Author Topic: SpaceX Vandenberg SFB facilities (was VAFB)  (Read 79647 times)

Offline bulkmail

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 154
  • Liked: 64
  • Likes Given: 36
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

  • Global Moderator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10120
  • US
  • Liked: 13683
  • Likes Given: 5865
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

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 842
  • United States
  • Liked: 819
  • Likes Given: 128
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.

Offline 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

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6332
  • Michigan
  • Liked: 4204
  • Likes Given: 2
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

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3471
  • Liked: 2867
  • Likes Given: 726
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

  • Space Savant
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8391
  • Roanoke, TX
  • Liked: 2338
  • Likes Given: 2052
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

  • IRAS fan
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 12079
  • IRAS fan
  • The Netherlands
  • Liked: 18026
  • Likes Given: 12033
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

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6414
  • Liked: 9097
  • Likes Given: 885
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

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2178
  • Germany
  • Liked: 2433
  • Likes Given: 11916
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

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4846
  • Velocitas Eradico
  • Fortress of Solitude
  • Liked: 3428
  • Likes Given: 741
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 »

Offline abaddon

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3008
  • Liked: 3806
  • Likes Given: 5102
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

  • IRAS fan
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 12079
  • IRAS fan
  • The Netherlands
  • Liked: 18026
  • Likes Given: 12033
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

  • IRAS fan
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 12079
  • IRAS fan
  • The Netherlands
  • Liked: 18026
  • Likes Given: 12033
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

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2042
  • Liked: 2270
  • Likes Given: 4380
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

  • Global Moderator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10120
  • US
  • Liked: 13683
  • Likes Given: 5865
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

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 796
  • Liked: 537
  • Likes Given: 365
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

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2042
  • Liked: 2270
  • Likes Given: 4380
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.

Offline envy887

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8133
  • Liked: 6781
  • Likes Given: 2961
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #20 on: 06/19/2019 06:56 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.

None of which are at all relevant if the same capabilities are available to the same orbit out of the Cape.

Offline dglow

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2042
  • Liked: 2270
  • Likes Given: 4380
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #21 on: 06/19/2019 07:08 pm »
None of which are at all relevant if the same capabilities are available to the same orbit out of the Cape.

Unless the AF decides you won't be flying their C-class missions because you refuse to do so out of Vandy.

Offline envy887

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8133
  • Liked: 6781
  • Likes Given: 2961
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #22 on: 06/19/2019 07:15 pm »
None of which are at all relevant if the same capabilities are available to the same orbit out of the Cape.

Unless the AF decides you won't be flying their C-class missions because you refuse to do so out of Vandy.

Then USAF has to justify to Congress why they are wasting half a billion taxpayer dollars on dedicated infrastructure at VAFB when USAF can get the exact same capabilities at the Cape for free.

Offline Wudizzle

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 158
  • Liked: 328
  • Likes Given: 330
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #23 on: 06/19/2019 07:32 pm »
None of which are at all relevant if the same capabilities are available to the same orbit out of the Cape.

Unless the AF decides you won't be flying their C-class missions because you refuse to do so out of Vandy.

Then USAF has to justify to Congress why they are wasting half a billion taxpayer dollars on dedicated infrastructure at VAFB when USAF can get the exact same capabilities at the Cape for free.

I'm a big fan of saving taxpayer money and a big fan of SpaceX. However, convincing me that the USAF should maintain multiple launch sites with these capabilities is not a difficult task.

Offline rockets4life97

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 796
  • Liked: 537
  • Likes Given: 365
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #24 on: 06/19/2019 08:15 pm »
I'm a big fan of saving taxpayer money and a big fan of SpaceX. However, convincing me that the USAF should maintain multiple launch sites with these capabilities is not a difficult task.

You have multiple launch sites if you have multiple providers. Given how long it takes to procure these birds, I think any launch provider, could build a new pad faster if needed than the payload could be built.

Offline dglow

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2042
  • Liked: 2270
  • Likes Given: 4380
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #25 on: 06/19/2019 08:28 pm »
None of which are at all relevant if the same capabilities are available to the same orbit out of the Cape.

Unless the AF decides you won't be flying their C-class missions because you refuse to do so out of Vandy.

Then USAF has to justify to Congress why they are wasting half a billion taxpayer dollars on dedicated infrastructure at VAFB when USAF can get the exact same capabilities at the Cape for free.

With all due respect you may have it backwards. It's the USAF that would have to justify to Congress why NSS launches should abandon VAFB. You know, 'calling into question the existence of a vital military base' and whatnot. Perhaps we're both right – let's call it two sides of the same (Federal) coin.

It may well be the polar launches migrate to the Cape, in time. But one reason Vandy is currently specified in the Phase 2 RFP is to avoid the political shitestorm which would result if it wasn't.

Offline vaporcobra

Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #26 on: 06/19/2019 09:00 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'.

It appears that I need to clarify: SpaceX is not abandoning Vandenberg. I presume they will continue to lease their facilities and have a skeleton crew keep things more or less at launch readiness, leaving maybe a few weeks of reactivation work.

Given that the 2020 manifest is no more than three launches (perhaps even less if Sentinel 6A or SARah 1 slip a few months), this actually makes a decent amount of sense. Those 1-3 2020 launches can probably be done by flying the launch team out from Florida (remember, some portion of VAFB employees are definitely transferring to TX/FL). If need be, SpaceX could probably start repopulating its VAFB team maybe 3-4 months before the busy 2021 manifest kicks off.

If a good portion of the Vandy crew has been able to transfer to other facilities, the brain-drain should be minimal and SpaceX will likely save a lot of money (more along the lines of spending optimization, but still) over the next 12-18 months. Remains to be seen what the proportion of transfers to layoffs is; we'll find out via CA's WARN Act if more than 50 employees are impacted. AFAIK, the VAFB team was already extremely compact (perhaps as few as 50-75 people total), so we may not get a WARN notification. Either way, this minor reorganization just isn't a big deal and should have a near-zero impact on SpaceX's manifest and capabilities.

Edit: Source got back to me. Looks like SpaceX SLC-4 peaked at about 80 employees and has/had an annual operational budget of ~$15-20M. Assuming 50% can transfer to FL, SpaceX could effectively grow its East Coast launch workforce by 10% with minimal expenditure.
« Last Edit: 06/19/2019 09:14 pm by vaporcobra »

Offline envy887

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8133
  • Liked: 6781
  • Likes Given: 2961
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #27 on: 06/20/2019 01:13 am »
None of which are at all relevant if the same capabilities are available to the same orbit out of the Cape.

Unless the AF decides you won't be flying their C-class missions because you refuse to do so out of Vandy.

Then USAF has to justify to Congress why they are wasting half a billion taxpayer dollars on dedicated infrastructure at VAFB when USAF can get the exact same capabilities at the Cape for free.

With all due respect you may have it backwards. It's the USAF that would have to justify to Congress why NSS launches should abandon VAFB. You know, 'calling into question the existence of a vital military base' and whatnot. Perhaps we're both right – let's call it two sides of the same (Federal) coin.

It may well be the polar launches migrate to the Cape, in time. But one reason Vandy is currently specified in the Phase 2 RFP is to avoid the political shitestorm which would result if it wasn't.

Not paying to add a new second redundant set of (at best rarely used and potentially never used) VI capabilities at Vandy is hardly the same as abandoning the base altogether. ULA can already launch there with VI, as can SpaceX with non-VI payloads.

Offline edkyle99

  • Expert
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 15328
    • Space Launch Report
  • Liked: 8432
  • Likes Given: 1335
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #28 on: 06/20/2019 02:34 am »
VAFB is absolutely necessary for missile test launches, etc.  Legacy launch providers (Delta, Atlas Centaur) have long had to deal with the relatively low orbital launch rate to polar orbits from there.  I believe that most have often ended up with skeleton crews that are augmented with East Coast people for launches.  SpaceX will likely do the same, now that Iridium Next is up. 

Maybe polar orbit is possible from the Cape (it has after all been done before; but Cuba, remember), but there will still be orbits (retrograde) that cannot be reached from Florida.  No way will the Pentagon let that capability go, IMO.

 - Ed Kyle 
« Last Edit: 06/20/2019 02:55 am by edkyle99 »

Offline vaporcobra

Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #29 on: 06/20/2019 03:02 am »
Legacy launch providers (Delta, Atlas Centaur) have long had to deal with the relatively low orbital launch rate to polar orbits from there.  I believe that most have often ended up with skeleton crews that are augmented with East Coast people for launches.  SpaceX will likely do the same, now that Iridium Next is up. 

 - Ed Kyle

Yeah, exactly. I believe this was always a possibility if manifest gaps appeared, given that SpaceX basically had a skeleton crew augmented by Cape workers after initial construction and prior to 2015/2016. They hired dozens of people around that time to prepare for the possible surplus of launches that were lining up on the manifest, which did turn out to be a very busy ~24 months. Almost a third (12/39) of SpaceX's 2017/2018 launches were from VAFB.
« Last Edit: 06/20/2019 03:03 am by vaporcobra »

Offline woods170

  • IRAS fan
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 12079
  • IRAS fan
  • The Netherlands
  • Liked: 18026
  • Likes Given: 12033
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #30 on: 06/20/2019 09:41 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'.

It appears that I need to clarify: SpaceX is not abandoning Vandenberg.

That is a fact. I also know that SpaceX has been actively brainstorming over what to do with their presence at Vandy during prolonged low flight-rate periods. One of the ideas that surfaced from those brainstorming sessions was to get out of Vandy completely. Courtesy of the recent dog-leg corridor being opened up at KSC. They worked out that basic idea a little further to see what other cost-savings could be achieved by abandoning VABF.

I'm curious as to how much the folks here would be able to come up with similar results, simply by thinking the idea thru. So far I've seen none.
« Last Edit: 06/20/2019 09:42 am by woods170 »

Offline hamerad

  • Member
  • Posts: 89
  • South Australia
  • Liked: 43
  • Likes Given: 43
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #31 on: 06/20/2019 11:03 am »

That is a fact. I also know that SpaceX has been actively brainstorming over what to do with their presence at Vandy during prolonged low flight-rate periods. One of the ideas that surfaced from those brainstorming sessions was to get out of Vandy completely. Courtesy of the recent dog-leg corridor being opened up at KSC. They worked out that basic idea a little further to see what other cost-savings could be achieved by abandoning VABF.

I'm curious as to how much the folks here would be able to come up with similar results, simply by thinking the idea thru. So far I've seen none.
Thinking on it, all i could get was
- they could move the ASDS over to east coast and perhaps not need to build a 3rd
- lose the inefficiency of sending stuff east to Texas and then back west.

Offline cscott

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3471
  • Liked: 2867
  • Likes Given: 726
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #32 on: 06/20/2019 11:16 am »
I also thought maybe they could transfer some of the GSE from Vandy to Boca to jump-start its use for F9, but it wasn't obvious that the GSE could actually be moved.  Can you ship a TE and supercooling facilities across the country?

Offline gongora

  • Global Moderator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10120
  • US
  • Liked: 13683
  • Likes Given: 5865
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #33 on: 06/20/2019 12:28 pm »
That is a fact. I also know that SpaceX has been actively brainstorming over what to do with their presence at Vandy during prolonged low flight-rate periods. One of the ideas that surfaced from those brainstorming sessions was to get out of Vandy completely. Courtesy of the recent dog-leg corridor being opened up at KSC. They worked out that basic idea a little further to see what other cost-savings could be achieved by abandoning VABF.

I'm curious as to how much the folks here would be able to come up with similar results, simply by thinking the idea thru. So far I've seen none.

I'm just a bit skeptical of the polar flights from Florida until I see one actually get through the licensing process and fly.

Offline gongora

  • Global Moderator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10120
  • US
  • Liked: 13683
  • Likes Given: 5865
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #34 on: 06/20/2019 12:32 pm »
Thinking on it, all i could get was
- they could move the ASDS over to east coast and perhaps not need to build a 3rd
- lose the inefficiency of sending stuff east to Texas and then back west.

VAFB is only 25% farther than KSC from McGregor.

Offline gongora

  • Global Moderator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10120
  • US
  • Liked: 13683
  • Likes Given: 5865
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #35 on: 06/20/2019 12:34 pm »
I also thought maybe they could transfer some of the GSE from Vandy to Boca to jump-start its use for F9, but it wasn't obvious that the GSE could actually be moved.  Can you ship a TE and supercooling facilities across the country?

What makes you think they're ever going to fly F9 from Boca Chica?

Offline ZachS09

  • Space Savant
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8391
  • Roanoke, TX
  • Liked: 2338
  • Likes Given: 2052
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #36 on: 06/20/2019 03:02 pm »
I also thought maybe they could transfer some of the GSE from Vandy to Boca to jump-start its use for F9, but it wasn't obvious that the GSE could actually be moved.  Can you ship a TE and supercooling facilities across the country?

What makes you think they're ever going to fly F9 from Boca Chica?

They cancelled that proposal way back when (I don't know the exact year). I'm under the assumption that only Starhopper will be used at Boca Chica.
Liftoff for St. Jude's! Go Dragon, Go Falcon, Godspeed Inspiration4!

Offline envy887

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8133
  • Liked: 6781
  • Likes Given: 2961
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #37 on: 06/20/2019 03:07 pm »
VAFB is absolutely necessary for missile test launches, etc.  Legacy launch providers (Delta, Atlas Centaur) have long had to deal with the relatively low orbital launch rate to polar orbits from there.  I believe that most have often ended up with skeleton crews that are augmented with East Coast people for launches.  SpaceX will likely do the same, now that Iridium Next is up. 

Maybe polar orbit is possible from the Cape (it has after all been done before; but Cuba, remember), but there will still be orbits (retrograde) that cannot be reached from Florida.  No way will the Pentagon let that capability go, IMO.

 - Ed Kyle

Starship with refueling will likely be able to launch retrograde from the Cape even without overflying Cuba on ascent. It might be expensive to do so, but possibly less so than building and maintaining VI and/or a Starship pad at VAFB.

Offline vaporcobra

Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #38 on: 06/21/2019 12:55 am »
That is a fact. I also know that SpaceX has been actively brainstorming over what to do with their presence at Vandy during prolonged low flight-rate periods. One of the ideas that surfaced from those brainstorming sessions was to get out of Vandy completely. Courtesy of the recent dog-leg corridor being opened up at KSC. They worked out that basic idea a little further to see what other cost-savings could be achieved by abandoning VABF.

I'm curious as to how much the folks here would be able to come up with similar results, simply by thinking the idea thru. So far I've seen none.

I'm just a bit skeptical of the polar flights from Florida until I see one actually get through the licensing process and fly.

To be fair, if that is actually something SpaceX is trying to do, they'll have a solid year and half to work that issue before it really matters. Given the soon-to-be-pressing need for capacity for Starlink launches, SpaceX can probably reap the benefits immediately (assuming they aren't laying off all Vandy staff) regardless of whether they continue leasing SLC-4. I'm not sure about the cost of the SLC-4 lease but I would estimate that it's less than 10-15% of the total cost of SpaceX's Vandy operations.

Offline cscott

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3471
  • Liked: 2867
  • Likes Given: 726
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #39 on: 06/24/2019 01:22 am »
I also thought maybe they could transfer some of the GSE from Vandy to Boca to jump-start its use for F9, but it wasn't obvious that the GSE could actually be moved.  Can you ship a TE and supercooling facilities across the country?

What makes you think they're ever going to fly F9 from Boca Chica?
Just trying to follow woods170's lead on "They worked out that basic idea a little further to see what other cost-savings could be achieved by abandoning VABF." If they didn't need that stuff at VABF any more, what other use could it be put to?

Offline joek

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4847
  • Liked: 2773
  • Likes Given: 1090
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #40 on: 06/24/2019 01:34 am »
What makes you think they're ever going to fly F9 from Boca Chica?
The original EIS?  Admittedly dated (2014-2015) and events may have overtaken, but not an unreasonable question to ask.

Offline BrianNH

  • Full Member
  • **
  • Posts: 230
  • Liked: 142
  • Likes Given: 653
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #41 on: 06/24/2019 12:29 pm »
They could streamline by moving their manufacturing and testing facilities to Cape Canaveral, as Blue Origin is doing.  However, they are already planning to do that for Starship and as they see Starship as replacing the Falcons, it would be difficult to justify the expense and loss of experienced staffing. 

If they keep Vandenberg, they could look at doing tourist launches from there, but this would undoubtedly require some investments.

Offline Lar

  • Fan boy at large
  • Global Moderator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 13463
  • Saw Gemini live on TV
  • A large LEGO storage facility ... in Michigan
  • Liked: 11864
  • Likes Given: 11080
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #42 on: 06/24/2019 10:27 pm »
Guessing games are fun but I rather just read the analysis and see if I agree.

Woods170 is welcome to explain or not, as they wish, but I hope they choose to stop dropping hints and just lay it out. Without compromising sources, of course .
"I think it would be great to be born on Earth and to die on Mars. Just hopefully not at the point of impact." -Elon Musk
"We're a little bit like the dog who caught the bus" - Musk after CRS-8 S1 successfully landed on ASDS OCISLY

Offline jstrotha0975

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 560
  • United States
  • Liked: 329
  • Likes Given: 2577
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #43 on: 06/24/2019 11:30 pm »
I don't think the Military would want civilians launching from Vandenberg.

Offline cscott

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3471
  • Liked: 2867
  • Likes Given: 726
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #44 on: 06/25/2019 12:12 am »
The whole issue of shutting down VAFB is because leadership EDIT: the local community at Vandenberg has been hostile to increased commercial usage of the facility.  Adding commercial passenger flights is definitely not a likely outcome.
« Last Edit: 06/25/2019 05:00 pm by cscott »

Offline OxCartMark

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1836
  • Former barge watcher now into water towers
  • Michigan
  • Liked: 2072
  • Likes Given: 1554
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #45 on: 06/25/2019 01:38 am »
Alternative to laying off workforce there because there are so few launches would be for SpaceX to build or buy a building nearby and employ the employees with some other useful tasks in the non-launch prep times.  Not sure what but SpaceX has a plethora of items on its to do list some subset of which surely would align with available skill sets.  That location would be closer to HQ than TX of FL sites.
Actulus Ferociter!

Offline nukie19

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 150
  • Liked: 990
  • Likes Given: 43
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #46 on: 06/25/2019 01:48 pm »
The whole issue of shutting down VAFB is because leadership at Vandenberg has been hostile to increased commercial usage of the facility.  Adding commercial passenger flights is definitely not a likely outcome.

Hostile?  Where is that coming from?  Are you really using a quote from the commander of the 45th who was highlighting the benefits of his base as your basis for that?  :o

Offline Lar

  • Fan boy at large
  • Global Moderator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 13463
  • Saw Gemini live on TV
  • A large LEGO storage facility ... in Michigan
  • Liked: 11864
  • Likes Given: 11080
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #47 on: 06/25/2019 04:10 pm »
I don't think the Military would want civilians launching from Vandenberg.
Might want to talk to Iridium, SpaceX launched a bunch of civilian payloads for them from Vandy... 
"I think it would be great to be born on Earth and to die on Mars. Just hopefully not at the point of impact." -Elon Musk
"We're a little bit like the dog who caught the bus" - Musk after CRS-8 S1 successfully landed on ASDS OCISLY

Offline cscott

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3471
  • Liked: 2867
  • Likes Given: 726
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #48 on: 06/25/2019 04:59 pm »
Sorry, it wasn't the commander who was hostile, it was the "local community and state":


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

[...]

 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.”

Regardless, my conclusion holds.

Offline Kabloona

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4846
  • Velocitas Eradico
  • Fortress of Solitude
  • Liked: 3428
  • Likes Given: 741
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #49 on: 06/25/2019 05:42 pm »
The whole issue of shutting down VAFB is because leadership EDIT: the local community at Vandenberg has been hostile to increased commercial usage of the facility.  Adding commercial passenger flights is definitely not a likely outcome.

Your original wording may not have been off target. It took an inexplicably long time for VAFB Range to approve RTLS landings, much longer than it did at the Cape. Plus, as has been pointed out, VAFB's top priority is ICBM test launches. Everything else gets lower priority, except maybe NatSec launches.

Maybe community resistance is in fact the obstacle at VAFB, but if the real obstacle is VAFB top brass, General Monteith would of course not feel free to say so in public. So I'm not sure we can take what he said as the whole truth.
« Last Edit: 06/25/2019 05:43 pm by Kabloona »

Offline Kabloona

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4846
  • Velocitas Eradico
  • Fortress of Solitude
  • Liked: 3428
  • Likes Given: 741
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #50 on: 07/03/2019 04:01 pm »
More insight into what is happening at VAFB:

https://spacenews.com/vandenberg-wooing-tenants-as-launch-activity-slows-down/

Reading between the lines, it's evident there is a bureaucratic inertia at VAFB that makes it difficult for commercial operators to do business there.

Quote
One of the lessons from working with SpaceX is that the Air Force has to adapt, said Hough. “It’s a challenge for us. It’s challenging to work with commercial companies. We’re inherently bureaucratic, which means we’re slow and methodical.”

Companies like SpaceX “keep us on our toes,” said Hough. “When they have to get a satellite on orbit, they are very demanding of us,” he said. “We appreciate what they do. It is frustrating at times,” Hough said. “But we have learned a lot working with them, which helps us.”

To position the range for the future, said Hough, “we need innovative airmen to help figure out new processes.

When I was a young lieutenant managing rocket propulsion research programs at Edwards AFB, there was a staff sergeant I had to go through to requisition materials. The sign on her desk said "Lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part."

In other words, "I don't care how fast you need something done, I'll take my own sweet time doing it, cuz you're not my boss." The military bureaucracy is full of that kind of attitude, and I suspect that's what Col. Hough is dealing with at VAFB.

There's also Col. Hough's realization that polar missions may shift to the Cape:

Quote
In order to achieve polar orbit there is no better place to be than Vandenberg,” Hough said. Because of its location,  intercontinental ballistic missiles are launched over water without endangering populated areas. Satellites fly south into polar orbit without flying over any land masses. Nevertheless, launch providers remain ambivalent about investing in West Coast launch pads in the face of uncertain demand. “I think you’re going to see a day when they’re going to try hard to do it at the Cape,” he said. Launch activity at Cape Canaveral on the Florida space coast is growing. “I don’t blame companies for wanting to do that, and consolidate operations on the East Coast.”
« Last Edit: 07/04/2019 12:47 am by Kabloona »

Offline Ronsmytheiii

  • Moderator
  • Global Moderator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 23394
  • Liked: 1879
  • Likes Given: 1012
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #51 on: 07/10/2019 04:52 pm »
Seems like SpaceX is taking a page out of ULA's playbook:

Quote
According to the report, the downsizing would come from most, if not all, of ULA’s staff at Vandenberg Air Force Base over the next few months. Future launches would see East Coast launch teams travel to Vandenberg to process the rockets and payload as well as control the launch.

https://www.spaceflightinsider.com/organizations/ula/report-ula-to-layoff-vandenberg-staff-potentially-change-name/

Online ThatOldJanxSpirit

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 920
  • Liked: 1424
  • Likes Given: 3399
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #52 on: 10/10/2019 07:14 am »

Quote
In order to achieve polar orbit there is no better place to be than Vandenberg,” Hough said. Because of its location,  intercontinental ballistic missiles are launched over water without endangering populated areas. Satellites fly south into polar orbit without flying over any land masses. Nevertheless, launch providers remain ambivalent about investing in West Coast launch pads in the face of uncertain demand. “I think you’re going to see a day when they’re going to try hard to do it at the Cape,” he said. Launch activity at Cape Canaveral on the Florida space coast is growing. “I don’t blame companies for wanting to do that, and consolidate operations on the East Coast.”

So the day has come. Saocom-1B is confirmed to be flying polar from the east coast.

In the short term this is going to save SpaceX a lot of effort through not having to re-activate Vandenberg facilities. Presumabl, if they can do this once, any mission with a sufficient delta V reserve is going to be able to fly from the cape; and I suspect that is going to be most of them.

Offline SoCal_Eyeball

  • Member
  • Posts: 62
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • Liked: 122
  • Likes Given: 32
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #53 on: 07/10/2020 06:49 pm »
I don't follow Vandenberg AFB too closely but it seems SpaceX has added some job listings there recently on their Careers page:

https://www.spacex.com/careers/?department=

I find most interesting the full time position for a Food Services Specialist.  Would that argue against previous assumptions they are scaling back operations there?  For the other positions, would it not make more sense to bring in crew for the occasional launch as needed?  Or cater food as needed?

Offline su27k

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6414
  • Liked: 9097
  • Likes Given: 885
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #54 on: 07/11/2020 03:09 am »
They may need a more permanent presence if they win EELV2.

Offline ShawnGSE

  • Member
  • Posts: 71
  • Cape Canaveral, FL
  • Liked: 454
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #55 on: 07/11/2020 04:05 am »
I don't follow Vandenberg AFB too closely but it seems SpaceX has added some job listings there recently on their Careers page:

https://www.spacex.com/careers/?department=

I find most interesting the full time position for a Food Services Specialist.  Would that argue against previous assumptions they are scaling back operations there?  For the other positions, would it not make more sense to bring in crew for the occasional launch as needed?  Or cater food as needed?

Not when you're serving 3 meals a day.  At the pads getting food off-base isn't practical.  At both sites you drive for 15 minutes or more from the gate the pad.  So SpaceX feeds everyone for free.  There are enough guys permanently stationed at Vandy to require actual food staff that cook some pretty legit meals.  Not quite the gourmet stuff you get at headquarters but better than fast food.

Offline Nomadd

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8829
  • Solomon Islands
  • Liked: 60361
  • Likes Given: 1293
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #56 on: 07/11/2020 04:48 am »
I don't follow Vandenberg AFB too closely but it seems SpaceX has added some job listings there recently on their Careers page:

https://www.spacex.com/careers/?department=

I find most interesting the full time position for a Food Services Specialist.  Would that argue against previous assumptions they are scaling back operations there?  For the other positions, would it not make more sense to bring in crew for the occasional launch as needed?  Or cater food as needed?

Not when you're serving 3 meals a day.  At the pads getting food off-base isn't practical.  At both sites you drive for 15 minutes or more from the gate the pad.  So SpaceX feeds everyone for free.  There are enough guys permanently stationed at Vandy to require actual food staff that cook some pretty legit meals.  Not quite the gourmet stuff you get at headquarters but better than fast food.
In BC, leftover lunches sometimes get dropped off at residences. Almost as good as fast food.
Those who danced were thought to be quite insane by those who couldn't hear the music.

Offline SoCal_Eyeball

  • Member
  • Posts: 62
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • Liked: 122
  • Likes Given: 32
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #57 on: 08/09/2020 03:02 am »
When  I posted up thread  (#53, July 10th) about new positions at VAFB, there were seven openings, now there are thirteen.  This new activity might be connected to the award yesterday by the Pentagon for its National Security Space Launch program.
 
https://www.defense.gov/Newsroom/Contracts/Contract/Article/2305454/

2nd paragraph:

"Space Exploration Technologies Corp., Hawthorne, California, has been awarded task orders for $316,000,000 for the National Security Space Launch (NSSL) Phase 2 contract. The NSSL Phase 2 contract is a firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery requirements contract for launch service procurements supporting launches planned between fiscal 2022 through fiscal 2027. This launch service contract includes early integration studies, launch service support, fleet surveillance, launch vehicle production, mission integration, mission launch operations, mission assurance, spaceflight worthiness, and mission unique activities for each mission. Work will be performed in Hawthorne, California; Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Florida; and Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, and is expected to be completed March 2028."

Since a number of those military payloads can be quite large, I wonder if there is a chance launch facilities for Falcon Heavy might now be reconsidered, as originally envisioned in 2011.  For those who may not have known, or who forgot:

https://www.latimes.com/business/la-xpm-2011-jul-12-la-fi-vandenberg-launchsite-20110713-story.html

At that July 2011 ground breaking was then Lt. Governor, now Governor Gavin Newsom:

https://in.pcmag.com/robotics-automation/38800/spacex-breaks-ground-on-vandenberg-rocket-launch-site


Offline Zed_Noir

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5400
  • Canada
  • Liked: 1778
  • Likes Given: 1282
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #58 on: 08/09/2020 06:49 am »
The NRO and the USSF might funded getting the Falcon Heavy launched from VAFB. Partly to relieve scheduling issues on the East coast and less public access.

Especially since the cost to upgrade SLC-4E to launch Falcon Heavy is relatively cheap in comparison to individual NRO payloads. Maybe even from budget reserves of a single NRO payload. :o


Offline Cheapchips

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1029
  • UK
  • Liked: 854
  • Likes Given: 1922
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #59 on: 08/09/2020 10:50 am »
Would that also raise the possibility of a mobile service structure at VAFB too?

(I hope so, purely because I love the atheistic they're going for)

Offline MATTBLAK

  • Elite Veteran & 'J.A.F.A'
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5362
  • 'Space Cadets' Let us; UNITE!! (crickets chirping)
  • New Zealand
  • Liked: 2238
  • Likes Given: 3883
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #60 on: 08/09/2020 11:23 am »
Would that also raise the possibility of a mobile service structure at VAFB too?

(I hope so, purely because I love the atheistic they're going for)
I think you were actually going for 'aesthetic'.
"Those who can't, Blog".   'Space Cadets' of the World - Let us UNITE!! (crickets chirping)

Offline Cheapchips

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1029
  • UK
  • Liked: 854
  • Likes Given: 1922
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #61 on: 08/09/2020 02:54 pm »
Would that also raise the possibility of a mobile service structure at VAFB too?

(I hope so, purely because I love the atheistic they're going for)
I think you were actually going for 'aesthetic'.

Lol. Yes, indeed. I don't think Service Structures really have theological viewpoint. "Damn you autocorrect" seems very out of place given the context.  :)
« Last Edit: 08/09/2020 03:17 pm by Cheapchips »

Online danneely

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 577
  • Johnstown, PA, USA
  • Liked: 401
  • Likes Given: 676
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #62 on: 08/09/2020 03:12 pm »
Would that also raise the possibility of a mobile service structure at VAFB too?

(I hope so, purely because I love the atheistic they're going for)

Presumably yes if SpaceX does resume west coast launches, the NROs giant camera equipped spysats are launched from Vandenberg and are too heavy for a standard Falcon 9.

Offline soltasto

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 636
  • Italy, Earth
  • Liked: 1118
  • Likes Given: 40
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #63 on: 08/09/2020 03:36 pm »
Would that also raise the possibility of a mobile service structure at VAFB too?

(I hope so, purely because I love the atheistic they're going for)

Presumably yes if SpaceX does resume west coast launches, the NROs giant camera equipped spysats are launched from Vandenberg and are too heavy for a standard Falcon 9.

I don't think they are too heavy for F9 (Polar 2 requires about 17000kg to a 450km x 450km x 98.2° orbit, an expendable F9 can most likely do it) but they for sure need vertical integration. I wonder if we will be able to get construction plans for SLC-4E too.

Online Galactic Penguin SST

Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #64 on: 08/13/2020 01:02 am »
Regarding the new hiring positions....what do you all made of this statement that SpaceX seems to be winding down their operations at VAFB? I have the feeling that at least the US government might shoot it down if proposed, but it's still interesting to see this statement crops up.  :-\

https://twitter.com/joroulette/status/1293569054888857600
Astronomy & spaceflight geek penguin. In a relationship w/ Space Shuttle Discovery. Current Priority: Chasing the Chinese Spaceflight Wonder Egg & A Certain Chinese Mars Rover

Offline gongora

  • Global Moderator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10120
  • US
  • Liked: 13683
  • Likes Given: 5865
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #65 on: 08/13/2020 01:12 am »
SpaceX has a launch from Vandenberg in three months.  It hasn't been mothballed yet, and it will probably come in handy again when SpaceX starts launching their higher inclination Starlink sats.

Offline Lars-J

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6807
  • California
  • Liked: 8462
  • Likes Given: 5371
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #66 on: 08/18/2020 06:19 pm »
SpaceX has a launch from Vandenberg in three months.  It hasn't been mothballed yet, and it will probably come in handy again when SpaceX starts launching their higher inclination Starlink sats.

The NSSL phase 2 award IMO makes it extremely unlikely that the VAFB pad will be mothballed. The heavier payloads they will launch will require the VAFB pad.

Offline Thorny

  • Regular
  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 892
  • San Angelo, Texas
  • Liked: 290
  • Likes Given: 456
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #67 on: 08/18/2020 06:30 pm »
The NSSL phase 2 award IMO makes it extremely unlikely that the VAFB pad will be mothballed. The heavier payloads they will launch will require the VAFB pad.

What could a Falcon Heavy do to polar out of the Cape?

Offline envy887

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8133
  • Liked: 6781
  • Likes Given: 2961
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #68 on: 08/20/2020 12:27 am »
The NSSL phase 2 award IMO makes it extremely unlikely that the VAFB pad will be mothballed. The heavier payloads they will launch will require the VAFB pad.

What could a Falcon Heavy do to polar out of the Cape?

The heaviest polar payload requirement is 17,000 kg to 833 km circular at 98 degrees. FH should be able to easily do that out of the Cape, and probably RTLS both side boosters, even with the dogleg.

Offline SoCal_Eyeball

  • Member
  • Posts: 62
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • Liked: 122
  • Likes Given: 32
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #69 on: 08/25/2020 12:05 am »
As previously noted, there seems to be new job posting activity on SpaceX's careers page for Vandenberg.  Yesterday there were 15 positions; not sure which one was dropped, but today there are 14, up from 7 last month.  Reading through them, one caught my eye today for a Launch Engineer, Fluid Systems:

https://boards.greenhouse.io/spacex/jobs/4804690002?gh_jid=4804690002

Note the mention of Falcon Heavy:
"As a team, the fluids site engineering team is responsible for all of the fluids systems necessary to launch our Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy rockets... "  "Key responsibilities include system design, analysis, implementation, activation, and sustainment planning."  "...Select components, such as valves, pumps, piping, tanks, and filters, and provide detailed specifications for their purchase."

Would it be an unreasonable assumption that an upgrade for Falcon Heavy launches is being built at Vandy?  Why would such planning and design be needed for the existing F9 launch complex?

An alternative explanation is that the job posting was cut and pasted from one previously offered in Florida.

Offline guckyfan

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7438
  • Germany
  • Liked: 2332
  • Likes Given: 2885
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #70 on: 08/25/2020 08:18 am »
Assuming the deployment modification gets the green light from the FCC SpaceX needs to do over 10 launches to 97.6°. That's going to be from Vandenberg. As they have no ASDS in the Pacific any more would they use RTLS with 43 sats?

Offline edzieba

  • Virtual Realist
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5959
  • United Kingdom
  • Liked: 9104
  • Likes Given: 38
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #71 on: 08/25/2020 10:26 am »
An alternative explanation is that the job posting was cut and pasted from one previously offered in Florida.
Or any hire is expected to shuttle between Vandy & the Cape as needed at the time, as the SpaceX launch team(s) generally have before.

Offline soltasto

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 636
  • Italy, Earth
  • Liked: 1118
  • Likes Given: 40
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #72 on: 08/25/2020 01:12 pm »
SAOCOM is launching to 97.89°, so they might launch those Starlink mission from florida on the new polar corridor.

Offline guckyfan

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7438
  • Germany
  • Liked: 2332
  • Likes Given: 2885
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #73 on: 08/25/2020 04:24 pm »
SAOCOM is launching to 97.89°, so they might launch those Starlink mission from florida on the new polar corridor.

Thanks. I was not aware that polar trajectories from the Cape go that far.

Online danneely

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 577
  • Johnstown, PA, USA
  • Liked: 401
  • Likes Given: 676
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #74 on: 08/25/2020 04:37 pm »
SAOCOM is launching to 97.89°, so they might launch those Starlink mission from florida on the new polar corridor.

Thanks. I was not aware that polar trajectories from the Cape go that far.

567km SSO (97.7* inclination) is the most widely used polar orbit; if they couldn't get to that it wouldn't be worth the effort of getting approval for the corridor.  SAOCOM isn't going to SSO, but its orbital inclination is within rounding error of it.

Offline Asteroza

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2791
  • Liked: 1054
  • Likes Given: 32
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #75 on: 08/26/2020 12:06 am »
We've seen renders of a MST for LC39A to provide a VIF, but have we seen a VIF render for VAFB? Or is it a case of F9H may fly from VAFB, but not any VIF requiring payloads?

Offline gongora

  • Global Moderator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10120
  • US
  • Liked: 13683
  • Likes Given: 5865
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #76 on: 08/26/2020 12:52 am »
We've seen renders of a MST for LC39A to provide a VIF, but have we seen a VIF render for VAFB? Or is it a case of F9H may fly from VAFB, but not any VIF requiring payloads?

I think we saw the render for 39A because there was a more imminent need for it to start construction if SpaceX won the NSSL competition.  Vandenberg payloads are a couple years farther off, and a lower volume of flights.  Maybe in a year or two we'll see a similar environmental assessment for their Vandy pad.

Online danneely

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 577
  • Johnstown, PA, USA
  • Liked: 401
  • Likes Given: 676
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #77 on: 08/26/2020 05:07 am »
We've seen renders of a MST for LC39A to provide a VIF, but have we seen a VIF render for VAFB? Or is it a case of F9H may fly from VAFB, but not any VIF requiring payloads?

I think we saw the render for 39A because there was a more imminent need for it to start construction if SpaceX won the NSSL competition.  Vandenberg payloads are a couple years farther off, and a lower volume of flights.  Maybe in a year or two we'll see a similar environmental assessment for their Vandy pad.

SpaceX is probably also hoping it can get approval to launch Keyhole satellites via the Polar Corridor from Florida and not need to build the extra infrastructure at Vandenberg; or alternately let those launches end up in ULAs share of the program to the same effect.

Offline Zed_Noir

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5400
  • Canada
  • Liked: 1778
  • Likes Given: 1282
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #78 on: 08/26/2020 08:12 am »
<snip>
SpaceX is probably also hoping it can get approval to launch Keyhole satellites via the Polar Corridor from Florida and not need to build the extra infrastructure at Vandenberg; or alternately let those launches end up in ULAs share of the program to the same effect.

That brings up the question of how many launch slots can the LC-39A complex support? Since it is the only current crew Dragon launch pad, the only Falcon Heavy pad with future vertical payload integration and maybe the only Cargo Dragon 2 pad. Along with being been the Super Heavy with Starship launch pad.

The spooks will be more happy if they are not depending on just one Falcon Heavy launch site in a congested Eastern range.

edit: typo
« Last Edit: 08/26/2020 11:34 pm by Zed_Noir »

Offline gongora

  • Global Moderator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10120
  • US
  • Liked: 13683
  • Likes Given: 5865
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #79 on: 08/26/2020 03:43 pm »
Cargo Dragon may not be tied to LC-39A, and Dragon + FH flights are unlikely to reach 10 per year soon.  Flying Starship from the same pad adds congestion, and there are many more flights overall from Florida.  There will be enough traffic to support the Vandenberg pad in the future if SpaceX wants to fly more from the west coast.  They could fly Starlink missions from there, and twice-yearly SSO rideshares (the first of which is flying from Florida in December), the occasional NSSL mission, and occasional external customer missions.

Offline woods170

  • IRAS fan
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 12079
  • IRAS fan
  • The Netherlands
  • Liked: 18026
  • Likes Given: 12033
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #80 on: 08/27/2020 09:22 am »
<snip>
SpaceX is probably also hoping it can get approval to launch Keyhole satellites via the Polar Corridor from Florida and not need to build the extra infrastructure at Vandenberg; or alternately let those launches end up in ULAs share of the program to the same effect.

That brings up the question of how many launch slots can the LC-39A complex support? Since it is the only current crew Dragon launch pad, the only Falcon Heavy pad with future vertical payload integration and maybe the only Cargo Dragon 2 pad. Along with being been the Super Heavy with Starship launch pad.

The spooks will be more happy if they are not depending on just one Falcon Heavy launch site in a congested Eastern range.

edit: typo

There are no current plans to convert SLC-4E to support FH. The Plan (much as they change all the time) is to fly the NSSL Phase 2 launches from the East Coast only.

LC-39A sees less launches than you might imagine. Several of the NSSL Phase 2 launches do not require VIF, nor FH, and will fly from SLC-40.
As Gongora pointed out the next-gen cargo Dragon's can fly from both LC-39A and SLC-40, as they don't require the CAA. Late loading will be done similar to first-gen cargo Dragon. Most next-gen cargo Dragons will likely fly from SLC-40.

FH predicted flight rate from LC-39A is three per year, at most, with two per year being the more realistic number.
Predicted flight rate of Crew Dragon from LC-39A is two per year.

Current projected total flight rate for LC-39A is a dozen launches per year, at most, with  8 to 10 being more realistic. Projected flight rate for SLC-40 is much higher.
Basically SLC-40 is the workhorse launchpad with LC-39A being reserved for more time-consuming launches such as Crew Dragon and NSSL VIF launches.


Also, spooks don't care about SpaceX having just one FH-capable pad. They do care about redundant launch systems however, which explains why there is FH and Vulcan Heavy. Their top-priority is getting their precious payloads in orbit. On top of which launcher is much further from their mind, just as long as those launchers are certified to do the job.
« Last Edit: 08/27/2020 02:18 pm by woods170 »

Offline ShawnGSE

  • Member
  • Posts: 71
  • Cape Canaveral, FL
  • Liked: 454
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #81 on: 08/28/2020 02:53 am »
Although SLC-4E has the same style launch frame as SLC-39A the pad itself would be significant upgrades to support a FH.  There are multiple bottlenecks including TE lifting system and flame duct.  Not to say it can't happen, but it would be a long process. 
« Last Edit: 08/28/2020 02:53 am by ShawnGSE »

Offline SoCal_Eyeball

  • Member
  • Posts: 62
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • Liked: 122
  • Likes Given: 32
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #82 on: 09/16/2020 01:43 am »
Polar launches from Cape won’t affect future of Vandenberg

https://spacenews.com/polar-launches-from-cape-wont-affect-future-of-vandenberg/

SPACENEWS
Jeff Foust

> SpaceX, despite rumors to the contrary, is not abandoning Vandenberg either
> In addition, the company’s website lists more than a dozen job openings there, primarily as launch engineers and technicians.

Offline SoCal_Eyeball

  • Member
  • Posts: 62
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • Liked: 122
  • Likes Given: 32
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #83 on: 11/09/2020 07:41 pm »
Further confirmation of continued SpaceX pad development at Vandenberg:

https://spacenews.com/spacex-explains-why-the-u-s-space-force-is-paying-316-million-for-a-single-launch/

"SpaceX is however charging the government for the cost of an extended payload fairing, upgrades to the company’s West Coast launch pad at Vandenberg Air Force in California, and a vertical integration facility required for NRO missions."

That sentence perhaps suggests the 'vertical integration facility' is for Vandy, however the previously announced upgrade is for pad 39A in Florida.

West coast vertical integration can't be ruled out: 

"Shotwell noted that the Aug. 7 contract does not completely cover all infrastructure expenses and other costs will be included in future Phase 2 bids."




 

Offline wannamoonbase

  • Elite Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5357
  • Denver, CO
    • U.S. Metric Association
  • Liked: 3070
  • Likes Given: 3791
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #84 on: 11/09/2020 08:22 pm »
Further confirmation of continued SpaceX pad development at Vandenberg:

https://spacenews.com/spacex-explains-why-the-u-s-space-force-is-paying-316-million-for-a-single-launch/

"SpaceX is however charging the government for the cost of an extended payload fairing, upgrades to the company’s West Coast launch pad at Vandenberg Air Force in California, and a vertical integration facility required for NRO missions."

That sentence perhaps suggests the 'vertical integration facility' is for Vandy, however the previously announced upgrade is for pad 39A in Florida.

West coast vertical integration can't be ruled out: 

"Shotwell noted that the Aug. 7 contract does not completely cover all infrastructure expenses and other costs will be included in future Phase 2 bids."

NRO would pay for a west coast VIF even if they never use it.  It's cheap compared to their payloads.

It's too bad they don't have more needs for flights out of the west coast (Starlink) that would give them more capacity.
Wildly optimistic prediction, Superheavy recovery on IFT-4 or IFT-5

Offline russianhalo117

  • Global Moderator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8740
  • Liked: 4646
  • Likes Given: 768
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #85 on: 11/09/2020 09:06 pm »
Further confirmation of continued SpaceX pad development at Vandenberg:

https://spacenews.com/spacex-explains-why-the-u-s-space-force-is-paying-316-million-for-a-single-launch/

"SpaceX is however charging the government for the cost of an extended payload fairing, upgrades to the company’s West Coast launch pad at Vandenberg Air Force in California, and a vertical integration facility required for NRO missions."

That sentence perhaps suggests the 'vertical integration facility' is for Vandy, however the previously announced upgrade is for pad 39A in Florida.

West coast vertical integration can't be ruled out: 

"Shotwell noted that the Aug. 7 contract does not completely cover all infrastructure expenses and other costs will be included in future Phase 2 bids."
both FH capable pads

Offline Herb Schaltegger

Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #86 on: 11/09/2020 10:28 pm »

both FH capable pads

Is VAFB "FH capable" though, truly? I know the very first "wide body" TEL SpaceX built was at Falcon Heavy but it never got outfitted with additional hold downs and tail service points, and the TEL at LC39A is noticeably different than the one at VAFB. Also, does VAFB have the subcooled LOX volume capacity for Falcon Heavy?
Ad astra per aspirin ...

Offline whitelancer64

Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #87 on: 11/09/2020 10:55 pm »

both FH capable pads

Is VAFB "FH capable" though, truly? I know the very first "wide body" TEL SpaceX built was at Falcon Heavy but it never got outfitted with additional hold downs and tail service points, and the TEL at LC39A is noticeably different than the one at VAFB. Also, does VAFB have the subcooled LOX volume capacity for Falcon Heavy?

AFAIK, the GSE and T/E at Vandy is currently not FH block 5 capable, IIRC it was originally made for FH, but the 1.2 version. Again, AFAIK. Someone else may know better than I.

I assume that the modifications to the Vandenberg infrastructure mentioned in the article would be to enable FH launches, and would involve both GSE and T/E / launch pad upgrades, or a replacement of the T/E with a new build.
"One bit of advice: it is important to view knowledge as sort of a semantic tree -- make sure you understand the fundamental principles, ie the trunk and big branches, before you get into the leaves/details or there is nothing for them to hang on to." - Elon Musk
"There are lies, damned lies, and launch schedules." - Larry J

Offline ulm_atms

  • Rocket Junky
  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 915
  • To boldly go where no government has gone before.
  • Liked: 1535
  • Likes Given: 710
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #88 on: 11/09/2020 10:59 pm »

both FH capable pads

Is VAFB "FH capable" though, truly? I know the very first "wide body" TEL SpaceX built was at Falcon Heavy but it never got outfitted with additional hold downs and tail service points, and the TEL at LC39A is noticeably different than the one at VAFB. Also, does VAFB have the subcooled LOX volume capacity for Falcon Heavy?

I think he means "capable" but not operational.  SpaceX said TEL work and other pieces are required for FH at VAFB, but that it's physical pad/flame trench is good to go.  They just haven't had the need to finish it till now.  My understanding anyways.

Offline russianhalo117

  • Global Moderator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8740
  • Liked: 4646
  • Likes Given: 768
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #89 on: 11/09/2020 11:32 pm »

both FH capable pads

Is VAFB "FH capable" though, truly? I know the very first "wide body" TEL SpaceX built was at Falcon Heavy but it never got outfitted with additional hold downs and tail service points, and the TEL at LC39A is noticeably different than the one at VAFB. Also, does VAFB have the subcooled LOX volume capacity for Falcon Heavy?
The mounts for the remaining tanks already exist.


both FH capable pads

Is VAFB "FH capable" though, truly? I know the very first "wide body" TEL SpaceX built was at Falcon Heavy but it never got outfitted with additional hold downs and tail service points, and the TEL at LC39A is noticeably different than the one at VAFB. Also, does VAFB have the subcooled LOX volume capacity for Falcon Heavy?

I think he means "capable" but not operational.  SpaceX said TEL work and other pieces are required for FH at VAFB, but that it's physical pad/flame trench is good to go.  They just haven't had the need to finish it till now.  My understanding anyways.
Yes. In addition to deluge (upgraded recently), SSS (added recently), FIREX (upgraded), and GSE plumbing (partially completed), conduit to the Launch Mount are run. Mounts for the remaining tanks exist. The TEL, RF and LM have already been stated that they would be modified or replaced.
« Last Edit: 11/09/2020 11:35 pm by russianhalo117 »

Offline Arb

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 553
  • London
  • Liked: 514
  • Likes Given: 430
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #90 on: 11/10/2020 10:38 am »
Yes. In addition to deluge (upgraded recently), SSS (added recently), FIREX (upgraded), and GSE plumbing (partially completed), conduit to the Launch Mount are run. Mounts for the remaining tanks exist. The TEL, RF and LM have already been stated that they would be modified or replaced.

SSS = Sound Suppression System
FIREX = SpaceX Fire Suppression System
GSE = Ground Support Equipment
TEL = Transporter/Erector/Launcher
RF = Radio Frequency/Facility/???
LM =Launch Mount (though my mind insists Lunar Module...)

Offline ClayJar

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 563
  • Baton Rouge, LA, USA
  • Liked: 1279
  • Likes Given: 125
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #91 on: 11/10/2020 11:37 am »
TEL = Transporter/Erector/Launcher
RF = Radio Frequency/Facility/???
LM =Launch Mount (though my mind insists Lunar Module...)
RF = Reaction Frame (the launch deck piece)

Offline oldAtlas_Eguy

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5303
  • Florida
  • Liked: 5003
  • Likes Given: 1425
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #92 on: 11/10/2020 09:45 pm »
Also would need second landing LZ pad (somewhere). Currently only one pad. Also would need a ASDS for catching the center stage. So a third ASDS is going to be needed. Such that it could be occasionally dispatched to the West coast. Usage would be about 1 or 2 times in a year. The cape is likely to need an extra ASDS soon anyway with an increase in cape launch rates instead of average ~2 a month this year to an average of ~3 a month in 2021 with a possibility of even more in 2022. With max number per month from the cape as high as 5 (3 Starlink launches at every 9 day and 2 on the other pad at 14 day). A quirk of timing could even allow a 6 launch in a month just from the cape with a VAFB launch too it would be 7 in one month. Note that no new hardware or anything is needed to make this come true. Just the sats all waiting in line and ready to go with boosters also waiting in line and ready to go.

Offline DaveJes1979

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 319
  • Toontown, CA
  • Liked: 86
  • Likes Given: 6
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #93 on: 11/18/2020 07:44 pm »
Further confirmation of continued SpaceX pad development at Vandenberg:

https://spacenews.com/spacex-explains-why-the-u-s-space-force-is-paying-316-million-for-a-single-launch/

"SpaceX is however charging the government for the cost of an extended payload fairing, upgrades to the company’s West Coast launch pad at Vandenberg Air Force in California, and a vertical integration facility required for NRO missions."

That sentence perhaps suggests the 'vertical integration facility' is for Vandy, however the previously announced upgrade is for pad 39A in Florida.

West coast vertical integration can't be ruled out: 

"Shotwell noted that the Aug. 7 contract does not completely cover all infrastructure expenses and other costs will be included in future Phase 2 bids."
both FH capable pads

For some reason the article omits an explicit mention of Falcon Heavy, but that seems strongly implied.  Especially if they are looking at extended payload fairings.

It would indeed be a treat for us Californian rocket fans if this is correct, and we will get to view some Heavy launches. I just couldn't see ever flying to Florida just for that experience.

Offline SoCal_Eyeball

  • Member
  • Posts: 62
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • Liked: 122
  • Likes Given: 32
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #94 on: 11/21/2020 01:15 am »
Vandenberg misses out on Space Command headquarters

https://www.pacbiztimes.com/2020/11/20/vandenberg-misses-out-on-space-command-headquarters/

> SpaceX currently operates Vandenberg’s Space Launch Complex 4, which has two landing pads

Is this bad reporting, or based on inside knowledge of the upgrade activity going on at SLC4 ?

Only Falcon Heavy would require two landing pads.

« Last Edit: 11/21/2020 01:21 am by SoCal_Eyeball »

Offline gongora

  • Global Moderator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10120
  • US
  • Liked: 13683
  • Likes Given: 5865
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #95 on: 11/21/2020 01:51 am »
Vandenberg misses out on Space Command headquarters

https://www.pacbiztimes.com/2020/11/20/vandenberg-misses-out-on-space-command-headquarters/

> SpaceX currently operates Vandenberg’s Space Launch Complex 4, which has two landing pads

Is this bad reporting, or based on inside knowledge of the upgrade activity going on at SLC4 ?

Only Falcon Heavy would require two landing pads.

It looks like it's just sloppy editing.

Offline SoCal_Eyeball

  • Member
  • Posts: 62
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • Liked: 122
  • Likes Given: 32
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #96 on: 12/14/2020 11:06 pm »
A recently posted new job description for Mission Manager, Vandenberg includes the following sentence:

> This unique location is SpaceX’s primary site for polar and high-inclination orbital missions.

https://boards.greenhouse.io/spacex/jobs/4983760002?gh_jid=4983760002

This seems to belie previous speculation that most polar launches would be moving to Florida.

A related Tweet today from Michael Sheetz:

https://twitter.com/thesheetztweetz/status/1338558087477784576

Online danneely

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 577
  • Johnstown, PA, USA
  • Liked: 401
  • Likes Given: 676
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #97 on: 12/15/2020 04:56 am »
A recently posted new job description for Mission Manager, Vandenberg includes the following sentence:

> This unique location is SpaceX’s primary site for polar and high-inclination orbital missions.

https://boards.greenhouse.io/spacex/jobs/4983760002?gh_jid=4983760002

This seems to belie previous speculation that most polar launches would be moving to Florida.

A related Tweet today from Michael Sheetz:

https://twitter.com/thesheetztweetz/status/1338558087477784576

Not that surprising, for most of the year they've been building Starlink faster than they can launch from Florida.  While moving most polar launches to Florida because the Cape has easier to work with management may have been the plan a few years ago, shifting anything they can back to Vandenberg now would reduce range congestion.

Offline SoCal_Eyeball

  • Member
  • Posts: 62
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • Liked: 122
  • Likes Given: 32
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #98 on: 03/07/2021 08:02 pm »
A few miscellaneous items:

The SpaceX careers page for Vandenberg has 32 open positions, the most in a very long time.  Two of them mention Falcon Heavy (possibly a cut and paste from FL job description) and at least one other mentions Starship but unlike other positions, does not list "willing to travel" as one of the requirements:  Launch Build Reliability Engineer-  https://www.spacex.com/careers/  Probably means nothing, but something to ponder.

Local news article from March 4th includes several hi-res photos from November's F9 launch of Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich satellite including cute one of little girls wearing homemade Dragon flight suits:
 https://syvnews.com/news/local/military/military-officials-plan-to-rename-vandenberg-air-force-base-more-launches-in-2021/article_7fc2607f-5094-51a9-8f42-eacc6bf97c88.html 

As headline notes, base is expected to soon be renamed Vandenberg Space Force Base.  Will need to rename this thread to VSFB.  Also, if TLDR, since base missed out on being named HQ for U.S. Space Force it might receive consolation as location for USSF basic training.

Article also says there are three SpaceX launches scheduled for 2021, but I count seven per Michael Baylor's Next Spaceflight:  https://nextspaceflight.com/launches/agency/upcoming/1/




Online sdsds

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7039
  • “With peace and hope for all mankind.”
  • Seattle
  • Liked: 1909
  • Likes Given: 1891
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #99 on: 03/14/2021 07:22 pm »
From another thread:
Vandenberg would actually be perfect [for an early Starship landing attempt] but I can’t see them approving it.

Why not?
— 𝐬𝐝𝐒𝐝𝐬 —

Online danneely

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 577
  • Johnstown, PA, USA
  • Liked: 401
  • Likes Given: 676
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #100 on: 03/14/2021 07:36 pm »
From another thread:
Vandenberg would actually be perfect [for an early Starship landing attempt] but I can’t see them approving it.

Why not?

Fear on the USAF's part of a crash taking out another launch site.  They currently don't have a need for SS, but do need F9, Atlas V, Delta IVH, ICBM tests, and eventually Vulcan (although this will be supported on an existing ULA pad).

Online sdsds

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7039
  • “With peace and hope for all mankind.”
  • Seattle
  • Liked: 1909
  • Likes Given: 1891
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #101 on: 03/14/2021 07:51 pm »
Fear on the USAF's part of a crash taking out another launch site.

With respect, are you suggesting this fear is rational (based on numerical risk analysis) or irrational?
— 𝐬𝐝𝐒𝐝𝐬 —

Online danneely

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 577
  • Johnstown, PA, USA
  • Liked: 401
  • Likes Given: 676
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #102 on: 03/14/2021 11:06 pm »
Fear on the USAF's part of a crash taking out another launch site.

With respect, are you suggesting this fear is rational (based on numerical risk analysis) or irrational?

Yes.

No idea what, if any analysis, they've done; but the unknown unknowns (because SpaceX is tinkering with stuff faster than the USAFs prefered contractors can update their models even if they had all the data) are probably enough to say no.  Remember the decision makers are in charge of protecting today's billion dollar assets, not to push the state of the art for what they might be boying for flight a decade from now.

At an absolute minimum I'd expect the USAF to want SpaceX to demonstrate that Starship won't break up into a shotgun blast of stainless shrapnel before they let them attempt a landing on the base.
« Last Edit: 03/14/2021 11:09 pm by danneely »

Offline SoCal_Eyeball

  • Member
  • Posts: 62
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • Liked: 122
  • Likes Given: 32
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #103 on: 03/19/2021 01:57 am »
Fear on the USAF's part of a crash taking out another launch site.

With respect, are you suggesting this fear is rational (based on numerical risk analysis) or irrational?

Yes.

No idea what, if any analysis, they've done; but the unknown unknowns (because SpaceX is tinkering with stuff faster than the USAFs prefered contractors can update their models even if they had all the data) are probably enough to say no.  Remember the decision makers are in charge of protecting today's billion dollar assets, not to push the state of the art for what they might be boying for flight a decade from now.

At an absolute minimum I'd expect the USAF to want SpaceX to demonstrate that Starship won't break up into a shotgun blast of stainless shrapnel before they let them attempt a landing on the base.

Undoubtedly analysis will be done, but with spacecraft returning to earth, risk has never been zero.  We've used the Pacific sixty years for both ditching and controlled splashdowns.  For any potential Vandenberg landing, I'd expect the first Starship(s) to be targeted to water well short of North America. The flight termination system would activate for any anomalies.

If all is going well, the last minutes of descent would see an adjustment of trajectory to water nearer the California coast, then during the last seconds, further refinement for a hover and plop onto Landing Zone 4.  The loss of SN #8, 9 and 10 have allowed us to see that a Starship nearly deplete of fuel does not create an explosion that would endanger any other Vandy launch complex.

Plus, the United States Space Force might be less risk averse than the previous base overseers.
« Last Edit: 03/19/2021 02:01 am by SoCal_Eyeball »

Offline Jim

  • Night Gator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 37374
  • Cape Canaveral Spaceport
  • Liked: 21288
  • Likes Given: 428
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #104 on: 03/19/2021 05:43 am »

Plus, the United States Space Force might be less risk averse than the previous base overseers.


It is the same people.  Just a name change.
« Last Edit: 03/19/2021 05:43 am by Jim »

Offline ShawnGSE

  • Member
  • Posts: 71
  • Cape Canaveral, FL
  • Liked: 454
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #105 on: 03/31/2021 04:23 am »
Fear on the USAF's part of a crash taking out another launch site.

With respect, are you suggesting this fear is rational (based on numerical risk analysis) or irrational?

Yes.

No idea what, if any analysis, they've done; but the unknown unknowns (because SpaceX is tinkering with stuff faster than the USAFs prefered contractors can update their models even if they had all the data) are probably enough to say no.  Remember the decision makers are in charge of protecting today's billion dollar assets, not to push the state of the art for what they might be boying for flight a decade from now.

At an absolute minimum I'd expect the USAF to want SpaceX to demonstrate that Starship won't break up into a shotgun blast of stainless shrapnel before they let them attempt a landing on the base.

Undoubtedly analysis will be done, but with spacecraft returning to earth, risk has never been zero.  We've used the Pacific sixty years for both ditching and controlled splashdowns.  For any potential Vandenberg landing, I'd expect the first Starship(s) to be targeted to water well short of North America. The flight termination system would activate for any anomalies.

If all is going well, the last minutes of descent would see an adjustment of trajectory to water nearer the California coast, then during the last seconds, further refinement for a hover and plop onto Landing Zone 4.  The loss of SN #8, 9 and 10 have allowed us to see that a Starship nearly deplete of fuel does not create an explosion that would endanger any other Vandy launch complex.

Plus, the United States Space Force might be less risk averse than the previous base overseers.

There are so many more regulations involved in this that you guys aren't accounting for.  One of the main reasons it took so long to allow a Falcon 9 landing in the west coast was the stress sonic booms put on the local seal population.  SLC-4 is the closest pad along the coast to the water.  Regulators will want no chance of debris from the explosion raining down on a protected beach that has endanger species.  This is the stuff that drives SpaceX and Elon crazy about launching from government controlled facilities and land in general. 

Offline Asteroza

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2791
  • Liked: 1054
  • Likes Given: 32
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #106 on: 04/01/2021 02:37 am »
Fear on the USAF's part of a crash taking out another launch site.

With respect, are you suggesting this fear is rational (based on numerical risk analysis) or irrational?

Yes.

No idea what, if any analysis, they've done; but the unknown unknowns (because SpaceX is tinkering with stuff faster than the USAFs prefered contractors can update their models even if they had all the data) are probably enough to say no.  Remember the decision makers are in charge of protecting today's billion dollar assets, not to push the state of the art for what they might be boying for flight a decade from now.

At an absolute minimum I'd expect the USAF to want SpaceX to demonstrate that Starship won't break up into a shotgun blast of stainless shrapnel before they let them attempt a landing on the base.

Undoubtedly analysis will be done, but with spacecraft returning to earth, risk has never been zero.  We've used the Pacific sixty years for both ditching and controlled splashdowns.  For any potential Vandenberg landing, I'd expect the first Starship(s) to be targeted to water well short of North America. The flight termination system would activate for any anomalies.

If all is going well, the last minutes of descent would see an adjustment of trajectory to water nearer the California coast, then during the last seconds, further refinement for a hover and plop onto Landing Zone 4.  The loss of SN #8, 9 and 10 have allowed us to see that a Starship nearly deplete of fuel does not create an explosion that would endanger any other Vandy launch complex.

Plus, the United States Space Force might be less risk averse than the previous base overseers.

There are so many more regulations involved in this that you guys aren't accounting for.  One of the main reasons it took so long to allow a Falcon 9 landing in the west coast was the stress sonic booms put on the local seal population.  SLC-4 is the closest pad along the coast to the water.  Regulators will want no chance of debris from the explosion raining down on a protected beach that has endanger species.  This is the stuff that drives SpaceX and Elon crazy about launching from government controlled facilities and land in general.

Environmental assessments are pretty serious about the seals. They had special headsets to put on them to test reactions to sonic booms and other sound. Putting a headset on a cranky seal then purposely pissing it off with boom sounds seems to be tough work too. They'll have to do it again too, if they ever decide to do F9H from there, or Starship for that matter.

Offline su27k

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6414
  • Liked: 9097
  • Likes Given: 885
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #107 on: 04/01/2021 11:04 am »
Landing on the west coast droneship (there needs to be one for polar orbit Starlink launches) will solve all these problems.

Online TheRadicalModerate

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4302
  • Tampa, FL
  • Liked: 3224
  • Likes Given: 632
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #108 on: 04/06/2021 08:32 pm »
Further confirmation of continued SpaceX pad development at Vandenberg:

https://spacenews.com/spacex-explains-why-the-u-s-space-force-is-paying-316-million-for-a-single-launch/

"SpaceX is however charging the government for the cost of an extended payload fairing, upgrades to the company’s West Coast launch pad at Vandenberg Air Force in California, and a vertical integration facility required for NRO missions."

That sentence perhaps suggests the 'vertical integration facility' is for Vandy, however the previously announced upgrade is for pad 39A in Florida.

West coast vertical integration can't be ruled out: 

"Shotwell noted that the Aug. 7 contract does not completely cover all infrastructure expenses and other costs will be included in future Phase 2 bids."

I've been trying to de-tangle the launch and infrastructure costs for two notable missions:

1) The NSSL/NROL launch, which was awarded for $316M.
2) The NASA Gateway/PPE/HALO launch, which was awarded for $332M.

But I'm getting myself confused.

We know that the Gateway mission is an FH (probably an FHE).  Do we know whether the NROL mission is an F9 or an FH3R?  If an FH, what's required in terms of pad upgrades at Vandy? (I sorta doubt that this is possible for the price--see below.)

We know that the NROL mission requires vertical integration and a Category C fairing.  Presumably the $316M contains line items for both of those tasks?

I can't remember whether the PPE/HALO launch requires vertical integration, but I strongly suspect that it does.  So that's yet another piece of infrastructure at LC-39A.

Here's a SWAG at the line items, and how to make them come out to roughly the stated values.  First thing to note is that it's hard to see how a Vandy pad upgrade for FH fits in plausibly into the NROL launch, unless I've grossly overestimated the Category C fairing costs.

a) Build VIF at Vandy: $75M
b) Upgrade pad for VIF at Vandy:  $0M (assuming that "pad upgrades" means "VIF")
c) R&D for Category C fairing: $50M
d) One Category C fairing delivery: $50M
e) Mission assurance / payload processing / other mission costs for NROL: $51M
f) NROL F9E launch base cost.  $90M
Total NROL: $316M

g) Build VIF at LC-39A at the Cape: $80M
h) PPE/HALO mission assurance / payload processing /other mission costs: $50M
i) One Category C fairing delivery: $50M
i) PPE/HALO FHE launch base cost: $150M
Total PPE/HALO: $332M

I don't know how to rejigger these if they need an FH launch out of Vandy.  Do these look reasonable?

Offline Jim

  • Night Gator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 37374
  • Cape Canaveral Spaceport
  • Liked: 21288
  • Likes Given: 428
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #109 on: 04/06/2021 08:43 pm »
Payload processing wouldn’t be part of launch service costs..
Also, what says HALO needs VIF?
« Last Edit: 04/06/2021 08:45 pm by Jim »

Online TheRadicalModerate

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4302
  • Tampa, FL
  • Liked: 3224
  • Likes Given: 632
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #110 on: 04/06/2021 09:11 pm »
Payload processing wouldn’t be part of launch service costs..
Also, what says HALO needs VIF?

So you don't think payload processing would be part of the contract, or you just disagree with my segmentation?  The intent was to include ~$50M of "other stuff".  Does that sound about right?

As I said, I'm not completely sure that the Gateway mission needs a VIF, but the alternative to a VIF is that an entire Category C-sized payload, complete with a berthing interface that was designed before the decision was made to launch them together, would have to be cantilevered during installation and transport to the pad.  That sounds... dicey...

While we're on things implied-but-not-quite-nailed-down, there's widespread discussion, based on the OIG report calling out fairing limitations for the combined PPE/HALO stack, that the Cat C fairing is a requirement, but nobody's come right out and said so.

Offline oldAtlas_Eguy

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5303
  • Florida
  • Liked: 5003
  • Likes Given: 1425
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #111 on: 04/06/2021 09:15 pm »
Also there is a usual on FFP contracts with the government launch contracts a 20% profit margin as part of the $316M figure for NROL. So the costs are a total of significantly less than $316M or actually ~$264M. Profit value of $52M. Also a faring C is unlikely to cost more than $10M since a standard new faring cost is <$7M. The entire pad cost $70M when they first set it up for use to launch F9s and the initial version of FH. But it has been upgraded several times for additional capabilities since then. A VIF using SpaceX costing for such things is unlikely to cost as much as the original HIF and orginal pad upgrades with a TL as well that could initially handle a FH. Some values you have are under and others are way over. Plus a standard F9 complete brand new includes faring as well and launch processing at site even as an expandable would not cost (note cost not price) $50M. When you add the 20% normal profit margin you get to the $60M price value that SpaceX would charge a commercial customer. With those estimates any conclusion you make would likely be wrong.

Offline gongora

  • Global Moderator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10120
  • US
  • Liked: 13683
  • Likes Given: 5865
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #112 on: 04/06/2021 09:22 pm »
Aren't both of those launches on FH from KSC?

Offline Jim

  • Night Gator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 37374
  • Cape Canaveral Spaceport
  • Liked: 21288
  • Likes Given: 428
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #113 on: 04/06/2021 09:59 pm »

So you don't think payload processing would be part of the contract,


I know so


As I said, I'm not completely sure that the Gateway mission needs a VIF, but the alternative to a VIF is that an entire Category C-sized payload, complete with a berthing interface that was designed before the decision was made to launch them together, would have to be cantilevered during installation and transport to the pad.  That sounds... dicey...


The contracts were updated for this mission


While we're on things implied-but-not-quite-nailed-down, there's widespread discussion, based on the OIG report calling out fairing limitations for the combined PPE/HALO stack, that the Cat C fairing is a requirement, but nobody's come right out and said so.

https://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/atoms/files/gateway_nac_charts_v6.pdf

Online danneely

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 577
  • Johnstown, PA, USA
  • Liked: 401
  • Likes Given: 676
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #114 on: 04/06/2021 10:27 pm »
Also there is a usual on FFP contracts with the government launch contracts a 20% profit margin as part of the $316M figure for NROL. So the costs are a total of significantly less than $316M or actually ~$264M. Profit value of $52M. Also a faring C is unlikely to cost more than $10M since a standard new faring cost is <$7M. The entire pad cost $70M when they first set it up for use to launch F9s and the initial version of FH. But it has been upgraded several times for additional capabilities since then. A VIF using SpaceX costing for such things is unlikely to cost as much as the original HIF and orginal pad upgrades with a TL as well that could initially handle a FH. Some values you have are under and others are way over. Plus a standard F9 complete brand new includes faring as well and launch processing at site even as an expandable would not cost (note cost not price) $50M. When you add the 20% normal profit margin you get to the $60M price value that SpaceX would charge a commercial customer. With those estimates any conclusion you make would likely be wrong.

The cat C fairing cost should be similar to what they cost for Ariane 5 because SpaceX is buying them from RUAG; and will be getting a variant of the older model they sell to Airanespace not the lighter model ULA helped fund the R&D for.  SpaceX's model will presumably be a bit more expensive because the parts needed to attach to the F9 will be made in much lower volume; but if it's available the A5 price should give a number in the right ballpark.

Offline gongora

  • Global Moderator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10120
  • US
  • Liked: 13683
  • Likes Given: 5865
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #115 on: 04/06/2021 11:04 pm »
The cat C fairing cost should be similar to what they cost for Ariane 5 because SpaceX is buying them from RUAG;

Was that ever confirmed?

Online TheRadicalModerate

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4302
  • Tampa, FL
  • Liked: 3224
  • Likes Given: 632
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #116 on: 04/06/2021 11:23 pm »
Aren't both of those launches on FH from KSC?

From SpaceNews in November:

Quote
But Shotwell insisted the company’s launch prices are not going up. SpaceX is however charging the government for the cost of an extended payload fairing, upgrades to the company’s West Coast launch pad at Vandenberg Air Force in California, and a vertical integration facility required for NRO missions.

Hence my confusion.

Offline Jim

  • Night Gator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 37374
  • Cape Canaveral Spaceport
  • Liked: 21288
  • Likes Given: 428
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #117 on: 04/07/2021 12:03 am »
The cat C fairing cost should be similar to what they cost for Ariane 5 because SpaceX is buying them from RUAG;

Was that ever confirmed?

No

Online TheRadicalModerate

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4302
  • Tampa, FL
  • Liked: 3224
  • Likes Given: 632
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #118 on: 04/07/2021 05:21 am »
Also there is a usual on FFP contracts with the government launch contracts a 20% profit margin as part of the $316M figure for NROL. So the costs are a total of significantly less than $316M or actually ~$264M. Profit value of $52M. Also a faring C is unlikely to cost more than $10M since a standard new faring cost is <$7M. The entire pad cost $70M when they first set it up for use to launch F9s and the initial version of FH. But it has been upgraded several times for additional capabilities since then. A VIF using SpaceX costing for such things is unlikely to cost as much as the original HIF and orginal pad upgrades with a TL as well that could initially handle a FH. Some values you have are under and others are way over. Plus a standard F9 complete brand new includes faring as well and launch processing at site even as an expandable would not cost (note cost not price) $50M. When you add the 20% normal profit margin you get to the $60M price value that SpaceX would charge a commercial customer. With those estimates any conclusion you make would likely be wrong.

I'm skeptical they're limited to 20% margin.  If that were the case, I'm pretty sure that an F9 launch would have to cost about $30M, and clearly it doesn't.  So I'm just going to assume that the profit is baked into the price, and see if I can't come up with numbers that work.

Good point on subtracting the cost+profit of the short fairing.

Another stab at it attached, going back to an FH3R from Vandy, with the associated pad work.  It's still hard to make the $316M NROL contract jibe with the $332M PPE/HALO contract unless there's an awful lot of launch-associated services tacked on to the PPE/HALO:


Offline joek

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4847
  • Liked: 2773
  • Likes Given: 1090
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #119 on: 04/07/2021 06:10 am »
Also there is a usual on FFP contracts with the government launch contracts a 20% profit margin ...

Per FAR, a contract that contains a profit margin specification would not be an FFP.  Those fall into the cost + something contract category.  FFP's may allow for "adjustments", which are indirectly related to "profit".  For details see FAR Subpart 16.2 - Fixed-Price Contracts.  All Federal acquisitions are subject to FAR, including launch contracts.

I'm skeptical they're limited to 20% margin.  If that were the case, I'm pretty sure that an F9 launch would have to cost about $30M, and clearly it doesn't.  So I'm just going to assume that the profit is baked into the price, and see if I can't come up with numbers that work.

Correct.  Those are FFP contracts competitively bid.  Supplier takes the economic risk; if their costs come in under their bid, they get the profits; if they go over they eat the loss.  USG has no say in profit, nor may demand invasive cost accounting rules or evidence.


p.s Sole-source FFP may allow for more invasive USG cost accounting to ensure supplier is not taking undue advantage; a different conversation.  Alternate path is other transaction authority (OTA); again a different conversation and not in play here.

Offline joek

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4847
  • Liked: 2773
  • Likes Given: 1090
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #120 on: 04/07/2021 06:22 am »
...
Another stab at it attached, going back to an FH3R from Vandy, with the associated pad work.  It's still hard to make the $316M NROL contract jibe with the $332M PPE/HALO contract unless there's an awful lot of launch-associated services tacked on to the PPE/HALO:

There are also "special studies" often attached to such efforts, which can be non-trivial $.  However, in most previous efforts-contracts, those are separate awards well in advance of a launch contract award.  Not sure if that is factored in here?

Online TheRadicalModerate

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4302
  • Tampa, FL
  • Liked: 3224
  • Likes Given: 632
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #121 on: 04/07/2021 06:50 am »
...
Another stab at it attached, going back to an FH3R from Vandy, with the associated pad work.  It's still hard to make the $316M NROL contract jibe with the $332M PPE/HALO contract unless there's an awful lot of launch-associated services tacked on to the PPE/HALO:

There are also "special studies" often attached to such efforts, which can be non-trivial $.  However, in most previous efforts-contracts, those are separate awards well in advance of a launch contract award.  Not sure if that is factored in here?

That would be in my "launch-associated add-ons" category.  But if there's a "special studies" CLIN worth about $50M, I want to know where I can sign up to do one of those...

Online danneely

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 577
  • Johnstown, PA, USA
  • Liked: 401
  • Likes Given: 676
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #122 on: 04/07/2021 10:29 am »
Also there is a usual on FFP contracts with the government launch contracts a 20% profit margin as part of the $316M figure for NROL. So the costs are a total of significantly less than $316M or actually ~$264M. Profit value of $52M. Also a faring C is unlikely to cost more than $10M since a standard new faring cost is <$7M. The entire pad cost $70M when they first set it up for use to launch F9s and the initial version of FH. But it has been upgraded several times for additional capabilities since then. A VIF using SpaceX costing for such things is unlikely to cost as much as the original HIF and orginal pad upgrades with a TL as well that could initially handle a FH. Some values you have are under and others are way over. Plus a standard F9 complete brand new includes faring as well and launch processing at site even as an expandable would not cost (note cost not price) $50M. When you add the 20% normal profit margin you get to the $60M price value that SpaceX would charge a commercial customer. With those estimates any conclusion you make would likely be wrong.

I'm skeptical they're limited to 20% margin.  If that were the case, I'm pretty sure that an F9 launch would have to cost about $30M, and clearly it doesn't.  So I'm just going to assume that the profit is baked into the price, and see if I can't come up with numbers that work.

Good point on subtracting the cost+profit of the short fairing.

Another stab at it attached, going back to an FH3R from Vandy, with the associated pad work.  It's still hard to make the $316M NROL contract jibe with the $332M PPE/HALO contract unless there's an awful lot of launch-associated services tacked on to the PPE/HALO:

The R&D costs for the upgraded fairing (and the various pad upgrade costs) probably aren't charged 100% to the first launch using them.  The govt contracting offices starting positions would be "we anticipate N buying launches, you should charge $total cost/N to each", SpaceX's would be "there's no guarantee we'll actually use it more than once, it should be $total cost to the first launch".  Unless someone rolled over completely, the final negotiated amounts charged to each contract will be somewhere in the middle (and not necessarily the same for each) and the first few launches will have a disproportionately large chunk of the total before it's fully paid for and the headline price/launch goes down.

Offline edzieba

  • Virtual Realist
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5959
  • United Kingdom
  • Liked: 9104
  • Likes Given: 38
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #123 on: 04/07/2021 12:13 pm »
As far as I can recall, the only Cat C payloads are Orion/Mentor (GSO from CCAFS) and KENNEN/CRYSTAL/Keyhole/Icon/etc into Polar 2 from Vandenberg.
NRO's massive filigree optical satellites are made on the east coast, so getting them to Florida would be quite a chore even if Falcon Heavy flying a dogleg trajectory is capable of lifting them. If Payload Processing (which presumably includes transportation to the processing facility) is not included in the bid, then there could be a 'gentleman's agreement' with SpaceX something along the lines of "Falcon Heavy qualifies as a launch vehicle for all NSSL orbits from LC39A without needing to upgrade SLC-4E for Falcon Heavy and vertical integration, but please never bid for Polar 2 launches".

Offline gongora

  • Global Moderator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10120
  • US
  • Liked: 13683
  • Likes Given: 5865
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #124 on: 04/07/2021 01:04 pm »
Payload transportation and payload processing at the launch site are completely different things.

Offline Jim

  • Night Gator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 37374
  • Cape Canaveral Spaceport
  • Liked: 21288
  • Likes Given: 428
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #125 on: 04/07/2021 01:14 pm »
Payload transportation and payload processing at the launch site are completely different things.

And both are done by the spacecraft contractor.

Offline Jim

  • Night Gator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 37374
  • Cape Canaveral Spaceport
  • Liked: 21288
  • Likes Given: 428
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #126 on: 04/07/2021 01:14 pm »
I am sorry, I caused some of the confusion.  I though we were only talking about SpaceX costs.

When NASA awards a launch service contract and states: "The total cost to NASA is approximately $331.8 million, including the launch service and other mission-related costs.".  Not all the money goes to the launch service contractor.  It also covers:

LSP support contractors
Comm and telemetry
Payload processing facility
Support services (propellants, gases, lab support, propellant loading support, environmental health, heavy equipment, security, range safety, etc

Launch service contractor costs:
Basic launch service - pre priced NTE
mission unique services - pre priced NTE
non standard services - negotiated
« Last Edit: 04/07/2021 02:00 pm by Jim »

Offline klod

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 114
  • Liked: 56
  • Likes Given: 418
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #127 on: 04/07/2021 01:54 pm »
As a reminder
https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=48510.msg1967914#msg1967914
Quote
MOD 106: The purpose of this contract modification is to award and definitize the firm fixed price (FFP) launch service for the Imaging X-Ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE) mission pursuant to Contract Clause 14.0, entitled Launch Service Task Ordering (LSTO) Procedures. This FFP includes the Falcon 9 Standard Launch Service and Standard Mission Integration and five (5) Mission Unique Services (MUSs). The total firm fixed price for this Launch Service Task Order for all definitized work under Contract Line Item Number 6 (CLIN 6) is $42,049,411.
Such launches could take up to 20-30% for other mission-related costs.
« Last Edit: 04/07/2021 01:55 pm by klod »

Online TheRadicalModerate

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4302
  • Tampa, FL
  • Liked: 3224
  • Likes Given: 632
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #128 on: 04/07/2021 07:55 pm »
I am sorry, I caused some of the confusion.  I though we were only talking about SpaceX costs.

When NASA awards a launch service contract and states: "The total cost to NASA is approximately $331.8 million, including the launch service and other mission-related costs.".  Not all the money goes to the launch service contractor.  It also covers:

LSP support contractors
Comm and telemetry
Payload processing facility
Support services (propellants, gases, lab support, propellant loading support, environmental health, heavy equipment, security, range safety, etc

Launch service contractor costs:
Basic launch service - pre priced NTE
mission unique services - pre priced NTE
non standard services - negotiated

From the SpaceNews article announcing the award:

Quote
NASA will use a Falcon Heavy rocket to launch the Power and Propulsion Element (PPE) and Habitation and Logistics Outpost (HALO) modules of the Gateway, destined for the near-rectilinear halo orbit around moon. The contract with SpaceX is valued at $331.8 million for the launch and “other mission-related costs.”

That doesn't sound like total cost to NASA.  It sounds like SpaceX gets $331.8M.

On the other hand, the NASA PR blurb says: "The total cost to NASA is approximately $331.8 million, including the launch service and other mission-related costs."

These two seem to be at odds with one another.  Did Jeff Foust get it wrong?

This is a little O/T over in the VAFB facilities thread, but if the PPE/HALO contract really includes third party integrators, that goes a long way to clearing up my confusion between it and the NROL costs.

Also, Jim, I noticed that you said on another thread that PPE/HALO was not going to be vertically integrated.  Is that for sure?  (I did have a "Duh!" moment when I realized that you could arrange things so that they went PAF-HALO-PPE, rather than PAF-PPE-HALO.)  If so, I'm even more confused about how many VIFs are being built, where, and when.

Offline Jim

  • Night Gator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 37374
  • Cape Canaveral Spaceport
  • Liked: 21288
  • Likes Given: 428
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #129 on: 04/07/2021 08:35 pm »


On the other hand, the NASA PR blurb says: "The total cost to NASA is approximately $331.8 million, including the launch service and other mission-related costs."

These two seem to be at odds with one another.  Did Jeff Foust get it wrong?

This is a little O/T over in the VAFB facilities thread, but if the PPE/HALO contract really includes third party integrators, that goes a long way to clearing up my confusion between it and the NROL costs.

Also, Jim, I noticed that you said on another thread that PPE/HALO was not going to be vertically integrated.  Is that for sure?  (I did have a "Duh!" moment when I realized that you could arrange things so that they went PAF-HALO-PPE, rather than PAF-PPE-HALO.)  If so, I'm even more confused about how many VIFs are being built, where, and when.

That is how all press releases state the costs.  They never state the contract costs.

There is no third party integrators unless you call LSP the third party.

I don't know of any VIFs being built from POV

Offline joek

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4847
  • Liked: 2773
  • Likes Given: 1090
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #130 on: 04/09/2021 12:08 am »
The R&D costs for the upgraded fairing (and the various pad upgrade costs) probably aren't charged 100% to the first launch using them.  The govt contracting offices starting positions would be "we anticipate N buying launches, you should charge $total cost/N to each", SpaceX's would be "there's no guarantee we'll actually use it more than once, it should be $total cost to the first launch".  Unless someone rolled over completely, the final negotiated amounts charged to each contract will be somewhere in the middle (and not necessarily the same for each) and the first few launches will have a disproportionately large chunk of the total before it's fully paid for and the headline price/launch goes down.

Good guess, but does not generally work that way under FAR.  Yes, they could separate the two under separate contracts, but these types of contracts tend to be IDIQ (indefinite Delivery, Indefinite Quantity).   USG says "we may want 1-N of those, commit to a price for qty X in year Y".  So there is some room to maneuver by both sides.  No idea of the details of the contract, do you?

Offline Jim

  • Night Gator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 37374
  • Cape Canaveral Spaceport
  • Liked: 21288
  • Likes Given: 428
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #131 on: 04/09/2021 12:46 am »
The development costs for new hardware are charged to the first mission.

Online TheRadicalModerate

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4302
  • Tampa, FL
  • Liked: 3224
  • Likes Given: 632
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #132 on: 04/09/2021 04:40 am »
The development costs for new hardware are charged to the first mission.

I'd think that there would an NRE CLIN and a CLIN for whatever quantity was being ordered.  But in an IDIQ contract, the vendor could decide how much of the R&D to charge directly to NRE and how much to amortize on a per-item basis.  Of course, the vendor would have to be pretty definite about the "indefinite" part to do that, and it would only make sense if it thought that the size of the NRE might make the bid look unattractive.  I doubt that that's the case with either the fairings or the infrastructure work.

Offline Jim

  • Night Gator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 37374
  • Cape Canaveral Spaceport
  • Liked: 21288
  • Likes Given: 428
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #133 on: 04/09/2021 06:26 am »
The development costs for new hardware are charged to the first mission.

I'd think that there would an NRE CLIN and a CLIN for whatever quantity was being ordered.  But in an IDIQ contract, the vendor could decide how much of the R&D to charge directly to NRE and how much to amortize on a per-item basis.  Of course, the vendor would have to be pretty definite about the "indefinite" part to do that, and it would only make sense if it thought that the size of the NRE might make the bid look unattractive.  I doubt that that's the case with either the fairings or the infrastructure work.


There is a CLIN for non standard services and the cost of those are negotiated.  If it is going to be a repeating non standard service, that can be negotiated and added as a mission unique service to the contract.

Offline oldAtlas_Eguy

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5303
  • Florida
  • Liked: 5003
  • Likes Given: 1425
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #134 on: 04/09/2021 06:48 pm »
One of the non standard services being the use of the VIF and performance of vertical mate. It would be an additional charge above that of the standard horizontal payload mate.

Online TheRadicalModerate

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4302
  • Tampa, FL
  • Liked: 3224
  • Likes Given: 632
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #135 on: 04/09/2021 09:29 pm »
One of the non standard services being the use of the VIF and performance of vertical mate. It would be an additional charge above that of the standard horizontal payload mate.

The VIF is easy, because you're never going to deliver more than one at Vandy.  (Assuming they've decided they need one at Vandy at all...)

But let's look at a hypothetical Cat C fairing.  Let's say it takes $30M in R&D to get to the point where the first one can be built, each one costs $10M to actually build and deliver, and you think you're going to build 5 of them in the not-too-distant future.  You can have one non-standard CLIN of $30M for the R&D, and then 5 IDIQ CLINs for the 5 fairing @ 10M each.  Alternatively, you could forgo the non-standard CLIN and have the 5 IDIQ CLINs (or one CLIN for 5 units) for $16M each.  AFAIK, you wouldn't get into FAR trouble with either bid.

If the customer is fairly relaxed about the price, then charging all the R&D  up front in the non-standard CLIN is clearly the way to go.  But if you're in a competitive situation, lowering the up-front costs might make your bid more attractive.

Offline oldAtlas_Eguy

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5303
  • Florida
  • Liked: 5003
  • Likes Given: 1425
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #136 on: 04/09/2021 09:47 pm »
One of the non standard services being the use of the VIF and performance of vertical mate. It would be an additional charge above that of the standard horizontal payload mate.

The VIF is easy, because you're never going to deliver more than one at Vandy.  (Assuming they've decided they need one at Vandy at all...)

But let's look at a hypothetical Cat C fairing.  Let's say it takes $30M in R&D to get to the point where the first one can be built, each one costs $10M to actually build and deliver, and you think you're going to build 5 of them in the not-too-distant future.  You can have one non-standard CLIN of $30M for the R&D, and then 5 IDIQ CLINs for the 5 fairing @ 10M each.  Alternatively, you could forgo the non-standard CLIN and have the 5 IDIQ CLINs (or one CLIN for 5 units) for $16M each.  AFAIK, you wouldn't get into FAR trouble with either bid.

If the customer is fairly relaxed about the price, then charging all the R&D  up front in the non-standard CLIN is clearly the way to go.  But if you're in a competitive situation, lowering the up-front costs might make your bid more attractive.
Each launch site may have differing prices for VIF use an vertical mate due to local issues. But the prices for a Faring C would be the same regardless of where launched and who is buying the ride. Note here is that R&D for the faring would be shared by multiple customers or charged completely and only to the very first contract issued. Else R&D costs are baked into the first X number of fairings purchased. After which SpaceX may then offer a lower price for a faring C but would not have to.

Ok. Now back to the VAFB facilities as in will there be a VIF and how long would it take to build it?

Offline SoCal_Eyeball

  • Member
  • Posts: 62
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • Liked: 122
  • Likes Given: 32
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #137 on: 04/10/2021 01:01 am »

Ok. Now back to the VAFB facilities as in will there be a VIF and how long would it take to build it?

Agree.  Is speculation and reading between the lines permitted?
On the SpaceX careers website for Vandenberg are two fairly recent job postings, among 39...the most ever.
https://www.spacex.com/careers/

The Payload Integration Engineer and Senior Payload Integration Engineer both have as one of their responsibilities to "Work as part of a small team of elite engineers designing and building the SpaceX launch and payload integration capabilities at our launch facility at Vandenberg Air Force Base on the central coast of California."

Since there is already an HIF, could a Vertical Integration Facility be on the agenda?

Offline SoCal_Eyeball

  • Member
  • Posts: 62
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • Liked: 122
  • Likes Given: 32
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #138 on: 04/28/2021 05:06 pm »
Despite being published in San Antonio, TX and a title pointing to Boca Chica, this well written article contains much about the history and growth of Vandenberg AFB in CA.  The author grew up in Lompoc and suggests what SpaceX might learn from the past as it develops Starbase, TX.

https://www.expressnews.com/sa-inc/article/SpaceX-s-Boca-Chica-venture-South-Texas-16133753.php

Of special interest are two seldom seen historic photos of the Space Shuttle Enterprise at Vandy:

https://s.hdnux.com/photos/01/17/63/53/20921041/5/2300x0.jpg

https://s.hdnux.com/photos/01/17/63/53/20921040/5/2300x0.jpg


Online catdlr

  • Member
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10523
  • Enthusiast since the Redstones
  • Marina del Rey, California, USA
  • Liked: 7789
  • Likes Given: 7287
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #139 on: 11/24/2021 08:38 am »
SpaceX DART Space Mission

Quote
The Vandenberg Fire Department facilitated with safety procedures in the static fire and launch for the SpaceX DART space mission.

Tony De La Rosa, ...I'm no Feline Dealer!! I move mountains.  but I'm better known for "I think it's highly sexual." Japanese to English Translation.

Offline wannamoonbase

  • Elite Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5357
  • Denver, CO
    • U.S. Metric Association
  • Liked: 3070
  • Likes Given: 3791
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #140 on: 02/28/2022 06:39 pm »
A renewed question in my mind after watching the latest VSFB launch.

The strong back there was built with the possibility to be used for a FH launch, originally.  I was wondering, and didn't find anything with my searches, if with the DOD awards, if a FH flight from VSFB is possible or planned?

Maybe it would just be cheaper to fly a F9 expendable, then build and recover a FH for only a couple launches ever.
Wildly optimistic prediction, Superheavy recovery on IFT-4 or IFT-5

Offline Zed_Noir

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5400
  • Canada
  • Liked: 1778
  • Likes Given: 1282
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #141 on: 02/28/2022 09:56 pm »
A renewed question in my mind after watching the latest VSFB launch.

The strong back there was built with the possibility to be used for a FH launch, originally.  I was wondering, and didn't find anything with my searches, if with the DOD awards, if a FH flight from VSFB is possible or planned?

Maybe it would just be cheaper to fly a F9 expendable, then build and recover a FH for only a couple launches ever.

IIRC the current Vandenberg transporter erector have to be modified or more likely replaced with a new one to launched the current Falcon Heavy. Which have a few upcoming West coast  missions for the spooks requiring a gantry tower for vertical payload integration after the retirement of the Delta IV Heavy.

For spook payloads. The spooks will happily buy fully expendable Falcon Heavies. If the rumors of the per unit cost of a spook "Earth observation" bird is in the multi $B range are true.

Offline atsf90east

  • Member
  • Posts: 91
  • Olathe, KS USA, Earth
  • Liked: 92
  • Likes Given: 132
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #142 on: 03/01/2022 01:55 am »
Who knows, after the last Delta IV Heavy launch the lease price for SLC-6 might become pretty attractive. Depending on what the Space Force and NSA launch requirements are in the next few years this may be a viable option.

The infrastructure exists there for vertical payload integration, it was left over from the Space Shuttle days and modified for the Delta IV Heavy.  A new transporter/ erector and horizontal integration structure would have to be built though.  The flame trench is wide enough to accommodate a Falcon Heavy.

Stranger things have happened. :)
Attended Launches: Space Shuttle: STS-85, STS-95, STS-96, STS-103. Falcon 9: Thaicom-8

Offline Hamish.Student

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 388
  • Liked: 426
  • Likes Given: 464
Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #143 on: 03/01/2022 03:24 am »
Hey mods, thread title needs to be fixed :) Its not a USAF base anymore.

Offline zubenelgenubi

  • Global Moderator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 11002
  • Arc to Arcturus, then Spike to Spica
  • Sometimes it feels like Trantor in the time of Hari Seldon
  • Liked: 7292
  • Likes Given: 70076
Re: SpaceX Vandenberg SFB facilities (was VAFB)
« Reply #144 on: 03/01/2022 05:45 pm »
Hey mods, thread title needs to be fixed :) Its not a USAF base anymore.
Done! Thanks for the Report to Moderator.
Support your local planetarium! (COVID-panic and forward: Now more than ever.) My current avatar is saying "i wants to go uppies!" Yes, there are God-given rights. Do you wish to gainsay the Declaration of Independence?

Offline wannamoonbase

  • Elite Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5357
  • Denver, CO
    • U.S. Metric Association
  • Liked: 3070
  • Likes Given: 3791
Re: SpaceX Vandenberg SFB facilities (was VAFB)
« Reply #145 on: 03/01/2022 10:28 pm »
Who knows, after the last Delta IV Heavy launch the lease price for SLC-6 might become pretty attractive. Depending on what the Space Force and NSA launch requirements are in the next few years this may be a viable option.

The infrastructure exists there for vertical payload integration, it was left over from the Space Shuttle days and modified for the Delta IV Heavy.  A new transporter/ erector and horizontal integration structure would have to be built though.  The flame trench is wide enough to accommodate a Falcon Heavy.

Stranger things have happened. :)

I'd never say never with SpaceX, but I doubt they would be interested in SLC6.  Not sure FH might be too tall for the roof anyway.
Wildly optimistic prediction, Superheavy recovery on IFT-4 or IFT-5

Offline Lars-J

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6807
  • California
  • Liked: 8462
  • Likes Given: 5371
Re: SpaceX Vandenberg SFB facilities (was VAFB)
« Reply #146 on: 03/01/2022 11:03 pm »
I'd never say never with SpaceX, but I doubt they would be interested in SLC6.  Not sure FH might be too tall for the roof anyway.

*IF* SpaceX is interesting in SLC6, it would likely be for Starship operations, not Falcon Heavy. IMO.
« Last Edit: 03/01/2022 11:05 pm by Lars-J »

Offline EL_DIABLO

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 180
  • Liked: 143
  • Likes Given: 155
Re: SpaceX Vandenberg SFB facilities (was VAFB)
« Reply #147 on: 03/02/2022 10:13 am »
I'd never say never with SpaceX, but I doubt they would be interested in SLC6.  Not sure FH might be too tall for the roof anyway.

*IF* SpaceX is interesting in SLC6, it would likely be for Starship operations, not Falcon Heavy. IMO.

Starship at SLC-6, or Vandenberg in general, would be awesome but is there a reasonable argument for it?
« Last Edit: 03/02/2022 10:15 am by EL_DIABLO »

Offline Asteroza

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2791
  • Liked: 1054
  • Likes Given: 32
Re: SpaceX Vandenberg SFB facilities (was VAFB)
« Reply #148 on: 03/02/2022 11:24 pm »
I'd never say never with SpaceX, but I doubt they would be interested in SLC6.  Not sure FH might be too tall for the roof anyway.

*IF* SpaceX is interesting in SLC6, it would likely be for Starship operations, not Falcon Heavy. IMO.

Starship at SLC-6, or Vandenberg in general, would be awesome but is there a reasonable argument for it?

Better polar launches, though that can be mitigated by tanker starships refueling the launched one. Weather may be a consideration, during hurricane season.

Offline EL_DIABLO

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 180
  • Liked: 143
  • Likes Given: 155
Re: SpaceX Vandenberg SFB facilities (was VAFB)
« Reply #149 on: 03/03/2022 10:26 am »
I'd never say never with SpaceX, but I doubt they would be interested in SLC6.  Not sure FH might be too tall for the roof anyway.

*IF* SpaceX is interesting in SLC6, it would likely be for Starship operations, not Falcon Heavy. IMO.

Starship at SLC-6, or Vandenberg in general, would be awesome but is there a reasonable argument for it?

Better polar launches, though that can be mitigated by tanker starships refueling the launched one. Weather may be a consideration, during hurricane season.

Right, but what I meant is that worth setting up local manufacturing? Because I don't see how you'd get a booster there otherwise.

Offline Alvian@IDN

Re: SpaceX Vandenberg SFB facilities (was VAFB)
« Reply #150 on: 03/03/2022 11:42 am »
I'd never say never with SpaceX, but I doubt they would be interested in SLC6.  Not sure FH might be too tall for the roof anyway.

*IF* SpaceX is interesting in SLC6, it would likely be for Starship operations, not Falcon Heavy. IMO.

Starship at SLC-6, or Vandenberg in general, would be awesome but is there a reasonable argument for it?

Better polar launches, though that can be mitigated by tanker starships refueling the launched one. Weather may be a consideration, during hurricane season.
Also Starlink v2.0 inclinations (some are retrograde)

Right, but what I meant is that worth setting up local manufacturing? Because I don't see how you'd get a booster there otherwise.
Based on Starbase & now KSC examples, their models is to manufacture ships & boosters near the launch site. Environmental regulations in Vandenberg is pretty tough tho, so there's a possibility for offshore platforms
« Last Edit: 03/03/2022 11:45 am by Alvian@IDN »
My parents was just being born when the Apollo program is over. Why we are still stuck in this stagnation, let's go forward again

Offline Lars-J

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6807
  • California
  • Liked: 8462
  • Likes Given: 5371
Re: SpaceX Vandenberg SFB facilities (was VAFB)
« Reply #151 on: 03/03/2022 07:41 pm »
I'd never say never with SpaceX, but I doubt they would be interested in SLC6.  Not sure FH might be too tall for the roof anyway.

*IF* SpaceX is interesting in SLC6, it would likely be for Starship operations, not Falcon Heavy. IMO.

Starship at SLC-6, or Vandenberg in general, would be awesome but is there a reasonable argument for it?

Better polar launches, though that can be mitigated by tanker starships refueling the launched one. Weather may be a consideration, during hurricane season.

Right, but what I meant is that worth setting up local manufacturing? Because I don't see how you'd get a booster there otherwise.
At some point they’re going to have to launch where there is no local manufacturing, otherwise it will be impractical to expand the way they want to. Ground transporting SH and SS will be a necessity.

Online DanClemmensen

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5292
  • Earth (currently)
  • Liked: 4139
  • Likes Given: 1664
Re: SpaceX Vandenberg SFB facilities (was VAFB)
« Reply #152 on: 03/03/2022 07:56 pm »
I'd never say never with SpaceX, but I doubt they would be interested in SLC6.  Not sure FH might be too tall for the roof anyway.

*IF* SpaceX is interesting in SLC6, it would likely be for Starship operations, not Falcon Heavy. IMO.

Starship at SLC-6, or Vandenberg in general, would be awesome but is there a reasonable argument for it?

Better polar launches, though that can be mitigated by tanker starships refueling the launched one. Weather may be a consideration, during hurricane season.

Right, but what I meant is that worth setting up local manufacturing? Because I don't see how you'd get a booster there otherwise.
At some point they’re going to have to launch where there is no local manufacturing, otherwise it will be impractical to expand the way they want to. Ground transporting SH and SS will be a necessity.
Non-orbital transport (Ground, sea, or hopping) of a very few SH will be a necessity for each new site. EDL-capable SS can be landed from LEO. Any given mechazilla needs a total of one SH and possible one backup SH.

Offline Rondaz

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 27059
  • Liked: 5301
  • Likes Given: 169
Re: SpaceX Vandenberg SFB facilities (was VAFB)
« Reply #153 on: 03/27/2022 02:18 am »
I've tracked this barge, and it would appear that SpaceX shipped two Falcon 9 boosters from the Port of Long Beach to Vandenberg Space Force Base yesterday.

https://twitter.com/SpaceOffshore/status/1507900158335504390

Offline wannamoonbase

  • Elite Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5357
  • Denver, CO
    • U.S. Metric Association
  • Liked: 3070
  • Likes Given: 3791
Re: SpaceX Vandenberg SFB facilities (was VAFB)
« Reply #154 on: 04/10/2022 04:22 am »
I wonder if one of those is pre-positioning a one web booster.
Wildly optimistic prediction, Superheavy recovery on IFT-4 or IFT-5

Offline EL_DIABLO

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 180
  • Liked: 143
  • Likes Given: 155
Re: SpaceX Vandenberg SFB facilities (was VAFB)
« Reply #155 on: 04/11/2022 10:17 am »
Is this the place where barges unload Falcon 9 boosters at Vandenberg?

Online catdlr

  • Member
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10523
  • Enthusiast since the Redstones
  • Marina del Rey, California, USA
  • Liked: 7789
  • Likes Given: 7287
Re: SpaceX Vandenberg SFB facilities (was VAFB)
« Reply #156 on: 04/11/2022 10:57 am »
Is this the place where barges unload Falcon 9 boosters at Vandenberg?

YEP.  ULA also delivers here too.

« Last Edit: 04/11/2022 10:58 am by catdlr »
Tony De La Rosa, ...I'm no Feline Dealer!! I move mountains.  but I'm better known for "I think it's highly sexual." Japanese to English Translation.

Offline FLHerne

  • Member
  • Posts: 22
  • UK
  • Liked: 37
  • Likes Given: 53
Re: SpaceX Vandenberg SFB facilities (was VAFB)
« Reply #157 on: 07/23/2022 03:35 pm »
Starlink 3-2 has just crushed the turnaround record at SLC-4E from 22 to 12 days, and it's only earlier this year that it came below a month.

Is there any information about upgrades to the pad, or has this been achieved mostly by increasing the West Coast workforce?

Offline alugobi

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1467
  • Liked: 1527
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: SpaceX Vandenberg SFB facilities (was VAFB)
« Reply #158 on: 07/23/2022 03:44 pm »
Or maybe, previously, there wasn't any need to go any quicker.

Online FutureSpaceTourist

  • Global Moderator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 47311
  • UK
    • Plan 28
  • Liked: 80117
  • Likes Given: 36283
Re: SpaceX Vandenberg SFB facilities (was VAFB)
« Reply #159 on: 08/15/2022 07:41 pm »
twitter.com/sciguyspace/status/1559211089124102145

Quote
SpaceX Falcon 9 operations manager Steven Cameron on LinkedIn:

"We are hiring skilled technicians as we move to increase the launch cadence on the West Coast by more than double."

https://twitter.com/alexphysics13/status/1559211710900314114

Quote
They are indeed upping the cadence. SLC-4E has been getting upgrades over the past months with help from Cape Canaveral teams to support a higher cadence of flights. Prior max number of launches by SpaceX from 4E was at 6 in 2018, they could reach up to 14 flights this year
« Last Edit: 08/15/2022 07:43 pm by FutureSpaceTourist »

Offline alugobi

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1467
  • Liked: 1527
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: SpaceX Vandenberg SFB facilities (was VAFB)
« Reply #160 on: 08/15/2022 10:47 pm »
What would they be doing in this work?  What has to happen to decrease turnaround time?

Online FutureSpaceTourist

  • Global Moderator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 47311
  • UK
    • Plan 28
  • Liked: 80117
  • Likes Given: 36283
Re: SpaceX Vandenberg SFB facilities (was VAFB)
« Reply #161 on: 03/20/2023 07:41 am »
https://twitter.com/alexphysics13/status/1637656179978522625

Quote
It's worth pointing out that their major goal this year for Vandenberg is to make it become another SLC-40 and all without changing the TE. It's quite the effort and they may not succeed but... they're gonna try at least.

Interesting that SpaceX think this is a quicker and/or cheaper approach than changing the TE.
« Last Edit: 03/20/2023 07:43 am by FutureSpaceTourist »

Offline Herb Schaltegger

Re: SpaceX Vandenberg SFB facilities (was VAFB)
« Reply #162 on: 03/20/2023 11:29 am »
https://twitter.com/alexphysics13/status/1637656179978522625

Quote
It's worth pointing out that their major goal this year for Vandenberg is to make it become another SLC-40 and all without changing the TE. It's quite the effort and they may not succeed but... they're gonna try at least.

Interesting that SpaceX think this is a quicker and/or cheaper approach than changing the TE.

What is the “this” you’re referring to? This thread seems to be missing a lot of context and content/
Ad astra per aspirin ...

Online FutureSpaceTourist

  • Global Moderator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 47311
  • UK
    • Plan 28
  • Liked: 80117
  • Likes Given: 36283
Re: SpaceX Vandenberg SFB facilities (was VAFB)
« Reply #163 on: 10/06/2023 05:13 am »
Really nice video:

https://twitter.com/spacex/status/1710048360793776224

Quote
SpaceX has completed 70 Falcon launches so far this year, 20 of which have been supported by our team at Vandenberg

If you’re interested in being a part of the mission to make space more accessible and ultimately life multiplanetary, learn more about what’s possible → x.com/SpaceX/jobs

Online catdlr

  • Member
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10523
  • Enthusiast since the Redstones
  • Marina del Rey, California, USA
  • Liked: 7789
  • Likes Given: 7287
Re: SpaceX Vandenberg SFB facilities (was VAFB)
« Reply #164 on: 10/06/2023 06:16 am »
Some Screen Grabs from that video above
Tony De La Rosa, ...I'm no Feline Dealer!! I move mountains.  but I'm better known for "I think it's highly sexual." Japanese to English Translation.

Re: SpaceX Vandenberg SFB facilities (was VAFB)
« Reply #165 on: 12/05/2023 09:51 am »
https://www.noozhawk.com/spacex-launch-rate-at-vandenberg-sfb-could-soar-to-100-by-2025/

Quote
SpaceX Yearly Launch Rate at Vandenberg SFB Could Soar to 100 by 2025
EconAlliance Future Forum attendees hear about ambitious plans to bring Falcon Heavy rocket to West Coast

by Janene Scully | Noozhawk North County Editor
December 4, 2023 | 6:23 pm

A busy SpaceX soon will be even busier with the addition of a second launch pad and a heavy rocket at Vandenberg Space Force Base, where the firm’s yearly liftoff rate could reach 100 in a couple years.

Nate Janzen, manager of launch pad systems and operations for SpaceX at Vandenberg and a 10-year employee of the firm, spoke last week during the 10th annual celebration and Future Forum for the Economic Alliance Foundation, or EconAlliance, at the Santa Maria Country Club.

Quote
“We’re really ramping up Vandenberg to rates that we’ve never seen before and the area hasn’t seen before,” Janzen said, prompting applause from the audience.

From one launch four years ago to three the next year and 12 the following year, SpaceX expects about 30 liftoffs by the end this year.

For 2024, the rate could jump to 50, then rocket to 100 in 2025.

Quote
With the final Vandenberg Delta IV launch from SLC-6 last year, ULA prepared to move out of the site and SpaceX decided to move in — allowing the Falcon Heavy missions to take place in the future from there.

Work to ready the site should begin soon, with a goal of the first Falcon launch from SLC-6 taking place in mid-2025, Janzen added.

 In addition to Falcon 9, SLC-6 also will allow SpaceX to have a West Coast launch site for the Falcon Heavy rocket, which employs three Falcon 9 first-stage boosters strapped together to carry larger payloads into orbit.

He expects the first Falcon Heavy contract for Vandenberg in 2026.

Plans also call for adding two additional landing sites at Vandenberg, so all three boosters on a Falcon Heavy launch could return to Vandenberg.

“That’s what I’m looking forward to — I think that’s going to be pretty epic.”

Offline Crispy

  • Member
  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1021
  • London
  • Liked: 778
  • Likes Given: 51
Re: SpaceX Vandenberg SFB facilities (was VAFB)
« Reply #166 on: 12/05/2023 12:22 pm »
What is the “this” you’re referring to? This thread seems to be missing a lot of context and content/
The "this" that Berger is refering to is the rapid and large retraction of the Cape Canaveral SLC-40 transporter-erector, which reduces the damage caused by the engine plume as it clears. The Vandenberg SLC-4 TE is an older design and only retracts a few degrees.

Presumably there will be a new TE for SLC-6 unless they want to drive it up and down the coast road!

Offline Zed_Noir

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5400
  • Canada
  • Liked: 1778
  • Likes Given: 1282
Re: SpaceX Vandenberg SFB facilities (was VAFB)
« Reply #167 on: 12/05/2023 03:05 pm »
<snip>
Presumably there will be a new TE for SLC-6 unless they want to drive it up and down the coast road!
SpaceX might use the current SLC-6 pad structures to assembled and do final vertical payload integration with a new mobile service tower for the Falcon Heavy. If so, then only a few booster core transport trailers might be required.
« Last Edit: 12/05/2023 03:06 pm by Zed_Noir »

Offline jstrotha0975

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 560
  • United States
  • Liked: 329
  • Likes Given: 2577
Re: SpaceX Vandenberg SFB facilities (was VAFB)
« Reply #168 on: 12/05/2023 04:15 pm »
<snip>
Presumably there will be a new TE for SLC-6 unless they want to drive it up and down the coast road!
SpaceX might use the current SLC-6 pad structures to assembled and do final vertical payload integration with a new mobile service tower for the Falcon Heavy. If so, then only a few booster core transport trailers might be required.

Agreed. SpaceX won't need a TE if they modify the infrastructure already at SLC-6.

Online catdlr

  • Member
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10523
  • Enthusiast since the Redstones
  • Marina del Rey, California, USA
  • Liked: 7789
  • Likes Given: 7287
Re: SpaceX Vandenberg SFB facilities (was VAFB)
« Reply #169 on: 12/06/2023 08:30 pm »
Cross-post to an article that has some info on SLC-6 and plans for VSFB.

https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=51761.msg2547091#msg2547091

Takeaways:

Quote
In addition to Falcon 9, SLC-6 will also allow SpaceX to have a West Coast launch site for the Falcon Heavy rocket, which employs three Falcon 9 first-stage boosters strapped together to carry larger payloads into orbit.

He expects the first Falcon Heavy contract for Vandenberg in 2026.

Plans also call for adding two additional landing sites at Vandenberg, so all three boosters on a Falcon Heavy launch could return to Vandenberg.

Tony De La Rosa, ...I'm no Feline Dealer!! I move mountains.  but I'm better known for "I think it's highly sexual." Japanese to English Translation.

Offline wannamoonbase

  • Elite Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5357
  • Denver, CO
    • U.S. Metric Association
  • Liked: 3070
  • Likes Given: 3791
Re: SpaceX Vandenberg SFB facilities (was VAFB)
« Reply #170 on: 12/06/2023 10:12 pm »
Cross-post to an article that has some info on SLC-6 and plans for VSFB.

https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=51761.msg2547091#msg2547091

Takeaways:

Quote
In addition to Falcon 9, SLC-6 will also allow SpaceX to have a West Coast launch site for the Falcon Heavy rocket, which employs three Falcon 9 first-stage boosters strapped together to carry larger payloads into orbit.

He expects the first Falcon Heavy contract for Vandenberg in 2026.

Plans also call for adding two additional landing sites at Vandenberg, so all three boosters on a Falcon Heavy launch could return to Vandenberg.



This is the second reference in the last two weeks to recovering a FH core stage. 

That's very interesting after EM saying they weren't going to work on that further.
Wildly optimistic prediction, Superheavy recovery on IFT-4 or IFT-5

Offline Asteroza

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2791
  • Liked: 1054
  • Likes Given: 32
Re: SpaceX Vandenberg SFB facilities (was VAFB)
« Reply #171 on: 12/06/2023 10:27 pm »
Cross-post to an article that has some info on SLC-6 and plans for VSFB.

https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=51761.msg2547091#msg2547091

Takeaways:

Quote
In addition to Falcon 9, SLC-6 will also allow SpaceX to have a West Coast launch site for the Falcon Heavy rocket, which employs three Falcon 9 first-stage boosters strapped together to carry larger payloads into orbit.

He expects the first Falcon Heavy contract for Vandenberg in 2026.

Plans also call for adding two additional landing sites at Vandenberg, so all three boosters on a Falcon Heavy launch could return to Vandenberg.



This is the second reference in the last two weeks to recovering a FH core stage. 

That's very interesting after EM saying they weren't going to work on that further.

Especially since polar missions require MORE performance, pushing the FH core harder. Seems like it would be hard to retain sufficient propellant for a core ASDS as is, nevermind a RTLS. I think someone misunderstood what was said, that the two additional pads are for side booster landings only, with the extant landing pad continuing to serve SLC-4E. I suspect keeping the landing pad clear means the pads are not entirely fungible in terms of scheduling.

Offline Brigantine

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 303
  • NZ
  • Liked: 146
  • Likes Given: 445
Re: SpaceX Vandenberg SFB facilities (was VAFB)
« Reply #172 on: 12/06/2023 10:38 pm »
<Asteroza beat me to it>

especially interesting that they're talking about the FH centre stage doing RTLS. IIRC that reduces performance considerably even compared with RTLS/ASDS/RTLS, maybe even worse performance than expendable single stick.

Unless they're considering using a different, heavier upper stage from that SLC-6 VAB. Stretch 2nd? 5m 2nd? Mini Starship? But that would be even more surprising!
« Last Edit: 12/06/2023 10:39 pm by Brigantine »

Online sdsds

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7039
  • “With peace and hope for all mankind.”
  • Seattle
  • Liked: 1909
  • Likes Given: 1891
Re: SpaceX Vandenberg SFB facilities (was VAFB)
« Reply #173 on: 12/06/2023 11:37 pm »
Does Vandenberg SLC-6 include enough area for both FH launch and landing pads, and also a Starship pad?
— 𝐬𝐝𝐒𝐝𝐬 —

Online catdlr

  • Member
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10523
  • Enthusiast since the Redstones
  • Marina del Rey, California, USA
  • Liked: 7789
  • Likes Given: 7287
Re: SpaceX Vandenberg SFB facilities (was VAFB)
« Reply #174 on: 12/07/2023 12:13 am »
Does Vandenberg SLC-6 include enough area for both FH launch and landing pads, and also a Starship pad?

well, in terms of acreage, yes it could.  But not both pads.  It will be either F9H or Starship. Right now my bet is on SLC-6 transform For F9H, as being reported.
Tony De La Rosa, ...I'm no Feline Dealer!! I move mountains.  but I'm better known for "I think it's highly sexual." Japanese to English Translation.

Online DanClemmensen

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5292
  • Earth (currently)
  • Liked: 4139
  • Likes Given: 1664
Re: SpaceX Vandenberg SFB facilities (was VAFB)
« Reply #175 on: 12/07/2023 12:25 am »
Does Vandenberg SLC-6 include enough area for both FH launch and landing pads, and also a Starship pad?

well, in terms of acreage, yes it could.  But not both pads.  It will be either F9H or Starship. Right now my bet is on SLC-6 transform For F9H, as being reported.
I can't find it, but I think we had this discussion before. Apparently, SLC-4 is quite large and has enough room for Starship in addition to F9.  I think SpaceX must build out for FH first because it must honor its NSSL contractual commitments.

Online catdlr

  • Member
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10523
  • Enthusiast since the Redstones
  • Marina del Rey, California, USA
  • Liked: 7789
  • Likes Given: 7287
Re: SpaceX Vandenberg SFB facilities (was VAFB)
« Reply #176 on: 12/07/2023 01:09 am »
me
Does Vandenberg SLC-6 include enough area for both FH launch and landing pads, and also a Starship pad?

well, in terms of acreage, yes it could.  But not both pads.  It will be either F9H or Starship. Right now my bet is on SLC-6 transform For F9H, as being reported.
I can't find it, but I think we had this discussion before. Apparently, SLC-4 is quite large and has enough room for Starship in addition to F9.  I think SpaceX must build out for FH first because it must honor its NSSL contractual commitments.

Yes DanClemmensen, it's in L2. 
« Last Edit: 12/07/2023 01:32 am by catdlr »
Tony De La Rosa, ...I'm no Feline Dealer!! I move mountains.  but I'm better known for "I think it's highly sexual." Japanese to English Translation.

Online Galactic Penguin SST

Re: SpaceX Vandenberg SFB facilities (was VAFB)
« Reply #177 on: 12/07/2023 01:35 am »
Cross-post to an article that has some info on SLC-6 and plans for VSFB.

https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=51761.msg2547091#msg2547091

Takeaways:

Quote
In addition to Falcon 9, SLC-6 will also allow SpaceX to have a West Coast launch site for the Falcon Heavy rocket, which employs three Falcon 9 first-stage boosters strapped together to carry larger payloads into orbit.

He expects the first Falcon Heavy contract for Vandenberg in 2026.

Plans also call for adding two additional landing sites at Vandenberg, so all three boosters on a Falcon Heavy launch could return to Vandenberg.



This is the second reference in the last two weeks to recovering a FH core stage. 

That's very interesting after EM saying they weren't going to work on that further.

Do you have a source on that?
There is at least one future FH launch where this is possible (Astrobotics Griffin lunar lander launch).
Astronomy & spaceflight geek penguin. In a relationship w/ Space Shuttle Discovery. Current Priority: Chasing the Chinese Spaceflight Wonder Egg & A Certain Chinese Mars Rover

Offline Zed_Noir

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5400
  • Canada
  • Liked: 1778
  • Likes Given: 1282
Re: SpaceX Vandenberg SFB facilities (was VAFB)
« Reply #178 on: 12/07/2023 02:29 am »
<snip>
especially interesting that they're talking about the FH centre stage doing RTLS. IIRC that reduces performance considerably even compared with RTLS/ASDS/RTLS, maybe even worse performance than expendable single stick.

Unless they're considering using a different, heavier upper stage from that SLC-6 VAB. Stretch 2nd? 5m 2nd? Mini Starship? But that would be even more surprising!
In between NSSL launches. SpaceX could use the Falcon Heavy from pad SLC-6 to deployed the maximum number of Starlink V2 mini comsats that the current payload fairing have volume for. Shouldn't required the full payload performance of the Falcon Heavy, so all 3 Falcon Heavy cores could be RTLS back to Vandenberg. SpaceX needs practice launching the Falcon Heavy for a higher launch rate. There might be many to cislunar and beyond payloads that might become viable with a frequent launching heavy launcher from a dedicated pad.

Offline Herb Schaltegger

Re: SpaceX Vandenberg SFB facilities (was VAFB)
« Reply #179 on: 12/07/2023 04:24 pm »
Cross-post to an article that has some info on SLC-6 and plans for VSFB.

https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=51761.msg2547091#msg2547091

Takeaways:

Quote
In addition to Falcon 9, SLC-6 will also allow SpaceX to have a West Coast launch site for the Falcon Heavy rocket, which employs three Falcon 9 first-stage boosters strapped together to carry larger payloads into orbit.

He expects the first Falcon Heavy contract for Vandenberg in 2026.

Plans also call for adding two additional landing sites at Vandenberg, so all three boosters on a Falcon Heavy launch could return to Vandenberg.



This is the second reference in the last two weeks to recovering a FH core stage. 

That's very interesting after EM saying they weren't going to work on that further.

Do you have a source on that?
There is at least one future FH launch where this is possible (Astrobotics Griffin lunar lander launch).

I have a source that has indicated to me that future work towards improving recoverability of the core stage wasn't happening (as of about 6-8 months ago).
Ad astra per aspirin ...

Offline wannamoonbase

  • Elite Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5357
  • Denver, CO
    • U.S. Metric Association
  • Liked: 3070
  • Likes Given: 3791
Re: SpaceX Vandenberg SFB facilities (was VAFB)
« Reply #180 on: 12/07/2023 04:45 pm »
<snip>
especially interesting that they're talking about the FH centre stage doing RTLS. IIRC that reduces performance considerably even compared with RTLS/ASDS/RTLS, maybe even worse performance than expendable single stick.

Unless they're considering using a different, heavier upper stage from that SLC-6 VAB. Stretch 2nd? 5m 2nd? Mini Starship? But that would be even more surprising!
In between NSSL launches. SpaceX could use the Falcon Heavy from pad SLC-6 to deployed the maximum number of Starlink V2 mini comsats that the current payload fairing have volume for. Shouldn't required the full payload performance of the Falcon Heavy, so all 3 Falcon Heavy cores could be RTLS back to Vandenberg. SpaceX needs practice launching the Falcon Heavy for a higher launch rate. There might be many to cislunar and beyond payloads that might become viable with a frequent launching heavy launcher from a dedicated pad.

If you're going to use FH to launch V2 Mini's why not use the longer fairing that they are developing for DOD as well?

Then do a full send on a FH with 3 core RTLS.  That's a lot of hardware to use and refurbish though, they'd have to run the numbers. 

Someone here can probably plop out a mass to Starlink orbit for a full FH RTLS flight. 
Wildly optimistic prediction, Superheavy recovery on IFT-4 or IFT-5

Online DanClemmensen

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5292
  • Earth (currently)
  • Liked: 4139
  • Likes Given: 1664
Re: SpaceX Vandenberg SFB facilities (was VAFB)
« Reply #181 on: 12/07/2023 04:55 pm »
<snip>
especially interesting that they're talking about the FH centre stage doing RTLS. IIRC that reduces performance considerably even compared with RTLS/ASDS/RTLS, maybe even worse performance than expendable single stick.

Unless they're considering using a different, heavier upper stage from that SLC-6 VAB. Stretch 2nd? 5m 2nd? Mini Starship? But that would be even more surprising!
In between NSSL launches. SpaceX could use the Falcon Heavy from pad SLC-6 to deployed the maximum number of Starlink V2 mini comsats that the current payload fairing have volume for. Shouldn't required the full payload performance of the Falcon Heavy, so all 3 Falcon Heavy cores could be RTLS back to Vandenberg. SpaceX needs practice launching the Falcon Heavy for a higher launch rate. There might be many to cislunar and beyond payloads that might become viable with a frequent launching heavy launcher from a dedicated pad.
I don't know how paranoid USSF is about NSSL launches, but perhaps they would prefer that the first FH launch from SLC-6 be a non-NSSL demo. I think we do know that SpaceX told them that the first FH NSSL flight would incur a serious one-time charge for non-recurring costs. At the time we thought that was mostly for the vertical integration infrastructure, but maybe some of that money defrays some of the costs for an actual demo?

Offline alugobi

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1467
  • Liked: 1527
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: SpaceX Vandenberg SFB facilities (was VAFB)
« Reply #182 on: 12/07/2023 07:09 pm »
Do they have space/property to land three boosters at Vandenberg?

Offline dglow

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2042
  • Liked: 2270
  • Likes Given: 4380
Re: SpaceX Vandenberg SFB facilities (was VAFB)
« Reply #183 on: 12/08/2023 11:06 am »
<snip>
especially interesting that they're talking about the FH centre stage doing RTLS. IIRC that reduces performance considerably even compared with RTLS/ASDS/RTLS, maybe even worse performance than expendable single stick.

Unless they're considering using a different, heavier upper stage from that SLC-6 VAB. Stretch 2nd? 5m 2nd? Mini Starship? But that would be even more surprising!
In between NSSL launches. SpaceX could use the Falcon Heavy from pad SLC-6 to deployed the maximum number of Starlink V2 mini comsats that the current payload fairing have volume for. Shouldn't required the full payload performance of the Falcon Heavy, so all 3 Falcon Heavy cores could be RTLS back to Vandenberg. SpaceX needs practice launching the Falcon Heavy for a higher launch rate. There might be many to cislunar and beyond payloads that might become viable with a frequent launching heavy launcher from a dedicated pad.
I don't know how paranoid USSF is about NSSL launches, but perhaps they would prefer that the first FH launch from SLC-6 be a non-NSSL demo. I think we do know that SpaceX told them that the first FH NSSL flight would incur a serious one-time charge for non-recurring costs. At the time we thought that was mostly for the vertical integration infrastructure, but maybe some of that money defrays some of the costs for an actual demo?
This is unlikely to be the case; it’s the launch vehicle USSF certifies, not the particular pad. The Delta IV, both medium and heavy configurations, flew national security payloads on their second flights. Both variants began with launches at CCAFS, and each proceeded to their first launches at Vandenberg without requirement for an additional test launch.
« Last Edit: 12/08/2023 11:09 am by dglow »

Offline Zed_Noir

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5400
  • Canada
  • Liked: 1778
  • Likes Given: 1282
Re: SpaceX Vandenberg SFB facilities (was VAFB)
« Reply #184 on: 12/08/2023 01:21 pm »
<snip>
If you're going to use FH to launch V2 Mini's why not use the longer fairing that they are developing for DOD as well?

Then do a full send on a FH with 3 core RTLS.  That's a lot of hardware to use and refurbish though, they'd have to run the numbers. 
<snip>
AIUI the longer payload fairing for DoD and the spooks is expendable and less sturdy. There will likely be only about a few dozen extended Falcon payload fairings being produced for the rest of the Falcon Heavy's service life. It will be too expensive mass produced the extended payload fairing, when there is a large inventory of regular payload fairings.

The advantage of a 3-core RTLS is that a drone ship (really a barge) and the associated tug isn't required. So a higher launch rate might be possible with just the turn around time of the pad to considered.

Offline dglow

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2042
  • Liked: 2270
  • Likes Given: 4380
Re: SpaceX Vandenberg SFB facilities (was VAFB)
« Reply #185 on: 12/08/2023 01:45 pm »
<snip>
If you're going to use FH to launch V2 Mini's why not use the longer fairing that they are developing for DOD as well?

Then do a full send on a FH with 3 core RTLS.  That's a lot of hardware to use and refurbish though, they'd have to run the numbers. 
<snip>
AIUI the longer payload fairing for DoD and the spooks is expendable and less sturdy. There will likely be only about a few dozen extended Falcon payload fairings being produced for the rest of the Falcon Heavy's service life. It will be too expensive mass produced the extended payload fairing, when there is a large inventory of regular payload fairings.

The advantage of a 3-core RTLS is that a drone ship (really a barge) and the associated tug isn't required. So a higher launch rate might be possible with just the turn around time of the pad to considered.

I thought the three-core RTLS profile was firmly out for FH, with the only possibility for center core recovery being a drone ship landing.

Offline wannamoonbase

  • Elite Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5357
  • Denver, CO
    • U.S. Metric Association
  • Liked: 3070
  • Likes Given: 3791
Re: SpaceX Vandenberg SFB facilities (was VAFB)
« Reply #186 on: 12/08/2023 02:12 pm »
<snip>
If you're going to use FH to launch V2 Mini's why not use the longer fairing that they are developing for DOD as well?

Then do a full send on a FH with 3 core RTLS.  That's a lot of hardware to use and refurbish though, they'd have to run the numbers. 
<snip>
AIUI the longer payload fairing for DoD and the spooks is expendable and less sturdy. There will likely be only about a few dozen extended Falcon payload fairings being produced for the rest of the Falcon Heavy's service life. It will be too expensive mass produced the extended payload fairing, when there is a large inventory of regular payload fairings.

The advantage of a 3-core RTLS is that a drone ship (really a barge) and the associated tug isn't required. So a higher launch rate might be possible with just the turn around time of the pad to considered.

I thought the three-core RTLS profile was firmly out for FH, with the only possibility for center core recovery being a drone ship landing.

That was the EM line until the reference last week to recovering the Intuitive core next year and this week with this VSFB news.  Maybe they expect the FH to be flying longer than they planned 1-2 years ago. 

Or maybe they see some missions coming up that make it worthwhile.

Regarding the longer fairing, I recall that originally they were going to get someone else (Ruag) to provide them, then recently I read they are going to do it themselves and that they were going to (try) recover them.   

I forget where I saw that though, maybe in the fairing reuse thread.
Wildly optimistic prediction, Superheavy recovery on IFT-4 or IFT-5

Offline warp99

  • Full Member
  • **
  • Posts: 273
  • New Zealand
  • Liked: 422
  • Likes Given: 44
Re: SpaceX Vandenberg SFB facilities (was VAFB)
« Reply #187 on: 12/13/2023 03:22 am »
<snip>
If you're going to use FH to launch V2 Mini's why not use the longer fairing that they are developing for DOD as well?

Then do a full send on a FH with 3 core RTLS.  That's a lot of hardware to use and refurbish though, they'd have to run the numbers. 
<snip>
AIUI the longer payload fairing for DoD and the spooks is expendable and less sturdy. There will likely be only about a few dozen extended Falcon payload fairings being produced for the rest of the Falcon Heavy's service life. It will be too expensive mass produced the extended payload fairing, when there is a large inventory of regular payload fairings.

The advantage of a 3-core RTLS is that a drone ship (really a barge) and the associated tug isn't required. So a higher launch rate might be possible with just the turn around time of the pad to considered.

I thought the three-core RTLS profile was firmly out for FH, with the only possibility for center core recovery being a drone ship landing.
The only launch profile 3 x RTLS makes sense for is a heavy payload to LEO where you do not want to expend any boosters. Initially with only 10 launches per booster this profile made little sense as you would effectively expend 30% of a booster life per FH launch so around $8M just in depreciation. 
Now with up to 30 flights per booster planned this profile only costs 10% of booster life per launch so depreciation is much lower at $2.7M.   
The most likely possibility would be to lift 33 Starlink V2 Mini satellites to orbit instead of 22 with F9.  If they can recover the stretched fairing this will significantly reduce the launch cost per satellite and allow faster launch operations as ASDS recovery is not required.

Offline wannamoonbase

  • Elite Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5357
  • Denver, CO
    • U.S. Metric Association
  • Liked: 3070
  • Likes Given: 3791
Re: SpaceX Vandenberg SFB facilities (was VAFB)
« Reply #188 on: 12/13/2023 04:01 pm »
<snip>
If you're going to use FH to launch V2 Mini's why not use the longer fairing that they are developing for DOD as well?

Then do a full send on a FH with 3 core RTLS.  That's a lot of hardware to use and refurbish though, they'd have to run the numbers. 
<snip>
AIUI the longer payload fairing for DoD and the spooks is expendable and less sturdy. There will likely be only about a few dozen extended Falcon payload fairings being produced for the rest of the Falcon Heavy's service life. It will be too expensive mass produced the extended payload fairing, when there is a large inventory of regular payload fairings.

The advantage of a 3-core RTLS is that a drone ship (really a barge) and the associated tug isn't required. So a higher launch rate might be possible with just the turn around time of the pad to considered.

I thought the three-core RTLS profile was firmly out for FH, with the only possibility for center core recovery being a drone ship landing.
The only launch profile 3 x RTLS makes sense for is a heavy payload to LEO where you do not want to expend any boosters. Initially with only 10 launches per booster this profile made little sense as you would effectively expend 30% of a booster life per FH launch so around $8M just in depreciation. 
Now with up to 30 flights per booster planned this profile only costs 10% of booster life per launch so depreciation is much lower at $2.7M.   
The most likely possibility would be to lift 33 Starlink V2 Mini satellites to orbit instead of 22 with F9.  If they can recover the stretched fairing this will significantly reduce the launch cost per satellite and allow faster launch operations as ASDS recovery is not required.

Interesting idea, have a rotation of 2 F9's and 1 FH flights with full RTLS. 

An internal FH vehicle for SpaceX to go through would be pretty exciting for us armchair viewers.


Edit: with a desired flight rate of 144 flights per year, the upper stage maybe the limiting factor.  So using FH, would use more boosters but it would use less upper stages per starlink on orbit.  Just a thought.
« Last Edit: 12/15/2023 02:18 pm by wannamoonbase »
Wildly optimistic prediction, Superheavy recovery on IFT-4 or IFT-5

Tags:
 

Advertisement NovaTech
Advertisement Northrop Grumman
Advertisement
Advertisement Margaritaville Beach Resort South Padre Island
Advertisement Brady Kenniston
Advertisement NextSpaceflight
Advertisement Nathan Barker Photography
1