"I would say there are two and a half options that we're discussing. One is SpaceX, that is clear. Another one is possibly Japan. It is waiting for the inaugural flight of its next-generation rocket. Another option could be India," ESA Director General Josef Aschbacher told Reuters.
The agency has been left hanging after a breakdown in relations with the Russian space agency, Roscosmos. Several missions, including a joint Mars project with Russia have been pushed back after the breakdown between the West and Russia following President Vladimir Putin's war on Ukraine.
The big question I have about the HVX is whether it will use LH2. If it’s, as has been suggested, a conventional engine with a pre-cooler on the front, does jet fuel have the heat capacity to run the pre-cooler? would another cryogenic propellant be an option?
"So in good old Elon fashion, SpaceX decided "best part is no part" and went for "no water deluge is the best water deluge" -- a decision that if I remember right was commented on by Musk on Twitter too along the lines of "might have been a mistake, we shall see.."
I think that comment was regarding a flame diversion trench.
You are right, I misremembered.
That being said, I can't remember seeing any water deluge being used on the OLM ever. Only on pad A and B. The former landing pad had one of these remote controlled fire suppression cannons.
Also for real water deluge you'd need a tall tower for some head pressure and volume. I don't see any such infrastructure anywhere near the Orbital pad.. Compare with the thickness of water pipes on Pad 39A or in Vandenberg SFB.
There's irony here, in that SpaceX intentionally did not lower prices to match internal cost, for a number of well discussed reasons, and then just as things were going according to plan, their low-cost high-capacity competitor just offs themselves.
Best laid plans and all.
But yeah, competition is good, but winning competitions is better.
It's fair to say that the invasion of Ukraine at the moment when the rocket fleets worldwide are turning over has put everybody except SpaceX in a bind.
So far, SpaceX is managing the transition well. Rather than "this is what dominance gives you," I would say "this is what reusability gives you."
Some of this is luck. SpaceX's business model is that Starlink is a reliable low-priority customer, so they will pretty much always have a launcher available for a higher-priority customer who is willing to pay for it. I don't think SpaceX anticipated the sudden surge in demand for F9 launches, but they were able to accommodate it almost by accident.
Well, back when they landed their first booster they had a production capacity of around 12 expendable F9 rockets per year. Now that they only have to produce maybe 4 or so boosters a year, the freed up capacity is churning out 2nd stages by the truck load.
SpaceX basically has unlimited launch capacity at this point. There might be additional ramp-up costs to jump past some temporary production ceilings, but if sufficient demand exists they can pretty much pump out as many launches as their launch facilities can accommodate.
The rate is currently constrained by the recovery fleet, range availability, and refurbishment, not by production. I suppose they could add staff to speed up refurbishment, but adding recovery vessels on short notice is hard. Since the demand surge is likely to now be over and the longer-term demand for F9 is likely to drop off starting next year(?), SpaceX is probably reluctant to make new investments in F9 capacity.
Yep. I find it useful to look at it from a cumulative perspective. As in, how many total launches will F9 complete over its entire lifetime - meaning until the rocket is retired.
It is already approaching 200. I expect its lifetime launch tally to reach around 400.
So let’s say there are 200-250 launches left - with maybe 3 years of high cadence representing the bulk of that, and then a 5-10 year tail thereafter with a dwindling number of “traditionalist” customers insisting on F9 even when Starship is in operation.
So any investment SpaceX makes in F9 now, needs to be seen in the context of those 200-250 remaining lifetime launches.
Outside of rescuing NeoSurveyor, will the 2022 auth bill really be changing much? It seems like its just codifying what congress has been telling it to do anyways for the last several years.
It won't. But the last NASA Authorization bill in 2017 was about the Journey to Mars, so it's good to have one that specifically endorses Artemis. However, fortunately, the 2017 NASA Transition Authorization bill had a provision that allowed interim destinations on the way to Mars. Before the 2022 NASA Authorization bill, the policies behind Artemis had been implemented mostly through executive orders, it's better to have it in a law than in executive orders.
In terms of NeoSurveyor, I am not sure that's it's been rescued completely. It still needs to be appropriated the necessary funding in FY23.