Author Topic: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles  (Read 175496 times)

Offline IntoTheVoid

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Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #500 on: 08/22/2016 06:32 PM »
Interesting that I did see on one of the close-up shots of the struts... on the ground prior to installation, that they were marked "flown articles."
Saw that also, but I wouldn't be surprised if the crush core had been replaced with a solid/rigid one.

Offline woods170

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Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #501 on: 08/22/2016 06:48 PM »
Am I reading these reports correctly that this stage is supported only by the landing legs? Seems there should be something more substantial for long term display.
If the legs alone are good enough for absorbing the impact of landing and subsequently keeping the stage upright on a rolling platform in a gusty sea then they should be more than good enough for keeping the stage upright on a solid piece of concrete in Hawthorne. All that needs to be done is to anchor the legs to the ground.

Perhaps, but they're not good enough for "keeping the stage upright on a rolling platform in a gusty sea" which is why they use the jacks and weld them to the deck ASAP after landing.

No, not quite. The chains that are welded to the deck are there to prevent the stage from sliding off the deck. However, the chains are put under tension to such an extend that the legs alone no longer suffice. That's why jacks are placed underneath the stage.
Given that the stage at Hawthorne is in no danger of sliding off a deck, there is no need to secure the stage in place via chains and jacks. The legs alone are adequate enough.

Offline woods170

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Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #502 on: 08/22/2016 07:00 PM »
my worry is not whether they can take the load now but rather if they can take the load continuously for years and years, as the materials deteriorate.
A used-car dealership in my home town has had a load bearing carbon fibre pole sitting out in the open, exposed to the elements for the past 29 years. The prime material of that pole (a painted-over moisture resistant carbon fibre reinforced polymer) hasn't degraded one d*mn bit, despite the lousy climate here.
Given that SpaceX has those legs made from aerospace-grade CFRP and other UV and corrossion resistant materials, I'm not too worried about materials deterioration anytime soon.

Offline IntoTheVoid

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Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #503 on: 08/22/2016 08:20 PM »
Am I reading these reports correctly that this stage is supported only by the landing legs? Seems there should be something more substantial for long term display.
If the legs alone are good enough for absorbing the impact of landing and subsequently keeping the stage upright on a rolling platform in a gusty sea then they should be more than good enough for keeping the stage upright on a solid piece of concrete in Hawthorne. All that needs to be done is to anchor the legs to the ground.

Perhaps, but they're not good enough for "keeping the stage upright on a rolling platform in a gusty sea" which is why they use the jacks and weld them to the deck ASAP after landing.

No, not quite. The chains that are welded to the deck are there to prevent the stage from sliding off the deck. However, the chains are put under tension to such an extend that the legs alone no longer suffice. That's why jacks are placed underneath the stage.
Given that the stage at Hawthorne is in no danger of sliding off a deck, there is no need to secure the stage in place via chains and jacks. The legs alone are adequate enough.
Not a given.

ps I never said more was necessarily needed in Hawthorne, just that the ASDS conditions are insufficient to prove that. They have numbers. None of this discussion supports a bad analogy.
« Last Edit: 08/22/2016 08:24 PM by IntoTheVoid »

Offline Lar

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Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #504 on: 08/23/2016 01:46 AM »
my worry is not whether they can take the load now but rather if they can take the load continuously for years and years, as the materials deteriorate.
A used-car dealership in my home town has had a load bearing carbon fibre pole sitting out in the open, exposed to the elements for the past 29 years. The prime material of that pole (a painted-over moisture resistant carbon fibre reinforced polymer) hasn't degraded one d*mn bit, despite the lousy climate here.
Given that SpaceX has those legs made from aerospace-grade CFRP and other UV and corrossion resistant materials, I'm not too worried about materials deterioration anytime soon.

well that's awesome to hear. :)
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Offline CuddlyRocket

Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #505 on: 08/23/2016 02:57 AM »
my worry is not whether [the legs] can take the load now but rather if they can take the load continuously for years and years, as the materials deteriorate.

Good experiment then. After all, the MCT's legs may possibly have to do so, so it would possibly be useful to get some data as to how the current design performs over such a period. And you can always install additional support at a later date.

Offline llanitedave

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Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #506 on: 08/23/2016 04:13 AM »
Not sure why all the worry about paint, weather, and lightning, etc.  Except for earthquakes, the LA Area is a far more benign environment than Florida.  KSC has 6 months of extreme humidity, near constant aerosol salt spray,  frequent high thunderstorm winds, torrential downpours,  lots of lightning, and an occasional Tropical Storm or Hurricane, and they manage to keep the Rocket Garden display looking good:

Bolded is not a trivial concern.
"I've just abducted an alien -- now what?"

Offline Johnnyhinbos

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Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #507 on: 08/23/2016 04:22 AM »

Odds are the legs and mounts are "rigidified" and their feet bolted to the slab.
Exactly what I was going to say.

I'd lay heavy odds that the pistons are no longer "stock landers"...
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Online FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #508 on: 09/13/2016 10:21 PM »
Cross-posting as very relevant here too:

Quote
Hoffman: took one of the Falcon 9 landed boosters to Texas; fired it 7 times so far with no refurbishment. #AIAASpace
https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/775815358812782593

Quote
Hoffman: expect to take a couple years to refine the refurb process and costs. See “significant” cost savings in a few years. #AIAASpace
https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/775816294234857474

Offline Proponent

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Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #509 on: 09/30/2016 04:10 PM »
While speculation is popular and is often justified by the absence of facts, there ARE some facts available. 

In an interesting article, space historian David Portree cites a study that looked at the refurbishment costs of the X-15 program that provides probably the most relevant real-world data we have:


"In November 1966, James Love and William Young, engineers at the NASA Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base, completed a brief report in which they noted that the reusable suborbital booster for a reusable orbital spacecraft would undergo pressures, heating rates, and accelerations very similar to those the X-15 experienced."

"The average X-15 refurbishment time was 30 days, a period which had, they noted, hardly changed in four years. Even with identifiable improvements, they doubted that an X-15 could be refurbished in fewer than 20 days.

"At the same time, Love and Young argued that the X-15 program had demonstrated the benefits of reusability. They estimated that refurbishing an X-15 in 1964 had cost about $270,000 per mission.

"Love and Young cited North American Aviation estimates when they placed the cost of a new X-15 at about $9 million. They then calculated that 27 missions using expendable X-15s would have cost a total of $243 million. This meant, they wrote, that the cost of the reusable X-15 program in 1964 had amounted to just 3% of the cost of building 27 X-15s and throwing each one away after a single flight.

My bold.


http://www.wired.com/2013/05/the-x-15-rocket-plane-reusable-space-shuttle-boosters-1966/

Love's and Young's report, NASA TN D-3732, is attached.

The reason I reanimate this old topic is that I recently came across the version of TN D-3732 that was presented a couple of months later as paper number 670394 at the Society of Automotive Engineers' 1967 Space Technology Conference.

The differences between the initial report and the conference paper are small but striking.  The note concluded (my bold):

Quote from: Love & Young in NASA TN D-3732
The X-15 program has provided more than 5 years of actual flight experience from which data on operations and costs for a reusable space vehicle can be obtained.  The information applicable to reusable space vehicles has been presented in this paper, but not attempt has been made to determine how the information should be applied to future studies.

In 1964, 27 X-15 flights were accomplished at a total cost of $16,268,000.  The average cost per flight has been more than $602,000, and the average turnaround time has been 30 days per mission.  Both of these factors are greater than estimates for a reusable booster, because of the research nature of the X-15 program and because the X-15 airplane is equivalent to a prototype vehicle.  An estimated 33-precent reduction in turnaround time and a proportionate cost reduction would result fro the elimination of the X-15 research requirement.  And additional reduction in turnaround time would have resulted if a product-improvement phase had been undertaken.  Even so, the present estimates and extrapolations for future reusable boosters and orbital space vehicles appear to be overly optimistic in comparison to the actual X-15 experience, especially in the length of time required for turnaround.

The conference paper, on the other hand, concludes (again, my bold) that

Quote from: Love & Young in SAE Paper Conference Paper 670394
The X-15, through 7 years of actual flight experience, has provided data which can be used as a basis for estimating operational costs of reusable space vehicles.  The 32 flights accomplished in 1965 cost $13.017 million or $407,000 per flight and represent about 8 percent of the initial program cost.  The high reuse of the X-15 indicates a 10- to 15-day turnaround time for first-generation reusable space vehicles.

The X-15 has shown that realistic specifications and environmental conditions must be established as early in a project as possible, and specifications must be adhered to during acceptance testing and revised when found to be inappropriate.  Also, a component-improvement program coupled with a timely and practical deficiency reporting system has been shown to be necessary for any new type of vehicle program regardless of its original anticipated project life

(again, emphasis added).  In other words, the principal conclusion was reversed between internal technical report and conference paper!

We know, of course, how things panned out in the long run.  Consistent with the conference paper, a 14-day turnaround time was promised for the first-generation reusable space vehicle, the Shuttle.  In reality, turnaround times were even longer than the 30 days mentioned in internal report.

EDIT:  Corrected a typo and designation of technical report.
« Last Edit: 10/01/2016 10:47 AM by Proponent »

Offline Elmar Moelzer

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Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #510 on: 09/30/2016 11:27 PM »
We know, of course, how things panned out in the long run.  Consistent with the conference paper, a 14-day turnaround time was promised for the first-generation reusable space vehicle, the Shuttle.  In reality, turnaround times were even longer than the 30 days mentioned in internal report.
Irrelevant. Shuttle was not a reusable booster. Completely different requirements.

Offline Proponent

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Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #511 on: 10/01/2016 10:56 AM »
In TN D-3732, Love and Young suggest that an improved X-15 might be turned around in about 20 days.  If it takes 20 days to turn around an aircraft that goes merely to Mach 6 or 80 km, but not both on the same flight, how could one possibly hope to turn a much larger Shuttle orbiter around in 14 days after a flight to Mach 25 and over 200 km?

Online Hobbes-22

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Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #512 on: 10/01/2016 11:41 AM »
Advances in science and engineering? Just because the first attempt at a reusable spaceplane needed more work than expected, doesn't mean the X-15 schedule has to be the only possible approach.

Offline Proponent

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Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #513 on: 10/02/2016 01:41 PM »
One would certainly hope that given enough time, the technology could be improved over the X-15's.  But surely there wasn't much time for that between November 1966, when TN D-3732 appeared, and February 1967, when the SAE conference took place.  Even extending the horizon to 1971, when the Shuttle's design was hammered out, I don't see what the basis was for going from the X-15's 30-day turnarounds to the Shuttle's supposed 14-day turnarounds, since no successor research vehicle to the X-15 was developed.
« Last Edit: 10/03/2016 10:19 AM by Proponent »

Offline RanulfC

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Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #514 on: 10/03/2016 05:39 PM »
Something to keep in mind when discussing the X-15 versus the Shuttle that while the X-15 was supposed to be reusable it was NOT designed for quick turn-around which was precluded not only by the fact it was an experimental vehicle it was specifically designed to experiment with materials reactions at both high velocity and altitude.

The Shuttle on the other hand was in fact designed with a goal being shorter turn around time by various means including using advanced technology over the X-15. On the other hand cost and other factors drove certain compromises on the design and with no follow up 'reusable' vehicle data from the X-15 to orbital speed and back some assumptions were made. It all added up to precluding the original Shuttle turn around time from being anywhere near realistic.

No small amount of hubris led those who pushed the Shuttle to assume with what they thought was good reasons that they had sufficiently advanced technology and knowledge to design and construct an operational reusable spacecraft with at least near the capabilities stated. Really there was more work to be done.

Booster and upper stages are going to have different requirements and these are going to drive refurbishment times and costs. It remains to be seen what that will end up being.

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Offline enzo

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Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #515 on: 03/12/2017 08:48 PM »
I think SpaceX should be open about how much of the stage was replaced or rebuilt before announcing any world records. I am going to call this the Stage of Theseus until we know what happened during those 4 months.

Offline winkhomewinkhome

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Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #516 on: 03/13/2017 05:04 AM »
I think SpaceX should be open about how much of the stage was replaced or rebuilt before announcing any world records. I am going to call this the Stage of Theseus until we know what happened during those 4 months.

Simple question, not to say that I am not also curious - why?

And in terms of relative comparison, has Blue Origin?  If they did I honestly missed it...

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Offline enzo

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Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #517 on: 03/13/2017 06:53 AM »
I think SpaceX should be open about how much of the stage was replaced or rebuilt before announcing any world records. I am going to call this the Stage of Theseus until we know what happened during those 4 months.
Simple question, not to say that I am not also curious - why?

And in terms of relative comparison, has Blue Origin?  If they did I honestly missed it...

Thank you -
I believe Bezos tweeted about his first reuse and there was a small skirmish with Musk over the scale of the achievement. This has all been discussed ad nauseum. Jim has extensively pointed out that the Shuttle was in some sense the first reused orbital stage.

What I'm saying is that there's a lot of hype over this flight, while we are not really sure to what extent it will be any more remarkable than, say, a space shuttle flight. Knowing Musk he will tweet out something about it being the first orbital booster reuse. But if it was subject to an extensive rebuild, then it is not unlike the Ship of Theseus, that is, not the same ship it once was.
« Last Edit: 03/13/2017 06:57 AM by enzo »

Offline mlow

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Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #518 on: 03/13/2017 08:13 AM »
Well we know the engines came off for one.

Offline Ben the Space Brit

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Re: Refurbishment of Used Stages/Vehicles
« Reply #519 on: 03/13/2017 09:18 AM »
There is nothing about this flight that is greatly indicative of the viability of SpaceX's reuse plans beyond broadly validating that the Falcon-9 booster can fly twice. It will be some time before the reconditioning process is streamlined enough to demonstrate whether the promised cost savings will actually happen.

That said, the first reusable booster in US spaceflight history (irrespective of its economic details) isn't something to sniff at derisively!
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