Author Topic: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles  (Read 211248 times)

Offline guckyfan

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6768
  • Germany
  • Liked: 1797
  • Likes Given: 1785
Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #100 on: 01/05/2016 08:39 AM »
SX have shown themselves well aware of the cost of storing more complex inventories than they need to.

I have only presented a possible solution. I don't intend to fight for it to be true. But on this point: The method would allow for all engines to be the same, no added complexity for restart. No need to build and stock several versions. The distribution system for TEA/TEB is already in place, it is needed for the ground start. That additional tank would only need to feed into that distribution system. So I don't see any added complexity in handling as well.

Offline john smith 19

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7574
  • Everyplaceelse
  • Liked: 1165
  • Likes Given: 7818
Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #101 on: 01/05/2016 10:18 AM »
The distribution system for TEA/TEB is already in place, it is needed for the ground start.
Is this confirmed? The starting tank for an SR71 was only about 4" in dia. It was good for several (more than 1 but I think less than 10) starts.

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.

Offline guckyfan

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6768
  • Germany
  • Liked: 1797
  • Likes Given: 1785
Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #102 on: 01/05/2016 10:20 AM »
The distribution system for TEA/TEB is already in place, it is needed for the ground start.
Is this confirmed? The starting tank for an SR71 was only about 4" in dia. It was good for several (more than 1 but I think less than 10) starts.

I have no insight. But ground supply for engine start was mentioned repeatedly and I assumed it is true.

Offline Ben the Space Brit

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7140
  • A spaceflight fan
  • London, UK
  • Liked: 662
  • Likes Given: 771
Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #103 on: 01/05/2016 01:01 PM »
Personally, I foresee that the first reuse flight will be something that does not require full flight-duration of the core in any case like the Dragon aerial abort test. You will want the core instrumented to hell and back anyway for the sake of the test and it only needs to last until Max-Q (+1:00 to +1:30-ish, IIRC). The Dragon will fly with 'live' abort software anyway, so if the core fails early, you'd have some confidence of salvaging the payload; the upper stage simulator isn't an issue.

It would be more sensible to do this than to risk a paying customer's payload.
"Oops! I left the silly thing in reverse!" - Duck Dodgers

~*~*~*~

The Space Shuttle Program - 1981-2011

The time for words has passed; The time has come to put up or shut up!
DON'T PROPAGANDISE, FLY!!!

Offline guckyfan

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6768
  • Germany
  • Liked: 1797
  • Likes Given: 1785
Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #104 on: 01/05/2016 02:13 PM »
Personally, I foresee that the first reuse flight will be something that does not require full flight-duration of the core in any case like the Dragon aerial abort test. You will want the core instrumented to hell and back anyway for the sake of the test and it only needs to last until Max-Q (+1:00 to +1:30-ish, IIRC). The Dragon will fly with 'live' abort software anyway, so if the core fails early, you'd have some confidence of salvaging the payload; the upper stage simulator isn't an issue.

It would be more sensible to do this than to risk a paying customer's payload.

True. But they do have a stage ready for that flight, that cannot be used otherwise. With all confidence I would not use a flown stage in the very first reflight for such an important CC-milestone.

 OT On second thought the test stage is a 1.1. Can they still fly it?

I would assume the first or first few flights as tests with upper stage dummy and RTLS. Or as pure first stage flights in New Mexico.

Offline macpacheco

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 860
  • Vitoria-ES-Brazil
  • Liked: 346
  • Likes Given: 2667
Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #105 on: 01/05/2016 02:25 PM »
The most logical layout would be an S2 dummy that's actually a big water tank.
Fly up with the tank full, then empty the tank at apogee (simulating the weight change of S2 sep).
Or would the S2 simulator be expendable ? A risk that thing crashing into the ground in NM and hurting someone.
Just thinking out loud...
Looking for companies doing great things for much more than money

Online AncientU

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6233
  • Liked: 4056
  • Likes Given: 5567
Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #106 on: 01/05/2016 03:27 PM »
The most logical layout would be an S2 dummy that's actually a big water tank.
Fly up with the tank full, then empty the tank at apogee (simulating the weight change of S2 sep).
Or would the S2 simulator be expendable ? A risk that thing crashing into the ground in NM and hurting someone.
Just thinking out loud...

They will probably fly a paying customer at a significant discount (that discount should be deep enough to cover insurance increase and provide profit incentive and/or an early launch slot).  How many dummy payloads have they launched to date for all the development work done?
"If we shared everything [we are working on] people would think we are insane!"
-- SpaceX friend of mlindner

Online AncientU

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6233
  • Liked: 4056
  • Likes Given: 5567
Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #107 on: 01/05/2016 03:31 PM »
Personally, I foresee that the first reuse flight will be something that does not require full flight-duration of the core in any case like the Dragon aerial abort test. You will want the core instrumented to hell and back anyway for the sake of the test and it only needs to last until Max-Q (+1:00 to +1:30-ish, IIRC). The Dragon will fly with 'live' abort software anyway, so if the core fails early, you'd have some confidence of salvaging the payload; the upper stage simulator isn't an issue.

It would be more sensible to do this than to risk a paying customer's payload.

True. But they do have a stage ready for that flight, that cannot be used otherwise. With all confidence I would not use a flown stage in the very first reflight for such an important CC-milestone.

 OT On second thought the test stage is a 1.1. Can they still fly it?

I would assume the first or first few flights as tests with upper stage dummy and RTLS. Or as pure first stage flights in New Mexico.

They have done all(lots anyway) densified propellant preparations at Vandenberg and they are still launching a v1.1.  In-flight abort might be next there.
"If we shared everything [we are working on] people would think we are insane!"
-- SpaceX friend of mlindner

Offline oldAtlas_Eguy

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3479
  • Florida
  • Liked: 1887
  • Likes Given: 223
Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #108 on: 01/05/2016 03:55 PM »
The distribution system for TEA/TEB is already in place, it is needed for the ground start.
Is this confirmed? The starting tank for an SR71 was only about 4" in dia. It was good for several (more than 1 but I think less than 10) starts.

I have no insight. But ground supply for engine start was mentioned repeatedly and I assumed it is true.
Ground start supply was for the He to spin up the turbines which is followed by a small amount of TEA/TEB to get the two combustion chambers burning and to continue quick ramp up of the turbine speeds. In flight the restart is done via a common He bottle on same supply line isolated from external by a valve. BTW the He supply line and start bottle is redundant. This is known due to a startup problem on one flight of the valve/supply line malfunction on a V1.0 launch abort when an M1C engine did not start. For M1D the lines were made redundant because the engines needed to be insured they would start in flight.

The basic point is that TEA/TEB tankage would be refilled or handled during normal stage processing and not as a step in refurbishment other than a check for leaks for safety. The engines are not shipped across country with the TEA/TEB tanks filled without a permit for hazardous chemicals. It would be easier to ship the stage or engines across country by draining the TEA/TEB tanks at McGregor before shipment. So there would be a hazardous material procedure to load the tanks in the stage processing just like for any hydrazine, UDMH or N2O4.

The general point about refurbishment is that the costs, at least for this core, are inspections looking for potential problems. Most of the refills are all part of the normal stage processing process and would not be an extra charge per launch for a reused stage. Refurbishment costs are generally limited to inspection and parts replacement.

If this booster stage is typical then the refurbishment costs will be very minimal possibly less than $1M total including handling a the landing site.

The only remaining question is about the paint. Will they do a touch up, complete strip and repaint, or just clean and leave it be?

Offline shooter6947

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 107
  • Idaho
  • Liked: 75
  • Likes Given: 468
Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #109 on: 01/05/2016 11:51 PM »

Jason-3                         533kg   LEO    Yes


533kg -- that's tiny!  They could have launched it on a Falcon 1 almost, but then I guess that you couldn't re-use the booster.  Still, I guess that F9 second stage is pretty much just a Falcon 1 first stage anyway, so if they recover the booster maybe the net costs will be similar.

I guess that there just aren't any credible and reliable American launchers smaller than F9 that NASA could have selected these days.
« Last Edit: 01/05/2016 11:53 PM by shooter6947 »

Offline Jim

  • Night Gator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 32422
  • Cape Canaveral Spaceport
  • Liked: 11163
  • Likes Given: 331
Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #110 on: 01/05/2016 11:59 PM »

533kg -- that's tiny!  They could have launched it on a Falcon 1 almost, but then I guess that you couldn't re-use the booster.  Still, I guess that F9 second stage is pretty much just a Falcon 1 first stage anyway, so if they recover the booster maybe the net costs will be similar.

I guess that there just aren't any credible and reliable American launchers smaller than F9 that NASA could have selected these days.

Delta II and Atlas V

Offline oldAtlas_Eguy

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3479
  • Florida
  • Liked: 1887
  • Likes Given: 223
Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #111 on: 01/06/2016 12:38 AM »

533kg -- that's tiny!  They could have launched it on a Falcon 1 almost, but then I guess that you couldn't re-use the booster.  Still, I guess that F9 second stage is pretty much just a Falcon 1 first stage anyway, so if they recover the booster maybe the net costs will be similar.

I guess that there just aren't any credible and reliable American launchers smaller than F9 that NASA could have selected these days.

Delta II and Atlas V
When Jason 3 was booked they used the v1.0 performance as the vehicle they were buying a ride on. It just so happens the vehicle they are riding on the v1.1 has 30% more than that one. It almost ended on a F9FT with more than 2 x the performance. The reason SpaceX got the contract was because of price and the unwillingness to use the last Delta II (an almost equal cost vehicle for such a small payload) on a low priority mission.

Offline shooter6947

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 107
  • Idaho
  • Liked: 75
  • Likes Given: 468
Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #112 on: 01/06/2016 02:24 AM »

I guess that there just aren't any credible and reliable American launchers smaller than F9 that NASA could have selected these days.

Delta II and Atlas V

I suppose that Atlas V 401 does have a lower mass to LEO than Falcon 9, true.  More expensive, though, obv.  Delta II's are awesome -- too bad ULA doesn't seem to be interested in restarting the production line on those.

Offline macpacheco

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 860
  • Vitoria-ES-Brazil
  • Liked: 346
  • Likes Given: 2667
Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #113 on: 01/06/2016 06:25 AM »
The most logical layout would be an S2 dummy that's actually a big water tank.
Fly up with the tank full, then empty the tank at apogee (simulating the weight change of S2 sep).
Or would the S2 simulator be expendable ? A risk that thing crashing into the ground in NM and hurting someone.
Just thinking out loud...

They will probably fly a paying customer at a significant discount (that discount should be deep enough to cover insurance increase and provide profit incentive and/or an early launch slot).  How many dummy payloads have they launched to date for all the development work done?

I was thinking NM SpacePort America fly until it breaks test cycle.
If its going up in the cape, then yes, it would be a full orbital re-launch.
AFAIK NM doesn't allow orbital launches.
The Cape probably can't support a dozen test launches.
Looking for companies doing great things for much more than money

Offline rsdavis9

Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #114 on: 01/06/2016 02:54 PM »
The most logical layout would be an S2 dummy that's actually a big water tank.
Fly up with the tank full, then empty the tank at apogee (simulating the weight change of S2 sep).
Or would the S2 simulator be expendable ? A risk that thing crashing into the ground in NM and hurting someone.
Just thinking out loud...

They will probably fly a paying customer at a significant discount (that discount should be deep enough to cover insurance increase and provide profit incentive and/or an early launch slot).  How many dummy payloads have they launched to date for all the development work done?

I was thinking NM SpacePort America fly until it breaks test cycle.
If its going up in the cape, then yes, it would be a full orbital re-launch.
AFAIK NM doesn't allow orbital launches.
The Cape probably can't support a dozen test launches.

I like the spacex method. No test flight with dummy stuff. Just fly real stuff at a big discount. That way its still a test flight but real paying things get launched. As they get more test flights done the price gets higher and higher. I see the price on a already flown booster eventually getting a higher price than a new booster.
With ELV best efficiency was the paradigm. The new paradigm is reusable, good enough, and commonality of design.
Same engines. Design once. Same vehicle. Design once. Reusable. Build once.

Offline macpacheco

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 860
  • Vitoria-ES-Brazil
  • Liked: 346
  • Likes Given: 2667
Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #115 on: 01/06/2016 04:17 PM »
I was thinking NM SpacePort America fly until it breaks test cycle.
If its going up in the cape, then yes, it would be a full orbital re-launch.
AFAIK NM doesn't allow orbital launches.
The Cape probably can't support a dozen test launches.

I like the spacex method. No test flight with dummy stuff. Just fly real stuff at a big discount. That way its still a test flight but real paying things get launched. As they get more test flights done the price gets higher and higher. I see the price on a already flown booster eventually getting a higher price than a new booster.

That's fine with a brand new rocket.
The issue with launching a paying customer's payload is if the launch fails its a big negative for SpaceX.
If there's no payload on top, its just another grasshopper test.
Think of it as GH2.

But if SpaceX is confident (its safe to do it). I sure will be cheering for them to succeed.
« Last Edit: 01/06/2016 04:17 PM by macpacheco »
Looking for companies doing great things for much more than money

Offline RoboGoofers

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 303
  • NJ
  • Liked: 141
  • Likes Given: 199
Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #116 on: 01/07/2016 05:04 PM »
What will happen to a merlin engine after 30-50 firings (or whatever they establish as the lifetime of the engine)? Will they disassemble it and replace worn parts and put it back on a F9, or junk it and use a new merlin?




Offline Lars-J

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4226
  • California
  • Liked: 3652
  • Likes Given: 2251
Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #117 on: 01/07/2016 05:06 PM »
What will happen to a merlin engine after 30-50 firings (or whatever they establish as the lifetime of the engine)? Will they disassemble it and replace worn parts and put it back on a F9, or junk it and use a new merlin?

Junk it, presumably. Once the large components start to degrade - like the engine bell with wall chambers - it is not cost effective to repair it. But that's not a big deal... They are already building 100+ engines per year.

Offline guckyfan

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6768
  • Germany
  • Liked: 1797
  • Likes Given: 1785
Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #118 on: 01/07/2016 06:14 PM »
What will happen to a merlin engine after 30-50 firings (or whatever they establish as the lifetime of the engine)? Will they disassemble it and replace worn parts and put it back on a F9, or junk it and use a new merlin?

Junk it, presumably. Once the large components start to degrade - like the engine bell with wall chambers - it is not cost effective to repair it. But that's not a big deal... They are already building 100+ engines per year.

Elon Musk said, some thermally high stressed parts would need replacement. We don't know which parts that would be. I agree that the regeneratively cooled engine bell or thrust chamber won't be replaced. But if it is just the preburner or easily accessible components of the turbo pump they may replace them.

Edit: fixed typo
« Last Edit: 01/07/2016 06:15 PM by guckyfan »

Offline inonepiece

  • Member
  • Posts: 71
  • Liked: 42
  • Likes Given: 62
Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #119 on: 01/07/2016 08:59 PM »
This image appears to show, at the base of the engine bells, what looks like a stitched material (curved, divided into relatively small squares by what looks like the stitching, darker black than most of surrounding image)?  Can that be true?  Either way, what is it and what are its likely eventual failure modes?


Tags: