Author Topic: F9 Block 5 Updates and Discussion  (Read 323516 times)

Online guckyfan

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Re: F9 Block 5 Updates and Discussion
« Reply #500 on: 03/11/2018 07:57 am »
I think you're being optimistic.  These are rockets after all. 

Yes I am.

They have experience people now and will have things they specifically want to check.  I think they will be very thorough on the first ones.  At a minimum to confirm their expectations and establish baselines for the new vehicles.

That was my point. They have experienced people. These rockets have been most thoroughly evaluated. They will check how the upgrades perform. They don't start from scratch.

Offline deruch

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Re: F9 Block 5 Updates and Discussion
« Reply #501 on: 03/12/2018 01:34 pm »
That was my point. They have experienced people. These rockets have been most thoroughly evaluated. They will check how the upgrades perform. They don't start from scratch.

They will also need to check that the things they changed didn't induce new problems in an unexpected area.
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Online AncientU

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Re: F9 Block 5 Updates and Discussion
« Reply #502 on: 03/12/2018 04:34 pm »
That was my point. They have experienced people. These rockets have been most thoroughly evaluated. They will check how the upgrades perform. They don't start from scratch.

They will also need to check that the things they changed didn't induce new problems in an unexpected area.

This is the line of reasoning that talked of tearing each flown booster apart to metal scraps and taking decades to get it right. 
Wrong then, wrong now. 

Expect Block 5 boosters to be reflown in weeks to maybe a month at first, then days to a week -- this year.
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Offline Okie_Steve

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Re: F9 Block 5 Updates and Discussion
« Reply #503 on: 03/12/2018 09:31 pm »
That was my point. They have experienced people. These rockets have been most thoroughly evaluated. They will check how the upgrades perform. They don't start from scratch.

They will also need to check that the things they changed didn't induce new problems in an unexpected area.

This is the line of reasoning that talked of tearing each flown booster apart to metal scraps and taking decades to get it right. 
Wrong then, wrong now. 

Expect Block 5 boosters to be reflown in weeks to maybe a month at first, then days to a week -- this year.

Heavily instrumenting and subjecting the first returned Block 5 to intense scrutiny to check for unintended consequences of changes is not the same a tearing all Block 5 boosters down to scrap metal.  Make sure it's right then build a bunch more with the (almost inevitable) tweaks that seem to be part of rocket families.

Offline Slarty1080

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Re: F9 Block 5 Updates and Discussion
« Reply #504 on: 03/20/2018 07:12 pm »
Can anyone summarise exactly what the differences are between block 5 and block 4?
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Online AncientU

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Re: F9 Block 5 Updates and Discussion
« Reply #505 on: 03/20/2018 07:20 pm »
Can anyone summarise exactly what the differences are between block 5 and block 4?

Main upgrades:
retractable landing legs
improved turbine on turbo-pump to mitigate blade cracking
better thermal protection at aft end
coating of TPS over stage(?)
titanium grid fins
more thrust

Plus, a fancy new markings, other lessons learned to improve turn-around time and number of reflights (10 between major refurbishments) unknown total number
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Online gongora

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Re: F9 Block 5 Updates and Discussion
« Reply #506 on: 03/20/2018 07:21 pm »
Can anyone summarise exactly what the differences are between block 5 and block 4?

Block 5 has a couple main goals:
1) Meet NASA's human spaceflight certification requirements and fully meet DoD's certification requirements: This drove changes such as a redesigned turbopump on the engines and revised COPV design, as well as many others we probably don't know about.
2) Make the booster easier to manufacture and need much less refurbishment between flights.  This drove changes like improved heat shielding around the base of the rocket, changes to the legs so they're easier to handle after a flight, and many others we probably don't know about.

It sounded like Block 4 was just Block 3 with whatever Block 5 parts were ready at the time.

Online Lars-J

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Re: F9 Block 5 Updates and Discussion
« Reply #507 on: 03/20/2018 07:23 pm »
Can anyone summarise exactly what the differences are between block 5 and block 4?

Most of them deal with improved reuse capability.

- looks. The new interstate and legs have less (or different) paint/coating - this is why they are black. Whatever they’ve done to them should reduce maintenance between flights.

- The legs can also collapsed by recovery crews instead of needing to be taken off. (Goes with the above point I guess)

- Merlin 1D design change to reduce risk for turbo pump cracks. (For crew rating)

Offline john smith 19

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Re: F9 Block 5 Updates and Discussion
« Reply #508 on: 03/21/2018 07:16 am »
The quick turn-around may follow a few flights/reflights of Block 5.
Should take the time to check that your design is performing as planned.

Yeah, I owuldn't be surprised if they did a teardown of the first one or two cores post-landing, similar to what is done with the FT cores for refurb.

Check every little spot for issues.
Yes, at least with the problem areas on the old design to see they have improved.  However as others noted it's just as important OK stuff (on block 4) has not gotten worse on Block 5.
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Offline M.E.T.

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Re: F9 Block 5 Updates and Discussion
« Reply #509 on: 03/21/2018 08:32 am »
Can anyone summarise exactly what the differences are between block 5 and block 4?

Block 5 has a couple main goals:
1) Meet NASA's human spaceflight certification requirements and fully meet DoD's certification requirements: This drove changes such as a redesigned turbopump on the engines and revised COPV design, as well as many others we probably don't know about.
2) Make the booster easier to manufacture and need much less refurbishment between flights.  This drove changes like improved heat shielding around the base of the rocket, changes to the legs so they're easier to handle after a flight, and many others we probably don't know about.

It sounded like Block 4 was just Block 3 with whatever Block 5 parts were ready at the time.

Is it safe to conclude then that a Block 5 booster is more expensive to manufacture than Blocks 3 and 4? So while its lifetime cost will be lower due to its rapid reusability capability, for an expendable launch a Block 5 rocket will be more expensive than the previous versions?

Offline nacnud

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Re: F9 Block 5 Updates and Discussion
« Reply #510 on: 03/21/2018 08:49 am »
I think expendable F9 is more expensive than reusable F9H, so you would need something that maxed out F9H to get into expendable launch territory.

Offline Slarty1080

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Re: F9 Block 5 Updates and Discussion
« Reply #511 on: 03/21/2018 10:52 am »
I think Titanium grid fins are going to be very expensive
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Offline wannamoonbase

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Re: F9 Block 5 Updates and Discussion
« Reply #512 on: 03/21/2018 11:38 am »
I think expendable F9 is more expensive than reusable F9H, so you would need something that maxed out F9H to get into expendable launch territory.

And wouldn't that be a sweet payload to see launch?

Without a payload on the manifest that requires an expendable FH and the rapid reuse Block 5 pending, we shouldn't see any expendable boosters for sometime.  (Pending weather at recovery sites)

These are exciting times! 
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Offline M.E.T.

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Re: F9 Block 5 Updates and Discussion
« Reply #513 on: 03/21/2018 12:11 pm »
I think expendable F9 is more expensive than reusable F9H, so you would need something that maxed out F9H to get into expendable launch territory.

And wouldn't that be a sweet payload to see launch?

Without a payload on the manifest that requires an expendable FH and the rapid reuse Block 5 pending, we shouldn't see any expendable boosters for sometime.  (Pending weather at recovery sites)

These are exciting times!

Hang on, just so I understand correctly, are we saying that any payload that would require an expendable F9 wil automatically shift to a FH? Will the FH launch frequency and risk profile be interchangeable with F9 to the extent that there is no difference between the two from a customer's perspective?

Offline RonM

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Re: F9 Block 5 Updates and Discussion
« Reply #514 on: 03/21/2018 12:37 pm »
With the F9 and FH combo why would SpaceX expend a perfectly good Block 5? They say Block 5 can get 10 launches before being refurbished. Same should be true for FH core and boosters.

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Re: F9 Block 5 Updates and Discussion
« Reply #515 on: 03/21/2018 12:59 pm »
Hang on, just so I understand correctly, are we saying that any payload that would require an expendable F9 wil automatically shift to a FH? Will the FH launch frequency and risk profile be interchangeable with F9 to the extent that there is no difference between the two from a customer's perspective?

It may take a few years to get to that point.  FH will have a much lower launch frequency than F9, and SpaceX still needs to see if flying FH-R is as cheap as they hope it will be.

Offline cscott

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Re: F9 Block 5 Updates and Discussion
« Reply #516 on: 03/21/2018 01:40 pm »



Is it safe to conclude then that a Block 5 booster is more expensive to manufacture than Blocks 3 and 4? So while its lifetime cost will be lower due to its rapid reusability capability, for an expendable launch a Block 5 rocket will be more expensive than the previous versions?

Probably, but who knows to what extent.  We know Ti grid fins are expensive---at least the prototypes were.  Probably metallic heat shields are more expensive than SPAM as well?  But most of the changes are probably a wash as far as costs go.  Some of the changes, like better leg handling, will probably reduce costs.  I don't expect the retail cost to change significantly.

Online AncientU

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Re: F9 Block 5 Updates and Discussion
« Reply #517 on: 03/21/2018 01:53 pm »



Is it safe to conclude then that a Block 5 booster is more expensive to manufacture than Blocks 3 and 4? So while its lifetime cost will be lower due to its rapid reusability capability, for an expendable launch a Block 5 rocket will be more expensive than the previous versions?

Probably, but who knows to what extent.  We know Ti grid fins are expensive---at least the prototypes were.  Probably metallic heat shields are more expensive than SPAM as well?  But most of the changes are probably a wash as far as costs go.  Some of the changes, like better leg handling, will probably reduce costs.  I don't expect the retail cost to change significantly.

And many of these features can be removed if booster is to be expended (grid fins, legs, 'sport interstage' with ACS)
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Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: F9 Block 5 Updates and Discussion
« Reply #518 on: 03/21/2018 02:01 pm »
Is it safe to conclude then that a Block 5 booster is more expensive to manufacture than Blocks 3 and 4?

Not necessarily.

For instance, with Block 5 they could be implementing new stage construction techniques due to lessons learned with all early stage variations. I have no inside knowledge of SpaceX, but it's not unusual for engineering and manufacturing engineering to rethink how things should be built and assembled after they have been building something for a while, and then implement significant changes to those processes with major product changes.

Quote
So while its lifetime cost will be lower due to its rapid reusability capability, for an expendable launch a Block 5 rocket will be more expensive than the previous versions?

Also possible. But let's say it's 15% more expensive to build a Block 5 than a Block 3, but a Block 5 will fly 10 times versus twice for the Block 3 - being slightly more expensive won't change the economics of reusability.
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Offline wannamoonbase

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Re: F9 Block 5 Updates and Discussion
« Reply #519 on: 03/21/2018 02:41 pm »
I think expendable F9 is more expensive than reusable F9H, so you would need something that maxed out F9H to get into expendable launch territory.

And wouldn't that be a sweet payload to see launch?

Without a payload on the manifest that requires an expendable FH and the rapid reuse Block 5 pending, we shouldn't see any expendable boosters for sometime.  (Pending weather at recovery sites)

These are exciting times!

Hang on, just so I understand correctly, are we saying that any payload that would require an expendable F9 wil automatically shift to a FH? Will the FH launch frequency and risk profile be interchangeable with F9 to the extent that there is no difference between the two from a customer's perspective?

Maybe not right away, but if the Block 5 is close to as quick and affordable to turn around as planned, then yes. 

Even if the cost is nearly equal then it seems from Elon and SpaceX's past behavior would tend toward reuse.

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