Author Topic: Commercial Crew Cost Analyses & Discussion  (Read 34729 times)

Offline joek

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Re: Commercial Crew Cost Analyses & Discussion
« Reply #40 on: 09/28/2014 09:30 am »
There is one unmanned and one manned (NASA and contractor crewed) certification flight and then there are two post certification flights guarantied.

There is only one certification flight--the crewed flight to the ISS.  That flight must be completed prior to design certification review (DCR).  Certification is complete after successful fulfillment of DCR.  CCtCap does not call for or require any other certification flights. 

While it is a reasonable assumption that there will be one or more test flights prior to that certification flight, it is only an assumption, not a given.  The number and timing of any such test flights would be stipulated in the CCtCap proposals and has not been made public.

Online symbios

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Re: Commercial Crew Cost Analyses & Discussion
« Reply #41 on: 09/28/2014 10:03 am »
Sorry, do not know where I read about the unmanned flight. I just watched the press conf again and you are right.
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Offline Roy_H

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Re: Commercial Crew Cost Analyses & Discussion
« Reply #42 on: 09/29/2014 11:08 pm »
That would put the cost of completing the DreamChaser at $872.9 million less than the crew Dragon.  My question is: Is this credible?

Nothing wrong with the numbers, just your assumption that what is billed to NASA represents the cost to the company. DreamChaser probably cost more to build than either CST-100 or Dragon-V2, it is just that more of the cost has been born by SNC.
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Offline mkent

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Re: Commercial Crew Cost Analyses & Discussion
« Reply #43 on: 01/05/2015 11:43 pm »
The GAO press release for the Sierra Nevada protest provided some interesting numbers on the Commercial Crew contract that, with the proper interpretation, will tell us a great deal about how much the commercial crew vehicles will cost.

From the original NASA announcement we learned that the total contract award for the two winners was $4.2 billion for Boeing and $2.6 billion for SpaceX.  Sierra Nevada later announced that their bid for the contract was $3.3 billion.  These bids included development of their respective crew systems, two test flights, six operational flights, and up to $150 million in special studies.

The GAO release contains different numbers.  It stated that the Boeing bid was $3.01 billion, the SpaceX bid $1.75 billion, and the Sierra Nevada bid was $2.55 billion.

If we assume that these numbers are for the development phase of the program and also that the development phase includes the manned and unmanned test flights, then we have enough information to determine the per-flight cost of each system to NASA.

Using these numbers and the equation (development cost) + (special studies) + 6 x (operational cost) = total bid, we get...

Boeing: $3.01 billion + $150 million + 6X = $4.2 billion
SpaceX: $1.75 billion + $150 million + 6X = $2.6 billion
Sierra: $2.55 billion + $150 million + 6X = $3.3 billion

Solving for X in each case, we get a per-mission operational cost for each system.  Also included is the per-astronaut (divided by four) and the per-seat (divided by seven) cost.


Per Mission   Per Astro    Per Seat     Contractor
$173 million  $43 million  $25 million  Boeing
$117 million  $29 million  $17 million  SpaceX
$100 million  $25 million  $14 million  Sierra Nevada


Some conclusions:

1) Comparing the development cost of any (or all) of these vehicles to the $17.5 billion development cost of Orion tells me that Commercial Crew is a bargain.

2) Comparing the per-seat* (or even the per-astronaut) cost of any of these vehicles to the $70 million per-seat cost of Soyuz tells me that Commercial Crew is a bargain.

3) The Sierra Nevada figure seems to me to be awfully low.  DreamChaser would have launched on an Atlas V 422.  ULA VP George Sower stated that the average Atlas V 401 cost is $164 million.  The 422 should be higher.  If this figure is accurate then even the Boeing figure seems too low.  I cannot explain this discrepancy.

Note also for comparison the government cost of an unmanned Falcon 9 is $90 million once all of the extras are included.

All of this, of course, is dependent on the assumptions stated above.  So the question is, Is this the proper interpretation of the figures?

*Since the Soyuz carries only three astronauts and no cargo, the proper figure of merit IMHO is the per-seat figure.  NASA can choose whether to fill a "seat" with crew or cargo according to whichever they find more valuable on any given flight.

Offline rayleighscatter

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Re: Commercial Crew Cost Analyses & Discussion
« Reply #44 on: 01/06/2015 01:24 am »
The GAO press release for the Sierra Nevada protest provided some interesting numbers on the Commercial Crew contract that, with the proper interpretation, will tell us a great deal about how much the commercial crew vehicles will cost.

From the original NASA announcement we learned that the total contract award for the two winners was $4.2 billion for Boeing and $2.6 billion for SpaceX.  Sierra Nevada later announced that their bid for the contract was $3.3 billion.  These bids included development of their respective crew systems, two test flights, six operational flights, and up to $150 million in special studies.

The GAO release contains different numbers.  It stated that the Boeing bid was $3.01 billion, the SpaceX bid $1.75 billion, and the Sierra Nevada bid was $2.55 billion.

If we assume that these numbers are for the development phase of the program and also that the development phase includes the manned and unmanned test flights, then we have enough information to determine the per-flight cost of each system to NASA.

Using these numbers and the equation (development cost) + (special studies) + 6 x (operational cost) = total bid, we get...

Boeing: $3.01 billion + $150 million + 6X = $4.2 billion
SpaceX: $1.75 billion + $150 million + 6X = $2.6 billion
Sierra: $2.55 billion + $150 million + 6X = $3.3 billion

Solving for X in each case, we get a per-mission operational cost for each system.  Also included is the per-astronaut (divided by four) and the per-seat (divided by seven) cost.


Per Mission   Per Astro    Per Seat     Contractor
$173 million  $43 million  $25 million  Boeing
$117 million  $29 million  $17 million  SpaceX
$100 million  $25 million  $14 million  Sierra Nevada


Some conclusions:

1) Comparing the development cost of any (or all) of these vehicles to the $17.5 billion development cost of Orion tells me that Commercial Crew is a bargain.

2) Comparing the per-seat* (or even the per-astronaut) cost of any of these vehicles to the $70 million per-seat cost of Soyuz tells me that Commercial Crew is a bargain.

3) The Sierra Nevada figure seems to me to be awfully low.  DreamChaser would have launched on an Atlas V 422.  ULA VP George Sower stated that the average Atlas V 401 cost is $164 million.  The 422 should be higher.  If this figure is accurate then even the Boeing figure seems too low.  I cannot explain this discrepancy.

Note also for comparison the government cost of an unmanned Falcon 9 is $90 million once all of the extras are included.

All of this, of course, is dependent on the assumptions stated above.  So the question is, Is this the proper interpretation of the figures?

*Since the Soyuz carries only three astronauts and no cargo, the proper figure of merit IMHO is the per-seat figure.  NASA can choose whether to fill a "seat" with crew or cargo according to whichever they find more valuable on any given flight.
The following is purely speculation on my part...

It seems that the the NASA numbers are the potential highest cost if all options are exercised. I'm wondering if the GAO numbers are the minimum required (remaining development as well as two flights). To further the speculation and get into some fuzzy math the optional 4 flights would seem to make up the vast bulk of the options, by cost. So by taking the two numbers (Original - New) and then dividing by 4 you get roughly the per flight cost for each proposal.

(alphabetically):
Boeing
NASA number: 4.2 Billion, GAO number: 3.01 Billion
It's a difference of 1.19 Billion or 297 Million per flight for 4 flights

SNC
NASA Number: 3.3 Billion, GAO number: 2.55 Billion
It's a difference of 750 Million or 187 Million per flight for 4 flight

SpaceX
NASA number: 2.6 Billion, GAO number: 1.75 Billion
It's a difference of 850 million or 212 Million per flight for 4 flights

This is of course all very highly speculative.

Offline mkent

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Re: Commercial Crew Cost Analyses & Discussion
« Reply #45 on: 01/06/2015 02:17 am »
The following is purely speculation on my part...

It seems that the the NASA numbers are the potential highest cost if all options are exercised. I'm wondering if the GAO numbers are the minimum required (remaining development as well as two flights). To further the speculation and get into some fuzzy math the optional 4 flights would seem to make up the vast bulk of the options, by cost. So by taking the two numbers (Original - New) and then dividing by 4 you get roughly the per flight cost for each proposal.

(alphabetically):
Boeing
NASA number: 4.2 Billion, GAO number: 3.01 Billion
It's a difference of 1.19 Billion or 297 Million per flight for 4 flights

SNC
NASA Number: 3.3 Billion, GAO number: 2.55 Billion
It's a difference of 750 Million or 187 Million per flight for 4 flight

SpaceX
NASA number: 2.6 Billion, GAO number: 1.75 Billion
It's a difference of 850 million or 212 Million per flight for 4 flights

This is of course all very highly speculative.

I like your assumptions better.  They fit the known cost of the respective launch vehicles better and also provide a more reasonable estimate of the development costs, IMO.  However, I think the special studies are also optional.  If so, we should subtract off $150 million before dividing by four.

Boeing: ($4.2 billion - $3.01 billion - $150 million) / 4 = $260 million per flight
SpaceX: ($2.6 billion - $1.75 billion - $150 million) / 4 = $175 million per flight
Sierra: ($3.3 billion - $2.55 billion - $150 million) / 4 = $150 million per flight

I like the Boeing and SpaceX figures, but the Sierra Nevada figure still seems a little low.  An Atlas V is so much more expensive than a Falcon 9 that I don't see how the per-flight cost of a DreamChaser could be less than that of a Dragon 2.  Regardless, though, they are better than my original figures.

Taking that one step further and subtracting out all the flights one then comes up with development costs of...

Boeing: $4.2 billion - $150 million - 8 x $260 million = $1.97 billion
SpaceX: $2.6 billion - $150 million - 8 x $175 million = $1.050 billion
Sierra: $3.3 billion - $150 million - 8 x $150 million = $1.95 billion

Much better, but now it almost seems like the SpaceX development figure is too low.  However, if we remember that SpaceX got $400 million during COTS to do a lot of work that Boeing and Sierra Nevada would have to do during CCtCap (e.g. standing up a supply chain and establishing a production facility), the numbers now seem right.

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Online abaddon

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Re: Commercial Crew Cost Analyses & Discussion
« Reply #46 on: 01/07/2015 12:26 pm »
Sierra costs are lower because they would re-use the spacecraft.  CST & Dragon are priced with a new capsule for each flight.  My guess but it makes sense.
« Last Edit: 01/08/2015 03:27 pm by abaddon »

Offline rayleighscatter

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Re: Commercial Crew Cost Analyses & Discussion
« Reply #47 on: 01/07/2015 10:38 pm »

I like your assumptions better.  They fit the known cost of the respective launch vehicles better and also provide a more reasonable estimate of the development costs, IMO.  However, I think the special studies are also optional.  If so, we should subtract off $150 million before dividing by four.

Boeing: ($4.2 billion - $3.01 billion - $150 million) / 4 = $260 million per flight
SpaceX: ($2.6 billion - $1.75 billion - $150 million) / 4 = $175 million per flight
Sierra: ($3.3 billion - $2.55 billion - $150 million) / 4 = $150 million per flight

I like the Boeing and SpaceX figures, but the Sierra Nevada figure still seems a little low.  An Atlas V is so much more expensive than a Falcon 9 that I don't see how the per-flight cost of a DreamChaser could be less than that of a Dragon 2.  Regardless, though, they are better than my original figures.

Taking that one step further and subtracting out all the flights one then comes up with development costs of...

Boeing: $4.2 billion - $150 million - 8 x $260 million = $1.97 billion
SpaceX: $2.6 billion - $150 million - 8 x $175 million = $1.050 billion
Sierra: $3.3 billion - $150 million - 8 x $150 million = $1.95 billion

Much better, but now it almost seems like the SpaceX development figure is too low.  However, if we remember that SpaceX got $400 million during COTS to do a lot of work that Boeing and Sierra Nevada would have to do during CCtCap (e.g. standing up a supply chain and establishing a production facility), the numbers now seem right.

By George, we just might have it!
Good point on the corrections. This might give us some good estimates, still assuming the NASA numbers are the top and the GAO numbers the bottom.

Like abaddon I'd have to guess reusability is the reason for SNC's lower flight cost. It's been hinted at that an Atlas V 401 actually starts around 100 million, but it's the USAF requirements that drive the price up. So an Atlas to SNC's HSF requirements might have fallen somewhere between those two numbers and SNC might have had an ambitious planned price for refurbishing craft between flights, with maybe only 2 or 3 total Dreamchasers produced.

Offline erioladastra

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Re: Commercial Crew Cost Analyses & Discussion
« Reply #48 on: 01/08/2015 06:04 pm »
Sierra costs are lower because they would re-use the spacecraft.  CST & Dragon are priced with a new capsule for each flight.  My guess but it makes sense.

CST-100 is reused.

Online abaddon

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Re: Commercial Crew Cost Analyses & Discussion
« Reply #49 on: 01/08/2015 06:10 pm »
Sierra costs are lower because they would re-use the spacecraft.  CST & Dragon are priced with a new capsule for each flight.  My guess but it makes sense.

CST-100 is reused.

Do you have a source for that?  I am not doubting you, but it'd be nice to see an official statement to support that.

Offline arachnitect

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Re: Commercial Crew Cost Analyses & Discussion
« Reply #50 on: 01/08/2015 07:19 pm »
Sierra costs are lower because they would re-use the spacecraft.  CST & Dragon are priced with a new capsule for each flight.  My guess but it makes sense.

CST-100 is reused.

Do you have a source for that?  I am not doubting you, but it'd be nice to see an official statement to support that.

They've been pretty consistent on it, here for example:
http://www.boeing.com/boeing/defense-space/space/ccts/index.page

FWIW they discard the whole SM including the abort motors. They dump the heat shield during the landing phase, so I'm assuming that doesn't get reused either.

Online abaddon

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Re: Commercial Crew Cost Analyses & Discussion
« Reply #51 on: 01/09/2015 09:22 pm »
They've been pretty consistent on it, here for example:
http://www.boeing.com/boeing/defense-space/space/ccts/index.page

Dragon (both V1 and V2) are also designed to be reusable, however, the CRS-1 contract was priced assuming a new Dragon for each mission, and so far that's what has happened.

Designing the capsule for reusability and pricing the CCtCAP contract to assume reusability are two different things, this link does not demonstrate the latter.

Offline arachnitect

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Re: Commercial Crew Cost Analyses & Discussion
« Reply #52 on: 01/09/2015 10:05 pm »
They've been pretty consistent on it, here for example:
http://www.boeing.com/boeing/defense-space/space/ccts/index.page

Dragon (both V1 and V2) are also designed to be reusable, however, the CRS-1 contract was priced assuming a new Dragon for each mission, and so far that's what has happened.

Designing the capsule for reusability and pricing the CCtCAP contract to assume reusability are two different things, this link does not demonstrate the latter.

http://boeing.mediaroom.com/2014-09-16-Boeing-CST-100-Selected-as-Next-American-Spacecraft
Quote
HOUSTON, Sept. 16, 2014 – Boeing [NYSE: BA] will receive an award of $4.2 billion from NASA to build and fly the United States’ next passenger spacecraft. [...]
Under the Commercial Crew Transportation (CCtCap) phase of the program, Boeing will build three CST-100s at the company’s Commercial Crew Processing Facility at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Since they're guaranteed at least 4 flights (not incl. pad abort), I'm assuming there's some kind of reuse going on. I'm feeling pretty confident in that, but if somebody's sitting on a reference to new capsules on every mission, please share.

Online Coastal Ron

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Re: Commercial Crew Cost Analyses & Discussion
« Reply #53 on: 01/09/2015 10:31 pm »
Since they're guaranteed at least 4 flights (not incl. pad abort), I'm assuming there's some kind of reuse going on. I'm feeling pretty confident in that, but if somebody's sitting on a reference to new capsules on every mission, please share.

I'm not sure anyone knows for sure, since if each company submitted more than one bid (for various options, which I would think could include reusability) we may not know what features were part of the winning bid.  And NASA was waiting for the GAO protest to be over before releasing bid details.

I think for SpaceX and the current CRS-1 contract they didn't bid reusability for their deliveries because of the additional certification effort that would have been needed, but they built the vehicles intending that they could be reused.  However no vehicles have been re-flown yet, so maybe the market for used cargo vehicles never materialized.  We'll see what happens with the CRS-2 contract.

As for Commercial Crew vehicles, if Boeings business case only closes by reusing at least the capsule portion of their system, then I'm sure they will reuse them.  And maybe the Boeing document you reference gives hints of that.  Certainly the aerospace industry needs to become proficient at reusing flight hardware post-Shuttle, so let's hope they do that.
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Online abaddon

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Re: Commercial Crew Cost Analyses & Discussion
« Reply #54 on: 01/11/2015 02:48 pm »
Quote
HOUSTON, Sept. 16, 2014 – Boeing [NYSE: BA] will receive an award of $4.2 billion from NASA to build and fly the United States’ next passenger spacecraft. [...]
Under the Commercial Crew Transportation (CCtCap) phase of the program, Boeing will build three CST-100s at the company’s Commercial Crew Processing Facility at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Since they're guaranteed at least 4 flights (not incl. pad abort), I'm assuming there's some kind of reuse going on. I'm feeling pretty confident in that, but if somebody's sitting on a reference to new capsules on every mission, please share.

I think there's possibly some loose wording going on there.  There are three structural test articles being built; one for the pad abort, one for the unmanned test flight, and one for the first manned test flight.  I think it is possible (not definite) that the "CCtCAP phase" cited above is referring to those flights.

It's definitely possible they are planning on re-flying one or more of those structural test articles, but I am not convinced of it yet.

Offline arachnitect

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Re: Commercial Crew Cost Analyses & Discussion
« Reply #55 on: 01/11/2015 04:23 pm »
Quote
HOUSTON, Sept. 16, 2014 – Boeing [NYSE: BA] will receive an award of $4.2 billion from NASA to build and fly the United States’ next passenger spacecraft. [...]
Under the Commercial Crew Transportation (CCtCap) phase of the program, Boeing will build three CST-100s at the company’s Commercial Crew Processing Facility at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Since they're guaranteed at least 4 flights (not incl. pad abort), I'm assuming there's some kind of reuse going on. I'm feeling pretty confident in that, but if somebody's sitting on a reference to new capsules on every mission, please share.

I think there's possibly some loose wording going on there.  There are three structural test articles being built; one for the pad abort, one for the unmanned test flight, and one for the first manned test flight.  I think it is possible (not definite) that the "CCtCAP phase" cited above is referring to those flights.

It's definitely possible they are planning on re-flying one or more of those structural test articles, but I am not convinced of it yet.

The capsule is designed to be reused and they've talked about doing it. I really do think that's the current plan, but I also know that plans have a way of changing. Coastal Ron makes some good points a couple posts up about the possibility of multiple bids. Without being in on the NASA/Boeing communications, I doubt we'll know for sure until flights are really underway.

It certainly would have gotten my attention if erioladastra had said they won't be reusing them.

Offline yg1968

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Re: Commercial Crew Cost Analyses & Discussion
« Reply #56 on: 01/11/2015 04:51 pm »
Sorry, do not know where I read about the unmanned flight. I just watched the press conf again and you are right.

It's a reasonable assumption. Although it was not required, each company had an uncrewed flight under the CCiCap milestones optional milestones. NASA said that they expected companies to suggest such a flight but they did not require it.
« Last Edit: 01/11/2015 05:23 pm by yg1968 »

Offline yg1968

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Re: Commercial Crew Cost Analyses & Discussion
« Reply #57 on: 01/11/2015 05:12 pm »
Wait a minute. If the maximum award is six post certification missions for each, and the minimum is 2, then if SpaceX gets all 6 and Boeing gets 2, then there will only be 8 missions under the contract, not 12? The contract is done and for more missions they need a new contract? Otherwise, what is the point of providing a min-max range if both are guaranteed to get the max (6)?

Given that scenario, yes there would only be eight missions--unless NASA chose to make additional awards to Boeing for the other four missions, in which case those four would not be competed as they could not be awarded to SpaceX under CCtCap.

Boeing and SpaceX are not guaranteed the maximum number of six missions, only the minimum of two.  Whether NASA chooses to exercise any optional post-certification missions is TBD, as those may not be awarded until after certification is complete.

CCtCap includes both DDT&E (certification) and services acquisition (post-certification missions).  The min-max structure is typical for indefinite delivery indefinite quantity (IDIQ) acquisition contracts, which must state a minimum and maximum contract quantity or value.

My guess is that 6 post certification flights will be ordered for each company because NASA will want redudancy. The deadline for NASA to order post-certification missions is September 2019.

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=32412.msg1257904#msg1257904
« Last Edit: 01/11/2015 05:13 pm by yg1968 »

Offline srepetsk

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Re: Commercial Crew Cost Analyses & Discussion
« Reply #58 on: 01/12/2015 01:40 pm »
Sierra costs are lower because they would re-use the spacecraft.  CST & Dragon are priced with a new capsule for each flight.  My guess but it makes sense.

CST-100 is reused.

Do you have a source for that?  I am not doubting you, but it'd be nice to see an official statement to support that.

http://www.boeing.com/boeing/defense-space/space/ccts/index.page

Ctrl-f "reusable"

Online abaddon

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Re: Commercial Crew Cost Analyses & Discussion
« Reply #59 on: 01/12/2015 02:17 pm »
http://www.boeing.com/boeing/defense-space/space/ccts/index.page

Ctrl-f "reusable"

Yes, by that logic Dragon V1 is also being reused right now.  Great job refuting something I'd already responded to above.

Oh, lest I forget, Falcon 9 is being reused right now.  Because it was designed to be reused.  Right?

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