Author Topic: General Falcon and Dragon Discussion (Thread 10)  (Read 481242 times)

Offline ChrisWilson68

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Re: General Falcon and Dragon Discussion (Thread 10)
« Reply #1040 on: 06/05/2014 10:10 am »
F9/FH prices updated on spacex.com based on 2016 launches.

F9: $61.2M
FH: $85M for up to 6.4 tons to GTO. Previously listed price for above 6.4 tons to GTO removed.

Performance numbers unchanged.

Interested in the removal of the >6.4 tons option. Previously it was speculated that the increased price for this option was that it was either down to the difference between reusable and expendable versions or it was down to the additional cost of cross-fed propellant.

However, we have since learned that the F9 price is for the expendable version, so I think it likely that the figures given for the FH are also for expendable versions. If so, this implies that the >6.4 tons option was for the cross-fed version.

So, does the removal of this option mean that SpaceX have taken the decision to abandon cross-feeding? Not going ahead with it will same time and money in its development; possible enabling the FH itself to come into service faster. Have they decided that the expense is not worth the foreseeable market? There's also been speculation that the single-core BFR may well be cheaper than the FH; if so, the latter has a limited life-span and the return would therefore be less on any equipment such as cross-feeding; is the removal of this option a sign that this speculation is indeed correct?

Maybe the removal of the option was because they were tired of people speculating about it. :-)

More likely, in my opinion, was that they saw that their opponents consistently used the higher figure while few, if any, of their customers actually needed more than 6.4 tons to GTO.  Even if they would still be willing to do a larger satellite to GTO for more money, they don't need it on their web site.  By having the website clean, they can remove some of the FUD their opponents use.

Offline Michael Bloxham

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Re: General Falcon and Dragon Discussion (Thread 10)
« Reply #1041 on: 06/05/2014 10:23 am »
Is it possible to trim those long URLs? They make the page difficult to read, as the page width is much wider than the screen width.

Online docmordrid

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Re: General Falcon and Dragon Discussion (Thread 10)
« Reply #1042 on: 06/05/2014 10:25 am »

F9/FH prices updated on spacex.com based on 2016 launches.

F9: $61.2M
FH: $85M for up to 6.4 tons to GTO. Previously listed price for above 6.4 tons to GTO removed.

Performance numbers unchanged.

Interested in the removal of the >6.4 tons option. Previously it was speculated that the increased price for this option was that it was either down to the difference between reusable and expendable versions or it was down to the additional cost of cross-fed propellant.

However, we have since learned that the F9 price is for the expendable version, so I think it likely that the figures given for the FH are also for expendable versions. If so, this implies that the >6.4 tons option was for the cross-fed version.

So, does the removal of this option mean that SpaceX have taken the decision to abandon cross-feeding? Not going ahead with it will same time and money in its development; possible enabling the FH itself to come into service faster. Have they decided that the expense is not worth the foreseeable market? There's also been speculation that the single-core BFR may well be cheaper than the FH; if so, the latter has a limited life-span and the return would therefore be less on any equipment such as cross-feeding; is the removal of this option a sign that this speculation is indeed correct?

Maybe the removal of the option was because they were tired of people speculating about it. :-)

More likely, in my opinion, was that they saw that their opponents consistently used the higher figure while few, if any, of their customers actually needed more than 6.4 tons to GTO.  Even if they would still be willing to do a larger satellite to GTO for more money, they don't need it on their web site.  By having the website clean, they can remove some of the FUD their opponents use.
Or something else is going to be large/cheap enough to cover what would have been the FH/crossfed market, and up. Way up.
« Last Edit: 06/05/2014 10:26 am by docmordrid »
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Offline Ben the Space Brit

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Re: General Falcon and Dragon Discussion (Thread 10)
« Reply #1043 on: 06/05/2014 06:16 pm »
A quick question:

As far as is known, have SpaceX flown any full-price non-NASA payloads on Falcon-9? I heard that Cassiope was flown at a reduced price, as was SES-8 and there is some suggestion that Orbcomm-G2 got a cut for switching from F-1e to F-9 v.1.1.
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Offline Maciej Olesinski

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Re: General Falcon and Dragon Discussion (Thread 10)
« Reply #1044 on: 06/05/2014 06:49 pm »
Quick question: I dont remember that video looking that way. Did they edited it or do I remember it wrong.

Offline The_Ronin

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Re: General Falcon and Dragon Discussion (Thread 10)
« Reply #1045 on: 06/05/2014 08:42 pm »
That's the old version of the manned Dragon concept.

Offline RocketGoBoom

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Re: General Falcon and Dragon Discussion (Thread 10)
« Reply #1046 on: 06/06/2014 01:48 am »
If you look at the article, there is some language in the Senate / House bill that would force NASA to start over on negotiations for the commercial crew program. It would turn this into a more traditional government program.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2014/06/05/nasa-space-station-senate-shelby/10033153/

Quote
WASHINGTON ó Advocates of aerospace firms vying to deliver cargo and crew to the International Space Station are concerned that language in a Senate spending bill that a key committee passed Thursday could make it more difficult and expensive to carry out those missions.

The provision, sponsored by Republican Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama, would require firms in the commercial crew and commercial cargo programs to submit "certified cost and pricing data" similar to what's required in traditional contracts NASA uses for other services.

Shelby's proposal is included in a spending bill the Senate Appropriations Committee passed 30-0 Thursday to fund several federal agencies, including NASA, in the 2015 fiscal year that begins Oct. 1.

"The language would effectively change an efficient and lean commercial program into a traditional government procurement with all of the associated overhead and cost," said Alex Saltman, executive director of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation.

"In addition, if this language were to become law before NASA awards the latest commercial crew contracts, NASA would likely have to restart the procurement with these new rules, pushing back the program up to a year and sending hundreds of millions of more taxpayer dollars to Russia for Soyuz rides," Saltman added. "If the language were to go into effect after the awards, NASA could be tied up in contract renegotiations and challenges for months, if not years."

Quote
NASA officials declined to comment, saying they were still reviewing the Senate language. There was no immediate comment from SpaceX. The California firm has a contract with NASA to deliver cargo to the space station and is among the competitors for the contract to transport astronauts as well.

Another commercial space advocate, the Space Access Society, said Shelby was sponsoring the language merely to protect the "massively wasteful" space launch system. Much of the work to develop SLS is being conducted at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., which Shelby represents.

Asked about the criticism of his motives after Thursday's hearing, Shelby said simply: "That's not true. We're looking for transparency."
« Last Edit: 06/06/2014 01:51 am by RocketGoBoom »

Offline Lar

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Re: General Falcon and Dragon Discussion (Thread 10)
« Reply #1047 on: 06/06/2014 04:54 pm »
I detest Senator Shelby and his machinations, so don't think I didn't want to leave those posts I just trimmed, and rant a bit myself too... Nevertheless posts related to him are off topic. They have been moved to the mod area so PM me if you think there are words you want back to try to use in ON TOPIC postings.
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Offline RocketGoBoom

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Re: General Falcon and Dragon Discussion (Thread 10)
« Reply #1048 on: 06/06/2014 10:38 pm »
Now the Senate bill is being called a poison pill for SpaceX...

http://blog.chron.com/sciguy/2014/06/nasa-budget-bill-could-include-a-poison-pill-for-spacex-other-commercial-companies/

NASA budget bill could include a poison pill for SpaceX, other commercial companies
Posted on June 6, 2014

Quote
With NASA under the thumb of the Russian space program, Congress continues to play political games with the space agency.

On Thursday the U.S. Senateís Appropriations Committee unanimously approved the fiscal year 2015 Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill. This means they agreed upon a spending plan to fund NASA, among other agencies.

But buried within the bill could be something of a poison pill for a company like SpaceX. Allow me to explain.

The language in question is this:

The Committee directs NASA to maintain FAR 15.403-4, related to the certified cost and pricing data for prime contractors, for any contracts entered into support the development of a commercial crew vehicle.

Three companies are vying for NASA contracts to build smaller spacecraft to replace the space shuttle and give the United States its own transportation to the International Space Station. In a recent story I went into depth about the plight NASA finds itself in with regard to Russia. Anyway, these companies offer the best chance to fix that problem.

If this language is approved by the full Senate, and reconciled with the U.S. House budget bill, it would require the three companies, Boeing, SpaceX and Sierra Nevada Corp., to provide detailed cost and financial information about their spacecraft. This represents a wholly new wrinkle in a contracting process NASA originally devised to allow private companies to develop spacecraft much more cheaply than they otherwise could have.

I had a chance to speak with four-time astronaut Michael Lopez-Alegria, who heads up the Commercial Spaceflight Federation, about the effect of this language. He explains:

This was introduced by Senator Shelby, and to comply with this you have to have an infrastructure in place in your company to do that, which a company like Boeing certainly has, but SpaceX certainly does not have. More importantly if it became law on Oct. 1, and they hadnít awarded the commercial crew contract by then, they would probably have to recompete it.

Edit/Lar: This is NOT general Falcon/Dragon discussion. This is politics. Replies to this post will be trimmed.
« Last Edit: 06/07/2014 12:48 am by Lar »

Offline CuddlyRocket

Re: General Falcon and Dragon Discussion (Thread 10)
« Reply #1049 on: 06/11/2014 11:01 am »
Carried this over from the Washington DC display thread:

Musk gave some additional details on Dragon V2 at the DC event:
http://www.spacepolicyonline.com/news/first-crewed-dragon-flight-to-orbit-will-carry-nasa-astronauts

Interesting ...

Quote
... the Dragon V2 will return to land using parachutes and propulsive landing systems. The goal is to land at Cape Canaveral, FL, but Musk said initial landings may be at White Sands, NM until they are certain of the spacecraft's landing precision.

My bolding. First time we've heard that isn't it?

Offline mikelepage

Re: General Falcon and Dragon Discussion (Thread 10)
« Reply #1050 on: 06/11/2014 11:53 am »
Okay here's a different question that was alluded to in Gwynne Shotwell's June 4th talk:

How difficult would it be for SpaceX to get to a stage where they have rockets going up on a schedule and all the payload providers are effectively in a queue, such that if any delay is payload associated, SpaceX can just bump them to the next flight and have the next payload in line take the slot?  (ie have a backup payload for every flight).  I assume the process of programming the Falcon 9v1.1 computers to go to a particular orbit and adding the appropriate amount of fuel is relatively quick process.

Obviously payload integration would be an issue, but how long does that take, relative to the 2-3 day delays that seem to have happened a couple of times now for purely payload related reasons? Also, is this more of a launch site issue? and will we see launch rates increase exponentially for each site brought online?

Offline Jcc

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Re: General Falcon and Dragon Discussion (Thread 10)
« Reply #1051 on: 06/11/2014 12:12 pm »
With enough facilities and personnel, they could be processing a few missions at once, each with an assigned vehicle, and if a payload or vehicle has delays, another moves forward to take the launch slot.

Offline Jim

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Re: General Falcon and Dragon Discussion (Thread 10)
« Reply #1052 on: 06/11/2014 01:36 pm »
With enough facilities and personnel, they could be processing a few missions at once, each with an assigned vehicle, and if a payload or vehicle has delays, another moves forward to take the launch slot.

Payload customers aren't going to send down a spacecraft early in hope of an early flight.

There are constraints on the payload too, its integration and test personnel, tracking stations, communication systems, control centers, etc all have to be available. 
« Last Edit: 06/11/2014 01:42 pm by Jim »

Offline Jim

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Re: General Falcon and Dragon Discussion (Thread 10)
« Reply #1053 on: 06/11/2014 01:39 pm »
Okay here's a different question that was alluded to in Gwynne Shotwell's June 4th talk:

How difficult would it be for SpaceX to get to a stage where they have rockets going up on a schedule and all the payload providers are effectively in a queue, such that if any delay is payload associated, SpaceX can just bump them to the next flight and have the next payload in line take the slot?  (ie have a backup payload for every flight).  I assume the process of programming the Falcon 9v1.1 computers to go to a particular orbit and adding the appropriate amount of fuel is relatively quick process.

Obviously payload integration would be an issue, but how long does that take, relative to the 2-3 day delays that seem to have happened a couple of times now for purely payload related reasons? Also, is this more of a launch site issue? and will we see launch rates increase exponentially for each site brought online?

Some fairings and upperstage have unique mods for certain spacecraft.   At a minimum, the payload adapter is mission specific.

just a note, launch vehicles always fly with a full load of propellant. 
« Last Edit: 06/11/2014 01:43 pm by Jim »

Online Coastal Ron

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Re: General Falcon and Dragon Discussion (Thread 10)
« Reply #1054 on: 06/11/2014 02:33 pm »
Some fairings and upperstage have unique mods for certain spacecraft.   At a minimum, the payload adapter is mission specific.

No doubt that would have to change, and that would likely take a while to implement industry wide.  And the challenge would be that no one will want to do it only for one launch provider.  This is not anything against SpaceX per se, but a challenge that any launch provider would have when changing a mature industry.

Quote
just a note, launch vehicles always fly with a full load of propellant.

I had thought that was the case, but a couple of years ago I started hearing comments from launch providers that they don't.

There was a Russian launcher not long ago that ran out of fuel because they miscalculated the fuel load, which implies they weren't fully loading it.  And comments that I've seen about fuel depots said that commercial launchers could transport leftover fuel to a depot if they topped off instead of only hauling what they needed.

Any place to get more info on this?
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

Offline LouScheffer

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Re: General Falcon and Dragon Discussion (Thread 10)
« Reply #1055 on: 06/11/2014 02:35 pm »

just a note, launch vehicles always fly with a full load of propellant. 
Well, almost always.   Here's a Proton that crashed since they added too much fuel.  So they clearly intended to launch with a partial load.
http://phys.org/news/2010-12-fuel-error-russia-satellites.html

Offline Jim

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Re: General Falcon and Dragon Discussion (Thread 10)
« Reply #1056 on: 06/11/2014 02:38 pm »

There was a Russian launcher not long ago that ran out of fuel because they miscalculated the fuel load, which implies they weren't fully loading it.  And comments that I've seen about fuel depots said that commercial launchers could transport leftover fuel to a depot if they topped off instead of only hauling what they needed.

Any place to get more info on this?

I was referring to US vehicles like Falcon 9, Atlas V and Delta V.  Not multi stage vehicles that have 4 or more stages and/or use hypergols.
« Last Edit: 06/11/2014 02:40 pm by Jim »

Offline Jim

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Re: General Falcon and Dragon Discussion (Thread 10)
« Reply #1057 on: 06/11/2014 02:48 pm »

No doubt that would have to change, and that would likely take a while to implement industry wide.  And the challenge would be that no one will want to do it only for one launch provider.  This is not anything against SpaceX per se, but a challenge that any launch provider would have when changing a mature industry.


Why would it have to change?  One size doe not fit all. 

payload adapters come in 37, 47 & 66 inch dia clamp bands
Bolt on in 62" and 180" bolted interfaces
Umbilicals in 37 and 61 conductor connectors
GN2 purge
AC ducting
Different locations of F&D valves (fairing access)
Different locations of remove before flight covers (fairing access)
Different locations of battery charging connectors, ordnance plugs, and battery enable connectors (fairing access)

Offline mikelepage

Re: General Falcon and Dragon Discussion (Thread 10)
« Reply #1058 on: 06/11/2014 04:38 pm »
So obviously it's not going to be a one size fits all scenario, but given that both Elon & Gwynne are talking 100s of flights per year within 15 years, I'm just trying to paint a picture in my head of what that looks like logistically.

Let's say 100 launches per year, ~8 launches per month  Does that mean 4 pads, each with two payload processing facilities processing one payload/capsule per month? Or more pads each with one facility? Does it make sense to imagine that all payloads with fairings of x diameter are going to launch from pad y on rocket z (there must be some configurations that are quite common for GTO and others for polar/LEO etc?), so if you can have your payload ready two weeks early you might get an early launch on an appropriately configured rocket? I can't see how it will remain the case that every payload will launch on a "custom configured" rocket. They've got to streamline it somehow to get to those kind of flight rates.

Offline aero

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Re: General Falcon and Dragon Discussion (Thread 10)
« Reply #1059 on: 06/11/2014 05:09 pm »
And more reliable range safety operation. It needs to not go down for weeks, or even multiple days at a time.
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