Author Topic: SpaceX Vandenberg SFB facilities (was VAFB)  (Read 79986 times)

Online wannamoonbase

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

Online wannamoonbase

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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

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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.

Online wannamoonbase

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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

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