Poll

How many SpaceX flights do you anticipate in 2018?

1
0 (0%)
2
0 (0%)
3
0 (0%)
4
0 (0%)
5
0 (0%)
6
0 (0%)
7
0 (0%)
8
0 (0%)
9
0 (0%)
10
1 (0.3%)
11
0 (0%)
12
2 (0.7%)
13
1 (0.3%)
14
0 (0%)
15
1 (0.3%)
16
0 (0%)
17
2 (0.7%)
18
2 (0.7%)
19
3 (1%)
20
15 (5%)
21
4 (1.3%)
22
12 (4%)
23
15 (5%)
24
39 (12.9%)
25
33 (10.9%)
26
22 (7.3%)
27
32 (10.6%)
28
28 (9.3%)
29
20 (6.6%)
30
34 (11.3%)
31
6 (2%)
32
14 (4.6%)
33
4 (1.3%)
34
1 (0.3%)
35
5 (1.7%)
36
2 (0.7%)
37
0 (0%)
38
0 (0%)
39
0 (0%)
40
1 (0.3%)
More than 40!!!
3 (1%)
None (sometimes option 42 is the right answer, but this is not one of those times)
0 (0%)

Total Members Voted: 302

Voting closed: 01/19/2018 12:22 PM


Author Topic: POLL: Number of SpaceX orbital flights in 2018  (Read 15863 times)

Offline Barrie

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Re: POLL: Number of SpaceX orbital flights in 2018
« Reply #40 on: 12/17/2017 08:49 PM »
I've gone completely Criswell and foresee 33 launches.  That's in spite of reading all the sensible comments and gongora's manifest first, I just had a gut feeling that it will be a startling year.  Hoping for no problems, and agility in matching available payloads to launch opportunities.  I don't think FH will be a problem - the delays have been time spent working the issues and it will be OK.

Offline skybum

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Re: POLL: Number of SpaceX orbital flights in 2018
« Reply #41 on: 12/18/2017 01:49 PM »
23 for me. Here's my thinking:

50% year-on-year growth would be exceptionally good performance for a rocket company. I expect exceptional things from SpaceX, but I also realise that they're subject to a lot of external constraining forces: range availability, payload availability, the ISS Visiting Vehicles schedule, etc. A major surge in flight rates doesn't just require great performance from SpaceX -- it requires great performance from everyone else around them -- many of whom are less agile than SpaceX.

With this in mind, in 2017 I estimated a 50% year-on-year increase, which would have been 12 flights. I would have been perfectly happy with that, and then gone on to estimate 18 flights for 2018. Obviously I'm thrilled to have been too conservative for once! But I also feel like there was an element of backlog-clearing to this year, and that going forward, those external constraints will re-impose themselves somewhat. Therefore, I'm splitting the difference between the 27 flights that would represent 50% growth over 2018, and the 18 flights that would represent the 50% mark if there hadn't been this year's surge.

Factors arguing that they'll do better than this:
- Three pads!!!!
- Block 5 will surely, in the long run, yield much quicker core turnaround times.
- X37 and Zuma have proven that there is a demand for agile launches that might not yet be on the manifest.

But things that could slow them down:
- Zuma has also proven that the days of teething problems on the launchpad are not entirely behind SpaceX
- Falcon Heavy and Dragon 2 both have more significant potential to become pad queens. As does the block 5, in the short run.
- Few expected launch supply to increase as quickly as it has, and satellites have a long lead time, so there just might not be enough payloads ready to go.

Anyhow, 23 just seems like a nice round number, so that's what it is.


Offline GreenShrike

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Re: POLL: Number of SpaceX orbital flights in 2018
« Reply #42 on: 12/18/2017 06:18 PM »
An average of a launch a month over three pads, assuming 2 months of downtime each, and another 2 for Vandenberg since they're a bit short on west coast payloads. So that's 36 -> 30 -> 28.

In reality, I expect 40 to be closer to their optimal 2-week cadence, with 39A sitting out more often due to FH and D2, but hopefully the average between them will be around one a month.
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Offline oldAtlas_Eguy

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Re: POLL: Number of SpaceX orbital flights in 2018
« Reply #43 on: 12/18/2017 06:42 PM »
I picked 24. I was this time being more pessimistic than last year pick of 21. The votes are interesting seeming to pick out the two min and max values given by SpaceX earlier which said 2018 would have from 25 to 30 launches.

Offline AncientU

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Re: POLL: Number of SpaceX orbital flights in 2018
« Reply #44 on: 12/18/2017 07:00 PM »
32

Rationale:
1. I'm an optimist
2. GS said 50% increase next year over this (when 20 was still this year baseline, so 30)
3. 'Only' 18 this year, leaving two freebies sliding into in next year
4. Plenty payloads to keep the limitation on pads/turn-around
5. Contrary to some believing Falcon will have a failure 'this year', I believe Falcon is in the early stages of a triple-digit string
6. See #1 above
7. Q.E.D.
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Offline DanielW

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Re: POLL: Number of SpaceX orbital flights in 2018
« Reply #45 on: 12/18/2017 07:31 PM »
24 for 2 per month. This could end up being optimistic since there are a handful of milestone missions coming up that can drain resources and keep things from getting too routine. Standing down for crew access arm installment, converting 39A between F9 and FH, range maintenance etc..

But then they could launch 30 missions out of  LC40 while 39A handles all the weirdness and delays. 

Offline cro-magnon gramps

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Re: POLL: Number of SpaceX orbital flights in 2018
« Reply #46 on: 12/18/2017 08:17 PM »
I pick 31.. mainly because i couldn't see being pessimistic with 29, and I knew SpaceX had voted 30, sorta :D
I figure IF 39 and 40 are equally active (12 launches each) and West Coast brings in 1/2 as many as one of them, it will be a bumper crop this year... along with refurbishment and reuse of first stage maturing, I don't see any reason they couldn't hit the 42 number... so in retrospect, 31 might be pessimistic... perhaps the limiting factor will be payload availability... something we can't predict...
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Offline Craftyatom

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Re: POLL: Number of SpaceX orbital flights in 2018
« Reply #47 on: 12/18/2017 08:40 PM »
My prediction is that in 2018 LC-40 will basically be performing the job that 39A performed this year - firing off commercial customers in quick succession while the other Florida pad takes it slow.  39A managed multiple 2-week turnarounds, though the average was dragged up by missions with payload constraints (NROL-76, OTV-5, CRS) and the first flight of Block 4.  However, I think that any issues that might cause delays on LC-40 will be more than made up for by the fact that SpaceX is no longer core-limited, as they have been in the past - since the first flight of a re-used core, they've averaged 3 flights for every 2 new cores (assuming Iridium goes off fine later this month), and that ratio will increase in 2018, essentially removing what used to be their biggest production bottleneck.  This has me saying 26 flights out of LC-40 in 2018 is possible - which sounds absolutely insane and unbelievable.

SLC-4E is going to be slower, but only because not much is manifested there - Lar's manifest says 9 payloads are scheduled, which should be possible even on existing hardware, so 9 it is (They've proven that east and west coast have almost no effect on each other).  39A is going to have to take its time, though - Falcon Heavy, Dragon v2, and Block 5 are all likely to hit snags along the way.  However, it doesn't really matter - even if 39A only flies 5 missions (2 falcon heavy, 2 CRS, 1 Crew Demo), it would bring the total up to 40 flights.  Again, insane and unbelievable.

So, I think every single option in this poll is completely viable, including "more than 40".  HOWEVER.  I may be an optimist, but even I'm not optimistic enough to think this number is actually going to be attained, despite being technically attainable.  I'm going to trust Shotwell on this one, and voted 32 (I like my powers of 2).

My guess at the split is 9 SLC-4E, 5 LC-39A, 18 LC-40.  The upside to this is that even a Falcon Heavy failure on the pad actually wouldn't affect flight rate too much, especially if it can quickly be traced to Heavy-specific hardware.

Edit: updated re-use ratio
« Last Edit: 12/18/2017 08:42 PM by Craftyatom »
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Offline oldAtlas_Eguy

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Re: POLL: Number of SpaceX orbital flights in 2018
« Reply #48 on: 12/23/2017 02:00 AM »
A successful close to 2017. Next stop a very busy and successful 2018.

Online tyrred

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Re: POLL: Number of SpaceX orbital flights in 2018
« Reply #49 on: 12/23/2017 05:49 AM »
32.  3 operational pads, roughly week and a half turnaround between a launch from any pad and next launch from any pad.  Manifest, etc.  Going to be an exciting year!

Offline Hog

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Re: POLL: Number of SpaceX orbital flights in 2018
« Reply #50 on: 12/23/2017 11:58 PM »
I'm more interested in their(and others)  man rated orbital achievements.
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Offline EE Scott

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Re: POLL: Number of SpaceX orbital flights in 2018
« Reply #51 on: 12/24/2017 12:17 AM »
I chose 18. If all they were doing in 2018 was launching commercial payloads via F9, I would have chosen a higher number. However I think they will be slowed a bit by Commercial Crew/D2 efforts along with FH development - each of those projects takes significant resources from a finite pool.
Scott

Online wannamoonbase

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Re: POLL: Number of SpaceX orbital flights in 2018
« Reply #52 on: 12/24/2017 01:00 AM »
I went nuts and said 26.  I feel that is the upper limit with block 5 introduction, and making enough Block 5 cores, upper stages and payload fairing.

However, I think they had some head winds in 2017, no LC40, payload issues, fairing slow down, activating LC39A.  And with that they still got 18 launches and 5 reflown cores, which is a mighty impressive accomplishment. 

So 8 more doesní seem to much harder. 

I think anything over 22 would be a win.
SpaceX, just a few things planned for 2018: FH, Starlink Prototypes, Block 5, Dragon 2, Increased launch rate.

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: POLL: Number of SpaceX orbital flights in 2018
« Reply #53 on: 12/24/2017 06:39 AM »
I chose 18. If all they were doing in 2018 was launching commercial payloads via F9, I would have chosen a higher number. However I think they will be slowed a bit by Commercial Crew/D2 efforts along with FH development - each of those projects takes significant resources from a finite pool.

I donít think Dragon 2 will be any more of a limiting factor in 2018 than 2017. SpaceX resources are still a growing pool, near the 7,000 people mark now. Thatís a lot of resources and with 3 pads and less range support resources needed (due to AFTS) I think SpaceX have lessened some key limiting factors.

Offline EE Scott

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Re: POLL: Number of SpaceX orbital flights in 2018
« Reply #54 on: 12/24/2017 03:44 PM »
I chose 18. If all they were doing in 2018 was launching commercial payloads via F9, I would have chosen a higher number. However I think they will be slowed a bit by Commercial Crew/D2 efforts along with FH development - each of those projects takes significant resources from a finite pool.

I donít think Dragon 2 will be any more of a limiting factor in 2018 than 2017. SpaceX resources are still a growing pool, near the 7,000 people mark now. Thatís a lot of resources and with 3 pads and less range support resources needed (due to AFTS) I think SpaceX have lessened some key limiting factors.

I think you make good points, especially the one about having 3 pads - that is a really big deal. However as you know, there are many things that move the manifest to the right (currently ~33 scheduled for 2018); bad weather for example. Dragon 2 is a complex payload that - IMO - will slow them down, as it is still under development, and has its own unique processing and proceedural requirements. FH's first few launches will likely take more pad time than F9, and of course if it has a failure that damages the pad they're back to 2 pads. All this being said, things do seem to be lining up nicely for the company to have a very successfull 2018 campaign, and to the extent that my guess is off, it's most likely too pessimistic.
« Last Edit: 12/24/2017 03:45 PM by EE Scott »
Scott

Offline rsdavis9

Re: POLL: Number of SpaceX orbital flights in 2018
« Reply #55 on: 12/24/2017 11:30 PM »
I voted for 29.
Its a prime number.
But I agree with the analysis of 2 per month for lc-40 and 9 for lc-39 and 9 for vandenburg. Which is 24+9+9=42 which is a very muskish number.  :)
And the above is if everything goes to plan exactly. Which it never does so 29 is something less than 42.
BTW I voted 18 for 2017. I am a very reliable guesser...
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Offline vigleik

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Re: POLL: Number of SpaceX orbital flights in 2018
« Reply #56 on: 12/25/2017 02:36 AM »
I just voted 21 launches. SpaceX has the potential to do even better if everything goes according to plan, and Iím happy to be proven too pessimistic. But there are many things that can cause a delay (Falcon Heavy, Dragon 2, Block 5, lack of payloads) and I think 21 is still a good outcome. We canít expect 50% yoy growth forever.

Online Ronpur50

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Re: POLL: Number of SpaceX orbital flights in 2018
« Reply #57 on: 12/25/2017 02:44 AM »
I wanted to vote 42, but forgot what the question was, so I divided by 2 and got 21.

Offline whitelancer64

Re: POLL: Number of SpaceX orbital flights in 2018
« Reply #58 on: 12/25/2017 04:38 PM »
Total stab in the dark: 25.
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Online chalz

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Re: POLL: Number of SpaceX orbital flights in 2018
« Reply #59 on: 12/26/2017 06:35 AM »
23
Repaired pad is meant to be faster so lets say 14 flights ending with CRS 16.
Cautious but only 3 flights from 39a - two heavies and finish the year with DM1
Vandenberg 6.
Other random predictions:
They will reveal an F9 pad planned at Boca Chica.
The crew access arm won't be erected but the RSS will come down.
Another LOM before BFR debuts (around 2022), one of their own comsat missions around 2020.
No RTLS at Vandenberg this year.
They will recover a fairing intact but not a pair and Elon will say something flippant about it being harder than stage recovery.

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