Author Topic: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory  (Read 46400 times)

Offline winkhomewinkhome

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Mr Musk has compared his desired model of SpaceX/Falcon operations to that of an airline/airliner – well, airliners are flown to the maintenance/operating hub of their purchasing airline, not trucked – shall we someday see Falcons, regardless of where they are built, avoiding the entire truck/barge infrastructure and “simply” rocketing to the appropriate launch center?  And might we see rockets during their life cycle being relocated as needed by similar means and methods.  Thoughts…?
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Offline peter-b

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #1 on: 06/08/2014 02:11 pm »
Mr Musk has compared his desired model of SpaceX/Falcon operations to that of an airline/airliner – well, airliners are flown to the maintenance/operating hub of their purchasing airline, not trucked – shall we someday see Falcons, regardless of where they are built, avoiding the entire truck/barge infrastructure and “simply” rocketing to the appropriate launch center?  And might we see rockets during their life cycle being relocated as needed by similar means and methods.  Thoughts…?

You can't launch from an inhabited area in case this happens:

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Online RonM

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #2 on: 06/08/2014 02:21 pm »
In addition to safety considerations, it depends on how many flights you can get out of one rocket. Would you really want to waste a flight to self ferry? What if each rocket only got 10 flights? Shipping by truck or barge is not a big deal.

Offline sublimemarsupial

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #3 on: 06/08/2014 02:27 pm »
Mr Musk has compared his desired model of SpaceX/Falcon operations to that of an airline/airliner – well, airliners are flown to the maintenance/operating hub of their purchasing airline, not trucked – shall we someday see Falcons, regardless of where they are built, avoiding the entire truck/barge infrastructure and “simply” rocketing to the appropriate launch center?  And might we see rockets during their life cycle being relocated as needed by similar means and methods.  Thoughts…?

You can't launch from an inhabited area in case this happens:


You can't fly from an inhabited area in case this happens:

« Last Edit: 06/08/2014 02:27 pm by sublimemarsupial »

Offline Bob Shaw

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #4 on: 06/08/2014 03:00 pm »


You can't launch from an inhabited area in case this happens:


[/quote]

Oh, I dunno. Werner Von Braun's early designs used to land in London, Amsterdam, The Hague...

Offline Burninate

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #5 on: 06/08/2014 03:01 pm »
No.  You're not.  It's just not practical - too much wear and tear, too much risk, too much fuel expenditure per range.

The Falcon 9's dimensions are tailored specifically, according to Elon in the Dragon V2 Q&A, to be the largest diameter he thought would fit on a normal road, multiplied by the longest length he thought would hold together structurally.

I think air freight on a customized freight plane is a pretty reasonable possibility for the Falcon core (if it's necessary), or for any cores they might produce somewhere intermediate in size between a 10m-15m BFR, and a 3.7m Falcon.  A vehicle in this size range (3x as large as the Falcon core rather than 9x) was on their Powerpoint scribblings a few years ago as the Falcon X, though we've received no other indication that they're working on anything larger than the Falcon Heavy & smaller than the BFR.

The default for larger cores, and probably the only option for the BFR, will be a barge through the inland US waterways on the Gulf & Atlantic coasts, perhaps supplemented with a ship if they ever find an oceanic island launchsite.
« Last Edit: 06/08/2014 03:03 pm by Burninate »

Offline mvpel

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #6 on: 06/08/2014 04:32 pm »
You can't launch from an inhabited area in case this happens:

I take it you've never flown into San Diego, yes?
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Offline savuporo

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #7 on: 06/08/2014 04:46 pm »
No.  You're not.  It's just not practical - too much wear and tear, too much risk, too much fuel expenditure per range.

Depends - maybe they'll call it a hot fire test ;)

I'd be more worried about corroded nuts and such  TBH http://bit.ly/1kPv9mh
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Offline Adaptation

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #8 on: 06/08/2014 08:00 pm »
I'll just leave this here. 


Online OxCartMark

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #9 on: 06/08/2014 08:56 pm »
The least expensive and simplest way by far to transport the F9 and FH cores which are 12 feet in diameter is by road.  In the future the number of new cores needing transportation from the factory to the launch site probably won't increase much even as the launch frequency increases because of flyback / reusability, so why change it?

Now going to the larger stuff, Falcon X, XX, BFR, or whatever...  The way to transport those seems obvious to me.  Probably out in left field to most, but I think quite workable, and with proven methodology which has been used daily for 80 years or so (though on a smaller scale).  Pressurize the tanks for stiffness (done during conventional transportation??), Add temporary detachable landing gear, wings, tail, cockpit to temporarily make it into a large glider. There are hard mounting points at the front and rear of a stage but it may require work to put wings and landing gear in the middle. Modify a suitable airplane (probably something airliner size) to tow it (tow hook, hook mounting structure, release mechanism, suitable clearance of rope to control surfaces, rearward vision, etc.).  Using ~1000 feet of tow line (spectra, kevlar, etc.) aerotow the stages to near the point of use, release them, and land them like a glider (Space Shuttle runway).  Then remove the wings and wheels etc. and either road ship them back or use a cargo plane (which could be the tow plane).  I see no reason why this can't be done successfully 1000 out of 1000 times.  I'm a glider pilot and would volunteer to fly these in a second.

This transport strategy also seems to fit into Muskthink methodology of not necessarily doing it the way(s) it has been done but rather doing the calculations and coming up with a different better method, what he calls first principles thinking.

I nominate Burt Rutan to work out the details of my plan.  He's probably been away long enough to want a mid sized challenge like this.

Mark
« Last Edit: 06/08/2014 08:57 pm by OxCartMark »

Offline IRobot

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #10 on: 06/08/2014 09:11 pm »
Mr Musk has compared his desired model of SpaceX/Falcon operations to that of an airline/airliner – well, airliners are flown to the maintenance/operating hub of their purchasing airline, not trucked – shall we someday see Falcons, regardless of where they are built, avoiding the entire truck/barge infrastructure and “simply” rocketing to the appropriate launch center?  And might we see rockets during their life cycle being relocated as needed by similar means and methods.  Thoughts…?
This has been discussed before. The RP-1 cost alone is probably more expensive than the road transport.
Then you have to have a launch pad at the factory, wait for launch windows and paying a lot of people just for the launches.
Then you have minor refurbishment after the flight.

SpaceX is about reducing costs, not fanatically doing a perfect copy of an airplane operation.

Offline Arb

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #11 on: 06/08/2014 09:37 pm »
From the man himself, Mr Elon Musk, during the Q&A following the recent Dragon 2 unveiling.

that part of Helo's video.
« Last Edit: 06/09/2014 01:03 am by Carl G »

Offline Jim

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #12 on: 06/08/2014 09:44 pm »

1.  Now going to the larger stuff, Falcon X, XX, BFR, or whatever...  The way to transport those seems obvious to me.  Probably out in left field to most, but I think quite workable, and with proven methodology which has been used daily for 80 years or so (though on a smaller scale). 

2.  Pressurize the tanks for stiffness (done during conventional transportation??), Add temporary detachable landing gear, wings, tail, cockpit to temporarily make it into a large glider. There are hard mounting points at the front and rear of a stage but it may require work to put wings and landing gear in the middle.

3.  Modify a suitable airplane (probably something airliner size) to tow it (tow hook, hook mounting structure, release mechanism, suitable clearance of rope to control surfaces, rearward vision, etc.).  Using ~1000 feet of tow line (spectra, kevlar, etc.) aerotow the stages to near the point of use, release them, and land them like a glider (Space Shuttle runway).  Then remove the wings and wheels etc. and either road ship them back or use a cargo plane (which could be the tow plane).  I see no reason why this can't be done successfully 1000 out of 1000 times.  I'm a glider pilot and would volunteer to fly these in a second.

4.  This transport strategy also seems to fit into Muskthink methodology of not necessarily doing it the way(s) it has been done but rather doing the calculations and coming up with a different better method, what he calls first principles thinking.


1.  Quite wrong.  Hardware delivery by glider conversion is not a proven methodology, much less in used daily for 80 years.

2.  It would take a lot of work and basically change the whole structure to accommodate wings and landing gear and associated loads.

3.  I can see many reasons, for one, lack of runway length for such a glider

4.  Not true.  It does not  fit into Muskthink methodology because it is more complex and scars the vehicle. 

The vehicle is going to have to be road transportable in any concept just to get out of the factory.  Just roll it onto a barge.

Offline Zed_Noir

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #13 on: 06/09/2014 03:01 am »
No.  You're not.  It's just not practical - too much wear and tear, too much risk, too much fuel expenditure per range.

The Falcon 9's dimensions are tailored specifically, according to Elon in the Dragon V2 Q&A, to be the largest diameter he thought would fit on a normal road, multiplied by the longest length he thought would hold together structurally.

I think air freight on a customized freight plane is a pretty reasonable possibility for the Falcon core (if it's necessary), or for any cores they might produce somewhere intermediate in size between a 10m-15m BFR, and a 3.7m Falcon.  A vehicle in this size range (3x as large as the Falcon core rather than 9x) was on their Powerpoint scribblings a few years ago as the Falcon X, though we've received no other indication that they're working on anything larger than the Falcon Heavy & smaller than the BFR.

The default for larger cores, and probably the only option for the BFR, will be a barge through the inland US waterways on the Gulf & Atlantic coasts, perhaps supplemented with a ship if they ever find an oceanic island launchsite.

I like rolling a BFR onto a RoRo transport ship from west coast factory port to offshore launch facilitates near Hawaii.

Offline Jim

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #14 on: 06/09/2014 03:04 am »
[quote author=Zed_Noir link=topic=34922.msg1211622#msg1211622 date=1402282866

I like rolling a BFR onto a RoRo transport ship from west coast factory port to offshore launch facilitates near Hawaii.
[/quote]

There isn't an area that could handle a BFR in Hawaii.  Anyways, why?  It will just increase costs over other sites.

Offline Darkseraph

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #15 on: 06/09/2014 03:27 am »
Mr Musk has compared his desired model of SpaceX/Falcon operations to that of an airline/airliner – well, airliners are flown to the maintenance/operating hub of their purchasing airline, not trucked – shall we someday see Falcons, regardless of where they are built, avoiding the entire truck/barge infrastructure and “simply” rocketing to the appropriate launch center?  And might we see rockets during their life cycle being relocated as needed by similar means and methods.  Thoughts…?

Rockets are not planes. This a solution in search of a problem. The fuel costs of it would be insane compared to just trucking it. Those engines can only take so many burns (I heard it was around 40), so using up a perfectly good burn to not put anything into orbit would be a massive waste.
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Online ncb1397

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #16 on: 06/09/2014 03:30 am »

I like rolling a BFR onto a RoRo transport ship from west coast factory port to offshore launch facilitates near Hawaii.

There isn't an area that could handle a BFR in Hawaii.  Anyways, why?  It will just increase costs over other sites.

I think he means find some uninhabited island near hawaii. The facility is 100% energy self-sufficient  manufacturing rocket propellant from sea water and atmospheric CO2 using renewable wave, solar and wind power. You know, run-of-the-mill every-day off-the-wall musk-think.

As far as the topic goes, I think stratolaunch has a good idea how to transport heavy oversized loads by air. Obviously, the BFR would be more massive, but unfueled.
« Last Edit: 06/09/2014 03:33 am by ncb1397 »

Offline darkenfast

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #17 on: 06/09/2014 03:34 am »
I listened to that bit on the video.  I really don't think he was serious about anything other than shipping by sea.

Offline llanitedave

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #18 on: 06/09/2014 05:06 am »

I like rolling a BFR onto a RoRo transport ship from west coast factory port to offshore launch facilitates near Hawaii.

There isn't an area that could handle a BFR in Hawaii.  Anyways, why?  It will just increase costs over other sites.

I think he means find some uninhabited island near hawaii. The facility is 100% energy self-sufficient  manufacturing rocket propellant from sea water and atmospheric CO2 using renewable wave, solar and wind power. You know, run-of-the-mill every-day off-the-wall musk-think.

As far as the topic goes, I think stratolaunch has a good idea how to transport heavy oversized loads by air. Obviously, the BFR would be more massive, but unfueled.

Is Gilligan's Island still occupied?
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Offline Zed_Noir

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #19 on: 06/09/2014 05:37 am »

I like rolling a BFR onto a RoRo transport ship from west coast factory port to offshore launch facilitates near Hawaii.

There isn't an area that could handle a BFR in Hawaii.  Anyways, why?  It will just increase costs over other sites.

What current launch sites can handle a BFR and have reasonable logistics cost? None that I know of. Gwynne Shotwell stated on one interview that LC-39A is not applicable for future BFR ops.

So new facilities & infrastructure will be needed to build, move and launch BFRs. So I don't understand your point about other sites.

Offline Zed_Noir

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #20 on: 06/09/2014 05:44 am »

I like rolling a BFR onto a RoRo transport ship from west coast factory port to offshore launch facilitates near Hawaii.

There isn't an area that could handle a BFR in Hawaii.  Anyways, why?  It will just increase costs over other sites.

I think he means find some uninhabited island near hawaii. The facility is 100% energy self-sufficient  manufacturing rocket propellant from sea water and atmospheric CO2 using renewable wave, solar and wind power. You know, run-of-the-mill every-day off-the-wall musk-think.


Nothing so fancy  :)

Offshore means literally offshore. Modified oil production platform sited several hundred meters from shore from one of the Hawaii Islands.


Online guckyfan

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #21 on: 06/09/2014 06:55 am »

Offshore means literally offshore. Modified oil production platform sited several hundred meters from shore from one of the Hawaii Islands.

Or off Brownsville.

Offline Zed_Noir

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #22 on: 06/09/2014 11:17 am »

Offshore means literally offshore. Modified oil production platform sited several hundred meters from shore from one of the Hawaii Islands.

Or off Brownsville.

Sure, if the BFR factory is near there. But until SpaceX vacates Hawthorne. Some location on the West coast is possible for the BFR factory IMO. There is more human resources & infrastructure at Los Angeles & San Francisco.

Offline Jim

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #23 on: 06/09/2014 11:21 am »
There is more human resources & infrastructure at Los Angeles & San Francisco.

Cheaper not to be in California.  What infrastructure?  The factory can be built anywhere in the US.  See the other vehicles past and present.

Offline ThereIWas3

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #24 on: 06/09/2014 02:30 pm »
Easier to build another factory for BFR.  It is so much bigger than F9 cores anyway, all the supporting infrastructure and tooling will have to be redone.

So put it in southern Texas near their new launch facility, with a dedicated road or rails for transport.  Cape Canaveral is not going to be such an attractive launch facility anyway in a few decades, what with worsening weather and rising tides.
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Offline rpapo

Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #25 on: 06/09/2014 03:51 pm »
Cape Canaveral is not going to be such an attractive launch facility anyway in a few decades, what with worsening weather and rising tides.
Unfortunately, those same problems apply equally to Boca Chica.  Both places are at sea level, walking distance from the ocean, and both are in the hurricane zone.
« Last Edit: 06/09/2014 04:45 pm by rpapo »
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Offline deruch

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #26 on: 06/09/2014 05:24 pm »

I like rolling a BFR onto a RoRo transport ship from west coast factory port to offshore launch facilitates near Hawaii.

There isn't an area that could handle a BFR in Hawaii.  Anyways, why?  It will just increase costs over other sites.

I think he means find some uninhabited island near hawaii. The facility is 100% energy self-sufficient  manufacturing rocket propellant from sea water and atmospheric CO2 using renewable wave, solar and wind power. You know, run-of-the-mill every-day off-the-wall musk-think.


When did Elon Musk turn into Dr. No?  I thought everyone was working overtime to port him onto Tony Stark.  :)
« Last Edit: 06/09/2014 05:26 pm by deruch »
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Online Comga

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #27 on: 06/10/2014 02:29 am »

I like rolling a BFR onto a RoRo transport ship from west coast factory port to offshore launch facilitates near Hawaii.

There isn't an area that could handle a BFR in Hawaii.  Anyways, why?  It will just increase costs over other sites.

I think he means find some uninhabited island near hawaii. The facility is 100% energy self-sufficient  manufacturing rocket propellant from sea water and atmospheric CO2 using renewable wave, solar and wind power. You know, run-of-the-mill every-day off-the-wall musk-think.

As far as the topic goes, I think stratolaunch has a good idea how to transport heavy oversized loads by air. Obviously, the BFR would be more massive, but unfueled.

Is Gilligan's Island still occupied?

Hey!  Are you trying to raise the intellectual level of this thread?
What kind of wastrels would dump a perfectly good booster in the ocean after just one use?

Offline llanitedave

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #28 on: 06/10/2014 03:21 am »
Intellect schmintellect, I enjoy a good fantasy as much as the next guy.  But the "unoccupied island near Hawaii" really does seem like a good destination for a 3-hour tour. However, if you're going to make it into a launch facility, it ought to be on a chart somewhere.
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Online Coastal Ron

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #29 on: 06/10/2014 03:34 am »
The factory can be built anywhere in the US.

Well, not just anywhere.  If it's not next to the launch area, then it has to be near a waterway that doesn't have obstructions like bridges and a barge can eventually transit to the launch area.  That leaves out wide swaths of the U.S.

A rumor on one of the other forums said Musk was talking with an old friend/exec from General Dynamics, which lead to speculation about them possibly building either the BFR or a payload for it.  Whoever builds it, my money would be on the Gulf or East coasts.
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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #30 on: 06/10/2014 09:41 am »
My guess; Falcon will continue to be trucked. If they tried to fly it, where would they fly it from? They'd need to truck it to a launch site, and if it's already on the truck, why not keep going? I think it's improbable in the extreme that they'd ever consider launching from their Hawthorn plant - they don't have much room, and it'd be a great way to blow up the factory if they had a RUD. Plus, I suspect that the city and FAA might just have a quibble or two regarding launching F9 from the Hawthorne plant.

As for the BFR, I think we can safely say that that won't be built at Hawthorne due to their being no way to ship it by road.
I'm wondering why their Boca Chica facility wouldn't make an idea BFR factory? It's right on the intracoastal waterway (so easy access to Kennedy)  and it'd surely be convenient if they'd also be launching it from Boca Chica.


Offline Jim

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #31 on: 06/10/2014 02:55 pm »
  Whoever builds it, my money would be on the Gulf or East coasts.

There are many rivers with access to both, so the US interior is not out.

Offline Burninate

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #32 on: 06/10/2014 03:41 pm »
  Whoever builds it, my money would be on the Gulf or East coasts.

There are many rivers with access to both, so the US interior is not out.
Best illustration I could find on short notice:
« Last Edit: 06/10/2014 03:42 pm by Burninate »

Offline Zed_Noir

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #33 on: 06/11/2014 07:34 am »
There is more human resources & infrastructure at Los Angeles & San Francisco.

Cheaper not to be in California.  What infrastructure?  The factory can be built anywhere in the US.  See the other vehicles past and present.

Of course a factory can be sited anywhere with adequate logistics links. And California is more  expensive. But Musk is staying with Tesla for at least the next 5 years, so for the short term California is attractive. Along with weekends with his young boys staying with his ex-wife.

Clarification on infrastructure. Not only the usual utilities hookups (water, electricity, etc.), logistics links and local suppliers network. The families of workers in the BFR factory needs infrastructure like schools, shops and spousal employment opportunities. Which somewhere in South Texas don't address fully.

But we are getting off topic. Back to how to move the BFRs around. Somehow I don't see self ferrying rockets as a good choice.


Offline llanitedave

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #34 on: 06/11/2014 02:20 pm »
The families of workers in the BFR factory needs infrastructure like schools, shops and spousal employment opportunities. Which somewhere in South Texas don't address fully.


Brownsville has all that.
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Offline Burninate

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #35 on: 06/11/2014 02:47 pm »
Clarification on infrastructure. Not only the usual utilities hookups (water, electricity, etc.), logistics links and local suppliers network. The families of workers in the BFR factory needs infrastructure like schools, shops and spousal employment opportunities. Which somewhere in South Texas don't address fully.

Boca Chica is problematic not so much in how remote it is, but in how close to civilization: 8-9km as the crow flies to South Padre Island & Port Isabel (albeit requiring a ferry to get there quickly), 30km by road to the outskirts of the Brownsville / Matamoros metropolitan area, home of 1.1 million people, two international airports and a major seaport.

They needed to campaign for immunity to noise complaints for F9/FH, if that's any indication - and there's an open question of whether BFR will be too loud for this site.
« Last Edit: 06/11/2014 02:47 pm by Burninate »

Offline DecoLV

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #36 on: 06/11/2014 05:39 pm »
Funny that nobody has mentioned barging MacGregor > Boca Chica.  Seems most logical to build more "factory" in MacGregor than building new.

(Also, is it prohibitively expensive to use the Panama Canal (re the Cape)?

EDIT: I guess I should explain I don't mean MacGregor literally. I was thinking of the Brazos river than runs from Waco down to the gulf... I guess you would have to truck to the boat ramp in Waco. And no, I don't know the area.  ;)
« Last Edit: 06/11/2014 05:54 pm by DecoLV »

Offline Burninate

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #37 on: 06/11/2014 05:54 pm »
Funny that nobody has mentioned barging MacGregor > Boca Chica.  Seems most logical to build more "factory" in MacGregor than building new.  And is it prohibitively expensive to use the Panama Canal?

The Panama Canal wouldn't be flatwater barging, it would be marine shipping, a pricier, slower, and more infrastructure-laden endeavor.  There are no inland waterways for either Hawthorne or McGregor.  Getting rockets out from factories at either location would require extensive road transportation.  The Falcon 9's size is determined by the maximum-diameter core (with very few inches to spare) that will fit on a standard road's height clearance.

Edit: The Brazos River, while sizable, does not appear to be a navigable waterway for shipping.  It's not dammed below the level of Waco, but there are frequent sandbars and shallow areas, at least one set of minor rapids, and the water levels fluctuate with dam releases.
« Last Edit: 06/11/2014 06:17 pm by Burninate »

Offline baldusi

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #38 on: 06/11/2014 07:57 pm »
Please remember that even waterways have height (and draft) limits. The vessel that moves ULA cores is sort of at the limit. Thus most waterways might be good for 6m or even 7m, but when you're talking about 10m+, that's taller than a 3 story building. You have to have every single bridge have a clearance high enough to go through. And you have to add the vessel's superstructure and such.

Offline Burninate

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #39 on: 06/11/2014 08:48 pm »
Another possibility that seems fairly perfect for cargo like this?

An airship



Aeroscraft's smaller model should be good for two full F9 cores, plus fairings and 13 tons of additional payload total, for a full fuel load.  Their bigger model would be able to handle one full BFR core.

If the helium price situation works out, or they buck up and risk hydrogen, that is.
« Last Edit: 06/11/2014 08:56 pm by Burninate »

Offline rpapo

Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #40 on: 06/12/2014 12:06 am »
Another possibility that seems fairly perfect for cargo like this?

An airship



Aeroscraft's smaller model should be good for two full F9 cores, plus fairings and 13 tons of additional payload total, for a full fuel load.  Their bigger model would be able to handle one full BFR core.

If the helium price situation works out, or they buck up and risk hydrogen, that is.
The name of the airship is just too much of a coincidence.  I thought it was Photoshopped, but no, it wasn't.
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Offline douglas100

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #41 on: 06/12/2014 02:12 pm »
Just put "airship" into search and see how often this has come up before.
Douglas Clark

Offline Elmar Moelzer

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #42 on: 06/12/2014 02:25 pm »
Just put "airship" into search and see how often this has come up before.
Yeah, somehow these new airship companies and their creations just never seem to take off ;)
« Last Edit: 06/12/2014 02:44 pm by Elmar Moelzer »

Online Lee Jay

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #43 on: 06/12/2014 02:31 pm »
Please remember that even waterways have height (and draft) limits. The vessel that moves ULA cores is sort of at the limit. Thus most waterways might be good for 6m or even 7m, but when you're talking about 10m+, that's taller than a 3 story building. You have to have every single bridge have a clearance high enough to go through. And you have to add the vessel's superstructure and such.

Which wasn't a problem for the Shuttle ET at 8.4m or for Saturn at 10m.

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Offline baldusi

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #45 on: 06/12/2014 03:44 pm »

Please remember that even waterways have height (and draft) limits. The vessel that moves ULA cores is sort of at the limit. Thus most waterways might be good for 6m or even 7m, but when you're talking about 10m+, that's taller than a 3 story building. You have to have every single bridge have a clearance high enough to go through. And you have to add the vessel's superstructure and such.

Which wasn't a problem for the Shuttle ET at 8.4m or for Saturn at 10m.
Michoud is right on the sea coast. It would be for a thing like Decantur. May be it could be solved with a barge that had some of the stage be below the water line. I don't know the draft of the whole riverways, but it might need some custom jigs for loading and unloading.

Offline RanulfC

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #46 on: 06/12/2014 04:23 pm »
See, everyone keeps missing the most OBVIOUS method! Attach wheels to the Thrust STructure and Interstage connection, mount a "cab" and just DRIVE the stage to where it needs to go! :)

Randy
From The Amazing Catstronaut on the Black Arrow LV:
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Offline Jim

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #47 on: 06/12/2014 04:28 pm »
See, everyone keeps missing the most OBVIOUS method! Attach wheels to the Thrust STructure and Interstage connection, mount a "cab" and just DRIVE the stage to where it needs to go! :)

Randy

BTDT and the fifth wheel connection serves as a lift fixture.
« Last Edit: 06/12/2014 04:32 pm by Jim »

Offline RanulfC

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #48 on: 06/12/2014 04:41 pm »
See, everyone keeps missing the most OBVIOUS method! Attach wheels to the Thrust STructure and Interstage connection, mount a "cab" and just DRIVE the stage to where it needs to go! :)

Randy

BTDT and the fifth wheel connection serves as a lift fixture.

Even better! Now just partially fill the RP-tank and plumb it into the tractor... Reverse GUMBALL!

Randy
From The Amazing Catstronaut on the Black Arrow LV:
British physics, old chap. It's undignified to belch flames and effluvia all over the pad, what. A true gentlemen's orbital conveyance lifts itself into the air unostentatiously, with the minimum of spectacle and a modicum of grace. Not like our American cousins' launch vehicles, eh?

Offline deruch

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #49 on: 06/12/2014 06:02 pm »
See, everyone keeps missing the most OBVIOUS method! Attach wheels to the Thrust STructure and Interstage connection, mount a "cab" and just DRIVE the stage to where it needs to go! :)

Randy

BTDT and the fifth wheel connection serves as a lift fixture.

Even better! Now just partially fill the RP-tank and plumb it into the tractor... Reverse GUMBALL!

Randy

Forget the plumbing, fill it up and light it off.  Super, industrial sized truck booster! ;D
Shouldn't reality posts be in "Advanced concepts"?  --Nomadd

Online CJ

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #50 on: 06/13/2014 01:43 am »
Please remember that even waterways have height (and draft) limits. The vessel that moves ULA cores is sort of at the limit. Thus most waterways might be good for 6m or even 7m, but when you're talking about 10m+, that's taller than a 3 story building. You have to have every single bridge have a clearance high enough to go through. And you have to add the vessel's superstructure and such.

The intracoastal waterway is the only one I can think of that should be okay. It has both fixed and raising bridges. In *general*, they aim for a 65 ft minimum clearance on fixed bridges, but there are exceptions, the most well known of which (in yachting circles) is the Julia Tuttle in Miami, at 55 feet (but it's an easy one to go around). Elsewhere between Miami and Texas, there are a few as low as 45 ft (around Tampa, as I recall) but it's been a few years since I've been on the waterway and they may have been replaced by now. So, a 10 meter (33 ft) core, even if carried on a flat deck barge a few feet above the waterline, should have no problems on the ICW (which is actually better, clearances wise, than when it was used for the Apollo S5).


Offline [email protected]

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #51 on: 06/13/2014 02:41 am »
Not sure why the most obvious has not been stated.  Is there really any need to re-invent the wheel?  If it were good enough for the Saturn S1C and S1B, why not move the entire manufacturing plant into the available space in Michoud and use the ICW as the means to move the stages to Brownsville or Kennedy?  It has all of the infrastructure requirements for both the stage as well as local surroundings.  Since we don't need to worry about another hundred-years hurricane after Katrina, the facility and SpaceX employees should enjoy a safe and fun-filled experience.  So how about it, Elon?
« Last Edit: 06/13/2014 02:42 am by [email protected] »

Offline Burninate

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #52 on: 06/13/2014 02:46 am »
Since we don't need to worry about another hundred-years hurricane after Katrina

That's not how probability works - hurricane strikes are not cyclical on these timespans.  New Orleans has about the same chance this year as they had last year as they had in 2005.

Offline [email protected]

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #53 on: 06/13/2014 02:53 am »
Sorry, the humor appears to have been lost on my comment.  Having lost all I had in Katrina, you don't really think it will ever happen again.  But a bit off target.  Michoud is actually a very good choice.  It faired pretty well during the storm.  People can leave to weather the storm.  There are un-used facilities and access to Brownsville, Stennis, and Kennedy.  What's the downside?  No, I'm really asking!

Offline bilbo

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #54 on: 06/13/2014 03:45 am »
My first thought when I saw this thread was simply just...wow, that has got to be the dumbest idea ever imagined. Just no.

Its simply too dangerous, they don't want to blow up SpaceX headquarters or the Tesla factory. SpaceX also certainly doesn't want to blow up any homes in California.

The best idea is, rail transport for Falcon 9, and barge transport for MCT/BFR parts.

I'm all for crazy transport ideas, but doing this would be suicidal for SpaceX
« Last Edit: 06/13/2014 03:47 am by bilbo »

Offline mvpel

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #55 on: 06/13/2014 03:56 am »
My first thought when I saw this thread was simply just...wow, that has got to be the dumbest idea ever imagined. Just no.

Its simply too dangerous, they don't want to blow up SpaceX headquarters or the Tesla factory. SpaceX also certainly doesn't want to blow up any homes in California.

World's Scariest Airport Runways (PHOTOS)

The runway at the Gibraltar airport crosses the main thoroughfare through the middle of the city, for instance.
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Online Coastal Ron

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #56 on: 06/13/2014 04:41 am »
  Whoever builds it, my money would be on the Gulf or East coasts.

There are many rivers with access to both, so the US interior is not out.
Best illustration I could find on short notice:

The challenges with rivers is the bridges that go over them and the depth of them (i.e. sand bars and river height).  Bridges are a known, but I'd be surprised if they could build a 10 or 15m BFR very far up most of the inland rivers due to low bridges.  And with drought conditions across the mid-west, who knows how much longer many of those rivers will be navigable year-round.

And though hurricanes are something that have to be taken into account, building close to the Gulf or along the East Coast mitigates or eliminates the issues of being far up river.

As to the Falcon 9, they'll probably keep building it in L.A. and keep trucking the stages to Texas and then on to the launch sites.
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 RanulfC

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #57 on: 06/13/2014 02:26 pm »
What's the downside?  No, I'm really asking!

To easy, not "innovative" enough, no chance of spectacular failures, need I go on? :)

Randy
From The Amazing Catstronaut on the Black Arrow LV:
British physics, old chap. It's undignified to belch flames and effluvia all over the pad, what. A true gentlemen's orbital conveyance lifts itself into the air unostentatiously, with the minimum of spectacle and a modicum of grace. Not like our American cousins' launch vehicles, eh?

Offline Llian Rhydderch

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #58 on: 06/13/2014 11:22 pm »
Not sure why the most obvious has not been stated.  Is there really any need to re-invent the wheel?  If it were good enough for the Saturn S1C and S1B, why not move the entire manufacturing plant into the available space in Michoud and use the ICW as the means to move the stages to Brownsville or Kennedy?   ...  So how about it, Elon?

Use of the the Michoud facility by SpaceX has been discussed a number of times in a number of other threads.

Like any arrangement for commercial facility space for a private corporation, the government-owned Michoud facility has pros, and it has cons.  There are trades to make.  But it is not slam dunk simple decision.

For one, you would have the government as your landlord, or nextdoor neighbor if the USG ever decided to sell some part of the facility.  And in any case, certain facilities and services would be shared (e.g., the dock, road access, security, etc.)  Of course, SpaceX has leased some facilities from the USG before.  But all options have costs, and opportunity costs.   :(    Nirvana continues to elude us.   ;)

Now SpaceX might very well decide that the use of Michoud is in their interest, especially if the USG buys a lot of whatever SpaceX might manufacture there... ; but maybe not. 

The cost of further tying up SpaceX private interests with the public and political game, and with more integration with the Federal government and the Space Industrial Complex into SpaceX private purposes, is not a decision that will be made by SpaceX just "because it is there", as if their involvement with the national government is not a factor in the decision.
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Offline winkhomewinkhome

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #59 on: 06/14/2014 03:57 pm »
Four pages in, I want to thank those that have participated in this post – I do not post often – I spend more time reading, following developments, the news, the gossip, etc.  That said, it amazes me, the total lack of imagination expressed.  How often is it said, that our greatest limiting factor is indeed or imagination – and it has been expressed in spades here…

Infrastructure costs money; barges, trucks, carrier aircraft.  Musk has been about not only changing the paradigm, changing the way we view, do, act, but the way we imagine.  How many counted him and SpaceX out from day one; expected “Falcon” to be just another way to spell “failure”. 

I for one believe that the future will be a rollout from the factory, wherever that might be, and off the rocket goes.  Aircraft, trucks, ships, rail cars all make deadhead moves at one point in time or another – yes, try to avoid or minimize them, but if rocket transportation is to be normalized just like any other form, it is inevitable.  It’s SpaceX – imagine more…honestly - try it!
Dale R. Winke

Offline Jim

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #60 on: 06/14/2014 07:34 pm »
Four pages in, I want to thank those that have participated in this post – I do not post often – I spend more time reading, following developments, the news, the gossip, etc.  That said, it amazes me, the total lack of imagination expressed.  How often is it said, that our greatest limiting factor is indeed or imagination – and it has been expressed in spades here…

Infrastructure costs money; barges, trucks, carrier aircraft.  Musk has been about not only changing the paradigm, changing the way we view, do, act, but the way we imagine.  How many counted him and SpaceX out from day one; expected “Falcon” to be just another way to spell “failure”. 

I for one believe that the future will be a rollout from the factory, wherever that might be, and off the rocket goes.  Aircraft, trucks, ships, rail cars all make deadhead moves at one point in time or another – yes, try to avoid or minimize them, but if rocket transportation is to be normalized just like any other form, it is inevitable.  It’s SpaceX – imagine more…honestly - try it!


Barges are cheap compared to self ferrying

Offline douglas100

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #61 on: 06/14/2014 08:41 pm »

...I for one believe that the future will be a rollout from the factory, wherever that might be, and off the rocket goes... 

Roll out from factory to launch would be fine, if the factory were next to the launch complex, for example at KSC. But I don't believe flying a rocket under its own power from an inland factory somewhere to its launch site will be permitted for a very long time, especially if its flight path came anywhere near inhabited areas. It's a matter of safety, reliability and other environmental concerns. Imagine launching a Saturn V class vehicle from Hawthorne. It's a complete non starter.

Quote
It’s SpaceX – imagine more…honestly - try it!

There's plenty of imagination on this forum. But this is pretty prosaic stuff, essentially logistics. Build it at the launch site or bring it in by barge. These are perfectly adequate solutions.
Douglas Clark

Offline Manabu

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #62 on: 06/14/2014 09:23 pm »
I listened to that bit on the video.  I really don't think he was serious about anything other than shipping by sea.
Probably by "fly by themselves" he means when the rocket comes back after a orbital launch. BFR is supposed to be fully reusable, and this is probably one of the reasons they can make it so wide. Elon has spoken about reusing a rocket 1000 times before refurbishment, and their reuse strategy involves a fly back to a launch site. If they indeed achieve this, then the initial shipment of the rocket from the factory to the launch pad would be a minor cost, as the other 999 fights it would self-ferry back to the launchpad after putting it's cargo in orbit.

Offline Zed_Noir

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #63 on: 06/15/2014 01:23 pm »
Four pages in, I want to thank those that have participated in this post – I do not post often – I spend more time reading, following developments, the news, the gossip, etc.  That said, it amazes me, the total lack of imagination expressed.  How often is it said, that our greatest limiting factor is indeed or imagination – and it has been expressed in spades here…

Infrastructure costs money; barges, trucks, carrier aircraft.  Musk has been about not only changing the paradigm, changing the way we view, do, act, but the way we imagine.  How many counted him and SpaceX out from day one; expected “Falcon” to be just another way to spell “failure”. 

I for one believe that the future will be a rollout from the factory, wherever that might be, and off the rocket goes.  Aircraft, trucks, ships, rail cars all make deadhead moves at one point in time or another – yes, try to avoid or minimize them, but if rocket transportation is to be normalized just like any other form, it is inevitable.  It’s SpaceX – imagine more…honestly - try it!


Barges are cheap compared to self ferrying

What Jim said.  :)

Also Spacex  will need something more capable than a barge for maritime tasks to support both the current Falcons and future BFRs. Like logistics for bulk items, pre-position search & retrieval capabilities for crewed flights, telemetry collection & relay. SpaceX need not do it in house unless it's a lot cheaper.


Offline winkhomewinkhome

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #64 on: 06/15/2014 09:46 pm »
Quote
There's plenty of imagination on this forum. But this is pretty prosaic stuff, essentially logistics. Build it at the launch site or bring it in by barge. These are perfectly adequate solutions.

I agree completely - I am simply stating an observation relative to this one topic...

And logistics are a big deal, regardless of if you're SpaceX or UPS...
Dale R. Winke

Offline RanulfC

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #65 on: 06/16/2014 12:53 pm »
Elon has spoken about reusing a rocket 1000 times before refurbishment, and their reuse strategy involves a fly back to a launch site. If they indeed achieve this, then the initial shipment of the rocket from the factory to the launch pad would be a minor cost, as the other 999 fights it would self-ferry back to the launchpad after putting it's cargo in orbit.

Interesting, I don't think I've ever heard that one from Elon, you don't happen to have as source do you?

"Self-Ferry" is a given for most forms of transportation, but both regulatory and public "imagining" see rocket launch vehicles as "different" than any other form of transport. And with very good reason.

People complain and launch campaigns to get military and private aircraft to change flight routes and limit flights because they are "bothered" by the noise aircraft make when taking off and landing among other "issues." By all indications though the reusable Falcon rockets (and future Raptors) may be able to land at a rather "simple" landing area they are showing no signs of not needing pretty extensive (and expensive) facilities for take off. So any "self-ferry" plans must begin with the construction of a full launch facilitiy to include pad, support systems, propellant loading and storage, telemetry and range avionics and so on. And since SpaceX policy IS pretty muich "test-then-fly" would that not mean that a full up test range for engines and all stage related check testing has to be built, installed and operated at the factory.

I'm sure that self-ferry will be designed in and used in LV operations at some point, but SpaceX has given no sign that they are moving in that direction. Launch of their rockets takes a fully operational launch facility and all the implied support and operations systems therein. Landing is going to take less, but similar facilities. Neither of those are conducive to "self-ferry" operations at a low cost. And as we all know, SpaceX is all about cost, not cool. :)

Randy
From The Amazing Catstronaut on the Black Arrow LV:
British physics, old chap. It's undignified to belch flames and effluvia all over the pad, what. A true gentlemen's orbital conveyance lifts itself into the air unostentatiously, with the minimum of spectacle and a modicum of grace. Not like our American cousins' launch vehicles, eh?

Offline Todd Martin

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #66 on: 06/16/2014 01:57 pm »
I believe Wink-Wink's OP is a long-term outlook, not worrying about today's infrastructure challenges or technology.  There is an appeal of self-ferry in simplicity & time-savings.  However,

In the long run, the transportation of goods tends toward better energy efficiency to minimize cost (and reduce the impact to the environment).  More and more of our goods are transported by water (most efficient), then by rail (next in efficiency), and finally by truck.

The efficiency of transport via rocket is inherently worse than any of the above.  Wikipedia:  "If the Space Shuttle were used to transport people or freight from a point to another on the Earth, using the theoretical largest ground distance (antipodal) flight of 20,000 km, energy usage would be about 40 kJ/km/kg of payload."  A BFR will never be the most efficient means of transport between Launchpad & Factory on Earth.

Offline Adaptation

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #67 on: 06/19/2014 04:19 am »
I hope after musks battery plant is built he will start in on his supersonic electric vtol jet company.  They could build him a super super guppy to transport it. 

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #68 on: 06/19/2014 04:44 am »
I believe Wink-Wink's OP is a long-term outlook, not worrying about today's infrastructure challenges or technology.  There is an appeal of self-ferry in simplicity & time-savings. 


I doubt SpaceX would agree that erecting, fueling, launching, landing, safing, rotating to horizontal, and loading onto a truck is "simple" compared with loading it empty onto a truck and allowing a truck drrive to drive it to wherever you need it.

Offline Burninate

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #69 on: 06/20/2014 07:06 pm »
I hope after musks battery plant is built he will start in on his supersonic electric vtol jet company.  They could build him a super super guppy to transport it.

Actually...

If the aerodynamic drag isn't prohibitive, an empty core delivered to the launchsite via Stratolaunch carrier might be competitive for anywhere with a long enough runway.

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #70 on: 06/20/2014 07:09 pm »
If the aerodynamic drag isn't prohibitive, an empty core delivered to the launchsite via Stratolaunch carrier might be competitive for anywhere with a long enough runway.

No, that is exactly why Falcon bowed out of the Stratolaunch, it would require too many mods to accommodate flying on the aircraft

Offline Burninate

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #71 on: 06/20/2014 07:17 pm »
If the aerodynamic drag isn't prohibitive, an empty core delivered to the launchsite via Stratolaunch carrier might be competitive for anywhere with a long enough runway.

No, that is exactly why Falcon bowed out of the Stratolaunch, it would require too many mods to accommodate flying on the aircraft
To accommodate flying a fueled-up launch vehicle which has to detach in the upper atmosphere and launch to orbit.

I'm just discussing an alternative to barging an empty shell of one stage, which by design weighs ~5% as much as the full craft, prior to launchpad assembly.  Using the Stratolaunch as an unwieldy-cargo aircraft.

How are the two related?
« Last Edit: 06/20/2014 07:18 pm by Burninate »

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #72 on: 06/20/2014 07:30 pm »

I'm just discussing an alternative to barging an empty shell of one stage, which by design weighs ~5% as much as the full craft, prior to launchpad assembly.  Using the Stratolaunch as an unwieldy-cargo aircraft.

How are the two related?

Doesn't matter if it is only 5% as much, hanging from the aircraft and flight will still subject the vehicle to environments it is not designed for.  That is how they are related.
« Last Edit: 06/20/2014 07:32 pm by Jim »

Offline RocketmanUS

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #73 on: 06/20/2014 08:01 pm »

I'm just discussing an alternative to barging an empty shell of one stage, which by design weighs ~5% as much as the full craft, prior to launchpad assembly.  Using the Stratolaunch as an unwieldy-cargo aircraft.

How are the two related?

Doesn't matter if it is only 5% as much, hanging from the aircraft and flight will still subject the vehicle to environments it is not designed for.  That is how they are related.
Could the stage be shipped inside a hybrid airship ( once they are available )? Or would that still be a problem? If so why?

Offline Halidon

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #74 on: 06/20/2014 09:34 pm »

I'm just discussing an alternative to barging an empty shell of one stage, which by design weighs ~5% as much as the full craft, prior to launchpad assembly.  Using the Stratolaunch as an unwieldy-cargo aircraft.

How are the two related?

Doesn't matter if it is only 5% as much, hanging from the aircraft and flight will still subject the vehicle to environments it is not designed for.  That is how they are related.
Could the stage be shipped inside a hybrid airship ( once they are available )? Or would that still be a problem? If so why?
A hybrid airship large enough to carry a BFR stage internally would be dramatically more expensive than a barge to operate/lease. 

Offline RocketmanUS

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #75 on: 06/21/2014 12:33 am »

I'm just discussing an alternative to barging an empty shell of one stage, which by design weighs ~5% as much as the full craft, prior to launchpad assembly.  Using the Stratolaunch as an unwieldy-cargo aircraft.

How are the two related?

Doesn't matter if it is only 5% as much, hanging from the aircraft and flight will still subject the vehicle to environments it is not designed for.  That is how they are related.
Could the stage be shipped inside a hybrid airship ( once they are available )? Or would that still be a problem? If so why?
A hybrid airship large enough to carry a BFR stage internally would be dramatically more expensive than a barge to operate/lease.
This is what I was thinking of-
http://aeroscraft.com/fleet-copy/4580475518

That should have a long, tall, and wide enough cargo bay.

Would not need to have factory near coast.

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #76 on: 06/21/2014 03:03 am »
Self ferry might happen someday, under some undreamtof circumstance, but not for a very long time. hundreds of years, I would guess. Just way too crazy a thing to do in a populated area.

And airships come up here over and over, they are always rejected as a bad idea.

If that's all this thread wants to focus on it's done. Barging just seems so obviously the correct logistical link for decades and decades to come. Even if volume expands a lot. They'll just build more barges as initial stage deliveries increase.
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Offline RocketmanUS

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #77 on: 06/21/2014 03:22 am »
Self ferry might happen someday, under some undreamtof circumstance, but not for a very long time. hundreds of years, I would guess. Just way too crazy a thing to do in a populated area.

And airships come up here over and over, they are always rejected as a bad idea.

If that's all this thread wants to focus on it's done. Barging just seems so obviously the correct logistical link for decades and decades to come. Even if volume expands a lot. They'll just build more barges as initial stage deliveries increase.
Lar are you an expert in hybrid airships?
Investors believe it is worth the investment. More than one company are developing hybrid airships and for large cargo volumes and mass.

So why would you say it's a bad idea.
Ocean is not smooth travel ( waves ).

No barging is not obviously the correct logistical. That would be opinion. So tell us why you think hybrid airships would be a bad idea. We already know they are still in development. Exterior transport of a stage of an aircraft I would understand, but not when it is transported inside the craft, such as a hybrid airship.

You might want to check out how the hybrid airships plan on shipping their planned cargo, loading and unloading.

Offline Burninate

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #78 on: 06/21/2014 03:58 am »
And airships come up here over and over, they are always rejected as a bad idea.
I think this is far too strong.  Airship companies require a lot of investment and require their potential customers to modify the payload demand, to have a market.  Their weakness is none of them have successfully implemented a business model.  If an airship company popped up and built a mature fleet, it would be very promising for logistics of 5m and larger rockets - they could be built most anywhere with a labor force, and things like trans-Atlantic recovery become practical.

Quote
If that's all this thread wants to focus on it's done. Barging just seems so obviously the correct logistical link for decades and decades to come. Even if volume expands a lot. They'll just build more barges as initial stage deliveries increase.

Barges (and a category I was not aware of - shallow-draft, high-wall 'oceangoing barges') are the assumed option, yes.  Cheap, simple, proven.  Not very convenient though.

The OP's idea is not really worthy of further discussion.  I maintain StratoLaunch, as a highly optimized, enormous, exterior-cargo carrier aircraft, may turn out to be practical for empty stages, unless Jim can describe an actual problem that might occur... but it's probably not going to win out over barges - it may take some modification for wide diameters, and the runway requirements are probably steep.

Aeroscraft, from a technical perspective, looks perfect for this type of cargo - but that requires getting an actual fleet in the air, economically self-sustaining.  Let's take further Aeroscraft discussion to this thread: http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=30764.0

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #79 on: 06/21/2014 12:51 pm »
may turn out to be practical for empty stages, unless Jim can describe an actual problem that might occur...


Already did that and showed that it is not practical.  Can't help it if you don't understand.

Offline RedLineTrain

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #80 on: 06/21/2014 02:30 pm »
Re the hybrid airships, they would have to be very large and they require some runway.  Don't think the Hawthorne Airport would be big enough.

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #81 on: 06/22/2014 06:58 pm »
If the aerodynamic drag isn't prohibitive, an empty core delivered to the launchsite via Stratolaunch carrier might be competitive for anywhere with a long enough runway.

No, that is exactly why Falcon bowed out of the Stratolaunch, it would require too many mods to accommodate flying on the aircraft
Proof? I don't think so. AFAIK SpaceX bowed out because they didn't want to spend resources on developing a smaller rocket, i.e. Falcon 5 dedicated to this platform.

Just trucking the stage requires attachment points and stresses significantly different than launch stresses, and I would think these would be more similar to stresses imposed by Stratolaunch. I wouldn't be surprised if Stratolaunch proves to be the most economical solution, with cargo blimp and barge being the other alternatives.
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Offline Jim

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #82 on: 06/22/2014 08:31 pm »

1.  Proof? I don't think so. AFAIK SpaceX bowed out because they didn't want to spend resources on developing a smaller rocket, i.e. Falcon 5 dedicated to this platform.

2.  Just trucking the stage requires attachment points and stresses significantly different than launch stresses, and I would think these would be more similar to stresses imposed by Stratolaunch.

3.  I wouldn't be surprised if Stratolaunch proves to be the most economical solution, with cargo blimp and barge being the other alternatives.

1.  Wrong.  Whether you think so or not, it wasn't because it had only 5 engines, it was due to being radically different structurally because of horizontal loads.

2.  Trucking load are different from suspended loads.

3.  Quite the opposite would be true.  The Stratolaunch aircraft would have limited utility.  A barge could be employed by other users.  The Delta Mariner spends more time servicing other users than ULA.
« Last Edit: 06/22/2014 08:32 pm by Jim »

Offline Roy_H

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #83 on: 06/23/2014 11:59 am »

1.  Proof? I don't think so. AFAIK SpaceX bowed out because they didn't want to spend resources on developing a smaller rocket, i.e. Falcon 5 dedicated to this platform.

2.  Just trucking the stage requires attachment points and stresses significantly different than launch stresses, and I would think these would be more similar to stresses imposed by Stratolaunch.

3.  I wouldn't be surprised if Stratolaunch proves to be the most economical solution, with cargo blimp and barge being the other alternatives.

1.  Wrong.  Whether you think so or not, it wasn't because it had only 5 engines, it was due to being radically different structurally because of horizontal loads.

2.  Trucking load are different from suspended loads.

3.  Quite the opposite would be true.  The Stratolaunch aircraft would have limited utility.  A barge could be employed by other users.  The Delta Mariner spends more time servicing other users than ULA.

1. Agreed, but fully fueled imposes much higher stresses, in this case we are talking about empty boosters.

2. When attached to a truck, the booster is suspended at each end. With Stratolaunch it would be suspended near the middle. But again empty. I did say similar, not identical.

3. Stratolaunch is being built primarily for another purpose, not just a proposal for SpaceX transportation. No capital cost to SpaceX.
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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #84 on: 06/23/2014 01:21 pm »

2. When attached to a truck, the booster is suspended at each end. With Stratolaunch it would be suspended near the middle. But again empty. I did say similar, not identical.

But it still would have a need to be trucked regardless of any other transportation method and hence any other method is going have mods from the baseline and not just different.



3. Stratolaunch is being built primarily for another purpose, not just a proposal for SpaceX transportation. No capital cost to SpaceX.

neither would barges or RoRos'.  Doesn't matter. Spacex proposed flight rates would make it a significant user of the Stratolaunch airlaunch (the only other user) and would be expected to share in the O&M costs, unlike a barge or RoRo.
« Last Edit: 06/23/2014 01:25 pm by Jim »

Offline llanitedave

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #85 on: 06/23/2014 10:48 pm »

But it still would have a need to be trucked regardless of any other transportation method and hence any other method is going have mods from the baseline and not just different.


This.  There's no getting around it.  It's going to have to leave the factory on some sort of truck.  They can't fly it right out of the factory hanger.

Trucks and barges are cheap and practical.  I don't know why people insist on trying to re-invent the ball bearing.
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Offline Dudely

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #86 on: 06/24/2014 06:20 pm »
And the trucking is pretty clever too- they use these little "dollies" that are custom-fitted to the arse-end of the F9.

Doesn't get much simpler than that.

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #87 on: 08/12/2014 05:56 am »
Ocean is not smooth travel ( waves ).

Ocean is one of the smoothest way to transport freight.  Loads on trucks must be secured to 1g and rail requires 4g and that's just for breaking/acceleration trains tend to lurch pretty hard when they start and stop when all the cars smash together or pull apart.   By sea the front to back securing needs only .4g but the side to side securing requires .8 due to potential listing.  Bouncing around in the back of a truck is bad but its far worse on a rail car with no suspension to speak of but on sea there is pretty much no vibration at all.  Sea is the gentlest way to ship delicate freight and you don't want to accelerate the fatigue rate of your delicate aluminum tanks. 

If shipping by air you could reduce the mass by a couple hundred kg by purging tanks with helium ^_^

If SpaceX could just get there mass ratio 4 or so percent higher the rocket itself could function as a blimp ;D

Offline aero

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #88 on: 08/12/2014 03:34 pm »
Quote
If SpaceX could just get there mass ratio 4 or so percent higher the rocket itself could function as a blimp ;D

So they just strap a few weather balloons to it and tow it like it was a glider?
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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #89 on: 08/12/2014 04:42 pm »
Quote
If SpaceX could just get there mass ratio 4 or so percent higher the rocket itself could function as a blimp ;D

So they just strap a few weather balloons to it and tow it like it was a glider?

Just fill the tank with helium. :D

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #90 on: 08/12/2014 05:12 pm »
We could lift a whole stack of F9's in our upcoming cargo airship!

I'm not going to promote it here, but if anyone is interested, I can provide details.

Paul A Adams
« Last Edit: 08/12/2014 05:12 pm by Paul Adams »
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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #91 on: 08/12/2014 05:25 pm »
Self ferry might happen someday, under some undreamtof circumstance, but not for a very long time. hundreds of years, I would guess. Just way too crazy a thing to do in a populated area.

And airships come up here over and over, they are always rejected as a bad idea.

If that's all this thread wants to focus on it's done. Barging just seems so obviously the correct logistical link for decades and decades to come. Even if volume expands a lot. They'll just build more barges as initial stage deliveries increase.
Lar are you an expert in hybrid airships?
Investors believe it is worth the investment. More than one company are developing hybrid airships and for large cargo volumes and mass.

So why would you say it's a bad idea.
Ocean is not smooth travel ( waves ).

No barging is not obviously the correct logistical. That would be opinion. So tell us why you think hybrid airships would be a bad idea. We already know they are still in development. Exterior transport of a stage of an aircraft I would understand, but not when it is transported inside the craft, such as a hybrid airship.

You might want to check out how the hybrid airships plan on shipping their planned cargo, loading and unloading.

The only issues I see with Hybrid Zeps is the same thing that killed them in teh first place.  Not the Hindenberg, but storms.

     A number of the largest Zeps were essentially smashed to the ground by storms.  Now admittedly, Hybrid Zeps may be able to withstand storms better than the original Zeps, as they have better ballist control, are built better and with more modern materials, and can use both onboard weather radrar and info transmiitted from the ground to avoid the worst storms, but I still am a bit nervous about their skin and gasbag fragility.

     Even a Kevlar extrior could be damaged by a sufficently strong wing or flying debris, and while the craft would decend slowly from such damage, (Unless it was a large enough rip to take out one of the gasbags and the boyancy system) it would still take a sgnificant amount of time and money to make repairs on such a system.

     A thin sheet carbon fiber solid outer hull could be made to work, if the hull can be made thin and light enough to allow normal boyancy.  This may require reshaping the Zep slightly, to a more Blended Wing in Body format, gaining further lift in forward flight by the shape of its' hull.  This also may require a higher speed takoff and may limit the hovering capibility, but this system would still be far cheaper and fuel economical than using either Barge, Aircraft or trucking across country.  How this would compare to shipping by rail, is uncertian, but I suspect that it should still be a favorable comparison.

     Self flight; while it would give the stage an additional level of testing, would be costly in fuel and possibly in the peices of equipment themsevles.  (I'm not really sure how well a Falcon 9R first stage could handle high winds from a storm. As the first ocean landing was in a high sea state, and appeared to be as successful as it could be when landing in the water, even on land the tall nature of the now empty stage may work against it and cause it to topple).
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Offline JasonAW3

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #92 on: 08/12/2014 05:27 pm »
We could lift a whole stack of F9's in our upcoming cargo airship!

I'm not going to promote it here, but if anyone is interested, I can provide details.

Paul A Adams

Not meaning to denegrate your airship design or anything, but how well can it handle extreme weather?
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Offline mheney

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #93 on: 08/12/2014 05:58 pm »
We could lift a whole stack of F9's in our upcoming cargo airship!

I'm not going to promote it here, but if anyone is interested, I can provide details.

Paul A Adams

Not meaning to denegrate your airship design or anything, but how well can it handle extreme weather?

I'd think you'd use the same strategy that the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft used - don't fly in marginal weather, never mind extreme weather. 

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #94 on: 08/13/2014 03:12 am »
We could lift a whole stack of F9's in our upcoming cargo airship!

I'm not going to promote it here, but if anyone is interested, I can provide details.

Paul A Adams

Not meaning to denegrate your airship design or anything, but how well can it handle extreme weather?

No aircraft can handle truly 'extreme' weather - even modern jet lines are vectored around storms. However I have flown (relatively) small advertising airships routinely and safely in all types of weather including the mid-west in spring and the European winters for over a decade. Larger airships will be able to handle even more adverse weather conditions, just as a large ship can handle rougher seas than a small boat.

It is correct that some of the early airships (1920's & 1930's) were lost to weather conditions, but comparing those to the airships that will be built today is about as useful as comparing the airplanes of the period to airplanes of today; i.e. there is no comparison.

If one looks past the usual 'H' footage at what the later large airships did, it was very impressive - flying aircraft carriers able to launch and recover five airplanes in flight, and flying passengers reliably across the North and South Atlantic in the equivalent of a five star hotel. If you need rockets moved, we will be able to do it, drop me a PM!
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Offline Adaptation

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #95 on: 08/13/2014 05:38 am »
...No aircraft can handle truly 'extreme' weather...

What do you consider extreme?



But yeah they would never take off or land in that. 
Loved seeing the tiny strip of punch tape (^_^)

Trucks and barges are cheap and practical.  I don't know why people insist on trying to re-invent the ball bearing.
Trucks don't scale and barges have limited access.  A BFR either needs to be partially constructed at launch site or the launch site and manufacturing must both be located near navigable water.  Airships could remove these limitations. 



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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #96 on: 08/13/2014 05:45 am »
Trucks and barges are cheap and practical.  I don't know why people insist on trying to re-invent the ball bearing.
Trucks don't scale and barges have limited access.  A BFR either needs to be partially constructed at launch site or the launch site and manufacturing must both be located near navigable water.  Airships could remove these limitations.

Maybe as a general concept. But with the likely timeframe of a BFR first stage flying this decade relying on airships would be suicidal.

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #97 on: 08/13/2014 01:01 pm »

Trucks don't scale and barges have limited access.  A BFR either needs to be partially constructed at launch site or the launch site and manufacturing must both be located near navigable water.  Airships could remove these limitations. 


There are more limitations with airships

Offline Adaptation

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #98 on: 08/14/2014 01:07 am »
Trucks and barges are cheap and practical.  I don't know why people insist on trying to re-invent the ball bearing.
Trucks don't scale and barges have limited access.  A BFR either needs to be partially constructed at launch site or the launch site and manufacturing must both be located near navigable water.  Airships could remove these limitations.
Maybe as a general concept. But with the likely timeframe of a BFR first stage flying this decade relying on airships would be suicidal.

Agreed however the thread subject is 'Future modes of Falcon deliveries' not initial mode of delivery.  Some airship plans include a sky crane and would need almost no preexisting infrastructure to pick up or make delivery. 

Trucks don't scale and barges have limited access.  A BFR either needs to be partially constructed at launch site or the launch site and manufacturing must both be located near navigable water.  Airships could remove these limitations. 


There are more limitations with airships

Just curious as to your motivation for saying that.  Did you count the limitations of each method of transportation and found the tally to be higher on airships?

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #99 on: 08/14/2014 01:33 am »

Trucks don't scale and barges have limited access.  A BFR either needs to be partially constructed at launch site or the launch site and manufacturing must both be located near navigable water.  Airships could remove these limitations. 


There are more limitations with airships
What limitations would those be Jim?
It's all in the data.

Offline Paul Adams

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #100 on: 08/14/2014 01:53 am »

Trucks don't scale and barges have limited access.  A BFR either needs to be partially constructed at launch site or the launch site and manufacturing must both be located near navigable water.  Airships could remove these limitations. 


There are more limitations with airships
What limitations would those be Jim?

how about:

weather


development of said airship
Weather is not an issue, see my earlier post.

There are several programs well into development now for cargo airships.
It's all in the data.

Offline kirghizstan

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #101 on: 08/14/2014 01:58 am »
Weather is an issue, you cannot load this airship in bad weather like you could a truck.  The truck can just pull into the building, how would you suggest loading an airship inside the factory.

Online Lee Jay

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #102 on: 08/14/2014 02:05 am »
Weather is always an issue for lighter than air craft.  A truck can handle a 60+ mph cross wind loaded, which is similar to an 80-90mph wind at airship altitude.  No airship is flying safely and in the right direction in winds like that.

Offline Paul Adams

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #103 on: 08/14/2014 02:14 am »
Weather is an issue, you cannot load this airship in bad weather like you could a truck.  The truck can just pull into the building, how would you suggest loading an airship inside the factory.
Lets see, how much bad weather are you planning on? In my 6500+ hours of flying airships I have found that even with the 'small' blimps, if I wait around for an hour or two, sometimes longer, the aspect of the weather that is causing an issue usually passes. Weather is transient.

If you are smart you will plan the pick-up / drop down after the heat of the day has abated and the gusts have gone out of the wind. Steady winds are fine, in fact they can help with control of the airship and reduce the reliance on control surfaces and thrusters for station keeping. (Similar operations in some ways to the shuttle often being rolled rolled out in the early hours, when the chance of storms was minimal.)

Here's a factoid that I like to share with passengers; if I have a have a flight of 150 miles or more to do in a day, and I can average 30 knots across the ground, I will beat the ground crew to the destination nine time out of ten. The reason is I fly a straight line, the ground crew have to follow every curve in the roads and are prone to any
traffic delays.

Scale this up to a cargo airship with a cruise speed in the range of 70 - 100 knots and they would be a very fast way of moving rockets from -say- California or Colorado to Florida.

« Last Edit: 08/14/2014 02:26 am by Paul Adams »
It's all in the data.

Offline Paul Adams

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #104 on: 08/14/2014 02:20 am »
Couple of photos for you, just in case you think I am 'blowing smoke'!
It's all in the data.

Offline Paul Adams

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #105 on: 08/14/2014 02:23 am »
Weather is always an issue for lighter than air craft.  A truck can handle a 60+ mph cross wind loaded, which is similar to an 80-90mph wind at airship altitude.  No airship is flying safely and in the right direction in winds like that.

Jay Lee, what experience, info do you base this on, and again how much bad weather are you planning on?

I would like to see a truck carrying a rocket drive safely in a '60+ mph' cross wind, I really would.
« Last Edit: 08/14/2014 02:23 am by Paul Adams »
It's all in the data.

Offline kirghizstan

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #106 on: 08/14/2014 02:38 am »
Even if we could get past the perceived short comings of an airship, why is it even needed.  they are going to build the factory near the launch site.  seems like less overhead to have ground transport than an airship for short hops. 

Offline Lars_J

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #107 on: 08/14/2014 03:03 am »
Weather is not an issue, see my earlier post.

There are several programs well into development now for cargo airships.

Would you mind listing those programs? I'm admittedly not an airship enthusiast, but 'Aeroscraft' is the only recent one I can think of - all others seems to have petered out. And Aeroscraft do have a smallish (;)) prototype, but they seem to be battling some mass and other issues and won't really be useful unless they can built something MUCH bigger.
« Last Edit: 08/14/2014 03:03 am by Lars_J »

Offline llanitedave

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #108 on: 08/14/2014 03:17 am »
Trucks and barges are cheap and practical.  I don't know why people insist on trying to re-invent the ball bearing.
Trucks don't scale and barges have limited access.  A BFR either needs to be partially constructed at launch site or the launch site and manufacturing must both be located near navigable water.  Airships could remove these limitations.

Agreed that trucks don't scale.  There are limitations on the size of things they can ship, no doubt.

As for limited access, I'm not sure a barge is any more limited than an airship.  Yes the airship can fly over land, but the real choke points are always going to be the source and the destination. Both barge and airship would require special loading and unloading facilities that are not going to be available just anywhere.  However, loading facilities for barges are very common and easy to acquire at the right shipping points.

All that said, I think it would be very, very cool to be able to look up and see a giant airship carrying a giant rocket stage far above.  I happened to see a space shuttle being carried by the 747 over my home one day years ago, it was surprising and very thrilling.  Seeing something like this would be in the same category.  But is it really a better way to go?

I think before considering airships, their reliability, robustness, flexibility, and economy would have to be convincingly demonstrated in other aspects of the transportation industry.  I'd like to see it happen, if it's actually feasible. But it needs, I think, more maturity.
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Offline Adaptation

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #109 on: 08/14/2014 03:45 am »
...airship would require special loading and unloading facilities that are not going to be available just anywhere...

I don't agree.  I think they could pick up just about anything anywhere if you could get riggers to rig it.  And they could drop off cargo on any flat surface. 



Russian Mi-26 can lift 20,000 kg, more than an falcon 9 first stage empty of course.  I wonder if it could loft a BFR first stage assuming the engines where not yet integrated.  It has a range of about 1000 miles so it would need a few stops.
« Last Edit: 08/14/2014 03:55 am by Adaptation »

Offline Razvan

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #110 on: 08/14/2014 04:28 am »
My guess; Falcon will continue to be trucked. If they tried to fly it, where would they fly it from? They'd need to truck it to a launch site, and if it's already on the truck, why not keep going? I think it's improbable in the extreme that they'd ever consider launching from their Hawthorn plant - they don't have much room, and it'd be a great way to blow up the factory if they had a RUD. Plus, I suspect that the city and FAA might just have a quibble or two regarding launching F9 from the Hawthorne plant.

As for the BFR, I think we can safely say that that won't be built at Hawthorne due to their being no way to ship it by road.
I'm wondering why their Boca Chica facility wouldn't make an idea BFR factory? It's right on the intracoastal waterway (so easy access to Kennedy)  and it'd surely be convenient if they'd also be launching it from Boca Chica.
I think this is going to happen, move the manufacturing process nearest to the launching area, so I find Boca Chica will be the next home for it.

Having Boca Chica the manufacturing place too, would be logical to think that all reusable boosters would need to be landed there for checking up, repair, maintenance work, no matter where they were launched from. It makes more sense, being the gravity center of SpaceX launching pads (KSC, Boca Chica, VAFB).
I see barges or huge blimps from Boca Chica to the other two launching pads.

Offline Jet Black

Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #111 on: 08/14/2014 11:30 am »
My guess; Falcon will continue to be trucked. If they tried to fly it, where would they fly it from? They'd need to truck it to a launch site, and if it's already on the truck, why not keep going? I think it's improbable in the extreme that they'd ever consider launching from their Hawthorn plant - they don't have much room, and it'd be a great way to blow up the factory if they had a RUD. Plus, I suspect that the city and FAA might just have a quibble or two regarding launching F9 from the Hawthorne plant.

As for the BFR, I think we can safely say that that won't be built at Hawthorne due to their being no way to ship it by road.
I'm wondering why their Boca Chica facility wouldn't make an idea BFR factory? It's right on the intracoastal waterway (so easy access to Kennedy)  and it'd surely be convenient if they'd also be launching it from Boca Chica.
I think this is going to happen, move the manufacturing process nearest to the launching area, so I find Boca Chica will be the next home for it.

Having Boca Chica the manufacturing place too, would be logical to think that all reusable boosters would need to be landed there for checking up, repair, maintenance work, no matter where they were launched from. It makes more sense, being the gravity center of SpaceX launching pads (KSC, Boca Chica, VAFB).
I see barges or huge blimps from Boca Chica to the other two launching pads.

There is also the option of building different bits in different places to suit and then assembling in one place. This is how many aircraft are built.
For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled. -- Richard Feynman

Online Lee Jay

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #112 on: 08/14/2014 11:56 am »
Weather is always an issue for lighter than air craft.  A truck can handle a 60+ mph cross wind loaded, which is similar to an 80-90mph wind at airship altitude.  No airship is flying safely and in the right direction in winds like that.

Jay Lee, what experience, info do you base this on, and again how much bad weather are you planning on?

I would like to see a truck carrying a rocket drive safely in a '60+ mph' cross wind, I really would.

I'm in the wind energy industry.  We carry large loads to windy places all the time.  I talk to truck drivers that are driving across the Midwest.  I've heard from drivers that were driving across I-80 in 60mph southerly winds.  I've driven I-70 myself in 55mph quartering winds.  I've driven to work in 100+mph winds (steady) with 125+mph gusts.

I've had plenty of crane days canceled by winds.

Online Lee Jay

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #113 on: 08/14/2014 11:59 am »
Agreed that trucks don't scale.  There are limitations on the size of things they can ship, no doubt.

It's not the vehicles that don't scale.  I've seen six story buildings on wheeled transporters.  The problem is the roads, not the vehicles.

Offline Paul Adams

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #114 on: 08/14/2014 12:07 pm »
Weather is always an issue for lighter than air craft.  A truck can handle a 60+ mph cross wind loaded, which is similar to an 80-90mph wind at airship altitude.  No airship is flying safely and in the right direction in winds like that.

Jay Lee, what experience, info do you base this on, and again how much bad weather are you planning on?

I would like to see a truck carrying a rocket drive safely in a '60+ mph' cross wind, I really would.

I'm in the wind energy industry.  We carry large loads to windy places all the time.  I talk to truck drivers that are driving across the Midwest.  I've heard from drivers that were driving across I-80 in 60mph southerly winds.  I've driven I-70 myself in 55mph quartering winds.  I've driven to work in 100+mph winds (steady) with 125+mph gusts.

I've had plenty of crane days canceled by winds.
Would still like to see a truck carrying a large, lightweight, rocket drive in a 60 mph + cross wind.

One of the routes we often have to travel when transiting from coast to coast is through the Banning Pass in California. It's quite impressive to fly over the wind turbines turning away below. Some of the really big turbines in Northern Germany are also extremely impressive.

It's all in the data.

Online Lee Jay

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #115 on: 08/14/2014 01:09 pm »
Would still like to see a truck carrying a large, lightweight, rocket drive in a 60 mph + cross wind.

I've had blade truck drivers do that (drive in a heavy cross wind, though I don't know about 60mph).

« Last Edit: 08/14/2014 01:11 pm by Lee Jay »

Offline Jim

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #116 on: 08/14/2014 01:25 pm »

I think this is going to happen, move the manufacturing process nearest to the launching area, so I find Boca Chica will be the next home for it.


What says Boca Chica is the BFR launch site?

Offline Razvan

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #117 on: 08/14/2014 01:56 pm »
Weather is always an issue for lighter than air craft.  A truck can handle a 60+ mph cross wind loaded, which is similar to an 80-90mph wind at airship altitude.  No airship is flying safely and in the right direction in winds like that.

I am wondering: would a Sikorsky S-64 Skycrane can safely pull a blimp loaded with, say 3 F9R, above the weather level?

Offline Paul Adams

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #118 on: 08/14/2014 02:10 pm »
Weather is always an issue for lighter than air craft.  A truck can handle a 60+ mph cross wind loaded, which is similar to an 80-90mph wind at airship altitude.  No airship is flying safely and in the right direction in winds like that.

I am wondering: would a Sikorsky S-64 Skycrane can safely pull a blimp loaded with, say 3 F9R, above the weather level?
Airships are displacement vehicles and operate most efficiently at lower altitudes.

Weather really is not the issue people seem to think it is. As a pilot in the USA today, we are spoiled rotten with the amount of forecast and real time (or very nearly real time) weather information available. Subscribe to the right services and you can get wind maps that are in my experience incredibly accurate, and radar shows you where storms are, and where they are moving.

Traveling at 30 knots in today's airships it is usually possible to get around storms, a larger airship travelling at 70 - 100 knots will be pure luxury!

(When you see the various blimps at sporting events they have to fly there - from event to event - and the weather does not always co-operate en-route, and we do fly quite often in less than ideal conditions. Flying an airship in IFR conditions is actually quite easy, its not going to stall on you or turn upside down.)

One point about infrastructure mentioned earlier; just about all of the current projects are working on designs that can operate with the absolute minimum, or no infrastructure at all. The idea is to be able to reach places that airplanes cannot.

All I can say is "watch this space".

Off to the office, so no more posts from me for a good few hours.


 

It's all in the data.

Offline llanitedave

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #119 on: 08/14/2014 02:15 pm »
...airship would require special loading and unloading facilities that are not going to be available just anywhere...

I don't agree.  I think they could pick up just about anything anywhere if you could get riggers to rig it.  And they could drop off cargo on any flat surface. 


Well, I'm going to yield at this point.  You have the experience and training, and obviously the enthusiasm.  It's not an idea I'm opposed to, it's just that I'm not really the one who needs convincing.  If airships were already being regularly and commonly used for long-distance heavy cargo your task would be much easier.

As it is, I don't think anything will change for the Falcon 9, and for the BFR you're going to have to lay out a convincing case to someone who's probably not on this forum.  Sentimentally, I wouldn't mind at all seeing it happen.
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Offline douglas100

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #120 on: 08/14/2014 02:33 pm »

.... If airships were already being regularly and commonly used for long-distance heavy cargo your task would be much easier....

You hit the nail on the head. After the demise of Cargolifter it remains to be demonstrated that large airships can complete economically with other means of cargo transportation.

Quote
As it is, I don't think anything will change for the Falcon 9, and for the BFR you're going to have to lay out a convincing case to someone who's probably not on this forum.  Sentimentally, I wouldn't mind at all seeing it happen.

Agree about F9. Also, if re-usability works out, there would be fewer cores to transport. The cargo airship or hybrid air vehicle would need other things to transport to be economically viable.

I think giant airships are pretty cool too, but ugly reality has been known to destroy many a promising idea. Hope I'm wrong about this.
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Offline RedLineTrain

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #121 on: 08/14/2014 02:39 pm »
Seems unlikely that a suitably large airship would work around the Hawthorne facility.  On airship scales, Hawthorne Airport is tight.

Offline Dudely

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #122 on: 08/14/2014 03:29 pm »

I think this is going to happen, move the manufacturing process nearest to the launching area, so I find Boca Chica will be the next home for it.


What says Boca Chica is the BFR launch site?

Boca Chica is being built in order to make launches easier (their words). If you can't move the cores without huge expense, it just makes logical sense to build them in the place where it is easiest to launch them.

I don't think there's infrastructure anywhere that they won't have to heavily modify to launch the BFR, so it's not like they will save any money by using an existing facility.

Key phase in the post is "I think". Nothing says they will for sure, just that it makes logical sense to.

Offline Jim

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #123 on: 08/14/2014 03:55 pm »

Boca Chica is being built in order to make launches easier (their words).

For commercial launches, not all launches.  The cape still has other advantages.
« Last Edit: 08/14/2014 03:57 pm by Jim »

Offline Dudely

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #124 on: 08/14/2014 04:45 pm »

Boca Chica is being built in order to make launches easier (their words).

For commercial launches, not all launches.  The cape still has other advantages.

What advantages does the cape have for launches in general that would be expensive or time consuming to duplicate over at another facility/range? Is it simply infrastructure?

If this has already been answered, a link to the post/thread is fine.

Offline Lars_J

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #125 on: 08/14/2014 05:41 pm »
The cape can launch to far more inclinations and orbits, whereas Boca Chica launches will have to thread the gap between Florida and Cuba. Useful for GTO (and perhaps BEO) launches, but not for much else.

Offline JasonAW3

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #126 on: 08/14/2014 06:47 pm »
     Well, since the Navy is wanting to get rid of them, SpaceX COULD buy a couple of surplus LCAC's and hovercraft them from Texas to Florida, when they start landing them there.

     I'm not too certain that NASA is going to allow SpaceX to land their rockets at Cape Kennedy for several years.
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Offline JasonAW3

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #127 on: 08/14/2014 06:49 pm »

.... If airships were already being regularly and commonly used for long-distance heavy cargo your task would be much easier....

You hit the nail on the head. After the demise of Cargolifter it remains to be demonstrated that large airships can complete economically with other means of cargo transportation.

Quote
As it is, I don't think anything will change for the Falcon 9, and for the BFR you're going to have to lay out a convincing case to someone who's probably not on this forum.  Sentimentally, I wouldn't mind at all seeing it happen.

Agree about F9. Also, if re-usability works out, there would be fewer cores to transport. The cargo airship or hybrid air vehicle would need other things to transport to be economically viable.

I think giant airships are pretty cool too, but ugly reality has been known to destroy many a promising idea. Hope I'm wrong about this.

Only problem, I'm not too sure that the rockets will last much beyond 10 launches or so.  If true, they'll have to replace them on a regular basis.
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Offline Jim

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #128 on: 08/14/2014 06:55 pm »

     I'm not too certain that NASA is going to allow SpaceX to land their rockets at Cape Kennedy for several years.

Going to be hard to do that at anytime since Cape Kennedy hasn't existed for more than 30 years and NASA was not in charge of it.

Offline JasonAW3

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #129 on: 08/14/2014 07:04 pm »

     I'm not too certain that NASA is going to allow SpaceX to land their rockets at Cape Kennedy for several years.

Going to be hard to do that at anytime since Cape Kennedy hasn't existed for more than 30 years and NASA was not in charge of it.

D'OH!  Why do I STILL hear people refering to the Kennedy Space Center as Cape Kennedy on NASAtv?  (I know you're correct, but many of them still call it that!)
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Offline Dudely

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #130 on: 08/14/2014 07:37 pm »
The cape can launch to far more inclinations and orbits, whereas Boca Chica launches will have to thread the gap between Florida and Cuba. Useful for GTO (and perhaps BEO) launches, but not for much else.

Oh yeaaaah. I always forget that.

Offline somepitch

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #131 on: 08/15/2014 02:39 pm »
Weather is always an issue for lighter than air craft.  A truck can handle a 60+ mph cross wind loaded, which is similar to an 80-90mph wind at airship altitude.  No airship is flying safely and in the right direction in winds like that.

I am wondering: would a Sikorsky S-64 Skycrane can safely pull a blimp loaded with, say 3 F9R, above the weather level?

Simple answer = nope.

In fact I'd be surprised if you could make a case for a helicopter as an effective means of transport.  Things to remember for heli external load ops:

1. Max lift capacity =/= max range.  In fact, when lifting max loads, helicopters often operate with the minimum fuel required to perform the lift and return to staging.  This either means way more fuel stops, which with a BFR stage would involve logistical support at each site, transit over land/people/etc.

2. Load Oscillation: External loads already reduce your Vne drastically for various reasons, and each individual load will have its "happy place" which is often less than then the placarded external load Vne (I've seen loads not want to go above 30kts without swinging violently).  To fix this requires adding drogues to keep it to fly straight, adding to the lift/aerodynamic challenges.

3. Re: "Towing" as described above...

2 parts:

a) Being above the weather.   Helicopters suck more at lifting the higher you go due to air density.  The engines temp out and the blades aren't as efficient. No go.

b) There are 2 common ways of pulling something horizontally with a helicopter.  With a conventional configuration you can't really pull horizontally because the lines would foul with the tail rotor. Even with a tandem like the Chinook, things would get awfully close to the main rotors. There are a lot of dynamic forces working in weird directions through the hook working to upset the helicopter if pull off-vertical through it.  Usually to pull sideways we would use a "headache ball", which is a weight that you attach the horizontal pull line to and makes the forces act more vertically through your hook.  Problem is, it's heavy. The second way is through a "side-pull" rig, where the pulling acts through the C of G and the helicopter flies sideways to keep the tail rotor clear.  Flying sideways is reaaaally slow.


I rarely get the chance to contribute real expertise to this forum, but this is one area I can actually provide some insight to!  My 2 cents is that for long distance transport of something this size, using a helicopter wouldn't work well with existing types, etc.

Then again, it's Elon...maybe he'll prove me wrong!

Offline JasonAW3

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #132 on: 08/15/2014 06:58 pm »
Eh, who knows, Elon might go and buy an old Typoon Class sub from the Russians, modify it to carry cargo and ship his rockets that way!

Yeah, unlikely, but it would be safer than barging them across the Gulf and around Florida.
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Offline Zed_Noir

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #133 on: 08/15/2014 10:52 pm »
Weather is always an issue for lighter than air craft.  A truck can handle a 60+ mph cross wind loaded, which is similar to an 80-90mph wind at airship altitude.  No airship is flying safely and in the right direction in winds like that.

I am wondering: would a Sikorsky S-64 Skycrane can safely pull a blimp loaded with, say 3 F9R, above the weather level?

Simple answer = nope.

In fact I'd be surprised if you could make a case for a helicopter as an effective means of transport.  Things to remember for heli external load ops:

1. Max lift capacity =/= max range.  In fact, when lifting max loads, helicopters often operate with the minimum fuel required to perform the lift and return to staging.  This either means way more fuel stops, which with a BFR stage would involve logistical support at each site, transit over land/people/etc.

2. Load Oscillation: External loads already reduce your Vne drastically for various reasons, and each individual load will have its "happy place" which is often less than then the placarded external load Vne (I've seen loads not want to go above 30kts without swinging violently).  To fix this requires adding drogues to keep it to fly straight, adding to the lift/aerodynamic challenges.

3. Re: "Towing" as described above...

2 parts:

a) Being above the weather.   Helicopters suck more at lifting the higher you go due to air density.  The engines temp out and the blades aren't as efficient. No go.

b) There are 2 common ways of pulling something horizontally with a helicopter.  With a conventional configuration you can't really pull horizontally because the lines would foul with the tail rotor. Even with a tandem like the Chinook, things would get awfully close to the main rotors. There are a lot of dynamic forces working in weird directions through the hook working to upset the helicopter if pull off-vertical through it.  Usually to pull sideways we would use a "headache ball", which is a weight that you attach the horizontal pull line to and makes the forces act more vertically through your hook.  Problem is, it's heavy. The second way is through a "side-pull" rig, where the pulling acts through the C of G and the helicopter flies sideways to keep the tail rotor clear.  Flying sideways is reaaaally slow.


I rarely get the chance to contribute real expertise to this forum, but this is one area I can actually provide some insight to!  My 2 cents is that for long distance transport of something this size, using a helicopter wouldn't work well with existing types, etc.

Then again, it's Elon...maybe he'll prove me wrong!
How about the MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor or something similar?

Offline somepitch

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #134 on: 08/15/2014 11:35 pm »
Quote from: Zed_Noir
How about the MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor or something similar?

The Osprey sacrifices flight efficiency in both modes for the sake of flexibility so probably not...  It's not as good a lifter as a similarly sized helicopter, and as you tilt the lift vector toward airplane mode you have to start getting lift from the wings somehow. A stage's drag and slinging tendencies would probably limit the forward speed needed to produce lift so I think you'd end up having a hard time making it work with anything close to a max lift load.  That being said I've never flown one (all my flying is utility/bush heli ops), would be interesting to look at in more detail with the performance charts!

*Edited to remove massive nested quote monstrosity  8)
« Last Edit: 08/15/2014 11:39 pm by somepitch »

Offline Avron

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #135 on: 08/16/2014 12:33 am »
Eh, who knows, Elon might go and buy an old Typoon Class sub from the Russians, modify it to carry cargo and ship his rockets that way!

Yeah, unlikely, but it would be safer than barging them across the Gulf and around Florida.

I am hearing a lot of barging from SPX.. expect a  barge

Offline Adaptation

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #136 on: 08/16/2014 12:36 am »
If only someone could build a super sonic vertical take off and landing electric jet...

Offline llanitedave

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #137 on: 08/16/2014 04:03 pm »
Eh, who knows, Elon might go and buy an old Typoon Class sub from the Russians, modify it to carry cargo and ship his rockets that way!

Yeah, unlikely, but it would be safer than barging them across the Gulf and around Florida.

Safer?  A Typhoon class submarine?  Are you serious?
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Online RonM

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #138 on: 08/16/2014 04:23 pm »
Yeah, unlikely, but it would be safer than barging them across the Gulf and around Florida.

Barges use the Intercoastal Waterway. They don't have to out to sea.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intercoastal_Waterway

It starts at Brownsville, Texas. That's perfect for SpaceX's new facility.

So what are the future modes of deliveries from SpaceX factories to spaceports? Barges and trucks.

Online Lar

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #139 on: 08/16/2014 09:56 pm »
Yeah, unlikely, but it would be safer than barging them across the Gulf and around Florida.

Barges use the Intercoastal Waterway. They don't have to out to sea.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intercoastal_Waterway

It starts at Brownsville, Texas. That's perfect for SpaceX's new facility.

So what are the future modes of deliveries from SpaceX factories to spaceports? Barges and trucks.

Depending on HOW big we are talking for a BBFR, there may be clearance issues. I don't think there are any low fixed span bridges, they are all lift or at least 100 feet of clearance, but I think some of the bridges restrict things to not too much more than 100-150 feet wide  That's considerable but it's not infinite.
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Offline IslandPlaya

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #140 on: 08/16/2014 10:09 pm »
Just as well they are not planning any stages that are infinite in width.  ;)

Online Lar

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #141 on: 08/17/2014 04:50 am »
Just as well they are not planning any stages that are infinite in width.  ;)

Right. But my point is that a 15m stage is about 1/2 way to using up the clearances... a 30m stage, mounted on a barge that is shallow enough to not ground a lot, might well be too tall for a 100 foot clearance bridge, or too wide for a 150 foot wide channel. (a shallow draft barge may well need to be wider than the stage by a fair bit to get enough buoyancy)
« Last Edit: 08/17/2014 04:51 am by Lar »
"I think it would be great to be born on Earth and to die on Mars. Just hopefully not at the point of impact." -Elon Musk
"We're a little bit like the dog who caught the bus" - Musk after CRS-8 S1 successfully landed on ASDS OCISLY

Offline Burninate

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #142 on: 08/17/2014 06:52 am »
Just as well they are not planning any stages that are infinite in width.  ;)

Right. But my point is that a 15m stage is about 1/2 way to using up the clearances... a 30m stage, mounted on a barge that is shallow enough to not ground a lot, might well be too tall for a 100 foot clearance bridge, or too wide for a 150 foot wide channel. (a shallow draft barge may well need to be wider than the stage by a fair bit to get enough buoyancy)

Buoyancy is easy.  1m draft x 15 meters width = 15 tons per meter length, per meter draft.  The Falcon 9 manages ~430kg per meter length.  We are effectively discussing a Falcon that's scaled up by a factor of 4 in length and width (a total of 16x);  so around 7 tons per meter length if thickness scales.  An oceangoing barge is likely to have considerably greater than 1m maximum draft;  The Pegasus is designed to 5m draft.

Next to volumetric bulk cargoes like grain or coal, an empty rocket stage is a very lightweight cargo, just unwieldy.

Offline cartman

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Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #143 on: 08/17/2014 12:25 pm »
There are 2 bridges with a 55ft clearance in Santa Rosa Sound http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santa_Rosa_Sound:
Those bridges have the lowest clearance of any span over the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway

Brooks Bridge: Fort Walton Beach to Okaloosa Island (55 feet clearance)
Navarre Beach Bridge: Navarre to Navarre Beach (55 feet clearance).

I guess if SpaceX decides to make a >>15m width BFR, they will just have to make their barge travel in the Gulf of Mexico for a few tens of miles.
« Last Edit: 08/17/2014 12:25 pm by cartman »

Offline MP99

Re: Future modes of Falcon deliveries from the factory
« Reply #144 on: 08/25/2014 08:23 am »
Not sure if this was posted before?

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