Author Topic: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles  (Read 195588 times)

Offline john smith 19

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Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #120 on: 01/07/2016 10:55 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?
Looks like a TPS blanket to seal the compartment from recirculating combustion gases will allowing the engines to swivel.

Failure modes depend on blanket construction. Surface damage due to heat and noise (the sound level alone can do significant damage) is possible, as is thread damage and internal failure as it's flexed during engine motion. shuttle era blankets had a ceramic coating which made them brittle but later designs (not deployed) eliminated the coating (and hence the inspection & re coating). Such a part is subject to simultaneous thermal, audio and mechanical cyclic stresses.

I have no information on how often Shuttle blankets (specifically the ones doing the same job around the SSME's) were replaced.

But if it is just the preburner or easily accessible components of the turbo pump they may replace them.
What preburner?

Merlin runs a gas generator cycle.
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Offline Dante80

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Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #121 on: 01/07/2016 11:06 PM »

What preburner?

Merlin runs a gas generator cycle.

Online QuantumG

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Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #122 on: 01/07/2016 11:22 PM »
Another name being the "gas generator".
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Online Lars-J

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Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #123 on: 01/07/2016 11:31 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?



It's a soft material that allows the engines to gimbal yet protects the interior of the thrust structure. See image here, before launch. As for failure modes? The usual for a fabric of that kind I imagine - tearing or burn through. But it is likely VERY tough if it can survive A) the radiated heat of 9 engines at full thrust for 3 minutes and B) supersonic retro-propulsion and C) braking/landing burns.

ULA uses something similar for the RD-180 on Atlas V. (image 2)
« Last Edit: 01/07/2016 11:36 PM by Lars-J »

Offline Rocket Science

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Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #124 on: 01/07/2016 11:55 PM »
« Last Edit: 01/07/2016 11:57 PM by Rocket Science »
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Offline the_other_Doug

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Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #125 on: 01/07/2016 11:59 PM »
The materials in question are basically thermal blankets.  They are made of various types of enhanced fabrics, and have been used to protect the engine assemblies for decades on any number of rockets.

I would imagine that the blankets used to swathe first-stage engine assemblies are multi-layered, with various layers serving different purposes.  Kevlar layers would be there for strength and to protect against any projectiles lifted up from the ground (on both lift-off and landing), while metal-coated layers and possibly woven metal layers would protect against the extreme thermal environment.

Multiple layers also give you an ablation effect, rather like how a book sitting in the fireplace may lose its outer pages and edges, but the inner layers remain mostly intact.  The outer layers of the blanket are allowed to burn away, taking away some of the heat pulse with the, while the inner layers remain to protect the engines.  (That's certainly the theory, I would imagine.)

The thermal blankets on the F9 first stage are rather obviously quilted.  The blankets on the Atlas V are not.

These are just big, custom-made blankets.  I doubt they're all that expensive in the larger scheme of things, and on the Falcon seem to be attached by bolt-down attach rings -- perfectly designed to be replaced when they are discovered to be in too poor a shape for reflight.

I really wouldn't worry too much about them.  I bet they can be replaced by a few people in a few days, at relatively low cost in the overall total of the stage's refurb needs.
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Online Robotbeat

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Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #126 on: 01/08/2016 12:07 AM »
Nextel is a pretty good guess. Probably what I would use.
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Offline john smith 19

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Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #127 on: 01/08/2016 10:41 AM »
As promised here is version 6 of my costing game.

The F9 tab has been upgraded to break out replacement parts costs and usage charges on special hardware like big cranes, along with a revised full time equivalent staff member cost from Old_Atlas_Eguy.

Personally I think the biggest shock is Musks statement that it costs $60m to build an F9, so the expected gross profit margin for each one is much smaller than people have been speculating.

As usual Blue cells are variables you can change.

I'd still like to get a solid figure for range charges. People have been saying about $500k, but does anyone know?

Any comments, questions or suggestions for improvement will be viewed with interest and may be put on the wish list.
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Offline abaddon

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Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #128 on: 01/08/2016 02:27 PM »
Personally I think the biggest shock is Musks statement that it costs $60m to build an F9
I think it is very much in doubt that is the cost.  We know $60m is the ballpark price of most commercial F9 flights to date.  Seems much more likely he is generally referring to price to launch and not the cost to build.  At a minimum I would guess it is the cost to launch (meaning no profit) rather than cost to build (losing money on every launch).

Offline JamesH

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Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #129 on: 01/08/2016 05:25 PM »
Personally I think the biggest shock is Musks statement that it costs $60m to build an F9
I think it is very much in doubt that is the cost.  We know $60m is the ballpark price of most commercial F9 flights to date.  Seems much more likely he is generally referring to price to launch and not the cost to build.  At a minimum I would guess it is the cost to launch (meaning no profit) rather than cost to build (losing money on every launch).

It does seem unlikely that the rockets costs that much in ra materials and labour, given they make one in three weeks, and engines I believe are even quicker.

Online Llian Rhydderch

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Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #130 on: 01/08/2016 07:32 PM »
The USD$60 million cost figure Elon threw out in response for a Q&A at a press conference, is just that.  Elon did not say, and we don't know, what components of cost Elon included for consumption by the media, or even if he may have been sloppy (which I personally doubt) and meant price to the customer, as another poster on this thread believes.

Let's assume he really meant cost.  Cost to an econ major like Elon likely means all costs, implicit and explicit, not merely accounting costs (which include only explicit costs).  We simply don't know what all he included in that, likely based on numerous presentations and discussions he has had with SpaceX employees in recent months and years. 

It is certainly possible that some of that cost he was talking about included extraordinary costs associated with SpaceX inefficiencies during the multi-month return to flight period, with large labor costs, and very low revenue.  Is he talking average costs or marginal costs?  If average costs, the avg cost of all F9 cores in what period of time.  So we may speculate, but we just really don't know.
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Offline abaddon

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Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #131 on: 01/08/2016 09:10 PM »
The relevant quote is "The Falcon 9 rocket costs about $60 million to build."  You can make up whatever you want but the literal interpretation (meaning he is not exercising any of the wild thought exercises you list) is that it does in fact cost about $60 million to build the rocket, in which case SpaceX is losing money on every commercial launch.

Offline john smith 19

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Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #132 on: 01/08/2016 11:46 PM »
The relevant quote is "The Falcon 9 rocket costs about $60 million to build."  You can make up whatever you want but the literal interpretation (meaning he is not exercising any of the wild thought exercises you list) is that it does in fact cost about $60 million to build the rocket, in which case SpaceX is losing money on every commercial launch.
That's a bit pessimistic given Shotwell has said the actual price for a comm sat launch is more like the $100m Arianespace charge. Wheather that and the NASA COTS contracts keeps them solidly in the Black is another matter.

But it is a much smaller gross margin than most people have been talking about (2%, not 20%).

Here's the actual quote from the thread "Re: Business effects of reusability"

EDIT: Further question: How does the following, from the transcript of the post RTLS conference call factor it? Is this the retracted statement you are referring to?

http://shitelonsays.com/transcript/postlanding-teleconference-with-elon-musk-2015-12-22#

Quote
[1:29]

If you can perfect this technology to the point where you can begin actually reusing boosters can you give us a sense of what that might mean for lowering launch costs?

Yeah, absolutely. The Falcon 9 rocket costs about $60 million to build. It's kind of like a big jet. But, the cost of the propellant, which is mostly oxygen and the gas, is only about $200,000. That means that the potential cost reduction over the long term is probably in excess of a factor of 100.

SX is quite adept at information management and this seems a quite unguarded comment but I'd guess if anyone had that number Musk would have it.
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Online QuantumG

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Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #133 on: 01/09/2016 12:16 AM »
this seems a quite unguarded comment

Yeah, "unguarded".

Jeff Bezos has billions to spend on rockets and can go at whatever pace he likes! Wow! What pace is he going at? Well... have you heard of Zeno's paradox?

Offline john smith 19

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Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #134 on: 01/09/2016 01:36 AM »
this seems a quite unguarded comment

Yeah, "unguarded".
Well it was new to me.  :) Although according to Wikipedia they were projecting a cost for F9 in 2005 of $35m for the 5m fairing. That's annual compound inflation of 5.9%, when average US inflation over the same period was about 2.9%

Perhaps I should add an entry in my costing game.....
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 So, you are going to Mars to start a better life? Picture it in your mind. Now say what it is out loud.

Offline WindyCity

Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #135 on: 01/09/2016 02:52 AM »
The SpaceX website advertises the cost of a F9 missions at $61.2 million. Presumably, that means that it costs far less to build the rocket. I thought Musk said that the construction cost was $16 million, but this could be mistaken.

Online HMXHMX

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Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #136 on: 01/09/2016 03:08 AM »
this seems a quite unguarded comment

Yeah, "unguarded".
Well it was new to me.  :) Although according to Wikipedia they were projecting a cost for F9 in 2005 of $35m for the 5m fairing. That's annual compound inflation of 5.9%, when average US inflation over the same period was about 2.9%

Perhaps I should add an entry in my costing game.....

It was $12M for the F5 and $18M for the F9.  At least, that was the price I was discussing with Gwynne in 2005 (may have been Dec 2004) at SpaceX.

Offline pathfinder_01

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Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #137 on: 01/09/2016 03:15 AM »
The relevant quote is "The Falcon 9 rocket costs about $60 million to build."  You can make up whatever you want but the literal interpretation (meaning he is not exercising any of the wild thought exercises you list) is that it does in fact cost about $60 million to build the rocket, in which case SpaceX is losing money on every commercial launch.

There are additional services required to launch an payload and charges associated with them that he could make some money with(i.e. integration, trajectory analysis). He isn't selling rockets, he is selling launch services.

Offline abaddon

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Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #138 on: 01/09/2016 03:34 AM »
The word is build.  That's quite specific.

Offline pathfinder_01

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Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #139 on: 01/09/2016 03:47 AM »
The word is build.  That's quite specific.

Yes, but it takes more than just building the rocket to put something in orbit. There are additional costs beyond the rocket that he can charge his customers.

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