Author Topic: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles  (Read 211292 times)

Online Lar

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Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #260 on: 04/21/2016 09:40 PM »
Future versions of the legs will rectify that, of course. I would guess the next flown mission will have the capacity to do that.

Why? As long as the rocket does not lift off while standing on its legs, there will always be engineers present when taking off or folding the legs. If re-folding adds weight, it would not be such a good thing to do.
Optimize for cost, not weight. Don't go crazy about it but don't be afraid of adding some weight if it shaves days off the refurb cycle. (That's my thinking on their thinking)
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Offline yg1968

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Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #261 on: 04/25/2016 03:19 PM »
Here ia an article on this topic:

http://spacenews.com/spacexs-reusable-falcon-9-what-are-the-real-cost-savings-for-customers/

Quote
Arianespace Chief Executive Stephane Israel, in an April 23 briefing at Europe’s Guiana Space Center here on the northeast coast of South America, said Europe’s launch sector can only guess at how much SpaceX will need to spend to refurbish its Falcon 9 first stages. Israel said European assessments of reusability have concluded that, to reap the full cost benefits, a partially reusable rocket would need to launch 35-40 times per year to maintain a sizable production facility while introducing reused hardware into the manifest.
« Last Edit: 04/25/2016 03:20 PM by yg1968 »

Online Lar

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Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #262 on: 04/25/2016 04:24 PM »
Here ia an article on this topic:

http://spacenews.com/spacexs-reusable-falcon-9-what-are-the-real-cost-savings-for-customers/

Quote
Arianespace Chief Executive Stephane Israel, in an April 23 briefing at Europe’s Guiana Space Center here on the northeast coast of South America, said Europe’s launch sector can only guess at how much SpaceX will need to spend to refurbish its Falcon 9 first stages. Israel said European assessments of reusability have concluded that, to reap the full cost benefits, a partially reusable rocket would need to launch 35-40 times per year to maintain a sizable production facility while introducing reused hardware into the manifest.

I'm dubious.

For one thing it's wishful thinking, because if he's right, all is well at Arianespace, but if he's wrong, his job is in trouble, and for another the production facility is going to be busy cranking out S2s so the cost of having an idle line? isn't.  This seems more or less the same FUD that ULA (inadvertantly in my view) served up with Dr. Sowers' spreadsheet on reuse business case.

Time wil tell.

Also, I suspect the are taking flown hardware and getting various piece parts into a refurb cycle for reuse.  Bead blast, repainted things, remove electronics for flight requalification (firmware updates?), NDI, etc.

I'm dubious about this as well. At least steady state, if things need to be disassembled after every flight, we're back to refurbishment rather than reuse. I expect SpaceX will design out refurbishment wherever possible.  First few cycles? Sure. Lots to inspect and test and learn from, but over time, every touch will be looked at for possible elimination.
« Last Edit: 04/25/2016 04:27 PM by Lar »
"I think it would be great to be born on Earth and to die on Mars. Just hopefully not at the point of impact." -Elon Musk
"We're a little bit like the dog who caught the bus" - Musk after CRS-8 S1 successfully landed on ASDS OCISLY

Offline CraigLieb

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Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #263 on: 04/25/2016 04:36 PM »
Following the aircraft model, might we see FAA get involved with 100 hour inspection requirements on engines and/or overhauls every certain time period?  I am thinking govt agencies be come more interested particularly if people transport becomes common on re-used space vehicles.
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Offline starhawk92

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Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #264 on: 04/25/2016 05:16 PM »
Following the aircraft model, might we see FAA get involved with 100 hour inspection requirements on engines and/or overhauls every certain time period?  I am thinking govt agencies be come more interested particularly if people transport becomes common on re-used space vehicles.

And aircraft are built to be overhauled, any reason not to just refurbish after, say, 50 flights?  And do upgrades then?  Does software always have to be at the highest revision to work (I guess another way to say that is "Is backward compatibility now an issue with rockets?")?

Offline yg1968

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Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #265 on: 04/25/2016 05:50 PM »
Here ia an article on this topic:

http://spacenews.com/spacexs-reusable-falcon-9-what-are-the-real-cost-savings-for-customers/

Quote
Arianespace Chief Executive Stephane Israel, in an April 23 briefing at Europe’s Guiana Space Center here on the northeast coast of South America, said Europe’s launch sector can only guess at how much SpaceX will need to spend to refurbish its Falcon 9 first stages. Israel said European assessments of reusability have concluded that, to reap the full cost benefits, a partially reusable rocket would need to launch 35-40 times per year to maintain a sizable production facility while introducing reused hardware into the manifest.

I'm dubious.

For one thing it's wishful thinking, because if he's right, all is well at Arianespace, but if he's wrong, his job is in trouble, and for another the production facility is going to be busy cranking out S2s so the cost of having an idle line? isn't.  This seems more or less the same FUD that ULA (inadvertantly in my view) served up with Dr. Sowers' spreadsheet on reuse business case.

Time wil tell.

It could be that what makes sense for ULA and Arianespace isn't the case for SpaceX. Because SpaceX is vertically integrated, it might be easier for them to reuse their first stage and continue to keep their production line open. The other thing is that I believe Musk when he says that reusability is worth it even if you only fly once a year. Reusability only costs you something if it prevents you from launching certain payloads. But I don't think that's the case for SpaceX. The cost of recovery and reburshment of the first stage might be a factor but we don't know what that is yet.
« Last Edit: 04/25/2016 05:56 PM by yg1968 »

Online meekGee

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Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #266 on: 04/25/2016 06:12 PM »
Here ia an article on this topic:

http://spacenews.com/spacexs-reusable-falcon-9-what-are-the-real-cost-savings-for-customers/

Quote
Arianespace Chief Executive Stephane Israel, in an April 23 briefing at Europe’s Guiana Space Center here on the northeast coast of South America, said Europe’s launch sector can only guess at how much SpaceX will need to spend to refurbish its Falcon 9 first stages. Israel said European assessments of reusability have concluded that, to reap the full cost benefits, a partially reusable rocket would need to launch 35-40 times per year to maintain a sizable production facility while introducing reused hardware into the manifest.

I'm dubious.

For one thing it's wishful thinking, because if he's right, all is well at Arianespace, but if he's wrong, his job is in trouble, and for another the production facility is going to be busy cranking out S2s so the cost of having an idle line? isn't.  This seems more or less the same FUD that ULA (inadvertantly in my view) served up with Dr. Sowers' spreadsheet on reuse business case.

Time wil tell.

Also, I suspect the are taking flown hardware and getting various piece parts into a refurb cycle for reuse.  Bead blast, repainted things, remove electronics for flight requalification (firmware updates?), NDI, etc.

I'm dubious about this as well. At least steady state, if things need to be disassembled after every flight, we're back to refurbishment rather than reuse. I expect SpaceX will design out refurbishment wherever possible.  First few cycles? Sure. Lots to inspect and test and learn from, but over time, every touch will be looked at for possible elimination.

The mental image of trying to move forward while your head is buried in the sand is amusing.
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Online Lar

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Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #267 on: 04/25/2016 07:13 PM »

It could be that what makes sense for ULA and Arianespace isn't the case for SpaceX. Because SpaceX is vertically integrated, it might be easier for them to reuse their first stage and continue to keep their production line open.

Exactly. If you are a "rockets are LEGO elements" company like OrbitalATK that assembles things and each stage is dissimilar, if you start reusing S1 a lot, you (or your S1 vendor) have a vacant S1 line, and repurposing it for, say, lunar landers, or in space tugs, is a lot harder.  Your S2 is from a different vendor so you can't repurpose the S1 line to make them...

Whether it was dumb luck forced on them due to limited resources, or shrewd thinking (I think the latter but I'm biased), SpaceX does not have this problem. S2 is made on the SAME line as S1... same tankage, a lot of the same internal fixtures, etc, just shorter. yes, it's different, but reconfiguring the line to make 3x ... and then 5X... and then 10X (as reuse fraction goes up)  S2 as you do S1 isn't nearly as hard.

(and this is what kind of bugs me about the talk of a Raptor upper stage for F9... all of a sudden you're eroding a lot of commonality. ESPECIALLY if you go to a different tank size like so many people here like)
« Last Edit: 04/25/2016 07:14 PM by Lar »
"I think it would be great to be born on Earth and to die on Mars. Just hopefully not at the point of impact." -Elon Musk
"We're a little bit like the dog who caught the bus" - Musk after CRS-8 S1 successfully landed on ASDS OCISLY

Offline envy887

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Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #268 on: 04/25/2016 07:36 PM »

It could be that what makes sense for ULA and Arianespace isn't the case for SpaceX. Because SpaceX is vertically integrated, it might be easier for them to reuse their first stage and continue to keep their production line open.

Exactly. If you are a "rockets are LEGO elements" company like OrbitalATK that assembles things and each stage is dissimilar, if you start reusing S1 a lot, you (or your S1 vendor) have a vacant S1 line, and repurposing it for, say, lunar landers, or in space tugs, is a lot harder.  Your S2 is from a different vendor so you can't repurpose the S1 line to make them...

Whether it was dumb luck forced on them due to limited resources, or shrewd thinking (I think the latter but I'm biased), SpaceX does not have this problem. S2 is made on the SAME line as S1... same tankage, a lot of the same internal fixtures, etc, just shorter. yes, it's different, but reconfiguring the line to make 3x ... and then 5X... and then 10X (as reuse fraction goes up)  S2 as you do S1 isn't nearly as hard.

(and this is what kind of bugs me about the talk of a Raptor upper stage for F9... all of a sudden you're eroding a lot of commonality. ESPECIALLY if you go to a different tank size like so many people here like)

I doubt SpaceX will let an upgraded S2 get in they way of high volume production. It wouldn't fill any customer needs than reusable Heavy will not already be able to launch with the current high volume (e.g. cheap) 2nd stage, except for super-heavy lift - and they don't currently have any super-heavy lift customers.

Unless NASA or DOD is funding it for super-heavy lift, it would just be a very low volume research and development demonstrator to prove MCT concepts, and would only go up on a fraction of Heavy launches.

Offline Kansan52

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Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #269 on: 04/25/2016 07:38 PM »
If memory serves, outsourcing was the original SX plan to save money. Again relying on memory, when outsourcing failed, processes were brought back home. I believe all of the companies are 'shrewd' in their own way, 'rapidly adaptable' seems to be an SX strength.

Now this is all moot because they seem to always build there own stages!  ;)

Offline nadreck

Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #270 on: 04/25/2016 07:39 PM »

Unless NASA or DOD is funding it for super-heavy lift, it would just be a very low volume research and development demonstrator to prove MCT concepts, and would only go up on a fraction of Heavy launches.

I don't see that if it is reusable, it would be cheaper than the current upper stage to use then.
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Offline CraigLieb

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Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #271 on: 04/25/2016 09:27 PM »
Here ia an article on this topic:

http://spacenews.com/spacexs-reusable-falcon-9-what-are-the-real-cost-savings-for-customers/

Quote
Arianespace Chief Executive Stephane Israel, in an April 23 briefing at Europe’s Guiana Space Center here on the northeast coast of South America, said Europe’s launch sector can only guess at how much SpaceX will need to spend to refurbish its Falcon 9 first stages. Israel said European assessments of reusability have concluded that, to reap the full cost benefits, a partially reusable rocket would need to launch 35-40 times per year to maintain a sizable production facility while introducing reused hardware into the manifest.

The assumption of the article is if you can't profit from the direct investment in the short or medium term (lets say 5-10 years) with financial returns greater than the investment, then it shouldn't be done. And in a typical business envioronment ignoring these kinds of "rules" spells death to a company. Arianespace and other oldSpace companies have this mindset because they have to answer to shareholders. Lost profitability turns into lost jobs for presidents.

I believe that SpaceX and their investors operate from a completely different paradigm, incompatible with the former view. They measure success so radically differently that it is not even comprehensible to their competition.

Reuse will completely remake the launch marketplace as much as mass production changed the marketplace for automobiles from custom made cars for the elite, to an industry sold to the common man. It enables thousands of launches per year instead of hundreds.  SpaceX may leverage some of that launch capacity to put up a global satellite Internet service array less expensively than anyone else can do. Leveraging the capital from this to fund the next steps.
 
Beyond that,  SpaceX and the investor group may be looking to own Mars. I don't mean planet domination, but founder's position, which can be the best leverage, for of all commercial endeavors on an entirely new planet! These will be new businesses, new franchises, and new industries.  It takes vision to see the potential. It takes moxy to get beyond failures of stages, more expensive design criteria,  invested in landing technology, ASDS platforms, new launch zones, not to mention lost performance due to fuel reserves for landing.

So success, as measured by SpaceX, seems to be about leveraging today's marketplace to change the paradigm and open up 200 years of profit growth on multiple planets.  Sign me up.
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Offline Retired Downrange

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Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #272 on: 04/25/2016 09:41 PM »
I would say the comment "lost performance due to fuel reserves for landing." is a reflection of "old way" thinking, as we certainly don't say that about airplanes...   That which could be called "lost" in the future would be the cost (millions of dollars) if the launch vehicle is thrown away after one launch.

Offline mvpel

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Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #273 on: 04/25/2016 10:57 PM »
Quote
Arianespace Chief Executive Stephane Israel, in an April 23 briefing at Europe’s Guiana Space Center here on the northeast coast of South America, said Europe’s launch sector can only guess at how much SpaceX will need to spend to refurbish its Falcon 9 first stages. Israel said European assessments of reusability have concluded that, to reap the full cost benefits, a partially reusable rocket would need to launch 35-40 times per year to maintain a sizable production facility while introducing reused hardware into the manifest.

If the underlying purpose of your production facilities is to maintain a set of well-paying jobs for favored political constituencies and support your national and allied aerospace and defense systems engineering employment sectors, rather than to turn a profit in the most efficient way possible, then I suppose that the European assessments of reusability would inevitably come to such a conclusion.

And he's apparently in denial, since SpaceX already assessed the first returned booster from December, and test-fired it earlier this year, and later declared it capable of reflight, so that puts an upper bound on the refurbishment spending requirements which he doesn't seem to want to acknowledge is far, far lower than he and his vaunted experts expected.
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Offline john smith 19

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Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #274 on: 04/25/2016 11:32 PM »
The assumption of the article is if you can't profit from the direct investment in the short or medium term (lets say 5-10 years) with financial returns greater than the investment, then it shouldn't be done. And in a typical business envioronment ignoring these kinds of "rules" spells death to a company. Arianespace and other oldSpace companies have this mindset because they have to answer to shareholders. Lost profitability turns into lost jobs for presidents.
True. This is the launch business.
Quote
I believe that SpaceX and their investors operate from a completely different paradigm, incompatible with the former view. They measure success so radically differently that it is not even comprehensible to their competition.
Or they can afford  to take a longer perspective on their payoff.
Quote
Reuse will completely remake the launch marketplace as much as mass production
At this point it's partial reuse and it's a hope it will remake the launch services marketplace.

Remaking the launch marketplace requires a vehicle you can buy and use on your own.  :(
You might think of SX's work as lowering the cost of chauffeurs.
Quote
It enables thousands of launches per year instead of hundreds.
Not when you still throw away a whole stage costing tens of millions er launch.
Quote
  SpaceX may leverage some of that launch capacity to put up a global satellite Internet service array less expensively than anyone else can do. Leveraging the capital from this to fund the next steps.
 
We'll see  how this works.
Quote
Beyond that,  SpaceX and the investor group may be looking to own Mars. I don't mean planet domination, but founder's position, which can be the best leverage, for of all commercial endeavors on an entirely new planet! These will be new businesses, new franchises, and new industries. 
The last time someone tried to start a thread about that it was locked.    :(

I note Musk has stated that even shipping Crack Cocaine from Mars would not make a profit. Historically quite a lot of of fortunes have been founded on shipping surpluses to existing markets.
Musk believes this option is impossible.  :(



« Last Edit: 04/25/2016 11:36 PM by john smith 19 »
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 Lar

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Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #275 on: 04/26/2016 01:47 AM »
Beyond that,  SpaceX and the investor group may be looking to own Mars. I don't mean planet domination, but founder's position, which can be the best leverage, for of all commercial endeavors on an entirely new planet! These will be new businesses, new franchises, and new industries. 
The last time someone tried to start a thread about that it was locked.    :(
Threads get locked partly because people get on hobbyhorses about things and try to drag discussion off topic repeatedly. There are other reasons but that's one.
Quote
I note Musk has stated that even shipping Crack Cocaine from Mars would not make a profit. Historically quite a lot of of fortunes have been founded on shipping surpluses to existing markets.
Musk believes this option is impossible.  :(

That's not exactly what he meant and it's been overcome by events. More importantly, we have had many many threads on the economics of resource exploitation. This isn't one of them. See above.
« Last Edit: 04/26/2016 01:48 AM by Lar »
"I think it would be great to be born on Earth and to die on Mars. Just hopefully not at the point of impact." -Elon Musk
"We're a little bit like the dog who caught the bus" - Musk after CRS-8 S1 successfully landed on ASDS OCISLY

Offline Danderman

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Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #276 on: 04/26/2016 02:43 AM »
The big question for me is whether SpaceX is going to test a refurbished stage by flying it again, but with some ballast for a second stage, and then try to fly the stage back to Cape Canaveral. How that would fit into their current launch manifest is TBD, but I suspect that they currently have no scheduled launches involving a refurbished stage, so the manifest does not currently support a test flight.


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Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #277 on: 04/26/2016 02:56 AM »
The big question for me is whether SpaceX is going to test a refurbished stage by flying it again, but with some ballast for a second stage, and then try to fly the stage back to Cape Canaveral. How that would fit into their current launch manifest is TBD, but I suspect that they currently have no scheduled launches involving a refurbished stage, so the manifest does not currently support a test flight.

Not sure I agree with that. SES has been very vocal about wanting to be the first customer to fly on a previously flown stage. I think it is entirely possible that SpaceX will forego any dummy payloads and just go straight to a commercial launch. That's what they are saying they are going to do, after all.
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"We're a little bit like the dog who caught the bus" - Musk after CRS-8 S1 successfully landed on ASDS OCISLY

Offline savuporo

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Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #278 on: 04/26/2016 03:42 AM »
The big question for me is whether SpaceX is going to test a refurbished stage by flying it again, but with some ballast for a second stage, and then try to fly the stage back to Cape Canaveral. How that would fit into their current launch manifest is TBD, but I suspect that they currently have no scheduled launches involving a refurbished stage, so the manifest does not currently support a test flight.

Not sure I agree with that. SES has been very vocal about wanting to be the first customer to fly on a previously flown stage. I think it is entirely possible that SpaceX will forego any dummy payloads and just go straight to a commercial launch. That's what they are saying they are going to do, after all.

SES also apparently said they want a 50% price cut, which is not what SpaceX has been talking about, yet. I'm sure supply will meet the demand at some point tho.
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Offline Kabloona

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Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #279 on: 04/26/2016 11:39 AM »
The big question for me is whether SpaceX is going to test a refurbished stage by flying it again, but with some ballast for a second stage, and then try to fly the stage back to Cape Canaveral. How that would fit into their current launch manifest is TBD, but I suspect that they currently have no scheduled launches involving a refurbished stage, so the manifest does not currently support a test flight.

Not sure I agree with that. SES has been very vocal about wanting to be the first customer to fly on a previously flown stage. I think it is entirely possible that SpaceX will forego any dummy payloads and just go straight to a commercial launch. That's what they are saying they are going to do, after all.

SES also apparently said they want a 50% price cut, which is not what SpaceX has been talking about, yet. I'm sure supply will meet the demand at some point tho.

And it shouldn't take long to reach that point of supply and demand meeting. SpaceX's notional $20M price reduction for reuse puts an F9 flight at around $40M, which is cheaper than a Pegasus, for goodness sake.

So maybe 50% off is SES's opening bid, but they have to know that's not realistic.
« Last Edit: 04/26/2016 11:41 AM by Kabloona »

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