Author Topic: USAF RFP for new EELV Launch Service Agreements (2017-10-05)  (Read 30202 times)

Online woods170

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Re: USAF RFP for new EELV Launch Service Agreements (2017-10-05)
« Reply #100 on: 10/11/2018 06:38 AM »
These contracts are for vehicle development.  There was supposed to be another round after this to pick a couple winners to split a certain amount of launch contracts around 2020, for which F9/FH should still be eligible to compete.

In fact, SpaceX IS eligible to compete in Phase 2:

https://spacenews.com/air-force-awards-launch-vehicle-development-contracts-to-blue-origin-northrop-grumman-ula/

Quote from: Sandra Erwin
Asked why SpaceX did not make the cut, Will Roper, assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisitions, said the company is an “important member of our launch team” and can choose to bid again in phase 2.
<snip>
Phase 2 of this competition is “full and open,” he said. “Anyone can come in.”

It also implied that SpaceX didn't make the cut because the vehicles it offered (Falcon 9 and FH) are already mature, and don't need further development:

Quote from: Sandra Erwin
“The goal of this OTA is to make sure we have a competitive industrial base,” Roper said. His comments suggest that SpaceX may have been left out because its rockets are mature and the Air Force preferred to spend OTA dollars on new vehicles to add to the mix.
<snip>
In phase 2, vehicles will be evaluated for their ability to meet requirements and schedule but price also will be a factor, Roper said. “We want to makes sure we have at least three vendors that can can compete.”

Offline Star One

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Re: USAF RFP for new EELV Launch Service Agreements (2017-10-05)
« Reply #101 on: 10/11/2018 06:44 AM »
I note that this program is being renamed next year, guess someone spotted the fact that using the word expendable in it is pretty old fashioned.

Offline speedevil

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Re: USAF RFP for new EELV Launch Service Agreements (2017-10-05)
« Reply #102 on: 10/11/2018 09:36 AM »
Thats a surprise SpaceX missing out. I'd assumed SpaceX and ULA were sure thing with Blue and NG fighting for 3rd place.
I wonder if they were unable to bid without compromise and other things being required of them.

BFS almost certainly can't get to GEO without retanking. A requirement to develop a third stage, or ... may be too onerous.
I note that by the time of the first BFS test flights, this contract would only be worth some $200M perhaps.

It would be nice to know if SpaceX put in any sort of bid.

Direct to GEO is a hard and fast requirement, I believe. BFR can't do that without multiple refuelings or an orbital fuel depot, or an expendable third stage which kind of defeats the purpose since that basically makes it a bigger Falcon Heavy.

Direct to GEO makes no sense if lift to LEO is super cheap and reliable. But the USAF isn't in that world. Yet.

Indeed - hence my (too implicit) wondering if their bid included on-orbit refueling and the use of two vehicles.
Direct to GEO can also in principle be done by expending the first stage.

Offline soltasto

This is probably not the place to discuss this but should currently be the best thread.

Of the 3 new vehicles getting developed, only one has an assigned Vandenberg pad, That is Vulcan which will take the current Atlas V pad, SLC-3E.

I wonder what will be the home of the other 2, New Glenn and OmegA.

SLC-2W should already be taken by Firefly aerospace.

SLC-6 will have to support Delta IV until 2023, so I doubt it will be repurposed for one of the new vehicles.

The twin pads of SLC-3E and SLC-2W, SLC-3W and SLC-2E could be used, but there might be some issues in doing that.

The Taurus/Minotaur pads, SLC-8 and LC-576E, are quite small and have little space foe expansion.

There are some old pads too, SLC-1, SLC-5 and SLC-10.

SLC-10 probably can't be used anymore since it contains the Space and Missile Heritage Center.

SLC-1 is quite close to SLC-2, but could be used after some extensive upgrades. It currently is just some concrete and rusty stuff.

SLC-5 is hardly a pad as it's just an access road and small dirt pad. It would require a lot of dirt work other than construction.

The last option is to create a new Launch Complex somewhere on the base. However I have no knowledge on any plans in this regard.

Would love to know what you think about this.

To the mods, if you feel like a new thread would be better, please move this. Thanks!

Offline Jim

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Re: USAF RFP for new EELV Launch Service Agreements (2017-10-05)
« Reply #104 on: 10/11/2018 01:57 PM »


The twin pads of SLC-3E and SLC-2W, SLC-3W and SLC-2E could be used, but there might be some issues in doing that.



???   SLC-3W is too close to SLC-3E.  And SLC-2W too close to SLC-2E

Offline soltasto



The twin pads of SLC-3E and SLC-2W, SLC-3W and SLC-2E could be used, but there might be some issues in doing that.



???   SLC-3W is too close to SLC-3E.  And SLC-2W too close to SLC-2E

I agree, however Falcon 1 was supposed to fly from SLC-3W right? And if I recall correctly the issue wasn't the vicinity to the Atlas pad but the trajectory over SLC-6. Falcon 1 was a quite different LV classo tho.

Offline GWH

At most it needs a longer fairing and VI, but that's a very minor cost compared to new vehicle development.

There's a lot of people on the webs* complaining SpaceX should have received money for Vertical Integration, but reportedly SpaceX has already received $20M funding to at least study VI back in November 2017.
https://www.teslarati.com/spacex-20m-us-air-force-contract-spy-satellites/
I attempted to find another source or verify the contract, only to find out that the fpds.gov site is a place I never ever want to try and search through again  ???

*Not you specifically envy887, merely quoted this for relevant context.
« Last Edit: 10/12/2018 04:44 PM by GWH »

Offline gongora

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Re: USAF RFP for new EELV Launch Service Agreements (2017-10-05)
« Reply #107 on: 10/12/2018 05:05 PM »
I attempted to find another source or verify the contract, only to find out that the fpds.gov site is a place I never ever want to try and search through again  ???

Yeah, I've had that reaction too but you can get a little more used to it over time.  The ad hoc reports are really a pain in the ass.  I can't afford to subscribe to something like govtribe just for my hobby.  My biggest beef with the EZSearch interface is that clicking "View" on an entry doesn't open it in a new tab, that would make things so much easier.

FPDS SpaceX search by date range
(not sure if it will always keep the sorting options from the URL, on the sort options if you set it to Descending and choose "Date Signed" as the field then you'll at least get the most recent entries first)

Offline OccasionalTraveller

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Re: USAF RFP for new EELV Launch Service Agreements (2017-10-05)
« Reply #108 on: 10/13/2018 06:39 PM »
How feasible is it for SpaceX to handle vertical integration by just spot-hiring a mobile crane?

The Fixed Service Structure at LC-39A used to be topped with a hammerhead crane. It dated from the Apollo era. It was removed in December 1994 when hiring a mobile crane, when required, became more cost-effective than maintaining it.

The challenges with using a mobile crane will be in maintaining the clean-room atmosphere within the fairing while lifting it up to the top of the stack, and allowing access for workers to attach the payload attach fitting to the top of Stage 2.

Access to the payload once integrated is also tricky. The Falcon 9 User Guide says that for horizontal integration, the booster would be brought back into the hangar and the payload detached to allow access, so I'd assume that vertically integrated payloads would be craned off the stack if access was required.

This seems a lot simpler than building a lot of infrastructure that would be used very rarely - but is it realistic?

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Online vaporcobra

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Re: USAF RFP for new EELV Launch Service Agreements (2017-10-05)
« Reply #109 on: 10/14/2018 04:06 AM »
I attempted to find another source or verify the contract, only to find out that the fpds.gov site is a place I never ever want to try and search through again  ???

Yeah, I've had that reaction too but you can get a little more used to it over time.  The ad hoc reports are really a pain in the ass.  I can't afford to subscribe to something like govtribe just for my hobby.  My biggest beef with the EZSearch interface is that clicking "View" on an entry doesn't open it in a new tab, that would make things so much easier.

FPDS SpaceX search by date range
(not sure if it will always keep the sorting options from the URL, on the sort options if you set it to Descending and choose "Date Signed" as the field then you'll at least get the most recent entries first)

My elegant solution to that is to get to the point I want to be (usually searching just SpaceX + sorting by date signed) and then copying the URL and opening as many identical tabs of that page as I think I'll need (Ctrl+T, Ctrl+V, Enter, repeat). Then you can just click "view", Ctrl+Tab to jump to the next tab, and repeat until you're caught up.

Offline HIP2BSQRE

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Re: USAF RFP for new EELV Launch Service Agreements (2017-10-05)
« Reply #110 on: 10/14/2018 05:11 AM »
I'm surprised.  I wonder if this means the end for Falcon Heavy.  This seems to be the Air Force ruling New Glenn a better option than Falcon Heavy.

 - Ed Kyle

Falcon Heavy is already certified by the USAF for EELV missions, and can already hit all the required reference orbits. Why would the USAF need to pour massive amounts of cash into it for further development? At most it needs a longer fairing and VI, but that's a very minor cost compared to new vehicle development.

Or are you assuming that because Atlas and Delta were not funded, that the USAF is no longer planning on using them for EELV?

The competition for development money was always Vulcan vs Omega vs New Glenn vs BFR. Falcon Heavy doesn't need development money beyond what it's already getting.
Yes, of course, this is EELV-2.  Atlas 5 and Delta 4 are being phased out in favor of two alternatives.  It looks like Vulcan, Omega, and New Glenn are the options.

My impression was that Falcon Heavy was built for and proposed for this EELV-2 contract.  But, if it was BFR that SpaceX proposed, I'll restate to say that the decision endangers BFR.   One of them lost big today.

 - Ed Kyle

Falcon Heavy was built for EELV, not EELV-2. It's in the same boat as Atlas and Delta, though for different reasons: it's going to be superseded by BFR for pretty much everything, including, eventually, USAF launches (in my opinion).

BFR likely lost. It doesn't meet some of the requirements that the USAF was looking for in EELV-2, such as direct insertion and low technical risk (e.g. very high probability of flying by 2022).

There's a reason why "win EELV competition" was never one of the funding ideas that SpaceX threw out there for BFR.

Does anyone for certain know what SpaceX proposed?  Would this be classified information?  Is some of this information on L2?  I just sent a email request to the Airforce and  waiting to see what they say.  There is always an FOI.    If SpaceX did lose, would the recommendations against them be classified? 

Offline speedevil

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Re: USAF RFP for new EELV Launch Service Agreements (2017-10-05)
« Reply #111 on: 10/14/2018 10:05 AM »
Does anyone for certain know what SpaceX proposed?  Would this be classified information?  Is some of this information on L2?  I just sent a email request to the Airforce and  waiting to see what they say.  There is always an FOI.    If SpaceX did lose, would the recommendations against them be classified?
My limited understanding is this is not secret information, and SpaceX are under no legal compulsion to not release it.
Nor to release it.

There is no information in L2, though speculation based on beliefs of people expressed in tweets that they would have.

It is likely unavailable through FOIA, as that will be viewed as confidential corporate information. You could always try of course, maybe some fraction of it might be. Or, similarly, ask SpaceX directly.

The internal air-force justifications for not accepting a bid might be a little more distant legally, but still informative - not as I understand it classified, but confidential as it pertains to a corporate bid.

I'd love to see the entry. No bid, FH with retanking, BFS with lots of retanking,, full-up BFR+BFS, ...
« Last Edit: 10/14/2018 10:11 AM by speedevil »

Offline Jim

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Re: USAF RFP for new EELV Launch Service Agreements (2017-10-05)
« Reply #112 on: 10/15/2018 02:25 PM »
How feasible is it for SpaceX to handle vertical integration by just spot-hiring a mobile crane


 Access while attached is also required.
« Last Edit: 10/15/2018 02:26 PM by Jim »

Online woods170

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Re: USAF RFP for new EELV Launch Service Agreements (2017-10-05)
« Reply #113 on: 10/16/2018 08:02 AM »
How feasible is it for SpaceX to handle vertical integration by just spot-hiring a mobile crane


 Access while attached is also required.

Yes, and in Jim's book that translates into the need of having an MST (Mobile Service Tower).

And we all know that no MST currently exists at any of the SpaceX launch pads.

Offline gongora

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Offline Zed_Noir

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https://twitter.com/SciGuySpace/status/1052202150292611072

The USAF maybe thinking that if the BFR become operational with inhouse funding. They get not 2 but at least 3 or maybe 4 EELV follow-on launchers.

There will be a BFR program as long as there is a SpaceX with Musk. Same goes for the Blue Origin's New Glenn with Jeff Bezos. So these 2 launchers will be build eventually with or without external funding. So the USAF is funding ULA and NGIS so that they remain in the launch business for at least a little longer.

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