Author Topic: Reusability effect on costs  (Read 146567 times)

Offline AncientU

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Re: Reusability effect on costs
« Reply #360 on: 05/08/2017 10:48 AM »
...

So far I'd be booking on an LV with a 93% success rate that's has 33 launch attempts and 2 explosions.
I also know that if my comm sat goes above about 5.6 tonnes I won't get the sticker price of $62m but more like the regular Ariane price of $100m with a 100% success rate over the last 70+ launches or an Atlas V if I have to use a US launcher with a 100% success rate over 50+ launches.

...

If you were a for-profit business, you'd be weighing the cost of that 3% success rate increment (97% on launch attempts) plus the cost of insurance versus the increased tens of millions of corporate dollars to purchase that increment (not spent like government dollars because they have to make a profit/stay in business).  You'd also see that insurance rates are essentially identical between the alternatives, meaning insurance companies who do this calculation for a living don't see a success rate difference worth reflecting in rates. 

There are probably some comm sats that make the launch decision for you, but that is something chosen when picking a sat design that went beyond anything but Ariane capability (before FH arrives on the market).  You can, likewise, chose a sat design that hits the sweet spot of reusable launchers...
« Last Edit: 05/08/2017 11:22 AM by AncientU »
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Offline gospacex

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Re: Reusability effect on costs
« Reply #361 on: 05/08/2017 12:04 PM »
But as a customer I find myself saying "so what?"

So far I'd be booking on an LV with a 93% success rate that's has 33 launch attempts and 2 explosions.
I also know that if my comm sat goes above about 5.6 tonnes I won't get the sticker price of $62m but more like the regular Ariane price of $100m with a 100% success rate over the last 70+ launches or an Atlas V if I have to use a US launcher with a 100% success rate over 50+ launches.

Atlas V is $180m at best.

Online Ictogan

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Re: Reusability effect on costs
« Reply #362 on: 05/08/2017 01:12 PM »
But as a customer I find myself saying "so what?"

So far I'd be booking on an LV with a 93% success rate that's has 33 launch attempts and 2 explosions.
I also know that if my comm sat goes above about 5.6 tonnes I won't get the sticker price of $62m but more like the regular Ariane price of $100m with a 100% success rate over the last 70+ launches or an Atlas V if I have to use a US launcher with a 100% success rate over 50+ launches.

Atlas V is $180m at best.
So you are saying that ULA is lying when listing the Atlas V base price at $109m?
https://www.rocketbuilder.com/

Offline cppetrie

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Re: Reusability effect on costs
« Reply #363 on: 05/08/2017 01:27 PM »
But as a customer I find myself saying "so what?"

So far I'd be booking on an LV with a 93% success rate that's has 33 launch attempts and 2 explosions.
I also know that if my comm sat goes above about 5.6 tonnes I won't get the sticker price of $62m but more like the regular Ariane price of $100m with a 100% success rate over the last 70+ launches or an Atlas V if I have to use a US launcher with a 100% success rate over 50+ launches.

Atlas V is $180m at best.
So you are saying that ULA is lying when listing the Atlas V base price at $109m?
https://www.rocketbuilder.com/
A base price doesn't launch a 5.5mT satellite to GEO-1800m/s. That runs $137 million for a Q4/2018 launch. And that's just at their core services level. Want more service, tack on many more millions.

Offline gospacex

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Re: Reusability effect on costs
« Reply #364 on: 05/08/2017 01:35 PM »
But as a customer I find myself saying "so what?"

So far I'd be booking on an LV with a 93% success rate that's has 33 launch attempts and 2 explosions.
I also know that if my comm sat goes above about 5.6 tonnes I won't get the sticker price of $62m but more like the regular Ariane price of $100m with a 100% success rate over the last 70+ launches or an Atlas V if I have to use a US launcher with a 100% success rate over 50+ launches.

Atlas V is $180m at best.
So you are saying that ULA is lying when listing the Atlas V base price at $109m?
https://www.rocketbuilder.com/

I was not aware ULA started to publicly announce their prices. This is progress.

I would like to compare prices mentioned on website to the actual prices paid. US Govt missions tend to cost more (because more oversight and more paperwork), so lets look at commercial and foreign launches.

Anyone knows how much was paid for EchoStar 19 launch? For WorldView-4? WorldView-3? MEXSAT-2?
(This list of 4 non-US-govt launches goes back to 2013).

I see only one "sort-of" non-govt launch on the manifest, Solar Orbiter aka "SolO" (it's an ESA mission). How much will it cost for ESA?
« Last Edit: 05/08/2017 01:44 PM by gospacex »

Offline RedLineTrain

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Re: Reusability effect on costs
« Reply #365 on: 05/08/2017 02:03 PM »
So far I'd be booking on an LV with a 93% success rate that's has 33 launch attempts and 2 explosions.
I also know that if my comm sat goes above about 5.6 tonnes I won't get the sticker price of $62m but more like the regular Ariane price of $100m with a 100% success rate over the last 70+ launches or an Atlas V if I have to use a US launcher with a 100% success rate over 50+ launches.

According to Shotwell, they are selling 7+ tons to subsync GTO on the Falcon 9.
http://www.spacex.com/about/capabilities

Shows 5.5mT to GTO for $62m. I'm sure they will sell higher but I doubt they will sell at that price and I would be interested in finding out what that price is.

[EDIT. I note from Shotwell interviews their near term goal is a 2 week launch cadence ]

Those prices on SpaceX's web site do not yet appear to reflect the reusability discount.  I would expect an update to those numbers at some point.

Offline abaddon

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Re: Reusability effect on costs
« Reply #366 on: 05/08/2017 02:05 PM »
But as a customer I find myself saying "so what?"
You're not a customer.  An actual customer recently said:
Quote
Maxim Zayakov, chief executive of BulgariaSat, said the use of a reused first stage lowers the launch price and “makes it possible for smaller countries and companies to launch their own satellites.” [...]The satellite is a major undertaking for BulgariaSat, which has been working on the project for nearly 12 years. “Elon Musk and his SpaceX team have convinced me that people like them bring us closer to a new quality of life through providing access to cutting-edge technology,” Zayakov said in a statement. “This is a chance for Bulgaria to join the efforts to develop these new aspects of [the] space industry.”

Link: http://spacenews.com/bulgarian-satellite-to-launch-on-reused-falcon-9-in-june

Online Ictogan

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Re: Reusability effect on costs
« Reply #367 on: 05/08/2017 02:22 PM »
But as a customer I find myself saying "so what?"

So far I'd be booking on an LV with a 93% success rate that's has 33 launch attempts and 2 explosions.
I also know that if my comm sat goes above about 5.6 tonnes I won't get the sticker price of $62m but more like the regular Ariane price of $100m with a 100% success rate over the last 70+ launches or an Atlas V if I have to use a US launcher with a 100% success rate over 50+ launches.

Atlas V is $180m at best.
So you are saying that ULA is lying when listing the Atlas V base price at $109m?
https://www.rocketbuilder.com/

I was not aware ULA started to publicly announce their prices. This is progress.

I would like to compare prices mentioned on website to the actual prices paid. US Govt missions tend to cost more (because more oversight and more paperwork), so lets look at commercial and foreign launches.

Anyone knows how much was paid for EchoStar 19 launch? For WorldView-4? WorldView-3? MEXSAT-2?
(This list of 4 non-US-govt launches goes back to 2013).

I see only one "sort-of" non-govt launch on the manifest, Solar Orbiter aka "SolO" (it's an ESA mission). How much will it cost for ESA?
Apparently NASA is providing that launch to ESA, so it might still have the usual government prices:
"The launch from Cape Canaveral in Florida will be aboard a NASA-provided launch vehicle."
- http://sci.esa.int/solar-orbiter/55772-solar-orbiter-launch-moved-to-2018/
NASA lists the cost to them for that launch as $172.7m:
https://www.nasa.gov/press/2014/march/nasa-awards-launch-services-contract-for-solar-orbiter-mission/
However this was 3 years back and ULA is known to have dropped their prices in the recent years. Their website shows a price of $136-138m(depending on fairing length) for an Atlas V 411 launch with all the services except for marketing, so given that it's still at least sort of a government launch and the prices may have dropped since then, the prices on their website sound reasonable.

Offline envy887

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Re: Reusability effect on costs
« Reply #368 on: 05/08/2017 02:27 PM »
So WRT to the thread title reusability will probably increase SX profits by lowering their costs.

Reusability should improve reliability as SX now know how close to their designed operating limits various components have been.

If they deliver full reusability including the US then they will be in a position to save a lot of money.

But as a customer I find myself saying "so what?"

So far I'd be booking on an LV with a 93% success rate that's has 33 launch attempts and 2 explosions.
I also know that if my comm sat goes above about 5.6 tonnes I won't get the sticker price of $62m but more like the regular Ariane price of $100m with a 100% success rate over the last 70+ launches or an Atlas V if I have to use a US launcher with a 100% success rate over 50+ launches.

My main interest is in lowering the mission price to the end user both on a $/lb and an overall mission price basis (Pegasus is cheaper than an F9 flight, but it's also less than 1/20 the payload).

This does not sound like it's going to move the market forward very much. The market is what it is because of the price of launch for the size of payload. If that does not change radically there is absolutely no reason why any new customers will enter the market who wouldn't have done so anyway.

I doubt a F9 expendable launch is $100M. Back when SpaceX was pricing full-capability launches, they were about 16% more than an 80% capability launch, which puts an expendable mission at about $72M. And soon, you might be able to buy an expendable mission on a used booster for a discount. If the discount is 10% for reuse then up to 8.3 tonnes to GTO-1800 could be as low as $65M (FH RTLS could also be similar).

And the sticker price of $62.2M is ONLY for missions that require a new booster, but are under 5.5 tonnes to GTO-1800. If you can live with a used booster you can get the same service for at least 10% less than $62.2M, which is $56M or about half the cost of an Ariane launch.

Most commercial customers don't assume a lot of risk for launch failures. The payload and its first year revenue are typically insured, so as long as insurance is comparable then schedule reliability is the biggest factor. With reuse and more pads this could quickly become a factor strongly in SpaceX's favor, especially since they don't have to line up two payloads for a launch like Ariane.

Offline gospacex

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Re: Reusability effect on costs
« Reply #369 on: 05/08/2017 03:06 PM »
Apparently NASA is providing that launch to ESA, so it might still have the usual government prices:
"The launch from Cape Canaveral in Florida will be aboard a NASA-provided launch vehicle."
- http://sci.esa.int/solar-orbiter/55772-solar-orbiter-launch-moved-to-2018/
NASA lists the cost to them for that launch as $172.7m:
https://www.nasa.gov/press/2014/march/nasa-awards-launch-services-contract-for-solar-orbiter-mission/
However this was 3 years back and ULA is known to have dropped their prices in the recent years. Their website shows a price of $136-138m(depending on fairing length) for an Atlas V 411 launch with all the services except for marketing, so given that it's still at least sort of a government launch and the prices may have dropped since then, the prices on their website sound reasonable.

IOW, we don't know any Atlas V launch which was less than $172m for the customer.
So, I was wrong, Atlas V is not $180m, it's $170m. ;)

Offline ethan829

Re: Reusability effect on costs
« Reply #370 on: 05/08/2017 03:57 PM »
IOW, we don't know any Atlas V launch which was less than $172m for the customer.
So, I was wrong, Atlas V is not $180m, it's $170m. ;)

Orbital ATK paid "closer to $100 million" for their Cygnus flights on Atlas V:

http://spacenews.com/atlas-price-cut-helps-orbital-atk-shake-off-antares-failure/
Quote
Orbital Chief Executive David W. Thompson declined to detail the reductions the company was able to secure for the launch but said ULA’s announced effort to bring Atlas 5 prices down from $150 million to something closer to $100 million was confirmed with the new contract.

Centennial, Colorado-based ULA is “serious about getting Atlas down to [those] levels. … We certainly saw some of that” in booking the March 2016 flight, Thompson said in a conference call with investors.

Offline DOCinCT

Re: Reusability effect on costs
« Reply #371 on: 05/08/2017 04:09 PM »
So WRT to the thread title reusability will probably increase SX profits by lowering their costs.

Reusability should improve reliability as SX now know how close to their designed operating limits various components have been.

If they deliver full reusability including the US then they will be in a position to save a lot of money.

But as a customer I find myself saying "so what?"

So far I'd be booking on an LV with a 93% success rate that's has 33 launch attempts and 2 explosions.
I also know that if my comm sat goes above about 5.6 tonnes I won't get the sticker price of $62m but more like the regular Ariane price of $100m with a 100% success rate over the last 70+ launches or an Atlas V if I have to use a US launcher with a 100% success rate over 50+ launches.

My main interest is in lowering the mission price to the end user both on a $/lb and an overall mission price basis (Pegasus is cheaper than an F9 flight, but it's also less than 1/20 the payload).

This does not sound like it's going to move the market forward very much. The market is what it is because of the price of launch for the size of payload. If that does not change radically there is absolutely no reason why any new customers will enter the market who wouldn't have done so anyway.

I doubt a F9 expendable launch is $100M. Back when SpaceX was pricing full-capability launches, they were about 16% more than an 80% capability launch, which puts an expendable mission at about $72M. And soon, you might be able to buy an expendable mission on a used booster for a discount. If the discount is 10% for reuse then up to 8.3 tonnes to GTO-1800 could be as low as $65M (FH RTLS could also be similar).

And the sticker price of $62.2M is ONLY for missions that require a new booster, but are under 5.5 tonnes to GTO-1800. If you can live with a used booster you can get the same service for at least 10% less than $62.2M, which is $56M or about half the cost of an Ariane launch.

Most commercial customers don't assume a lot of risk for launch failures. The payload and its first year revenue are typically insured, so as long as insurance is comparable then schedule reliability is the biggest factor. With reuse and more pads this could quickly become a factor strongly in SpaceX's favor, especially since they don't have to line up two payloads for a launch like Ariane.
NASA pays more for a Commercial Cargo launch from SpaceX than your quoted figures.  Original contract was about $133M per launch; most recent contract is about the same by some estimates.

Offline rockets4life97

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Re: Reusability effect on costs
« Reply #372 on: 05/08/2017 04:50 PM »
NASA's commercial Cargo contracts with SpaceX include dragon.

Offline envy887

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Re: Reusability effect on costs
« Reply #373 on: 05/08/2017 05:12 PM »
I doubt a F9 expendable launch is $100M. Back when SpaceX was pricing full-capability launches, they were about 16% more than an 80% capability launch, which puts an expendable mission at about $72M. And soon, you might be able to buy an expendable mission on a used booster for a discount. If the discount is 10% for reuse then up to 8.3 tonnes to GTO-1800 could be as low as $65M (FH RTLS could also be similar).

And the sticker price of $62.2M is ONLY for missions that require a new booster, but are under 5.5 tonnes to GTO-1800. If you can live with a used booster you can get the same service for at least 10% less than $62.2M, which is $56M or about half the cost of an Ariane launch.

Most commercial customers don't assume a lot of risk for launch failures. The payload and its first year revenue are typically insured, so as long as insurance is comparable then schedule reliability is the biggest factor. With reuse and more pads this could quickly become a factor strongly in SpaceX's favor, especially since they don't have to line up two payloads for a launch like Ariane.
NASA pays more for a Commercial Cargo launch from SpaceX than your quoted figures.  Original contract was about $133M per launch; most recent contract is about the same by some estimates.

The payment structure and service rendered for CRS is a lot different than commercial commsats.

Offline oldAtlas_Eguy

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Re: Reusability effect on costs
« Reply #374 on: 05/08/2017 05:54 PM »
The real item for this thread is that:

The reusability effect on costs is here!

It is no longer a theoretical discussion it is now a discussion on how large and fast will this effect be on the launch/space industry.

Side discussions on current pricing of more expensive providers only shows how much potential this effect has on the industry. SpaceX has announced that initially the discount for reusability (used boosters) will start out being a modest value with in about 3 years going to significant value. I see this as initial "discount" being $10M and then in 3 years the "discount" being $20M. So Prices now of $50-55M and later prices of $40-45M for same size payloads.

But what if for FH SpaceX can reuse the US including for GTO missions. A fully reusable FH could price out to the same as a partial reusable F9 but have a larger payload capability. LEO FH 20mt to F9 16mt. GTO FH 8mt vs F9 5.5mt.

This basically shows that reusability costs trumps performance. A much larger rocket with only slightly more payload that is fully reusable costs the same or even possibly less than a partial reusable smaller rocket.

Offline BobHk

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Re: Reusability effect on costs
« Reply #375 on: 05/09/2017 12:02 AM »
Elon and Shotwell made it clear they were intent on making back the investment in the rockets.  I'm sure it'll be a few years before the prices drop a 'lot', need to make the money back, at least that is what they emphasized.

Offline AncientU

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Re: Reusability effect on costs
« Reply #376 on: 05/09/2017 12:07 AM »
Several interesting effects on costs:
1) customers with existing commercial contracts are switching over to a less-proven (even acknowledging the flight-proven sales line) vehicle for a sum of a couple tens of $Millions, so market is price-sensitive at that level,
2) real savings below the price of the market leading (existing F9) price has made both the NASA and USAF take notice and begin to scramble to find a way to qualify themselves for the discount,
3) strategic realignments are up-welling in the NSS payload planning arena which may move the procurements away from hugely expensive (and highly vulnerable) 'Big Boy' payloads, and
4) the advent of reusability reductions on top of the market leading low F9 price has improved the quality of discounts customers are getting even if they choose the statistically more reliable established launchers.
 
These movements are a nice windfall for customers, both public sector and private, but something of a cost challenge for launch providers.  If movement to take advantage of these discounts gains momentum, we'll see tightening bottom lines for launch vendors due to deep price cuts and lost launch opportunities and the continued retirement of launch vehicles with incredibly long strings of successful launches.  Delta IV-M is first, Ariane 5 or Delta Heavy will follow... other established launchers such as Proton and Atlas V will be discarded or 'evolved'.  The entire composition of the launch world could be rearranged over the next decade, despite the howls of protest* from those rooted in the status quo.

* Past, present, and future. Guaranteed.
« Last Edit: 05/09/2017 12:13 AM by AncientU »
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Offline macpacheco

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Re: Reusability effect on costs
« Reply #377 on: 05/09/2017 10:00 AM »
These movements are a nice windfall for customers, both public sector and private, but something of a cost challenge for launch providers.  If movement to take advantage of these discounts gains momentum, we'll see tightening bottom lines for launch vendors due to deep price cuts and lost launch opportunities and the continued retirement of launch vehicles with incredibly long strings of successful launches.  Delta IV-M is first, Ariane 5 or Delta Heavy will follow... other established launchers such as Proton and Atlas V will be discarded or 'evolved'.  The entire composition of the launch world could be rearranged over the next decade, despite the howls of protest* from those rooted in the status quo.

* Past, present, and future. Guaranteed.
But SpaceX needs an explosion in launch volume to truly justify eventually reducing launch contracts by over 60 or 70% (perhaps even more). Its not enough to save a bundle on boosters and upper stages being reused. 6000 employees (and rising) require a lot of revenue just to make payroll and other bills.
Furthermore, I believe the real massive reduction in access to Space costs will come when SpaceX has a rocket that can to for GEO what it can already to for LEO constellations (like Orbcomm and Iridium) deliver payloads by the half dozen to a dozen per launch.
Unlike LEO where launches are pretty much all to different inclinations, orbit altitudes, ... GEO is all target inclination zero, same altitude, only differs by longitude of the slot.
This upper stage must have the ability to operate for several days while keeping their payload batteries trickle charged.
This makes either brute force reduction of inclination or dropping payloads on super sync trajectories a thing of the past.
The upper stage itself would enter a slightly super sync orbit, and perform several inclination reduction and perigee rising burns, dropping their payloads perhaps on GEO-500 m/s or even better, then RTLS. Taking several orbits to accomplish that.
The sole reason I'm not mentioning GSO injection is that requires targeting one specific orbital slot, but mass delivery needs to target an orbit far enough from GEO to allow payloads to still play the timing game to get to their specific slots directly.
At the same time, payloads would be delivered to orbits close enough to GEO that chemical propulsion could be abandoned altogether, reducing average payload mass.
This produces a win-win-win scenario:
- The delivery point is far more valuable to customers on a per ton basis, customers can either give their satellites more transponders/solar panels or opt for a lighter launch mass
- SpaceX can justify much higher margins as a % of costs vs today. Hypothetically, they could deliver to GEO-500 the same per ton prices SpaceX is offering today for reuse flights to GEO-1800, just the longer station keeping fuel alone makes all the different for customers, with the much shorter transit time (vs an all electric transit time from GEO-1500 to GSO) an added bonus
- Total revenue per flight would be massive, quad manifest launches even at half the current prices could bring in US$ 150-200 million per launch total !

This brings in an interesting opportunity for NRO too. How about they invest on a cheaper, mass ish produced line of combined optics/radar/sigint birds and launch them in much denser coverage than today ?
USAF could move from a few huge GEO comm birds to a MEO combined comm/GPS mission, providing much higher global bandwidth. As long as they can drift within an orbital plane by themselves, SpaceX could deliver a whole orbits worth on a single launch. Increase the number of satellites to provide twice the number of satellites vs required, making it much harder for Russia/China to destroy their constellation with ASAT weapons

The main issue against adoption is quite simple, customers would be marrying themselves to SpaceX as their launch provider, if they design payloads optimized to SpaceX bulk delivery, using other providers might create huge disadvantages if SpaceX doesn't deliver, but the much lower costs could justify the risk.
« Last Edit: 05/09/2017 10:11 AM by macpacheco »
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Offline john smith 19

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Re: Reusability effect on costs
« Reply #378 on: 05/09/2017 11:10 AM »
An actual customer recently said:
Quote
Maxim Zayakov, chief executive of BulgariaSat, said the use of a reused first stage lowers the launch price and “makes it possible for smaller countries and companies to launch their own satellites.” [...]The satellite is a major undertaking for BulgariaSat, which has been working on the project for nearly 12 years. “Elon Musk and his SpaceX team have convinced me that people like them bring us closer to a new quality of life through providing access to cutting-edge technology,” Zayakov said in a statement. “This is a chance for Bulgaria to join the efforts to develop these new aspects of [the] space industry.”

Link: http://spacenews.com/bulgarian-satellite-to-launch-on-reused-falcon-9-in-june
Surrey Satellite Technology have been helping "small countries" put significant missions together and fly them as secondaries for decades. this sounds like a payload that's been a long time in building and had borderline funding to begin with.

I don't see one flight, that would have flown on the lowest cost launch opportunity they could get (probably F9 anyway) being statistically significant.
"Solids are a branch of fireworks, not rocketry. :-) :-) ", Henry Spencer 1/28/11  Averse to bold? You must be in marketing."It's all in the sequencing" K. Mattingly.  STS-Keeping most of the stakeholders happy most of the time.
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Offline john smith 19

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Re: Reusability effect on costs
« Reply #379 on: 05/09/2017 11:15 AM »
But SpaceX needs an explosion in launch volume to truly justify eventually reducing launch contracts by over 60 or 70% (perhaps even more). Its not enough to save a bundle on boosters and upper stages being reused. 6000 employees (and rising) require a lot of revenue just to make payroll and other bills.
True. In fact for that kind of price reduction you need full reusability. But with massive price reduction you have a massive fall in per launch revenue, unless you have an (equally) massive rise in launch numbers. [EDIT but the conventional ELV launch model ("here's your ticket. Have your payload ready in 2 years") may not be enough for this to happen. The ability to recover payloads (so designs can be corrected and iterated) seems equally important, on a cycle of months, not years. Like booking flights for sounding rockets, or zero g simulator aircraft ]

These facts have been known for decades by LV mfgs and are a key brake on changes to the one mfg/one operator business model.  :(
« Last Edit: 05/09/2017 11:40 AM by john smith 19 »
"Solids are a branch of fireworks, not rocketry. :-) :-) ", Henry Spencer 1/28/11  Averse to bold? You must be in marketing."It's all in the sequencing" K. Mattingly.  STS-Keeping most of the stakeholders happy most of the time.
So you're going to Mars to seek a better life. What does that mean to you? Always spot a fanbois by how they react to their idols failures.

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