Author Topic: SpaceX customers' views on reuse  (Read 163276 times)

Offline AncientU

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Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #440 on: 02/02/2018 02:12 PM »
Looks like half of all flights in 2018 will be used boosters:

"WIRED learned from sources with knowledge of the manifest that in 2018, the company intends to fly 50 percent of its 30 planned missions on recycled rockets."

https://www.wired.com/story/spacex-gears-up-to-finally-actually-launch-the-falcon-heavy/?mbid=social_twitter_onsiteshare

For the last four flights of 2017 and first four of 2018 (assuming that includes FH Demo), there will have been seven reused cores out of the ten cores flown... so we are already operating in the >50% mode.  10 months after first reflight!!!

Answering Guckyfan's 18-month old question:
Quote
When will reused first stages be the majority of launches?

The serial full duration tests of the JCSAT-14 booster at McGregor  let me think about this. We are getting near to proof that the landed boosters are all capable of reflight. I move a reply in the SpaceX Manifest Updates and Discussion Thread 4 here because it is not appropriate there. I argue that contracts signed today for new boosters will not delay the transition. They can and will be renegotiated.

There is not going to be any sudden rush to buy reused cores, especially before one has flown.

.................

Let's give SpaceX a chance to actually qualify a booster for reflight and their customers a chance to get comfortable with the idea before we start assuming everything will suddenly start flying on reused cores.

Absolutely true, I agree. But I would bet (just a phrase, I don't bet) that in 2019 most launches will be on reused boosters including contracts already signed for new ones. The contracts will be renegotiated with reusable prices. By that time they will probably have enough cores in store that they don't need to build new ones before the Falcon family is phased out.
bolds mine

There apparently was a 'rush'
« Last Edit: 02/02/2018 08:28 PM by AncientU »
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Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #441 on: 02/14/2018 08:51 AM »
Looks like half of all flights in 2018 will be used boosters:

"WIRED learned from sources with knowledge of the manifest that in 2018, the company intends to fly 50 percent of its 30 planned missions on recycled rockets."

https://www.wired.com/story/spacex-gears-up-to-finally-actually-launch-the-falcon-heavy/?mbid=social_twitter_onsiteshare

Here’s a direct quote from Gwynne:

Quote
While Musk takes a lot of credit for his vision, in Shotwell he found the perfect executive to run SpaceX like a finely oiled machine. She is one of the most admired and respected executives in our industry, and an inspiration for young women around the world.

http://interactive.satellitetoday.com/via/march-2018/2017-satellite-executive-of-the-year-gwynne-shotwell-president-and-coo-spacex/

Couple of interesting snippets in the interview:

Quote
We have 26-30 flights in 2018, but around half of those will be flight proven.

[...]

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #442 on: 02/26/2018 04:30 PM »
I'm intending to use this thread to also cover any customer views on fairing re-use.

Given last weeks progress with recovery, feels like a fairing re-use (or at least half a fairing) is a distinct possibility later this year. I'm not sure any customers have yet commented on it, but please post if I've missed something or you see anything in the future.

Offline Lar

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Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #443 on: 02/26/2018 06:08 PM »
I would be surprised if customers had really strong views on fairing reuse one way or the other. But not that surprised.

(*took a flyer* and tweeted @iridiumBoss to get his view, or tried. Like it if you like:

https://twitter.com/lar_p/status/968203449358729216

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@IridiumBoss - Fairing reuse by @SpaceX is close to here. Your view? Iridium will: "be first to"/"ok to, but not FIRST to"/"never" reuse a fairing? Do you see any major risks in reuse? Your thought leadership matters.
« Last Edit: 02/26/2018 06:26 PM by Lar »
"I think it would be great to be born on Earth and to die on Mars. Just hopefully not at the point of impact." -Elon Musk
"We're a little bit like the dog who caught the bus" - Musk after CRS-8 S1 successfully landed on ASDS OCISLY

Offline Lar

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Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #444 on: 02/26/2018 10:20 PM »
Matt answered me

https://twitter.com/IridiumBoss/status/968242780429602816
Quote
Replying to @lar_p @SpaceX

Open to considering, but have a fiduciary duty to customers/employees/investors etc to make the right decision balancing risk and reward.  ? is hypothetical; would need to understand risks and rewards - which include schedule, cost, etc.  Can't be guinea pig for science's sake.

Fair enough, I guess... but eventually everyone will want the discount (presumably SpaceX will start charging different prices)...
"I think it would be great to be born on Earth and to die on Mars. Just hopefully not at the point of impact." -Elon Musk
"We're a little bit like the dog who caught the bus" - Musk after CRS-8 S1 successfully landed on ASDS OCISLY

Offline Space Ghost 1962

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Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #445 on: 02/26/2018 11:23 PM »
Matt answered me

https://twitter.com/IridiumBoss/status/968242780429602816
Quote
Replying to @lar_p @SpaceX

Open to considering, but have a fiduciary duty to customers/employees/investors etc to make the right decision balancing risk and reward.  ? is hypothetical; would need to understand risks and rewards - which include schedule, cost, etc.  Can't be guinea pig for science's sake.

Fair enough, I guess... but eventually everyone will want the discount (presumably SpaceX will start charging different prices)...

He had the same for flight proven boosters. No surprise, exactly what I thought he'd respond with.

He has a constellation to put in place, with consecutive launches that must succeed, as the entire constellation has to be in place for the services to be sold on it.

Unlike a customer like SES, where a sat at a time matters. They are more interested in this than Iridium/NG.

Offline IntoTheVoid

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Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #446 on: 02/28/2018 05:12 AM »
Matt answered me

https://twitter.com/IridiumBoss/status/968242780429602816
Quote
Replying to @lar_p @SpaceX

Open to considering, but have a fiduciary duty to customers/employees/investors etc to make the right decision balancing risk and reward.  ? is hypothetical; would need to understand risks and rewards - which include schedule, cost, etc.  Can't be guinea pig for science's sake.
I bolded what seems to be the important part. Matt has been a great SpaceX supporter, but he is probably not thinking about reused fairings beyond the fan perspective. Professionally he's hoping to have his constellation finished before a reasonable expectation of fairing reuse.

Offline deruch

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Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #447 on: 03/01/2018 07:38 AM »
Professionally he's hoping to have his constellation finished before a reasonable expectation of fairing reuse.

Exactly.  Great idea by Lar to tweet at someone who was willing to consider the question and then answer!  But for Iridium, it's really a moot issue at this point as they'll likely have completed all their launches before SpaceX is ready to offer a reused fairing for launch.  Especially true as any potential customer thinking about reusing one would need to do their own evaluation prior to okaying the idea. 

From a "likely prospective customer" standpoint, maybe a better person to ask would be Martin Halliwell, CTO of SES.  Even though, looking at the manifest, they don't have any missions currently on contract that would use one either.  It will be a consideration going forward for any future launches purchased by them and that is a much nearer term prospect than it is for Iridium.
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Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #448 on: 03/03/2018 10:57 PM »
Matt answered me

https://twitter.com/IridiumBoss/status/968242780429602816
Quote
Replying to @lar_p @SpaceX

Open to considering, but have a fiduciary duty to customers/employees/investors etc to make the right decision balancing risk and reward.  ? is hypothetical; would need to understand risks and rewards - which include schedule, cost, etc.  Can't be guinea pig for science's sake.

Fair enough, I guess... but eventually everyone will want the discount (presumably SpaceX will start charging different prices)...

I’m getting old, I’d completely forgotten this post:

A type of reuse I haven’t noticed customers discussing before:

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@IridiumBoss with the move to allow using flight proven cores, would Iridium now be open to being the first company to use reused Fairings?

https://twitter.com/beeberunner/status/943544314096955397

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We're open to anything if it can be proven to improve risk, schedule and cost.  We're about getting our amazing next generation network in space as fast and safely as we can, not creating history for its own sake (though happy to do that this week with our fourth launch)!

https://twitter.com/iridiumboss/status/943547579001987073

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #449 on: 03/03/2018 11:04 PM »
With Iridium-5 currently scheduled to be 1 day short of the first anniversary of the first booster reuse (SES-10), the first year looks like having 21 SpaceX launches, with 23 boosters, 10 of which will be reused.

Offline Lar

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Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #450 on: 03/03/2018 11:14 PM »
That's a pretty good takeup rate. And it's partly skewed by block 3 and 4 not being reflown that many times.
"I think it would be great to be born on Earth and to die on Mars. Just hopefully not at the point of impact." -Elon Musk
"We're a little bit like the dog who caught the bus" - Musk after CRS-8 S1 successfully landed on ASDS OCISLY

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #451 on: 03/14/2018 04:08 PM »
Cross-posting 2 new missions re-using boosters:

Two new launches:
Quote
Maxar Technologies’ DigitalGlobe Selects SpaceX to Launch its Next-generation WorldView Legion Satellites
Quote
The initial block of the multi-satellite WorldView Legion constellation will be launched by two flight-proven Falcon 9 rockets in 2021.
https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20180314005049/en/Maxar-Technologies%E2%80%99-DigitalGlobe-Selects-SpaceX-Launch-Next-generation

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #452 on: 03/16/2018 06:38 PM »
Finally confirmation of booster reuse for CRS-14:

Quote
NASA’s upcoming CRS-14 ISS resupply mission will re-fly SpaceX Falcon 9 booster flown on CRS-12. Dragon previously flew CRS-8.

https://twitter.com/flatoday_jdean/status/974719813162602496

Offline hplan

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Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #453 on: 03/19/2018 11:00 PM »
Musk has talked many times about how if human presence in space is to increase, costs have to come way down. He's talked about significant reductions in Falcon 9 costs due to reuse, but that hasn't translated into a reduction in price. Now he's talking about an eventual $5 million cost of a BFR launch.

The price decrease for Falcon 9 didn't happen because SpaceX wanted to recoup development costs and, presumably, raise money for BFR. There have been hints that BFR revenue will fund Mars missions, so again, not much price cutting is likely compared to Falcon 9 prices.

At some point, if Musk wants to spur growth in HSF, he'll have to lower prices considerably, right?

What do you think are the chances that when and if StarLink revenue starts rolling in, Musk will decide that SpaceX launches don't have to make the money to support the Mars missions and lower launch prices to something close to costs?

Offline IainMcClatchie

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Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #454 on: 03/20/2018 01:56 AM »
One common problem with introducing a lower cost product is that you can end up lowering the total amount of revenue in the market if that market doesn't expand much with your new lower costs.  That is, if the market is inelastic, even temporarily.

What you'd like is some protection from this inelasticity.  In particular , you'd like to strongly segment the market, so that the inelastic purchasers still pay the high prior prices, but the new elastic portion of the market is exposed to your lower prices and able to grow.  You give a new customer a massive volume discount.

SpaceX is doing just this.  StarLink is an internal SpaceX project because that minimizes market risk.  If SpaceX and StarLink were separate, for example, if StarLink were part of Google, then they'd have to negotiate a launch price.  That price makes it possible for one to go bankrupt while the other has excess cash.

That price also leads to difficulties with other customers.  Government customers typically have contractual clauses that state that the price is as low as any other comparable customer pays.  This leads to arrangements where the provider must deliver something to the government which is somehow substantially different from what is provided to other customers.  Sometimes this is natural but in many cases it interferes with standardization and economies of scale.

Another problem with a special low price for StarLink is that the terms require a lot of forward speculation.  Do they get a quantity discount?  Does that quantity discount apply to the first few R&D launches? How do you then convince SES to keep paying $50m/launch?

Google wants cheap ubiquitous last-mile access.  My guess is that StarLink will have several rough years initially, and Google will pump money into it during that time to keep it afloat, so long as Elon can keep Larry's enthusiasm up.  Google can sometimes have a short attention span and take on too many project only to abandon them.  But Google is also capable of long term large scale funding, as in the case of Chauffeur.

I think we'll see significant flights to Mars only after StarLink's customer base and revenue becomes large.

I think we'll see launch costs for the 25-50 launches per year of traditional operators drift downward slowly as SpaceX milks the cash cow.  Something like pricing on Microsoft Word.

Offline envy887

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Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #455 on: 03/20/2018 02:56 AM »
SpaceX hasn't been able to launch fast enough to satisfy the market at their current prices. So regardless of whether the market is elastic or not, lowering prices could only possibly lower revenue. Once they catch up on the manifest, we might see them try to gauge the elasticity of the market with lower prices.

Reuse helps them with this is two ways: it's cheaper, so better profit margin, and it allows more launches in the same time, so they have flexibility.

Offline OnWithTheShow

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Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #456 on: 03/20/2018 05:16 PM »
Something else to keep in mind is that they are currently beating all their competitors on price. No real reason to lower you costs further when you are already the most affordable option in town. If and when we see competitive prices from the other launchers then I expect to see F9 prices start to come down.

Offline AncientU

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Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #457 on: 03/20/2018 09:53 PM »
Something else to keep in mind is that they are currently beating all their competitors on price. No real reason to lower you costs further when you are already the most affordable option in town. If and when we see competitive prices from the other launchers then I expect to see F9 prices start to come down.

Lowering costs always helps, and they are still doing that with a vengeance; lowering prices is what you are getting at, right?
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Offline deruch

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Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #458 on: 03/22/2018 04:16 AM »
Some relevant Tweets:
Quote
Tagnan:
What about iridium 6? At the very least do you know if it will be reused or not?

Matt Desch:
Considering, but its a ride share so a little more complicated and hasn't been totally finalized...

Tagnan:
How much do ride shares get to decide in terms of vehicle used and other options?

Matt Desch:
It's a cooperative effort, and mostly decided up front in a contract, or in ongoing discussions as you jointly prepare and project manage towards the launch.  In this case, we're the lead with SpaceX, but we work to make sure decisions are right for our rideshare partner too.

This launch [Iridium-6 w/GRACE-FO] will be on a flight proven booster
https://twitter.com/IridiumBoss/status/976575188614762496

Iridium is the lead on the contract, but based on Mr. Desch's previous comments Germany's DLR (and maybe NASA's LSP) is okay with the flight proven booster now.  Also, even though LSP wasn't the contracting agency for GRACE-FO, this will give them some additional exposure/involvement in evaluating flight proven boosters.  Hopefully SpaceX will be able to get them to fully approve a reused booster on a mission for which they are the contracting party in the near term future.
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Offline AncientU

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Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #459 on: 03/30/2018 12:45 PM »
More comments from Matt Desch:
Quote
Iridium boss senses shift in SpaceX rhythm with another launch set for Friday
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On the eve of the Iridium’s fifth launch with SpaceX, the mobile telecom satellite operator’s chief executive says he no longer has to wait for SpaceX’s rockets to be ready. Instead, Iridium’s satellite team is racing to keep pace churning spacecraft off their assembly line.
Quote
“I’m satisfied. It’s meeting our needs,” Desch said of the launch cadence. “We really are focused on completing our Iridium Next constellation this year. I’d like it completed in the third quarter if possible. What I’m really pleased with is that SpaceX has stepped up this year so far. I saw a quote from (SpaceX president and chief operating officer) Gwynne (Shotwell) last week saying it’s nice that she’s waiting on her customers versus the other way around. I think that, at least as it relates to us, is true. We’ve just got to get the satellites ready.
Quote
At the time, he said made the change after receiving assurances the previously-flown boosters were no more risky — and perhaps less so — than a newly-built rocket. The switch to reused rockets also kept Iridium’s launch campaigns on schedule — it was clear that waiting for new boosters from SpaceX’s factory would delay the upgraded network’s deployment, Desch said.

“We’d be in a different place if we were using new rockets,” Desch said.
https://spaceflightnow.com/2018/03/29/iridium-boss-senses-shift-in-spacex-rhythm/

Sounds like a customer that couldn't be persuaded to go back to new boosters...
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