Author Topic: SpaceX lease SLC-6  (Read 43570 times)

Offline 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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Online wannamoonbase

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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.
Wildly optimistic prediction, Superheavy recovery on IFT-4 or IFT-5

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 »

Online 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.

Online wannamoonbase

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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.
Wildly optimistic prediction, Superheavy recovery on IFT-4 or IFT-5

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.

Offline Jim

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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?

Offline Jim

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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.

Offline EL_DIABLO

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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.

Offline DreamyPickle

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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.

Offline lrk

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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. 

Offline butters

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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.

Online whitelancer64

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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Online edzieba

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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).

Offline Jim

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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. 

Offline Jim

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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.

Offline Jim

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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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