Author Topic: SpaceX Falcon 9 : Iridium NEXT Flight 4 : December 22/23, 2017 : Discussion  (Read 80903 times)

Offline mme

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If only we had a reporter on this site who could ask SpaceX and get a direct answer to the question of why they are expending the booster.

Oh, wait: https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=44273.msg1761371#msg1761371

Of please, please, please!
Enough of this back and forth. No one is saying anything new.
Can we please let it rest until a direct source tells us which of these theories is good and which are bogus?
Letís trust Chris G to ask this question so it gets answered.
We don't need to go back and forth, it's answered in abaddon's link above.  Quoting it because abaddon just lined and people don't always follow links.

Matt Desch confirms no booster recovery.ŚÁ
https://twitter.com/IridiumBoss/status/943153072850776064


Quote
HŲchstErbaulich @HochstErbaulich
Hey @IridiumBoss will the Falcon 9 core for Iridium-4 be recovered? There are rumors that the first stage has no recovery equipment installed.

Matt Desch @IridiumBoss
Replying to @HochstErbaulich
No, I understand it won't be

For context, I'm told this is due to a desire to start clearing the Block 3 booster stock in favor for Block 4s and eventual Block 5s
Space is not Highlander.  There can, and will, be more than one.

Offline jpo234

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So why not give Iridium the most boost possible.

That's not a GEO launch. The satellites go to their initial orbit and don't need any additional boost beyond that.

They might, if an engine goes out on the way up. See CRS-1. Not likely, but it never hurts to have extra margins. Margin on the way up is a lot more useful than an old booster in a scrapyard.

So you suggest that SpaceX plans to expend the booster because they think that they might lose an engine on this flight?

I very much doubt that this is the reason.
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Offline envy887

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So why not give Iridium the most boost possible.

That's not a GEO launch. The satellites go to their initial orbit and don't need any additional boost beyond that.

They might, if an engine goes out on the way up. See CRS-1. Not likely, but it never hurts to have extra margins. Margin on the way up is a lot more useful than an old booster in a scrapyard.

So you suggest that SpaceX plans to expend the booster because they think that they might lose an engine on this flight?

I very much doubt that this is the reason.

They might lose an engine leading to a performance shortfall. Leaving off the recovery hardware increases the margins available for the primary mission. Those are both facts. That those facts influenced the decision to not recover is just my opinion. There are obviously other reasons as well, and most likely no single deciding factor.

Offline loki

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Considering Spacex’s inner culture about reducing costs wherever are possible, I don’t believe they expand any booster for no reason, even if it can't be launched again. I think they have made an agreement with Iridium to move one or more satellites from this launch to adjacent orbital plane, made up for delays and for launches with flight proven busters.
Putting the customer first.
« Last Edit: 12/20/2017 07:36 PM by loki »

Offline kdhilliard

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Considering Spacexís inner culture about reducing costs wherever are possible, I donít believe they expand any booster for no reason, even if it can't be launched again. I think they have made an agreement with Iridium to move one or more satellites from this launch to adjacent orbital plane, made up for delays and for launches with flight proven busters.
Putting the customer first.

You are welcome to think that, but Matt Desch disagrees:
...
Quote
There were some speculations that the one satellite that is about to drift from Plane 2 to Plane 1 could do it a bit faster with a bit of help from Falcon 9. So this is not the case, right? ;)
https://twitter.com/Elthiryel/status/943212600594231307

Quote
Interesting concept! But no.
https://twitter.com/IridiumBoss/status/943287335432712192

Offline deruch

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If there is discussion on SpaceX donating equipment for display, could someone point to it?
Can't provide a reference (it was some years ago) but my recollection is that when asked about donating a recovered core to the National Air and Space Museum, Musk replied along the lines of "Sure, if they pay for it".

If true, what a great way to unnecessarily burn a bridge, Elon. :(

Besides, with a donation of this scale, one should get two big, juicy, high-profile public events at the museum--one public, one private--commemorating the donation/display of the new artifact.
Yes, so far as I too recall, it is an accurate representation.  Though, I believe it may have been specifically about the Smithsonian (Air & Space) and not necessarily a blanket statement for all collections.  Plus, I always read Elon's position as being that SpaceX was intending to get further use out of the boosters by reflying them.  So, donating one would potentially have a significant opportunity cost.  Ergo, if a museum wanted one they would need to pay for it.  But that statement was also made a few years before they'd gotten reuse to work.  Given the current situation (an abundance of booster riches), it wouldn't surprise me if that position has at least altered somewhat.  Maybe now all he'd insist on the museum paying is (a portion of?) transportation costs for an older block booster that won't be reused and already has had everything useful taken out of it.  Plus, it's clear that they are willing to give some away.  I've read comments that both KSC and CCAFS are supposed to get one.  Whether other museums have contacted SpaceX or not, I don't know.
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Offline cscott

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KSC rocket garden and CCAFS outside the SpaceX launch and landing center (thus open to the public).  Plus the one already in Hawthorne, also open to the public.

Online Lar

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I think the Smithsonian was looking for SpaceX to pay not just for transport but for construction of a significant new gallery or exhibit complex (these boosters are big, and the Smithsonian doesn't do second rate displays) and I don't think Elon (driven by cost) thought that was a good use of SpaceX funds at the time.
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Offline Darga

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I think the Smithsonian was looking for SpaceX to pay not just for transport but for construction of a significant new gallery or exhibit complex (these boosters are big, and the Smithsonian doesn't do second rate displays) and I don't think Elon (driven by cost) thought that was a good use of SpaceX funds at the time.

This is what I recall as well.

Online russianhalo117

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I think the Smithsonian was looking for SpaceX to pay not just for transport but for construction of a significant new gallery or exhibit complex (these boosters are big, and the Smithsonian doesn't do second rate displays) and I don't think Elon (driven by cost) thought that was a good use of SpaceX funds at the time.

This is what I recall as well.
Same situation with the Saturn era SRM at the Former Aerjoet Dade test site. Smithsonian called dibs but wanted then Gencorp to pay all costs for inerting, sealing, transport and preservation of the long spent and water filled motor.

Offline dorkmo

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maybe theyre going to try some recovery stuff with stage2? no body has shot down that idea yet  8)

maybe theyre going to try some recovery stuff with stage2? no body has shot down that idea yet  8)

Maybe just controlled (but burning up) reentry, approaching this slowly.
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Offline hootowls

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The cost of recovering a booster at sea that you're willing to not re-fly for whatever reason vs. the value it has a display article, etc?  That's a lopsided value proposition.  Now maybe an end-of-life booster for which the mission allows a RTLS...

Offline hootowls

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Offline Steven Pietrobon

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SpaceX should be able to claim the cost of the booster as a tax deduction if it is donated to a museum. That's why SpaceShip One ended up in the Smithsonian, instead of taking up tourists.
Akin's Laws of Spacecraft Design #1:  Engineering is done with numbers.  Analysis without numbers is only an opinion.

Offline Lars-J

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SpaceX should be able to claim the cost of the booster as a tax deduction if it is donated to a museum. That's why SpaceShip One ended up in the Smithsonian, instead of taking up tourists.

Spaceship One did not fly tourists because it was too unstable and dangerous... thatís why it was retired immediately, a tax deduction was not a major factor.

Offline hootowls

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I hope you guys are prepared for them to do the exact same thing on another mission.

Offline NX-0

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I can't believe they are just going to dump all that historic hardware and precious metals into the ocean. What a waste!

Until two years ago today, that's about all that was ever done with everything except SRB's and shuttle orbiters. That's the current plan, going forward, with every orbital rocket booster now in use or in production.

How far we have come....

Offline envy887

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I hope you guys are prepared for them to do the exact same thing on another mission.

SpaceX expending end-of-life or obsolete boosters on their final mission has been speculated about extensively here. Usually in the context of customers getting expendable performance for flight-proven prices - but if a customer needs a launch ASAP and an EOL or obsolete booster is the first thing available, I wouldn't be surprised at all to see it happen again.

Edit - spelling is hard.
« Last Edit: 12/21/2017 03:04 PM by envy887 »

Offline Brian45

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When they attempt a fairing recovery on this mission, which thread would that be covered in, this one or some other thread?

BTW, just consider if this kind of electronic venue would have been available during the hey day of the Apollo program, can you imagine the conversations then???

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