Author Topic: F9 Second Stage Reusability  (Read 171169 times)

Offline envy887

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Re: F9 Second Stage Reusability
« Reply #480 on: 06/05/2017 10:18 PM »
So, would they stretch the stage for more fuel for orbiting and landing, or widen the stage? 

It would be nice if they could make a metholox upper stage with an upper stage Raptor for FH and F9 to not only get reusability, but be able to land it.
This idea comes up so much it has its own thread...
https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=42861.0

Offline Lar

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Re: F9 Second Stage Reusability
« Reply #481 on: 06/05/2017 10:32 PM »
I'm pretty sure they will not make the CF in house. CF is hugely difficult to do properly, especially big parts, high quality. You need experience, lots of it! If they want to control the process, the only way to do it is to buy the CF parts manufacturer.
Otherwise they could spend years perfecting that skill and still come short. This is not the same as machining aluminium or 3D printing superdracos. CF and other composite manufacturing is still some kind of an art.

Agree. It's why they don't do turbopumps in house either. Hugely difficult to do properly and you need lots of experience... Oh, wait.

I don't think S2 will be composite, but it's not because SpaceX is unwilling to try it.
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Online Robotbeat

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Re: F9 Second Stage Reusability
« Reply #482 on: 06/05/2017 11:59 PM »
That said they might shift to a CF upper stage if they mfg the big ITS LOX tank in house. Otherwise that would put an outside sub contractor in the critical path for all future upper stages. Something I'm pretty sure SX is very unwilling to do.
I'm pretty sure they will not make the CF in house. CF is hugely difficult to do properly, especially big parts, high quality. You need experience, lots of it! If they want to control the process, the only way to do it is to buy the CF parts manufacturer.
Otherwise they could spend years perfecting that skill and still come short. This is not the same as machining aluminium or 3D printing superdracos. CF and other composite manufacturing is still some kind of an art.
Are you kidding?? Fairing, interstage, legs... SpaceX already does a LOT of in house CF. Fairing is much bigger than the upper stage (not that I think SpaceX will make a CF F9 2nd stage... They won't.).
« Last Edit: 06/06/2017 12:14 AM by Robotbeat »
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Offline john smith 19

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Re: F9 Second Stage Reusability
« Reply #483 on: 06/06/2017 07:41 AM »
That said they might shift to a CF upper stage if they mfg the big ITS LOX tank in house. Otherwise that would put an outside sub contractor in the critical path for all future upper stages. Something I'm pretty sure SX is very unwilling to do.
I'm pretty sure they will not make the CF in house. CF is hugely difficult to do properly, especially big parts, high quality. You need experience, lots of it! If they want to control the process, the only way to do it is to buy the CF parts manufacturer.
Otherwise they could spend years perfecting that skill and still come short. This is not the same as machining aluminium or 3D printing superdracos. CF and other composite manufacturing is still some kind of an art.
Are you kidding?? Fairing, interstage, legs... SpaceX already does a LOT of in house CF. Fairing is much bigger than the upper stage (not that I think SpaceX will make a CF F9 2nd stage... They won't.).
Also the landing legs?
We seem to have a disagreement.

I know ULA have a team from the PLF mfg (IIRC they are Swiss) based in the Decatur factory to make theirs but does anyone know if SX mfg in house or not?

Obviously if they do that would be a jumping off point for something as ambitious as the large ITS LOX tank but if they don't that seems like a pretty big leap.

If SX has the capability to do big CF structures in house then F9 US could be done in CF (but I don't think they will. It's another separate mfg and supply chain to maintain).

If they sub contract out then that puts their sub contractor in their critical path for every new US.

I'm sure there are mfgs who are in SX's critical path but I suspect SX have backups for all of them. If they can't deliver (or deliver on time) SX will use the alternate.

The number of mfgs that can do structures that big and that critical (large, highly stressed, cryogenic, high temperature), or are even prepared to attempt to do it, is very limited, possibly only one.   If they don't already have it I expect SX will acquire in house large CF structure capability by the time ITS goes into full scale construction.

Just found this.
https://www.reddit.com/r/spacex/comments/5ul1du
remains_of_the_its_composite_tank_in_anacortes_wa/

and this

https://www.reddit.com/r/spacex/comments/5chddp/pictures_of_the_its_lox_testing_tank_being_taken/

So does SX have an out office in Washington state or could it be Boeing, as the comments suggest?
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Offline guckyfan

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Re: F9 Second Stage Reusability
« Reply #484 on: 06/06/2017 10:12 AM »
According to info I found at reddit they were working with Janicki Industries who work with Boeing as well in the same location.

Offline francesco nicoli

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Re: F9 Second Stage Reusability
« Reply #485 on: 06/06/2017 11:09 AM »
I apologize for my limited knowledge (I am an economist, although interested in space- not an engineer :) but I was wondering as follows:
- can the fairing be re-engineered to act as re-entry shield?
- if the above is the case, the payload loss would equal the weight of the fairing, not to be jettisoned (but, rather, kept attached somehow).

* note that I have no idea how much the fairings weight. If it's not too much, then the idea may make some sense since you won't need to bring up anything "extra" (just suffering from the fact you have to bring them up).
my (non-informed) 0.2$

Online Robotbeat

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Re: F9 Second Stage Reusability
« Reply #486 on: 06/06/2017 11:30 AM »
That said they might shift to a CF upper stage if they mfg the big ITS LOX tank in house. Otherwise that would put an outside sub contractor in the critical path for all future upper stages. Something I'm pretty sure SX is very unwilling to do.
I'm pretty sure they will not make the CF in house. CF is hugely difficult to do properly, especially big parts, high quality. You need experience, lots of it! If they want to control the process, the only way to do it is to buy the CF parts manufacturer.
Otherwise they could spend years perfecting that skill and still come short. This is not the same as machining aluminium or 3D printing superdracos. CF and other composite manufacturing is still some kind of an art.
Are you kidding?? Fairing, interstage, legs... SpaceX already does a LOT of in house CF. Fairing is much bigger than the upper stage (not that I think SpaceX will make a CF F9 2nd stage... They won't.).
Also the landing legs?
We seem to have a disagreement.

I know ULA have a team from the PLF mfg (IIRC they are Swiss) based in the Decatur factory to make theirs but does anyone know if SX mfg in house or not?

Obviously if they do that would be a jumping off point for something as ambitious as the large ITS LOX tank but if they don't that seems like a pretty big leap.

If SX has the capability to do big CF structures in house then F9 US could be done in CF (but I don't think they will. It's another separate mfg and supply chain to maintain).

If they sub contract out then that puts their sub contractor in their critical path for every new US.

I'm sure there are mfgs who are in SX's critical path but I suspect SX have backups for all of them. If they can't deliver (or deliver on time) SX will use the alternate.

The number of mfgs that can do structures that big and that critical (large, highly stressed, cryogenic, high temperature), or are even prepared to attempt to do it, is very limited, possibly only one.   If they don't already have it I expect SX will acquire in house large CF structure capability by the time ITS goes into full scale construction.

Just found this.
https://www.reddit.com/r/spacex/comments/5ul1du
remains_of_the_its_composite_tank_in_anacortes_wa/

and this

https://www.reddit.com/r/spacex/comments/5chddp/pictures_of_the_its_lox_testing_tank_being_taken/

So does SX have an out office in Washington state or could it be Boeing, as the comments suggest?
Yes, they brought the landing legs in house.

And YES they do the fairings in-house. They've released multiple pictures of it being done.
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Offline IRobot

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Re: F9 Second Stage Reusability
« Reply #487 on: 06/06/2017 12:17 PM »
That said they might shift to a CF upper stage if they mfg the big ITS LOX tank in house. Otherwise that would put an outside sub contractor in the critical path for all future upper stages. Something I'm pretty sure SX is very unwilling to do.
I'm pretty sure they will not make the CF in house. CF is hugely difficult to do properly, especially big parts, high quality. You need experience, lots of it! If they want to control the process, the only way to do it is to buy the CF parts manufacturer.
Otherwise they could spend years perfecting that skill and still come short. This is not the same as machining aluminium or 3D printing superdracos. CF and other composite manufacturing is still some kind of an art.
Are you kidding?? Fairing, interstage, legs... SpaceX already does a LOT of in house CF. Fairing is much bigger than the upper stage (not that I think SpaceX will make a CF F9 2nd stage... They won't.).
Yeah, but no tanks... Even for ITS they ordered from an external provider. Doing a fairing or interstage is not that hard, compared with fuel/oxidizer tank.

You can do a fairing with a mold with the same skill level required to make a performance sailboat. Interstage and legs can be done in the same way. A fuel tank is not the same. It is not about size, but shape, pressure, valves installation and thermal considerations.
« Last Edit: 06/06/2017 12:17 PM by IRobot »

Offline spacenut

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Re: F9 Second Stage Reusability
« Reply #488 on: 06/06/2017 12:39 PM »
Don't know if I should bring it up here, or start another thread.  But, if FH can launch Orion to orbit, could a F9 or FH launch a completely fueled second stage as payload.  Then use this to dock with the Orion and service module to send it to cis-lunar space.  Docking equipment would have to be installed on the rear of the Orion/service module and launched with FH.  Then the new 2nd stage could dock with it fully fueled.  No need for fuel transfer from a tanker 2nd stage. 

One must have some type of docking equipment to transfer fuel, why not just a complete new second stage?

How much does a fully fueled second stage weigh? 

Multiples of these dockable 2nd stages could send much larger assembled craft to the moon or Mars. 

Negatives:  A reusable tanker second stage may be cheaper in the long run.  A reusable second stage can also be refueled to land on the moon or Mars while carrying a payload.

Offline Jimmy Murdok

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Re: F9 Second Stage Reusability
« Reply #489 on: 06/06/2017 12:44 PM »
That said they might shift to a CF upper stage if they mfg the big ITS LOX tank in house. Otherwise that would put an outside sub contractor in the critical path for all future upper stages. Something I'm pretty sure SX is very unwilling to do.
I'm pretty sure they will not make the CF in house. CF is hugely difficult to do properly, especially big parts, high quality. You need experience, lots of it! If they want to control the process, the only way to do it is to buy the CF parts manufacturer.
Otherwise they could spend years perfecting that skill and still come short. This is not the same as machining aluminium or 3D printing superdracos. CF and other composite manufacturing is still some kind of an art.
Are you kidding?? Fairing, interstage, legs... SpaceX already does a LOT of in house CF. Fairing is much bigger than the upper stage (not that I think SpaceX will make a CF F9 2nd stage... They won't.).
Elon is about vertical integration when industry abuse price, they partnered with Toray for CF tanks which make a lot of sense in the same way they do with Panasonic on Tesla batteries and did with Lotus before. They might not do that big number of tanks, so if expert manufacturer of automatic composite production comes in at good price they might catch the opportunity. Avoiding to open a factory is a big save, just need an assembly space.

Offline Lar

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Re: F9 Second Stage Reusability
« Reply #490 on: 06/06/2017 03:25 PM »
(fan) SpaceX optimises for cost. So the buy/build decisions are driven by optimizing the trades. Not just initial cost but also delivery times, expected quality, etc.

(mod) It would be helpful if people did a bit of reading and research first, asking if SpaceX does their own fairings when multiple pics of fairing manufacturing are out there may not be the best approach, especially in a thread about second stages. Ditto the "what if they left the fairing attached" which has been discussed many times.
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Offline rsdavis9

Re: F9 Second Stage Reusability
« Reply #491 on: 06/06/2017 03:39 PM »
That said they might shift to a CF upper stage if they mfg the big ITS LOX tank in house. Otherwise that would put an outside sub contractor in the critical path for all future upper stages. Something I'm pretty sure SX is very unwilling to do.
I'm pretty sure they will not make the CF in house. CF is hugely difficult to do properly, especially big parts, high quality. You need experience, lots of it! If they want to control the process, the only way to do it is to buy the CF parts manufacturer.
Otherwise they could spend years perfecting that skill and still come short. This is not the same as machining aluminium or 3D printing superdracos. CF and other composite manufacturing is still some kind of an art.
Are you kidding?? Fairing, interstage, legs... SpaceX already does a LOT of in house CF. Fairing is much bigger than the upper stage (not that I think SpaceX will make a CF F9 2nd stage... They won't.).
Yeah, but no tanks... Even for ITS they ordered from an external provider. Doing a fairing or interstage is not that hard, compared with fuel/oxidizer tank.

You can do a fairing with a mold with the same skill level required to make a performance sailboat. Interstage and legs can be done in the same way. A fuel tank is not the same. It is not about size, but shape, pressure, valves installation and thermal considerations.

Just like a copv. which there are 3 per upper stage? and more per booster.
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Offline john smith 19

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Re: F9 Second Stage Reusability
« Reply #492 on: 06/06/2017 08:53 PM »
Yeah, but no tanks... Even for ITS they ordered from an external provider. Doing a fairing or interstage is not that hard, compared with fuel/oxidizer tank.

You can do a fairing with a mold with the same skill level required to make a performance sailboat. Interstage and legs can be done in the same way. A fuel tank is not the same. It is not about size, but shape, pressure, valves installation and thermal considerations.
Indeed. It's not the size, although that does not help.  :(

 The legs and the fairings can be replaced by others if they fail inspection but the tanks are the major structural element of the stage. They carry the internal weight of their contents, the weigh of any object carried on top of them, the thrust from any engine beneath them.

Unlike the legs, interstage or fairings they may have to do this over a range of maybe +400c to below LN2 temperatures for the sub cooled LOX.

That's a very tough combination of factors to get right first time.

I expect SX will be paying close attention to the recent efforts by NASA to build a "fluted core" LH2 tank with direct fiber placement with a robot arm, rather than a special purpose filament winding machine.

I don't think CF is likely for the an F9 US upgrade but I do think that by the time ITS goes into mfg the technology to do this full scale will be in house at SX. However that's a discussion for another thread.
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Offline Space Ghost 1962

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Re: F9 Second Stage Reusability
« Reply #493 on: 06/07/2017 12:17 AM »
I was wondering as follows:
1) can the fairing be re-engineered to act as re-entry shield?
2)if the above is the case, the payload loss would equal the weight of the fairing, not to be jettisoned (but, rather, kept attached somehow).

Should be relocated to the Q&A thread.

First, what does the fairing/shroud do:

It is a lightweight aerostructure that protects the payload until it is out the sensible atmosphere, where it is jettisoned. Making it lightweight means total payload + US + fairing is optimized for boost stage, jettison means that the orbital stage does not have to accelerate the fairing's weight to orbit.

If you had 1), then it would have to accept reentry loads/thrusts/thermal like a capsule which would reduce the payload to orbit substantially. In 2), it would be much more than the weight of the fairing alone, because you'd have to deorbit and recover the combined vehicle. The "payload penalty" for the fairing as used is just suborbital, not the full cycle.

In the Kistler K-1 reusable LV (unfinished), it's OV is a combination US/"flip top fairing"/heat shield/landing vehicle:

Had substantial penalties for reuse, where with a Atlas V class booster and a underexpanded 4x more than MVac US engine could do Falcon 9 1.0  missions, for comparison. This was considered dubious on the economics, because  of the limited capabilities meant too few missions that would have to fly too many times to recover the much higher investment used to build/test/qualify the vehicle.

(Worse, it relied on traditional aerospace vendors for its construction, which bankrupted Kistler before they could construct a single vehicle, because they applied typical overcharge for all components.) Given what we have seen with F9R, either Kistler would have required 150x the finance to endure the same test program (at a time when software/avionics were much less developed), or they would have had to do as SX did vertical integration of systems with about 1.5x the amount of capital while taking about 4-5 years longer before flight.

IMHO, the economics of partial reuse, agile development, and a non dogmatic approach made for a 10x improvement in capital reuse and reinvestment. All of which traditional aerospace (Boeing, LockMart, Orbital, ULA,...) would never do. They didn't care much for Kistler either.

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Re: F9 Second Stage Reusability
« Reply #494 on: 06/07/2017 03:41 AM »
That said they might shift to a CF upper stage if they mfg the big ITS LOX tank in house. Otherwise that would put an outside sub contractor in the critical path for all future upper stages. Something I'm pretty sure SX is very unwilling to do.
I'm pretty sure they will not make the CF in house. CF is hugely difficult to do properly, especially big parts, high quality. You need experience, lots of it! If they want to control the process, the only way to do it is to buy the CF parts manufacturer.
Otherwise they could spend years perfecting that skill and still come short. This is not the same as machining aluminium or 3D printing superdracos. CF and other composite manufacturing is still some kind of an art.
Are you kidding?? Fairing, interstage, legs... SpaceX already does a LOT of in house CF. Fairing is much bigger than the upper stage (not that I think SpaceX will make a CF F9 2nd stage... They won't.).
Elon is about vertical integration when industry abuse price, they partnered with Toray for CF tanks which make a lot of sense in the same way they do with Panasonic on Tesla batteries and did with Lotus before. They might not do that big number of tanks, so if expert manufacturer of automatic composite production comes in at good price they might catch the opportunity. Avoiding to open a factory is a big save, just need an assembly space.
Toray makes the fiber, not the tanks (and nobody else produces CF as good as Toray... And people have tried very hard.).

$20 bucks says they'll bring composite stage production in-house.
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Offline john smith 19

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Re: F9 Second Stage Reusability
« Reply #495 on: 06/07/2017 06:32 AM »
Toray makes the fiber, not the tanks (and nobody else produces CF as good as Toray... And people have tried very hard.).

$20 bucks says they'll bring composite stage production in-house.
No one would take the bet as, based on past experience that's exactly what SX will do once ITS is closer to going into mfg.

But wrt to this thread do you see them going for an "F9 Upper Stage 2.0" in CF?
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Offline MikeAtkinson

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Re: F9 Second Stage Reusability
« Reply #496 on: 06/07/2017 11:12 AM »
But wrt to this thread do you see them going for an "F9 Upper Stage 2.0" in CF?

It seems very unlikely to me that the reusable upper stage "hail Mary" on the FH demo, or the operational upper stage they hope to have by the end of next year will use CF.

Longer term there are several directions SpaceX might go in:

1. Fly F9 and FH with that reusable upper stage until the end of their operational life, then replace with something different (or maybe not replace).

2. Change to use a methalox Raptor variant, with or without composite tanks, but in a conventional upper stage with separate fairing.

3. Change to use a micro-BRF ship with about 20 tonnes to LEO with all composite structure. Then replace the F9 core with a methalox core. Then replace Dragon 2 with a crew variant of the ship.

I think SpaceX will go for the last option. With refueling in LEO that gives 20 tonnes payload or a small number of crew to anywhere in the cis-Lunar space. However this probably won't happen soon, the effort they are putting into fairing recovery indicates that they expect separate fairings to be used for several more years and hundred(s) of F9 launches.


Offline JamesH65

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Re: F9 Second Stage Reusability
« Reply #497 on: 06/07/2017 11:36 AM »
As far as I know, the SpaceX requirements for carbon tanks (either for ITS or F9 upgrades) would make them the largest in the world.

This means no-one actually has the experience of making them, so saying they are are going to outsource to the experts, when there is actually no-one with the experience, seems odd. Of course, there are experts in similar fields, but no-one with experience of the specific process required since it's never been done before.

Which means SpaceX may need to do it in house, and learn on the job, or that they outsource to someone else who also has to learn on the job. Either way, there is still a lot of learning to do.

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Re: F9 Second Stage Reusability
« Reply #498 on: 06/07/2017 01:35 PM »
Toray makes the fiber, not the tanks (and nobody else produces CF as good as Toray... And people have tried very hard.).

$20 bucks says they'll bring composite stage production in-house.
No one would take the bet as, based on past experience that's exactly what SX will do once ITS is closer to going into mfg.

But wrt to this thread do you see them going for an "F9 Upper Stage 2.0" in CF?

Agreed, I'd bet that they do move it in house.  Even if that means a new facility somewhere in the continental US.
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Offline Patchouli

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Re: F9 Second Stage Reusability
« Reply #499 on: 06/07/2017 06:00 PM »
One thing that occurred to me is a third stage would likely be necessary to be able to consider reusing the second stage on GTO missions.

LEO reentry is hard enough but a direct reentry from reentry high energy orbit would be much more difficult.
« Last Edit: 06/07/2017 06:04 PM by Patchouli »

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