NASASpaceFlight.com Forum

SpaceX Vehicles and Missions => SpaceX General Section => Topic started by: Chris Bergin on 05/28/2017 12:02 AM

Title: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Chris Bergin on 05/28/2017 12:02 AM
Thread 6 for Falcon Heavy.

Thread 1:
https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=32528.0

Thread 2:
https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=35365.0

Thread 3:
https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=36806.0

Thread 4:
https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=39181.0

Thread 5:
https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=41019.0



Main FH Articles:

https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/tag/falcon-heavy/

L2 SpaceX - Dedicated all-vehicle section - including a mass of new amazing renderings we've created.
https://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: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Ronsmytheiii on 05/28/2017 05:39 PM
Imagery update for 26 May at LZ-1, either dirt spreading or concrete pouring has begun (hard to tell with the lighting)

Edit:probably dirt spreading, based on the mound that appeared to the right of the clearing

Taken from Planet Beta imagery program:

https://www.planet.com/explorer/

Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: TomH on 05/30/2017 08:02 AM
Imagery update for 26 May at LZ-1, either dirt spreading or concrete pouring has begun (hard to tell with the lighting)

Edit:probably dirt spreading, based on the mound that appeared to the right of the clearing

Taken from Planet Beta imagery program:

https://www.planet.com/explorer/

Are construction permits a matter of public record for a case like this. IOW, could any person walk into the building permit dept. and be able to see that they had received the permit to begin construction of a new landing pad?
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Semmel on 05/30/2017 09:24 AM
Also, what happened to the sea turtles nesting period? This forum was convinced a few month ago that at the current time, no construction would be possible because of the nesting turtles. What happened?
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Paul_G on 05/30/2017 10:49 AM
Also, what happened to the sea turtles nesting period? This forum was convinced a few month ago that at the current time, no construction would be possible because of the nesting turtles. What happened?

I think turtles are in Texas. In Florida the restriction was around bird nesting season in the surrounding scrub. Either the work started before nesting season, or the season ended I guess.

Paul
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Nomadd on 05/30/2017 05:21 PM
Also, what happened to the sea turtles nesting period? This forum was convinced a few month ago that at the current time, no construction would be possible because of the nesting turtles. What happened?
In Texas the beaches are patrolled and the public calls in nesting turtles, with the eggs being recovered as soon as they're laid, and the young ones released in a safe spot. They did that before the spaceport.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: ZachF on 05/31/2017 06:15 PM
I was thinking the other day, perhaps it makes sense now to remove some engines (3-4) from the center core?

Falcon Heavy already has a crazy T/W and with a rumored 10% thrust increase with B5 upgrades, it will be even more crazy. It already has a >1 T/W with just the outer cores firing...

Removing 3-4 engines would allow:

-Deeper throttling of the center core after liftoff, transferring more of the lower altitude impulse outer stages, allowing them to stage earlier, also reducing the RTLS fuel requirement
-Leaving more fuel for the center core after separation, both for more impulse, and more fuel for a boostback burn
-Reduce center core landing fuel requirement because of a non-trivial decrease (>3000kg?) in stage empty weight giving it a higher theoretical maximum staging velocity
-Reduce cost of center core

I think a Falcon Heavy with 5-6 engine center core might lose a little theoretical expendable performance, but could perhaps gain a good amount of re-usable performance...
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: rakaydos on 05/31/2017 06:46 PM
I was thinking the other day, perhaps it makes sense now to remove some engines (3-4) from the center core?

Falcon Heavy already has a crazy T/W and with a rumored 10% thrust increase with B5 upgrades, it will be even more crazy. It already has a >1 T/W with just the outer cores firing...

Removing 3-4 engines would allow:

-Deeper throttling of the center core after liftoff, transferring more of the lower altitude impulse outer stages, allowing them to stage earlier, also reducing the RTLS fuel requirement
-Leaving more fuel for the center core after separation, both for more impulse, and more fuel for a boostback burn
-Reduce center core landing fuel requirement because of a non-trivial decrease (>3000kg?) in stage empty weight giving it a higher theoretical maximum staging velocity
-Reduce cost of center core

I think a Falcon Heavy with 5-6 engine center core might lose a little theoretical expendable performance, but could perhaps gain a good amount of re-usable performance...

Hypothetically, a "Hexiweb" varient of the center core, with 2 vac bells offset outward and between the normal octoweb engine placement, replacing a total of 4 sea level nozzles. (leaving 5 sealevel nozzles each)

It would of course be a pain to develop, and the bell extending beyond the tank cross section will probably tear it apart.

I'm not sure simply removing engines has enough benifits over leaving engines off to be worthwhile either.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: hkultala on 05/31/2017 07:54 PM
I was thinking the other day, perhaps it makes sense now to remove some engines (3-4) from the center core?

Falcon Heavy already has a crazy T/W and with a rumored 10% thrust increase with B5 upgrades, it will be even more crazy. It already has a >1 T/W with just the outer cores firing...

Removing 3-4 engines would allow:

-Deeper throttling of the center core after liftoff, transferring more of the lower altitude impulse outer stages, allowing them to stage earlier, also reducing the RTLS fuel requirement
-Leaving more fuel for the center core after separation, both for more impulse, and more fuel for a boostback burn
-Reduce center core landing fuel requirement because of a non-trivial decrease (>3000kg?) in stage empty weight giving it a higher theoretical maximum staging velocity
-Reduce cost of center core

I think a Falcon Heavy with 5-6 engine center core might lose a little theoretical expendable performance, but could perhaps gain a good amount of re-usable performance...

Hypothetically, a "Hexiweb" varient of the center core, with 2 vac bells offset outward and between the normal octoweb engine placement, replacing a total of 4 sea level nozzles. (leaving 5 sealevel nozzles each)

It would of course be a pain to develop, and the bell extending beyond the tank cross section will probably tear it apart.

I'm not sure simply removing engines has enough benifits over leaving engines off to be worthwhile either.

canting those two engines outwards would lower their effective isp.

And, way too complicated/too different from ordinary F9, would be more expensive to manufacture, makes absolutely no sense.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: RobW on 05/31/2017 09:54 PM
Falcon Heavy already has a crazy T/W and with a rumored 10% thrust increase with B5 upgrades, it will be even more crazy. It already has a >1 T/W with just the outer cores firing...

Does FH really have thrust/weight >1 without the center core firing? If so, given that SpaceX must be getting pretty comfortable with in-flight engine restarts after all those landings, is it possible we could see FH launch with some/all of the center core engines unstarted, and air-light them? What could that do to performance?
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: docmordrid on 05/31/2017 10:03 PM
I believe only 3 of the 9 engines can be restarted; 2 in the outer ring and the center engine. Wouldn't those also be the only ones air-startable for the initial firing?
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: RobW on 05/31/2017 10:22 PM
Given that the entire center core is a different design to the standard F9, presumably they could fit all 9 engines with re/air start kits if it was useful. Part of the rationale for beefing up the center core so much structurally might actually be so that they can launch with some of the center core engines not running. Think of it as an extreme form of throttling down the center core so that there is more propellant left in it at booster sep. Of course, it probably makes the center core recovery harder.

Would the real rocket scientists (engineers) please now step in with facts :)  (EDIT: This is said in reference to my wild speculations, not docmordrid's perfectly reasonable comments about the current air-start-ability of the F9 engine set. I  re-read it and wanted to make sure it was clear that it's not aimed at anyone but myself)
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: old_sellsword on 05/31/2017 10:37 PM
Falcon Heavy already has a crazy T/W and with a rumored 10% thrust increase with B5 upgrades, it will be even more crazy. It already has a >1 T/W with just the outer cores firing...

Does FH really have thrust/weight >1 without the center core firing? If so, given that SpaceX must be getting pretty comfortable with in-flight engine restarts after all those landings, is it possible we could see FH launch with some/all of the center core engines unstarted, and air-light them? What could that do to performance?
Given that the entire center core is a different design to the standard F9, presumably they could fit all 9 engines with re/air start kits if it was useful. Part of the rationale for beefing up the center core so much structurally might actually be so that they can launch with some of the center core engines not running. Think of it as an extreme form of throttling down the center core so that there is more propellant left in it at booster sep. Of course, it probably makes the center core recovery harder.

Would the real rocket scientists (engineers) please now step in with facts :)  (EDIT: This is said in reference to my wild speculations, not docmordrid's perfectly reasonable comments about the current air-start-ability of the F9 engine set. I  re-read it and wanted to make sure it was clear that it's not aimed at anyone but myself)

There's already an entire thread to discuss this idea, no need to bring it up in here again.

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=42185
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: RobW on 05/31/2017 10:46 PM

There's already an entire thread to discuss this idea, no need to bring it up in here again.

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=42185
Thanks, hadn't seen it. Off to have a read....
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: FutureSpaceTourist on 06/07/2017 08:05 PM
Quote
[email protected] says "Building on the Model X on the [Tesla] Model S platform was a mistake" - Does the same error carry on to Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy?
https://twitter.com/sahershodhan/status/872347614280372224 (https://twitter.com/sahershodhan/status/872347614280372224)

Quote
Almost. Falcon Heavy was way harder to develop than it seemed at first.
https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/872349052016394243 (https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/872349052016394243)
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: cambrianera on 06/07/2017 08:45 PM
I was thinking the other day, perhaps it makes sense now to remove some engines (3-4) from the center core?

Falcon Heavy already has a crazy T/W and with a rumored 10% thrust increase with B5 upgrades, it will be even more crazy. It already has a >1 T/W with just the outer cores firing...

Removing 3-4 engines would allow:

-Deeper throttling of the center core after liftoff, transferring more of the lower altitude impulse outer stages, allowing them to stage earlier, also reducing the RTLS fuel requirement
-Leaving more fuel for the center core after separation, both for more impulse, and more fuel for a boostback burn
-Reduce center core landing fuel requirement because of a non-trivial decrease (>3000kg?) in stage empty weight giving it a higher theoretical maximum staging velocity
-Reduce cost of center core

I think a Falcon Heavy with 5-6 engine center core might lose a little theoretical expendable performance, but could perhaps gain a good amount of re-usable performance...

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=39181.msg1573180#msg1573180
Low hanging fruit.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: ThePonjaX on 06/09/2017 04:41 AM
4 months  ;)

https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/872888863504474112 (https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/872888863504474112)


Quote

All Falcon Heavy cores should be at the Cape in two to three months, so launch should happen a month after that



Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: hkultala on 06/09/2017 05:12 AM
I was thinking the other day, perhaps it makes sense now to remove some engines (3-4) from the center core?

Falcon Heavy already has a crazy T/W and with a rumored 10% thrust increase with B5 upgrades, it will be even more crazy. It already has a >1 T/W with just the outer cores firing...


It's not crazy.

At liftoff T/W of 1.5 means that only 66% of all thrust is lost  to gravity losses and 33% is doing reasonable work at liftoff moment, not 80% wasted and 20% work like traditional liquid-fueled rockets. Still huge gravity losses, better T/W still helps considerably.

It's the other way around, previously rockets have had really lousy T/W's because the engines have been the most expensive part of the rocket.

Quote
Removing 3-4 engines would allow:

-Deeper throttling of the center core after liftoff, transferring more of the lower altitude impulse outer stages, allowing them to stage earlier, also reducing the RTLS fuel requirement

for outer stages, but increasing it for core.

Quote
-Leaving more fuel for the center core after separation, both for more impulse, and more fuel for a boostback burn
Making center core fly further away until it has expendedn it's fuel and reacher the staging altitude, INCREASING fuel needed for boostback burn.

Quote
-Reduce center core landing fuel requirement because of a non-trivial decrease (>3000kg?) in stage empty weight giving it a higher theoretical maximum staging velocity

Should not be that much, only by something like 2 tonnes. Merlin 1D is less than 500 kg's. (and no, making the octaweb much different is not an option because that would make manufacturing much more expensive)

Quote
-Reduce cost of center core

I think a Falcon Heavy with 5-6 engine center core might lose a little theoretical expendable performance, but could perhaps gain a good amount of re-usable performance...

RTLS performance would probably suffer, as the center core would fly much further away on distance before reaching staging velocity, so it would have to fly back much longer distance.

The savings for the boosters, they are not flying very far anyway, so their RTLS is cheap anyway.

Also gravity losses would be worse.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: envy887 on 06/09/2017 01:24 PM
At liftoff T/W of 1.5 means that only 66% of all thrust is lost  to gravity losses and 33% is doing reasonable work at liftoff moment, not 80% wasted and 20% work like traditional liquid-fueled rockets. Still huge gravity losses, better T/W still helps considerably.

It's the other way around, previously rockets have had really lousy T/W's because the engines have been the most expensive part of the rocket.

For a given amount of thrust on a long-burning stage, payload to orbit is maximized by having nearly the maximum amount of fuel which gives a low TWR. Fuel only becomes a liability when the tankage to hold it slows the rocket more at the end of flight than the fuel accelerates it at the beginning. For a weight-optimized liquid rocket like Saturn V that happens around TWR of 1.1 or so.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: hkultala on 06/09/2017 06:18 PM
At liftoff T/W of 1.5 means that only 66% of all thrust is lost  to gravity losses and 33% is doing reasonable work at liftoff moment, not 80% wasted and 20% work like traditional liquid-fueled rockets. Still huge gravity losses, better T/W still helps considerably.

It's the other way around, previously rockets have had really lousy T/W's because the engines have been the most expensive part of the rocket.

For a given amount of thrust on a long-burning stage, payload to orbit is maximized by having nearly the maximum amount of fuel which gives a low TWR. Fuel only becomes a liability when the tankage to hold it slows the rocket more at the end of flight than the fuel accelerates it at the beginning. For a weight-optimized liquid rocket like Saturn V that happens around TWR of 1.1 or so.

Yes, but here we were NOT talking about GIVEN AMOUNT OF THRUST.

For for given fixed amount of fuel, the payload to orbit is maximized by having maximum thrust that the structure can stand, to minimize gravity losses.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: edkyle99 on 06/09/2017 08:09 PM
At liftoff T/W of 1.5 means that only 66% of all thrust is lost  to gravity losses and 33% is doing reasonable work at liftoff moment, not 80% wasted and 20% work like traditional liquid-fueled rockets. Still huge gravity losses, better T/W still helps considerably.

It's the other way around, previously rockets have had really lousy T/W's because the engines have been the most expensive part of the rocket.

For a given amount of thrust on a long-burning stage, payload to orbit is maximized by having nearly the maximum amount of fuel which gives a low TWR. Fuel only becomes a liability when the tankage to hold it slows the rocket more at the end of flight than the fuel accelerates it at the beginning. For a weight-optimized liquid rocket like Saturn V that happens around TWR of 1.1 or so.

Yes, but here we were NOT talking about GIVEN AMOUNT OF THRUST.

For for given fixed amount of fuel, the payload to orbit is maximized by having maximum thrust that the structure can stand, to minimize gravity losses.

Not necessarily in this case.  The propellant is best burned in vacuum or near-vacuum, where ISP is highest.  Carrying as much of that propellant as possible up to booster staging maximizes payload.

I'm suspecting that SpaceX is planning to do this.  It would be easier to do if the core had less than nine engines.  Maybe only five or six.  The rocket really only needs three on the core at liftoff, but it needs five or so at staging for T/W>1.

 - Ed Kyle
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Prettz on 06/10/2017 01:35 AM
Not necessarily in this case.  The propellant is best burned in vacuum or near-vacuum, where ISP is highest.  Carrying as much of that propellant as possible up to booster staging maximizes payload.

I'm suspecting that SpaceX is planning to do this.  It would be easier to do if the core had less than nine engines.  Maybe only five or six.  The rocket really only needs three on the core at liftoff, but it needs five or so at staging for T/W>1.

 - Ed Kyle
How does the desire for engine-out capability factor into this? Would the center core ever need to make up for the loss of an engine in a side booster?
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: cambrianera on 06/10/2017 10:38 AM
SpaceX is producing truckloads of engines, testing them internally, recovering them, refurbishing them.
Doing things correctly, reliability will be superhigh.
Engine out capability has very little meaning now.

And never had for second stage, as Jim always said.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Ike17055 on 06/10/2017 10:51 AM
Also, what happened to the sea turtles nesting period? This forum was convinced a few month ago that at the current time, no construction would be possible because of the nesting turtles. What happened?

I think turtles are in Texas. In Florida the restriction was around bird nesting season in the surrounding scrub. Either the work started before nesting season, or the season ended I guess.

Paul

Th east coast of Florida is a major nesting area for the Loggerhead, and also significant nesting of Greens take place here. Maybe some Ridleys.  A lot of activity in Florida revolves around their cycle and the legal testrictions now in place for their protection.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: tvg98 on 06/18/2017 03:13 PM
So according to reddit user /u/aftersteveo all cores are now at the Cape, with B1025 still waiting to be transported to MgGregor for testing.

https://www.reddit.com/r/spacex/comments/6ewgm7/rspacex_discusses_june_2017_33/dj2fcc6/ (https://www.reddit.com/r/spacex/comments/6ewgm7/rspacex_discusses_june_2017_33/dj2fcc6/)
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: intrepidpursuit on 06/18/2017 03:42 PM
So according to reddit user /u/aftersteveo all cores are now at the Cape, with B1025 still waiting to be transported to MgGregor for testing.

https://www.reddit.com/r/spacex/comments/6ewgm7/rspacex_discusses_june_2017_33/dj2fcc6/ (https://www.reddit.com/r/spacex/comments/6ewgm7/rspacex_discusses_june_2017_33/dj2fcc6/)

It seems extremely unlikely that they would convert the two boosters in too different places. Why build that capability twice? Also, in the recent factory fly through posted by Elon, there is a reused booster in the factory. That reused booster is most likely the second FH booster.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: tvg98 on 06/18/2017 03:46 PM
So according to reddit user /u/aftersteveo all cores are now at the Cape, with B1025 still waiting to be transported to MgGregor for testing.

https://www.reddit.com/r/spacex/comments/6ewgm7/rspacex_discusses_june_2017_33/dj2fcc6/ (https://www.reddit.com/r/spacex/comments/6ewgm7/rspacex_discusses_june_2017_33/dj2fcc6/)

It seems extremely unlikely that they would convert the two boosters in too different places. Why build that capability twice? Also, in the recent factory fly through posted by Elon, there is a reused booster in the factory. That reused booster is most likely the second FH booster.

I was under the impression that the one at the factory was B1023 (used for the Thaicom 8 mission), and the other side booster was B1025 (CRS-9), which has not left the Cape yet. Is that assessment wrong? 
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: intrepidpursuit on 06/18/2017 03:52 PM
The Thaicom booster is the side booster we have already seen test fired at McGregor. I was not aware of any flown boosters in Hawthorne, but unless that video is months old one is there. I'd guess that is CRS-9 and we just missed it moving.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: gongora on 06/18/2017 03:54 PM
The Thaicom booster is the side booster we have already seen test fired at McGregor. I was not aware of any flown boosters in Hawthorne, but unless that video is months old one is there. I'd guess that is CRS-9 and we just missed it moving.

Footage is old - several months at least. Flown core is 1023 back when it was being refurbed for a Falcon Heavy side core. That's why the octaweb is missing.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: old_sellsword on 06/18/2017 04:49 PM
but unless that video is months old one is there.

It is. Notice 1033 was sitting right next to it, octaweb-less.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: AncientU on 06/18/2017 07:29 PM
So according to reddit user /u/aftersteveo all cores are now at the Cape, with B1025 still waiting to be transported to MgGregor for testing.

https://www.reddit.com/r/spacex/comments/6ewgm7/rspacex_discusses_june_2017_33/dj2fcc6/ (https://www.reddit.com/r/spacex/comments/6ewgm7/rspacex_discusses_june_2017_33/dj2fcc6/)

We need to sign up that pizza delivery guy... ;)
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: bdub217 on 06/26/2017 02:07 PM
FH 101 question. We got good closeup video of the Vandenberg strongback during the Iridium launch on Sunday. This strongback looks like its structurally built to support FH.  I hadn't seen anything about launching FHs from Vandenberg. Have I missed something?

A related question - Is the plan to still build an onshore west coast LZ?

A sort-of related question. F9 and FH capacities to LEO and GTO are readily available. Anybody have an estimates on the capacity for polar orbit for the two?
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: rpapo on 06/26/2017 02:29 PM
FH 101 question. We got good closeup video of the Vandenberg strongback during the Iridium launch on Sunday. This strongback looks like its structurally built to support FH.  I hadn't seen anything about launching FHs from Vandenberg. Have I missed something?
The original intent (2012) was to launch the first Falcon Heavy from Vandenburg.  That was back when they thought it would be easy to fasten three Falcon first stages side by side.  Since then much has changed.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: gongora on 06/26/2017 02:38 PM
FH 101 question. We got good closeup video of the Vandenberg strongback during the Iridium launch on Sunday. This strongback looks like its structurally built to support FH.  I hadn't seen anything about launching FHs from Vandenberg. Have I missed something?

A related question - Is the plan to still build an onshore west coast LZ?

There aren't currently any FH scheduled from Vandenberg.  If they do get a FH contract for Vandenberg it will probably be a DoD/NRO flight with a 5 year lead time, in which case they'd finish upgrading the pad to support FH.  It might also be possible for those upgrades to be part of the upcoming EELV development rounds over the next few of years.  Getting FH flying from one pad is the first step, and that's LC-39A for now.

They have mostly built a single pad west coast LZ, we're not sure when they'll start using it.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: rpapo on 06/26/2017 02:40 PM
Is the plan to still build an onshore west coast LZ?
It has been built for a while now.  It's just a little way downhill from the launching pad.  It would seem somebody has been throwing up regulatory hurdles against SpaceX actually using that landing pad.

--Ninja'd, partially.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: mme on 06/26/2017 02:56 PM
Is the plan to still build an onshore west coast LZ?
It has been built for a while now.  It's just a little way downhill from the launching pad.  It would seem somebody has been throwing up regulatory hurdles against SpaceX actually using that landing pad.

--Ninja'd, partially.
Why does it "seem like" regulatory hurdles? Any evidence or just the go-to explanation? This is how rumors start.

Iridium is a heavy payload, it's reasonable for it to be an ASDS mission.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: rpapo on 06/26/2017 03:51 PM
Why does it "seem like" regulatory hurdles? Any evidence or just the go-to explanation? This is how rumors start.
It's just me watching what is said and what is not, and drawing perhaps incorrect conclusions.  I don't recall there was any ruling about whether the sonic booms related to RTLS would adversely affect the shore life (seals in particular).  SpaceX made some noise about possibly bringing the Jason-3 first stage back RTLS, but that was not approved for whatever reason (possibly because to that point, only one landing had been successful).  As it turned out, it was a good thing it landed on the ASDS.  If it had tipped over on the Vandenberg landing pad there would probably have been bad press.  Never mind that it would very likely have landed right on target, just as every landing has since they added grid fins.

Of course neither of the Iridium launches were really candidates anyway, as they were supposedly too heavy for block 3 Falcons to RTLS.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: CyndyC on 06/27/2017 03:46 AM
..... back when they thought it would be easy to fasten three Falcon first stages side by side.  Since then much has changed.

Exactly why I came over here, after the grid fin discussion in the Iridium thread, and wondering how tightly the cores could be secured with those [and the legs] inbetween. So a look at http://www.spacex.com/falcon-heavy says and shows bars are connecting the cores only at the top of each first stage and at the bottom near the legs. The Falcon 9 has been flown without that extra stabilization at the top and bottom of the first stage, so the vibration loads have been much more evenly distributed. Now it appears the vibration loads will be much more concentrated somewhere near the middle. Would that be a routine engineering calculation, or something they may be risking?
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: raketa on 06/27/2017 04:16 AM
Spacex never failed land on the land. ASDS is more challenging because size and ocean move. I will be not worried about landing on land for SpaceX any more.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: rockets4life97 on 06/27/2017 11:21 PM
It is looking like SpaceX will have about a month of downtown between the upcoming Intelsat launch and CRS-12. Is it possible that some of the FH upgrades could be completed during that time?
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: dorkmo on 06/27/2017 11:35 PM
It is looking like SpaceX will have about a month of downtown between the upcoming Intelsat launch and CRS-12. Is it possible that some of the FH upgrades could be completed during that time?

Id guess they could if they ran three shifts a day.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: CyndyC on 06/27/2017 11:48 PM
..... back when they thought it would be easy to fasten three Falcon first stages side by side.  Since then much has changed.

Exactly why I came over here, after the grid fin discussion in the Iridium thread, and wondering how tightly the cores could be secured with those [and the legs] inbetween. So a look at http://www.spacex.com/falcon-heavy says and shows bars are connecting the cores only at the top of each first stage and at the bottom near the legs. The Falcon 9 has been flown without that extra stabilization at the top and bottom of the first stage, so the vibration loads have been much more evenly distributed. Now it appears the vibration loads will be much more concentrated somewhere near the middle. Would that be a routine engineering calculation, or something they may be risking?

In contrast to my reasoning last night, there is more counterintuitive reasoning to also consider, related to the fact that brick buildings are less stable in tornadoes and high winds than buildings of more flexible materials, such as wood & vinyl. So maybe the greater risk is where the stages have extra stabilization and less flexibility. Personally I'll be opting for the former consideration. It's going to make me nervous there won't be a connecting rod across the middle. I'm guessing that might have been a subject of debate earlier in the development process.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: LouScheffer on 06/28/2017 12:03 AM
Now it appears the vibration loads will be much more concentrated somewhere near the middle. Would that be a routine engineering calculation, or something they may be risking?

 It's going to make me nervous there won't be a connecting rod across the middle. I'm guessing that might have been a subject of debate earlier in the development process.
Structural analysis is pretty routine by rocket science standards.   Back in the 1960s, NASA saw a bunch of companies each developing their own analysis software, and supported the development of NASTRAN (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nastran), which has been used and enhanced for more than a half century. 

Unlike combustion analysis or computational aerodynamics, analysis of modes of vibration is a pretty mature field.  Of course you can still make mistakes, but of all the reasons the FH might fail, lack of connecting rods in the middle of stack is pretty low on the list.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Herb Schaltegger on 06/28/2017 01:10 AM
Now it appears the vibration loads will be much more concentrated somewhere near the middle. Would that be a routine engineering calculation, or something they may be risking?

 It's going to make me nervous there won't be a connecting rod across the middle. I'm guessing that might have been a subject of debate earlier in the development process.
Structural analysis is pretty routine by rocket science standards.   Back in the 1960s, NASA saw a bunch of companies each developing their own analysis software, and supported the development of NASTRAN (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nastran), which has been used and enhanced for more than a half century. 

Unlike combustion analysis or computational aerodynamics, analysis of modes of vibration is a pretty mature field.  Of course you can still make mistakes, but of all the reasons the FH might fail, lack of connecting rods in the middle of stack is pretty low on the list.

As far as I'm aware, pretty much no boosters for any operational launcher from any nation have ever had more than two connection points. Further, in each case, the load is generally carried by one of the two (either top or bottom), not both.

In short, two connection points is fine. If you can't adequately secure the boosters to the core with two cross-members, then you don't have any business trying to design multi-core rockets.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: IanThePineapple on 07/05/2017 06:23 PM
Random question: Is it known what will happen to 1027 (the FH Core STA)? Will it be scrapped or be converted to a normal FH core?
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Kabloona on 07/05/2017 10:19 PM
Now it appears the vibration loads will be much more concentrated somewhere near the middle. Would that be a routine engineering calculation, or something they may be risking?

 It's going to make me nervous there won't be a connecting rod across the middle. I'm guessing that might have been a subject of debate earlier in the development process.
Structural analysis is pretty routine by rocket science standards.   Back in the 1960s, NASA saw a bunch of companies each developing their own analysis software, and supported the development of NASTRAN (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nastran), which has been used and enhanced for more than a half century. 

Unlike combustion analysis or computational aerodynamics, analysis of modes of vibration is a pretty mature field.  Of course you can still make mistakes, but of all the reasons the FH might fail, lack of connecting rods in the middle of stack is pretty low on the list.

As far as I'm aware, pretty much no boosters for any operational launcher from any nation have ever had more than two connection points. Further, in each case, the load is generally carried by one of the two (either top or bottom), not both.

In short, two connection points is fine. If you can't adequately secure the boosters to the core with two cross-members, then you don't have any business trying to design multi-core rockets.

Reminds me of a structural analyst at Lockheed Martin who was fond of quoting one of his college professors:
"Big beams carry large loads."

Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: MoDyna on 07/11/2017 09:40 PM
I was really intrigued a few years back when SpaceX was describing what the FH would have in the way of "gee-wiz" technology, like for instance the "cross-core propellant feed". I gather that this will not be on the FH that flies later this year. Has this been dropped for good, or will it be a later upgrade?
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: philw1776 on 07/11/2017 09:49 PM
Abandoned for good as complexities exceeded performance value.  The standard FH is already rated more powerful than the powerpoint crossfeed FH with its left and right cores and its plumbing weight and reliability decrease.

Read the SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6) here.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Roy_H on 07/12/2017 12:05 AM
Random question: Is it known what will happen to 1027 (the FH Core STA)? Will it be scrapped or be converted to a normal FH core?

Excuse my ignorance, but what are you talking about. What is STA?
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: gongora on 07/12/2017 12:16 AM
Random question: Is it known what will happen to 1027 (the FH Core STA)? Will it be scrapped or be converted to a normal FH core?

Excuse my ignorance, but what are you talking about. What is STA?

Structural Test Article.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: rpapo on 07/12/2017 10:34 AM
Random question: Is it known what will happen to 1027 (the FH Core STA)? Will it be scrapped or be converted to a normal FH core?

Excuse my ignorance, but what are you talking about. What is STA?

Structural Test Article.
This is why Elon hates acronyms.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: GORDAP on 07/12/2017 10:57 AM
Random question: Is it known what will happen to 1027 (the FH Core STA)? Will it be scrapped or be converted to a normal FH core?

Excuse my ignorance, but what are you talking about. What is STA?

Structural Test Article.
This is why Elon hates acronyms.

I specifically hate TLAs  (Three Letter Acronyms).  :-)

Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: vanoord on 07/12/2017 11:41 AM
Random question: Is it known what will happen to 1027 (the FH Core STA)? Will it be scrapped or be converted to a normal FH core?

Apparently last seen at McGregor in October.

Similarly random questions:

There have been references to an FH booster core STA being constructed as well - but there hasn't been a gap in the core serial numbers that it would fit into: does / did it exist?
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: envy887 on 07/12/2017 01:18 PM
I was really intrigued a few years back when SpaceX was describing what the FH would have in the way of "gee-wiz" technology, like for instance the "cross-core propellant feed". I gather that this will not be on the FH that flies later this year. Has this been dropped for good, or will it be a later upgrade?

I don't think there's a left and a right; aren't the boosters are the same part rotated around the long axis of the core (rotational symmetry rather than mirrored symmetry)?

Either way, crossfeed is gone for good.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: wannamoonbase on 07/12/2017 01:42 PM
I was really intrigued a few years back when SpaceX was describing what the FH would have in the way of "gee-wiz" technology, like for instance the "cross-core propellant feed". I gather that this will not be on the FH that flies later this year. Has this been dropped for good, or will it be a later upgrade?

I don't think there's a left and a right; aren't the boosters are the same part rotated around the long axis of the core (rotational symmetry rather than mirrored symmetry)?

Either way, crossfeed is gone for good.

I believe that is correct.  The side boosters are identical and could change sides between launches.

Crossfeed is exciting but given EM's comments and the SpaceX aversion to complexity it makes sense to get FH flying (Edit: to launch those large CommSats) and move onto a single core SFR.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: JasonAW3 on 07/12/2017 02:09 PM
Random question: Is it known what will happen to 1027 (the FH Core STA)? Will it be scrapped or be converted to a normal FH core?

Excuse my ignorance, but what are you talking about. What is STA?

Structural Test Article.
This is why Elon hates acronyms.

That is one reason I like Elon.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: abaddon on 07/12/2017 02:33 PM
There have been references to an FH booster core STA being constructed as well - but there hasn't been a gap in the core serial numbers that it would fit into: does / did it exist?
Since they're converting previously flown F9's into FH boosters, it would make sense if they simply converted a booster into an STA.  Why not test something similar to what you're going to fly?  And they have Block 3 cores to spare...

OTOH, since they are converting cores to boosters, that would suggest they are structurally identical, and maybe don't need structural testing at all.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: old_sellsword on 07/12/2017 03:10 PM
Random question: Is it known what will happen to 1027 (the FH Core STA)? Will it be scrapped or be converted to a normal FH core?

Apparently last seen at McGregor in October.

Similarly random questions:

There have been references to an FH booster core STA being constructed as well - but there hasn't been a gap in the core serial numbers that it would fit into: does / did it exist?

Unless it didn’t get a serial number, it doesn’t exist as a standalone STA. My theory is that they used 1023 as soon as they got its new FH side booster octaweb installed, then they shipped it back to Hawthorne for completion after testing.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: vanoord on 07/13/2017 08:22 AM
Unless it didn’t get a serial number, it doesn’t exist as a standalone STA. My theory is that they used 1023 as soon as they got its new FH side booster octaweb installed, then they shipped it back to Hawthorne for completion after testing.

My suspicion would also be that it never existed.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: catdlr on 07/17/2017 03:54 AM
A new generation of giant rockets is about to blast off

Quote
It’s been 44 years since the mighty Saturn V last thundered skyward from a launch pad at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The towering rocket, generating enough power to lift 269,000 pounds into orbit, had been the workhorse of the Apollo moon missions.

Later this year, SpaceX plans to launch its most powerful rocket yet from the same pad. The long-awaited Falcon Heavy is key to the Hawthorne company’s plans to ramp up its defense business, send tourists around the moon and launch its first uncrewed mission to Mars.

But unlike the Saturn V, the Falcon Heavy will have plenty of competition.

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-heavy-lift-rockets-20170716-htmlstory.html
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Lars-J on 07/19/2017 07:30 PM
ChrisGebhardt's transcript of Musk's answer to a question about FH deserves to be in this thread:

Complete text of Elon's comments on Falcon Heavy:

First of all I should say that Falcon Heavy requires the simultaneous ignition of 27 orbital class engines. There's a lot that could go wrong there. And I encourage people to come down to the Cape and see the first Falcon Heavy mission. It's guaranteed to be exciting.  But it's one of those things that's really difficult to test on the ground. We can fire the engines on the ground and try to simulate the dynamics of having 27 orbital booster engines and the airflow as it goes transonic. It's going to see heavy transonic buffeting. It's behavior at Max Q, there's a lot of risks associated with Falcon Heavy.  Real good chance that that first vehicle doesn't make it to orbit. So I want to make sure to set expectations accordingly. I hope it makes it far enough away from the pad that it's not going to cause damage. I would consider that a win, honestly. And yeah. Major pucker factor is the only way to describe it. I think Falcon Heavy is going to be a great vehicle. There's just a lot that's impossible to test on the ground. And we'll do our best. And it ended up being way harder to do Falcon Heavy than we thought. Because at first it sounds really easy to just stick to first stages on as strap-on side boosters. But then everything changes. The loads change, the air dynamics totally change. You triple the vibration and acoustics. So you break the qualification levels and so much of the hardware. The amount of load you’re putting through that center core is crazy because you have two super powerful boosters also shoving that center core. So we had to redesign the whole center-core airframe on the Falcon 9 because it’s going to take so much load. And then you’ve got the separation systems... and, yeah, it just ended up being way way more difficult than we originally thought. We were pretty naive about that. But the next thing is that we're going to fully optimize it.  It has about 2.5 times the payload capacity of the Falcon 9. We’re well over 100,000 lb to LEO payload capability. And then it has enough thrust performance to put us in a loop with Dragon 2 around the moon. And Dragon itself, the heat shield is designed with a huge amount of margin. So it has enough margin to handle a lunar reentry. But no question, whoever is on the first flight, brave.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: gongora on 07/19/2017 07:35 PM
A new generation of giant rockets is about to blast off
http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-heavy-lift-rockets-20170716-htmlstory.html

A couple FH related quotes from the article:

Quote
“There is a part of the commercial market that requires Falcon Heavy,” said Gwynne Shotwell, president of SpaceX. “It’s there, and it’s going to be consistent, but it’s much smaller than we thought.”
...
Shotwell said the company is currently working to see if it can bring the side boosters back to land, which would require overhauling its landing zone at Cape Canaveral. SpaceX may also need to build more droneships if the company chooses to land the side boosters at sea, she said.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: ChrisGebhardt on 07/19/2017 09:30 PM
Thought I remember reading somewhere that there's a possibility of Falcon Heavy going through more than one static fire on 39A before the actual launch count.  Am I making that up, so can someone point me to where I ready that?
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Ictogan on 07/19/2017 09:39 PM
Thought I remember reading somewhere that there's a possibility of Falcon Heavy going through more than one static fire on 39A before the actual launch count.  Am I making that up, so can someone point me to where I ready that?
I think this is what you are thinking of:
https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/867667009839931393
Quote
There will be a combined booster static fire. Maybe a few.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: ChrisGebhardt on 07/19/2017 09:40 PM
Thought I remember reading somewhere that there's a possibility of Falcon Heavy going through more than one static fire on 39A before the actual launch count.  Am I making that up, so can someone point me to where I ready that?
I think this is what you are thinking of:
https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/867667009839931393
Quote
There will be a combined booster static fire. Maybe a few.

BINGO.  That's it.  Thanks.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Herb Schaltegger on 07/19/2017 09:45 PM
Yeah, fast-loading that much LOX and RP1 is gonna be a hell of a GSE challenge. No doubt they'll solve it but I'd expect some hiccups.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Khadgars on 07/19/2017 09:47 PM
They're setting expectations for FH to be really low, I understood it to be a difficult task but they've clearly run into more issues than expected.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: SpacemanSpliff on 07/19/2017 10:15 PM
They're setting expectations for FH to be really low, I understood it to be a difficult task but they've clearly run into more issues than expected.
Yeah, I'm surprised how heavily Elon is caveating the first launch.

And I'm even more surprised how severely SpaceX underestimated FH challenges per the Chris Gebhardt quote. Or perhaps, how much Elon underestimated things? I'd be shocked if many of the engineers didn't know how complicated things were going to get. I know that former Boeing/ULA engineers worked on Delta IV Heavy went on to SpaceX, so at the very least those people knew what was coming ...
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: whitelancer64 on 07/19/2017 10:38 PM
They're setting expectations for FH to be really low, I understood it to be a difficult task but they've clearly run into more issues than expected.
Yeah, I'm surprised how heavily Elon is caveating the first launch.

And I'm even more surprised how severely SpaceX underestimated FH challenges per the Chris Gebhardt quote. Or perhaps, how much Elon underestimated things? I'd be shocked if many of the engineers didn't know how complicated things were going to get. I know that former Boeing/ULA engineers worked on Delta IV Heavy went on to SpaceX, so at the very least those people knew what was coming ...

I'm not. He put really low odds on landings that turned out to be successful. He just knows of everything, everything that can possibly go wrong.

People entering into a complex challenge always underestimate its complexity. Kinda like Trump saying "Who knew how complex healthcare was?" Well, the experts know. But most people don't realize just how deep the rabbit hole goes for any given field. See the Dunning-Kruger Effect for more details.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Krankenhausen on 07/19/2017 10:46 PM
But if you think about it, they do have to have some confidence that it'd work to some extent right? I mean, it wouldn't be good if it went boom since 39A is sort off vital to commercial crew. Would they seriously risk that?
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: whitelancer64 on 07/19/2017 10:54 PM
But if you think about it, they do have to have some confidence that it'd work to some extent right? I mean, it wouldn't be good if it went boom since 39A is sort off vital to commercial crew. Would they seriously risk that?

you're right, but there are, of course, limitations as to what you can determine by testing and simulations. They are probably reasonably confident it won't blow up on the pad - but the first flight may very well not be successful.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Lars-J on 07/19/2017 11:08 PM
But if you think about it, they do have to have some confidence that it'd work to some extent right? I mean, it wouldn't be good if it went boom since 39A is sort off vital to commercial crew. Would they seriously risk that?

Have you ever heard of the concept of "managing expectations"? This is what Elon does. He routinely low-balls the chances of success whenever something new is tried for the first time. (and even after that too)

FH won't launch until SpaceX is very confident it will hold together enough to clear 39A and beyond.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: ChrisGebhardt on 07/19/2017 11:10 PM
But if you think about it, they do have to have some confidence that it'd work to some extent right? I mean, it wouldn't be good if it went boom since 39A is sort off vital to commercial crew. Would they seriously risk that?

Have you ever heard of the concept of "managing expectations"? This is what Elon does. He routinely low-balls the chances of success whenever something new is tried for the first time. (and even after that too)

FH won't launch until SpaceX is very confident it will hold together enough to clear 39A and beyond.

Exactly.  How many times in the past few missions have we been cautioned that "the booster probably won't land on the ASDS"... only to have it standing tall on the ship?

It's managing expectations, not actually predicting a failure.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: SpacemanSpliff on 07/20/2017 02:46 AM


People entering into a complex challenge always underestimate its complexity. Kinda like Trump saying "Who knew how complex healthcare was?" Well, the experts know. But most people don't realize just how deep the rabbit hole goes for any given field. See the Dunning-Kruger Effect for more details.

thanks, while I was all too aware of the phenomenon and its corollary I never knew there was a name for it. Perhaps I have given Elon too much credit regarding his genius -- I always thought Elon knew he was making ridiculous schedule claims as a way of drumming up hype and pushing his workforce, but perhaps he really does believe the dates he puts out and really does underestimate the challenges. I'd reckon the truth is probably somewhere in the middle...
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Robotbeat on 07/20/2017 02:55 AM


People entering into a complex challenge always underestimate its complexity. Kinda like Trump saying "Who knew how complex healthcare was?" Well, the experts know. But most people don't realize just how deep the rabbit hole goes for any given field. See the Dunning-Kruger Effect for more details.

thanks, while I was all too aware of the phenomena and its corollary I never knew there was a name for it. Perhaps I have given Elon too much credit regarding his genius -- I always thought Elon knew he was making ridiculous schedule claims as a way of drumming up hype and pushing his workforce, but perhaps he really does believe the dates he puts out. The truth is probably somewhere in the middle...
He really does believe it.

The most outrageous schedule claims are made when he knows the least about the actual schedule. But this should be expected: he characteristically gives the very earliest possible date given the information he knows about, and so logically the less he knows about something the more likely he is to give an early date.

In other words, always keep in mind that when Musk gives a NET date, he's answering this (kind of silly) question: "What is the earliest date such that you're certain you literally couldn't possibly do any earlier?"

...keeping that in mind will save you a lot of disappointment.

...but this helps push himself as well. Thinking in this way can help identify obstacles to rapid development. It's also terrible for any kind of realistic projection.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Robotbeat on 07/20/2017 03:04 AM
There's a side effect of this:
Dragon propulsive landing now looks really hard because their information on it is now high. Their information on ITS is still relatively low, therefore Musk's usual timeline shows they could get it done in almost the same amount of time, so why even bother? The grass always looks greener on the other side of the TRL graph.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: wannamoonbase on 07/20/2017 04:00 AM
Rockets are hard, ones that launch 100,000+ pounds are harder.

I've criticized the FH schedule, it's been a crazy long time coming but the F9 base vehicle has evolved so much in that time.  It was hard for FH to really get a good start.

The lessons learned on FH will help them going forward with the next generation of vehicle.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: sunbingfa on 07/20/2017 04:33 AM
So can anyone share a little bit about the development of Delta IV Heavy? Thanks.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Proponent on 07/20/2017 08:44 AM
What do we think the odds are that, doing it all over again, SpaceX would not attempt a tri-core launch vehicle?
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Proponent on 07/20/2017 08:50 AM
So can anyone share a little bit about the development of Delta IV Heavy?

One thing we know about Delta IV is that it has, IIRC, four different versions of core:  single-stick medium core, heavy core, left booster core and right booster core.  That makes it more expensive than it ought to be.  The plan was for just three cores, with the heavy core flying as the medium core, but performance shortfalls meant that the medium core had to be lightened, making it a separate variant.  It sounds like the Falcon family has at most three cores, because the left and right heavy boosters are identical.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Krankenhausen on 07/20/2017 08:52 AM
But if you think about it, they do have to have some confidence that it'd work to some extent right? I mean, it wouldn't be good if it went boom since 39A is sort off vital to commercial crew. Would they seriously risk that?

Have you ever heard of the concept of "managing expectations"? This is what Elon does. He routinely low-balls the chances of success whenever something new is tried for the first time. (and even after that too)

FH won't launch until SpaceX is very confident it will hold together enough to clear 39A and beyond.
Fair enough, than we have both come to more or less the same conclusion that they expect the launch to be successful at least to some extent. I was just a little concerned about them gambling 39A, but I'm sure they'll make an informed decision.

Thinking about it some more, the pad is likely not the most uncertain part of the flight (except it will just not launch if not all 27 engines start equally.) The most uncertain part is likely somewhat later in flight when significant aero forces start to come into play.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Proponent on 07/20/2017 09:17 AM
But if you think about it, they do have to have some confidence that it'd work to some extent right? I mean, it wouldn't be good if it went boom since 39A is sort off vital to commercial crew. Would they seriously risk that?

Have you ever heard of the concept of "managing expectations"? This is what Elon does. He routinely low-balls the chances of success whenever something new is tried for the first time. (and even after that too)

FH won't launch until SpaceX is very confident it will hold together enough to clear 39A and beyond.

In the past, there's been a lot of nonsensical, in my view, commentary to the effect that the N-1, with its 30 first-stage engines was a disaster, and Falcon Heavy, with 27, isn't much better.  Though I still expect SpaceX to make a success of Falcon Heavy, reading that the nearly simultaneous ignition of all 27 engines will not be attempted until the first flight vehicle is on the pad does send a bit of a shiver down my spine.  It has often been said that the N-1's problems lay not in the sheer number of engines but in the lack of ground testing of the full engine cluster.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Jet Black on 07/20/2017 10:15 AM
But if you think about it, they do have to have some confidence that it'd work to some extent right? I mean, it wouldn't be good if it went boom since 39A is sort off vital to commercial crew. Would they seriously risk that?

Have you ever heard of the concept of "managing expectations"? This is what Elon does. He routinely low-balls the chances of success whenever something new is tried for the first time. (and even after that too)

FH won't launch until SpaceX is very confident it will hold together enough to clear 39A and beyond.
Fair enough, than we have both have come to more or less the same conclusion that they expect the launch to be successful at least to some extent. I was just a little concerned about them gambling 39A, but I'm sure they'll make an informed decision.

Thinking about it some more, the pad is likely not the most uncertain part of the flight (except it will just not launch if not all 27 engines start equally.) The most uncertain part is likely somewhat later in flight when significant aero forces start to come into play.

tbh I doubt they would be gambling the pad since it's the same one that their commercial crew relies on and certainly I'd expect the FAA to not grant a licence to anything with as much doubt as he is expressing. I think he's just playing to the crowd to whip up a bit of excitement.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: old_sellsword on 07/20/2017 01:07 PM
So can anyone share a little bit about the development of Delta IV Heavy?

One thing we know about Delta IV is that it has, IIRC, four different versions of core:  single-stick medium core, heavy core, left booster core and right booster core.  That makes it more expensive than it ought to be.  The plan was for just three cores, with the heavy core flying as the medium core, but performance shortfalls meant that the medium core had to be lightened, making it a separate variant.  It sounds like the Falcon family has at most three cores, because the left and right heavy boosters are identical.

Eventually, the Falcon family will consist of only two booster types: Falcon Heavy center cores and Falcon Heavy side boosters that double as regular Falcon 9s.

These upcoming Block upgrades are putting a lot of work into increasing the commonality between F9 and FH, including things like the bolted octaweb.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Jim on 07/20/2017 01:26 PM
So can anyone share a little bit about the development of Delta IV Heavy?

One thing we know about Delta IV is that it has, IIRC, four different versions of core:  single-stick medium core, heavy core, left booster core and right booster core.  That makes it more expensive than it ought to be.  The plan was for just three cores, with the heavy core flying as the medium core, but performance shortfalls meant that the medium core had to be lightened, making it a separate variant.  It sounds like the Falcon family has at most three cores, because the left and right heavy boosters are identical.

Atlas V Heavy would have had one type of core
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Jim on 07/20/2017 01:28 PM

tbh I doubt they would be gambling the pad since it's the same one that their commercial crew relies on and certainly I'd expect the FAA to not grant a licence to anything with as much doubt as he is expressing. I think he's just playing to the crowd to whip up a bit of excitement.

The FAA doesn't care as long as nobody will get hurt or no 3rd party property gets damaged.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: spacenut on 07/20/2017 01:54 PM
It seems to me, there are stresses, the outside cores have to put all their lift capability to the center core.  Center core has to take more stress, like 3 times as much.  Then after liftoff, the outer cores go full thrust while the center core throttles down.  Then there is the separation event.  Soyuz basically just falls out by gravity, and maybe a thruster to get the side boosters out of the way of the center.  No so with FH.  Then the side boosters have to come back and land without getting in each others way.  What they are doing is not easy. 

Seems to me if they are far enough along with BFR and ITS or BFS, they should put all their effort into those and get them going in a few years.  They will put FH out of business.  Single core, single big reusable spacecraft.  Anything can be launched to deep space or GSO with it. 
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Helodriver on 07/20/2017 01:57 PM
So can anyone share a little bit about the development of Delta IV Heavy?

One thing we know about Delta IV is that it has, IIRC, four different versions of core:  single-stick medium core, heavy core, left booster core and right booster core.  That makes it more expensive than it ought to be.  The plan was for just three cores, with the heavy core flying as the medium core, but performance shortfalls meant that the medium core had to be lightened, making it a separate variant.  It sounds like the Falcon family has at most three cores, because the left and right heavy boosters are identical.

Eventually, the Falcon family will consist of only two booster types: Falcon Heavy center cores and Falcon Heavy side boosters that double as regular Falcon 9s.

These upcoming Block upgrades are putting a lot of work into increasing the commonality between F9 and FH, including things like the bolted octaweb.

With the continuous improvement in thrust and efficiency of the Merlin engines, and given the opportunity to examine landed FH cores to see where the actual stress points are, its conceivable that a future FH iteration could be made of three near identical boosters, the only difference being the reconfigurable mounts. Side boosters and single stick F9s would be heavier but that could be offset by the enhanced engines and the structural robustness might translate into longer service lives.

This may be particularly attractive if BFR/ITS - mini is delayed in development.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: clongton on 07/20/2017 02:03 PM
It has often been said that the N-1's problems lay not in the sheer number of engines but in the lack of ground testing of the full engine cluster.

That and FOD. All four launches were a failure and it is know for certain that two of them were FOD related. Soviet Quality Control was practically nonexistent in their rocket manufacturing processes.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: wannamoonbase on 07/20/2017 02:46 PM
It has often been said that the N-1's problems lay not in the sheer number of engines but in the lack of ground testing of the full engine cluster.

That and FOD. All four launches were a failure and it is know for certain that two of them were FOD related. Soviet Quality Control was practically nonexistent in their rocket manufacturing processes.

There's an excellent book "The Secret of Apollo: Systems Management in American and European Space Programs" that explains systems management and how western cultures of being open and working together is just easier.  Because we think that way.

I wouldn't want to be Quality Control in the Soviet Union.  Being the person that raises your hand to say there is a problem is a great way to get a 1 way ticket to Siberia.

Regarding Musk's comments about the inaugural FH launch, I think a significant target audience for him is the SpaceX staff working on it.  Keep them motivated and fearful of failure.  I think they will be successful, but nothing is certain until the payload is in orbit (the boosters are on the ground and ASDS)
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: abaddon on 07/20/2017 02:49 PM
With the continuous improvement in thrust and efficiency of the Merlin engines, and given the opportunity to examine landed FH cores to see where the actual stress points are, its conceivable that a future FH iteration could be made of three near identical boosters, the only difference being the reconfigurable mounts. Side boosters and single stick F9s would be heavier but that could be offset by the enhanced engines and the structural robustness might translate into longer service lives.

This may be particularly attractive if BFR/ITS - mini is delayed in development.
If reuse pans out as well as they hope it does, I don't really see how this makes sense.  It'd be better to focus on the second stage, either optimizing for production cost or getting them back, since that's what they will be making in job lots.  First stages will only be put out occasionally so having two types shouldn't be that big of a deal.  Given the projected low flight rate, SpaceX might only make a handful of FH cores during its entire run.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: gospacex on 07/20/2017 02:59 PM
It seems to me, there are stresses, the outside cores have to put all their lift capability to the center core.  Center core has to take more stress, like 3 times as much.  Then after liftoff, the outer cores go full thrust while the center core throttles down.  Then there is the separation event.  Soyuz basically just falls out by gravity, and maybe a thruster to get the side boosters out of the way of the center.  No so with FH.  Then the side boosters have to come back and land without getting in each others way.  What they are doing is not easy. 

Seems to me if they are far enough along with BFR and ITS or BFS, they should put all their effort into those and get them going in a few years.  They will put FH out of business.

Even if FH will no longer be needed, the knowledge how to do Heavy can be very useful in the future. BFR-H, anyone?
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: BeamRider on 07/20/2017 03:27 PM
"What do we think the odds are that, doing it all over again, SpaceX would not attempt a tri-core launch vehicle?"

Very low. Shotwell is poo-pooing the market size too. At one time it probably looked safer to build upon F9 technology than to redesign completely. Probably would have to me too.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: wannamoonbase on 07/20/2017 03:43 PM
Even if FH will no longer be needed, the knowledge how to do Heavy can be very useful in the future. BFR-H, anyone?

Not me.

I think EM will prefer to go with oversized single stick boosters.  Way less operations and steps needed.  Likely easier to design and build too.

The lesson of FH maybe to avoid more than a single body.

The lessons of FH design and analysis and sharpening those skills may help the BFR.

I agree with abaddon above, that the number of FH's ever built could be quite low.  1-2, maybe 3 missions a year with reuseable cores for the next 5-10 years until a new gen vehicle is ready. 

I could see the amount of FH ever built being in the 5-10 range.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: guckyfan on 07/20/2017 03:50 PM
It seems to me, people are overvaluing the statements by Elon Musk about FH difficulties. I see them similar to what Tom Mueller said about developing the Merlin engine. Very hard to do, with lots of failures in the development phase. But the result is a cheap, reliable, robust engine.

So will FH be as well. Assuming the first flight goes well, they will have a reliable easy to stack cost efficient heavy lift vehicle.  I hope they will not have a failure on the first flight. But in any case they will learn a lot and do some adjustments and optimization, if only in control software.

It may go quite soon. But when it goes so will F9. A new generation will replace them both. Possibly FH first but F9 not much later.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Kenp51d on 07/20/2017 04:05 PM
Even if FH will no longer be needed, the knowledge how to do Heavy can be very useful in the future. BFR-H, anyone?

Not me.

I think EM will prefer to go with oversized single stick boosters.  Way less operations and steps needed.  Likely easier to design and build too.

The lesson of FH maybe to avoid more than a single body.

The lessons of FH design and analysis and sharpening those skills may help the BFR.

I agree with abaddon above, that the number of FH's ever built could be quite low.  1-2, maybe 3 missions a year with reuseable cores for the next 5-10 years until a new gen vehicle is ready. 

I could see the amount of FH ever built being in the 5-10 range.
Particularly good bet for block 5 cores. Just don't see much need to make many more than 5-10 heavy cores.
Unless heavy becomes the go to for constellation launches. That could change the betting odds.

Sent from my XT1565 using Tapatalk

Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Space Ghost 1962 on 07/20/2017 04:52 PM
The advantage of the triple booster is largely to lower the cost of an interim payload size growth in the market.

The disadvantage is that it can amplify costs, as it does for DIVH.

Which then defeats the point of growing payload size.

In this case, should it evade the "DIVH cost trap", it's an interim vehicle that *might* allow payload growth, assuming adequate reliability/frequency/cost (which is assuming a lot).

(Note - DIVH *did achieve payload size growth*, because Vulcan/ACES is sized to cover DIVH payloads. It just didn't do so in a way that allowed anything beyond DIV/HU.)

So should FH be a fantastic success, it would likely accelerate the need for a non-clustered LV, as we see with Vulcan.

A clustered vehicle is always an interim approach.

And once you exceed certain SHLV sizes, it's far easier to just make the larger vehicle to avoid clusters.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Jim Davis on 07/20/2017 05:10 PM
A clustered vehicle is always an interim approach.

The Soyuz and Proton launchers were surely more than interim approaches?
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: sunbingfa on 07/20/2017 05:29 PM
So can anyone share a little bit about the development of Delta IV Heavy?

One thing we know about Delta IV is that it has, IIRC, four different versions of core:  single-stick medium core, heavy core, left booster core and right booster core.  That makes it more expensive than it ought to be.  The plan was for just three cores, with the heavy core flying as the medium core, but performance shortfalls meant that the medium core had to be lightened, making it a separate variant.  It sounds like the Falcon family has at most three cores, because the left and right heavy boosters are identical.

For Delta IV Heavy, even Left and Right booster are not the same?
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Lars-J on 07/20/2017 05:33 PM
A clustered vehicle is always an interim approach.

The Soyuz and Proton launchers were surely more than interim approaches?

Soyuz is clustered, Proton is not.

And Soyuz does not use identical 'cores', the center one is very different.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Jim on 07/20/2017 06:10 PM
The advantage of the triple booster is largely to lower the cost of an interim payload size growth in the market.

The disadvantage is that it can amplify costs, as it does for DIVH.


not true.  Atlas V Heavy would not have had the same issues. 
DIVH issues stem from under performance of the basic core and hence the 5 to 6 core versions needed to meet EELV requirements.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Jim on 07/20/2017 06:11 PM
So can anyone share a little bit about the development of Delta IV Heavy?

One thing we know about Delta IV is that it has, IIRC, four different versions of core:  single-stick medium core, heavy core, left booster core and right booster core.  That makes it more expensive than it ought to be.  The plan was for just three cores, with the heavy core flying as the medium core, but performance shortfalls meant that the medium core had to be lightened, making it a separate variant.  It sounds like the Falcon family has at most three cores, because the left and right heavy boosters are identical.

For Delta IV Heavy, even Left and Right booster are not the same?

mirror images of each other.
Atlas V would have just had one core for all vehicles, even heavy
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Space Ghost 1962 on 07/20/2017 06:45 PM
The disadvantage is that it can amplify costs, as it does for DIVH.

not true.  Atlas V Heavy would not have had the same issues.
Atlas V Heavy had other issues. Similar to F9H as a paper rocket, both used singular designed cores. You're overselling here.

Quote
 
DIVH issues stem from under performance of the basic core and hence the 5 to 6 core versions needed to meet EELV requirements.

True that RS68 way underperformed, overcosted, ... They didn't want to wait for meeting spec, chose "good enough ".

True that booster structure/ mass also missed spec. Same reason.

Hundreds of other issues make both clustered EELV's fiscally infeasible and "doomed".

You are cherry picking to save EELV "face".

Reuse, flight frequency, and low cost architecture outcompetes them, judged on the same scale/execution.

Nothing new here.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Jim on 07/20/2017 06:52 PM

Atlas V Heavy had other issues. Similar to F9H as a paper rocket, both used singular designed cores. You're overselling here.


Not true at all.  Atlas V Heavy has no "issues", just needed time.   The core as it can handle 0-5 SRBs.  Heavy loads would be less.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Jim on 07/20/2017 06:53 PM

Hundreds of other issues make both clustered EELV's fiscally infeasible and "doomed".

Wrong again.  If designed right, it is cheaper than two different vehicles (F9 and mini ITS)
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Space Ghost 1962 on 07/20/2017 08:02 PM

Atlas V Heavy had other issues. Similar to F9H as a paper rocket, both used singular designed cores. You're overselling here.


Not true at all.  Atlas V Heavy has no "issues", just needed time.   The core as it can handle 0-5 SRBs.  Heavy loads would be less.

Rebuild of VIF - barely enough room for SRBs/GSE. Rebuild of launch table. lssues with MLP. Upscaleing props loading.

Atlas V skipped heavy bc LM did minimal bid /work bc didn't know if it (EELV) would ever pay back investment, which was smart.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Space Ghost 1962 on 07/20/2017 08:07 PM

Hundreds of other issues make both clustered EELV's fiscally infeasible and "doomed".

Wrong again.  If designed right, it is cheaper than two different vehicles (F9 and mini ITS)
Don't drag ITS into it.

Reuse of side boosters alone means EELV heavies doomed.

You were the one years back who said who could hav known they could have made such a cheap kerolox architecture. You were right then. Same is true now, even if you evade to avoid an uncomfortable truth.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Jim on 07/20/2017 08:18 PM

Atlas V Heavy had other issues. Similar to F9H as a paper rocket, both used singular designed cores. You're overselling here.


Not true at all.  Atlas V Heavy has no "issues", just needed time.   The core as it can handle 0-5 SRBs.  Heavy loads would be less.

Rebuild of VIF - barely enough room for SRBs/GSE. Rebuild of launch table. lssues with MLP. Upscaleing props loading.

Atlas V skipped heavy bc LM did minimal bid /work bc didn't know if it (EELV) would ever pay back investment, which was smart.

Wrong, LM did more than minimal work.  The CCB was structurally designed for it.  The VIF as is can support it. It was designed from the beginning for the Heavy.  The platform cutouts for side boosters exist.  The MLP required no rebuild.  It was designed from the beginning for the Heavy.  The openings for the side boosters is what the current SRBs are mounted over. The MLP just needed to be outfitted for the side boosters (holddowns, LOX TSMs, and avionics umbilical).
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: CyndyC on 07/20/2017 08:35 PM
Quote
So we had to redesign the whole center-core airframe on the Falcon 9 because it’s going to take so much load.

Excuse me, if I may, clustered or not, I believe Jim or someone else once confirmed the walls of the LOX & RP-1 tanks and the walls of the rocket are one & the same, so what is the airframe? Is this the first this particular upgrade has been made public, or has it been discussed previously? 
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: old_sellsword on 07/20/2017 08:39 PM
Quote
So we had to redesign the whole center-core airframe on the Falcon 9 because it’s going to take so much load.

Excuse me, if I may, clustered or not, I believe Jim or someone else once confirmed the walls of the LOX & RP-1 tanks and the walls of the rocket are one & the same, so what is the airframe? Is this the first this particular upgrade has been made public, or has it been discussed previously?

The “airframe” of a Falcon consists of the octaweb, aft skirt, tank walls, and interstage. We know for a fact that the octaweb, aft skirt, and interstage are more structurally reinforced than a normal F9/FH side booster, but I’m not sure if the FH center core will have thicker tank walls.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Jim on 07/20/2017 08:55 PM

Excuse me, if I may, clustered or not, I believe Jim or someone else once confirmed the walls of the LOX & RP-1 tanks and the walls of the rocket are one & the same, so what is the airframe? Is this the first this particular upgrade has been made public, or has it been discussed previously? 


All rockets are made that way since the V-2
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: CyndyC on 07/20/2017 08:57 PM
Quote
So we had to redesign the whole center-core airframe on the Falcon 9 because it’s going to take so much load.

The “airframe” of a Falcon consists of the octaweb, aft skirt, tank walls, and interstage. We know for a fact that the octaweb, aft skirt, and interstage are more structurally reinforced than a normal F9/FH side booster, but I’m not sure if the FH center core will have thicker tank walls.

Thanks!
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: pippin on 07/20/2017 08:59 PM

Excuse me, if I may, clustered or not, I believe Jim or someone else once confirmed the walls of the LOX & RP-1 tanks and the walls of the rocket are one & the same, so what is the airframe? Is this the first this particular upgrade has been made public, or has it been discussed previously? 


All rockets are made that way since the V-2
Over-generalization. See N1
;)
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Jim on 07/20/2017 09:01 PM

Excuse me, if I may, clustered or not, I believe Jim or someone else once confirmed the walls of the LOX & RP-1 tanks and the walls of the rocket are one & the same, so what is the airframe? Is this the first this particular upgrade has been made public, or has it been discussed previously? 


All rockets are made that way since the V-2
Over-generalization. See N1
;)

N-1 just used over sized interstages ;-)
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: envy887 on 07/20/2017 09:05 PM

Excuse me, if I may, clustered or not, I believe Jim or someone else once confirmed the walls of the LOX & RP-1 tanks and the walls of the rocket are one & the same, so what is the airframe? Is this the first this particular upgrade has been made public, or has it been discussed previously? 


All rockets are made that way since the V-2
Over-generalization. See N1
;)

N-1 just used over sized interstages ;-)

Everyone seems to be forgetting the intertanks most rockets use... Definitely rocket wall but not tank wall.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: matthewkantar on 07/20/2017 09:24 PM
Didn't the V-2 have an outer load carrying shell? I remember a video of a tech stuffing the space between the shell and the skin with insulation.

Matthew
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Space Ghost 1962 on 07/20/2017 10:38 PM

Atlas V Heavy had other issues. Similar to F9H as a paper rocket, both used singular designed cores. You're overselling here.


Not true at all.  Atlas V Heavy has no "issues", just needed time.   The core as it can handle 0-5 SRBs.  Heavy loads would be less.

Rebuild of VIF - barely enough room for SRBs/GSE. Rebuild of launch table. lssues with MLP. Upscaleing props loading.

Atlas V skipped heavy bc LM did minimal bid /work bc didn't know if it (EELV) would ever pay back investment, which was smart.

Wrong, LM did more than minimal work.  The CCB was structurally designed for it.  The VIF as is can support it. It was designed from the beginning for the Heavy.  The platform cutouts for side boosters exist.  The MLP required no rebuild.  It was designed from the beginning for the Heavy.  The openings for the side boosters is what the current SRBs are mounted over. The MLP just needed to be outfitted for the side boosters (holddowns, LOX TSMs, and avionics umbilical).

Atlas V Heavy made it to CDR, but Delta IV Heavy won a launch and thus made it to flight. (If DIVH failed along the way, then all the details we're back/forth over would have been dealt with more time and budget.) Can't think of what otherwise would have paid for a rational AVH.

There was no reason/customer for Atlas V Heavy (likewise FH) since DIVH got there first.

(Still maintain that LM got the better of the deal over Boeing, who didn't have to do so much "new" propulsion/pad/structural/avionics/engine/other. And it shows in AV accumulated flight history/performance.)

Note that cost doesn't/didn't play a factor in choice of "heavy" - you just need the occasional utility of such. One is enough. Nor for that matter flight frequency.

But an essential for national security.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Jim Davis on 07/21/2017 01:59 AM
Soyuz is clustered, Proton is not.

I'm pretty sure the Proton first stage consists of a cluster of tanks, 6 fuel tanks surrounding a larger oxidizer tank.

Quote
And Soyuz does not use identical 'cores', the center one is very different.

And why is that a disqualification for being considered clustered?
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: gongora on 07/21/2017 02:38 AM
"Clustered" as it is being used here is putting together several similar boosters as the first stage.  Soyuz and Proton aren't even close to that.  Soyuz has four strap on boosters that are a different design from the core.  Proton doesn't even use additional boosters on the first stage.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Proponent on 07/21/2017 09:31 AM
There was no reason/customer for Atlas V Heavy (likewise FH) since DIVH got there first.

Boeing broke the law at some stage in its competition with LM, and I think it was in connection with the heavy variant.  Boeing was punished by losing some launches.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: clongton on 07/21/2017 11:17 AM
So should FH be a fantastic success, it would likely accelerate the need for a non-clustered LV, as we see with Vulcan.
A clustered vehicle is always an interim approach.
And once you exceed certain SHLV sizes, it's far easier to just make the larger vehicle to avoid clusters.

Once it is suspected that there may be a genuine market for payloads that require a heavy, it is wise to verify the existence and viability of that market before you develop a single core LV to service that market. The best way to do that is interim development of the launch capability by a triple core version of an existing LV, which is what DIVH attempted and what FH will be attempting. DIVH failed to verify the viability of the market because it was already the single most expensive LV on the market and triple-coring it eliminated, for purely cost reasons, all possible payloads except for the heaviest DoD birds. FH on the other hand, would be a relatively inexpensive heavy LV and may actually be able to verify that viability because entities other than the DoD could actually afford to fly on it. It remains to be seen whether or not that market will prove to be viable. If it does not then FH will continue to be a low flight rate vehicle. If it does, then that will provide the economic justification for the mini BFR that Elon spoke about recently. That LV would likely be the replacement for the FH.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: pippin on 07/21/2017 11:29 AM
Well, but let’s not forget that SpaceX also needs FH to fly a whole class of payloads that is well in existence and currently flies on Ariane 5, Proton, Atlas and DIV Medium, not to mention HIIA and Chinese launchers
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Lars-J on 07/21/2017 03:20 PM
Soyuz is clustered, Proton is not.

I'm pretty sure the Proton first stage consists of a cluster of tanks, 6 fuel tanks surrounding a larger oxidizer tank.

By that definition the Saturn I was clustered as well. No, it is a first stage that has final assembly at the launch site. Nothing separates.

Quote
And Soyuz does not use identical 'cores', the center one is very different.

And why is that a disqualification for being considered clustered?

I suppose not, although the original point was more about a design where the core and boosters are the identical (or virtually identical) design - like Delta IV-H, Angara A5, and FH. It sounds so easy to do, but there seems to be more gotchas than those providers anticipated. (which caused cost increases or other issues) We'll see if FH can buck that trend or not.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Lars-J on 07/21/2017 04:37 PM
Two FH cores spotted in the 39A hangar!   :D
An FB post with pictures from today (or yesterday) taken from a KSC tour bus, shows the FH center core (note booster attachment hardware highlighted with green arrows) and an FH booster core (only nose cone visible). I have attached contrast enhanced versions of the pictures.

EDIT: An don't forget the employee wearing the FH shirt.  ;)

Original FaceBook source for images: https://www.facebook.com/groups/spacexgroup/permalink/10155651551926318/
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Jim Davis on 07/21/2017 05:28 PM
By that definition the Saturn I was clustered as well.

Which is why it acquired the nickname "Cluster's Last Stand".

Quote
No, it is a first stage that has final assembly at the launch site. Nothing separates.

Okay, so we now have two criteria. The components must separate and they must be more or less identical.

That gives one flown example (Delta IVH) and one in prospect (Falcon Heavy). So how can one claim "A clustered vehicle is always an interim approach." with such a small sample size? You might assert that the very paucity of examples supports the claim, I suppose.

But I think it would be more prudent to say the jury is still out. If Falcon Heavy makes a dozen or so flights and is then retired the claim would be strengthened. If in 10 or 20 years we're looking forward to its 100th flight the claim will be harder to sustain.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Space Ghost 1962 on 07/21/2017 05:32 PM
There was no reason/customer for Atlas V Heavy (likewise FH) since DIVH got there first.

Boeing broke the law at some stage in its competition with LM, and I think it was in connection with the heavy variant.  Boeing was punished by losing some launches.

Boeing "stole" LM's IPR, then "won" the EELV competition. Looked for a while like LM/Atlas V was toast.

Then this came out, but by then too much depended on Boeing, so many of the launches were "re-awarded" to LM.

(They couldn't do this with DIVH - already too far down the path. LM was dragged into EELV, quite wary of situation financially. Atlas/Titan heritage carefully translated into AV - truly an "Evolved" ELV.)

So should FH be a fantastic success, it would likely accelerate the need for a non-clustered LV, as we see with Vulcan.
A clustered vehicle is always an interim approach.
And once you exceed certain SHLV sizes, it's far easier to just make the larger vehicle to avoid clusters.

Once it is suspected that there may be a genuine market for payloads that require a heavy, it is wise to verify the existence and viability of that market before you develop a single core LV to service that market. The best way to do that is interim development of the launch capability by a triple core version of an existing LV, which is what DIVH attempted and what FH will be attempting. DIVH failed to verify the viability of the market because it was already the single most expensive LV on the market and triple-coring it eliminated, for purely cost reasons, all possible payloads except for the heaviest DoD birds.

(Another great post. You're on a roll.)

Suggest that the polar opposite of building the most expensive cluster out of the most expensive booster/LV to launch the most exotic payloads with the need for the most exotic payload services to get them there ... is to build a cluster out of the least expensive LV that does not initially launch the most exotic payloads, has the cheapest most obvious payload services only, and flies at least once a year.

(The point here is to keep it from inheriting the "cost mantle" of heritage from super expensive. Which is likely when the only payloads that keep the vehicle alive are "spare no expense. Too easy.)

This is why we don't have payload growth in launch services. You have to establish the "cheap volume" first, otherwise nothing but expensive payloads ever use it.

Quote
FH on the other hand, would be a relatively inexpensive heavy LV and may actually be able to verify that viability because entities other than the DoD could actually afford to fly on it.

Yes. But its even worse than that IMHO.

Quote
It remains to be seen whether or not that market will prove to be viable. If it does not then FH will continue to be a low flight rate vehicle.
One has to give the market time to adapt. "Loss leader".

Large payloads take 5-20 years. And they are designed with multiple LV's as fall back. They are all financed and developed quite differently, and we have to change the way that is done in addition to having a "cheap" HLV. Changing a culture takes multiple iterations.

DIVH cost isn't the real reason, only the current "excuse" for why few payloads. Its the mindset that limits.

Quote
If it does, then that will provide the economic justification for the mini BFR that Elon spoke about recently. That LV would likely be the replacement for the FH.

Suggest that regular FH "non exotic payloads" starts the mindset change.

Then, in order to deal with those "dragging the door from closing" who badmouth/schadenfreude "cheap" HLV, the gradual development of NG/ITSy/WTF shuts those insolent mouths as everyone see's the direction that things are going.

There will always be "sky is the limit" priced payloads. The issue is decoupling them from provider HLV/SHLV other payloads.

Well, but let’s not forget that SpaceX also needs FH to fly a whole class of payloads that is well in existence and currently flies on Ariane 5, Proton, Atlas and DIV Medium, not to mention HIIA and Chinese launchers
All of them suffer the same issue.

If you can "change the game", even briefly, you might bifurcate the market.

The key is to not let "sky as the limit" set the limit, because then its only sky.

I suppose not, although the original point was more about a design where the core and boosters are the identical (or virtually identical) design - like Delta IV-H, Angara A5, and FH. It sounds so easy to do, but there seems to be more gotchas than those providers anticipated. (which caused cost increases or other issues) We'll see if FH can buck that trend or not.

It is how you do it that makes all the difference. Perhaps it can't be done?
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: GWH on 07/21/2017 05:42 PM
Wonder what the chances are we can see all 3 cores fit together while they have some available time in the bay?

As I understand it the TEL isn't ready to test fit all 3 cores yet, so it would need to be done on stands.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: AncientU on 07/21/2017 05:42 PM
Non-exotic payloads definition is nicely met by those recent comm sats that required expendable F9 launches.  If successful in inaugural flight(s), FH with three boosters recovered could become a fairly routine spectacle.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: gospacex on 07/21/2017 08:09 PM
Well, but let’s not forget that SpaceX also needs FH to fly a whole class of payloads that is well in existence and currently flies on /...skip.../, Proton

No, for competing with Proton SpaceX does not need FH. Last F9 launch lofted a payload with the mass equal to the maximum Proton payload.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: pstephens on 07/21/2017 11:38 PM
Well, but let’s not forget that SpaceX also needs FH to fly a whole class of payloads that is well in existence and currently flies on /...skip.../, Proton

No, for competing with Proton SpaceX does not need FH. Last F9 launch lofted a payload with the mass equal to the maximum Proton payload.

In expendable mode, yes. But FH would be needed for reuse.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: groundbound on 07/22/2017 01:21 AM
Well, but let’s not forget that SpaceX also needs FH to fly a whole class of payloads that is well in existence and currently flies on /...skip.../, Proton

No, for competing with Proton SpaceX does not need FH. Last F9 launch lofted a payload with the mass equal to the maximum Proton payload.

In expendable mode, yes. But FH would be needed for reuse.

I'm not sure that there is any certainty yet that a fully re-used FH will be cheaper than an expended F9. I would guess that even the most in-the-know people at SpaceX still have some pretty large error bars on the total operations cost of using and re-using FH.

That is especially true if they plan to replace FH as with something else in less than a decade. Suddenly the "we'll streamline operations to make it super cheap eventually" may become, "and we'll get there slightly ahead of the last time we fly it."
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Kenp51d on 07/22/2017 01:30 AM
Could start to make sense ($$$) to expend a booster that has already had a number of flights on it? Then the question is how many flights.

Sent from my XT1565 using Tapatalk

Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: envy887 on 07/22/2017 01:33 AM
If F9 had a metholox expendable second stage, It could launch loftier payloads without FH.

It couldn't do heavy GSO missions, or lunar Dragon at all. FH can do those with at least partial booster reuse.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: JazzFan on 07/22/2017 02:07 AM
Well, but let’s not forget that SpaceX also needs FH to fly a whole class of payloads that is well in existence and currently flies on /...skip.../, Proton

No, for competing with Proton SpaceX does not need FH. Last F9 launch lofted a payload with the mass equal to the maximum Proton payload.

Maybe its me, but do you think that SpaceX is designing capability against a 50+ year old launcher that Russia is trying to replace?  F9 and FH is targeted at meeting current and future launcher needs at the most affordable means, and which can generate the greatest profit.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: pippin on 07/22/2017 07:44 AM
Well, but let’s not forget that SpaceX also needs FH to fly a whole class of payloads that is well in existence and currently flies on /...skip.../, Proton

No, for competing with Proton SpaceX does not need FH. Last F9 launch lofted a payload with the mass equal to the maximum Proton payload.

Maybe its me, but do you think that SpaceX is designing capability against a 50+ year old launcher that Russia is trying to replace?  F9 and FH is targeted at meeting current and future launcher needs at the most affordable means, and which can generate the greatest profit.
I had a whole list of LVs in my post.
Which was kind of the point: large comsats are being designed to have several launch options because nobody in the market wants to be dependent on a single launch provider and that will not change.

But gospacex‘s comment is valid. SpaceX might not like flying in expendable mode but they can and they are competitive that way, too. Whether that means profitable remains to be seen, but at least they can fly them.
I actually thought F9 was still at 6t.
That said, nowadays there are comsats that are even bigger but they are still few and launch options are expensive.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Dante2121 on 07/22/2017 06:26 PM
"What do we think the odds are that, doing it all over again, SpaceX would not attempt a tri-core launch vehicle?"

Very low. Shotwell is poo-pooing the market size too. At one time it probably looked safer to build upon F9 technology than to redesign completely. Probably would have to me too.

Then given SpaceX's penchant to switch direction when an approach no longer makes sense - why haven't they just given up on the heavy?
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: AncientU on 07/22/2017 07:20 PM
"What do we think the odds are that, doing it all over again, SpaceX would not attempt a tri-core launch vehicle?"

Very low. Shotwell is poo-pooing the market size too. At one time it probably looked safer to build upon F9 technology than to redesign completely. Probably would have to me too.

Then given SpaceX's penchant to switch direction when an approach no longer makes sense - why haven't they just given up on the heavy?

They are one Demo launch away from having the world's largest launcher by a factor of two -- and it will be born reusable (for about 90% of the vehicle cost).  Not time for the faint of heart. 

If Demo goes south and Demo2 follows, and ITSy is making good progress, they may rethink this vehicle.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: M.E.T. on 07/22/2017 07:25 PM
"What do we think the odds are that, doing it all over again, SpaceX would not attempt a tri-core launch vehicle?"

Very low. Shotwell is poo-pooing the market size too. At one time it probably looked safer to build upon F9 technology than to redesign completely. Probably would have to me too.

Then given SpaceX's penchant to switch direction when an approach no longer makes sense - why haven't they just given up on the heavy?

They are one Demo launch away from having the world's largest launcher by a factor of two -- and it will be born reusable (for about 90% of the vehicle cost).  Not time for the faint of heart. 

If Demo goes south and Demo2 follows, and ITSy is making good progress, they may rethink this vehicle.

I raised the decreasing justification for the FH a couple of months ago, even before ITSy was announced. In my mind the FH is going to have a very short lifespan. And with Dragon no longer going to Mars, it really seems that in hindsight it was a lot of money wasted on a concept that has been replaced by a better one before the first even saw its maiden flight.

I think the moment ITSy flies, FH is retired. Now the question just is, how long will it take to get to ITSy's first flight?
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Khadgars on 07/22/2017 07:58 PM
"What do we think the odds are that, doing it all over again, SpaceX would not attempt a tri-core launch vehicle?"

Very low. Shotwell is poo-pooing the market size too. At one time it probably looked safer to build upon F9 technology than to redesign completely. Probably would have to me too.

Then given SpaceX's penchant to switch direction when an approach no longer makes sense - why haven't they just given up on the heavy?

They are one Demo launch away from having the world's largest launcher by a factor of two -- and it will be born reusable (for about 90% of the vehicle cost).  Not time for the faint of heart. 

If Demo goes south and Demo2 follows, and ITSy is making good progress, they may rethink this vehicle.

I raised the decreasing justification for the FH a couple of months ago, even before ITSy was announced. In my mind the FH is going to have a very short lifespan. And with Dragon no longer going to Mars, it really seems that in hindsight it was a lot of money wasted on a concept that has been replaced by a better one before the first even saw its maiden flight.

I think the moment ITSy flies, FH is retired. Now the question just is, how long will it take to get to ITSy's first flight?

SpaceX can't afford ITS development on its own.  Until they find another partner willing to spend tens of billions of dollars, I wouldn't hold your breath.

IMO I think FH will be around for a long time.  I could see them utilizing it for a "Deep Space" COTS program with NASA.  That is a lot more attainable and less costly than ITS.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: DJPledger on 07/22/2017 07:58 PM
"What do we think the odds are that, doing it all over again, SpaceX would not attempt a tri-core launch vehicle?"

Very low. Shotwell is poo-pooing the market size too. At one time it probably looked safer to build upon F9 technology than to redesign completely. Probably would have to me too.

Then given SpaceX's penchant to switch direction when an approach no longer makes sense - why haven't they just given up on the heavy?

They are one Demo launch away from having the world's largest launcher by a factor of two -- and it will be born reusable (for about 90% of the vehicle cost).  Not time for the faint of heart. 

If Demo goes south and Demo2 follows, and ITSy is making good progress, they may rethink this vehicle.

I raised the decreasing justification for the FH a couple of months ago, even before ITSy was announced. In my mind the FH is going to have a very short lifespan. And with Dragon no longer going to Mars, it really seems that in hindsight it was a lot of money wasted on a concept that has been replaced by a better one before the first even saw its maiden flight.

I think the moment ITSy flies, FH is retired. Now the question just is, how long will it take to get to ITSy's first flight?
I fully agree with you that FH is likely to have a very short lifespan and be retired as soon as ITSy is ready. If FH maiden launch fails then I think it will be retired immediately with heavier payloads launched on expendable F9 Block 5's until ITSy is ready. FH is a dead end kludge and it will be rapidly become obsolete.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: AncientU on 07/22/2017 08:15 PM
Dead end kluge might be a bit harsh... what if ITSy didn't or doesn't ever exist?
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: M.E.T. on 07/22/2017 08:18 PM
Dead end kluge might be a bit harsh... what if ITSy didn't or doesn't ever exist?

Yes, FH is needed as an insurance policy in case ITSy takes longer than hoped for to develop. But it remains a bridging vehicle, which will have little justification for its existence once the Raptor based vehicle becomes operational.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: DJPledger on 07/22/2017 08:30 PM
Dead end kluge might be a bit harsh... what if ITSy didn't or doesn't ever exist?
SpaceX should have skipped FH altogether and gone straight with ITSy. All the money burned on FH dev. should have been put towards accelerating ITSy dev. and getting ITSy launching ASAP.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: M.E.T. on 07/22/2017 08:32 PM
Dead end kluge might be a bit harsh... what if ITSy didn't or doesn't ever exist?
SpaceX should have skipped FH altogether and gone straight with ITSy. All the money burned on FH dev. should have been put towards accelerating ITSy dev. and getting ITSy launching ASAP.

That is a sunk cost now. Given how close they are to FH's maiden flight, and how uncertain the timeframe for ITSy's development is at this point, the correct decision now is to continue with FH while ITSy development proceeds in the background, as fast as possible.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: AncientU on 07/22/2017 08:46 PM
Dead end kluge might be a bit harsh... what if ITSy didn't or doesn't ever exist?
SpaceX should have skipped FH altogether and gone straight with ITSy. All the money burned on FH dev. should have been put towards accelerating ITSy dev. and getting ITSy launching ASAP.

20-20 hindsight... show us where you said that theee years ago.
may still prove to be a pivotal asset
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: mme on 07/22/2017 09:44 PM
Dead end kluge might be a bit harsh... what if ITSy didn't or doesn't ever exist?
SpaceX should have skipped FH altogether and gone straight with ITSy. All the money burned on FH dev. should have been put towards accelerating ITSy dev. and getting ITSy launching ASAP.
Even with all the unexpected complexity I suspect FH will be significantly less expensive to develop than ITSy.  I doubt a team the size of the FH team could have ITSy ready in the same time frame as FH.

I think people are over playing the sunk cost fallacy with regard to FH. At least right up until they cancelled Red Dragon.  But we can't go back in time and pretend that SpaceX should have known that Red Dragon would be cancelled.  Red Dragon was part of their iterative process to getting to Mars.

I don't think SpaceX is launching FH do to the sunk cost fallacy.  I think they are launching it because they think it will be make/save them more money to have FH until ITSy is ready.  FH can still be useful for large payloads, and the constellation. Especially if they can develop 2nd stage reuse. And 2nd stage reuse my include valuable lessons for ITSy's spacecraft.

I do agree that FH's operational life is probably limited until ITSy is flying.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Space Ghost 1962 on 07/22/2017 10:02 PM
How about a long duration mission in the form of an aerobrake Neptune orbiter, funding by a billionaire, as a "monument" that would endure possibly for millions of years?

Sometime where he can have the last word, and never have to worry about it ever being "shut up"  :o

(This did amuse in certain quarters ...)
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Lars-J on 07/22/2017 10:04 PM
Dead end kluge might be a bit harsh... what if ITSy didn't or doesn't ever exist?
SpaceX should have skipped FH altogether and gone straight with ITSy. All the money burned on FH dev. should have been put towards accelerating ITSy dev. and getting ITSy launching ASAP.

The vast majority of funds "burned" to get to this point included F9 developments. ITS and "ITSy" are far more risky, speculative, and expensive whereas FH has real customers waiting for it to launch.

Don't fell into this trap just because Elon is lowballing expectations. FH is very close now, and will launch soon. All the hardware is at the launch site. And they will launch it when they are confident of success.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: AncientU on 07/22/2017 10:26 PM
...               

SpaceX can't afford ITS development on its own.  Until they find another partner willing to spend tens of billions of dollars, I wouldn't hold your breath.

...

Not everyone requires tens of billions of dollars to build a launch vehicle.  Recall the study that showed it would have taken $4B to build F9 using NASA's approach, but it actually took $390k (1/10th the estimate)?  Tens of billions becomes a few billion... and the builders have so much relevant experience and applicable technology now.  $1-2B seems reasonable; tens of billions sounds like wishful thinking (a.k.a., denial).
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Jim on 07/22/2017 10:40 PM
...               

SpaceX can't afford ITS development on its own.  Until they find another partner willing to spend tens of billions of dollars, I wouldn't hold your breath.

...

Not everyone requires tens of billions of dollars to build a launch vehicle.  Recall the study that showed it would have taken $4B to build F9 using NASA's approach, but it actually took $390k (1/10th the estimate)?  Tens of billions becomes a few billion... and the builders have so much relevant experience and applicable technology now.  $1-2B seems reasonable; tens of billions sounds like wishful thinking (a.k.a., denial).

The last sentence is wishful thinking and willful suspension of disbelieve.  F9 development costs are much more because development hasn't finished.  Also, "$1-2B seems reasonable" is seriously delusional.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Ictogan on 07/22/2017 10:44 PM
...               

SpaceX can't afford ITS development on its own.  Until they find another partner willing to spend tens of billions of dollars, I wouldn't hold your breath.

...

Not everyone requires tens of billions of dollars to build a launch vehicle.  Recall the study that showed it would have taken $4B to build F9 using NASA's approach, but it actually took $390k (1/10th the estimate)?  Tens of billions becomes a few billion... and the builders have so much relevant experience and applicable technology now.  $1-2B seems reasonable; tens of billions sounds like wishful thinking (a.k.a., denial).
Remember that ITS is a much more complex system than F9. It's not even just a launch vehicle. Musk estimated that developing reusability for Falcon 9 cost them about $1b. SX has gotten over $3b in total from the commercial crew program. ITS needs a crew vehicle an order of magnitude larger than Dragon 2 and a reusable launch vehicle an order of magnitude larger than F9.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: AncientU on 07/22/2017 11:16 PM
...               

SpaceX can't afford ITS development on its own.  Until they find another partner willing to spend tens of billions of dollars, I wouldn't hold your breath.

...

Not everyone requires tens of billions of dollars to build a launch vehicle.  Recall the study that showed it would have taken $4B to build F9 using NASA's approach, but it actually took $390k (1/10th the estimate)?  Tens of billions becomes a few billion... and the builders have so much relevant experience and applicable technology now.  $1-2B seems reasonable; tens of billions sounds like wishful thinking (a.k.a., denial).
Remember that ITS is a much more complex system than F9. It's not even just a launch vehicle. Musk estimated that developing reusability for Falcon 9 cost them about $1b. SX has gotten over $3b in total from the commercial crew program. ITS needs a crew vehicle an order of magnitude larger than Dragon 2 and a reusable launch vehicle an order of magnitude larger than F9.

There is virtually nothing in the Falcon reusability scheme that cannot be scaled directly to ITSy booster.  (Assuming, of course, that it uses Li-Al and scaled landing legs instead of carbon composites and a launch mount landing.)   Cannot just naively add an order of magnitude.  The spacecraft is another story.  It will be the majority of the cost, since it uses radically different technology than second stage plus Dragon 2.  Because the ITSy spaceship is the cost driver, I suspect SpaceX will first build a conventional second stage and fairing (again, fully within the existing technology base).  Though this will be a far cry from the ITSy vehicle, it will be quite similar (though larger, and reusable, and an order of magnitude cheaper) than another developing vehicle of that class.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: envy887 on 07/23/2017 12:59 AM
...               

SpaceX can't afford ITS development on its own.  Until they find another partner willing to spend tens of billions of dollars, I wouldn't hold your breath.

...

Not everyone requires tens of billions of dollars to build a launch vehicle.  Recall the study that showed it would have taken $4B to build F9 using NASA's approach, but it actually took $390k (1/10th the estimate)?  Tens of billions becomes a few billion... and the builders have so much relevant experience and applicable technology now.  $1-2B seems reasonable; tens of billions sounds like wishful thinking (a.k.a., denial).

The last sentence is wishful thinking and willful suspension of disbelieve.  F9 development costs are much more because development hasn't finished.  Also, "$1-2B seems reasonable" is seriously delusional.

F9 development is also 15 years on now, if you count F1 - which the $390M figure does. Or 11 years, if you go with the ~$300M spent only on getting F9 flying. The vast majority of the money spend on developing F9 was spent after getting it flying and while it was earning revenue and booking orders.

SpaceX will likely try to get a minimalist ITS flying as quickly as possible, to earn revenue with it, and iterate towards a more capable vehicle. That is their MO. They might eventually dump $15 billion into it, but that of itself doesn't mean it couldn't fly (in minimalist form) for less than $3 billion.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: watermod on 07/23/2017 01:11 AM
Would it be reasonable to build the mini-its first stage, a second stage that has the cargo/tanker function include a Dragon 2 inside the cargo stage for astronauts if needed?
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: envy887 on 07/23/2017 01:19 AM
Would it be reasonable to build the mini-its first stage, a second stage that has the cargo/tanker function include a Dragon 2 inside the cargo stage for astronauts if needed?

That basically precludes abort. It's a major hurdle for crew Dream Chaser.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: david1971 on 07/23/2017 01:25 AM
Dead end kluge might be a bit harsh... what if ITSy didn't or doesn't ever exist?

Yes, FH is needed as an insurance policy in case ITSy takes longer than hoped for to develop. But it remains a bridging vehicle, which will have little justification for its existence once the Raptor based vehicle becomes operational.

Given the money we've spent and will continue to spend as taxpayers on SLS on what is now a hedge against "what if all the commercial heavy lift programs fail," the amount of resources that have been spent and will be spent on FH as "insurance" seem laughable.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Robotbeat on 07/23/2017 02:46 AM
"What do we think the odds are that, doing it all over again, SpaceX would not attempt a tri-core launch vehicle?"

Very low. Shotwell is poo-pooing the market size too. At one time it probably looked safer to build upon F9 technology than to redesign completely. Probably would have to me too.

Then given SpaceX's penchant to switch direction when an approach no longer makes sense - why haven't they just given up on the heavy?

They are one Demo launch away from having the world's largest launcher by a factor of two -- and it will be born reusable (for about 90% of the vehicle cost).  Not time for the faint of heart. 

If Demo goes south and Demo2 follows, and ITSy is making good progress, they may rethink this vehicle.


I raised the decreasing justification for the FH a couple of months ago, even before ITSy was announced. In my mind the FH is going to have a very short lifespan. And with Dragon no longer going to Mars, it really seems that in hindsight it was a lot of money wasted on a concept that has been replaced by a better one before the first even saw its maiden flight.

I think the moment ITSy flies, FH is retired. Now the question just is, how long will it take to get to ITSy's first flight?
Think about it this way: as soon as FH flies successfully, they'll be able to sell to that market segment. They can pack their manifest for several years' full. If they get ITSy flying in 2020, that's 3 years of flights.

Also, they need FH for crewed trips around the Moon or they'll have to wait for ITSy, after the Apollo 8 and 11 anniversaries.

And it could take even longer before ITSy flies: 2022? 2023?

The market will pass them by if they let it.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: su27k on 07/23/2017 03:58 AM
...               

SpaceX can't afford ITS development on its own.  Until they find another partner willing to spend tens of billions of dollars, I wouldn't hold your breath.

...

Not everyone requires tens of billions of dollars to build a launch vehicle.  Recall the study that showed it would have taken $4B to build F9 using NASA's approach, but it actually took $390k (1/10th the estimate)?  Tens of billions becomes a few billion... and the builders have so much relevant experience and applicable technology now.  $1-2B seems reasonable; tens of billions sounds like wishful thinking (a.k.a., denial).

The last sentence is wishful thinking and willful suspension of disbelieve.  F9 development costs are much more because development hasn't finished.  Also, "$1-2B seems reasonable" is seriously delusional.

F9 development is also 15 years on now, if you count F1 - which the $390M figure does. Or 11 years, if you go with the ~$300M spent only on getting F9 flying. The vast majority of the money spend on developing F9 was spent after getting it flying and while it was earning revenue and booking orders.

SpaceX will likely try to get a minimalist ITS flying as quickly as possible, to earn revenue with it, and iterate towards a more capable vehicle. That is their MO. They might eventually dump $15 billion into it, but that of itself doesn't mean it couldn't fly (in minimalist form) for less than $3 billion.

Exactly, it would be a prototype at the start (think F9 v1.0 first flight), probably no refueling capability, nothing related to crew, and may not even have payload bay. It would be just enough to prove the point, which is a reusable super heavy is possible, and SpaceX is fully capable of building it.

So far the majority of aerospace industry and congress is treating ITS like a joke, first order of business is to prove them wrong (again, for the 3rd or 4th time). Then SpaceX can leverage the existing hardware to get additional investment from public and/or private sources to finish the rest.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Space Ghost 1962 on 07/23/2017 04:08 AM
... first order of business is to prove them wrong ...

You can't prove anything to a fool.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: llanitedave on 07/23/2017 08:25 AM
... first order of business is to prove them wrong ...

You can't prove anything to a fool.

Or 535 fools.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Mader Levap on 07/23/2017 11:02 AM
Not everyone requires tens of billions of dollars to build a launch vehicle.  Recall the study that showed it would have taken $4B to build F9 using NASA's approach, but it actually took $390m (1/10th the estimate)?  Tens of billions becomes a few billion... and the builders have so much relevant experience and applicable technology now.

I could argue in same vein that creating ITS equivalent would take 50B$ for NASA, so it would be 5B$ for SpaceX. I won't, because it is silly argument.

$1-2B seems reasonable; tens of billions sounds like wishful thinking (a.k.a., denial).

You are projecting.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: gospacex on 07/23/2017 06:54 PM
Well, but let’s not forget that SpaceX also needs FH to fly a whole class of payloads that is well in existence and currently flies on /...skip.../, Proton

No, for competing with Proton SpaceX does not need FH. Last F9 launch lofted a payload with the mass equal to the maximum Proton payload.

Maybe its me, but do you think that SpaceX is designing capability against a 50+ year old launcher that Russia is trying to replace?

You are reading too much into my post. I just corrected a notion that SpaceX needs FH to compete with Proton. I'm not implying anything except what I said there.
(As a side note, "trying to replace" thing for Proton is not going well - the replacement costs *more*).
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Scylla on 07/28/2017 02:48 AM
Quote
elonmuskFalcon Heavy maiden launch this November
https://www.instagram.com/p/BXEkGKlgJDK/
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: The_Ronin on 07/28/2017 03:23 AM
Quote
elonmuskFalcon Heavy maiden launch this November
https://www.instagram.com/p/BXEkGKlgJDK/

Need some dates to book some AirBnB space!  Come on, Elon!!!! Work with me!
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Req on 07/28/2017 03:40 AM
Elon Musk‏
@elonmusk
Side booster rockets return to Cape Canaveral. Center lands on droneship.

https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/890774088104370176

I think most of us guessed that, but here it is confirmed.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: NuclearFan on 07/28/2017 03:56 AM
I know that the center core will throttle down its engines to increase payload, but on future versions could they shut off a significant number of the engines (like 4) and throttle the rest, then restart them shortly before booster separation to gain more payload or save more fuel to reduce heating during reentry?  I know this would require modifying those additional engines to be restartable.  Even in the event the engines fail to restart, the core should still be able to limp into orbit by burning landing fuel to counter gravity losses from lower thrust with only five engines.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: wannamoonbase on 07/28/2017 04:15 AM
BRING IT!!

I can't wait, this will be the most exciting space event since the final Shuttle launch.

I'm looking forward to the whole transition and testing of the FH leading up to the launch.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: yokem55 on 07/28/2017 04:38 AM
I know that the center core will throttle down its engines to increase payload, but on future versions could they shut off a significant number of the engines (like 4) and throttle the rest, then restart them shortly before booster separation to gain more payload or save more fuel to reduce heating during reentry?  I know this would require modifying those additional engines to be restartable.  Even in the event the engines fail to restart, the core should still be able to limp into orbit by burning landing fuel to counter gravity losses from lower thrust with only five engines.
It's been discussed before and it's generally considered too risky for what it's worth. It would greatly complicate engine out scenarios and would make the booster sep process more complicated.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: su27k on 07/29/2017 12:56 PM
I don't remember where I saw this, but someone mentioned a idea that if SpaceX did implement cross-feed on FH, then they may not need to strengthen the center core so much. Basically if they have cross-feed, then the side boosters do not need to lift the center core (like Delta IV heavy), instead they would just be providing propellant to the center core engines. All three cores will be flying in formation without significant force between them, and the side boosters would be like giant flying fuel tanks. Would this work?
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Proponent on 07/29/2017 01:01 PM
I suppose that with cross-feed, you could in principle throttle down the boosters so that they accelerated themselves and exerted little or no axial force on the core.  But then the boosters become essentially just weightless propellant tanks, and I'm sure that would quite substantially reduce LEO payload capability.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: octavo on 07/29/2017 01:08 PM
I suppose that with cross-feed, you could in principle throttle down the boosters so that they accelerated themselves and exerted little or no axial force on the core.  But then the boosters become essentially just weightless propellant tanks, and I'm sure that would quite substantially reduce LEO payload capability.
It would probably make rtls of the side boosters challenging, given how much later they would stage.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Herb Schaltegger on 07/29/2017 01:15 PM
I don't remember where I saw this, but someone mentioned a idea that if SpaceX did implement cross-feed on FH, then they may not need to strengthen the center core so much. Basically if they have cross-feed, then the side boosters do not need to lift the center core (like Delta IV heavy), instead they would just be providing propellant to the center core engines. All three cores will be flying in formation without significant force between them, and the side boosters would be like giant flying fuel tanks. Would this work?

Not really. The boosters would show a net rate of fuel consumption of 50% greater than the core and therefore they would tend to accelerate faster than the core. Thus the boosters would still in effect be lifting the core, unless you throttled the boosters down to compensate. Throttling down that deeply on ascent means staging much further downrange and makes recovery much more difficult.

Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: MP99 on 07/29/2017 01:26 PM
I know that the center core will throttle down its engines to increase payload, but on future versions could they shut off a significant number of the engines (like 4) and throttle the rest, then restart them shortly before booster separation to gain more payload or save more fuel to reduce heating during reentry?  I know this would require modifying those additional engines to be restartable.  Even in the event the engines fail to restart, the core should still be able to limp into orbit by burning landing fuel to counter gravity losses from lower thrust with only five engines.
It's been discussed before and it's generally considered too risky for what it's worth. It would greatly complicate engine out scenarios and would make the booster sep process more complicated.
If one or more engines fails to restart, the centre core would have a performance shortfall which would risk the mission.

However, by abandoning recovery of the centre core, the recovery prop can make up the shortfall.

It might be something worth them doing (if there's a possible payload that would warrant it) once FH operations become routine, if the extra cost risk to SpaceX is priced into the contract.

Cheers, Martin

Sent from my Nexus 6 using Tapatalk

Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: JAFO on 07/29/2017 08:11 PM
I saw this image on Space X's website  http://www.spacex.com/falcon-heavy


(http://www.spacex.com/sites/spacex/files/fhgraphic_updated_20170404.jpg)

Question: it shows FH as being able to put 63,800 kg to LEO, that boggles my mind compared to the ones next to it, (STS, Delta IV, Proton, etc). Is this just Elon being Elon, a future variant, or are they for real?

TIA
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Herb Schaltegger on 07/29/2017 09:37 PM
I saw this image on Space X's website  http://www.spacex.com/falcon-heavy


(http://www.spacex.com/sites/spacex/files/fhgraphic_updated_20170404.jpg)

Question: it shows FH as being able to put 63,800 kg to LEO, that boggles my mind compared to the ones next to it, (STS, Delta IV, Proton, etc). Is this just Elon being Elon, a future variant, or are they for real?

TIA


It's a little disingenuous to compare to STS - the orbiter itself was part of the payload mass (e.g., deploying a satellite was not the only thing a typical 5 - 14 days mission was sent to accomplish). That adds another 200,000lb to the "payload" more or less (just spitballing - don't wanna go look up mission masses in the Green Book).
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: AncientU on 07/29/2017 09:41 PM
I saw this image on Space X's website  http://www.spacex.com/falcon-heavy


(http://www.spacex.com/sites/spacex/files/fhgraphic_updated_20170404.jpg)

Question: it shows FH as being able to put 63,800 kg to LEO, that boggles my mind compared to the ones next to it, (STS, Delta IV, Proton, etc). Is this just Elon being Elon, a future variant, or are they for real?

TIA

That comparison has existed for five years or more.  Only the FH numbers have been (repeatedly) updated; the other vehicles are as they were 5-6 years ago AFAIK. 

FH will now be born with reusable boosters which accounts for about 90% of the vehicle cost -- the payload will be somewhere around 40,000kg (40 metric tonnes) in the reusable mode.  The 63t number is expendable which is fair for comparison purposes, since all the others are expendable (only) except Shuttle.  (SpaceX has also repeatedly sandbagged the numbers on this page -- Elon being Elon.)

A heavier variant of Delta IV Heavy is now available lifting around 28t.  The Shuttle, Titan, and Ariane ES are retired or never built (ES version), Delta Heavy/Atlas V and Ariane 5 are being replaced by lower cost versions Vulcan/Vulcan ACES and Ariane 6 respectively in the early 2020s, Proton M possibly by Angara, and Japan and China have follow-on vehicles, too.

Basically, though, the comparison is for real.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Owlon on 07/29/2017 09:42 PM
I saw this image on Space X's website  http://www.spacex.com/falcon-heavy


(http://www.spacex.com/sites/spacex/files/fhgraphic_updated_20170404.jpg)

Question: it shows FH as being able to put 63,800 kg to LEO, that boggles my mind compared to the ones next to it, (STS, Delta IV, Proton, etc). Is this just Elon being Elon, a future variant, or are they for real?

TIA

Maybe not quite on the test launch, as that is cobbled together from a couple of older recovered cores. Any operational launches will probably be flying on Block 5 cores from the start, which should have the stated performance when flying with no recovery hardware.

I'm fairly sure the Falcon 9 as currently flying has the highest payload fraction (payload mass/liftoff mass) of any rocket in history, and that Falcon Heavy will do slightly better.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: hkultala on 07/29/2017 09:53 PM
I saw this image on Space X's website  http://www.spacex.com/falcon-heavy


(http://www.spacex.com/sites/spacex/files/fhgraphic_updated_20170404.jpg)

Question: it shows FH as being able to put 63,800 kg to LEO, that boggles my mind compared to the ones next to it, (STS, Delta IV, Proton, etc). Is this just Elon being Elon, a future variant, or are they for real?

TIA

That comparison has existed for five years or more.  Only the FH numbers have been (repeatedly) updated; the other vehicles are as they were 5-6 years ago AFAIK. 

FH will now be born with reusable boosters which accounts for about 90% of the vehicle cost -- the payload will be somewhere around 40,000kg (40 metric tonnes) in the reusable mode.  The 63t number is expendable which is fair for comparison purposes, since all the others are expendable (only) except Shuttle.  (SpaceX has also repeatedly sandbagged the numbers on this page -- Elon being Elon.)

A heavier variant of Delta IV Heavy is now available lifting around 28t.  The Shuttle, Titan, and Ariane ES are retired or never built (ES version), Delta Heavy/Atlas V and Ariane 5 are being replaced by lower cost versions Vulcan/Vulcan ACES and Ariane 6 respectively in the early 2020s, Proton M possibly by Angara, and Japan and China have follow-on vehicles, too.

Basically, though, the comparison is for real.

Yep.

And this comparison is only for LEO.

For higher orbits, the difference between DIVH and FH would be much smaller, as FH is a LEO-optimized launcher, but DIVH is BLEO-optimized launcher whose LEO-capasity is badly limited by the thrust of the single RL-10 of the upper stage.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Ike17055 on 07/29/2017 11:10 PM
It is still hard to beat the "wow" factor of a Delta IV Heavy launch. I imagine Falcon Heavy as envisioned will be as impressive or more. That Orion/Delta Heavy launch was worth the wait. Still love watching the footage.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: JAFO on 07/29/2017 11:18 PM
I saw this image on Space X's website  http://www.spacex.com/falcon-heavy (http://www.spacex.com/falcon-heavy)


(http://www.spacex.com/sites/spacex/files/fhgraphic_updated_20170404.jpg)

Question: it shows FH as being able to put 63,800 kg to LEO, that boggles my mind compared to the ones next to it, (STS, Delta IV, Proton, etc). Is this just Elon being Elon, a future variant, or are they for real?

TIA

That comparison has existed for five years or more.  Only the FH numbers have been (repeatedly) updated; the other vehicles are as they were 5-6 years ago AFAIK. 

FH will now be born with reusable boosters which accounts for about 90% of the vehicle cost -- the payload will be somewhere around 40,000kg (40 metric tonnes) in the reusable mode.  The 63t number is expendable which is fair for comparison purposes, since all the others are expendable (only) except Shuttle.  (SpaceX has also repeatedly sandbagged the numbers on this page -- Elon being Elon.)

A heavier variant of Delta IV Heavy is now available lifting around 28t.  The Shuttle, Titan, and Ariane ES are retired or never built (ES version), Delta Heavy/Atlas V and Ariane 5 are being replaced by lower cost versions Vulcan/Vulcan ACES and Ariane 6 respectively in the early 2020s, Proton M possibly by Angara, and Japan and China have follow-on vehicles, too.

Basically, though, the comparison is for real.

Yep.

And this comparison is only for LEO.

For higher orbits, the difference between DIVH and FH would be much smaller, as FH is a LEO-optimized launcher, but DIVH is BLEO-optimized launcher whose LEO-capasity is badly limited by the thrust of the single RL-10 of the upper stage.

That's a very important point I had not considered. (Rockets aren't Legos  ;)   )

Still, an impressive payload capability. I better start planning my sick call to work so I can go.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Ragmar on 08/14/2017 03:41 PM
Any news/updates on FAA license approval for Falcon Heavy? Either vehicle license approval or an approval for a launch date? Just wondering if that is complete or still underway, as it could impact the feasibility of November debut date.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: gongora on 08/14/2017 03:46 PM
Any news/updates on FAA license approval for Falcon Heavy? Either vehicle license approval or an approval for a launch date? Just wondering if that is complete or still underway, as it could impact the feasibility of November debut date.

We usually don't see FAA licenses until very close to launch date (they don't have a license posted yet for the  Aug. 24 launch of Formosat 5).
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: gongora on 08/14/2017 03:52 PM
Any news/updates on FAA license approval for Falcon Heavy? Either vehicle license approval or an approval for a launch date? Just wondering if that is complete or still underway, as it could impact the feasibility of November debut date.

We usually don't see FAA licenses until very close to launch date (they don't have a license posted yet for the  Aug. 24 launch of Formosat 5).

The license application we should see ahead of time is from the FCC for launch vehicle communications.  If there was any kind of active payload it would probably need an application sooner, but if they're just keeping a mass simulator attached to the second stage it shouldn't need any payload permit from FCC.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: spacenut on 09/01/2017 05:47 PM
Can FH actually lift over 50 tons to LEO?  I've heard the second stage isn't strong enough to support 50 tons.  If, not, are the upgrades to the second stage going to improve strength and lift capability?
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Lars-J on 09/01/2017 06:16 PM
Can FH actually lift over 50 tons to LEO?  I've heard the second stage isn't strong enough to support 50 tons.  If, not, are the upgrades to the second stage going to improve strength and lift capability?

Where have you heard this? There is lots of misinformation out there.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: abaddon on 09/01/2017 06:21 PM
Not sure it matters until a payload materializes that needs even a quarter of that...

FH maximum lift capacity is pretty likely to remain notional permanently (as much as I'd like to see different), IMO.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: envy887 on 09/01/2017 07:13 PM
Can FH actually lift over 50 tons to LEO?  I've heard the second stage isn't strong enough to support 50 tons.  If, not, are the upgrades to the second stage going to improve strength and lift capability?

The current payload attachment fitting is only rated for a little over 10 tonnes. A larger payload will need a special PAF. It's not a big deal, and not currently a priority since FH will mostly be enabling reuse for 5-10 tonne payloads, or sending them to very high energy trajectories.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: GWH on 09/01/2017 07:52 PM
Any news/updates on FAA license approval for Falcon Heavy? Either vehicle license approval or an approval for a launch date? Just wondering if that is complete or still underway, as it could impact the feasibility of November debut date.

https://apps.fcc.gov/oetcf/els/reports/STA_Print.cfm?mode=current&application_seq=80036

Posted on the SpaceX subreddit:
https://www.reddit.com/r/spacex/comments/6xgbfc/falcon_heavy_demo_flight_fcc_sta_application/

EDIT: Oops FCC attached not FAA  ???
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Basto on 09/01/2017 07:57 PM
Any news/updates on FAA license approval for Falcon Heavy? Either vehicle license approval or an approval for a launch date? Just wondering if that is complete or still underway, as it could impact the feasibility of November debut date.

https://apps.fcc.gov/oetcf/els/reports/STA_Print.cfm?mode=current&application_seq=80036

Posted on the SpaceX subreddit:
https://www.reddit.com/r/spacex/comments/6xgbfc/falcon_heavy_demo_flight_fcc_sta_application/

That is the FCC permit. Cool to see though.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: woods170 on 09/05/2017 06:09 AM
First launch of FH now unlikely to be in November 2017, due to this: http://spacenews.com/spacex-to-launch-shared-echostar-ses-satellite-in-october/

Pad 39A won't be taken down for FH conversion until somewhere in October 2017 and that basically rules-out November 2017 for FH. It is all beginning to line-up nicely with what I keep hearing from SpaceX sources: that first FH launch is much more likely to be in early Q1 of 2018.

Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Semmel on 09/05/2017 07:40 AM
First launch of FH now unlikely to be in November 2017, due to this: http://spacenews.com/spacex-to-launch-shared-echostar-ses-satellite-in-october/

Pad 39A won't be taken down for FH conversion until somewhere in October 2017 and that basically rules-out November 2017 for FH. It is all beginning to line-up nicely with what I keep hearing from SpaceX sources: that first FH launch is much more likely to be in early Q1 of 2018.

We all learned to not take time estimates by SpaceX seriously. Thanks for your insight! Also, do you have any indication what takes the longest on LC40?
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Star One on 09/05/2017 07:40 AM
First launch of FH now unlikely to be in November 2017, due to this: http://spacenews.com/spacex-to-launch-shared-echostar-ses-satellite-in-october/

Pad 39A won't be taken down for FH conversion until somewhere in October 2017 and that basically rules-out November 2017 for FH. It is all beginning to line-up nicely with what I keep hearing from SpaceX sources: that first FH launch is much more likely to be in early Q1 of 2018.

Then it will be Q2 2018, then Q3 & so on. Maybe overly sarcastic but when people like complaining about SLS delays then that kind of attitude cuts both ways with other launchers.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: woods170 on 09/05/2017 09:09 AM
First launch of FH now unlikely to be in November 2017, due to this: http://spacenews.com/spacex-to-launch-shared-echostar-ses-satellite-in-october/

Pad 39A won't be taken down for FH conversion until somewhere in October 2017 and that basically rules-out November 2017 for FH. It is all beginning to line-up nicely with what I keep hearing from SpaceX sources: that first FH launch is much more likely to be in early Q1 of 2018.

We all learned to not take time estimates by SpaceX seriously. Thanks for your insight! Also, do you have any indication what takes the longest on LC40?
From what I hear it is the TEL and all it's associated details. Much like was the case with LC-39A. Also hearing about troubleshooting on replacement cryo systems but it's not quite clear if that was recent. One thing I was told was very clear though: having a relatively trouble-free activation of LC-40 has priority over getting LC-39A ready for FH. And that is not surprising at all.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Star One on 09/05/2017 09:50 AM
First launch of FH now unlikely to be in November 2017, due to this: http://spacenews.com/spacex-to-launch-shared-echostar-ses-satellite-in-october/

Pad 39A won't be taken down for FH conversion until somewhere in October 2017 and that basically rules-out November 2017 for FH. It is all beginning to line-up nicely with what I keep hearing from SpaceX sources: that first FH launch is much more likely to be in early Q1 of 2018.

We all learned to not take time estimates by SpaceX seriously. Thanks for your insight! Also, do you have any indication what takes the longest on LC40?
From what I hear it is the TEL and all it's associated details. Much like was the case with LC-39A. Also hearing about troubleshooting on replacement cryo systems but it's not quite clear if that was recent. One thing I was told was very clear though: having a relatively trouble-free activation of LC-40 has priority over getting LC-39A ready for FH. And that is not surprising at all.

Therefore why are you giving an estimate of early Q1 2018 above, when in fact there is no guarantee it will even make that?
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: john smith 19 on 09/05/2017 10:31 AM
First launch of FH now unlikely to be in November 2017, due to this: http://spacenews.com/spacex-to-launch-shared-echostar-ses-satellite-in-october/

Pad 39A won't be taken down for FH conversion until somewhere in October 2017 and that basically rules-out November 2017 for FH. It is all beginning to line-up nicely with what I keep hearing from SpaceX sources: that first FH launch is much more likely to be in early Q1 of 2018.

Then it will be Q2 2018, then Q3 & so on. Maybe overly sarcastic but when people like complaining about SLS delays then that kind of attitude cuts both ways with other launchers.
That would make it 5 years since the first date SX announced it would be launched.

However I think people are much more forgiving of SX's delays because they, as a company, did not exist the last time the US built an LV this size, or did it in this way, whereas Boeing and NASA both retained extensive archives of the Saturn V days.

They are also trying to make most of it recoverable and reusable on a regular basis, whereas all NASA will end up with is a big, fully expendable rocket. I think SLS lost a lot of credibility when (having spent years and had a lot of money given to them already) both candidates announced they were going to use RS25's for the 2nd stage, then announced that high altitude ignition was impossible to do.

It beggars belief 2 experienced companies would base their plans on operating a key piece of equipment so far outside its known operating envelope and not check it until so far into the design process.  :(

Likewise when Shuttle was designed it was Von Braun's  instinct that SRB's were a bad move for crewed spaceflight but there were analyses that suggested they were all manageable, despite the fact that all attempts to find a way to shut them down in flight without destroying the stack had failed.

Challenger demonstrated segmented SRBs were a bad idea (and in fact US SRBs share nothing with the propellant mix used in the ICBM fleet, so "preservation of capability" is nonsense, as discussed in earlier threads. Apparently the SRB mix "slumps" too much during long term vertical storage IE in a submarine launch tube).

These may explain why people are more forgiving of SX. It will be interesting to see wheather the FH does fly before the SLS and how much below the SLS IOC it is with each of the Merlin upgrades. My guess is not much, and all of its engines will be capable of shut down at any point in flight.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: woods170 on 09/05/2017 10:59 AM
First launch of FH now unlikely to be in November 2017, due to this: http://spacenews.com/spacex-to-launch-shared-echostar-ses-satellite-in-october/

Pad 39A won't be taken down for FH conversion until somewhere in October 2017 and that basically rules-out November 2017 for FH. It is all beginning to line-up nicely with what I keep hearing from SpaceX sources: that first FH launch is much more likely to be in early Q1 of 2018.

We all learned to not take time estimates by SpaceX seriously. Thanks for your insight! Also, do you have any indication what takes the longest on LC40?
From what I hear it is the TEL and all it's associated details. Much like was the case with LC-39A. Also hearing about troubleshooting on replacement cryo systems but it's not quite clear if that was recent. One thing I was told was very clear though: having a relatively trouble-free activation of LC-40 has priority over getting LC-39A ready for FH. And that is not surprising at all.

Therefore why are you giving an estimate of early Q1 2018 above, when in fact there is no guarantee it will even make that?
Emphasis mine.

I'm not giving an estimate. I'm just communicating what I'm being told by SpaceX sources. It's them making the estimates. But my sources tend to not look thru "Elon-colored" glasses, hence their estimates being less "spectacular" then the ones coming from Elon (and Gwynne to a lesser extent).
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Star One on 09/05/2017 11:03 AM
First launch of FH now unlikely to be in November 2017, due to this: http://spacenews.com/spacex-to-launch-shared-echostar-ses-satellite-in-october/

Pad 39A won't be taken down for FH conversion until somewhere in October 2017 and that basically rules-out November 2017 for FH. It is all beginning to line-up nicely with what I keep hearing from SpaceX sources: that first FH launch is much more likely to be in early Q1 of 2018.

Then it will be Q2 2018, then Q3 & so on. Maybe overly sarcastic but when people like complaining about SLS delays then that kind of attitude cuts both ways with other launchers.
That would make it 5 years since the first date SX announced it would be launched.

However I think people are much more forgiving of SX's delays because they, as a company, did not exist the last time the US built an LV this size, or did it in this way, whereas Boeing and NASA both retained extensive archives of the Saturn V days.

They are also trying to make most of it recoverable and reusable on a regular basis, whereas all NASA will end up with is a big, fully expendable rocket. I think SLS lost a lot of credibility when (having spent years and had a lot of money given to them already) both candidates announced they were going to use RS25's for the 2nd stage, then announced that high altitude ignition was impossible to do.

It beggars belief 2 experienced companies would base their plans on operating a key piece of equipment so far outside its known operating envelope and not check it until so far into the design process.  :(

Likewise when Shuttle was designed it was Von Braun's  instinct that SRB's were a bad move for crewed spaceflight but there were analyses that suggested they were all manageable, despite the fact that all attempts to find a way to shut them down in flight without destroying the stack had failed.

Challenger demonstrated segmented SRBs were a bad idea (and in fact US SRBs share nothing with the propellant mix used in the ICBM fleet, so "preservation of capability" is nonsense, as discussed in earlier threads. Apparently the SRB mix "slumps" too much during long term vertical storage IE in a submarine launch tube).

These may explain why people are more forgiving of SX. It will be interesting to see wheather the FH does fly before the SLS and how much below the SLS IOC it is with each of the Merlin upgrades. My guess is not much, and all of its engines will be capable of shut down at any point in flight.

Personally I think they are as bad as each other. But sometimes it seems when looking at commentary about the delays, and I am not talking particularly about this forum here, that some cut SX more slack because they are a private company and SLS are seen as a government initiative. Just speaking for myself I don't see that as a fair or accurate metric of comparison.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: JamesH65 on 09/05/2017 12:13 PM
First launch of FH now unlikely to be in November 2017, due to this: http://spacenews.com/spacex-to-launch-shared-echostar-ses-satellite-in-october/

Pad 39A won't be taken down for FH conversion until somewhere in October 2017 and that basically rules-out November 2017 for FH. It is all beginning to line-up nicely with what I keep hearing from SpaceX sources: that first FH launch is much more likely to be in early Q1 of 2018.

Then it will be Q2 2018, then Q3 & so on. Maybe overly sarcastic but when people like complaining about SLS delays then that kind of attitude cuts both ways with other launchers.
That would make it 5 years since the first date SX announced it would be launched.

However I think people are much more forgiving of SX's delays because they, as a company, did not exist the last time the US built an LV this size, or did it in this way, whereas Boeing and NASA both retained extensive archives of the Saturn V days.

They are also trying to make most of it recoverable and reusable on a regular basis, whereas all NASA will end up with is a big, fully expendable rocket. I think SLS lost a lot of credibility when (having spent years and had a lot of money given to them already) both candidates announced they were going to use RS25's for the 2nd stage, then announced that high altitude ignition was impossible to do.

It beggars belief 2 experienced companies would base their plans on operating a key piece of equipment so far outside its known operating envelope and not check it until so far into the design process.  :(

Likewise when Shuttle was designed it was Von Braun's  instinct that SRB's were a bad move for crewed spaceflight but there were analyses that suggested they were all manageable, despite the fact that all attempts to find a way to shut them down in flight without destroying the stack had failed.

Challenger demonstrated segmented SRBs were a bad idea (and in fact US SRBs share nothing with the propellant mix used in the ICBM fleet, so "preservation of capability" is nonsense, as discussed in earlier threads. Apparently the SRB mix "slumps" too much during long term vertical storage IE in a submarine launch tube).

These may explain why people are more forgiving of SX. It will be interesting to see wheather the FH does fly before the SLS and how much below the SLS IOC it is with each of the Merlin upgrades. My guess is not much, and all of its engines will be capable of shut down at any point in flight.

Personally I think they are as bad as each other. But sometimes it seems when looking at commentary about the delays, and I am not talking particularly about this forum here, that some cut SX more slack because they are a private company and SLS are seen as a government initiative. Just speaking for myself I don't see that as a fair or accurate metric of comparison.

I simply don't understand why people get all upset about delays. They happen. All the time. In almost every industry. SpaceX having delays is just one company amongst many. And I simply don't care about the delays. I'll leave that to the people who the delays actually affect, the people who have a payload.  And I doubt they worry too much about delays, but more about failed launches. There seems to be a general lack of patience nowadays.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Robotbeat on 09/05/2017 12:18 PM
It helps that SpaceX is actually flying a launch vehicle (Falcon 9 block whatever) that they've upgraded to the point that it's about on par with the earlier Falcon 9 Heavy plan, have already flown the FH's boosters, and are already working on a better, bigger rocket.

FH will fly. In 6 months, it'll be in the rear view mirror.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: spacenut on 09/05/2017 12:43 PM
SpaceX also does MORE with far LESS money.  SLS is expensive, like $3 billion a year for 10 years, and still no rocket.  That is why I give SpaceX slack.  Any government project is expensive, and more so than private.  Private is more efficiently operated. 
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: JoerTex on 09/05/2017 02:19 PM
SpaceX also does MORE with far LESS money.  SLS is expensive, like $3 billion a year for 10 years, and still no rocket.  That is why I give SpaceX slack.  Any government project is expensive, and more so than private.  Private is more efficiently operated.

To those having this discussion, I recommend they read the book "Slide Rule" by Nevil Shute.  Focus on the parts about the R100 and R101 airships.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slide_Rule:_Autobiography_of_an_Engineer (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slide_Rule:_Autobiography_of_an_Engineer)
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Star One on 09/05/2017 02:42 PM
SpaceX also does MORE with far LESS money.  SLS is expensive, like $3 billion a year for 10 years, and still no rocket.  That is why I give SpaceX slack.  Any government project is expensive, and more so than private.  Private is more efficiently operated.

Thinking that private is automatically more efficient is a common fallacy. I can even say that from my own work history.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: dlapine on 09/05/2017 02:56 PM
In this case we don't have to think about it.

A simple comparison of the money currently being spent on FH development versus that being spent on SLS over the same period of time would be reasonable and objective. First flight dates and cost per flight/payload to orbit (mass and volume) would be reasonable metrics.

Or we could just look at it from a taxpayers perspective- I'm paying for a $3B/yr effort to develop a general purpose heavy lift vehicle for government use. And those commercial guys over there are working on their HL GP vehicle using their own money. If they can produce in the same timeframe that is cheaper to use, more readily available and I didn't have to contribute any funds to develop it, yea!

Why would I complain that they didn't deliver it sooner?
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: the_other_Doug on 09/05/2017 04:30 PM
It helps that SpaceX is actually flying a launch vehicle (Falcon 9 block whatever) that they've upgraded to the point that it's about on par with the earlier Falcon 9 Heavy plan, have already flown the FH's boosters, and are already working on a better, bigger rocket.

FH will fly. In 6 months, it'll be in the rear view mirror.

With the greatest of respect, sir... FH has been "within the next six months", off and on, for five years, now.

I totally agree with you -- with the caveat that we are using the time unit of SpaceX months.  This time unit is, in fact, variable to an ever-changing degree... :D
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: BobHk on 09/05/2017 04:36 PM
SpaceX also does MORE with far LESS money.  SLS is expensive, like $3 billion a year for 10 years, and still no rocket.  That is why I give SpaceX slack.  Any government project is expensive, and more so than private.  Private is more efficiently operated.

Thinking that private is automatically more efficient is a common fallacy. I can even say that from my own work history.

Pointing to a company that DOES do more with less is not fallacious, its pointing out a fact.  Even if the OP  you responded to isn't separating SpaceX from 'all' private companies give SpaceX its due.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: abaddon on 09/05/2017 04:42 PM
I know it's tempting to compare SLS and Falcon Heavy, but they really are very different projects in almost every way.

The gating item here, as we all know, is not FH itself, but LC-40.  Launch site construction / re-construction is really hard and expensive, and SpaceX clearly was overly optimistic about their timelines here.  The loss of the Amos mission and destruction of the pad were big setbacks, there's no way around that.  And if that all does slip to early next year, SpaceX is going to have some tight scheduling here with the upcoming installation of the crew access arm at 39a as well as the CCP demo flight.

For me, the exciting thing is that FH hardware not only exists, but is very close to ready for launch.  The core stage and one of the boosters (flight-proven!) are ready and waiting at the Cape.  The second booster has undergone its qualifying fire at McGregor and is presumably headed back to the Cape soon.  All that remains is the second stage and PLC and the rocket is ready and waiting for LC-39a upgrades.  I would bet those take longer than hoped for as well.  This stuff is hard and TELs are built and installed infrequently.  But it's all going to shake out sooner than later and we'll get to finally see this beast fly.  Hopefully successfully :).
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Kenp51d on 09/05/2017 05:36 PM
It may have bean discussed previously, (if so I was sleeping in class, apologies) but is there any thought or possibly need or market for heavy out of Vandenberg?
Heck, I only live 4 hours away

Sent from my XT1565 using Tapatalk

Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: mme on 09/05/2017 05:48 PM
I look forward to FH flying so we can move on to being really upset that ITSy is behind schedule.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: gdjacobs on 09/05/2017 05:50 PM
I expect so. Improved Crystal IMINT payloads are too heavy for Atlas V as well as Falcon 9. With Delta IV winding down, Falcon Heavy will be the only platform for optical spy satellites until/unless Vulcan or New Glenn become available at Vandenberg.

Notice that the strongback at SLC-4 appears to be designed for Falcon Heavy. I'm not sure about the hold-down clamps, though.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: gongora on 09/05/2017 06:18 PM
It may have bean discussed previously, (if so I was sleeping in class, apologies) but is there any thought or possibly need or market for heavy out of Vandenberg?

Probably not for at least a few years.  The Air Force/NROL has already purchased heavy vehicles from ULA for their launches through 2023, and those get ordered at least five years ahead of time.  If SpaceX goes ahead with their internet constellation the initial deployment (first few years) could be from KSC/CCAFS, and they may not even use FH for that.  Depending on the development timelines for their next vehicle, and what vehicles they choose to get certified for government launches, there is some possibility FH never flies from the west coast.  (There is definitely a chance of getting a government FH launch in the mid-2020's, but we won't know for at least a couple years.)
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: llanitedave on 09/05/2017 06:37 PM
SpaceX also does MORE with far LESS money.  SLS is expensive, like $3 billion a year for 10 years, and still no rocket.  That is why I give SpaceX slack.  Any government project is expensive, and more so than private.  Private is more efficiently operated.

Thinking that private is automatically more efficient is a common fallacy. I can even say that from my own work history.


Not automatic, perhaps, but in this particular case, certainly.  SpaceX is spending their own money on this project, not mine, so I really have no reason to whine about how long it takes them.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Kenp51d on 09/05/2017 06:59 PM
It may have bean discussed previously, (if so I was sleeping in class, apologies) but is there any thought or possibly need or market for heavy out of Vandenberg?

Probably not for at least a few years.  The Air Force/NROL has already purchased heavy vehicles from ULA for their launches through 2023, and those get ordered at least five years ahead of time.  If SpaceX goes ahead with their internet constellation the initial deployment (first few years) could be from KSC/CCAFS, and they may not even use FH for that.  Depending on the development timelines for their next vehicle, and what vehicles they choose to get certified for government launches, there is some possibility FH never flies from the west coast.  (There is definitely a chance of getting a government FH launch in the mid-2020's, but we won't know for at least a couple years.)
Thanks for the detailed answer

Sent from my XT1565 using Tapatalk

Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Star One on 09/05/2017 09:10 PM
SpaceX also does MORE with far LESS money.  SLS is expensive, like $3 billion a year for 10 years, and still no rocket.  That is why I give SpaceX slack.  Any government project is expensive, and more so than private.  Private is more efficiently operated.

Thinking that private is automatically more efficient is a common fallacy. I can even say that from my own work history.


Not automatic, perhaps, but in this particular case, certainly.  SpaceX is spending their own money on this project, not mine, so I really have no reason to whine about how long it takes them.

But they have taken government money to help progress to where they are, haven't they.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: wannamoonbase on 09/05/2017 09:23 PM
But they have taken government money to help progress to where they are, haven't they.

Yes but so did the railroads and air travel.

Perhaps looking at things from a perspective of what they may mean in decades and not months helps.

Government has a role to play.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: envy887 on 09/05/2017 11:28 PM
SpaceX also does MORE with far LESS money.  SLS is expensive, like $3 billion a year for 10 years, and still no rocket.  That is why I give SpaceX slack.  Any government project is expensive, and more so than private.  Private is more efficiently operated.

Thinking that private is automatically more efficient is a common fallacy. I can even say that from my own work history.


Not automatic, perhaps, but in this particular case, certainly.  SpaceX is spending their own money on this project, not mine, so I really have no reason to whine about how long it takes them.

But they have taken government money to help progress to where they are, haven't they.

Have they taken any money for Heavy that wouldn't otherwise have been spent for F9 and Dragon anyway? I don't recall any. There might have been prepayments for the STP-2 mission, though I don't think the details of that contract were released.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: vaporcobra on 09/06/2017 12:19 AM
SpaceX also does MORE with far LESS money.  SLS is expensive, like $3 billion a year for 10 years, and still no rocket.  That is why I give SpaceX slack.  Any government project is expensive, and more so than private.  Private is more efficiently operated.

Thinking that private is automatically more efficient is a common fallacy. I can even say that from my own work history.


Not automatic, perhaps, but in this particular case, certainly.  SpaceX is spending their own money on this project, not mine, so I really have no reason to whine about how long it takes them.

But they have taken government money to help progress to where they are, haven't they.

The issue, again, is one of efficiency. The CRS, COTS, and Crew contracts SpaceX have received over a period of 5ish years will amount to several billion dollars at most. SLS eats up the same amount of money in maybe 18 months at most, and that money barely makes a dent in the actual construction of a functional, useful launch vehicle. The contractors have every reason to actively avoid expedience, given the complete lack of consequence for any delays, whereas SpaceX is literally losing money when they put capital into FH without any launches to show for it.

SpaceX has limited capital and at least several capital-intensive projects that take clear precedent over Falcon Heavy. SLS's contractors have cost-plus contracts that actively reward delays and inefficiency, so long as it is agreed upon beforehand and ensconced within a maze of legal documents and bureaucracy. 
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Proponent on 09/06/2017 12:58 AM
SpaceX also does MORE with far LESS money.  SLS is expensive, like $3 billion a year for 10 years, and still no rocket.  That is why I give SpaceX slack.  Any government project is expensive, and more so than private.  Private is more efficiently operated. 

I agree with the sentiment, but the cost of SLS is "only" about $2 billion per year.  You're perhaps thinking of Orion and SLS together?
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Robotbeat on 09/06/2017 01:14 AM
It helps that SpaceX is actually flying a launch vehicle (Falcon 9 block whatever) that they've upgraded to the point that it's about on par with the earlier Falcon 9 Heavy plan, have already flown the FH's boosters, and are already working on a better, bigger rocket.

FH will fly. In 6 months, it'll be in the rear view mirror.

With the greatest of respect, sir... FH has been "within the next six months", off and on, for five years, now.
SpaceX is now "within two months." 6 months is my estimate.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Space Ghost 1962 on 09/06/2017 02:04 AM
Clearly they have the stages tested and on site, and have applied/received launch/landing license.

Consider FH another means to apply booster reuse, just more of them at once.

No surprise that 40 is taking time to rebuild/refit.

What threatens past that is unresolved issues with getting to static fire that might delay months. Like constantly messing with TE/launch mount/other due to issues.

The vehicle strategy seems more than good enough.

They'll be within two months once a launch is scheduled for LC40. They'll be within a month once they have the vehicle erect and stop fiddling with TE/launch mount.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: raketa on 09/06/2017 05:49 AM
SpaceX also does MORE with far LESS money.  SLS is expensive, like $3 billion a year for 10 years, and still no rocket.  That is why I give SpaceX slack.  Any government project is expensive, and more so than private.  Private is more efficiently operated.

Thinking that private is automatically more efficient is a common fallacy. I can even say that from my own work history.
A private company without government hands out, has to be nature more effective. Because they will die to be in red number for a long time and they have to provide real value for customers or lose them. Whenever company success is decided by a person/institution not involved directly in consuming the product, feed back in price is distorted and pressure on an efficiency of provider is relax.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: JamesH65 on 09/06/2017 09:24 AM
In this case we don't have to think about it.

A simple comparison of the money currently being spent on FH development versus that being spent on SLS over the same period of time would be reasonable and objective. First flight dates and cost per flight/payload to orbit (mass and volume) would be reasonable metrics.

Or we could just look at it from a taxpayers perspective- I'm paying for a $3B/yr effort to develop a general purpose heavy lift vehicle for government use. And those commercial guys over there are working on their HL GP vehicle using their own money. If they can produce in the same timeframe that is cheaper to use, more readily available and I didn't have to contribute any funds to develop it, yea!

Why would I complain that they didn't deliver it sooner?

Always remember that the government get a LOT of the money spent back, directly, in the form of income taxes, indirectly in the form of shopping taxes, and even more indirectly in the fact that the programs employ a lot of people. Employed people spend more and the economy benefits. Its a VERY complicated equation, and why its large government projects  are a good thing for the economy.

Of course, there are also horrible inefficiencies.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: savuporo on 09/06/2017 02:11 PM
There might have been prepayments for the STP-2 mission, though I don't think the details of that contract were released.

And STP-2 should be a lesson to anyone thinking people will be on Mars in their lifetimes. Years of delays in getting critical enabling technologies like DSAC and GPIM flight tested, nobody gets fired or loses their shirt.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: wannamoonbase on 09/06/2017 02:17 PM
There might have been prepayments for the STP-2 mission, though I don't think the details of that contract were released.

And STP-2 should be a lesson to anyone thinking people will be on Mars in their lifetimes. Years of delays in getting critical enabling technologies like DSAC and GPIM flight tested, nobody gets fired or loses their shirt.

I'll be happy to see people walk and hopefully live on the moon in my lifetime (44 years old.)

FH get's us closer to that.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: the_other_Doug on 09/06/2017 06:17 PM
Clearly they have the stages tested and on site, and have applied/received launch/landing license.

Consider FH another means to apply booster reuse, just more of them at once.

No surprise that 40 is taking time to rebuild/refit.

What threatens past that is unresolved issues with getting to static fire that might delay months. Like constantly messing with TE/launch mount/other due to issues.

The vehicle strategy seems more than good enough.

They'll be within two months once a launch is scheduled for LC40. They'll be within a month once they have the vehicle erect and stop fiddling with TE/launch mount.

I believe it's more to do with the launch mounts than the TEL.  AIUI, the TEL at 39A was designed from the start to eventually support FH launches.  They only need to complete the plumbing connections to the side cores, as far as the TEL is concerned, and as I say, I believe all the appropriate basic plumbing was built into the thing already.

ISTR that just getting the single launch mount installed for F9 at 39A took several months, and that was after a delay engendered by getting the new launch mount, for F9 V1.2, installed at Vandenberg.  Heck, I can't even tell you for certain that correctly positioned holes into the launcher deck, feeding down into the flame pit, have been opened up at 39A to sit beneath the side cores, much less work begun on the supporting structures for the additional launch mounts.  (I hope they have, and I can't believe SpaceX's schedules if they haven't, but still...)

In other words, we don't know exactly where the 39A FH modification work stands at present.  We know that, starting from an unmodified launcher deck, it could take several months to complete the 39A modifications.  Of course, SpaceX seems to have projected only a couple of months, once LC40 is ready to go, to get the work done.  But this could be expressed in the SpaceX month time unit, and we all know about that one... ;)
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: old_sellsword on 09/06/2017 06:24 PM
...In other words, we don't know exactly where the 39A FH modification work stands at present...

We do actually. The only big ticket items left at 39A for FH are the six outer holddown clamps and the four outer tail service masts.

That’s by no means saying those will be “easy” to install and test, but there aren’t any large modifications to be done outside work on the top of the reaction frame.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Tomness on 09/06/2017 06:43 PM

We do actually. The only big ticket items left at 39A for FH are the six outer holddown clamps and the four outer tail service masts.

That’s by no means saying those will be “easy” to install and test, but there aren’t any large modifications to be done outside work on the top of the reaction frame.

I wonder about the ground infrastructure pluming, tanks, gse..etc., that is needed for falcon heavy and whether it was scraficed to SLC- 40 to speed up it's activation ... not less those items are not long lead items and neather need for slc-40.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: smfarmer11 on 09/11/2017 04:06 PM
With a lot more all electric satellites coming out, could the FH get in on the market for those? The transfer time for these satellites being four or more months. If the upper stage had the loiter time, could the extra launch cost of a direct to GEO insertion be offset by satellite earnings and lifetime extension? It could also allow for heavier communications payloads.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: DreamyPickle on 09/11/2017 04:27 PM
With a lot more all electric satellites coming out, could the FH get in on the market for those? The transfer time for these satellites being four or more months. If the upper stage had the loiter time, could the extra launch cost of a direct to GEO insertion be offset by satellite earnings and lifetime extension? It could also allow for heavier communications payloads.

The shift towards more electric satellites benefits the regular Falcon 9 more because they are lighter on average and can be launched in reusable mode. Their competition needs to juggle agreements for double launches instead.

Also as far as I remember there was no indication from SpaceX that they're looking to improve S2 loiter time or perform direct injections, just a lot of fan rumors. The second stage is shared with the regular F9 and complex orbital maneuvers are not it's strong suit. It's cheap and powerful and restartable but it has not yet demonstrated more than half an hour orbital lifetime.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Herb Schaltegger on 09/11/2017 04:54 PM

Also as far as I remember there was no indication from SpaceX that they're looking to improve S2 loiter time or perform direct injections, just a lot of fan rumors.
There is info in L2.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: guckyfan on 09/11/2017 04:54 PM
Also as far as I remember there was no indication from SpaceX that they're looking to improve S2 loiter time or perform direct injections, just a lot of fan rumors.

I don't think the SpacX website on FH counts as fan rumor. It clearly states capability of direct GEO insertion.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: cppetrie on 09/11/2017 04:55 PM
...but it has not yet demonstrated more than half an hour orbital lifetime.
Didn't they do an extended loiter experiment after one of the launches earlier this summer? Can't recall which, maybe the NROL mission? IIRC it was a 12 or 24 hour loiter.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: old_sellsword on 09/11/2017 04:55 PM
Also as far as I remember there was no indication from SpaceX that they're looking to improve S2 loiter time or perform direct injections...

...but it has not yet demonstrated more than half an hour orbital lifetime.

SpaceX demonstrated a multi-hour coast and successfully restart (to deorbit) after payload separation on NROL-76 earlier this year. This was the first flight of a Block 4 upper stage, so I wouldn’t be surprised if Block 5 upper stages are upgraded enough for full GSO insertion.

Source (https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2017/05/spacex-launch-cadence-new-goals/)

Quote
Following the launch of the NROL-76 spacecraft on Monday – which also included a successful Second Stage extended coast test...

... The NROL-76 mission also provided additional data points on the performance and utilization of the Second Stage, per future mission objectives. The test – which occurred after spacecraft separation – involved a “super long” coast phase demo, according to L2 information.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: envy887 on 09/11/2017 04:56 PM
SpaceX has already demonstrated multi hour upper stage endurance, and plans to offer direct insertion for DoD missions.

I don't see any reason to expect commercial customers to go with direct insertion though.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: DreamyPickle on 09/11/2017 05:11 PM
Sorry, I was wrong. I missed the long duration coast experiment a few launches back.

Still, it seems that this is mostly for DoD requirements. I'm not sure the F9 is particularly good at direct injection. For something like the Centaur you are using a high-isp engine for injection which means you can lift a heavier mass to the final orbit. But if you're launching on the Falcon I'm not sure there is much advantage compared to having a bigger hydrazine tank.

However satellites vary in size instead of being sized for particular launchers so maybe it's beneficial to use up any extra performance.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: jpo234 on 09/11/2017 06:18 PM


SpaceX has already demonstrated multi hour upper stage endurance, and plans to offer direct insertion for DoD missions.

I don't see any reason to expect commercial customers to go with direct insertion though.

Direct insertion seems very useful for satellites with electric propulsion. This could eliminate or shorten the time to the final GEO slot.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: vaporcobra on 09/11/2017 07:16 PM


SpaceX has already demonstrated multi hour upper stage endurance, and plans to offer direct insertion for DoD missions.

I don't see any reason to expect commercial customers to go with direct insertion though.

Direct insertion seems very useful for satellites with electric propulsion. This could eliminate or shorten the time to the final GEO slot.

While we're getting pretty off topic, it's worth remembering that electric propulsion was really only adopted for satellites in Earth orbit because of its efficiency. Better ISP means less reaction mass is needed, and those weight savings translate into larger revenue-generating payloads for an electric sat with the same mass as a chemical sat. The trade-off is the time it takes ion propulsion to bring a satellite to its operational orbit.

FH is probably only an economical option for satellite operators as a reusable vehicle, which allows for 8 metric tons to GTO. There are very few current commercial payloads that are that heavy, so it's far more probable that satellite operators modify future sats to incorporate far more revenue-generating payload per launch.

Even still, FH could crush Ariane 5 ECA in a competition for $/kg to GTO as an expendable vehicle, even if it only used half of its 22,500 kg GTO capability and adopted Arianespace's ride share strategy. In fact, I suspect the margin left over from launching 2x5000kg geosats would allow SpaceX to either attempt recovery of the side boosters, or place both of those satellites directly into GEO.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: envy887 on 09/11/2017 08:33 PM


SpaceX has already demonstrated multi hour upper stage endurance, and plans to offer direct insertion for DoD missions.

I don't see any reason to expect commercial customers to go with direct insertion though.

Direct insertion seems very useful for satellites with electric propulsion. This could eliminate or shorten the time to the final GEO slot.

While we're getting pretty off topic, it's worth remembering that electric propulsion was really only adopted for satellites in Earth orbit because of its efficiency. Better ISP means less reaction mass is needed, and those weight savings translate into larger revenue-generating payloads for an electric sat with the same mass as a chemical sat. The trade-off is the time it takes ion propulsion to bring a satellite to its operational orbit.

FH is probably only an economical option for satellite operators as a reusable vehicle, which allows for 8 metric tons to GTO. There are very few current commercial payloads that are that heavy, so it's far more probable that satellite operators modify future sats to incorporate far more revenue-generating payload per launch.

Even still, FH could crush Ariane 5 ECA in a competition for $/kg to GTO as an expendable vehicle, even if it only used half of its 22,500 kg GTO capability and adopted Arianespace's ride share strategy. In fact, I suspect the margin left over from launching 2x5000kg geosats would allow SpaceX to either attempt recovery of the side boosters, or place both of those satellites directly into GEO.

All-electric geosats are a manifestation of the fact that more payload on orbit (or the same payload on a smaller cheaper rocket) is often better than quicker time to orbit. Extending the paradigm to Falcon Heavy logically leads to 10 tonne or larger all-electric sats, not direct insertion of smaller sats.

This is a complex multivariable optimization problem, and we don't have enough information to solve it definitively. But the evidence I see does not indicate direct insertion.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: DreamyPickle on 09/11/2017 09:36 PM
FH is probably only an economical option for satellite operators as a reusable vehicle, which allows for 8 metric tons to GTO. There are very few current commercial payloads that are that heavy, so it's far more probable that satellite operators modify future sats to incorporate far more revenue-generating payload per launch.

After a brief web search it seems the heaviest commercial GTO payload to date is TerraStar-1 (http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Space_Transportation/Ariane_5_Largest-ever_telecommunications_satellite_launched) at 6910 kg. This is only slightly heavier than the heaviest Falcon 9 GTO launch, Intelsat 35e at 6761 kg. And that mission exceeded it's orbital requirements!

The chinese Shijian-18 (https://spaceflightnow.com/2017/07/02/launch-of-chinas-heavy-lift-long-march-5-rocket-declared-a-failure/) was over 7 tons but the launch failed. There are maybe other heavier satellites that are classified, for example from Delta IV Heavy GTO launches.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: vaporcobra on 09/11/2017 09:56 PM


SpaceX has already demonstrated multi hour upper stage endurance, and plans to offer direct insertion for DoD missions.

I don't see any reason to expect commercial customers to go with direct insertion though.

Direct insertion seems very useful for satellites with electric propulsion. This could eliminate or shorten the time to the final GEO slot.

While we're getting pretty off topic, it's worth remembering that electric propulsion was really only adopted for satellites in Earth orbit because of its efficiency. Better ISP means less reaction mass is needed, and those weight savings translate into larger revenue-generating payloads for an electric sat with the same mass as a chemical sat. The trade-off is the time it takes ion propulsion to bring a satellite to its operational orbit.

FH is probably only an economical option for satellite operators as a reusable vehicle, which allows for 8 metric tons to GTO. There are very few current commercial payloads that are that heavy, so it's far more probable that satellite operators modify future sats to incorporate far more revenue-generating payload per launch.

Even still, FH could crush Ariane 5 ECA in a competition for $/kg to GTO as an expendable vehicle, even if it only used half of its 22,500 kg GTO capability and adopted Arianespace's ride share strategy. In fact, I suspect the margin left over from launching 2x5000kg geosats would allow SpaceX to either attempt recovery of the side boosters, or place both of those satellites directly into GEO.

All-electric geosats are a manifestation of the fact that more payload on orbit (or the same payload on a smaller cheaper rocket) is often better than quicker time to orbit. Extending the paradigm to Falcon Heavy logically leads to 10 tonne or larger all-electric sats, not direct insertion of smaller sats.

This is a complex multivariable optimization problem, and we don't have enough information to solve it definitively. But the evidence I see does not indicate direct insertion.

Agreed. So long as satellite operators plan on extra time to reach operational orbit, it will always be better to include more revenue-relevant payload instead of more fuel. It is indeed a highly complex optimization problem.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: jfallen on 09/20/2017 05:28 PM
Isn't it about time to move this discussion to the Missions section and create an updates thread.  I anticipate there being some updates in the next couple of weeks on the timing.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: gongora on 09/20/2017 05:39 PM
Isn't it about time to move this discussion to the Missions section and create an updates thread.  I anticipate there being some updates in the next couple of weeks on the timing.

There is already a mission thread:
https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=42705.0
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Negan on 09/24/2017 04:05 PM
So what's the TLI payload capability of the FH up to now? Could it do 20 metric Ton payload expendable?
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: jpo234 on 09/29/2017 09:44 AM
Does FH still have a future after the BFR announcement? Or will it just launch once?
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: RotoSequence on 09/29/2017 09:46 AM
Does FH still have a future after the BFR announcement? Or will it just launch once?

Customers are going to be rather cross if they're kicked back another five years by their launch provider for a rocket that only exists on paper.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: jpo234 on 09/29/2017 09:50 AM
Does FH still have a future after the BFR announcement? Or will it just launch once?

Customers are going to be rather cross if they're kicked back another five years by their launch provider for a rocket that only exists on paper.

If I did not miscount, there are just 5 FH launches on the manifest, some of them far enough in the future that they could conceivable launch on BFR.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: darkenfast on 09/29/2017 10:06 AM
Musk stated that they will build enough Falcons to keep flying the rocket until the BFR is established as a reliable vehicle, as he understands some customers won't want to risk payloads on an unproven launcher.  That's another advantage of a reusable rocket.  It will remain flying while the factory is building BFRs.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Cheapchips on 09/29/2017 10:41 AM
If you take an optimistic view on BFR's first flight (2019) and a pessimistic* view on on FH (2018), that gives FH a couple of years useful service doesn't it?


*Arguably realistic?
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: jpo234 on 09/29/2017 11:10 AM
If you take an optimistic view on BFR's first flight (2019) and a pessimistic* view on on FH (2018), that gives FH a couple of years useful service doesn't it?


*Arguably realistic?

5 launches on manifest, 2 of the demo missions. One of the customer missions so late that it could launch without delay on BFR (assuming the BFR time table holds [big assumption, I know]). So, FH development for just 2 or 3 revenue flights?
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Proponent on 09/29/2017 11:32 AM
If you take an optimistic view on BFR's first flight (2019) and a pessimistic* view on on FH (2018), that gives FH a couple of years useful service doesn't it?


*Arguably realistic?

5 launches on manifest, 2 of the demo missions. One of the customer missions so late that it could launch without delay on BFR (assuming the BFR time table holds [big assumption, I know]). So, FH development for just 2 or 3 revenue flights?

If the Air Force certifies FH, it will be able to carry the heavy payloads for which DoD/NRO currently uses Delta IV Heavy.  That's only about one a launch per year, but with Delta IV Heavy being more expensive than FH and becoming more so as Delta IV Medium is phased out, I'll bet DoD/NRO will be keen to keep FH around, even if that means giving SpaceX an upkeep contract along the lines of the much-criticized ELC.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: woods170 on 09/29/2017 12:37 PM
If you take an optimistic view on BFR's first flight (2019) and a pessimistic* view on on FH (2018), that gives FH a couple of years useful service doesn't it?


*Arguably realistic?

5 launches on manifest, 2 of the demo missions. One of the customer missions so late that it could launch without delay on BFR (assuming the BFR time table holds [big assumption, I know]). So, FH development for just 2 or 3 revenue flights?

If the Air Force certifies FH, it will be able to carry the heavy payloads for which DoD/NRO currently uses Delta IV Heavy.  That's only about one a launch per year, but with Delta IV Heavy being more expensive than FH and becoming more so as Delta IV Medium is phased out, I'll bet DoD/NRO will be keen to keep FH around, even if that means giving SpaceX an upkeep contract along the lines of the much-criticized ELC.
I don't agree. Faced with the prospect of an NSS-certified FH going away SpaceX will simply have BFR certified for NSS launches. IMO FH won't be kept around, for NSS launches only, after the stockpile of F9's and FH's runs out. SpaceX is not ULA.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: JamesH65 on 09/29/2017 12:50 PM
If you take an optimistic view on BFR's first flight (2019) and a pessimistic* view on on FH (2018), that gives FH a couple of years useful service doesn't it?


*Arguably realistic?

5 launches on manifest, 2 of the demo missions. One of the customer missions so late that it could launch without delay on BFR (assuming the BFR time table holds [big assumption, I know]). So, FH development for just 2 or 3 revenue flights?

If the Air Force certifies FH, it will be able to carry the heavy payloads for which DoD/NRO currently uses Delta IV Heavy.  That's only about one a launch per year, but with Delta IV Heavy being more expensive than FH and becoming more so as Delta IV Medium is phased out, I'll bet DoD/NRO will be keen to keep FH around, even if that means giving SpaceX an upkeep contract along the lines of the much-criticized ELC.
I don't agree. Faced with the prospect of an NSS-certified FH going away SpaceX will simply have BFR certified for NSS launches. IMO FH won't be kept around, for NSS launches only, after the stockpile of F9's and FH's runs out. SpaceX is not ULA.

Which is what Musk said - they want one booster/spaceship that covers all the bases. I suspect its going to take longer than 2022 to get to that point, so I expect F9 to be flying at least until 2025 if not longer. Once BFR works and is reliable, F9 can be retired since there is nothing it can do cheaper than BFR. According to the current Musk figures. That may change.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Semmel on 09/29/2017 12:53 PM

If the Air Force certifies FH, it will be able to carry the heavy payloads for which DoD/NRO currently uses Delta IV Heavy.  That's only about one a launch per year, but with Delta IV Heavy being more expensive than FH and becoming more so as Delta IV Medium is phased out, I'll bet DoD/NRO will be keen to keep FH around, even if that means giving SpaceX an upkeep contract along the lines of the much-criticized ELC.

For the heavy DOD payloads, they would need a new fairing design and a new payload adapter, or a new payload adapter and vertical integration. The current system is limited to 11 mT or so and horizontal integration. People forget that F9 is more limited by the integration method than by the rocket throwing capability. For things that are heavier than the 11mT they HAVE to redesign the fairing. For things that require VI, the HAVE to redo the integration process. Given the announcement of canceling F9 within the next years, sounds like a waste of money TBH.

FH is for high energy orbits with medium mass payloads. This is actually good for ULA because it gives them a leg to stand on.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: georgegassaway on 09/29/2017 06:43 PM
If you take an optimistic view on BFR's first flight (2019) and a pessimistic* view on on FH (2018), that gives FH a couple of years useful service doesn't it?

History of FH announced first launch, and several years past that date, provides little confidence or logic that BFR won't end up with the same molasses scheduling.   (And yes, I really did type molasses, not an auto-correct).

It just amazes me how many people faithfully believe any long term schedule that Elon Musk says (than again some still clinging to FH launching in November 2017 because Elon said so 2 months ago). When many of those people have been around long enough to know the history that it almost never turns out to be correct (for whatever reasons they do this and definitely should know better).  Boy who cried Wolf syndrome, too many times.

SpaceX does a lot of great stuff. Predicting long term timeframes is definitely not one of them.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: envy887 on 09/29/2017 06:50 PM

If the Air Force certifies FH, it will be able to carry the heavy payloads for which DoD/NRO currently uses Delta IV Heavy.  That's only about one a launch per year, but with Delta IV Heavy being more expensive than FH and becoming more so as Delta IV Medium is phased out, I'll bet DoD/NRO will be keen to keep FH around, even if that means giving SpaceX an upkeep contract along the lines of the much-criticized ELC.

For the heavy DOD payloads, they would need a new fairing design and a new payload adapter, or a new payload adapter and vertical integration. The current system is limited to 11 mT or so and horizontal integration. People forget that F9 is more limited by the integration method than by the rocket throwing capability. For things that are heavier than the 11mT they HAVE to redesign the fairing. For things that require VI, the HAVE to redo the integration process. Given the announcement of canceling F9 within the next years, sounds like a waste of money TBH.

FH is for high energy orbits with medium mass payloads. This is actually good for ULA because it gives them a leg to stand on.

Source for claim that payloads over 11t require a new fairing? A new PAF is considerably simpler than a fairing.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Proponent on 09/29/2017 09:21 PM
Yeah, but it's going to be a while before BFR is ready, isn't it?  Time enough for more thant 2 or 3 revenue flights, methinks.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: wannamoonbase on 09/29/2017 09:22 PM
Yeah, but it's going to be a while before BFR is ready, isn't it?  Time enough for more thant 2 or 3 revenue flights, methinks.

8-10 years is a safe bet. 

At 2-3 FH flights a year it will pay off.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Lars-J on 09/29/2017 09:24 PM
Yeah, but it's going to be a while before BFR is ready, isn't it?  Time enough for more thant 2 or 3 revenue flights, methinks.

Right. FH will fly until BFR can be certified. Whenever that will be. They are not going to stop with FH before then, even if it might fly more rarely than originally planned. But that reduced flight rate is due to F9 performance increases, not the BFR.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: rakaydos on 09/30/2017 05:41 AM
If you take an optimistic view on BFR's first flight (2019) and a pessimistic* view on on FH (2018), that gives FH a couple of years useful service doesn't it?

History of FH announced first launch, and several years past that date, provides little confidence or logic that BFR won't end up with the same molasses scheduling.   (And yes, I really did type molasses, not an auto-correct).

It just amazes me how many people faithfully believe any long term schedule that Elon Musk says (than again some still clinging to FH launching in November 2017 because Elon said so 2 months ago). When many of those people have been around long enough to know the history that it almost never turns out to be correct (for whatever reasons they do this and definitely should know better).  Boy who cried Wolf syndrome, too many times.

SpaceX does a lot of great stuff. Predicting long term timeframes is definitely not one of them.
We KNOW what's holding up falcon heavy now. It's not the rocket being hard, they already solved that one.
Falcon heavy needs:
1) get pad 40 fixed
2) refit pad 39a to handle Falcon heavy, as planned.

Once both of those are complete, Falcon heavy will be flying. And step 1 is almost finished, despite hurricane.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: macpacheco on 09/30/2017 06:37 PM
EVERY expendable F9 launch becomes a triple RTLS FH launch, as soon as SpaceX can handle the FH launch cadence.
I know some question if the refurb will be cheaper than building a new F9 booster, but its seem clear it will be (F9 booster refurb likely is ALREADY cheaper than 1/3 of the cost of a new booster).
Combined with the CLEAR Hawthorne manufacturing bottleneck, this alone could massively help SpaceX substantially increase its launch cadence and more towards nearly all boosters being recovered and relaunched.

I know, right now SpaceX doesn't have enough booster relaunch customers. And I'll restate my prediction this will change massively as the 5th or 6th successful relaunch happens.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: eric.paillet on 09/30/2017 08:04 PM
In the current situation FH will only be needed for heavy weight / medium weight, high energy missions. On the other hand when second stage reuse has been implemented, FH will maybe be needed for nearly all missions due to the second stage additional mass penalty. Since the whole system will be reusable in that case, the extra cost due to needing the FH will be much less. Additionally, being able to reuse the second stage on nearly every mission will give them a lot of orbital reentry data that is possibly relevant to BFR.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: pippin on 10/01/2017 01:40 AM
(F9 booster refurb likely is ALREADY cheaper than 1/3 of the cost of a new booster).

Only if you don’t consider depreciation.
Current F9 cores can only be reused once so overall even with zero additional work they would be at least at half the price of a new stage.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: hkultala on 10/01/2017 02:47 AM
In the current situation FH will only be needed for heavy weight / medium weight, high energy missions. On the other hand when second stage reuse has been implemented, FH will maybe be needed for nearly all missions due to the second stage additional mass penalty. Since the whole system will be reusable in that case, the extra cost due to needing the FH will be much less. Additionally, being able to reuse the second stage on nearly every mission will give them a lot of orbital reentry data that is possibly relevant to BFR.

There will be no second stage reuse for falcon 9 family. It's much more clear now than it has ever been.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: georgegassaway on 10/01/2017 03:39 AM
There will be no second stage reuse for falcon 9 family. It's much more clear now than it has ever been.

Hmmm. Even if they didn't do it for operational reasons, I'd be surprise if they didn't at least modify some F9 2nd stages to reflect BFR 2nd stage technology, at least for re-entry and aerodynamic flip-around purposes.  (Note I am not talking re-use here, but R&D).

Maybe not necessarily propulsive landings for re-use, but all they can up to (or down to) that point. 

I know Shotwell said they were going to try something next year, perhaps along those lines, perhaps not.

I myself am curious as to regards the aerodynamic and flight control stability of the high AOA re-entry (much like the orbiter) with just two small stubby delta wings, and how that will transition to descend thru the atmosphere tail-first with the kind of PRECISION as now provided by the deployable grid fins, before the landing burn begins.

Almost like the punchline to an old joke, about some incredibly complex thing that a scientist has "solved", a solution which he called "ATAFMH". When asked what that word / acronym was, he replied:

"And Then a [F-word]ing Miracle Happens"

I think they need to flight test that long before a BFR does, to whatever extents are practical.

Though the existing F9 booster may not be suitable aerodynamically (or structurally) due to the change of the CP of the whole stack if a 2nd stage had such stubby wings added, without adding some fin area to the booster.  And the aerodynamically induced bending loads in the booster, particularly the tankage below the interstage, might require structural reinforcement.  If so,  not simple but not unsurmountable.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: macpacheco on 10/01/2017 03:59 AM
(F9 booster refurb likely is ALREADY cheaper than 1/3 of the cost of a new booster).

Only if you don’t consider depreciation.
Current F9 cores can only be reused once so overall even with zero additional work they would be at least at half the price of a new stage.
The fact that SpaceX haven't yet flown the same core 3x doesn't mean it can't be done safely.
It just means there aren't enough customers that signed the dotted line so far.
Much like saying F9 boosters that landed from GTO trajectories can't be relaunched. The fact is Block III boosters don't have much performance left from a GTO launch for a thermally nice re-entry, but that will change with Block V on regular missions (after SpaceX direct F9 expendable launches to FH reusable ones).
There's way too much premature conclusions.
SpaceX is in the early stages of migrating towards routine booster reuse.
Customers are still digesting the technical and financial (savings vs risk) of going with reuse. Some more edgy customers have already signed on the dotted line, but most aren't ready to do that yet. They want more successes first. Its a chicken egg problem that will begin to go away after the sixth successful booster relaunch.

Current reuse customers have the luxury of being able to select which booster to fly on. It will take at least a dozen reflights before customers free SpaceX to choose which booster to refly. This is specially a concern after the AMOS incident (not the explosion itself per se, but the lack of wisdom to do static fires with the payload attached).
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: pippin on 10/01/2017 08:32 AM
(F9 booster refurb likely is ALREADY cheaper than 1/3 of the cost of a new booster).

Only if you don’t consider depreciation.
Current F9 cores can only be reused once so overall even with zero additional work they would be at least at half the price of a new stage.
The fact that SpaceX haven't yet flown the same core 3x doesn't mean it can't be done safely.
SpaceX have said that they can reuse the current core only once. No pages full of speculation needed.
They will do multiple reflys only with Block 5 cores.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: SmallKing on 10/01/2017 02:05 PM
There was a rumor in Reddit about FH inaugurating from SLC-40 rather than 39A. But considering the size of 40s HIF, it won't be realistic I thought.
https://www.reddit.com/r/spacex/comments/73h3ky/unconfirmed_rumor_regarding_slc40/
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: gongora on 10/01/2017 02:09 PM
There was a rumor in Reddit about FH inaugurating from SLC-40 rather than 39A. But considering the size of 40s HIF, it won't be realistic I thought.
https://www.reddit.com/r/spacex/comments/73h3ky/unconfirmed_rumor_regarding_slc40/

That is nonsense.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Comga on 10/01/2017 04:22 PM
There was a rumor in Reddit about FH inaugurating from SLC-40 rather than 39A. But considering the size of 40s HIF, it won't be realistic I thought.
https://www.reddit.com/r/spacex/comments/73h3ky/unconfirmed_rumor_regarding_slc40/

That is nonsense.

Agreed. Nonsense. It is impossible.
We went over this many times over several years.
Let's not do it again.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: guckyfan on 10/01/2017 04:47 PM
SpaceX have said that they can reuse the current core only once. No pages full of speculation needed.
They will do multiple reflys only with Block 5 cores.

Have they? I am pretty sure they only have said at best that they won't, not that they can't.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: pippin on 10/01/2017 05:04 PM
SpaceX have said that they can reuse the current core only once. No pages full of speculation needed.
They will do multiple reflys only with Block 5 cores.

Have they? I am pretty sure they only have said at best that they won't, not that they can't.
Not that this makes any difference for the cost structure we are talking about here.
Even if it’s because they feel the goblins told them to, flying the core only twice means each flight of an F9 expends at least half a core and flying FH means expending 1 1/2 - except that IIRC the FH center core will already be block 5, or do I remember that wrongly?
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Semmel on 10/01/2017 08:22 PM
Source for claim that payloads over 11t require a new fairing? A new PAF is considerably simpler than a fairing.

There are images on this very site where the encapsulated payload with PAF and fairing is lifted by slings around the fairing in order to mate it with the second stage. I cant find the link (looked for it 30 minutes now, I give up) but I have seen it not that long ago. For a heavier payload, they not only need to provide a new PAF but also fairings that can handle a higher load for integration.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: alang on 10/01/2017 08:47 PM
How about a BFS scale model as a FH demo dummy payload.
It would be expensive as it would need to be able to do a controlled reentry, but can anyone see SpaceX doing this rather than just relying on simulations and S2 reuse attempts?
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Req on 10/01/2017 08:49 PM
How about a BFS scale model as a FH demo dummy payload.
It would be expensive as it would need to be able to do a controlled reentry, but can anyone see SpaceX doing this rather than just relying on simulations and S2 reuse attempts?

This would take a couple years to prepare, so I'd call that option pretty unlikely unless they have not only been lying about having not selected a payload yet fairly recently, but also managed to keep the test article completely secret during all that time.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Ronsmytheiii on 10/09/2017 08:28 PM
imagery from an airplane passing over LZ-1 , looks like the pad concrete pour is almost done on the second landing pad:

https://www.instagram.com/p/BaCPZEWl253/
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Ronsmytheiii on 10/19/2017 04:41 PM
Concrete pad almost done for the north pad, looks like the south area has been cleared for the new Dragon building construction:

https://www.planet.com/explorer
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: SPITexas on 10/23/2017 03:54 PM
The Falcon Heavy is still planned to launch in late December right?
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: ZachS09 on 10/23/2017 04:45 PM
The Falcon Heavy is still planned to launch in late December right?

As of right now, yes.

But it could slip into next January.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: wannamoonbase on 10/23/2017 05:59 PM
The Falcon Heavy is still planned to launch in late December right?

As of right now, yes.

But it could slip into next January.

With just over 2 months left in the year, if they have it assembled and laying on the TEL before 12/31 that would be pretty amazing.

Who knows, from the time it's assembled till the time it flies may only be a few weeks.  Dare to dream.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: SPITexas on 10/23/2017 06:00 PM
The Falcon Heavy is still planned to launch in late December right?

As of right now, yes.

But it could slip into next January.

I doubt it will be January, even tho it’s already considered of being pushed back again.  They still want to launch it before the end of the year hopefully.  There nearly done finishing the LZ for the stages.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: M.E.T. on 11/03/2017 06:00 PM
I just had a thought and I'm not sure if it has been discussed or even raised before.

I have no idea if it is possible, but has anyone ever calculated what Falcon Heavy would be capable of lfiting to orbit and beyond if it had not just two side boosters next to the core stage, but say 4 or even 6 side boosters attached on all sides of the core, similar to how some of the Russian rockets have a whole bunch of boosters surrounding some of their heavy lift rocket cores.

Is such a configuration even feasible, and if so, what kind of capabilities would this open up for Falcon Heavy?
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Ictogan on 11/03/2017 06:11 PM
I just had a thought and I'm not sure if it has been discussed or even raised before.

I have no idea if it is possible, but has anyone ever calculated what Falcon Heavy would be capable of lfiting to orbit and beyond if it had not just two side boosters next to the core stage, but say 4 or even 6 side boosters attached on all sides of the core, similar to how some of the Russian rockets have a whole bunch of boosters surrounding some of their heavy lift rocket cores.

Is such a configuration even feasible, and if so, what kind of capabilities would this open up for Falcon Heavy?
Falcon Heavy was already a huge challenge in terms of structure and acoustic environment for SpaceX, I think they don't want to have even more of that. Especially given that they want to focus on BFR once all Falcon-related development is finished.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: wannamoonbase on 11/03/2017 06:16 PM
I just had a thought and I'm not sure if it has been discussed or even raised before.

I have no idea if it is possible, but has anyone ever calculated what Falcon Heavy would be capable of lfiting to orbit and beyond if it had not just two side boosters next to the core stage, but say 4 or even 6 side boosters attached on all sides of the core, similar to how some of the Russian rockets have a whole bunch of boosters surrounding some of their heavy lift rocket cores.

Is such a configuration even feasible, and if so, what kind of capabilities would this open up for Falcon Heavy?

At some point you'd be better off adding stages vertically with shorter rounder tanks that can be discarded.  Of course crossfeed would help greatly, although be very complicated and risky.

As mentioned the FH itself has been a long challenging development, and as far as we currently know, with a limited market.  It's exciting to see it almost ready to fly but I believe we are 6.5 years since it was first mentioned.

As we can see with BFR, EM decided that multi-body vehicles is something he'd like to avoid.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: shooter6947 on 11/03/2017 06:37 PM
has anyone ever calculated what Falcon Heavy would be capable of lfiting to orbit and beyond if it had not just two side boosters next to the core stage, but say 4 or even 6 side boosters attached on all sides of the core, similar to how some of the Russian rockets have a whole bunch of boosters surrounding some of their heavy lift rocket cores.
Works great in Kerbal Space Program!

Probably not so good in Human Space Program.  If you need bigger, go BFR.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Lars-J on 11/03/2017 06:50 PM
I just had a thought and I'm not sure if it has been discussed or even raised before.

I have no idea if it is possible, but has anyone ever calculated what Falcon Heavy would be capable of lfiting to orbit and beyond if it had not just two side boosters next to the core stage, but say 4 or even 6 side boosters attached on all sides of the core, similar to how some of the Russian rockets have a whole bunch of boosters surrounding some of their heavy lift rocket cores.

Is such a configuration even feasible, and if so, what kind of capabilities would this open up for Falcon Heavy?

In theory it is doable, and I seem to recall someone doing some calculations on it in the past. I'm sure it could lift a LOT.

BUT... In practice it is very difficult. For FH they already had to build a special center core to handle the extra loads. Now imaging that with lots more boosters. Also, the upper stage would need to be redesigned, as it would not be able to lift such a heavy payload. You would probably want to make the upper stage even larger.

There is a reason that the Russians are having so many problems with Angara. Being able to support 1, 4, or 5 cores sounded great the in theory but has turned out to be quite a pain for them in practice. You get an overly complex and costly vehicle that is a "jack of all trades but master of none".

It is not worth it - and this is why FH is likely the last multi-core LV that SpaceX will fly.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: biosehnsucht on 11/03/2017 06:56 PM
I just had a thought and I'm not sure if it has been discussed or even raised before.

I have no idea if it is possible, but has anyone ever calculated what Falcon Heavy would be capable of lfiting to orbit and beyond if it had not just two side boosters next to the core stage, but say 4 or even 6 side boosters attached on all sides of the core, similar to how some of the Russian rockets have a whole bunch of boosters surrounding some of their heavy lift rocket cores.

Is such a configuration even feasible, and if so, what kind of capabilities would this open up for Falcon Heavy?

You are not the first, and will not be the last, to suggest such. However well this works in Kerbal Space Program, in the real world, there are many trade-offs, and with BFR around the corner, and a lack of payloads needing more mass to orbit *currently*, there's no point. Plus, you can't reasonably integrate such a launch vehicle horizontally, as Falcon is currently. You'd have to integrate vertically, or make large changes to the ground infrastructure and strongback etc, essentially negating any advantages, as you'd have to basically start over on GSE anyways. Easier to build a bigger single core by far.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Ronsmytheiii on 11/03/2017 06:59 PM
Plus they really don't need the extra lift, if they did then propellant crossfeed would most likely happen first.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: DreamyPickle on 11/03/2017 07:25 PM
I have no idea if it is possible, but has anyone ever calculated what Falcon Heavy would be capable of lfiting to orbit and beyond if it had not just two side boosters next to the core stage, but say 4 or even 6 side boosters attached on all sides of the core, similar to how some of the Russian rockets have a whole bunch of boosters surrounding some of their heavy lift rocket cores.

I wrote a post stating that none of those proposals have flown but the Angara A5 has actually launched once in 2014 and it has 4 boosters identical to the core. But other rockets which seem to be based on "clustering" are not actually built like that:

* The Soyuz has 4 boosters but they are much smaller than the core stage.
* The Proton has a central oxidizer tank and 6 fuel tanks each with their own engine. This operates as a single stage.
* The Saturn IB had 8 tanks but they were 4 LOX and 4 RP1.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: clongton on 11/05/2017 12:27 PM
I just had a thought and I'm not sure if it has been discussed or even raised before.

I have no idea if it is possible, but has anyone ever calculated what Falcon Heavy would be capable of lfiting to orbit and beyond if it had not just two side boosters next to the core stage, but say 4 or even 6 side boosters attached on all sides of the core, similar to how some of the Russian rockets have a whole bunch of boosters surrounding some of their heavy lift rocket cores.

Is such a configuration even feasible, and if so, what kind of capabilities would this open up for Falcon Heavy?

No. It's not designed for that.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: DOCinCT on 11/05/2017 01:45 PM
I have no idea if it is possible, but has anyone ever calculated what Falcon Heavy would be capable of lfiting to orbit and beyond if it had not just two side boosters next to the core stage, but say 4 or even 6 side boosters attached on all sides of the core, similar to how some of the Russian rockets have a whole bunch of boosters surrounding some of their heavy lift rocket cores.

I wrote a post stating that none of those proposals have flown but the Angara A5 has actually launched once in 2014 and it has 4 boosters identical to the core. But other rockets which seem to be based on "clustering" are not actually built like that:

* The Soyuz has 4 boosters but they are much smaller than the core stage.
* The Proton has a central oxidizer tank and 6 fuel tanks each with their own engine. This operates as a single stage.
* The Saturn IB had 8 tanks but they were 4 LOX and 4 RP1.
Don't forget the 5th lox tank in the center
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Comga on 11/06/2017 04:48 PM
This has been discussed and dismissed a dozen times despite a plethora of facts, none of which I need to restate.

We need a kind but succinct statement to let people know that their question has been previously asked and answered and suggesting that they look for those posts. Reading back through any of a those active and abandoned threads will provide hours of reading on this topic.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Lar on 11/06/2017 06:08 PM
This has been discussed and dismissed a dozen times despite a plethora of facts, none of which I need to restate.

We need a kind but succinct statement to let people know that their question has been previously asked and answered and suggesting that they look for those posts. Reading back through any of a those active and abandoned threads will provide hours of reading on this topic.

An index of topics that people could be pointed to is a good thing to put into the header of a thread, and then people can be pointed at it. A volunteer would be great if someone wanted to take it on.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: kevinstout on 11/08/2017 01:40 PM
well,  here was the last one i remember.  lots of pretty pics. 

https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=32719.660
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Tomness on 12/04/2017 12:57 AM
(Removed ULA info.....) Falcon 9 can't meet all of those requirements.  Its first stage will have to be expended, or a more expensive Falcon Heavy will have to perform the missions, and I'm not certain that recoverable Heavy can reach the highest payload requirements.  So, even SpaceX will have to expend rockets for many of the most-difficult missions, if it wins the work.

 - Ed Kyle

Cross posting this to keep it out of ULA section since deals with SpaceX. Ed and other versed members could you elaborate on Falcon Heavy speculated performance on reaching the heaviest payload requirements for EELV? from SpaceX Website: PAYLOAD TO LEO: 63,800kg / 140,660 lb; PAYLOAD TO GTO: 26,700kg / 58,860 lb; PAYLOAD TO MARS: 16,800kg / 37,040 lb; PAYLOAD TO PLUTO: 3,500kg / 7,720 lb that is for expended performance... Should it not be able to do direct insertion GEO with the entire EELV mission requirements with recovered boosters and main stage, with the long coast and restart expended FH second stage on Block V Performance?
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: aero on 12/04/2017 01:20 AM
This has been discussed and dismissed a dozen times despite a plethora of facts, none of which I need to restate.

We need a kind but succinct statement to let people know that their question has been previously asked and answered and suggesting that they look for those posts. Reading back through any of a those active and abandoned threads will provide hours of reading on this topic.

An index of topics that people could be pointed to is a good thing to put into the header of a thread, and then people can be pointed at it. A volunteer would be great if someone wanted to take it on.

I'm afraid we need some AI code for that although it would be great to have such an index.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: georgegassaway on 12/04/2017 02:29 PM
* The Saturn IB had 8 tanks but they were 4 LOX and 4 RP1.
Five LOX tanks.  The outer 8 tanks were 70” Redstone based tanks. But there was also a center 105” Jupiter-based tank filled with LOX.

Cropped image below is taken from a 1/70 scale detailed drawing I made, available (free) on my website:

http://www.georgesrockets.com/GRP/Preview/Saturn-IB.html

(https://i.imgur.com/eHI7k7x.gif)
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: M.E.T. on 12/23/2017 02:44 PM
I'm not sure if there is a specific Falcon Heavy vs New Glenn comparison thread, but with New Glenn's maiden launch steadily creeping up on us (currently somewhere in 2020), and with Falcon Heavy's imminent arrival now not far away at all, I have increasingly been trying to figure out just how much "better" New Glenn will actually be than FH in terms of cost per kg to orbit.

Firstly, it would seem that if all goes well FH will have at least 2 years of operational history behind it when New Glenn's first test launch arrives. So one would imagine that there would be another year or so after that before New Glenn fully hits its straps.

So, let's say 3 years from now, based on current knowledge, how would the two rockets stack up?

New Glenn is rated to place 45 tons in LEO with first stage fully recovered. That compares to perhaps 30 tons or so to LEO for FH (at a guess), if all three cores are recovered. So at first glance, New Glenn seems to outperform FH significantly on this front.

However, how exactly does New Glenn achieve this? Is it because of a more powerful first stage, or because of greater performance from its second stage? And if the latter, surely this would imply a more expensive second stage that is being expended, compared to the "weaker" FH second stage.

Do we have any information on how the costs of the two rockets are likely to compare on a per stage basis? I.E, is the New Glenn single booster stage cheaper to manufacture than the three FH cores, and how much refurbishment cost is there between launches comparitively for the two rockets?

I guess what I'm trying to get at is whether FH will be able to hold its own to some degree against New Glenn should BFR take longer than expected to arrive. Or will New Glenn instantly make the Falcon family obsolete?
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: AbuSimbel on 12/23/2017 03:04 PM
I think many continue to fall for the bias that while the development of F9 reusability and FH went through many difficulties an orbital, cheaply reusable first stage for NG will magically appear in 2020.
SpaceX is still in the process of achieving cheap, agile reusability for F9. It had to apply learned experience, study many recovered stages, acquire real world data to get to this point and they're still not done.
Even if (and that's a big if, given that Blue Origin has zero experience with orbital launchers, let alone Heavy Lift, partly reusable ones, and is subject to slips as every other space program) NG actually launches in 2020, it won't be cheaply reusable from the beginning.
Refurbishment cost for F9 is not set in stone and lowering it is an ongoing process that's being done with design iterations and by improving operations.
F9/H will have the advantage of years of real world data, many design iterations and operational experience, allowing them to be competitive with NG for years even if BFR is late (and that's hardly a given, as there's a non negligible chance of it flying before NG).

Bezos has a lot of money but there're many things money can't buy, access to proprietary data on reuse that only SpaceX has in the world is one of them.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Coastal Ron on 12/23/2017 03:16 PM
I guess what I'm trying to get at is whether FH will be able to hold its own to some degree against New Glenn should BFR take longer than expected to arrive. Or will New Glenn instantly make the Falcon family obsolete?

To a certain degree what the capabilities are for Falcon Heavy and New Glenn don't matter. What matters is what the marketplace wants.

For instance, does the marketplace want 43mT to LEO? Or 30mT to LEO? Certainly not today.

So at least in the commercial marketplace Falcon Heavy and New Glenn will be competing with other launch providers around the world, and that means that the price to do a specific job is likely to be an important factor. Reliability too to a certain degree, since New Glenn does have to prove itself, but SpaceX was able to build up a large backlog of launches without proving themselves ahead of time, and I think Blue Origin should be able to follow in their footsteps.

From that perspective the answer to your question depends on how much Blue Origin charges for New Glenn. But be aware that it is normal for companies to use "introductory pricing" for new products and services, so the initial customers may not be paying "full price" - and Blue Origin could do that for years in order to establish themselves in the marketplace. Certainly Jeff Bezos has the financial wherewithal to do that (and a history of doing it with other businesses).

Bottom line is that I don't fear for SpaceX when New Glenn becomes operational. I would instead fear for the other launch providers that New Glenn will displace.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: envy887 on 12/23/2017 04:25 PM
I guess what I'm trying to get at is whether FH will be able to hold its own to some degree against New Glenn should BFR take longer than expected to arrive. Or will New Glenn instantly make the Falcon family obsolete?

To a certain degree what the capabilities are for Falcon Heavy and New Glenn don't matter. What matters is what the marketplace wants.

For instance, does the marketplace want 43mT to LEO? Or 30mT to LEO? Certainly not today.

So at least in the commercial marketplace Falcon Heavy and New Glenn will be competing with other launch providers around the world, and that means that the price to do a specific job is likely to be an important factor. Reliability too to a certain degree, since New Glenn does have to prove itself, but SpaceX was able to build up a large backlog of launches without proving themselves ahead of time, and I think Blue Origin should be able to follow in their footsteps.

From that perspective the answer to your question depends on how much Blue Origin charges for New Glenn. But be aware that it is normal for companies to use "introductory pricing" for new products and services, so the initial customers may not be paying "full price" - and Blue Origin could do that for years in order to establish themselves in the marketplace. Certainly Jeff Bezos has the financial wherewithal to do that (and a history of doing it with other businesses).

Bottom line is that I don't fear for SpaceX when New Glenn becomes operational. I would instead fear for the other launch providers that New Glenn will displace.

Iridium and OneWeb are both good cases of the market wanting heavy LEO lift. I'm not sure they are good cases for FH, but NG's larger fairing is optimal for launching a lot of constellation sats at once.

The market is also asking for 7-8 tonnes to GTO at the lowest possible price, which both FH and NG are in a good position to fill with reuse. 8 tonnes to GTO with reuse is equivalent about 40 tonnes to LEO expendable, well beyond the capabilities of all current launchers even if they were designed for reuse.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Coastal Ron on 12/23/2017 07:03 PM
Iridium and OneWeb are both good cases of the market wanting heavy LEO lift.

I'm not sure how you can justify that statement with the examples given, since Iridium is using Falcon 9, and OneWeb has already contracted for a number of launcher types, such as Arianespace Soyuz, Virgin Galactic, and potentially Ariane 6.

Quote
I'm not sure they are good cases for FH, but NG's larger fairing is optimal for launching a lot of constellation sats at once.

OneWeb has contracted for five launches of satellites for a follow-on low Earth orbit broadband constellation using New Glenn. Apparently it won't be available soon enough for the initial constellation.

Quote
The market is also asking for 7-8 tonnes to GTO at the lowest possible price, which both FH and NG are in a good position to fill with reuse. 8 tonnes to GTO with reuse is equivalent about 40 tonnes to LEO expendable, well beyond the capabilities of all current launchers even if they were designed for reuse.

SpaceX is well positioned to be competitive going forward, so the market opportunity for Blue Origin is to take away launches from other providers.

And since Falcon Heavy is an interim solution for the marketplace, and that changeover will likely start happening just a few years after New Glenn becomes operational, I don't think New Glenn will affect the market for Falcon Heavy. Although even if the did, the BFS becomes a competitor for New Glenn at some point.

Launch customers are cheering on this competition, while just about everyone that isn't named SpaceX or Blue Origin is wondering how they will survive in the long term...
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: envy887 on 12/23/2017 07:53 PM
Iridium and OneWeb are both good cases of the market wanting heavy LEO lift.
I'm not sure how you can justify that statement with the examples given, since Iridium is using Falcon 9, and OneWeb has already contracted for a number of launcher types, such as Arianespace Soyuz, Virgin Galactic, and potentially Ariane 6.

Iridium has about 72 tonnes of satellite+dispenser mass to launch to LEO as soon as possible. If New Glenn was available and offered better $/sat launch value (which it could likely do even at $150M to $200M per launch), then Iridium would likely have gone with it, IMO. Or booked both F9 and NG, perhaps.

NG is well positioned for constellation launches thanks to fairing volume, although at disadvantage because it won't fly at all for a couple years, and has no heritage. FH will have a significant advantage in short term availability and flight heritage (thanks to F9).
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Comga on 12/23/2017 07:57 PM
Iridium has about 72 tonnes of satellite+dispenser mass to launch to LEO as soon as possible.
(Snip)
No they don’t. They have to pace the launches per their ability to commission them and decommission the first gen.)
And the timing, capabilities, and cost of NG are wild guesses
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: envy887 on 12/23/2017 08:14 PM
Iridium has about 72 tonnes of satellite+dispenser mass to launch to LEO as soon as possible.
(Snip)
No they don’t. They have to pace the launches per their ability to commission them and decommission the first gen.)
And the timing, capabilities, and cost of NG are wild guesses
AIUI they are doing that faster than SpaceX can provide vehicles, but obviously I don't know if launching 25 at once would work with their systems.

Blue is booking GTO flights for 2020 or 2021, which supports their claim that the price will be competitive. Anything over $200M isn't competitive.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Space Ghost 1962 on 12/23/2017 08:20 PM
Be careful in reading the market - even the market (as defined by mission SC builds) doesn't even know sometimes.

Case in point is how things changed to accept booster reuse. Once a few did it, things started to "rewrite" themselves rather fast.

(Arianespace and ULA now "get this". Part of why things are the way they are now.)

My read is that SX has caught enough attention that the market is "warping" around them, where other providers "pick off" missions on a case by case basis. For the moment, this is "good enough" to keep all busy. This moment can be timed entirely by SX's manifest "dwell time".

The impact of a successful FH demo flight likely will be to relieve the "top end" payloads of having few options, but they'll be no rush to fly. It will put more schedule pressure on NG's program, and both A5/A6 programs will face margin pressure.

What else could Musk do to pressure the industry? Perhaps those lunar "free return" missions might make things uncomfortable for other LV.  Or offering inaugural flights of 20+ ton  GTO SC? Anything that allows for a 1-3 FH flight rate per year would choke all comers.

And after a good annual success rate, all other HLV might find themselves in a difficult spot justifying pricing, having to fall back on mission success rate and flight history for another year or so before that goes away too.

As to a successful FH against a impending NG,  should FH flight rate be to the 3-4 per year, it would allow Falcon to dominate across the board and set a tough act for NG to follow - because Falcon flight rate would always stay ahead of NG. Suggest that everything about BO would then become "gradatim".

Falcon would simply dominate because it wouldn't be "gradatim" in flight rate. NG would likely be "second choice" because you had to wait for it.

Those two soaking up global launch services would put the rest on short rations. (ULA's Centaur V decision makes sense in this context, as tight mission capability focus makes the "non generic" launch their forte. It's the "back filling" of manifest through cherry picking that becomes the hard part for them.) Expect that China/India slow down, and Russia has increasing LOM's. The rest become "the quick and the dead". Don't know where Europe will end up as I doubt Ariane N can handle the economics due to stubborn denial.

Don't ever expect BO to be anything but "gradatim". Don't ever expect ULA to compete on "kg/$ to LEO".
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Coastal Ron on 12/23/2017 08:40 PM
Iridium has about 72 tonnes of satellite+dispenser mass to launch to LEO as soon as possible. If New Glenn was available and offered better $/sat launch value (which it could likely do even at $150M to $200M per launch), then Iridium would likely have gone with it, IMO.

Maybe they would be willing to launch all of their satellites on one launch. But putting aside whether that was possible from an orbital insertion standpoint, Iridium may not have been willing to accept that much risk - literally all their eggs in one basket.

Which is something that all payload customers weigh, the financial and operational risk vs the rewards. Iridium likely couldn't make their business case close without the low prices SpaceX offers, but they may not have been willing to risk their entire business on a new launch provider that could launch everything on one rocket.

Quote
Or booked both F9 and NG, perhaps.

From what I've heard commercial customers are focused on supporting three launch providers right now, which is why I think SpaceX is not in danger of losing business, but Arianespace and International Launch Services (ILS) might be.

Quote
NG is well positioned for constellation launches thanks to fairing volume, although at disadvantage because it won't fly at all for a couple years, and has no heritage.

New Glenn is missing out on all the initial commsat business because it's not yet operational. So this discussion is really about a theoretical need to enhance and/or replace, en masse, existing constellations.

Quote
FH will have a significant advantage in short term availability and flight heritage (thanks to F9).

And SpaceX will have credibility in the marketplace when they start selling BFS flights too. So maybe the market seesaws between Falcon Heavy, New Glenn, BFS, New Armstrong, etc.?
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: AncientU on 12/23/2017 08:57 PM
...Arianespace and ULA now "get this".
...

One thing that is crystal clear... FH is entering a market that is evolving fast... in multiple dimensions.

The market that it was originally conceived to serve(GTO from Boca Chica, for instance) -- same market that NGLV (now Vulcan) and Ariane 6 were envisioning 3-5 years ago -- is disappearing.  Reusability is making inexpensive launch available at a launch rate that the commercial space industry has never previously experienced.  Tech advancement is making integrated constellations vastly more capable than most anything currently flying, and calling for lots of inexpensive launches of heavy LEO payloads.  Commodity launches.

New Glenn has the advantages that it is pointed at the new market and will be affordable if not 'cheap', but has a distinct disadvantage that it isn't being built for high launch cadence.  Ariane 6 and Vulcan have a triple disadvantage in that they are not pointed at the right market, nor are they being built for high cadence, nor are they 'cheap' launch.

Your comment that ULA and ArianeSpace get this is not obvious*, and I suspect it isn't even accurate.


* Tory Bruno himself argued against the concept of commodity launches a few months ago.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Space Ghost 1962 on 12/23/2017 09:42 PM
The market that it was originally conceived to serve(GTO from Boca Chica, for instance) -- same market that NGLV (now Vulcan) and Ariane 6 were envisioning 3-5 years ago -- is disappearing.  Reusability is making inexpensive launch available at a launch rate that the commercial space industry has never previously experienced.  Tech advancement is making integrated constellations vastly more capable than most anything currently flying, and calling for lots of inexpensive launches of heavy LEO payloads.  Commodity launches.
Yes things went differently. Mostly though the definitions/response are different. Including the term commodity launch.

In short, F9 addressed enough of what FH was intended for, that the need for BC was handled with the 40 refit.

Quote
New Glenn has the advantages that it is pointed at the new market and will be affordable if not 'cheap', but has a distinct disadvantage that it isn't being built for high launch cadence.
True. Also, they will gradually add experience/capability to increasingly broaden mission reach. When I said gradatim, I mean it in all ways, all areas. As we've already seen.

Quote
Ariane 6 and Vulcan have a triple disadvantage in that they are not pointed at the right market, nor are they being built for high cadence, nor are they 'cheap' launch.
True.

You missed the worst consequence for Ariane 6. They are in denial, and getting ministers to cough up N billion euros for 2-4 successive versions of Ariane as they take the long way round the barn to competition likely means it dies after Ariane 6 because they violate the "economic" trust in which they work, so denial is really deadly here.

As to Vulcan, it has less disadvantage than you think for the booster, facilities/GSE/pad, and fairing. I'd put it as more than competitive with Falcon. Where you have a point is with the US and its LRE(s). (ULA can address these in many different ways, much of which they don't want to talk about now.) Also, don't underestimate how quickly ULA can adapt to need.

Quote
Your comment that ULA and ArianeSpace get this is not obvious*, and I suspect it isn't even accurate.
Their customers tell them. Every time.

ULA's parents "hear" from Bruno. Bruno says what the parents tell him. Try talking to him in person. He's very forthright.

As to ArianeSpace, they know what they need to do, they just have trouble negotiating the terrain to get there. Also, they are "half way" into certain long term decisions, and this complicates (they can't give up on prior commitments, even though they need to).

Quote
* Tory Bruno himself argued against the concept of commodity launches a few months ago.
Because that's what the parents say. (They don't like the idea of commodity sats in particular.)

(Also, the concept of "commodity" here has changed, likely what he's referring to and what I'm referring to are quite different.)

I think he means massive cluster of payloads like cubesats, which isn't going to happen much, and not at all what I mean by the term, which is undersized payloads on quick turn RTLS launches to specific planes.

add:

After I've reread this thread (and others), I think the main misunderstanding is how the character of the business is changing irrespective of capability or market segments.

And you can tell the different responses based on those who are "stuck" in one mode or the other.

There's a "phase lag" in how the provider business adapts from 1) expendable launch, 2)down range landing with booster reuse, 3) RTLS booster only reuse, and 4) full reuse.

I think that there’s a growing acceptance of 1 moving to 2, as long as you have the capability retained for 1. BO is only focused on 2 . Most of SX “bread and butter” currently comes from same.

However, the CRS launches, and likely CC will be RTLS. Suspect that launch frequency will have the greatest increase for RTLS.

However the market hasn’t yet developed for that. It’s reasonable to assume it will take 3-10 years for a stream of payloads to rely on that, thus it’ll be an underpriced capability that will eat smaller payloads from other launchers who cannot respond (Delta II class).

But that’s about the time that NG and Ariane 6 will appear on the scene. What if it does appear? Might it undercut all launch prices as “non-gradatim” time to orbit dominates the launch market? Does this lead to a concept of “commodity launch” for most 440kg payloads, even those with high delta-V requirements? Could a means of having “low cost” US (or reuse) accelerate payloads that exploit this niche?

Number 4 is even more of a difficult one to consider, as it “eats” the market for all of 1-3. If a rival doesn’t have a competitive business established in 3 by that time, likely they have a niche business (like providing above market cost services for (likely) government only use, which will only grow in expense as time goes by.

Planning that 3 is a bust and that market won't grow seems to be the prevailing sentiment of rivals. (Already 2 seems reasonably solid and perhaps we'll see if block 5 consolidates this with 10-20 reuses per booster.)
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: scdavis on 12/24/2017 02:49 AM
Quote
New Glenn has the advantages that it is pointed at the new market and will be affordable if not 'cheap', but has a distinct disadvantage that it isn't being built for high launch cadence.

What about the New Glen design makes it not suitable for a high launch cadence? I’ve been assuming it could easily match SpaceX in launch cadence.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: M.E.T. on 12/24/2017 04:40 AM
Quote
New Glenn has the advantages that it is pointed at the new market and will be affordable if not 'cheap', but has a distinct disadvantage that it isn't being built for high launch cadence.

What about the New Glen design makes it not suitable for a high launch cadence? I’ve been assuming it could easily match SpaceX in launch cadence.

I am interested in this answer too. If NG's first stage is supposedly reusable 100 times, does that imply that they only build one or two and can launch repeatedly at a high cadence thereafter? Or is there an inherent limitation in BO's "gradatim" approach that prevents then from upping the cadence too quickly?

Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Space Ghost 1962 on 12/24/2017 05:30 AM
Quote
New Glenn has the advantages that it is pointed at the new market and will be affordable if not 'cheap', but has a distinct disadvantage that it isn't being built for high launch cadence.

What about the New Glen design makes it not suitable for a high launch cadence? I’ve been assuming it could easily match SpaceX in launch cadence.
Many things.

Downrange recovery, likely much further than furthest SX barge recovery, requiring a large (tanker) ship that needs to sail back. Booster goes to be processed before reflight.

By the time NG makes it to launching payloads, considerable number of payloads on F9/FH will be RTLS with little/no processing of booster.

Likely this means less than 50 NG mission "slots" annually to more than 100 F9/FH annual slots. Also, the missions for NG will likely be large GTO sats - these don't typically launch consecutively (or on time), so likely they would work gradually up from 4-6 annual to something like 15-20 in practice. Meanwhile, F9/FH will have a spectrum of small (2T), medium (4-5T), large (6+T), as well as crew/cargo/lunar HSF, so probably a robust 20-60 per year.

NG LV  strategy is about a high reuse rate vehicle that retains it's performance margin with a robust vehicle flown on a low impact (to the vehicle) trajectory - the long downrange means little propellant and wear/tear on the overlarge booster for large repeat use, with the price being lower turnaround rate (there are means to speed this but likely not in plan/practical).

In comparison, Falcon LV strategy is about a high flight frequency reusable vehicle that means to consume the manifest regardless of propellant/vehicle "consumption", where the smaller/more harshly used boosters cycle w/o processing through handfuls of launches consecutively, and then are either reprocessed or used on expendable launches in place of the need for larger boosters.

From a competitive standpoint, the "first mover" is attempting to grab control of the global market and entrench for a long siege with a "good enough" technology. The "fast follower" (in this case, "gradatim follower") is intending to erode/wear down with a longer term, more capable vehicle that could eventually "learn" how to do the same business better.

In the best case for both, they'll thrash the global market. More likely case is "if you want to fly fast, talk to the one, otherwise, wait for the other".

(Note than NG hasn't flown, it's engine had first test a month ago (possible more setbacks as its not an easy to prove design), no launch pad, no static tests, many years before first customer payload safely on orbit.)

(And likewise Falcon hasn't had profitable reuse, hasn't flown at high cadence, FH as a HLV is a significant challenge.)

Better way of viewing this is that NG really competes with BFR/BFS, not F9/FH, but supposedly will beat it to the pad (being built for NG now, and there's no pad in sight for BFS/BFR).

If NG's first stage is supposedly reusable 100 times, does that imply that they only build one or two and can launch repeatedly at a high cadence thereafter?
NG intends better long term economics, like BFS/BFR, over F9/FH. So you don't have to build as many.

No one has a high cadence launch architecture yet. Doesn't appear to be on the NG plan yet, but it is in plan for F9/FH.

Quote
Or is there an inherent limitation in BO's "gradatim" approach that prevents then from upping the cadence too quickly?
Gradatim is Latin for "gradual". How can you move "gradual quickly"?
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: meekGee on 12/24/2017 06:40 AM
Quote
New Glenn has the advantages that it is pointed at the new market and will be affordable if not 'cheap', but has a distinct disadvantage that it isn't being built for high launch cadence.

What about the New Glen design makes it not suitable for a high launch cadence? I’ve been assuming it could easily match SpaceX in launch cadence.

NG is not designed for RTLS recovery. NG is designed to do battle with FH, but by the time it flies, it'll be yesterday's war.

SpaceX is all-in on BFR.  If SpaceX can maintain a few trans-pacific p2p cargo routes, the flight rate would be absolutely insane. BFR will make other rockets obsolete, and this will include FH and NG.

If SpaceX executes even close to plan, NG will be too little too late.


Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: hkultala on 12/24/2017 11:12 AM
[offtopic]

Quote
New Glenn has the advantages that it is pointed at the new market and will be affordable if not 'cheap', but has a distinct disadvantage that it isn't being built for high launch cadence.

What about the New Glen design makes it not suitable for a high launch cadence? I’ve been assuming it could easily match SpaceX in launch cadence.

NG is not designed for RTLS recovery.


I'd say it was not originally planned for RTLS recovery.

But these should not be any technical reasons why it cannot do it.

Capacity would be smaller, but they have plenty of capacity anyway, so not a big problem.

Quote

BFR will make other rockets obsolete, and this will include FH and NG.

If SpaceX executes even close to plan, NG will be too little too late.

BO can develop a reusable second stage for NG.

Then BO would have a fully reusable rocket which is considerably smaller than BRF.

Of course developing reusable second stage for NG would take many years and would arrive many years after BFR.

[/offtopic]

Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Lar on 12/24/2017 11:59 AM
BO business plan is probably a bit off topic, eh?
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: First Mate Rummey on 12/24/2017 02:27 PM
New Glenn is rated to place 45 tons in LEO with first stage fully recovered. That compares to perhaps 30 tons or so to LEO for FH (at a guess), if all three cores are recovered. So at first glance, New Glenn seems to outperform FH significantly on this front.

Are you sure? I think the 45t of NG are expendable either.
Just compare their first stage thrust, 22.8MN for FH, 17.1MN for NG.
NG second stage is about 3x than FH, however.
But the 3 core FH architecture should be more efficient, given the two lateral booster can be dropped leaving the center core still burning.
So I suppose the 45t of NG can be compared to the 63.8t of FH and both are expendable.
Or am I missing something?
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: oiorionsbelt on 12/24/2017 05:36 PM

Gradatim is Latin for "gradual". How can you move "gradual quickly"?
The FH will light it's engines gradually.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: envy887 on 12/24/2017 05:46 PM
New Glenn is rated to place 45 tons in LEO with first stage fully recovered. That compares to perhaps 30 tons or so to LEO for FH (at a guess), if all three cores are recovered. So at first glance, New Glenn seems to outperform FH significantly on this front.

Are you sure? I think the 45t of NG are expendable either.
Just compare their first stage thrust, 22.8MN for FH, 17.1MN for NG.
NG second stage is about 3x than FH, however.
But the 3 core FH architecture should be more efficient, given the two lateral booster can be dropped leaving the center core still burning.
So I suppose the 45t of NG can be compared to the 63.8t of FH and both are expendable.
Or am I missing something?
45 t is with booster recovery, Blue has not given any numbers for expendable flights. The large, high thrust upper stage helps a lot.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: hkultala on 12/24/2017 05:57 PM
New Glenn is rated to place 45 tons in LEO with first stage fully recovered. That compares to perhaps 30 tons or so to LEO for FH (at a guess), if all three cores are recovered. So at first glance, New Glenn seems to outperform FH significantly on this front.

Are you sure? I think the 45t of NG are expendable either.

Your thoughts and reality have a very small correlation with each others.
Quote

Just compare their first stage thrust, 22.8MN for FH, 17.1MN for NG.

FH has a very high T/W for a liquid-fueled rocket. It's not a very optimal design.
Same engine thrust could lift much higher payload if it had bigger tanks with more fuel. But it does not have, so it has much lower payload that one could think based on it's engine thrust.

Also, FH has gas generator kerosine engine.
NG has staged combustion methane engine, with considerable higher isp.

So, NG has much better payload/thrust ratio than FH.

Quote
NG second stage is about 3x than FH, however.
But the 3 core FH architecture should be more efficient, given the two lateral booster can be dropped leaving the center core still burning.

No, because FH center core is not a very good sustainer core. It's practically like ~ 2.3-stage, not like 3 stage.

FH loses more due its too small tanks alone than it winds due it's additional ~ 0.3 stages.(*) Add the isp disadvantage and the combined effect is MUCH more in favour of NG.

Quote
So I suppose the 45t of NG can be compared to the 63.8t of FH and both are expendable.
Or am I missing something?

You are missing a lot.


(*) Because FH has 3x more thrust than F9 but only 2.8 times payload, means than by payload/thrust, FH is less optimal than even F9. And even F9 would benefit from bigger tanks.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: maitri982 on 12/25/2017 12:07 AM
Be careful in reading the market - even the market (as defined by mission SC builds) doesn't even know sometimes.

Case in point is how things changed to accept booster reuse. Once a few did it, things started to "rewrite" themselves rather fast.

(Arianespace and ULA now "get this". Part of why things are the way they are now.)

My read is that SX has caught enough attention that the market is "warping" around them, where other providers "pick off" missions on a case by case basis. For the moment, this is "good enough" to keep all busy. This moment can be timed entirely by SX's manifest "dwell time".

The impact of a successful FH demo flight likely will be to relieve the "top end" payloads of having few options, but they'll be no rush to fly. It will put more schedule pressure on NG's program, and both A5/A6 programs will face margin pressure.

What else could Musk do to pressure the industry? Perhaps those lunar "free return" missions might make things uncomfortable for other LV.  Or offering inaugural flights of 20+ ton  GTO SC? Anything that allows for a 1-3 FH flight rate per year would choke all comers.

And after a good annual success rate, all other HLV might find themselves in a difficult spot justifying pricing, having to fall back on mission success rate and flight history for another year or so before that goes away too.

As to a successful FH against a impending NG,  should FH flight rate be to the 3-4 per year, it would allow Falcon to dominate across the board and set a tough act for NG to follow - because Falcon flight rate would always stay ahead of NG. Suggest that everything about BO would then become "gradatim".

Falcon would simply dominate because it wouldn't be "gradatim" in flight rate. NG would likely be "second choice" because you had to wait for it.

Those two soaking up global launch services would put the rest on short rations. (ULA's Centaur V decision makes sense in this context, as tight mission capability focus makes the "non generic" launch their forte. It's the "back filling" of manifest through cherry picking that becomes the hard part for them.) Expect that China/India slow down, and Russia has increasing LOM's. The rest become "the quick and the dead". Don't know where Europe will end up as I doubt Ariane N can handle the economics due to stubborn denial.

Don't ever expect BO to be anything but "gradatim". Don't ever expect ULA to compete on "kg/$ to LEO".

Um... I'll point out the elephant in the room.  Blue origin has yet to launch even an empty rocket into orbit.  And even harder, return said rocket to earth in one piece.  And beyond that, being able to refurbish that rocket for reflight.

All three of those are hard and took SpaceX considerable time and money to achieve.  BO has a very long way to go to even be in the discussion as competitor to SpaceX.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: First Mate Rummey on 12/25/2017 07:23 AM
...

Everyone likes reading posts of anonymous users on the Internet, but I would be more interested in an official statement. So is there a statement from BO about the expendable payload mass to LEO?

And Merry Christmas to everyone :)
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: loki on 12/25/2017 11:30 AM
...

Everyone likes reading posts of anonymous users on the Internet, but I would be more interested in an official statement. So is there a statement from BO about the expendable payload mass to LEO?

And Merry Christmas to everyone :)

Good point.  I have not found official statement yet. But we can do estimating math for fun. Let assume that  thrust /total weight ratio for New Glenn is 1.25, total thrust at sea level is 17.1 MN (Wiki), gives total weight of about 1350 Tons. LEO payload/ total weight ratio is generally at 20-25 range. The ratio of 22 for this case gives 61-62 Tons for max expendable LEO payload.  For case of downrange booster recovery, possible reusable LEO payload is about 60-65% of max payload, which gives payload of 36-40 Tons. Of course it is very rough assumption.
New Glenn rocket is in base phase of development and it will take painful years before real reuse.
To stay with the topic, Falcon Heavy LEO reusable payload mass for current configuration (undersized second stage), estimated on base of stated GTO reusable capacity (8 Tons) is about 23 Tons. With optimal second stage with Raptors (300 Tons?) and Block 5 boosters, reusable LEO capacity should be close to 40 Tons.
Merry Christmas to everyone.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: AncientU on 12/25/2017 11:38 AM
Falcon 9 is currently the world's leader in payload mass fraction at 4.15% which is a ratio as you are calculating of 24.09.  FH is expected to top that because it uses same tech but has extra staging.  Any assumption that New Glenn will exceed that pair of PMFs is completely unfounded.  Your assumption of '22' would place it at 4.45%.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: loki on 12/25/2017 12:15 PM
Falcon 9 is currently the world's leader in payload mass fraction at 4.15% which is a ratio as you are calculating of 24.09.  FH is expected to top that because it uses same tech but has extra staging.  Any assumption that New Glenn will exceed that pair of PMFs is completely unfounded.  Your assumption of '22' would place it at 4.45%.

I am Spacex  true admirer and have been following their amazing success for almost 10 years.
My assumption  is for fun only.
I took 22 ratio because of relative high Isp of BE-4.
Falcon Heavy has very high thrust/weight ratio and boosters reaches higher speed and  altitude and as a consequence more fuel must be left for back and/or reentry burn. It needs bigger (read optimal) second stage if market exists.
To stay on the topic, another assumption, Spacex spent maybe only 150+ millions for FH development , using smartly slightly modified F9 elements and get very capable modular launcher .
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: envy887 on 12/25/2017 05:50 PM
FH has a fairly high reuse penalty, even to LEO, due to the small upper stage leading to high staging velocity. Anything over 35 or 40 tonnes will result in the center core getting very toasty in the way down.

New Glenn has a very large upper stage so the staging velocity for LEO is lower, and the stage is designed for lifting entry with no fuel mass required for entry burn. The flip side of this is that expending the core only gains 10-12% more payload by my calculations. So the expended payload is probably 50-55 tonnes.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: loki on 12/25/2017 07:24 PM
Falcon Heavy, bay my opinion, has very important role for Spacex, offering payload capabilities that cover everything on existing market (partially expandable if needed) and keep pressure on competitors. It will fly for long time, waiting for BFR, the first ever real spaceship, to become reliable and cheaper then Heavy. Hopefully, by the end of the next year,  Spacex will become only company that can launch either  payload, crew, satellites and probes to most demanding orbits.
I can't wait for launch.

Can you imagine interfering exhaust from 27 engines, on high altitude before side boosters separation? :)
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Michael Baylor on 12/25/2017 08:03 PM
Falcon Heavy, bay my opinion, has very important role for Spacex, offering payload capabilities that cover everything on existing market (partially expandable if needed) and keep pressure on competitors. It will fly for long time, waiting for BFR, the first ever real spaceship, to become reliable and cheaper then Heavy. Hopefully, by the end of the next year,  Spacex will become only company that can launch either  payload, crew, satellites and probes to most demanding orbits.
I can't wait for launch.

Can you imagine interfering exhaust from 27 engines, on high altitude before side boosters separation? :)
It does not cover everything. The fairing size is not large enough for some payloads.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Roy_H on 12/25/2017 08:15 PM
Falcon Heavy, bay my opinion, has very important role for Spacex, offering payload capabilities that cover everything on existing market (partially expandable if needed) and keep pressure on competitors. It will fly for long time, waiting for BFR, the first ever real spaceship, to become reliable and cheaper then Heavy. Hopefully, by the end of the next year,  Spacex will become only company that can launch either  payload, crew, satellites and probes to most demanding orbits.
I can't wait for launch.

Can you imagine interfering exhaust from 27 engines, on high altitude before side boosters separation? :)
It does not cover everything. The fairing size is not large enough for some payloads.
Do you really believe that SpaceX would turn down a contract because the payload doesn't fit in the existing fairing? If they had such a contract, they would build a larger fairing, count on it. Such a payload would probably be in the order of $150M for launch and fairing worth about $5M.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: loki on 12/25/2017 08:21 PM
Falcon Heavy, bay my opinion, has very important role for Spacex, offering payload capabilities that cover everything on existing market (partially expandable if needed) and keep pressure on competitors. It will fly for long time, waiting for BFR, the first ever real spaceship, to become reliable and cheaper then Heavy. Hopefully, by the end of the next year,  Spacex will become only company that can launch either  payload, crew, satellites and probes to most demanding orbits.
I can't wait for launch.

Can you imagine interfering exhaust from 27 engines, on high altitude before side boosters separation? :)
It does not cover everything. The fairing size is not large enough for some payloads.

OK, making correction: 100% of market by payload mass and 96,5% of market by fairing length, diameter and vertical payload integration. Also, ULA was paid for developing large fairing and vertical integration?
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: guckyfan on 12/25/2017 09:01 PM
I believe SpaceX go vor all military payloads. So I  do think the tooling for the new fairing allows for a longer variant.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: envy887 on 12/25/2017 09:07 PM
Falcon Heavy, bay my opinion, has very important role for Spacex, offering payload capabilities that cover everything on existing market (partially expandable if needed) and keep pressure on competitors. It will fly for long time, waiting for BFR, the first ever real spaceship, to become reliable and cheaper then Heavy. Hopefully, by the end of the next year,  Spacex will become only company that can launch either  payload, crew, satellites and probes to most demanding orbits.
I can't wait for launch.

Can you imagine interfering exhaust from 27 engines, on high altitude before side boosters separation? :)
It does not cover everything. The fairing size is not large enough for some payloads.
Do you really believe that SpaceX would turn down a contract because the payload doesn't fit in the existing fairing? If they had such a contract, they would build a larger fairing, count on it. Such a payload would probably be in the order of $150M for launch and fairing worth about $5M.

Designing, building, and qualifying (especially qualifying) a long fairing for a large NSS payload would cost a lot more than $5M. Just manufacturing a single such fairing would cost more than $5M.

That said, SpaceX could bid a lot more than $150M for the launch, since those payloads generally go on DIVH for $400M or more.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: dror on 12/25/2017 09:27 PM
Falcon Heavy, bay my opinion, has very important role for Spacex, offering payload capabilities that cover everything on existing market (partially expandable if needed) and keep pressure on competitors. It will fly for long time, waiting for BFR, the first ever real spaceship, to become reliable and cheaper then Heavy. Hopefully, by the end of the next year,  Spacex will become only company that can launch either  payload, crew, satellites and probes to most demanding orbits.
I can't wait for launch.

Can you imagine interfering exhaust from 27 engines, on high altitude before side boosters separation? :)
It does not cover everything. The fairing size is not large enough for some payloads.
Do you really believe that SpaceX would turn down a contract because the payload doesn't fit in the existing fairing? If they had such a contract, they would build a larger fairing, count on it. Such a payload would probably be in the order of $150M for launch and fairing worth about $5M.

If I'm not mistaken, Bigelow has chosen Vulcan over Falcon because of the fairing size:

https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=43992.msg1738605#msg1738605
"The B330 would launch to Low Earth Orbit on a Vulcan 562 configuration rocket, the only commercial launch vehicle in development today with sufficient performance and a large enough payload fairing to carry the habitat. "
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: AncientU on 12/25/2017 09:37 PM
Bigelow has chosen to partner with ULA in proposing a multi-billion dollar package to the USG.
They didn't buy a launch.  Since ULA helped write that splash, it's a bit biased.

(Yes, you are mistaken.)
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: envy887 on 12/26/2017 01:00 AM
Also it's probably not true now that Blue is developing a 7 meter fairing for New Glenn.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: loki on 12/26/2017 09:28 AM
Falcon Heavy, bay my opinion, has very important role for Spacex, offering payload capabilities that cover everything on existing market (partially expandable if needed) and keep pressure on competitors. It will fly for long time, waiting for BFR, the first ever real spaceship, to become reliable and cheaper then Heavy. Hopefully, by the end of the next year,  Spacex will become only company that can launch either  payload, crew, satellites and probes to most demanding orbits.
I can't wait for launch.

Can you imagine interfering exhaust from 27 engines, on high altitude before side boosters separation? :)
It does not cover everything. The fairing size is not large enough for some payloads.
Do you really believe that SpaceX would turn down a contract because the payload doesn't fit in the existing fairing? If they had such a contract, they would build a larger fairing, count on it. Such a payload would probably be in the order of $150M for launch and fairing worth about $5M.

If I'm not mistaken, Bigelow has chosen Vulcan over Falcon because of the fairing size:

https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=43992.msg1738605#msg1738605
"The B330 would launch to Low Earth Orbit on a Vulcan 562 configuration rocket, the only commercial launch vehicle in development today with sufficient performance and a large enough payload fairing to carry the habitat. "

Let me expand above FH capabilities discussion, now for future launch market, i.e. launching Bigelow B330.
F9/FH fairing fits industrial standard minimal useful internal diameter of 4720mm (15’).  To fit  B330, with length of 13.7m  existing fairing has to be extended for about 5m at cylindrical part. With mass of about 20 Tons and distance from PLA flange to its center of gravity of about 7m, B330 can’t fit any existing PLA even close. FH Block5 could easily launch B330 to LEO 1000x1000 km. So, to launch B330, Spacex has to rebuild existing autoclave by length, manufacture additional cylindrical mold to extend existing one and upgrade vacuum system, to be able to produce extended and strengthened fairing. Additionally, new PLA must be designed and probably upper stage should be reinforced.
Is there a business case for Spacex, considering one launch per year?
The story further becomes more complicated as Bigelow need supply and crew transportation service at least for times per year.
By the end of next year, Begelow could get all needed services on one place: Spacex.
Mrs. Shotwell recently held meeting with Bigelow executives negotiating buying alien alloys. :D
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: speedevil on 12/26/2017 06:24 PM

Let me expand above FH capabilities discussion, now for future launch market, i.e. launching Bigelow B330.
F9/FH fairing fits industrial standard minimal useful internal diameter of 4720mm (15’).  To fit  B330, with length of 13.7m  existing fairing has to be extended for about 5m at cylindrical part. With mass of about 20 Tons and distance from PLA flange to its center of gravity of about 7m, B330 can’t fit any existing PLA even close. FH Block5 could easily launch B330 to LEO 1000x1000 km. So, to launch B330, Spacex has to rebuild existing autoclave by length, manufacture additional cylindrical mold to extend existing one and upgrade vacuum system, to be able to produce extended and strengthened fairing. Additionally, new PLA must be designed and probably upper stage should be reinforced.

This does rather presume total investment in the B330 hardware and/or design costs are considerably larger than F9 fairing re-engineering - how much is built hardware, and how much is waiting on someone committing to actually funding it before getting something that requires more than a USB stick as a fairing.

In principle, tooling being developed for BFR might have a role in developing a large fairing, and recovery operations for the existing fairings could greatly reduce cost if you only need to make one for a launch campaign.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: oldAtlas_Eguy on 12/26/2017 07:01 PM

Let me expand above FH capabilities discussion, now for future launch market, i.e. launching Bigelow B330.
F9/FH fairing fits industrial standard minimal useful internal diameter of 4720mm (15’).  To fit  B330, with length of 13.7m  existing fairing has to be extended for about 5m at cylindrical part. With mass of about 20 Tons and distance from PLA flange to its center of gravity of about 7m, B330 can’t fit any existing PLA even close. FH Block5 could easily launch B330 to LEO 1000x1000 km. So, to launch B330, Spacex has to rebuild existing autoclave by length, manufacture additional cylindrical mold to extend existing one and upgrade vacuum system, to be able to produce extended and strengthened fairing. Additionally, new PLA must be designed and probably upper stage should be reinforced.

This does rather presume total investment in the B330 hardware and/or design costs are considerably larger than F9 fairing re-engineering - how much is built hardware, and how much is waiting on someone committing to actually funding it before getting something that requires more than a USB stick as a fairing.

In principle, tooling being developed for BFR might have a role in developing a large fairing, and recovery operations for the existing fairings could greatly reduce cost if you only need to make one for a launch campaign.
The one primary user of a larger faring for use on FH is Starlink. Currently the volume of the faring is maxed out but weight is less than the max that an F9 can throw. Double the volume and you can double the number of Starlink sats that can be deployed in one launch. 1/2 orbital ring on F9 ~up to 32 sats vs a complete orbital ring with FH ~ up to 64 sats.

The reason would be that cost of launch per sat would be less on FH in this case. That is the incentive for a longer faring. Cost (cost to SpaceX not price) of F9 ~$40M (used booster RTLS flight) at ~$1.25M/sat. Cost (cost to SpaceX not price) of FH ~$50M (3 used boosters RTLS and ASDS center core) at ~$0.8M/sat. Savings to starlink per launch using FH vs 2 F9 $30M each time. Over 800 the first sats that is $360M in savings definitely enough to pay for the development of a longer faring for FH plus advanced faring reuse tech.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: cppetrie on 12/26/2017 07:20 PM
I predict we won’t see a larger fairing until we see fairing recovery and reuse be successful. They won’t develop a ~$10 million pallet of cash until they figure out how to get the current $6 million pallet back in useable form.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: oldAtlas_Eguy on 12/26/2017 07:35 PM
I predict we won’t see a larger fairing until we see fairing recovery and reuse be successful. They won’t develop a ~$10 million pallet of cash until they figure out how to get the current $6 million pallet back in useable form.
Especially true for Starlink. A single design faring not requiring to be a generic design to handle multiple payloads. At 10 to 20 launches per year for Starlink a $5M savings average per launch is $50-$100M savings per year. Starlink is the primary driver for faring reuse.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: TorenAltair on 12/27/2017 12:16 AM
I don't think they currently could be able to launch 32 or more sats even with a larger fairing due to PAF limit of about 11 tonnes. I assume they would have to strengthen the second stage first.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: oldAtlas_Eguy on 12/27/2017 02:52 AM
I don't think they currently could be able to launch 32 or more sats even with a larger fairing due to PAF limit of about 11 tonnes. I assume they would have to strengthen the second stage first.
The PAF is not a limiting factor. They can build a stronger one and in fact this 11mt one dates back to F9-1.0. They had 2 models a light (for <3.5mt GTO payloads) and heavy (for <10.8mt LEO payloads). Since then they have added a design for a 22mt PAF but have not needed to use it yet. The limit is the structural strength of the US attachment ring that the PAF and the Faring attach to not the PAF.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: speedevil on 12/27/2017 04:08 AM
The one primary user of a larger faring for use on FH is Starlink. Currently the volume of the faring is maxed out but weight is less than the max that an F9 can throw. Double the volume and you can double the number of Starlink sats that can be deployed in one launch. 1/2 orbital ring on F9 ~up to 32 sats vs a complete orbital ring with FH ~ up to 64 sats.

I have failed to find a nice mass or volume number for the satellites.
F9 fairing enclosed payload volume is somewhere in the range of 120m^3.

I've failed to find any source saying the volume for the satellite is between 3m^3 and 6m^3, and not (say) 1m^3.
What's your rationale for the above calculation?
I may have missed a source.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: docmordrid on 12/27/2017 05:58 AM
>
I have failed to find a nice mass or volume number for the satellites.
>
I've failed to find any source saying the volume for the satellite is between 3m^3 and 6m^3, and not (say) 1m^3.
>

Here ya go....
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Jimmy Murdok on 12/27/2017 09:09 AM
Even if the fairing is upgraded, I fail to see how the long 20t Bigelow module or a new PAF can hold the weight of the horizontal integration.
I think the decission is related to vertical integration, fairing and PAF are secondary items.
FH is just great for GTO, Mars and hopefully some sort of propellant depot filled once in vertical.
My 0,02
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: speedevil on 12/27/2017 01:14 PM
>
I have failed to find a nice mass or volume number for the satellites.
>
I've failed to find any source saying the volume for the satellite is between 3m^3 and 6m^3, and not (say) 1m^3.
>

Here ya go....

I have problems with this. This gives the satellite body dimensions as 4*1.8*1.2m - 8.6m^3, so a completely naive view might be that ~6 satellites might fit inside the fairing.

However, Iridium-next satellite dimensions are from one source given as  3.1 m x 2.4 m x 1.5 m - 11.1m^3, and that launched ten.

Iridium weighs over twice as much.
4*1.8*1.2 is also notably rather larger than a refrigerator (annoyingly, I can find lots of people repeating this claim, but can't find a source at the 2015 announcement, other transcripts of what Elon has said, or ...)

If we take 4*1.8*1.2 as gospel, and not unfolded, this is also for example consistent with a pie-wedge shape 4m high, 1.8m wide, with the segments being 1.2m along the outside diameter. this allows fitting 22 into the existing fairing.

If the 'size of a refrigerator' is to be believed, then 1.8*1.2*1.2 would about work, with around 40 fitting, assuming rectangular boxes.
Either of these would also be about consistent with Iridium satellite density, not way under it.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: envy887 on 12/27/2017 01:33 PM
>
I have failed to find a nice mass or volume number for the satellites.
>
I've failed to find any source saying the volume for the satellite is between 3m^3 and 6m^3, and not (say) 1m^3.
>

Here ya go....

I have problems with this. This gives the satellite body dimensions as 4*1.8*1.2m - 8.6m^3, so a completely naive view might be that ~6 satellites might fit inside the fairing.

However, Iridium-next satellite dimensions are from one source given as  3.1 m x 2.4 m x 1.5 m - 11.1m^3, and that launched ten.

Iridium weighs over twice as much.
4*1.8*1.2 is also notably rather larger than a refrigerator (annoyingly, I can find lots of people repeating this claim, but can't find a source at the 2015 announcement, other transcripts of what Elon has said, or ...)

If we take 4*1.8*1.2 as gospel, and not unfolded, this is also for example consistent with a pie-wedge shape 4m high, 1.8m wide, with the segments being 1.2m along the outside diameter. this allows fitting 22 into the existing fairing.

If the 'size of a refrigerator' is to be believed, then 1.8*1.2*1.2 would about work, with around 40 fitting, assuming rectangular boxes.
Either of these would also be about consistent with Iridium satellite density, not way under it.

The dimensions given are used for the orbital decay drag calculation, so most definitely the unfolded dimensions.

I think Iridium birds are 2.4 m tall and 1.5 m thick, with 3.1 m being the unfolded span of the arrays. If the SpaceX birds are designed along the same lines, they would be 1.8 m tall, 1.2 m thick, with a 4 m array span. Assuming the folded width maintains around the same 80% size ratio to Iridium, they could fit at least 6 in a ring (Iridium fits 5). They could easily fit 3 rings high in the current fairing, plus a small ring of 3 on top, for a total of 21. If they get 7 per ring and 4 in a smaller ring on top, that's 25 per launch, or exactly 1/2 an orbital plane. It's also about 10,000 kg including dispensers, which is about what F9 Block 5 will launch to to 1000 km polar orbit with booster RTLS.

Falcon Heavy can probably do about 25,000 kg to that orbit with booster RTLS. If they made a long fairing just barely bigger than the longest ULA fairing (by about 0.2 meters), they could stack 7 rings high of 7 each, and another 3 on top, for a total of 52 birds and 21,000 kg including dispensers. Well within FH payload capability, and fills 72 of the 83 of the planes in 1 launch each.

So it seems likely to me that if they use Falcon Heavy for the constellation, they will build a longer fairing to fit 50 satellites inside. Otherwise, they will use F9 and cram 25 into fairing 2.0 on each launch.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: oldAtlas_Eguy on 12/27/2017 06:32 PM
The dimensions give a size slightly larger than that of an Iridium sat and therefore only at best 10 will fit in the F9 faring. But that is also 8X that of a refrigerator in size. A refrigerator is more like 2mX.9mX.6m.

At 10 the payload weight is only ~5mt and with a longer faring  at most with a faring lengthened by 4+m of a count of 15 sats and a payload mass of 7.5mt. Which still is a F9 payload size and not that of a FH.

And we are wandering OT for this thread.

The Starlink sat discussion should go to this thread:
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=44288.new#new (http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=44288.new#new)
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: wannamoonbase on 12/27/2017 07:09 PM
SpaceX is likely getting closer to pegging down the cost variables of reuseability.

Deploying the constellation on the F9 or the FH, I think, is still an unknown.  Will using more Block 5 F9's be cheaper than   Block 5 FH's?

I don't think anyone knows at this point.  But we are getting closer to those numbers and the start of the constellation, and that's very exciting.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Okie_Steve on 12/28/2017 04:38 AM
One topic of recurring speculation is what payloads would need the lift capability of the heavy. Which leads me to a possibly dumb question since I know nothing about satellite architecture. Would it be reasonable for some government agency with a name ending in "A" to take a standard - if there is such a thing - recon sat and add tankage for lots more propellant for station keeping and manuvering? Or are all the systems so interrelated that it would be better to start from scratch building a big honking payload like that? With all the lead time that implies.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: IanThePineapple on 12/28/2017 04:39 AM
One topic of recurring speculation is what payloads would need the lift capability of the heavy. Which leads me to a possibly dumb question since I know nothing about satellite architecture. Would it be reasonable for some government agency with a name ending in "A" to take a standard - if there is such a thing - recon sat and add tankage for lots more propellant for station keeping and manuvering? Or are all the systems so interrelated that it would be better to start from scratch building a big honking payload like that? With all the lead time that implies.

It would take years to redesign a sat bus, it's not just duct taping more tanks on and using straws to connect them.

Then you need to build it after designing.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Okie_Steve on 12/28/2017 04:46 AM
OK, thanks. I suppose there might be a few other issues about launching 20 or 30 tons of hydrazine etc too. :o
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: MikeAtkinson on 12/28/2017 08:54 AM
The dimensions give a size slightly larger than that of an Iridium sat and therefore only at best 10 will fit in the F9 faring. But that is also 8X that of a refrigerator in size. A refrigerator is more like 2mX.9mX.6m.

At 10 the payload weight is only ~5mt and with a longer faring  at most with a faring lengthened by 4+m of a count of 15 sats and a payload mass of 7.5mt. Which still is a F9 payload size and not that of a FH.

And we are wandering OT for this thread.

The Starlink sat discussion should go to this thread:
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=44288.new#new (http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=44288.new#new)

There are perhaps better ways of packing the satellites and deployment structure than used by Iridium. Perhaps by trading satellite mass with deployment structure mass.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: AncientU on 12/28/2017 11:23 AM
The dimensions give a size slightly larger than that of an Iridium sat and therefore only at best 10 will fit in the F9 faring. But that is also 8X that of a refrigerator in size. A refrigerator is more like 2mX.9mX.6m.

At 10 the payload weight is only ~5mt and with a longer faring  at most with a faring lengthened by 4+m of a count of 15 sats and a payload mass of 7.5mt. Which still is a F9 payload size and not that of a FH.

And we are wandering OT for this thread.

The Starlink sat discussion should go to this thread:
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=44288.new#new (http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=44288.new#new)

There are perhaps better ways of packing the satellites and deployment structure than used by Iridium. Perhaps by trading satellite mass with deployment structure mass.

Packing factor and density has been on SpaceX's radar from day one... they know how many are going to be launched, and they know the vehicles available to launch them.  We just have to wait until the first ones are integrated to see the solution that has been optimized.

For FH, I suspect that they are waiting for the USAF to foot the bill for a longer fairing.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Chris Bergin on 12/29/2017 10:56 PM
OK. Gave it a chance for some good rebuttal of that paper having a go at attacking Falcon Heavy, but a lot of you fell into the trap these sites prey on.

"I'm outraged by this: (links site.....site says thanks for all the visitors you're sending us)."

Followed by 15 more again quoting the post with the link and adding the "I'm also outraged" style comment. (That site says "I feed off your hate. Please, be more outraged!")

That's how some media work.

However, I didn't actually read it! Now I'm told it was a far right angled publication, so at the risk of getting a slap from that fella in Alabama who literally is the worst horseman I've ever seen (I ride, so I know), thread trimmed. :)

I don't think any of you will be weeping about that mini-thread being removed. ;)

Hey, how about that big rocket! Let's keep talking about that.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: MickQ on 12/29/2017 11:33 PM
Right On, Chris !
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: clongton on 12/30/2017 01:20 PM
You ROCK Chris! :)
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Jim on 12/30/2017 09:15 PM


For FH, I suspect that they are waiting for the USAF to foot the bill for a longer fairing.

not happening
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: clongton on 12/30/2017 09:22 PM

For FH, I suspect that they are waiting for the USAF to foot the bill for a longer fairing.
not happening

If The Air Force wants to launch something that needs a longer fairing they will put out a RFQ for it.
If SpaceX wants to bid on it their bid will need to take into account everything they need to do.
The Air Force will then decide which of the several bidders gets the launch contract based on RFQ requirements, including but not limited to cost..

The AF will allow for reasonable development to be included but they will *not* "pay for" the fairing development.
That's on SpaceX's dime alone.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: envy887 on 12/30/2017 09:46 PM

For FH, I suspect that they are waiting for the USAF to foot the bill for a longer fairing.
not happening

If The Air Force wants to launch something that needs a longer fairing they will put out a RFQ for it.
If SpaceX wants to bid on it their bid will need to take into account everything they need to do.
The Air Force will then decide which of the several bidders gets the launch contract based on RFQ requirements, including but not limited to cost..

The AF will allow for reasonable development to be included but they will *not* "pay for" the fairing development.
That's on SpaceX's dime alone.

Right, the DoD would never pay a launch provider for specific launch vehicle upgrades...

https://arstechnica.com/science/2017/06/the-us-military-is-still-paying-a-spacex-competitor-for-rocket-upgrades/
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: meekGee on 12/30/2017 09:52 PM
The last thing SpaceX needs is to do one-off projects, even if funded, for the USG.

They have StarLink on their mind, and BFR, and everything else is really not that interesting to them.

If they need a bigger fairing for StarLink, they'll make one - but they'll make it like they want to, not like the AF wants to.

Remember that they want to build an entire BFArchitecture on their own dime - that's a lot more than some extended fairing.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: guckyfan on 12/30/2017 09:56 PM
The last thing SpaceX needs is to do one-off projects, even if funded, for the USG.

They have StarLink on their mind, and BFR, and everything else is really not that interesting to them.

If they need a bigger fairing for StarLink, they'll make one - but they'll make it like they want to, not like the AF wants to.

Remember that they want to build an entire BFArchitecture on their own dime - that's a lot more than some extended fairing.

I am quite confident with my opinion that SpaceX intends to to be able to do all DoD missions with the Falcon family. That would include vertical integration and a larger fairing. A 2 year timeframe from contract to launch will enable them to design the capabilities after contract award.

Edit: fixed quote
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: meekGee on 12/30/2017 10:01 PM
The last thing SpaceX needs is to do one-off projects, even if funded, for the USG.

They have StarLink on their mind, and BFR, and everything else is really not that interesting to them.

If they need a bigger fairing for StarLink, they'll make one - but they'll make it like they want to, not like the AF wants to.

Remember that they want to build an entire BFArchitecture on their own dime - that's a lot more than some extended fairing.

I am quite confident with my opinion that SpaceX intends to to be able to do all DoD missions with the Falcon family. That would include vertical integration and a larger fairing. A 2 year timeframe from contract to launch will enable them to design the capabilities after contract award.

Edit: fixed quote
Why would they?

They're intent on retiring F9, and moving on the what is literally a new space age.

Plus they want to operate StarLink, which is much more lucrative than an AF contract.

The AF will come along when they're good and ready.  Until then they can fly EELVs.

Also, why antagonize ULAs support base?  The "win" they are aiming for is so large that there's no need for ULA to "lose".

It'd be a distraction and a wasted effort.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: guckyfan on 12/30/2017 10:26 PM
I am quite confident with my opinion that SpaceX intends to to be able to do all DoD missions with the Falcon family. That would include vertical integration and a larger fairing. A 2 year timeframe from contract to launch will enable them to design the capabilities after contract award.
Why would they?

They're intent on retiring F9, and moving on the what is literally a new space age.

Plus they want to operate StarLink, which is much more lucrative than an AF contract.

The AF will come along when they're good and ready.  Until then they can fly EELVs.

Also, why antagonize ULAs support base?  The "win" they are aiming for is so large that there's no need for ULA to "lose".

It'd be a distraction and a wasted effort.

It is quite clear that SpaceX will not get any NASA support for BFR but possibly from the Airforce. No point in antagonizing the Airforce by not following up on their commitement to fly all military payloads. FH makes little sense now that RedDragon is gone except for that.

Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: meekGee on 12/30/2017 10:31 PM
I am quite confident with my opinion that SpaceX intends to to be able to do all DoD missions with the Falcon family. That would include vertical integration and a larger fairing. A 2 year timeframe from contract to launch will enable them to design the capabilities after contract award.
Why would they?

They're intent on retiring F9, and moving on the what is literally a new space age.

Plus they want to operate StarLink, which is much more lucrative than an AF contract.

The AF will come along when they're good and ready.  Until then they can fly EELVs.

Also, why antagonize ULAs support base?  The "win" they are aiming for is so large that there's no need for ULA to "lose".

It'd be a distraction and a wasted effort.

It is quite clear that SpaceX will not get any NASA support for BFR but possibly from the Airforce. No point in antagonizing the Airforce by not following up on their commitement to fly all military payloads. FH makes little sense now that RedDragon is gone except for that.

I didn't say "don't fly AF payloads".  I said "don't develop specialty hardware for that".

The most expensive thing for SpaceX right now is engineering bandwidth.

EELVs can take care of business for the next few years, until the AF realizes (in not too many years) that there's a 100-ton rapidly reusable booster available.  Requirements will start changing rapidly, I'm pretty confident of that.  The Air Force will not waste capability like that.

Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: guckyfan on 12/30/2017 10:34 PM
I didn't say "don't fly AF payloads".  I said "don't develop specialty hardware for that".

The point is to be able to fly all of them. I am pretty sure the engineering is done already. They will bid and actually build when they win a contract.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: clongton on 12/30/2017 10:43 PM
Guys, SpaceX will decide by themselves what they will and won't do without input from any of us.
We're just privileged to be able to watch how all this plays out [nearly] first hand (thanks NSF).
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: meekGee on 12/30/2017 11:11 PM
Guys, SpaceX will decide by themselves what they will and won't do without input from any of us.
We're just privileged to be able to watch how all this plays out [nearly] first hand (thanks NSF).
Indeed they will....

And this is not the thread for it anyway..
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: jpo234 on 01/01/2018 10:16 PM
The vehicle for this flight should be all new Block 5 cores.
The only FH B5 cores ever made?? B5 cores should be good for more flights than there are FH missions on the manifest...
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Jakusb on 01/01/2018 10:45 PM
The vehicle for this flight should be all new Block 5 cores.
The only FH B5 cores ever made?? B5 cores should be good for more flights than there are FH missions on the manifest...

It would not hurt to have 2 of those...
I would expect that time and experience gained the next year will be a major factor on what actually will happen next.
If Block 5 will proof as good as they hope it will be, it will change the game big time.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: matthewkantar on 01/03/2018 07:38 PM
SpaceX posted a nice little movie of the Falcon Heavy out at 39A on Instagram.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: IanThePineapple on 01/05/2018 03:29 AM
The vehicle for this flight should be all new Block 5 cores.
The only FH B5 cores ever made?? B5 cores should be good for more flights than there are FH missions on the manifest...

I'd guess at first they'll have 1-2 trios of B5 FH cores, exchanging them out every flight. If FH begins to get really popular, I could see another few sets be made.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Lars-J on 01/05/2018 05:10 AM
The vehicle for this flight should be all new Block 5 cores.
The only FH B5 cores ever made?? B5 cores should be good for more flights than there are FH missions on the manifest...

I'd guess at first they'll have 1-2 trios of B5 FH cores, exchanging them out every flight. If FH begins to get really popular, I could see another few sets be made.

Note that F9 cores can be converted into FH side cores - and vice versa.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: jpo234 on 01/05/2018 11:12 AM
FH versus different other SHLV: https://gfycat.com/tediousunderstatedgreatwhiteshark
Another version: https://gfycat.com/HarmlessFavorableGrasshopper

Credit: https://www.reddit.com/r/spacex/comments/7o8ogz/oc_falcon_heavy_vs_various_rockets_requested/
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: ATPTourFan on 01/05/2018 01:32 PM
And following that, are all Block 5 standard F9 cores already compatible with Falcon Heavy as a side booster? Thinking the new octaweb for Block 5 has everything needed as standard now and any other changes to the booster are in the interstage/nose-cone area and can be done during the campaign through to launch.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: kevinstout on 01/05/2018 08:35 PM
Could a B5 heavy center core fly single stick?  I guess there’s a small performance hit. 


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: gongora on 01/05/2018 08:46 PM
And following that, are all Block 5 standard F9 cores already compatible with Falcon Heavy as a side booster? Thinking the new octaweb for Block 5 has everything needed as standard now and any other changes to the booster are in the interstage/nose-cone area and can be done during the campaign through to launch.

The octaweb would still need to be modified but apparently that can be done with bolts instead of welds now.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: russianhalo117 on 01/05/2018 08:54 PM
And following that, are all Block 5 standard F9 cores already compatible with Falcon Heavy as a side booster? Thinking the new octaweb for Block 5 has everything needed as standard now and any other changes to the booster are in the interstage/nose-cone area and can be done during the campaign through to launch.

The octaweb would still need to be modified but apparently that can be done with bolts instead of welds now.
It is my understanding that the B4 and B5 octawebs have all of the FH systems and attachment points manufactured from the get go and yes it is now only recessed slots for brackets, bolt holes and plug holes for for electrical and data to the separation and strut stowage systems.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: SPITexas on 01/08/2018 04:07 AM
So the falcon heavy has been pushed back to late January said by Elon musk so when’s the static fire? This week?
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Chris Bergin on 01/08/2018 04:03 PM
So the falcon heavy has been pushed back to late January said by Elon musk so when’s the static fire? This week?

Yes, this week. Possibly Wednesday...SUBJECT TO CHANGE.

But they'll fire up when they are good and ready. 27 engines. This is not going to be your usual firing.

Let them get on the pad and ready to prop load. Then we'll know. Dates on this one have been moving around. If I get a good "going for it now" note, it'll be posted here (well the update thread) :)

And I want to see SWARMS of people taking their Facebook live and such to various viewing spots to stream this big girl firing up to the masses. So that makes it doubly important that the SECOND we get a good "going for it" date/time, it'll be posted HERE (well, the update thread ;)) and tweeted out and sent to all reaches of the planet via Pony Express, smoke signals and carrier pigeons.  ;D
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: SPITexas on 01/08/2018 04:33 PM
So the falcon heavy has been pushed back to late January said by Elon musk so when’s the static fire? This week?

Yes, this week. Possibly Wednesday...SUBJECT TO CHANGE.

But they'll fire up when they are good and ready. 27 engines. This is not going to be your usual firing.

Let them get on the pad and ready to prop load. Then we'll know. Dates on this one have been moving around. If I get a good "going for it now" note, it'll be posted here (well the update thread) :)

And I want to see SWARMS of people taking their Facebook live and such to various viewing spots to stream this big girl firing up to the masses. So that makes it doubly important that the SECOND we get a good "going for it" date/time, it'll be posted HERE (well, the update thread ;)) and tweeted out and sent to all reaches of the planet via Pony Express, smoke signals and carrier pigeons.  ;D

I heard the Heavy is back on the pad again. But no confirmation if it’s a static fire so we wait.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Chris Bergin on 01/08/2018 04:48 PM
So the falcon heavy has been pushed back to late January said by Elon musk so when’s the static fire? This week?

Yes, this week. Possibly Wednesday...SUBJECT TO CHANGE.

But they'll fire up when they are good and ready. 27 engines. This is not going to be your usual firing.

Let them get on the pad and ready to prop load. Then we'll know. Dates on this one have been moving around. If I get a good "going for it now" note, it'll be posted here (well the update thread) :)

And I want to see SWARMS of people taking their Facebook live and such to various viewing spots to stream this big girl firing up to the masses. So that makes it doubly important that the SECOND we get a good "going for it" date/time, it'll be posted HERE (well, the update thread ;)) and tweeted out and sent to all reaches of the planet via Pony Express, smoke signals and carrier pigeons.  ;D

I heard the Heavy is back on the pad again. But no confirmation if it’s a static fire so we wait.

Yes, the update thread shows they are heading back to the pad and this is for the Static Fire test.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: FutureMartian97 on 01/08/2018 05:10 PM
Are they targeting tomorrow then? Don't see a reason they will leave it there unless they are gonna do another WDR first.

Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: gongora on 01/08/2018 05:13 PM
Are they targeting tomorrow then? Don't see a reason they will leave it there unless they are gonna do another WDR first.

Another WDR?  They haven't done one yet on this vehicle.  Chris B. said above that they may be targeting Wednesday.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: TrueBlueWitt on 01/08/2018 05:13 PM
Are they targeting tomorrow then? Don't see a reason they will leave it there unless they are gonna do another WDR first.

Did they do a WDR before? Thought it was just fit checks?
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: FutureMartian97 on 01/08/2018 05:17 PM
Are they targeting tomorrow then? Don't see a reason they will leave it there unless they are gonna do another WDR first.

Did they do a WDR before? Thought it was just fit checks?

My mistake. Thought the fit check was a WDR.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: envy887 on 01/08/2018 07:56 PM
So the falcon heavy has been pushed back to late January said by Elon musk so when’s the static fire? This week?

Yes, this week. Possibly Wednesday...SUBJECT TO CHANGE.

But they'll fire up when they are good and ready. 27 engines. This is not going to be your usual firing.

Let them get on the pad and ready to prop load. Then we'll know. Dates on this one have been moving around. If I get a good "going for it now" note, it'll be posted here (well the update thread) :)

And I want to see SWARMS of people taking their Facebook live and such to various viewing spots to stream this big girl firing up to the masses. So that makes it doubly important that the SECOND we get a good "going for it" date/time, it'll be posted HERE (well, the update thread ;)) and tweeted out and sent to all reaches of the planet via Pony Express, smoke signals and carrier pigeons.  ;D

I heard the Heavy is back on the pad again. But no confirmation if it’s a static fire so we wait.

Yes, the update thread shows they are heading back to the pad and this is for the Static Fire test.

The update thread doesn't show that last bit. If this is official/reliable, can you update the update thread?
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: deruch on 01/08/2018 09:22 PM
This thread is for general discussion of the vehicle.  There is an Update and a Discussion thread in the SpaceX Missions section for discussing particular activities in preparation for the Demo mission specifically.  Much better to not spread any discussion of events over multiple threads in different sections. 


UPDATES:  http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=44376.0 

DISCUSSION: http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=42705.0
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: AncientU on 01/22/2018 07:54 PM
Here's a Lunar program proposal based on FH:

Quote
Why the Falcon Heavy should be America's next Moon rocket

Quote
Choosing the right architecture

There are a number of possible architectures that could use the Falcon Heavy as part of a lunar development program. The architecture described here is just one but it envisions using hardware which could reasonably be available within the term(s) of the current presidency. The various possible architectures should be explored prior to this administration publicly selecting an architecture that may be much less cost effective and also potentially slower.

Quote
Vulcan, New Glenn, Blue Moon, and the Big “Falcon” Rocket (BFR) could and should compete for contracts within a “Lunar COTS” public private partnership (PPP).

Quote
Lunar COTS needs to be on the scale of the current public private programs (that is, about five percent of NASA’s budget). Small commercial launches in support of the “real” program (i.e. SLS-Orion-DSG) is not the model that has proven so successful. To be sustainable, we need to use PPPs to help private companies eventually establish a commercial transportation to the Moon for both cargo and crew.

http://www.thespacereview.com/article/3414/1
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: kdhilliard on 01/22/2018 08:17 PM
Here's a Lunar program proposal based on FH:
Quote
Why the Falcon Heavy should be America's next Moon rocket
...

That is, of course, by Doug Plata, medical doctor, space activist, and regular participant of The Space Show.  While his Lunar COTS proposal is more related to FH in general than to this Demo thread, the Demo tie-in is that he has built an inflatable mock-up of his proposed lunar lander and will be bringing it from California to Florida to display it during the Demo launch.

His last appearance on The Space Show was on 2017-11-06 (http://www.thespaceshow.com/show/06-nov-2017/broadcast-3011-dr.-doug-plata) and his comments in the discussion section for that show include a photo of his mock-up.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Star One on 01/25/2018 07:51 PM
With successful test fire, massive Falcon Heavy rocket is poised to boost space science

Quote
Such price tags could transform mission planning for NASA and other space agencies, Stern says. "You're talking about savings of hundreds of millions of dollars, which is sufficient to create whole new missions just from the savings." Of course, were NASA to save on launches, Congress could take that money and use it elsewhere, says Henry Hertzfeld, who studies space policy at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. He adds that the launch fees that government agencies pay tend to be negotiated in long-term contracts, based on payload needs, and don't necessarily align with prices published on a company website.

http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2018/01/successful-test-fire-massive-falcon-heavy-rocket-poised-boost-space-science
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: kerrycockram on 01/25/2018 11:26 PM
If you're wondering what that pad looks like from the NASA causeway, here's a private video I took of STS-135.

Maybe it helps settle some minds about where to see FH launch. The causeway doesn't suck. There might be better spots but it's not exactly terrible :)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g_jsVEMd0D8

Please ignore the background commentary. I didn't feel like going through the whole thing to remove anything bad or annoying, since I'm just posting this for the L2 crew, not the whole world.

Thanks!

KC

Edit: the "autofix" went awry on this thing. Never let a computer tell you how art should look. It's reverting...
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: The_Ronin on 01/26/2018 03:40 AM
If you're wondering what that pad looks like from the NASA causeway, here's a private video I took of STS-135.

Maybe it helps settle some minds about where to see FH launch. The causeway doesn't suck. There might be better spots but it's not exactly terrible :)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g_jsVEMd0D8

Please ignore the background commentary. I didn't feel like going through the whole thing to remove anything bad or annoying, since I'm just posting this for the L2 crew, not the whole world.

Thanks!

KC

Edit: the "autofix" went awry on this thing. Never let a computer tell you how art should look. It's reverting...

I was on the Causeway when they scrubbed STS-134.  Are they selling tickets for the Causeway for FH?
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Star One on 01/26/2018 06:23 AM
Further to that article I posted about I really can imagine Europa Clipper ending up being launched on Falcon Heavy rather than the SLS. If it wasn’t for the large political factor in the matter it would be the more logical option from a cost basis.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: kerrycockram on 01/26/2018 11:48 AM
I was on the Causeway when they scrubbed STS-134.  Are they selling tickets for the Causeway for FH?

You can tell I don't do this often. I misinterpreted the "close" package as being on the causeway. It's actually near the Police museum. The video I took of STS-135 is NOT representative of that view. Thinking about just deleting it to avoid further confusion.

I apologize for the misinformation; I need to fact check a lot better before I post again.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Roy_H on 01/30/2018 05:39 PM
From SpaceX Texas launch site Discussion and Updates - Thread 6

Physical size isnt everything....

Straight from BO and SpaceX (accuracy not guaranteed)

FH
LEO 63,800kg
GTO 26,700kg

NG (2-stage)
LEO 45,000kg
GTO 13,000kg
That is comparing expendable to reusable paylod capability, so not really a good comparison.

Not that inaccurate, as New Glenn does not do a boostback or entry burn and lands considerably further downrange, so it's reuse penalty is lower. Also, New Glenn's recovery hardware appears to be permanently mounted and structurally integrated (not bolt-on like FH) so it likely does not have the option of flying of flying expendable without it like FH does. This would reduce the expendable payload. NG's theoretical expendable payload is likely only ~10% more than recovered, so ~50 tonnes vs 63.8 tonnes.

It's entirely reasonable to say that FH is quite a bit bigger.

AIUI the SpaceX payloads are advertised with recovered boosters. Elon believes in pushing the boundaries both ways, that is improving thrust of Merlin 1D series as much as possible AND increasing reliability. Keep in mind that Elon told his engineers to design the Merlin 1C and 1D for 40 flights right from the start, this is not an afterthought. Bezos has taken a very conservative approach and decided to accept lower performance to gain reliability. The listed payloads on Blue's site are probably conservative and I wouldn't be surprised to see significant increases in the future as Blue gains confidence with their design.

Edit: Blue doesn't list the performance of their 3-stage design. SpaceX listing would be with Block 5 boosters and second stage.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: envy887 on 01/30/2018 06:01 PM
From SpaceX Texas launch site Discussion and Updates - Thread 6

Physical size isnt everything....

Straight from BO and SpaceX (accuracy not guaranteed)

FH
LEO 63,800kg
GTO 26,700kg

NG (2-stage)
LEO 45,000kg
GTO 13,000kg
That is comparing expendable to reusable paylod capability, so not really a good comparison.

Not that inaccurate, as New Glenn does not do a boostback or entry burn and lands considerably further downrange, so it's reuse penalty is lower. Also, New Glenn's recovery hardware appears to be permanently mounted and structurally integrated (not bolt-on like FH) so it likely does not have the option of flying of flying expendable without it like FH does. This would reduce the expendable payload. NG's theoretical expendable payload is likely only ~10% more than recovered, so ~50 tonnes vs 63.8 tonnes.

It's entirely reasonable to say that FH is quite a bit bigger.

AIUI the SpaceX payloads are advertised with recovered boosters. Elon believes in pushing the boundaries both ways, that is improving thrust of Merlin 1D series as much as possible AND increasing reliability. Keep in mind that Elon told his engineers to design the Merlin 1C and 1D for 40 flights right from the start, this is not an afterthought. Bezos has taken a very conservative approach and decided to accept lower performance to gain reliability. The listed payloads on Blue's site are probably conservative and I wouldn't be surprised to see significant increases in the future as Blue gains confidence with their design.

Edit: Blue doesn't list the performance of their 3-stage design. SpaceX listing would be with Block 5 boosters and second stage.

SpaceX specifies that the "performance represents max capability on fully expended vehicle", so 63.8 tonnes is full expendable.
http://www.spacex.com/about/capabilities

The listed prices are for lower payloads, which likely do factor in recovery (but not reuse).

I agree that Blue's numbers are likely conservative, but probably not by enough to close the gap with FH. I do think they can beat FH on price though, only having a single core and 7 engines to build and operate.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Roy_H on 01/30/2018 06:15 PM
SpaceX specifies that the "performance represents max capability on fully expended vehicle", so 63.8 tonnes is full expendable.
http://www.spacex.com/about/capabilities

The listed prices are for lower payloads, which likely do factor in recovery (but not reuse).

I agree that Blue's numbers are likely conservative, but probably not by enough to close the gap with FH. I do think they can beat FH on price though, only having a single core and 7 engines to build and operate.

SpaceX doesn't say that on their easy to click on FH page. How did you find this capabilities page? I think it is pretty disingenuous for SpaceX to hide a disclaimer like that. IIRC, a year or so ago Gwynne publicly stated that their website advertises payloads with booster recovery. Thanks for the correction.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: docmordrid on 01/30/2018 06:32 PM
>
 I think it is pretty disingenuous for SpaceX to hide a disclaimer like that.
>

"Hidden" in plain sight on the Falcon Heavy main page. Top-right under "FALCON HEAVY PRICING"
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Jim on 01/30/2018 06:56 PM
Further to that article I posted about I really can imagine Europa Clipper ending up being launched on Falcon Heavy rather than the SLS. If it wasn’t for the large political factor in the matter it would be the more logical option from a cost basis.

no, there are other choices than those two.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Star One on 01/30/2018 07:11 PM
Further to that article I posted about I really can imagine Europa Clipper ending up being launched on Falcon Heavy rather than the SLS. If it wasn’t for the large political factor in the matter it would be the more logical option from a cost basis.

no, there are other choices than those two.

But at the cost of duration getting there, which can have a knock on costs if it means things like gravitational assist(s) around Venus which in turn mean additions to Clipper.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Roy_H on 01/30/2018 07:31 PM
>
 I think it is pretty disingenuous for SpaceX to hide a disclaimer like that.
>

"Hidden" in plain sight on the Falcon Heavy main page. Top-right under "FALCON HEAVY PRICING"
This is just like auto manufacturers who show a picture of the deluxe version (fancy wheels etc.) but advertise the stripped down basic price. They put an asterisk on the price and print a disclaimer on the same page stating that the picture is the deluxe and usually show the "as pictured" price. SpaceX shows the rocket with legs then lists performance without and I am supposed to realize that at the top of the page in small dark print that there is a link about pricing (not payload) and only there do I get information about the payload disclaimer!?
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Ictogan on 01/30/2018 07:40 PM
>
 I think it is pretty disingenuous for SpaceX to hide a disclaimer like that.
>

"Hidden" in plain sight on the Falcon Heavy main page. Top-right under "FALCON HEAVY PRICING"
This is just like auto manufacturers who show a picture of the deluxe version (fancy wheels etc.) but advertise the stripped down basic price. They put an asterisk on the price and print a disclaimer on the same page stating that the picture is the deluxe and usually show the "as pictured" price. SpaceX shows the rocket with legs then lists performance without and I am supposed to realize that at the top of the page in small dark print that there is a link about pricing (not payload) and only there do I get information about the payload disclaimer!?
SpaceX is listing the max payloads on their website, nothing wrong with that.

Also your analogy does not make any sense because it is completely irrelevant to a customer if the rocket will land or not, all that matters to the customers is at what price , schedule and reliability they can get their payload to the desired orbit. Why would customer care if the rocket that they're launching on will be expended?
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: envy887 on 01/30/2018 07:48 PM
>
 I think it is pretty disingenuous for SpaceX to hide a disclaimer like that.
>

"Hidden" in plain sight on the Falcon Heavy main page. Top-right under "FALCON HEAVY PRICING"
This is just like auto manufacturers who show a picture of the deluxe version (fancy wheels etc.) but advertise the stripped down basic price. They put an asterisk on the price and print a disclaimer on the same page stating that the picture is the deluxe and usually show the "as pictured" price. SpaceX shows the rocket with legs then lists performance without and I am supposed to realize that at the top of the page in small dark print that there is a link about pricing (not payload) and only there do I get information about the payload disclaimer!?

There is no price at all listed on that page, so they are not advertising the expended performance at reusable price. You are making that inference from the presence of legs and fins. Most LSPs advertise performance but don't list a price at all.

As to the picture of the legs, customers are buying a service, not a vehicle. SpaceX could advertise a picture of the Millennium Falcon and customers wouldn't care as long as it gets their birds to the right orbit.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: mme on 01/30/2018 09:48 PM
>
 I think it is pretty disingenuous for SpaceX to hide a disclaimer like that.
>

"Hidden" in plain sight on the Falcon Heavy main page. Top-right under "FALCON HEAVY PRICING"
This is just like auto manufacturers who show a picture of the deluxe version (fancy wheels etc.) but advertise the stripped down basic price. They put an asterisk on the price and print a disclaimer on the same page stating that the picture is the deluxe and usually show the "as pictured" price. SpaceX shows the rocket with legs then lists performance without and I am supposed to realize that at the top of the page in small dark print that there is a link about pricing (not payload) and only there do I get information about the payload disclaimer!?
It clearly says the price for 5.5 and 8.0 mT to GTO. Throwing the rocket away will cost you more. Not a single human on the planet with the intention and resources to order a mission would be confused by this.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Roy_H on 01/30/2018 09:56 PM
>
 I think it is pretty disingenuous for SpaceX to hide a disclaimer like that.
>

"Hidden" in plain sight on the Falcon Heavy main page. Top-right under "FALCON HEAVY PRICING"
This is just like auto manufacturers who show a picture of the deluxe version (fancy wheels etc.) but advertise the stripped down basic price. They put an asterisk on the price and print a disclaimer on the same page stating that the picture is the deluxe and usually show the "as pictured" price. SpaceX shows the rocket with legs then lists performance without and I am supposed to realize that at the top of the page in small dark print that there is a link about pricing (not payload) and only there do I get information about the payload disclaimer!?
It clearly says the price for 5.5 and 8.0 mT to GTO. Throwing the rocket away will cost you more. Not a single human on the planet with the intention and resources to order a mission would be confused by this.

I don't know how this became an issue of price. I was complaining that the rocket shown has legs which implies recovery, but the Performance (payload) of 63,900kg to LEO (as example) is for the expendable version. They do not explain that on the primary Falcon Heavy page but if you click on prices, there is where the explanation is. Not obvious that you should follow the prices link to find that the payload is for expendable launch.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: MaxTeranous on 01/30/2018 10:43 PM
I’d suggest that anyone acquiring launch services from Spacex wouldn’t be using their website to price up the launch, so it’s not really relevant.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Robotbeat on 01/30/2018 10:58 PM
Further to that article I posted about I really can imagine Europa Clipper ending up being launched on Falcon Heavy rather than the SLS. If it wasn’t for the large political factor in the matter it would be the more logical option from a cost basis.

no, there are other choices than those two.

But at the cost of duration getting there, which can have a knock on costs if it means things like gravitational assist(s) around Venus which in turn mean additions to Clipper.
Based on what spacecraft mass?

I often see the claim of "SLS is fast, everything else slow" without an actual mass figure.

From what I can gather from old presentations, the fast-transit trajectory is c3 = 82 km^2/s^2 with 4200kg mass (and the slow trajectory requires less mass since the Saturn orbit injection burn is smaller).

Falcon Heavy with a couple solid kick stages could do it in the same time. Vulcan Heavy could as well, particularly with distributed lift (in which case "Heavy" is unnecessary).

And given that SLS keeps slipping, it's quite likely a couple gravity assists with an Atlas V or Delta IV could get it there faster than SLS in actuality.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: AC in NC on 01/31/2018 02:22 AM
I don't know how this became an issue of price. I was complaining that the rocket shown has legs which implies recovery, but the Performance (payload) of 63,900kg to LEO (as example) is for the expendable version. They do not explain that on the primary Falcon Heavy page but if you click on prices, there is where the explanation is. Not obvious that you should follow the prices link to find that the payload is for expendable launch.

Good Lord!!!  ::)
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: MATTBLAK on 01/31/2018 02:38 AM
The 63 ton payload to LEO figure - I wonder how this would breakdown?:

1: 16-20 ton actual payload object.
2: Mass of second stage - 5-7 tons?
3: Leftover propellant mass - 40-43 tons?

Or could the payload mass sitting atop the second stage actually be >60 tons?
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Robotbeat on 01/31/2018 02:42 AM
The 63 ton payload to LEO figure - I wonder how this would breakdown?:

1: 16-20 ton actual payload object.
2: Mass of second stage - 5-7 tons?
3: Leftover propellant mass - 40-43 tons?

Or could the payload mass sitting atop the second stage actually be >60 tons?
The actual payload is 63 tons to LEO.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: MATTBLAK on 01/31/2018 02:47 AM
2x 63 ton launches could equal Sortie lunar missions! :)

6 or 7x 63 ton launches could equal 2x person Martian Sortie missions... ;)  (chemical propulsion)
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Robotbeat on 01/31/2018 03:02 AM
Interestingly, based on the idea that you can get roughly 22% more payload to TLI than TMI, Falcon Heavy gets about 90% the payload to translunar that N-1 could've. You probably could design a two person lunar surface sortie architecture that could single-launch on an expendable Falcon Heavy, particularly if you add cross feed back in.

But that wouldn't be cheap. For the same development price, you could almost fund BFR, so might as well do that.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: wannamoonbase on 01/31/2018 03:07 AM
The 63 ton payload to LEO figure - I wonder how this would breakdown?:

1: 16-20 ton actual payload object.
2: Mass of second stage - 5-7 tons?
3: Leftover propellant mass - 40-43 tons?

Or could the payload mass sitting atop the second stage actually be >60 tons?
The actual payload is 63 tons to LEO.

Incredible payload number, that's the fully expendable number I believe.

I'd love to see what that payload would actually look like, if it would fit inside the fairing and what they would have to do to the second stage to handle that load.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: QuantumG on 01/31/2018 03:19 AM
Interestingly, based on the idea that you can get roughly 22% more payload to TLI than TMI

So, abouts:

20,496 kg to TLI.
14,176  kg to LLO.
7,800 kg to the surface*

Minus boiloff losses.

* this includes any mass required to permit the seconds stage to land... at least legs.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: speedevil on 01/31/2018 06:44 AM
Incredible payload number, that's the fully expendable number I believe.

I'd love to see what that payload would actually look like, if it would fit inside the fairing and what they would have to do to the second stage to handle that load.

As I understand it, the second stage can handle that load already.
Fundamentally remember the second stage is around 10m^2, and with one atmosphere internal pressure, it has one hundred tons or so of force on it.
The pressure is a lot higher than that.

The volume of the fairing is very close to 150m^3, counting all of the permitted payload volume, meaning a density of 0.44kg/l.

Pretty much any large tank of liquid will work, for most of them, with a hemispherical cylindrical tank and not something complex shaped.
Satellites tend to be not this dense.

If you want a truly massive kick stage for some outer planets mission, a fifty ton liquid stage with a five ton payload could end up going quite fast indeed.

Or one launch for a kick stage of this class, with another for a moon lander and return vehicle.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: docmordrid on 01/31/2018 09:02 AM
I believe the limiting factors are the payload adapters load capacity and fairing size, with 63t being easily conveyed shorthand for the amount of deltaV it can deliver.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Paul451 on 02/01/2018 09:33 PM
(Skimmed, but haven't read every post, so usual apologies.)


There's supposed to be two more FH launches this year (STP-2 and Arabsat 6A).  Have there been any sightings of the core stages for, say, the STP-2 launch?
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: hkultala on 02/01/2018 09:43 PM
There's supposed to be two more FH launches this year (STP-2 and Arabsat 6A).  Have there been any sightings of the core stages for, say, the STP-2 launch?

If everything goes according to the plan, we may have seen them already quite many times without understanding it ;)

Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Lar on 02/01/2018 09:46 PM
There's supposed to be two more FH launches this year (STP-2 and Arabsat 6A).  Have there been any sightings of the core stages for, say, the STP-2 launch?

If everything goes according to the plan, we may have seen them already quite many times without understanding it ;)
I thought the consensus speculation was that this core stage was one and done and new B5 core stage is to be built for the next two launches?
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: wannamoonbase on 02/01/2018 09:49 PM
There's supposed to be two more FH launches this year (STP-2 and Arabsat 6A).  Have there been any sightings of the core stages for, say, the STP-2 launch?

If everything goes according to the plan, we may have seen them already quite many times without understanding it ;)
I thought the consensus speculation was that this core stage was one and done and new B5 core stage is to be built for the next two launches?

Is that known or an assumption that has spread? 

If its similar to a F9 Block 3, then why not use it a second time?  They've spent a ton on the FH, I can see wanting to milk a second flight out of the existing hardware.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Lar on 02/01/2018 10:07 PM
I thought the consensus speculation was that this core stage was one and done and new B5 core stage is to be built for the next two launches?

Is that known or an assumption that has spread? 

If its similar to a F9 Block 3, then why not use it a second time?  They've spent a ton on the FH, I can see wanting to milk a second flight out of the existing hardware.
Consensus speculation, was my take, not actually known... but see next post.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: tvg98 on 02/01/2018 10:20 PM
I thought the consensus speculation was that this core stage was one and done and new B5 core stage is to be built for the next two launches?

Is that known or an assumption that has spread? 

If its similar to a F9 Block 3, then why not use it a second time?  They've spent a ton on the FH, I can see wanting to milk a second flight out of the existing hardware.
Consensus speculation, was my take, not actually known.

I'm pretty sure there's a quote from GS somewhere here where she confirms FH will be Block V only (excluding the first one).
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: deruch on 02/01/2018 10:39 PM
I'm pretty sure there's a quote from GS somewhere here where she confirms FH will be Block V only (excluding the first one).

Yes.  Gwynne has said in the past that all future FH vehicles would be made up of all Block 5 cores.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Formica on 02/02/2018 02:56 AM
Yes.  Gwynne has said in the past that all future FH vehicles would be made up of all Block 5 cores.

Here's the relevant article (http://spacenews.com/spacex-aims-to-follow-a-banner-year-with-an-even-faster-2018-launch-cadence/) from spacenews.com.

Quote
Shotwell said the Block 5 Falcon 9 should be able to refly “10 or more times” with limited refurbishment. The Falcon Heavy will also use Block 5 cores, she said, with the exception of the first mission.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: tdperk on 02/02/2018 12:55 PM
The 63 ton payload to LEO figure - I wonder how this would breakdown?:

1: 16-20 ton actual payload object.
2: Mass of second stage - 5-7 tons?
3: Leftover propellant mass - 40-43 tons?

Or could the payload mass sitting atop the second stage actually be >60 tons?
The actual payload is 63 tons to LEO.

Who jumps first and pays for an adapter that can mount that necessarily very dense 63 tons to the upper stage and fitting in the fairing?  Or even the largest fairing that can fit?

And who would bother when by the time the work is done, it's time to redesign for the BFR capacity?
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: wannamoonbase on 02/02/2018 02:25 PM
The 63 ton payload to LEO figure - I wonder how this would breakdown?:

1: 16-20 ton actual payload object.
2: Mass of second stage - 5-7 tons?
3: Leftover propellant mass - 40-43 tons?

Or could the payload mass sitting atop the second stage actually be >60 tons?
The actual payload is 63 tons to LEO.

Who jumps first and pays for an adapter that can mount that necessarily very dense 63 tons to the upper stage and fitting in the fairing?  Or even the largest fairing that can fit?

And who would bother when by the time the work is done, it's time to redesign for the BFR capacity?

I think you just said that the Block 5 FH will be the final version of the FH. 

I think FH will have a good life though, as I don't believe EM's BFR schedule.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: tdperk on 02/02/2018 02:51 PM
The 63 ton payload to LEO figure - I wonder how this would breakdown?:

1: 16-20 ton actual payload object.
2: Mass of second stage - 5-7 tons?
3: Leftover propellant mass - 40-43 tons?

Or could the payload mass sitting atop the second stage actually be >60 tons?
The actual payload is 63 tons to LEO.

Who jumps first and pays for an adapter that can mount that necessarily very dense 63 tons to the upper stage and fitting in the fairing?  Or even the largest fairing that can fit?

And who would bother when by the time the work is done, it's time to redesign for the BFR capacity?

I think you just said that the Block 5 FH will be the final version of the FH. 

I think FH will have a good life though, as I don't believe EM's BFR schedule.

If the BFR takes 4 years, that's the FH lifespan.  If the BFR takes 7, that's the FH lifespan.

I believe SpaceX has explicitly stated that with Block 5 they are done trying to upgrade the F9 booster stage.  They may still try to make the fairing recoverable, or make the upper stage recoverable, or with Air Force desire and payment make a Raptor upper stage which may or may not be recoverable.

With the BFR having a lower operating cost for at least twice the payload in fully recoverable mode than the FH, the FH will not be used once the BFR is considered a reliable vehicle.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: rockets4life97 on 02/02/2018 09:57 PM
I read Eric Berger's recent article on the Falcon Heavy launch. (https://arstechnica.com/science/2018/02/forget-the-falcon-heavys-payload-and-focus-on-where-the-rocket-will-go/) He makes the argument that FH's main influence could be on NASA science missions, if NASA goes the route of smaller cheaper robotic probes for exploring the solar system. The second part of the argument is that F9 is already powerful enough now for most commercial GTO satellite launches and the DoD payloads that would use FH are few and far between.

I think Eric Berger's analysis is right. But I'm not sure the NASA science payloads will materialize. What do you all think? Will FH fly more than twice a year?
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: John Alan on 02/02/2018 10:04 PM
I read Eric Berger's recent article on the Falcon Heavy launch. (https://arstechnica.com/science/2018/02/forget-the-falcon-heavys-payload-and-focus-on-where-the-rocket-will-go/) He makes the argument that FH's main influence could be on NASA science missions, if NASA goes the route of smaller cheaper robotic probes for exploring the solar system. The second part of the argument is that F9 is already powerful enough now for most commercial GTO satellite launches and the DoD payloads that would use FH are few and far between.

I think Eric Berger's analysis is right. But I'm not sure the NASA science payloads will materialize. What do you all think? Will FH fly more than twice a year?

I saw the same article earlier today...  ;)
I think if SpaceX can show it works just fine (Demo, USAF, one more this year maybe)... Then I think 4 times a year and some for NASA deep space payloads is in the cards going forward...  :)
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: groundbound on 02/02/2018 10:09 PM
I read Eric Berger's recent article on the Falcon Heavy launch. (https://arstechnica.com/science/2018/02/forget-the-falcon-heavys-payload-and-focus-on-where-the-rocket-will-go/) He makes the argument that FH's main influence could be on NASA science missions, if NASA goes the route of smaller cheaper robotic probes for exploring the solar system. The second part of the argument is that F9 is already powerful enough now for most commercial GTO satellite launches and the DoD payloads that would use FH are few and far between.

I think Eric Berger's analysis is right. But I'm not sure the NASA science payloads will materialize. What do you all think? Will FH fly more than twice a year?

Another possibility is that some other country does the same thing. Some gulf states are contemplating science missions on other launchers. There may be a national prestige motivation to spending 500 million on a science mission for a country without the wherewithal to have their own launcher.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Bynaus on 02/02/2018 10:11 PM
I read Eric Berger's recent article on the Falcon Heavy launch. (https://arstechnica.com/science/2018/02/forget-the-falcon-heavys-payload-and-focus-on-where-the-rocket-will-go/) He makes the argument that FH's main influence could be on NASA science missions, if NASA goes the route of smaller cheaper robotic probes for exploring the solar system. The second part of the argument is that F9 is already powerful enough now for most commercial GTO satellite launches and the DoD payloads that would use FH are few and far between.

I think Eric Berger's analysis is right. But I'm not sure the NASA science payloads will materialize. What do you all think? Will FH fly more than twice a year?

I think its also possible that after a few meager but overall successful years, the FH will generate its own new market niche, by leading to the development of heavier geostationary comsats and milsats. It won't be alone in this market for long though (-> New Glenn), and BFR might one day take over.

I don't think FH is a dead end - it's a bridge towards the future.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: AncientU on 02/02/2018 10:12 PM
I read Eric Berger's recent article on the Falcon Heavy launch. (https://arstechnica.com/science/2018/02/forget-the-falcon-heavys-payload-and-focus-on-where-the-rocket-will-go/) He makes the argument that FH's main influence could be on NASA science missions, if NASA goes the route of smaller cheaper robotic probes for exploring the solar system. The second part of the argument is that F9 is already powerful enough now for most commercial GTO satellite launches and the DoD payloads that would use FH are few and far between.

I think Eric Berger's analysis is right. But I'm not sure the NASA science payloads will materialize. What do you all think? Will FH fly more than twice a year?

That handful per year is reasonable unless one or both of the following happen:
1. The FH plays a role in Starlink deployment, like double sats per launch (entire 50 sat plane in one launch -- with larger fairing), reusable upper stage with dispenser, RTLS of all three cores, etc., or
2. NASA is told to go back to the Moon (surface, not some DRO nonsense) starting now -- entire program could be on FH's back until NG/Vulcan ready, with other players having bit parts, including SLS someday.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Hominans Kosmos on 02/03/2018 05:27 PM
There's a tweetstorm brewing, and clouds of debate rumbling.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/spacexgroup/permalink/10156268612306318/ 
https://twitter.com/doug_ellison/status/959604957283368961 

Some really interesting numbers get compared in the tweets.

In light of that debate I'd like to ask if anyone has citations for the latest pricing figures for Falcon Heavy nonreusable and Delta 4 Heavy.

Most importantly, how out of date (if at all) are the performance figures provided by https://elvperf.ksc.nasa.gov/ for Falcon Heavy at least one participant of the debate claimed (without elaborating) the isp numbers being wrong.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Tomness on 02/03/2018 05:35 PM
There's a tweetstorm brewing, and clouds of debate rumbling.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/spacexgroup/permalink/10156268612306318/ 
https://twitter.com/doug_ellison/status/959604957283368961 

Some really interesting numbers get compared in the tweets.

In light of that debate I'd like to ask if anyone has citations for the latest pricing figures for Falcon Heavy nonreusable and Delta 4 Heavy.

Most importantly, how out of date (if at all) are the performance figures provided by https://elvperf.ksc.nasa.gov/ for Falcon Heavy at least one participant of the debate claimed (without elaborating) the isp numbers being wrong.

There was quote from Gwen Shotwell awhile back that said they were sandbagging the numbers. The Demo is block3/block4  diffidently not block 5. also 92% thrust. more than enough to turn all their expendable  F9 to FH recoverable launches.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: woods170 on 02/03/2018 06:09 PM
There's a tweetstorm brewing, and clouds of debate rumbling.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/spacexgroup/permalink/10156268612306318/ 
https://twitter.com/doug_ellison/status/959604957283368961 

Some really interesting numbers get compared in the tweets.

In light of that debate I'd like to ask if anyone has citations for the latest pricing figures for Falcon Heavy nonreusable and Delta 4 Heavy.

Most importantly, how out of date (if at all) are the performance figures provided by https://elvperf.ksc.nasa.gov/ for Falcon Heavy at least one participant of the debate claimed (without elaborating) the isp numbers being wrong.

Doug Ellison doesn't get it: he fails to understand that most of the future work done by FH is not BEO purposes but GTO/GEO. The super-efficient upper stage isn't needed for the majority of FH's purposes.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Roy_H on 02/03/2018 10:59 PM
There was quote from Gwen Shotwell awhile back that said they were sandbagging the numbers. The Demo is block3/block4  diffidently not block 5. also 92% thrust. more than enough to turn all their expendable  F9 to FH recoverable launches.

I think that the 92% thrust is 92% of block 5 which would be full thrust block 3.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: IanThePineapple on 02/03/2018 11:05 PM
I read Eric Berger's recent article on the Falcon Heavy launch. (https://arstechnica.com/science/2018/02/forget-the-falcon-heavys-payload-and-focus-on-where-the-rocket-will-go/) He makes the argument that FH's main influence could be on NASA science missions, if NASA goes the route of smaller cheaper robotic probes for exploring the solar system. The second part of the argument is that F9 is already powerful enough now for most commercial GTO satellite launches and the DoD payloads that would use FH are few and far between.

I think Eric Berger's analysis is right. But I'm not sure the NASA science payloads will materialize. What do you all think? Will FH fly more than twice a year?

I think its also possible that after a few meager but overall successful years, the FH will generate its own new market niche, by leading to the development of heavier geostationary comsats and milsats. It won't be alone in this market for long though (-> New Glenn), and BFR might one day take over.

I don't think FH is a dead end - it's a bridge towards the future.

I think once FH starts flying, sat companies and builders will be thinking "Wait, we can build LARGER now!" Sats could then have more payloads on them, maybe some scientific payloads (like NASA's GOLD on SES-14), or more antennas that could potentially be rented out (like the ones that were to be rented to Facebook for internet on Amos-6).

I also believe FH could do rideshares similar to the Eutelsat/ABS launches on F9, with two large comsats stacked.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: John Alan on 02/03/2018 11:33 PM
Let assume that folks that already have Geo Birds in place (making them money) are in a planning meeting.

"Ok all... Geobird XYZ will run out of station keeping prop in 7 years per this latest memo"
"Subject of today's meeting is what all do we want it's replacement to do to make us even more money"

Now... assuming they know that the current geo weight limits have basically been throw out the window by FH coming online...
And that they know the coming age of on orbit robotic servicing, upgrading and refueling is being talked about by sat makers...
My guess is some big ass birds are being sketched out on napkins and drawings boards as we speak...  ;)

They are just waiting to see if FH comes online to make the whole idea much cheaper then booking a whole A5 or A6...  :P
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Joffan on 02/04/2018 01:20 AM
Abby Garrett is drawing the Falcon Heavy patch live on periscope

https://www.pscp.tv/w/1ynKOAEeZbVJR
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: envy887 on 02/04/2018 01:21 AM
There's a tweetstorm brewing, and clouds of debate rumbling.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/spacexgroup/permalink/10156268612306318/ 
https://twitter.com/doug_ellison/status/959604957283368961 

Some really interesting numbers get compared in the tweets.

In light of that debate I'd like to ask if anyone has citations for the latest pricing figures for Falcon Heavy nonreusable and Delta 4 Heavy.

Most importantly, how out of date (if at all) are the performance figures provided by https://elvperf.ksc.nasa.gov/ for Falcon Heavy at least one participant of the debate claimed (without elaborating) the isp numbers being wrong.

SpaceX has not given explicitly expendable pricing for FH, AFAIK. The $90M for FH in their website is for a payload low enough to recover the boosters, but does not assume reuse (e.g. new booster, with landing). Any payload large enough to require expending FH will require special accessories and processing and is unlikely to launch for the base price.
http://www.spacex.com/about/capabilities

The NASA LSP website numbers appear to be from the F9 v1.1-derived Heavy, and appear to only be present for high energy trajectories. Take those numbers with a large grain of salt, they are well out of date.

The latest DIVH estimates are $375M for NASA (the Parker Solar Probe) and estimated $422M for the USAF, based on analysis of budget plans here: https://arstechnica.com/science/2017/06/air-force-budget-reveals-how-much-spacex-undercuts-launch-prices/

A GAO report puts DIVH at $400M: https://www.gao.gov/assets/690/686613.pdf
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: su27k on 02/04/2018 04:51 AM
There's a tweetstorm brewing, and clouds of debate rumbling.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/spacexgroup/permalink/10156268612306318/ 
https://twitter.com/doug_ellison/status/959604957283368961 

Some really interesting numbers get compared in the tweets.

In light of that debate I'd like to ask if anyone has citations for the latest pricing figures for Falcon Heavy nonreusable and Delta 4 Heavy.

Most importantly, how out of date (if at all) are the performance figures provided by https://elvperf.ksc.nasa.gov/ for Falcon Heavy at least one participant of the debate claimed (without elaborating) the isp numbers being wrong.

The direct comparison is misleading, by this line of thought BFR is much worse than FH or DIVH because it couldn't get anything beyond C3=0 with a single launch. The point is FH (or BFR for that matter) is not supposed to be used this way, they are optimized for cost which necessitate different mission designs.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Hominans Kosmos on 02/04/2018 09:43 AM
There's a tweetstorm brewing, and clouds of debate rumbling.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/spacexgroup/permalink/10156268612306318/ 
https://twitter.com/doug_ellison/status/959604957283368961 

Some really interesting numbers get compared in the tweets.

In light of that debate I'd like to ask if anyone has citations for the latest pricing figures for Falcon Heavy nonreusable and Delta 4 Heavy.

Most importantly, how out of date (if at all) are the performance figures provided by https://elvperf.ksc.nasa.gov/ for Falcon Heavy at least one participant of the debate claimed (without elaborating) the isp numbers being wrong.

The NASA LSP website numbers appear to be from the F9 v1.1-derived Heavy, and appear to only be present for high energy trajectories. Take those numbers with a large grain of salt, they are well out of date.


I suppose the only citations we have refuting those numbers are the performance replications in the forum threads here. Or can we do better, something we can use to convince the misguided scientist putting his faith in government statisticians?
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Jim on 02/04/2018 11:50 AM
Or can we do better, something we can use to convince the misguided scientist putting his faith in government statisticians?

Who and what government statisticians?
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: AbuSimbel on 02/04/2018 12:10 PM
I don't think Doug Ellison is capable of talking about anything SpaceX related objectively. He's quick to pull the trigger whenever he finds the opportunity to criticize SpaceX, sometime sacrificing in-depth research of what he's saying when something confirms his already negative opinion of the company.
That's especially true when talking about Falcon performance figures: I remember him trying to pass the narrative that SpaceX has greatly increased the price of Falcon 9, failing to account for inflation and for the fact that, even with recovery, today's Falcon 9 has a payload capacity greater than 2010 F9 expendable. I politely told him and his answer was to quickly block me on Twitter.
Also if something is unclear and he has to make an estimate, he always assumes the worst for SpaceX, never giving them the benefit of the doubt. 
Definitely not a reasonable guy when it comes to SpaceX.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Hominans Kosmos on 02/04/2018 01:12 PM
Or can we do better, something we can use to convince the misguided scientist putting his faith in government statisticians?

Who and what government statisticians?

You're right. I've misspoken, no statisticians on staff https://elvperf.ksc.nasa.gov/Pages/Contacts.aspx
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Svetoslav on 02/04/2018 01:25 PM
I don't think Doug Ellison is capable of talking about anything SpaceX related objectively. He's quick to pull the trigger whenever he finds the opportunity to criticize SpaceX, sometime sacrificing in-depth research of what he's saying when something confirms his already negative opinion of the company.
That's especially true when talking about Falcon performance figures: I remember him trying to pass the narrative that SpaceX has greatly increased the price of Falcon 9, failing to account for inflation and for the fact that, even with recovery, today's Falcon 9 has a payload capacity greater than 2010 F9 expendable. I politely told him and his answer was to quickly block me on Twitter.
Also if something is unclear and he has to make an estimate, he always assumes the worst for SpaceX, never giving them the benefit of the doubt. 
Definitely not a reasonable guy when it comes to SpaceX.

I'm also blocked by Doug Ellison, and thus, forever banned from UMSF. Can someone point out what this tweet is about, as I'm not worthy enough to read it?
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Lar on 02/04/2018 01:36 PM
UMSF?
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Svetoslav on 02/04/2018 01:40 PM
UMSF?

Unmanned spaceflight forum. Sorry, didn't have to bring personal issues on this board. Still... can anyone say what the discussion on Twitter is about, as some of us can't read it?
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: JoerTex on 02/04/2018 02:02 PM
Please use private communication for the reply.

This is a SpaceX forum.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Svetoslav on 02/04/2018 02:06 PM
Never mind, I found a way to read the discussion.

Do I get it right? Falcon Heavy doesn't have an efficient upper stage and that's why the rocket is inferior to other expendable rockets when it comes to interplanetary missions?
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: octavo on 02/04/2018 02:15 PM
Never mind, I found a way to read the discussion.

Do I get it right? Falcon Heavy doesn't have an efficient upper stage and that's why the rocket is inferior to other expendable rockets when it comes to interplanetary missions?
Yep.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: guckyfan on 02/04/2018 02:24 PM
Never mind, I found a way to read the discussion.

Do I get it right? Falcon Heavy doesn't have an efficient upper stage and that's why the rocket is inferior to other expendable rockets when it comes to interplanetary missions?
Yep.

But that disadvantage makes FH inferior to Delta 4 Heavy only beyond Mars. Plus it can be at least partly remedied by giving the payload an additional kickstage, taking advantage of the higher payload capacity to lower energetic trajectories. Despite the upper stage FH is still an incredibly powerful launch vehicle even for high energy trajectories.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Svetoslav on 02/04/2018 02:28 PM
That's exactly what I wanted to ask. If Falcon Heavy is all about putting 60ish tons in LEO, what would prevent adding a cryo upper stage?
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Hominans Kosmos on 02/04/2018 02:28 PM
Never mind, I found a way to read the discussion.

Do I get it right? Falcon Heavy doesn't have an efficient upper stage and that's why the rocket is inferior to other expendable rockets when it comes to interplanetary missions?
Yep.

But that disadvantage makes FH inferior to Delta 4 Heavy only beyond Mars. Plus it can be at least partly remedied by giving the payload an additional kickstage, taking advantage of the higher payload capacity to lower energetic trajectories. Despite the upper stage FH is still an incredibly powerful launch vehicle even for high energy trajectories.

I'm finding my limited mathematical and programming qualifications make getting that point across over at the FB group difficult.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Robotbeat on 02/04/2018 02:44 PM
Never mind, I found a way to read the discussion.

Do I get it right? Falcon Heavy doesn't have an efficient upper stage and that's why the rocket is inferior to other expendable rockets when it comes to interplanetary missions?
Yep.

But that disadvantage makes FH inferior to Delta 4 Heavy only beyond Mars. Plus it can be at least partly remedied by giving the payload an additional kickstage, taking advantage of the higher payload capacity to lower energetic trajectories. Despite the upper stage FH is still an incredibly powerful launch vehicle even for high energy trajectories.
Not even /partially/ mitigated: ENTIRELY mitigated.

Doug was being disingenuous. You would not launch a large payload to such high energy trajectories on any EELV or Falcon without a kick stage. Atlas V with kick stage is cheaper & higher performance than D4H without one (which is partly why New Horizons did just that), and FH plus kick stage beats them both.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Robotbeat on 02/04/2018 02:51 PM
That's exactly what I wanted to ask. If Falcon Heavy is all about putting 60ish tons in LEO, what would prevent adding a cryo upper stage?
Simply stretching the upper stage of FH would basically null out any performance difference. And adding a kick stage on top of *that* would allow FH to launch Europa Clipper direct to Jupiter like SLS.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Ictogan on 02/04/2018 02:52 PM
That's exactly what I wanted to ask. If Falcon Heavy is all about putting 60ish tons in LEO, what would prevent adding a cryo upper stage?
1. Development costs
2. extreme fineness ratio of the vehicle+GSE incompability if the cryogenic stage would be part of the vehicle stack
3. taking up a large portion of the fairing volume and having to figure out how to fuel it in the fairings if it would be in the fairings
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Jim on 02/04/2018 02:53 PM
Doug was being disingenuous. You would not launch a large payload to such high energy trajectories on any EELV or Falcon without a kick stage. Atlas V with kick stage is cheaper & higher performance than D4H without one (which is partly why New Horizons did just that), and FH plus kick stage beats them both.

Not true.  Only high speed missions like PNH and PSP need kick stages. Mars, Jupiter and Saturn missions don't and that is where FH falls short.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: dglow on 02/04/2018 02:58 PM
3. taking up a large portion of the fairing volume and having to figure out how to fuel it in the fairings if it would be in the fairings

I've always wondered about this. (slightly OT, apologies) What is the reason for Atlas V's fairing encapsulating (much of) Centaur?
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Jim on 02/04/2018 02:58 PM
Simply stretching the upper stage of FH would basically null out any performance difference. And adding a kick stage on top of *that* would allow FH to launch Europa Clipper direct to Jupiter like SLS.

There is no kick stage for Europa Clipper on FH.  "Kick" stages are solid motors which have high thrust.  Solid motors and Falcon are none starters.

There is no stretching of the upperstage.  there is no more F9 development.

Europa Clipper on FH would use gravity assists.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Jim on 02/04/2018 02:58 PM
3. taking up a large portion of the fairing volume and having to figure out how to fuel it in the fairings if it would be in the fairings

I've always wondered about this. (slightly OT, apologies) What is the reason for Atlas V's fairing encapsulating (much of) Centaur?

Aeroloads with the big fairing
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Robotbeat on 02/04/2018 03:00 PM
Doug was being disingenuous. You would not launch a large payload to such high energy trajectories on any EELV or Falcon without a kick stage. Atlas V with kick stage is cheaper & higher performance than D4H without one (which is partly why New Horizons did just that), and FH plus kick stage beats them both.

Not true.  Only high speed missions like PNH and PSP need kick stages. Mars, Jupiter and Saturn missions don't and that is where FH falls short.
He was looking basically exclusively at high energy missions, higher energy than the typical deep space missions which use multiple gravity assists.

To Mars, FH also beats Atlas V handily.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Johnnyhinbos on 02/04/2018 03:03 PM
And as far as I see it at least, with the restriction of fairing size (length / diameter) the large boost performance of FH to LEO is also marginalized. I feel FH, beyond the proof of concept flights, needs a change in some aspect to realize it’s true potential - and at this, uh, stage in SpaceX’s plans moving forward I don’t see that happening. Personally I see FH as the b*stard stepchild in the Falcon family (and I’ll use ‘Falcon’ in BFR in this context, even though that’s not the word Elon was thinking about).

However, it’s still amazing and a beast. My guess is even though it’ll never really be flown to its potential, it’ll STILL fly more times then the SLS...
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Robotbeat on 02/04/2018 03:05 PM
For trans Mars insertion, c3=14km^2/s^2, FH beats Delta IV Heavy and Atlas V handily, all without a kick stage. And that's using elvperf.ksc.nasa.gov which is out of date for FH figures.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Robotbeat on 02/04/2018 03:10 PM
I checked again on elvperf.ksc.nasa.gov and the highest energy trajectory for which there is data for FH and Atlas V is c3=60 km2/s2, and FH still beats the heaviest configuration of Atlas V. And this website is using older performance figures for FH.

Jim is incorrect. Do I get a piece of candy? 😂
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: dglow on 02/04/2018 03:13 PM
🍬
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Svetoslav on 02/04/2018 03:17 PM
As for lunar trajectories, can FH send a Dragon 2 directly to the Moon?
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Ictogan on 02/04/2018 04:23 PM
As for lunar trajectories, can FH send a Dragon 2 directly to the Moon?
FH has a listed payload capability to Mars of 16.8 tons, Dragon 2 is quite a bit lighter than that and going to the Moon requires some less delta-V than going to Mars, so that won't be a problem.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: docmordrid on 02/04/2018 05:32 PM
As for lunar trajectories, can FH send a Dragon 2 directly to the Moon?

https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=42421.0
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: AbuSimbel on 02/04/2018 05:37 PM
A question: based on the performance figures on the NLS-II website, wouldn't the 3500kg to Pluto listed on FH official page be impossible?
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Lar on 02/04/2018 05:55 PM
Never mind, I found a way to read the discussion.

Do I get it right? Falcon Heavy doesn't have an efficient upper stage and that's why the rocket is inferior to other expendable rockets when it comes to interplanetary missions?
Yep.
It's a valid criticism, as far as it goes. Requests for candy notwithstanding.

But it's mostly irrelevant, and can be mitigated.  GSE can be changed. SpaceX does it all the time. Cuts into payload height as the fineness ratio can't be pushed much but a third stage doesn't have to be that tall. IMHO.

Also, I don't think Jim gives out candy. Someone could ask him monday night...
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: groundbound on 02/04/2018 06:05 PM
As for lunar trajectories, can FH send a Dragon 2 directly to the Moon?

And before anyone asks, can also land on the moon using convenient lithobraking maneuvers.

  ;D
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Wolfram66 on 02/04/2018 06:37 PM
SpaceX should have some seismic recording devices for the FH Launch to get data to apply to BC construction. Vibrio-acoustic influence in saturated soils is very tricky. No one has done a from scratch launch site construction for a vehicle of the power of FH since LC-39A/B. By that time, construction on Cape Canaveral was well understood. BC is virgin territory and coastal soils are not logos [Snark implied]. More data is always helpful in initial geotechnical design.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Jim on 02/04/2018 06:40 PM
Not really, Delta IV, New Glenn
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: woods170 on 02/04/2018 06:59 PM
Simply stretching the upper stage of FH would basically null out any performance difference. And adding a kick stage on top of *that* would allow FH to launch Europa Clipper direct to Jupiter like SLS.

There is no kick stage for Europa Clipper on FH.  "Kick" stages are solid motors which have high thrust.  Solid motors and Falcon are none starters.

There is no stretching of the upperstage.  there is no more F9 development.

Europa Clipper on FH would use gravity assists.

Why are we even discussing this? Europa Clipper is mandated by law to fly on SLS. End of story.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: woods170 on 02/04/2018 07:04 PM
Doug was being disingenuous. You would not launch a large payload to such high energy trajectories on any EELV or Falcon without a kick stage. Atlas V with kick stage is cheaper & higher performance than D4H without one (which is partly why New Horizons did just that), and FH plus kick stage beats them both.

Not true.  Only high speed missions like PNH and PSP need kick stages. Mars, Jupiter and Saturn missions don't and that is where FH falls short.

People here seem to forgetting that the main business for FH will be GTO/GEO missions.
All this nonsense of putting a high-energy upper stage on FH, for one-off NASA missions to the outer solar system, is exactly that: nonsense.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Space Ghost 1962 on 02/04/2018 07:40 PM
Doug was being disingenuous. You would not launch a large payload to such high energy trajectories on any EELV or Falcon without a kick stage. Atlas V with kick stage is cheaper & higher performance than D4H without one (which is partly why New Horizons did just that), and FH plus kick stage beats them both.

Not true.  Only high speed missions like PNH and PSP need kick stages. Mars, Jupiter and Saturn missions don't and that is where FH falls short.

People here seem to forgetting that the main business for FH will be GTO/GEO missions.
All this nonsense of putting a high-energy upper stage on FH, for one-off NASA missions to the outer solar system, is exactly that: nonsense.
Exactly.

And that's an advantage, not a disadvantage. Means that FH, unlike DIVH (and more like Atlas VH if it had happened instead of DIVH), stands a good chance of high cadence use. We'll see three this cumulative year, it took five years to do that with DIVH).

A low cost kerolox platform has totally different economics, especially when a frequently flown and reused side boosters takes much of the additional cost away from the difference with a regular F9 launch. (DIVH was all about everything being specially built, Atlas VH would have been everything the same, even better in commonality than even F9/FH).

So what's it good for? Heavy GTO, NSS. Those need heavy payloads.

Any growth? Possibly lunar tourist via Dragon 2.

Anything more? Wait for 5-8 years and see what payloads get built to take into account.

But if you're looking for significant delta-v for interplanetary, you might get FH to work for you, ... but that's not what it was designed for. Atlas V and Vulcan were designed for it, and hold advantages. Look to BFR/BFS if you want more.

Stuck with FH and you still want more? Find a way to get a fully fueled F9US on parking/transfer orbit rather than a new stage, still a difficult thing, but at least you're reinvesting in the same architecture/US.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: AncientU on 02/04/2018 08:37 PM
FH could deliver propellant to fill the Vulcan upper stages for BEO operations in the early 2020s.  ULA was one time discussing $3M/tonne... 50tonnes ($150M) would make a great weekly payload.

And also recall the the EUS has not yet had its CDR -- it is still a PowerPoint.  If you wanted a methlox upper stage refueling system like ACES, the hardware could be flying in a couple years, compared to the 2023-2025 for EUS.  The combination could make a quite nice start on infrastructure needed for a COTS Lunar effort.

But maybe FH will just be used to launch commercial payloads that would require an expended F9.  Nothing wrong with that.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: envy887 on 02/04/2018 08:57 PM
Doug was being disingenuous. You would not launch a large payload to such high energy trajectories on any EELV or Falcon without a kick stage. Atlas V with kick stage is cheaper & higher performance than D4H without one (which is partly why New Horizons did just that), and FH plus kick stage beats them both.

Not true.  Only high speed missions like PNH and PSP need kick stages. Mars, Jupiter and Saturn missions don't and that is where FH falls short.
How does it fall short? FH can send more mass direct to Jupiter than DIVH can, and for far less money.

Nether can send anything direct to Saturn, all Saturn missions would have at least 1 gravity assist so the injection c3 is no higher than Jupiter transfer.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Lar on 02/04/2018 10:20 PM
FH could deliver propellant to fill the Vulcan upper stages for BEO operations in the early 2020s.  ULA was one time discussing $3M/tonne... 50tonnes ($150M) would make a great weekly payload.

SpaceX collecting money from ULA for delivered propellant is just too delicious....
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: su27k on 02/05/2018 03:47 PM
Simply stretching the upper stage of FH would basically null out any performance difference. And adding a kick stage on top of *that* would allow FH to launch Europa Clipper direct to Jupiter like SLS.

There is no kick stage for Europa Clipper on FH.  "Kick" stages are solid motors which have high thrust.  Solid motors and Falcon are none starters.

What does this mean? SpaceX doesn't like solids, but I think they're open to use solid kick stages from someone else, didn't they submit a bid for Solar Probe Plus using 3rd party solid kick stage?
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: sghill on 02/05/2018 04:11 PM
As for lunar trajectories, can FH send a Dragon 2 directly to the Moon?

And before anyone asks, can also land on the moon using convenient lithobraking maneuvers.

  ;D

"Lithobraking"

We need to add that new term to the NSF online space terminology dictionary.

Where is that thing these days anyhow?
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: envy887 on 02/05/2018 04:15 PM
Simply stretching the upper stage of FH would basically null out any performance difference. And adding a kick stage on top of *that* would allow FH to launch Europa Clipper direct to Jupiter like SLS.

There is no kick stage for Europa Clipper on FH.  "Kick" stages are solid motors which have high thrust.  Solid motors and Falcon are none starters.

What does this mean? SpaceX doesn't like solids, but I think they're open to use solid kick stages from someone else, didn't they submit a bid for Solar Probe Plus using 3rd party solid kick stage?

SpaceX did submit a bid, though I'm not sure what upper stage they bid. DIVH was chosen in part because it had "flight-proven third stage components", which suggests that SpaceX didn't bid a STAR motor.

https://prod.nais.nasa.gov/eps/eps_data/161480-OTHER-002-001.pdf
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: intrepidpursuit on 02/05/2018 05:30 PM
People like to talk about the Centaur being a long coast stage. My understanding is that it COULD be long coast, but that hasn't actually been developed yet and that the branch of development has lead to ACES, so currently it only coasts 12 hours or so which is in the realm of what Falcon S2 can do.

How long can Centaur coast and is that a legitimate argument for it over a Falcon?
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Roy_H on 02/05/2018 06:26 PM
"Lithobraking"

We need to add that new term to the NSF online space terminology dictionary.

Where is that thing these days anyhow?

Couldn't find that dictionary two or three years back, haven't looked since. I really liked that feature.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: haywoodfloyd on 02/05/2018 06:36 PM
Does a static fire subject the vehicle to more stress while it is at full thrust and being held down than if it were allowed to launch?
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: SWGlassPit on 02/05/2018 06:41 PM
Not really.  All the thrust loads are reacted at the hold downs at the base of the vehicle.  None of the structure experiences anything resembling flight stresses that would be imposed by the acceleration and aero loads.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Nomadd on 02/05/2018 07:51 PM
Does a static fire subject the vehicle to more stress while it is at full thrust and being held down than if it were allowed to launch?

Since the holdowns don't release until all the engines are going full thrust, you're going to have that stress at that point for a second even when it launches.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: speedevil on 02/05/2018 09:07 PM
Quote
Musk: if we wanted to, we could add t[w]o more side boosters, make it Falcon Super Heavy.
https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/960629934388588544

I assume someone's already computed the lift capacity of this in the depths of the thread, can anyone point to it?
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: envy887 on 02/05/2018 09:18 PM
Quote
Musk: if we wanted to, we could add t[w]o more side boosters, make it Falcon Super Heavy.
https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/960629934388588544

I assume someone's already computed the lift capacity of this in the depths of the thread, can anyone point to it?

I BOTE about 76 tonnes to LEO, 25 tonnes to TLI. Not a Super improvement. Raptor upper stage would be a lot easier and more effective.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: TomH on 02/05/2018 09:43 PM
Quote
Musk: if we wanted to, we could add t[w]o more side boosters, make it Falcon Super Heavy.
https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/960629934388588544

I assume someone's already computed the lift capacity of this in the depths of the thread, can anyone point to it?

I BOTE about 76 tonnes to LEO, 25 tonnes to TLI. Not a Super improvement. Raptor upper stage would be a lot easier and more effective.

In such a completely hypothetical situation, wouldn't you be able to fire only the outer cores at liftoff, saving the full prop load on the center core until all outer cores jettison? Now the center core becomes a full US, air-starting, and the single-engine US becomes a third stage EDS. Heck, add six and turn it into Falcon-AJAX with Raptor stages 2 and 3. Of course none of this will ever happen.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: ZachF on 02/06/2018 10:33 AM
Thinking about it, there could be a major market for Falcon heavy, and it would be this:

 If they could make a dual payload adaptor, FHs payload drastically increases when the center stage is expended, to like 20 tonnes to GTO. Falcon Heavy is also is capable of direct geo insertion. So with center core expended you could probably do Ariane 5 sized dual payloads direct to GEO. Charge $140 million per flight and you're cheaper than an A5 and probably make a cool  $100 million in profit per flight!
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: speedevil on 02/06/2018 11:35 AM
If they could make a dual payload adaptor, FHs payload drastically increases when the center stage is expended, to like 20 tonnes to GTO. Falcon Heavy is also is capable of direct geo insertion. So with center core expended you could probably do Ariane 5 sized dual payloads direct to GEO. Charge $140 million per flight and you're cheaper than an A5 and probably make a cool  $100 million in profit per flight!

In principle, sure.
In practice, finding ride-shares has been problematic for Ariane, and seems unlikely to be easier for FH.
Fairing needs to be considerably larger too.
This might work well with an enlarged fairing for Starlink launches, as there are no payload availability issues.

Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: guckyfan on 02/06/2018 11:44 AM
Matching payloads was difficult for Ariane because they always need a big and a smaller payload. With the capacity of FH SpaceX could probably match any two payloads almost freely. The obstacle is the fairing size. Also Elon Musk has said he does not want two customer payloads depend on each other.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: su27k on 02/06/2018 11:50 AM
Thinking about it, there could be a major market for Falcon heavy, and it would be this:

 If they could make a dual payload adaptor, FHs payload drastically increases when the center stage is expended, to like 20 tonnes to GTO. Falcon Heavy is also is capable of direct geo insertion. So with center core expended you could probably do Ariane 5 sized dual payloads direct to GEO. Charge $140 million per flight and you're cheaper than an A5 and probably make a cool  $100 million in profit per flight!

I don't think commercial customers view direct to GEO as an advantage, only USAF is still using this, everybody else moved on to just GTO. And SpaceX is moving to more reuse, less expendable, so expending the center core for some dubious advantage makes no sense. That's before we go into the peril of dual-launch.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: speedevil on 02/07/2018 12:26 AM
From https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F7mw2_pfcz4

Lightly edited to remove stumbles.
Headlines:
Half a billion to develop FH. A dozen launches in the next three to four years. All block five from here out. National security missions 'not a problem'.


Quote
Hi Everyone! So yeah really excited about today incredibly proud of the SpaceX team, they've done an incredible job of creating the most advanced rocket in the world and biggest rocket in the world.

I'm still trying to absorb everything that happened because it seems surreal to me.
I had this image of just a giant explosion on the pad with you know a wheel bouncing down the road and like the Tesla logo landing somewhere with a thud. But fortunately that's not what happened, the mission seems tho have gone really as well as one could have hoped with the exception of the center core.
I was at the two side boosters, if you guys are here you sold them land that was epic, I think that's probably the most exciting thing I've ever seen literally ever. The center core obviously didn't land on the droneship, we're looking at the issue but we think it diddn't have enough TEA/TEB to relight all three engines.
The center one lit I believe,  the outer two did not and that was not enough to slow the stage down.  Apparently it hit the water at 300 miles an hour and took out two of the engines on the droneship.  So if we got the footage like that sounds like some pretty fun footage, so if if the cameras didn't get blown up as well then we'll put that out for the blooper reel.

We weren't gonna reuse that Center core anyway or the two side boosters, we'll figure out some place to put them but as they're not block five or  version five, we weren't planning on reusing any of the cores. The upper stage seems to have worked perfectly so far, the two burns were executed correctly, and now we'll see if the upper stage avionics survive quite an arduous trip through the Van Allen belts.
Normally the stage will pass quickly through the Van Allen belts but here it's essentially dwelling there  for several hours,  and then it's going to do a restart, deplete is propellant and go to trans-mars  injection.

The propellant levels all look good  after the second burn of the upper stage we were only 0.3 Sigma away from predictions, so it has plenty of propellant to complete the trans-mars injection, assuming that the fuel doesn't freeze or the oxygen doesn't boil off and the electronics don't get fried.

We'll find out in a few hours if that that burn is successful.

I went out to the landing zone and took a look at the side boosters,  they look in  really good condition so they're they're both refliable, although as I said they're combination of version 3 and version 4 so we're only gonna be reflying  version 5 at this point. That launches shortly and that that'll be our mainstay, we will stick to version 5 for the falcon architecture we don't expect to have any version 6.


David Kerley form ABC News Elon spectacular what did you learn, what did Falcon Heavy teach you?

I guess it taught me that crazy things can come true, because I didn't really think this would work, and when I see the rocket liftoff, I
see like a thousand things that might not work and it's amazing when they they do. Seeing the two boosters land synchronized, really just like the simulation, it makes you think that it could be quite a scalable approach you know, with those just coming in, landing, taking off, landing,  doing many flights per day.

It gives me a lot of faith for our next architecture the interplanetary spaceship. We have different names for it but BFR is code name. It gives me confidence that BFR is really quite workable.
I was actually looking at the side boosters - I'm like 'they're pretty big you know 16 stories tall, 60 foot leg span but we really need to be way bigger than that so I think it's given me a lot of confidence that we can make the BFR design work. 

I think we can really do this a lot.
You know and keep advancing the technology to achieve full and rapid reusability which will have a  profound effect on the future.
One of the interesting things about Falcon Heavy versus Falcon 9 is that Falcon heavy has the same level of expendability as Falcon nine,  sixty million dollars falcon 9,  Heavies 90, even though it's got three times as much capability,  because in both cases the only thing that's expended is the upper stage.
We're going to start recovering the fairings, we're gonna recover boosters and so the cost difference between a Falcon Heavy and a Falcon 9 is minor.

Marcia Done, Associated Press  What was going through your mind and how how amazed for you to see your Roadster up there with Starman, just cruising along with the blue planet and how long will we be getting live views do you think from the car?

Well I think it looks so ridiculous and impossible,  you can tell it's real because it looks so fake.
Honestly we'd have way better CGI if it was fake.
You know the colors all look like kind of weird in space as there's no atmospheric occlusion, it's like everything was too crisp.
We didn't really test any of those materials for you know - space hardness or whatever, so it just has the same seats that anormal car has - it's a strictly a normal car in space - I  kind of like the absurdity of that.

If you look closely on the dashboard there's a tiny roadster with a tiny spaceman, because hot wheels made a Hot Wheels roadster and a friend a friend of mine suggested "hey why not put that Hot Wheels roadster with a tiny spaceman on the you know the car - like that'd be cool surprise"

Silly fun things are important. Normally for a  new rocket they've launched things like a block of concrete or something like that, I
mean that's so boring and I think  the imagery of it is something that's gonna get people excited around the world.

It's still tripping me out, you know tripping balls here.

Brendan Burn (?)
Congratulations Elon on great launch today where do you see the Falcon Heavy fitting into this launch industry,  is this something that is going to be for more national security or do you see this for interplanetary missions, what's the future of Falcon Heavy?

Falcon Heavy opens up a new class of payload. It can launch more than twice as much payload as any other rocket in the world, so it's kind of up to customers what they might want to launch. It can launch things direct to Pluto and beyond with no need for a gravity assist or anything. Launch giant satellites, it can do anything you want. You could send people back to the moon with a bunch of Falcon Heavy and an orbital refilling.  Two or three falcon heavies would equal the payload of a Saturn Five.
But I wouldn't recommend doing that because I think that BFR architecture is the way to go, but I think it's gonna open up a sense of possibility, I think it's going to encourage other companies and countries to say 'hey if SpaceX which is a commercial company can do this with internal funds then then they could do it too. 
So I think it's an encourage other countries and companies to raise their sights and say 'hey, we can do bigger and better', which is great.  We want a new space race.
Races are exciting!

Darryl Mail (?) Fox
Can you talk us through your thought process as you were watching the launch, you said you were incredibly concerned about it and you just wanted it to clear the pad?

I think this is true of anyone who's involved closely in the design of something, you know all the ways it can fail and and there's a mental checklist scrolling through your mind of all the things that can break.
I mean. there's thousands of things that can go wrong and everything has to go right.

Once the rocket lifts off there's nothing, there's no opportunity to do a recall or upload a software fix or anything like that, it has to be a hundred percent -  at least for the ascent phase. I've seen rockets blow up  so many different ways, so you know it's a big relief when it it actually works.
I bet whoever launched something like a 747 or or dc-3 or something like that, I bet the chief engineer was like 'I can't believe that things like flying'.

Irene Klotz from Aviation Week
Congratulations. Can you talk to us a little bit about what needs to happen to certify Falcon Heavy for national security missions. Gow far along you are in the process and how many flights you might need to do and also if you're able to say anything about how much SpaceX's investment was to get to the rocket to this point thanks.

It depends on which national security mission that we need to get. How many flights depends on which mission but we have a number of commercial customers for Falcon Heavy and so I it's not gonna be in any way an impediment to acceptance of national security missions.  We'll be doing several heavy missions flights per year so, say there's a big national security satellite that's due for launch in three or four years and we're probably have like a dozen or more launches done by then.
I don't think launch number will be an inhibitor for national security stuff. And yeah so I think we've got the STP mission that's coming up which is another test mission that will go on falcon heavy block 5 and then we'll be launching block 5  single stick in a couple months so I think it's hopefully smooth sailing for qualification for national security missions.

Falcon heavy costs
Our investment to date probably a lot more than I'd like to admit. We tried to cancel the Falcon Heavy program three times at SpaceX because it's like 'man this is way harder than we thought'. The initial idea was just I thought you know you stick on two first stages of side boosters how hard can it be?  It's like way hard.
We have to redesign the center core completely.  We redesigned the grid fins, because well it's a long story but you've got a nose cone on the end of at the end of the booster instead of a cylinder, you lose control authority because if you if you've got a cylinder you can kind of bounce the air off of the rocket and you get like a 30% more increased control authority than if you've got a cylindrical section instead of a Ogive section at the end of the booster so we have to redesign the grid fins.  Redesigning the control system.
Vastly redesigned the thrust structure at the base to take way more load - that center boosters got to deal with over a million pounds of load coming in combined from the site boosters so it ends up being heavier so that the center core basically complete redesign, and even the side boosters has a pretty large number of parts that change. Then the launch site itself needs to change a lot.
I'm guessing our total investment is over half a billion. Probably more.

I'd like to take some questions from the phone I
think the first one up is
Dan Fergana from BuzzFeed news
Could you talk a little bit about the decision to have the two side boosters come down at the same time is that just the way it falls out from the physics or was that a actual decision you made?

We did offset them slightly but really they they pretty much just come down that way. We want them to offset slightly just so that the radars didn't interfere and we actually wanted no communication between the two stages, they're both going to a point in absolute space and we're just worried that the radar reflection of one would be seen by the radar receiver the other. But no, that's just kind of how it happened. It's actually meant to happen just like that.

Keith cowling at NASA watch first of all congratulations you've launched a rather unconventional payload into space, one that's generated a lot of buzz and there's a lot of people some of them citizen scientists some of them they're just newbies when it comes to tracking things and states are going to try and track the the Tesla and understand what's happening to it - you know like that movie dude where's my car -  Other than the live web cam today what does SpaceX going to do to interact with this community of Tesla trackers once the car leaves orbit? Do you have a plan are you just gonna kind of wait and see what bubbles up in the internet and react to it? 
We don't have a plan. No plan, the battery's gonna last about 12 hours from launch roughly and after that it's just gonna be out there in deep space for maybe millions and millions of years who knows. Maybe  discovered by future alien race thinking what the heck what what were these guys doing did they worship this car? Why do they have a little car in the car? That'll really confuse the.  I'm not sure what's gonna happen but I think you know it's kind of a fun thing and sure hope that next burn works by the way. We'll know in a few hours.

Chris Davenport from the Washington Post so now that you're focusing more on the BFR, I wonder if you could talk a little bit about the timeline. I know you said it's coming along faster, and then what that means for your plans for Mars and the moon
Well I don't want to get too off-topic but you know I think we might, if we get lucky, be able to do short hop flights with the spaceship part of BFR maybe next year.
Bill Harwood from CBS Two really quick ones you mentioned the the drone ship a couple of thrusters got hit, did the thing land on the ship or near?
Take the information that I have with a grain of salt, it may be incorrect. The information I received was that we hit the water at about 300 miles an hour  and about a hundred metres away from the ship. Which was enough to take out two thrusters and shower the deck with shrapnel.
You mentioned the burn coming up can you give us any sense of how long a burn are we talking about and when you hope to have some confirmation and be able to tell us that it did or didn't work I don't have the number off hand, I was just looking at the profound residual Sigma which is like the key number. It's it's a decent decently long burn.  Maybe a minute or so and yeah that'll be in few hours hopefully. I actually don't have the latest information because I've just been out at the landing zone and haven't been back to launch control since going to the landing zones. I don't have the latest information on the status of the upper stage.

Tom Costello for NBC News  Congratulations again! I
want to follow up on Chris's question because Chris asked you what's your timeline potentially to go to the Moon or Mars and you said, did you say as soon as next year, can you quantify that but then I tie my real question I'm just doing Chris's work.

By hopper tests I mean kind-of-like the grasshopper program for falcon 9, where we just had the rocket take take off and land in Texas at our Texas test site so we'd either do that at our South Texas launch site, near Brownsville or or do ship-to-ship. We're not sure yet whether ship-to-ship or Brownsville, but most likely it's gonna happen in our Brownsville location because got a lot of land with nobody around and so if it blows up, it's cool.
By hopper test I mean it'll go up several miles then come down. The ship is capable of single stage to orbit if you fully load the tanks. So we'll do flights of increasing complexity. We really want to  test the heatshield material so,  like you know fly out turn around accelerate back real hard and come in hot to test the heat shield, because we want to have a highly reusable heat shield that's capable of absorbing heat from interplanetary entry velocities. So it's really tricky.
The potential to go to the moon or mars what's your timeline, any idea?
So a lot of uncertainties on this program but it is going to be our focus, now that we're almost done with with Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy, we're gonna level off at block 5 or version 5, so there won't be anymore major versions of Falcon 9 or Falcon Heavy. Dragon is also going to level off at dragon version 2. There might be point releases like 5.1 or Dragon 2.1 or something like that but most of our engineering resources will be dedicated to BFR and and so I think that that will make things go quite quickly.

The ship part is by far the hardest because that's going to come in from super-orbital velocities. Mars transfer velocities these are way harder than coming in from low-earth orbit. There's some of the heating things that scale to the eighth power.  I diddn't think there's anything that scales to eight power but turns out on reentry certain elements of reentry heating scale to the 8th so just testing that ship out is the real tricky part.
The booster I think we understand reasonable boosters. Reusable spaceships that can land propulsively that's that's harder, so we're starting with the hard part first.
I think it's conceivable that we do our first full-up orbital test flight in 3-4 years including the booster.  inaudible question on moon/mars
 We'd go to low earth orbit first but it would be capable of going to the moon very shortly thereafter it's designed to do that.

Martin Avenue reddit's r/space
 I'd like to congratulate it you as well as so many people have done just now. I'd like to know about Starman spacesuit is it a production model, is it instrumented and/or pressurized and what's holding his what's holding him up?
Well there's a mannequin inside, so it's just basically stuffed, but yeah that is the actual production design so the real one looks like just like that that in fact that's one of the qualification articles so that's that's real that's the real deal yeah.
I figure if you're gonna go on a dangerous trip you want to look good. It took us three years to design, it was real hard,  it's easier making spacesuit that looks good or doesn't work or that works but doesn't look good it's really difficult to make a space suit that looks good and works.  You have to make it a multi-part process and it was surprisingly difficult.

I take motion from Business Insider um thank you so much for doing this by the way and I
want to go back to VFR for a second since you were talking about that, and also Starman which is such an inspirational thing that's happening.  Have you thought given any thought to what you might do with BFR in that way what is the what is the payload and any thoughts of that?
No, no ideas, sugestions are welcome!

I mean it's a beast so you know the BFR 9 meter diameter or 30 feet roughly. You can put a lot in 30 feet,  hundred twenty meters long. Although you know I bet it doesn't look that big after a while.
 
timber notes from ports
Hi Elon thanks again for doing this. Two questions for you one just about faring recovery,  just curious how the SpaceX is coming with that, and  Jeff Bezos just responded to your tweet congratulating you on your launch today.   You just mentioned a minute ago that we need a new space race I'm just curious if you see yourself in a race with blue origin.
What's the first part of the the question again?
Checking in on fairing recovery.
Fairing recovery

I'm pretty sure we'll have fairing recovery in the next six months.
It turns out that you pop the parachute on the fairing and you've got this giant awkward thing that tends to interfere with the air flow on the on the parachute and and mess it up.

Gets all twisty and and was low priority too. We have fairing version two which is the really  important one that we want to recover, so even if we recovered fairing version one, we wouldn't be re-flying it in the future. Fairing two and recovery that's very important, and my guess is - next six months we figure out recovery.
We've got a special boat to catch the fairing, like a catcher's mitt. It's like a giant catchers mitt in boat form.
 It's gonna run around and catch the fairing.
Kinda fun.
I think you might be able to do the same thing with dragon so if NASA wants us to, we could try to catch dragon.
Made for the fairing, but it would work for dragon too.

James Dean from Florida today  Speaking of those dragons could you give us a status on Commercial Crew and and you know when we might realistically see that astronaut just get into low-earth orbit much less the Moon or Mars

We're making great progress on crew dragon or dragon version 2 - mission assurance is always number one  priority but then the the priority used to be falcon 9 block five and then a month ago I said absolute priority is crew Dragon.  We're pretty much done with falcon 9  block five, almost done with Falcon Heavy, a few tweaks that could occur with falcon heavy block five but they're minor. And so it's all hands on deck for crew dragon and we're aspiring to send crew to orbit  at the end of this year.

I think the hardware will be ready.
Chris Gephardt How quickly can the pad be reconfigured between heavy and Falcon 9 since you need that pad for both?

It's no problem, it can go back and forth this is its designed that way.
And for the block five version of the Falcon 9 or Falcon Heavy are the does the Falcon having need a dedicated core built for it?
It does. Tthe center core needs to be dedicated, the center core is a special build, the side boosters we can reuse existing Falcon 9s but we need to just replace the interstage with a with a nose cone and and use the upgraded titanium grid-fins, which are sweet.
Those worked out real well I'm really happy about those in fact I'm glad we got the side boosters back because they had the titanium grid-fins,  and the center core diddn't.  So if I have to pick, I would have picked the side boosters. I just picked the center core to explode.  That would be like the least bad. The grid-fins are super expensive and and awesome but their production rate is slow.  We want them back. The most important thing to recover where those gridfins.
 Is there anything inside the spacesuit testing like its ability to function>
Nope, I know it definitely works so you can just like jump in a vacuum chamber with it and be fine.

(He's totally jumped in a vacuum chamber with it)
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: envy887 on 02/07/2018 01:39 PM
Based on the final orbit, this launch could have lifted roughly 7500 kg to GTO-1800 with 3-core recovery and a large center core boost-back. Block 5 improvements will allow it to do that with 3-core RTLS, or more payload, IMO.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: MaxTeranous on 02/07/2018 02:00 PM
Simply stretching the upper stage of FH would basically null out any performance difference. And adding a kick stage on top of *that* would allow FH to launch Europa Clipper direct to Jupiter like SLS.

There is no kick stage for Europa Clipper on FH.  "Kick" stages are solid motors which have high thrust.  Solid motors and Falcon are none starters.

There is no stretching of the upperstage.  there is no more F9 development.

Europa Clipper on FH would use gravity assists.

Why are we even discussing this? Europa Clipper is mandated by law to fly on SLS. End of story.

It is possible for laws to be changed*. There are possible scenarios where SLS is canned at some point in the next 4 years, meaning Clipper flies on something else or not at all.

*Well human laws anyway. Laws of physics are a little more trickery to break :)
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Apollo-phill on 02/07/2018 04:05 PM
Did live interview for UK BBC Regional Radio on the Falcon Heavy launch and able " squeeze in" brief note about BFR/BFS too.

I noted that the view of Starman in the Tesla car reminded me of the early 1960's animated cartoons of " The Jetsons" !

 But, way " Cooler" as yesterday was for "real" !

Also, it was just over 50 years since I did a similar interview for BBC Radio about the Apollo 5 LM mission !!!  Yikes !


Phill Parker
UK

Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: the_other_Doug on 02/07/2018 04:07 PM
Based on the final orbit, this launch could have lifted roughly 7500 kg to GTO-1800 with 3-core recovery and a large center core boost-back. Block 5 improvements will allow it to do that with 3-core RTLS, or more payload, IMO.

What would you estimate the mass it could have lifted to a direct GSO injection, the process (if not the trajectory) for which was tested?  And for ASDS center core recovery, how much to GSO for an FH made up of Block 5's?

Less than 5000 kg, in either case, I would imagine...
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: the_other_Doug on 02/07/2018 04:10 PM
...I noted that the view of Starman in the Tesla car reminded me of the early 1960's animated cartoons of " The Jetsons" ! ...

Actually, in my household, the similarity to Supercar was far more noted than to the Jetsons... :)

So, there is yet another name for Starman -- Mike Mercury!
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: wannamoonbase on 02/07/2018 04:19 PM
Based on the final orbit, this launch could have lifted roughly 7500 kg to GTO-1800 with 3-core recovery and a large center core boost-back. Block 5 improvements will allow it to do that with 3-core RTLS, or more payload, IMO.

3-Core RTLS would have to be highly desirable for SpaceX. 

Total turn around time for Block 5 cores will become a factor if they can be flown as often as they are targeting. 

A week on a barge is an expensive (lost) week.

Also, who isn't jamming to David Bowie these last couple of days?
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: envy887 on 02/07/2018 05:58 PM
Based on the final orbit, this launch could have lifted roughly 7500 kg to GTO-1800 with 3-core recovery and a large center core boost-back. Block 5 improvements will allow it to do that with 3-core RTLS, or more payload, IMO.

What would you estimate the mass it could have lifted to a direct GSO injection, the process (if not the trajectory) for which was tested?  And for ASDS center core recovery, how much to GSO for an FH made up of Block 5's?

Less than 5000 kg, in either case, I would imagine...

A block 5 with a hotter center core landing (no or less boostback) should put around 4000 kg direct to GSO. That is a lot, but I don't think that's enough for the EELV requirement which is more like 6500 kg. That would likely require expending the center.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: NWade on 02/07/2018 06:02 PM
Matching payloads was difficult for Ariane because they always need a big and a smaller payload. With the capacity of FH SpaceX could probably match any two payloads almost freely. The obstacle is the fairing size. Also Elon Musk has said he does not want two customer payloads depend on each other.
 
One more issue to think about: You're unlikely to be injecting two GEO payloads to the same orbit, so fit that into the delta-V calcs, required number of 2nd stage burns, time that your payloads spend without their arrays deployed,  etc etc. Seems like it gets messy really quickly, in addition to the other factors previously mentioned.
 
Finally, the appeal is even more dubious once you factor in that the market is seeing a noticeable price drop with FH even *without* ride-sharing to GEO.
 
--Noel
 
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: guckyfan on 02/07/2018 06:24 PM
Matching payloads was difficult for Ariane because they always need a big and a smaller payload. With the capacity of FH SpaceX could probably match any two payloads almost freely. The obstacle is the fairing size. Also Elon Musk has said he does not want two customer payloads depend on each other.
 
One more issue to think about: You're unlikely to be injecting two GEO payloads to the same orbit, so fit that into the delta-V calcs, required number of 2nd stage burns, time that your payloads spend without their arrays deployed,  etc etc. Seems like it gets messy really quickly, in addition to the other factors previously mentioned.
 
Finally, the appeal is even more dubious once you factor in that the market is seeing a noticeable price drop with FH even *without* ride-sharing to GEO.
 
--Noel
 

In GTO satellites will drift quite fast to their orbital position.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: envy887 on 02/07/2018 06:33 PM
Matching payloads was difficult for Ariane because they always need a big and a smaller payload. With the capacity of FH SpaceX could probably match any two payloads almost freely. The obstacle is the fairing size. Also Elon Musk has said he does not want two customer payloads depend on each other.
 
One more issue to think about: You're unlikely to be injecting two GEO payloads to the same orbit, so fit that into the delta-V calcs, required number of 2nd stage burns, time that your payloads spend without their arrays deployed,  etc etc. Seems like it gets messy really quickly, in addition to the other factors previously mentioned.
 
Finally, the appeal is even more dubious once you factor in that the market is seeing a noticeable price drop with FH even *without* ride-sharing to GEO.
 
--Noel
 

In GTO satellites will drift quite fast to their orbital position.

Even in GEO they will drift pretty fast with trivial delta-v.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Nomadd on 02/07/2018 06:39 PM
Matching payloads was difficult for Ariane because they always need a big and a smaller payload. With the capacity of FH SpaceX could probably match any two payloads almost freely. The obstacle is the fairing size. Also Elon Musk has said he does not want two customer payloads depend on each other.
 
One more issue to think about: You're unlikely to be injecting two GEO payloads to the same orbit, so fit that into the delta-V calcs, required number of 2nd stage burns, time that your payloads spend without their arrays deployed,  etc etc. Seems like it gets messy really quickly, in addition to the other factors previously mentioned.
 
Finally, the appeal is even more dubious once you factor in that the market is seeing a noticeable price drop with FH even *without* ride-sharing to GEO.
 
--Noel
 
GEO satellites are all in the same orbit. You don't need a 2nd stage to change positions.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: virnin on 02/08/2018 02:55 AM
As for lunar trajectories, can FH send a Dragon 2 directly to the Moon?

And before anyone asks, can also land on the moon using convenient lithobraking maneuvers.

  ;D

"Lithobraking"

We need to add that new term to the NSF online space terminology dictionary.

Where is that thing these days anyhow?

Did you mean this thread?

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=39450
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Paul451 on 02/08/2018 05:27 AM
Aside:

SF author David Brin is hosting an informal FH-inspired flash-fiction contest on his blog: https://davidbrin.blogspot.com.au/2018/02/what-happens-to-starman-and-red.html (https://davidbrin.blogspot.com.au/2018/02/what-happens-to-starman-and-red.html)

100 word limit. Subject: aliens or future humans misinterpreting Tesla/Starman.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: WindyCity on 02/08/2018 04:36 PM
Just curious if anybody knows what data from the center core would have been gathered had the booster not crashed. I assume that on-board sensors sent back loads of information via telemetry. What differences are there between what was likely obtained by signal transmission and the physical data that was lost?  Do you have an opinion about how important that loss is. Thanks.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: sanman on 02/08/2018 07:30 PM
This article quotes Musk as saying that Falcon Heavy could be used for crewed missions, including the recently-shelved circumlunar flight, if BFR takes too long:

https://memeburn.com/2018/02/spacex-else-can-expect-2018/

Quote
“If that (BFR development) ends up taking longer than expected, then we will return to the idea of sending a Crew Dragon on a Falcon Heavy around the moon, and potentially do other things with crew on Falcon Heavy,” Musk was quoted as saying by Space News.

Well, at least Musk knows how to manage expectations. But are there a suitable repertoire of cutting-edge missions for FH to keep pushing the envelope, if BFR gets bogged down in development hell?
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: speedevil on 02/08/2018 07:43 PM
Quote
“If that (BFR development) ends up taking longer than expected, then we will return to the idea of sending a Crew Dragon on a Falcon Heavy around the moon, and potentially do other things with crew on Falcon Heavy,” Musk was quoted as saying by Space News.

Well, at least Musk knows how to manage expectations. But are there a suitable repertoire of cutting-edge missions for FH to keep pushing the envelope, if BFR gets bogged down in development hell?

That depends on who's willing to pay for it.

There are a number of capability demonstrators F* could do, in principle, relatively inexpensively.

Testing propellant transfer between second stages.
Docking payloads as a service - two S2s, demonstrate clamping the payload adaptors together or similar.
Larger fairing.
Metholox second stage.
Metholox third stage - a relightable  stage liftable by one F9 expendable or one FH reusable to LEO, which can dock with a pre-orbited payload.

But while these offer great possibilities, they still need someone to actually buy them - be it for space hotels or to set up a working coke machine on the moon.

Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Roy_H on 02/08/2018 10:40 PM
"Lithobraking"

We need to add that new term to the NSF online space terminology dictionary.

Where is that thing these days anyhow?

Did you mean this thread?

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=39450

That's not the original one, but better than nothing. Thanks  :)
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: John Alan on 02/10/2018 06:50 AM
Based on what Elon says at about 1:30 point in this video interview and then puff piece.
(Interview was pre-launch... one on one type at 39A pad site... and good questions I thought)

Do you think SpaceX throttles the boosters a lot in the last say 20 seconds to limit transfer loads at no more then the 1/2 million pounds each value Elon mentioned in answering the question?
OR... was he just simplifying the answer in layman's terms?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I7LJIuB2CHE

I guess the root question I am asking for comment and speculation on is...
What do you think the thrust verses time map looks like from launch thru to MECO from the boosters and the core?
 ???
On add
We know from what was said at the 15:20+ point in this version 2.0 SpaceX launch video...
Boosters throttling late in their burn is required for loads as per the 15:54 start of statement made...  ;)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wbSwFU6tY1c?t=15m20s
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: envy887 on 02/11/2018 02:19 AM
Based on what Elon says at about 1:30 point in this video interview and then puff piece.
(Interview was pre-launch... one on one type at 39A pad site... and good questions I thought)

Do you think SpaceX throttles the boosters a lot in the last say 20 seconds to limit transfer loads at no more then the 1/2 million pounds each value Elon mentioned in answering the question?
OR... was he just simplifying the answer in layman's terms?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I7LJIuB2CHE

I guess the root question I am asking for comment and speculation on is...
What do you think the thrust verses time map looks like from launch thru to MECO from the boosters and the core?
 ???
On add
We know from what was said at the 15:20+ point in this version 2.0 SpaceX launch video...
Boosters throttling late in their burn is required for loads as per the 15:54 start of statement made...  ;)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wbSwFU6tY1c?t=15m20s

The boosters throttle before BECO to keep gee loads within payload constraints. FH could pull up to ~12 gees at BECO if they didn't throttle the boosters. F9 could only pull 5 gees before MECO, that's not a problem there.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: AbuSimbel on 02/12/2018 03:24 PM
And we now have official word about Falcon Heavy's price if expendable: 150 million$; as well as clarification about its performance as listed on NASA's database* that would put it behind Delta IV H for High energy missions.

Quote
elonmusk: @doug_ellison @dsfpspacefl1ght The performance numbers in this database are not accurate. In process of being fixed. Even if they were, a fully expendable Falcon Heavy, which far exceeds the performance of a Delta IV Heavy, is $150M, compared to over $400M for Delta IV Heavy.

https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/963076231921938432 (https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/963076231921938432)


*reference: https://elvperf.ksc.nasa.gov/  and the tweet by Doug Ellison that brought it to our attention https://twitter.com/doug_ellison/status/959604957283368961 
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: AbuSimbel on 02/12/2018 03:34 PM
Also, as I remember our own Robotbeat pointing out regarding FH 2nd stage lower ISP vs. D4H

Quote
elonmusk: @doug_ellison @dsfpspacefl1ght Both exhaust velocity (Isp) and mass ratio drive the rocket equation. Also thrust/mass matters a lot for Oberth effect. Delta upper stage Isp is good, but mass ratio and thrust are not.

https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/963087975004319746
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: rakaydos on 02/12/2018 04:47 PM
https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/963094533830426624

"Side boosters landing on droneships & center expended is only ~10% performance penalty vs fully expended. Cost is only slightly higher than an expended F9, so around $95M."

5 mil over a baseline falcon heavy? perhaps they arnt as sure about core recovery as I thought.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: M.E.T. on 02/12/2018 04:50 PM
Did people read the rest of that twitter conversation? This struck me as particularly interesting:

https://twitter.com/DJSnM/status/963094625375240192

"For full recovery to make sense over single stick expendable needs each booster to be reused multiple times. I’m also curious as to whether SpaceX would consider stretching Stage 2 if there was a market that made sense."

https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/963095860060934144

"Under consideration. We’ve already stretched the upper stage once. Easiest part of the rocket to change. Fairing 2, flying soon, also has a slightly larger diameter. Could make fairing much longer if need be & will if BFR takes longer than expected."
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: WH2OPaddler on 02/12/2018 05:16 PM
I am curious about how people feel as regards Elon's comment that he is no longer considering the manned mission around the moon, and that he would only do so if problems arose during development of the BFR/BFS. Thing is, problems WILL arise. Schedules WILL slip. And for those reasons, I think not going to the moon as soon as is feasible is a mistake.

As is well known in this group, the SLS is consuming an enormous amount of money. And as bad as that is, it's money being spent on a system that will likely never fly more than twice a year. Still, SLS is well regarded in Congress, where all those taxpayer dollars come from. Dollars that I believe can be better spent doing things like designing/building the infrastructure - habitats, power stations, mining and manufacturing facilities, bio-structures to grow crops, etc., etc - that Elon Musk and anyone else will need once the BFR/BFS is flying to either the moon or Mars. What's needed is a way to redirect the SLS billions so that it can be better spent elsewhere.

The recent test launch of FH garnered world wide attention, and rightly so. But it has not altered the view of a sufficient number of Congressmen and women as regards SLS. What would is a space spectacular. A feat that would hold the world's attention, not for a day or two, but for an entire week. That headline grabbing effort is sending people around the moon. No single mission in the foreseeable future has the potential to more thoroughly grab the attention of every [taxpaying] citizen in the US. For SpaceX, it could begin an entirely new movement: "Take me, too!"

In many L2 discussions, writers decry the fact that the non-space following public has no idea about how much SLS has and is costing, and how much less the Falcon 9 and FH launch vehicles are in comparison to the competition. But send people around the moon on a journey that will last a week or more, and any person with a cell phone will hear about the tens of billions of dollars presently being wasted on a system that has no future.

The work to make Dragon round-the-moon ready have to take place regardless of launch vehicle. And while I'm sure there are readers here who know in-depth how the launch vehicle certification requirements differ between paying tourists and paid astronauts, I cannot see that NASA could prohibit their launch (though I'll admit... I could be wrong).

I believe Elon should move to launch people to the moon because, if for no other reason, a) doing so will create a tsunami of taxpayer outrage that will put an end to SLS, and b) if properly directed, the money now being spent on SLS could be used to design and build the multitudinous pieces of infrastructure necessary to allow people to live and work on both the moon and Mars.

The longer SLS lives, the longer it will be before boots disturb the dusty surfaces of the moon or Mars.

Ad astra.   
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: gongora on 02/12/2018 05:36 PM
The work to make Dragon round-the-moon ready have to take place regardless of launch vehicle.

No.  If the mission is done with BFR then Dragon wouldn't be involved at all.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: speedevil on 02/12/2018 05:49 PM
The work to make Dragon round-the-moon ready have to take place regardless of launch vehicle.

No.  If the mission is done with BFR then Dragon wouldn't be involved at all.

BFR can - if refuelled in LEO - get some 20 tons to and back from the moon.
Approximately equal to the whole payload of the Apollo program.
(not counting the mass of the vehicles)

https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=41682.40 - more advanced schemes can do over a hundred tons a launch, with some complexity.

FH - in comparison would need another vehicle to handle TLI and lunar return, or a vastly upgraded dragon 2 capsule.
BFR needs nothing.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Jdeshetler on 02/12/2018 09:37 PM
Falcon Heavy - Possible variants comparisons.

https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/963095860060934144

"Under consideration. We’ve already stretched the upper stage once. Easiest part of the rocket to change. Fairing 2, flying soon, also has a slightly larger diameter. Could make fairing much longer if need be & will if BFR takes longer than expected."
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: spacenut on 02/12/2018 09:44 PM
How much longer and wider would a larger fairing be?  IF, there was/is a need?  And or how much of a stretch could FH upper stage take, again if needed?  This makes sense if they needed to compete with SLS. 

Also, as seldom as FH will probably fly in the near future, would they consider using F9 stages that have launched 5 or 10 times and expend them as a center core? 

Maybe this is not the place, but what if they only installed 5 or 7 engines on the center core running full thrust and expended it?  I'm thinking without 2 or 4 engines, legs, and grid fins, could this increase payload? 

Just wondering what the absolute maximum payload to various orbits with minimum modifications?
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: John Alan on 02/12/2018 10:04 PM
Just sitting here looking at the pictures up above and looking over specs widely available online [1]...
(and I am rounding down for simple math here, and using expend all $150m price)
Current configuration... 63 metric tons to LEO at ~100+ tons S2 prop
33% prop cap stretch... 33 metric tons more S2 prop (133) and 30 metric ton payload to LEO
50% prop cap stretch... 50 metric tons more S2 prop (150) and 13 metric ton payload to LEO

All three have a place depending on where the payload is going and how much it weighs...  ???

On edit...
Heck there is a possible 60% stretch... 3 metric tons to LEO and 60 metric tons of prop to take it somewhere else..
But that's a ~7.5 meter stretch... will it fly ok?...  :-\
(later edit... with special short fairing, I bet it would fly fine... IMHO)

[1] one of several references... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falcon_9_Full_Thrust#Vehicle_specifications (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falcon_9_Full_Thrust#Vehicle_specifications)
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: cppetrie on 02/12/2018 11:49 PM
How much longer and wider would a larger fairing be?  IF, there was/is a need?  And or how much of a stretch could FH upper stage take, again if needed?  This makes sense if they needed to compete with SLS. 

Also, as seldom as FH will probably fly in the near future, would they consider using F9 stages that have launched 5 or 10 times and expend them as a center core? 

Maybe this is not the place, but what if they only installed 5 or 7 engines on the center core running full thrust and expended it?  I'm thinking without 2 or 4 engines, legs, and grid fins, could this increase payload? 

Just wondering what the absolute maximum payload to various orbits with minimum modifications?
Center cores are custom and can’t be converted from single stick versions. Side boosters and single stick are convertible with small amount of work. Per Elon post launch conference.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: GWH on 02/13/2018 04:30 AM
$95 million for 10% less than max payload with both cores landing on ASDS. Cost per kg to GTO at an estimated payload of 24 tonnes: $3950/kg.
$62 million for 8 tonnes to GTO as quoted in the recent Nasaspaceflight article: $7750/kg.
The latter is 20% less than Ariane 6 or Vulcan ACES, and the former is less than half. Crazy. Try and compare it to the SLS and its an order of magnitude cheaper...

Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: alang on 02/13/2018 05:03 AM
If the second stage was stretched then wouldn't that make the centre core more recoverable since it would be staging earlier?
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: vanoord on 02/13/2018 08:24 AM
How much longer and wider would a larger fairing be?  IF, there was/is a need? 

It may be that the X-37B was a tighter fit than they wanted, so making Fairing 2 a few inches greater in diameter might give them the clearance they want.

The implication from Elon's tweet was - I think - that the increase in size was not massive.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: M.E.T. on 02/13/2018 12:21 PM
Just sitting here looking at the pictures up above and looking over specs widely available online [1]...
(and I am rounding down for simple math here, and using expend all $150m price)
Current configuration... 63 metric tons to LEO at ~100+ tons S2 prop
33% prop cap stretch... 33 metric tons more S2 prop (133) and 30 metric ton payload to LEO
50% prop cap stretch... 50 metric tons more S2 prop (150) and 13 metric ton payload to LEO

All three have a place depending on where the payload is going and how much it weighs...  ???

On edit...
Heck there is a possible 60% stretch... 3 metric tons to LEO and 60 metric tons of prop to take it somewhere else..
But that's a ~7.5 meter stretch... will it fly ok?...  :-\
(later edit... with special short fairing, I bet it would fly fine... IMHO)

[1] one of several references... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falcon_9_Full_Thrust#Vehicle_specifications (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falcon_9_Full_Thrust#Vehicle_specifications)

I am now quite confused. Why is your payload decreasing as the 2nd stage increases in size? Are you suggesting that the stretched second stage eats into the space normally encapsulated by the fairing? My assumption was that as the 2nd stage stretches the rocket's overall length simply increases, without encroaching into any fairing space.

Surely the payload should increase as the 2nd stage propellant mass grows? What am I missing?
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: speedevil on 02/13/2018 12:29 PM
I am now quite confused. Why is your payload decreasing as the 2nd stage increases in size? Are you suggesting that the stretched second stage eats into the space normally encapsulated by the fairing? My assumption was that as the 2nd stage stretches the rocket's overall length simply increases, without encroaching into any fairing space.

Surely the payload should increase as the 2nd stage propellant mass grows? What am I missing?

The assumption seems to be that the desired end-state is total S2 mass in LEO, with the S2+payload remaining at a constant mass.

This seems unlikely, and is missing the column for extra fuel delivered to S2 that might make this somewhat interesting, and also that you can launch more to LEO if you have more fuel, as S1 velocity is only weakly affected by S2 mass.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: M.E.T. on 02/13/2018 12:53 PM
I am now quite confused. Why is your payload decreasing as the 2nd stage increases in size? Are you suggesting that the stretched second stage eats into the space normally encapsulated by the fairing? My assumption was that as the 2nd stage stretches the rocket's overall length simply increases, without encroaching into any fairing space.

Surely the payload should increase as the 2nd stage propellant mass grows? What am I missing?

The assumption seems to be that the desired end-state is total S2 mass in LEO, with the S2+payload remaining at a constant mass.

This seems unlikely, and is missing the column for extra fuel delivered to S2 that might make this somewhat interesting, and also that you can launch more to LEO if you have more fuel, as S1 velocity is only weakly affected by S2 mass.

I see. What would be the point of increasing S2 size if it reduces your payload capacity?
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Robotbeat on 02/13/2018 12:57 PM
A longer upper stage INCREASES payload to high energy orbits like direct GEO and direct to Jupiter. With just a stretched upper stage (and possibly a small kick stage on top), FH should be capable of sending Europa Clipper (baselines 4200kg) direct to Jupiter instead of having to use SLS.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: GWH on 02/13/2018 02:09 PM
Moving this discussion on FH pricing here since it has nothing to do with the demo flight:
That means a centre core costs only $5M to make. $95M for 0.9*26.7 = 24.03 t is $3,953/kg, which is the cheapest option.

No Legs, no Iconel Heat shield.. No Grid fins..
All of which would not only save cost but also reduce mass on core, which is much bigger benefit than on the boosters.  Also, what's the cost of deep ocean drone ship recovery for what would be a very very toasty core? You have to wonder how many times they figured they could re-use the core to start with.. if only a few times.. then maybe the new numbers make sense.

This isn't the right take away.
From Elon's twitter post (https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/963094533830426624) if a center core expendable is $95M which is slightly more than an expendable F9 then that means an expendable F9 is about the $90M. That makes perfect sense, since an expendable F9 is roughly the same capacity as the posted price for a recoverable FH. Same capacity - same price. That means throwing away a F9 adds about $30M to its price.

So if an expendable F9 is $90M how is it only $5M more to fly reusable side boosters on an expendable core? That doesn't make sense to current pricing for full recovery FH @ $90M. Then why does a fully expenable FH cost $150M.

Keep in mind posted prices to date have only been for recoverable Falcons on their first flight. The price point has stayed relatively static, with more and more being recoverable as performance increases. So its logical that a fully expendable F9 costs more now that it is more capable.

But with Block V enabling rapid reuse it should be expected that all Falcons are reused unless a customer pays more to insist on first flight OR expendable.
This quote from the recent NSF article (https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2018/02/falcon-heavy-success-paves-space-beyond-earth) provides insight as to what the reuse price will be:
Quote
...once Falcon Heavy flies in its fully reusable configuration – essentially lowering its price to just $62 million dollars or the price of a regular, brand new Falcon 9.

Ok $62M for a 3 core + fairing reused and recoverable payload. Now take that $30M adder to throw away a Falcon core and you end up pretty well at $95M for center core expendable. Throw the two side cores away: $150M.

The key thing here isn't to focus on today's pricing, consider it a temporary price point while SpaceX wasn't sure if they could recover cores or refly at a low cost. A rough estimate for reusing block V Falcon 9 is probably $42-45M if similar discounts are applied.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: speedevil on 02/13/2018 02:43 PM
I see. What would be the point of increasing S2 size if it reduces your payload capacity?
None, because in real life the assumptions above are not true.
Increasing the second stage mass modestly - and here 'modestly' is much under doubling it - has little effect on the staging velocity at booster separation - some 3km/s, because at this point, the whole stacks mass is many times the whole mass of S2.
It reduces significantly the velocity increase until core burnout.

In order to get a payload of 63 tons to orbit, the second stage +payload burnout mass will be 68 tons or so.

With an ISP of 348, and 111 tons of fuel, this means 3200m/s.

Doubling the mass of S2 has minimal effect on velocity before BECO, and approximately halves velocity gain after, taking velocity at BECO down by perhaps 800m/s.

We then need to ask what amount of payload we have from S2 with delta-v of 3200+800, and an initial mass of 290 tons.

The total mass ends up as 89 tons, or some 85 ton payload.

(this is very rough).
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: John Alan on 02/13/2018 03:55 PM
Just sitting here looking at the pictures up above and looking over specs widely available online [1]...
(and I am rounding down for simple math here, and using expend all $150m price)
Current configuration... 63 metric tons to LEO at ~100+ tons S2 prop
33% prop cap stretch... 33 metric tons more S2 prop (133) and 30 metric ton payload to LEO
50% prop cap stretch... 50 metric tons more S2 prop (150) and 13 metric ton payload to LEO

All three have a place depending on where the payload is going and how much it weighs...  ???

On edit...
Heck there is a possible 60% stretch... 3 metric tons to LEO and 60 metric tons of prop to take it somewhere else..
But that's a ~7.5 meter stretch... will it fly ok?...  :-\
(later edit... with special short fairing, I bet it would fly fine... IMHO)

[1] one of several references... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falcon_9_Full_Thrust#Vehicle_specifications (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falcon_9_Full_Thrust#Vehicle_specifications)

I am now quite confused. Why is your payload decreasing as the 2nd stage increases in size? Are you suggesting that the stretched second stage eats into the space normally encapsulated by the fairing? My assumption was that as the 2nd stage stretches the rocket's overall length simply increases, without encroaching into any fairing space.

Surely the payload should increase as the 2nd stage propellant mass grows? What am I missing?

My intent and way to read that is 30 metric tons payload to LEO with 33 metric tons of prop still left to take it onward...
OR 50 left on 13 payload... to take it way far away if need be... 
I was thinking GEO or beyond in a broad sense... parking orbit and how much left in the gas tank...
And no... the rocket was getting longer... S2 tank stretch of the sidewalls...
The 60% stretch could chuck a 3 metric ton probe to beyond Pluto with a lot of speed...
I hope this clarifies things a bit...  ;)
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: speedevil on 02/13/2018 04:48 PM

My intent and way to read that is 30 metric tons payload to LEO with 33 metric tons of prop still left to take it onward...
OR 50 left on 13 payload... to take it way far away if need be... 
I was thinking GEO or beyond in a broad sense... parking orbit and how much left in the gas tank...
And no... the rocket was getting longer... S2 tank stretch of the sidewalls...
The 60% stretch could chuck a 3 metric ton probe to beyond Pluto with a lot of speed...
I hope this clarifies things a bit...  ;)

The second stage + payload mass is not fixed.
Yes, in the limiting case you put a 3 ton payload on a 60% stretch stage do you get a probe going very fast.
But, if you put a 60 ton payload on that same stage, it goes well beyond LEO.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Coastal Ron on 02/13/2018 05:08 PM
How much longer and wider would a larger fairing be?  IF, there was/is a need? 

It may be that the X-37B was a tighter fit than they wanted, so making Fairing 2 a few inches greater in diameter might give them the clearance they want.

The implication from Elon's tweet was - I think - that the increase in size was not massive.

The internal diameter of the Falcon 9 payload fairing is already slightly larger than the Atlas V and Delta IV payload fairings (4.6m vs 4.57m), so I don't think the fit was too tight since the X-37B would have been designed to fit those launchers.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: John Alan on 02/13/2018 06:46 PM
The above postings were me thinking out loud what sort of stretch was within doable range...
SpaceX says FH (w/ normal S2) will put 63 metric tons to LEO (all expended), price $150m per EM... ok great...
And yes... I do agree that stretching S2 will improve that 63 number...

My questions are more...
...what sort of % stretch would suit all FH operations better?
(every need... Heavy to LEO...Medium to GEO-1800 or better...Light to Mars and beyond)
...do you go long, and maybe only partial S2 load prop for some payloads and destinations?
(playing with the rocket equation... does partial fills sometime make sense?)
I really only see them maybe cataloging two lengths... the current certified S2 and one longer one...

And if your going to sometimes expend the center core for a $95m price point...
...Would it make sense to just put 5 engines on that core?
Cap prop lines and not install 4 M1D's in the outer ring...install just cover plates on every other one...
Run those 5 at 100% thrust all the way thru MECO on depletion, instead of this center throttled profile stuff...
Throttle Boosters for Max-Q and as needed for 5G limiting to payload... till BECO
Saves cost of 4 engines... helps a bit on empty mass... hurts on gravity losses only a little...

THAT is the kind of questions I got running thru my head...  ???
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Stan-1967 on 02/13/2018 07:05 PM
How much longer and wider would a larger fairing be?  IF, there was/is a need? 

It may be that the X-37B was a tighter fit than they wanted, so making Fairing 2 a few inches greater in diameter might give them the clearance they want.

The implication from Elon's tweet was - I think - that the increase in size was not massive.

I am guessing the need might have to do with optimizing the use of FH for delivery of Starlink satellites.  Other threads have suggested the existing fairing is volume limited for delivering the maximum number of satellites per FH launch.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Jim on 02/13/2018 07:06 PM
How much longer and wider would a larger fairing be?  IF, there was/is a need? 

It may be that the X-37B was a tighter fit than they wanted, so making Fairing 2 a few inches greater in diameter might give them the clearance they want.

The implication from Elon's tweet was - I think - that the increase in size was not massive.

I am guessing the need might have to do with optimizing the use of FH for delivery of Starlink satellites.  Other threads have suggested the existing fairing is volume limited for delivering the maximum number of satellites per FH launch.

no, it is as vanoord said
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: MKremer on 02/13/2018 07:09 PM
S2 would  never  be under-filled regardless of size.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Stan-1967 on 02/13/2018 07:19 PM
The above postings were me thinking out loud what sort of stretch was within doable range...
SpaceX says FH (w/ normal S2) will put 63 metric tons to LEO (all expended), price $150m per EM... ok great...
And yes... I do agree that stretching S2 will improve that 63 number...

My questions are more...
...what sort of % stretch would suit all FH operations better?

I think that can only be answered if you know what gap SpaceX is trying to fill.  You indicated as much in your response.  I think it is doubtful they need to increase LEO capacity, as there is no indication of any payloads approaching the current limit.  However GTO, lunar & other high energy orbits could benefit from a stretched S2.

As to reducing engine count on the core, probably a bad idea.  It will limit GLOW & lead to heavy gravity losses at the beginning of the launch.  A heavier S2 will make this worse.  The stretch of S2 is enabled by the high T/W of the three cores lifting the entire stack.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: John Alan on 02/13/2018 09:02 PM
The above postings were me thinking out loud what sort of stretch was within doable range...
SpaceX says FH (w/ normal S2) will put 63 metric tons to LEO (all expended), price $150m per EM... ok great...
And yes... I do agree that stretching S2 will improve that 63 number...

My questions are more...
...what sort of % stretch would suit all FH operations better?

I think that can only be answered if you know what gap SpaceX is trying to fill.  You indicated as much in your response.  I think it is doubtful they need to increase LEO capacity, as there is no indication of any payloads approaching the current limit.  However GTO, lunar & other high energy orbits could benefit from a stretched S2.

As to reducing engine count on the core, probably a bad idea.  It will limit GLOW & lead to heavy gravity losses at the beginning of the launch.  A heavier S2 will make this worse.  The stretch of S2 is enabled by the high T/W of the three cores lifting the entire stack.

I look at it this way...
Without cross-feed... the only choice is throttle core down to save some prop for between BECO and MECO...
Some have opined, that on the demo flight... SpaceX averaged about 80% thrust setting between Launch and BECO...
There are pics around showing the center core fire trail to be noticeably shorter, even as it clears the tower...

With a F5 core...
GROSS possible lift off thrust is reduced by only 15% (23/27)... not much of a hit when you think about it.
In effect - your setting core throttle at 55% (of 9 engine max) and leaving it be all the way up...
Your running those 5 at likely the max ISP condition of full throttle...
The boosters get throttled for Max-Q and it's said have to also throttle as they deplete on G forces to payload later...
Well... this way there is more then 40% prop in the core stage at BECO... to push against instead of throttling...
Boosters deplete and stage a bit lower and slower...
Between BECO and MECO it burns thru that 40% prop when it's more downrange speed and not so much climbing and it's gravity implications...
Should be what? ~70 seconds of burn time to depletion of core...

Again... was just putting a possible configuration out there for certain missions...
Boosters to ASDS's or RTLS... core is expended... and that core was cheaper by the cost of 4 engines not used...  ;)
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: speedevil on 02/13/2018 09:15 PM
S2 would  never  be under-filled regardless of size.

Is this strictly true?
At some point, doesn't the low T/W of the second stage mean that with a very heavy payload+stack it will impact the atmosphere, whereas with a lighter fuel load, it might make it to LEO?
This long a stage would be fully filled only for light payloads.

Or, similarly if the fully fuelled stack caused load limits to be exceeded on the core.
I have not done the numbers to see if either of these are plausible limits.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: mme on 02/13/2018 09:35 PM
S2 would  never  be under-filled regardless of size.

Is this strictly true?
At some point, doesn't the low T/W of the second stage mean that with a very heavy payload+stack it will impact the atmosphere, whereas with a lighter fuel load, it might make it to LEO?
This long a stage would be fully filled only for light payloads.

Or, similarly if the fully fuelled stack caused load limits to be exceeded on the core.
I have not done the numbers to see if either of these are plausible limits.
Fuel's cheap and it allows for making up any underperformance of either stage.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: speedevil on 02/13/2018 09:40 PM
S2 would  never  be under-filled regardless of size.

Is this strictly true?
At some point, doesn't the low T/W of the second stage mean that with a very heavy payload+stack it will impact the atmosphere, whereas with a lighter fuel load, it might make it to LEO?
This long a stage would be fully filled only for light payloads.

Or, similarly if the fully fuelled stack caused load limits to be exceeded on the core.
I have not done the numbers to see if either of these are plausible limits.
Fuel's cheap and it allows for making up any underperformance of either stage.

Fuel being cheap doesn't help much if your stage has reentered due to lack of T/W.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: hkultala on 02/13/2018 10:48 PM
S2 would  never  be under-filled regardless of size.

Is this strictly true?
At some point, doesn't the low T/W of the second stage mean that with a very heavy payload+stack it will impact the atmosphere, whereas with a lighter fuel load, it might make it to LEO?
This long a stage would be fully filled only for light payloads.

Or, similarly if the fully fuelled stack caused load limits to be exceeded on the core.
I have not done the numbers to see if either of these are plausible limits.
Fuel's cheap and it allows for making up any underperformance of either stage.

Fuel being cheap doesn't help much if your stage has reentered due to lack of T/W.

First stage can easily give it enough vertical velocity that it won't re-enter.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: whitelancer64 on 02/13/2018 11:09 PM
Adding fuel gives you diminishing payload returns - Tyrrany of the rocket equation.

Seems no one here is sure where that point of diminishing returns is for a S2 stretch.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: intrepidpursuit on 02/14/2018 12:26 AM
Moving this discussion on FH pricing here since it has nothing to do with the demo flight:
That means a centre core costs only $5M to make. $95M for 0.9*26.7 = 24.03 t is $3,953/kg, which is the cheapest option.

No Legs, no Iconel Heat shield.. No Grid fins..
All of which would not only save cost but also reduce mass on core, which is much bigger benefit than on the boosters.  Also, what's the cost of deep ocean drone ship recovery for what would be a very very toasty core? You have to wonder how many times they figured they could re-use the core to start with.. if only a few times.. then maybe the new numbers make sense.

This isn't the right take away.
From Elon's twitter post (https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/963094533830426624) if a center core expendable is $95M which is slightly more than an expendable F9 then that means an expendable F9 is about the $90M. That makes perfect sense, since an expendable F9 is roughly the same capacity as the posted price for a recoverable FH. Same capacity - same price. That means throwing away a F9 adds about $30M to its price.

So if an expendable F9 is $90M how is it only $5M more to fly reusable side boosters on an expendable core? That doesn't make sense to current pricing for full recovery FH @ $90M. Then why does a fully expenable FH cost $150M.

Keep in mind posted prices to date have only been for recoverable Falcons on their first flight. The price point has stayed relatively static, with more and more being recoverable as performance increases. So its logical that a fully expendable F9 costs more now that it is more capable.

But with Block V enabling rapid reuse it should be expected that all Falcons are reused unless a customer pays more to insist on first flight OR expendable.
This quote from the recent NSF article (https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2018/02/falcon-heavy-success-paves-space-beyond-earth) provides insight as to what the reuse price will be:
Quote
...once Falcon Heavy flies in its fully reusable configuration – essentially lowering its price to just $62 million dollars or the price of a regular, brand new Falcon 9.

Ok $62M for a 3 core + fairing reused and recoverable payload. Now take that $30M adder to throw away a Falcon core and you end up pretty well at $95M for center core expendable. Throw the two side cores away: $150M.

The key thing here isn't to focus on today's pricing, consider it a temporary price point while SpaceX wasn't sure if they could recover cores or refly at a low cost. A rough estimate for reusing block V Falcon 9 is probably $42-45M if similar discounts are applied.

Expended Falcon Heavy = $150m = 2 boosters, 1 center core, 1 second stage expended = nothing recovered
Expended Center Core = $95m = 1 center core, 1 second stage expended = 2 boosters recovered
Expended Falcon 9 = $90m* = 1 booster, 1 second stage expended = nothing recovered
Recovered Falcon Heavy = $90m = 1 second stage expended = 2 boosters, 1 center core recovered
Recovered Falcon 9 = $60m = 1 second stage expended = 1 booster recovered

*This is the only unconfirmed number, but anyone who bought a reusable FH for $90m is having to use an expended F9 so that price makes sense, plus Elon said $95m is slightly more than the cost of an expended F9.

F9 expendable and FH center core expended being about the same price makes perfect sense. They both consume the same amount of hardware if we assume the center core is the reason for the $5 million difference. If we assume sold price for a booster or core is $60m and the upper stage plus overhead and profit is $30m, then all the numbers add up.

IMHO it is obvious they are planning to split the difference in cost savings from reusability with their customers. SpaceX' rockets are cheaper expendable than anyone else's, so they have no motivation to bring the costs lower yet and they need to recoup so R&D cost. So offer the reusable rockets at an even lower cost then your already budget expended rockets and they eat most of the market. They are catching "flying pallets of cash" and splitting them with their customers. That seems like a more than fair deal to me.

It also seems clear that despite what detractors are saying, they couldn't possibly be operating at a significant loss. Private investment is private, but if their prices didn't cover the cost of an expendable rocket it is hard to account for where all that money is coming from. IMHO they could throw away F9s for $60m and stay liquid. Once they stabilize the design and fly reusable regularly they will start making massive profits. If that wasn't true then there would be no dreams of BFR and CommX. Private investors wouldn't get involved for multi-billion dollar secret stakes if there wasn't a clear path to a significant return.

The first part is math, the second two parts are my estimations. Elon's numbers line up exactly with what I've assumed publicly so far. I think it is pretty hard to believe they are on the edge of bankruptcy at this point, though some still seem to.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: speedevil on 02/14/2018 12:48 AM
The first part is math, the second two parts are my estimations. Elon's numbers line up exactly with what I've assumed publicly so far. I think it is pretty hard to believe they are on the edge of bankruptcy at this point, though some still seem to.

A lot seems to be unpublic.
https://www.cnbc.com/2017/11/28/spacex-raises-100-million-in-funding-round.html

It seems unlikely they'd be selling shares if they have large piles of cash around.

It seems clear they've not been spending money on pads (other than for FH/...).
Similarly, not (as of last Nov at least) large amounts of production tooling for BFR.

I do wonder if there is an inconspicuous warehouse somewhere with a few thousand refrigerator sized boxes that one day will turn up on a suddenly packed launch schedule, once PAZ has launched and revealed any last-minute changes needed and B5 is bedded in.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Lar on 02/14/2018 04:12 AM
A lot seems to be unpublic.
https://www.cnbc.com/2017/11/28/spacex-raises-100-million-in-funding-round.html
Conventional thinking is that was a liquidity round. Chance for some employees to shuffle their portfolios and to establish pricing. 100M is way too small to be a useful funding round for an organization the size of SpaceX
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: hkultala on 02/14/2018 07:07 AM
Adding fuel gives you diminishing payload returns - Tyrrany of the rocket equation.

Wrong.

Exactly the opposite of "tyranny of the rocket equation".

It's Tyranny of gravity losses for most rockets.

It there was no gravity losses, increasing propellant (and tankage required to carry it) would give superlinear increase in payload.

But FH has the best T/W of any liquid-fueled rocket so gravity losses are less an issue so there is lots of improvement available by increasing the amount propellant.


Quote
Seems no one here is sure where that point of diminishing returns is for a S2 stretch.

Everybody who knows anything seems to understand that for FH it's much bigger than the current S2 size.

The reasons for NOT increasing it are different:

* For F9, the optimal upper stage size is smaller, either go "too big" for F9 or have two separate upper sizes(costly and problematic)
* Would need to change the TEL. Have a pause in launches to change it and if F9 does not change it's upper stage makes FH need different TEL (different launch pad) than F9
* Would be slightly more expensive. More aluminium tankage.
* Simply not needed. Why waste money developing something that is not needed

Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: dglow on 02/15/2018 06:47 AM
* Would need to change the TEL. Have a pause in launches to change it and if F9 does not change it's upper stage makes FH need different TEL (different launch pad) than F9

What about a stretched second stage would render its modified TEL incapable of supporting both sizes?
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: John Alan on 02/15/2018 10:39 PM
The reasons for NOT increasing it are different:

* For F9, the optimal upper stage size is smaller, either go "too big" for F9 or have two separate upper sizes(costly and problematic)
* Would need to change the TEL. Have a pause in launches to change it and if F9 does not change it's upper stage makes FH need different TEL (different launch pad) than F9
* Would be slightly more expensive. More aluminium tankage.
* Simply not needed. Why waste money developing something that is not needed

There is literally 4 bolts and some wires and a duct and the top of the TEL tower comes off...

Changing that part out between launches for different configurations is not an issue IMHO...  ;)

On edit...
I would even opine a totally different top will be installed when Falcon Crew get's stood up there later this year...

Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: whitelancer64 on 02/15/2018 11:05 PM
Adding fuel gives you diminishing payload returns - Tyrrany of the rocket equation.

Wrong.

Exactly the opposite of "tyranny of the rocket equation".

It's Tyranny of gravity losses for most rockets.

It there was no gravity losses, increasing propellant (and tankage required to carry it) would give superlinear increase in payload.

But FH has the best T/W of any liquid-fueled rocket so gravity losses are less an issue so there is lots of improvement available by increasing the amount propellant.


Quote
Seems no one here is sure where that point of diminishing returns is for a S2 stretch.

Everybody who knows anything seems to understand that for FH it's much bigger than the current S2 size.

The reasons for NOT increasing it are different:

* For F9, the optimal upper stage size is smaller, either go "too big" for F9 or have two separate upper sizes(costly and problematic)
* Would need to change the TEL. Have a pause in launches to change it and if F9 does not change it's upper stage makes FH need different TEL (different launch pad) than F9
* Would be slightly more expensive. More aluminium tankage.
* Simply not needed. Why waste money developing something that is not needed

The "tyranny of the rocket equation" absolutely does apply here. Adding fuel to the 2nd stage does not provide infinite benefits.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Paul451 on 02/16/2018 06:28 AM
Adding fuel to the 2nd stage does not provide infinite benefits.

Because hkultala was saying it did? Or anyone?
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Lars-J on 02/16/2018 08:11 AM
Adding fuel to the 2nd stage does not provide infinite benefits.

Because hkultala was saying it did? Or anyone?

No, but it is a common belief around these parts that stretching the FH upper stage is a cure for almost any problem, even cancer. ;) (that was sarcasm)
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: woods170 on 02/16/2018 08:48 AM

There is literally 4 bolts and some wires and a duct and the top of the TEL tower comes off...

Changing that part out between launches for different configurations is not an issue IMHO...  ;)

On edit...
I would even opine a totally different top will be installed when Falcon Crew get's stood up there later this year...

Emphasis mine.
Your guess is very close to what is planned for CCP missions.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: mlindner on 02/19/2018 09:09 AM
The first part is math, the second two parts are my estimations. Elon's numbers line up exactly with what I've assumed publicly so far. I think it is pretty hard to believe they are on the edge of bankruptcy at this point, though some still seem to.

A lot seems to be unpublic.
https://www.cnbc.com/2017/11/28/spacex-raises-100-million-in-funding-round.html

It seems unlikely they'd be selling shares if they have large piles of cash around.

It seems clear they've not been spending money on pads (other than for FH/...).
Similarly, not (as of last Nov at least) large amounts of production tooling for BFR.

I do wonder if there is an inconspicuous warehouse somewhere with a few thousand refrigerator sized boxes that one day will turn up on a suddenly packed launch schedule, once PAZ has launched and revealed any last-minute changes needed and B5 is bedded in.

That's an incorrect way of thinking about it. You don't sell shares when you need cash, you sell shares when people think you don't need any cash. If you sell shares when you need cash then you'll end up selling a lot more shares for the same amount of cash.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: hkultala on 02/19/2018 09:49 AM
Adding fuel gives you diminishing payload returns - Tyrrany of the rocket equation.

Wrong.

Exactly the opposite of "tyranny of the rocket equation".

It's Tyranny of gravity losses for most rockets.

It there was no gravity losses, increasing propellant (and tankage required to carry it) would give superlinear increase in payload.

But FH has the best T/W of any liquid-fueled rocket so gravity losses are less an issue so there is lots of improvement available by increasing the amount propellant.


Quote
Seems no one here is sure where that point of diminishing returns is for a S2 stretch.

Everybody who knows anything seems to understand that for FH it's much bigger than the current S2 size.

The reasons for NOT increasing it are different:

* For F9, the optimal upper stage size is smaller, either go "too big" for F9 or have two separate upper sizes(costly and problematic)
* Would need to change the TEL. Have a pause in launches to change it and if F9 does not change it's upper stage makes FH need different TEL (different launch pad) than F9
* Would be slightly more expensive. More aluminium tankage.
* Simply not needed. Why waste money developing something that is not needed

The "tyranny of the rocket equation" absolutely does apply here. Adding fuel to the 2nd stage does not provide infinite benefits.

... and the main reason for it is GRAVITY LOSSES, not rocket equation.

And I was not suggesting increasing the fuel load to infinite.

Assuming we did not have any gravity losses:

Example: we have rocket stage with 1.5 tonne of engine and related equipment, 3 tonnes of tank mass and 100 tonnes of propellant.

Assume isp of 340 and the stage has  10.479 km/s of delta-v alone, or can carry a 20-tonne payload to 5.416 km/s.

Keeping the engine same but stretching the tank 1.5 times means we have same 1 tonne of engine, ~4.4 tonnes of tank mass (only sides increase, bulkheads do not) and 150 tonnes of propellant.

Now the stage alone has 10.909 km/s delta-v alone, or can carry a 20-tonne payload to 6.383 km/s, or can carry 30.85-tonne payload to the same 5.416km/s trajectory where the original stage could carry only 20 tonnes.

This is superlinear increase for the stage, 1.54 times more payload for 1.5 times more fuel.


But if we think about the whole rocket:

Though now our staging mass is also 1.5 higher so our 1st stage gives lower impulse to our second stage.

Consider than 20-tonne payload(0.9km/s more with stretched second stage), and not touching the first stage.

Expendable FH would lose about 0.65 km/s staging velocity for that extra staging weight. So ~0.25 km/s more delta-v for that second state stretch for same payload.

But for reusable first stage, the improvement would be much better, because reusable 1st stages have to brake their vertical velocity AND the staging mass will be much greater due to the fuel left for braking and landing.

So, the reusable 1st stage might lose maybe about 0.4 km/s in staging velocity, so total net victory of ~0.5 km/s for the stretched upper stage for the 20-tonne payload.

AND

If we did not have any gravity losses, we could just have ~1.5 times more fuel in our first stage(s), and then have the same staging velocity, but just slightly over 1.5 times higher payload.

But because of gravity(to even liftoff from the pad) and gravity losses, we would also need 1.5 more thrust in our stages.


The problem for stretching tanks is gravity, not rocket equation.

Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: DeanG1967 on 02/20/2018 05:47 PM
I can't seem to find that the full payload weight of the Tesla and mounting stand (for a better word) that the FH launched.  Basically I am wondering what the total weight.  SpaceX says FH can do 16,800 kg (37,000 lb) to trans-Mars injection.  A Tesla alone obviously doesn't eight 37,000 pounds.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: sevenperforce on 02/20/2018 06:33 PM
I can't seem to find that the full payload weight of the Tesla and mounting stand (for a better word) that the FH launched.  Basically I am wondering what the total weight.  SpaceX says FH can do 16,800 kg (37,000 lb) to trans-Mars injection.  A Tesla alone obviously doesn't eight 37,000 pounds.
A fully-recoverable FH can only do about 3.17 tonnes to TMI. That 16.8-tonne figure is with all three cores expended.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: envy887 on 02/21/2018 03:04 AM
I can't seem to find that the full payload weight of the Tesla and mounting stand (for a better word) that the FH launched.  Basically I am wondering what the total weight.  SpaceX says FH can do 16,800 kg (37,000 lb) to trans-Mars injection.  A Tesla alone obviously doesn't eight 37,000 pounds.
A fully-recoverable FH can only do about 3.17 tonnes to TMI. That 16.8-tonne figure is with all three cores expended.

With 3-core RTLS and a massive center core boostback, maybe it can only do 3 tonnes to TMI. With all downrange landings it could do much more. Probably like 10 tonnes.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: hkultala on 02/21/2018 08:14 AM
I can't seem to find that the full payload weight of the Tesla and mounting stand (for a better word) that the FH launched.  Basically I am wondering what the total weight.  SpaceX says FH can do 16,800 kg (37,000 lb) to trans-Mars injection.  A Tesla alone obviously doesn't eight 37,000 pounds.
A fully-recoverable FH can only do about 3.17 tonnes to TMI. That 16.8-tonne figure is with all three cores expended.

Where is your 3.17 tonne number based on?
Calculations based on FH test flight staging point and delta-v of falcon second stage?

The test flight was using block 3 side boosters. Final FH will use block 5 side boosters which will have more thrust, giving both better T/W for both smaller gravity losses and possibly more fuel in center core at staging point if the center core average thrust is not increased as much.

Also the NASA launcher performance query seems to give much higher numbers.

Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: niwax on 02/21/2018 12:34 PM
I can't seem to find that the full payload weight of the Tesla and mounting stand (for a better word) that the FH launched.  Basically I am wondering what the total weight.  SpaceX says FH can do 16,800 kg (37,000 lb) to trans-Mars injection.  A Tesla alone obviously doesn't eight 37,000 pounds.
A fully-recoverable FH can only do about 3.17 tonnes to TMI. That 16.8-tonne figure is with all three cores expended.

It should be noted that their trajectory was nowhere near optimal. You wouldn't usually do a GTO-capability demonstration before launching to Mars and then fire above the company headquarters to show off. So you have Oberth effect losses and on top of that a happy mix of booster blocks that I'm sure will not perform as well as 3x Block V when they have figured out minimal fuel to land.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: cscott on 02/21/2018 02:37 PM


I can't seem to find that the full payload weight of the Tesla and mounting stand (for a better word) that the FH launched.  Basically I am wondering what the total weight.  SpaceX says FH can do 16,800 kg (37,000 lb) to trans-Mars injection.  A Tesla alone obviously doesn't eight 37,000 pounds.
A fully-recoverable FH can only do about 3.17 tonnes to TMI. That 16.8-tonne figure is with all three cores expended.

It should be noted that their trajectory was nowhere near optimal. You wouldn't usually do a GTO-capability demonstration before launching to Mars and then fire above the company headquarters to show off. So you have Oberth effect losses and on top of that a happy mix of booster blocks that I'm sure will not perform as well a 3x Block V when they have figured out minimal fuel to land.

Replace "fire above company headquarters" with "keep the window open for four hours and fire just before losing telemetry downlink" and I'm with you.  You can keep the "to show off" part though. :)
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: DeanG1967 on 02/24/2018 11:26 AM
Great discussion but nobody answered the question I asked.

What was the ACTUAL payload weight of the FH demo?

google says a Tesla model S weights 4,469 to 4,941 lbs.  FH can lift more than that but besides the mounting hardware was there other ballast in the payload??
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Kabloona on 02/24/2018 01:08 PM
Great discussion but nobody answered the question I asked.

What was the ACTUAL payload weight of the FH demo?

google says a Tesla model S weights 4,469 to 4,941 lbs.  FH can lift more than that but besides the mounting hardware was there other ballast in the payload??

I haven't seen any definitive numbers, but I can't think of any reason to add ballast. SpaceX was apparently planning all along to burn to depletion and thus get the highest aphelion possible, so why bother to add ballast.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: oiorionsbelt on 02/24/2018 09:33 PM
Great discussion but nobody answered the question I asked.

What was the ACTUAL payload weight of the FH demo?

google says a Tesla model S weights 4,469 to 4,941 lbs.  FH can lift more than that but besides the mounting hardware was there other ballast in the payload??
The Tesla payload may have weighed less than a standard Tesla Roadster. The front disc brakes were removed, for example.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: speedevil on 02/24/2018 10:08 PM
Great discussion but nobody answered the question I asked.

What was the ACTUAL payload weight of the FH demo?

google says a Tesla model S weights 4,469 to 4,941 lbs.  FH can lift more than that but besides the mounting hardware was there other ballast in the payload??
The Tesla payload may have weighed less than a standard Tesla Roadster. The front disc brakes were removed, for example.
Or more - payload fitting and attach structure, ...
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: cscott on 02/25/2018 12:05 AM
By far the largest component of the weight of the stock roadster is the battery pack.

I'm sure any customers who need to know have the exact mass and performance.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: envy887 on 02/25/2018 12:07 AM
Great discussion but nobody answered the question I asked.

What was the ACTUAL payload weight of the FH demo?

google says a Tesla model S weights 4,469 to 4,941 lbs.  FH can lift more than that but besides the mounting hardware was there other ballast in the payload??

The payload was a Roadster, not a Model S. I haven't seen any evidence of ballast beyond the mass of the extra hardware that was attached.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: deruch on 03/01/2018 01:52 AM
I can't seem to find that the full payload weight of the Tesla and mounting stand (for a better word) that the FH launched.  Basically I am wondering what the total weight.  SpaceX says FH can do 16,800 kg (37,000 lb) to trans-Mars injection.  A Tesla alone obviously doesn't eight 37,000 pounds.

No one outside those involved in the process can give you any hard numbers.  A 2008 Tesla Roadster's curb weight is ~1300kg (per Wikipedia), but it wouldn't surprise me to learn that Elon had upgraded the battery on his at some point after delivery.  That was one option offered to all early Roadster owners.  So, that mass is probably low for his actual car.  Then, we don't have any idea of how much hardware was taken out of the car prior to launch.  As orionsbelt mentioned, we know at least some brakes were removed.  Was the battery taken out?  Or, maybe ballast was added to achieve a specific payload mass (or center of gravity or some other property)?  Then, there's the payload adapter (the bit that connected the car to the Payload Attach Fitting and kept it at the desired angle) which is a total black box in terms of weight.  Plus the added booms for camera mounting and the mass of Starman, etc.  Basically, no outsider has any idea. 

[My guess] Total mass of everything forward of the PAF interface: 1500kg
[/guess]
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: speedevil on 03/01/2018 01:58 AM
[My guess] Total mass of everything forward of the PAF interface: 1500kg

I can't find a source saying the burn was to depletion.
Is there one?
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: x15_fan on 03/01/2018 02:00 AM
[My guess] Total mass of everything forward of the PAF interface: 1500kg

I can't find a source saying the burn was to depletion.
Is there one?

Watch Musk at the FH press conference on YT.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: BradyKenniston on 03/07/2018 06:46 PM
Found this crop a few days ago in my Falcon Heavy remote photos, it's not uber sharp but feel free to use as a wallpaper!
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Nehkara on 04/04/2018 09:19 PM
Hey everyone.

I have a question!

In a fair number of discussions I've had lately there is talk of Falcon Heavy's weak upper stage.

I understand that the 2nd stage is not as efficient and has a lower ISP compared to other rockets (i.e. Ariane 5, Atlas V), however, there seems to be significant doubt that the Falcon Heavy can even do what SpaceX claims it can. (3500 kg to Pluto; hit all EELV reference orbits)

Are these concerns legitimate or are they just not really accounting for all of the factors?

---

I originally put this is in the wrong thread.  Thanks to envy887 for replying to me:

This should probably go in the Falcon Heavy thread, but there is no doubt that Falcon Heavy can lift the required mass to all the EELV reference orbits, and send 3500 kg to Pluto with a Jupiter assist.

The upper stage is undersized for booster reuse, but is fine if the boosters are expended (even just the center core). I_sp is only one third of the rocket equation... The other two thirds are initial mass and mass fraction, and the Falcon upper stage is by far the best at both of those.

---

Does anyone else have any thoughts on my question?
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: hkultala on 04/04/2018 10:01 PM
Hey everyone.

I have a question!

In a fair number of discussions I've had lately there is talk of Falcon Heavy's weak upper stage.

I understand that the 2nd stage is not as efficient and has a lower ISP compared to other rockets (i.e. Ariane 5, Atlas V), however, there seems to be significant doubt that the Falcon Heavy can even do what SpaceX claims it can. (3500 kg to Pluto; hit all EELV reference orbits)

Are these concerns legitimate or are they just not really accounting for all of the factors?


Compared to Delta IVH upper stage,  FH upper stage has ~4 times more propellant and ~8 times more thrust.

But empty weight of the stage is only ~2 times greater, meaning much better mass fraction.


So even though it has considerably lower isp, it still gives much higher impulse to the payload.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: vaporcobra on 04/23/2018 11:24 PM
Hans' NEAF 2018 talk had some quasi-updated specs and details for Falcon Heavy, and they of course contradict what's on SpaceX's website :D

Quote
•   Falcon Heavy: 20t to GTO & 13t to TMI (website: 26.7t & 16.8t)
o   All center core Merlins were flight-proven
o   22,000kN @ SL
o   1410t @ liftoff: 370t RP-1, 910t LOX (all the above numbers were vaguely qualified)
o   Learned that it’s extremely hard to lift the T/E (“several million pounds of steel”) up the relatively steep hill between the HIF and launch mount
o   “When we do the three engine landing burns, there are certain attachments between the engines,” which is what caused the recovery failure
o   Roadster will orbit between the planets “until we go out and bring it back for a museum,” laughter
o   “[Crossfeed] may be introduced a bit later on”
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Kansan52 on 04/23/2018 11:31 PM
Will the Block 5 version come closer to the web site numbers?
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: vaporcobra on 04/23/2018 11:41 PM
Will the Block 5 version come closer to the web site numbers?

My assumption is that Hans' 20t and 13t figures are for missions that expend the center core, per Musk's recent tweets on the subject. It's a long shot from "~10%," but Musk issss known for his optimism... ;D

Quote
Side boosters landing on droneships & center expended is only ~10% performance penalty vs fully expended. Cost is only slightly higher than an expended F9, so around $95M. (https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/963094533830426624)

Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: TomH on 04/23/2018 11:48 PM
Quote from Chris' latest SLS article (https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2018/04/nasas-dual-ml-plan-extra-sls-block-1-missions/) today (bolding mine).

Quote from: Chris Bergen

SLS Manifest Options:

The decision to keep SLS in its Block 1 configuration and launching off ML-1 deep into the 2020s now leaves NASA with some decision points.

At one stage, NASA was expecting to use the Block 1 with DCSS configuration just once, on the EM-1 mission. Now it is expected it will return to the previous plan of mirroring EM-1 (uncrewed Orion) and EM-2 (crewed Orion) on matching missions and rocket configurations. However, due to Orion readiness, it is unlikely both missions will close the previous multi-year gap by any notable margin.

What is becoming an option for bridging that gap between flights is using SLS to launch the flagship Europa Clipper mission in 2022. Originally, Europa Clipper was to use a Block 1B SLS to allow the EUS to be flight-proven before launching a crewed mission.  NASA then decided that a crew could launch on the first Block 1B on a non-flight proven EUS.

Now, with Block 1B many years away, NASA is looking at launching the Europa Clipper mission on a Block 1 SLS, a flight sometimes referred to as SM-1 (Science Mission -1) on documentation. Other documentation confusingly calls it EM-2, likely in some cheeky way of satisfying politically-driven schedules for SLS to fly “EM-2” by a certain date.

Inquiries are taking place into the loss of mission performance per Europa Clipper flying on the Block 1 versus Block 1B SLS. A major selling point of flying the Europa mission on an SLS Block 1B was using the EUS to shave many years off the transit time compared to “currently” available rocket options at the time the mission’s launch vehicle was first discussed.

Block 1 performance capability for Europa Clipper may push the launch vehicle discussion into an uncomfortable debate, where SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy could force NASA’s hand based on the gulf of vehicle costs.  A brand-new Falcon Heavy for a high priority science mission would cost just over $100 million, whereas the latest estimates for SLS put the per-mission cost anywhere between $500 million (from NASA in 2013) to a range between $1.5 – $2.5 billion (conservative industry estimates in December 2017).

Quite a difference in LV cost. With continued SLS delays and such a lower cost for FH, SpaceX's chances for launching Europa Clipper on FH just got better. Who knows, she could even go up on BFR.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: vaporcobra on 04/24/2018 01:02 AM
Quote from Chris' latest SLS article (https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2018/04/nasas-dual-ml-plan-extra-sls-block-1-missions/) today (bolding mine).

Quote from: Chris Bergen
Block 1 performance capability for Europa Clipper may push the launch vehicle discussion into an uncomfortable debate, where SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy could force NASA’s hand based on the gulf of vehicle costs.  A brand-new Falcon Heavy for a high priority science mission would cost just over $100 million, whereas the latest estimates for SLS put the per-mission cost anywhere between $500 million (from NASA in 2013) to a range between $1.5 – $2.5 billion (conservative industry estimates in December 2017).

Quite a difference in LV cost. With continued SLS delays and such a lower cost for FH, SpaceX's chances for launching Europa Clipper on FH just got better. Who knows, she could even go up on BFR.

The thing is, NASA could very likely fund the development of a cryogenic Raptor upper stage for Falcon 9/Heavy and still get  Clipper to Europa faster and several times cheaper than SLS w/ ICPS.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: IanThePineapple on 04/24/2018 01:07 AM
Quote from Chris' latest SLS article (https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2018/04/nasas-dual-ml-plan-extra-sls-block-1-missions/) today (bolding mine).

Quote from: Chris Bergen
Block 1 performance capability for Europa Clipper may push the launch vehicle discussion into an uncomfortable debate, where SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy could force NASA’s hand based on the gulf of vehicle costs.  A brand-new Falcon Heavy for a high priority science mission would cost just over $100 million, whereas the latest estimates for SLS put the per-mission cost anywhere between $500 million (from NASA in 2013) to a range between $1.5 – $2.5 billion (conservative industry estimates in December 2017).

Quite a difference in LV cost. With continued SLS delays and such a lower cost for FH, SpaceX's chances for launching Europa Clipper on FH just got better. Who knows, she could even go up on BFR.

The thing is, NASA could very likely fund the development of a cryogenic Raptor upper stage for Falcon and still get the Clipper to Europa faster and several times cheaper than SLS w/ ICPS.

What ever happened to the Raptor upper stage concept? I know the Air Force paid for some of its development, but I haven't heard anything about it since 2015 or 2016.

Are they just waiting on BFR, or maybe stock FH is already enough?
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: daveklingler on 04/24/2018 01:16 AM
Hans' NEAF 2018 talk had some quasi-updated specs and details for Falcon Heavy, and they of course contradict what's on SpaceX's website :D

Quote
•   Falcon Heavy: 20t to GTO & 13t to TMI (website: 26.7t & 16.8t)
...(snip)
o   “[Crossfeed] may be introduced a bit later on”

That's a bit significant. Any elaboration on that?
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: vaporcobra on 04/24/2018 01:24 AM
Hans' NEAF 2018 talk had some quasi-updated specs and details for Falcon Heavy, and they of course contradict what's on SpaceX's website :D

Quote
•   Falcon Heavy: 20t to GTO & 13t to TMI (website: 26.7t & 16.8t)
...(snip)
o   “[Crossfeed] may be introduced a bit later on”

That's a bit significant. Any elaboration on that?

Nope, just the brief few words. It was a response to a question, but the questions were basically inaudible in the recording.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: vaporcobra on 04/24/2018 01:33 AM
Quote from Chris' latest SLS article (https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2018/04/nasas-dual-ml-plan-extra-sls-block-1-missions/) today (bolding mine).

Quote from: Chris Bergen
Block 1 performance capability for Europa Clipper may push the launch vehicle discussion into an uncomfortable debate, where SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy could force NASA’s hand based on the gulf of vehicle costs.  A brand-new Falcon Heavy for a high priority science mission would cost just over $100 million, whereas the latest estimates for SLS put the per-mission cost anywhere between $500 million (from NASA in 2013) to a range between $1.5 – $2.5 billion (conservative industry estimates in December 2017).

Quite a difference in LV cost. With continued SLS delays and such a lower cost for FH, SpaceX's chances for launching Europa Clipper on FH just got better. Who knows, she could even go up on BFR.

The thing is, NASA could very likely fund the development of a cryogenic Raptor upper stage for Falcon and still get the Clipper to Europa faster and several times cheaper than SLS w/ ICPS.

What ever happened to the Raptor upper stage concept? I know the Air Force paid for some of its development, but I haven't heard anything about it since 2015 or 2016.

Are they just waiting on BFR, or maybe stock FH is already enough?

Stock FH is very likely not capable of competing 1:1 with DIVH/Atlas 551 thanks to Centaur. Direct GEO insertion and interplanetary stuff is where FH still falls short as a result of upper stage inefficiency.

As for the Rapter US, I haven't heard anything. The most recent RFP (the one for entire new EELVs) basically only discussed the USAF's Raptor funding as an effort to development propulsion systems, not a replacement upper stage. Perhaps SpaceX's proposal will be a RUS for Block 5 F9 and FH, if they don't push for BFR.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: IanThePineapple on 04/24/2018 01:34 AM
Quote from Chris' latest SLS article (https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2018/04/nasas-dual-ml-plan-extra-sls-block-1-missions/) today (bolding mine).

Quote from: Chris Bergen
Block 1 performance capability for Europa Clipper may push the launch vehicle discussion into an uncomfortable debate, where SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy could force NASA’s hand based on the gulf of vehicle costs.  A brand-new Falcon Heavy for a high priority science mission would cost just over $100 million, whereas the latest estimates for SLS put the per-mission cost anywhere between $500 million (from NASA in 2013) to a range between $1.5 – $2.5 billion (conservative industry estimates in December 2017).

Quite a difference in LV cost. With continued SLS delays and such a lower cost for FH, SpaceX's chances for launching Europa Clipper on FH just got better. Who knows, she could even go up on BFR.

The thing is, NASA could very likely fund the development of a cryogenic Raptor upper stage for Falcon and still get the Clipper to Europa faster and several times cheaper than SLS w/ ICPS.

What ever happened to the Raptor upper stage concept? I know the Air Force paid for some of its development, but I haven't heard anything about it since 2015 or 2016.

Are they just waiting on BFR, or maybe stock FH is already enough?

Stock FH is very likely not capable of competing 1:1 with DIVH/Atlas 551 thanks to Centaur. Direct GEO insertion and interplanetary stuff is where FH still falls short as a result of upper stage inefficiency.

As for the Rapter US, I haven't heard anything. The most recent RFP (the one for entire new EELVs) basically only discussed the USAF's Raptor funding as an effort to development propulsion systems, not a replacement upper stage. Perhaps SpaceX's proposal will be a RUS for Block 5 F9 and FH, if they don't push for BFR.

I think a RUS could also be used with Cargo BFR as a third stage, similar to the Shuttle-Centaur concept.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: CuddlyRocket on 04/24/2018 03:39 AM
As for the Rapter US, I haven't heard anything. The most recent RFP (the one for entire new EELVs) basically only discussed the USAF's Raptor funding as an effort to development propulsion systems, not a replacement upper stage. Perhaps SpaceX's proposal will be a RUS for Block 5 F9 and FH, if they don't push for BFR.

I think a RUS could also be used with Cargo BFR as a third stage, similar to the Shuttle-Centaur concept.

The BFS is a Raptor upper stage!
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: guckyfan on 04/24/2018 05:53 AM
The BFS is a Raptor upper stage!

But not a third stage. A third stage would make a fine addition for probes to the outer solar system avoiding expending a BFS for that purpose.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: speedevil on 04/24/2018 06:17 AM
The BFS is a Raptor upper stage!

But not a third stage. A third stage would make a fine addition for probes to the outer solar system avoiding expending a BFS for that purpose.
Raptor might be a bit high thrust.
Even if it can throttle to 60 tons, that's quite a high G at the end of a burn with a total 150 ton payload mass into LEO.

Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: guckyfan on 04/24/2018 06:31 AM

Raptor might be a bit high thrust.
Even if it can throttle to 60 tons, that's quite a high G at the end of a burn with a total 150 ton payload mass into LEO.

That third stage can be dry mass during launch, fuelled only in LEO by the refuelling runs, so quite big. The payload can also be quite heavy. Worst case ballast it for a small payload. Though throwing ballast to Pluto seems a weird concept.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: woods170 on 04/24/2018 10:39 AM
Quite a difference in LV cost. With continued SLS delays and such a lower cost for FH, SpaceX's chances for launching Europa Clipper on FH just got better. Who knows, she could even go up on BFR.

No, it didn't. Europa Clipper launching on SLS is written into law. And it was done so to provide SLS with additional payload(s) to justify its very existence.

As long as SLS remains US Congress' pet project Europa Clipper doesn't stand a chance of launching on another launcher, let alone FH.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: woods170 on 04/24/2018 10:40 AM
The thing is, NASA could very likely fund the development of a cryogenic Raptor upper stage for Falcon 9/Heavy and still get  Clipper to Europa faster and several times cheaper than SLS w/ ICPS.

[Jim]
Stop daydreaming.
[/Jim]
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: AncientU on 04/24/2018 01:31 PM
...

Stock FH is very likely not capable of competing 1:1 with DIVH/Atlas 551 thanks to Centaur. Direct GEO insertion and interplanetary stuff is where FH still falls short as a result of upper stage inefficiency.

As for the Rapter US, I haven't heard anything. The most recent RFP (the one for entire new EELVs) basically only discussed the USAF's Raptor funding as an effort to development propulsion systems, not a replacement upper stage. Perhaps SpaceX's proposal will be a RUS for Block 5 F9 and FH, if they don't push for BFR.

Not according to these calculations...

Cross-posted:
Three years to human rate ICPS and make Orion suitable for astronauts!?

Where does that information come from?

It's possible to interpret the prolonged delay of EUS as evidence that perhaps the software issues are predominantly related to EUS, and that the software for the rest of SLS is more mature because "heritage hardware."

EUS is still being designed. Any software issues are more likely due to elements that are being built now.

For those interested, Block I payload to Europa is only 2.9 t, compared to 8.1 t for Block IB. I estimate FH expendable payload for Europa (for 6,783 m/s delta-V from LEO) to be 6.5 t!

Steven: do you happen to know how much Vulcan/Centaur V with 6x solid boosters could throw at Jupiter?

I modified the Falcon Heavy program and made a few guestimates of the Vulcan second stage. From the drawing, I got a propellant mass of 56.2 t and a dry mass of 5.0 t. Extrapolating using RL10C-1 engines, 34.9 t LEO payload and 7.1 t GEO payload, I got only a 964 kg payload to Europa! Need to either use a solid third stage, flyby's or refuelling the second stage to get better performance.

Attached is the program I used to calculate performance.

Note that the first version I posted overestimated the Vulcan second stage propellant and dry mass, giving only a 105 kg payload mass to Europa.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Kansan52 on 04/24/2018 02:48 PM
Thanks!
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Ultrafamicom on 04/24/2018 03:42 PM
Will the Block 5 version come closer to the web site numbers?

My assumption is that Hans' 20t and 13t figures are for missions that expend the center core, per Musk's recent tweets on the subject. It's a long shot from "~10%," but Musk issss known for his optimism... ;D

Quote
Side boosters landing on droneships & center expended is only ~10% performance penalty vs fully expended. Cost is only slightly higher than an expended F9, so around $95M. (https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/963094533830426624)

Before M1D++was introduced, FH's payload stated on their website was exactly 13t to Mars and 21t to GTO, so it seems these figures are just the expendable capacity of the already flown Block3 FH without thrust and"structural upgrade"(per Mr.Musk)
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Jim on 04/24/2018 04:10 PM
Quote from Chris' latest SLS article (https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2018/04/nasas-dual-ml-plan-extra-sls-block-1-missions/) today (bolding mine).

Quote from: Chris Bergen
Block 1 performance capability for Europa Clipper may push the launch vehicle discussion into an uncomfortable debate, where SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy could force NASA’s hand based on the gulf of vehicle costs.  A brand-new Falcon Heavy for a high priority science mission would cost just over $100 million, whereas the latest estimates for SLS put the per-mission cost anywhere between $500 million (from NASA in 2013) to a range between $1.5 – $2.5 billion (conservative industry estimates in December 2017).

Quite a difference in LV cost. With continued SLS delays and such a lower cost for FH, SpaceX's chances for launching Europa Clipper on FH just got better. Who knows, she could even go up on BFR.

The thing is, NASA could very likely fund the development of a cryogenic Raptor upper stage for Falcon 9/Heavy and still get  Clipper to Europa faster and several times cheaper than SLS w/ ICPS.

No, just stop.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: LouScheffer on 04/24/2018 04:40 PM
Stock FH is very likely not capable of competing 1:1 with DIVH/Atlas 551 thanks to Centaur. Direct GEO insertion and interplanetary stuff is where FH still falls short as a result of upper stage inefficiency.

For direct to GEO insertion, FH makes up for upper stage inefficiency by brute force.   Per the comments above, FH with barge landings for the sides and expended center core can put 20t into GTO.  Now to get to GEO needs 1800 m/s, which is a mass ratio of about 0.639.  So after the GEO insertion burn, the stack will mass about 12.75t.  Subtract 5t for the second stage to get 7.75t direct to GEO.

That's competitive or better with Atlas V in terms of mass injected, and much better in terms of cost, with a basic cost < $100M according to the data above.

For even higher delta-V, at some point the higher ISP of hydrogen may win the battle.  But FH can apply still more brute force, by expending all cores, and still would cheap compared to (for example) DIVH. 

Don't underestimate brute force as a solution.  Conceptually it can never fail (you can fail to apply enough of it, but the technique itself cannot fail).

EDIT:  Oops, made two mistakes in the above calculation.  First, the mass ratio should be exp(-1800/348/9.8 ) = 0.59, somewhat worse.  On the other hand if FH can put 20t into GTO, then the initial mass of the stack is 25t, since it includes the second stage.   The errors are of opposite sign, with the balance in favor of the FH, which can now deliver about 9t to GEO.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: RoboGoofers on 04/24/2018 05:32 PM
Since Europa Clipper isn't designed yet, it could still be configured to launch on 2 FHs in 2 parts: probe and propulsion.

It won't be, but i just wanted to point out how poor a solution SLS is for the cost.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Comga on 04/24/2018 05:39 PM
Quote from Chris' latest SLS article (https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2018/04/nasas-dual-ml-plan-extra-sls-block-1-missions/) today (bolding mine).

Quote from: Chris Bergen
Block 1 performance capability for Europa Clipper may push the launch vehicle discussion into an uncomfortable debate, where SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy could force NASA’s hand based on the gulf of vehicle costs.  A brand-new Falcon Heavy for a high priority science mission would cost just over $100 million, whereas the latest estimates for SLS put the per-mission cost anywhere between $500 million (from NASA in 2013) to a range between $1.5 – $2.5 billion (conservative industry estimates in December 2017).

Quite a difference in LV cost. With continued SLS delays and such a lower cost for FH, SpaceX's chances for launching Europa Clipper on FH just got better. Who knows, she could even go up on BFR.

The thing is, NASA could very likely fund the development of a cryogenic Raptor upper stage for Falcon 9/Heavy and still get  Clipper to Europa faster and several times cheaper than SLS w/ ICPS.

No, just stop.

Woods170 already took care of that for you, Jim
[Jim]
Stop daydreaming.
[/Jim]
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Jim on 04/24/2018 06:28 PM
Since Europa Clipper isn't designed yet, it could still be configured to launch on 2 FHs in 2 parts: probe and propulsion.

It won't be, but i just wanted to point out how poor a solution SLS is for the cost.

No, that does't work.  And it is "designed"
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: RoboGoofers on 04/24/2018 07:02 PM
Since Europa Clipper isn't designed yet, it could still be configured to launch on 2 FHs in 2 parts: probe and propulsion.

It won't be, but i just wanted to point out how poor a solution SLS is for the cost.

No, that does't work.  And it is "designed"

not sure what you mean by "work". If two FHs can't lift an assembled probe with enough dV to get to the mission orbit, then use three, or four. Still cheaper than SLS. Also, Preliminary design is scheduled to be completed in September (https://www.nasa.gov/feature/jpl/nasas-europa-flyby-mission-moves-into-design-phase). That could very well be rescheduled depending on launcher changes.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Jim on 04/24/2018 07:11 PM

not sure what you mean by "work". If two FHs can't lift an assembled probe with enough dV to get to the mission orbit, then use three, or four.

Even more unworkable.  The point of FH is not to get it to LEO but to escape velocity.

And more expensive spacecraft.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: gongora on 04/24/2018 07:18 PM
This isn't the "Redesign Europa Clipper for a vehicle it's not going to use" thread. 
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: envy887 on 04/24/2018 07:40 PM
SLS Block 1 is limited by it's small upper stage and the orbit it can leave it in at staging.

For small and medium payloads to very high energy trajectories FH can definitely match or exceed the Block 1 with a small kick stage, and possibly without one. No need for distributed lift for that.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Brovane on 04/24/2018 08:55 PM

not sure what you mean by "work". If two FHs can't lift an assembled probe with enough dV to get to the mission orbit, then use three, or four.

Even more unworkable.  The point of FH is not to get it to LEO but to escape velocity.

And more expensive spacecraft.

Jim - Isn't the Europa Clipper a Class A payload since it is a flagship project?  Which would mean either SLS or a category 3 certified LV? 
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: LouScheffer on 04/24/2018 09:52 PM
The FH alone might do the job for Europa Clipper.  From the  Space FH page (http://www.spacex.com/falcon-heavy) it can put 63.8t into LEO.   Add in the second stage mass of 5t and that's a stack mass of 68.8t.   From LEO, a direct Jupiter path takes 6300 m/s.  That means a mass ratio of exp(6300/348/9.8 ) or 6.342, at the known ISP of 348.  So the ending stack mass is about 10.8t.  Subtract the 5t of the second stage to get a direct-to-Jupiter payload of 5.8t.  If the second stage is somewhat lighter, at 4.7t, as has been speculated, then the injected mass could well be 6.1t, the same as SLS (See This europa clipper presentation (https://www.lpi.usra.edu/opag/jul2013/presentations/Clipper_Summary.pdf), page 31.), and exactly what Europa Clipper is designed for, so no spacecraft changes.

Sure, that's a completely expendable FH.  But it's still much cheaper than SLS, and much more capable than ATLAS. 

EDIT:  Fix stupid conversion of "8 )" to smiley "8)"

Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: speedevil on 04/24/2018 10:44 PM
If the second stage is somewhat lighter, at 4.7t, as has been speculated, then the injected mass could well be 6.1t, the same as SLS (See This europa clipper presentation (https://www.lpi.usra.edu/opag/jul2013/presentations/Clipper_Summary.pdf), page 31.), and exactly what Europa Clipper is designed for, so no spacecraft changes.

Sure, that's a completely expendable FH.  But it's still much cheaper than SLS, and much more capable than ATLAS. 


https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/963095860060934144
Quote
Scott Manley: I’m also curious as to whether SpaceX would consider stretching Stage 2 if there was a market that made sense.
Elon Musk:
Under consideration. We’ve already stretched the upper stage once. Easiest part of the rocket to change. Fairing 2, flying soon, also has a slightly larger diameter. Could make fairing much longer if need be & will if BFR takes longer than expected.

A moderate S2 stretch would help a lot indeed with higher energy payloads.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: woods170 on 04/25/2018 10:07 AM

not sure what you mean by "work". If two FHs can't lift an assembled probe with enough dV to get to the mission orbit, then use three, or four.

Even more unworkable.  The point of FH is not to get it to LEO but to escape velocity.

And more expensive spacecraft.

Jim - Isn't the Europa Clipper a Class A payload since it is a flagship project?  Which would mean either SLS or a category 3 certified LV? 

That is correct. And FH is still a long way from Category 3 certification.
Generally, scientific spacecraft, such as Europa Clipper, are appointed to launch vehicles early in their design process. Which is exactly where Europa Clipper is today. The available performance from the launch vehicle is an integrated part of both the mission- and spacecraft design.
Therefore, it is important that the final choice of launch vehicle (SLS block 1 vs SLS block 1B) is made as soon as possible.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: JamesH65 on 04/25/2018 11:47 AM

not sure what you mean by "work". If two FHs can't lift an assembled probe with enough dV to get to the mission orbit, then use three, or four.

Even more unworkable.  The point of FH is not to get it to LEO but to escape velocity.

And more expensive spacecraft.

Jim - Isn't the Europa Clipper a Class A payload since it is a flagship project?  Which would mean either SLS or a category 3 certified LV? 

That is correct. And FH is still a long way from Category 3 certification.
Generally, scientific spacecraft, such as Europa Clipper, are appointed to launch vehicles early in their design process. Which is exactly where Europa Clipper is today. The available performance from the launch vehicle is an integrated part of both the mission- and spacecraft design.
Therefore, it is important that the final choice of launch vehicle (SLS block 1 vs SLS block 1B) is made as soon as possible.

I do wonder whether craft like the BFS will change this decision making process. Once you have 'huge' lifters with a massive chomper door like the proposed BFS, will it be necessary any longer to make the choice of LV so early?
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: clongton on 04/25/2018 11:57 AM
I do wonder whether craft like the BFS will change this decision making process. Once you have 'huge' lifters with a massive chomper door like the proposed BFS, will it be necessary any longer to make the choice of LV so early?

Flagship mission hardware is designed very early in the process to take maximum advantage of a specific Launch Vehicle. Change the LV and you have to go back to the beginning and start again. That's not going to happen with Europa Clipper. SLS has already been designated as the LV and that is extremely unlikely to change. The only real decision yet to be made is whether the SLS LV will be Block 1 or 1B.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: envy887 on 04/25/2018 12:40 PM
I do wonder whether craft like the BFS will change this decision making process. Once you have 'huge' lifters with a massive chomper door like the proposed BFS, will it be necessary any longer to make the choice of LV so early?

Flagship mission hardware is designed very early in the process to take maximum advantage of a specific Launch Vehicle. Change the LV and you have to go back to the beginning and start again. That's not going to happen with Europa Clipper. SLS has already been designated as the LV and that is extremely unlikely to change. The only real decision yet to be made is whether the SLS LV will be Block 1 or 1B.

The fact that SLS Block 1 and Block 1B have very different capabilities belies your point...

As long as a replacement vehicle meets or exceeds the necessary capabilities the first vehicle, there is no need to redesign the spacecraft. For example, a SC designed for Falcon 9 could fly on Falcon Heavy without redesign, regardless of whether is was a flagship mission or not.

BFR is rather off topic, but Falcon Heavy could potentially match SLS Block 1 in terms of the required capabilities. Clipper does not need SLS's fairing volume, so only launch environment, injection energy, and potentially integration orientation are relevant.

I agree that the EC LV is highly unlikely to change from SLS, but that is largely due to political and less due to technical reasons.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: AncientU on 04/25/2018 01:53 PM

not sure what you mean by "work". If two FHs can't lift an assembled probe with enough dV to get to the mission orbit, then use three, or four.

Even more unworkable.  The point of FH is not to get it to LEO but to escape velocity.

And more expensive spacecraft.

Jim - Isn't the Europa Clipper a Class A payload since it is a flagship project?  Which would mean either SLS or a category 3 certified LV? 

That is correct. And FH is still a long way from Category 3 certification.
Generally, scientific spacecraft, such as Europa Clipper, are appointed to launch vehicles early in their design process. Which is exactly where Europa Clipper is today. The available performance from the launch vehicle is an integrated part of both the mission- and spacecraft design.
Therefore, it is important that the final choice of launch vehicle (SLS block 1 vs SLS block 1B) is made as soon as possible.

And SLS, which hasn't flown yet, gets a pass.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: wannamoonbase on 04/25/2018 02:16 PM
Looks folks, NASA picked the home team.

It's fun to compare them on a spreadsheet, but nothing is going to change at this point. 

Remember, Europa Clipper wouldn't exist without political backing and that same backing wants SLS.

Maybe on the next one.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Jim on 04/25/2018 02:22 PM
I do wonder whether craft like the BFS will change this decision making process. Once you have 'huge' lifters with a massive chomper door like the proposed BFS, will it be necessary any longer to make the choice of LV so early?


Yes, because of the design considerations. 
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Jim on 04/25/2018 02:23 PM

I agree that the EC LV is highly unlikely to change from SLS, but that is largely due to political and less due to technical reasons.

Don't count your chickens...
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Jim on 04/25/2018 02:31 PM

not sure what you mean by "work". If two FHs can't lift an assembled probe with enough dV to get to the mission orbit, then use three, or four.

Even more unworkable.  The point of FH is not to get it to LEO but to escape velocity.

And more expensive spacecraft.

Jim - Isn't the Europa Clipper a Class A payload since it is a flagship project?  Which would mean either SLS or a category 3 certified LV? 

That is correct. And FH is still a long way from Category 3 certification.
Generally, scientific spacecraft, such as Europa Clipper, are appointed to launch vehicles early in their design process. Which is exactly where Europa Clipper is today. The available performance from the launch vehicle is an integrated part of both the mission- and spacecraft design.
Therefore, it is important that the final choice of launch vehicle (SLS block 1 vs SLS block 1B) is made as soon as possible.

And SLS, which hasn't flown yet, gets a pass.


You still don't understand.  It isn't a "pass".  Certification only applies to non NASA managed vehicles.  Certification didn't apply to Titan IIIE for Viking and Voyager because NASA was intimately involved in the design and development.  NASA didn't certify Delta II because it had enough successful launches.   NASA had to certify Atlas V for MRO and Pluto New Horizons because it didn't have enough flights.  Delta IV Heavy for PSP is going through cert because it doesn't have enough flights.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: envy887 on 04/25/2018 03:02 PM
[edit/gongora: trimmed out JWST stuff]

Don't count your chickens...

You think there is a reasonably high chance EC is moved off SLS?
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Jim on 04/25/2018 03:23 PM

So, why do you hate the idea of Clipper flying on SLS?

Just because I know the rules doesn't mean I have to like the players. 

Certification is just a way of obtaining the same data as when if NASA was managing the project.  Certification is not guarantee of success.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: rockets4life97 on 04/25/2018 03:51 PM
What is the earliest FH could be certified for Air Force and NASA missions?
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Electric Paint on 04/25/2018 04:21 PM
[edit/gongora: trimming out the JWST stuff]

But to get back on topic, has anyone heard info about where the side boosters from the inaugural launch will be kept? My vote is for the US Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville.

What is the earliest FH could be certified for Air Force and NASA missions?
Probably a lot quicker than it took for F9. Although FH will surely have to fly in its Block 5 configuration several times before that happens.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: cppetrie on 04/25/2018 04:24 PM
What is the earliest FH could be certified for Air Force and NASA missions?
STP-2 and ArabSat will be flights 2 and 3. Those are scheduled for late this year.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Jim on 04/25/2018 04:31 PM

But to get back on topic, has anyone heard info about where the side boosters from the inaugural launch will be kept? My vote is for the US Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville.


Never, that would be like crapping on the doorstep of Marshall
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: deruch on 04/25/2018 04:33 PM
What is the earliest FH could be certified for Air Force and NASA missions?

That depends both on what level of certification you're talking about and how invasive an evaluation SpaceX is willing to put up with.  If they follow the same path that they did for F9--which only has Category 2 certification--then they would try for it after the third successful launch of Falcon Heavy.  If they launch more times before applying for certification, some of the work wouldn't be needed.  I think their options are 1 launch, 3 launches, 6 launches, and 16 launches (but some certification levels aren't available for the lower launch numbers). 
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: gongora on 04/25/2018 04:35 PM
Trimmed the completely offtopic JWST stuff.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: LouScheffer on 04/25/2018 04:46 PM
This 2016 article (http://spacenews.com/europa-mission-planning-for-possible-budget-cuts-in-2017/) claimed that Europa Clipper was hedging its bets, and keeping the design compatible with DIVH, FH, and SLS. 

Quote
NASA has not yet selected a launch vehicle for the mission, but the baseline remains the Space Launch System, which allows the spacecraft to travel from Earth directly to Jupiter. Pappalardo said the mission is continuing to study the use of Delta 4 Heavy and Falcon Heavy as alternatives, but those would require the use of gravity assists that increase the mission’s flight time. The use of the Atlas 5 has been “closed off,” he said.

To do otherwise seems suicidal to me, to pin the hopes of thousands of researchers, decades of work, and a multi-billion dollar project on a rocket that has not yet flown.  Yet it may be true - sillier things have happened.   So is the design really such that it cannot (physically, not paperwork-ly) be launched on any rocket that already exists and has been flown at least once?

Note:   since then, it looks like FH Block 5 improvements might be able to do direct, or with a Mars gravity assist, which would not require re-design for greater insolation.  If I was Clipper management (which I'm surely not) I'd ask SpaceX for a more recent estimate.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Jim on 04/25/2018 05:01 PM

To do otherwise seems suicidal to me, to pin the hopes of thousands of researchers, decades of work, and a multi-billion dollar project on a rocket that has not yet flown.  Yet it may be true - sillier things have happened.


See Viking and Titan IIIE
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: envy887 on 04/25/2018 05:01 PM
This 2016 article (http://spacenews.com/europa-mission-planning-for-possible-budget-cuts-in-2017/) claimed that Europa Clipper was hedging its bets, and keeping the design compatible with DIVH, FH, and SLS. 

Quote
NASA has not yet selected a launch vehicle for the mission, but the baseline remains the Space Launch System, which allows the spacecraft to travel from Earth directly to Jupiter. Pappalardo said the mission is continuing to study the use of Delta 4 Heavy and Falcon Heavy as alternatives, but those would require the use of gravity assists that increase the mission’s flight time. The use of the Atlas 5 has been “closed off,” he said.

To do otherwise seems suicidal to me, to pin the hopes of thousands of researchers, decades of work, and a multi-billion dollar project on a rocket that has not yet flown.  Yet it may be true - sillier things have happened.   So is the design really such that it cannot (physically, not paperwork-ly) be launched on any rocket that already exists and has been flown at least once?

Note:   since then, it looks like FH Block 5 improvements might be able to do direct, or with a Mars gravity assist, which would not require re-design for greater insolation.  If I was Clipper management (which I'm surely not) I'd ask SpaceX for a more recent estimate.

On that note, Eric Berger says that

Quote
It is not clear whether NASA specifically asked SpaceX about the Falcon Heavy and Europa, as Goldstein said figures for all the commercial rockets were provided by a competitor to SpaceX, United Launch Alliance.

Having ULA provide the capabilities for Falcon Heavy seems like a, uh, minor conflict of interest, maybe?

https://arstechnica.com/science/2018/04/if-were-really-going-to-europa-nasa-needs-to-pick-a-rocket-soon/
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Jim on 04/25/2018 05:01 PM
This 2016 article (http://spacenews.com/europa-mission-planning-for-possible-budget-cuts-in-2017/) claimed that Europa Clipper was hedging its bets, and keeping the design compatible with DIVH, FH, and SLS. 


I have been stating that over and over.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Jim on 04/25/2018 05:02 PM

On that note, Eric Berger says that

Quote
It is not clear whether NASA specifically asked SpaceX about the Falcon Heavy and Europa, as Goldstein said figures for all the commercial rockets were provided by a competitor to SpaceX, United Launch Alliance.


They are working with LSP
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: envy887 on 04/25/2018 05:06 PM

On that note, Eric Berger says that

Quote
It is not clear whether NASA specifically asked SpaceX about the Falcon Heavy and Europa, as Goldstein said figures for all the commercial rockets were provided by a competitor to SpaceX, United Launch Alliance.


They are working with LSP

"They" being SpaceX or the Clipper team?
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Jim on 04/25/2018 05:08 PM

On that note, Eric Berger says that

Quote
It is not clear whether NASA specifically asked SpaceX about the Falcon Heavy and Europa, as Goldstein said figures for all the commercial rockets were provided by a competitor to SpaceX, United Launch Alliance.


They are working with LSP

"They" being SpaceX or the Clipper team?

EC
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Ronsmytheiii on 04/25/2018 05:16 PM

On that note, Eric Berger says that

Quote
It is not clear whether NASA specifically asked SpaceX about the Falcon Heavy and Europa, as Goldstein said figures for all the commercial rockets were provided by a competitor to SpaceX, United Launch Alliance.


They are working with LSP

"They" being SpaceX or the Clipper team?

EC

Hmm, is Falcon Heavy available through LSP yet? Thought it still needed certification.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: ugordan on 04/25/2018 05:18 PM
Hmm, is Falcon Heavy available through LSP yet? Thought it still needed certification.

https://elvperf.ksc.nasa.gov/Pages/Vehicles.aspx

Certification can and has been done in parallel after vehicle selection, if necessary.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: rockets4life97 on 04/25/2018 05:25 PM
Shouldn't the design heritage between F9 and FH make FH certification easier?
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Firehawk153 on 04/25/2018 05:30 PM

To do otherwise seems suicidal to me, to pin the hopes of thousands of researchers, decades of work, and a multi-billion dollar project on a rocket that has not yet flown.  Yet it may be true - sillier things have happened.


See Viking and Titan IIIE

If I recall about wasn't there some concern from the German team about putting Helios-A on the second flight of the Titan IIIE?  I thought the first Titan IIIE launch failed or had an issue.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: clongton on 04/25/2018 06:14 PM
I do wonder whether craft like the BFS will change this decision making process. Once you have 'huge' lifters with a massive chomper door like the proposed BFS, will it be necessary any longer to make the choice of LV so early?

Flagship mission hardware is designed very early in the process to take maximum advantage of a specific Launch Vehicle. Change the LV and you have to go back to the beginning and start again. That's not going to happen with Europa Clipper. SLS has already been designated as the LV and that is extremely unlikely to change. The only real decision yet to be made is whether the SLS LV will be Block 1 or 1B.

The fact that SLS Block 1 and Block 1B have very different capabilities belies your point...

In this specific case, not really. The difference is in the upper stage and the decision of Block 1 or 1B is driven by whether or not the NET date of 2022 can or should be pushed out until after the Mobile Launcher, designed for the EUS, is operational. If it flies with the iCPS it can stay on the Block 1 and use the NET of 2022. If it flies on the Block 1B it has to wait until the new Mobile launcher is ready. Congress has already mandated in law that SLS will be the LV for Europa Clipper, so the only decision left is 1 or 1B and the resulting NET launch date.

But the core of my statement was (because this is a SpaceX Falcon Heavy thread) between SLS and Falcon Heavy. If SLS is used in either Block it is a direct shot at Jupiter and Clipper can carry its full complement of science instrumentation and can spend the necessary time at Europa surveying landing spots for the expected follow-on mission of a Europa lander. If the Falcon Heavy is used then Clipper will need to swing through the solar system grabbing gravity assists before it can head to Jupiter. That dramatically increases the cruise time and the need for thermal protection, which reduces the mass available for science instruments. It also decreases the amount of time that clipper will be able to spend surveying the moon looking for likely landing places for the expected follow-on mission of a Europa lander.

These are the kinds of trade-offs that need to be considered when choosing a LV and why it is good management to select a LV as soon as possible and not a good idea to switch horses in the middle of the race without a really good reason. Changing LV after the design is set causes all kinds of problems.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: envy887 on 04/25/2018 06:22 PM

On that note, Eric Berger says that

Quote
It is not clear whether NASA specifically asked SpaceX about the Falcon Heavy and Europa, as Goldstein said figures for all the commercial rockets were provided by a competitor to SpaceX, United Launch Alliance.


They are working with LSP

"They" being SpaceX or the Clipper team?

EC

LSP did not have the Block 5 Falcon Heavy data as recently as a month or two ago, even though SpaceX published it over a year before that. So working with LSP might not have been accurate.

JPL getting data about FH from ULA and not LSP or SpaceX is even odder, and less likely to be accurate.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: envy887 on 04/25/2018 06:42 PM
I do wonder whether craft like the BFS will change this decision making process. Once you have 'huge' lifters with a massive chomper door like the proposed BFS, will it be necessary any longer to make the choice of LV so early?

Flagship mission hardware is designed very early in the process to take maximum advantage of a specific Launch Vehicle. Change the LV and you have to go back to the beginning and start again. That's not going to happen with Europa Clipper. SLS has already been designated as the LV and that is extremely unlikely to change. The only real decision yet to be made is whether the SLS LV will be Block 1 or 1B.

The fact that SLS Block 1 and Block 1B have very different capabilities belies your point...

In this specific case, not really. The difference is in the upper stage and the decision of Block 1 or 1B is driven by whether or not the NET date of 2022 can or should be pushed out until after the Mobile Launcher, designed for the EUS, is operational. If it flies with the iCPS it can stay on the Block 1 and use the NET of 2022. If it flies on the Block 1B it has to wait until the new Mobile launcher is ready. Congress has already mandated in law that SLS will be the LV for Europa Clipper, so the only decision left is 1 or 1B and the resulting NET launch date.

But the core of my statement was (because this is a SpaceX Falcon Heavy thread) between SLS and Falcon Heavy. If SLS is used in either Block it is a direct shot at Jupiter and Clipper can carry its full complement of science instrumentation and can spend the necessary time at Europa surveying landing spots for the expected follow-on mission of a Europa lander. If the Falcon Heavy is used then Clipper will need to swing through the solar system grabbing gravity assists before it can head to Jupiter. That dramatically increases the cruise time and the need for thermal protection, which reduces the mass available for science instruments. It also decreases the amount of time that clipper will be able to spend surveying the moon looking for likely landing places for the expected follow-on mission of a Europa lander.

These are the kinds of trade-offs that need to be considered when choosing a LV and why it is good management to select a LV as soon as possible and not a good idea to switch horses in the middle of the race without a really good reason. Changing LV after the design is set causes all kinds of problems.

Well, that's the difference. You presume FH cannot match SLS Block 1 capabilities. I posit that with Block 5 FH probably can, and Lou Scheffer's and Dr. Pietrobon's calculations agree. As far as I can tell neither LSP nor JPL have the numbers from SpaceX for Block 5 FH to do this comparison themselves.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: clongton on 04/25/2018 06:53 PM
Well, that's the difference. You presume FH cannot match SLS Block 1 capabilities. I posit that with Block 5 FH probably can, and Lou Scheffer's and Dr. Pietrobon's calculations agree. As far as I can tell neither LSP nor JPL have the numbers from SpaceX for Block 5 FH to do this comparison themselves.

See here for a good discussion
https://arstechnica.com/science/2018/04/if-were-really-going-to-europa-nasa-needs-to-pick-a-rocket-soon/?comments=1&post=35164983
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: envy887 on 04/25/2018 06:57 PM
Well, that's the difference. You presume FH cannot match SLS Block 1 capabilities. I posit that with Block 5 FH probably can, and Lou Scheffer's and Dr. Pietrobon's calculations agree. As far as I can tell neither LSP nor JPL have the numbers from SpaceX for Block 5 FH to do this comparison themselves.

See here for a good discussion
https://arstechnica.com/science/2018/04/if-were-really-going-to-europa-nasa-needs-to-pick-a-rocket-soon/?comments=1&post=35164983

I quoted that article above. That's the basis for my assertion that JPL doesn't have the FH Block 5 data to compare to SLS Block 1. Well, that plus Musk saying that LSP didn't have it either before the FH demo. The LSP website still shows pre-Block 5 data.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: RoboGoofers on 04/25/2018 07:50 PM
These are the kinds of trade-offs that need to be considered when choosing a LV and why it is good management to select a LV as soon as possible and not a good idea to switch horses in the middle of the race without a really good reason. Changing LV after the design is set causes all kinds of problems.

Many hundreds of millions of dollars is a good reason. With that kind of money we could do a EC2, or a Venus probe (or at least the preliminary budget estimate of one, and then drag the program out for a decade or two).
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: FinalFrontier on 04/25/2018 08:02 PM
Well, that's the difference. You presume FH cannot match SLS Block 1 capabilities. I posit that with Block 5 FH probably can, and Lou Scheffer's and Dr. Pietrobon's calculations agree. As far as I can tell neither LSP nor JPL have the numbers from SpaceX for Block 5 FH to do this comparison themselves.

See here for a good discussion
https://arstechnica.com/science/2018/04/if-were-really-going-to-europa-nasa-needs-to-pick-a-rocket-soon/?comments=1&post=35164983

I quoted that article above. That's the basis for my assertion that JPL doesn't have the FH Block 5 data to compare to SLS Block 1. Well, that plus Musk saying that LSP didn't have it either before the FH demo. The LSP website still shows pre-Block 5 data.

SLS block 1 is a paper rocket that doesn't exist yet. It has not flown, any data sets available for it are no better.

In fact I would say they are even worse since at least FH Block 4 flew once already, so you have at least a starting point. We still have no idea what the exact real world performance will be for SLS.

And then there is the schedule. Is SLS even going to fly before 2020? We have a major 4 year election that year.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Brovane on 04/25/2018 08:04 PM
Well, that's the difference. You presume FH cannot match SLS Block 1 capabilities. I posit that with Block 5 FH probably can, and Lou Scheffer's and Dr. Pietrobon's calculations agree. As far as I can tell neither LSP nor JPL have the numbers from SpaceX for Block 5 FH to do this comparison themselves.

See here for a good discussion
https://arstechnica.com/science/2018/04/if-were-really-going-to-europa-nasa-needs-to-pick-a-rocket-soon/?comments=1&post=35164983
I quoted that article above. That's the basis for my assertion that JPL doesn't have the FH Block 5 data to compare to SLS Block 1. Well, that plus Musk saying that LSP didn't have it either before the FH demo. The LSP website still shows pre-Block 5 data.

Quote
as Goldstein said figures for all the commercial rockets were provided by a competitor to SpaceX, United Launch Alliance.

Yup that sounds legit, let's go to ULA for performance on the FH.   ???
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: LouScheffer on 04/25/2018 11:30 PM
The FH alone might do the job for Europa Clipper.  From the  Space FH page (http://www.spacex.com/falcon-heavy) it can put 63.8t into LEO.   Add in the second stage mass of 5t and that's a stack mass of 68.8t.   From LEO, a direct Jupiter path takes 6300 m/s.  That means a mass ratio of exp(6300/348/9.8 ) or 6.342, at the known ISP of 348.  So the ending stack mass is about 10.8t.  Subtract the 5t of the second stage to get a direct-to-Jupiter payload of 5.8t.  If the second stage is somewhat lighter, at 4.7t, as has been speculated, then the injected mass could well be 6.1t, the same as SLS (See This europa clipper presentation (https://www.lpi.usra.edu/opag/jul2013/presentations/Clipper_Summary.pdf), page 31.), and exactly what Europa Clipper is designed for, so no spacecraft changes.

Sure, that's a completely expendable FH.  But it's still much cheaper than SLS, and much more capable than ATLAS.

Oops, I take that back.  It looks like Falcon Heavy is just a tad short of direct injection.  The difference is the actual delta-V being 100-200 m/s higher than I estimated, which makes a big difference at big delta-V.   I used the generic delta-v from Wikipedia, at 6300 m/s.  But NASA's trajectory browser (https://trajbrowser.arc.nasa.gov/traj_browser.php) says 6420-6540 m/s,  for real trajectories in the 2020s.  That makes a big difference.

Assuming it can put 63,800 kg into LEO, that's at least 68,000 kg on orbit.   Assuming ISP=348, then the burnout mass is determined by the delta V, then subtract the second stage (here estimated at 4.7t)  So for various delta-V

delta-V      burnout    payload
----------   ----------   ---------
6300 m/s  10723 kg   6023 kg
6400 m/s  10413 kg   5713 kg
6500 m/s  10112 kg   5412 kg
6600 m/s   9820 kg    5120 kg
6700 m/s   9536 kg    4836 kg
6800 m/s   9260 kg    4536 kg

So if Europa Clipper is indeed 6001 kg, FH is just short for all early 2020 trajectories.

There are two caveats to this conclusion, though.  One is that the same calculation gives very different number for Pluto than the SpaceX web site.  Wikipedia says 8200 m/s for Pluto.  That gives a burnout mass of 6143 kg, and hence a payload of only 1400 kg or so.  But the SpaceX site says 3500 kg, so something is odd.

The second caveat is that FH might work with a Mars gravity assist.  Mars is pretty light, as planets go, and does not help much.  But for asteroids, it can help by 20-30% in mass, which might be enough.  See Mars gravity assist to improve missions towards main-belt asteroids (http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2002iaf..confE..38C).  Now you might have to wait a bit longer (Mars should be in the right spot every 2 years, as opposed to once a year for Jupiter direct), but no thermal re-design would be needed (since no Venus flyby), and the flight time should remain short (close to the direct time) since the deflection at Mars is small.

Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: LouScheffer on 04/26/2018 05:21 AM
The second caveat is that FH might work with a Mars gravity assist.  Mars is pretty light, as planets go, and does not help much.  But for asteroids, it can help by 20-30% in mass, which might be enough.  See Mars gravity assist to improve missions towards main-belt asteroids (http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2002iaf..confE..38C).  Now you might have to wait a bit longer (Mars should be in the right spot every 2 years, as opposed to once a year for Jupiter direct), but no thermal re-design would be needed (since no Venus flyby), and the flight time should remain short (close to the direct time) since the deflection at Mars is small.

It looks like FH could do a Earth-Mars-Jupiter with a 6001 kg Europa clipper at many, but not all launch opportunities.   Here is a back of the envelope calculation showing this (it's a pretty large envelope).  Caveat: I've never done a gravity assist calculation before, so this is all from basic physics, and I may have made some horrible mistake.

Assume all orbits are circular.  Then the needed values are:
GM sun   1.327E+20
GM mars   4.280E+13
radius earth orbit   1.496E+11 m
radius mars orbit   2.270E+11 m
radius jupiter orbit   7.790E+11 m

To estimate the saving, first find the direct route.  A hohman transfer from Earth to Jupiter has
a = 4.643E+11 (semi-major access, average of both distances)
v = 38578 m/s at Earth, in heliocentric frame, using v=sqrt(GM*(2/r-1/a))
That is Earth circular velocity (29780 m/s) + 8795 m/s

Now do the flyby route.  Assume craft leaves Mars on Hohman trajectory.  The same calculation gives:
a = 5.030E+11
v = 30089 m/s at Mars distance (heliocnetric frame)
v = 24178 m/s, mars in its orbit (heliocnetric frame)
v = 5911  m/s,  velocity relative to Mars when leaving, tangent to orbit.

Now what angle can we turn through at Mars?  From Satellite Orbits - Gravitational Assist from Planets  (http://www.bogan.ca/orbits/gravasst/gravasst.html) we see that the angle of deflection is 2*atan(GM/b/v^2).   We want the smallest possible b (distance from the planet) to get the biggest deflection, but we don't want to hit the planet.  I used 3600 km, since the radius of Mars is 3397 km.  Plugging in we find the angle of deflection is 0.655 radians, or 37.6 degrees.

Now we can find the incoming heliocentric velocity.  The tangential component is 24178 (mars) + 5911*cos(theta), and the radial component is 5911*sin(theta), for a total heliocentric velocity of 29086 m/s.   This shows we are on the right track, since the Earth-Jupiter direct has 29721 m/s as it crossed Mars orbit.

Now how much faster do we need to leave Earth to get this speed difference at Mars?  Working backwards, a v of 29086 m/s at Mars distance implies an orbit with a = 4.107E+11 m and a heliocentric speed at Earth of 38091 m/s.  This is a savings of 487 m/s, in the heliocentric frame.  We've reduced our Earth-relative velocity from 8795 m/s to 8308 m/s.

Now that we have the Earth-escape velocities, we need to convert them to delta-V from a low Earth orbit.  Using a 200 km orbit, and GM=3.986e14, we get Vcirc = 7784 m/s.  Now we can convert back to delta-V needed, from Vinfinity, using
delta-V = sqrt(Vinf^2+2*Vcirc^2) - Vcirc.
We get delta-V of 6306 m/s for direct to Jupiter, which is reassuring since that's a common estimate.
For the Mars flyby, we get delta-V = 6007 m/s, or 300 m/s better.

With a 300 m/s benefit, FH could launch a 6001 kg orbiter on many opportunities.  Assuming (as above) we need 6400 m/s or less after the benefit is applied, then using the NASA trajectory browser we could launch in 2021, 2022, 2023, 2027, or 2028.  Unfortunately the windows in 2024,2025, and 2026 remain just out of reach.  Clearly these cases are so close to the edge that a more detailed analysis would be required to get a serious answer.

EDIT: fixed sign error in explanation.  Math still the same.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: lrk on 04/26/2018 05:25 AM
Has any thought been given to putting a solid-fueled kick stage on top of Falcon Heavy (as with what the Parker Solar Probe is doing?)  If FH by itself comes close, could adding a kick stage be enough to get EC direct to Jupiter? 

Alternatively, what about just giving the probe itself a large dV capability (similar to GEO comsats that must insert themselves from GTO?) 
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: speedevil on 04/26/2018 08:17 AM
Oops, I take that back.  It looks like Falcon Heavy is just a tad short of direct injection.  The difference is the actual delta-V being 100-200 m/s higher than I estimated, which makes a big difference at big delta-V.   I used the generic delta-v from Wikipedia, at 6300 m/s.  But NASA's trajectory browser (https://trajbrowser.arc.nasa.gov/traj_browser.php) says 6420-6540 m/s,  for real trajectories in the 2020s.  That makes a big difference.

Assuming it can put 63,800 kg into LEO, that's at least 68,000 kg on orbit.   Assuming ISP=348, then the burnout mass is determined by the delta V, then subtract the second stage (here estimated at 4.7t)  So for various delta-V
<snip>
6800 m/s   9260 kg    4536 kg

So if Europa Clipper is indeed 6001 kg, FH is just short for all early 2020 trajectories.

There are two caveats to this conclusion, though.  One is that the same calculation gives very different number for Pluto than the SpaceX web site.  Wikipedia says 8200 m/s for Pluto.  That gives a burnout mass of 6143 kg, and hence a payload of only 1400 kg or so.  But the SpaceX site says 3500 kg, so something is odd.
Not quoting the tweet I've mentioned from Elon about the second stage being the easiest one to stretch.

Naively, it seems a 50% or so stretch on the second stage, while having perhaps 300m/s impact on the first stage should easily make up the difference and a little more, enabling 6 tons to the full velocity.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: envy887 on 04/26/2018 01:12 PM
Has any thought been given to putting a solid-fueled kick stage on top of Falcon Heavy (as with what the Parker Solar Probe is doing?)  If FH by itself comes close, could adding a kick stage be enough to get EC direct to Jupiter? 

Alternatively, what about just giving the probe itself a large dV capability (similar to GEO comsats that must insert themselves from GTO?)

Yes. JPL was modeling a (probably) non-Block 5 FH with a solid kick stage, and it could not match SLS Block 1. However, Block 5 is likely very close to SLS Block 1, and with a kick stage can probably match it.

Oops, I take that back.  It looks like Falcon Heavy is just a tad short of direct injection.  The difference is the actual delta-V being 100-200 m/s higher than I estimated, which makes a big difference at big delta-V.   I used the generic delta-v from Wikipedia, at 6300 m/s.  But NASA's trajectory browser (https://trajbrowser.arc.nasa.gov/traj_browser.php) says 6420-6540 m/s,  for real trajectories in the 2020s.  That makes a big difference.

Assuming it can put 63,800 kg into LEO, that's at least 68,000 kg on orbit.   Assuming ISP=348, then the burnout mass is determined by the delta V, then subtract the second stage (here estimated at 4.7t)  So for various delta-V
<snip>
6800 m/s   9260 kg    4536 kg

So if Europa Clipper is indeed 6001 kg, FH is just short for all early 2020 trajectories.

There are two caveats to this conclusion, though.  One is that the same calculation gives very different number for Pluto than the SpaceX web site.  Wikipedia says 8200 m/s for Pluto.  That gives a burnout mass of 6143 kg, and hence a payload of only 1400 kg or so.  But the SpaceX site says 3500 kg, so something is odd.
Not quoting the tweet I've mentioned from Elon about the second stage being the easiest one to stretch.

Naively, it seems a 50% or so stretch on the second stage, while having perhaps 300m/s impact on the first stage should easily make up the difference and a little more, enabling 6 tons to the full velocity.

The kick stage is probably a lot easier and cheaper for a one-off mission. It sheds almost 5 tonnes off the final the burnout mass. A STAR-48 adds between 1 tonne and 1.5 tonnes to the payload to C3=80 km2/s2
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Jim on 04/26/2018 01:49 PM
STAR-48 is too small
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: ugordan on 04/26/2018 02:04 PM
And really, is it worth the hassle of integrating a smallish kick stage and doing additional analysis on thermal, loads, vibrationm, etc. on the spacecraft instead of just using a Juno-like trajectory - injecting into a heliocentric orbit with around a 2 year period and using one Earth flyby for the final injection. That should be doable by both D-IVH and FH and all the more if SLS ends up being delayed by the same amount of time over when the EC is actually ready to fly.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: LouScheffer on 04/26/2018 02:21 PM
And really, is it worth the hassle of integrating a smallish kick stage and doing additional analysis on thermal, loads, vibrationm, etc. on the spacecraft instead of just using a Juno-like trajectory - injecting into a heliocentric orbit with around a 2 year period and using one Earth flyby for the final injection. That should be doable by both D-IVH and FH and all the more if SLS ends up being delayed by the same amount of time over when the EC is actually ready to fly.
I don't think this particular trajectory makes sense.  It requires a deep space maneuver of about 800 m/s, which is leveraged to gain about 3000 m/s through the flyby.   But in the Europa Clipper - FH case, it's already within 800 m/s of what they need.  So if EC could do the Juno path, it could also simply add 800 m/s to the launch speed and get direct to Jupiter.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: AncientU on 04/26/2018 03:05 PM
And really, is it worth the hassle of integrating a smallish kick stage and doing additional analysis on thermal, loads, vibrationm, etc. on the spacecraft instead of just using a Juno-like trajectory - injecting into a heliocentric orbit with around a 2 year period and using one Earth flyby for the final injection. That should be doable by both D-IVH and FH and all the more if SLS ends up being delayed by the same amount of time over when the EC is actually ready to fly.
I don't think this particular trajectory makes sense.  It requires a deep space maneuver of about 800 m/s, which is leveraged to gain about 3000 m/s through the flyby.   But in the Europa Clipper - FH case, it's already within 800 m/s of what they need.  So if EC could do the Juno path, it could also simply add 800 m/s to the launch speed and get direct to Jupiter.

For the difference in cost between FH and DIVH*, FH could have a methalox second stage.  That would solve the delta-v problem quite nicely.


* or a small fraction of the difference with SLS
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: envy887 on 04/26/2018 05:18 PM
And really, is it worth the hassle of integrating a smallish kick stage and doing additional analysis on thermal, loads, vibrationm, etc. on the spacecraft instead of just using a Juno-like trajectory - injecting into a heliocentric orbit with around a 2 year period and using one Earth flyby for the final injection. That should be doable by both D-IVH and FH and all the more if SLS ends up being delayed by the same amount of time over when the EC is actually ready to fly.

Then you need to do the analysis of what two extra years of flight time will do.

STAR-48 is too small


To small for what? To get pre-Block 5 FH into SLS Block 1 payload range? That seems likely. But an extra 1 to 1.5 tonnes on top of what Block 5 FH can do should be big enough.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: LouScheffer on 04/26/2018 05:22 PM
STAR-48 is too small

To back up this statement:
Star 48B (http://www.astronautix.com/s/star48bl.html) masses about 2000kg, and supplies 591,000 kg(force)seconds. So if we add this to a 6000 kg probe, the starting mass will be 8000 kg and the ending about 6000 kg.  With an ISP of 292, this gives a delta-V of 292*9.8*ln(8/6) = 823 m/s.

But the extra mass takes performance from the second stage, which now ends at 13t, instead of 11t.  The loss is 348*9.8*ln(13/11) = 570 m/s.

So the net gain is only 823-570 = 253 m/s.  That's not enough to erase the shortfall at all launch opportunities, though it would help for some, since the FH is pretty close already. 
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: envy887 on 04/26/2018 05:29 PM
The FH alone might do the job for Europa Clipper.  From the  Space FH page (http://www.spacex.com/falcon-heavy) it can put 63.8t into LEO.   Add in the second stage mass of 5t and that's a stack mass of 68.8t.   From LEO, a direct Jupiter path takes 6300 m/s.  That means a mass ratio of exp(6300/348/9.8 ) or 6.342, at the known ISP of 348.  So the ending stack mass is about 10.8t.  Subtract the 5t of the second stage to get a direct-to-Jupiter payload of 5.8t.  If the second stage is somewhat lighter, at 4.7t, as has been speculated, then the injected mass could well be 6.1t, the same as SLS (See This europa clipper presentation (https://www.lpi.usra.edu/opag/jul2013/presentations/Clipper_Summary.pdf), page 31.), and exactly what Europa Clipper is designed for, so no spacecraft changes.

Sure, that's a completely expendable FH.  But it's still much cheaper than SLS, and much more capable than ATLAS.

Oops, I take that back.  It looks like Falcon Heavy is just a tad short of direct injection.  The difference is the actual delta-V being 100-200 m/s higher than I estimated, which makes a big difference at big delta-V.   I used the generic delta-v from Wikipedia, at 6300 m/s.  But NASA's trajectory browser (https://trajbrowser.arc.nasa.gov/traj_browser.php) says 6420-6540 m/s,  for real trajectories in the 2020s.  That makes a big difference.

Assuming it can put 63,800 kg into LEO, that's at least 68,000 kg on orbit.   Assuming ISP=348, then the burnout mass is determined by the delta V, then subtract the second stage (here estimated at 4.7t)  So for various delta-V

delta-V      burnout    payload
----------   ----------   ---------
6300 m/s  10723 kg   6023 kg
6400 m/s  10413 kg   5713 kg
6500 m/s  10112 kg   5412 kg
6600 m/s   9820 kg    5120 kg
6700 m/s   9536 kg    4836 kg
6800 m/s   9260 kg    4536 kg

So if Europa Clipper is indeed 6001 kg, FH is just short for all early 2020 trajectories.

There are two caveats to this conclusion, though.  One is that the same calculation gives very different number for Pluto than the SpaceX web site.  Wikipedia says 8200 m/s for Pluto.  That gives a burnout mass of 6143 kg, and hence a payload of only 1400 kg or so.  But the SpaceX site says 3500 kg, so something is odd.

The second caveat is that FH might work with a Mars gravity assist.  Mars is pretty light, as planets go, and does not help much.  But for asteroids, it can help by 20-30% in mass, which might be enough.  See Mars gravity assist to improve missions towards main-belt asteroids (http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2002iaf..confE..38C).  Now you might have to wait a bit longer (Mars should be in the right spot every 2 years, as opposed to once a year for Jupiter direct), but no thermal re-design would be needed (since no Venus flyby), and the flight time should remain short (close to the direct time) since the deflection at Mars is small.

Are there two Clipper mass targets? Atlas V can only put 4500 kg to the VEEGA trajectory, and this slide gives a 41% mass margin indicating a 3200 kg payload. SLS can put 6100 kg direct to TJI, and this shows a 45% mass margin indicating a 4200 kg payload.

FH can most probably put more mass direct to Jupiter than Atlas V 551 can put to VEEGA.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Tomness on 04/26/2018 05:30 PM
STAR-48 is too small

To back up this statement:
Star 48B (http://www.astronautix.com/s/star48bl.html) masses about 2000kg, and supplies 591,000 kg(force)seconds. So if we add this to a 6000 kg probe, the starting mass will be 8000 kg and the ending about 6000 kg.  With an ISP of 292, this gives a delta-V of 292*9.8*ln(8/6) = 823 m/s.

But the extra mass takes performance from the second stage, which now ends at 13t, instead of 11t.  The loss is 348*9.8*ln(13/11) = 570 m/s.

So the net gain is only 823-570 = 253 m/s.  That's not enough to erase the shortfall at all launch opportunities, though it would help for some, since the FH is pretty close already.

What about Star 48GXV tested for the Parker Solar Probe mission as the upper stage on a Atlas V 551 vehicle but was cancelled in favor of DIVH
 cited Wiki via Orbital ATK
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: russianhalo117 on 04/26/2018 05:38 PM
STAR-48 is too small

To back up this statement:
Star 48B (http://www.astronautix.com/s/star48bl.html) masses about 2000kg, and supplies 591,000 kg(force)seconds. So if we add this to a 6000 kg probe, the starting mass will be 8000 kg and the ending about 6000 kg.  With an ISP of 292, this gives a delta-V of 292*9.8*ln(8/6) = 823 m/s.

But the extra mass takes performance from the second stage, which now ends at 13t, instead of 11t.  The loss is 348*9.8*ln(13/11) = 570 m/s.

So the net gain is only 823-570 = 253 m/s.  That's not enough to erase the shortfall at all launch opportunities, though it would help for some, since the FH is pretty close already. 
Star-48 is to small and intended for small high energy payloads. Castor-30, Star-75 and Star-92 series are more suited for this roll as a replacement to legacy kick motors that are no longer available
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: russianhalo117 on 04/26/2018 05:42 PM
STAR-48 is too small

To back up this statement:
Star 48B (http://www.astronautix.com/s/star48bl.html) masses about 2000kg, and supplies 591,000 kg(force)seconds. So if we add this to a 6000 kg probe, the starting mass will be 8000 kg and the ending about 6000 kg.  With an ISP of 292, this gives a delta-V of 292*9.8*ln(8/6) = 823 m/s.

But the extra mass takes performance from the second stage, which now ends at 13t, instead of 11t.  The loss is 348*9.8*ln(13/11) = 570 m/s.

So the net gain is only 823-570 = 253 m/s.  That's not enough to erase the shortfall at all launch opportunities, though it would help for some, since the FH is pretty close already.

What about Star 48GXV tested for the Parker Solar Probe mission as the upper stage on a Atlas V 551 vehicle but was cancelled in favor of DIVH
 cited Wiki via Orbital ATK
Star 48GXV never completed development and is not available at this time.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: fthomassy on 04/26/2018 05:53 PM
Is not the time of flight -70%?
(https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=43025.0;attach=1489149;sess=43665)
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Jim on 04/26/2018 06:10 PM
STAR-48 is too small

To back up this statement:
Star 48B (http://www.astronautix.com/s/star48bl.html) masses about 2000kg, and supplies 591,000 kg(force)seconds. So if we add this to a 6000 kg probe, the starting mass will be 8000 kg and the ending about 6000 kg.  With an ISP of 292, this gives a delta-V of 292*9.8*ln(8/6) = 823 m/s.

But the extra mass takes performance from the second stage, which now ends at 13t, instead of 11t.  The loss is 348*9.8*ln(13/11) = 570 m/s.

So the net gain is only 823-570 = 253 m/s.  That's not enough to erase the shortfall at all launch opportunities, though it would help for some, since the FH is pretty close already.

What about Star 48GXV tested for the Parker Solar Probe mission as the upper stage on a Atlas V 551 vehicle but was cancelled in favor of DIVH
 cited Wiki via Orbital ATK

PSP has a Star 48 kick motor
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: envy887 on 04/26/2018 06:11 PM
STAR-48 is too small

To back up this statement:
Star 48B (http://www.astronautix.com/s/star48bl.html) masses about 2000kg, and supplies 591,000 kg(force)seconds. So if we add this to a 6000 kg probe, the starting mass will be 8000 kg and the ending about 6000 kg.  With an ISP of 292, this gives a delta-V of 292*9.8*ln(8/6) = 823 m/s.

But the extra mass takes performance from the second stage, which now ends at 13t, instead of 11t.  The loss is 348*9.8*ln(13/11) = 570 m/s.

So the net gain is only 823-570 = 253 m/s.  That's not enough to erase the shortfall at all launch opportunities, though it would help for some, since the FH is pretty close already.

That's a little simplistic as it assumes the 2nd stage starts at the same velocity every time and ignores the dry mass of the upper stage.

Here's a slightly higher fidelity model that counts the FH as a 3-stage vehicle. Still some rough assumptions, but it shows the optimal kick stage to be about 8-10 tonnes. However, the 2 tonne STAR-48 adds a significant boost, almost half the additional dv of what a 13.6 tonne Castor 30 does.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Jim on 04/26/2018 06:14 PM
Also, 6000kg spacecraft is too large to be supported by a STAR-48. 

Also, Falcon facilities are not sited for large motors.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: envy887 on 04/26/2018 06:21 PM
Also, 6000kg spacecraft is too large to be supported by a STAR-48. 

Also, Falcon facilities are not sited for large motors.

Good to know. What kick stage do you think JPL was modeling on FH then?
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Proponent on 04/26/2018 06:31 PM
Hans' NEAF 2018 talk....

Quote
“[Crossfeed] may be introduced a bit later on”

What's NEAF?  Would you have a link for the talk?

Falcon Heavy having been de-emphasized by SpaceX, I'm surprised there is still talk of cross-feed, which I would think is a pretty big project.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: rockets4life97 on 04/26/2018 06:36 PM
Falcon Heavy having been de-emphasized by SpaceX, I'm surprised there is still talk of cross-feed, which I would think is a pretty big project.

I'd put it in the same category as human rating FH. If BFR is delayed then maybe. But likely not.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Proponent on 04/26/2018 07:02 PM
If I recall about wasn't there some concern from the German team about putting Helios-A on the second flight of the Titan IIIE?  I thought the first Titan IIIE launch failed or had an issue.

Yes, the first one failed (http://astronautix.com/t/titaniiie.html), though not, as far as I can tell, because of any fundamental flaw in the integration of Titan III with Centaur.  But the upshot is that Titan IIIE had flown before it was used for a very high-value payload.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: russianhalo117 on 04/26/2018 07:12 PM
Hans' NEAF 2018 talk....

Quote
“[Crossfeed] may be introduced a bit later on”

What's NEAF?  Would you have a link for the talk?

Falcon Heavy having been de-emphasized by SpaceX, I'm surprised there is still talk of cross-feed, which I would think is a pretty big project.
Here:
http://www.rocklandastronomy.com/neaf.html
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZ03kS2hnMqta3Goq8u_2Pg
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: EnigmaSCADA on 05/29/2018 11:41 PM
I'm curious about staging strategies but simply don't know enough to fully figure various options out. Irrespective of the economics, business strategy, or likelihood of implementation, what sort of impact on payload and reachable orbits would the following setups result in?

1) shortening the center core and elongating the 2nd stage by the same amount for more prop in the US.

2) launch using side cores, igniting center core at booster sep. Is this even possible? I presume this would make the core expendable also?

3) crossfeed vs the current throttling of the core. Does this result in the same performance as scenario 2?

Lastly, can anyone point me to a good resource that compares various parallel vs serial staging strategies? I would have thought this would be easy information to come across but maybe I'm just struggling with right search terms.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: RonM on 05/30/2018 12:20 AM
From a cost point of view, changing the length of the stages and crossfeed don't make sense. SpaceX optimizes on cost, not performance.

Don't know if igniting the core engines later would improve performance. I think only three of the engines can be fired up in flight, so doing all nine would require modifications (cost more).
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: philw1776 on 05/30/2018 12:40 AM
2) won't work because rocket will never leave the launch pad.

3) is different from 2. 
Crossfeed would leave the center core with more propellant than today as side cores burnt out.  Center core would then take the vehicle higher and faster.  It would not be recoverable.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: ZachS09 on 05/30/2018 12:47 AM
If SpaceX used the crossfeed method, the only way to recover the side cores would be to land them on two drone ships ("Of Course I Still Love You" and "A Shortfall of Gravitas") while expending the center core.

Although the company throws away some money by expending the center core, at least they're bringing back the side cores to either use them again for another Falcon Heavy flight or turn them into Falcon 9 first stages.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: wannamoonbase on 05/30/2018 01:03 AM
If SpaceX used the crossfeed method, the only way to recover the side cores would be to land them on two drone ships ("Of Course I Still Love You" and "A Shortfall of Gravitas") while expending the center core.

Although the company throws away some money by expending the center core, at least they're bringing back the side cores to either use them again for another Falcon Heavy flight or turn them into Falcon 9 first stages.

I don't see that the center core must be expended.  Get a third ASDS and use 3 engine braking burns for the extra velocity.

Surely there are numbers too for the side boosters doing RTLS, they would burn out much sooner than non-crossfeed and therefore closer to land.

Seems that SpaceX decided to abandon crossfeed with the Block 5 power and lack of any commercial payload that can't be served by the Block 5 FH and of course starting the BFR development. 
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: EnigmaSCADA on 05/30/2018 01:53 AM
Would the optimal goal (in terms of spacex's desire to recover the first stage) be to bring the largest US possible up to the very limit of altitude/velocity that still allows recovery of the first stage? Sorry, I'm sure this is elementary to some of you. Is there a well known velocity limit, beyond which, the first stage (in its current form) is no longer capable of landing and being reused? I assume distance from the launch site isn't the limiting factor, right? Just means you park the barge further out?
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Lars-J on 05/30/2018 04:38 AM
If SpaceX used the crossfeed method, the only way to recover the side cores would be to land them on two drone ships ("Of Course I Still Love You" and "A Shortfall of Gravitas") while expending the center core.

No. With crossfeed, the side cores would actually stage *sooner*. (their propellant is used up faster since the central core would be siphoning off propellant too) So side core recovery would be EASIER. The central core would go much farther, though.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: speedevil on 05/30/2018 09:01 AM
2) won't work because rocket will never leave the launch pad.
With the latest engine thrust numbers, there might be T:W of 1.02 or so, even counting the heavier core and the attachment stuff.
This is technically leaving the launch pad, though at so low thrust, it might be unable to do so safely.

It would also not be an improvement, of course, which is a separate issue, as gravity losses murder you.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: rsdavis9 on 05/30/2018 11:56 AM
Something like the current profile but shutdown the center core part way up and then restart center after staging. Alternatively deep throttling could do much of this without stopping and restarting.

EDIT: we do know that the throttling of the first FH was VERY conservative. They only ran the engines at 90% thrust? How deep can a M1D throttle? 30% ?
Probably a LOT of room for improvement.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: rpapo on 05/30/2018 12:05 PM
Something like the current profile but shutdown the center core part way up and then restart center after staging. Alternatively deep throttling could do much of this without stopping and restarting.

EDIT: we do know that the throttling of the first FH was VERY conservative. They only ran the engines at 90% thrust? How deep can a M1D throttle? 30% ?
Probably a LOT of room for improvement.
(1) Without some changes to the Octoweb, only three of the engines can be started (or restarted) during flight.
(2) It is not clear (to me, at least) whether the Merlins can be throttled down from 100% to 60% (40% down), or from 100% to 40% (60% down).
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: envy887 on 05/30/2018 01:02 PM
Something like the current profile but shutdown the center core part way up and then restart center after staging. Alternatively deep throttling could do much of this without stopping and restarting.

EDIT: we do know that the throttling of the first FH was VERY conservative. They only ran the engines at 90% thrust? How deep can a M1D throttle? 30% ?
Probably a LOT of room for improvement.

The sides ran at 90%. The center much lower than that, you can see the difference in the length of the exhaust plume clearly right off the pad.

Something like the current profile but shutdown the center core part way up and then restart center after staging. Alternatively deep throttling could do much of this without stopping and restarting.

EDIT: we do know that the throttling of the first FH was VERY conservative. They only ran the engines at 90% thrust? How deep can a M1D throttle? 30% ?
Probably a LOT of room for improvement.
(1) Without some changes to the Octoweb, only three of the engines can be started (or restarted) during flight.
(2) It is not clear (to me, at least) whether the Merlins can be throttled down from 100% to 60% (40% down), or from 100% to 40% (60% down).

Only 3 engines can restart. But the center one at least can throttle to 40% thrust (60% down from full), and it seems likely to me that all 9 can do that.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: envy887 on 05/30/2018 01:05 PM
I'm curious about staging strategies but simply don't know enough to fully figure various options out. Irrespective of the economics, business strategy, or likelihood of implementation, what sort of impact on payload and reachable orbits would the following setups result in?

1) shortening the center core and elongating the 2nd stage by the same amount for more prop in the US.

2) launch using side cores, igniting center core at booster sep. Is this even possible? I presume this would make the core expendable also?

3) crossfeed vs the current throttling of the core. Does this result in the same performance as scenario 2?

Lastly, can anyone point me to a good resource that compares various parallel vs serial staging strategies? I would have thought this would be easy information to come across but maybe I'm just struggling with right search terms.

1) doesn't help much unless also combined with crossfeed

2) gravity losses probably cause this to be worse than the current launch profile with the center core throttling down early.

3) Crossfeed is MUCH better. it empties and ditches the side boosters sooner while having the most thrust available and a full core stage at staging. The only way to improve on crossfeed would be to stretch the upper stage.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: wannamoonbase on 05/30/2018 01:20 PM
3) Crossfeed is MUCH better. it empties and ditches the side boosters sooner while having the most thrust available and a full core stage at staging. The only way to improve on crossfeed would be to stretch the upper stage.

Or, build a much larger fully reusable 2 stage vehicle. Much less complicated to fly.

I love crossfeed, I wish they were developing it, it'd be the coolest feature of any flying rocket.

But it's not needed, sadly.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: cscott on 05/30/2018 03:13 PM
Apparently Europa Clipper direct to Jupiter is marginal currently on FH.  I wonder if crossfeed would improve those margins enough to make it worth the investment?

Of course that assumes that there is any way that SpaceX could get the contract to launch Europa Clipper, which seems impossible for political reasons.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Lars-J on 05/30/2018 04:40 PM
Something like the current profile but shutdown the center core part way up and then restart center after staging. Alternatively deep throttling could do much of this without stopping and restarting.

EDIT: we do know that the throttling of the first FH was VERY conservative. They only ran the engines at 90% thrust? How deep can a M1D throttle? 30% ?
Probably a LOT of room for improvement.
(1) Without some changes to the Octoweb, only three of the engines can be started (or restarted) during flight.
(2) It is not clear (to me, at least) whether the Merlins can be throttled down from 100% to 60% (40% down), or from 100% to 40% (60% down).

They can throttle down to 40% of the thrust. (So a 60% range)
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: leetdan on 05/30/2018 06:10 PM
The question came up in the LEGO FH thread (https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=44982.0), do we know if the Block 5 side booster nose cones are going to be TPS-black like the interstage?

To this layperson, the cones get the 9-engine center core plume at a closer range than the interstage gets the 1-engine stage 2 plume.  Other reentry stresses should be similar, so shouldn't the cones get the same TPS treatment as the interstage?
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: speedevil on 05/30/2018 06:47 PM
Apparently Europa Clipper direct to Jupiter is marginal currently on FH.  I wonder if crossfeed would improve those margins enough to make it worth the investment?

Of course that assumes that there is any way that SpaceX could get the contract to launch Europa Clipper, which seems impossible for political reasons.

It also assumes that developing crossfeed is not more expensive than stretching the second stage.
Elon:  We’ve already stretched the upper stage once. Easiest part of the rocket to change (https://mobile.twitter.com/elonmusk/status/963095860060934144).

The capacity of FH is reportedly marginal and unclear on the direct jupiter injection for EC.
Hardware mods are one way of fixing it - changing the spec and going from 'won't quite make it' to 'will just make it' are quite plausible.
As is a five ton kick stage.

Or you can go full Kerbal.
Quote
We could really dial it up to as much performance as anyone could ever want. If we wanted to we could actually add two more side boosters and make it Falcon Super Heavy

Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: docmordrid on 05/30/2018 07:35 PM
Just adding the link..,

The Verge....(Feb 5, 2018) (https://www.theverge.com/2018/2/5/16975850/spacex-falcon-heavy-launch-elon-musk-tesla-questions)

>
Or you can go full Kerbal.
Quote
We could really dial it up to as much performance as anyone could ever want. If we wanted to we could actually add two more side boosters and make it Falcon Super Heavy
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: johnfwhitesell on 05/30/2018 08:12 PM
Europa Clipper is too important to settle for 5 cores.  We need at least 9.  You'll know it's happening when they move JRTI to Taiwan.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Prettz on 05/30/2018 08:42 PM
I love crossfeed, I wish they were developing it, it'd be the coolest feature of any flying rocket.

But it's not needed, sadly.
On the other hand, think about it from the other direction. If it WAS needed, SpaceX would've needed to spend more precious time and money just to get FH flying.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: woods170 on 05/31/2018 07:10 AM
Apparently Europa Clipper direct to Jupiter is marginal currently on FH.  I wonder if crossfeed would improve those margins enough to make it worth the investment?

Of course that assumes that there is any way that SpaceX could get the contract to launch Europa Clipper, which seems is impossible for political reasons.

Why did you even bother to bring the Off-Topic subject of Europa Clipper into this discussion? See your own last line (bolded).
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: hkultala on 05/31/2018 07:23 AM
Apparently Europa Clipper direct to Jupiter is marginal currently on FH.  I wonder if crossfeed would improve those margins enough to make it worth the investment?

Of course that assumes that there is any way that SpaceX could get the contract to launch Europa Clipper, which seems impossible for political reasons.

It also assumes that developing crossfeed is not more expensive than stretching the second stage.
Elon:  We’ve already stretched the upper stage once. Easiest part of the rocket to change (https://mobile.twitter.com/elonmusk/status/963095860060934144).

The capacity of FH is reportedly marginal and unclear on the direct jupiter injection for EC.
Hardware mods are one way of fixing it - changing the spec and going from 'won't quite make it' to 'will just make it' are quite plausible.
As is a five ton kick stage.

Or you can go full Kerbal.
Quote
We could really dial it up to as much performance as anyone could ever want. If we wanted to we could actually add two more side boosters and make it Falcon Super Heavy

It's not only about development cost. It's also about needed facilities, building them , and their cost.

Cross-feed requires no changes to existing facilities, but requires considerable amount of development work and new technical solutions.

Stretching second stage is quite trivial to develop, but would require some changes to the launch infrastructure  and might make the pad infrastructure incompatible with F9. These changes should however be relatively cheap to make.

Going to kerbal mode and adding more side boosters would mean huge and very expensive changes to launch infrastructure.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Burninate on 05/31/2018 09:01 PM
I'm curious about staging strategies but simply don't know enough to fully figure various options out. Irrespective of the economics, business strategy, or likelihood of implementation, what sort of impact on payload and reachable orbits would the following setups result in?

1) shortening the center core and elongating the 2nd stage by the same amount for more prop in the US.

2) launch using side cores, igniting center core at booster sep. Is this even possible? I presume this would make the core expendable also?

3) crossfeed vs the current throttling of the core. Does this result in the same performance as scenario 2?

Lastly, can anyone point me to a good resource that compares various parallel vs serial staging strategies? I would have thought this would be easy information to come across but maybe I'm just struggling with right search terms.

1) doesn't help much unless also combined with crossfeed

2) gravity losses probably cause this to be worse than the current launch profile with the center core throttling down early.

3) Crossfeed is MUCH better. it empties and ditches the side boosters sooner while having the most thrust available and a full core stage at staging. The only way to improve on crossfeed would be to stretch the upper stage.

After KSP taught me rocket science, crossfeed & asparagus staging seemed like a make-or-break thing - why would you ever operate a three-core rocket without it?  But it turns out, in reality the weight of the engines and tankage is proportionately much lower IRL than in KSP, and this provides a corresponding dramatic decrease in the dV benefits you get out of crossfeed and out of additional stages.

Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Owlon on 05/31/2018 09:15 PM
I'm curious about staging strategies but simply don't know enough to fully figure various options out. Irrespective of the economics, business strategy, or likelihood of implementation, what sort of impact on payload and reachable orbits would the following setups result in?

1) shortening the center core and elongating the 2nd stage by the same amount for more prop in the US.

2) launch using side cores, igniting center core at booster sep. Is this even possible? I presume this would make the core expendable also?

3) crossfeed vs the current throttling of the core. Does this result in the same performance as scenario 2?

Lastly, can anyone point me to a good resource that compares various parallel vs serial staging strategies? I would have thought this would be easy information to come across but maybe I'm just struggling with right search terms.

1) doesn't help much unless also combined with crossfeed

2) gravity losses probably cause this to be worse than the current launch profile with the center core throttling down early.

3) Crossfeed is MUCH better. it empties and ditches the side boosters sooner while having the most thrust available and a full core stage at staging. The only way to improve on crossfeed would be to stretch the upper stage.

After KSP taught me rocket science, crossfeed & asparagus staging seemed like a make-or-break thing - why would you ever operate a three-core rocket without it?  But it turns out, in reality the weight of the engines and tankage is proportionately much lower IRL than in KSP, and this provides a corresponding dramatic decrease in the benefits you get out of crossfeed and out of additional stages.

Yep, common misconception stemming from KSP! It really boosts LEO payload performance by something a bit over 10%, IIRC--from some old FH modeling I read here, at least.

...not to mention actually implementing crossfeed is hugely more complicated than slapping on your handy yellow external fuel ducts.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Burninate on 05/31/2018 09:16 PM
A reasonable KSP atmospheric stage may have a wet to dry mass ratio of 6:1, while a Falcon rocket might be 20:1.

This reduces the benefit you get out of additional stage drops drastically.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: cscott on 06/02/2018 02:34 AM


Why did you even bother to bring the Off-Topic subject of Europa Clipper into this discussion? See your own last line (bolded).

Just casting about for other eventualities that might trigger another look at crossfeed. As I said, Europa Clipper looks like an extreme long-shot, but I thought that mentioning the possibility might shake out some other large NASA missions that *just might* (as a long shot) manage to get funded and create a forcing function for further FH development.

It would have to be something with an existing design or hardware, though---otherwise you'd just design your mission 10% lighter.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: docmordrid on 06/22/2018 02:10 AM
https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/1009912347362844672?s=19

@jeff_foust
SpaceX has won a $130M contract from the US Air Force to launch the AFSPC-52 mission on a Falcon Heavy: https://t.co/UC6wV436GW

Quote
AIR FORCE

Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX), Hawthorne, California, has been awarded a $130,000,000 firm-fixed-price contract, for launch services to deliver the Air Force Space Command-52 satellite to its intended orbit.  This launch service contract will include launch vehicle production and mission, as well as integration, launch operations and spaceflight worthiness activities.  Work will be performed in Hawthorne, California; Kennedy Space Center, Florida; and McGregor, Texas, and is expected to be completed by September 2020.  This award is the result of a competitive acquisition, and two proposals were received.  Fiscal 2018 space procurement funds in the amount of $130,000,000 will be obligated at the time of award.  The Contracting Division, Launch Systems Enterprise Directorate, Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles Air Force Base, California, is the contracting activity (FA8811-18-C-0003). (Awarded June 20, 2018)
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: gongora on 06/22/2018 03:04 AM
https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/1009912347362844672?s=19

@jeff_foust
SpaceX has won a $130M contract from the US Air Force to launch the AFSPC-52 mission on a Falcon Heavy: https://t.co/UC6wV436GW

Quote
AIR FORCE

Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX), Hawthorne, California, has been awarded a $130,000,000 firm-fixed-price contract, for launch services to deliver the Air Force Space Command-52 satellite to its intended orbit.  This launch service contract will include launch vehicle production and mission, as well as integration, launch operations and spaceflight worthiness activities.  Work will be performed in Hawthorne, California; Kennedy Space Center, Florida; and McGregor, Texas, and is expected to be completed by September 2020.  This award is the result of a competitive acquisition, and two proposals were received.  Fiscal 2018 space procurement funds in the amount of $130,000,000 will be obligated at the time of award.  The Contracting Division, Launch Systems Enterprise Directorate, Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles Air Force Base, California, is the contracting activity (FA8811-18-C-0003). (Awarded June 20, 2018)

Well that didn't take long, the FH isn't even certified yet.  I bet the $130M price was very competitive.  I wonder if the mission requirements required ULA to bid a DIVH or a Atlas-V with multiple SRB's?

There is a thread for this:
https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=45886.0
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: wannamoonbase on 07/21/2018 04:28 PM
Have to admit to some surprise that the Telstar 19 going up tonight is 7000 kg and larger than FH’s Arabsat 6. 

The FH seems to have less and less market, currently.  Which is a shame. 
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Hauerg on 07/21/2018 04:44 PM
Only for us launcherjunkies.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: envy887 on 07/21/2018 04:46 PM
Have to admit to some surprise that the Telstar 19 going up tonight is 7000 kg and larger than FH’s Arabsat 6. 

The FH seems to have less and less market, currently.  Which is a shame.

FH could give it a much better orbit for a not much higher price.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Nomadd on 07/21/2018 05:19 PM
Have to admit to some surprise that the Telstar 19 going up tonight is 7000 kg and larger than FH’s Arabsat 6. 

The FH seems to have less and less market, currently.  Which is a shame.

FH could give it a much better orbit for a not much higher price.
I've seen a few six hour 2nd stage coasts and firings now. Is the Falcon considered able to do direct GSO?
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: envy887 on 07/21/2018 05:30 PM
Have to admit to some surprise that the Telstar 19 going up tonight is 7000 kg and larger than FH’s Arabsat 6. 

The FH seems to have less and less market, currently.  Which is a shame.

FH could give it a much better orbit for a not much higher price.
I've seen a few six hour 2nd stage coasts and firings now. Is the Falcon considered able to do direct GSO?

F9 can't with any reasonable payload, but FH likely could. Or it could at least provide a supersync insertion and more inclination reduction. F9 is probably going to sub-sync with a 7 tonne sat.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: Spudley on 07/21/2018 08:46 PM
Have to admit to some surprise that the Telstar 19 going up tonight is 7000 kg and larger than FH’s Arabsat 6. 

The FH seems to have less and less market, currently.  Which is a shame.

FH could give it a much better orbit for a not much higher price.

That may be true, but it would have delayed the launch by months.
Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: hkultala on 07/21/2018 09:21 PM
Have to admit to some surprise that the Telstar 19 going up tonight is 7000 kg and larger than FH’s Arabsat 6. 

The FH seems to have less and less market, currently.  Which is a shame.

FH could give it a much better orbit for a not much higher price.
I've seen a few six hour 2nd stage coasts and firings now. Is the Falcon considered able to do direct GSO?

F9 can't with any reasonable payload, but FH likely could. Or it could at least provide a supersync insertion and more inclination reduction. F9 is probably going to sub-sync with a 7 tonne sat.

Fully expendable F9 should be able to do about 5 tonnes to GSO, but with 1st stage barge landing only about 1.5 tonnes.

Title: Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 6)
Post by: speedevil on 07/21/2018 10:05 PM
I've seen a few six hour 2nd stage coasts and firings now. Is the Falcon considered able to do direct GSO?
Zeroth order analysis, if you have 55 tons to LEO, and a 5 ton second stage, with a ISP of 347s, going from 25N, you need around 2454+1761m/s to get from 200km to GEO.
Or 4215m/s.

Doing the rocket equation calculations leads to somewhere north of ten tons in GEO.

Some evaporation may happen, but this might be partially mitigated by timing the orbit so at least so