There have been lots of discussions on this, and pretty much everyone agrees that you need a high launch rate to justify reuse.
It makes money with the first reuse.
I'm just going to add a thought. Just because a stage it deemed "reusable" and launched it may not be "reliable"... One needs to factor this into the cost structure estimates...
Quote from: guckyfan on 05/26/2016 07:12 amIt makes money with the first reuse.Assuming cost to recover & refurbish is lower than cost to manufacture, yes. I have a really hard time seeing them burn $25-$30 million or whatever to recover & refurbish a first stage, so I agree.
A stage costs no more than $15 million. We know this because expendable FH costs 30 million > expendable F9.
Quote from: Rocket Science on 05/26/2016 02:02 pmI'm just going to add a thought. Just because a stage it deemed "reusable" and launched it may not be "reliable"... One needs to factor this into the cost structure estimates...IMO reusable implies reliable. An unreliable stage won't fly, SpaceX or any other provider cannot afford it.
Quote from: Dudely on 05/26/2016 02:36 pmA stage costs no more than $15 million. We know this because expendable FH costs 30 million > expendable F9.I don't see where you can infer that it is expendable first stages on the launch vehicles quoted at $62M and $90M on http://www.spacex.com/about/capabilities. The inference from the performance limits written in small print right below the price is that they are recoverable launches. However, I do infer that an expendable F9 must cost more than $90M or there would be no incentive to use an FH.
So, it is reasonable to assume a (fully expendable) launch price on the order of $180mio for FH. Triple the price of a fully expendable F9. And why shouldn't that be the case?
If we assume that reusability reduces maximum payload by about 30% and take 22.2 tons to GTO as a baseline for FH, then a reusable FH should have a payload of just under 16 tons. FH could carry two 8ton payloads. If a single 8-ton-payload costs $90mio, they will probably try to get two payloads. (The market being what it is, they will probably be in the 6-7ton range.)
There will be some extra cost, so the price is quite justified. Frankly, $90mio for an FH launch without reuse strikes me as quite ludicrous.