Author Topic: Business Case For New Glenn  (Read 24379 times)

Offline DnA915

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Business Case For New Glenn
« on: 02/10/2018 01:38 AM »
In light of the success of the Falcon Heavy and its soon commercial debut, what is the primary business case for the New Glenn rocket? I was trying to get a good grasp on the capability differences, but its a bit hard because the listings are not always up front about expendable vs. non expendable modes. From my reading, it seems like their payload capability is very close. With both being reusable, but  NewGlenn being much bigger, it seems like it would be easy for SpaceX, who is already far ahead on testing/manufacturing, to put significant price presser on Blue Origin. Is there any large benefit of the New Glenn with the exception of the larger payload faring?
« Last Edit: 02/10/2018 02:54 PM by DnA915 »

Offline DnA915

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Re: Business Case For New Glenn
« Reply #1 on: 02/10/2018 02:19 AM »
Yes, but will a single core really be cheaper from a launch (not development) standpoint? It seems like a significantly larger rocket and with a good deal of falcon heavy simply being reused Block 5 falcon 9's, it just seems like it would be very expensive to try and compete for the same market. Obviously, that is not a real worry if Bezos doesn't mind being in the red for a while.

Offline Darkseraph

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Re: Business Case For New Glenn
« Reply #2 on: 02/10/2018 02:46 AM »
The second stage is only initially expendable. Future versions will be reusable. The recovery method for New Glenn is less complex therefore probably cheaper. The business case for NG appears to be strong enough that they have already sold flights to multiple commercial customers, indicating that despite its large size it is competitive with existing or emerging launch vehicles.
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Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Business Case For New Glenn
« Reply #3 on: 02/10/2018 03:05 AM »
FH is able to basically play everywhere New Glenn plays until they add full reuse for the second stage and a third high energy stage.

New Glenn would potentially give SpaceX a run for the money, even if SpaceX made their kerolox stage reusable. That's why (in my opinion) the idea to slow down and not pursue BFR right away would be dumb. New Glenn could eat their lunch if they didn't develop BFR.
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Offline Steven Pietrobon

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Re: Business Case For New Glenn
« Reply #4 on: 02/10/2018 03:06 AM »
If Blue can make a successful reusable second stage I think that will be much more competitive in the commercial marketplace. A fully reusable New Glenn should be cheaper than Falcon Heavy or BFR, giving Blue the chance to capture a significant share of the market.
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Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Business Case For New Glenn
« Reply #5 on: 02/10/2018 03:09 AM »
If Blue can make a successful reusable second stage I think that will be much more competitive in the commercial marketplace. A fully reusable New Glenn should be cheaper than Falcon Heavy or BFR, giving Blue the chance to capture a significant share of the market.
I doubt a fully reusable New Glenn would be cheaper than BFR. BFR is RTLS and can do large GTO payloads with full reuse. New Glenn doesn't have the performance for either of those. The launch cradle concept could help make BFR much cheaper than even a fully reusable New Glenn.
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Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: Business Case For New Glenn
« Reply #6 on: 02/10/2018 03:27 AM »
In light of the success of the Falcon Heavy and it soon commercial debut, what is the primary business case for the New Glenn rocket?

If you are looking for a business case, don't. Blue Origin is 100% owned by Jeff Bezos, and he is willing to put $1B a year into Blue Origin if needed. As to the goal of Blue Origin, Jeff Bezos is quoted as saying:

Quote
Make access to space at much lower cost so that thousands of entrepreneurs can do amazing and interesting things, and take us into the next era.

So he is taking a very long-term view, like Elon Musk.

Quote
I was trying to get a good grasp on the capability differences, but its a bit hard because the listings are now always up front about expendable vs. non expendable modes. From my reading, it seems like their payload capability is very close. With both being reusable, but  NewGlenn being much bigger, it seems like it would be easy for SpaceX, who is already far ahead on testing/manufacturing, to put significant price presser on Blue Origin. Is there any large benefit of the New Glenn with the exception of the larger payload faring?

I would not compare New Glenn to Falcon Heavy. Blue Origin did not design New Glenn to compete with any particular launcher, it was designed to get them into the launch service market. Of course other launch providers already offer comparable services, and that's OK, because launch customers want to encourage competition. And we've seen that Blue Origin has already booked some launches, so customers are willing to help providers like Blue Origin and SpaceX who want to lower the cost to access space, since that help launch customers ultimately.
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

Offline Steven Pietrobon

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Re: Business Case For New Glenn
« Reply #7 on: 02/10/2018 04:46 AM »
I doubt a fully reusable New Glenn would be cheaper than BFR. BFR is RTLS and can do large GTO payloads with full reuse. New Glenn doesn't have the performance for either of those. The launch cradle concept could help make BFR much cheaper than even a fully reusable New Glenn.

BFR has 37 engines to look after and is much bigger, meaning its going to cost more. Current NG GTO is 13 t. That's way more than the market needs. How much does RTLS save compared to a ship landing? Perhaps only a few $100,000.

https://www.blueorigin.com/new-glenn

I estimate the expendable methalox stage has a dry mass of 6.4 t and a propellant mass of 147.5 t for a delta-V of 7867 m/s and exhaust speed of 3656 m/s. The initial mass is 13+6.4+147.5 = 166.9 t. For the same delta-v a hydrolox stage with an exhaust speed of 4444 m/s has a final mass of 28.4 t and propellant mass of 138.5 t. Assuming an expendable hydrolox stage and three BE-3 engines (two vacuum engines to get into orbit and one sea level engine for landing), that gives a dry mass of 10.9 t leaving a payload mass of 28.4-10.9 = 17.5 t (a 35% increase in payload mass). If the payload mass is reduced to 6 t, that leaves 11.5 t available to add a heat shield, legs and landing propellant. The reusable second stage mass at payload separation is 10.9+11.5 = 22.4 t. Might be possible! :-)
« Last Edit: 02/10/2018 04:48 AM by Steven Pietrobon »
Akin's Laws of Spacecraft Design #1:  Engineering is done with numbers.  Analysis without numbers is only an opinion.

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Business Case For New Glenn
« Reply #8 on: 02/10/2018 06:11 AM »
With full reuse, New Glenn would have a payload of about zero to GTO.
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Offline WBY1984

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Re: Business Case For New Glenn
« Reply #9 on: 02/10/2018 06:12 AM »
There are no realistic, regular payloads that FH will fly that NG can't. NG is smaller and less complex. New Glenn will destroy FH once they get it working. We have no idea how long that will take because it rockets rarely, if ever, get developed on time. Nor does that development process stop with the first launch. For now, I won't consider reusable upper stages for the Falcon family and New Glenn: both companies have enough on their plate as it is.

The more interesting question is perhaps NG vs F9 Block 5, and NG vs BFR.

If the GEO satellites don't grow much bigger, the smaller, well proven, high flight rate F9 could concievably undercut NG. It certainly should for LEO flights. NG could counter with rideshares, but I'm not clear how this competition balances out.

I don't care what Musk said at IAC 2017, NG will undercut BFR in getting comm sats into orbit. I keep fearing that BFR is a space cadet fantasy. BFR is massive, complex, and oversized - no satellite company is thinking of building a spacecraft so big that it can only rely on one vehicle to launch. Large military satellites aren't common. Human spaceflight isn't common either. BFR will need to launch comm sats at a profit if Spacex is to have a future? The only way it beats NG is by multiple rideshares. Matching payloads to orbits isn't easy, but Ariane has managed. Putting more than two into BFR makes it even harder (could Spacex come up with a GTO stage for the BFR cargo bay?) More complexity, cost, points of failure etc...

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Business Case For New Glenn
« Reply #10 on: 02/10/2018 06:17 AM »
RTLS saves a whole bunch of time and lack of a need for the existence of the big recovery ship to begin with. The launch cradle reduces integration time and allows extremely fast turnaround.

Being larger also means ability to add margin or reduce wear on the heatshield by braking propulsively. More and smaller engines means you get further down the learning curve and have more redundancy, both of which can reduce costs and allow greater time between inspections.
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Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Business Case For New Glenn
« Reply #11 on: 02/10/2018 06:29 AM »
Oh, and a big one: BFR will have integrated, recovered payload fairing. That in and of itself could cost Blue $5-10 million, more than the margin cost of launching BFR. The fairing is huge, so probably weighs about 8 tons. Recovering that has never been hinted at & likely wouldn't be practical. BFR's approach vastly simplifies recovery and integration of the fairing while also protecting the payload adapter during entry.
« Last Edit: 02/10/2018 06:34 AM by Robotbeat »
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Offline DnA915

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Re: Business Case For New Glenn
« Reply #12 on: 02/10/2018 03:02 PM »
I don't care what Musk said at IAC 2017, NG will undercut BFR in getting comm sats into orbit. I keep fearing that BFR is a space cadet fantasy. BFR is massive, complex, and oversized - no satellite company is thinking of building a spacecraft so big that it can only rely on one vehicle to launch. Large military satellites aren't common. Human spaceflight isn't common either. BFR will need to launch comm sats at a profit if Spacex is to have a future? The only way it beats NG is by multiple rideshares. Matching payloads to orbits isn't easy, but Ariane has managed. Putting more than two into BFR makes it even harder (could Spacex come up with a GTO stage for the BFR cargo bay?) More complexity, cost, points of failure etc...

I think the point of BFR is that its refuel-able in orbit and does what no other ship can do as far as travel within our solar system. NG will not even scratch BFR's capability if they pull it off. From a satellite point of view, the new strategy seems to concentrate resources and reduce how much hardware they are working on. If they really do hit full reusability, no other non reusable ships seem to make sense. Would be crazy to see BFR deploying it max payload of CubeSats!

Offline Darkseraph

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Re: Business Case For New Glenn
« Reply #13 on: 02/10/2018 03:56 PM »
When did Blue Origin ever say that their S2 would be reusable?

Stages mentioned as 'initially expendable' here, which implies that they will late be reused:

https://i.redd.it/htkas6gr60ny.jpg
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Offline Exastro

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Re: Business Case For New Glenn
« Reply #14 on: 02/10/2018 04:46 PM »
Quote
Stages mentioned as 'initially expendable' here, which implies that they will late be reused:

https://i.redd.it/htkas6gr60ny.jpg

'Initially expendable' only suggests they might become reusable eventually, I think.

Online AncientU

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Re: Business Case For New Glenn
« Reply #15 on: 02/10/2018 04:47 PM »
There are no realistic, regular payloads that FH will fly that NG can't. NG is smaller and less complex. New Glenn will destroy FH once they get it working. We have no idea how long that will take because it rockets rarely, if ever, get developed on time. Nor does that development process stop with the first launch. For now, I won't consider reusable upper stages for the Falcon family and New Glenn: both companies have enough on their plate as it is.

The more interesting question is perhaps NG vs F9 Block 5, and NG vs BFR.

If the GEO satellites don't grow much bigger, the smaller, well proven, high flight rate F9 could concievably undercut NG. It certainly should for LEO flights. NG could counter with rideshares, but I'm not clear how this competition balances out.

I don't care what Musk said at IAC 2017, NG will undercut BFR in getting comm sats into orbit. I keep fearing that BFR is a space cadet fantasy. BFR is massive, complex, and oversized - no satellite company is thinking of building a spacecraft so big that it can only rely on one vehicle to launch. Large military satellites aren't common. Human spaceflight isn't common either. BFR will need to launch comm sats at a profit if Spacex is to have a future? The only way it beats NG is by multiple rideshares. Matching payloads to orbits isn't easy, but Ariane has managed. Putting more than two into BFR makes it even harder (could Spacex come up with a GTO stage for the BFR cargo bay?) More complexity, cost, points of failure etc...

The basic difference it that NG is being built for the existing launch business, BFR isn't.  NG should do well against any existing or planned launcher if Blue can get the launch tempo and flow efficient -- they are not only competing against the hardware of others, they are competing with the overall launch/land/relaunch program and its cumulative cost.
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Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Business Case For New Glenn
« Reply #16 on: 02/10/2018 05:03 PM »
The second stage is only initially expendable. Future versions will be reusable. The recovery method for New Glenn is less complex therefore probably cheaper. The business case for NG appears to be strong enough that they have already sold flights to multiple commercial customers, indicating that despite its large size it is competitive with existing or emerging launch vehicles.
When did Blue Origin ever say that their S2 would be reusable?

If Blue can make a successful reusable second stage I think that will be much more competitive in the commercial marketplace. A fully reusable New Glenn should be cheaper than Falcon Heavy or BFR, giving Blue the chance to capture a significant share of the market.
I doubt a fully reusable New Glenn would be cheaper than BFR. BFR is RTLS and can do large GTO payloads with full reuse. New Glenn doesn't have the performance for either of those. The launch cradle concept could help make BFR much cheaper than even a fully reusable New Glenn.
The launch cradle could end up being a disadvantage. It could cause significant damage to the pad on every landing, and if even 1/100 landings fail, that's a huge additional cost of rebuilding the pad many times to consider. I don't see how New Glenn couldn't do large GTO payloads when its reusable capability is already significantly higher than FH.
BFR in general depends on high reliability all around. Launch cradle isn't without some costs, but the point is to get BFR reliability up to airline levels, which includes landing. So long term not necessarily a problem.

(I also think this makes much less of a difference than people think... I mean, a landing failure could take out New Glenn's landing ship, too, and the cost for that may be about the same.)
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Offline WindnWar

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Re: Business Case For New Glenn
« Reply #17 on: 02/10/2018 05:20 PM »
Until we actually see reusable specs for New Glenn's second stage I think the only rational thing to compare is expendable modes. Currently New Glenn will debut with an expendable, very large second stage and a very large fairing that is likely expended as well.

Falcon Heavy expends its second stage and for now it's fairing. I think the cost difference between Falcons stage 2 and fairing to Blue's stage 2 and fairing are the numbers to look at. It's highly unlikely that the Falcon second stage and fairing combined cost more than just NG's second stage. So long as reuse of both rockets first stages remains high that's where your price difference is going to be until there are payloads being lifted that begin to require more expendable flights from Falcon Heavy. Even there initially those flights could be done on boosters nearing end of service life or before they require a major refurb.

So until payloads exceed Falcon Heavy full first stage reuse, they have the cost advantage until Blue can pull off second stage reuse and we'd need to see what it's performance is after that. If in order to fully reuse the second stage you then need the third stage, you would then need to compare the cost of that third stage to Falcon Heavy's expended parts.

By the time that happens, I would think BFR should actually be flying, but that's all a guess. For now it's Falcon Heavy vs New Glenn with expended second stages for both and possibly expending fairings for one or both depending on how reuse pans out.

Offline woods170

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Re: Business Case For New Glenn
« Reply #18 on: 02/10/2018 05:27 PM »
Quote
Stages mentioned as 'initially expendable' here, which implies that they will late be reused:

https://i.redd.it/htkas6gr60ny.jpg

'Initially expendable' only suggests they might become reusable eventually, I think.
Precisely. Remember, SpaceX initially proposed recovering and reusing the upper stage of Falcon 9. Now they have turned away from doing so. BO might just as easily change that word "initially" to "permanently" with regards to their upper stage.

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: Business Case For New Glenn
« Reply #19 on: 02/10/2018 06:00 PM »
If it is FH v NG then we need to be comparing FH 45t to LEO or 13t to GTO configurations. In both cases I suspect centre core and 2nd stage are not recoverable.

SpaceX has to recover $500m of R&D cost some how. Blue don't need to recover a cent of R&D costs.

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