Author Topic: Funding BFR Development (Not funding Mars Colony)  (Read 15339 times)

Offline niwax

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Re: Funding BFR Development (Not funding Mars Colony)
« Reply #140 on: 10/11/2018 12:27 PM »
What I'm telling people, based on what I hear from SpaceX folks, is that SpaceX doesn't want government strings attached to BFR/BFS development. One way to accomplish this is to NOT get USAF and NASA involved in BFR/BFS development under terms set by USAF and NASA.

SpaceX would love to receive government funding for BFR/BFS development, as long as it doesn't come with all the government-induced "pain" such as intrusive insight and oversight, changes of requirements, changes to design, etc. etc.
It is a lesson that SpaceX learned the hard way via (at least) two events:

1. Early F9 certification efforts for NSS missions where USAF forced SpaceX to change the F9 design. This only stopped when the secretary of the Air Force slapped USAF on the hands for acting well outside the scope of the certification efforts.

2. The Commercial Crew Program. Although SpaceX never misses an opportunity to thank NASA for working together with them on CCP it has become painfully clear to SpaceX top management that NASA involvement comes with a LOT of strings attached. Roughly half of all delays to CCP, over the recent years, is caused by NASA involvement. NASA objection to certain innovations and certain ways of doing things is also the prime driver behind the loss of some of Crew Dragons "crown jewels".

Imagine you let NASA and USAF in control of BFR/BFS development. That will have two effects:
- It will cost considerably more to develop.
- It will launch a decade late.

SpaceX wants neither.
So yeah, government funding for BFR/BFS is OK, but only under terms set by SpaceX, not terms set by the government.

I understand, but I thought EELV LSA is OTA, which would be similar to COTS and have much less insight/oversight than CCtCAP which is FAR.


According to this, SpaceX had at least 40 milestones in COTS. While NASA didn't interfere in development, this still gave a very strict structure and restrictions on major changes. I doubt NASA would let them change major engineering decisions or test flights once milestones have been agreed on.

Offline rockets4life97

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Re: Funding BFR Development (Not funding Mars Colony)
« Reply #141 on: 10/11/2018 03:47 PM »
Which do you think SpaceX would rather have (1) dearMoon (300-400M maybe over course of development?), (2) 200/300M from Air Force for F9/FH advances, or 500M (BO money) for BFR development?

I think the dearMoon money (1) is an obvious no brainer. SpaceX doesn't want to continue development of F9/FH (shifting to BFR) and while 500M is a good chunk of change for BFR it isn't worth it for the strings attached.

So, if SpaceX needs more money for BFR development, I think we are going to see more private venture capital money come in.

Offline Lar

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Re: Funding BFR Development (Not funding Mars Colony)
« Reply #142 on: 10/11/2018 04:12 PM »

Have SpaceX stated they want free rein on BFS development? Yes.
Does government money comes with strings attached? Yes. Usually.
Can SpaceX fund BFS without government help? Yes, apparently (More than just dearMoon out there)
Would SpaceX take government money if it came in on their own terms? Yes.
Does BFx specification fit in with the requirements of this bid? Probably not.

Is there any evidence that SpaceX bid on this? No.

I agree with all of this except the last bit. There are at least rumors going around that there was a bid.
See this twitter thread...

https://twitter.com/SciGuySpace/status/1050136006203199488
and this one
https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/1050135369319100416

I don't think either Jeff or Eric are able to publicly confirm that SpaceX did bid. My read is that they both think it highly likely that SpaceX did.

But it's very possible that SpaceX put in a bid that they didn't expect to (and maybe didn't WANT) to win. Or that I'm sour graping...
"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
"We're a little bit like the dog who caught the bus" - Musk after CRS-8 S1 successfully landed on ASDS OCISLY

Offline oiorionsbelt

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Re: Funding BFR Development (Not funding Mars Colony)
« Reply #143 on: 10/11/2018 05:08 PM »
Quote
SpaceX almost certainly bid for this
Sounds like Jeff Foust doesn't know more than anyone else.
« Last Edit: 10/11/2018 05:10 PM by oiorionsbelt »

Offline Lar

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Re: Funding BFR Development (Not funding Mars Colony)
« Reply #144 on: 10/11/2018 05:51 PM »
Quote
SpaceX almost certainly bid for this
Sounds like Jeff Foust doesn't know more than anyone else.
I can't find the tweet I really wanted to find (he tweets a lot) but he had stronger words than that.

As for him not knowing more? Maybe. But that's not the way to bet. YMMV.
"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
"We're a little bit like the dog who caught the bus" - Musk after CRS-8 S1 successfully landed on ASDS OCISLY

Offline JamesH65

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Re: Funding BFR Development (Not funding Mars Colony)
« Reply #145 on: 10/12/2018 10:30 AM »

Have SpaceX stated they want free rein on BFS development? Yes.
Does government money comes with strings attached? Yes. Usually.
Can SpaceX fund BFS without government help? Yes, apparently (More than just dearMoon out there)
Would SpaceX take government money if it came in on their own terms? Yes.
Does BFx specification fit in with the requirements of this bid? Probably not.

Is there any evidence that SpaceX bid on this? No.

I agree with all of this except the last bit. There are at least rumors going around that there was a bid.
See this twitter thread...

https://twitter.com/SciGuySpace/status/1050136006203199488
and this one
https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/1050135369319100416

I don't think either Jeff or Eric are able to publicly confirm that SpaceX did bid. My read is that they both think it highly likely that SpaceX did.

But it's very possible that SpaceX put in a bid that they didn't expect to (and maybe didn't WANT) to win. Or that I'm sour graping...

I did say evidence ;-)   I'm not a big fan of rumours as evidence.

Offline envy887

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Re: Funding BFR Development (Not funding Mars Colony)
« Reply #146 on: 10/12/2018 01:11 PM »

Have SpaceX stated they want free rein on BFS development? Yes.
Does government money comes with strings attached? Yes. Usually.
Can SpaceX fund BFS without government help? Yes, apparently (More than just dearMoon out there)
Would SpaceX take government money if it came in on their own terms? Yes.
Does BFx specification fit in with the requirements of this bid? Probably not.

Is there any evidence that SpaceX bid on this? No.

I agree with all of this except the last bit. There are at least rumors going around that there was a bid.
See this twitter thread...

https://twitter.com/SciGuySpace/status/1050136006203199488
and this one
https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/1050135369319100416

I don't think either Jeff or Eric are able to publicly confirm that SpaceX did bid. My read is that they both think it highly likely that SpaceX did.

But it's very possible that SpaceX put in a bid that they didn't expect to (and maybe didn't WANT) to win. Or that I'm sour graping...

I did say evidence ;-)   I'm not a big fan of rumours as evidence.

You aren't going to get concrete evidence unless SpaceX or the USAF release confidential information.

So the best evidence you'll likely get is the informed opinion of people who have reliable contacts in SpaceX and the USAF to get off-the-record information, which both Foust and Berger do.

I think it's both likely and unsuprising that SpaceX bid BFR with refueling and was rejected. All the other bids have lower technical risks, and EELV is a risk-averse program.

Offline HVM

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Re: Funding BFR Development (Not funding Mars Colony)
« Reply #147 on: 10/17/2018 10:16 AM »
Why would Air Force bankroll a *Mars rocket? Also it already financed Mars rocket engine disguised as EELV class upper stage engine... ;P

*(That is clearly Space Force's territory...
« Last Edit: 10/17/2018 10:24 AM by HVM »

Offline speedevil

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Re: Funding BFR Development (Not funding Mars Colony)
« Reply #148 on: 10/17/2018 10:21 AM »
Why would Air Force bankroll a Mars rocket?
Because while it can go to Mars, it can also hit London.

(to paraphrase things said of VV Braun, who had wanted to make moon rockets initially)

Offline Darkseraph

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Re: Funding BFR Development (Not funding Mars Colony)
« Reply #149 on: 10/17/2018 11:02 AM »
Why would Air Force bankroll a Mars rocket?
Because while it can go to Mars, it can also hit London.

(to paraphrase things said of VV Braun, who had wanted to make moon rockets initially)

Hopefully relations between America and Britain have not deteriorated so much in recent years that the Air Force wants to hit London with Mars Rockets!  ;)

Humor aside, a rocket that can go to Mars can obviously put almost any kind of satellite the Air Force could dream of into all the orbits that are useful to military operations: LEO, Polar, MEO, GEO. Theoretically having that much of a mass budget at low cost could allow for rugged satellites that are defendable from ASATs or maneuverable satellites with large amounts of propellant that can get out of the way. Deploying a space sensor layer for detecting hypersonic missiles would be cheaper too.

If SpaceX bid BFR, the Air Force likely thought such a large capable rocket was surplus to their current requirements and risky. In the future, that might change and SpaceX can always bid on phase 2 of the EELV contract with BFR.

"For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled." R.P.Feynman

Offline su27k

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Re: Funding BFR Development (Not funding Mars Colony)
« Reply #150 on: 10/17/2018 11:33 AM »
Why would Air Force bankroll a Mars rocket?
Because while it can go to Mars, it can also hit London.

(to paraphrase things said of VV Braun, who had wanted to make moon rockets initially)

Unfortunately hitting London is not a requirement in the RFP, so the Air Force cannot give SpaceX more points based on this. I think this is a deficiency in the government procurement process, there's no avenue to support truly innovative technologies, since the regular procurement process is based on what USG thinks it needs, not what innovation is on the horizon, this problem can also be seen from the slow response USG is having to the AI/Machine Learning revolution. As it is, even if you bid Starship Enterprise in EELV2, you may not win an award.

Online Robotbeat

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Re: Funding BFR Development (Not funding Mars Colony)
« Reply #151 on: 10/17/2018 11:53 PM »
Why would Air Force bankroll a *Mars rocket? Also it already financed Mars rocket engine disguised as EELV class upper stage engine... ;P

*(That is clearly Space Force's territory...
Because it can launch over 100 tons to LEO, and with refueling can launch over 100 tons to any orbit the USAF wants. AND they regain some of Shuttle's ability to return payloads, but this time all the way from GEO.

For a ridiculously low price.
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Offline guckyfan

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Re: Funding BFR Development (Not funding Mars Colony)
« Reply #152 on: 10/18/2018 06:06 AM »
Why would Air Force bankroll a *Mars rocket? Also it already financed Mars rocket engine disguised as EELV class upper stage engine... ;P

*(That is clearly Space Force's territory...
Because it can launch over 100 tons to LEO, and with refueling can launch over 100 tons to any orbit the USAF wants. AND they regain some of Shuttle's ability to return payloads, but this time all the way from GEO.

For a ridiculously low price.

This is a request for very specific capabilities.I would rather argue it can hit all the reference launch profiles. At least with refueling. Is there anything specific that precludes using refueling? I don't think so.

Any capabilities beyond that would just be gravy.

Offline speedevil

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Re: Funding BFR Development (Not funding Mars Colony)
« Reply #153 on: 10/18/2018 10:25 AM »
I do not find the below mentioned on this thread, if it is, let me know and I'll nuke it.

- 1:16.
Quote from: Hans
We have about a hundred missions on the manifest, and that represents a value of about twelve billion dollars

However you slice it, the profits from this are a useful slice of '$2-10 billion'. (Assuming these are all external launches).


Offline envy887

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Re: Funding BFR Development (Not funding Mars Colony)
« Reply #154 on: 10/18/2018 01:16 PM »
If SpaceX developed Raptor under the EELV LSA, they would have had to make it available for sale to all US commercial launch providers at a "reasonable commercial price" and would have to finish development by the end of 2019:

Quote
ARTICLE XIX: AVAILABILITY OF ROCKET PROPULSION SYSTEM FOR SALE

A. The Participant agrees that any Rocket Propulsion System as defined by Section 1604 of the FY15
NDAA, as amended, being developed under this Agreement as a subsystem to the prototype
under this agreement and subsequently fully developed and qualified for use in launch vehicles
shall be made available for purchase to all space launch providers of the United States for a
commercially reasonable price. Additionally, any such RPS must be developed by 2019.

B. In the event the Participant restricts sales to less than all interested United States space launch
providers for a commercially reasonable price, the Participant shall reimburse the Government
the entire Government investment provided under this Agreement for the relevant RPS(s).

C. The provisions of this Article shall survive after the expiration or termination of this Agreement.

I think this arrangement is the same as SpaceX already agreed to in order to get USAF funding for Raptor as a "upper stage engine", but the details were not clarified before.
« Last Edit: 10/18/2018 01:16 PM by envy887 »

Offline Ludus

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Re: Funding BFR Development (Not funding Mars Colony)
« Reply #155 on: 10/18/2018 05:21 PM »
Why would Air Force bankroll a Mars rocket?
Because while it can go to Mars, it can also hit London.

(to paraphrase things said of VV Braun, who had wanted to make moon rockets initially)

There are all sorts of good reasons for the AF to want BFR but that’s not the same as the job of the people who had to decide on 2018 EELV funding. They want at least 3 suppliers bidding in 2019 for 25 EELV launches so they can give the launch contract to 2 of them on a 15/10 basis. SpaceX will have the strongest bid then anyway since F9/FH is the only launch system currently meeting most of the bid criteria and also supporting itself on commercial contracts. All the others are still in development and 2/3 are unlikely to be in a good position to bid without further support. They get SpaceX bidding anyway with F9/FH for free and meeting the EELV criteria is all they’re supposed to be considering.

If it was me I’d want to throw as much money as possible at BFR if I could, but would still find it difficult to justify in this context. That kind of grand strategic thinking would just be above my pay grade.

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