Author Topic: Reuse business case  (Read 257287 times)

Offline deadman1204

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1213
  • USA
  • Liked: 1051
  • Likes Given: 1537
Re: Reuse business case
« Reply #840 on: 07/28/2022 01:44 pm »
Mods, can you clean out this drek, so we can try and have this thread in the ULA section be about ULA?

Online Robotbeat

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 36121
  • Minnesota
  • Liked: 20465
  • Likes Given: 10619
Re: Reuse business case
« Reply #841 on: 07/28/2022 01:55 pm »
Mods, can you clean out this drek, so we can try and have this thread in the ULA section be about ULA?
The “drek” is pushback because of you calling one side of the argument of the very premise of the thread the “height of stupidity.”

The thread is in the ULA section because it was started by George Sower’s spreadsheet looking at the reuse business case.
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

Online Robotbeat

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 36121
  • Minnesota
  • Liked: 20465
  • Likes Given: 10619
Re: Reuse business case
« Reply #842 on: 07/28/2022 01:58 pm »
Literally half of ULA’s launch business and almost all their commercial launch business is one of these new megaconstellations, Kuiper. Bringing up large megaconstellations, in the context of a demand source for reuse business case, is absolutely on-topic (provided it’s talked about as a demand source, not the nitty gritty of the megaconstellations themselves).

Sowers used propellant as an example of where you can boil down the business viability to just $/kg because it is (essentially) infinitely indivisible, but megaconstellations have nearly the same property since they’re launched in bulk with the number per launch varying with high granularity depending on vehicle performance, so it’s a very close fit to the original simple analysis.

(The exception is that reliability is somewhat more important as megaconstellation satellites cost more to produce than propellant, although cheaper to produce per kg than ULA’s traditional payloads.)

Megaconstellations are much closer to the original analysis than ULA’s historical payloads, actually.
« Last Edit: 07/28/2022 02:04 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

Offline tea monster

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 614
  • Across the Universe
    • My ArtStation Portfolio
  • Liked: 843
  • Likes Given: 180
Re: Reuse business case
« Reply #843 on: 07/28/2022 01:59 pm »
Well, not matter what anyone says.  SpaceX has proven the reuse case.  Rocketlab is following, along with the Electron and Neutron rockets.  ULA can't until it's parent companies Boeing and Lockheed decide to come off of some money to develop a reusable launch vehicle.

One thing I like to point out is what if MD or another big old aerospace firm had bit the bullet and made a two-stage-to-orbit vehicle in the 80's or 90's - or even the 70's. They did dozens of studies of vehicles of the type back in the day. Go look up Hazegrayart's YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/c/Hazegrayart/videos) . Any one of these vehicles could have transformed space travel and truly opened up the high frontier. They could have done it decades earlier. We could have had something functionally similar to Starship, but in the 1980's or 1990's. Just imagine what the Moon or even Mars would look like if that was the case. Elon at heart isn't a genius. He's just the first to act on what anyone who had any kind of vision for the future considered obvious. Anyone could of done it. They didn't though, for whatever reason.
« Last Edit: 07/28/2022 02:02 pm by tea monster »

Online Robotbeat

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 36121
  • Minnesota
  • Liked: 20465
  • Likes Given: 10619
Re: Reuse business case
« Reply #844 on: 07/28/2022 02:09 pm »
Why did no one else do it? ULA’s freedom of action is constrained due to their corporate parents, Boeing in particular.

It is difficult for a publicly traded company like Boeing to justify large long term investments if the payback is several years away, especially if it is a new concept that hasn’t been demonstrated yet.

It took years, hundreds of millions (at least),and a bunch of spectacular explosions for SpaceX to bring reuse to workhorse status. It’s not TERRIBLY a surprising that no one else had already done so, although as you say, it’s not magic and could’ve been done 50 years ago.

Traditional publicly traded defense contractors are very constrained. It takes some vision and ability to put up a lot of money without second guessing by everyone’s cousin on the public market.
« Last Edit: 07/28/2022 02:11 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

Offline Lee Jay

  • Elite Veteran
  • Global Moderator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8087
  • Liked: 3014
  • Likes Given: 287
Re: Reuse business case
« Reply #845 on: 07/28/2022 02:16 pm »
It is difficult for a publicly traded company like Boeing to justify large long term investments if the payback is several years away,...

You mean, like building a commercial airliner?

Quote
...especially if it is a new concept that hasn’t been demonstrated yet.

You mean, like building a commercial airliner out of carbon fiber or with large, folding wingtips?

Offline LouScheffer

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3029
  • Liked: 5318
  • Likes Given: 670
Re: Reuse business case
« Reply #846 on: 07/28/2022 02:59 pm »
The thread is in the ULA section because it was started by George Sower’s spreadsheet looking at the reuse business case.
Presumably there must be an updated spreadsheet, as ULA now says SMART will repay the effort in 3 flights.  I doubt ULA would provide it, as it would be full of proprietary info.

However, I wondered if anyone had fiddled with Sower's original spreadsheet, making the assumptions more or less consistent with what we know of ULA, and showing a profit after 3 re-uses?

Offline ThatOldJanxSpirit

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 786
  • Liked: 1123
  • Likes Given: 2506
Re: Reuse business case
« Reply #847 on: 07/28/2022 03:11 pm »
It is difficult for a publicly traded company like Boeing to justify large long term investments if the payback is several years away,...

You mean, like building a commercial airliner?

Quote
...especially if it is a new concept that hasn’t been demonstrated yet.

You mean, like building a commercial airliner out of carbon fiber or with large, folding wingtips?

A good point, but Boeing commercial aircraft are in a genuine competitive duopoly. If Boeing does not innovate in the airliner market it’s market share gets eaten by Airbus.

ULA does not innovate to that extent for some reason.

They did not innovate when Europe and Russia took away the commercial market, they retreated to their secure core government business.

They did not innovate when SpaceX muscled in on their DoD and NASA business.

Vulcan is innovative, but the change appears to be driven by loss of its engine supplier, not genuine market competition.

ULA doesn’t even need to innovate now as they have a poorly served ‘not SpaceX’ market to tap. Ironically Kuiper provides a real opportunity to implement SMART and a reason not to do it (as they have already built up a health order book).

It’s a risky strategy, but one that is working (so far) if the objective is survival. If the objective is to be the US premier launch service provider then it’s already well lost.

Online Robotbeat

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 36121
  • Minnesota
  • Liked: 20465
  • Likes Given: 10619
Re: Reuse business case
« Reply #848 on: 07/28/2022 03:20 pm »
It is difficult for a publicly traded company like Boeing to justify large long term investments if the payback is several years away,...

You mean, like building a commercial airliner?

Quote
...especially if it is a new concept that hasn’t been demonstrated yet.

You mean, like building a commercial airliner out of carbon fiber or with large, folding wingtips?
In spite of Boeing’s PR about how amazing composites are (Shuttle used it extensively, it was designed half a century ago… payload bay doors were carbon fiber, so was the leading edge, composite struts, etc, etc…), those are minor and incremental compared to reusable vs expendable rockets.

A bigger analogue would be fully electric aircraft or supersonic aircraft or VTOL commercial aircraft. Which the duopoly are nowhere near doing.

The low expectations that you have for what counts as significant innovation in passenger air travel is actually kind of revealing for the state of the industry.

(Granted, unlike Boeing’s space side, Boeing’s commercial airliner business is pretty cost efficient even if it’s highly risk averse to new aircraft concepts... and there’s also the fact that innovation is hard when you’re competing for a nearly perfect safety record, 737max notwithstanding, and regulatory environment more restrictive than space launch.)
« Last Edit: 07/28/2022 03:21 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

Offline Lee Jay

  • Elite Veteran
  • Global Moderator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8087
  • Liked: 3014
  • Likes Given: 287
Re: Reuse business case
« Reply #849 on: 07/28/2022 03:30 pm »
It is difficult for a publicly traded company like Boeing to justify large long term investments if the payback is several years away,...

You mean, like building a commercial airliner?

Quote
...especially if it is a new concept that hasn’t been demonstrated yet.

You mean, like building a commercial airliner out of carbon fiber or with large, folding wingtips?
In spite of Boeing’s PR about how amazing composites are (Shuttle used it extensively, it was designed half a century ago… payload bay doors were carbon fiber, so was the leading edge, composite struts, etc, etc…), those are minor and incremental compared to reusable vs expendable rockets.

A bigger analogue would be fully electric aircraft or supersonic aircraft or VTOL commercial aircraft. Which the duopoly are nowhere near doing.

The low expectations that you have for what counts as significant innovation in passenger air travel is actually kind of revealing for the state of the industry.

I thought you were talking about "long term investments" and things that haven't "been demonstrated yet", not "significant innovation".

Online Robotbeat

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 36121
  • Minnesota
  • Liked: 20465
  • Likes Given: 10619
Re: Reuse business case
« Reply #850 on: 07/28/2022 03:33 pm »
It is difficult for a publicly traded company like Boeing to justify large long term investments if the payback is several years away,...

You mean, like building a commercial airliner?

Quote
...especially if it is a new concept that hasn’t been demonstrated yet.

You mean, like building a commercial airliner out of carbon fiber or with large, folding wingtips?
In spite of Boeing’s PR about how amazing composites are (Shuttle used it extensively, it was designed half a century ago… payload bay doors were carbon fiber, so was the leading edge, composite struts, etc, etc…), those are minor and incremental compared to reusable vs expendable rockets.

A bigger analogue would be fully electric aircraft or supersonic aircraft or VTOL commercial aircraft. Which the duopoly are nowhere near doing.

The low expectations that you have for what counts as significant innovation in passenger air travel is actually kind of revealing for the state of the industry.

I thought you were talking about "long term investments" and things that haven't "been demonstrated yet", not "significant innovation".
Folding wings and composites have been in fairly widespread use in aviation for half a century and demonstrated earlier. And I said difficult, not impossible. The incrementality of your attempted counterexamples illustrates my point nicely.
« Last Edit: 07/28/2022 03:34 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

Offline Lee Jay

  • Elite Veteran
  • Global Moderator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8087
  • Liked: 3014
  • Likes Given: 287
Re: Reuse business case
« Reply #851 on: 07/28/2022 03:47 pm »
It is difficult for a publicly traded company like Boeing to justify large long term investments if the payback is several years away,...

You mean, like building a commercial airliner?

Quote
...especially if it is a new concept that hasn’t been demonstrated yet.

You mean, like building a commercial airliner out of carbon fiber or with large, folding wingtips?
In spite of Boeing’s PR about how amazing composites are (Shuttle used it extensively, it was designed half a century ago… payload bay doors were carbon fiber, so was the leading edge, composite struts, etc, etc…), those are minor and incremental compared to reusable vs expendable rockets.

A bigger analogue would be fully electric aircraft or supersonic aircraft or VTOL commercial aircraft. Which the duopoly are nowhere near doing.

The low expectations that you have for what counts as significant innovation in passenger air travel is actually kind of revealing for the state of the industry.

I thought you were talking about "long term investments" and things that haven't "been demonstrated yet", not "significant innovation".
Folding wings and composites have been in fairly widespread use in aviation for half a century and demonstrated earlier. And I said difficult, not impossible. The incrementality of your attempted counterexamples illustrates my point nicely.

The estimated development cost of the 787 was $50 billion dollars.

Yeah - sounds pretty easy and incremental to me.

How about showing me a pressurized composite structure the size of the 787 fuselage in commercial aviation before the 787.  And don't discount the difficulty of designing, building in quantity and certifying that structure just because composites had been used before in other areas.

Offline meekGee

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 12786
  • N. California
  • Liked: 11995
  • Likes Given: 1332
Re: Reuse business case
« Reply #852 on: 07/28/2022 04:24 pm »
Mods, can you clean out this drek, so we can try and have this thread in the ULA section be about ULA?

Actually the views discussed, especially yours, are at the core of why Vulcan is the way it is, including its reuse strategy.
ABCD - Always Be Counting Down

Offline butters

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2346
  • Liked: 1555
  • Likes Given: 532
Re: Reuse business case
« Reply #853 on: 07/28/2022 04:30 pm »
ULA agreeing to build a second VIF at LC-41 as part of the Kuiper deal is the first indication that ULA is reassessing its view of the launch market and the demand for more than a dozen or so launches per year. We have not seen ULA publically inserting itself into conversations about HLS bidders (e.g. Dynetics) that need multiple-launch tanker campaigns, for example. Perhaps some of this is sour grapes from Boeing failing to secure an HLS launch contract for SLS.

Tanker campaigns are more difficult for ULA's corporate governance structure to stomach than megaconstellation campaigns. It's possible to launch an integrated lunar lander on a single SLS. It's not possible to launch a megaconstellation on a single SLS. Vulcan is Boeing's only hope of capturing a share of that revenue stream. No more excuses that "it's not needed" because demand doesn't exist, and no more excuses because they've got a more lucrative cash cow to protect.

Offline deadman1204

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1213
  • USA
  • Liked: 1051
  • Likes Given: 1537
Re: Reuse business case
« Reply #854 on: 07/28/2022 06:26 pm »
Mods, can you clean out this drek, so we can try and have this thread in the ULA section be about ULA?
The “drek” is pushback because of you calling one side of the argument of the very premise of the thread the “height of stupidity.”

The thread is in the ULA section because it was started by George Sower’s spreadsheet looking at the reuse business case.

The idea that a company needs to hit the 1000 reuse mark is what makes this drek. It has no basis in current reality.

Offline freddo411

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 934
  • Liked: 1072
  • Likes Given: 3127
Re: Reuse business case
« Reply #855 on: 07/28/2022 06:31 pm »
Mods, can you clean out this drek, so we can try and have this thread in the ULA section be about ULA?
The “drek” is pushback because of you calling one side of the argument of the very premise of the thread the “height of stupidity.”

The thread is in the ULA section because it was started by George Sower’s spreadsheet looking at the reuse business case.

The idea that a company needs to hit the 1000 reuse mark is what makes this drek. It has no basis in current reality.

I'm really turned off that reasonable discussion is called out to the admins as "drek" requested for cleaning.    It's quite unfriendly and it puts a damper on discussions.    Consider sharing your opinion and letting others have theirs.

 

Online Robotbeat

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 36121
  • Minnesota
  • Liked: 20465
  • Likes Given: 10619
Re: Reuse business case
« Reply #856 on: 07/28/2022 07:06 pm »
Mods, can you clean out this drek, so we can try and have this thread in the ULA section be about ULA?
The “drek” is pushback because of you calling one side of the argument of the very premise of the thread the “height of stupidity.”

The thread is in the ULA section because it was started by George Sower’s spreadsheet looking at the reuse business case.

The idea that a company needs to hit the 1000 reuse mark is what makes this drek. It has no basis in current reality.
Go back and actually read the original context.
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 meekGee

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 12786
  • N. California
  • Liked: 11995
  • Likes Given: 1332
Re: Reuse business case
« Reply #857 on: 07/28/2022 07:08 pm »
Mods, can you clean out this drek, so we can try and have this thread in the ULA section be about ULA?
The “drek” is pushback because of you calling one side of the argument of the very premise of the thread the “height of stupidity.”

The thread is in the ULA section because it was started by George Sower’s spreadsheet looking at the reuse business case.

The idea that a company needs to hit the 1000 reuse mark is what makes this drek. It has no basis in current reality.

I'm really turned off that reasonable discussion is called out to the admins as "drek" requested for cleaning.    It's quite unfriendly and it puts a damper on discussions.    Consider sharing your opinion and letting others have theirs.
He's embarrassing nobody but himself.  Sometimes posts like that deserve to remain standing...
ABCD - Always Be Counting Down

Offline tea monster

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 614
  • Across the Universe
    • My ArtStation Portfolio
  • Liked: 843
  • Likes Given: 180
Re: Reuse business case
« Reply #858 on: 07/29/2022 06:45 am »
Why did no one else do it? ULA’s freedom of action is constrained due to their corporate parents, Boeing in particular.

It is difficult for a publicly traded company like Boeing to justify large long term investments if the payback is several years away, especially if it is a new concept that hasn’t been demonstrated yet.

It took years, hundreds of millions (at least),and a bunch of spectacular explosions for SpaceX to bring reuse to workhorse status. It’s not TERRIBLY a surprising that no one else had already done so, although as you say, it’s not magic and could’ve been done 50 years ago.

Traditional publicly traded defense contractors are very constrained. It takes some vision and ability to put up a lot of money without second guessing by everyone’s cousin on the public market.

It was the large aerospace companies like MD and Boeing who did exactly this with air travel. They saw the need to expand the ability of air travel and they built airplanes like the DC 3, DC 10, 707 and 747 to transform the market. These guys especially should have been able to see that what they did for air travel, they could do for space travel. They are the ones who proved the case with one medium, it should have been crystal clear what was required for the other medium. The amount of studies produced shows that they knew what was required, they just decided not to.

EDIT: If ULA and it's compatriots stared at what needed to be done for a large percentage of a century and took no action, it is no surprise that a new upstart got fed up and stole their business from under them.
« Last Edit: 07/29/2022 06:49 am by tea monster »

Offline Paul451

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3174
  • Australia
  • Liked: 2234
  • Likes Given: 1896
Re: Reuse business case
« Reply #859 on: 07/29/2022 11:05 am »
The idea that a company needs to hit the 1000 reuse mark is what makes this drek. It has no basis in current reality.

If you read his original comment, the one you called "the height of stupidity", he was talking about 1/1000 LoV reliability. Not a requirement to reuse 1000 times per vehicle. There was a subsequent (off-topic) discussion about whether you could achieve 1000 launches/yr, but that wasn't Robotbeat's point.

Tags: 8pv45o 756 812 
 

Advertisement NovaTech
Advertisement SkyTale Software GmbH
Advertisement Northrop Grumman
Advertisement
Advertisement Brady Kenniston
Advertisement NextSpaceflight
Advertisement Nathan Barker Photography
0