Author Topic: F9 Block 5 Updates and Discussion  (Read 297808 times)

Offline Brovane

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Re: F9 Block 5 Updates and Discussion
« Reply #860 on: 05/20/2018 01:45 AM »


I didn't say they wouldn't tear it down.  They have tools and technicians in Florida.  Shipping a booster isn't like an Amazon Prime delivery.  It's expensive and it's a potential risk for the booster, not to mention the lost time, in weeks, in shipping.

Good thing that SpaceX has the F9 set-up for easy road transport.  SpaceX regularly sends F9 back and forth between Florida, Texas and California.  The move costs are basically peanuts in the overall scheme of things. 
"Look at that! If anybody ever said, "you'll be sitting in a spacecraft naked with a 134-pound backpack on your knees charging it", I'd have said "Aw, get serious". - John Young - Apollo-16

Offline robert_d

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Re: F9 Block 5 Updates and Discussion
« Reply #861 on: 05/20/2018 06:29 PM »
Has anyone discussed the cost difference between a block 5 (say 5.1 with a few further tweaks) and a notional block 4.5 - where the changes to 4 would be to make it as cheap as possible and be strictly fully expendable?  Seems like development cost and plus the full infrastructure of recovery have been discussed, but how CHEAPLY could they build a fully disposable falcon 9?

Online AncientU

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Re: F9 Block 5 Updates and Discussion
« Reply #862 on: 05/20/2018 06:42 PM »
Has anyone discussed the cost difference between a block 5 (say 5.1 with a few further tweaks) and a notional block 4.5 - where the changes to 4 would be to make it as cheap as possible and be strictly fully expendable?  Seems like development cost and plus the full infrastructure of recovery have been discussed, but how CHEAPLY could they build a fully disposable falcon 9?

The cost of changing production back to a stripped down, cheapest possible booster would likely exceed any cost benefit -- even if amortised over a dozen vehicles.  Probably cheaper to take a Block 5 and leave off landing legs, grid fins, and the 'sport' interstage, and fly that.  The bridge has been crossed to reusable-only cores.  No easy way back.
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Online guckyfan

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Re: F9 Block 5 Updates and Discussion
« Reply #863 on: 05/20/2018 06:48 PM »
Elon Musk has said that a lot of changes have been done with experience from production going into the design to reduce production cost. The octaweb is a lot cheaper than the welded version. He was not absolutely clear if the cost reduction make up for all more expensive components like the grid fins and titanium dance floor.

Online marsbase

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Re: F9 Block 5 Updates and Discussion
« Reply #864 on: 05/20/2018 06:59 PM »
but how CHEAPLY could they build a fully disposable falcon 9?
Lots of unknowns like "how much does it cost to refurb a Block 5.1".  There will clearly be cases when SpaceX will choose to expend a 5.1 (maybe on tenth launch?) and other cases where they will have to expend due to problems with recovery like high seas at the ASDS site as with Hispasat.  But since SpaceX has not chosen to develop a cheap disposable version of the Falcon 9. the answer to your question is "not CHEAPLY enough."

Online Robotbeat

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Re: F9 Block 5 Updates and Discussion
« Reply #865 on: 05/20/2018 07:38 PM »
Every version of a Falcon 9 is disposable, optionally. It's cheap enough, just not as cheap as reusable.
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Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: F9 Block 5 Updates and Discussion
« Reply #866 on: 05/20/2018 07:42 PM »
Has anyone discussed the cost difference between a block 5 (say 5.1 with a few further tweaks) and a notional block 4.5 - where the changes to 4 would be to make it as cheap as possible and be strictly fully expendable?  Seems like development cost and plus the full infrastructure of recovery have been discussed, but how CHEAPLY could they build a fully disposable falcon 9?

1. What customer use case exists where a payload too heavy for a reusable Falcon 9 Block 5 can't be moved to a reusable Falcon Heavy?

2. If there was a need to build an expendable Falcon 9 I think they would just build a Block 5e ("e" for "Expendable") that removes reusability features like legs, engine area water cooling, grid fins (Expensive!) and such. All of that is likely less than $5M for the hardware, and then you'd subtract the cost of retrieving the stage, with barge landing the most expensive option.

Once they move production over to Block 5 I don't think they will want to produce any older versions. In my experience that is a big headache...
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

Offline johnfwhitesell

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Re: F9 Block 5 Updates and Discussion
« Reply #867 on: 05/20/2018 09:42 PM »
1. What customer use case exists where a payload too heavy for a reusable Falcon 9 Block 5 can't be moved to a reusable Falcon Heavy?

Well they have 14 block 3 and block 4 rockets refurbished and will probably accumulate few more.  Once they have a stockpile of block 5s, refurbishing additional block 3 and block 4 rockets is a waste of manpower.  Since they wont be refurbishing them, they dont need to recover them unless they intend to use them as museum pieces.  Suppose you can save a week of pad time by expending a block 3 instead of assembling a heavy.  Might as well.  Suppose you could do some high atmospheric tests by expending a block 4 after it's mission.  Might as well.  The benefits might be small but the opportunity costs are also small.

Offline Lars-J

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Re: F9 Block 5 Updates and Discussion
« Reply #868 on: 05/20/2018 10:04 PM »
1. What customer use case exists where a payload too heavy for a reusable Falcon 9 Block 5 can't be moved to a reusable Falcon Heavy?

Well they have 14 block 3 and block 4 rockets refurbished and will probably accumulate few more.

Oh no they don't. Most of those have been retired and or stripped for parts. There are 3, or at most 6 flight worthy block 3 or 4 cores left. ( see source: https://www.reddit.com/r/spacex/wiki/cores ) Most of them will get a final expendable flight, but that is it.

SpaceX wants to shift over to an all block 5 fleet faster than you think.

Edit: Another source - https://www.reddit.com/r/SpaceXLounge/comments/8jmn3e/spacex_recovery_history_preblock_5_graphic/  (image attached)
« Last Edit: 05/20/2018 10:08 PM by Lars-J »

Offline johnfwhitesell

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Re: F9 Block 5 Updates and Discussion
« Reply #869 on: 05/20/2018 10:13 PM »
Why are the wikipedia numbers so far off?  Of I see now, the reflights get hidden when you sort the wikipedia list.
« Last Edit: 05/20/2018 10:14 PM by johnfwhitesell »

Online AncientU

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Re: F9 Block 5 Updates and Discussion
« Reply #870 on: 05/20/2018 10:14 PM »
1. What customer use case exists where a payload too heavy for a reusable Falcon 9 Block 5 can't be moved to a reusable Falcon Heavy?

Well they have 14 block 3 and block 4 rockets refurbished and will probably accumulate few more.

Oh no they don't. Most of those have been retired and or stripped for parts. There are 3, or at most 6 flight worthy block 3 or 4 cores left. ( see source: https://www.reddit.com/r/spacex/wiki/cores ) Most of them will get a final expendable flight, but that is it.

SpaceX wants to shift over to an all block 5 fleet faster than you think.

Edit: Another source - https://www.reddit.com/r/SpaceXLounge/comments/8jmn3e/spacex_recovery_history_preblock_5_graphic/  (image attached)

They do seem to be all in on Block 5.  Last few throw-away Block 3/4 launches are one piece of evidence.  Another is EMs statement that they intend to fly 300 flights in next 5 years -- that's about 30 for the market and 30 for their own constellation per year.  Building that last batch of 30 Block 5s over next 1.5-2 years enables all of these launches without even pushing the capability of Block 5, while allowing resources to shift to BFR/BFS.
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Offline CuddlyRocket

Re: F9 Block 5 Updates and Discussion
« Reply #871 on: 05/22/2018 01:36 AM »
1. What customer use case exists where a payload too heavy for a reusable Falcon 9 Block 5 can't be moved to a reusable Falcon Heavy?

It can be moved to a reusable Falcon Heavy, but is that cheaper to the customer? An expendable F9 may be currently priced at less than a reusable FH, because SpaceX is keeping reusable prices up to recover development costs. Also, a customer might consider that an F9 launch is lower risk than an FH and that it's worth paying extra for that lower risk.

Offline BarryKirk

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Re: F9 Block 5 Updates and Discussion
« Reply #872 on: 05/23/2018 05:20 PM »
I just have to ask once the F9 is completely re-usable, booster, fairing, and US.  What is the marginal cost of a F9 flight versus a BFR flight?

If the marginal cost of the F9 is lower, then does it make sense to continue flying F9s till they wear out?

I'm sure there are other costs besides the marginal cost of the launch... but it just seems like a valid question to ask.

Yes, I know that the marginal cost of the BFR in terms of $/Kg will always be lower, especially for beyond LEO.

But, sometimes you've got a satellite that just needs to ride alone, and it's well within the capability of the F9R.


Online speedevil

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Re: F9 Block 5 Updates and Discussion
« Reply #873 on: 05/23/2018 06:20 PM »
I just have to ask once the F9 is completely re-usable, booster, fairing, and US.  What is the marginal cost of a F9 flight versus a BFR flight?
Recently, Elon has said that in 2-3 years, the cost of F9 would be 'an order of magnitude less', so comparable with the '5million dollars' estimate.

However, even if the prices are comparable, unless for some reason they can't do a particular launch with BFR, they will want to launch it that way.
I note the implied price of the P2P scenario working is more like well under $1M than $5M.

In the short term, every flight that goes on F9 and not BFR is a flight you do not have the opportunity to get the cadence of the BFR to rise.
Both may be financially neutral looked at narrowly, but only one contributes doubly to Mars - both by having profit, and by doing testing.

Offline groundbound

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Re: F9 Block 5 Updates and Discussion
« Reply #874 on: 05/23/2018 06:29 PM »
I just have to ask once the F9 is completely re-usable, booster, fairing, and US.  What is the marginal cost of a F9 flight versus a BFR flight?

If the marginal cost of the F9 is lower, then does it make sense to continue flying F9s till they wear out?

I'm sure there are other costs besides the marginal cost of the launch... but it just seems like a valid question to ask.

Yes, I know that the marginal cost of the BFR in terms of $/Kg will always be lower, especially for beyond LEO.

But, sometimes you've got a satellite that just needs to ride alone, and it's well within the capability of the F9R.

This may or may not be relevant but airlines routinely remove an aircraft type from their fleet in the name of business efficiency. It is almost certain that getting rid of those airplanes costs money, and that on certain routes they are a better aircraft than the planes remaining. But the overall effect of having less types to support and more common operations is the best choice for the business.

Offline Lar

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Re: F9 Block 5 Updates and Discussion
« Reply #875 on: 05/23/2018 10:11 PM »
The difference there is that sometimes the aircraft are sold to other operators[1], which won't happen here, but it's still a valid analogy.

1 - Delta operates more B717s than anyone, IIRC, because they buy up any that come up for sale.
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Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: F9 Block 5 Updates and Discussion
« Reply #876 on: 05/24/2018 01:58 PM »
Oh, the new COPVs haven’t flown yet:

Quote
SpaceX’s final upgrade to its Falcon 9 rocket isn’t quite final
by Tim Fernholz

SpaceX debuted the last major upgrade of the Falcon 9 rocket in a successful launch on May 10. But it has yet to demonstrate that a critical system in the redesigned rocket is safe enough to carry astronauts to the International Space Station for NASA.

https://qz.com/1286342/spacexs-final-upgrade-to-its-falcon-9-rocket-isnt-quite-final-yet/

Edit to add:

Quote
SpaceX told Quartz the new propellant tanks for an uncrewed demonstration mission scheduled in August are now ready to go.
« Last Edit: 05/24/2018 01:59 PM by FutureSpaceTourist »

Online envy887

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Re: F9 Block 5 Updates and Discussion
« Reply #877 on: 05/24/2018 02:05 PM »
Oh, the new COPVs haven’t flown yet:

Quote
SpaceX’s final upgrade to its Falcon 9 rocket isn’t quite final
by Tim Fernholz

SpaceX debuted the last major upgrade of the Falcon 9 rocket in a successful launch on May 10. But it has yet to demonstrate that a critical system in the redesigned rocket is safe enough to carry astronauts to the International Space Station for NASA.

https://qz.com/1286342/spacexs-final-upgrade-to-its-falcon-9-rocket-isnt-quite-final-yet/

Edit to add:

Quote
SpaceX told Quartz the new propellant tanks for an uncrewed demonstration mission scheduled in August are now ready to go.

I'm highly skeptical of any source that calls COPV's "propellant tanks".

SpaceX might have been referring to the actual propellant tanks for B1051, the booster that is being built for DM-1.

Edit to add:

Fernholtz is insisting that the COPV upgrades were not on board:

Quote from: Tim Fernholz
it's the COPVs my dude. most people do not understands the subtleties between the propellant tanks and the helium bottles, hence the wording, but have adjusted.
https://twitter.com/TimFernholz/status/999656028051574784

Quote from: Tim Fernholz
that's fair, they contain helium, but they are part of the propulsion system. SpaceX and NASA both confirmed to me that COPV 2.0 was not onboard. No one else has reported it yet because it was a scoop : )

https://twitter.com/TimFernholz/status/999655147746754560

I'd be very surprised if SpaceX is waiting until DM-1 to fly the new COPVs. I think some info is missing here.
« Last Edit: 05/24/2018 02:31 PM by envy887 »

Offline rsdavis9

Re: F9 Block 5 Updates and Discussion
« Reply #878 on: 05/24/2018 02:12 PM »
Oh, the new COPVs haven’t flown yet:

Quote
SpaceX’s final upgrade to its Falcon 9 rocket isn’t quite final
by Tim Fernholz

SpaceX debuted the last major upgrade of the Falcon 9 rocket in a successful launch on May 10. But it has yet to demonstrate that a critical system in the redesigned rocket is safe enough to carry astronauts to the International Space Station for NASA.

https://qz.com/1286342/spacexs-final-upgrade-to-its-falcon-9-rocket-isnt-quite-final-yet/

Edit to add:

Quote
SpaceX told Quartz the new propellant tanks for an uncrewed demonstration mission scheduled in August are now ready to go.

I'm highly skeptical of any source that calls COPV's "propellant tanks".

SpaceX might have been referring to the actual propellant tanks for B1051, the booster that is being built for DM-1.

They also got the sequence wrong.

Quote
While some outside advisers have critcized SpaceX’s plans to load propellant on the rocket before astronauts board, a concept known as “load ‘n go,” the Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel (ASAP) sounded confident in the company.

ASAP was worried about astronauts first then fuel.
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Offline rockets4life97

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Re: F9 Block 5 Updates and Discussion
« Reply #879 on: 05/24/2018 02:31 PM »
Oh, the new COPVs haven’t flown yet:

The faster load (back to pre-Amos-6) suggested to me that the new COPVs where in use for the first block 5.

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