Author Topic: SpaceX customers' views on reuse  (Read 143631 times)

Online Lar

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Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #80 on: 05/03/2017 12:40 PM »
I feel that if you take the gestalt we're mostly agreeing...

... and I'm guilty of helping drift this from what SpaceX customers think about SpaceX reuse to what WE think about ULA. Let's not do that. (do as I say, not as I do, LOL)

Although the "falcon trophy" thing was hilarious.
« Last Edit: 05/03/2017 12:41 PM by Lar »
"I think it would be great to be born on Earth and to die on Mars. Just hopefully not at the point of impact." -Elon Musk
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Offline meekGee

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Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #81 on: 05/04/2017 12:45 AM »
What I find funny about ULA's response is that they seem to be implying that the heat shield and parafoil they intend using for "SMART" reuse doesn't reduce payload capacity in exactly the same way that SpaceX's landing legs do.
It doesn't.  When ULA (or other knowledgeable others) are criticizing the reduced capacity of fully recoverable rockets, it isn't due to the "extra hardware" that is put on like legs, grid fins, beefier RCS, etc.  It's due to the large amount of propellants that have to be reserved for the recovery burns.  Compared to that, all the added hardware is just a drop in the bucket.  So, in ULA's eyes, SMART avoids the payload hit because no performance is being reserved (i.e. they use all the prop).  They are only adding a little bit of hardware mass which is totally negligible.  So, from that perspective, there really is no bad logic in such a statement/position. 

The disconnect is that launch payloads aren't bulk commodities.  There's no "penalty" for reducing lift capacity so long as they have enough for any specific customer.
That is precisely true, on both counts.

There's a third aspect of this, and that's that it is still possible to expend a rocket if a super large payload is required.

...and also expend it if there is an engine out event, adding redundancy and reliability to the system.
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Online FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #82 on: 05/04/2017 08:19 AM »
There's a third aspect of this, and that's that it is still possible to expend a rocket if a super large payload is required.

But aren't SpaceX going to refuse to sell any more expendable F9 launches? I assume customers will be ok with that, assuming FH is both proven and cheaper than any other SpaceX competitors (reusable or expendable)

In time I guess a FH launch price could be lower than an expendable F9 price now? (assuming SpaceX routinely achieve multiple uses per booster/core with little refurbishment)

Offline M.E.T.

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Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #83 on: 05/04/2017 08:37 AM »
There's a third aspect of this, and that's that it is still possible to expend a rocket if a super large payload is required.

But aren't SpaceX going to refuse to sell any more expendable F9 launches? I assume customers will be ok with that, assuming FH is both proven and cheaper than any other SpaceX competitors (reusable or expendable)

In time I guess a FH launch price could be lower than an expendable F9 price now? (assuming SpaceX routinely achieve multiple uses per booster/core with little refurbishment)

Of course, the expendable option will then just shift upwards to truly massive payloads, requiring expendable FH performance levels. Where a customer is willing to pay a premium for a payload requiring an expendable FH, I'm sure SpaceX will comply.
« Last Edit: 05/04/2017 08:38 AM by M.E.T. »

Offline JamesH65

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Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #84 on: 05/04/2017 09:49 AM »
There's a third aspect of this, and that's that it is still possible to expend a rocket if a super large payload is required.

But aren't SpaceX going to refuse to sell any more expendable F9 launches? I assume customers will be ok with that, assuming FH is both proven and cheaper than any other SpaceX competitors (reusable or expendable)

In time I guess a FH launch price could be lower than an expendable F9 price now? (assuming SpaceX routinely achieve multiple uses per booster/core with little refurbishment)

Refusing? Why would they do that? Seem to me to be more like not expecting to sell any more because the F9 and F9H heavy will cover all known payloads in reusable mode.

But if someone came up with a payload that required it, and were willing to pay for expendable, why would SpaceX refuse? Use an old booster that reaching end of life, make much profit.

Offline gospacex

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Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #85 on: 05/04/2017 11:20 AM »
There's a third aspect of this, and that's that it is still possible to expend a rocket if a super large payload is required.

But aren't SpaceX going to refuse to sell any more expendable F9 launches? I assume customers will be ok with that, assuming FH is both proven and cheaper than any other SpaceX competitors (reusable or expendable)

In time I guess a FH launch price could be lower than an expendable F9 price now? (assuming SpaceX routinely achieve multiple uses per booster/core with little refurbishment)

Refusing? Why would they do that?

He meant that any payloads which require expendable F9 would be lofted by reusable FH.

Offline Celestar

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Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #86 on: 05/04/2017 01:41 PM »
Yes, but that would require the reusable FH to be priced at or below the price of the expendable  (shouldn't we called it 'expended' by now?) F9, wouldn't it?

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Offline mme

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Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #87 on: 05/04/2017 02:00 PM »
Yes, but that would require the reusable FH to be priced at or below the price of the expendable  (shouldn't we called it 'expended' by now?) F9, wouldn't it?

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My bet is that SpaceX will adjust their prices so that is the case once reusability is widely accepted (which will happen quickly, IMHO).
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Offline envy887

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Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #88 on: 05/04/2017 02:17 PM »
Yes, but that would require the reusable FH to be priced at or below the price of the expendable  (shouldn't we called it 'expended' by now?) F9, wouldn't it?

So as long as the reliability of reused FH is substantially better than Proton SpaceX can charge a lot, and it still makes economic sense to customers.

The business decision for SpaceX depends on whether F9 expended or FH reused (not just recoverable) is more profitable. The price for F9 expendable can be whatever SpaceX wants to charge, up to a point where they start losing customers to other providers. In the 5500+ kg to GTO market, the competition is pretty much limited to Proton, Ariane, or Atlas V.

I don't think it's a stretch to say FH reusable should cost SpaceX less to operate than F9 expendable. The upfront expense is 3 boosters for 10 flights instead of 10 boosters for 10 flights, so they save new 7 boosters with one FH set. The incremental expense is integration of 20 boosters, recovery & refurb of 30 boosters. So as long as 20x integration cost + 30x recovery/refurb cost is less than 7 new F9 boosters ($250 to $300 million), they come out ahead. That holds true for integration costs up to $3M per booster and recovery/refurb up to $8M per booster.

Online AncientU

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Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #89 on: 05/04/2017 02:38 PM »
Yes, but that would require the reusable FH to be priced at or below the price of the expendable  (shouldn't we called it 'expended' by now?) F9, wouldn't it?

So as long as the reliability of reused FH is substantially better than Proton SpaceX can charge a lot, and it still makes economic sense to customers.

The business decision for SpaceX depends on whether F9 expended or FH reused (not just recoverable) is more profitable. The price for F9 expendable can be whatever SpaceX wants to charge, up to a point where they start losing customers to other providers. In the 5500+ kg to GTO market, the competition is pretty much limited to Proton, Ariane, or Atlas V.

I don't think it's a stretch to say FH reusable should cost SpaceX less to operate than F9 expendable. The upfront expense is 3 boosters for 10 flights instead of 10 boosters for 10 flights, so they save new 7 boosters with one FH set. The incremental expense is integration of 20 boosters, recovery & refurb of 30 boosters. So as long as 20x integration cost + 30x recovery/refurb cost is less than 7 new F9 boosters ($250 to $300 million), they come out ahead. That holds true for integration costs up to $3M per booster and recovery/refurb up to $8M per booster.

SpaceX has stated that F9 expendable will be more expensive than FH reusable.  F9 cases between ASDS landings and limits of F9 expendible should still allow FH RTLS all cores.
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Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #90 on: 05/05/2017 08:55 AM »
https://spaceflightnow.com/2017/05/05/bulgarias-first-communications-satellite-to-ride-spacexs-second-reused-rocket/

Bulgaria’s first communications satellite to ride SpaceX’s second reused rocket
Quote
"Elon Musk and his SpaceX team have convinced me that people like them bring us closer to a new quality of life through providing access to cutting-edge technology,” Zayakov said in a statement. “This is a chance for Bulgaria to join the efforts to develop these new aspects of space industry.”



Offline rockets4life97

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Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #91 on: 05/05/2017 09:43 AM »
I'm glad to see someone other than SES take a re-used booster. In this case, it looks like moving up the launch queue was an important part. This would point to potentially one of the main benefits will schedule flexibility as well as (potentially) reduced prices of launch.

Offline gospacex

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Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #92 on: 05/05/2017 11:53 AM »
Yes, but that would require the reusable FH to be priced at or below the price of the expendable  (shouldn't we called it 'expended' by now?) F9, wouldn't it?

Yes. Or SpaceX can simply stop offering expendable F9 launches. Their choice.

Online FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #93 on: 05/05/2017 12:55 PM »
I'm glad to see someone other than SES take a re-used booster. In this case, it looks like moving up the launch queue was an important part. This would point to potentially one of the main benefits will schedule flexibility as well as (potentially) reduced prices of launch.

Yes, this could be a powerful motivator for others to also accept flight proven boosters. Also clear how SpaceX will achieve (at least?) 6 booster re-uses this year (with FH re-using 2 & potentially 2 other SES launches). If all are successful, why would customers after that be reluctant to re-use?

Online FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #94 on: 05/05/2017 01:56 PM »
Can someone remind me what the situation is for NASA CRS missions and booster re-use?

IIRC it's been said that NASA are looking at it and supportive in principle but I don't recall any indication of when it may happen. If CRS-13 is in November as currently forecast then that could be after 5 booster re-uses, so enough evidence for NASA to assess and commit to re-use?

I imagine there might be some customers who would feel more comfortable once NASA accepts re-use (eg due to the engineering assessment that NASA would have done, which maybe not all customers have the capability/inclination/finances to do themselves)

Offline rockets4life97

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Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #95 on: 05/05/2017 02:36 PM »
Can someone remind me what the situation is for NASA CRS missions and booster re-use?

IIRC it's been said that NASA are looking at it and supportive in principle but I don't recall any indication of when it may happen. If CRS-13 is in November as currently forecast then that could be after 5 booster re-uses, so enough evidence for NASA to assess and commit to re-use?

I imagine there might be some customers who would feel more comfortable once NASA accepts re-use (eg due to the engineering assessment that NASA would have done, which maybe not all customers have the capability/inclination/finances to do themselves)

I seem to remember next Spring was indicated as a possibility at the press conference for CRS-10.

Offline copper8

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Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #96 on: 05/05/2017 03:01 PM »
Air Force:

Quote
SpaceX, Blue Origin have opened a “window of opportunity” for US Air Force

Quote
On Monday morning, SpaceX successfully launched a national security payload for the first time, cracking the market for US military missions. The first stage of the rocket then landed within a couple of miles from where it had taken off less than 10 minutes earlier, marking the tenth time SpaceX has safely returned a first stage to Earth.

The US military has taken note of these achievements, as well as those of Blue Origin and its reusable New Shepard suborbital vehicle—and that company’s ambitions to also build a large, reusable orbital rocket. “This has opened up a window of opportunity and gotten the attention of serious people,” Charles Miller, an aerospace consultant and president of NexGen Space, told Ars.

To that end Miller partnered with a number of Air Force officers at Air University and former Air Force officials to study the potential effects of lower-cost access to space on the US military. The “Fast Space” report, which has been briefed to senior officials in the US military and government in recent months, concludes that the US Air Force can benefit from these commercial developments.

“The USAF can form private sector partnerships to create a virtuous cycle of launch cost reductions of between 3 and 10 times lower than today’s costs,” the report finds. “Doing so could enable completely new approaches for the Air Force to defend American values, protect American interests, and enhance opportunities to exploit the unique global advantages of the ultimate high ground.”

The key concept in the report is “ultra low-cost access to space” enabled by reusable launch vehicle technology.

https://arstechnica.com/science/2017/05/air-force-study-says-us-government-should-get-serious-about-reusable-rockets/

And the Fast Space report:
http://www.airuniversity.af.mil/Portals/10/Research/documents/Space/Fast%20Space_Public_2017.pdf?ver=2017-03-10-113507-743

I think that one of the most interesting things about this paper is that the expectation that cost of launch will be much lower over time on a Reuseable Launch Vehicle is beginning to have an impact on the thinking about the type and nature of the payloads.  If you can fly for a lower cost, with a shorter lead time, you can contemplate a different kind of sat.  Which in turn may drive an increased launch cadence.

Offline envy887

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Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #97 on: 05/06/2017 11:32 AM »
From http://www.floridatoday.com/story/tech/science/space/spacex/2017/05/05/spacex-re-launch-falcon-rocket-next-month-ksc/101334150/

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Maxim Zayakov, CEO of Bulsatcom and BulgariaSat, said he didn’t think using a “flight proven” booster, as SpaceX refers to its recovered rockets, added risk to the mission.

“In fact, we think the other way around,” Zayakov told FLORIDA TODAY.  “Because a flight proven first stage has all its systems already used in flight, and it is very thoroughly checked after that, too. So we think that this is a good choice and, yes, of course it saved us some money.”

Exactly how much, Zayakov would not say. Space Systems Loral, the California-based satellite manufacturer, is responsible for the launch contract and insurance.

But Zayakov said the savings was meaningful. “At the end of the day, it helps the whole arithmetic and makes this project more financially viable,” he said. Zayakov said insurers supported the decision to reuse a rocket, but the terms improved after the successful SES-10 mission.

Offline M.E.T.

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Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #98 on: 05/06/2017 05:14 PM »
From http://www.floridatoday.com/story/tech/science/space/spacex/2017/05/05/spacex-re-launch-falcon-rocket-next-month-ksc/101334150/

Quote
Maxim Zayakov, CEO of Bulsatcom and BulgariaSat, said he didn’t think using a “flight proven” booster, as SpaceX refers to its recovered rockets, added risk to the mission.

“In fact, we think the other way around,” Zayakov told FLORIDA TODAY.  “Because a flight proven first stage has all its systems already used in flight, and it is very thoroughly checked after that, too. So we think that this is a good choice and, yes, of course it saved us some money.”

Exactly how much, Zayakov would not say. Space Systems Loral, the California-based satellite manufacturer, is responsible for the launch contract and insurance.

But Zayakov said the savings was meaningful. “At the end of the day, it helps the whole arithmetic and makes this project more financially viable,” he said. Zayakov said insurers supported the decision to reuse a rocket, but the terms improved after the successful SES-10 mission.

Just want to confirm that I understand this correctly. I read somewhere that this rocket will be the same one used for SES-10. Meaning it will be a booster used for the third time. Is this correct? And if so, why do that, rather than refurbish another rocket that has only flown once? Have some further changes been made to the SES-10 booster which makes it easier to refurbish?

EDIT

Sorry, my mistake. It is the Iridium booster, not the SES-10 booster.
« Last Edit: 05/06/2017 05:20 PM by M.E.T. »

Online AncientU

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Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #99 on: 05/06/2017 09:15 PM »
It's amazing that BulgariaSat was inspired by the success of SES-10 to reuse one of the Falcon 9 boosters.
BulgariaSat was persuaded by SpaceX to use a reused booster even before SES-10 was launched.

Copied from another thread.
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