Author Topic: Reusability effect on costs  (Read 184276 times)

Offline AncientU

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Re: Reusability effect on costs
« Reply #740 on: 10/31/2017 06:41 PM »
I am convinced that they will drop all older stages including block 4 once the first block 5 has been checked and reflown. They will not want a mix of different hardware in the inventory.
Dry storage of rockets is nearly free compared with making them.
It is not quite impossible there may be a problem with block 5, for example.
Being in a position after an accident to be able to say 'or, you can fly a block 4 that has flown before' might considerably speed return to flight.

I would expect the Block 5s to gradually displace earlier versions, starting with the least-reusable at each storage site.  May take a year or more to refill available storage slots with Block 5s... only a few will be needed per pad to keep launch cadence going, and a few being refurbished at any time (assuming ten uses between refurbishments as they have advertised).

More interesting will be where, when, and in what quantity they start storing the eventual overbuild.  The number of customers 'insisting' on paying for new cores may drop rapidly when these customers realize that they are subsidizing the competition and SpaceX itself (which is a competitor as Starlink begins to fly).
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Offline Lar

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Re: Reusability effect on costs
« Reply #741 on: 10/31/2017 06:58 PM »
More interesting will be where, when, and in what quantity they start storing the eventual overbuild.  The number of customers 'insisting' on paying for new cores may drop rapidly when these customers realize that they are subsidizing the competition and SpaceX itself (which is a competitor as Starlink begins to fly).

Tucson. There are a lot of aircraft stored there because of the climate.

But I think they will start to skew the S2:S1 ratio before there is a glut of block 5 S1s...  Not sure what effect that has on cost.
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Offline abaddon

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Re: Reusability effect on costs
« Reply #742 on: 10/31/2017 07:45 PM »
Customers aren't signing open reflight contracts that let SpaceX choose any booster they want, they're hand picking them.
Do you have a link to support that assertion?  Seems quite possible SpaceX is the one choosing what boosters to offer to the customer, and it is SpaceX that is being conservative by only offering the more lightly used boosters.
« Last Edit: 10/31/2017 07:46 PM by abaddon »

Offline macpacheco

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Re: Reusability effect on costs
« Reply #743 on: 10/31/2017 10:13 PM »
Customers aren't signing open reflight contracts that let SpaceX choose any booster they want, they're hand picking them.
Do you have a link to support that assertion?  Seems quite possible SpaceX is the one choosing what boosters to offer to the customer, and it is SpaceX that is being conservative by only offering the more lightly used boosters.
Customers choose which booster to fly, SpaceX accepts.
SpaceX choose which booster to fly, customer must agree.
To me its potato, potato, same net result.
It would be different if SpaceX took any of its GTO recoveries and asked the customer to use that.
Wouldn't it be SpaceX's interest to at least re-fly one of those GTO recoveries, the booster that landed on the very best shape at least once to prove that's safe too ?
The key is there isn't a long enough line of customers willing to re-fly, so the customer is the chooser, SpaceX is the beggar.
SpaceX has a lot of interest in opening up that re-use envelope and showing their process is safe.
Some GTO recoveries clearly aren't in good shape enough for refurb, but many are, unless there's something SpaceX isn't telling us.
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Online QuantumG

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Re: Reusability effect on costs
« Reply #744 on: 10/31/2017 10:31 PM »
Well... at first you'd get a discount if you flew on the reused booster. That's gone now. Soon you'll pay extra to fly on a fresh booster. Then you'll pay (a lot) extra to fly on Falcon instead of BFR. Then you'll fly on BFR or go elsewhere.


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Offline speedevil

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Re: Reusability effect on costs
« Reply #745 on: 10/31/2017 11:59 PM »
Some GTO recoveries clearly aren't in good shape enough for refurb, but many are, unless there's something SpaceX isn't telling us.

Or just take a leaf out of ULAs book, and treat the returned stage as a source for engines.
(yes, they are older engines).
Has anything been said about the cost of the engines as a fraction of the stage (and presumably the octoweb) cost?

Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: Reusability effect on costs
« Reply #746 on: 11/01/2017 12:24 AM »
Customers aren't signing open reflight contracts that let SpaceX choose any booster they want, they're hand picking them.
Do you have a link to support that assertion?  Seems quite possible SpaceX is the one choosing what boosters to offer to the customer, and it is SpaceX that is being conservative by only offering the more lightly used boosters.
Customers choose which booster to fly, SpaceX accepts.
SpaceX choose which booster to fly, customer must agree.
To me its potato, potato, same net result.
It would be different if SpaceX took any of its GTO recoveries and asked the customer to use that.
Wouldn't it be SpaceX's interest to at least re-fly one of those GTO recoveries, the booster that landed on the very best shape at least once to prove that's safe too ?
The key is there isn't a long enough line of customers willing to re-fly, so the customer is the chooser, SpaceX is the beggar.
SpaceX has a lot of interest in opening up that re-use envelope and showing their process is safe.
Some GTO recoveries clearly aren't in good shape enough for refurb, but many are, unless there's something SpaceX isn't telling us.

SpaceX has stated that it is their future intent that the customer pays for a launch but doesn't choose whether it is on a new booster or a previously flown one. Maybe launch contracts they are signing for a couple of years from now are that way, but it seemed to me that it was the intent of SpaceX to not implement that strategy until Block 5 was proven.
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

Offline envy887

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Re: Reusability effect on costs
« Reply #747 on: 11/01/2017 12:43 AM »
...
Wouldn't it be SpaceX's interest to at least re-fly one of those GTO recoveries, the booster that landed on the very best shape at least once to prove that's safe too ?
They did run a GTO stage that came back very hot through at least 8 full duration static fires.

But Block 5 is right around the corner, and they probably have enough LEO stages to use for reflights until Block 5 is available.

Offline GWH

Re: Reusability effect on costs
« Reply #748 on: 11/01/2017 12:58 AM »
One of the GTO boosters is getting reflown... just as a side booster to Falcon Heavy.

Offline john smith 19

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Re: Reusability effect on costs
« Reply #749 on: 11/01/2017 11:07 AM »
Well... at first you'd get a discount if you flew on the reused booster. That's gone now. Soon you'll pay extra to fly on a fresh booster. Then you'll pay (a lot) extra to fly on Falcon instead of BFR. Then you'll fly on BFR or go elsewhere.
Indeed. It will be their way, or the highway.

Just like any monopoly supplier's operation.

One of the GTO boosters is getting reflown... just as a side booster to Falcon Heavy.
That should provide some very interesting data
More interesting will be where, when, and in what quantity they start storing the eventual overbuild.  The number of customers 'insisting' on paying for new cores may drop rapidly when these customers realize that they are subsidizing the competition and SpaceX itself (which is a competitor as Starlink begins to fly).

Tucson. There are a lot of aircraft stored there because of the climate.

But I think they will start to skew the S2:S1 ratio before there is a glut of block 5 S1s...  Not sure what effect that has on cost.
That's one option. It depends how many shifts they run to make an F9. If mfg is running 3 shifts they can drop that to 2, and/or reassign people to the BFR factory.
I am convinced that they will drop all older stages including block 4 once the first block 5 has been checked and reflown. They will not want a mix of different hardware in the inventory.

I could imagine that they can upgrade block 4 to block 5. If possible they may do that. But not flying a mix.
I can see your PoV.  AFAIK there are no F1's in the back of a hanger "just in case."

The question is how big a difference is Block 5 from earlier blocks?

I guess SX would like to fly out the earlier blocks on expendable maximum payload launches, but those would be GEO or GTO, just the ones where you don't want a failure.
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Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Reusability effect on costs
« Reply #750 on: 11/01/2017 11:27 AM »
SpaceX isn't a monopoly, not even close.
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Offline abaddon

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Re: Reusability effect on costs
« Reply #751 on: 11/01/2017 12:29 PM »
Wouldn't it be SpaceX's interest to at least re-fly one of those GTO recoveries, the booster that landed on the very best shape at least once to prove that's safe too ?
SpaceX will be doing that themselves when FH launches, as one of the boosters was previously used on a GTO mission.
Quote
The key is there isn't a long enough line of customers willing to re-fly, so the customer is the chooser, SpaceX is the beggar.
Again, the same assertion without evidence.  Then when challenged you say "it doesn't matter".  If it doesn't matter why do you keep saying it?

Offline AncientU

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Re: Reusability effect on costs
« Reply #752 on: 11/01/2017 05:21 PM »
...

I guess SX would like to fly out the earlier blocks on expendable maximum payload launches, but those would be GEO or GTO, just the ones where you don't want a failure.

Which are the ones where you do want a failure?
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Offline john smith 19

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Re: Reusability effect on costs
« Reply #753 on: 11/01/2017 07:32 PM »
...

I guess SX would like to fly out the earlier blocks on expendable maximum payload launches, but those would be GEO or GTO, just the ones where you don't want a failure.

Which are the ones where you do want a failure?
In an ideal world there are no failures, but that's not the world SX lives in. So I say that's the worst case of fail because they are the core business of SX and would suggest SX had under designed the vehicle.

My apologies for not making that suitably explicit for you.

SpaceX isn't a monopoly, not even close.
How many other even partly reusable LV's are flying other than F9 at this time? Or what about "lowering launch prices to less than $1000/lb" ?

I think this thread was always mis-named as customers don't pay "costs" they pay "prices" and while they have cut the "floor price" for medium launch it doesn't look like they are going to go on cutting it.
That's their choice, but it's prices that matter to customers, not costs.

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Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: Reusability effect on costs
« Reply #754 on: 11/01/2017 07:40 PM »
SpaceX isn't a monopoly, not even close.
How many other even partly reusable LV's are flying other than F9 at this time? Or what about "lowering launch prices to less than $1000/lb" ?

While SpaceX offers the lowest price, commercial customers are choosing not to depend solely on SpaceX, but are using SpaceX to lower the overall average cost of launching their products into space. So all SpaceX has done is replaced a higher priced alternative, but there are still at least two higher priced alternatives (i.e. Ariane 5 and Proton) that the market is still willing to purchase. Which is very smart.

When Blue Origin launches their reusable launcher service they will likely replace one of the top three incumbents, but I think SpaceX will be the least affected.

Quote
I think this thread was always mis-named as customers don't pay "costs" they pay "prices" and while they have cut the "floor price" for medium launch it doesn't look like they are going to go on cutting it.
That's their choice, but it's prices that matter to customers, not costs.

SpaceX offers a price, but to customers it's a transportation cost. So it depends on who we're talking about.
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Reusability effect on costs
« Reply #755 on: 11/01/2017 11:12 PM »
The fact that SpaceX offers a service cheaper than their competitors does not make them a monopoly.
« Last Edit: 11/01/2017 11:19 PM by Robotbeat »
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Online QuantumG

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Re: Reusability effect on costs
« Reply #756 on: 11/01/2017 11:18 PM »
Most everyone uses a stupid definition of "monopoly". Let's not get hung up on it.

I hear those things are awfully loud. It glides as softly as a cloud. What's it called? Monowhale!

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Reusability effect on costs
« Reply #757 on: 11/01/2017 11:21 PM »
...

I guess SX would like to fly out the earlier blocks on expendable maximum payload launches, but those would be GEO or GTO, just the ones where you don't want a failure.

Which are the ones where you do want a failure?
In an ideal world there are no failures, but that's not the world SX lives in. So I say that's the worst case of fail because they are the core business of SX and would suggest SX had under designed the vehicle.

My apologies for not making that suitably explicit for you.

SpaceX isn't a monopoly, not even close.
How many other even partly reusable LV's are flying other than F9 at this time? Or what about "lowering launch prices to less than $1000/lb" ?

I think this thread was always mis-named as customers don't pay "costs" they pay "prices" and while they have cut the "floor price" for medium launch it doesn't look like they are going to go on cutting it.
That's their choice, but it's prices that matter to customers, not costs.
Thread is properly named, because it's a huge bonus to SpaceX if they can charge the same or similar price but have lower costs. Otherwise reuse isn't very profitable.
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Offline AncientU

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Re: Reusability effect on costs
« Reply #758 on: 11/02/2017 03:27 PM »
Costs are much more fundamental than prices, so thread gets to the heart of reusability 'economics.'  What trickles down to the buyers of these launch services can only stem from positive cost impact of reuse within SpaceX.
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Offline deruch

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Re: Reusability effect on costs
« Reply #759 on: 11/02/2017 09:16 PM »
One of the major challenges of staying on topic in this thread is that we have at least moderate insight to the prices offered to customers by SpaceX but almost zero insight to the actual costs borne by SpaceX.  So we are often arguing from deduction or somewhat obscure/ambiguous comments from those with a clear view.  That said, it was always intended that this thread focus on discussing the impact of reuse on SpaceX and not on the industry in general (via launch prices, except as a secondary effect because lower costs allow a provider to remain profitable at lower prices).
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