Author Topic: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 4)  (Read 521590 times)

Offline Dante80

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 4)
« Reply #60 on: 01/07/2016 11:59 AM »
Optimistic? Really? Why? He clearly has much better visibility of SpaceX future schedule, since he is buying into it.

Here is my take on it.

Company CEOs tend to not make an announcement like that, unless they either feel fairly confident that they will not bite their tongue soon-ish, or if there is a hidden agenda behind (like investor/internal company goodwill, putting pressure to the contractor or the competition etc etc).

 FH flying 2+ times inside 2016 seems too good to be true. I was thinking that even getting it to fly inside 2016 would be considered an accomplishment (given the need for SX to launch quickly with F9 due to CRS-7 downtime, as well as the need to finish work on LC-39A)

Moreover, they would need to also provide an additional landing spot for one of the demo boosters. I know that they have LZ-1 and one barge ready, not really know what the status on the second east coast barge is though.

At the same time, I always thought that the STP-2 mission would come after the Demo flight. For example, take a look at this.

Quote
LightSail and Prox-1 will launch to a circular, 720-kilometer orbit aboard a SpaceX Falcon Heavy. Liftoff is currently scheduled for Sept. 15, 2016.
http://www.planetary.org/blogs/jason-davis/2015/20151026-lightsail-ppod-fit-check.html

So this could presumably make ViaSat-2 the third "planned" mission inside 2016.

I just can't see it happening.
« Last Edit: 01/07/2016 12:01 PM by Dante80 »

Offline macpacheco

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 4)
« Reply #61 on: 01/07/2016 12:23 PM »
The demo mission is likely to be an existing FH manifest mission.
Its mostly a question of how much discount SpaceX will need to give to the customer for the extra risk.
Ok, I don't know that for sure, but that's what smart money would say.

Better get some money for that launch instead of zero money.
« Last Edit: 01/07/2016 12:23 PM by macpacheco »
Looking for companies doing great things for much more than money

Offline JamesH

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 4)
« Reply #62 on: 01/07/2016 01:29 PM »
Optimistic? Really? Why? He clearly has much better visibility of SpaceX future schedule, since he is buying into it.

Here is my take on it.

Company CEOs tend to not make an announcement like that, unless they either feel fairly confident that they will not bite their tongue soon-ish, or if there is a hidden agenda behind (like investor/internal company goodwill, putting pressure to the contractor or the competition etc etc).

 FH flying 2+ times inside 2016 seems too good to be true. I was thinking that even getting it to fly inside 2016 would be considered an accomplishment (given the need for SX to launch quickly with F9 due to CRS-7 downtime, as well as the need to finish work on LC-39A)

Moreover, they would need to also provide an additional landing spot for one of the demo boosters. I know that they have LZ-1 and one barge ready, not really know what the status on the second east coast barge is though.

At the same time, I always thought that the STP-2 mission would come after the Demo flight. For example, take a look at this.

Quote
LightSail and Prox-1 will launch to a circular, 720-kilometer orbit aboard a SpaceX Falcon Heavy. Liftoff is currently scheduled for Sept. 15, 2016.
http://www.planetary.org/blogs/jason-davis/2015/20151026-lightsail-ppod-fit-check.html

So this could presumably make ViaSat-2 the third "planned" mission inside 2016.

I just can't see it happening.

If the first F9H launch goes well, what's to stop them fairly quickly doing another one? They have the manufacturing capability AIUI. The first two F9 flights were within 6 months of each other, the next 5 are within 3 months. It's not like they are still very slow at launching stuff (fingers crossed)

Offline guckyfan

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 4)
« Reply #63 on: 01/07/2016 03:09 PM »
If the first F9H launch goes well, what's to stop them fairly quickly doing another one? They have the manufacturing capability AIUI. The first two F9 flights were within 6 months of each other, the next 5 are within 3 months. It's not like they are still very slow at launching stuff (fingers crossed)

As long as they don't refly stages, their production rate will limit them. As Elon Musk said, at the moment a core every 3 weeks, thats 17 cores in a year. They may have 4 in stock but they won't launch the last two produced this year. So they have 19 cores to launch. That's 14 F9 plus 2 FHeavy or 11 F9 plus 3 FHeavy. I am willing to add one or two reflown cores for 12 or 13 F9 + 3 FHeavy. That's on the optimistic side of realistic. :)


Offline cscott

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 4)
« Reply #64 on: 01/07/2016 03:17 PM »
My money is on the demo launch being a SpaceX special.  They've been trying to sell the payload on that flight for years without success.  I don't think a customer is suddenly going to change their minds now, especially after CRS-7 reminds them that SpaceX is occasionally fallible.

If anything, I'm a little surprised that the lightsail team hasn't taken advantage of the demo flight.  But I think for them the cost to build their payload is really significant, so they don't want to lose it --they've already lost three or so sails by trying to take advantage of bargain basement flights, they're tired of it.

So, my prediction: small noncommercial payload so they can demo/test RTLS or ASDS of the center core (which client commitments would otherwise force them to defer until they find an appropriate future payload in the right size window between F9 and FH).

If going further, I'd say the payload would be something like a cubesat to Mars, with just a radio, solar panels, and a little camera.  Remember that one of the first spacex demo flights was going to attempt a TMI at the end.  I think Elon is a sucker for Mars symbolism, but he's not going to let his team get too sidetracked by it.  It might not even be a cubesat, he might just launch his mass simulator toward Mars.  That's a cheap way to get 95% of the bragging rights ("first commercial payload to Mars") with 5% of the work. (But he does have a whole satellite building group in Seattle, they might have some little components they'd like to expose to space.)
« Last Edit: 01/07/2016 04:06 PM by cscott »

Online abaddon

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 4)
« Reply #65 on: 01/07/2016 03:25 PM »
The key here is "Spring".  If SpaceX can really get the demo flight off in the spring, and it is successful, then this seems quite reasonable to me.  I'd guess this means SpaceX currently believes they are on track for the demo flight going in this timeframe, for whatever that is worth.

If spring, we should be seeing FH on the test stand at McGregor within the next couple of months.

Online Bynaus

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 4)
« Reply #66 on: 01/07/2016 03:29 PM »
Quote
Remember that one of the first Dragon demos was going to attempt a TMI at the end.

Never heard of that... Any sources or pointers for that? And - was the attempt successful?

Offline cscott

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 4)
« Reply #67 on: 01/07/2016 03:48 PM »
I've been trying to refresh my memory. I think it might have actually been Falcon 1 flight 4?  And the flight was successful, but the TMI relight wasn't.  But SpaceX wasn't in the mood to talk about its failures at the time, and the relight wasn't necessary for flight 5 success.  Perhaps others can fill in my memory?

Offline Jim

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 4)
« Reply #68 on: 01/07/2016 05:10 PM »
NASA thinks there will be 2 demo flights of Falcon Heavy in 2016 - see this chart from Spaceport News Magazine:

NASA doesn't "think" it.  It is just regurgitating data publicly available info.
« Last Edit: 01/07/2016 05:10 PM by Jim »

Offline wannamoonbase

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 4)
« Reply #69 on: 01/07/2016 06:18 PM »
Of course SpaceX's plans may have changed since the decision to develop FH.

I always thought the first purpose for the FH was to grab those mega Defense contracts from DOD.  The amount of profit that SpaceX could book from a DOD FH launch would fund a lot of development.

Seems the FH could be evolving into a great re-useable vehicle for large commsats. 

I fully expect that demo flight to target a 3 core RTLS.  If there isn't a paying payload that requires a ASDS or expendable core than why wouldn't SpaceX try to get back those 3 fully reuseable cores.  How much would that help production in Hawthorne? 

Finally, if there isn't a paying client, even at a large discount, then I think that SpaceX will just use a payload simulator.  They won't spend time or money on doing that ties up too many hours or dollars.  Maybe something like a cheese wheel but nothing more.  They have enough to work on and don't need to put resources into something 'cute'
Jonesing for a copy of 'Tales of Suspense #39'

Offline bstrong

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 4)
« Reply #70 on: 01/07/2016 06:37 PM »
I've been noodling on Musk's comment about FH in the post-landing teleconference ( source):

Quote
The Falcon Heavy essentially consists of the Falcon 9 with two modified boost stages attached as strap on boosters. That would be quite an exciting aerial ballet with the two side boosters dropping off and doing a symmetric pirouette back to the launch site. We'd need to have another landing spot for the two boosters and then a third one for the center core. Although I think most of the Falcon Heavy missions will see the center core land on a ship most likely. It's really going ridiculously fast. The transfer energy of Falcon Heavy will more than double that of Falcon 9. The maximum transfer energy is approaching a terajoule.

Since, as I understand it, FH should be able to RTLS with pretty much all comsats, I can interpret this in three ways:

1. He expects comsat launches to account for less than 50% of FH launches, and the rest will be either really big or going to Mars.

2. He expects F9 barging to be cheaper than FH RTLS, so very few comsats will need FH (contrary to current manifest).

3. He's planning to deliver comsats to higher energy orbits, maybe even offering direct GEO insertion at a price that makes sense for customers besides the US government.

I find the third possibility most interesting, since it gives them an even stronger advantage than price alone vs. the competition. Plus, it's a nice market segmentation tool, which can help them remain profitable while lowering baseline prices to grow the market.

Does anyone have an estimate for direct GEO insertion payload capability with center core barging?

Offline Mongo62

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 4)
« Reply #71 on: 01/07/2016 07:07 PM »
Does anyone have an estimate for direct GEO insertion payload capability with center core barging?

According to this page:

FH (non-crossfeed, expendable) LEO 45 tonnes, GTO 18.95 tonnes, GEO 9.375 tonnes
FH (non-crossfeed, reusable) LEO 32.45 tonnes, GTO 13.65 tonnes, GEO 6.75 tonnes
FH (crossfeed, expendable) 53 tonnes, GTO 22.34 tonnes, GEO 11.04 tonnes
FH (crossfeed, reusable) 38.25 tonnes, GTO 16.1 tonnes, 7.95 tonnes

These appear to assume v1.1 cores, not FT. Even with the old figures, though, that's enough for a reusable FH to be able to put a substantial comsat directly into GEO. Goodby, competition!
« Last Edit: 01/07/2016 07:11 PM by Mongo62 »

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 4)
« Reply #72 on: 01/07/2016 07:24 PM »
That is just a crude estimate, the author of that page doesn't have access to any more info than we do. I take SpaceX's figure at face value, though it is certainly is to a low altitude and inclination orbit, perhaps assumes launch from Texas, and probably doesn't include margin for reuse and engine-out. And it certainly includes full thrust enhancements.

On that last point, by the way: margin for engine-out and margin for reuse is shared, which means that the effective penalty for reuse is actually much less for payloads that need a lot of engine-out margin.

(And I don't think the 53 ton figure includes cross feed... Cross feed isn't needed if you have a thrust and propellant density improvement.)
« Last Edit: 01/07/2016 07:26 PM by Robotbeat »
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Offline NovaSilisko

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 4)
« Reply #73 on: 01/07/2016 07:34 PM »
Does anyone have an estimate for direct GEO insertion payload capability with center core barging?

According to this page:

FH (non-crossfeed, expendable) LEO 45 tonnes, GTO 18.95 tonnes, GEO 9.375 tonnes
FH (non-crossfeed, reusable) LEO 32.45 tonnes, GTO 13.65 tonnes, GEO 6.75 tonnes
FH (crossfeed, expendable) 53 tonnes, GTO 22.34 tonnes, GEO 11.04 tonnes
FH (crossfeed, reusable) 38.25 tonnes, GTO 16.1 tonnes, 7.95 tonnes

These appear to assume v1.1 cores, not FT. Even with the old figures, though, that's enough for a reusable FH to be able to put a substantial comsat directly into GEO. Goodby, competition!

That page needs a bit of TLC. It still mentions parachutes for recovery.

Offline Dante80

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 4)
« Reply #74 on: 01/07/2016 07:37 PM »
Some more estimated numbers, from here (Estimates from Feb 2015).
http://www.spacelaunchreport.com/falconH.html
« Last Edit: 01/07/2016 07:41 PM by Dante80 »

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 4)
« Reply #75 on: 01/07/2016 07:42 PM »
Those are also just Ed Kyle's opinion.
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

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Offline Dante80

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 4)
« Reply #76 on: 01/07/2016 07:45 PM »
Of course. There are no official numbers, except from what SpaceX list on their site.

Offline bstrong

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 4)
« Reply #77 on: 01/07/2016 08:55 PM »
Some more estimated numbers, from here (Estimates from Feb 2015).
http://www.spacelaunchreport.com/falconH.html

Thanks for that link. I don't have the knowledge to extrapolate direct GEO insertion from that, other than to use the escape velocity figure of 3-4t as a lower bound, but even that is useful at the right price.

Wrong thread for this, but looking at the escape velocity payload values for F9FT from the same site, it seems like it might be able to put a 702SP (<2000kg) directly into GEO with S1 recovery, if the mass penalty of the long-duration kit for the S2 isn't too high. This would completely eliminate the main drawback of SEP...

It seems like demonstrating direct GEO insertion (which Shotwell has stated they can do) could really take their launch market disruption to a new level. Or am I wrong to assume that this is a capability commercial customers would take advantage of for an extra, say, $5-10m?

Online abaddon

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 4)
« Reply #78 on: 01/07/2016 09:00 PM »
Or am I wrong to assume that this is a capability commercial customers would take advantage of for an extra, say, $5-10m?
Why would SpaceX charge more?  As long as the S1 is recoverable, of course.  Just makes their overall package even more attractive for prospective clients.  They haven't shown a propensity to nickle-and-dime their customers to date, so I don't really see that happening.

Offline guckyfan

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 4)
« Reply #79 on: 01/07/2016 09:04 PM »
It seems like demonstrating direct GEO insertion (which Shotwell has stated they can do) could really take their launch market disruption to a new level. Or am I wrong to assume that this is a capability commercial customers would take advantage of for an extra, say, $5-10m?

I don't know if they would like that offer. I don't think though it would be advisable to do. Direct GEO means the upper stage is one more piece of debris up there that cannot deorbit. Upper stages for GTO deorbit.

Direct GEO is something only the DOD wants and even they seem to move away from it. At least they do it for the new generation of GPS sats. The old ones were delivered to their final orbit. The new ones to which SpaceX is bidding are placed in a transfer orbit that allows for upper stage deorbiting.

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