Author Topic: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles  (Read 211364 times)

Offline Lar

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Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #280 on: 04/26/2016 11:54 AM »
So maybe 50% off is SES's opening bid, but they have to know that's not realistic.
We surely don't have perfect visibility to SpaceX's pricing strategy. It's not outside the realm of possibility that SpaceX says "45M is the price. And we're not budging on that. BUT because we love you, SES, you can have the first one for 30, and we'll make up the 15M short by charging you 50 each for the next three"[1] or something... .who knows. Or maybe they'll just give SES that price once. Or maybe it's all public posturing.

But I think you're spot on in saying that if people are posturing or negotiating, that it's very unlikely that the first relaunch will be boilerplate. All parties are already on record as saying that isn't the plan...

1 - Notional numbers
« Last Edit: 04/26/2016 11:55 AM by Lar »
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Offline john smith 19

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Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #281 on: 04/26/2016 12:39 PM »
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.
Noted.
Quote
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.
I was not planning on discussing it further here.
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.
Is Pegasus known as the worlds most expensive launcher in terms of $/lb to orbit?

The question is not wheather cutting launch prices will increase demand, it's wheather the price cut will raise demand enough.
Quote
So maybe 50% off is SES's opening bid, but they have to know that's not realistic.
With numbers this public this looks like the start of a negotiation.
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Offline sewebster

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Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #282 on: 04/26/2016 06:16 PM »
I took the 50% to be a "first time only" number, cheaper because of the possible risk associated with the first re-flight, not a desired price for all launches with re-flown stages.

Offline john smith 19

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Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #283 on: 04/26/2016 08:46 PM »
I took the 50% to be a "first time only" number, cheaper because of the possible risk associated with the first re-flight, not a desired price for all launches with re-flown stages.
TBH I would agree. offering a (fairly) substantial discount is SOP for first launches on new LV's.
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 Zed_Noir

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Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #284 on: 04/30/2016 04:42 AM »
Interesting reply from Musk on how reusable is the Falcon core to a Twitter query.


Smilodonjack ‏@RokBottomGamers  3h3 hours ago
@elonmusk What re-usability rate are you going with for falcon? (realistically)


Elon Musk ‏@elonmusk  4h4 hours ago
@RokBottomGamers 100+ for almost everything 10+ for heat shields and a few other items.

Offline CraigLieb

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Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #285 on: 05/02/2016 04:05 AM »
So maybe 50% off is SES's opening bid, but they have to know that's not realistic.
We surely don't have perfect visibility to SpaceX's pricing strategy. It's not outside the realm of possibility that SpaceX says "45M is the price. And we're not budging on that. BUT because we love you, SES, you can have the first one for 30, and we'll make up the 15M short by charging you 50 each for the next three"[1] or something... .who knows. Or maybe they'll just give SES that price once. Or maybe it's all public posturing.

But I think you're spot on in saying that if people are posturing or negotiating, that it's very unlikely that the first relaunch will be boilerplate. All parties are already on record as saying that isn't the plan...

1 - Notional numbers

Well they may pay $30 million but that doesn't cover the extra charges for baggage handling, priority boarding, those cushy seats in the front or drinks/ headphones for the in flight entertainment.
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Offline Tuts36

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Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #286 on: 05/03/2016 04:09 PM »
This quote is from the JCSAT-14 - May 5, 2016 - DISCUSSION thread:

James Dean on Twitter:

SpaceX on next landing attempt: booster "will be subject to extreme velocities and re-entry heating, making a successful landing unlikely."

https://twitter.com/flatoday_jdean

This makes me curious.  When SpaceX has gotten a few more returned stages under its belt, presumably they will have a better understanding of how likely, statistically, it will be that they can recover a first stage on future launches.

So if a customer was an edge case, as an example let's say there was only a 40% chance of recovery, would the customer be charged the "expendable" rate, the reusable rate, or some sort of sliding scale?  Or would they be charged as expendable but receive a rebate if the stage was recovered?

Offline wannamoonbase

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Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #287 on: 05/03/2016 04:17 PM »
So maybe 50% off is SES's opening bid, but they have to know that's not realistic.
We surely don't have perfect visibility to SpaceX's pricing strategy. It's not outside the realm of possibility that SpaceX says "45M is the price. And we're not budging on that. BUT because we love you, SES, you can have the first one for 30, and we'll make up the 15M short by charging you 50 each for the next three"[1] or something... .who knows. Or maybe they'll just give SES that price once. Or maybe it's all public posturing.

But I think you're spot on in saying that if people are posturing or negotiating, that it's very unlikely that the first relaunch will be boilerplate. All parties are already on record as saying that isn't the plan...

1 - Notional numbers

I'm not a salesman but I have found that it's hard to raise prices if you offer a lower 'get to know us' rate.

A lot will depend on confident level, but I think SpaceX should stay at what they expect to a market price for a flight. 

In fact once reuse is proven and established I think the price for a launch should be consistent regardless of new or used cores.
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Offline Lar

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Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #288 on: 05/03/2016 04:28 PM »
I'm not a salesman but I have found that it's hard to raise prices if you offer a lower 'get to know us' rate.

Comcast does it to millions of people all the time. Of course some of them switch, but many stay.

If it's stated up front it might be a workable pricing strategy. But you might be right, hence SpaceX resistance, who knows.
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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 Kabloona

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Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #289 on: 05/03/2016 04:47 PM »
This quote is from the JCSAT-14 - May 5, 2016 - DISCUSSION thread:

James Dean on Twitter:

SpaceX on next landing attempt: booster "will be subject to extreme velocities and re-entry heating, making a successful landing unlikely."

https://twitter.com/flatoday_jdean

This makes me curious.  When SpaceX has gotten a few more returned stages under its belt, presumably they will have a better understanding of how likely, statistically, it will be that they can recover a first stage on future launches.

So if a customer was an edge case, as an example let's say there was only a 40% chance of recovery, would the customer be charged the "expendable" rate, the reusable rate, or some sort of sliding scale?  Or would they be charged as expendable but receive a rebate if the stage was recovered?

This could actually be the launch on which they establish the edge of the envelope for successful ASDS landing. They were so close on SES-9, just needed maybe 1000 kg more propellant. Ever hopeful, I do expect them to succeed this time.

So I'd guess they're quite close to nailing down exactly how much propellant is needed for recovery from a given MECO velocity. Any payload requiring a MECO velocity that leaves less-than-needed propellant reserve gets charged the "expendable" rate, and SpaceX doesn't bother sending the recovery armada out for a low-probability recovery attempt. They just burn S1 to near depletion and give S2 some extra margin just in case. We just saw on Atlas/Centaur how having performance margin on Centaur saved the mission.

That's my guess, FWIW.

Offline apirie98

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Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #290 on: 05/03/2016 05:24 PM »
So if a customer was an edge case, as an example let's say there was only a 40% chance of recovery, would the customer be charged the "expendable" rate, the reusable rate, or some sort of sliding scale?  Or would they be charged as expendable but receive a rebate if the stage was recovered?

I'd think that the whole rebate idea is probably the thing they are most likely to do, especially in the early stages of re-use when everything is still uncertain, and it's not known whether a stage will definitely be re-used for revenue-earning missions, dissected or tested to destruction etc.

Out of curiosity, how possible is it  that in the future they might have some system where every time a stage gets successfully re-used everybody who's previously flown on that particular stage gets a certain amount of money back (or a discount for their next launch?) so that by the end of the stage's life - however many re-uses that may be - every user has effectively paid the same amount for their use of the stage including initial manufacturing, upkeep and refurb costs for the whole stage lifetime? This would probably get a bit complicated because of all the money changing hands for every re-use but it seems to me that it's probably the fairest way to split the launch costs assuming equal reliability and value between new and used stages etc.
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Online envy887

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Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #291 on: 05/03/2016 05:59 PM »
snip...
Out of curiosity, how possible is it  that in the future they might have some system where every time a stage gets successfully re-used everybody who's previously flown on that particular stage gets a certain amount of money back (or a discount for their next launch?) so that by the end of the stage's life - however many re-uses that may be - every user has effectively paid the same amount for their use of the stage including initial manufacturing, upkeep and refurb costs for the whole stage lifetime? This would probably get a bit complicated because of all the money changing hands for every re-use but it seems to me that it's probably the fairest way to split the launch costs assuming equal reliability and value between new and used stages etc.

Highly unlikely.

Every user is buying a service. If that service comes with more or less risk, there may be a price adjustment. But if you're assuming equal reliability between new and used, then there is no difference in risk and thus no adjustment to price.

The price adjustments will be driven by the service provided. How much mass, to what orbit, with how much lead time, what quantity of launches, what integration services, and any special services.

Offline mme

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Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #292 on: 05/03/2016 06:12 PM »
So if a customer was an edge case, as an example let's say there was only a 40% chance of recovery, would the customer be charged the "expendable" rate, the reusable rate, or some sort of sliding scale?  Or would they be charged as expendable but receive a rebate if the stage was recovered?

I'd think that the whole rebate idea is probably the thing they are most likely to do, especially in the early stages of re-use when everything is still uncertain, and it's not known whether a stage will definitely be re-used for revenue-earning missions, dissected or tested to destruction etc.

Out of curiosity, how possible is it  that in the future they might have some system where every time a stage gets successfully re-used everybody who's previously flown on that particular stage gets a certain amount of money back (or a discount for their next launch?) so that by the end of the stage's life - however many re-uses that may be - every user has effectively paid the same amount for their use of the stage including initial manufacturing, upkeep and refurb costs for the whole stage lifetime? This would probably get a bit complicated because of all the money changing hands for every re-use but it seems to me that it's probably the fairest way to split the launch costs assuming equal reliability and value between new and used stages etc.
I'm not a fan of the rebate idea.  It shifts the risks to the customer and more importantly does not open access to launches for customers that can only afford to the reusable cost.  Imagine agreeing to get a rebate if the UPS truck doesn't get in an accident.

I think that ultimately SpaceX will price launches based on the likelihood of the rocket continuing to exist to live out whatever amortization schedule evolves.  There may be short term incentives for the first few flights on reused boosters.  But I'm fairly confident that the price will quickly move toward the "average risk" of the flight profile.  RTLS cheapest.  ASDS more expensive.  Expendable most expensive.  Maybe the contracts will have language about the conditions at the LZ (especially ASDS).  Cheaper to allow scrub for landing conditions (though that would be hard to police.)  That allows access to lower cost missions while still providing for the larger market.
« Last Edit: 05/03/2016 06:21 PM by mme »
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Offline nadreck

Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #293 on: 05/03/2016 06:35 PM »


I think that ultimately SpaceX will price launches based on the likelihood of the rocket continuing to exist to live out whatever amortization schedule evolves.

And effectively, if you presume that reuse performance(recovery rate, recovery and refurb costs, etc) improves over time, then your amortization schedule gets better and better and prices go down. If the business case is based on the current amortization schedule, then in general, if the reuse efficiency is increasing, that lets SpaceX consistently get better than projected economic results on that aspect of the launch service business.
It is all well and good to quote those things that made it past your confirmation bias that other people wrote, but this is a discussion board damnit! Let us know what you think! And why!

Offline guckyfan

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Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #294 on: 05/04/2016 07:03 AM »

Every user is buying a service. If that service comes with more or less risk, there may be a price adjustment. But if you're assuming equal reliability between new and used, then there is no difference in risk and thus no adjustment to price.

The price adjustments will be driven by the service provided. How much mass, to what orbit, with how much lead time, what quantity of launches, what integration services, and any special services.

Prices are also driven by supply and demand. As long as there are customers - Airforce and NASA - who demand a new booster there is no reason not to demand a premium. It will take a while until that goes away. A good position to be in. Those two customers will pay the full price for the boosters and service for commercial customers has the needed boosters basically for free.

Offline abaddon

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Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #295 on: 05/04/2016 04:25 PM »
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.
All of the appropriate parties have been saying this, but I wonder if it is wise.

Then again, in the event of a LOM on a reused booster, it probably has the same effect on SpaceX launches regardless of payload.  That's something that hasn't been discussed enough, IMHO.  Specifically: what is the risk to SpaceX if the reused booster fails?  I don't think you can handwave it away as "but it was reused".  You probably need to stand down the fleet and investigate the failure as if it were a normal failure on a new booster.  What if the issue wasn't the reuse but something that might happen on a new flight, after all?  Figuring out that it was due to reuse might be challenging.

I'd hate to see SpaceX lose a reused booster and have a similar impact to the CRS-7 LOM.  Of course, they're going to do it, because they are bold where I am not...
« Last Edit: 05/04/2016 04:30 PM by abaddon »

Offline mme

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Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #296 on: 05/04/2016 04:56 PM »
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.
All of the appropriate parties have been saying this, but I wonder if it is wise.

Then again, in the event of a LOM on a reused booster, it probably has the same effect on SpaceX launches regardless of payload.  That's something that hasn't been discussed enough, IMHO.  Specifically: what is the risk to SpaceX if the reused booster fails?  I don't think you can handwave it away as "but it was reused".  You probably need to stand down the fleet and investigate the failure as if it were a normal failure on a new booster.  What if the issue wasn't the reuse but something that might happen on a new flight, after all?  Figuring out that it was due to reuse might be challenging.

I'd hate to see SpaceX lose a reused booster and have a similar impact to the CRS-7 LOM.  Of course, they're going to do it, because they are bold where I am not...
SpaceX has no interest in losing a customer payload.  SpaceX has no interest in deterring the adoption of reusable boosters.  Customers have no interest in losing a payload.  I take the fact that SpaceX *and* SES are so bullish on flying a real payload as evidence that they know something we don't.
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Offline nadreck

Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #297 on: 05/04/2016 05:08 PM »

Then again, in the event of a LOM on a reused booster, it probably has the same effect on SpaceX launches regardless of payload.  That's something that hasn't been discussed enough, IMHO.  Specifically: what is the risk to SpaceX if the reused booster fails?  I don't think you can handwave it away as "but it was reused".  You probably need to stand down the fleet and investigate the failure as if it were a normal failure on a new booster.  What if the issue wasn't the reuse but something that might happen on a new flight, after all?  Figuring out that it was due to reuse might be challenging.

I'd hate to see SpaceX lose a reused booster and have a similar impact to the CRS-7 LOM.  Of course, they're going to do it, because they are bold where I am not...

Does every airliner incident force a stand down all aircraft of that model? No, do some, yes.   

Falcon cores will be under scrutiny initially as they are reused, but that scrutiny will be based on the idea that a reused core is at higher risk than a new core. If they have an early reuse failure I don't see it grounding the new cores automatically, but I see it seriously delaying when clients get/want the opportunity to launch on a reused core. On the other hand, besides four fingers and a thumb, a later failure (say after the 5th or 6th core reflight) may draw into question the process that SpaceX uses to qualify a core (new or used) for flight as well as the design until the root cause is resolved. Finally, on the gripping hand, besides some Motie jewelry, once some cores have flown to when SpaceX judges them end of life and says so, then flight rates will be high enough and failure rates are presumably low enough, that an incident with one core (new or used) may really be investigated without necessitating an impact in the launch schedule, but the outcome (or even preliminary results) of the investigation might conceivably impact the use of a cohort of cores manufactured at the same time. One can envisage that cores available for use/reuse might be available that were manufactured before that cohort, or well after, might allow whatever the current manifest is to be serviced with cores not deemed to be at risk.

As a corollary, would the failure of a new core at some point in the further future where core reuse was common have to impact launches planned on older cores that have proven themselves?
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Offline john smith 19

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Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #298 on: 05/04/2016 10:15 PM »
Highly unlikely.

Every user is buying a service. If that service comes with more or less risk, there may be a price adjustment. But if you're assuming equal reliability between new and used, then there is no difference in risk and thus no adjustment to price.

The price adjustments will be driven by the service provided. How much mass, to what orbit, with how much lead time, what quantity of launches, what integration services, and any special services.
So basically you're saying there will be no reduction in price to orbit?
Those two customers will pay the full price for the boosters and service for commercial customers has the needed boosters basically for free.
You're confusing price and cost.

SX get the use of the booster for the cost of refurb and refuel.

The customer gets it for the price  SX charge them.

That's a great deal for SX.

It may result in a good deal for their customers.

Time will tell.
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Offline abaddon

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Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #299 on: 05/04/2016 10:42 PM »
Falcon cores will be under scrutiny initially as they are reused, but that scrutiny will be based on the idea that a reused core is at higher risk than a new core. If they have an early reuse failure I don't see it grounding the new cores automatically, but I see it seriously delaying when clients get/want the opportunity to launch on a reused core.
While I understand the logic, I'm not sure about that.  Let's hope we don't have to find out...

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