Author Topic: SpaceX Vandenberg SFB facilities (was VAFB)  (Read 79776 times)

Offline bulkmail

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SpaceX Vandenberg SFB facilities (was VAFB)
« on: 06/15/2019 09:55 am »
A Teslarati article about RCM launch states for LZ-4 that "SpaceX is reportedly planning major organizational changes – set to begin soon after this launch is complete."

Any clues what those changes consists of?
« Last Edit: 03/01/2022 05:44 pm by zubenelgenubi »

Offline gongora

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Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #1 on: 06/15/2019 02:06 pm »
A Teslarati article about RCM launch states for LZ-4 that "SpaceX is reportedly planning major organizational changes – set to begin soon after this launch is complete."

Any clues what those changes consists of?

It doesn't say those changes have anything to do with LZ-4.

Offline Newton_V

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Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #2 on: 06/15/2019 02:29 pm »
A Teslarati article about RCM launch states for LZ-4 that "SpaceX is reportedly planning major organizational changes – set to begin soon after this launch is complete."

Any clues what those changes consists of?
While out there last week, I heard from somebody, about rumblings of them wanting to "get out" of VAFB.
Interesting about the sonic boom comment in the article.  We were about 4 miles away, looking down at the pad (couldn't see anything through the fog), and we were all surprised how loud the boom was.  That was my first time to see a landing.
Very weird to experience a launch and see absolutely nothing.  Not even any light from an exhaust plume.

Online vaporcobra

Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #3 on: 06/18/2019 10:42 am »
A Teslarati article about RCM launch states for LZ-4 that "SpaceX is reportedly planning major organizational changes – set to begin soon after this launch is complete."

Any clues what those changes consists of?
While out there last week, I heard from somebody, about rumblings of them wanting to "get out" of VAFB.

As gongora noted, it's not specifically referring to LZ-4 but rather the entirety of SpaceX's VAFB presence. The gist is that I've heard RCM is to be immediately followed by a major reduction in SpaceX's Vandy workforce. What I'm not 100% sure about is whether it's being accomplished through layoffs, reorganization (i.e. transfers to TX/FL), or some combo of both. All I know is that there are a number of great, multi-year employees that have families and lives built in California and just can't upend things and move across the country on short notice. Sad but I can at least partially understand SpaceX's position given the lack of Vandy launches over the next 6-9 months.

Offline docmordrid

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Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #4 on: 06/18/2019 04:39 pm »
Could this be because of high inclinations being doable at Eastern Range using autonomous flight termination?
« Last Edit: 06/18/2019 04:41 pm by docmordrid »
DM

Offline cscott

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Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #5 on: 06/18/2019 11:26 pm »
Could this be because of high inclinations being doable at Eastern Range using autonomous flight termination?
Or possibly extra performance available from FH means it's cheaper to reuse three boosters of FH and do a dogleg than pay ongoing fixed costs to maintain a presence at Vandy?

Offline Inoeth

Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #6 on: 06/19/2019 05:15 am »
A Teslarati article about RCM launch states for LZ-4 that "SpaceX is reportedly planning major organizational changes – set to begin soon after this launch is complete."

Any clues what those changes consists of?
While out there last week, I heard from somebody, about rumblings of them wanting to "get out" of VAFB.

As gongora noted, it's not specifically referring to LZ-4 but rather the entirety of SpaceX's VAFB presence. The gist is that I've heard RCM is to be immediately followed by a major reduction in SpaceX's Vandy workforce. What I'm not 100% sure about is whether it's being accomplished through layoffs, reorganization (i.e. transfers to TX/FL), or some combo of both. All I know is that there are a number of great, multi-year employees that have families and lives built in California and just can't upend things and move across the country on short notice. Sad but I can at least partially understand SpaceX's position given the lack of Vandy launches over the next 6-9 months.

That is sad but totally makes sense given the lack of launches from VAFB... at this rate it'll be just a couple launches a year from now on - a few random commercial launches, maybe one or two NASA missions and likewise for DoD missions- with SpaceX sinking the majority of it's available resources (both workers and $) into Starship, Starlink and getting Crew Dragon flying regularly for NASA this seems like the most logical thing to do- tho of course there's going to be some real pain for some families... tho it's not like there aren't other major aerospace companies in the area who might want to happily snap these employees up...

Offline ZachS09

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Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #7 on: 06/19/2019 05:38 am »
I think one of the reasons for a lack of VAFB launches is because of SpaceX clearing their backlog, which they did in a few years' time after AMOS 6.

There's not that much polar-orbiting payloads for SpaceX to launch at this time. To name a few future VAFB payloads, they do have DART, SAOCOM 1B, Jason-CS, and SARah on the manifest.
« Last Edit: 06/19/2019 06:01 am by ZachS09 »
Liftoff for St. Jude's! Go Dragon, Go Falcon, Godspeed Inspiration4!

Offline woods170

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Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #8 on: 06/19/2019 08:41 am »
Could this be because of high inclinations being doable at Eastern Range using autonomous flight termination?
Or possibly extra performance available from FH means it's cheaper to reuse three boosters of FH and do a dogleg than pay ongoing fixed costs to maintain a presence at Vandy?

Good thinking. I suggest you continue in this line-of-thought. What would be the ramifications if FH performance is so good that doglegging makes a presence at Vandy pretty much pointless?

I suggest you look further than just 'No Vandy'.

Offline su27k

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Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #9 on: 06/19/2019 09:11 am »
But I think EELV Phase 2 LSP requires launch capability from VAFB? So if they want to win LSP they can't just abandon it.

Offline Semmel

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Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #10 on: 06/19/2019 09:27 am »
Could this be because of high inclinations being doable at Eastern Range using autonomous flight termination?
Or possibly extra performance available from FH means it's cheaper to reuse three boosters of FH and do a dogleg than pay ongoing fixed costs to maintain a presence at Vandy?

Good thinking. I suggest you continue in this line-of-thought. What would be the ramifications if FH performance is so good that doglegging makes a presence at Vandy pretty much pointless?

I suggest you look further than just 'No Vandy'.

What do you mean by looking further than 'no vandy'? cscott already kind of suggested that FH would fly from the cape to dogleg on a polar orbit. What else would be there to look at? I could think the AF would be frakked if they did that, but so what? If the reference orbits can be flown from the cape, there is not much the AF can be cranky about.

Offline rpapo

Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #11 on: 06/19/2019 10:18 am »
What do you mean by looking further than 'no vandy'? cscott already kind of suggested that FH would fly from the cape to dogleg on a polar orbit. What else would be there to look at? I could think the AF would be frakked if they did that, but so what? If the reference orbits can be flown from the cape, there is not much the AF can be cranky about.
IIRC, only a few months ago the Air Force itself announced a new dog-leg route going south from the Cape.  If that is the case, then the Air Force would have nothing to complain about at all, since they themselves suggested this dog-leg route.  And whether it be from the Cape or from Vandenberg, both are Air Force property, so security is not an issue for military payloads.
Following the space program since before Apollo 8.

Offline Kabloona

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Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #12 on: 06/19/2019 01:51 pm »
What do you mean by looking further than 'no vandy'? cscott already kind of suggested that FH would fly from the cape to dogleg on a polar orbit. What else would be there to look at? I could think the AF would be frakked if they did that, but so what? If the reference orbits can be flown from the cape, there is not much the AF can be cranky about.
IIRC, only a few months ago the Air Force itself announced a new dog-leg route going south from the Cape.  If that is the case, then the Air Force would have nothing to complain about at all, since they themselves suggested this dog-leg route.  And whether it be from the Cape or from Vandenberg, both are Air Force property, so security is not an issue for military payloads.

You may be recalling this Florida Today article that was discussed in the Boca Chica thread some time ago. It talks about the Air Force "opening" a polar launch route south over Cuba from the Cape, due to concerns about the possibility of VAFB being temporarily unavailable for polar launches due to wildfires, etc.

The polar route from the Cape is officially "open", but no one has used it yet.

https://www.floridatoday.com/story/tech/science/space/2017/12/31/southbound-cape-rockets-may-fly-new-path-toward-poles/975027001/

It's interesting that the article talks about the Air Force specifically weighing the VAFB-vs.-Cape debate and recognizing that it could be advantageous to SpaceX et al not to have to maintain a presence at VAFB.

Maybe a sign of things to come.

Quote
No near-term missions plan to use the new polar corridor, but over time it could lead to more Cape launches and consolidation of the nation’s launch infrastructure.

Both the military and commercial launchers could save money by no longer having to maintain and staff infrastructure sites on both coasts.

And there was this quote from Brig. Gen. Wayne Monteith, commander of the 45th Space Wing at the Cape recognizing the difficulty of launching from VAFB:

Quote
Though Vandenberg typically hosts just a few orbital rocket launches a year (but eight in 2017), getting on its schedule can be a challenge. The base must prioritize test flights of Minuteman intercontinental ballistic missiles and Missile Defense Agency interceptors, and is not as accustomed to quick turnarounds between launches.

In addition, Monteith said his counterpart leading the 30th Space Wing does not enjoy the same level of support found on the Space Coast.

“He was talking about things that I have no experience with whatsoever, and that is almost an adversarial relationship with the local community and state on bringing in new business and fostering commercial growth,” Monteith said at a Dec. 12 transportation conference at Port Canaveral. “They are at a crossroads.”
« Last Edit: 06/19/2019 01:58 pm by Kabloona »

Online abaddon

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Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #13 on: 06/19/2019 02:16 pm »
But I think EELV Phase 2 LSP requires launch capability from VAFB? So if they want to win LSP they can't just abandon it.
I imagine the cost to mothball the site and re-open when they need it is far less than operating it as an ongoing operational site.

Given their other two sites are co-located, and can probably share more of the workforce, Vandenberg has to be a pretty expensive site at this point for the few launches it will host.

Unfortunate for those affected; hope they land on their feet and find other opportunities.  (If this happens, of course).
« Last Edit: 06/19/2019 02:17 pm by abaddon »

Offline woods170

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Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #14 on: 06/19/2019 04:49 pm »
Could this be because of high inclinations being doable at Eastern Range using autonomous flight termination?
Or possibly extra performance available from FH means it's cheaper to reuse three boosters of FH and do a dogleg than pay ongoing fixed costs to maintain a presence at Vandy?

Good thinking. I suggest you continue in this line-of-thought. What would be the ramifications if FH performance is so good that doglegging makes a presence at Vandy pretty much pointless?

I suggest you look further than just 'No Vandy'.

What do you mean by looking further than 'no vandy'? cscott already kind of suggested that FH would fly from the cape to dogleg on a polar orbit. What else would be there to look at? I could think the AF would be frakked if they did that, but so what? If the reference orbits can be flown from the cape, there is not much the AF can be cranky about.

What else can SpaceX do to streamline their operations when a presence on the US West Coast is no longer needed? That's what I was referring to.

Go think it thru.

Offline woods170

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Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #15 on: 06/19/2019 04:59 pm »
But I think EELV Phase 2 LSP requires launch capability from VAFB? So if they want to win LSP they can't just abandon it.

Go show me where exactly in EELV Phase 2 RFP does it say "Thou shalt launch from VABF".

Offline dglow

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Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #16 on: 06/19/2019 05:39 pm »
But I think EELV Phase 2 LSP requires launch capability from VAFB? So if they want to win LSP they can't just abandon it.

Go show me where exactly in EELV Phase 2 RFP does it say "Thou shalt launch from VABF".

You're right, it doesn't. Well actually, it appears to.

Regardless, if FH can deliver 37,500 lbs to 450 nmi polar from the Cape, presumably mission accomplished.


What else can SpaceX do to streamline their operations when a presence on the US West Coast is no longer needed? That's what I was referring to.

Go think it thru.

What are you getting at, implications for Hawthorne's role?
« Last Edit: 06/19/2019 06:13 pm by dglow »

Offline gongora

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Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #17 on: 06/19/2019 05:41 pm »
But I think EELV Phase 2 LSP requires launch capability from VAFB? So if they want to win LSP they can't just abandon it.

Go show me where exactly in EELV Phase 2 RFP does it say "Thou shalt launch from VABF".

Instructions to Offerors:
Quote
. The Offeror shall address the characteristics of its launch system infrastructure, including a
description of both the East and West coast launch sites, that meet or exceed NSS
requirements in the SPRD Rev B, paragraphs 3.2.7 Payload Orientation, 3.2.9 Launch Rate,
3.2.11 Basing, and 3.3.2 Protection of NSS Payload requirements.

Quote
6.4.2.3 Category A/B System Western Range Schedule Assessment
In a narrative, the Offeror shall provide a summary of its Category A/B system LSMAP schedule
assessment for launch capability for a mission with an ILC of 1 August 2025 from Vandenberg
Air Force Base (AFB)

Quote
6.5.1.2 Category C Polar 2
The following information is provided as context for addressing the specific requirements in the
following subparagraphs. This mission is a Category C Polar 2 mission launched from the
Western Range.

Quote
6.5.2.3 Category C System Western Range Schedule Assessment
In a narrative, the Offeror shall provide a summary of its Category C system LSMAP schedule
assessment for a launch capability from Vandenberg AFB. The Offeror shall describe the
primary drivers for the assessment. The Offeror shall describe its plan to meet an ILC of 1
September 2025 from Vandenberg AFB.

Evaluation Criteria:
Quote
6.4.2.3 Category A/B System Western Range Schedule Assessment
The Government will consider the LSMAP schedule assessment and evaluate whether, and the
extent to which, the Offeror’s plan to complete NRDV activities to meet the ILC requirements
for a mission with an ILC of 1 August 2025 from Vandenberg AFB is technically sound.

Quote
6.5.2.3 Category C System Western Range Schedule Assessment
The Government will consider the LSMAP schedule assessment and evaluate whether, and the
extent to which, the Offeror’s plan to complete NRDV activities for a mission with an ILC of 1
September 2025 from Vandenberg AFB is technically sound.
« Last Edit: 06/19/2019 05:42 pm by gongora »

Offline rockets4life97

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Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #18 on: 06/19/2019 06:04 pm »
The payloads look to be for "1 August 2025" and "1 September 2025". By my count that is 6 years away. It isn't even clear SpaceX would win those payloads or would fly them on the current system. In the mean time, the VAFB facilities would be mothballed. It is one thing to submit a proposal to meet requirements. It is another to win and have the facilities ready for a launch 6 years in the future.

Offline dglow

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Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #19 on: 06/19/2019 06:07 pm »
A good point, and one that is (among several) at the heart of SpaceX's recent lawsuit against the Air Force. Thread here.

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