Author Topic: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 5)  (Read 296367 times)

Online Chris Bergin


Offline envy887

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 5)
« Reply #1 on: 08/28/2016 12:10 AM »

It's a contract for a prototype engine, not a US

The engine is pretty much all of the upperstage, stop splitting hairs when it is meaningless
I am not splitting anything. Integrarion, GSE and testing are all going to cost extra for a new stage.

But SpaceX and the Air Force are going to spend at least $67 Million and $33.7 million respectively on an engine that will be shelved? All of the things you listed SpaceX did when they upgraded Falcon 9 for FT, yes it is extra but well less than a new engine.

It won't be shelved. It's the same engine that will power SpaceX's next generation US and booster... on which the USAF will most certainly be buying rides. Also, they are funding it to learn about methane engines while risking almost nothing. It's Research and Development, and the output is information and technology, not vehicle-specific hardware.

Offline Proponent

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 5)
« Reply #2 on: 08/28/2016 11:52 AM »
Are you saying the USAF will use the BFR?  I'm not so sure.  For years, we heard how the Air Force was chomping at the bit to fly on Ares V/SLS, but nothing has emerged.

Offline mfck

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 5)
« Reply #3 on: 08/28/2016 12:31 PM »
AF might just want to make sure it has several domestic engines to choose from.

Online S.Paulissen

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 5)
« Reply #4 on: 08/28/2016 02:58 PM »
Are you saying the USAF will use the BFR?  I'm not so sure.  For years, we heard how the Air Force was chomping at the bit to fly on Ares V/SLS, but nothing has emerged.

They only required that the engine would be available for sale to other USA launch providers.  I see this as their way of throwing a bone to SpX while also buying themselves another engine option for the upper stage for $35m.  Why would they NOT buy that capability for that price irrespective of a stage it is or isn't  connected to?
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Online wannamoonbase

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 5)
« Reply #5 on: 08/28/2016 04:16 PM »
Are you saying the USAF will use the BFR?  I'm not so sure.  For years, we heard how the Air Force was chomping at the bit to fly on Ares V/SLS, but nothing has emerged.

I think that depends on what the BFR ends up being.  I favor a Falcon family model.  1 or 3 core configuration with 9 raptors per core.

Finally, the difficulty in preparing the FH is a good reason to leverage those lessons for a 3 core BFR that uses those lessons.
Excited to be finally into the first Falcon Heavy flow, we are getting so close!

Offline Roy_H

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 5)
« Reply #6 on: 08/28/2016 08:52 PM »
They only required that the engine would be available for sale to other USA launch providers.  I see this as their way of throwing a bone to SpX while also buying themselves another engine option for the upper stage for $35m.  Why would they NOT buy that capability for that price irrespective of a stage it is or isn't  connected to?

Is that for real? Documented in known contract that this engine will be available to other rocket manufacturers? I am very surprised that SpaceX would agree to such terms and give this technology away to their competitors.

It doesn't say one way or the other here: https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=39310.0

Edit: I am begining to understand where this came from. http://www.defense.gov/News/Contracts/Contract-View/Article/642983

"Space Exploration Technologies, Corp. (SpaceX), Hawthorne, California, has been awarded a $33,660,254 other transaction agreement for the development of the Raptor rocket propulsion system prototype for the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) program. This agreement implements Section 1604 of the Fiscal Year 2015 National Defense Authorization Act, which requires the development of a next-generation rocket propulsion system that will transition away from the use of the Russian-supplied RD-180 engine to a domestic alternative for National Security Space launches. Another transaction agreement was used in lieu of a standard procurement contract in order to leverage on-going investment by industry in rocket propulsion systems. This other transaction agreement requires shared cost investment with SpaceX for the development of a prototype of the Raptor engine for the upper stage of the Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy launch vehicles."

So the 1604 agreement requires shared technology, but this is muddied by the following statement about "Another transaction agreement" It also specifically states that this Raptor engine is for F9 and FH and not a generic replacement for the RD-180.
« Last Edit: 08/28/2016 09:28 PM by Roy_H »
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Offline envy887

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 5)
« Reply #7 on: 08/28/2016 11:23 PM »
Are you saying the USAF will use the BFR?  I'm not so sure.  For years, we heard how the Air Force was chomping at the bit to fly on Ares V/SLS, but nothing has emerged.
I imagine the price per launch on SLS had a lot to do with that...

Offline rpapo

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 5)
« Reply #8 on: 08/28/2016 11:26 PM »
AF might just want to make sure it has several domestic engines to choose from.
That may be true, but the current state of the art virtually requires one engine type, and only one engine type, for any given booster or upper stage.  How many times have we heard from certain people that the entire rocket design depends on and starts with the choice of engine?  No two rocket engine designs use the same plumbing or mounting points, and that's only the start of the interfaces between the rocket body and the engines.

One of these days it may be as simple as substituting a different Estes solid rocket cartridge, but we are far from that right now.
« Last Edit: 08/28/2016 11:27 PM by rpapo »
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Offline IntoTheVoid

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 5)
« Reply #9 on: 08/29/2016 12:01 AM »
AF might just want to make sure it has several domestic engines to choose from.
That may be true, but the current state of the art virtually requires one engine type, and only one engine type, for any given booster or upper stage.  How many times have we heard from certain people that the entire rocket design depends on and starts with the choice of engine?  No two rocket engine designs use the same plumbing or mounting points, and that's only the start of the interfaces between the rocket body and the engines.

One of these days it may be as simple as substituting a different Estes solid rocket cartridge, but we are far from that right now.
Yeah. Orbital ATK and Aerojet Rocketdyne would never consider replacing the engines on an existing booster design...

Nevermind. :-X

Offline Roy_H

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 5)
« Reply #10 on: 08/29/2016 01:29 AM »
AF might just want to make sure it has several domestic engines to choose from.
That may be true, but the current state of the art virtually requires one engine type, and only one engine type, for any given booster or upper stage.  How many times have we heard from certain people that the entire rocket design depends on and starts with the choice of engine?  No two rocket engine designs use the same plumbing or mounting points, and that's only the start of the interfaces between the rocket body and the engines.

One of these days it may be as simple as substituting a different Estes solid rocket cartridge, but we are far from that right now.
Yeah. Orbital ATK and Aerojet Rocketdyne would never consider replacing the engines on an existing booster design...

Nevermind. :-X

Yeah, but with a different kind of engine, running a different fuel?
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Offline Llian Rhydderch

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 5)
« Reply #11 on: 08/29/2016 02:08 AM »

It won't be shelved. It's the same engine that will power SpaceX's next generation US and booster... on which the USAF will most certainly be buying rides. Also, they are funding it to learn about methane engines while risking almost nothing. It's Research and Development, and the output is information and technology, not vehicle-specific hardware.

Agree with much of what you said; definitely R&D and definitely will move the ball forward a bit on SpaceX understanding of methalox FFSC rocket engine technology, while not being vehicle-specific hardware.

But have a question about "they are funding it to learn about methane engines while risking almost nothing."  Do you mean t"he USAF is funding it to learn ..." , or "SpaceX is funding [the specific upper-stage methalox engine for the 1/3rd government-funded demo on a ground test stand] to learn ... ?
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Offline Robotbeat

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 5)
« Reply #12 on: 08/29/2016 02:11 AM »
If BFR flies a bunch and is cheap, of course the Air Force will use it. At least for risk-tolerant missions like SpaceX competes with Falcon 9 today.

But if you read the contract, you get the impression that SpaceX had not yet ruled out using Raptor for an upper stage for Falcon at the time, or at least were willing to humor the Air Force (who probably were skeptical any time BFR were mentioned, so felt a Falcon upper stage a more realistic fall-back option, which it remains).
« Last Edit: 08/29/2016 02:14 AM by Robotbeat »
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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 5)
« Reply #13 on: 08/29/2016 02:57 AM »
Might add here that SX could be skeptical of building a Raptor US for FH given that the market for it might be limited to NSS/govt launches, likely split among another (or two!). Works both ways.

Offline CuddlyRocket

Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 5)
« Reply #14 on: 08/29/2016 03:45 AM »
Are you saying the USAF will use the BFR?  I'm not so sure.  For years, we heard how the Air Force was chomping at the bit to fly on Ares V/SLS, but nothing has emerged.
I imagine the price per launch on SLS had a lot to do with that...

Also, the 'nothing has emerged' includes the Ares V and (to date) SLS. Can't fly on a paper launcher.

Offline vulture4

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 5)
« Reply #15 on: 08/29/2016 01:12 PM »
https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/755167487017291776
it appears he is talking about postponing development of a reusable upper stage, not postponing development of a methane-fueled upper stage.

Offline rsdavis9

Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 5)
« Reply #16 on: 08/29/2016 01:18 PM »
Other comments from Elon indicate that resusable 2nd stage would require raptor...
With ELV best efficiency was the paradigm. The new paradigm is reusable, good enough, and commonality of design.
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Offline envy887

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 5)
« Reply #17 on: 08/29/2016 01:40 PM »
Are you saying the USAF will use the BFR?  I'm not so sure.  For years, we heard how the Air Force was chomping at the bit to fly on Ares V/SLS, but nothing has emerged.
I imagine the price per launch on SLS had a lot to do with that...

Also, the 'nothing has emerged' includes the Ares V and (to date) SLS. Can't fly on a paper launcher.

You can fly a PowerPoint payload on a paper launcher!  ;D

Offline envy887

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 5)
« Reply #18 on: 08/29/2016 01:50 PM »
Might add here that SX could be skeptical of building a Raptor US for FH given that the market for it might be limited to NSS/govt launches, likely split among another (or two!). Works both ways.

Raptor on FH would be useful for reuseability purposes, which are very dear to SpaceX. Not just for reusing the US, but specifically for RTLS of all cores on heavy GTO commsats, and recovering all cores on TMI/TLI Dragon launches.

Of course, Raptor on BFS would be useful for the same things, plus that little goal of throwing 100t at Mars. Which goes back to my point: Raptor is going to fly on something pretty soon. SpaceX wants this as much as (or actually far more than) the USAF does.

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Discussion (Thread 5)
« Reply #19 on: 08/29/2016 03:37 PM »
https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/755167487017291776
it appears he is talking about postponing development of a reusable upper stage, not postponing development of a methane-fueled upper stage.
And there'd be no reason to develop a new upper stage if it wasn't reusable. FH has plenty of performance for existing payloads already. Adding an expendable methane stage would just increase costs.
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