply because a global network of passenger carrying ballistic vehicles demands a huge engagement with a lot of different authorities

The nearest example would seem to be the Cargo Dragon/Crewed Dragon timeline.

June 2010. F9 first flight and first flight of Cargo Dragon qualification article.

May 2012. Cargo Dragon berths at ISS for first time.

April 2019 Crew Dragon may take crew to the ISS for the first time (but AFAIK this is a No Earlier Than date, which could go later).

So 2 years to get an uncrewed vehicle to berth with ISS, at least 9 to get a crewed version to the same place.

It's debatable how much of that was due to SX learning what the had to do and how much to NASA's ASAP and other groups "contributing" to the process, and how much shorter the learning curve could be the second time around (OTOH that's with a completely different set of materials and engine choices, so "corporate memory" is going to be of limited use as what works great for Aluminum is likely to be a poor design choice for CFRP)

The video shows passengers ascending a mast to load. An interesting factoid from the Arianespace Vega LV was the launch tower for this weighs about the same as the Eiffel tower (7000 tonnes) on wheels. Not really an issue with HTOL vehicles, but a serious logistics problem for vertical vehicles.

This suggests maybe SX should look at a cheaper, faster way to build such towers, if they are going to be building quite a lot of them.

Hence my instinct SX would do best starting (relatively) small, with a few sites inside the US ( NYC/LAX/Hawaii/Washington DC) which could have the volume and distance to make them good reference sites for expansion. No ITAR, no foreign legislators to deal with (at first) and potentially very supportive local administrations.

This is too pessimistic. First, the ticket price would be $5,000+ (JFK to LHR business class is selling for $7,000+ last I checked), https://www.forbes.com/sites/oliverwyman/2016/01/19/airline-profit-margins-soar-despite-revenue-challenges/ shows profile margin is over 15%, so each trip can generate $75k or so profit, you just need 2266 flights to match the optimistic profit ($170M) from tourist flights.
Let's be clear BFR gives business travelers the one thing they cannot get in any other vehicle.

Time.

Time to relax, time to think, time to work at a full size desk.
All other long haul transport systems just give them better ways (compared to base price ticket holders) of passing the same amount of time as other passengers at 10x the cost.

I expect it to be (assuming it happens) a 1 class, top class service that will be designed to give those passengers the feeling that they (or rather whoever paid for their tix, because most of the time it will be on on some kind of  corporate payment) have spent their money well. M25 Vs <M1? I think a 50% premium would be viable. So $1-3m operating revenue if fully loaded?

As Concorde showed there is a market for that. Not so much meetings, more negotiations (looking the other person right in the eyes, seeing their body language, hearing their actual voice). Later British Airways also showed there was a market for charter flights, flying around the Bay of Biscayne (and other locations IIRC) just for the experience of doing the flight.  Sadly I don't think BFR will have the cross range for a "once around" trip to let people RTLS but it too could be a significant market with suitable adaptations.

At the end of the day if what you're charging exceeds your operating costs you are paying down the development and build costs faster (in principle) than you could with 100 settlers to Mars, every 26 months.

Keep in mind while I'd expect the P2P tix price to be much lower than a Mars ticket the Mars price also needs at least 90 (more likely 120) days of food for every passenger, something that simply doesn't exist for P2P.

[EDIT
My "big picture" schedule for BFR would be.
Get BFR flying.

Use it to deploy minimal working Starlink satellite array. No humans on board, so no crew rating issues.

Use revenue to a)Build out more of the constellation b) Build out array of launch sites (possibly in places that make deploying some Starlink planes much easier, possibly within the US) c) Identify what issues the regulators have trouble allowing passengers to deal with and deal with them.

Once at least some regulators are OK with human carrying flights, roll out minimal list of BFR P2P destinations, preferably close enough to a big city at both ends that the to and from the big city (at both ends) doesn't destroy the benefits of the short flight. I suspect this last point (at both ends) may be quite hard to meet. 

Assuming revenue exceeds operating costs use the profits (possibly including Starling funds) to expand the network, possibly on a franchise basis with local groups operating BFR P2P sites

Refurb BFR's after they have paid for themselves as part of the Mars settlement fleet.
]
« Last Edit: 08/11/2018 11:14 am by john smith 19 »
MCT ITS BFR SS. The worlds first Methane fueled FFSC engined CFRP SS structure A380 sized aerospaceplane tail sitter capable of Earth & Mars atmospheric flight.First flight to Mars by end of 2022 TBC. Forward looking statements. T&C apply. "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof" R. Simberg."Competitve" means cheaper ¬cheap SCramjet proposed 1956. First +ve thrust 2004. US R&D spend to date > $10Bn. #deployed designs. Zero.

Offline TripleSeven

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Re: How BFR Earth-to-Earth Might Actually Get Started
« Reply #396 on: 08/11/2018 12:33 pm »
John Smith 19

Good afternoon.  I dont 'bet against Musk...I think he will eventually "do" something like he says he will ...

but I would add this...without NASA there is no crew or cargo Dragon.  so just in general I would say this.

one of the massive lessons I learned at the big airplane company in Seattle...while technology drives things, economics make them happen.  The penultimate airplane of the piston era was the B36/XC99.  it was massive, the troop transport version, the 99..it could carry 400 troops, 100,000 of payload...

in its commercial airline version (that Pan Am was going to buy) it would have carried the same pax load of a B757..or about 250 passengers...all in an era when the Boeing C377 was carrying between 50 and 100.

they built one.  and in the end not even the US military wanted it...Pan Am looked at it, but even their "load" models said that they couldnt make any money unless it would replace 3-4 C377's ...and they didnt think that 250 passengers in the same fare structure of the 377 would fly anywhere at one time.

Worse, the infrastructure that was available at airports...from fuel depots to gates and baggage infrastructure could not handle that load.

there were technology issues with the XC99 but most of all what killed it, because what killed the notion of fixing the technology issues...was that no one, including Juan Trippe who was a sky genius, could figure out how to make money with it

Now of course that all seems silly.  I just got through flying 297 passengers up to London, and 295 back (ie we were nearly full) and on the gates with me were triple sevens from 11 other airlines...and well the infrastructure was handling it fine

My point here is that 1) I dont see how we jump from Dragon and F9 to BFS and lots of people...all in a single leap

(and going from 6 guys/gals in a low orbiting spacecraft to one that will go to Mars, land and come back, all in a single leap is equally as exciting to me, but off topic :)

In short, I dont see the economic driver for all of this.  I see a lot of handwaving about tourist and this and that...but to quote a known writer, those strike me as the substance of things hoped for.  and what I learned at the big airplane company is that economics drives technology.

When Juan Trippe finally turned his back on the XC99, his line was "I dont see how we can make money with it"  I suspect the French at Airbus are seeing the same thing with the A380

I hope Musk has better luck :)




Online spacenut

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Re: How BFR Earth-to-Earth Might Actually Get Started
« Reply #397 on: 08/11/2018 02:14 pm »
I still say once flying, the military will want BFR/BFS for quick cargo transport to hot spots around the world.  Quick replacement of any satellites lost.  The cargo version will probably go commercial first.  Once a safety record is established, then passengers.  Commercial or military cargo will probably start in the late 2020's.  This along with mass satellite launches will help fund Mars. 

Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: How BFR Earth-to-Earth Might Actually Get Started
« Reply #398 on: 08/11/2018 03:47 pm »
Let's be clear BFR gives business travelers the one thing they cannot get in any other vehicle.

Time.

That is the whole value proposition in one word. And for the service to become popular enough for it to be sustainable, then people would have to come to depend on that savings of time in their normal lives.

In short, I dont see the economic driver for all of this.  I see a lot of handwaving about tourist and this and that...but to quote a known writer, those strike me as the substance of things hoped for.  and what I learned at the big airplane company is that economics drives technology.

You of all people would understand how the Boeing 787 has been able to do better than the Airbus A-380, with the 787 focused on serving what's known as "long, thin routes".

What Musk and SpaceX would be counting on is finding similar veins of customers that can, at least earlier on, be served frequently between two points on Earth - even longer, thinner routes.

And getting back to "time" being what people are paying for, today the longest airline routes take 17 hours, so in order for a BFR point-to-point service to work there needs to be a large enough population of well off people that value time more than money.

So the price will be important, and likely the deciding factor. And the price will, as you point out, be partly determined by how much infrastructure SpaceX can count on leveraging at it's transit sites.
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 su27k

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Re: How BFR Earth-to-Earth Might Actually Get Started
« Reply #399 on: 08/11/2018 05:38 pm »
My point here is that 1) I dont see how we jump from Dragon and F9 to BFS and lots of people...all in a single leap

(and going from 6 guys/gals in a low orbiting spacecraft to one that will go to Mars, land and come back, all in a single leap is equally as exciting to me, but off topic :)

It only looks like a big leap because the space industry has been stagnate, even backsliding. BFR is what we should have years ago had the space industry been developing like the aircraft industry. Consider:
1. 50 years ago the space industry was able to build Saturn V and sent people to the Moon and back. BFR's liftoff thrust and gross mass is only 50% higher than Saturn V. The fact that BFR still fits in the infrastructure built for Saturn V should tell you something.
2. 40 years ago the space industry was able to build a reusable space shuttle, that was able to take 8 people to orbit, but with plans of passenger module to take as many as 72 people to orbit. BFS is only 30% or so larger than the orbiter by empty weight.

Is it a big leap that after 40 to 50 years we have a vehicle 30% to 50% bigger, take 30% more people, and much better at reuse? In aircraft industry, 40~50 years is what separates 377 and 777.

Quote
In short, I dont see the economic driver for all of this.  I see a lot of handwaving about tourist and this and that...but to quote a known writer, those strike me as the substance of things hoped for.  and what I learned at the big airplane company is that economics drives technology.

SpaceX is not driven by economics, it exists for taking humans to Mars. If Elon Musk only care about making money, he wouldn't enter the launch industry in the first place.
« Last Edit: 08/11/2018 05:38 pm by su27k »

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