Satellite insurance risks and therefore costs are directly linked to the reliability of the launcher.
iif the launcher is unproven or consistently unreliable you may not even be able to get insurance on your payload, or on the flight costs. You are playing with Gambler's Ruin i.e. just because the last one failed doesn't mean the next one will fly and vice versa. ...
RL prices aren't set in concrete, plus they are moving to a RLV.
Quote from: ringsider on 02/10/2020 11:35 amiif the launcher is unproven or consistently unreliable you may not even be able to get insurance on your payload, or on the flight costs. You are playing with Gambler's Ruin i.e. just because the last one failed doesn't mean the next one will fly and vice versa. ...If the vehicle reliably fails at a 20% clip, insurers will gladly charge 30% of the insured value to cover it. That's not gambling - it's a guaranteed profit as long as they can cover enough launches.
If Astra need 100 flights per year to be profitable I hope they have a lot of runway in their financing... Both because they won't have the desired launch rate for a while but also because I bet those early rockets cost a lot more than the later ones. All companies (SpaceX, RL, VO) have missed both launch and then scaling targets by miles. The fact that they are still going suggests that whoever is holding onto the purse strings at those companies is more realistic than the PR machines.Not really related to Astra but here's one of my all time favourite hypes - if the business plan actually required this then it would be bad:https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/964214407306928128Quote from: TrevorMonty on 02/10/2020 05:42 pmRL prices aren't set in concrete, plus they are moving to a RLV. I haven't seen any pricing the a reused stage, has RL ever said anything? It's be interesting to know if savings are a similar proportion to SpaceX.
Just a note.Historical ELV reliability figure is about 5% failure IE 1 in 20. Ariane 5 and Atlas V have managed betterBTW this is not the first time people have asked what happens if you trade reliability for cost. OTRAG in Germany did it in Germany in the 70's and Loral were planning to do it for bulk re-supply to the ISS (1 tonne of low value easily replaceable stuff).And TBH it's not unreasonable strategy if the payloads are low value (like the proverbial ISS toilet paper and bottle water run) or (like) astra planning to launch smallish clumps of much bigger constellations at each launch so any one launch failure is not that big a deal..However that raises the question when a launch fails (and your business model expects failure) and how the MIB and FAA react. SOP is to stop all launches till a cause is found but it seems astra want more of a "Let's keep launching in the mean time while we investigate and change the design of the next batch accordingly"Time will tell how well that sits with the FAA. Time will tell how
That downtime while failure are investigated, means no cashflow and customers switching LVs as they don't want to wait. A failure means cost of that LV needs to be recovered from next few launches profit margin.
Better to start with reliable and more expensive LV and work towards reducing launch costs. Customers will always come back tomorrow to reliable LV if price has been reduced to competitive level.
Quote from: john smith 19 on 02/15/2020 12:42 pmTime will tell how well that sits with the FAA. Time will tell howThat downtime while failure are investigated, means no cashflow and customers switching LVs as they don't want to wait. A failure means cost of that LV needs to be recovered from next few launches profit margin.Better to start with reliable and more expensive LV and work towards reducing launch costs. Customers will always come back tomorrow to reliable LV if price has been reduced to competitive level.
Time will tell how well that sits with the FAA. Time will tell how
While I'll admit I'm a skeptic of the wisdom of a mass-produced lower reliability rocket, I think there are some misconceptions here. When it comes to orbital launches, the FAA only is in charge of regulating 3rd party safety. In most cases when a rocket fails the stand-down isn't imposed by the FAA, it's driven by the launch provider wanting to know what's going on. Unless the failure happened in a way that specifically implicated the launch provider's ability to ensure 3rd party safety, I'm not sure if the FAA can actually force a stand-down. If you've really drunk the koolaid on this being a deliberately less than 100% reliable vehicle, you could in theory keep launching while you do the failure investigation in parallel (or even not do a failure investigation). I'm not a fan of that approach, and being too cavalier about that might jeapordize your ability to get future launch licenses and 3rd party liability insurance (which IIRC is required), but I don't think there's actually a requirement for Astra to stand down after a failure.Not saying that's how I would do things, just trying to question assumptions.~Jon
The competition came down to Astra and Rocket Lab, whose proposal had several strengths, but also a “significantly higher” price than Astra. NASA concluded that “after reviewing the benefits associated with Rocket Lab’s proposal and Astra’s assessed risk in combination with their significantly lower price, the technical benefits do not offset the significant difference in price” and selected Astra for launching the TROPICS mission
“I know the team will do everything we can to make sure all three launches and all your satellites are deployed, but it’s good to know that the price point of three launches allows NASA to enable a mission where even if only two are successful […] it is nice to know that even NASA is designing constellations so that the overall constellation performance is the end goal, not thinking about every single satellite, every single rocket launch.”“If two out of the three [launches] are successful, it’s not mission failure,” he said. “It’s just a lower refresh rate for the constellation.”