Author Topic: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?  (Read 6921 times)

Offline Dave G

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #40 on: 12/16/2017 05:16 PM »
By the way, for Falcon reusability, here's another point Gwynne made at Standord:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/jurvetson/37659376821
Quote
Fairings have been recovered. We expect recovery will be good enough to start regularly reusing them in the first six months of next year.

So again, this may be a case where Falcon reusability helps accelerate BFR.  The SpaceX composites team that builds the payload fairings would be freed up to work on BFR.

Also, if I'm not mistaken, this means the only expendable parts left are Falcon upper stages and Dragon trunks.  Neither of these are huge, so it would be quite possible for SpaceX to stock a bunch of these in a warehouse somewhere.

Offline RonM

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #41 on: 12/16/2017 06:45 PM »
This seems unlikely.
The rate of production for F9S2 and D2  is an order of magnitude slower at the moment than would be required to do that over one year.
It also puts a massive workforce into building S2s...

There is a risk in trying to rush a massive pre-prepared stock of equipment, at least initially this strategy would require probably more investment than continuing on at the existing pace and moving most of the people working on the first stage over.

What you say makes sense, but it doesn't seem to agree with what Elon said in September.

Spacifically, Elon said:
Quote
"So then getting back to the question of how do we pay for this system, this is really quite a profound — I won't call it breakthrough, but realization that if we can build a system that cannibalizes our own products, makes our own products redundant, then all of the resources, which are quite enormous, that are used for Falcon 9, Heavy, and Dragon, can be applied to one system.

Some of our customers are conservative and they want to see BFR fly several times before they're comfortable launching in it, so what we plan to do is to build ahead, and have a stock of Falcon 9 and Dragon vehicles, so that customers can be comfortable if they want to use the old rocket, the old spacecraft, they can do that, we'll have a bunch in stock. But then all of our resources will then turn towards building BFR. And we believe that we can do this with the revenue we receive for launching satellites and for servicing the space station."
(emphasis mine)

The way I read this, Elon's intent is quite clear.

If they were planning to build Falcon upper stages for many years, he would have said most of our resources will then turn towards building BFR, not all.

Once the first test BFRs are complete, SpaceX can return to F9 production if needed, say if testing takes longer than anticipated.

Offline Dave G

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #42 on: 12/16/2017 08:20 PM »
Once the first test BFRs are complete, SpaceX can return to F9 production if needed, say if testing takes longer than anticipated.

Agreed.

At Stanford, Gwynne confirmed that SpaceX will build BFR at a new facility, still somewhere in the Los Angeles area, but somewhere near water. Note that there's a whole other thread speculating exactly where that is.
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=43871.40

So I'm assuming they'll leave the F9 assembly line in place at Hawthorne, and set up the BFR manufacturing equipment at the new facility nearby.

If BFR runs into major issues, or if they fail to recover a lot of F9 stages, they can always revive the F9 production line at Hawthorne.  That's "plan B".

But if all goes well, I suspect BFR will happen sooner than many people think.
« Last Edit: 12/16/2017 08:36 PM by Dave G »

Offline wannamoonbase

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #43 on: 12/16/2017 10:23 PM »
Florida
Excited to be finally into the first Falcon Heavy flow, we are getting so close!

Offline geza

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #44 on: 12/17/2017 08:12 AM »
I think testing of BFS/BFR will be VERY different from anything we have seen in rocketry. In case of expendable rockets, it is difficult to afford too many test flights before the first operational one. So, risk-taking is unavoidable. In contrast, BFX vechicles are designed for many flights. They are expensive to build, but cheap to test flight. It is difficult to afford to loose any of them, both in time and money. Therefore, I expect a very-very incremental test regime with many-many test flights.

Many static fires, with small number of enginges first, then with more. Continue with many small hops to minuscule heights and sitting back to the launch mount. A few cemtimeters first, then meters. Maybe, almost-liftoffs preceed the cm hops. When sitting back from a few (few tens) of meters are routine already, they start with tests, that looks to rocket launch. Vertical upps and downs, Grashopper style - but back to the launch mount. When vertical flights are OK, then horizontal translation, and back. Finally, ballistic trajectory with retrofire to fly back. With BFR only first, then with mass simulators. Only after all of these will they try to launch with BFS on top with the expectation of BFS flying away - either to orbit, or to abort. (BFS will have troughtfully tested by that time.)

Testing, like an airplne? Actualy, "more so". In airplane testing there is no such thing, as initial small hop. You either stop before the end of the runway, or ascend to a safe height to fly around. The common thing is that you do NOT want to lose the test article (and the crew, when applicable).

Implicatiosn for the site? The lauch mount is continuously occupied by the BFR. No such things, as landing elsewhere initially. Actually, they will want to co-develop and co-test the rocket & the ground equipment that allows lanuch & recovery. Therefore, they must build a true BFR lauch pad parelell with building the rocket and test them together. Boca Chica, per hint by Gwynne. I don't know about the permissions...

Offline speedevil

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #45 on: 12/17/2017 11:45 AM »
I think testing of BFS/BFR will be VERY different from anything we have seen in rocketry. In case of expendable rockets, it is difficult to afford too many test flights before the first operational one. So, risk-taking is unavoidable. In contrast, BFX vechicles are designed for many flights. They are expensive to build, but cheap to test flight. It is difficult to afford to loose any of them, both in time and money. Therefore, I expect a very-very incremental test regime with many-many test flights.

It is very, very weird compared with normal rockets.
Normal rockets have much of a decade before they get to be called reliable.

If you have a non-reentry capable overweight hopper, that can have done dozens of test landings on a fixture to raise confidence and refine aero properties in the months it takes you to do the first flight-weight BFS.
That first BFS can then have done many dozens of hops, including all the way to orbit with light payloads (Starlink) before BFR is ready.

This only works well if rapid reuse actually works, and works well, the BFR/S can be constructed without cycle life and operational reliability issues, and the construction of BFR/S is sufficiently cheap and fast that it can be paid for with early Starlink revenues allowing rapid deployment of the full constellation.

That can lead to a really quite fast test program that rapidly gets to the point where suddenly you can say things after a couple of months of testing of a vehicle that you'd have to wait for most of a decade normally for.

( http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=43920.msg1757581#msg1757581 )

Testing noise becomes rather more of an issue.
A site that will put up with occasional booms and launches once every month or two may have a dramatically different view when you want to launch twice a day for a month.

Offline geza

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #46 on: 12/17/2017 01:51 PM »
Testing noise becomes rather more of an issue.
A site that will put up with occasional booms and launches once every month or two may have a dramatically different view when you want to launch twice a day for a month.

Exactly. This issue probably mandate an off-shore launch/landing plaform, as we saw in the P2P video, from the very beginning.

Offline wannamoonbase

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #47 on: 12/17/2017 02:57 PM »
Testing noise becomes rather more of an issue.
A site that will put up with occasional booms and launches once every month or two may have a dramatically different view when you want to launch twice a day for a month.

Exactly. This issue probably mandate an off-shore launch/landing platform, as we saw in the P2P video, from the very beginning.

The Cape area use to see a shuttle launch every 1-2 months.

I fully admit I may be wrong, but given the land area and clearance required, and industry and work force infrastructure only Florida makes sense and it should be more affordable.

BFR testing may have some limited exceptions. 

Excited to be finally into the first Falcon Heavy flow, we are getting so close!

Offline Dave G

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #48 on: 12/17/2017 04:08 PM »
This only works well if rapid reuse actually works, and works well, the BFR/S can be constructed without cycle life and operational reliability issues, and the construction of BFR/S is sufficiently cheap and fast that it can be paid for with early Starlink revenues allowing rapid deployment of the full constellation.

SpaceX is planning BFR missions to Mars in September 2022.

Starlink won't start generating revenue until well after that.

Also, in September, Elon said they'll fund BFR with the money they get for launching satellites and servicing the ISS. No mention of Starlink as a source of BFR funding.
http://www.businessinsider.com/elon-musk-mars-iac-2017-transcript-slides-2017-10/#-25
Quote
So then getting back to the question of how do we pay for this system, this is really quite a profound — I won't call it breakthrough, but realization that if we can build a system that cannibalizes our own products, makes our own products redundant, then all of the resources, which are quite enormous, that are used for Falcon 9, Heavy, and Dragon, can be applied to one system.

Some of our customers are conservative and they want to see BFR fly several times before they're comfortable launching in it, so what we plan to do is to build ahead, and have a stock of Falcon 9 and Dragon vehicles, so that customers can be comfortable if they want to use the old rocket, the old spacecraft, they can do that, we'll have a bunch in stock. But then all of our resources will then turn towards building BFR. And we believe that we can do this with the revenue we receive for launching satellites and for servicing the space station.

Offline speedevil

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #49 on: 12/17/2017 09:26 PM »
Quote
Some of our customers are conservative and they want to see BFR fly several times before they're comfortable launching in it, so what we plan to do is to build ahead, and have a stock of Falcon 9 and Dragon vehicles, so that customers can be comfortable if they want to use the old rocket, the old spacecraft, they can do that, we'll have a bunch in stock. But then all of our resources will then turn towards building BFR. And we believe that we can do this with the revenue we receive for launching satellites and for servicing the space station.
This is consistent if Starlink was spun off.
Or if 'revenue from launching' includes revenue directly due to launching.

BFR is planned for 2022.
It is not clear how many satellites starlink requires for a minimum constellation.

It is not clear what starlinks ownership structure will be, and if launching satellites and a minimal functional constellation may explode the companies valuation and allow investment with a very minimal ownership to fund BFR massively.

Offline docmordrid

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #50 on: 12/17/2017 09:40 PM »
>
>
BFR is planned for 2022.
It is not clear how many satellites starlink requires for a minimum constellation.
>

~800, 2020/2021.

Link....

Quote
limited service beginning in 2020 or 2021 once ~800 satellites have been placed in Low Earth Orbit
« Last Edit: 12/17/2017 09:41 PM by docmordrid »
DM

Offline Dave G

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #51 on: 12/17/2017 10:55 PM »
BFR is planned for 2022.

To clarify, the first BFR Mars missions are planned for 2022.

This would presumably require multiple BFR test launches starting at least a year before that, i.e. in 2021.

Offline speedevil

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #52 on: Today at 01:33 AM »
BFR is planned for 2022.

To clarify, the first BFR Mars missions are planned for 2022.

This would presumably require multiple BFR test launches starting at least a year before that, i.e. in 2021.

Quite. http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=43920.msg1757581#msg1757581 - I did not want to go into full timings here, as I've done it in other threads.

Depending on meeting timings, and development plan, BFR/S development and Starlink being initially operational may overlap, before the 2022 window.
As mentioned upthread, Patricia Cooper, SpaceX’s VP of Satellite Government Affairs stated in October that initial operation may happen in 2020/21.
If this happens, then the valuation of the company that manages starlink could get really quite large indeed, and the perceived risk of investment could be quite small.
This would mean that >$5B of investment into Starlink, either in the form of shares, or selling bonds on future performance could have a minimal effect on ongoing revenue, and allow dramatic investment in BFR.

At this time, if everything is going right, there may be flying hardware of some form (hoppers, BFS, depending). That investment could pay for several operational BFR/BFS and pads on an accelerated schedule.

Even a strict reading where BFS/R development is only paid for by launches, if everything is going well, BFS could in principle be aiding with the launch campaign and getting revenue from that at the same time as testing.

If BFR is actually delayed, and Starlink is not, Starlink operation before the 2024 window may be nearly a full constellation.
It would be beyond odd if they have not considered various funding schemes for if BFR costs much more or less than expected to develop to a ready state, and if Starlink is delayed or not, and how the funding for these would be related.
Reading the words "cannibalise our own products" to mean that is the only possible source of funding seems counter to everything being said before.

I tried to put rough numbers on this, and came to the conclusion that constraining BFR/S flightrate in 2024 (manned mars date) to within two, perhaps three orders of magnitude is hard.

If BFR/S actually gets to the point of being rapidly reusable so much changes so fast both from a costing of a Mars launch in 2022 point of view and an external investment point of view that depending on your choices you can get tanker launches costing $100M or $2M.

Questions on here in 2022 could almost as easily be 'so, when will it really fly' or 'Where will the twentieth pad be'.
« Last Edit: Today at 01:35 AM by speedevil »

Offline meekGee

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #53 on: Today at 02:35 AM »
BFR is planned for 2022.

To clarify, the first BFR Mars missions are planned for 2022.

This would presumably require multiple BFR test launches starting at least a year before that, i.e. in 2021.

Quite. http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=43920.msg1757581#msg1757581 - I did not want to go into full timings here, as I've done it in other threads.

Depending on meeting timings, and development plan, BFR/S development and Starlink being initially operational may overlap, before the 2022 window.
As mentioned upthread, Patricia Cooper, SpaceX’s VP of Satellite Government Affairs stated in October that initial operation may happen in 2020/21.
If this happens, then the valuation of the company that manages starlink could get really quite large indeed, and the perceived risk of investment could be quite small.
This would mean that >$5B of investment into Starlink, either in the form of shares, or selling bonds on future performance could have a minimal effect on ongoing revenue, and allow dramatic investment in BFR.

At this time, if everything is going right, there may be flying hardware of some form (hoppers, BFS, depending). That investment could pay for several operational BFR/BFS and pads on an accelerated schedule.

Even a strict reading where BFS/R development is only paid for by launches, if everything is going well, BFS could in principle be aiding with the launch campaign and getting revenue from that at the same time as testing.

If BFR is actually delayed, and Starlink is not, Starlink operation before the 2024 window may be nearly a full constellation.
It would be beyond odd if they have not considered various funding schemes for if BFR costs much more or less than expected to develop to a ready state, and if Starlink is delayed or not, and how the funding for these would be related.
Reading the words "cannibalise our own products" to mean that is the only possible source of funding seems counter to everything being said before.

I tried to put rough numbers on this, and came to the conclusion that constraining BFR/S flightrate in 2024 (manned mars date) to within two, perhaps three orders of magnitude is hard.

If BFR/S actually gets to the point of being rapidly reusable so much changes so fast both from a costing of a Mars launch in 2022 point of view and an external investment point of view that depending on your choices you can get tanker launches costing $100M or $2M.

Questions on here in 2022 could almost as easily be 'so, when will it really fly' or 'Where will the twentieth pad be'.

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Offline SPITexas

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #54 on: Today at 03:33 AM »
My vote also goes for Boca Chica to launch the BFR it is proposed site

Offline Cheapchips

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Re: Where will BFR launch from first? and When will that be?
« Reply #55 on: Today at 08:25 AM »

I don't know how they'd get round the noise issue at Texas?  I'm going to interpret Gwynne's BFR Texas comments to mean BFS testing, since that'd only be as noisy as an F9?

I'll vote 39a for booster static fires and full stack testing. Initial landings on a mount on either LZ1 or OCISLY.

It helps with bidding on Luna missions if they're at the cape. It's also historic.  :)

Late 2020 for first full launch.

Don't see that they'd be a need for booster grasshopper equivelent. The three raptor BFS should test the key components shouldn't it?



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