Author Topic: SpaceX ER "Improvements" and Launch Cadence  (Read 13893 times)

Offline meekGee

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 14098
  • N. California
  • Liked: 13958
  • Likes Given: 1389
Re: SpaceX ER "Improvements" and Launch Cadence
« Reply #20 on: 10/19/2023 03:23 pm »
It's not clear to me why each company needs its own long-range trackers. 
[. . .]
Me either, but Jim called it out. My guess is that it works as a way to augment the Range's capabilities and reduce their workload without increasing the budget. That's why I asked about sharing the cost of some single separate commercially-operated faciltities.
However the logical outcome of your queries in using a single shared launch support service is to pay SpaceX. Since they already have established the support service. Which Blue Origin will have issues with due to their no SpaceX policy. The other launch providers will probably be willing to pay SpaceX for the support service.


Doubt SpaceX will offer them up.  They need the flexibility.

also, SpaceX is reducing their comm footprint to only their facilities and trying to reducing outside interfaces, like having only one gov't interface and then let the gov't do the sharing amongst itself.
Think SpaceX should offer launch support service to other launch providers to help them launch on schedule. Since a scrub by another launch provider due to range infrastructure deficiencies will delay SpaceX's own launches.
SpaceX is the first entity that's treating this as a real world business.  Instead of looking to use as much government infrastructure as possible (which makes sense when you're on a fixed-volume government launch schedule) they asked themselves what's impeding growth and addresses it, since they were in the business of actually creating markets and increasing volume.

But given that, why would they remove such barriers from others?  Believing in competition doesn't mean you don't go full tilt towards winning it.


« Last Edit: 10/19/2023 03:48 pm by zubenelgenubi »
ABCD - Always Be Counting Down

Offline woods170

  • IRAS fan
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 12078
  • IRAS fan
  • The Netherlands
  • Liked: 18012
  • Likes Given: 12030
Re: SpaceX ER "Improvements" and Launch Cadence
« Reply #21 on: 10/19/2023 03:38 pm »
I also suspect that both ULA and BO have long range imaging equipment.

Not ULA

Exactly. Because...
...they didn't have the flight rate to support it.
« Last Edit: 10/19/2023 03:38 pm by woods170 »

Offline DanClemmensen

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5286
  • Earth (currently)
  • Liked: 4137
  • Likes Given: 1661
Re: SpaceX ER "Improvements" and Launch Cadence
« Reply #22 on: 10/19/2023 03:44 pm »
It's not clear to me why each company needs its own long-range trackers. 
[. . .]
Me either, but Jim called it out. My guess is that it works as a way to augment the Range's capabilities and reduce their workload without increasing the budget. That's why I asked about sharing the cost of some single separate commercially-operated faciltities.
However the logical outcome of your queries in using a single shared launch support service is to pay SpaceX. Since they already have established the support service. Which Blue Origin will have issues with due to their no SpaceX policy. The other launch providers will probably be willing to pay SpaceX for the support service.


Doubt SpaceX will offer them up.  They need the flexibility.

also, SpaceX is reducing their comm footprint to only their facilities and trying to reducing outside interfaces, like having only one gov't interface and then let the gov't do the sharing amongst itself.
Think SpaceX should offer launch support service to other launch providers to help them launch on schedule. Since a scrub by another launch provider due to range infrastructure deficiencies will delay SpaceX's own launches.
SpaceX is the first entity that's treating this as a real world business.  Instead of looking to use as much government infrastructure as possible (which makes sense when you're on a fixed-volume government launch schedule) they asked themselves what's impeding growth and addresses it, since they were in the business of actually creating markets and increasing volume.

But given that, why would they remove such barriers from others?  Believing in competition doesn't mean you don't go full tilt towards winning it.
SpaceX is a for-profit company. They would not offer this for free. The price would be reasonable and provide a profit. They are already crushing the competition, so no need to not do this, and it helps clear the range for SpaceX launches.
« Last Edit: 10/19/2023 03:49 pm by zubenelgenubi »

Offline steveleach

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2130
  • Liked: 2716
  • Likes Given: 950
Re: SpaceX ER "Improvements" and Launch Cadence
« Reply #23 on: 10/19/2023 03:59 pm »
I also suspect that both ULA and BO have long range imaging equipment.

Not ULA

Exactly. Because...
...they didn't have the flight rate to support it.
Jim's list addresses the supply-side of the launch cadence question, giving the SpaceX the ability to maintain a high launch cadence.

But that ability is wasted unless the demand-side matches it.

SpaceX has, in Starlink, a "customer" that is willing to take as many launches as it can get, as well as being totally flexible about when those launches happen.

Offline abaddon

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3008
  • Liked: 3804
  • Likes Given: 5098
Re: SpaceX ER "Improvements" and Launch Cadence
« Reply #24 on: 10/19/2023 04:32 pm »
SpaceX is a for-profit company. They would not offer this for free. The price would be reasonable and provide a profit. They are already crushing the competition, so no need to not do this, and it helps clear the range for SpaceX launches.
It's still a government range, it doesn't really make sense for SpaceX to do any of this stuff.  When you make something an externally commercially offered product, everything gets WAY harder.  If they were letting other folks fly out of their range, that would be different.  But they've shown no indication they're interested in that, either.

Offline DanClemmensen

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5286
  • Earth (currently)
  • Liked: 4137
  • Likes Given: 1661
Re: SpaceX ER "Improvements" and Launch Cadence
« Reply #25 on: 10/19/2023 04:41 pm »
SpaceX is a for-profit company. They would not offer this for free. The price would be reasonable and provide a profit. They are already crushing the competition, so no need to not do this, and it helps clear the range for SpaceX launches.
It's still a government range, it doesn't really make sense for SpaceX to do any of this stuff.  When you make something an externally commercially offered product, everything gets WAY harder.  If they were letting other folks fly out of their range, that would be different.  But they've shown no indication they're interested in that, either.
Jim says that SpaceX is already performing these functions for themselves, so presumably it does make economic sense. I'm not talking about a new activity within SpaceX. I'm talking about making some extra money by selling this existing activity as a service. How hard is WAY harder will depend on lots of factors. SpaceX already has the entire business infrastructure in place to sell complex services to sophisticated customers in the space business.

Offline matthewkantar

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2043
  • Liked: 2488
  • Likes Given: 2172
Re: SpaceX ER "Improvements" and Launch Cadence
« Reply #26 on: 10/19/2023 04:51 pm »
I suppose if SpaceX can expedite the process for others, and makes some money while doing it, it might make sense.

Avoiding situations where one pending launch holds up others is critical to SpaceX’s launch cadence aspirations.

Offline meekGee

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 14098
  • N. California
  • Liked: 13958
  • Likes Given: 1389
Re: SpaceX ER "Improvements" and Launch Cadence
« Reply #27 on: 10/19/2023 05:29 pm »
It's not clear to me why each company needs its own long-range trackers. 
[. . .]
Me either, but Jim called it out. My guess is that it works as a way to augment the Range's capabilities and reduce their workload without increasing the budget. That's why I asked about sharing the cost of some single separate commercially-operated faciltities.
However the logical outcome of your queries in using a single shared launch support service is to pay SpaceX. Since they already have established the support service. Which Blue Origin will have issues with due to their no SpaceX policy. The other launch providers will probably be willing to pay SpaceX for the support service.


Doubt SpaceX will offer them up.  They need the flexibility.

also, SpaceX is reducing their comm footprint to only their facilities and trying to reducing outside interfaces, like having only one gov't interface and then let the gov't do the sharing amongst itself.
Think SpaceX should offer launch support service to other launch providers to help them launch on schedule. Since a scrub by another launch provider due to range infrastructure deficiencies will delay SpaceX's own launches.
SpaceX is the first entity that's treating this as a real world business.  Instead of looking to use as much government infrastructure as possible (which makes sense when you're on a fixed-volume government launch schedule) they asked themselves what's impeding growth and addresses it, since they were in the business of actually creating markets and increasing volume.

But given that, why would they remove such barriers from others?  Believing in competition doesn't mean you don't go full tilt towards winning it.
SpaceX is a for-profit company. They would not offer this for free. The price would be reasonable and provide a profit. They are already crushing the competition, so no need to not do this, and it helps clear the range for SpaceX launches.
That last bit, yes, that would be a real motivator.
« Last Edit: 10/19/2023 07:24 pm by zubenelgenubi »
ABCD - Always Be Counting Down

Offline abaddon

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3008
  • Liked: 3804
  • Likes Given: 5098
Re: SpaceX ER "Improvements" and Launch Cadence
« Reply #28 on: 10/19/2023 07:44 pm »
SpaceX is a for-profit company. They would not offer this for free. The price would be reasonable and provide a profit. They are already crushing the competition, so no need to not do this, and it helps clear the range for SpaceX launches.
It's still a government range, it doesn't really make sense for SpaceX to do any of this stuff.  When you make something an externally commercially offered product, everything gets WAY harder.  If they were letting other folks fly out of their range, that would be different.  But they've shown no indication they're interested in that, either.
Jim says that SpaceX is already performing these functions for themselves, so presumably it does make economic sense. I'm not talking about a new activity within SpaceX. I'm talking about making some extra money by selling this existing activity as a service. How hard is WAY harder will depend on lots of factors. SpaceX already has the entire business infrastructure in place to sell complex services to sophisticated customers in the space business.
Sorry, I wasn't clear, I was saying it doesn't make sense for SpaceX to do any of that stuff for anyone else.
« Last Edit: 10/19/2023 07:44 pm by abaddon »

Offline joek

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4847
  • Liked: 2773
  • Likes Given: 1090
Re: SpaceX ER "Improvements" and Launch Cadence
« Reply #29 on: 10/19/2023 08:13 pm »
Sorry, I wasn't clear, I was saying it doesn't make sense for SpaceX to do any of that stuff for anyone else.

Agree. Why would they? If there is a market for such, then another third party could step up and provide those capabilities-services, or contract through SpaceX. Seriously doubt the incremental revenue to SpaceX is worth the hassle. See the same pattern with ride shares. Everyone could go direct to SpaceX, but not everyone does--some go through an aggregator.

Offline Jim

  • Night Gator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 37365
  • Cape Canaveral Spaceport
  • Liked: 21276
  • Likes Given: 428
Re: SpaceX ER "Improvements" and Launch Cadence
« Reply #30 on: 10/19/2023 11:17 pm »
This is where an airport (spaceport) authority would help.  Get the Space Force out running the Eastern Range and base.
« Last Edit: 10/19/2023 11:17 pm by Jim »

Offline Asteroza

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2786
  • Liked: 1051
  • Likes Given: 32
Re: SpaceX ER "Improvements" and Launch Cadence
« Reply #31 on: 10/20/2023 12:19 am »
This is where an airport (spaceport) authority would help.  Get the Space Force out running the Eastern Range and base.

Wait, the Space Force can get out of running the range, by divesting it to some agency/operator?

Base ops converting to a civil facility with military tenants I can understand, but the range itself?

Offline Zed_Noir

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5398
  • Canada
  • Liked: 1778
  • Likes Given: 1281
Re: SpaceX ER "Improvements" and Launch Cadence
« Reply #32 on: 10/20/2023 12:51 am »
This is where an airport (spaceport) authority would help.  Get the Space Force out running the Eastern Range and base.
What about national security payloads. How would a spaceport authority handle those type of payloads?

Offline Jim

  • Night Gator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 37365
  • Cape Canaveral Spaceport
  • Liked: 21276
  • Likes Given: 428
Re: SpaceX ER "Improvements" and Launch Cadence
« Reply #33 on: 10/20/2023 12:23 pm »

Base ops converting to a civil facility with military tenants I can understand, but the range itself?

The range and base is much like operating air space and an airport.  The authority would collect fees for services it provides. The FAA would be more involved.
« Last Edit: 10/20/2023 12:25 pm by Jim »

Offline Jim

  • Night Gator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 37365
  • Cape Canaveral Spaceport
  • Liked: 21276
  • Likes Given: 428
Re: SpaceX ER "Improvements" and Launch Cadence
« Reply #34 on: 10/20/2023 12:24 pm »
This is where an airport (spaceport) authority would help.  Get the Space Force out running the Eastern Range and base.
What about national security payloads. How would a spaceport authority handle those type of payloads?

They don't.  The military would just be another user on the base.

Re: SpaceX ER "Improvements" and Launch Cadence
« Reply #35 on: 10/21/2023 05:35 am »
It's not clear to me why each company needs its own long-range trackers. 
[. . .]
Me either, but Jim called it out. My guess is that it works as a way to augment the Range's capabilities and reduce their workload without increasing the budget. That's why I asked about sharing the cost of some single separate commercially-operated faciltities.
However the logical outcome of your queries in using a single shared launch support service is to pay SpaceX. Since they already have established the support service. Which Blue Origin will have issues with due to their no SpaceX policy. The other launch providers will probably be willing to pay SpaceX for the support service.


Doubt SpaceX will offer them up.  They need the flexibility.

also, SpaceX is reducing their comm footprint to only their facilities and trying to reducing outside interfaces, like having only one gov't interface and then let the gov't do the sharing amongst itself.
Think SpaceX should offer launch support service to other launch providers to help them launch on schedule. Since a scrub by another launch provider due to range infrastructure deficiencies will delay SpaceX's own launches.
Doesn't the rocket and pad have to be designed for high cadence?
All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal - Animal Farm by George Orwell

Offline Zed_Noir

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5398
  • Canada
  • Liked: 1778
  • Likes Given: 1281
Re: SpaceX ER "Improvements" and Launch Cadence
« Reply #36 on: 10/21/2023 11:15 am »
It's not clear to me why each company needs its own long-range trackers. 
[. . .]
Me either, but Jim called it out. My guess is that it works as a way to augment the Range's capabilities and reduce their workload without increasing the budget. That's why I asked about sharing the cost of some single separate commercially-operated faciltities.
However the logical outcome of your queries in using a single shared launch support service is to pay SpaceX. Since they already have established the support service. Which Blue Origin will have issues with due to their no SpaceX policy. The other launch providers will probably be willing to pay SpaceX for the support service.


Doubt SpaceX will offer them up.  They need the flexibility.

also, SpaceX is reducing their comm footprint to only their facilities and trying to reducing outside interfaces, like having only one gov't interface and then let the gov't do the sharing amongst itself.
Think SpaceX should offer launch support service to other launch providers to help them launch on schedule. Since a scrub by another launch provider due to range infrastructure deficiencies will delay SpaceX's own launches.
Doesn't the rocket and pad have to be designed for high cadence?
If you are asking me. What does that have to do with my point about offering launch support service to other launch providers so that they launch on schedule?

Re: SpaceX ER "Improvements" and Launch Cadence
« Reply #37 on: 10/21/2023 11:26 am »
This is where an airport (spaceport) authority would help.  Get the Space Force out running the Eastern Range and base.
What would you think of Space Florida taking it over, and contracting out to a commercial company to operate it?

Offline woods170

  • IRAS fan
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 12078
  • IRAS fan
  • The Netherlands
  • Liked: 18012
  • Likes Given: 12030
Re: SpaceX ER "Improvements" and Launch Cadence
« Reply #38 on: 10/21/2023 01:10 pm »

Base ops converting to a civil facility with military tenants I can understand, but the range itself?

The range and base is much like operating air space and an airport.  The authority would collect fees for services it provides. The FAA would be more involved.

Emphasis mine.

That's about the last thing the Eastern Range needs right now. The FAA are already stretched to the limit and becoming an inpediment to higher launch cadences. Getting them more involved will only serve to slow things further down. That is, they will slow things down until the FAA finally pivots away from seeing space launches as something completely different than commercial air travel.

Offline joek

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4847
  • Liked: 2773
  • Likes Given: 1090
Re: SpaceX ER "Improvements" and Launch Cadence
« Reply #39 on: 10/21/2023 03:05 pm »
What would you think of Space Florida taking it over, and contracting out to a commercial company to operate it?

Maybe, but likely will take quite a bit more time-demand-$ before that happens. But would be a good move to get it out of Federal hands regardless of who operates (more on that below).  Last substantial statement from Space Florida on that subject was 2018...
Quote from: Florida Spaceport System Plan 2018
Space Florida is developing approaches to support and facilitate the emergence of commercial range safety and flight monitoring instrumentation that can lessen or perhaps even eliminate the reliance on traditional federal ground-based tracking and control systems. Additionally, Space Florida is seeking to develop independent, commercially operated services for safety analysis and operational support of launch, reentry, and test operations. These may include capabilities such as tailored weather forecasting and real-time information; flight safety hazards analysis and real-time monitoring; and required public clear zone verification monitor
...
Almost nothing more about it (other than a couple bullet points) in the last Florida Spaceport Improvement Program 2023–2024.

This has been an issue going back decades due to Federal facility funding rules. From a 2015 NSF thread...
Quote
... Federal funds cannot by law be used for improvements which are not directly tied to a federal need.  It was only recently that non-federal contributions could be used for such modernization.  However, the authority to enter into such agreements rests with SecDef and requires congressional authorization to use such funds.

So let's say you are a private federal range user (such as SpaceX) looking at this antiquated equipment and you say "Gee, we're willing to kick in 50% [pick a number] of the cost to upgrade/replace that equipment."  Sound like a win-win?  Not so fast.  First you have to ink an agreement with SecDef.  Then you hand over the money to the government.  Then you have to get Congress to authorize use of those funds for the intended purpose.

It sucks.  It's been a problem for a long time, and people have been trying to find solutions for a long time.  (Since back in the late 90's when range capacity and modernization was the boogeyman haunting the industry.)  That is one reason why entities such as Space Florida exist, and why some customers are taking their business elsewhere.

Expect SpaceX gave up waiting and did what they needed to do to support their own ops.


edit: p.s. As far as I am aware, the Federal funding-use rules still apply. If anyone has additional info, please chime in. Thanks.
« Last Edit: 10/21/2023 03:16 pm by joek »

Tags:
 

Advertisement NovaTech
Advertisement Northrop Grumman
Advertisement
Advertisement Margaritaville Beach Resort South Padre Island
Advertisement Brady Kenniston
Advertisement NextSpaceflight
Advertisement Nathan Barker Photography
1