Author Topic: Reusable Falcon Heavy vice Skylon.  (Read 12110 times)

Online aero

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Reusable Falcon Heavy vice Skylon.
« on: 12/26/2012 05:20 PM »
I was just thinking about the cost of Falcon Heavy launches, and it occurs to me that maybe a reusable FH would cost significantly less than a Skylon.

What are the odds of SpaceX adopting the REL Skylon marketing concept by selling reusable FH's to the end user? "Odds" might be the wrong word since I mean to ask about how the two vehicles might compare in that market.
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Offline Lars_J

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Re: Reusable Falcon Heavy vice Skylon.
« Reply #1 on: 12/26/2012 07:41 PM »
Not. Gonna. Happen.
(And it won't for Skylon either)

Offline StephenB

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Re: Reusable Falcon Heavy vice Skylon.
« Reply #2 on: 12/26/2012 07:49 PM »
Maybe it's the size of the market that determines it. I don't see the space launch market having an equivalent to Boeing for aircraft anytime soon with current or near term launch rates.

Online joek

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Re: Reusable Falcon Heavy vice Skylon.
« Reply #3 on: 12/26/2012 08:53 PM »
What are the odds of SpaceX adopting the REL Skylon marketing concept by selling reusable FH's to the end user?

About the same odds as Boeing selling Minuteman III's or ULA selling Atlas V's.  Or the number of wannabe launch providers who don't have a launch vehicle but have several hundred million to invest in the requisite infrastructure and operations, and who are willing to operate the system at a loss for the foreseeable future, and who are not already heavily invested in their own development programs (sovereign or otherwise), and who would be immune to US pressure to forego such operations or would not be restricted by ITAR, yadda, yadda, yadda...

In short: Zero.

Online Robotbeat

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Re: Reusable Falcon Heavy vice Skylon.
« Reply #4 on: 12/27/2012 02:48 AM »
Not. Gonna. Happen.
(And it won't for Skylon either)
I actually think I heard Elon suggest that SpaceX may do something sort of like that if their reusability goes really well. Can't remember when he said it, but it was within the last six months.
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Offline sanman

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Re: Reusable Falcon Heavy vice Skylon.
« Reply #5 on: 12/27/2012 03:05 AM »
But I thought Musk had made it clear that he was looking to eventually just become a manufacturer/supplier of vehicles, like a Boeing or Lockheed (or REL). So isn't that what the OP is talking about?

Offline Kharkov

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Re: Reusable Falcon Heavy vice Skylon.
« Reply #6 on: 12/27/2012 03:14 AM »
Skylon has been touted from the outset as being able to do 200 launches at least and a launch cost of 10 million dollars.

A reusable Falcon Heavy, if we assume it costs 100 million to build, would need all three first stages to be reused AND the upper stage would need to be reused.

One could imagine getting the outer cores back and reusing them... 5 times? which would bring their effective cost down to 5 million dollars each. The central core might be reused... 3 times? That's about 8 million plus change but I'll round down. Getting the upper stage back? Err, probably not soon on that one.

Already, we've got the cost down to 25 (upper stage, non-reusable) million, 10 million (2x outer cores), and 8 million (the inner core) which adds up to...

43 million dollars.

If we're going to have this discussion, we need to decide (or debate about) which bits of the FH can/could/will be reused and how often with an additional discussion about the extra costs of reusing bits (refurbishing costs etc).

They we can get a $/kg figure which would allow us to usefully compare the two.

I'll assume that the reusable FH as outlined above could launch 25,000kg to LEO, which works out at $1,720/kg as opposed to Skylons $666/kg.
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Offline mr. mark

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Re: Reusable Falcon Heavy vice Skylon.
« Reply #7 on: 12/27/2012 03:30 AM »
Skylon does not exist and Falcon Heavy is only in the start of production phase. This is like comparing FH to a lawn mower. Sabre technology is an unproven commodity. FH as well.
« Last Edit: 12/27/2012 03:31 AM by mr. mark »

Offline Lars_J

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Re: Reusable Falcon Heavy vice Skylon.
« Reply #8 on: 12/27/2012 04:50 AM »
Not. Gonna. Happen.
(And it won't for Skylon either)
I actually think I heard Elon suggest that SpaceX may do something sort of like that if their reusability goes really well. Can't remember when he said it, but it was within the last six months.

My point was that it certainly won't happen for a reusable FH.

But a future reusable LV with more aircraft like operations? (Several generations away) Now that's a whole different scenario. But not until then. IMO.
« Last Edit: 12/27/2012 04:53 AM by Lars_J »

Offline ANTIcarrot

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Re: Reusable Falcon Heavy vice Skylon.
« Reply #9 on: 12/29/2012 08:51 PM »
A reusable Falcon Heavy, if we assume it costs 100 million to build, would need all three first stages to be reused AND the upper stage would need to be reused.
Then cut off the upper stage, stick wings on it, and call it a triamese.
DV = ISP.G.ln(3MR^2/MR+2)

Sure that's not a Falcon Heavy, but if Musk eventually gets his hands on a reliable dependable and extremely reusable rocket engine, then FH(reusable) is probably not the best way he can make use of it. In which case Musk or the other mad scientists at Space X will come up with something else.




Offline Jim

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Re: Reusable Falcon Heavy vice Skylon.
« Reply #10 on: 12/29/2012 09:01 PM »
But I thought Musk had made it clear that he was looking to eventually just become a manufacturer/supplier of vehicles, like a Boeing or Lockheed

Boeing and Lockheed are not suppliers of launch vehicles.

Offline Rhyshaelkan

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Re: Reusable Falcon Heavy vice Skylon.
« Reply #11 on: 12/29/2012 09:01 PM »
[tongue in cheek]

If SpaceX started in 2006, and their deadline is a man on the Moon in nine years. They still have a couple years left to do it. And on a shoe-string budget.

[/tongue in cheek]

Too little facts and history on Falcon Heavy and Skylon. Both are unicorns yet. However Falcon Heavy is more like to big foot and the lock ness monster. We have some fuzzy pictures in the form of Falcon 9. On which Falcon Heavy is based.
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Offline douglas100

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Re: Reusable Falcon Heavy vice Skylon.
« Reply #12 on: 12/29/2012 10:00 PM »

 However Falcon Heavy is more like to big foot and the lock ness Loch Ness monster. We have some fuzzy pictures in the form of Falcon 9. On which Falcon Heavy is based.

Fixed that for ya.  :)
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Offline KelvinZero

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Re: Reusable Falcon Heavy vice Skylon.
« Reply #13 on: 12/29/2012 10:58 PM »
Hi.. why are we comparing a reusable falcon heavy to skylon? Isnt a reusable falcon 9 much more comparable in payload and more likely to be developed first?

(also vice->versus or vs, unless um.. Skylon is FH's bad habit? :) )
.. no my bad. vice means as replacement for?
« Last Edit: 12/29/2012 11:34 PM by KelvinZero »

Offline cordor

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Re: Reusable Falcon Heavy vice Skylon.
« Reply #14 on: 01/08/2013 08:50 PM »
Skylon has been touted from the outset as being able to do 200 launches at least and a launch cost of 10 million dollars.

A reusable Falcon Heavy, if we assume it costs 100 million to build, would need all three first stages to be reused AND the upper stage would need to be reused.

One could imagine getting the outer cores back and reusing them... 5 times? which would bring their effective cost down to 5 million dollars each. The central core might be reused... 3 times? That's about 8 million plus change but I'll round down. Getting the upper stage back? Err, probably not soon on that one.

Already, we've got the cost down to 25 (upper stage, non-reusable) million, 10 million (2x outer cores), and 8 million (the inner core) which adds up to...

43 million dollars.

If we're going to have this discussion, we need to decide (or debate about) which bits of the FH can/could/will be reused and how often with an additional discussion about the extra costs of reusing bits (refurbishing costs etc).

They we can get a $/kg figure which would allow us to usefully compare the two.

I'll assume that the reusable FH as outlined above could launch 25,000kg to LEO, which works out at $1,720/kg as opposed to Skylons $666/kg.



Don't be silly, look at this gaint "black body" spacecraft, what kind of sane ppl believe it can "fry" 200 times? for a country with limited space launch capability, they can't even paint spacecraft right.

Offline beancounter

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Re: Reusable Falcon Heavy vice Skylon.
« Reply #15 on: 01/09/2013 01:42 AM »
Skylon has been touted from the outset as being able to do 200 launches at least and a launch cost of 10 million dollars.

A reusable Falcon Heavy, if we assume it costs 100 million to build, would need all three first stages to be reused AND the upper stage would need to be reused.

One could imagine getting the outer cores back and reusing them... 5 times? which would bring their effective cost down to 5 million dollars each. The central core might be reused... 3 times? That's about 8 million plus change but I'll round down. Getting the upper stage back? Err, probably not soon on that one.

Already, we've got the cost down to 25 (upper stage, non-reusable) million, 10 million (2x outer cores), and 8 million (the inner core) which adds up to...

43 million dollars.

If we're going to have this discussion, we need to decide (or debate about) which bits of the FH can/could/will be reused and how often with an additional discussion about the extra costs of reusing bits (refurbishing costs etc).

They we can get a $/kg figure which would allow us to usefully compare the two.

I'll assume that the reusable FH as outlined above could launch 25,000kg to LEO, which works out at $1,720/kg as opposed to Skylons $666/kg.



Don't be silly, look at this gaint "black body" spacecraft, what kind of sane ppl believe it can "fry" 200 times? for a country with limited space launch capability, they can't even paint spacecraft right.

Well that's not particularly polite but your point is clear.  FH is based on real hardware a lot of which had flown.  Skylon is completely in the experiential realm at present with much of it not even designed much less flown.  Powerpoint really.  Even the engine has moved to a flown version yet and looking at the technology, there's an awful lot of piping that needs to be 100% perfect all the time.
I just can't see it being viable cost-wise even if the tech is somehow operationalised.
Beancounter from DownUnder

Offline Maciej Olesinski

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Re: Reusable Falcon Heavy vice Skylon.
« Reply #16 on: 01/09/2013 11:44 AM »
In my meaningless opinion topics like this should not be allowed. Comparing FH which is currently in production phase with something like Skylon (which I think will be never produced) is joke. I can't even see point of this thread.

Offline grondilu

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Re: Reusable Falcon Heavy vice Skylon.
« Reply #17 on: 01/09/2013 06:36 PM »
In my meaningless opinion topics like this should not be allowed. Comparing FH which is currently in production phase with something like Skylon (which I think will be never produced) is joke.

The topic is about reusable FH, which is, iirc, not in production yet.

Also I think the comparison makes sense considering that Grasshoper and Skylon are both two designs for reusability.  It's also an interesting question to ask whether or not a reusable launching system should have wings and/or breathe air.  Even if this question is purely theoretical (and indeed considering the very early stage of development for Grasshoper and especially Skylon, it surely is), it is still an interesting question.

The title of this thread should be "Grasshopper vs Skylon", though.  Or even better:  "Reusablle falcon vs Skylon"
« Last Edit: 01/09/2013 07:16 PM by grondilu »
Space is pretty much literally an astronomically-high hanging fruit.

Offline cordor

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Re: Reusable Falcon Heavy vice Skylon.
« Reply #18 on: 01/09/2013 07:51 PM »

Well that's not particularly polite but your point is clear.  FH is based on real hardware a lot of which had flown.  Skylon is completely in the experiential realm at present with much of it not even designed much less flown.  Powerpoint really.  Even the engine has moved to a flown version yet and looking at the technology, there's an awful lot of piping that needs to be 100% perfect all the time.
I just can't see it being viable cost-wise even if the tech is somehow operationalised.

Im sorry i was angry. Not only pre-cooled hybrid engine is completely new technology,  also it is more complicated than good old GGC RP-1 pintle engine, skylon airframe design also very unconventional compare to rocket. What's the reason to say skylon can fly 200 times, while FH core can only last 3~5 times? if ever both of them become real.
« Last Edit: 01/09/2013 07:52 PM by cordor »

Offline Karloss12

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Re: Reusable Falcon Heavy vice Skylon.
« Reply #19 on: 01/14/2013 07:27 PM »
Where is this FH core only being good for 3-5 launches coming from?

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