Author Topic: SpaceX Texas launch site Discussion and Updates - Thread 6  (Read 523994 times)

Online Ionmars

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Re: SpaceX Texas launch site Discussion and Updates - Thread 6
« Reply #80 on: 10/18/2017 12:21 am »
If SpaceX uses BC to reduce costs, and switches from F9 to BFR, then a major issue could arise in Brownsville. BFR will save costs, in part, by a very high launch rate. SpaceX has been given great support but will that support extend to a very large and noisy rocket that is launched every 48 hours, as they hope to achieve? So far SpX is limited to 12 launches per year.
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Offline docmordrid

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Re: SpaceX Texas launch site Discussion and Updates - Thread 6
« Reply #81 on: 10/18/2017 01:13 am »
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Offline deruch

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Re: SpaceX Texas launch site Discussion and Updates - Thread 6
« Reply #82 on: 10/18/2017 07:01 am »
Also important to consider is that his comments were strictly about external/customer launch commitments and didn't mention that SpaceX has plans for a significant level of internal launches in support of their constellation.  If that project is pursued then having a 4th launch site may be more important than his comments made seem.

I thought the Constellation sats have to launch from Vandenberg. In this case an additional east coast pad wouldn't help.
Nope. Based on the listed inclinations from SpaceX's FCC filing, more than 70% of the sats for the full LEO constellation are going to orbital inclinations of 53o and 53.8o.  And all of the initial deployment is.  Those inclinations are reachable from the Eastern Range but I'm not sure whether they are from Vandenberg.  Look at the attached pic in this post from the FCC filing thread for the breakdown of inclinations and planes.  I'm not sure for the VLEO part.     

But the result is that SpaceX may be using up a lot of their Eastern launch opportunities internally and so moving a bunch of GTO launches to Boca Chica could be very useful if they are able. 

(this is all assuming that the constellation is delivered via F9/FH, let's not further divert discussion over BFR talk)
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Offline Lobo

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Re: SpaceX Texas launch site Discussion and Updates - Thread 6
« Reply #83 on: 10/18/2017 05:45 pm »
If SpaceX uses BC to reduce costs, and switches from F9 to BFR, then a major issue could arise in Brownsville. BFR will save costs, in part, by a very high launch rate. SpaceX has been given great support but will that support extend to a very large and noisy rocket that is launched every 48 hours, as they hope to achieve? So far SpX is limited to 12 launches per year.

Yes, even more reason I don't think BC is the primary plan for BFR.  Just too many negatives vs. KSC for an LV of that size.

But the result is that SpaceX may be using up a lot of their Eastern launch opportunities internally and so moving a bunch of GTO launches to Boca Chica could be very useful if they are able. 

The main reason SpaceX gave for a private launch site was to reduce launch costs.

Another big reason is the hassle of launching comsats from the cape.  See here for details:
AsiaSat CEO says Cape Canaveral has its drawbacks
http://www.spaceflightnow.com/falcon9/012/140906capecanaveral/#.VAxCSGd0yoA

Also, Boca Chica gives them a "clean slate" .  They can set it up exactly how they want it.

I believe these are the main reasons SpaceX wanted a private launch site.

And for these reasons, are why I'd said that they may still build a basic F9 pad at BC still.  It would also fit within the current IES, and be small enough not to cause too may issues with nearby population centers, stages can be easily road transported from the port or roads in Brownsville out to the pad, etc.

But, I think this new downsized BFR with the new goal of using it to start taking over their Falcon business is changing plans from when the property was purchased at BC, and what they'd originally planned to do there.  And they probably don't want to start building until they know for sure they will be able to stage BFR out of KSC as they want to, or if they'll need to fall back on BC as a contingency.  And they wouldn't want to be part way into construction of an F9 pad, and have to scrap all that and start over for BFR.    And by that point will they even want/need an F9 pad at BC?  As that would probably be a few years down the road.  Probably depends on how far along BFR when/if they get a deal at KSC for BFR, and how many difficulties at that time they are experiences launching those comsats from the Cape.  If they are managing those payloads sufficiently at that point, that'd be another reason they may not want to invest in another F9 pad at BC, and just go as they are until they can start transitioning some Falcon payloads over to BFR.  The AsiaSat CEO quote is from an article from 2014 when SpaceX procured the land, but things are changing, and in another few years, they could change more.  So it might not be as much of a hassle at CCAFS by then?




« Last Edit: 10/18/2017 05:49 pm by Lobo »

Offline Nomadd

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Re: SpaceX Texas launch site Discussion and Updates - Thread 6
« Reply #84 on: 10/18/2017 06:51 pm »
 Rumors and SpaceX comments aside, I can't make sense out of the claims that Boca Chica isn't needed for Falcon. Adapting 39A to BFR can't be a minor thing and any incident at 40 while 39A is down for changes would wipe out most Falcon launch capability for who knows how long. Counting on everything going exactly right is a well paved road to hell.
 Making a dual purpose site for Texas might cost a bit of money and time, but compared to revenue and credibility loss from both pads in Florida being unavailable for a few months for any reason, it would be minor.
« Last Edit: 10/18/2017 07:03 pm by Nomadd »
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Offline philw1776

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Re: SpaceX Texas launch site Discussion and Updates - Thread 6
« Reply #85 on: 10/18/2017 06:52 pm »
Agree with the cited concerns about BC as a BFR launch facility, but the wildcard I'd speculated about pre-IAC is an offshore launch platform for BFR with command & control onshore.  Ocean is not deep there even 20KM out.

Arguing against offshore is capital expense and worse yet, increased operational expense barging/hydrofoiling propellant and stuff out and back to/from the platform.  SpaceX is very focused on reducing launch ops costs.  Offshore would increase them.

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« Last Edit: 10/18/2017 06:58 pm by philw1776 »
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Offline philw1776

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Re: SpaceX Texas launch site Discussion and Updates - Thread 6
« Reply #86 on: 10/18/2017 06:55 pm »
Rumors and SpaceX comments aside, I can't make sense out of the claims that Boca Chica isn't needed for Falcon. Adapting 39A or BFR can't be a minor thing and any incident at 40 while 39A is down for changes would wipe out most Falcon launch capability for who knows how long. Counting on everything going exactly right is a well paved road to hell.

Agree completely.  Strategy has way, way too many schedule moving parts.  SpaceX likely has a good feel for the likelihood of securing > 12 dates per year from BC.
Lori, you have got to tell your friend Elon he can't do that.(FH) He's in our lane! You made us get out of low-Earth orbit, so we've given him that lane, but this is our lane!  We build the big rockets!

Offline Lobo

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Re: SpaceX Texas launch site Discussion and Updates - Thread 6
« Reply #87 on: 10/18/2017 07:01 pm »
Rumors and SpaceX comments aside, I can't make sense out of the claims that Boca Chica isn't needed for Falcon. Adapting 39A or BFR can't be a minor thing and any incident at 40 while 39A is down for changes would wipe out most Falcon launch capability for who knows how long. Counting on everything going exactly right is a well paved road to hell.

That's true, and that did happen with LC-40.  But they just launched from 39A while they repaired (and probably upgraded).  If 39A is dual use, which seems to be the current plan (for the next 5 minutes anyway) then that'd just be the case again.  A Falcon explosion on 39A would then impact BFR work to a degree, but unsure how much.  It's a pretty robust structure after all. 
Upgrading LC-40 to be able to accommodate crew and vertical integration would make certain sense for such a contingency, but not sure if there's any plans to do that.

But note, ULA only has one East Coast pad for both Atlas and Delta, and the payloads aren't all interchangeable.  If an Atlas were to blow up, that would put on hold most Atlas payloads until it could be repaired as I understand.  And ULA has been operating like that for decades.  So it's certainly desirable, but not sure 100% necessary.

Offline Nomadd

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Re: SpaceX Texas launch site Discussion and Updates - Thread 6
« Reply #88 on: 10/18/2017 07:04 pm »
 "Adapting 39A TO BFR" gdamit. Stoopid predictive typing option that keeps turning itself back on.
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Online John Alan

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Re: SpaceX Texas launch site Discussion and Updates - Thread 6
« Reply #89 on: 10/18/2017 07:47 pm »
SpaceX is more likely to launch BFR off 39B before 39A is converted... just my opinion on that...  ;)

Let's let the clock tick off a couple years and see which pad is first to Launch an all up BFR stack from the Cape...
BC will be first orbital flight of BFR... my opinion to clarify that...
A lot of hops and development there... followed by first couple of all up launches... from BC
« Last Edit: 10/18/2017 07:52 pm by John Alan »

Online Dave G

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Re: SpaceX Texas launch site Discussion and Updates - Thread 6
« Reply #90 on: 10/18/2017 09:42 pm »
Arguing against offshore is capital expense and worse yet, increased operational expense barging/hydrofoiling propellant and stuff out and back to/from the platform.

If they opt for a BFR launch platform a few miles off Boca Chica Beach, I'm assuming they would run underwater electrical cables, fiber optics, and flexible propellant pipes from the current launch site to the offshore platform.

Online Dave G

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Re: SpaceX Texas launch site Discussion and Updates - Thread 6
« Reply #91 on: 10/18/2017 09:49 pm »
BC will be first orbital flight of BFR... my opinion to clarify that...
A lot of hops and development there... followed by first couple of all up launches... from BC

Assuming they can get the approvals to do so.

For sub-orbital test vehicles, the current EIS doesn't allow anything larger than Falcon 9.

For orbital launch vehicles, the current EIS doesn't allow anything larger than Falcon Heavy, and further limits that to only 2 launches per year.

Offline Lobo

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Re: SpaceX Texas launch site Discussion and Updates - Thread 6
« Reply #92 on: 10/18/2017 09:57 pm »
SpaceX is more likely to launch BFR off 39B before 39A is converted... just my opinion on that...  ;)

Yup, it's all opinion/speculation at this point.  :)

But I'd counter that I tend to think it'll launch off 39A first.  Mainly because they have access to that pad now.  I'm sure they're angling for 39B, but really SLS needs to be cancelled before that could happen.   That won't happen for awhile, but it can be sped along by an even larger HLV sitting on 39A doing some static tests, fit checks, and maybe some booster tests with a dummy upper stage of the reusable upper stage isn't ready just yet (even just the basic tanker upper stage is going to probably be the long pole of the two pieces.  The booster should be relatively straight forward in comparison.)
The optics of even just that going on should help push SLS out the door sooner rather than later.  Right now BFR is just paper, but a giant booster firing on the 39A is another story.  So they need to show that on 39A before 39B really comes into play. 

So I think 39A gets used for all of that preliminary work and test flights, and then when they can get access to 39B after SLS gets cancelled, then they will use what they learned about launch BFRat 39A to set up shop at 39B, with probably a more advanced and streamlined setup.  Sort of "prototype" vs. "production model".

For some reason if 39B doesn't become available to them, then BC becomes the backup contingency, and they probably investigate building a series of launch/landing barges that stage out of Brownsville and go out into open water for launch and recovery operations, where they won't have all of the exclusion and regulation issues.  I think that'd be less ideal than having the two big pads at KSC to use, but they can't guarantee how or when things will shake out with SLS and 39B, and Elon wants to launch BFR one way or the other.
 

« Last Edit: 10/18/2017 10:03 pm by Lobo »

Online Dave G

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Re: SpaceX Texas launch site Discussion and Updates - Thread 6
« Reply #93 on: 10/18/2017 11:37 pm »
Yup, it's all opinion/speculation at this point.  :)

But I'd counter that I tend to think it'll launch off 39A first...

Your guess is as good as anyone else's.

I have to wonder if SpaceX actually has firm plans on where the first BFR launch will take place.  It all depends on how much NASA wants to be involved, and a lot can change in 5 years!

Offline Space Ghost 1962

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Re: SpaceX Texas launch site Discussion and Updates - Thread 6
« Reply #94 on: 10/18/2017 11:42 pm »
Keep in mind you'll need to have a test facility for BFR. Will limitations at McGregor allow that?

Would BFS test first suborbitally? Where would this occur?

If BFR/BFS are agile developed to allow ultra rapid development without regard for risk (or need to inform/follow AF guidance), where would you like the expected, huge "booms" to occur? Place to learn how to operate a Nova class vehicle?

Where would be the least inexpensive to (re)build pad?

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: SpaceX Texas launch site Discussion and Updates - Thread 6
« Reply #95 on: 10/19/2017 01:28 am »
Also important to consider is that his comments were strictly about external/customer launch commitments and didn't mention that SpaceX has plans for a significant level of internal launches in support of their constellation.  If that project is pursued then having a 4th launch site may be more important than his comments made seem.

I thought the Constellation sats have to launch from Vandenberg. In this case an additional east coast pad wouldn't help.
Nope. Based on the listed inclinations from SpaceX's FCC filing, more than 70% of the sats for the full LEO constellation are going to orbital inclinations of 53o and 53.8o.  And all of the initial deployment is.  Those inclinations are reachable from the Eastern Range but I'm not sure whether they are from Vandenberg.  Look at the attached pic in this post from the FCC filing thread for the breakdown of inclinations and planes.  I'm not sure for the VLEO part.     

But the result is that SpaceX may be using up a lot of their Eastern launch opportunities internally and so moving a bunch of GTO launches to Boca Chica could be very useful if they are able. 

(this is all assuming that the constellation is delivered via F9/FH, let's not further divert discussion over BFR talk)
Your last bit is an extremely terrible assumption. Especially given the very compressed timescale that SpaceX wants for initial BFR deployment.
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Offline DreamyPickle

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Re: SpaceX Texas launch site Discussion and Updates - Thread 6
« Reply #96 on: 10/19/2017 02:04 am »
You might be reading too much into current approvals for stuff like number of launches. Maybe SpaceX just requested a number of launches based on their plans at the time and can request more. As for the noise levels in Boca Chica Village, doesn't it only have a few dozen people? It's not unrealistic to just pay everybody to move.

These problems could be solved for less than it would cost to add BFR capability to 39A.

Online envy887

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Re: SpaceX Texas launch site Discussion and Updates - Thread 6
« Reply #97 on: 10/19/2017 02:35 am »
Rumors and SpaceX comments aside, I can't make sense out of the claims that Boca Chica isn't needed for Falcon. Adapting 39A to BFR can't be a minor thing and any incident at 40 while 39A is down for changes would wipe out most Falcon launch capability for who knows how long. Counting on everything going exactly right is a well paved road to hell.
 Making a dual purpose site for Texas might cost a bit of money and time, but compared to revenue and credibility loss from both pads in Florida being unavailable for a few months for any reason, it would be minor.

SpaceX can't take 39A down for more than a month or two at a time, since they don't have any other options for for Crew, Heavy, and vertical integration. If they do add BFR there, it will have to be while F9 and Heavy are still operable off the pad.

Offline aero

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Re: SpaceX Texas launch site Discussion and Updates - Thread 6
« Reply #98 on: 10/19/2017 02:45 am »
You might be reading too much into current approvals for stuff like number of launches. Maybe SpaceX just requested a number of launches based on their plans at the time and can request more. As for the noise levels in Boca Chica Village, doesn't it only have a few dozen people? It's not unrealistic to just pay everybody to move.

These problems could be solved for less than it would cost to add BFR capability to 39A.

Now that's a thought. If preferred, you could just move the whole village down the road, buildings and all. Or give the residents the choice of moving, house and all, or moving into a newly constructed house in the newly sited village. But there must be a reason that the village was sited where it is in the first place, and not at that location down the road. That reason may be harder to recreate at the new site down the road.

Hate to invoke "eminent domain" but the state could do that, as could the county most likely, and maybe even the village.
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Online wannamoonbase

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Re: SpaceX Texas launch site Discussion and Updates - Thread 6
« Reply #99 on: 10/19/2017 03:01 am »
You might be reading too much into current approvals for stuff like number of launches. Maybe SpaceX just requested a number of launches based on their plans at the time and can request more. As for the noise levels in Boca Chica Village, doesn't it only have a few dozen people? It's not unrealistic to just pay everybody to move.

These problems could be solved for less than it would cost to add BFR capability to 39A.

Now that's a thought. If preferred, you could just move the whole village down the road, buildings and all. Or give the residents the choice of moving, house and all, or moving into a newly constructed house in the newly sited village. But there must be a reason that the village was sited where it is in the first place, and not at that location down the road. That reason may be harder to recreate at the new site down the road.

Hate to invoke "eminent domain" but the state could do that, as could the county most likely, and maybe even the village.

Eminent domain in Texas.  Good luck with that.

The easiest and most logical location for BFR is Florida. Existing facility, industry infrastructure and government payloads (which letís face it, will pay for this vehicle) are all there. 

Boca Chica is at best a little pace to test it. 
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