Author Topic: F9 Block 5 Updates, Discussions, and Speculations  (Read 102075 times)

Offline woods170

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Re: F9 Block 5 Updates, Discussions, and Speculations
« Reply #420 on: 12/30/2017 01:38 PM »
The people assuming SpaceX is only going to make two or three Block 5 boosters are likely to be proven wrong really fast.
My sources at SpaceX tell me that SpaceX has (significantly) more than three Block 5 boosters in various stages of construction, with many more to come.

The number of re-flights of cores will be increased gradually. People seem to overlook this and think that Block 5 cores will immediately jump to 10 (or more) re-flights.
That won't happen. The stated goal of getting 10 (or more) flights from a single F9 core is an END goal. Block 5 entering service is just the first major step towards that goal. But it will likely take multiple Block 5 cores to reach that end goal.

Not sure I agree with the bolded statement.  Block 5 is being built for ten flights between major refurbishments from everything we've seen written.

You are correct and thank you for adding the "between major refurbishments"-part. I was silly enough to leave that crucial detail out of my post.

So, to make it clear: to get ten flights out of a booster, between refurbisments, is an END goal. It won't immediately happen with the first few Block 5 boosters.

Offline meekGee

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Re: F9 Block 5 Updates, Discussions, and Speculations
« Reply #421 on: 12/30/2017 01:48 PM »
The people assuming SpaceX is only going to make two or three Block 5 boosters are likely to be proven wrong really fast.
My sources at SpaceX tell me that SpaceX has (significantly) more than three Block 5 boosters in various stages of construction, with many more to come.

The number of re-flights of cores will be increased gradually. People seem to overlook this and think that Block 5 cores will immediately jump to 10 (or more) re-flights.
That won't happen. The stated goal of getting 10 (or more) flights from a single F9 core is an END goal. Block 5 entering service is just the first major step towards that goal. But it will likely take multiple Block 5 cores to reach that end goal.

Not sure I agree with the bolded statement.  Block 5 is being built for ten flights between major refurbishments from everything we've seen written.

You are correct and thank you for adding the "between major refurbishments"-part. I was silly enough to leave that crucial detail out of my post.

So, to make it clear: to get ten flights out of a booster, between refurbisments, is an END goal. It won't immediately happen with the first few Block 5 boosters.
True, but let's quantify it.

By end of year, after ~30 flights, will there be a booster that flew 4 times?

I'm fairly confident that SpaceX's internal goal is to have F9/H rapidly reusable with a high reuse count JIT for StarLink.

There's no real need for it before that, but SpaceX can use the existing market to get there while still making a profit... It's been their MO so far, right?

So my guess is that they'll start  flying "perpetual boosters" in 2019.
« Last Edit: 12/30/2017 01:48 PM by meekGee »
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Offline loki

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Re: F9 Block 5 Updates, Discussions, and Speculations
« Reply #422 on: 12/30/2017 04:08 PM »
Block 5 has new components which are *supposed* to improve reusability/reduce refurb.  The proof is in the pudding, though: they'll need to get a few back to validate theory against practice, and then tweak, fly, repeat.  Worst case they need a block 6 (we hope that's unlikely), best case the first block 5 will be good for ten flights (I think we all agree that's unlikely as well).

If the tweaks are minor enough, maybe the first block 5 cores can be retrofitted to "block 5.1", but I bet some of these first block 5s will get the destructive "test until failure" treatment at McGregor after they return.

I agree. It seems as the best possible way.
Future tweaking of design will be probably applied once per year and a half or two years (Block X), unless some hidden possible failure mode appeared.
Additionally, I guess one Block 5 will be pushed ASAP to three flights by generous discount for customers and “will get the destructive "test until failure" treatment at McGregor”. Only after that, other Block 5 cores will be allowed to fly three times. Again it will be repeated to five flights, with generous discount, and that core will also get McGregor “treatment”, and so on to the reusable limit.
Even if only 5-6 flight could be achieved with minimum inspection and with no possibility of overhaul, it would be great achievement and would push launch service affordability to unprecedented level for space industry.
When we could see reaching maximum real launching rate of about forty per year at Cape? 2019?

These are versions of the same argument that was made before cores began landings and reuses... the conclusion using this logic was that it would take decades to build a reusable rocket... and then it was uncertain if it would be economically viable.

The iterating process and chopping up cores to examine every detail are done.  EM has stated, based on cores that have been examined post-flight that the cores are capable of an 'indefinite' number of reflights.  The Block 1 through 5 iteration was the process that you are describing -- it happened very fast and behind closed doors -- but it surely happened.

We've seen no evidence that iteration is ahead of us instead of behind us; we've been told that a stock of Block 5s would be built and stockpiled for the future launches of those customers that remain hesitant about reused cores, and production would turn to BFR.  We've been told that Block 5 is designed for a 24 hour turn-around, essentially no refurbishment. 

Where does the number of 5 or 6 flights without major refurbishment come from? Thin air? Other? While I agree that this in itself would be a huge step forward, it also implies that each increment of a few reflights will be accompanied/followed by redesign and iteration... not the design intent of Block 5 based on any evidence we have seen.

My reply relates to the third paragraph of your post.
I am afraid that you have not read my post carefully. My statement was:
“Even if only 5-6 flight could be achieved with minimum inspection and with no possibility of overhaul, it would be great achievement and would push launch service affordability to unprecedented level for space industry.”

Falcon 9 Block 5 must to be certified by NASA for Commercial Crew Program and after that possibility of design changes will be significantly reduced, accordingly to that, my statement was:
“Future tweaking of design will be probably applied once per year and a half or two years (Block X), unless some hidden possible failure mode appeared.”

Offline butters

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Re: F9 Block 5 Updates, Discussions, and Speculations
« Reply #423 on: 12/30/2017 04:45 PM »
SpaceX has already explored the flight envelope pretty thoroughly with Block 3/4. They won't be asking Block 5 to fly much hotter reentries than the GTO missions they've already landed (because FH). They have a decent sample of post-GTO landed boosters to evaluate in order to set requirements for Block 5. I'd be surprised if they underperform on Block 5 reusability. Customer acceptance is a somewhat different story, but because of how surprisingly well Block 3/4 performed on those marginal GTO landings, SpaceX really has no excuses for failing to deliver a workhorse Block 5.

Online AncientU

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Re: F9 Block 5 Updates, Discussions, and Speculations
« Reply #424 on: 12/30/2017 08:40 PM »
You're confusing "plan" with "reality".  Plan is for block 5 to be the final revision.  But no one (not even SpaceX) knows if that will be "reality" yet.  Wait and see.  Perhaps the first block 5 will live up to expectations in every possible way.

Yes, reality is yet to come.  By plan I mean the design and its implementation.

The plan is for Block 5 to be the end product, not the start of another set of reuse hardware iterations -- that part of the development is just finishing.  SpaceX will look hard at returned boosters for sure, and may (likely will) find weak-link components that need to be upgraded before or during major refurbishments in order to fly several ten-launch cycles.

I don't for a minute believe that the first Block 5s will live up to every expectation.  I do believe that the basic design has been found to be satisfactory for large numbers of reuses -- what tweaks are needed as those flights are accumulated will be small potatoes relative to the basic design, IMO.
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Offline chalz

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Re: F9 Block 5 Updates, Discussions, and Speculations
« Reply #425 on: 12/31/2017 08:26 AM »
Hey, I heard block 5 is getting new legs. Does this mean something radical or will they look the same but be quicker to fold back? Also how could ship operations change, still crane onto the shore stand or could it go straight onto the truck?

Offline cscott

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Re: F9 Block 5 Updates, Discussions, and Speculations
« Reply #426 on: 12/31/2017 12:04 PM »
The rumor seems to be that the new legs will allow them to be folded up after landing instead of removed, and that this will speed up recovery efforts.  But details past that are AFIAK unknown.  We'll be watching the first Block 5 recovery carefully!

Online Robotbeat

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Re: F9 Block 5 Updates, Discussions, and Speculations
« Reply #427 on: 12/31/2017 01:04 PM »
When will the first block 5 fly? Also, is the first block 5 Falcon Heavy being built, yet?
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Offline cppetrie

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Re: F9 Block 5 Updates, Discussions, and Speculations
« Reply #428 on: 12/31/2017 02:24 PM »
When will the first block 5 fly? Also, is the first block 5 Falcon Heavy being built, yet?
Unknown and unknown. There is some L2 insight as to which core will be the first Block 5 but it is very speculative right now as to which launch will use that core.

Offline Jcc

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Re: F9 Block 5 Updates, Discussions, and Speculations
« Reply #429 on: 12/31/2017 05:13 PM »
When will the first block 5 fly? Also, is the first block 5 Falcon Heavy being built, yet?
Unknown and unknown. There is some L2 insight as to which core will be the first Block 5 but it is very speculative right now as to which launch will use that core.

Once they do fly Block 5 they will probably want to fly only that  until crew dragon launches, in order to build up flight history, then use up as many block 3/4 as practical before retiring them.

Offline dror

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Re: F9 Block 5 Updates, Discussions, and Speculations
« Reply #430 on: 12/31/2017 05:45 PM »
When will the first block 5 fly? Also, is the first block 5 Falcon Heavy being built, yet?

...
My sources at SpaceX tell me that SpaceX has (significantly) more than three Block 5 boosters in various stages of construction, with many more to come.
...
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Offline macpacheco

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Re: F9 Block 5 Updates, Discussions, and Speculations
« Reply #431 on: 12/31/2017 11:25 PM »
SpaceX has already explored the flight envelope pretty thoroughly with Block 3/4. They won't be asking Block 5 to fly much hotter reentries than the GTO missions they've already landed (because FH). They have a decent sample of post-GTO landed boosters to evaluate in order to set requirements for Block 5. I'd be surprised if they underperform on Block 5 reusability. Customer acceptance is a somewhat different story, but because of how surprisingly well Block 3/4 performed on those marginal GTO landings, SpaceX really has no excuses for failing to deliver a workhorse Block 5.
Hotter ?
I think Block 5 re-entries will be cooler.
Re-entry burn starts a few seconds sooner plus the higher thrust, so peak heating is lower, even if re-entry starts a bit faster.
Most extra performance is used on the way up, but certainly some is saved for re-entry.
The upper stage also has more performance too. All of that goes to the payload orbit.
The whole point of Block 5 is no more re-entries too hot to reuse.
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Online wannamoonbase

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Re: F9 Block 5 Updates, Discussions, and Speculations
« Reply #432 on: 12/31/2017 11:47 PM »
When will the first block 5 fly? Also, is the first block 5 Falcon Heavy being built, yet?
Unknown and unknown. There is some L2 insight as to which core will be the first Block 5 but it is very speculative right now as to which launch will use that core.

Once they do fly Block 5 they will probably want to fly only that  until crew dragon launches, in order to build up flight history, then use up as many block 3/4 as practical before retiring them.

I think that depends on how fast they can build block 5’s.  They have a busy manifest, a launch rate of 1 every 2 weeks needs a lot cores and S2’s.

Edit: I think it makes more sense to get through the Block 3&4 and move onto the future full throttle.
« Last Edit: 12/31/2017 11:48 PM by wannamoonbase »
Excited to be finally into the first Falcon Heavy flow, we are getting so close!

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