Author Topic: F9 Block 5 Updates and Discussion  (Read 313333 times)

Offline Lar

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Re: F9 Block 5 Updates and Discussion
« Reply #160 on: 03/11/2017 11:41 PM »
They are doing a new fairing. We can only assume it's going to be bigger because why would they do a smaller one. They've lost payloads I thought? There are fairing threads to go into more detail but a larger fairing may also be easier to reuse as it may have better terminal velocity characteristics.... but again, other threads

How many satellites per launch of CommsX isn't very on topic for a block 5 thread. But we have to assume that they factored in that center stages take longer to return, and that they factored in what if they need more than one ASDS to get the flight rates especially with FH. And that maybe they'd build more center cores than boosters because it takes longer to get centers back so you can reuse boosters at a faster rate (1 week turnaround but 3 for a FH) that supports one FH a week if you have 3 centers so they can go thru a 3 week cycle, and three disposable upper cores available (at a one a week rate for those)

A lot of this thread isn't on topic really. Except if you're trying to get the big picture. Which is that Musk said B5 is the last, that both Musk and Gwynne said 1 day BOOSTER refurb, not 1 day launch to launch (well maybe Elon did but Gwynne's not quite as crazy), that Jim said the pads are close to final config (not 8 more new pads somewhere) and that the shift is on to ITS.

This all argues for B5 being the very best they know how to do now but no more major changes. Just Atlas level incrementals that avoid interfering with cadence.

The idea that you don't even stop cadence for mishaps is a new one for space but it's not unheard of in airlines, not at all. Not overall.
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Offline IanThePineapple

Re: F9 Block 5 Updates and Discussion
« Reply #161 on: 03/11/2017 11:54 PM »
The new fairing will almost certainly be optimized for recovery

Offline Gotorah

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Re: F9 Block 5 Updates and Discussion
« Reply #162 on: 03/12/2017 12:34 AM »
It seems like I remember a long time ago in a land far away that SpaceX mentioned refueling the ASDS cores on the Drone Ship and flying them back to the landing pad. The ASDS could stay on site and only crews would be rotated.

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: F9 Block 5 Updates and Discussion
« Reply #163 on: 03/12/2017 01:06 AM »
It seems like I remember a long time ago in a land far away that SpaceX mentioned refueling the ASDS cores on the Drone Ship and flying them back to the landing pad. The ASDS could stay on site and only crews would be rotated.
I kind of think they'll stop using barges for all but a handful of launches before they go to something like that. I think they'll transition to ITS or something of that heritage first.
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Online meekGee

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Re: F9 Block 5 Updates and Discussion
« Reply #164 on: 03/12/2017 01:21 AM »
The BFC discussions are relevant in the sense that we're trying to figure out the operational requirements for F9.

Was there any public comment from SpaceX ever on whether F9 or FH?
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Offline cscott

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Re: F9 Block 5 Updates and Discussion
« Reply #165 on: 03/12/2017 01:52 AM »
When Jim says pads are close to final config I'm pretty sure he means GSE equipment and interfaces, not quantity and location of pads.

Offline Jim

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Re: F9 Block 5 Updates and Discussion
« Reply #166 on: 03/12/2017 12:05 PM »
The new fairing will almost certainly be optimized for recovery

No, for production

Offline saliva_sweet

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Re: F9 Block 5 Updates and Discussion
« Reply #167 on: 03/12/2017 12:37 PM »
It seems like I remember a long time ago in a land far away that SpaceX mentioned refueling the ASDS cores on the Drone Ship and flying them back to the landing pad. The ASDS could stay on site and only crews would be rotated.
I kind of think they'll stop using barges for all but a handful of launches before they go to something like that. I think they'll transition to ITS or something of that heritage first.

I don't know. Waiting to see the block 5 leg design before passing final judgement on that. It sounds ridiculous at first, but given what was done with the grasshopper. Maybe it's not.

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: F9 Block 5 Updates and Discussion
« Reply #168 on: 03/12/2017 01:05 PM »
Sure. I'll grant that as a possibility. Small, but not impossible.
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Offline guckyfan

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Re: F9 Block 5 Updates and Discussion
« Reply #169 on: 03/12/2017 02:21 PM »
Unlikely, but maybe still least unlikely, they have advanced the legs so much that they can do reentry without firing by using the legs partially deployed as aerobrakes and for a lifting trajectory.

Given that it almost looks like New Glenn will attempt this with the rudimentary wings maybe not too outlandish. It would explain a large jump in reusable performance.

Offline AncientU

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Re: F9 Block 5 Updates and Discussion
« Reply #170 on: 03/12/2017 02:53 PM »
Just consider that the much larger NG will only carry 80.

F9, IMO will end up with 20-30 per launch, or an orbital slot's worth.

Using FH doesn't change the equation much.  You have 3 cores refurbish instead of 1, but save on manufacturing S2s.

Plus, you can't RTLS the center core, so your "1 day" got expanded to 2 weeks.

We're looking at 1000 LEO sats per year, and at least 2000 VLEO sats per year, possibly much more if their life span is below 5 years, which IMO is likely.

A serious consideration for number of sats per flight should be turn-around of the booster.  F9 (Block 5) RTLS is lowest risk, lowest cost, and BY FAR fastest...

The limiting factor on how many sats to fly per launch, assuming below mass and volume limits) is how many can be flown on F9 RTLS -- IMO. 

ASDS will be reserved for GTO flights and FH center core recovery.
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Offline guckyfan

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Re: F9 Block 5 Updates and Discussion
« Reply #171 on: 03/12/2017 03:27 PM »
The limiting factor on how many sats to fly per launch, assuming below mass and volume limits) is how many can be flown on F9 RTLS -- IMO. 

ASDS will be reserved for GTO flights and FH center core recovery.

Given that each launch will cost a second stage, I think they will want to maximise sats/launch. Over all they can do the same number of missions, just over a longer period. Turn around time can be mitigated by a handful of extra boosters in the loop.

Offline DOCinCT

Re: F9 Block 5 Updates and Discussion
« Reply #172 on: 03/12/2017 04:06 PM »
The new fairing will almost certainly be optimized for recovery

No, for production
Lars does have a point, they need a bigger fairing as well.  A FH could launch a Bigelow B330 (or XBase) with a proper PAF, but it just won't fit inside current fairing. 
Note: doesn't need to be the monster on an Atlas V or Delta 4 Heavy, as the second stage is external to the fairing.

Offline IanThePineapple

Re: F9 Block 5 Updates and Discussion
« Reply #173 on: 03/12/2017 04:12 PM »
SpaceX could pull an Atlas V and have 3 different fairing heights, all with the same existing design but lengthened. This would probably make production easier than having different diameter fairings, and they could just make taller satellite dispensers. It would also make adding an optional third stage for extremely heavy or interstellar payloads much easier.
« Last Edit: 03/12/2017 04:13 PM by IanThePineapple »

Offline M.E.T.

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Re: F9 Block 5 Updates and Discussion
« Reply #174 on: 03/12/2017 04:14 PM »
I don't understand the motivation to go extreme on the reuse turnaround time. Let's take the satellite constellation project as an example. You don't need to turn the same booster around in record time. For 1000 launches, what's wrong with rotating between 5 boosters per launch facility? Having 20 boosters rotating through the launch program is an incredible level of optimization considering that each one eventually gets reused 50 times.

No need to go to absurd lengths like using the same boosters over and over again at each launch facility. Have 5 per launch facility, that get rotated in a set order. So as one returns it can land on the ASDS if necessary, get refurbished in say 1 week, (no need for a 24 hour turnaround time), and just slot into the back of the queue again.

So each booster launches every fifth launch. And you can get by with a standard fleet of 20 boosters. Launching 1000 times, potentially. Where one goes down, you just replace him with a new one. Meaning you only have to produce maybe 4-5 boosters a year, as replacements for wear and tear over time.
« Last Edit: 03/12/2017 04:15 PM by M.E.T. »

Offline saliva_sweet

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Re: F9 Block 5 Updates and Discussion
« Reply #175 on: 03/12/2017 05:24 PM »
Having 20 boosters rotating through the launch program is an incredible level of optimization considering that each one eventually gets reused 50 times.

It's also an incredible money sink. Elon has said that reuse has to be full and rapid. George Sowers published an analysis on this site that basically says the same thing in excel form. ULA and Arianespace have said reuse is huge economical challenge. Contrary to popular opinion, all of them know what they are talking about.

Online macpacheco

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Re: F9 Block 5 Updates and Discussion
« Reply #176 on: 03/12/2017 05:55 PM »
Having 20 boosters rotating through the launch program is an incredible level of optimization considering that each one eventually gets reused 50 times.

It's also an incredible money sink. Elon has said that reuse has to be full and rapid. George Sowers published an analysis on this site that basically says the same thing in excel form. ULA and Arianespace have said reuse is huge economical challenge. Contrary to popular opinion, all of them know what they are talking about.
So you're trying to argue that slow reuse is somehow much more expensive than fast reuse ?
Until SX convinces every single customer (specially USAF and NASA) that reuse is just as safe as launching brand new boosters (without USAF/NASA demanding huge refurb efforts just because they don't trust SX), the tendency is SX will be building new boosters for Government launches and then reusing those for commercial flights. So SX will likely have to contend with storing perhaps 30 boosters (including FH components) at the Cape.
Just because a booster lands at ASDS doesn't make its refurb more expensive. I certainly can't reach a conclusion either way.

Your argument seems pretty much a non sequitur. Just because SX ultimate goal is full and rapid reuse, contending with booster reuse only and let me guess 1-2 wks worth of refurb done at the launch pad area cannot possibly be more expensive than throwing away boosters. In fact it should half total costs divided by # of launches (a wild guess based on impressions from previous discussions).

I don't believe F9/FH 2nd stage reuse will be achieved before F9/FH is replaced by either a mini ITS or something like a 5.2 meter 7 to 9 raptor first stage + raptor 2nd stage rocket replaces the whole Falcon family for good.
« Last Edit: 03/12/2017 07:11 PM by macpacheco »
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Offline saliva_sweet

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Re: F9 Block 5 Updates and Discussion
« Reply #177 on: 03/12/2017 06:07 PM »
So SX will likely have to contend with storing perhaps 30 boosters (including FH components) at the Cape.

Assuming a booster costs 30M that would be 900M tied up in idling hardware. And not just idling, being actively worked on for refurbishment (otherwise it would be used). Every minute the booster isn't flying it's losing money. And a lot.

Online Coastal Ron

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Re: F9 Block 5 Updates and Discussion
« Reply #178 on: 03/12/2017 06:09 PM »
Having 20 boosters rotating through the launch program is an incredible level of optimization considering that each one eventually gets reused 50 times.

It's also an incredible money sink. Elon has said that reuse has to be full and rapid. George Sowers published an analysis on this site that basically says the same thing in excel form. ULA and Arianespace have said reuse is huge economical challenge. Contrary to popular opinion, all of them know what they are talking about.

Critiquing your competition and showing how superior you are compared to them is not exactly nonpartisan, and many people on NSF pointed out errors in Sowers analysis.  So just because an analysis is published doesn't mean it's correct.

ULA and Arianespace are excellent at "sustaining innovation", as their launch records show, but they are not staffed to create "disruptive innovation" - they just don't have the motivation or vision to pursue the type of radical change SpaceX and Blue Origin are pursuing.

Only those that are actually pursuing reusability in rockets really understand the factors that they have to deal with, and even then they may not understand those factors until the day they become important.  Analogies are not enough to make predictions here - only real life.
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Offline Robotbeat

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Re: F9 Block 5 Updates and Discussion
« Reply #179 on: 03/12/2017 06:11 PM »
Right. Long turnaround time means high labor costs which means high refurb costs. Very low turnaround time necessarily means low (& probably very low) refurb costs. That's the real motivation.
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