Author Topic: SpaceX vs BlueOrigin - Whose Approach / Business Strategy is Better?  (Read 314881 times)

Online marsbase

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As Musk indicated, it was intentional "test to destruction".  Was that the case with the powerpack?

Offline cppetrie

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Is NSF bit biased? Or is it just me.
BE-4 powerpack accident; "ooh no whole program is in jeopardy!"
Raptor pressure failure (*read as RUD); "you can't make an omelette without breaking eggs"

*(Still hope that parts didn't hit any cows
As I recall the BE-4 powerpack failure occurred during routine firing under normal operating conditions. The raptor failure occurred during a max pressure test. Evidence also suggests it didn’t go boom and destroy stuff. It just failed and shutdown. The BE-4 failure shutdown testing for several months. They don’t seem equivalent.

Separately, I’d suggest SpaceX’s openness engenders a more forgiving attitude towards problems encountered.

Online Lemurion

Is NSF bit biased? Or is it just me.
BE-4 powerpack accident; "ooh no whole program is in jeopardy!"
Raptor pressure failure (*read as RUD); "you can't make an omelette without breaking eggs"

;P

*(Still hope that parts didn't hit any cows

I think there's lots of bias in multiple directions on NSF, both for and against Blue and SpaceX.

Having said that, not only are these two very different situations, but also SpaceX and Blue have demonstrated very different reactions to equipment damage. As others have said, a failure during normal operations should not be equated to damage incurred during a stress test.

Online envy887

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Is NSF bit biased? Or is it just me.
BE-4 powerpack accident; "ooh no whole program is in jeopardy!"
Raptor pressure failure (*read as RUD); "you can't make an omelette without breaking eggs"

;P

*(Still hope that parts didn't hit any cows

There's something wrong with your memory. Blue apparently lost the entire engine, and the test cell, and stopped testing for months. And yet the response here on NSF was more like "testing happens" than "the sky is falling".

If you run an engine significantly past its design pressure and nothing extremely energetic happens, that's a win.
« Last Edit: 02/21/2019 07:43 pm by envy887 »

Online docmordrid

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Is NSF bit biased? Or is it just me.
BE-4 powerpack accident; "ooh no whole program is in jeopardy!"
Raptor pressure failure (*read as RUD); "you can't make an omelette without breaking eggs"
>

ISTR that Blue's BE-4 oopsie wasn't "expected."

Elon Musk ✓ @elonmusk
Merlins. The max chamber pressure run damaged Raptor SN 1 (as expected). A lot of the parts are fine for reuse, but next tests will be with SN 2, which is almost done.

https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/1098653939141009408
« Last Edit: 02/21/2019 08:08 pm by docmordrid »
DM

Online RoboGoofers

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Is NSF bit biased? Or is it just me.
BE-4 powerpack accident; "ooh no whole program is in jeopardy!"
Raptor pressure failure (*read as RUD); "you can't make an omelette without breaking eggs"

;P

*(Still hope that parts didn't hit any cows
Another consideration is that despite their very ambitious goals Blue hasn't launched anything to orbit yet. I could see how some saw a testing failure as a sign they were trying to go a bridge too far.

But Blue has been chuggin' right along so, no matter.
« Last Edit: 02/21/2019 08:40 pm by RoboGoofers »

Offline M.E.T.

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Honestly, if you have no affiliation to either company and your interest is purely in spaceflight, it is not difficult to understand why the majority of people would favour SpaceX. For the last number of years they have given us scores of exhilirating experiences, incrementally going further and further in their displays of daring, innovative orbital endeavours. And their CEO has openly shared their highs and lows with us lowly observers to an extent undreamed of before. Bringing us with them on their journey every step of the way.

BO by contrast has promised much but after 20 years not made orbit yet. And they keep a  veil of secrecy over even the gradual progress they supposedly are making behind the scenes.

So from an emotional gratification point of view it is highly understandable that the average spaceflight fan would be more invested in SpaceXís success.
« Last Edit: 02/21/2019 10:30 pm by M.E.T. »

Offline edkyle99

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Right now, I'm appreciating Blue Origin's approach, which they've used to beat SpaceX's far-out BFR proposal in the EELV-2 competition to date. 
Far-out? Seems like you're not giving SpaceX sufficient credit.
It is outside the realm of space launch industry experience.  Way outside. 

 - Ed Kyle

I could have sworn the US launch industry already built and flew a human-rated large diameter HLV with a large reusable orbital stage and high pressure reusable staged combustion engines.

No? Hmm. Must have been imagining things.
Did it make 13.9 million pounds of thrust? 

 - Ed Kyle

Offline Coastal Ron

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It is outside the realm of space launch industry experience.  Way outside. 
I could have sworn the US launch industry already built and flew a human-rated large diameter HLV with a large reusable orbital stage and high pressure reusable staged combustion engines.

No? Hmm. Must have been imagining things.
Did it make 13.9 million pounds of thrust? 

So amount of thrust if the only metric that should be looked at for "progress"?

Of course one could say that Blue Origin will be "...outside the realm of space launch industry experience..." when they attempt to land New Glenn on a moving ship, but apparently you think that is not hard enough to mention?  ;)

Over 50 years ago Americans built a rocket that had 6.5M pounds of thrust, so I'm not sure why doubling that every 50 years is beyond comprehension. If anything it seems like a goal we should have achieved decades ago...
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

Online Lemurion

Honestly, if you have no affiliation to either company and your interest is purely in spaceflight, it is not difficult to understand why the majority of people would favour SpaceX. For the last number of years they have given us scores of exhilirating experiences, incrementally going further and further in their displays of daring, innovative orbital endeavours. And their CEO has openly shared their highs and lows with us lowly observers to an extent undreamed of before. Bringing us with them on their journey every step of the way.

BO by contrast has promised much but after 20 years not made orbit yet. And they keep a  veil of secrecy over even the gradual progress they supposedly are making behind the scenes.

So from an emotional gratification point of view it is highly understandable that the average spaceflight fan would be more invested in SpaceXís success.

Yep, Iím 55 years old and sitting on the sidelines. Following advancements in space flight is a big part of my entertainment and while I believe in Blue and want them to succeed, itís SpaceX thatís putting on the better show for my entertainment dollar (ie. Internet bill).

I am rooting for Blue to succeed, but the company isnít planning to do anything truly exciting until the year after next. I will be cheering when New Glenn flies but Iím going to cheer for SpaceX a lot more times because SpaceX is doing more things I can cheer about.

Online HVM

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As Musk indicated, it was intentional "test to destruction".  Was that the case with the powerpack?

Uh--oh, which one of the staged combustion methalox engines, eats copper and releases gases from wrong places and runs mere seconds, and which one runs at high throttle setting over two hundred seconds...



.... ;PPPP

Online meekGee

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As Musk indicated, it was intentional "test to destruction".  Was that the case with the powerpack?

Uh--oh, which one of the staged combustion methalox engines, eats copper and releases gases from wrong places and runs mere seconds, and which one runs at high throttle setting over two hundred seconds...



.... ;PPPP

Probably both... But BE is too secretive so we can't tell for sure.  All we knew is that at some point BE's engine exploded unexpectedly, took out the test cell with it, and that they're still at 70% power.  It stands to reason that during that episode it "vaporized some copper and released gases from wrong places"...

Meanwhile Raptor hit full working pressure and is about to lift a prototype full-size rocket.

These comparisons are not painting BO in a good light, and the expectation that somewhere in their secret facility they're actually miles ahead are based on hope, not on any evidence.

EDIT:  FWIW, I wish it were otherwise.  Two spaceflight companies are better than one, and space is big enough for both.  But I find the combination of secrecy, high promises and low deliveries to be off-putting.
« Last Edit: 02/22/2019 04:50 am by meekGee »
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Offline Welsh Dragon

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As Musk indicated, it was intentional "test to destruction".  Was that the case with the powerpack?

Uh--oh, which one of the staged combustion methalox engines, eats copper and releases gases from wrong places and runs mere seconds, and which one runs at high throttle setting over two hundred seconds...



.... ;PPPP
Can't complain about bias when you're showing significant bias yourself.

Offline ncb1397

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Probably both... But BE is too secretive so we can't tell for sure.  All we knew is that at some point BE's engine exploded unexpectedly, took out the test cell with it, and that they're still at 70% power.


Hmm, highest achieved thrust number I have seen was 172 mT for Raptor. Which is 55% targeted thrust (IAC 2016). Anyways, 70% thrust for BE4 is still more than 172 mT. Maybe Blue just didn't shorten the yard stick.
« Last Edit: 02/22/2019 08:46 am by ncb1397 »

Online HVM

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Nothing new, but I link it anyway:

Online MaxTeranous

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Is NSF bit biased? Or is it just me.
BE-4 powerpack accident; "ooh no whole program is in jeopardy!"
Raptor pressure failure (*read as RUD); "you can't make an omelette without breaking eggs"

;P

*(Still hope that parts didn't hit any cows

Frankly, it's easier to root for a company that's has 70 successful orbital launches than a company that has exactly the same number of orbital launches as your local Subway franchise.

Offline edkyle99

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It is outside the realm of space launch industry experience.  Way outside. 
I could have sworn the US launch industry already built and flew a human-rated large diameter HLV with a large reusable orbital stage and high pressure reusable staged combustion engines.

No? Hmm. Must have been imagining things.
Did it make 13.9 million pounds of thrust? 

So amount of thrust if the only metric that should be looked at for "progress"?
I didn't use the word "progress", so not sure why its in quotes, but thrust is one of the means of comparison.  BFR would make 3.6 times more thrust than New Glenn and 2.73 times more than Falcon Heavy.  It would make 1.36 times more thrust than any rocket ever and 1.78 times more thrust than any successful rocket.  It would weigh 3.17 times more than New Glenn and 1.49 times more than any previous launch vehicle.  It will reenter its entire upper stage - a stage that itself is as large and heavy as most of today's standard launch vehicles - from interplanetary velocity, something only done by small reentry vehicles to date.  So yes, it is outside the envelope of previous experience.  That's why I tagged it "far out".

 - Ed Kyle     
« Last Edit: 02/23/2019 03:05 pm by edkyle99 »

Online meekGee

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It is outside the realm of space launch industry experience.  Way outside. 
I could have sworn the US launch industry already built and flew a human-rated large diameter HLV with a large reusable orbital stage and high pressure reusable staged combustion engines.

No? Hmm. Must have been imagining things.
Did it make 13.9 million pounds of thrust? 

So amount of thrust if the only metric that should be looked at for "progress"?
I didn't use the word "progress", so not sure why its in quotes, but thrust is one of the means of comparison.  BFR would make 3.6 times more thrust than New Glenn and 2.73 times more than Falcon Heavy.  It would make 1.36 times more thrust than any rocket ever and 1.78 times more thrust than any successful rocket.  It would weigh 3.17 times more than New Glenn and 1.49 times more than any previous launch vehicle.  It will reenter its entire upper stage - a stage that itself is as large and heavy as most of today's standard launch vehicles - from interplanetary velocity, something only done by small reentry vehicles to date.  So yes, it is outside the envelope of previous experience.  That's why I tagged it "far out".

 - Ed Kyle     
Of that list, only the last bit is revolutionary or "far out".

Being 1.7x or 2.2x beyond, by almost any metric, is normal progress when you move to a new generation vehicle.

The thing is most of the industry got used to fractions of past glory as "normal".

But yeah - SS itself is the new and glorious bit.
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Offline Coastal Ron

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...but thrust is one of the means of comparison.

Sure, it's one of many points of comparison, but regarding this thread topic you seem to be implying that bigger is not better, and that Blue Origin focusing on essentially matching Falcon Heavy is better.

Of course that would ignore that Jeff Bezos has stated they plan to go bigger than New Glenn at some point with New Armstrong, which may end up being something equivalent to the SpaceX Super Heavy. Of course if Super Heavy is flying by then, you wouldn't be saying the same things about New Armstrong that you are about Super Heavy, right? Because a new metric will have been achieved?

That is why I think vehicle thrust is a poor metric to use for comparison, since it is a means to an end, but not the end itself.

Quote
BFR would make 3.6 times more thrust than New Glenn and 2.73 times more than Falcon Heavy.

Again, focusing just on thrust misses the big picture, since both New Glen and Falcon Heavy are only partially reusable transportation systems, but Super Heavy and Starship are meant to be FULLY reusable transportation systems.

And other than ratios, you have yet to articulate WHY more thrust is bad, and WHERE the line is that transitions from big enough to too big.

Quote
It would make 1.36 times more thrust than any rocket ever...

Not sure why this statement made me think of the SLS rocket, but I wouldn't be surprised if the Constellation program would have continued, that you would have been cheering on the Ares V development and not saying it was "...outside the realm of space launch industry experience.  Way outside.;)

Both Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk have made it clear that they both plan to build space transportation systems that are larger than what is available today. That looks like product evolution to me, but as always, YMMV...
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

Online envy887

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It is outside the realm of space launch industry experience.  Way outside. 
I could have sworn the US launch industry already built and flew a human-rated large diameter HLV with a large reusable orbital stage and high pressure reusable staged combustion engines.

No? Hmm. Must have been imagining things.
Did it make 13.9 million pounds of thrust? 

So amount of thrust if the only metric that should be looked at for "progress"?
I didn't use the word "progress", so not sure why its in quotes, but thrust is one of the means of comparison.  BFR would make 3.6 times more thrust than New Glenn and 2.73 times more than Falcon Heavy.  It would make 1.36 times more thrust than any rocket ever and 1.78 times more thrust than any successful rocket.  It would weigh 3.17 times more than New Glenn and 1.49 times more than any previous launch vehicle.  It will reenter its entire upper stage - a stage that itself is as large and heavy as most of today's standard launch vehicles - from interplanetary velocity, something only done by small reentry vehicles to date.  So yes, it is outside the envelope of previous experience.  That's why I tagged it "far out".

 - Ed Kyle     

If the booster's higher thrust is a problem SpaceX can shorten it and use fewer engines. In fact they are likely to do that initially to get SuperHeavy flying sooner, then progress much like F9 v1.0>v1.1>v1.2

Starship doesn't need to do interplanetary reentries initially. It can do everything F9/FH does without much more than LEO entries, using either propulsive braking or multiple entry passes.

It does need to demonstrate fast turnaround, active cooled orbital heatshields, and orbital refueling. If you want to discuss things that outside the experience of the US launch industry, focus on those. Everything else is incremental upgrades of technologies demonstrated by Shuttle, Falcon, and others.

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