Author Topic: Reusability effect on costs  (Read 184280 times)

Offline AncientU

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Re: Reusability effect on costs
« Reply #580 on: 07/05/2017 06:32 PM »
Despite my excitement about the increased access to space thanks to reusability, I am still struggling to fully reconcile myself with the Business Case for full reusability, from a launch provider point of view.

Basically, if you take it to its logical conclusion where launch costs indeed drop to say 1% of their current level as per Elon's dream, you will end up with a tremendously high ratio between the initial cost of the asset (the reusable rocket) and the revenue earned per each individual launch.

So any payback calculation from a launch provider's point of view, for building or buying a single launch vehicle, will run into the hundreds of launches just to break even.

And that's before you even buy/construct a second or third vehicle to serve as backup in case of inevitable failure or repair requirements. Then you may be talking about a thousand launches just to earn back the initial cost of the asset.

And if you then factor in the inevitable loss of a launch vehicle at some point, this high asset cost/revenue ratio means the loss hits you much harder than a loss in the current launch environment would, from a financial point of view.

Anyway, it is exciting times for space enthusiasts like us, but it seems almost like Elon's greater goal of lowering the cost of access to space is killing the very golden goose that his company is earning its revenue from. Now, he can do that because he is the first in this space, but as I said before, unless you suddenly have tens of thousands of launches  per year - which seems a century away at least - the low margin high volume nature of the business model seems to discourage more entrants into this market. And seems to make profit prospects based on being purely a launch provider rather gloomy, in my view.

No doubt a lot of unexpected and exciting stuff will happen, but as it stands I am struggling to figure out the working business model for the end state that Elon has in mind.

If launch costs drop to zero, launch prices don't need to follow. 

Launch vendor has the opportunity to charge whatever the market will bear... in SpaceX's case, whatever an expanding market will bear.  Pragmatic pricing to achieve long term goals --> exactly what they are practicing today with a 10% discount while costs are dropping up to 90% for the booster (at 70% of the vehicle cost, this allows a 63% reduction in price if just breaking even at $62M-ish per launch).

...at the same time, launching ConnX at cost.
« Last Edit: 07/05/2017 06:33 PM by AncientU »
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Offline AncientU

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Re: Reusability effect on costs
« Reply #581 on: 07/05/2017 06:50 PM »
...

4th generation reusable vehicles could be as little as 10 years into the future.

If the shuttle for 1st generation reusable and Falcon 9 2nd gen, introducing cost effective rapid reuse, I assume BFR would be 3rd gen, introducing bulk transport efficencies to spaceflight. What would 4th gen be, to get a 6-fold reduction in cost over BFR?

There would have to be some new technoligy to pull off gen 4. Perhaps some kind of practical fusion pulse drive, taking the Orion NPP concept for superheavy lift in a more enviromentally friendly direction?

In any case, I dont see gen 4 happening anywhere near as fast as gen 2 and gen 3, since gen 2 could have happened as early as the Delta Clipper days and gan 3 just relies on launch market expansion from gen 2.

4th generation could be where many launch service suppliers across the globe adopt BFR-like technology, and market expansion makes room for all of them.  Competition among the suppliers would keep prices falling and convenience/opportunity expanding.

Currently, SpaceX is the sole vendor for Gen 2 and will also start out that way for Gen 3 -- until Blue and others join the party.  If this doesn't light a fire under the demand side, then Gen 4 and subsequent become unlikely. 

New technology beyond chemical rocketry may follow exponential growth on demand side... no one will invest in it until then.  Physics will likely play a deciding role on getting out of the gravity well, though in-space options are much more viable.

Edit: Fixed quotes
« Last Edit: 07/05/2017 06:57 PM by AncientU »
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Offline rakaydos

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Re: Reusability effect on costs
« Reply #582 on: 07/07/2017 10:33 AM »
...

4th generation reusable vehicles could be as little as 10 years into the future.

If the shuttle for 1st generation reusable and Falcon 9 2nd gen, introducing cost effective rapid reuse, I assume BFR would be 3rd gen, introducing bulk transport efficencies to spaceflight. What would 4th gen be, to get a 6-fold reduction in cost over BFR?

There would have to be some new technoligy to pull off gen 4. Perhaps some kind of practical fusion pulse drive, taking the Orion NPP concept for superheavy lift in a more enviromentally friendly direction?

In any case, I dont see gen 4 happening anywhere near as fast as gen 2 and gen 3, since gen 2 could have happened as early as the Delta Clipper days and gan 3 just relies on launch market expansion from gen 2.

4th generation could be where many launch service suppliers across the globe adopt BFR-like technology, and market expansion makes room for all of them.  Competition among the suppliers would keep prices falling and convenience/opportunity expanding.

Currently, SpaceX is the sole vendor for Gen 2 and will also start out that way for Gen 3 -- until Blue and others join the party.  If this doesn't light a fire under the demand side, then Gen 4 and subsequent become unlikely. 

New technology beyond chemical rocketry may follow exponential growth on demand side... no one will invest in it until then.  Physics will likely play a deciding role on getting out of the gravity well, though in-space options are much more viable.

Edit: Fixed quotes
While we dont know what or when gen 4 is, though, we know what gen 5 or 6 will be- Space Elevators and other launch megastructures.

Because that's what expansion of the launch market and development of better launch systems is leading toward- creating a market for and investment opportunity in bulk, low cost access to space. We all know the problems with building a space elevator now, but in 50 years or so, we may be building a Launch loop to service a growing lunar and martian service industry.

Offline QuantumG

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Re: Reusability effect on costs
« Reply #583 on: 07/08/2017 01:04 AM »
Launch vendor has the opportunity to charge whatever the market will bear... in SpaceX's case, whatever an expanding market will bear.

For a while, sure. There's a limited window though. Eventually your market will just look at how you're doing it and do it themselves. If not them, won't your competitors?
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Offline Lar

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Re: Reusability effect on costs
« Reply #584 on: 07/08/2017 02:46 AM »
Launch vendor has the opportunity to charge whatever the market will bear... in SpaceX's case, whatever an expanding market will bear.

For a while, sure. There's a limited window though. Eventually your market will just look at how you're doing it and do it themselves. If not them, won't your competitors?


Buffett talks about a moat. Others talk about "secret sauce"... different buzzwords, same or similar concepts. Doing something that can't be easily exactly replicated. If reuse were easy, everyone would already be doing it. The SpaceX secret sauce may in fact be that they don't have to answer to investors, and the SpaceX moat may be how far ahead they are, as AncientU related in the "who wil compete" thread, they have a triple squeeze going.

Will it last forever? Of course not. And Bezos, in particular, excels at "fast follower" so SpaceX had better not rest on their laurels. But their reach always exceeds their grasp, so no danger of that any time soon. As long as Elon isn't hit by a bus.
« Last Edit: 07/08/2017 02:47 AM by Lar »
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Offline MP99

Re: Reusability effect on costs
« Reply #585 on: 07/08/2017 11:56 AM »


Despite my excitement about the increased access to space thanks to reusability, I am still struggling to fully reconcile myself with the Business Case for full reusability, from a launch provider point of view.

[rest of the post omitted]

Your mistake is not taking the reliability of the launch vehicle into account.

If you have a 500M$ reusable BFR rocket, you are not going to sell a launch for a 1M$, unless you know that the rocket has less than 1/500 chance of failure. Preferably much less. Otherwise you will lose money. It's just plain statistics.

What you are going to do instead is start with a price slightly lower than an expendable launch, and slowly push it down as you go, while you figure out the reliability of your launch vehicle.

Which is exactly what SpaceX are doing.

This is a passive strategy. "I'll reduce my prices a bit, assuming the market continues much as today."

A more active strategy would be do as you suggest for the existing market, whilst trying to drive changes to the market. Once (assuming) block 5 is hitting 10+ flights per core without much maintenance, and fairings are being reused OK. Then perhaps offer 50-75% discounts for a minimum of 100 flights over five years if it offers the chance for them to get upper-stage reuse working.

Cheers, Martin


Offline MP99

Re: Reusability effect on costs
« Reply #586 on: 07/08/2017 12:10 PM »


While we dont know what or when gen 4 is, though, we know what gen 5 or 6 will be- Space Elevators and other launch megastructures.

Because that's what expansion of the launch market and development of better launch systems is leading toward- creating a market for and investment opportunity in bulk, low cost access to space. We all know the problems with building a space elevator now, but in 50 years or so, we may be building a Launch loop to service a growing lunar and martian service industry.

50 years out is very tricky to predict.

It's conceivable that by that time you'll just electronically upload your personality into a 3D printed android body (from local resources) on the planetary surface of your choice. Just need to get a small amount of hardware onto the surface to bootstrap the process.

Heinlein liked to use the analogy of buggy whip manufacturers. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/10/business/10digi.html IE, planning to solve a problem that might not exist. These would also be the sorts of technologies that would have spacecraft assembled in orbit from EG asteroid resources.

Cheers, Martin

Offline gospacex

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Re: Reusability effect on costs
« Reply #587 on: 07/08/2017 01:16 PM »
Launch vendor has the opportunity to charge whatever the market will bear... in SpaceX's case, whatever an expanding market will bear.

For a while, sure. There's a limited window though. Eventually your market will just look at how you're doing it and do it themselves. If not them, won't your competitors?

How to combat this: two months before the first competitor's first flight, you drop your prices 40% below theirs.
There is no need to dramatically lower prices *today* when your nearest realistic competitor on your current price is at least 2 years away from flying.

Offline Mader Levap

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Re: Reusability effect on costs
« Reply #588 on: 07/08/2017 01:58 PM »
It's conceivable that by that time you'll just electronically upload your personality into a 3D printed android body (from local resources) on the planetary surface of your choice. Just need to get a small amount of hardware onto the surface to bootstrap the process.

First, "3D printed android body (from local resources) on the planetary surface of your choice" most probably won't be possible in 50 years. I guess last few centuries of failed predictions from futurologists and futurists will not teach anything for certain people. Technological progress is unpredictable in long term.

Take computers. No one at beginning predicted advent and permeating presence of small personal computers, including one in your pocket. There were visions of planet-sized (or at least city-sized) supercomputers. Always bigger, not smaller.

Predicting something more than few decades in future is always crapshoot, fuelled by dreams and wishful thinking. It is indeed very tricky, but there is difference between "conceivable" and something that may actually happen.

Second, there is no "upload". You can, at most, create copy of you. You yourself will be still here in meatspace.
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Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Reusability effect on costs
« Reply #589 on: 07/08/2017 02:08 PM »
Launch vendor has the opportunity to charge whatever the market will bear... in SpaceX's case, whatever an expanding market will bear.

For a while, sure. There's a limited window though. Eventually your market will just look at how you're doing it and do it themselves. If not them, won't your competitors?


Buffett talks about a moat. Others talk about "secret sauce"... different buzzwords, same or similar concepts. Doing something that can't be easily exactly replicated. If reuse were easy, everyone would already be doing it. The SpaceX secret sauce may in fact be that they don't have to answer to investors, and the SpaceX moat may be how far ahead they are, as AncientU related in the "who wil compete" thread, they have a triple squeeze going.

Will it last forever? Of course not. And Bezos, in particular, excels at "fast follower" so SpaceX had better not rest on their laurels. But their reach always exceeds their grasp, so no danger of that any time soon. As long as Elon isn't hit by a bus.
I object to Blue Origin being a "fast follower." They started earlier and were working on VTVL back when SpaceX still thought parachutes were the answer.

Blue Origin is a "slow starter" not a "fast follower."

Of course, they also have a billion or so of free investment money every year, so they're not going anywhere and will almost certainly succeed. Eventually.
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Offline oldAtlas_Eguy

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Re: Reusability effect on costs
« Reply #590 on: 07/08/2017 04:36 PM »
Reusability is the pushing of costs all to the front of the line into development and manufacture of hardware and reduction of costs of operation. This requires a lot of early funding to accomplish. Which SpaceX has managed to do and BO certainly will be able to do. But others are limiting their funds during these phases, both commercial and government LV projects funding. Which will limit the effectiveness of the LV's to compete in a free market against SpaceX's and BO's developed LV's.

This is another element of reusability effect on costs is where and when the costs for an reusable LV system is spent vs an expendable system.

Online TrevorMonty

Re: Reusability effect on costs
« Reply #591 on: 07/08/2017 09:17 PM »
Reusability is the pushing of costs all to the front of the line into development and manufacture of hardware and reduction of costs of operation. This requires a lot of early funding to accomplish. Which SpaceX has managed to do and BO certainly will be able to do. But others are limiting their funds during these phases, both commercial and government LV projects funding. Which will limit the effectiveness of the LV's to compete in a free market against SpaceX's and BO's developed LV's.

This is another element of reusability effect on costs is where and when the costs for an reusable LV system is spent vs an expendable system.
The large development costs upfront for RLV are why ULA are going for SMART partial reuse. Lower development costs, good chance of it working first time. While it may not be able to match F9R for price it should be competitive against Ariane 6, Proton and OA NGLV.






Offline butters

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Re: Reusability effect on costs
« Reply #592 on: 07/08/2017 10:21 PM »
Reusability is the pushing of costs all to the front of the line into development and manufacture of hardware and reduction of costs of operation. This requires a lot of early funding to accomplish. Which SpaceX has managed to do and BO certainly will be able to do. But others are limiting their funds during these phases, both commercial and government LV projects funding. Which will limit the effectiveness of the LV's to compete in a free market against SpaceX's and BO's developed LV's.

This is another element of reusability effect on costs is where and when the costs for an reusable LV system is spent vs an expendable system.
The large development costs upfront for RLV are why ULA are going for SMART partial reuse. Lower development costs, good chance of it working first time. While it may not be able to match F9R for price it should be competitive against Ariane 6, Proton and OA NGLV.

The problem is, SpaceX and Blue Origin could easily become like Boeing and Airbus in the airline industry. In an industry where flight rate amortization dominates unit cost calculations, how many RLV competitors are economically sustainable? SpaceX and Blue will exploit their first-mover advantage to aggressively gobble up market share because they know that flight rate will drive down their unit costs while starving out their legacy rivals.

SpaceX enjoyed the luxury of iterating toward reusability while still undercutting their competition. Others will not be so fortunate. ULA plans (hopes?) to develop a rocket with substantially less performance than New Glenn, based on the same booster engine, and they only aspire to recover the engines, whereas Blue will recover the whole booster stage. Smart? More like the art of the possible, where the possible is clearly not sufficient.

Enter this industry with a willingness to burn billions of dollars or don't even bother. The short history of spaceflight is littered with projects which tried and failed to do reusable spaceflight on a modest development budget. Musk was willing to bankrupt himself and nearly did. Bezos is comfortable spending a billion dollars, year after year. They're the ones who are succeeding.

As long as there was nobody willing to make this kind of massive upfront investment, others were free to dip their toes in the water and "invest responsibly." But now there are two entrepreneurs who have anted up in a big way. Two strong rivals can be enough remake an entire industry.  Does anybody else have the money and ambition to buy in?
« Last Edit: 07/08/2017 10:21 PM by butters »

Offline gospacex

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Re: Reusability effect on costs
« Reply #593 on: 07/08/2017 11:18 PM »
ULA plans (hopes?) to develop a rocket with substantially less performance than New Glenn, based on the same booster engine, and they only aspire to recover the engines, whereas Blue will recover the whole booster stage. Smart? More like the art of the possible, where the possible is clearly not sufficient.

I actually don't understand what ULA is doing. Using an engine from BO plain does not make sense.

When BO starts reliably launching their own LV, why on Earth would they continue to sell their engine to a competitor? Out of their heart goodness? Surely not. At best (for ULA), they would continue to sell it at a premium, much above their internal cost. At "not best", they just sink ULA whenever they want by simply refusing to prolong the contract.

Offline oldAtlas_Eguy

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Re: Reusability effect on costs
« Reply #594 on: 07/09/2017 07:28 PM »
ULA plans (hopes?) to develop a rocket with substantially less performance than New Glenn, based on the same booster engine, and they only aspire to recover the engines, whereas Blue will recover the whole booster stage. Smart? More like the art of the possible, where the possible is clearly not sufficient.

I actually don't understand what ULA is doing. Using an engine from BO plain does not make sense.

When BO starts reliably launching their own LV, why on Earth would they continue to sell their engine to a competitor? Out of their heart goodness? Surely not. At best (for ULA), they would continue to sell it at a premium, much above their internal cost. At "not best", they just sink ULA whenever they want by simply refusing to prolong the contract.
This engine contract from BO to ULA is beginning to be OT for this thread. The general point is that BO's sell of BE-4's to ULA gives them economic and political advantages. Engines revenue predates launches by easily 2 years. So as soon as the BE-4 goes into production BO will start receiving revenue for then 2 years prior to Vulcan or NG ever doing a first flight.

As far as NG vs Vulcan. Vulcan will be certified nearly right out of the blocks for DOD contract awards. Would just need to show the vehicle works as advertised. NG would have to take the longer road up to as much as 4 years after its first flight to be able to be awarded DOD contracts. So NG would not be in direct competition to Vulcan for up to 4 years. At that time BO would have sold to ULA >$200M in engines. If once NG is certified to fly DOD missions ULA goes Chapter 7 then BO could then purchases ULA assets on pennies on the dollar (no one else would probably even be interested in the assets). These assets would be as many as 32 BE-4 engines and possibly 10-16 ACES US that could be flown on top of NG. These ACES stages could even be using the BE3U. If not then BO conversion of the ACES to use the BE3U would give BO a high performance US at reasonable possibly even eventually at low manufacture cost. Because the makeup of ACES lends itself to mass production economies of scale.manufacture costs.

So the cases that have been discussed are not likely to take place for up to 6-8 years from now. But the general item is that without putting the money now into the development of systems that can compete in the LV price market 6-8 years from now the entity will go bankrupt from lack of sales.

Ultimately the Market even as dysfunctional as it is for the LV industry will determine the successful LV designs not the current self serving political goals pushing certain designs. Currently that market looks to be turning toward the complete reuse of boosters, not some part of the booster, and a a gas and go scenario for booster use.

In the world where boosters are rapid reusable but US are mostly expended, ULA could then become a supplier of ACES stages to BO for use on NG and NA.  They would no longer be a competitor LV but simply a "parts" supplier.


Offline Semmel

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Re: Reusability effect on costs
« Reply #595 on: 07/10/2017 07:32 AM »
I am quite interested in the threads topic but it seems to find little to no bases for discussion. Can we have some hard numbers please?

I would like to know what a flight of the F9 costs, including all launch fees and payments by the customer. I think I have seen something similar in the past, but can't remember where or the details. We know:

Cost of F9 S1 is 70% of the hardware
Cost of F9 Fairing is 10% of the hardware
Cost of F9 S2 is 20% of the hardware (by deduction)

But thats just the hardware and not the entire cost of a flight to the customer. There are lots of fees and processes involved that are not the booster hardware and I dont know them all. Once we have settled down these numbers and maybe can predict the true cost to a customer of an F9 Bock 5 with 10 reuses each booster (lets be conservative), we can deduce what reduction in price is possible. Once we have that we can answer the threads question what the effect truely is. And also we can predict what a fully reusable system will be able to do.

For each reusable launch we have (please complete the list!):
* F9 throwaway hardware cost
* F9 reusable hardware amortization cost
* F9 refurbishment cost
* Launch fees (Range, FAA, Launch site services, etc.)
* Insurance fees
* Payload processing
* SpaceX Profit

Once this all is settled and numbered, we can see how low a price SpaceX can push the F9 / FH architecture.

Offline envy887

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Re: Reusability effect on costs
« Reply #596 on: 07/10/2017 02:32 PM »
I am quite interested in the threads topic but it seems to find little to no bases for discussion. Can we have some hard numbers please?

I would like to know what a flight of the F9 costs, including all launch fees and payments by the customer. I think I have seen something similar in the past, but can't remember where or the details. We know:

Cost of F9 S1 is 70% of the hardware
Cost of F9 Fairing is 10% of the hardware
Cost of F9 S2 is 20% of the hardware (by deduction)

But thats just the hardware and not the entire cost of a flight to the customer. There are lots of fees and processes involved that are not the booster hardware and I dont know them all. Once we have settled down these numbers and maybe can predict the true cost to a customer of an F9 Bock 5 with 10 reuses each booster (lets be conservative), we can deduce what reduction in price is possible. Once we have that we can answer the threads question what the effect truely is. And also we can predict what a fully reusable system will be able to do.

For each reusable launch we have (please complete the list!):
* F9 throwaway hardware cost
* F9 reusable hardware amortization cost
* F9 refurbishment cost
* Launch fees (Range, FAA, Launch site services, etc.)
* Insurance fees
* Payload processing
* SpaceX Profit

Once this all is settled and numbered, we can see how low a price SpaceX can push the F9 / FH architecture.

Musk did say the booster was up to 70% of the cost (not price) of a "flight", not the "rocket" or the "hardware":

Quote
The most expensive part of a whole mission from a launch standpoint is the boost stage. It represents, depending on how you count it, up to 70% of the cost of the flight.

https://github.com/robbak/SES10-post-launch-conference/blob/master/SES10-press-transcript.txt

From the same source, the fairing (internal cost?) is about $6m:
Quote
I was like, "Guys, imagine you had 6 million dollars in cash in a pallet flying through the air

And he threw out some round numbers in the same conference:
Quote
So you can imagine that if the cost of the rocket is say 60 million dollars - really we're not re-using the whole thing, but - with the fairing, assuming fairing reuse works out, and as we optimise the cost of the reuse of the booster, really looking at maybe 3/4 of the rocket cost dropping by an order of magnitude, maybe more.

Now I don't think the F9 internal marginal cost to SpaceX is $60M, that has to include overhead for all their operating costs and profits for a no-frills launch for the list price of $62M to be realistic. But his does suggest that the fairing+booster is in the neighborhood of $46M. So if fairing cost is $6M, that puts the booster cost at $40M, which correlates with "up to" 70% of a ~$60M flight cost.

Edit: My take on each of these numbers:
These only apply to reused flights with a discount, not recovered flights at full price:
* F9 throwaway hardware cost - $10m/flight, fixed cost of upper stage only
* F9 reusable hardware amortization cost - $20M, goes away in 2 years
* F9 refurbishment cost - $2M/flight, will drop to $50k/flight

These are current costs which we know add up to about $7M for a basic launch:
* Launch fees (Range, FAA, Launch site services, etc.) -
* Insurance fees -
* Payload processing -
* SpaceX Profit -

And don't forget fuel, which is $200k per launch.

They will all drop per launch as reliability and volume improve, but for now let's assume they are constant. This gives a hardware cost of $16.6M/flight including refurb and a new upper stage every time: [(40+6)/10+10+2]. Add in the $20M profit SpaceX needs to recoup development of reuse, and the fixed $7M in fees and processing, and fuel and you get a total of $43.8M/flight over the next 2 years.

Over the next couple years, the cost of development will be paid off (it might be already, depending how they accounted for it). The cost of refurbishment will drop dramatically, so hardware costs would be $14.7M [(40+6)/10+10+0.05]. The fees, processing, and profit will probably decline, but that might take more than 2 years Let's figure that's still $7M, and fuel is $200k. So by mid-2019, the price of a launch could be as low as $21.9M.

But the eventual goal for F9 is hundreds of launches per booster, and hundreds of launches per year. Fees and processing will be streamlined and cost-reduced though volume, I'd estimate by half to $3.5M. Profits per launch will be much lower, though total revenues will be much higher due to higher flight rates. So we're looking at hardware costs of $10.5M/flight [(40+6)/100+10+0.05], and total per flight costs of $14.2M. I think that's the ultimate limit of F9 without upper stage reuse.
« Last Edit: 07/10/2017 08:50 PM by envy887 »

Online FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: Reusability effect on costs
« Reply #597 on: 07/11/2017 01:59 PM »
On Quora Jim Cantrell claims F9 booster re-use is primarily about increasing launch frequency to improve cash flow, as well as perfecting re-use technology for Mars:

https://www.quora.com/How-much-does-SpaceX-save-by-reusing-a-Falcon-rocket#

Claims very few boosters will re-used more than '3 or so' times, so seems to be ignoring (or doesn't believe?) SpaceX's claims about block 5 aim of 10 uses without refurbishment.

Online RotoSequence

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Re: Reusability effect on costs
« Reply #598 on: 07/11/2017 02:10 PM »
On Quora Jim Cantrell claims F9 booster re-use is primarily about increasing launch frequency to improve cash flow, as well as perfecting re-use technology for Mars:

https://www.quora.com/How-much-does-SpaceX-save-by-reusing-a-Falcon-rocket#

Claims very few boosters will re-used more than '3 or so' times, so seems to be ignoring (or doesn't believe?) SpaceX's claims about block 5 aim of 10 uses without refurbishment.

As a SpaceX fan, I don't know if I believe them either. Those landing legs have to deal with severely off nominal landing conditions and they're only afforded one consumable component.
« Last Edit: 07/11/2017 02:11 PM by RotoSequence »

Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: Reusability effect on costs
« Reply #599 on: 07/11/2017 02:20 PM »
On Quora Jim Cantrell claims F9 booster re-use is primarily about increasing launch frequency to improve cash flow, as well as perfecting re-use technology for Mars:

https://www.quora.com/How-much-does-SpaceX-save-by-reusing-a-Falcon-rocket#

Claims very few boosters will re-used more than '3 or so' times, so seems to be ignoring (or doesn't believe?) SpaceX's claims about block 5 aim of 10 uses without refurbishment.

As a reference, Jim Cantrell was one of the original SpaceX employees, but left in September of 2002 - so well before even the Falcon 1 was finished. So he would not have any inside, first-hand knowledge about what SpaceX is doing wrt reusability.

What we have been hearing is that the current Block 3/4 would only be capable of '3 or so' reuses, but that Block 5 of the Falcon 9 should be capable of more than 10 reuses without refurbishment.

So I'm not sure what to make of his viewpoints...
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

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