Author Topic: SpaceX customers' views on reuse  (Read 158304 times)

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #580 on: 09/02/2018 04:20 PM »
But I think we may be seeing a sea change here at the top. Bridenstine is paying less lip service to SLS and ULA than Bolden did, I think. If NASA is allowed to truly embrace reuse for the bulk of what they do, even if saddled with SLS, that's significant.

Given Bridenstineís political background, and the protracted confirmation process, I believe he wouldnít be so publicly bullish about reuse unless he knew he had the administrationís support/agreement. Congress can of course choose to fund or not fund programs but theyíre not being asked to fund the development of reuse. If proven reuse capabilities start to notably drop launch prices then I think the political will is there to exploit it and I donít see congress stopping that.

Online marsbase

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Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #581 on: 09/02/2018 08:21 PM »
If proven reuse capabilities start to notably drop launch prices then I think the political will is there to exploit it and I donít see congress stopping that.
I think we have passed the tipping point already.  The Air Force took the first leap (on the government side)  but now it's almost status quo.

Offline AncientU

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Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #582 on: 09/03/2018 12:14 AM »
Reuse has made it over the technical and cost hurdles, so acceptance of a flight-proven booster is close to universal. 

What is yet to be realized is the launch frequency advantage... when planners start to think outside of the one-off box, new possibilities emerge.  Salvo launching the Starlink constellation will be eye opening.  Refueling flights in succession for BFS will make one-off launches of SLS/Orion seem archaic.  At that point, there won't be a squabble with Congress about commercial exploration launches.
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Online woods170

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Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #583 on: 09/03/2018 07:15 AM »
If proven reuse capabilities start to notably drop launch prices then I think the political will is there to exploit it and I donít see congress stopping that.
I think we have passed the tipping point already.  The Air Force took the first leap (on the government side)  but now it's almost status quo.


I know of a Jim who would disagree a bit.

Online Zed_Noir

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Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #584 on: 09/03/2018 02:40 PM »
If proven reuse capabilities start to notably drop launch prices then I think the political will is there to exploit it and I donít see congress stopping that.
I think we have passed the tipping point already.  The Air Force took the first leap (on the government side)  but now it's almost status quo.


I know of a Jim who would disagree a bit.

Not for long.  :)

Offline deruch

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Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #585 on: 09/04/2018 05:30 PM »
If proven reuse capabilities start to notably drop launch prices then I think the political will is there to exploit it and I donít see congress stopping that.
I think we have passed the tipping point already.  The Air Force took the first leap (on the government side)  but now it's almost status quo.


I know of a Jim who would disagree a bit.

They'd both be right mainly because they'd be talking about different things.  The Air Force is at least dipping its toes--and NASA has taken a moderate step--into the commercial reuse waters.  That said, neither organization has yet accepted SpaceX's reuse paradigm for use by its premier launch oversight and procurement groups.  In fact, neither org. has publicly stated that they even have a clear, well defined planned path towards accepting reuse for the mission types those groups buy launches for.  The most offered so far is that they have teams/groups studying the matter to try to lay out such a path.  Which is a significant advancement when considering all the institutional/political/commercial inertia needing to be overcome. 
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Offline john smith 19

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Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #586 on: 09/04/2018 08:28 PM »
Don't forget he was also a Navy carrier pilot (E-2C Hawkeye), and is a reserve officer in the Air National Guard
That's important because AFAIK most of the recent administrators have either been internal NASA promotions or with a strong science background.

Bridestine's background sounds more like that of the Apollo Era Jame Webb, in terms of political connections.
BFS. The worlds first Methane fueled FFORSC engined CFRP structured A380 sized aerospaceplane tail sitter capable of flying in Earth and Mars atmospheres. BFR. The worlds biggest Methane fueled FFORSC engined CFRP structured booster for BFS. First flight to Mars by end of 2022. Forward looking statements. T&C apply. Believe no one. Run your own numbers. So, you are going to Mars to start a better life? Picture it in your mind. Now say what it is out loud.

Online docmordrid

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Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #587 on: 09/04/2018 08:49 PM »
>
They'd both be right mainly because they'd be talking about different things.  The Air Force is at least dipping its toes--and NASA has taken a moderate step--into the commercial reuse waters. 
>

They'll need to do more than dip toes given Congressional mandates in the FY2019 National Defense Authorization Act.

Ars Technica...

Quote
>
Moreover, the report says the US Air Force must consider both expendable and reusable launch vehicles as part of its solicitation for military launch contracts. And in the event that a contract is solicited for a mission that a reusable launch vehicle is not eligible to compete for, the Air Force should report back to Congress with the reason why.
>
DM

Offline deruch

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Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #588 on: 09/05/2018 03:14 AM »
>
They'd both be right mainly because they'd be talking about different things.  The Air Force is at least dipping its toes--and NASA has taken a moderate step--into the commercial reuse waters. 
>

They'll need to do more than dip toes given Congressional mandates in the FY2019 National Defense Authorization Act.

Ars Technica...

Quote
>
Moreover, the report says the US Air Force must consider both expendable and reusable launch vehicles as part of its solicitation for military launch contracts. And in the event that a contract is solicited for a mission that a reusable launch vehicle is not eligible to compete for, the Air Force should report back to Congress with the reason why.
>

Not much more, they won't.  The language in that bill is mainly just reinforcing Congress' support for things the USAF was already doing.  And making some of them mandatory instead of just voluntary good program management.  The program name change to essentially drop "Expendable" is purely symbolic.  Congress could have decided to rename the EELV program to "Uncle Sam's Banana Bangers" and it wouldn't have changed the fact that the Air Force is still just procuring rockets as launch vehicles.  As for language directing the USAF to actually do things, it requires the SecDef to pursue a policy that includes reuse (was already happening, but now mandatory) and to establish a strategy for certifying reused boosters/LVs (was already happening, but now mandatory; this was what I considered their toe dipping).  The only totally new thing is that they must report back their reasons for not accepting bids by a reusable LV for solicitations on which they are theoretically capable.  That's simple, as until they have their certification strategy in place all reports will just be of the form: 1) Reusable LV either could/couldn't launch this payload; and 2) Reusable LV isn't currently certified to launch NSSLP payloads.  Once the strategy is worked out, they were already going to be accepting applications to certify.  That was the whole point of developing such a strategy in the first place.

Frankly, IMO, the only really notable thing about that part of the bill is that Congress didn't throw roadblocks onto the path the Air Force was already walking.  I suppose it's nice to have the policy be a mandated one and therefore less susceptible to modification/reversal at the personal whims of the involved brass.  But I'm not totally sure there's any real benefit to relying on the whims of Members of Congress over those of certain office holders in the Pentagon.

EDIT: After rereading my comment, I want to make a clarification so that it doesn't end up being read as saying something I didn't mean--  I applaud both the Air Force and Congress for the steps they have taken.  I hope to see more.  That these things have been happening is, I believe, evidence of a beginning change in zeitgeist.  A change I believe is in a positive direction.  I just don't read the current status as if a full sea change had already taken place.  Institutions are like huge sea tankers or container ships.  You usually can't change directions on a dime.  IMO, expecting such from them is generally unreasonable even when the advantages of those new directions seem blazingly obvious.
« Last Edit: 09/05/2018 04:01 AM by deruch »
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Online marsbase

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Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #589 on: 09/05/2018 05:17 PM »
I just don't read the current status as if a full sea change had already taken place.  Institutions are like huge sea tankers or container ships.  You usually can't change directions on a dime.  IMO, expecting such from them is generally unreasonable even when the advantages of those new directions seem blazingly obvious.
Actually, I agree with you. The official "on paper" direction has not changed all that much, but the attitudes (and expectations) have dramatically changed, in the institutions and just as importantly in the public perception.  There is a reason that Shotwell does not scrub the soot off the boosters. :)  So the institutional change may be slow but it's hard to believe that it won't be coming.

Offline envy887

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Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #590 on: 09/05/2018 06:02 PM »
...
The only totally new thing is that they must report back their reasons for not accepting bids by a reusable LV for solicitations on which they are theoretically capable.
...

Subtle but important correction: USAF have to report why they are issuing solicitations that no RLV is eligible to bid on. USAF does NOT have to report why they chose an ELV in the case where both ELV and RLV were eligible, regardless of whether both were in fact bid.

The reasons for lack of eligibility could be certification, or lack of VI or long fairings.

Offline oldAtlas_Eguy

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Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #591 on: 09/09/2018 05:07 AM »
...
The only totally new thing is that they must report back their reasons for not accepting bids by a reusable LV for solicitations on which they are theoretically capable.
...

Subtle but important correction: USAF have to report why they are issuing solicitations that no RLV is eligible to bid on. USAF does NOT have to report why they chose an ELV in the case where both ELV and RLV were eligible, regardless of whether both were in fact bid.

The reasons for lack of eligibility could be certification, or lack of VI or long fairings.
This sound very much like an extra ding against sole source contracting methods and to make the RFP not so narrow that it excludes possible bidders such as those that would be bidding a RLV of some sort. The actual choosing is the rest of the source selection process as defined in the FAR and is very strict and with little wriggle room in interpretation. If you do not meet the requirements such as certification, security provisions, VI, payload mass to specified orbit, or the volume required by the faring. You will be droped either during the preliminary proposal screening or in the actual source selection board evaluation with a poor rating and subsequent loss to another company that had a higher rating.

With ULA as being nearly the only provider and in most cases was the only provider putting launches out on bid was not something that was done mainly because it is lengthy and expensive and would result in only one response anyway. When I worked at the AF Space Division Launch Vehicles office nothing was put out on bid (1980-84). There was so little overlap of vehicles and so limited numbers of available quantities that directed contracts was the only option. The EELV program was supposed to be the opening the LV procurement process to competition but that did not last. Hopefully the explosion of providers that are entering the field now will finally actually meet the 1990's goal of competition for LV's services.

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