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SpaceX Vehicles and Missions => SpaceX Mega Thread Archive Section => Topic started by: Chris Bergin on 08/07/2014 10:57 AM

Title: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Chris Bergin on 08/07/2014 10:57 AM
Thread 11 for general discussion on SpaceX and their vehicles.

Previous threads (now over 2.8 million views for these 10 SpaceX threads alone):

Thread 1:
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=19228.0

Thread 2:
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=22769.0

Thread 3:
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=24179.0

Thread 4:
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=25597.0

Thread 5:
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=28006.0

Thread 6:
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=29476.0

Thread 7:
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=30385.0

Thread 8:
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=31402.0

Thread 9:
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=32719.0

Thread 10:
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=33598.0


SpaceX news articles on this site:
Old: http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=21862.0 (links)

Then recent news articles, not linked above, as we moved to a tag group system:
All recent: http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/tag/spacex/


L2 SpaceX - Now in its own dedicated all-vehicle section:
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?board=60.0


NOTE: Posts that are uncivil (which is very rare for this forum), off topic (not so rare) or just pointless will be deleted without notice.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Dudely on 08/07/2014 12:23 PM
Regarding Boeing and the like developing reusability:

I think over the next year we will see projects start up at all the various large rocket companies that start as feasibility studies into various ways of developing their own reusable technology.

A few might decide it is not worth it yet, and a few will decide that since they were thinking of developing a new rocket anyway, they will blank-slate a new reusable rocket similar to the f9, but probably a different size.

Most companies will remain a few years behind SpaceX due to their aggressive R&D, but after 10-15 years almost no one will have willfully chosen not to integrate SpaceX's technology refinements to better their own line of products.


Especially if the stars keep aligning in SpaceX's favor.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: AncientU on 08/07/2014 12:34 PM
An historical highlight from first Thread, 2.8 million views ago:

Quote
Why exactly is this thread needed??? Any SpaceX updates are going to be about Falcon or Dragon anyway.
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=19228.msg494814#msg494814

A few other interesting topics have emerged in those five years...
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Llian Rhydderch on 08/07/2014 04:14 PM
Regarding Boeing and the like developing reusability:

I think over the next year we will see projects start up at all the various large rocket companies that start as feasibility studies into various ways of developing their own reusable technology.

A few might decide it is not worth it yet, and a few will decide that since they were thinking of developing a new rocket anyway, they will blank-slate a new reusable rocket similar to the f9, but probably a different size.

Most companies will remain a few years behind SpaceX due to their aggressive R&D, but after 10-15 years almost no one will have willfully chosen not to integrate SpaceX's technology refinements to better their own line of products.


Especially if the stars keep aligning in SpaceX's favor.

I quite agree with the main thrust of your post.

However, keep in mind that it is quite often not the first developer of new technology that stays out in front for decades in an industry.  Oftentimes, the quick follower, one who is able to see that which has (now) proven to be possible technologically, will put some twist on it to perhaps improve it, or build it more efficiently, or market it better, etc.

I am very supportive of a NewSpace endeavors that look to change the economic model for space access; and SpaceX seems at present to be the poster child for getting 'er done, bringing down prices, while developing some rad new technology.  But others will follow SpaceX' success, as the market in space transport grows over time.

I think SpaceX will have quite an early run of it.  But competitors will want to enter the market if ordinary commercial profits can be made in this new flavor of an industry.  And if the institutional environment is not excessively limited by government regulation, competitors will actually enter that market.  And some will succeed.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: abaddon on 08/07/2014 04:49 PM
On the other hand, if SpaceX is as successful (even to a degree) as their ambitions... still very far from proven to be a reality... they might just be like Amazon.  You know, first serious online retailer, competing against all of the entrenched brick-and-mortar giants of retail.  Online retail was unproven at the time and there were huge claims made about it, which took a long time to actually materialize, with a lot of boom and bust companies littering the path to get there.  Where are the Amazon "fast followers" that are competing with them now that Amazon has proved the model?  What we have are some preexisting retail chains with their own online stores, but none of them are in the same league as Amazon, and many of them are struggling to stay relevant.

Maybe we'll end up with SpaceX dominating commercial rocketry and only government "assured access" type launchers remaining.  I think that's easily as plausible as some fast follower emerging and beating them at their own game.  (And both of these are less plausible than the more mundane outcome of SpaceX forcing evolutionary changes on the rocket industry but failing to make a revolutionary impact, which is still a very possible outcome).

It's difficult to forecast the future with any real accuracy, easier to wait and see what actually happens ;).
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: meekGee on 08/07/2014 05:09 PM
What differentiated Amazon from the other companies was execution.

A friend of mine happened to walk into their building many years ago, he had a meeting scheduled (they were just another start-up back then) and he found the building seemingly abandoned.

According to him, he wondered the floor for a while, then heard voices from below and went down to the basement where he found everyone, including senior management and actually including Bezos, packing boxes.  They apologized - they said they had a large wave of orders and were behind.

He waited, had his meeting, went back home, and bought stocks as soon as he was able...

Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: deruch on 08/08/2014 02:14 AM
Regarding Boeing and the like developing reusability:

I think over the next year we will see projects start up at all the various large rocket companies that start as feasibility studies into various ways of developing their own reusable technology.

A few might decide it is not worth it yet, and a few will decide that since they were thinking of developing a new rocket anyway, they will blank-slate a new reusable rocket similar to the f9, but probably a different size.

Most companies will remain a few years behind SpaceX due to their aggressive R&D, but after 10-15 years almost no one will have willfully chosen not to integrate SpaceX's technology refinements to better their own line of products.


Especially if the stars keep aligning in SpaceX's favor.

I quite agree with the main thrust of your post.

However, keep in mind that it is quite often not the first developer of new technology that stays out in front for decades in an industry.  Oftentimes, the quick follower, one who is able to see that which has (now) proven to be possible technologically, will put some twist on it to perhaps improve it, or build it more efficiently, or market it better, etc.

I am very supportive of a NewSpace endeavors that look to change the economic model for space access; and SpaceX seems at present to be the poster child for getting 'er done, bringing down prices, while developing some rad new technology.  But others will follow SpaceX' success, as the market in space transport grows over time.

I think SpaceX will have quite an early run of it.  But competitors will want to enter the market if ordinary commercial profits can be made in this new flavor of an industry.  And if the institutional environment is not excessively limited by government regulation, competitors will actually enter that market.  And some will succeed.

The point could just as easily be made that SpaceX is the quick follower improving on the legacy launch companies' and taking over.  I recognize that in your post, "reuse" is the technology your talking about but it could just as easily be general "rocket launch".  Either way, interesting times.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Coastal Ron on 08/08/2014 04:11 AM
However, keep in mind that it is quite often not the first developer of new technology that stays out in front for decades in an industry.  Oftentimes, the quick follower, one who is able to see that which has (now) proven to be possible technologically, will put some twist on it to perhaps improve it, or build it more efficiently, or market it better, etc.

If our goal is to expand humanity out into space, then we certainly need more companies following in the footsteps of SpaceX and challenging SpaceX by continuing to lower the cost to access space.  So I hope you are right.

However the launch business is a very capital-intensive business, and you need to have something unique to offer your initial customers in order to get traction.  Companies like Boeing and Lockheed Martin could internally fund such an effort, but established companies like them are not "built" for disruptive thinking, they are more into incremental improvements.  And you really need an intrapreneur (i.e. internal entrepreneur) that can stick around for a long period of time to guide such an effort, and that too can be a challenge.

There has certainly been a lot of hope that Jeff Bezos and his Blue Origin would be a fast follower, but so far it's not readily apparent that they will be.  Stratolaunch might do well in the smallsat market, and is even backed by a billionaire, but still that's smallsats, not the big stuff.  And then there is the new Orbital ATK, which I'm not sure what to make of as far as potential for creating a new generation of low cost launchers.

I'm not trying to be pessimistic, but I'm not sure if there is a known player that can step up to the challenge.  But I would love to be wrong on this because we need the space transportation sector to be diverse.

And just as SpaceX came "out of nowhere" 12 years ago, there is always the chance that a new entrant will be just as disruptive as SpaceX has been.  Let's hope for that too.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: guckyfan on 08/08/2014 05:50 AM
However, keep in mind that it is quite often not the first developer of new technology that stays out in front for decades in an industry.  Oftentimes, the quick follower, one who is able to see that which has (now) proven to be possible technologically, will put some twist on it to perhaps improve it, or build it more efficiently, or market it better, etc.

If our goal is to expand humanity out into space, then we certainly need more companies following in the footsteps of SpaceX and challenging SpaceX by continuing to lower the cost to access space.  So I hope you are right.
.....................

I'm not trying to be pessimistic, but I'm not sure if there is a known player that can step up to the challenge.  But I would love to be wrong on this because we need the space transportation sector to be diverse.

And just as SpaceX came "out of nowhere" 12 years ago, there is always the chance that a new entrant will be just as disruptive as SpaceX has been.  Let's hope for that too.

I fully agree. Competition would be good. However that would have to come with a really novel idea, not by following SpaceX. Just copying them and beating their prices seems hard as SpaceX is already very efficient, it seems.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: QuantumG on 08/08/2014 07:45 AM
I fully agree. Competition would be good. However that would have to come with a really novel idea, not by following SpaceX. Just copying them and beating their prices seems hard as SpaceX is already very efficient, it seems.

Hey, everyone wants to invest in SpaceX but few get the chance. If you emulate them you can attract some of that cheddar.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: CuddlyRocket on 08/08/2014 07:54 AM
On the other hand, if SpaceX is as successful (even to a degree) as their ambitions... still very far from proven to be a reality... they might just be like Amazon.  You know, first serious online retailer, competing against all of the entrenched brick-and-mortar giants of retail.  Online retail was unproven at the time and there were huge claims made about it, which took a long time to actually materialize, with a lot of boom and bust companies littering the path to get there.  Where are the Amazon "fast followers" that are competing with them now that Amazon has proved the model?  What we have are some preexisting retail chains with their own online stores, but none of them are in the same league as Amazon, and many of them are struggling to stay relevant.

A major factor is cost of entry. If costs of entry are low, you get a lot of people trying their hand at the business. If costs of entry are high, you often see no new competitors, except where the incumbents are seen as either grossly inefficient or failing to spot the potential of paradigm-changing technologies. A good example of the difference is to compare the airline business with the aircraft manufacturing business. (Governments can modify this for public policy reasons - see Airbus or car manufacturing.)

The launch business was seen as one with a high cost of entry, but SpaceX has demonstrated it's not as high as once thought!
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: AncientU on 08/08/2014 11:43 AM
However, keep in mind that it is quite often not the first developer of new technology that stays out in front for decades in an industry.  Oftentimes, the quick follower, one who is able to see that which has (now) proven to be possible technologically, will put some twist on it to perhaps improve it, or build it more efficiently, or market it better, etc.

If our goal is to expand humanity out into space, then we certainly need more companies following in the footsteps of SpaceX and challenging SpaceX by continuing to lower the cost to access space.  So I hope you are right.
.....................

I'm not trying to be pessimistic, but I'm not sure if there is a known player that can step up to the challenge.  But I would love to be wrong on this because we need the space transportation sector to be diverse.

And just as SpaceX came "out of nowhere" 12 years ago, there is always the chance that a new entrant will be just as disruptive as SpaceX has been.  Let's hope for that too.

I fully agree. Competition would be good. However that would have to come with a really novel idea, not by following SpaceX. Just copying them and beating their prices seems hard as SpaceX is already very efficient, it seems.

FedX followed by UPS.
Former started when there was no market for overnight deliveries (actually, there was a market, but status quo thought it impossible). High cost of entry business...
Concept/market demonstrated.

Latter took efficiency model and ran with it.  And world of business changed -- overnight.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: ArbitraryConstant on 08/08/2014 03:49 PM
I think over the next year we will see projects start up at all the various large rocket companies that start as feasibility studies into various ways of developing their own reusable technology.
I think most of them are still in "unsubstantiated" mode. It's such a wild excursion from the decades-old industry status quo that it doesn't really fit into anyone's planning. The price pinch does fit, but that's valid regardless of reusability. Even if/once stages are landed and reused that attitude can continue because reuse isn't economic reuse. Then assuming SpaceX actually starts signing contracts at lower cost assuming reuse, give it another few quarters.

After that, I don't think anyone is set up to develop something like this without it being an externally funded project.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Coastal Ron on 08/08/2014 08:34 PM
I fully agree. Competition would be good. However that would have to come with a really novel idea, not by following SpaceX. Just copying them and beating their prices seems hard as SpaceX is already very efficient, it seems.

FedX followed by UPS.
Former started when there was no market for overnight deliveries (actually, there was a market, but status quo thought it impossible). High cost of entry business...
Concept/market demonstrated.

Latter took efficiency model and ran with it.  And world of business changed -- overnight.

For FedEx though they could lease existing, proven transportation hardware whereas new rocket companies have to build their own hardware from scratch.

It's not an apt analogy.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Jim on 08/09/2014 03:50 AM

FedX followed by UPS.
Former started when there was no market for overnight deliveries (actually, there was a market, but status quo thought it impossible). High cost of entry business...
Concept/market demonstrated.

Latter took efficiency model and ran with it.  And world of business changed -- overnight.

It also had failed initiatives - Zapmail.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Lars_J on 08/14/2014 12:14 AM
SpaceX tweeted a new (?) image, looks like the Orbcomm launch: https://twitter.com/SpaceX/status/499700680970346497
Quote
SpaceX ‏@SpaceX
Last week’s launch marks 60 Merlin 1D engines designed & built by SpaceX that have powered Falcon 9 to space. Woot!
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: llanitedave on 08/14/2014 03:01 AM
Yep -- has legs AND it's clean!
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: luinil on 08/14/2014 08:17 AM
This picture is not new, but it's great, I have it as my phone wallpaper since the launch !
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Jet Black on 08/14/2014 08:29 AM
And just as SpaceX came "out of nowhere" 12 years ago, there is always the chance that a new entrant will be just as disruptive as SpaceX has been.  Let's hope for that too.

I think Reaction Engines stand a good chance, certainly in terms of LEO stuff. Once we do start colonizing other planets, it will be hard in my opinion for one company to dominate any more, because resource limitations will drop like crazy.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Zardar on 08/14/2014 10:47 AM
<snip>

I think Reaction Engines stand a good chance, certainly in terms of LEO stuff. Once we do start colonizing other planets, it will be hard in my opinion for one company to dominate any more, because resource limitations will drop like crazy.

Resource limitations?
I don't think there's much of a global shortage of Aluminium/LOX/Kerosene

The more important resource limitations might be:
(A) The availability of skilled labor to design/build/checkout/(re)launch the rockets
(B) The cash to pay that labor.

and, tied very closely to that,  B2  -  sufficient customer(s) willing to pay over their own cash  for launch services rendered.

('their own cash' means non taxpayer-extracted  money spent on defense or subsidies)

Once more competitors enter the market, the constraints on the labor force will get tighter, and pricing pressure will get tougher.

Closing the business case for space exploration is, and will be, a difficult one.

Very-Long-Term, if you are doing most of the work in the 'off-world-colonies', you might have more control  of the labor costs (company town style), and you might avoid local earth taxes, but then you will have to carry the off-world infrastructure costs also (health/education/food etc)

But do be on the lookout for various variations of the old colony scam, i.e. where a bunch of mother-country business people take 'real' money from a load of people, ship them off somewhere else and expect them to basically "grow their own food" , and send anything extracted of value back through a closed trade channel.
(Of course, the original business people keep and spend the real money in the mother country.)

<Might be slightly off topic - mods, feel free to move!>



Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: fthomassy on 08/14/2014 06:35 PM
SpaceX tweeted a new (?) image, looks like the Orbcomm launch: https://twitter.com/SpaceX/status/499700680970346497
Quote
SpaceX ‏@SpaceX
Last week’s launch marks 60 Merlin 1D engines designed & built by SpaceX that have powered Falcon 9 to space. Woot!

Um ... six F9 v1.1 launches, 9 Merlin 1D engines per rocket (including second stage vac).  My math doesn't get there.  :o
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Lars_J on 08/14/2014 06:37 PM
SpaceX tweeted a new (?) image, looks like the Orbcomm launch: https://twitter.com/SpaceX/status/499700680970346497
Quote
SpaceX ‏@SpaceX
Last week’s launch marks 60 Merlin 1D engines designed & built by SpaceX that have powered Falcon 9 to space. Woot!

Um ... six F9 v1.1 launches, 9 Merlin 1D engines per rocket (including second stage vac).  My math doesn't get there.  :o

That's because you forget one engine. 9 M1D + 1 M1DVac per flight.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: rcoppola on 08/14/2014 06:42 PM
He included it in his post but must have thought Falcon 9 stood for 9 engines total on the entire rocket. So to be clear for those who may not know. 1st stage has 9 engines, 2nd stage has 1 engine. Combined, it's a 10 engine launcher. Oh, and yes, they are all Merlin 1Ds
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: fthomassy on 08/14/2014 06:50 PM
Um ... six F9 v1.1 launches, 9 Merlin 1D engines per rocket (including second stage vac).  My math doesn't get there.  :o
That's because you forget one engine. 9 M1D + 1 M1DVac per flight.
Doh!! :-\  Octa was stuck in my head but my head, it appears, was elsewhere!!
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Llian Rhydderch on 08/14/2014 10:25 PM
SpaceX has released a second video of the Falcon 9 booster controlled-descent flight test on the 14 July 2014 (ORBCOMM OG2) flight, this one from a chase plane.

That video is being discussed in this thread: http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=35410.0 (http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=35410.0)
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Orbiter on 08/15/2014 01:41 AM
Looks like a Falcon 9 fairing washed ashore in Cape Hatteras. OG2 perhaps?

Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Robotbeat on 08/15/2014 01:50 AM
Does that count as the first pictures of a partially recovered Falcon 9? :D
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: russianhalo117 on 08/15/2014 01:55 AM
Looks like a Falcon 9 fairing washed ashore in Cape Hatteras. OG2 perhaps?
Better notify Elon and SpaceX ;).
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: russianhalo117 on 08/15/2014 01:56 AM
Does that count as the first pictures of a partially recovered Falcon 9? :D
I believe so in terms of public images for what may be a v1.1 fairing.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: meekGee on 08/15/2014 02:04 AM
Looks like a Falcon 9 fairing washed ashore in Cape Hatteras. OG2 perhaps?

Poor man... Only the flip flops remain...
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Lars_J on 08/15/2014 02:34 AM
Does that count as the first pictures of a partially recovered Falcon 9? :D
I believe so in terms of public images for what may be a v1.1 fairing.

No, not the first, pieces of the CASSIOPE fairing were spotted being recovered in L.A.:
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: russianhalo117 on 08/15/2014 02:36 AM
Looks like a Falcon 9 fairing washed ashore in Cape Hatteras. OG2 perhaps?

Poor man... Only the flip flops remain...
yep squashed like a bug after Entry Interface or impact ... must I've lost his shoes at some point in the flight.

Most likely they are for size comparison and belong to the photographer/bystander that took the pic.

we will never know for sure ;)
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: deruch on 08/15/2014 03:47 AM
Assuming full reusability happens, could SpaceX's business model transition away from launch services with the F9v1.1?  They would just build the F9R and sell them to those who want to provide launch services.  i.e. become more like Boeing or Airbus instead of Delta or American Airlines.  Or maybe create a launch provider subsidiary like ULA is to LM/Boeing?
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: docmordrid on 08/15/2014 03:56 AM
And give up the cash cow that'll likely fund their Mars ambitions? Think again.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Lars_J on 08/15/2014 05:40 AM
Assuming full reusability happens, could SpaceX's business model transition away from launch services with the F9v1.1?  They would just build the F9R and sell them to those who want to provide launch services.  i.e. become more like Boeing or Airbus instead of Delta or American Airlines.  Or maybe create a launch provider subsidiary like ULA is to LM/Boeing?

IMO - not until they have a vehicle that is gas-n-go. So not for a VERY long time.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Galactic Penguin SST on 08/15/2014 07:14 AM
OK, here's another question: do we know the F9 v1.1 and FH of today as is can perform long duration flights and multiple 2nd stage re-start missions? (e.g. direct geosynchronous/GPS orbit insertion missions or transition missions between different orbits in LEO) I know that there are such missions booked right now (e.g. FH/STP-2 next year), but did the F9 that has already flown carries the required power sources, RCS fuel systems and pressurization systems needed to fly such long-duration flights yet? If not, when do SpaceX plans to certify that before the first such mission comes in the next year or two?
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: TSomers on 08/15/2014 08:48 PM
Many more pictures of the washed up fairing can be found at temp bana/0bo6s (http://temp bana/0bo6s)

They show a few more details, though it all still looks pretty beat up. 

Edit: And the forum word replacement strikes again.  I'm sure you can figure it out though. 
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Zed_Noir on 08/15/2014 10:18 PM
Many more pictures of the washed up fairing can be found at temp bana/0bo6s (http://temp bana/0bo6s)

They show a few more details, though it all still looks pretty beat up. 

Edit: And the forum word replacement strikes again.  I'm sure you can figure it out though.
link doesn't work
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Lars_J on 08/15/2014 10:26 PM
Many more pictures of the washed up fairing can be found at temp bana/0bo6s (http://temp bana/0bo6s)

They show a few more details, though it all still looks pretty beat up. 

Edit: And the forum word replacement strikes again.  I'm sure you can figure it out though.
link doesn't work

Try this: http://tinyurl.com/p42czsh
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Avron on 08/15/2014 10:34 PM
Many more pictures of the washed up fairing can be found at temp bana/0bo6s (http://temp bana/0bo6s)

They show a few more details, though it all still looks pretty beat up. 

Edit: And the forum word replacement strikes again.  I'm sure you can figure it out though.
link doesn't work

Try this: http://tinyurl.com/p42czsh

Looks like a fairing, cant be part of a boat, too thin
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Lars_J on 08/15/2014 10:37 PM
Yes, that has already been concluded.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 08/17/2014 01:47 PM
Is there any talk or hint of a crew access and evacuation structure being built at SLC-40 or should we expect a lot of work to start happening at LC-39A over the next few months?
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: CraigLieb on 08/17/2014 02:18 PM
Regarding Boeing and the like developing reusability:

I think over the next year we will see projects start up at all the various large rocket companies that start as feasibility studies into various ways of developing their own reusable technology.

A few might decide it is not worth it yet, and a few will decide that since they were thinking of developing a new rocket anyway, they will blank-slate a new reusable rocket similar to the f9, but probably a different size.

Most companies will remain a few years behind SpaceX due to their aggressive R&D, but after 10-15 years almost no one will have willfully chosen not to integrate SpaceX's technology refinements to better their own line of products.


Especially if the stars keep aligning in SpaceX's favor.

Is it possible that SpaceX might follow the Toyota Prius model with reusability by licensing the earlier versions of their reusability technology to competitors to help grow the industry. There are hybrid Fords, Chevrolets etc using Toyota tech. Toyota can use competitor sales dollars to offset further research into the next advance. And, an industry with 5 different brands of hybrid looks more stable and legitimate to retail customers. Likewise, SpaceX could license control software packages for vertical landing stage one while they develop Raptor, Mars mission hardware, and such. Advantage remains with SpaceX since the competitors are still going to slower to adopt the tech. An industry where everybody reflies their first stage could become common and more accepted.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: SoulWager on 08/17/2014 03:18 PM
Regarding Boeing and the like developing reusability:

I think over the next year we will see projects start up at all the various large rocket companies that start as feasibility studies into various ways of developing their own reusable technology.

A few might decide it is not worth it yet, and a few will decide that since they were thinking of developing a new rocket anyway, they will blank-slate a new reusable rocket similar to the f9, but probably a different size.

Most companies will remain a few years behind SpaceX due to their aggressive R&D, but after 10-15 years almost no one will have willfully chosen not to integrate SpaceX's technology refinements to better their own line of products.


Especially if the stars keep aligning in SpaceX's favor.

Is it possible that SpaceX might follow the Toyota Prius model with reusability by licensing the earlier versions of their reusability technology to competitors to help grow the industry. There are hybrid Fords, Chevrolets etc using Toyota tech. Toyota can use competitor sales dollars to offset further research into the next advance. And, an industry with 5 different brands of hybrid looks more stable and legitimate to retail customers. Likewise, SpaceX could license control software packages for vertical landing stage one while they develop Raptor, Mars mission hardware, and such. Advantage remains with SpaceX since the competitors are still going to slower to adopt the tech. An industry where everybody reflies their first stage could become common and more accepted.
Probably not. The only way to license reusability that would save significant money or time would be to license production of the whole first stage. Also, their customers don't really care if the stage is reused, or how many launch providers are flying reused stages. They care about reliability (how much insurance for the launch costs), and how much the launch it's self costs.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Coastal Ron on 08/17/2014 06:05 PM
The only way to license reusability that would save significant money or time would be to license production of the whole first stage.

I think there are other models that would work.  Just like Boeing builds aircraft that they then sell to transportation providers for cargo and passengers, SpaceX could do the same.  In fact such an arrangement would likely see the rise of a new industry, which is launch providers that don't build their own rockets, and launch other peoples payloads.  That is essentially what Delta and FedEx do.

Quote
Also, their customers don't really care if the stage is reused, or how many launch providers are flying reused stages.

In today's business model it is not conducive to a lot of risk, but as SpaceX has shown with the early launch orders it accumulated, customers are willing to assume some risk if the payoffs down the road are substantial.

Quote
They care about reliability (how much insurance for the launch costs), and how much the launch it's self costs.

For some customers that would be true, but with others their business case may not close unless they can launch their payloads for significantly less than non-SpaceX launch providers offer.

I think we are in a period where SpaceX can gain up to 50% of the current market with their lower prices, but payload owners do not want to be locked into just one service provider (for a number of reasons), so they will continue to order launches from higher priced providers too.  But at some point new business models that use the less expensive launch prices (including reusable rockets) will allow new entrants to experiment with reusable launchers, and that will encourage others too if successful.

Unfortunately the lead time for satellite hardware is measured in years, so the market is going to be slow to adapt.  But I think it will over time, and reusable rockets will become yet another way to access space.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: JimNtexas on 08/17/2014 06:56 PM
Quote
Is it possible that SpaceX might follow the Toyota Prius model with reusability by licensing the earlier versions of their reusability technology to competitors to help grow the industry. There are hybrid Fords...

Just to set the record straight, Ford developed all its own hybrid technology.   This urban myth arose because Toyota and Ford agreed to not sue each other over their respective hybrid related patents.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Galactic Penguin SST on 08/17/2014 07:03 PM
In other news, I accidentally bumped into the NASA Launch Service Program Launch Vehicle Performance Website again after last visiting some time ago - it seems that they have updated the information about the rockets lately.

Well, here's the latest results for the F9 v1.1: (http://elvperf.ksc.nasa.gov/Pages/Query.aspx)  ;)

200 km LEO, 28.5 deg. - 16625 kg
750 km SSO - 11820 kg
185 x 35786 x 28.5 deg. GTO - 6090 kg (!)
C3 10.78 km^2/s^2 (MSL's heliocentric transfer orbit) - 2555 kg
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Llian Rhydderch on 08/17/2014 07:59 PM
Is there any talk or hint of a crew access and evacuation structure being built at SLC-40 or should we expect a lot of work to start happening at LC-39A over the next few months?

From what I've read, and seen discussed here on NSF, the answer would seem to be no, at least initially.  SpaceX intends to do all of their human spaceflight Falcon 9 launches from KSC pad 39A.

Obviously, things will evolve as they refine their technology, and as the market changes in response to the lower prices SpaceX is offering to human passengers, and as reliability and robustness of their designs become better known over time.  So no telling where else it might go in the long term, or how soon SpaceX might decide it is in their interest to have a second pad ready to have even some limited/occasional capability for human passenger launches.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Coastal Ron on 08/18/2014 01:57 AM
In other news, I accidentally bumped into the NASA Launch Service Program Launch Vehicle Performance Website again after last visiting some time ago - it seems that they have updated the information about the rockets lately.

Well, here's the latest results for the F9 v1.1: (http://elvperf.ksc.nasa.gov/Pages/Query.aspx)  ;)

200 km LEO, 28.5 deg. - 16625 kg
750 km SSO - 11820 kg
185 x 35786 x 28.5 deg. GTO - 6090 kg (!)
C3 10.78 km^2/s^2 (MSL's heliocentric transfer orbit) - 2555 kg

Wow.  In looking at just the U.S. elements of the ISS, that would mean the Falcon 9 v1.1 would be capable of lifting all of them to 200 km.  That's not high enough to get them to the ISS today (it's at 400 km), but if a tug motor was part of the package (like the Cygnus Service Module) that might be enough.

And yes, some existing elements may not fit in the existing Falcon 9 fairing, but it's rather remarkable to think that we could duplicate our part of the ISS by paying $61.2M per launch versus the Shuttle's average of $1.2B.  The math on that is pretty remarkable too, just 5% of the Shuttle.

So when we're ready to start building more structures in space, transportation costs are going to be a much smaller percentage that they have been.  And that's the direction we have to go if we want to expand humanity out into space.

My $0.02
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Jim on 08/18/2014 02:48 AM

Wow.  In looking at just the U.S. elements of the ISS, that would mean the Falcon 9 v1.1 would be capable of lifting all of them to 200 km.  That's not high enough to get them to the ISS today (it's at 400 km), but if a tug motor was part of the package (like the Cygnus Service Module) that might be enough.

And yes, some existing elements may not fit in the existing Falcon 9 fairing, but it's rather remarkable to think that we could duplicate our part of the ISS by paying $61.2M per launch versus the Shuttle's average of $1.2B.  The math on that is pretty remarkable too, just 5% of the Shuttle.

So when we're ready to start building more structures in space, transportation costs are going to be a much smaller percentage that they have been.  And that's the direction we have to go if we want to expand humanity out into space.

My $0.02

Wrong data, wrong take away, wrong comparison

a.  Shuttle was not 1.2B per launch

b.  The payload would have to be redesigned to take the higher g loads and the loads from one end. More mass.

c.  The shuttle launch included rendezvous and docking.  A tug at one end of a long payload cannot produce pure translations.   it would have trouble getting near the ISS

d.  the Shuttle included a crew of 7 and 2-3 EVA's. 

e.  And the aforementioned tug would be of size and mass to preclude flying the payloads into orbit, much less the ISS.

f.  The capability to 51.6 deg inclination and ISS altitude is 15050kg. 

Also, the take away:  "cheaper capability to launch shuttle class payloads" existed long before Falcon 9 with Atlas V and Delta IV and even Titan IV.  So there is no new revelation.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Jim on 08/18/2014 03:05 AM

Obviously, things will evolve as they refine their technology, and as the market changes in response to the lower prices SpaceX is offering to human passengers, and as reliability and robustness of their designs become better known over time.  So no telling where else it might go in the long term, or how soon SpaceX might decide it is in their interest to have a second pad ready to have even some limited/occasional capability for human passenger launches.

Exactly, there is no telling where it might go.  It might lead to nothing more than the status quo, which is more likely than not.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 08/18/2014 01:28 PM
Maybe I should be a bit clearer in my question. We know that SpaceX plans to launch humans for the first time on Falcon-9 some time next year. Will they be using Pad 39A as-is (and I consider that unlikely) and, if not, have they already started work on the necessary modifications and additions (including, I expect a SLC-4E-style HIF and T/E road on the crawler-way)?
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: QuantumG on 08/18/2014 01:40 PM
Maybe I should be a bit clearer in my question. We know that SpaceX plans to launch humans for the first time on Falcon-9 some time next year.

Huh?
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 08/18/2014 01:43 PM
Maybe I should be a bit clearer in my question. We know that SpaceX plans to launch humans for the first time on Falcon-9 some time next year.

Huh?

They ARE still saying '2015' aren't they? If they aren't then it's passed me by.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: QuantumG on 08/18/2014 01:45 PM
Maybe I should be a bit clearer in my question. We know that SpaceX plans to launch humans for the first time on Falcon-9 some time next year.

Huh?

They ARE still saying '2015' aren't they? If they aren't then it's passed me by.

The last I heard they were saying "three more years" like they've always been saying. Obviously if you go mining for schedule back in 2012 you'll find some claims of 2015 flights...
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: guckyfan on 08/18/2014 01:51 PM
The last I heard they were saying "three more years" like they've always been saying.

That would be after full certification by NASA and for the first Commercial Crew flight to the ISS. Next year for the first manned testflight should still be in the cards.

Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: ugordan on 08/18/2014 01:57 PM
Next year for the first manned testflight should still be in the cards.

I'll believe that when I see it.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: QuantumG on 08/18/2014 01:59 PM
The last I heard they were saying "three more years" like they've always been saying.

That would be after full certification by NASA and for the first Commercial Crew flight to the ISS. Next year for the first manned testflight should still be in the cards.

Source? During the V2 reveal Elon said the first manned test flight will be with NASA astronauts.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Galactic Penguin SST on 08/18/2014 02:05 PM
I remember that someone asked about that at the Dragon v2 reveal, and it was mentioned that SpaceX is targeting 2015 for the unmanned test flight and 2016 for the 1st manned flight.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: wannamoonbase on 08/18/2014 02:36 PM
Is there any talk or hint of a crew access and evacuation structure being built at SLC-40 or should we expect a lot of work to start happening at LC-39A over the next few months?

From what I've read, and seen discussed here on NSF, the answer would seem to be no, at least initially.  SpaceX intends to do all of their human spaceflight Falcon 9 launches from KSC pad 39A.

Obviously, things will evolve as they refine their technology, and as the market changes in response to the lower prices SpaceX is offering to human passengers, and as reliability and robustness of their designs become better known over time.  So no telling where else it might go in the long term, or how soon SpaceX might decide it is in their interest to have a second pad ready to have even some limited/occasional capability for human passenger launches.

I suspect the breakdown of pad use will go along these lines:

Boca Chica - Primary choice for Commsats (permit states 12 per year)
Vandenberg - Polar orbits for NASA, USAF, Constellation satellites and test flights
SLC40 - NASA, USAF missions, secondary Commsats location (anything more than 12) and test flights
LC39A - FH, Crewed F9

Edit: Quote mistake
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Coastal Ron on 08/18/2014 02:37 PM
Wrong data, wrong take away, wrong comparison

My, in a cheery Monday mood...  ;)

Quote
a.  Shuttle was not 1.2B per launch

Money spent divided by flights performed.  It's a historical fact that's been documented.  Not up for debate.

Quote
b.  The payload would have to be redesigned to take the higher g loads and the loads from one end. More mass.

c.  The shuttle launch included rendezvous and docking.  A tug at one end of a long payload cannot produce pure translations.   it would have trouble getting near the ISS

d.  the Shuttle included a crew of 7 and 2-3 EVA's. 

e.  And the aforementioned tug would be of size and mass to preclude flying the payloads into orbit, much less the ISS.

f.  The capability to 51.6 deg inclination and ISS altitude is 15050kg.

Yes, yes.  Not exactly equivalent, which was not my point.  Especially since many of the ISS Shuttle deliveries were well less 15mt and future designs would repackage segments based on the transportation options of the time.
 
Quote
Also, the take away:  "cheaper capability to launch shuttle class payloads" existed long before Falcon 9 with Atlas V and Delta IV and even Titan IV.  So there is no new revelation.

So my comment started because it appears the Falcon 9 v1.1 will have additional performance available to NASA than what SpaceX currently advertises, and I noticed that the Falcon 9 was now able to lift a good portion of the elements used to construct the ISS.  The Falcon 9 v1.0 was only capable of 8.5mt to LEO, so 16mt is a significant change, especially when the price did not really change.

For those of us that think the cost of moving mass to space has been a significant factor in keeping us from doing more in space, the $/kg value in the Falcon 9 is very exciting.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: tesla on 08/18/2014 02:48 PM
Maybe I should be a bit clearer in my question. We know that SpaceX plans to launch humans for the first time on Falcon-9 some time next year. Will they be using Pad 39A as-is (and I consider that unlikely) and, if not, have they already started work on the necessary modifications and additions (including, I expect a SLC-4E-style HIF and T/E road on the crawler-way)?

Ok, let me tell you what I know. I think the first 'normal mission' is currently scheduled for Dec. 2017 (aka 2018) and the 'first test mission, manned' NET 2016. Now what about 39A? I went to KSC last Wednesday and took pictures of 39A. This should answer your question. the crawler way is not yet being worked on.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: edkyle99 on 08/18/2014 02:50 PM
They ARE still saying '2015' aren't they? If they aren't then it's passed me by.
Commercial crew is still aiming for the end of 2017, but mid-2018 or later is more likely given the dearth of funding.

They've barely started construction at LC 39A. 

We're not even half-way through "The Gap".

 - Ed Kyle
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: matthewkantar on 08/18/2014 02:53 PM

Wrong data, wrong take away, wrong comparison

a.  Shuttle was not 1.2B per launch


Jim was right, where did you come up with $1.2 billion? It was more like $1.6 Billion dollars in 2010 dollars. And, tragically 14 lives.

Matthew
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Jim on 08/18/2014 02:53 PM

1.  Money spent divided by flights performed.  It's a historical fact that's been documented.  Not up for debate.

2.  So my comment started because it appears the Falcon 9 v1.1 will have additional performance available to NASA than what SpaceX currently advertises, and I noticed that the Falcon 9 was now able to lift a good portion of the elements used to construct the ISS. 

3.  For those of us that think the cost of moving mass to space has been a significant factor in keeping us from doing more in space, the $/kg value in the Falcon 9 is very exciting.

1.  Wrong again and it is debatable.  You don't get to make that determination.   The past is the past.  past R&D costs are not applicable to current costs.  The shuttle could fly 4 or so flight per years for 2 billion.  That is a historical fact that's been documented.  Not up for debate.

2.  Another wrong take away.   Far from a good portion of the assembly flights.  And flights that were less were made up of multiple elements that would require structure to support an ELV version of the mission.

3. A case of groupthink
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: edkyle99 on 08/18/2014 03:10 PM
Money spent divided by flights performed. 
I happen to agree with this method.  It is used by GAO, which has also applied it to EELV (estimates of course covering the life of the program).  It can also be applied to Falcon 9, in which case it would likely provide a number in the vicinity of $250 million or more per launch so far. 

 - Ed Kyle
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: rpapo on 08/18/2014 03:16 PM
I can see it both ways.  But in the real world (non-governmental budgets, that is), a product is a financial failure if it fails to recoup the R&D that went into it.  A new car model (or model family, really) can cost a billion dollars to bring to the point where something gets sold to a customer.  If you fail to earn back both the production cost and the initial investment in selling the car line, the car line is a failure.  The initial investment is considered part of the cost of the car.

In other words, the STS cost was the sum of the initial investment and the incremental cost of each flight.  While it is true that on a year to year basis the incremental cost of the flights was approximately a half-billion dollars (a huge figure by itself), it all rode on the shoulders of a massive initial investment done in the 1970s and 1980s.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Lar on 08/18/2014 03:39 PM
Guys!!!

I need everyone to stop sniping at each other. We are getting reports fast and furious. Rehashing exactly how much shuttle cost is STALE. Don't go there. The loss of two orbiters and 14 lives is very tragic but it doesn't need to be brought up as a debating chip either.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Uccello on 08/18/2014 04:18 PM
Regarding STS cost for a future ISS
I think Jim is right on this one. Irrespectively of how we got here, R&D is a sunk cost. Not relevant.
Cash is king. Cash flow in the future marks the cost for the future Space Station. Prorating sunk (non-cash) R&D is the wrong way to evaluate a future project
The cost to include are the cash operating costs of the system + capital maintenance costs (replacement CapEx) for the system to be in good working order

R&D prorating works on military cost+ contracts where govt takes risks that private sector doesn't want (like STS). However, once the system is up and running, cash is what matters. The same for SpaceX, the rocket is here already, it is running costs that matter. Who paid before (Elon or US Govt/NASA) we dont care, as long as future price charged is higher than future negative cash flow
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Lar on 08/18/2014 05:31 PM
I just axed some bickering and now I hope the below will stop the discussion (A guy can dream)

You guys are confusing "sunk cost fallacy" and "total cost of ownership"

If you want to know TCO, you take into account everything you spent. (or will spend, projected). This is useful for planning, and for weighing alternatives. But it's not the only way to look at it. The money you spent is GONE.

But if you are trying to decide about what to do with a thing that you have already sunk money into, what matters is what utility it will give you going forward and how much that utility costs you, not what you sunk into it. But it's not the only way to look at it. The money you spent may have a carrying cost that will influence what revenue you need from it. If you're not a government, anyway.

It is valid to say that the total cost of ownership for a program's missions is everything you spent on the program, divided by the number of missions.  That's a rough guide, each mission is different, etc.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: abaddon on 08/18/2014 05:32 PM
I happen to agree with this method.  It is used by GAO, which has also applied it to EELV (estimates of course covering the life of the program).  It can also be applied to Falcon 9, in which case it would likely provide a number in the vicinity of $250 million or more per launch so far. 

Ed, your estimate of $250 million seem very high to me.  F9 has performed 11 launches.  Do you really believe that $2.75 billion (even discounting the "or more" part) has been spent on F9 development and launches to date?  Please cite your source(s) for this estimate, I'd really like to understand how you came up with that number
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: guckyfan on 08/18/2014 06:42 PM

Ed, your estimate of $250 million seem very high to me.  F9 has performed 11 launches.  Do you really believe that $2.75 billion (even discounting the "or more" part) has been spent on F9 development and launches to date?  Please cite your source(s) for this estimate, I'd really like to understand how you came up with that number

If you add all the costs from development,the factory with all tooling, two pads at Vandenberg and CCAFS you may reach that cost, depending on how much of it you attribute to the launch vehicle and how much to Dragon.

Wether attributing all those costs to the few vehicles yet flown is reasonable, is another matter.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: su27k on 08/18/2014 06:51 PM
I happen to agree with this method.  It is used by GAO, which has also applied it to EELV (estimates of course covering the life of the program).  It can also be applied to Falcon 9, in which case it would likely provide a number in the vicinity of $250 million or more per launch so far. 

Ed, your estimate of $250 million seem very high to me.  F9 has performed 11 launches.  Do you really believe that $2.75 billion (even discounting the "or more" part) has been spent on F9 development and launches to date?  Please cite your source(s) for this estimate, I'd really like to understand how you came up with that number

He's using ULA's method: http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=34577.msg1212535#msg1212535, basically add up all the NASA contract money, the "or more" part probably refers to the money in the commercial contracts launched so far (less than $200m). The obvious problem is: 1. the NASA contract is not over yet; 2. The contract covers commercial crew and dragon.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: QuantumG on 08/18/2014 06:55 PM
Whereas, in actual fact, almost no NASA money has been spent on Falcon 9. We had this argument last month.

NASA gave SpaceX money for Dragon. SpaceX did the work, made a profit, and used the money to develop Falcon 9. There was arguably a milestone in there that included a requirement for Falcon 9 engine testing, but even if you add that you don't get billions.

If a government contractor uses their profits to buy ducks, that does not make them government ducks.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: edkyle99 on 08/18/2014 06:55 PM
Ed, your estimate of $250 million seem very high to me.  F9 has performed 11 launches.  Do you really believe that $2.75 billion (even discounting the "or more" part) has been spent on F9 development and launches to date?  Please cite your source(s) for this estimate, I'd really like to understand how you came up with that number
All guesstimating, of course, so my first guess could be high.  Or low.  And the target is constantly moving. 

I figured an annual average of 1,000 employees during the nine year life of the Falcon 9 development program (it started in 2005), which gives as much as $1.8 billion in total employee costs over the period, but that is a number that has accelerated during the past couple of years with the production line startup.  I add to that the rumored private equity investment, which may something like $300 million by now, and a smaller fudge number to account for materials, property, construction, taxes, and the like.  The result right now actually works out to an average of about $200 million per launch when divided by the 11 Falcon 9 launches.  That number will continue to drop as the launch numbers climb, gradually approaching an ideal asymptote of total annual salaries+benefits divided by total annual launches.  These are estimated costs, of course, not prices, and we're throwing Dragon, Falcon 9, and all other concurrent development together here.

 - Ed Kyle
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: abaddon on 08/18/2014 07:25 PM
These are estimated costs, of course, not prices

Of course, that is only sensible.

Quote
and we're throwing Dragon, Falcon 9, and all other concurrent development together here.

That, on the other hand, is not what was originally stated (you said F9), which changes the picture considerably.  Dragon was presumably very expensive to develop, and if you consider Dragon V2 the Dragon program as a whole is almost certainly more expensive than Falcon 9 on its own.

So $250 or $200 million per launch for an F9+Dragon, when including development cost, seems like a reasonable guesstimate, but if we are talking strictly Falcon 9, it doesn't.  That explains why your number seemed so high to me.

Thanks for the detailed info on your cost basis analysis.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: GalacticIntruder on 08/18/2014 07:30 PM
I assume SpaceX was awarded since 2006, something like 2 billion for COTS and phase 1 CRS for tests and 12 commercial flights through 2016. Most of that presumably goes for Dragon and infrastructure.  SpaceX put in at least 400 mil and probably a lot more. But all that, and their commercial contracts, got them from basically nothing but a business card and a dream, to everything we see today, and stuff we don't know about yet!

I don't think NASA has even paid out much to SpaceX on that 1.6 billion CRS 12 flight contract, yet. That comes after flights. So SpaceX gets 133 mil per flight through 2016. That buys them a Dragon with up/down mass and a F9.

No one here knows, but if was Elon I would borrow against my stable future revenues. So I would ask a bank or investment firm to loan me 1.5-2 billion for current ops.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: GORDAP on 08/18/2014 07:36 PM

I figured an annual average of 1,000 employees during the nine year life of the Falcon 9 development program (it started in 2005), which gives as much as $1.8 billion in total employee costs over the period, but that is a number that has accelerated during the past couple of years with the production line startup.  I add to that the rumored private equity investment, which may something like $300 million by now, and a smaller fudge number to account for materials, property, construction, taxes, and the like....
 - Ed Kyle

Ed, small nit - why would you include the (est.) 300 million investment as a cost?  All the other things in your lists are actual costs, but the investment is something to pay for those costs.  It's like adding apples and orang...er...payment for apples.  :)
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Coastal Ron on 08/19/2014 02:01 AM
Ed, your estimate of $250 million seem very high to me.  F9 has performed 11 launches.  Do you really believe that $2.75 billion (even discounting the "or more" part) has been spent on F9 development and launches to date?  Please cite your source(s) for this estimate, I'd really like to understand how you came up with that number
All guesstimating, of course, so my first guess could be high.  Or low.  And the target is constantly moving. 

I figured an annual average of 1,000 employees during the nine year life of the Falcon 9 development program (it started in 2005), which gives as much as $1.8 billion in total employee costs over the period...

An interesting discussion but I thought it lacked enough facts, so I put together the ones I could find regarding investment, revenue and costs.

I use Crunchbase to see what kind of funding events companies have gone through, and for SpaceX this what they show:

Investment:
2006-03 $100.0M Seed
2008-08 $ 20.0M Series A
2009-03 $ 15.0M Venture
2009-08 $ 30.4M Series B
2010-11 $ 50.0M Series C
2012-12 $ 30.0M Unknown (reported to be shareholder equity round)
Total:  $245.4M (normally the equity round would not be counted though)

Then we have NASA contracts:
COTS - $396M ($278M original contract + $118M additional milestones)
CRS - $400M (full payment for 3 successful CRS deliveries, although SpaceX has received advance payments too which are not estimated)
CCDev 1 - $0 (didn't win that round)
CCDev 2 - $75M
CCiCap - $440M (not fully paid out though)
Total:  $1,311M

That’s a lot of money, but none of it was specifically for funding Falcon 9 development.  Also Falcon 9 v1.0 was already flying by the time SpaceX won the CCiCap award, so in reality that leaves less than $900M in contract value to make profit on that could go to Falcon 9 v1.0 development.  But what % of profit do you think they would get from government contracts?

So those two known sources of funding equal about $1.1B, of which a significant portion was for Dragon.

What we don’t know is how much has been received from customers when they order a launch (i.e. launch deposits), and I count 34 separate commercial and government launches for non-CRS flights. I’m sure some of this would have been used for Falcon 9 development, but also for everything else too.

In 2011 NASA released a study called “Falcon 9 Launch Vehicle NAFCOM Cost Estimates” (NAFCOM = NASA‐Air Force Cost Model) that provided some insight into how much it cost to develop a Falcon 9 rocket (see attached report).  SpaceX provided data showing it had cost them $443M versus the $1.4B NASA estimated it would cost using traditional development.  Interestingly, SpaceX did estimate that if they developed the Falcon 9 using Cost Plus Fee it would have cost $1.7B, and it would have cost NASA $4B.

Now that study was obviously for Falcon 9 v1.0, and SpaceX has continued to spend money not only on v1.1 but on reusability also.  But for the original rocket $443M is apparently the answer.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: wannamoonbase on 08/19/2014 02:26 AM
Money spent divided by flights performed. 
I happen to agree with this method.  It is used by GAO, which has also applied it to EELV (estimates of course covering the life of the program).  It can also be applied to Falcon 9, in which case it would likely provide a number in the vicinity of $250 million or more per launch so far. 

 - Ed Kyle

I agree with this approach to the calculation.

I understand Jim's point but respectfully disagree with his estimate.  Those are best case unloaded numbers.  I looked at the numbers for all the other NASA activities that either fed the shuttle like the astronauts and their training and facilities. 

Adding up the full cost of the shuttle program from 1981 to 2011 and dividing by number of flights is the best answer. Adjust for inflation if desired.

What really hurts the number is the 5 years of no flights after Challenger and Columbia. All the cost, zero flights.

I loved the shuttle and still do but a more expensive there may never be.

Regarding SpaceX if they ride that horse for 10 years and can do 20-30 launches a year starting in 3 years! say a total of 200 flights, then the cost per launch will be something like $5-$10 million for development.  That's pretty awesome.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Jim on 08/19/2014 02:41 AM
The calculation that is relevant is what is the cost to fly the next set of payloads.  What was spent in the past has no bearing on that.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: deruch on 08/19/2014 03:13 AM
Not sure that a cost comparison between a manned space plane and a potentially reusable rocket has much value.  But since it seems to come up pretty often here....For those who are arguing for including all the R&D costs, you're trying to compare an innovative platform with a legacy one.  That's pretty close to apples and oranges.  i.e. you obviously aren't including the R&D money spent for the legacy programs that informed F9 construction ('cause that would be ridiculous).  Not to mention the costs spent making the shuttle a platform that transported people (besides the cargo).  If you want to get closer to apples to apples, you've got to include the Dragon & DV2 costs as well.  But then we lose the cargo bit of the F9.  The shuttle was designed to do more than just lift cargo to orbit.  So again, why is this being debated? 
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Coastal Ron on 08/19/2014 03:55 AM
The calculation that is relevant is what is the cost to fly the next set of payloads.  What was spent in the past has no bearing on that.

If the topic is about a commercial service provider which you or I have not invested in, then true we could care less how much the private company spent to get to where they are at today, and all we care about is how much they are charging us today or in the future.

But when you're talking about U.S. Taxpayer money (i.e. money you and I have "invested"), I disagree.  That is a taxpayer investment that can only be gauged on it's value as a whole.  So if something cost $100B to use once, then it cost $100B per use.  $100B to use twice, then $50B per use, and so on.

To think otherwise would be like saying the value of your car is only as much as you last spent filling it up with fuel.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Jim on 08/19/2014 12:55 PM

But when you're talking about U.S. Taxpayer money (i.e. money you and I have "invested"), I disagree.  That is a taxpayer investment that can only be gauged on it's value as a whole.  So if something cost $100B to use once, then it cost $100B per use.  $100B to use twice, then $50B per use, and so on.


Total costs was never part of the discussion and those numbers are meaningless.  When it comes to determining the cost to fly the next set of payload, sunk costs are not applicable.   The decision to develop and fly the shuttle was made long before many payloads were even conceptualized.  So, the cost of developing the shuttle has no bearing on determining cost of putting those payloads into orbit.  Much like the cost of putting in interstate freeways has no bearing in determining cost of using semi trucks for cargo delivery today.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Lar on 08/19/2014 01:24 PM
This cost discussion is REALLY getting stale. No more please.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: AJW on 08/19/2014 07:15 PM
(Apologies... this visit was on 8/7.... the story was recently updated)

Certification continues to move forward...

Space and Missile Systems Center Commander Visits SpaceX

"We want to ensure a cooperative path toward SpaceX's certification," said Greaves. "Providing competitive opportunities among certified launch service providers will contribute greatly to a more robust - and affordable - assured access to space launch capability."


http://www.losangeles.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123421688
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Kabloona on 08/19/2014 07:24 PM
(Apologies... this visit was on 8/7.... the story was recently updated)

Certification continues to move forward...

Space and Missile Systems Center Commander Visits SpaceX

"We want to ensure a cooperative path toward SpaceX's certification," said Greaves. "Providing competitive opportunities among certified launch service providers will contribute greatly to a more robust - and affordable - assured access to space launch capability."


http://www.losangeles.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123421688

Apparently the previous commander, Lt Gen Ellen Pawlikowski, has a new job at the Pentagon, and Lt Gen Greaves is her recent replacement, so this was probably something of a "get acquainted" visit. His bio says his last duty station was Redstone Arsenal, AL.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: McDew on 08/21/2014 04:20 PM
In other news, I accidentally bumped into the NASA Launch Service Program Launch Vehicle Performance Website again after last visiting some time ago - it seems that they have updated the information about the rockets lately.

Well, here's the latest results for the F9 v1.1: (http://elvperf.ksc.nasa.gov/Pages/Query.aspx)  ;)

200 km LEO, 28.5 deg. - 16625 kg
750 km SSO - 11820 kg
185 x 35786 x 28.5 deg. GTO - 6090 kg (!)
C3 10.78 km^2/s^2 (MSL's heliocentric transfer orbit) - 2555 kg
When I saw this previously, I attributed it to an error in the new website layout.  If you ask the site for a plot of the Falcon 9 1.1 GTO performance curve you get the old values and not the 6090 kg value. 
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: corrodedNut on 08/21/2014 05:40 PM
From SpaceX Facebook:

https://fbcdn-sphotos-f-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-xfp1/t31.0-8/p720x720/10357658_10154725227190131_924825994802045424_o.jpg

Looks like tank barrel sections, but the milling marks are mysterious.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: OSE on 08/21/2014 05:45 PM
From SpaceX Facebook:

https://fbcdn-sphotos-f-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-xfp1/t31.0-8/p720x720/10357658_10154725227190131_924825994802045424_o.jpg

Looks like tank barrel sections, but the milling marks are mysterious.

Those milling marks are strange. Any idea why they are there?
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: docmordrid on 08/21/2014 05:47 PM
Channels in the trunk for thermal radiator lines?
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: corrodedNut on 08/21/2014 05:50 PM
From SpaceX Facebook:

https://fbcdn-sphotos-f-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-xfp1/t31.0-8/p720x720/10357658_10154725227190131_924825994802045424_o.jpg

Looks like tank barrel sections, but the milling marks are mysterious.

Those milling marks are strange. Any idea why they are there?

To me, it looks like the work was done on the inside, and we're seeing it "telegraphed" through the skin.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: OSE on 08/21/2014 06:34 PM
Usually when I've seen milling marks like that it is from milling a surface flat. Even though the surface feels flat and nearly smooth to the touch you can still see the marks. If they did mill this section flat, why? Was it too thick? Seems like a lot of machining time just to reduce thickness. Maybe as docmordrid and corrodedNut said, there is something on the other side?
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: AJW on 08/21/2014 07:08 PM
Just hazarding a guess...

These appear to be identical cylinders, matching diameters and holes, possibly a before and an after.  When metal cans are very thin, they can easily punk in or 'oil can'.  Adding ridges may be used to strengthen the material, or if this is post-milling, material was removed for lightening, but left in a pattern that is stronger than simply thinning the material.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: fjf5766 on 08/21/2014 07:37 PM
(First post for me, finally a topic I know something about...),  The marks you have commented on are typical milling marks left from milling aluminum.  If you were to see the ribs in the wing of a modern airliner before paint it would look just like this.  Most large aluminum milling is now done with very powerful high speed milling machine spindles with cutter speeds in the 10's of thousands of RPM.  The patterns left are visual as was noted.  That all said, I suspect that SpaceX is purchasing a thicker plate and milling to lighten between weld prep zones and leaving thicker pads for various attachments.  Nothing really new here to see.  Just typical good aerospace process choices.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Zardar on 08/21/2014 08:04 PM
Would it be normal to leave "flight hardware" just standing on a rough (to some degree) floor like that - would it not be resting on some sort of pallet?
Perhaps this is just a storage area for some test or experimental runs through the machining process?

Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: sghill on 08/21/2014 08:16 PM
...That all said, I suspect that SpaceX is purchasing a thicker plate and milling to lighten between weld prep zones and leaving thicker pads for various attachments.  Nothing really new here to see.  Just typical good aerospace process choices.

Can you hazard a guess as to how much weight they'd be able to drop for this section based on the photo?
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: fthomassy on 08/21/2014 08:43 PM
Can you hazard a guess as to how much weight they'd be able to drop for this section based on the photo?
Impossible to see the structural need from a photo.

Machining the plate can serve several needs.  First is better uniformity of thickness and overall flatness than the plate forming process.  Machining could be a necessary step in getting that nice finish seen in the foreground.  Another is machining off the outer layer might leave higher quality "core" material.  There could be more, like maybe they just like making it pretty or enjoy releasing photos of non-flight prototype processes they'll never actually fly ;)
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: fjf5766 on 08/22/2014 07:05 PM
Well,  I can suggest that core vs. skin properties of relatively thin plate are not much of an issue.  It can become significant when thick plate is used.  I have worked on parts that are "hogged out", machined from 12" thick plate and the final part is .090" or even less.  In the photograph the big area of machined surface is most likely for weight reduction.  In former times this would have been done by masking areas that are to remain and putting the whole piece in a controlled acid bath to "chem-mill" to the desired section thickness.  This would often be done repeatedly with bigger masked areas to step down the thickness.  Now with high speed machining a truer taper can be manufactured.  flatness is an issue with broad area machining but it isn't possible to conclude anything about that from the picture.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: fthomassy on 08/22/2014 08:01 PM
Well,  I can suggest that core vs. skin properties of relatively thin plate are not much of an issue.  It can become significant when thick plate is used.  I have worked on parts that are "hogged out", machined from 12" thick plate and the final part is .090" or even less.  ... SNIP
Interesting experience.  Prototyping and aerospace sometimes lead to some, on the surface, laughable results.  Been there ... done that!  Like the cartoon using a whole tree to make one tooth pick.
...  In the photograph the big area of machined surface is most likely for weight reduction.  ...
I'm seeing the photo differently.  The taper is an illusion and the surface we see is simply flat (later formed to a cylinder).  Lightening and boss features, if they exist, would be on the inside.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: sojourner on 08/24/2014 08:52 PM
Elon Musk is featured in the commercials for the next episode of Man VS The Universe on Science channel this Wednesday.  Not sure if there will be anything new, but figured it was worth a mention. 10pm eastern.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: cambrianera on 08/24/2014 09:36 PM
I guess two possibilities for the milling marks on the barrel.
1) pressure in a vertical tank is higher on the lower part, due to the weight of the liquid itself. The milling can be a tapering of the higher part of the first stage tanks to remove mass.
This is commonly done for isogrid milled or chemical milled rocket tanks but should be novel for SpaceX.
2) mass removal on the second stage tanks, in this case partially due to the same hydrostatic effect of point 1, partially to the fact that the shorter tanks have smaller buckling issues.

Tank skin thickness should be 5 mm.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Geron on 08/24/2014 09:42 PM
Can someone tell me how far a f9 first stage could throw a dream chaser in suborbital flight? Could 7 passengers do Florida to London? La to Tokyo?
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: cambrianera on 08/24/2014 09:54 PM
...That all said, I suspect that SpaceX is purchasing a thicker plate and milling to lighten between weld prep zones and leaving thicker pads for various attachments.  Nothing really new here to see.  Just typical good aerospace process choices.

Can you hazard a guess as to how much weight they'd be able to drop for this section based on the photo?

Assuming this is the skin of first or second stage tanks, you remove 30 kg of mass if you machine out 1 mm on 1 meter tank lenght.
Tank skin should be 5 mm, assuming you machine out 1 mm along all the second stage you remove about 300 kg.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: cambrianera on 08/26/2014 06:16 PM
Can someone tell me how far a f9 first stage could throw a dream chaser in suborbital flight? Could 7 passengers do Florida to London? La to Tokyo?

A Falcon 9 first stage is quite close to sending DreamChaser in orbit; I get over 7500 m/s from the rocket equation.
Likely no limit for earth point to point.
But the stage becomes expendable.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Robotbeat on 08/26/2014 06:19 PM
Can someone tell me how far a f9 first stage could throw a dream chaser in suborbital flight? Could 7 passengers do Florida to London? La to Tokyo?

A Falcon 9 first stage is quite close to sending DreamChaser in orbit; I get over 7500 m/s from the rocket equation.
Likely no limit for earth point to point.
But the stage becomes expendable.
Concur. But for the greatest point to point distances, the angle may be too shallow. Probably makes sense for Dreamchaser to pitch in some delta-v.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: rpapo on 08/26/2014 06:22 PM
Can someone tell me how far a f9 first stage could throw a dream chaser in suborbital flight? Could 7 passengers do Florida to London? La to Tokyo?

A Falcon 9 first stage is quite close to sending DreamChaser in orbit; I get over 7500 m/s from the rocket equation.
Likely no limit for earth point to point.
But the stage becomes expendable.
From the published LEO payload numbers, I could imagine a Falcon 9 (complete, with second stage) being able to (barely) loft an empty DC to orbit.  I don't think it could handle a fully fueled and loaded DC.

But the first stage alone?
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Lars_J on 08/26/2014 06:36 PM
Can someone tell me how far a f9 first stage could throw a dream chaser in suborbital flight? Could 7 passengers do Florida to London? La to Tokyo?

A Falcon 9 first stage is quite close to sending DreamChaser in orbit; I get over 7500 m/s from the rocket equation.
Likely no limit for earth point to point.
But the stage becomes expendable.

Your the math seems quite off. The only way a first stage (alone) of a F9 could almost put a DC into orbit is if the DC itself had the same delta-V capability as the F9 upper stage. And no, it doesn't. Not even close.

I don't think a DC on a first stage F9 could cross the Atlantic, it would fall far short of Africa or Europe. You wouldn't even reach Bermuda.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: ugordan on 08/26/2014 06:39 PM
The only way a first stage (alone) of a F9 could almost put a DC into orbit is if the DC itself had the same delta-V capability as the F9 upper stage.

Err, that's not quite right. You are assuming that a F9S1 topped by F9S2+DC would have the same burnout velocity as one topped by only DC (hence some 80 tonnes lighter payload during the entire 1st stage burn).
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Lars_J on 08/26/2014 06:43 PM
The only way a first stage (alone) of a F9 could almost put a DC into orbit is if the DC itself had the same delta-V capability as the F9 upper stage.

Err, that's not quite right. You are assuming that a F9S1 topped by F9S2+DC would have the same burnout velocity as one topped by only DC (hence some 80 tonnes lighter payload during the entire 1st stage burn).

Perhaps, but there is *no* way that a F9S1 can put a DC almost into orbit. And that 80 tonnes of upper stage is mostly propellant.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: cambrianera on 08/26/2014 07:16 PM
Falcon 9 stage 1:Propellant 400000 kg, Empty mass 20000 kg, ISP (avg) 300 s
Dreamchaser 12000 kg

300x9,81*Ln(432000/32000)=7659 m/s

Short of about 9000 needed for orbit, but not so far, therefore "quite close".
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: ugordan on 08/26/2014 07:30 PM
The only way a first stage (alone) of a F9 could almost put a DC into orbit is if the DC itself had the same delta-V capability as the F9 upper stage.

Err, that's not quite right. You are assuming that a F9S1 topped by F9S2+DC would have the same burnout velocity as one topped by only DC (hence some 80 tonnes lighter payload during the entire 1st stage burn).

Perhaps, but there is *no* way that a F9S1 can put a DC almost into orbit.

That wasn't the point I was addressing. Also, you're still just pulling statements out of thin air. What constitutes "no way" and what constitutes "almost into orbit" by your definition?

Cambrianera actually ran some numbers. My quick BOTE agrees with his, an excess of 7000 m/s. Even taking into account gravity losses, that's closer to orbit than a short suborbital hop.

And that 80 tonnes of upper stage is mostly propellant.

Could as well be a pile of bricks as far as your statement that DC would need the same delta V to reach orbit as the 2nd stage is concerned. It's simply not true.

Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Lars_J on 08/26/2014 07:39 PM
Perhaps, but there is *no* way that a F9S1 can put a DC almost into orbit.

That wasn't the point I was addressing. Also, you're still just pulling statements out of thin air. What constitutes "no way" and what constitutes "almost into orbit" by your definition?

Cambrianera actually ran some numbers. My quick BOTE agrees with his, an excess of 7000 m/s. Even taking into account gravity losses, that's closer to orbit than a short suborbital hop.

And that 80 tonnes of upper stage is mostly propellant.

Could as well be a pile of bricks as far as your statement that DC would need the same delta V to reach orbit as the 2nd stage is concerned. It's simply not true.

Yes, you are correct. The burnout velocity would be higher, I goofed on that. My point about the upper stage being propellant (or bricks) certainly matters for actually doing something useful with whatever payload you are flying, though.

If a F9S1 can accelerate a DC to 7659 m/s - I still think that the DC has nowhere close to the ~2500m/s remaining to get to orbit. So perhaps our definition of *almost* differs.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: cambrianera on 08/26/2014 07:43 PM
Can someone tell me how far a f9 first stage could throw a dream chaser in suborbital flight? Could 7 passengers do Florida to London? La to Tokyo?

A Falcon 9 first stage is quite close to sending DreamChaser in orbit; I get over 7500 m/s from the rocket equation.
Likely no limit for earth point to point.
But the stage becomes expendable.
From the published LEO payload numbers, I could imagine a Falcon 9 (complete, with second stage) being able to (barely) loft an empty DC to orbit.  I don't think it could handle a fully fueled and loaded DC.

But the first stage alone?

The famous 13150 kg? It should be a derated value (real value 16600 kg).
BTW the milled sheet in the Twitter picture make me think they are still actively working to reduce empty mass of first and second stage, hence increasing the payload.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: MP99 on 08/26/2014 08:31 PM
Falcon 9 stage 1:Propellant 400000 kg, Empty mass 20000 kg, ISP (avg) 300 s
Dreamchaser 12000 kg

300x9,81*Ln(432000/32000)=7659 m/s

Short of about 9000 needed for orbit, but not so far, therefore "quite close".

I wonder how many engines they'd need to shut off to keep G levels in an acceptable range?

cheers, Martin
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: cambrianera on 08/26/2014 08:48 PM
Falcon 9 stage 1:Propellant 400000 kg, Empty mass 20000 kg, ISP (avg) 300 s
Dreamchaser 12000 kg

300x9,81*Ln(432000/32000)=7659 m/s

Short of about 9000 needed for orbit, but not so far, therefore "quite close".

I wonder how many engines they'd need to shut off to keep G levels in an acceptable range?

cheers, Martin

Heh.....
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: woods170 on 08/28/2014 06:43 AM
Copying over from the LAS abort thread:

FISO telecon 27 Aug 3pm ET "SpaceX: Status and Future Plans"

The telecon slides & audio is available for download from FISO link (http://spirit.as.utexas.edu/~fiso/telecon/Reisman_8-27-14/)

Some interesting stuff in that presentation. Added presentation for ease of download.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Geron on 08/29/2014 06:12 PM
Perhaps, but there is *no* way that a F9S1 can put a DC almost into orbit.

That wasn't the point I was addressing. Also, you're still just pulling statements out of thin air. What constitutes "no way" and what constitutes "almost into orbit" by your definition?

Cambrianera actually ran some numbers. My quick BOTE agrees with his, an excess of 7000 m/s. Even taking into account gravity losses, that's closer to orbit than a short suborbital hop.

And that 80 tonnes of upper stage is mostly propellant.

Could as well be a pile of bricks as far as your statement that DC would need the same delta V to reach orbit as the 2nd stage is concerned. It's simply not true.

Yes, you are correct. The burnout velocity would be higher, I goofed on that. My point about the upper stage being propellant (or bricks) certainly matters for actually doing something useful with whatever payload you are flying, though.

If a F9S1 can accelerate a DC to 7659 m/s - I still think that the DC has nowhere close to the ~2500m/s remaining to get to orbit. So perhaps our definition of *almost* differs.

So the general consensus is that you could make it across an ocean but not across the globe? Also, why is reusability nixed? Couldn't the stage be landed on a barge?
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: cambrianera on 08/29/2014 09:02 PM
So the general consensus is that you could make it across an ocean but not across the globe?
Quasi-orbital means across the globe

Also, why is reusability nixed?
Because at 6000 - 7000 m/s no way to recover it, will be destroyed at entry interface (and propulsive braking would require insane % of propellants).

Couldn't the stage be landed on a barge?
No.
Its pieces collected, yes.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: AJW on 08/29/2014 09:32 PM
Looks like SpaceX has approached the Patent Trial and Review Board (PTAB) and requested a review of the Blue Origin Sea Landing patent.
http://ptolitigationcenter.com/2014/08/pto-litigation-center-report-august-26-2014/

Here is the patent being reviewed... It will be interesting to learn if landing on barges will be more than just a temporary solution.
http://www.google.com/patents/US8678321

Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Lar on 08/29/2014 10:07 PM
Looks like SpaceX has approached the Patent Trial and Review Board (PTAB) and requested a review of the Blue Origin Sea Landing patent.
http://ptolitigationcenter.com/2014/08/pto-litigation-center-report-august-26-2014/

Here is the patent being reviewed... It will be interesting to learn if landing on barges will be more than just a temporary solution.
http://www.google.com/patents/US8678321

See also

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=35521.msg1249142#msg1249142

That thread is currently in Space Policy... will consult about moving it, would prefer that discussion of the challenge remain in one thread.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: meekGee on 08/30/2014 01:14 AM
Looks like SpaceX has approached the Patent Trial and Review Board (PTAB) and requested a review of the Blue Origin Sea Landing patent.
http://ptolitigationcenter.com/2014/08/pto-litigation-center-report-august-26-2014/

Here is the patent being reviewed... It will be interesting to learn if landing on barges will be more than just a temporary solution.
http://www.google.com/patents/US8678321

That is an excellent find, and I am glad to see this action taking place.

A rocket landing on its tail!  who'd have thunk!

Making it "at sea" has no unexpected or novel aspects to it, so does not make the otherwise obviously unpatentable "land a rocket on its tail" suddenly patentable.

Plus, it tells us that SpaceX is confident enough about its profitability in order to invest in a patent battle with Bezos, since before there's profitability, patent battles are seldom ever fought.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: QuantumG on 08/30/2014 01:29 AM
A rocket landing on its tail!  who'd have thunk!

Making it "at sea" has no unexpected or novel aspects to it, so does not make the otherwise obviously unpatentable "land a rocket on its tail" suddenly patentable.

Why do I feel anti-patent arguments are not sophisticated enough?

Edit/Lar: PoliteJim3000 engaged.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: meekGee on 08/30/2014 01:36 AM
A rocket landing on its tail!  who'd have thunk!

Making it "at sea" has no unexpected or novel aspects to it, so does not make the otherwise obviously unpatentable "land a rocket on its tail" suddenly patentable.

Why do I feel anti-patent arguments are always not sophisticated enough?
Always?

EDIT: It was funnier before the Polite-O-Jim kicked in. 

Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Lars_J on 08/30/2014 05:39 AM
A new tweet from SpaceX, with a close-up of Merlin 1D engines mounted to the octaweb: https://twitter.com/SpaceX/status/505522503230320640

Quote
SpaceX ‏@SpaceX
Up close with the Falcon 9 first-stage Merlin 1D engines.

It's a good image for showing how the center engine is mounted slightly lower than the other eight.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: HMXHMX on 08/30/2014 05:48 AM
A rocket landing on its tail!  who'd have thunk!

Making it "at sea" has no unexpected or novel aspects to it, so does not make the otherwise obviously unpatentable "land a rocket on its tail" suddenly patentable.

Why do I feel anti-patent arguments are not sophisticated enough?
Always?

Been there, done that.  March, 1999.  2000 people viewed this model in Mojave.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: meekGee on 08/30/2014 05:56 AM
Anyhoo, to answer the question, I never claimed that all patents are evil, or stupid, or some other such generalization.

I think the patent system is ingenious, essential, and generally works very well.

I have a few patents, and know the system reasonably well.  I've had to argue with patent examiners who raised objections to some of my patent applications, and whether they were right or wrong, they were not thoughtless.

That said, this particular patent, bases on patent law, to the best of my understanding, should not have been granted. 

Nevermind HMXHMX's obvious prior art.  Maybe the examiner didn't know about it.

But what about any one of a million depictions of rocket launching nose first and landing tail first?

Just adding "at sea" does not lead to an outcome that is more than the combination of the two...  and that's not patentable.

If you see a walkman, and wireless headphones, you can't just patent a walkman with wireless headphones.  The invention (the combination of walkman and wireless headphones) has to have some novel, unexpected, useful, non-obvious result.

But this does occur more often than necessary - examiners giving in and letting the court system sort it out later.

The path SpaceX is taking is different from going to court to argue that your stuff is not infringing on someone else's valid patent.  They are challenging the validity of the patent with the USPTO.  I think it's cheaper that way, and is appropriate in this case.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Helodriver on 08/30/2014 06:12 AM
A new tweet from SpaceX, with a close-up of Merlin 1D engines mounted to the octaweb: https://twitter.com/SpaceX/status/505522503230320640

Quote
SpaceX ‏@SpaceX
Up close with the Falcon 9 first-stage Merlin 1D engines.

It's a good image for showing how the center engine is mounted slightly lower than the other eight.

I shot a better one.   ;)

Here you go.

Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: TripD on 08/30/2014 08:33 AM
Quote
I shot a better one.   ;)

Totally unfair advantage using the uber cool sci-fi red lighting! /uber cool safety goggles  8)
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: mvpel on 08/30/2014 01:07 PM
Helodriver, your photo really underscores the elegant brilliance of the Octaweb design - they can make eight identical units and assemble them around the central engine in exactly the same way for each of them.  8)

Someone suggested making a Merlin coffee pot with the manifold pipe as the handle. :D
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Jim on 08/30/2014 01:44 PM
They aren't separate units
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: mvpel on 08/30/2014 02:03 PM
They aren't separate units

(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e0/Merlin_1D_engines_and_octaweb_harness.jpg)


I'm not sure what you're getting at, Jim.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Jim on 08/30/2014 02:06 PM
the octweb sectors.  Unless you are referring to the engines themselves, that is obvious.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Barrie on 08/30/2014 02:21 PM
I think Jim just wants to dispel any suggestion that the octoweb is eight identical modules slotted in like the game pieces in Trivial Pursuit.

Of course, there are pieces that can be produced 8 off, but some might need an extra hole or two depending on what position they are fitted in.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: cambrianera on 08/30/2014 03:32 PM
Two interesting things on Helodriver's picture.
First the full writings on engine ports (some faded writing was visible on CRS-3 first stage).
Second the blocks on TVC rods, suggesting external engines have a mechanical limitation on TVC (IMHO in addition to SW limit).
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: mvpel on 08/30/2014 03:52 PM
I think Jim just wants to dispel any suggestion that the octoweb is eight identical modules slotted in like the game pieces in Trivial Pursuit.

Of course, there are pieces that can be produced 8 off, but some might need an extra hole or two depending on what position they are fitted in.

A Trivial Pursuit metaphor, eh? You must be over 40. ;)

In any case, the symmetry and uniformity makes for a very admirable design, which is what I was getting at. Kudos to whoever at SpaceX had that flash of insight.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Jim on 08/30/2014 03:54 PM
No different than the Saturn I/IB and Proton aft ends
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: meekGee on 08/30/2014 04:13 PM
I think Jim just wants to dispel any suggestion that the octoweb is eight identical modules slotted in like the game pieces in Trivial Pursuit.

Of course, there are pieces that can be produced 8 off, but some might need an extra hole or two depending on what position they are fitted in.

I don't think anyone suggested the octaweb is assembled from 8 wedges - it is a single structure.

However, if you look at the part list for the octaweb, I'm sure you will see "qty 8" (near the bottom) and "qty 4" (near the top) repeated an awful lot.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: mvpel on 08/30/2014 04:24 PM
No different than the Saturn I/IB and Proton aft ends

Indeed that's true, but it's quite different from, and more elegant than, the original Falcon 9 3x3 grid.

(http://heroicrelics.org/info/saturn-i-and-ib/wrap-around-lines/saturn-engine-cluster.jpg)
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: meekGee on 08/30/2014 04:33 PM
No different than the Saturn I/IB and Proton aft ends

Nobody said they were unique in that.  They said it was elegant.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: cambrianera on 08/30/2014 05:19 PM
No different than the Saturn I/IB and Proton aft ends
Indeed that's true, but it's quite different from, and more elegant than, the original Falcon 9 3x3 grid.
And much more efficient than the original 3x3 grid.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Jim on 08/30/2014 06:32 PM
No different than the Saturn I/IB and Proton aft ends

Nobody said they were unique in that.  They said it was elegant.

That was the point, the elegance is not unique and is a common practice. 
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: meekGee on 08/30/2014 08:58 PM
No different than the Saturn I/IB and Proton aft ends

Nobody said they were unique in that.  They said it was elegant.

That was the point, the elegance is not unique and is a common practice.
Oh, I am sure I can point you to some inelegant vehicles...  But that would be off topic, and so I'll skip the temptation.

Point is, elegance is not unique to SpaceX, but is far from being the norm, so it is OK to take note of it.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: MP99 on 08/31/2014 08:57 AM


Point is, elegance... is far from being the norm...

"Citation needed" (big smiley).

Cheers, Martin
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: llanitedave on 09/01/2014 03:26 AM
No different than the Saturn I/IB and Proton aft ends

Nobody said they were unique in that.  They said it was elegant.

That was the point, the elegance is not unique and is a common practice.

Oh, yes.  The 9-engine octoweb is so trivially obvious that EVERYONE is doing it.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Robotbeat on 09/01/2014 03:30 AM
It is a fairly straightforward engineering improvement over the cross-cross pattern which was more unique and inefficient (though it got the job done and was effective, which is all any engineer can hope for in their design).
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: meekGee on 09/01/2014 03:57 AM
The square-9 design was a carry over from the 5 engine design.  A classic "good enough" design.
I don't think it was ever the "final" design.  Just a good exercise in engineering management judgement.

Same with Dragon V1. 

There will be time for "award winning" designs later, and they will be better because they'll incorporate real life experience.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: dglow on 09/01/2014 05:08 PM
There will be time for "award winning" designs later, and they will be better because they'll incorporate real life experience.

I propose the SuperDraco as a first nominee.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: AncientU on 09/02/2014 01:10 AM
No different than the Saturn I/IB and Proton aft ends

Not bad company for an upstart...
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Nomadd on 09/02/2014 01:17 AM
The square-9 design was a carry over from the 5 engine design.  A classic "good enough" design.
I don't think it was ever the "final" design.  Just a good exercise in engineering management judgement.

I don't think so. The F5 layout was every outer engine equally distant from the middle. Being square was just something that tends to happen with 4 engines.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: NovaSilisko on 09/02/2014 01:21 AM
Wasn't the F5 ditched before the engine fairings even existed? Back that far, the Merlins were exposed in their entirety, if many of the sketches from that period are anything to go by. Same for Falcon 9.

I wonder how much the bulgey fairings on F9v1.0 hurt its performance, given they weren't the most aerodynamic things in the world. Presumably the alternative is having the engine bell peeking over the edge of the rocket, exposed to the windstream, assuming the 3x3 grid layout. In fact, the oldest F9 sketches did indeed show the engines overhanging a bit on the corners.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: fatjohn1408 on 09/04/2014 01:55 PM
Falcon 9 stage 1:Propellant 400000 kg, Empty mass 20000 kg, ISP (avg) 300 s
Dreamchaser 12000 kg

300x9,81*Ln(432000/32000)=7659 m/s

Short of about 9000 needed for orbit, but not so far, therefore "quite close".

Those are too optimistic.
Let's even say that the F9 can put 16600 into orbit and that the upper stage holds 80,000 tons of propellants. Let us solve for x, the dry mass.

300*9.81*Ln((420000+80000+x+16600)/(116600+x))+340*9.81*Ln((96600+x)/(x+16600))=9,000

I get something about x = ~8400

So they made a first stage out of pixie dust with a 5% mass ratio and then they ran out of pixie dust and butched up a second stage with a 10.5% mass ratio?
The first stage is a lot worse than you assume and the second stage is better.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: dror on 09/08/2014 10:15 AM
Crs spx4 will take up about 2200 kg of cargo, right?
Dragon is able to take up to 3310 kg of cargo, right?
Why didnt any dragon flight take a full load or close to it?
Is it because of a volume constraint?
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Beittil on 09/08/2014 11:15 AM
It mostly is yes!

But you also have to consider stuff like the refrigerators they had to install into Dragon the last time, they are not really cargo on their own, but they do reduce the mass for actual cargo.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: cambrianera on 09/08/2014 12:50 PM
Falcon 9 stage 1:Propellant 400000 kg, Empty mass 20000 kg, ISP (avg) 300 s
Dreamchaser 12000 kg

300x9,81*Ln(432000/32000)=7659 m/s

Short of about 9000 needed for orbit, but not so far, therefore "quite close".

Those are too optimistic.
Let's even say that the F9 can put 16600 into orbit and that the upper stage holds 80,000 tons of propellants. Let us solve for x, the dry mass.

300*9.81*Ln((420000+80000+x+16600)/(116600+x))+340*9.81*Ln((96600+x)/(x+16600))=9,000

I get something about x = ~8400

So they made a first stage out of pixie dust with a 5% mass ratio and then they ran out of pixie dust and butched up a second stage with a 10.5% mass ratio?
The first stage is a lot worse than you assume and the second stage is better.

My numbers for first stage are here (with explanations also in following posts in the thread): http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=31514.msg1034291#msg1034291
And for second stage here: http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=31514.msg1040840#msg1040840

Your use of math is faulty, never try to derive precise small numbers from approximate large numbers.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: dror on 09/08/2014 01:45 PM
It mostly is yes!

But you also have to consider stuff like the refrigerators they had to install into Dragon the last time, they are not really cargo on their own, but they do reduce the mass for actual cargo.
Thanks!
One more question if I may,
Falcon 9 v1.1 is capable of about 16600 kg to LEO,
Draon weights about 4400 plus 3310 cargo thats about 7710 kg to ISS.
Is F9v1.1 realy so over capable?
 Why dont they sell the extra capacity?
Is it because of the crs1 partial failure?
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: rpapo on 09/08/2014 01:54 PM
One more question if I may,
Falcon 9 v1.1 is capable of about 16600 kg to LEO,
Draon weights about 4400 plus 3310 cargo thats about 7710 kg to ISS.
Is F9v1.1 realy so over capable?
 Why dont they sell the extra capacity?
Is it because of the crs1 partial failure?
They are reserving 30-40% capacity for what they expect will be needed (eventually) to recover the rocket for reuse.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: grythumn on 09/08/2014 03:06 PM
It mostly is yes!

But you also have to consider stuff like the refrigerators they had to install into Dragon the last time, they are not really cargo on their own, but they do reduce the mass for actual cargo.
Thanks!
One more question if I may,
Falcon 9 v1.1 is capable of about 16600 kg to LEO,
Draon weights about 4400 plus 3310 cargo thats about 7710 kg to ISS.
Is F9v1.1 realy so over capable?
 Why dont they sell the extra capacity?
Is it because of the crs1 partial failure?

1) There's LEO, and then there's LEO. The amount of payload to a 28.5/200 km parking orbit is not the same as to the ISS.

2) Most large payloads are not to LEO, they are to GTO, GEO, Polar or (for GNSS) MEO. Falcon suffers a higher proportional payload loss to higher energy orbits because of the much-lower-than-hydrolox ISP of the upper stage.

3) Dragon is volume limited. The trunk allows Dragon to carry additional vacuum cargo, but most cargo must be pressurized. The second stage can carry secondaries, but because it is launching into ISS's orbital plane, it carries more restrictions and more risk.  So yes, CRS-1 partial failure of the Orbcomm prototype.

-Bob
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: TrevorMonty on 09/08/2014 05:17 PM
Has there been any discussion of a pressurized module to fit inside the trunk. Something like a mini Cygnus. An arm can be used to remove it and attach to a docking or berthing port. Once empty it can be filled with rubbish for disposal  on reentry.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: jongoff on 09/08/2014 06:04 PM
It mostly is yes!

But you also have to consider stuff like the refrigerators they had to install into Dragon the last time, they are not really cargo on their own, but they do reduce the mass for actual cargo.

From what we've heard from both CRS providers, they typically "volume out" (ie run out of pressurized volume) before they run out of upmass capacity. ISS payloads are soft-packed and the total packing density ends up being pretty surprisingly low. The Enhanced Cygnus has almost 3x the pressurized volume of Dragon (27m^3 vs ~10m^3), but is still expected to run out of volume at about the same time as it runs out of up-mass (2700kg) for typical ISS pressurized cargo.

Now, I know some people trying to get approvals for very dense cargo that could help skew the density average up a bit, but they're not yet manifested... :-)

~Jon
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Zardar on 09/08/2014 07:46 PM
It mostly is yes!

But you also have to consider stuff like the refrigerators they had to install into Dragon the last time, they are not really cargo on their own, but they do reduce the mass for actual cargo.

From what we've heard from both CRS providers, they typically "volume out" (ie run out of pressurized volume) before they run out of upmass capacity. ISS payloads are soft-packed and the total packing density ends up being pretty surprisingly low. The Enhanced Cygnus has almost 3x the pressurized volume of Dragon (27m^3 vs ~10m^3), but is still expected to run out of volume at about the same time as it runs out of up-mass (2700kg) for typical ISS pressurized cargo.

Now, I know some people trying to get approvals for very dense cargo that could help skew the density average up a bit, but they're not yet manifested... :-)

~Jon

They should just send up lots more cheese - it's usually well over 1g/cm3.  Especially with the mousanouts on the next CRS flight.....
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Helodriver on 09/08/2014 09:01 PM
In all the discussion of whether the Pad Abort test will launch from a  rocket mockup or a truss structure, I'm wondering if the original Falcon 9 mockup would be suitable if it even exists any longer.

Was any of this vehicle ever reused for actual flight? Any information on what ever became of the surviving pieces?
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: meekGee on 09/09/2014 12:52 AM
In all the discussion of whether the Pad Abort test will launch from a  rocket mockup or a truss structure, I'm wondering if the original Falcon 9 mockup would be suitable if it even exists any longer.

Was any of this vehicle ever reused for actual flight? Any information on what ever became of the surviving pieces?
I saw that question go by before.  I think it was reported to have been dismantled, hung, drawn, and quartered.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Misha Vargas on 09/09/2014 08:34 AM
Elon Musk was in Nippon recently, and along with playing strange games with a pantsless man on television (https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/509195186875138048), and a Tesla Model S delivery ceremony (https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/508898503251488768), he met with JAXA in Ochanomizu (https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/509211956436545536).

I don't really know what SpaceX would be doing for JAXA directly. Would they just be talking about ISS stuff, or something else? No big deal, I'm just wondering.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: ChrisWilson68 on 09/09/2014 09:00 AM
Elon Musk was in Nippon recently, and along with playing strange games with a pantsless man on television (https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/509195186875138048), and a Tesla Model S delivery ceremony (https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/508898503251488768), he met with JAXA in Ochanomizu (https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/509211956436545536).

I don't really know what SpaceX would be doing for JAXA directly. Would they just be talking about ISS stuff, or something else? No big deal, I'm just wondering.

I was wondering about that too when I saw Elon's tweet.  It's not impossible that JAXA would be a Falcon 9 customer.  From a purely economic point of view, it is a no-brainer to ditch H-IIA and go with Falcon 9 instead.  Of course, governments like to support their own local launchers for a variety of reasons, but maybe they would be OK with keeping just the H-IIB to keep the industrial base in place and dropping H-IIA.  It doesn't seem likely, but neither does any other reason I can think of for SpaceX to be doing business with JAXA.

It may just be a goodwill visit to keep JAXA on friendly terms with SpaceX.  JAXA might want to hear directly from Elon why SpaceX is successful.  There's probably a desire to replicate the SpaceX way among a lot of aerospace organizations these days.  Elon's reason for going might just be that he gets an audience and can potentially influence them to follow his ideas.  I get the impression Elon is more interested in changing the world than making money, so he'd like to see more aerospace organizations be successful.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: QuantumG on 09/09/2014 09:04 AM
Wasn't SNC talking with Japan about a Dreamchaser deal?
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 09/09/2014 09:55 AM
I don't really know what SpaceX would be doing for JAXA directly. Would they just be talking about ISS stuff, or something else? No big deal, I'm just wondering.

JAXA might be interested in buying flights on Dragon v.2.

They might also be interested in co-developing an MB-60-powered upper stage for Falcon Heavy. Unless I'm doing my BotE wrong, that would probably lead to about 60t IMLEO/30t GTO/25t TLI performance for the type without LEO assembly and orbital rendezvous.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Zardar on 09/09/2014 10:37 AM
Elon Musk was in Nippon recently, and along with playing strange games with a pantsless man on television (https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/509195186875138048), and a Tesla Model S delivery ceremony (https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/508898503251488768), he met with JAXA in Ochanomizu (https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/509211956436545536).

I don't really know what SpaceX would be doing for JAXA directly. Would they just be talking about ISS stuff, or something else? No big deal, I'm just wondering.

Well, JAXA is doing a lot of research into solar-power-satellites. That is something that would have have a lot of synergies with Elon Musk's business and beliefs.
It's also a driver for a lot of super-heavy-lift launches, something the Japanese won't be able to launch themselves in the the short-to-medium term (at least)

(Plus there's the reference in the tweet-pic!)

http://spectrum.ieee.org/green-tech/solar/how-japan-plans-to-build-an-orbital-solar-farm (http://spectrum.ieee.org/green-tech/solar/how-japan-plans-to-build-an-orbital-solar-farm)
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Stellvia on 09/09/2014 11:02 AM
Elon Musk was in Nippon recently, and along with playing strange games with a pantsless man on television (https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/509195186875138048), and a Tesla Model S delivery ceremony (https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/508898503251488768), he met with JAXA in Ochanomizu (https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/509211956436545536).

I don't really know what SpaceX would be doing for JAXA directly. Would they just be talking about ISS stuff, or something else? No big deal, I'm just wondering.

Well, JAXA is doing a lot of research into solar-power-satellites. That is something that would have have a lot of synergies with Elon Musk's business and beliefs.
It's also a driver for a lot of super-heavy-lift launches, something the Japanese won't be able to launch themselves in the the short-to-medium term (at least)

(Plus there's the reference in the tweet-pic!)

http://spectrum.ieee.org/green-tech/solar/how-japan-plans-to-build-an-orbital-solar-farm (http://spectrum.ieee.org/green-tech/solar/how-japan-plans-to-build-an-orbital-solar-farm)


Elon's on record as saying re SSP: "I wish I could just stab that bloody thing through the heart."

http://shitelonsays.com/transcript/elon-musk-panel-bta-2012-2013-01-28#quote_-1908270097

I guess if JAXA wants to buy FH or BFR rides for SPS construction, SpaceX will gladly take their money, but Elon's not a fan.

*shrugs* Maybe a JAXA dedicated DragonLab flight or something.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Zardar on 09/09/2014 12:37 PM

Elon's on record as saying re SSP: "I wish I could just stab that bloody thing through the heart."

http://shitelonsays.com/transcript/elon-musk-panel-bta-2012-2013-01-28#quote_-1908270097

I guess if JAXA wants to buy FH or BFR rides for SPS construction, SpaceX will gladly take their money, but Elon's not a fan.


Point taken, but it did inspire another thought experiment.

Elon's argument is basically that, what with the transmission inefficiency, you are better off leaving the solar panel on the ground and wiring it up direct rather than launching it into earth orbit and beaming the power back.

However, if you need (solar) power for a mars base, would it be more efficient to launch (heavier, dust proof) panels and heavy batteries through  Mars-EDL down to the surface, or would you be better off launching some lightweight SPP satellites into MOI instead?

Which scheme would ultimately give more power on mars surface per Kg launched from earth?

Anyone able and willing to run the numbers on that and see what falls out?
(Probably more relevant in a mars colony thread though)
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: sghill on 09/09/2014 01:00 PM
However, if you need (solar) power for a mars base, would it be more efficient to launch (heavier, dust proof) panels and heavy batteries through  Mars-EDL down to the surface, or would you be better off launching some lightweight SPP satellites into MOI instead?

Which scheme would ultimately give more power on mars surface per Kg launched from earth?

Anyone able and willing to run the numbers on that and see what falls out?
(Probably more relevant in a mars colony thread though)

There are tons of calculations on this thread:  http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=34667.0  I like your point though about the down mass expense of getting panels to the martian surface versus just leaving them in orbit as a SPP system.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: guckyfan on 09/09/2014 01:07 PM
There are tons of calculations on this thread:  http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=34667.0  I like your point though about the down mass expense of getting panels to the martian surface versus just leaving them in orbit as a SPP system.

Getting them into orbit requires more delta-v than direct landing. I know part of it can be done by aerobraking but then they need to circularize into a stationary orbit. A lot of complexity involved. Batteries may be able to source the bulk of their mass locally sooner or later.

The transport MCT needs to land for refuelling anyway also. Not any time soon when they can locally maintain tankers for orbital refuelling.

Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: NovaSilisko on 09/09/2014 05:50 PM
In all the discussion of whether the Pad Abort test will launch from a  rocket mockup or a truss structure, I'm wondering if the original Falcon 9 mockup would be suitable if it even exists any longer.

Was any of this vehicle ever reused for actual flight? Any information on what ever became of the surviving pieces?

I have always wondered why their concepts and test vehicles have black interstates and engine housings, but the flight vehicles never do...
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: MTom on 09/09/2014 08:02 PM
Elon Musk was in Nippon recently, and along with playing strange games with a pantsless man on television (https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/509195186875138048), and a Tesla Model S delivery ceremony (https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/508898503251488768), he met with JAXA in Ochanomizu (https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/509211956436545536).

I don't really know what SpaceX would be doing for JAXA directly. Would they just be talking about ISS stuff, or something else? No big deal, I'm just wondering.

Only guessing (I don't know JAXA) but the Japanese culture is more similar to SpaceX than the USA/EU culture: they like using trials to achieve improvements. A failure is rather an opportunity for being better than a mistake. If they can buy "cheap" but reliable launchers for their trials, It would help them a lot.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: arachnitect on 09/09/2014 10:00 PM
Elon Musk was in Nippon recently, and along with playing strange games with a pantsless man on television (https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/509195186875138048), and a Tesla Model S delivery ceremony (https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/508898503251488768), he met with JAXA in Ochanomizu (https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/509211956436545536).

I don't really know what SpaceX would be doing for JAXA directly. Would they just be talking about ISS stuff, or something else? No big deal, I'm just wondering.

Only guessing (I don't know JAXA) but the Japanese culture is more similar to SpaceX than the USA/EU culture: they like using trials to achieve improvements. A failure is rather an opportunity for being better than a mistake. If they can buy "cheap" but reliable launchers for their trials, It would help them a lot.

I've read that NASA "encouraged" (directed) Spacex to develop CUCU largely because they assumed SpaceX would be unable to negotiate Japanese corporate world successfully (to procure and use PROX).
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: MTom on 09/09/2014 10:20 PM
Elon Musk was in Nippon recently, and along with playing strange games with a pantsless man on television (https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/509195186875138048), and a Tesla Model S delivery ceremony (https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/508898503251488768), he met with JAXA in Ochanomizu (https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/509211956436545536).

I don't really know what SpaceX would be doing for JAXA directly. Would they just be talking about ISS stuff, or something else? No big deal, I'm just wondering.

Only guessing (I don't know JAXA) but the Japanese culture is more similar to SpaceX than the USA/EU culture: they like using trials to achieve improvements. A failure is rather an opportunity for being better than a mistake. If they can buy "cheap" but reliable launchers for their trials, It would help them a lot.

I've read that NASA "encouraged" (directed) Spacex to develop CUCU largely because they assumed SpaceX would be unable to negotiate Japanese corporate world successfully (to procure and use PROX).

I make a correction: similar from this aspect (dealing with trials and errors).

What you wrote: I can imagine that some years ago SpaceX as a start-up company without significant results and their not traditional thinking was a "no-go" for Japanese companies.
Meanwhile SpaceX turned into a meaningful company, it could cause a lot of change.
We will see it later.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Jcc on 09/09/2014 10:20 PM
In all the discussion of whether the Pad Abort test will launch from a  rocket mockup or a truss structure, I'm wondering if the original Falcon 9 mockup would be suitable if it even exists any longer.

Was any of this vehicle ever reused for actual flight? Any information on what ever became of the surviving pieces?

I have always wondered why their concepts and test vehicles have black interstates and engine housings, but the flight vehicles never do...

So you can tell the difference between a mockup, animation or a flight vehicle at a glance. Rather nice of them to do that.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: sojourner on 09/10/2014 01:46 PM
So, Russia just upped the ante again.  How soon can SpaceX get Dragon V2 going?  Might need that soon.

http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/ukraine-crisis/crimea-catch-22-russia-space-training-may-put-nasa-bind-n199486
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: AnalogMan on 09/10/2014 02:17 PM
So, Russia just upped the ante again.  How soon can SpaceX get Dragon V2 going?  Might need that soon.

http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/ukraine-crisis/crimea-catch-22-russia-space-training-may-put-nasa-bind-n199486 (http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/ukraine-crisis/crimea-catch-22-russia-space-training-may-put-nasa-bind-n199486)

Please note that there is a specific thread for discussing this article - see:
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=35595.0 (http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=35595.0)
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: sghill on 09/16/2014 04:43 PM
With all the Commercial Crew talk, this little article may have been missed by some:

http://online.wsj.com/articles/spacex-rockets-likely-to-clear-pentagon-hurdle-1410882623

"Elon Musk's space venture could be cleared to launch rockets for the Pentagon by Dec. 1, a senior U.S. Air Force official said Tuesday.

The planned certification of the Falcon rockets used by Mr. Musk's Space Exploration Technologies Corp. would allow it to challenge the near-monopoly for national security satellite launches enjoyed by a joint venture between Boeing Co.   and Lockheed Martin Corp.

"I'm rooting for SpaceX to come into the competition," said Gen. John Hyten, the new head of Air Force Space Command, in a speech at an industry conference near Washington, D.C."

"It has to work, every time," he said of military rocket launches. "[But] goodness knows, I want competition in this area."


Granted it's the WSJ....

Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: oldAtlas_Eguy on 09/16/2014 04:51 PM
The one item missed by most is that AF Space Command does not do the purchases.  AF Systems Command: Space Division located at Los Angeles AFB does the purchases and certifications.  And they have been awfully quite about the whole process letting AF Space Command make the announcements.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Lars-J on 09/16/2014 04:56 PM
With all the Commercial Crew talk, this little article may have been missed by some:

http://online.wsj.com/articles/spacex-rockets-likely-to-clear-pentagon-hurdle-1410882623

"I'm rooting for SpaceX to come into the competition," said Gen. John Hyten, the new head of Air Force Space Command, in a speech at an industry conference near Washington, D.C."

"It has to work, every time," he said of military rocket launches. "[But] goodness knows, I want competition in this area."

I wish they would stop with the "it has to work, every time" spiel. Some launches with national security payloads have failed in the past (sometimes spectacularly), and some will undoubtedly fail in the future.

The military, more that any organization involved with rocketry, knows that failure is always an option. You try to mitigate the risks, but they can never be completely removed.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Space Ghost 1962 on 09/16/2014 05:19 PM
With all the Commercial Crew talk, this little article may have been missed by some:

http://online.wsj.com/articles/spacex-rockets-likely-to-clear-pentagon-hurdle-1410882623

"Elon Musk's space venture could be cleared to launch rockets for the Pentagon by Dec. 1, a senior U.S. Air Force official said Tuesday.
It would make sense given all other announcements. You would want Falcon 9/H capacity to make the economics work out for what seems to be happening. Primarily as a launch factory with little else.

Part of what is going on is a negotiation, part is pretence, part is reserving a fall back, and the largest part is a show of resolute force of American industrial might. Complex game.

The items involving Musk and Bezos attempt to retain the "wild card" aspect of the western entrepreneur. Find this very uncomfortable, because both of these guys have unpredictable aspects that don't fit the role they would have to play, and nobody can push back to them. Musk has at least done something credible. Bezos is a bozo, and much of his latest business shenanigans have had a "me boss you stupid" ignorance factor that's scary for a supposedly smart guy - personally have no use for him. Musk doesn't show stupid as much as demand/expect the impossible continually, which is highly consumptive of human capital to make up the over reaches. How you fund these guys to get somewhere good is highly subjective.

The overall show has effect, but the casting of the actors is problematic. We'll see the script soon, and I hope whoever is writing it is good at fast and effective rewrites. Given NASA being backwatered here, AF seen as craven.  and exec/legislative branches continually at each others throats, pulling this off will be quite the something.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: sghill on 09/16/2014 06:50 PM
Given NASA being backwatered here, AF seen as craven.  and exec/legislative branches continually at each others throats, pulling this off will be quite the something.

The default setting is no change to the current situation at all.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Space Ghost 1962 on 09/16/2014 07:13 PM
Given NASA being backwatered here, AF seen as craven.  and exec/legislative branches continually at each others throats, pulling this off will be quite the something.

The default setting is no change to the current situation at all.
If true, expect a handful of new lawsuits from multiple parties, empty PR, and nothing on the test stand.

Plus, five congressmen and two senators just painted bull's eyes on themselves a few months ahead of an critical election.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: RanulfC on 09/16/2014 08:19 PM
However, if you need (solar) power for a mars base, would it be more efficient to launch (heavier, dust proof) panels and heavy batteries through  Mars-EDL down to the surface, or would you be better off launching some lightweight SPP satellites into MOI instead?

Which scheme would ultimately give more power on mars surface per Kg launched from earth?

Anyone able and willing to run the numbers on that and see what falls out?
(Probably more relevant in a mars colony thread though)

There are tons of calculations on this thread:  http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=34667.0  I like your point though about the down mass expense of getting panels to the martian surface versus just leaving them in orbit as a SPP system.

PoWoW: Power Without Wires Mars SPS/Cargo vehicle concept:
http://www.esa.int/gsp/ACT/doc/POW/ACT-RPR-NRG-2009-SPS-ICSOS-concepts-for-laser-WPT.pdf
https://archive.org/details/nasa_techdoc_20020030127

Overview: A SEP (Solar Electric Propulsion) vehicle is used to transfer cargo from HEO to L/MMO and then used to provide beamed power to Mars based vehicles, rovers, and stations.

Randy
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: RanulfC on 09/16/2014 08:28 PM
Plus, five congressmen and two senators just painted bull's eyes on themselves a few months ahead of an critical election.

They only become "bulls-eyes" if it becomes an election issue which is really unlikely given the low priority this has among over all "election" issues. Which of course is what afore mentioned congressmen/senators are counting on so that can concentrate on "real" issues :)

Randy
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Kabloona on 09/16/2014 08:35 PM
With all the Commercial Crew talk, this little article may have been missed by some:

http://online.wsj.com/articles/spacex-rockets-likely-to-clear-pentagon-hurdle-1410882623

"Elon Musk's space venture could be cleared to launch rockets for the Pentagon by Dec. 1, a senior U.S. Air Force official said Tuesday.

The planned certification of the Falcon rockets used by Mr. Musk's Space Exploration Technologies Corp. would allow it to challenge the near-monopoly for national security satellite launches enjoyed by a joint venture between Boeing Co.   and Lockheed Martin Corp.

"I'm rooting for SpaceX to come into the competition," said Gen. John Hyten, the new head of Air Force Space Command, in a speech at an industry conference near Washington, D.C."

"It has to work, every time," he said of military rocket launches. "[But] goodness knows, I want competition in this area."


Granted it's the WSJ....

Is there anything new here? Sounds like General Hyten is pretty much picking up where his predecessor left off, who previously said he expected certification by early next year.

And there was recently a change of command at AF Systems Command, IIRC, with the new commander there doing a meet-and-greet at SpaceX a month or two ago.

But it sounds like despite the changes of command, the certification train is still on track. Which is good news in itself, I guess.

Edit: correction, it was Lt Gen Pawlikoswki of SMC who was heading up the certification effort and recently got kicked upstairs to the Pentagon.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: sghill on 09/16/2014 08:37 PM
Is there anything new here? Sounds like General Hyten is pretty much picking up where his predecessor left off, who previously said he expected certification by early next year.

And there was recently a change of command at AF Systems Command, IIRC, with the new commander there doing a meet-and-greet at SpaceX a month or two ago.

But it sounds like despite the changes of command, the certification train is still on track. Which is good news in itself, I guess.

The tone sounds a lot less preachy.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Space Ghost 1962 on 09/16/2014 08:47 PM
Plus, five congressmen and two senators just painted bull's eyes on themselves a few months ahead of an critical election.

They only become "bulls-eyes" if it becomes an election issue which is really unlikely given the low priority this has among over all "election" issues. Which of course is what afore mentioned congressmen/senators are counting on so that can concentrate on "real" issues :)

Randy

Any target to shoot at when everyone is loaded up with ammo and guns are blazing ... is another fusillade to dodge.

And remember, it's about two elections - this mid term election and the national one in 2 years.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: matthewkantar on 09/16/2014 09:55 PM
I guess its Boeing at 4.2 billions and Spacex at 2.4 billion. Not sure how many flights that buys.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: nadreck on 09/16/2014 09:58 PM
I guess its Boeing at 4.2 billions and Spacex at 2.4 billion. Not sure how many flights that buys.

SpaceX at 2.6  and it buys a demo certification flight and 6 other flights from each company. We don't know yet how much less SpaceX or Boeing would get if they flew less than 6 flights but the option is there for it to be as few a 2 additional after certification or as many as 6. After that it would be a different contract.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: rpapo on 09/16/2014 11:53 PM
I guess its Boeing at 4.2 billions and Spacex at 2.4 billion. Not sure how many flights that buys.

SpaceX at 2.6  and it buys a demo certification flight and 6 other flights from each company. We don't know yet how much less SpaceX or Boeing would get if they flew less than 6 flights but the option is there for it to be as few a 2 additional after certification or as many as 6. After that it would be a different contract.
And before anybody complains about the "unfairness" that Boeing is getting so much more money than SpaceX for the "same" thing, we must remember a few things:

(1) These were presumably their bids, just as what happened with CRS contracts, where Orbital bid a higher price than SpaceX for fewer launches.  Looks unfair, isn't really.  Neither party should have known what the other was bidding.

(2) Boeing appears to have far more physical work to be done yet, and their bid presumably reflects this.  Again, there is a contract which specifies exactly what NASA is getting for their money.

(3) Sierra Nevada's bid may have been higher, or lower.  We don't know.  But the dollar amount wasn't the only thing taken into consideration by NASA in reviewing the bids.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: QuantumG on 09/17/2014 12:05 AM
That's just comical. Hey, this contractor bid almost twice as much as the other guy and he's done less. Well, we do want two contractors. Do they know that? Seems so.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: fatjohn1408 on 09/17/2014 08:01 AM
Falcon 9 stage 1:Propellant 400000 kg, Empty mass 20000 kg, ISP (avg) 300 s
Dreamchaser 12000 kg

300x9,81*Ln(432000/32000)=7659 m/s

Short of about 9000 needed for orbit, but not so far, therefore "quite close".

Those are too optimistic.
Let's even say that the F9 can put 16600 into orbit and that the upper stage holds 80,000 tons of propellants. Let us solve for x, the dry mass.

300*9.81*Ln((420000+80000+x+16600)/(116600+x))+340*9.81*Ln((96600+x)/(x+16600))=9,000

I get something about x = ~8400

So they made a first stage out of pixie dust with a 5% mass ratio and then they ran out of pixie dust and butched up a second stage with a 10.5% mass ratio?
The first stage is a lot worse than you assume and the second stage is better.

My numbers for first stage are here (with explanations also in following posts in the thread): http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=31514.msg1034291#msg1034291
And for second stage here: http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=31514.msg1040840#msg1040840

Your use of math is faulty, never try to derive precise small numbers from approximate large numbers.

My result was an approximation. How exactly did i derive a precise small number if the result was ~8.4 ton?

I know your numbers, they result in way higher payloads than SpaceX claims. That's also why, using your numbers, it gives a way higher delta V for a single stage with dreamchaser than what SpaceX would ever claim.

Edit: Your numbers give 12,151 m/s to a 6 ton payload. To SES-8 13,259. Now that's unlikely. You can almost fly to Mars with that Delta-V.
Try to "estimate" Zenit using your approach without looking to the actual data out there. (Also act and think as if you were analysing a SpaceX rocket)
My large numbers were very precise. They are the precise values for a fantasy rocket that doesn't exist and can't exist with present day technology. The lowest significant number of all the values is 3. So my result is ~8.40 x 10^1 kg.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: RanulfC on 09/17/2014 12:54 PM
That's just comical. Hey, this contractor bid almost twice as much as the other guy and he's done less. Well, we do want two contractors. Do they know that? Seems so.

The "choice" was between SNC and SpaceX, Boeing was going to remain on the contract no matter what. It's the "control" for this experiment. An established and successful, well-known, major aerospace contractor with a solid history of delivering product. (Even if its overpriced, overbudget and far from as "sporty" as the other contractors :) )

Randy
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: sugmullun on 09/17/2014 01:33 PM
My guts go with QG.
While I understand the reasoning behind NASA's choices, it just don't taste right.
Greater things are accomplished through risky ventures than secure investments and shareholder value.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: RanulfC on 09/17/2014 02:09 PM
My guts go with QG.
While I understand the reasoning behind NASA's choices, it just don't taste right.
Greater things are accomplished through risky ventures than secure investments and shareholder value.

But that's the "problem" with the assesment; it was never about "great acomplishments" but more proving out a dearly held, but unproven concept that "commercial" operators could provide the services normally reserved for NASA itself. Under those guidlines you pick several "higher-risk" options and at least one "standby" conservative option. Boeing was the latter, SNC and SpaceX the former.

Once politics got involved things became a lot less clear but currently it would be pretty hard to argue the SNC and SpaceX both have not been MUCH better values than the continued contract with Boeing, however as the "control" (or conservative) approach Boeing is not going to be down-selected any time soon. On the other hand even Boeing has to be realizing that they are JUST place-keeping at the present moment and are (worse) showcasing just how slow and overpriced the "conservative" approach is.

Several problems are still looming though and its going to be interesting to see how this all plays out down the line.

Randy
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Razvan on 09/17/2014 05:51 PM
I thought a lot about that unfortunate event taking place in Texas, culminating with the self-destruct of a F9R. The explanation that came from SpaceX was:

"I can tell you that it certainly looks like it was basically a single-point failure that existed on that test article that does not exist on the Falcon 9," Reisman said. "We think it was a failure of a single sensor, and Falcon 9 has multiple sensors in its algorithm that it uses. So if the same failure occurred on the Falcon 9 it would not affect the mission in any way."

That, in my humble opinion was a major, inexcusable mistake from the side of SpaceX, especially at the time of being involved in the certification process with NASA and US Air Force. That mistake may cost SpaceX a lot more than they would've spent on using a regular Falcon 9R in that process.

Finding yourself at this point on the course of such job of great importance, you do not cut corners. I hope they got their lesson now and they will take the steps that will avoid any such mishap in the future.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: JBF on 09/17/2014 05:58 PM
I thought a lot about that unfortunate event taking place in Texas, culminating with the self-destruct of a F9R. The explanation that came from SpaceX was:

"I can tell you that it certainly looks like it was basically a single-point failure that existed on that test article that does not exist on the Falcon 9," Reisman said. "We think it was a failure of a single sensor, and Falcon 9 has multiple sensors in its algorithm that it uses. So if the same failure occurred on the Falcon 9 it would not affect the mission in any way."

That, in my humble opinion was a major, inexcusable mistake from the side of SpaceX, especially at the time of being involved in the certification process with NASA and US Air Force. That mistake may cost SpaceX a lot more than they would've spent on using a regular Falcon 9R in that process.

Finding yourself at this point on the course of such job of great importance, you do not cut corners. I hope they got their lesson now and they will take the steps that will avoid any such mishap in the future.

Razvan this doesn't make any sense. The F-9R Dev1 was a deliberately stripped down test article. How do you get from that to major inexcusable mistake and great importance?
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Kabloona on 09/17/2014 06:00 PM

That, in my humble opinion was a major, inexcusable mistake from the side of SpaceX, especially at the time of being involved in the certification process with NASA and US Air Force.

In my humble opinion, that failure will have about zero effect on F9R certification. Do you understand the point that F9R has multiple redundant sensors and voting logic that means F9R cannot experience the same single-point failure mode?

SpaceX said publicly that they expected sooner or later to crater a test vehicle. And Air Force certifiers are sophisticated enough to understand the difference between a single-point-failure architecture and one that has redundant sensors with voting logic. Failure of a test vehicle with different architecture will have no bearing on certification, IMHO.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: sugmullun on 09/17/2014 06:29 PM
I agree and more.
I have to think that any knwledgable individual would see no connection between SX's test rockets in TX  and NM and it's commercial flights unless there was a specific, known test article being developed for immediate use on the commercial launches.
I firmly believe that all the hoopla, by those involved in the space industry over F9R Dev1 was either politics, dishonesty, or personal bias carried to irrational levels.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: QuantumG on 09/17/2014 09:50 PM
When it comes to crew launch systems, what has Boeing delivered? The feet dragging we're seeing on CST-100 has happened every time they've tried to deliver a crew launch system, and the result has been same every time: the program is cancelled and they walk away without paying back a dime.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: rpapo on 09/17/2014 10:33 PM
When it comes to crew launch systems, what has Boeing delivered? The feet dragging we're seeing on CST-100 has happened every time they've tried to deliver a crew launch system, and the result has been same every time: the program is cancelled and they walk away without paying back a dime.
Quite possibly.  At this point, it looks very likely to me that SpaceX will fly crew, and quite possibly long before December 7th, 2017.  It would take a combination of very bad luck for SpaceX, and a miracle for Boeing, for Boeing to get up there first.

At least that's how it looks to me.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: jamesh9000 on 09/17/2014 10:49 PM
rpapo, if all goes according to plan, you'll be exactly right. Elon was on Fox business today and said that SpaceX's internal schedule was for the first manned flight to the ISS to happen near the end of 2016 but he said that schedules have a tendency to slip and it may end up being mid 2017. Still way ahead of Boeing.

Link to the interview: http://video.foxbusiness.com/v/3790635789001/elon-musk-on-the-next-step-for-spacex-nevada-gigafactory/#sp=show-clips (http://video.foxbusiness.com/v/3790635789001/elon-musk-on-the-next-step-for-spacex-nevada-gigafactory/#sp=show-clips)
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Razvan on 09/17/2014 11:27 PM
I thought a lot about that unfortunate event taking place in Texas, culminating with the self-destruct of a F9R. The explanation that came from SpaceX was:

"I can tell you that it certainly looks like it was basically a single-point failure that existed on that test article that does not exist on the Falcon 9," Reisman said. "We think it was a failure of a single sensor, and Falcon 9 has multiple sensors in its algorithm that it uses. So if the same failure occurred on the Falcon 9 it would not affect the mission in any way."

That, in my humble opinion was a major, inexcusable mistake from the side of SpaceX, especially at the time of being involved in the certification process with NASA and US Air Force. That mistake may cost SpaceX a lot more than they would've spent on using a regular Falcon 9R in that process.

Finding yourself at this point on the course of such job of great importance, you do not cut corners. I hope they got their lesson now and they will take the steps that will avoid any such mishap in the future.

Razvan this doesn't make any sense. The F-9R Dev1 was a deliberately stripped down test article. How do you get from that to major inexcusable mistake and great importance?

@JBF,
Under normal circumstances I would have 100% agreed with you. But when you try to get certified your working horse for USAF particularly, it makes the whole picture totaly different.
With such a customer, for such missions, where every thing is looked at from a million angles and any word, work, absolutely everything is dissected to the micron, you owe to be perfect, no mistake, no reason to cause a raised eyebrow, worry, doubt, etc.
SpaceX needs to convince special people about very special things that require special qualities, extraordinary performance from A to Z.
I like SpaceX and Elon Musk and I wish them all the big successes in the world but to do now what they try to do requires 100% focus an NO MISTAKE.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Sesquipedalian on 09/18/2014 03:37 AM
Quite possibly.  At this point, it looks very likely to me that SpaceX will fly crew, and quite possibly long before December 7th, 2017.  It would take a combination of very bad luck for SpaceX, and a miracle for Boeing, for Boeing to get up there first.

No miracle needed.  Bureaucrats could slow-walk SpaceX to the finish line via shrewd application of paperwork.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Helodriver on 09/18/2014 10:49 PM
SpaceX had dropped the old Titan MST at SLC-4W to make way for the landing pad. Its about to get real, as a source says that the inflight abort test vehicle is supposed to be landed here early next year.

Demolition Video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RYpDwS7HgEk&feature=youtu.be (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RYpDwS7HgEk&feature=youtu.be)


More pics in the SpaceX Vandenberg Updates thread.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: ChrisWilson68 on 09/19/2014 09:39 AM
At this point, it looks very likely to me that SpaceX will fly crew, and quite possibly long before December 7th, 2017.  It would take a combination of very bad luck for SpaceX, and a miracle for Boeing, for Boeing to get up there first.

Congress could just be that bad luck for SpaceX and miracle for Boeing.  Congress could still decide to insert funding language that cuts out SpaceX and only funds Boeing.

NASA has to follow rules about fairness.  Congress doesn't.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: ChrisWilson68 on 09/19/2014 09:41 AM
The "choice" was between SNC and SpaceX, Boeing was going to remain on the contract no matter what. It's the "control" for this experiment. An established and successful, well-known, major aerospace contractor with a solid history of delivering product. (Even if its overpriced, overbudget and far from as "sporty" as the other contractors :) )

That's nonsense.  SpaceX was always the front-runner, over Boeing.  SpaceX is established and successful.  They have a successful working relationship with NASA on commercial cargo.  SpaceX experience with cargo Dragon gives them more relevant experience than Boeing.  When was the last time anyone at Boeing developed a spacecraft?  Boeing's recent experience is not as relevant as SpaceX's.  And besides just the experience, SpaceX has the actual hardware flight heritage from cargo Dragon, which makes Dragon V2 even less risky.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: rpapo on 09/19/2014 09:46 AM
No miracle needed.  Bureaucrats could slow-walk SpaceX to the finish line via shrewd application of paperwork.
Congress could just be that bad luck for SpaceX and miracle for Boeing.  Congress could still decide to insert funding language that cuts out SpaceX and only funds Boeing.

NASA has to follow rules about fairness.  Congress doesn't.
And the sad thing is I cannot disagree with either of you.  Here's to hoping the right things get allowed to happen...
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: AnjaZoe on 09/19/2014 09:58 AM
When was the last time anyone at Boeing developed a spacecraft? 
Series 702 Satellites? Pretty current I would say.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Jim on 09/19/2014 10:44 AM
When was the last time anyone at Boeing developed a spacecraft? 
Series 702 Satellites? Pretty current I would say.

X-37, Orbital Express, SBSS, GPS-IIF, etc
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Jim on 09/19/2014 10:45 AM
  Boeing's recent experience is not as relevant as SpaceX's.

ISS, Shuttle, Spacehab, etc Boeing experience is just as relevant.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: RanulfC on 09/19/2014 06:05 PM
The "choice" was between SNC and SpaceX, Boeing was going to remain on the contract no matter what. It's the "control" for this experiment. An established and successful, well-known, major aerospace contractor with a solid history of delivering product. (Even if its overpriced, overbudget and far from as "sporty" as the other contractors :) )

That's nonsense.  SpaceX was always the front-runner, over Boeing.  SpaceX is established and successful.  They have a successful working relationship with NASA on commercial cargo.  SpaceX experience with cargo Dragon gives them more relevant experience than Boeing.  When was the last time anyone at Boeing developed a spacecraft?  Boeing's recent experience is not as relevant as SpaceX's.  And besides just the experience, SpaceX has the actual hardware flight heritage from cargo Dragon, which makes Dragon V2 even less risky.

As noted Boeing's space experiance is quite recent AND relevent. It's not "nonsense" in any sense of the word it is how things are arranged. Boeing has more political support as well which is another factor in their favor, which means as we all know (and you point out) its still quite possible for SpaceX to be officially cut out entirely from commercial crew operations.
(How Congress would handle having NASA ok a "visit" by a non-contracted Dragon-V2 while Boeing still has yet to launch anything at all it an interesting scenerio I like to contemplate at times like this :) )

Randy
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Elmar Moelzer on 09/20/2014 01:11 AM
As noted Boeing's space experiance is quite recent AND relevent. It's not "nonsense" in any sense of the word it is how things are arranged. Boeing has more political support as well which is another factor in their favor, which means as we all know (and you point out) its still quite possible for SpaceX to be officially cut out entirely from commercial crew operations.
(How Congress would handle having NASA ok a "visit" by a non-contracted Dragon-V2 while Boeing still has yet to launch anything at all it an interesting scenerio I like to contemplate at times like this :) )
Would be interesting to see how congress will get the public to be happy about them cutting the "American Human Space Program" in half. I am sure there would be quite an outcry and rightfully so. NASA selected the two for a reason. If congress wants to cut it in half, they will have to carry the blowback in public opinion. But then, congress already has the lowest approval rating of all time and they don't seem to care...
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: cambrianera on 09/20/2014 05:30 PM
Someone remember the picture with the milling marks on some barrels?
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=35364.msg1245792#msg1245792

It is the second stage.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: mgfitter on 09/20/2014 07:12 PM
What are all those little bumps on the stage structure?

-MG.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Dave G on 09/21/2014 12:40 PM
I'd just like to review SpaceX's track record for the Falcon series.

To be clear, reliability is not about test flights.  It's about the percentage of mission successes after the first successful test flight.

With this in mind:

Falcon 1:
First successful test flight: September 2008
Missions after first successful test flight: 1
Track record: 1:1

Falcon 9 v1.0:
First successful test flight: June 2010
Missions after first successful test flight: 4
Track record: 4:4

Falcon 9 v1.1:
First successful test flight: September 2013
Missions after first successful test flight: 7
Track record: 7:7 (so far)

Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: symbios on 09/21/2014 01:19 PM
To be correct you have to say primary missions since the have a failure in a secondary mission in the beginning when an engine exploded. (Orbicomm test satellite)
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Mader Levap on 09/21/2014 04:35 PM
To be clear, reliability is not about test flights.  It's about the percentage of mission successes after the first successful test flight.
Nice excuse to not include first three F1 failures.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: docmordrid on 09/21/2014 04:57 PM
To be clear, reliability is not about test flights.  It's about the percentage of mission successes after the first successful test flight.
Nice excuse to not include first three F1 failures.

Would you include Jupiter and Redstone in Saturn I/IB success rates? The latter was derived from the formers, but clearly a different beast. Ditto for Falcon 1 and Falcon 9.

IMO, Falcon 9 (both versions) should be judged on its own cumulative merits - not including flights of what was obviously a testbed that only flew payloads to defray development costs. Insisting on rolling F1 and F9  together is a transparent  effort to diminish the latter.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Lars-J on 09/21/2014 05:13 PM

To be clear, reliability is not about test flights.  It's about the percentage of mission successes after the first successful test flight.
Nice excuse to not include first three F1 failures.

Would you include Jupiter and Redstone in Saturn I/IB success rates? The latter was derived from the formers, but clearly a different beast. Ditto for Falcon 1 and Falcon 9.

IMO, Falcon 9 (both versions) should be judged on its own cumulative merits - not including flights of what was obviously a testbed that only flew payloads to defray development costs. Insisting on rolling F1 and F9  together is a transparent  effort to diminish the latter.

You missed his point - that the poster was trying to not count the three failed F1 flights against the F1 success ratio.

Of course F1 failures do not count against either F9 version.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Lar on 09/21/2014 05:25 PM
Are things supposed to work right on the first try? I don't count aborts of my programs, while I am developing them, against the program reliability.  Only aborts after I declare I am "done"

So I think not counting launch failures before the first successful one is fair. (for one style of metric) ... there may be use from calculating how many failures it took to get to success when evaluating development methodology and developer efficiency, though.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Dave G on 09/21/2014 06:00 PM
To be clear, reliability is not about test flights.  It's about the percentage of mission successes after the first successful test flight.
Nice excuse to not include first three F1 failures.

I'm also not counting the F9R rocket that exploded in Texas last month.  That was a test flight. 

My point is that test flights are not typically counted as part of a rocket's track record.

Note that the first Falcon 9 v1.1 launch from Vandenberg was also a test flight.  I didn't count that either.  If I remember correctly, at the time, Elon Musk didn't give it high odds for success.  Much of the rocket design was new.  Any 3rd party that launches payloads on test flights should know the risk.  MDA launched CASSIOPE on this flight.  The contract price was discounted by 80%.  MDA knew the risk.  If this flight had failed, I wouldn't have counted it as part of their track record.  The flight happened to succeed, but since it was a test flight, I didn't count it.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: meekGee on 09/21/2014 06:02 PM
There's a huge difference between (to pick a number) "First 5 failed, and the next consecutive 15 worked" and "Statistically, 5 out of 20 fails".

Both are "correct", but the second is misleading if you're going to use the statement to predict the likelihood of future failures.

Same with the secondary "failure" on CRS1.  Of course it was failure to deliver the secondary payload, but because it was a choice made because of ISS intersecting orbits, it only affects future failure probability if the same set of circumstances arises again.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Eric Hedman on 09/21/2014 06:06 PM
NY Times cartoon about space privatization:

http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2012/07/08/opinion/sunday/the-strip.html?action=click&pgtype=Homepage&version=Moth-Visible&module=inside-nyt-region&region=inside-nyt-region&WT.nav=inside-nyt-region&_r=0#1 (http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2012/07/08/opinion/sunday/the-strip.html?action=click&pgtype=Homepage&version=Moth-Visible&module=inside-nyt-region&region=inside-nyt-region&WT.nav=inside-nyt-region&_r=0#1)

Of course they have to put their political spin on it.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Lar on 09/21/2014 06:29 PM
NY Times cartoon about space privatization:

http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2012/07/08/opinion/sunday/the-strip.html?action=click&pgtype=Homepage&version=Moth-Visible&module=inside-nyt-region&region=inside-nyt-region&WT.nav=inside-nyt-region&_r=0#1 (http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2012/07/08/opinion/sunday/the-strip.html?action=click&pgtype=Homepage&version=Moth-Visible&module=inside-nyt-region&region=inside-nyt-region&WT.nav=inside-nyt-region&_r=0#1)

Of course they have to put their political spin on it.

Amazingly lame. And probably off topic for this thread, although I'm glad you found it and shared it! (where to move it to? hmm..)
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: JamesH on 09/21/2014 07:18 PM
I thought a lot about that unfortunate event taking place in Texas, culminating with the self-destruct of a F9R. The explanation that came from SpaceX was:

"I can tell you that it certainly looks like it was basically a single-point failure that existed on that test article that does not exist on the Falcon 9," Reisman said. "We think it was a failure of a single sensor, and Falcon 9 has multiple sensors in its algorithm that it uses. So if the same failure occurred on the Falcon 9 it would not affect the mission in any way."

That, in my humble opinion was a major, inexcusable mistake from the side of SpaceX, especially at the time of being involved in the certification process with NASA and US Air Force. That mistake may cost SpaceX a lot more than they would've spent on using a regular Falcon 9R in that process.

Finding yourself at this point on the course of such job of great importance, you do not cut corners. I hope they got their lesson now and they will take the steps that will avoid any such mishap in the future.

Razvan this doesn't make any sense. The F-9R Dev1 was a deliberately stripped down test article. How do you get from that to major inexcusable mistake and great importance?

@JBF,
Under normal circumstances I would have 100% agreed with you. But when you try to get certified your working horse for USAF particularly, it makes the whole picture totaly different.
With such a customer, for such missions, where every thing is looked at from a million angles and any word, work, absolutely everything is dissected to the micron, you owe to be perfect, no mistake, no reason to cause a raised eyebrow, worry, doubt, etc.
SpaceX needs to convince special people about very special things that require special qualities, extraordinary performance from A to Z.
I like SpaceX and Elon Musk and I wish them all the big successes in the world but to do now what they try to do requires 100% focus an NO MISTAKE.

If you were buying a car, would knowledge of a failure in a pre-production test vehicle with a different engine, different EM electronics and different suspension affect your purchase decision of the final product?
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: meekGee on 09/21/2014 07:42 PM
NY Times cartoon about space privatization:

http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2012/07/08/opinion/sunday/the-strip.html?action=click&pgtype=Homepage&version=Moth-Visible&module=inside-nyt-region&region=inside-nyt-region&WT.nav=inside-nyt-region&_r=0#1 (http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2012/07/08/opinion/sunday/the-strip.html?action=click&pgtype=Homepage&version=Moth-Visible&module=inside-nyt-region&region=inside-nyt-region&WT.nav=inside-nyt-region&_r=0#1)

Of course they have to put their political spin on it.

Amazingly lame. And probably off topic for this thread, although I'm glad you found it and shared it! (where to move it to? hmm..)

Yeah, it's not even not funny.

But anthropologically speaking, private space has made into the general comic section - yay!  (eyeroll)

---

Next flight is presumably the "landing flight" right?  (Either Orbcomm or CRS5)?  Or is it solely CRS 5?

I think the first real "viewable" footage of a landing rocket will resonate far into public consciousness.  GH flights were pretty, but they were clearly "practice" runs.  The landing flight will be very important in that respect.  Seeing is believing.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: The Amazing Catstronaut on 09/21/2014 08:31 PM
Seeing is also yet another stock valuation hike and another load of Bloomberg articles prospecting over the chances of Space X going public - which luckily for the human race, isn't going to occur until there's another generation of people around to witness The Most Memorable Day in Human History, minus any possible far-future shenanigans.

Elon has stated that if SpaceX doesn't ascend to reusability, he will have considered the whole project a failure. Perhaps that self-standard is rather extreme, but I have a feeling there's a lot more at stake in those fragile landing struts than meets the eye. A multi planetary humanity within our times, for one.

The F9 will go down in history. Perhaps not for its glamour, but for what it achieved.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Mader Levap on 09/21/2014 11:31 PM
To be clear, reliability is not about test flights.  It's about the percentage of mission successes after the first successful test flight.
Nice excuse to not include first three F1 failures.
I'm also not counting the F9R rocket that exploded in Texas last month.
Now you are mixing apples and oranges pretty deliberately. In general, I find your calculations dishonest.

My point is that test flights are not typically counted as part of a rocket's track record.
They do.

The flight happened to succeed, but since it was a test flight, I didn't count it.
So what? You traded three falied flights of F1 for one less successful flight to count in each of three categories. No big loss, as you want to "show" 100% of success rate by shuffling numbers, nothing else. It resembles numerology and is basically worthless.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Mongo62 on 09/21/2014 11:59 PM
You want it simple? This is as simple as you could wish for:

Falcon 1 : 3 launch failures, followed by 2 successful launches.
Falcon 9v1 : 5 consecutive successful launches.
Falcon 9v1.1 : 8 consecutive successful launches to date.

All launchers: 3 launch failures, followed by 15 consecutive successful launches to date.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: meekGee on 09/22/2014 12:11 AM
You want it simple? This is as simple as you could wish for:

Falcon 1 : 3 launch failures, followed by 2 successful launches.
Falcon 9v1 : 5 consecutive successful launches.
Falcon 9v1.1 : 8 consecutive successful launches to date.

All launchers: 3 launch failures, followed by 15 consecutive successful launches to date.
:)
The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth...
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: edkyle99 on 09/22/2014 01:08 AM
You want it simple? This is as simple as you could wish for:

Falcon 1 : 3 launch failures, followed by 2 successful launches.
Falcon 9v1 : 5 consecutive successful launches.
Falcon 9v1.1 : 8 consecutive successful launches to date.

All launchers: 3 launch failures, followed by 15 consecutive successful launches to date.
:)
The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth...
And the truth needs to include the lost customer payload on Falcon 9 Flight No. 4.  By anyone's definition of success, Flight No. 4 was not a 100% success, and thus the original Falcon 9 cannot claim a spotless "5 for 5" record.  One of its two payloads was injected into a low orbit and was destroyed on reentry after two days.  For Orbcomm it was a 100% failure.

 - Ed Kyle
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: meekGee on 09/22/2014 01:21 AM
You want it simple? This is as simple as you could wish for:

Falcon 1 : 3 launch failures, followed by 2 successful launches.
Falcon 9v1 : 5 consecutive successful launches.
Falcon 9v1.1 : 8 consecutive successful launches to date.

All launchers: 3 launch failures, followed by 15 consecutive successful launches to date.
:)
The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth...
And the truth needs to include the lost customer payload on Falcon 9 Flight No. 4.  By anyone's definition of success, Flight No. 4 was not a 100% success, and thus the original Falcon 9 cannot claim a spotless "5 for 5" record.  One of its two payloads was injected into a low orbit and was destroyed on reentry after two days.  For Orbcomm it was a 100% failure.

 - Ed Kyle
The disagreement always starts with one line summary statements.

The record is the record.

Calling F9 "100% success" is inaccurate, but IMO much closer to the truth then the other spins I've seen around here.

... And, since this is round 34 of this back-and-forth, I'll bail on it and head out for fish dinner with wife.

<bows, flutters hat, walks backwards out of the room>

Cheers!
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Dave G on 09/22/2014 01:27 AM
Now you are mixing apples and oranges pretty deliberately. In general, I find your calculations dishonest.
No, I'm actually trying to separate apples from oranges.

Test flights are different from mission flights.

Nothing dishonest about it.

For example, look at Project Mercury.  Many test rockets blew up on the pad, but the actual missions were all successful, so most people say Mercury was 100% successful.

There's a huge difference between (to pick a number) "First 5 failed, and the next consecutive 15 worked" and "Statistically, 5 out of 20 fails".

Both are "correct", but the second is misleading if you're going to use the statement to predict the likelihood of future failures.

Yes, exactly. 

Including test flight success or failure in the track record is misleading, which is why I didn't count any test flights.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: llanitedave on 09/22/2014 01:28 AM
For Orbcomm it was a 100% failure.

That's not what Orbcomm said.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: beancounter on 09/22/2014 03:22 AM
I thought this had all been hashed through over and over.  Are we really revisiting history - again  :-[
Cheers
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: edkyle99 on 09/22/2014 03:55 AM
Now you are mixing apples and oranges pretty deliberately. In general, I find your calculations dishonest.
No, I'm actually trying to separate apples from oranges.

Test flights are different from mission flights.

Nothing dishonest about it.

For example, look at Project Mercury.  Many test rockets blew up on the pad, but the actual missions were all successful, so most people say Mercury was 100% successful.
Consider the effect of your parsing in your own example. 

All Atlas launches together scored a 63% success rate from 1957 until 1963, encompassing 198 launches.  The four manned Mercury Atlas launches succeeded.  Are you suggesting that it is "honest" to say that Mercury Atlas, if it had continued to fly forever, would have had a 100% success rate?  Even NASA knew that wasn't true.  Decision makers in government were wary of continuing the program beyond four flights for that very reason. 

Including the unmanned Mercury Atlas missions would have provided a much more realistic assessment of Atlas success and failure.  There were 10 flights altogether, including the four manned launches.  The result was seven successes and three failures. 

The same can be said of the Redstone results.

BTW, none of the Mercury Atlas failures involved explosions on the launch pad.

Quote
Including test flight success or failure in the track record is misleading, which is why I didn't count any test flights.

I believe that not including them is misleading.

 - Ed Kyle
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Lar on 09/22/2014 04:03 AM
Could we not get into interminable wrangling about how to count successes on this thread? There are other threads for that I think. Please stay focused. And be excellent to each other. No casting aspersions on the motives of other posters.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: meekGee on 09/22/2014 04:05 AM
Yes, this is necro-threading to the Nth degree.

Nothing to do till the next launch, now that F9Rd1 is no longer with us.  We need that flight rate!

I'd rather speculate on the barge.  Or on DragonFly.   Did we ever hear whether DragonFly will do anything before the pad abort test?
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Comga on 09/22/2014 06:07 AM
When was the last time anyone at Boeing developed a spacecraft? 
Series 702 Satellites? Pretty current I would say.

X-37, Orbital Express, SBSS, GPS-IIF, etc

Nit: Boeing didn't develop the SBSS Space Vehicle.  That was Ball Aerospace.   Technically it was in partnership with Boeing, but Boeing didn't do any of the major system on either the spacecraft or payload.

The others, sure.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: R.Simko on 09/25/2014 10:04 PM
Does Dragon 2 have more useable interior space than Dragon 1, if so, how much?   Thanks
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: sojourner on 09/25/2014 10:49 PM
Does Dragon 2 have more useable interior space than Dragon 1, if so, how much?   Thanks

I believe they use the same pressure vessel. So, in that respect, no, it does not have more useable interior space.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: baldusi on 09/26/2014 02:22 AM

Does Dragon 2 have more useable interior space than Dragon 1, if so, how much?   Thanks

I believe they use the same pressure vessel. So, in that respect, no, it does not have more useable interior space.
I believe the bottom is some 30cm longer. And the top is different, of course.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: R.Simko on 09/26/2014 01:52 PM
Thanks for the answers, from the pictures, it had looked a lot bigger to me.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Lars-J on 09/26/2014 03:15 PM


Does Dragon 2 have more useable interior space than Dragon 1, if so, how much?   Thanks

I believe they use the same pressure vessel. So, in that respect, no, it does not have more useable interior space.
I believe the bottom is some 30cm longer. And the top is different, of course.

Source? From all pictures and diagrams I have seen, thee bottom of the pressure hull is identical for both versions.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Comga on 10/03/2014 04:41 AM
Musk to Mars video on The Weather Channel (http://www.weather.com/video/a-million-people-on-mars-54211) has a few bits of video that I have not seen, like slow motion of the TEL latch and umbilical releases.
The first is reminiscent of the old Saturn V slow motion with the flaking and falling frost.
Have others seen these?
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: ugordan on 10/03/2014 08:12 AM
Have others seen these?

Yeah. It's taken from this video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ujX6CuRELFE
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: ChrisWilson68 on 10/03/2014 11:42 AM


Does Dragon 2 have more useable interior space than Dragon 1, if so, how much?   Thanks

I believe they use the same pressure vessel. So, in that respect, no, it does not have more useable interior space.
I believe the bottom is some 30cm longer. And the top is different, of course.

Source? From all pictures and diagrams I have seen, thee bottom of the pressure hull is identical for both versions.

From Chris B's article "SpaceX show off their Falcon and Dragon nurseries":

Quote
According to L2 information, the only noticeable differences in the Crew Dragon weldment are that the aft cylinder is a few inches longer than on Cargo, and there are clevises machined into the edge of the forward bulkhead to receive SuperDraco thrusters.

http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2013/09/spacex-falcon-and-dragon-nurseries/
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Roy_H on 10/03/2014 11:21 PM
Does Dragon 2 have more useable interior space than Dragon 1, if so, how much?   Thanks

Aside from the minor height difference noted above, what we have seen is like a house under construction which has outer walls and framing but no wiring, plumbing, drywall, cupboards etc. So the answer has to include a definition of "useable space". As part of the changes for creature comforts, the DV2 will have a bathroom, ECLS, cooking facilities (probably just a microwave, small fridge, and a cupboard). Do you count these as useable space?
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: yg1968 on 10/04/2014 01:29 AM
Here is a very good article on Musk and Mars:
http://aeon.co/magazine/technology/the-elon-musk-interview-on-mars/
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: joek on 10/04/2014 02:04 AM
Here is a very good article on Musk and Mars:
http://aeon.co/magazine/technology/the-elon-musk-interview-on-mars/
Thanks! A very good read.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: ChrisWilson68 on 10/04/2014 07:03 AM
Does Dragon 2 have more useable interior space than Dragon 1, if so, how much?   Thanks

Aside from the minor height difference noted above, what we have seen is like a house under construction which has outer walls and framing but no wiring, plumbing, drywall, cupboards etc. So the answer has to include a definition of "useable space". As part of the changes for creature comforts, the DV2 will have a bathroom, ECLS, cooking facilities (probably just a microwave, small fridge, and a cupboard). Do you count these as useable space?

What's your source for claiming Dragon V2 is going to have all that?

I've seen a lot of people speculating that lots of other things will go into Dragon V2 so what we have seen isn't the final version because it doesn't have all the things they imagine it will have.  But, so far, I haven't seen any evidence that any of that speculation is true.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Nindalf on 10/04/2014 05:12 PM
It's not meant for long stays.  The "bathroom" can consist of basically a mylar sheet and a wet/dry dustbuster, so one shoebox for that.  The fridge and microwave are unnecessary, so another shoebox for sammiches and juiceboxes.

I'm exaggerating, but not much.  For what you really need for backup creature comforts on a maximum ~60-hour voyage, if the ~5-hour fast-rendezvous doesn't come together, you're basically talking about the volume of a foot locker in a fair-sized room.  In routine situations, good planning should avoid any need to open the suits or leave the chairs between pad and station, and vice versa.  The space can't be cluttered because of passenger safety in launch abort and alternative landing mode situations.

ECLS can be smallish, passive "air freshener" type devices, to chemically soak up excess moisture (any desiccant), to exchange CO2 for O2 (lithium peroxide or sodium peroxide), and to absorb or mask any unpleasant-smelling compounds generated by the human body.  Thermal management is a whole-craft task, and presumably maintaining a suitable temperature inside the pressure vessel is handled from outside the pressure vessel.

They might put some protective coating on the bare metal walls and exposed pipes/conduits and wiring, but other than that, I think the 7-passenger version will look very much as it did at the unveiling, with the floor or lower walls a little closer in and with some doors and vents.  The 4-passenger NASA version, of course, will have less chairs and presumably a substantial cargo area behind/below the seats.

A long-mission variant would likely have more creature comforts.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: docmordrid on 10/04/2014 08:00 PM
It's not meant for long stays. 
>
A long-mission variant would likely have more creature comforts.

I would think some sort of BEAM-ish mission module may be useful for longer trips, perhaps a lunar jaunt of some kind, but how to stow and deploy it seems complicated.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Nindalf on 10/04/2014 08:30 PM
It's not meant for long stays. 
>
A long-mission variant would likely have more creature comforts.

I would think some sort of BEAM-ish mission module may be useful for longer trips, perhaps a lunar jaunt of some kind, but how to stow and deploy it seems complicated.
For Apollo missions, they'd turn the CSM around and dock it after launch.  No reason they can't do this with Dragon V2.

BEAM would be very handy for a lot of potential Dragon V2 uses, particularly since it's designed to function as an airlock and can go up in the trunk.

What I'd really like to see is a tether centrifuge demo, where they send up the Dragon V2 with a BEAM and a tether in the trunk, turn the Dragon V2 around, dock with the BEAM (still attached to the upper stage, deploy the tether (separating the BEAM from the upper stage, with the tether attached to both), and spin the whole thing up to lunar or Mars gravity with the upper stage as a counterweight.  Should be alright for two people in LEO with a decent internet connection, especially if they're a couple, and you can get data on the long-term physiological effects of lunar or Mars gravity, see how much healthier than stay than zero-g.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: llanitedave on 10/04/2014 10:17 PM
It's not meant for long stays. 
>
A long-mission variant would likely have more creature comforts.

I would think some sort of BEAM-ish mission module may be useful for longer trips, perhaps a lunar jaunt of some kind, but how to stow and deploy it seems complicated.
For Apollo missions, they'd turn the CSM around and dock it after launch.  No reason they can't do this with Dragon V2.

BEAM would be very handy for a lot of potential Dragon V2 uses, particularly since it's designed to function as an airlock and can go up in the trunk.

What I'd really like to see is a tether centrifuge demo, where they send up the Dragon V2 with a BEAM and a tether in the trunk, turn the Dragon V2 around, dock with the BEAM (still attached to the upper stage, deploy the tether (separating the BEAM from the upper stage, with the tether attached to both), and spin the whole thing up to lunar or Mars gravity with the upper stage as a counterweight.  Should be alright for two people in LEO with a decent internet connection, especially if they're a couple, and you can get data on the long-term physiological effects of lunar or Mars gravity, see how much healthier than stay than zero-g.

I like it.  That'd be a good mission for a Falcon Heavy and Dragonlab.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: ChrisWilson68 on 10/04/2014 10:38 PM
It's not meant for long stays. 
>
A long-mission variant would likely have more creature comforts.

I would think some sort of BEAM-ish mission module may be useful for longer trips, perhaps a lunar jaunt of some kind, but how to stow and deploy it seems complicated.
For Apollo missions, they'd turn the CSM around and dock it after launch.  No reason they can't do this with Dragon V2.

BEAM would be very handy for a lot of potential Dragon V2 uses, particularly since it's designed to function as an airlock and can go up in the trunk.

What I'd really like to see is a tether centrifuge demo, where they send up the Dragon V2 with a BEAM and a tether in the trunk, turn the Dragon V2 around, dock with the BEAM (still attached to the upper stage, deploy the tether (separating the BEAM from the upper stage, with the tether attached to both), and spin the whole thing up to lunar or Mars gravity with the upper stage as a counterweight.  Should be alright for two people in LEO with a decent internet connection, especially if they're a couple, and you can get data on the long-term physiological effects of lunar or Mars gravity, see how much healthier than stay than zero-g.

Neither BEAM nor Dragon is designed for those kinds of loads or to make it convenient for people to walk around.

If we're going to do a tether centrifuge demo, lets do it right and build hardware that is designed for it, not try to kludge hardware that was designed for very different purposes.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Llian Rhydderch on 10/05/2014 12:10 AM
It's not meant for long stays. 
>
A long-mission variant would likely have more creature comforts.

I would think some sort of BEAM-ish mission module may be useful for longer trips, perhaps a lunar jaunt of some kind, but how to stow and deploy it seems complicated.
For Apollo missions, they'd turn the CSM around and dock it after launch.  No reason they can't do this with Dragon V2.

BEAM would be very handy for a lot of potential Dragon V2 uses, particularly since it's designed to function as an airlock and can go up in the trunk.

What I'd really like to see is a tether centrifuge demo, where they send up the Dragon V2 with a BEAM and a tether in the trunk, turn the Dragon V2 around, dock with the BEAM (still attached to the upper stage, deploy the tether (separating the BEAM from the upper stage, with the tether attached to both), and spin the whole thing up to lunar or Mars gravity with the upper stage as a counterweight.  Should be alright for two people in LEO with a decent internet connection, especially if they're a couple, and you can get data on the long-term physiological effects of lunar or Mars gravity, see how much healthier than stay than zero-g.

Neither BEAM nor Dragon is designed for those kinds of loads or to make it convenient for people to walk around.

If we're going to do a tether centrifuge demo, lets do it right and build hardware that is designed for it, not try to kludge hardware that was designed for very different purposes.

While it would be hard to disagree with you, if resources were no issue.  Here, however, I think I'd prefer to not let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

If this were to be a privately-funded mission, let whomever decides to do the project set the requirements, procure the equipment, recruit the crew, define the science (or "demonstration") objectives, etc.  Their mission, their problem.

Now, on the other hand, if this is a government-funded mission, where the resources to fund the mission are taken involuntarily from the taxpaying denizens of the country that might undertake such a venture, you are probably right.  The powers that make such decisions to expend resources of the state, in whatever jurisdiction that is done, would likely not approve anything that didn't meet much more stringent requirements.  As a result, the cost would be much higher, and given the general lack of interest by the broad public in taxing themselves to pay for ambitious (and expensive, government-run) spaceflight programs, you are correct, and the variable artificial gravity empirical tests will likely continue to simply not be done at all--for many years into the future.

Since we are talking SpaceX here, and ITAR exists, then we are talking about the US government, and the US taxpaying denizens.  Doesn't change the analysis.  Better to get something done on this front than to wait for the "perfect" solution from the USG.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: ChrisWilson68 on 10/05/2014 02:31 AM
A technology demonstration only makes sense if there is a path forward from the demonstration to something useful.  The "something useful" is definitely not a Dragon and a BEAM separated by a tether.  I really don't see anything useful that can be learned by doing the Dragon/BEAM demo that will apply to a useful follow-on tethered station.  Nearly all the hard part of the demo will be Dragon-specific and BEAM-specific work.  It's a dead end.

Dragon and BEAM will be too cramped and badly-suited for living and working in centrifugal gravity, so we won't learn anything about how well people can live and work in a real tethered station.

Dragon and BEAM tethered and spun would be a stunt and no more.  And a dangerous, difficult stunt at that since neither was designed for these kinds of loads, and a structural failure would risk killing people.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Llian Rhydderch on 10/05/2014 12:35 PM
A technology demonstration only makes sense if there is a path forward from the demonstration to something useful.  The "something useful" is definitely not a Dragon and a BEAM separated by a tether.  I really don't see anything useful that can be learned by doing the Dragon/BEAM demo that will apply to a useful follow-on tethered station.  Nearly all the hard part of the demo will be Dragon-specific and BEAM-specific work.  It's a dead end.

Dragon and BEAM will be too cramped and badly-suited for living and working in centrifugal gravity, so we won't learn anything about how well people can live and work in a real tethered station.

Dragon and BEAM tethered and spun would be a stunt and no more.  And a dangerous, difficult stunt at that since neither was designed for these kinds of loads, and a structural failure would risk killing people.

I think we are in agreement on the particular merits of this proposal; it may be iffy.  ???

I was making the small point that presuppositions of government-funded technology advancement should be thought about more explicitly.  And also that private entities will ultimately fund whatever exploration and learning missions--think the Shackleton expedition (https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Shackleton_expedition)--they think are required.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: ncb1397 on 10/05/2014 06:30 PM
A technology demonstration only makes sense if there is a path forward from the demonstration to something useful.  The "something useful" is definitely not a Dragon and a BEAM separated by a tether.  I really don't see anything useful that can be learned by doing the Dragon/BEAM demo that will apply to a useful follow-on tethered station.  Nearly all the hard part of the demo will be Dragon-specific and BEAM-specific work.  It's a dead end.

Dragon and BEAM will be too cramped and badly-suited for living and working in centrifugal gravity, so we won't learn anything about how well people can live and work in a real tethered station.

Dragon and BEAM tethered and spun would be a stunt and no more.  And a dangerous, difficult stunt at that since neither was designed for these kinds of loads, and a structural failure would risk killing people.

The load would be 1 G. Dragon is suspended from the roof of the factory floor at Hawthorne in 1 G and is fished out of the water with a crane at 1 G.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: llanitedave on 10/05/2014 09:40 PM
Or even 1/3 or 1/6 G, since we're talking about low G research in contrast to zero-G research.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: starsilk on 10/06/2014 04:14 PM
A technology demonstration only makes sense if there is a path forward from the demonstration to something useful.  The "something useful" is definitely not a Dragon and a BEAM separated by a tether.  I really don't see anything useful that can be learned by doing the Dragon/BEAM demo that will apply to a useful follow-on tethered station.  Nearly all the hard part of the demo will be Dragon-specific and BEAM-specific work.  It's a dead end.

it would at the very least allow a comfortable maximum to be determined for the RPM of the spinning pair. there are some numbers out there from previous experiments, but they all have that annoying (*) on them - calculated based on spinning people (almost certainly fighter pilots) in a centrifuge, where there's an additional 1G downward force always present, and also based on very short runtimes. no moving around, no walking, etc.

knowing the maximum RPM that people of different heights, ages, and genders find acceptable at a particular G-level feeds into future designs for spinning vehicles; the lower the RPM required for comfort, the longer the tether (or even solid structure) must be between the two ends of the system.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Maciej Olesinski on 10/10/2014 07:31 PM
Trip Harriss ‏@SpaceXTrip  4 min ago
Something big is coming back.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=th6HQ9RtVCE …


Hurr durr wonder what that could mean.
(hope i posted it in right topic)
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: rpapo on 10/10/2014 07:43 PM
You will notice that video was from three years ago?  It was the teaser for the Falcon Heavy announcement.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Maciej Olesinski on 10/10/2014 10:32 PM
You will notice that video was from three years ago?  It was the teaser for the Falcon Heavy announcement.

Well if You notice it is SpaceX employee saying that. And after that another did replayed "soon".
I know the video is old. What i meant is that there is something going to happen soon (probably regarding FH).
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: rpapo on 10/11/2014 09:57 AM
You will notice that video was from three years ago?  It was the teaser for the Falcon Heavy announcement.

Well if You notice it is SpaceX employee saying that. And after that another did replayed "soon".
I know the video is old. What i meant is that there is something going to happen soon (probably regarding FH).
Could well be, since they have indicated that the cores were in production.  Though I wonder how in the world they will go about doing the launch test when AFAIK 39A is far from ready yet, and the Vandenberg pad has been restored to Falcon 9 configuration for now.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: guckyfan on 10/11/2014 10:05 AM
Well if You notice it is SpaceX employee saying that. And after that another did replayed "soon".
I know the video is old. What i meant is that there is something going to happen soon (probably regarding FH).
Could well be, since they have indicated that the cores were in production.  Though I wonder how in the world they will go about doing the launch test when AFAIK 39A is far from ready yet, and the Vandenberg pad has been restored to Falcon 9 configuration for now.

I would be happy just to see it at the new test stand ready for qualification testing. I would also like to hear confirmation that the test stand is ready.

Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: MP99 on 10/11/2014 10:29 AM
Well if You notice it is SpaceX employee saying that. And after that another did replayed "soon".
I know the video is old. What i meant is that there is something going to happen soon (probably regarding FH).
Could well be, since they have indicated that the cores were in production.  Though I wonder how in the world they will go about doing the launch test when AFAIK 39A is far from ready yet, and the Vandenberg pad has been restored to Falcon 9 configuration for now.

I would be happy just to see it at the new test stand ready for qualification testing. I would also like to hear confirmation that the test stand is ready.
That would be my guess.

Cheers, Martin
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Roy_H on 10/11/2014 03:32 PM
I fail to see any advantage to testing all 3 FH cores at McGregor at once. Why can't they test one core at a time like normal F9s?

Also how is the Vandenberg launch site F9 only? The TE and flame trench are clearly designed for FH so what is F9 specific?
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Jim on 10/11/2014 03:34 PM
I fail to see any advantage to testing all 3 FH cores at McGregor at once. Why can't they test one core at a time like normal F9s?


Cross feed testing
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Roy_H on 10/11/2014 03:43 PM
Cross feed testing

Duh, yeah I missed the obvious. Thanks Jim.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: mfck on 10/11/2014 04:19 PM
I fail to see any advantage to testing all 3 FH cores at McGregor at once. Why can't they test one core at a time like normal F9s?

Also how is the Vandenberg launch site F9 only? The TE and flame trench are clearly designed for FH so what is F9 specific?
The hold-downs config, as reported by Helodriver
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=35480.msg1266887.msg#1266887


Edit: Link added
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: rpapo on 10/11/2014 04:53 PM
Also how is the Vandenberg launch site F9 only? The TE and flame trench are clearly designed for FH so what is F9 specific?
True, but there are other problems.  See L2 for details.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: guckyfan on 10/11/2014 05:56 PM
I fail to see any advantage to testing all 3 FH cores at McGregor at once. Why can't they test one core at a time like normal F9s?

Also how is the Vandenberg launch site F9 only? The TE and flame trench are clearly designed for FH so what is F9 specific?

They build the new test facility for Heavy in McGregor. I suppose they will use it. At least for a qualification test. If they test any FH that way later in operation is another matter.

I am not sure abouta the Vandenberg F9 only. They have done modifications and returned now to F9 configuration. But why not assume that they have prepared for fast configuration changes like they will need later in operations? If they have not yet prepared for that operational capability, they will soon after the in flight abort test.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Nindalf on 10/12/2014 12:20 AM
I fail to see any advantage to testing all 3 FH cores at McGregor at once. Why can't they test one core at a time like normal F9s?


Cross feed testing
Even if they're not doing cross feed, they should confirm that the cores can handle being used together like that, with all the vibrations and heating from 27 engines working so close to each other.  That's not a given.

Remember the enthusiasm for using RS-68s on a shuttle successor, before it was pointed out that they couldn't handle the environment created by the SRBs.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: nimbostratus on 10/12/2014 08:23 AM

Even if they're not doing cross feed, they should confirm that the cores can handle being used together like that, with all the vibrations and heating from 27 engines working so close to each other.  That's not a given.

Remember the enthusiasm for using RS-68s on a shuttle successor, before it was pointed out that they couldn't handle the environment created by the SRBs.

The problem is RS-68 has problem working in parellel, not the influence of the SRBs.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Tomness on 10/12/2014 01:59 PM
Does anybody know if SpaceX could test Falcon 9 first stage on Falcon Heavy Stage Test Mount Rig for extra an extra test rig location.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Jim on 10/12/2014 02:05 PM
1.  Even if they're not doing cross feed, they should confirm that the cores can handle being used together like that, with all the vibrations and heating from 27 engines working so close to each other.  That's not a given.

2.  Remember the enthusiasm for using RS-68s on a shuttle successor, before it was pointed out that they couldn't handle the environment created by the SRBs.

1.  Not a feasible nor a relevant test while bolted down.

2.  Testing wasn't required to determine that.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Nindalf on 10/12/2014 04:38 PM
1.  Even if they're not doing cross feed, they should confirm that the cores can handle being used together like that, with all the vibrations and heating from 27 engines working so close to each other.  That's not a given.

2.  Remember the enthusiasm for using RS-68s on a shuttle successor, before it was pointed out that they couldn't handle the environment created by the SRBs.

1.  Not a feasible nor a relevant test while bolted down.

2.  Testing wasn't required to determine that.
1. It wouldn't catch every failure mode, but it could catch some.  When you're using engines together, you don't just test them in isolation and assume they'll work together.  With 27 engines together, there will be more heat and vibrations than with only 9, even on a test stand.

2. I didn't suggest that it was.  It was an example of an engine which works fine by itself, or in certain combinations, but can't work in a particular arrangement, a reminder that you can't simply play rocket lego.

As I recall it, one of the ways in which the shuttle development schedule was overoptimistic is that they initially planned as if it would be sufficient to test lone SSMEs, even though they were using three close together.  Wiser heads prevailed, and they tested three together, and there had to be some redesign from their vibrations affecting each other.  Then when they used them in actual flight, they had all sorts of unanticipated damage, and it was not possible to refly them without an overhaul (which the orbiter was not designed to accommodate), because they had never managed to perform adequate engine testing, making their assumptions of engine reliability based on mere wishful thinking.

SpaceX does a lot of testing.  Creative and brutal testing, well beyond the usual standard.  Understanding the need for it is one of the things that makes them more competent than the old guard that has only survived on subsidies and cost plus.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Robotbeat on 10/12/2014 05:18 PM
The N-1 also assumed that testing the engines separately (maybe even in groups? Can't remember precisely) would be sufficient and they never tested the stage integrated on the ground. That's one reason it never worked. Falcon heavy has about the same number of engines; it'd be foolhardy for them not to, and they already are building a huge test stand for all three cores at once. Way better to characterize them first on the test stand together than to watch it blow up in flight.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: baldusi on 10/12/2014 07:07 PM
The N-1 couldn't acceptance test the NK-15/19, since they were single use. Thus those were manufactured under ordinance standards: made in batches of eight, three where tested and only if all three worked the other five were accepted.
But more importantly, even once they would have moved to NK-33/43, they didn't have a test stand to test the integrated thrust subsystem. Even once you accepted the 34 engines, they couldn't test the integrated system, which included each engines installation plus assorted piping, until T-0.
In Falcon Heavy case, once they fire accept each core, there's nothing extra to test except the bolts between cores, that won't matter until the are actually integrated at the pad. Of course that if they actually deploy cross feeding, they might want to test it. But a WDR might do that at the pad.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: ugordan on 10/12/2014 07:16 PM
Of course that if they actually deploy cross feeding, they might want to test it. But a WDR might do that at the pad.

A WDR at the pad could not simulate a realistic scenario of propellant feed rate or possible subtle effects caused by actual turbopumps in operation.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: baldusi on 10/12/2014 07:30 PM

Of course that if they actually deploy cross feeding, they might want to test it. But a WDR might do that at the pad.

A WDR at the pad could not simulate a realistic scenario of propellant feed rate or possible subtle effects caused by actual turbopumps in operation.
Thats part of the certification testing. That's what they'll use the new stand for. They'll probably do short and full mission duration acceptance testing of the three cores together. But that will only happen after they have certified the booster's tanks on the dynamic test tank. That's the first thing Texan watchers should be looking for.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Robotbeat on 10/12/2014 07:36 PM
The N-1 couldn't acceptance test the NK-15/19, since they were single use. Thus those were manufactured under ordinance standards: made in batches of eight, three where tested and only if all three worked the other five were accepted.
But more importantly, even once they would have moved to NK-33/43, they didn't have a test stand to test the integrated thrust subsystem. Even once you accepted the 34 engines, they couldn't test the integrated system, which included each engines installation plus assorted piping, until T-0.
In Falcon Heavy case, once they fire accept each core, there's nothing extra to test except the bolts between cores, that won't matter until the are actually integrated at the pad. Of course that if they actually deploy cross feeding, they might want to test it. But a WDR might do that at the pad.
I totally disagree. There's a LOT of acoustic energy with that amount of thrust, the whole rocket should be tested at once through a full mission cycle. Especially for the Heavy, they have a really demanding customer (NRO) who isn't price-sensitive enough to even bother looking at them unless they have excellent reliability, so they need to make sure it works first time.

Sure, if you can accept the first three launches having about a 50/50 reliability expectation like the usual launch industry standard, then testing each booster separately might be fine. SpaceX has higher standards and competitors (ULA) with too long of a track record for them to do anything but succeed with the first launches (or be laughed out of the room).
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: ugordan on 10/12/2014 07:47 PM

Of course that if they actually deploy cross feeding, they might want to test it. But a WDR might do that at the pad.

A WDR at the pad could not simulate a realistic scenario of propellant feed rate or possible subtle effects caused by actual turbopumps in operation.
Thats part of the certification testing. That's what they'll use the new stand for.

I know. I was only replying to your WDR comment.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: baldusi on 10/13/2014 01:28 AM

The N-1 couldn't acceptance test the NK-15/19, since they were single use. Thus those were manufactured under ordinance standards: made in batches of eight, three where tested and only if all three worked the other five were accepted.
But more importantly, even once they would have moved to NK-33/43, they didn't have a test stand to test the integrated thrust subsystem. Even once you accepted the 34 engines, they couldn't test the integrated system, which included each engines installation plus assorted piping, until T-0.
In Falcon Heavy case, once they fire accept each core, there's nothing extra to test except the bolts between cores, that won't matter until the are actually integrated at the pad. Of course that if they actually deploy cross feeding, they might want to test it. But a WDR might do that at the pad.
I totally disagree. There's a LOT of acoustic energy with that amount of thrust, the whole rocket should be tested at once through a full mission cycle. Especially for the Heavy, they have a really demanding customer (NRO) who isn't price-sensitive enough to even bother looking at them unless they have excellent reliability, so they need to make sure it works first time.

Sure, if you can accept the first three launches having about a 50/50 reliability expectation like the usual launch industry standard, then testing each booster separately might be fine. SpaceX has higher standards and competitors (ULA) with too long of a track record for them to do anything but succeed with the first launches (or be laughed out of the room).
I believe we are not differentiating between the certification of the design, and the standard acceptance procedure once the rocket is deployed. And by certification I mean the SpaceX set of tests and procedures that the company will perform before the inaugural flight to make sure that it will be ready for debut. I do not mean USAF, NASA or NRO certification.
The certification process will probably include an acceptance firing of each core, plus a short duration and a full duration firing of the wholly integrated three cores on the new test stand. Then they'll have to commission  the launch pad, which in this case will probably be LC-39A, thus they'll probably do a dry dress rehearsal, a wet dress rehearsal and a hot fire before the inaugural flight.
From all this process they'll have validated all their models and engineering analysis. They'll probably find some areas of concern and develop mitigation strategies or straight redesigns. So, for operative missions standard core acceptance firing and WDR to test integrated cross feeding valving should be enough.
Regarding USAF and NRO mission assurance procedures, they are probably a lot of oversight and extra checking. They'll impose their SOP on SpaceX processes. Even Delta IV Heavy don't do hot fires.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Robotbeat on 10/13/2014 01:49 AM
Right, SpaceX is the only company that acceptance tests their stages, but that conservatism has served them well. After all, they claim that fast reuse will be cheap, so what's a little acceptance test, right?
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: guckyfan on 10/13/2014 07:34 AM
@Baldusi

Love your Reply #291, very clear analysis.

There is one point I am looking forward to see how they do it in the operational phase. I believe doing acceptance testing with the whole stack may not be necessary. But will they think it easier to do 3 acceptance tests for 3 boosters or see it easier to stack all three, do acceptance test firing and destack for transport? It will be very indicative of their methods of integration.

At some time in the future with lots of experience though I see them drop either the acceptance test firing in McGregor or the hotfire at the pad.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: woods170 on 10/13/2014 08:09 AM
I fail to see any advantage to testing all 3 FH cores at McGregor at once. Why can't they test one core at a time like normal F9s?


Cross feed testing
Incorrect. Initial FH's will not have crossfeed however will still be tested at the FH teststand.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Roy_H on 10/13/2014 02:36 PM
I fail to see any advantage to testing all 3 FH cores at McGregor at once. Why can't they test one core at a time like normal F9s?


Cross feed testing
Incorrect. Initial FH's will not have crossfeed however will still be tested at the FH teststand.

Yes, I have read that before. But, for the Air Force acceptance testing they will require 3 flights in the configuration they plan to use. So do all the near-term contracts that SpaceX plans to go after only require the non-crossfeed version? Whenever they do want to qualify the cross-feed version will they do one or more flights with cross-feed even if not required for that flight just to gain acceptance? Will they require an  initial cross-feed flight with a dummy load (at SpaceX expense)? If the latter is true, would it be cheaper for SpaceX to go straight to the cross-feed version for initial proof of capability, and would this eliminate the requirement for a non cross-feed demonstration flight?
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Jim on 10/13/2014 07:57 PM
I fail to see any advantage to testing all 3 FH cores at McGregor at once. Why can't they test one core at a time like normal F9s?


Cross feed testing
Incorrect. Initial FH's will not have crossfeed however will still be tested at the FH teststand.

I just gave "a" reason and not the only reason.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Jim on 10/13/2014 07:58 PM

Yes, I have read that before. But, for the Air Force acceptance testing they will require 3 flights in the configuration they plan to use.

Where does it say that?
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Roy_H on 10/13/2014 09:08 PM

Yes, I have read that before. But, for the Air Force acceptance testing they will require 3 flights in the configuration they plan to use.

Where does it say that?

Well,it doesn't. SpaceX is given several alternative ways to qualify, and it is a trade-off of more flights vs more detailed design inspection by the AF. So far SpaceX has chosen the middle option of 3 flights, plus applicable documents for the F9 V1.1. I think it is a reasonable guess they will do the same for the FH.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Jim on 10/13/2014 11:24 PM

Well,it doesn't. SpaceX is given several alternative ways to qualify, and it is a trade-off of more flights vs more detailed design inspection by the AF. So far SpaceX has chosen the middle option of 3 flights, plus applicable documents for the F9 V1.1. I think it is a reasonable guess they will do the same for the FH.

Spacex doesn't do the cert.  The USAF determines what it will do for cert.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Nindalf on 10/14/2014 12:55 AM

Well,it doesn't. SpaceX is given several alternative ways to qualify, and it is a trade-off of more flights vs more detailed design inspection by the AF. So far SpaceX has chosen the middle option of 3 flights, plus applicable documents for the F9 V1.1. I think it is a reasonable guess they will do the same for the FH.

Spacex doesn't do the cert.  The USAF determines what it will do for cert.
USAF previously offered a range of options to SpaceX as an EELV new entrant.  The more qualifying flights they chose to do, the less paperwork they'd have to do.

Roy_H described it as the "middle option", but if I remember correctly, 3 qualifying flights was actually the minimum (SpaceX chose the maximum paperwork option, and then complained about the amount of paperwork...), and they had to be Falcon 9 1.1s, they couldn't count the 1.0 flights.

I don't know anything about how Falcon Heavy is getting certified, but to assume they'd also need 3 flights before they're eligible to compete for EELV contracts seems like a reasonable guess.  For all I know, they could be counting the Falcon Heavy as a configuration of the Falcon 9 1.1 that doesn't need qualifying flights.  Maybe you're familiar with the details?
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Jim on 10/14/2014 02:35 AM

USAF previously offered a range of options to SpaceX as an EELV new entrant.  The more qualifying flights they chose to do, the less paperwork they'd have to do.


They don't do the paperwork, they just provide it.
One flight is all that is really needed.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: woods170 on 10/14/2014 11:30 AM

USAF previously offered a range of options to SpaceX as an EELV new entrant.  The more qualifying flights they chose to do, the less paperwork they'd have to do.


They don't do the paperwork, they just provide it.
One flight is all that is really needed.
Which makes the 3 required for Falcon 9 v1.1 all the more strange. Can't believe this post of yours.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: mcoconnor on 10/14/2014 04:27 PM
Apparently the bare minimum number of flights for F9 certification was 2.  Perhaps that will be different for FH, but it seems reasonable to assume that the AF's rules will remain the same until we hear differently.  However, given SpaceX's frustration with the pace of the review, perhaps they will chose to go down a path with a higher number of flights and less review work if they think they have customers for a reasonably rapid cadence with FH.

http://www.spacenews.com/article/military-space/40584aerospace-corp-says-it-won%E2%80%99t-cut-corners-on-spacex-certification

And there was this bit from Gen Pawlikowski re the options SpaceX had for certification:

"While sympathetic to the slowness of the process, Pawlikowski said Musk should be aware of what he signed up for. She said Musk signed an agreement with “great, great detail” on what information SpaceX would have to provide.

“The document is actually a little over 200 pages long,” she said. “So there’s not any secrets about what the expectation is to be certified.”

The key to speeding up certification may lie in a decision made early in the process. At the start of certification, a company can choose from four options for the number of launches it will undertake: two, three, six or 14. The more launches, the less technical data it has to submit to the Air Force.

“There is a lot of information that we require to see when you only have three launches versus 14 launches,” Pawlikowski said. “If they had put forward that they wanted to go into that 14-launch column, then we would have required a lot less in-depth understanding of their processes, both manufacturing and design.”

http://www.defensenews.com/article/20140628/DEFREG02/306280021/Despite-Lawsuits-Disagreements-SpaceX-USAF-Moving-Forward
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Arb on 10/14/2014 09:05 PM
“There is a lot of information that we require to see when you only have three launches versus 14 launches,” Pawlikowski said. “If they had put forward that they wanted to go into that 14-launch column, then we would have required a lot less in-depth understanding of their processes, both manufacturing and design.”

SpaceX are now at 13 F9 launches (if memory serves) with another due before Xmas. Perhaps 14 launches would have been the quicker option as things have turned out.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: baldusi on 10/14/2014 09:27 PM
“There is a lot of information that we require to see when you only have three launches versus 14 launches,” Pawlikowski said. “If they had put forward that they wanted to go into that 14-launch column, then we would have required a lot less in-depth understanding of their processes, both manufacturing and design.”

SpaceX are now at 13 F9 launches (if memory serves) with another due before Xmas. Perhaps 14 launches would have been the quicker option as things have turned out.
v1.0 is nothing like the v1.1, so they have launched 8 times, as of right now. But, AIUI Dragon launches don't count, since they lack a fairing and the Dragon attaches directly to the upper stage, thus it doesn't test the payload attachments. But the middle option between 3 and 14 flights was 6 flights, at least in the NASA case for Category 3 certification. But even with perfect hindsight, the 3 launches were done by January, while the sixth compliant flight was done in September. That's a full eight extra months. I don't believe that the work difference would save that much time. As an added benefit, Aerospace Corp will have quite an insight into SpaceX operations and that should help them get confidence in the system and allow some very insightful feedback from the USAF repository of aerospace experience.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Space Ghost 1962 on 10/14/2014 09:38 PM
Shortest time to begin evaluation. Least dependence on events. Longest time of AF involvement as a means to establishing covenant of "in mutual goodwill". Which means, if you don't get dealt with fairly, easier to file against for any aggrievement ...
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: zt on 10/17/2014 07:00 PM
SpaceX posted a new image of Dragon being worked on.

https://twitter.com/SpaceX/status/523184275206582272

Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Norm38 on 10/17/2014 08:13 PM
^^^ And some new information
Quote
With one Dragon at station, several more are getting ready to go up. The early stage Dragon pictured here is one of 8 now in work on the factory floor.

The CRS contract said 12 cargo missions minimum.  With 4 already launched (not counting demos) and CRS-5's Dragon done, that means a total of 13 Dragons as of right now.  I'm assuming these are all V1 Dragons, that they haven't started any production yet of V2 hardware beyond the first proto.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: oiorionsbelt on 10/17/2014 09:16 PM
Darth Vader, Boba Fett and Ewoks with hard hats in the managers office of that picture.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: oiorionsbelt on 10/17/2014 09:19 PM
^^^ And some new information
Quote
With one Dragon at station, several more are getting ready to go up. The early stage Dragon pictured here is one of 8 now in work on the factory floor.

The CRS contract said 12 cargo missions minimum.  With 4 already launched (not counting demos) and CRS-5's Dragon done, that means a total of 13 Dragons as of right now.  I'm assuming these are all V1 Dragons, that they haven't started any production yet of V2 hardware beyond the first proto.
I would assume that some are D2's with the abort tests coming up and there is at least the one that was unveiled.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: kevinof on 10/17/2014 09:36 PM
Can't remember if the V1 has a hatch/access on the side but the one in the photo has one. Is it a V1?

Edit: Never mind. It's a V1
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: oiorionsbelt on 10/17/2014 10:29 PM
Doh!! That's a D2 in the picture :) Window
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Tomness on 10/17/2014 10:57 PM
SpaceX posted a new image of Dragon being worked on.

https://twitter.com/SpaceX/status/523184275206582272

Is that Falcon Heavy on the far left showing her leg?
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Lars-J on 10/17/2014 11:19 PM
Doh!! That's a D2 in the picture :) Window

Huh? Both Dragon's in the picture are v1/cargo Dragons.

Is that Falcon Heavy on the far left showing her leg?

Possible, but it could be any regular F9 stage too. The images like this that they release are usually weeks or months old.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Llian Rhydderch on 10/17/2014 11:23 PM
There is a fabulous video released by NASA today with fantastic thermal imaging of the stage separation of a F( first stage from the second stage.  The video also has extensive shots of the various burns of the controlled-descent tests for the reusable Falcon 9, so I've started a thread over here  in the SpaceX Reusable Rockets Section (http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=35869.0) of the forums.

UPDATE: Another thread got started for it here: http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=35870.0 (http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=35870.0) in the main section, as well as some initial discussion in the CRS-4 mission-specific thread.

However, the stage separation may be of interest to the general Falcon 9 crowd, even if you are uninterested in the reusable vehicle test program going on after separation, so thought I should mention it here.


Edited to update thread location.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: yg1968 on 10/17/2014 11:28 PM
Doh!! That's a D2 in the picture :) Window

Windows are oval. So it's not a window. Probably a hatch.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: oiorionsbelt on 10/18/2014 01:18 AM
Doh!! That's a D2 in the picture :) Window

Windows are oval. So it's not a window. Probably a hatch.
Double doh, thought I'd deleted that before posting it, but apparently not. :)
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Norm38 on 10/18/2014 03:04 AM
I would assume that some are D2's with the abort tests coming up and there is at least the one that was unveiled.

The one that was unveiled IS the one for both abort tests.  And that one shouldn't be  on the factory floor anymore at this point.  It should be in TX or FL by now.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: JBF on 10/18/2014 03:24 AM
I would assume that some are D2's with the abort tests coming up and there is at least the one that was unveiled.

The one that was unveiled IS the one for both abort tests.  And that one shouldn't be  on the factory floor anymore at this point.  It should be in TX or FL by now.

That is incorrect, parts of the one unveiled will be used for the abort tests as stated by Mr. Musk.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Norm38 on 10/18/2014 12:31 PM
^^^Let's not mince words. The pressure vessel is the same. They weren't done outfitting it in May, but that V2 is the abort flight article. It's not one of the eight on the factory floor at this point - which are all new pressure vessels being built.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: cambrianera on 10/18/2014 12:50 PM
SpaceX posted a new image of Dragon being worked on.

https://twitter.com/SpaceX/status/523184275206582272

Is that Falcon Heavy on the far left showing her leg?

My guess is second stage (and no way to say if F9 or FH).
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Herb Schaltegger on 10/18/2014 06:55 PM
Did you guys read the stenciling on the big blue shipping box in the foreground, very near the Dragon in the middle of the pic? Interesting ...
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: llanitedave on 10/18/2014 07:42 PM
"TEST FWD HATCH"

Not sure what it really means, whether it's a device to test the hatch seal, whether it's a hatch simulator, or whether it's a tested hatch ready for installation.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: MP99 on 10/18/2014 08:07 PM
^^^Let's not mince words. The pressure vessel is the same. They weren't done outfitting it in May, but that V2 is the abort flight article. It's not one of the eight on the factory floor at this point - which are all new pressure vessels being built.

Do we know some of those aren't being outfitted, rather than built.

cheers, Martin
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: oiorionsbelt on 10/18/2014 09:37 PM
I would assume that some are D2's with the abort tests coming up and there is at least the one that was unveiled.

The one that was unveiled IS the one for both abort tests.  And that one shouldn't be  on the factory floor anymore at this point.  It should be in TX or FL by now.
^^^Let's not mince words. The pressure vessel is the same. They weren't done outfitting it in May, but that V2 is the abort flight article. It's not one of the eight on the factory floor at this point - which are all new pressure vessels being built.
You seem pretty sure Norm38, but aren't there two Dragon 2's in this picture? They are on the far side of the aisle, and are distinguishable by the smaller round opening at the top for the docking adapter. The Dragons on the near side of the aisle have the openings for the CBM's
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: mr. mark on 10/18/2014 09:47 PM
I don't think those are Dragon V2's. The profile line looks completely different than what was shown at the unveiling.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: oiorionsbelt on 10/18/2014 09:53 PM
I don't think those are Dragon V2's. The profile line looks completely different than what was shown at the unveiling.
They aren't Dragon v1's that's for sure, given they don't have CBM sized openings. It could be that they are just not finished and therefore look different than the completed article.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: oiorionsbelt on 10/18/2014 10:03 PM
Or perhaps they were an interim version for the parachute drop test. Dragon v.1 with docking adapter interface and nose cone and the parachutes mounted as they would for Dragon 2 ???
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: oiorionsbelt on 10/18/2014 10:23 PM
This has got me wondering. Do the Super Dracos have any impact on the interior shape of the pressure vessel or are they more or less attached to the outside?
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: 411rocket on 10/19/2014 01:15 AM
"TEST FWD HATCH"

Not sure what it really means, whether it's a device to test the hatch seal, whether it's a hatch simulator, or whether it's a tested hatch ready for installation.

My WAG, is for fit & function testing, Pressure tests of the pressure hull, with it installed. Before swap out for, the flight one & heading to the clean room. 
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Lars-J on 10/19/2014 06:47 AM

This has got me wondering. Do the Super Dracos have any impact on the interior shape of the pressure vessel or are they more or less attached to the outside?

The are attached on the outside, that's what the fairings that extend out are covering.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Zardar on 10/19/2014 07:29 AM

This has got me wondering. Do the Super Dracos have any impact on the interior shape of the pressure vessel or are they more or less attached to the outside?

The are attached on the outside, that's what the fairings that extend out are covering.

Hm. That got me thinking. The superdracos do produce a lot of thrust. So, it they are connected to the pressure hull, one would expect a bit of reinforcement to carry the stress without ripping the pressure hull like a beer tin.

So, i looked at the pitures from the crew dragon reveal event, in particular the one with Musk inside the capsule.
http://www.extremetech.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/elon-musk-in-the-dragon-v2.jpg (http://www.extremetech.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/elon-musk-in-the-dragon-v2.jpg)

The super dracos should be mounted outside the hull, just in line-of-sight between his knees.

However,the machined honeycomb doesn't appear to have any extra strength in that area.

So, either the shown crew dragon was just a mock-up, with the superdracos more-or-less duct-taped on, or else the superdracos are actually mounted to some sort of thrust-frame outside the pressure hull.

This frame would probably be joined to the top and bottom structural rings of the capsule, with some vibration isolation, leaving a bit of clearance from the walls of the pressure shell. That approach would also cut down on most of the vibration and noise when the superdracos are firing.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Eerie on 10/19/2014 07:51 AM
Hm. That got me thinking. The superdracos do produce a lot of thrust. So, it they are connected to the pressure hull, one would expect a bit of reinforcement to carry the stress without ripping the pressure hull like a beer tin.

Maybe the pressure hull is designed for superdracos?
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: cambrianera on 10/19/2014 10:31 AM
Superdracos are attached to the frames visible in this detail.
They are not attached directly to the pressure vessel and the thrust is evenly spreaded on a larger surface.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Lars-J on 10/19/2014 07:30 PM
Superdracos are attached to the frames visible in this detail.
They are not attached directly to the pressure vessel and the thrust is evenly spreaded on a larger surface.

Incorrect. The SD's are mounted higher than the Draco's, on the outside of the pressure vessel. (although I'm sure there is some load-spreading attachment) See this image, with the pressurized hull superimposed:
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: cambrianera on 10/19/2014 08:34 PM
Superdracos are attached to the frames visible in this detail.
They are not attached directly to the pressure vessel and the thrust is evenly spreaded on a larger surface.

Incorrect. The SD's are mounted higher than the Draco's, on the outside of the pressure vessel. (although I'm sure there is some load-spreading attachment) See this image, with the pressurized hull superimposed:

Never said they are low mounted, I said where they are attached.
The engine pack has very low attachment points.
This is really important for spreading the forces on the structure.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: oiorionsbelt on 10/19/2014 08:43 PM
In the image of the D2 interior above, what are the four bottles behind the upper two seats?
Are they related to the Super Dracos?
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Lars-J on 10/19/2014 09:02 PM
Superdracos are attached to the frames visible in this detail.
They are not attached directly to the pressure vessel and the thrust is evenly spreaded on a larger surface.

Incorrect. The SD's are mounted higher than the Draco's, on the outside of the pressure vessel. (although I'm sure there is some load-spreading attachment) See this image, with the pressurized hull superimposed:

Never said they are low mounted, I said where they are attached.
The engine pack has very low attachment points.
This is really important for spreading the forces on the structure.

And that attachment points in the SD pair image is *still* above where those structural spacers are.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: cambrianera on 10/19/2014 09:32 PM
That‘s funny...
Nevertheless, directly or through a short pull rod, superdracos are attached to those frames.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Zardar on 10/19/2014 10:10 PM
In the image of the D2 interior above, what are the four bottles behind the upper two seats?
Are they related to the Super Dracos?

Highly unlikely. You don't want superdraco propellent stored inside the cabin, (or any of the propulsion plumbing routed through there)

There's practically no internal fittings present in the unveil Crew Dragon, so as to why SpaceX might specifically fit those 4 bottles to a blank wall is a bit of a mystery.

Two possibilities might be:
1) Some sort of fire extinguishers, in case those carbon fiber seats go up in flames during the demo.
2) Some extra oxygen/air mixture trickling in to keep the cabin air fresher - it might be a bit stuffy in there with no real ECLSS (just in case a worker/visitor gets locked in or something)

Or perhaps they are drinks dispensers for the VIPs  ;D

Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Elmar Moelzer on 10/20/2014 01:06 AM
I think that any Dragon V2 would show the very distinct windows in the pressure hull. The two Dragons with circular docking collars seen in the shop floor, must be some kind of test articles/prototypes, since neither one of them has the correctly shaped windows. I think the one on the left was used for the parachute test. The one on the right might be a structural test article of sorts, or maybe they wanted to test how a docking collar would fit on a dragon pressure vessel and built a prototype for that?
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: darkenfast on 10/20/2014 02:53 AM
Armchair commando guess: the two substantial mountings on the side of the Super Draco pairs connects with a structural riser from one of the wedge-shaped frames that subdivides the "torus" around the lower, narrower part of the pressure hull (the 2.1m diameter section in the drawing above).  Those frames MAY be of slightly different shape than the others because of the outer mold line right there.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: cambrianera on 10/20/2014 02:23 PM
Armchair commando guess: the two substantial mountings on the side of the Super Draco pairs connects with a structural riser from one of the wedge-shaped frames that subdivides the "torus" around the lower, narrower part of the pressure hull (the 2.1m diameter section in the drawing above).  Those frames MAY be of slightly different shape than the others because of the outer mold line right there.

Likely....
Btw, an old image from SpaceX: now egines are clearly a bit higher, but mountings are still close to the service area (the "torus" around the lower, narrower part of the pressure hull, in your post).
Original post of this image: http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=30821.msg1006728#msg1006728
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: IslandPlaya on 10/20/2014 10:59 PM
Left hand image looks like an EM drive...
Just saying...
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Lars-J on 10/21/2014 03:36 AM
Left hand image looks like an EM drive...
Just saying...

I had no idea that a junk science drive looked like a SD engine chamber/nozzle. Who knew?!  ;)
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: corrodedNut on 10/23/2014 12:01 PM
SpaceX update, "SPACEX COMPLETES 100TH MERLIN 1D ENGINE":

http://www.spacex.com/news/2014/10/16/spacex-completes-100th-merlin-1d-engine

High-res photos attached

Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: woods170 on 10/23/2014 12:40 PM
Well, if that isn't revealing then I don't know what.
Eighty engines have flown already. Another ten are on the booster for CRS-5 slated for early December.
Meaning that the engines for the next flight after that have only just finished production.


Meaning that the flight rate of Falcon 9 might actually not have been limited (recently) by the availability of the payloads or the stages, but by the production rate of the engines. Very interesting.


If the production rate is now at 4 per week and going to 5 soon SpaceX will be pumping out Merlin 1D's at a rate of 250 per year. Enough for 25 flights per year. So any limitation in launchrate due to production rate of Merlin 1D's should be going away fairly soon.


Btw: love the pinch at the end the SpaceX release: http://www.spacex.com/news/2014/10/16/spacex-completes-100th-merlin-1d-engine
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Galactic Penguin SST on 10/23/2014 12:48 PM
Well, if that isn't revealing then I don't know what.
Eighty engines have flown already. Another ten are on the booster for CRS-5 slated for early December.
Meaning that the engines for the next flight after that have only just finished production.


Meaning that the flight rate of Falcon 9 might actually not have been limited (recently) by the availability of the payloads or the stages, but by the production rate of the engines. Very interesting.


If the production rate is now at 4 per week and going to 5 soon SpaceX will be pumping out Merlin 1D's at a rate of 250 per year. Enough for 25 flights per year. So any limitation in launchrate due to production rate of Merlin 1D's should be going away fairly soon.


Btw: love the pinch at the end the SpaceX release: http://www.spacex.com/news/2014/10/16/spacex-completes-100th-merlin-1d-engine

Still have a very long road to catch up with the RD-0107 series though.  ;)
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: woods170 on 10/23/2014 12:54 PM
Well, if that isn't revealing then I don't know what.
Eighty engines have flown already. Another ten are on the booster for CRS-5 slated for early December.
Meaning that the engines for the next flight after that have only just finished production.


Meaning that the flight rate of Falcon 9 might actually not have been limited (recently) by the availability of the payloads or the stages, but by the production rate of the engines. Very interesting.


If the production rate is now at 4 per week and going to 5 soon SpaceX will be pumping out Merlin 1D's at a rate of 250 per year. Enough for 25 flights per year. So any limitation in launchrate due to production rate of Merlin 1D's should be going away fairly soon.


Btw: love the pinch at the end the SpaceX release: http://www.spacex.com/news/2014/10/16/spacex-completes-100th-merlin-1d-engine (http://www.spacex.com/news/2014/10/16/spacex-completes-100th-merlin-1d-engine)

Still have a very long road to catch up with the RD-0107 series though.  ;)
Yup. But that's:
A. Not on any ULA vehicle.

Hence no pinching of the RD-0107. Notice they didn't pinch Vulcain either despite the fact that SpaceX Elon Musk loves taking a jab at Arianespace every one-in-a-while
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: schaban on 10/23/2014 01:37 PM
Well, if that isn't revealing then I don't know what.
Eighty engines have flown already. Another ten are on the booster for CRS-5 slated for early December.
Meaning that the engines for the next flight after that have only just finished production.

It also reveals that 10th F9 flight will be in 2015
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Zardar on 10/23/2014 01:43 PM
Meaning that the flight rate of Falcon 9 might actually not have been limited (recently) by the availability of the payloads or the stages, but by the production rate of the engines. Very interesting.

If the production rate is now at 4 per week and going to 5 soon SpaceX will be pumping out Merlin 1D's at a rate of 250 per year. Enough for 25 flights per year. So any limitation in launch rate due to production rate of Merlin 1D's should be going away fairly soon.


The numbers don't add up to a continuous production rate of 4 per week....
If the crs 4 core was shipped to mcgreggor in say mid july (since it was in Florida for the first week in aug), with the ~80th just-manufactured merlin D on it, that means they have manufactured at most 20 more engines in about 12 weeks, or only about 1.6 a week, not 4.

Now, perhaps they mean that 100 engines have been fully stage-qualified and test-fired, which would be true if the CRS-5 stage and one-other stage (Orbcomm or f9-dev2 perhaps?) have completed McGregor workflow.
In which case, they probably have far more than 100 engines assembled, but not test fired and integrated.
Possibly up to 30 more?
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: oldAtlas_Eguy on 10/23/2014 01:59 PM
There is a M1D thread for the updates and discussion.

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=32983.msg1275347#msg1275347 (http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=32983.msg1275347#msg1275347)
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Lars-J on 10/23/2014 05:44 PM
Btw: love the pinch at the end the SpaceX release: http://www.spacex.com/news/2014/10/16/spacex-completes-100th-merlin-1d-engine

Another thing to note at the end of the press releasde:
Quote
The 100th Merlin 1D is slated to fly on a Falcon 9 in early 2015.

That means that there will only be one more flight this year - CRS-5.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: yg1968 on 10/24/2014 12:29 AM
I don't think this video has been posted before:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ASrw-NdtchQ&index=3&list=PLeBmmtjIfCpcgw_i93yZgytAa-QKizgkP
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: QuantumG on 10/24/2014 01:18 AM
Here's my transcript (http://shitelonsays.com/transcript/elon-musk-on-spacex-winning-multi-billion-contract-from-nasa-2014-10-05).
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: vt_hokie on 10/24/2014 01:51 AM
I don't think this video has been posted before:


Thanks for that.  The question about first ISS docking got an honest answer about target date vs realistic date, but what's slated before that?  I gather a manned test flight to LEO is supposed to happen before the first ISS flight.  Is there an unmanned orbital flight first?
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: yg1968 on 10/24/2014 03:09 AM
I don't think this video has been posted before:


Thanks for that.  The question about first ISS docking got an honest answer about target date vs realistic date, but what's slated before that?  I gather a manned test flight to LEO is supposed to happen before the first ISS flight.  Is there an unmanned orbital flight first?

There is an unmanned flight before the ISS flight.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Lar on 10/24/2014 04:16 PM

USAF previously offered a range of options to SpaceX as an EELV new entrant.  The more qualifying flights they chose to do, the less paperwork they'd have to do.


They don't do the paperwork, they just provide it.
One flight is all that is really needed.

I'm not sure there's a meaningful distinction there... SpaceX surely has work to do to prepare what they turn over, they don't just turn over a random stack of stuff.

That said... I've provided paperwork in the past. Usually I find that I don't "do the paperwork"... the "paperwork does me" (in)... :) it is as much or more effort to provide something (even if it's drawing from deliverables I already did) than it is to review it.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: rpapo on 10/24/2014 04:42 PM
It strikes me that the difference between how Boeing (and NASA) works, and how SpaceX works, is very close to the difference between the older software development model (Waterfall) and the currently most popular model (Agile).  In Waterfall, you design everything down to the smallest detail on paper (or virtually, on computer) before you actually "do" anything.  You don't actually get anything to use until the entire process is complete.

In Agile, you start with the bare bones of an idea, prototype it, and then proceed to improve it iteratively.  After any iteration, you have something you can use.

Boeing has probably done close to everything you can do without bending metal.  What they would call all the painful preparation, and what some would call the hard work.  And is it hard, slow work, with few visible results before the very end, when you follow that methodology thoroughly.  And you pray the customer doesn't change the requirements past the very early stages.

As a software developer, I prefer Agile.  You get to see something right away, see the flaws, and fix them while they are still easy to fix.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: MTom on 10/24/2014 06:56 PM
Well, if that isn't revealing then I don't know what.
Eighty engines have flown already. Another ten are on the booster for CRS-5 slated for early December.
Meaning that the engines for the next flight after that have only just finished production.


Meaning that the flight rate of Falcon 9 might actually not have been limited (recently) by the availability of the payloads or the stages, but by the production rate of the engines. Very interesting.


Or they simply don't build up unnecessary stock. The next flight after CRS5 is only in 2015, this is the right time to build the engines for it (which means just in time production)
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Earendil on 10/29/2014 05:53 PM
Hi

As far as I've read, after Dv2 enters service the plan is to still fly Dv1 afterwards for cargo only missions. In the light of what happened to Antares 5, however, wouldn't it be better, if they leave only Dv2 for cargo only missions as well? The advantage being - using LAS in case of emergency and so potentially save valuable cargo..

OK, Dragon V2 might be more expensive to produce, but I imagine ensurance costs would drop  if there is LAS, thus less risk for the cargo..
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Lars-J on 10/29/2014 05:56 PM
Hi

As far as I've read, after Dv2 enters service the plan is to still fly Dv1 afterwards for cargo only missions. In the light of what happened to Antares 5, however, wouldn't it be better, if they leave only Dv2 for cargo only missions as well? The advantage being - using LAS in case of emergency and so potentially save valuable cargo..

OK, Dragon V2 might be more expensive to produce, but I imagine ensurance costs would drop  if there is LAS, thus less risk for the cargo..

There is no need for a LAS for cargo. It's not people's lives we're talking about. It is more cost effective to insure the payload instead of paying extra for the design cost, launch costs, and performance loss.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Robotbeat on 10/29/2014 07:04 PM
...it's still an interesting idea, even if it is neither practical nor worthwhile.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: UberNobody on 10/29/2014 07:19 PM
Hi

As far as I've read, after Dv2 enters service the plan is to still fly Dv1 afterwards for cargo only missions. In the light of what happened to Antares 5, however, wouldn't it be better, if they leave only Dv2 for cargo only missions as well? The advantage being - using LAS in case of emergency and so potentially save valuable cargo..

OK, Dragon V2 might be more expensive to produce, but I imagine ensurance costs would drop  if there is LAS, thus less risk for the cargo..

There is no need for a LAS for cargo. It's not people's lives we're talking about. It is more cost effective to insure the payload instead of paying extra for the design cost, launch costs, and performance loss.

I'm not so sure about that.  I belive SapceX has said that V1 will be phased out down the line.  Both dragons are volume limited for iss cargo iirc, so it might be worth while to fill up the tanks on a cargo mission of V2 so that you could abort.  Not only do you save the cargo, but the capsule as well.  Plus, they want to do full propulsive landings in the future, so you need that fuel.  I can definitely see a reusable V2 being cheaper than an expendable V1, making it viable for cargo.  The ability to abort is just an extra bonus for missions with enough margin.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Earendil on 10/29/2014 07:56 PM
My line of thought was that it might be an ability companies might pay for some extra.
It is a great assurance that cargo won't be lost. Often it is not that much the financial vale of the cargo, but the value of experiments.. time it takes to develop and build them.

Talking of this - once they've got both crafts in service, can you speculate how much more expensive would be V2 compared to V1.. ?
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: RanulfC on 10/29/2014 08:31 PM
Hi

As far as I've read, after Dv2 enters service the plan is to still fly Dv1 afterwards for cargo only missions. In the light of what happened to Antares 5, however, wouldn't it be better, if they leave only Dv2 for cargo only missions as well? The advantage being - using LAS in case of emergency and so potentially save valuable cargo..

OK, Dragon V2 might be more expensive to produce, but I imagine ensurance costs would drop  if there is LAS, thus less risk for the cargo..

There is no need for a LAS for cargo. It's not people's lives we're talking about. It is more cost effective to insure the payload instead of paying extra for the design cost, launch costs, and performance loss.

And it's also a question of fitting the payload into a "Dragon" (which it won't in most cases) and getting it out on orbit (send someone up to kick it out the hatch? :) ) because cargo that WOULD fit into a Dragon is only a very small part of the F9/FH mission.

...it's still an interesting idea, even if it is neither practical nor worthwhile.

The biggest issue is you'd need a large, reusable (open and closable and all the mechancis that implies) payload fairing... No problem, SPECTRE did it :)
http://www.fantastic-plastic.com/SPECTREBirdOne-Page.htm

My line of thought was that it might be an ability companies might pay for some extra.
It is a great assurance that cargo won't be lost. Often it is not that much the financial vale of the cargo, but the value of experiments.. time it takes to develop and build them.

Companies aren't very interested in paying for reusabilty or cheaper orbital flights as a general rule so their seriously considering such a capability is currently not on the radar. They require "X" amount of payload to "X" orbit and the cost and insurance in case of loss are not considered relevent factors. Yet :)

Randy
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Razvan on 10/29/2014 09:06 PM
Hi

As far as I've read, after Dv2 enters service the plan is to still fly Dv1 afterwards for cargo only missions. In the light of what happened to Antares 5, however, wouldn't it be better, if they leave only Dv2 for cargo only missions as well? The advantage being - using LAS in case of emergency and so potentially save valuable cargo..

OK, Dragon V2 might be more expensive to produce, but I imagine ensurance costs would drop  if there is LAS, thus less risk for the cargo..

There is no need for a LAS for cargo. It's not people's lives we're talking about. It is more cost effective to insure the payload instead of paying extra for the design cost, launch costs, and performance loss.
I think that are few other reasons that would require using V2 for cargo as well, such as:
- docking system should be the same for cargo and manned mission, eventually vehicles visiting ISS should adopt one system only;
- maneuverability of DV2 is far more advanced performance;
- DV2 comes with the cargo trunk so the Superdraco enhanced power would allow carry heavier loads using the two compartments;
- reusability would be another factor of importance and  landing by retro reactive engines vs. parachuttes is allowing quick and innexpensive return to the launching pad
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Jim on 10/29/2014 10:34 PM

1.  I think that are few other reasons that would require using V2 for cargo as well, such as:
- docking system should be the same for cargo and manned mission, eventually vehicles visiting ISS should adopt one system only;
2,  - maneuverability of DV2 is far more advanced performance;

3.  - DV2 comes with the cargo trunk so the Superdraco enhanced power would allow carry heavier loads using the two compartments;
4. - reusability would be another factor of importance and  landing by retro reactive engines vs. parachuttes is allowing quick and innexpensive return to the launching pad

1.  Docking system restricts the size of cargo to be transferred.
2.  Of little use for cargo mission.
3.  Not true, the launch vehicle determines that.  The Superdraco have little effect on cargo mass.
4.  Reusability is TBD so the point is meaningless.   And anyways, will have little impact on the cost for cargo.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Razvan on 10/29/2014 11:24 PM

1.  I think that are few other reasons that would require using V2 for cargo as well, such as:
- docking system should be the same for cargo and manned mission, eventually vehicles visiting ISS should adopt one system only;
2,  - maneuverability of DV2 is far more advanced performance;

3.  - DV2 comes with the cargo trunk so the Superdraco enhanced power would allow carry heavier loads using the two compartments;
4. - reusability would be another factor of importance and  landing by retro reactive engines vs. parachuttes is allowing quick and innexpensive return to the launching pad

1.  Docking system restricts the size of cargo to be transferred.
2.  Of little use for cargo mission.
3.  Not true, the launch vehicle determines that.  The Superdraco have little effect on cargo mass.
4.  Reusability is TBD so the point is meaningless.   And anyways, will have little impact on the cost for cargo.
Thank you for commenting on my script.
I am not saying it couldn't be right what you have said.
Some time ago, talking about reusability, some people (heavy people in the industry) would say it is unworkable, at least for a good time. Now, Ariane took it seriously.
Anyway, I really appreciate your pertinent opinion and I can't help thinking that the world is changing rapidly, at least after Orbital mishap. The old models like Orbital's and eventualy ULA's will have to be descarded and something even better than SpaceX's should come into place. I am pretty sure that, decently soon NASA will be requiring that foreign technology - like Russian - will not be acceptable to be included in the bids. And then USAF will fall in with NASA and people like Orbital and ULA will just have to adjust to it... Reduced budgets will impact upon NASA's and Military's decisions, any saving in the costs will be thoroughly studied, on the other hand, technology will advance and reusability will shine as it should. Like you say: tbd. People with vision should get prepared for that moment. It is something complicated that requires a lot of work...
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: gongora on 10/29/2014 11:46 PM
I am pretty sure that, decently soon NASA will be requiring that foreign technology - like Russian - will not be acceptable to be included in the bids. And then USAF will fall in with NASA and people like Orbital and ULA will just have to adjust to it... Reduced budgets will impact upon NASA's and Military's decisions, any saving in the costs will be thoroughly studied, on the other hand, technology will advance and reusability will shine as it should. Like you say: tbd. People with vision should get prepared for that moment. It is something complicated that requires a lot of work...

It's quite likely that a majority (all but one?) of the bids for the CRS2 contract will use launchers with Russian engines, at least for the first couple years of the contract.  That's not going to stop NASA from awarding two providers.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Razvan on 10/30/2014 12:19 AM
I am pretty sure that, decently soon NASA will be requiring that foreign technology - like Russian - will not be acceptable to be included in the bids. And then USAF will fall in with NASA and people like Orbital and ULA will just have to adjust to it... Reduced budgets will impact upon NASA's and Military's decisions, any saving in the costs will be thoroughly studied, on the other hand, technology will advance and reusability will shine as it should. Like you say: tbd. People with vision should get prepared for that moment. It is something complicated that requires a lot of work...

It's quite likely that a majority (all but one?) of the bids for the CRS2 contract will use launchers with Russian engines, at least for the first couple years of the contract.  That's not going to stop NASA from awarding two providers.
You think "two providers" is an already established rule?!
Let me disagree with you here. Once you have a well established provider you will not need a back up. And, besides, Orbital, for instance, may be bidding for CRS 2 but with a different, a US launcher may have chances. But a higher price and worst terms wouldn't bring  the Contract as in the past. They must do better this time, I am pretty sure.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Jim on 10/30/2014 12:56 AM
. The old models like Orbital's and eventualy ULA's will have to be descarded and something even better than SpaceX's should come into place.

That is not a given.  You are counting chickens before they hatched.  People with vision don't do this.
Reuse has not been proven to be cheaper at this time.  The Orbital mishap has not done anything to change this.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Jim on 10/30/2014 01:00 AM

Let me disagree with you here. Once you have a well established provider you will not need a back up.

I pretty sure that you are wrong again.  What says this won't happen to Spacex?  "well established" does not prevent mishaps.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: TrevorMonty on 10/30/2014 01:02 AM
I am pretty sure that, decently soon NASA will be requiring that foreign technology - like Russian - will not be acceptable to be included in the bids. And then USAF will fall in with NASA and people like Orbital and ULA will just have to adjust to it... Reduced budgets will impact upon NASA's and Military's decisions, any saving in the costs will be thoroughly studied, on the other hand, technology will advance and reusability will shine as it should. Like you say: tbd. People with vision should get prepared for that moment. It is something complicated that requires a lot of work...

It's quite likely that a majority (all but one?) of the bids for the CRS2 contract will use launchers with Russian engines, at least for the first couple years of the contract.  That's not going to stop NASA from awarding two providers.
You think "two providers" is an already established rule?!
Let me disagree with you here. Once you have a well established provider you will not need a back up. And, besides, Orbital, for instance, may be bidding for CRS 2 but with a different, a US launcher may have chances. But a higher price and worst terms wouldn't bring  the Contract as in the past. They must do better this time, I am pretty sure.
Orbital was a reliable supplier till yesterdays Antares failure. Having more than one supplier makes sure NASA gets competitive bids on services.
From a redundancy point of view it is not only possible LV failures that need to be accounted, here some others.
1) Serious damage to launch facilities from eg explosion of storage tanks, natural disaster.
2) Damage to LV factory or subcontactor factory.
3) Financial failure of a supplier.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Razvan on 10/30/2014 01:14 AM
I pretty sure that you are wrong again.  What says this won't happen to Spacex?  "well established" does not prevent mishaps.
[/quote]
You say I'm wrong again, I say we'll see.
Nevertheless, I did not imply recent mishap will not happen again, nor it will prevent Orbital from getting new contracts. I said the old rules will not apply.
Mishap just happens, and everybody seems to agree on that, including NASA, only the  outcome must be positive.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Jim on 10/30/2014 01:19 AM
I said the old rules will not apply.

Again, not true.  No data to support such a claim
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Razvan on 10/30/2014 02:49 AM
I said the old rules will not apply.

Again, not true.  No data to support such a claim
There is a lot of data you are constantly ignoring. But, you know, Jim, this did not start 1 or 2 yrs ago, it's been happening ever since the very first start. Some call it Progress.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Owlon on 10/30/2014 03:29 AM
I said the old rules will not apply.

Again, not true.  No data to support such a claim
There is a lot of data you are constantly ignoring. But, you know, Jim, this did not start 1 or 2 yrs ago, it's been happening ever since the very first start. Some call it Progress.

Which, ironically, is the name of by far the oldest cargo spacecraft servicing the ISS  ;)

Not a party thread, I know, I know!
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: enkarha on 10/30/2014 05:00 AM
I said the old rules will not apply.

I have to ask, what exactly do you mean by this? That SpaceX is so blessed that failures don't apply to them? Or that people will be fine with rockets blowing up on launch if they're reusable?  Because I think that even if reusability  goes anywhere (and I do think it will), whenever Falcon fails we're going to see a fairly extensive investigation process, especially since it will be a man-carrying rocket.  We see this for planes, and rockets will never be like planes, just like how planes not like buses.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: nadreck on 10/31/2014 05:45 PM
I said the old rules will not apply.

I have to ask, what exactly do you mean by this? That SpaceX is so blessed that failures don't apply to them? Or that people will be fine with rockets blowing up on launch if they're reusable?  Because I think that even if reusability  goes anywhere (and I do think it will), whenever Falcon fails we're going to see a fairly extensive investigation process, especially since it will be a man-carrying rocket.  We see this for planes, and rockets will never be like planes, just like how planes not like buses.

Not just because it is man carrying. It is more important on reusable LVs then expendables. There will always be failures, some will be spectacular, for reusable rockets an 'economically' viable failure rate must take into account the lower $ amount of margin per launch to pay for replacing at least as expensive and more likely more expensive vehicle. RLVs will have more failures overall simply because RLVs won't exist if they aren't flying more.  ELV's can tolerate an economically acceptable failure rate in between 1%and 5% as has been demonstrated by existing systems. I suggest and RLV's must operate below 5% failure per vehicle over it's entire life, not per use.

Now on the issue of reliability for manned use - that is reliability of the whole system including LAS vs reliability of the LV. So I think the whole system has to provide 0.1% risk of a single loss of life per flight. As things are today for the Dragon V2, this would mean less than one fatal accident in about 4000 launches (presuming that in about 50% of the cases where an accident involving a fatality would be fatal for all aboard, but in the other 50% some smaller number die and the others are only injured and yes this is just off the top of my head).  But it is the whole system, so if the LAS was only 95% reliable you could still get away with at LV that was 99.5% reliable. So the F9R launching crewed Dragon, really only needs to fit in that range I have above for its economic viability as an RLV to be safe enough to launch people at that 0.1% loss of life risk.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Jim on 10/31/2014 05:51 PM

There is a lot of data you are constantly ignoring. But, you know, Jim, this did not start 1 or 2 yrs ago, it's been happening ever since the very first start. Some call it Progress.

You are misinterpreting hype as data.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: starsilk on 11/04/2014 08:30 PM
SpaceX adding cameras to the Dragon trunk:

http://www.heraldonline.com/2014/11/04/6492371/arecont-vision-megapixel-cameras.html?rh=1
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Joffan on 11/04/2014 09:38 PM
I wonder whether the cameras will remain attached to the trunk (and so be destroyed) or maybe be removed at the ISS by Dextre for some later use.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Kabloona on 11/06/2014 10:12 PM
F9 has completed its final engineering review board in the Air Force certification process. Air Force says they are still shooting for December certification.

In related news, Air Force was expected to decide by Nov. 1 whether to enter mediation with SpaceX in their lawsuit.

But the main good news is that the engineering review of F9 is complete and it looks like just a matter of paperwork to finish up F9 certification. Kudos to USAF staff. Sounds like they're working hard to get it done. Possibility that SpaceX might be eligible for NRO procurement that was bid in August?

http://www.spacenews.com/article/military-space/42337military-space-quarterly-spacex-closing-in-on-certification-for-military
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: deruch on 11/07/2014 05:43 AM
F9 has completed its final engineering review board in the Air Force certification process. Air Force says they are still shooting for December certification.

In related news, Air Force was expected to decide by Nov. 1 whether to enter mediation with SpaceX in their lawsuit.

But the main good news is that the engineering review of F9 is complete and it looks like just a matter of paperwork to finish up F9 certification. Kudos to USAF staff. Sounds like they're working hard to get it done. Possibility that SpaceX might be eligible for NRO procurement that was bid in August?

http://www.spacenews.com/article/military-space/42337military-space-quarterly-spacex-closing-in-on-certification-for-military

From that article:
Quote from: SN article
Rocket maker Space Exploration Technologies Corp. is expected to begin a series of review boards with the U.S. government’s chief engineer the week of Oct. 27 as it enters the “final phase” of  its quest to earn the Air Force certification necessary to launch national security missions, a service spokeswoman said....
The last of the engineering review boards was completed in October, Alicia Garges, a spokeswoman for the Air Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center at Los Angeles Air Force Base, said in an Oct. 24 email. [emphasis added]

Huh?  How are these two sentences compatible?  Unless the second are "engineering" review boards and the first are some other type of review board.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: JBF on 11/07/2014 10:43 AM
F9 has completed its final engineering review board in the Air Force certification process. Air Force says they are still shooting for December certification.

In related news, Air Force was expected to decide by Nov. 1 whether to enter mediation with SpaceX in their lawsuit.

But the main good news is that the engineering review of F9 is complete and it looks like just a matter of paperwork to finish up F9 certification. Kudos to USAF staff. Sounds like they're working hard to get it done. Possibility that SpaceX might be eligible for NRO procurement that was bid in August?

http://www.spacenews.com/article/military-space/42337military-space-quarterly-spacex-closing-in-on-certification-for-military

From that article:
Quote from: SN article
Rocket maker Space Exploration Technologies Corp. is expected to begin a series of review boards with the U.S. government’s chief engineer the week of Oct. 27 as it enters the “final phase” of  its quest to earn the Air Force certification necessary to launch national security missions, a service spokeswoman said....
The last of the engineering review boards was completed in October, Alicia Garges, a spokeswoman for the Air Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center at Los Angeles Air Force Base, said in an Oct. 24 email. [emphasis added]

Huh?  How are these two sentences compatible?  Unless the second are "engineering" review boards and the first are some other type of review board.

The first reviews were on component and system level areas.  The Chief Engineer review boards are the top level look to make sure nothing was missed and to answer any issues brought up in the earlier ones.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: nlec on 11/20/2014 10:21 PM
SpaceX Rocket Tank Production

http://youtu.be/vrR31nHCV-U
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Lars-J on 11/20/2014 10:43 PM
Way cool!!!  :)

And the left-most core that starts out in the painting tent, that appears to be F9R-Dev2. It has the same black protective paint around the leg area that F9R-Dev1 had.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: docmordrid on 11/20/2014 11:26 PM
Aw Hell, that's SO cool!
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: matthewkantar on 11/20/2014 11:32 PM
I thought I could estimate the length of time that passes with cues like the strip of sunlight between the doors to the right, or the change in angle of the sun on the floor. A calendar on someones desk??? Not making any progress, so I will have to watch it many more times.

Matthew
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Llian Rhydderch on 11/21/2014 02:36 AM
I thought I could estimate the length of time that passes with cues like the strip of sunlight between the doors to the right, or the change in angle of the sun on the floor. A calendar on someones desk??? Not making any progress, so I will have to watch it many more times.

Matthew

Well, Matthew, perhaps you and some other NSFers can accomplish a heroic reconstruction of the video--just like the CRS-3 splashdown video (http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=34597.0)--and fill in many of the missing frames to answer these questions.   8)

People want to know!   ;D


Edited to fix typo.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: e of pi on 11/21/2014 03:05 AM
I thought I could estimate the length of time that passes with cues like the strip of sunlight between the doors to the right, or the change in angle of the sun on the floor. A calendar on someones desk??? Not making any progress, so I will have to watch it many more times.

Matthew
Clearly it's all one day--they turn out the lights at the end, so that's when the plant closed for the day.  :P The cafeteria just serves espresso in Big Gulps.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: guckyfan on 11/21/2014 11:47 AM
I have a very general question. We know that the Falcon 9 1.0 tanks were friction stir welded. Are they using the same production method for the 1.1 or have they changed to machining them? I seem to recall they have changed but am not sure about it.

Can someone comment please? Thanks.

 
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: cambrianera on 11/21/2014 01:18 PM
I have a very general question. We know that the Falcon 9 1.0 tanks were friction stir welded. Are they using the same production method for the 1.1 or have they changed to machining them? I seem to recall they have changed but am not sure about it.

Can someone comment please? Thanks.

On F9 1.0 tanks were friction stir welded to form rings then again FSW ring to ring to complete the tank.
F9 1.1 tooling clearly has a very big FSW machine to form long rings (6m?); I believe the rings are then welded together in the "spray booth" using electric arc welding.
Please note that EAW part is my opinion while the other manufacturing methods are confirmed (more or less) by some pictures we saw of tooling and pieces during working flow.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Jdeshetler on 11/21/2014 03:14 PM
Slow down by a factor of 5 at 1080P.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qiUdnN__9mE&feature=youtu.be
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: sghill on 11/21/2014 03:35 PM
Slow down by a factor of 5 at 1080P.


I love the black booster they truck out near the middle, they appear to have painted it from an original white.  I wonder what's up with that one! :)

Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: The_Ronin on 11/21/2014 03:37 PM
Looks like this is over 2 days, judging from the darkness when the truck pulls out the rightmost booster.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: starsilk on 11/21/2014 03:38 PM
Slow down by a factor of 5 at 1080P.


I love the black booster they truck out near the middle, they appear to have painted it from an original white.  I wonder what's up with that one! :)

plastic wrapped for transport.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: cambrianera on 11/22/2014 07:59 AM
Expanding on construction of tanks.
This was the flow for v1.0 (we got pictures of the machinery):
-sheet curved and welded to get a ring 2m long
-short stringers welded to the ring
-rings welded on a rotational FSW machine to obtain the full tank
-short stringers joined by riveting
This means 48 joints to be riveted every 2 m of RP-1 tank

For v1.1 should be:
-sheet curved to obtain a 6m long shingle, long stringers welded on the shingles
-shingles welded together in a longitudinal FSW machine to obtain 6m rings
-rings welded together (arc welding?) to obtain the full tank
-long stringers joined as before but less joints, one every 6 m! (should be a single joint on RP-1 tank)

Please note that FSW makes welds with better mechanical resistance than arc welding, but longitudinal stresses on a cilynder tank are half than radial stresses (can be shown elaborating Barlow's formula).
On the other side arc welding requires small machinery and minimal jigs (big difference with FSW); this allows also easy making of tanks with different lenght (i.e. FH boosters) .
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: mlindner on 11/22/2014 10:39 PM
Way cool!!!  :)

And the left-most core that starts out in the painting tent, that appears to be F9R-Dev2. It has the same black protective paint around the leg area that F9R-Dev1 had.

Nice spot. I entirely missed that.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: bubbagret on 11/22/2014 11:19 PM
Looks like this is over 2 days, judging from the darkness when the truck pulls out the rightmost booster.

Watch the sunlight in the man door windows on the bottom right, the time span is a minimum of 4 days.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: MikeAtkinson on 11/23/2014 11:43 AM
-sheet curved to obtain a 6m long shingle, long stringers welded on the shingles
-shingles welded together in a longitudinal FSW machine to obtain 6m rings
-rings welded together (arc welding?) to obtain the full tank
-long stringers joined as before but less joints, one every 6 m! (should be a single joint on RP-1 tank)

There are two 6m long barrel sections on the for left of the video (one seems to have a ring attached to the top). One is replaced with a section looking about 10m long.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: zerm on 11/29/2014 02:01 AM
Simple question here... Has SpaceX ever broadcast live video of a Dragon splashdown? I don't recall ever seeing any.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Robotbeat on 11/29/2014 03:14 AM
Simple question here... Has SpaceX ever broadcast live video of a Dragon splashdown? I don't recall ever seeing any.
Never. They'd need some kind of satellite link to do so live as well as getting quite close to see it from a boat. They have shown non-live videos of drop-tests though.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: ugordan on 11/29/2014 10:52 AM
Simple question here... Has SpaceX ever broadcast live video of a Dragon splashdown? I don't recall ever seeing any.

SpaceX, no. NASA had chase plane footage of COTS-2 that is shown here:
www.youtube.com/watch?v=nbHj4P81voA

, but the actual live feed was of lower quality, suffering from dropouts:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=es3ZYd85XbA
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: zerm on 11/29/2014 03:05 PM
Thanks for the replies and the links!
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Robotbeat on 11/29/2014 11:56 PM
Looks like I was wrong about the livefeed. :)
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Comga on 11/30/2014 12:15 AM
Simple question here... Has SpaceX ever broadcast live video of a Dragon splashdown? I don't recall ever seeing any.

SpaceX, no. NASA had chase plane footage of COTS-2 that is shown here:
, but the actual live feed was of lower quality, suffering from dropouts:
SpaceX also stated that COTS-1 landed within 800 meters of the targeted location. However I have never heard the landing offset for any subsequent mission. Several of us were keeping track of the distances for the Soyuz missions, whose offsets are much greater. We wondered is SpaceX could keep it under a kilometer repeatedly but have not been given that data.
(Any help in getting those values would be greatly appreciated.)
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Jdeshetler on 11/30/2014 12:54 AM
SpaceX also stated that COTS-1 landed within 800 meters of the targeted location. However I have never heard the landing offset for any subsequent mission.
Do the SpaceX need a dedicated "Landing Control Room" beside "Launch Control Room" especially when it comes to the returning of FH's 3 cores to two different landing pads w/ unique weather and landing conditions?
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Jim on 11/30/2014 11:41 AM
SpaceX also stated that COTS-1 landed within 800 meters of the targeted location. However I have never heard the landing offset for any subsequent mission.
Do the SpaceX need a dedicated "Landing Control Room" beside "Launch Control Room" especially when it comes to the returning of FH's 3 cores to two different landing pads w/ unique weather and landing conditions?

No, because the launch control room doesn't do anything after launch except monitor the vehicle.  It is not a flight control room (that is applicable to any launch vehicle, they are autonomous and not controlled).  The personnel who monitor the stages can continue to do so whether it is continuing to orbit or returning to the launch site.  With recovery, there might be a few or one additional console positions to status landing weather and support readiness.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: sghill on 12/03/2014 03:17 PM
I'm throwing this on the general discussion thread for Falcon as I don't know that it deserves a thread of its own- we'll see.

With NASA down to one commercial delivery service for ISS.  What would a Falcon9 CRS-5 launch failure on the 16th do to the future of commercial providers, the ISS, NASA, and politics in general? (I'm not trying to jinx this!)

I'll start throwing out some predictable early assumptions:

ISS would have critical delivery slack picked up by the Russian Progress and the Japanese HTV as the Europeans and US Government are out of the delivery business.

Secondary payloads such as experiments and such to the ISS would be scrubbed further reducing any meaningful science up there.

SpaceX would have a 4 month review of the failure plus time to fix the problem- perhaps longer- and their 2015 launch schedule would be severely compromised.

Insurance and mission assurance costs for the F9 would go through the roof, perhaps enough that the Ariane 6 becomes extremely price competitive.

US, European, and Russian governments would use the failure to "review" their participation in ISS, cut funding for human spaceflight, decry the transfer of launch capabilities to commercial operators, and also to justify the high launch costs of government supported launch systems- not without some merit IMHO even if I don't agree with them.  Musk and Golden would be repeatedly dragged in front of a newly hostile Congress.

My real question is what happens to the landscape after the initial screaming and finger pointing?
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: mheney on 12/03/2014 04:10 PM
1986 saw a Shuttle, Titan, and Delta failure in a span of just over 3 months.  (Atlas emerged unscathed...)  The result was what you'd expect - wailing and gnashing of teeth from some corners (becasue, people ...), while those in the trenches fixed things and got back to flying. 

I'd expect the same today (except the wailing and gnashing would be on social media instead ...)
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: cscott on 12/03/2014 04:23 PM
I think it depends on what sort of failure it is: single-engine failure on first stage that doesn't affect mission success, failure of second stage, failure of dragon, multiple-engine failure of first stage, serious test-stand or static fire failure that causes a stand down, or gse or other pre-launch failure that results in multiple-month launch delay (but no loss of payload).

I assume you're thinking of a multiple-engine catastrophic failure of the first stage that takes the payload with it.  But that's just one of the possibilities, and maybe not even the most likely one.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: mfck on 12/03/2014 06:31 PM
@sghill

Not trying to jinx is not good enough to not jinx.

/sigh/

Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Lar on 12/03/2014 06:59 PM
Let's not concern troll if we can avoid it, thanks.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: AJW on 12/10/2014 08:31 PM
Watching the manpower required for the Orion recovery this week, 2 ships, helicopter, drone, inflatables, divers, crews, truckers, etc., brings home the savings that D2 should be able to provide if it can RTLS.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: rpapo on 12/10/2014 09:18 PM
Watching the manpower required for the Orion recovery this week, 2 ships, helicopter, drone, inflatables, divers, crews, truckers, etc., brings home the savings that D2 should be able to provide if it can RTLS.
Let's watch our acronyms: D2 doesn't RTLS, it simply has the ability to do a ridiculously scary landing on dry ground.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Lar on 12/10/2014 09:45 PM
Watching the manpower required for the Orion recovery this week, 2 ships, helicopter, drone, inflatables, divers, crews, truckers, etc., brings home the savings that D2 should be able to provide if it can RTLS.
Let's watch our acronyms: D2 doesn't RTLS, it simply has the ability to do a ridiculously scary landing on dry ground.

not to nitpick but I think technically it could, if the reentry was timed just right (unless it was in some odd orbit that never came close..)... it might not be worth the delay to do this.

And I'm  not convinced it is ridiculously scary.  scary yes :)
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: meekGee on 12/10/2014 11:27 PM
Watching the manpower required for the Orion recovery this week, 2 ships, helicopter, drone, inflatables, divers, crews, truckers, etc., brings home the savings that D2 should be able to provide if it can RTLS.
Let's watch our acronyms: D2 doesn't RTLS, it simply has the ability to do a ridiculously scary landing on dry ground.

not to nitpick but I think technically it could, if the reentry was timed just right (unless it was in some odd orbit that never came close..)... it might not be worth the delay to do this.

And I'm  not convinced it is ridiculously scary.  scary yes :)

The scare-factor is psychological... It's because with a propulsive landing, the notice of impending doom will be delivered very late in the process, whereas with parachutes (if something went wrong) you will have plenty of time to either come to peace with your imminent fate, or claw at the walls, whichever is your style.

The thing to concentrate on is which style of landing has a better chance of allowing you to walk away from the landing site.  There's very little data on the propulsive side, so until it's been practiced a lot, we won't know.

Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: mme on 12/10/2014 11:38 PM
...
And I'm  not convinced it is ridiculously scary.  scary yes :)
I agree.  I think people have this vision of it feeling like you're in free fall the whole time.  But at terminal velocity it'll be one G plus whatever buffeting the capsule experiences.  So it's the difference of wondering if the chutes are going to deploy and open, or spending a little bit longer wondering if the engines are going to fire (but they already test fired if you're going for propulsive landing.)

I honestly think it won't as terrifying as most people assume.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: llanitedave on 12/11/2014 03:07 AM
While I admit that the huge landing ship with  the internal well is expensive...  I want one!
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 12/11/2014 09:34 AM
I honestly think it won't as terrifying as most people assume.

It's scary enough to NASA. I think that they will still insist on CCT water landings even when private Dragons are routinely landing at the Cape or the TX site.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: guckyfan on 12/11/2014 10:03 AM
I honestly think it won't as terrifying as most people assume.

It's scary enough to NASA. I think that they will still insist on CCT water landings even when private Dragons are routinely landing at the Cape or the TX site.

Both SpaceX and Boeing offer land landing, though under parachutes, not water landing that is exclusively Orion.

Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: pagheca on 12/11/2014 10:45 AM
Stratospheric balloon payloads (>1 ton) are systematically landing over inhabited areas all over the word.

In a launch I participated in about 1993 from Sicily to Spain the payload was released near Cadiz. It passed at very low altitude over a little, remote village. Some of the inhabitants, some local farmers loaded their properties on little truck and escaped from home. Police talked about many UFO calls over the phone.

Note those payloads have no control altogether. They are usually just released from the balloon, fell down like stones (they have been used for microgravity experiments) from 40 km till about 20 km altitude, where the parachute open up due to air friction.

I cannot really see a qualitative difference with an empty stage. Right, it weights much more and "look: no parachute mum!"... plus fuel and flames :), but at least you have control on them. And in case of a pure ballistic trajectory (total engine failure) I cannot see any difference respect to a Space Shuttle completely out of control.

So, I do expect that reglementations will change in the future. At the end of the day, is just a question of quite simple statistics.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: rpapo on 12/11/2014 11:37 AM
I cannot see any difference respect to a Space Shuttle completely out of control.
One difference: a nearly empty Falcon first stage is considerably lighter than the STS orbiter, with less toxic stuff (only the TEA/TEB).
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: guckyfan on 12/11/2014 12:20 PM
This must be Tom Mueller

https://twitter.com/SpaceXTom/status/542826882065260545

Quote
Tom from SpaceX @SpaceXTom  ·  14 Std. Vor 14 Stunden

Big news coming tomorrow! #SpaceX

Chief engineer at SpaceX

Since he is the engine wizard, could this be about Raptor? Or something more general?
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Tass on 12/11/2014 12:38 PM
This must be Tom Mueller

https://twitter.com/SpaceXTom/status/542826882065260545

Quote
Tom from SpaceX @SpaceXTom  ·  14 Std. Vor 14 Stunden

Big news coming tomorrow! #SpaceX

Chief engineer at SpaceX

Since he is the engine wizard, could this be about Raptor? Or something more general?

Ooh exiting! Looking forward to that.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 12/11/2014 12:56 PM
This must be Tom Mueller

https://twitter.com/SpaceXTom/status/542826882065260545

Quote
Tom from SpaceX @SpaceXTom  ·  14 Std. Vor 14 Stunden

Big news coming tomorrow! #SpaceX

Chief engineer at SpaceX

Since he is the engine wizard, could this be about Raptor? Or something more general?

My guess is something more generalised. Probably either F9R dev 2 is ready or Dragon v.2.0 flight article 1 roll-out.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Sesquipedalian on 12/11/2014 02:28 PM
I wonder if it's the pad abort test.  That would also explain the SpX-5 slip.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: mme on 12/11/2014 03:10 PM
This must be Tom Mueller

https://twitter.com/SpaceXTom/status/542826882065260545

Quote
Tom from SpaceX @SpaceXTom  ·  14 Std. Vor 14 Stunden

Big news coming tomorrow! #SpaceX

Chief engineer at SpaceX

Since he is the engine wizard, could this be about Raptor? Or something more general?

I don't know who it is, but I'm pretty sure it's not Tom Mueller.  Tom Mueller's twitter handle is @lrocket. But whoever it is, I look forward to the big news. :)
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: abaddon on 12/11/2014 03:21 PM
I will throw my guess into the pile: I think AF certification will be announced.  It's the right month for it, and would be big news for SpaceX.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: CraigLieb on 12/11/2014 06:28 PM
I will throw my guess into the pile: I think AF certification will be announced.  It's the right month for it, and would be big news for SpaceX.

Going to put a theory out there in case I am right.
The news might be that they reached a settlement on the lawsuit and have been allowed to bid for a certain number of missions. OR, they have been awarded fixed number of missions out of the original collection of sole sourced flights with rights to bid on some future flights.

And now for an argument against this:
Why Tom would be the one making the tweet?  Wouldn't that come from Elon or Gwen?
Possibly they wanted to give the faithful a heads up without tipping off all the major news outlets like tweets from the big boss? 
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: MechE31 on 12/11/2014 07:05 PM
I think that this will be a big announcement. I have had some clues that something major is going on (with no other info) and my guess was settlement of the AF bid protest.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Marslauncher on 12/11/2014 07:08 PM
Well that tweet was 20hrs, ago. Quick search on Google brings up nothing noteworthy irt an announcement. Confirmation CRS 5 was delayed but that's about it.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: docmordrid on 12/11/2014 07:22 PM
@TheLurioReport is saying,

Quote
@SpaceXTom Now virtually certain this tweet was spurious. Looking fwd to 16Dec CRS launch w/possible 1st stage return to floating platform
1:31pm - 11 Dec 14
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: catdlr on 12/11/2014 09:59 PM
Musk’s SpaceX Closer to Certification for Launches, U.S. Says

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-12-11/musk-s-spacex-closer-to-certification-for-launches-u-s-says.html

Quote
Billionaire Elon Musk’s space-exploration company is close to winning the certification it needs to begin launching satellites for the U.S. military, according to an Air Force official.

If Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies, known as SpaceX, receives the approval by Dec. 31 it will qualify to be awarded a contract valued at as much as $200 million in competition with United Launch Alliance LLC, the joint venture of Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT) and Boeing Co. (BA) that has been the military’s sole launch provider.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: MP99 on 12/12/2014 07:31 AM


This must be Tom Mueller

https://twitter.com/SpaceXTom/status/542826882065260545

Quote
Tom from SpaceX @SpaceXTom  ·  14 Std. Vor 14 Stunden

Big news coming tomorrow! #SpaceX

Chief engineer at SpaceX

Since he is the engine wizard, could this be about Raptor? Or something more general?

I don't know who it is, but I'm pretty sure it's not Tom Mueller.  Tom Mueller's twitter handle is @lrocket. But whoever it is, I look forward to the big news. :)

@lrocket has confirmed that.

Cheers, Martin
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: swervin on 12/13/2014 10:32 AM
So, ahhh, that Twitter post was on 10 Dec, any word on this 'big news?'
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: cscott on 12/13/2014 02:53 PM
So, ahhh, that Twitter post was on 10 Dec, any word on this 'big news?'
I think catldr's post was probably the big news, but they had to hedge with "close to winning" because some last minute detail cropped up.  I'm hopeful we'll see the real announcement before Jan 1.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Coastal Ron on 12/13/2014 03:04 PM
So, ahhh, that Twitter post was on 10 Dec, any word on this 'big news?'

According to the real Tom Mueller (https://twitter.com/lrocket/status/543222496745365504), SpaceXTom is not him:

"For the record - @SpaceXTom is not me"

Apparently SpaceXTom is a nobody that was trying to get attention.  Nothing to see here, move along...
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Mongo62 on 12/13/2014 10:35 PM
So, ahhh, that Twitter post was on 10 Dec, any word on this 'big news?'

As posted on Re: SpaceX McGregor Testing Updates and Discussion Thread 3 (http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=35426.msg1302214#new), SpaceX is adding up to 300 jobs at the McGregor testing site, as well as expanding the grounds from from 922 acres to 4,280 acres. That might count as sufficiently big news, since there must be something major planned for McGregor. Raptor testing? F9R first stage refurbishing? High-volume Falcon Heavy testing? All of the above?

SpaceX expansion could add 300 jobs locally (http://www.wacotrib.com/news/business/spacex-expansion-could-add-jobs-locally/article_a805e495-09ed-5fb0-9b9d-95b038d4cbfc.html)

Edit/Lar: removed copyrighted text. Please follow the link for the text.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Robotbeat on 12/13/2014 10:47 PM
They haven't even done LOW volume testing of Falcon Heavy, yet. They have not yet done a static fire of all three cores on the underground test stand, as they planned.

But their upcoming launch rate and Falcon Heavy and DragonFly (and a little bit of F9R-dev2 testing) in addition to initial Raptor component testing and a higher Falcon 9 flight rate (9-14 in 2015?) will definitely mean they have plenty of work for a doubling of the McGregor workforce.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: oiorionsbelt on 12/13/2014 10:55 PM
With this news, it looks like F9 and Delta IV are big winners and Atlas V is toast.

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-russian-rocket-ban-20141213-story.html
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Robotbeat on 12/13/2014 11:18 PM
They have 29 engines still on order. I don't think this applies to non-defense launches, either, although defense satellites are the vast majority of its launches. If they move, say, half their defense launches to Delta IV, then that gives them until 2020 or so to have the new vehicle up and running.

It does indeed affect the calculation, though. 29 engines is only enough for 2.5-3 more years, which isn't quite enough time to develop an essentially new first stage, so they probably will have to lean on Delta IV and will probably lose some launches to Falcon 9/Heavy.

...Of course, well before the new vehicle is ready, Falcon 9 (and Heavy) will have built up a quite impressive launch history, rivaling Atlas V's current streak of 50 (with asterisk). ULA will clearly be on its heels at that point unless something changes drastically. Even with zero cost reduction from first stage Falcon 9 reuse. At this point, I think first stage reuse is most likely going to improve the cost situation within the next 5 years, locking in a permanent advantage for SpaceX even after ULA goes to their new vehicle, but even without Falcon 9 reuse, I think ULA's new launch vehicle is going to face some major uphill challenges (which they may attempt to mitigate by higher performance... both for the core and probably up to 6 solids instead of the current limit of 5).

ULA's biggest argument now is legacy and long launch history. They can't really compete on straight up cost (and the new launch vehicle doesn't seem likely to change that, just replacing an awesome Russian engine with a really good domestic one which probably won't be any cheaper). But legacy and long launch history (and most likely even better costs, or at very least maintained low cost) will be to SpaceX's advantage when Blue Atlas starts flying.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Robotbeat on 12/13/2014 11:20 PM
To be honest, it's kind of a shame. Atlas V is a fantastic launch vehicle, and after the retirement of Delta II it is, I believe, the only nuclear-certified launch vehicle.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: edkyle99 on 12/14/2014 01:33 AM
With this news, it looks like F9 and Delta IV are big winners and Atlas V is toast.

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-russian-rocket-ban-20141213-story.html
Delta 4 is toast too.

The political winds have forced ULA toward NGLV, with its BE-4 all-American engines and its 50% lower costs.  The lower costs of course mean that both Atlas 5 and Delta 4 are going away.  Falcon 9 may or may not end up a winner in that contest.  But that is all a few years down the road.

 - Ed Kyle
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Kabloona on 12/14/2014 02:19 AM
With this news, it looks like F9 and Delta IV are big winners and Atlas V is toast.

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-russian-rocket-ban-20141213-story.html

That issue has been discussed extensively over here:

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=32675.645

Paradoxically, it's not really going to hurt ULA.  The Congressional language is merely shutting the barn door (but not really, because it allows the Air Force to request waivers) behind a horse that has already left the barn. ULA will be allowed to conduct business as usual with Atlas V until their NGLV is ready with the BE-4. And when the NGLV is ready, it will be less expensive and more competitive with F9 on price.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: QuantumG on 12/14/2014 02:28 AM
I don't see how you can say that. The ban isn't on new launch vehicles using Russian engines, it's on new launch contracts. If SpaceX wins their case against the government for the block buy, that could be the end of the Atlas V in the long term and the short term. This could even affect Orbital ATK's Cygnus runs, as without Pentagon as an anchor customer the Atlas V most likely won't be affordable to them.

Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Mongo62 on 12/14/2014 05:44 PM
Twitter: Garrett Reisman @astro_g_dogg 20 hours ago

Heads up - I'll have a huge surprise event to share with you next Thursday! It's gonna be real cool. Any guesses? (https://twitter.com/astro_g_dogg/status/543898177854652416)

replies follow, with Garrett Reisman's response at bottom:

FH .. please tell me FH is on the test stand

you are going to be on cap com at MCC :)

You'll announce the beginning of the @SpaceX #Dragon V2 crew's selection/training.

SpaceX has passed Air Force certification?

Will SpaceX be offering a chance for a civilian to go on one of the crewed Dragon flights?  Would b a once in a lifetime thing

Does it have anything to do with Dragon 2 pad abort test?

Is it something happening in Florida next Friday? Will SpaceX senior staff be at KSC?

my guess is CRS5 is going for automatic docking.


Garrett Reisman @astro_g_dogg 9 hours ago
great guess, but everyone is on the wrong track so far...


So a huge surprise event next Thursday, which is none of the above quesses, and (presumably) not the attempted barge landing either (since it's not a surprise). So what could it be? My own guess would be the first F9R Dev2 flight at McGregor, or perhaps a public announcement of a cisLunar Dragon flight (or DragonLab, or something similar involving Dragon).
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: llanitedave on 12/14/2014 05:50 PM
Isn't Reisman involved with Dragon V2 development?  An F6R Dev2 is a good guess, what about a Firefly debut?
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: symbios on 12/14/2014 05:56 PM
What about pad abort?
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: oldAtlas_Eguy on 12/14/2014 05:57 PM
Next Thursday is the 18th, the day before the CRS-5 launch.  Its an excelent media focusing to caputure attention for something new.  Raptor, BFR and MCT was not in the guesses.  About a year ago there was hints that in about a year more details for the MCT "system" would be presented once engineering design trades were more mature.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Mongo62 on 12/14/2014 06:00 PM
What about pad abort?

Pad Abort was one of the replies to the Tweet, but Garrett said all the replies were on the wrong track.

The speculation on Redditt is that he might be referring to unveiling the new spacesuits, which have apparently been in development for some time. As Director of Crew Operations, this would presumably be within his remit.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: mfck on 12/14/2014 06:13 PM
Guys, you're completely disregarding the hashtag it was posted with: #onceinalifetime

It's probably some lottery stuff for the broader public
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: dror on 12/14/2014 06:37 PM
Is it too early for this:

The Elon has spoken about the oracle:  ;)

Elon Musk ‏@elonmusk
SpaceX is still in the early stages of developing advanced micro-satellites operating in large formations. Announcement in 2 to 3 months.
?
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: TrevorMonty on 12/14/2014 06:58 PM
Garrett is in charge of Dragon  V2 so the surprise should be related to that.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: MP99 on 12/14/2014 07:11 PM
Twitter: Garrett Reisman @astro_g_dogg 20 hours ago

Heads up - I'll have a huge surprise event to share with you next Thursday! It's gonna be real cool. Any guesses? (https://twitter.com/astro_g_dogg/status/543898177854652416)

replies follow, with Garrett Reisman's response at bottom:

FH .. please tell me FH is on the test stand

you are going to be on cap com at MCC :)

You'll announce the beginning of the @SpaceX #Dragon V2 crew's selection/training.

SpaceX has passed Air Force certification?

Will SpaceX be offering a chance for a civilian to go on one of the crewed Dragon flights?  Would b a once in a lifetime thing

Does it have anything to do with Dragon 2 pad abort test?

Is it something happening in Florida next Friday? Will SpaceX senior staff be at KSC?

my guess is CRS5 is going for automatic docking.


Garrett Reisman @astro_g_dogg 9 hours ago
great guess, but everyone is on the wrong track so far...


So a huge surprise event next Thursday, which is none of the above quesses, and (presumably) not the attempted barge landing either (since it's not a surprise). So what could it be? My own guess would be the first F9R Dev2 flight at McGregor, or perhaps a public announcement of a cisLunar Dragon flight (or DragonLab, or something similar involving Dragon).
Thanks for transcribing that as a public service.

Cheers, Martin
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Mongo62 on 12/14/2014 07:33 PM
Guys, you're completely disregarding the hashtag it was posted with: #onceinalifetime

It's probably some lottery stuff for the broader public

According to #Hashtag Dictionary (http://hashtagdictionary.com/11/2012/onceinalifetime/), the #onceinalifetime hashtag is used for "describing a situation that is so rare it only happens once in your lifetime".

So that would suggest a major, one-of-a-kind announcement, unless Garrett Reisman was being hyperbolic.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: GalacticIntruder on 12/14/2014 07:55 PM
Strange for Elon to let anyone else take the hype lead. I wonder if that random tweet of that Tom guy is related?

Since Garrett is on it, I would assume it will be Dragon/CC something. Or, it might not have anything to do with SpaceX.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: mfck on 12/14/2014 08:13 PM


Guys, you're completely disregarding the hashtag it was posted with: #onceinalifetime

It's probably some lottery stuff for the broader public

According to #Hashtag Dictionary (http://hashtagdictionary.com/11/2012/onceinalifetime/), the #onceinalifetime hashtag is used for "describing a situation that is so rare it only happens once in your lifetime".

So that would suggest a major, one-of-a-kind announcement, unless Garrett Reisman was being hyperbolic.

Well, his post does have a hyperbolic feel to it. IMO. We'll see on Thursday.

...on a side note, wrt your link, I am not convinced by admin, even though he said it twice
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: llanitedave on 12/15/2014 12:02 AM
Reisman leaving to work for Blue Origin?   :o

(ducks and runs)
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Mariusuiram on 12/15/2014 01:01 AM
Guys, I hate to ruin all this rampant speculation, but I think Garrett is messing with everyone (sort of).

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=36308.0

SpaceX is auctioning off a tour of Hawthorne facilities for charity (current top bid is $11.5k). Guess what day bidding ends? December 18th.

Once in a lifetime chance to tour a rocket factory lines up with the fact that this is the day before a launch, so most likely not anything involving significant staff.

Garrett also seems to be a bit of a PR person + mini-celeb (as an astronaut) so wouldn't be surprised if he conducts the tour.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: chamann on 12/15/2014 01:06 AM
Guys, I hate to ruin all this rampant speculation, but I think Garrett is messing with everyone (sort of).

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=36308.0

SpaceX is auctioning off a tour of Hawthorne facilities for charity (current top bid is $11.5k). Guess what day bidding ends? December 18th.

Once in a lifetime chance to tour a rocket factory lines up with the fact that this is the day before a launch, so most likely not anything involving significant staff.

Garrett also seems to be a bit of a PR person + mini-celeb (as an astronaut) so wouldn't be surprised if he conducts the tour.
Well, that would be rather anticlimactic.  Except for the people who win the tour. ;)
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: meekGee on 12/15/2014 01:26 AM
Eeek, not to mention it will not bode well for their well being, since the only way to guarantee the tour is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, is, well, you know...
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: GalacticIntruder on 12/16/2014 06:32 PM
Not SpaceX related.  :o

https://twitter.com/astro_g_dogg (https://twitter.com/astro_g_dogg)

Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: llanitedave on 12/17/2014 03:29 AM
He's having a baby?
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: RotoSequence on 12/17/2014 03:41 AM
First (official) Contact?
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: deruch on 12/17/2014 08:50 AM
As it is confirmed that it doesn't have anything to do with SpaceX, it is by definition OT.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: dglow on 12/17/2014 11:55 AM
Not entirely off-topic: today's XKCD is a beautiful visualization of historical spacecraft mass and LV capacity. http://xkcd.com/1461/
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: chamann on 12/18/2014 03:46 AM
How do the number of aborts and delays SpaceX have had compare to that of other launch vehicles at the same point in their flight history?
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Robotbeat on 12/18/2014 04:05 AM
How do the number of aborts and delays SpaceX have had compare to that of other launch vehicles at the same point in their flight history?
Delays? Don't know. Aborts? Wouldn't be surprised if it's higher due solely to the fact that it can, actually, abort (intact!!) after ignition. Solid rocket vehicles have no such capability. Also, more engines. Falcon 9 has fewer (main mission) failures at this point than most launch vehicles do (i.e. zero), in part due to having more engines (that one flight where they lost an engine) and an intact abort-immediately-after-ignition capability. So part of the reason they may have more aborts is also part of the reason why they have no (primary mission) failures.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: meekGee on 12/18/2014 03:33 PM
How do the number of aborts and delays SpaceX have had compare to that of other launch vehicles at the same point in their flight history?
Delays? Don't know. Aborts? Wouldn't be surprised if it's higher due solely to the fact that it can, actually, abort (intact!!) after ignition. Solid rocket vehicles have no such capability. Also, more engines. Falcon 9 has fewer (main mission) failures at this point than most launch vehicles do (i.e. zero), in part due to having more engines (that one flight where they lost an engine) and an intact abort-immediately-after-ignition capability. So part of the reason they may have more aborts is also part of the reason why they have no (primary mission) failures.

Also, the hot fires add delays.

There's a pretty wide range of conditions that are off-nominal, but would have flown just fine.

The hot fire detects many of those, and this results in delays.

What bothers me more are issues that crop up between the hot fire and the launch, and there have been a number of those.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Sohl on 12/18/2014 04:42 PM
Not entirely off-topic: today's XKCD is a beautiful visualization of historical spacecraft mass and LV capacity. http://xkcd.com/1461/

I love how almost all the weights and payloads are measured in horses, but the Pegasus launch vehicle payload cap is quoted as "1 PEGASUS".   ;D
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: MTom on 12/18/2014 08:22 PM
How do the number of aborts and delays SpaceX have had compare to that of other launch vehicles at the same point in their flight history?

Although I very appreciate all of the endurance and results of ISRO you could compare the history and development timeline of GSLV and Falcon9. Only as an example.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Sesquipedalian on 12/18/2014 08:57 PM
I love how almost all the weights and payloads are measured in horses, but the Pegasus launch vehicle payload cap is quoted as "1 PEGASUS".   ;D

Likewise, Atlas-Centaur is quoted as "8 CENTAURS".
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Lars-J on 12/19/2014 12:18 AM
A new SpaceX tweet, and a new image: https://twitter.com/SpaceX/status/545737552263921664

Quote
SpaceX ‏@SpaceX
Transformation complete – the landing leg at SpaceX HQ got a facelift.

A nice background! :)
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: dror on 12/20/2014 04:24 PM
With spx5's slip to January 6, is it expected that the next flight, set for January 21st,  will be delayed too?
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: oiorionsbelt on 12/20/2014 08:00 PM
With spx5's slip to January 6, is it expected that the next flight, set for January 21st,  will be delayed too?
I don't see why that would follow. They have shown a turn around time that would enable flight on the 21st as well as the 6th
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: averagespacejoe on 12/20/2014 08:11 PM
Well they are both Government missions so turnaround might not match commercial rates
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 12/20/2014 08:21 PM
Well they are both Government missions so turnaround might not match commercial rates

Not necessarily. If DISCOVR can be processed away from SLC-40, then only the HIF and pad turn-around time are really significant. The payload itself can stay in its processing facility even whilst SpX-CRS-5 is on the pad.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: deruch on 12/20/2014 09:35 PM
DSCOVR is being processed at Astrotech.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Owlon on 12/20/2014 09:35 PM
Well they are both Government missions so turnaround might not match commercial rates

Not necessarily. If DISCOVR can be processed away from SLC-40, then only the HIF and pad turn-around time are really significant. The payload itself can stay in its processing facility even whilst SpX-CRS-5 is on the pad.

This, I believe, is the case. The payload is being processed by Astrotech.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Comga on 12/20/2014 11:17 PM
From the CRS-5 discussion thread:
I read and compared the Mission Overview section of the CRS-4 (http://www.spacex.com/sites/spacex/files/spacex_presskit.pdf (http://www.spacex.com/sites/spacex/files/spacex_presskit.pdf)) and CRS-5 (http://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/files/SpaceX_NASA_CRS-5_PressKit.pdf (http://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/files/SpaceX_NASA_CRS-5_PressKit.pdf)) press kits.  There were a few small differences (highlighted in colors):

Note- the CRS-3 and CRS-4 press kits are identical in this section.

Quote from: CRS-4 press kit
Approximately 161 seconds into flight, the first-stage engines are shut down, an event known as Main-engine cutoff, or MECO. At this point, Falcon 9 is 80 kilometers (50 miles) high, traveling at 10 times the speed of sound. Three seconds after MECO, the first and second stages will separate. Eight seconds later, the second stage’s single Merlin vacuum engine ignites to begin a seven-minute burn that brings Falcon 9 and Dragon into low-Earth orbit. 

Forty seconds after second-stage ignition, Dragon’s protective nose cone, which covers Dragon’s berthing mechanism, will be jettisoned. Nine minutes and forty seconds after launch, the second-stage engine cuts off (SECO). Thirty-five seconds later, Dragon separates from Falcon 9’s second stage and achieves its preliminary orbit. It then deploys its solar arrays, and begins a carefully choreographed series of Draco thruster firings to reach the space station.

Quote from: CRS-5 press kit
Approximately 157 seconds into flight, the first-stage engines are shut down, an event known as main-engine cutoff, or MECO.  At this point, Falcon 9 is 80 kilometers (50 miles) high, traveling at 10 times the speed of sound.  Four seconds after MECO, the first and second stages will separate.  Eight seconds later, the second stage’s single Merlin vacuum engine ignites to begin a seven-minute burn that brings Falcon 9 and Dragon into low-Earth orbit.

Forty seconds after second-stage ignition, Dragon’s protective nose cone, which covers Dragon’s berthing mechanism, will be jettisoned.  Nine minutes and twenty seven seconds after launch, the second-stage engine cuts off (SECO). Thirty-five seconds later, Dragon separates from Falcon 9’s second stage and achieves its preliminary orbit. It then deploys its solar arrays, and begins a carefully choreographed series of Draco thruster firings to reach the space station.

I have a bunch of questions, but as yet am not knowledgeable enough to do my own analysis (sorry):  Do these alterations represent "real" changes to the flight profile?  or just clarifications and improved accuracy of information distributed?  or Is this normal adjusting to deal with the slightly different orbits of ISS? or Different weights of each mission?  Could the 4 second difference in the 1st stage burn time be related to the recovery attempt/boost-back being performed on this flight?  If that was so, I would have expected the second stage to burn longer on CRS-5.  Instead it's 13 second shorter.  Improved engine performance? 

IIRC, the delay between MECO and Second Stage ignition was increased from one second to seven seconds after Falcon 1 Flight #3, and the recontact between the stages.  The delay appears to have been reduced to 3 seconds for CRS-4 and now increased to 4 seconds for CRS-5. 

Even if we never learn why, it is interesting to see the dynamism.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: deruch on 12/21/2014 12:28 AM

IIRC, the delay between MECO and Second Stage ignition was increased from one second to seven seconds after Falcon 1 Flight #3, and the recontact between the stages.  The delay appears to have been reduced to 3 seconds for CRS-4 and now increased to 4 seconds for CRS-5. 

Even if we never learn why, it is interesting to see the dynamism.

After posting that comparison I went back and looked up the delays from MECO to separation and from separation to MVac ignition in previous missions (i.e. beyond just CRS-3).  We get into a little bit of trouble because there was the change from F9v1.0 to v1.1 to complicate matters.  But even with just the v1.1 there aren't uniform periods.  I'd love to input my table, but I don't know how to use the feature on this board.  So, sorry if the formatting isn't very pretty.   :-[ 

*delay 1= MECO to stage separation
*delay 2= stage separation to MVac ignition


Mission                             delay1 (s)                 delay 2 (s)
CRS-5**                                   4                              8
CRS-4                                       3                              8
AsiaSat-6                                 4                              8
AsiaSat-8                                 4                              8
OrbComm OG2                         3                              8         
CRS-3                                       3                              1 <---WHAT? (likely a typo)
Thaicom-6                                3                              7
SES-8                                       5                              7
Cassiope                                  5                              8

CRS-2t                                      5                              7
CRS-1t                                      5                              7

**CRS-5 is still unflown at time of posting
t- Falcon 9v1.0

All data from press kits
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: WindyCity on 12/22/2014 04:45 PM
Another engineering-illiterate question:

What's so difficult about valves? Why are valves so susceptible to failure? Okay, they involve moving parts that have to function under high pressure and extreme temperature changes. Is it a problem with materials, design, working environment? O, you rocket scientists, please explain.

Second e-i q:  I've read elsewhere in the forum that SpaceX uses helium because it weighs less than other gases that could be employed. Really? Would the weight savings be that significant, say, over nitrogen? Isn't there a trade-off at some point between weight and manageabiiity?
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: kevin-rf on 12/22/2014 04:57 PM
1. Helium is a very small single atom molecule, so it easily penetrates imperfect valves and seals. Bit of trivial, Helium is often used in leak testers on vacuum systems. They compromise a He detector inside the vacuum (usually through a flange or port) and a wand that blows He on the outside of the chamber. If the detector detects the He you have a leak. It is supper sensitive and the He penetrates fast enough that is  can be used to easily isolate the smallest of leaks. That is why valves that handle He and H2 are so tough.

2. I also believe since N2 has a boiling point close enough to O2 you actually have an issue of N2 dissolving into LOX (impacting performance) and most likely you would have a similar issue with methane.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: e of pi on 12/22/2014 04:59 PM
Second e-i q:  I've read elsewhere in the forum that SpaceX uses helium because it weighs less than other gases that could be employed. Really? Would the weight savings be that significant, say, over nitrogen? Isn't there a trade-off at some point between weight and manageabiiity?
Can't really address the former question much, but the second I can at least touch on. In a gas, the pressure is based on the number of molecules, while the mass of the gas is dependent on the weight of each molecule times that total number.

So given certain temperatures and pressures, let's say you need N molecules of gas. For Helium, which has a molecular mass of a hair over 4, that means you have a total mass of 4N. Nitrogen not only has an atomic mass of 14, but as a gas it forms molecules of N2, so each molecule of nitrogen has a mass of 28. That makes pressurizing with nitrogen seven times heavier than pressurizing with helium.

There are also, if I recall correctly, some issues associated with the pressurant gas reacting slightly with the fuel/oxydizer it's pressurizing.  Helium, as a noble gas with a full electron shell, doesn't like reacting much and avoids the issue.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: WindyCity on 12/22/2014 05:44 PM
Thanks, e of pi and kevin-rf. I used nitrogen only as an example, but I take it that helium has attractive chemical properties for the purpose it's used for in rockets. But its downside is that it's hard to contain. So it must be that its advantages outweigh (pun intended) its disadvantages.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Mongo62 on 12/22/2014 06:07 PM
In a gas, the pressure is based on the number of molecules, while the mass of the gas is dependent on the weight of each molecule times the molecular mass.

The obvious pressurant (at least for the fuel side) would be hydrogen. Half the molecular weight of helium, and with a sufficiently low boiling point to not condense around liquid methane, let alone RP-1. Of course it could not be used with oxygen. Or could it? Might it be possible to design and build a system using gaseous H2 that does not burn before it's supposed to?

If it could be made usable, the mass of pressurant would presumably be half that of a helium system, with fewer leakage issues (plus hydrogen is readily available on Mars).
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: douglas100 on 12/22/2014 06:07 PM
Also, remember that the Merlin uses helium to spin up the turbopumps. So they're stuck with it for F9/FH. The BFR is a different matter of course...
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: kevin-rf on 12/22/2014 06:24 PM
The obvious pressurant (at least for the fuel side) would be hydrogen. Half the molecular weight of helium, and with a sufficiently low boiling point to not condense around liquid methane, let alone RP-1. Of course it could not be used with oxygen. Or could it? Might it be possible to design and build a system using gaseous H2 that does not burn before it's supposed to?
It has been proposed on the LOX side in the past, but no one has actually built one. As long as you can keep the LOX tank spark free and keep the LOX from boiling it should be "safe" (*mileage will vary). My memory may be foggy, but wasn't it part of the Aquarius design?

He is just much easier to handle and perceived to be safer in LOX tanks. It really only makes sense on LH/LOX rockets.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Comga on 12/22/2014 07:02 PM
Another engineering-illiterate question:
(snip)
Second e-i q:  I've read elsewhere in the forum that SpaceX uses helium because it weighs less than other gases that could be employed. Really? Would the weight savings be that significant, say, over nitrogen? Isn't there a trade-off at some point between weight and manageabiiity?

There is also the fact that Helium behaves much more like an ideal gas (PV=NRT) that Nitrogen.  If N2 bottles are put into the LOX tank the N2 liquifies, if not initially then when the temperature drops with the pressure drop with consumption.  The "heat of enthalpy" then has to be added to boil it before warming it can generate pressure.  This doesn't happen with He.  It remains gaseous, and with a low thermal capacity, can be greatly expanded with a small amount of thermal energy.  This should be more important than the molecular weight.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Remes on 12/22/2014 09:05 PM
I wonder why SpaceX keeps experiencing hardware problems that crop up during the Cape hot fire tests.  The stages have been test fired at McGregor.  What has changed?  Obviously the company would prefer to iron out any issues in Texas.  Could it be that something about the McGregor testing is causing the problems?

 - Ed Kyle
It's a logical consequence of their design. 9 times more engines means 9 times more probability of valves anomalies at the pad. That's the price they pay for their architechture. I'd rather have this anomalies than Proton's.
In any case, you know pretty well that the fact that a valve has worked one time doesn't means that it will work perfectly the next time. There might have been some contamination on the line, the testing might have actually degraded the seals, or something like that. Hydraulic and cryogenic valves are mighty unreliable when compared to things like pneumatic actuator valves (and those can be a PITA anyways).

I would like to add that the requirements of hydraulically operated cryogenic valves are much higher than pneumatically actuated valves.

I don't know any case where pneumatic actuator valves are used in a linear fashion, i.e. you can command any position inbetween 0%..100%. Fill&Drain valves are pneumatic (pneumatic against a spring load), but they only open and close. End to end, no stop in between. Chill down valves are typcially solenoid actuated pilot valves which as second stage have a pneumatic valve. They also just have to open and close reliably. Same goes for isolation valves.

In contrast to that fuel control valves (main valves, gas generator valves, thrust control valves, mixture ratio valves, whatever there is in a engine architecture) are linear, they must be fast, they must be precise, they are not allowed to have any overshooting behaviour as this would excite the plant (a plant, which is in the Megawatt range and no one wants to see excited). They must work directly attached to the engine despite their preciseness.

Obviously hydraulically actuated linear valve cause more errors then "dumb" switching valves. (But to prevent confusion: I don't know what type of valve had an issue.)
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: MP99 on 12/23/2014 09:22 AM
Quote from: WindyCity
Thanks, e of pi and kevin-rf. I used nitrogen only as an example, but I take it that helium has attractive chemical properties for the purpose it's used for in rockets. But its downside is that it's hard to contain. So it must be that its advantages outweigh (pun intended) its disadvantages.


To add to the above, the great thing about He pressurant is that you simply put the gas into a bottle (COPV sphere), then let it out through valves.

Downsides are that the COPVs are at tremendous pressure, it helps if you warm the He before injecting, and of course containing the He.

Autogenous schemes need you to heat the prop (often in the engine), then feed a pipe back to the top of the tanks, which adds to the complexity. (This is also a burden that heated He carries.) Gas Generator engines have waste heat from the GG that is helpful for this, BTW.

Once you get to schemes where you have to boil N2 (for instance), then the complexity of the whole system goes up, which can easily send your reliability down.

Edit: changed to be reply to top quote.

Sent from my GT-N5120 using Forum Fiend v1.2.14.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: MP99 on 12/23/2014 09:47 AM
Just for completeness on the pressurant gasses, it might be worth remembering the first two rows of the periodic table with molecular weights (na if they're not a gas for our purposes):-

2   hydrogen
4   helium
na lithium
na beryllium
na boron
na carbon
28 nitrogen
32 oxygen
36 fluorine
20 neon

It's interesting that neon, as another noble gas, has a lower molecular weight than nitrogen, with much lower boiling and triple points.

I'm sure it has other downsides that stop it from being used. (I suspect cost, something in the thermodynamics, and that helium just gives a performance advantage.)



BTW, for autogenous pressurization of methalox, the molecular weights are 32 for the gox, and 16 for gCH4.

Cheers, Martin

Sent from my GT-N5120 using Forum Fiend v1.2.14.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: cambrianera on 12/23/2014 12:41 PM
Another important effect that makes He the pressurant of choice is the Joule-Thompson effect:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joule%E2%80%93Thomson_effect
The ideal gas does not change temperature for adiabatic expansion (expansion with no heat exchange).
Real gases are different, normally they cool during expansion, increasing the need for heat exchangers and additional piping.
He is the only gas that heats during expansion starting from cryo temperatures (Hydrogen heats during expansion only starting from room temperature).
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Joey S-IVB on 12/23/2014 06:13 PM
When Dragon 2 comes online, will there still be a need to have two Soyuz spacecrafts attached to the ISS as lifeboats? Will they only need to have one Soyuz, and one Dragon/CST 100 to accommodate evacuating all the crew members in case of an emergency?
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: RonM on 12/23/2014 06:28 PM
When Dragon 2 comes online, will there still be a need to have two Soyuz spacecrafts attached to the ISS as lifeboats? Will they only need to have one Soyuz, and one Dragon/CST 100 to accommodate evacuating all the crew members in case of an emergency?

As long as Dragon 2 or CST-100 can stay for six months, ISS will only need one Soyuz.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: MP99 on 12/24/2014 07:56 AM
Quote from: cambrianera
Another important effect that makes He the pressurant of choice is the Joule-Thompson effect:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joule%E2%80%93Thomson_effect (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joule%E2%80%93Thomson_effect)
The ideal gas does not change temperature for adiabatic expansion (expansion with no heat exchange).
Real gases are different, normally they cool during expansion, increasing the need for heat exchangers and additional piping.
He is the only gas that heats during expansion starting from cryo temperatures (Hydrogen heats during expansion only starting from room temperature).

That's just voodoo! Neat, though. Those crazy Van der Waals forces, eh?

Thanks for the info.

Cheers, Martin

Sent from my GT-N5120 using Forum Fiend v1.2.14.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Nomadd on 12/24/2014 02:10 PM
 Does anybody know the plans for partial evacuations, as in a medical emergency?
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: RonM on 12/24/2014 02:20 PM
Does anybody know the plans for partial evacuations, as in a medical emergency?

There always has to be enough "lifeboat" capacity for the whole ISS crew. If one astronaut has a medical emergency, then other astronauts would also have to leave to have a full Soyuz, Dragon, or CST-100 returning to Earth.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: whitelancer64 on 12/24/2014 02:31 PM
Does anybody know the plans for partial evacuations, as in a medical emergency?

medical emergencies on the ISS are essentially handled on a case-by-case basis. both NASA and Roscosmos have a flight surgeon and a medical staff ready to advise and instruct should medical treatment be required for anyone on the ISS. the most normal spaceflight medical complications are well known and fairly well understood, although this is a subject of much of the ongoing research on the ISS. the more concerning medical situations on the ISS have included cuts, burns, various infections, and heart conditions. there is a great deal of literature on space medicine available, searching around you can find a lot of reading material.

the current procedure seems to be that should a medical evacuation be necessary, a Soyuz capsule would be used. the particulars would depend on the severity of the medical emergency, but most likely this would be done only in a critical situation, so you'd have a Soyuz pilot, the patient, and a crew member dedicated to tending to the patient descending back to Earth, where i'm sure there would be a large contingent of medical personnel assembled to treat them.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Vultur on 12/28/2014 07:33 PM
What would the delta-v of a Falcon 9v1.1 first stage with no second stage and no/very small payload be? How close could it get to SSTO? What if you took the landing legs off?
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: S.Paulissen on 12/28/2014 07:47 PM
What would the delta-v of a Falcon 9v1.1 first stage with no second stage and no/very small payload be? How close could it get to SSTO? What if you took the landing legs off?

The first stage alone ballparks to around 8500 m/s delta-V ignoring gravity losses and aero-drag.  LEO required delta-V is estimated to be 9-10 km/s depending on the rocket's given losses.  The stage would need to muster an average ISP closer to 310 to come close to achieving SSTO with no payload.  This orbit would be exactly KSC 28.5degrees and nowhere near the orbital plane and altitude of the ISS. 

I feel this is a very optimistic estimate.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Vultur on 12/29/2014 01:56 AM
What would the delta-v of a Falcon 9v1.1 first stage with no second stage and no/very small payload be? How close could it get to SSTO? What if you took the landing legs off?

The first stage alone ballparks to around 8500 m/s delta-V ignoring gravity losses and aero-drag.  LEO required delta-V is estimated to be 9-10 km/s depending on the rocket's given losses.  The stage would need to muster an average ISP closer to 310 to come close to achieving SSTO with no payload.  This orbit would be exactly KSC 28.5degrees and nowhere near the orbital plane and altitude of the ISS. 

I feel this is a very optimistic estimate.

Wow. That is really surprisingly close. Given that the F9 first stage is designed to carry a 2nd stage (and thus could have quite a bit more fuel and still have a TWR > 1 at launch) could a SSTO be made with Merlin 1D technology?
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: guckyfan on 12/29/2014 06:54 AM
Wow. That is really surprisingly close. Given that the F9 first stage is designed to carry a 2nd stage (and thus could have quite a bit more fuel and still have a TWR > 1 at launch) could a SSTO be made with Merlin 1D technology?

I am continually amazed by the fascination something as completely useless as a SSTO rocket seems to have!

I say explicitly rocket. Other designs like Skylon not included.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: cambrianera on 12/29/2014 09:08 AM
Wow. That is really surprisingly close. Given that the F9 first stage is designed to carry a 2nd stage (and thus could have quite a bit more fuel and still have a TWR > 1 at launch) could a SSTO be made with Merlin 1D technology?

I am continually amazed by the fascination something as completely useless as a SSTO rocket seems to have!

I say explicitly rocket. Other designs like Skylon not included.

World is full of useless but fascinating things.
And full of of things useless today, but useful tomorrow (and viceversa).
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: fast on 12/29/2014 09:47 AM
What would the delta-v of a Falcon 9v1.1 first stage with no second stage and no/very small payload be? How close could it get to SSTO? What if you took the landing legs off?

The first stage alone ballparks to around 8500 m/s delta-V ignoring gravity losses and aero-drag.  LEO required delta-V is estimated to be 9-10 km/s depending on the rocket's given losses.  The stage would need to muster an average ISP closer to 310 to come close to achieving SSTO with no payload.  This orbit would be exactly KSC 28.5degrees and nowhere near the orbital plane and altitude of the ISS. 

I feel this is a very optimistic estimate.

Wow. That is really surprisingly close. Given that the F9 first stage is designed to carry a 2nd stage (and thus could have quite a bit more fuel and still have a TWR > 1 at launch) could a SSTO be made with Merlin 1D technology?

possibly it can be made even right now, if you will launch you stretched F9R first stage from mountain takeoff field at altitude above 5000-6000m. Increased Isp will, low drag will greatly benefit...

it was discussed in other tread
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: S.Paulissen on 12/29/2014 04:44 PM
Wow. That is really surprisingly close. Given that the F9 first stage is designed to carry a 2nd stage (and thus could have quite a bit more fuel and still have a TWR > 1 at launch) could a SSTO be made with Merlin 1D technology?

Not really; a lot of first stages are very similar on two stage rockets.  It's not economical to launch something that barely makes LEO with a tiny payload fraction when, for marginal more cost, staging will increase payload many fold times.    It's useless for high energy orbits. 

Furthermore, pertinent only to SpaceX, this SSTO vehicle has nearly no possibility of recovery coupled with low margins and capability.

So you know, with a 10m tank stretch and existing 1d performance, they could SSTO a payload between 1000-2000kg.  Again, at KSC minimum energy LEO.  With the purported 112% thrust 1d, you could loft a 13m stretch with a payload of ~3000kg.  Compare this with the nearly 15000kg the existing two stage rocket can put into the same orbit.


I am continually amazed by the fascination something as completely useless as a SSTO rocket seems to have!

I say explicitly rocket. Other designs like Skylon not included.

I generally agree. Payload fraction is awful even if the first stage could do SSTO, which it could with a modest stretch. 

Skylon is vaporware until I see a full scale, flight weight, SABRE engine work as well as projected at speed/altitude conditions as well as a rocket.  Until that point, it's a bunch of useless/fascinating hardware.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: dror on 12/29/2014 05:37 PM
What would the delta-v of a Falcon 9v1.1 first stage with no second stage and no/very small payload be? How close could it get to SSTO? What if you took the landing legs off?

The first stage alone ballparks to around 8500 m/s delta-V ignoring gravity losses and aero-drag.  LEO required delta-V is estimated to be 9-10 km/s depending on the rocket's given losses.  The stage would need to muster an average ISP closer to 310 to come close to achieving SSTO with no payload.  This orbit would be exactly KSC 28.5degrees and nowhere near the orbital plane and altitude of the ISS. 

I feel this is a very optimistic estimate.
Can subcooled densified rp1 change that?
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: S.Paulissen on 12/29/2014 07:54 PM
Can subcooled densified rp1 change that?

No.  You get somewhere in the vicinity of 3.3% more fuel at -20°C assuming the whole propellant load is RP-1 (which it's not, it's about 1/4 of it with 3:1 O:F mix) which allows ~25m/s more deltaV.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Norm Hartnett on 12/29/2014 11:56 PM
I haven't seen this mentioned around here but Mike Killian caught a remarkable photo of the last ISS resupply launch. See it about half way down the page of this somewhat older article in America Space.

http://www.americaspace.com/?p=73981

It shows the first and second stage burns and also the first stage reentry/landing burn. Very cool!
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Robotbeat on 12/30/2014 01:20 AM
Can subcooled densified rp1 change that?

No.  You get somewhere in the vicinity of 3.3% more fuel at -20°C assuming the whole propellant load is RP-1 (which it's not, it's about 1/4 of it with 3:1 O:F mix) which allows ~25m/s more deltaV.
Falcon Heavy boosters can do it easily without needing propellant densification. They have even better mass fraction than a F9 core, since the tanks are stretched.  Mass fraction of 30, and 3 of the engines are restartable (the center one several times), so you can also use the much more efficient multi-burn trajectories. And you'd have pretty good T/W ratio (especially considering recent improvements in Merlin 1D), so low gravity losses. Aero losses would also be very low due to the aspect ratio of such a tall and skinny rocket.

...but it'd be expendable and thus pointless compared to a Falcon 9 reusable which could get better performance with less cost. F9R should be able to do 13 tons partly reusable (according to SpaceX), especially with down-range barge landing. The SSTO expendable FH booster would get about 5 tons or so to low LEO.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Zed_Noir on 01/01/2015 05:43 AM
The folks at Hawthorne release a year in review video for 2014

http://youtu.be/AcaBI_I0Td0
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: mme on 01/01/2015 08:54 PM
The folks at Hawthorne release a year in review video for 2014
...
I know that some people are put off by "PR," but I have to admit that I love this.  It really conveys the excitement of spaceflight to me.  Looking forward to the landing attempts, the abort tests, all the launches and of course the possibility of FH.  2015 is going to be an interesting year!
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Lar on 01/02/2015 01:41 AM
I think some of the footage of the water landing may not have been released before, or maybe I missed it. Nice vid.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: MattMason on 01/02/2015 02:25 AM
I think some of the footage of the water landing may not have been released before, or maybe I missed it. Nice vid.

They greatly stabilized the plane-chaser water landing by slowing it down and probably enhancing the sharpness. It seemed far more detailed.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: sghill on 01/06/2015 10:32 AM
There were some great shots of operational F9 grid fins in this morning's launch attempt coverage. :)

Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: fthomassy on 01/09/2015 05:54 PM
Have not seen this on the forum's yet and thought it would entertain (not likely to inform many on NSF).

https://twitter.com/SpaceX/status/552876085743218688 (https://twitter.com/SpaceX/status/552876085743218688)
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: The Amazing Catstronaut on 01/09/2015 06:21 PM
Have not seen this on the forum's yet and thought it would entertain (not likely to inform many on NSF).

https://twitter.com/SpaceX/status/552876085743218688 (https://twitter.com/SpaceX/status/552876085743218688)

Yup, it's already been posted up. Thank you for the reminder however.

It's great that SpaceX tweets stuff like this; it's excellent public outreach for the Falcon.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: dglow on 01/12/2015 03:17 AM
Have not seen this on the forum's yet and thought it would entertain (not likely to inform many on NSF).

https://twitter.com/SpaceX/status/552876085743218688 (https://twitter.com/SpaceX/status/552876085743218688)

Hadn't seen that, thanks! The 'Bird 9' is a riff upon the 'Up-Goer Five', here: https://xkcd.com/1133/
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Robotbeat on 01/12/2015 03:32 AM
Have not seen this on the forum's yet and thought it would entertain (not likely to inform many on NSF).

https://twitter.com/SpaceX/status/552876085743218688 (https://twitter.com/SpaceX/status/552876085743218688)

Hadn't seen that, thanks! The 'Bird 9' is a riff upon the 'Up-Goer Five', here: https://xkcd.com/1133/
http://splasho.com/upgoer5/library.php There's like a whole website devoted to "Up-Goer Five" type things.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: mr. mark on 01/13/2015 12:04 PM
SpaceX commercial contracts 2014 vs. other launch providers. http://spacenews.com/chart-arianespace-spacex-battled-to-a-draw-for-2014-launch-contracts/
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: ChrisWilson68 on 01/14/2015 09:21 AM
We're going to try to do for satellites what we've done for rockets.

Maybe Elon should actually do what he promised for rockets before venturing into new territory.

Yeah, he should really start resupplying the ISS before venturing into new territory.  He should really start launching communication satellites before venturing into new territory.

He's been steadily doing the things he's promised.  It's been slower than planned, but it's been happening.  Sure, there are even more things they are planning.  So what?  There will always be more things they're planning.  That's no reason not to start some parallel development in a totally new office.

Also I'm not sure what's "old technology" in satellites. They have improved tremendously in the last decades. Power, life expectancy, number of transponders etc.

In contrast to the launch industry there is not shortage of innovative satellite manufacturers out there.

He never said they weren't improving, just that the design cycles are slow.  If in 2004 they were launching 1994 technology and in 2014 they were launching 2004 technology, you'd see steady improvements, but that wouldn't mean you couldn't still get much more by cutting the design cycle time.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: ChrisWilson68 on 01/14/2015 09:22 AM
Or he's finding that his RLV doesn't have enough payload capacity to compete in the "long duration, very heavy" segment and that his FH is too expensive so he's trying to push other market segments where his launch vehicle works better.

That doesn't make any sense.  Falcon 9 is cheaper than the alternatives in its market segment and Falcon Heavy is cheaper than the alternatives in its market segment.  SpaceX has the best value in every segment.

Musk is trying to grow the market.  That's not because he's somehow failing with the existing market, but because he thinks the market could be bigger.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: pippin on 01/14/2015 09:27 AM
That's only the marketing blabla. We don't know how cheap Falcon Heavy really will be, it hasn't flown yet.
And the reusable Falcon 9 might be cheap in its market segment but it's not powerful enougho to fly a GEO Comsat, you need an expendable F9 for that and even that can only fly the smaller ones. If the trend with sat manufacturers (except Orbital) in that segment continues to be mass growth it might make sense for SpaceX to offer alternatives that are attractive in a different size class.
That's also what the "new technology" stuff might point to.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: ChrisWilson68 on 01/14/2015 09:40 AM
That's only the marketing blabla. We don't know how cheap Falcon Heavy really will be, it hasn't flown yet.

Of course we know how cheap Falcon Heavy really will be.  They've already sold launches on it, and they put the price right on their web site.

Falcon Heavy doesn't have much hardware that's different from Falcon 9, so SpaceX certainly has a very good idea of how much it costs them.

For years, people were saying Falcon 9 wouldn't really cost what SpaceX had been saying, that they would surely raise the price when they actually started flying.  Well, now they're really flying and the price has only gone up about as much as inflation.

The idea that we don't really know what SpaceX prices are and that prices will surely rise is FUD from the old guard that goes against the evidence.

And the reusable Falcon 9 might be cheap in its market segment but it's not powerful enougho to fly a GEO Comsat, you need an expendable F9 for that and even that can only fly the smaller ones.

That would matter if they needed to rely on reusability to be cheaper than the competition.  They don't.  Fully-expendable Falcon 9 is already cheaper.  Reusability, if and when it is achieved, is just a bonus.

If the trend with sat manufacturers (except Orbital) in that segment continues to be mass growth

Actually, the trend is toward electric propulsion, which makes for significantly less-massive satellites.

it might make sense for SpaceX to offer alternatives that are attractive in a different size class.
That's also what the "new technology" stuff might point to.

But still SpaceX already has all the payload classes covered at lower cost than the competition.  The idea that they're trying to do new satellites because they can't compete for existing satellites is nonsense.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: pippin on 01/14/2015 09:42 AM
I don't trust their web site. SpaceX also said they would fly FH in 2013 and they have sold very few flags on it. Fact is: we do NOT know what they are selling the flights at and how profitable these prices are. I am pretty sure they don't have a web shop and that's not how their customers book flights.

And yes, fully expendable F9 is cheap but _still_ can only fly small comsats not the current majority of heavier ones.

The "trend to electric propulsion" so far has not yet lead to smaller sats. It might as well lead to simply longer-living and more expensive ones, a trend SpaceX might want to counter.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: pippin on 01/14/2015 09:46 AM
Ariane, for example, are primarily concerned about SpaceX because SpaceX is taking the small sats away from them they need for dual launch. I haven't seen them concerned about their competitiveness in the heavy segment.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: ChrisWilson68 on 01/14/2015 09:50 AM
I don't trust their web site. SpaceX also said they would fly FH in 2013 and they have sold very few flags on it. Fact is: we do NOT know what they are selling the flights at and how profitable these prices are. I am pretty sure they don't have a web shop and that's not how their customers book flights.

And yes, fully expendable F9 is cheap but _still_ can only fly small comsats not the current majority of heavier ones.

With Falcon 9, their listed prices have held.  Why would Falcon Heavy be different?  If anything, Falcon Heavy is less likely to change price, because SpaceX has a much better idea now of their own costs than they did before Falcon 9 flew.

It makes zero sense for SpaceX to lie and put a price on their web site that is less than they actually sell their flights for.  It would undermine their negotiating position.  Customers hope to get discounts from list price.  Nobody ever agrees to pay more than the publicly listed price.

Of course, the price is just for the basic launch, and extra services can cost more.  Same goes for any launcher.

Anyway, the fact that they've booked so many launches makes it obvious they cost less.  Why would customers book on SpaceX, with less of a track record, than on the competition?  The only reason could be lower prices.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: ChrisWilson68 on 01/14/2015 09:50 AM
Ariane, for example, are primarily concerned about SpaceX because SpaceX is taking the small sats away from them they need for dual launch. I haven't seen them concerned about their competitiveness in the heavy segment.

Only because Falcon Heavy hasn't flown yet.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: pippin on 01/14/2015 09:51 AM
They haven't booked many launches for FH. In fact they only booked very few of them compared to F9
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: pippin on 01/14/2015 09:53 AM

Ariane, for example, are primarily concerned about SpaceX because SpaceX is taking the small sats away from them they need for dual launch. I haven't seen them concerned about their competitiveness in the heavy segment.

Only because Falcon Heavy hasn't flown yet.

C'mon, they are already using SpaceX to create a lot of FUD among ESA member states to get a few billion for Ariane 6. OK, that's not Arianspace but CNES, but still, they would not leave out that opportunity.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Jakusb on 01/14/2015 09:57 AM

The "trend to electric propulsion" so far has not yet lead to smaller sats. It might as well lead to simply longer-living and more expensive ones, a trend SpaceX might want to counter.

Maybe check out this launch: ;)

Boeing Completes All-Electric ABS 3A and Eutelsat 115 West B Satellites.

 Boeing has completed production of two all-electric propulsion satellites: the ABS 3A satellite for Asia Broadcast Satellite and the Eutelsat 115 West B satellite for Eutelsat. The Boeing 702SP (small platform) satellites have a lower price tag, significantly lower weight, and provide more options for movement to different orbital positions, according to the satellite manufacturer.

Boeing technology allows two all-electric satellites to be stacked and launched together. The ABS 3A and the Eutelsat 115 West B satellite are scheduled to launch on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket in February.

satellitetoday.com (http://www.satellitetoday.com/technology/2015/01/12/boeing-completes-all-electric-abs-3a-and-eutelsat-115-west-b-satellites/)
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: ChrisWilson68 on 01/14/2015 11:29 AM
They haven't booked many launches for FH. In fact they only booked very few of them compared to F9

Of course it's not as many as for Falcon 9 -- Falcon 9 is a proven launch vehicle and Falcon Heavy has not yet flown.  They don't even have a firm date for the first Falcon Heavy launch.  That they have any booked flights at all for Falcon Heavy is impressive enough.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: ChrisWilson68 on 01/14/2015 11:37 AM

Ariane, for example, are primarily concerned about SpaceX because SpaceX is taking the small sats away from them they need for dual launch. I haven't seen them concerned about their competitiveness in the heavy segment.

Only because Falcon Heavy hasn't flown yet.

C'mon, they are already using SpaceX to create a lot of FUD among ESA member states to get a few billion for Ariane 6. OK, that's not Arianspace but CNES, but still, they would not leave out that opportunity.

I don't know exactly what you think Arianespace or CNES or anyone else would do differently if they took the Falcon Heavy threat seriously, but it doesn't really matter.

Arianespace/ESA ignored Falcon 9 before it was flying.  They claimed it wasn't a threat.  Even after it started flying, it took a while before they did anything to indicate they saw a threat.  So them not seeing Falcon Heavy as a threat before it's flown is hardly surprising, and not any kind of an indication Falcon Heavy won't really be a threat once it does start flying.

Arianespace/ESA seems terminally incapable to seeing competitive threats coming, even if everyone else does.  They waited until Falcon 9 had taken a big portion of the market for satellites in its class before they reacted in any way.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: yg1968 on 01/14/2015 02:10 PM
Article on FH missions:
http://www.forecastinternational.com/news/article.cfm?recno=229716
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: pathfinder_01 on 01/14/2015 08:47 PM
That's only the marketing blabla. We don't know how cheap Falcon Heavy really will be, it hasn't flown yet.
And the reusable Falcon 9 might be cheap in its market segment but it's not powerful enougho to fly a GEO Comsat, you need an expendable F9 for that and even that can only fly the smaller ones.

The smart thing with the way he is designing re-usability is that he could use an used F9R in an expendable mode if he had to.  The reason why he is expanding is twofold. Both the cost of the rocket and the satellite are expensive and so expensive that they are not very affordable and so growth in the market is limited. It is sort of like when the PC first comes out and is $2000 in 1980ies money. Very few people could afford one and few were sold as compared to when it dropped to under $1000. Now people have multiple laptops and tablets because they are now affordable. He is attempting to try this with space. Might work, might not work.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: deruch on 01/16/2015 07:51 AM
Has anyone heard anything about NASA directing SpaceX to redesign Dragon to be able to carry water for the ISS?  This was the first I've seen about it:

http://spaceflightnow.com/2015/01/15/nasa-hopes-to-replace-cargo-lost-on-antares-failure-this-year/

Quote
Gerstenmaier said the Antares launch failure proved the value of having at least two suppliers capable of sending cargo to the space station. It also shows why NASA selected two companies — Boeing and SpaceX — to fly astronauts to the complex.

“You don’t put all your critical spares on one vehicle,” Gerstenmaier said. “If you can split between two vehicles or three vehicles, from a redundancy standpoint then you can effectively utilize your redundancy.”

He said NASA already directed SpaceX to redesign its Dragon cargo capsule to carry water to the space station, a capability that only Orbital’s Cygnus spacecraft was previously able to handle.

“We thought we had enough redundancy so we didn’t have to make design changes to carry water on both vehicles, but now, in hindsight, we need to make a design change,” Gerstenmaier said. “We accepted some non-redundancy items to keep costs down, now we know we need that redundancy.”

How does that work exactly?  Is NASA on the hook to pay for any vehicle changes they request?  It would be one thing if Elon said, "Hey, we're changing Dragon a bit so that it can freight water to the station."  But, if the article is to be believed, Gerstenmaier said NASA is ordering it.  Does the CRS contract allow them to do so?  Does it have a mechanism to deal with the costs of changing the vehicle to meet new customer requirements?

I think it's a good idea btw.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Tass on 01/16/2015 10:33 AM
How does that need a redesign? It can transport all that other stuff. Couldn't they just put some containers in there?
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Zardar on 01/16/2015 11:18 AM
How does that need a redesign? It can transport all that other stuff. Couldn't they just put some containers in there?

The work (and the cost associated with it) is not for the water redesign per-se.

Its mostly for paperwork, to document and certify how the (probably bags of) water will be stowed, secured and moved in and out, and to ensure safety, mass-distribution, leak risk and handling etc.

When the mass of the paper > the mass of the water, they'll be good to go  :P


Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Jim on 01/16/2015 11:56 AM
How does that need a redesign? It can transport all that other stuff. Couldn't they just put some containers in there?

The container and restraint system would be the "Dragon Redesign"
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Jim on 01/16/2015 11:59 AM

How does that work exactly?  Is NASA on the hook to pay for any vehicle changes they request?  It would be one thing if Elon said, "Hey, we're changing Dragon a bit so that it can freight water to the station."  But, if the article is to be believed, Gerstenmaier said NASA is ordering it.  Does the CRS contract allow them to do so?  Does it have a mechanism to deal with the costs of changing the vehicle to meet new customer requirements?

I think it's a good idea btw.

The contract has hooks for this.  Something like this was done for additional capability for powered cargo.  NASA pays for the changes.  They are called special task assignments or non standard services.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: sghill on 01/16/2015 02:10 PM
The contract has hooks for this.  Something like this was done for additional capability for powered cargo.  NASA pays for the changes.  They are called special task assignments or non standard services.


Ah "change orders."  A government contractor's path to riches....
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: abaddon on 01/16/2015 02:23 PM
Ah "change orders."  A government contractor's path to riches....

Also a mechanism by which the govt can make sure it is getting what it needs, even if that need was not anticipated (or was judged unlikely to be required for the cost, in this case).

It'd be really unfortunate to have to reduce the crew complement or even evacuate the ISS because they can't get enough water up there...
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: JasonAW3 on 01/16/2015 02:25 PM
Geez,

     I come up with  ONE idea to help increase SpaceX's revenue by using microsats, and now EVERYONE wants to get in the act!

http://science.slashdot.org/story/15/01/15/2315255/virgin-galactic-to-launch-2400-comm-satellites-to-offer-ubiquitous-broadband

Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: JamesH on 01/16/2015 02:33 PM
How does that need a redesign? It can transport all that other stuff. Couldn't they just put some containers in there?

The container and restraint system would be the "Dragon Redesign"

Sorted...

https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4144/4833015607_6dbce78e93_z.jpg
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Herb Schaltegger on 01/16/2015 02:43 PM

It'd be really unfortunate to have to reduce the crew complement or even evacuate the ISS because they can't get enough water up there...

Especially since water is a metabolic byproduct anyway, and there SHOULD be plenty if the Potable Water Processor and Urine Processor Assemblies were working properly, long-term. ;) 
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: saliva_sweet on 01/16/2015 02:48 PM
Sorted...
https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4144/4833015607_6dbce78e93_z.jpg

Are you kidding! ISS would fall down and the crew will die. The water container has to cost at least a million and have a minimum of four letter acronym. But teams are on it. I hear they are already at 600k and three letters. Should be all set in two years.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: mfck on 01/16/2015 03:34 PM
Geez,

     I come up with  ONE idea to help increase SpaceX's revenue by using microsata, and now EVERYONE wants to get in the act!

http://science.slashdot.org/story/15/01/15/2315255/virgin-galactic-to-launch-2400-comm-satellites-to-offer-ubiquitous-broadband
This announcement was made a day before Elon's one, iirc.

Not that it makes it less ridiculous...
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: JasonAW3 on 01/16/2015 10:12 PM
Geez,

     I come up with  ONE idea to help increase SpaceX's revenue by using microsata, and now EVERYONE wants to get in the act!

http://science.slashdot.org/story/15/01/15/2315255/virgin-galactic-to-launch-2400-comm-satellites-to-offer-ubiquitous-broadband
This announcement was made a day before Elon's one, iirc.

Not that it makes it less ridiculous...

Yeah, but I made the suggestion about a week before Elon announced the idea!  Not accusing anyone of anything, as that was another throw away idea that anyone could use, but the timing is kinda coincidental!
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: mr. mark on 01/17/2015 05:41 PM
Anyone have a stat or graph showing potential SpaceX satellite versus NASA CRS earnings for 2014? I know SpaceX secured 9 launch contracts for 2014 tied with Ariane.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: deruch on 01/18/2015 01:13 AM
Anyone have a stat or graph showing potential SpaceX satellite versus NASA CRS earnings for 2014? I know SpaceX secured 9 launch contracts for 2014 tied with Ariane.

Hard to get an apples to apples comparison there.  The CRS contract is "all inclusive" while SpaceX's published prices for commercial launches doesn't include a lot of add-on features, e.g. spacecraft processing.  I'll look for the source, but I remember either Elon or Gwynn stating that CRS represented about 1/4 of SpaceX revenue.  I don't know if that was in year on year or general historical terms though.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: deruch on 01/18/2015 01:15 AM
Now that SpaceX has installed the grid fins on the F9, have they gone back to the smaller, original RCS? 
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: MP99 on 01/18/2015 08:54 PM
Has anyone heard anything about NASA directing SpaceX to redesign Dragon to be able to carry water for the ISS?  This was the first I've seen about it:

http://spaceflightnow.com/2015/01/15/nasa-hopes-to-replace-cargo-lost-on-antares-failure-this-year/

Quote
<snip>
He said NASA already directed SpaceX to redesign its Dragon cargo capsule to carry water to the space station...

Question:- will this increase the density of the cargo load, and perhaps also the total cargo mass on that mission / missions?

Cheers, Martin
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Berkut on 01/18/2015 09:08 PM
Now that SpaceX has installed the grid fins on the F9, have they gone back to the smaller, original RCS?
Why would they? They still compliment each other and gridfins are not deployed til the last 4-5 min.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: rpapo on 01/18/2015 10:20 PM
Now that SpaceX has installed the grid fins on the F9, have they gone back to the smaller, original RCS?
Why would they? They still compliment each other and gridfins are not deployed til the last 4-5 min.
Yes, they compliment each other.  But "only the last 4-5 minutes" is not a good statement.  Consider: The whole flight is only about ten minutes long.  The first three minutes are launch phase, and RCS is meaningless then, compared to the control authority of the nine Merlins.  RCS comes into play immediately after MECO, though, in steering the first stage out of the second stage's exhaust plume, and in turning it around for the boostback burn.

At the five minute point, after two minutes of using the RCS for roll and attitude control, and presumably a boostback burn as well, the grid fins are deployed.  The air is too thin for them to have effect yet, so RCS remains the primary control mechanism for a little while longer.

At about the seven minute point, we have the retrofire burn.  The grid fins probably started working shortly before then, and continue to serve as primary attitude and cross-range control until only twenty seconds before touchdown, which occurs at about nine and a half minutes.

So, RCS would seem to be the primary attitude control from about 3:00 to 7:00, and the grid fins for the last two and a half minutes.  There is probably an overlap in control between 6:30 and 7:30.

During the final landing burn, rocket control is once more dominated by the Merlin engine, which has far more control authority than the RCS, and at the final slow speed, far more than the grid fins too.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Berkut on 01/18/2015 11:24 PM
Quote
"Hydraulics are usually closed, but that adds mass vs short acting open systems. F9 fins only work for 4 mins. We were ~10% off."
Elon Musk

Quote
"Grid fins worked extremely well from hypersonic velocity to subsonic, but ran out of hydraulic fluid right before landing."
Elon Musk

Any questions?

EDIT; Your timing is off too. After MECO 1 the stage uses around 6 min to return. The first 2 min is when RCS is primary, after that it is gridfins although it is possible RCS help along too for one more min or so.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: deruch on 01/19/2015 12:20 AM
Now that SpaceX has installed the grid fins on the F9, have they gone back to the smaller, original RCS?
Why would they? They still compliment each other and gridfins are not deployed til the last 4-5 min.

To save mass.  The beefed up RCS was installed to deal with uncontrollable spin.  When did they have the spin problem with Cassiope? They were able to get the F9 all the way through the reentry without the heavier upgrade.  It wasn't until pretty low in the atmosphere that they really had a problem.  By that point, they should have all the control authority they need with the grid fins.  Hence the lighter weight, original RCS should be enough to get the job done.  Maybe the extra weight is still justifiable by their performance prior to boost back?  or in getting the F9 out of the second stage's plume?  etc.  But they shouldn't be needed for the lower atmosphere spin issue.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Kabloona on 01/19/2015 02:54 AM
Now that SpaceX has installed the grid fins on the F9, have they gone back to the smaller, original RCS?
Why would they? They still compliment each other and gridfins are not deployed til the last 4-5 min.

To save mass.  The beefed up RCS was installed to deal with uncontrollable spin.  When did they have the spin problem with Cassiope? They were able to get the F9 all the way through the reentry without the heavier upgrade.  It wasn't until pretty low in the atmosphere that they really had a problem.  By that point, they should have all the control authority they need with the grid fins.  Hence the lighter weight, original RCS should be enough to get the job done.  Maybe the extra weight is still justifiable by their performance prior to boost back?  or in getting the F9 out of the second stage's plume?  etc.  But they shouldn't be needed for the lower atmosphere spin issue.

They've lost two landings due to running out of consumables (GN2 and hydraulic fluid) and having undersized GN2 thrusters. So they've learned the hard way that having sufficient ACS margin is critical for recovering a stage.

OTOH, what's the incentive to reduce mass? Well, a rough rule of thumb says that shaving 10 pounds of dry mass off a first stage will buy you 1 pound more payload to LEO. Suppose you could save, say, 50 pounds by downsizing back to smaller GN2 thrusters and a smaller tank, as in the original design. So that buys you maybe 5 pounds more payload to LEO. Would you reduce your ACS margin again to buy 5 more pounds to orbit? I doubt SpaceX would.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: AJW on 01/19/2015 07:19 PM
Do we have any measure of the accuracy of the F9 landing attempts from before the addition of the grid fins on CRS-5?    Is there any reasonable likelihood of a successful landing with CRS-3 or OG2 if the ASDS had been built a year earlier?
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Lars-J on 01/19/2015 07:33 PM
Do we have any measure of the accuracy of the F9 landing attempts from before the addition of the grid fins on CRS-5?    Is there any reasonable likelihood of a successful landing with CRS-3 or OG2 if the ASDS had been built a year earlier?

No, we don't have the data. But SpaceX does, and presumably they added the grid fins for a reason.

A landing might have been possible, but with the required accuracy? It would presumably require additional margin of propellant and RCS to hit the right spot.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: mme on 01/19/2015 09:57 PM
Do we have any measure of the accuracy of the F9 landing attempts from before the addition of the grid fins on CRS-5?    Is there any reasonable likelihood of a successful landing with CRS-3 or OG2 if the ASDS had been built a year earlier?
We don't have any specific numbers, but according to SpaceX themselves, accuracy was only around 10 km without the grid fins: X MARKS THE SPOT: FALCON 9 ATTEMPTS OCEAN PLATFORM LANDING (http://www.spacex.com/news/2014/12/16/x-marks-spot-falcon-9-attempts-ocean-platform-landing)
Quote
During previous attempts, we could only expect a landing accuracy of within 10km. For this attempt, we’re targeting a landing accuracy of within 10 meters.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: AJW on 01/19/2015 10:24 PM
Thank you.  That makes the decision to go to grid fins and the accuracy of this first attempt even more impressive.    It is just 16 months from their first trial of a propulsive return.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: adrianwyard on 01/20/2015 04:54 AM
For those who didn't notice, there are some new high-res close-up photos of the COTS-2/3 Dragon in the following new thread:

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=36598.msg1318836#msg1318836
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Lars-J on 01/20/2015 08:37 PM
A press release from SpaceX about raising an additional $1 billion from Google and Fidelity: http://www.spacex.com/press/2015/01/20/financing-round

Quote
Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) has raised a billion dollars in a financing round with two new investors, Google and Fidelity. They join existing investors Founders Fund, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Valor Equity Partners and Capricorn. Google and Fidelity will collectively own just under 10% of the company. 

SpaceX designs, manufactures, and launches the world's most advanced rockets and spacecraft. This funding will be used to support continued innovation in the areas of space transport, reusability, and satellite manufacturing.

That would suggest that SpaceX is now valued at over $10 billion.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: yg1968 on 01/20/2015 09:05 PM
If SpaceX had liquidity problems, this should solve them.

In an interview a few months ago with Elon Musk, Steve Jurvetson mentioned that Larry page of Google said to him that giving money to Elon Musk is like giving to charity because Musk is likely to do something good for humanity with it. I wouldn't be surprised to see Google invest more and more in Elon Musk's companies (including SpaceX).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h4vsjP_sKTo
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: JBF on 01/20/2015 09:07 PM
The more interesting question is how exactly are they going to use the money.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: yg1968 on 01/20/2015 09:08 PM
The more interesting question is how exactly are they going to use the money.

The press release says the following: "This funding will be used to support continued innovation in the areas of space transport, reusability, and satellite manufacturing."
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: kevinof on 01/20/2015 09:22 PM
Not every investment is about fixing liquidity.  Google may be bringing other assets to the table. Plus this will be "spare cash" that SpaceX can use to play with in areas that it currently can't justify right now.

If SpaceX had liquidity problems, this should solve them. ...


Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: yg1968 on 01/20/2015 09:38 PM
Not every investment is about fixing liquidity.  Google may be bringing other assets to the table. Plus this will be "spare cash" that SpaceX can use to play with in areas that it currently can't justify right now.

If SpaceX had liquidity problems, this should solve them. ...

Yes, I know but there was rumours that SpaceX had certain liquidity risks.  SNC indirectly alludes to them in its protest (see page 16 of the GAO decision).
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: nadreck on 01/20/2015 09:50 PM
Not every investment is about fixing liquidity.  Google may be bringing other assets to the table. Plus this will be "spare cash" that SpaceX can use to play with in areas that it currently can't justify right now.

If SpaceX had liquidity problems, this should solve them. ...



I think that SpaceX's liquidity risks (or at least Elon's) were well behind them to deliver on their current manifest, F9R and Dragon 2, however satellite constellation, Raptor and whatever the first Raptors are attached to would cause a liquidity risk if Elon develops them at the speed needed to make the first manned flight to Mars in time for his bet. So to me that is what the $1B is for. What surprises me is Fidelity's involvement.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: philw1776 on 01/21/2015 01:53 AM
As someone with serious money in Fidelity, I'm happy to see this.  Use it wisely, Elon.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: deruch on 01/21/2015 02:25 AM
One would hope that it gave the employees a chance to cash some options as well.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: CuddlyRocket on 01/21/2015 03:52 AM
The more interesting question is how exactly are they going to use the money.

The press release says the following: "This funding will be used to support continued innovation in the areas of space transport, reusability, and satellite manufacturing."

Well, yes - what else would they use the money on? :)
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Antilope7724 on 01/21/2015 10:50 PM
Google is investing in a better barge this time.  ;D
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: docmordrid on 01/22/2015 10:24 AM
http://www.wsj.com/articles/BL-DGB-40041

Quote
SpaceX’s Valuation Rockets to $12 Billion With Google Investment

SpaceX now ranks fourth on The Wall Street Journal’s list of billion-dollar private companies, securing a $12 billion valuation.
>
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: ChrisWilson68 on 01/22/2015 11:05 AM
Not every investment is about fixing liquidity.  Google may be bringing other assets to the table. Plus this will be "spare cash" that SpaceX can use to play with in areas that it currently can't justify right now.

If SpaceX had liquidity problems, this should solve them. ...

Yes, I know but there was rumours that SpaceX had certain liquidity risks.  SNC indirectly alludes to them in its protest (see page 16 of the GAO decision).

SNC is not in a position to know any more about SpaceX's internal finances than we are.  And they said this in a protest to a decision in favor of Boeing and SpaceX and against them.

This is also the same SNC that said they would fly Dream Chaser to orbit whether or not they won CCtCap.  How's that's working out?

I'd believe a random homeless person babbling to himself on the street before I'd believe what SNC says about SpaceX.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: S.Paulissen on 01/22/2015 04:24 PM
Not every investment is about fixing liquidity.  Google may be bringing other assets to the table. Plus this will be "spare cash" that SpaceX can use to play with in areas that it currently can't justify right now.

If SpaceX had liquidity problems, this should solve them. ...



I think that SpaceX's liquidity risks (or at least Elon's) were well behind them to deliver on their current manifest, F9R and Dragon 2, however satellite constellation, Raptor and whatever the first Raptors are attached to would cause a liquidity risk if Elon develops them at the speed needed to make the first manned flight to Mars in time for his bet. So to me that is what the $1B is for. What surprises me is Fidelity's involvement.

Why?  They essentially instantly made a 20% profit.  If a $1B investment buys you a 10% stake in a $12B company.... you just made that $1B worth $1.2B.  It's a no lose situation.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Kabloona on 01/22/2015 04:33 PM
It's a no lose situation.

Until the WSJ decides SpaceX is only a $9B company... ;)
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: mme on 01/22/2015 04:33 PM
One would hope that it gave the employees a chance to cash some options as well.
I think SpaceX already buys back some stock every 6 months to give vested employees a chance to cash in.  My understanding is they do this because Musk doesn't want to go public anytime soon.  But this should certainly bump up SpaceX's valuation.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Mongo62 on 01/22/2015 04:46 PM
Why?  They essentially instantly made a 20% profit.  If a $1B investment buys you a 10% stake in a $12B company.... you just made that $1B worth $1.2B.  It's a no lose situation.

Google put in $900 million for a 7.5% stake in SpaceX, making the total valuation of SpaceX $12 billion.

Fidelity therefore must have put in $100 million, for five-sixths of a percent of SpaceX. We will know for sure when they release their next monthly/quarterly statements.

The total stake held by Google and Fidelity would be eight and one-third percent of SpaceX.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: mme on 01/22/2015 04:49 PM
Not every investment is about fixing liquidity.  Google may be bringing other assets to the table. Plus this will be "spare cash" that SpaceX can use to play with in areas that it currently can't justify right now.
If SpaceX had liquidity problems, this should solve them. ...
... satellite constellation, Raptor and whatever the first Raptors are attached to would cause a liquidity risk if Elon develops them at the speed needed to make the first manned flight to Mars in time for his bet. So to me that is what the $1B is for. What surprises me is Fidelity's involvement.

Why?  They essentially instantly made a 20% profit.  If a $1B investment buys you a 10% stake in a $12B company.... you just made that $1B worth $1.2B.  It's a no lose situation.
But SpaceX is not publicly traded and supposedly Musk has no interest in going public soon.  So unless the agreement includes participating in SpaceX's internal stock buy backs it's not a very liquid investment.  Either this is a long term investment by Fidelity, or they know something we don't.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: nadreck on 01/22/2015 06:34 PM
Not every investment is about fixing liquidity.  Google may be bringing other assets to the table. Plus this will be "spare cash" that SpaceX can use to play with in areas that it currently can't justify right now.

If SpaceX had liquidity problems, this should solve them. ...



I think that SpaceX's liquidity risks (or at least Elon's) were well behind them to deliver on their current manifest, F9R and Dragon 2, however satellite constellation, Raptor and whatever the first Raptors are attached to would cause a liquidity risk if Elon develops them at the speed needed to make the first manned flight to Mars in time for his bet. So to me that is what the $1B is for. What surprises me is Fidelity's involvement.

Why?  They essentially instantly made a 20% profit.  If a $1B investment buys you a 10% stake in a $12B company.... you just made that $1B worth $1.2B.  It's a no lose situation.

As has been pointed out: A) they did not make any profit, their's and Google's investments are at value per share and are what established the latest valuation, B) it is a very risky investment because the next trade that establishes price could be 1 or 2 years away.

But back to why I am surprised at the Fidelity investment: they were obviously NOT the drivers of this deal and Occam's Razor suggests to me that someone at Fidelity had expressed interest between November 2010 and a few weeks ago that if SpaceX were looking for $100M or so, they had some mutual fund managers that were interested in their funds participating. Elon (or someone) would have probably said, well, if we are doing a financing, we will call  you. Then they did when the deal with Google was being talked about. In dollar denomination Fidelities $100M is tied for 2nd largest cash investment, however it only buys 0.8333% of the outstanding shares.  So if Fidelity was waiting in the wings until a deal was being done, that means they have been interested in SpaceX for a while and at least one Fidelity fund manager must have been regularly interacting with SpaceX to know how things were going and be always ready to justify the investment to management.  Oh and btw, it would not surprise me if this person was not at least a lurker here.

So Fidelity has been successfully running mutual funds for a very long time, their endorsement here is going to make a big difference down the road if there are to be other rounds of private equity, or more likely an IPO in the 5 to 10 year time frame. Which could conceivably value SpaceX at five to ten times its latest valuation.

Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: MP99 on 01/22/2015 07:10 PM
Not every investment is about fixing liquidity.  Google may be bringing other assets to the table. Plus this will be "spare cash" that SpaceX can use to play with in areas that it currently can't justify right now.

I know Skybox are working on more rapid updates to Earth imaging. But, I wonder whether the sats might also include cameras to add updates to Google Maps?

Lots of sats, nearly global coverage, and they'll have some bandwidth for the downloads.

Cheers, Martin
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: MechE31 on 01/22/2015 07:56 PM
As has been pointed out: A) they did not make any profit, their's and Google's investments are at value per share and are what established the latest valuation, B) it is a very risky investment because the next trade that establishes price could be 1 or 2 years away.

Valuations are done far more frequently, however there is virtually no liquidity until IPO.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: nadreck on 01/22/2015 08:05 PM
As has been pointed out: A) they did not make any profit, their's and Google's investments are at value per share and are what established the latest valuation, B) it is a very risky investment because the next trade that establishes price could be 1 or 2 years away.

Valuations are done far more frequently, however there is virtually no liquidity until IPO.

If you are talking about the valuations for buyback, those are irrelevant because Fidelity can't participate (AFIK caveat). As an investor though, the only valuations that count, are what someone else (not the company itself) is willing to pay for a share.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Kabloona on 01/22/2015 08:33 PM
It's perhaps a long-term bet by Fidelity since Elon has said an IPO won't happen until MCT is flying regularly.

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=25110.msg1061324#msg1061324
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: MechE31 on 01/22/2015 08:47 PM
As has been pointed out: A) they did not make any profit, their's and Google's investments are at value per share and are what established the latest valuation, B) it is a very risky investment because the next trade that establishes price could be 1 or 2 years away.

Valuations are done far more frequently, however there is virtually no liquidity until IPO.

If you are talking about the valuations for buyback, those are irrelevant because Fidelity can't participate (AFIK caveat). As an investor though, the only valuations that count, are what someone else (not the company itself) is willing to pay for a share.

Valuations are done more frequently than buybacks.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: nadreck on 01/22/2015 08:56 PM
As has been pointed out: A) they did not make any profit, their's and Google's investments are at value per share and are what established the latest valuation, B) it is a very risky investment because the next trade that establishes price could be 1 or 2 years away.

Valuations are done far more frequently, however there is virtually no liquidity until IPO.

Yes but they don't count as they don't establish price

If you are talking about the valuations for buyback, those are irrelevant because Fidelity can't participate (AFIK caveat). As an investor though, the only valuations that count, are what someone else (not the company itself) is willing to pay for a share.

Valuations are done more frequently than buybacks.

What valuations are you speaking of? Whatever they are they do not establish price. Only the sale of shares establishes price.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: WindnWar on 01/22/2015 08:57 PM
With the statement that SES may hold off their spring launch until someone else flies on Falcon 9 in full thrust engine regime, I'm curious what that will look like for the flight times, staging, max q, etc.

I would assume you'd hit max q sooner yes? Or perhaps they'll throttle up after Max Q? Anyone hazard a guess as to what the flights will look like in that config? Wonder if the second stage will see any increase in thrust as well? If they hit the 165k sea level numbers, you're looking at a first stage thrust close to a Saturn 1B, but with better ISP.

Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Lar on 01/22/2015 10:01 PM
um, let's not go TOO far down the rabbit hole about how much SpaceX is worth, what the valuation is, who decided what about how much to invest, etc, ok? 

Not deleting anything but you know me, lazy lazy. Some more enterprising mod may have a different view.

Thanks!
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: CuddlyRocket on 01/22/2015 11:01 PM
But SpaceX is not publicly traded and supposedly Musk has no interest in going public soon.  So unless the agreement includes participating in SpaceX's internal stock buy backs it's not a very liquid investment.  Either this is a long term investment by Fidelity, or they know something we don't.

Quite possibly a flotation as a subsidiary of the satellite network operations company. Fidelity - indeed any of the investors - could swop some or all of their shares in SpaceX for some in the subsidiary, possibly to be sold as part of the flotation. There are many permutations on this idea.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: inventodoc on 01/23/2015 02:44 AM
The SpaceX valuation is cheap compared to thermostat companies, VR displays, messaging apps and other things that have been bought for billions each in the last year or so.

We are 570+ replies and 24 pages in. Time for a new thread (#12)?

Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: dror on 01/23/2015 01:12 PM
With the statement that SES may hold off their spring launch until someone else flies on Falcon 9 in full thrust engine regime, I'm curious what that will look like for the flight times, staging, max q, etc.

...
Where did that statement come from? Can you please share a link? Thanks!
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: mme on 01/23/2015 01:27 PM
With the statement that SES may hold off their spring launch ...
Where did that statement come from? Can you please share a link? Thanks!

Interesting to see that the launch of SES-9 may use the higher thrust Merlin 1D engines.

Peter B. de Selding @pbdes
SES: We may skip spring SpaceX launch slot & wait till mid-year to let someone else be 1st using Falcon 9 main engine in full-thrust regime.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: abaddon on 01/23/2015 02:19 PM
A few questions regarding the up-rated Merlin 1D:

- Will it still be able to throttle down as far as the current model?  If not that would make recovery even harder so I would have to guess it can.
- Will the M1D-Vac also be up-rated?
- What kind of throw weight improvement can we guess at if there are no changes in prop?
- What kind of throw weight improvement can we guess at if they include more prop via densification?
- Is it possible that DOD (and NASA) certification were delayed because of this plan?

I know a lot of these are going to be best guesses, just curious what kind of differences we might see.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: yg1968 on 01/23/2015 05:21 PM
Musk will be on the Simpsons (he will be traveling through space with a spacecraft of his own design):
http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2015-01-23/elon-musk-guest-stars-on-the-simpsons
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: deruch on 01/24/2015 03:28 AM
A few questions regarding the up-rated Merlin 1D:
- Will it still be able to throttle down as far as the current model?  If not that would make recovery even harder so I would have to guess it can.
<snip>
I know a lot of these are going to be best guesses, just curious what kind of differences we might see.

They could always leave the center engine unchanged.  If one assumes that the increased thrust of an M1D+ comes with the same throttling limits as the current model (not necessarily true), this is only an issue for the landing burn.  That's the one that only uses the center engine.  So just don't upgrade the center engine.  Doing so would have some small costs though.  They'd lose 1/9th of the potential thrust gains during launch and 1/3rd of the potential gains for both the boostback and reentry burns.  Additionally, depending on how the builds are different (if at all) they lose some of the benefits of mass production and installation. 

But of course, the increased thrust may not be from any physical changes to the engines.  It could just be that they're willing to run them harder.  If that's the case, it clearly wouldn't affect the low throttle limit.

Edit: I just bumped the M1D discussion thread: http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=32983.0  So maybe further discussion should take place there.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: symbios on 01/24/2015 07:33 PM
Just on Facebook - SuperDraco hotfire test:
https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=10155506022485131 (https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=10155506022485131)
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Semmel on 01/24/2015 08:12 PM
This looks very different from superdraco tests.. where is the wave-like oscilation ?

See for example here: http://youtu.be/PUUnYgo1-lI?t=16s
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: JBF on 01/24/2015 09:16 PM
I think you are seeing a deliberate throttle down on one side for testing steering.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: deruch on 01/25/2015 02:35 AM
Is this the first video of a pair of SuperDracos firing together?  I've seen vids of single engines firing before, but this is the first that I remember of a pair.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Lars-J on 01/25/2015 03:48 AM
Is this the first video of a pair of SuperDracos firing together?  I've seen vids of single engines firing before, but this is the first that I remember of a pair.

Yes. This is the first time we have seen a complete SD cluster (of two) firing, and we also see the capsule heat insulator area below.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: BobHk on 01/25/2015 05:06 AM
It looks like a single fire full power test video.

(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/6/6e/SuperDraco_test_%28KSC-2012-1208%29.jpg/230px-SuperDraco_test_%28KSC-2012-1208%29.jpg)

This looks like two:

https://vine.co/v/OTBtbH9Bxzm

Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: deruch on 01/25/2015 09:33 AM
Is this the first video of a pair of SuperDracos firing together?  I've seen vids of single engines firing before, but this is the first that I remember of a pair.

Yes. This is the first time we have seen a complete SD cluster (of two) firing, and we also see the capsule heat insulator area below.

Yeah.  It looks like the section below the split/break (pic #1 highlight) gets blasted off during the test (pic #2 highlight).  That might explain why the upper part gets so cooked during what feels like a short fire (best visible on video, http://gfycat.com/SaltyShorttermEmperorpenguin).
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: robertross on 01/25/2015 11:58 PM
Musk will be on the Simpsons (he will be traveling through space with a spacecraft of his own design):
http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2015-01-23/elon-musk-guest-stars-on-the-simpsons

bump for tonight!
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Lars-J on 01/26/2015 04:37 AM
Some Elon tweets after the Simpsons episode:

https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/559554023544483841
Quote
Elon Musk @elonmusk
If u saw @TheSimpsons and wonder why @SpaceX doesn't use an electric rocket to reach orbit, it is cuz that is impossible

https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/559557786514632704
Quote
Elon Musk ‏@elonmusk
And pls don't ask me about space elevators  until someone at least builds a carbon nanotube structure longer than a footbridge

https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/559562992145027075
Quote
Elon Musk ‏@elonmusk
Ion thrusters are great, but have extremely tiny force (photon thruster even less). Must have more thrust than weight or you don't go up.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: intrepidpursuit on 01/26/2015 02:35 PM
Re. Electric launch: Linear electromagnetic induction accelerators? Ride a super-sized railgun to orbit?

Yeah, I know, hideous energy consumption and relatively tiny payload weight but it should work, if only in theory!

https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/559629011983147008

Quote
Final one: anything launched by a railgun (if you could ever reach ~ Mach 27) would explode upon exiting the barrel in our dense atmosphere

Wow, that was a timely answer wasn't it?
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: RanulfC on 01/26/2015 03:15 PM
Re. Electric launch: Linear electromagnetic induction accelerators? Ride a super-sized railgun to orbit?

Yeah, I know, hideous energy consumption and relatively tiny payload weight but it should work, if only in theory!

https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/559629011983147008

Quote
Final one: anything launched by a railgun (if you could ever reach ~ Mach 27) would explode upon exiting the barrel in our dense atmosphere

Wow, that was a timely answer wasn't it?

Again I suspect that Mr. Musk follows these forums, or has someone that does :)

Incorrect though :) The main danger would be burning up not exploding though I suspect that's what Musk was refering too. We've fired projectiles faster than Mach-10 and work was done under several programs for different launch schemes that show we COULD design and build a survivable orbital projectile. However the payload is tiny requiring HUGE amounts of launches to get anything significant into orbit. It can't be used for people, and it would be a VERY expensive piece of infrastructure. Plus you have all the other issues of a "fixed" launcher and limited azmith. It "might" be good for something like "bulk" cargoes (propellant, supplies, spares) but that "use" requires an already existing market for such on-orbit AND the collection and distribution network to move the stuff once its on-orbit.

I understand he's trying to "head-off" thousands of suggestions on how he could get to orbit "better" than by TSTO rocket but really given his motivation/goals SpaceX has to stick to a system that CAN deliver people as well as cargo to orbit.

Randy
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: meekGee on 01/26/2015 04:30 PM

Again I suspect that Mr. Musk follows these forums, or has someone that does :)


His MO:  Find the proposals that people deem "not-gonna-happen", and make them happen.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: DanielW on 01/26/2015 04:44 PM
I don't think that is his or anyone else's MO. It would be a terrible one in any case. Engineering is all about finding solutions to problems. It is completely independent of what other's deem. If the solutions so far seem unique it is simply because the problem definition is unique. Every launch provider to date has agreed that rail guns, elevators, and electric propulsion are a terrible fit for the problem they are working.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: tesla on 01/26/2015 07:41 PM
http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2015/01/spacex-ready-crewed-dragon-aborts/

OMG Where does the author get these images from...  ;D
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: whitelancer64 on 01/26/2015 07:47 PM
http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2015/01/spacex-ready-crewed-dragon-aborts/

OMG Where does the author get these images from...  ;D

they are CG renders from members of L2
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: docmordrid on 01/28/2015 03:40 PM


Link.... (http://spaceref.com/news/viewpr.html?utm_medium=srs.gs-twitter&utm_campaign=&utm_content=api&utm_source=t.co&pid=44914)

Quote
Elon Musk to Keynote International Space Station Research and Development Conference

Press Release Source: Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS)Posted Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The International Space Station Research and Development Conference (ISS R&D) today announced that Elon Musk, Chief Executive Officer and Lead Designer for Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX), has been confirmed as a keynote speaker at its 4th annual meeting at the Boston Marriott Copley Square in Boston, MA, July 7-9, 2015.  The ISS R&D Conference was created to connect commercial and academic communities involved in new innovations, breakthroughs, and discoveries onboard humankind’s unique orbiting laboratory. This event is held in coordination with the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), the American Astronautical Society (AAS), and NASA.
>
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: symbios on 01/29/2015 02:06 PM
New very good article by Tim Reyes:

Elon Musk and the SpaceX Odyssey: the Path from Falcon 9 to Mars Colonization Transporter

http://www.universetoday.com/118126/elon-musk-and-the-spacex-odyssey-the-path-from-falcon-9-to-mars-colonization-transporter/ (http://www.universetoday.com/118126/elon-musk-and-the-spacex-odyssey-the-path-from-falcon-9-to-mars-colonization-transporter/)
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: meekGee on 01/29/2015 04:05 PM
New very good article by Tim Reyes:

Elon Musk and the SpaceX Odyssey: the Path from Falcon 9 to Mars Colonization Transporter

http://www.universetoday.com/118126/elon-musk-and-the-spacex-odyssey-the-path-from-falcon-9-to-mars-colonization-transporter/ (http://www.universetoday.com/118126/elon-musk-and-the-spacex-odyssey-the-path-from-falcon-9-to-mars-colonization-transporter/)

An oddly written piece though, don't you think?  alternating between uber-fluffy and knowledgeable....
It is not clear whether Musk or SpaceX were interviewed for it. (I think not)

Not much info about MCT, except a curious snippet: "The large vehicle is likely to be constructed in low-Earth orbit and remain in space" - but it's not clear where the "likely" comes from.

And there's a cute image of Musk in a Dave Bowman helmet...
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: symbios on 01/29/2015 04:14 PM
An oddly written piece though, don't you think?  alternating between uber-fluffy and knowledgeable....
It is not clear whether Musk or SpaceX were interviewed for it. (I think not)

It is a lengthy article and i think good for those not so well informed about SpaceX. I thought that someone here had written it from forum comments until I started reading about the MCT. That does not mach with anything else... In everything else it aligns with what I have read here and other places.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: GalacticIntruder on 01/29/2015 04:44 PM
An oddly written piece though, don't you think?  alternating between uber-fluffy and knowledgeable....
It is not clear whether Musk or SpaceX were interviewed for it. (I think not)

It is a lengthy article and i think good for those not so well informed about SpaceX. I thought that someone here had written it from forum comments until I started reading about the MCT. That does not mach with anything else... In everything else it aligns with what I have read here and other places.

I am afraid Mr Reyes has too much NASA training in him to understand Musk's Vision and his space principles.

It is clear to me Reyes is just speculating about the MCT, like the rest of us, but he has a more conventional idea about what it is, might be, or how it works.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: sanman on 01/30/2015 12:12 AM
New very good article by Tim Reyes:

Elon Musk and the SpaceX Odyssey: the Path from Falcon 9 to Mars Colonization Transporter

http://www.universetoday.com/118126/elon-musk-and-the-spacex-odyssey-the-path-from-falcon-9-to-mars-colonization-transporter/ (http://www.universetoday.com/118126/elon-musk-and-the-spacex-odyssey-the-path-from-falcon-9-to-mars-colonization-transporter/)

Since that article shows the same old vehicular roadmap once again:

(http://d1jqu7g1y74ds1.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/SpaceX_Falcon-Family-Portrait-580x345.jpg)

I just wanted to ask about FalconX - what is it again? I always remember it as a Falcon iteration with bigger engines - like 3 bigger ones instead of 9 smaller ones. If that's the case, then is it reusable?

It just seems to me like that old roadmap was made before F9R was even announced. Can you maintain the same performance margins under reusability with 3 bigger engines instead of the bullseye-9?



Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: mme on 01/30/2015 03:02 AM
New very good article by Tim Reyes:

Elon Musk and the SpaceX Odyssey: the Path from Falcon 9 to Mars Colonization Transporter

http://www.universetoday.com/118126/elon-musk-and-the-spacex-odyssey-the-path-from-falcon-9-to-mars-colonization-transporter/ (http://www.universetoday.com/118126/elon-musk-and-the-spacex-odyssey-the-path-from-falcon-9-to-mars-colonization-transporter/)

Since that article shows the same old vehicular roadmap once again:

(http://d1jqu7g1y74ds1.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/SpaceX_Falcon-Family-Portrait-580x345.jpg)

I just wanted to ask about FalconX - what is it again? I always remember it as a Falcon iteration with bigger engines - like 3 bigger ones instead of 9 smaller ones. If that's the case, then is it reusable?

It just seems to me like that old roadmap was made before F9R was even announced. Can you maintain the same performance margins under reusability with 3 bigger engines instead of the bullseye-9?
Look at the drawings.  No legs but engine cowlings.  Whoever drew that wasn't thinking about propulsive landings.

My understanding is that the Falcon X, etc, were some ideas kicked around in a "brainstorming" session and never really a thing.  At least not a thing that stuck for long.  They were based on developing the Merlin 2 engine which would have been an RP-1/LOX engine roughly the size of the F-1.

It seems like all focus has shifted to the Raptor and Methane/LOX but it's hard to kill an image floating around the internet. :)
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: sanman on 01/30/2015 03:15 AM
Okay, so what is the future then beyond Falcon Heavy? Yes, there's MCT - but its commercial viability sounds rather questionable given the specific mission it'll be designed for.

As far as servicing SpaceX's mainstream bread-and-butter revenue-generating markets, is the reusable Falcon Heavy as far as product development will go? Or will Raptor and methane mean some further enhancements to FH?
(I presume FH will always have landing legs, and there'll be no distinction between "FH" vs "FH-R")

I thought methane/LOX was meant exclusively for MCT and Mars-related stuff, because of Mars ISRU needs.




Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Owlon on 01/30/2015 03:32 AM
Okay, so what is the future then beyond Falcon Heavy? Yes, there's MCT - but its commercial viability sounds rather questionable given the specific mission it'll be designed for.

As far as servicing SpaceX's mainstream bread-and-butter revenue-generating markets, is the reusable Falcon Heavy as far as product development will go? Or will Raptor and methane mean some further enhancements to FH?
(I presume FH will always have landing legs, and there'll be no distinction between "FH" vs "FH-R")

I thought methane/LOX was meant exclusively for MCT and Mars-related stuff, because of Mars ISRU needs.

It was specifically mentioned that they haven't ruled out a methane upper stage for the Falcon family some time in the future (presumably after MCT and BFR are flying). I would assume other substantial upgrades/changes to the Falcon family aren't out of the question in the mid-long term (say, later than 2020).
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: sanman on 01/30/2015 03:36 AM
Anybody have any quasi-official concept pics of what BFR is supposed to look like? I googled and found this:

http://armchairengineer.blogspot.ca/2014/03/expanding-on-my-spacex-bfr-napkin.html

But that just makes it look like Falcon X   ???
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: mme on 01/30/2015 03:37 AM
Okay, so what is the future then beyond Falcon Heavy? Yes, there's MCT - but its commercial viability sounds rather questionable given the specific mission it'll be designed for.

As far as servicing SpaceX's mainstream bread-and-butter revenue-generating markets, is the reusable Falcon Heavy as far as product development will go? Or will Raptor and methane mean some further enhancements to FH?
(I presume FH will always have landing legs, and there'll be no distinction between "FH" vs "FH-R")

I thought methane/LOX was meant exclusively for MCT and Mars-related stuff, because of Mars ISRU needs.
MCT is the payload (possibly upperstage) of the rocket known here as the BFR.  I'm not aware of any other rockets in development.  If they need an RLV bigger than FH, then they can just use the BFR.  Not everyone on the forum agrees of course, but since Elon Musk has stated that the BFR is intended to be 100% reusable [1] it seems that being "too big" is not really a "that big" of a deal.  Of course one thing SpaceX is very good at is changing direction, so if there is a need for a bigger-than-FH-but-smaller-than-BFR rocket, they'll do it.  It's just not clear there is a need as far as I can tell.

Debates as to whether they need something between FH and BFR probably belong elsewhere.  I hope I haven't opened a can of worms.

[1] He as at least implied that.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: mme on 01/30/2015 04:07 AM
Anybody have any quasi-official concept pics of what BFR is supposed to look like? I googled and found this:

http://armchairengineer.blogspot.ca/2014/03/expanding-on-my-spacex-bfr-napkin.html

But that just makes it look like Falcon X   ???
SpaceX likes to keep it simple, so what ever they do is likely to look like a fat F9 to some degree.  There are no quasi-official pics.  There are some highly educated guesses, but I don't know of any publicly available and it's still in flux. SpaceX won't know what the rocket will look like until the Raptor is closer to completion since you build a rocket around the engines (or so I understand.)

Recent public statements imply a big single core with "a lot" of engines (https://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/2rgsan/i_am_elon_musk_ceocto_of_a_rocket_company_ama/cnfpuwi).
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Lars-J on 01/30/2015 04:28 AM
I thought methane/LOX was meant exclusively for MCT and Mars-related stuff, because of Mars ISRU needs.

There is lots of discussion about it, so look around.

But no, MethaLox is not just for Mars. It is also higher performance than KeroLox, and this is what they will use for their next launch vehicle - presumably fully reusable - powered by Raptor. The extra performance of Methane will also make it easier to create a fully reusable upper stage.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: sanman on 01/30/2015 04:45 AM
Okay, so somewhat-less-than-H2 performance, but supportable by economical LNG-infrastructure.

But if you're going to be heterogenous, then any possibility of replacing RP-1 with solid boosters?
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Lars-J on 01/30/2015 04:58 AM
Okay, so somewhat-less-than-H2 performance, but supportable by economical LNG-infrastructure.

Bingo.

But if you're going to be heterogenous, then any possibility of replacing RP-1 with solid boosters?

Huh? Why would SpaceX want anything to do with solids? No, I think the next-gn LV after Falcon is going to be all MethaLox. No RP-1.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: sanman on 01/30/2015 05:07 AM
Huh? Why would SpaceX want anything to do with solids? No, I think the next-gn LV after Falcon is going to be all MethaLox. No RP-1.

Someone in another thread pointed out Musk's AMA, in which he said the thrust requirements for BFR were "surprisingly low" with many engines . So presumably that may mean lots of MethaLOX engines being mass-produced.

What is the speculation on engine-count for BFR? An odd number at least, I assume?
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Lars-J on 01/30/2015 05:17 AM
Huh? Why would SpaceX want anything to do with solids? No, I think the next-gn LV after Falcon is going to be all MethaLox. No RP-1.

Someone in another thread pointed out Musk's AMA, in which he said the thrust requirements for BFR were "surprisingly low" with many engines . So presumably that may mean lots of MethaLOX engines being mass-produced.

What is the speculation on engine-count for BFR? An odd number at least, I assume?

Look at the "Lots of little Raptors" thread for BFR engine count speculation: http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=36621.0
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: manboy on 01/30/2015 05:29 AM
I'm unsure if this has been posted. It's a proposal to do a Cryogenic Propellant Storage and Transfer mission using Dragon's trunk.

http://hdl.handle.net/2060/20140017303
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 01/30/2015 09:56 AM
I'm unsure if this has been posted. It's a proposal to do a Cryogenic Propellant Storage and Transfer mission using Dragon's trunk.

That would be a fairly low-volume tank; probably enough to top off a EDS-adapted Centaur, though.

IIRC, Dragon trunks can hypothetically be extended to about two-and-a-half times their normal length. If so, they could probably add 150% to that tank.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: manboy on 01/30/2015 10:48 AM
I'm unsure if this has been posted. It's a proposal to do a Cryogenic Propellant Storage and Transfer mission using Dragon's trunk.

That would be a fairly low-volume tank; probably enough to top off a EDS-adapted Centaur, though.

IIRC, Dragon trunks can hypothetically be extended to about two-and-a-half times their normal length. If so, they could probably add 150% to that tank.
It's a tech demo mission.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 01/30/2015 11:02 AM
I'm unsure if this has been posted. It's a proposal to do a Cryogenic Propellant Storage and Transfer mission using Dragon's trunk.

That would be a fairly low-volume tank; probably enough to top off a EDS-adapted Centaur, though.

IIRC, Dragon trunks can hypothetically be extended to about two-and-a-half times their normal length. If so, they could probably add 150% to that tank.

It's a tech demo mission.

I'm sure it is and a worthy technology to iron out too. I was more musing on applications: How much and for what could you use it? If you're going to develop a specific installation for the Dragon trunk, you might as well use it.

In terms of launch, the tanks would probably be too heavy for a Falcon-9 if they include a Dragon, so a Dragon-shaped nose-cone and some kind of alternate GNC and OMS package underneath would likely be necessary. It's one of those things that looks simple but would actually require virtually a new spacecraft to make practically operational.

Still, it's a cool idea.  :)
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: sheltonjr on 01/30/2015 02:43 PM
For a Dragon trunk Tech demo I would love to see a test of the Altius Magnetoshell technology used to slow down a dragon and trunk, or only the trunk if possible to reduce risk to the dragon capsule.  Maybe after the cubesat demo. I think this technology could really change space flight operations and performance if it lives up to its billing.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Norm38 on 01/30/2015 03:56 PM
Okay, so somewhat-less-than-H2 performance, but supportable by economical LNG-infrastructure.
But if you're going to be heterogenous, then any possibility of replacing RP-1 with solid boosters?

Can't do gas-n-go with solids.  Plus they're heavy.  Just look at Delta II.  Even with those small solid boosters, the rocket can't be horizontally integrated and rolled out.  It has to be vertically assembled.  And once the solids are attached, it can't be laid horizontal again to be worked on.
Goes against SpaceX's entire MO.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: sanman on 01/30/2015 04:46 PM
Can't do gas-n-go with solids.  Plus they're heavy.  Just look at Delta II.  Even with those small solid boosters, the rocket can't be horizontally integrated and rolled out.  It has to be vertically assembled.  And once the solids are attached, it can't be laid horizontal again to be worked on.
Goes against SpaceX's entire MO.

You can't do gas-n-go, but why not strap-n-go?

Yes,  solids are heavy, but they get discarded earlier anyway. Methalox gives significantly lower thrust than RP-1.

I thought one of the key reasons why solids are preferred for military ballistic missiles is because they don't suffer from all the hangups of liquid-fueled versions which take longer to fuel up, have to be fueled in an upright position before launching, etc (eg. SCUD).




Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Norm38 on 01/30/2015 05:07 PM
^^^ Like I said, solids can't be horizontally integrated and tipped up due to their weight.  Vertical integration is not fast, nor cheap.

SpaceX is NEVER going to be launching at such a pace that the delay to fuel the rocket is worth taking into consideration. 
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: philw1776 on 01/30/2015 05:11 PM
Okay, so somewhat-less-than-H2 performance, but supportable by economical LNG-infrastructure.

But if you're going to be heterogenous, then any possibility of replacing RP-1 with solid boosters?

I don't understand heterogenous as the next generation is supposed to be all methane, all stages.
In any case methane oxygen has higher ISP than RP-1 and MUCH higher than solid rockets.
Solids can't be shut down when malfunctioning.
Solids aren't easily recoverable.  No engine restart.  :)
BFR is supposed to be totally reusable.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Jim on 01/30/2015 05:14 PM

You can't do gas-n-go, but why not strap-n-go?

Because there is no such thing as "strap-n-go".
a.  They are heavy
b.  They are hazardous.
c.  they require special storage
d.  They require special handling equipment
e. They have tight alignment requirements
f.  They have operational constraints that limit work near or around them.  (pad clears for SRM lifts and clears for lightning)


I thought one of the key reasons why solids are preferred for military ballistic missiles is because they don't suffer from all the hangups of liquid-fueled versions which take longer to fuel up, have to be fueled in an upright position before launching, etc (eg. SCUD).


Yes, not because they are "strap-n-go", it because they are stack-n-sit-n- thing go.  The military doesn't care what it takes to build up the vehicle.  They are just concerned that the vehicle stay in a perpetual state of readiness and then go on a moments notice.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: AncientU on 01/30/2015 05:32 PM
Thanks for the informative answer, Jim.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: BobHk on 01/30/2015 09:29 PM
Can't do gas-n-go with solids.  Plus they're heavy.  Just look at Delta II.  Even with those small solid boosters, the rocket can't be horizontally integrated and rolled out.  It has to be vertically assembled.  And once the solids are attached, it can't be laid horizontal again to be worked on.
Goes against SpaceX's entire MO.

You can't do gas-n-go, but why not strap-n-go?

Yes,  solids are heavy, but they get discarded earlier anyway. Methalox gives significantly lower thrust than RP-1.

I thought one of the key reasons why solids are preferred for military ballistic missiles is because they don't suffer from all the hangups of liquid-fueled versions which take longer to fuel up, have to be fueled in an upright position before launching, etc (eg. SCUD).

integrations issues aside just building up infrastructure for srb use by SpaceX would be ridiculous in expense, time, personnel and application (why do that when you can use liquid boosters and get better economies of scale)

take a gander at the srb facility at Kennedy

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lc35O2s3p98

Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Comga on 01/30/2015 09:48 PM
Solid rockets and solid rocket boosters are Off Topic for any SpaceX thread.
This has been made clear and definite since 2003.
Just because someone can ask the question doesn't mean we have to go through it again.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: mfck on 02/01/2015 09:20 PM
Solid rockets and solid rocket boosters are Off Topic for any SpaceX thread.
This has been made clear and definite since 2003.
Just because someone can ask the question doesn't mean we have to go through it again.
There are things that were made definite and clear circa 6000 BC, yet they are debated until now.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Lars-J on 02/02/2015 06:02 PM
A neat image from the current NASA TV press conference, showing CST-100, Orion, and Dragon together for the first time:
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: vt_hokie on 02/02/2015 06:18 PM
Great time to be a capsule fan, not so great for winged/lifting body shuttle fans!
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: abaddon on 02/02/2015 06:19 PM
Why is the tune to "one of these things is not like the others" going through my head?  ::)
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Mongo62 on 02/02/2015 06:21 PM
A neat image from the current NASA TV press conference, showing CST-100, Orion, and Dragon together for the first time:

Why is a cargo dragon on stage, instead of the crewed version like the other two capsules? The CST-100 has to be a mock-up, so it's not like only flight hardware can be displayed.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Jim on 02/02/2015 06:24 PM

Why is a cargo dragon on stage, instead of the crewed version like the other two capsules? The CST-100 has to be a mock-up, so it's not like only flight hardware can be displayed.

That would be up to Spacex and what they supplied.  Also, how do you know CTS-100 is only a mockup?
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: abaddon on 02/02/2015 06:34 PM
Why is a cargo dragon on stage, instead of the crewed version like the other two capsules? The CST-100 has to be a mock-up, so it's not like only flight hardware can be displayed.

I doubt SpaceX has a mock-up.  The stuff we've seen is flight hardware.

I think the CST-100 could be a static test article, they have one and it is being built at KSC in OPF-3(?) so it would make sense they could bring it over on short notice.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: meekGee on 02/02/2015 06:40 PM
A neat image from the current NASA TV press conference, showing CST-100, Orion, and Dragon together for the first time:

SpaceX has to play carefully IMO.  Sometimes its better to lower your profile.  As long as they keep plowing ahead, I personally don't care if they don't show it off all the time...
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Lars-J on 02/02/2015 06:44 PM
A neat image from the current NASA TV press conference, showing CST-100, Orion, and Dragon together for the first time:

SpaceX has to play carefully IMO.  Sometimes its better to lower your profile.  As long as they keep plowing ahead, I personally don't care if they don't show it off all the time...

How is it "showing off" when they displayed a cargo Dragon that flew last year? (or the year before that?) Clearly NASA asked them (& Boeing) for something to display, and they opted to show a flown cargo Dragon. Boeing didn't have much choice for what to display.

If someone is offended by SpaceX showing flown hardware, that IMO says more about the offended persons biases than what it says about SpaceX.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Barrie on 02/02/2015 06:48 PM

Why is a cargo dragon on stage, instead of the crewed version like the other two capsules? The CST-100 has to be a mock-up, so it's not like only flight hardware can be displayed.

That would be up to Spacex and what they supplied.  Also, how do you know CTS-100 is only a mockup?

Dragon 2 should be too busy for beauty pageants atm.  And the milk churn on the left is CST-100?  Crikey!
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: meekGee on 02/02/2015 06:55 PM
A neat image from the current NASA TV press conference, showing CST-100, Orion, and Dragon together for the first time:

SpaceX has to play carefully IMO.  Sometimes its better to lower your profile.  As long as they keep plowing ahead, I personally don't care if they don't show it off all the time...

How is it "showing off" when they displayed a cargo Dragon that flew last year? (or the year before that?) Clearly NASA asked them (& Boeing) for something to display, and they opted to show a flown cargo Dragon. Boeing didn't have much choice for what to display.

If someone is offended by SpaceX showing flown hardware, that IMO says more about the offended persons biases than what it says about SpaceX.

Heh, I meant it the other way, but you point out a very neat conundrum....  Do we show off flown hardware, thus driving home just how far ahead we are, or do we show off our next-gen ship, thus... driving home just how far ahead we are...

Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Jim on 02/02/2015 06:56 PM

Dragon 2 should be too busy for beauty pageants atm.  And the milk churn on the left is CST-100?  Crikey!

Same goes for CST-100
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: arachnitect on 02/02/2015 07:11 PM
I doubt SpaceX has a mock-up.  The stuff we've seen is flight hardware.

"Flight Hardware" is like "100% Natural" at the grocery store. It means something, but not necessarily as much as you think.

how do you know CTS-100 is only a mockup?

It's gotta be the pressure vessel pathfinder. At the most recent press conference John Elbon said the STA wasn't in Florida yet and the first flight vehicle isn't shipping until later in the year.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: abaddon on 02/02/2015 07:27 PM
"Flight Hardware" is like "100% Natural" at the grocery store. It means something, but not necessarily as much as you think.

What I think it means is it is busy elsewhere and not available for press conferences anymore.  I think it means exactly what I think, do you disagree?
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: arachnitect on 02/02/2015 07:56 PM
"Flight Hardware" is like "100% Natural" at the grocery store. It means something, but not necessarily as much as you think.

What I think it means is it is busy elsewhere and not available for press conferences anymore.  I think it means exactly what I think, do you disagree?

I'm just piggybacking on your comment to express my skepticism of the conveniently vague moniker "flight hardware." A lot of stuff on the capsule at the D2 reveal was pretty sketchy.

Spacex does have an abort test article more or less complete and I agree with you that it has better places to be than furnishing the stage at a press conference.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: meekGee on 02/02/2015 08:16 PM
I doubt SpaceX has a mock-up.  The stuff we've seen is flight hardware.

"Flight Hardware" is like "100% Natural" at the grocery store. It means something, but not necessarily as much as you think.

how do you know CTS-100 is only a mockup?

It's gotta be the pressure vessel pathfinder. At the most recent press conference John Elbon said the STA wasn't in Florida yet and the first flight vehicle isn't shipping until later in the year.

When I worked on a payload many years ago, there was a very distinct sticker that said "flight hardware", and lord help anyone if a flight hardware piece of equipment is ever found uncontrolled.

Even parts that are 100% identical to flight hardware are not labeled "flight hardware" unless there's an intention to maybe fly them.  ("flight spares")

Everything else is "non-flight". (And even then, a lot of it was controlled anyway)

There's a possibility that Musk used a laxer definition for what flight hardware is, to include for example "final design hardware", or "almost final design hardware", but for the sake of our conversation, it does not matter.

Unless Musk was straight-out lying, then at a minimum, most of what we saw of that DV2 was final-form.  I don't think he was straight-out lying.  Nor do I think that he said "most" and meant "51%".
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: DanielW on 02/02/2015 08:26 PM
Great to see three spacecraft in the final stages of development regardless of whether that lovely image contains actual flight hardware or not. I have trouble believing that I get to be alive right now!
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: StuffOfInterest on 02/02/2015 08:36 PM
I actually gained a little respect for Orion with that photo.  It is BIG in comparison to the other two capsules.  Not sure if it is worth the billions being spent on it but it is still nice to see it along side of Dragon.  It would be interesting to see CST-100 along side Dragon once it is built up for a proper size comparison there.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: symbios on 02/02/2015 08:48 PM
I actually gained a little respect for Orion with that photo.  It is BIG in comparison to the other two capsules.  Not sure if it is worth the billions being spent on it but it is still nice to see it along side of Dragon.  It would be interesting to see CST-100 along side Dragon once it is built up for a proper size comparison there.

I'm a little surprised at how similar in size they are. Thought that Orion would look a lot bigger in comparison.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: billh on 02/02/2015 10:09 PM
Is that the Orion that was just flown? I think it was a neat touch to show capsules that had already been in space.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: pericynthion on 02/02/2015 10:15 PM
When I worked on a payload many years ago, there was a very distinct sticker that said "flight hardware", and lord help anyone if a flight hardware piece of equipment is ever found uncontrolled.

I guess policies vary. I've taken Planet Labs flight hardware home on the BART to test the star camera overnight.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: meekGee on 02/02/2015 10:21 PM
When I worked on a payload many years ago, there was a very distinct sticker that said "flight hardware", and lord help anyone if a flight hardware piece of equipment is ever found uncontrolled.

I guess policies vary. I've taken Planet Labs flight hardware home on the BART to test the star camera overnight.
Absolutely, and that's the kind of cost savings we were talking about with respect to up and coming satellite constellations.

However, manned capsules and singular science payloads will remain "precious" for a while.

So when pointing at a capsule and saying "flight hardware", it means "it is going to space" or under the loosest interpretation  "this is final design" (for the sake of that argument)
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: nat.vincent on 02/02/2015 10:27 PM
I once had a conversation with Terry Root (scientist, Stephen Schneider's partner), who told me that she had carried one of the scientific payloads for one of the voyager missions on a plane. I thought that was pretty awesome.

[email protected]
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: meekGee on 02/02/2015 11:16 PM
I once had a conversation with Terry Root (scientist, Stephen Schneider's partner), who told me that she had carried one of the scientific payloads for one of the voyager missions on a plane. I thought that was pretty awesome.

[email protected]

Strictly speaking, that can be perfectly "controlled".

"Controlled" means that A) the part is uniquely identified in such a way that it's impossible to switch (so its number is either tattooed on, or if it's a bag/bin there's a strict procedure how to keep it ID'd) and B) there's a central record of where everything is and a clear person in charge, a C) where applicable, the environment is documented as well.  (Usually there are more requirements, but that's just a minimum, at least was in our case)

In some cases you can abide by A,B and C and still carry it in a backpack, and these make for funny anecdotes.

And yeah, OT.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Robotbeat on 02/03/2015 12:07 AM
A neat image from the current NASA TV press conference, showing CST-100, Orion, and Dragon together for the first time:

SpaceX has to play carefully IMO.  Sometimes its better to lower your profile.  As long as they keep plowing ahead, I personally don't care if they don't show it off all the time...

How is it "showing off" when they displayed a cargo Dragon that flew last year? (or the year before that?) Clearly NASA asked them (& Boeing) for something to display, and they opted to show a flown cargo Dragon. Boeing didn't have much choice for what to display.
...
Boeing could've shown a mock-up instead of an engineering test article/pathfinder/whateveryoucallit. I prefer the test article over the mock-up for sure. ...but the flown Dragon capsule is more impressive. :)

A flown Dragon and Orion sitting together are a pretty strong counter to those saying American human spaceflight is dead.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: CJ on 02/03/2015 12:23 AM
That photo of the three spacecraft is an eye-opener! (thanks, Lars-J!)

I'd expected Orion to be bigger than Dragon, but was surprised to see that it's not by as much as I'd assumed. As for the CST-100 test article, I was amazed at how small it is - I'd expected it to be Dragon-sized. (I'm aware we're only seeing the pressure vessel)

Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Lars-J on 02/03/2015 01:18 AM
That photo of the three spacecraft is an eye-opener! (thanks, Lars-J!)

I'd expected Orion to be bigger than Dragon, but was surprised to see that it's not by as much as I'd assumed. As for the CST-100 test article, I was amazed at how small it is - I'd expected it to be Dragon-sized. (I'm aware we're only seeing the pressure vessel)

Here is another graphic, one that predates the Dragon 2 reveal - but it should provide some size comparison: (Just imagine a big nose cone on the Dragon)

EDIT: Updated with a new graphic, using a Dragon 2 found here: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/5d/Dragon_V2_01.png
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: GalacticIntruder on 02/03/2015 01:44 AM
I am pretty sure pressurized volume and more importantly, habitable volume, are the metrics that matter.

Though total mass is helpful too. (cough, Orion)
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: meekGee on 02/03/2015 01:48 AM
That photo of the three spacecraft is an eye-opener! (thanks, Lars-J!)

I'd expected Orion to be bigger than Dragon, but was surprised to see that it's not by as much as I'd assumed. As for the CST-100 test article, I was amazed at how small it is - I'd expected it to be Dragon-sized. (I'm aware we're only seeing the pressure vessel)

Here is another graphic, one that predates the Dragon 2 reveal - but it should provide some size comparison: (Just imagine a big nose cone on the Dragon)

EDIT: Updated with a new graphic, using a Dragon 2 found here: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/5d/Dragon_V2_01.png

From the partial information I've seen, the capsules have "dead space" in the ring at the bottom.

The flatter the cone, the larger the difference between the OD of the heat-shield and the OD of the pressure vessel.  At the extreme, if the capsule was cylindrical, the diameters would be practically the same.  I think that's why the Boeing capsule pressure vessel looks so small compared to the complete capsule.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: BobHk on 02/03/2015 03:15 AM
Dragon has dead space in a ring...CST-100 has a slightly different sort of dead space as seen in some of their test articles mock-ups:

(https://lasttechage.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/cst-100-shell-mockup-w-pressure-ch-slot-300x218.jpg)

edit sorry those pics were huge changing now

(http://www.parabolicarc.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/spacex_dragon_abort_test_article.jpg)

Only 6 seats in the CST-100?  Ah never mind the 'pilot' is likely the one suspended above the other six seats.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: meekGee on 02/03/2015 03:22 AM
Thanks.  Didn't see the top picture before.

So based on that - what's the max internal diameter of each?  (And how about Orion?)
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: BobHk on 02/03/2015 03:27 AM
Thanks.  Didn't see the top picture before.

So based on that - what's the max internal diameter of each?  (And how about Orion?)

Granted this article was in May of 2014 but...when did CST-100 get a pusher abort system added?  or have they even provided engine specs on same?

Ah these apparently by Rocketdyne: http://spacenews.com/38731cst-100-launch-abort-engines-complete-testing-milestone/ (http://spacenews.com/38731cst-100-launch-abort-engines-complete-testing-milestone/)

http://www.airlinereporter.com/2014/05/checking-future-boeing-space-travel-cst-100/ (http://www.airlinereporter.com/2014/05/checking-future-boeing-space-travel-cst-100/)

According to this:  https://lasttechage.wordpress.com/2012/06/26/the-web-of-privatized-space-1-crew-and-cargo/ (https://lasttechage.wordpress.com/2012/06/26/the-web-of-privatized-space-1-crew-and-cargo/) 9 square meters pressure vessel
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: llanitedave on 02/03/2015 04:15 AM
Thanks.  Didn't see the top picture before.

So based on that - what's the max internal diameter of each?  (And how about Orion?)


For better or worse, I somewhat imperfectly worked out the internal dimensions of the CST-100  in this post. (http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=36618.msg1325056#msg1325056)

The maximum internal diameter of the pressure hull is about 3.05m.  Turns out that the Dragon and CST-100 each have about the same internal pressurized volume -- which surprised me.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Lars-J on 02/03/2015 05:34 AM
Thanks.  Didn't see the top picture before.

So based on that - what's the max internal diameter of each?  (And how about Orion?)


For better or worse, I somewhat imperfectly worked out the internal dimensions of the CST-100  in this post. (http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=36618.msg1325056#msg1325056)

The maximum internal diameter of the pressure hull is about 3.05m.  Turns out that the Dragon and CST-100 each have about the same internal pressurized volume -- which surprised me.

This is because Dragon uses a shape with steeper sidewalls, and thus can contain more volume per base (heat shield area). There are trade-offs for everything, but Orion and CST-100 played it "safer" and went with the Apollo capsule shape.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: sanman on 02/03/2015 07:17 AM
Musk will be on the Simpsons (he will be traveling through space with a spacecraft of his own design):
http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2015-01-23/elon-musk-guest-stars-on-the-simpsons

bump for tonight!

Just watched it online:

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x2fl9u2

Cute cartoon-rendering of the DragonV2 - and nice David Bowie reference
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: AncientU on 02/03/2015 12:26 PM
That photo of the three spacecraft is an eye-opener! (thanks, Lars-J!)

I'd expected Orion to be bigger than Dragon, but was surprised to see that it's not by as much as I'd assumed. As for the CST-100 test article, I was amazed at how small it is - I'd expected it to be Dragon-sized. (I'm aware we're only seeing the pressure vessel)

Here is another graphic, one that predates the Dragon 2 reveal - but it should provide some size comparison: (Just imagine a big nose cone on the Dragon)

EDIT: Updated with a new graphic, using a Dragon 2 found here: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/5d/Dragon_V2_01.png

Fifty years after Apollo, they are all the same size... Why quibble?
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 02/03/2015 12:35 PM
Fifty years after Apollo, they are all the same size... Why quibble?

At the risk of Yoda-ing, the outward similarities are deceptive. Inside the skin, they are very different machines.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: MattMason on 02/03/2015 01:35 PM
Is that the Orion that was just flown? I think it was a neat touch to show capsules that had already been in space.

Yes, that's EFT-1 from October. It's not clear which flown Dragon is displayed to me.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: AncientU on 02/03/2015 01:43 PM
Fifty years after Apollo, they are all the same size... Why quibble?

At the risk of Yoda-ing, the outward similarities are deceptive. Inside the skin, they are very different machines.

Exactly.  We're quibbling about a 1-2% per year size growth since Apollo... about the pace of an oak tree.  The technology within the skin is what matters.  The technologies that open toward the future (enable progress) are where the leverage is found.  Retro is cool, too, but I prefer progress.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Jcc on 02/03/2015 04:27 PM
Is that the Orion that was just flown? I think it was a neat touch to show capsules that had already been in space.

Yes, that's EFT-1 from October. It's not clear which flown Dragon is displayed to me.

The dragon is cots2/3, the first commercial craft to berth with the ISS and "turn science fiction into reality" to quote Bolden.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: docmordrid on 02/05/2015 02:36 AM
Neat image of the Falcon family from Dev-1 to Falcon Heavy, including F9's with Dragon V1 and V2, by Maciej Olesiński on Google+

Link.... (https://plus.google.com/app/basic/photos/photo/112552346921898849136/6099348319088040354?cbp=r9xgchzsaipc&authkey&sview=20&cid=5&soc-app=115&soc-platform=1&pct=ab&pcv=6099348310489523249&spath=%2Fapp%2Fbasic%2Fphotos%2F112552346921898849136%2Falbum%2F6099348310489523249&sparm=cbp%3Dnwdkbfifs9pq%26sview%3D20%26cid%3D5%26soc-app%3D115%26soc-platform%3D1%26authkey%26pgpnum%3D1%26spath%3D%2Fapp%2Fbasic%2Fphotos%2F112552346921898849136%2Falbum%2F6099348310489523249%2F6099348319088040354%26sparm%3Dcbp%253D1syhwt1jxifmn%2526sview%253D27%2526cid%253D5%2526soc-app%253D115%2526soc-platform%253D1%2526spath%253D%2Fapp%2Fbasic%2F%25252BCristianLorenzutti%2Fposts%2526sparm%253Dcbp%25253D1sikljvcy1ljg%252526sview%25253D28%252526cid%25253D5%252526soc-app%25253D115%252526soc-platform%25253D1%252526spath%25253D%2Fapp%2Fbasic%2Fs%2F%2525252523Neanderthal%2Frelated%252526sparm%25253Dcbp%2525253D18qab8f6kbb9h%25252526sview%2525253D28%25252526cid%2525253D5%25252526soc-app%2525253D115%25252526soc-platform%2525253D1%25252526sro%2525253D%2525252523DNA%25252526sri%2525253D0%25252526spath%2525253D%2Fapp%2Fbasic%2F102191925035426200251%2Fposts%25252526sparm%2525253Dcbp%252525253D1dlkbjs4lgq5n%2525252526sview%252525253D20)

Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: llanitedave on 02/05/2015 03:19 AM
Broken link
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Zed_Noir on 02/05/2015 03:32 AM
Falcon family by from Maciej Olesiński on Google+

good link (https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-KGh2tjZxqrk/VKU8-wCeWaI/AAAAAAAABJg/dj3bZ7XFe8o/w480-h480/falconFamily.jpg)

note - Just did a quick image search earlier. Maciej Olesiński got the image from a Reddit thread.

Reddit...  (http://www.reddit.com/r/spacex/comments/2qyiue/dragon_v2_mounted_atop_falcon_9_would_look_so_bad/)

Reddit image of Falcon Family (https://pbs.twimg.com/media/BshDh0_CAAANmcI.jpg:orig)

According to @Ohsin the CG artist is PockN
Ohsin post (http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=35364.msg1326068#msg1326068)
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: llanitedave on 02/05/2015 03:47 AM
VERY good link!   :)
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Lars-J on 02/05/2015 04:38 AM
Very good work indeed. The most accurate modeling I have seen.

Here is the image attached, in case the link goes bad:
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Comga on 02/05/2015 04:51 AM
Very good work indeed. The most accurate modeling I have seen.
Here is the image attached, in case the link goes bad:
I hadn't realized that the D2's finned trunk was the often discussed extended trunk, which looks like it has about half again as much length and volume.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: docmordrid on 02/05/2015 04:59 AM
Broken link

Odd - works for me <shrug>
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: mfck on 02/05/2015 05:18 AM
Very good work indeed. The most accurate modeling I have seen.

Here is the image attached, in case the link goes bad:
No fins

/ducks and runs away/
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Barrie on 02/05/2015 05:39 AM
Very good work indeed. The most accurate modeling I have seen.
Here is the image attached, in case the link goes bad:
I hadn't realized that the D2's finned trunk was the often discussed extended trunk, which looks like it has about half again as much length and volume.
Yes, and I wonder if that is simply to get the abort aerodynamics right.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: mme on 02/05/2015 06:11 AM
Very good work indeed. The most accurate modeling I have seen.

Here is the image attached, in case the link goes bad:
We live in exciting times. :)
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Lars-J on 02/05/2015 06:32 AM
Very good work indeed. The most accurate modeling I have seen.

Here is the image attached, in case the link goes bad:
No fins

/ducks and runs away/

I'm not sure what you mean... Do you doubt that Dragon 2 will have fins on the trunk?
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Owlon on 02/05/2015 06:34 AM
Very good work indeed. The most accurate modeling I have seen.

Here is the image attached, in case the link goes bad:
No fins

/ducks and runs away/

I'm not sure what you mean... Do you doubt that Dragon 2 will have fins on the trunk?

The Falcon 9 and Heavy models are missing their grid fins
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Ohsin on 02/05/2015 06:48 AM
Neat image of the Falcon family from Dev-1 to Falcon Heavy, including F9's with Dragon V1 and V2, by Maciej Olesiński on Google+

Link.... (https://plus.google.com/app/basic/photos/photo/112552346921898849136/6099348319088040354?cbp=r9xgchzsaipc&authkey&sview=20&cid=5&soc-app=115&soc-platform=1&pct=ab&pcv=6099348310489523249&spath=%2Fapp%2Fbasic%2Fphotos%2F112552346921898849136%2Falbum%2F6099348310489523249&sparm=cbp%3Dnwdkbfifs9pq%26sview%3D20%26cid%3D5%26soc-app%3D115%26soc-platform%3D1%26authkey%26pgpnum%3D1%26spath%3D%2Fapp%2Fbasic%2Fphotos%2F112552346921898849136%2Falbum%2F6099348310489523249%2F6099348319088040354%26sparm%3Dcbp%253D1syhwt1jxifmn%2526sview%253D27%2526cid%253D5%2526soc-app%253D115%2526soc-platform%253D1%2526spath%253D%2Fapp%2Fbasic%2F%25252BCristianLorenzutti%2Fposts%2526sparm%253Dcbp%25253D1sikljvcy1ljg%252526sview%25253D28%252526cid%25253D5%252526soc-app%25253D115%252526soc-platform%25253D1%252526spath%25253D%2Fapp%2Fbasic%2Fs%2F%2525252523Neanderthal%2Frelated%252526sparm%25253Dcbp%2525253D18qab8f6kbb9h%25252526sview%2525253D28%25252526cid%2525253D5%25252526soc-app%2525253D115%25252526soc-platform%2525253D1%25252526sro%2525253D%2525252523DNA%25252526sri%2525253D0%25252526spath%2525253D%2Fapp%2Fbasic%2F102191925035426200251%2Fposts%25252526sparm%2525253Dcbp%252525253D1dlkbjs4lgq5n%2525252526sview%252525253D20)

Falcon family by Maciej Olesiński on Google+

good link (https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-KGh2tjZxqrk/VKU8-wCeWaI/AAAAAAAABJg/dj3bZ7XFe8o/w480-h480/falconFamily.jpg)

You gave credit to wrong guy. Artist behind these awesome renderings is PockN

https://twitter.com/pockn_cg
https://www.facebook.com/pockn
http://www.youtube.com/user/pockn0

Take a look at this really amps you up!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xd59fchFOoY

He is also the same guy who made a cute little speculative video of ASDS landing.
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=36326.msg1315251#msg1315251

And about grid fins ...when he rendered these.. there were no grid fins on mission flights..
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: GalacticIntruder on 02/05/2015 07:25 AM
http://www.aviationpros.com/press_release/12041875/elon-musk-headlines-space-station-research-and-development-conference (http://www.aviationpros.com/press_release/12041875/elon-musk-headlines-space-station-research-and-development-conference)

Elon Musk Space-station conference in Boston. July 7-9 2015.

Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Zed_Noir on 02/05/2015 08:41 AM
...

...

You gave credit to wrong guy. Artist behind these awesome renderings is PockN

<snip>

Have corrected my original post up thread. Just did a quick image search previously.
Thanks for the heads up.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: phillipdoug on 02/06/2015 01:37 AM
Will SpaceX try the fast-track route to the ISS as the Russians?
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Jcc on 02/06/2015 01:49 AM
Will SpaceX try the fast-track route to the ISS as the Russians?

With all the extra leg room in the Dragon v2, why hurry, just enjoy the ride.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: mme on 02/06/2015 02:06 AM
Will SpaceX try the fast-track route to the ISS as the Russians?
I can't find the reference, but I recall Hans Koenigsmann responding to a question at a NASA presser that SpaceX would use the 6 hour flight plan with crew.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: cscott on 02/06/2015 07:44 AM
Will SpaceX try the fast-track route to the ISS as the Russians?
I can't find the reference, but I recall Hans Koenigsmann responding to a question at a NASA presser that SpaceX would use the 6 hour flight plan with crew.

Yeah, I remember that, too.  He claimed that Dragon 1 was already technically capable of doing fast rendezvous, but fast rendezvous requires thruster burns on the ISS side as well and NASA saw no need to waste ISS propellant when it's only cargo going up.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Comga on 02/07/2015 08:24 PM
SpaceflightNow has posted a timeline for the DSCOVR launch. (http://spaceflightnow.com/2015/02/07/falcon-9-launch-timeline-with-dscovr/)  Among the images, the one for the jettison of the fairing is particularly interesting.  It appears to be from the first stage. 
Is this a photo from the first stage, from a ground asset, or a simulation?
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Jim on 02/07/2015 08:43 PM
sim
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: dror on 02/12/2015 06:06 PM
SpaceflightNow has posted a timeline for the DSCOVR launch. (http://spaceflightnow.com/2015/02/07/falcon-9-launch-timeline-with-dscovr/)  Among the images, the one for the jettison of the fairing is particularly interesting.  It appears to be from the first stage. 
Is this a photo from the first stage, from a ground asset, or a simulation?
Now thats the picture from the ground:
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=36765.0;attach=711336;image
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Coastal Ron on 02/12/2015 08:08 PM
Will SpaceX try the fast-track route to the ISS as the Russians?
I can't find the reference, but I recall Hans Koenigsmann responding to a question at a NASA presser that SpaceX would use the 6 hour flight plan with crew.

Yeah, I remember that, too.  He claimed that Dragon 1 was already technically capable of doing fast rendezvous, but fast rendezvous requires thruster burns on the ISS side as well and NASA saw no need to waste ISS propellant when it's only cargo going up.

Wow, you wouldn't think that the relatively puny thrusters on the 450mT ISS could make that much of a difference for a rendezvous in such a short period of time.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Zardar on 02/12/2015 08:27 PM
Will SpaceX try the fast-track route to the ISS as the Russians?
I can't find the reference, but I recall Hans Koenigsmann responding to a question at a NASA presser that SpaceX would use the 6 hour flight plan with crew.

Yeah, I remember that, too.  He claimed that Dragon 1 was already technically capable of doing fast rendezvous, but fast rendezvous requires thruster burns on the ISS side as well and NASA saw no need to waste ISS propellant when it's only cargo going up.

Wow, you wouldn't think that the relatively puny thrusters on the 450mT ISS could make that much of a difference for a rendezvous in such a short period of time.

They Dont!
There's a launch opportunity ~once a day to reach the ISS on a slow rendezvous - the ISS just has to be in the same plane as the launch site at the instant of launch, but you don't care much WHERE it is on the plane (even on the other side of the earth) since the dragon can drift 'along' that plane over a few days by being in a slightly higher or lower orbit.

But, if you want a fast rendezvous, the ISS has to be in the same plane, and effectively at the same position as the dragon once it reaches orbit. (visualise the ISS as in plane, and also nearly over, the launch pad at the moment of launch) This occurs very rarely under normal operations. So, it has to be set up days in advance, by first raising and lowering the ISS's orbit, and letting the ISS do the drifting, towards or away, along the plane, from where the dragon is expected to be when it reaches orbit. That takes a fair bit of fuel and planning, and if the falcon scrubs, its all for naught. And then you have to lower/raise the whole station again!
They do it for soyuz spacecraft  launches, since they have human cargo, cramped in a tiny can, and the soyuz has a damn good on-time launch record!

Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Coastal Ron on 02/12/2015 09:07 PM
Wow, you wouldn't think that the relatively puny thrusters on the 450mT ISS could make that much of a difference for a rendezvous in such a short period of time.

They Dont!
There's a launch opportunity ~once a day to reach the ISS on a slow rendezvous - the ISS just has to be in the same plane as the launch site at the instant of launch, but you don't care much WHERE it is on the plane (even on the other side of the earth) since the dragon can drift 'along' that plane over a few days by being in a slightly higher or lower orbit.

But, if you want a fast rendezvous, the ISS has to be in the same plane, and effectively at the same position as the dragon once it reaches orbit. (visualise the ISS as in plane, and also nearly over, the launch pad at the moment of launch) This occurs very rarely under normal operations. So, it has to be set up days in advance, by first raising and lowering the ISS's orbit, and letting the ISS do the drifting, towards or away, along the plane, from where the dragon is expected to be when it reaches orbit. That takes a fair bit of fuel and planning, and if the falcon scrubs, its all for naught. And then you have to lower/raise the whole station again!
They do it for soyuz spacecraft  launches, since they have human cargo, cramped in a tiny can, and the soyuz has a damn good on-time launch record!

Great explanation.  Apparently the Soyuz and it's carrier rocket don't have enough extra maneuvering capability, so the ISS has to "help".  I wonder if the Dragon and CST-100 will have enough maneuvering capability to reach the ISS without the ISS needing to help?
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Zardar on 02/12/2015 11:07 PM

Great explanation.  Apparently the Soyuz and it's carrier rocket don't have enough extra maneuvering capability, so the ISS has to "help".  I wonder if the Dragon and CST-100 will have enough maneuvering capability to reach the ISS without the ISS needing to help?

They would have plenty of fuel/ delta-v to rendezvous, but only if you wish to spend  several days phasing on orbit!
If the two craft are in plane, and at approx the same ISS altitude , but completely out of phase (i.e. on opposite sides of the earth), then effectively they are 45 mins apart.
To catch up (or fall back), over the course of 2 days, at one orbit every ~90 mins (or 16 orbits a day), thats only 1.5 mins per orbit.
But, if you try to do it fast, in less time/orbits, you will need such a high or low intermediate orbit that the fuel burned to go up and back down again would be excessive, or else you're so low you'd re-enter.
And, more importantly, you would sort-of end up 'alongside' the ISS at the end of your maneuvers, but in a different plane, orbiting parallel to it, but way off to the side, and a plane change is very expensive in delta-v. (you can't just thrust 'across', like jumping from one train to another on parallel tracks, since that would effectively be an inclination change)

Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Coastal Ron on 02/12/2015 11:16 PM

Great explanation.  Apparently the Soyuz and it's carrier rocket don't have enough extra maneuvering capability, so the ISS has to "help".  I wonder if the Dragon and CST-100 will have enough maneuvering capability to reach the ISS without the ISS needing to help?

They would have plenty of fuel/ delta-v to rendezvous, but only if you wish to spend  several days phasing on orbit!
If the two craft are in plane, and at approx the same ISS altitude , but completely out of phase (i.e. on opposite sides of the earth), then effectively they are 45 mins apart.
To catch up (or fall back), over the course of 2 days, at one orbit every ~90 mins (or 16 orbits a day), thats only 1.5 mins per orbit.
But, if you try to do it fast, in less time/orbits, you will need such a high or low intermediate orbit that the fuel burned to go up and back down again would be excessive, or else you're so low you'd re-enter.
And, more importantly, you would sort-of end up 'alongside' the ISS at the end of your maneuvers, but in a different plane, orbiting parallel to it, but way off to the side, and a plane change is very expensive in delta-v. (you can't just thrust 'across', like jumping from one train to another on parallel tracks, since that would effectively be an inclination change)

I'm getting better educated on this.  So are you saying that even if the Falcon 9 2nd stage was loaded up with more propellant and was able to do more maneuvering burns in orbit with the Dragon still attached (assuming that didn't rip the solar panels off of the Dragon), that it still wouldn't be enough to do a fast rendezvous with no ISS engine burns?

No doubt there is some amount of energy an approaching vehicle can use to do the fast approach on their own, but the question is whether either of the Commercial Crew vehicles and their carrier rockets would have that much energy available to use?
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Space OurSoul on 02/12/2015 11:34 PM
Hey gang,
Anybody know how F9 second stage does ullage?
A friend asked and I realized I didn't know...

thanks
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Lars-J on 02/13/2015 12:01 AM
Hey gang,
Anybody know how F9 second stage does ullage?
A friend asked and I realized I didn't know...

thanks

I believe it uses Nitrogen RCS, just like the first stage does. But with much smaller thrusters. But I don't know for sure.

I think you can see one firing in the bottom left corner of this picture: (unless that is just venting)
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 02/17/2015 08:54 AM
Hey gang,
Anybody know how F9 second stage does ullage?
A friend asked and I realized I didn't know...

thanks

I'd thought that the U/S had a Draco RCS thruster array based on the one on Dragon for both attitude control and repositioning. However, it doesn't look like it. As SpaceX are getting good performance of the smaller, simpler and lighter GN2 thrusters used on the core, I don't see any reason why the same sort of system shouldn't be on the upper stage.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: douglas100 on 02/17/2015 09:38 AM

[...I'm getting better educated on this.  So are you saying that even if the Falcon 9 2nd stage was loaded up with more propellant and was able to do more maneuvering burns in orbit with the Dragon still attached (assuming that didn't rip the solar panels off of the Dragon), that it still wouldn't be enough to do a fast rendezvous with no ISS engine burns?

Correct. As Zardar explained, the orbital phasing must be set up in advance by the ISS. It's not just a matter of  "giving Soyuz a helping hand." All visiting vehicles are in the same situation.

Quote
...No doubt there is some amount of energy an approaching vehicle can use to do the fast approach on their own, but the question is whether either of the Commercial Crew vehicles and their carrier rockets would have that much energy available to use?

If the ISS is 180 degrees out of phase only some kind of magic propellantless propulsion is going to allow you to reach it in a few hours. Anyway, it's unnecessary. Setting up the phasing in advance allows any visiting vehicle to do a fast approach, in principle.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: Chris Bergin on 02/17/2015 10:33 AM
I think this is a good point to start a thread 12 then. Keep everyone focused (long threads always tend to wander).

Link:
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=36815.0

Leaving this one unlocked for the interim to allow quoting and continued discussion on the new thread, but please  post in the new thread!
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: fatjohn1408 on 03/05/2015 08:31 AM
http://www.wsj.com/articles/BL-DGB-40041

Quote
SpaceX’s Valuation Rockets to $12 Billion With Google Investment

SpaceX now ranks fourth on The Wall Street Journal’s list of billion-dollar private companies, securing a $12 billion valuation.
>

I'm not sure I would have taken up that deal if I were google.
12 billion is a hell of a lot. If they launch 10 times and launch a couple of dragons as well, they have a yearly revenue of a billion. This is already stretching their revenue expectations for this year. So their valuation is 12 times their revenue? How many companies outside of websites have such a valuation?
Airbus group (note they make a couple of planes, fighterjets, helicopters and missiles as well) has a valuation of only 50B.

SpaceX just got handed a shitload of money. Which of course is great, rather see Google wasting it on SpaceX than giving it to people that try to make an algorithm to present me the best personalized add on my screen.
Title: Re: General Falcon and Dragon discussion (Thread 11)
Post by: docmordrid on 03/05/2015 09:08 AM
There's a couple of subtexts

1) Google wants, more like needs, to expand its usership worldwide and wants  that satellite constellation to do it. This would be a parallel path to its fiber network. Getting in bed with a cheap launch company eases that.

As for SpaceX, this is just what they need to keep Vandenberg and Texas busy, launching a couple dozen netsats per flight, then replacing 15-20% of the constellation every year or so.

2) Larry Page and Elon Musk are old pals, and Page has said he'd rather leave his billions to Musk for SpaceX etc. than other options .