Author Topic: SpaceX lease SLC-6  (Read 43289 times)

Offline Chris Bergin

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Offline jstrotha0975

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #1 on: 04/24/2023 11:41 pm »
I thought it was being leased to Blue Origin?

Online catdlr

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #2 on: 04/24/2023 11:42 pm »
I thought it was being leased to Blue Origin?

Not anymore?  Lot's a lot of space for integration and one hell of a frame trench to boot for FH and a barge dock nearby.  This is "Jim's country", I'm sure over time, he'll provide valuable insight into this news. 
« Last Edit: 04/24/2023 11:59 pm by catdlr »
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Offline quagmire

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #3 on: 04/24/2023 11:42 pm »
I’m surprised it’s for Falcon……. So is this SpaceX moving to 6 from 4? Addition to 4? Or eventually gets announced it’s really for starship?

Vandy doesn’t seem to have much activity to need two F9 pads. Unless SpaceX plans to up the Starlink launches out of Vandy.

Offline lightleviathan

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #4 on: 04/24/2023 11:46 pm »
Maybe the long lost VIF for FH will be built here? It's probably for Starlink and a west-coast pad for Starship, even though it doesn't say on the press release.

I think it's funny that in the Falcon 1 days, the Air Force didn't give SpaceX a single thought, and now they have two pads, and are effectively the only frequently launching provider at Vandenberg.
« Last Edit: 04/24/2023 11:48 pm by lightleviathan »

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #5 on: 04/24/2023 11:54 pm »
Maybe the long lost VIF for FH will be built here? It's probably for Starlink and a west-coast pad for Starship, even though it doesn't say on the press release.

I think it's funny that in the Falcon 1 days, the Air Force didn't give SpaceX a single thought, and now they have two pads, and are effectively the only frequently launching provider at Vandenberg.

SpaceX, I think, starts small and works bigger.  I'm just guessing here.  The means to transport a 9m wide stage is impossible at this base or through the area approaching the base unless Elon is planning to use some of the pad for the integration of segments barged in and assembled here before a flight.  It could also be for future use of Starship for military usage if that ever comes to be. He may even resurrect the LA Harbor manufacturing site to build segments. and barged them over to this site.  Whatever it will become, it will be some time.  It's a strategic placeholder for now.  We need to continue to focus on Starbase and its success.
« Last Edit: 04/25/2023 04:04 am by catdlr »
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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #6 on: 04/24/2023 11:59 pm »
OK this makes a lot more sense.

NG can start accruing pads once it shows up or has a credible claim on a schedule.  BO working on getting SLC-6, if they did, would have been premature.
un
It also makes sense to be a Falcon pad first. People still need to understand what a SH pad looks like IRL.
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Offline AmigaClone

Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #7 on: 04/25/2023 01:13 am »
<snip>
I think it's funny that in the Falcon 1 days, the Air Force didn't give SpaceX a single thought, and now they have two pads, and are effectively the only frequently launching provider at Vandenberg.

ULA has 30 orbital launches from Vandenberg since 2010.

Atlas V - 15 launches
Delta II - 6 Launches
Delta IV and Delta IV Heavy - 9 Launches

SpaceX Falcon 9 has launched 39 times from Vandenberg since 2013. Twenty of those launches since 1 January 2022.

Offline lightleviathan

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #8 on: 04/25/2023 01:25 am »
<snip>
I think it's funny that in the Falcon 1 days, the Air Force didn't give SpaceX a single thought, and now they have two pads, and are effectively the only frequently launching provider at Vandenberg.

ULA has 30 orbital launches from Vandenberg since 2010.

Atlas V - 15 launches
Delta II - 6 Launches
Delta IV and Delta IV Heavy - 9 Launches

SpaceX Falcon 9 has launched 39 times from Vandenberg since 2013. Twenty of those launches since 1 January 2022.

Exactly. Twenty since 1/1/22 is a fairly frequent amount. I'm talking about the launch rates now.

Offline Zed_Noir

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #9 on: 04/25/2023 01:38 am »
I’m surprised it’s for Falcon……. So is this SpaceX moving to 6 from 4? Addition to 4? Or eventually gets announced it’s really for starship?

Vandy doesn’t seem to have much activity to need two F9 pads. Unless SpaceX plans to up the Starlink launches out of Vandy.
Guessing the DoD (really the spooks) have some interesting polar orbit payloads in the pipeline that requires a Delta IV Heavy equivalent. The DoD probably allocated said payloads to ULA and their Vulcan. Which is running late in schedule. However the Falcon Heavy is operational and available.

Also the DoD requires vertical payload integration for most of the interesting payloads in the pipeline that might need extended time on the launch pad. Hence the reason for an additional Falcon pad, since SpaceX is already maxing out the SLC-4E pad.

Currently ULA could only conducted one launch campaign at a time due to limited personnel. So it is likely the launch cadence of the forthcoming Vulcan isn't going to ramped up quickly. Plus the Vanderberg SLC-3E pad have to be modified for the Vulcan. So the DoD and the Spooks either have to generated new launch capabilities at Vanderberg or payloads will be getting to orbit late.

Offline gaballard

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #10 on: 04/25/2023 01:53 am »
Maybe the long lost VIF for FH will be built here? It's probably for Starlink and a west-coast pad for Starship, even though it doesn't say on the press release.

I think it's funny that in the Falcon 1 days, the Air Force didn't give SpaceX a single thought, and now they have two pads, and are effectively the only frequently launching provider at Vandenberg.

SpaceX, I think, starts small and works bigger.  I'm just guessing here.  The means to transport a 5m wide stage is impossible at this base or through the area approaching the base unless Elon is planning to use some of the pad for the integration of segments barged in and assembled here before a flight.  It could also be for future use of Starship for military usage if that ever comes to be. He may even resurrect the LA Harbor manufacturing site to build segments. and barged them over to this site.  Whatever it will become, it will be some time.  It's a strategic placeholder for now.  We need to continue to focus on Starbase and its success.

No way the Port of LA will lease to SpaceX again. SpaceX has burned the port twice now, getting everyone excited and then bailing on the signed contracts. They’ve indicated they have no intention of being fooled a third time.
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Online ChrisC

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #11 on: 04/25/2023 01:55 am »
I think the status of the Starship program plays into the timing of this.   Hold on, hear me out ...

Starship is (will be) so ridiculously cost efficient that it seems inevitable that it will eventually be used to launch anything and everything, and to any orbit.  Even if it could only go to LEO and constrained inclinations, on-orbit refueling means it could then easily hit higher orbits or execute massive plane changes.

OK, but the recent Starship test shows that they still have a lot of work to do.  Pad repair and redesign, staging, reliable ignition, etc.  And those are on top of the known challenges ahead of on-orbit refueling and payload deployment.  To me this means that SpaceX now knows that they really will need to leverage Falcon Heavy for a long time to come -- no quick switch to Starship is coming.

I think SpaceX pulled the trigger on this lease immediately after their quick look at the Starship test results.
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Offline hartspace

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #12 on: 04/25/2023 02:17 am »
It will be interesting to see what mods they need to make to convert SLC-6 into a Falcon pad.  I assume that they will use the Delta Horizontal Integration Facility (HIF) north of the pad for Falcon processing and then drive the TEL to the pad from there.  The roads should be wide enough since the D-IV Heavy processed there.  The launch mount will need to be modified to accommodate the Falcon TEL. The flame ducts probably can be used with little mods since the current version was designed for the 3-stick Delta.  The MST presumably will be used with platform mods to provide the vertical integration that SpaceX needs.  The umbilical tower really isn't needed unless, for some reason, they want to fly Dragon from the west coast.  The Mobile Assembly Shelter really isn't needed, but can provide weather protection for the vertical integration capability.  The biggest change will probably be in the propellant farm. They will need to add kerosene tanks to the pad (or use the old LH2 tanks) and will need to update the LOX side for supercooling.  So it seems like modifying SLC-6 for Falcon may be fairly straightforward.   

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #13 on: 04/25/2023 02:19 am »
Maybe the long lost VIF for FH will be built here? It's probably for Starlink and a west-coast pad for Starship, even though it doesn't say on the press release.

I think it's funny that in the Falcon 1 days, the Air Force didn't give SpaceX a single thought, and now they have two pads, and are effectively the only frequently launching provider at Vandenberg.

SpaceX, I think, starts small and works bigger.  I'm just guessing here.  The means to transport a 5m wide stage is impossible at this base or through the area approaching the base unless Elon is planning to use some of the pad for the integration of segments barged in and assembled here before a flight.  It could also be for future use of Starship for military usage if that ever comes to be. He may even resurrect the LA Harbor manufacturing site to build segments. and barged them over to this site.  Whatever it will become, it will be some time.  It's a strategic placeholder for now.  We need to continue to focus on Starbase and its success.

No way the Port of LA will lease to SpaceX again. SpaceX has burned the port twice now, getting everyone excited and then bailing on the signed contracts. They’ve indicated they have no intention of being fooled a third time.
SpaceX used the Port of LA for a while. I don't see why they'd want to build there, though. Build in Texas or Florida, by a launch pad.
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Offline edkyle99

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #14 on: 04/25/2023 03:14 am »
Solves their NSSL vertical payload integration problem if the mobile hangars can be adapted to Falcon Heavy.  SLC 4E can remain a "flat pad" for Falcon 9.

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 04/25/2023 03:15 am by edkyle99 »

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #15 on: 04/25/2023 03:33 am »
I’m surprised it’s for Falcon……. So is this SpaceX moving to 6 from 4? Addition to 4? Or eventually gets announced it’s really for starship?

Vandy doesn’t seem to have much activity to need two F9 pads. Unless SpaceX plans to up the Starlink launches out of Vandy.
Also the DoD requires vertical payload integration for most of the interesting payloads in the pipeline that might need extended time on the launch pad. Hence the reason for an additional Falcon pad, since SpaceX is already maxing out the SLC-4E pad.

Forgot about that requirement.  Using that existing 6-SLC integration structure, the FH can have the payload mounted while the FH is in the required upright position without the need to do so at the Cape (at least for Polar orbits).  I don't have the height measurements between the D5H and FH, someone may have to get that for us.
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Offline russianhalo117

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #16 on: 04/25/2023 03:54 am »
I thought it was being leased to Blue Origin?
No a nonbinding MoU regarding future plans.

Offline danneely

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #17 on: 04/25/2023 03:56 am »
Maybe the long lost VIF for FH will be built here? It's probably for Starlink and a west-coast pad for Starship, even though it doesn't say on the press release.

I think it's funny that in the Falcon 1 days, the Air Force didn't give SpaceX a single thought, and now they have two pads, and are effectively the only frequently launching provider at Vandenberg.

SpaceX, I think, starts small and works bigger.  I'm just guessing here.  The means to transport a 5m wide stage is impossible at this base or through the area approaching the base unless Elon is planning to use some of the pad for the integration of segments barged in and assembled here before a flight.  It could also be for future use of Starship for military usage if that ever comes to be. He may even resurrect the LA Harbor manufacturing site to build segments. and barged them over to this site.  Whatever it will become, it will be some time.  It's a strategic placeholder for now.  We need to continue to focus on Starbase and its success.

No way the Port of LA will lease to SpaceX again. SpaceX has burned the port twice now, getting everyone excited and then bailing on the signed contracts. They’ve indicated they have no intention of being fooled a third time.
SpaceX used the Port of LA for a while. I don't see why they'd want to build there, though. Build in Texas or Florida, by a launch pad.

Once it's operational, SpaceX could fly Starship to Vandenberg, they can't fly the booster there from the other side of the country.  That would either need to go all the way by barge, or be hopped to Vandenberg from a (theoretical) offshore platform that was sent through the canal. Once SpaceX can do off shore launches they won't have much need for Vandenberg anymore (you can do non-dogleg polar launches from off the coast of Florida and could probably launch nearly due west if needed by going south and flying over the Caribbean); so I think if they decide to fly superheavy from the west cost upgrading Vandenbergs port/etc facilities to handle a 9m booster is probably the easiest option.

Offline danneely

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #18 on: 04/25/2023 04:06 am »
Maybe the long lost VIF for FH will be built here? It's probably for Starlink and a west-coast pad for Starship, even though it doesn't say on the press release.

I think it's funny that in the Falcon 1 days, the Air Force didn't give SpaceX a single thought, and now they have two pads, and are effectively the only frequently launching provider at Vandenberg.

SpaceX, I think, starts small and works bigger.  I'm just guessing here.  The means to transport a 5m wide stage is impossible at this base or through the area approaching the base unless Elon is planning to use some of the pad for the integration of segments barged in and assembled here before a flight.  It could also be for future use of Starship for military usage if that ever comes to be. He may even resurrect the LA Harbor manufacturing site to build segments. and barged them over to this site.  Whatever it will become, it will be some time.  It's a strategic placeholder for now.  We need to continue to focus on Starbase and its success.

No way the Port of LA will lease to SpaceX again. SpaceX has burned the port twice now, getting everyone excited and then bailing on the signed contracts. They’ve indicated they have no intention of being fooled a third time.

The DoDs keyhole optical spy satellites currently are launched from Vandenberg on Delta IVH.  Most of them have gone into ~98* SSO orbits that might be doable from Florida using a dog-leg (or might not FH is more powerful than Delta IVH but the dogleg eats into that and might not leave enough power); but some have gone into 73.6* orbits, that's well beyond the 57* that can be launched to directly from Florida and would require a major dogleg to reach. 

Offline russianhalo117

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #19 on: 04/25/2023 04:06 am »
I thought it was being leased to Blue Origin?
No a nonbinding MoU regarding future plans.
Maybe the long lost VIF for FH will be built here? It's probably for Starlink and a west-coast pad for Starship, even though it doesn't say on the press release.

I think it's funny that in the Falcon 1 days, the Air Force didn't give SpaceX a single thought, and now they have two pads, and are effectively the only frequently launching provider at Vandenberg.

SpaceX, I think, starts small and works bigger.  I'm just guessing here.  The means to transport a 5m wide stage is impossible at this base or through the area approaching the base unless Elon is planning to use some of the pad for the integration of segments barged in and assembled here before a flight.  It could also be for future use of Starship for military usage if that ever comes to be. He may even resurrect the LA Harbor manufacturing site to build segments. and barged them over to this site.  Whatever it will become, it will be some time.  It's a strategic placeholder for now.  We need to continue to focus on Starbase and its success.
The stages for F9/FH are 3.7m diameter core stage which provides a similar diameter as the 3.05m diameter core stage with the Titan family and was one of the proposed Titan diameter enlargement planned before Titan-V was shelved.
« Last Edit: 04/25/2023 04:07 am by russianhalo117 »

Online catdlr

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #20 on: 04/25/2023 04:08 am »
Maybe the long lost VIF for FH will be built here? It's probably for Starlink and a west-coast pad for Starship, even though it doesn't say on the press release.

I think it's funny that in the Falcon 1 days, the Air Force didn't give SpaceX a single thought, and now they have two pads, and are effectively the only frequently launching provider at Vandenberg.

SpaceX, I think, starts small and works bigger.  I'm just guessing here.  The means to transport a 5m wide stage is impossible at this base or through the area approaching the base unless Elon is planning to use some of the pad for the integration of segments barged in and assembled here before a flight.  It could also be for future use of Starship for military usage if that ever comes to be. He may even resurrect the LA Harbor manufacturing site to build segments. and barged them over to this site.  Whatever it will become, it will be some time.  It's a strategic placeholder for now.  We need to continue to focus on Starbase and its success.

No way the Port of LA will lease to SpaceX again. SpaceX has burned the port twice now, getting everyone excited and then bailing on the signed contracts. They’ve indicated they have no intention of being fooled a third time.
SpaceX used the Port of LA for a while. I don't see why they'd want to build there, though. Build in Texas or Florida, by a launch pad.

Once it's operational, SpaceX could fly Starship to Vandenberg, they can't fly the booster there from the other side of the country.  That would either need to go all the way by barge, or be hopped to Vandenberg from a (theoretical) offshore platform that was sent through the canal. Once SpaceX can do off shore launches they won't have much need for Vandenberg anymore (you can do non-dogleg polar launches from off the coast of Florida and could probably launch nearly due west if needed by going south and flying over the Caribbean); so I think if they decide to fly superheavy from the west cost upgrading Vandenbergs port/etc facilities to handle a 9m booster is probably the easiest option.

You're looking at something a long time off. Even if FAA would even allow it. Remember that Elon just got rid of the two Oil Platforms (ocean launchpads) and we don't know if those will be replaced or if the plan abandon.  Sea Launch was doing that 10 years ago from Long Beach, CA. and where are they now?
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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #21 on: 04/25/2023 04:22 am »
Solves their NSSL vertical payload integration problem if the mobile hangars can be adapted to Falcon Heavy.  SLC 4E can remain a "flat pad" for Falcon 9.

 - Ed Kyle

Bingo, now just have to check the height and clearances.  This could be a cost effective vertical integration solution for the west coast and FH.

I agree with the comments as well that after ripping apart Boca Chica last week that Starship maybe further off than SpaceX wants it to be. Preparing for a longer F9/FH future is prudent.
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Offline hartspace

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #22 on: 04/25/2023 05:45 am »
FYI, the Falcon Heavy and Delta IV Heavy are virtually the same height.  FH is 70 m tall and DIVH is 70.7 m tall per the companies websites.

Offline woods170

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #23 on: 04/25/2023 09:22 am »
I thought it was being leased to Blue Origin?

No, that's a wrong conclusion. The only thing that was widely known, was that Blue Origin was interested in using the pad for New Glenn launches.

BUT, as with every major launch pad that comes available these days, more than just ONE party were interested. Space Force eventually looked at several aspects to determine what potential tennant they would award a lease contract to. And from that perspective I can imagine that SpaceX had the upper hand over Blue Origin. Very similar to how SpaceX scooped up LC-39A from under Jeff's nose.

Let me put it this way: NOT having an orbital class rocket operational, will continue to hamper Blue Origin until they finally get New Glenn flying. Until that time they will continue to play not even second fiddle, but third fiddle, with regards to just about everything that involves government contracts.


On a personal note: I expect a Blue Origin protest to be incoming at 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, ....etc.
« Last Edit: 04/25/2023 09:23 am by woods170 »

Offline EL_DIABLO

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #24 on: 04/25/2023 10:32 am »
Super stoked, this is perfect! I guess BO will eventually lease SLC-4 for New Glenn, called it a couple days ago:

Ideally you'd have BO and SpaceX swapping SLC-6 and SLC-4, that way you can have both Starship and New Glenn launching from Vandenberg.
« Last Edit: 04/25/2023 10:55 am by EL_DIABLO »

Offline edzieba

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #25 on: 04/25/2023 12:02 pm »
I thought it was being leased to Blue Origin?
They expressed interest, but if expression of interest was all that was required then LC-39A's launch count for the last decade would be 0 rather than 63.
The DoDs keyhole optical spy satellites currently are launched from Vandenberg on Delta IVH.  Most of them have gone into ~98* SSO orbits that might be doable from Florida using a dog-leg (or might not FH is more powerful than Delta IVH but the dogleg eats into that and might not leave enough power); but some have gone into 73.6* orbits, that's well beyond the 57* that can be launched to directly from Florida and would require a major dogleg to reach.
In addition, launching from KSC would require transport of any satellites cross-country (they are manufactured in California), which is non-trivial - these are large optical satellites, so tipping them over for horizontal transport to fit under bridges is not necessarily possible for the same reason they cannot be integrated horizontally.

Offline butters

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #26 on: 04/25/2023 02:17 pm »
It's extremely difficult to believe that SpaceX leased SLC-6 in response to what happened 5 days ago. These arrangements take longer than that. Whatever role that Starship program status had in their decision to lease SLC-6 would have been based on information from weeks if not months ago. It's silly to imagine that one thing led to another, when they've barely started the process of scoping the rehabilitation of Starbase.

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #27 on: 04/25/2023 02:25 pm »
It's extremely difficult to believe that SpaceX leased SLC-6 in response to what happened 5 days ago. These arrangements take longer than that. Whatever role that Starship program status had in their decision to lease SLC-6 would have been based on information from weeks if not months ago. It's silly to imagine that one thing led to another, when they've barely started the process of scoping the rehabilitation of Starbase.

Butters, where you been at, I miss seeing your handle.

I think the most logical use of SLC6 is for vertical integration and FH.

It's a large complex, but as we saw last week, Starship requires a site vastly bigger than large. 

It's all pretty exciting.
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Offline EL_DIABLO

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #28 on: 04/25/2023 03:06 pm »
It's extremely difficult to believe that SpaceX leased SLC-6 in response to what happened 5 days ago. These arrangements take longer than that. Whatever role that Starship program status had in their decision to lease SLC-6 would have been based on information from weeks if not months ago. It's silly to imagine that one thing led to another, when they've barely started the process of scoping the rehabilitation of Starbase.

Butters, where you been at, I miss seeing your handle.

I think the most logical use of SLC6 is for vertical integration and FH.

It's a large complex, but as we saw last week, Starship requires a site vastly bigger than large. 

It's all pretty exciting.

?

SLC-6 is a far bigger launch site than Boca Chica.

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #29 on: 04/25/2023 03:20 pm »
Super stoked, this is perfect! I guess BO will eventually lease SLC-4 for New Glenn, called it a couple days ago:

Ideally you'd have BO and SpaceX swapping SLC-6 and SLC-4, that way you can have both Starship and New Glenn launching from Vandenberg.

No, that is not it.   They have two pads on the east coast for high flight rates, why not two on the west coast?

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #30 on: 04/25/2023 03:21 pm »
In addition, launching from KSC would require transport of any satellites cross-country (they are manufactured in California), which is non-trivial - these are large optical satellites, so tipping them over for horizontal transport to fit under bridges is not necessarily possible for the same reason they cannot be integrated horizontally.

They are always transported horizontal over roads.

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #31 on: 04/25/2023 03:43 pm »
Super stoked, this is perfect! I guess BO will eventually lease SLC-4 for New Glenn, called it a couple days ago:

Ideally you'd have BO and SpaceX swapping SLC-6 and SLC-4, that way you can have both Starship and New Glenn launching from Vandenberg.

No, that is not it.   They have two pads on the east coast for high flight rates, why not two on the west coast?

Because launches to polar orbits are far less frequent. I don't see them needing two pads on the west coast and hence wanting the costs. Vacating SLC-4 once the lease is up seems the most likely outcome imo.

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #32 on: 04/25/2023 03:53 pm »
I want to see Starship launch to polar orbit with ~100 ton spy sats.

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #33 on: 04/25/2023 03:54 pm »
Super stoked, this is perfect! I guess BO will eventually lease SLC-4 for New Glenn, called it a couple days ago:

Ideally you'd have BO and SpaceX swapping SLC-6 and SLC-4, that way you can have both Starship and New Glenn launching from Vandenberg.

No, that is not it.   They have two pads on the east coast for high flight rates, why not two on the west coast?

Because launches to polar orbits are far less frequent. I don't see them needing two pads on the west coast and hence wanting the costs. Vacating SLC-4 once the lease is up seems the most likely outcome imo.

A significant fraction of Starlink missions can fly from Vandy.

Also, they have flown some polar missions from Florida using the southern corridor.  Moving them to the West coast frees up additional capacity for their Florida pads. 

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #34 on: 04/25/2023 05:37 pm »
Butters, where you been at, I miss seeing your handle.

I think the most logical use of SLC6 is for vertical integration and FH.

It's a large complex, but as we saw last week, Starship requires a site vastly bigger than large. 

It's all pretty exciting.
I've been laying low in lurk mode after I was told by a well-sourced member that my public info sucks upon questioning whether Ship 25 is still the mate for Booster 9. Nobody was interested in discussing the actual evidence presented, just their opinions on the general credibility of the source. After 14 years here, I feel there's not a whole lot I can contribute. I'm knowledgeable enough to be an "expert" on other platforms, but I'll never be an expert by the standards here, and a younger generation has come in and established themselves as new authorities. I miss the days when Jim could shoot me down with a terse reply and I'd know I said something ignorant.

SLC-6 makes sense for vertical integration and FH, but it's not like SLC-6 can be the only Falcon pad with these features. As far as I understand, the first solid booking for vertical integration is PPE+HALO, which, as a cislunar missions, would presumably launch from LC-39A. SpaceX will need VI at the Cape before they need VI at Vandy. If SpaceX ends up launching any of the direct-to-GEO RF spysats for NRO, those will also require VI at the Cape. Keyhole-family spysats are probably the only missions requiring VI from Vandy. It makes more sense than ever for NRO/DoD to want a SpaceX alternative to ULA for these missions, if only as a backup option.

But none of this absolves SpaceX of the more near-term requirement for VI at LC-39A. Pointedly, SpaceX was not required to offer FH or VI from Vandy as part of their NSSL-2 bid. At that time, stakeholders appear to be satisfied that anything that can't launch on F9 from SLC-4 would launch on Vulcan from SLC-3.

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #35 on: 04/25/2023 05:57 pm »
I’m surprised it’s for Falcon……. So is this SpaceX moving to 6 from 4? Addition to 4? Or eventually gets announced it’s really for starship?

Vandy doesn’t seem to have much activity to need two F9 pads. Unless SpaceX plans to up the Starlink launches out of Vandy.
Also the DoD requires vertical payload integration for most of the interesting payloads in the pipeline that might need extended time on the launch pad. Hence the reason for an additional Falcon pad, since SpaceX is already maxing out the SLC-4E pad.

Forgot about that requirement.  Using that existing 6-SLC integration structure, the FH can have the payload mounted while the FH is in the required upright position without the need to do so at the Cape (at least for Polar orbits).  I don't have the height measurements between the D5H and FH, someone may have to get that for us.

Delta IV Heavy, at about 72 meters,  is slightly taller than the Falcon 9 / Heavy at 70 meters.

Falcon Heavy with an extended fairing would be slightly taller than the Delta IV Heavy, at about 73.5 meters.
« Last Edit: 04/25/2023 06:00 pm by whitelancer64 »
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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #36 on: 04/25/2023 06:14 pm »
I’m surprised it’s for Falcon……. So is this SpaceX moving to 6 from 4? Addition to 4? Or eventually gets announced it’s really for starship?

Vandy doesn’t seem to have much activity to need two F9 pads. Unless SpaceX plans to up the Starlink launches out of Vandy.
Also the DoD requires vertical payload integration for most of the interesting payloads in the pipeline that might need extended time on the launch pad. Hence the reason for an additional Falcon pad, since SpaceX is already maxing out the SLC-4E pad.

Forgot about that requirement.  Using that existing 6-SLC integration structure, the FH can have the payload mounted while the FH is in the required upright position without the need to do so at the Cape (at least for Polar orbits).  I don't have the height measurements between the D5H and FH, someone may have to get that for us.

Delta IV Heavy, at about 72 meters,  is slightly taller than the Falcon 9 / Heavy at 70 meters.

Falcon Heavy with an extended fairing would be slightly taller than the Delta IV Heavy, at about 73.5 meters.
Less than overall height, the question would be payload adapter height. That's the level that needs to match in order for Falcon to make use of the existing cleanroom setup. There's some wiggle-room with adjusting the height of the launch mount itself, but otherwise if PLA height is too far off then some more major structural works would need to occur than just raising the roof height (the roof only supports itself, the cleanroom gantry supports a large human-occupied structure with payload lifting and handling equipment).

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #37 on: 04/25/2023 06:17 pm »
Because launches to polar orbits are far less frequent. I don't see them needing two pads on the west coast and hence wanting the costs. Vacating SLC-4 once the lease is up seems the most likely outcome imo.

Wrong.  They are trying to fly Starlink as much as they can.  They already have moved east coast missions to the west coast. 

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #38 on: 04/25/2023 06:19 pm »

As far as I understand, the first solid booking for vertical integration is PPE+HALO,


Sorry, but nope it doesn't.

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #39 on: 04/25/2023 06:22 pm »
Less than overall height, the question would be payload adapter height. That's the level that needs to match in order for Falcon to make use of the existing cleanroom setup. There's some wiggle-room with adjusting the height of the launch mount itself, but otherwise if PLA height is too far off then some more major structural works would need to occur than just raising the roof height (the roof only supports itself, the cleanroom gantry supports a large human-occupied structure with payload lifting and handling equipment).

There isn't a clean room on the SLC-6 MST.  There are enclosures that can go over fairing doors to provide clean access to the fairing interior.

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #40 on: 04/25/2023 06:24 pm »
Less than overall height, the question would be payload adapter height. That's the level that needs to match in order for Falcon to make use of the existing cleanroom setup. There's some wiggle-room with adjusting the height of the launch mount itself, but otherwise if PLA height is too far off then some more major structural works would need to occur than just raising the roof height (the roof only supports itself, the cleanroom gantry supports a large human-occupied structure with payload lifting and handling equipment).

There isn't a clean room on the SLC-6 MST.  There are enclosures that can go over fairing doors to provide clean access to the fairing interior.
Sorry, you're correct. The handling room itself is not clean.

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #41 on: 04/25/2023 06:32 pm »
Because launches to polar orbits are far less frequent. I don't see them needing two pads on the west coast and hence wanting the costs. Vacating SLC-4 once the lease is up seems the most likely outcome imo.

Wrong.  They are trying to fly Starlink as much as they can.  They already have moved east coast missions to the west coast.

Jim is right. SpaceX is expanding a lot their teams at Vandenberg and launch rates are only going up and up, another pad makes sense to drive up cadence even further. As long as they can fly Starlinks from there, they will launch from Vandenberg and at a high rate. Expect tons and tons of V2 Mini launches, those aren't just some passing fad, they're here to stay for a long while.

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #42 on: 04/25/2023 06:45 pm »
I wonder if they'll build a landing pad there.

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #43 on: 04/25/2023 06:51 pm »
When would the first launch be? This year?
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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #44 on: 04/25/2023 06:55 pm »
Quote
Jim is right. SpaceX is expanding a lot their teams at Vandenberg and launch rates are only going up and up, another pad makes sense to drive up cadence even further. As long as they can fly Starlinks from there, they will launch from Vandenberg and at a high rate. Expect tons and tons of V2 Mini launches, those aren't just some passing fad, they're here to stay for a long while.

wen 4th droneship

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #45 on: 04/25/2023 06:58 pm »
When would the first launch be? This year?

Nah, too much mods to be done.  Have to build a TEL and redo all the concrete pad base.

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #46 on: 04/25/2023 07:20 pm »
Because launches to polar orbits are far less frequent. I don't see them needing two pads on the west coast and hence wanting the costs. Vacating SLC-4 once the lease is up seems the most likely outcome imo.

Wrong.  They are trying to fly Starlink as much as they can.  They already have moved east coast missions to the west coast.

Jim is right. SpaceX is expanding a lot their teams at Vandenberg and launch rates are only going up and up, another pad makes sense to drive up cadence even further. As long as they can fly Starlinks from there, they will launch from Vandenberg and at a high rate. Expect tons and tons of V2 Mini launches, those aren't just some passing fad, they're here to stay for a long while.

VSFB seems to have better weather too, Florida hurricane season can be troublesome.
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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #47 on: 04/25/2023 07:23 pm »
When would the first launch be? This year?

Nah, too much mods to be done.  Have to build a TEL and redo all the concrete pad base.


Thanks, Jim for jumping in.  You are the best source of info at this facility.
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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #48 on: 04/25/2023 07:34 pm »
I’m surprised it’s for Falcon……. So is this SpaceX moving to 6 from 4? Addition to 4? Or eventually gets announced it’s really for starship?

Vandy doesn’t seem to have much activity to need two F9 pads. Unless SpaceX plans to up the Starlink launches out of Vandy.
Also the DoD requires vertical payload integration for most of the interesting payloads in the pipeline that might need extended time on the launch pad. Hence the reason for an additional Falcon pad, since SpaceX is already maxing out the SLC-4E pad.

Forgot about that requirement.  Using that existing 6-SLC integration structure, the FH can have the payload mounted while the FH is in the required upright position without the need to do so at the Cape (at least for Polar orbits).  I don't have the height measurements between the D5H and FH, someone may have to get that for us.

Delta IV Heavy, at about 72 meters,  is slightly taller than the Falcon 9 / Heavy at 70 meters.

Falcon Heavy with an extended fairing would be slightly taller than the Delta IV Heavy, at about 73.5 meters.
Less than overall height, the question would be payload adapter height. That's the level that needs to match in order for Falcon to make use of the existing cleanroom setup. There's some wiggle-room with adjusting the height of the launch mount itself, but otherwise if PLA height is too far off then some more major structural works would need to occur than just raising the roof height (the roof only supports itself, the cleanroom gantry supports a large human-occupied structure with payload lifting and handling equipment).

Oh that's a good point. Per the Delta IV User's Guide, the Delta IV payload level is approx. 175 ft. / 53 meters.

Falcon 9 / Heavy payload level is about 5 or so meters higher.
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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #49 on: 04/25/2023 07:59 pm »
Because launches to polar orbits are far less frequent. I don't see them needing two pads on the west coast and hence wanting the costs. Vacating SLC-4 once the lease is up seems the most likely outcome imo.

Wrong.  They are trying to fly Starlink as much as they can.  They already have moved east coast missions to the west coast.

Jim is right. SpaceX is expanding a lot their teams at Vandenberg and launch rates are only going up and up, another pad makes sense to drive up cadence even further. As long as they can fly Starlinks from there, they will launch from Vandenberg and at a high rate. Expect tons and tons of V2 Mini launches, those aren't just some passing fad, they're here to stay for a long while.

VSFB seems to have better weather too, Florida hurricane season can be troublesome.

Well on average yes but this year is quite the anomaly. Lots of bad weather hitting California and Florida has been stable for the most part

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #50 on: 04/25/2023 08:50 pm »
Presuming they continue to refurbish the cores at Hawthorne. Will SpaceX build a hangar or hangars at the SLC-6 site to stored cores and upper stages?

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #51 on: 04/25/2023 09:37 pm »
Because launches to polar orbits are far less frequent. I don't see them needing two pads on the west coast and hence wanting the costs. Vacating SLC-4 once the lease is up seems the most likely outcome imo.

Wrong.  They are trying to fly Starlink as much as they can.  They already have moved east coast missions to the west coast.

Jim is right. SpaceX is expanding a lot their teams at Vandenberg and launch rates are only going up and up, another pad makes sense to drive up cadence even further. As long as they can fly Starlinks from there, they will launch from Vandenberg and at a high rate. Expect tons and tons of V2 Mini launches, those aren't just some passing fad, they're here to stay for a long while.

VSFB seems to have better weather too, Florida hurricane season can be troublesome.

Well on average yes but this year is quite the anomaly. Lots of bad weather hitting California and Florida has been stable for the most part
We're done with all that. It's all flowers birds and butterflies right now.
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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #52 on: 04/25/2023 09:44 pm »
Because launches to polar orbits are far less frequent. I don't see them needing two pads on the west coast and hence wanting the costs. Vacating SLC-4 once the lease is up seems the most likely outcome imo.

Wrong.  They are trying to fly Starlink as much as they can.  They already have moved east coast missions to the west coast.

Jim is right. SpaceX is expanding a lot their teams at Vandenberg and launch rates are only going up and up, another pad makes sense to drive up cadence even further. As long as they can fly Starlinks from there, they will launch from Vandenberg and at a high rate. Expect tons and tons of V2 Mini launches, those aren't just some passing fad, they're here to stay for a long while.

VSFB seems to have better weather too, Florida hurricane season can be troublesome.

Well on average yes but this year is quite the anomaly. Lots of bad weather hitting California and Florida has been stable for the most part
We're done with all that. It's all flowers birds and butterflies right now.

And a ton of pollen in the air. And a lot of nice greenery that will be tinder for this year's fire season once everything has dried out from the summer heat.
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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #53 on: 04/25/2023 11:45 pm »
Wonder if this is a half and half scenario, where they bring SLC-6 up quickly for F9 and F9H (no Starship prep work), then do work on SLC-4? What would SpaceX want to do at SLC-4 that would require downtime which SLC-6 could cover for?

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #54 on: 04/26/2023 03:33 am »
When would the first launch be? This year?

Nah, too much mods to be done.  Have to build a TEL and redo all the concrete pad base.

My as well build a new TEL too for SLC-4 since it was built for FH but I doubt it could fly it at the moment. With out a new one.

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #55 on: 04/26/2023 03:41 am »
Because launches to polar orbits are far less frequent. I don't see them needing two pads on the west coast and hence wanting the costs. Vacating SLC-4 once the lease is up seems the most likely outcome imo.

Wrong.  They are trying to fly Starlink as much as they can.  They already have moved east coast missions to the west coast.

Jim is right. SpaceX is expanding a lot their teams at Vandenberg and launch rates are only going up and up, another pad makes sense to drive up cadence even further. As long as they can fly Starlinks from there, they will launch from Vandenberg and at a high rate. Expect tons and tons of V2 Mini launches, those aren't just some passing fad, they're here to stay for a long while.

VSFB seems to have better weather too, Florida hurricane season can be troublesome.

Well on average yes but this year is quite the anomaly. Lots of bad weather hitting California and Florida has been stable for the most part
We're done with all that. It's all flowers birds and butterflies right now.

And a ton of pollen in the air. And a lot of nice greenery that will be tinder for this year's fire season once everything has dried out from the summer heat.
Yeah but those shouldn't affect the launch schedule.

Also shhh, you're disturbing the butterflies
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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #56 on: 04/26/2023 08:26 am »
Super stoked, this is perfect! I guess BO will eventually lease SLC-4 for New Glenn, called it a couple days ago:

Ideally you'd have BO and SpaceX swapping SLC-6 and SLC-4, that way you can have both Starship and New Glenn launching from Vandenberg.

No, that is not it.   They have two pads on the east coast for high flight rates, why not two on the west coast?

Because launches to polar orbits are far less frequent. I don't see them needing two pads on the west coast and hence wanting the costs. Vacating SLC-4 once the lease is up seems the most likely outcome imo.

You are wrong however. SpaceX has NO intention to abandon SLC-4. SpaceX has already begun to significantly increase the number of launches from Vandenberg. And that number will continue to climb. A second pad there is very much needed.

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #57 on: 04/26/2023 10:35 am »
Because launches to polar orbits are far less frequent. I don't see them needing two pads on the west coast and hence wanting the costs. Vacating SLC-4 once the lease is up seems the most likely outcome imo.

Wrong.  They are trying to fly Starlink as much as they can.  They already have moved east coast missions to the west coast.

Because launches to polar orbits are far less frequent. I don't see them needing two pads on the west coast and hence wanting the costs. Vacating SLC-4 once the lease is up seems the most likely outcome imo.

Wrong.  They are trying to fly Starlink as much as they can.  They already have moved east coast missions to the west coast.

Jim is right. SpaceX is expanding a lot their teams at Vandenberg and launch rates are only going up and up, another pad makes sense to drive up cadence even further. As long as they can fly Starlinks from there, they will launch from Vandenberg and at a high rate. Expect tons and tons of V2 Mini launches, those aren't just some passing fad, they're here to stay for a long while.

Super stoked, this is perfect! I guess BO will eventually lease SLC-4 for New Glenn, called it a couple days ago:

Ideally you'd have BO and SpaceX swapping SLC-6 and SLC-4, that way you can have both Starship and New Glenn launching from Vandenberg.

No, that is not it.   They have two pads on the east coast for high flight rates, why not two on the west coast?

Because launches to polar orbits are far less frequent. I don't see them needing two pads on the west coast and hence wanting the costs. Vacating SLC-4 once the lease is up seems the most likely outcome imo.

You are wrong however. SpaceX has NO intention to abandon SLC-4. SpaceX has already begun to significantly increase the number of launches from Vandenberg. And that number will continue to climb. A second pad there is very much needed.

You guys are talking short term while I'm talking long term when Starship is an operational rocket, hence why I said eventually and not immediately.

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #58 on: 04/26/2023 10:48 am »
Taking over SLC-6 means any pad mods for Falcon Heavy, vertical integration, and higher launch cadences (e.g. the newer more armoured Strongback design that can rapidly retract at t=0) can take place without interrupting operations at SLC-4 for the several months required.

Any Starship decisions can be made once both Falcon pads are up and operating: Starship at Boca Chica is the priority over Starshap at the cape, which itself is a priority over Atarship at Vandenberg or elsewhere. Starship buildout is a clean pad with no shared Falcon infrastructure, so either a new pad built within the grounds of SLC-4, another unused launch complex, or a brand new launch complex.

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #59 on: 04/26/2023 12:59 pm »
I would think they may want to share vertical integration capability with Falcon at SLC-6, plus I think the terrain is more suitable for adding a Starship pad there ala LC-39A’s Starship pad. (Plus SLC-6 was made for Shuttle missions, so the overall thrust and keep out zones are at least the right order of magnitude for a Starship pad.)
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Offline woods170

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #60 on: 04/26/2023 02:12 pm »
You guys are talking short term while I'm talking long term when Starship is an operational rocket, hence why I said eventually and not immediately.

Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy will be fully operational for at least another decade. Falcon Heavy in particular will fly as long as DoD and NRO will want it to continue to fly.


SpaceX has converted launch pads for much shorter periods of intended use.
« Last Edit: 04/26/2023 02:14 pm by woods170 »

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #61 on: 04/26/2023 02:59 pm »
does Vandenburg have the space for several new pads to be built?

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #62 on: 04/26/2023 03:00 pm »
Because launches to polar orbits are far less frequent. I don't see them needing two pads on the west coast and hence wanting the costs. Vacating SLC-4 once the lease is up seems the most likely outcome imo.

Wrong.  They are trying to fly Starlink as much as they can.  They already have moved east coast missions to the west coast.

Jim is right. SpaceX is expanding a lot their teams at Vandenberg and launch rates are only going up and up, another pad makes sense to drive up cadence even further. As long as they can fly Starlinks from there, they will launch from Vandenberg and at a high rate. Expect tons and tons of V2 Mini launches, those aren't just some passing fad, they're here to stay for a long while.

VSFB seems to have better weather too, Florida hurricane season can be troublesome.

Well on average yes but this year is quite the anomaly. Lots of bad weather hitting California and Florida has been stable for the most part
We're done with all that. It's all flowers birds and butterflies right now.

So about those flowers, birds, and butterflies... 😅

Online LouScheffer

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #63 on: 04/26/2023 04:03 pm »
Because launches to polar orbits are far less frequent. I don't see them needing two pads on the west coast and hence wanting the costs. Vacating SLC-4 once the lease is up seems the most likely outcome imo.
You are wrong however. SpaceX has NO intention to abandon SLC-4. SpaceX has already begun to significantly increase the number of launches from Vandenberg. And that number will continue to climb. A second pad there is very much needed.
I could also see this as desirable, if not mandatory, for some military uses.  If you want responsive launch, which the government has been stressing for years, you need at least two pads.  Otherwise when one is down for maintenance, or an accident, they cannot launch.   This is similar to the reason they are building a second crewed facility at the Cape.

I could also see it being forced/strongly-encouraged by SpaceX's insurance company.  When I worked at Hewlett Packard, all orders went through a single data center.  Insurance demanded HP build another one, fairly far away, even though one was plenty capable of handling the load.  Insurance companies do not like single points of failure that can significantly affect revenue.

Offline EL_DIABLO

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #64 on: 04/26/2023 04:07 pm »
You guys are talking short term while I'm talking long term when Starship is an operational rocket, hence why I said eventually and not immediately.

Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy will be fully operational for at least another decade. Falcon Heavy in particular will fly as long as DoD and NRO will want it to continue to fly.

That's mainly because of ISS missions and those happen on the East coast. Yet to be seen how SpaceX will bid on NSSL Phase 3.

Quote
SpaceX has converted launch pads for much shorter periods of intended use.

Not sue what the point is, that F9/FH will be launching from SLC-6 is not in doubt.

Offline Jim

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #65 on: 04/26/2023 04:07 pm »

You guys are talking short term while I'm talking long term when Starship is an operational rocket, hence why I said eventually and not immediately.

None of the Falcon pads are needed then.   And Starship doesn't need to fly from SLC-6 or VSFB for that matter.

Or what says SLC-4 isn't a better site for Starship vs SLC-6.  Or neither are good sites for Starship.
« Last Edit: 04/26/2023 04:10 pm by Jim »

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #66 on: 04/26/2023 04:25 pm »

Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy will be fully operational for at least another decade. Falcon Heavy in particular will fly as long as DoD and NRO will want it to continue to fly.

That's mainly because of ISS missions and those happen on the East coast. Yet to be seen how SpaceX will bid on NSSL Phase 3.



Not true.  ISS does not use the heavy.  And the NRO doesn't have to wait for phase 3
« Last Edit: 04/26/2023 04:28 pm by Jim »

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #67 on: 04/26/2023 04:26 pm »

I could also see it being forced/strongly-encouraged by SpaceX's insurance company.  When I worked at Hewlett Packard, all orders went through a single data center.  Insurance demanded HP build another one, fairly far away, even though one was plenty capable of handling the load.  Insurance companies do not like single points of failure that can significantly affect revenue.

SpaceX self insures.

Offline EL_DIABLO

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #68 on: 04/26/2023 04:29 pm »

You guys are talking short term while I'm talking long term when Starship is an operational rocket, hence why I said eventually and not immediately.

None of the Falcon pads are needed then.   And Starship doesn't need to fly from SLC-6 or VSFB for that matter.

Or what says SLC-4 isn't a better site for Starship vs SLC-6.  Or neither are good sites for Starship.

You can have a scenario where F9/FH is still flying DoD missions and Starship is launching Starlink thereby removing the need for two pads at Vandenberg.

SLC-4 is closer to Lompoc, is smaller and further away from the dock. If Starship on the west coast does eventually happen hard to see how they would choose SLC-4 over SLC-6.


Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy will be fully operational for at least another decade. Falcon Heavy in particular will fly as long as DoD and NRO will want it to continue to fly.

That's mainly because of ISS missions and those happen on the East coast. Yet to be seen how SpaceX will bid on NSSL Phase 3.



Not true.  ISS does not use the heavy.  And the NRO doesn't have to wait for phase 3

I was obviously referring to Falcon 9 not Heavy for ISS missions.

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #69 on: 04/26/2023 04:39 pm »

I was obviously referring to Falcon 9 not Heavy for ISS missions.

ISS is not going to be around that long.

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #70 on: 04/26/2023 04:44 pm »

You can have a scenario where F9/FH is still flying DoD missions and Starship is launching Starlink thereby removing the need for two pads at Vandenberg.

SLC-4 is closer to Lompoc, is smaller and further away from the dock. If Starship on the west coast does eventually happen hard to see how they would choose SLC-4 over SLC-6.


A.  The need for Starship at VSTB is dubious
b.  The location of Lompoc is irrelevant
c.  If FH is flying from VSFB, it will be from SLC-6

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #71 on: 04/26/2023 05:31 pm »

You can have a scenario where F9/FH is still flying DoD missions and Starship is launching Starlink thereby removing the need for two pads at Vandenberg.

SLC-4 is closer to Lompoc, is smaller and further away from the dock. If Starship on the west coast does eventually happen hard to see how they would choose SLC-4 over SLC-6.


A.  The need for Starship at VSTB is dubious
b.  The location of Lompoc is irrelevant
c.  If FH is flying from VSFB, it will be from SLC-6
While c is probably right, it is kind of ironic because the Falcon launch system at SLC-4E was originally built specifically to be the first Falcon Heavy launch pad.
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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #72 on: 04/26/2023 06:14 pm »
You guys are talking short term while I'm talking long term when Starship is an operational rocket, hence why I said eventually and not immediately.

Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy will be fully operational for at least another decade. Falcon Heavy in particular will fly as long as DoD and NRO will want it to continue to fly.

That's mainly because of ISS missions and those happen on the East coast. Yet to be seen how SpaceX will bid on NSSL Phase 3.

Did you even bother to read what I wrote?
ISS missions have NOTHING to do with Falcon Heavy missions and NOTHING to do with DoD and NRO. Falcon 9 flies much, much more than just ISS missions.

SpaceX has converted launch pads for much shorter periods of intended use.

Not sue what the point is, that F9/FH will be launching from SLC-6 is not in doubt.

Neither is it in doubt that SpaceX will also continue to fly from SLC-4.
« Last Edit: 04/26/2023 06:17 pm by woods170 »

Offline jstrotha0975

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #73 on: 04/26/2023 07:09 pm »
You guys are talking short term while I'm talking long term when Starship is an operational rocket, hence why I said eventually and not immediately.

Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy will be fully operational for at least another decade. Falcon Heavy in particular will fly as long as DoD and NRO will want it to continue to fly.


SpaceX has converted launch pads for much shorter periods of intended use.

This. Falcon 9/H isn't going anywhere, anytime soon.

Offline RedLineTrain

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #74 on: 04/26/2023 07:45 pm »
Jim:  A couple of years ago, you opined that SLC-6 was too expensive for Starship and SpaceX wouldn't want it for Falcon.  Assuming that was true, what do you think has changed?  The voracious demand for Starlink launches?

Why not? It's up to Space Force you said. Thanks for elaborating.

But SpaceX isn't going to want it.

No need for Falcon.  And too expensive for Starship.  Anyways, Starship can go polar from KSC.

Offline EL_DIABLO

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #75 on: 04/26/2023 09:39 pm »

You can have a scenario where F9/FH is still flying DoD missions and Starship is launching Starlink thereby removing the need for two pads at Vandenberg.

SLC-4 is closer to Lompoc, is smaller and further away from the dock. If Starship on the west coast does eventually happen hard to see how they would choose SLC-4 over SLC-6.


A.  The need for Starship at VSTB is dubious
b.  The location of Lompoc is irrelevant
c.  If FH is flying from VSFB, it will be from SLC-6

a. Sure, it's not a given.
b. Distance to surrounding population is very relevant for Starship.
c. I never stated FH won't be launching from SLC-6

that F9/FH will be launching from SLC-6 is not in doubt.


You guys are talking short term while I'm talking long term when Starship is an operational rocket, hence why I said eventually and not immediately.

Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy will be fully operational for at least another decade. Falcon Heavy in particular will fly as long as DoD and NRO will want it to continue to fly.

That's mainly because of ISS missions and those happen on the East coast. Yet to be seen how SpaceX will bid on NSSL Phase 3.

Did you even bother to read what I wrote?
ISS missions have NOTHING to do with Falcon Heavy missions and NOTHING to do with DoD and NRO. Falcon 9 flies much, much more than just ISS missions.

Yes, did you? ISS missions have already been awarded until 2030 so we know for sure F9 will be launching until then. DoD launches have not been awarded that far out yet, we don't know what SpaceX plans are. Regardless of that once Starship is operational it will be launching Starlink. That means two pads at Vandenberg could not be necessary long term.

Quote
SpaceX has converted launch pads for much shorter periods of intended use.

Not sue what the point is, that F9/FH will be launching from SLC-6 is not in doubt.

Neither is it in doubt that SpaceX will also continue to fly from SLC-4.

In the interim it is not in doubt, once Starship has a high enough cadence it is.

You guys are talking short term while I'm talking long term when Starship is an operational rocket, hence why I said eventually and not immediately.

Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy will be fully operational for at least another decade. Falcon Heavy in particular will fly as long as DoD and NRO will want it to continue to fly.


SpaceX has converted launch pads for much shorter periods of intended use.

This. Falcon 9/H isn't going anywhere, anytime soon.

I explained I was not referring to the immediate future and that I'm only referring to the use of two pads at Vandenberg long term, not sure how many times it has to be repeated.
« Last Edit: 04/26/2023 09:49 pm by EL_DIABLO »

Offline Chris Bergin

Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #76 on: 04/27/2023 02:53 am »
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Online catdlr

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #77 on: 04/27/2023 03:38 am »
Really enjoyed writing this up. As you can guess, a lot of Shuttle :)

https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2023/04/spacex-slc-6-takeover/


It would have been interesting to see how the payload container was transferred from the lower (below pad level) integration building up to the shuttle and installed into the shuttle in its own pad level integration building.  The pad flow would be very interesting to read, view or watch.  Thanks, Chris for the excellent article.
« Last Edit: 04/27/2023 03:40 am by catdlr »
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Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #78 on: 04/27/2023 06:18 am »
https://twitter.com/nasaspaceflight/status/1651421199224668160

Quote
Also, what SLC-6 might look like with a Falcon Heavy on the pad via @jdeshetler for NSF.

Offline Zed_Noir

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #79 on: 04/27/2023 01:36 pm »
It occurs to me that if someone wants to do a crewed polar orbit mission from SLC-6 on a Falcon 9.  There isn't much need to be added to the mods already required for a Falcon Heavy with vertical payload integration. Will we get to see a crewed polar mission eventually?  8)

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #80 on: 04/27/2023 01:49 pm »

Distance to surrounding population is very relevant for Starship.


No, it isn't.  1.5 miles isn't going to make much of a difference.



I explained I was not referring to the immediate future and that I'm only referring to the use of two pads at Vandenberg long term, not sure how many times it has to be repeated.

Then it could be no pads at Vandenberg for that matter.  Polar orbits won't require much of the capability of Starship, so the launches could be done at the Cape if we are talking long term.


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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #81 on: 04/27/2023 01:52 pm »
It would have been interesting to see how the payload container was transferred from the lower (below pad level) integration building up to the shuttle and installed into the shuttle in its own pad level integration building.  The pad flow would be very interesting to read, view or watch.  Thanks, Chris for the excellent article.

It wasn't a container but rather a frame

Offline Lobo

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #82 on: 04/27/2023 05:11 pm »
This is interesting, but not surprising.  I'd speculated this would likely happen a few year ago once ULA had finished up with Delta Launches.  Especially as SLC-6 is one of only 3 existing heavy LV pads in the US.

The question now, as has been discussed here, is will they use this for Falcon?  Or upgrade it for Starship.  Good cases for both being made.

If they use for Falcon, that's their current money maker, so makes sense to open another pad for it, and this one has infrastructure for vertical integration.

However, SLC-6 was upgraded to a heavy LV pad for the Shuttle, so seems like with some additional upgrades, it could possibly be a candidate to properly handle Starship.  The recent Starship launch has made it clear that for an LV of that scale, a lot more is needed than just a milkstool pad and concrete flat pad.  And a fresh pad would require a lot of time and investment, as was the case for pads 39A and 39B and the Shuttle upgrads for SLC-6.  All of those were pretty serious undertakings requiring a lot of time and money and effort.  So -not- using one of the very few large LV pads in the world, for the heaviest LV in the world, would seem like a bit of a misuse of assets.

So there's a case to be made for both.  Maybe they'll start off with Falcon operations as there shouldn't need to be too many mods needed for that from Delta.  But then start to build up the infrastructure around it for eventually Starship to take over there, as their stated plan is to eventually retire Falcon for Starship.  I wouldn't be too surprised if they are actually thinking now of doing something like that at 39A, as now the need for a large, deep flame trench, flame diverter, and water deluge system are pretty clear for an LV that size...rather than building the milkstool pad next to 39A as had seemed to be the plan prior.

Either way it'll be interesting to find out what SpaceX has in mind for SLC-6 whenever they let us know.

« Last Edit: 04/27/2023 05:19 pm by Lobo »

Offline spacenut

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #83 on: 04/27/2023 05:19 pm »
What is SLC-6 rated for in terms of rocket thrust?  Delta IV heavy only had around 2.4 million lbs thrust max.  Falcon heavy has 5 million lbs thrust. 

Pad 39A is for 12 million lbs thrust (for future at that time Nova rocket).   Even it would have to be upgraded to take the 17 million lbs of Superheavy/Starship. 

Offline Lobo

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #84 on: 04/27/2023 05:24 pm »
What is SLC-6 rated for in terms of rocket thrust?  Delta IV heavy only had around 2.4 million lbs thrust max.  Falcon heavy has 5 million lbs thrust. 

Pad 39A is for 12 million lbs thrust (for future at that time Nova rocket).   Even it would have to be upgraded to take the 17 million lbs of Superheavy/Starship.

It was upgraded to handle Shuttle, so at least that...about 7Mlbs thrust.    It would likely need additional upgrades to handle Starship as that's much more than that, but the "foundation" is there, so to speak for a heavy class vehicle, unlike every other pad in the US aside from 39A and B.  Perhaps there's still no way to make SLC-6 robust enough to accommodate Starship at about 10Mlbs thrust more than STS?  That info is above my pay grade. heh. 

PS:  Someone else can elaborate on this, but I do recall something about the 3rd offset flame trench/duct built to handle the shuttle was all or partially filled in as it was not needed for Titan or Delta.
Some older pictures sort of show it having a smaller opening now than it used to at least.  So there'd be the question of if that could be opened up again, as well as upgrading the two existing ducts for the additional thrust of Starship.
« Last Edit: 04/27/2023 05:39 pm by Lobo »

Offline spacenut

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #85 on: 04/27/2023 05:46 pm »
Thanks.  That makes sense.  If it could handle shuttle with the large solids, it can handle Falcon Heavy.  Also, the height of Falcon Heavy is about the same as Delta IV heavy, so the vertical integration building can possibly be used. 

Starship will probably not be launched from Vandenbery for at least 10 or more years.  Most moon and Mars Starships as well as tanker flights will be easterly from the cape or Boca Chica. 

Offline Lobo

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #86 on: 04/27/2023 06:03 pm »
Thanks.  That makes sense.  If it could handle shuttle with the large solids, it can handle Falcon Heavy.  Also, the height of Falcon Heavy is about the same as Delta IV heavy, so the vertical integration building can possibly be used. 

Starship will probably not be launched from Vandenbery for at least 10 or more years.  Most moon and Mars Starships as well as tanker flights will be easterly from the cape or Boca Chica.

Agreed.  If I had to take a guess, I would think think there's a shorter term plan to launch Falcon from there as it's basically already set up for an LV that size with Delta, but then slowly working on upgrades over the long term for when Starship is sufficiently operational to actually take over for Falcon.  At that time they would shut the pad down while they do the final necessary upgrades to switch from Falcon to Starship that couldn't be done beforehand.  As you say, that might be 10 years down the road.
Again, if Starship is to take over fully for Falcon, which SpaceX has said is their plan, then they'd need a heavy-class West Coast pad.  So would seem unlikely they wouldn't make use of the one heavy-class west coast pad that's already there now that they have a lease for it.
« Last Edit: 04/27/2023 06:06 pm by Lobo »

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #87 on: 04/27/2023 06:18 pm »
Thanks.  That makes sense.  If it could handle shuttle with the large solids, it can handle Falcon Heavy.  Also, the height of Falcon Heavy is about the same as Delta IV heavy, so the vertical integration building can possibly be used. 

Starship will probably not be launched from Vandenbery for at least 10 or more years.  Most moon and Mars Starships as well as tanker flights will be easterly from the cape or Boca Chica. 

What would possibly need to be launched from Vandenberg that requires Starship capacity?

With Starships shear size and the south corridor available out of Kennedy, Starship should be able to deliver any DOD payload from the East coast.

In short, I don't see why Starship will need to fly from the west coast, and if it ever did that SLC6 would require a ground up rebuild. 
Wildly optimistic prediction, Superheavy recovery on IFT-4 or IFT-5

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #88 on: 04/27/2023 07:21 pm »
It occurs to me that if someone wants to do a crewed polar orbit mission from SLC-6 on a Falcon 9.  There isn't much need to be added to the mods already required for a Falcon Heavy with vertical payload integration. Will we get to see a crewed polar mission eventually?  8)

They could already do a crewed polar mission from 39A with the southern corridor. 

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #89 on: 04/27/2023 09:00 pm »
What would possibly need to be launched from Vandenberg that requires Starship capacity?

With Starships shear size and the south corridor available out of Kennedy, Starship should be able to deliver any DOD payload from the East coast.

In short, I don't see why Starship will need to fly from the west coast, and if it ever did that SLC6 would require a ground up rebuild.

It's not about payload need, SpaceX has stated many times that Starship would eventually replace Falcon, and reduce cost to orbit at it'll be fully reusable.  If that's still the plan then they'd need Starship launching from a West Coast pad eventually to take over for Falcon on SLC-4.

Offline jstrotha0975

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #90 on: 04/27/2023 09:07 pm »
Starting from scratch and building a launch complex for Starship would probably be faster and easier than converting SLC-6.

Offline edkyle99

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #91 on: 04/27/2023 09:16 pm »
You guys are talking short term while I'm talking long term when Starship is an operational rocket, hence why I said eventually and not immediately.
USSF (or was it USAF then) gave a hard pass to funding for Starship during the NSSL rounds.  I don't see it meeting their requirements, certainly not anytime soon.   Boca Chica events over the past few years make their choice look prescient.   

 - Ed Kyle

Offline jimvela

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #92 on: 04/27/2023 09:21 pm »
Starting from scratch and building a launch complex for Starship would probably be faster and easier than converting SLC-6.

Who says they don't do something similar to what they're doing at LC-39A?

Do the work to convert and make F9 / Falcon Heavy operational at SLC-6.

Then somewhere within the complex build some kind of OLM/launch tower and catch tower for starship / superheavy in a way that doesn't compromise ongoing F9 operations.

I'm not convinced that starship from SLC-6 makes sense- but it does seem that's how SpaceX would approach it.
« Last Edit: 04/27/2023 09:21 pm by jimvela »

Online wannamoonbase

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #93 on: 04/27/2023 09:22 pm »
What would possibly need to be launched from Vandenberg that requires Starship capacity?

With Starships shear size and the south corridor available out of Kennedy, Starship should be able to deliver any DOD payload from the East coast.

In short, I don't see why Starship will need to fly from the west coast, and if it ever did that SLC6 would require a ground up rebuild.

It's not about payload need, SpaceX has stated many times that Starship would eventually replace Falcon, and reduce cost to orbit at it'll be fully reusable.  If that's still the plan then they'd need Starship launching from a West Coast pad eventually to take over for Falcon on SLC-4.

The question stands, what needs to fly out of VSFB that can't be launched by Starship from the East Coast.

Best I can see the only reason to go through the 100's of millions to build a Starship LC at VSFB is for additional launch capacity.
Wildly optimistic prediction, Superheavy recovery on IFT-4 or IFT-5

Offline Zed_Noir

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #94 on: 04/27/2023 10:09 pm »
It occurs to me that if someone wants to do a crewed polar orbit mission from SLC-6 on a Falcon 9.  There isn't much need to be added to the mods already required for a Falcon Heavy with vertical payload integration. Will we get to see a crewed polar mission eventually?  8)

They could already do a crewed polar mission from 39A with the southern corridor.

Sure. But it is a lot easier to station and operated recovery assets for contingencies off the West coast of South America. Since there is a possibility that such contingencies might take place over Cuban and Venezuela airspace and territories with using the Florida polar launch corridor.

Offline Zed_Noir

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #95 on: 04/27/2023 10:10 pm »
Starting from scratch and building a launch complex for Starship would probably be faster and easier than converting SLC-6.
As previous posted on this thread. There is a lot more environmental paperwork required for a new green field launch site at Vanderberg.

Offline Lobo

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #96 on: 04/27/2023 10:15 pm »
Starting from scratch and building a launch complex for Starship would probably be faster and easier than converting SLC-6.
As previous posted on this thread. There is a lot more environmental paperwork required for a new green field launch site at Vanderberg.

You beat me to it.
If you don't consider all the environmental and regulator restrictions and hurdles a new pad could be more inexpansive.  But an exiting pad would likely get grandfathered in for many of those, where a new pad would not.  So modifying an existing pad can often be more reasonable than building a brand new pad, depending on where it is.  And if you are going to try to upgrade any pad at VAFB to launch Starship, SLC-6 would be the pad.

Offline Lobo

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #97 on: 04/27/2023 10:21 pm »

The question stands, what needs to fly out of VSFB that can't be launched by Starship from the East Coast.

Best I can see the only reason to go through the 100's of millions to build a Starship LC at VSFB is for additional launch capacity.

Well, that's a good point, if those payloads can be launched from the East Coast on Starship.  Then I guess SpaceX would just operate Falcon from there until Startship is operational and then, retire it and SLC-6?  That's possible.
But there are very few existing heavy LV class pads in the world, so getting access to a 2nd one for SpaceX is probably just something they don't want to pass up one way or the other.  And perhaps as you say, it's the longer term goal to use it some 20 years hence when they believe they would need a very robust launching capacity for Starship to support Mars Missions.
If SLS were to be cancelled, I'd expect them to try to snap 39B up too.

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #98 on: 04/28/2023 12:00 am »
That’s at least the third pad for Starship, if it’s used for Starship. Not the 2nd.
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Offline Zed_Noir

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #99 on: 04/28/2023 01:16 am »
That’s at least the third pad for Starship, if it’s used for Starship. Not the 2nd.
Heh, @Lobo miscounted.

Current and future Starship launch sites

Starbase pad A
new pad at the Kennedy LC-39A complex (pad LC-39A2 ?)
pad at SLC-6 at Vandenberg

pad at the Kennedy LC-39B complex, if the SLS gets axed

pair of pads at the future Kennnedy LC-49 complex North of the LC-39B complex

The future SpaceX fleet of floating space ports with launch and retrieval tower  :)

Online DanClemmensen

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #100 on: 04/28/2023 01:22 am »
That’s at least the third pad for Starship, if it’s used for Starship. Not the 2nd.
Heh, @Lobo miscounted.

Current and future Starship launch sites

Starbase pad A
new pad at the Kennedy LC-39A complex (pad LC-39A2 ?)
pad at SLC-6 at Vandenberg

pad at the Kennedy LC-39B complex, if the SLS gets axed

pair of pads at the future Kennnedy LC-49 complex North of the LC-39B complex

The future SpaceX fleet of floating space ports with launch and retrieval tower  :)
This is crazy. SpaceX has gone to extreme lengths to design a pad that can launch multiple times per day. At most any one site needs one pad plus one for redundancy, and perhaps a separate catcher pad.

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #101 on: 04/28/2023 01:27 am »
Yeah, I'd put LC-49 and a second pad at Boca Chica well ahead of LC-39B.
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Offline AmigaClone

Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #102 on: 04/28/2023 03:16 am »
Yeah, I'd put LC-49 and a second pad at Boca Chica well ahead of LC-39B.

I would add offshore launch sites before LC-39B as well.

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #103 on: 04/28/2023 04:13 am »
Yeah, I'd put LC-49 and a second pad at Boca Chica well ahead of LC-39B.

I would add offshore launch sites before LC-39B as well.
I'm not so sure.
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Offline AmigaClone

Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #104 on: 04/28/2023 04:30 am »
Yeah, I'd put LC-49 and a second pad at Boca Chica well ahead of LC-39B.

I would add offshore launch sites before LC-39B as well.
I'm not so sure.

My reasoning is based on the expectation that Congress will want to keep SLS (possibly even against NASA's wishes) for more than a decade after the first Artemis Crewed Lunar Landing.

Offline EL_DIABLO

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #105 on: 04/28/2023 11:40 am »

Distance to surrounding population is very relevant for Starship.


No, it isn't.  1.5 miles isn't going to make much of a difference.

Difference to Lompoc city outskirts is closer to 2 miles and to W Ocean Ave the difference is almost double. Which of the two pads is better suited for an eventual Starship launch at Vandenberg is not even worth discussing.


I explained I was not referring to the immediate future and that I'm only referring to the use of two pads at Vandenberg long term, not sure how many times it has to be repeated.

Then it could be no pads at Vandenberg for that matter.  Polar orbits won't require much of the capability of Starship, so the launches could be done at the Cape if we are talking long term.

We already went over this on the previous page ...

You guys are talking short term while I'm talking long term when Starship is an operational rocket, hence why I said eventually and not immediately.
USSF (or was it USAF then) gave a hard pass to funding for Starship during the NSSL rounds.  I don't see it meeting their requirements, certainly not anytime soon. Boca Chica events over the past few years make their choice look prescient.

-Ed Kyle

That's the usual politics. Vulcan and New Glenn aren't flying either. On the way up Starship isn't any different, what happens after the payload is delivered should be of little interest to the USSF. Once it has a proven track record it will get certified.

Anyway the quoted post is about whether SpaceX will need two pads at Vandenberg long term. As I've repeated several times in this thread when Starship is operational and launching Starlink from the east coast at a high enough cadence it puts into question whether they'll need SLC-4. They could of course decide to use it so that BO doesn't get it, the saying "what goes around comes around" would be very fitting in this case.
« Last Edit: 04/28/2023 11:45 am by EL_DIABLO »

Offline Nightstalker89

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #106 on: 04/28/2023 12:10 pm »
This could simply be that SpaceX recognized that once Starship is up and running in Florida they will need to double the launches of Falcon 9's at Vandenberg to place enough StarLink Version 2's into polar orbit.  I suspect they will only be able to carry about 15 or so per launch from Vandenberg so will want to shift to an increased cadence from there.

Offline edzieba

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #107 on: 04/28/2023 12:44 pm »
Starting from scratch and building a launch complex for Starship would probably be faster and easier than converting SLC-6.
As previous posted on this thread. There is a lot more environmental paperwork required for a new green field launch site at Vanderberg.
No need for a green-field site. Like the cape, Vandenberg has plenty of inactive launch complexes.

Offline Zed_Noir

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #108 on: 04/28/2023 03:57 pm »
Starting from scratch and building a launch complex for Starship would probably be faster and easier than converting SLC-6.
As previous posted on this thread. There is a lot more environmental paperwork required for a new green field launch site at Vanderberg.
No need for a green-field site. Like the cape, Vandenberg has plenty of inactive launch complexes.
Suspect almost all of them are EPA super-fund sites. Plus they are too small for something like the Falcon Heavy.

Offline Herb Schaltegger

Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #109 on: 04/28/2023 04:15 pm »
Starting from scratch and building a launch complex for Starship would probably be faster and easier than converting SLC-6.
As previous posted on this thread. There is a lot more environmental paperwork required for a new green field launch site at Vanderberg.
No need for a green-field site. Like the cape, Vandenberg has plenty of inactive launch complexes.
Suspect almost all of them are EPA super-fund sites. Plus they are too small for something like the Falcon Heavy.

There are plenty of Superfund sites all over the US, but none at either Vandenberg or KSC/CCSFB.

https://www.epa.gov/enforcement/map-superfund-enforcement-cleanup-work

That’s not to say there are not plenty of other ecological or environmental concerns in those places - there certainly are! PCBs, runoff from AFFF and resultant PFOA/PFOS in the groundwater, etc. But those can all be mitigated, remediated and/or worked around for industrial re-use and re-purposing.
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Offline Lars-J

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #110 on: 04/29/2023 12:34 am »
It occurs to me that if someone wants to do a crewed polar orbit mission from SLC-6 on a Falcon 9.  There isn't much need to be added to the mods already required for a Falcon Heavy with vertical payload integration. Will we get to see a crewed polar mission eventually?  8)

I think you are forgetting minor details such as a crew access tower and related support facilities for Dragon operations. :)

If/when the crew access tower is finished at LC40 we will get a better idea of what a minimalist crew access tower would look like.

But I doubt there is enough market for polar crewed launches.

Offline Zed_Noir

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #111 on: 04/29/2023 12:57 am »
It occurs to me that if someone wants to do a crewed polar orbit mission from SLC-6 on a Falcon 9.  There isn't much need to be added to the mods already required for a Falcon Heavy with vertical payload integration. Will we get to see a crewed polar mission eventually?  8)

I think you are forgetting minor details such as a crew access tower and related support facilities for Dragon operations. :)
<snip>
Think vertical payload integration access and crew access will use the same pad hardware.

Offline hartspace

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #112 on: 04/29/2023 01:13 am »
It occurs to me that if someone wants to do a crewed polar orbit mission from SLC-6 on a Falcon 9.  There isn't much need to be added to the mods already required for a Falcon Heavy with vertical payload integration. Will we get to see a crewed polar mission eventually?  8)

I think you are forgetting minor details such as a crew access tower and related support facilities for Dragon operations. :)
<snip>
Think vertical payload integration access and crew access will use the same pad hardware.
On SLC-6, the vertical payload integration will be using the existing MST, the same as was done for Delta IV.  The MST is rolled back hours before launch.  Crew access, if it were added, would be a modification to the existing umbilical tower (the old Shuttle Crew Access Tower) next to the launch mount to reach a Crew Dragon much closer to launch, similar to what is done at LC-39A.

Offline alugobi

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #113 on: 04/29/2023 02:27 am »
Why would there be a crewed polar orbit?

Offline AmigaClone

Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #114 on: 04/29/2023 03:56 am »
Why would there be a crewed polar orbit?

I suspect that SpaceX could develop the facilities to handle crewed missions in polar orbit launching from SLC-6 if it saw that there was a market for missions of that type. Granted, most if not all of those individuals flying in those missions would be tourists.

Offline lrk

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #115 on: 04/29/2023 06:19 pm »
Why would there be a crewed polar orbit?

I suspect that SpaceX could develop the facilities to handle crewed missions in polar orbit launching from SLC-6 if it saw that there was a market for missions of that type. Granted, most if not all of those individuals flying in those missions would be tourists.

With the Commercial LEO Destinations program can expect there to be several commercial stations launched in the next decade.  Could there be any market for a station in polar orbit? 

Although as I stated earlier, crewed polar missions could fly from the Cape where there will soon be 2 pads capable of supporting crew missions.  Not sure if there would be sufficient demand for them to bother adding Dragon capabilities on the West coast.  Remember it's not just the crew access arm for the pad - there's also Dragon processing/servicing facilities, crew prep/suit-up facilities, recovery vessels for launch abort scenarios, etc. 

Not at all impossible, but a bit more logistical overhead that might not be worth being able to move a few crew missions to the west coast. 

Online Robotbeat

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #116 on: 04/29/2023 06:47 pm »
You can just do an extreme dog leg to get up there from the East Coast.

The views of the Earth are potentially more interesting in polar orbit. You can also take advantage of 24 seven sunlight and global access. And service/assemble large reconnaissance satellites that are also in polar orbit.
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Offline Lobo

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #117 on: 05/02/2023 03:39 pm »
That’s at least the third pad for Starship, if it’s used for Starship. Not the 2nd.

More specifically I was meaning a 2nd prior existing heavy LV class launchpads in the US, not counting Boca Chica.
But yes, Boca would be one and SLC-6 would be the 3rd in that case.

Offline Lobo

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #118 on: 05/02/2023 03:50 pm »
That’s at least the third pad for Starship, if it’s used for Starship. Not the 2nd.
Heh, @Lobo miscounted.

Current and future Starship launch sites

Starbase pad A
new pad at the Kennedy LC-39A complex (pad LC-39A2 ?)
pad at SLC-6 at Vandenberg

pad at the Kennedy LC-39B complex, if the SLS gets axed

pair of pads at the future Kennnedy LC-49 complex North of the LC-39B complex

The future SpaceX fleet of floating space ports with launch and retrieval tower  :)

Yes, as noted I wasn't counting Boca...which I think is probably technically more of a "test pad" at this point.   But meaning prior existing heavy-LV class pads.

As for LC-49, that's not a heavy LV class pad...or any kind of pad yet.   So I was referring to the pads that can currently handle big heavy class LV's, again, of which there are only 3 in the US not counting Boca.  So it makes sense for SpaceX to grab one if available, even if they don't necessarily have set plans for Starship there yet.
 :)

NOTE:  Even those 3 big heavy-class pads may not be able to handle Starship routinely in their current form, but need upgrades of their own.  But, they are much closer to Starship-class than a small LV class pad, or no pad at all.  So again, grab them if you can if you want to launch big rockets.  Clean sheet pads, especially mammoth ones, are extremely hard to build in the US these days in coastal areas with bureaucracy and environmental regulations compared to the 50's and 60's when they were throwing them up everywhere.  Especially for a private company vs. a Government Agency like NASA or USAF/USSF.
Big existing pads should be grandfathered in for most of those regulations.

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #119 on: 05/02/2023 04:13 pm »
LC-49 is the old LC-39C site, planned originally for Nova, similar size to Starship.

Anyway, even for places with existing pads, the stuff is basically totally rebuilt.
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Offline Lobo

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #120 on: 05/02/2023 04:25 pm »
LC-49 is the old LC-39C site, planned originally for Nova, similar size to Starship.

Understood, but there's nothing there right now as I understand.  Being on the Cape in an area zoned for large rocket launches,  it's possible that the regulations would be easier to overcome.  So that would be an advantage over most other "bare land" coastal locations to build a new pad.  But there's no existing base or flame trench or anything like at existing pads like 39A/B or SLC-6.

Anyway, even for places with existing pads, the stuff is basically totally rebuilt.

I'd think 39A and 39B could be used with just some upgrades, and not need to be totally rebuilt (both sides of trench perhaps needed to be used like STS/S5 rather than just 1 side like F9/FH).  Not sure about SLC-6, it was built to handle STS but not Nova like 39A and 39B.  I think the ground is a lot more solid than the wetlands at the Cape or Boca, so perhaps SLC-6 wouldn't be too much of a challenge to upgrade?  It's already an existing launchpad for heavy class LV's, so it should be grandfathered in from a lot of the regulations of other locations, which would be helpful too.
« Last Edit: 05/02/2023 04:31 pm by Lobo »

Offline Jim

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #121 on: 05/02/2023 04:45 pm »

Difference to Lompoc city outskirts is closer to 2 miles and to W Ocean Ave the difference is almost double. Which of the two pads is better suited for an eventual Starship launch at Vandenberg is not even worth discussing.


Still irrelevant and you don't know which pad is better.  The dock facilities don't mean anything for Starship.
« Last Edit: 05/02/2023 04:51 pm by Jim »

Offline edzieba

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #122 on: 05/03/2023 08:23 am »
It's already an existing launchpad for heavy class LV's, so it should be grandfathered in from a lot of the regulations of other locations, which would be helpful too.
Replacing the Boca Chica Falcon site with Starship, adding a Starship stand at LC-39A, building LC-49, or building a pad at Vandenberg: all will require an EA - or have already performed an EA - in order for a launch license to be issued.

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #123 on: 05/03/2023 04:11 pm »
It's already an existing launchpad for heavy class LV's, so it should be grandfathered in from a lot of the regulations of other locations, which would be helpful too.
Replacing the Boca Chica Falcon site with Starship, adding a Starship stand at LC-39A, building LC-49, or building a pad at Vandenberg: all will require an EA - or have already performed an EA - in order for a launch license to be issued.
...which is being done for LC-49 as we speak. It's not an extra thing they'll do in the future, it's being done right now and has been in process for a while (since at least 2021). They're probably pretty close to it being approved, in fact.

NASA has been trying to get companies interested in LC-49. It wasn't SpaceX who came up with the idea of LC-49, in fact LC-49 has been in Kennedy Space Center's master plan for many years, according to NASA: https://spaceexplored.com/2021/12/15/spacex-wants-nasas-lc-49-for-starship-super-heavy-launches/
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Offline alugobi

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #124 on: 05/03/2023 04:16 pm »
Do we know for sure which vehicles SX has proposed to launch from there?

Offline joseph.a.navin

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #125 on: 05/03/2023 05:32 pm »
What is SLC-6 rated for in terms of rocket thrust?  Delta IV heavy only had around 2.4 million lbs thrust max.  Falcon heavy has 5 million lbs thrust. 

Pad 39A is for 12 million lbs thrust (for future at that time Nova rocket).   Even it would have to be upgraded to take the 17 million lbs of Superheavy/Starship.

It was upgraded to handle Shuttle, so at least that...about 7Mlbs thrust.    It would likely need additional upgrades to handle Starship as that's much more than that, but the "foundation" is there, so to speak for a heavy class vehicle, unlike every other pad in the US aside from 39A and B.  Perhaps there's still no way to make SLC-6 robust enough to accommodate Starship at about 10Mlbs thrust more than STS?  That info is above my pay grade. heh. 

PS:  Someone else can elaborate on this, but I do recall something about the 3rd offset flame trench/duct built to handle the shuttle was all or partially filled in as it was not needed for Titan or Delta.
Some older pictures sort of show it having a smaller opening now than it used to at least.  So there'd be the question of if that could be opened up again, as well as upgrading the two existing ducts for the additional thrust of Starship.

Good point with the likely-filled in flame duct from Shuttle. As I can tell from images online, there were two different flame ducts at SLC-6, one for both SRBs which had exits on either side (both of which are still usable), and the other one which was mainly for the SSMEs (which is likely filled in).

For FH, I would say that it is likely that the existing trench that has not been filled in is sufficient for FH, as it was for Delta, but it may be a pain to open the old one up for Starship if they wanted. I think Starship at SLC-6 is unlikely as far as DoD ops go for SLC-6, as the DoD will want a consistent operational pad. 
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Offline Zed_Noir

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #126 on: 05/03/2023 08:43 pm »
<snip>
Good point with the likely-filled in flame duct from Shuttle. As I can tell from images online, there were two different flame ducts at SLC-6, one for both SRBs which had exits on either side (both of which are still usable), and the other one which was mainly for the SSMEs (which is likely filled in).

For FH, I would say that it is likely that the existing trench that has not been filled in is sufficient for FH, as it was for Delta, but it may be a pain to open the old one up for Starship if they wanted. I think Starship at SLC-6 is unlikely as far as DoD ops go for SLC-6, as the DoD will want a consistent operational pad.
The exhaust ducts were required for the center core of the Delta IV Heavy, AFAIK.

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #127 on: 05/03/2023 11:45 pm »
SLC-6 has three exhaust ducts, one in the center that curves 90°s to the south and two that are straight to the north and south respectively. The center duct is the original duct constructed for the MOL Titan-IIIM which was later repurposed for the SSMEs on the shuttle. The two straight ducts were new constructions for the shuttle SRBs. When Boeing took over the pad for the Delta IV, they elected to partially block off the MOL/SSME duct and use the two SRB ducts.

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #128 on: 05/04/2023 12:33 am »
SLC-6 has three exhaust ducts, one in the center that curves 90°s to the south and two that are straight to the north and south respectively. The center duct is the original duct constructed for the MOL Titan-IIIM which was later repurposed for the SSMEs on the shuttle. The two straight ducts were new constructions for the shuttle SRBs. When Boeing took over the pad for the Delta IV, they elected to partially block off the MOL/SSME duct and use the two SRB ducts.

No, the original ducts were the SRB/SRM duct. They are the ones in-line with the umbilical tower.

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #129 on: 05/04/2023 12:49 am »
SLC-6 has three exhaust ducts, one in the center that curves 90°s to the south and two that are straight to the north and south respectively. The center duct is the original duct constructed for the MOL Titan-IIIM which was later repurposed for the SSMEs on the shuttle. The two straight ducts were new constructions for the shuttle SRBs. When Boeing took over the pad for the Delta IV, they elected to partially block off the MOL/SSME duct and use the two SRB ducts.

No, the original ducts were the SRB/SRM duct. They are the ones in-line with the umbilical tower.

Jim,  Thanks for all the great info on this site.  I was always interested in why the two sets of flame ducts seem to be so separated.  Do they converge in a straight line toward the Launch vehicle?  And do you happen to have any schematics, or layout of the complex (public)?
« Last Edit: 05/04/2023 12:55 am by catdlr »
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Offline hartspace

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #130 on: 05/04/2023 04:39 am »
A crude markup, but the original MOL/Titan III duct was the green colored one.  For Shuttle, one of the SRBs would use this one.  The red duct was for the 2nd SRB.  The curved blue duct was for the Shuttle SSMEs.  For Delta IV, the blue SSME duct was filled and not used.  The red and green ducts were used for Delta.  The center core on the Delta Heavy was ducted into the green duct along with the south booster.  The red duct was used for the north booster.  I presume that Falcon Heavy will use the same type of configuration.  The yellow box represents the launch mount/table.

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #131 on: 05/04/2023 04:50 am »
Do we know for sure which vehicles SX has proposed to launch from there?
Yes, NASA said SpaceX is looking to launch (and recover) Starship from LC-49.
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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #132 on: 05/04/2023 05:06 am »
A crude markup, but the original MOL/Titan III duct was the green colored one.  For Shuttle, one of the SRBs would use this one.  The red duct was for the 2nd SRB.  The curved blue duct was for the Shuttle SSMEs.  For Delta IV, the blue SSME duct was filled and not used.  The red and green ducts were used for Delta.  The center core on the Delta Heavy was ducted into the green duct along with the south booster.  The red duct was used for the north booster.  I presume that Falcon Heavy will use the same type of configuration.  The yellow box represents the launch mount/table.

Ah, great thanks for the explanation, the graphics were perfect.
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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #133 on: 05/04/2023 07:45 pm »

Good point with the likely-filled in flame duct from Shuttle. As I can tell from images online, there were two different flame ducts at SLC-6, one for both SRBs which had exits on either side (both of which are still usable), and the other one which was mainly for the SSMEs (which is likely filled in).

For FH, I would say that it is likely that the existing trench that has not been filled in is sufficient for FH, as it was for Delta, but it may be a pain to open the old one up for Starship if they wanted. I think Starship at SLC-6 is unlikely as far as DoD ops go for SLC-6, as the DoD will want a consistent operational pad.

Yea, the real unknown is how hard would it be to remove the fill from the 3rd (SSME) trench?  Maybe pretty easy, maybe pretty hard.  That'd be interesting to know though.

But I do agree F9/FH would likely be the 1st user of it, as it should be able to accommodate that with minimal (relatively speaking) modifications from Delta and they can get vertical payload integration there as it's already there. 
 Then they could clear/expand the 3rd duct over time between launches perhaps, if they wanted to try to accommodate Starship from there in the future.
As others have pointed out, Starship may not need to launch from the west coast for payloads that would normally launch from there if it takes a dog-leg course.  But, at some point Starship is supposed to fully take over from Falcon, so eventually they may be interested in having another heavy pad that might be able to accommodate something the size of Starship (those locations will be at a premium), rather than just abandoning the pad altogether.

Be interesting to see what the plan actually is.

Offline Hog

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #134 on: 05/05/2023 12:28 am »

Good point with the likely-filled in flame duct from Shuttle. As I can tell from images online, there were two different flame ducts at SLC-6, one for both SRBs which had exits on either side (both of which are still usable), and the other one which was mainly for the SSMEs (which is likely filled in).

For FH, I would say that it is likely that the existing trench that has not been filled in is sufficient for FH, as it was for Delta, but it may be a pain to open the old one up for Starship if they wanted. I think Starship at SLC-6 is unlikely as far as DoD ops go for SLC-6, as the DoD will want a consistent operational pad.

Yea, the real unknown is how hard would it be to remove the fill from the 3rd (SSME) trench?  Maybe pretty easy, maybe pretty hard.  That'd be interesting to know though.

But I do agree F9/FH would likely be the 1st user of it, as it should be able to accommodate that with minimal (relatively speaking) modifications from Delta and they can get vertical payload integration there as it's already there. 
 Then they could clear/expand the 3rd duct over time between launches perhaps, if they wanted to try to accommodate Starship from there in the future.
As others have pointed out, Starship may not need to launch from the west coast for payloads that would normally launch from there if it takes a dog-leg course.  But, at some point Starship is supposed to fully take over from Falcon, so eventually they may be interested in having another heavy pad that might be able to accommodate something the size of Starship (those locations will be at a premium), rather than just abandoning the pad altogether.

Be interesting to see what the plan actually is.
bold mine
So long as the plan includes using Raptors to clear the flame trenches.  Charge it to the "Boring Company"?

Operational Starships launching in impressive cadence from out West at Vandy via Space Launch Complex-6-, will be quite the sight.  Actual site modifications will also be impressive.

Thanks to Delta program as well.  Those people, that system delivered the assets which helps keep our world safe.  Those RS-68A engines were monsters as well. 

With this lease Raptors and full re usability come to Slick-Six.
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Offline rsdavis9

Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #135 on: 05/05/2023 01:33 pm »
How about a catch tower at slc-6?
Basically once booster catch at launch pad is working you have the next problem of where to land/catch the starship.
At florida and boca chica that will involve reentering over populated areas.
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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #136 on: 05/05/2023 03:12 pm »
How about a catch tower at slc-6?
Basically once booster catch at launch pad is working you have the next problem of where to land/catch the starship.
At florida and boca chica that will involve reentering over populated areas.
same exact problem Shuttle had. Starship has the advantage of doing a bunch of uncrewed reentry tests over the Pacific Ocean first. Starship will do reentries much safer for the uninvolved public than Shuttle ever was.
« Last Edit: 05/05/2023 03:16 pm by Robotbeat »
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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #137 on: 05/05/2023 04:38 pm »
How about a catch tower at slc-6?
Basically once booster catch at launch pad is working you have the next problem of where to land/catch the starship.
At florida and boca chica that will involve reentering over populated areas.
same exact problem Shuttle had. Starship has the advantage of doing a bunch of uncrewed reentry tests over the Pacific Ocean first. Starship will do reentries much safer for the uninvolved public than Shuttle ever was.

After the first test landings in the Pacific, SpaceX may want to try the first ground landing tests at Vandy, as the approach will be over the ocean unlike Boca and the Cape.
Not sure how they'd get the ship back to Boca or the Cape from there, but they'd be experimental test ships anyway, so perhaps not needed.

As far as Starship from Vandy, perhaps we're looking at this in reverse?  Perhaps the plan is to modify SLC-6 for Falcon ASAP, as it already has the vertical integration, MST's, etc. setup there.  However, West Coast Falcon launches don't really happen all that often, and so two Falcon pads seems a little overkill, unless they are planning a much higher west coast Falcon cadence than there has been?
But perhaps they would want to then redo SLC-4 for Starship rather than SLC-6?  Lots of room there for the grabber tower, launch pedistal, landing pad for Starship, etc.  And it's not a low wetland like Boca and the Cape, it has much firmer, rockier ground.   It'd require obviously completely redoing the pad, but there's not a lot already there compared to SLC-6, and they might be able to deepen and widen and reinforce the flame trench and put the launch stand over that to push the thrust out to the south rather than have it go all directions like Boca, with the tower just to the side of that.

Ironically, maybe it'd be easier to modify that "cleaner" smaller pad to handle Starship than the larger SLC-6 pad?  Especially since SLC-6 should be able to be used mostly as-is for F9 and FH.
That'd be interesting.
« Last Edit: 05/05/2023 04:39 pm by Lobo »

Offline Zed_Noir

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #138 on: 05/06/2023 04:46 am »
<snip>
As far as Starship from Vandy, perhaps we're looking at this in reverse?  Perhaps the plan is to modify SLC-6 for Falcon ASAP, as it already has the vertical integration, MST's, etc. setup there.  However, West Coast Falcon launches don't really happen all that often, and so two Falcon pads seems a little overkill, unless they are planning a much higher west coast Falcon cadence than there has been?

But perhaps they would want to then redo SLC-4 for Starship rather than SLC-6?  Lots of room there for the grabber tower, launch pedistal, landing pad for Starship, etc.  And it's not a low wetland like Boca and the Cape, it has much firmer, rockier ground.   It'd require obviously completely redoing the pad, but there's not a lot already there compared to SLC-6, and they might be able to deepen and widen and reinforce the flame trench and put the launch stand over that to push the thrust out to the south rather than have it go all directions like Boca, with the tower just to the side of that.
<snip>
Think SpaceX is setting up an additional Falcon pad at Vanderberg as a hedge against Starship introduction getting delayed.

If you add something like the Boca Chica launch facility to SLC-6. There is no need to drastically redo the current SLC-6 launch pad. Just put a new launch & retrieval tower along with an upgraded elevated launch mount elsewhere on the SLC-6 complex. Upgraded as in a proper flame diverter system with deluge.

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #139 on: 05/06/2023 12:08 pm »
Regardless of whether Starship ever ends up on the east coast or not, SLC-6 will very likely end up the primary Falcon pad. By building out SLC-6, all the pad mods that would otherwise require curtailing all east coast launches (widened flame trench, widened launch mount, new Strongback with fast-retract capability, vertical integration facility) can be built out without needing to take an active pad offline. Once SLC-6 is commissioned, then decisions can be made on whether to keep SLC-4 as-is for Falcon, upgrade SLC-4 for single-stick Falcon (so just the new strongback) to boost flight rates, or raze the complex to build a Starship complex, or just mothball it and build a Starship complex elsewhere. As we see at LC-39A, the Starship complex does not tie into any of the existing Falcon infrastructure even when it could (e.g. LOX tank farm, water tower), so there is little benefit from starting from a Falcon pad rather than any of the bare pads, or even a greenfield site.

Offline Lobo

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #140 on: 05/08/2023 05:08 pm »
Regardless of whether Starship ever ends up on the east coast or not, SLC-6 will very likely end up the primary Falcon pad. By building out SLC-6, all the pad mods that would otherwise require curtailing all east coast launches (widened flame trench, widened launch mount, new Strongback with fast-retract capability, vertical integration facility) can be built out without needing to take an active pad offline. Once SLC-6 is commissioned, then decisions can be made on whether to keep SLC-4 as-is for Falcon, upgrade SLC-4 for single-stick Falcon (so just the new strongback) to boost flight rates, or raze the complex to build a Starship complex, or just mothball it and build a Starship complex elsewhere.

Yes, I think you stated well what I was coming around to.  Getting Falcon up and running at SLC-6 lets them explore some different possibilities.

Quote
As we see at LC-39A, the Starship complex does not tie into any of the existing Falcon infrastructure even when it could (e.g. LOX tank farm, water tower), so there is little benefit from starting from a Falcon pad rather than any of the bare pads, or even a greenfield site.

Technically speak, probably true.  But existing pads are zoned for rocket launches and would have some things grandfathered in where a greenfield site in a coast area would not.  So, although they may not have to upgrade an existing pad to handle Starship, it might be easier to do that from an regulatory and bureaucracy standpoint than a greenfield location.  They could perhaps put it elsewhere on SLC-6 like they are trying to do at LC39A, but why not put it at SLC-4 where they wouldn't be working around another active launch pad?  That's what made me think maybe that could be the plan.  And they already have SLC-4 so it's not like a different pad they need to try to acquire a new lease for.  They already have it.
And someone can correct me if I'm wrong, but are there enough West Coast Falcon  launches anticipated that they'd need two active pads there?  They've been busy there over the last couple of years, but most of those are Starlink, so at some point those will wind down.  Outside of Starlink, there's not a lot of West Coast launches of Falcon or the EELV's typically.  Perhaps they want the 2 active pads for a couple years until they work through the Starlink manifest, and then they could take SLC-4 offline and possibly work on upgrading it for Starship?  They'd have awhile before West Coast Starship launches would be a consideration I'd imagine, so there's time out there before they'd really need to do anything that way.
Just my speculation, but I could be wrong of course.

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #141 on: 07/09/2023 05:30 am »
https://twitter.com/derekdotspace/status/1677869414966861825

Quote
Saw some concern earlier about SLC-6s flame trench holding up to Falcon Heavy due to Delta IV Heavy having significantly less thrust, I'd like to put that to rest.

That's right, its Flame Trench History Time! (All photos from @SLDelta30 on the National Archive unless noted)

Quote
There are currently two flame trenches with three main ducts at SLC-6. The first, currently unused one, is a 90 degree curved duct put in for the Space Shuttle, where the SSME exhaust would be directed to the right side of the stack during initial ramp up.

https://twitter.com/derekdotspace/status/1677869421119827969

Quote
The second trench, would be a bi-directional duct for the Solid Rocket Motors, splitting each one out into separate directions at ignition. This one was the one used for Delta IV when the launch complex was reconfigured for it.

Quote
The SSME duct (left) and half of the SRB duct (right) can be seen here during a fit check of Space Shuttle Enterprise on SLC-6 in 1985. Pretty neat right? So how will this look for Falcon Heavy?

https://twitter.com/derekdotspace/status/1677869426861912069

Quote
Well the duct likely to be utilized for Falcon Heavy is the old SRB trench, which Delta IV utilized. Delta IV made ~9,420 kN of thrust, but Falcon Heavy makes ~22,800 kN of thrust, more than double the thrust, but not a problem at all for SLC-6 because...

📸 me

Quote
SLC-6's main trench was designed to handle >30,000 kN of thrust! The Space Shuttle RSRMs packed some serious heat with each booster making ~13,000 kN each at ignition! (they would top out at ~15,000 kN approximately 20 seconds into flight).

📸NASA/@LaunchPhoto

https://twitter.com/derekdotspace/status/1677869431081369602

Quote
So all in the SLC-6 flame trench/duct system will absolutely handle Falcon Heavy without a problem thanks to our good friend, The Space Shuttle!

Offline AmigaClone

Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #142 on: 07/09/2023 06:16 am »
The previous post reminds us that the flame trenches at SLC-6 were designed to handle the Space Shuttle SRBs. The question then becomes - How much maintenance have those trenches received in the 40+ years since they were built? A followup question could be - Did the maintenance the flame trenches received since being build restore those trenches to either the original specks or possibly improve them, or was the maintenance simply cosmetic or based on launch vehicles requirements,

Offline Helodriver

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #143 on: 07/09/2023 07:33 am »
The SSME duct at SLC-6 actually predates both Shuttle and the Delta IV, its the original single SRM exhaust port built for the Titan MOL program modified to support Shuttle and abandoned for EELV.

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #144 on: 07/09/2023 07:47 am »
There is a previous thread (Old) on the flame trenches and the MOL project.  Jim would be the best knowledge base for this.  On a side note, I was under the impression that one of these flame trenches was filled in for the ULA/Delta mods done with the pad??? 

https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=23763.0
« Last Edit: 07/09/2023 07:54 am by catdlr »
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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #145 on: 07/12/2023 09:20 am »
The SSME duct at SLC-6 actually predates both Shuttle and the Delta IV, its the original single SRM exhaust port built for the Titan MOL program modified to support Shuttle and abandoned for EELV.

The old flame duct from Titan MOL was repurposed into the SSME flame duct by adding a new curved section which would have funneled the SSME exhaust into the existing exit funnel.

The twin-opening flame duct for the Shuttle SRBs was an all-new construction. It is also the flame duct that was used for Delta IV Heavy launches and will be the flame duct used for F9 and Falcon Heavy launches.

The old Titan MOL/shuttle SSME flame duct has been sealed off at the receiving end and is mostly filled in at the exhaust end. It can no longer be used and has essentially been abandoned in place.
« Last Edit: 07/12/2023 09:22 am by woods170 »

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #146 on: 08/11/2023 05:37 pm »
The SSME duct at SLC-6 actually predates both Shuttle and the Delta IV, its the original single SRM exhaust port built for the Titan MOL program modified to support Shuttle and abandoned for EELV.

The old flame duct from Titan MOL was repurposed into the SSME flame duct by adding a new curved section which would have funneled the SSME exhaust into the existing exit funnel.

The twin-opening flame duct for the Shuttle SRBs was an all-new construction. It is also the flame duct that was used for Delta IV Heavy launches and will be the flame duct used for F9 and Falcon Heavy launches.

The old Titan MOL/shuttle SSME flame duct has been sealed off at the receiving end and is mostly filled in at the exhaust end. It can no longer be used and has essentially been abandoned in place.

It can no longer be used as is, but since it still exists as a structure, it would be reasonable to assume it could be opened and reworked on to make functional again if needed.  That would take effort and time of course, but it's not like it doesn't exist and a new one would need built from scratch. 
But FH wouldn't need it, as stated above.  The main SRB trenches used by D4H were built sufficiently to handle more thrust than FH puts out.  (that was good information to learn.)
Only if they ever desired to launch Starship from there that they'd look at reopening and refurbishing the SSME trench.  (and that may not even be sufficient for Starship...they may have to rip out that entire section and rebuild it new for Starship

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #147 on: 08/11/2023 05:51 pm »
The SSME duct at SLC-6 actually predates both Shuttle and the Delta IV, its the original single SRM exhaust port built for the Titan MOL program modified to support Shuttle and abandoned for EELV.

The old flame duct from Titan MOL was repurposed into the SSME flame duct by adding a new curved section which would have funneled the SSME exhaust into the existing exit funnel.

The twin-opening flame duct for the Shuttle SRBs was an all-new construction. It is also the flame duct that was used for Delta IV Heavy launches and will be the flame duct used for F9 and Falcon Heavy launches.

The old Titan MOL/shuttle SSME flame duct has been sealed off at the receiving end and is mostly filled in at the exhaust end. It can no longer be used and has essentially been abandoned in place.

It can no longer be used as is, but since it still exists as a structure, it would be reasonable to assume it could be opened and reworked on to make functional again if needed.  That would take effort and time of course, but it's not like it doesn't exist and a new one would need built from scratch. 
But FH wouldn't need it, as stated above.  The main SRB trenches used by D4H were built sufficiently to handle more thrust than FH puts out.  (that was good information to learn.)
Only if they ever desired to launch Starship from there that they'd look at reopening and refurbishing the SSME trench.  (and that may not even be sufficient for Starship...they may have to rip out that entire section and rebuild it new for Starship
I thought SpaceX had committed to vertical integration on both coasts as part of NSSL phase 2. The easiest way to do this may be to convert the Delta IV Heavy infrastructure to FH in both places, using the roughly the same conversion. Not related to Starship at all.

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #148 on: 08/11/2023 10:25 pm »

I thought SpaceX had committed to vertical integration on both coasts as part of NSSL phase 2. The easiest way to do this may be to convert the Delta IV Heavy infrastructure to FH in both places, using the roughly the same conversion. Not related to Starship at all.

It's more of a speculation about how SpaceX may use SLC-6 later.  It's one of only 3 pads (not counting Boca Chica) in the country that could support a Space Shuttle Class HLV.  So when Starship is at an operation level, it makes sense they'd need a West Coast pad to launch it.  Hence the curiosities about the 3rd SSME trench and could SLC-6 potentially be able to handle Starship. 
It could be they'd need a clean sheet Boca Chica like setup for it, in which case the SSME flame trench is a moot point.  But again, just speculation on the possible potential max capacity of SLC-6.

Offline danneely

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #149 on: 08/13/2023 03:34 am »

I thought SpaceX had committed to vertical integration on both coasts as part of NSSL phase 2. The easiest way to do this may be to convert the Delta IV Heavy infrastructure to FH in both places, using the roughly the same conversion. Not related to Starship at all.

It's more of a speculation about how SpaceX may use SLC-6 later.  It's one of only 3 pads (not counting Boca Chica) in the country that could support a Space Shuttle Class HLV.  So when Starship is at an operation level, it makes sense they'd need a West Coast pad to launch it.  Hence the curiosities about the 3rd SSME trench and could SLC-6 potentially be able to handle Starship. 
It could be they'd need a clean sheet Boca Chica like setup for it, in which case the SSME flame trench is a moot point.  But again, just speculation on the possible potential max capacity of SLC-6.

Even if the existing infrastructure needs demoed down to bare dirt, SLC-6 still has a key advantage as a west coast starship site.  The biggest hazard perimeter of any of the west coast pads.

Offline dglow

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #150 on: 08/13/2023 09:48 pm »
I don’t know that anyone is eager to revive the SSME flame trench at SLC-6. That trench was nothing but a thorn in the USAF’s side amidst their prep to launch west coast shuttles. The problems are widely-documented, and include dangerous amounts of trapped hydrogen, in part due to its retrofitted geometry. Had Challenger not ultimately ended all shuttle launches from Vandenberg, the SSME trench (and numerous other construction issues) likely would have delayed them.

Offline Zed_Noir

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #151 on: 08/14/2023 12:17 am »
I don’t know that anyone is eager to revive the SSME flame trench at SLC-6. That trench was nothing but a thorn in the USAF’s side amidst their prep to launch west coast shuttles. The problems are widely-documented, and include dangerous amounts of trapped hydrogen, in part due to its retrofitted geometry. Had Challenger not ultimately ended all shuttle launches from Vandenberg, the SSME trench (and numerous other construction issues) likely would have delayed them.
The starship stack doesn't contain any leaky Hydrogen.

Offline russianhalo117

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #152 on: 08/14/2023 01:24 am »
I don’t know that anyone is eager to revive the SSME flame trench at SLC-6. That trench was nothing but a thorn in the USAF’s side amidst their prep to launch west coast shuttles. The problems are widely-documented, and include dangerous amounts of trapped hydrogen, in part due to its retrofitted geometry. Had Challenger not ultimately ended all shuttle launches from Vandenberg, the SSME trench (and numerous other construction issues) likely would have delayed them.
Keep in mind that the SSME flame trench is the original SLC-6 Titan programme flame trench and was plated, rebarred and concreted in to seal it off for post STS use. Only the now connected SRB trenches remain in use.

Offline dglow

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #153 on: 08/14/2023 05:24 am »
I don’t know that anyone is eager to revive the SSME flame trench at SLC-6. That trench was nothing but a thorn in the USAF’s side amidst their prep to launch west coast shuttles. The problems are widely-documented, and include dangerous amounts of trapped hydrogen, in part due to its retrofitted geometry. Had Challenger not ultimately ended all shuttle launches from Vandenberg, the SSME trench (and numerous other construction issues) likely would have delayed them.
Keep in mind that the SSME flame trench is the original SLC-6 Titan programme flame trench and was plated, rebarred and concreted in to seal it off for post STS use. Only the now connected SRB trenches remain in use.
Thank you; yes I am aware. My comment/recollection was in response to Lobo’s post questioning whether the SSME trench might eventually be returned to service.

Offline litton4

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #154 on: 08/14/2023 11:02 am »
I don’t know that anyone is eager to revive the SSME flame trench at SLC-6. That trench was nothing but a thorn in the USAF’s side amidst their prep to launch west coast shuttles. The problems are widely-documented, and include dangerous amounts of trapped hydrogen, in part due to its retrofitted geometry. Had Challenger not ultimately ended all shuttle launches from Vandenberg, the SSME trench (and numerous other construction issues) likely would have delayed them.

Can you point at some of that documentation?
(Something more than a quick Google search throws up)
« Last Edit: 08/14/2023 11:05 am by litton4 »
Dave Condliffe

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #155 on: 08/14/2023 11:10 am »
The flame trench is useful for Falcon Heavy, but very likely useless for Starship.
Starship's liftoff thrust is greater than the two SRBs on STS, thrust per unit area / thrust intensity is about equal to the SRBs, and the SRBs already started encountering issues with trench lining erosion at LC-39A (e.g. the brick blast after STS-124, fixed by adding a refractory concrete topcoat, a solution that has already been tested and failed for Starship). It would be a lot of effort to re-engineer the existing flame ducts for Starship, almost certainly more than building another launch table of a proven working design (once the design is proven out at BC). Starship also already requires an integration tower to be built to perform stacking on the pad, which itself requires extensive excavation for new foundations, which would also complicate construction next to the existing duct.

Offline Lobo

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #156 on: 08/14/2023 04:10 pm »
I don’t know that anyone is eager to revive the SSME flame trench at SLC-6. That trench was nothing but a thorn in the USAF’s side amidst their prep to launch west coast shuttles. The problems are widely-documented, and include dangerous amounts of trapped hydrogen, in part due to its retrofitted geometry. Had Challenger not ultimately ended all shuttle launches from Vandenberg, the SSME trench (and numerous other construction issues) likely would have delayed them.
Keep in mind that the SSME flame trench is the original SLC-6 Titan programme flame trench and was plated, rebarred and concreted in to seal it off for post STS use. Only the now connected SRB trenches remain in use.
Thank you; yes I am aware. My comment/recollection was in response to Lobo’s post questioning whether the SSME trench might eventually be returned to service.

Yes, that's all good info out the SSME trench.  I'm assuming now that's why it was closed for Delta.  D4H may not have needed that flame trench, but also having extra thrust dissipation wouldn't normally be something you'd just close off for no reason. (I'd always wondered why they'd have just not used it as is for Delta).
And Delta had hydrogen propellant as well as STS, so if trapped H2 buildup in there was an issue, then makes sense to close it up if not absolutely needed.

That makes more sense now.

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #157 on: 08/14/2023 04:22 pm »

Even if the existing infrastructure needs demoed down to bare dirt, SLC-6 still has a key advantage as a west coast starship site.  The biggest hazard perimeter of any of the west coast pads.

Yes, that would be likely an appealing overall benefit to SpaceX.  They've stated the plan is to replace Falcon with Starship eventually, so using SLC-6 for F9/FH would only be temporary one way or the other (although "temporary" could be for 10+ years).
At some point they'd want Starship launching from West Coast, and SLC-6 would be under contract to SpaceX, so that large perimeter would then be very handy.  Although, for reasons discussed above, it seems likely they'd have to completely rebuild the launch pad and trenches, as well as the MSS's to make tall enough, or remove them entirely if that setup is impractical for Starship.

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #158 on: 08/14/2023 10:12 pm »
I don’t know that anyone is eager to revive the SSME flame trench at SLC-6. That trench was nothing but a thorn in the USAF’s side amidst their prep to launch west coast shuttles. The problems are widely-documented, and include dangerous amounts of trapped hydrogen, in part due to its retrofitted geometry. Had Challenger not ultimately ended all shuttle launches from Vandenberg, the SSME trench (and numerous other construction issues) likely would have delayed them.
Problem had been solved by 1987 through the use of a Steam Inerting System (SIS) which would have injected hot steam into the SSME flame trench to inert it ahead of ignition.
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Offline Lobo

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #159 on: 08/15/2023 12:00 am »
I'd assume if/when SpaceX eventually retires Falcon can converts SLC-6 to Starship, they'd get rid of the MSS's.
But, maybe they'd upgrade them to be taller so they can process payloads vertically on the pad (if feasible/practical).
It wouldn't be the first time that was done for a tall LV.
« Last Edit: 08/15/2023 12:01 am by Lobo »

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #160 on: 08/15/2023 12:03 am »
I'd assume if/when SpaceX eventually retires Falcon can converts SLC-6 to Starship, they'd get rid of the MSS's.
But, maybe they'd upgrade them to be taller so they can process payloads vertically on the pad (if feasible/practical).
It wouldn't be the first time that was done for a tall LV.

That didn't install payloads

Offline Lobo

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #161 on: 08/15/2023 05:57 pm »
I'd assume if/when SpaceX eventually retires Falcon can converts SLC-6 to Starship, they'd get rid of the MSS's.
But, maybe they'd upgrade them to be taller so they can process payloads vertically on the pad (if feasible/practical).
It wouldn't be the first time that was done for a tall LV.

That didn't install payloads

Jim,
Yes, good point.  I stated that poorly.   I meant a it wouldn't be the first time a MSS was used for a tall LV like Starship...so perhaps it could again for Starship to vertically integrate payloads, if it were desirable/practical to modify the existing MSS's at SLC-6 to do that for Starship at some later time when Falcon is retired.  Since the structures and rail system, etc is already there.

Sorry for stating that poorly. 


Offline dglow

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #162 on: 08/15/2023 06:42 pm »
I don’t know that anyone is eager to revive the SSME flame trench at SLC-6. That trench was nothing but a thorn in the USAF’s side amidst their prep to launch west coast shuttles. The problems are widely-documented, and include dangerous amounts of trapped hydrogen, in part due to its retrofitted geometry. Had Challenger not ultimately ended all shuttle launches from Vandenberg, the SSME trench (and numerous other construction issues) likely would have delayed them.

Can you point at some of that documentation?
(Something more than a quick Google search throws up)

Here you go:

https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2023/04/spacex-slc-6-takeover/
from our very own NSF writers! solid history overview, briefly mentions troubles/delays

https://www.globalsecurity.org/space/systems/sts_slc-6.htm
great writeup, largely through the lens of reconnaissance sats’ launch requirements, very thorough list of sources

https://www.space.com/10644-california-launch-pad-history-shuttles-rockets.html
doesn’t mention pad issues but includes AF-NASA politics and Challenger impact

https://military-history.fandom.com/wiki/Vandenberg_AFB_Space_Launch_Complex_6
a straightforward list of issues right in the middle of the article

http://www.capcomespace.net/dossiers/espace_US/shuttle/vandenberg/SLC6_1979.htm
very thorough, from MOL through Delta with great historical imagery; in French, but auto-translates to English reasonably well

https://www.spaceflighthistories.com/post/vandenberg-space-shuttle
another history

https://www.thespacereview.com/article/2349/1%0A
a waste of words investigates (to no conclusion) whether SLC-6’s difficulties are the result of a Native American curse (!) – recommend ignore tangential, does not inform this immediate discussion


« Last Edit: 08/16/2023 03:47 am by dglow »

Offline dglow

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #163 on: 08/15/2023 06:59 pm »
I don’t know that anyone is eager to revive the SSME flame trench at SLC-6. That trench was nothing but a thorn in the USAF’s side amidst their prep to launch west coast shuttles. The problems are widely-documented, and include dangerous amounts of trapped hydrogen, in part due to its retrofitted geometry. Had Challenger not ultimately ended all shuttle launches from Vandenberg, the SSME trench (and numerous other construction issues) likely would have delayed them.
Problem had been solved by 1987 through the use of a Steam Inerting System (SIS) which would have injected hot steam into the SSME flame trench to inert it ahead of ignition.

Thank you. As that document states: “the two-year feasibility and development test program completed in December 1987” – well after the planned mid-‘86 inaugural launch from Vandenberg.

Offline Herb Schaltegger

Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #164 on: 08/15/2023 09:13 pm »

https://www.thespacereview.com/article/2349/1%0A
a waste of words, investigating (to no conclusion) whether SLC-6 difficulties are the result of a Native American curse (!) – recommend ignore


You're really mischaracterizing that last link. Nothing Dwayne Day writes with regard to historical spaceflight, especially in connection with reconnaissance activities, is a "waste of words." The primary focus of this particular piece isn't SLC-6 as such, it's entirely an aside:

As Dr. Day writes:

Quote
What prompted this long-winded explanation of my only partially-successful research effort on “the curse of Slick-6” was a new review of the book Blue Sky Metropolis by Roger Eardley-Pryor that appeared last month on H Net, the Humanities and Social Sciences Online resource. Eardley-Pryor referred to my essay as “overly reliant upon military sources,” which is a fair criticism. But it is also something that I acknowledged in the essay itself when I stated that doing research that crosses such major divides is challenging: a military historian is going to have a hard time finding cultural sources, and a cultural historian is going to have a hard time finding military sources.
Ad astra per aspirin ...

Offline dglow

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #165 on: 08/15/2023 09:58 pm »

https://www.thespacereview.com/article/2349/1%0A
a waste of words, investigating (to no conclusion) whether SLC-6 difficulties are the result of a Native American curse (!) – recommend ignore


You're really mischaracterizing that last link. Nothing Dwayne Day writes with regard to historical spaceflight, especially in connection with reconnaissance activities, is a "waste of words." The primary focus of this particular piece isn't SLC-6 as such, it's entirely an aside:

As Dr. Day writes:

Quote
What prompted this long-winded explanation of my only partially-successful research effort on “the curse of Slick-6” was a new review of the book Blue Sky Metropolis by Roger Eardley-Pryor that appeared last month on H Net, the Humanities and Social Sciences Online resource. Eardley-Pryor referred to my essay as “overly reliant upon military sources,” which is a fair criticism. But it is also something that I acknowledged in the essay itself when I stated that doing research that crosses such major divides is challenging: a military historian is going to have a hard time finding cultural sources, and a cultural historian is going to have a hard time finding military sources.

That’s fine, though this article was hardly about reconnaissance activities, hence my take. My opinion is just that, and represented as nothing more. Perhaps I should have left this one off the list – if unable to say something nice, best say nothing at all.

Offline Herb Schaltegger

Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #166 on: 08/15/2023 10:06 pm »

https://www.thespacereview.com/article/2349/1%0A
a waste of words, investigating (to no conclusion) whether SLC-6 difficulties are the result of a Native American curse (!) – recommend ignore


You're really mischaracterizing that last link. Nothing Dwayne Day writes with regard to historical spaceflight, especially in connection with reconnaissance activities, is a "waste of words." The primary focus of this particular piece isn't SLC-6 as such, it's entirely an aside:

As Dr. Day writes:

Quote
What prompted this long-winded explanation of my only partially-successful research effort on “the curse of Slick-6” was a new review of the book Blue Sky Metropolis by Roger Eardley-Pryor that appeared last month on H Net, the Humanities and Social Sciences Online resource. Eardley-Pryor referred to my essay as “overly reliant upon military sources,” which is a fair criticism. But it is also something that I acknowledged in the essay itself when I stated that doing research that crosses such major divides is challenging: a military historian is going to have a hard time finding cultural sources, and a cultural historian is going to have a hard time finding military sources.

That’s fine, though this article was hardly about reconnaissance activities, hence my take. My opinion is just that, and represented as nothing more. Perhaps I should have left this one off the list – if unable to say something nice, best say nothing at all.

The book in question (referred to in my quoted paragraph from the article) would be a better source of practical and pragmatic information:

https://www.amazon.com/Blue-Sky-Metropolis-Aerospace-California/dp/0873282493
Ad astra per aspirin ...

Offline dglow

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #167 on: 08/16/2023 03:42 am »
The book in question (referred to in my quoted paragraph from the article) would be a better source of practical and pragmatic information:

https://www.amazon.com/Blue-Sky-Metropolis-Aerospace-California/dp/0873282493

A series of essays about the impact of aerospace on SoCal? Alright and thank you. Are there specific pieces you recommend, or any that speak to SLC-6 in particular?

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #168 on: 08/16/2023 11:19 am »
Problem had been solved by 1987 through the use of a Steam Inerting System (SIS) which would have injected hot steam into the SSME flame trench to inert it ahead of ignition.

Nice to see dry humour persisted in NASA documents that long

Quote
It was necessary that the solution lend itself to evaluation and verification by subscale testing because of the cost and risk of full-scale experiments with the shuttle or associated flight hardware.

Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #169 on: 02/06/2024 08:02 am »
SpaceX is reconfiguring now. Does the mobile launch vertical integration gantry tower belong to SpaceX. If yes we can launch ppe/halo  from here as delta IV Heavy 8s longer than fh so fh will fit here.
https://twitter.com/OliverNerd7/status/1754647149466337331

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #170 on: 02/06/2024 09:00 am »
SpaceX is reconfiguring now. Does the mobile launch vertical integration gantry tower belong to SpaceX. If yes we can launch ppe/halo  from here as delta IV Heavy 8s longer than fh so fh will fit here.
https://twitter.com/OliverNerd7/status/1754647149466337331

That building is located on the attached aerial at the Green Circle
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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #171 on: 02/06/2024 09:17 am »
Upon getting that photo above I notice a "hum" of activity at various locations/buildings at the complex.

Google indicates these pictures were taken in 2024

Building adjacent to the pad same elevation
Building below the pad
Building down the hill
Nitrogen farm, possible (existing)
Backup Generators (existing)
Retention ponds (abandoned dried up) possible landing pads?
Harbor, barge delivery som old looking equipment (pair).

Jim, Helodriver, please review, correct me, and/or respond with any other info. Few have actually visited this facility so your comments are much appreciated.
« Last Edit: 02/06/2024 09:23 am by catdlr »
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Offline RedLineTrain

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #172 on: 02/06/2024 02:44 pm »
Google indicates these pictures were taken in 2024

Google Earth indicates that some of these pictures were taken on October 5, 2023 and some on May 5, 2023.
« Last Edit: 02/06/2024 02:46 pm by RedLineTrain »

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #173 on: 02/06/2024 08:17 pm »
Some of those buildings marked there as "humming" were already part of SpaceX's property even when ULA was at SLC-6, they're technically not at SLC-6 property, just very close to it and they were humming because, well, SpaceX property. The last image is just a couple of fairings being delivered from Long Beach, you can see a booster further up the road as well. They transport fairing halves and boosters to that dock via barge after they're unloaded at Long Beach.

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Re: SpaceX lease SLC-6
« Reply #174 on: 02/09/2024 12:32 am »
Here is the most recent public image of the site from Feb 2nd.

https://twitter.com/Harry__Stranger/status/1754480782465528061
« Last Edit: 02/09/2024 12:32 am by harrystranger »

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