Author Topic: SpaceX Falcon 9 v1.1 - Jason 3 - SLC-4E Vandenberg - Jan 17, 2016 - DISCUSSION  (Read 428037 times)

Offline Skyrocket

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http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2012/jul/HQ_C12-029_RSLP-20_Launch_Services.html

Quote
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- NASA has selected Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) of Hawthorne, Calif., to launch the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Jason-3 spacecraft in December 2014 aboard a Falcon 9 v1.0 rocket from Complex 4 at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

It is interesting, that the press release specifies a Falcon 9 v1.0 launch vehicle. It was my impression, that the v1.0 was to be phased out after the fifth launch.

Resources:

SpaceX News Articles from 2006 (Including numerous exclusive Elon interviews):
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=21862.0

SpaceX News Articles (Recent):
http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/tag/spacex/

=--=

SpaceX GENERAL Forum Section:
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?board=45.0 - please use this for general questions NOT specific to this mission.

SpaceX MISSIONS Forum Section:
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?board=55.0 - this section is for everything specific to SpaceX missions.


=--=

L2 Members:

L2 SpaceX Section - Dedicated ALL VEHICLES (through to BFR/MCT) full section:
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?board=60.0

Dedicated L2 SpaceX Falcon 9 v1.1 - Jason-3 - Coverage:
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=37596.0
« Last Edit: 12/11/2015 04:57 PM by Chris Bergin »

Offline ugordan

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I wonder if it had to be a v1.0 in order to be even eligible for selection, now that it has flown 3 times.

Offline peter-b

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As I mentioned in the general discussion thread, I don't see how this is even possible. We know SpaceX has ceased production of Merlin 1C engines and Falcon 9 v1.0 stages in order to move to the more powerful/cost-efficient Falcon 9 v1.1, and the two remaining v1.0 stages are allocated to SpX-1 / SpX-2 CRS missions, so...  ???
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Offline gospacex

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As I mentioned in the general discussion thread, I don't see how this is even possible. We know SpaceX has ceased production of Merlin 1C engines

Can't they use Merlin 1D's in reduced thrust mode instead of 1C's?

Offline ugordan

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Someone mentioned the possibility of switching SpX-2 to v1.1 in another thread. While IMHO it's overly optimistic to expect v1.1 to be ready soon enough for SpX-2, from a performance standpoint it would kind of make sense. A loaded Dragon might be maxing out v1.0 performance while Jason-3 appears to be a very light payload, under 1000 kg.

Offline Ronsmytheiii

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Big news for SpaceX though, as this is their first non-COTS/CRS launch services contract for NASA.
« Last Edit: 07/17/2012 06:05 PM by Ronsmytheiii »
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Offline KSC Sage

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As I mentioned in the general discussion thread, I don't see how this is even possible. We know SpaceX has ceased production of Merlin 1C engines and Falcon 9 v1.0 stages in order to move to the more powerful/cost-efficient Falcon 9 v1.1, and the two remaining v1.0 stages are allocated to SpX-1 / SpX-2 CRS missions, so...  ???

There are three remaining F9 V1.0 stages.

Offline FinalFrontier

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As I mentioned in the general discussion thread, I don't see how this is even possible. We know SpaceX has ceased production of Merlin 1C engines

Can't they use Merlin 1D's in reduced thrust mode instead of 1C's?

No. Also selection was probably 1.0 due to flight record existing for that vehicle and none existing for the new engine, as it has not flown yet.

Potentially the vehicle will be switched to 1.1 in the future but its unlikely.
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Offline Comga

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As I mentioned in the general discussion thread, I don't see how this is even possible. We know SpaceX has ceased production of Merlin 1C engines

Can't they use Merlin 1D's in reduced thrust mode instead of 1C's?

No. Also selection was probably 1.0 due to flight record existing for that vehicle and none existing for the new engine, as it has not flown yet.

Potentially the vehicle will be switched to 1.1 in the future but its unlikely.

By the time of the announced Dec 2014 launch date for Jason, SpaceX should have flown 15 Falcon 9 V1.1's by my count. (give or take a few shufflings because of the "hardware at launch site" vs "NET launch date" issue and not counting the Falcon Heavy)  A Falcon 9 V1.0 will seem positively antique by then. 
What kind of wastrels would dump a perfectly good booster in the ocean after just one use?

Offline baldusi

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You need the successful flights before you can start certification. It takes about one year. And I don't remember, but you need to have it certified some time before launch.
v1.1 certification will be faster because they can do a sort of delta from v1.0. But they will still need the three launches for Category 3, 6 for Category 2, and 14 for Category 1. They can do it with less launches but that would mean opening the kimono in a way I don't expect SpaceX to yield. The only question currently on the air, I think, is ICES 2. And that's at least a Category 2 satellite.
Who knows, may be, for the end of 2014 they will have 6 consecutive successful v1.1 launches.

Offline robertross

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Big news for SpaceX though, as this is their first non-COTS/CRS launch services contract for NASA.

Indeed. Great news for them
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Offline Robotbeat

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As I mentioned in the general discussion thread, I don't see how this is even possible. We know SpaceX has ceased production of Merlin 1C engines and Falcon 9 v1.0 stages in order to move to the more powerful/cost-efficient Falcon 9 v1.1, and the two remaining v1.0 stages are allocated to SpX-1 / SpX-2 CRS missions, so...  ???

There are three remaining F9 V1.0 stages.

I take it you're saying this with authority, correct?
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Offline Ronsmytheiii

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The only question currently on the air, I think, is ICES 2. And that's at least a Category 2 satellite.

There is also the USAF/NOAA Deep Space Climate Observatory:

http://spacenews.com/military/120601-spacex-expects-military-payloads.html

« Last Edit: 07/18/2012 02:16 AM by Ronsmytheiii »
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Offline simonbp

Potentially the vehicle will be switched to 1.1 in the future but its unlikely.

Do you have any concrete reason for why it is unlikely? Is the CRS contract having to be renegotiated for 1.1? This is no different from any other vehicle upgrade. NASA has bought a launch on a "Falcon 9", which will be launched on the most convenient version of that vehicle. By 2014, that will be probably be 1.1, but at the moment they have to say 1.0 until 1.1 flies enough. Also, for risk reduction, they have to design to 1.0 performance specs.

Still, this is a really big deal. At the first opportunity since the third flight, NASA has selected Falcon over Atlas and Delta. It will be interesting to see how the non-military launch contracts play out over the next few years. It may be that the EELVs effectively become exclusively USAF/NRO vehicles.
« Last Edit: 08/19/2012 04:30 AM by simonbp »

Offline Jim

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It may be that the EELVs effectively become exclusively USAF/NRO vehicles.

That won't happen

Offline oldAtlas_Eguy

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It may be that the EELVs effectively become exclusively USAF/NRO vehicles.

That won't happen

+1, and here is some of reasons why.

Although a little off topic below addresses why the Atlas V and F9 have such a cost difference. Plus for a NASA contract the payload integration, paperwork, and generally dealing with NASA costs for SpaceX is shown to be about $30M. ULAís price for this should be similar although its highly possible SpaceX underbid this effort due to lack of experience doing these tasks. This would make the price for the standard Atlas V <$135M before this extra services cost is added.

There are three items that are an economic thorn in the Atlas V price: vertical vehicle integration vs horizontal vehicle integration, in-house production vs outsourcing, and the costs of the 2nd stage.

First letís examine the costs of the two first stages. The engines costs of the RD-180 vs 9 M1Dís is nearly the same and the tank production is only slightly more for the Atlas than for the F9 making the cost difference due to the first stage minimal. In fact the Atlas V 1st stage cost could be less than F9ís due to such a cheap RD-180 cost. Here the in-house vs outsource cost difference has some effect and could make the Atlas V 1st stage easily cheaper than the F9 1st stage by bringing some of the more expensive 1st Stage components in-house.

Next letís examine the 2nd stages costs. The Centaurís tanks are cheaper to manufacture than F9ís, which is why they are still made the way they are and even future upgrades are still proposed for using stainless steel balloon tank structures. But this makes ground handling of these tanks slightly more difficult and expensive than a rigid tank so itís mostly a wash when it comes to costs. The avionics suite although very similar has a major difference that affects costs in a large way. The Centaur uses rad hard space qualified components throughout in a redundant system. F9 uses more modern off the shelf commercial components in a redundant system. The reliability difference between the two is not very much but the costs difference is significant. Most of the reliability is gained through the architecture not the reliability of the individual parts. This is true for operations taking place at LEO altitudes but not for GEO altitudes. Centaur unlike the F9 2nd stage actually performs operations/burns at GEO altitudes requiring the more radiation tolerant components. This gives an advantage to Atlas V/ Centaur for use in most BEO and some GEO missions over the F9. But for the rest of the payloads this double or triple the cost of the avionics is not warranted.

Also on the Centaur the extremely high cost of the RL-10 possibly now higher than $40M (in 2010 they were priced at $38M) each vs the MVAC at less than $2M shows up the major cost contributor to the Atlas V. Also the high outsourcing of other Centaur systems and components adds some cost increase over similar systems on the F9 2nd stage such as avionics and RCS. Putting the cost of the Centaur at >$50M each for a single engine Centaur. A DEC would cost >$90M. The cost of the F9 2nd stage is probably <$15M. A $35-75M difference. ULA really needs to replace the RL-10 with a cheaper modern engine with somewhat same form-fit-function but costing <$5M each. One additional item about Centaur and that is there is a structural limit for payload size of about 9,000kg. It would require a thicker stainless steel tank and other structure improvements to compete for the heavy LEO payloads. The DEC would be made for heavier LEO payloads leaving the single engine Centaur for all other payloads below 9,000kg. There are some costs increases associated with this as well as a performance penalty due to increased dry weight, but performance loss for LEO is offset by the increased performance when using 2 engines (less gravity losses).

Last is the vertical vehicle integration vs horizontal vehicle integration. It has been argued back and forth which method is generally better overall and which is generally cheaper overall. If most of your launches are commercial satellites then horizontal will be much cheaper but still not half the cost, somewhere around a 20% cost savings. But if most of your launches are government, horizontal could cost more than vertical due to the payload handling requirements, specialized jigs, etc.

ULA could become very competitive price wise for any government contracts and even commercial if they do a few cost reduction items: replace the RL-10 on the ACES replacing the Centaur (it has cost savings all over the place making its costs about even with that of the F9 2nd stage) and produce parts/components in-house that no longer have qualified sources. Doing this could get the price of an Atlas V down to $80M or $75M making it price competitive with Proton and depending on what the customer wants competitive with F9.

ULA payloads most at risk being lost to SpaceX are LEO payloads, even then SpaceX would probably only pick up about 50% of those in order to maintain space access assurance because most of the LEO launches are out of VAFB whereas the GEO, MEO, and BEO are out of the Cape with only a very few LEO launches.



Offline mmeijeri

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ULA really needs to replace the RL-10 with a cheaper modern engine with somewhat same form-fit-function but costing <$5M each.

I've read that if produced in quantity RL-10 could be "as cheap as a helicopter engine", which would seem to fit your requirement. I wonder if a merger between ULA and the newly combined Rocketdyne / Aerojet could help.
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Offline oldAtlas_Eguy

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ULA really needs to replace the RL-10 with a cheaper modern engine with somewhat same form-fit-function but costing <$5M each.

I've read that if produced in quantity RL-10 could be "as cheap as a helicopter engine", which would seem to fit your requirement. I wonder if a merger between ULA and the newly combined Rocketdyne / Aerojet could help.

To be able to be produced "in quantity" the parts would need to be redesigned so that they could be manufactured on automated systems which would basicly be a new engine anyway.

Offline mmeijeri

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To be able to be produced "in quantity" the parts would need to be redesigned so that they could be manufactured on automated systems which would basicly be a new engine anyway.

I don't recall who said that (Gary Hudson?), but your reply suggests that you disagree with it.
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Offline oldAtlas_Eguy

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To be able to be produced "in quantity" the parts would need to be redesigned so that they could be manufactured on automated systems which would basicly be a new engine anyway.

I don't recall who said that (Gary Hudson?), but your reply suggests that you disagree with it.

From Gen Shelton's testimony before Congress he states the RL-10 manufacturing process is largly a by-hand process using not much better than hand tools. Also the way the parts are designed, using automated manufacturing for these parts would prove to be very difficult. So until the parts are redesigned your stuck with the high costs due to such a high manpower intensive process. Produceing higher quantities this way will not help very much.

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