Author Topic: SpaceX customers' views on reuse  (Read 73758 times)

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #180 on: 06/24/2017 06:24 PM »
Use them on high energy missions like yesterday and scrap the recovered stage. Just because stage has taken a toasting doesn't stop SpaceX stripping it for parts.

As for FH some customers may still prefer F9 if given choice.


Offline elist

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Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #181 on: 06/24/2017 07:26 PM »
So. Do you just throw away the landed Block 3 and 4 cores - who can each be reflown 2 or 3 times with refurbishment? Or do you use them until they have expended their economic use - despite having Block 5's available that can fly 10 times, with minimal refurbishment.

Just use the Block 3 and 4s for expended mode launches until the lot is run out.
Doesn't that undercut Falcon Heavy, though? I presume they don't want to undercut FH once it's flying.

Well, FH isn't flying yet, so there's still a need for expendable missions.  Additionally, FH can't fly out of SLC-40 so that means you have a bottleneck at 39A which is also the only place to launch the upcoming Commercial Crew missions.  I could see some customers wanting to not stand in manifest line the very busy 39A pad and opting for expendable instead.

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #182 on: 06/25/2017 03:10 AM »
I don't think SpaceX cares about undercutting Falcon heavy. FH is probably going to be a pain, with higher chance of failure. Except for government launches, I bet it'll be phased out in favor of something in the ITS family within a few years.
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Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #183 on: 06/25/2017 04:38 AM »
Well, FH isn't flying yet, so there's still a need for expendable missions.  Additionally, FH can't fly out of SLC-40 so that means you have a bottleneck at 39A which is also the only place to launch the upcoming Commercial Crew missions.  I could see some customers wanting to not stand in manifest line the very busy 39A pad and opting for expendable instead.
It'll be flying customer missions by next year. That's not much time to sign new launches for expendable F9.
It can't fly out of LC-40, but everything else except the once-a-year Commercial Crew missions can. Once LC-40 is back up, it will be hosting as many launches as they can fit in, and 39A will take what's left, plus FH launches. Why would there will be a bottleneck at 39A?

I don't think SpaceX cares about undercutting Falcon heavy. FH is probably going to be a pain, with higher chance of failure. Except for government launches, I bet it'll be phased out in favor of something in the ITS family within a few years.
That is utterly preposterous. A few years? That's 2020. What are you talking about?

Online FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #184 on: 06/25/2017 08:46 AM »
Sorry, F9 blocks, FH and ITS phasing discussions are OT. Plenty of other threads for those.

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #185 on: 06/25/2017 02:55 PM »

I don't think SpaceX cares about undercutting Falcon heavy. FH is probably going to be a pain, with higher chance of failure. Except for government launches, I bet it'll be phased out in favor of something in the ITS family within a few years.
That is utterly preposterous. A few years? That's 2020. What are you talking about?
2020 or a little later (2021 or 2022). Why is it preposterous? 2020 was SpaceX's timeline for full ITS. If they go with a smaller one (I'll bet you money they will), this isn't totally unrealistic at all. It's in line with Blue O's 2019 plan for New Glenn, and Raptor is arguably further along (with SpaceX both being faster at executing and having more experience with large vehicles).

As soon as a (smaller) ITS is available, I'm sure they'll move as many launches as they can to it, starting with Falcon heavy launches. Government launches on FH will take longer due to longer certification process, so I'm sure FH will still pay for itself with government launches.
« Last Edit: 06/25/2017 03:04 PM by Robotbeat »
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Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #186 on: 06/26/2017 09:16 AM »
Back on-topic, new article by Peter B de Selding:

https://www.spaceintelreport.com/spacex-cuts-flight-refurbish-reflight-time-falcon-9-first-stage/

Includes this from Jonathan Hofeller, SpaceX vice president for commercial sales:

Quote
Hofeller said many SpaceX customers — “I won’t say a majority, but it may be a majority” — have expressed interest in converting their contracts to previously flown stages.

Online Semmel

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Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #187 on: 06/26/2017 09:33 AM »
Back on-topic, new article by Peter B de Selding:

https://www.spaceintelreport.com/spacex-cuts-flight-refurbish-reflight-time-falcon-9-first-stage/

Includes this from Jonathan Hofeller, SpaceX vice president for commercial sales:

Quote
Hofeller said many SpaceX customers — “I won’t say a majority, but it may be a majority” — have expressed interest in converting their contracts to previously flown stages.

That is somewhat expected but its nice to see play out in reality. I am from Europe and somewhat embarrassed by the lack of vision from ESA and Ariane Group. I hope SpaceX and Blue Origin shake the launch market until all major players make their rockets reusable. I dont want only one or two companies to dominate the launch market, that is not healthy. But if SpaceX proves re-usability and customers go for it, thats good enough. Other launch providers may lack the vision to see this kind of future but all of them run after "markets" which hopefully will have enough force to drive them into the re-usability direction within reasonable time.

Offline ZachF

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Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #188 on: 06/26/2017 03:20 PM »
So taking stock after 2nd booster re-use (:D), it really seems that nearly all customers are now asking 'when shall we re-use' and not 'if'.

There's Gwynne's comment of 3-4 more customers this year looking to re-use, plus all the positive quotes in this thread. I was looking again the other day at some 2015?/2016? press around Ariane 6, saw quote saying no market demand for re-use ...

Two of those customers, SES and Iridium, are talking multiple flight-proven vehicle rides within the next 6-9 months.  USG, both NASA and USAF, probably are not in the mentioned 3-4, but both are in the not-if-but-when camp.  Jury still out on whether all FH flights (except maybe STP-2?) will be reused only. 

Still looking like we could enter 2018 with a manifest going forward that is 50% reused boosters or close to it.

The 'no market demand for reuse' was repeated this week at Paris Air Show...

I think 2018 is going to *have* to be at least 30% reused.  We know they're only producing 20 rockets/year right now, and LC 40 alone will be able to use them all.  I doubt that they're going to increase that rate, so even if there are only half a dozen launches each at 39A and 4E the launch rate is going to require a pretty high reuse rate.  Even more so in 2019 with Boca Chica online, and I suspect at that point they're going to want to shift some of the Merlin production line to Raptor.

Once Block 5 starts to fly (and performs up to design), there will no longer be demand or need for 20 new cores per year.  They may have hit peak production of Falcon in 2017.

If Block5 can get 10 re-uses, they only need a production capacity of around 8/year to get 80 launches/year for first stages, but 2nd stage production will have to grow from 20/y to 80/y.

Merlin Production will have to go from around 180 M1 and 20 M1Vs (200 total) to 72 M1s and 80 M1Vs (152 total)

seems pretty doable.

A launch cadence of 80/year (when Constellation is going up) is going to crater fixed costs per launch, on top of the S1 re-use savings. SpaceX is going to have enormous pricing power that no one is going to be able to match. I wouldn't be surprised under such a scenario if the cost to SpaceX to launch a Falcon 9 is only around $20m.

Online oldAtlas_Eguy

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Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #189 on: 06/26/2017 04:38 PM »
Considering the fact that the % of used booster that would fly this year to the total number of boosters to fly will be about 25%, the ability to fly a higher percentage (>50%) of used boosters in 2018 is not only likely but is also likely to change many customers' minds over the use of used boosters. A savings of just $10M when using a used booster that has equal or better reliability than a new booster  as well as a possible decrease in insurance costs may very well change the tentative use of used boosters by commercial customers into a flood.

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #190 on: 06/26/2017 06:42 PM »


Considering the fact that the % of used booster that would fly this year to the total number of boosters to fly will be about 25%, the ability to fly a higher percentage (>50%) of used boosters in 2018 is not only likely but is also likely to change many customers' minds over the use of used boosters. A savings of just $10M when using a used booster that has equal or better reliability than a new booster  as well as a possible decrease in insurance costs may very well change the tentative use of used boosters by commercial customers into a flood.

Where they might offer significant discounts $10-20m is for bulk purchases eg Iridium constellation.

If they decide to get into LEO tourist flights, then low launch costs are critical  as it is price sensitive market. $10-15m a seat or $60-90m a launch is quite realistic.

Offline ChrisWilson68

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Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #191 on: 06/27/2017 06:47 AM »
Considering the fact that the % of used booster that would fly this year to the total number of boosters to fly will be about 25%, the ability to fly a higher percentage (>50%) of used boosters in 2018 is not only likely but is also likely to change many customers' minds over the use of used boosters. A savings of just $10M when using a used booster that has equal or better reliability than a new booster  as well as a possible decrease in insurance costs may very well change the tentative use of used boosters by commercial customers into a flood.

I agree.

The resistance to used boosters is, I think, more based on people's gut feel than purely rational analysis.  Once used boosters are flying regularly, people's gut feel about them will change quickly -- particularly if those used boosters are giving those people's competitors an advantage, in terms of schedule, price, or both.

Offline faramund

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Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #192 on: 06/27/2017 12:26 PM »
Considering the fact that the % of used booster that would fly this year to the total number of boosters to fly will be about 25%, the ability to fly a higher percentage (>50%) of used boosters in 2018 is not only likely but is also likely to change many customers' minds over the use of used boosters. A savings of just $10M when using a used booster that has equal or better reliability than a new booster  as well as a possible decrease in insurance costs may very well change the tentative use of used boosters by commercial customers into a flood.

I agree.

The resistance to used boosters is, I think, more based on people's gut feel than purely rational analysis.  Once used boosters are flying regularly, people's gut feel about them will change quickly -- particularly if those used boosters are giving those people's competitors an advantage, in terms of schedule, price, or both.

I don't think there's that much resistance, if you account for 'museum' stages, testing, and for the F9heavy, I think there's only 5 stages left: 1029, 1031, 1032, 1035 and 1036. The last two (as well as 1029) have just been launched. And there's talk of SpaceX retiring old versions of F9. So at the moment, it seems very close to, SpaceX can sell any used stages it wishes to - which is why I think there is very low resistance.

Offline WindnWar

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Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #193 on: 06/27/2017 12:52 PM »
So taking stock after 2nd booster re-use (:D), it really seems that nearly all customers are now asking 'when shall we re-use' and not 'if'.

There's Gwynne's comment of 3-4 more customers this year looking to re-use, plus all the positive quotes in this thread. I was looking again the other day at some 2015?/2016? press around Ariane 6, saw quote saying no market demand for re-use ...

Two of those customers, SES and Iridium, are talking multiple flight-proven vehicle rides within the next 6-9 months.  USG, both NASA and USAF, probably are not in the mentioned 3-4, but both are in the not-if-but-when camp.  Jury still out on whether all FH flights (except maybe STP-2?) will be reused only. 

Still looking like we could enter 2018 with a manifest going forward that is 50% reused boosters or close to it.

The 'no market demand for reuse' was repeated this week at Paris Air Show...

I think 2018 is going to *have* to be at least 30% reused.  We know they're only producing 20 rockets/year right now, and LC 40 alone will be able to use them all.  I doubt that they're going to increase that rate, so even if there are only half a dozen launches each at 39A and 4E the launch rate is going to require a pretty high reuse rate.  Even more so in 2019 with Boca Chica online, and I suspect at that point they're going to want to shift some of the Merlin production line to Raptor.

Once Block 5 starts to fly (and performs up to design), there will no longer be demand or need for 20 new cores per year.  They may have hit peak production of Falcon in 2017.

If Block5 can get 10 re-uses, they only need a production capacity of around 8/year to get 80 launches/year for first stages, but 2nd stage production will have to grow from 20/y to 80/y.

Merlin Production will have to go from around 180 M1 and 20 M1Vs (200 total) to 72 M1s and 80 M1Vs (152 total)

seems pretty doable.

A launch cadence of 80/year (when Constellation is going up) is going to crater fixed costs per launch, on top of the S1 re-use savings. SpaceX is going to have enormous pricing power that no one is going to be able to match. I wouldn't be surprised under such a scenario if the cost to SpaceX to launch a Falcon 9 is only around $20m.

You know with pricing like that Oneweb might rue their decision to sign such a huge launch contract with Arianespace for those Soyuz launches because the reality is they will have likely overpaid to get there fleet into orbit. I get the competitive side of them vs SpaceX probably being a factor but the savings they likely gave up could have funded a huge amount of future constellation hardware etc.


Offline ChrisWilson68

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Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #194 on: 06/27/2017 01:04 PM »
You know with pricing like that Oneweb might rue their decision to sign such a huge launch contract with Arianespace for those Soyuz launches because the reality is they will have likely overpaid to get there fleet into orbit. I get the competitive side of them vs SpaceX probably being a factor but the savings they likely gave up could have funded a huge amount of future constellation hardware etc.

OneWeb was between a rock and a hard place.  Going with SpaceX is bad for them because they're dependent on their competitor.  Going with another launch provider is bad because their launch costs are a lot higher than SpaceX's.

It's hard to know which of the two is worse.

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #195 on: 06/27/2017 01:26 PM »
OneWeb luckily has New Glenn, which should be plenty competitive, at least on a technical level.

In fact, I'd say New Glenn would be better than Falcon 9.

Except for the fact that New Glenn will only fly years from now, and by then SpaceX not only will have several years and dozens of reflights to learn/profit from but will also have new technology that should make SpaceX even more competitive than New Glenn (or so they hope).

OneWeb already has a contract signed with Blue Origin.

We're already living in exciting times for space launch, but it's all just going to accelerate from here until we have massive fully reusable rockets flying constantly.

In the meantime, OneWeb is going to have to pay a big premium to get their foot in the door before SpaceX by launching the initial functional part of their constellation using expendable rockets. Although it's still not a foregone conclusion they'll beat SpaceX to initial functionality.
« Last Edit: 06/27/2017 01:34 PM by Robotbeat »
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Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #196 on: 06/27/2017 03:30 PM »
You know with pricing like that Oneweb might rue their decision to sign such a huge launch contract with Arianespace for those Soyuz launches because the reality is they will have likely overpaid to get there fleet into orbit. I get the competitive side of them vs SpaceX probably being a factor but the savings they likely gave up could have funded a huge amount of future constellation hardware etc.

OneWeb was between a rock and a hard place.  Going with SpaceX is bad for them because they're dependent on their competitor.  Going with another launch provider is bad because their launch costs are a lot higher than SpaceX's.

It's hard to know which of the two is worse.

At the time they contracted with ArianeSpace, SpaceX wasn't a reliable provider of that quantity of launches... in fact, Soyuz was the only vehicle capable of handling that volume -- maybe still is, but not for long. 

OneWeb went with their only option to get a jump on ConnX.
« Last Edit: 06/27/2017 03:31 PM by AncientU »
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Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #197 on: 06/28/2017 03:18 PM »
You know with pricing like that Oneweb might rue their decision to sign such a huge launch contract with Arianespace for those Soyuz launches because the reality is they will have likely overpaid to get there fleet into orbit. I get the competitive side of them vs SpaceX probably being a factor but the savings they likely gave up could have funded a huge amount of future constellation hardware etc.

OneWeb was between a rock and a hard place.  Going with SpaceX is bad for them because they're dependent on their competitor.  Going with another launch provider is bad because their launch costs are a lot higher than SpaceX's.

It's hard to know which of the two is worse.

At the time they contracted with ArianeSpace, SpaceX wasn't a reliable provider of that quantity of launches... in fact, Soyuz was the only vehicle capable of handling that volume -- maybe still is, but not for long. 

OneWeb went with their only option to get a jump on ConnX.
Current demonstrated launch rate volumes:
R7 (soyuz) - 7 in 6 months
F9 - 9 in 6 months

Yes Soyuz has moved to second place as the highest launch rate LV. But is still impressive launch rate at nearly twice the rate of any of it's competitors.

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #198 on: 06/28/2017 03:34 PM »
 They should receive a significant discount on Soyuz launches give volume. Plus Ariane have excellent record of launching on time as long as locals play nice.

Offline ChrisWilson68

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Re: SpaceX customers' views on reuse
« Reply #199 on: 06/28/2017 05:53 PM »
They should receive a significant discount on Soyuz launches give volume.

And Iridium got a volume discount from SpaceX.  I see no reason that the volume discount from Soyuz would be any greater than the volume discount from Falcon 9.  If anything, SpaceX is better positioned to give bigger discounts for larger volumes because reusability means more of their costs are fixed and less are marginal.

Plus Ariane have excellent record of launching on time as long as locals play nice.

To make a good business decision, One Web should be projecting what is likely in the future rather than just what has happened in the past.  SpaceX is a newer entrant and they've been ramping up.  As the last few months have shown, they are now hitting their stride and doing launches regularly at a very good pace.  A smart person would take all that into consideration and project it's likely that by the time One Web is ready to launch, it's likely there will be no more delay with SpaceX than there would be with Ariane.

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