Author Topic: SpaceX vs BlueOrigin - Whose Approach / Business Strategy is Better?  (Read 250478 times)

Offline Nathan2go

  • Member
  • Posts: 81
  • United States
  • Liked: 33
  • Likes Given: 18


I didn't understand every point you made there, but I do appreciate you pointing out that abort for BFS could achieve a better T/W if they lowered the propellant load for crew launches.

This abort system doesn't work if is exploding 2nd stage you trying to escape.
Which has been case with last 2 SpaceX failures.
So for the Dragon 2 capsule, do you want a system to get the crew away from an exploding Dragon 2 engine?  At some point, it's not worth the extra complexity.  The safety of crewed rockets doesn't have to be perfect, just good enough (and the customers will ultimately decide).

Offline meekGee

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8780
  • N. California
  • Liked: 4968
  • Likes Given: 904


I didn't understand every point you made there, but I do appreciate you pointing out that abort for BFS could achieve a better T/W if they lowered the propellant load for crew launches.

This abort system doesn't work if is exploding 2nd stage you trying to escape.
Which has been case with last 2 SpaceX failures.
Actually, only Amos 6 was a case of "escape exploding second stage".

The other failure was a case of "keep flying controllably while the stage disintigrates behind you". Even more so, in a manned configuration boosterⁿ propulsion would be cut on abort.

-----
ABCD: Always Be Counting Down

ABCD - Always Be Counting Down

Offline speedevil

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3185
  • Fife
  • Liked: 1628
  • Likes Given: 1954
<snip of airplane-ish-like safety>
I hope you are correct...but I doubt it.  at Best SpaceX/Boeing will need a decade to get to a new place (at current flight rates)

If it costs $5M (internal cost) to SpaceX to launch a BFR, they can support somewhere in the realm of 50 flights a year wholly unrevenue-making.
To equal the whole of human spaceflight would cost of the order of $1.6B, or $200M if you are using the passenger flight numbers.

It is sort-of-plausible that with moderate cost reduction over $5M, SpaceX might be able to get that number of flights in the first couple of years, paid for entirely out of current launch revenue.
If they can reuse, then flying ten times with no payload, if it encourages one holdout for F9 to switch may be worth it as it encourages other holdouts.

Never mind what else they could do on these unpaid flights - even if it's only commercially available cryogenic tanks or water.

Similar arguments could be made on rapid reuse of F9 S2s, though there is probably more limited scope for cost reduction, so that driver for reflight is not there.


Offline TrevorMonty



I didn't understand every point you made there, but I do appreciate you pointing out that abort for BFS could achieve a better T/W if they lowered the propellant load for crew launches.

This abort system doesn't work if is exploding 2nd stage you trying to escape.
Which has been case with last 2 SpaceX failures.

Flight-qualifying each full vehicle and having full redundancy will mostly obviate the need for a LAS.

"flight qualifying"...what do you suggest that term means?

Airplanes do not have "launch escape systems"...but before an airplane gets a type certificate the "test planes" get far far more testing by the manufacturer than any crewed space vehicle has flown probably in aggregate. 

we are in my view a long long way toward the equivalent type of "certification" in space vehicles...maybe decades
Planes don't carry tons of oxidiser and they don't explode mid flight unless hit with missile.
The BFR 2nd stage is no safe than booster, same fuel, same engines. Just because there are no COPV doesn't mean its totally safe.


Offline Coastal Ron

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4311
  • I live... along the coast
  • Liked: 2940
  • Likes Given: 3883
The BFR 2nd stage is no safe than booster, same fuel, same engines. Just because there are no COPV doesn't mean its totally safe.

I'm old enough to remember when passenger airliners crashing was not unusual, so I don't think we should apply modern safety analogies to spaceflight.

There will be accidents, and there will be deaths in spaceflight. Yet frequent airliner accidents and deaths just 40-50 years ago did not stop the flying public from using commercial air transport.

Oh, and no commercial airliner ever had escape systems for the passenger to use while in flight. So let's keep perspective here...
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

Offline matthewkantar

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 901
  • Liked: 614
  • Likes Given: 710
Planes don't carry tons of oxidiser and they don't explode mid flight unless hit with missile.
The BFR 2nd stage is no safe than booster, same fuel, same engines. Just because there are no COPV doesn't mean its totally safe.

Planes do indeed sometimes explode mid flight when not hit by a missile or anything else.

Offline mulp

  • Member
  • Posts: 38
  • merrimack, nh
  • Liked: 18
  • Likes Given: 6
in a nutshell I agree with what you wrote...the difference in my thinking is that I dont think that SpaceX "Mars" thing is actually a business plan...its more well excitment

The business plan for Mars is pretty straightforward.  Sell launches to NASA.  If the price is low enough it would be politically difficult for Congress to not pony up the funds.  It's $400 hammer dollar politics.  Everybody likes to be the one crusading against $400 dollar hammers so when you have an actual $400 hammer and you can find a $7 hammer to compare it with, it's the lowest hanging fruit of politics.

My dad grew up when the aircraft industry model was selling airmail services to the government. The law Congress wrote made it profitable for an air carrier to send a few hundred airmail letters to itself between the cities it served. That made carrying passengers and freight between those cities pure profit. Once congress heard about ghis, they changed the formula for subsidizing regular passenger travel by way of the Post Office, which thanks to RFD and Parcel Post at the Amazon's of the 20s and 30s was very profitable for the first time ever.

Later, ICC regulations cross subsidized passenger air service, along with government funded airports, plus the massive government subsidizes to engineering aircraft and to aircraft factory and manufacturing capacity. Commercial jet planes would not have existed in the 80s if not for government paying for development of jet engines that could be manufactured in volume. Competition in jet planes was between nations, ie, which nation could subsidize to maturity the best jet planes. To compete with the unified 50 sovereign States, UK and several European governments joined  together on what became Airbus. The only commercial supersonic jet plane was from massive subsidies from an early leader in jet engines, the UK.

ULA follows in large degree the model for what became Airbus.

Before government subsidies, there were zero $7 hammers for air travel.

Offline Darkseraph

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 592
  • Liked: 289
  • Likes Given: 124
The BFR 2nd stage is no safe than booster, same fuel, same engines. Just because there are no COPV doesn't mean its totally safe.

I'm old enough to remember when passenger airliners crashing was not unusual, so I don't think we should apply modern safety analogies to spaceflight.

There will be accidents, and there will be deaths in spaceflight. Yet frequent airliner accidents and deaths just 40-50 years ago did not stop the flying public from using commercial air transport.

Oh, and no commercial airliner ever had escape systems for the passenger to use while in flight. So let's keep perspective here...

SpaceX happens to be promoting BFR as a competitor to international air travel, therefore modern safety analogies are probably worth discussing. The chance of dying on any particular airplane flight are about 1 in 11 million. The chances of most launch vehicles failing is roughly 1 in 50. Boeing and SpaceX are struggling to meet a 1 in 270 Loss of Crew goal for commercial crew vehicles (this is WITH launch escape systems)

How the safety of BFR jumps 5 orders of magnitude over the proven safety of all real launch vehicles is at best a mystery to me. Improving launch vehicle safety even by one order or magnitude would be a enormous breakthrough! Given vastly safer alternatives, I can't imagine a commercial aviation industry would exist today if 1 in every 50 planes crashed or exploded during flight. It would probably be relegated to some niche application subsidized by the military.
"For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled." R.P.Feynman

Offline johnfwhitesell

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 319
  • Liked: 105
  • Likes Given: 198
How the safety of BFR jumps 5 orders of magnitude over the proven safety of all real launch vehicles is at best a mystery to me.

Reuse.  If they can fly it again and again and again they can get vastly more flight experience and make it safer.  How many times does this need to be repeated?

Offline Darkseraph

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 592
  • Liked: 289
  • Likes Given: 124
How the safety of BFR jumps 5 orders of magnitude over the proven safety of all real launch vehicles is at best a mystery to me.

Reuse.  If they can fly it again and again and again they can get vastly more flight experience and make it safer.  How many times does this need to be repeated?

At best, that's wishful thinking. It's not a given that reuse alone will result in a five order of magnitude leap in safety of chemical rockets. And not in the near future, in which SpaceX intends to compete with vastly safer transport systems. Certainly the re-usability of Falcon 9 S1 is not improving their LOC numbers beyond 1 in 270, which they are struggling to meet. Reuse didn't do so for the shuttle either.

Although it is very possible reuse of vertically landed boosters leads to vastly more flight experience and safer designs for future rockets, it is also possible we discover from experience the safety of staged chemical launch vehicles really cannot be improved much beyond the current state of the art due to the unique constraints and flight regime they endure. Obviously it would be preferable if reuse does lead to orders of magnitude improvements in safety, but reality tends to be very indifferent to our preferences.
"For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled." R.P.Feynman

Offline su27k

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1199
  • Liked: 933
  • Likes Given: 81
SpaceX happens to be promoting BFR as a competitor to international air travel, therefore modern safety analogies are probably worth discussing. The chance of dying on any particular airplane flight are about 1 in 11 million. The chances of most launch vehicles failing is roughly 1 in 50. Boeing and SpaceX are struggling to meet a 1 in 270 Loss of Crew goal for commercial crew vehicles (this is WITH launch escape systems)

They're struggling to meet 1 in 270 because the high MMOD risk during the 6 months stay at ISS, this doesn't apply to point-to-point travel. Removing the 6 months stay, CCtCAP LoC just for ascend and re-entry phase is 1 in 500.

Other differences between BFR and existing launch system: Very high margins and redundancy. During ITS reddit Q&A, Musk implied the booster would have margin of safety between 1.5 and 2.0, and the spaceship/upper stage would have margin of safety between 2.0 to 3.0, much higher than aircraft's margin of safety which is 1.5. They'll also have engine out redundancy in both booster and upper stage. This is one thing people tends to miss when they're arguing for SFR: big gives you tons of margins, and lack of margin is one of the biggest reason I have read for low reliability in LV.
« Last Edit: 07/19/2018 01:54 AM by su27k »

Offline johnfwhitesell

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 319
  • Liked: 105
  • Likes Given: 198
At best, that's wishful thinking.

Yes, it was wishful thinking to hope you would be willing to consider the second order effects given your previous statement.
« Last Edit: 07/19/2018 02:58 AM by johnfwhitesell »

Offline envy887

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4826
  • Liked: 2712
  • Likes Given: 1446
Certainly the re-usability of Falcon 9 S1 is not improving their LOC numbers beyond 1 in 270, which they are struggling to meet. Reuse didn't do so for the shuttle either.

No reusable part of either the Shuttle or F9 had ever caused LOM, going on 190 flights now.

Offline johnfwhitesell

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 319
  • Liked: 105
  • Likes Given: 198
c
No reusable part of either the Shuttle or F9 had ever caused LOM, going on 190 flights now.

The loss of Columbia seems rather intimately tied to it's reusable hardware.

Offline Robotbeat

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 28616
  • Minnesota
  • Liked: 8583
  • Likes Given: 5596


I didn't understand every point you made there, but I do appreciate you pointing out that abort for BFS could achieve a better T/W if they lowered the propellant load for crew launches.

This abort system doesn't work if is exploding 2nd stage you trying to escape.
Which has been case with last 2 SpaceX failures.

Flight-qualifying each full vehicle and having full redundancy will mostly obviate the need for a LAS.

"flight qualifying"...what do you suggest that term means?

Airplanes do not have "launch escape systems"...but before an airplane gets a type certificate the "test planes" get far far more testing by the manufacturer than any crewed space vehicle has flown probably in aggregate. 

we are in my view a long long way toward the equivalent type of "certification" in space vehicles...maybe decades
LAS only gets you MAYBE a factor of 10 improvement in survivability from launch vehicle failures. GOOD launch vehicles have a 99% reliability. So even with a LAS, your survivability is at best 99.9%.

So if you demonstrate launching and landing your BFS over 1000 times in a row without major failure, you've already beaten current LAS and state of the art rocket reliability. If they use BFR for launching their constellation and other stuff, I can see them getting 1000 flights fairly quickly.
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Offline Robotbeat

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 28616
  • Minnesota
  • Liked: 8583
  • Likes Given: 5596
c
No reusable part of either the Shuttle or F9 had ever caused LOM, going on 190 flights now.

The loss of Columbia seems rather intimately tied to it's reusable hardware.
Proximate cause, maybe. But root cause was the expendable external tank.
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Offline Steven Pietrobon

  • Member
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 17822
  • Adelaide, Australia
    • Steven Pietrobon's Space Archive
  • Liked: 6073
  • Likes Given: 794
Planes don't carry tons of oxidiser and they don't explode mid flight unless hit with missile.

TWA 800 fuel/air explosion.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TWA_Flight_800

Aloha 243 explosive decompression.

https://www.aerotime.aero/yulius.yoma/18542-history-hour-aloha-airlines-flight-243-incident
Akin's Laws of Spacecraft Design #1:  Engineering is done with numbers.  Analysis without numbers is only an opinion.

Offline TrevorMonty

Planes don't carry tons of oxidiser and they don't explode mid flight unless hit with missile.

TWA 800 fuel/air explosion.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TWA_Flight_800

Aloha 243 explosive decompression.

https://www.aerotime.aero/yulius.yoma/18542-history-hour-aloha-airlines-flight-243-incident
Aloha 243 doesn't really count as airframe failure due to lack of maintenance much like a lot of other aircraft crashes.

TWA is about it for exploding fuel tanks, one out of how many millions of flights since.

I still don't see NASA allowing its crew on a LV without LAS.
« Last Edit: 07/19/2018 09:39 AM by TrevorMonty »

Offline speedevil

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3185
  • Fife
  • Liked: 1628
  • Likes Given: 1954
I'm old enough to remember when passenger airliners crashing was not unusual, so I don't think we should apply modern safety analogies to spaceflight.

There will be accidents, and there will be deaths in spaceflight. Yet frequent airliner accidents and deaths just 40-50 years ago did not stop the flying public from using commercial air transport.
With average insurance payouts of $4.5M for current airliner accidents, you need to get your 'total loss' rate down below one flight in 30000 or so, in order for it not to affect revenue too much. (10%).


Offline johnfwhitesell

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 319
  • Liked: 105
  • Likes Given: 198
The loss of Columbia seems rather intimately tied to it's reusable hardware.
Proximate cause, maybe. But root cause was the expendable external tank.
[/quote]

The external tank would have been extremely safe if there wasn't an orbiter attached to the side of it.

Tags: