Author Topic: USAF RFP - EELV Phase 1A-6  (Read 4497 times)

Online gongora

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USAF RFP - EELV Phase 1A-6
« on: 11/08/2017 08:52 PM »
[Air Force Magazine] SMC Releases Draft RFP for Five EELV Launches
Quote
​The Air Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center on Monday released a draft request for proposal for five launches in the evolved expendable launch vehicle program. Together these missions make up Phase 1A-6 of the service’s EELV competitive space launch strategy.

The draft RFP includes two launches of National Reconnaissance Office assets through missions called NROL-85 and NROL-87. It also includes SBIRS GEO-5, the fifth mission in the Air Force’s space-based infrared system, and AFSPC-44, an unidentified Air Force Space Command mission.

A fifth mission is called Silent Barker, which is an “Air Force Space Command-National Reconnaissance Office partnership,” SMC commander Lt. Gen. John Thompson told reporters last week at a Pentagon briefing. Brig. Gen. Mark Baird, director of space programs, told reporters at the same briefing that the classified mission will involve a new capability in the space situational awareness portfolio, though officials declined to provide additional details.

These five missions bring the total number of planned launches in Phase 1A to 14. SMC has awarded launch services agreements for the first three launches and has released final RFPs for six more. The center plans to issue an RFP for one more launch before the end of 2017. The first launch from a Phase 1A contract—SpaceX’s launch of the first GPS III satellite—is scheduled for May 2018.

(I may combine the several USAF launch RFP threads later)

Notice of Intent to Compete EELV Phase 1A-6 and Draft Request for Proposal (RFP)

Update: Final RFP posted Jan. 31, 2018.  Responses due Apr. 16, 2018.



Other RFP Threads: (summary)
Launches:
Draft RFP for six AF launches (FA8811-17-R-0004) May 3, 2017
RFP For Five Air Force Launches : GPS x 3, AFSPC-8, AFSPC-12 (FA8811-17-R-0004) (also contains AFSPC-52)

Launch Vehicles:
USAF RFP for new EELV Launch Service Agreements (2017-10-05)
« Last Edit: 02/01/2018 01:40 AM by gongora »

Online gongora

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Re: USAF Draft RFP - EELV Phase 1A-6
« Reply #1 on: 11/09/2017 03:07 AM »
Looks like a couple LEO missions, one GTO, and two GEO

Quote
7.2.1.2.1 The IMS for each mission shall reflect either a start date no earlier than the following according to each mission ILC:
a. NROL-85: 4QFY21 ILC (30 months integration required)
b. NROL-87: 3QFY21 ILC (30 months integration required)
c. SILENTBARKER: 1QFY22 (30 months integration required)
d. SBIRS GEO-5: 2QFY21 (30 months integration required)
e. AFSPC-44: 1QFY21 (24 months integration required)

10 ANNEX 1: NROL-85

Semi-major Axis (km) 7500.5 km
Inclination (deg) 63.535 deg

a. The Offeror shall provide the NROL-85 SV sufficient time in the schedule to perform a three (3) day umbilical checkout within seven (7) days of the encapsulated assembly being mated to the launch vehicle. The Offeror shall provide simulation cables to complete the circuit to the SEIP from the EGSE room and provide an environmentally protected test area with 120 VAC power at the end of the simulation cables. The Offeror can schedule this checkout when the LV is in the horizontal or vertical position.
b. The Offeror shall provide the NROL-85 SV sufficient time in the schedule prior to launch to perform five (5) days of launch preparations after the Encapsulated Assembly and the EAGE are attached to the launch pad umbilical. The Offeror can schedule this checkout when the LV is in the horizontal or vertical position.
10.1.6.3 The Offeror shall provide a Launch Concept of Operations (CONOPS) which includes the integrated SV/LV processing and encapsulation plans which are oriented to the Payload Processing Facility (PPF) building 2520 at Vandenberg Air Force Base for a Western Range solution or the Eastern Processing Facility (EPF) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station for an Eastern Range solution.
10.1.6.5 The Offeror shall provide verification that the required Payload clocking in NROL-85 IRD Figure 3.5.4-1 is technically feasible to support the planned CONOPS at the launch base.

10.1.7.2 The Offeror shall provide CONOPs and technical documentation to support installation of the Secondary SVs on the aft end of the upper stage, not within the Encapsulated Assembly (EA), with appropriate mechanical and electrical interfaces for the dispensers, in accordance with the Rideshare IRD.
10.1.7.5 The Offeror shall provide a detailed description of their approach for placing the two 12U CubeSats in the same initial orbit as the Primary SV. The Offeror shall demonstrate capability to meet all requirements provided in the Rideshare IRD for the NROL-85 mission and all integration constraints defined in the Rideshare Users Guide (RUG). The Offeror shall provide a detailed description of their approach to perform deployment of the two 12U CubeSats per IRD section 3.4 to include sub-paragraphs.

11 ANNEX 2: NROL-87

11.1.4.3 The Offeror shall provide a Launch Operations CONOPS which includes the integrated SV/LV processing and encapsulation plans which are oriented to the processing facility the Government has required the Offeror to use at Vandenberg Air Force Base for a Western Range solution.
11.1.4.4 The Offeror shall provide a Launch Operations CONOPS which includes a description and diagrams of propellant-compatible interface plumbing and aspirator IAW the contingency offload requirements defined in the requirement of the NROL-87 IRD paragraph 3.7.2.
11.1.4.6 The Offeror shall provide a detailed plan for Contamination Management from the time the Government provides the NROL-87 SV to the Offeror as Government property for encapsulation through T-0 launch. The proposed plan shall be supported by previously demonstrated efforts and a description of how previously demonstrated efforts will be applied or modified for this mission. If never demonstrated, the Offeror shall provide evidence-based rationale to support the proposed plan.
11.1.4.7 The Offeror shall provide a detailed plan for GN2 Purge from the time the Government provides the NROL-87 SV to the Offeror as Government property for encapsulation through T-0 launch. The proposed plan shall be supported by previously demonstrated efforts and a description of how previously demonstrated efforts will be applied or modified for this mission. If never demonstrated, the Offeror shall provide evidence-based rationale to support the proposed plan.

The nominal insertion orbit is a Sun-synchronous (97.4deg), near circular orbit with a Mean Local Time of Ascending Node (MLTAN) of midnight and a semi-major axis range as shown (6890.7km).

12 ANNEX 3: SILENTBARKER

Apogee Radius (km) 42,464
Perigee Radius (km) 41,864
Inclination (deg) 0.0
Geostationary Location (degrees Longitude) 105° East

12.1.4.4 The Offeror shall identify if a Geosynchronous Earth Orbit (GEO) direct inject mission profile has not yet been flight demonstrated by proposed or launch vehicle system.
12.1.4.5 If none of the Offeror's previous flights have demonstrated a mission profile similar to SILENTBARKER, then the Offeror shall provide a detailed engineering and risk analysis of the launch vehicle subsystems and components that would impact orbital insertion accuracy, and any risks or limiting factors associated with the design or configuration of the affected subsystems.

12.1.6 SUB-FACTOR 3: LONG COAST
12.1.6.1 The Offeror shall provide an approach to conduct the SILENTBARKER extended duration GEO mission which details the following, but not specifically limited to:
a. In-flight propellant performance management
b. Propellant re-pressurization following a long coast period and secondary or tertiary burn
c. Reaction control system propellant management during thermal conditioning rolls
d. Managing in-flight electrostatic discharge in order to mitigate the risk of catastrophic discharge in areas of flight prone to magnetosphere sub-storms
e. Complying with in-flight battery power requirements to include an upper stage extended battery configuration as necessary
f. Communication
g. Meeting thermal requirements
12.1.6.2 The Offeror shall provide technical evaluation of impacts to the Long Coast criteria due to secondary objectives, not required by the NROL-107 IRD, for evaluation by the Government, as proposed under Attachment 5, paragraph 7.2.2.5. If the proposed secondary objectives do not impact this sub-factor, the Offeror shall provide historical evidence or detailed supporting rationale.

12.1.8.1 The Offeror shall describe their approach to meeting the SV contamination requirements, which include the following elements:
PRE-DECISIONAL
PRE-DECISIONAL
50
Instructions to Offerors FA8811-18-R-0001
12.1.8.1.1 The Offeror shall satisfy NROL-107 IRD requirements specified in IRD paragraph 3.5.4 to provide a continuous Space Vehicle Instrumentation Purge (SVIP).
12.1.8.1.2 The Offeror shall satisfy the requirement to provide continuous PLF conditioned air, specified in SIS Rev B, paragraph 3.3.2.
12.1.8.1.3 The Offeror shall satisfy NROL-107 IRD requirement specified in IRD paragraph 3.2.3 such that SV particulate contamination shall not exceed 1% surface obscuration.
12.1.8.1.4 The Offeror shall satisfy NROL-107 IRD specified in IRD paragraph 3.2.3

13 ANNEX 4: SBIRS GEO-5

GTO
Perigee Altitude (1) 193 km (104 nm)
Apogee Altitude (2) 35,786 km (19323 nm)
Orbit Inclination (3) ≤ 27 degrees
ΔV Remaining to Reference Orbit (6) ≤ 1594 m/s
Minimum Launch Vehicle Mass to Orbit Capability(6) ≥ 5209 kg (11484 lbm)

The Offeror shall describe their approach to meeting the SV prelaunch and ascent thermal requirements which include the following elements:
13.1.6.1 The Offeror shall describe their approach to meeting the SV prelaunch requirements delineated in GEO-5 IRD paragraph 3.3.8.3 (IRD 1530 and 1540) which prescribes that the Offeror shall provide continuous, controllable and monitored PLF conditioned air with the following characteristics while the SV is within the PLF, from SV/LV mate up to T-0:
 Air temperature surrounding the SV to be user selectable from 43-70 deg F (6-21 deg C) and controllable to +/- 5 deg F (+/- 3 deg C) of the user selected value with any planned outage to be approved by the SVC in advance .
 Flow velocity of the PLF air distribution system to maintain positive pressure (relative to the external PLF environment) and be less than 32 fps in all directions, without direct impingement on SV surfaces or causing billowing of Multi-Layer Insulation (MLI) blankets.
 Relative humidity to be in the range 0-60% with no condensation, 30-60% if SV access is required.
 Air cleanliness of inlet air to be Class 6.7 per ISO 14644-1 or better with HEPA filter at the point of use inlet to the PLF.
 Air hydrocarbon content to be no greater than 15 ppm total hydrocarbons reported as methane equivalent.
13.1.6.2 The Offeror shall describe their approach to meeting the ascent requirements delineated in IRD 0040 and 0050 of GEO-5 IRD paragraph 3.1.3 which prescribes that the Offeror shall preclude direct sun within Zone D of IRD Figure 3.1.3 and:
 The LV shall roll about the Xm axis at a rate of 1.0 ± 0.3 deg/sec during park orbit and transfer coasts, except during transient events described in IRD0040a
 During transient events described in IRD0040a, direct sun on the SV surfaces within Zones A and B of IRD Figure 3.1.3 shall be limited to less than 90 seconds per event

13.1.9.1 The Offeror shall provide a detailed description of the mass-to-orbit capability associated with the proposed launch vehicle system for the SBIRS GEO-5 mission based on launching from the Eastern Range for the threshold target and accuracy requirements specified in GEO-5 IRD Tables 3.1.4-1 and 3.1.4-2. The Offeror shall also provide and describe the extent to which the objective target requirement of 794 meters per second delta-V remaining to the GEO-5 reference orbit can be met by the proposed launch vehicle system.

Table 13-4: SV Mass Properties with PLA
Minimum Requirement 9,500 lb (4309.1 kg)
Maximum Requirement 11,484 lb (5209.1 kg)

13.1.9.7 The Offeror’s shall provide a detailed description of their approach for the Multi-manifest SVs, to include the (1) integration of two Government provided integrated 12U CubeSat/Dispensers for integration to the aft multi-payload carrier (AMPC), (2) AMPC to the launch vehicle and (3) launch and deployment of Multi-manifest SVs into an initial (TBD) orbit.

14 ANNEX 5: AFSPC-44

14.1.2 For unclassified proposal responses, the Offeror shall reference the payload as the “AFSPC-44 Payload”. If required, reference the fore payload as “Payload 1” and the aft payload as “Payload 2”.

14.2.1 The Offeror shall provide CONOPS for the integration of two Payloads NET L-2 months in the launch processing flow. The following should be considered in developing the CONOPs and technical interface documentation for the integration of both payloads:
a. The Government will provide final Payload design properties, mission design constraints, and configuration to the LVC NLT Launch (L) – 12 months.
b. Both payloads will be delivered to the Offeror ready for installation onto the LV.
c. Unique security requirements are needed in the processing of the payloads.
d. During ground processing both payloads require physical access, power, and telemetry.
e. The Government will provide Mass Simulators if either of payloads are not available to support launch.

14.2.6 The Offeror shall provide a detailed description of their approach to perform deployment of both payloads with a separation time of 600s in accordance with the Payload Platform Launch Vehicle Interface Requirements Document (PPLVIRD) section 4.1 and 4.2.
14.2.7 Offeror shall perform a nominal analysis to show that re-contact between both payloads and the upper stage will not occur. The Offeror shall assume each payload has a weight of 2000kg.

GEO 42464km +/- 100km
Inclination (deg) 5 degrees +/- 0.025 degrees
« Last Edit: 11/09/2017 03:10 AM by gongora »

Offline Jarnis

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Re: USAF Draft RFP - EELV Phase 1A-6
« Reply #2 on: 11/09/2017 06:57 AM »
Hmm, Cubesat requirement for aft end of the upper stage seems awfully tailored to Atlas/Centaur...

Online Galactic Penguin SST

Re: USAF Draft RFP - EELV Phase 1A-6
« Reply #3 on: 11/09/2017 07:35 AM »
Hmm, Cubesat requirement for aft end of the upper stage seems awfully tailored to Atlas/Centaur...

I thought on the few occasions so far of F9 carrying external cubesats (Dragon COTS-1/CRS-3 & CASSIOPE) the container was attached to the back of the F9 second stage?
Chinese spaceflight is a cosmic riddle wrapped in a galactic mystery inside an orbital enigma... - (not) Winston Churchill

Online abaddon

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Re: USAF Draft RFP - EELV Phase 1A-6
« Reply #4 on: 11/09/2017 03:18 PM »
Will be surprising to me if SpaceX wins this.  Bundling should allow ULA to offer more competitive prices, the variety of missions and required mission services favors ULA.  And ULA's string of successes still gives them an edge.  Guess we will see!

Online gongora

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Re: USAF Draft RFP - EELV Phase 1A-6
« Reply #5 on: 11/09/2017 03:23 PM »
Quote
The Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) anticipates making multiple awards of launch services through this solicitation. Specifically, SMC anticipates making an individual award for each launch service mission: NROL-85, NROL-87, SILENTBARKER, SBIRS GEO-5, and AFSPC-44.

No bundling here.  SpaceX should have a decent shot at 3 of them.  If FH flies before the bids are due (which could very well happen, this is still in draft RFP stage) then SpaceX could at least have a chance at the other two, although ULA would still have an advantage based on a history of performing missions like that.  (You shouldn't expect all five to go to the same bidder regardless of what SpaceX does in the next few months.)

Online abaddon

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Re: USAF Draft RFP - EELV Phase 1A-6
« Reply #6 on: 11/09/2017 03:25 PM »
No bundling here.
Whoops, my mistake, that's a big difference!  Thanks for the correction.

Offline LouScheffer

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Re: USAF Draft RFP - EELV Phase 1A-6
« Reply #7 on: 11/09/2017 03:43 PM »
If, as speculated, SpaceX placed OTV-5 into a high inclination (in the 60s) orbit from the Cape, then they may have already demonstrated this capability as needed for NROL-85.   Or they could do this from Vandenburg, but I don't think they have yet demonstrated this inclination from the west coast.

Offline Bean Kenobi

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Re: USAF Draft RFP - EELV Phase 1A-6
« Reply #8 on: 11/09/2017 08:18 PM »
12 ANNEX 3: SILENTBARKER

Apogee Radius (km) 42,464
Perigee Radius (km) 41,864
Inclination (deg) 0.0
Geostationary Location (degrees Longitude) 105° East

12.1.4.4 The Offeror shall identify if a Geosynchronous Earth Orbit (GEO) direct inject mission profile has not yet been flight demonstrated by proposed or launch vehicle system.
12.1.4.5 If none of the Offeror's previous flights have demonstrated a mission profile similar to SILENTBARKER, then the Offeror shall provide a detailed engineering and risk analysis of the launch vehicle subsystems and components that would impact orbital insertion accuracy, and any risks or limiting factors associated with the design or configuration of the affected subsystems.

12.1.6 SUB-FACTOR 3: LONG COAST
12.1.6.1 The Offeror shall provide an approach to conduct the SILENTBARKER extended duration GEO mission which details the following, but not specifically limited to:
a. In-flight propellant performance management
b. Propellant re-pressurization following a long coast period and secondary or tertiary burn
c. Reaction control system propellant management during thermal conditioning rolls
d. Managing in-flight electrostatic discharge in order to mitigate the risk of catastrophic discharge in areas of flight prone to magnetosphere sub-storms
e. Complying with in-flight battery power requirements to include an upper stage extended battery configuration as necessary
f. Communication
g. Meeting thermal requirements
12.1.6.2 The Offeror shall provide technical evaluation of impacts to the Long Coast criteria due to secondary objectives, not required by the NROL-107 IRD, for evaluation by the Government, as proposed under Attachment 5, paragraph 7.2.2.5. If the proposed secondary objectives do not impact this sub-factor, the Offeror shall provide historical evidence or detailed supporting rationale.

12.1.8.1 The Offeror shall describe their approach to meeting the SV contamination requirements, which include the following elements:
PRE-DECISIONAL
PRE-DECISIONAL
50
Instructions to Offerors FA8811-18-R-0001
12.1.8.1.1 The Offeror shall satisfy NROL-107 IRD requirements specified in IRD paragraph 3.5.4 to provide a continuous Space Vehicle Instrumentation Purge (SVIP).
12.1.8.1.2 The Offeror shall satisfy the requirement to provide continuous PLF conditioned air, specified in SIS Rev B, paragraph 3.3.2.
12.1.8.1.3 The Offeror shall satisfy NROL-107 IRD requirement specified in IRD paragraph 3.2.3 such that SV particulate contamination shall not exceed 1% surface obscuration.
12.1.8.1.4 The Offeror shall satisfy NROL-107 IRD specified in IRD paragraph 3.2.3

So NROL-107 seems to be the NRO part of SILENTBARKER.

Offline William Graham

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Re: USAF Draft RFP - EELV Phase 1A-6
« Reply #9 on: 11/10/2017 12:19 AM »
Surprised to see so many details for the NRO missions made public.

L-85 is almost certainly an Intruder/NOSS pair - nothing else uses that orbit.

L-87 is more interesting. SSO usually means optical imaging but I wouldn't expect a KH-11 launch to be put out to tender - and in any case we already have a full quota for the next few years with launches in 2018, 2020 and possibly 2023. Could be an imaging sat with different capabilities (multi/hyperspectral, wider-field, etc), a prototype for a next-generation IMINT bird or something completely unrelated.

Online gongora

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Re: USAF Draft RFP - EELV Phase 1A-6
« Reply #10 on: 02/01/2018 12:37 AM »
Final Request For Proposal Released for Air Force Launch Services Contract
SMC Public Affairs / Published January 31, 2018

LOS ANGELES AIR FORCE BASE, El Segundo, Calif. --
The Air Force released a final Request for Proposal for Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) Launch Services for the following payloads:  National Reconnaissance Office Launch (NROL)-85, NROL-87, SILENTBARKER, Space-Based Infrared System Geosynchronous Earth Orbit (SBIRS GEO)-5, and Air Force Space Command (AFSPC)-44.  The final RFP was released on Jan. 31 with proposals due back to the Air Force on April 16 in accordance with the solicitation instructions. The contracts for these launch services are expected to be awarded in late 2018.

The Air Force will award firm-fixed-price contracts that will provide the government with a total launch solution for these missions.  The award includes launch vehicle production, mission integration, and launch operations.  The Air Force’s acquisition strategy for this solicitation achieves a balance between meeting operational needs and lowering launch costs by reintroducing competition for National Security Space missions.  This is the sixth competitive launch service solicitation under the current Phase 1A procurement strategy.

“The Air Force utilizes a combination of source-selection techniques from across the best-value continuum that are tailored for each individual mission,” said Lt. Gen. John Thompson, Space and Missile Systems Center commander.  “This solicitation incorporates a tradeoff between past performance, performance and schedule sub-factors, and price to maintain a focus on mission success for these critical payloads.”

SBIRS GEO-5 and AFSPC-44 are planned to be launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station or Kennedy Space Center in FY 2021.  NROL-87 is planned to be launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in FY 2021.  NROL-85 can be launched from the Eastern or Western Range and is planned to be launched in FY 2021.  SILENTBARKER is planned to be launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station or Kennedy Space Center in FY 2022.

The Air Force Space Command's Space and Missile Systems Center, located at Los Angeles Air Force Base, California, is the U.S. Air Force's center of excellence for acquiring and developing military space systems. Its portfolio includes the Global Positioning System, military satellite communications, defense meteorological satellites, space launch and range systems, satellite control networks, space-based infrared systems, and space situational awareness capabilities.

Media representatives can submit questions for response regarding this topic by sending an e-mail to [email protected]

(Solicitation Number: FA8811-18-R-0001 on fbo.gov)
(found via Tweet from Jeff Foust)
« Last Edit: 02/01/2018 12:39 AM by gongora »

Online FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: USAF RFP - EELV Phase 1A-6
« Reply #11 on: 02/01/2018 01:33 PM »
The bid responses from ULA and SpaceX are going to be really interesting.

The launches are years away, so in theory ULA would be using Vulcan but it doesn't fly until well after contract award so does that rule it out, or does USAF involvement in the design process mitigate that? Of course there isn't a Vuclan track record of proven performance/reliability but bidding Atlas obviously increases price notably.

Surely SpaceX's bid will be predicated on a fully mature block 5 with multiple reuses per booster and they may be confident enough to price in some level of fairing reuse. They'd also expect to have recouped reuse development costs by then, in which case couldn't SpaceX bid, say, half their current price or less?

So assuming SpaceX continues to have no failures, aren't they likely to at least win any launch that is within F9 capabilities and existing demonstrated SpaceX launch services? Leaving ULA with at best anything SpaceX hasn't yet demonstrated (maybe less, eg if FH progres well this year).
« Last Edit: 02/01/2018 01:38 PM by FutureSpaceTourist »

Online gongora

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Re: USAF RFP - EELV Phase 1A-6
« Reply #12 on: 02/01/2018 01:53 PM »
The bids will be with current vehicles (including FH, which is not yet certified but hopefully will have 2-3 flights by the time the bids are actually awarded.)  The bids will not rely on reuse at all.  That has not been accepted by the Air Force yet.  They could always try to work out a contract modification in a few years if the AF does eventually approve reused rockets.  Even though these won't fly for a few years they're still bidding the currently certified configurations.  (F9 Block 5 should already be in the process of certification.)

Online rockets4life97

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Re: USAF RFP - EELV Phase 1A-6
« Reply #13 on: 02/01/2018 02:15 PM »
The bids will not rely on reuse at all. 

I think FutureSpaceTourist's point is that SpaceX could submit a bid calculating re-use into the price. Even if the mission ends up being the first use of a booster, SpaceX could recoup the booster build cost across multiple launches reducing the price.

My question to this is whether it really matters the Air Force how much cheaper SpaceX's bid is than ULAs. Is being 25% less than ULA really that different than being 50% less? I'm not sure.

Online FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: USAF RFP - EELV Phase 1A-6
« Reply #14 on: 02/01/2018 02:40 PM »
Yes, exactly. Clearly being first use of a booster is more constraining, particularly if SpaceX really think they'll have switched much production to BFRs, but I'd still expect SpaceX to factor in much more of a discount than they currently give while recouping reuse development cost.

With ULA bidding current vehicles perhaps SpaceX will think they don't need to lower the price much. But ULA are reducing costs and I don't think SpaceX should be complacent.


Online gongora

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Re: USAF RFP - EELV Phase 1A-6
« Reply #15 on: 02/01/2018 02:58 PM »
Two of the five are GEO and would probably need FH.  The GTO flight says they'd want to use extra performance to reduce the remaining delta-v, so that would probably be expendable.  Can't say for sure on the LEO flights since they don't specify mass, but those should be recoverable.

There's really no reason for SpaceX to bid low on these.  They need to bid what the government considers a reasonable price (can't just submit a lowball offer to undercut your competitors).  The bids require new vehicles.  They'll be expected to bid the price for new vehicles.  If that's already under ULA's price, what would be the reason to lower it further?

Online TrevorMonty

Re: USAF RFP - EELV Phase 1A-6
« Reply #16 on: 02/01/2018 03:35 PM »
The GEO direct missions are tough, only ULA has done these in past with modified US, with 14500lbs being DH max payload. OA also  offer GEO direct with NGLV.
Don't know if SpaceX US can be modified to support GEO direct mission, alternative is Raptor based US, which SpaceX have received funding for.

Blue may also bid for these but will need 3rd stage.
« Last Edit: 02/01/2018 03:39 PM by TrevorMonty »

Online gongora

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Re: USAF RFP - EELV Phase 1A-6
« Reply #17 on: 02/01/2018 03:44 PM »
The GEO direct missions are tough, only ULA has done these in past with modified US, with 14500lbs being DH max payload. OA also  offer GEO direct with NGLV.
Don't know if SpaceX US can be modified to support GEO direct mission, alternative is Raptor based US, which SpaceX have received funding for.

Blue may also bid for these but will need 3rd stage.

Vulcan, NGLV, NG are not part of this bid process.  This is Phase 1A.  Those vehicles are Phase 2.  SpaceX can do GEO with FH, it doesn't need a Raptor based stage, it just needs to get certified.  They will do another long coast test on the STP-2 mission.

Offline Jim

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Re: USAF RFP - EELV Phase 1A-6
« Reply #18 on: 02/01/2018 03:45 PM »
The GEO direct missions are tough, only ULA has done these in past with modified US, with 14500lbs being DH max payload. OA also  offer GEO direct with NGLV.
Don't know if SpaceX US can be modified to support GEO direct mission, alternative is Raptor based US, which SpaceX have received funding for.

Blue may also bid for these but will need 3rd stage.


There is no plans of a Raptor stage on FH

Online Coastal Ron

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Re: USAF RFP - EELV Phase 1A-6
« Reply #19 on: 02/01/2018 04:34 PM »
There's really no reason for SpaceX to bid low on these.

What makes you think they haven't been bidding what they think is a fair and reasonable price?

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They need to bid what the government considers a reasonable price (can't just submit a lowball offer to undercut your competitors).

The government audits bids to ensure that the contractor understands the requirements, and that their pricing is not unreasonable. Plus both contractors and the government can be guided by prior history, so when bidding on new requirements like this RFP no one should be surprised at the proposed costs of products and services that have been bid in the past.

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The bids require new vehicles.

If SpaceX plans to satisfy the proposal with a standard vehicle, the pricing for that is already set, so the balance of the RFP bid would be for everything else, and that breaks down into elements that may have previously been done by the contractor, such as security (ZUMA), data (NASA) and so on. I'm being pretty generic here, and no doubt Jim could provide much better details (and corrections  ;))

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If that's already under ULA's price, what would be the reason to lower it further?

You are suggesting that SpaceX pad their bid? That's not a good thing either. The government does audit what's bid, so if they see you padding costs they will ask questions.

When bidding on any contract you increase pricing for things that have risk, but for SpaceX they have bought down risk on their launcher, and they already have experience with some DoD/NRO services, so I expect that their bid will reflect a fairly realistic price - well within the norms of acceptable profit. If they get the contract, great, but unlike ULA they won't lose 1/8 of their yearly launches if they don't win the contract, and that is the pickle ULA has gotten themselves into. And SpaceX is not to blame for that.
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

Online gongora

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Re: USAF RFP - EELV Phase 1A-6
« Reply #20 on: 02/01/2018 04:53 PM »
I'm not suggesting SpaceX pad their bids.  I'm suggesting there is no reason for them to factor in later re-use of the boosters when they are pricing their bids.

Offline Kansan52

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Re: USAF RFP - EELV Phase 1A-6
« Reply #21 on: 02/01/2018 05:57 PM »
Do we actually know there have been price reductions offered for reflown first stages? My impression from posts using flight proven first stages means sooner flights, not reduced price flights.

Of course, the real answer may be partially both.

Online gongora

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Re: USAF RFP - EELV Phase 1A-6
« Reply #22 on: 02/01/2018 06:04 PM »
Do we actually know there have been price reductions offered for reflown first stages? My impression from posts using flight proven first stages means sooner flights, not reduced price flights.

Of course, the real answer may be partially both.

For the commercial flights yes, Iridium said they got a discount.  SES certainly got a discount on the first flight (they never said the exact amount.)  NASA has mentioned getting some sort of additional value.  None of this has anything to do with the RFP though.

Offline Kansan52

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Re: USAF RFP - EELV Phase 1A-6
« Reply #23 on: 02/01/2018 06:23 PM »
Thanks!

Online AncientU

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Re: USAF RFP - EELV Phase 1A-6
« Reply #24 on: 02/01/2018 07:02 PM »
New article:
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SpaceX and ULA poised to face off in the next round of military launch competition
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The competition comes less than two years since SpaceX became a legitimate competitor in a market that used to be entirely owned by United Launch Alliance, a partnership of Lockheed Martin and The Boeing Company.

If SpaceX is able to win at least one or two launches in this next round of contracts, it would further cement its standing as a market disruptor and set the stage for the company to win even more military work when the larger Falcon Heavy rocket gets certified to fly government payloads.
Emphasis mine
http://spacenews.com/spacex-and-ula-poised-to-face-off-in-the-next-round-of-military-launch-competition/
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Offline Jim

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Re: USAF RFP - EELV Phase 1A-6
« Reply #25 on: 02/01/2018 07:12 PM »
it would further cement its standing as a market disruptor and set the stage for the company to win even more military work when the larger Falcon Heavy rocket gets certified to fly government payloads.

Not going to happen without vertical integration
« Last Edit: 02/01/2018 07:13 PM by Jim »

Offline Lar

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Re: USAF RFP - EELV Phase 1A-6
« Reply #26 on: 02/01/2018 07:58 PM »
it would further cement its standing as a market disruptor and set the stage for the company to win even more military work when the larger Falcon Heavy rocket gets certified to fly government payloads.

Not going to happen without vertical integration
Which, it has been argued, SpaceX will provide in time, if the bid requires it.
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Online Coastal Ron

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Re: USAF RFP - EELV Phase 1A-6
« Reply #27 on: 02/02/2018 03:05 AM »
I'm not suggesting SpaceX pad their bids.  I'm suggesting there is no reason for them to factor in later re-use of the boosters when they are pricing their bids.

No reason for them to price their reusable rocket as a reusable rocket?

Currently, through the NASA Launch Services Program (NLS II contract), SpaceX offers two different pricing options for Falcon 9:
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SpaceX has offered two performance levels for the Falcon 9 Full Thrust on NLS-II. The first level includes booster performance holdbacks to allow for a Return-to-Launch-Site (RTLS) first stage recovery. The second level provides higher performance by allowing the first stage to be recovered via the SpaceX Automated Spaceport Drone Ship (ASDS), positioned downrange from the launch site.

The USAF contract auditors would know that pricing, and they would expect the same for equivalent services.

Regarding Falcon 9 Block 5, which is the true reusable launcher, SpaceX has stated that customers that want unflown boosters will be able to choose them, and we do know that reflown boosters will eventually be priced at a discount compared to the current $62M standard website price. The price the government pays through the NLS II contract may be different from SpaceX public pricing though.

Bottom line is that SpaceX has to provide consistent pricing to the U.S. Government, and the USAF is not the only government entity using the Falcon 9. So if they factor in reusability for NASA, then the USAF will also have that pricing factored in. That means only the non-Falcon 9 part of the contract can be changed beyond reality (either up or down), but I don't think SpaceX has an incentive to do that. Lots of debate about whether ULA has engaged in such activities though...  ;)
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

Online gongora

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Re: USAF RFP - EELV Phase 1A-6
« Reply #28 on: 02/02/2018 03:17 AM »
Coastal Ron,

You're completely ignoring the post I was initially responding too.  Here is the relevant part:

Surely SpaceX's bid will be predicated on a fully mature block 5 with multiple reuses per booster and they may be confident enough to price in some level of fairing reuse. They'd also expect to have recouped reuse development costs by then, in which case couldn't SpaceX bid, say, half their current price or less?

That ain't gonna happen.


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