Author Topic: SpaceX ER "Improvements" and Launch Cadence  (Read 13993 times)

Offline joek

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Re: SpaceX ER "Improvements" and Launch Cadence
« Reply #40 on: 10/21/2023 03:18 pm »
... The FAA would be more involved.
Would you expand on that please? Not seeing how FAA would be more involved that it already is.

Offline seb21051

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Re: SpaceX ER "Improvements" and Launch Cadence
« Reply #41 on: 10/21/2023 04:20 pm »
This question has probably been asked and replied to in the past, but:

With SX getting ready to launch, on average, every 2.5 days in 2024, does that not mean that they have to build a second stage every 2.5 days too? Whereas they have to be building a new second stage roughly every four days or so at present? How do you build such a device in 2.5 days, or do you build them in multiple places at the same time?

I suppose if you can have a new Tesla drive out of the factory door every 40 seconds or so (as seen from videos shot at Shanghai), you could do about the same with Falcon second stages. Assuming that a second stage is more or less the same complexity as an electric vehicle. The machine that builds the machine. Incredible.

Offline rpapo

Re: SpaceX ER "Improvements" and Launch Cadence
« Reply #42 on: 10/21/2023 08:46 pm »
With SX getting ready to launch, on average, every 2.5 days in 2024, does that not mean that they have to build a second stage every 2.5 days too? Whereas they have to be building a new second stage roughly every four days or so at present? How do you build such a device in 2.5 days, or do you build them in multiple places at the same time?

I suppose if you can have a new Tesla drive out of the factory door every 40 seconds or so (as seen from videos shot at Shanghai), you could do about the same with Falcon second stages. Assuming that a second stage is more or less the same complexity as an electric vehicle. The machine that builds the machine. Incredible.
You can build a second stage every few days the same way you build a car every 40 seconds.  That is, you have an assembly line.  If it takes a month to actually build a second stage, then you have fifteen or more stages in the pipeline at the same time, each at a different point in the assembly process.

However, the assembly process must include the steps of transporting the stages to McGregor for testing, the testing itself, transport to either Kennedy, Cape Canaveral or Vandenberg.  I have no idea exactly how long the entire build process takes, though I suspect it is well over a single month.  But the solution is the same: build as many as you need staggered in sequence or in parallel.
« Last Edit: 10/21/2023 08:52 pm by rpapo »
Following the space program since before Apollo 8.

Offline Jim

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Re: SpaceX ER "Improvements" and Launch Cadence
« Reply #43 on: 10/21/2023 09:34 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.

No.  Not the same.  Talking operational FAA and not licensing FAA. Like the FAA that operates at airports and not the FAA that certifies airliners or airlines.

Offline Jim

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Re: SpaceX ER "Improvements" and Launch Cadence
« Reply #44 on: 10/21/2023 09:36 pm »

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).

Still would be a federal range and have FAA involvement.

Offline bstrong

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Re: SpaceX ER "Improvements" and Launch Cadence
« Reply #45 on: 10/24/2023 11:33 pm »
Interesting tidbit in the SN article on spaceport modernization:

Quote
Under a separate initiative, the Defense Department has submitted a legislative proposal to create a “port authority” model for launch operations on the Eastern and Western Ranges, allowing the Space Force to charge commercial users fees to recoup its costs.

https://spacenews.com/space-force-identifying-priorities-for-modernizing-spaceports/

Offline Jim

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Re: SpaceX ER "Improvements" and Launch Cadence
« Reply #46 on: 11/04/2023 12:18 pm »
Also, they are no longer using the LC-40 hangar for launcher integration.   The first and second stages are integrated at Robert Rd and trucked to the hangar.   The rocket is lifted off and suspended while the "delivery vehicle" leaves the hangar and the TEL is rolled in.  The vehicle is placed on the TEL and then the faring is mated.
This is how they can do a 4 day pad turnaround.

Offline seb21051

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Re: SpaceX ER "Improvements" and Launch Cadence
« Reply #47 on: 11/05/2023 03:43 pm »
|"You can build a second stage every few days the same way you build a car every 40 seconds.  That is, you have an assembly line.  If it takes a month to actually build a second stage, then you have fifteen or more stages in the pipeline at the same time, each at a different point in the assembly process."

So, the follow on question would be, how long does it actually take to build a single 2nd Stage, which would then allow one to calculate how many they would have to have in construction at any one time to be able to turn one out every 2.5 days, right?

Online mn

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Re: SpaceX ER "Improvements" and Launch Cadence
« Reply #48 on: 11/06/2023 02:02 am »
....
and it helps clear the range for SpaceX launches.

With SpaceX managing so much by themselves, is a pending launch on another pad still blocking for SpaceX?

Can SpaceX have a vehicle ready to go, and as soon as another launch is delayed they can pull out their vehicle and get it launched before the other vehicle is ready for their next attempt?

What are the limitations on that? Considering that it seems they almost don't need range assets, just a 'permission' to go ahead and do your thing?

What are the blocking factors?

Online Asteroza

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Re: SpaceX ER "Improvements" and Launch Cadence
« Reply #49 on: 11/06/2023 02:53 am »
....
and it helps clear the range for SpaceX launches.

With SpaceX managing so much by themselves, is a pending launch on another pad still blocking for SpaceX?

Can SpaceX have a vehicle ready to go, and as soon as another launch is delayed they can pull out their vehicle and get it launched before the other vehicle is ready for their next attempt?

What are the limitations on that? Considering that it seems they almost don't need range assets, just a 'permission' to go ahead and do your thing?

What are the blocking factors?

I imagine ULA will be unhappy with LC-40 firing up while they have a vehicle over at LC-41 in a somewhat exposed state.

Online mn

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Re: SpaceX ER "Improvements" and Launch Cadence
« Reply #50 on: 11/06/2023 02:58 am »
....
and it helps clear the range for SpaceX launches.

With SpaceX managing so much by themselves, is a pending launch on another pad still blocking for SpaceX?

Can SpaceX have a vehicle ready to go, and as soon as another launch is delayed they can pull out their vehicle and get it launched before the other vehicle is ready for their next attempt?

What are the limitations on that? Considering that it seems they almost don't need range assets, just a 'permission' to go ahead and do your thing?

What are the blocking factors?

I imagine ULA will be unhappy with LC-40 firing up while they have a vehicle over at LC-41 in a somewhat exposed state.

Ok that's understandable, just curious how the range feels about that, will they automatically accept ULA's objection?

Offline AmigaClone

Re: SpaceX ER "Improvements" and Launch Cadence
« Reply #51 on: 11/06/2023 05:18 am »
....
and it helps clear the range for SpaceX launches.

With SpaceX managing so much by themselves, is a pending launch on another pad still blocking for SpaceX?

Can SpaceX have a vehicle ready to go, and as soon as another launch is delayed they can pull out their vehicle and get it launched before the other vehicle is ready for their next attempt?

What are the limitations on that? Considering that it seems they almost don't need range assets, just a 'permission' to go ahead and do your thing?

What are the blocking factors?

I imagine ULA will be unhappy with LC-40 firing up while they have a vehicle over at LC-41 in a somewhat exposed state.

Ok that's understandable, just curious how the range feels about that, will they automatically accept ULA's objection?

My personal opinion - which might have no basis on reality - is that the range's response might in part depend on the payloads being launched.

IF ULA is launching a national security satellite or an interplanetary mission then the range might be more likely to not allow SpaceX to launch - especially if it's a case of Starlink satellites.

On the other extreme, if SpaceX's launch was supporting an interplanetary mission or placing a national security satellite in orbit, then the range's reaction might be to tell ULA they have until the opening of SpaceX's launch window to secure their launch vehicle the best they can.

Something else that would be a factor would be the launch trajectory. If the closest the ground path of a Falcon 9 launching from SLC40 were to come to SLC41 was at launch itself then the range might be more open to allowing SpaceX to proceed with the launch than if the F9 launch was heading NE.

Offline Jim

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Re: SpaceX ER "Improvements" and Launch Cadence
« Reply #52 on: 11/06/2023 11:47 am »
....
and it helps clear the range for SpaceX launches.

With SpaceX managing so much by themselves, is a pending launch on another pad still blocking for SpaceX?

Can SpaceX have a vehicle ready to go, and as soon as another launch is delayed they can pull out their vehicle and get it launched before the other vehicle is ready for their next attempt?

What are the limitations on that? Considering that it seems they almost don't need range assets, just a 'permission' to go ahead and do your thing?

What are the blocking factors?

They still use some range assets.

Online mn

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Re: SpaceX ER "Improvements" and Launch Cadence
« Reply #53 on: 11/06/2023 01:13 pm »
....
and it helps clear the range for SpaceX launches.

With SpaceX managing so much by themselves, is a pending launch on another pad still blocking for SpaceX?

Can SpaceX have a vehicle ready to go, and as soon as another launch is delayed they can pull out their vehicle and get it launched before the other vehicle is ready for their next attempt?

What are the limitations on that? Considering that it seems they almost don't need range assets, just a 'permission' to go ahead and do your thing?

What are the blocking factors?

They still use some range assets.

Are those assets things that take a lot of time to reconfigure for different launches? Can they be upgraded to be able to switch easily? (For the right price)

Offline raptorx2

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Re: SpaceX ER "Improvements" and Launch Cadence
« Reply #54 on: 11/07/2023 12:13 am »
....
and it helps clear the range for SpaceX launches.

With SpaceX managing so much by themselves, is a pending launch on another pad still blocking for SpaceX?

Can SpaceX have a vehicle ready to go, and as soon as another launch is delayed they can pull out their vehicle and get it launched before the other vehicle is ready for their next attempt?

What are the limitations on that? Considering that it seems they almost don't need range assets, just a 'permission' to go ahead and do your thing?

What are the blocking factors?

I imagine ULA will be unhappy with LC-40 firing up while they have a vehicle over at LC-41 in a somewhat exposed state.

With 3 other pads.  LC-39A, SLC-4E, SLC-6, will it really matter?  12 launches per month divided by 4 pads is only 3 launches per pad per month.  SLC-40 is currently hosting 5 per month. Falcon Heavy's at LC-39A are the cadence losers.

Offline AmigaClone

Re: SpaceX ER "Improvements" and Launch Cadence
« Reply #55 on: 11/07/2023 06:28 am »
....
and it helps clear the range for SpaceX launches.

With SpaceX managing so much by themselves, is a pending launch on another pad still blocking for SpaceX?

Can SpaceX have a vehicle ready to go, and as soon as another launch is delayed they can pull out their vehicle and get it launched before the other vehicle is ready for their next attempt?

What are the limitations on that? Considering that it seems they almost don't need range assets, just a 'permission' to go ahead and do your thing?

What are the blocking factors?

They still use some range assets.

Are those assets things that take a lot of time to reconfigure for different launches? Can they be upgraded to be able to switch easily? (For the right price)

I believe using both SpaceX's and the range's assets it's currently possible to launch a Falcon 9 and another LV in around two hours no matter the respective launch inclination or LV itseld. There might be situations when the time between two launches can be a lot less even with current LV, but that would depend on several factors such as the intended orbit of the payloads being launched.

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