Author Topic: SpaceX F9 Block 5 payload capability  (Read 12780 times)

Offline Danderman

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SpaceX F9 Block 5 payload capability
« on: 11/18/2021 06:07 am »
Strangely enough, the User Guide omits payload capacity. Some payload masses are published, but some are not.

Max capability of 22 tons to LEO has been cited, but F9 maxes out at half that for ISS missions, so the 22 tons must be for expendable flights to 28 degrees, very low.

Is there a decent source that can make sense of the available payload mass numbers, and that provides what is missing from the Users Guide?

Online M.E.T.

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Re: SpaceX F9 Block 5 payload capability
« Reply #1 on: 11/18/2021 06:43 am »
Strangely enough, the User Guide omits payload capacity. Some payload masses are published, but some are not.

Max capability of 22 tons to LEO has been cited, but F9 maxes out at half that for ISS missions, so the 22 tons must be for expendable flights to 28 degrees, very low.

Is there a decent source that can make sense of the available payload mass numbers, and that provides what is missing from the Users Guide?

I believe the heaviest demonstrated payload mass has been around 15-16 tons for Starlink launches, which includes booster landing. So by default this proves that maximum expendable payload mass will be quite a bit higher than that.
« Last Edit: 11/18/2021 06:43 am by M.E.T. »

Offline vaporcobra

Re: SpaceX F9 Block 5 payload capability
« Reply #2 on: 11/18/2021 07:10 am »
Definitely annoying but it's been the reality of SpaceX for years. NASA LSP's ELVPerf tool (https://elvperf.ksc.nasa.gov/Pages/Query.aspx) has a lot of good info for Falcon 9 and some for Falcon Heavy to high-energy destinations. To GTO, we also have a slide from a SpaceX presentation at IAC 2018.

Offline daedalus1

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Re: SpaceX F9 Block 5 payload capability
« Reply #3 on: 11/18/2021 07:27 am »
The Dragon is about 13 tonnes to 51.6°.

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: SpaceX F9 Block 5 payload capability
« Reply #4 on: 08/28/2022 05:34 am »
From today’s Starlink launch:

https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/1563760585363185664

Quote
Squeezing extra performance out of Falcon 9 – almost at 17 metric tons to an actual useful orbit with booster & fairing reusable!

Offline Vultur

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Re: SpaceX F9 Block 5 payload capability
« Reply #5 on: 08/28/2022 05:36 pm »
What's the price for a 'no frills' F9 launch these days?
With the new max demonstrated payload, how does the $/kg for F9 compare to those old 90s RLV and SSTO proposals?

Given inflation since the 90s I wouldn't be surprised if it's comparable or better.

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: SpaceX F9 Block 5 payload capability
« Reply #6 on: 08/28/2022 09:30 pm »
What's the price for a 'no frills' F9 launch these days?
With the new max demonstrated payload, how does the $/kg for F9 compare to those old 90s RLV and SSTO proposals?

Given inflation since the 90s I wouldn't be surprised if it's comparable or better.
last I heard, $50 million is roughly what the going price was for cheapest launch. At 16.7mt, that’s $3000/kg to LEO.

In 1997, Goldin said Venturestar would enable $1000/lb. So $2200/kg. Or $3000/kg in today’s money.

So F9 equals the SSTO RLV projections for offered price (which you might need to bargain hard, for, including maybe having a lot of launches). SpaceX says the internal full cost is less than $30m, so SpaceX is internally beating it, and getting a significant profit.
« Last Edit: 08/28/2022 09:36 pm by Robotbeat »
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Offline wannamoonbase

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Re: SpaceX F9 Block 5 payload capability
« Reply #7 on: 08/31/2022 03:37 pm »
What's the price for a 'no frills' F9 launch these days?
With the new max demonstrated payload, how does the $/kg for F9 compare to those old 90s RLV and SSTO proposals?

Given inflation since the 90s I wouldn't be surprised if it's comparable or better.
last I heard, $50 million is roughly what the going price was for cheapest launch. At 16.7mt, that’s $3000/kg to LEO.

In 1997, Goldin said Venturestar would enable $1000/lb. So $2200/kg. Or $3000/kg in today’s money.

So F9 equals the SSTO RLV projections for offered price (which you might need to bargain hard, for, including maybe having a lot of launches). SpaceX says the internal full cost is less than $30m, so SpaceX is internally beating it, and getting a significant profit.

The latest F9 performance of 16.7 MT makes me question where they are squeezing out this performance?

How did they get more out of the MVac?  Did they cool the propellants more?  Turn up the throttle?

It's jaw dropping what they are doing with the F9.
Wildly optimistic prediction, Superheavy recovery on IFT-4 or IFT-5 (Welp a little early on IFT-4, but still have a shot at 5)

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: SpaceX F9 Block 5 payload capability
« Reply #8 on: 08/31/2022 03:39 pm »
Staging the fairing significantly earlier, taking less time after stage sep to ignite the second stage. Better understanding of propellant residuals, more aggressive hoverslam.
« Last Edit: 08/31/2022 03:43 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 MP99

Re: SpaceX F9 Block 5 payload capability
« Reply #9 on: 08/31/2022 04:05 pm »
Staging the fairing significantly earlier, taking less time after stage sep to ignite the second stage. Better understanding of propellant residuals, more aggressive hoverslam.
Throttling through max-Q?
« Last Edit: 10/06/2022 07:24 am by zubenelgenubi »

Offline Mandella

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Re: SpaceX F9 Block 5 payload capability
« Reply #10 on: 08/31/2022 04:26 pm »
Staging the fairing significantly earlier, taking less time after stage sep to ignite the second stage. Better understanding of propellant residuals, more aggressive hoverslam.

I had noticed recently that fairing separation is nearly simultaneous with second stage engine ignition.

Offline wannamoonbase

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Re: SpaceX F9 Block 5 payload capability
« Reply #11 on: 08/31/2022 04:28 pm »
Staging the fairing significantly earlier, taking less time after stage sep to ignite the second stage. Better understanding of propellant residuals, more aggressive hoverslam.

Thanks.

I've wondered if they are holding higher G loads on both stages before throttling the engines down as well.  A few tenths of a G over a few minutes would add up.

They are doing fairing separation so much sooner than they do in commercial payloads.

Benefits of a high flight rate for internal payloads, squeeze out a few seconds here or there add up when pulling 5 G's at the end of the flight.
Wildly optimistic prediction, Superheavy recovery on IFT-4 or IFT-5 (Welp a little early on IFT-4, but still have a shot at 5)

Offline MP99

Re: SpaceX F9 Block 5 payload capability
« Reply #12 on: 09/01/2022 03:01 pm »
Scott Manley's video on the new payload record also suggests that F9US / Merlin Vacuum may have 7% higher thrust than previously, from analysis of the telemetry numbers from SpaceX's video.

If so, presumably testing on Starlink launches.
« Last Edit: 10/06/2022 07:24 am by zubenelgenubi »

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: SpaceX F9 Block 5 payload capability
« Reply #13 on: 09/05/2022 06:06 am »
Discussion by NSF’s Alex on later LOX loading:

https://twitter.com/alexphysics13/status/1566601586012524546

Quote
Keeping an eye today for any potential changes to the Falcon 9 launch countdown sequence. Last launch had LOX load wrapped up later than usual. This is in order to keep LOX being loaded as late as possible and helps keep it as cold as possible much closer to launch.

twitter.com/alexphysics13/status/1566602157436149762

Quote
Which in turn means an improvement in performance. More mass of propellant in the tanks for no added dry mass means more delta-v available. Denser propellant also means more flow rate into the engine which largely means more thrust.

https://twitter.com/alexphysics13/status/1566602376051580928

Quote
The colder temperatures bring its own issues though, not just because of the COPVs inside the LOX tanks as we saw back in 2016 with Amos 6 but also with how you manage a propellant that is denser and, most likely, more viscous.

twitter.com/alexphysics13/status/1566602616938848256

Quote
Viscosity at colder temperatures is of special importance with kerosene for example, it may actually make the engines underperform as it is harder to push through the pumps if it's more viscous.

https://twitter.com/alexphysics13/status/1566602846358872064

Quote
All in all, this is a careful and gradual process that SpaceX is now doing on their Starlink missions and will for sure mean they'll gather even more data into how to manage cold propellants at temperatures not previously handled by more traditional US launch companies.

https://twitter.com/alexphysics13/status/1566609098170310656

Quote
Yep this is the late LOX load sequence

Offline MP99

Re: SpaceX F9 Block 5 payload capability
« Reply #14 on: 09/05/2022 11:53 am »
Scott Manley's video on the new payload record also suggests that F9US / Merlin Vacuum may have 7% higher thrust than previously, from analysis of the telemetry numbers from SpaceX's video.

If so, presumably testing on Starlink launches.
Updating this, another of his videos seems to suggest that they are merely delaying throttle down at the end of the burn, rather than an increase in headline thrust levels.
« Last Edit: 10/06/2022 07:25 am by zubenelgenubi »

Offline DeimosDream

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Re: SpaceX F9 Block 5 payload capability
« Reply #15 on: 09/05/2022 02:22 pm »
What's the price for a 'no frills' F9 launch these days?
With the new max demonstrated payload, how does the $/kg for F9 compare to those old 90s RLV and SSTO proposals?

Given inflation since the 90s I wouldn't be surprised if it's comparable or better.
last I heard, $50 million is roughly what the going price was for cheapest launch.
Has anyone heard $50M recently? I think IPXE (contracted pre-covid, launched late 2021) was the last flight to fly at that price. Special/unusual circumstances included competitively bidding against Pegasus XL.

More generally, Shotwell claimed SpaceX was only offering a 10% used discount back in late 2016, a discount that may no longer be offered now that flight-proven booster use is so well proven that SpaceX is willing to use a new booster on a Starlink mission. There might be a small discount for RTLS flights, otherwise the posted $67M seems to be the going rate for a no-frills ASDS flight profile.

Offline tbellman

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Re: SpaceX F9 Block 5 payload capability
« Reply #16 on: 09/05/2022 03:51 pm »
Has anyone heard $50M recently? I think IPXE (contracted pre-covid, launched late 2021) was the last flight to fly at that price. Special/unusual circumstances included competitively bidding against Pegasus XL.

SpaceX raised their prices by about 10% earlier this year, so by now those launches should be more like $55M.

I'll also note that the launch contract for IXPE was cheaper than that, at $42M, including five mission-unique services.  The $50.3M cost often quoted, was NASA's cost for launching, which included various NASA-internal costs.  See this message in the IXPE launch thread.

Offline wannamoonbase

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Re: SpaceX F9 Block 5 payload capability
« Reply #17 on: 09/05/2022 04:12 pm »
Has anyone heard $50M recently? I think IPXE (contracted pre-covid, launched late 2021) was the last flight to fly at that price. Special/unusual circumstances included competitively bidding against Pegasus XL.

SpaceX raised their prices by about 10% earlier this year, so by now those launches should be more like $55M.

I'll also note that the launch contract for IXPE was cheaper than that, at $42M, including five mission-unique services.  The $50.3M cost often quoted, was NASA's cost for launching, which included various NASA-internal costs.  See this message in the IXPE launch thread.

Falcon 9 seems to be winning a lot of the launches that come up.  So it’s still cheaper and/or a better service (schedule) so there is no reason to leave money on the table if you’re SpaceX.

They spent a lot of time and money making the F9/FH into the vehicles they are so may as well recover that investment.

About payload capacity, since this is the purpose for the thread.  I find it amazing that one vehicle can win such a wide range of payloads.  As we have seen the F9 can be a beast to LEO and yet still has flights for payloads under a few thousand kilos.

All that time companies were providing different sized launches, all they needed was the ability to reuse them.
Wildly optimistic prediction, Superheavy recovery on IFT-4 or IFT-5 (Welp a little early on IFT-4, but still have a shot at 5)

Offline mandrewa

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Re: SpaceX F9 Block 5 payload capability
« Reply #18 on: 09/05/2022 04:32 pm »
What's the price for a 'no frills' F9 launch these days?
With the new max demonstrated payload, how does the $/kg for F9 compare to those old 90s RLV and SSTO proposals?

Given inflation since the 90s I wouldn't be surprised if it's comparable or better.
last I heard, $50 million is roughly what the going price was for cheapest launch. At 16.7mt, that’s $3000/kg to LEO.

In 1997, Goldin said Venturestar would enable $1000/lb. So $2200/kg. Or $3000/kg in today’s money.

So F9 equals the SSTO RLV projections for offered price (which you might need to bargain hard, for, including maybe having a lot of launches). SpaceX says the internal full cost is less than $30m, so SpaceX is internally beating it, and getting a significant profit.

That's a great comparison but you're understating the inflation.  $2200/kg in 1997 dollars is equal to $4061/kg in 2022 dollars.  That's from the inflation statistics from the United States government.  But I seem to recall that NASA has it's own inflation numbers that it uses for comparing rockets across time because there are issues with the nominal inflation rate which may not be a particularly good description of what's happening in the aerospace industry.

But if we take the nominal official inflation rate, the Falcon 9 is 23% cheaper than Daniel Goldin's estimate for what the Venturestar might, optimistically, deliver.  (And I used $55 million for the price of a Falcon 9 launch in this calculation.)

Offline Comga

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Re: SpaceX F9 Block 5 payload capability
« Reply #19 on: 09/05/2022 06:13 pm »
Quote
Keeping an eye today for any potential changes to the Falcon 9 launch countdown sequence. Last launch had LOX load wrapped up later than usual. This is in order to keep LOX being loaded as late as possible and helps keep it as cold as possible much closer to launch.

Which in turn means an improvement in performance. More mass of propellant in the tanks for no added dry mass means more delta-v available. Denser propellant also means more flow rate into the engine which largely means more thrust.

Here is a comparison of the webcast telemetry from Starlink 4-27 and 4-20.

Although 4-20 may have utilized a late load of propellant, there was no evidence of the increased acceleration evident in 4-27 or 4-23. The 4-20 booster landed some 40km less distance downrange, velocity at MECO was some 43m/s less, and peak S2 acceleration was 3.8g vs 4g for 4-27.

Overall, it was a much more relaxed affair.
While it is logical to associate the change in procedure (late fueling) with these goals (colder LOX and increased performance) this does not seem to have been the case.
What kind of wastrels would dump a perfectly good booster in the ocean after just one use?

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