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I am not convinced that Blue has any interest in DoD / NRO payloads.  Blue doesn't need the money so they may decide they may not want the headaches.

Blue hasn't announced any plans (beyond supplying BE-4s to ULA, which will drag them at least a bit into the certification mess already), but Bezos was publicly having very friendly chats with NRO as recently as last week. So they're at least looking into it.

Eventually the "next generation" of commercial space may come to dominate globally, once you have established a larger market for aerospace here. In that case it's just the volume of business that solely works by common rules (and not the exceptional needs/requirements that the NSS community has long relied on) will have to be taken into account by such as the NRO, because the specialty providers won't command enough market share to be allowed (e.g. too infrequent and costly because they'll not be able to adapt as the competitive framework changes).

So talking to Bezos makes sense in understanding where the boundaries of what comes next might be. Many different ways that could work out. Eventually it will become clear how it'll play out, with a long transition from the specialized form.

Bezos plays the long game well. But he like Musk is allergic to special needs complicating economics.

Suggest he spent a lot of time saying "no's", a lesser time saying "maybe's", and a few "yes, but only if its exactly like this".
Blue Origin / Re: Bezos chats up NRO
« Last post by jimvela on Today at 02:04 AM »
I'm not sure I'd put any credibility that this was about Blue Origin going for NSS certification for one of its' launch vehicles.

They are, after all, going to be the engine supplier for an NSS cerrtified launch vehicle, so that in its own right would provide plenty of scenarios for a nice visit between those two parties...
Polls Section / Re: How low can launch costs go in the next ten years
« Last post by Lar on Today at 01:56 AM »
Your poll is ill formed, it doesn't go low enough. I voted under 5M but would have voted under 200K if that was available.

Per Speedevil's analysis.

I fixed the sense of your sign on that last choice and set the poll to end in 30 days.
Advanced Concepts / Re: Space-based solar power for Earth
« Last post by TrevorMonty on Today at 01:54 AM »
The development of SBSP as always is financial hurdle. SpaceX BFR and Blue NG by lowering cost of access to space may help lower cost of SBSP but it will need a large space base ISRU infrastructure to really bring price down to 10cUnit.

What SBSP really needs is someone willing spend a lot more per Unit to help start ball rolling. Yet again it could be internet companies to rescue with their huge cash reserves and enviroment conscious.
Google, Amazon and Microsoft are all committed to reducing their carbon foot print.

I'm picking Jeff Bezo will be one of first, whether it is via Blue, Amazon or consortium I don't know.
SpaceX General Section / Re: SpaceX Core Spotting
« Last post by Lar on Today at 01:51 AM »
Matt Desch is a riot.  I could buy stock just to support the jokes. 
he's my second favorite space CEO, that's for sure....
Blue Origin / Re: Bezos chats up NRO
« Last post by x15_fan on Today at 01:45 AM »
Because NSS  assured access requires two vehicles but not 3. Its a club and to add one is basically pushing one out since hard for even two to compete in that space with extra requirements. OTOH I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of the SpaceX lessons learned weren’t passed on to Blue to expedite certification in the future.
Historical Spaceflight / Re: Manned Flight Plans Before May 1961
« Last post by Proponent on Today at 01:44 AM »
... it was the C-3 that was to have 2 F-1s in the first stage. The C-2 had the the same first stage as the C-1 but with 8 uprated H-1s.

Source for uprated H-1's being used on the C-2?

The Saturns as defined by the Silverstein Committee (1st attachment to this post) included a C-3 the first stage of which was an S-I with either upgraded H-1's or four H-1's and one F-1, but I was not aware of upgraded engines being suggested for the C-2.
Historical Spaceflight / Re: Manned Flight Plans Before May 1961
« Last post by Proponent on Today at 01:33 AM »
... they (including the President's Science Advisor, Jerome Weisner) counter-proposed a two-man Apollo CSM that could be downsized and landed directly on the Moon with a single Saturn V launch.  NASA had looked into that already....

The attached paper sheds some light on the two-man direct ("C-5 direct") -- see page 7.
Falcon Heavy is not capable of putting 12 mT on the lunar surface when dropping off a lander in GTO. This is what I get using Falcon Heavy's ~26,000 kg GTO payload (the extra 700 kg is margin) to go the extra ~3.3 km/s from GTO to the lunar surface.

Payload: 12,000 kg
Lander dry mass: 500 kg
Propellant mass: 13,500 kg
total: 26,000 kg
isp: 460
delta-v: 3301 m/s

The lander would have to be 25% of the dry mass of the Apollo LEM descent stage, while holding 70% more mass of a far lower density propellant while carrying over twice the payload. With no payload, it would be capable of 15 km/s. It might be able to self ferry itself with a small payload from the surface of the earth to the surface of the moon in a single stage. It would have a fuel to mass ratio of 27 vs BFS's 13.

I think Zubrin expects the lander to go all the way from LEO to the lunar surface with 12 tonnes of payload. This might be feasible with something like ACES, but it wouldn't be easy.

This is a highly optimistic architecture, at best.
That doesn't help ULA once Blue hits the market. When that happens,  Vulcan will only stick around as long as the DoD (particularly the NRO) is willing to spend money to be catered to and is unable or merely unwilling to adapt to what's commercially available.
It will be decided by fiat by those that control the purse-strings on the Hill just like SLS...

Yes and no.  Yes, Congress can mandate whatever they want.  No, as maintaining a third leg would require change to "assured access", which would likely raise more than a few eye brows.  (Not necessarily an impediment to pols, but gotta consider if the political capital expended is worth the cost.  But we are getting dangerously close to Space Policy, so will stop there.)
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