Author Topic: Where will BFR be built?  (Read 210702 times)

Offline IanThePineapple

Re: Where will BFR be built?
« Reply #360 on: 02/02/2018 10:43 pm »
I read through this thread and it seemed like the few times it was mentioned it was either ignored or dismissed, but it seems trivially easy to me for SpaceX to build a tunnel big enough and straight enough to fit the bfr/bfs from Hawthorne due west to the ocean south of lax or down to the port of la.   I mean they are already tunneling as a hobby for many miles around there.   Tunnels and tunneling machines the diameter of the bfr are nothing unusual at all.     Compared to rebuilding infrastructure and relocating people elsewhere it seems by far the quickest, easiest and cheapest solution to me.   

I can't believe that idea wouldn't appeal to Elon too.

That would take so much time and money, it be so much cheaper and quicker to take down and replace the traffic lights on the roads from HQ->Port of LA.

Plus, they're likely to be built elsewhere (Right on the Port of LA or at KSC)

Offline spacenut

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Re: Where will BFR be built?
« Reply #361 on: 02/02/2018 10:56 pm »
Cheaper to build it in Florida or Texas. 

Offline unkulunkulu

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Re: Where will BFR be built?
« Reply #362 on: 02/03/2018 12:16 am »
You might be right.   

Still, these are the kind of dismissive responses that I was talking about.  What about a tunnel is expensive or time consuming?    They're literally doing it doing for fun right now funded by ballcaps and flamethrowers.    This isn't a subway line were talking about or a big dig.    Hawthorne is only a couple miles away from the ocean.    Elon says his 2 mile 405 tunnel proposal will take 3 or 4 months to complete once approved.   An imperial highway tunnel to the ocean is only a couple miles longer.   Widening it to the diameter of a bfr once a pilot tunnel is dug is a trivial bit of mine engineering.

The less than six months at no added cost compared to what they are currently already doing seems pretty quick and cheap. 

Once it's at the ocean they'll just need to drive the bfr onto a barge to deliver it down the coastline to a panamax for delivery wherever they want.     They already build tunnels and barges.  This is right in their wheelhouse.

The whole idea of a new rocket factory is predicated that Hawthorne can't work due to logistical reasons related to rocket transport.   I really don't think that's a valid assumption at all.     

Offline meberbs

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Re: Where will BFR be built?
« Reply #363 on: 02/03/2018 01:15 am »
You might be right.   

Still, these are the kind of dismissive responses that I was talking about.
Dismissing a response by calling it dismissive, when you clearly have done no research yourself is kind of ironic.

-Just the boring machine itself would be way more expensive than multiple above ground trips. (tens of millions of dollars)
-You make it sound like approvals alone wouldn't likely take up to a year.
-The machines the boring company has are less than half the needed diameter, meaning, less than a quarter the needed area.
-There is nothing "trivial" about widening an existing tunnel, if anything it might be harder because you have to dig through all of the supports you put in to keep the original tunnel from collapsing.
-In reality they would need a much bigger and much more expensive machine.
-They spent more money than whatever profit was in hats and flamethrowers well before they started selling these.
-putting these together, your less than 6 months and no extra cost becomes a year minimum, and at least 4, more likely 8 times the cost, while removing any payback from future passenger transport, since the tunnel design wouldn't be compatible.

The whole idea of a new rocket factory is predicated that Hawthorne can't work due to logistical reasons related to rocket transport.   I really don't think that's a valid assumption at all.     
There is no assumption. It is $2.5 million per trip over roads, and digging would clearly be way more than that. SpaceX has explicitly stated that is too expensive, so they will build them near the water or at launch sites.

P.S. Welcome to the forum. Off the wall ideas can be helpful, but people here generally know what they are talking about, when they say "it would be way too expensive" usually that is exactly the case.
« Last Edit: 02/03/2018 01:22 am by meberbs »

Offline Ionmars

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Re: Where will BFR be built?
« Reply #364 on: 02/03/2018 01:40 am »
Boring may be feasible or not. It may be expensive or not. The notion that they would build near the ocean was based on what SpaceX said they would do.

Offline ShawnGSE

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Re: Where will BFR be built?
« Reply #365 on: 02/03/2018 03:49 am »
I argue that for Gwynne Shotwell to convince Elon Musk that $2.5 million transport cost are too expensive for transport she needs to provide an alternative that does not greatly affect the timeframe. Otherwise they would build at least the first 6-8 BFS and BFR at their Hawthorne facility as initially planned. The where and how is another matter.

That argument is compelling to me, but the where and how is what this thread is all about.  :)

Clearly, we don't have a key piece of information.  Who knows, maybe that SSA Marine warehouse right next to Berths 51-53 is being unused and is big enough to do it.   The roof doesn't look quite tall enough (tough to tell for sure) and it seems like a terrible waste and expense to do it right next to the water, but again, who knows.

http://www.ssamarine.com/locations/outer-harbor-5455/

The main issue with building in the Hawthorne plant at this point is space.  Yes the old Northrup facility has a massive footprint, but most of it is made up of smaller buildings.  Now Triumph Aerostructures still operates out of a massive couple buildings on the west end of what SpaceX owns.  In truth this is the last holdout from the old Northrup campus that Elon hasn't been able to get his hands on.  This is mostly due to the grandfathered chemical dip tanks Triumph uses.  It's impossible to remake that setup somewhere else in California.  But the high-bay production floor would be big enough for BFR construction.  It's a sprawling floor space Triumph uses to build skin panels for various commercial Boeing jetliners.  The obvious problem is despite consistent increasing of intensive, Triumph hasn't moved out.  I know Elon was really counting on eventually getting that space because he has been after it since 2014, and Triumph as a company has been on a downward spiral. 

A funny but pointless side story.. I got sent to that Triumph plant to install some new Embraer skin panel tools as a contractor.  While there I got contacted by SpaceX (had recently submitted an application) and did my phone interview in the parking lot directly across from SpaceX HQ.  Of course my interviewer obviously didn't give a damn, he didn't even snicker when I mentioned it.  But crazy enough I flew home a week early from that gig to our home shop in Texas and immediately packed up my family, then drove to Florida to start work on 39A in late 2014. 

Back to the topic, the other big issue I've heard is a BFR move requires shutting down the route entirely to public traffic.  Street lights, stop lights, power poles, and other road hazards need to be made removable which means transporting from Hawthorne to the port would be a lengthy process of shutting down and redirect traffic.  It can't blend in with traffic like Falcon 9 transportation. 

The current port buildings and surrounding structure are very old.  While Elon is all about remodeling and re-purposing, I believe that's a bridge too far.  He would want a new complex custom designed for BFR production.  Or at least I think.. my knowledge of all this is several months old.  I should put in a disclaimer that I am no longer a SpaceX employee.  Still a fan though. 

Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: Where will BFR be built?
« Reply #366 on: 02/03/2018 04:09 am »
The main issue with building in the Hawthorne plant at this point is space.
...
I should put in a disclaimer that I am no longer a SpaceX employee.  Still a fan though.

Good to have "inside eyes" info about what the limitations are.

Quote
Back to the topic, the other big issue I've heard is a BFR move requires shutting down the route entirely to public traffic.  Street lights, stop lights, power poles, and other road hazards need to be made removable which means transporting from Hawthorne to the port would be a lengthy process of shutting down and redirect traffic.

There has already been a lot of work done on this within NSF, and there are two routes, but both have challenges for vehicles as large as the BFR and BFS. Maybe it would be OK if they only built 1ea of them, but if they are doing some sort of serial production then that argues for building closer to the boat.

Quote
Yes the old Northrup facility has a massive footprint...

I was associated with a Northrop entity early in my adult life, so I tend to by hyper-vigilant about how it's name is spelled. Especially since the name "Northrop" seems to be misspelled far more than any other large corporation.

Just wanted to remind everyone that there is no "u" in Northrop...
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Offline crab nebula2

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Re: Where will BFR be built?
« Reply #367 on: 02/03/2018 11:41 pm »
In thinking about the construction of the BFR, the largest components are the propellant tanks.  To this end, my recollection is that Space X had Janicki Industries fabricate a rather large 12m  10m composite tank which they tested to destruction on a barge.  It would seem that Janicki has large tank  fabrication capabilities close to water.  If this is the case why couldn't Janicki fabricate the BFR tanks at their facility and ship them to the future Space X BFR assembly location near water in the Los Angeles area?  Under this scenario smaller BFR components, such as engines could be fabricated by Space X in Hawthorne and sent by truck to the dockside assembly location.   

Offline Dave G

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Re: Where will BFR be built?
« Reply #368 on: 02/04/2018 12:30 am »
In thinking about the construction of the BFR, the largest components are the propellant tanks.  To this end, my recollection is that Space X had Janicki Industries fabricate a rather large 12m  10m composite tank which they tested to destruction on a barge.  It would seem that Janicki has large tank  fabrication capabilities close to water.  If this is the case why couldn't Janicki fabricate the BFR tanks at their facility and ship them to the future Space X BFR assembly location near water in the Los Angeles area?
Yes, we speculated about this scenario up-thread, but then SpaceX's president and chief operating officer told us that they would build BFR in Los Angeles by the water.

Under this scenario smaller BFR components, such as engines could be fabricated by Space X in Hawthorne and sent by truck to the dockside assembly location.   
I believe that's true under any scenario.  Anything that can be easily road transported, i.e. without removing stop lights or utility poles, will be built in Hawthorne.  That includes Raptor engines, avionics, grid fins, etc, etc.


Offline aero

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Re: Where will BFR be built?
« Reply #369 on: 02/04/2018 02:03 am »
So "building it by the water" is really "assembling it by the water."
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Online Robotbeat

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Re: Where will BFR be built?
« Reply #370 on: 02/04/2018 04:17 am »
Cheaper to build it in Florida or Texas.
But they don't have the aerospace workforce that LA does, and they don't like moving.
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Offline Cheapchips

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Re: Where will BFR be built?
« Reply #371 on: 02/04/2018 06:42 am »

If the tank assembly looks anything like Janicki's  Boeing/NASA tank, then the footprint for layering up the tanks isn't much bigger than the tanks themselves.  I'm unclear how it's cured though, unless I missed it in the articles. The epoxy used on the Boeing tank still need to be heated to 177 degrees when out of autoclave.

Also, how do they manage the joins between the common bulkhead, nose cone & skirt on BFS?

Shame we didn't get to see a making of the 12m tank.  I'd give us a proper idea of how big the BFS campsite need to be.

Offline dcporter

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Re: Where will BFR be built?
« Reply #372 on: 02/04/2018 06:48 am »
Can we extrapolate anything based on “$2.5M not worth it” and cost estimates for an LA facility by the water in terms of a lower bound on how many of these things they plan to build in LA? I previously assumed LA would get a few early rockets at most before transitioning to on-location factories in Texas and Florida.

Online catdlr

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Re: Where will BFR be built?
« Reply #373 on: 02/04/2018 07:16 am »

If the tank assembly looks anything like Janicki's  Boeing/NASA tank, then the footprint for layering up the tanks isn't much bigger than the tanks themselves.  I'm unclear how it's cured though, unless I missed it in the articles. The epoxy used on the Boeing tank still need to be heated to 177 degrees when out of autoclave.

Also, how do they manage the joins between the common bulkhead, nose cone & skirt on BFS?

Shame we didn't get to see a making of the 12m tank.  I'd give us a proper idea of how big the BFS campsite need to be.

Well, for the making of the 12m LOX test article see these for approximate building size:

Map of where tank was built: https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=41304.msg1608901#msg1608901

Inside of building: https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=41304.msg1608918#msg1608918

Outside and moving tank: https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=41304.msg1610383#msg1610383
« Last Edit: 02/04/2018 07:21 am by catdlr »
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Offline Cheapchips

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Re: Where will BFR be built?
« Reply #374 on: 02/04/2018 09:11 am »

That's about 72m x 40m then, so not significantly bigger than what they're building on Reeves Ave. 

Offline geza

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Re: Where will BFR be built?
« Reply #375 on: 02/04/2018 04:55 pm »
Look the 4th picture here:

Composites World....

The Automated Fiber Placement robot seems to be pretty small, relative to the tank produced. Compare this with the huge friction welding equipment for SLS in Michoud:

The latter one had to be scaled to the size of the tank. (It is advertised as "the largest welding tools in the world are used to create the largest rocket ever assembled".)

As the main equipment producing a carbon composite tank is so small, the factory building does not have to be much larger than the size necessary to accomodate the stage itself conveniently. It means also that it will be esay to relocate the tooling to a new factory, when so desired.

Offline JBF

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Re: Where will BFR be built?
« Reply #376 on: 02/04/2018 05:05 pm »
Look the 4th picture here:

Composites World....

The Automated Fiber Placement robot seems to be pretty small, relative to the tank produced. Compare this with the huge friction welding equipment for SLS in Michoud:

The latter one had to be scaled to the size of the tank. (It is advertised as "the largest welding tools in the world are used to create the largest rocket ever assembled".)

As the main equipment producing a carbon composite tank is so small, the factory building does not have to be much larger than the size necessary to accomodate the stage itself conveniently. It means also that it will be esay to relocate the tooling to a new factory, when so desired.

I believe you are simplifying things a little bit.  Yes the equipment needed to produce a capsule(sphere) for test purposes is pretty straightforward.  However that is a long ways from a capsule with exacting attachment points, inner bulkheads etc. that  they will need.
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Offline guckyfan

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Re: Where will BFR be built?
« Reply #377 on: 02/04/2018 09:20 pm »
The more complex components like bulkheads, aero surfaces (wings) leg casings, maybe the nosecone, can still be produced in Hawthorne and transported to the assembly site for integration.

Offline JBF

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Re: Where will BFR be built?
« Reply #378 on: 02/04/2018 11:09 pm »
The more complex components like bulkheads, aero surfaces (wings) leg casings, maybe the nosecone, can still be produced in Hawthorne and transported to the assembly site for integration.

You are missing my point.  Like with the falcon 9 the tanks form an integral part of the rockets structure.  Because of that mounting hardware will have to be woven into the skin.  I don't see any other way of doing it that would not compromise the tanks integrity.
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Offline AncientU

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Re: Where will BFR be built?
« Reply #379 on: 02/04/2018 11:55 pm »
The more complex components like bulkheads, aero surfaces (wings) leg casings, maybe the nosecone, can still be produced in Hawthorne and transported to the assembly site for integration.

You are missing my point.  Like with the falcon 9 the tanks form an integral part of the rockets structure.  Because of that mounting hardware will have to be woven into the skin.  I don't see any other way of doing it that would not compromise the tanks integrity.

Just as the Octaweb and interstage are independent structures from the Falcon tankage, the BFR can have these external structures that are not part of the main tanks and body of the vehicle.  A polyweb will carry the engines, hold-down structure, and cradle load bearing components.  An interstage structure will carry the grid fins and avionics that live above the main tanks on the booster, along with the upper stage transfer plumbing and mating surfaces.  The spaceship will have a similar engine and plumbing section(heptaweb?), with all needed hardware for refueling, too.  The cargo/habitat sections will have to be integral with the tanks as you describe.  Within the cargo/habitat section, though, there will be many structures which can be built separately and integrated into the shell above the tanks.  And the engines themselves...
« Last Edit: 02/04/2018 11:55 pm by AncientU »
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