Author Topic: SpaceX progress towards a 144 launch year in 2024  (Read 37117 times)

Offline freddo411

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Bill Gerstenmaier, VP at SpaceX has said the target for 2024 is 144 launches (every 2.5 days on average, or 12 per month).

Discuss and document the progress toward this goal in this thread

Offline steveleach

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Re: SpaceX progress towards a 144 launch year in 2024
« Reply #1 on: 11/30/2023 04:53 pm »
Bill Gerstenmaier, VP at SpaceX has said the target for 2024 is 144 launches (every 2.5 days on average, or 12 per month).

Discuss and document the progress toward this goal in this thread
That's not going to be a flat 12 every month though, it will likely increase from 10/month (every 3 days) at the start of the year to 14/month (every 2 days) by the end. We should also expect it to trend somewhat lower than 144 for the year initially.

I'm going to put my money where my mouth is and predict the following, though the actual data will be as noisy as the 2023 data...

Jan   10
Feb   10
Mar   11
Apr   11
May   11
Jun   12
Jul   12
Aug   13
Sep   13
Oct   13
Nov   14
Dec   14

I'm including Starship as well as F9/FH here, and also failures to reach orbit if an orbital attempt was made.

Have at it!

Offline scaesare

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Re: SpaceX progress towards a 144 launch year in 2024
« Reply #2 on: 11/30/2023 06:09 pm »
I suggest, given the recent discussion regarding if the IFT's qualify to be counted if they resulted in a FTS/RUD, that we clarify at the outset.

Given the title is "SpaceX progress towards a 144 launch year in 2024" (emphasis) mine, I suggest they do qualify.

The question then becomes: what is the criteria for a successful launch?
Possibilities:

1- Clearing the tower
2- Reaching the Kármán line
3- Getting to the point of commencing second stage separation.

I'd recommend #3, as any failure after that that is not due to the launcher, but rather to the second stage, payload, etc...
« Last Edit: 11/30/2023 06:09 pm by scaesare »

Offline DanClemmensen

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Re: SpaceX progress towards a 144 launch year in 2024
« Reply #3 on: 11/30/2023 06:37 pm »
Will F9/FH be using just the three pads, or do we think they will get SLC-6  or another Florida pad functional in 2024?  With three pads, we average 48 launches/pad. I think this throws a serious strain on the boats. Even if they RTLS a lot, the boats must still go recover the fairings. Fortunately, a single trip can recover more than one set of fairings.

How many launches can the Eastern range handle in 2024? I know they are gearing up for more launches, but in 2024 there may actually be launches from other customers, not just the 96 from SpaceX. I'm guessing 8 to 12 from ULA.

How many FH launches? Will any of the FH launches trigger the "all previous launches must be analyzed" rule?

Even without this information, My initial guess will be about 140 F9/FH and four Starship, two of them orbital.

Offline alugobi

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Re: SpaceX progress towards a 144 launch year in 2024
« Reply #4 on: 11/30/2023 06:38 pm »
I think that we should stipulate that "launches" means "rockets with a payload" that they will attempt to deploy.

Flights of prototypes, without payloads, or with dummy payloads/mass simulators, for purposes of testing should not be counted. 

We should apply the same thinking that was articulated in the other thread.  Musk's aspiration to launch 100 times was made in the context of the existing campaign and cadence of Falcon 9, and that therefore we shouldn't count SS test flights. 

Launching rockets to deploy for Starlink or for customers should be the rule, I believe.

Offline alugobi

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Re: SpaceX progress towards a 144 launch year in 2024
« Reply #5 on: 11/30/2023 06:41 pm »
Furthering the comment above, what are they going to have to change or improve or develop in order to have a chance at the new goal? 

More RTLS, for one.  What else?

Offline Brigantine

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Re: SpaceX progress towards a 144 launch year in 2024
« Reply #6 on: 11/30/2023 07:06 pm »
Furthering the comment above, what are they going to have to change or improve or develop in order to have a chance at the new goal? 

More RTLS, for one.  What else?

Something about that weeks-long reconfiguration time for FH, possibly including having multiple sets of side boosters so they aren't limited to 1 FH launch each time they reconfigure

Maybe something about scheduling impacts when "payload readiness issues" happen. Can the integration facilities manage 2 missions in parallel? So when one mission doesn't roll out on time, there's always another one waiting to take its place.

Starship at 39A might be a spanner in the works. Is it far enough away for F9 to launch while a SH is sitting on the OLM?

A simple one - they need more boosters in the West Coast fleet

How's the production rate of Falcon upper stages? Also booster refurbishing, though I don't think that's any bottleneck atm

An alternative to RTLS, in terms of launching without an ASDS available, is expending boosters. There are a bunch of boosters that will reaching their end of life anyway, assuming that isn't extended past 20-25 launches
« Last Edit: 11/30/2023 07:28 pm by Brigantine »

Offline butters

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Re: SpaceX progress towards a 144 launch year in 2024
« Reply #7 on: 11/30/2023 07:18 pm »
Furthering the comment above, what are they going to have to change or improve or develop in order to have a chance at the new goal? 

More RTLS, for one.  What else?
Fewer FH launches would help with LC-39A cadence. Especially fewer FH launches for customers who are likely to slip and cause schedule disruption with the TEL mods. Next year looks like it could be just GOES-U and Europa Clipper for NASA. Europa Clipper has interplanetary launch window constraints, so its slip potential is limited. No known FH missions for DoD/NRO in 2024 or 2025, which is good news for cadence given the very high risk of slippage, although there could always be a surprise manifest addition from those customers.

Offline DanClemmensen

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Re: SpaceX progress towards a 144 launch year in 2024
« Reply #8 on: 11/30/2023 07:26 pm »
Something about that weeks-long reconfiguration time for FH, possibly including having multiple sets of side boosters so they aren't limited to 1 FH launch each time they reconfigure
I (sort of) think I understand the reconfig times. Technically there are nine times: from (FH, Crewed, normal) X to (FH, Crewed, normal).

I was referring to a different problem. For some critical NASA missions, NASA requires that all previous F9/FH flights must be formally analyzed. This in essence imposes a "no missions" window in advance of the critical mission, and this "no missions" window affects ALL the pads, not just LC-39A.

Offline david1971

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Re: SpaceX progress towards a 144 launch year in 2024
« Reply #9 on: 11/30/2023 07:35 pm »
It's a testament to Falcon 9 that we can even think about 144 straight launches without a stand-down for failure.
I flew on SOFIA four times.

Online DistantTemple

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Re: SpaceX progress towards a 144 launch year in 2024
« Reply #10 on: 11/30/2023 07:39 pm »
Something about that weeks-long reconfiguration time for FH, possibly including having multiple sets of side boosters so they aren't limited to 1 FH launch each time they reconfigure
I (sort of) think I understand the reconfig times. Technically there are nine times: from (FH, Crewed, normal) X to (FH, Crewed, normal).

I was referring to a different problem. For some critical NASA missions, NASA requires that all previous F9/FH flights must be formally analyzed. This in essence imposes a "no missions" window in advance of the critical mission, and this "no missions" window affects ALL the pads, not just LC-39A.
So a formal analysis system, completely mapped for all parts, processes and systems, with core staff and those that need to be added! I expect they already do this. This can be a production line just like cars, but this time its a report!
But back to the launchpad reconfiguration, is it mostly the strongback and the attached launch table that needs (most of) the reconfiguration.
The most obvious solution is to build a second strongback! and possibly an additional HIF for it, after all it will need a shed! An additional HIF will allow work to proceed with fiddly slow government launch prep without much impact to Starling ... song thrush:-) Starlink and commercial.
This is probably overkill with Starship likely working well withing a couple of years.
« Last Edit: 11/30/2023 07:41 pm by DistantTemple »
We can always grow new new dendrites. Reach out and make connections and your world will burst with new insights. Then repose in consciousness.

Offline freddo411

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Re: SpaceX progress towards a 144 launch year in 2024
« Reply #11 on: 11/30/2023 07:43 pm »
I think that we should stipulate that "launches" means "rockets with a payload" that they will attempt to deploy.

Flights of prototypes, without payloads, or with dummy payloads/mass simulators, for purposes of testing should not be counted. 

We should apply the same thinking that was articulated in the other thread.  Musk's aspiration to launch 100 times was made in the context of the existing campaign and cadence of Falcon 9, and that therefore we shouldn't count SS test flights. 

Launching rockets to deploy for Starlink or for customers should be the rule, I believe.

Those are reasonable points to argue about.

I'm mostly indifferent on this however ... a test launch is still work performed.

Offline Brigantine

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Re: SpaceX progress towards a 144 launch year in 2024
« Reply #12 on: 11/30/2023 07:51 pm »
My take: "Launches" means anything that makes it as far as "excitement guaranteed", regardless of what's on top

"Successful launches" is a total other question, and possibly deserves its own separate thread from this one. So many facets to it - secondary payloads, precision of deployment, recovery goals... and TBH is not well summarized by a single running total and less interesting to track in this particular way.
« Last Edit: 11/30/2023 07:54 pm by Brigantine »

Offline alugobi

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Re: SpaceX progress towards a 144 launch year in 2024
« Reply #13 on: 11/30/2023 07:59 pm »
I think that we should stipulate that "launches" means "rockets with a payload" that they will attempt to deploy.

Flights of prototypes, without payloads, or with dummy payloads/mass simulators, for purposes of testing should not be counted. 

We should apply the same thinking that was articulated in the other thread.  Musk's aspiration to launch 100 times was made in the context of the existing campaign and cadence of Falcon 9, and that therefore we shouldn't count SS test flights. 

Launching rockets to deploy for Starlink or for customers should be the rule, I believe.

Those are reasonable points to argue about.

I'm mostly indifferent on this however ... a test launch is still work performed.
Is that what he meant?  144 works performed?

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: SpaceX progress towards a 144 launch year in 2024
« Reply #14 on: 11/30/2023 08:05 pm »
144 launches is 144 launches, even if they don’t have payloads or aren’t successful.
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Offline alugobi

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Re: SpaceX progress towards a 144 launch year in 2024
« Reply #15 on: 11/30/2023 08:34 pm »
Do you believe that that is what Gerstenmeyer meant? 

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: SpaceX progress towards a 144 launch year in 2024
« Reply #16 on: 11/30/2023 08:47 pm »
Do you believe that that is what Gerstenmeyer meant?
Probably, yeah? I guess maybe SpaceX, um, ENTHUSIASTS might want to interpret it to mean 144 Falcon 9 alone and a bunch of Starship launches instead, but that seems kind of extreme.
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Online abaddon

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Re: SpaceX progress towards a 144 launch year in 2024
« Reply #17 on: 11/30/2023 09:34 pm »
AMOS-6 is not a launch.  Everything else is.  My two cents, but we might need 20 polls because nobody can agree on what a launch is  :P

Offline steveleach

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Re: SpaceX progress towards a 144 launch year in 2024
« Reply #18 on: 11/30/2023 10:29 pm »
AMOS-6 is not a launch.  Everything else is.  My two cents, but we might need 20 polls because nobody can agree on what a launch is  :P
I suggest that people with an opinion on this just post their prediction and the definitions that it is based on. Multiple different predictions can be correct if they use different assumptions, and they can all be incorrect.

Offline CuddlyRocket

Re: SpaceX progress towards a 144 launch year in 2024
« Reply #19 on: 12/01/2023 06:07 am »
It's a testament to Falcon 9 that we can even think about 144 straight launches without a stand-down for failure.

Would there be a stand-down for a single failure? F9 would still have a high demonstrated reliability. I can see SpaceX wanting to continue launching Starlinks (and payloads for consenting customers) while the failure investigation is carried out. That would depend on the FAA's attitude, but as long as the failure didn't give rise to questions about public safety etc, why not? After all, when a plane crashes they don't immediately ground the fleet (and usually people have died). Also, the FAA routinely grants launch licences to rockets with much lower demonstrated reliability than F9 would have.

Tags: JRTI 
 

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