Author Topic: How BFR Earth-to-Earth Might Actually Get Started  (Read 101201 times)

Offline TripleSeven

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Re: How BFR Earth-to-Earth Might Actually Get Started
« Reply #400 on: 08/11/2018 05:55 pm »
Let's be clear BFR gives business travelers the one thing they cannot get in any other vehicle.

Time.



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.


in my viewpoint you are severely misstating the role of the 787.  the Dream liner was designed with two purposes in mind the first was a complete break in aviation technology in both the manufacturer for airplanes and second was a massive lowering of the cost of seats through that technology

there is at 250 to 300 seats nothing "thin" about the routes the 787 is serving...what it is, is a direct replacement for the 767 which Boeing hoped it would no longer be producing now (the KC46 and freighter versions killed that)  and its technology will creep into the B77X and the B737MAX

the Max is the thin route plane...but it got that way only because the price point of long international traveler is going "down" not up...meaning airlines like Ryan air are moving into the international market...and offering the same "amenities" that they offer short haul

what Musk etal have to do...is create a market...they might be able to do it...but well so far...its all hope

boeing doesnt build airplanes on hope...they build them on markets which are developing and clearly so

 

Offline TripleSeven

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Re: How BFR Earth-to-Earth Might Actually Get Started
« Reply #401 on: 08/11/2018 06:00 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.

I agree that the space industry has been stagnant even backsliding...but there is no evidence that NASA was anywhere close to making the Saturn V or the shuttle economically feasible for anything but government operations.  McDee tried with its "machine" no the shuttle that was suppose to cure (something) but it never worked.

my point is the leap from what we have today to what Musk claims is well enormous

as for Musk and economics

if Musk cannot raise the money to do all this, he wont do it.  that means the economics of all this are the driver ...I dont see how he raises the money :) and buys back Tesla :) and the other things not because they were easy but because they were hard :)

Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: How BFR Earth-to-Earth Might Actually Get Started
« Reply #402 on: 08/11/2018 06:28 pm »
there is at 250 to 300 seats nothing "thin" about the routes the 787 is serving...what it is, is a direct replacement for the 767 which Boeing hoped it would no longer be producing now...

I did not invent the term "long, thin" routes for 787's. And my point was that being able to fly long distances, including distances longer than 767's could do profitably, has provided the 787 with a substantial market. From a related article:

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The widebody's long range allows airlines to run what the industry calls "long, thin" routes. In English, that means distant cities that can support nonstops only if there aren't too many seats on the aircraft. The Dreamliner is also more fuel-efficient and cheaper to operate than competitive aircraft.

And:

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More than that, the Dreamliner is going when no other planes have gone before. Boeing says the 787 has pioneered at least 100 routes between cities that have never before had nonstop links. It thinks there might eventually be 400 such routes.

So that shows that there is demand for more direct routes. Of course we don't know if there is enough price elasticity to make people switch from 17 hour flights to 1 hour flights, but sometimes you'll only find that out if you try it.

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boeing doesnt build airplanes on hope...they build them on markets which are developing and clearly so

The main point to remember is that SpaceX is not building the BFR/BFS for point-to-point transportation on Earth, they are building it to support colonizing Mars. Earth-to-Earth service is just an additional market they are looking at serving using their existing transportation capabilities, and only having to install the destination infrastructure.
« Last Edit: 08/11/2018 10:21 pm by Coastal Ron »
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 Ludus

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Re: How BFR Earth-to-Earth Might Actually Get Started
« Reply #403 on: 08/11/2018 07:06 pm »
Quote
The main point to remember is that SpaceX is not building the BFR/BFS for point-to-point transportation on Earth, they are building it to support colonizing Mars. Earth-to-Earth service is just an additional market they are looking at serving using their existing transportation capabilities, and only having to install the destination infrastructure.

Even most of the destination infrastructure is necessary anyway for colonizing Mars. If youíve got waves of launches to do every couple years you need Spaceports all over the world to support that. In between the synodic cycle rush they can launch for other earth/moon local space purposes but the Spaceports all over the world might as well also try to serve the P2P market because itís large proven demand.


Offline TripleSeven

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Re: How BFR Earth-to-Earth Might Actually Get Started
« Reply #404 on: 08/11/2018 07:06 pm »
there is at 250 to 300 seats nothing "thin" about the routes the 787 is serving...what it is, is a direct replacement for the 767 which Boeing hoped it would no longer be producing now...

I did not invent the term "long, thin" routes. And my point was that being able to fly long distances, including distances longer than 767's could do profitably, has provided the 787 with a substantial market. From a related article:

Quote
The widebody's long range allows airlines to run what the industry calls "long, thin" routes. In English, that means distant cities that can support nonstops only if there aren't too many seats on the aircraft. The Dreamliner is also more fuel-efficient and cheaper to operate than competitive aircraft.

And:

Quote
More than that, the Dreamliner is going when no other planes have gone before. Boeing says the 787 has pioneered at least 100 routes between cities that have never before had nonstop links. It thinks there might eventually be 400 such routes.

So that shows that there is demand for more direct routes. Of course we don't know if there is enough price elasticity to make people switch from 17 hour flights to 1 hour flights, but sometimes you'll only find that out if you try it.

Quote
boeing doesnt build airplanes on hope...they build them on markets which are developing and clearly so

The main point to remember is that SpaceX is not building the BFR/BFS for point-to-point transportation on Earth, they are building it to support colonizing Mars. Earth-to-Earth service is just an additional market they are looking at serving using their existing transportation capabilities, and only having to install the destination infrastructure.

no...you dont understand thin routes

"This is what is referred to in the airline industry as a Long, Thin Route. Long, because it is beyond the range of smaller aircraft like a 737 or even a A330. "

it is not the high end but the low end

but it doesnt matter ...the routes you are talking about with BFRp2p are not thin, they do not exist

and no one will spend the money to try and make them exist until the economics of the vehicle...and the price per seat (or revenue seat mile) are well understood

to me that is never :) good night

Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: How BFR Earth-to-Earth Might Actually Get Started
« Reply #405 on: 08/11/2018 10:37 pm »
no...you dont understand thin routes

"This is what is referred to in the airline industry as a Long, Thin Route. Long, because it is beyond the range of smaller aircraft like a 737 or even a A330. "

it is not the high end but the low end

I'm not sure how you are disagreeing with the industry quotes I provided. If anything what you provided agrees with what I provided.

Then there is the A380, which focuses on high density routes that are relatively long, but as we've seen from the A380 order book only 331 have been ordered in total (which could be the end), versus 1,377 so far for the 787 (new orders every year). I mention this because direct flights are what the BFS will do best, so it's important to look and see what has worked and not worked in the current market.

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but it doesnt matter ...the routes you are talking about with BFRp2p are not thin, they do not exist

I'm not sure why you keep saying this because no one is disagreeing. Oh course they don't exist.

But the thread topic is how would they get started?

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and no one will spend the money to try and make them exist until the economics of the vehicle...and the price per seat (or revenue seat mile) are well understood

to me that is never

I'm sure no one is arguing the opposite.

However BFS Earth-to-Earth will be a secondary market for SpaceX, not a primary one. The primary one is colonizing Mars.

So from an economics standpoint if you already have the production line going for your primary market (i.e. Mars), then making more for a secondary market (Earth) could make the economics work.

My prediction is that SpaceX won't attempt Earth-to-Earth transport on a commercial basis until they decide what their Mars plans are with the BFR/BFS.
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 #406 on: 08/12/2018 03:52 am »
my point is the leap from what we have today to what Musk claims is well enormous

What we have today is rather primitive, but clearly this is not because of technology limitations, since we did better 40 to 50 years ago. The current situation is mainly caused by policy and management failures, this makes the leap less a concern.

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as for Musk and economics

if Musk cannot raise the money to do all this, he wont do it.  that means the economics of all this are the driver ...I dont see how he raises the money :) and buys back Tesla :) and the other things not because they were easy but because they were hard :)

SpaceX just went through a $500M funding round a few months ago, so I don't see them having trouble with raising money.

Offline john smith 19

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Re: How BFR Earth-to-Earth Might Actually Get Started
« Reply #407 on: 08/12/2018 08:27 am »
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
Good point. Back then it wasn't viable. Timing may not be everything, but it sure counts for a lot.

I read a book on the 707 and the point was all major airline mfgs were looking at the problem at the time and you could make an aircraft bigger in different ways. However once you factor in the existing infrastructure (gate sizes, separations etc) going wide is really the only option that operators would consider.
Quote from: TripleSeven
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
I guess a key point is that Musks goal is not exploration, it's mass settlement. This is a potential way to recover some of the costs of that process, but the question is wheather the revenue earned will outweigh the very substantial startup costs.
Quote from: TripleSeven
(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.
Something many people forget.

I'd love to know what their cost models come up with when you plug the numbers for BFR into them.
I'd bet most people would be pretty surprised as to the numbers that come out.
If you're building something with a GTOW several times the size of an A380 (almost entirely in CRFP) what would you expect it's development budget to be?

On the upside I suspect a substantial part of the development budget for BFR comes from the Commercial Crew contract. The question is does that cover all of the budget, or does SX need more?
Quote from: TripleSeven
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 :)
AIUI  A380 is designed to service the "Hub and spoke" model of airline routes. Only time will tell if the world really is moving to a pure (or mostly) case of direct point to point flights, with relatively low passenger number planes with very long ranges. My instinct is they might fit pretty well for some routes, but not that well for others.  What next? A "regional airliner" with transatlantic range? Physically possible but who would buy it?

However that's OT for this thread.
« Last Edit: 08/12/2018 08:32 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. T&C apply. Trust nothing. Run your own #s "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 speedevil

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Re: How BFR Earth-to-Earth Might Actually Get Started
« Reply #408 on: 08/12/2018 10:26 am »
However BFS Earth-to-Earth will be a secondary market for SpaceX, not a primary one. The primary one is colonizing Mars.

So from an economics standpoint if you already have the production line going for your primary market (i.e. Mars), then making more for a secondary market (Earth) could make the economics work.

My prediction is that SpaceX won't attempt Earth-to-Earth transport on a commercial basis until they decide what their Mars plans are with the BFR/BFS.

I strongly disagree.

Designing the vehicle to be capable of P2P, if it can be done without hideous compromises outweighs nearly everything else.

A P2P capable vehicle - one that actually can do 'cheaper than an economy ticket' on some routes - $1M total per flight _price_, would be utterly revolutionary for Mars, compared with one that can do $5M cost.

For the cost of one BFS to Mars for two years (say $80M), you can lift 24000 tons of cargo into LEO, or 10000 tons into EML1, and get some 4000 tons onto Mars.

Price drops from some $500/kg, to $20/kg.

This - for example - caps the price of life support on Mars at $200K/year/person - even if you do completely open loop.

It means - even only assuming a launch revenue similar to SpaceXs current revenue, they could plausibly put 40000 tons of stuff onto Mars a synod.

These benefits all hit before P2P service actually begins.


Offline TripleSeven

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Re: How BFR Earth-to-Earth Might Actually Get Started
« Reply #409 on: 08/12/2018 11:57 am »
Coastal Ron

an interesting post, I find all your post thought provoking...instead of just a point to point response

I only know one airline that operates without a hub and spoke...I call it Spook airlines that fly exactly one route...LAX edit...Las Vegas....sorry ....to Area 51..and really it is an airline in name only, it is more like a private company than anything else.  the only non hub and spoke operations or more correctly Point to point are private transportation systems...you have just described our Piper Aztec :) and most business jet operation.

ALL airlines all transportation systems operate in some kind of hub and spoke system.  they cannot afford the infrastructure to operate constant point to point AND there is no point I know of where enough people int hat point want to go to exactly one other place on the planet.  In other words there are airlines that operate London (or in my airlines case Istanbul) to everywhere, there is not an airline in the world whose only flight is London to Manilla and back

Hubs emerge when there is enough traffic to and from a single "town" to the world to have that place "anchor" a hub .  Herbs' (Kellehor) book (which is good reading anyway) is pretty accurate...a city has to have a mass of about 25 million people in a 20 mile radius AND about 4 million people in a 5 mile radius WITH an anchoring industry to be a hub for domestic flying.  SWA does not fly "transcontinent" (although I guess Hawaii kind of counts...but Gordon's (Bethune) book pins an international hub at about 30=35 in a 30 mile radius and about 10 million in a 10 mile radius...

MY POINT IS that to have BFR P2p work, assuming you fix jet lag...you would either have to "hub" it at two locations in the US (one east coast or west coast) and fly to lots of places...or have multiple hubs where each hub has multiple destinations.  and you would have to do that "quicklY" to make the infrastructure cost (which are everything from NOTHING) not sink you or the town or government that pays for all of this

(the A380 is not a hub to hub plane) ...it is a "thick route" hub and spoke...and its failing.  no one flying them right now is making money with them.  they are all being subsidized by mostly their 777 and 787 (or Airbus equivelent) operation.

now a specific quote (sorry not clear how to pull this off with the quote things still experimenting)

"I guess a key point is that Musks goal is not exploration, it's mass settlement."

I am one of, I guess the few people here who do not think that is true.  Or at least if it is his goal, it is a very long term one.  I think Musk goal is to build industries that change the future and in the process make money.    I dont know him well at all (just meet/talk to him 1/1 and read his book) and we can all come to our own viewpoints on this...but he is a smart enough business man to recognize that he cannot accomplish things that are not self sustainable...and not even he can make outside of the "fan group" (at least to me) a rationale case how Mars colonization is sustainable from an economic model.

Until we have a massive space economic system that humans are in some way involved in, ie something that supports the massive money that will be needed to build and support such a colony ...its not doable

what I think Musk is counting on..is that he and BO develop rockets that RADICALLY change the price point of lift...AND the cost to operate those vehicles with humans in space AND that finally talks the US government into spending what it is going to spend anyway ...on some human project most likely on the Moon...because it can be done, on the dollars the US is spending anyway. 

there they all gain the experience on the vehicles, the support infrastructure, and some kind of economy that in space makes the money that then would allow him (at least) to try a long shot Mars flight.  sometime in his lifetime

by that time the vehicle will have gone through A LOT of changes, and one of those spinoffs might be P2P...optimistically (which I am) I see this over the next oh 30 years.  not the next 10 :)   

as for Numbers for BFR...the ones that exist today are without a doubt informed guesses.  and that is all...the technology is to immature to make better ones.

« Last Edit: 08/12/2018 02:02 pm by TripleSeven »

Offline john smith 19

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Re: How BFR Earth-to-Earth Might Actually Get Started
« Reply #410 on: 08/12/2018 01:50 pm »
ALL airlines all transportation systems operate in some kind of hub and spoke system.  they cannot afford the infrastructure to operate constant point to point AND there is no point I know of where enough people int hat point want to go to exactly one other place on the planet.  In other words there are airlines that operate London (or in my airlines case Istanbul) to everywhere, there is not an airline in the world whose only flight is London to Manilla and back

Hubs emerge when there is enough traffic to and from a single "town" to the world to have that place "anchor" a hub .  Herbs' (Kellehor) book (which is good reading anyway) is pretty accurate...a city has to have a mass of about 25 million people in a 20 mile radius AND about 4 million people in a 5 mile radius WITH an anchoring industry to be a hub for domestic flying.  SWA does not fly "transcontinent" (although I guess Hawaii kind of counts...but Gordon's (Bethune) book pins an international hub at about 30=35 in a 30 mile radius and about 10 million in a 10 mile radius...
Good point. And in this mode BFR is a transportation system.

Quote from: TripleSeven
MY POINT IS that to have BFR P2p work, assuming you fix jet lag...you would either have to "hub" it at two locations in the US (one east coast or west coast) and fly to lots of places...or have multiple hubs where each hub has multiple destinations.  and you would have to do that "quicklY" to make the infrastructure cost (which are everything from NOTHING) not sink you or the town or government that pays for all of this
I think the first hubs will have to be in the US to sidestep ITAR, Hawaii is a good long way off NYC, but I'm not sure it's got enough business travelers who would afford the kind of prices I think this will be charged at.
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. T&C apply. Trust nothing. Run your own #s "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 #411 on: 08/12/2018 02:28 pm »
ALL airlines all transportation systems operate in some kind of hub and spoke system.  they cannot afford the infrastructure to operate constant point to point AND there is no point I know of where enough people int hat point want to go to exactly one other place on the planet.  In other words there are airlines that operate London (or in my airlines case Istanbul) to everywhere, there is not an airline in the world whose only flight is London to Manilla and back

Hubs emerge when there is enough traffic to and from a single "town" to the world to have that place "anchor" a hub .  Herbs' (Kellehor) book (which is good reading anyway) is pretty accurate...a city has to have a mass of about 25 million people in a 20 mile radius AND about 4 million people in a 5 mile radius WITH an anchoring industry to be a hub for domestic flying.  SWA does not fly "transcontinent" (although I guess Hawaii kind of counts...but Gordon's (Bethune) book pins an international hub at about 30=35 in a 30 mile radius and about 10 million in a 10 mile radius...
Good point. And in this mode BFR is a transportation system.

Quote from: TripleSeven
MY POINT IS that to have BFR P2p work, assuming you fix jet lag...you would either have to "hub" it at two locations in the US (one east coast or west coast) and fly to lots of places...or have multiple hubs where each hub has multiple destinations.  and you would have to do that "quicklY" to make the infrastructure cost (which are everything from NOTHING) not sink you or the town or government that pays for all of this
I think the first hubs will have to be in the US to sidestep ITAR, Hawaii is a good long way off NYC, but I'm not sure it's got enough business travelers who would afford the kind of prices I think this will be charged at.

I agree with that

the genius of the American system (from an economic standpoint) in my view is the right to try and succeed and also try and fail, learn and if you can work it out try again.

Fred Smith of FedEx and I have some personality issues :) (one of his trucks hit the crew van that my late wife was in and in my view he was a complete jerk dealing with it) but he is a smart guy and is typical of that class of "thinker" (so is Herb and Herb is not a jerk) who can put together "parts" and come up with an entire new industry based on those parts

I dont think FedEX could have started five years early, as it was it barely made it through the start up phase...but today it is a giant even to the point of driving airplane building  the 767 would not still be in civilian production if the freighter version had not existed...

I have no doubt that if rocket powered vehicle operations become "more common" and cheaper that "someone" will try to change the transportation equation with them...on the earth.

Unless of course some competing technology that "fits" more with earth like operations...goes that way

the genius of "Earth operations" is that the markets are there...
where as in space...its not clear other than lifting large uncrewed communications platforms...what the market is...


there currently is a pressing traffic between many points on earth for humans and cargo...right now there is one transportation "node" that works with humans and cargo that humans need...and that is the ISS.

and it only exist with federal dollars...thats the first "knot" to break .  VG and BO are trying to do just what Fred Smith did

after that the engineering and product cycle might start.
« Last Edit: 08/12/2018 02:30 pm by TripleSeven »

Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: How BFR Earth-to-Earth Might Actually Get Started
« Reply #412 on: 08/12/2018 05:48 pm »
Designing the vehicle to be capable of P2P, if it can be done without hideous compromises outweighs nearly everything else.

From what I've seen, SpaceX is planning to use the same design for Earth-to-Earth transportation as they are for Earth-to-Mars. Certainly the BFR is exactly the same, and for the BFS it would just have far less interior outfitting since they only need seats, and no living facilities like the Mars-bound ships need.

Quote
A P2P capable vehicle - one that actually can do 'cheaper than an economy ticket' on some routes - $1M total per flight _price_, would be utterly revolutionary for Mars, compared with one that can do $5M cost.

I'm not sure where you are getting those figures, and certainly a 1-hour flight to the opposite side of Earth is not going to be marketed as "economy". If they do go into this market I think it will be to help fund their Mars colonization plans (directly or indirectly), so they will price it to make a profit.

Musk has been talking about flying people to Mars for as low as $200,000, but that takes a BFS out of circulation for over two years - the Earth-Mars synodic period is 780 days. That works out to $256/Day, and should include all of the refueling trips that it took to get the BFS ready to leave Earth orbit. So even if the $200,000/person to Mars price is 50% too low, that is a remarkable price point for the Mars trip, and it gives a hint as to what pure Earth-to-Earth trips could be.
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 TripleSeven

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Re: How BFR Earth-to-Earth Might Actually Get Started
« Reply #413 on: 08/12/2018 06:03 pm »
Designing the vehicle to be capable of P2P, if it can be done without hideous compromises outweighs nearly everything else.

From what I've seen, SpaceX is planning to use the same design for Earth-to-Earth transportation as they are for Earth-to-Mars. Certainly the BFR is exactly the same, and for the BFS it would just have far less interior outfitting since they only need seats, and no living facilities like the Mars-bound ships need.

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A P2P capable vehicle - one that actually can do 'cheaper than an economy ticket' on some routes - $1M total per flight _price_, would be utterly revolutionary for Mars, compared with one that can do $5M cost.

I'm not sure where you are getting those figures, and certainly a 1-hour flight to the opposite side of Earth is not going to be marketed as "economy". If they do go into this market I think it will be to help fund their Mars colonization plans (directly or indirectly), so they will price it to make a profit.

Musk has been talking about flying people to Mars for as low as $200,000, but that takes a BFS out of circulation for over two years - the Earth-Mars synodic period is 780 days. That works out to $256/Day, and should include all of the refueling trips that it took to get the BFS ready to leave Earth orbit. So even if the $200,000/person to Mars price is 50% too low, that is a remarkable price point for the Mars trip, and it gives a hint as to what pure Earth-to-Earth trips could be.

why would you use the same design, thats a lot of mass from shielding to radiators that is not needed

Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: How BFR Earth-to-Earth Might Actually Get Started
« Reply #414 on: 08/12/2018 06:14 pm »
ALL airlines all transportation systems operate in some kind of hub and spoke system.

Agreed. And I didn't raise the issue of hub and spoke in my posts because I wasn't ready to talk about it in context with BFS Earth-to-Earth.

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MY POINT IS that to have BFR P2p work, assuming you fix jet lag...you would either have to "hub" it at two locations in the US (one east coast or west coast) and fly to lots of places...or have multiple hubs where each hub has multiple destinations.  and you would have to do that "quicklY" to make the infrastructure cost (which are everything from NOTHING) not sink you or the town or government that pays for all of this

Agreed. And I think it would make sense to maximize the infrastructure by supporting more than one route.

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"I guess a key point is that Musks goal is not exploration, it's mass settlement."

I am one of, I guess the few people here who do not think that is true.  Or at least if it is his goal, it is a very long term one.

I don't know anyone that thinks this will happen overnight, nor do I know anyone that can say with any confidence that they know how colonization will be financed. There are many NSF threads that have discussed how colonization will be able to happen, and with the brain power we have here at NSF it's clear that that there isn't an obvious answer. Yet.

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I think Musk goal is to build industries that change the future and in the process make money.

Few actually know what Musk's goals are in his heart of hearts, so all we can go on are his actions. And regardless what HIS goals are, I like what he has done so far. That has allowed me to put some trust in him, though since I am not risking any money, my trust of him is pretty cheap - just words of support on public forums like this.

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Until we have a massive space economic system that humans are in some way involved in, ie something that supports the massive money that will be needed to build and support such a colony ...its not doable

We haven't interacted on any other topics, but I think I'm known for harping on finding workable business models for our future activities in space, so I agree we don't have any that support doing anything in space with humans.

Which is why I classify Musk's Mars colonization plans as a humanitarian effort, NOT something that is built to create a profit. And humans do fund a LOT of humanitarian efforts around the world, and we do so without any expectation that we personally will benefit. We do it because we believe in the goal, and we believe in those willing to do the hard work of making it happen.

And at some point I would be willing to donate to a Mars colonization effort - IF I believe in the people leading it. Which right now is Elon Musk.

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as for Numbers for BFR...the ones that exist today are without a doubt informed guesses.  and that is all...the technology is to immature to make better ones.

When do we ever have perfect knowledge of something when it's never been done before? Yet we can still proffer informed opinions...  ;)
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 Coastal Ron

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Re: How BFR Earth-to-Earth Might Actually Get Started
« Reply #415 on: 08/12/2018 06:22 pm »
From what I've seen, SpaceX is planning to use the same design for Earth-to-Earth transportation as they are for Earth-to-Mars. Certainly the BFR is exactly the same, and for the BFS it would just have far less interior outfitting since they only need seats, and no living facilities like the Mars-bound ships need.

why would you use the same design, thats a lot of mass from shielding to radiators that is not needed

When I say the same design, I mean that the vehicle is the same but just outfitted differently. Not unlike a passenger 767 is outfitted differently than a tanker version.

So yes, they would not need the solar panels, but they might decide to standardize on the belly heat shields since it could lead to improvements for the Mars version.
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 TripleSeven

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Re: How BFR Earth-to-Earth Might Actually Get Started
« Reply #416 on: 08/12/2018 06:27 pm »
Coastal Ron

I like what Musk has done I am just not overly awed by it....

Musk got lucky, he arrived on the scene as a MAJOR but so far singular change in US space policy was occurring...and did what would have been done at any other time in US space history HAD the same change taken place.  put it another way...had Beal gotten the same breaks...we would probably be in awe over Beal Aerospace...

He gets a bit more applauds than say OSC did which while coming up with an innovative vehicle for commercial resupply (and I think it has a lot more growth left)...Musk came up with an innovative rocket which has commercial potential..(I think actually that Dragon cargo and probably crew have less growth margin in them than OSC's cargo device does... but of course in different ways)

Musk innovative rocket "seems" to be approaching both a full maturity in operation AND is exploring the cost recovery of partial reusability...the latter of which has never been done before...

admiration of this however does not drop me into the "fan boy" level where all of a sudden Musk can build a vehicle that can do something that has never been done before at a cost that is magnitudes lower than anything even he has done...and do it in the next single digit years

and then go on to do something again that has never been done before ...rocket p2p

I realize that part of the Musk culture is "to believe" but I passed that stage when Challenger blew up and instead have tried to be alittle more realistic in my growth projections of where humans off planet (or going off planet and returning...is going

I wish the same politics and policy decisions that gave us Musk...would give us more in terms of where other money is spent...but that is kind of off thread

we will see where the next oh say 5 years go :)

Online Robotbeat

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Re: How BFR Earth-to-Earth Might Actually Get Started
« Reply #417 on: 08/12/2018 07:31 pm »
If 787 is what passes as a huge technological improvement, then sure, I can see why BFR looks like an absurdly big step.

Incremental improvements aside (which admittedly have led to significant safety and efficiency improvements), airliner tech has been pretty stagnant for almost half a century, and few in the industry will admit it. Such people are not good judges about what could happen with improved rocket tech.
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Offline TripleSeven

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Re: How BFR Earth-to-Earth Might Actually Get Started
« Reply #418 on: 08/12/2018 07:48 pm »
If 787 is what passes as a huge technological improvement, then sure, I can see why BFR looks like an absurdly big step.

Incremental improvements aside (which admittedly have led to significant safety and efficiency improvements), airliner tech has been pretty stagnant for almost half a century, and few in the industry will admit it. Such people are not good judges about what could happen with improved rocket tech.

the Dreamliner is an amazing step in aviation technology...there is nothing on it that is legacy from previous Boeing designs from the engines to the fly by wire, to the construction and most importantly in the internal systems

in those it has taken "systems" which even in the triple date their legacy to the first 707 and completely rethought them. 

in addition it is designed for near complete robotic construction.

Boeing paid for it, in long development time and enormous and unexpected development cost...but it forms the frame work for the technological distribution to another half century of Boeing airplanes

the BFR is several steps above the Falcon9 and Crewed Dragon of teh same magnitude as the Dreamliners step above the triple seven...

in my view it will be an engineering miracle of SpaceX does 25 percent of what they are claiming for the BFR...

Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: How BFR Earth-to-Earth Might Actually Get Started
« Reply #419 on: 08/12/2018 08:03 pm »
Musk got lucky, he arrived on the scene as a MAJOR but so far singular change in US space policy was occurring...and did what would have been done at any other time in US space history HAD the same change taken place.  put it another way...had Beal gotten the same breaks...we would probably be in awe over Beal Aerospace...

Yeah, we could play "woulda, shoulda, coulda" all day long, but that doesn't change the fact that it has been Elon Musk pushing many forms of transportation to places where everyone wanted them to go, but no one had yet been able to take them.

As to whether that has been "luck", Louis Pasteur is famous for birthing the quote we now interpret as "luck favors the prepared mind". Elon Musk has been the right person, and the right point in time, with the right business plan to make it all happen.

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admiration of this however does not drop me into the "fan boy" level...

I've been an admirer of Walmart's cross docking system for decades - it was the core innovation that allowed them to disrupt and dominate the retail market until Amazon came along and disrupted them. Yet even though I admire them, I don't support them by buying from Walmart, since they have crushed small retailers and driven down average pay for the middle and lower classes.

As for Musk, his efforts in rocket reusability may lead to exit of one or more American launch providers from the government markets, and if you work for one of those companies you may admire the technology that Musk has created but hate the pressure that has caused on your finances.

So you don't need to be a fan boy to appreciate what someone is doing...

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...where all of a sudden Musk can build a vehicle that can do something that has never been done before at a cost that is magnitudes lower than anything even he has done...and do it in the next single digit years

If you think about it, what you described is what he has already done - multiple times. So all you're saying is that you're not sure he can do it again.

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and then go on to do something again that has never been done before ...rocket p2p

I would imagine a lot more people would believe he could build a vehicle to do Earth-to-Earth transportation than they believe he can do Earth-to-Mars transportation. And there is already a known business model for moving people around the world, and you know since you are part of that economic model yourself.

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I realize that part of the Musk culture is "to believe" but I passed that stage when Challenger blew up and instead have tried to be alittle more realistic in my growth projections of where humans off planet (or going off planet and returning...is going

Funny, I took away different conclusions from both the Challenger and Columbia accidents.

As I've said before, since I am not funding Musk for any of his projects (yet), I don't risk anything in cheering him on and then having it not come to fruition.

But don't confuse my cheering with blind faith. I've spent more than a decade on space forums learning about the cost side of all-things-space related - which is informed by my background in product costing in the manufacturing operations world. So whether I support something is informed on whether I THINK there is a possibility that something can be done, and knowing that I will have imperfect information most of the time.

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we will see where the next oh say 5 years go :)

That would be "Old Space" timescales. For "New Space" it would be sooner than that since if things go as planned by Elon Musk they should be starting flight testing of the BFS next year. Which will provide us with more information about what the business model could be for a future Earth-to-Earth service.
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

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