Author Topic: SpaceX Cape 39A Starship launch/landing facilities  (Read 388580 times)

Offline TheRadicalModerate

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Re: SpaceX Cape 39A Starship launch/landing facilities
« Reply #40 on: 07/07/2019 03:50 am »
What would be the effect of making SS effective terminal entry point, e.g., 150mi East of FL or BC [1], and land from the East?  Likely someone around here can do the analysis?  (I have no idea.)

Hard to say until we know more about the belly-flop reentry profile.  That might put the bulk of reentry over South Texas, which is a bad place to drop pieces of dead spacecraft.  But once you're going straight down in belly-flop mode, you only need to be a few miles off the coast to make things safe for descent.  Not quite sure how you'd get negative velocity back along the track, though: can you gimbal your landing burn enough to get back to the landing pad?

Still no clue what you do in Florida.  You could land on a drone ship well off the coast, but that probably runs a good risk of dropping pieces-parts on panhandle and central Florida.  Or you could land on the Gulf side and barge the Starship back to Canaveral.

Offline OneSpeed

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Re: SpaceX Cape 39A Starship launch/landing facilities
« Reply #41 on: 07/07/2019 04:08 am »
Starlink is the priority "operational cargo system".  Orbits required by Starlink are going to be more difficult to reach from BC than FL.  That suggests FL will be priority for SS/SH operational flights.  Anyone have an analysis of the penalties Starlink launches from BC would incur (calling @OneSpeed and @speedevil)?

I've done some work on that.  Assuming that launching over the Southeast US or Yucatan isn't allowed, the highest inclination you can get to is about 33 degrees, launching from BC through the Yucatan Channel.  I suspect that a dog-leg doesn't help very much, because by the time you clear Cancun, you're going fast enough that it's close to a full-up orbital plane change.

A plane change from 550x550x33 to 550x550x53 costs about 2600 m/s.  That's well beyond what Starship can do without on-orbit refueling, even if the payload is pretty small.  The low-inclination VLEO orbits cost between 1200 and 2000 m/s, which are somewhat better, but aren't going to get you as much as you'd get from a stretched-fairing FH3R launch from the Cape.

Nice work!

I've just started a new topic in response to this: https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=48496.msg1963477#msg1963477

I'm hoping for it to be a central location for the various tools that people have created over the years. I've kicked it off with a Rocket Equation and a Vis-Viva Equation tool. I've used your launch out of Boca Chica as an example, although I've assumed the initial orbit is 180 x 440 kms.

Offline DigitalMan

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Re: SpaceX Cape 39A Starship launch/landing facilities
« Reply #42 on: 07/07/2019 07:36 am »
I've attached an image of the 39A flame trench I took a short time before the handover to SpaceX if anyone is interested.

Offline speedevil

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Re: SpaceX Cape 39A Starship launch/landing facilities
« Reply #43 on: 07/07/2019 12:43 pm »
I've done some work on that.  Assuming that launching over the Southeast US or Yucatan isn't allowed, the highest inclination you can get to is about 33 degrees, launching from BC through the Yucatan Channel.  I suspect that a dog-leg doesn't help very much, because by the time you clear Cancun, you're going fast enough that it's close to a full-up orbital plane change.

A plane change from 550x550x33 to 550x550x53 costs about 2600 m/s.  That's well beyond what Starship can do without on-orbit refueling, even if the payload is pretty small.  The low-inclination VLEO orbits cost between 1200 and 2000 m/s, which are somewhat better, but aren't going to get you as much as you'd get from a stretched-fairing FH3R launch from the Cape.

In this thread I made some rough calculations, and came to the conclusion that a launch ballistically due east at ~45 degrees elevation to 2km/s at which point you go ballistic till you near the atmosphere, taking you some 400km east of BC.
At this point, you light up again, and proceed with the rest of the burn.
This has ~2km/s penalty, not ~2.7.

However, it has the major issue that SH is downrange a thousand kilometers and needs to barge land.

I disagree that even a 2.6km/s plane change kills the idea.

It depends on launch costs.
If your primary goal is to prove out SS, and you are just fine with tiny launches, yes indeed it takes nearly all of the "100t+" payload to get to the right orbit.

However, 'just' ten or twenty or fifty tons (depending on how you read the + in "100t+" and work out empty weight) may be just fine.
Even five tons may be cheaper than a F9 launch, if in fact refurbishment hits cost targets, and you can launch a lot.

This is without more aggressive use of the ion engines.
If you use them to do 1300m/s (this has not been demonstrated as reasonably capable on the Starlink sats yet), things change rather a lot.

There are many reasons SpaceX would be very happy to operate launching only tiny amounts of cargo at a time, from it makes the payload adaptors trivial, to a deployment mechanism as simple as a 9m double extension door slide out a tiny hatch.
And of course the obvious of flying it a lot to qualify it for nervous users or people.


Offline TheRadicalModerate

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Re: SpaceX Cape 39A Starship launch/landing facilities
« Reply #44 on: 07/07/2019 05:31 pm »
I've attached an image of the 39A flame trench I took a short time before the handover to SpaceX if anyone is interested.

Would you happen to have a shot from the south side?

Offline TheRadicalModerate

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Re: SpaceX Cape 39A Starship launch/landing facilities
« Reply #45 on: 07/07/2019 06:15 pm »
I've done some work on that.  Assuming that launching over the Southeast US or Yucatan isn't allowed, the highest inclination you can get to is about 33 degrees, launching from BC through the Yucatan Channel.  I suspect that a dog-leg doesn't help very much, because by the time you clear Cancun, you're going fast enough that it's close to a full-up orbital plane change.

A plane change from 550x550x33 to 550x550x53 costs about 2600 m/s.  That's well beyond what Starship can do without on-orbit refueling, even if the payload is pretty small.  The low-inclination VLEO orbits cost between 1200 and 2000 m/s, which are somewhat better, but aren't going to get you as much as you'd get from a stretched-fairing FH3R launch from the Cape.

In this thread I made some rough calculations, and came to the conclusion that a launch ballistically due east at ~45 degrees elevation to 2km/s at which point you go ballistic till you near the atmosphere, taking you some 400km east of BC.
At this point, you light up again, and proceed with the rest of the burn.
This has ~2km/s penalty, not ~2.7.

However, it has the major issue that SH is downrange a thousand kilometers and needs to barge land.

I disagree that even a 2.6km/s plane change kills the idea.

It depends on launch costs.
If your primary goal is to prove out SS, and you are just fine with tiny launches, yes indeed it takes nearly all of the "100t+" payload to get to the right orbit.

However, 'just' ten or twenty or fifty tons (depending on how you read the + in "100t+" and work out empty weight) may be just fine.
Even five tons may be cheaper than a F9 launch, if in fact refurbishment hits cost targets, and you can launch a lot.

This is without more aggressive use of the ion engines.
If you use them to do 1300m/s (this has not been demonstrated as reasonably capable on the Starlink sats yet), things change rather a lot.

There are many reasons SpaceX would be very happy to operate launching only tiny amounts of cargo at a time, from it makes the payload adaptors trivial, to a deployment mechanism as simple as a 9m double extension door slide out a tiny hatch.
And of course the obvious of flying it a lot to qualify it for nervous users or people.

That's an interesting trajectory.  I'd never thought about a "vertical dogleg" before.  Some questions:

1) Did you ever de-rate this from Adelaide to DearMoon specs?

2) How much SH delta-v do you lose to gravity drag in the loft?

3) Risk of accident at staging is extremely high, and this has the nice property that staging accidents wind up in the drink.  But there is also some non-trivial residual risk of catastrophic failure during the Starship burn, and a lot of that failure track is still going over the Yucatan.  I did a quick azimuth map for various inclinations from BC a while back:



If I eyeball sliding that whole set of southern legs 400 km to the right, the azimuth for the 53 degree inclination still looks like it overflies most of the Yucatan, but I have no intuition about what an extra 1500 m/s of downrange velocity does to it.  It'd be interesting to work out the actual azimuth and trajectory.  My guess is that you're still gonna have a decent-sized risk to the public, but running the numbers in some detail might say otherwise.

Worth looking at.  If SpaceX can vertically integrate 5x the number of Starlinks at BC, that makes short work of their initial deployment deadlines.

PS:  I haven't seen a lot of discussion about vertical vs. horizontal payload integration for Starship, but I'm kind of a newb on NSF.  Has there been a thread on this?

Offline speedevil

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Re: SpaceX Cape 39A Starship launch/landing facilities
« Reply #46 on: 07/07/2019 09:24 pm »
In this thread I made some rough calculations, and came to the conclusion that a launch ballistically due east at ~45 degrees elevation to 2km/s at which point you go ballistic till you near the atmosphere, taking you some 400km east of BC.
At this point, you light up again, and proceed with the rest of the burn.
This has ~2km/s penalty, not ~2.7.
That's an interesting trajectory.  I'd never thought about a "vertical dogleg" before.  Some questions:

1) Did you ever de-rate this from Adelaide to DearMoon specs?

2) How much SH delta-v do you lose to gravity drag in the loft?

I would argue that DearMoon is not convincingly derated, as  to read the dear moon presentation too literally makes it basically impossible.
(You can't get round the moon on 101+ of propellant, without assuming a ridiculously low dry mass or retanking).

The 100t+ figure is mentioned in other contexts in which it is clear it is not meant that it is without retanking.

100t+ is a marketing number only - I do not see it as inconsistent with 150 tons.

This of course is before the change to stainless which according to Elon is lighter, and better.

On the vertical loft, surprisingly little.
Going 15 degrees higher in loft to 2km/s, and then having to keep your exhaust 15 degrees down on relight is near zero penalty.
I guesstimated 500m/s loss - I did not carefully analyse this.
I need either more or less coffee before approaching the maths more carefully.
« Last Edit: 07/08/2019 12:38 pm by speedevil »

Offline Zpoxy

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Re: SpaceX Cape 39A Starship launch/landing facilities
« Reply #47 on: 07/07/2019 10:59 pm »
I've attached an image of the 39A flame trench I took a short time before the handover to SpaceX if anyone is interested.

Would you happen to have a shot from the south side?
The south side of the flame trench was filled and decked for the TEL transporter and supports to ride on. Plus the hydraulic cylinders that raise the TEL are located there too. Look at the bottom of the launch photo, you can see almost all of the exhaust exits the trench to the north.
« Last Edit: 07/07/2019 11:07 pm by Zpoxy »

Offline StuffOfInterest

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Re: SpaceX Cape 39A Starship launch/landing facilities
« Reply #48 on: 07/10/2019 01:06 pm »
I have to wonder if long term we'll see the SLS project collapse under the weight of its own bureaucracy.   Then SpaceX can lease 39B, use the VAB to stack SS & SH, and use the Mobile Transporter to carry the stack out to the pad.  The VAB/39B facilities are definitely better suited to Starship than the way 39A is currently configured.
« Last Edit: 07/10/2019 01:06 pm by StuffOfInterest »

Offline quagmire

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Re: SpaceX Cape 39A Starship launch/landing facilities
« Reply #49 on: 07/10/2019 01:16 pm »
The south side of the flame trench was filled and decked for the TEL transporter and supports to ride on. Plus the hydraulic cylinders that raise the TEL are located there too. Look at the bottom of the launch photo, you can see almost all of the exhaust exits the trench to the north.

Those hydraulic cylinder location is not new and not the south flame trench. The south flame trench is the side facing the HIF. The hydraulic cylinders were there during the Shuttle days too.


Offline Zpoxy

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Re: SpaceX Cape 39A Starship launch/landing facilities
« Reply #50 on: 07/10/2019 07:48 pm »
The south side of the flame trench was filled and decked for the TEL transporter and supports to ride on. Plus the hydraulic cylinders that raise the TEL are located there too. Look at the bottom of the launch photo, you can see almost all of the exhaust exits the trench to the north.

Those hydraulic cylinder location is not new and not the south flame trench. The south flame trench is the side facing the HIF. The hydraulic cylinders were there during the Shuttle days too.


Quagmire, those are not hydraulic cylinders you're talking about. That area is called the catacombs and those are compressed gas storage cylinders, yes they were present for Shuttle and Apollo. The hydraulic cylinders / rams I'm talking about are indeed in the south side of the flame trench, they raise and lower the transporter erector. Those are new, installed by SpaceX.

Offline quagmire

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Re: SpaceX Cape 39A Starship launch/landing facilities
« Reply #51 on: 07/10/2019 08:02 pm »
Quagmire, those are not hydraulic cylinders you're talking about. That area is called the catacombs and those are compressed gas storage cylinders, yes they were present for Shuttle and Apollo. The hydraulic cylinders / rams I'm talking about are indeed in the south side of the flame trench, they raise and lower the transporter erector. Those are new, installed by SpaceX.

Ah ok.... I am betting the red circle was already added to that top photo and not added by you then? That made me think you were referencing those things as being the south flame trench.
« Last Edit: 07/10/2019 08:03 pm by quagmire »

Offline Zpoxy

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Re: SpaceX Cape 39A Starship launch/landing facilities
« Reply #52 on: 07/10/2019 08:52 pm »
Quagmire, those are not hydraulic cylinders you're talking about. That area is called the catacombs and those are compressed gas storage cylinders, yes they were present for Shuttle and Apollo. The hydraulic cylinders / rams I'm talking about are indeed in the south side of the flame trench, they raise and lower the transporter erector. Those are new, installed by SpaceX.

Ah ok.... I am betting the red circle was already added to that top photo and not added by you then? That made me think you were referencing those things as being the south flame trench.
Yes, it was already there. It was the only photo I could find with a decent view of the south side.

Offline Barley

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Re: SpaceX Cape 39A Starship launch/landing facilities
« Reply #53 on: 07/16/2019 03:38 am »

I've done some work on that.  Assuming that launching over the Southeast US or Yucatan isn't allowed, the highest inclination you can get to is about 33 degrees, launching from BC through the Yucatan Channel.  I suspect that a dog-leg doesn't help very much, because by the time you clear Cancun, you're going fast enough that it's close to a full-up orbital plane change.
What are the constraints here?

It has been suggested that it is okay to launch south from Cape Canaveral, over flying Cuba.  Cuba is about 400 miles from the Cape.  The Yucatan, and New Orleans, are over 500 miles from BC.  Is it just that we don't like the Cubans?

The US-Mexico border runs essentially due east from BC in the Gulf of Mexico.  If you launch a bit south of east you will cut across Mexican territorial waters.  How high or how far east do you need to be that you don't need Mexican permission?

 
That is indeed a fair-sized indoor pachyderm.  But EDL over CO, NM, and West Texas is pretty good from a sparse population standpoint.  Also, I wouldn't completely rule out that SpaceX might eventually put a landing pad somewhere really desolate (how 'bout White Sands?).  From there, getting a Starship back to either BC or MacGregor is pretty easy.  Wide loads, even 9m-wide loads, could probably be accommodated.

EDL into Florida is a horse of a different quantum number.
If you launch east from BC won't EDL be mostly in Mexican airspace?

Is there any launch from BC that avoids Mexico for during both launch and landing?

Offline speedevil

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Re: SpaceX Cape 39A Starship launch/landing facilities
« Reply #54 on: 07/16/2019 11:35 am »
 
That is indeed a fair-sized indoor pachyderm.  But EDL over CO, NM, and West Texas is pretty good from a sparse population standpoint.  Also, I wouldn't completely rule out that SpaceX might eventually put a landing pad somewhere really desolate (how 'bout White Sands?).  From there, getting a Starship back to either BC or MacGregor is pretty easy.  Wide loads, even 9m-wide loads, could probably be accommodated.

EDL into Florida is a horse of a different quantum number.
If you launch east from BC won't EDL be mostly in Mexican airspace?

Is there any launch from BC that avoids Mexico for during both launch and landing?

Taking 'any' to the extremes - due east, burn for luna, once round into a retrograde orbit, enter due west. (of marginal utility even if it works)

A few degrees north or south is plausible to tweak aerodynamically, but the border kinks hard north after only ~200km.
That's ~mach 8 and 5 minutes out on landing, and very much in the range that a catastrophic breakup could put down a lot of debris.


Flying over Mexico (or the US) is likely to be possible only at extreme altitudes and velocities that basically mean you're most of the way to Florida before landing.
For some considerable time at least.


Offline edzieba

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Re: SpaceX Cape 39A Starship launch/landing facilities
« Reply #55 on: 07/16/2019 01:04 pm »
Correct me if I'm wrong, but beyond the initial minute of flight where other airspace occupants need to be considered, the 'flightpath' (ground projection of vehicle track) is of not much concern but rather the projection of the instantaneous impact point - plus projected impact area governed by debris spread model plus time delta between off-axis thrust detection and flight termination - that needs to be steered around populated areas.

Offline speedevil

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Re: SpaceX Cape 39A Starship launch/landing facilities
« Reply #56 on: 07/16/2019 01:34 pm »
Correct me if I'm wrong, but beyond the initial minute of flight where other airspace occupants need to be considered, the 'flightpath' (ground projection of vehicle track) is of not much concern but rather the projection of the instantaneous impact point - plus projected impact area governed by debris spread model plus time delta between off-axis thrust detection and flight termination - that needs to be steered around populated areas.
In practice,  unless you are maneuvering hard aerodynamically, the possible debris track will overlay the flightpath.
The two only differ meaningfully if you have specific events you think might cause a breakup or loss of control.

Possible debris impact can happen quite a lot before the landing site along the ground track - peak heating is ~1500km out, and a severe breakup then could drop its first debris up to 1000km before the landing point. (most of the mass would not make it to the ground in this scenario).
This makes pretty much all entry over land questionable unless you have really nailed down the breakup risk.


Offline edzieba

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Re: SpaceX Cape 39A Starship launch/landing facilities
« Reply #57 on: 07/16/2019 01:50 pm »
I was thinking more in terms of dogleg trajectories, where the ground track and IIP will significantly diverge (both on the way up and down).

Offline TheRadicalModerate

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Re: SpaceX Cape 39A Starship launch/landing facilities
« Reply #58 on: 07/16/2019 10:52 pm »

I've done some work on that.  Assuming that launching over the Southeast US or Yucatan isn't allowed, the highest inclination you can get to is about 33 degrees, launching from BC through the Yucatan Channel.  I suspect that a dog-leg doesn't help very much, because by the time you clear Cancun, you're going fast enough that it's close to a full-up orbital plane change.
What are the constraints here?

It has been suggested that it is okay to launch south from Cape Canaveral, over flying Cuba.  Cuba is about 400 miles from the Cape.  The Yucatan, and New Orleans, are over 500 miles from BC.  Is it just that we don't like the Cubans?

The US-Mexico border runs essentially due east from BC in the Gulf of Mexico.  If you launch a bit south of east you will cut across Mexican territorial waters.  How high or how far east do you need to be that you don't need Mexican permission?

 
That is indeed a fair-sized indoor pachyderm.  But EDL over CO, NM, and West Texas is pretty good from a sparse population standpoint.  Also, I wouldn't completely rule out that SpaceX might eventually put a landing pad somewhere really desolate (how 'bout White Sands?).  From there, getting a Starship back to either BC or MacGregor is pretty easy.  Wide loads, even 9m-wide loads, could probably be accommodated.

EDL into Florida is a horse of a different quantum number.
If you launch east from BC won't EDL be mostly in Mexican airspace?

Is there any launch from BC that avoids Mexico for during both launch and landing?

I don't quite understand the Cuban Dogleg.  My guess is that it goes over a fairly narrow, sparsely populated part of the island (sort of Caguanes Park and points south).  Remember that the standard for risk to public is 1E-4 per flight (or is it 1E-5?).  You get that by integrating the risk of a debris-generating failure and the population density where that debris would impact, along the trajectory.  If you're not over land very long, and the land isn't densely populated, or if the period that the debris would impact the area happens to be in a relatively failure-free part of the trajectory, you can sometimes get away with an overflight.

There are sparsely populated parts of the Yucatan, but it's big, and there are also incredibly densely populated parts.  The US Southeast would obviously be a bit of a faux pas, as would going down the spine of Cuba and Hispaniola.  My guess is that they're restricted to the Yucatan Channel and the part of the Florida Strait that doesn't overfly the Bahamas.  That is, fortunately, just fine for a lot of BEO missions, but not so great for Starlink.

I do think that southerly launches will have to be coordinated with Mexican ATC.  However, EDL's won't come from due west; they're likely to come from the northwest.  That may hug the border in some cases, but probably won't overfly it.

Offline Rondaz

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Re: SpaceX Cape 39A Starship launch/landing facilities
« Reply #59 on: 07/17/2019 08:02 pm »
Apollo 11 Astronaut Michael Collins Returns to Launch Complex 39A

Linda Herridge Posted on July 17, 2019

Fifty years ago this week, the world watched and celebrated as the crew of Apollo 11 made history. Commander Neil Armstrong and Lunar Module Pilot Buzz Aldrin became the first two people to set foot on the Moon as Command Module Pilot Michael Collins orbited above the lunar surface.

On July 16, 2019, the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 launch, astronaut Michael Collins, right, visited Kennedy Space Center and toured Launch Complex 39A, the site of the launch, with Kennedy Center Director Bob Cabana. During his visit to the Florida spaceport, Collins discussed the moments leading up to launch at 9:32 a.m. on July 16, 1969, and what it was like to be part of the first crew to land on the Moon.

https://blogs.nasa.gov/kennedy/2019/07/17/apollo-11-astronaut-michael-collins-returns-to-launch-complex-39a/

 

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