Author Topic: Relativity Space: General Thread  (Read 336341 times)

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Relativity Space: General Thread
« Reply #780 on: 05/25/2023 07:10 pm »
Who hits their earliest milestone NET dates? Who in this industry?
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Online trimeta

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Re: Relativity Space: General Thread
« Reply #781 on: 05/25/2023 07:18 pm »
Who hits their earliest milestone NET dates? Who in this industry?
I'm not saying that 2024 was a realistic date for them. I'm saying that either they were optimistic about 2024 and could be just as optimistic now when they say 2026, or some factor other than engineering + optimism has been driving their announced dates. In other words, "if your estimates were wrong before (even if "estimates being wrong" is standard in this industry), why should I think they're correct now?"

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Relativity Space: General Thread
« Reply #782 on: 05/25/2023 07:30 pm »
I would say they have a far more realistic approach to tank fabrication (hybrid sheet metal and additive instead of pure additive) and they have shown ability to get an orbit class rocket flight with the first stage fully successful, which validates their overall organization, including manufacturing, QA, engines, GSE, avionics, operations, etc.


That, and focusing all their resources on Terran-R instead of splitting with the money-losing smallsat business give me much more confidence.
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Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Relativity Space: General Thread
« Reply #783 on: 05/25/2023 07:45 pm »
Falcon 9 is essentially the most successful launch vehicle of all time, with possible exception of Soyuz/R7 depending on how you count it.

If Terran-R is “merely” a copy of that, it’d beat Vulcan as far as viability.

Terran-R is starting out 50% greater capability than Falcon 9 is today (and likely will eventually go full reusable), and has 82% greater cross section, so for the same fineness ratio should be able to get about twice the performance eventually. When combined with eventual full reuse, it’s the closest thing to a Starship competitor as there is in development right now (other than perhaps New Glenn/Jarvis, but Blue is slow as molasses and it’s not at all clear they’ll beat Relativity to full reuse).
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Relativity Space: General Thread
« Reply #784 on: 05/25/2023 07:58 pm »
Also, Terran 1’s first stage performed phenomenally for an inaugural flight.

We take it for granted because falcon nine makes it routine but nine engines is a lot of engines. It is pretty remarkable they didn’t lose any engines on the first stage. This is better than Falcon 1 did on early flights, which only had one engine. It shows the team has significant capability and their overall processes are working.

Compare to Starship. Starship had several engines out on the first stage. Which is fine, SpaceX is taking a valid approach to this (and Raptor is an insane engine), but that Relativity did so well with the first flight of Terran-1 should still be pretty bullish.
« Last Edit: 05/25/2023 08:00 pm by Robotbeat »
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Re: Relativity Space: General Thread
« Reply #785 on: 05/25/2023 10:18 pm »
If they launch before Jan 1st 2027, I'll go full Peter Beck and eat a hat. You can hold me to that.
Wait, ∆V? This site will accept the ∆ symbol? How many times have I written out the word "delta" for no reason?

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: Relativity Space: General Thread
« Reply #786 on: 05/25/2023 10:59 pm »
2026 does seem long way out compared 2024 that Neutron is targetting (date yet to slip). Maybe they are being realistic with their times unlike most aerospace projects which always slip to right. SS and Elon time comes to mind.

Going take time build up factory with machinery to make tanks from sheet metal. Then get their processes right.
Still have launch pad to build which is launch complex 16 where terran1 is. Not starting totally from scratch as flame diverts are left over from Titan days. That is assuming they can handle extra thrust as this is considerably bigger LV ie 33t expendable.

Online Asteroza

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Re: Relativity Space: General Thread
« Reply #787 on: 05/26/2023 01:14 am »
If they launch before Jan 1st 2027, I'll go full Peter Beck and eat a hat. You can hold me to that.

So Terran-R flying before 2027, should this go into the NSF beerbet tracker thread then?

Re: Relativity Space: General Thread
« Reply #788 on: 05/26/2023 02:13 am »
If they launch before Jan 1st 2027, I'll go full Peter Beck and eat a hat. You can hold me to that.

So Terran-R flying before 2027, should this go into the NSF beerbet tracker thread then?
Yeah, sure. Weird to make a bet where I'm hoping to lose, but I don't think I will.
Wait, ∆V? This site will accept the ∆ symbol? How many times have I written out the word "delta" for no reason?

Offline M.E.T.

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Re: Relativity Space: General Thread
« Reply #789 on: 05/26/2023 02:35 am »
I feel too much emphasis is placed on first flight, which is merely proving out that the design actually works.

Astra achieved first flight. Virgin Orbit achieved first flight.

As Elon says, design is comparatively easy, production is hard, and production at scale an order of magnitude harder.

People tend to handwave the cadence and capability improvements of F9 over time, to imply that competitors will automatically duplicate these improvements. But it should be noted that F9’s current service offering is the end result of a long series of production refinements, incremental performance improvements and innovations.

It took from first flight in 2008 to ~200th flight in 2023 to get to the current juggernaut launch system. That’s 15 years.

Even if we accept the often made claim that all these newcomers are going to do so much better than F9’s timeline by freeloading on the hard lessons learned by SpaceX along the way, let’s cut the 15 years to 5-10 years, to be generous.

That still means we are looking at 2030-2035 before Terran R reaches the level of maturity that F9 has in 2023. And that’s ignoring the many possible eventualities that might prevent Relativity from even making it to 2030.

In short, making it to first flight does not mean scaling up to profitable, high cadence is a mere formality. The real challenges seem to start AFTER first flight.
« Last Edit: 05/26/2023 03:06 am by M.E.T. »

Online trimeta

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Re: Relativity Space: General Thread
« Reply #790 on: 05/26/2023 03:15 am »
I feel too much emphasis is placed on first flight, which is merely proving out that the design actually works.

Astra achieved first flight. Virgin Orbit achieved first flight.

As Elon says, design is comparatively easy, production is hard, and production at scale an order of magnitude harder.

People tend to handwave the cadence and capability improvements of F9 over time, to imply that competitors will automatically duplicate these improvements. But it should be noted that F9’s current service offering is the end result of a long series of production refinements, incremental performance improvements and innovations.

It took from first flight in 2008 to ~200th flight in 2023 to get to the current juggernaut launch system. That’s 15 years.

Even if we accept the often made claim that all these newcomers are going to do so much better than F9’s timeline by freeloading on the hard lessons learned by SpaceX along the way, let’s cut the 15 years to 5-10 years, to be generous.

That still means we are looking at 2030-2035 before Terran R reaches the level of maturity that F9’s has in 2023. And that’s ignoring the many possible eventualities that might prevent Relativity from even making it to 2030.

In short, making it to first flight does not mean scaling up to profitable mass cadence is a mere formality. The real challenges seem to start AFTER first flight.
It depends a little what you mean by "production at scale." Articles were already being written about "SpaceX unlocks “steamroller” achievement" in 2017, when Falcon 9 launched 18 times (when that article was written, it was expected that SpaceX would reach 19 launches that year). While that rose to 31 by 2021 (not counting the unusual decline in 2019), things didn't get really nuts until 2022, with 61 launches.

And yes, obviously that "nuts" Falcon 9 is what everyone else is competing against. Or really, whatever Falcon 9 or Starship are doing in five years, which are likely to be significantly crazier. But I think hitting even SpaceX-in-2017 levels of success would be a pretty massive win, and that only took seven years from first launch. If we're granting a "freeloading on the hard lessons learned by SpaceX" bonus, competitors should take less time.

Although having said all that, I don't know if I can honestly convince myself that any vehicle other than Starship will launch more than ten times in its first four years of operation. I guess it depends for how long the ramp-up grows seemingly exponentially before hitting a plateau.
« Last Edit: 05/26/2023 03:23 am by trimeta »

Offline M.E.T.

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Re: Relativity Space: General Thread
« Reply #791 on: 05/26/2023 03:44 am »
I feel too much emphasis is placed on first flight, which is merely proving out that the design actually works.

Astra achieved first flight. Virgin Orbit achieved first flight.

As Elon says, design is comparatively easy, production is hard, and production at scale an order of magnitude harder.

People tend to handwave the cadence and capability improvements of F9 over time, to imply that competitors will automatically duplicate these improvements. But it should be noted that F9’s current service offering is the end result of a long series of production refinements, incremental performance improvements and innovations.

It took from first flight in 2008 to ~200th flight in 2023 to get to the current juggernaut launch system. That’s 15 years.

Even if we accept the often made claim that all these newcomers are going to do so much better than F9’s timeline by freeloading on the hard lessons learned by SpaceX along the way, let’s cut the 15 years to 5-10 years, to be generous.

That still means we are looking at 2030-2035 before Terran R reaches the level of maturity that F9’s has in 2023. And that’s ignoring the many possible eventualities that might prevent Relativity from even making it to 2030.

In short, making it to first flight does not mean scaling up to profitable mass cadence is a mere formality. The real challenges seem to start AFTER first flight.
It depends a little what you mean by "production at scale." Articles were already being written about "SpaceX unlocks “steamroller” achievement" in 2017, when Falcon 9 launched 18 times (when that article was written, it was expected that SpaceX would reach 19 launches that year). While that rose to 31 by 2021 (not counting the unusual decline in 2019), things didn't get really nuts until 2022, with 61 launches.

And yes, obviously that "nuts" Falcon 9 is what everyone else is competing against. Or really, whatever Falcon 9 or Starship are doing in five years, which are likely to be significantly crazier. But I think hitting even SpaceX-in-2017 levels of success would be a pretty massive win, and that only took seven years from first launch. If we're granting a "freeloading on the hard lessons learned by SpaceX" bonus, competitors should take less time.

Although having said all that, I don't know if I can honestly convince myself that any vehicle other than Starship will launch more than ten times in its first four years of operation. I guess it depends for how long the ramp-up grows seemingly exponentially before hitting a plateau.

Haha. Well picked up on the disdain I put into the “freeloading” term. Itself edited down from the “stealing” I originally intended to use. I know a bunch of people here like the idea of fast followers.

Anyway, my argument is that the “steamroller” operation is not a nice to have benefit anymore. It has become integral to the competitiveness of the product - enabling economies of scale and the ability to incrementally iterate at an unprecedented pace.

Launching 18 times a year is not going to allow you to compete with a provider with a similar sized vehicle launching 100 times a year. And before that, to even get to 18 launches a year after your first successful launch will take years of non-profitable ramping up.

So we aren’t looking at 2026 for profitability here. We are looking at 2030-35 - IF all goes well.
« Last Edit: 05/26/2023 03:47 am by M.E.T. »

Offline Blackjax

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Re: Relativity Space: General Thread
« Reply #792 on: 05/27/2023 01:37 pm »
I feel too much emphasis is placed on first flight, which is merely proving out that the design actually works.

Astra achieved first flight. Virgin Orbit achieved first flight.

As Elon says, design is comparatively easy, production is hard, and production at scale an order of magnitude harder.

People tend to handwave the cadence and capability improvements of F9 over time, to imply that competitors will automatically duplicate these improvements. But it should be noted that F9’s current service offering is the end result of a long series of production refinements, incremental performance improvements and innovations.

It took from first flight in 2008 to ~200th flight in 2023 to get to the current juggernaut launch system. That’s 15 years.

Even if we accept the often made claim that all these newcomers are going to do so much better than F9’s timeline by freeloading on the hard lessons learned by SpaceX along the way, let’s cut the 15 years to 5-10 years, to be generous.

That still means we are looking at 2030-2035 before Terran R reaches the level of maturity that F9 has in 2023. And that’s ignoring the many possible eventualities that might prevent Relativity from even making it to 2030.

In short, making it to first flight does not mean scaling up to profitable, high cadence is a mere formality. The real challenges seem to start AFTER first flight.

I agree with the points you're making...for expendable rockets and potentially rockets with only partial reusability.  I do wonder if reusable vehicles change the equation enough that 'scaling manufacturing' becomes a much more moderate problem since you don't need to produce on a massive scale to fly heavily.

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: Relativity Space: General Thread
« Reply #793 on: 07/13/2023 06:28 am »

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: Relativity Space: General Thread
« Reply #794 on: 08/10/2023 06:05 am »

Offline edzieba

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Re: Relativity Space: General Thread
« Reply #795 on: 08/10/2023 09:57 am »

From the video description:
Quote
On a scale from mild to spicy, we choose spicyyy. 🌶️ Playfully dubbed the “spicy macaroni” this flame diverter enabled our component test team to execute a turbine nozzle test campaign from build to tear-down within a week. Alternative test options included lengthy and expensive stand modifications. The “spicy macaroni” is just one example of how our test team:   

✔️ Doesn’t overcomplicate our systems 
✔️ Doesn’t over-spend 
✔️ Doesn’t over-engineer 
✔️ Does remain focused on the task at hand: collecting the data we need to build a 3D-printed reusable rocket engine 

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: Relativity Space: General Thread
« Reply #796 on: 09/06/2023 05:46 pm »

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: Relativity Space: General Thread
« Reply #797 on: 09/07/2023 01:12 pm »
https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20230907155639/en/Relativity-Space-Signs-Lease-on-Historic-NASA-Test-Stand

Quote
Relativity Space Signs Lease on Historic NASA Test Stand
New vertical test stand will enable rapid product iteration

Company continues to expand their presence at Stennis Space Center


September 07, 2023 09:00 AM Eastern Daylight Time

BAY ST. LOUIS, Miss.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Relativity Space, the preeminent 3D printed rocket company, has signed an enhanced use lease agreement (EULA) on the vertical test stand at the A-2 complex within NASA’s historic Stennis Space Center in Hancock County, Mississippi. The agreement marks the first time a commercial tenant has modernized an underutilized legacy test stand at NASA Stennis, signifying the strength of the public-private partnership between the two entities. The expansion brings Relativity’s total footprint at NASA Stennis to nearly 300 acres – the largest commercial presence on the site.

“Our state is a leader in innovation and research, and this announcement is a testament to the work that occurs here. I appreciate the partnership of companies like Relativity Space who are helping Mississippi stay at the leading edge.”

Established in the 1960s, NASA Stennis is the nation’s largest and most prestigious propulsion test center. The A-2 Test Stand was constructed in 1966 to test and flight-certify the second stage of the Saturn V, the launch vehicle for the Apollo Program. It was then used for engine testing for the Space Shuttle Program until 2009. Briefly used for the Constellation Program before its cancellation, the A-2 stand has sat unused for nearly a decade. Relativity is spurring its rejuvenation, bringing state-of-the-art testing back to the stand. The company has plans to invest $267 million into Stennis and create hundreds of new jobs in the region by 2027 to support the Terran R program development and launch ramp rate.

“New history is being written at Stennis Space Center as we breathe life into the historic A-2 Test Stand with our Terran R program,” said Tim Ellis, Co-Founder and CEO of Relativity Space. “We appreciate the support from NASA and the state of Mississippi and look forward to continuing to build out our team and testing infrastructure here in the Gulf Coast. The scale of Terran R as a medium-heavy lift reusable launch vehicle is substantial. Exclusive access to these rare, national-asset facilities through partnership with NASA uniquely enables Relativity to develop a world-class launch vehicle. Together with our significant private capital commitments to reinvigorate these facilities, we are building innovative capabilities to solidify America’s leadership in space.”

Building on the legacy of the A-2 stand, Relativity’s new infrastructure will support advanced vertical first stage testing for their medium-to-heavy lift reusable 3D printed rocket, Terran R. With a new stand, the company will be able to uplevel their cadence of testing, increasing the speed of iterative learning cycles and shortening time to market. The existing presence of commodities and convenient canal access further aid in rapid development, solidifying NASA Stennis as an ideal testing location.

“We applaud Relativity Space in announcing this expanded agreement. Since arriving on site in 2016, the company has grown into a valued member of the NASA Stennis community,” said Dr. Rick Gilbrech, Director of NASA’s Stennis Space Center. “This increased footprint is a testament to Relativity’s continued progress in the commercial space arena. It also is a testament to the value of NASA Stennis and our test complex infrastructure in supporting commercial space endeavors. We look forward to an ongoing relationship with Relativity team members as they work to achieve their space goals.”

Originally designed to withstand maximum thrust of 1.5 million pounds, the A-2 Test Stand is currently configured to endure thrust up to only 650,000 pounds. With Relativity's upgrades, the stand will be able to accommodate thrust of over 3.3 million pounds – bringing A-2 back to the forefront of America’s commercial space program.

In addition to developing the A-2 site, Relativity holds ten-year exclusive-use leases with the option for 10-year extensions on the E-2 and E-4 stands, has a commercial use agreement for the E-1 site, and is building out new engine and stage test infrastructure in the R Complex at NASA Stennis – with an ever-growing permanent team leading test operations. The company is actively hiring in the region, looking to increase their Gulf Coast presence.

“Mississippi’s economy is growing stronger every day thanks to Stennis Space Center and companies like Relativity,” said Governor Tate Reeves. “Our state is at the forefront of innovation, and we are helping to lead the way in commercial space technology. Congratulations to Relativity on this historic groundbreaking.”

“This investment in Stennis Space Center shows that the road to space still goes through Hancock County, Mississippi,” said Senator Roger Wicker. “Our state is a leader in innovation and research, and this announcement is a testament to the work that occurs here. I appreciate the partnership of companies like Relativity Space who are helping Mississippi stay at the leading edge.”

“The A-2 test stand at Stennis Space Center has a long and storied history as part of the U.S. space program, and the agreement with Relativity Space will extend that record,” said Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith. “I look forward to seeing how this lease with NASA will build on Mississippi’s reputation as being home to cutting edge rocket and engine development.”

“The partnership between Relativity and Stennis Space Center has brought great jobs to our state while continuing South Mississippi’s legacy of spaceflight innovation,” said Congressman Mike Ezell. “I congratulate both Relativity and Stennis on the expansion of the partnership, and I’m excited to see what the future holds.”

Image caption:

Quote
A rendering of Terran R's first stage on the A-2 Test Stand at NASA's Stennis Space Center (Graphic: Business Wire)
 

Offline imprezive

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Re: Relativity Space: General Thread
« Reply #798 on: 09/07/2023 02:43 pm »
I feel too much emphasis is placed on first flight, which is merely proving out that the design actually works.

Astra achieved first flight. Virgin Orbit achieved first flight.

As Elon says, design is comparatively easy, production is hard, and production at scale an order of magnitude harder.

People tend to handwave the cadence and capability improvements of F9 over time, to imply that competitors will automatically duplicate these improvements. But it should be noted that F9’s current service offering is the end result of a long series of production refinements, incremental performance improvements and innovations.

It took from first flight in 2008 to ~200th flight in 2023 to get to the current juggernaut launch system. That’s 15 years.

Even if we accept the often made claim that all these newcomers are going to do so much better than F9’s timeline by freeloading on the hard lessons learned by SpaceX along the way, let’s cut the 15 years to 5-10 years, to be generous.

That still means we are looking at 2030-2035 before Terran R reaches the level of maturity that F9 has in 2023. And that’s ignoring the many possible eventualities that might prevent Relativity from even making it to 2030.

In short, making it to first flight does not mean scaling up to profitable, high cadence is a mere formality. The real challenges seem to start AFTER first flight.


I also think people assume that scaling is just a production problem but it’s also a demand problem. Even 15 launches of a Terran R is a lot of upmass, who are they launching? Terran R and Neutron don’t have much in the way of customers right now. To hit that cadence they have to bank on rocket success AND a LEO megaconstellation buying a bunch of launches.

Online trimeta

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Re: Relativity Space: General Thread
« Reply #799 on: 09/07/2023 09:13 pm »
I also think people assume that scaling is just a production problem but it’s also a demand problem. Even 15 launches of a Terran R is a lot of upmass, who are they launching? Terran R and Neutron don’t have much in the way of customers right now. To hit that cadence they have to bank on rocket success AND a LEO megaconstellation buying a bunch of launches.
Terran R has OneWeb, at least. Now, whether you think OneWeb will actually be able to afford (and build all the satellites for) all those launches is another question, but at least Relativity has an answer to "who's paying for your high launch cadence?"

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