Author Topic: SpaceX complete PDR on LAS  (Read 53822 times)

Offline majormajor42

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 525
  • Liked: 43
  • Likes Given: 221
Re: SpaceX complete PDR on LAS
« Reply #40 on: 10/20/2011 07:44 pm »
It's revolutionary in that it may eventually allow powered vertical landing (and not just a cushioning burst like the Soyuz has) and it's reusable (and doesn't have a critical jettison event) and its propellant is used for on-orbit maneuvering.

when I initially read the release, it was the reusable, liquid, integrated, multipurpose nature of their LAS that I took for being revolutionary. So I think it is significant that NASA has approved this design and that is worthy of the press release.

Have any other non-tower tractor LAS's been approved yet? Blue Origin?

Now, considering that we can all agree that we want the American HSF gap to be as small as possible (although we may differ on how we think that should be accomplished) I wonder if this pusher LAS is adding excessive time to closing the gap? SpaceX is ahead with their flying rocket and flying unmanned capsule for the time being. Will another group catch up, such as Boeing, with their design that uses proven tractor tower LAS technology? If SpaceX was purely focused on closing the gap, in addition to everything else they have to do, would using a tractor system help launch people sooner?

I also wonder if this new Dragon LAS design has been designed looking ahead to also satisfying the needs of a manned Dragon capsule riding on top of a FH? Does that change things much?
« Last Edit: 10/20/2011 07:46 pm by majormajor42 »
...water is life and it is out there, where we intend to go. I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man or machine on a body such as the Moon and harvest a cup of water for a human to drink or process into fuel for their craft.

Offline Jim

  • Night Gator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 32552
  • Cape Canaveral Spaceport
  • Liked: 11357
  • Likes Given: 335
Re: SpaceX complete PDR on LAS
« Reply #41 on: 10/20/2011 07:50 pm »
Will another group catch up, such as Boeing, with their design that uses proven tractor tower LAS technology? ?

Boeing is using a pusher

Offline majormajor42

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 525
  • Liked: 43
  • Likes Given: 221
Re: SpaceX complete PDR on LAS
« Reply #42 on: 10/20/2011 07:53 pm »
Will another group catch up, such as Boeing, with their design that uses proven tractor tower LAS technology? ?

Boeing is using a pusher

well, there goes that theory. Maybe I was thinking of Orion on top of an EELV. Thanks.
...water is life and it is out there, where we intend to go. I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man or machine on a body such as the Moon and harvest a cup of water for a human to drink or process into fuel for their craft.

Offline Namechange User

  • Elite Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7301
  • Liked: 0
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: SpaceX complete PDR on LAS
« Reply #43 on: 10/20/2011 07:58 pm »
So I think it is significant that NASA has approved this design and that is worthy of the press release.


NASA nor anyone has approved the design.  It was a component PDR. 
Enjoying viewing the forum a little better now by filtering certain users.

Offline Danny Dot

  • Rocket Scientist, NOT Retired
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2794
  • Houston, Texas
  • Liked: 15
  • Likes Given: 1
Re: SpaceX complete PDR on LAS
« Reply #44 on: 10/20/2011 08:00 pm »
Now that the Space Shuttle program has ended, the United States relies on the Russian Soyuz spacecraft for astronaut transport, costing American taxpayers as much as $62 million a seat. By comparison, Dragon is designed to carry seven astronauts at a time for an unparalleled $20 million per seat.
Hold on a second.  Right now, the Dragon is costing NASA $160 million per launch.  This statement implies that SpaceX is going to change $140 million for the upgraded Dragon with crew ability.  This does not add up to me.

Where did you get the 160M$ figure? Last I remember CRS was 80M$ per flight.

Quote
As was said - LAS is not a revolution, it's already there for 50 years or so
Where did you see a LAS type system 50 years ago?

Mercury (Gemini had ejection seats and no LAS.)
« Last Edit: 10/20/2011 08:01 pm by Danny Dot »
Danny Deger

Offline yg1968

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 9774
  • Liked: 1462
  • Likes Given: 887
Re: SpaceX complete PDR on LAS
« Reply #45 on: 10/20/2011 08:02 pm »
Now that the Space Shuttle program has ended, the United States relies on the Russian Soyuz spacecraft for astronaut transport, costing American taxpayers as much as $62 million a seat. By comparison, Dragon is designed to carry seven astronauts at a time for an unparalleled $20 million per seat.
Hold on a second.  Right now, the Dragon is costing NASA $160 million per launch.  This statement implies that SpaceX is going to change $140 million for the upgraded Dragon with crew ability.  This does not add up to me.

Where did you get the 160M$ figure? Last I remember CRS was 80M$ per flight.

CRS is $133 million per launch. This was negotiated before SpaceX found that the Dragon could be reused. Future cargo resupply contracts would likely be cheaper if they include reusability.

koraldon - SpaceX's LAS design actually is groundbreaking. Show me who the Russians are charging $15 million per seat NOW. I don't care what their prices were 10 years ago before a host of major factors changed. You don't seem to understand the point of a press release; it's to present a company's achievement in a positive way. Russia is not blackmailing NASA, it simply learned capitalism.

You are right about the price. It was $1.6B for 12 flights and I am not sure if that includes the price for downmass.
http://www.nasa.gov/offices/c3po/home/CRS-Announcement-Dec-08.html

As far as the reusibility, I believe that NASA did not want to take any chances and did not want re-used Dragons.  I am not sure what SpaceX will do with its old Dragons.
« Last Edit: 10/20/2011 08:30 pm by yg1968 »

Offline clongton

  • Expert
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10679
  • Connecticut
    • Direct Launcher
  • Liked: 2871
  • Likes Given: 1150
Re: SpaceX complete PDR on LAS
« Reply #46 on: 10/20/2011 08:06 pm »
As far as the reusibility, I believe that NASA did not want to take any chances and did not want re-used Dragons.  I am not sure what SpaceX will do with its old Dragons.

Elon has lots of plans for space that do not include NASA. His reusable Dragons will find a home for all his commercial and personal ventures, paid for by NASA. Effective thinking and just plain good business to get somebody else to pay for your hardware.
Chuck - DIRECT co-founder
I started my career on the Saturn-V F-1A engine

Offline yg1968

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 9774
  • Liked: 1462
  • Likes Given: 887
Re: SpaceX complete PDR on LAS
« Reply #47 on: 10/20/2011 08:08 pm »
Yes you are right. I think that's where DragonLab comes into play.

Offline renclod

  • Extreme Veteran
  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1671
  • EU.Ro
  • Liked: 16
  • Likes Given: 2
Re: SpaceX complete PDR on LAS
« Reply #48 on: 10/20/2011 08:30 pm »
... (Current SAA does not provide for integrated vehicle PDR ....)

Patience... is a virtue.

My question is, will NASA buy an integrated Dragon design that does not provide for main landing parachutes ?


Offline Lars_J

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6161
  • California
  • Liked: 665
  • Likes Given: 195
Re: SpaceX complete PDR on LAS
« Reply #49 on: 10/20/2011 08:35 pm »
... (Current SAA does not provide for integrated vehicle PDR ....)

Patience... is a virtue.

My question is, will NASA buy an integrated Dragon design that does not provide for main landing parachutes ?

Which Dragon design does not have a main parachute??

Offline manboy

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2082
  • Texas, USA, Earth
  • Liked: 127
  • Likes Given: 539
Re: SpaceX complete PDR on LAS
« Reply #50 on: 10/20/2011 08:45 pm »
As with all SpaceX designs, increased safety and reliability are paramount. "Dragon’s integrated launch abort system provides astronauts with the ability to safely escape from the beginning of the launch until the rocket reaches orbit,” explained David Giger, co-lead of the DragonRider program. “This level of protection is unprecedented in manned spaceflight history.”
You've gotta love them making names (DragonRider). But was it necessary to make such outrageous claim of what's sort of standard feature of any currently flying or about to fly crew vehicle? In fact, save for the Shuttle, Voskhod and Gemini, I think has always been a standard feature.
I believe the reasoning is that on Mercury, Apollo, Soyuz, and Shenzhou the launch abort system separation adds risk to the mission.

SpaceX should really replace it's PR team with all the false facts they put there..... I mean, marketing always tend to lie about engineering capabilities, but not in such a blatant and incompetent way.

As was said - LAS is not a revolution, it's already there for 50 years or so... This is a basic capability for a capsule based manned spacecraft, which was required from them.
You're misinterpreting the press release.
« Last Edit: 10/20/2011 08:47 pm by manboy »
"Cheese has been sent into space before. But the same cheese has never been sent into space twice." - StephenB

Offline Danny Dot

  • Rocket Scientist, NOT Retired
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2794
  • Houston, Texas
  • Liked: 15
  • Likes Given: 1
Re: SpaceX complete PDR on LAS
« Reply #51 on: 10/20/2011 08:47 pm »
SpaceX should really replace it's PR team with all the false facts they put there..... I mean, marketing always tend to lie about engineering capabilities, but not in such a blatant and incompetent way.

As was said - LAS is not a revolution, it's already there for 50 years or so... This is a basic capability for a capsule based manned spacecraft, which was required from them.
Good that they made the PDR, it is still a long way off from development completion, wish them success - but really stop the empty boasting / lies on press releases.


The original post does not claim that LAS is a revolution anywhere.  It says this:

Quote
"Dragon’s integrated launch abort system provides astronauts with the ability to safely escape from the beginning of the launch until the rocket reaches orbit,” explained David Giger, co-lead of the DragonRider program. “This level of protection is unprecedented in manned spaceflight history.”

What they are saying is that the integrated nature of the LAS provides escape from launch to orbit.  A LAS that requires jettisoning means you lose that capability after that point in the flight.  If I recall correctly, in other launchers/capsules, that jettison happens well before orbit is reached.

Please correct me if I'm mistaking in my interpretation of what I'm reading here, or if my facts are wrong.


A good rule of thumb is to get rid of it once out of the atmosphere - where the risk of breakup and explosions goes down.  Abort is still an option using much less thrust using RCS and/or SM engine.  Taking the LAS to orbit hurts performance - a lot.
Danny Deger

Offline Cherokee43v6

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 702
  • Garner, NC
  • Liked: 272
  • Likes Given: 109
Re: SpaceX complete PDR on LAS
« Reply #52 on: 10/20/2011 08:49 pm »

As far as the reusibility, I believe that NASA did not want to take any chances and did not want re-used Dragons.  I am not sure what SpaceX will do with its old Dragons.

Well, he has at least two Dragonlab missions on the books.

While it is not written anywhere I think NASA would want him to prove 'safe' reusability before they would consider allowing him to perform multiple missions to the ISS with a Dragon.
"I didn't open the can of worms...
        ...I just pointed at it and laughed a little too loudly."

Offline Cherokee43v6

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 702
  • Garner, NC
  • Liked: 272
  • Likes Given: 109
Re: SpaceX complete PDR on LAS
« Reply #53 on: 10/20/2011 08:55 pm »

A good rule of thumb is to get rid of it once out of the atmosphere - where the risk of breakup and explosions goes down.  Abort is still an option using much less thrust using RCS and/or SM engine.  Taking the LAS to orbit hurts performance - a lot.

Ah... the difference between having 'great' performance or meerly having 'good enough' performance.

Early on, Elon talked about his rocket's design philosophy.  The idea was to make it robust and simple, not to make it on the bleeding edge of performance.  SpaceX made a conscious decision to trade total mass to orbit in exchange for things like reusability.  Sure, they could strip out their extra margin and increase the total tonnage they could launch per F9, but that makes the rocket much more expensive due to tighter tolerances and more intensive quality control proceedures to make up for the loss of robustness in the vehicle.

Their decision to use a pusher/reusable LAS definitely fits within this philosophy.
"I didn't open the can of worms...
        ...I just pointed at it and laughed a little too loudly."

Offline joek

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3080
  • Liked: 842
  • Likes Given: 423
Re: SpaceX complete PDR on LAS
« Reply #54 on: 10/20/2011 09:00 pm »
CRS is $133 million per launch. This was negotiated before SpaceX found that the Dragon could be reused. Future cargo resupply contracts would likely be cheaper if they include reusability.

You are right about the price. It was $1.6B for 12 flights and I could be wrong but I believe that this price does not include the downmass option. Downmass is an option if I remember correctly that would increase the price.

As far as the reusibility, I believe that NASA did not want to take any chances and did not want re-used Dragons.  I am not sure what SpaceX will do with its old Dragons.

OT but for the record...

The contract pricing is nominally by mass.  Guaranteed minimum of 20mT total upmass; per/kg pricing "assumes cargo mass capacity fully utilized" (3310kg/flight combined up); if cargo is volume limited "per mission pricing applies", unclear if that means NASA pays for 3310kg/flight whether or not they use it.  There is also a base option for 3mT total downmass as part of the contract (up to 2500kg/flight), which presumably SpaceX accepted.

There is nothing in the CRS contract (at least the public part) that requires a new Dragon for each flight.  I believe the reason there aren't any refurb Dragons for CRS is that refurb cost/price was at the time unknown and unknowable; including reusability would have been a very high financial risk to SpaceX, and thus a high program risk to NASA.  In the original COTS proposal, SpaceX was pushing reusability but cautioned:
Quote
...the costs as proposed assume no reusability economics. Until a given launch system has flown several times and all costs are understood, it is very risky to make reusability cost assumptions.
As the CRS contract was signed before any F9/Dragon flights, presumably that logic and caution still held.

Offline yg1968

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 9774
  • Liked: 1462
  • Likes Given: 887
Re: SpaceX complete PDR on LAS
« Reply #55 on: 10/20/2011 09:14 pm »
CRS is $133 million per launch. This was negotiated before SpaceX found that the Dragon could be reused. Future cargo resupply contracts would likely be cheaper if they include reusability.

You are right about the price. It was $1.6B for 12 flights and I could be wrong but I believe that this price does not include the downmass option. Downmass is an option if I remember correctly that would increase the price.

As far as the reusibility, I believe that NASA did not want to take any chances and did not want re-used Dragons.  I am not sure what SpaceX will do with its old Dragons.

OT but for the record...

The contract pricing is nominally by mass.  Guaranteed minimum of 20mT total upmass; per/kg pricing "assumes cargo mass capacity fully utilized" (3310kg/flight combined up); if cargo is volume limited "per mission pricing applies", unclear if that means NASA pays for 3310kg/flight whether or not they use it.  There is also a base option for 3mT total downmass as part of the contract (up to 2500kg/flight), which presumably SpaceX accepted.

There is nothing in the CRS contract (at least the public part) that requires a new Dragon for each flight.  I believe the reason there aren't any refurb Dragons for CRS is that refurb cost/price was at the time unknown and unknowable; including reusability would have been a very high financial risk to SpaceX, and thus a high program risk to NASA.  In the original COTS proposal, SpaceX was pushing reusability but cautioned:
Quote
...the costs as proposed assume no reusability economics. Until a given launch system has flown several times and all costs are understood, it is very risky to make reusability cost assumptions.
As the CRS contract was signed before any F9/Dragon flights, presumably that logic and caution still held.

Thanks but I am still confused as to whether the amount of $1.6B includes the downmass option or if that option is extra. I haven't seen anything conclusive on this. I believe that it is extra because the NASA press release does not mention downmass but I could be wrong.
« Last Edit: 10/20/2011 09:15 pm by yg1968 »

Offline joek

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3080
  • Liked: 842
  • Likes Given: 423
Re: SpaceX complete PDR on LAS
« Reply #56 on: 10/20/2011 09:25 pm »
Thanks but I am still confused as to whether the amount of $1.6B includes the downmass option or if that option is extra. I haven't seen anything conclusive on this. I believe that it is extra because the NASA press release does not mention downmass but I could be wrong.

I believe it includes 3mT downmass; beyond that (as beyond 20mT up), it would be extra.  I can't state that with certainty (key part redacted), but unless there were serious doubts about Dragon's reentry capabilities, there's no reason for SpaceX not to sign up for it as it increases the contract value (pg 5):
Quote
If the contract includes the acceptance of Sub-CLIN 0001AC, an additional guaranteed minimum value of this contract is increased by the negotiated value of 3,000 kg (3 MT) of Return Cargo Downmass, based on the values established in Clause I.A.4.

Offline yg1968

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 9774
  • Liked: 1462
  • Likes Given: 887
Re: SpaceX complete PDR on LAS
« Reply #57 on: 10/20/2011 09:36 pm »
Thanks but I am still confused as to whether the amount of $1.6B includes the downmass option or if that option is extra. I haven't seen anything conclusive on this. I believe that it is extra because the NASA press release does not mention downmass but I could be wrong.

I believe it includes 3mT downmass; beyond that (as beyond 20mT up), it would be extra.  I can't state that with certainty (key part redacted), but unless there were serious doubts about Dragon's reentry capabilities, there's no reason for SpaceX not to sign up for it as it increases the contract value (pg 5):
Quote
If the contract includes the acceptance of Sub-CLIN 0001AC, an additional guaranteed minimum value of this contract is increased by the negotiated value of 3,000 kg (3 MT) of Return Cargo Downmass, based on the values established in Clause I.A.4.

Right but how do we know if Sub-CLIN 0001AC was picked up by SpaceX in December 2008 and if it was picked up by SpaceX in December 2008 at what price was it picked up. The fact that the NASA press release only mentions upmass makes me think that the downmass option is not included in the $1.6B amount but as I said I don't know that for sure. If I remember correctly, Orbital's contract is almost identical and also has the downmass option.

Offline renclod

  • Extreme Veteran
  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1671
  • EU.Ro
  • Liked: 16
  • Likes Given: 2
Re: SpaceX complete PDR on LAS
« Reply #58 on: 10/20/2011 09:52 pm »


My question is, will NASA buy an integrated Dragon design that does not provide for main landing parachutes ?

Which Dragon design does not have a main parachute??

Sorry, bad phrasing.

I was looking at this:
"Over time, the same escape thrusters will also provide Dragon with the ability to land with pinpoint accuracy on Earth"
 also this:
"The new launch abort system provides crew with emergency escape capability throughout the entire flight and returns with the spacecraft, allowing for easy reuse."

"easy reuse" + "pinpoint accuracy" in my mind equates with land landing w/o parachutes = under retro thrust from the abort system.

The parachutes are dead weight when landing on thrusters, right ? they may as well jettison the parachutes before igniting the thrusters - except for reuseability, yes.

But even if you carry them on board, you don't have parachutes available for deceleration, when you land on thrusters.

And I wonder when/if NASA will agree to (and pay for) a capsule landing on thrusters, design.


Offline joek

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3080
  • Liked: 842
  • Likes Given: 423
Re: SpaceX complete PDR on LAS
« Reply #59 on: 10/20/2011 09:53 pm »
Right but how do we know if Sub-CLIN 0001AC was picked up by SpaceX in December 2008 and if it was picked up by SpaceX in December 2008 at what price was it picked up. The fact that the NASA press release only mentions upmass makes me think that the downmass option is not included in the $1.6B amount but as I said I don't know that for sure. If I remember correctly, Orbital's contract is almost identical and also has the downmass option.

As mentioned, can't say for certain that the downmass option was picked up with SpaceX.  However, we know it wasn't with OSC and I'd expect to see the same annotation in the SpaceX contract as with OSC if it wasn't (pg. 1, emphasis added):
Quote
If the contract includes the acceptance of Sub-CL1N0001AE, an additional guaranteed minimum value of this contract is increased by the negotiated value of 3,000 kg (3 MT) of Return Cargo Downmass, based on the values established in Clause I.A.4 (at award, the Government declined Sub-CLIN0001AE).

edit: clarify basis for SpaceX downmass option.
« Last Edit: 10/20/2011 10:08 pm by joek »

Tags: